Michael P. Ackley has worked more than three decades as a journalist, the majority of that time at the Sacramento Union. His experience includes reporting, editing and writing commentary. He retired from teaching journalism for California State University at Hayward.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.
Occupy Oakland protesters struck a blow for freedom last week by vandalizing City Hall. Particularly compelling was their assault on children’s decadent artwork displayed in the rotunda.
Nothing symbolizes capitalist exploitation more than kids’ artwork, and the City Hall display – made from recycled materials – shows how far the young monopolists are willing to go to disguise their anti-proletarian ideology.
Oddly, none of the Occupy demonstrators was willing to take credit for this courageous action. Instead, everybody interviewed seemed to draw inspiration from the late cartoonist Bil Keane, identifying the responsible party as “Not Me.”
The White House took solace from the fact that 72 percent of State of the Union viewers kept watching to the bitter end – though, according to Kantar Media, 27 percent tuned out after five minutes.
The big problem for President Obama lies in the gross figures. His first State of the Union drew 52 million voters in 2009, and that number has steadily declined: 48 million in 2010, 43 million last year and last month, 38 million.
The prez is losing audience. What he really needs to jazz things up is a congressman willing to shout, “You lie!”
Sticking to the issues?
Negative presidential campaigning reached new heights before last week’s Florida Republican primary, but don’t think it has reached its peak. Apologists for the smears say they are necessary to toughen up the eventual GOP winner for the campaign against Obama.
Apparently, Republicans are just too nice and the Sunshine State mud bath was just what they needed. And if you believe this, we have some great Florida condo investments to offer you.
According to polls, Californians like the idea of raising taxes for the wealthy, but don’t much like the idea of raising the state sales tax.
Anyway, Gov. Jerry Brown is upset at the California Federation of Teachers and Molly Munger, a wealthy Los Angeles attorney, according to the Los Angeles Times. The CTA and Munger both are gathering signatures for soak-the-rich ballot initiatives.
Brown fears the measures will imperil his own soak-the-rich initiative and his proposal to “temporarily” raise the state sales tax. All these measures, you see, are competing for the same signatures. Further, the governor fears too many tax measures on the ballot will lead to rejection of all of them.
One may hope.
The CFT and Munger initiatives are intended to raise more money for education. However, in the Golden State, money and educational achievement are not correlated. Just check out the test scores.
If the tax measures fail, let us suggest some money-saving ideas for our public schools:
Stop funding all programs designed to transmit information that should be the province of parents.
Eliminate money for programs and text books that report on the sex lives of historical figures.
Eliminate “categorical funding” that restricts how certain education funds may be spent. Instead, block grant those monies to school districts.
By the way, California could save an enormous amount of money by returning to merit-based admissions to state universities. It costs money to educate students, and much is wasted on unmotivated young people who don’t belong in college.
Most important for the overall budget: Return to a part-time Legislature.
We’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of advertising by gold sellers who say they expect the price of the precious metal to rise 30 percent this year, so we should buy it from them now.
Our question: If you had a quantity of something you expected to appreciate 30 percent in 12 months, why would you sell it?