Monday, July 31, 2006

Beebe & Argue Say No to Distance Learning, Asa Says Yes

Beebe says, "School districts should be able to meet all the state education standards without the help of distance learning."

Beebe's Stand Aligns with Senator Argue's Position and The Courts & More Taxes

Compare Beebe's position , Argue's position, and Asa Hutchinson's position below. Which one makes more sense?

This debate revolves around the rule by the Arkansas Department of Education that the minimum of 38 courses for all high schools are required to be taught, not just offered in every school.  These courses are to be taught even when there are no students in the school that want to take them or that need them for their major. This was not a law as Argue says below but was an Arkansas Department of Education rule to make sure they could continue to consolidate schools.

Most schools would not have to offer but a couple of courses by distance learning even to meet this silly rule and keep their schools. To consolidate an entire school and disrupt an entire community and pay for higher cost for longer bus rides , rather than offer a couple of courses by distance learning is the height of foolishness, irresponsibility, and cruelty to the children who are being put on buses for 3 and four hours a day,

See Asa's response at end of post for the sensible approach. (To confirm this "38 courses to be taught not offered" is a rule by ADE and not be the legislature, call Annette Barnes, Coordinator School Improvement, Ph: 501 682-4393/4380) or email me and I will send you the data she sent to me.

See below also for the the money involved in Beebe's and Senator Argue's plan.

click "Monday" below and scroll down for the rest of the column, or if sent straight here just scroll down - or go to this link for full story with all the documentation.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ten Years After Welfare Reform

It was the biggest clash of liberal-conservative ideals since the New Deal. Ten years later it is clear that conservative thinking produced superior results....the article is here.

Daniels Outdoes Bebee in Using Taxpayer Monies for Self-Promotion

David Sanders has a good piece today about using state resources as campaign resources.

McCutchen Questions Legality of Mexican Consulate in Arkansas

From what I know of him, I don't hold to his view of the world, but that does not mean that he can't report mischief in high places accurately. Here is what he is saying, apparently learned from hiring a private eye....

October, 2003 Governor Michael Dale Huckabee met with Mexican President Vicente Fox to forge a deal that would increase exponentially the magnet for the continued illegal Mexican invasion. The pact also provided for the establishment of a Mexican Consulate in Little Rock, one of its purposes being to distribute Matricula Consular cards to illegals; thereby conferring false identity to illegals, a criminally corrupt enterprise by any standard.
Early in 2004 Mexican d’af-faires Carlos De Alba of the Dallas Mexican Embassy stated Mexico did not possess the funding for the proposed Mexican Consulate.
(continued, click SUNDAY below and scroll down for rest of story, or if sent straight here just scroll down.)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

"Boston Tea Party" Spirit Displayed at Animal ID Meeting


Should you be unfamiliar with Animal ID, Doreen Hannes, one of the speakers at the Conway meeting explains it this way:

"The NAIS (National Animal Identification System), the shortest explanation that can be given of the proposed system is that anyone who has any type of livestock, say two chickens, will have to register their property, complete with global positioning satellite coordinates, microchip their chickens with an NAIS ISO11785 compliant chip, and report within 24 hours if said chickens ever leave the property, hatch out chicks (another chip required), go to the vet, or die. No kidding . It will require you to mark your animal in order to be able to buy and sell" 1 Any violation such as failing to report transfer of the animals could result in $1,000 fine or more for each incident. 2

Another opponent of animal ID describes it this way: "The NAIS would actually subject the owner of a horse [or any other animal] to far more surveillance than the owner of a gun. You can freely take a shotgun to your neighbor’s property, but if your children ride their ponies there, that will have to be registered with the government." 3

Jane Williams, founder of ARAPA, Arkansas Animal Producer's Association, who organized the meeting, told the large crowd of 300 or more assembled in Conway on July 9, 2006. "The proposed USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) guidelines, published April 25, 2005, would prohibit an animal owner from taking an animal off of the owner's land unless that owner filed an application with the USDA for a FPI and then attached or injected an identification device in or on the animal on the farm or at a tagging facility." This information is included in her written "Testimony Submitted at the request of Senator Lincoln to the US Committee on Agriculture." 4

The highlight of this meeting, opposing animal ID at Conway July 9, 06, and certainly the most intense, was when Phil Wyrick, the government representative spoke. He basically tried to placate the audience and convince them he was one of them and that the government was there to help them. (He was wearing his cowboy hat while he spoke.) About 5 minutes into his presentation he stated the USDA (United States Department of Education), who is responsible for this ID plan, was not their enemy. At this point the crowd of about 300 revolted and erupted as the "Boston Tea Party" spirit overtook the crowd. They booed and yelled questions at him.

When Wyrick continued to try to speak, other comments were yelled out to him pointing out that the things he was saying did not align with the NAIS draft. It was evident that he was not getting anywhere with the crowd. They were too informed and too angry for him to have a chance with them. Wyrick is executive director of the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, a state agency that regulates livestock producers.

These people didn't accept for a minute this "government expert" propaganda for truth like so many legislators and others have done and are doing. They had studied the facts, had the documents on hand, knew the page numbers for reference, and knew the material better than the government expert and knew how to confront him –and confront him they did! After all, their very livelihood and freedom were at stake!

Doreen Hannes from Missouri with Liberty Ark Coalition followed Wyrick. She was passionate, focused, and indignant over the intrusive and destructive plan the government is trying to impose upon US citizens. She was articulate, blunt, and to the point. She informed Wyrick that it really didn't matter what he had to say – because when you deal with the government, it is the written rules and regulations that must be followed; and federal regulations trump state regulations and law. Then she pointed out some of those rules and regulations in the NAIS guidelines that are contrary to what Arkansans are being told. She asked how many had read the guidelines. Many in the crowd had. She held up the NAIS guidelines and asked Wyrick point blank if he had read them. He answered, " No, there are too many big words in it."

Hannes pointed out that the NAIS draft guidelines say the animal ID program will be mandatory on page 10 while people in Arkansans are being told it is voluntary and other falsehoods. She stated that once the federal plan is in place, the state plan will have little relevance. (Research confirms that the National Animal Identification System, State-Federal-Industry Draft Strategic Plan 2005-2009, does indeed say under the heading "Transition from Voluntary to Mandatory, Phased In Approach , "January 2009 – "The animal tracking component will become mandatory." p. 10. On page 9 the guidelines reads, " USDA will follow the normal rulemaking process in changing the status of NAIS from voluntary to mandatory.) 5 Link to these guidelines: NAIS_Draft_Strategic_Plan_42505.pdf
"NAIS was spawned by international entanglements," Hannes explained, "not by consumers and the need for protection from diseases as the public is being led to believe." She explained that we are now complying with the international mandates imposed by treaties that are violating our own constitution. WTO, SPS, TBT, FAO, Codex, and OIE (and how they interrelate with NAIS and the United Nations) were some of the acronyms and organizations she briefly discussed. 6

For rest of story with information on how some people "believe all gun owners should be required to have a microchip implanted in their hand to be able to own a gun", how this technogology is already availabe, and how some legislators in Arkansas stand on this issue,

click "Saturday" below and scroll down for the rest of the column, or if sent straight here just scroll down or go to this link for full story with all the documentation.

