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Posts Tagged → education

What is behind a “journalism” degree, anyhow?

In our Information Age, a great deal of life is shaped by outlets dealing in information.

The best of this information is called news, and is supposed to be accurate information about what is new. What is new can be of most use. In military terms, the newest information is called intelligence, because the information it carries allows one to make the most intelligent decisions.

The guardians of news and the supposed arbiters of its accuracy and value are called journalists. This is because their writings are a sort of journal, a documentary of history, the history of a civilization, whether it is on clay tablets, papyrus, sheepskins, calf skins, or in 1s and 0s in the ether.

That these guardians today have abandoned their namesake is obvious. Their writings are no documentary any longer.

Accuracy, usefulness, meaning are now all discarded in the pursuit of shaping a narrative, delivering a political agenda by shaping what readers of news think, based on what they are told. And blocking or suppressing information that disrupts their agenda.

People complain about Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News. They forget that none of these people or outlets would be needed, if the journalists would just do their job and deliver accurate information.

These renegade news sources are greatly outnumbered by the establishment media, which gets new recruits from college every year. Young people steeped in “journalism” for four years, purposefully devoid of the skill or even interest in rooting out news when they exit.

Which makes one wonder, What does it take to get a journalism degree in college? What is it really made of?

After all, actual journalism just involves having a phone and a pen, and asking questions, to get at the truth. Would actual training in journalism be a single course? Maybe several courses, at the longest, so at the most a single semester, right?

How is it, then, that people are spending four whole years of their lives to get a degree in “journalism”? What is it they are truly learning during that entire time? How much time does it really take to teach someone how to use a phone and pen, to ask questions, to write it down, and report the news?

The truth is, college students of ‘journalism’ are being indoctrinated for four years, and journalism, the sacred role of writing the journal of civilization, enshrined in our First Amendment to the US Constitution, has been bastardized and hijacked by people bent on control at any cost.

God be with us.

 

You get what you pay for, and is this what you want

That old adage “You get what you pay for” is universally popular.

While this adage usually applies to private transactions for durable (or not so durable) goods, it applies to American and British cultures, too.

In both nations, taxpayer expenditures on public “education” have hit incredible highs, both in sheer volume and per capita.

While we once thought of education as being basic arithmetic, history, home economics, science, etc., over the past fifty years the process of forming young minds has increasingly deviated to include all kinds of social re-engineering.

This is now open, widespread indoctrination against the established culture, values, mores, boundaries, expectations etc by politically powerful teachers unions.

Day after day we see headlines, news reports, and cell phone footage from the front row of some low grade class, where either a teacher engages in gross personalization of education, or where even the official school body creates policies that openly trample civil and constitutional rights.

Recent examples include lots of hateful ranting against republicans, tea party activists, social conservatives, and political moderate Donald Trump, to the point where year books are being selectively edited and Photoshopped to remove references contrary to liberal\progressive beliefs. Like a young senior’s “Trump” tee-shirt being blacked out in his graduation photo, or Trump quotes being edited out from some senior’s year book text.

Then we get to colleges and we see a whole other level of pure hate being taught. A grades are given for answering in politically correct terms, and Cs or even failing grades are given to students who merely answer with actual facts.

Disparaging Republicans and conservatives is like a competitive sport on college campuses, to the point where college administrations now openly (and illegally) discriminate against student groups that are politically incorrect.

While this tyrannical behavior itself is frightening, because the Nazis could not have demonized their intended victims any better, the consequences of educational radicalization are starting to bear violent fruit for everyone to see.

College professor Eric Clanton wears a mask and, using steel bike locks, he sneakily attacks and badly injures peaceful protestors with whom he disagrees. He is caught on video several times, and despite the mask, he is identified by police. Clanton openly teaches “revolution” on college campus.

The other day, Mister Hodgkinson was merely a socialist and Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer. He too has lots of anti- Republican hate, begun on his college campus many years ago, and so he takes a rifle and a handgun and shoots a bunch of Republicans playing baseball.

So the question is, as we are now reaping the results of decades of hate being taught and rewarded in educational institutions from the very beginning grades to the very end of graduate schools, is this what taxpayers want? Is this what you have in mind when you pay your school tax bill, or your child’s college tuition?

If you think that this carefully cultivated hate is not what you what out of our educational system, that it is not what you are paying for, then what are you going to do about it?

 

 

A Severance Tax, now?

Talk about an addiction to spending other people’s money.

Yesterday in southeast PA, far away from the communities where this issue is most important and the citizens might not be so welcoming, Governor Tom Wolf staked out his position on creating a new 5% “severance tax” on natural gas from the Marcellus shale feature.

