Monday, February 26, 2007

Rand's Preschool Cost Benefits Study Blatantly Incorrect

Two economics professors from San Jose State University analyzed a Rand Corporation preschool cost study and concluded that Rand's claim of benefits amounting to $2.62 for each dollar California taxpayers contributed were based on selective data and unverified assumptions that skewed results. Consequently, Rand "overestimates the upsides and dramatically underestimates the downsides" of universal preschool as well as California's Proposition 82 that supports government-run preschool.

Using Rand data and methodology, the professors said "it is easy to demonstrate that universal preschool generates losses of 25 to 30 cents for every dollar spent."

San Jose State University economics professor Christopher Cardiff and assistant economics professor Edward Stringham coauthored the analysis of the Rand study. Cardiff's and Stringham's findings were published May 2006 in Is Universal Preschool Beneficial?...

In their analysis they "found the Rand study fails to pass even the basic benchmarks of what can be considered a reasonable economic analysis." They further noted, "If the RAND study was submitted in our San Jose State University classrooms, it would get an 'F'. "

Link to lengthy entire article:

KIPP Proves Pre-K Is Not Best Use of Funds

The vast increase in test scores of students through KIPP programs is evidence that the child can reach his full intellectual potential without Pre-K. These colossal increases in test scores have occurred with students in 5th through 8th grade in high poverty schools with students without the benefit of Pre-K. Since the following types of improvement have been made after 5th grade in high poverty schools, then it is a myth that missing pre-K endangers the child's ability to reach his full capabilities. KIPP stands for Knowledge is Power Program.

Wouldn't it then make more sense to take the educational money we have and invest it at these later grade levels in programs such as KIPP when the child's ability is fully developed rather than in Pre-K which would have no benefit to these older students and would leave them behind forever?

"At an annual cost of 8,000 per child, according to the National education Association (2001 figures), preschool puts a massive strain on state budgets. Financing two additional grades undermines opportunities to increase salaries and hire new teachers – a grim prospect for a workforce that reports being underpaid and overworked. Trading Sippy Cups for School Desks by Darcy Olsen, Aug. 14, 01 Cato Institute

Numerous KIPP schools have published results such as the following: "Students on average are at the 28th percentile in reading and math on national standardized tests when they enter KIPP. "

"The first five KIPP schools in the country, including Schaeffler's KIPP DC: KEY Academy, show students rising to the 74th percentile by the end of eighth grade, Schaeffler's first class of D.C. students, all black and 84 percent from low-income households, had average math scores that went from the 34th percentile when the students entered fifth grade in 2001 to the 92nd percentile when they completed eighth grade last year, and were the highest in the city last year at the school, now run by Schaeffler's successor, Sarah Hayes." See this link on Washington Post for the KIPP success stories. "High Scores Fail to Clear Obstacles to KIPP Growth" by Jay Mathews

Saturday, February 24, 2007

How Boards and Commissions Stack the Deck Against Taxpayers

Rep. Jay Martin passed a good bill to form a special commission. Its job was to review all of the state's thousands of boards and commissions in order to eliminate the ones that were unecessary. Unfortunately, the big-government system beat him on that one. Only three commissions, which had not met in 20 years, were eliminated. Then the commission to review and eliminate commissions was itself dissolved by the ledge.

I once thought that boards and commissions were mostly just a way for politicians to reward their supporters with a title and a small budget as patronage. Unfortunately, it is a lot worse than that. The way our system is set up stacks the deck against the taxpayers and for big-government special interests.

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

Rogers-Lowell Chamber Legislative Forum

The Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce held a legislative forum this morning. Among the legislative attendees were Representative Mike Kenney of Siloam Springs, and Senator Kim Hendren of Gravette. Hendren gets special kudos for making the 7:30 AM meeting one day after surgery and with his arm in a sling. Fellow Republican Senator Dave Bisbee joked that Hendren's family was against him attending, not because they thought there was a health risk, but because, "they did not want him anywhere near a microphone while on meds".

Bisbee has great stage presence and connected well with the group. Representative Donna Hutchinson also did well in that department also with some self-effacing humor. Both left the bulk of the policy talk to Representative Kevin Anderson of Rogers. Anderson mostly held to a conservative line, gently telling those seeking a special tax exemption they had little chance while focusing on the tax cuts they had already won. He also spoke up for charter schools after a reality-free speechette from a far-left member of the audience who as Reagan said of liberals, "know so much that isn't true". One big red flag on Anderson: He spoke of positioning Arkansas to begin collecting sales taxes on internet transactions as a source of revenue. What a terrible idea to propose a tax increase so soon after they blew an 843 million dollar wad of money. If such transactions must be taxed, all sales taxes should be lowered by an amount needed to make the proposal revenue neutral.

