“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, May 6, 2011

Regarding Randi Weingarten

It's been instructive to read Randi Weingarten's views on teaching and teachers, while attempting to ignore their unions, in recent editions of the Wall Street Journal.

Back in late March, Weingarten was the subject of the Journal's feature weekend edition interview. Jason Riley's piece on the interview allowed Weingarten to damn herself in her own words. Here's an example,

"Ms. Weingarten insists that teachers unions are agents of change, not defenders of the status quo. But in the next breath she shoots down suggestions for changes- vouchers, charter schools, differential teacher pay and so on- that have become important parts of the reform conversation."

Here's another example of Weingarten's blindness to reality in education,

" "We've started some charter schools, but there are studies out there that say 80% of charter schools are no better [than traditional public schools] and 37% are worse." she says. "We've tried merit pay in a few places [but] there's a new study from Vanderbilt University that says it doesn't work." And school vouchers "have never been shown to be successful," she insists, ignoring the results of a study last year by Patrick Wolf of the University of Arkansas, who found that "students in Washington, D.C., who used a federally funded voucher to attend a private school were more likely to graduate from high school." "
Weingarten dismisses Michelle Rhee's work in Washington, and when reminded that George Meany and FDR were against public sector unions, she replied,

"If Meany and FDR were alive today, they'd have a very different view."

How humble of Weingarten to so radically alter the views of the dead, when their live comments are so inconvenient.

Riley ends his article by reminding readers that teachers unions excel at obstructing progress which can help students learn and perform better. They

 "agitate for laws and regulations that ban means-tested voucher programs or cap the number of charter schools that can open in a state. To protect jobs for their members, they fight to keep the worst instructors from being fired and the worst schools from closing. All the while, they insist that their interests are aligned with those of the kids.

It is this skill set that has made Ms. Weingarten a documentary film star."

One gets the clear sense from the interview that Weingarten tries very hard to erase the distinction between real classroom teachers and their unions.

This is not a trivial point. I have been discussing the New Jersey teaching and teachers' union situation with a friend ever since Chris Christie was elected. From my many conversations with him, I have come to learn several things.

First, he really is motivated to do his job well. And I believe most of his colleagues are, as well.

Second, he is exasperated with his own union. He describes the situation thus,

"I don't have a choice. If I want this job, I must belong to the union. We just vote the way they tell us. I can't do anything about my union or its management."

When I first sent him the Journal interview article mentioned above, he was extremely disappointed in Weingarten's views. He saw how out of touch and provincial her comments are. The conversation turned to her pay, and I sent him this Wall Street Journal article from January of this year concerning her recent compensation,

"Randi Weingarten, the former head of the New York City teachers' union, received $194,188 last year from the United Federation of Teachers for unused sick days and vacation time accrued before she left to become president of the American Federation of Teachers, boosting her total compensation to more than $600,000 for 2010."

Elsewhere, I found that she now earns $350,000 annually as head of the AFT, and passed that information along to my friend. He was outraged.

Perhaps the best evidence of how corrupt and blind Weingarten is was her recent editorial in the April 25, 2011 edition of the Journal entitled Markets Aren't the Education Solution.

In it, Weingarten blasts those who criticize teachers, claiming,

"These countries emphasize teacher preparation, mentoring and collaboration. They revere and respect their teachers; they don't demonize them. Virtually all of them are unionized. In fact, school leaders in these countries work very closely with their unions, and most said they would never introduce changes or legislation without union collaboration."

The countries to which Weingarten referred were Finland, Singapore and South Korea. But we have no idea, from her article, just what the nature of their unions are. Or how much sway those unions have, relative to state-based US teachers' unions, over work rules, pensions, etc.

Weingarten closes her impassioned beat-down of market-oriented school reforms by wrapping herself in the flag and calling for the US to not fail to "prepare our children for the new world they will inherit."

However, having read Riley's article first, one discounts the so-called evidence against charter schools, reforms, etc., that Weingarten includes in her own editorial. Not to mention that she goes even further to virtually co-identify teachers and Weingarten's union.

But, thanks to comments by my teacher friend, I know that's not how Weingarten's union members actually see the world. In fact, when I asked my friend about the Wisconsin legislation which would end the state's collection of teachers' union dues directly from their paychecks, he confirmed that, if those dues were not involuntarily deducted from his pay, he'd never bother contributing them voluntarily to his union.

Weingarten preys on a presumed ignorance by other parties of the realities of teaching and schooling in America. Teachers aren't unions- they are forced to belong to them. Unions don't teach- they extort taxpayers, pay their own executives lavishly, and obstruct reforms, like all unions do, in order to protect current members. Taxpayers know the difference between teachers they respect, and unions which they despise for blocking changes to allow better education for their children.

Just consider how different our education system would be if this single change were made. Suppose your local town/city no longer ran a school system but, rather, vouchered a fixed tuition amount to each family for each child, allowing that family to send each child to any privately-owned and run school which had been certified by some appropriate authority. This wouldn't prevent teachers from belonging to a union, but it would mean that, at least in right-to-work states, teachers would not be forced to belong to a union. Some schools might even pursue a strategy of charging higher tuition, hiring only the best teachers, and paying them far more than union scale wages.

Now that would be innovation! And it could still provide for teachers' unions to exist. But the market would determine which schools prospered, and which did not. But that's a future Weingarten could never accept or tolerate. The potential for failure of the worst unionized teachers would be too high.

As if reading my mind, Donald Boudreaux wrote a tongue-in-cheek editorial in yesterday's Wall Street Journal entitled If Supermarkets Were Like Public Schools, obviously with people like AFT union boss Weingarten in mind. Here are some of the humorous passages,

"Teachers unions and their political allies argue that market forces can't supply quality education. According to them, only our existing system—politicized and monopolistic—will do the trick. Yet Americans would find that approach ludicrous if applied to other vital goods or services.

Suppose that groceries were supplied in the same way as K-12 education. Residents of each county would pay taxes on their properties. Nearly half of those tax revenues would then be spent by government officials to build and operate supermarkets. Each family would be assigned to a particular supermarket according to its home address. And each family would get its weekly allotment of groceries—"for free"—from its neighborhood public supermarket.

No family would be permitted to get groceries from a public supermarket outside of its district. Fortunately, though, thanks to a Supreme Court decision, families would be free to shop at private supermarkets that charge directly for the groceries they offer. Private-supermarket families, however, would receive no reductions in their property taxes.

Being largely protected from consumer choice, almost all public supermarkets would be worse than private ones. In poor counties the quality of public supermarkets would be downright abysmal. Poor people—entitled in principle to excellent supermarkets—would in fact suffer unusually poor supermarket quality.

How could it be otherwise? Public supermarkets would have captive customers and revenues supplied not by customers but by the government. Of course they wouldn't organize themselves efficiently to meet customers' demands.

Responding to these failures, thoughtful souls would call for "supermarket choice" fueled by vouchers or tax credits. Those calls would be vigorously opposed by public-supermarket administrators and workers.

Opponents of supermarket choice would accuse its proponents of demonizing supermarket workers (who, after all, have no control over their customers' poor eating habits at home). Advocates of choice would also be accused of trying to deny ordinary families the food needed for survival. Such choice, it would be alleged, would drain precious resources from public supermarkets whose poor performance testifies to their overwhelming need for more public funds.

In the face of calls for supermarket choice, supermarket-workers unions would use their significant resources for lobbying—in favor of public-supermarkets' monopoly power and against any suggestion that market forces are appropriate for delivering something as essential as groceries. Some indignant public-supermarket defenders would even rail against the insensitivity of referring to grocery shoppers as "customers," on the grounds that the relationship between the public servants who supply life-giving groceries and the citizens who need those groceries is not so crass as to be discussed in terms of commerce.

Recognizing that the erosion of their monopoly would stop the gravy train that pays their members handsome salaries without requiring them to satisfy paying customers, unions would ensure that any grass-roots effort to introduce supermarket choice meets fierce political opposition.

In reality, of course, groceries and many other staples of daily life are distributed with extraordinary effectiveness by competitive markets responding to consumer choice. The same could be true of education—the unions' self-serving protestations notwithstanding."

