Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Recovery Paradox

President Obama's team is attempting to resuscitate the American economy with a huge influx of money. To listen to the government administrators talk about the spending of this money, one would think its intended not to save the free market system but to ensure that that bloated government positions that have brought this government to the verge of bankruptcy will be able to continue sucking the life out of taxpayers.

Governor Rell, teachers union representatives, and others speak of "saving jobs" instead of right-sizing government and the obscene paychecks, benefits, and wholesale waste of the existing structure.

The double and triple dipping of multiply retired individuals is draining jobs and resources away from those who have yet to be so fortunate.

At a time of dropping enrollments, it is only appropriate that schools right-size their staffing needs. The myth of eternally smaller classroom sizes needs to be re-examined objectively.

And public schools need to have the option of offering credit for privatized instruction in areas where private initiatives can economically produce similar results.

If the bailout monies are squandered attempting to protect the vested interests this country will economically collapse. We need practical and honest government and education, not more of the same old games.

It is not government that needs or deserves the bailout, it is the middle-class, free market taxpayer who has been raped by the ever more expensive and extravagant excesses of the closed market public servants (an oxymoron these days).

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Heroes Fall from Grace

As Rick Green mentions in his blog, the witch trial story continues. I'm not going to call it the Julie Amero story anymore because Julie has been cleared.

Today, she and her supporters are being hounded by a group of misguided Norwich police personnel who demonstrate so little regard for the rule of law that one could easily mistake them for criminals.

As I reflect on all of this, Julie's husband, Wes Volle, is an unsung hero in this story. Throughout Julie's very real and considerable ordeal he remained steadfast in his belief in Julie's innocence and supported her through some very tough times. He's a for real hero. The walk these two walked was never an easy one and remains difficult.

I have never met either Wes or Julie. i missed the great dinner date with Alex and the gang in Boston. But in the correspondence we all share online, I have always been blown away by the good cheer and graciousness of both of them. Julie's critics take a demented satisfaction that she will never teach again in CT.

This is a punishment for the students she should be teaching. There's a decency about Wes and Julie that shines like a bright beacon of hope to everyone who's been falsely accused. They never let the bastards get them down.

And that brings us to the bastards. It's been weeks since Julie negotiated her freedom from the charges and further legalities. One would think that that would end the finger-pointing. It didn't.

Julie was offered a couple of opportunities to speak on the mainstream media about her ordeal and she did to the degree she could articulate the very technical issues involved.

This seemed to infuriate the Norwich Police Department and at least two of their officers. Detective Lounsbury, whose misleading testimony in the first place caused Julie's reputation great harm, decided that he would begin a campaign to punish Julie no matter what the court decided. So he started a blog that named his targets; Julie's staunchest supporters. And as if the blog's enumeration of intended victims wasn't enough he decorated his blog profile with a picture of himself holding an automatic rifle presumably because he's more competent using it than he is using a computer.

Needless to say, the ethical justification for a policeman hounding someone after the case is settled makes zero sense. And that remains consistent with the initial charges. They, too, made zero sense.

The damage being done is non-trivial. After the 9-11 crime, the service providers in our society were touted as unsung heroes. Law enforcement in particular was granted extra-legal consideration. And in the hands of fools such power is not only misused but it is abused against truly innocent citizens.

In Julie Amero's case, a badly written and misguided law was passed as a vehicle for preventing children from being exposed to pornography in school. It escalated the penalty for pornography on school grounds to a federal crime and allowed authorities the nod-and-wink power to enforce the law unconditionally.

The unintended consequence is that administrators who confiscate porn from a student and leaves it in their desk could be charged with endangerment or the ever-popular "not doing enough" to protect students. Art teachers accused of impropriety by a puritanical parent are also in danger. The possibilities are endless and include the black-mailing of teachers or administrators by planting porn in their desk or on their computer. Termination guaranteed.

The law allows power-drunk police to become accuser, jailer, and judge - no questions asked.

In Julie's case the villain was not human. It was a cyber script that the school failed to filter and could not contain. Nor did they understand it. For this they relied on Detective Lounsbury, the local 'expert'. His failures are well-documented here, at the Julie group, and in blogs across the globe. Today, largely because Lounsbury refuses to accept truly expert analysis, he barks at the moon on his blog of hapless redemption.

I guess no one at the Julie Group would be very upset if it were merely Lounsbury howling his way into obscurity. But Lounsbury has a fan club. Like a salt-and-pepper crime team, another officer takes every opportunity to disparage Julie and her supporters.

Like a blow-hard at a diner, he insists that Julie's story has not been vetted. No, he insists, Julie like all the other perverts, weirdos, and Norwich psychos he's run into could be guilty.

Why didn't she just... [know that Norwich's citizens are loony enough to believe after all her efforts to get the machine attended to, she would be accused of a felony]. Yes, this fellow performs tag-team triage for Lounsbury to float claims against Julie that are thinly veiled defamation assertions.

When the nation's local police drift so far astray from the law, civility, honor, and common sense it is time for citizens to take notice and pull the plug.

Lounsbury and his sidekicks should be thanked for reminding us all that a badge doesn't make a hero. It doesn't even guarantee due process.