Saturday, February 13, 2010

Think Twice Before Opening the Door to the Census Workers

The following piece appears on theBig website.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Census 2010: Up to 800 Canvassers With Criminal Records
by Bob McCarty
Despite reports last fall that the Census Bureau had severed ties with community-organizing group known as ACORN, Americans might want to think twice before opening their doors to canvassers for the 2010 Census after reading what I discovered this morning.

According to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office Oct. 7, approximately 785 employees with disqualifying criminal records could still end up working for the Census Bureau this year. Excerpts (below) show the exact wording of the agency’s frightening information about the people who go door to door conducting interviews and collecting information for the 2010 Census:

The Bureau’s efforts to fingerprint employees, which was required as part of a criminal background check, did not proceed smoothly, in part because of training issues. As a result, over 35,000 temporary census workers — over a fifth of the address canvassing workforce — were hired despite the fact that their fingerprints could not be processed and they were not fully screened for employment eligibility.

…of the prints that could be processed, fingerprint results identified 1,800 temporary workers (1.1 percent of total hires) with criminal records that name check alone failed to identify. Of the 1,800 workers with criminal records, approximately 750 (42 percent) were terminated or were further reviewed because the Bureau determined their criminal records — which included crimes such as rape, manslaughter, and child abuse — disqualified them from census employment.

…we estimate that approximately 785 employees with unclassifiable prints could have disqualifying criminal records but still end up working for the Bureau

In addition to the news about the criminal element aspect of the 2010 Census, the 2009 report contained an estimate of the total cost of the 2010 Census being some $3.4 billion higher than the estimate in a 2006 GAO report. Compared to ex-cons knocking at my door, I guess I can live with cost overruns. But I digress.

Be sure to visit the Big website to view the links associated with the story.

Friday, February 12, 2010

HB 1580 Misunderstanding or Intentional Deception you Decide

The following piece appears on the NH Parents First website.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

ON THE RECORD yesterday Feb. 9th podcast available website.

After pointing out that he down loaded ten pages of Supreme Court decisions which support the constitutional language found in HB 1580, Rep. Harvey pointed out one of the problems with adding this constitutional language into statute is the direct contradiction between this constitutional language in HB 1580 and RSA 193-A: 6 dealing with Home Education Records and Evaluation. He confirmed that the current home education law contradicts the constitution! That's a pretty good start: the Home Education law, RSA 193-A, is unconstitutional and has been for 20 years. Rep. Harvey concludes that the committee can't introduce this constitutional language until they have time to review the entire chapter of law. He voted to ITL the bill.

Rep. Casey stated that she does not disagree with the ideology in HB 1580, which is summarized by the constitutional language: "It is the natural, fundamental right of parents to determine and direct the education of their children." How could she disagree? She made this comment right after scolding Rep. Hutchinson for trying to "skip and hold hands" with homeschoolers under a more liberty-minded cooperative law and right before jumping onto Rep. Harvey's bandwagon about the inappropriate language in HB 1580 that might inadvertently advocate prostitution as an "lawful and honest field of employment." Rep. Casey voted to ITL the bill due to inappropriate language.

Please write, call, or visit members of the House Education Committee. They need to understand the following points before the committee vote next Tuesday, February 16th at 10:00 am:

Misunderstandings of House Education Sub-Committee:

---There's a substantial difference between the 1990 "purpose statement" of RSA 193-A and the "natural, fundamental rights" statement proposed in HB 1580. HB 1580 is not redundant. Redundancy must not be used as an excuse to ITL this bill!

1.) The "purpose statement" was enacted into chapter law in 1990 along with NH Home Education statute, RSA 193-A. It reads as follows:

279:2 Statement of Purpose. The general court recognizes, in the enactment of RSA 193-A as inserted by section 3 of this act, that it is the primary right and obligation of a parent to choose the appropriate educational alternative for a child under his care and supervision, as provided by law. One such alternative allows a parent to elect to educate a child at home as an alternative to attendance at a public or private school, in accordance with RSA 193-A. The general court further recognizes that home education is more individualized than instruction normally provided in the classroom setting.

