Wednesday, March 15, 2006


This is not the first time that the President has deliberately mis-led the American public about issues and actions of serious consequence. It is a rather unpatriotic pattern of deception, lies and misdeeds that has snatched defeat from victory as the Republican party has finally won the house, senate, judiciary and executive branch - only to be seen unfavorably because of this presidents actions and those of his cronies, and their blatant behind closed door dealings - from everything to the war, his energy policy, his record on the environment, his release of top secret information for political gain, his cover up of a drunken hunting accident and his illegal wire tapping - censure or impeachment should be the debate.

global warming & energy
Gail Norton Quits
Patriot Act


Michael Herdegen said...

If anyone really wants to impeach Bush, the way forward is simple: Have your party win 218 seats in the House, 51 seats in the Senate, and ensure that nobody defects, that everyone votes the party line.

Good luck.

Paul Burke said...

Michael I’m honored! Here are some thoughts for you if you ever check back in;

I hate my party your party - why can't we have elected officials who aren't high jacked by party politics and make individual assessments about the facts. Party politics only seeks to keep those in power in power while appeasing their donors - the citizens are left out in the cold - we could fix the public schools if there was direct profit in it for Exxon/Mobil.

It's a disservice to the idea of America that health care is broken because entrenched interest have selected their politicians (pawns) and we have reached a stalemate on even discussing the problem or the potential solutions. Alas we suffer from directing money to the very industries that don't need it - because they have the most and direct the pawns (politicians) to continue to do their bidding or their career is over. Gutless self interest is ruining this country instead of directing our tax dollars more judiciously in line with the will of the majority and I would add the common high ground of the citizens regardless of party affiliation. It’s a problem of vision and inappropriate influence – get private money out of the elections, pull in the same direction and there is nothing we can’t accomplish. A house divided will not stand – we are only limited by our imaginations.

Oroborous said...

Our tax dollars are being spent in ways that are in line with the will of the majority, or at least in ways that don't irritate the majority too much.

And that's also why politics is so partisan these days - that's what most voters want.

Of course, part of the problem is that incumbent politicians have gerrymandered Congressional districts to ensure, as much as possible, that their constituents are majority-partisan, but there's a limit to the effectiveness of that tactic.

Oroborous said...

And as for we could fix the public schools if there was direct profit in it for Exxon/Mobil, the fix for public schools is simple - break the teachers' unions.

Exxon/Mobil would fix public schools by firing incompetent teachers, and by rewarding school districts that perform best.

Those are the two issues that the teachers' unions oppose most, because the unions couldn't care less about actually educating children.

Paul Burke said...

Right the unions are the problem - the cry of corporate america - lawyers and unions bad - defensless workers good...

Oroborous said...

If you were serious about improving education, you'd learn something about it.
"Politicians bad, teachers' unions good" may fit your general worldview, but it's just plain wrong.

The UAW helped to bankrupt GM - that was bad for "corporate America", but was it good for the unions, or the workers themselves ?

Not at all. Everyone loses, except the American consumer.

Paul Burke said...

Please refrain from bomb throwing

" If you were serious about improving education, you'd learn something about it."

That sentence makes a heck of an assumption about me - and you should apologize.

It's the kind of dialogue that leads nowhere and in my opinion is a huge part of the problem of our broken political system

My prior statement stands - it is corporate America leading the cry that unions and lawyers are bad - but the real problem for GM and Ford continues to be that their product has poor gas mileage, poor emission standards, poor safety standards, poor quality and poor reliability. Is it any wonder that they have gone broke - even in the face of union give backs - while their competitors design vehicles with better reliability and higher standards of quality, gas mileage and emissions.

No blaming the unions isn't going to get it done - when management gets a pass and a huge salary for doing what - preserving the status quo - a microcosm of what ails capital hill.

Michael Herdegen said...

That sentence makes a heck of an assumption about me - and you should apologize.

The fact that you don't believe that the teachers' unions have anything to do with the current state of education in America tells me everything that I need to know about your familiarity with education issues.

The unions are not the only problem, but they are the largest problem.
They don't want teachers to have to prove that they're qualified, they don't want teachers to be at risk of being fired for incompetence, and they don't want students to be ale to freely choose where to attend school.

Positively heroic.

[T]he real problem for GM and Ford continues to be that their product has poor gas mileage, poor emission standards, poor safety standards, poor quality and poor reliability.

That was certainly true in the '70s, but hasn't been true for at least fifteen years.

