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Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

The Tex Shelters’ completely valid short IQ Test

In Education on September 29, 2010 at 16:50

Formal testing for intelligence started back in 1904 when psychologist Alfred Binet was hired by the French government to create a test to determine which children were below average ability in order to get them specialized education. The scale Binet created was quickly put to use as a tool not to discriminate between different abilities but as a tool used to discriminate against immigrants, blacks, and social outcasts.

“H.H. Goddard was the first person to make Binet’s scale popular in America. However, Goddard distorted Binet’s scale and relied on it to identify the allegedly intellectually defective people in the country; he even relied on his preconceived notions to label these individuals “feeble-minded” and “morons” from the Greek word meaning foolish. All people whose actions went against moral behavior were designated “morons.” These people included criminals, alcoholics, and prostitutes…

Most of these people failed the test, and Goddard believed it was due to their lack of intelligence. However, many of these people never went to school, and few could speak English.

http://www.southernct.edu/organizations/hcr/2001/nonfiction/testbias.htm

Not only were tests given in English for non-English speaking immigrants, the test included questions about U.S. sports not played in Europe (or elsewhere in the world), and consisted of U.S. objects not found elsewhere. Imagine going to Russia and taking a test with pictures of famous Russian landmarks only in Russian. You too would be deemed “feeble-minded”.

And the invalid test results were used to support the twisted logic of eugenics,

Lewis M. Terman also perverted Binet’s scale…Terman’s goal was to test everyone and then sort them into roles he conceived as suitable for their level of intelligence. Terman believed that society must first eliminate the feeble-minded and those people whose intelligence was too low for them to be able to lead an effective life.
http://www.southernct.edu/organizations/hcr/2001/nonfiction/testbias.htm

For more on the current cultural bias of IQ and other standardized tests, go here.

http://www.fairtest.org/facts/whatwron.htm

Now, on to the Tex Shelters Standardized Aptitude Test (TSSAT).  It’s a completely valid IQ test, as valid as the others. You cannot use a dictionary, a calculator nor the Internet to look up the answers. Answers follow.

Tex Shelters IQ Test

  1. Two politicians travel toward Washington, D.C. by train. Senator Jim DeMint travels from South Carolina after meeting with his fellow servicemen to gain support for Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell and Vice President Biden takes the train from Delaware after meeting with Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell. Who arrives in Washington, D.C. first if DeMint’s train travels at an average speed of 55 mph and Biden’s train travels at an average speed of 40 mph (taking into account the various stops in the NE for Biden’s train)?
  2. Name two reasons to be against the New York City “Mosque at Ground Zero.”
  3. Finish this sentence: The Republicans are the Party of “NO”, the Democrats are the party of _________.”
  4. What city was selected as the most liberal in 2008?
  5. How do we know the mainstream media is liberal?
    1. Keith Olbermann
    2. The owners are all wealthy corporations that constantly consider the plight of the America people over their profit margin.
    3. The lack of pro-apocalyptic radio and television programming
    4. Sex and drugs and Rock and Roll and other immoral behavior on television proves that television is liberal because only liberals like those things and thus they are pandering to liberal tastes, not trying to sell more advertising.
    5. Bill O’Reilly told me on the mainstream media. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlNj8nbtwG8
    6. None of above.
  6. We all know that Iran is a dangerous threat to us. What country is the most dangerous threat to our American way of life?
  7. Name the most liberal stance to be avoided.
    1. Abortions within the first 23 weeks for raped women or when women would die if they bring a child to term.
    2. Background checks for gun ownership in an effort to weed out the criminals from buying guns or selling them to other criminals.
    3. Installing solar panels on your house.
    4. Believing in evolution.
    5. Being a liberal.
  8. Define “stimulus”?
  9. Mind is to thought as Republican is to____________.

10.  Which word doesn’t fit with the others:

  1. Business
  2. Apple
  3. Person
  4. Partnership
  5. Caterpillar

11.  What is the difference between a bomb attack by drone or a bomb attack by car?

12.  Why did John Lennon write, “I am the Walrus”?

13.  Who is more moral, an atheist or a believer in God?

14.  51 is to Republican as 60 is to ____________.

15.  Why is standardized testing a poor way to evaluate students?

  1. It tests facts not knowledge.
  2. It tests memorization not thinking.
  3. It tests how well students test and not the knowledge or understanding they possess of the material.
  4. It tests cultural knowledge and not academic ability.
  5. All of the above.

Remember, I am scaling this and that is what counts.

Please also take the Chitlin Test before looking at the answers. One clue to the answers to the Chitlin test  is that it was written in 1969.

Chitlin Test short version

http://wilderdom.com/personality/intelligenceChitlingTestShort.html

Answers

http://wilderdom.com/personality/intelligenceChitlingTestShortAnswers.html

Now the Answers and the scale to the Tex Shelters Valid IQ Test for Geniuses

1. This question has no valid answer. Republican Jim DeMint was never in the military thus he can’t talk to “fellow servicemen”, and Joe Biden already beat Republican Christine O’Donnell in an election and would never talk to her privately. Beside, Biden is an elite who now rides a helicopter.

2.  1) It’s not a mosque, and 2) it’s not at ground zero.

3. Best answer is to leave it blank because Democrats don’t stand for much. However, the words cowards, wimps, nothing, maybe, or “it depends on what the latest poll says” are all acceptable answers.

4. Detroit, Mi. Their liberal sin in Detroit coupled with their unionists, hip swinging Motown music and (black) mayoral fornications explain why these sinners have a bad economy. Sin led them to economic ruin. (link)

5. I know you libtards think it’s F. That’s because you are libtard. But the real answer is E. If Bill O’Reilly said it, so it’s got to be true.

6. The United States of America.

7. E. Of course, even leftists know that being a liberal is the one thing liberals must avoid in order not to be liberal.

8. According to Christine O’Donnell, stimulus is something you shouldn’t do to the economy or yourself. She’s not touching.

She’s the female Republican Paul Krugman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7qDABDvXtk&feature=related

9. Deficits. Minds can’t help but create thoughts and Republicans can’t help but create deficits. Now you might say, “but what about Obama’s deficit?” Well, he’s only had two years to screw it up, and Clinton reduced the debt and ended with a surplus. Clinton was a Democrat. (link)

10. Person, because it is the only word that doesn’t refer to a corporation. A corporation is a business, or it could be a partnership, and Apple and Caterpillar are corporations. But a corporation is not a person.

11. One patriotically kills terrorists, as far as we know, from safe distance; the other is placed in a civilian area by coward terrorists who want to kill patriots.

12. Lennon wrote “I am the Walrus” as a response to professors in England who used The Beatles’ songs and lyrics for analysis in literature classes.  “Analyze this!” he must have been saying. Plus, Lennon was an illiterate commie pot smoking hippie. He must have been in an acid haze or having a bad trip hopped up on smack when he wrote that. I know nothing about that.

13. It depends on your religion. What, you expected me to say it depends on the person? Muslims are the most immoral, followed by Agnostics, Atheists (at least they take a stand, unlike agnostics), Buddhists, Others, Jews (unless you are a Zionist warmonger kill Arabs and Muslims). Catholics are okay as long as they leave the Pope out of our debates. Evangelical apocalyptic cults based on the Old Testament are the best.

14. Democrat. It only took 51 votes for most of the bills to get through the Senate when President Bush was in office. Now due to the filibuster and the Republican fear to debate issues, it takes 60 votes for the Democrats to pass most things in the Senate. Thus, 51 is to Republican as 60 is to Democrat.

15. E—All of the Above of course.

Scale based on number correct. Remember, all decisions are final.

