Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who's Getting Ripped Off

Kyle Olson bravely filed Form 990 with the IRS on November 9, disclosing how much donors pay him for his myriad services as the big shot of EAG. The documents show that Kyle alleges he made around $30k this past year, with about another $9K in benefits. The expense report is impressive for such a small operation--over $20 K for things like travel, lodging, dining, office supplies, and the proverbial "other" category so popular with diligent itemizers.

And what do his donors get in return for their investment in these tough economic times? About 108 short blog entries, 13 opinion columns, a couple of YouTube videos, and about a half-dozen mentions in news stories. Oh, and he got his picture taken with Sarah Palin.

And Kyle thinks MEA teachers have it good?! How does one sign up for such a cushy gig as the one Kyle has?! That's a pretty good living for someone who writes a couple of blogs a week and about once a month gets a conservative newspaper to run a 400-word opinion piece. Taxpayers are indeed getting ripped off alright, Kyle--namely the taxpayers contributing to your personal bottom line.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kyle says EAG isn't focused on the MEA. Hello Google...?

Kyle recently wrote an op ed in which he responded to a comment (mine)that the EAG was charged with opposing the MEA on all fronts: "He provides no basis for the statement as there is none."

I did provide basis, I said have a look at the EAG website. But to save you the trouble, 30 seconds of Googling will set the matter to rest...

Number of times these phrases appear on the EAG site:

MEA 206

And if there's any doubt about in which direction Kyle's criticizms fly:

Bush 0
Obama 59

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kyle drops the Commie Bomb

Kyle's blog is an endless source of amusement. This time he calls anyone bold enough to demonstrate a communist, equating a candlelight vigil with propaganda. He's talking about a demonstration held last week where a couple hundred people, including those that lost their jobs, stood outside a Southfield School Board meeting. Only Kyle would miss the obvious reaction Castro would have if such a thing happened in Cuba.

But that's okay, because he can't control himself. He probably really thinks he's reaching new believers with this kind of raving.

But then this is the guy who picked Dick Morris as an effective front man for EAG. Rave on, Kyle!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Word is in the Kyle has come up with a new line of attack on Wayne Westland. He's got it in his head that the recall there is secretly driven by the MEA, so he wants to look thorough the emails that teachers have written, hoping to find mention of the recall. Or maybe any kind of union talk, who knows?

Trouble is, the recall is run by an actual group of locals who are apparently pretty annoyed at how the board has handled things. This story says Shawnn Maxwell is spearheading the recall effort. I Googled her/his name, and all I can find is a chicago saxophone player. If that's the right Maxwell, then Kyle's really got something to run with.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kyle gets a little defensive...

Last week the Wayne Eagle ran a story that referred to EAG as "a non-profit organization promoting school spending reform". I wrote the reporter to give him the very Republican nature of the EAGuy, and they ran it as a letter to the editor.

Yesterday, they ran a letter from Kyle that suggested I had injected partisan politics by running through his Republican past and present, and the EAGuy's links to the Mackinac Center. He corrected me by pointing out that he has no twin.

I had made the mistake of saying that his brother Ryan was his twin. Ryan, it turns out, is two years older than Kyle. Woops. Of course Kyle was careful not to repeat the rest of the passage: that his brother ran the Mackinac Center's education operation for years. 

Kyle, feel free to point out any spelling errors I make. And I'll assume you'll continue to avoid the real issue: EAG is a tool of the right wing and is all about softening the ground for a Right to Work (AKA: Right to Freeload) ballot proposal.

Monday, November 10, 2008

We're No Longer Thugs!

What's in a word? Plenty. Kyle Olson has consistently labeled good, hardworking teachers, citizens, parents, and taxpayers "thugs" by listing them at his "Thug Watch" blog at the EAG website.

But last Tuesday's election--an election that saw the public repudiate hate politics in elections from local to state to national--must have shocked and awed Olson into a sobering epiphany. Just scant days after the election the EAG "Thug Watch" blog has now been renamed "Reform Watch."

