A Student’s Plea

Last year, in the fierce budget battle over education, Staples freshman JJ Mathewson emerged as a strong voice against cuts.  This year’s debate has been less contentious — but JJ still has something to say.

He asked “06880” to share his thoughts with the town.  JJ wrote:

As Westport struggles to create the town’s budget for the 2010-2011 year (the RTM meets on May 4), there is still one large area of contention:  What will the state of education be?

One year ago, JJ Mathewson (left) was a leader during a Town Hall rally against education budget cuts.

Last year the public school budget was cut by 2%.  Then an additional $1.4 million was cut by the RTM.  As a result, the public schools have experienced increases in class sizes, and many cutting edge courses at Staples have been removed.

This year the Board of Finance proposed a $1 million cut.  It was reduced to $500,000 after the Board of Education announced it would seek full restoration of the original $1 million.  The Board of Ed still seeks full restoration, to avoid further cuts in the school programs next year.

If a $500,000 cut is allowed to pass, Westport schools will notice another increase in class size.  The proposed budget is already bare, and staff shortages are likely.

In addition, over the past few years Staples has had a noticeable increase in enrollment.  Because of higher enrollment next year, further budget cuts will have a significant impact on our schools. At greatest risk are courses that teach cutting-edge interdisciplinary skills and are not state mandated.

These potential changes threaten the quality of Westport’s education. Our school system is a pillar of our community, and important to attracting residents to our community.  To contact your RTM members, click here.

48 responses to “A Student’s Plea

  1. Carl A. Swanson

    A very insightful analysis on the negative side. What does the young Mr. Mathewson propose to have ends meet? Raise taxes? The inference here is that the RTM is in some kind of conspiracy to cut the budget in order to sabotage the school system and turn Westport in to some kind of ghetto. I have been associated with this town since 1953. We have gone through many lean times, including the 80’s when they closed many elementary schools. Let’s be fiscally responsible and let the chips fall where they may. Taxes are certainly high enough and revenue is decreasing due to the economic recession. Cuts seems to be the only solution and I am sure Staples will survive just fine.

  2. $500,000 short? Heck the Staples Gridiron Club can raise that with no fuss. A couple of checks and bingo: no shortfall. Oh I forgot that is football. Sorry.

  3. “These potential changes threaten the quality of Westport’s education” Really? One would think that Westport schools are teetering on the edge of an abyss

  4. In fact an abyss of bottomless spending, no doubt. I am sure Master Mathewson means well but I sincerely doubt if he has paid many taxes in his short life or for that matter, had a job?

  5. I pay taxes… Have had many jobs … And graduated from Staples many moons ago…. But I do realize that education will all ways be the central linchpin for many…. So get over yourselves and your ignorance money is needed budgetary or otherwise for Westport schools to be the leaders in education

  6. The Dude Abides

    I say get over yourself! “Leaders in Education”?
    Of public education in America? Where the drop out rate is nearly 65% in cities and 80% of high school graduates read at an 8th grade level. It doesn’t take much to be a leader here in the good ole US of A. They have been throwing money at public education (including here in Westport) for decades and it hasn’t improved anything. They need to get these kids going at least 220 days a year, kick the teacher unions out and equate teacher pay with that of administrators. Without change, same ole story. And I went to Staples. Vastly overrated then and I assume, now.

  7. It is a tough crowd here JJ. Keep up the good fight! I will bet that you will learn more from your efforts on this project than you do in most classrooms. I also believe that you will learn soon enough that the world does not evolve around your high school education. Enjoy the experience while you can! It should be a fun time of your life!

  8. I guess dude you put into it what you got out of it…. Which seems not much…. I am one of five that all graduated at the top or near top of our classes… My sister was valedictorian… Younger bro missed it by hundreths of a point but still went to harvard and finished in three years, my other two siblings are tops in their field… We all achieved deans list and we can thank our Staples teachers and those lessons in and out of the box… Education is way to precious of a commodity to let it slip

  9. I personally believe that Master Mathewson has the correct idea, schools after all are a pilar of our community, and are what keep property value up

  10. The Dude Abides

    I hold a B.A.,J.D.,LL.M and a M.F.A. I finished in the top ten cent of my Staples class. As with most high schoolers, even today, I was more interested in getting drunk and having sex than the rather sophomoric classes offered. I am glad you come from such a special gene pool.
    You win. What?

