Friday, February 29, 2008

More Proof That Global Warming Is Al Gore's Convenient Lie

Global warming is nonsense -
Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average." China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.
So screw in your new light bulbs, and buy your energy credits, but the reality is that the Al Gore version of climate change is just meant to bring on taxes on energy usage and technology which in turn will only be a means to make people like Al Gore richer.

The climate is changing in many ways but it isn't because cows are passing gas or because you aren't driving a Prius.

Yes, we should be responsible with the use of our resources, but we shouldn't be using them that as a scare tactic or a method to "fear" or "guilt" people into the schemes of wealth redistribution and acceptance of excessive taxation. More importantly we should not be silencing the scientific community and silencing debate or skewing their research to force this or anyone's agenda.

You can read more here and here.

Happy Leap Day!

We observe the modern leap year because the Earth orbits the sun every 365.2421896698 days and of course that is not an easy number to account for in how we calculate our calendar of days. So the leap day, (today... Friday, February 29) is a day that is added onto the month of February every four years to keep the calendar in sync with the celestial cycles and our seasons, otherwise they would drift out of alignment and we'd be celebrating Christmas in January or March (eventually).
The extra quarter of a day that the leap year added was slightly longer than the 0.242 of a day in the actual solar year.

This seemingly small difference made the solar year about 11 minutes too long, resulting in an entire day of discrepancy every 128 years.

Because of this glitch, the Julian calendar had drifted ten days by the late 16th century.

"Finally it became so ridiculous that Pope Gregory XIII was convinced by his astronomers that basically all the Christian holidays were being celebrated on the wrong days," Duncan said.

The pope introduced his Gregorian calendar in 1582, which determined that only one out of every four "century years" would observe a leap year. Thus while the years 2000 and 2400 are leap years, 2100, 2200, and 2300 are not.

The Gregorian calendar was gradually, and sometimes grudgingly, adopted by much of the world and remains in common use.

Read more at National Geographic.

The Jewish Calendar adds a whole month, also on a periodic basis.
Because of the roughly eleven-day difference between twelve lunar months and one solar year, the year lengths of the Hebrew calendar vary in a repeating 19-year Metonic cycle of 235 lunar months, with an intercalary lunar month added every two or three years, for a total of 7 times per 19 years
In the Jewish Calendar, we are currently in Adar 1, and Adar 2 starts on March 8.

The human activity of keeping track of time has always fascinated me.
Here is the official US Time website and the world clock.

Interactive map of our solar system

Enjoy Leap Day! How will YOU use your extra day?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Well This Might Be Disturbing

Yes, while you were enjoying Valentine's Day chocolates with your honey, some say the North American Union Army might just have been created in Texas.

On Feb. 14, our US Military Northern Command, top officer, Gen. Gene Renuart, and Canadian Lt. Gen. Marc Dumais, head of Canada Command, signed an agreement with little fanfare or announcement. This agreement allows the military from either nation to send troops across each other's borders during an emergency; a "civil emergency".

Where was Congress and why weren't they the ones determining this?

Neither the Canadian government nor the Canadian Forces announced the new agreement, and we certainly didn't hear anything about it on CNN, Fox, or the Nightly News.

Posse comitatus is a U.S. law that prohibits the use of federal troops from conducting law enforcement duties on domestic soil unless approved by Congress. It's a longstanding federal statute that restricts the government's ability to use the U.S. military as a police force. The Canadian military would not be bound by that restriction.

So if your town has some sort of national emergency - you may just see Canadian troops!

So let me get this straight: We use our National Guard as the army in Iraq, and we can use our army (and now the Canadian army as well) as a police force here and in Canada. Does anyone see anything wrong with this picture?

Cato weighs in
and here is another more radical article.
Also Canada Free Press article and WorldNet Daily article.

Questions Surface About McCain's Panamanian Birth

"No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States." - US Constitution Article 2 Section 1 Clause 5

Well, we know he is old enough, and we know he has met the residency requirement - but is he considered born here in the USA?

This is something that has been bouncing around the Internet for awhile now: What about John McCain's Panama Canal Zone birth in 1936?
New York Times article By CARL HULSE
WASHINGTON — The question has nagged at the parents of Americans born outside the continental United States for generations: Dare their children aspire to grow up and become president? In the case of Senator John McCain of Arizona, the issue is becoming more than a matter of parental daydreaming.

Mr. McCain’s likely nomination as the Republican candidate for president and the happenstance of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 are reviving a musty debate that has surfaced periodically since the founders first set quill to parchment and declared that only a “natural-born citizen” can hold the nation’s highest office.

Almost since those words were written in 1787 with scant explanation, their precise meaning has been the stuff of confusion, law school review articles, whisper campaigns and civics class debates over whether only those delivered on American soil can be truly natural born. To date, no American to take the presidential oath has had an official birthplace outside the 50 states.

“There are powerful arguments that Senator McCain or anyone else in this position is constitutionally qualified, but there is certainly no precedent,” said Sarah H. Duggin, an associate professor of law at Catholic University who has studied the issue extensively. “It is not a slam-dunk situation.”

Mr. McCain was born on a military installation in the Canal Zone, where his mother and father, a Navy officer, were stationed. His campaign advisers say they are comfortable that Mr. McCain meets the requirement and note that the question was researched for his first presidential bid in 1999 and reviewed again this time around.

But given mounting interest, the campaign recently asked Theodore B. Olson, a former solicitor general now advising Mr. McCain, to prepare a detailed legal analysis. “I don’t have much doubt about it,” said Mr. Olson, who added, though, that he still needed to finish his research.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and one of Mr. McCain’s closest allies, said it would be incomprehensible to him if the son of a military member born in a military station could not run for president.

“He was posted there on orders from the United States government,” Mr. Graham said of Mr. McCain’s father. “If that becomes a problem, we need to tell every military family that your kid can’t be president if they take an overseas assignment.”

The phrase “natural born” was in early drafts of the Constitution. Scholars say notes of the Constitutional Convention give away little of the intent of the framers. Its origin may be traced to a letter from John Jay to George Washington, with Jay suggesting that to prevent foreigners from becoming commander in chief, the Constitution needed to “declare expressly” that only a natural-born citizen could be president.

Ms. Duggin and others who have explored the arcane subject in depth say legal argument and basic fairness may indeed be on the side of Mr. McCain, a longtime member of Congress from Arizona. But multiple experts and scholarly reviews say the issue has never been definitively resolved by either Congress or the Supreme Court.

