Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

How to Promote High Stakes Testing: Lie

In Current Events, Education on May 30, 2011 at 22:36

High stakes testing has been embedded in our national system of education funding since No Child Left Behind (NCLB) became law. The law, pushed by then President George W. Bush and his family friends at McGraw-Hill Publishing, was promoted by citing the “Texas Miracle” in the Houston schools. It turns out that the exemplar of testing achievement that helped sell this nation NCLB was fabricated,

“In the late 1990’s, Texas claimed dramatic increases in test scores and high school graduation rates. The jump was so high that observers nationwide were calling it the “Texas Miracle,” a phenomenon that led Rod Paige, Houston’s superintendent of education at the time onto the national stage. He later served as Bush’s secretary of education. By 2004, the “Texas Miracle” was found to be a total sham. Teachers and administrators were fudging data.” (Link)

So, the high stakes testing regimen faced by schools all over this nation was based on a lie, and that lie has produced millions in sales for CTB/McGraw-Hill, makers of testing materials and Friends to President Bush. That was only the start of the lies used to sell No Child Left Behind and other high stakes testing models. These lies are also used to sell private, charter, and other corporate school models while attacking teachers and their unions.

More on the faked Texas “miracle”.

High Stakes Lying in D.C. and Baltimore

Now, educational testing celebrity Michelle Rhee has been discredited for lying about her teaching prowess. Rhee, along with the Rhode Island Central Falls School district superintendent Catherine Gallo who fired ALL the teachers in the district, has became the champion of teacher firing by letting go at least 600 teachers based on testing data.

Moreover, Rhee didn’t even bother to interview the teachers, observe them in the classroom or give any type of evaluation. Rhee fired teachers based on limited information, a lie of omission. Fortunately, seventy-five of the fired teachers will now be reinstated.

Rhee also falsely claimed that she was instrumental in raising test scores from the 13th percentile (from the bottom) to the 90th percentile (near the top) while teaching in Baltimore for three years. (Link) Critics point out that this is nearly statistically impossible and on further investigation, have caught Rhee in a lie. However, her followers still support her methods, discredited as they are.These fabrications are used to prove that testing and “accountability”, which amounts to firing teachers, works.

Washington, D.C. Erasuregate
Washington, D.C. schools recorded a vast improvement on test scores over the time Rhee was school chancellor from 2007 to 2010. During her tenure, she gave 10 schools special recognition for improvement. One improved school was Crosby S. Noyes.

“In 2006, only 10% of Noyes’ students scored “proficient” or “advanced” in math on the standardized tests required by the federal No Child Left Behind law. Two years later, 58% achieved that level. The school showed similar gains in reading.” (Link)

However, as many suspicious of this grand achievement point out, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Eight out of the ten campuses that were rewarded for achievement were also schools that recorded an abnormally high incorrect to correct erasures.

Among the 96 schools that were then flagged for wrong-to-right erasures were eight of the 10 campuses where Rhee handed out so-called TEAM awards “to recognize, reward and retain high-performing educators and support staff,” as the district’s website says. Noyes was one of these. (Link)

Rhee claims that the erasure critique is based on one school. Yes, the study focused on one school, but as previously noted, the high erasure rates from incorrect to correct were found at 96 schools, not just at the one school focused on in the study. And the study looked at over 100 schools that had suspect erasure percentages.

The high stakes testing game leads to lying,

Union officials say the pressure for high test scores may have tempted educators to cheat…”

“This is like an education Ponzi scam,” says Nathan Saunders, head of the Washington Teachers’ Union. “If your test scores improve, you make more money. If not, you get fired. That’s incredibly dangerous.””  (Link)

And, it can lead whole states to lie about scores.

States Lie about Scores

Let’s start with the smoking gun of testing lies, former governor of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen,

“”…former governor of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen, who admitted that he “lied” about test scores on statewide education tests, deliberately inflating them to get Race To The Top funding. As further revealed by CNN, almost all of those states that submitted statewide test scores had “lied” about the results to look better in competing for Race To The Top funds.”  (Link)

Yet, the White House keeps touting Race to the Top.

When interviewed by Soledad O’Brien on CNN, Governor Bredesen admitted to the lie,

L O’BRIEN (voice-over): Maybe not a misperception. After this revelation from Tennessee’s former Governor Phil Bredesen.

(On camera): Were you lying to parents about —


O’BRIEN: Out and outlying to parents about how well their kids were doing?

BREDESEN: In one case in eighth grade math we were telling 83 or 84 percent of the kids that they were proficient when they took the national test.

O’BRIEN: What was the real number?

BREDESEN: 22 percent.


Another thing to note is that while Race to the Top supposedly promotes “accountability”, it also requires states to commit to more charter schools, schools that aren’t accountable to city and state standards in the same way a public schools are.

New York

Not to be outdone, New York Has it’s own testing scandal,

The latest example of how test results can be doctored is the New York state testing scandal, which broke open this week. The pass rates on the state tests had soared year after year, to the point where they became ridiculous to all but the credulous The whole house of cards came crashing down this week after the state raised the proficiency bar from the low point to which it had sunk. In 2009, 86.4% of the state’s students were “proficient” in math, but the number in 2010 plummeted to 61%. In 2009, 77.4% were “proficient” in reading, but now it is only 53.2%…  (Link)

In order to meet the enforced proficiency standards set by NCLB, schools lowered the bar on standards to a level where the target percentage of students would be proficient. So not only do the test encourage lying, but they encourage a lowering of standards.

