Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Column: Keep children safe, healthy, ready for school

Becky Ruffner makes a strong argument for saving First Things First, providing on-the-ground experience to counter the right's allegation that the program has done nothing but gather money and talk.

I really don't get how anyone can sincerely believe that we don't need to invest heavily in early child development and education, even old farts like me with no kids. The state can be rightly criticized for failing to make a better public case for the value and effectiveness of this and many other programs, but that's no excuse for public failure to understand. Our kids need to be smarter than we were. The cost relative to the benefits is negligible.

Editorial: Courier picks the usual partisans, mostly

With this cycle's candidate endorsements, the Courier demonstrates some intellectual progress. For the first time in my memory, Prescott's paper of record endorses a Democrat! Heads explode.

I can't be very enthusiastic about this advancement given the rest of the selected slate, however, which shows the same old reflexive support for anyone with an R after their name. I don't expect the editors are happy to support Rep Kirkpatrick, rather that her opponent is playing so deep in right field that he's too extreme even for them.

Up to now there's been no limit to Courier support for right-wing nutbars, so yes, it's moving perceptibly forward. But the blinders remain firmly ensconced in the other races.

The unnamed Courier editor describes old party hack Jan Brewer as a trend-bucker and writes that she "worked across party lines" to get the sales tax done. This is just fanciful. Brewer's budget process consisted of being months late with her homework, and after the legislative leadership predictably wrecked the train, she finally introduced a badly cracked budget and told them all it was her way or the highway, including the sales tax expansion, which Ds and Rs both opposed. How the Courier can draw its description of her from this is a complete mystery to me. It amounts to just making stuff up.

Similarly, its endorsement of John McCain is all about wishful thinking. McCain's campaign against JD Hayworth showed the Senator consistently chasing events rather than leading them, his positions and opinions careening to the right, pandering to the increasingly unhinged right wing. The editor writes that McCain "influences legislation all over Washington," but for anyone who's paying attention, it's clear that McCain is the one being influenced. Myth over facts again.

In the tag, I see another first: the editor lists the names on the editorial board, part of what I recommended yesterday. More progress. Left to do is detail the process and commit to integrity.