Saturday, May 31, 2008

Parody Music For Saturday - Animaniacs Macademia



Oh, I always loved Animaniacs, I used to watch it with my kids.
But here is the original version of the Macarena from Los Del Rio (1995).
It's so catchy. I'll bet it'll be in your head all day. LOL.

It's even on Wiki! complete with dance directions. LOL. And if you are interested here are the lyrics.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Another Preacher Gone Wild

More theatrics from Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
The Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Chicago activist, also apologized for last Sunday's sermon at Obama's church, in which he said Clinton's eyes welled with tears before the New Hampshire primary because she felt "entitled" to the Democratic nomination and because "there's a black man stealing my show."
Does this kind of speech really even belong in a House of God?



Well, I can agree that Hillary seems to portray this sense of "entitlement" but I think that would be the case if her opponent was any gender or any color. Her opponent could be green and from Mars and she'd still want this presidency as bad. To make a race issue out of this was just plain ludicrous.

It seems to me that the some of these same people that speak out against racial divisions are the same ones that tend to promote and inflame them. It even looks to me like these guys are setting this country up for some serious race riots if Obama doesn't get elected in November. So you have to wonder, don't both candidates now look like they feel entitled to this presidency?

I tend to think these guys are just trying to get their 15 minutes (or more) of fame. I mean, who even knew of this Pfleger guy before yesterday? It is pretty disingenuous for these types of media mongers to go off on a rant and then think they can just apologize afterwards. Its also getting pretty tiresome.

Do you suppose there is something in the water at Obama's church?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Beware Of Gasoline Thieves


This article was brought to my attention and I thought I'd share it.

Gas prices are soaring. That is an opportunity for crime.

While there are no national statistics yet regarding the tracking gas thefts, police across the country say they’re investigating more reports than ever before. It isn't only gasoline delivery truck drivers or gas station pumps being ripped off in the middle of the night, but people pulling up at the pumps are being targeted by thieves as well. Cars that are parked might get hit by thieves who look to siphon gas from the vehicle. It now makes sense to protect your gas supply with a locking gas cap -
Many newer cars have locked gas caps, and if yours doesn’t, “you should consider investing the $10 in a good-quality locking gas cap,” said Sgt. Dave Bursten of the Indiana State Police.
Here are some other suggestions to help you stay safe and to protect your gasoline.

Police suggest taking the following steps to keep your car safe:
— Park in a locked garage.
— If you park on the street, position your vehicle under street lighting.
— When away from home, park in well-lighted and well-traveled areas.
Avoid parking in public lots for long periods of time.
— Avoid parking where your fuel door would be obscured by heavy landscaping, isolated corners or high walls.
— Consider buying a locking gas cap.
Contact police if you see any suspicious behavior around unattended parked vehicles.

Of course, although I don't recommend this, here is another man's tactic in the form of a sign on his vehicle:


(H/T Kathy KW)

Middle Class Families Living In Cars And Showing Up At Foodbanks


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours. - Harry S. Truman

There is an economic crisis in this country, and it is quietly growing.
It is being reported that once regarded as "Middle Class" people are becoming homeless and reduced to living in their cars and visiting local food banks.

These are working people who have reached their breaking point as a result of higher fuel and food prices, higher taxes, and a dollar value that is sinking.

One might say that they were probably living beyond their means - or that they were flirting with a personal fiscal crisis for awhile - or maybe existing just living paycheck to paycheck and racking up credit card debt along the way - or perhaps they haven't done a good job managing their finances. Who knows. The stories and circumstances are varied, but what is apparent is that each have reached some sort of tipping point.

Interestingly enough our idea of poverty in this country is a bit elevated from what real poverty is across the globe. Poor people in this country still have cell phones and cable TV. Poor people in other countries have nothing. Usually they do not even have government help or the opportunity to elevate themselves out of that poverty. I'd say we are darn fortunate here.

But the issue in America regarding this slide of folks down from Middle Class to living in their car is that this seems to be beginning to happen to more and more people. That should be a red flag to all of us.

Some would say - but wait a minute, our economy is doing well.. we have low unemployment - we have strong global growth boosting U.S. exports - there is job growth.... however we are facing enormous struggles with the housing market and increasing foreclosures. Some say we are already in a recession. I'll bet the folks living on the brink or even living in their car would agree.

The question is what would it take to cause you to go to a local food pantry or live in your car?
(On a lighter note Homeschoolers need not answer that last part of that question - we already know how many hours you spend in your car ... smile)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Obama - Don't Know Much About History....

After Obama's gaffe about the 57 states he comes out with this beauty - a recollection of his uncle in the US military liberating Auschwitz. And he said it in such a thoughtful and sincere way ....


Of course we know the US forces did not liberate Auschwitz, the Russians did.

Poor guy can't even get his own family history right - And now they are saying that what he meant was that his great uncle helped liberate Buchenwald.

Here is his campaign's statement:
"Senator Obama's family is proud of the service of his grandfather and uncles in World War II _ especially the fact that his great uncle was a part of liberating one of the concentration camps at Buchenwald. Yesterday he mistakenly referred to Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald in telling of his personal experience of a soldier in his family who served heroically."
Whatever.
But for a presidential "wanna be" who gets facts wrong about something as big as the Holocaust and it's death camps, I have to wonder. I had family that perished there. I have family who survived. The facts are important. Using this story as a way to earn brownie points with the voters is just plain shameful.

What is with these presidential candidates?

I am so tired of their theatrics and drama. What's worse is that because the media loves this guy they give him a royal pass on these types of "mistakes", but when any other candidate says something dumb they make an enormous issue out of it.

This presidential race is such a disgrace.
The whole world is laughing and that makes me so very sad.
Surely we could do much better than this.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mars!


Wow - as we start to get pictures back from Mars and begin some new exploration of soil and other environmental aspects of the Red Planet I can't help but think of the tremendous asset this type of exploration means to our ever growing base of knowledge about the universe.
After a flawless descent and touchdown, the probe provided the first glimpse of the planet's polar regions - an icy, flat and barren landscape dotted with small rocks and marked by polygonal patterns similar to those seen in arctic areas of Earth.

Delighted mission controllers said the photographs suggested the probe had touched down on what appeared to be an ideal spot to begin its three-month quest to discover whether the planet's arctic plains could once have been habitable.

The probe is now checking onboard instruments after is nine-month, 422 million mile journey before digging down in search for life-supporting chemicals in the planet's permafrost.
Another interesting thing about this mission is that while the Phoenix Mars lander is on the planet's surface there is also another probe orbiting the planet (NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) which has taken pictures from above of the Phoenix on the ground. NASA's Phoenix The Mars Lander can be seen parachuting down to Mars, in this image below captured by the high-resolution camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
That is so cool.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

The New York Times featured this this article.

