Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cash for Clunkers Program Shut Down After 4 Days

The Federal "Cash for Clunkers" program, scheduled to last until October, is already running short of money and will be shut down at midnight tonight. The program offered several thousand dollars to people who turned in older gas-guzzlers to buy a new car. About 1 billion dollars was allotted for the program.

The shut down will come even though the government will not pay for many transactions where buyers thought that they were getting the money. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told dealers Wednesday that a vast majority of transactions submitted were being rejected for incomplete or illegible paperwork. While demands for free money from the government was, as always, brisk, the whole thing is turning into a management and paperwork disaster.

The incompetence of statist big-government types is exceeding only by their arrogance. They can't even run a program like this without it turning into a ball of snags, yet they think they can take over (the rest of) the nation's health care system. They think they can accurately gage the demands for health care when the government is paying, but the money they thought would last about four months for this program instead lasted four days. At least they think this is what happened, but they really don't know if they are out of money because so many of the claims requesting money were "illegible or incomplete".

Reader of this space will know that I opposed all the bailouts, whose costs have swollen so that Congress has put We the People on the hook for an astounding 23 trillion dollars in potential liabilities. Still, if there was one bailout program for the common person, it was this one. The fact that they could only spare one billion for this program while almost all of the remaining 23 trillion dollars goes to shoring up their Wall Street and even international banking buddies speaks volumes as to their priorities. Send the lot of them home.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ross Has His Price. Will Vote for Socialized Medicine

Scuttlebutt is that Mike Ross has been bought off. He is now simply playing a game to make folks think that a compromise has been made. In reality we are going to get the same ObamaCare socialized medicine as always with only a few inconsequential concessions to let Mike Ross save face. Don't get sucked into the press hype.

Ross and the Blue Dogs are likely only waiting until they are convinced that the Senate will pass some version of the bill before they come over. On the Cap and Trade bill, many were angered that they were leaned on to vote for a tax increase that had no chance of passing the Senate. They do not want to risk angering the folks back home again for a bill that won't pass anyway.

The evidence seems to confirm it. IMMEDIATELY and I do mean IMMEDIATELY after getting out of the meeting with the POTUS Barak Obama (several days ago) ... Mike Ross' press office announced about $81 million dollars in PORK. Look at these press releases:§iontree=5,16&itemid=1076§iontree=5,16&itemid=1077§iontree=5,16&itemid=1078§iontree=5,16&itemid=1079§iontree=5,16&itemid=1080§iontree=5,16&itemid=1081§iontree=5,16&itemid=1082§iontree=5,16&itemid=1083§iontree=5,16&itemid=1084§iontree=5,16&itemid=1085§iontree=5,16&itemid=1086

The transaction appears to have been made. Ross will get the pork ladled to his district and be heralded as a "hero" for insisting on a "fiscally responsible" plan to further socialize medical care at the same time. It looks from this angle like he made a deal for cash and is only waiting until Obama can pay off key members of the Senate to announce that "we now have a deal I can vote for".

It turns out that three of the top five donors to Ross are health care interests. He gets to pose as hero while getting money from both ends of the system- campaign contributions from big business and pork for his district from government.

Tea Party Net Radio Tonight

Join us tonight from 9-10 for Arkansas Unite Tea Party Radio. Archives available. We will be joined by the newly elected Chairman for the Benton County Tea Party, Kirk Hartness.

Double-Dip Gate, 200 Elected Officials Involved?

Drawing full retirement and full salary simply by skipping your pay for three months in a position you never leave? That is double-dip gate and up to 200 elected county officials may be doing it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

David Pryor is Playing Both Sides on Gun Issue

Read this when you are close enough to a shower to wash the sleaze off afterwards.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

He's Hiding Something

Smirking NBC "News" Anchor Brian Williams


It seems that Dr. Fukino has issued what on it's surface appears to be a stronger statement today than the original statement she made eight months ago concerning Obama's records. But again, if you parse her words closely she is still leaving wiggle room to not perjure herself while giving a misleading quote.

Her quote from today:

""I, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawai'i State Department of Health, have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawai'i State Department of Health verifying Barrack Hussein Obama was born in Hawai'i and is a natural-born American citizen.

Original quote:

“Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai‘i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai‘i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures."

Why the change of wording? This allows Fukino to say that what she was claiming about each separate document was "true" according to that document. This would allow her to claim that the original birth certificate was on file "in accordance with law" even if it were simply the unverifiable testimony of the grandmother that Obama was born at her house. Quite embarrassing for a President who claimed that he was born in a hospital, actually he has claimed two different hospitals, in Hawaii. Then she could say that the "vital record" she was referring to was the COLB. The COLB does claim he was born in Hawaii, but bases that claim on what is on the real Birth Certificate. But a look at the real birth certificate might show that the claim of Hawaiian birth is based solely on the word of a deceased grandmother, and contradicts the story that Obama has been giving about being born in a hospital. Or it might show something worse- it might be amended to indicate that Obama was adopted in Hawaii by Lolo Soetoro which then made him a citizen of Indonesia under the laws of that country.
The resolution is simple and clear. Mr. President, if indeed you are the legal President, SHOW US YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

Presumed President Barack Obama is hiding something. It may not be something that renders him constitutionally ineligible for the office of President, or it might be. We don't have the information to say which. The reason that we don't have that information is that Obama himself is going to extraordinary lengths to keep this information hidden. He acts exactly like a person who is hiding something. He is hiding is birth certificate, and his college records, and his passport information from the early 80s. Why?