2.) From House Bill 1580:

I. It is the natural, fundamental right of parents to determine and direct the education of their children.

The first statement allows parents a very narrow and limited choice of educational alternatives -- specifically, only those defined in statute. The second statement is much broader; it recognizes that it is a parent's right to instruct his child without any restriction. These statements are not the same.

---House Attorney "takes no position" but advises against adding constitutional language to statute as it will "create" problems. Adding constitutional language to statute does not create problems. If contradictions exist between constitutional language and statutes, these problems need immediate correction. This is exactly why HB 1580 is necessary.

---Rep. Casey argued that Art. 3 of NH Constitution may limit certain natural rights. Yes, she is correct.

[Art.] 3. [Society, its Organization and Purposes.] When men enter into a state of society, they surrender up some of their natural rights to that society, in order to ensure the protection of others; and, without such an equivalent, the surrender is void.

---However, due process is required before any natural rights may be restricted or terminated. Due process protects individuals from arbitrary authority and guarantees fundamental fairness, justice and liberty.

---Parents who abuse or neglect their children are given due process in court before their parental rights are restricted or terminated. Truants are given due process in courts before any corrective action is taken. Yet homeschoolers are presumed guilty if they don't annually prove their innocence with assessments and evaluations. This presumption of guilt is backwards. Responsible parents should not be treated like criminals.

---The enumerated list of subjects in HB 1580 is not arbitrary. It was taken directly from the home education statute, RSA 193-A to indicate to the commitment level required by parents in fulfilling their duty to instruct their children. This compulsory education list does not constrain parents, but clarifies their duty. It is not inconsistent with the ideology of this bill. Also, this list can easily be amended to meet the concerns of the community as Art. 3 of the NH Constitution indicates.

---The "lawful and honest employment" language in HB 1580 comes directly from the Ludlow Code of Laws of 1650 which is basic fundamental law of the New England colonies, specifically Connecticut, representing the concern that all communities share for a well-educated populace.

---The language of HB 1580 is appropriate. Each section is concise with a very specific and very clear purpose. Parents, not the state, have the primary duty to instruct their children. HB 1580 exempts parents from compulsory attendance while restraining them with a compulsory education law.

---The current version of HB 1580 under consideration is the amended version, which eliminates section (9), which was an explicit exemption from the compulsory attendance law. This amended version is shorter and easier to follow, without any loss of functionality. 20 words in a constitutional statement, plus another 50 words, which includes the list of subjects to be instructed.

HB 1580 text

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The NEA Is Not about Education it is about Unions

Parents need to wake up, public schools are about meeting the greedy desires of most of the educators, administrators and other interests groups within the schools that suck off the teat of the taxpayer. Most don't give a darn about your child's education or your desire to educate your child as you see fit or allowing you to take your child's tax dollars to the institution of choice. Just look at what Michelle Caccavaro and the other Newport bullies are doing to try to derail the town's desire to break the agreement with Newport. They don't care that the majority of the town would like to get out of the agreement. They also think that those that choose to get out of the agreement just do not know what is good for them. Educators care about themselves they have hijacked public schools as their own entitlement program.

Don't believe me just wait for the town meeting.


The following piece appears on Hot Feeding the beast at the local level, feeds the beast all the way to DC this is one case where trickle up economics works.

A Less Perfect Union


John Stossel reports on the forced unionization of day-care centers in Flint, Michigan:

"Michelle Berry runs a day-care business out of her home in Flint, MI. She thought that she owned her own business, but Berry’s been told she is now a government employee and union member. It’s not voluntary. Suddenly, Berry and 40,000 other Michigan private day-care providers have learned that union dues are being taken out of the child-care subsidies the state sends them. The “union” is a creation of AFSCME, the government workers union, and the United Auto Workers."

Stossel explains that AFSCME receives about $3.7 million from the Department of Human Services. It achieved its conquest of the Michigan day-care industry through a mail-in vote, which included votes from only 6,000 of the 40,000 day-care providers in the state. You can expect much more aggressive unionizing if some version of the Card Check bill ever manages to slither past Congress.

