Links for May 25th

  • Gratiot County Herald Letters To The Editor
    Ithaca, Michigan school superintendent Nathan Bootz wrote an open letter to the governor to ask that his school system be converted to a prison, noting that Michigan spends $30,000–$40,000/year on each prisoner, but only $7,000/year on each student.
  • WVEC: Taxpayers foot the bill when the governor flies on state aircraft
    I don't think it's inherently bad that Bob McDonnell is using state aircraft more than prior governors, but using a state plane to fly his family to the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival to have his daughter crowned as queen? Less good. More problematic is the governor's office's response to WVEC's FOIA request, trying to figure out how to avoid responding, and offering conceptual excuses—it's a long drive from Virginia Beach to Cumberland Gap, it's a money saver—for which there's no real-world scenarios that support those claims.
  • New York Times: Steady Decline in Major Crime Baffles Experts
    Violent crime is at at forty-year low. Combine this with the recent news that divorce is at a thirty-year low, and you can see how the pervasive claims of alarmists are just foolishness. Those who would have you believe that our country is more dangerous and marriages more disposable than ever are either ignorant or trying to sell you something.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

8 replies on “Links for May 25th”

  1. For the equivalent of about three flights a month we have to own and maintain a fleet of three aircraft? And four pilots? We still only have one governor, right? The article doesn’t say whose helicopters provide short trips, but I’m guessing the State Police? Or do we have a fleet of choppers available at all hours too? And while flying may save a few hours of time, driving through areas between destinations might give McDonnell a glimpse of rural Virginians he might not otherwise come into contact with. So there’s value there too.

  2. It would be helpful if the article didn’t compare apples to oranges. It looked at McDonnell’s first year and compared it to Kaine’s last year. Let’s look at McDonnell’s first year and compare it Kaine’s, Warner’s and Gilmore’s first years. Anybody have that data?

    Regarding ****’s comment… I find it highly unlikely that any governor would “see” much of Virginia from the back seat of a big limo on I-64, I-81, I-95, or any of Virginia’s other major highways.

  3. Actually, considering Kaine’s last year in office that he was also the chair of the DNC, I’m surprised that his travel expenses during his final year weren’t higher than McDonnell’s first. That’s a job that I’d think would require a fair amount of out of state travel.

    Both governors have done some international travel — Kaine was supposed to do a trade mission in India and Japan but scrubbed the trip and returned home after the Virginia Tech shootings. McDonnell was in Japan and China earlier this month. I don’t know what their travel arrangements were.

  4. I’m unclear on whether these aircraft are for the dedicated use of the governor. That doesn’t seem to make any sense—they’re just not used enough—but the last paragraph of the story reads:

    The state has more than $12-million invested in planes for the governor’s use. Four full-time pilots also are on the state pay roll, collecting combined salaries of about $300,000.

    Though I guess even that doesn’t say “only for the governor’s use.” I can see it being wholly reasonable for the state to own aircraft—the state police, for instance, obviously need them—and it’s also reasonable for the governor to be able to use those for state business. But they can’t be only for the governor, can they?

  5. They’re not. Agencies “rent” them. Say, for example, VEDP has an economic development prospect and wants to show them four potential sites in different parts of the state. The agency can pay for the use of the Governor’s plane.

  6. Hi
    I couldn’t find a means of replying to your discussion on the “Euphemism treadmill” but thought to add my research to the topic. Euphemisms become pejorative, not because there is anything negative about the person or persons the terms refer to. Instead it is caused by the topic itself. All “euphemism treadmills” are associated with a topic that is uncomfortable to the normative or majority population. Disabilities, developmental problems, blacks-african americans… all these words change because it represents a non-handicapped or white, etc population discussing a topic that is charged, sensitive.
    I discuss this in my essay here:
    I’d just like to point out that linguistic politeness, and the desire to “save face” when discussing touchy areas, is the mechanism that drives people to find new means of communicating. One replier to your blog even mentioned that he or she always feels a twinge of conscience when using the word “black”. The topic itself remains touchy for that majority which discusses it, and so, continues to reinvent the language to get around their discomfiture.

    I hope this ends up in the “euphemism treadmill” section somehow, as I think it might help some there understand the mechanism. It’s an interesting topic!

  7. Sorry about that, Jacob—old blog entries like the one you were looking at don’t accept further comments, for the unfortunate reason that they receive too many spam comments to be worth the trouble. I continue to find the topic really interesting, though, and I’ve enjoyed the small portion of your paper that I’ve read so far. I posted a link to your comment here on that blog entry. Thanks for your contribution!

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