We now return to our regularly scheduled Brummett-busting

I am grateful to Mr. John Brummett for writing a column today that can help get things back to normal. We have spent the whole week worrying about polls that I think grossly oversampled the second district, perhaps as much as 473 out of 509 voters sampled. After looking over the clues I think that is what happened, but if KTHV is willing to declare otherwise, I'll take them at their word.

Anyway, Brummett is pretty determined to make some kind of "moral equivilence" between Asa Hutchinson and Mike Bebee in his column today. In a sure sign that not even he can vouch for the integrity of Mr. Bebee, Brummett does this by attempting to drag Hutchinson down to Bebee's level. At issue was the internet newsletter from Asa's campaign that accused Bebee of ""a web of deceit," "brazen hypocrisy" and of having "clearly lied" on the gay foster care issue."

Whether or not it was a good idea to say that, the newsletter is 100% correct on the first two charges. That is just what Bebee did and the people of this state better think about whether or not that is the kind of man they want to pull the lever for. The third charge is more problematic, since you have to be clear before you can "clearly lie" and Bebee is next to never clear, even when he wants you to think he is.

(conintued click "Saturday" below and scroll down for the rest of the column, or if sent straight here just scroll down.)

Poll Questions Persist

KTHV released a spate of polls this week, all of them showing the Democrats up. The one race that has been polled by other organizations showed that race closer than the KTHV poll. There have been persistent questions about the sampling methods used on the poll.

It is well known that they did all the polls over the same time and then released them over the course of the week. The statewide polls sampled 509 likely voters. The second district poll sampled 473 voters. Our question is, were second district voters the majority of voters polled in the statewide races? The poll data is divided several ways when you go look at their so-called "complete results", but it never divides the voters by congressional district. Even the "geocode" section only lists them by rural, urban, or suburan.

It looks to me like this poll was done in a way that vastly overweights the 2nd district where liberals like Bebee and Halter are strong and underweights the 3rd district where Hutchinson, Holt and DeLay should be strong. The second district could be as much as 473/509 parts of this poll when they should be no more than 128/509 parts of this poll.

Does anyone know the facts on how this poll was conducted? KTHV, hello?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Poll Results for Lt. Governor

These are the pics KTHV used. No bias there, eh?

The first KTHV poll for the Lt. Governor's race is in. It shows Bill Halter leading Senator Jim Holt 48-39. Though this is the closest race polled and is inside the margin of error, so far it looks like a Democratic sweep.


In previous stories I have mentioned that the KTHV statewide polls seem to be slanted five points in favor of the Democrats. This poll confirms that theory. Jim Holt got 44% of the vote against incumbant Blanche Lincoln not two years ago. Does anyone really think that any sizable bloc that voted for Holt over Lincoln would turn around and vote for the relatively unknown Halter over Holt?

There have been three polls for Governor conducted, and the average of the other two is five points more favorable to the GOP than the KTHV poll. I believe their problem is that they have failed to distingush between two groups of women- single women who tend to vote democratic and married women with children who lean Republican. Perhaps they are counting the "woman vote" as a single block and then over sampling the single women. There are also indications that they oversampled the liberal 2nd district in order to get the numbers needed for that congressional race poll. The real numbers are probably more like 46 Halter and 42% Holt.

In order to win this race, Jim Holt is going to have to leave the thrid district. He is going to have to move to Little Rock or Jonesboro for the next three months and from there travel the state if he wants to win this election. He can out-campaign Halter in person, if he is out there. Holed up in Springdale, he can only sing to the choir. He can't outspend Halter- though it would be inexcusable for the GOP to once again fail to help him with fundraising. Against Blanche Lincoln, they might have been able to say they thought the race was unwinnable, this time it is the closest thing they have to a winnable race.

Many think that Halter will have the edge going down the home stretch because of his money. Not so. At least not as far as scaring people off of Holt. No politician in the state has had more attacks leveled against him than Jim Holt. Millions of dollars worth of column space have been directed against him. There is nothing Halter can do with any amount of money he can realisticall raise that could add to that. It would simply be another drop in a bucket that has a hole in it's side. It just won't fill up past that hole. Maybe if Halter had millions he could pour in enough "water" to temporarily get it past that hole, but relative to the amount of negative press, or "water", that has already been poured into that bucket, Halter can manage only a dribble. There are only so many people than can be scared off of Holt by media attacks, and they already have been.

On the other hand, Halter has a lot of votes in this poll that he will have a hard time keeping. For example the largest voting block, 41%, are conservatives. Halter has 21% of that vote, Holt 66%. Holt has only 10% of the self-identified liberal vote (which is much smaller than the conservative vote anyway). Does anyone really think that Halter is going to wind up taking a percentage of the conservative vote that is over twice as big as Holt's share of the liberal vote? Halter is the biggest liberal on the ticket, and (with the exception of maybe DeLay) Holt is the most conservative.

Halter has 50% of the rural vote compared to only 37% for Holt, yet Holt's record of support for rural voters is unsurpassed. Holt must do better with rural voters. Holt must convince 90% of the conservatives to vote for him- not the 66% he has now, and convince some of the moderates (he is down 67-23) that government tends to drift left so to get moderate government you need to elect conservatives to office. Can he improve in those two groups? Yes.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Republican Undercard Down in KTHV Polls

A spate of polls from KTHV have shown Republicans trailing in several key races. For Attorney General, Dustin McDaniel was up over Gunner DeLay 50-35%. Yesterday they released the poll for 2nd District, which showed Congressman Vic Synder up over Republican Andy Mayberry 58-38%. Tonight they released a poll on the Secretary of State race which showed Incumbant Charlie Daniels leading Jim LaGrone 54-31%. Tomorrow, KTHV is planning to release a much-anticipated poll on the Lt. Governor's race, where Democrat Bill Halter faces Republican Senator Jim Holt. In spite of the above blowouts, I expect that race to be close.

While I have discussed elsewhere on this blog my reasons for thinking the polls have been conducted with an incorrect methodology, this poll seems to only be five points out of whack for the Democrat side. In other words, while these numbers may be somewhat slanted toward the Democrats, the Republicans really are losing these races. Add two and a half to the Republican numbers and take away the same amount from the Democratic numbers to get the numbers I think are correct.

With respect to the Congressional race, barring a miracle, it is over. There is nothing Mayberry can do to win it, Synder has to lose it. Sure his gap is not really bigger than the gap in the other races, but Synder's numbers are solid. These are people who know all about him and are voting for him anyway. Synder has a liberal voting record, but more than 50% of the second district has no problem with that.

The other two races are longshots for the Republicans, but the 50% plus support of the Democrats in those races candidates is not as firm as it is with Synder. Those last 10 points are soft with both men, and both men have things in there record that can be used to peel away their soft support. People don't really know much about McDaniel, and although they know Daniels name, he has made a string of mistakes recently.

So in conclusion, for the GOP: the Governor's race is challenging but winnable with some help from the Green Party. The 2nd District race would require a miracle for a Republican win. The Attorney General's race is a longshot, but not hopeless by any means. The Secretary of State race is a longer shot, except for the fact that Jim LaGrone is a campaign machine. I think he can close with Daniels and make this race competitive by November. Can he win? Daniels will have to help him with another mistake, but he has shown himself to be very likely to do that.

