Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I admit it I am 44 and a sucker for fart humor and anything related to farts. When I read the article on the Union Leader by Charles M. Arlinghaus titled "These Plans for Tax Hikes are Just Hot Air" and the comments, I knew I had to look at the picture linked in the comments.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

When Will People Wake Up"

The following piece appeared at The More disturbing to me is how so many average citizens listens to glitterati tripe as if what the say is true. Personally I see this in part as a failure of our public education system. If students were taught science, problem solving skills and logic so many people would not believe in some of the garbage that some entertainers spew.

My biggest beef has to be with the whole global warming scam. Along with the link I just provided you can either google global warming scam or visit a series of articles at The Heartland Institute. What is scary is that some public schools are teaching that global warming is fact. The earth if anyone has studied the earth has gone through periods of warming and cooling for millions of years long before man even existed also there is no greater influence over earth than the sun and the solar activity on the sun.


Scientific illiteracy all the rage among the glitterati

When it comes to science, Barack Obama is no better than many of us. Today he joins the list of shame of those in public life who made scientifically unsupportable statements in 2008.

Closer to home, Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith faltered on the science of food, while Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore all get roastings for scientific illiteracy.

The Celebrities and Science Review 2008, prepared by the group Sense About Science, identifies some of the worst examples of scientific illiteracy among those who profess to know better – including top politicians.

Mr Obama and John McCain blundered into the MMR vaccine row during their presidential campaigns. "We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate," said President-elect Obama. "Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it," he said.

His words were echoed by Mr McCain. "It's indisputable that [autism] is on the rise among children, the question is what's causing it," he said. "There's strong evidence that indicates it's got to do with a preservative in the vaccines."

Exhaustive research has failed to substantiate any link to vaccines or any preservatives. The rise in autism is thought to be due to an increased awareness of the condition.

Sarah Palin, Mr McCain's running mate, waded into the mire with her dismissal of some government research projects. "Sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not," Ms Palin said. But the geneticist Ellen Solomon takes Ms Palin to task for not understanding the importance of studies into fruit flies, which share roughly half their genes with humans. "They have been used for more than a century to understand how genes work, which has implications in, for example, understanding the ageing process," she said.

Hollywood did not escape the critical analysis of the scientific reviewers, who lambasted Tom Cruise, for his comments on psychiatry being a crime against humanity, and Julianne Moore, who warned against using products full of unnatural chemicals.

"The real crime against humanity continues to be the enduring misery caused by the major mental illnesses across the globe, and the continuing lack of resources devoted to supporting those afflicted," said the psychiatrist Professor Simon Wessely.

In answer to Moore, the science author and chemist John Emsley said that natural chemicals are not automatically safer than man-made chemicals, which undergo rigorous testing.

"Something which is naturally sourced may well include a mixture of things that are capable of causing an adverse reaction," Dr Emsley said.

Other mentions went to the chefs Nigella Lawson, who said "mind meals" can make you feel different about life, and Delia Smith, who claimed it is possible to eliminate sugar from the diet. The dietician Catherine Collins said that Lawson's support for expensive allergy foods is a wasted opportunity and too costly for those on limited incomes, while Lisa Miles of the British Nutrition Foundation said that sugars are part of a balanced diet.

Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore all espoused the idea that you can detoxify your body with either diet (scientifically unsupportable) or, in the case of Moore, products such as "highly trained medical leeches" which make you bleed. Scientists point out that diet alone cannot remove toxins and that blood itself is not a toxin, and even if it did contain toxins, removing a little bit of it is not going to help.

But top prize went to the lifestyle guru Carole Caplin for denouncing a study showing that vitamin supplements offer little or no health benefits as "rubbish" – it is the third year on the run that she has been mentioned in the review. Science author and GP Ben Goldacre pointed out that the study Ms Caplin referred to was the most authoritative yet published. "Carole should understand that research can often produce results which challenge our preconceptions: that is why science is more interesting than just following your nose," Dr Goldacre said.

Talking sense: Two who got it right

*The writer Jilly Cooper gets nine out of ten for making a stab at why alternative treatments might work: "If you believe them, then they work." That describes the placebo effect, where a harmless but useless remedy seems to work because the patient feels as if it is working.

*The vocal coach and singer Carrie Grant is applauded for raising the profile of Crohn's disease without abusing the science. "There are so many therapies available, but none of them are going to cure you," she said.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

If you write they will come.

I noticed every time I miss posting I lose readers. Both of our cars broke down at the same time, I have been oh so tired as of late and my Mother came for a visit. I had high hopes that my Mother would not want to get out and about so much and that she would entertain Anastasia and Alexander so I could get some long put off tasks completed.

I have been reading interesting articles that I have wanted to comment on but just have not had the time. When I get the time I just may back date some posts because I found the articles so worthy of comment.

A while back I kind of hijacked our Citizens for Reasonable And Fair Taxes as a soap box of my own. I have been wondering if I should relinquish the BLOG back to its original purpose and start a separate BLOG of my own.

Regular posting and more pertinent posting to resume soon.


Thought of the Day "PSNH to send adjusted bills."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."

A very smart man

Thomas Jefferson in some cases could be called a prophet.

"When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe."
Thomas Jefferson

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
Thomas Jefferson

"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world."
Thomas Jefferson

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. "
Thomas Jefferson

"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. "
Thomas Jefferson

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. "
Thomas Jefferson

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. "
Thomas Jefferson

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. "
Thomas Jefferson

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. "
Thomas Jefferson

In light of the present financial crisis, it's interesting to read what Thomas
Jefferson said in 1802:

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

Anyone who has study history knows that Great Nations in history have fallen. Will America fall in my lifetime or my children's lifetime? I will do my part to prevent America from failing. What will you do to prevent America from failing? Will you be a part of the problem or a part of the solution? Will you be a taxeater that destructs America or will you fight for the freedoms on which our Country was found? Cathy

Friday, December 19, 2008

Towns and States Across America Will Face Bankruptcy Over the Next Few Years

My prediction is that towns and states across America will face bankruptcy over the next few years. If not bankruptcy major cuts in services to balance budgets or demands of every increasing taxes to pay Ponzi scheme pensions. Jim and I started fighting for taxes and education reform in 2002. We quickly came to the conclusion that towns and states would face bankruptcy over the years after looking at school, city and state budgets. We concluded the contract demands by unionized state employees and unionized teachers were greedy and nothing more than Ponzi schemes that were doomed to bankrupt governments across America.

If President Bush and Congress stop these insane bailouts and if Obama does not do any more maybe our economy can recover. The President and Congress did not learn anything from the Great Depression, government interference just prolonged the Depression. If our Senators, Representatives and government officials at all levels of the government knew anything about economics (and not Marxist economics), history and math we would not be in this mess. Unfortunately greed, pandering, nepotism, patronage and just plain stupidity got this country in the mess we are in today.

The following piece appeared in the Wall Street Journal.


More California Towns Face Bankruptcy

RIO VISTA, Calif. -- California may soon have more bankrupt towns on its hands.

The city of Vallejo, Calif., gained national attention earlier this year by filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. Now, two neighbors are fighting to avoid the same fate, as the state's economic crisis spreads.

Isleton and Rio Vista, small towns roughly 50 miles northeast of San Francisco, say they have begun consulting with bankruptcy lawyers as they draw up plans to deal with their mounting budget crises. The towns' leaders say they hope to avoid bankruptcy, but concede the move may eventually be their only option.

"We're strapped for cash and by the end of March or early April we may not have enough money to pay for payroll," says Hector De La Rosa, Rio Vista's city manager.

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A Rio Vista, Calif., street is empty after construction was halted at a housing development last month.
California's troubled towns can't expect much help from the state. A state board voted Wednesday to shut off $3.8 billion in financing to hundreds of infrastructure projects to preserve cash, as the nation's most populous state struggles under a budget deficit that officials say could balloon to more than $40 billion over the next two years.

"California's fiscal house is burning down," State Treasurer Bill Lockyer said in a statement.

