My friend Walter Abbott up in Ruston seems to have a problem with any public employee as does, apparently State Rep. John “Jay” Morris, III (R-Monroe).
Abbott, as I, publishes a political blog and that certainly is his—or anyone’s—right. But the thing that he can’t seem to get around is his constant habit of labeling any public employee as a “deadhead.” In fact, he never refers to public employees, be they teachers, law enforcement officers, firemen, or highway construction crews, as anything but “deadheads.”
I’m not certain what Walter does for a living, but I would assume his work is essential and not of the “deadhead” status. But one can never be sure. Sometimes one creates a deliberate smokescreen (such as name-calling) as a tactic to deflect attention from himself. Again, I don’t know that, I’m just sayin’…..
Walter’s post today (March 31) provides a link to a story by Baton Rouge Advocate reporter Elizabeth Crisp which said that Louisiana college and university students plan to demonstrate at the state Capitol on April 15 as a protest to anticipated draconian cuts to higher education appropriations for the coming year.
But Walter, in his classic inimitable parsing of nomenclature, says in the headline to his blog: “Student Mob to Protest on Behalf of Deadheads.”
Student Mob? Seriously, Walter? You know with absolute certainty that these students will be roving bands of vandals, possibly armed, intent on rape and pillage and assorted other forms of crimes against humanity? Hell, Abbott, you’re better than the entire Justice League. Perhaps we need to make you an official state deadhead and bring you to Baton Rouge or New Orleans or Shreveport to fight crime—in advance with your gift of clairvoyance, of course. Which city? No problem; with your obvious skill at predicting the future, you need only tip off the deadhead law enforcement agencies in each city when a crime is about to take place.
And about that “deadhead” term you so love to toss around: I can only assume that you’ve drunk the Ted Cruz/Scott Walker/Rand Paul tea party Kool-Aid which finds all things public to be anathema.
In a previous blog you referred to teachers as “deadheads.” Well, Walt, unless I’m mistaken, a teacher taught you to read and write, which enables you to now turn on those same dedicated people by calling them “deadheads.”
Let me enlighten you about teachers, Walt, because you obviously do not know the facts or you choose to ignore them. Besides the problem that all teachers face, namely the constant push and pull from politicians who seem to think they have all the answers and rush in with ill-advised education “reform” measures, there are these specifics:
- Kindergarten and elementary teachers: Not only must they teach, but they also have to do lesson plans, grade papers at night (after cooking for the family and cleaning house and helping their own kids with homework), contend with kids who can’t keep up in class because their lazy or irresponsible, drug-addled parents won’t take the initiative to help the kids at home, then attempt to appease those same parents who want to shift the blame for the kids’ poor grades onto the teacher. They daily see these same children come to school hungry or unbathed—or both. In addition to all these duties is the constant paperwork that must be filled out by teachers and as they perform all these tasks, they often are called upon to wipe snotty noses and wipe soiled behinds. Summer vacation? Fugetaboutit. That three-month vacation you always hear about is a myth. When school is out, classrooms must be cleaned, books put away, furniture stacked against the wall so janitorial crews can move in to do their jobs and by the time all that is done, it’s time to start planning the new school year.
- Middle school teachers: One might think that middle school is a breeze but this is where kids grow into puberty, where cliques are formed and where little teen-age girls snipe at each other behind their backs. It ain’t pretty. As these children grow from adolescence into teens, attitudes are formed and teachers must deal with that reality on a daily basis. Moreover, remember those kids from elementary school who were lagging behind? Well some of them are older than their classmates because sadly, they had to be held back one or more grades. But they’re falling even further behind and it becomes the middle school teacher’s task to confront angry parents who won’t accept their own role in educating their own children. And that paperwork didn’t go away in elementary school. Neither do the late night paper grading sessions.
- High school teachers: By now, the slower students have become a real challenge. Not only do they refuse to do their assignments and fall even further behind before eventually dropping out of school (and teachers consider every dropout a personal loss, some might even say a failure). But those who remain have by now developed really nasty attitudes (often encouraged at home by parents who still refuse to accept responsibility) and teacher-student confrontations often occur that sometimes become physical, placing the teacher in danger of bodily harm.
So there you have your teacher “deadheads,” Walt. But you know what? Through it all, they persevere at salaries most likely considerably less than what you make, because teaching is not an occupation, it’s a calling, and these educators are dedicated to that calling—something you obviously do not comprehend or care to.
But Walt insists on attaching that label to all public employees. Well, Walt, I was one of those “deadheads” for 20 years, working as a claims adjuster for the Office of Risk Management.
And being completely candid, I was far from being the best adjuster in the office (even though I was once told that I was by a member of management in his somewhat feeble effort at blowing smoke up my toga—some form of weird motivation, I suppose) but despite my many shortcomings (I love writing more than insurance), I still managed to help save the state several millions of dollars in bogus claims. To that end, despite my habitual failure to keep my diary updated and my distaste for insurance, I still managed to justify my salary many, many times over.
Finally, Walter, I would ask that you consider this in the future when dealing with these “deadheads”:
- When you find a pothole in your street that tears up your vehicle’s front end, call a tea partier, not the highway department—they’re deadheads;
- Same thing when you observe litter along the streets and highways;
- When your sewer line backs up because of a lack of maintenance because the deadheads have been laid off, call a tea partier;
- When you discover rust and other substances in your water line for that same reason, call a tea partier;
- When your neighbor knocks down your fence and refuses to pay for it, don’t bother filing suit. Those courtroom employees, including the judge, are deadheads. Call a tea partier.
