Chad’s Morning Brief for 12.19.12
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of December 19, 2012. Give Chad your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11 am.
1. Vouchers? (link)
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Senator Dan Patrick are set to announce school reform legislation on Wednesday. According to the Texas Tribune:
Patrick, a Houston Republican and education committee chairman, has declined to discuss details of the proposal in advance of the announcement. He told The Texas Tribune in October that he envisioned a broad school choice bill and left open the possibility of private school vouchers, including for religious schools like the one where the news conference will be held.
"When we talk about choice today, it's the choice to choose schools within a district, potentially across district lines. It's charter schools. It's virtual schools. It's online learning. It's the secular and religious schools in the private sector," he said.
Dewhurst, who recently appointed Patrick to lead the education committee, said during the National Republican Convention in August that he would work with the senator to expand school choice in Texas.
“I personally don’t have any problem with a program in which children’s parents receive a payment from the state and are able to select which school that they go to,” Dewhurst said at the time. He added, “I’m willing to look at more choice for more parents. It’s early, too early, to talk about what form that may take, whether it could be payments, whether it could be tax credits, whether it could be more charters schools."
School choice is supported by Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams, though the latter has said he will not advocate for it in his role leading the state education agency. If the legislation filed Wednesday includes a plan to allow parents to use public money to send their children to private schools, it will likely encounter major opposition from every education association in the state.
Proponents argue that competition fostered by opening up state education money to the private sector will improve all public schools. But the policy has struggled to gain the support of lawmakers, including Republicans, in the past because of questions about how effective that competition would actually be without a level-playing field between private and public schools. Critics also are concerned about how state accountability measures would apply to private schools that accept state funds, and whether families could afford transportation and tuition costs in addition to state vouchers.
I am looking forward to seeing what the legislation looks like. If it's a voucher program, I have no problem with it. Competition is good.
2. Blaming Games (link)
Besides guns, another popular thing to blame after a mass shooting is video games. Apparently the debate will start up again soon.
The Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre has inspired fresh talk about the effect that violent video games like "Call of Duty" and "Grand Theft Auto" are having on children and young men like Adam Lanza, who was known by his friends to be a gamer.
“It’s impossible to say what caused any given person to commit a horrific act like this,” said Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University and one of the country’s leading experts on video game violence.
He stressed that multiple factors may have contributed to the incident, including ease of access to guns and Lanza's mental health. “But we can say whether violent video games increase aggression … and they do.”
This is stupid. Just as stupid as blaming guns by the way. I enjoy playing some video games from time to time, and yes some of them are violent. I still know right from wrong and millions of others who play games are the same way.
From the article you would think that only kids play these games, but in reality the average age of someone who plays video games is in the mid 30's.
As I said on Monday, most likely there are several issues, deep issues, that set this person off. It's easy to blame guns and video games but silly to do so.
3. NRA to Speak (link)
The NRA has remained silent since the shooting in Connecticut. On Friday, that will change. According to FOX News:
A statement released late Tuesday by the Fairfax, Va.-based organization announced that it would hold a "major" news conference on Friday. Issued by an aide to NRA President Wayne LaPierre, the statement also conveyed condolences for the murders and expressed the group's willingness to offer "meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."
"The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters -- and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown," the statement said.
"Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting."
Sources close to the issue had earlier alerted Fox News that the National Rifle Association -- which has remained silent since Newtown, chiefly to allow for a proper period for mourning -- would soon start to "push back" against the gun-control lobby.
"If we're going to have a conversation, then let's have a comprehensive conversation," said one industry source. "If we're going to talk about the Second Amendment, then let's also talk about the First Amendment, and Hollywood, and the video games that teach young kids how to shoot heads.
"If you really want to stop incidents like this," the source continued, "passing one more law is not going to do a damn thing. Columbine happened when? In 1999. Smack in the middle of the original assault-weapons ban."
It was smart for the NRA to go silent for a while. It is time to push back and to show that guns aren't the problem in this country.
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