Sunday, June 01, 2008

Our Annual Meeting

Friday night we had our annual, Incorporated meeting. There were some things we were legally required to do, vote on officers and directors, approve the treasurer's report, eat, gossip, drink. I'm not going to go over every second of it, it was great fun. We met at the Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring, which is a restaurant/bar with a pirate theme. You should have seen Tish's Flying Spaghetti Monster hat! A lot of people brought spouses, some kids -- it was funny, we started with a few tables pulled together and had to add more and more of them, until we ended up occupying the whole front half of the tavern. This place was perfect, they dress like pirates and have a few tricks up their sleeves. Like, when Amy pulled her toy sword on the waiter, he whipped out a dagger and stuck it into the wood of the table, boingoingoingoing -- it reminded me of that scene in Crocodile Dundee where he says, "That's not a knife ... that is a knife!" The waiters and waitresses -- I mean, wenches -- seemed to be having a good time, the food was good, they kept our drinks full. We passed around appetizers and lots of us had meals; they had this chicken in habanera sauce that was h-o-t. My eyes were running, I was sweating, eating that stuff, which I love.

We've been together now for three and a half years. When that first little group of parents met in Wheaton we didn't know each other, we knew there was a problem in our county, some weird people were going to try to recall the whole school board because of the new sex-ed curriculum, but we didn't really know what to do. This one knew how to make a web page, that one knew how to keep the books, this one knew how to get organized, that one knew some people, among us we had a lot of bases covered, and we went for it. Nobody knew what to do so we made it up as we went along. Over the years people have come and gone, a lot of people have worked peripherally, sending us inside information now and then but never really showing up for meetings or anything, commenting on the blog and going out and doing things to support the cause, whatever, the momentum spreads out beyond our basic group. Some of the original people drifted away, new people drifted into the circle. TeachTheFacts is just as intense and committed now as ever, the group is always changing and evolving.

The school board unanimously adopted a good sex-ed curriculum in 2004, then the nuts won a temporary restraining order and the school district negotiated the curriculum away, then they started working on a new sex-ed curriculum and we fought to make that one as good as it could be. The nutty ones said it promoted homosexuality, it encouraged kids to be promiscuous, blah blah blah it was ridiculous, as usual. If they disagreed with a fact they could easily have spoken up but instead they tried to make it into some kind of conspiracy of gay people and, I guess, liberals.

The 2004 elections had put wind in their sails, we took the wind out of their sails. We focused attention on the lies, the misconstrual, the illogic, the bigotry. We made sure everybody could clearly see what they were trying to do.

The past year saw a chain of court filings and appeals, as the nutty ones tried to beat this new curriculum, but it's airtight. MCPS was plenty careful not to leave a legal opening or to include anything offensive or inaccurate. It's good solid stuff, the curriculum was developed by a team of pediatricians and approved by a citizens committee that included representatives of the suers. The courts, the state school board, the state Superintendent of Schools, everybody has supported the new curriculum, and finally the nuts gave up.

But then they found another cause. The county was working on a new law making it illegal to discriminate against transgender people. Well, that wouldn't do! The exact same handful of extremists gave up attacking the county school board and turned to attacking the County Council with the same kinds of ridiculousness we have dealt with since 2004. Exactly the same, take something and make it sound as bad as you can, lie about what's in a document, misinterpret everything, assert that there is a conspiracy, that "the family" is in danger, that The Children are in danger, whatever. They'll say anything. It looks like we'll be shining a light on them through this one, too, if their referendum doesn't die a quick death in court this month.

So we had our annual meeting of officers, directors, voting members. We celebrated our successes and reminded ourselves that the fight is not finished. We had some good food, good companionship, a good time. Now we're refreshed and recharged to go out and do it some more. You can't let these people get started, you have to stop them and their stupid ways at every step. Everything they do, you have to speak up and expose them, and that's what we do.

This is a good time to thank all the people who have supported us and have joined in. We have all kinds of friends in the community, and we couldn't do it without you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You all rock. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you continue to do.

June 01, 2008 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It looks like we'll be shining a light on them through this one, too, if their referendum doesn't die a quick death in court this month."

How interesting.

Not long ago, Jim and Dana were claiming that the lunatic fringe had a sure thing with the court challenge.

Now, "It looks like" the referendum is on, according to Jim.

June 01, 2008 8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An unprecedentedly radical government grab for control of the American economy will be debated this week when the Senate considers saving the planet by means of a cap-and-trade system to ration carbon emissions. The plan is co-authored (with John Warner) by Joe Lieberman, an ardent supporter of John McCain, who supports Lieberman's legislation and recently spoke about "the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring."