The Lt. Governors race? We won't know until tomorrow. Holt may be the GOP's best bet for a win this year. Remember that it is likely that the poll is slanted five points for the Democrats. If Holt is down by five it is a tie. If he is down by less than five he is probably actually winning. And if he is winning in the poll, then Halter is toast for reasons I will discuss tomorrow night (should that be the case).

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

General Bebee Re-Reverses Course on Homosexual Foster Parents (Maybe)

Have you ever been around one of those people who parse every word they say and always try to leave themselves wiggle room? Meaningful communication is almost impossible with such people, because they are not trying to communicate, they are trying to get you to think they are saying what you want to hear while in their minds they are avoiding actual commitment to any specific action. Attorney General Mike Bebee is showing himself to be just such a person, a parser par excellence, especially in the issue of homosexual adoption and foster parenting.

Those who follow this blog know that members of a homosexual activist group, the Stonewall Democrats, thought they had a commitment from Bebee to actively fight bills like the Bob Adams/Jim Holt HB 1119 that would prevent homosexual couples from gaining access to children through foster parenting. Nine days after the faux-commitment, the courts told the state that absent a law the state agency tasked with protecting children would not be able to block homosexuals from obtaining access to children. Suddenly, everyone saw the need for a bill like HB 1119 (which was bottled up in Senate committee in 05).

Bebee then went in public and said he too thought homosexuals should be banned from becoming foster parents. The opposite of what he told the activist group in private. The Stonewall Democrats felt they had been deceived, the public felt that Bebee was OK on the issue after all. But now, after some of the glare was off the case, Bebee's spokesman quietly claims that Bebee meant what he said with the Stonewall Democrats, but that what he said simply wasn't what the eight of them thought they heard!

"Zac Wright, a spokesman for Beebe, said Tuesday, “Mike Beebe stands by what he said in the meeting: He will not sign any unconstitutional legislation or be a party to discrimination.”

So, what does that mean? Who knows! They don't want you to know anything! They just want you to have a vague idea that Bebee is on your side, regardless of which side you are on. Does that mean he would or would not sign HB 1119 should it reach his desk as Governor? Would he be for or against that bill? After reams of paper and barrels of ink have been sacrificed to clarify Mr. Bebee's position on the subject the answer is - we still don't know. The guy is as slippery as a catfish in a jar of vaseline.

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.

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

McDaniel Leads DeLay in Attorney General Race

Little Rock's KTHV has commissioned a poll in the Attorney General's race that shows Democrat Dustin McDaniel ahead of Republican Gunner DeLay 50-35% with 14% undecided.

Is the poll accurate, and how firm are those numbers? The answers may surprise.....

(CONTINUED, click "Wednesday" below and scroll down for rest of article, or if sent straight here just scroll down.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Feds Get Tough on "No Child Left Behind"

The first two paragraphs from the N.Y. Times article read like this, "Most states failed to meet federal requirements that all teachers be “highly qualified” in core teaching fields and that state programs for testing students be up to standards by the end of the past school year, according to the federal government.

The deadline was set by the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush’s effort to make all American students proficient in reading and math by 2014. But the Education Department found that no state had met the deadline for qualified teachers, and it gave only 10 states full approval of their testing systems."

The article goes on to say that many states are in danger of losing all or part of their federal education funding.

(I am about to go on a wild rant. If you would like to read it, click "TUESDAY" below and scroll down, or if you were sent straight here, just scroll down. If you would like to be spared my wild rant, either don't click "Tuesday" or after clicking close your eyes until power is lost to your home.)

KTHV Says More Polls Coming

This week will see a spate of polls from KTHV on key races in the state. Here is their scheduled lineup....
"We have more Survey Arkansas polls on the major political races around the state.
Tuesday, we'll have results of our polling on the attorney general's race. Wednesday, we'll look at the second congressional district race. Thursday, the secretary of state race, and we'll wind up the week (Friday)with a look at the lieutenant governor's race."

And as usual, you can count on Arkansas Watch to provide you with analysis (worth a cup of coffee when accompanied by a dollar in most eatery's) on what it all means!

Brummett Again Calls For Elimination of Lt. Governor's Office

It was a pretty good, sort of lighthearted column. I think he was funny, but in a sure sign that the world is as it ought to be, I disagree with his conclusions.

The column is probably just a sign that Brummett knows Jim Holt is winning in the Lt. Governor's race. His opponent, Bill Halter, is getting no traction and does not have the personal skill set to get it. A lot of people are offended at how Halter made his money. They would rather vote for a man that does not have any money, despite being in public life for some years- always a good sign they are honest.

If you can't stop Holt, and we all know Brummett has wasted enough ink trying, then belittle the office he is running for as plan B.

(continued, click Tuesday below and scroll down for reasons why leaving the Lt. Gov. office as it is would be a better idea. If sent straight to this article just scroll down).

New Ethics Complaint Filed Against Daniels

It seems Mr. Daniels printed up a bunch of election guides that said "elect" and then had his picture on them. To be more specific, he did it on the taxpayer's dime. The practice started in 04, before Mr. Daniels was on the ballot, but that may have been to give him cover for when he does it now. The story is here.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Who Your Friends Are (Governor's Race)

Asa Hutchinson has been using his connections to bring in a wide array of big names to speak on his behalf. Vice President Dick Cheney was just the latest. There has also been Rudy Guiliani, John McCain, and others. While not all Arkansans like each of these men, many do, and even for the rest it highlights the fact that Asa has some pull that he could use to help Arkansas nationally.

On the other hand, Attorney General Mike Bebee seems to have far less drawing power. His "name" backers seem to come from Hollywood rather than serious political leaders. Barbara Striesand and Ted Danson, along with Michael Moore, dot the list of Bebee contributors. A lot of the rest of it seems to be from those connected to large companies like Tyson Foods. Bebee has said that the state should have NO ROLE in the enforcement of immigration law, while Hutchinson- who once had the job of securing the border at the Department of Homeland Security, has said we need defense in depth to reduce illegal immigration. Hutchinson would use state resources to turn back illegals. This disparity might explain the one-sided nature of the Tyson money from a company that usually plays both sides.

Of the two lists, most Arkansans are going to be far more impressed with Asa's list than Bebee's. It is not that one candidate "believes in Arkansas" and the other does not. Both "believe in Arkansas", but only one has the national stature to help Arkansas prosper.

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

New Polls and What They Mean

Lastest Update: The AG poll is out, and the results lead a reasonable person to conclude that the Survey USA poll has made an error in methodology. Get the story here.
UPDATE: KTHV has released a Survey USA poll that shows the Governor's race Bebee 48%, Hutchinson 38%. Survey USA has a fairly reliable track record WITHIN THE MARGIN OF ERROR. That margin is plus or minus 4%. Given the other polls, it is likely that this poll is an outlier and the actual race is an average of the three polls taken together. Call it 48% Bebee and 41% Hutchinson. I also recall that Survey USA divides the state into the Little Rock area and "other". Such a division could underweight the populous northwest region where Hutchinson is strongest.

In conclusion, I would like to see two more Survey USA polls to see if this track holds before I say it is time for the Hutchinson camp to be alarmed. With a 4% plus or minus margin the results could be 44% Bebee and 42% Hutchinson- and that does not even consider that they are underweighting the northwest.

Two new polls have been taken on the Governor's race. One is the Zogby Battleground Poll, which shows the race with Attorney General Mike Bebee with 48.1 percent and former Congressman Asa Hutchinson with 44.1 percent. 7.8% are undecided or perhaps prefer another candidate. The results are within the poll's margin of error.

