Saturday, March 31, 2007

My Friends at the AFA and Focus on the Family Need to Face the Facts

James Dobson, Founder of Focus on the Family

This is one of the hardest columns I have ever had to write. If I thought my private letters had gotten through, I doubt I would have done it.

Don Wildmon is the founder of the American Family Association. It is a fine Christian-effected group that I was a part of through their Arkansas Affiliate for many years. James Dobson is the founder of Focus on the Family. For many years Wildmon and Dobson have been friends. Wildmon has long been willing to use the influence of his network to effect civil government. For the longest time, Dobson stuck with family issues. As I have heard it told, with urgings from Wildmon, Dobson's conscience got to him when he saw how fast the culture was deteriorating, and he jumped into politics as well.

Dobson gave a Dan Gilgoff wide access to his organization so that the man could write a book on it. The result is "The Jesus Machine". I can tell by the title that the book will not be favorable to Dobson. But that is not my biggest worry. My biggest worry is that Wildmon's organization, One News Now, is seeing the whole journey through rose-colored glasses. Look at the congratualtory tone they take in this article toward the book. The article leads with talk about how important Focus on the Family has been to our "public policy successes". What successes would that be? We are on defense, and the defense is not going very well.

They give us quotes like, "the ministry, he says, has been instrumental in helping that bloc of faith-based voters achieve more in the past few years than at any time in history." Are they kidding? That is just a line from the left to make us into a bigger boogie man so that the irrational fear some have of AFA and FOF is raised to even wilder levels. AFA and FOF had better not believe it is a true evaluation of the political-social landscape. In my view, that would reflect a dangerous lack of realism with respect to where Christian voters are in this country. And they had better face the facts about that or they are going to lead us right off the cliff.

(continued- click SATURDAY below and scroll down for rest of article, or if sent straight here just scroll down)

Final Four- Four Bills to Watch on Monday as Session Ends

We had a good week last week. The bad guys lost a couple, and the good guys still have a couple in play. Here are Debbie Pelly's four to watch on Monday...

There are four bills we need to be concerned about next week that need our action and our prayers. Legislators are hoping next Tuesday will be the last day of the Session. I certainly hope so too. Below are the email addresses and numbers to call. Also note the articles excerpts that concern some of the bills at the very end of this email.

1. Representative Jon Woods was miraculously able to get an illegal alien bill (HB2779) through the Judiciary Committee last Thursday, was able to get it passed through the House with 63 votes on Friday, and it is now in Senate Judiciary Committee, a tough committee. Below are excerpts from a newspaper article on this bill that you will find interesting: Link to bill:

2. The bill banning gay adoption (SB959 by Senator Shawn Womack) looked as though it was dead. In fact, in answer to emails the Governor has proclaimed it dead. However, some representatives are working on bringing it up on the House floor. If they can get 67 votes to allow it to come to the vote, they can vote on it. The liberal Democrats don't want to have to cast a vote on it. Many people believe that if they could bring it to a vote, that it would get a majority. It will take a miracle, but some legislators have seen a few of those recently. Pray and take action. At this time I understand they plan to try that Monday. They meant to Friday but decided to wait until Monday. Please ask all your church friends to pray and take action.

3. The hate crime bill by Wilkins went down in Judiciary committee. Wilkins could bring it up one more time, and some people are worried that he will. Several liberal representatives said if it came up for a vote, they would have to vote for it because of the constituents back home. It would be good to keep emailing and calling on this one to make sure they don't bring it back and get it through. It has already passed the Senate so it just has to be voted on in the House. Pray that it won't come out of committee and keep calling and keep emailing.

4. International Baccalaureate bill that would have given 24 hours college credit for high school IB diploma (the United Nations curriculum that demeans Christianity and patriotism) was defeated in House Education Committee. We don't think Rep. Hardwick will bring that one back up, but it is possible. It was only voted down once, and he could bring it back up one more time in committee. However, it would have to go through the House and then a committee and then the Senate, but the last couple days of session they can suspend rules and do it all in one day if they want to.

Number to call Senate to leave a message asking legislator to vote for or against a bill is Senate: 501-682-2902 and number for Representatives is 501-682-6211. Governor Beebe's phone number to leave a message is 501-682-2345

Friday, March 30, 2007

Showdown on Gay Foster Parenting Bill


The sponsor of the motion asked that it be put off until Monday. He may not have the 67 votes and is hoping some of the legislatures go home this weekend, pray about it and talk to their pastors, and then come make the right decision on Monday.

Rep. Frank Glidewell has a motion to take HB 959 out of the committee process and straight to the house floor for a vote. The vote is today. The rules permit bills to bypass the committee process on a two-thirds vote.

This does not "violate the integrity of the committee process", as some have claimed, but rather is a part of it. It is a check and a balance to safeguard against an abuse of the committee process- as was done here by House Speaker Benny Petrus and Govenor Mike Beebe. It is widely believed that they put the bill into a committee controlled by liberals for the specific purpose of bottling up a bill that would otherwise pass. There is your "violation of the integrity of the committee process" right there. It is supposed to be used to give bills a fair hearing by legislators who are experts on the subject in the bill, not used as a political tool to sink bills that a Governor does not want to sign even though the voters want it.

Much silly noise has been made of the "unconstitutionality" of the bill because one, count 'em, one judge on the state supreme court said in a concurrent opinion that is was "unconstitutional" to ban homosexuals from using the power of the state to gain access to children through foster parenting or adoption. It is bad enough that the ledge lets the full court push them around like we only have one branch of government. "Backing down" before the full court has even given them anything to back down too would be the height of fecklessness. Has the ledge so lost it's intestinal fortitude that they refuse to protect children out of fear of what one extremist liberal judge has said? We will see today.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Breach in The Wall

Our blogosphere opposite-numbers at the Arkansas Times blog are fixated against Christians again, this time hurling the accusation that we have a "fixation on gay people". This is in reponse to our push for SB959 to block homosexuals from using the power of the state to gain access to other people's children through adoption or foster parenting. It's not because of a "fixation on gay people". We have a fixation on protecting innocent children and defending civilization from nuevo-barbarians who are waging a war on morality. The same people rail at us for having "a love affair with the fetus" (Joclyn Elders I quote I believe) when we try to save innocent children from abortion. Whatever we do to try to protect our culture, it's institutions, and the defenseless among us from the mad polices of the debauchery lobby, it somehow get's interpreted as if we are the ones carrying on about nothing. It's always "a love affair with the fetus", or "a fixation on gay people".

It is frustrating how, with media air-cover, they can attack us on every front, then make it seem like they are the victims whenever we put up the least resistance to their cultural aggression. They are not the victims. They are the aggressors, the polluters; and if they are not stopped, the ruiners and destroyers of our culture.

The truth is just the opposite of what the Times portrays. Just the opposite. It is the debauchery lobby that is fixated on getting the state to force the rest of us to pretend that whatever they want is normal and healthy. It is the debauchery lobby that is trying to ram the gay agenda down America's throat, and they are far more fixated on doing it than Christians are with stopping them. That's how they keep winning despite their low numbers.

The reason we are rallying around this issue, is that this is the current breach in the wall. If we lose , ten years from now, they will be angrily demanding we cease our "fixation" with stopping man-boy love or some other abomination. Where the battle is, that is where the defenders must stand. Do not delude yourself into believing you are a guardian of the innocent and a defender of our civilization if you let it's enemies cow you with words that "it would be more tolerant of you to go stand somewhere else."

To the breach I say! To the breach. Let no mocks or insults from the enemy dissuade you. Brush off their fiery darts and get yourself to the very place in the wall that is breached. To the very heat of battle. There is no other place for a defender to stand.

Don't Push SB 959 as a Ballot Petition Measure

Sun Tzu, author of "The Art of War" may have some advice for the conservatives in Arkansas.
The word is out that the Family Council is considering running a ballot initiative to do what the failed SB 959 would have done- protect children from homosexuals gaining state-sponsored access to them through foster parenting or adoption. I will admit when I first heard the idea I cheered. Why not try to repeat the success we had with the marriage amendment? There is a war on traditional morality in this country, and if we don't defend it, we will lose it- with great attendent harm to innocent and guilty alike.