Welcome to the 21st century.

Paul Burke said...

I thought if given the chance you would act like a man - my mistake.

The comment I made that started this thread was -

We could fix the public schools if there was direct profit in it for Exxon/Mobil.

You said the fix for public schools is simple - break the teachers' unions.

Breaking the teachers union allows for one thing only - lower wages what follows is wal-mart nation for the teachers - you're lucky that you have never been taken advantage of as an employee- if you ever were you would see the value of unions

The public school system problems are much larger than the very narrow "incompetent teachers, break the union" mantra of corporate America and their puppets on Pennsylvania avenue - the infra-structure, facilities, security, and supplies of trying to place a school in a ghetto are enormous. How do you provide for a safe haven for those kids - and create an environment that fosters learning and rewards good grades and the development of real job skills?

What about the teachers who make a modest salary compared to the CEO's of the world and brave the front lines of the inner city and the guns and knives? Are they all just fat cat union members taking the money and running - seems to me there are better alternatives than confronting that every day - a bit dangerous wouldn't you say - and do you think that might be an impediment to bringing in top notch scholars - you bet - so what do you do - your answer is overly simplistic, but then again I'm the one who doesn't know anything about it (sarcasm Michael)- a good school with excellent facilities and a safe campus can anchor and restore a whole community - look at your inner city college campuses like Temple in North Philadelphia - a total war zone has been reclaimed by a sprawling first rate campus with spun off medical facilities and housing - the public school problem is much the same and a broader fix for the entire urban environment in which the schools are situated is required -but then again - what do I know - I’m so ignorant and obviously not serious it's amazing I can put a whole thought together let alone type my name because I don't believe in pat answers and look a little deeper into who's giving those answers and what's in it for them. Oh Michael what are we going to do with you - when everyone is unserious, and unknowing if they disagree with your assumptions. Assumptions generated by a pamphlet or talk show - to sum up and I make the point again - there's more to it than teacher testing Michael

The phrase "you don't believe that the teachers' unions have anything to do with the current state of education in America" is yours not mine

The "anything to do with it" is the key phrase - from there you launch your personal attacks -

But I never said that - nor would I disagree that in finding a solution to the public school sytem nothing is taboo including impediments set up by unions against testing - or any other change to make the situation better for all.

What I was driving at was completely different - and perhaps my comment

"We could fix the public schools if there was direct profit in it for Exxon/Mobil."
Which started your lashing and thrashing about should be spelled out to you. Dick Cheney gave access to a secret energy panel to devise an energy policy that pumps billions into an extremely profitable industry - If the people that direct our tax dollars and tax laws and control our purse strings and direct our politicians to do their bidding were the least bit interested in fixing the public school system - it would be fixed. But since those in power can't make any direct profit in rehabbing the public school system - it doesn't get done.

You missed the point completely - as for the merits of unions you'll never convince me that they are wrong - from coal miners to Wal-Mart workers to child labor - and sweat shops those who employ seek every advantage they can get - I love profit, profit good I invest in profitable companies but the profit at any and all cost mantra creates a hellish environment for all of us to live in and is an incorrect mind set for global survival of the human race.

Employers vary widely in their attitudes from appreciating the backs of the workers - for whom they build their fortune - to tossing' em to the curb like garbage when their backs wear out.

As to your point "you don't believe that the teachers' unions have anything to do with the current state of education in America"

I never said that and the fact that your whole discourse is based on that phrase demands an apology from you (come on Michael another chance to act like a man – admit you are wrong) and calls into question - your ability to read carefully, understand and most certainly completely contradicts your overly impressive feeling about yourself that you can discern all that there is to know by a single phrase

"Tells me everything that I need to know about your familiarity with education issues."

What it seems to me that you do a lot of from your other many postings on "I just have to say" is to spin a generic point to argue from.

This leads to failure of the discourse and mindless ranting and accusations - and we have to waste so much time pointing out to you where you launched from has nothing to do with the intent, theme or even point of the posting.

It's easy to counter your arguments because you hear what you want to hear - you may very well be exchanging postings with a moderate who supports the war - how would you know - or a Marxist - you don't know - and I'm laughing at you right now - sorry about that - are you beginning to see - it's easy to counter you with simple statements like

" Right the unions are the problem - the cry of corporate America - lawyers and unions bad - defenseless workers good..."

Because you launch from generic assumptions that you have been taught answers to - reshaping postings back to generic arguments.