- When your house catches fire, don’t call the fire department. They’re just a bunch of deadheads. Call the tea partiers;
- When you or a family member is being assaulted by some thug, the police department, staffed with deadheads, is obviously the wrong call. The tea party will set things right for you.
Count on it.
As for Rep. Morris, his recent comments constitute a classic example of shooting the messenger.
He, like Jindal’s former chief of staff, now president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), Stephen Waguespack (the same one who leaned on Murphy Painter to ignore Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control regulations in that issue over the Budweiser tent at Jindal contributor Tom Benson’s Champion’s Square), doesn’t feel that Bob Mann retains the right of free speech under the First Amendment simply because he’s on the payroll of LSU.
Rep. Morris, you are an attorney and as such you of all people should be at the front of the line to defend that right. Instead, you choose to jump into the fray based on another blog, that of Scott McKay’s The Hayride. http://thehayride.com/2015/03/twitter-tough-guy-bob-mann-takes-on-labi-over-waguespacks-column/
McKay and Morris wax indignant that Mann has the audacity to write—on his own time—a column for the New Orleans Times-Picayune while teaching (this semester) one class because of the necessity to care for his wife who is ill.
Of all things, Morris chooses to compare Mann’s salary to that of a public school teacher who he says works for a paltry $32,000 a year. Well, isn’t it in the legislature’s power to increase those salaries? Has Rep. Morris ever, even once, made a move to raise the pay for teachers? Or instead, was he one of 53 House members who voted to kill House Bill 645 by Rep. Marcus Hunter (D-Monroe) to raise the state minimum wage? See for yourself: HB 645 VOTE
Rep. Morris, you can’t have it both ways: you can’t use teachers’ salaries against Bob Mann if you’ve never attempted to rectify the gaping disparity yourself. That comes under the heading of hypocrite. Don’t be so smug in jumping on Mann’s case as a means of questioning LSU’s budget while defending NLU perhaps because some of that university’s employees might be your constituents whom you don’t want to offend.
Rep. Morris asks the rhetorical question: “How are we polititians (sic) supposed to raise revenue to save higher ed when there might be a whole lot of waste?” Shouldn’t that be a question for you, as a representative of the people, to sort out? Have you and other legislators been asleep at the wheel so long that waste occurs right under your collective, oblivious noses?
If you are so concerned about waste, don’t you think it might have been a good idea for you to have checked the campaign expenditures of Rep. Erich Ponti (R-Baton Rouge) before you contributed $1,000 to his campaign, and who in turn contributed $1,000 to the campaign of Rep. Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales)? Do you really think their expenditures of $15,405 and $9,660, respectively, to purchase of LSU football and softball tickets from 2010 through 2014 was the most judicious use of their campaign funds? Could that perhaps be included in your sanctimonious, somewhat selective definition of waste?
|Ponti, Erich E.||JOHN C JAY MORRIS III FOR STATE REP 2705 OAK DR MONROE, LA 71201||CONTRIBUTION||6/28/2012||$1,000.00|
|Schexnayder, Clay||FRIENDS OF ERICH PONTI CAMPAIGN Thibodeaux Ave Baton Rouge, LA 70806||CONTRIBUTION||11/14/2011||$1,000.00|
|Ponti, Erich E.||LSU ATHLETICS PO BOX 25095 BATON ROUGE, LA 70894-5905||TICKETS||5/13/2014||$3,310.00|
|Ponti, Erich E.||LSU ATHLETIC TICKET OFFICE BATON ROUGE, LA||2012 FOOTBALL SEASON TICKETS/PARKING||4/20/2012||$3,130.00|
|Ponti, Erich E.||LSU ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT ATHLETIC ADMINISTRATION BLDG BATON ROUGE, LA 70803||FOOTBALL TICKETS||5/5/2013||$3,110.00|
|Ponti, Erich E.||LSU ATHLETICS c/o Speakers’ Office LA State Capital Baton Rouge, LA 70801||2010 Legislative Football Tickets||4/21/2010||$2,000.00|
|Ponti, Erich E.||LSU ATHLETICS P.O. BOX 25095 BATON ROUGE, LA 70803||FOOTBALL TICKETS||4/26/2011||$2,000.00|
|Ponti, Erich E.||LSU ATHLETICS P.O. BOX 25095 BATON ROUGE, LA 70803||FOOTBALL TICKETS||6/6/2011||$950.00|
|Ponti, Erich E.||LSU ATHLETIC TICKET OFFICE BATON ROUGE, LA||LSU FOOTBALL TICKETS||1/4/2012||$905.00|
|Schexnayder, Clay||LSU ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT ALTHLETIC BLDG BATON ROUGE, LA 70803||TICKETS||4/11/2014||$3,210.00|
|Schexnayder, Clay||LSU ATHLETIC OFFICE 110 Thomas Boyd Baton Rouge, LA 70808||TAFT donation and tickets||5/23/2012||$3,135.00|
|Schexnayder, Clay||LSU ATHLETIC OFFICE 110 Thomas Boyd Baton Rouge, LA 70808||tickets||5/22/2013||$3,115.00|
|Schexnayder, Clay||LSUE SOFTBALL 2048 JOHNSON HWY EUNICE, LA 70535||DONATION||12/3/2014||$200.00|
We’re just saying people who live in glass houses…