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The Jayebird backs down

In case you were wondering, the distinct possibility of getting his ultraconservative butt kicked next November is not why state Sen. Dave Jaye, R-Washington Township, decided against a congressional race against U.S. Rep. David Bonior, D-Mt. Clemens, two weeks ago.

Honest. Really.

Jaye, the champion of all things right-wing, said he instead wants to focus his efforts on winning voter approval for the statewide school voucher initiative.

"I can run for Congress every two years, but a voucher ballot initiative only comes once in a generation, once every 25 years," said Jaye in a phone interview with the Metro Times this week. As he pointed out, vouchers help parents send their kids to parochial schools. After all, said the gun enthusiast – who managed to interject during the brief conversation that sex offenders should be castrated, welfare recipients should work 50 hours weekly and affirmative action should be abolished – religious education is the backbone of American values.

"By not having these values, that leads to a lot of social pathologies like lack of achievement, school shootings, teen pregnancy," said Jaye, a product of parochial schooling.

Though the proud Polish Catholic said he had "an excellent chance of beating Bonior," he sacrificed his congressional chance for the greater good – the ultimate Christian deed.

But Ed Sarpolus, vice president of Lansing polling firm Epic-MRA in Lansing, sees Jaye's decision as less than altruistic. The bottom line: Jaye would have been thrashed in a contest with the liberal Bonior.

"There was no reason to do a poll because it would be like David Jaye pointing his own gun at himself," said Sarpolus. "Results would have shown that it would have been disastrous."

Teach your children

Here's a shocker: Detroit's public schoolteachers are not a happy crew. You thought all was hunky-dory once the September strike settled and teachers went back to work? Yeah, right.

The teachers will hold a mass demonstration this Thursday at 4 p.m. outside the Schools Center Building. In a press release announcing the protest, disgruntled employees described a November union meeting where "teacher after teacher took to the floor ... to speak against CEO David Adamany's and the school board's anti-education, anti-teacher and anti-union policies."

The teachers also praised the "courageous" actions of students who held a protest of their own, walking out of class to show their dissatisfaction over the school administration's response in the wake of attacks on kids walking to schools. In addition to demands for reduced class size and promised pay raises, the teachers want complete amnesty for the students.

And why not? Considering the Archer administration's quick actions to protect schoolchildren from molesters once students took to the streets, it seems that if the kids have learned nothing else this year, it's that a little high-profile protest can be very effective.

For those who want to see a new generation of activists emerge, it's a lesson well learned.

Vaughn's gone LaRouche

To much of the world, quadrennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche is a certified whacko. But for state Rep. Ed Vaughn, D-Detroit, the guy is nothing less than a hero. Which may seem odd since LaRouche is charitably characterized as a fringe political figure at best and at worst has been described as everything from a cunning but loony cult leader to a neo-fascist with a nasty anti-Semitic streak.

Vaughn, who showed a certain Quixotic charm when he ran for mayor against Dennis Archer, doesn't buy the bad rap against LaRouche. "I think he's a good man," says Vaughn. "That's why I support him."

Looking on the bright side, LaRouche does have one thing in his favor: At least he's not running this campaign from a federal prison cell, as he did in 1992 when he was serving time for tax evasion.

Strike a blow from below

Speaking of lessons well learned, the folks at Labor Notes will hold a seminar Sunday to teach rank-and-file members how to reform their unions from within.

For more information about the $25 workshop, "Winning Union Democracy from Below," phone Labor Notes at 313-842-6262.

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