Waiting for Stupid, Man

In the movie Waiting for Superman, charter schools based on the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) model are touted as out performing public schools. However, this model leaves children behind and thus their stats are gamed,

Taxpayer-funded KIPP schools, praised in the film “Waiting for Superman,” succeed in sending poor graduates to college because the lowest-performing students drop out or don’t enroll at all, a study found.

KIPP academies have higher attrition rates than traditional public schools and enroll fewer students with disabilities and limited English skills, according to the study released today by Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York. KIPP oversees a network of 99 charter schools, publicly funded institutions operated by outside organizations, and enrolls more than 27,000 students in 20 states and the District of Columbia. (Link)

So, in order to perform well, they slough off or reject the lower performing children. All schools would perform better if they could just get rid of the castoffs. Instead of spending money helping the top students, why not work to make all schools better for all students?

Cities are also Manipulating the School Data (lying)

Obama’s Phony Memphis Miracle

Booker T. Washington school in Memphis, TN won praise from the President for raising graduation rates in 2010. This miracle was achieved by dramatically lowering school enrollment and not counting students who dropped out the year before.

Then the ‘miracle’ year of 2010, the ‘cohort dropout’ was back to 24.3% which, though lower than it had been in the previous two years was still slightly higher than it had been in 2007. But when you look at the ‘graduation rate’ for 2010 you get the often quoted, and the reason for the special guest speaker, 81.6%.

The question is, how could a school with a 24% dropout rate and a 55% graduation rate have an 85% graduation rate three years later? The answer is attrition of failing students.

The school enrollment was 760 in 2007, 732 in 2008, 649 in 2009, and then in the ‘miracle’ year 2010, down to 566. So the school had lost nearly 25% of its students in that time period, which is also the exact percent that the graduation rate climbed by.

It is this kind of misleading data that is being used to give bonuses and close schools and fire teachers. It is no wonder schools are dropping the non-performing students and manipulating their testing data.

If you get rid of those in danger of dropping out, you end up with a lower drop out rate and higher graduation rate. High stakes testing leads to lying and does nothing to improve the schools that they are targeting.

Corporate Education Supporters Get the Help of Lying Statistics

A data entry clerk in the Seattle schools entered a curiously low number of high schools graduates going on to college, 17 percent.

 Turns out the true number is much higher — 46 percent. Not ideal either, but a far cry from 17… The damningly low 17 percent number was publicized and repeated by SPS these past two years and used to justify Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson’s “Strategic Plan,” and the onslaught of controversial (and unwanted) ed reforms she has since imposed on the district…

That number coincided with the announcement of Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson’s “Strategic Plan” that called for more charter schools and increased testing. Her plan was deemed too expensive, and the Superintendent has subsequently been fired. Again, a local school district, as they did in D.C., recognized bad leadership and fired the head of the schools. Perhaps this is why people in favor of high states testing love the top down federal government approach.

States are starting to Reject High Stakes Testing

Montana rejects high stakes testing entirely.

Moreover, newly reelected Governor California Jerry Brown has suspended the California high stakes testing model and is calling for more local control. In this, he sounds very much like a traditional, non Tea Party, Republican. https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/4130/

Actions and Links

Join the Bartleby project and reject high stakes testing.

Arnie Duncie, Secretary of Education, promotes more Race to the Top competition grants and U.S. Secretary of Health and Humans Services blames the children. I don’t this is an improvement from blaming teachers.

Fake Harlem Miracle

Rhee lied

Evidence of the Student’s First President’s lies:

Rhee ignore the reality of neighborhoods in DC

Teachers take a stand against Florida’s testing grading and bonuses by returning money

DC lies about advancements

Rhee defends Erasures

The Hoxby hoax and the false data supporting charter schools

Same kids, same lies

Visit your local school board today and ask them to stop the testing madness.

Tex Shelters

Obama Shows his Hatred of Israel by Admitting Palestinians are Human

In Current Events, World Affairs on May 28, 2011 at 02:09

Note: I wasn’t planning on writing about Obama’s speech and the Israel/Palestine conflict. However, the reactionary comments regarding Obama as an “enemy of Israel” by otherwise intelligent Jewish friends has motivated me to set the record straight on Obama’s speech.

From Obama’s Mideast speech: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/144336

“Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums.”

Committing to Israel must be Obama’s hatred against Israel that people are talking about.

“Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.”

Mentioning Palestine, homeland, and people in the same sentence shows hatred of Israel Obama was showing, right?

“So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, a secure Israel.”

How Dare Obama hate Israel by stating their need to be secure!

What is it that drives so many seemingly reasonable people to become irrational when you mention Israel and ANY peace plan? I don’t even get this riled up when you say, “Teachers are to blame for our failing schools.”

Talking about Israel and the Palestine/Israeli conflict with some Jewish people is like talking about god to an evangelical that is trying to convert you. No amount of facts will get in the way of their opinions, and non-Jews “will never understand.”