0-5: Feeble minded, definitely a libtard. Get sterilized right away.
6-10: Moron. Put down your Michael Moore book NOW and stop playing with yourself.
11-15: Marginal, probably Libertarian.
16-20: Smartish, definitely Tea Party material.
21-25: Genius, Tea Party leader with a great future.

Yours,
Tex Shelters

Tex Shelters’ analysis of the Republican Pledge

In Current Events, Economics, Election Politics on September 26, 2010 at 21:34

A Sludge to America

History is repeating itself, and if we aren’t careful, it will repeat itself again.

In the “Pledge to America” released this month, Republicans talk about government not following the will of the people as if they aren’t part of the government or as if we didn’t have 8 years of a recent Republican President. Also, many of the point made are the same as the ones made in the Republican Contract for America of 1994. GOP-Pledge-to-America PDF

“Reclaim our government for the people”, the document states. From whom? You Republican leaders are NOT the people, they are a few people.

In the Pledge, Republicans project the current problems onto the Obama administration that has only been in office 2 years after 8 years of mismanagement under Bush and the Congress. By every statistic, except perhaps the growth of poverty amongst the population and the growth of the earnings for the wealthiest Americans, the Bush presidency was an economic failure.

As the Atlantic Monthly article points out, “It’s not a record many Republicans are likely to point to with pride.” And that is why Republicans are trying to run away from their record, trying their tried and true fear tactics, and calling on nationalism and God in their Pledge.
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/09/closing-the-book-on-the-bush-legacy/26402/

Now somehow it’s all Obama’s fault that the huge debt that was created over the last 60 years, and exacerbated under Bush, is still there after two years of his presidency. And because of this faulty perception of our economy, the Republicans have to “reclaim our government for the people”. (Page 3, and others).

In the Pledge, the Republicans pretend that they haven’t been in government the last 60 years as incomes have dropped and corporations own more and more of our nation’s wealth. They tell us “Washington has not be listening”. (Pg 5).  Well no shit, and that includes the Republican Party that has been in Washington the whole time.

There are a lot of pandering generalities in the Pledge. “Job killing tax hikes (pg 5)” Where’s the proof? Besides, the only tax “hikes” (really an elimination of a cut) will be on the top 2% to help the economy create more jobs.

“We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.” (Pg 3)  Of course when they say, “traditional marriage”, they coming out against homosexual marriage.

They want to roll back the stimulus, “we will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone”, but they want to keep the Bush tax cuts that would cost us about, $100 billion dollars year.

It’s clear that the Republicans want to continue the redistribution of wealth upward while the nation faces ever-growing poverty.

“We will govern differently than past Congresses of both parties.” (pg 6)  Hello!? You are one of the two parties and nothing you laid out is different from what Bush and Congress under Bush did.

Sure, the Democrats in Congress under Bush cowed in the corner and let 9/11 lead them by the balls into bad decisions on wars and civil rights. But as my kindergarten teacher taught me, two wrongs (Republicans AND Democrats) don’t make a right.

They say they have a plan, but mostly their plan is to use nationalist language to get Americans to rally against the party in power and ignore their own positions on the issues.

The Pledge is an exercise in pleasing their base, and trying to convince the independents that they care. Too late for that.

Other than being fiscally conservative, supposedly, Republicans want to promote the costly missile defense (pg 6) shield that has yet to be deemed effective (except for helping missile contractors like Ratheon) or needed.

“Joblessness is the single most important challenge facing America today. Jobs are the lifeblood of our economy, and for our workforce, there is no substitute for the pride and dignity that comes with an honest day’s work and a steady paycheck.” (pg 14) Is that why they fight the stimulus that saved or created up to 3 million jobs? Is that why they want to cut spending to job training programs? Again, they mouth the words but they aren’t backed by action.

Then there are the outright lies, surprise, surprise, surprise. “He also wants to raise taxes on roughly half of small business income in America. Raising taxes on anyone in a struggling economy – especially small businesses – is precisely the wrong thing to do. Economists agree, as do the American people.”

First off, there is the lie about “half the small businesses” being hurt. The end to the top tier tax cuts only affects 3% of small businesses. As for “hurting” them, that is a value judgment. The top 2% paying more in taxes might make this nation more prosperous and help them.

http://texshelters.wordpress.com/2010/09/11/npr-lets-the-lies-lie-again/

Furthermore, economist don’t agree on anything, and some state that the top tax rates for the top 2% of earners should be returned to Clinton era levels, the levels when the deficit was zero. Still, others economists are for continuing the tax cuts for everyone.

“these looming tax hikes will hurt every family”.  (pg 14) Nope, only those that make $250,000 or more will be affected. Remember Mr. Republican, you are the one who blocked 98% of America from getting continued tax relief to protect the top 2% incomes, not the Democrats.

The Pledge says that there are “Permanent bailouts”? (pg 15). Nothing is permanent about them. The TARP money passed during Bush, and much of the money has been paid back.  The money was paid back during Obama’s term, so he must be doing a great job by most political logic.

And as far as the stimulus money goes, it saved some jobs, created a few, and could have been better spent. (link) It’s not an all or nothing proposition, all good or all bad. But when politicians, Republicans this time, want to vilify an enemy, it’s easier to make broad generalizations than explain the actual faults in the stimulus bill.

More specifically, the Republican say, “Our Plan to End The Uncertainty and Create Incentives for Job Growth” (pg 16). That is what the Small Business bill present by the Democrats is about, but you ignored it.

You say you want to end “Job killing Tax Hikes”? I wonder how Eisenhower created jobs AND raised taxes? (link) How did Eisenhower do it? He didn’t. Taxes have limited correlation to job creation and there is no hard evidence for their relationship.

The claims they make about reducing the deficit are ridiculous. They blame big government that they are part of for the huge deficits. If that is true, we shouldn’t vote for the people of the “Pledge” either. They seem to want to ignore inconvenient facts such as the deficit jumping upward during George W. Bush’s term and all the mandates like wars and other spending that were left for Obama.

Certainly, Obama can do better and his economic team is, was, a cadre of Wall Street bankers and middlemen that care more about protecting stock holders and banks than helping home owners refinance or workers get jobs. But the deficit was a team effort, both parties were to blame, and the Republican plan of reducing deficits and giving more incentives won’t reduce any budget.

To sum up the position of the Pledge: it’s all the Democrats fault, so vote for Republicans cause then the rich will have more money and it might trickle down upon you later.

It’s funny how in the deficit reduction section they want to get rid of the TARP (pg 21) when 1) they supported the bailouts in 2008, and 2) much of the money has been paid back. I do agree that we need to cut the budget for Congress, starting with salaries, close the revolving door of payouts to former Congress People, and White House advisors, and Wall Street.

However, lets honestly address the budget and cut out the fat the fat cats in big business are getting first before you harm workers by eliminating unemployment.  There are no specifics about where they would cut the budget, other than Congress, which is a small part of the federal spending each year.

On page 22, they say that the US government should stop supporting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I agree, except if we do that we need to put more regulations on lending in general.

The wholly private lending companies did just as poorly as Freddie and Fannieh with a few exceptions, but only Fannie and Freddie get targeted for elimination by Republicans.

We need to stop speculation in low-income housing and the housing market in general and end the myth of home ownership for everyone.

Then the pledge takes on the “job killing health care bill”. The first parts of the bill that have been enacted, and those are welcome changes. Now due to the Health Care Overhaul Bill, companies must give health care to children up to age 26 and can’t eliminate you from a plan if you get sick. Those are good things. But the Republicans want to get rid of it all because regulation hurts their health company campaign donors. To fair, many Democrats (Max Baucus, I’m talking to YOU!) feed from the trough of health care donations and want to get rid of that troublesome bill as well.

