Thursday, June 23, 2011

Like dogs with frisbees(TM)

So this week, I was in Washington DC with a group of teachers for professional development. One of the things that I found to be troublesome was the fact that the teachers in our group were constantly complaining about and bad-mouthing our governor, Scott Walker to anyone who would listen.

I had to listen to an entire week of Scott Walker cuts school funding, Scott Walker is cutting our pay, Scott Walker hates public schools, Scott Walker is an enemy of the common man ... on and on and on. I could not believe how much they were obsessing about him.

I think one of the most important things is that Scott Walker understands something very important. He understands that the ratio of tax PAYERS to tax CONSUMERS needs to be rebalanced if our state is to prosper in any way shape or form. Our current ratio is askew, and he has undertaken the herculean task of fixing it, and for that he gets lost constant vitriol and hatred.

I feel sorry for the governor for the way people talk about him, and I am proud of him for standing up, taking a stand and withstanding the assault against him. Lastly, I feel that my colleagues, rather than complain about the governor, should come up with their own solutions. We are a participatory republic, which means that the people have a voice beyond e election. We can suggest and recommend courses of action to our elected officials. But, just because WE mY want something, it doesn't mean we will get it. There are plenty of other tax paying citizens out there who have a voice too...

8^) Jim
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Of Politicians and Airplanes

So this afternoon I am on an Airtran Airways flight from Milwaukee to Washington, DC. As we were boarding, we noticed a couple of Wisconsin Capitol Police officers at the end of the jetway. I was traveling with a group of teachers to a week-long study event with the Bill of Rights Institute, and remarked to a member of the group about the officers. Several members of our group stated that they hoped the governor wasn't on our flight.
I asked the flight attendant who was greeting passengers at the door of the aircraft about them, and she responded that the flight had a VIP on board. I looked towards the back of them plane, and who was there, five rows behind me, but our governor, Scott Walker (flying coach, not business or first class).
Now governor Walker has very few friends in public education thanks to his austerity measures, requiring all public employees to pay into their retirement and pay towards their health care. This is necessary, because the state is in the midst of a financial crisis which includes huge deficits and out of control spending.
He also is seeking to blunt the political power of the public employee unions by limiting their collective bargaining privileges, eliminating the requirement to be a part of the union, and no longer allowing union dues to be deducted from paychecks, requiring the union instead to collect the dues on their own. Unions are pretty big in Wisconsin, largely due to our long history of Wisconsin politics being strongly influenced by the Socialist Party.
As a public employee, I understand the angst felt by my colleagues about the loss of the union clout. They had been told repeatedly that the unions were the only things that stood between freedom and virtual slavery for workers. The leader of the largest state worker's union even referred to the governor as a plantation slave master.
I feel sorry for the governor. He wants to save the state from it's socialist roots, and create a dynamic, vibrant state with a business climate that will allow for growth that will sustain the people of Wisconsin for years to come.
I tip my hat to Governor Walker. First for being willing to make the tough decisions, and take the anger and venom of the public classes. Secondly, for practicing what he preaches. How often do you see a state's governor flying coach?

8^) Jim
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:33,000 feet up

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Does Glenn Beck Really Matter?

I will admit, there was something alluring about Glenn Beck when he burst onto the national scene. Part of it was the fact that he shredded the mainstream media like and F-5 tornado in a trailer park. Part of it was his unapologetic religious nature. Part of it was his ability to see connections that would otherwise escape notice. But then, he got stale. Not stale like bread left out overnight, but rather the kind of stale that comes with a steady diet of the same thing over and over again. The kind of stale that says "toss some meat into the mac 'n cheese tonight ma ... come on, live a little!" Glenn became two things that will doom anyone in media. He became formulaic, and apocalyptic.
He became formulaic in that no matter what the issue was, there would be three things in his radio/TV programs. First there would be analysis of it. Then there would be some joking around by his radio sidekicks. Then on TV, Glenn would do his teacher routine on the chalkboard. He constantly used the radio and TV programs to push exclusive content on his website. Occasionally he would drop a topic and move on so abruptly that I started to wonder if he was straying into territory where there might have been exclusive online content that he didn't want to divulge for free.
Worst of all, he became apocalyptic. Everything was the end of the world, that God just HAD to judge America for this that or the other thing. The moral depravity of the nation had eliminated out most favored nation status with the almighty and now we were going to have to pay for it. We were hanging on by a thread over the pits of hell and someone was greasing the rope between our fingers. Other talk show hosts, even invented a term for when they were in a fit of pessimism, they were feeling "beckish," they would say.
His radio show was shedding listeners faster than Facebook is shedding subscribers, and his TV show was losing sponsors even faster. It is pretty sad when the ad space on a cable TV network starts to become dominated by internal ad buys instead of actual bill-paying sponsors. What does this mean for poor, beleaguered Glenn Beck? It means that this is the perfect time to see if people will PAY to see him do the exact same bit that people used to watch for free.
Beck's show was consistently one of the top-rated shows on the Fox News Channel, but if he truly believes that all of those viewers will follow him to GBTV, his subscriber-based web enterprise, I fear the Beck will have another mystery to sketch out on his chalkboard.
I tuned in the first time when Beck first came to Fox News Channel. I watched sporadically for a while. I turned him off for the last time during the whole 'I'm going blind' drama. I don't knock the fact that he genuinely has health issues. I know many people who do. What got me was seeing him talking about his vision issues, and then blowing it off an segueing into a discussion of Democratic Party political dirty tricks saying something along the lines of 'I don't know why I am going blind, but there is one thing I do know, the democrats will do anything to win an election.' Grab the remote, point and click. Buhbye Glenn Beck. Hope all of your other business ventures can feed your family, because GBTV will never provide you with the comfortable life that you have become accustomed to with the nice fat Fox paychecks.