The idea of a petition drive cheered me on an emotional level, but war must not be fought with emotion on the strategic level. On calmer reflection and consideration, I realized that we should devote our energies elsewhere.

(*continued, click THURSDAY below and scroll down for rest of article)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Not Sold on Thompson

Rumor has it that former Sen. Fred Thompson's wife Jeri, pictured here with Thompson, is urging her husband to run for President. She is a former politcal consultant.

The candidates that the GOP establishment would foist on us, with their co-conspiritors in the establishment media, are so unsatisfactory that conservatives across the country are coming to the stark realization that if something doesn't change, no amount of nose-holding can justify a GOP vote for President in 08.

The name of former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson has come up as a possible man to ride in on horseback and give conservatives someone to vote for. Thompson is a gravelly-voiced actor who had a pretty good TV and movie career going before spending eight years in the senate- where the complaint was that he was a "no-load". He projects "gravitas" all over the place, but by most accounts his performance was the opposite of that projection.

Some have theorized that Thompson does not mean to run, that some of the folks who are backing Guiliani have got him to tease us so that the anti-Guiliani vote will not be able to coalesce around one of the lesser-known conservative candidates in the race. The near media-blackout of three conservative congressmen seeking the nomination, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, and Ron Paul, may be a bigger factor. All we ever hear are the names Guiliani, Romney, and McCain. It may seem "conspiratorial" to think Thompson is a feint, but this would be a machination from our political class. I can assure you that some of these yahoos sit around and conspire all day long. I have had the misfortune of seeing some of them in action.

Or maybe he is not just a feint. If you want to go the conspiracy theory route, Rudy may be the feint. Or at least the ruling class wants to see if they have degraded America enough that we will accept a candidate like him. But if the GOP kool-aid proves undrinkable to the base, they have a substitute handy. It is tall suit that appears full but is actually mostly empty named Fred Thompson. And James Baker, the guy who ruined the conservative momentum in Reagan's 2nd term, is there pulling the strings. The main goal is to keep Tancredo, Hunter, and Paul out of the mix. Those three may actually serve the American people first, rather than globalist corporate interests. And that is the one thing the puppet-masters will not tolerate.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hardwick's HB2489/ Credit for IB Diploma Goes Down in Committee

HB2489  to give 24 hours credit to IB Diploma students failed to get out of the Education Committee, today March 27. For a summary of the problems with the bill see the article below from Eagle Forum.  There were eight votes for it, and it needed eleven. Two members were absent and two voted Present.   Following is the list of legislators who voted No and Yes. Representative Horace Hardwick, who sponsored the bill, had six Democrats and two Republicans to vote with him on the bill.  He had three Republicans to vote against him. 
No votes that kept it from getting out of committee, our friends on this bill: Rep. Mark Martin, Rep Tommy Dickenson, Rep. James Norton, Curren Everett, Rep. Eric Harris, Rep. Sid Rosenbaum, Representative David Rainey, and Rep. Toni Bradford 

Yes votes who voted for Hardwick's bill. Rep. Betty Pickett, Rep. Janet Johnson, Rep. Shirley Walters, Rep. Michael Lamoureux, Rep. Nancy Blount, Rep. Rick Saunders, Rep. David Cook, Rep. Eddie Cheatham  
Jeff Wood and  Benny Petrus were absent and Mike Kenney & Bill Abernathy as Chair and Co Chair voted present.

Eagle Forum Opposes HB2489 Giving College Credit to High School Graduates with IB Diploma

Eagle Forum of Arkansas opposes HB 2489 by Representative Hardwick which would require Arkansas colleges to give 24 hours credit to students with a high school diploma in the International Baccalaureate Program (IBP). The IBP is global education, often called International Studies. Following are six reason Eagle Forum opposes this bill.

1. Statements and documentation from citizens in many areas where this program has been implemented, as well as leading educational researchers, say the program undermines Christianity and patriotism and promotes moral relativism, total disarmament and pacifism. See link to three Washington newspaper articles below. 1

2. Walker, the worldwide IBO director, spoke these words in a speech in 1995: "How do we reconcile a spirit of inquiry with a patriarchal culture that values received wisdom and rote learning? How can a secular curriculum be adopted in a country where religious faith, rather than empirical observation, defines the limits of truth? Is it possible to be a free-thinking individual, perhaps perceived as amoral, in a culture where the rules and rituals are unconditionally accepted and rigorously adhered to?" [Received wisdom includes religion, cultural norms, and education passed down through teachers, etc.] 2

3. Students' tests in IBO program in the 11th and 12th grade in the United States are actually sent to other countries for grading. This has been confirmed by school officials in Arkansas. There would be no way for teachers not to teach the IBO curriculum and philosophy since the tests are not even graded by them, and the tests will drive the curriculum just as the tests drive the curriculum in Arkansas.

4. IBO officials promote total disarmament. There is no doubt then they would oppose citizens Second Amendment right to bear arms. In one of its documents IBO heralds the "UN International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World 2001-2010." Following is a bullet point from that document. "Culture of Peace in Promoting international peace and security through action such as the promotion of general and complete disarmament."

For rest of this point on disarmament, two more reasons to oppose the bill, and for links to documenttion, see Tuesday below or just scroll down if sent here.

Neither Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, Just Pro-Abortion

Chair: Senator Jack Critcher
Vice Chair: Senator Tracy Steele
Senator Percy Malone
Senator Hank Wilkins, IV
Senator Barbara Horn
Senator Randy Laverty
Senator Bill Pritchard
Senator Jack Crumbly

The above make up the Senate Health, Labor and Welfare Committee. Some are doctrinaire liberals I knew were pro-abortion, though they might only be forthright enough to say they were "pro-choice", as if that means anything absent saying what the choice is. But I thought there were a couple of pro-lifers on that list. It turns out I was wrong. No matter what they may tell you in an election campaign, it seems there was not one person in that group whose committment to protecting innocent life was even strong enough for them to show up at their committee meeting and ask for a roll-call vote so that life-loving Arkansans will at least know who the villians are. Did they care more about not embarrassing fellow committee members than standing up for the innocent unborn?

Sen Sharon Trusty's SB 871 failed on a voice vote in the Senate Public Health, Labor and Welfare committee yesterday. The bill would have required abortion clinics to put up a sign saying, "Notice: By Law, we cannot perform an abortion on you unless we have your freely given and voluntary consent. It is against the law to perform an abortion on you against your will."

The impetus of the bill stems from tales of women who were pressured into abortion by low-life boyfriends and such. Testimony from one such victim, Donna Clifton: "When they asked if I wanted counseling, the question was directed to me, but my boyfriend answered 'No,' and they immediately dismissed me. They did not care what I wanted or what I felt," she said.

Clifton said she had a hysterectomy three years later and will never have another opportunity to bear a child."

This bill was a pro-life AND a pro-choice bill. But a Planned Parenthood attorney argued against the bill saying, "This will have a chilling effect, obviously, on abortion providers".

I can only conclude that not one member of this committee is pro-life. Nor are they pro-choice. If they were really "pro-choice" they would be all for a bill that helps women resist pressure to get an abortion that they don't want. Their deeds are pro-abortion, any forthcoming election year squawks to the contrary notwithstanding.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dueling Branches: Good for America

Republican AG Alberto Gonzales: looking a bit like Kim Jong Il.
Democratic Congressman William Jefferson: caught with a supply of cold cash.
When federal agents from the Executive branch raided the HQ of Democratic Congressman William Jefferson of Louisianna, Congressmen on both sides of the aisle cried foul and demanded that the evidence be buried. That evidence included $90,000 in cash found in Jefferson's freezer. The Legislative branch was outraged that the Executive branch would conduct such an investigation on the legislative branch.

Now it seems that some folks that AG Gonzales sent to talk to Congress were "less than honest" in their report to the legislators. Now Congress wants the next batch sent up under oath. The Executive branch is outraged that the Legislative branch would conduct such an investigation.