The bill won’t hurt jobs like the Pledge claims, because health care costs will come down for companies that give it to the employees. Well, in theory it should work that way. But health insurance companies will increase rates to kill reform and we still don’t know what will happen.

Giving people a chance to have health care is a public good with some costs and some savings. They make a lot of claims in this “Pledge” about the dangers of health care, but back it up with NO evidence, no books, no studies, no links, nothing. There is little factual in the Pledge about the health care overhaul, so I leave it to you to dissect pages 26 and 27.  Here are a few points:

Jobs: they claim companies drop workers health coverage if the Obama bill comes into effect. Companies were already dropping coverage for their workers before the bill passed. (link 1) (link 2)

And, most companies in 2010 aren’t dropping their employee coverage due to the health care bill.

Costs: Yes, as stated in the Pledge, costs for health insurance might not go down. That is one huge strike against the bill as written.

Taxes: Is the mandate a tax? Is the car insurance mandate a tax? It is a cost, and it is a cost now for many families. And the poorer members of society will get a helping hand paying for health care. Yes, socialism!!

Their alternatives? Tort reform (a lie as clearly stated in A Patriot’s Guide to Right-Wing Thinking), cross-state purchasing of insurance, as if companies don’t work across state lines and collude, and expand health savings accounts. Basically, market based decisions for a market that rips us off and doesn’t work and lets us die if we get sick. Great! One thing I agree with: “Ensure Access For Patients With Pre-Existing Conditions.”  (pg 27)

Their section on reforming Congress? Ha ha, you are Congress. Nothing in there mentions real changes like I have promoted in my post about multi-party elections. Although, “Read the Bill” is a good idea. That would force debate on every bill. Adding unrelated amendments to spending bills without a separate vote on those amendments should also be prohibited. But I don’t think Republicans really want either, except for maybe Ron Paul.

“Secure our Nation!” (pg 37) The Republicans should have put this section first.

“Secure the Border.” What’s new? Build a 50-foot fence and watch the sale of 51-foot ladders go up. A military solution won’t work. Yes, protect the border. Where are the specifics?

“Pass clean troop funding bills”? Like all the military contracts that went to Cheney cronies under Bush? The Republicans have no credibility on this one. Many Democrats don’t either.

“Keep Terrorists out of America.” Good idea. Why didn’t I think of that?

“Fully Fund the Missile Defense Shield”? Even in a “Pledge” the Republicans couldn’t help but put in unnecessary pork.

Like Republican Pundits on MySpace, Red State Reader and elsewhere, the “Pledge to America” uses lots of pictures that mean nothing. 14 out of 45 pages have full color photos (about 40%) of the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, various workers in various posses, different Republican operatives that were in Congress under Bush (and currently) although they claim NOT to be of the government, and the strangest photo of all: a photo in silhouette of a cowboy, lasso at the ready, riding somewhere in the rugged west. Yes, the Republicans use a photo that could have been taken for a Marlboro Man ad as a way to promote their party (pg 17). Strange.

So there you have it. The Republicans try to run away from their involvement in the current crisis and the Bush years and pretend to be the party of something new by rehashing the ideas of Bush: tax cuts, less government and security. There are few, if any, innovative ideas in there, and the few I agree with, cutting the budget of Congress, cutting budgets, creating jobs, have been talked about and abandoned after elections past. Why should we think anything new will happen if either party is in charge?

If only we could start over and rewrite the Constitution every few years like they do in Colombia. Oh, Colombia is a military dictatorship disguised as a democracy you say? Perhaps we do have one of the worst systems, except for all the others, in the world? And perhaps we can learn from others and stop believing the lies like those in “A Pledge to America”.

Here’s to America, the best and the worst.

Action: just think for yourself and vote. Donate to local charities that help the homeless and poor in your neighborhood if you have any money to spare.

Yours,
Tex Shelters

Why a Multi-Party System is not Only Patriotic, but it could save the Republican and Democrat Parties

In Election Politics on September 25, 2010 at 02:45

We need a multiparty system and proportional representation in this nation or we might as well say goodbye to real democracy in America.

Proportional Representation would allow minority positions to be heard and thus quell the outrage heard by such groups as the Tea Party movement who up until now has NO direct representation in Congress.

The Tea Party wing of the Republican Party has won several primary contests against more established Republicans including Castle in Delaware, Murkowski in Alaska and Sue Lowden in Nevada.

Mike Castle, a well-known conservative in the Republican Party, was the favorite to take Joe Biden’s open Senate seat in Delaware. However, in a state with a population of less than a million, he was ousted by political neophyte Christine O’Donnell.

O’Donnell’s traditional beliefs are that masturbation is the same as adultery, rats have been bred with “fully functional human brains” and that abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape and incest among other extreme positions.

The latter position is being taken by the other Tea Party candidates and many in the Republican Party. If supporting the parental rights of rapists and child molesters isn’t enough for you to abandon the Republican Party, you should reevaluate you priorities.

“RNC for Life has endorsed 63 House candidates who are “pro-life without discrimination” (NO exceptions for abortions for the health of the mother or rape or incest) and heading into the general election. Edmondson pointed to Bill Flores (TX-17), Stephen Broden (TX-30), Rocky Raczkowski (MI-9) and Sandy Adams (FL-24) as especially exciting candidates to watch. Incumbents endorsed by RNC for Life include Michele Bachmann (MN-6), Jean Schmidt (OH-2) and Duncan Hunter (CA-52).”

“The candidates getting the most attention, however, are on the Senate side: Sharron Angle (Nev.), Ken Buck (Colo.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Joe Miller (Alaska), Christine O’Donnell (Del.) and Rand Paul (Ky.). All of them oppose abortion even in cases of rape and incest.” (link)

I guess the right to life doesn’t extend to rape victims’ lives or expectant women who will die during birth.

The Population of these three pivotal states with contested Senate seats is

Alaska                     698,473
Delaware                885,122
Nevada                   2,643,085

Total                        4,226,480 ; about 1.4% of the population of the United States

And now, the Republicans might loose these seats to Democrats for choosing far right Tea Party challengers over more established candidates. If there had been the opportunity to create a third party that was viable in the United States, Castle, Murkowski and Lowden would have won their primaries and been up against the members of the Tea Party and the Democratic Party. And if Delaware had rules that supported third party candidates such as public financing, proportional representation and lower thresholds for party registration, the Democratic nominee would have to fought off a challenge from the left in the Greens or other actually liberal party.

In Arkansas, Blanche Lincoln defeated a true moderate-liberal Democrat Bill Halter in her primary. And what is Lincolns’ reward? She now has little support on the left and is trailing her Republican opposition John Boozman by 54 to 35%. In a more democratic system, Lincoln would have to run against Halter as a Peace and Freedom (or other verifiably liberal party) candidate, Boozman as a Republican and perhaps a Libertarian Party challenger. She would loose either way, but there would no longer be a pretense that she is a liberal.

Her seat is not a loss for the Democrats, for she votes with the Republicans on enough big issues such as the health care bill and the Disclosure Act that she is a de facto Republican.

Polls before the Democratic primary showed Halter fairing better against Bozeman than Lincoln, although both Democrats were far behind Mr. Bozeman. At least there was a shot with the “liberal”.

Of the three recent Tea Party Senate challengers, Joe Miller from Alaska has the best chance of winning. While he misinforms voters on the issues of taxes and socialism, he hasn’t practiced witchcraft or had any wacky press conferences. However, he has come out against social security, a loosing proposition in Alaska, and against federal spending in the state. Being fiscally conservative is good politics until it hits your own constituents. Then it’s “spend baby spend!”

O’Donnell is too kooky to win. Some in her own party don’t like her, and she has too much baggage from her recent past. As far as Sharon Angle goes, she will loose. Incumbent Reid will flood the airwaves with negative ads in October, and she will lose. And I am NOT a big fan of Reid.