  11. The Dude Abides, 220 days of school a year? Staples grads reading at an 8th grade level? What have you been smoking?

  12. Ok dude I guess you are one of these fiscally conservative types that feels education is a waste…. And you were lucky enough to be apart of the generation that put us in the position we are in… Thinking about yourself and what is in it for you…. Do you not believe in pay it forward…. Or better… Move to FLA or Arizona man the borders and make sure those people don’t come here…. You are a truly proud caring Westporter that has the youth in mind….

  13. The Dude Abides

    No, you guess wrong. You seem to want to label, judge or classify people (welcome to Westport).
    I am a Kennedy liberal and proud of it. I outlined my changes to education above: a longer school year, bump up teacher’s pay to that of administrators, focus on the young children (get them in there at age 3 and pour money into HeadStart) and have alternative high schools that are atuned toward non-college prep students. You seem to just want to aimlessly spend money on an educational system here that is plenty adequate with the ego serving rationale that it is special. We have played that song and it apparently it has not worked financially.
    P.S. I worked five years doing pro bono legal work for the Urban League in Houston. You want reality? Try that because where we are living is not even close to the real world.

  14. I think Anonymous is wrong about Florida being anti-immigrant. The Cubans have changed Miami around and in other areas, Latinos are welcomed as long as they don’t live next door. I am surprised at the recent development in Arizona. To me, it shows that the old white folks are scared. Much like they are here about budget cuts.

  15. Interested

    I live on a small street near Staples. Many of the children are just graduating from high school and entering college. One was expelled after one semester for underage drinking. The others are attending good schools but hardly Ivy League.
    I am relatively new in town with my children already gone and married. So I guess I am baffled about all the talk about how great the high school is here. Please don’t bite my head off, I am only interested.

  16. John Dodig

    I know that anything I say is “suspect” because of the position that I hold, but when I read the Dude’s comment “Vastly overrated then and I assume, now” I felt the need to say something. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. Dude says what he says, I assume, out of an honest belief that Staples is overrated. If he had watched the Guidance Department presentation on channel 78 Monday night, however, perhaps he would have some data to make him question his beliefs.

    The presentation showed viewers many things but I believe most important were the data that showed how successful Staples students really are AND it showed how quality and quantity do translate into better service. I can’t imagine anyone not being impressed with the services our counselors provide in a systematic way to ALL staples students starting in ninth grade. There is NO way that level of service could be delivered without the quality counselors we hire and the number of students assigned to them. If they had 300 or more students (as many schools in our country do) they would be reduced to using triage to determine what service to give to which student. On the other hand, imagine what they could do if they only had 100 students instead of 185?

    Staples is NOT overrated and our students are well known to over three hundred colleges to which they apply each year. Money for education is well spent in Westport.

  17. The Dude Abides

    In quick response to various remarks: Students in Japan and Germany go to school 234 days a year and statistics indicate the average high school graduate in the United States reads at an eighth grade level. Apparently, Carl didn’t read such in context. And I don’t smoke.
    As to Principal Dodig’s comments, the term “overrated” is a relative term. There is no question that Staples is an excellent school but when you put it on a pedestal, as many of the parents in this town do, I have problems. Personally, I think the entire public education system is deplorable in this country and it is shameful that it is. Now Westport can sit back and say we are “special” and do not belong in this overall equation, fine. But the fact is that money has been thrown at education and it has not done much good over the years. In fact, education levels have deteriorated. And whenever issues such as these are discussed here become evident, money is always the central focus. Never mentioned are creative ideas to do more with less. And therefore, I am very skeptical of the arguments for maintaining the current status quo without budget cuts in a recessionary period.

  18. I think that Mr. Mathewson makes some excellent points. The world economy is changing rapidly and our kids face increasing competition both here in the US and internationally. The number of students emerging from schools in China and India rivals the entire population of the US.

    For our best and brightest to maintain an edge in the areas of critical thinking and decision-making they need the best education we can afford. This includes effective core classes as well as extension courses. Cutbacks threaten the continuation of specialty courses and will drive up class sizes across the board. Cutbacks reduce the ability of teachers and staff to focus on the needs of our kids.

    The proposed cutbacks amount to about a $50 per household. These costs are meager compared to the alternative of having to attend private schools to achieve the level of education we have come to expect in Westport. The calibre of Westport public schools is exemplary and we should keep it this way. Many Westport families have high expectations for their kids and the school system plays an essential role in helping their kids succeed. We need to weather the recession and maintain our excellent school system by not whittling away at the core budget.

    I approve this message and I am a tax payer.

  19. Dude, you got scolded by the Princpal! Detention forthcoming. A curious comment by Carl above. If the “schools are the pillar of the community and keep property value up,” why has the market value on my house fallen the past two years and I have negative equity?

  20. The Corsair

    @Igor: The market value on your house has fallen because we’ve entered a nationwide economic recession. One single school can’t hold up an entire town against a nation-wide economic near-collapse, but it sure can help! Just compare Westport to areas without good schools and without close proximity to jobs, i.e. Detroit. Now the Westport real-estate market looks lovely, doesn’t it? Schools aren’t invincible bastions of market value stability, they simply act like a shot in the arm for our regional outlook.

    Besides that, I believe that Mr. Mathewson has an excellent case here. In the words of Jtb:

    I approve this message and I am a tax payer.

  21. Confused and Dazed

    Huh? So we are in a national recession but you don’t favor budget cuts because schools are a shot in the arm to market values that are falling despite the shot? Wow, you ought to get involved in politics. And if you didn’t approve the message, why would you send it?

    • The Corsair

      Exactly, imagine Westport without the shot in the arm, thats what I was trying to say. This recession is nation-wide and I doubt every last penny in town could pull the entire nation up by its bootstraps, but the Westport schools do undeniably offer an incentive to live in Westport that few other towns in CT can offer. The long term benefits provided by the schools outweigh the short term benefits of slashing the schools budget. And I’ll keep my political action to online posts and voting, thank you very much.

  22. Richard Lawrence stein

    Let me step out from behind my anonymous moniker… I was being lazy… First and for most … I want to applaud JJ for fighting for his education and for having the vision to have vision… I would bet if he had the ability to pay taxes and be able to ear mark them for education and other important things he would…. Secondly I have met John Dodig many many times he is without a doubt the biggest supporter of Staples, education, and students I have ever met. He is possibly the greatest principal in Staples history. The economy, home values, and other countries are valid points, but we need to focus here… Granted we need to be fiscally responsible and smart on things we spend on… But short changing education is not one of them… As the song goes “children are our future” and once we take away it usually does not come back. so yes tighten belts.. Be smart. Be proactive. But don’t say it’s not worth it. All the JJs and his peers are worth the education dollars. We are lucky in so many ways that we call Westport or maybe Staples our home, let’s not let it be spoiled or become less than what it’s worth

  23. Gotta jump in here ...

    Umm, Dude, sounds like Staples worked out pretty well for you: “I hold a B.A.,J.D.,LL.M and a M.F.A. I finished in the top ten cent (sic) of my Staples class.” Ipso facto, you are a proponent of well-funded education. Right? Or you just feel that you are “special,” “on a pedestal” (so to speak), more special than the high school that set the educational foundation for all that reading and writing that was required for all those letters you hold so dear.

    John Dodig, Bravo! Once again, you have stepped up to clarify the situation with a perfect anecdote to capture the excellence Staples provides. You have said it many times, and it is true in all instances, Staples is outstanding across the board. Some schools are known for sports, or art, or theater or science, or math, or the paper (the list goes on) …. Staples is known across the country for excellence in all areas. Harvard knows us. Columbia knows Staples. Yale knows Staples. Tier 1 schools across the country seek Staples students. D1 sports programs know Staples. The New York Times knows Staples.

    Regarding the fiscal side, it amazes me how failed business practices and economic downturns immediately fall on the backs of the teachers and students of the U.S.

    And, finally, the words of the author Pat Conroy: “In my travels around this country, I have discovered that America hates its teachers, and I could not tell you why.” Sadly, Pat, you’re right.

  24. The point is that we CAN afford it and it DOES matter.

    Kids today do not face the same competitive environment as their parents (or grandparents!!). We need to have a longer term view here because education only plays out the future.

    The strength of India in technology today resulted from the vision of Nehru in the 50’s to build cutting-edge technical colleges all over India. Vision plays a huge roll in the longterm success of companies, towns and nations.

    And BTW, Confused and Dazed, my approval of my own message was a lame attempt at humor. A poke at the system, so to speak. You earn your pen name well.