The corporate media, such as NBC's Brian Williams, don't want to know why. Their focus is on using their platform to shout down and personally attack people who are curious as to why the elected President of the United States is fighting so hard to conceal this routine information. Rather than demand answers from Obama, they demand that those who want the truth shut up. The "watch dogs" of the media have become the attack dogs of the administration.

Williams repeated the inaccurate claim that Obama has already released is birth certificate. That is incorrect. A copy of a "Certificate of Live Birth" was released, but not in court where releasing phony documents can be prosecuted. Even if it is genuine, a COLB is NOT a birth certificate. Rather, it is a document that indicates that one of five types of documents exists. One of those five types of documents was used under Hawaiian law to register children born elsewhere, and two other types claim Hawaiian birth but do not require a level of evidence normally considered proper to back up the claim of a birth. Only one of those five document types referred to by the COLB is what the typical person thinks of as a valid, documented "birth certificate".

That is why the carefully parsed words from the Hawaiian records official mean, on close examination, nothing. The official only claimed that a document similar to the one the COLB referred to and in compliance with Hawaiian law at the time, was on file. Though that statement may be true, its is meaningless. It is meaningless because the COLB could correctly and legally refer to a number of document types, not all of which would establish that Obama really is a Natural Born Citizen as the Constitution requires.

Another cover-up tactic, and at this point it is hard to call it anything else, is to bait and switch "citizen" and "natural born citizen". Obama can be a "naturalized" citizen of the United States without meeting the standard of "Natural Born Citizen". The latter term in the time of the Founders meant one who was born on native soil to two parents who where subjects of that country. Since Obama's father was a subject of the British Crown, it is doubtful that the Founders would consider him eligible for the office on that grounds that his loyalties could be divided. They wanted a President of the United States, not someone whose first loyalty was to another country, or even a "citizen of the world".

You mark my words. Obama is hiding something. And men like Brian Williams are helping him by using their platforms to personally attack and name-call people who are asking the question that, if they were worth squat as journalists, they should be asking themselves. They are helping in the cover-up by repeatedly spreading dis-information about what a COLB is and about the differences between a "naturalized" and a "natural born" citizen are.

Greens To Sue State Over Ballot Access Laws

It's not easy being green. The Green's sue the state again over ballot access laws.

Last time, as we predicted, the Green's won their lawsuit equalizing ballot access for new political parties with independents running for state-wide office. The state dragged its heels as much as it could, but in the end the judges called them on it.

This time it will be much harder for the Greens. They say it is unfair that their Senate candidate and all Congressional candidates got over 20% of the vote but they still don't get access just because their Presidential candidate failed to meet the 3% hurdle. More details on the suit here.

Legislative Report on Lottery Salaries Flawed.

A report from the Bureau of Legislative Research shows that the overall salaries in the Lottery Commission’s Budget is below the industry average in terms of a percentage of projected sales. The report was requested by Rep. Jonathan Dismang. I am glad he requested it, but he should not just accept it's conclusions at face value.

Here is what Dismang said, drawing from the report: “Assuming an estimated revenue of $751 million (Arkansas population x the national average sales per capita) in total annual lottery sales, the total salaries budget of $4.7 million will amount to .68% of total sales - compared to the national average of 1.49%,”

I call BS. Here is why.....

1) The national sales per capita in lottery tickets is going to be higher than the sales in Arkansas, just as the sales per capita in automobiles, steaks, and hand bags is higher in other states. We have an average income far below the national average, and so we spend below the national average on items basically across the board. Those figures were drawn from previous years during our faux-boom. We are in a bust and people have less money to throw away on stuff like this- present lottery ticket sales are declining across the county. Add to it we have a much higher proportion of devout Christians than northern states who will not buy lottery tickets.

2. Even if they were correct in their numbers on point one (and they are not) they miss the point of our complaints. Even these flawed numbers for salaries are only in-line with other states (on a revenue basis) ON AVERAGE. "His head was in fire, and his feet were in ice. But on the average, he was very comfortable".

They over-pay at the top, on the plum political patronage jobs, and under-pay (or rather pay the standing lower salaries compared to other states for common jobs) the much larger number of low level workers. The complaint is not about the AVERAGE pay. It is about the excessive pay at the top.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Beaver Lake Watershed Group Threatens Property Rights

There is a new swarm of regulators coming to tell you how to manage what you thought was your land. A group called the “Northwest Arkansas Council” is working on plans to implement extremely intrusive federal laws under the guise of protecting the Beaver Lake Watershed. The Northwest Arkansas Council is basically big industry interests from the area leveraging their clout to get the taxpayers to ante up for public policy initiatives that are in the interests of said industries.

I just got finished wading through their 92 page report. Their premise is that the population growth rates of the last few years will continue until 2055. Under that assumption, they say we need to take more measures to protect our water. Of course their assumption is silly. I guess they have not noticed that the building boom around here has gone bust.

At the start of the report they say they only want to “enforce existing law”. It is only later that you realize that existing law is nightmare of big-government micromanagement of your property that is only waiting for “adequate resources” from the public (read more of your tax dollars) to hire more enforcement agents.

From the report: ”Stormwater discharges for large and medium size communities are
regulated by federal Clean Water Act rules for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program, but administered and enforced by ADEQ”.

So the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality acts as an enforcement arm for federal law. The federal government is increasingly (and improperly) using state and local governments as sub-units to enforce its growing host of rules and regulations. Mostly rules about stuff they have no constitutional authority to act on, such as storm water runoff.

And you may be thinking that it is ok to regulate “large and medium sized communities” if you live in the country. Wrong. The Feds are like the Borg. You will be assimilated. From the report: “In terms of construction phase impacts, it is important to note that federal stormwater regulations require that all construction sites disturbing more
than one acre, regardless of their location, must have sedimentation and erosion controls. If this land disturbance falls outside of a designated MS4 community, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is required to administer and enforce the stormwater NPDES requirements unless a local government voluntarily enacts an ordinance. However, the state does not have adequate resources to enforce these requirements.”