Find out more about the Phoenix project at NASA's website

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Some Thoughts For Memorial Day



We should take this time to remember those who have fallen to preserve our liberty and sovereignty, and the best way to honor them is to continue to be vigilant and protect our freedoms and rights from those who would take them from us both from within as well as from outside of our borders.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." -- Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

"But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government." -- Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837

The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth.- Thomas J. Jackson

We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. - Edward R. Murrow

More great quotes are here.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Parody Music For Saturday - More Al Gore Global Warming



That's another ditty from Paul Shanklin...here is the original and more uplifting version, "What A Wonderful World" done by Satchmo - Louis Armstrong (I just love that song)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Maxine Waters - Self Proclaimed Congressional Socialist

"This Liberal will be all about Socializing..... Government running all of your companies" - Maxine Waters (D) California



Congressional Socialists/Liberals have done everything to prevent the cultivation of new sources of oil and energy for this country - Why? So they can usher in government control of business in the name of "helping the American people". Their inaction and absurd policies have hurt all of us - and you can bet that pretty soon we will be seeing $5 or more a gallon of gas.

In my estimation the Republicans have been no better, because they have failed to honestly promote and pass legislation that would work to aggressively help develop alternative energy sources.

Are oil companies reaping loads of profits.. yes .. but they also have to contend with massive regulations and restrictions too.
Should they be able to reap such huge profits? perhaps yes - that is the essence of capitalism. But by the same token a true market economy would keep that in check. Real competition would mean that people would be able to buy from whoever offers the cheaper price.

The fact of the matter is that we need more sources of energy to be developed because scarcity will definitely drive up prices and if other emerging and developing countries are now demanding more oil and gas then we have more competition for those resources.

I don't agree with "using less" as being the only way out of this energy morass. Using less means restricting our activities and slowing productivity. Environmentalism and wise use of resources is a good thing - but "extreme environmentalism" is stifling and counterproductive to our economy. We need a balance and we need a palette of energy choices. Between solar, wind, geo-thermal, nuclear, hydropower, biofuels, natural gas, fossil fuels and hydrogen energy we have the potential to create a huge portfolio of methods and sources to be used by everyone to create as much energy as we need and want and when we want it. What we need is to get government out of the way so that innovation and business can get it done.

The time for alternate energy sources to be developed is now - the time for open markets and more competition is now. The answer is NOT a socialized or nationalized economy or government takeover of business...because that gives us already proven failed economic programs and models.

Interestingly enough, even the esteemed Ted Kennedy wouldn't allow wind power to be generated near his home. So much for the Liberals who would like us to believe they hunger for alternate forms of energy production.

Who Died And Made You King?


Honestly - The United States is supposed to be a Democracy, or technically a Constitutional Republic, so where does Ted Kennedy come off telling people he wants his wife to take his Senate seat? The notion of dynastic rule was what this country was formed to escape from. Our founders had it with Kings and rulers who ruled by birthright.

That shows how little respect Kennedy has for the voting process that he feels he can "bequeath" what he says is "his seat" to someone of his own choosing. And gee whiz, people are already commenting that in this "handing over of power" he is bypassing his late brother Robert Kennedy's eldest son, Joe, a former congressman. But the point is, this seat is not "his" to give away!

Ok, so the guys got brain cancer, but this doesn't give him the automatic right to say who takes his seat when it is vacated. That should entirely be left up to the voters of Massachusetts, who it seems have not had the will or desire to depose the Kennedy clan of this seat over the years. That in and of itself is kind of unsettling. Kennedy won the seat in 1962; his brother John held it from 1953 to 1960.

The news article says:
Under current Massachusetts law, his successor for the rest of his term, which ends in 2012, would be picked by special election. State rules that allowed the governor to pick a temporary replacement were changed in 2004 when John Kerry was the presidential nominee and the Democratic state legislature feared then-GOP Gov. Mitt Romney would appoint a fellow Republican if Kerry won.


Political pros, however, say a dying Kennedy's endorsement of Vicki would likely carry enormous weight with state voters.
If the Republicans can get a decent candidate to run against Miss Vicki (no, not the one of Tiny Tim fame) or any other Democrat for that matter - and run entirely on the issues instead of allowing Miss Vicki some bizarre rights of succession, then they ought to do so.

I find these notions of dynastic succession repugnant, and that includes the Bush-Clinton flavor of dynastic entitlement.

America ought to stop voting like some sort of perverse loyal serfdom or they will continue to be treated like serfdom.


Just as a review - (from Wiki)
Forms of Government:
Direct democracy
Representative democracy
Military dictatorship
Absolute monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Empire
Mixed government
Constitutional republic
Parliamentary republic
Socialist republic
Capitalist republic

The natural cure for an ill-administration, in a popular or representative constitution, is a change of men.
Reference: The Federalist
Alexander Hamilton
1787 - Federalist No. 21


Thursday, May 22, 2008

This Just In: Polygamists' Rights Were Violated


Court: Texas had no right to take polygamists' kids
SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) -- A state appellate court has ruled that child welfare officials had no right to seize more than 400 children living at a polygamist sect's ranch.

The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that the grounds for removing the children were "legally and factually insufficient" under Texas law. They did not immediately order the return of the children.

Child welfare officials removed the children on the grounds that the sect pushed underage girls into marriage and sex and trained boys to become future perpetrators.

The appellate court ruled the chaotic hearing held last month did not demonstrate the children were in any immediate danger, the only measure of taking children from their homes without court proceedings.
For whatever you might think of the lifestyle of these people (and I absolutely do not condone what is believed to be some of their practices) we still do have some due process laws in this country which cannot and should not be ignored, and apparently many of these families' rights have been violated.

The wholesale round-up of hundreds of people from this compound is just astonishing, especially as it came about from a mysterious phone call by a person that has yet to be identified.

The fact of the matter is that this raid was accomplished in a very bizarre manner. I guess it's a good thing the place wasn't torched like WACO, so maybe government agents are slowly learning. In any case this court's ruling is very interesting, and what is also interesting is that they did not mandate the return of the kids to their families.

