Saturday, January 30, 2010

Odds and Ends: Bombastic Healines, Foot in Mouth and Metro

Bombastic Headline

Bloodbath on the tracks!?

Metro had another accident yesterday (two Metro workers died) . Two of its workers were killed. And Metro has had a bad run of luck in the last year or so. But Bloodbath on the Tracks? That’s the headline from the far far far far far right Washington Examiner (I think I got the correct number of fars in there). Sort of the New York Post wanna be of Washington, DC. No balanced coverage at all. I think you can say that when it comes to political coverage Democrats are always wrong and Republicans are always right. And you could very easily confuse the front page with the editorial page.

Back to the accident, it was terrible, awful and tragic. But I don’t think you can get away with saying Bloodbath. That’s a way over the top bombastic headline. Just like something you’d find in the New York Post.

Foot in Mouth

What’s in the water in South Carolina

Yet another example of a Republican politician in South Carolina going off:
South Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, who hopes to succeed fellow Republican Mark Sanford as his state’s governor, drew a comparison between government help for poor people and “feeding stray animals” – who, he noted, “breed.”

“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals,” Bauer said during a town hall meeting, as the Greenville News reported over the weekend. “You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”

When Bauer got called out for his remarks he said:

“Do I wish I’d used a different metaphor? Of course I do,” the 40-year-old said. “I didn’t intend to offend anyone.”

Really you didn’t intend to offend anyone. I think the question is how could you not think this would be offensive to people. How dumb is this guy. But then again Bauer is playing to the conservative base:

Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon said Bauer’s words “came out as condescending and insulting,” but his overall message about government dependency and personal responsibility will appeal to his evangelical Republican base.

And that’s all the really matters to Bauer right now.

To show that this isn't a strictly South Carolina, we have this from the superintendent of DC Schools:

I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school. Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?" she said.

Rhee declined to provide specific numbers Friday or details to substantiate her remarks about sexual misconduct and teachers striking students. Neither did she respond when asked by e-mail why such teachers were allowed to remain in the school system before the Oct. 2 job cuts. D.C. police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said late Friday that she was researching the matter.

For some strange reason people got upset at these remarks:
George Parker, president of the teachers union, called Rhee's statements "reckless" and without basis in fact. The union usually receives notice from the District when a teacher faces disciplinary action, Parker said, and he has received no information that any of the 266 had been under investigation for sexual offenses against children. One of the 266 faced action for administering corporal punishment, he said.

"This paints all teachers as being a group of child molesters who assault children and don't come to work," Parker said. "It damages the reputation of a lot of innocent, hardworking, dedicated teachers."

Members of the DC City Council didn't particularly like what was said either. They called for an investigation into the comments. Then a few days later there this from Rhee:

"I've been very clear all along that some of the people laid off in the reduction in force were promising or solid teachers," Rhee said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I've never said that all of the teachers can be characterized in one way or another." But she acknowledged that she let the controversy fester for too long. "If we had put something out on Friday, that would have been better," she said.

The problem is people are not going to remember the comment on how some of the teachers were promising. People are only going to remember her words about teachers hitting students and having sex with them.

In both cases you just have to wonder what were these people thinking or maybe they just weren't thinking at all.

Ah Metro

I took Friday off. I went to my training session as usual but moved it to 7:30. On the way back home there was a problem on Metro. Peak rush hour time of course. A train went out of service and I had to wait for several trains to go by before I could get on one. About ten minutes into all of this there was finally an announcement from Metro about what was going on.

Good to see Metro was up to its usual speed about letting the passengers know what was going on.

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