So if you want to build a new barn and the construction impacts more than one acre of land you are supposed to follow their requirements, they just haven’t taxed you enough (yet) to hire “adequate resources to enforce these requirements”.

And if you have cattle, here is a peek at some of the coming “requirements” for you to get busy on: “cattle with unrestricted stream access typically cause severe streambank erosion. Recommended pasture BMPs involve excluding cattle from streams using fencing, providing an alternative water source, and providing stream crossings where necessary.” And you also need to do something they called “pasture renovation”: “Pasture renovator equipment uses large spikes (found in various shapes and sizes) to create many small indentions in the ground that hold water and nutrients”

Country folk also have a septic system. From the report, “Individual wastewater systems require regular maintenance, such as pumping every 3 to 5 years, in order to function as designed”. They recommend starting a “monitoring program” presumably to go around and tell you when to pump your septic system. Also on the list is a 50-ft easement they want to enforce around stream beds in the watershed. Got one on your land?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Double Dip for County Officials

They are lefties, but when they are on to something, they are on to it. The Ark Times folks are on top of the "Retired While On Duty" scam whereby many county officials forgo their paychecks for a few months while still serving, making them eligible to draw full retirement and a full paycheck. We have one of the most generous retirement programs around- so good that it makes it hard to keep experienced workers.

Are your elected county officials drawing full retirement pay for their current duties? You might want to ask.

Benton County Tea Party Convention

We had a blessed time at our first business meeting to adopt a constitution and by-laws and elect officers. We brought 150 applications and ran out. Not bad for something that is was basically a sit-down meeting in an under-air conditioned room. Benton County Record reporter Gary Lookadoo wrote a good after-the-deadline story on it, so I don't have to. The Chairman's last name is spelled "Hartness" I believe, rather than Harkness.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Toyota Plant We Lost May Never Open

Arkansas was in the running, but Mississippi won the contest to host a new Toyota plant. Now Toyota says that their North American operations are not profitable and they are taking a second look at the decision to build a new plant.

From my original article from 2007 when the announcement was first made that Tupelo (home of the pro-Christian American Family Association) would get the plant and not Marion.....

"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."

State Claims About Benchmark Scores Fraudulent

The state reports that more and more students are "proficient" every time they give the benchmarks tests. These claims are fraudulent, and are only achieved by reducing the number of correct answers required each year.

Some day this scam will blow up on them. For you, today can be that day if you have one hour to listen to this archived internet radio interview of Debbie Pelley and Iris Stevens as they lay out the troubling facts.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tea Party Net Radio Tonight

The panel talks about the latest happenings and best ideas in Arkansas government and the Tea Party movement in this state. Insights on the education report. Wal-mart continues new left. Hooray for Tennessee yet again. We look at the state campaign finance reports. Plus, your calls. Catch the show from 9 to 10PM tonight here. Archives available.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hooray for Tennessee Part IV

This time, Tennessee joins Montana in passing the "Firearms Freedom Act". The Campaign for Liberty says of the act: "Essentially the TFFA explains that federal laws and regulations do not apply to personal firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition that is manufactured in Tennessee and remains in Tennessee. The limitation on federal law and regulation stated in the TFFA applies to a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured using basic materials and that can be manufactured without the inclusion of any significant parts imported into this state. The TFFA also states that firearms accessories imported into Tennessee that are subject to federal regulation do not subject a firearm to federal regulation under interstate commerce simply because they are attached to or used in conjunction with a firearm in Tennessee.

From the TFFA itself: "The regulation of intrastate commerce is vested in the states under the ninth and tenth amendments to the United States Constitution, particularly if not expressly preempted by federal law. Congress has not expressly preempted state regulation of intrastate commerce pertaining to the manufacture on an intrastate basis of firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition;"

You can read the whole act for yourself here.

The BATF has written letters to gun owners telling them that the law is null and void. I believe the Constitution is on the side of the states in this matter.

Tennessee and Montana are making the exact same Constitutional argument that Arkansan Hollis Wayne Fincher tried to make. "Judge" Jim Hendren would not permit Fincher to make the case that a federal law whose authority was based on the Fed's power to "regulate interstate commerce" did not apply to a gun manufactured and kept within the bounds of one state (and in his case marked "not for re-sale"). The Feds went to the elaborate fiction of using the interstate commerce clause to tax and regulate firearm possession because the 2nd amendment prohibits the feds from making gun laws. The duplicitous feds therefore try to make gun laws under the guise that they are commerce laws. Hendren shamefully sent Fincher to prison without permitting him to make that constitutional defense to a jury of his peers, but now the whole state of Tennessee (and Montana) are arguing the exact same thing as Fincher.

Boozman Primary Challenger Unveiled

D. Kincade over at the Ar Project has been bean-spilling as to the ID of the credible challenger that Congressman John Boozman will face in the GOP primary. The newspaper release on the issue would did not give a name, it just noted that the mystery candidate would formally announce on the Fayetteville Town Square Monday August 3rd at 6PM. The mystery candidate is retired Air Force General Bernard Skoch (pronounced "scotch").

He certainly is a better and more energetic public speaker than the somo-somatic incumbent.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Arkansas Test Score Scam of 2009

Scores Improve on all Arkansas "Homegrown" Benchmark Tests; BUT on nationally Normed Test, Arkansas Scores as Low as 35 percent. Sixty-five percent of Students Across The Nation Do Better Than Arkansas Third Graders in Language, Etc.