The Rasmussen poll which showed Asa Hutchinson down by eleven points two months ago now has the race 47% for Bebee and 40% for Hutchinson with a 4% plus or minus margin of error. That poll has gotten drawn jeers in some conservatives circles for underepresenting republican voters. Regardless of whether the numbers are correct, the Rassumussen poll can still be useful in determining a trend. The trend is that Asa is ever so slowly closing the gap. Democrat partisians point out that Bebee is so close to getting over the magic 50% mark that it won't matter. Are they right?

(For analysis click "Monday" below" and scroll down, or if sent straight here just scroll down.)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Deconstructing the LA Times Article on Arkadelphia Illegal Alien Raid

So why would the Los Angeles Times assign staff writer Molly Hennessy-Fiske to write this long story talking about how wrong it was for the Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) division to round up the 120 illegal aliens in Arkadelphia last year?

The story is designed to manipulate your emotions into sympathy for the illegals and to show that the community of Arkadelphia was against the raid.

My best guess is that Governor Huckabee has hired a campaign staff or publicist that has connections with the L.A. Times. Nationwide polling data of Republicans shows that Huckabee has negatives over twice as high as his positives. Perhaps a good part of the reason is his warm-and-fuzzy attitude toward illegal aliens when the vast majority of Americans want illegal immigration stopped. Somehow, Huckabee must have gotten some strings pulled in an effort to clean up his image.

It is possible that Arkansas media will be tempted to pick this one up in an effort to hammer you into submission on the issue. I for one am tired of seeing you and I made to look like heartless bigots for simply insisting that we must all follow the law, so as a public service, I will deconstruct the article.

(continued- for rest of article, including a deconstruction of the LA Times Propaganda Piece, click "Sunday" below and scroll down, or if sent straight here just scroll down).

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Dem-Gaz Editorialists Prove They Are Not Credible

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette editorial has once more indicated just how little credibility can be given to their articles. They have reported bus rides as being an hour shorter than they are, they give false information about Senator Holt and other conservatives time after time, and now they have bragged once more about our fantastic test scores.

In reality one of the scores they are bragging about for 7th graders on the nationally normed test (ITBS) just released for this year is 50% - 11% lower than in 1990, and 7% below 1984 when the accountability system began in Arkansas billions of dollars ago. And the paper reports that Ken James is jubilant and that the scores are fantastic!

Here is what the editorial has to say about the scores: "OUR FRONT-PAGE story Wednesday described Ken James as jubilant. Arkansas’ man in education was giving the good news to teachers and principals last Tuesday: Test scores are going up. They were going up here, they were going up there. Third graders. Sixth graders. They were going up on Arkansas’ own (and questionable ) Benchmark exam. More importantly, they were going up on the nationally standardized (and not-so questionable ) Iowa Test of Basic Skills." For entire story see this link.

All that bragging despite the 7th grade scores and 5th grade scores (the only two grades where there is a total history of scores) being much lower than in 1990 and in 1984 when the accountability factor kicked in. The scores for 5th graders this year were pretty much like the 7th graders. They had a 58%, 9% lower than in 1990 and 4% lower than in 1984. Spending just from 1996 to 2001 doubled, increasing from $1.4 to $2.8 billion. (I am in the process of trying to get the figures for money spent in 1984.)

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pro-Life Blues: Not Much to Get Fired Up About in Governor's Race

There was a long article from the Democrate-Gazette on abortion recently. The word was that this was an attempt by DZ editor Simmons to trap pro-life candidates with gnat-straining hypotheticals.

I assume the candidate responses were accurately reported, or we would have heard from their newsletters by now. After going over them in detail, I have to say that there is no one in the governor's race that a pro-lifer can really get behind with any enthusiasm. I don't mean a pro-life poser whose tells themselves they are pro-life because it makes them feel good, I mean someone who actually wants to see the number of homicides by abortion decrease dramatically.

I make this distinction because being "pro-life" in today's GOP has become merely a feeling in your heart, not a commitment to any action. It just means that you 'feel bad' that so many babies are getting ripped up, not that you would spend any precious political capital trying to stop any of it. In fact, you only mention your feelings when it will GAIN you political capital.

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

Acceptable Nominees for President Measured by Gallup

The Gallup organization conducted a poll on Presidential Candidates from both parties recently. In the poll party supporters could rate a candidate as "acceptable, unacceptable, or "don't know". On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, Jon Edwards, and Al Gore all showed "acceptable" ratings of around 70% and "unacceptable" ratings of 25-30%.

The Republican race showed that New York Mayor Rudi Gulilliani and Secretary of State Condi Rice had numbers in the 70% acceptable to 25% unacceptable ranges like the top three Democrats. Senator John McCain was third, and the only other candidate whose acceptables were above the margin of error higher than his unacceptable- 55%- 41%.

George Allen was the only one of the rest of the dozen-person field with higher acceptables than unacceptables (36/35%. For the rest, their unacceptable rating was significantly higher than the acceptable rating. Governor Mike Huckabee for example, was only acceptable to 17% of Republicans polled, but unacceptable to 40%. It sounds like the conservative enemies the Governor has made over the years are getting the word out.

Enough Dignity Left to Withdraw Support for Bebee

As someone who believes that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, I consider homosexuality to be a sin. And sin, all of our sin, will wind corrupting, degrading, and destroying us, usually to the degree we embrace it. Despite all that, I also believe that all persons are created in the image of God, and that as such retain some degree of human dignity, like a type an a shadow of what we are meant to be.

Dignity is a good thing, a natural thing God gave us as a result of being created in His image. While dignity can be corrupted and turned into unholy pride, just as sexual desires can be turned and corrupted, the original uncorrupted trait is good. It is a part of our original God-image nature. For a proof: It is right and it feels right to treat others with dignity, and to possess dignity ourselves.

I say all that to say this. The Stonewall Democrats, a homosexual activist group, have retained enough of their human dignity to dis-endorse Attorney General Mike Bebee in the Governor's race. Mr. Bebee's treatment of the Stonewall group was, shall we say, undignified. He told them behind closed doors that he was in favor of homosexuals obtaining access to children through adoption and foster parenting. After meeting with his pollsters, he declared in public that he was against homosexuals obtaining access to children through adoption and foster parenting.

Of course they are offended. It is likely they will endorse Green Party Candidate and former State Rep. Jim Lendall, once Mike Bebee's court battle to keep the Green Party off the ballot goes down in flames. Some may even vote for Hutchinson out of revenge- which is an undignified motivation, but an understandable one.

All politicians these days are making references to God, so you really can't tell much about how true their hearts are by efforts to leverage references to the Holy One of Israel into a campaign asset. A lot surer test is how they treat people. The best of them treat all, even their enemies, with dignity. The normal ones treat their supporters and the public with dignity, if not their enemies. What does that say about the rest- regardless of how righteous they seem on the outside- if they don't even treat their supporters with dignity and respect when they think they can get away with it?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Win Rockefeller Passes On

Lt. Governor Win Rockefeller died peacefully this morning. He was a class act, and will be missed. He was a prime example of the "responsible rich" who lived his life as befitting someone meant to be a leader.

Rockefeller lived in Little Rock and at Winrock Farms on Petit Jean Mountain, where a plaque outside his home quotes Micah 6:8: "And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" That scripture is also one of your writer's favorites. May God bless his soul. Amen.

