It was 86* in San Francisco today, four degrees short of a record.
In anticipation of Father's Day, Son Jason and I went for coffee across Geary Street, at the Angel Cafe. It was an absolutely fabulous day, clear, sunny, still, and warm. A panoply of humanity streamed along the street: a Muslim in a striped caftan, a Buddhist in flowing blue and saffon silks, a black man in a coat of many colors, and a line of beautiful women dressed for the Sun. Jason and I enjoyed the scene so much that we had another cup of coffee, and presently were joined by Guy's friend, William.
Returning home a little before three, I did my Email, and spent most of my time answering my Epinions debater. Here is a slightly edited selection of what I said to him, stimulated by an essay by the veteran Labor columnist, Dick Meister:
In answer to my debater's question to name one issue about which President Obama offered compromise -- "Rather than list a dozen areas where President Obama has sought compromise, to a fault, let me simply present "Obamacare," which the Republicans have hung around the President's neck and misrepresented at every turn. Did not he basically say to both Houses of Congress (naively, stupidly, admittedly), bring me a reasonable bill of Health Care Reform and we shall negotiate it? Hence, we have medical insurance reform which the Republicans shaped, and which they have then trashed, by design, before the plan can be fully implemented. [Meanwhile the Medical Insurance Industry and Big Pharma are collecting record profits!]
"That's only one -- but a prime -- example of Bad Faith by the Republicans.
"All the other examples I might bring up pale to nearly insignificance by comparison.
"[Happy Father's Day, John -- and you, too, Dick.]"
And as a riposte to the absurd claim that the average teacher's salary in Detroit, Michigan, is $100,000 a year, and this was to be deplored because the "cohort graduation rate was 16% lower than the rest of that state --
"First of all, I'm pleased that you are willing to submit to a civil discourse. Second, you may or may not know, that Dick [Meister] was for decades an expert reporter for a leading San Francisco newspaper in the observation of labor matters, and so, you can trust what he is telling you.
"Thirdly, I was not able to find an "average high" teaching salary over sixty thousand dollars. Your "highest" teacher salary of $71, 000 in Michigan may therefore be correct. But your sweeping generalization, however, that your figure is just an easy hop, skip, and jump to $100,000 is ludicrous on its face. Once again, let me put you in charge of a hypothetical teachers union, and ask you to go into negotiations for a $29,000 raise. How do you justify that to the Board negotiating team, even in terms of increments? That's a 30% raise, which even in the best of times, with the most skillful of union leadership, would take on an average of TEN YEARS to accomplish.
"Fourth, even less than your practical knowledge of how difficult it is to negotiate a raise, you really have no idea how education works in the trenches. By any objective scale, the intelligence quotient and sociological scale will limit about 40% of any general student body to, at best, a fifth or sixth grade reading scale, which means the students will read newspapers with some to considerable difficulty. If we add to that factor, children who because of economic or intellectual poverty in the home seldom see [no] reading material other than TV ads or on the back of a cereal box, the skill objective level you require in Detroit (or most urban centers in America) becomes nigh impossible . . . ."
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE: All over the Nation, States are cutting back on funds for already crippled educational systems. Should Public Education fail, one of the few unparalleled successes of American Democracy would be thrown to one side, allowing the advancing forces of ignorance to fully triumph.
I phoned my old friend, Bambo-Bambo Christianson, today. He goes in for an important operation on Monday. I'm sure his many friends and former students fervently wish him well, as do I.
Macresarf1 would write no more this day.
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