The plights of Isleton and Rio Vista highlight the difficulties small California municipalities face as revenue falls. Vallejo, just a few miles west of the two towns, filed for bankruptcy in May after its tax revenue sank with the economy, while wages and benefits for police and other services rose. Vallejo instantly became the nightmare scenario for towns across the state facing a similar toxic mix of foreclosures, debts, pension obligations and the inability to raise money on bond markets.

California also makes it hard for municipalities to quickly raise taxes to cover shortfalls: In most instances, state law requires them to place increases in utility rates and taxes before voters for their approval.

Rio Vista began to see the trouble last year, when property-tax revenue began to falter. The city lacks revenue sources such as big-box retailers and depends heavily on two auto dealerships for sales-tax revenue, Mr. De La Rosa says. But the dealerships have hit hard times.

Rio Vista has cut a third of its city workers and slashed its recreation budget to $29,000 from about $250,000. The city is looking into selling more than 100 acres of its land for revenue. Since July 2007, Rio Vista has cut $1 million from its $7 million budget but still faces an $800,000 shortfall. "The fact we are a small town makes it more difficult to handle this slide we are on," says Rio Vista Mayor Jan Vick. "We don't have that much to cut."

In September, Rio Vista contacted law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, which handled the Vallejo bankruptcy, and requested guidance, says former Mayor Eddie Woodruff.

The thought of bankruptcy doesn't sit well with some residents. "When I first heard the council was considering bankruptcy, I was all for it," says Howard Lamothe, owner of Foster's Bighorn restaurant, whose family has lived here for seven generations. "But after I learned about what it means and how it affects business and service, I changed my mind," he says. "I can't support that."

John Knox, a partner at Orrick Herrington, says he expects to see several more municipal bankruptcies in California next year. But "there is no capacity at the state level to write a check to aid our financially burdened local governments," says Marie Ann O'Malley, a policy analyst with the state's Legislative Analysts Office, a nonpartisan financial and policy-advisory agency.

The state's Pooled Money Investment Board Wednesday halted the flow of money to highway, prison and schools projects, among others, until June, so the state can pay for public safety, health care and other crucial services for as long as Sacramento lawmakers remain stalemated over how to close the budget gap.

Ms. O'Malley says that distressed cities could turn to county governments to take over some services. But with many counties also hurting financially, that option is limited. Another option: Cities could dissolve themselves, she says. But dissolution also involves county officials taking over city services and orchestrating a recovery, and lenders would still be left holding the bag for debts.

Isleton's city manager, Bruce Pope, says the town owes $950,000 for an assortment of services including trash pickup and electricity. With Isleton's operating budget of about $1 million, interest on unpaid bills could overpower the city's budget, he says.

Some county leaders are pressuring Mr. Pope to dissolve Isleton. But the town, with about 1,000 residents, doesn't have the money to cover the fees to do so, he says.

—Jim Carlton contributed to this article.
Write to Bobby White at

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Power back on after six days without electricity.

What a roller coaster, the power turned on after six days at about 9:00 last night. A broken breaker caused the power outage to our home a five-minute fix for the power company. Six days without power was not too bad, my major concern was that my Mom is coming for Christmas and I was concerned there would not be power for her. After a while you kind of get the hang of things. We were plenty warm we bought an 80,000 BTU wood burning stove this summer so it kept the first and second floor warm the basement was a balmy 50 degrees during the outage.

My regrets were not turning on the dishwasher the night before (didn’t want to waste energy thought I could put four more
dishes in the next day) and not doing the laundry. Early on we retrieved water from our waterfalls to flush the toilets later on we went to the town well for water. In the future I will fill the tubs with water before bad storms. Day three we took our laundry to the laundry mat and on Monday I boiled water to do the dishes I felt much better. Those of you who can empathize with my neat freakishness understand where I am coming from.

The weather reports about the storm were not as accurate as they were in the past, only Jim’s friend Comrade Dave the Socialist from Vermont was privy to what was headed our way. Actually my sister Julie sent me an email a couple of hours before the power went out she must have heard the weather was going to be bad too.

Alexander and Anastasia were troopers during this time, much of my time was spent hauling wood, water and doing things just to survive the outage. Jim charged the DVD players at work so we could watch some movies at nighttime. During the weekend we showered at Jim’s work. Jim showered at work every morning. Jim was dealing with an eye infection throughout this ordeal (still is) so he was not too happy. It was the kind of eye infection that turns his eye bright red and the white of his eye swells up around the pupil.

A special thanks to Ron (yes you), Mary and Dan for you all gave us light throughout the six-day power outage. Ron gave me some candles and flashlights as gifts a long time ago and Mary and Dan gave Anastasia a lantern that helped her find her way in the dark. Jim and I now have to decide if we should buy a generator or not, we have been told that we should expect a power outage about once a year.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Power Outage

Our power went out on Friday as soon as the power comes on I will update our site.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jay P. Greene Nails it Again.

Earlier today I was chatting on a mailing list with people about homeschooling policies. One of the so called "advocates" just does not seem to understand how dangerous the NEA is to homeschooling freedom. Unfortunately this well intentioned person is doing more harm to homeschooling freedom than she may ever realize.

Jay P. Greene nails it again. Greene is the author of one of my favorite books Education Myths What Special-Interest Groups Want YOU to BELIEVE About our SCHOOLS AND WHY IT ISN'T SO. This book is a must read for all parents and taxpayers.

His BLOG today nails teacher unions and education policy dead on. The following is a partial post of his blog.

"This not only helps explain why JPGB beats Edwize, but also why reformers are able to beat the unions in the policy arena. It’s true that the unions win most of the time. But given their enormous advantage in resources, it is amazing that the unions ever lose. The reason that the unions lose as often as they do is that their policy positions are much more difficult to defend intellectually."

To view the rest of this post go to

True education freedom fighters and reformers understand the above statement.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This is too funny.

Our friends at the Illinois Policy Institute sent us a very relevant funny. It is probably best to go to their site to see the image better.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

We don't need a rocket scientist to see that something is deeply wrong with K-12 education in the U.S.

Mr. Epstein was right on when he said that "We don't need a rocket scientist to see that something is deeply wrong with K-12 education in the U.S." Until we acknowledge this and start calling even the good teachers out for allowing this to happen we will continue to see a decline in the public education system. Intent on the part of educrats may be good but even those with good intentions cause severe harm to children, family, taxpayers and the good of our Country in general.


The following piece appeared on Hat tip to Pete the finance guy for directing me to the following article.

Hayek, Not Gerstner
Richard A. Epstein 12.09.08, 12:01 AM ET
We don't need a rocket scientist to see that something is deeply wrong with K-12 education in the U.S. For the last 50 years, three facts dominate the landscape: Clever reform proposals are a dime a dozen; cost-per-pupil expenditures increase; and student performance continues to lag. It is as if our current policymakers felt duty-bound to wreck our educational system.

With the dawn of the Obama administration, hope springs eternal that the next round of educational reforms will be different. Yet the disinterested outsider should brace for more disappointment. Modern policy loses out to a three-part indictment. Count one: some proposals are bromides. Count two: other proposals are counterproductive. Count three: real structural reform is off the table. Guilty on all three counts is Louis V. Gerstner's heartfelt plea for educational reform.

Count one: blandness. Who can be against higher standards for education or better systems for measuring teacher and student performance? Yet by the same token, no one knows how to develop standards for education that match the precise ones in place for today's industrial products. President Bush's benighted "no child left behind" program flounders because it is hard to grade schools by testing their shifting, unstable student populations. Thus the political imperative for positive results drives public officials to define down success in the short term, only to create impossible demands in the long run--when someone else is on the hot seat.

Count two: monopoly. The modern trend is toward more centralization. Yet why continue our dreaded flirtation with national standards when there are few economies of scale in education? At root, educational success depends upon the distinctive interaction between a responsive student and a dedicated teacher. Unfortunately, increased federalization of education is high on the agenda of Republican and Democratic administrations alike.

Gerstner's proposal accelerates this process by urging the adoption of a standard national curriculum, to be implemented at the federal level by abolishing all but the largest educational school districts. The ambitious effort to impose curricular uniformity misses important differences among students on such key elements as ability, background and interest.

