Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Archive for July 31st, 2007

Chief Justice John Roberts is OK!

Posted by Ryan on July 31, 2007

Chief Justice John Roberts was released from a Maine hospital after having a small seizure yesterday, cleared to go home after spending the night under medical observation.  At 52 years old, he’s the youngest member of the Supreme Court and so far looks like a real strict constructionist.  While on vacation, he fell from a dock as a result of a seizure and received minor cuts and bruises.  But, he’s apparently OK!

He had another small seizure back in 1993 but for 14 years showed no damage or evidence that it came from a stroke, heart attack, or anything else for that matter.  It’s something to watch, but apparently not serious.  I was a bit nervous about this, for sympathetic and political reasons.  He’s a national figure who may have been very ill because of this and a real friend to the Constitution whose presense on the Supreme Court could be felt for another two or three decades.  I’m glad he’s OK.

Pic from the Harvard 100 List.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »

Newt Slams Detroit Pubilc Schools

Posted by Ryan on July 31, 2007

On Newt Gingrich’s latest appearance on Fox News Sunday, the former House Speaker spoke about fundamental systemic change as a way to tackle and solve the many problems facing our government.  One point he made was about our failed public schools not being able to compete with private schools since we don’t give charter schools or vouchers a chance to work.  He blames unions primarily.  To illustrate an example of a failed school system, Newt cited Detroit’s horrible graduation rate and minority unemployment, among other things.

Thankfully, the Detroit Federation of Teachers responded:  “leave us alone.”  Talk about a 48% graduation rate with only 22% of incoming freshmen graduating on time and the mighty teacher union has nothing more to say than butt-out.  Classic.  They said nothing about why the graduation rate is so low, or why student performance is so bad, or about what they are doing to help.  Nothing, except the typical liberal “stop being so mean” attitude, that unfortunately recognizes but does not solve any problems.

I belong to a weak and pitiful teachers union and was even elected to a representative post in my building along with ten others last year.  At the districtwide meetings I learned an important lesson about unions:  they assume all their teachers are awesome (no teacher would ever get complacent, “retire into the profession”, be a coach who happens to teach during the day, or keep their job for lipstick money) , making actual student performance a secondary issue next to the “greedy” parents who don’t want to have their property taxes raised for the good of the union. 

In essence, I noticed that they care less about the kid’s issues and more about the union itself.  The meetings were more about sticking to mindless parliamentary procedure and little pet projects the latest union stooge was suckered into, than to substantive issues about giving the Board and parents a reason to hike our benefits and pay through improving student performance.  We have a great school district with superb results, so why aren’t we the teachers getting paid for our results?  We’re nearly mid-range salary in our county, with far better AP passage rates and graduation rates than nearly all the public schools in the county. 

I ran for the representative position because we were having contract disputes and my colleagues drafted me because they thought I could help.  Not very surprisingly, the union lied straight faced to all its members when it inferred that the Board had broken off negotiations late in the game, when it was the union that actually did it!  All the while, they stirred every members like we were pawns in the union’s petty games.  I did not run again for next year, being completely disgusted with my union.  So I am not shocked that the DFT decided to pick on the messenger and not the message:  typical m.o. for unions.  Alas, Newt’s point is made quite poignantly.

ps–I think the old Russian word for a worker’s union/council was… hmm… ah yes, “soviet!”

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments »