Saturday, October 4, 2008

Funny of the Day

We have not posted recently because Jim's Mom was in town.

My sister-in-law sent this picture. As always we are not endorsing any particular candidates or party.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Walter E. Williams: We are rapidly reducing liberty and increasing state control

Today I am more afraid for this Country than I was on 9/11. We are fighting an enemy from within and that enemy is state control of our lives and income redistribution. Walter E. Williams states eloquently what I would say about this whole "bailout." I am not happy that this bailout occurred and I am not happy with Sununu or Gregg for supporting this bailout. The chips should have fallen where they may, we the people should have taken our lumps now. Without correcting the laws that got us into trouble to begin with the problem will only get bigger and worse with the bailout.

Milton Friedman states well how government intervention prolonged the depression in his book Capitalism and Freedom. This bailout is a bandaid and will only prolong the inevitable fallout that should have happened instead of this "bailout."

I often listen to Bill O'Reilly last week he said he did not see this (as in financial disaster) coming I really do not know what rock Bill was living under. Bill just so you know I saw Schwarzenegger's possible bailout request coming as well. Even before this so called bailout was signed I wondered if the democrats were pushing the bailout because they are well aware of the coming pension tsunami and plan to bail that out as well in the future.

This bailout will lead to tax hikes and will hurt the middle class (and I mean the middle class segment working in the private industry). People in government jobs will have their taxpayer funded pensions constitutionally protected and I am sure the House and Senate will be bailing out these taxpayer funded pensions in the future when they start to bankrupt said States. Government workers will also have better job protection than those working in the private sector.


Walter E. Williams: We are rapidly reducing liberty and increasing state control

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis warned, "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." The freedom of individuals from compulsion or coercion never was, and is not now, the normal state of human affairs.

The normal state for the ordinary person is tyranny, arbitrary control and abuse, mainly by their own government. While imperfect in its execution, the founders of our nation sought to make an exception to this ugly part of mankind's history. Unfortunately, at the urging of the American people, we are unwittingly in the process of returning to mankind's normal state of affairs.

Americans demand that Congress spend trillions of dollars on farm subsidies, business bailouts, education subsidies, Social Security, Medicare and prescription drugs and other elements of a welfare state. The problem is that Congress produces nothing. Whatever Congress wishes to give, it has to first take other people's money. Thus, at the root of the welfare state is the immorality of intimidation, threats and coercion backed up with the threat of violence by the agents of the U.S. Congress.

In order for Congress to do what some Americans deem as good, it must first do evil. It must do that which if done privately would mean a jail sentence; namely, take the property of one American to give to another.

According to a Washington Post article on June 22, 2005, there were nearly 35,000 highly paid registered lobbyists in Washington in 2004 who spent $2.1 billion lobbying the White House, Congress and various agencies on behalf of various interest groups. Political action committees, private donors and companies give billions of dollars to political campaigns.

My question to you: Do you think that these people are spending billions of dollars to assist Presidents and congressmen to better perform their sworn oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution? If you do, you're a fine candidate for a straitjacket. For the most part, the money is being spent to get politicians and government officials to use their coercive power to create a favor or special privilege for one American at the expense of some other American.

If we Americans didn't give Washington such enormous control over our lives, I doubt whether there would be 10 percent of the money currently spent on lobbying and campaign contributions. This enormous control that Congress has over our lives also goes a long way toward explaining much of the government corruption that we see in Washington.

If the average American were asked whether he wishes to return to mankind's normal state of affairs featured by arbitrary abuse, control and government dictates, I am sure he would find such a suggestion repulsive. But if you were to ask, say, the average senior citizen whether Social Security, Medicare and prescription drug subsidies should be continued, he would probably answer yes.

The same would be true if you asked a college professor whether higher education should continue to be subsidized, or a farmer or a dairyman whether their products should be subsidized, or a manufacturer whether there should be tariffs and quotas on foreign products that compete with his product. The problem with congressmen producing favors and privileges to all interest groups is that it creates what none of us wants: massive control, numerous dictates and micromanagement of our lives.

There is no question that if one were to ask whether we Americans are moving toward more liberty or more government control over our lives, the answer would unambiguously be the latter -- more government control over our lives. We might have reached a point where the trend is irreversible, and that is a true tragedy; for if liberty is lost in America, it will be lost for all times and all places.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A prospective of the Bailout from a 23 year old.

The following was sent to me by a fellow education reformist from his daughter.