So what can the major parties do to enhance our democracy and conserve their rigid ideology into the next century? They should promote third parties and proportional representation, of course.

If there were a far right party, then the Republican stalwarts wouldn’t lose their primaries and would be unchallenged. And if there was a real liberal alternative to the Democrats in America, people like Halter and Ned Lamont, the man who beat Lieberman in the Democratic primary, could run as on their own ticket, perhaps in the Workers Party, and Lieberman could happily run unopposed as a Democrat.

In his article, “Third Parties Don’t Work: Why and How Egalitarians Should Transform the Democratic Party”, noted sociology professor G. William Domhoff says that third parties won’t work in the United States. His argument basically comes down to the rules as dictated by the two parties, Democratic and Republican. But if these parties saw their power threatened by coalitions of extremists on the right and liberals on the left, they might concede to third party demands and open up the process. It is the democratic thing to do.

Then again, the two parties aren’t very democratic, in the true sense of the word, are they? Their style of democracy isn’t for everyone in our system; it is for a few elite in each party, wealthy benefactors and their cronies and a few other political elites who decide on who we vote for and limits out choices.

Some answers to our reduced democracy brought on by the two party system include the following: proportional representation, instant runoff voting, computerized Congressional districts to eliminate gerrymandering advantages, a set of rules for party qualifications with a reduction of requirements and challenges to getting on ballots, and elimination of the Senate.

Here’s what Richie and Hill say about proportional representation,

“Finally, PR is important for majority interests because, as Mill argued, it provides represented minorities with a platform to challenge conventional wisdom. An advocate of universal suffrage, Mill still was sympathetic to conservative concerns about educated minorities being outvoted by newly enfranchised, less-educated voters. Assuring a voice to the minority eliminated his fears because of his faith in the results of a fully democratic process, with open and organized discussion among competing political ideas and projects. By allowing dissenters to win representation, PR fosters ongoing challenges to majority opinion, and thus complements our First Amendment freedoms.”

If the Democrats and Republicans split off ally factions, then they wouldn’t have to take full responsibility for their “extremist” positions. They could then have two parties that are more liberal or extremist than they are who would in the end be reliable allies.

Ritchie and Hill and many other social scientists agree that proportional representation increases voter turnout. Wouldn’t the two major parties want increased voter turnout? (Watch out, that’s a trick question).

South Carolina might have had a third party challenger instead of Democrat Alvin Greene who has almost no chance against Republican Senator Jim DeMint, no matter what DeMint does.

And if minor parties got seats in the Congress through proportional representation, then third parties would run in every state to meet the vote threshold. That would increase voting.

More support for Proportional Representation from Ritchie and Hill

By restricting voters’ choices and underrepresenting voters from minority groups, winner-take-all elections devalue the right to vote, our fundamental democratic right. Correcting these failures requires PR. No other political reform currently on the table–public financing of elections, term limits, fusion, or universal voter registration–will suffice to correct these deficiencies in our democracy…Minor parties by definition begin with minority support, which wins nothing in winner-take-all elections unless it is geographically concentrated. With little chance to win, minority party candidates cannot build or sustain support. Ross Perot’s well-financed independent candidacy in 1992 won 19 percent of the vote, but he did not finish first in any congressional district. In 1996, his vote was reduced by more than half, although one voter in ten still voted for minor-party presidential candidates, and half of all eligible voters saw no reason to participate.
http://bostonreview.net/BR23.1/richie.html

Gerrymandering creates safe seats even when the seat is an open seat. The district can be created to be majority Democratic or Republican party, regardless of the advantages of money or loss of incumbency. Proportional representation would allow a person to vote for candidates over several districts and thus remove the power of gerrymandering in states with more than one representative. If nothing else, using a computerized system to randomly select districts in a state, rather than letting the majority party in the state legislature make as many safe seats for themselves through gerrymandering, would reduce the two party advantages.

In addition, if the Senate was removed and each state got an additional two House seats (leaving the less populated states with three seats), third parties would have a greater chance of gaining seats in Congress. This would increase the voice of all Americans and reduce the chance of rogues within the Republican and Democratic parties from taking over. Minority voices wouldn’t be subsumed by the two parties, they would join or create new ones. That would energize more citizen voters.

Democrats and Republicans set the rules for qualifying for office and the rules for qualifying for a debate. If the two ruling parties decide to make it hard to qualify, they can monopolize Congress, Governorships and state Legislatures to the exclusion of third parties.

If we had a multiparty proportional representation, Arkansas wouldn’t be stuck with an ultra-right Democrat in Blanche Lincoln as Senator. They would vote in a more liberal progressive candidate, as well as a Republican, and perhaps a Libertarian.

Proportional representation would re-enfranchise Southern minorities to an extent even greater than the voting rights act of 1964. For example, you could have a “Southern Freedom” party that was mainly for African American candidates. With the number of African American voters (not that any minority group votes as a block, other than Republicans), perhaps there would be and increase in black membership to Congress.

Here’s an example of the idiotic logic used to defend the two party system:

Why has there only been two parties that have dominated our government for nearly a century and a half? Because the two-party system works. The two-party system makes voting for Americans a lot simpler. If the voter is conservative, and he doesn’t know much about certain candidates, he could just vote for the Republican candidate. It combines groups of people with similar platforms into two solid platforms. The Republicans are conservative and the Democrats are liberal.

http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/47384.html

Basically the writer is saying we are too stupid to understand a multiparty system when they say, “The two-party system makes voting for Americans a lot simpler.” If it really prevented the truly stupid from voting, that would be a plus to proportional representation. And it would force the vast majority of Americans of average intelligence to study our elections more closely.

The author is also saying that there are two types of voters, Conservative and “Liberal”. If you didn’t my catch the drift yet, the fact is that most Democrats AREN’T liberal. And in reality, there aren’t just “conservatives” and “liberals” in our nation. Those labels are basically meaningless with the plethora of issues and positions one can take on each issue. Ideology is a multifaceted spherical continuum. It defies such simple labels.

Ron Paul Supports Third Parties

Mr. Speaker, political operatives across the country are using state ballot access laws to deny voters the opportunity to support independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. For example, one New York election lawyer publicly stated that partisan election lawyers should take advantage of New York’s complex and costly ballot access procedures to keep Mr. Nader off the New York ballot. Meanwhile, a state party chairman in Arizona has hired a team of lawyers for the sole purpose of keeping Mr. Nader off the Arizona ballot.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul194.html

Links, again with the links?!

Gerrymandering a two party monopoly
http://www.watchblog.com/thirdparty/archives/000192.html

Join the Green party
http://www.gp.org/platform.shtml

Join the Libertarians
http://www.lp.org/platform

Join a third party of your choice.

Think for yourselves and tell me to shove off!

Fiscally Responsible Social Democrats Unite!

Yours,
Tex Shelters

Our Hatred Weakens Us

In Current Events on September 22, 2010 at 15:42

President Obama and the Democrats used a strategy utilized several times by Republicans during the Bush presidency to pass law that Democrats disagreed by attaching them to the recent defense authorization bill (DAB).  The difference in this case is that stood on their principles (to discriminate against gay and lesbian soldiers) while the Democrats did not.

There were two amendments that Democrats had added to the DAB. One was the Dream Act that would have created a path to citizenship for illegals who served in the military or finished college, and the other amendment was to authorize the end of “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” (DADT) if the Pentagon found no compelling problem with troop moral if gays and lesbians served in the military openly. It would NOT have ended the policy on it’s own like every news outlet in the universe has been reporting, except the great Tex Shelters network of course.

For the record, I don’t think the DAB should be used as a repository for controversial amendments. The Democrats should repeal DADT out in the open.