Representative Horace Hardwick was the only one who really misfired, using his time to push the discredited International Baccularte program for Bentonville schools. His main selling point was that it would allow students to get college credit while still in high school. You can do that right now with concurrent courses, and without the U.N. writing the course materials. That course is taught under the framework of moral and cultural relativism- the idea that no culture is any better or worse than any other, it's all about "diversity". As Mark Twain said, some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them.

The Real Low-Down on the GIF Money

The "General Improvement Fund" is drawn from the interest earned all year from deposits of state receipts. Because of the surplus, it has turned into a huge pile of money. Last session each State Senator got $750,000 to spend on their district, and the totals should be far larger this time. The State Reps. got GIF money too.

You have heard a lot of talk about this from the papers, usually in an unflattering light. I am going to try to tie it all together for you and explain the true dynamics.

(Continued- click SATURDAY below and scroll down for rest of story, or if sent straight here just scroll down).

Lincoln Making Sausage, Not Art.

It has been said that making law is like making sausage- even if you like it, you don't want to see how it is made. We were gratified to read in this Jon Kupra piece that Senator Blanche Lincoln has finally realized that the "No Child Left Behind" program is deeply flawed. She says it needs "changes", we still say it needs to be repealed, but she is getting closer.

After Lincoln gave a long list of complaints about the program someone must have asked her why she originally supported it if it was so bad. She said, “No Child Left Behind was not a work of art, and I didn’t go to Washington to create a work of art,” Lincoln said. “I went to Washington on your behalf to create a work in progress.”

Is "I made a mistake" not in the Washington lexicon? Creating a "work in progress"? More like making sausage.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Cognitive Dissonance on Pre-K

The Arkansas News Bureau has an article which says that the bill to raise the minimum age for kindergarten by a couple of months has advanced on a 33-0 vote in the Senate. Several teachers testified that children under age 5 are often too immature for kindergarten and it seems their testimony was convincing.

Ok, perhaps some of them can explain to us why they are in such a rush to expand Pre-K "education". If the younger five year olds are too immature for kindergarten, then why are we pushing 4 year olds and even 3 year olds into a similar classroom/government institutional setting? Is it just day care by another name?

Children that age are designed to learn mostly by unstructered play. When their brain is ready to study letters for ten minutes they will want to study letters. When their brain's have had as much of that as they can process for a while they wander off and learn something else. Families are a great place to learn that way. Institutions, which lack flexibility and have more rigid schedules and "objectives", are not.

If Senators understand that younger five year olds are too young for this, then why are most of them supporting this for even younger children?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Our New Ruling Class in Action

There is only one angle I want to comment on regarding the case that everyone has been talking about- I am loathe to even mention the name again. Circuit Court Judge Larry Seidlin showed America that judges are not some kind of demi-gods who deserve to have the final word on everything, even though they often do. They are human beings, just like our legislators. Some are better, and some, like Seidlin, are worse. But under no circumstances should people like Larry Seidlin and his fellow judges have the final word on what the rules of society ought to be.

The judge interjected himself into testimony. His behavior during the trial was bizarre. He talked about his daily routine and wardrobe. He chatted nostalgically about his roots in New York, where he was once a cab driver. He referred to people in the trial by nicknames he made up for them such as "Texas," "California" and "Mama". He sobbed. He talked about his marital problems. Most of the testimony he allowed in the trial was irrelevant to the decision. And at the end of it all he made a decision that Susan Filan, an MSNBC legal analyst, called "insane."

My point is simply this: America needs to re-evaluate the power of judges in our society. It's not whether we have given too much authority to these judges, but whether or not we need to pare back the authority they have awarded themselves in a series of rulings and changed legal practices over the years.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

25 Reasons to Oppose AR Hate Crime Law

Hate Crime Laws that are designed to sound so good, like the Equal Rights Amendment, actually criminalize thoughts and feelings. A hate crimes bill, Arkansas SB 264 by Hank Wilkins, is listed on the Senate agenda tomorrow, Feb 21, 07, in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Most conservatives opposing hate crime bills abhor crimes of any kind against any class of people, but the so called "hate crime" bills are really unequal protection under the law – protection for favored classes of people and favored sexual behavior. It will punish individuals who do not conform to politically correct speech, and will prevent citizens from verbally expressing their views about what they believe to be right and wrong.

