Facts Don’t Have A Political Slant – Journalists Need To Do More Fact Checking And Less Stenography

screenshot of 'Journalist' Chuck Todd
‘Journalist’ Chuck Todd

Toledo Blade columnist Marilou Johanek wrote a post about journalists letting their opinion into the stories they do. While I agree with the general idea of her article, there is something missing: Facts don’t have a political slant. What I feel is worse for people today is the failure of journalists to give the facts and the context in a story. That should be their primary job.

Continue reading “Facts Don’t Have A Political Slant – Journalists Need To Do More Fact Checking And Less Stenography”

Troublesome that Rep Jordan doesn’t know how postal service works

I was checking out the Toledo Blade today and stumbled onto an article talking about the trouble caused by consolidating the US Postal Service’s Lima sorting center with the Toledo operation. The article quoted Congressman Jim Jordan who represents the district that was served by the Lima center. Unfortunately he, like many Americans, falsely believe the postal service is supported by direct tax payer dollars.

“When it comes to government consolidation, streamlining, and saving money, we’re all for it. In fact, we’ve been one of the loudest voices in Washington for finding ways to save federal money,” said Ray Yonkura, Mr. Jordan’s chief-of-staff.

But when the congressman’s office began getting flooded with calls from constituents about erratic mail delivery after the consolidation, he stepped in. Mr. Jordan asked the Office of Inspector General to review the consolidation to reveal what went wrong, whether the hundreds of complaints his office received were legitimate, and what could be done to fix things.

USPS consolidation sparks complaints in Lima

Congress does have oversight of the postal service but it hasn’t been supported by tax dollars since 1970.

The Modern Postal Service: Agency or Business?

Until adoption of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, the U.S. Postal Service functioned as a regular, tax-supported, agency of the federal government.

According to the laws under which it now operates, the U.S. Postal Service is a semi-independent federal agency, mandated to be revenue-neutral. That is, it is supposed to break even, not make a profit.

In 1982, U.S. postage stamps became “postal products,” rather than a form of taxation. Since then, The bulk of the cost of operating the postal system has been paid for by customers through the sale of “postal products” and services rather than taxes.

About the U.S. Postal Service

And from the USPS website:

0 — tax dollars received for operating the Postal Service

Postal Facts

So Jordan’s effort to score political points took a hit on this issue.

Toledo Blade columnist doesn’t understand how education system works

Anytime a state or school system has financial problems, conservatives tend to argue that teachers are paid too much and the system can’t get out of hock because of the big bad teachers union. Jack Kelly, a columnist with the Toledo Blade, goes back to that well to attack public employees in general and teachers and unions specifically.

In 2009, state and local government employees had total compensation packages that averaged $39.66 an hour, 45 percent more than the $27.42 an hour earned by workers in the private sector, according to a study by the Cato Institute.

Education is a good example. A whopping 27 cents of every state and local tax dollar goes to K-12 education. In 2008, according to the Center for Education Reform, $10,889 was spent per student in public schools.

Public employees make too much

Kelly is barking up the wrong tree for a couple of reasons.

Teaching is a profession and as such someone can’t be a teacher unless they graduate from college. It isn’t like making butter knives where someone off the street can be trained for a couple of weeks and do the job. In order for a teacher to get a raise they have to increase their education level. The teachers who make the most money are the ones who have the highest level of education themselves. Teachers can’t just pick up a teaching job in the private sector. Private schools that hire usually stick with new teachers with only the minimum education.

Education isn’t a factory where labor is merely a variable cost. We are talking about an important part of our lives, the education of our children. I don’t think any parent would want to outsource education on the cheap. Many towns and cities “value” is in part due to the quality of the schools. Those areas with “poor” schools don’t grow and improve. It is a lot cheaper to spend money on better schools than to build new roads.

Why is it teachers have to take the hit when a school is in money trouble? No one really talks about the administrators who make more than a teacher and we don’t hear about cutting the perks those administrators get like a car allowance for example.

It seems that went cuts are needed teachers and books get the ax first. That is insane since that is the reason the educational system exists – education – without teachers or books there isn’t education.

The argument against the teacher’s union is simply silly.

It takes two to tango. No school district is forced to sign a union contract with teachers. That goes for any entity signing a contract with any union.

I’ve taken classes on how to bust unions and I know if push came to shove a school district could get out of having the union contract. It would be messy but if the issue is serious enough to do it then they should. People like Kelly attack unions because they want a scapegoat and not show any responsibility to the other group that signs the contracts.

Let’s stop the hate on teachers and unions and deal with real ways to save money as long it doesn’t hurt the children or undercut education.

Kudos to the Toledo Blade on Oxley articles

Hope you all had a chance to read the Toledo Blade series on Rep. Mike Oxley (R-Findlay) who “represents” the 4th Congressional District.

A majority of the evidence against Oxley has been known, at least to me, for many years yet reading the totality of it makes me wonder how he keeps getting re-elected every time.

Oxley is like so many other elected officials in “safe” districts. Instead of representing all the people in their district, they become the tool for outside interests or advance their own agenda.

Oxley doesn’t represent all the people in the 4th district. It seems he only represents the members of the Findlay Chamber of Commerce and special business interests who “donate” millions of dollars to his campaign in hopes of influencing Oxley’s vote. It seems to have worked.

The fraud perpetrated by Enron, Worldcom, and other corporations who used relaxed rules to enrich themselves, can be laid at the feet of Oxley.

It is true that Oxley labels all criticism of his work as rants of liberals. That is the only rebuttal he can use. His record doesn’t help him.

Oxley is a sad example of the disintegration of our democracy. It isn’t a good thing.

Blade Oxley Series

Originally posted on the blog “Hancock County Politics Unfiltered”

Toledo Blade Investigates Rep. Oxley

Well it had to happen. After Enron and Worldcom and the other multibillion dollar busts brought on by deregulation and greed, it seems that the focus is moving onto the people in govt. who let it happen.

One person is Rep. Mike Oxley (R-Findlay) who is chair of the House committee that helped Enron and others steal billions from investors and customers.

The Toledo Blade is doing a three day series on Oxley and how much of a tool he really is. (pun intended..)

The Price of Power Politics

DAY ONE: Resistance to business regulation paved way for accounting scandals
Oxley rejected calls for safeguards before major corporations collapsed


WASHINGTON – Arthur Levitt knew there was a problem – one that could drain the savings of millions of Americans.

The government’s top Wall Street watchdog had cut his teeth as a stockbroker in New York – a place where executives always tried to make their profits look big, and where accountants tried to keep them honest.

But by the 1990s, the lines were blurring. Accountants were now making more money on corporate consulting than on corporate auditing.

As chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Levitt saw a clear conflict of interest, and in 2000 he decided to try to stop the practice.

He didn’t get far.

Standing in his way was the accounting industry and some of its best friends in Congress – including Mike Oxley, chairman of a subcommittee that oversaw the SEC. The industry showered Mr. Oxley and other congressmen with campaign cash. They beat back Mr. Levitt’s attempts at reform.

A year later Enron would become a household name – the first in a series of dramatic corporate collapses caused by the failure of accountants, executives, and bankers.

As investors lost billions, reformers demanded changes.

Mr. Levitt had been right.

Click Here for the full series!

Originally posted on the blog “Hancock County Politics Unfiltered”