Daily Archives: Sept. 17, 2010

That’s trying to buy an election

cashThe $1.5 million of his own money that businessman Wink Hartman spent on his losing GOP bid for the 4th Congressional District made him the fourth-biggest self-funder of the year’s House primaries, according to a Wall Street Journal blog that listed Republicans Tom Ganley of Ohio, George Flinn Jr. of Tennessee and Randy Altschuler of New York as bigger spenders. But that looks like pocket change compared with Republican and former eBay executive Meg Whitman, who became the biggest self-funder in political history Tuesday by giving her campaign for California governor another $15 million for a total $119 million. The previous record holder was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who spent $109 million of his own money to win re-election last year.

Obama took care of GOP’s disunity

voterepublicanA year after GOP strategist Mike Murphy likened the Republican Party to Russia, circa 1919, with a lot of “warlords” competing for power, he said Sunday that President Obama’s unpopularity has eliminated the need for GOP leaders to unite in order to make big gains in November’s elections. “I’ve been telling Republicans to brag a little less and organize a little more. Let’s not get the expectations out of control,” Murphy said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “But every poll now is historic, and I think the only thing the president can do is build a time machine and go back in time” to prevent major Democratic losses. Voters are mad and they want change, he said. “It’s going to be a different Washington.”

Open thread 9/17


Are students the problem?

studentraisinghandTeachers get blamed for underperforming schools, but columnist Robert Samuelson wrote that “the larger cause of failure is almost unmentionable: shrunken student motivation.” Teachers also get blamed for this lack of motivation, but Samuelson argued that “motivation is weak because more students (of all races and economic classes, let it be added) don’t like school, don’t work hard and don’t do well.” Columnist Thomas Friedman agreed and linked this lack of motivation to a larger cultural problem: “We had a values breakdown — a national epidemic of get-rich-quickism and something-for-nothingism.” Meanwhile, Friedman argued, China and India are catching up to America because they are more willing “to postpone gratification, invest for the future, work harder than the next guy and hold their kids to the highest expectations.”

Overdue to license massage therapists

massageConsidering the closed-door intimacy involved in one person giving another a massage, it’s surprising that neither Kansas nor Wichita requires massage therapists to be licensed — and not surprising that the activity would invite prostitution. A week after the arrests of 10 people implicated in a prostitution ring allegedly operating out of local massage parlors, city officials are smart to be talking about such licensing. It would safeguard not only clients but also the reputations of trained massage therapists and the integrity of their profession.