Right now, natural gas is selling at historic low prices, especially here in Pennsylvania.  The financial incentive to drill more or spend more money to get more gas is very low, and drill rigs have been disappearing from across the region for a year.

The Saudis began dumping oil months ago, in an effort to punish competing oil producers Iran and Russia, with the secondary effect of dropping gasoline prices so low that the natural gas industry got hit from that side, too.

So now is not only a bad time for the gas industry, it is also a time of greatly diminished returns on investment and on royalties received.  Scalping 5% off the top of that is punishing to everyone, including gas consumers, who will see their rates increase proportionally.

Here’s the biggest problem with a severance tax: Pennsylvania already has a 3% impact fee on Marcellus gas, and a Corporate Net Income Tax of 9.99% (let’s call it ten percent, OK?).  Most of the other gas and oil producing states have no such additional taxes; their severance taxes are the one and only tax their oil and gas producers pay, not the multiple high taxes and fees drillers in PA pay.

Pennsylvania government is therefore already reaping much higher revenue from the gas industry than other gas producing states.  That means that the companies doing business here are already burdened much more than elsewhere.

So adding a severance tax now, at this economically bad time, without commensurately lowering other taxes, or the existing Impact Fee, makes no sense.  Unless the people promoting this have an infantile view of how America and business work.

And that right there is the problem.  Way too many advocates for tax-and-spend policies like an additional severance tax have a Marxist view of business; essentially, to them, business exists to pour money into liberal schemes.

And speaking of spending, who believes that spending more and more and more taxpayer dollars on public schools, public teachers unions, and public teachers’ pensions, actually equates with better education?

So many studies disprove that (see the Mercatus Center), but it is a liberal mantra that taxpayers must spend ever more of their money to support public unions that support political liberals.  And both parents of students and taxpayers alike now correctly see that system for what it is – simple, legalized political graft to fund one political party.

Public schools are mostly a disaster, yet teacher’s unions and their political buddies continue to pound on the table for more and more money.  Homeowners are essentially now renting their houses from the teacher’s unions, and proposed laws like Act 76 seek to fix that unfair situation by removing the vampire fangs from homeowners and letting the larger society pay for its expenditure.

Going door-to-door for political races year after year, property tax has been the number one issue I have encountered among elderly homeowners.  So many of them can no longer afford to pay the taxes on their houses, that they must sell them and move, despite a lifetime of investing in them.  This is patently un-American and unfair.

So Tom Wolf is moving in exactly the opposite direction we need on this subject, and instead of trying to fix the tax situation, he seeks to make it worse.  To be fair, Wolf campaigned on raising taxes.  He just needs to remember that he did not get elected by voters who want higher taxes, they wanted to fire former governor Tom Corbett.

 

Josh’s Veteran’s Day presentation in Catawissa

Hello. My name is Josh First.

I am a political activist and small business owner from Harrisburg, and a dad and husband.

What an honor it is for me to stand with you today, recognizing our past and present military Veterans.

Thank you for your service!

Thank you to Jared Valeski and the other volunteers for all of your hard work on the field gun dedication, and for the invitation to be here with you today.

If you go to Ironmen Arms here in town, Jared and Tom might sell you a French army gun from World War One. It is in great shape, because it has never been fired and was only dropped once.

Hey, don’t forget the French army knife, either.

We all know what a Swiss Army knife looks like, right?

Lots and lots of tools in it, lots of uses.

You can fix your car with a Swiss Army Knife.

Well, maybe you’ve seen the French Army knife.

It has just two tools: A corkscrew, and a little white flag that flips up.

Hey, we can pick on the French a little bit, because American military veterans have been saving their behinds time after time, right?

Lots of ultimate sacrifice by our boys for the French, and for the other Europeans, to be free.

American military veterans are beacons of freedom and hope, each and every one of you, and the world knows it.

Who does the world call when freedom is on the line?

You. Each one of you.

We are going to talk about one of your fellow military veterans today, a young man named Herb McCarty, who defended the French from being turned into Germans back in World War One.

The question is: Will America be able to produce in the future more patriots like you, more heroes like McCarty?

A big thank you to Steve Campbell of the Catawissa Valley Historical Study Group.

Steve did the historical research on Herb McCarty, a real local American hero, and one of America’s best known combat veterans.

History is critical to civilization’s success, because without understanding history, we are doomed to repeat past mistakes.

Civilization only progresses if people learn from their successes and mistakes.