Ms. Duggin favors a constitutional amendment to settle the matter. Others have called on Congress to guarantee that Americans born outside the national boundaries can legitimately see themselves as potential contenders for the Oval Office.

“They ought to have the same rights,” said Don Nickles, a former Republican senator from Oklahoma who in 2004 introduced legislation that would have established that children born abroad to American citizens could harbor presidential ambitions without a legal cloud over their hopes. “There is some ambiguity because there has never been a court case on what ‘natural-born citizen’ means.”

Mr. McCain’s situation is different from those of the current governors of California and Michigan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jennifer M. Granholm, who were born in other countries and were first citizens of those nations, rendering them naturalized Americans ineligible under current interpretations. The conflict that could conceivably ensnare Mr. McCain goes more to the interpretation of “natural born” when weighed against intent and decades of immigration law.

Mr. McCain is not the first person to find himself in these circumstances. The last Arizona Republican to be a presidential nominee, Barry Goldwater, faced the issue. He was born in the Arizona territory in 1909, three years before it became a state. But Goldwater did not win, and the view at the time was that since he was born in a continental territory that later became a state, he probably met the standard.

It also surfaced in the 1968 candidacy of George Romney, who was born in Mexico, but again was not tested. The former Connecticut politician Lowell P. Weicker Jr., born in Paris, sought a legal analysis when considering the presidency, an aide said, and was assured he was eligible. Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. was once viewed as a potential successor to his father, but was seen by some as ineligible since he had been born on Campobello Island in Canada. The 21st president, Chester A. Arthur, whose birthplace is Vermont, was rumored to have actually been born in Canada, prompting some to question his eligibility.

Quickly recognizing confusion over the evolving nature of citizenship, the First Congress in 1790 passed a measure that did define children of citizens “born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States to be natural born.” But that law is still seen as potentially unconstitutional and was overtaken by subsequent legislation that omitted the “natural-born” phrase.

Mr. McCain’s citizenship was established by statutes covering the offspring of Americans abroad and laws specific to the Canal Zone as Congress realized that Americans would be living and working in the area for extended periods. But whether he qualifies as natural-born has been a topic of Internet buzz for months, with some declaring him ineligible while others assert that he meets all the basic constitutional qualifications — a natural-born citizen at least 35 years of age with 14 years of residence.

“I don’t think he has any problem whatsoever,” said Mr. Nickles, a McCain supporter. “But I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if somebody is going to try to make an issue out of it. If it goes to court, I think he will win.”

Lawyers who have examined the topic say there is not just confusion about the provision itself, but uncertainty about who would have the legal standing to challenge a candidate on such grounds, what form a challenge could take and whether it would have to wait until after the election or could be made at any time.

In a paper written 20 years ago for the Yale Law Journal on the natural-born enigma, Jill Pryor, now a lawyer in Atlanta, said that any legal challenge to a presidential candidate born outside national boundaries would be “unpredictable and unsatisfactory.”

“If I were on the Supreme Court, I would decide for John McCain,” Ms. Pryor said in a recent interview. “But it is certainly not a frivolous issue.”
I can't wait to hear what the Constitutional scholars come up with. I am sure there will be opinions galore.

Ah yes, and the circus that is the American presidential elections continues to offer so much entertainment value, who needs American Idol or Lost?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Commentary On The Teaching Of Mathematics

I just had to share with you this piece: A Commentary on the Teaching of Mathematics, by James Jackson of Carlisle, Ind. It appeared in "Echoes" (winter 1994), published by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Ind. "Echoes" took it from the 1993-94 issue of "21st Century" (not otherwise identified).

The commentary takes the form of a series of story problems:

In 1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of this price. What is his profit?

In 1970: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of this price, or $80. What is his profit?

In 1970 (new math): A logger exchanges a set L of lumber for a set M of money. The cardinality of set M is 100, and each element is worth $1.00. Make 100 dots representing the elements of the set M. The set C of the costs of production contains 20 fewer points than set M. Represent the set C as a subset of M, and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set P of points?

In 1980: A logger sells a truckload of wood for $100. His cost of production is $80, and his profit is $20. Your assignment: underline the number 20.

In 1990 (outcome-based education): By cutting down beautiful forest trees, a logger makes $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? (Topic for class participation: How did the forest birds and squirrels feel?)

In 1996: (profit-driven education): By laying off 40% of the its loggers, a company improves its stock price from $80 to $100. How much capital gain per share does the CEO make by exercising his stock options at $80? Assume capital gains are no longer taxed, because Republicans feel this encourages investment.

In 1997: A company out-sources all of its loggers. The firm saves on benefits, and when demand for its product is down, the logging work force can easily be cut back. The average logger employed by the company earned $50,000, had three weeks vacation, a nice retirement plan and medical insurance. The contracted logger charges $50 an hour. Was out-sourcing a good move?

In 1998: A laid-off logger with four kids at home and a ridiculous alimony from his first failed marriage comes into the logging company's corporate offices and goes postal, mowing down 16 executives and a couple of secretaries, and gets lucky when he nails a politician on the premises collecting his kickback. Was outsourcing the loggers a good move for the company?

In 1999: A laid-off logger serving time in Folsom for blowing away several people is being trained as a COBOL programmer in order to work on Y2K projects. What is the probability that the automatic cell doors will open on their own as of 00:01, 01/01/00?

In 2000: (internet in every classroom) Do a web search on forest, trees and logger using two different search engines. E-mail your results to the teacher.

In 2008: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is four-fifths of this price. What is his profit? First, tell us what your strategy will be to solve the problem. Form a hypothesis based on the rubric to test your strategy. Perform a calculation based on your hypothesis, and then discuss why you came to the answer that you arrived at.

It would be funny if it weren't so true!

(H/T Mike A.) More math humor here.

NJ Joins The Fray In Investigating Medicaid Fraud And Anti-Psychotics

A New Jersey legislator is seeking to investigate antipsychotics, Kids and Medicaid
New Jersey’s Medicaid program spent more than $73 million on antipsychotic medications for children less than 18 years old between 2000 and 2007, according to state records, even though the drugs weren’t approved by the FDA for treating kids. And a state official acknowledges the drugs may have been prescribed for conditions other than schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the approved uses. As a result, a state legislator is calling for an investigation and is formulating legislation.

“There are horror stories about these meds and there’s a reason they’re not prescribed for kids,” says New Jersey assemblyman Pat Diegnan, who adds that he plans to draft a bill to change the practice and to hold talks with the New Jersey attorney general’s office, which recently formed a task force to examine interactions between pharma and docs. “The entire issue is frightening and the state should be taking a closer look at this. I’m concerned about the casual prescribing by doctors and the enormous amount of money being spent.”