You can probably see where I am going with this, but for those curious on how this semi-rant plays out, click MONDAY below and scroll down, or if sent straight here just scroll down....

Saturday, March 24, 2007

High Drama on Lottery, Child Protection

The week ended with a couple of dramatic turns in the state legislature this week. In an amazing turn-around, Lt. Governor Bill Halter is going to get his lottery amendment sent to the ballot. Each year the ledge can only refer three to the voters. Two weeks ago it looked like this one would not make the cut- too many good ones were lined up in front of it.

When I asked my capitol source how the unpopular Halter managed to pull off this coup, I was told, "He gave away the store. He promised everything to everybody." Aahhh, but what about the biggest chip he had? Did he promise not to run against Pryor in the Democratic primary in 08? "Yes" said my source. To preserve peace in the Democratic party and avoid a war of attrition that could hurt Pryor in November, the democratic legislators gave Halter what he wants the most- a lottery amendment. Stand by for battle-stations on that one.

Not only do they manuver to get things on the table, but they are pretty adept at manuvering to keep things off it too. Consider SB959, which would protect disadvantaged children from being turned over to the control of homosexuals through foster parenting or adoption. A generation ago, we knew that would be terrible for young children. Today's left cares more about being PC than harming children. Still, the average legislator has enough decency to vote for that bill- if it gets before them. Governor Mike Beebe is more PC than he wants you to know on this issue. He has manuvered, along with Rep. Benny Petrus, to send this bill to a committee controlled by doctrinaire liberals- the judiciary committee. They won't let it out.

Interesting how well leftists understand where the key power levers are. They are counting on judges implementing a leftist agenda that they know they cannot get passed by demoratic means. So they go to the committee where they can protect the judges. Any conservative measures that are popular, but Beebe wants killed get sent to that committee. The Governor makes a deal with Petrus to get the bill sent to the right committee to keep it under wraps.

To protect these children, the legislature is going to have to vote to bring the bill to the floor outside of the committee process. That takes a 2/3rds vote and risks the wrath of Petrus and Beebe. It is not that it would make them look bad, their own actions do that. This would simply expose them. Someone up there needs to care about kids enough to pull the trigger on this and bypass the doctrinaire liberals on the Judiciary committee.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Power Point Uses Intimidation, Not Reason, in Evolution Debate

***REPAIRED LINK**** This is the Power-Point presentation that Arkansas teachers have been forced to endure, except that I took the liberty of adding some audio comments on what I thought about the material presented in the slides. This takes a while to download, but I think you will be shocked at what you see, and how extreme and impeachment-worthy some judges have become. For example in one case a district had a disclaimer sticker on the book saying evolution is a theory, not fact, but it said nothing about creationism or any alternative theory. The judge ruled the stickers must go anyway.

All this started because of the Rogers science textbook issue, covered, but not well, in today's Morning News. I hate to even link to it, it was so poorly written. It does not describe what we want to do, which is fufill the Arkansas Framework standard requiring students to "evaluate evolution in terms of evidence". The texts don't evaluate any evidence, they just present it.

Does Deceit Have No Price? "Delphi" and the ERA

So they are going to try again with the ERA today. I am amazed. You would think all the people that were roped into "co-sponsoring" it without being told what the potential ramifications were would be upset at being misled. I have to admire the left for their grit and brazeness if nothing else. They tried to rush this thing through with a big high-pressure band wagon. The wheels fell off the wagon when the facts got out about what this really was, and what it has been used to do in other states. Still, in a stunning display of chutzpuh, they claim the opponents of the bill are "alarmists" and that the facts don't support the "alarmists" claims. But this is the "Big Lie" theory in action. The "alarmists" have been shown to be correct in states across the union.

There is no delicate way to put this. The ERA supporters are lying. They have been lying and deceiving rather brazenly about this bill, and I wonder when the other legislators are going get enough of such treatment.

The word lie sounds harsh and I don't like to say it, but the time comes when dealing with ruthless people that being polite is no longer the right thing to do. And anyway, it is still not as insulting as "Delphi" on the so-called "people's-tribune" blog (now defunct). That place was the home of viscious smears directed toward legislators that were not true. It only showed the true feelings of certain people who hid behind a smiling face then used a fake identity to smear people (legislative colleagues?) online. More deception.

I call upon the legislators to rebuke this behavior, vote down the ERA, and fortify the honor of the institution by showing such tactics have a steep price.

When Secretly Against It, Any Excuse Will Do

During the recent election campaign our Governor earned the moniker "Both Ways Beebe" for trying to take more than one side on many issues. The subject of whether our state Department of Human Services would be allowed to protect children from homosexuals seeking to gain access to them through foster parenting or adoption was a prime example of that. A homosexual activist group thought he told them one thing on it, but once it came to light, Beebe seemed to reverse course. The people of this state thought he told them the opposite. And in his mind, he didn't tell either of them much of anything.

Beebe's gyrations ended up with something like he was against the state authorizing homosexuals to be given children through foster parenting or adoption, but he was not going to sign any bill if it was "unconstitutional" or "discriminatory". Hows that for "both-ways Beebe"? Here is what I wrote way back in July, "Based on my observations of the trial-lawyer loophole mindset that Mr. Bebee has displayed in the past (such as "we don't need to overturn Roe v. Wade because subsequent decisions have made the law a shell of its former self".) I believe that it would play out like this: Bebee would be against homosexuals getting their hands on children as foster parents in theory, but sadly, no actual bill ever put before him to do so would ever be "constitutional" as he saw it. No bill on the subject would be pure enough from the tinge of "discrimination" to merit his support."

Sometimes, I hate it when I am right. Sen. Shawn Womack has SB 959 about ready for the Governor's pen. It's a good bill. It does what most Arkansans thought Beebe meant during the campaign. But now Beebe claims "There's constitutional problems with it" according to reporter Doug Thompson's article. Beebe would not specify to Thompson what those "problems" were.

What poppycock. Our constitution does not state that the people or any group (like homosexuals) thereof have a "right" to adopt or foster parent children beyond any government or legislative purview. How could it? Those are other people's young lives we are talking about here. There are no constitutional problems, execpt imagined ones in the minds of parsers, who think words just mean whatever they want them to at the moment. I am not going to ask the Governor to sign the bill, he does not want to, even though his vaugue references to problems will not hold up to intelligent scrutiny. Instead, I have to count on the hope that the ledge will over-ride him on it.

I will end with this paragraph from my article in July. It is frustrating when you can see this stuff coming eight months away but no one is listening at the time....

"Maybe we are simply dealing with two different kinds of people in the two campaigns. The one side holds to absolute truth and tries to figure out what the rules are. These are legalistic minded people, sometimes called "straight shooters". "Well, if you told Fred you are for it, and Wilma you are agaisnt it, then you must have lied to one of them." That is the way a straight shooter thinks. Not so parsers. They don't think in terms of "If this is true then the opposite must be false". Instead, parsers think that anything can be true, and anything can be false, depending on how you look at it. It is not about truth, it is about their desires. Parsers talk endlessly about "what the meaning of "is" is" in an effort to escape being committed to a course of action that could cost them something. They reject the idea of absolute truth, and words mean only what they want them to mean at the time. And words are always flexible enough in their definitions that they did not mean what you thought they meant when it comes crunch time. You always seem to "misunderstand them" if they still want your help, or you are making "purposeful misrepresentations in his personal statements" if you misunderstand them when you are their opponent. It is all just a big misunderstanding you see, and it always will be when dealing with parsers."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Testimony by Attorney Martha Adcock On Court Cases Using ERA As Basis For Gay Marriage

We understand ERA bill, HJR1002, will be brought up again tomorrow or on Friday. Please keep these excerpts from Attorney Martha Adcock's testimony to the House Committee, Feb 7, in mind. Her entire testimony can be found at this link:


"And lawyers know this that right now we have cases where states have used state ERA's to overturn marriage amendments – not a lot. But you do have the precedent, and you do have it in concurring opinions and in dissenting opinions, which is exactly how these momentums build and then judges when they are wanting to overturn a precedent, that is what they use – where was this argued before. And if you will go back and look, it has been argued.