State Tracking System for All Animals Draws Protests from Small Producers

In an "Animal Farm Meets Big Brother" nightmare scenario, I wrote a column one month ago about federal legislation that would require birth to death tracking of all farm animals, using an RFID (radio frequency implanted device) if necessary.

I first I thought it was a hoax. I could not imagine that such nanny-state idiocy was even being considered by our state government. But the state of Arkanssas is actually conducting a "voluntary trial" of the program, and is pushing its acceptance! Low and behold, the state sent an agriculture department official, former state senator Phil Wyrick, to tell hundreds of concerned farmers, ranchers, and poultry produceres that this ID program "was not their enemy". This contention brought angry boos from the crowd, according to witnesses.

The stated purpose of the program is for "disease control". To find the real reason, one must "follow the money". Two big signs of where the money trail leads can be found in today's Cristal Cody article in the Democrat-Gazette. This article reports on the same meeting that ArkansasWatch told you was going to happen several days ago.

(continued- click SUNDAY below and scroll down for rest of article. If sent straight here just scroll down.)

Pressure on Bebee Mounts as "Stonewallgate" Grates

Attorney General Mike Bebee told the "Stonewall Democrats"- a homosexual activist group, that he was in favor of homosexual foster parenting and adoption and would act to stop legislation that would deny them access to children as state-sponsored foster parents or adoptive parents. Then after meeting with his pollsters he flip-flopped, to put it charitably, and said he was oppossed to homosexuals gaining state-sponsored access to children through foster parenting or adoption.

The story was originally reported by Warwick Sabin of the Arkansas Times, but now it has appeared in the middle of the Sunday editorial pages of the Democrat-Gazette. Bebee has gotten himself into a very difficult position just when some observors were seeing signs of life from his otherwise secretive campaign.

(continued. Click "SUNDAY" below and scroll down, or if sent striaght here just scroll down)

Kane Webb Laments "Open Season" on Homosexuals

The Democrat-Gazettes Kane Webb had an article today on a story that Warwick Sabine broke on the blogosphere three days ago. In short, Attorney General Mike Bebee told the "Stonewall Democrats"- a homosexual activist group, that he was in favor of homosexual foster parenting and adoption and would act to stop legislation that would deny them access to children as state-sponsored foster parents or adoptive parents. Then after meeting with his pollsters he flip-flopped, to put it charitably, and said he was oppossed to homosexuals gaining state-sponsored access to children through foster parenting or adoption.

Mr. Webb went into historonics about how it is "open season on homosexuals". This is simply more obvious proof that the pages of the Democrat-Gazette cannot be trusted. They don't speak for you.

It is not open season on homosexuals. That is silly. It is instead open season on children for the sake of homosexuals, since the state must now (since the court ruling) assist homosexuals in obtaining access to children. Nevermind whether or not that is in the best interests of the child. What matters to people like "Justice" Don Corbin are the "rights" of homosexuals to obtain access to children that are not of their own procreation.

Or how about the Lawrence decision, in which state laws against homosexual acts were thrown out coast-to-coast with a swing of the gavel? Homosexuals are granted as much state protection as any of us, and more than the rest of us, since in many states it is illegal to discriminate against someone because they practice sexual deviancy, but not for other reasons. The largest companies in America have mandatory "sensitivity training" for their employees where they are taught that they are wrong to feel revulsed by perversion.

Far from "open season", homosexuals are among the most protected groups in this country. Unfortunately we are not protected from them, nor the pernicious effects that increased homosexual activity has had on every culture from Rome to modern Scandinavia. So obsessed is the establishment with proctecting homosexuals, that we are in real danger of moving toward a situation like that which currently exists in Canada and Sweden, where Pastors are arrested for preaching what the Bible teaches about homosexuality from their own pulpits and programs that critisize the homosexual agenda are strickin from the airwaves.

I can see the day coming, as it already is in those countries, where what was formerly known as "free speech" is reclassified as "hate speech" and deemed penally anti-social. When that day comes columns like this will be considered illegal and the state will have succeeded in turning a man like me, who has lived an honest life for over 40 years, into a criminal.

The homosexual agenda has "pushed the envelope" too far and too fast. It is high time we pushed back. Adoption and foster parenting should focus on what is best for the children, not the indulgences, or even the whimsical "rights" of the adults. We need a law to ban homosexuals from becoming foster or adoptive parents and we need it yesterday. It's time to close down the "Open Season".

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Platforms on Business Issues Take Different Approaches

An analysis of the policy platforms on business issues reveals that Asa Hutchinson and AG Mike Bebee have different priorities for business support. One of Bebee's biggest appeals to some businesses is a policy he can't discuss openly, but will be revealed in this article.

Hutchinson has been the most forthcoming on his program for business, and just about every other issue, but Bebee has revealed enough in bits and pieces so that an analysis is possible.

Hutchinson's priorities seem to be creating a broadly friendly climate for business, with a special focus on small business. His programs would help a lot of people some, and would help businesses that were already here as well as those that might come. Bebee's emphasis, to the degree it can be ascertained by his substance-free campaign syle, would be to focus on targeting a few key industries or businesses and helping them a lot. The focus would be on bringing new business in, or helping favored giant businesses start new projects in Arkansas.

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

Friday, July 14, 2006

Republican Congressman Calls for Impeachment of Bush

Conservative Republican Congressman Ron Paul: Impeach Bush

July 13, 2006

Rep. Congressman: Impeach Bush For Violating Constitution -
Not Partisan Payback

Ron Paul: Impeach Bush

Says North American Union is bellwether for world government

By Alex Jones /

Republican Congressman Ron Paul says President Bush has presided over a doctrine of violating the Constitution at every turn and that he should be impeached - but that likely Democratic efforts to do so will be in the interests of playing politics and not the health of the nation.

During an interview with Alex Jones on the GCN Radio network, Paul outlined the likely scenario as to how impeachment proceedings would unfold.

(continued, hit FRIDAY below and scroll down to get the rest of it)

Loud Dobbs Says Bush Selling out USA with "North American Union"

This stunning video segment from Lou Dobbs is a "must see". Will there be a United States of America for our children, or will our country forfiet it's sovereignty to a "North American Union"?

Do You Want This Man For Lt. Governor?? Meet Bill Halter, Sen. Holt's Opponent

(Received this information from WPAAG who said it was not written nor coming from the Holt campaign)

Is pro abortion.

Was the only Republican or Democratic state candidate who didn't oppose the Arkansas Supreme Court ruling allowing gays to be foster parents. 1

Wants to continue to give state benefits to illegal aliens. 2

Has proposed  universal pre kindergarten for three and four year olds/ Cost will be a minimum of $300 to $400  million - equal to a 1% sales tax increase. 3

Supports state authorized gambling and wants to implement a state lottery  which would make the state an economic predator of its weakest citizens. 4

Halter received only 2.5% of his contributions from Arkansas on the financial statement he filed June 30, 06.  He received 5% ( $9,000), from Arkansas citizens out of the $189,433 he raised during the period of his financial statement from May 24 to June 3, 06 (a typical financial statement)  He received  $48,000 from contributors in California and received 46 contributions of  $2,000 each from citizens in other states,  mostly from liberal states and NONE  from surrounding southern states.    The rest of the money $81,908  came from his own pockets (except for a few small contributions from other states) 5

Served under Bill Clinton' administration as Social Security's Chief Operating Officer 6

Halter lived out of the state most of the past 25 years. 7

Trust Becoming An Issue in Bebee's Base

Lefty (but not dumb) journalist Warwick Sabin has a piece out about Bebee's relationship with a homosexual advocacy group in Arkansas called the Stonewall Democrats.