  25. John Dodig

    I really enjoyed Jtb’s comments. They were right on the mark. It reminded me of a short Youtube clip I showed my teachers on the first day of school last year about China with its 1.2 billion people. If China identified the top 30% of its young people with the highest IQs and ONLY spent money to educate them, that would represent more people than our entire population. In order to stay economically competitive we MUST educate ALL students to a level never achieved before in the history of our country. Westport has a huge student population of very bright, highly motivated students. Why on earth would we NOT want to give them the very best education money can buy? It is so crystal clear to me and frustrates me that I cannot convince more of Westport’s citizens. Young people in communities like Westport throughout the country, sadly, are the ones that will produce an inordinate number of highly educated young adults who will invent us out of the environmental, energy, financial mess we are in. Why give a thoroughbred cheap dog food?

  26. The Dude Abides

    The dialogue is leaning to eltitism which I can not stand.
    I was a member of the class of Staples ’66, 522 strong, with 98.6% going on to college. That figure was plastered all over the front page of the “Town Crier.” Within two years, about 5-8%, including myself, were in Vietnam. Mostly because we were not ready for college although doing quite well as Wreckers. As now, there were high expectations and very few of us met those of the school or parents. And thus, we didn’t do well and paid the consequences. No complaints. But when I see drunks at 2009 homecoming and Staples’ kids getting booted their first semester in college now, I wonder: Didn’t you folks learn anything in 45 years???

    And then I read Principal Dolig’s comments and it sounds very much like a subprime mortgage bond salesman: Look at the success of our students in college and we have 300 colleges under our wing and so forth . . . any money is well spent in our education here in Westport. And now with the “survival of the fittest” Darwinian theories. Should we banish the bottom 1/3 of the class to servitude?

    Tired of hearing the same rhetoric for 50 years.
    Staples is a college factory. And overrated even there. The Ivy League has figured out the Staples clone and is moving to diversity.

    RTM will make the decision on budget cuts and maybe wake some of you all up to the reality of a recession.

    And with that, I leave you with the infamous last words of my buddy, Hunter Thompson: “Football season is over and tired of bitching . . ..”

  27. teacher lady

    Dude, you might be surprised. I would guess certainly more than a dozen and probably close to two dozen SHS kids this year were accepted at the Ivies. It’s certainly not the only measure of a great high school nor even an especially critical one, but it does make me question some of your other “stats.” Maybe it’s time to pay an actual visit to today’s Staples to catch up on the research?

  28. Richard Lawrence stein

    Dude come out from behind your wanna be Jeff Bridges white Russian tripping out moniker… If you are this great Viet Nam Vet who wants to be the judge of the current school system and your angry uninformed so called Kennedyesque thought is as out of whack as the far right rhetoric… You know nothing except what you read… There will always be bad apples in the barrel…. Show yourself don’t hide in the brush… Tell all who you are …

  29. Sensible One


    I think that Principal Dodig is just doing his job. Similarly, when you were practicing law, you represented your clients – he’s just representing his school.
    Do I think the school budget is HUGE?? Yes, I do and it is raised each and every year. No matter what!!! It would have been nice if it occurred to Mr. Landon to curb spending somewhere, sometime, so that we didn’t have another increase. Just once! Can you imagine???
    Keeping spending down??? But no, Westport is perceived as a town whose residents are SO rich, that all it takes to get more money, is to predict dire consequences for our young people and we up the ante again! Don’t get me wrong, I am all about a quality education for our young people, but I think that Mr. Landon has his “game” down to a science. Telling Westport parents that their child’s education is going to suffer is a knee-jerk reaction that automatically gets him more money each and every time……… Except this year, and perhaps, he will learn from this.
    There is an air of entitlement in this town, and frankly, this includes the teachers who complain that they can’t afford to live in this town – never mind that most people in town commute to New York to earn their living.
    And, most respectfully, Mr. Dodig, your Guidance Department is a disgrace. My personal experience stems from my two children – ’03 and ’06. In ’03, I just figured that I was not informed enough and/or was not experienced enough in the college process. By ’06, I KNEW that my knowledge of the college application and entrance process was far more advanced than what was offered at Staples!!!