One-size-fits-all is yet another version of a state monopoly that will work no better in education than it does for telephones. No set of public officials, each with a separate private agenda, could hope to hit the curricular nail on the head. But this looming national presence will snuff out the niche entrepreneurs whose curricular innovations could well prove worthy of imitation.

The more sensible approach, therefore, is to follow economist Friedrich Hayek's lead: Push hard toward decentralization, so that different groups can take their crack at developing integrated K-12 educational programs that might work, precisely because they are fueled by competitive forces. Let's remove the fetters that local governments impose on charter schools. Let's expand the use of vouchers, without onerous government conditions. Let's encourage the formation of bottom-up education programs that build off a strong home-schooled base.

Count three: the union elephant in the closet. I save the most explosive question for last. One factor that is clearly correlated with the decline in public education is the rise of teacher unions. Oddly enough, the best case for teacher unions is as a counterweight to the omnipresent central administration that Gerstner and others defend. But no modern educational reform will get off the ground unless something is done to blunt union power, which does no better by education than by automobiles.

Tough steps are needed to counter the union monopoly. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee's spirited assault on teacher tenure in the woeful Washington, D.C., school district presents one key test of the reformist program. But even if she gets her way on merit pay, it will not be enough. We need to dismantle the system that requires school districts large or small to bargain with teachers' unions in the first place.

The bottom line: Education cannot survive Gerstner's corporatist model that necessarily combines state monopoly with union power and large public subsidies. This determined libertarian makes no apologies for championing decentralized power, voluntary association and market competition.

Richard A. Epstein is the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago; the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and a visiting professor at New York University Law School. He writes a weekly column for

Quote of the Day - " We need to dismantle the system that requires school districts large or small to bargain with teachers' unions in the first place."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Homeschoolers wanting to be overseen by the State...Say It Isn't So

As many of you know we will probably homeschool our children when the time to begin formal education comes. Because of that I have been actively researching the issue for the past two years even though we will not have to formally begin educating our daughter until August/September 2010. Our 4 year old (5 in July) is currently reading at the 2nd grade level and is between the first and second grade level for most areas of study.

One of our legislators intends to propose legislation that would include goals and curriculum for homeschoolers. I found this absurd on so many levels. First and foremost proposed legislation could force me to dumb down the curricula for my child to meet some state law. If I wanted Anastasia's education to be dumbed down I would send her to a public school. Second what right do legislators have forcing a curricula on homeschoolers when they refuse to fund homeschoolers' education.

Okay I really wanted to rant more but I am tired my 17 month old kept me up for about 3 hours last night.

I recently became aware of a site called Alliance for Intellectual Freedom in Education, this is a must read site for all newcomers to homeschooling in New Hampshire. I wish I would have ran into the site two years ago.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

A visit with education’s fearless reformer

Education reform is not going to happen until Americans wake-up and stand up to the bullies that have hijacked the public education system. No amount of money will satisfy the beast of public education. Real reform must also come from within as well, as it is being done in Washington, D.C. under the watchful eye of Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Hat tip to Dave Ziffer, a fellow education reformer back in Illinois. The following piece appears on


A visit with education’s fearless reformer

“Power is the ability to move the seemingly immovable.” That’s what Washington, D.C. public schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee said when I stopped by her office yesterday as I headed home from the Fortune 500 Forum. Ever since we launched the Fortune Most Powerful Women list a decade ago, I’ve asked scores - perhaps hundreds - of leaders, male and female, how they define power. It’s fascinating to hear the responses. Rhee’s definition reflects her incredibly difficult task: overhauling what many consider to be the worst major public-school district in America.

Rhee happens to be on the cover of this week’s Time: There she stands sternly in a classroom with a broom in hand. The cover line: “How to Fix America’s Schools.” I’ve been eager to meet Rhee for a while, since a lot of people who have smart ideas about education - Melinda Gates, Allen & Co. banker Nancy Peretsman, Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings - have told me that she’s one of the smartest, bravest education reformers to come along in years. She’s wildly controversial, which makes her all the more interesting.

A 37-year-old Teach for America alum who ran a non-profit called the New Teacher Project in New York City, Rhee had never run a school or a district before D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty appointed her to his top education post last year. Since then, she has closed schools, fired hundreds of underperforming teachers and principals, and fought to replace tenure with pay for performance.

Rhee has hit walls and earned the ire of unions, but that doesn’t discourage her. “You always have to lead from the front,” she told me yesterday when I asked her what is the best advice she’s gotten along the way. Joel Klein, the New York City schools chancellor, gave her that advice last year, and he told her: “Don’t feel the need to bring everyone along with you. If you do that, you’re not going to get anywhere.”

Though a staunch Democrat, she’s worried about Obama’s yet-to-be-revealed choice for Secretary of Education. “The Democrats have fallen down in such a significant way,” she says, “and have not pushed the things that could help the least fortunate.” Who would be her pick for the top education post? She mentioned two people I’d never heard of: Kati Haycock, president of the D.C.-based Education Trust, and Michael Barber, a McKinsey consultant in London who has advised education policymakers including Klein. As for Klein, he’d be a terrific, if controversial, choice, she said. “If the criteria is, how well do you get along with the unions, then we’ve lost already.”

P.S. For more new ideas about education reform, read “Bill & Melinda Gates Go Back to School” in the current issue of Fortune . Click here to see Melinda Gates on video, talking at our recent Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit about the lessons she learned about trying to fix Amerca’s schools. Also, former IBM (IBM) chief Lou Gerstner shared his ideas in a Monday Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

America Needs "Change Parents Can Believe In

The following piece appears at Net Right and can also be found at the Americans for Limited Government website. Yes it is a message that I have said more than once but it needs to be said again. As many people as possible need to point this out to their readers, please share this with your friends.


America Needs "Change Parents Can Believe In"
Written by Howie Rich
Thursday, 04 December 2008 18:04
Let's not kid ourselves.

Barack Obama isn't the first (and he certainly won't be the last) Washington politician to send his children to exclusive private schools.

In fact, Sidwell Friends – the elite private academy chosen by the Obamas for their two young daughters – was also selected by Bill and Hillary Clinton for their daughter, Chelsea, while they lived in the White House.

But you won't hear me – or any other true educational choice advocate – condemning either family for selecting the educational environment that best fits the needs of their children.

That's their right as parents.

In fact, in selecting this $29,000-a-year school, Michelle Obama specifically described it as "the best fit for what (our) daughters need now."

Meanwhile in South Carolina (which includes eight counties with a median household income below what the Obamas will pay per child in tuition costs this coming year) one of the state's top gubernatorial prospects, James E. Smith, also chooses to send his children to a prestigious private academy.

Again, that's his choice – and based on South Carolina's worst-in-the-nation graduation rate, it's hard to fault him for it.

In Oregon, where the graduation rate is much higher, House Speaker Jeff Merkley and his wife recently attempted to enroll two of their children in a newly-formed charter school. In this case, it wasn't that their public schools were all that bad, they simply wanted something better.

Yet when reporters first asked Speaker Merkley about his children's applications, he denied having ever submitted them.

How come?

Well, as it turned out, Merkley had voted against Oregon's charter school legislation just a few years earlier.

Likewise, South Carolina's Rep. Smith has been one of the most vocal opponents of parental choice in South Carolina – including choice for those eight counties with household incomes below what the Obamas will pay to send just one of their children to private school this coming year.

And then there's Obama himself, who is following in the footsteps of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy and his Illinois colleague Jesse Jackson, Jr., in ardently opposing academic scholarships and tuition tax credits which in most cases add up to less than half what public schools are spending.

"We need to focus on fixing and improving our public schools; not throwing our hands up and walking away from them," Obama says, a clever sound bite that ignores the billions in new taxpayer dollars we pour into public education year after year in an unsuccessful effort to do just that.

Sadly, politicians like Obama, the Clintons, Kennedy, Jackson, Smith and Merkley are hardly unique in availing themselves of the very choices they refuse to make more accessible to the vast majority of American parents.

According to a 2007 report by the Heritage Foundation, 37 percent of U.S. Representatives and 45 percent of U.S. Senators enroll their children in private schools – a rate four times higher than that of the general population.

Simply put, choice is a good thing – but only for those rich or powerful enough to enjoy it.
So what is Obama's solution for the rest of America's parents?