I also found this article from the Salt Lake Tribune to be very interesting:
Children living in crowded quarters that led to upper respiratory illnesses. Youngsters plagued with diarrhea from unhealthy foods they usually did not eat. Distressed mothers enduring widespread rudeness - such as flashlights shined in their faces as they tried to sleep.
Mental health professionals who helped care for FLDS women and children in the weeks after an April raid on the YFZ Ranch describe conditions and treatment they perceived as harsh and unnecessary.
"Never in all my life, and I am one of the older ladies, have I been so ashamed of being a Texan and seeing what and how our government agencies treat people," wrote one employee of Hill Country Community Mental Health and Mental...
"The floor was literally slick with tears..."
Suffice it to say that parents have said they were lied to by DCF workers, and that Foster care has not been an optimal solution for many of these kids who have been raised completely differently from what most American kids experience. The whole thing is very sad and I feel badly for these kids most of all. They are scared, confused, and being subjected to totally foreign culture and food and this has got to be an incredible trauma for them overall, maybe even more so then the alleged abuse they were rescued from. We'll never know... but one thing is for certain the lawsuits will probably go on for a long long time.

I find it interesting to see the legal and moral conflicts between religious freedom, child safety, personal rights, government intervention, constitutional rights, law enforcement and parental rights in this matter.

The Democrat Convention - The Lunatic Left RFP


Oh my goodness - green lunacy at its best. The Eco-fanatics are at it again in planning for the The Democrat National Nominating Convention on Aug. 25-28 which will bring about 50,000 people to Denver.

This article in the Denver Post just cracked me up:
Fried foods are forbidden at the committee's 22 or so events, as is liquid served in individual plastic containers. Plates must be reusable, like china, recyclable or compostable. The food should be local, organic or both.

And caterers must provide foods in "at least three of the following five colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple, and white,"
...

Caterers praise the committee and the city for their green ambitions, but some say they're baffled by parts of the RFP.

"I think it's a great idea for our community and our environment. The question is, how practical is it?" asks Nick Agro, the owner of Whirled Peas Catering in Commerce City. "We all want to source locally, but we're in Colorado. The growing season is short. It's dry here. And I question the feasibility of that."
For the Democrats, who are of course the "party of the people" (i.e. the poor and down-trodden) it looks like this is going to cost a bundle to pull off. Everyone knows that using organic and local products hikes the costs. I wonder how many people taking advantage of the Left's expansive social programs will actually be able to afford to go to the convention. Perhaps they'll be looking for government grants for their travel expenses. But I digress...

They say that this strict green agenda is likely to live on after the last piece of confetti is dropped (oh... perhaps they won't be doing that... and aren't helium balloons destructive to the environment as well?) because they are creating a brochure that "the city will distribute widely to help guide local businesses interested in improving their green practices".

But is the DNC really being green?
Joanne Katz, owner of Three Tomatoes Catering in Denver, cheers the committee's environmental aspirations and is eager to get involved with the convention, but she wonders if some of the choices the committee is making are really green.

Compostable products, such as forks and knives made from corn starch, are often imported from Asia, delivered to the U.S. in fuel-consuming ships. But some U.S. products are made from recyclable pressed paper. Which decision is more environmentally sound?
Decisions, decisions.

Oh and the footprint - don't forget the carbon footprint....
The committee is working with other groups to develop a carbon-footprint "calculator" that will measure the environmental impact of each event and suggest an "offset" — a fee — that will go toward a fund helping to match carbon losses with carbon gains.

"That's a fun one," Burnap says. "If these event planners will calculate and offset, it will start to get the money flowing into the Colorado Carbon Fund, a fund that will reinvest in renewable energy here in Colorado."
One commenter on the Denver Post article said this:
"Al Gore, having just landed in a private jet after hopping the world making millions lecturing the common man on how to live, was lounging by his heated swimming pool in his 20,000 SF house and could not be reached for comment.

Rumor has it he was eating blue food."
LOL - It certainly would be much more down to Earth if they just planned something simple and low cost. What they are spending and what they are spending it on should give the American people pause to see that how they plan this convention is most likely how they will run this country.

Better yet - they might as well call off the whole convention - we all know who the nominee will be .. Time magazine already told us all last week. Do they really need a huge costly eco-friendly extravaganza to reiterate what the media has already told us?

Just how many eco-conscious liberals will be flying in and out of Denver burning millions of gallons of fuel to get there to participate in the Obama Clinton slug fest? As for their recycling efforts...they will certainly have enough recycled party hacks on hand.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

CT - David Aron Begins Campaign For State House Seat



I couldn't be more excited and proud.

The Hamden Daily News (online) reported this today:
David Aron doesn’t let the stats get in his way. Such as he’s one of about 4,000 registered Republicans in Hamden versus about 14,000 Democrats. Such as he just moved to town about 18 months ago and is not very well known. Such as he’s just 24 and has never run for local or any office, before.

No, Aron, a home-schooled Jewish boy from West Hartford, said he intends to steal the 91st House District seat from eight-term Democratic state Rep. Peter Villano this November, regardless. Villano could not be reached for comment but is expected to run again this year.

“This is a campaign about ideas and what is the best representation for Hamden,” said Aron, a traffic analyst for Wilbur Smith Associates in downtown New Haven. “It’s not about Republican or Democrat. It’s about who has the best ideas.” He was elected to the Hamden Republican Town Committee in January.

Aron’s ideas

Reforming public-education funding is at the top of the hopeful’s to-do-in-Hartford list. He talked about finding alternative funding sources and creating more state charter schools, which are less costly to run than their mainstream counterparts.

The spiciest piece of Aron’s education funding reform plan is allowing high-achieving students to graduate a year early.

“That could save the town millions. What I would propose is giving them [early grads] a $5,000 scholarship to attend a Connecticut college,” he said. The town and state would split the bill.

The millions in savings for Hamden (and the other 168) are realized, he said, by graduating the top 15 percent of the class after their junior year. It costs roughly $11,000 a year to teach a Hamden student.

Like a good Republican, Aron said he’d also campaign on lowering taxes.

“One thing I’m going to do is go through the state budget and look at programs that can be funded with user fees,” said the candidate, who filed his registration papers with the State Election Enforcement Commission yesterday. “Or if [programs are] not working we can eliminate or merge them. It’s one thing to say lower taxes. We need to look at what we can cut.”

About Aron

He described an intellectually stimulating childhood with “opinionated” Republican parents always on the pulse of things.

“My family was always talking about what was going on,” said Aron. “We’re very opinionated. I’d almost say we’re Republican Libertarians. We believe in individual freedom and that government should be small. I have mixed feelings about Bush.”

His parents pulled him out of public school after seventh grade and brought him home to learn, straight through 12th grade. Aron said public school wasn't academically challenging and his parents couldn’t afford private school.

“There was a lot of time wasted in the class on discipline,” he said.

Actually, Aron said he taught himself. His parents gave him books and he read. When he reached high-school age, he said he took classes at the University of Hartford and Trinity College. During this time, he got his first real taste of politics as a legislative aide to former Republican state Rep. Bob Farr of West Hartford.