The current tribute unions demand from their Democrat servants is the “High Road Contracting Policy,” which would give preference for federal contracts to companies that pay a government-defined “living wage,” which would be suspiciously close to the wages unions already demand for their members. As with all subsidies, this living wage would be extracted from the pockets of taxpayers, who will be expected to go on living while their take-home wages shrink, and their jobs evaporate.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the concept of private-sector labor unions. Every worker is the vendor of his own time, and since individuals have the right of free association, there’s nothing immoral about a group of people with related skills banding together to engage in collective bargaining. Over the past century, however, unions have bathed in the radiation of centralized State power, and mutated from defensive alliances of exploited workers, into de facto arms of the government.

In order to prosper, a union requires two essential advantages: solidarity and exclusivity. Solidarity means the members of the union must remain loyal, provide a steady stream of funding through payment of dues, and obey the instructions of the union leadership. There’s not much power to be gained from calling a strike, if half the union membership decides to go into work anyway, and collective bargaining agreements must be honored with minimal debate.

Unions also require privileged access to labor markets, or else independent workers willing to hire on for lower wages will undercut them. A company paying for expensive union labor cannot compete with an open shop that doesn’t have to pay artificially high wages, or provide elaborate benefits. A union could gain exclusivity by providing a vastly superior work product, providing value equal to their high wages. Naturally, the public-relations arms of labor unions like to claim this is the way they operate… but in the real world of 2010, it’s rarely the case.

There is a much easier way for unions to gain exclusive control of labor markets: they can barter the money and voting power they gain from the solidarity of their membership, to politicians with a ravenous appetite for these delicacies. In exchange, the politicians can use the compulsive power of the State to create monopoly playgrounds for the unions. The teachers’ unions are a particularly grotesque example, pushing an obviously inferior work product onto a captive population of students, while politicians patrol the schoolyard fence with truncheons of rolled-up campaign donations.

The National Education Association is the largest union in America, and one of its most powerful political forces, donating millions to Democrat candidates and spending millions more in lobbying… including over a million dollars in donations to the criminal organization ACORN over the last two years. The NEA also provides invaluable political indoctrination, inserting propaganda for statist causes like global warming into education curricula. In exchange, the Democrats are universally sworn to oppose vouchers and school privatization, no matter how much it hurts other constituencies they profess to care about. There are many fine teachers among the ranks of the NEA, but their individual merits vanish beneath the vast corruption of the union establishment.

We’ve also seen billions of taxpayer dollars spent to bail out General Motors, for the benefit of the labor unions whose parasitic embrace ended its free-market life. The unions set a wage level that rendered GM unable to turn a profit, becoming what Mark Steyn describes as “a vast welfare plan with a tiny loss-making commercial sector.” Every American taxpayer was fleeced by the Obama Administration to rescue the unions from the consequences of their actions. Why should they mediate their demands or become competitive with independent labor, when they can hire politicians to follow them around with a club in one hand, and lifesaving cash transfusions in the other?

These events are entirely predictable, because where the supply of votes and political cash from unions meets the demand from Big Government, a transaction is bound to occur. In a centralized state, the power of a political collective is vastly greater than individuals, or most corporations. Plenty of big companies spend cash buying political influence, producing all manner of mischief… but they can’t deliver the kind of packaged voting power that a labor union or racial grievance organization can provide, because they cannot compel – or even encourage – their employees to vote a certain way. The NEA and AFSCME have a lot more than dollars to spend in the political marketplace.

This kind of thing is inevitable, as long as we allow political control over industry, and place huge amounts of tax money in the hands of our government. The depth of corruption can be measured with the value of a congressional vote… or the presidential seal. Despite its overwhelming presence in every aspect of our daily lives, Big Government acquires many characteristics of anarchy, in which the diminishing resources of a moribund economy become the spoils for feuding warlords. One of the hallmarks of civilization is that no one should ever discover they have involuntarily been conscripted into a gang, or the government that increasingly resembles one.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Teacher Unions Protect Some Child Molesters

The following piece appeared on Big
Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Teachers Unions: The Child Molester’s Best Friend
Posted by James Hudnall Feb 9th 2010

Imagine if you could get full salary and benefits for a decent paying job and you didn’t have to work to get it. All you had to do was be accused of a crime.

