Wishing doesn’t make it so

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas just released her 2017 “AZ Kids Can’t Wait” education plan calling for pay raises to teachers, repairing school facilities and buying new buses. At the same time, business leaders such as the CEOs of PetSmart, Goodman’s Interior Structures, and Empire Southwest Caterpillar, are proposing a five-year funding phase-in of full-day kindergarten.

These are both laudable pursuits. We know Arizona has a critical teacher shortage, our school facilities are in need of repair and upgrade, and our busses are beyond old. We also know how critical full-day kindergarten is the to the long-term success of our students both in school and beyond. But, understanding the problem is only half of the solution. The other half, is providing the funding to make it happen.

In terms of the AZ Kids Can’t Wait plan, the bill is $680 million. That’s $200 million without strings attached; $140 million to boost teacher salaries; $60 million to increase rural transportation funding and help with teacher recruitment; and $280 million to begin to address district capital funding requirements. There’s nothing wrong with Superintendent Douglas’ plan, districts desperately need this help. At a press conference where she announced it, Douglas made it clear it isn’t her job to find the funding. “I don’t appropriate money“she said, and went on to make the point that, “the state has about $450 million in it’s ‘rainy day’ fund” and it is up to the governor and lawmakers to decide to spend it on education. Continue reading

Rigged elections: GOP voter suppression and the Voting Rights Act

The egomaniacal Twitter troll Donald Trump spent more than a year seeking to undermine American’s confidence in their electoral system, first claiming without evidence that the GOP primaries were rigged, then spending months claiming the general election was rigged. Trump falsely claimed without evidence that millions of illegal voters voted to explain losing the popular vote by well over 2 million votes.

Trump even suggested that his supporters might resort to “Second Amendment remedies” if the election did not go his way, Donald Trump Suggests ‘Second Amendment People’ Could Act Against Hillary Clinton, eschewing the American tradition of deciding elections by the ballot box, not bullets.

This is the man who is now in a position to impose GOP restrictions on voting in pursuit of the GOP’s mythical “voter fraud” fraud — in reality, voter suppression of Democratic-leaning voter constituencies. After Bitter Campaign, Election Positions Trump to Shape Rules on How You Vote:

Voting-RightsAfter an extraordinarily contentious election, crucial elements of the rules that determine how Americans vote will be under assault from conservatives and facing legal challenges heading toward the Supreme Court as Donald J. Trump prepares to become president.

Mr. Trump’s claims of a “rigged” election — made before he won — and his false declaration after his victory that “millions of people” had voted illegally for Hillary Clinton made headlines.

They also amplified longstanding Republican claims that rampant voter fraud justified a welter of state laws making it more difficult to register and vote. Democrats say the laws are not about combating fraud but about suppressing the vote of minorities and other Democratic-leaning constituencies.

Mr. Trump will have enormous power to shape future policy on voting.

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Political Calendar: Week of December 4, 2016

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Political Calendar for the Week of December 4, 2016:

Sunday, December 4, 3:00 p.m.: Pearl Harbor Remembrance Ceremony and U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial dedication, at the University of Arizona Mall. Special collection exhibit open 1:30- 230 p.m.

Monday, December 5, Noon: Democrats of Greater Tucson luncheon, Dragon’s View Restaurant (400 N. Bonita, South of St. Mary’s Road between the Freeway and Grande Avenue, turn South at Furr’s Cafeteria). New price: buffet lunch is $10.00 cash, $12 credit; just a drink is $3.50. Featured speaker is Tucson Weekly reporter Jim Nintzel. Next Week: Betty Stauffer, Director of Literacy Connects.

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Cartoon of The Week

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The post-truth presidency of Donald Trump

This is the kind of headline that one never wants to see: A guide to all the ways Trump’s transition is like a reality show:

So far, reports about [Trump’s] transition have been full of drama, the kind that’s abnormal for today’s political Washington. But it all feels pretty familiar for loyal reality TV show fans, where something as small as a tweet or a small feud can turn into a whole high-stakes episode.

Here is another headline that one never wants to see: The Oxford Dictionary announces that “post-truth” is its 2016 word of the year:

According to the dictionary’s website, the word is “an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.’ “

I have frequently criticized the conservative media entertainment complex over the years for it’s mantra, “Don’t bother me with the facts, I know what I believe!” It is an anti-intelectualism movement which seeks to create its own reality. This is the fever swamp from which Donald Trump emerged.

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Margaret Sullivan writes at the Washington Post, The post-truth world of the Trump administration is scarier than you think:

You may think you are prepared for a post-truth world, in which political appeals to emotion count for more than statements of verifiable fact.

But now it’s time to cross another bridge — into a world without facts. Or, more precisely, where facts do not matter a whit.

On live radio Wednesday morning, Scottie Nell Hughes sounded breezy as she drove a stake into the heart of knowable reality:

There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore, of facts,” she declared on “The Diane Rehm Show” on Wednesday.

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November jobs report shows continued growth

The penultimate jobs report of the Obama era is a timely reminder that President Obama is handing off a healthy economy to his Tea-Publican successor. Steve Benen reports on the November jobs report. Unemployment rate drops to lowest point in more than 9 years:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the U.S. economy added 178,000 jobs in November. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, continues to improve, dropping from 4.9% to 4.6%. It’s the 14th consecutive month the rate has been at 5% or lower – and the lowest jobless rate Americans have seen since August 2007.

As for the revisions: September’s job totals were revised up, from 191,000 to 208,000, while October’s were revised down, from 161,000 to 142,000. Combined, that’s a net loss of 2,000.

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Over the last 12 months, the overall economy has created 2.25 million new jobs, which is a pretty healthy number. And with one month remaining in 2016, the U.S. remains on track to create over 2 million new jobs this calendar year. What’s more, November was the 74th consecutive month of positive job growth, which is the longest on record.

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