Aron went to Boston University where he scored a degree in political science. Fresh out of college, he was hired as a traffic analyst in Cape Cod. On Sundays, he moonlighted as a Hebrew school teacher at Cape Cod Synagogue.

About a year and a half ago, Aron moved into the Madison Manor on Hamden’s Dixwell Avenue. He’s single. He’s young. And he’s hungry.

“This election is going to be won on the ground, door to door and hand to hand,” he said. “I have a lot of energy. I have a lot of drive. I’m committed to this.”
I hope that you'll join me in supporting David's campaign. He'd be a tremendous asset to the CT legislature and will do a wonderful job representing Hamden.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs Potentially Hazardous When Broken


Can going green be hazardous to your health?
Energy efficient compact flourescent lightbulbs (CFL's) have mercury in them. The Environmental Protection Agency has put out specific procedures to be used when handling bulbs that have broken:

What to Do if a Fluorescent Light Bulb Breaks

Fluorescent light bulbs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. EPA recommends the following clean-up and disposal guidelines:

  1. Open a window and leave the room (restrict access) for at least 15 minutes.

  2. Remove all materials you can without using a vacuum cleaner.

    • Wear disposable rubber gloves, if available (do not use your bare hands).

    • Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard.

    • Wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel or disposable wet wipe.

    • Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces and powder.

  3. Place all cleanup materials in a plastic bag and seal it.

    • If your state permits you to put used or broken fluorescent light bulbs in the garbage, seal the bulb in two plastic bags and put into the outside trash (if no other disposal or recycling options are available).

    • Wash your hands after disposing of the bag.

  4. The first time you vacuum the area where the bulb was broken, remove the vacuum bag once done cleaning the area (or empty and wipe the canister) and put the bag and/or vacuum debris, as well as the cleaning materials, in two sealed plastic bags in the outdoor trash or protected outdoor location for normal disposal.

There are also concerns about them showing up in landfills... so one might be careful when disposing of them as well and here are the EPA guidelines for disposing of mercury containing lightbulbs.

NPR had a good piece about CFL's and their hazards. Aside from CFL's showing up in landfills, the article says that there are concerns that sanitation workers may be exposed to mercury if trash contains broken CFL bulbs.
the companies and federal government haven't come up with effective ways to get Americans to recycle them.

"The problem with the bulbs is that they'll break before they get to the landfill. They'll break in containers, or they'll break in a dumpster or they'll break in the trucks. Workers may be exposed to very high levels of mercury when that happens,"
In this recent article on MSNBC News - they state:
The amount [of mercury in a CFL bulb] is tiny — about 5 milligrams, or barely enough to cover the tip of a pen — but that is enough to contaminate up to 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels, extrapolated from Stanford University research on mercury. Even the latest lamps promoted as “low-mercury” can contaminate more than 1,000 gallons of water beyond safe levels.
It will be interesting to see if mercury contamination of soil and water or in landfills rises in about 5-7 years when these CFL's start showing up in higher numbers in the trash and in our environment.

Sometimes technology gives us new problems as it attempts to solve current problems.
As for me, I'm sticking to incandescents and just being frugal with the light switch in general. I very rarely have to replace light bulbs in my house as it is.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Public Service - Find The Least Expensive Gasoline Near You


Because your time is valuable, I'd like to help you in your quest to economize. Here's a nifty little web page. Just enter your zip code on this site, and it tells you which gas stations have the cheapest prices (and the highest) on gas in your zip code area. It's updated every evening. You will see a map of your area and then scroll down and you will get a listing of gas prices in your area with addresses and brands starting with the cheapest and going up.

Here is also an interesting website - Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update

AAA also has average prices by state

And here is a list of Cheapest gas prices in CT of course if you live near the Massachusetts border you can pay about 15-20 cents less and avoid the higher CT gas tax.

Dipping Into The Onion - Are Politicians Failing Lobbyists?



"If you make a deal you make a deal!" LOL

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Obama Visits 57 States



Gosh these folks need a vacation already.
Sort of the presidential nominee version of "If It's Tuesday It Must be Belgium" - that was a good movie.
Looks like he's already visited the state of confusion.

Unless it was some sort of Freudian slip:
Did you know - There are 57 Islamic states - that is, 57 member states in the OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference)
"The primary goals of the OIC are, according to its Status, "to promote solidarity among all Islamic member states." The flag of the OIC is green with upward-facing red crescent enveloped in a white disc. On the disc the words "Allahu Akbar" are written in modern Arabic."

Nah - that can't be it.
The guy is just badly in need of time off.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Parody Music For Saturday - Be Our Guestworker



Oh that John McCain....

Paul Shanklin brought us that parody of the Disney song from Beauty and the Beast, "Be Our Guest"
Here is the original.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Federalist Society Sponsoring A Debate!


The Connecticut Lawyers chapter of the

The Federalist Society
For Law & Public Policy Studies

invites you to a debate on

A Right of Initiative and Referendum: Right for Connecticut?

As required by the state Constitution (Art. 13, sec. 2), this November Connecticut voters will vote whether to hold a convention to amend the Constitution. A potential amendment now being discussed is whether add a right of initiative and referendum, to provide voters with a direct voice in making laws, or rejecting laws enacted through the state legislature. In about half the states in the country, voters have initiative and/or referendum authority.

Should Connecticut join them?

Moderator:

Prof. Richard S. Kay
University of Connecticut School of Law

Speakers:

Hon. Robert Satter
Connecticut Superior Court
Former State Representative

Susan Kniep
President, Federation of Connecticut Taxpayer Organizations
Former Mayor of East Hartford

Atty. John Woodcock III
Adjunct Professor, Political Science
Central Connecticut State Univ.
Former State Representative
Former Member, State Ethics Commission

When: Tuesday, June 3, 2008, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Where: State Capitol, Hartford – Old Judiciary Room (3rd floor, east side) (directions and parking info below)

Free and open to the public.
A complimentary lunch will be served.

RSVP: Brian Freeman, (860) 275-8310, bfreeman@rc.com

******************

Directions and parking info:

State Capitol, 210 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/drivingdirections.asp

Parking is available in lot behind the State Capitol Building, accessible from Trinity Street, or in the Legislative Office Building (LOB), 300 Capitol Avenue, parking garage. Take first right after the LOB and proceed straight until the driveway turns to the right. Take a right to enter the garage and park in a visitor’s spot.

CT Legislature - Heroes For 2008 - Supporting Parental Rights


When it comes to upholding parental rights, there are some very good people who hold elected office in the CT State legislature.
These are our children's heroes.


These are the people who showed our children that the people's voices do matter, and they demonstrated that they truly represent their constituents instead of ignoring them and creating more problems. These were the legislators that answered our phone calls and emails and agreed to meet with parents. Some of them came out to forums held in or near their districts last fall. These are the legislators who took the time to really listen and understand the problems and refused compromises on parental rights. They refused to blindly do the bidding of education lawyers and agents of special interests. They helped us. They represented us. They worked for us. They did so largely in a bi-partisan manner. Their aides deserve out thanks as well.

These legislators went on record as saying that they would support the original language for SB162 - Parental Rights Bill - which would have amended 10-220 (Duties of Boards of Education) and require that when a parent sends a letter of withdrawal to the school that the school must accept it and disenroll their child. They wanted to truly end the abuse of authority that has been going on in the past few years.

And so, we at NHELD would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank them, and all of the parents who assisted us this past year in trying to get legislative approval for SB162, An Act Concerning Withdrawal of Children from Enrollment in Public School, as well as amendments that contained the O'Neill/Children's Committee language. Although it was a valiant effort, sadly, the bill and the language we sought, was not adopted.

Below is listed the supporters of parental rights in CT - They co-sponsored amendments and signed their names onto bills. They deserve praise and thanks for their help and support of Rep. O'Neill's proposed bill - and we thank them all and hope that they will continue to support the effort to end the abuse of authority going that has been allowed to continue. If you are a constituent of theirs - please take the time to send them a note of thanks.

HOUSE

REP. O'NEILL, 69th Dist.
REP. LABRIOLA, 131st Dist.
REP. WITKOS, 17th Dist.
REP. ROWE, 123rd Dist.
REP. FREY, 111th Dist.
REP. GIULIANO, 23rd Dist.
REP. RUWET, 65th Dist.
REP. MILLER, 122nd Dist.
REP. ZALASKI, 81st Dist.
REP. BARTLETT, 2nd Dist.
REP. WILBER, 63rd Dist.
REP. JARMOC, 59th Dist.
REP. KIRKLEY-BEY, 5th Dist.
REP. HEINRICH, 101st Dist.
REP. SCHOFIELD, 16th Dist.
REP. MCMAHON, 15th Dist.
REP. ROY, 119th Dist.
REP. WIDLITZ, 98th Dist.
REP. RITTER, 38th Dist.
REP. HENNESSY, 127th Dist.
REP. CANDELORA, 86th Dist.
REP. HARKINS, 120th Dist.
REP. PISCOPO, 76th Dist.
REP. STRIPP, 135th Dist.
REP. JOHNSTON, 51st Dist.
REP. FAHRBACH, 61st Dist.
REP. MIOLI, 136th Dist.

SENATE


SEN. MCKINNEY, 28th Dist.
SEN. FASANO, 34th Dist.
SEN. RORABACK, 30th Dist.
SEN. CALIGIURI, 16th Dist.
SEN. CAPPIELLO, 24th Dist.
SEN. DEBICELLA, 21st Dist
SEN. FREEDMAN, 26th Dist.
SEN. GUGLIELMO, 35th Dist
SEN. HERLIHY, 8th Dist.
SEN. KANE, 32nd Dist.
SEN. KISSEL, 7th Dist.
SEN. RUSSO, 22nd Dist

Co-Signers to SB162

Sen. Edith G. Prague, 19th Dist.
Rep. Vincent J. Candelora, 86th Dist.
Rep. Arthur J. O'Neill, 69th Dist.
Rep. Pamela Z. Sawyer, 55th Dist.
Rep. Richard F. Ferrari, 62nd Dist.
Rep. Ruth C. Fahrbach, 61st Dist.
Rep. Al Adinolfi, 103rd Dist.
Sen. Robert J. Kane, 32nd Dist.
Rep. Patricia M. Widlitz, 98th Dist.
Rep. Anne L. Ruwet, 65th Dist.
Rep. Richard Roy, 119th Dist.
Rep. Lawrence G. Miller, 122nd Dist.
Rep. Elizabeth B. Ritter, 38th Dist.
Rep. Shawn T. Johnston, 51st Dist.
Rep. Deborah W. Heinrich, 101st Dist.
Rep. Anthony J. D'Amelio, 71st Dist.
Rep. Jason W. Bartlett, 2nd Dist.
Rep. Ron Burns, 77th Dist.
Rep. Ed Jutila, 37th Dist.
Sen. Joan V. Hartley, 15th Dist.
Rep. Mike Alberts, 50th Dist.
Rep. David Aldarondo, 75th Dist.
Sen. Andrea L. Stillman, 20th Dist.
Rep. Karen Jarmoc, 59th Dist.
Rep. Kathleen M. Tallarita, 58th Dist.
Sen. Edward Meyer, 12th Dist.
Sen. Sam S.F. Caligiuri, 16th Dist.
Rep. Jack F. Hennessy, 127th Dist.
Rep. Peggy Sayers, 60th Dist.
Rep. Joan A. Lewis, 8th Dist.
Sen. Judith G. Freedman, 26th Dist.
Sen. Gayle S. Slossberg, 14th Dist

We also thank those who supported Rep. O'Neill and CT parents in this effort, but did not specifically sign onto this bill or amendments that would have put the bill's language in place.

You can read the entire legislative wrap up for the proposed Withdrawal bill, SB162, which would have strengthened parental rights in CT, as our summary of the session and what happened with this bill is posted on the National Home Education Legal Defense website. Further Background on the issues surrounding SB162 can be found in our update on the NHELD website and on NHELD's CT Clearinghouse page.

This is all we wanted and this is what should have been inserted in CGS 10-220 (The Duties of Boards of Education)


"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, to the superintendent of schools for the school district in which such school is located or the local or regional board of education for such school district, written notice originated by and signed by the parent or guardian of the 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, the principal of the school that the child attends, the superintendent and 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"


This is nothing new: Parents have always had this right.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bob Barr Launches Libertarian Candidacy For President

Rep. Bob Barr, former Republican Congressman from Georgia, launched his presidential bid in the Libertarian Party this past Monday, saying voters are hungry for an alternative to the status quo who would dramatically cut the federal government.
"I've heard from Americans from all walks of life ... they want a choice," he said at a news conference in Washington. "They believe that America has more and better to offer than what the current political situation is serving up to us. "
.....
Barr, 59, quit the Republican Party two years ago, saying he had grown disillusioned with its failure to shrink government and its willingness to scale back civil liberties in fighting terrorism. He has been particularly critical of President Bush over the war in Iraq and says the administration is ignoring constitutional protections on due process and privacy.

