Monday, February 28, 2005

Other States Reject In-State Tutition for Illegals

The State Senate is poised to vote on giving illegal aliens in-state tution and other educational benefits at taxpayer expense. Governor Mike Huckabee is pushing for the plan, but conservative lawmakers object. The usual suspects have insinuated that Arkansas would bigoted and backaward if it failed to hand it's collective wallet over to the invaders. Debbie Pelly has investigated and tells us what other states are doing...... (click "comments" for rest of article)

Saturday, February 26, 2005

HB 1525 Sponsor Confuses Metaphors

In Elliot’s totally emotionally based statement she says, "I remember ever so clearly what it felt like to have the big boot of the government on my back, and I was a mere child," she said. "For these kids today {illegal foreigners’ kids}, it is not a memory; it's a way of life. They are living with the boot of the government on their back, and it's not fair because they've done nothing wrong.” She totally confuses racism with nationalism; legal citizenship and immigration with illegal trafficking; injustice with lawlessness.

In this case the boot of government is actually being put on the back and neck of all the law abiding tax paying citizens, and also snubs and mocks legal immigrants who have done what was legally required. It forces its law abiding citizens, many who cannot afford to send their own children to college, to pay for illegal non-citizen’s kid’s to go to college instead or regardless of their own plights. This is required without their consent or approval and to their own hurt and their own diminished future hopes and dreams as a consequence of the government favoring those who are breaking the law over and above those who keep them. - Pam Manard

Friday, February 25, 2005

Why Not Citizenship?

by Mark West

A picture can be worth a thousand words. I am not going to use that many words to describe the picture I saw. With fewer words, I hope to display why a certain picture portrayed an awful betrayal of American values. America is, by all accounts, the great emancipator and liberator of the beleaguered people’s of this world. What happened in Arkansas this week was an outright deception of that image.

(Continued in comments...)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

House Votes College Aid to Illegal Aliens

In a move to show that their generosity with your money is not limited to lavishing it on special interests at home, but also extends to people's from the entire Earth, the Arkansas House voted to give finnacial aid to illegal aliens. To be eligible they must manage to evade authorities for three years and graduate from an Arkansas school. Their reward for sucessfully flouting our laws is that you will be required, under threat of imprisonment should you refuse, to pay the college expenses of foreign nationals illegally in our country. It must warm the heart of many Arkansans to know that even if they can no longer afford to send their own children to college they can, nay they must, pay for the college education of foreigners who invaded our country without permission......

(click "comments" for the rest of the article, or to comment yourself)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

ADE Trumps Legislators Again

ADE Hires Questar for High School Benchmark Tests
Despite Their Questionable Credibility

From Debbie Pelly
Once again Arkansas rewards corruption. Do you remember the newspaper headline, “Benchmarks likely flawed, legislators say”1 regarding the test scores in 2002 on the state benchmark tests that were so low they were sent back for review when the ADE received them? When the testing company, Questar, sent them back the 2nd time just before Huckabee’s election, they were so high that Governor Huckabee exclaimed in a newsletter, “You might say it's progress beyond our wildest dreams! … To increase in literacy by 22 percentage points in one year at the fourth-grade level is remarkable. To increase in math by 19 percentage points in one year at the sixth-grade level is remarkable… The percentage of proficient/advanced scores for algebra was up 18 percent from the previous year. The percentage was up 13 percent in geometry. The percentage was up 18 percent for literacy.”2 This company was 4 months old when it was hired by the ADE.

(click "comments" for the rest of the article)

Serving Two Masters


The other day I read an article in the Arkansas Times Online written by Doug Smith. The article delt with State Senator Randy Laverty of Jasper. Along with being a member of the State Senate, Laverty is also a paid lobbyist for two differnt organizations.In my opinon he has sold himself to the highest bidder....

(click on "comments" for rest of article- and to comment yourself)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Bills Filed Today

Bills filed today by members of the Arkansas Legislature can be viewed by going here....
(Click "comments" to continue)

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Governed by conscience?

by Mark West

As his bill, HR1005 failed to be passed in the Arkansas House, Representative Buddy Blair (D – Fort Smith) said, “Apparently, the churches are dictating how they vote, not their conscience.” Blair argued that those voting against his bill were in essence voting against both the United States and Arkansas Constitutions.

