Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

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This week’s audio netcast:  It’s been 80-some years, but the New Deal is still on our radar screens. Conservatives want to repeal it and progressives need to remind people about what FDR really wanted out of it. Law professor Jack Balkin explains how progressives can also use the Constitution’s original language to fight conservative attempts to roll back the New Deal. Historian Harvey Kaye reminds us of FDR’s Four Freedoms speech and the legacy that remains unfulfilled. And micropolitics activist Madison Paige focuses on the need for more people to run for office at the very local level.

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Fortune has a good story on the new aluminum Ford F-150 in Ford’s Epic Gamble: The Inside Story

At the Dearborn Truck Plant, one of two assembly plants where the F-150 will be built—the other one is just outside Kansas City—the company is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build and install new stamping presses and dies to produce the aluminum panels and replace today’s spot welders with rivet guns, advanced welders, and adhesive machinery in the body shop. With both plants currently producing the 2014 F-150, they will have to be taken down one at a time for a total of 13 weeks for refitting, depriving Ford of perhaps $2 billion in revenue.

There are three big questions yet to be answered about the new F-series: how close did Ford come to its 700-pound weight-reduction target? How great is the impact on performance and fuel economy? And how much more will Ford be able to charge customers? Analysts warn that Ford’s outsize profits may be a thing of the past. Says Bernstein’s Warburton: “The need to fit more expensive powertrains and use lightweight materials to meet fuel-economy regulations [the next F-series may have to shed 700 pounds] will permanently dent F-series profitability.” Pickup owners’ loyalty is legendary, so the F-series’ three decades of sales leadership most likely aren’t in jeopardy. But nobody wants to be known as the person who lost—or even tarnished—the crown jewels.

The recent primary elections delivered a strong rebuke to King Rex.  He spent $503,000 in four House races and lost all four.  King Rex targeted these four because they stood up to his cut in income taxes for the wealthiest Missourians.

Now King Rex is going after your teachers.  Amendment 3 on the November ballot attacks teacher tenure, a set of modest protections designed to limit favoritism and personal vendetta’s, and impose a one size fits all testing regime.  This News Tribune has come out in oppositio to Amendment 3 in Our Opinion: Local control still superior for education.

We align with opponents who contend the statewide mandate will undermine local control.

Standards, as a rule, reflect what consensus has determined is best. Educational standards, however, remain in flux. New methods of teaching continually are being introduced and modified.

We agree that teaching, like any job, requires a specified level of ability and competence.

We expect the people who design, assemble and inspect our vehicles to provide a safe product. The production analogy, however, is insufficient. Children are not products.

Even an analogy to service workers fails to hold up, because customers communicate what they want and expect.

Students may suffer behavioral, psychological or medical conditions that impede their ability to concentrate and learn. Some may not want to learn or, for that matter, even attend school.

Education has two components — teaching and learning. But the former does not guarantee the latter.

The best teacher using the best method cannot teach a student who is unable or unwilling to learn.

Although we may require teachers to attain and display specified levels of competence and ability, we’re not convinced it is fair to evaluate them based on student performance.

Education occurs when a teacher and student connect and a spark of learning is transferred. Building principals know their teachers, students, parents and patrons. They are positioned to evaluate learning and advance those evaluations to local school district administrators and board of educations.

Is the system perfect?

No, but unless and until we are convinced otherwise, we believe local evaluation and adaptation remain the best method of education.

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Want to make these job gains more impressive?  2 years ago Salon asked Bush vs Obama: Who Created More Private Sector Jobs?

Salon compared the first term private sector, the ones Republicans are always talking about,job growth of Presidents Bush and Obama.

. It’s a story that probably isn’t getting told enough about the Obama administration: Big government keeps getting smaller.

But the real eye-opener comes when we compare Obama’s numbers to George W. Bush’s. In Bush’s first term, the economy shed 913,000 private sector jobs! 913,000!The only thing that saved Bush’s first term from being a complete economic disaster, in terms of employment, was robust public sector growth: The economy added 900,000 government jobs. One wonders: Without the massive growth in the public sector during Bush’s first term, would he have been reelected?

This is interesting for a number of reasons. First, it punches a big hole in the theory that Bush’s tax cuts were responsible for boosting employment during his first term. Let’s also recall that the Bush recession (which he inherited from Clinton) was far, far milder than the near-Depression Obama inherited from Bush. In that context, Obama’s performance resuscitating the private sector has been miraculous. The Washington Postpublished an article criticizing Obama for not doing enough to resist job losses in the public sector, without fully acknowledging the political impossibility of additional stimulus after the first round, but we haven’t heard all that much over the years about how the growth of government saved Bush’s bacon.