"It was argued in the concurring opinions in the Massachusetts decision, Goodrich. It was argued in Maryland. In Maryland, it didn't stand, but it was used; and I still haven't heard anybody specifically talking about a case that I find to be extremely troubling and that involves Maryland and the case is on appeal right now. But you have a judge who specifically said here are multiple reasons why maybe you could use that the plaintiffs argued could overturn the state marriage clause. They argued equal protection, they argued ERA; they argued several. And the Court said I am coming down boldly and 100% on ERA, and they threw out the state marriage law. Now again, that is on appeal, but that is a very dangerous precedent.

"Now in Hawaii – that question that was specifically asked about Hawaii. Do they have a ban on same sex marriage? Absolutely they do. Hawaii was one of the very first states to pass a marriage amendment. Why? Because a trump court using the state ERA said the state laws against marriage, they invalidated them. Now was ERA the only basis that was used. It was not the only basis, but it was one of the basis that was used for overturning marriage laws that said one man, one woman. Hawaii said, this is not what we want. So even before same sex marriage became a national debate, Hawaii went on to pass an amendment to their constitution that says marriage is between one man and one woman, and they felt compelled to do so because of what the courts had done. So today is there same sex marriage in Hawaii, No. But the two can co-exist because they are both in the constitution. We do not have a federal constitution amendment against same sex marriage, and that is part of what concerns me."

Her entire testimony can be found at this link:

Jonesboro School District Backs Off IBP, but its philosophy lives on in the magnet school program

(See this link for this entire article including the community concerns and nine links on IBO and magnet schools)

Jonesboro School District is in the process of implementing magnet schools, and in November, 2006, posted on their website the themes they had chosen for each magnet school: " INTERNATIONAL STUDIES (INTERNATIONAL BACCUALAREATE): .………… The school will apply for International Baccalaureate status as soon as possible."

As material about the IBP program was circulated in the district, the post in December read: "The school may apply for International Baccalaureate status if funding becomes available." However, citizens could get no definite answer from the administration as to whether they were or were not going to implement the IBP program.

As more material was circulated in the community about the IBP program, the post deleted the International Baccalaureate wording altogether and the post read and reads today: "INTERNATIONAL STUDIES at SAC - Arthur Jackson, Principal : The International Studies program will provide students with the background and skills for future career opportunities in the global community. Our curriculum will encourage students to be global minded as they explore how their world affects the bigger world in which we live. Students will participate in innovative and challenging hands-on experiences based on the core academic curriculum set by state and national standards. The curriculum will not be “textbook driven” but will focus on developing thinking and inquiring minds with opportunities for students to work in small groups and create projects." (Can be found at this link:

The program still sounded like the International Baccalaureate program; but on January 25th after a citizen in the community sent an Educational Alert bulletin to every teacher in the district explaining the IBP program, the Assistant Superintendent sent out an email to all teachers within a couple of hours saying, "Many of you may have received an e-mail from an unknown individual about Magnet Schools today. The e-mail provided information regarding the International Baccalaureate program and the Hot Springs School District. Please remember, the Jonesboro District does not intend to open an International Baccalaureate program. Though this was one of the ideas explored early in our investigation, we will NOT have an IB program." (you can see this alert sent to the teachers at this link:) Even after this email we were getting different stories.

Then on February 13, this notation was made in the Jonesboro minutes: Debbie Pelley, retired teacher from Westside School District, voiced her concern about Magnet Schools including funding, test scores, graduation rates, and the International Baccalaureate program. The International Baccalaureate program is not part of the JPS Magnet Schools. (Link to these minutes:

So it is official that the Jonesboro School District has backed off the IBO program. However, no doubt, the philosophy of the International Baccalaureate program lives on in the International Studies program and other magnet schools being implemented in Jonesboro. The International Studies magnet and the Math and Science magnet school principals at Jonesboro both stressed in their presentations to the community that inquiry learning, discovery learning, hands on learning, no textbooks, and teachers as facilitators and as guides to learning rather than as an authority. The worldwide director of IBO pretty much explains why they stress these particular types of learning.

See rest of this article at this link: You don't want to miss information from the worldwide IBO direction because it gives the basis for and explains why the innovative educational programs changes are being pushed.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Rogers School Board to Hear Proposal for Critical Anaylsis of Evidence for Evolution in Classes

Some are unhappy with the idea that humans and chimpanzees might be related!
UPDATE: They politely gave us 3 minutes each. We presented to the board, and they had no discussion, no comment, and basically just moved on without addressing anything we had to say. I hope that a more reason-based rather than power-based course of action is eventually brought to bear on this issue. The science book is on public display at the Admin Building on 500 W. Walnut in Rogers for one month. Then they have the meeting to finalize text curricula.
The Rogers School Board will hear a brief talk about why they should add material to science classes that critically analyze evidence for macroevolution. This will occur tommorrow (Tuesday) at six o'clock in the Roger's Public School Administration Building (500 W. Walnut). The public is invited. Yours truly will do some of the talking.

I see it made the papers.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Left Out of Good Arguments On Homosexual Adoption

We live in twisted times. In these twisted times, men like General Peter Pace ( the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs) are forced to apologize for saying what 95% of Americans knew was true a generation ago- that homosexuality is immoral. The reason we live in twisted times is that men and women with twisted reasoning have control of the microphones, televisions and printing presses in this country. Eventually, they pound their preferences into the less wary among us, who eventually accept their reasoning as sound without ever examining it. It isn't.

Take for example the "logic" used in this John Brummett article attempting to isolate Republican State Senator Shawn Womack. The courts overturned the Arkansas Department of Human Services regulation that prevented homosexuals from gaining access to children through foster parenting or adoption. The courts said that the legislature had to make rules like that, the department could not do so on it's own accord. So Senator Womack has sponsored the bill to do what the experts at the Department of Health and Human Services wanted to do- protect children from being messed up by deviants. Unlike General Pace, Womack is not backing down. This enrages doctrinaire liberals like Brummett, and Senator Jim Argue, and others who are unwilling to face up to the enormous harm that our permissive attitude towards sexual immorality has done to the country. Protecting children must take a backseat to their "revolution".

I am going to "deconstruct" the arguments in Mr. Brummett's column because I want our audience to understand the way the left argues and why it cannot withstand intellectual scrutiny. They are better at trying to mow their opponents down with a barrage of pseudo-arguments that sound good on the surface, but break down when examined. If they fire enough off, they hope that they will never be examined. They hope the other side will back off due to the sheer intensity of the barrage, regardless of the lack of merit in each shot fired. They want to win on volume, not truth. They don't believe in truth, just winning.

For the de-construction, click "SATURDAY" below and scroll down, or if sent straight here, just scroll down.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Legislators Finally Standing Up To Court Bullying?

It could be. Click "FRIDAY" below and scroll down for the story. Or if sent straight here just scroll down.

Pulling Up the Ladder on Ballot Access

Well they are at it again, at least as much as they think the courts will let them. Readers of this space will know that we predicted long in advance that the state was going to get it's head handed to it in court due to it's unfair, and unconstitutional, ballot access laws. These laws had the effect of discriminating against new political parties attempting to gain ballot access. Sure enough, the state lost the case and the Green party was placed on the ballot by court order.

I have never seen a time where disatisfaction with the two dominant political parties was higher. The average voter has lost all faith in them, but the two machines fail to change their policies or practices. Rather than reforming to meet the desires of the voters, the parties are resorting to measures that "pull up the ladder" after them. This choice was made again in the Arkansas legislature this week.

Continued- click FRIDAY BELOW and scroll down for rest of article.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Joining "Team Rudy" and other Notes

Well, I got a brochure in the mail that pretty much assumed I was joining "Team Rudy" for President. The thing was strong on spending and the war on terror. No mention of social issues, but at least when "Rudy" was pictured on the brochure, he wasn't in drag.