Here’s the line that drives extreme Zionists crazy, “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu focused on that sentence as a way to say, “Peace will never happen”. The 1967 border is, in fact, a false issue. If you look at the 1967 borders and the current borders, they are almost the same:

Israeli Border--1967

Modern Israeli Border

The pale blue is Israel, and as you see, the borders are almost the same today as they were in 1967 (left). If Israel was indefensible then as Netanyahu proclaimed, http://smpalestine.com/2011/05/19/netanyahus-response-to-obamas-speech-reveals-israels-unconditional-defiance-of-international-law/  then it is now. The difference is that today Israel has the most modern and best-trained army in the region and it wasn’t so well equipped in 1967. And Obama said nothing about going back to 1967 technology, did he?

“Slew Of House Republicans Falsely Claim President Obama Called For Israel To Return To “1967 Borders”.” http://politicalcorrection.org/factcheck/201105260003

But Obama never called for a return to those borders. He suggested that as a starting point and clearly stated that the negotiations were to be between Israelis and Palestinians. Again, look at the map. The Israeli borders are almost the same today as they were in 1967.

Historical Israeli Maps English

For all the reactionary Zionists and right-wing fundamentalists, listen to the actual pro-Israeli statements in Obama’s speech and relax.

Clearly, Netanyahu wants no peace. And there are Arab governments, namely Iran, that don’t want to see a peace between Israelis and Palestinians either. If nothing else, pissing off Iran and other Muslim nationalists in the region should move Israel to peace talks. Furthermore, I am sure there are multinational arms dealers selling weapons to Israel and Muslim jihadists that will suffer greatly if peace breaks out in Israel and Palestine.

Not all Jewish people are as militant as the leaders of Israel are. In fact, many want peace and are willing to work for it.

Jewish Voice for Peace

Tex Shelters

Stop the Socialist FEMA Takeover of the Midwest

In Current Events, Humor on May 25, 2011 at 20:27

News Item:

Tornado kills at least 89, leaves ‘total devastation’ in Missouri town

In Joplin, Mo., damage is widespread. Severe weather hits other parts of the Midwest, including Minneapolis, where one person is killed.

A man carries a young boy who was rescued after being trapped in his home (Mike Gullett, Associated Press) http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/23/nation/la-na-tornadoes-20110523

Over one hundred people have died in a rash of tornadoes that have ravaged the Midwest, and Obama wants to use this tragedy to promote his socialist agenda. The President wants to use his nanny state powers to swoop in and help people of Missouri and the region. This is the kind of socialism that the state’s legislature has recently rejected,

4 Missouri Senators reject further prostitution by the Federal government.

Last week we had four State Senators stand up to the political machine, the federal government and the Democratic Governor in our state, filibustering a bill giving Missouri stimulus funds the government doesn’t have that would have extended unemployment benefits from 79 weeks (a YEAR AND A HALF) up to 99 weeks. (5 weeks short of TWO YEARS). The media in our state has portrayed this move as cruelty to the unemployed. Unfortunately they are not reporting the whole story.” (link)

Yes, the state legislature refuses aid for the unemployed caught under the dual tornado of joblessness and state cuts, and they should stick to their guns, and pull them out of their holsters, to refuse socialist FEMA funds to help those affected by the recent tornadoes.

Obama is using this tragedy to start his FEMA military camps http://www.freedomfiles.org/war/fema.htm in the heartland,

“FEMA was never before a militant organization but, was created and then used to address helping people in times of disasters.  No more.  From Obama’s own mouth, it will now be used to fight some strange and dark Obama war.  And why were FEMA camps across the country recently refurbished and military Ads placed for people to guard whomever is going to be placed in them?  Again, Obama is at war against whom?”

To see more on “FEMA camps” go here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7763

The current role of the Republican Party is to decry government projects, all government (especially federal) institutions, and all spending by the government that is targeted toward average people other than local police and national military efforts. Their efforts target unemployment insuranceattack the Department of Education, target family planning and health care for women and all people, and recently have gone after Medicaid.

Will they stick to their ideology and refuse socialist FEMA funding? Or, will they realize that the government sometimes does some things well, and even if not perfect, we all need help that is beyond our means at times.

Here’s to hoping that Missouri Republicans refuse FEMA relief aid in a continuing show of disdain for the public good. After all, they have promise to refuse “as many federal funds as they can.” (link) That will show the socialist Democratic Governor Jay Nixon who’s in charge.

Tex Shelters

Gaddafi is a Free Mason, Obama is Irish, and Progressives want Peace and Jobs for Everyone

In Current Events, Election Politics, Humor on May 23, 2011 at 20:42

We all see things through our own lens of perception, and current events are tinted not only by those that present the news, but those that perceive the news. So without further ado, I present current events in the mind’s eye of Republicans (R), Progressives (P) and conspiracy theorists (CT). Note: I am a progressive that agrees more with the conspiracy theorists on issues than I agree with Republicans. And I am a conspiracy theorist skeptic.

Issue: Obama’s recent trip to Ireland


R: Obama is really not a U.S. citizen, he’s an Irish National, and this trip proves it. Also, Obama’s great, great, great grandfather was a member of the IRA and Obama is promising more funds for the terrorist group because Obama, if not Muslim, is a Catholic terrorist.

