Readers take off on sounding off about FCAT, politicians …

Time to let you guys sound off — about everything from the battle between Mike Thomas and me over FCAT to my character flaws and one reader's thoughts about my mother.

Thanks so much for your crusades. Keep after the lobbyists. To me, lobbying with money is bribery. Lobbying by lobbyists is fine, because they did it in Lincoln's time — but not with money and dinners. — Lou C.

Lou, can you just imagine if Abraham Lincoln had to deal with the lobbyists of today? …. "Abe, baby, we love what you're trying to do with this whole Gettysburg thing. But this whole "of the people, by the people, for the people" shtick; it's a bit much, right? I mean, how much power do these "people" really need? Anyway, me and my firm would love to steamboat you and Mary Todd down the Mississippi this weekend and run a few ideas by ya. Nothing major. Just a few tweaks — a bit less populism, a bit more capitalism. Nothing we can't fix over a fundraiser for you at Washington's new half-built monument."

Congratulations on getting it right on FCAT. You nailed it. I have been in education a very long time. And standardized testing should be only a small part of the overall process. Unfortunately, legislators from Congress to Tallahassee prefer it because it is measurable (supposedly) — but mainly because it covers their rears politically. — Erik W.

That's part of the problem, Erik. If a Florida legislator's choice is between caring for a public-school student or his own rear end, the kid usually loses.

Scott, I'm a teacher in Orange County, and I think you have a lot of common sense and logic. Mike has some good points, but he's way off base. And the difference is, when he's off-base, he's just obnoxious about it. — Mrs. W.

I take great exception to that, Mrs. W. I can be every bit as obnoxious as Mike — especially when I'm off-base.

Maxwell, today's column was extra-annoying. — Jasper

See.

Scott, I read your column regularly, and this one — for educators and parents alike -— is by far your best. Nothing much else matters when young people are in the throes of a system based on punitive measures and faulty assumptions. Thanks for writing such a smart and thoughtful piece — a real plea for social justice. — Jeffrey S. Kaplan, associate professor, UCF College of Education

Professor Kaplan, you have room for any legislators in your class?

Maxwell, who says you know anything about education anyway? — Randy

Professor Kaplan.

Scott, are you aware of any laws against flat out lying by candidates? —Bill

No. The jails are already overcrowded.

Scott, are Pulitzer Prizes given on the basis of a single column? If so, you certainly deserve one for today's gem [on oil drilling and the special session]. — Mrs. S.

Thanks, S, but there's actually a little-known provision prohibiting any columnist from winning an award for ranting about the Florida Legislature. They decided it was too easy.

Before you start this environmentalist crap, remember that environmentalists are whacked out! They are not stable people. Maybe [the BP well] was sabotaged. And why don't you write about China? Because they'll tell you to blow it out your [expletive]! That's why!Scott A.

Right. It's the environmentalists who are unstable.

Scott, your friendly conservative reader here. I'm surprised how many times I'm reading your articles lately and saying: "Amen."Robert

Hallelujah, Robert. It's a miracle.

We do not need you and your wise-[expletive] column that proves you are lacking in integrity and inteligence … Your mother would be ashamed of you. — Asa P.

I checked with her, Asa. My mom was primarily ashamed that I reprinted a letter from someone who called other people dumb — but couldn't properly spell "intelligence."

I really enjoy reading your columns. They give me some sense of being politically informed. The only problem I have reading your stuff is feeling [in campaigns] like we are forced to keep picking the lesser evil. — Tory

They're not all bad, Tory. Remember it's just 95 percent of politicians that make the other 5 percent look bad.

Scott, when are you going to run for office? Helen

I dunno, Helen. From what I've seen, politicians have to deal with a lot of obnoxious and annoying people in the media.

Scott Maxwell welcomes your thoughts, questions and expletives at smaxwell@orlandosentinel.com.

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