Now that our Favorite Shrubbery’s 60-day reverse-hype-apolooza tour is almost over, the Senate Finance Committee is sharpening pencils, rhetoric, and any other sharp objects to hand in preparation of debating the “Privatizing of the American Future.”(tm)
So far, I find a favorite quote from SFC Republican chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa:
“I’d rather bring something up in the committee and fail than tell my grandchildren I wasn’t concerned at all about their Social Security benefits.”
It sounds to me that he has “issues of conscience.” It’s good to note not all Republicans have undergone a conscience-ectomy.
In other news, the Great State Of Texas is affirming its Independence again by defying provisions set by No Child Left Behind - the only thing our Favorite Shrubbery has accomplished besides killing foreigners - by failing to limit the number of students with learning disabilities who can be exempted from regular standardized tests.
Last year, Washington said that only 1 percent of disabled students could be given easier alternative tests, but Texas officials allowed schools to administer the alternative examination to about 9 percent of its students.
As a result, hundreds of Texas schools’ standardized test scores were higher last year than they would have otherwise been, allowing the schools to meet the federal achievement benchmark known as adequate yearly progress.
Ms. Spellings has not yet announced what sanction, if any, Texas will face for defying the federal law.
That law requires states to identify which schools have met its achievement benchmarks before the opening of fall classes each year, which in Texas last year occurred in mid-August.
But because of the dispute with Washington over the testing of disabled students, Texas did not identify the schools until September.
I would insert some snark about the water or air in Texas, but for this final tidbit from the Other Shrubbery in far-south Florida:
Now all good Floridians can “Stand your Ground” and use guns and other deadly force to defend yourselves in public places, thanks to a bill signed by Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday. I guess using Tasers on children was just a momentary sport, now - in an effort to compete with Disneyworld - citizens can now re-enact a real wild west shootout in any mall parking lot and interstate. This should be great for tourism!
Floridians already had the right to defend themselves against home intruders under what is known as the castle doctrine, but until now, they could not do so in public.
The National Rifle Association lobbied hard for the bill’s passage, and Wayne LaPierre, the group’s executive vice president, said it would use the victory to push for similar measures elsewhere. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Dennis K. Baxley of Ocala, said it would curb violent crime and make citizens feel safer.
“It’s a clear position that we will stand with victims of violent attacks when the law is in their favor,” said Mr. Baxley, a Republican. “People want to know we stand on the side of victims of crime instead of the side of criminals.”
Governor Bush, a Republican, said he supported the measure because when people faced life-threatening situations, “to have to retreat and put yourself in a very precarious position defies common sense.”
I haven’t been to Florida since the seventies - it must be really rough down there. I hear the snowbirds are an especially viscous waterfowl. Maybe those automobile make-over shops should open up franchises in the swamps and specialize in “Mad Max” type refinements for the well-to-do Floridian commuters - should save them all time.