P: If I was the President and could use my ancestors to visit the Irish countryside, I would too.

CT: His great, great, great grandfather was a member of the powerful Irish Illuminati Mason member of the Bilderberg group and Obama got elected President through the command of his dead ancestor’s dying decree.

Issue: Oil Prices are going up!


R: Why isn’t Obama doing anything about oil prices?

P: Oil prices are rising because of increased demand and the wars in the Middle East have reduced the world’s supply of oil.

CI: The Bilderberg Group controls oil prices. They are raising the prices to control third world nations and keep them down.

Issue: A recent drop in gas prices (as of 5/8/11). 


R: It is the Bush energy policy of offshore drilling and deregulation that has brought a drop in oil prices.

P:  People are consuming less oil, so the price has momentarily dropped.

CI: The Bilderberg Group controls oil prices. They are keeping prices down to protect their industries’ profits.

Issue: Death of Osama Bin Laden

R: Thank God George Bush started that war in Afghanistan; otherwise, we would have never killed Bin Laden.

P: Can we leave Afghanistan now?

CT: The Illuminati put him in his position of power, and they took him out. Beside, he died earlier and the NWO thought that this was the best time to bring out his showcase death.

Issue: Unemployment

R: We must cut government spending and government jobs to increase employment.

P: More jobs programs and infrastructure development funded by military cuts, the end to the two costly wars and a tax rate that makes wealthy individuals and corporations pay their share is the best way to address unemployment.

CI: The NWO runs the banks and they like it when people are unemployed. “They (the NWO, Illuminati, Rothschilds, Masons) now want to change strategy and create a mainstream “lower class” which will include most people; a preparation for the upcoming One World Government where the average citizen may be allowed to have a job, but is no more than a “lower class slave” with low pay… until it all levels out and becomes the cornerstone of the future Global Socialist State.” (link)

While I generally agree that the elite want to control employment and keep down the masses, they lose me when they say, “As a matter of fact, the Illuminati created Sweden as an experiment in mind control, together with Canada, which is Sweden’s sister country in this project.” (ibid) Furthermore, the many NWO conspiracy groups are very anti-socialist, but they speak of employment as Marx might have.

Issue: Global Warming

R: Burn baby, burn. 

P: It may be too late, but it is our duty to try to reduce our impact on the planet.

CT: Some in the NWO group say that global warming theory is being used as birth control against the planet’s people. Some say it is a psyop used to brainwash us. Some say global warming theory is being used to enslave us.

I think global warming is a theory being used to track, trace and expose all conspiracy theorists through their writings on global warming and visits to chat groups that discuss global warming.

Issue: The Bombing of Libya

R: Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Liby…what? That was Obama ordering the bombing of Libya? Then I am against it!

P: Bombing isn’t the answer and won’t end the conflict.

CT: Gaddafi is a Free Mason and that is why he hasn’t been killed yet.

So whether you blame Obama or the NWO for our problems, I invite you to support progressive, humanist solutions.

End the wars now!
Veterans agree:
Barbara Lee agrees:
The Nation agrees:

Tex Shelters

Republicans are Losing Their Best and Their Brightest by Tex Shelters

In Current Events, Humor on May 17, 2011 at 23:47

Huckabee and Nugent Wango Tango from http://thedailydeets.com/archives/47449

Republicans are losing their best people in droves as we head toward the 2012 presidential race faster than a Sarah Palin tweet become irrelevant. And I am not talking about women, Latinos and Blacks.  Those minorities will never be American enough to be true Republicans. And remember I said, “The Best and Brightest.”

No, I am talking about Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump who have decided to put their own financial interest above America. I salute their decisions, but it is a loss to the Republican cause. Who now with step forward with the twin flags of evangelicalism and hypocritical free market, anti-government talking points. Who will stand against the facts about Obama’s birth certificate in a time of crisis in America? Who will fight for the facts of creationism, the facts that make this nation great, over the liberal dogma of science in the classroom?

Donald Trump is a stunning loss. Who thought that The Donald would drop out when he still had work to do fabricating issues from the flotsam of previous failed billionaire bids for the White House?  In his concession speech, he said that, “”Business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.””  He also made the unfalsifiable claim that he could win the Republican primary and the White House, if he wanted to.

Trump could see that all the attention he was getting for making up factoids was damaging his clean cut image as a paragon of virtue, so he had to drop out.

Other reasons Trump dropped out include:

His hair has a higher Q rating.

His slogan “You’re fired” didn’t test well.

Oprah wouldn’t interview him on her show.

America’s sweetheart Rachel Maddow didn’t give him enough attention.

Donors were afraid that giving money to him was a big gamble.

Trump has spent less than fourteen years in the United States having spent the rest on Mars.

Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin know more about American history and the Constitution than him.

Not to be outdone, former Arkansas Governor and current Baptist Minister and radio show host Mike Huckabee also says he could have won the nomination. However, God told him not to run. As Huckabee pointed out, “All the factors say go, but my heart says no”, and “Being president is a job that takes one to the limit of his or her human capacity. For me, to do it apart from the inner confidence that I was undertaking it without God’s full blessing is simply unthinkable.” (link) 

So, just like Trump relied on his own God, Trump, to make the decision for him, Huckabee relied on his God for he can’t think with the assist form Yahweh.