The disclosure comes amid growing debate over antipsychotics. At issue are fears that children are misdiagnosed; drugs are inadequately studied; some docs prescribe the pills too readily, and drugmakers promote the meds improperly. As reported previously, a growing number of states are suing various drugmakers over marketing that led Medicaid programs to pay unnecessarily for the meds.

Florida, for instance, is reviewing whether antipsychotics were prescribed improperly for ADHD. “There are no studies that have shown they (atypicals) are safe, or for that matter, that they are effective for children,” Ronald Brown, a Temple University pediatric psychology professor who headed an American Psychological Association committee that examined the issue, told The St. Petersburg Times last year. “The bottom line is that the use of psychiatric medications far exceeds the evidence of safety and effectiveness.”
(Continue reading here)
It's bad enough to use these unapproved drugs on little kids - but to be exploiting the poor like this is equally reprehensible.

What I wonder is after all the investigations are said and done, will there be jail time and penalties for these drug makers and for the perpetrators of this fraud? Not only are taxpayer dollars wasted and plundered, but my goodness, how many children's lives have been damaged because of this?

My previous post about this is here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.

Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. (Pronounced /bəˈɹɑːk huˈseɪn oʊˈbɑːmə/;>) Wiki

Cunnigham apparently just did what he was told to do.
"They told me to fire up the crowd. You're talking to conservatives," Cunningham said of pre-rally advice from the McCain campaign. "Get them fired up and give them some red meat. And I did. In fact, when I left, John, the crowd was cheering. All was well. No problem whatsoever until about an hour later . . . when John McCain threw me under the bus, under the Straight Talk Express. I got thrown under the bus."
John McCain apologized for comments about Barack Obama made by talk radio host (and obvious loose cannon and fellow fear mongerer) Bill Cunningham at a McCain campaign rally in Cincinnati. More here.

Cunningham ended up endorsing Hillary afterwards.

Memo to John McCain: If you want to apologize for something, apologize for not being a true Conservative. Apologize for not upholding the Constitution. Apologize for telling Cunningham to say what you instructed him to say.

Uggg... Obama, Clinton, McCain... not one candidate here worth voting for!
What a circus this election is.

Another State Sues On Anti-Psychotics

9 states have sued Eli Lilly regarding Zyprexa - Alaska, Louisiana,Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.
6 states have sued Janssen regarding Risperdal - Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvana
3 states have sued AstraZeneca regarding Seroquel - Montana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina

The Helena Independent Record in Montana broke this story: State AG sues two drug companies on February 22, 2008, By CHARLES S. JOHNSON

Attorney General Mike McGrath has sued two national pharmaceutical companies and accused them of manufacturing certain prescription drugs that were "in defective condition and unreasonably dangerous."
McGrath filed the complaint in state district court in Helena Wednesday against Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc. and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP over their prescription drugs Risperdal and Seroquel, respectively. These medicines were intended to treat adult schizophrenia and short-term treatment of acute mania associated with bipolar disorder. He charged that the two companies "have engaged in false and misleading marketing, advertising and sales campaigns to promote these drugs for non-medically indicated uses." McGrath said the companies "successfully deceived physicians, citizen-users and others in the medical community" about the safety of these drugs compared to other antipsychotic drugs in order to carve out a greater market share.
State AG's are beginning to investigate these types of claims as well as possible fraud going on in their state Medicaid programs. This is certainly something to keep an eye on.

(H/T Ken K.)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Illegal Immigration Rewards Bill Back In CT Legislature

In-State Tuition for Illegals - yes it's back in the CT state legislature.

The CT Democrats have brought back this bill which would attract more illegal aliens to CT, as if people like Mayor DeStefano of New Haven doesn't encourage it enough. Despite overwhelming public rejection of this kind of legislation, as well as the Governor's veto last session, they are trying to push this bill through yet again.

CT Democrats are ignoring the fact that many states have already passed legislation which discourages illegal immigrants coming to their states by toughening laws that punish employers, and which deny taxpayer funds to illegals. Since 2006, 30 or more states have passed laws or taken other steps to crack down on illegal immigrants, often making it harder for them to find jobs or receive public services. Jurist Legal News said this in 2007:
Our systems of welfare, education, law enforcement, health care, and employment benefits are being stretched not only to provide help for tax-paying citizens, but also to absorb the demands of people who have broken the law to enter the country, and then break the law again by accessing support programs to which they have no legal entitlement.

This federal failure to solve the illegal immigration problem thus has imposed a de facto “unfunded federal mandate” on states.

It’s time for states to address the illegal immigration problem on their own level. In fact, many already are doing that. Last year, 30 states passed some 57 laws to crack down on illegal immigrants, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That flurry of legislation reflects states’ mounting frustration with federal inaction.

Rep. Felipe Reinoso (D-Bridgeport- 130th Dist.) introduced this bill, HB5264, into the CT House of Representatives.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

That section 10a-29 of the general statutes be amended to allow the children of immigrants residing in the state to attend the public institutions of higher education as in-state students for tuition purposes.

Statement of Purpose:

To provide in-state tuition to children of immigrants.

State Senator, and majority leader, Martin Looney (D-New Haven/Hamden, 11th Dist.) also tossed this version into the ring: SB264 takes a more limited approach, by giving in-state tuition breaks to illegal aliens only at CT's community colleges.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

That section 10a-29 of the general statutes be amended to allow the children of undocumented immigrants residing in the state to attend Connecticut community-technical colleges as in-state students for tuition purposes.

Statement of Purpose:
To increase access to postsecondary education for the children of undocumented immigrants residing in Connecticut.
Undocumented immigrants? Excuse me? THEY ARE HERE ILLEGALLY! why are we considering rewarding this breach of law? You know, next time you break the law folks, just try telling the officer that you are bright and well meaning and pay taxes and that breaking the law wasn't really your own doing. See how far that gets you. Why are we not talking about deportation? We are only perpetuating the problem , because once these kids graduate they can only be hired illegally as well!

Not only does this in-state tuition bill for illegal aliens reward illegal activity, but by offering this legislation in CT, legislators essentially would like to eliminate higher out of state tuition price for ANYONE because they are by federal law not allowed to allow illegals to take in-state tuition breaks while a citizen from another state is made to pay more. This may affect our college's incomes adversely, and they may lose millions of dollars in revenue as a result!! That means more money for the taxpayer to have to subsidize!

Federal law (Title 8, Chapter 14, Sec. 1623) states: "an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State ... for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident."

Giving in-state college tuition to adult illegal aliens residing in each state would give them benefits not given to American citizens in other states ( e.g., war veterans). A 1996 Federal law mandates that if instate rates are given to illegals, those rates must also be given to all applicants of each state's colleges and universities from the other 49 states. Although the law is not actively enforced, giving in-state tuition to illegal aliens is a clear violation of federal law.

This proposed legislation should be rejected. Again.

CT legislators who are considering supporting in state tuition for illegal immigrants would be wise to reconsider on the basis of "in state re-election to office" in November!

Past post is here.

The Lone Protester Prevails - Not Guilty!

A while back I had posted the story of Terry Funderburk, the Lone Protester.

He's a man from South Carolina that simply wants our current laws on immigration enforced. He is a businessman whose livelihood has been directly impacted by other businessmen who choose to ignore Federal law, and hire illegals. In the process they undermine and undercut the business of decent law abiding people like Mr. Funderburk.

He protested at a house that had hired illegal immigrants to do their roofing work. He was arrested for cursing (He dared to utter the words "cheap bastard" in public) He was protesting the unlawful hiring of illegal aliens and was the one that was dragged off to jail in handcuffs by police. He finally had his day in court in front of a jury of his peers and they ultimately delivered the verdict "Not Guilty".
It is refreshing to see justice served in this way.
The unfortunate thing, of course, was that the wrong person was arrested in the beginning of this story. Read more here.

Congratulations Terry Funderburk - you have been an inspiration to all people who might decide to stand up for their rights, and who wish to point out something that is terribly wrong. Thanks also go to the people who have stood behind Mr. Funderburk and helped him to prevail.

"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent" - Thomas Jefferson

By the way, you might ask you Congressman why they aren't demanding that current laws on immigration be enforced next time they ask for you to return them to office in Washington. November 2008 is coming...make them answer to this issue.

Julian Schnabel Is My Cousin

If you watched the Oscars you saw, and heard mention of, my cousin Julian Schnabel. He is a film director and an artist. Most of the Schnabels in my family are stout, sport a full head of hair, and are very intense and very smart. Genetics is such an interesting aspect of family. Family trees are fascinating history as well.

His great grandparents Gittel (nee Bressler) and Jerome Schnabel (whom I am named after and who Julian is also most likely named after) were also my great grandparents. Jerome Schnabel had red hair like me. I understand he was quite a businessman too.

Here is Gittel (on the left), and my mother, Roslyn Theodore nee Newman (on the right) in the park in NYC after my mother's graduation. Gittel was my mother's grandmother. Gittel lived with my mother and my grandmother, Ethel Newman, nee Schnabel, for a time in NYC. My grandmother brought her mother, Gittel, to this country from Czechoslovakia/Hungary in the late 20's or early 30's.

I saw Julian last at the funeral of his mother Esther Schnabel in 2002 in Cromwell, CT. We got to talk for a bit and connect.

I remember his parents visiting my grandparents when I was just a teenager, and they had pictures of Julian's early work. He certainly is an interesting person, and if he ever reads this I'd like to say Hi! Call me sometime. I have some old photographs of your father when he was a kid.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

FISA and the US Constitution

What's more, President Bush and some in Congress, through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), are seeking to grant immunity for telecoms who help violate your Constitutional rights! Jeepers, they want to protect the corporations first! So, tell me if you can sue a giant telecom company who violated your privacy rights, do the terrorists win? If you can't sue then who is the real loser?

Yeah - I have nothing to hide in my telephone conversations and emails...but I certainly don't want the government listening in either, do you? They should have to have a damn good reason to be spying on anyone, don'tcha think? Otherwise why bother having 4th Amendment rights at all?

More on FISA here and here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Parody Music For Saturday

With Obamamania going around like the flu I thought it would be fun to show that political parody of the song Hey There Delilah - by Plain White T

Disclaimer - I don't support Obama or Hillary

Friday, February 22, 2008

One Of The Best Commercials Ever

This Weeks Web Picks

Sorry I have been negligent in posting Carnivals and Web Picks - and now I have some links that I really want to share with you.

Check out the Obama meter at CT Taxed.. You'll be able to see how much Change and Hope will cost us.

Whited Sepulchre has a very interesting post about Chinese Internet censorship - and come to think of it COTG used to have a lot of Chinese hits on the sitemeter and they have pretty much disappeared. Get a look at what the Beijing Logo really represents.

More about disease mongering at Junk Food Science

Dad Sues Wheaton College at The World Is Your Campus

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire - at Cool Justice

U.S. Congress - It's Time To Remind Each Of Them Of Their Job Description

There is a movement afoot - People are taking the time to fax, mail, and email their Representatives to Congress the following Oath of Office and excerpts of the U.S. Constitution as a reminder:

Oath of office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Section 8 - Powers of Congress
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Section 9 - Limits on Congress
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

(No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.) (Section in parentheses clarified by the 16th Amendment.)

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The fellow that I received this notice from has been sending/faxing this information to his Congressional Representatives all week, and intends to keep on doing this, and hopes to get others to join in. He hopes by doing this that Congress gets the message. The intent is to remind our elected representatives WHY they are there and WHOM they represent - EVERY DAY!

If you want to join in on this "Congressional Reminder Program"? Go here to get numbers for faxing and calling.

Other than that, we have Congressional elections coming up in November, and we should vote in candidates who understand what the job description is.

Our Congress and many of our citizens have long forgotten what the purpose of government is - "To protect and defend it's citizens" and it would seem that since FDR was president the purpose has changed to be - "To provide for it's citizens".

The proper role of government is to protect equal rights - not provide equal things. But that's a whole other blog post, or at least a whole discussion about counter-productive compassion versus calculated compassion and the role of government.

(H/T Sematary)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

St. Paul Police Order 230 More Tasers

A representative from Taser International shows
the companies latest X26 stun gun.
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

St. Paul Police will be setting their phasers on "stun"

In Minnesota Public Radio reports on the St. Paul's Police request for more taser guns.

They say it isn't because of the upcoming Republican National Convention in September , which is expected to draw many protesters. To say that they aren't preparing for a confrontation of some sort is enough to raise at least one eyebrow.
Police spokesman Tom Walsh said the $210,000 purchase would allow every patrol officer in the city to have a stun gun.
I guess tear gas and rubber bullets are just too pedestrian these days. Gotta find some new fangled way to control those anti-Republican protesters.