Representative Blair’s above suggestion creates a concern in my heart. I’m concerned that our future will see similar efforts to abridge our First Amendment rights. Even more problematic was that the First Amendment is cited as a reason for abridging it.

(continued in comments)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Chairman of Education Committee Opposes Christian Prayer

House Education Chair Opposes Christian Prayer
and other measures that 85% of Arkansans Support

"(D) during a recent House Democratic Caucus meeting, Representative Joyce Elliott, Little Rock, {Chair of the House Education Committee} complained that the prayer given each day in the House is limited to Christianity. Some lawmakers apparently left the meeting before she had finished and questioned her religious convictions. Elliott said that she is Christian." 1

(click "comments" for other things Elliot has stood for)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

State Education Board Minutes Revealing

It seems clear to those reviewing the minutes from a recent state board of education meeting that educrats from the Department of Education are undermining efforts of the legislature and the state board of education. Both want norm referenced (comparing our students to students in other states) tests to be used to evaluate school effectiveness. The ADE (along with the feds) are implementing the more pliable criteria based (can you do what is on our list, with us compiling an easier list each year to make it seem like you are progressing) testing. (click "comments" to view article by Debbie Pelley)

Department of Education Undermines Legislature

Debbie Pelley gives an eye-opening report on how the educrats are insisting on using criteria based tests (whose grades can be inflated by changing the criteria) when the legislature supports using norm referenced testing (which compare children in our state to those in other states).

The report also documents how the educrats are moving to eliminate grades in favor of student "portfolios" - this is recycling a failed idea under a new label. That is a favorite tactic of liberal educrats. (click on "comments" for the report)....

Thursday, February 10, 2005

State Senator Jim Holt to appear on CNN

from Joshua J. Duggar

Republican Senator Jim Holt (Springdale) will appear on Lou Dobbs to discuss illegal immigration. (click on comments for the balance of the column).

Religious Influence

by Mark West

What place should religion have in government operation? Should the two be totally divorced from one another or should the government merely be restricted from endorsing religious observance?

These questions face the 85th General Assembly of the Arkansas Congress. Representative Buddy Blair (D – Fort Smith) sponsored House Resolution 1005 that would eviscerate the influence of religion in our state government. The resolution, before it was changed, said that government should “operate independent of religious influence.” However, Representative Blair maintains that his bill is, “not anti-religion.”

(...cont in comments)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Smoking the Funny Stuff

by Mark West

Recent debate in the 85th Congress of Arkansas appears as though spiraling toward crisis. Simply put, Arkansans loath taxes, especially extra new ones that do more to grow government than the people that government allegedly represents. (to continue click "comments" below...)

Monday, February 07, 2005

Vote for Best and Worst Legislators

How come the Democrat-Gazette can correctly pick the best restaurants, but their best legislators are actually the worst (and vice versa)?

The Lady and I were dining in Leo's Greek Castle on Kavanaugh when I noted the Democrat-Gazette's "Best" awards on the wall. "Best Greek Restaurant in Central Arkansas" was the award. For one rare occasion, I concurred with the Democrat-Gazette. "So why could they pick restaurants but not legislators?" I asked The Lady.

She slightly arched one eyebrow. "That's easy" she said....

(click on "comments" below for the rest of the column)

Mahoney – Gov’t Control Goal of School Facilities Study

by Debbie Pelley
Jodie Mahoney summed up what the facilities study is really all about – government control. Mahony said that ‘absolutely’ the state will have the final say over what gets built and repaired. ‘The Supreme Court said we’re responsible,’ Mahony said. ‘We’re responsible to see that they’re built to meet the Supreme Court standard. Beyond that, we’re funding them. We’re going to have to make sure we’re spending our money wisely. And we’re going to have to come back after they build it to make sure they built it right.’"