McCarty was a farm boy born here in Catawissa, in 1893, and like many Americans who loved liberty, he dutifully, almost happily went off to fight the Kaiser’s army in Europe in World War One, which threatened the cradle of Western civilization, that being France and western Europe.

During 1918, the end of World War One and also the year when most Americans fought and died then, McCarty covered a lot of territory over there, notably at the Argonne Forest front, where over 26,000 American patriots died for freedom in a matter of just days.

The Western Front there has been memorialized in many films, because the fighting was especially fierce, the weather was especially cold, the conditions were awful, and many wonderful young men did not come home to their families.

McCarty’s heroism there included leading men in an up-the-middle charge into entrenched German positions, after their captain fell, right into the teeth of thick furious fire, deadly combat, and

–carrying his wounded comrades off the field of battle while under intense fire, and

–being shot multiple times from a strafing German airplane, and

–then blown up by an artillery round, and

–then being merely wounded badly by another shell, and

–then he was left for dead on the zero-degree ground for 46 hours, before he was carried off.

All of this just three days before Germany surrendered and the armistice was signed.

But McCarty’s will to live was powerful, and while recuperating in Europe and during the following four years back home, he underwent just shy of fifty, yes fifty surgeries, 16 of which were done without any anesthesia at all, none, but involved young Herb simply lying there and screaming into a clenched wooden dowel while the surgeons sliced away at his wounds to heal his body for hours at a time.

In just one surgery, four bullets were removed from various parts of his body. Two bullets eventually became attached to his jugular vein with scar tissue, and McCarty took them to his grave.

Shrapnel was constantly being found throughout his body, and removed.

Some wounds just would not heal, and required frequent invasive attention, and that is what eventually killed him, four years after the war ended.

This is why McCarty is known as “America’s Most Wounded Veteran.”

92 years ago, at McCarty’s July 1st, 1922 funeral here in Catawissa, the Reverend Doctor Ulysses Myers said “This army never had a better or a braver man…We give thanks to God for him and feel that now he has been promoted.”

Reverend Lau said “For McCarty to live was God, country, and justice to all, and it was for this cause that he finally gave his life.”

McCarty’s incredible strength of will to survive, his powerful character, his grace and ability to bear such tremendous pain, are representative of Central Pennsylvania’s good people, long ago and still today.

And McCarty was motivated by much bigger ideas than just himself. He wanted everyone to be free.

I was thinking, if Catawissa meant “pure waters” in either Shawnee or Delaware Indian back in the early 1700s, then to its native boys in 1918, it must have meant “pure spirit,” because that is what McCarty represented to the world, pure American spirit.

For his many acts of heroism on the field of battle McCarty was awarded many medals, most notably the American Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, and the Croix d’Guerre (that’s the War Cross in English) by the French government.

You know, it’s amazing the French didn’t make McCarty their prime minister!

Take note that Columbia County also produced other World War One combat heroes, two of whom were also Distinguished Service Cross recipients: a young Mister Monahan, and Michael Chyko, who fought in McCarty’s unit and who was one of his pall bearers.

For those who may be wondering, the Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military award that can be given to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force.

Only the Medal of Honor outranks it.

You know, if the first European settlers of the Catawissa Valley were English Quakers, opposed to warfare, then I am here today, as a former Quaker myself, to say that in these modern times we still need the Private Herb McCarty’s.

We need them in our own generation.

We need to absorb McCarty’s strong character, his gallantry, his willingness to take the ultimate risk, and apply it here, at home. His quintessential American spirit.

Without that attitude, America fails.

There are some who claim the American spirit is bad, that we are a bad nation. They claim that we are too war-like.

Of course, they say nothing of the people who started wars with us in the first place, so you have to wonder whose side they are really on, and what they are doing here in America…

But we are gathered here today to honor long-dead heroes like Herb McCarty because they still inspire us so many years later, and we want them to inspire future generations, too.

As we are not presently at war abroad, we must ask, To what present purpose are we inspired by heroes like McCarty and their patriotic sacrifice?

More succinctly, what relevance do Herb McCarty’s actions from 1918 through 1922 have for our own actions today, 92 years later, or even as recently as this past Election Day?

We have been hovering about this question and it is time we took a shot at answering it.

Although there is certainly a serious conflict looming ahead of us between Islam and Western civilization, our biggest war right now is at home, here in America, not abroad, and we must recognize that we are fighting on our own home front.

This is a war not of bullets and bombs, but of ballots, hearts, and minds.

To that end, we must draw inspiration from Herb McCarty’s dedication to the American principles he passionately believed in, the American flag, our Constitution, and each of us must become a warrior-in-spirit for our nation on the home front, wielding a pen, a vote, not a sword….yet.