The short of it is that Bebee met with the group, and pledged to fight measures like HB 1119 which would protect children from homosexuals becoming their foster or adoptive "parents". The bill was sponsored by Democrat Bob Adams in the House, and Senator Jim Holt, the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor, in the Senate. The bill passed the House but was bottled up in committee in the more liberal senate.

Shortly thereafter the courts ruled that state agency's could not block homosexuals from obtaining acess to children through the foster parent program or adoption. Agency's could not make that call, but the court left the door open to the legislature doing so. Suddenly bills like HB 1119 became hot news. Reporters started asking AG Mike Bebee what he thought of the issue. Initially, he gave a non-responsive answer, but literally hours after a meeting with his pollsters and other Democrats on the ticket, Bebee came out against placing children in homosexual households. This was of course, the exact opposite of what he told the Stonewall Democrats shortly before all this.

This means two things. First the smallest thing. One, Bebee had better try every trick in the book to keep Green Party Candidate Jim Lendall off the ballot. With him on it, pro-homosexual voters will have "someplace else to go", and Bebee's backstabbing could motivate them to do it. Can he keep Lendall off? No. I predict Bebee will lose that case within the next 60 days.

The big thing it means, for everyone who backs Bebee, is that they cannot trust the man who would be their next Governor. Any promises made to any of them are only valid so long as they don't have a chance to hurt the political career of Mike Bebee. That should give businessmen, farmers, and school administrators pause to reflect on the reliability of any promises made to them by Mr. Bebee. They have to wonder if they are trading their full support for an empty promise.

Now for the biggest thing, that goes beyond this race. The left is in a real pickle. To advace their interests they need politicians they can count on to keep abortion legal and to place children in homosexual households, but the kind of men who would make such promises are inherently untrustworthy. They are people who would trade away the rights and interests of children, born and unborn, to advance their own political career. Liberals should understand that any politico willing to trade away the children's rights will also trade away theirs!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Missing the Point on the Deficit

Our federal government spending deficit for the fiscal year is set to be 296 Billion Dollars for fiscal 2006, when it was originally projected to be $435 billion.

Liberals are griping that the numbers were massaged while Conservatives are crowing about how this proves that tax cuts work. Revenues have increased even though taxes were cut. That was because releasing the money promoted economic growth. Liberals groused that the President had the original $435 billion dollar estimate calculated to make himself look "good" when the actual figures came out.

Liberals are morons. In this case though, so are the conservatives.

The liberals are morons because the Administration was using figures from the Congressional Budget Office to get their $435 billion original figure. The improvement wasn't a trick from W, but an artifact of the moronic way the morons at the CBO calculate. The way those numbers are calculated, changes in tax rates are not acknowledged to change behavior. In their calculations, if taxes were raised to 100% of income everone would just keep working the same number of hours they do now. Tax collections would go way up as the citizens kept working away as busy-bee government slaves. On the other hand, the way the CBO figures it, if tax rates were cut in half for one year, no one would do any extra work even though their effective wages for that work would jump 15%! Morons!

The liberals are morons because they refuse to recognize that tax cuts grow the economy.

So why are the conservatives, in this instance, morons? Because they think a $296 billion annual budget deficit is good news! This after six years of Republican control. That is over $1,000 in new debt for every single American. Does your family of four have $4,000 extra dollars around to pay for the new debt that your Federal Government added on as your share of the tab? And this is only for a single year. $4,000 is being added each and every year to the $80,000 plus your family already owes because of the generosity of your Federal Government with your family's future earnings!

"Conservatives" are letting Republicans destroy this country with profligate spending practices. I would expect that kind of behavior from dope-smoking liberals who think the answer to every problem is government funding, but who do the few adult voters left turn too when the traditional small-government party goes absolutely ape?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Washington County Court Tries County Zoning Again

It looks like the Washington County Court is going to try to push zoning on the rural residents of the county again at a Quorum Court meeting tomorrow night.

Click "Wednesday" below for agenda, with special attention to item #14.

Nationally Normed Test Scores Eleven Percentile Points Lower Than in 1990

Yet ADE Commissioner Ken James is JUBILANT!

The composite score for 7th graders on the nationally normed test (ITBS) just released for this year is 50% - 11 percentile points lower than in 1990, and 7 percentile points below 1984 when the accountability system was set up in Arkansas billions of dollars ago. And the paper reports that Ken James is jubilant!

Scores for 5th grades this year was 58% which is 9 percentile points lower than in 1990 and 4 points lower than in 1984 when the accountability system was set up in Arkansas. Yet Ken James is jubilant, according to newspaper reports, with our test scores.  (I used these two grades because they are the only two grades where there is a complete history of scores.)

7th grade
Nationally Normed
2006 50%
1984 57%
1985 54%
1986 58%
1987 58%
1988 59%
1989 60%
1990 61%

5th grade
Nationally Normed
2006 58%
1984 61%
1985 64%
1986 66%
1987 66%
1988 66%
1989 67%
1990 67%

For a full article on "Why Test Scores Are Lower in Arkansas Now Than in 1984, After Increase of Billions" see this link:  At this link you can also find the scores for nationally normed test since accountability started in Arkansas in a simple chart from 1984 to 2003. You won't find a simple chart like this anywhere in Arkansas but on this website because powers that be don't want people to see the real picture. They just might realize that all their tax money for education is being wasted.

State spending on K-12 education went from a 1.4 billion to 2.8 billion. You know that is actually unbelievable. In six years we have doubled the spending on K-12 education in Arkansas,"  Walter Hussman told the Adequacy committee in 2003 in discussing scores from 1996 to 2001." Now that figure has ballooned to $4 billion.
In regard to the homegrown criterion referenced tests where test scores are soaring in Arkansas but are much, much lower on on the national criterion test, the NAEP, see article at this link, "Real Truth Behind Those Low 4th Grade Benchmark 2005 Test Scores."

Also note carefully this quote by Kelley King, representative from Harcourt Assessments, in answer to a question at a State Board of Education Meeting March 13, 06 about the rigor (difficulty) of the new proposed augmented tests in which the state criterion referenced test and the nationally normed reference test are to be combined. "The rigor (difficulty)  of the test is really set by the customer – by you in what you want. You may set the bar wherever you like to set the bar and we aim to meet that rigor at the point you set it. If we don't achieve that, you tell us to go away and do it again and we keep doing it until we get it the way you want it."  

Did you get that? I don't think she realized what she was telling us. A criterion referenced test can be manipulated until you get the number of students scoring above proficient that you want in order to be jubilant about the scores. That can't happen on a nationally normed test because scores are compared to students in the rest of the nation. But, alas we probably have seen our last legitimate nationally normed test for comparison because we are now in the process of changing to a combined NRT and CRT. Does anyone have any reason now to doubt why we are doing away with the nationally normed tests? See how "Testing System is Corrupted" at this link:  

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hester: Research Shows Wet Counties Crime-Ridden

Prominent Jonesboro activist Bob Hester has some strong stats to back up his contention that booze is bad: Bad for increasing crime, and bad for hurting community growth and development. I am ambivilent about beer and wine at least, but these figures have made me take a new look at my assumptions. These stats were taken from a study using 1998-99 figures. The study so far as we know has not been repeated since then.

