Around the Web

Ann Coulter’s latest column gives a taste of her new book’s subject matter – the relationship between liberalism and mob/herd mentality. Sounds like a persuasive, insightful take on an urgent topic.
Speaking of irrational, hateful mobs, young punks in Madison, this time ticked off about voter ID, have reached a new low: protesting Gov. Scott Walker as he speaks to a Special Olympics group, blocking the kids’ view. I don’t know what’s more sickening – the behavior of these protestors, or the knowledge that so few of the “fine, upstanding citizens” our public schools have been churning out who agree with them will have the basic human decency to stand up and say, “not in my name.” But hey, the ends justify the means no matter what, right?
Outrage in Fond du Lac: Another slap on the wrist for a predatory teacher, thanks to DA Dan Kaminsky. This case also includes the added bonus of Judge Gary Sharpe, who should have recused himself, and then blocked pertinent evidence, thereby demonstrating why he should have been recused.

Perfect quote form the Other McCain: “[T]he fundmental falsehood of all sex-education efforts [is] the belief that most sexual problems are caused by a lack of knowledge, rather than a lack of virtue.” Too bad there’s always some scumbag around the corner to demonize truth-speaking.
Newt’s campaign is falling apart as we speak. Surprise!

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And Now, A Special Message from a Former Classmate (NSFW) – UPDATED: Impostor?

UPDATE: Another set of comments on that thread has appeared, also under my classmate’s name, claiming the below comments were left by someone else. On the one hand, both show different email addresses and IP’s; on the other hand, I have no idea who else it could have been. On the chance it really is someone else, I’ve chosen to delete his name from the below post, and remove the offending comments from the original link.

ORIGINAL POST: The other day, a former classmate of mine from Fond du Lac High School interjected himself into an exchange between a couple friends of mine on my Facebook wall, first with a jab at one friend (admittedly a mild one, but a jab nonetheless), then by throwing out a lot of irrelevant jargon that was meant to muddy the water and obscure the entirely obvious, valid point my friend was making.

The exchange wasn’t terribly significant, but it did persuade me that someone who I know to be a smug, angry, petulant left-winger, wasn’t the sort of person I wanted to waste time with anymore, or the sort I wanted to have access to my private Facebook wall. So I de-friended him.

This morning, I woke up to discover he had placed a couple of comments on my old blog in retaliation. They’re rather vulgar, so you’ll have to click below the fold to read them:
First:

Your a stupid, nazi idiot, you know nothing about politics and your lucky i dont take a big fat dump on your mothers chest. Shes a stupid skank and so are you thoughts, i would be ashamed if i were you, you scumbag american rat. You smell shit and you look like an asshole with out a vagina,

Second:

stupid nigger fuck

Boy, I’ve really been shown the error of my ways, haven’t I? I replied:

I don’t normally publish comments this vulgar, but I’m making an exception, because it amuses me to think that a potential employer might Google your name and come across such a childish, intemperate, and grammatically shoddy tirade. It doesn’t make a substantive argument of any kind or hurt me in any way – it just reveals the caliber of human being you are.

In Defense of Scott Walker: Setting the Record Straight on Wisconsin, Education, and Unions (UPDATED)

After some behind-the-scenes wrangling, a condensed, 300-word version of my editorial on Scott Walker’s fight with Big Union is slated to appear in the Fond du Lac Reporter on Sunday (UPDATE: here it is). Here’s the original, extended cut.

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As I watch the battle over Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to alleviate Wisconsin’s projected $3.6 billion deficit, it pains me to see old friends and former classmates from Fond du Lac High School misled by the lies and fear-mongering of people who don’t have their best interests at heart. Some of it—like comparing Walker to dictators like Adolf Hitler and Hosni Mubarak—is merely the infantile ranting of hate-filled, ignorant partisans, but others are sincerely worried about the future of education in Wisconsin. My friends, please read on as I try to set the record straight.

Accusing Walker of “attacking” state workers is patently absurd. On February 20th, the non-partisan PolitiFact.com reported, “no matter how you slice it, the 12.6 percent share of health care premiums that Walker proposes employees pay is well below what most pay in the private and public sectors,” and explained how “experts say they will be better of” on pensions, as well.

As most Americans suffer alongside the nation’s economic woes, government workers’ compensation remains relatively constant. Throw in nigh-impenetrable job security and retirement at 55, and the public sector compares quite favorably to the private – and will continue to do so under Scott Walker.

In fact, it’s hard to seriously call Walker anti-teacher when he’s standing up for teachers’ rights of conscience and free association, by proposing that they be given the right to choose whether or not to pay union dues. Not only would this return hundreds of dollars annually to our teachers, but it would also let them decide whether they want their money going to political causes that have nothing to do with education – the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers both donate millions to Democrat candidates and radical left-wing causes and smear groups, including Planned Parenthood, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Action Network, ACORN, the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition, Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, People for the American Way, and Media Matters.

Thomas Jefferson called forcing people to “furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors” “sinful and tyrannical.” Why force teachers to take sides or donate to any political cause just to do the job they love? (Or are only far-left Democrats welcome to teach in Wisconsin?)

As for the worry that unions can’t survive without coercion, that’s freedom. If they’ve earned their members’ confidence, they’ll persevere. If not, they’ll fall. Think about it – if unions need the force of law to coerce their own members to support them, isn’t that all the evidence we need that the unions aren’t as valuable or as noble as they claim?