A majority of Americans and certainly most Veterans are awakening to the reality that our own federal government is presently at war with the very citizens who lend the central government its legitimacy.

Using federal agencies like the IRS, ICE, Homeland Security, NSA and others, our individual liberties, our free speech rights, our Second Amendment rights, our rights of assembly and petitioning our government, our privacy rights, our voting rights, our religious rights have all been “transformed” for the past six years in an unprecedented assault on the core of American democracy.

There is today in Washington a man who believes he is a “government of one,” a man who believes that Congress either rubber stamps his policies and his anti-America nominees, or it gets the hell out of his way so he can do whatever he wants.

There is a man in Washington whose tyrannical actions are greater in number, scope, and gravity than those in our Declaration of Independence’s list of grievances against King George in 1776.

No, his behavior is not democratic, and Yes, that man was soundly and absolutely repudiated by the American people last week at the voting booth.

That still feels pretty good, doesn’t it?

The citizens of our Constitutional Republic spoke out against his usurpation of power.

He has been repudiated in historic terms.

But the problem we face in recapturing the America of liberty, equality, and opportunity as it was founded, is that our votes only matter to those who believe in the American system.

We can vote, win at the ballot box, and go home feeling like we succeeded.

But we may still be defeated in the long run, if we forget to recapture our traditional culture and values, the qualities that made us Americans to begin with, the values that motivated Herb McCarty.

We risk becoming slaves to an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-doing central government.

And the problem with that is, The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

In America, we are all about the citizen, not the government.

This is the real battle, the real war: To maintain our freedom at home, not on European battlefields.

This is a culture war, a contest either for an America as it was founded, or an America that looks like the old Soviet State, with no liberty, our Constitution rendered meaningless.

Like McCarty’s long battle to stay alive, this is not going to be settled with a single decisive battle.

Rather, it is a long-running war from which there is no retreat and no easy resolution.

It is not just about that one man in Washington.

It is about the anti-America movement that put him in Washington.

Our politically correct opponents’ tentacles have penetrated every fiber of our nation, every major institution, including churches, academia, charitable foundations, the Boy Scouts, the military, the media…you name it.

Sorry. Digression here, I just need to ask a simple question – with all due respect to the professional journalists with us today, may we ask if you are truly an objective, dispassionate arbiter of facts and accuracy, or are you an agenda-driven political activist hiding behind a false mask of fairness, like so many journalists appear to be?

Back to today. Today we face politically correct opponents not on an active combat battlefield like those on which Herb McCarty fought.

Rather, we are battling with ideas, information, and taxpayer-funded giveaways of great wealth.

Our opponents are not necessarily swayed by elections, nor dissuaded by individual electoral defeats.

They view these as merely temporary set-backs, individual lost battles while the bigger war continues behind the scenes, where McCarty’s strength of character and a sense of duty – YOUR strength of character and sense of duty — can be quietly erased from entire generations of Americans through control of groups like the Boy Scouts and educational institutions.

The very next day after an electoral defeat, our opponents return to the same battlefield with wing-nut activist Federal judges whose hatred for a Constitutional America is exceeded only by their pursuit of Socialism and big government micromanagement of We, the Peons.

They have Dumb and Dumber educational programs like Common Core.

Our opponents want to take America, the world’s most vibrant economy, and turn it into another French socialist democracy, at the least.

And that is why France has not fared so well in my presentation.

Because let’s be honest: France stinks. It is a mess in every way.

France hasn’t produced any Herb McCartys in a long time, and if America becomes like France, then we won’t produce many more quintessential American heroes, either.

The result of France’s socialism is that everyone with money and potential is fleeing the country.

Demographically, culturally, France will never be the same as it was 92 years ago.

But that’s where the politically correct Left wants to take us, despite history telling us that experiments in socialism and multiculturalism always fail.

And mind you, the France that Herb McCarty fought for had a military that invented Poudre B, or Powder B, the precursor to modern smokeless gunpowder used by all modern militaries.

That was a different France then.

But now, in France and their allies here in America, advocates of Big Government have spawned the rise of the entrenched, unelected, unaccountable, demanding Big Government bureaucrat.

The bureaucrat and his enormous pension have deeply eroded our individual freedoms.

The bureaucrat is a huge threat to liberty not anticipated by our otherwise brilliant Founding Fathers, who envisioned a limited government, not a big government.

But the bureaucrat outlives all elections. His ever-bigger government makes citizens ever smaller.

He is not balanced by the other branches of government.

We must elect politicians who are brave and strong enough to tackle this tough challenge.

