Monday, February 27, 2006

Athletics and Schools

The big-government types, with an insatiable appetite for more of the public's money, have cast their greedy eyes on school expenditures on athletics.

I taught middle school for 13 years. It is my position that the people who want to make community schools into centrally controlled education factories do not understand how to relate to adolescent children. Ultimately, they view adolescents as nothing more than complicated machines. Hit the right inputs, and the right outputs mechanically appear. It is a soulless, and loveless, approach to adolescent education.

The study said that spending on sports averaged $190 per pupil. The number was widely panned as too low. Monticello has a broad, inclusive program and also makes great pains to include every expense. Their figure is closer to $656 a student. That is a substantial chunk of the $5,400 minimum per student that a district gets from the state.

The superintendent of Monticello "gets it". As high as his reported expenses were, he knows the value of having school sports teams.

While many complained that the schools did not report all expenses associated with athletics, I suspect they failed on the OTHER SIDE. For example, my step-brother is a widely acclaimed football coach at AAA near-powerhouse Pea Ridge. He says gate receipts cover all the expenses of the football program. They are measuring the "costs", but do these reports measure revenues as well? I think not.

It also seems that they are counting the entire salary of each coach as an expense of the sports program. This is wrong. They should count only the stipend. My step-brother is a History teacher most of the day, and a great one. His passion was teaching history. While in college, he only got his coaching certificate so as to increase his employment prospects. Since then he has been named AA coach of the year for the state, an All-Star coach another year, and conference coach of the year many times. But at heart, he is still a teacher. A lot of coaches are like that.

Schools should be an extension of the home and the best part of the community in which they serve, not soulless education factories. The greedy educrats need to look elsewhere for more dollars to plunder- like their own salaries.

To put this athletics for children vs. money for educrats thing in perspective, ACT 98 of 05 allotted $107 million to give raises to ADE educrats and add more of them to administer our bloated new program of taking local control from schools. Compare that $107 million with $85 million spent on every public school athletic program in the state last year.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Lt. Governor Candidates at Washington County Forum

UPDATE: The Democrat Gazette's Mike Masterson has a good read on the positions of the legislative records of the candidates for Lt. Governor based on a report from Bob Hester.

The Washington County Republican Women held a forum in Fayetteville today for the three GOP Lt. Governor Candidates. Below are some windows quicktime files of the candidates.

If you don't have high speed these are going to take too long. Even with it, it can take 3 minutes or so. Video uses a lot of bandwidth.

Banks calls for Pre-K and programs to "break the cycle of poverty", Holt talks about converting Democrats, building a network for action, and calls for honesty and transparency in government.

How would they do Lt. Governor different from Win? Banks would be "more of a pest" and push three main issues, including pre-K again. Holt would try to continue Win's tradition, including full time service, and talks more about transparency in government.

Holt and Chuck Banks kid around a bit, then Holt gets serious when talking about property rights and other issues where the courts have had a negative impact. Solutions? He thinks legislatures will have to start impeaching bad judges.

Each of the three candidates anwsers the question "Do you think Arkansas taxpayers are getting a good bang for their buck on the taxes they pay?" Good one!

I wish I had gotten the closing statements. There was no clear winner for much of the debate, mostly because of the nature of the questions, but Holt's closing statement was the best.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Errors Abound on State Takeover of Facilities

Now that we have had our first look at how the state takeover of school facilities is going (disasterously, see article below) we can understand better why conservatives opposed it from the start. The Commission's latest blunder is the inevitable result of the "Garbage In/Garbage Out" principle.

Here are some specific examples of errors found in the state "experts" report.....


Facility Funds Subsidize High Teacher Salaries in Springdale

......boom in illegals soaks up funding

Recently the School Academic Facilities Commission approved $86 million for 200 school improvement projects across the state. Springdale School District received the highest single allotment in the state — just more than $8.2 million, or about 10% of the entire fund. 1

In 2004 Springdale approved a salary schedule that was the highest in the state. That starting salary in 2005-2006 is $39,521 with no experience and with the minimum education. The highest salary for teachers is $67,327. 2

I see a couple of real problems here. Teachers in school districts that were investing in their school buildings did without those high teacher salaries and pay raises for the benefit of the school and students. At the same time teachers in Springdale enjoyed the highest salaries in the state, but their districts did not keep pace with the facilities they needed. Now the state is subsidizing those high teacher salaries in Springdale because they are giving them $8.2 million for facilities. I have a real problem with this. How is that fair or equitable????

