Is it just me or have the Palins become our favorite reality show?

I am not sure why Bristol thinks I should know about how she lost her virginity, why she is even being interviewed or why the whole family demands spotlight and TV time. I am not sure why mom Sarah is so proud of her daughter being on a dance show, just exactly the kind of activity that will endear her little one to grow up with fond memories of the domesticity of the family. The last thing I want to see as an adult is a photo of my mom in a skimpy outfit out dancing while I am in childcare. Grow up, mom.

I am by and large a Sarah Palin fan. I am a limited government man and eschew that view of the state which reduces individual liberty and responsibility. But Palin loves a carnival and has found a way to get and keep attention that is unbecoming of a serious political figure who should be spending the resources of life on the public good.

And there is something in me that is repelled by turning conservatism and what is at stake in the political debate for the welfare of tens of millions of Americans into an over the top means to enrich oneself. I expect a more sober life from those who want to affect my future and maybe even have me vote for them.

There is something in all of this Sarah Palin does not get. And that she does not get it, bothers me. I wish she did get it. I wish she sobered up, was less interested in her financial future, and entered into serious political discourse apart from the speaker’s lectern. She has wasted her political start-up capital and soon will be a mere political hang-around.

To borrow a phrase, she coulda been a contenda.

Student scores to be key factor in teacher evaluations. Duhhhhh!!!!!

The Boston Globe reports

In a dramatic departure from past practice, students’ MCAS scores and other achievement data will become key barometers in evaluating the performance of their teachers and administrators, under new criteria the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved yesterday.

How was this ever an issue anyway? There is really no other way to evaluate a teacher in the here and now. Yes, even though the student may not be able to read and write and add, when he is 25 years old at least he is not in prison. And he owes it all to his teacher. Well, that may be true. So let’s put off teacher evaluations for at least 20 years and keep an open file on all former students to track down their progress.

Can you imagine any other human enterprise saying that there can be no real means of evaluating job performance in the present? How does that work at Burger King? I am sure the adult who now works there because he had one of these teachers gets the same treatment that he got in school – “don’t worry, Larry, you can’t put that hamburger together right but in 20 years we know that you’ll be making a contribution to society.”

Believe me, I have seen not just products of the public sector try to make it in the private sector, but actual employees of the public sector get fired from $10 an hour jobs because they can’t get it right. “Get it right” at Burger King doesn’t exactly call for strong verbal and math scores.

In the “right now” there is no other way to evaluate a teacher than by her or his students success at academics. That the education establishment can’t get this says something about who is teaching and the nature of the “profession.”

Oh, by the way, I am required to say, as all the articles do, there are many excellent teachers out there doing a first rate job.

If you have the stomach to pay the price, it can be done

Gov Scott Walker got it done. He balanced the Wisconsin state budget without raising taxes.

What a price he paid!! A simple “no” to spending more than we take in can be done. It can. The problem is that adults are not minding the store. There are things adults have to do – and one of them is live within their means and fight like mad until it is done. Truly, there is a ruthlessness to it. That is why it takes an adult to do it. Children can’t say “no” very easy.

In today’s political atmosphere we don’t need great leaders. We just need some adults in the room. Hats off to Gov Walker for not playing dead or crying about how hard it is to be Governor. He is one of a new breed of governors who have the stomach (a word I hesitate to use relative to Chris Christie but you know what I mean) to simply go about the business of managing government.

I think the problem with President Obama is not his ideology (which is troubling) as much as his psychology. He does not have a fully formed adult psyche. He still thinks as a ready-made knee jerk reaction “there’s more where that came from”. That is not what “grown up” adults think.

Interestingly enough for me, the GOP presidential candidate ranks has women who can say no and mean it. This makes President Obama look even less an adult. Women have historically been a cultural treasure house of necessary elements of cultural transmission, such as understanding, hard relational work, nurturing and a readiness to put others first. Even with that cultural history, the increasing number of women who are catching man #1 with his hand continually in the cookie jar is almost a stereotypical marriage joke. It’s even embarrassing.

Maybe 2012 will prove to be “the year of the grown up”.

I don’t want someone for President who needs to be President as bad as Mitt Romney does

I think most people have concluded that Mitt Romney will say anything and do anything as long as people will like him enough to make him President.

Someone who needs to be President that bad has already shown he cannot lead.

Romney is perennially in the race and always making up his “we already thought he had his mind made up” mind. I think a politician is allowed to change his mind. But he  is not allowed to change his mind three times, as Romney has done on abortion. The third time around and no one can avoid the nearest available conclusion – Romney is using babies to chase votes.

I think Romney is essentially a nice conservative. Conservative as in the Judeo-Christian Tradition. And nice, as in “please and thank you.” He does not have the fire for an extended battle and standing by the stuff. He will back off a position simply because it makes someone mad at him. It makes me want to mess up his hair!!!

I personally find it hard to get past what he did for a living-restructuring troubled companies. I know the kind. Have been around them. They really don’t earn a living, produce a good, and take it to market. With capital they buy a troubled business, move in and fire people in heaps to reduce expenses, reconfigure the organization, and then put it back on the market at a price that means whoever buys it will pay such a premium that most such deals end up in failure once again. This means that essentially what he did for a living is lose people’s jobs for them.

It’s fair and it’s capitalist. But it’s repo work, and I don’t want a repo man as President.

Romney will not be the nominee of the Republican Party. He is a nuisance they have to dispense with before they get on to the real candidate.  But in the mean time I feel sort of sorry for a man who needs a job this bad.