Daily Archives: April 29, 2018

Comey’s Higher Loyalty: A Must Read

I’ve noticed over the years that media coverage of books can be wildly at odds with my own impression, more so than media coverage of just about anything else.

There’s a logical explanation for that. It would be pretty much impossible to write a 300-page book and not get something wrong or include material that perhaps should have been left out.

The textbook case of this was the criticism of Jimmy Carter’s book, Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid. Alan Dershowitz (yeah, the pseudo-liberal currently defending Trump) and others found a handful of items Carter had wrong. Carter actually admitted to getting a few things wrong. Reading that criticism, I lost interest in the book, as Carter’s view also clashed with my own beliefs at the time about Israel-Palestine. Eventually, however, I read it. For everything Carter got wrong and for which he was lambasted by the pro-Israel American media, he got about 50 things right. Ultimately, the book had a profound influence on my own views.

We’re seeing a repeat of this with the media reporting on Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty. In this case, it’s not as much things Comey got wrong, but passages he included that the media have labeled spiteful or petty. When you read A Higher Loyalty, however, you see that Comey’s critics are the ones engaged in spite and pettiness. Continue reading

AG Brnovich’s P.R. stunt over university tuition hikes rejected by the court

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported last year that “State support for students at Arizona’s three public universities has fallen by 53.8 percent since 2008, more than three times the national decline over the same period, according to a new report.” Arizona cuts to college student support still among steepest in nation. “Arizona’s 53.8 percent reduction was largest in the nation.”

The Arizona Board of Regents, forced to deal with our lawless Tea-Publican legislature’s abject failure to meet its constitutionally mandated duty to support public education, had to raise tuition and fees at the state’s universities in order to maintain operations and to keep the doors open:

Article XI, Section 6: The Arizona Constitution mandates a “system of common schools” that are “open to all pupils” and are “as nearly free as possible.”

Article IX, Section 3: The Arizona Constitution also mandates “(T)he Legislature shall provide by law for an annual tax sufficient, with other sources of revenue, to defray the necessary ordinary expenses of the state . . . “

Article XI, Section 10: The Arizona Constitution also mandates “taxation” to “insure proper maintenance of all state educational institutions.”

When Doug Ducey ran against Fred Duval for governor four years ago, rather than focus on the lawlessness of our Tea-Publican legislature, Ducey and his GOP allies built a campaign around blaming the Arizona Board of Regents,  former regent Fred Duval in particular, for skyrocketing tuition at the state’s universities. GOP ad blasts DuVal for tuition hikes.

It was perhaps the single most dishonest misdirection campaign ever run in the state of Arizona. Unfortunately, it succeeded with Arizona’s low-information voters.

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Report: $2 Billion Needed to Reach Arizona’s Educational Goals

The Grand Canyon Institute reports that a $2 billion increase in Arizona’s annual funding of K-12 public education is needed to improve high school graduation rates, improve math and reading levels, and raise the number of Arizonans who have a 2- or 4-year degree.

“Arizona has run an austerity budget since the Great Recession,” said Dave Wells, the Institute’s research director. “Achieving the Arizona Education Progress Meter’s goals by 2030 requires new and dedicated funding source There are not sufficient funds from economic growth or potential fund sweeps or savings from other government services to meet these needs.

The Grand Canyon Institute (GCI), an independent, nonpartisan think tank, conducted its analysis based on educational goals defined in the Arizona Education Progress Meter. The goals were established by Expect More Arizona and The Center for the Future of Arizona. 

The $2.1 billion annual increase in public education funding identified by GCI’s research includes investments in:

  • Early Childhood Education — $200 million to meet the needs of children under the poverty line to improve their success in school
  • Teacher Salaries — $686 million to provide a $10,000 flat raise to Arizona’s teachers to address what may be the worst teacher shortage in the country and maximize the recruitment and retention of young teaching professionals
  • Added Interventions—$250 million to achieve goals for third grade reaching, eighth-grade math and high school graduation
  • Refilling prior state investments: $991.million:
    • District Additional Assistance: $352 million
    • All-day Kindergarten: $265 million
    • New School Construction: $284 million
    • Building Renewal Funds: $90 million

Arizona Education Progress Meter

Arizona Education Progress Meter


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The lie of trickle-down economics that led to the #RedforEd teacher revolt

Flagstaff’s the Arizona Daily Sun editorialized that the governor and the GOP cannot be trusted to negotiate in good faith when it comes to public school funding. Our View: Ignore Ducey and go for a dedicated school funding tax:

The first days of most strikes are easy.

Now comes the hard part.

Last week’s opening days of a statewide teacher walkout over pay and school funding were predictably high on energy and hope.

But as most labor leaders know, a walkout is about much more than just those walking the picket lines. It’s about winning the hearts and minds not only of community opinion leaders but of business owners and neighbors, too. There are bills on which to ask forgiveness, kids to ask the neighbors to care for and the sleepless nights that come with putting your career on the line. If it takes a village to raise a child, it will take an equally strong community to get their teachers through a work stoppage that is about all the right goals, even if the tactics turn out to be wrong.

The goals, of course, are to get every Arizona child the best education possible. That means giving students and teachers the best tools within the resources available. Better pay is thus a means to an end – it attracts the best teachers, stems rapid turnover and stabilizes a key sector of the local workforce. If other states with similar economic capacity have been able to do right by their teachers, why not Arizona?

The answer is more political and cultural than economic. Empty-nester retirees fleeing high-tax states and with little personal stake anymore in public education have encouraged conservative ideologues to pursue trickle-down tax cuts and privatized school choice, despite evidence that neither is working. Net corporate tax revenues on which public schools depend are off dramatically after a decade of tax cuts, and vouchers have served mainly to transfer public dollars to private and religious schools, regardless of educational outcome.

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Political Calendar: Week of April 29, 2018

The Political Calendar is posted on Sundays. Please send us notice of your political events prior to the Sunday before your event (7 days would be most helpful). See the calendar icon in the right-hand column of the blog page for easy access to the calendar.

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Political Calendar for the Week of April 29, 2018:

Sunday, April 29, 8:00 p.m.: Laughing Liberally Tucson returns to lampoon the national, state and local political scene. Come out and enjoy Tucson’s best and brightest comics as we try our best to save democracy…one laugh at a time. it’s FUN… it’s FREE… New Location: The Flycatcher, 340 E 6th Street (at 4th Avenue), Tucson. Usually the last Sunday every month.

#RedforEd Rally at the Arizona State Capitol

Monday, April 30, 9:00 a.m.: Show your support for teachers and staff by joining us at the #RedforEd Rally. Help their voices be heard so our children can receive the best education possible!

AFT Stand Up For AZ Students Rally at the Arizona State Capitol

Monday, April 30, Noon: American Federation of Teachers hosts a Stand Up For AZ Students Rally with AFT President Randi Weingarten, at the Arizona State Capitol, Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, 1700 W. Washinton Street, Phoenix. Make sure Arizona kids get the schools they deserve. Now is the time for a new era in Arizona public education. When our state leaders disinvest in public schools, theydevalue Arizona’s children. Let’s make sure our governor and state legislators hear our message. Come have an ice cream treat (not the governor’s ice cream).

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Cartoon of The Week

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