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Columns from Ken Judkins
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Romney Wins Super Tuesday and Fails a “Leadership” Test

The Flip Side Revisited
Posted by kjudk1955 on 2012/3/8 22:30:00 (2639 reads)
The Flip Side Revisited

Super Tuesday has passed, and Mitt Romney has begun to pull away from Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich ever so slightly. But he still hasn’t scored enough of a victory to send his opponents the message that they should look for the exits.

In fact, if not for Newt Gingrich’s oversized ego combined with difficult qualification rules in Virginia, Romney would be reeling from a devastating blow delivered by Santorum on Tuesday, as he would likely have lost at least seven of the ten primaries and caucuses on that day. Instead, he won six of the states and cemented his status as the likely eventual candidate.

However, in what all the pundits considered the pivotal state of Ohio, Romney scored a less than one percentage point victory (37.9% to 37.1%) over Santorum, despite having outspent him many times over. There is no doubt in my mind that more than two-thirds of Gingrich’s 14.6% would have gone to Santorum if he hadn’t been in the race. It’s obvious that Romney needs Gingrich to remain as fodder over the next month to maintain the aura of inevitability as the eventual nominee.

Ohio, Georgia, and Alaska would no doubt have been Santorum victories were they head-to-head contests between he and Romney. I still consider Ron Paul to be nothing more than an interesting sideshow, whose supporters will likely split pretty evenly between the Republican nominee, President Obama, and voting third party or staying home in the general election. Paul will likely accumulate enough delegates to be a distraction at the Republican National Convention, but his effect on the presidential race beyond that will be negligible.

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Texas Is On A Downward Slide Educationally

The Flip Side Revisited
Posted by kjudk1955 on 2012/2/23 7:30:00 (1912 reads)
The Flip Side Revisited

“It doesn’t matter who we elect.” It’s a phrase we’ve all heard on multiple occasions. And it’s one I despise. Because I’ve seen what happens when we elect intelligent public servants whose focus is truly on the public good. I’ve also seen what happens when we elect self-serving demagogues and ideologues.

“It doesn’t matter who we elect” is the modern political battle cry of the ignorant and lazy. Because the ignorant believe the pronouncements of those who sow the misinformation and deception intended to cause a large part of our huddled masses to vote against their economic self interest by keeping their focus on side issues like guns and abortion and prayer in schools. And the lazy prefer to take the easy way out when presented with an alternative that allows them to avoid doing the research necessary to cast an intelligent vote.

Which brings us to today’s educational reality in Texas. For the first time in my considerable memory, we will spend less per student on public education than we did the year before. And we are spending less by a considerable amount. Already ranked 41st in the nation in per pupil spending, we are taking our commitment downward by a full $538, which is a 5.7% drop.

Yeah, I know other states are making cuts in education too, but most of those cutting their commitment as much as we are didn’t start as close to the bottom as we did. Nationally, the per-student average is $11,463, a modest increase of $158 or roughly 1.5% over last year. Comparatively, Texas is now spending $8,908, or less than 78% of the national average. A $2,500 gap for each and every student is huge.

Unless we, the citizens of Texas, decide to turn this around now, this is the beginning of the end of the "Texas exceptionalism" economic bullshit. Without an educated populace, we will begin a rapid deterioration that we may never find the means to reverse.

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Why Are Otherwise Good People So Uncivil When It Comes to Politics?

The Flip Side Revisited
Posted by kjudk1955 on 2012/2/16 21:18:16 (3502 reads)
The Flip Side Revisited

What is it about our current president that makes a significantly large minority of Americans go stark raving mad? And I’m talking about otherwise sane, good, and moral people. There is something about President Obama that causes some people to commit slander, fraud, and character assassination, and to think it’s perfectly all right.

When confronted directly, they are shocked that someone like me would take exception to their deliberate lies about this president. Occasionally it’s a matter of passing along untruths that are either easily identified as lies on their face or are easily debunked with a simple Google search.

Yeah, I know President Clinton drove many of the same people beyond their normal capacity for sanity when he was president, but at least he gave them ammunition to go after him personally with his intimate dalliances with females not named Hillary. His political and policy successes, not to mention his beat-down of a highly partisan Republican congress during his last six years in office left his critics with little room to maneuver in public discourse.

I also know there were some personal cheap shots aimed at former President George W. Bush during his eight years in office, which I always found puzzling since he provided such an easy political target to attack on issues alone.

Over the past few years I’ve endured the spouse of a public official issue what could easily have been a threat to the president’s life (I knew better than to take this person’s rants seriously), as well as a store clerk that I see most every day informing me that “Obama is the devil!” He was serious.

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The Susan G. Komen Foundation Undercuts Its Mission

The Flip Side Revisited
Posted by kjudk1955 on 2012/2/2 19:37:54 (1733 reads)
The Flip Side Revisited

In case you haven’t tuned in to the news over the past couple of days, the Susan G. Komen Foundation tried to quietly inform Planned Parenthood that it will no longer provide funding for breast cancer screening. Planned Parenthood has received money for this purpose since 2005 from the high-profile charity whose avowed mission is “to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures.” Last year the amount was $680,000.

The action of cutting off funds was bad enough. But its explanations so far have been downright insulting.

There is little doubt that defunding Planned Parenthood as part of its breast cancer screening program was politically motivated. Komen has been under pressure from right wing and anti-abortion groups to pull these funds from the beginning of the organizational relationship. Its founder, Nancy Brinker, is a major donor to Republican candidates and is reportedly close to the Bush family. And it recently hired Karen Handel, a stridently anti-abortion 2010 gubernatorial candidate in Georgia as its Sr. Vice-President for policy.

In a statement on its website and in a video released by Nancy Brinker, the Komen Foundation vehemently denied the decision was politically motivated, which is unadulterated B.S. It’s bad enough to make a decision completely contrary to one of their avowed tenets (“ensure quality care for all”), but to lie to the public completely destroys the credibility of its executives.

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What's the Appeal of Ron Paul?

The Flip Side Revisited
Posted by kjudk1955 on 2012/1/26 4:30:00 (1811 reads)
The Flip Side Revisited

I have never been able to understand people’s fascination with Ron Paul. Of all the 2012 candidates for President, his followers are by far the most rabid, while the ideas he espouses are the furthest from mainstream American thought than any other candidate.

Open in new windowI get it that some who feel strongly about particular issues will latch on to Dr. Paul’s stridency and sense a kinship when their views find common ground. Opposition to the Iraq war is a perfect example. At the time of the invasion many liberals who knew little about Paul mistakenly assumed that he possessed a number of liberal tendencies.

But his opposition to the invasions of Iraq as well as Afghanistan was simply a byproduct of his extreme isolationism. He believes in zero foreign involvement, so of course he opposes our involvement in wars. But he also opposes agreements with other countries, whether for defense, trade, aid to poor nations, or for legal agreements. Had he been in a position of power during World War II, he would have led the charge (along with Charles Lindbergh) to leave the British to fend for themselves against the Nazis.

Rest assured that Congressman Paul’s concern was not for the Iraqis or the Afghans. His concern is that we simply shouldn’t give a damn about what happens beyond our borders.

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