Texas State Revenue on the Rise, But Republicans See No Reason to Reduce School Cuts – At a Texas House budget hearing Tuesday, state officials confirmed that state revenue is rising rapidly enough to produce a surplus of $1.6 billion for the current budget period and to boost the Rainy Day Fund to $7.3 billion. In fact, we’ve heard unofficially that the Rainy Day Fund is filling up so fast with oil and gas revenue that the total might reach $9.5 billion in available reserves for the 2013 legislature’s use. Whether it’s $1.6 billion plus $7.3 billion, or $1.6 billion plus $9.5 billion, we’re talking about more than enough funding to reverse the $5.4 billion in brutal education cuts enacted last year.
Hence some lawmakers have called on the governor to convene a special session to get a head start on undoing the damage to public education, even forestalling cuts for the 2012-2013 school year that have yet to take effect. For example, Rep. Sylvester Turner, Democrat of Houston, asked at Tuesday’s House Appropriations Committee hearing: In light of the improving budget outlook, “why should our kids have to continue to bear the brunt” of these cuts?
In response, Republican Gov. Rick Perry emphatically rejected the call for a special session, contending that more than enough money is being spent on Texas schoolchildren already. Said Perry: “We’re not going to have a special session…. I don’t see any reason to be changing course.”
No reason to change course? One might ask: What about an average of $500 less per pupil that has already led to more than 8,000 overcrowded K-4 classrooms, and (by a conservative estimate based on our December survey of superintendents) more than 30,000 jobs lost in Texas public schools? What about the total elimination of state funding for full-day pre-kindergarten, the near-total elimination of Student Success Initiative funding for students at risk of failing the state’s required standardized tests, and cuts of $240 million in state funding for Teacher Retirement System pension and health benefits?
I encourage you to sign the Save Texas Schools online petition at the link above.
Rick Santorum Rejects Catholic Church Teaching on Torture, Death Penalty, Pre-Emptive War, Welfare, Global Warming and Evolution – Catholic candidate wages multi-front war on the Catholic Church.
Republicans Misrepresent Facts on U.S. Military Aid to Israel – Recent accusations by senior Republican lawmakers that the Obama administration’s new budget jeopardizes the national security of Israel do not address the entirety of U.S. financial support for the Israeli armed forces, a Saturday analysis by the Associated Press determined.
Senate Candidate Ted Cruz Calls Sustainable Development a Dangerous U.N. Plot – Who’d have thought Fort Worth’s efforts to spruce up inner-city neighborhoods were part of a U.N. plot to rob us hard-working Americans of all we hold dear?
That head-scratching conclusion is where the dots might lead if you connect them in the way U.S. Senate hopeful Ted Cruz wants you to.
He would have you hear “sustainable development” and see a “leftist agenda,” financed by loaded bogeyman George Soros (for the equivalent on the right, think Sheldon Adelson or the Koch brothers) and determined to “undermine property rights and undermine our economic liberty.”
Bill O’Reilly Admits He Has ‘No Blanking Idea’ – On his February 13th program, Bill O’Reilly White House said he didn’t understand White House chief of staff Jack Lew talking about deficit as a percentage of Gross Dosmestic Product (GDP):
LEW: “The plan that the president is going to be sending to Congress tomorrow will reduce our deficit to the point that over the period covered by this budget, the deficit as a percentage of GDP will be less than 3 percent, which means that we will stop having new spending adding to the deficit.”
O’REILLY: “What? What? With all due respect to Mr. Lew, I have no blanking idea what he just said. I have no clue.”
But once upon a time, Bill O’Reilly did, in fact, understand this budget mumbo-jumbo. Here’s O’Reilly with Bush adviser Karl Rove (8/4/08):
ROVE: “Yes. Well, look, first of all, let’s–one point. I agree with you, over the long haul, big debts are difficult and dangerous. But let’s also remember that we are–that what you need to do is look at it in terms of the entire economy. Our deficit this year, which is big, will be 3.3 percent of GDP.”
O’REILLY: “OK, I understand that, but the dollar is nowhere.”
So what’s the difference? Simple: When George W. Bush was president, there was a need on the right to rebut arguments about the increasing budget deficit. Now some of the same people are really concerned about deficits. Bill O’Reilly is so concerned he’s forgotten what he used to know.
Bizarre Record of Fox’s Rape-Is-to-Be-Expected Pundit – Liz Trotta, a Fox News contributor and former Washington Times editor, drew attention this week (2/12/12) when she suggested that women serving in the U.S. military should expect to be sexually assaulted by their male counterparts. In addition to her unconventional views about rape in the military, Trotta has joked about assassinating Barack Obama “if we could” (Fox News, 3/23/08). She has also described Fox competitor MSNBC as “close to being a communist channel.” she cheered the burning of Harry Potter books by a right-wing pastor in New Mexico. Trotta tried to link convicted “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski to environmentalists and the left even though Kaczynski wrote a rambling “manifesto” attacking technology, the left and environmentalists. And last October (Fox News, 10/8/11), she attempted to link Occupy Wall Street protestors to Kaczynski, comparing the activists’ rhetoric to “the ravings of what sounds like the Unabomber.”
Five Worst People of the One Percent – Five videos, each only one minute long.