And as the Wall Street Journal said in their article decrying hate crime laws, "Like all restrictions on free speech, bans of "racist" or "homophobic" expression rests on a slippery slope. Some Christian denominations believe that homosexuality is a sin. Are their clerics to be silenced by law because this view is unacceptable…We aren't' there yet. ["Court case on hate language" posted Feb 16 on this blog exemplifies that some areas of our country are there.] But when people can be given additional time in jail for what they were thinking while committing a crime, we are approaching rule by a thought police."

Following are 25 reasons to oppose Hate Crime Legislation by Dr. Robert Gagnon. I am not saying these would be immediate results or that Wilkins or other Arkansas legislators supporting his legislation have these intentions; but like the ERA, many lawyers will tell you this is the way the court could interpret such laws and that these 25 possibilities would be part of the slippery slope that hate crime bills would initiate.

25 Reasons To Oppose Hate Crime Legislation by Dr. Robert Gagnon

1. Large fines and eventually jail time for anyone who publicly speaks out against homosexual activity or transgenderism, even as a minister, if the state determines that one's message arouses people to hate homosexual or transgendered persons. This includes messages that cite Scripture or refer to studies that show higher incidences of promiscuity and disease among homosexually active men.

2. Suspension without pay from one's place of employment and even outright termination if one declares in any way one's opposition to homosexual practice or transgenderism, even if, as a white-collar employee, one makes such a declaration in a "letter to an editor" outside the domain of the workplace; moreover, one will have to pay the court costs of his persecutors.

continued- click TUESDAY below and scroll down for rest of article, or if sent straight here just scroll down or see this link:

Monday, February 19, 2007

Revolving Door Not Just With Legislators

Reports are that Jake Bleed of the Democrat-Gazette will be moving from reporter to the editorial page because editorial writer Kane Webb is accepting a position at UCA under Lu Hardin.

I seem to remember the papers complaining about legislators working for industries that they ran bills for during their career. Much hay was made about the "revolving door" between business and the ledge. But the door spins both ways. The papers were very very very kind to Hardin, UCA, and all the colleges by pounding in a relentless one-sided pro-higer ed, pro-education bond message. Now one of the editorial writers gets a job at a state university. None of that is proof anybody did anything wrong. As with the legislators, it is the appearences that are a concern.

As for Jake Bleed, congratulations to him. It will be interesting to see what kind of editorial slant we will get from a man who served as a "straight reporter".

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

Magnet Schools, Consolidation, and Workforce Ed

School Magnet attracts nuts and gets screwy.


Have you noticed that the same influences that push for school consolidation, that is forcing small schools to combine into larger ones, are also the ones pushing hard for Magnet Schools? Magnet schools of course take large schools and make them smaller.

What's that you say? You say it makes no sense to spend money forcing small schools to get bigger so that you can then make them smaller? Ahh, but magnet schools are divided up by special subject areas. Ok, so why so do they need seperate little schools for that? Why can't they just leave the consolidated school big, with seperate classes?

I know some people with a lot of evidence on what the real reasons are. I am not going to bother giving you the evidence. I am just going to tell you what I see happening and you can accept it or not.

This is all about "workforce education". That is, changing the mission of the public schools from a general and flexible common education into a narrowly focused "education" limited to the specific skills needed to work at a designated trade. Under the new system, most students would not be generally educated persons, just worker bees in the Global Corporate Hive.

Who would want this? Well, industry for one. They spend a lot of money training workers every year. They would prefer that you the taxpayers foot the bill for their job training costs. Besides, all that history and civics and stuff is lost on you average peons. Why spend a lot of taxpayer money telling you about the founding of this country and the constitution when we just ignore it anyway? I mean, what is more important, being able to explain the concept of "Natural Rights" to your children or Brittney getting her head shaved? Why, the people might start getting some funny ideas if they read all that stuff from the Founding Fathers!

Magnet schools are corporate tools. Or at least they will morph into them when the time is right. I urge us to maintain a high view of humanity that provides all children the opportunity for a general broad-based education that trains them for the blessings of self-rule.

State Herds More Kids into Daycare, Women into Workforce

The Demo-zette is reporting that "administrators" (I wonder how they can do this themselves) have raised the wage level at which a family of four can get subsidized day-care from $29,000 to $41,100.