I see another problem here as well. Springdale (and other districts in the Northwest) is receiving this large sum of money ( $8.2 million) for facilities because they have had tremendous growth – growth which came in large part from children of illegal aliens..........continued....

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Masterson: "They Want to Sexualize Your Kids at an Early Age"

(And he is talking about forces in our public schools.)

Sexualizing your kids at an early age. That is the alarming conclusion of Democrat-Gazette Columnist Mike Masterson in this report. As shocking as his conclusions are, it is hard to argue with his logic.

His facts and logic are sound, but what do we do about it?

Bebee Wants Kitty to Lure in Industry

Arkansas Attorney General Candidate Mike Bebee wants $50 million of the state's Improvement Fund money (mostly pork barrel local projects) to be turned over to the Governor for the purpose of bringing jobs to Arkansas. The idea is that they may be negotiating with a business, and the business wants us to build a road or something to close the deal. Bebee wants the money available to close that deal. But the truth is that he has the potential for that now. The Governor already controls half the improvement fund money, and could spend it for that anyway if he wanted. Given that, his proposal sounds like a gimmick, or a way to get $50 million more of his own pork.

The money would come from the legislature's share of the fund. Taking money from working Arkansans for local pork was bad enough, taking their money to provide goodies to a big business is worse. Such funds are invitations for insider deals and corruption. AG Bebee has not exactly inspired trust lately on that score. Is he the man we want to give sole discretion on how to spend $50 million more dollars? MAYBE HE WILL USE IT TO BUILD HIMSELF A NEW CAMPAIGN HQ! But why, when he already has such a nice office?

On the other hand, we were disturbed to hear that Asa wants to blow not just $50 million, but the whole wad of improvement fund money, on something called Workforce Education (Editor's note: later reports are that Asa is now talking about spending only $50 million a year, to start. The money would also fund research at four year colleges).

Although it was couched in terms of community colleges and trade schools, in Workforce Educatuion these institutions are to eventually absorb much of our public schools. For an 11 minute audio file that explains why this socialist concept is a bad idea, squeeze here.

If you don't have audio, I will give you the short version- having the government train workers shifts costs and distorts the free market. The free market allocates resouces, including worker training, much more efficiently than a government program. Each generation of big-government statists always think that they are the ones smart enough to do better than the free market, and each generation is invariably proven wrong. It won't work for us any better than it did for the Soviet Union. If an industry wants more people trained for a given field it should raise wages, not lobby the government to dig into your pockets in order to subsidize their training costs.

I have my own ideas for what to do with the general improvement fund money. Let's spend half on roads and education, and use the other half for a T-A-X-C-U-T. That way we don't have to worry about it being blown on insider corruption or squandered growing a huge new government program with future claims on our income.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Masterson Compares Votes of Lt. Gov. Candidates

Democrat-Gazette reporter Mike Masterson compares the voting records of the candidates for Lt. Governor in this column. It really cuts through all the noise and lays out specific votes on specific issues. Here is an example on just one issue...

"House Bill 1525 from June 2005 failed to become law. It would have given college scholarships and in-state tuition to undocumented foreign nationals. Hester wrote in a news release that Arkansas citizens in many instances would have wound up paying more in tuition than those living here in violation of immigration laws had the bill passed. (It did pass the House but failed in the Senate. ) Holt voted no. Wooldridge, Martin and Matayo voted yes. Hathorn was not in the Legislature at that time."

I encourage you to read it at the link provided, and comment on it below.




Budget Would Eliminate Funds to Jail Illegal Aliens

Many Arkansans rejoiced when Rep. Tim Hutchinson's bill that would allow state law enforcement personnel the power to enforce federal immigration laws became law. Will anything be done with those new powers? A setback occurred recently when the administation's new budget proposed eliminating the federal government's reimbursement program to states and localities who house illegal immigrants that have been aprehended. The program paid about 40% of the cost of jailing. The original story is here.

Such a move is certainly tone-deaf considering the mood of the populace on the issue of illegal aliens.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Operation Outcry: Testimonies of Women Who Regret Abortions

While abortionist William Harrison gets all the accolades in the state's establishment newspaper, a few weeks ago a very moving ceremony was conducted in the Rotunda of the Capitol in Little Rock. Women who had gotten an abortion came together in a ceremony that included testimonies of pain and regret, and also to give a name to their unborn children.

