Swickard: Not a single political argument left

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. “If you can't answer a man's arguments, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names.”Elbert Hubbard - My last column pleased some readers while angering others. So I got lots of email. There was a commonality in the angry ones who always started by calling me a racist. Then they labeled me an extreme Republican Fox News wacko. Sorry, I am neither a Republican nor a Fox News viewer.
     Typical was: “You miserable misleading republican bigot racist moron.”  For some reason they make it personal. Some even slurred my dog Conrad. He did not mind and replied, “To know me is to love me, I must be a helleva dog…” Conrad stole that from a Mac Davis song. But it is true.
     And I am fine with personal attacks. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher noted, “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.
     Very few of the angry ones did more than call me vile names. A couple of readers did mention the arguments in my column. For that I am grateful. I agreed with one that I should not call the president names. That does not mean I should not oppose his actions.
     Some who wrote were tickled I said what they had been thinking. Great! But others called me a poopy head. They shouted as loud as they could (in writing) but did not take on my concern that this president had been acting in a mean-spirited manner.
     What no one answered is why this president needs to make it harder on all Americans just because he is sore at the Republicans in Congress. They made him mad and if he wants to talk smack with them, be my guest. If he wants to make it hard on the Republicans in Congress, that is his prerogative.
But America has well over 300 million citizens. Of that number approximately 200 million Americans are eligible to vote. Around 50 million are Republicans and 70 million are Democrats. Obviously many Americans are not registered to vote. Hurt those Republicans and not 90 year old veterans.
     This president should not attempt to hurt all Americans just out of spite and anger at the Congressional Republicans. Leave the rest of us out of the punishment. Read full column

Teachers speak out for, against PED changes

From KOB-TV.com - By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4 - For the first time, a few New Mexico teachers were willing to air their criticism and support of changes put in place by the state’s Public Education Department, or PED.
     Beginning this school year, PED implemented new teacher evaluation procedures that will complement new end of course exams for New Mexico students. There appears to be growing support for an attack against PED led by Albuquerque Public Schoolsboard member Kathy Korte. 4 On Your Side first reported on Korte’s efforts earlier this month.
     “Well, I think one alternative is to slow it down,” Albuquerque teacher Adam Amador said in an interview with KOB Eyewitness News 4. Amador supports Korte’s efforts. He agreed that New Mexico’s educational system needs improvement, but said the new testing and teacher evaluations fail to adequately address economic and cultural influences in the classroom.
     “Data and research shows that [students] don't do well on tests when they don't know where they're going to sleep, and where we don't know where they're coming from,” Amador said.
      Meanwhile, Lisa Todd, another Albuquerque teacher, voiced support for the PED changes. She said any change is long overdue. Todd is especially supportive of the new teacher evaluations. She said teachers, administrators, and parents need to give PED a chance to implement the changes. More