Some of the amendments added to the DAB by Republicans during the Bush years include, “banning internet gambling, opening up the arctic national wildlife reserve to oil drilling, allowing concealed weapons to be carried across state lines, increasing fines for broadcasting indecent material on television. oh, the humanity. toughening up campaign finance regulations. all of these things have been attace hed (stet) by republicans to defense authorization bills in the past.”

During those votes on previous DABs, Democrats were cowed into passing these amendments in these bills because if they didn’t they would be painted as unpatriotic, and that would hurt their feelings. Democrats, being the sensitive cowards that they are, passed the DAB from Bush with the Republican amendments and all.

Speaking of sensitive cowards, why hasn’t Obama used his executive powers to stop “Don’t ask; Don’t Tell”?

He wants to hide behind the cover of Congress when repealing a law that he is not fully behind repealing. Obama, like Clinton before him, is not completely comfortable with gays or lesbians, especially in the military. He’s like the white liberal bigot who doesn’t mind blacks as long as they aren’t “lowering property values in my neighborhood.”

Republicans don’t even want to take the advise of the Pentagon when it comes to homosexuals in the military and wait for the Pentagon report. That is how much they hate Americans that aren’t like them and how much their “principles” mean more than national security. If Israel, no slouch in military matters, allows gays in the military, so can we. Except, we are more homophobic in his nation, and our hatred weakens us.

Republicans might not have principles when it comes to gay and lesbian rights, but they have discipline.

Yours,
Tex Shelters

Next: what’s really wrong with O’Donnell and the Religious right

We Need to Bring Back the Values of the Founding Fathers

In Current Events, Election Politics on September 17, 2010 at 02:47

Tex Shelters here, President of the Southern Central Arizona Teaparty (SCAT). We at SCAT want to take back America. We want to bring back the ideals of the Founding Fathers that made this country so great and that Obama has taken away by being black, Muslim, and a socialist, only one of which is the true motivation for my distaste for him.

On NPR, the ultra liberal radio outlet of communist America, the leader of the American Family Association and major Tea Party promoter was on to defend America.

Listen Here

He says, “The country needs to…be brought back to the same cultural and social values of the founding fathers.” I agree and I will explain how great the Founding Fathers were on EVERYTHING!

He has a “belief in natural marriage and defend against the gay social agenda.” Yes, the gays are promoting their sexual agenda by having sex.

We definitely have suffered by going away from the Founding Fathers since 1781. We need to bring back America to the days of the Founding Fathers:

1. The founding Fathers believed God should run everything! Bring back God from the atheistic liberals who believe in the myth of NOT GOD!

Let’s look at Thomas Jefferson, the main writer for the Declaration of Independence. He believed in God so much that he only mentioned Him once in the document. He liked the Bible so much he cut one up to make his own version.

What about James Madison? James Madison, architect of the Constitution, was a forgetful man. That is why he didn’t put the word “God” in the Constitution. He forgot. I am sure there were post-it notes on his desk that reminded him, “write Article 8 to the Constitution that talks about God being the best”, but he misplaced it.

And what about John Adams? John Adams was a Unitarian, which proves how much he believed in Jesus Christ. So what if Unitarians don’t force their congregation to pledge a belief in a Christian god. What does that have to do with Adams?

Moreover, he supported the use of religion for war when he said, “As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, and legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the bloodiest religion that ever existed?” (ibid). That proves that we’re right to use religion to kill, and that comes from John Adams himself.

So you see, our Founding Fathers were religious and that part in the Bill of Rights that says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” was just in case Muslims ran Congress and it was not meant that if we had a Christian Congress we couldn’t establish the one true religion as our national religion.

So let’s bring America back to the kind of Christianity we think they meant we were supposed to have.

2. We need to rid America of the Constitution because the Founding Fathers didn’t want that.

The Hernando County Tea Party Writes,

“We believe and fight to bring back the system of governance our founders created back on 1776. Our founders did not create a Federal Imperial Union but created a divisible Republic composed of various sovereign States, and Commonwealths which voluntarily united into an American Union.”

“Thanks to the complete abandonment of States’ Rights as outlined by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the authors of the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and Constitution we are going through an economic and societal meltdown, precipitated by the reliance on a central Imperial government to solve the problems that we allowed them to create.” (link)

Yes, life was better before we started giving out rights like condoms at an AIDS clinic and declaring independence and stuff. Who needs laws and courts? That’s not what the founding Fathers wanted cause Jefferson and Madison, main writers of much of that un-American stuff like the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, were NOT founders.

3. We Must Go Back to the Founding Documents of America, especially the Constitution!

In Gainsville Florida, the Tea Party says,

“The Declaration and the Constitution have been relentlessly attacked in modern times.  Our own President has implied that our Constitution’s ideas are flawed.  The professors in our law schools deride its relevance.  Progressives would have it be as malleable as silly putty.  But We the People recognize that the Declaration and Constitution have served as the bedrock of our freedom for hundreds of years.” (link)

So, one Tea Party group attacks the Constitution and the next says the President has attacked it. Let’s hope our Tea Party folk don’t look in the mirror and stop attacking the President.

4. Bring back our Guns!

We need to take our guns and “turn them on moderate Republicans.”

Guns are protected in the Constitution, in case you didn’t know. Obama has been traveling around the nation using his Kenyan voodoo powers to our guns. Moreover, the Founding Fathers like Washington handed out guns to shoot at their enemies, the British. Our enemies are now the moderate Republicans, so we need to hand out guns to all the Tea Party loyalists and go on the hunt.

Here are some other ideals our Founding Fathers believed that we must return to:

1. Slavery. The Founding Fathers knew slavery was good for our economy, and we need to bring back that practice because our Founding Fathers supported it and our economy could use a boost and more employment.

2. Take back the vote. The Founding Fathers knew that slaves will never vote, and that prohibition should be brought back with slavery. We need to also take the vote back from women (too emotional), 18 year olds (too emotional) and landless men (too poor to matter).

3. Bring back our colonial relations with the Native Americans. The Founding Fathers knew how to treat the natives. We have been coddling them and it must stop. No more free lunch for illegals.

4. Stop protecting workers. Not only must we get rid of the minimum wage that our Founding Fathers knew was so terrible so they never passed it, we must get rid of workman’s compensation. The Founding Fathers knew that if workers got injured, it was all their fault. Thus, they didn’t have protections to baby the workers.

5. Stop educating everyone. The Founding Fathers would have never educated everyone. They knew that universal education should only be for themselves and their wealthy friends, land owners of course.

6. End all bioscience and “playing God”. In the good old days of America, during the time of the founding fathers, they didn’t allow women to get abortions for any reason, including rape and incest. And Republican Tea Party babes like Palin, Angle and O’Donnell want to bring us back to the good old days when a man could rape a woman and become a father.

And we must stop using other bio-technology that the founding fathers would NEVER have used like stem cell research, cloning and the rampant use of antibiotics. Our founding fathers would never have used antibiotics, and we shouldn’t either.

7. Bring back abstinence. As Christine O’Donnell, Delaware’s Tea Party Candidate for the Senate says, “If he can please himself, then why am I in the picture.” Protect a woman’s place in the bedroom; stop masturbating.

Exactly, why are you in the picture Miss O’Donnell? To remind us that the founding fathers didn’t lust I guess.

Jefferson never lusted after anyone but his wife or had several children with anyone like a slave girl, and thus he is a role model for us all.

Franklin never lust before he was married or had a child out of wedlock, I am sure of it.

So stop lusting America. And if you stop having desires, it will be easier to vote for the Tea Party candidates, for they will make sure you have nothing left to desire when they are through with you.