Speaking of endless troubles, "cap-and-trade" comes cloaked in reassuring rhetoric about the government merely creating a market, but government actually would create a scarcity so that government could sell what it had made scarce. The Wall Street Journal underestimates cap-and-trade's perniciousness when it says the scheme would create a new right ("allowances") to produce carbon dioxide and would put a price on the right. Actually, because freedom is the silence of the law, that right has always existed in the absence of prohibitions. With cap-and-trade, government would create a right for itself-- an extraordinarily lucrative right to ration Americans' exercise of their traditional rights.

Businesses with unused emission allowances could sell their surpluses to businesses that exceed their allowances. The more expensive and constraining the allowances, the more money government would gain.

If carbon emissions are the planetary menace that the political class suddenly says they are, why not a straightforward tax on fossil fuels based on each fuel's carbon content? This would have none of the enormous administrative costs of the baroque cap-and-trade regime. And a carbon tax would avoid the uncertainties inseparable from cap-and-trade's government allocation of emission permits sector by sector, industry by industry. So a carbon tax would be a clear and candid incentive to adopt energy-saving and carbon-minimizing technologies. That is the problem.

A carbon tax would be too clear and candid for political comfort. It would clearly be what cap-and-trade deviously is, a tax, but one with a known cost. Therefore, taxpayers would demand a commensurate reduction of other taxes. Cap-and-trade -- government auctioning permits for businesses to continue to do business -- is a huge tax hidden in a bureaucratic labyrinth of opaque permit transactions.

The proper price of permits for carbon emissions should reflect the future warming costs of current emissions. That is bound to be a guess based on computer models built on guesses. Lieberman guesses that the market value of all permits would be "about $7 trillion by 2050." Will that staggering sum pay for a $7 trillion reduction of other taxes? Not exactly.

It would go to a Climate Change Credit Corporation, which Lieberman calls "a private-public entity" that, operating outside the budget process, would invest "in many things." This would be industrial policy, a.k.a. socialism, on a grand scale -- government picking winners and losers, all of whom will have powerful incentives to invest in lobbyists to influence government's thousands of new wealth-allocating decisions.

Lieberman's legislation also would create a Carbon Market Efficiency Board empowered to "provide allowances and alter demands" in response to "an impact that is much more onerous" than expected. And Lieberman says that if a foreign company selling a product in America "enjoys a price advantage over an American competitor" because the American firm has had to comply with the cap-and-trade regime, "we will impose a fee" on the foreign company "to equalize the price." Protectionism-masquerading-as-environmentalism will thicken the unsavory entanglement of commercial life and political life.

McCain, who supports Lieberman's unprecedented expansion of government's regulatory reach, is the scourge of all lobbyists (other than those employed by his campaign). But cap-and-trade would be a bonanza for K Street, the lobbyists' habitat, because it would vastly deepen and broaden the upside benefits and downside risks that the government's choices mean for businesses.

McCain, the political hygienist, is eager to reduce the amount of money in politics. But cap-and-trade, by hugely increasing the amount of politics in the allocation of money, would guarantee a surge of money into politics.

Regarding McCain's "central facts," the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization, which helped establish the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- co-winner, with Al Gore, of the Nobel Peace Prize -- says global temperatures have not risen in a decade. So Congress might be arriving late at the save-the-planet party. Better late than never? No. When government, ever eager to expand its grip on the governed and their wealth, manufactures hysteria as an excuse for doing so, then: better never.

June 01, 2008 8:24 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, there is one thing I do here as a matter of policy: I am careful not to presume I know how a judge is going to rule. First, I don't know, so I would just be guessing, but more importantly I don't want a judge to think I am trying to put pressure on them one way or the other. It seems to me that can only backfire.

In this case, I helped check the petition signatures, I know what's there, I have an idea what evidence has or will be submitted. As for the reading of the fine print of the law, I don't know anything about it and will not guess which way any court will rule.


June 01, 2008 8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, brother

June 01, 2008 11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, TTF, for ensuring Montgomery County, MD is an equal opportunity and fair-minded place to work for us teachers! We appreciate it!!

Our employees and students do not believe in such things as "separate but equal" or hateful fear mongering such as that of the CRC/G and PFOX. Truth always WINS!

June 02, 2008 7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite a contrast when we know that the CRG fanatics could hold their Annual Meeting in one of the shower stalls they so ardently defend in their diatribes. And...still have room left over!!

June 02, 2008 8:39 AM  

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