I wonder what makes Mahoney and his comrades think they know more about all the schools’ needs in Arkansas than all the superintendents, school boards, and the community put together? How is he going to oversee the million pages of technical information generated by the assessment? He can't; it is obvious that Mahoney trusts the government and so called experts rather than the people. He knows how to trample, "The people rule" motto of Arkansas.
(click "comments" below for the rest of the column)

DeJong's Facilities Contract Contradicts Legislators' "Spin"

by Debbie Pelley
Legislators that promoted the facilities study and facilities law are backpedaling at high speed as they are faced with the blunders, errors, and criticism in the facilities assessment. After hearing these legislators’ spin, it is time to compare their words to the specific facts recorded in the contract signed with DeJong for the facilities assessment. Examining the specifics in the contract should make anyone understand why the superintendents have taken this report as deadly serious and how they have interpreted the significance of it far more accurately than have some of the “spinning legislators”. ....for specific examples of what the contract says vs. what some legislators claimed about it, click "comments"

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Spend Your Own Money! Part Deux

by Mark West

Every good debate begins with a pressing and though provoking question. Arkansas’ question of the hour: Who should pay for a power grab by the two major political parties in Arkansas, the people or the parties?

Early in the first session of 2005 for the Arkansas Congress, Representative Jeremy Hutchinson (R – Little Rock) proposed House Bill 1006. HB1006 would require that political parties select their presidential candidate by the first Saturday in February. The political parties would have been allowed to select by what means they would make the choice, whether by caucus or primary. Another open end to the bill would have left the decision to finance the caucus or primary up to the local election officials and political parties rather than making a statewide mandate. Sounded good, but was held up in the Democrat-run committee of the Democrat-controlled House.

Enter Senator Tracy Steele (D – North Little Rock) proposed Senate Bill 235. SB235 would require that political parties select their presidential candidate on the first Tuesday in February at the “state’s” (read “people’s”) expense. Choice is usurped in this piece of legislation. Sounded bad, but has been approved in the Democrat-run committee of the Democrat-controlled Senate.

When Hutchinson realized that HB1006 would be held up in committee, he conceded that it was probably being held up because of who would get credit for it. Now that a Democrat has proposed a similar bill, it is getting footing in the Senate. Political credit is at the heart of many decisions in this state and this country. Just like President Bush’s proposal for Social Security, which is just a scaled back version President Clinton’s late nineties proposal, is being stalled for political reasons as well. Why is it so difficult for something good be done just for the sake of doing something good?

Recent elections have seen Arkansans display less influence on the Presidential primaries due to being one of the last states to select candidates in May. In 2004, General Wesley Clark (D – Arkansas) was in and out of the Presidential race before Arkansans ever got to cast a vote on the issue. HB1006 and SB235 seek to address the issue by having a special primary or caucus in early February in Presidential election years. Such a spot would follow only Iowa and New Hampshire and should create more Arkansan political sway. It would be good for Arkansas to have this extra influence.

Laying the bills side be side we, by the process of elimination, can determine what the real issue that is holding this process up. HB1006 proposes a caucus or primary prior to the first Saturday in February whereas SB235 proposes a primary on the first Tuesday in February. I don’t believe the actual day issue is the hold up. Either date would be plenty early in February to get a jump on the other states. HB1006 leaves the payment option open whereas SB235 demands that the state pay for the extra primary. Here’s the problem! Hutchinson believes that payment for the extra event should be decided locally while Steele believes that payment for the extra event should be the responsibility of the “state” (again, read “people”). Who should pay for it?

Should Arkansans pay for a special primary or caucus for the two major political parties? Would it be better that the parties themselves pay for this power grab? I’m personally in favor of an earlier caucus or primary but believe that payment of such should be the responsibility of the political parties, not the citizens. Considering that only around one-third of registered voters belong to the two parties, leaving about two-thirds of registered voters as “independents,” the two parties should pay for their own special event or at least work with local election officials to decide how it should be paid for. It is morally wrong to require Arkansans to pay for something that would benefit the special interests of party officials rather than the entire state.

I’m sure that the move would bring in some extra revenue for some parts of the state, but what about the rest of us who are left “sharing” the bill but not the benefits? I guess we should be happy to sacrifice for the common good so that we can be a part of the process. I guess my suggestion still stands as it did before. Political parties should sacrifice for their own good and foot the bill for the extra event. Why is it that politicians are quick to call upon the people to pay for their extras rather than pay for their own? Spend you own money!