Archive for May 24th, 2005

Most local school budgets passed, and the discussion on both sides ranges from sour grapes to gloating. My view on the almost automatic way they pass is guilt good marketing from the districts. I feel this guy’s pain:
Either the homeowners in New Rochelle love paying higher taxes, or they just don’t care. Four thousand voters in this year’s budget is not only a disgrace, it’s disheartening to those of us who can no longer seriously consider spending our lives living in this community due to ever-increasing taxes. In 13 years, school taxes have more than doubled, and with over 25 years until retirement, it looks like most of the gold in my golden years will be going toward property taxes.
This letter to the editor from a resident of a district whose budget failed makes some good points:
Residents in the Mahopac school district served a long overdue wake-up call to school administration with the largest single budget defeat in school history. Not since the dark days of routine budget defeats and austerity of the mid-1970s has the community responded in such a vocal and unified fashion. With the defeat of one incumbent, abstention of another and a slim five-vote victory margin for a third, there can be no clearer indictment of the direction that this board and superintendent have us heading. From nearly 30 percent in tax increases in three years, to the single most disastrous capital construction project in area history, to continued wasteful spending, residents have said: Enough is enough.
A drive through most neighborhoods around election day will yield lawn signs that say some variation of "support our students, vote YES on the budget." How utterly distasteful. So I am against the children if I vote no? BULLSHIT. What about eliminating waste? These school boards will leave no stone unturned to bloat the budget, and here are just a few of the best scams justifications:
  • Capital Expenditure Amnesia. In 2003 or 2004 millions were asked for on a one-time basis to revamp athletic fields etc. A diligent mind will expect that expense to disappear the following year, and while the line item may, the new budget is mum about that one-time project and represents the old budget baseline without being forthright that those millions can be taken off this new year.
  • Insurance and Pensions. This year, one of the largest increases was a whopper of an increase in health insurance and pension contributions. Now, it may be a low blow to ask professionals to work in the TWO MONTHS they get off each year that regular joes don’t, because they do have to do continue their own studies etc. However, it seems to me that if a few school districts changed insurance companies because the premium change was excessive, competition would save a few bucks here. Just my deranged, free market mind. It worked for my company.
  • The Presupposition of Efficiency. Why cut waste? There is none (wink). We are elite New Yorkers and do not need to see how the yahoos do things at a fraction of the cost in red state Jesus Land.
  • Sanctity (insert gregorian chant) of Special Programs. Scarsdale has special education. So does Yonkers next door. So does everybody. Are they consolidated? Do you really think that Scarsdale parents will send their kids to the same place as Yonkers kids? Consolidation therefore never comes up. Every district does their own thing (to far too large a degree), and you can’t question it or you are against helping special students.
Obviously, there are far more places that good money gets wasted by school boards. Sadly, this will never change because the people who really belong on school boards are too busy earning a living to get involved. When a fiscal conservative does manage to get elected, he is in the minority and ostracized publicly by his fellow board members all too often because he’s wrecking the curve.

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Jane Galt at Asymmetrical Information has the sanest, most intellectually honest take on filibustering judicial nominees I have found.

A little honesty, please

Can Democrats and Republicans stop pretending that there is some exquisitely fine distinction between judicial filibusters and legislative filibusters that makes flip-flopping on whatever they said five years ago something other than a gossamer-thin wrapping for the otherwise naked use of power? Or that they really, deep down, care about the deepest arcana of Senate procedure?

The fact is that Republicans are going to shove conservative judges down liberal throats because they can, not because there is some cosmic principle of justice involved. And Democrats should tone down the histrionics about the fundamental illegitimacy of Republican court-packing, when the reason the Republicans are so determined to pack the court is that it is the only way Democrats have left them to undo the quasi-legislation that liberal judges wrote after Democrats packed the court decades ago. Having remade the rules about how legislation gets made, you can’t just tell the Republicans that it’s some sort of metaphysical abuse if they try to touch the ball.

I kind of envy the writing style too. I couldn’t say as much in so few words. I’ll bet you a dollar she has a copy of The Elements of Style on her desk.

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Too bad I missed this newscast, but who watches local CBS news anymore?
NEW YORK — TV reporter Arthur Chi’en has been fired for shouting the "F" word at two hecklers during his live report at a subway train station.
Chi’en was doing a story about Metro Card scammers when two men began shouting about radio shock jocks Opie and Anthony. The two hecklers were making obscene gestures behind the reporter. Chi’en kept talking and when he finished his report, he turned to the two hecklers and said "What the (expletive) is your problem."

Chi’en thought he was off the air, but apparently the mike picked up the obscenity.

With the FCC cracking down on obscenity, Chi’en was fired Thursday.

Can you imagine the anchor after that one?
Um, yes, well, thanks Arthur, now here’s Mr. G. with the weather.
F$%^&#@ rain and winds like a M(*&^%$# tonight, folks!

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I meant to chime in on the lefty moon bat indignation over the leaked pictures of Saddam Hussein, but Atlas Shrugs says it all, via her commentary on how the NY Post handled it. Classic Noo Yawk tabloid humor.


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