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Tom presents us with a fall primer on, yes, Republican air heads, school politics and outing himself as pro-union

click to enlarge bigstock-chalkboard-with-school-supplie-95825747.jpg

Just a few items to clear up as the Autumnal Equinox washes over us all:

• During last week's debate, Jeb Bush got some of the loudest applause of the night when he came to the defense of his brother, George W., by saying, "He kept us safe."

Well, that he did, except for that minor hiccup involving buildings falling down and thousands of people dying that happened during the W. Presidency. I guess it wouldn't have had that same dramatic punch if Jeb had had to add "... you know, after that first thing, he kept us safe...except for the thousands of American who died in Iraq, which I have already said that we shouldn't have invaded."

• My favorite (which really means least-favorite) Letter to the Editor of the entire summer comes from a dumb-ass who identifies himself as living in the Foothills, proving yet again that there is, at best, a tenuous correlation between brains and money. Anyway, Dumb-Ass David Pearse wrote "Teachers get pensions and virtually free health care."

I have to stop right there. That couldn't be more wrong. My wife is a teacher. She pays thousands of dollars a year for health care and neither I nor our children are on her insurance. The only people in Arizona who get virtually free health care are the members of the state Legislature who devote much of their carefree time to stamping out teachers.

Pearse's dumbass-ery continued with, "Teachers have seniority and job security."

Dude, were you away at some national retreat for dumb-asses the entire time that the aforementioned state Legislature gleefully dismantled all of the safeguards that teachers had earned over the past century? There is no seniority. There is no tenure. There are no unions any more. There is no job security whatsoever.

There is only lousy pay; long hours; a shocking lack of support from students' parents; elected officials who are trying to eliminate the teaching profession; and too many public dumb-asses like yourself.

Dumb-ass.

• Tucson Unified School District Superintendent H.T. Sanchez doesn't want the district to publicize the names of schools that are overrun with kids whose parents aren't smart enough to understand basic science. Those would be the kids who aren't vaccinated because their imbecilic parents heard a story from somebody about something that somebody saw on the internet about a kid who caught autism from a dirty needle. And "overrun" is defined as a school where there is even one such un-loved child.

(Didn't you just love Republican frontrunner Donald Trump's riveting anecdote about an unnamed kid who got a vaccination and then, one day, woke up with autism? Later that night, on Fox News, Ben Carson, who claims to be a medical doctor, sort of agreed with Trump! Megyn Kelly, to her credit, kept hammering away at Carson until he only somewhat backed away from the ridiculous claim.)

Unfortunately, Arizona allows parents to have a "philosophical objection" to vaccinations. (They should be made to spell "philosophical" before they can invoke it.) Parents have the right to endanger their own children. They should not have the right to endanger other people's children.

And H.T. Sanchez, who doesn't want that information on the district's website, knows that it already appears elsewhere in the public domain. It's pretty lame.

• I was on Emil Franzi's radio show a couple weeks back and I mentioned that I'm pro-union. What followed was a slew of calls from people who are vehemently anti-union.

Were it not for the labor movement of the 20th century, there would be no middle class in America. And many people think that unions just sprang up out of nowhere for no reason. It was as though a bunch of guys were sitting around in their air-conditioned lunch room, talking about how well-paid they were and how the bosses took care of all their health and safety needs. Then, one of them said, "Hey let's form a union and make outrageous demands!"

Unions came about because pay was abysmal and because health care and worksite safety standards were non-existent. I mentioned that and a highly-educated man who was in the studio blurted out, "That was back in the 1900s."

Are we to believe that Capitalist Man has evolved to the point that, if all the union and governmental safeguards for workers were to disappear, the bosses would reinstate them out of the kindness of their hearts? That's insane. If anything, today's corporate leaders are even worse than the Robber Barons were back in the day.

A recent Gallup poll shows that 58 percent of Americans approve of labor unions, a shockingly low number for me, but still one that is on the rise and is the highest since 2008. Even 42 percent of Republicans approve of unions. A significant majority of Americans do not consider unions—even those in the public sector—to be a threat to the nation or its economy.

This is bad news to union-buster Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who sees himself wasting away like Marty McFly on stage at the Enchantment by the Sea dance.

Just think about that for a moment. labor unions and public education are two of the main things that helped make America the greatest country of all time. And what are the two things that Republicans attack most often? Unions and public education.

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