I had the opportunity to meet and talk to Bob Barr in person recently
(along with Mike Gravel, Wayne Allyn Root, George Phillies and Dr. Mary Ruwart...well yeah, I think I know what some of you might be thinking, but nevermind, they were all very interesting people to meet, except for Mike Gravel who is a total macaroon).

Bob Barr made a really great speech and expressed some very appealing opinions, and Wayne Root had more enthusiasm and energy than the energizer bunny. Dr. Ruwart and George Phillies discussed some good points as well. I'll have to get a hold of Dr. Ruwart's book, Healing Our World in an Age of Aggression, it sounds like an interesting read.

The Libertarian Convention will be held in Denver, and they will choose the person to be their presidential candidate.

While we may not see a Libertarian in the White House anytime soon, these folks are quite passionate and support liberty and the US Constitution and I am all for that. I really liked what Bob Barr had to say.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

NSPD-51 and HSPD-20 and Removing Or Suspending Your Rights In An Emergency



Some people are very concerned about what is known as the National Continuity Policy.
Should we be concerned about NSPD-51 and NSPD-20 which establishes this policy by Executive Order?

An Executive order, does have the force of law when made in pursuance of certain Acts of Congress, when those acts give the President discretionary powers. It becomes law, or a directive, simply by its publication in the Federal Registry. Congress can be bypassed in a manner of speaking. This from Wiki -
There is no Constitutional provision or statute that explicitly permits this, aside from the vague grant of "executive power" given in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution and the statement "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" in Article II, Section 3. Most executive orders are orders issued by the President to US executive officers to help direct their operation, the result of failing to comply being removal from office.
An executive order was how FEMA was born, April 1, 1979. (That was an odd date to choose, wasn't it?) FEMA is now under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security.

But let's turn our attention to NSPD-51: Read this.

National Security Presidential Directive 51 - signed by President Bush in 2007.

Read HSPD-20 too.

National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive - signed by President Bush in 2007.

Here is what the White House Executive Order on this continuity policy said:
"This directive establishes a comprehensive national policy on the continuity of Federal Government structures and operations and a single National Continuity Coordinator responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of Federal continuity policies. This policy establishes "National Essential Functions," prescribes continuity requirements for all executive departments and agencies, and provides guidance for State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector organizations in order to ensure a comprehensive and integrated national continuity program that will enhance the credibility of our national security posture and enable a more rapid and effective response to and recovery from a national emergency."
That sounds nice - it is good to be prepared, however none of this had to be done when 9-11 happened did it? We recovered government and business functions quite quickly, even for New York City! Companies initiated their disaster recovery plans and government also had their disaster plans in place (save for the radio system malfunctions). We learned a lot from that unfortunate attack. Our front line responders were incredible. So, why the need for this type of heavy handed directive from the President? Why are the annexes to this directive classified information?

This type of directive basically also suspends the Constitution and Bill of Rights if the entity in charge, the President or his lead agent (the head of Homeland Security), decides to do so. That person will be in the position to control and coordinate ALL three branches of government in the event of a disaster. Several bills and directives , even some that have been in place since the 60's, combined also allow the government to seize airports and means of transportation, railroads, waterways, communication media, utilities, farms and food supplies, and more, in an event of a "catastrophic emergency". But now exactly what constitutes a catastrophic emergency seems to have been clarified.

The Bush directive defines a "Catastrophic Emergency" as any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions;

That could mean another 9-11 (God forbid), an earthquake, a hurricane, an influenza epidemic, or chemical spill, and even the crash of our economy. And since this also includes "a wide range of emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies; this attack can happen in any location in the world as well.

Essentially,as many see it, President Bush, signed on May 9 2007 (over a year ago) a directive that grants near dictatorial power to the office of the president in the event of a national emergency declared by the president. What do you make of that?

Some say that NSPD51 clearly protects the operations of Constitutional government and it is regarded as a “good business practice,” and part of the fundamental mission of agencies as responsible and reliable public institutions. Others give the opinion that it was nothing more than a power grab.

People are now just talking about this again, primarily because we are hearing warnings from Chertoff and various articles about his fears are popping up.

This directive came almost 6 years after 9-11 happened.
So what's with the timing of this?

Let's hope that no national emergency happens prior to the national elections. Or ever! But if it does, why do we need the President to basically assume a type of dictatorial power? You know - The Constitution did not change after 9-11. Our rights are not supposed to evaporate after an emergency, and government should be able to operate unless many key elected officials are incapacitated, and even then we have rules on the lines of succession.

Here's what the Washington Post said about it in May 2007.(Administration, Not DHS, Would Run Shadow Government)

While some see this compilation of Executive Orders as being proactive and necessary, others find it to be very dangerous. Watch this and see what you think.

It certainly is enough to give anyone food for thought. Martial law is not a pretty prospect. People have certainly used disasters to wrest rights away from citizens in order to obtain power in the past. Roman rulers did it. Our Founders knew about that history too. That's why they believed checks and balances to be so important.

A recent story talks about the military powers of Governors during disasters. It says:
Among the most striking recommendations made by the commission is its proposal to hand governors control over active-duty troops, such as disaster response teams from the U.S. Army or Air Force, in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophe. Governors now command state National Guard units during crises on American soil, but the president remains commander in chief of active-duty forces.

That division of power “places the nation at risk of a disjointed federal and state military response to a catastrophe,” the report concluded.
Additionally - read this post and notice that Canadian troops can also help US troops in an emergency.

So what do you make of all of this? Is it an attempt to co-ordinate efforts in the face of a calamity or to seize power and control? One of the more important aspects is that we as citizens should be aware of these reports, recommendations, and executive directives and how they relate to what our US Constitution specifies. Read the articles stating different points of view, and understand the concept of fear based policy making might take away your rights.

Remember:
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety"
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, November 11, 1755.—The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree, vol. 6, p. 242 (1963)

This quotation, slightly altered, is also inscribed on a plaque in the stairwell of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Parody Music For Saturday - Hillary Was Born To Run



Couldn't resist that one after the primaries this past week and it's done by Phil Valentine and the Heartthrobs .

Of course here is the original by "The Boss" Bruce Springsteen: Born To Run

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dipping Into The Onion Again



New Hampshire's new slogan, "Live Free or Die Bold"
(Brought to you by the shadowy puppet overlords....it's o.k. you can still act surprised in November...LOL...)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bush Signs Bill To Take All Newborns' DNA


OK, so this is pretty frightening, and I am certain you haven't heard anything on TV or radio or print news making a big fuss over this. Have you?

The Health Council, and Congressman Ron Paul, and many others who are aware of this now warn that this new law could pave the way for a national DNA database.