What crime, you ask? How about molesting school kids? That’s what the teachers‘ unions in states like California and New York State are doing: coddling accused criminals — at your expense. And it’s probably going on elsewhere as well.

Believe it or not, New York is a lot tougher on them than California. From the New York Post:

"At the beginning of his 32-year career as a math teacher in Queens, Francisco Olivares allegedly im pregnated and married a 16-year-old girl he had met when she was a 13-year-old student at his Corona junior high, IS 61, the Post learned.

He sexually molested two 12-year-old pupils a decade later and another student four years after that, the city Department of Education charged. But none of it kept Olivares, 60, from collecting his $94,154 salary.

He hasn’t set foot in a classroom in seven years since beating criminal and disciplinary charges. Chancellor Joel Klein keeps Olivares in a “rubber room,” a district office where teachers accused of misconduct sit all day with nothing to do."

That would be $94K a year for sitting around drinking coffee and reading the paper. Sounds like a DMV job, without the actual “work.” The reason he wasn’t fired is “state laws” and “union rules.” The unholy alliance of unions and government is one of the things that has led us to the mess we’re in now. When you can’t fire government workers, you’re stuck with the dregs sucking away tax dollars in the form of their bloated salaries and benefits. And in many cases, they will get well-funded retirement packages for years of incompetence, thievery or worse. All in the name of “public service.”

But Olivares’s fate in New York is hard time compared to the Golden State. In California, accused teachers are paid to stay at home. In just the Los Angeles Unified School District alone, the cost of these teachers sitting on their hands is helping drive the state into bankruptcy.

"About 160 teachers and other staff sit idly in buildings scattered around the sprawling district, waiting for allegations of misconduct to be resolved.

The housed are accused, among other things, of sexual contact with students, harassment, theft or drug possession. Nearly all are being paid. All told, they collect about $10 million in salaries per year — even as the district is contemplating widespread layoffs of teachers because of a financial shortfall."

Now you may say that these teachers were only accused, they well may be innocent. Yes, some of them may be. And hopefully the innocent will be cleared. But in many incidents, such as the Olivares case, there is no doubt because there’s a provable history, including a list of victims. And yet the state continues to pay his salary.

This is becoming a common practice in many states where teachers’ unions hold sway. When they can’t fire them, in some cases schools have had to offer instructors cash payouts to quit. That’s right, cash bribes to quit after committing some kind of crime.

Unions and public sector jobs are the most unholy alliance of our times. These beasts should never have mated, because they’ve issued forth monstrous offspring in the form of dire consequences that no one probably saw coming. And many victims have been left in their destructive wake.

You have two bureaucracies with the dual intent of protecting their power at all cost and increasing in size every year. These goals lead to a sickening metastasis that rots both entities over time until they become bloated, cancerous threats to the health of the body politic. Public service jobs now pay more, offer more generous guaranteed benefits and are far more difficult to lose (in fact, almost impossible) than those in the private sector. The unions have made sure of that, and the result is that every private sector job is now viewed by an increasingly ravenous and rapacious government-union-lawyer complex the way a vampire eyes a tasty carotid artery.

While many pubic sector jobs have some intrinsic value, such as police, firemen, public works, and yes, teachers, the unions have created a system in which those who should be terminated can’t be. Not with increasingly absurd legal hoops to be jumped through that the unions keep demanding and effecting. This leads to the worst kind of corruption and waste at a time when the nation’s states and federal government are drowning in unsustainable debts and a coming tidal wave of unfunded mandates.

When the government protects and pays criminals with our tax dollars, it’s time for some real change.