Not only is this more moral, it’s smarter economically, too—Investor’s Business Daily reports on the link between prosperity and the right to work:

According to statistics compiled by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, real personal income in right-to-work states grew 28.3% from 1999 to 2009 vs. 14.7% in forced-unionism states — almost double. Disposable income in right-to-work states stood at $35,543 per capita in 2009 vs. $33,389, and growth in real manufacturing GDP jumped 20.9% from 2000 to 2008, compared with 6.5% in forced-unionism states.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, right-to-work states added 1.5 million private-sector jobs from 1999 to 2009 for a 3.7% increase; states that are not right-to-work lost 1.8 million jobs over the same decade, a decline of 2.3%.

Workers’ actual rights are safe—as Walker points out, legal protections like merit hiring and just cause for discipline and termination come from the Civil Service Act of 1905, which he’s not touching. The only “right” at stake is collective bargaining. But understanding how unions work exposes public-sector collective bargaining as a bad idea that needs to go.

In private-sector bargaining, there are two sides: labor unions and corporate management. Everyone has a seat at the table and both sides are vulnerable to market forces and free to risk taking their business elsewhere if they can’t reach an agreement. But public-sector bargaining often ill-serves taxpayers—there’s no competition, it enables unions to coerce concessions from government without regard for the public good, and unions are often negotiating with politicians they’ve bought and paid for. Government has much more latitude to make unsustainable promises today and let someone else worry about paying for them tomorrow. There’s a reason even FDR said collective bargaining “cannot be transplanted into the public service.”

Because most public school curricula don’t teach the fundamentals of economics or political science (instead teaching liberal propaganda and, since 2009, even legally-mandated pro-union propaganda), their students are susceptible to such union propaganda campaigns. My friends, you’ve been betrayed. Your compassion has been exploited by union bosses and politicians who want to scare you into action not to defend Wisconsin’s teachers, but to preserve their own power and influence.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: In the 300-word version, I place the number teachers would get back from collective bargaining at over $700. I got this figure from this document on WEAC’s website. But looking over it again for this blog post, I saw that the site has other documents that place the number lower, apparently depending on county or locality. I apologize for the error.

UPDATE 2 (3/31/11): I’ve updated the union dues hyperlink again to provide a more comprehensive source.

Reporter Editorial: In Defense of Ann Wentworth

My latest in the Fond du Lac Reporter:

I haven’t read the books Ann Wentworth objects to.

Maybe they’re inappropriate for middle school, maybe not (though author Julie Halpern’s comment that Wentworth is “full of hate” certainly reflects poorly on her book’s worth).

But Wentworth’s critics don’t seem to have read them, either—they just hate her for raising the subject at all.

Parents should absolutely judge whether schools should expose their children to certain content, and when they’re ready for it.

Schools making it easy for children to stumble upon controversial material in its care rob parents of that choice. Promoting independence and free inquiry is great, but that hardly means schools must or should provide every topic or author imaginable.

Parents troubled by certain material are condescendingly told to “take care of that within their own families” (translation: if we give your kids questionable stuff, it’s your problem), but why shouldn’t parents who want their kids introduced to more adult subject matter be the ones to take the initiative and go to the public library or Waldenbooks?

Yes, some kids mature quicker than others, but communities shouldn’t shy away from setting parameters for what’s generally appropriate for certain age groups. People will naturally disagree on the details, but that’s democracy — better to let each side argue the merits and let the chips fall where they may, than to stigmatize the open discussion of ideas, especially where our kids are concerned.

Indeed, demanding wholesale indifference to what schools should put on their shelves is much closer to thought control than anything Wentworth has done.

Wentworth has been smeared as not taking responsibility for her own child’s upbringing, but the opposite is true: This whole controversy arose because she’s more attentive than the rest of the town. Even so, no one parent can possibly know the content of every single book in the library; that’s supposed to be the responsibility of the people stocking the shelves. It seems to me normal people would be grateful that she’s alerted them to the possibility that maybe that job isn’t being done.

And don’t be too quick to assume that the job is being done right in Fond du Lac. In April 2007, I was part of a small group of local Republicans that was permitted to examine the district’s library database. We found that left-wing books outnumbered right-wing books four to one, including “The I Hate Republicans Reader,” by Clint Willis and books by fraudulent filmmaker Michael Moore and fringe philosopher Peter Singer, who says “killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person.”

The School Board was not interested in rectifying the bias at the time. If they have done so since, I am not aware of it.

It’s no surprise that the School Board doesn’t care about Wentworth’s concerns, but it is shocking that her petition calling for a new content rating system and a committee to examine book content has received a paltry 30 signatures.

Really? A city of more than 40,000 people only has 30 interested in closer scrutiny of controversial material in our schools?

Ask yourself why none of Wentworth’s critics have said, “These books actually are age-appropriate, and here’s why.”

The first answer is that you’re not supposed to question the Fond du Lac School District. Ever.

Second, lots of parents don’t like to be reminded that someone is paying closer attention to their kids’ education than they are, so they choose to instead tear her down as a bad parent. Fond du Lac should be so proud.

UPDATE: As usual, the comments are a treasure trove of unintentional hilarity – ultra-partisan hacks Pan “Cobweb1780” Zareta and DelScorcho ignore what I write and instead thoughtlessly snipe about partisanship and “censorship.” Ever notice how rarely liberals even make an effort to argue honestly?