Saturday, June 22, 2002

Nothing but Bare Bones for the Students

Nothing but Bare Bones for the Students
Moscow parents can only hope that once the Moscow School District’s feeding frenzy is over, a few scraps can be found for the students to nibble on. And, the Moscow School District’s educrats and the teachers’ union had better hope that Moscow voters have a very short memory the next time they come, hat in hand, pleading for money for education.
It is not news that the student occupies the lowest position in the public school food chain. Long before a dime ever reaches a classroom, it must pass through a great many hands, each of which deducts a handling fee.
There is a huge gap in the way that parents and educators view priorities for public school expenditures. For that matter, there is a huge gap between what educators publicly proclaim as their highest priority and what their own deeds reveal about what is actually their highest priority.
The public education system is viewed by most parents as a program meant to nurture and serve the needs of growing minds - reading, writing, arithmetic and condoms. Oops, maybe it’s not actually the parents who want that last one. On the other hand, teachers and educrats tend to approach public education as primarily an income source for adults. Fully 85% of the Moscow School District’s budget went to pay salaries last year.
Last November, the Moscow School District placed a $1.9 million dollar levy before the voter. Moscow residents resoundingly defeated the levy, by a margin of roughly 3-1. Among other things, questions were raised about why Moscow needed ever more money to educate ever fewer students. Immediately after the election came the predictable cries that devastating budget cuts would harm the children. Dozens of teachers would be laid off, class sizes would swell, an elementary school would have to be closed. Without more money, the district might have to auction off the souls of first graders on eBay to pay for books. Chagrined, the past spring, Moscow’s voters relented and passed a less extravagant $1.1 million levy. Since then, the teachers’ union and the educrats have opened the silverware drawer to get out their finest cutlery and started feeding.
Naturally, administrators made sure that the choicest, prime cuts of meat would land on their plates. The Moscow School Board awarded its administrators two year contracts that will insulate them from job cuts should state funding, which is tied to enrollment, continues its slide.
This matters because Moscow’s state funding has been declining for years, along with enrollment. A staggeringly high percentage of Moscow’s school aged children are either home schooled or are enrolled in one of the fine private schools in the area. For example, from last year to this, public school enrollments dropped by 66 pupils. Nevertheless, as in previous years, the school district has tried to keep its payrolls at levels that once served far more students.
Now that administrators have filled their bellies, the teachers are demanding that they get a little fatter as well. Whereas just a few months ago, we were told that, even with the smaller levy, Moscow was facing an educational famine, today teachers are demanding an across the board raise. They’ve already convinced the school district to assist with health insurance premiums. Whatever happened to this poverty that the district was facing? And what became of all that heartfelt concern for the welfare of the pupils that was so evident between November and April?
I have always wondered why it is that, when there is less money to spend on kids because taxpayers vote to hang onto more of their hard earned money, that’s greed and selfishness on their part. But, when there is less money to spend on kids because teachers and educrats take more of the taxpayers’ money for themselves, why, what better use could be made of that money?
When the Moscow School District placed its levy before the voters last April, voters were told that the $1.1 million to be raised was needed to sustain a bare bones budget. But in truth, no matter how much money a school district is given, once the educrats and the teachers unions have taken their turns at the banquet table, bare bones is all that will ever reach the pupils.

Saturday, June 01, 2002

PETA Underwrites Terrorists

PETA Underwrites Terrorists
Would leftist organizations, such as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, be so careless if they were held to the same harsh standards as, oh, let’s say pharmaceutical companies? Pharmaceutical companies are routinely trashed by the self-anointed liberal know-it-alls for not giving their products away to impoverished nations. According to the left, this greedy selfishness results in literally millions of deaths annually.
Somehow, the left escapes similar condemnation for their contributions to the world’s misery. Not long ago, PETA raised billboards in college towns encouraging students to drink more beer. It seems to me that alcohol consumption already kills too many people, but not enough for PETA, it seems. In Florida, PETA thought it entirely within the bounds of good taste to make light of a shark attack upon a child. And, when it comes to the condition of the poor, PETA has thrown its support behind a domestic terrorist organization that employs violence to prevent the development and introduction of improved crops that would certainly help feed the poor.
This year, millions of people, in those impoverished nations that liberals claim to care so much about, will perish from starvation. The single, most obvious way to save them is to increase the food supply. But, among the greatest impediments to preventing these entirely avoidable deaths are the self-anointed guardians of the environment. These environmentalist wackos have taken it upon themselves to make the world safe from what they have chosen to call, “frankenfoods.”
One such group calls itself the Earth Liberation Front. The United States government had officially designated ELF as a terrorist organization. The ELF has decided that improved crop varieties are enemies of the planet they defend and that their introduction must be prevented. These goons have burned agricultural research facilities involved in plant breeding and transgenic hybridization. They have burned nurseries that distribute such plants. These biotechnologies hold great promise for increased crop yields and greater resistance to disease and insects. And all of this may be accomplished with less impact upon the environment than is required for the cultivation of conventional crops. Some of these transgenic foods, such as golden rice, are enriched with essential nutrients otherwise lacking in some traditional diets. Without these high biotech foods, people will die unnecessarily. And, the ELF resorts to terrorism to prevent their use.
Who could support such monstrous people? The aforementioned PETA does. And that means that the Hollywood left does too. And so do you, because PETA is a tax-exempt organization. That means that all the empty-headed Hollywood starlets who donate to PETA may write their contribution off their taxes.
Last year PETA donated $1500 to the terrorist Earth Liberation Front. The Earth Liberation Front, and its overlapping organization, the Animal Liberation Front, is responsible for numerous acts of arson and vandalism throughout the West, but especially in the Northwest.
The duplicitous high priestess of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk, has offered several explanations for the donation. First of all, she concocted the Hillary Clintonesque excuse that she had no memory of the donation. Then she said it was for “habitat protection.” Two days later, the money was given to promote vegetarianism. After another week, the check was, "to assist (former ELF spokesman Craig) Rosebraugh with legal expenses related to free-speech activities regarding animal protection issues." But IRS records prove that the check was written before Rosebraugh was arrested. According to PETA’s own IRS filings, the money was intended to, “support program activities.”
Well, since the ELF has only one activity, that being terrorism, then PETA would seem to have done some violence to itself for a change.
At least two legal scholars have concluded that PETA deserves to lose its tax-exempt status over that expenditure. That means that, should the IRS do its job, then the Hollywood left can no longer expect us to subsidize their donations to these creeps.
Naturally, now that all her lies have fallen into dust, priestess Newkirk accuses her accusers of attempting to stifle her First Amendment rights.
As the old saying goes, if the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, challenge the facts. If both the law and the facts are against, jump up and down and raise holy hell.