Be sure to visit the Big Journalism website to see the links associated with the story below.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Others Are Screaming it As Well

The following piece appeared in the Washington Times.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: U.S. public education overdue for overhaul

By any reasonable metric, the public education system under the political power and control of the teachers unions has failed and deserves to be condemned for its betrayal of public trust.

There was a time when public education deserved the pride and support of the people. No longer. It has become an infected carbuncle of public mismanagement, self-serving employees and the arrogant wielding of authority over parents, children and taxpayers.

The education establishment, aided by its unions, has failed to educate the children placed in its charge by parents, the public and even aspiring rank-and-file, dues-paying teachers. The education establishment has sacrificed its students to retain unchallenged its monopoly of noncompetitive services, its acceptance of defective quality of outcomes and the retention of nonperforming staff. It has promoted excessive costs while turning a blind eye to the employability of graduates, their comparative international standing and the physical security of students.

For this record of performance, it has fashioned a chokehold on school boards that depend on union support. As a result, it has preserved its public funding from competition, avoided reforms that call for pay for performance, separations for incompetence and parents' authority over the education of their children through vouchers. School boards rubber-stamp their wage proposals, promotion policies, fringe benefits, increases in education budgets, priorities in terms of expenditures, the credentials and licensing of peers and more.

Just out of view are the uncovered liabilities of health and retirement benefits that far exceed those that people choose to buy for themselves, benefits that will require higher taxes in the near future, an increase in the deficit or bankruptcy. And who is to pay for this transparent self-indulgence? The children.

A betrayal of trust is an ugly reality that cries out for rebellion. This abuse by government can be neither sustained nor tolerated.

Bethesda, Md.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

FEC Fails To Investigate

I am getting a little tired of hearing it is not the union members fault it is the union leaders fault. Yes, in some cases it is the union leaders fault but the unions members are to blame too. They have made no attempt to stop the problem and jump on board when they can screw the taxpayers who pay them or the companies for which they work. Math teachers worth the paper their degree is written on should be able to figure out they work in an unsustainable system. If they don't they should not be teaching or luckily the greedy people in the end will get what they deserve. When you decide to lay down with the devil ....... well you know the rest.

The following piece appears on the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc. website.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

FEC Fails to Investigate Teachers’ Complaint of NEA Union Money Laundering Scheme
Employee rights advocate weighs federal lawsuit

Washington, DC (January 5, 2010) – Apparently without conducting a field investigation, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) dismissed a complaint against one of the most politically active unions in America after evidence surfaced that union officials deposited illegally laundered dues money into its political action committee (PAC).

Citing in part lack of sufficient funding to enforce the law, the FEC junked a complaint filed by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and two Alabama teachers who discovered a union scheme to divert convention reimbursements into the National Education Association (NEA) union’s PAC.

When attending the NEA’s 2004 national convention, Daphne Middle School science department chair Claire Waites was deceived into supporting the NEA’s PAC and was determined that it would not happen again. However, Waites and Assistant Principal Dr. Jeanne Fox, both members of the Baldwin County Education Association (BCEA), Alabama Education Association (AEA), and NEA unions, discovered the practice continues.

In July 2008, Waites and Fox attended the NEA’s annual convention in Washington, DC as delegates of the BCEA. According to their sworn testimony, BCEA union president Saadia Hunter informed the educators that contributions in their names were made to a “children’s fund” using money included in their expense reimbursements for their trip to the convention.

Although Hunter told Waites that these contributions were not political in nature, they actually went to the NEA’s PAC. Hunter later admitted that the money would be contributed to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. AEA union bosses also admitted to the educators that the PAC contributions were paid with BCEA members’ dues.

Foundation attorneys are considering a lawsuit against the FEC for shirking its duty of upholding the integrity of the political system, particularly since it is suspected this scheme affected many other teacher delegates to the union convention.

“The FEC made a conscious decision to not take these charges seriously,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “We suspect this scheme could involve many more teachers – potentially to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

It is illegal for union officials to encourage and solicit contributions under false pretenses and without informing workers of their right to refuse to contribute without any reprisal. Federal law also forbids campaign contributions made in the name of another person.