Percentages were figured per 1000 population and are averages of all counties.

Wet county / dry county crime comparison of
8 major crimes for 1998
Percentage difference

122% more murder in wet

96% more rape in wet

326% more robberies in wet

127% more aggrav. assault in wet

61% more burglaries in wet

29% more thefts in wet

86% more motor vehicle thefts in wet

205% more arson in wet

(continuted- click "Tuesday" below and scroll down for rest of article, or if sent straight here just scroll down)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Co-opting Conservative Organizations to Protect Politicians

The Thomas More Law Center has taken the extraordinary move of issuing a press release which questions the "claims of the National Right to Life Committee to represent the unborn". In this stunning press release, the Thomas More Law Center gives damning evidence that the NRTL committee teamed up with Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups to block a bill to ban abortions in South Dakota, unless they were needed to save the life of the mother. Other sources claim that the Ohio Right to Life Committee tried similar shennanigans in that state.

What is going on here? Why is the "National Right to Life Committee" working with Planned Parenthood to kill bills that would save the lives of innocent babies? Bear in mind I am not questioning the integrity of Arkansas Right to Life so long as Wayne Mays is President of the Board of Directors, but this story goes all the way to the top.

A cynic might say that once abortion is outlawed, the "professional pro-life advocates" would be out of a job. I don't think that is it. Instead, we should think a little deeper about the political dynamics behind situations like this.

What do conservative interest groups like NRTLC do? Conservative special interests groups exist to hold politicians that claim to be conservative accountable. For example, voters count on the NRA to tell them who supports gun rights and who does not. Voters count on the NRTLC to tell them who is pro-life and who isn't. Naturally, the politicians want these groups to "go easy" on them- conversely the grassroots members of these groups want their group leaders to advance the issues they care about, which means NOT going easy on the politicians. These conflicting goals produce a healthy tension.

Because of this, there is a balance between interest groups and political parties. Political parties want to use these groups to further their interests (getting their candidates elected) and these groups want to use political parties to advance their issues. Each uses the other to advance their goals. But what if something upsets that balance? Suppose one group gets infiltrated by the other?

(continued. Click "Monday" below and scroll down for rest of article, or if sent straight here just scroll down.)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Give it Back Where it's Out of Whack

Personal Exemption Amounts in Arkansas Lag Far Behind Other States

Our $400 million state tax overcharge (called a "budget surplus" in the papers) has been the subject of a lot of debate recently. Some have argued for using the surplus to fund an elimination of the state sales tax on groceries. Others have argued that the money should be kept by the government for a "rainy day fund". Some have argued for both.

Put Arkansas Watch on the side of those who want the overcharge returned to the people who earned it. Will there be a shortage of funds later if we do this? Yes. And there will also be a shortage of funds if we let the government keep all $400 million. That is just the way government is once a people and their leaders have lost sight of the fact that their are limits to what government can and should do. The new view of government as the "ultimate solver of all problems" will never have enough money. Until we can vote out those with this view, the more money we can keep out of their hands the better it will be for the honest, productive citizens of this state.

An elimination of the grocery tax would be better than nothing, but this would be a burden for businesses to administer. Whatever rules made to determine what items count as "groceries" for the purposes of the tax will have to be applied to every item in the store to see if it fits. Is the stuff behind the deli counter "groceries" or is that prepared foods? What about breads baked in the bakery? What about a gas station that sells many non-food items? Ringing the charges up and keeping the books straight would be a nightmare for smaller businesses.

There is a better way. And a comparison of the state tax codes presented here shows that Arkansas is way out of line with the other states in the area I am about to discuss.

(for rest of article click "Sunday" below and scroll down, or if sent straight here just scroll down.)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Why You Should Oppose Animal ID Plan by NAIS & USDA

"No tag will ever control or prevent disease"
See last paragraph for this issue.

For several years, the USDA has been working with the largest-scale animal industry organizations (for example, the National Pork Producers, Monsanto Co. and Cargill Meat) to develop a mandatory "National Animal Identification System (NAIS). However, most small scale livestock producers, people who raise animals for their own food, and people who keep horses or livestock as companion animals do not know about the USDA's plans.

The NAIS will

Drive small producers out of the market,
Will make people abandon raising animals for their own food,
Will invade Americans' personal privacy to a degree never before tolerated,
Will Violate the religious freedom of Americans whose beliefs make it impossible for them to comply,
And will erase the last vestiges of animal welfare from the production of animal foods.

The Negative Effects

Eradication of Small Farms - People with just a few meat animals or 40-cow dairies are already on the edge financially. The USDA plan will force many of them to give up farming.

Loss of the True Security of Organic and Local Foods - The NAIS is touted by the USDA and agricorporations as a way to make our food supply "secure" against diseases or terrorism. However, most people instinctively understand that real food security comes from raising food yourself or buying from a local farmer you actually know. The USDA plan will only kill off more local sources of production and further promote the giant industrial methods which cause many food safety and disease problems.

Extreme Damage to Personal Privacy - Legally, livestock animals are a form of personal property. It is unprecedented for the United States government to conduct large-scale computer-aided surveillance of its citizens simply because they own a common type of property. (The only exceptions are registration of motor vehicles and guns, due to their clear inherent dangers - but they are registered at the state level, not by the federal government.) The NAIS would actually subject the owner of a chicken to far more surveillance than the owner of a gun. Surveillance of small-scale livestock owners is like the government subjecting people to surveillance for owning a couch, a tv, a lawnmower. What about non-livestock animals? Will the government next want to register all cats, dogs and parakeets, and demand the global positioning coordinates of their owners' houses and apartments?

Insult to Animal Welfare - The NAIS is the ultimate objectification of higher, sensitive living creatures, treating individual animals as if they were cans of peas with a bar code. Many who raise their own animals or buy from small, local producers do so because they are very troubled by industrial-scale production of chickens, cattle and pigs. These people will be forced either to sacrifice their personal privacy to government surveillance, or to stop raising their own food by humane standards.

Burden on Religious Freedom - Many adherents of plain (and other) faiths raise their own food animals and use animals in farming and transportation because their beliefs require them to live this way. Such people obviously cannot comply with the USDA's computerized, technology-dependent system. The NAIS will force these people to violate their religious beliefs.
Information above comes from "Why you should oppose the USDA's mandatory property and animal surveillance program" by Mary Anon, ph.d (Cornell), j.d. (yale), executive director of farm for life Also on 2nd article

See this link for rest of article.