Other than his calling from God to continue making money from his television show and thus not run for President, Huckabee’s reasons for not running for President include:

The possibility that Huckabee could tour with Ted Nugent on his evangelical “Pussys Purring for God” tour.

Huckabee wants to spend more time reinventing history with sound bites for kids. http://learnourhistory.com/ on Youtube

He wants to spend more time idolizing Reagan.

Huckabee wants to spend more time exploring same sex marriage and how it will ruin America.

Huckabee dropped out because they refused to change the title of President to “Baptist in Chief”.

He is organizing “month of prayer” events to pray for an end to abortions.

Other notables who have dropped out of the race before starting include Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, South Dakota Sen. John Thune and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence.

Barbour dropped out because Mississippi wouldn’t support a commemorative license plate to Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, Confederate General and early KKK Grand Wizard. How dare the racist left prevent the commemoration of a Grand Wizard. I would drop out too.

John Thune will be dedicating himself to learning English, which he hopes one day will become the official language of the United States.

Mike Pence is going to stay in Indiana and run for Governor where he can easily refuse federal funds and not burden taxpayers using Air Force 1 like Comrade Obama does. (link)

I don’t know what we are going to do without these paragons of Americanism. All we can do is hope that Bachmann and Palin jump into the race. Really, how excited can anyone get over writing Mitt Romney jokes?

Tex Shelters

Dudes, Where’s Our Jobs?

In Current Events, Economics on May 7, 2011 at 23:37

Excerpt: Republicans efforts to block the Democratic agenda since Obama’s election have severally curtailed job creation, and Democrats are loathe to take the effort far enough to affect the job’s deficit in the United States.

They killed Osama Bin Laden. So where are the jobs? Republicans regained control of the House for the umpteenth time. Where are the jobs? According to The Donald, he forced Obama to release his birth certificate. How many jobs did The Donald create? Arizona and Utah passed bills designating a state gun, but the conservative legislatures in these states could not think of a way to create jobs. However, they did give out tax cuts to corporations while they prayed to God that jobs fall from the sky. Republicans thought of ways to sneak anti-choice legislation through the House, which certainly was a good way to spend their time since at least 20 million Americans are unemployed. Conan O’Brian got his own late night television show recently. At least one person got a job.

So, where are the jobs? Where are the green jobs that were going to appear with the passage of stimulus money? Where are the manufacturing jobs? Where are the new-science jobs? Where are the jobs that businesses are supposed to be producing with their tax cuts? If tax cuts create jobs, as Republican prevaricators say, then we should be rife with jobs opportunities.

Obama and the Democratic Congress spent much of 2009 trying to tackle the out of control health care costs and the health care crisis in the United States. What passed was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009.

In the first three months of that year 2 million jobs were lost while they fought over health care. Was the health care battle of 2009 really worth the political capital? A few of the provisions might help more people get access to health care by barring the pre-existing condition provisions used to keep insurance companies from taking risks on anyone but healthy patients. Could those provisions been passed without the insurance mandates that will do little to control health care and health insurance costs?

Hindsight is 20/20, right? What that saying ignores is that hindsight can give you foresight. We have the hindsight, if we take an honest look, to realize that the Bush tax cuts of 2003 did little to create jobs. Using the math of mainstream liberal, conservative and other economists, the $787 billion dollar stimulus of 2009 was too small to do anything but keep the economy on life support. There is a trillion dollar hole in the GDP, and progressive economist Joseph Stiglitz along with more conservative economist Martin Feldstein agrees that a new stimulus package two to three times as large as the 2009 package is needed to awaken the economy.

Economist Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. also supports a larger stimulus package, “The basic story is that the stimulus was too small, pure and simple. It would have been too small even if the Obama’s administration’s projections for the severity of the recession had proven accurate. However, since the downturn is considerably steeper than they had projected, the inadequacy of the stimulus is even greater.” Although Dean’s predictions of 11 percent unemployment have yet to come true, he clearly understood that the stimulus wouldn’t bring us anywhere near the target of 5% unemployment that is a standard gage of a healthy economy.
According to Robert Pollin & Heidi Garrett-Peltier, there are three areas one must consider when looking at the job creating effects of spending. (http://www.ips-dc.org/reports/071001-jobcreation.pdf )

1. Direct effects—the jobs created by producing the fighter bomber or school;

2. Indirect effects—the jobs associated with industries that supply intermediate goods for building a fighter bomber, school, or any other direct spending target. These would include the steel, glass, tire, and electronic industries for building an airplane; and concrete, glass, and trucking industries for building a school.

3. Induced effects—The expansion of employment that results when people who are paid to build a fighter bomber or school spend the money they have earned on other products in the economy.

In summary, the effects of stimulus spending in jobs to the economy include reducing unemployment and increasing the tax base, increased spending and stimulus to producers of the products needed for a given project, and increased spending by those employed in the projects. Republicans want to eliminate this stimulus and Democrats are unwilling to take a chance that the temporary increase in the deficit from stimulus spending will hurt their chances for reelection.

