Mark Palermo

Romney is a Jerk

He Was Our S.O.B.
Long Ago Saturday Nights at the Circle 9
The Dark Side of Vaccinations
Wine: Where Ignorance and Pretension Find their Loudest Voice
A 1976 Journey in Search of Self
The Machinery of Mass Dreams
The Outlaw Georgie Bush
Sex Offender Registries Out of Control
Extreme Makeover for Airheads
The Fault Lies not in the Stars, but in Ourselves
Reconsidering George Carlin
If You Think Liberals Are Jerks...
She Couldn't Do Her Chores
Remembering Viktor Frankl
One Day on the Farm-1977
A Fresh Look at Meat
How the Real World Works: A Lesson
30 Bucks for the Human Touch
1929 All Over Again
An Old Man's War, A Young Man's Fight
More Things in Heaven and Earth...
Our Dumbed-down Public Discourse
Bread, But No Roses
Earth's the Right Place for Love
Read This Before Enlisting
Poison Is Good for You: The Fluoridation Scam
Ron Paul:He Makes Too Much Sense
War Is a Racket
Brazil's National Orgasm Day
Calling all Liberals!
Why I Don't Get Flu Shots
What is Community?
Haverhillicus Homocrisicum
If You Wanna Be a Junkie, Why?
Do We Know His Family?
Scam: Youth Sports
A Subsidy for the Human Touch?
How Not to Be Boring
If the Bread and Roses Strike Were NOW
America's Problem with the Body
Columbus Day? or Renaissance Day?
Depleted Uranium Weapons
Mitt Romney: A Clintonian Republican
A Checklist for Conservatives
On Torture and Torturers
Pimp of the Nation
Romney is a Jerk
Hypocrisy and its Champions
The Dumb Society
The Men's Taverns of Yesteryear
On Dittoheads!
Let China Sleep
2004 McDebates
Animal Rights Page
US Wealth Distribution Chart
Public Grief, Private Lives


At a recent college job fair, I noticed the jobs being offered to young people as career choices: Home Depot, department stores, dollar stores, various nursing homes and cleaning services; and it got me wondering about the kind of vision our politicians have for the next generation of this country. The vision is coming into focus now. For a peek at the final goal, just look at Brazil, where a handful of families own everything, and everybody else is poor- and you will see a window on the world of tomorrow- if our leaders get their way. A New World Order distracted by bread and circuses, where young people are free to be cannon fodder or else pyramid builders and supervisors of pyramid builders in the New World Order.

The Chinese, turning out twice a many engineers ever year as the United States, are preparing to dominate the world economy- and not just in jump ropes and textiles- but in high-tech, value added consumer products. India is now graduating more scientists than the United States, and even Russia is turning out engineers. Congress' response to this challenge? Last year they cut funding to the National Science Foundation- as well as to every non-defense related science agency.

In Massachusetts, the myopic blunted vision has found its truest manifestation in the educational policies of Governor Romney. The Romney response has been in keeping with what he knows best: stripping equity and transferring wealth. In terms of education, it means dismantling public higher education.

Last month the Massachusetts Senate Task Force on Public Higher Education, a bipartisan group that includes business and community leaders, released the following findings about Massachusetts:

-Ranks 49th in the nation in state spending on higher education per $1000 of state income.

-Ranks 47th in the nation in state spending on public higher education per capita.

-Largest decrease in state funding for public education of any state: a 32.6% reduction, adjusted for inflation, between 2001 and 2004.

-The only state in the nation that is spending less on public higher education than it was spending ten years ago.

-Student charges consistently among the highest in the country because of insufficient funding.

-Spends more on incarcerating its citizenry than on educating them in its public colleges and universities.

Is this how we compete? Even for a man who espouses a conservative philosophy of self-reliance, this makes no sense. What kind of dismantles downsizes education in such an environment? Money spent on enhancing educational opportunities is "seed money" that comes back to a community is myriad ways. It builds job skills, and acts as an antidote to the marginalization of youth that has become epidemic in our society. It contributes to an environment where higher paying jobs can flourish. Higher paying jobs contribute to the tax base of local communities. Everybody agrees that a nation's prosperity is dependent on its educational system.

With funding for higher Ed down so drastically, public higher ed is turning into another "Wal-Mart"- complete with an overdependence of part-time "temp" workers (A.K.A. adjunct faculty). In a typical community college in Massachusetts, over two-thirds of all courses are now taught by part-timers, many with no health insurance. Overdependence on part-timers adversely affects the quality of education because they are contract workers with no ties to the school, and no obligation to serve on committees, meet with or advise students. School use fees, for example, at some state schools have been raised so much that they are actually higher than tuition. But in this Orwellian use of language, the governor can be said to have "held the line" on tuition. Actions like these are not tax cuts,or even holding the line on taxes, but tax deferrals and equity stripping, the consequences of which are to be passed on to the next governor, and/or absorbed by taxpayers and students- a mess to be cleaned up later by somebody else while Mitt Romney rises "above" all this towards the fulfillment of his political aspirations in the national arena.

I grew up in Lawrence in a three-decker. When I was a college student, Northern Essex cost 200 bucks a semester; it was an inexpensive and accessible college education, which is the fundamental mission of a community college- to enable people to help themselves to build a creative and prosperous life. That mission is as important now as it was 40 years ago. How many people have $30,000 a year to spend on their children's college education? I have always been profoundly grateful for the chance that the community college system gave me to develop my skills and intellect. But I ,as well as many colleagues, am alarmed at the downsizing of public education under the governor. What kind of atrocious policies would he support if he were to become president?

The governor's blunted and myopic sensibilities have underscored his abiding mediocrity. A mediocrity which masks itself as talent and innovation only because the alternative offered by the democratic party was so repugnant: the shrill and abrasive Shannon O'Brien, political insider entrenched in the same senile paradigm of corruption and cronyism that brought about midnight pay raises, the Big Dig, all typified by the arrogance of William Bulger and company.

Revolution is the kicking in of a rotten door.

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