As to the "War on Terror", terror is a tactic. You can't really have a "War on Terror" any more than you can have a "War on Concentration of Force". You can have a war on countries that USE a given tactic against you, but a "War" on a tactic is a war that cannot be won and will never end- which seems to be the way some people like it. There are less complaints when civil liberties are trashed that way. Now if a "War on Terror" means military action to cause a "regeime change" in countries that use the tactic of terror against us- like in Afganistan- I am all for it. I don't get why it means we are supposed to hang around for years trying to impose our preferred institutions on their society though. As long as they understand any use of terror against us would get them just as dead as the last bunch should be motivation enough for the leaders who never seem to strap bombs to themselves.

Now this country and this state are spending themselves into oblivion so the fiscal part does strike a chord. It seems like every week now the state legislature is voting to put us in more and more debt. Last week they gave the Soil and Water Commission the thumbs up for $300 million in bonds. This week it is forwarding a re-vote on the failed $575 million highway bond issue. They stripped it of its onerous provision which would enable them to renew the debt to enternity, but it still has us in the business of using debt, and the same amount of debt, for routine highway maintenence. The surplus is long gone, and the arms that gave us the miniscule tax cuts are all broken from self-back patting. It is back to buying votes with your children's money.

At least the ledge is voting right on social issues. Like the vote to protect children from homosexuals getting access to them via foster parenting or adoption. I appreciate such courage in a world where the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, felt he had to apologize for saying what everybody knew a generation ago, that homosexuality is immoral. IN fact the papers just printed the roll call of the vote. An unusual move that some would take as an effort to embarrass those who voted "the wrong way." What they consider the "wrong way" is likely the opposite of the way most of us see it. Here it is (the vote). Those who voted YES voted with courage to protect children from PC madness. That makes up for a lot of overspending, because in the end, it's only money.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Brummett, Republibaptists and Rudy

John Brummett figures religious conservatives must be "extremists" because they, for example, do not want to vote for this man to be their next President.

It has been a while since I have de-constructed Brummett. His latest offering for the bird-cage scolds "Republibaptists" for their reluctance to back Rudy for President. In addition to being for abortion and gun control and the homosexual agenda, Giuliani has behaved abominably in his "private life", openly cavorting with a mistress while still married to his second wife.

While I too am amazed and frustrated that religious conservatives continue to support President Bush despite his abject failure to govern Biblically, no reasonable person (a group that of course excludes lefty newspaper columnists) could blame them for not supporting "America's Mayor".

Brummett tries to put the onus on the Republibaptists by writing, "What of this business of character, anyway? Can it really be defined by a number of marriages?" and "Finally, might not character be better defined by observable actions rather frequency of marriage?"

John Brummett is not an idiot, but those statements are idiotic. It's just silly babble. The logic does not rise to the level required for the Paron School newspaper before that school was shut down to Brummett's applause. The number of marriages may not define character, but it is a fair indicator of it. I am not anxious to disqualify people for something that happened when they were young, because many of us are not the same people that we were in our twenties, but Giuliani was and is a grown-up in all this. If a man's wife can't trust him, then why should I trust him? And yes character is defined by "observable actions", and how you treat your wife is an observable action. Its like an old Pentecostal preacher once told me, "If you don't minister to the people who see you in your underwear, YOU DON'T HAVE A MINISTRY". How they treat their wives is a big indicator of who they are. Most of the rest is just a media creation.

Brummett pulls out the one scripture liberals love to quote "judge not that you be not judged" and wags it at the "Republibaptists" after judging them to be extreme, intolerent, and judgemental. All adjectives that could just as easily be applied to old T-Rex himself.

I wonder why the media is trying so hard to ignore canidates like Congressmen Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, and Tom Tancredo? They are running, but almost no one knows about it because the media won't talk about them. Or even someone else. There are many millions of decent men in this country who have been faithful to their wives. Is there not one among them that the Republicans can put forward?

Global Warming, Evolution, and the End of Science

I was saddened but not surprised to read an article about scientists receiving death threats for questioning the idea that human activity is responsible for global warming. For example, "Timothy Ball, a former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Canada, has received five deaths threats by email since raising concerns about the degree to which man was affecting climate change.

One of the emails warned that, if he continued to speak out, he would not live to see further global warming."

But that is not the scariest thing in my mind. Sure, the threats of the mob can intimidate scientists into silence when the evidence is not to their liking. But governments can do so much more effectively. The article reports increasing instances of scientists losing their funding and being shunned for interpreting the evidence differently from how the government desires them to interpret it. In this case, governments everywhere seem to want them to say that mankind is causing most of global warming because such alarmism will frighten people into giving government offcials increasing power and control of our society.

(continued- click MONDAY below and scroll down for rest of article.)

Amazed They Printed Story On Hispanic Nightclubs

I am used to the Demozette under-reporting (note I did not use the less delicate "suppressing") stories about poor behavior from the Hispanic community in Northwest Arkansas, lest the populace draw the obvious connection between the trouble and illegal aliens (which the Democrat-Gazette seems to be all for).

That is why I was suprised to read this Michelle Bradford article documenting the troubles at the "Rio Bravo" night club. It is worth the read. One factoid: The club has had 109 calls to 911 since 2003.

I can remember the days when I would hear word on the street that there was a gang fight among Hispanics in NWA Mall and not a word of it would appear in the Newspapers. The Morning News has gotten much better at actually reporting the stories like the string of brutal murders in Springdale and Rogers involving illegal immigrants from Mexico, but until now the Democrat-Gazette seemed to lag. Maybe the authorities requested help from the papers turning the screws on this club owner, maybe there is real change coming. We shall see.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Little Rock and Arkansas Magnet School Failures

There seems to be very little academic success in the magnet schools in Arkansas. In the thirteen magnet schools in Little Rock, nine of them score lower than state average (much, much lower in most cases) on state benchmark and nationally normed tests. Jonesboro, who is in the magnet school implementing stage, scores higher than state average in about 41 of 44 areas. The three magnet schools in Little Rock that do score as high or higher than the state average have stacked decks like wealthy districts and low minority rates. (One middle school scores higher in some areas than state average and lower in some to make up the thirteen magnet schools.)

Even with the stacked deck, Jonesboro scores higher than Little Rock's highest scoring magnet high school in most areas, especially in End of course algebra (by 34 pts) and End of Course Geometry and 11th Literacy by 5 points. Twenty-six percent of their students taking AP courses pass them; 41 % of Jonesboro student taking AP courses pass them. And Jonesboro has a smaller percentage of students that need remediation than this high school does. In one Little Rock magnet high school, McClellan, only 2 out of 424 students taking AP classes passed them (less than 2 out of 200). McClellan had an average of 16% of students scoring proficient or above on End of Course in Algebra, Geometry, and 11th Grade Literacy. Another Little Rock magnet high school, J.A. Fair, scored only slightly better.

The elementary school that has the highest scores in Little Rock District is Williams Traditional Magnet School. The executive director of the review board on magnet schools in Little Rock said as its name implies, Williams Traditional is like schools used to be, like when she was in school. She said the parents loved the schools, and there was always a healthy, long waiting list for that school. One wonders then why there is so much hype about magnet schools and why Jonesboro or other schools would want to change to magnet schools.

In one Little Rock magnet high school, they have 99.7% minorities; in one middle school they have 90% minorities, and in one elementary school they have 88% minorities. The greatest disparity in racial balance among magnet schools in Little Rock, 43.7%. There is also great disparity among schools in poverty rates and in academic success.

Six of these magnet schools in Little Rock have been around twenty years, since 1987, and several others for more than ten years. If they were going to make any difference in balancing race, poverty, or increasing academic scores, they should have been able to

We have already discovered that the scores in Hot Springs and Texarkana and Jackson, Tennessee, schools that Jonesboro studied as models, have much lower scores than Jonesboro. Jonesboro's scores are remarkably better than Texarkana in EVERY area, and Jonesboro scores significantly better in 35 of 40 categories than Hot Springs.