    • Westporter

      I must say your pen name is quite fitting. After graduating from Staples in the last decade, I have come to truly appreciate what the school and the town done for me and has certainly helped me get to where I am today. Education is key to success for individuals and our society as a whole. But I do have to agree there is alot of knee-jerk reactionary thoughts here. Why has it not been plainly declared what would have to be cut. The vauge statements that “some classes” and “some services” might suffer is not a good enough explanation. If things really are in danger then make the case of what is going to be cut. Vauge and sweeping statements that aren’t specific is too weak. There are more areas that could be cut that aren’t as “dire” as these “services”. Cut the lawn less, raise the temp on thermostat a couple of degrees, keep those computers a couple years longer (trust me on this one, you REALLY dont need to upgrade as often as these companies make you) Cut in smart sensible areas. To state that in this tough economic time that there is no way to make situations like this work is disingenious. Scrutinize the budget carefully, I know it may be harder than just begging and pleading not to cut, but thats the reality that is now.

      • The Corsair

        I agree with Westporter that money should be saved whenever possible, however he makes it look easier than it is. In case you are unaware, the majority (I think the number is ~80%, don’t quote me on that) of the school’s budget is payment for teachers. Now teachers, like most other proffesions, have contracts that include built in salary increases to reward teachers for their loyalty and to keep their salary up to date with inflation. The reason we “up the ante” every year is to keep up with these built in contractual salary increases. You can’t run a school without a percentage increase each year, it just doesn’t work with these contracts and natural inflation.
        Next, you ask for specifics of what will be cut. Well, if you bothered to watch the RTM meeting, it was mentioned by one of the representatives that all of the elementary schools were going to have their break limits increased, while only Greens Farms would gain a new class next year. By break limit, I mean the point at which there are enough students to justify the creation of an additional elementary school class. The increased break limit means that class sizes in almost all the elemantery schools can go up higher than they have been. I’m sure we can both agree thats not a good thing, and thats what O’Day and others having been saying.
        And I hope you realize, that even without the $500,000 restoration, the town has agreed to increase the schools budget by %1.6 over last year. There is little debate that the school’s budget must increase by some amount this year, the real argument comes with the question, how much?

  30. The Dude wishes to retain his anonymity. He does confess to being a former federal prosecutor and author of many books. Despite his critics, he has never pretended to be “special,” “Vietnam great”, a “wannabe” or standing on any kind of “pedastal”. Actually, much like Jeffrey Lebowski, he may be the laziest man in Fairfield County. Via the courtesy of JJ’s Plea, he has presented numerous educational reforms that never were even discussed seriously. Instead, the sanctity of Sacred Staples was questioned and the outrage was immediate and loud. It was a lively discussion and The Dude became flabbergasted that Westport education was protrayed, even by the high school principal, as a return on investment. Had education here become an arm of Wall Street? Yet amidst some intellectual discussion comes the likes of John Raho (Tracey Sugarman segment) and Richard Lawrence stein whose remarks are those of junior high bullies who seemingly want to fight if you don’t agree with them. And thus, the Dude, a devout pacifist, takes his leave with one simple message: If you think you are very special, something is very wrong. The Dude Abides.
    P.S. Yes, The Sensible One, we could have been friends.

  31. Staples Kid

    The Dude Abides is quite possibly the angriest human being on Earth. Could you please look at something in a positive light for once…I come on to read these funny, and at times, inspiring stories and then see some angry comment from you.

    Obviously you have been reading this blog and have seen what amazing things Staples grads have been able to do–from movie star to writer to the army. As has been stated previously, the college one attends is not a measure of his/her worth. Since you clearly have not been at Staples in 40 years nor do you know any of the outstanding Staples grads, I request that you stop ruining everyone’s day…although I will say it has been somewhat entertaining to read everyone, including the Principal, bash you for your outrageous and insulting comments.

    • Richard Lawrence stein

      Exactly what I was thinking Kid… No bully here… Just perplexed why so much anger and hateful ruminations from a former grad towards his home and place of schooling

      • The Corsair

        He appears to be angry that Staples isn’t yet a utopian society 45 years after he’s graduated. He keeps getting angry that so many people drink and drop out of college, and he seems to blame that on the school. Let me assure you (and Dude) that Staples does whatever it can to prevent these problems, be it through health classes, codes of conduct, or Grim Reaper day, when students simulate death by drunk driving to show what Staples would be like without them. Getting drunk is not always the fault of the school, but often the fault of careless parents who either trust their kids with drinks or don’t suspect their children of doing something so stupid and irrational.
        No school is perfect, but let it be known that Staples sure as hell tries!