The government is taking tax money from families who think young children should be raised by their own relatives in their own home and giving it to families who think it is ok for young children to be raised by strangers in government approved institutions. It is madness to think that a stranger making eight dollars an hour will care for and nuture children with the same quality as a typical parent, but the government has a good reason for doing this- it's own interests.

You see the government is "running itself like a business", and like most businesses wants to make itself as big as possible and gather in as much money as possible. Shame on those women who stay home and raise their own kids when they could be out generating tax-revenue for the government! The government could do such great things with that money- like hire someone to look after their kids! The government wins on both ends. The get more revenue and they get to "grow their market" at the same time.

Who loses? Families that choose to raise their own children in their own home lose because the government has taken sides against them. They take money from them in order to give it to families that will pursue a lifestyle that maximizes government revenue and control. But of course the biggest loser is the children themselves. No one knows the long term effects of snatching young children from families on a massive scale and having them raised by strangers in a government-approved institutions. Maybe they will build the "New Socialist Man- Global Citizen", but if the government does this like they do most things it is more likley they will just screw up a lot of kids.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

What's Wrong With Merit Pay for Teachers?

As a former educator (guess I still am in some ways)I need a lot of space to tell you why even though merit pay in principle is good, all the specific proposals for merit pay I have seen would be bad. Maybe very bad.

Might as well go right to the jump, 'cause I am going to need some space here- click "Saturday" below and scroll down.....

Friday, February 16, 2007

Court case on hate language - Words "Natural Family" alleged to be hate speech

The following excerpts from an article entitled "Natural family' called derogatory to 'gays' give us a good idea where hate crime bills are headed.

"A special session of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is being held today at the Stanford University Law School where lawyers are arguing whether the words "natural family, marriage and family values" constitute "hate speech" that could intimidate city of Oakland workers.

"The words were used by two city employees who wanted to launch a group of people who shared their interests and posted a notice on a city bulletin board after a series of notices from homosexual activists were delivered to them via the city's e-mail system, bulletin boards and memo distribution system.

"But Robert Bobb, then city manager, and Joyce Hicks, then deputy director of the Community and Economic Development Agency, ordered their notice removed, because it contained "statements of a homophobic nature" and promoted "sexual-orientation-based harassment."

See this link for rest of this article.

Arkansas state senator Hank Wilkins (D-Pine Bluff) is sponsor of the Arkansas hate crime bill SB264. It was on the agenda this week to be heard before the Senate Judiciary Committee but was postpones. Wilkins' email is

The Senate Judiciary Committee members are as follows: Chair, Ed Wilkinson, Vice Chair Shawn Womack, Members: Ruth Whitaker, Jim Luker, Sue Madison, Irma Hunter Brown, Mary Anne Salmon, Robert Thompson. You can find their contact numbers and emails from home page of by clicking "Contact Legislators"

At least four of those, in my opinion, would be likely to vote for such a bill. Those who oppose the bill need to go to work to stop it.

Republican Assembly Steps Up to the Plate on Hate Crimes

ARRA President Dr. Patrick Briney sent out a press release today on "Five Reasons to Oppose Hate Crime Bills. I hope readers of this blog will go to Republican Assembly website at this link and read it and use it as points to discuss with their legislators.

Quote from their home page: "The Arkansas Republican Assembly (ARRA) is the Republican wing of the Republican party in Arkansas. We are Republicans who are socially, morally, and fiscally conservative committed to strengthening the Republican party by upholding the traditional, Republican ideals that represent the American founders’ original intent. We believe in God, family, and country. We support policies that expand the rights, liberties, and responsibilities of individuals and that reduce the size and spending of government."

To put it bluntly, ARRA members believe the Republicans should walk the walk that they talk and they support those Republicans that do.

You might want to get better acquainted with them by going to their website at this link: They also have a blog at this link:

Republican Assembly: Five Reasons to Oppose "Hate Crimes" Bill

With the official Republican Party of Arkansas unable or unwilling to take a stand even on a no-brainer like the ERA, leadership of republican-leaning voters falls to the Arkansas Republican Assembly. Here is a press release from their Chairman, Dr. Pat Briney, on the proposed "hate crimes" legislation...

Arkansas state senator Henry Wilkins (D-Pine Bluff) is sponsor of a hate crime bill (SB 264). The title of the bill is, ‘AN ACT TO CREATE THE OFFENSE OF HATE CRIME; TO ESTABLISH PENALTIES FOR A HATE CRIME; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.’

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a hate crime is any crime committed because of the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender or sexual orientation.