Yours,
Tex Shelters

Looking for a true Conservative for 2012

In Current Events, Election Politics on September 15, 2010 at 01:57

The only way to save our nation is to have a true conservative as president in 2012. As I scan the political landscape, I yearn to find a person who will fit that bill.

Sure, some of you part-time conservatives might say, “What’s wrong with John McCain?” Well, John McCain is NOT a real conservative. He forgot the most important commandments of American politics when he helped pass the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

The first commandment of conservative politics is that you don’t cooperate with the enemy, and the leftist Senator Feingold is the enemy writ large.

The Second commandment is that money is free speech, and we must expand the use of money in politics if Republicans are going to rule over the people again. I would add that one should NEVER put their name on a bill, lest they be called liberal at a later date. And McCain only voted with Bush 95% of the time. Only liberals disagree with their leadership 5% of the time. Only liberals allow members to think for themselves.

Gun owners think McCain is too liberal too, “John McCain is one of these pretenders. He is a leftist in disguise, using his popularity and charisma to masque his liberal leanings. In reality, McCain resides as far to the Left as John Kerry. Anyone who thinks otherwise deludes himself.” McCain has charisma? That’s definitely a liberal trait!

That’s enough for me. Gun owners say McCain is too liberal, thus he is!

Now some of you might say that I should look at Teaparty darling Sarah Palin of Alaska. Well, you are whack. Have you seen her family? Her daughter was an unwed teenage mother and that smacks of liberalism.

Only liberals let their daughter get pregnant without forcing the sperm donor into a painful retracted marriage at the barrel of a gun. No, Palin is obviously a liberal under her Mama Grizzly skins. And Palin uses all this feminazi language that scares me and other man, again proving she’s a secret liberal. As one lifetime feminazi said about Palin, “I know Sarah Palin cares about women’s rights, she cares about equality, she cares about equal pay, and as vice president she will fight for it.” (link)

Well that’s enough for me. It’s obvious that Palin hates men, for she get’s support from Democratic feminist commies and supports equal rights and pay. Thus, Palin is NOT a true conservative.

How about Dick Cheney, he must be conservative enough? Well, I have one word for you: “Lesbian Daughter”. As Alan Keyes, perpetual Illinois Republican Senate candidate, says homosexuality is “selfish hedonism” and said Vice President Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter Mary Cheney is a sinner.

The sins of the daughter reflect the sins of the father. Besides, a true conservative would have had a heart attack if his lesbian daughter decided to have a baby as Mary Cheney, sinner, has done.

At least Cheney was conservative enough to avoid service in Vietnam, I’ll give him that much.

Alan Keyes then? Too black.

Glenn Beck? Real conservatives don’t cry.

Mitch McConnell–Senate Minority leader?

Look at the guy. He’s obviously sinning by choking the chicken. And masturbation is the same as adultery!

Newt Gingrich He’s been divorced, and more importantly, everyone knows about his divorces. Only liberals divorce.

That’s why I’ve never been married; I don’t want to become a liberal like Gingrich.

Republican Constitutional scholars point out that they couldn’t find anything in the Constitution that says George W. Bush can’t run for President once more. So why don’t I support him for president again? It’s because Bush said compassionate and understanding things about Muslims after 9/11.

“I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself.” (link)

Muslim friends? Respect their faith? Good and peaceful teachings?

What was the man thinking? He’s WAY too liberal. He didn’t invade Iran, and his wife is a LIBRARIAN!

Ann Coulter? Well, “Right-wing news site WorldNetDaily has dumped the conservative pundit over her association with a gay group.”

Oh my God! Coulter is hanging out with gays? She’s definitely a liberal whore.

Have you seen here lately? She’s no longer hot, so she can’t be a conservative talking babe. She has to be liberal because she’s become an ugly hag. http://womensissues.about.com/b/2008/10/08/sarah-palin-the-milf-factor-and-ugly-women-vs-pretty-women.htm

(Special thanks to MTRG and other conservative males for inspiration)

Coulter also said that she would vote for Hillary Clinton over McCain. That’s proof she’s a liberal, even though she didn’t support liberal McCain.

So what candidate do real conservatives support in 2012? Someone who has a strong marriage, someone who supports the Patriot Act, who doesn’t oppose “don’t ask; don’t tell”, someone who is firm against gay marriage, someone who challenges liberals like Hillarity Clinton, Alan Grayson, and Dennis Kook-sin-itch, a man (of course) who won’t let universal health care pass, won’t challenge “too big to fail”, won’t cut and run in Afghanistan, will fight insurgents with torture and use rendition, and has a long history of Christian family values, at least by attending Church.

I guess I’ll have to support Barack Obama again.

Yours,
Tex Shelters

NPR lets the lies lie, again

In Current Events, Economics on September 11, 2010 at 15:39

On Saturday morning, I heard yet another Republican (Tom Price of Georgia) lie about taxes and deficits on the radio. And yet again, the NPR interviewer let the Republican get away with it. This is a common practice on NPR, and while this is not news to most of you, it must be news to the interviewers since they are constantly accomplices in this lying.

Listen to the audio clip of this interview here.

“Let’s not rob from Peter to pay Paul,” is a common catch phrase that Republicans use when discussing deficits and tax cuts. How about letting Peter pay a little more because he’s a billionaire who benefits from our government’s good works in roads, security, trade promotion, and so forth?

When asked how the tax cuts would hurt small businesses, the Tom Price of Georgia said, “Most small businesses that are successful and virtually all small business that would create jobs…has an income of more than $250,000 would have their taxes raised.” That’s a lie. Only 3% of small businesses would have their tax cuts raised. Also, Mr. Price fails to acknowledge that the small business, under the bill, would get tax cuts for domestic hiring. So Price is lying to protect his benefactors, huge corporations. He’s not looking out for small businesses.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/aug/04/randy-neugebauer/lawmaker-claims-democrats-want-hit-small-businesse/

So there are two solutions for this. If you want to protect the S companies (small buisinesses), make an exception for that 3%. Or, you can live in the real world and allow the rate to go from 36% to 39.6%, assuming these businesses get enough write offs and that they can afford the extra taxes to help sustain the infrastructure these businesses rely on.

Another lie is about the Reagan economy and tax cut reducing deficits. “When you decrease taxes…a by product is more revenue for the federal government.” A look at the years of tax cuts under Bush shows us that this is an outright fabrication. Reducing taxed RAISED the deficit. The second whopping lie from this Republican was that “President Reagan prove it”, proved that you could cut taxes and that would reduce deficits.  Anybody who can read knows that is a lie. Even the Washington Post. The deficit went up under Reagan.   http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Ronald_Reagan/Ronald_Reagan_Legacy.html

So why didn’t Mr. Simon challenge these lies?

1. He doesn’t think that is his job.

2. Simon didn’t have time. In the NPR format, there is no time for follow up questions like there is on talk shows.

3. NPR knows that they get their money from Congress. If Congressman Price and the other deficit liars run Congress after the 2010 elections, they might cut of the tap to NPR if they get questioned too directly about the deficit and other economic voodoo.

4. NPR doesn’t want to draw attention to itself or standout as a real news organization, for it might lose them readers and donations from conservative listeners.

Whatever the reasons, NPR morning shows constantly let their guest lie, Republican and Democrat, in order to stay a part of the establishment. MSNBC and CNN do a better job interviewing and challenging the liars, and Jon Stewart of the Daily Show is a master of the confrontational interview. Stewart gets away with challenging these statements by flattering his guests and by his show being a vanity press. It gives you cache to be on the daily show.

<object width=”480″ height=”385″><param value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/Sa69puS7J0Q?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US”></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”></param></object>

Actions

Watch or listen to Democracy Now http://www.democracynow.org/

or True Grit http://www.grittv.org/ among others.