If McCain doesn't succeed in uniting the party they just might need them indoors too. I can just see Huckabee and Paul and Keyes screaming, "Don't Tase Me Bro". (Yeah, they are still in the race). Then of course there will be all those unruly delegates who may end up voting for someone other than McCain.

It could get ugly.

But probably less ugly then the race riots..... er I mean "social unraveling" .... that are expected if Obama loses to Hillary via the super delegate shadow primary. I wonder if Denver police are also ordering high tech law enforcement gear, for The Democratic National Convention to be held at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado August 25-28, 2008, they are already installing cameras, and asking for police help from other communities.

And that is what is called Political Mayhem.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Withdrawal Bill News Links

For those who want to have access to the various news reports across the state regarding the Withdrawal Bill legislation here are some important media links (and I will post more as I find them) :

Print News

Hartford Advocate: Homeschooling Rules To Change - by Jennifer Abel - Feb 20

Connecticut Post - School Policies Decried In Hartford - by Ken Dixon - Feb 20

Republican American - Homeschoolers Complain of Bullying By Officials - by Paul Hughes - Feb 20

Hartford Courant - Smoothing A Way Out Of School - by Jim Farrell - Feb 18

TV News

WTNH Channel 8 - Homeschooling Hurdles - by Tricia Taskey - video here. Feb 19

Fox 61 - Video report about homeschooling and the written report entitled Homeschool Support - by Colin Poitras - (also in the Courant)- Feb 20 - video unavailable

Video of Public hearing from CT-N

More On The School Withdrawal Bill

Channel 61 posted the written story by Colin Poitras entitled Home-School Support on their website.

An excerpt from that article says this:
State education officials said they have been trying to strike a balance between a parent's right to educate their child and the responsibility of local public school systems to make sure every child under 16 years of age receives an education. Murphy said Connecticut's requirements are much less intrusive than those in nearby states like Massachusetts and New York.
First of all, this is a bold faced lie. They have not been trying to strike a balance! They have been coercing parents and bullying them into compliance with demands that parents are not legally required to comply with. The Department of Education has been directing and encouraging school officials to coerce and harass parents and report parents to DCF - that isn't striking a balance! That is the heavy hand of government threatening parents with taking their children away from them and then filing false claims of abuse and neglect because the DOE and school officials want control - and it is total and utter abuse of authority!

Their above statement from the DOE is also a tired and incorrect statement. No one here really cares what Massachusetts or New York does, we are concerned here with OUR liberties and rights and our laws here in CT. If Massachusetts or New York wants to be heavy handed and controlling then that is what their citizens have to deal with. I say to Mr. Murphy and the DOE, if Massachusetts and New York wanted to jump off a bridge would we do the same? The argument of what other states do is irrelevant here. How can he and the DOE justify the mistreatment and harassment of these parents? These parents have done nothing wrong! Why are schools keeping children on enrollment lists after being specifically instructed by parents to disenroll their child? Who ever said that parents need get approval from the school regarding the parents decision to disenroll their child?

The responsibility of local school systems is not at all what this article has stated. The Department of Education and school administrators are under the false notion that it is their "obligation under the law to educate all children" Actually our State Constitution - does not say that at all! What the state is mandated to do, as was brought out by the Sheff vs. O'Neill lawsuit, was that the state must provide an equal opportunity to receive an adequate education. That's it. Additionally, the state has nothing whatsoever to do with educating all children... only those enrolled in their system. And parents have always had the right to disenroll their children from that system without question. In the words of Governor Rick Perry of Texas, "Every child is entitled to a public education, but public education is not entitled to every child" (Jan. 26, 2005)

Another interesting excerpt to this article is the one made by DCF representative Gary Kleeblatt:
For the record, DCF spokesman Gary Kleeblatt said Tuesday his department no longer investigates complaints of educational neglect from local school systems simply because a child is being home-schooled. The agency will, however, send an investigator if there are other issues suspected behind a child being educated at home, such as possible physical abuse or neglect, bullying or behavioral health concerns, Kleeblatt said.
If what he says is true, perhaps he'd like to explain the handful other cases since the beginning of 2008 that have popped up? Things have improved with DCF, but now the school administrators are finding other means to harass parents by claiming "other issues suspected behind a child being educated at home" . These other issues are falsely alleged in order to get parents to comply with their arbitrary demands and an excuse to obtain DCF complicty in the allegation against the parent to try to make them comply. It is interesting to note that they have added "bullying" concerns in the home. Perhaps this is a notice to all families with sibling rivalry going on that we now all better beware! It is interesting to note that since they are doing such a wonderful job managing bullying in schools that they now want to make sure that they can control the bullying that may happen in your home!

Make no mistake, some of these kids that are being pulled out of public school have special needs and health issues that are not being properly addressed by the school. That is why these parents are pulling them out of school and advocating for them and getting them a proper education and resources. We believe that part of the story here may be the school's attempt to hold onto special education money for these children. In one instance a child who is blind was kept in a resource room all day with hardly anything meaningful to do. The parents objected to this type of treatment for their child and decided to remove her from school to home school her. Now they are being persecuted for doing this! It's outrageous!

There are other instances of schools being totally unresponsive to addressing bullying in school. The parents try to work with the school to solve the problems, but are unsuccessful. Forcing the child to go to school to face taunting and bullying, and even violence, makes things even worse. When a child develops anxiety problems and health problems as a result of bullying the parents finally say, "enough". They advocate for their child and pull him out of school. The school responds with bullying and persecuting the parents! The trauma to the family is unimaginable.

We have even seen cases where parents withdrew their child to to go to private school because the child was attending a public school that was contaminated with mold and was making the child sick. When the parents removed the child from school to a private school, to place him in a safe school building, the parents were threatened with a DCF referral!

And on and on and on.

And the State Department of Education has the audacity to defend these situations with the absolutely lame statement above? Sorry, but parents cannot wait for schools to sort out their own problems with their inability to address poor treatment of special needs kids, and other issues like unresponsiveness to bullying, or even providing substandard education or an unsafe educational environment. Parents currently do have the right and have always had the right to remove their children from schools that do not work for their children. It is the parents obligation to provide a safe effective educational environment for their kids and they do not need the approval of an apparently failing system to do so.

This is by far not a case of determining if the child's needs are being met - or if the parents are capable of providing an adequate education. This is absolutely and totally about school control. It is the Department of Education and school officials attempt at eroding parental rights and giving schools the means to usurp parental authority by "granting them permission" to withdraw their children from school.