Once more, as is done every year about this time, the Arkansas Department of Education and the media are touting the successful K-12 scores in Arkansas. As usual when government control is involved, the truth is twisted into propaganda.

It is true that students in Arkansas keep improving on one measure, the benchmark tests designed, controlled, and with scoring percentages set by the state. But on all other measures compared with students across the nation Arkansas falls far short. See bulleted list below in red font.

Note that on these Arkansas math benchmark tests, students in 8th grade only have to get 28 points correct out of 80 points to be Proficient (Proficient is equivalent to a B or in ADE terminology indicates students have met standards); Grade 7 - 27 pts out of 80; Grade 6 - 40 out of 80; Grade 5 - 34 out of 80, Grade 4 - 40 out of 80, Grade 3 - 35 out of 80. No wonder their scores are so high! They set the curve wherever they want it set for the desired results. (The categories are Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. See this link for these raw scores:

(There are no scores for state designed benchmark benchmark tests for grades 1,2 & 9 listed here because there re no state designed benchmark tests for them. NCLB doesn't require it.)

In addition to such low scores required on the Arkansas Benchmark Tests, in many districts teachers' lesson plan books are monitored and their classes observed to make sure they are teaching every day the released items from former state annual tests. Teachers are now being instructed to teach nothing else but the test sample questions or the released test items. In other words the Test Released Items Booklet becomes the entire curriculum. Then teachers are required to give several practice tests at regular intervals in preparation for the annual Benchmark Test. See this link for memos instructing teachers to teach only released test items. See this link to download the Released Items Booklets for all grades.

Anyone who studies the facts and compares the Arkansas benchmark scores to any national measure can see that the so called educational improvement in Arkansas is just a scam. For example, the gap between Arkansas benchmark test scores and the nationally normed test scores (the test that compares our students to other students across the nation) is staggering. The scores in half the grades tested are more than 20% lower than the percentage on the Arkansas benchmark tests. This is the second second year for this particular nationally normed test, and scores for last year were very similar and showed no significant improvement even though the Arkansas Benchmark test scores keep going up and up.

First note how low the language score is for the nationally normed test (SAT 10) comparing our students to the rest of the nation. How could anyone possibly think Arkansas has had any success when we have scores like the following in any area? In 3rd grade for example, 65% of the students tested across the nation scored better than 3rd graders in Arkansas; 66% scored better than 4th grade, etc. This is the 2nd year for this test, and again the scores were almost the same last year. And these scores are the result of more than doubling educational spending in Arkansas from $1.4 billion in 1996 to $4 billion in 2004-05 (federal, state, and local spending) which equals at least a 3% sales tax increases in Arkansas.

2009 Scores on Nationally Normed Language Tests (SAT 10)
(comparing our students to other students across the nation)
See this link for these scores:

3rd grade - 35%
It doesn't appear that all that money spent on pre-school has helped the scores, does it?
4th grade - 34%
(In 1988 the language score for 4th grade on nationally normed test was 65%
5th Grade - 43%
6th Grade - 45%
7th Grade - 48%

(In 1988 the language score for 7th grade on natioanlly normed test was 61%)
8th Grade - 43%
9th Grade - 48%

* All the scores in 1988 were similarly higher than 2009, but these are the only two grades in elementary school where all students were required to take the test as they are now so these grades, are the only ones that can be compared that far back. See this link for a pdf file of the ADE document with the scores in red font above.

See this link to see how high our nationally standardized tests have been in the past in table form. This table includes all nationally normed test scores from 1988 to 1995 for the grades that Arkansas used for accountability, 4, 7, & 10. In the fourth grade in 1988 on the nationally normed test, every score was above 60 %, and dropped down to 50% in 1995 after the state took over education and started teaching to the tests.

The following facts were gathered in 2007 but facts are still the same except for a point or two here or there. Again these are the results of increased educational expenditures that would equal a 3% sales tax increase in Arkansas.
· Only nine states scored lower than Arkansas on the ACT test in 2007. Arkansas dropped slightly in 2007, but the national average improved. (The ACT test is the culmination of K-12 instruction and is used by colleges all over the nation to award scholarships.) 3
· The graduation rate dropped slightly more than 10% in one year according to the last educational report in Arkansas (2005-2006) the next report won't be available for a few more months. 4
· College Remediation Rate is 51.6% (46.6% in 1995); National Average is 33% 5
· Only Nine States Scored Lower Than Arkansas in 8th Grade Math on NAEP Test; only sixteen states scored lower than Arkansas on the 4th Grade Reading NAEP Test, etc. in 2005. Other scores were similar. In 2007 our scores were even lower. Arkansas Department of Education Director said , "We have slipped a bit in terms of state rankings in all areas, save mathematics at the fourth grade." 6
· Only 28% of AR students pass test on Advanced Placement (AP) courses, while 59.4% pass nationwide 7
· Test Scores on nationally normed tests are 11 Percentile Points lower in 2006 than in 1990 (a 22% decrease) (Later scores are not available yet) 8
· In its latest State of State Standards in 2006, Fordham Foundation gave Arkansas an F on its Math Standards, F on U S. History Standards, an F on World History Standards, a D in Science and a C in English for an average of F. 9
· The National Report Card on Higher Ed. gave Arkansas a D+ in High School Preparation for College in 06 in its latest report. 10
· Educational Reforms Have Cost $1.4 BILLION since 2003, which equals about a 3% sales tax increase in Arkansas. 11
The Education Week’s Quality Counts 2008 report itself indicates that Arkansas earned a D in K-12 on student achievement 2

See this link for documentation and footnotes on these statistics.

The following paragraph about Kentucky sums up what is happening in Arkansas.