It's not hard to recognize Weingarten and her union in Boudreaux's parody. The sad thing is, it's so easy to see he's right and she's wrong. But, as the second to the last paragraph explains, this is Weingarten's and her union management colleagues' rice bowl. They simply can't afford to let their members experiment with any other approach that might decrease union dues and Weingarten's national power over education.

The more Weingarten speaks and writes, the easier it will be for taxpayers, parents, and, yes, even teachers to realize how misaligned teachers' unions and their union bosses are with better education for children in America.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Union Busting In A Blue State

I like Michael Connolly's fictional novels. He currently has one of his works, The Lincoln Lawyer, out as a movie. It's very good and, as I explained to the friend with whom I saw it, is a typical Connolly story. I lent this friend my copy of his recent book, The Brass Verdict, in which I believe the very first line is,

"Everyone lies."

It's one of the most prominent theme in Connolly's novels. As a former Los Angeles newspaper crime beat reporter, he ought to know. It surely seems to have informed his murder mysteries with healthy doses of lying characters.

Thus it should come as no surprise that there are lies of commission and omission swirling around a recent, thinly-reported story on public sector union busting in, of all places, that bluest of blue states, Massachusetts.

The Wall Street Journal and Fox News, two of my major news sources and both more objective than the usual liberal 'major media sources,' e.g., the New York Times and NBC, both covered the story with gusto.

The Journal ran one editorial entitled Wisconsin of the East. Kim Strassel wrote another, Union Busting, Massachusetts Style.

Essentially, the Massachusetts House voted to pass, as Strassel described,

"a bill divesting policemen, firefighters, teachers and other municipal employees of the power to collectively bargain most health-care benefits. The 111-42 vote took place at 11:30 at night, so as to avoid a mass of protesting union workers set to descend on the State House the next day."

That's a pretty comprehensive union-busting bill, isn't it? Yet the state's governor, Deval Patrick, lied when he claimed,

"This is not Wisconsin. That's not what the House did."

No, it's even more. Not only teachers, but police and fire employees were included.

Strassel wrote in answer to Patrick's contention,

"Wrong. Wisconsin moved to rein in collective bargaining powers that are crushing the state. Massachusetts moved to rein in collective bargaining powers that are crushing the state. The only difference is that Democrats have chosen to portray Mr. Walker's legislation as "union-busting" while presenting their own as necessary reform."

Of course, Patrick could wiggle out of declaring whether or not he'd sign the bill, because everyone knows the Massachusetts State Senate won't pass it.

Meanwhile, we haven't seen Rich Trumka and his union bullies descend upon the Massachusetts State House with out-of-state protesters, have we? No calling out of the governor for applauding the bill's "very important vote," nor the House for passing it.

For what it's worth, Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Robert Haynes said of the bill's passage,

"These are the same Democrats that all these labor unions elected, the same Democrats who we contributed to in their campaigns. It's a done deal for our relationship with the people inside that chamber."

The Journal editorial noted that the Massachusetts bill's passage in the House shows that containing public union excesses is a non-partisan issue. It further notes that a Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education study found,

"that from 2000 to 2010 "health care consumed two thirds of the entire increase in state spending" and reform has thus become "a critical education issue." "

Come to think of it, I don't recall, as the Journal points out, hearing or seeing Wonderboy call out Patrick or his state's legislature for this bill. Hmm.....Scott Walker is white, and Patrick is black.

Is Wonderboy a racist? Or were his comments about Walker simply pure partisanship at the beginning of an election cycle?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Some Reflections On Osama Bin Laden's Death & Related Issues

After the initial wave of comments on the death of Osama Bin Laden at the hands of Seal Team Six, other aspects of the event have become more evident, at least to me.

For example, Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal alleged that George Bush's presidency began to decline from the moment that he said it wasn't important where Bin Laden was, nor exactly when he would be captured or killed.

Stephens is wrong, Bush was right. The actual killing or capture of Bin Laden had become, while an occasion for celebration, not the most important event in the war.

People forget Bush's major emphasis- that we are in a war on terror. Primarly Islamic terrorism. Helped along by people like Gore Vidal who denigrated Bush's calling it a war, liberals have consistently avoided acknowledging that reality.

Thus, Karen Hughes, one-time Bush press official, was, I believe, correct to note that killing Bin Laden was not an act of foreign policy. It was simply one event in a war on terror.