So, if we are to follow in the footsteps of Herb McCarty, and if we are to translate his actions into actions today, and similarly serve our nation personally 92 years later, without necessarily fighting abroad or at home in a military combat unit, and if we are to be inspired to live for America the way Herb did, then here are four specific suggestions for winning the political fight for our traditional liberties and values here at home:

1) Be as politically active as possible. Go door-to-door, make phone calls, etc. for causes and candidates.

Support and work for good political candidates every year, in primaries and general elections.

America runs on political activity like a heart needs blood. Without you, the process is run by people who do not have your interests at heart.

2) Elect only those public servants who will voluntarily term-limit out, who do not seek a career in elected office, and who rely first and foremost on the Federal and State Constitutions for limited government.

Tell candidates that you will only vote for them if they pledge to voluntarily term-limit out.

And for state house and senate seats, elect people who will stick to the Pennsylvania Constitution and take only a salary and mileage as compensation.

That is what Article 2, Section 8 says is allowed, not the laundry list of taxpayer-funded benefits, like a pension, health care, car and per-diem costs.

Elected officials who term limit themselves are more able and willing to take risks and make sacrifices than those career politicians who will sell their soul just to stay in office.

Representative government, politics, should be about service, not self-enrichment.

And if there is a theme today, if Herb McCarty means anything today, it is about taking risks and making sacrifices in the service of our fellow citizens.

3) Bypass the political parties, and donate directly to political candidates and organizations like Gun Owners of America, Firearms Owners Against Crime, the NRA, and others.

Recognize that political parties are self-interested. Individual citizens do not interest them.

The political parties are full of bureaucrats and self-important functionaries who are modeled on government bureaucrats and functionaries.

Political parties were supposed to be vehicles for ideas, but nationally and especially in states like Pennsylvania, they are privately run business enterprises, whose goal is self-perpetuation.

They rarely serve the forgotten taxpayer, citizen, and voter. Rather, they simply re-divide the political spoils between each other every two to four years.

And do not fool yourself that “your” political party is better than the other.

I am a Republican because I am a conservative, traditional American, but believe me, the Republican Party establishment fights activists like me harder than they fight the Democrats.

Why? Because establishment Republicans know how to deal with the liberal Democrats: They each get a slice of the taxpayer pie; sometimes it’s less, sometimes it’s more, but they always get a slice.

Both parties agree on that, even though how big their slice of pie is may change year to year.

But good government activists can’t be bought, we stand on principle, and we want the taxpayers to eat their own pie, not politicians, and not the bureaucrats.

So we pose a greater threat to the bipartisan exploitation of government than if the parties merely temporarily lose to one another.

Our good government movement needs your support. Look for our candidates, like Scott Wagner in York County, who became a state senator on a write-in vote against his own party this year.

And finally, number 4) Reassemble the militias, out of love for our nation, Constitution, and our individual liberties, not out of hate for anyone.

Organized militias with muster rolls meet the “well regulated” clause in the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

Militias formed the basis of our nation, the basis of our military, and they are as American as apple pie, so long as they are focused on protecting communities and the Constitution.

And yes, that can include protecting American citizens from their own federal government, which is not some kooky idea from out of the blue, but in fact was a long discussion among our Founding Fathers and is the basis of the Second Amendment.

Even the French once knew the danger of big government, except they didn’t have the militia.

Instead, they used mobs and the guillotine.

Americans are just a wee bit more civilized than that, right?

It’s like Europe was the imperfect prototype, and America is the finely finished product.

It’s like Europe was the cradle of democracy, and America is the kid that got up out of the cradle and walked away, and grew up into an independent, strong young man.

That’s why young men like Herb McCarty have had to return several times to save the Europeans from themselves, and demonstrate each time how great we Americans are, at great cost.

Americans are exceptional, we have always been exceptional, not because we simply think we are better than everyone else.

It is because we humbly demonstrate our greatness time after time.

We get the toughest jobs done, because we are asked to.

High-falutin’ Europeans pretend they are exceptional by living hedonistic lifestyles and tossing their traditional values out the window.

Let’s not follow Europe’s lead, and let’s not allow young Herb McCarty and the many other vets buried here to have died in vain.

Let us learn from history, and let’s not make mistakes we know can end our civilization.

Last week’s election results were a small step in the right direction, and the real work is just beginning to re-create a traditional American culture.

Please be part of that movement.

In conclusion, thank you very much for having me here with you today, and…

Again, a big Thank You to our military Veterans here: Each and every one of you sacrificed and contributed toward my own personal liberties, like my ability to speak honestly with you here.