Remember the meeting tomorrow, July 9, 2006 at 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm Conway, Arkansas, at Agora at 705 E. Siebenmorgen. Agora can be reached by taking Exit 127 from I 40 and traveling east on Oak Street. Turn left onto Museum Road. At the stop sign turn left onto Siebenmorgen Road. Agora will be on your left.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Holt Not Extreme Based on Demgaz Reporter's Research

Holt is Not Extreme
When You Look at Wickline's Research

The following quote from Arkansas Watch blog reflects my view of a recent article by  Michael Wickline of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette." Reporter Michael Wickline tries to answer the question of whether or not Senator Jim Holt, candidate for Lt. Governor, is an extremist. To answer the question he decided to do something that is almost unheard of in his field - through research! That is right, instead of simply making a series of unsupported statements, or making one phone call and when nobody answers writing up the story anyway, Mr. Wickline made the extra effort required to get all sides of the story."  
 Below are some of  my favorite excerpts from the story along with my comments in brackets.  Wickline's excerpts are in quotes; my comment are in brackets.
"Holt said Arkansas has the fourth-highest tax burden in the nation. He cited the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation.. .The foundation said Arkansas has the 10th-worst business climate in the nation."
  " In his lieutenant governor campaign, he [Holt} has said he’ll try to get a measure on the ballot to give voters power to decide on tax increases and some state spending increases, if the 2007 Legislature doesn’t enact such legislation on its own."

  " He said state government has incrementally drifted left, raising taxes, and needs to “compromise incrementally back to the right direction” to cut taxes."

  " During six years in the Legislature, Holt has introduced four bills to cut taxes. None cleared a committee. …    He voted against cost-of-living raises for state elected officials, including lawmakers, in 2001, 2003 and 2005." [In other words he voted against his own salary increase three times. Now that is extreme!!!! But honest Brummet in his recent article left the deceptive impression that Holt didn't want a minimum wage increase but approved of raises for legislators.]

   "In 2003, he [Holt] said he’d propose a constitutional amendment to let voters decide whether legislators get raises. But he didn’t. He said he was advised that lawmakers wouldn’t put it on the ballot." [Now do we know why Senator Holt can't get any bills passed.  He can't get the other legislators to cooperate with the will of the people.  Another example is the bill he sponsored  to keep unmarried couples, including homosexual and heterosexual, from adopting children. It passed the House, but Holt  couldn't get it out of the Senate committee.  But now that the Court has decreed that homosexuals must be allowed to be foster parents,  every state candidate but one, Bill Halter,  says they oppose homosexual foster parenting.   So who is extreme, Holt or Halter?]
For rest of article click "Wednesday" below and scroll down, or if sent straight here just scroll down".

Best Case Scenario: 19 Year Financial Time Bomb

Figures released by the government, using as optimistic assumptions as one can reasonably imagine, project that government debt held by entities outside the United States Government will equal the entire Gross Domestic Product of this country in only 19 years. After that point is reached, the debt is projected to exponentially increase until it our national debt for the Federal Government alone is about three times our annual earnings.

The assumptions made to calculate the figures may be too optimistic becasue they assume that interest rates will remain at current levels- in fact those rates are just coming off 23 year lows and are likely to get higher as our debt/income ratio increases. They also assumed that government spending would be held to only the level of increase in the gross domestic product. In other words, government would not grow itself faster than earnings grow. Recent explosions in entitlement programs, such as the President's 400 billion a year in unfunded liabilities via the "Prescription Drug Program", guarantee that real government spending increases will be greater.

The figures also appear to exclued certain substantial debt that our government accountants also magically whisk away "off budget", as well as the "Social Security Trust Fund" that is really just a stack of IOU's held by the government backed by nothing but its ability to increase your tax burden.

Big Brother in US Tracking All Livestock from Birth to Slaughter

Computer Chip ID Will Be Required for sale of animals

Mandatory participation will be required by livestock owners or they can't sell their cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, goats, horses, llamas, alpacas, deer, elk or bison.

Below is a press release (and an excerpt from the law) I received that I am passing on (emphasis added by me). This information is very disturbing to me, and I plan to be at the meeting this Sunday, July 9, in Conway. I haven't had time to do my background research on it, but Arkansas Watch blog did a post on it that is pasted below this press release. I did join in on a conference call with two or three of the leaders of this organization who were very knowledgeable. There is a link to the proposed law on this issue on the Arkansas Watch Blog post pasted below.





The USDA recently issued guidelines for Farm Premises Identification (FPI) and National Animal Identification Tracking System (NAIS). Independent animal owners were not invited by the USDA to help develop these guidelines. Instead, large agricultural corporations, chemical manufacturers, major packers, and manufacturers of animal tracking devices were invited to develop the guidelines. These guidelines as proposed would require owners of cattle, bison, horses, burros, goats, sheep, alpacas, elk, deer, llamas, hogs, and poultry to make application to the USDA for Farm Premises Identification. This identification number would be their global positioning system address (GPS) that would be attached to every animal on the farm. These tracking devices would be leg bands, ear tags, or computer chip implants depending upon the species of animal tagged. Large corporate chicken houses and hog houses would need only one tag for each load of animals leaving the farm, but the independent farmer would be required to tag every animal. Based upon the USDA guidelines, every time an animal was born, left the farm, entered the farm, or died the farm owner would be required to report this information to the USDA within 24 hours or face fines of up to $1000 per day per occurrence. Sale barn operators would be required to purchase expensive electronic devices for reading the tags and submit animal transfer reports to the USDA within 24 hours of the end of the sale or face severe fines. The USDA would place all information received on a national data base.

For rest of article click "Wednesday" below and scroll down, or if sent straight here just scroll down".

Monday, July 03, 2006

Give Credit Where Due: One Saw Issues Coming

Last week should have been a great week for one state-wide candidate. Two issues dominated the political news last week. They seemed to catch everyone by surprise. Amazingly, there is one candidate for statewide office who actually anticipated both problems and in each case sponsored a bill doing exactly what a near-consensus now agrees needs to be done. I'd call that significant, and it should not pass without notice.

Issue One: The courts ruled that the state department of child services lacked the authority to unilaterally declare a ban on homosexual foster parenting. Therefore, the policy preventing homosexuals from adopting or becoming foster parents is now rescinded. As soon as the court issued it's ruling, politicans from across the specturm (except for "Hollywood Halter" - fresh in from the West Coast) clucked about how something ought to be done.

One candidate actually saw this coming and tried to do something about it in the 05 session. Senator Jim Holt was the sole senate sponsor of this bill (with Representative Bob Adams) to do exactly what most everyone this side of Brummett agrees needs to be done- write a law protecting children from homosexuals indulging their whims to have "families" at the expense of disadvantaged children. I can't recall any of the other politicians who are now remonstrating about this insanity lending Holt and Adams a hand at the time this bill was stuck in committee.

(click "Monday" below and scroll down for rest of story, or if sent straight here just scroll down).

Wickline Tries To Answer the Question: "Is Holt Extreme".

Reporter Michael Wickline tries to answer the question of whether or not Senator Jim Holt, candidate for Lt. Governor, is an extremist. To answer the question he decided to do something that is almost unheard of in his field- through research! That is right, instead of simply making a series of unsupported statements, or making one phone call and when nobody answers writing up the story anyway, Mr. Wickline made the extra effort required to get all sides of the story.

Was the story fair and well written? Yes. Now that we hear that Aarron Sadler is heading for Washington (congratulations to him, fair and highly skilled), Wickline is probably the best reporter left for consistently writing a fair and clear story that is well documented. That would be scoring Mike Masterson as an editorial writer.

So you should read it and judge for yourself! Holt will seem like an "extemist" - but only to those on the other extreme. Senator Stephen Bryles will seem like an ingracious jerk (hey Bryles, how come you didn't call Holt extremist for his minimum wage vote? You did on everything else. Why not, huh? Rumor city thinks they know why).