A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

4 March 2017

Saturday roundup

Montana Congressional candidates should address foreign policy at their nominating conventions. The Democrats convene tomorrow, while the Republicans, who want to see whom the Democrats nominate, convene Monday.

How would they address the threat posed by North Korea, a gangster state with nuclear weapons, a rapidly developing missile capability, and paranoid, vicious, leaders? Today’s New York Times reports that our best efforts to slow down the development of North Korea’s nuclear weaponry are not working well.

I believe that Kim Jong-un will keep his finger off the button only if he is fully convinced that if attacked with an atomic bomb, the United States will reduce North Korea to a smoking pile of radioactive rubble that includes the ashes of its leaders. That’s why we must never destroy all of our nuclear weapons, nor renounce our use thereof, nor foreswear launching a nuclear first strike. Any other policy may lead to Seattle and San Francisco being vaporized.

Montana City’s school administrators are handling the negative publicity their lunch shaming proposal has generated with a maximum of truculence, and a minimum of wit. That’s not surprising. Schools are almost as authoritarian as prisons, educators are used to being in charge, expect deference, and some have a very hard time engaging in mutually respectful interaction with adults, especially with adults who are not parents. Some educators are among the nicest people in the world, but others behave like prison guards and immigration and customs enforcement agents.

Some defenders of the lunch shaming proposal are trolling Facebook pages. They found mine. At least one commenter is an elementary school teacher at Montana City. I don’t know whether she’s trolling on her own or at the behest of her superintendent of schools. I deleted several abusive comments, but the prime offender became a repeat offender and I therefore took down the Facebook entry, which you can view here as a PDF.

In California, reports the Sacramento Bee, a legislator has introduced Senate Bill 250, which would protect students from school systems that punish children for the sins and shortcomings of their parents.

Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat from Los Angeles, is carrying a bill he says will put a stop to schools embarrassing children whose parents fall behind on their lunch payments. Hertzberg says the shaming takes multiple forms: Some students are altogether denied food while others are given paltry snacks.

Such treatment, he says, “undercuts a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school. We also know that embarrassing children in front of peers can destroy their self-confidence.”

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A hearing on the lunch-shaming bill is scheduled to take place on March 15 at the Senate Education Committee.

Rep. Frank Garner (R-Kalispell) was denounced by fellow Republican legislators for proposing a modest increase in Montana’s fuel tax. This is the treatment administered to former Sen. Bruce Tutvedt, who, like Garner, believes that a legislator has the responsibility to govern, and that governing is not defined as the knee-jerk rejection of all tax increases.

These are the legislators who denounced Garner:

Rep. Matt Regier, R-Kalispell
Rep. Bill Harris, R-Winnett
Rep. Dennis Lenz, R-Billings
Rep. Derek Skees, R-Kalispell
Rep. Mark Noland, R-Bigfork
Rep. Carl Glimm, R-Kila
Sen. Dee Brown, R-Hungry Horse
Sen. David Howard, R-Park City
Sen. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell
Sen. Al Olszewski, R-Kalispell
Sen. Bob Keenan, R-Bigfork