Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gov. Gregoire and Education Funding Reform

Over at The Tacoma News Tribune blog, Political Buzz, there's a letter from Governor Gregoire to Speaker Chopp and Senate Majority Leader Brown about reforming state spending policies for K-12 education.

Here's an interesting thing that the governor said to them:

It should be clear that parents, who can afford it, may be asked by school districts to participate in supporting their student in all-day kindergarten programs.

What does" participate in supporting" mean, if not a tuition fee? In other words, isn't the governor saying that the state law should be clear that school districts can charge a tuition fee for all-day kindergarten?

But, several school districts already charge tuition fees for all-day kindergarten, so isn't state law already clear on the point?

Yes, it is -- state law clearly prohibits charging a tuition fee:

Every school district shall admit on a tuition free basis all persons of school age who reside within this state, and do not reside within another school district carrying the grades for which they are eligible to enroll: PROVIDED, That nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting RCW 28A.225.220 or 28A.225.250.

Several school districts are brazenly breaking state law by charging a tuition fee for all-day kindergarten, and no one in any relevant part of state government is unaware of this fact.

Is the governor suggesting that the law be changed? Hardly. She wouldn't say "asked" and "participate in supporting" if she were suggesting such a change.

Why not change the law?

It's being broken with impunity now. Even the governor is suggesting with her cute phrasing that the illegal charging of tuition fees continue.

Wouldn't it be better to behave like honest people and change the law?

Are the governor and legislators and school district administrators afraid to change the law but unafraid to violate it? What a strange situation.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Obama learns a constellation's name

Over at Powerline, John asks: "How would he pronounce 'Cassiopeia'?"

Everyone knows that Barack Obama is lost without his teleprompter, but his latest blunder, courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, via the Corner, suggests that the teleprompter may not be enough unless it includes phonetic spellings. Obama was speaking at a White House roundtable on clean energy systems, and repeatedly saluted Orion Energy Systems, whose CEO, Neal Verfuerth, was present at the event. So Obama referred to "Orion" a number of times. Only problem was, he appeared to be unfamiliar with the word:
All terrific press for Orion, except that Obama kept pronouncing the company's name wrong, calling it OAR-ee-on.

Cassiopeia would be a good one, but I'd like to hear the big O pronounce these quickly in succession: Obama, Ohio, Orion, Onion.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

When is a bonus not a bonus?

According to Reuters, this is part of the letter from New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to Representative Barney Frank about the AIG "retention pay" contract payments:

"The contracts shockingly contain a provision that required most individuals' bonuses to be 100 percent of their 2007 bonuses," Tuesday's letter said. "AIG chose to lock in bonuses for 2008 at 2007 levels despite obvious signs that 2008 performance would be disastrous."

Well, no wonder AIG has called it "retention pay." A "bonus" would be based on meeting performance goals -- which surely would not include driving the corporation into bankruptcy.