Saturday, May 13, 2006

Too Many Alternatives

So much to talk about and so little time... There are so many offenses at so many levels and I can choose only one at a time to explore.

The President's nomination of Gen. Hayden to head the CIA is a natural for me. Mr. Bush, in clear violation of FISA and the "Patriot Act," sets the NSA on a program of domestic spying; and now he nominates his director of that program, an officer of the U.S. Air Force sworn to defend the Constitution, to head the CIA. On the other hand, the neo-fascists have done their preparation well, and more than 60% of Americans are more in fear of their "enemies" than of losing their civil liberties.

I'm leaning toward state or local stories.

A Bay-area judge has suspended the California high school exit exam because it discriminates against... well, basically kids who can't pass it. His points are well-taken, that English-learners and the poor have a harder time passing the test. In my opinion, it is this kind of thinking that has made a high school diploma worthless. The exit exam tests English and math competency at the ninth grade level, and if a "graduate" can't pass that then how on Earth can I give him a job? How does he break out of the cycle of poverty?

The California Governor contest exemplifies why I stopped working on campaigns. Steve Westly appears to be a fiscal conservative who sings to a majority of voters in the polls, but Angelides is getting the Democratic Party endorsement apparently because... in the tradition of Gray Davis and Cruz Bustamente... he's next in line, works well for or with public employee union leaders, and has a ton of money from his real estate developer connections.

Meanwhile, Arnold, whose only virtue was that "his heart is in the right place," has also suddenly found a ton of money for next year's budget to pay off/pay back the money he "borrowed" from public programs during the first two years of his administration. The poorest and most disadvantaged? Well, they need better connections, don't they?

Both parties are stumping for the ultimate election-year lie: the $37 Billion building program with "no new taxes!" Why is California's bond rating right down there with Louisiana's? Could it be because Californians... as many Americans... don't recognize that debt must eventually be repaid? "Win-Win" my ass. It's at least 30 years of debt-service (interest), and hopefully an eternity of refinancing so you never have to repay the principal.

P.S. I didn't mention that the levee repairs at New Orleans won't be ready by June 1st after all.
When you see people such as Secretary Rumsfeld complaining that criticism of the Administration is damaging the U.S. position overseas you just want to scream: "Then stop lying! You are accountable to us! We're supposed to challenge you! That we catch you at it is your fault!"

Where to start...

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Blogger Tamar said...

Oh dear, Always Question. I resonate with your frustration. You made an excellent start ... right here ... right now!

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liz from I Speak of Dreams. I was against the suit until I heard Arturo Gonzales speak.

“It means that students in California will not be deprived of a diploma unless the state properly and fairly prepares them for the exit exam,” said Arturo Gonzalez, a San Francisco attorney who is representing the students.

He brought the suit on behalf of kids who were on target to graduate (had passed their classes) but hadn't passed the exam.

“We've submitted substantial evidence, overwhelming evidence that kids who attend schools in large cities are far more likely to be taught by teachers who are not qualified or credentialed.”

In other words, the point of the suit was to cast a spotlight on the second-rate education many of the non-passers got.

If we don't want a hereditary underclass, equality of education, beginning with early childhood, is the way to go.

I am, btw, against Prop. 82 -- it's not effective and not what low-SES kids need.

2:16 PM  

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