Here is what went down:
Last week President Bush signed into law a bill S. 1858, known as The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2007 which will allow the federal government to begin to screen the DNA of all newborn babies in the U.S. within six months. This is a move by the government to initiate the establishment of a national DNA database. (Wasn't there an episode of X-File like this?) The justification for this law is that it represents preparation for any sort of "public health emergency." The bill states that the federal government should "continue to carry out, coordinate, and expand research in newborn screening" and "maintain a central clearinghouse of current information on newborn screening... ensuring that the clearinghouse is available on the Internet and is updated at least quarterly". Like we want that information on the Internet too right?

Further information on this was reported by Steve Watson:
Sections of the bill also make it clear that DNA may be used in genetic experiments and tests. One health care expert and prominent critic of DNA screening is Twila Brase, president of the Citizens' Council on Health Care who has written a detailed analysis (PDF) of the new law in which she warns that it represents the first program of populationwide genetic testing.

Brase states that S.1858 and H.R. 3825, the House version of the bill, will:
1. Establish a national list of genetic conditions for which newborns and children are to be tested.
2. Establish protocols for the linking and sharing of genetic test results nationwide.
3. Build surveillance systems for tracking the health status and health outcomes of individuals diagnosed at birth with a genetic defect or trait.
4. Use the newborn screening program as an opportunity for government agencies to identify, list, and study "secondary conditions" of individuals and their families.
5. Subject citizens to genetic research without their knowledge or consent.

"Soon, under this bill, the DNA of all citizens will be housed in government genomic biobanks and considered governmental property for government research," Brase writes. "The DNA taken at birth from every citizen is essentially owned by the government, and every citizen becomes a potential subject of government-sponsored genetic research."

"The public is clueless. S. 1858 imposes a federal agenda of DNA databanking and population-wide genetic research. It does not require consent and there are no requirements to fully inform parents about the warehousing of their child's DNA for the purpose of genetic research."

In a previous report we outlined the consequences of the already existing DNA warehousing operation in Minnesota, a program that the Citizens' Council on Health Care has been following closely for a number of years.
Ms. Brase explained in a statement last month that state Health Department officials are now seeking exemption for the so called "DNA Warehouse" from Minnesota privacy law. This would enable state officials to continue to take the DNA of newborn infants without consent, which would also set the precedent for nationwide policy on DNA screening.
DNA of newborns has already been harvested, tested, stored and experimented with nationwide.
The National Conference of State Legislatures lists for all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, the various statutes or regulatory provisions under which newborns' DNA is already being collected.
In addition, all 50 states are now routinely providing these results to the Department of Homeland Security.
The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2007, merely establishes this practice within the law.

Another vocal critic of bill S. 1858 is Texas Congressman Ron Paul who made the following comments before the U.S. House of Representatives:

"I cannot support legislation, no matter how much I sympathize with the legislation’s stated goals, that exceed the Constitutional limitations on federal power or in any way threatens the liberty of the American people. Since S. 1858 violates the Constitution, and may have untended consequences that will weaken the American health care system and further erode medical privacy, I must oppose it."

Paul, a medical doctor himself continued, "S. 1858 gives the federal bureaucracy the authority to develop a model newborn screening program. Madame Speaker the federal government lacks both the constitutional authority and the competence to develop a newborn screening program adequate for a nation as large and diverse as the United States. …"

"Those of us in the medical profession should be particularly concerned about policies allowing government officials and state-favored interests to access our medical records without our consent … My review of S. 1858 indicates the drafters of the legislation made no effort to ensure these newborn screening programs do not violate the privacy rights of parents and children," Paul continued.
"In fact, by directing federal bureaucrats to create a contingency plan for newborn screening in the event of a 'public health' disaster, this bill may lead to further erosions of medical privacy. As recent history so eloquently illustrates, politicians are more than willing to take, and people are more than willing to cede, liberty during times of 'emergency," he concluded.
This is pretty astounding news. But where is the outrage? Where is the protest? There is none, because most people are totally unaware. Before November you ought to find out how YOUR present Congressman voted on this piece of intrusive legislation. Find out more about this, and what YOUR own state legislature already has on the books regarding DNA collection from newborns. Let's all do something to get this type of legislation repealed or at least give parents real rights of consent.

It totally gives new meaning to the phrase, "You want a piece of me?" (and that has nothing to do with Britney Spears or Al Pacino/Robert DiNiro)

UPDATE: I found a great and very comprehensive post on this over at JunkFood Science

Monday, May 5, 2008

Connecticut Court Considers: What Is A Good Education?


I just had to share this one with you.

This April 23 article that was in the Hartford Courant examines the words of Simon Bernstein (now age 95 and a retired judge) who back in 1965 was largely responsible for crafting an article added to the state constitution guaranteeing "free public elementary and secondary schools." He was convinced to make education a fundamental right. Last month, the exact meaning of his words were up for debate as the state Supreme Court heard arguments in a lawsuit challenging the way the state funds education.

The article states:
The lawsuit was brought against the state on behalf of 10 families with children in public schools and the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, a group of education and municipal organizations.

It claims that the state fails to maintain a suitable and substantially equal education system by providing inadequate resources and conditions for education in many school districts, leaving students unprepared for jobs or continuing education and likely politically and socially marginalized.

They are seeking a wholesale revision of the way the state funds public education, although the lawsuit does not spell out specifics.

In September, Superior Court Judge Joseph M. Shortall ruled that the state constitution does not mandate a minimum standard of quality for public education, leaving no room for the court to address it.But representatives for the plaintiffs in an appeal argued that the right to education outlined in the constitution implies an adequate education. David Noah, who argued on behalf of the plaintiffs, questioned what the purpose of a fundamental right to education would be if it did not provide students with the opportunity for gainful employment or higher education.

"However you define it, the fundamental right to education has to have content," said Noah, one of 14 Yale law students who are handling the case pro bono under the supervision of Professor Robert Solomon.

Noah cited a range of statistics, including literacy rates in Bridgeport and dropout rates in Hartford, to suggest that schools are not fulfilling any minimum standard of education quality. He also noted that courts in many other states have held that students have a right to an adequate or sound education.

But Assistant Attorney General Gregory D'Auria, representing the state, said the constitution leaves school matters to the legislature, not the courts, and that education of a particular quality is not an enumerated right in Connecticut.

"The right is to free public schools," he said.

The Horton v. Meskill lawsuit established the right of Connecticut students to a substantially equal education, and the justices asked D'Auria whether equal implied some sort of quality. D'Aurio argued that while equality is a right, quality is not.

"So as long as it's equally bad, it's OK?" Justice Joette Katz asked.

"If it's equally bad, the democratic process should and will correct that," D'Auria said.

