Of Late, Belatedly. And What-Not.
March 8, 2011 1 Comment
Governors Behaving Badly
Is it worse to be John Kasich (R), governor of Ohio, repeatedly calling policemen “idiots” (“But, Governor Kasich, um, sir, that mic is live. What do you mean ‘don’t interrupt me in the middle of my speech?’” Pity the aide.) or worse to strip policemen of their bargaining rights while repeatedly calling them “idiots?” But no worries, mate, I’m sure that terse apology of yours totally made up for any offense you hoped wouldn’t be taken but might have been anyway.
Is it worse to be Mitch Daniels (R), governor of Indiana, eviscerating education funding and irritating public school teachers eight ways from Sunday for your entire second term, calling them the “privileged elite” on at least two different public broadcasting shows (and, really, mix it up a bit: “the spoiled Cadillac perpetual welfare teachers” or “extravagantly hedonistic public employees of luxury”), and to be caught getting aggressive with teachers and sign-holding students in front of eyewitnesses? Or is it worse to be very publicly contemplating a presidential bid at the same time? (Again, pity the aide. And the campaign manager. And the publicist. All of whom surely have pointed out that teachers vote, too.)
Or, is it just worse to be Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker?
And Manticores. Don’t Forget a Bill About Manticores. We Don’t Like Them, Either.
Currently there are thirteen (13!) states moving to ban sharia law.
Because that’s a real threat. In America. Right now.
One presumes this is absolutely the most productive use of taxpayer time, this whole legislating against not even a possibility ever, just not gonna happen, non-threat thing. And happily for everyone, there are lots—nay, oodles—of fantasy-world not-actual-threats and basically disliked on principle, and/or unconstitutional things to ban next. Let your imaginations be your guide and only limits. Or your irrational fears. Whichever.
‘Cause “Separation of Powers” Isn’t Really Explicitly Stated
A month or so ago it was reported that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had agreed to teach constitutional seminars to Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) Tea Party Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives. How nice, one might think, to see such amicable cooperation between the judicial and legislative branches of the government of the United States of America.
Only. It’s a study group with only one segment of the House. And it’s closed to the press.
And there’s that whole separation of powers/checks and balances thing. Does that still work correctly when we’re having bible study secret and exclusive Constitutional education sessions with one highly-politicized subset of the House and one not-supposed-to-be-politicized sitting member of the Court?
More problematic, how does the hierarchy implicit to a teacher-student relationship translate to this situation? In theory, the branches are coeval. But in this particular, one branch is presumed to be the master, and the other branch is presumed to be the horse. That can’t be good for equity. It sort of seems like it mightn’t square really well with the Constitution (not that I’ve been to a Seminar With Scalia) or the Federalist Papers or the basic American practice developed over the past couple centuries, either.
So. Who is this going to be good for?
Miss (And Four Misters) Quotation
“Today, all of you, feel free to make yourselves at home. For those of you with a particular interest in the next election, I don’t mean that literally.” President Obama, welcoming governors to the White House
“It’s the people who believe in government who should be angriest and most insistent on taking action when it fails to work…” Ezra Klein
“Students in Estonia and Poland perform at roughly the same level as those in the U.S., even though Estonia and Poland spend less than half as much per student.” Arne Duncan
“The beautiful is as useful as the useful, perhaps more so.” Victor Hugo
“Oh stinging comment on my past / That all my past results in ‘if’“ Christina Rossetti
33- OECD countries the U.S. outspends on education, per pupil. Of the 34 OECD countries, only Luxembourg spends more. (Newsweek; U.S. Department of Education)
46- Capital punishment executions carried out in the U.S. in 2010. 112 capital punishment sentences meted out in 2010. (Death Penalty Information Center, Huffington Post)
90- Guns for every 100 Americans. U.S has the most guns per capita, followed by Yemen (61/100), Finland (56/100), Switzerland (48/100), and Iraq (39/100). (Reuters)
172- Detainees remaining at Guantánamo Bay. (BBC)
170,000- Estimated number of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom veterans who are homeless. (American Public Media, NPR)