I would like to thank our audience for listening so patiently.

In Herb McCarty’s memory, I want to thank God the All-Mighty for having founded America on the Bible, the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, so that law, justice, fortitude, service, mercy, charity, liberty and love forever inspire and bind us together in American brotherhood.

Thank you!

Good move by Gov. Corbett

If I hear one more false accusation that Tom Corbett is short changing government schools, I am gonna buttonhole that next person who says it.  It is not true that government school funding was or has been cut by the Corbett administration.  Like so many things that former governor Ed Rendell had done, those previous annual education budgets were temporarily bolstered by one-time FEDERAL money.  That funding was never intended to be continuous, and if it is not continuous, then it is in Barack Obama’s hands, not some governor who has zero control over federal spending.

Whatever your beef with Tom Corbett may be, and Lord knows, people have legitimate beefs with him, he is not responsible for “cutting education funding.” That is a lie.

Today, Corbett did the right thing by signing the legislature’s proposed budget, but using his line-item veto power to exclude the state legislature’s hoggish claim to some $72 million taxpayer dollars.  I have seen the state legislature hog over $100 million, and even higher, for their pet projects that the careerist leaders and their “pets” use to spend on projects to buy votes and get re-elected.

Corbett is angling for the legislature to return and fix the state pension crisis.

Good move, Tom Corbett.

The excitement never ends

So a quiet little Friday morning in sleepy Central Pennsylvania erupts as parent Josh Barry attempts to defend his opposition to being called a “Neo Nazi” in public by a teacher. Said teacher objected to Barry’s inquiries after Barry’s little girl came home with all kinds of left wing propaganda masquerading as education.

Now “teacher” Cydnee Cohen has turned loose the teacher’s union thugs to smear Barry more and make him into the perpetrator and not the victim.

If there is one more example of why teacher’s unions must be illegal, this is it.

Harrisburg Mayor’s Race & More

Dauphin County, PA, Election Round-Up: All Politics are Indeed Local, So Vote & Protect Your Property Values

By Josh First
November 4, 2013

Voters tend to get most excited about, and participate most in “big” presidential elections, but three local political races are about to be decided in two days, and each one has a direct impact on home values in Dauphin County, on your taxes, your kids, on businesses and your friends’ and families’ jobs. Here they are.

Judge

Despite performing zero reporting about the incredible primary race this spring for judge, and very little reporting about the general race between Bill Tully and Anne Cornick, Harrisburg’s local part-time newspaper The Patriot News suddenly had the evident deep wisdom and cultivated knowledge to make an “informed” endorsement Sunday. No, their endorsement would never, ever, ever be political ((cough, cough)). While they are both lawyers, Tully is Cornick’s professionally experienced senior by about two decades, has an impressive resume several pages longer than hers, and he is eminently more qualified to be the next judge. Most political races have a Yin and a Yang, a black hat and a white hat, a positive and a negative, a qualified candidate and a foil highlighting the superior candidate’s abilities, and we’ve got that here. Vote for high quality over politics, for quality over the foil, please; vote for Bill Tully.

Susquehanna School Board

How often do we hear of school board races actually meaning more than, at most, how much our property taxes will be rising? Well, this school board race in Susquehanna Township actually means a lot, not only to residents of Susquehanna Township, but to every citizen living around it. Much more than school taxes rides on the outcome of this election. As goes one domino, so goes another next to it. Lower Paxton Township, this is about you, too.

Susquehanna Township was, at one time, the successful Yin to Harrisburg’s painfully struggling Yang of a school district. It was a study of contrasting similarities, shared goals, and an example of multiracial harmony. Not necessarily any longer. The quality of the Susquehanna School District hangs by a thread. It is riven by all kinds of cross-cutting forces, not the least example of which includes last week’s announcement of the resignation of administrator Shawn Sharkey (can a more appropriately named ‘villain’ be conjured in fiction?), reportedly for sleeping with an under-age student. Resignations of high quality administrators and staff, and fierce interoffice politics, have been raging throughout the district for several years. Leadership is needed in this vacuum.

Making it all worse, racialism and apparent racism are at the core of a dangerous and divisive move to segregate the school district. Demands of a group of school board candidates led by Jesse Rawls would divvy up the district’s teaching and professional positions by the representation of citizens’ skin color, not the content of their character or their credentials. Nothing to do with quality, education, or training: Jobs assigned strictly by shades of pink and brown. Sound fair and reliable to you? Making matters worse, Rawls has been alleged to have unrepentantly called one of his opponents a kike, as in the equivalent of The N Word for Jews.