Jackson, Tennessee elementary magnet schools score lower than the state average on their TCAP state tests in EVERY area, 10 to 20 points lower in some areas. Jonesboro's performance record is higher than the state average in 41 out of 44 areas.

Batesville is the only magnet school that scores higher than Jonesboro but only by three points in the overall average of the benchmark scores through 6th grade. However, their enrollment is half the size of Jonesboro, and they have half the number of minorities and fewer students in poverty.

We also have already discovered that there is a great difference in the racial make-up of the enrollment in magnet schools at Hot Springs, Texarkana, and Batesville so even though magnet schools were originally designed to increase integration; in reality they are resegregating the races. Batesville has one magnet school with 35% minorities and another with 4% minorities; Hot Springs, one magnet school with 71% minorities and another with 25% minorities, and Texarkana one magnet school with 65% minorities and one with 33% minority.

And with graduation rates being low in most of the magnet schools (Hot Springs 56% and two high school magnet schools in Little Rock at 64% and 75%, Batesville 76.1% - as compared with Jonesboro's 86%), it seems rather obvious that the students are not nearly as excited about the themes and methods of delivery in the magnet schools as those advocating magnet schools in Jonesboro seem to be. If they were, they would be sticking around to graduate.

How, therefore, can anyone call magnet schools a success or want to use them as models?

For details and dcocumentation see this link:

Sorting Through Confusion on School Facilities

The American tradition is longer up to code - facility decisions shift further to the state.

Doug Thompson had a good one today about the disparate subjects of school facilities funding and President Bush vis-a-vi the U.S. Attorney story and other matters. Doug is a liberal, but is sadly spot-on in his take on the unfortunate subject of George W. Bush. In the school facilites matter, Thompson is clearly in the current mainstream- and why not since he is a player in the media machine that now defines "mainstream"?

Alas, I once again find myself in the position of genteel contrarian. In these troubled times people's base assumptions are so far shifted away from those that produced our Western Civilization that one who still reasons from them is but a voice crying in the wilderness. You see, logic and reason do little good when the other fellows are operating from such a different starting point. I sit here as an outsider, a fact made all the odder because from 500 A.D. to a generation ago the base assumptions that I held were considered the mainstream, and those in vougue in this difficult generation would have been considered wicked in all senses, tyrannical in some sense, and seditious in others.

The base assumptions in question did not change because somebody lost an intellectual agrument. They did not change, for the most part, because the weight of the evidence changed. They changed because of the emergence of mass media and its domination by those who held base assumptions at variance with Western tradition. With the gaurgantuan amplification that electronic media provided, the other side did not have to win the argument with us by force of logic or intellect. They simply overwhelmed us with volume. Indeed, much of the population was unaware a debate was even occuring. It was just that they no longer spoke much to their neighbors, they spent far more time listening to strangers on a telebision set, at it was from those strangers that they unconsciously got their ideas. A famous general once noted that "Quantity has a quality all of its own".

But I say all that to set up my points on the school facilities issue. I needed to start with that because the base assumptions about what is "good" are at issue....

(continued- click SATURDAY below and scroll down for rest of article)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Halter Pressing His Luck on Lottery

"Lt. Gov. Bill Halter challenged a House committee Wednesday to allow voters to decide on establishing a state lottery, whether or not the lawmakers opposed the idea. “What are you afraid of ?” Halter asked..."".

Sheesh! Talk about needing to brush up on how to win friends and influence people. There are lots of reasons not to forward the lotto amendment (besides a legislator's personal distaste for Lt. Governor Halter's demeanor in committee). The article by Laura Kellams is worth a read. It points out that the ledge can only refer three issues to the ballot. There might be more worthy ones to send up, after all the people have voted down gambling amendments before, and legislators have plenty of good proposals lined up for the three slots. Do we get to "choose again" until we come up with the answer the gambling interests want?

I refer you to an earlier article which explains why a lottery is an even less moral choice than prostitution. Perhaps someone will say the state should get into that business next in order to avoid "loosing revenue".

U of A Chancellor John White is focused on the amount of college scholarship money which could be funded with a lottery. Well and good, but teachers on the other end have to deal with parents who have lost the rent money gambling, and this will only make that worse. State sanction on gambling will only break down people's resistance to corrupting influences. It also adds to the wrong lessons our society teaches- that wealth is not won through hard and patience work serving others better than the next person, but through chance and luck or winning a lawsuit or being a rap "star". Enough of such false lessons, says the Watchblogger. A lottery is intrinsically anti-educational in this sense.

Bill to Give Commission Power to Put Us in Debt

Am I hearing it right about House Bill 3229? A tipster advised that it allows the Soil and Water Commission to issue $300 million in General Obligation Bonds for irrigation projects. That is more debt than the Higer Ed bonds, and we had to have two elections before that happened. How can this little-known commission be empowered to stick it to us for more than the Higher Ed system? As the tipster noted "If the taxpayers are going to get stuck with $300 million in debt to pay off, at least they could spend it on highways or something of use to more than a few hundred rice farmers." This may be voted on TODAY.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

SB 959 Way Overdue (Protects Foster Children from Homosexuals)

Kudos to Senator Shawn Womack for writing a strong un-PC bill to protect children. SB 959 would ban homosexuals from becoming foster parents or adopting children. I happen to know a lot of the background on this issue. The story is not what the ACLU or certain print media would have you believe.

Social workers in the state department of human services originally banned homosexuals from getting ahold of children. They may be too afraid of PC to say so now, but they did. Why? I'll be blunt. Because they care about the kids. Because they work with these troubled children every day and they know what is harmful. They did not want the kids getting screwed up by degenerates, especially on the taxpayers dime and under their "supervison", as is the case with foster parenting. I'll not mince words here, not when the lives of young children hang in the balance. Some people are just going to have to learn to live with the consequences of their choices. The DHS workers felt that pursuit of this particular life style should disqualify one from control over a vurnerable child.

Well the courts, contrary to what the Rob Moritz article might lead you to believe, did NOT rule that this was going too far. It only ruled that the board at DHS, own its own, did not have the authority to make a rule like that. This put the ball squarely in the legislature's court, which they immediately fumbled- if you will excuse my mixed-sports metaphors. Womack has jumped on the loose football, and is now attempting to rally the good guys for a score. Let's hope he gets it.

Tution Breaks for Illegal Aliens Up for Vote Again

A balanced and well-written Laura Kellams article outlines the issues in the latest effort to give illegal aliens "in-state" tuition rates if they have spent at least three years at an Arkansas school.

Senator Hank Wilkins is the sponosr of the bill, SB 981. I am not going to rehash the article, it is worth a read if you want to click on the link. I'd like to focus on the Senator's attempt to play the race card on this one. The article states: "Wilkins said he knows he’s in for a fight, mostly because his memories are fresh from the previous regular session. He is black, as was the House sponsor then, and he said they both received death threats laced with racial slurs.

“That does not deter me from doing what I believe is right,” Wilkins said. “This is the right thing to do. I’m never going to be deterred by threats from ignorant people.”

I would hope that he would be deterred by facts from educated people. Betsy Hagan of the Eagle forum had it right. There is no deterrence here at all, in fact the bill provides an inducement to break the law. Come here and successfully evaded the law for three years, and you will be rewarded by getting college tuition at subsidized rates. Remember, Hagan and other Arkansas critics of this bill are not for denying illegal aliens access to a state university, just access to your pockets to help pay for it.

I was a little dissapointed that Wilkins played the race card on this one instead of defending the policy on whatever merits it may have. Look at who loses most when illegals flood in. The people whose jobs and wages have been most threatened by our new imported underclass are those of our residing underclass, and they are disproportionately black. The policy of encouraging more illegal aliens to come to our state disproportionately harms the economic opportunities of Wilkin's own race. This is not a racial issue. Illegal immigrants should not get tuition breaks whether they hail from Ireland or Swaziland.