Of course, Obama isn’t running against Bush, so that’s moot. But as this presidential campaign heats up, it might be worth periodically reminding ourselves: Bush led the U.S. economy out of a weak recession with strong public sector growth. Obama is leading the U.S. economy out of a near-death experience while a steadily shrinking government swells the unemployment rolls. Which magic trick do you think is harder?

Catherine Rampell letest, Myths About The Socal Safety Net, reveals some surprising facts about who gets how much and in what form from the social safety net.

Here’s a couple of my favorites...

3) Which income group receives more than half of federal housing subsidies?
A) Households with incomes below $30,000
B) Households with incomes between $30,000 and $100,000
C) Households with incomes above $100,000

The answer is households with incomes above $100,000, according to theCenter on Budget and Policy Priorities: “more than half of federal housing spending for which income data are available benefits households with incomes above $100,000.” Subsidies are skewed toward upper-income families primarily because of the mortgage interest deduction, which disproportionately benefits high-income families (who are more likely to both buy big homes and itemize their taxes).

4) What percentage of American households pays nothing in federal taxes?
A) 47 percent
B) 33 percent
C) 14 percent

The answer is 14 percent.

Here’s why you might have thought the answer was 47 percent: In hissecretly recorded speech, Mitt Romney said “47 percent of Americans pay no income tax.” That number took on a life of its own, and was often repeated to incorrectly refer to the share of Americans who didn’t pay any taxes. At the time it was true that about 47 percent of households paid no federal income tax, but most of those allegedly freeloading households were still liable for payroll taxes, among many other kinds of taxes.

As of 2013, about 43 percent of households didn’t pay any federal income taxes, but of that group, about two-thirds paid federal payroll taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center. That leaves around 14 percent who pay neither federal income nor payroll taxes, most of whom are elderly. The video below, from Tax Policy Center, does a great job of explaining the breakdown.

This week’s audio netcast:   Regular commentator Fred Rotondaro says the border crisis should be seen as a “pro-life” issue among Catholics, and others. Journalist Chuck McCutcheon explains the secret language spoken inside the Beltway. And Bill Press interviewsMichael Wager, running for Congress in Northeast Ohio.

Kevin Horrigan’s, Zestfully irrational describes how he felt when he voted Republican in Tuesday’s primary…

I wanted to see what this sort of craziness felt like. So on Tuesday, I voted Republican. It tingles all over. I feel zestfully irrational.

No, this was strictly a vote for the thrill of it all. I must say it’s paying off.

 Suffused by the tingling sensation, I reread the story about Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., telling Laura Ingraham on her radio show that our (that is to say, we Republicans’) anti-immigrant positions won’t hurt us with Hispanic voters.

“This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party,” Mo explained. “And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It’s a part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things. Well that’s not true. O.K.?”

O.K. There’s no discrimination against women. There’s no greed. Nobody’s envious of sweetheart deals for rich corporations. We’re all family here. And a by-God traditional family, too, O.K.?

It feels good pretending to be a victim. For example, if I weren’t white, I would have had a greater chance (statistically speaking) of being able to play professional basketball. Sure, you’ll say that European white guys seem to do O.K., but what does that tell you about the Euro-centric Obama conspiracy?

As a Mo Brooks Republican, I realize that all white people have been targeted by Democrats, even those who provided 56 percent of Obama’s votes. That’s because we all think and act alike, from those of us who drive our Dodge Rams with Confederate flag mudflaps to Applebees to those of us who ride our bikes to farmer’s markets while listening to NPR.

Mo Brooks Republicans may also be Todd Rokita Republicans. He’s the House member from western Indiana who told an Indianapolis radio host on Monday that all those kids from Central America who have crossed the border may represent a public health hazard. He mentioned the Ebola virus as one of those possible risks.

There’s never been a case of Ebola in Central America, but it’s only a few thousand ocean miles from Africa, where there’s a huge outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever.

Speaking of which: Kenya is a country in Africa, though pretty far from the Ebola outbreak, and 23 percent of Republicans still say you-know-who may have been born in Kenya, no matter what his birth certificate says.

Also in Africa: Libya. In Libya is Benghazi, the site of the terrible Obama cover-up of the deaths of four Americans. The Republican-led House Intelligence Committee declassified a report on July 31 that said the deaths occurred pretty much the way the Obama administration said they did . . .

Wait, what?

This is not what I signed up for when I voted Republican. Who wants a patient, exhaustive bipartisan review of the facts? That’s Eisenhower stuff. I want the Mo Brooks, Todd Rokita, Missouri Legislature kind of kamikaze Republicanism, the science-denying, baby-arming, Obama-impeaching, U.N.-fearing, chuckle-headed yahoo kind, the kind that checks its brains at the door.

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