For all his talk of "change we need," and "change we can believe in," Obama's plan is all too familiar – keep throwing more money into the same old failed bureaucracies while branding anyone who wants to empower parents as being "anti-public education."

Yet as our nation falls further behind its industrialized peers in standardized test scores, we desperately need an education system focused on achieving results, not accommodating a status quo that has proven utterly incapable at adapting to a changing world.

More money and expensive new "accountability" measures have clearly failed to move us forward.

We must now provide change that parents can believe in, a process which begins, ironically, with providing them the same choices currently enjoyed by their leaders.

The author is Chairman of Americans for Limited Government.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Teachers Unions Bankrupting American Education

Hat Tip to Rich Johns from Townhall Meeting and a fellow tax fighter from Illinois for sending us to the following video. The following story appears on one of my favorite sites Teacher Unions Facts. Please go to the site to see the video we have dial-up and so do many of our readers so I do not want to embed the video here.


Teachers Unions Bankrupting American Education

"Big labor unions have destroyed countless American industries, including the Detroit automakers who are now begging Congress for a bailout. But these unions don’t just control factories and assembly lines. Our public education system is a slow-motion car crash, driven by the same union special interests that brought the auto companies to the brink of bankruptcy.

This insightful new video shows how teachers unions protect bad and incompetent teachers, block school reform efforts, and use their members’ dues money to support a radical left-wing agenda.

Compared to other developed countries, the United States has the worst educational quality per dollar spent on schools, ranking 18th in reading and 28th in math. Millions of American children are being shortchanged by dysfunctional schools, but efforts for education reform are invariably stopped by powerful union interests.

These unions fight tooth and nail against any meaningful change to their comfortable status quo – while students and taxpayers pay the price.

After decades of denial, there is a growing realization around the country that teachers unions’ defense of the status quo cannot continue. A new generation of reformers, including Michelle Rhee, the chief of public schools in Washington DC, are fighting those unions and pushing for renewed accountability and an end to the broken tenure system. is a project of the non-profit Center for Union Facts. With your support, we can fix our public schools and expel these special interest groups. Your tax-deductible donation will help us show Americans the truth about today’s teachers unions.

Please make a contribution today, and forward this message to your friends, family, and anyone interested in helping take back our schools."

Home Schools Run By Well-Meaning Amateurs

I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I read the following piece. It was especially funny because I recently read the piece from the HSDLA about how "The best homeschooled students systematically outperform the best non-homeschooled students. "

Home Schools Run By Well-Meaning Amateurs
Schools With Good Teachers Are Best-Suited to Shape Young Minds

By Dave Arnold

There's nothing like having the right person with the right experience, skills and tools to accomplish a specific task. Certain jobs are best left to the pros, such as, formal education.
There are few homeowners who can tackle every aspect of home repair. A few of us might know carpentry, plumbing and, let’s say, cementing. Others may know about electrical work, tiling and roofing. But hardly anyone can do it all.

Same goes for cars. Not many people have the skills and knowledge to perform all repairs on the family car. Even if they do, they probably don’t own the proper tools. Heck, some people have their hands full just knowing how to drive.

So, why would some parents assume they know enough about every academic subject to home-school their children? You would think that they might leave this -- the shaping of their children’s minds, careers, and futures -- to trained professionals. That is, to those who have worked steadily at their profession for 10, 20, 30 years! Teachers!

For continued giggles you can read the rest of the piece on the NEA website.

I would also like to once again direct my readers to a great series by Michael Hodges titled "Grandfather Economic Report series." He has an excellent analysis of the public school system.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Random Thoughts

The other day Anastasia and I were working on her U.S. geography lessons. Anastasia was looking at a blank map of the United States and identifying said States. For some of the States she would say the capital instead of the state's name. For example she would say "Boise" and I would say, "Whose capital is Boise?" and she would say "Idaho." I love learning time with my daughter it is amazing to watch her, sometimes you can actually see her think and see the light come on when she gets the answer or understands the concept we are teaching.

On Monday we went to gymnastics. One of the girl's Mom left to go home and do something. As the mother was driving away the little girl said to Anastasia "We have an Obama sticker on our car." Anastasia replied, "We voted for McCain. " Before the election my daughter saw an Obama sign and my daughter said, "There are some more Obama idiots." My daughter is very sensitive when I told her Obama won she was very sad. She said, "I hope he does not take all of our money." She also asked "Will we be able to still homeschool?" It is clear that the election was discussed a great deal in some households including ours. My daughter still mentions she wants McCain to be president when we see signs I always explain to her that Obama will be our President and we hope that he will do his best to lead our Country.

I don't remember being four but it is clear that we need to be a little more careful about what we say to our intelligent little girl.

Raising boys to me seems more difficult than raising girls. Alexander just does not seem to understand "No!" He is into everything so much that a great deal of my day is spent cleaning up after him. He loves to help out around the house and sometimes to my dismay. There is no point in putting him in the crib or playpen because he just fusses, screams or cries until he is free. It is best to let him do his thing because it is so hard to concentrate when he is fusing. Here is my little helper, helping with the laundry and throwing out garbage.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Update To An Earlier Post About Homeschoolers.

In my earlier post today I mentioned how the HSDLA needs to update their statistics on how well homeschoolers perform. Minutes after typing that post I received the following from HSDLA.

We left Illinois to come to New Hampshire in part because we loved the "Live Free or Die" attitude of New Hampshire Residents. Unfortunately we moved here on election day 2006 when New Hampshire became a blue State. As big and bureaucratic as Illinois is, Homeschoolers have complete homeschooling freedom. On the other hand New Hampshire moderates homeschoolers with more regulation. Twenty five states have either complete homeschooling freedom or are required to only inform the state that they are homeschooling without further regulation.

Legislators across the United States should leave homeschoolers alone and focus on improving our failing public education system.


Washington Times Op-ed—Testing Proves Success of Graduates

by J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President

From the beginning of the re-emergence of homeschooling in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the strongest criticism of homeschooling was that untrained, noncredentialed parents could not provide the quality of instruction needed to match the education provided in public and private schools. To address this criticism, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) commissioned several studies to compare how homeschoolers score on standardized achievement tests compared to their public and private school counterparts.

The results of those tests demonstrated that on average, homeschooled children regularly outperformed their peers. These test results had a significant impact on the growth of homeschooling. First, state legislators were convinced that homeschooling parents could provide a high level of education, and they passed laws that recognized the right to homeschool. Additionally, many parents who were contemplating homeschooling were encouraged to take the leap of faith to educate their children at home.

What the test results demonstrate is that a homeschool program tailored to the individual needs of the student is the best method of educating a child. This reality was further supported by test results on the SAT and ACT that demonstrated that the average homeschooled graduate tested higher than the average graduate from public schools.

Now we have additional test results that demonstrate homeschool graduates compare favorably with students at such prestigious schools as Harvard, Yale and Princeton universities and the University of Virginia.

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) administers the American Civic Literacy Test (ACLT) to college students to measure their factual knowledge about American history, the Constitution and more. The results reveal that students nationwide lack even the basics. When ISI administered the ACLT in 2006 to a sample of students attending Ivy League schools, Harvard seniors answered 69.56 percent of the questions correctly, Yale seniors answered 65.85 percent correctly and Princeton seniors answered 61.90 percent.

Compare this with students at Patrick Henry College (PHC), a Christian classical college located 50 miles Northwest of the District, where 80 percent of the students come from homeschooling backgrounds. The ACLT was given to PHC freshmen this fall. These freshmen scored at 71.6 percent, two points higher than Harvard’s seniors and 17.4 percent higher than the average senior mean score at 50 of the country’s top institutions of higher education.

I also have seen the scores of PHC freshmen on a standardized test by Educational Testing Service known as MAPP (Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress). The MAPP tests proficiency in critical thinking, reading, writing and mathematics, and the results permit us to compare incoming PHC freshmen with college seniors at 253 participating institutions. The PHC freshmen tested higher than seniors at every other participating institution, including Baylor University, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the universities of Colorado, Georgia and Mississippi.

The ACLT and MAPP results have their limits, and it must be remembered that PHC only admits high-achieving applicants.