In 1993 US Education Secretary Richard Riley called Kentucky a lighthouse for the rest of the nation and said President Clinton's Goals 2000 would help states duplicate what Kentucky has done and is doing. [Herald Leader, 1993 by Lucy May.] Kentucky has shown great improvement on their state tests over the years. However, note that five testing experts from five universities said Kentucky had been "misinforming, misleading, exaggerating and overstating student achievement."

Also, in 1994 in Jefferson County, the largest school district in the state, parents demanded that their children be tested for national comparison. (For four years, the students had been tested only with the KIRIS test developed by Kentucky) The national tests revealed that Kentucky students' comparative scores, after four years of Kentucky's state test, had declined from an average of 7 percent below the national average to an average of 27 percent below that standard in reading and math across all grade levels in which the tests were given – second, sixth and ninth grades. In no area had scores improved on the nationally normed test. See this link for this entire article on Kentucky:

Debbie Pelley, Retired Arkansas Teacher of 27 years -
Iris Stevens, Retired Arkansas Teacher of 31 years who retired early. Perhaps you can guess why.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Democrats Look Strong in Quarterly Finance Reports

Kicking Ass: The Democratic Party of Arkansas is winning the dollar race.
State Party Quarterly Finance Reports

Republican Party
Contributions received $67,203
Expenses $71,928

Democratic Party
Contributions received $146,950
Expenses $20,337

Green Party
Contributions received $379
Expenses $367


Do you really need any commentary from me? The numbers speak for themselves.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

McDaniels Top Contributors Trend Out-of-State

McDaniel, raking in out-of-state cash.
Jason Tolbert has a nifty list of who is in the money, campaign war-chest wise. I was struck by how many (once you get past the Stephens' and the usual big Ark. givers) of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's top contributors were from out of state.

:Dustin McDaniel – Attorney General (Democrat)
Total Contributions - $502,585.33
Cash on Hand - $442,141,54
Major Contributors – $4,000 ($2k for primary & $2k for general) Alltel PAC (Little Rock) McDaniel Leadership PAC (Little Rock), The Stephens Group (Little Rock), 1-800-Contacts Inc. (Draper, UT), GGNSC Administrative Service LLC (Fort Smith), Dickstein Shapiro, Inc. (Washington, DC) Ark Monroe II (Little Rock), McLartey Co. (Conway), Forrest City Grocery Co (Forrest City), Parker Westbrook (Little Rock), El Dupont De Numours & Co (Wilmington, DE), Meredith Catlett (Little Rock), S. Graham Catlett (Little Rock), G. Anthony Gelderman, III (New Orleans, LA), Dr. Fredrick Joyce (Texarkana, TX), Committee to Save Ark Jobs PAC (Little Rock), Walton Family PAC (Bentonville), Arkansas State Farm Associations PAC (Little Rock), American Electric Power, Law Offices of Daren O’Quinn (Little Rock), Judy Tenenbaum (Little Rock), DRIVE Committee (Washington, DC), Medco Health Solutions (Franklin Lakes, NY), Comcast (Philadelphia, PA), Cobb-Vantress (Siloam Springs), SBC Arkansas Employee PAC (Little Rock), Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP (New York, NY), Tyson (Springdale), McDaniel & Wells PA (Jonesboro), David Finley (Highland Village, TX), Bobby McDaniel (Jonesboro) Wilkes & McHugh PA (Tampa, FL), Richard Bell (Fort Smith), Junell Law Firm PC (Houston, TX), Kenneth KS Tiem (Pearlland, TX), Kentner Shell (Houston, TX), DAGA Inc. (Denver, CO), Grant & Eisenhofer, PA (Wilmington, DE), DBH Management Consultants (Morrilton), Wilhold LLC (Little Rock), Patrick Gla Tein (Houston, TX), Edward O Moody (Houston, TX), Juan S. Sin (Houston, TX), Truett B. Akin IV (Spring, TX), Molly Quigley Hughes (Houston, TX), Riley Burnett JR, P.C. (Houston, TX), Jennifer Smith (Jonesboro), David Smith (Jonesboro), H&H Marketing (Little Rock)"

David Kincade of the Arkansas Project noted that money "all spends the same" when it is time to buy ads on TV.

Wal-Mart Continues Left

Sam Walton: Mad enough yet to hop out of that grave and kick some serious butt at his former company?
The state media did not really cover it here, probably because they realized that it would not play well in Arkansas, but Wal-Mart is moving to "green labeling". The New York Times explains:

"The idea is to create a universal rating system that scores products based on how environmentally and socially sustainable they are over the course of their lives. Consider it the green equivalent to nutrition labels."

Hear is my take on it: It sounds like a way to give even more power to lefties to destroy any company who does not give money to lefty causes. The group who does the rating goes to a company and says "The overall environmental effect of your products is really bad and we are going to have to rate them as such, UNLESS YOU OFFSET that damage by writing fat checks to the following groups......"

That high-pitched whine that you hear is Sam Walton spinning in his grave at an amazing number of RPMs.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Finding the Jewels in Committee Hearings

State Rep. Mark Martin, the House Minority Whip, is known for providing a running commentary on the happenings at various legislative committees on which he sits. It is a valuable service. Even if sorting through the raw data is a bit tedious, it is important that someone make this information available to the public. My value-added service: find a couple of gems in the often dull events.
Martin on the cost of the long-running school desegregation case (where federal courts have ordered the rest of the state to give additional money to the Little Rock school district): "3:30 pm – I just recieved a printout prepared by the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research, the total actual expenditures is $845,504,403.00 ! That will be more than a BILLION before the next session is complete."