Read the alternative dailies like Daily Kos. Follow their blog list to find more alternative news.

Read my blog and follow the links posted my me and my readers. Thanks to all!

Best of all, think for yourselves and fact check everything, except for his blog of course, ha ha.

Yours,
Tex Shelters

Enough already about 9/11

In Current Events, History on September 9, 2010 at 05:45

I kicked an Englishman in the balls today in remembrance of Bloody Sunday and the atrocities there. I burnt Oxford editions of the collected works of Shakespeare, the British playwright of terror, for good measure.

Throwing bricks through the window of a sushi restaurant satisfied my lust to get back at the Japanese for Pearl Harbor. I do that every December 7. Then I had to smash this big snouted Roman in the nose for their besting the Celtic leader, Queen Boudicca. I stabbed a priestly cab driver for all the pedophilia and betrayal by other Catholic priests.

Then I gathered some patriots to spit on some Christians as they left their holy church of terrorist training for bombing Oklahoma City’s Federal Building. We also spray painted “Jesus Freaks” on the side of several Christian terrorist training centers. It was the Protestants that killed my Irish ancestors, so we had to go on and burn a few Christian churches (and their terrorist training manual, the Bible) in the process. That will show those Prods that we are right and they are wrong.

Honor the dead, but don’t use their deaths as an excuse to hate, discriminate, hurt and kill others.

Self proclaimed super patriot’s scream, “We must never forget.” Forget what? Forget that you irrationally fear and hate all Muslims based on the actions of a tiny group of fundamentalists?

I know I am going to get some flack for this, but shut up about 9/11 already. I also sense that I am saying what many others out there have been thinking.

How about using the historical tragedy as a call to promote peace. Or is that too close to the original message of Jesus?

The article “The United States of Fear” states well how we have sold out our freedoms in the name of fear.

Read what Moosehammer has to say about the Qu’ran burning folks.
Or read about the “Remember 9/11 and hate on all Muslims” crowd.

Yours,
Tex Shelters

Push Back Against Value Added Evaluations, Arne Duncan and the LA Times

In Current Events, Education on September 7, 2010 at 02:27

High stakes testing promoted by the Bush and now the Obama administration is hurting teachers, minorities, and schools without improving education in America. The only one who benefits from this scheme is the test-makers such as McGraw-Hill who stand to make millions if every state uses their value-added tests (VAT). Value added tests would be used in conjunction with Obama’s new “Race to the Top” model of education. What the value added test does is compare the students from one year to the next on reading, math and writing tests to evaluate if they make advancement. Then it grades the teachers on this one test on a scale from very ineffective to very effective.

That one test was the sole criteria for the recent judging of teachers under the value-added method (VAM). VAM doesn’t take into account changes in curriculum from year to year or changes in students’ lives, biology, or economy when evaluating their change in scores.

And the state of California, once a leader in education, have started to use the VAT in the schools in the mistaken belief that more tests will improve schools. Moreover, the LA Times in all their wisdom have decided to publish the results.

“LAUSD educators who have spent years creating classroom environments that challenge and engage students suddenly woke up one morning to find themselves stamped “ineffective” or “effective” based solely on their students’ standardized test scores.” (link)

Yes, teachers’ names with their evaluation were published without consultation with the teachers. The “ineffective” teachers were found guilty without a trial. Sure, the LA Times sent out letter to tell the teachers that their names with their evaluations would be posted in the paper, but the teachers were not given a chance to refuse the publication or defend their teaching.

While the LA Times says the publication of the teachers names was to help parents with school age children, it’s an excuse used to justify their decision. Any parent who wants to know about a teachers’ evaluation can call the schools or see the administration of the schools to find out information about a teacher. The scores didn’t have to be printed for the world to read in the Times.

I call for a boycott of the LA Times from now until they apologize for printing teachers names with a “ineffective” or “effective” label on such a dubious basis: standardized test scores and a culturally mismatched test over a limited amount of time, without warning.

Please sign the petition.

http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/boycottlatimes/

The Deadline is September 14 when there is a planned march on the LA Times.

Writer Sikivu Hutchinson is dangerous because she supports critical thinking in the classroom and clearly states that testing is not the only, nor is it the best, way to evaluate teaching. (link)

Time and again studies from such organizations as Californians’ for Justice, Harvard Civil Right’s Project and UCLA’s Institute for Democracy have demonstrated the danger of relying upon standardized tests as the sole criteria for student achievement and teacher effectiveness. The strongest determinant of whether a teacher’s practice is effective is how well they develop culturally respectful relationships with students, create a caring yet rigorous atmosphere for critical inquiry and critical literacy, connect with students’ home cultures, and employ multiple teaching strategies such as instructional conversation, sparing use of lecture, extensive group work and creative and expository writing. (link)

This type of critical thinking is only going to create students with thinking skills that might grow up and start third parties, create alternative energy plants, cure cancer, at the very least write some original and entertaining music. And that’s dangerous.

She adds that VAT hurts students of color more often than others:

…the Obama administration’s fetishistic emphasis on test scores as the major barometer of teacher effectiveness, a linchpin of its “Race to the Top” initiative, is especially insidious for students of color. For example, the disproportionate suspension of African American students is a national epidemic that has been exacerbated by the NCLB high stakes testing regime. Disengaged from school curricula in which they are not meaningfully reflected, African American students have become ensnared in a public school disciplinary apparatus that fuels the nation’s prison complex.

Black students are disproportionally expelled for minor infractions of schools rules and drop out at much higher rates than whites and other minorities.

The value-added sham won’t help parents and communities of color struggling to achieve educational equity for youth who have already been intuitively assigned a jail cell by a public school culture marching in lockstep with the teach to the test ethos.

Sikivu Hutchinson is the editor of blackfemlens.org and a senior fellow with the Institute for Humanist Studies.

The American Conservative online version writes that Robert Buddin’s study for the Rand Corporation on teacher effectiveness has little value.

“By design, the Buddin study only measures changes in student performance over one year.” (link)

Freshman in a high school statistics class know you can’t get verifiable information in a one-off student test with a small sample set.

Value-added evaluations will create a need for more tests and thus increase test sales and make McGraw-Hill more money.

Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education supports the release of teacher data from the VAM study. Yet again, the Obama administration stands against individual rights as he has by continuing with Bush’s Patriot Act.

Mr. Duncan has run a $4 billion school-improvement competition — known as the “Race to the Top” — that led many states to change education laws to reflect his prescriptions. In May 2010, his department is distributing $3.5 billion for the overhaul of thousands of failing schools, and Mr. Duncan has been frequently to Capitol Hill to outline plans for a rewriting of the main federal law on public schools. (link)

Secretary Duncan is another one of Obama’s Chicago cronies that received a secretary position having little experience in the field, in this case education. Paul Street writes a scathing editorial highlighting Duncan’s love of charter schools, neo-liberalism and union busting. This type of ideologue should not be in the highest education office in the land. (link)

What Duncan did as head of Chicago schools is illuminating. He took credit for turning the schools around when they did turn around even according to the standards he promotes with “Race to the Top”.

Read More: (link 1) (link 2)

California Watch speaks against the LA Times list of Teachers Names

Researchers I talked with tell me that if this had been an academic study, the researchers would never have been given permission under human subject research guidelines to disclose the names of teachers.

Jennifer Imazeki, an economist at San Diego State University, wrote on John Fensterwald’s The Educated Guess:  “Regardless of how one feels about value-added, as a researcher, I’ve been shocked at the public disclosure of teachers’ names. Most researchers have to sign their lives away in confidentiality agreements if they want to use student-level data with individual identifiers. How in the world did the Times get their hands on this data without such an agreement?” (link)

Listen to the KPFK report on “value-added teaching” here:

Of course if you test more often, you will become better at testing. Thus, practiced students’ test scores increase. That doesn’t make students smarter.  It is yet another fallacy in the process of standardized tests.