The test results do show clearly what happens when you compare the best with the best: The best homeschooled students systematically outperform the best non-homeschooled students. This success did not happen automatically. It happened because tens of thousands of dedicated parents made tremendous sacrifices to educate their children.

I believe we can safely say the type of parental involvement children receive in a homeschool environment and the learning environment created by the home are significant factors in the success of the homeschool movement in academics. These results are a testament to the dedication of parents as well as the homeschool method of teaching. It is a proven combination for success in education.

Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He may be contacted at (540)338-5600; or send email to

New Hampshire Homeschooler's Freedoms May Be Under Attack Again.

I received an email yesterday that got my blood boiling and reminded me of another post I intended to write but did not. The article appeared on one of my favorite sites that I often viewed prior to the election,

It is my understanding that most homeschoolers homeschool because public schools are failing to educate our children. Legislators should focus on improving public schools before meddling in the lives of homeschoolers. My four year old reads at the second grade level and most of her subject mastery is between the first and second grade level I do not need New Hampshire public schools interfering with the education of my children. Please let me focus on her education not the governments ridiculous laws that interfere with her education process.


The following is a partial post from

Extra-Legal Homeschooler Harassment: Happens Often, But It's Not News
By Tom Blumer
November 26, 2008 - 13:14 ET
This is not a promo for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) per se, as there may be other similarly effective organizations out there to help families who homeschool their kids.

But if the following examples don't prove that homeschooled children and their parents need to have access to legal help at a moment's notice, I don't know what will. I will present blood-boiling excerpts here, but strongly advise all to read the full stories at the links.

First, the HSLDA reported the following incident at their web site on November 6 (HT One News Now):

The Smiths (named changed to protect privacy), an HSLDA member family in Miami, received an unexpected note on their front door from a social worker asking them to call the number on an attached business card. Little did they know, this was the beginning a nightmare they would not soon forget.

The father, a doctor, telephoned as requested. The social worker to whom he spoke asked to meet the family. Dr. Smith requested that the meeting be at a neutral site at a time that would minimize interruptions in his busy work schedule at a medical clinic. The social worker refused, and declared she would arrive at the Smith home the next morning to “enter the home and interview the children.”

Dr. Smith then asked what the allegations were. The social worker refused to answer, but indicated she knew the family homeschooled. Sure enough, when the social worker showed up at the Smiths’ doorstep the next morning, she again refused to explain what the allegations against the family were. This clearly violated federal law, which states that social workers must reveal allegations at the initial time of contact.

The social worker also did not have a search warrant, so Mrs. Smith initially refused to let her enter the family home. This prompted the social worker to call for two police officers.

With this intimidation, Mrs. Smith allowed the social worker to start talking to the children on the front porch. During the first interview, the social worker went so far as to lift up the shirt of the Smiths’ 9-year-old daughter, which greatly embarrassed the girl. Later, the family learned that the allegations had nothing to do with their 9-year-old.

At this point, Mrs. Smith called HSLDA, desperate for help.

..... (at one point) the social worker had one of the police officers move toward Dr. Smith, and she told the officer to handcuff him so she could remove his children from the home.

After being threatened to this extreme, the family felt they had no choice but to let the social worker into their home to interview the children, who were now crying and wailing. During the interview, the social worker would not let the witness the family provided be present. She also proceeded to lift the shirts and clothing of each child, even those whom the allegations did not concern.

The social worker found nothing—but said still she wanted the family to “undergo a formal psycho-social assessment."

Please view the rest of the story at

The HSDLA has a great article on the academic statistics on homeschooling but it is dated 2004 I would like to see them do an update.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Peyton Wolcott

I received an email update from Peyton Wolcott on November 24th. I do not update or tend to this BLOG as much as I would like as my priorities are with my one year old and four year old.

Peyton has an excellent site on school accountability. In her email she reported that nationwide a number of schools are posting their check registers online.

She has a piece on her site that I am copying below because it is so great.


Over a century ago our industrialist robber barons began pushing for an education system which would produce a compliant working class unable to think for themselves along the lines later adopted by Nazi Germany and the Soviets; prior to that, public schools drilled and pounded facts into students' heads with the result that students were able to draw upon those facts later in life and make their own decisions and start their own businesses. They could and did read the classics and could tell you what 8 times 9 was, from memory.

Business began "partnering" with schools in order to feather their own nests. In addition to the contractors who have inflicted worthless Taj Mahal high schools on our landscape, others were curriculum shills pushing crappy products, unproven programs such as fuzzy math and whole-word reading instruction.

The federal government began dumping huge unsupervised revenue streams on local public schools as a means of pushing social reform (eRate, NCLB, Reading First). The lack of supervision of these monies guaranteed a steep upward spike in corruption.

With God and the classics removed from American classrooms, the stage was set for a consumer-driven culture of senseless greed. We now have college graduates who were stupid enough to fall for adjustable rate mortgages and who worse can't tell you why they voted as they did in the presidential election earlier this month.

If you haven't read it, here's Marc Tucker's "Dear Hillary" letter dated November 11, 1992. Look for: Marc's suggestions for enforcing a new "training levy" for businesses, national exams and national standards.

*How you fry a frog: Lure him into a pan with bait, add lard, then turn up the heat so gradually he doesn't realize what's happening to him until it's too late."

Please be sure to view all the other great information on Peyton Wolcott's site. Peyton said that she has been working on the site for two years I could have sworn I have known her longer than that, but I digress.


Bill O'Reilly Drives Me Crazy.

I use to be a huge fan of Bill O'Reilly and I loved his book Culture Warrior. When we had television I loved to watch him and I also listen to his radio show. Lately I just can't handle the man, I had to turn the radio off today. Again today he said how he did not see the economic downturn coming, the problems with the housing market and the financing of said houses. I bought my first home in 1997 I am now in my fifth home since that time. Three of my homes were condos, two in Chicago and one in the suburbs. Time and time again I saw people and friends buy homes they really could not afford. I have a friend in the mortgage business, she over the years told me of the numerous loan schemes available. Anyone reading a paper, listening to the television or radio, read or heard often about outrageous loan deals.

President Bush called for GSE reform publicly at least 17 times in 2008, he also called for reform as far back as 2001. A man in Mr. O'Reilly's position must have had his head in the sand over the last eight years not to notice that we were headed to the current crisis. Even prime time television has made mention of the current mortgage mess. Boston Legal aired an episode on December 18th, 2007 called Green Christmas forecasting the current collapse of the mortgage industry.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Students lie, cheat, steal, but say they're good

The following report appeared on It is no wonder dishonesty and lack of remorse is on the rise. Students spend 12 years (14 years if you count kindergarten and preschool) with teachers and educrats who refuse to be accountable for the job for which they are paid. Further in New Hampshire our legislators have said, "The duty to provide the opportunity for an adequate education does not make the school a guarantor of educational performance, which is based on many factors outside the school's control," the draft says. "The school is only required to provide the opportunity for an adequate education."

The Unions also spend numerous hours conniving school boards into obscene contracts that pay teachers larger sums of money with less and less work with each new contract.

Students lie,. cheat, steal, but say they're good
Sunday, November 30, 2008
By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer

In the past year, 30 percent of U.S. high school students have stolen from a store and 64 percent have cheated on a test, according to a new, large-scale survey suggesting that Americans are too apathetic about ethical standards.

To view the rest of the report go to or view the report at The Josephson Institute.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why do politicians tolerate disastrous public schools?

Obama is certainly doing the right thing by refusing to expose his children to the dangerous and incompetent DC public schools. Hypocritical or not, he should not be criticized for this move.

The best way to eliminate the hypocrisy is to change positions on the other side of the equation. As President, he will have a valuable opportunity to stand up to the teachers unions, an opportunity that alas seems destined to be squandered.

These unions have proven themselves to be the enemy of every man, woman, and child in this country. With all the attention given to our nation's external enemies, we must remember that the President is also sworn to defend America against her internal enemies.

No President can uphold his oath without working to get the NEA and AFT out of American schools.
- Jim Peschke, Croydon, NH

The following piece appeared in the Union Leader.

Jonah Goldberg: Why do politicians tolerate disastrous public schools?