So if you recall, as I did, that even Bush 41's victory in Kuwait couldn't re-elect him a year later, why would you think this event will ensure Wonderboy's re-election 18 months from now?

Glenn Beck made some interesting points on his program last night which give the lie to those who believe that Bin Laden's killing shows Obama to be capable of managing something to a good conclusion.

Beck noted that, with over six months of planning and preparation for this event, it's impossible to believe that nobody among Wonderboy and his advisers discussed what to do in the aftermath of Bin Laden's killing. Specifically, how and when to show pictures or video.

Beck as relentless on this point. He reminded everyone that, in today's world, with so many cellphone cameras, nobody really believes anything without visual proof. Don't you think at least one of those Seals took a few private images on a prepaid cell just for that purpose?

For example, Beck continued, how can you believe a Muslim cleric would be present onboard the USS Carl Vinson, but no policy had been determined regarding publishing photos or video of the dead terrorist? Or that anyone would care about seeing a white-sheeted lump of something dumped off of a board on the side of the Vinson into the sea?

Now, I want to be clear about this. I believe Bin Laden was shot and killed. I really do. But Beck's point is, especially after the recent birth certificat flap, you'd think Wonderboy has learned that coming clean with conclusive proof immediately is the best way to silence critics and/or sceptics.

Moreover, fumbling and dithering publicly over whether or not to publish the pictures only reinforces Wonderboy's inability to make decisions, or have foreseen this and planned a coherent and reasonable story to back his decision on the matter. He can't even seem to decide on something so simple as that.

I don't personally agree with those, even Charles Krauthammer, that this event means Republican presidential candidates now have to admit that Wonderboy has achieved a foreign policy success. Or that he actually managed to successfully orchestrate something. It's clear that all the heavy lifting was done by career intelligence and military personnel. All the First Rookie did was to choose inserting a Seal contingent over dropping a bomb, then giving the go ahead.

At this point, only a moron in that office wouldn't have done the same thing, presented with the evidence, estimates and options available.

I think it's fair to say that the point of the Bin Laden killing is revenge. Thus, it's not the most salient event in the continuing war on terror. Both of these points were missing from Wonderboy's speeches in the aftermath of the raid. He also took pains to avoid acknowledging the obvious- that the terror threats we face are Islamic-based.

Unfortunately, killing Bin Laden doesn't end the war on Muslim-originated terror, nor relieve the government's oppressive presence which retards US economic growth and resurgence.

Also, the post-raid exchanges of comments to the press by various Congressional and administration officials raised the evidence that waterboarding and other 'harsh interrogation' tactics bore fruit in this case. KSM was rendered to Poland or Romania, where harsh methods, including, according to NY GOP Representative and current House Intelligence Committee chair Peter King, resulted in information about the courier's identity.

Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Feinstein (or was it Boxer? I can't tell anymore) swore on camera that harsh tactics were of no use in producing any information leading to Bin Laden's death.

However, in his on-camera interview, CIA chief Leon Panetta grudgingly, very grudgingly admitted that waterboarding did the trick.

I saw Donald Rumsfeld state on Sean Hannity's program that he never said harsh interrogation methods don't work. What he said was,

"Then, before Hannity could interrupt, Rumsfeld addressed “some confusion… suggesting that I indicated that no one who was waterboarded at Guantanamo had provided any information on this… What I said was, ‘No one was waterboarded at Guantanamo by the U.S. military.' In fact, no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo, period. Three people were waterboarded by the CIA away from Guantanamo and then later brought to Guantanamo and, in fact, as you point out, the information that came from those individuals was critically important.” "

This meshes with Peter King's remarks that KSM gave up the courier's nickname after harsh interrogation outside the US.

What's clear is that liberals are trying very hard to ignore the truth on this, i.e., waterboarding produced information which, over time and with substantial additional work, led to the identification of the couriers who led US forces to Bin Laden.

Yes, it was a tremendous accomplishment that the Navy Seal teams effected in Abbotabad last weekend. Too bad the follow-up management of it by Wonderboy's administration wasn't up to the same standard of performance.

But, really, after three years in office, is this surprising?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wonderboy Mocks Trump At White House Press Dinner

I caught some of the White House press dinner on C-Span the other evening, then saw some of Wonderboy's bit mocking Trump.

