The 2012 decline also hit government, where budgetary and labor reforms in places like Wisconsin and Tennessee have taken hold. The inimitable Mike Antonucci, writing at the Education Intelligence Agency, picked apart the numbers to unravel 10 interesting observations, including this pair of gems:
9) If the trends recorded since 2000 continue, by 2051 there will be 8 million union members in the United States – 6.6% of the total workforce – and they will all work for the government.
Three of the five Board seats for Colorado’s largest school district are up for grabs in 2013. One of them is just inviting a challenge. Jeffco school board director Paula Noonan made local headlines for displaying a serious bout of bad judgment:
Jeffco school board member Paula Noonan was arrested during a traffic stop Jan. 8 when Denver police officers became aware of an outstanding warrant from a 2011 traffic ticket.
Conservatives have plenty of reason to mope in the fiscal gloom these days, maybe even enough to indulge in a bit of dark humor. That brings us to the Colorado political junkie joke of the week, the first of 2013: “How bad was the fiscal cliff deal Congress approved?”
“I don’t know. How bad was it?”
“The fiscal cliff deal was so bad that Michael Bennet couldn’t even vote for it.”
The serious question, though, that follows Congress’ pathetic kicking-the-can-down-the-road exercise — which strangely divided Colorado’s Democratic tag-team duo in the U.S. Senate — is whether Colorado Senator Michael Bennet‘s dissent may have set the stage for Republicans to start taking a necessary hard line on the next tough issue around the bend. And to win back some respect from freedom fighters on the Right. (more…)
The 19th century American individualist Ralph Waldo Emerson once famously declared, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” This coming legislative session might just give teachers union leaders a chance to confront their own hobgoblin — choosing whether to embrace it or banish it far away.
Rumors persist that the American Federation of Teachers wants to inflict legislative revenge on the bold Douglas County school board. In exchange for having their monopoly bargaining status and political dues collection revoked, they apparently are tempted to advance a bill that would impose some sort of bargaining requirement on local school boards. To succumb to the temptation would place their Colorado Education Association (CEA) union counterparts in a bind: How would they look having so stridently defended the principle of local control in the recent past?
The frequent and widespread invocation of “local control” under the Golden Dome has grown into a running gag among education lobbyists and committees. Article IX, Section 15 of the Colorado Constitution grants local school boards “control of instruction of the public schools of their respective districts.” But the clause often grows larger than life, with advocates either clinging to or resisting the argument based on the bill before them. (more…)
Some of Wisconsin’s early 2011 scenes played out yesterday at the State Capitol, as protestors thronged and chanted favorites like, “A people united will never be defeated!” and “Hey hey, ho ho, Right-to-Work has got to go!”
News outlets report that Michigan State Police arrested eight people trying to break into legislative chambers as the state senate gave preliminary approval to send the workplace freedom measure on to supportive Governor Rick Snyder. (When similar legislation is introduced here in Colorado in 2013, the reaction almost certainly will be much more quiet… and lethal.)
For the past couple years, Wisconsin has been the locus of the political battle to weaken public-sector union power. After Gov. Scott Walker not only survived but thrived amid a failed recall election, conservatives breathed a sigh of relief. Most prominently, the costly but decisive victory revived hopes that fiscal sanity and a sense of fairness could be restored.
Modest cuts to lavish benefits for government employees, along with some of the accompanying tools approved in Walker’s controversial Budget Repair Bill, put the Badger State back on a healthy fiscal setting and brought compensation more back in line with private sector workers.
But a new video from the Association of American Educators reminds us that the Wisconsin reforms also promoted professionalism and individual empowerment for teachers. Walker’s state left the ranks of those where union monopoly power feeds off teacher tribute payments. (more…)
We’ve all seen how the waning days of the 2012 national campaign have fixed President Obama and the Democrats on the alliterative petty themes of Big Bird, Bayonets and Binders. It didn’t take long after the first debate for the incumbent’s campaign to pile on the Republican challenger’s mention of the large, lovable Sesame Street character. Team Obama unleashed a laughable commercial and a “four-Pinocchio” fundraising appeal.
Say what you will, but at least the Obama team didn’t tell America that Big Bird was, say, green. For that they might have had to hire the staff of Colorado junior U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. This morning Bennet’s office sent out a fundraising appeal for Congressional candidate Sal Pace. The email message (with the subject line “Grover”) began, well, like this: (more…)
I’ll tackle predictions of the Presidential and Congressional races later on. For now I will offer up my humble prognostications for the Colorado state house and state senate. I have had neither the time nor the inclination to create the in-depth legislative election analysis that I put forward in 2010.