Friday, Nov. 28, 2008

Hypocrisy is an overblown sin. Better to be a hypocrite who occasionally violates his principles than a villain who never does.

I bring this up because the usual, and entirely expected, round of conservative complaints about Barack Obama's public-schools hypocrisy has begun, and I'm finding it all a bit tedious.

The Obamas will send their two daughters to the expensive private school Sidwell Friends. Yes, that makes him something of a hypocrite because he is a vocal opponent of giving poor kids anything like the same option.

But you know what? Who cares? Personally, I would think less of the Obamas if they sent their kids to bad schools out of some ideological principle. Parents' first obligation is to do right by their own kids.

In Washington, we have these arguments every time a rich Democrat sends his kids to private schools, which is very often. The real issue is why the public schools are unacceptable to pretty much anyone, liberal or conservative, who has other options. Maybe in the rich suburbs of New York or Los Angeles, wealthy opponents of school choice run less risk of being labeled hypocrites; they can skip the pricey private schools because their public campuses aren't hellholes.

But most Washington public schools are hellholes. So parents here -- including the first family -- find hypocrisy a small price to pay for fulfilling their parental obligations.

According to data compiled by the Washington Post in 2007, of the 100 largest school districts in the country, D.C. ranks third in student spending, around $13,000 a pupil, but last in spending on instruction. More than half of every dollar of education spending goes to the salaries of administrators. Test scores are abysmal; the campuses are often unsafe.

Michelle Rhee, D.C.'s heroic school chancellor, in her 17 months on the job has already made meaningful improvements. But that's grading on an enormous curve. The Post recently reported that on observing a bad teacher in a classroom, Rhee complained to the principal. "Would you put your grandchild in that class?" she asked.

"If that's the standard," replied the defensive principal, "we don't have any effective teachers in my school."

So if Obama and other politicians don't want to send their kids to schools where even the principals have such views, that's no scandal. The scandal is that these politicians tolerate such awful schools at all. For anyone.

The main reason politicians adopt a policy of malign neglect: teachers unions, arguably the single worst mainstream institution in our country today. No group has a stronger or better-organized stranglehold on a political party than they do. No group is more committed to putting ideological blather and self-interest before the public good.

Rhee has been pushing a new contract that would provide merit pay to successful teachers. The system is voluntary: Individual teachers can stay in the current system that rewards mere seniority or opt to join a parallel system that pays for superior performance. Many talented teachers would love the opportunity.

Alas, the national teachers unions insist that linking pay to results is an outrageous attack on the integrity of public schools. They have insisted that D.C. teachers not even be allowed to vote on the contract.

The Democratic Party continues to tolerate this sort of thing because public school teachers continue to be reliably liberal voters. And their unions cut big checks.

Obama, however, bragged about being different during his campaign. He declared himself independent from teachers unions and boasted his support for Rhee. But his recent appointment of Stanford professor -- and teachers union apologist -- Linda Darling-Hammond to head his education transition team is seen by many as a sign that reformers like Rhee can expect little support from the new White House.

And where are the Republicans? Well, if you want a good example of why hypocrisy isn't the worst thing in the world, just look at the GOP. Because the party supports school-choice vouchers, it's simply out of the debate. School choice has much to recommend it. But it's no silver bullet, and vouchers will never gain full acceptance in rich suburbs.

School choice does immunize Republicans from the charge of hypocrisy, however. So rich Republicans can send their kids to ritzy private schools without fear of violating their principles. Good for them. Unfortunately, their principled insulation also makes them largely irrelevant to a debate in which people like Rhee could use all the help they can get.

Jonah Goldberg's e-mail is

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Michelle Malkin has a wonderful piece on her site titled Giving Thanks for Self- Reliant Americans. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Giving thanks for self-reliant Americans
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2008
In The Year of Bottomless Bailouts, I am most grateful this Thanksgiving for Americans who refuse to abandon thrift, personal responsibility, and self-reliance. When the moochers and entitlement-mongers drive you mad, remember that our nation still serves as home to millions of citizens who do for themselves. Like our Founding Fathers, they are God-fearing people – the ones elitist pundits deride as “oogedy-boogedy” – who will never put their faith in The Cult of You Owe Me.

They are people like my reader Jen, who runs a family farm called the Double Nickel in New Mexico. Tired of hearing all the hand-wringing, “in times like these” rationalizations for unprecedented federal intervention in the market to rescue beleaguered businesses and homeowners, Jen wrote me a letter this week about her own plight and triumph over adversity:

To read the rest of her column go to Michelle

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The End to Free Markets?

Readers of our BLOG know we are fans of the free market and the benefits of free markets to free societies. Dick Morris has a great article about the free market on

Public schools are a government monopoly and not a part of the free market. Because of that the quality is poor, accountability is none existent and productivity is low. Until our legislators stop pandering to the unions and the various groups associated with public schools we will continue to see costs increase, productivity decrease, accountability decrease and the quality of education our children receive will continue to decrease.

Recently the government has been bailing out so called free market businesses, these moneys will probably be minute compared to the probable bailouts of the States and State pensions including teachers pensions that will come under the Obama Administration. My suggestion to readers is to cut your spending now because you will be paying big taxes to those government groups who refuse to live within their means.


The Free Market Consensus 1989-2008: RIP

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 7:16 PM
By: Dick Morris & Eileen McGann

The subprime mortgage crisis is only the Sarajevo which caused the financial collapse. The real reason is the massive explosion of debt at all levels and in all forms that has engulfed the world. Since 1992, the total of debt in the world has gone from a level equal to global GDP to a level that is now 3.7 times as much as global GDP. This debt explosion, explained in Charles Morris' book (no relation) The Trillion Dollar Meltdown, consists not only of mortgages, but bonds for corporations that can't repay them, credit cards for consumers who are neck deep in debt, car loans for drivers who can't meet the payments, student loans that are swamping young couples, and default insurance sold by companies that can't make good on their commitments. This massive debt has to be sweated out of our global economic system like a heroin addiction.

To read the rest of the article go to

Monday, November 24, 2008

Obama has Chosen a Private School for his Children.

Happy Birthday Jenny!

President Elect Obama could not have been elected without the help of the NEA and its near 3 million members. He has snubbed them big time by choosing a private school. A private school is best for his children but not one most middle class, lower class and poor Americans can choose. One of the biggest civil rights issues facing Americans is the right to choose where to educate their children. If Obama wants to be the candidate of change he should give every American this right. The right to choose would drastically lower the cost of education while increasing the quality of education. In these tough economic times this is exactly what we need. Alas I think he and the Democratic Party will continue to pander to the NEA and government school employees.

The Education Intelligence Agency has a great post about the Obama's choice of schools on their website in their Communiqué for the Week of November 24, 2008:


Friday, November 21, 2008

Is an Income Tax Coming to New Hampshire?

I received this from someone who wishes to remain anonymous. Enjoy.


I have heard many transplants from Communist Countries talk or testify so eloquently against the centralization of our government and our educational system. But look what is happening now.

Our NH Commissioner of Education, Lyonel Tracy has teamed up with Hillary's national education guru, Marc Tucker.

The subject never ceases to chill me to the bone, if not outright enrage me. I don't know what can be done about it.

What this means for the future of local educational control in general is just NOT GOOD. I have watched the acceleration of this from the early 80's to now, and the current push has become frightening.

The New Hampshire Business Review article is finally MUCH more candid with the plan's details than other recent articles. I feel that exposing this 'change' is an issue that is QUINTESSENTIAL to maintaining our freedom from the further centralization of education under the control of federal government, and even further away from our local control.

Apparently emboldened by the Obama presidency and enabled by the fact that NH became controlled by Democrats in 2006 NH Commissioner of Education Lyonel Tracy has collaborated with Marc Tucker -- guru and proponent of the managed workforce.

Sweeping changes in the form of "centralized funding" to me indicates they are going full speed ahead with this 'Soviet-style' system in anticipation of, or to force the issue of, an income tax, will be dumbing the curriculum down even further, training students not teaching them, and getting them ready to pledge allegiance to international government. This is not about one person's math skills being stronger than the other persons', for competition, it's about following the rules of internationalism and being pigeonholed into a job.