  32. Gotta jump in here ...

    “Dude/Walter”, you are literally making me hate the film “The Big Lebowski.” But, since you love role playing, let’s play a little game. You play Donny and I’ll play Walter for a minute. Remember the film? You, Donny. Me, Walter. I’ll quote the film for you.

    Here we go …

    Setting: Dan’s Blog

    You begin to rant about something you know nothing about.

    Walter responds, “Shut the fuck up, Donny.”


  33. Yo! You appear to be loosing the thread here, Gotta.

    I think Mr. Mathewson’s argument was that we should take a longterm, world view of Westport public school planning. Apart from the recession, which should be a medium-term event, I think Mr. Mathewson’s argument stands: to compete in the longterm global environment, our kids will need the best education that we can reasonable afford. In the current budget, we can afford it albeit at some cost — $50 or so per household.

    • Gotta jump in here ...

      Jtb, you are correct. But patience does not exist infinitely.

      There are strong arguments on both sides of this issue, and listening to both with understanding is key to forward progress. However, attacking a system that is literally labeled as a “Lighthouse” to other districts in the state and personally attacking a major school leader is simply obnoxious, rude, and droll. Also attacks fail to offer the data needed to argue against assertions for continued funding.

      If one were motivated enough, s/he could look at the data provided through the Dept. of Education regarding school profiles in order to cite specific, comparative data about the success of Westport’s schools. Profiles by year: http://www.csde.state.ct.us/public/der/ssp/index.htm#go

      By turning to data rather than thinly argued attacks prevents vague and questionable statements from becoming the issues at hand.

      Also, just because people went to high school themselves, that does not mean they are suddenly experts on education theory, vision, and reform. This is one blindside I often see … and often hear. “When I was in school we ….” So what? Data is not driven by anecdote, it’s driven by outcomes.

      I do apologize for the expletive, I simply couldn’t help myself, and I hope it is understood that I was joking around … even if the response seemed way too heated. “Fin,” I mean, c’mon, it was a joke, ya gotta laugh at the use of “Fin.”

  34. John Dodig

    To anyone who has contributed to this exchange of ideas and points of view, I offer you a tour of our high school. I have given four such tours this year for members of the Westport community. Most found it to be a worthwhile one hour of their time. If you are interested (espcially the Dude) simply send me an email at jdodig@westport.k12.ct.us and I’ll get back to you immediately.

  35. The debate continues but the 2010-2011 budget has been set for the Board of Education at about a half of a percent less than the Board asked for. Later this month the Board will begin public discussion on where to cut $500,000. Despite the Board’s and Dr. Landon’s pleas that they are at the bone, I don’t believe for one minute that a $96+ million budget can’t easily absorb such a small cut.

    • The Corsair

      A $96 million dollar budget probably could take some small cuts. However, much of that money is locked away in areas where it can’t be attacked, for example teacher salaries. The contractual difficulty of lowering teacher salaries basically means that a large portion of the budget is untouchable. A $96 million dolllar budget appears to have loads of fluff, but once you realize how much of that money is locked away in teachers salaries and basic up keep you come to realize something – Its a small world after all.

  36. “A $96 million dollar budget probably could take some small cuts.” Certainly $500,000 is small in comparision to $96 million, isn’t it?

  37. Staples Kid

    “Gotta jump in here…” hands down the funniest comment to ever appear on “06880”.

  38. Grow up folks. Your cynicism, profanity and tangential commentary is way off point. I don’t agree with the “Dude” but he is entitled to his opinion. Your anger plays right into his strength.

  39. How can you have a great high school when it is 93% white?

  40. Gunney, that’s inflammatory and you know it. More important, it has nothing to do with this thread which concerns the Westport public school budget for 2010-2011.

  41. I can’t use all those big words. I am on a monthly pension from the Marine Corps and 50 bucks is 50 bucks to me. I don’t know nothing about budgets either but 90 million sounds like a lot. I don’t see these kids working around town and they dress like slobs going to school.
    I got no education but I seen this country and world and it ain’t all white. So I don’t see my tax money being spent real good. I figure, also, that 27 yearss in the Marine Corps gives me the right to say anything I want there fellow.