Colorado’s 7th Congressional district, where I live, covers some of the swingin’-est swing state political geography in the nation. But only recently has incumbent Democrat Ed Perlmutter‘s vulnerability become truly apparent. Just this week the national experts at the Rothenberg Political Reportupgraded the chances of Perlmutter’s opponent and neighbor, likeable Republican businessman Joe Coors.
If you needed more reason to see the clear difference between the two Republican candidates in HD 22, this 13-second clip (MP3) from a May 29 debate of Bauman summarizing his assessment of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) should raise some eyebrows: (more…)
This past Saturday many Colorado county political parties held their biennial assemblies for the purpose of approving resolutions and nominating candidates for the primary ballot. For the fifth consecutive time, I attended the Jefferson County Republican Assembly as a voting delegate. The new and spacious Lakewood church venue was needed, with more than 1,200 certified delegates in attendance.
The strong turnout was most impressive in terms of first-time delegates, which an impromptu show of hands revealed made up somewhere around two-thirds of those attending north Jeffco’s Senate District 19 assembly. Similar anecdotes and reports from other districts suggest the large-scale infusion of fresh grassroots political blood was a countywide phenomenon. Not a good sign for the Obama administration from a major swing county in a major swing state.
How that translates to the local county and state legislative races remains to be seen. But the fact that so many showed up to participate in the process on a beautiful Colorado weekend when virtually every race to be determined was uncontested (though getting to hear of County Commissioner John Odom‘s rock-solid fiscally conservative principles and his lighthearted “The Bald Truth” campaign theme idea were a highlight) — well, it speaks volumes.
The only exception of a contested race was House District 22 in south Jeffco, where my conservative friend Justin Everett bested Loren Bauman 58 to 42 percent. The rules of the game state that a candidate must earn at least 30 percent to win a spot on the June 26 primary ballot, or else try to collect signatures to petition on. As a result of the assembly outcome, Everett’s name will appear on the ballot’s top line. From the campaign press release: (more…)
Last week I filmed a 14-minute segment with my boss at the Independence Institute, Jon Caldara, on his show Devil’s Advocate. The topic for discussion was the timely news that members of the Colorado Education Association (CEA) have until tomorrow (December 15)to get back money automatically collected with their dues to support (almost completely one-sided) state and local political campaigns.
As I often say, if you like how the union spends your money on politics, you have no reason to complain and absolutely nothing to do. But for those teachers who would rather support their own political causes, or use the money to pay for Christmas shopping or just save for a rainy day, then members need to be informed of their opportunity. One way to find out how to get the Colorado teachers union political refund is to watch the video:
In the episode Jon describes the notifications about teacher options as my personal charity work — the kind of charity work where one gets called nasty names. So be it. In the last-minute rush before the holidays, and tomorrow’s all-important December 15 deadline, here’s hoping this post makes the difference for someone out there.
Disappointing news in my own backyard of Jefferson County, where the reform, Republican-backed “Dads” ticket of Jim Powers and Preston Branaugh were defeated. In my mind, though, the story of the night has to be in Douglas County — where a unanimous majority in favor of the nation’s first school board-initiated voucher-like program appears headed for complete electoral vindication. Other lesser-touted school board results of note: (more…)
As the ominous debt ceiling deadline approaches, the release of the winners of the Power Line Prize contest (“$100,000 will be awarded to whoever can most effectively and creatively dramatize the significance of the federal debt crisis”) could not have been better timed. While prominent bloggers are helping the Power Line crew count down the top entries, I have a very special and personal attachment to the 7th place winner, released today:
I’m heavily biased (take time to read the brief credits), so I’m really curious to see what six entries could have finished ahead of this “Fiscal Child Abuse” video masterpiece. Maybe the girls are so cute that they somehow downplay the gravity of the message? I don’t buy it, but that’s the only explanation I can think of why this video didn’t finish even higher.
But anyway, kudos to my Independence Institute colleagues for their creative, production and/or supporting dramatic roles: Tracy Kimball-Smith, Amy Oliver, Todd Shepherd and Jon Caldara. For their sakes and for mine, take the two and a half minutes to watch it all, especially the outtakes at the end. You’ll be entertained and educated!
Leading 19th century American politician James Blaine had a Catholic mother; therefore
The Blaine Amendment he crafted into the state constitutions of Colorado and numerous others were bastions of modern “secular” thought promoting the separation of church and state, as understood by the ACLU and its compatriots; therefore
Republicans in the 1800s were much more secular and enlightened than their contemporary counterparts; and
Forget the fact that parents are given a choice, the Douglas County school board is funneling money to religious schools in violation of a benign state constitutional provision.
Really? Bad history may make for clever political potshots, but beyond that it has little practical use. The leading flaw in Quillen’s column is a fundamental (and willful?) misunderstanding of 19th century American public education — which was “nondenominational” Protestant but clearly not secular as the columnist imagines. (more…)