Martin again, on who has the best lawyers: "3:28 pm – I have to give it to the Little Rock School District credit. They have played this well. They have established that they are unitary, which is required for them to say that they are actually doing their job. So they have covered their asses, and have countered that the State of Arkansas has not done it’s job so we still have to be giving them money. Apparently the school districts have better lawyers than the State of Arkansas does."


Senator Kim Hendren (to listen to the media you would think all he ever does is make gaffes, but he has some jewels here): "Sen. Hendren made the point that there is no motivation for the parties involved to resolve the issue and take care of the things that need to be done to achieve unitary status because they will lose funding once it is done. He made the point that we need to be proactive to move forward."


Martin and NO WAY OUT: "3:35 pm – Lawyers make me nuts. The sit here talking legal mumbo jumbo acting like they want one thing, when really they are not seeking a solution at all. The sole purpose is to keep the money flowing. There is no way out of this through the normal legal process. The only way the state will ever be out of this is by an initiated act that forces a supreme court decision."

Abortion Mandate Snuck Into Government Health Care Takeover Bill

Some fundamentally dishonest folks here. Honest people don't mind telling you exactly what it is they are trying to do.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Obama Eligibility Bomb Shell......

A U.S. Army Reserve major from Florida scheduled to report for deployment to Afghanistan within days has had his military orders revoked after he argued that he should not be required to serve under a president who has not proven his legitimacy for office.......(get the rest of the WND story here).

UPDATE: The government has leaned on this reserve soldier's employer and got them to fire the guy.

A Sad Tale of Human Resources at St. Vincent

From Mayor Frank Gilbert of Tull


Maybe it’s not fair to compare Chris in Human Resources with Pontius Pilate. Still, that IS who came to mind as he brushed me off and washed his hands of the matter.

Chris and I spoke – briefly – because a constituent and friend of mine told a story about her work at St. Vincent Health System in Little Rock that was hard to believe.

According to her, she and all the others members of St. Vincent’s housekeeping department had been ‘outsourced.’ They no longer worked for the hospital, but for a large, multinational corporation that had contracted to provide services while keeping current employees.

The first indication of a problem was that the former St. Vincent employees were told that they were on probationary status with the new employer. All those years on the job meant nothing. They were starting over. And the new employer had a ‘two strikes and your out’ policy.

It didn’t take long before workers were being fired for second offenses.

In every case the new employees seemed to be younger, Hispanic females. Of course the new employees were hired without health insurance and other benefits the previous employees had enjoyed. They were paid a tad more, but no where near enough to make up for the loss of benefits.

The call I made to St. Vincent was awkward.

It really is none of my business how they operate their hospital. Who they fire, hire or outsource has nothing to do with the two-bit mayor of a small town. I acknowledged that to the young lady who answered the phone. Still, she was kind enough to direct my call to their Human Resources Department.

I knew immediately how I was going to be received. The voice that answered was flat and the speaker seemed to be finishing a sigh at this latest interruption. “This is Chris.” It was obvious that he was busy and couldn’t be bothered with a more complete (or correct) greeting.

After hearing this sad story, Chris did confirm that there had been an outsourcing. But he could not comment on any of the other components. After all, it no longer had anything to do with St. Vincent’s Human Resources Department. How convenient.

Maybe it wasn’t wrong to compare him to Pontius Pilate.
Chris did ask for the name of the complainer. I don’t think he even found it odd that he only identified himself by first name, but wanted me give full information on a woman who was in fear of losing her job – and her health insurance. When I refused, he tut-tutted that there wasn’t much he could do without it. But he assured me he would pass the concern on anyway.

At that point I was more worried about what he WOULD do if given the name. I’m pretty sure he could have gotten it to his colleague with the new housekeeping provider.

The sad truth appears to be that two corporations, one a large, local and the other a huge, international have teamed up to take advantage of two groups who are powerless to do anything about it.

My friend is a hard-working, dedicated employee. She needs her job and would be in dire straits if she lost either her check or her health insurance. I’m sure that most of the other employees that St. Vincent cut loose are in that same boat. The employees who are replacing them are desperate for a pay check as well. They are certainly in no position to haggle about a benefits package.

It is a safe bet that St. Vincent, like every other private business in the country, is suffering from financial constraints. I just wonder if this assault on their former housekeeping employees and abuse of replacement workers is the best way to address it.

When I checked the phone book to call St. Vincent, they had over 60 listings in the white pages. The hospital currently has an advertising campaign running on central Arkansas television extolling their virtues. I’ll wager there are other departments in St. Vincent’s system that have larger payrolls. The potential for cost savings are not limited to housekeeping. It’s just easier there.

In these trying economic times it is good for all of us to remind ourselves of the old truism, “Following the path of least resistance is what makes rivers and men crooked.” The same is true of hospitals.

Years from now, if we have a government-operated health care system it will be because of short-sighted, self-serving decisions like this one. St. Vincent is not the only company that is acting this way. Lots of companies and individuals have followed this path of least resistance. The result is a ready-made constituency for every demagogue who rails against greedy businessmen and heartless corporations.

If businesses don’t want “play or pay” schemes overseen by bureaucrats; if doctors and hospitals don’t want more cost/benefit schedules and terms of service requirements imposed on them; if every patient in the country doesn’t want to see British style shortages and rationing we have to stop doing what we are doing.

Chris in Human Resources is not a villain. He probably isn’t even able to change the system he is caught up in. But someone is. Someone made the decision to dump long term employees and to empower a third party to take advantage of the workers who replaced them. That someone needs to explain how they came to that decision. That someone needs to be held accountable.

They need to be accountable not just for another step toward government controlled health care, but for the more serious offense of taking advantage of the most powerless in our country for their own benefit.