All one has to do is look at the cases involved. Look at the schools' behavior. Look at why the parents are choosing to part ways with public schools in the first place. Look at what they have been put through. From what we have seen the schools have been more interested in control then what is best for the child.

And you know what is most disturbing? The Department of Education and school officials have been harassing parents who really care about their children's education and well being, instead of those who don't give a whit at all. How is that for irony?

CT Parental Rights: School Withdrawal Bill Hearing Makes The News

The Committee on Children, of the CT Legislature, heard public testimony on S.B. 162, which would codify a parents' right to withdraw their children from public schools, by notifying school officials by certified mail - You can watch the public hearing in it's entirety here. (2 hr 30 min) Deborah Stevenson's testimony begins 43:55, my testimony follows hers.

This has been an issue for parents wishing to homeschool their children, but it is an issue for all parents, as it reinforces their rights to direct where, when, and how their child should be educated. It is not the place of public schools to give approval for parents to withdraw their child from school; rather it is the parent’s decision to withdraw their child which must be respected and adhered to by the school.

Channel 8 News had this video report and written story
By the way - there are no "necessary forms" as claimed by the Department of Education. Their claim is nonsense. The forms they speak of are only part of a guideline and "suggested procedure" and are not necessary at all, nor are they required by law. In fact, the forms they speak of were filled out by some of the parents who testified today! The very same parents who also wrote letters of withdrawal and were reported to DCF anyway!

They made the statement, "The State Board of Education says parents don't always fill out the necessary forms that clear the school of educational responsibility."

In fact, a letter of withdrawal, written by a parent and stating that the parents are withdrawing their child from enrollment, clears the school of any responsibility because if the school does as the parents direct them to do (disenroll their child) then the parents assume the responsibility. It is worth noting that no one from the Department of Education, or DCF, came to the public hearing today to testify either for or against this proposed legislation.

The Hartford Courant posted this a few days ago: Smoothing A Way Out Of School

My thoughts on the hearing on 02/19/08:
I commend Senator Meyer and Representative McMahon for raising this very important parental rights bill, and giving it the public hearing that it deserves and that has been denied by the Education Committee Chairs for the past 3 years! Three state senators and six state representatives from both parties came today to speak in support of this legislation that states that when a parent sends a withdrawal letter to the school that the school must accept it and remove the child from the enrollment lists. There were about 30 parents who spoke about the unbelievable problems that they encountered when trying to withdraw their children from public schools across the state.

The bill with Rep. O'Neill's original language will most likely be voted out of the Children's Committee and head to the Education Committee, where we are hoping that the Chairs, Senator Gaffey and Rep. Fleischmann, will do the right thing for all parents in Connecticut, and reinforce the right of a parent to withdraw their child from school if the parents so choose.

So far, for the past 3 years the Education Committee has failed to address this proposed legislation. This has caused enormous cost and waste of taxpayer money in school litigation, and wasted time by school administrators as well as wasted dollars of DCF resources. Parents have also had to bear the brunt of the costs of litigation, trauma to their families and parents also end up with DCF files that are very hard to expunge. This record follows them as part of background checks routinely done for employment and other similar activities. The Education Committee should not allow this abuse of parents to continue, and it is time they work to pass this legislation.

This bill has notable bipartisan support, support of parents, and constituents, and should be passed through the Education Committee as soon as possible. Senator Gaffey and Rep. Fleischmann need to raise this bill in it's original language and unaltered to a vote in their own committee and ultimately pass the bill unaltered to the Senate for a Senate floor vote and then on to the House floor right on up to the Governors desk.

We have been trying to get a meeting with Senator Gaffey, and so far he has not made the time to meet with the parents in his district regarding this issue. We hope that he will do so soon.

Regarding a different aspect of this bill, we found out today that the original bill proposed by Rep. O'Neill had been reworded and changed by the Legislative Clerk's Office. We still do not understand completely why they thought that they could or should do that, as the change significantly altered the meaning and intent of the language. Thankfully, Senator Meyer and his committee along with Rep. O'Neill agreed that the original language is what will pass out of the Children's Committee and on to the Education Committee. It is language that is simple, straight forward and will codify the rights that parents have always had with regard to withdrawal from public school.

Today's hearing was positive. We are looking forward to a positive result as the bill moves to the Education Committee. We urge parents to contact members of the Education Committee and tell them that this bill must be raised and passed along "as is" as soon as possible.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Am Off To The Capitol In Hartford Today

I'll be testifying in front of the Select Committee On Children regarding SB162
and here is what I will say:


Good Morning, Chairmen Meyer and McMahon, and other respected committee members. My name is Judy Aron and I am the Research Director of National Home Education Legal Defense. I have successfully homeschooled my three children, through K-12. One has graduated from Boston University and currently works in New Haven as a transportation analyst, one is working through his junior year at Wentworth Institute of Technology studying computer networking, and my youngest is 16 and recently made the Dean’s List at Tunxis Community College. I withdrew my oldest two children from public school 11 years ago, without any question to my ability or authority as a parent and with just a letter from me and my husband to their school, and thankfully our family never encountered any problems when we parted ways. It is a shame to me that we now have to have a statute put in place to enforce the rights that parents have already always had in the past, just to insure that schools do not abuse their authority.


I support this legislation if and only if the original language proposed by Representative O’Neill is in place.

You are all very hardworking and engaged legislators and so I think you can appreciate the importance of making sure proposed legislation does what it is intended and carefully crafted to do. Representative O’Neill has worked long and hard with parents to create language that will solve a terrible problem which has been burdening and costly to parents, school systems and DCF alike in the past few years. It makes it very clear how a parent can satisfy their duty to educate their child by withdrawing their child from public school to educate them without harassment and hindrance by public school officials and by stating that what parents must do to withdraw their child is to provide a signed letter of withdrawal to the school district and that the school district must accept the letter and immediately disenroll the child. It is not the place of public schools to give approval for parents to withdraw their child from school; rather it is the parent’s decision to withdraw their child which must be respected and adhered to by the school.

The Department of Education and school administrators are under the false notion that it is their "obligation under the law to educate all children" Actually our State Constitution- does not say that at all! What the state is mandated to do, as was brought out by the Sheff vs. O'Neill lawsuit, was that the state must provide an equal opportunity to receive an adequate education. That's it. Additionally, the state has nothing whatsoever to do with educating all children... only those enrolled in their system. And parents have always had the right to disenroll their children from that system without question. In the words of Governor Rick Perry of Texas, "Every child is entitled to a public education, but public education is not entitled to every child" (Jan. 26, 2005)

With regard to the language of this proposed statute, I implore you to JF this bill as was originally proposed by Rep. O’Neill and to make quite sure that it is not amended or changed or watered down along the way. It is imperative that a parent’s right to disenroll their child not be turned into merely a request that awaits approval from others who are not parents or guardians of the children. Erosion of parental rights in this manner would be a grievous injustice and I believe that is not the result that you all seek here today.