Yes, yes, yes teachers unions in some instances bad, bloated and protecting the entrenched we all know this aspect of the argument you are foisting on me – as if I am now going to defend the entrenched status quo milking the tax payers – yeah Michael you really know me (sarcasm) and have really been paying attention to my postings – sheesh, and since that is what you oppose – you should also oppose it with your government because to the extent that the status quo protects itself is not only bad for the teachers union but it's bad for the people directing our government and tax dollars - no new ideas can gain a foothold - we can't drill our way out of the middle east - but as long as Exxon/ Mobil is proping up it's political hacks, funding their campaigns - those hacks are beholden to them and the status quo perpetuates itself - the solution - public money only for campaigns - but you'll never respond to that - you'll have some other posting - not dealing with making the world a better place but defending those who you identify with.

In closing I have a tremendous amount of respect for the teachers that have the guts to teach in our public schools - modestly paid - whatever their unions can get them is fine by me.


"We (the people, together with our government) could fix the public schools (have the political will to do so) if there was direct profit in it for Exxon/Mobil (those in power could make money off of it)."

That's the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - deal with it.

Michael Herdegen said...

Well, nice rant, but you've failed to provide ANY evidence that you actually do understand anything about the problems of education in America, beyond what you've picked up from headlines.

For instance, you speak directly of inner-city schools, and you are correct in what you say about them, but those comprise only a small fraction of America's schools.

You believe that the point of breaking the teachers' unions is to pay teachers lower wages - but wages are really beside the point.

If the unions would allow three changes to public school systems, we could agree to pay teachers 20% more, and still come out ahead.

It's because you cannot identify those three changes, and because you believe that the problems with the unions are about pay, that you demonstrate your ignorance about education.
But I'll tell you what - come up with those three points, and I'll apologize, "like a man".

Until then, we both know that you're blowing smoke, that for some reason you don't want to admit that you know very little about the problems of education in American society, and that you also don't want to (*gasp*) do any reading to find out what those problems are.

Michael Herdegen said...

I do apologize for upsetting you.

When I say that you are ignorant about education issues, that's ALL that I mean.

I'm not implying that you are ignorant in general, or in any other particular area.

lonbud said...

Nice debate, gentlemen, and kudos, Paul for calling Michael out on his disingenuous rhetorical style.

Clearly, your very first post here tells us all we need to know about your understanding of the principles of democratic government, Michael.

Nowhere is it written that "your party" must control half the votes plus one to rule the nation.

Your assumption that democracy is an either/or, zero sum game is evidence of a highly simplistic understanding of government and a tragic under-appreciation of the true complexity of the social fabric of our nation.

As to the public school debate and how best to fix them, while urban public schools may represent a minorty of facilitites in the system, they are charged with educating a majority of students in it.

To minimize the challenge of fixing urban schools by dismissing them as a "small fraction" ignores the problem.

But then, to challenge Mr. Burke to identify what you believe to be "the three problems" at the heart of what ails our education system before you'll even deign to engage further debate on the matter, well, there's that tool of disingenuity you find so comfortable to use in debate.

As to GM, the UAW is far less to blame for its collapse than are poor management and inferior products.

It's interesting to me the way you see the 70s as some sort of nadir for all things American, and yet you can't see the many ways in which American things are of arguably less utility and inferior quality in comparison today.

With respect to cars, GM's and Ford's products (we'll try and stick to the specifics of the debate just this once) remain comparatively poor values today, with far less reliability and shorter useful lives than the products produced by Toyota and Nissan, let alone BMW and Mercedes.

Paul Burke said...

Mike, god love you but the point in breaking any union is to lower wages. Anybody who tells you otherwise has a hidden agenda(in my humble opinion - you don't have to agree).

Thank you for the apology. But I'm not ignorant about education issues either.

I'll take a stab at your "hidden three" reasons for fun.

Wages (I'm sticking to that one),Testing we've gone over that, health benefits (are always on the table), and time off. Time off means longer school year, and length of school day.

Yes wages would go up because more hours would be worked but that's a loss for the employee (hourly wage rate goes down for more time in the class room)- even though teachers are mostly salaried (substitutes are hourly wage earners)I doubt the unions will roll over on that one.

What is it that you want me to read?

I'm an avid reader and even wrote a book (that might be a dead give away). Right now I'm into a book on George Washington, I've got one on the Civil War lined up after that and a huge Ben Franklin - I'm dying to get into.

Have a great day! (seriously) ;)