Tea Party Net Radio Tonight

Join us tonight from 9 to 10PM for the Arkansas Unite Tea Party Call-in Radio Program for all the latest in Arkansas politics and government.

Lottery Jackpot

Far left and far right converge when it comes to our lofty state lottery. The Sheriff of Grant County gets hired as "Security Director" at a salary far in excess of the Chief of the State police. I don't have to complain about it, our friends on the far left at ArkTimes are doing an admirable job of it.

Test Results: Less Than Meets the Eye

Scores on several state-mandated tests rose over scores from previous years. While an increase in scores is better than a decline, there is less progress there than meets the eye. When the state department of education is the one in charge of evaluating the results of its own program, it is prudent to probe a little deeper. Developing.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Primary Opponent for Boozman?

Word in the NWA Tea Party movement is that Republican Congressman John Boozman will draw a Republican Primary opponent, and that this opponent is only weeks away from a formal announcement.

Conservatives have gone from frustrated to angry with Boozman over his strong support for the banker's bailout. The previous frustration came from his lack of accomplishments for conservative values- failing even to speak up for them effectively, much less get them into law. A district as conservative as the 3rd could certainly get a representative that would push their issues harder. Boozman's unflinching support of Bush policies, even big-government ones, have now back-lashed as loyalists watch their party both go left and lose ground.

I have never met the mystery candidate, but sources assure me that he has a very credible resume and for a non-corporate candidate, would be fairly well funded.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Retreat! Democrat-Gazette NWA Site Goes Subscription

It appears the Democrat-Gazette will now charge for access to its online NWA site. It makes me feel a little better when not even THEY can make internet writing turn a profit. What do you think of their retreat from the free digital field?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Palin Hints at Independent Conservative Movement

Sarah Palin was quoted in the Washington Times as saying, " “I will go around the country on behalf of candidates who believe in the right things, regardless of their party label or affiliation,” …

“People are so tired of the partisan stuff — even my own son is not a Republican,” said Mrs. Palin, who stunned the political world earlier this month with her decision to step down as governor July 26 with 18 months left in her term.

Hints of a Palin/Tea Party nexus? Time will tell.

On Highways

A blue ribbon committee on highways has decided their job is to drum up support for a tax increase.
Rep. Mark Martin disagrees with the commission, and a synopsis of his points can be found here. I believe he is right as far as he goes, but I have a few minor comments on the issue of my own.

The Arkansas Highway Commission itself should be scrapped. It has served Arkansans very poorly. It mostly rewards big contributors with a chance to put highways where they think they should go rather than where the people really need them. In other words, politicos can reward those who backed them with determining how a billion dollars a year of public money is spent.

I remember when I lived in El Dorado many years ago. We all wanted a four lane to Little Rock. What we got was a new highway to Warren, because that was where the Commissioner from our area lived. That road does not get two percent of the traffic of the highway to Little Rock, and that road gets less traffic than many of the roads in NWA.

Governor Mike Beebe talked a good talk about how "the money should follow the cars" when he was a candidate, but he has done nothing to back up his words. The State Highway Commission regionalizes the revenue. It drives over-building of highways because every region of the state will demand a new highway in order for ANY region to get one. So an area with great needs has to agree to help build under-used highways in other areas of the state before it can get its own highway built under the current system.

Martin spoke of voters giving up on the current process and going to regional transit authorities. That is, they would vote for funding mechanisms for regional transit authorities but vote against any new schemes to pour more of their dollars into the wasteful ways of the State Highway Commission. That presumes people are educated enough to see what is going on. I want to make it part of my mission to inform them.

We should vote against ANY increase in taxes or change in taxes to increase revenues to the state until the structure of the commission itself is changed to one that does not encourage waste. If we need roads, use regional authorities and build our own. I know that violates what Frederic Bastiat called "the great fiction of government" where everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else. Too bad, that fiction is just that- a fiction. We don't get people from other parts of the state to pay for our roads unless we also build theirs, so no one comes out ahead under the current system and everyone loses because we over-build (except for the highest traffic areas where we under-build).

Our state is something like 9th in the nation in terms of state "highway" miles. That is ridiculous. Many of those highways are about as seldom traveled as a county road- which is what they should be classed as and how they should be funded. We give too big a proportion of our fuel tax dollar to the state and build too many of our road miles as "state" highways.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Hooray for the Volunteer State Again

I continue to be impressed by our neighbors to the east. I believe that many of our legislators could benefit from the "profiles in courage" of the Tennessee legislature. As I reported earlier, they overwhelmingly approved a sovereignty resolution which reprimanded the federal government for over-reach and usurpation of authority which rightfully belongs to the states. Then they defunded Planned Parenthood.

Now it appears that the Davidson County Sheriff's Office will continue to jail illegal aliens caught driving without a license even though the Feds are refusing to deport most of them.

A lot of us have been hit by illegal aliens. Typically, they don't have a license, and don't have insurance. Sometimes they just run. At any rate, they don't pay for damages. If you get hit by one, you have to eat it. And since they have no license, no one has even determined if they understand our signage and traffic laws well enough to even safely operate a motor vehicle.

The Federal government, while trying to control every other area of our life, is derelict in its duty to protect our border and keep us safe from illegal aliens who routinely operate outside of our laws. I am glad that many state and local governments are not waiting for federal permission before they perform the first duty of government (protection of innocent life and property). I just wish Arkansans could find it in their hearts to elect some more folks like that.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tea Party Net Radio Tonight

A Panelists of Tea Party Activists from around the state discuss the latest issues and ideas with an emphasis on "Fix Arkansas First". Part of the mix- your calls.