We must not only do this to protect parental rights, but we must do this to end the coercive and heavy handed tactics by schools which end up wasting precious tax dollars on unnecessary litigation, and which also wastes time and resources in the Department of Children and Family with false allegations of educational neglect made by these same schools and administrators. This practice as you will hear causes unnecessary financial burdens and trauma to a family. It needs to stop. You have the power to stop it. Passing this legislation will strengthen a parents right to make a clean cut between a school and their children, so that they can part ways and do what it is their duty to do as parents as outlined by CGS 10-184.

Please amend this bill with the original language as put forth by Rep. O’Neill, and if you cannot do that then I would prefer that this bill be killed now with it’s imperfections and incorrect and damaging language, because this should be done the right way the first time and not create unintended consequences nor should it serve to erode a parent's right to dictate how and when their child should be educated.

Thank you.

Judy Aron

Representative O’Neill’s Original Language:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

That subsection (a) of section 10-220 of the general statutes be amended to provide when a parent or guardian of a child provides by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the principal of the school that the child attends or to the superintendent of the local or regional board of education, written notice originated by and signed by the parent or guardian of a child stating that the parent or guardian is withdrawing the child from enrollment in a public school and will provide instruction for the child as required pursuant to section 10-184 of the general statutes, the principal of the school that the child attends or the local or regional board of education shall accept such notice and shall deem the child withdrawn from enrollment in the public school immediately upon receipt of such notice.

Statement of Purpose:
To allow parents to home school their children and to require the board of education to respect their decision.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Words? Yeah - Just Not Obama's

Stolen words.
Ya gotta love it.

CT Withdrawal Bill - SB162

We've actually found some problems with the wording of this bill - which is NOT the same wording that was originally proposed by Rep. O'Neill

But here is the scoop - Both Senator Meyer and Rep. O'Neill discussed the problem today (Sunday) and apparently they both do not know how the wording of the proposed bill got changed to what it currently reads,(it might have been in the bill clerk's office) but they both support the original language (see below), and so Senator Meyer said that the bill will be amended to state the original language. That is very good news. We will have to see what happens on Tuesday morning and we hope that everyone who planned to come and speak will support the original language and let the committee know that the bill as it currently is worded is unacceptable. Personally, I would like to know how the wording got changed and by whom.

As the bill is currently proposed we would not be supporting it - yes you read that correctly - and I had even pulled my previous post because we were looking into what happened with the original language.

Basically this new statute was not supposed to be a part of 10-184 nor does the current wording as raised by the committee really solve the problems entirely.

Although the new language does require the school district to accept a letter of withdrawal, this new bill, SB 162, in essence, would codify the right of school districts to somehow grant “permission” to the parents to allow them to withdraw their children “if” they “elect” to provide the “required instruction”. Conversely, this bill could be read to prohibit parents from withdrawing their children from school “if” parents do not “elect” to provide the “required instruction.” The bill does not define the term, “required instruction”. This leaves the door wide open to still more of the coercive tactics already used by school officials to prevent parents from withdrawing their children. It does nothing to solve the problem. It only encourages more of the same.

To repeat, this version of the new bill, S.B. 162, would infringe on the already existing right of parents to withdraw their children from public school without the so-called “permission” of the school district.

This is not the bill that Representative O’Neill originally proposed, and it is not the bill that NHELD and other homeschool and parenting groups supported.

The original language and statement of purpose was supposed to be this, and this is what we are supporting:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

That subsection (a) of section 10-220 of the general statutes be amended to provide when a parent or guardian of a child provides by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the principal of the school that the child attends or to the superintendent of the local or regional board of education, written notice originated by and signed by the parent or guardian of a child stating that the parent or guardian is withdrawing the child from enrollment in a public school and will provide instruction for the child as required pursuant to section 10-184 of the general statutes, the principal of the school that the child attends or the local or regional board of education shall accept such notice and shall deem the child withdrawn from enrollment in the public school immediately upon receipt of such notice.

Statement of Purpose:
To allow parents to home school their children and to require the board of education to respect their decision.

Now, the bill was raised on Feb.6, but the text wasn't made available to us until late Thursday afternoon Feb. 14, and we didn't catch the error of current wording until Saturday, Feb 16.

Thanks go to Ned Vare, Deborah Stevenson and Rep. O'Neill and Senator Meyer for spending part of their Sunday to try to get this issue resolved. We are happy to report that Rep. O'Neill and Senator Meyer are in agreement that the original language and change to 10-220 should be as originally intended and that steps will be made to make it so.

Many parents from school districts throughout the state have the opportunity now to attend this hearing and tell their stories of how they were abused by their school districts and either threatened or falsely reported to DCF. All of the families that have had to deal with these DCF reports, and that Attorney Deborah Stevenson of National Home Education Legal Defense (NHELD) has dealt with, subsequently were either reversed or withdrawn, but only after the families had to go through tremendous anxiety and costly litigation. Government abuse of authority is becoming more prevalent, and the government should not be allowed to threaten parents with loss of custody of their children simply when parents choose to do what they are allowed by law (CGS 10-184) to do, namely be in charge of their children's education.

This piece of legislation will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary litigation for school districts and parents, and will also save hundreds of thousands of dollars in costly and unwarranted DCF investigations.

If you are interested in testifying in support of this bill here is a good video to watch about how to testify if you haven't done it before.

Sign up to testify is at 8:00 am in the Legislative Office Building in Room 2B. The Committee is requesting that you bring 50 copies of your testimony.

The Select Committee on Children, will have a public hearing on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. in Room 2B of the Legislative Office Building. I urge all parents, and those interested in preserving a parents right to withdraw their child from public school, to attend this important public hearing, and Deborah Stevenson will have more information to give to all parents who attend before the hearing. We'll keep you all posted.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Parody Music For Saturday

I got a giggle out of this Weird Al parody - The Rye or the Kaiser.
My apologies to all of you out there with gluten and wheat allergies and sensitivities - I happen to have a wheat sensitivity myself and maybe that is why I was drawn to this video (I miss a good kaiser roll every now and then and sometimes I just have to cheat).