Dear Andrea [my daughter]: There’s a simple explanation:

There are a bunch of criminals that we call “Congressmen”. These criminals make a very nice living by stuffing their pockets with kickbacks from companies who pay them in return for favorable tax exemptions (such as the exemptions that were “ridered” onto this very bill, for example) and with favorable regulatory policy that allows the contributing companies to make tons of money at the expense of taxpayers. Congressmen attach these sorts of riders to almost every bill that they write, even if the bill has nothing to do with the nature of the rider, so you can be assured that our Congressmen are not going to starve, since they are robbing you each and every single day, all day.

Congressmen, commercial banks and investment banks have been gorging themselves for decades via the use of two government regulatory agencies called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These agencies (disguised as corporations) effectively allow the banks to make tons of money (fees, interest, commissions) writing unsound mortgages. Fannie and Freddie make this possible by guaranteeing the banks that all mortgages the banks write, no matter how ridiculous, are guaranteed to be paid back. In return for Fannie and Freddie, of course, the banks ensure through various indirect means that their friends in Congress will be very, very rich indeed.

Congressmen and the banks have been enjoying the windfalls of this policy for so long that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could not actually buy up all the bad mortgages that they had encouraged and/or required the banks to write. So the banks themselves actually hold a significant fraction of these bad mortgages, and even with the bailout of a few weeks ago, Fannie and Freddie cannot repay the losses from those mortgages.

Since the banks cannot get repaid for all the bad mortgages they hold, they are suffering from some degree or another of financial failure. Many have already gone bankrupt or have been acquired by other banks. But even the surviving banks are now largely incapable of raising money, since their balance sheets are no longer positive enough to warrant any sane person lending them anything.

Since the banks cannot borrow money, even from each other, they also cannot lend money. That means that your home equity line might evaporate, and that you’re less likely to get a mortgage or business loan if you want one. Since business loans are now gradually freezing up and since essentially all business runs on credit in one form or another, this inability to lend/borrow money could quite literally lead to another Great Depression.

So the criminals in Congress are now in the position of bailing out their cohorts in the banks, otherwise they face being dumped onto the street in this next election and thereafter having to actually earn a living, possibly even honestly. Since we can’t have such a thing happen, this means that our Congressmen are going to take $700B of your and my money to replace the losses that the banks are now sustaining as a result of the decades of fraud from which they and their friends in Congress have been lavishly profiting.

Remember that all of this is for a good cause. Fannie and Freddie have been the single most destructive and hidden surviving remnant of the failed “Affirmative Action” policy of the 1970s. Since the bulk of the subprime mortgages went to people of a different color than you and me, we cannot criticize this program because that would make us racists.

Do you understand now? -Dad

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Crisis in Newport

Jim wrote the following piece in response to the meeting he attended on September 24 at the Newport High School.

Crisis in Newport

These days, when one thinks of "self regulation gone amok", banking institutions come to mind. Yet with Newport's chronic educational failure, it seems the bankers have nothing on Newport's education system.

NMHS is now in its sixth year of failing to make "Adequate Yearly Progress", or "AYP" in math. Also revealed at their math AYP meeting, NMHS is also in its third year of failing "Literacy". That seems to cover just about all of the "Three Rs". Just exactly where is Newport NOT failing?

The No Child Left Behind law demands increasingly aggressive corrective action beginning after two years of AYP failure. As required by law, NMHS held a public meeting in the cafeteria on September 24th to discuss how to deal with this problem. This meeting should have taken place five years ago, and as best I can tell, no such meetings are planned to address the "Literacy" situation. (Apparently three years of failure is unworthy of corrective action.) This meeting exposed the both gravity of the situation, and the district's complete inability to cope.

The best example of the reality disconnect in Newport came from Virginia Irwin when she said "This is not an indictment". Yes Virginia, this IS an indictment. It is the biggest indictment a public school can get!

Staff members in attendance clung to a similar disbelief bolstered by an impressive array of empty excuses. Some blamed demographics, some blamed bad parents, others vilified the "moving target" (progress) required of NCLB. My favorite excuse, "we need more money" also made its mandatory appearance.

Not once did I hear district staff accept personal responsibility for failure. Oh how I wish I could spin these excuses into gold. The cafeteria would have resembled Scrooge McDuck's basement! We spend far too much money to listen to any excuses.

Denying the magnitude of the problem followed by scapegoat hunting is hardly a fast track towards resolution. This problem has festered for six years and shows no signs of abatement. Newport cannot and will not fix itself. Contrary to verbal assurances, it is evident that the Newport leadership has already excluded most of the drastic remedies available under NCLB. This is inexcusable.

The Captains of Education in Newport are clueless. Not only didn't they see the iceberg, they never felt the collision, refuse to acknowledge water on the promenade deck, and still call their ship "unsinkable". The crew isn't doing much better.