Of course that view is just one poor man's opinion. Others with much more money- because they are highly paid University Presidents thanks to our tax dollars, take the opposite view. They are ALREADY giving illegal aliens the tuition breaks, despite the fact that the legislature specifically voted down a bill to do so. At least Senator Wilkins has enough respect for the system to run a bill making the practice legal. Some University Presidents think that "they don't need no stinking law". They are just acting as kingdoms unto themselves.

We live in a strange world. In words, I sometimes heap scorn on parts of the legislature, while the University Presidents heap respectful words. In practice, the actions of the University Presidents show that they hold the legislature in contempt, while in practice I have great respect for them and what they do. Strange world, and BAD BILL.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Arkansas State University's Newspaper Weighs in on Jonesboro Magnet Schools

Arkansas State University's Herald newspaper weighed in on the the magnet schools in Jonesboro and published an article yesterday which reported on an interview with Assistant Superintendent Kim Willbanks and myself. Following are some excerpts from the article about my statements. Here is the link to the entire article if anyone wants to read it.

"Debbie Pelley, a retired Westside school teacher of 27 years, is an outspoken critic of the magnet schools. She does not agree with the Jonesboro School District's analysis."I do educational research," Pelley said. "I do a lot of studying of state test scores, and I pull out the fallacies."

"Pelley said her research shows magnet schools produce low test scores, high drop out rates, and that students coming from magnet schools are more likely to need remediation when they advance to high school. [I said college not high school] Pelley dismissed Willbanks's criticism, and called the magnet schools a "fad."…."It's a progressive idea," Pelley said.

"Pelley said her research revealed a myriad of other potential pitfalls with the magnet schools, such as busing problems that she said would lengthen the school day, enrollment problems because students apply to the magnet school of their choice rather than being assigned. Pelley said this led to children from more affluent families getting their first choice and children from less privileged families being forced into the poorer schools.

"Pelley questioned also the cost of implementing and running the magnet schools. She said that administrators from failed magnet schools in Arkansas and Tennessee told her federal grants were highly competitive and difficult to secure. Pelley questioned how the district intended to pay for the magnet schools.Pelley pointed to Hot Springs' magnet schools as an example, and said that the district's own reporting on test scores shows that their schools produce lower test scores and higher remediation rates than Jonesboro schools."

Here is a link to the research on the magnet schools and Hot Springs scores that show they have a 56% graduation rate and 67% college remediation rate.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Charter School Opponents And A Disturbing Pattern


Two days after being voted down 43-49, the bill passed the House as 18 members who did not vote for it last time did so this time (verses only five of the 43 who failed to vote for it this time.)

A bill that would somewhat loosen Arkansas's restrictive Charter School law was voted down today 43-49. The sponsor used a parliamentary procedure that gives him three more days to get the votes. Here in italics are some of the reasons for the "no" votes from one of the leaders of the House, a gentleman to be sure, but sometimes sometimes charm is not enough to placate the savage beast that is your moderator. Sometimes I will only settle for explanations that make sense when checked against past behavior.

1) Section 15 could exhaust the start-up grant funding provided by the USDOE;

Neglecting the fact that the USDOE is an extra-constitutional entity, what is wrong with "exhausting" the funding? Isn't that about the same thing as USING the federal funding? I mean , you did vote in expansions of medicare and medicaid in part because of "matching funds" from the feds, right? I kept hearing from some quarters that we had to expand this or that government program because we did not want to "leave money on the table". Are we "leaving money on the table" by not "exhausting" our DOE grant money? Why wouldn't we want to "exhaust", I.E. spend it?

(2) Additional transportation costs would be incurred by the state;

How much? Surely only a fraction of the extra 1.1 billion that has been spent on education since Lakeview. Last session you guys spent $107 million to add compliance educrats to the state DOE and raise salaries. Why is it that there is always money available for things that will centralize control but never enough money for things that will give more freedom to localities?

(3) We're having enough trouble providing an adequate education for our public schools -- we're going to wear ourselves too thin;

An excellent point. On the same logic I can only presume that you will vote against an expansion of Pre-K. My concern is that you guys are SELDOM worried about spreading ourselves too thin on things that EXPAND government, only on projects that expand FREEDOM.

(4) Recent statistics show that test scores have been lower for charter school students compared to their public school counterparts.

Which is exactly what Debbie Pelley has documented about Magnet Schools, yet you guys are falling all over yourselves to push them.

Why? Same reason as on the other two. Magnet schools are centrally controlled.......

(continued, click MONDAY and scroll down for rest of article, or if sent straight here just scroll down)

Madison Package Slams University Textbook Tricks

Senator Sue Madison of Fayetteville has been known to be "University Friendly" during her terms of office. She even gave the U of A all of her General Improvement Fund Money last go-round. If the Universities are engaging in practices that have her riled up then it stands to reason that they are engaging in practices that are way out of line.

Text book prices are spiraling out of control, not because of the free market, but because of things the Universities are doing to subvert the free market. These practices allow them to make a substantial profit from their books over and above what they could make in a free market. After all the money that the state and the people have thrown at the university system, it strikes one as unseemly and rapacious for them to squeeze an extra $350 or so each semester from each student over and above normal textbook prices. Senator Madison filed a number of bills to curtail such practices by the colleges, three of which are up for committee vote today:

-SB 22, which would prohibit state colleges and universities from selecting textbooks that can only be bought in a bundle with one-time use items like workbooks and CD-ROMS and requiring purchases of a new bundle each year for the same class.

-SB 23, which would prohibit use of textbooks where pages have to be removed, destroying their resale value.

-SB 25, which would prohibit higher education institutions from using textbooks that have been lightly modified to make them unique to the institution - and therefore largely without value in a multistate textbook market.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Sellout Continues, Your Tax Dollars Go to Mexican Consulate

I have received word from a usually reliable source that the flow of dollars from your pockets to the government of Mexico continues thanks to helpful politicians. It is now known that former Governor Mike Huckabee gave the Mexicans ten thousand taxpayer dollars from the "emergency fund" on his way out the door. Now we hear rumours that the city of Little Rock gave the Mexicans $50,000 from their "Economic Development Fund", and waived the normal fees associated with a building permit for their new Consulate on University.

This is madness. If there are some companies in this state that want to do business with Mexico that badly, then let them pay for the Mexican consulate, don't foist the bill off on the taxpayers. These consulates are infamous for issuing so called "Matricula ID Cards" that help illegal aliens find an easy way to wire money they earn here back to the "home country". They are bleeding us dry, aided and abetted by our "public servants". We would like to ask for copies of all the documents pertaining to the authorization to the City Manager, Bruce Moore for this transaction, resolution 12415.

For Baby Will, a plug for SB 398

There are approximately 400 stillbirths every year in the state of Arkansas, and these parents receive a Certificate of Fetal Death but not a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth. I won’t repeat the information you can get below, but please know that I have personally attended over 300 such births in my career, and they are BIRTHS, even if they are not live births. We would like the State of Arkansas to acknowledge these events as births. You can go to the national site and read the People magazine article about this national movement. Feel free to contact me or Tina at

Hurry, please…we need you! Blessings, Lynette Spruiell

Dear Friends:

We are writing to ask a small favor of each of you. We have been working with State Senator Mary Anne Salmon to introduce legislation in the 2007 General Assembly that would require the State of Arkansas to issue a "Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth" to parents when requested. Many of you may be surprised to learn that despite the fact that Tina labored for sixteen hours and gave birth to our daughter, we were told that we would not receive any kind of birth certificate for Maddie - only a death certificate. How can you have a death certificate without any type of birth certificate, we wondered? So, we have set out to change the law.

Last week, Senator Salmon introduced Senate Bill 398. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare & Labor. Sometime soon, probably within the next two weeks, we will go before the Committee and testify as to why the bill is needed and why it is so important to parents like us. If the Committee approves it, the bill will go to a vote before the entire Senate. If approved there, it then goes to the House of Representatives for a vote.

We need your help to ensure that this bill becomes law. Please take a few minutes and contact your State Senator and State Representative and express your support for SB 398. You may call, write, or e-mail them. Their contact information can be found at . You can also help by forwarding this e-mail to other people in your address book so that they too may contact their legislators.