You can see the original version of the song "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor or the movie version popularized by Sly Stallone and Rocky 3

Thursday, February 14, 2008

You Too Can Be A Legislative Watchdog

Wanna keep up on what the boys and girls are doing up there in Hartford from now till May 7th? It is actually nice that our government here makes it easy for us to track how they raise our taxes and institute more regulation.

The Connecticut General Assemby website offers a feature called Bill Tracking, and you can get to it by going to their home page and clicking on the upper right hand corner tab that says Bill Tracking or you can simply bookmark the link.

If you have never used this feature before then you have to establish yourself by giving an email ID and your first name and last name and a password.. Once you are in, you can have bill status information automatically sent to your email. You can track bills by committee, or by specific bill, or by specific legislators.

With this feature you can keep track of your legislators and what they are or aren't doing; you can track the status of bills and you can keep on top of what committees are doing. There are also features that allow you to read the transcripts of public hearings and check on the legislative voting records of our elected officials.

If you don't live in CT, you should investigate your own General Assembly's website and see what kind of bill tracking features are offered. It's a great way to keep informed and have a better idea of how the laws we live by are made.

Of course, there's the old joke that says that anyone who likes sausages or laws should not watch either of them being made.

Happy Valentines Day!

Roses are red

Violets are blue

COTG is happy and thankful

To have readers like you!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Great National Nightmare Is Over!

Yes - The Writers will be heading back to work!

The Writers Guild has reached an agreement and we can now look forward to more episodes of The Office and Lost and whatever your favorite shows are. No longer will we be subjected to re-runs and old episodes of Andy Griffith or Dharma and Greg. We can cease reading books and speaking with our families - because now we will have new TV shows to watch! Heck, we can even stop watching cable TV "news" and their ad nauseum analysis of why Hillary is failing to stop Obamamania.

Glory Be!

(Has it really been three months? - I honestly couldn't have cared less, from the standpoint that I don't watch much TV anyway - but I'll admit my favorites are Monk and Psych)

Parental Rights Amendment

The Homeschool community has had much debate and discussion about the proposed Parental Rights Amendment being pushed by Michael Farris and HSLDA as a way to protect parents, specifically homeschoolers, from the encroachment of United Nations initiatives to dictate how children should be raised - that being in the form of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and issues stemming from problems parents and homeschoolers have had in the EU. As far as I am concerned, both the PRA and the CRC are horrible pieces of legislation. Both should be avoided entirely. Thankfully, the US has not yet ratified participation in the CRC, and I hope that we never do. These treaties do nothing more then erode our sovereignty.

The issue has been discussed in a bulletin put out by National Home Education Legal Defense (of which I serve as Research Director). NHELD has also put out a series of three bulletins which discusses the UN Convention. ( #54, #55, #56 )

Essentially the Parental Rights Amendment to the US Constitution would say this:
Section 1. The God-given right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right which may not be abridged by the United States or any state.

Section 2. The balancing test applicable to other fundamental rights may be used to balance a claim of parental rights provided that the government establishes its interest by proper evidence in each case.
Sounds good right? Well, not entirely, as the bulletin by NHELD points out.
While NHELD abhors any action by those in power to allow the United Nations or any international entity to install its authority above our United States Constitution, NHELD does not believe that the way to stop that encroachment on parental rights is by a constitutional amendment.

Reading the Constitution as it is written, the Constitution grants to the federal government limited, enumerated powers. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution specifies that all powers not so specifically enumerated as granted to the federal government, remain powers of the people and of the states.

Education is not an enumerated power granted to the federal government.(even though they act like it is!)

The ability to regulate the rights of parents is not an enumerated power granted to the federal government.

Those are powers that remain powers of the people and of the states.

Making the “rights of parents” fundamental rights in the U.S. Constitution raises those rights to the federal level. The federal government then is better able to assume a power to regulate those rights. The Supreme Court already has “interpreted” the right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children as something that can be regulated by government. Up until now, however, the courts have said that it is up to the States to regulate that right. With a constitutional amendment, the road is cleared for the courts to say that the federal government also has the right to regulate.

It is far easier to affect legislation on a state and local level than it is to affect legislation on the federal level. Some states even have elected judges so that if the state courts interpret a state regulation in a manner opposed by the people, the people can elect new judges that may “interpret” the regulations differently. Federal judges are appointed, and they are appointed for life.

Yes, we, as parents and as Americans, are facing a battle. Yes, we must fight that battle. Let’s fight the battle where we can be most effective. Let’s keep the power in the states. Let’s encourage each of our legislators to uphold the Constitution as it is. Let’s educate our government officials and our neighbors about how all of our rights are threatened by the United Nations and international law. Let’s encourage our legislators to appoint federal judges who will not use international law as a basis to decide any court cases. Let’s educate Congress that we will not tolerate anyone disregarding their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution. Let’s not give the federal government any more ammunition to wrest power from the people. Let’s work to inform other parents about these issues, and embolden them to stop Congress, and the President, from abusing their power whenever they fail to protect and to defend the Constitution.

We need to put a halt to the federalization of parenting as well as the federalization of homeschooling. Advocating for this Parental Rights Amendment is not the way to go to solve this problem.

A Nation Of Sheep

I'll be buying and reading this book very soon:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Beware - Don't Buy Your Honey Old Candy

A box of fresh chocolates - YUM

Caveat Emptor
But - File this under ......eeeewwwww!
"It's something that should be glorious. It should have a luster to it. It should crack slightly when you bite it," said Brian Buckley of Manhattan's Institute of Culinary Education.

CBS 2 HD did its own investigation, purchasing six bags of Valentine's Day treats at stores around New York City. Of those six bags, five were inedible.

From the finest of truffles to candy bought in bulk, most of these products were expired and showed signs of improper storage, like melting and reshaping. Some of the chocolates had white dots or streaks, called a "bloom," which means the chocolate is stale.

"I would not eat that and I would not advise anybody to. It's just disgusting," Buckley said after seeing the results.

And though you won't get food poisoning, the rotten chocolate just may upset your stomach and certainly a romantic evening.

"It's not saying 'I love you,' it's saying, 'Oops!'" Buckley said.

Buckley was shocked that store shelves could be stacked with so much bad chocolate just days before the sweetest of holidays.
Really old, stale and even worm infested Valentine's day candy is being found in some stores. So make sure you check to see how fresh the chocolates are that you buy for that special person this week on Valentine's Day.

That box of Russell Stover's might just be older than old Russ himself! It is a known fact that giving a box of rotten candy will not inspire romance (unless you are Morticia Addams).