Now, I'm not a serious birther. I do think Trump showed some muscle in turning up enough heat on the First Rookie to make him give up the certificate. Something which the uber-liberal press corps failed to do for three years.

But when he mocked Trump by claiming that now more important things, like Roswell and such, could claim governmental attention, I think he made a mistake.

Wonderboy may not fear Trump. Or maybe he does, in the sense that tangling on stage, live, with the unpredictable fellow megalomaniac, could be dangerous and explosive.

But millions of Americans happen to like Trump's candor and no-nonsense attitude. Sure, lots of his ideas are silly and infeasible. We can't dictate oil prices to the Arabs, because they don't directly control it. But Trump's claims about that do raise the issue that the US is shooting itself in the foot by neglecting to drill on and offshore.

By pushing on the issue, Trump shows up the current administration as hypocritical and irrational with its energy policy, such as it is. Hampering domestic drilling while decrying importing oil.

What Wonderboy doesn't seem to understand- no surprise- is that a lot of independents, especially economic middle and lower class members being squeezed by rising food and fuel prices, appreciate Trump's sense that America is in decline. That things aren't going well.

It's a simple Reaganesque approach, i.e., "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"

Most voters are not. And it's not W's fault anymore, either.

So trying to portray Trump as a joke is a dangerous move for Obama. As president, he looks like he's bullying and using his office inappropriately. Not to mention that he looks thin-skinned. Which he also is.

I don't think Trump will run. I don't want him as President. But that doesn't mean the sitting president should be making fun of him.

Or any citizen who is eligible to run for the office, and chooses to do so.

It cheapens the Office of the President.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Regarding Osama Bin Laden's Killing by US Navy Seal Team

Like other Americans, I woke up to the wonderful news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in an assault on his compound in Abbottabad by US Navy Seals late last night.

There as so many things one can express on the heels of this important event.

First, of course, as many others have said, it's notable to enemies of the US that we endured 10 years of sacrifice by our military and intelligence forces to find and kill this terrorist. Like the Soviet Union of old, perhaps, now, more countries will appropriately respect and fear attacking US non-combatants and or military personnel without a declaration of war.

Second, given his long-running opposition to the entire process of seeking retribution for the 9/11 attacks, I hope Wonderboy receives no credit for this. It was quite obviously the work of those lower-level, long-term personnel who are not part of his administration.

Never the less, hearing of the details of the planned strike, it's clear that the First Rookie saw this as just another early campaign event. No Predator strikes on this one. No, he wanted to claim a clear, identified kill to help his re-election campaign.

But if you listened to his 9 minute speech, he said some curious things, and omitted others. There was no sense of joy or triumph in his words. And he wrongly claimed that Bin Laden wasn't a Muslim, and that this had nothing to to with Muslim terrorism. Ever the Islamic apologist, his words actually made one wonder if Wonderboy isn't a closet Muslim who attends Christian services because he knew Illinois would never elect a Muslim Senator, and the US would never knowingly elect a Muslim president. I'm not saying it's a major concern of mine, but with all the lies this guy has told for years, and how cynically he's treated the American public, this would not surprise me if it were found to be true years after his exit from the Oval Office.

Remember, he's the guy who claimed that America is a Muslim nation. And wanted/wants to close Guantanamo Bay, the facility where, we have now learned, KSM gave up information under interrogation which led to yesterday's happy event.

Then there's Wonderboy's obvious contempt for our armed forces and his plans to energetically cut funding for them.

Instead, Wonderboy tried to simply characterize Bin Laden as a generic global terrorist. This is nonsense. Bin Laden always identified his brand of terrorism as religious and anti-American.

I think full credit goes to George W. Bush for having set in motion and presided over most of the era during which the US has been retaliating for the 9/11 attacks on our civilian population.

Additionally, those of us old enough to recall, as am I, the sad events at Desert One under our national embarrassment of a president, Jimmy Carter, can't help but thank Ronald Reagan's rebuilding of our military which led to a more capably-equipped and -led force like the Navy Seals who killed Bin Laden.

Because Bin Laden was an Islamic terrorist, not a uniformed military commander, I am somewhat at a loss as to why we treated him to an apparently Islamically-correct funeral.