Dan Goldhaber, one of the authors of the study, has ties through his work at the Center on Reinventing Public Education McGraw-Hill, the makers of the tests.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education, where Goldhaber worked on the study, is the outfit that hired the Rand Corporation to participate in the study using McGraw-Hill tests.

The American Conservative, not a hot bed of union support, says this method has little value in improving education.

In the meantime, teachers without Patton-esque motivational skills are going to get blamed for failing students.  Let’s give them a break.  In the long term, they’re probably not doing any worse than their colleagues. (link)

Why do teachers come under such heavy scrutiny and job pressure when CEO’s of major banks can ruin the economy and their companies and get paid huge bonuses and politicians that do nothing but obstruct laws or pass laws that are huge giveaways to special interests continue to get pay raises?

First, VAT is being promoted in an attempt to bust the teachers’ unions, one of the last unions with real political clout left in the United States. Secretary Duncan dislikes unions and supports union busting charter schools.

VAT is also part of the anti-intellectual climate in this nation. Teaching literacy and independent thought is a lot more expensive than teaching students to regurgitate facts on a test. There is also disrespect in this nation for the teaching profession.

Unless one has been a teacher in the K-12 system, it is hard to comprehend how difficult the job is. This ignorance leads Congress and states to pass laws to keep teachers on a tight leash. Teachers have to be kept on track (in line) with standardized testing and as much of their time filled with standardized curriculum. Teachers’ years of training, experience, curriculum building and study are devalued in this value-added model. No lawyer, doctor or Congressmen would allow themselves to be judged by such a narrow standard as Obama’s White House, Congress, and others ignorant of the teaching profession want to do with the VAM approach.

They must believe that if we don’t control teachers, they might go crazy and create hands on projects or give assignments where there are many valid approaches and strategies that might lead to a successful resolution.

No, the one size fits all model with a test for hundreds of thousand or millions of students in the same grade all over the nation is the best model because we know there is no variation in student populations based on geography, economic status, race, gender or upbringing. If we test them all the same, we can get rid of the troublesome teachers and students that don’t fit within our societies narrowly defined educational box. Conformity is best and will crush all creativity.

Thus, we won’t have another troublesome Eugene Deb, Howard Zinn, Medea Benjamin, Cornel West or Noam Chomsky running around. The only problem is that we have to find a way in this system to still nurture the next Ayn Rand. I’m open to suggestions.

Better yet, let’s just send them all the Kaplan for testing and cut out the middleman, the troublesome teachers. Then we can send them to Kaplan University.

Experts are Against the VAT, why is the White House for it?

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) convened experts in the field of education, expertise being what the current policy-makers lack, who came to the conclusion that “Any sound evaluation will necessarily involve a balancing of many factors that provide a more accurate view of what teachers in fact do in the classroom and how that contributes to student learning.” To put it simply, test scores shouldn’t be the only way to evaluate teachers.

It is important to evaluate workers, especially those that work with our kids. Therefore, we need to find measures that make a difference and aren’t destructively punitive. Using tests that cost millions of dollars is inefficient and expensive. Plus, there is no evidence to show that more testing means better teaching and more educated students, especially in the long run. Testing should be a small part of the evaluation process for teachers if used at all.

The LA Times Names the Names and Outs teachers based on Marginally significant data
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teachers-value-20100815,0,258862,full.story

Problems with the Use of Student Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers from the EPI

Read the report
http://www.epi.org/page/-/pdf/bp278.pdf

Read how the test fails students

Sign the Petition and boycott the LA Times. Send the link to your friends in California and LA!

http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/boycottlatimes/

Write Obama to stop this travesty

President Obama
CO/ The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500-0004
or phone: (202) 456-1414

Or send note online:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Yours,
Tex Shelters

How The Stimulus Money Saved my Job, and many others

In Current Events, Economics on September 4, 2010 at 00:19

There are two broad camps in the debate over the stimulus and jobs. There is the Obama camp that makes statements like “In these last few months, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has saved or created nearly 150,000 jobs” and the Republican camp represented by Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts who said, “The last stimulus bill didn’t create one new job.” Both the Obama camp and the Republicans are guilty of exaggeration or outright lying about the stimulus and job creation. In these two examples President Obama got a barely true rating and Senator Brown got a pants on fire rating from Politifact.org.

Since the Stimulus package of $862 billion passed in February of 2009, the jobless rate has gone from 8.1 percent to the current 9.5 percent (now 9.6). Does that mean the stimulus hasn’t worked? It depends on your definition of a working stimulus package.

Clearly, it hasn’t stopped the unemployment rate from rising, and if you define success as a drop in unemployment, the stimulus package has failed. However, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that may have added up to 3.3 million jobs. Then why is unemployment rising?

Unemployment is rising because the number of stimulus created (or saved) jobs has been outpaced by private and public sector layoffs. Now that may be elementary to most of my readers, but some in Congress don’t understand that the stimulus package may have helped slow the rate of the recession and unemployment while it hasn’t ended either.

And by the way, many of those 3.3 million jobs that were “created” aren’t all new jobs. The White House saying they were all “created” is in fact a lie. Many are public jobs such as teachers, police, firefighters, etc, that were saved with the influx of stimulus money to the states. One of those teaching jobs saved due to stimulus money was mine.

The fact that the stimulus saved and created jobs but not enough to reduce unemployment can lead one to conclude that the stimulus package wasn’t large enough. However, it’s not that simple. There are other factors to consider. First, there is the money that the private sector received that hasn’t been reinvested in the economy. Perhaps if that money had been reinvested, the unemployment rate would have dropped. Then there is the question about how the money was spent.

A lot of the money from the first stimulus package was invested in the building of roads. However, a recent study has shown that investment in road construction won’t reduce long-term unemployment. That is probably because road construction and repair can be highly equipment heavy as opposed to labor intensives, and once a project is done, the jobs are gone.

” Even within the construction industry, which stood to benefit most from transportation money, the AP’s analysis found there was nearly no connection between stimulus money and the number of construction workers hired or fired since Congress passed the recovery program. The effect was so small, one economist compared it to trying to move the Empire State Building by pushing against it.”  (Link)

It’s hard to say how many jobs were created with the stimulus money. What is clear is that the money saved hundreds of thousands of teachers jobs as well as jobs of firemen and police officers and other public figures. However, the private sector has yet to reinvest their recent windfall, and until that happens, unemployment may continue to hover around 10%.

Should the stimulus have been bigger? Yes, it should have been bigger, better, and smarter. The best return on investment for stimulus money is in education. After next best investments include mass transit and construction projects weatherizing homes and improving other housing infrastructure. (see the PDF report here) So the spent on teachers and mass transit was well spent. But road construction has a low multiplier affect.

Tax cuts were not only slightly more effective than investing in the military, and that was for all tax cuts. So while tax cuts can have a stimulative effect, it would be better to let some tax cuts passed under Bush expire and invest that money in energy efficiency for houses, mass transit for cities and populated urban corridors around the nation, and education. Curiously enough, it does not help to invest in new roads.

The upshot is that the White House exaggerates the effectiveness of the stimulus, which as many economists have said was too small, and Republicans exaggerate and even lie about it’s effectiveness. I suggest you read Forbes Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, economists’ papers (anything by Joseph Stiglitz), and the alternative press to get the best picture of how the stimulus works or not.

Follow the path of Joseph Stiglitz and ask Obama to push for more and smarter job creation. Half measures won’t do in this economy.

President Obama
CO/ The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500-0004
or phone: (202) 456-1414

Or send note online: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Yours,
Tex Shelters

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