Millie Lace, of Concepts of Truth Ministries, organized the event. Below are some testimonies of women who were victims of the lie that is abortion....


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

U of A Officials Skip Rent, Demand Building for $10

I was shocked to read a Morning News report that U of A Fayetteville has skipped out on paying rent to the city for use of the continuing education center for the last two years. They also maintain the city should sell them the multi-million dollar facility for $10.

Read the article and see if you can come to a different conclusion, but I am amazed at the hubris of the university.

Parsons Files Ethics Complaint Against Bebee

Jim Parsons, a long-time conservative activist from Bella Vista, filed an ethics complaint against AG Mike Bebee today. The word is that the complaint is limited to the use of state computers for campaign purposes. This is the least of the many questions that have been raised about Mike Bebee and his use of state property for campaign purposes, but it is also the most clear-cut.

Parsons was careful to limit his complaint to things that are not really in dispute. With all the people clamoring about Mike Bebee's misuse of public resources, we wondered if anyone was going to DO anything about it.

I feel confident in saying that Parsons is not a part of the Republican machine and I doubt he got their permission to file the complaint.

City Officials in Lonoke Arrested

The Mayor and Chief of Police in Lonoke have been arrested, as has the wife of the Chief and two other persons. The story is here.

Monday, February 06, 2006

White County Judge Says Bebee Not Enforcing Law

White County Judge Bob Parrish, a Republican, has alledged that Attorney General Mike Bebee is playing favorites in a way that costs counties.

Parrish says the dispute revolves around judges for city courts failing to assess minor fines that should go to the counties. "Act 1188 of 2003 says that each person that pleads guilty in ALL city courts should be assessed a $5 fine that goes to the county. It is a state law." He also cites act 1373 of 2003

In White County, Bebee's home county, Parrish says the city judges are not assessing the fines. He notes the lawyers of the guilty defendents are buddies with the city judges, and buddies of Mike Bebee's. His office has complained to the Attorney General's office, but Parrish feels that the AG's office under Bebee has not made an adequate effort to defend Arkansas Law.

"The cities say that the counties are not their boss. OK, but the state is, and the state law says assess the fine." The case is winding its way through the courts on appeal.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Barrett Report : Clinton Misuse of IRS Covered UP?

The Barrett report is released after 10 years and $22 million taxpayer dollars. But conservatives in Congress are crying foul after it appears a deal has been struck to redact key parts of the report. That has led to rumours that the redacted parts contain information that the Clinton Administration used the IRS as a tool against political enemies. The story is here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Matayo Associate Files Bizarre Ethics Complaint Against Jim Holt, Then Asks That it be Withdrawn the Next Day

In one of the more bizarre stories of the poltical season, Washington County JP Paul Graham filed an ethics complaint against State Senator Jim Holt yesterday. Graham also made false claims concerning Holt to print and broadcast media- claims which were spread around the state both yesterday and today. Today, Graham asked the ethics commission to withdraw his complaint. Graham has a long history of accusing Holt of wrongdoing. None of the accusations have ever resulted in an ethics violation.

Graham is also a close associate of State Representative Doug Matayo, who is competing with Holt for the GOP Lt. Governor's nomination. Matayo was best man at Graham's wedding.

One wonders if the media will broadcast the recanting of the accusations with the same volume and intensity with which the initial false accusations were originally made.

(click time below for Debbie Pelley's point by point assessment.)

Bebee Staff Member Resigns State Job for Campaign

Ruth Whitney has resigned her job on Attorney General Mike Bebee's staff in order to take a job on the "Bebee for Governor Campaign".

The move follows days of ethical questions when it was discovered that the state employee spent a large amount of her day doing campaign work. The situation follows on the heels of a string of revelations that center on the theme that Bebee's office continues to treat state resources as campaign resources.

(click time below for rest of commentary)

Bad News About a Good Man (Win)

Little Rock - On Wednesday, February 1, 2006, Arkansas GOP Chairman Gilbert Baker issued the following statement regarding the health of Lt Governor Win Rockefeller:

"The Republican Party of Arkansas is disappointed in the news that Lt. Governor Rockefeller is expected to undergo a second bone marrow transplant.

Throughout my career, I have known Win to be a fighter in all challenges before him. This challenge is no different. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to Win and his family as they renew this process, and I hope that the people of Arkansas will continue their prayers and support which have been
so comforting to Win and his family. "