Monday, April 19, 2010

Appointed to a useless organization

The City Council has voted to place a University of North Florida professor on the Human Rights Commission despite objections raised by one organization that claims to be against terrorism.
UNF President John Delaney vouched for Parvez Ahmed, calling him "a man of peace," according to First Coast News.
Ahmed was once involved with CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. That is reason enough to ask questions because the group has had people associated with it who have been cozy with terrorist organizations.
But the real question the council should have asked is, why do we need an anachronism like the Human Rights Commission?
Jacksonville is not Darfur. No one's human rights are being violated on a daily basis, if at all.
It seems to be that this commission is made up of liberals who meet monthly and pontificate, and it exists simply for political correctness. It produces nothing of any value to the community as far as I can see. If any discrimination exists, there are plenty of venues to rectify such problems.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Taxpayers and students lose another one

Once again, the powerful special interests have killed education reform, with the help of the Lame Stream Media.
As a result, we can expect to continue seeing half the students who leave the public schools after 13 years being unable to read and write well enough to go to college.
This is a "profession"? If half their patients died, would doctors be "professionals"?
As they did in the 1980s, when another attempt to reward good teachers was enacted, then repealed, the teacher unions argued, in essence, that there is no way to measure what a teacher does.
You can't go by test scores, they said, because some students don't want to learn.
The previous system used a measuring device devised and tested by a professor at the University of Florida. They said that didn't work either.
If you ask any teacher who the good teachers at his school are, he can tell you.
How does he know?
If we can't measure a teacher's performance, how do we know they do anything?
If it is the student's fault, how do they explain the good results in private and parochial schools?
We have to assume by the aggregate results that public schoolteachers are only doing half the job. Maybe the answer is to cut their pay in half -- for good and bad teachers, since we can't tell the difference.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Here's a chance for the courts to actually help

Most conservatives are opposed to the litigation fever that has swept the country over the past few decades. It is difficult to have a civil society when everyone fears his neighbor and friends because they may join the litigation lottery by suing him at any moment.
But it is tempting not to applaud the mass of lawsuits being filed by more than a dozen states. They do not seek "pain and suffering" compensation -- although perhaps that is warranted. Instead, they seek to overturn Obamacare.
The legislation is fraught with problems.
But the main problem is that it violates the Constitution.
Liberals don't think much of the Constitution. It gets in their way. But it is the only thing that ensures our freedom.
Obamacare is unconstitutional because it requires Americans to buy a product from a private party. The government has no such authority.
If it had that authority, the federal government could also require people to buy a GM car. GM is now an agency of the federal government and labor unions.
The fact that liberals want the government to have that authority does not mean it is the case, yet.
With the lawsuits pending, it isn't surprising that Obama is hurrying to find a red-hot leftwinger for the Supreme Court.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hooray, more busy work

City planners have drafted a 2030 mobility plan and liberals are swooning over it.
Naturally, it is full of "sustainability" and acronyms galore, both of which give liberals orgasms.
To be fair, the state ordered the city to waste its time in this effort, so they are not to blame.
Apparently, the point of this exercise is to find ways to reduce greenhouse gases and promote mass transit. When you have two pointless goals it takes careful planning to find ways to reach them, especially those that don't work.
At best, the plan will be ignored. At worst, it will cause the cost of housing to go up, which is what "smart growth" does everywhere else. Once they drive housing costs up, liberals then can demand "affordable housing" and create market meltdowns as they did in 2007.
Everyone now understands that the liberal elite want mass transit so that the masses will stop using cars for transit, leaving the roads clear for libs to drive their Volvos and hybrids on.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lou Ritter R.I.P.

Lou Ritter has died. It is a loss to the city of Jacksonville.
Ritter probably was the most knowledgeable person about politics in Jacksonville for the period from the Depression to today.
He came out of college at the University of Florida and won a seat on the old City Council at the age of 25. Later he was a city commission and in the 1960s became mayor. For many years he was a highly effective lobbyist.
I first met Ritter as a young police reporter in the early '60s. He came to the old county patrol headquarters at about 7 a.m., campaigning, and I was introduced to him. One of the cops told Ritter I might be carrying a gun and Ritter patted me down, jokingly.
When he finished I grabbed my pocket and said, "My wallet is missing!" He laughed and we were friends from that point on. For the past several years I had lunch with him and some other friends once a month. He always amused and astounded us with his political stories and he had been working on a book for months that probably would contain many of them.
Jacksonville won't see the likes of Lou Ritter again.

Friday, April 2, 2010

An actor who knew what he was talking about

Whenever I hear some liberal airhead in Hollywood being quoted on public policy, I think of two comments Spencer Tracy made, on different occasions.
  • "Why do actors think they're so God damn important? They're not. Acting is not an important job in the scheme of things. Plumbing is."
  • "Actors have no damn place in politics, period."

Read the bill

In case anyone was influenced by the March for Mediocrity staged by the teacher unions to protest rewarding good teachers, here is what SB6 actually does.
Anyone who understands what the bill does is not likely to be opposed, unless -- like the teacher union bosses -- they simply want to cling to the status quo, where education is expensive yet fails many children.
Some pundits say merit pay is good but requiring it at the state level is bad. Local boards already have been told to devise merit pay plans, but few have bothered to do anything meaningful.
These same pundits are not above applauding state government intervention when it is to their liking, such as barring sex offenders from living within a certain distance of bus stops on the zany theory that it will deter the criminals from following their avocation, or when the state seeks to allow the media to pry into personal business.
How about a bipartisan effort to improve the bill? Seems we heard a lot of that advice when Congress was in the process of taking over the health care industry.
Maybe in this case the efforts would not be ignored.