Remember the video taped beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Perle? And other US citizens captured abroad?

Personally, I'm put in mind of the way the Russians reacted to the early 1970s kidnapping of one of their embassy personnel in either Pakistan or Afghanistan. I recall, around that time, the US lost either an ambassador or other senior embassy official, and we basically accepted it. The Soviets, instead, kidnapped and, I believe, let it be known that they tortured or would kill the member of the organization that kidnapped their guy, and several more, as well.

Their man was nearly-immediately released unharmed.

It would seem to me that we should have used Bin Laden's death and body to send a signal to other Islamic terrorists that we would and will do whatever is necessary to their corpses to defile them religiously in order to prevent their entry into a happy Islamic afterlife. Not that the US would do so to a uniformed member of the military forces of an Islamic enemy. But this guy was not an acknowledged member of any other nation.

I don't know precisely what that treatment would be, but it seems that there were a myriad of ways his corpse could have been treated, for a video record, to assure onlooking Islamist terrorists that we will give no quarter to them. I'm thinking something involving decapitation and disemboweling, for starters. Things that would horrify Islamic terrorists.

The British used to put the heads of traitors on pikes at Traitors Gate. It's an inspriring example for how to treat Bin Laden's body, is it not?

I will just bet you that the Seals who took him down enjoyed much such banter regarding how they would, if allowed, treat his corpse as a trophy. Things we'll never hear in public. In fact, we'll probably never learn the identity of the Seal who put Bin Laden to death until he, too, has died, in order to protect him and his family from reprisals.

All of that notwithstanding, the choice of a burial at sea, where no martyr-like ceremonies may be held by Bin Laden's followers is understandable.

Among the silly after events this morning were various Q&A's of people like Jack Welch and Warren Buffett regarding the effect of Bin Laden's death on the global or US economy, equity markets, etc.

That's just nonsense.

So is one person's comparison of Bin Laden's killing to Hitler's death. Hitler lead a legitimate country in a world war. He was a profoundly evil man, but the elected head of the German nation.

Bin Laden was a nation-less terrorist. His terror organization remains in existence, probably now planning reprisals to re-establish their relevance and capacity for danger.

Also inane was one anchor's question regarding the relationship between the recent Arab Spring and Bin Laden's killing. How in the hell could someone be so stupid as to see any relationship whatsoever between these? One is a multi-nation process of dictatorial overthrow with a melange of parties responsible in each country. The other is a surgical military operation to take out the world's leading (Islamic) terrorist.

Perhaps the most important aftermath is how our government handles issues with the Pakistan government.

After all, you'd have to be an idiot to not believe that they knew where Bin Laden was. The news stories this morning contain so many details that it is simply not credible that the world's leading terrorist was not living with the tacit approval and acquiescense of the Pakistani government.

For example, his million-dollar compound was within a few hundred yards of a major Pakistani military installation and retirement compound for officers. Abbottabad is on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan's capital. It's as if a major US terrorist was living in a multi-million dollar luxury compound in Alexandria, Virginia.

Furthermore, the compound had no telephone nor internet links, and, rather than put their garbage out like everybody else, burned it withing the compound.

One wonders how George Bush would be reacting, knowing that the Pakistanis basically were 'against' us on this one.

The one thing Jack Welch said that was worthwhile was to remind viewers that George H. Bush was defeated for re-election only a year after his successful military campaign to retake Kuwait. So it's quite reasonable that Wonderboy will receive no long term credit for this whatsoever.

Nikki Haley's WSJ Editorial

I thoroughly enjoyed South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley's recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal concerning the NLRB's vote to prohibit Boeing from operating its second 787 Dreamliner production line near Charleston.

Since South Carolina is a right-to-work state, Haley's perspective was refreshing. She was blunt in assaulting unions for curbing her state's citizens' rights and interfering in the direct relationship between employer and employee. Further, she blasted Wonderboy for allowing the NLRB's vote, arguing correctly that it sends an intimidating signal to every private enterprise in America.

With America's tepid economic recovery from the failed Keynesian policies of this administration, Haley's charges ring true and hopeful herald a robust, effective GOP attack which will remove the current occupants from the White House come early 2013.