And we will also have to pay teachers $110K/year for THIS treasonous nonsense?

This is not the NH or even the American 'way'.

It is sickening that NH Education Commissioner Lionel Tracy is looking for advice from none other than Marc Tucker, Hillary Clinton's GRAMSCI SOCIALIST educational guru for his plan to 'centralize' our system and take it out of the hands of local control, which has already happened in great part.

“The proposal to abandon local funding of schools in favor of state funding using a uniform pupil-weighting funding formula, combined with the addition of $19 billion to the system as a whole, will make it possible, for the first time in the history of the United States, to have an equitable means of funding our schools, while at the same time leveling up the funding of the system as a whole, so that relatively well-to-do districts will not have the incentive to defeat the system that they would have if the existing funds were simply redistributed.”

Who does Tracy think he is that he can get away with this?

THIS IS NOT NAZI GERMANY. Do people really understand that this is not 'improvement'? That no one voted for this? That most people have no idea about these 'plans' for the managed workforce?

If I'm going to contribute many thousands of dollars per year to this school system, you can bet I want it controlled by our local school board, which is barely answerable to US now as it is, not some federal agency whose programs are so burned into place that none can be dropped if not successful.

After spending 35 years teaching in a public school system, this is my pet issue and it continues to upset me terribly. I watched how as more money was poured into the system, it became less accountable, less about teaching, and more about brainwashing and pigeon-holing.

Chilling quote from Tracy:

"He also said that New Hampshire’s education leaders felt preparing the Granite State’s students for a future interconnected with the world was too important “to wait and join until we had all the [funding] details. However, we are moving very cautiously and selectively.”"

Of course this includes pushing for universal MANDATORY pre-K as well, one of Hillary's pet issues.
What this boils down to is more money from us, for less education from them, delivered through a rationalised system with control beyond our reach. Say goodbye to conservatism, fiscal or otherwise. Imagine having your 3-4 year old forced to leave your home to go to school (to be indoctrinated about XYZ at an even younger age)???

If you have been following the NH group known as CNHT's work, you will see that they have already exposed the WIA (Workforce Investment Act) as it functions in NH under post-secondary education. WIA was the brainchild of Robert Reich under Clinton. It has become nothing but a corrupt means for some "business" owners to scam the taxpayers out of federal funding that is supposed to help NH people get back into the workforce. These private 'training schools' depend on this government money, but have placed very few if any people into decent jobs.

NH legislators should look for the true motivation behind any new education bills proposed.
And anyone who stills sends their kids to public schools should complain about Tracy and what he plans to do with our system.

And self-styled education "reformers" like Russell Quaglia should not be paid thousands of dollars for dubious philosophical experiments on our children and millions should not be spent on philosophies like "Follow the Child".

This shows Tracy's connection to Tucker's educational vision via Tracy's connection to Hillary Clinton:

NH Commissioner of Education Lyonel Tracy Endorses Hillary for President
New Hampshire for Hillary Announces 225 More Granite State Educators for Hillary

MANCHESTER, NH – Joining more than 500 Educators for Hillary, New Hampshire’s Commissioner of Education, Dr. Lyonel Tracy today announced his endorsement for Hillary for President. One week after announcing 312 Educators for Hillary, the New Hampshire for Hillary campaign today announced the names of 225 more educators from the Granite State who support Senator Clinton’s run for President.

“Senator Clinton has proven time and again that she is a leader in education,” said Dr. Lyonel Tracy. “Her work as First Lady in Arkansas to help set public school standards along with her efforts to reform No Child Left Behind put her leagues ahead of other presidential candidates. As President, she will be the advocate our nation’s educators need.”

As an advocate, First Lady, and United States Senator, Hillary has fought to raise the education standards in our nation’s schools. Hillary is committed to reforming No Child Left Behind (NCLB). In addition to fighting for full funding for NCLB, she is working to ensure the legislation supports early childhood education, improves teacher training, lowers class size, enhances parental involvement, eliminates environmental hazards in schools, and protects the programs that work for America’s children.

Senator Clinton is also working actively to secure full funding for Head Start, a program that has helped prepare children to succeed in school by providing comprehensive services addressing all the barriers children in poverty face.

Recently, Hillary proposed a plan to make college accessible and affordable for all Americans. By providing a $3,500 tuition tax credit—more than 50% of the cost of tuition at the average public institution—and increasing Pell grants, Hillary’s plan will unlock the doors to higher education for millions of young Americans. In addition, Hillary will simplify the student aid process and strengthen incentives for students interested in public service.

Hillary believes that investing in early childhood education is essential. Studies show that universal pre-kindergarten programs pay for themselves after nine years and produce a growing annual return in the years beyond. That is why Senator Clinton has proposed a plan to provide universal pre-kindergarten program to serve all of America’s four-year-olds. Her plan would expand access to the more than 3 million 4-year-olds who are not enrolled in state pre-kindergarten programs. It would provide states with matching funds to devise their own programs and requiring that classes be taught by highly-trained teachers.

“I am honored to have the support of Dr. Tracy and these dedicated men and women who have undertaken the critically important job of educating New Hampshire’s children,” said Senator Clinton. “With their help, I will continue working to ensure that Americans have access to the quality education they deserve from early childhood on.”

Dr. Lyonel Tracy was appointed Commissioner of Education for New Hampshire in 2005. Dr. Tracy has over 20 years of experience in the field of education. Prior to his appointment as commissioner, Dr. Tracy served as Superintendent of Schools in Portsmouth, President of the New England Association of School Superintendents and Chair of the New Hampshire Parent Teacher Association’s Education Committee.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Global Warming Facts

Hat tip to Eric Burg for a heads up to one of the best summaries I have read about the myths of global warming. The Heartland Institute also has a great section on Global Warming Facts.

I started this post yesterday thinking about the indoctrination that occurs in public schools aka government schools. Public schools have drifted so far away from the excellent academic standards they once had, that Americans fall for global warming myths hook, line and sinker. People have graduated decade after decade with substandard science, physics, logic and problem solving skills that they fall for the snake oil salesmen who push global warming.

Yes we must find alternative sources and conservation of energy is good, but this is unrelated to global warming. People are profiting from this myth but people are also dying because individuals are pushing this myth. The main profiteers will be the governments that tax this myth.


1. MYTH - Planet earth is currently undergoing global warming

FACT - Accurate and representative temperature measurements from satellites and balloons show that the planet has cooled significantly in the last two or three years, losing in only 18 months 15% of the claimed warming which took over 100 years to appear — that warming was only one degree fahrenheit (half of one degree Celsius) anyway, and part of this is a systematic error from groundstation readings which are inflated due to the 'urban heat island effect' i.e. local heat retention due to urban sprawl, not global warming...and it is these, 'false high' ground readings which are then programmed into the disreputable climate models, which live up to the GIGO acronym — garbage in, garbage out.

2. MYTH - Even slight temperature rises are disastrous, ice caps will melt, people will die

FACT - In the UK, every mild winter saves 20,000 cold-related deaths, and scaled up over northern Europe mild winters save hundreds of thousands of lives each year, also parts of ice caps are melting yet other parts are thickening but this isn't reported as much (home experiment: put some water in a jug or bowl, add a layer of ice cubes and mark the level — wait until the ice has melted and look again, the level will have fallen). Data from ice core samples shows that in the past, temperatures have risen by ten times the current rise, and fallen again, in the space of a human lifetime.

3. MYTH - Carbon Dioxide levels in our atmosphere at the moment are unprecedented (high).

FACT - Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, currently only 350 parts per million have been over 18 times higher in the past at a time when cars, factories and power stations did not exist — levels rise and fall without mankind's help.

4. MYTH - Mankind is pumping out carbon dioxide at a prodigious rate.

FACT - 96.5% of all carbon dioxide emissions are from natural sources, mankind is responsible for only 3.5%, with 0.6% coming from fuel to move vehicles, and about 1% from fuel to heat buildings. Yet vehicle fuel (petrol) is taxed at 300% while fuel to heat buildings is taxed at 5% even though buildings emit nearly twice as much carbon dioxide!

