The economics of school funding: We’re in trouble

George W. Bush (The Dumber) made this classic statement when he was running for president for his first term:

“Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?” —Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

Grammarians laughed. But in the course of a year, he won a heavily contested presidential election (because people couldn’t count) and moved into the White House for the next eight years.

But the following is what has happened since the last year of his presidency:


I can answer his question.


Look at the numbers. Only fourteen states have increased funding for K-12 education. I’m guessing more than half of those increases were below the rate of inflation for that time period, so if I’m being generous, that means seven states have increased educational funding in inflation adjusted dollars. So, 43 states have cut funding (if there’s a zero percent increase, that means funding has been cut because of inflation).

We are going out of our way to raise a confederacy (and a union) of dunces.

Instead of making sure our children ARE learning, we get this Kafkaesque reality show where state officials and millionaire TV news people tell us that the reason state budgets are out of control is because public school teachers make so much money.

So what are teachers making? Let’s go to the National Center for Education Statistics.


The average salary for full-time public school teachers in 2010–11 was $56,069 in current dollars (i.e. dollars that are not adjusted for inflation). In constant (inflation-adjusted) dollars, the average salary was about 3 percent higher in 2010–11 than in 1990–91.

So obviously, since teachers make “SO MUCH MONEY” they must be at the high end of wage earners.

teacher salary

Uh. No.

We don’t pay to educate our children. We don’t pay our teachers to educate our children. We are not going to have smart adults as a result. We are in serious trouble.


The Thanksgiving pardon

President Obama does the annual turkey pardon. Popcorn and Carmel live to see another day. The jokes aren’t too bad either.


The president’s funeral: Nov. 25, 1963

The nation is still in shock as it buries its youngest president. The end of four of the most tragic days in American history.

I feel faint, Mr. President!

You’ve all heard about this fainting episode at the White House yesterday:

Karmel Allison could feel the sun beating down on her. She is pregnant, and she was worried about having to use the restroom while she was standing behind President Barack Obama during his speech Monday morning on the Affordable Care Act. So she didn’t drink much water before the speech.

But suddenly, she felt dehydrated. She began seeing stars. And next thing she knew…

“I was being caught by the President of the United States,” she said in a phone interview with Business Insider Monday afternoon.

In this instance, the woman is pregnant and diabetic. She was so worried about having to go to the bathroom that she dehydrated herself and almost passed out. (Actually, she was pretty out of it for a long time if you saw the whole video.) Probably shouldn’t have been standing around to begin with in her condition, but you can’t fault her for wanting the opportunity to meet the president.

It appears that President Obama has had lots of experience with fainting people.

Not to mention this from New Hampshire:

This happens all the time:

I wonder what the right-wing crazies make of all this?

Nevertheless, right-wing conspiracy theorists were quick to claim that the incident was staged. YouTube videos of the speech are full of criticisms of President Obama, with almost every single comment showing some variation of, “This was staged!”

Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ website Infowars similarly went into a frenzy attempting to find evidence that the “Fainting Woman” incident was staged. One user claimed, “He used to fake these fainters and ask somebody to get them water. O has staged these fainters several times in the past.” Others pointed out that she was “looking toward the teleprompter” and that the people around her seem to be “in on it.” The phrase “I gotcha,” was said by several to be a manipulative line thrown to the American people to make them feel good about the Affordable Care Act.

Almost no one acknowledged that Karmel Allison was actually ill. Those who did unanimously decided that she was obviously drunk or high (because everyone knows, of course, that sick people always deserve it and somehow did it to themselves). These complaints included the accusation that Ms. Allison “may be one of Obama’s transgender o-bots.” (I’m not even going to try to figure out what that means.)



Rick Pitino and the guys go to Washington

Is there a better way to cap off a great year for the University of Louisville sports program?

The Cardinals basketball team meets the president. They have a ceremony where politicians from both sides of the aisle are actually civil to one another. Obama gives a pretty good recap of the NCAA tournament, and Rick Pitino gives a speech praising the city and school he’s adopted.

All that’s missing?

