Questions for Leo: Is It Easy Giving Green?

April 17, 2009

Henson and Kermit.jpg

(Guest Post by Greg Forster)

Today’s installment of the ongoing series Questions for Leo features this 1974 photo of Leo Casey on vacation in the Everglades with the then-chairman of the New York City Council education committee.

The Daily News coverage of union financial contributions to the puppets on the education committee reminds us how much green the unions have to give. So our question for Leo today is, “Is it easy giving green?”

I mailed him the question (on a cue card, of course) and he replied:

It’s not that easy giving green
Having to wish each day my conscience would leave
When I think it could be nicer
Being a thief, or a con artist, or a pro wrestler
Or something much more honest like that

It’s not easy giving green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary lobbyists
And people tend to pass you over
‘Cause you’re not standing out like GSEs that destroy the economy
Or stars in Hollywood

But green is the color of nastiness
And green makes politicians cool and friendly-like
And green can make you big, like a tyrant
Or important, like a monopolist
Or walk tall like you had dignity

When green rolls in from union fees
It could make you wonder why you hate children
But why wonder? Why wonder?
I have green, and it’ll do fine
It’s beautiful!
And I think it’s what you want from me

Photo courtesy The Jim Henson Company via the Baton Rouge Advocate.


Famous Steakholders, Volume 2

April 17, 2009

Could this be what Leo was talking about?


(HT: Brian)

(Image source:

You’re Locked in Here with Me!

April 16, 2009

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

The Watchmen has a great scene where one of the heroes is unmasked and sent to prison. Needless to say, the place is swimming in criminal anxious to kill him. Our hero, a rather rough-edged sort of chap, is assaulted in line by a prisoner far larger than himself and using a makeshift knife to boot.

Not only does our hero quickly disable his attacker, for good measure, he smashes a plate of glass, grabs a container of hot cooking grease, and douses the bloke who dared to assault him. As the prison guards dragged him away, he growled out “You don’t seem to understand. I’m not locked in here with you…YOU’RE LOCKED IN HERE WITH ME!!!!!”

You can watch this, grisly violence and all, here: 

Now much gloom surrounds the fight over DC vouchers. Jay even seems to refer to them in the past tense in the Wall Street Journal. Could it be, however, that we’ve misread things? Perhaps we’re not locked in the prison with Dick Durbin. Perhaps he is locked in the prison with us.

Mike Petrilli writes:

Now Messrs. Obama and Duncan find themselves in a Vietnam-style quagmire. They’ve crushed the hopes and dreams of 200 low-income D.C. families while staking out the otherwise-reasonably-decent position that 1,700 youngsters already in the program should be protected until they graduate. Yet even that outcome is in doubt, as the program’s enemies strive to kill it outright. Meanwhile, both are vulnerable to personal attacks, with the President’s children in an elite private school and the Secretary admitting that he chose a (public) school outside the District for his daughter because he didn’t want to “jeopardize my own children’s education.”

The time has come for both to learn some key lessons. First: though it might look like a teapot, the D.C. voucher program is capable of causing a major tempest that isn’t going to end anytime soon. Second: if you want Congress to cough up funds to keep the program’s current students in their schools, it’s going to take a fight–an affirmative fight by you in defense of vouchers that work for poor kids! And third: don’t fear such a fight, because the facts–not to mention a compelling human narrative–are on your side.

This fight rids us of all illusions- you are either with the kids, or with the unions. Period. You either believe in evidence based education reform, or you do not. No middle ground. If you are a Democrat, you must choose whether you are a hero or a zero. If you want to be a zero, are you willing to throw 1,700 kids under the bus in order to do it?

No amount of complaining by policy wonks, of course, is going to change the political realities on this. It’s not hard to imagine, however, the DC Parents drenching the zeros in the political equivalent of hot grease.

In today’s Wall Street Journal Jay makes a lot of good points about the teacher unions and their true feelings about charter schools.  Along the way, however, he says Obama has “done union bidding by killing the D.C. voucher program.”  This is likely true, but readers should not think that all attempts to save the program have run their course.  Senator Lieberman has stated that he plans to hold hearings about the program in May.  Senator Feinstein said in March that if the official evaluation by the Department of Ed found positive results (which it did) then she too would support extending the program. Negative press and public pressure calling on Obama to support reauthorizing the program has been increasing daily. 

Congress and, most importantly, President Obama, still have an opportunity to do the right thing, stand by their stated principles, and reauthorize a program that has been scientifically proven to help disadvantaged D.C. schoolchildren improve their lives. 

DC kids would tell Jay (although certainly with less cheese):

Famous Steakholders, Volume One

April 16, 2009

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Could this be what Leo was talking about?

Questions for Leo: Can you do that while drinking a glass of water?

April 16, 2009

Our ongoing series “Questions for Leo” features this undated photo of Leo Casey with a New York City Council member.  Our question for today is: Can you do that while drinking a glass of water? 

We chose that question over: How high up does the hand go?

The Silence of the Unions

April 16, 2009

When a study comes out showing positive results for vouchers the teacher unions are normally quick to release a statement dissecting the results, highlighting any negative discoveries, and pointing out (mostly imaginary) flaws in research design.

Why the deafening silence from the unions on the new D.C. voucher study?  I guess you don’t even have to pretend to make the case for union policy positions if you already have the politicians reading from your cue cards.

New Cue Card Photo Found

April 16, 2009


In the continuing “cue card check” scandal, this new photo was discovered.