5. MYTH - Carbon dioxide changes in the atmosphere cause temperature changes on the earth.

FACT - A report in the journal 'Science' in January of this year showed using information from ice cores with high time resolution that since the last ice age, every time when the temperature and carbon dioxide levels have shifted, the carbon dioxide change happened AFTER the temperature change, so that man-made global warming theory has put effect before cause — this shows that reducing carbon dioxide emissions is a futile King Canute exercise! What's more, both water vapour and methane are far more powerful greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide but they are ignored.

6. MYTH - Reducing car use will cut carbon dioxide levels and save the planet

FACT - The planet does not need saving, but taking this on anyway, removing every car from every road in every country overnight would NOT produce any change in the carbon dioxide level of the atmosphere, as can be seen using the numbers from Fact 4, and in any case it is pointless trying to alter climate by changing carbon dioxide levels as the cause and effect is the other way round — it is changes in the activity of the Sun that cause temperature changes on earth, with any temperature rise causing carbon dioxide to de-gas from the oceans.

7. MYTH - The recent wet weather and flooding was caused by mankind through 'global warming'

FACT - Extreme weather correlates with the cycle of solar activity, not carbon dioxide emissions or political elections, the recent heavy rainfall in winter and spring is a perfect example of this — it occurred at solar maximum at a time when solar maxima are very intense — this pattern may well repeat every 11 years until about 2045.

8. MYTH - The climate change levy, petrol duty, CO2 car tax and workplace parking charges are justifiable environmental taxes.

FACT - As carbon dioxide emissions from cars and factories does not have any measurable impact on climate, these taxes are 'just another tax' on enterprise and mobility, and have no real green credentials.

9. MYTH - Scientists on the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issue reports that say 'global warming' is real and that we must do something now.

FACT - Scientists draft reports for the IPCC, but the IPCC are bureaucrats appointed by governments, in fact many scientists who contribute to the reports disagree with the 'spin' that the IPCC and media put on their findings.
The latest report suggests that the next 100 years might see a temperature change of 6 Celsius yet a Lead Author for the IPCC (Dr John Christy UAH/NASA) has pointed out that the scenarios with the fastest warming rates were added to the report at a late stage, at the request of a few governments — in other words the scientists were told what to do by politicians.

10. MYTH - There are only a tiny handful of maverick scientists who dispute that man-made global warming theory is true.

FACT - There are nearly 18,000 signatures from scientists worldwide on a petition called The Oregon Petition which says that there is no evidence for man-made global warming theory nor for any impact from mankind's activities on climate.
Many scientists believe that the Kyoto agreement is a total waste of time and one of the biggest political scams ever perpetrated on the public ... as H L Mencken said "the fundamental aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary" ... the desire to save the world usually fronts a desire to rule it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

States face deeper and deeper cuts to balance budgets

The following piece appeared in the International Herald Tribune. Of course this is no surprise to me for years we have been saying that government entities and programs from public schools to the federal government have a spending problem and not a funding problem. The employees of these governments services gain more from said services than the people they are to serve. For years said services have spent irresponsibly and passed budgets with excessive salaries, benefits and pensions. All on the backs of taxpayers and the taxpayers' children for generations to come. This was all done in the name of greed and not in the name of accountability to the people said services are to serve. The taxpayers of public schools, cities, counties, states and the federal government now live to serve said governments instead of vice-versa. We are under constant threat of the cutting of said services unless we pass taxes to fund their demand for excessive salaries, benefits and pensions.

Was the revolution from England for naught as our government bodies have become exactly what we fought against, self-serving bloated bureaucracies.


States face deeper and deeper cuts to balance budgets
By Jennifer Steinhauer
Monday, November 17, 2008
LOS ANGELES: Two short months ago, lawmakers in California struggled to close a $15 billion hole in the state budget. It was among the biggest deficits in state history. Now the state faces an additional $11 billion shortfall and may be unable to pay its bills this spring.

The astonishing decline in revenues is without modern precedent here, but California is hardly alone. A majority of U.S. states - many with budgets already full of deep cuts and dependent on raiding rainy-day funds or tax increases - are scrambling to find ways to get through the rest of the year without hacking apart vital services or raising taxes.

Some governors, including Arnold Schwarzenegger in California and David Paterson in New York, have called special legislative sessions to deal with the crisis. Others are demanding hiring freezes and across-the-board cuts. A few states are finding their unemployment insurance funds running dry, just as the ranks of out-of-work residents spike.

The plunging revenues - the result of an unusual assemblage of personal, sales, capital gains and corporate taxes falling significantly - have poked holes in budgets that are just weeks and months old and that came about only after difficult legislative sessions.

"The fiscal landscape," said H.D. Palmer at the California Department of Finance, "is fundamentally altered from where it was six weeks ago."

In Michigan, to reduce overtime costs, fewer streets will be salted this winter. In Ohio, where the unemployment rate is more than 7 percent, the state may need a federal loan for the first time in 26 years to cover unemployment costs. In Nevada, which is almost totally dependent on sales taxes and gambling revenue, a health administrator said the state may be unable to pay claims in a few months.

In California, Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and state legislators are preparing to do battle over a proposed 1.5-cent sales tax increase, while in New York, Paterson, a Democrat, has proposed $5.2 billion worth of cuts, principally to Medicaid and education.

Even states where until recent months natural resource production has provided a buffer - and fat surpluses - are experiencing a sudden reversal of fortune as oil prices have declined.

"Frankly, I thought 2001 was really awful," said Scott Pattison, the executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers. "It is even worse now."

He added, "This fiscal year will be really bad, and what is unfortunate is that I can't see how 2010 won't be bad too."

In keeping with recent economic trends, the states with the worst budget problems are those where large housing booms morphed into a large-scale mortgage crisis over the past two years.

The current-year budget gap in Rhode Island represents more than 11 percent of the state's entire general fund, in large part because of the high number of subprime loans. The story is similar in Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada.

In addition, the crisis in the financial markets had immediate and widespread impact on state budgets. States have lost revenues from capital gains taxes and bonuses that have evaporated, and growing job losses have reduced state income taxes while draining unemployment funds.

"What we are seeing is when fewer people are working there is less income tax and less spending," said Keith Dailey, a spokesman for Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio, a Democrat.

Americans have also stopped shopping, which has hurt states that are heavily reliant on sales taxes, like Florida and Arizona. States that rely on tourism, like Nevada and Hawaii, have also been hurt by less consumer spending.

Further, the national credit crunch makes it harder for businesses to get loans, which trickles back into losses to states. When California was temporarily unable to gain access to the credit markets in the days leading up to the federal bailout package, state budget directors across the country noted the moment with horror.

The state's brief inability to pay bills because it could not get credit - California, like many states, regularly borrows when it is short of cash in anticipation of revenue later - has since been largely interpreted as an outgrowth of the much larger national and international credit crisis. Still, some budget experts said the problem could be a harbinger: Cities and counties with poor credit ratings could be cut off in the coming year, and there could be higher costs for issuing bonds.

"Just the fact that this was an issue at all is a big concern for every state," Pattison said. "Long-term bonds may be at risk. And I think states are going to have to accept that cost of debt is going to be higher."

In most states, budget directors and legislators have said that tax increases are not likely. A notable exception is California, where Schwarzenegger is seeking a 1.5-point increase in the state's sales tax, although he is unlikely to get the necessary approval of Republican legislators.

In Oregon, moreover, Governor Ted Kulongoski, a Democrat, has proposed a $1 billion economic stimulus plan centered on infrastructure improvements, which he envisions would be paid for by raising the state's gasoline tax by 2 cents per gallon and increasing a host of vehicle fees.

When many regular legislative sessions resume in January, some states will be more likely to look to rainy-day funds, when they are available, and deeper cuts to services, most notably to K-12 education - kindergarten through 12th grade - which is generally a last-resort option among lawmakers.

Fewer than a dozen states have remained in the black this fiscal year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning economic research group in Washington that tracks state budgets, and they are largely those in the West with oil and mineral resources at the ready.

"The oil-producing states were doing very well with oil at $120 a barrel," said Iris Lav, the deputy director of the center. "They may not do as well now."

More generally, Lav said, state budgets are "moving from the damaged to the devastated."