Oh, the sad irony of the magnificent 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, being invoked to establish just another regime of racial control. Are good citizens really going to vote for that?

Property values and much more depend greatly on the quality of the school district. If voters want some order brought to the chaos in the Susquehanna School District, then vote for Bob Marcus and Bruce Warshawsky, whose sole focus is on academic excellence. Imagine that: The simple, basic pursuit of school/ teacher/ student excellence as central to educating the kids of Susquehanna Township School District.

Mayor of Harrisburg

Voters hate making a decision between one mediocre candidate and another. That is probably what Harrisburg citizens face on Tuesday, with the stellar Independent candidate Nevin Mindlin artificially run out of the race and removed from the ballot. Once again, The Patriot News made an odd, nakedly political endorsement in this election that bore no resemblance to the facts surrounding the candidate they endorsed, those same facts reported in their own newsprint.

Candidate Dan Miller is a Certified Public Accountant who has served as Harrisburg’s Controller. He has extensive local government experience, as well as business experience. He also has a persnickety personality and does not always listen well, as my Mom used to say. Collaboratively, and not combatively, is how Harrisburg’s next mayor must run things. Can Miller do that? One hopes.

Candidate Eric Papenfuse has very little government experience, and his business experience is running an alternative book store serving organic, free range, expensive teas. As a former candidate myself, I appreciated that his bookstore became a center of official political debates run by Harrisburg Hope, a political group we then learned was designed to support Papenfuse’s candidacy. But he’s still not real qualified to be mayor.

More to the point, two key things really speak to Papenfuse’s likely leadership direction, the first being his 2009 invitation and hosting of domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, an extremist now posing as an educational “expert,” at his bookstore. Papenfuse has given varying reasons why he served Ayers’ purposes, including recently telling me on a call-in radio program that Ayers is deserving of “free speech.” Well, lots of evil people also deserve free speech, but what kind of person would actually facilitate giving them a platform? Answer: The same kind of person who is also associated with Occupy Wall Street, Eric Papenfuse.

The second indication is a letter to the editor Papenfuse wrote (Patriot News, January 30, 2010) about his bizarre vision for public education, specifically citing Harrisburg University and Harrisburg SciTech. Advocating for teaching Harrisburg’s disadvantaged inner city students to be “radical thinkers,” instead of “workers,” Papenfuse wants inner city students to be schooled in anger, poetry, street theater, and activism. Forget getting an accounting degree, a chemistry degree, an IT degree, or eventually a law degree. Forget being a constructive, positive contributor to society who can earn a living and support a family. No, according to Papenfuse, Harrisburg’s kids must be cannon fodder in his, and Ayers’ social unrest movement, perpetually living on government handouts, perpetually at war with their fellow Americans. This is an obvious recipe for disaster for Harrisburg’s students and their families. Let’s ask the voters of our great city: Do you want your kids to be Eric Papenfuse’s political cannon fodder? Or do you want them to get ahead in life?

If Miller is a snip-snap, too-smart-for-you accountant, perhaps too assured of his own correct thinking, Papenfuse is on the cusp of introducing radical, ultra-divisive politics to Harrisburg the likes of which we have never before seen. Dan Miller has my vote, not because I am enamored of him, not because I think he is the best thing since sliced bread, not because I think he is the best candidate hands-down. But he is a damned sight better, and better qualified, than Eric Papenfuse. I hope you will vote for Dan Miller for those simple reasons alone.

Stay in the conversation at www.joshfirst.com and on our Facebook page.

In Eric Papenfuse’s own nutty words

http://www.midtownscholar.com/home/billayersfeb5th.pdf 
You don’t see that any group asked Midtown Scholar to host domestic terrorist Bill Ayers in this announcement.
 
http://www.pennlive.com/editorials/index.ssf/2010/01/why_i_invited_bill_ayers_to_co.html 

Papenfuse says he invited domestic terrorist Bill Ayers because we cannot improve our school system until we encourage students to become poets, artists and naysayers rather than graduates qualified to work for business.
 
Anybody but this guy for mayor.

Finally, A Sign of Life in Harrisburg

Finally, there’s a sign of life in Harrisburg.

Tonight I attended the candidates debate between Democrat Rob Teplitz and Republican John McNally. It was held at the MidTown Bookstore, owned by leftist activist Eric Papenfuse. While his business can’t be hurt by hosting these debates (a bunch have been held there in the past), Eric still gets kudos for opening his doors to the community as a common gathering place. Thank you, Eric.