By the time politicians see the stagnant job growth, it might be too late to save their jobs. Be advised that this is not a grade of President Obama, Republicans, or Democrats, but the federal and state governments together and their unfortunate spending and legislative priorities that have failed to affect the jobs’ crisis.

Job Stimulus Report Card

Infrastructure                        Grade: C-

The American Society of Civil Engineers has graded our infrastructure a D. The areas include roads, bridges, aviation, dams, energy and so forth.   Solid waste received the highest grade at a C+. Several areas receive a D, including schools and transit, both areas vital to our growth and well being.

Some jobs were created, and some projects have done some good. However, it is not nearly enough to stimulate externalities (indirect and induced effects) and boost consumer spending and tax revenues. “About 27,800 jobs will be created for every $1 billion in federal highway construction spending under the stimulus package, said chief Department of Transportation economist Jack Wells. Roughly half of those jobs would be “induced” jobs, those “generated when highway construction workers respend their income on consumer goods and services — like lunch at McDonald’s or going to the movies or buying new clothes,” said Wells.” (link)  One problem with freeway and bridge construction is that these jobs are not sustainable. Once the project is done, the job is gone. Afterwards, at least we are left with better roads and bridges and better water in a few places. (link) It’s a start, and we need more.

One way to guarantee sustainable jobs through infrastructure is to have ongoing maintenance of bridges, dams, and levees such as those that collapse during hurricane Katrina that cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars in damage. Unfortunately, we are a pay later society, and lack of upkeep of our infrastructure costs us jobs and security and more money in the long term.

Transportation                        C

According to the New York Times, over $48 billion of stimulus money is set for transportation projects in the United States. A large portion, $9.3 billion is for rail transportation. That is the pool of money that Governor Walker refused then later tried to accept because he suddenly realized the demand for improvements in the Milwaukee-Chicago rail line and that improvements would save the state money. (link)

The rejection of this money led directly to the closure of a factory in Wisconsin that makes rail cars. Great work Governor Walker, letting your Randian ideology get in the way of job creation. Like many stimulus areas, Republican ideology against government spending has decreased the possible impact of the stimulus. Florida’s Governor Rick Scott as has Ohio Governor John Kasich have also rejected stimulus money for rail projects. So, much of the poor grade on this, like other stimulus areas, can be laid directly at the feet of Republican governors and legislators.

Obama should stick to giving money to states like California and New York, where they need and will gladly accept the funds. The White House should also give the money to only those states that have projects in the works and ask for the funds.

Green Jobs                        D

Too little money was put into green energy and thus too few jobs were created. The death of the Cap and Trade energy bill also diminished the number of green jobs created. In 2009, the President “committed to creating 5 million green jobs as part of his energy platform.” (link) “Two years later, the answer to that second question appears to be no. Obama’s environmental agenda is in tatters. His green jobs plan has done little to make a dent in unemployment, which persists at close to 10 percent. Obama’s signature environmental initiative, cap-and-trade, died in the Senate in July. And, during the first year of Obama’s tenure, China massively outspent the United States on clean-energy technology.” (link)

Short term projects are too small to make a dent in unemployment and the long terms projects were too speculative and have yet to get off the ground. Poor math, poor planning, and exaggerated expectations doomed the 5 million green job promise.

State by state run down on green jobs projects: http://www.greenjobs.net/

Education                        C-

Some of the stimulus money went directly to states for colleges and schools and help save teachers’ jobs, but money spent on high stakes testing and Obama’s Race to the Top is wasted. More money needs to be spent on buildings and books and protecting teachers’ jobs. There is too much focus on competition and not enough focus on sustainably good schools. (link) Furthermore, states are cutting budgets and cutting education funds at an alarming rate and the stimulus money in education, besides being wasted on Race to the Top, won’t make up for the loss in education funds on a state level.

Overall                                    D

Republicans are on a crusade to cut spending in areas that will cost us jobs at a time with over 9% official unemployment and at least 16% real unemployment. “The Labor Department’s statistics don’t include…those who have stopped looking for work. This alternative measure creates a much higher number.” The real unemployment rate includes the long term unemployed who no longer receive benefits and those who have given up and is 16-20%, depending on how it is counted. (link)

As Paul Krugman makes clear, the real problems with the economy are not the deficit, nor inflation, nor the devaluation of the dollar, but the ongoing lack of jobs.

The government takes our money; it would be nice if some of it was used for job creation instead of wars and tax cuts for the rich.

Unemployment applications up

One place work is needed is infrastructure

Tex Shelters

Kill the Poor, and other Republican Plans

In Current Events, Economics on May 4, 2011 at 21:17

Breadlines 1932 and 2008 from http://www.stanthonysf.org/blog/tag/breadline/

Power groups in society often mock the lower classes and minorities to keep them at a distance and to justify their superior social and economic status. Blacks, Latinos, and Asians (and others) have been called various names to contrast them from the self-aggrandized white races. Poor people are called lazy welfare queens, unmotivated cheats, and a drag on society. Recently, Republicans have felt more comfortable to openly express these views.