The first lady …

And Russ Smith. Where is he anyway? (From NBC Sports):

Russdiculous is going international.

A preseason All-American and the leading scorer for the reigning national champs, Russ Smith has been named a member of the East Coast All-Stars, a 12-man team that left for Estonia to play in a tournament called the Four Nations Cup. …

He also won’t be in attendance as the Cardinals make a trip to the White House on Tuesday, which is actually a national tragedy: We won’t get a chance to see what happens when Russ Smith meets President Obama.

That would be a sight. Well, there’s always next year.


Hail to the chief and the Cards

This just in from Washington, D.C.:

Denny Crum and the University of Louisville basketball team met Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Ronald Reagan in 1986 following national championship runs.

Rick Pitino and this year’s Cardinals will do the same with President Barack Obama at 2:05 p.m. July 23.

The White House confirmed U of L’s visit, a university spokesperson announced Tuesday, and the Cardinals will be honored at the Rose Garden.

“It is truly one of the unique experiences in a young man’s life to go to the White House and meet the President of the United States,” the hall of fame coach Pitino said in a statement. “It’s not only a great honor, but our team will always remember that they got a chance to visit the White House, understand the logistics of how everything works and then meeting the President.”

Let’s see what this year’s Cardinals did the last time they met a president:


This can be very inspirational, or a disaster. I’m 99 percent sure it will be dignified. But with Russ Smith in the room, you never know what’s going to happen. Just remember, here’s what he did to his coach, Rick Pitino, on national TV:

The scandals that aren’t

Some perspective on the recent Obama scandals, from Paul Krugman:

I picked a good week to be away — and I am still away, mostly, although playing a bit of hooky on the notebook right now. For it has been the week of OBAMA SCANDALS, nonstop.

Except it seems that there weren’t actually any scandals, just the usual confusion and low-level mistakes that happen all the time, in any administration.

Does the evaporation of the scandals matter? I don’t know. Unfortunately, I remember the early Clinton years, when ridiculous stuff — restructuring at the White House travel office, for God’s sake, and a money-losing land deal — led to years of front-page headlines, endless investigations,and nothing at all in the form of proven Clinton wrongdoing. If the press decide that scandals are going to be the topic, the absence of actual scandals may not matter.

Oh, and the ongoing disaster of economic policy? Boooring.

Which political party is touting non-existent scandals, and which one is doing nothing to address economic issues. Appears to be the same party.


Democrats are being spineless weasels again

Republicans faked Benghazi e-mails to make the Obama administration look bad. But Democrats aren’t going on the attack. What’s their problem? One commenter at TPM says this:

The Democratic Party at the national level looks to Obama and his White House for everything. His Cabinet members (Defense apart) have no policy autonomy; Democratic Senators and Congressmen loyal to the President are also dependent on him and his team for everything from legislative initiatives to daily talking points. The closest thing to Democratic voices independent of the Obama White House are former (and future) campaign consultants on the talk shows.

Obama has chosen not to push back hard against doctored Benghazi leaks that even the tame broadcast media objected to. So no Democrats in Washington is either. Hostility to the opposition, as an organizing principle, is much more deeply established in the Republican Party. This is why real and imagined Democratic scandals inspire so much more indignation (real and pretend) among GOP officials in DC.

This is going to be a continuing problem for national Democrats as Obama’s second term proceeds. It may be a chronic problem until they have a Clinton campaign and White House to tell them what to do, say and think.

They just don’t seem to understand that if they don’t fight back, the GOP is going to kill them.


Mother’s Day cards from the White House

They don’t drip with sentimentality, but they get the point across:

For military moms:

mothersday_joiningforcesAnd for healthy moms:

mothersday_affordablecareactHappy Mother’s Day.

Time machine: Inauguration 1913

Barack Obama will be sworn in today at noon for his second term as president as required by law. The elaborate ceremony, though will be tomorrow.

So, who was being sworn in as president 100 years ago?

That’s Woodrow Wilson who’d just finished up as governor of New Jersey. (His inauguration was actually in March 1913, but it’s practically a century ago.)

And his was one of the significant presidencies in American history, as the following PBS documentary shows: