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My Recent Comments
The IRS had every right to investigate the conservative groups as they were seeking tax-free status, which obviously they cannot, due to the fact that they supported political candidates and political stances on a number of issues. This is the same reason that some churches, which advocate that their parishioners vote for certain candidates, put pressure on elected leaders to enact favorable legislation based on religious ideology, etc. should lose their tax-free status.20 hours ago
The IRS was correct in scrutinizing these organizations that were applying for tax-free status, because they were raising money to support politicians, which is in violation of the tax laws. In fact, many churches (the religious right, etc.) would lose their tax-free status if the IRS would apply the existing law properly. This is because they support politicians and exhort their parishioners to vote in certain ways, which is political activity and prohibited by the law.4 days ago
Venter #1--If you know the law, the judge may impose any fine or jail sentence, or even probation, up to the limits that you quote for a misdemeanor. I doubt if Mr. Chiles will receive a much greater sentence than most folks who are arrested for shoplifting and are first-time offenders.
Chatman, countless studies on the death penalty show that homicides usually go up in states that have the death penalty just after a criminal is executed. Also, similar studies have shown that the homicide rate have gone down in states that have eliminated the death penalty. While I support the death penalty, myself, it may be wise to consider life in prison with no parole. After all, it costs about $20K a year to house someone in prison (50 years X $20K + $1mil) but 2 to 3 times that to execute them (when one takes into account the appeals, etc.).2 weeks ago
If we want to start saving money in our school systems, why not consolidate the hundreds of school districts. Tempe has Tempe Elementary, Kyrene Elementary and Tempe Union HS districts with duplication of administrations. Why not consolidate into Tempe Unified SD and eliminate two superintendents, several assistant superintendents and two school boards? That would save money. Another would be to consolidate Gilbert and Higley districts into one and eliminate similar duplication. Phoenix is another example where there are many elementary school districts that replicate each other. The money that could be saved would pay for employee raises and school supplies. It would probably reduce property taxes, too.
The "proposed 28th Amendment" is a urban myth perpetuated by the Internet. It has never been proposed or even discussed in Congress. 2 months ago
Obviously, Venters #7 & #8 have an axe to grind against teachers. The majority of teachers do not make the quoted average of $54K a year. Beginning teachers make about $30K a year and are required to get a masters degree within seven years. That means they have to teach six classes a day (Jr & Sr HS) with an average of over 30 students per class. That equates to grading 180 papers and preparing lesson plans for six classes, at home, on their own time. Show me any employee, public or private, who would consent to spend 2-4 hours a night and more on weekends without compensation! Teachers also have to perform non-teaching duties like bus duty, playground duty, lunch duty, being a chaperone for dances, co-ordinating clubs, etc. All this is for no extra pay! Subtract about 18% for pension contributions and social security and another $200 per paycheck for health insurance and that $30K (or even $54K) dwindles to next to nothing. That is why most teachers work second jobs during the school year, weekends and during the summer. Most teachers do teach, not for the money, but for the students whose minds they help develop. If they were in it for the money, they'd quit and choose another profession. Factor in apathetic parents who don't require their children to study and who, when they find out "junior" won't pass a class, expect the teacher to allocate extra credit or make up work so he/she can pass. As far as unions, the teachers' union for MPS is less than worthless. Whatever the administration offers, they accept. That's why most teachers have dropped participation in the union, because they were paying dues and benefits and wages were stagnant.
Willie, I hate to disagree with you, but public unions in Arizona (a right to work state) are impotent. In Mesa, for example, unions cannot bargain collectively and are prohibited from negotiating by city charter! Even Phoenix, which does permit collective bargaining, rarely gives in to the unions. Again, one wonders why anyone would pay union dues to an organization that can't do anything positive for its members?2 months ago
Venter #3, you are misguided! You apparently believe that gays, bi-sexuals and transgender folks are deviants and that they are the ones who sexually abuse children and adults in public restrooms. Most, if not all, pedophiles are heterosexuals who prey on children. Rapists who sexually assault adult males and females do it for the power it gives them over another human being, not for the sex!
Truthseeker, you are absolutely correct stating that teachers are not the only folks with student loans. However, please note that most engineering grads start out with salaries in excess of $75K, doctors have salaries over $100K and teachers start out at $30K. That is a huge difference in starting salaries! Teachers also have to continue with their education (master's degree) if they want to keep their job and increase the opportunity to earn a higher salary. Most teachers work well in excess of 40 hours per week without any overtime pay. They also spend a great deal of personal time doing ancillary work such as grading papers, developing assignments and evaluating students, which is unpaid time.2 months ago
I apologize for my incomplete sentence. It should read: By the way, anyone in the Arizona State Pension system has not received a cost of living adjustment to their pensions (meaning they are frozen) since 2004. As we all know, inflation has a way of eating up an income. Just look at the price of gas from 2004 to present day ($2.02 versus $3.75). Do you think that a $22K pension pays for six vacations a year? 2 months ago
Both Venter #1 and Truthseeker are way off base. As Bluepoet points out, teachers have had their wages frozen for a number of years and the $54K figure is for teachers with over 20+ years of experience with advanced degrees. Teachers have to earn a master's degree within seven years to advance on the pay scale. They pay for that advanced education out of their own pockets. A master's degree at ASU, NAU or U of A will cost in excess of $20K, so it takes a long time to recoup that outlay. Pursuing a doctorate is a greater expense. While teachers are usually on campus teaching and performing non-teaching duties (bus monitoring, playground duty, dance chaperoning, etc.) for about 40+ hours a week with no overtime, they also spend an average of 2-3 hours a night grading papers and preparation for the next day's classes. All of that time is uncompensated.
Teachers do have the summers off and if they teach over 30 years in Arizona (figuring they start at age 22-25) they can retire with 80 points (age plus years of service). New teachers coming into the profession will need 85 points. Their pensions are not exorbitant, retiring after meeting the 80 points will get them 40%, which on a $55 three year average salary equates to $22K a year. They also pay into social security which combined with their pension contribution equals 17.5% of their salary. Yes, at age 62 they can take early social security, like any other worker who participates in SS. That means that they would get an additional $1K per month. So that would equal less than $3K per month in retirement. Not all that much to live on, if you ask me.
Add into the equation minimal support from today's parents, rude and obnoxious students, lack of support from administration and a reduction in expenditures for education by the Arizona legislature, I can't see any reason why a sane person would want to be an educator, especially when you include a $30K starting salary!2 months ago
Ateam1, I don't understand what you're point is. Apparently, you didn't read my post or understand it. I have never been a socialist, just a clear-thinking, moderate Republican who has watched the GOP stray from what made it a great party to one dominated by a small-minded minority. The party needs to change or it will continue to lose elections! There are some good potential candidates for the 2016 election, such as Huntsman from Utah and Christie from New Jersey, whom I would support. I just don't think that the Religious Right or the Tea Party people will allow them the opportunity to run!
FYI, I served my country in the military. In addition, I worked over 35 years in service to my fellow citizens. I'm sure that this won't matter to you, but I have earned all that I receive now that I am retired!!3 months ago
Hate to point this out, Leon, but the proper spelling of the word is "where" not were!
Actually more than half of the voters trusted Obama (51.1%), as opposed to Romney, or at least they feared Romney and the "my way or the highway" Republicans who are married to the Religious Right and the "anti-tax for anything" Tea Party. As a registered Republican for over 40 years, I lament that in today's world even Barry Goldwater would be considered a liberal! The Republicans will continue to lose a majority of elections as long as they follow the path that alienates clear-thinking, moderates in the party.3 months ago