One current example comes from Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kerns, who says that minorities earn less because they don’t work as hard.  “We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school? I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.” (link)

That stereotype is completely untrue of course and ignores the reality of what it means to be poor and a minority in our society. Republicans make statements about the lazy poor to defend their alliance with corporations and the wealthy in society and to justify their policies against the poor such as cuts to education, heath care, and the social safety net in general. Republicans also denigrate the poor to create a wedge between the middling classes and the lower rung of society. If Congress, wealthy allies of the wealthy, can successfully lay the blame for the recent collapsing economy on the poor, then they win the debate. The strategy is to salute industry and capital while ignoring its responsibility for the loss of jobs and financial collapse while blaming the poor for being poor.

One way Blacks can get wealthy, or at least fit in, is by agreeing with the White power structure, like Dr. Williams does,

Dr. Walter E. Williams, a black man and economist, agrees. He says, “If you’re a poor adult in America, for the most part, it’s all your fault. That’s true, at least today, whether you’re black, white, brown or polka dot.” He adds,

Let’s look at poverty in female-headed households. Divorce and death of the father might explain a small part of why there’re so many female-headed households. But the bulk of it is explained by people having children and not getting married in the first place. For the most part, female-headed households are the result of short-sighted, self-destructive behavior of one or two people.

According to an NPR/Kaiser/Kennedy School Poll, the leading cause of poverty identified by both the poor (75 percent) and non-poor (65 percent) was drug abuse. Again, it’s not like you’re walking down the street and you’re struck with drug addiction; to use drugs is a conscious decision. Drug-users tend not to be very productive. They drop out of school, abandon their families, have scrapes with the law and don’t hold down jobs. Would anybody be surprised that poverty is one result of drug usage? (Williams)

What Dr. Williams is saying is that it’s your fault if you’re poor because you’re probably a slutty single mother or a drug addict. The rich like me are able to buy access and have laws passed to make us richer by taking money from you. Why don’t you buy influence from your own Congressman? From the Book, “A Patriot’s Guide to Right-Wing Thinking” by Tex Shelters

So, people think that the poor are poor because of drug abuse and that makes it true. If a majority of Republicans polled think Obama is Kenyan, does that make it true?

What’s better proof that there is no economic redlining or discrimination than having a minority agree with the paradigm laid out by the economic elite in society? And besides, Dr. Williams has his, and we have a Black president (though mixed race), so there is no discrimination left in society. Right?

The subprime mortgage crisis was a moment of truth for the high priests of the free market such as Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand. Blaming banks and bankers for creating unsecure loans and risky investments that collapsed is too much for the free marketeers to bear. The bankers and captains of industry were loath to admit blame in the economic crisis. Therefore, they worked with their Congressional and media allies to lay the blame for bad housing investments on the lower class homebuyers and ignore the clear reality that banks created the rules that allowed and encouraged these subprime loans in order to improve their bottom line. Why make paltry millions of the housing market when with a change of few rules you can make billions? The risky loans were of no consequence, for Uncle Sammy would bail out the moneylenders if anything went wrong.

The impetus for a big subprime market came from within the private sector, not from the poor: “innovation” by giant mortgage lenders like Countrywide, Ameriquest, and many others, backed by the big investment banks. And, to be blunt, it was some of Wall Street’s biggest players, not overleveraged homeowners, who received generous government bailouts in the aftermath of the crisis. (link)

In 2008, Republicans were trying to lay the blame of the housing crisis on Latinos and Blacks. They said that the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) that encouraged loans to inner city minorities was to blame for the housing market’s collapse. However, the CRA was involved in a tiny portion of the housing market, and the loans were for low cost housing that would have a much smaller impact on the market if they went into foreclosure. The CRA only makes loans available to low income minorities and others who qualify. The CRA does not require loans to be made at all. Furthermore, the CRA loans have a lower default rate than subprime loans as a whole.

How could the Blacks and Latinos involved with the CRA, with a net income perhaps equal to one member of the Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club owning Walton family, have such a great impact on our economy? They can’t, but they are convenient scapegoats for the right-wing defenders of income inequality in America.

Blaming the CRA for the housing crisis is another case of Republicans blaming programs to aid low-income citizens for our economic crisis. The current crisis was created on Wall Street and in major banks, not by the working poor of the United States. Read Nomi Prins book “It Takes a Pillage” for a more thorough description of the financial industry’s responsibility for the current housing and financial crisis.

After decades of “blame the poor” messages, the Republicans are now going directly after Medicaid, Social Security, and other programs set up during the New Deal. Ronald Reagan used the fact-challenged phrase “Cadillac-driving welfare queens” in his presidential campaign as a way to discredit programs for the poor and Social Security. (link)

Republicans are now demanding that we balance the budget on the backs of the poor while they try to sneak in further tax cuts for the wealthy. For more, see Paul Ryan’s Republican budget, then compare it to the fiscally sound People’s Budget. (link)

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer compared helping the poor to helping feed stray animals that continually breed. Also, Colorado state legislator Spencer Swalm said that poor people in single parent homes are dysfunctional. (link)

All this divisiveness seems to work when times are hard (and in general), and Republicans are banking on it. In 2007, 69 percent of Americans thought that the poor rely too heavily on government programs, and in 2009, it was 72 percent according to a Pew Research poll. (link) My question is, how many poor people were polled for this study about how the poor rely too heavily on government spending? The oil industry, the mining industry, pharmaceutical firms, and especially the U.S. agriculture industries depended on U.S. grants in land, subsidies, R & D money and protective tariffs for their companies. But somehow, poor people who need help surviving are the big welfare queens. (link)