We have also established a website to keep people informed of the legislative status of this bill. Feel free to visit the site at: . If this bill is passed into law, Arkansas will become the 15th state to issue such certificates. A recent article in People Magazine highlighted the national movement that we are now a part of. If you are interested in reading that article, let us know and we will gladly forward it to you.

As always, we appreciate the support of our family and friends, and we thank you for helping us in our pursuit of this goal.

Warmest regards,

Tina & Jason

The Arkansas's vs Arkansas' law/Open letter to Rep. Steve Harrelson

To Representative Steve Harrelson: As an English teacher, I agree with the spelling your resolution called for - Arkansas's as correct possessive spelling. The rules I learned, and always taught as an English teacher, are that all singular nouns (including those that end in s) are changed to possessive with an apostrophe and an s. All plural nouns that end in s are changed to possessive by adding just an apostrophe. By those rules, the apostrophe and the s would make Arkansas's spelling of the possessive correct. You run into that problem with proper names as well like Mr. Jones's house burned last night. Some people leave that last "s" off, but I think it should be left on. Otherwise there will be a great deal of confusion over the rules. See this link for the Dem Gazette article on this bill:

As an English teacher of 27 year, I don't get bent out of shape over a grammatical error. Not everyone has a major in English. I have gaps in my knowledge in other fields, so I understand. However, sometimes I think other people think I am wrong when I am right; so I rather like your bill.

It does make another point as well. English is not black and white like math. English teachers do disagree on some minor points, and sometimes students have a hard time understanding that. And sometimes it is hard for one English teacher to edit a student's paper for another English teacher (like when I help with my grandchildren's English homework) because teachers they may see some minor points differently. As a teacher, I am aware of that; but children (and sometimes adults) have a hard time understanding it. I just sent the article about your resolution to my 12 year old grandson to make him see that point a little better.

Just as an example, some people think a comma should go before the "so" in the sentences in my 2nd paragraph above; some teachers don't. Some teachers consider "so" to be a conjunction and the comma appropriate; some teachers consider "so" to be a conjunctive adverb and the comma inappropriate. Some teachers say never start a sentence with "And". I often want to start a sentence with "And" but rarely do because other people will think I am wrong.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Poisoning A Generation

Good article here on how our education systems emphasis on "self-esteem" has produced a generation with a very different- and less realistic- self concept than that of the generations before it.

Those of us who read the Bible know that it is a bad idea to tell everyone how wonderful they are regardless of the way they act. The Bible teaches that our default position is not wonderful, but wicked. Self-respect comes from accomplishing something good, not pumping one up with unrealistic expectations of their place in the world. The Bible teaches us to "esteem others more highly than yourself". For the last twenty years the government schools have been teaching the opposite. Read the link if you don't already know the disaster-in-the-making results.

Those of use who consider the Scriptures in our understanding of what public policy should be have a lot to say about other issues too- like Pre-K and consolidation and workforce education and Magnet Schools and "Merit Pay" for teachers. Sometimes, like with the ERA, our warnings are heeded and we are turned back from a disaster. But we are just as correct about these other areas, where it seems our warnings go unheeded. Sometimes the connection between the Scriptures and policy for these other areas is less clear, but the connection between freedom and equality isn't.

The strategic approach you take stems from your basic assumptions about what you think the truth is. People who have trained themselves to think biblically will be able to detect these pitfalls and steer us clear of them- when they are listened to.

Toyota, Tupelo, and the AFA

Both Arkanasas and Tennessese lost the two billion dollar Toyota plant they had been angling to get for at least five years. Instead, Tupelo Mississippi came out of nowhere to get the plant at the last minute. The official reason was that the other sites had ozone levels that were too high. Maybe, but Toyota had known about that for sometime and never harped on it before. It does not sound like an insurmountable problem, just a PC excuse for choosing a city that has far worse transportaion infrastructure than Marion.

This is just speculation on my part, but I wonder if the American Family Association didn't have something to do with this decision, on many levels. They are the large Christian-leaning Pro-Family group headquartered in Tupelo. Among their assets is a string of Christian radio stations, including 14 of the biggest in Arkansas.

The AFA is sponsoring a boycott of Ford Motor Company because of the latter's promotion of the "homosexual agenda" and other infractions. Southern family people are some of Ford's best customers. They are one of the few groups who have stayed loyal to the "buy American" concept. But many of them also listen to AFA. AFA has scored victories against Walt Disney, and K-Mart. Even mighty Wal-Mart quickly made changes in some of their policies when AFA threatened a boycott. Ford was not that smart, they dug their heels in against the AFA's entreaties. My guess is that a sustained boycott is more valuable to Toyota than any financial incentive our state could offer to get that plant. If only 100,000 fewer Fords are bought because of the boycott- and about seven times that many people have already signed AFA's "Boycott Ford" petition, then it will cost Ford three billion dollars in revenue. A good chunk of that revenue could come Toyota's way. At the very least, the loss of that revenue could hamstring a major rival.

So maybe the Japanese are thinking strategically. But another way the AFA could have influenced the decision is in the cultural effect they represent in Tupelo. That is, Tupelo is the kind of town one might expect to be the HQ of the "American Family Association". It is clean, orderly, and attractive. There is nothing dirty or seedy about it. It is full of friendly, hardworking people from happy homes. The fruit of the moral choices that the residents of the city make manifests itself in a number of ways. It's an attractive town with a wholesome feel.

These are not politically correct reasons to choose one town over another. One would not expect the Japanese to announce these reasons as factors, even if they were. Instead, environmental and regulatory concerns would serve as PC reasons.

In our recent elections, Arkansans opted against a more values-driven ticket in favor of what they perceived as a business-oriented ticket who could "get the job done". There is not a doubt in my mind that if the people of Tupelo had been the only voters in our elections that they woulod have choosen the opposite candidates. How ironic it would be if Arkansas in part lost this multi-billion dollar business project because the secular and Shinto Japanese liked what they saw from the Christian-affected Tupelo culture and the political activism of the AFA.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Magnet Schools Have Low Test Scores/Marketing Campaigns Cloud Reality

The article below by Anne Johansen was printed on the front page of the Jonesboro Sun Feb. 28, 07, for a Pro and Con article on magnet schools. The author of article granted permission to post it.

Magnet schools don't measure up to their reputation. Most citizens probably have a positive view of magnet schools but know very little of the problems associated with them.

Magnet school promoters use extensive marketing campaigns very effectively to create a positive perception of magnet schools just as Jonesboro is doing with its TV and radio ads.

The US Department of Education provides a litany of marketing and recruiting techniques, such as open house sessions, parent information sessions, magnet web pages, flyers, posters, news releases, and television ads. Jonesboro is using many of these techniques.

However, magnet school advocates don't market or advertise the actual test scores of magnet schools. Jonesboro Sun reported Sept 29, 06, that 4 districts with magnet schools had been observed by 75 school representatives as models for Jonesboro's magnet schools: Batesville, Hot Springs, Texarkana, and Jackson, Tennessee, all selected because of similar demographics and size.

Jonesboro scores significantly better in 35 of 40 categories than Hot Springs In 2005 Hot Springs had a graduation rate of only 56%, Jonesboro 86%. Hot Springs had 67% college remediation, Jonesboro 45.8%. And Hot Springs spends $1,395 more per pupil than Jonesboro.

Jonesboro's scores are remarkably better than Texarkana in EVERY area. Jonesboro 5th grade literacy score is 27 points higher than Texarkana, 24 points higher in 6th grade, and 25 points higher in 5th grade math on the state benchmark tests.

Jonesboro's l1th Grade Literacy test score is more than double that of Texarkana (65 to 31) and 28 points higher than Hot Springs. This is a key score, indicating the end product of the students' learning in reading, grammar, and writing. It was originally half the exit exam which is now being resurrected by the state.

Jackson, Tennessee elementary magnet schools score lower than the state average on their TCAP state tests in EVERY area, 10 to 20 points lower in some areas.
For rest of story and documentation, see this link: or click Thursday below