"If it's equally bad," Justice Flemming L. Norcott noted, "then there's not much to the fundamental right."

Bernstein did not address the court Tuesday, but he submitted a brief supporting the plaintiffs. Back in 1965, he said, he had a "decent" education in mind — something that would prepare students for jobs or college. But even today, he said, he would not want to spell out what is required under the right to education, because he is not an educator.

And Bernstein said he did not believe his intent was of prime importance. The wording was intended to allow each generation to interpret it appropriately to the time. Today, he said, schools are in far worse condition than they were in 1965.
It is interesting that what the state is mandated to do, as was brought out by the Sheff vs. O'Neill lawsuit, is 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 as some people have been led to believe ... only those enrolled in their system. It must be noted that the notion that there is some sort of state "obligation under the law to educate all children" is simply not true. It is the parents duty to see that their child is educated (CGS 10-184). But I digress...

So what constitutes a decent or adequate education? or even an equal education? In CT every town has it's own way of establishing their schools and the rules which govern them - save for unfunded state mandates and dictates from the state. That's what we know as "home rule". Every town has it's right to it's own set of standards, although now they are being made to jump through hoops of certain standards or at least demonstrate yearly progress because of "No Child Left Behind". There really is no such thing as equivalent instruction or even equivalency between different school systems. There are no standards of what constitutes "an adequate education"... yet. I am not sure there ever can be, because adequacy means different things to different people.

In a previous post I wrote about the issue of equivalency:
In Connecticut, there was a major lawsuit brought against the State Department of Education. In 1989, lawyers for an interracial group of urban and suburban children brought suit against the state. In that case, Sheff v. O'Neill, they argued that racial segregation in the Hartford region violated their state constitutional guarantee of the provision of an equal education. The courts agreed and ordered the General Assembly to create plans for achieving equal educational opportunity. This case was not only about desegregation, but about making equal education opportunities available to all students everywhere. Although the plaintiffs won, and the State was charged with making changes to remedy “unequivalent” education, to date little has really been achieved. Civil rights groups were back in court to again to sue the state in 2004 after concluding it hadn't met a chief goal of a 2003 settlement resulting from the landmark case -- integrating Hartford's public magnet schools. Many magnet schools and charter schools have been designed to be more inclusive and diverse, but one will clearly still get a much different education in Bridgeport (an urban area) than in Simsbury (a suburban area). The problem is not a lack of funding; it is the absurdity of the notion that every school can offer the same education to all children.... Education cannot be homogenized and made into a one size fits all or one product that can be consumed by all. Education must be unequivalent to meet the needs of each child, and how they learn. In reality, education even within the public school system already is and will continue to be unequivalent.
I think this is relevant here because what is adequate for one school system may not be adequate for another. What one school system may deem a good education is probably not the same as another and so we have this issue that we keep going round and round with. I think we can all agree that kids ought to be able to read and write and do basic mathematics. But is that adequate for all kids? Perhaps some parents want more for their kids. Adequacy is subjective.

What ought to considered is what the purpose is of education really was initially (as discussed by John Taylor Gatto):
Mass schooling of a compulsory nature really got its teeth into the United States between 1905 and 1915, though it was conceived of much earlier and pushed for throughout most of the nineteenth century. The reason given for this enormous upheaval of family life and cultural traditions was, roughly speaking, threefold:

1) To make good people. 2) To make good citizens. 3) To make each person his or her personal best. These goals are still trotted out today on a regular basis, and most of us accept them in one form or another as a decent definition of public education's mission
There are others who have added onto that definition since 1915. But what honestly constitutes "good or adequate" education, is purely subjective.

Here are some views by Thomas Jefferson regarding an adequate education:
Thomas Jefferson believed that universal education would have to precede universal suffrage. The ignorant, he argued, were incapable of self-government. But he had profound faith in the reasonableness and teachableness of the masses and in their collective wisdom when taught. He believed that the schools should teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. Also, the children should learn about Grecian, roman, English, and American History. Jefferson believed the nation needed public schools scattered around, for all male citizens to receive free education.
Looks like public education has fallen quite short by his standards.

Most kids are lucky if they can function well enough to get a good job out of high school. The definition of adequate education is also different among states in the nation (yes other states grapple with this issue too). Meanwhile in Connecticut the debate will rage on, no doubt until "home rule" is obliterated and some set of standards are set by the state. God only know what those standards might be. Most likely they will not be as high as Jefferson's.

As for Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding - here are two very interesting pieces written about CCJEF and their background - Here and here.

All in all - a pretty interesting and provocative subject.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Immigration Gumballs

Talk about a dose of reality.
We ought to be listening to these demographers.
Roy Beck demonstrates the catastrophe of the huge numbers of both legal and illegal immigration by Third World people into modern nations. He uses standard statistics and simple gumballs to show this disaster in the making.
If you haven't seen this you really should take the time to see it.



Don't get angry at immigrants.
Get angry at policy makers who are irresponsibly setting disastrous immigration policies.

Just Another Politician - And You Thought He Was Different?


Barack Hussein Obama is not the epitome of "Hope and Change".
He never was.
He was raised an elitist who attended a highbrow privileged Hawaiian private school overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and later went on to Harvard. He's not exactly the typical black man on the street facing the typical black man's problems... or even the typical white man's problems for that matter. I am not knocking his credentials either; I am happy he had the opportunities that he had and that he took advantage of them. But him championing the poor and underprivileged is somewhat laughable. Sort of like the mega rich jet setting John Kerry who tried the same story.

For people taking a closer look behind Obama's well delivered rhetoric, they are finding that there is little substance behind all of that rhetoric. He's got a great speech writer behind him - that's all. The rest is the same old. same old, that we hear from these guys year after year after election year.

So how do I know he is a typical politician?
Because it wasn't very long ago (in March) that Barack Obama made a speech on race relations in this country. Many said it was a defining moment. It may very well have been. But in this speech he said, "I can no more disown him [Rev. Wright] than I can disown the black community". And yet Tuesday he did disown Wright in a very big way after Wright's comments at the National Press Club. Obama totally denounced the man who married him and his wife, and baptized his two children, and who he has said has been like family to him. So now, has he disowned the black community as well? What can we really believe of this?

So, do we honestly know what Barack Obama really believes in? Can we honestly trust what he says? and can we put faith in his judgment for the types of people he now, and in the future, surrounds himself with? I don't think so.

Yes, he's just another Washington politician, doing whatever it takes, and telling you whatever it is he thinks you want to hear to get elected. It kind of makes you wonder if he'd disown the rest of his family if the polls told him that was what he had to do to become president. It looks like Michelle Obama should be very careful with what she says from now on.

So much for Hope and Change.