Its high time the passengers - parents and taxpayers - took over the ship. Its our childrens' futures now clouded in doubt, our money squandered on ineffective
education fads, and our position in world affairs at stake.

How many children must we leave behind before we learn not to entrust their future to this failed system?

Jim Peschke

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

NH Homeschoolers' rights under attack again.

New Hampshire's homeschooling advocates let us down with S.B. 337. In fact I question are they really out to support full homeschooling freedom or are they more concerned about appeasing public educators. Each homeschooling parent must fight for their own freedom and not rely on these so called homeschooling advocates.

I received the message below from the Homeschooling Legal Defense Association.


From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

New Hampshire: Help Stop Increase in Homeschool Regulation

Dear Members and Friends,

It is critical that New Hampshire homeschoolers send
homeschool-friendly representatives to the legislature this year.
New Hampshire homeschoolers fought a tough battle last year against
S.B. 337 that would have significantly increased government intrusion
into the lives of homeschoolers. And, as much as I would like to
report otherwise, this small victory last year IS NOT an indication
that the battle is over.

I have received multiple reports that some members of the education
committees are preparing to file legislation to substantially increase
regulation over New Hampshire homeschools. These reports indicate a
serious threat to freedom for New Hampshire homeschools, and I am
asking you to take action now to help prevent this threat.

Members of the House Education Committee who supported the Rouse
amendment to S.B. 337 (the Rous Amendment was the more restrictive
amendment) were:

Representative J. Timothy Dunn of Cheshire--District 03
Representative Claire Clarke Merrimack--District 06
Representative Kim Casey of Rockingham--District 11
Representative Kimberly Shaw Hillsborough--District 26
Representative Emma Rous Strafford--District 07 and Chair of the
Education Committee.

Members of the Senate Education Committee who supported the Estabrook
version of S.B. 337 (the most troublesome version) were:

Senator Iris W. Estabrook, District 21 includes Dover, Durham,
Epping, Lee and Rollinsford.)
Senator Joseph A. Foster, District 13 Nashua
Senator Martha Fuller Clark, District 24 includes Greenland,
Hampton, Hampton Falls, New Castle, Newington, North Hampton,
Portsmouth and Rye.
Senator Molly Kelly, District 10 Keene includes Chesterfield,
Dublin, Fitzwilliam, Hinsdale, Keene, Marlborough, Richmond, Surry,
Swanzey, Troy and Winchester.)

The representatives listed above have demonstrated that they favor
increased governmental regulation over New Hampshire homeschools.
This is in spite of facts that show that homeschoolers continue to
perform well. It is hard to understand why New Hampshire legislators
and Education Department bureaucrats want to invest so much time in
regulating an area of education succeeding so well, especially when
New Hampshire public schools need far more attention.

Unless you take action to send different kinds of members to the
legislature, we will likely have a far more difficult time fending off
increased regulation in the coming legislative session


1. Support homeschool friendly candidates.

I urge you to get involved in your local races in support of the
homeschool-friendly candidate. Find out where the candidates stand
and get involved. In New Hampshire, it is possible for a handful of
people to influence a House election because the races are in
relatively small areas. The best way for homeschoolers to preserve
freedom for homeschooling in New Hampshire is to elect representatives
who will vote against increased regulation.

2. Attend the CheNH business meeting.

CheNH will be holding its annual business meeting on October 24. An
exciting guest speaker who is active in local government in the
Seacoast area is planned. He will talk about the upcoming legislative
battles over homeschooling based on his personal experience. Please
make plans to attend now. Even if you aren't a member of CheNH, you
won't want to miss this event. For more information visit the CheNH
website at HSLDA is pleased to partner with CheNH and
other New Hampshire homeschool leaders to defend the freedom to
homeschool in New Hampshire with minimal government interference.

3. Stay informed about the commission that was set up as a result of
S.B. 337.

The commission has started meeting and consists of homeschoolers,
legislators and government school authorities. The commission has
been struggling to get organized, and most recently the chair of the
commission, Ms. Judy Day, resigned and Representative Kim Casey (who
supported the most restrictive legislation) has taken her place. HEAC
member Chris Hamilton has been chronicling the meetings of the
commission at a website here: .
If you are able and interested consider attending the commission to
observe its proceedings.

Together we can preserve homeschooling freedom in New Hampshire. We
know that freedom isn't free. It requires sacrifice and hard work. I
know HSLDA can count on freedom-loving homeschoolers in New Hampshire
to zealously guard their rights.

HSLDA is privileged to serve you. Your membership allows us to
advocate for homeschooling freedom in New Hampshire, with our federal
government, and all over the world. We thank you for your attention
to these important matters of freedom and for your ongoing support.


Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
Staff Attorney

Monday, September 29, 2008

Some of my favorite news sites.

There is always two sides or more to a story. This election you can hear views on the right and on the left. Than there are those so called impartial views or people. Many believe that the three standard networks ABC, NBC and CBS lean left. Even if you don't think they lean left it is important to get your news and information from more than one source. This election it is extremely important to make an educated vote. The future state of our country and tax implications for our children and grandchildren rest on the results of this election and this so called bailout.

Here are some of my favorite news sites that are alternatives to CNN, Fox and Drudge.

Newsbusters I was a fan of but lately there facts have not been factual.

Human Events


To get the Libertarian view I read World Net Daily

I also like to watch the polls I follow the usuals Zogby, Rasmussen, Politico and Real Clear Politics. I did not provide links but all can be easily found if you search them on Google.

I read both the Union Leader and the Concord Monitor to get left and right views from Newspapers I also read the Eagle Times to get my local news. To read about Obama from his home State I read the Chicago Tribune.

Quote of the Day "“Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit.” William Pollard


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Teacher’s union revives tired ideas for fixing public education

The following piece appeared on No further comment is needed.


Teacher’s union revives tired ideas for fixing public education
by Dr. Matthew Ladner

P.J. O’Rourke once described the early Clinton administration as “running the country by dorm-room bull session.” Some recent discussion among education progressives makes me wonder if they too have fallen back into some old college habits.

Catherine Johnson at the blog Kitchen Table Math, for instance, wrote on Randi Weingarten’s first speech as President of the American Federation of Teachers, the nation's second largest teacher union. Weingarten bashes NCLB, then lays out a vision for the future of public education:

“Imagine schools that are open all day and offer after-school and evening recreational activities and homework assistance … and suppose the schools included child care and dental, medical and counseling clinics, or other services the community needs. For example, they might offer neighborhood residents English language instruction, GED programs, or legal assistance.”
Far out, man!

Personally, however, I’m trying to imagine a system of public schools that could teach 4th grade kids how to read after spending $40,000 or more on their education. In 2007, 34 percent of American public school 4th graders scored “below basic” in reading on the NAEP. If we can’t trust schools to teach kids how to read, why would we want them trying to fix our teeth or resolving our legal issues?

Weingarten has succeeded in getting a number of grandees, some of whom threw away their right-of-center credentials in the process, to sign a petition calling for such a program. These signatories seem to believe that schools can become more effective by becoming less focused on academics.

This is precisely the wrong direction to take. Professor Paul Hill recently conducted a series of studies for the Gates Foundation concerning the stubborn lack of academic progress despite increased spending. After a series of studies, Hill concluded:

“…money is used so loosely in public education--in ways that few understand and that lack plausible connections to student learning--that no one can say how much money, if used optimally, would be enough. Accounting systems make it impossible to track how much is spent on a particular child or school, and hide the costs of programs and teacher contracts. Districts can’t choose the most cost-effective programs because they lack evidence on costs and results.”
Public schools have yet to do a cost-benefit analysis on the nearly $10,000 per year per child they already spend. They, therefore, have a very poor idea about which of their activities help achieve the goal of producing a well educated child, and which do not. Basically, they just do what they do; which certainly helps explain how a school system could burn through tens of thousands of dollars without teaching a child to read.

In Arizona, a stunning 44 percent of 4th graders score below basic in reading. Despite that fact, we have elementary school days that include a regular coursework in art, music, and physical education. These offerings are enriching and wonderful for many children. Why, however, would a 3rd grader who can’t read take courses in art or music?

Given that people are neurologically wired to learn to read in the early years, might it make more sense for schools to reallocate their resources (both money and time) on reading in the early grades?

One’s lifelong ability to appreciate music and art, after all, would be greatly enhanced by learning how to read.

We know that children who do not gain basic literacy skills in the early grades are all but doomed to academic failure. Children who don't learn how to read in early grades fall farther and farther behind grade level with each passing year. By early middle school they can't make heads or tails of the textbooks in front of them, and often become disruptive. Never envisioning themselves going on to college, they begin dropping out after 8th grade.

Public schools often make poor use of the money the already have, which is a massive amount by historical standards. Inflation-adjusted spending per pupil in Arizona has more than tripled since 1960. It isn’t hard to imagine spending even more while still failing to teach basic academic skills to large numbers of kids; schools have been doing it for more than 40 years.

If lawmakers are serious about helping children, they should focus on policies such as increasing parental choice and implementing merit pay. The focus should be on getting more bang for the bucks already committed to education, rather than throwing more money at the problem.

Quote of the Day "The focus should be on getting more bang for the bucks already committed to education, rather than throwing more money at the problem." - Matthew Lander