Mike Klein Online

Losing Job Leaves Colleague “Feeling Bruised”

This past week two more colleagues joined the half million plus Georgians who are out of work.   They toiled for big companies, Coca-Cola and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who apparently have not heard we are in an economic rebound made possible by the Barack Obama administration.

They entered the ranks of newly laid off professionals the same week the White House admitted the inevitable:  Official unemployment will remain around 10% nationally all year and that is not good news for any politician, Republican, Democrat or Tea Party.   One told me she is “feeling bruised.”

Perhaps they are just a bit fortunate.  Now they can reinvent.  Think about all the poor folks back in the office who sit around all day, fearful someone has painted a target on them.  The best part is they no longer have to get up in the morning and wonder, is this the day they send me home?

As someone who’s gone through this four times, the best advice I can suggest is, analyze who you are, not what you did in a job.  Decide if this is when you’re going to draw a line in the sand and chart your own course.   Make new friends, lots of them.  Reconnect with old friends.  You may have gotten a raw deal but someone has a worse deal.  Lend a helping hand.  Lift someone else up and you will be lifted.

Georgia’s Testing Embarrassment

Ugly revelations about suspicious test scores are one more blow to Georgia’s pockmarked public education system, but was this inevitable?  For years now we’ve forced teachers to teach-to-the-test which became more important than actual learning.   The pressure to make AYP – Adequate Yearly Progress – was tied to annual federal funding, which meant careers.   Failure to make AYP meant seeing your school’s name in the media, and parents pounding at the front doors.

Nothing defends cheaters, and nobody should.  The General Assembly should proceed with caution before it enacts legislation that would make test cheating a criminal offense.  There are plenty of ways to deal with school leaders who cheat … partial or lifetime suspensions come to mind, based on severity … but criminal charges and threatening pensions earned over a lifetime of work seems drastic.

To those folks who correctly reported their test scores, however low, you serve as an example of what students in our classrooms need most, adults with integrity who hold themselves accountable.

One more education thought: “Remedial” courses have no place in our university system.  That includes technical colleges.   No student should receive a high school diploma until he or she fully demonstrates they are capable of taking the next step.  “Remedial” in our universities and colleges wastes time, funds and the intellectual energy of instructors who should be preparing leaders, not teaching basic fundamentals.

Paging, Speaker Thomas B. Murphy

Former Georgia House speaker Tom Murphy passed away in December 2007 but he continues to cast a long shadow over the city and state.  That was obvious again when Murphy’s legacy was invoked last week during a Commerce Club panel discussion about how to improve relations between metro Atlanta and Georgia.  About two-thirds of the state’s population is clustered near Atlanta.

Metro Atlanta Chamber president Sam Williams noted Murphy’s roots in rural west Georgia.  Murphy could sling arrows toward big city Atlanta with the best of them.  But Murphy understood Georgia would advance only with a strong capitol city.  He forced through development of a world class international airport, the World Congress Center and MARTA.

What Georgia desperately needs now is a transportation plan that moves citizens and goods.   Williams took a not-so-subtle shot at outgoing Governor Sonny Perdue with his remark, “During seven years of current leadership nothing has happened.  Roy Barnes is knocking at the door. “   Perdue has proposed major transportation legislation this session, centered on local determination in twelve regions.   Voters would be asked to approve the concept in November 2012.

Williams was joined by innovative Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, Atlanta-based policy analyst John Ahmann, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Chick Krautler and the Georgia Chamber’s George Israel.  They shared a consensus Georgia leaders should spend less time traveling to other states to see how things work beyond Dixie and more time traveling throughout this state.  You cannot work successfully with someone you do not know.

Nobody from official state government participated in or attended the luncheon.

Snowflakes Made in Heaven?

Several weeks ago I wrote, “Snowflakes are made in heaven for little boys and girls.  Each year I search the sky for snowflakes.”  Well, I didn’t expect to find so many!  Here they were gone within three days but up North, they have threatened lives and left millions unable to move freely about.   Cities and towns will spend millions of dollars to recover.  Citizens are just starting to understand damage to homes.

A few weeks ago, President Barack Obama proposed sending $33 billion in returned stimulus assets to small banks to force them to create more small business lending.  A better suggestion for this “surplus” stimulus government paper would be assistance to help pay for storm clean-up and repair.  These are real problems that government can help solve now, rather than creative future solutions.  This is more important now than weather-stripping and going green.

Washington Post columnist Steve Pearlstein offered another suggestion, a new $25 tax per household and $2,500 per business to support snow removal.   He figures it would collect $100 million.   Apparently even snow can be someone’s excuse for proposing a new tax.

Global Warming Did It, Again!

Global warming proponents have been having a rough time of it lately.  A lot of their “science” has come into question.  The Guardian and Sunday Times in London have reported extensively about fudged facts, made up quotes never written or spoken and embarrassing email trails.  The leading researcher at the University of East Anglia even told The Sunday Times that the controversy caused him to consider suicide.

Investigative reporter Paul Chesser of the Heartland Institute has written extensively about what he sees as a liberal agenda to control the climate change conversation.  Chesser spoke to a Georgia Public Policy Foundation audience last Thursday, the same day that the liberal policy institute Center for American Progress suggested there could be a tie between global warming and the big east snow storms.

Chesser said, “Before Climategate you could not find on any of the networks a debate between a climate scientist alarmist and a climate scientist skeptic.   The cable news networks were full of debates after that.  That’s how far it has come.  You cannot say overwhelming scientific consensus anymore without being laughed at.  At a minimum, you can’t say there’s a consensus.”

Climate warming proponents and skeptics will continue to counter-punch until the cow jumps over the moon.

Recommended Reading

Maria Saporta’s article about Georgia’s transit crisis at www.saportareport.com

American Heritage series, “35 Decisive Moments in American History” at http://www.americanheritage.com

Additional Resources

The Heartland Institute, http://www.heartland.org

Georgia Public Policy Foundation, http://www.gppf.org

Center for American Progress, http://www.americanprogress.org

Have a Nice Week!

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February 15, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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