It's a rather appropriate title, given how the public "reformed" and "informed" right-wing hate politics and politicians last Tuesday.

It looks like many entitities, big and small, are doing some thoughtful soul-searching after getting a loud-and-clear message from the American public last Tuesday. Even Olson appears to have taken note.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Mackinac Center and the Election Result

Well given last Tuesday’s result, we should have expected this. The Mackinac Center website today posted an article written by the Center's legislative analyst Jack McHugh, which begins with:

“The fundamental problem facing our nation is that true representative government has been supplanted by an inbred, self-serving, self-perpetuating political class that does not represent the people. As a result, the government has escaped the control of the people.”

I’m thinking McHugh’s is a minority opinion, based on the reaction to the election results I’ve seen from around the country. But he doesn’t stop there. He tells us that this political class includes school employees: “The elected officials who grant [public sector retirement benefits] and their beneficiaries are all members of the same political/government class, which protects its own above all else.”

He sounds pretty upset, which I guess it'ss understandable given that election day closely followed the imploding of the economy and with it, the death of the Center’s central premise that free markets regulate themselves. Previously, the Center’s only response to the resulting bailout came from past president Larry Reed. He downplayed it as small potatoes: “Thank God we have the private sector to bail out the federal government not just last week, but every week!” This, he said, was because when companies pay taxes, they bail out the government.

Getting back to McHugh, he’s been busy. In addition to the above venting, he’s been taking time out to revise the Wikipedia Mackinac Center article. Rather than simply deleting the material detailing the Center's finances, he’s taken the novel approach of drowning the article in material from the Center’s website, driving the original text deep down. It’d take a pretty committed reader to get to anything revealing more than the Center’s usual PR.

In the past, several corporations, including Wal Mart, were taken to task by the media for revising their own Wikipedia entries. We'll have to see if word about this gets out.

But that’s the way Wikipedia works, everyone gets to edit. Including you. Have a look and make any change you think is warranted.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kyle Calls Them His "Citizen" and "Community" Supporters. The GR Press Calls Them Local Republicans

Thanks to the GR Press and one of Kyle's own recent blog postings (October 31, 2008), his list of supporters are becoming better known and reported on.

After Paul Helder of the GREA called Kyle the 'Education Action Guy', Kyle piped in with this to say. "Tell that to the nearly 250 people who heard the EAG message yesterday alone and responded with their checkbooks and offers to help."

According to the Press, Kyle and Dick Morris spoke to about 125 local Republicans at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel on their 1 day road show. The attendees were county GOP Chairwoman Joanne Voorhees, Congressman Hoekstra, candidate for Governor and other private invitees.

Let's see . . . 125 of the 250 "grassroots supporters" that showed up during the 1 day EAG Roadshow were "local Republicans at the Amway Grand Plaza?"

No suprise to us though. We called him on who his real backers were a long time ago when EAGTruth was launched. It's just nice to finally see some reporting of this fact in places other than the EAGTruth.com website.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Really Kyle? Dick Morris???

Dick Morris made a visit last week to Grand Rapids, and preached to the choir in the form of a small group of 12 Republicans at the Amway Grand. An article in the Grand Rapids Press was the only press hit this three city tour received, and was distinctive in that it labeled EAG "a Muskegon organization critical of teachers unions.” "Anti-union" would have been more accurate, or better yet, "anti-MEA", as a complete examination of EAG’s work shows that it has yet to target any other organization.

The article had a great quote from local leader Paul Helder: "It's interesting that Mr. Morris believes that Kyle Olson, the 'Education Action Guy,' is considered a grassroots group."

Exactly. And Kyle, you’re the vice president of strategy. Why won’t you tell anyone who the President is? Is it because EAG doesn’t have a president?

And finally, why in the world are we taking education advice from Dick Morris? You might remember that he was a political advisor to President Clinton until he let hooker Sherry Rowlands listen in on his phone calls to Clinton. The original article tells us that he had a weakness for singing “I’m Popeye the Sailor Man” to Rowlands while dancing in his underwear.

We should listen to this guy when he spouts education policy?