The problem is that people don’t understand, or ignore, the causes of poverty, “People ignore the structural issues — jobs leaving, industry becoming more mechanized,” said Yale sociologist Elijah Anderson, renowned for his study of the Philadelphia poor. “Then they point to the poor and ask, ‘Why aren’t you making it?’ “ (link)

And when you don’t understand the causes of poverty, it’s easy to blame the poor themselves for their economic situation. Inevitably, the question arises about drug addicts, and how they to blame for their poverty. However, there is no causal link between drug addiction and poverty. Some say it is actually poverty leads to drug addiction. (link)

The evidence showing causality between drug use and poverty is either weak or non-existent. One can see a correlation between poverty and drug use, but that does not prove causality. There is also a question of compassion for those less well off. However, Republicans side more with Ayn Rand, who despised government handouts, than they do with Jesus Christ, who sided with the poor as the gospels tell us.

For many in the United States, attitudes toward the poor range from hatred to misunderstanding. And, poverty hits minority communities the hardest. Even though African Americans are about ten percent and Latinos are about seventeen percent of the population, “Twenty-five percent of African Americans, 23 percent of Latinos and 9 percent of whites live in poverty. Overall, 13 percent of the U.S. population is poor.”   (link) Does this mean that Blacks and Latinos are just less fit, as many Republicans might want you to believe? Are Whites just more capable and thus a smaller proportion is poor? Only racists and Republicans believe this.

We have a deficit that is growing too large to sustain. Republicans have decided that this is the moment to take advantage of this crisis and cut education, job training, head start, Medicaid, and other programs that invest in workers and people. Their hypocrisy shines through when at a time of deficits they decide to put tax cuts for their wealthy donors in Ryan’s Republican budget and state budgets around the nation while cutting programs for everyone else. Arizona cut corporate taxes, the Ohio budget proposes the same, as does the budget in Michigan and nine other Republican controlled states. (link) In the meantime, two-thirds of all U.S. corporations pay no federal taxes. If the deficits are so dire, one wonders why they would cut corporate taxes in the states and continue the corporate federal tax loopholes that serve to raise the debt further.

Republicans blame the poor and plan to make the poor and other non-rich people in society pay for the mistakes of the financial markets and banks while their millionaire and billionaire friends continue to get a free ride.

Is this really the kind of nation we want to live in?

U.S. Uncut

Blame the poor while taking their money

Even in India, they blame the poor

Tex Shelters

I Survived Mexicans at the May Day Rally

In Current Events, Human Rights and the Constitution, Humor on May 1, 2011 at 21:22

Mexican Americans scaring us by fighting for their rights on May Day from http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x8253293

Dear Real Americans:

I survived a horrifying experience this weekend. I was trying to hire some labor down on the Southside to clean out the septic tanks at my various properties in the county, and I landed smack dab into the May Day rally. I’m not talking about young girls in Easter dresses dancing around a May pole, no sirree. I’m talking about a group of marching illegals coming up the avenue with signs supporting rights and what not. They were interfering with my free enterprise creating jobs and such for their people. Can’t they see how their actions of unity hurts America?

How do I know they were illegals? The signs promoted “Derechos Humanos” and other foreign ideas in their foreign language. They also chanted scary things in Mezkin like “El Puerquo, You Need Those, Ham and a Vegetable” (1), and “Obama, excuse us, it is in la Lunch. (2)” I don’t understand what kind of lunch they were demanding, but I was ready to take them all to Taco Bell for real Mexican cuisine if they came after me.

I can’t tell you whether there were any dyed in the wool, true blue Americans there, cause all I could focus on was the dark skinned folks. I knew they were up to no good cause they were chanting, and singing and drumming and dancing and showing a signs of unity that the Koch brothers pay for at the Tea Party rallies (link). I wonder what left wing communist organization was paying these Mezkins to threaten us. I bet the Taliban are behind it.

I made the mistake of getting out of my Chevy and got swept up in the crowd and ended up at their rallying point, a kind of illegal immigrant Nuremberg. I had to plug my ears as I heard things in perfect English (obviously due to their Taliban training) as they shouted things like “education for everyone”, “defend ethnic studies”, and “working together.”  They even stole from the Tea Party phrase book and talked about “defending our culture.” I felt the apocalypse flow over me like nuclear radiation in a tsunami.

As I stumbled out of the “kill the gringo rally” in a daze, only a few radical liberals brain washed by their God Obama, noticed me. They pushed their petitions at me to support ethnic studies, impeach Jan Brewer, or to take their “Save the Teachers” buttons. I knew that God was testing me, and only God’s hatred of illegals propelled me to find my car.

Luckily, I knew of a camp of homeless people where I could get people to work for me cleaning out my sewage. I am a businessman, and I had to create jobs for America.

The chants actually say:
1. “El Pueblo Unido, Jamas’ Sera’ Vencido” (The people united with never be defeated) and
2. “Escucha Obama, Estamos en la Lucha” (Listen Obama, we are in the fight)
but Tex doesn’t know any better.

Tex Shelters