Click here to catch the program from 9-10 PM tonight (archive available)

Why Wal-Mart Came Out For Government Health Care

Thomas Jefferson once said that the merchant has no country, that their loyalty is not so much to the ground on which their feet are standing as it is to their means of gain. Artificial legal persons, AKA "corporations", don't even have literal feet to place on the soil of a nation. Whatever the marketing hype, it is unrealistic and unwise to expect a corporation to stand up for the interests of a nation over and above their own interests.

Many people have expressed surprise that Wal-Mart has come out in support of government health care. I for one am not and I would like to explain why. Global corporations with significant assets in the United States of America (the term "American Corporations" is an inaccurate for such entities for the reason noted above) would love to off-load their health care costs unto the backs of American taxpayers. They would love to be able to cut back on the HR department staff that messes with health insurance. And they would love to be able to reduce compensation to their employees. That is why they have joined with socialists in our government to push for a further government takeover of health care.

Right now, if your company offers you health insurance they are paying for at least half of it, at least for the employee themselves. They also have costs associated with support staff for the paperwork involved. What if all that went away because "the government" was now providing health care? Would they take all of that money that they were using to pay for your health care and turn it into a huge wage or salary increase for you, or will they simply eliminate the benefit and pocket the money? You already know they will pocket every penny the can. This is nothing more than a back-door wage cut.

They want the costs to be born by forcing healthy people to buy insurance they don't need (under threat of a fine) and by making slaves of people in the medical profession by dictating what their compensation will be rather than letting the market decide. That latter move will insure a massive shortage of health care availability in years to come, but our crazed corporate and political rulers seem unable to see beyond the next election cycle/annual report to stockholders.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Is the United States a Christian Nation?

A portion of a photograph from page four of the U.S. Constitution
John Brummett wrote another article about "is the U.S. a Christian nation?" His answer is an emphatic "no" and he demands honor for the rightness of his answer. Now when Brummett is right about something, its news. It is especially news when the subject is Christianity and Government, two subjects on which he demonstrates consistent ignorance.

In his latest, Brummett comes perilously close to being right and blowing a perfect record of obtuse cluelessness on the issue of God and Government. He may be no farther from the truth on it than some of his detractors who say we are a "Christian Nation". The root of that error is that our Founders were far more steeped in the knowledge of the scriptures and immersed more deeply in a Christian world-view than even most fundamentalist pastors today.

In the truest sense, you cannot have a "Christian Nation". Christianity is not strictly a religion, but a relationship with God based on faith and trust in Him. Right standing comes from His mercy rather than your own goodness. A Christian trusts what they understand His way to be rather than willfully insisting on their own way. A political structure can’t do that. Only individual people can have a personal relationship with a personal God. In that literal sense, our government is not a "Christian" government, nor can it be.

Many have tried to build an institution or government that is "Christian". Those institutions and governments invariably wind up being no closer or further from God than the hearts of the people who control them. The Founding Fathers were doubtless familiar with the words of Christ Himself on this issue. Luke 17:20 "Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’[d] For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

A sage once noted that Utopians dream in vain of "building a system so perfect that people will no longer have to be good". The God of the Bible is not so interested in building a top-down a governmental framework so perfect that no one will have to be good. His interest appears to be in individual hearts, that they might be so perfect that they don't need any outward government. He wants to build His Kingdom from the individual up. In the meantime, we must struggle as best we can to work out arrangements where we might peaceably and prosperously deal with one another.

While there cannot be, in the truest since of the word, a "Christian Nation", there most definitely can be a "Nation of Christians". And our nation was founded as such. Even though the signers of the Constitution were too wise to try to institutionalize Christianity into the highest rules of the government, they did record in that space where their hearts stood. On the final page of that document, just above where they affixed their own signatures, they testify that it was signed "In the year of our Lord one-thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven". They did not write into the text that this was to be a Christian nation, but they did write into the text that it was founded as a nation of Christians.

George Washington said that it was impossible to rightly govern a country without God and the Bible. History has proven him correct, free societies are mostly a Judeo-Christian by-product. The best governments in history have come from cultures that were steeped in Christianity. The loss in respect for our governments in recent times has coincided with the culture's drift away from Christianity.

John Adams noted "Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." The Constitution was not meant to impose Christianity on the populace. The Constitution instead was meant by the Christian men who signed it to provide freedom from government coercion. They did this in the fervent hope that the population would continue to choose Christianity, and in the certain belief that should they ever fail to do so they would lose their freedoms to an ever more tyrannical government.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Socialized Health Care Prompts a Trip to England

I had a very interesting conversation with my brother-in-law over the dinner table tonight. It seems that his company is paying a huge pile of money to send him to England later this month. He said they need someone to train new workers because, "the ones they originally hired are all out with swine flu and still have not even been able to see a doctor." When we expressed concern that HE might get swine flu if he went to an area where there was an epidemic he assured us that he would be all right. "I already went to see my doctor, and he gave me a vaccine".

I have heard of people coming hear for medical care because they can't wait for the rationing that always occurs under the socialized medicine. This was the first time I had heard of where healthy workers were called in from countries with relatively free-enterprise medical care because the original workers in a country with socialized medicine are still ill and unable to receive care.

How ironic that some people in this country fantastically believe that further socializing our medical system will result in something better than what we now have. My brother-in-law got to a doctor when he was still healthy, those poor guys in England can't get to one even though they are sick.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Join Me at the Tea Party

I hope to see you at the Tea Party sponsored by Arkansas Unite. This will be held at the Washington County Fairgrounds from 10AM to 1PM in Fayetteville. The keynote speaker will be Tom Ziglar, but each committee of the Washington County Tea Party will have a booth where they explain their mission.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Mandatory Vaccinations OK Says Arkansas Health Dept. Official