Kudos also go to Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, the founder of Harrisburg Hope, the convening organization. Alan puts a significant amount of his own time into these efforts, and the community benefits. Way to go, Alan, thank you.

As a former candidate, the format allowed me to ask a question of each candidate, and I did. Alvin Q. Taylor, also a former state senate candidate for the Democratic Party, was also allowed to ask a question, but he got in about ten questions each for McNally and Teplitz. Maybe they were more accusations than questions.

My question for Rob Teplitz: “Knowing that our individual Second Amendment civil rights are a big part of Central Pennsylvania’s culture, including both Democrats and Republicans, do you support more gun control efforts, or more crime control efforts?”

Teplitz disavowed knowing much about guns, because he has had little exposure to them, he said. He said the question posed a false set of choices, because the correct answer is both, not necessarily gun control versus crime control. Teplitz said that he supports hunting and the hunting culture, and that guns should not be in the hands of felons, domestic abusers, or children.

Liberals always mistakenly equate the Second Amendment with “hunting,” and they mistakenly equate gun control with crime control, but that last group he listed caught me by surprise. Like me and like a huge number of the children in Dauphin County, my own kids have been raised with a gun in their hands. Each of my three children has been shooting guns off the cabin porch since they were three or four years old. Nina asked for and received a rifle for her 12th birthday, and when she turned 14, she asked for a handgun. With an arsenal of knives already in his responsible possession, 9-year-old Isaac is almost ready to get his own gun. That kid can shoot.

To say that guns don’t belong in the hands of children is foolish. That is exactly where guns belong so that kids can learn how to use them properly. Like sex education before it, we need mandatory gun safety education in all schools.

To say that the beloved Second Amendment is about hunting is also silly. The Right to Bear Arms is enshrined in all of the state constitutions as well. It is about individual liberty, not duck hunting. Teplitz should take a page out of the Casey or Holden play books, answer his NRA questionnaire, and seek out an NRA A rating, but I doubt he will.

My question for John McNally was, ” As immediate past-chairman of the Dauphin County Republican Party and a quintessential Party insider, you received unprecedented financial and logistical support from the Republican Party and elected officials in your primary campaign against two other fellow Republican candidates this spring. Knowing that you owe your success to their intervention, just how much will you actually be able to maintain independence from party leaders, as you say you will in your ads?”

Thinking quickly on his feet while turning beet red, McNally said that it was me who had sent him an email right after the April 24th election “thanking” him for splitting the vote, as though I had somehow magically won the primary. McNally got it all wrong factually, but give that guy credit for both thinking on his feet and trying to turn back around the pointed question. He just might be a politician yet.

[My April 24, 2012 email to John McNally was sent at 10:33 PM and says “John, Congrats. You owe me for splitting the vote! Good luck against Taylor.”]

I gave him a raised fist pump, which he acknowledged, and he was then off to the races, accusing Teplitz of being a bigger insider and of taking more special interest money, etc etc etc. Give McNally credit for not answering the question, too. Most candidates who duck the question look foolish, but McNally attacked his opponent with such gusto that the audience was carried along with it. I like to think it was me he was really thinking about as he vented real frustration on poor bewildered Rob Teplitz. And while we are pitying people, pity the poor bewildered Republicans who voted for “the conservative outsider” John McNally (the consummate liberal Republican insider), whose campaign literature set new records for blatant horse hooey. Hand it to him, he sold himself as right, left, up down, green, red, blue and yellow all at the same time to the same people, and he got away with it. Talent like that, lying or not, requires earnest recognition. You got it goin’ on, John!

About 80% of the debate was about education, 5% about character flaws, and the remaining 15% was about other policy stuff, like abortion, racial politics, political funding, and who gets to own the fiery crash Harrisburg educational system and $350 million incinerator debt. It was a good debate.

Included in the follow-up policy wonk questions were angry denunciations, plaintive pleas, and weirdo whining for legalized pot from a yenta from Brooklyn wearing a tye-dyed tee-shirt and an explosive Jewfro. It was a really good debate.

Me? I enjoyed sitting with local coroner Graham Hetrick and sharing observations. I also really enjoyed asking McNally the one pointed question he will ever get in his career.

Because taking risks, making sacrifices, and facing adversity builds character, I really want to see the Republican Party stay the hell out of primary races, and let the candidates stand on their own two feet. I want to be able to vote for people who have strong character, chiseled out of hard work, taking bullets, and drinking buckets of crap. Sadly, this race does not include anyone meeting those criteria.

But Alvin Q. Taylor, running his uphill write-in campaign, he IS a character, and as with many other disenchanted Democrats and Republicans around here, he just might get my protest vote.