Forty-one states have "hate crimes" laws and twenty-two of these laws include sexual orientation. Most of the laws provide enhanced penalties for crimes committed with "hate."

No one likes hate, and discrimination is a terrible thing, so hate crime bills appeal to people as the right thing to do to curb a wrong. But hate crime bills are seriously flawed. Hate crime bills attempt to punish people for the way they think. They divide people into classes, and some are to be treated differently and deemed more worthy of protection.

Here are five reasons to oppose hate crime bills.

(continued, click "Friday" below and scroll down).

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Arrows Away

Before I give my partial list of whose up and whose down, I want to give what should be a standard disclaimer for these types of columns. Being "down" is not the same as being "wrong"- unless you are down because you got caught doing wrong. Being "up" is not the same thing as being right either.

Debbie Pelley. She was not only there with Phylis Schafley on the stunning smackdown of the ERA, but she has made a real impact exposing the hidden agenda of the "International Baccularte" program (no matter what they are calling it now). Her credibility with legislators comes from great research and being right time after time.

Representative Lindsley Smith of Fayetteville. She was the driving force behind the ERA in Arkansas and thus falls the farthest with its stunning reversal. A month ago this would have been an up arrow- she had assembled a massive coalition to support the measure. Once more facts came out, a lot of her colleagues backed away feeling misled or under informed. The resolution lost twenty co-sponsors despite favorable press coverage. I can't remember the last time a bandwagon with such momentum got stopped cold.

Governor Mike Beebe. His work on the grocery tax reduction was all up arrow, and his demeanor has been a refreshing change. Downside? About once a month he says something so clearly untrue that it is disturbing to think that he actually believes it, or infuriating that he actually would think that we would believe it.

State Representative Dan Greenberg. The "monuments bill" is just one thing he has gotten right. Clear principles and a coherent idealogy which he can defend articulately. Has to watch a tendency to come off as haughty.

State Representative Eric Harris. There are some who say he was the real legislative force behind stopping the ERA. A behind the scenes leader on the right.

State Representative Steve Harrelson. The blog is a big hit. It helps bring him influence in a way that has never been seen before. More willing than most left-leaners to defend his ideas in rational debate, and does it in a style that insures that he can win (and lose) fights without winning enemies.

Brummett. His "blog" is a relative bust because 1) he is NOT willing to allow comments and must therefore rely on his access for "scoops" 2) He is being bested by legislators like Harrelson who have "cut out the middle man" in up-to-the-minute legislative reporting. We are witnessing perhaps a historic change in the way political information is disseminated. Politicians were once totally at the mercy of media outlets, now they can be one.

The Brotherhood. This Senate group is a combination of traditional, conservative Democrats and most of the few Republicans. They have basically joined together to form their own political party, operationally speaking, in the state Senate. It is the only force likely to have the clout to stop far-left proposals from the current crop of state-wide officials....

...unless it is a similar group in the House run by Benny Petrus and Kevin Anderson. Don't believe the papers, Petrus got what he wanted from Beebe- more tax cuts than the Governor wanted to give.

Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Treading water with his legislative agenda. Only 15 House members showed up to support his lottery announcement- pretty weak for someone who is supposed to be presiding over the Senate. Even Beebe seems cool to the idea.

Senator Steve Bryles. Not winning any points for style or substance. From the "throw more money at it" school of the left, and more than ready to radiate righteous indignation at those slow to re-try that tired 'ole non-solution. That is no way to win favor with the Brotherhood!

I invite the bloggers to give their own arrows out.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

District Tries to Hide Magnet School Scores

When the Hot Springs scores were sent by email to most of the staff at Jonesboro (who is using them as a model for their magnet schools) by a citizen in the community, that person was blocked by the district so the teachers could not receive more emails. I find it shocking that school officials would do this in order to keep the teachers and community from the truth.

Our Concerns with the Implementation of the Magnet Schools and IB program at Jonesboro/Debbie Pelley's Presentation Before the Jonesboro School Board, February 13, 07

(See Transcript of TV coverage and link to video online below by channel that reaches 370 thousand households and covers Northeast AR & Southeast MO.)

I am going to talk fast because my time is short [I was allowed five minutes to speak], but I do have my remarks and the documentation to give to anyone that wants it. My name is Debbie Pelley. I have lived in Jonesboro for 35 years, my only daughter graduated from Jonesboro, and I come tonight representing myself as a retired teacher and as a representative of the Arkansas Family Coalition state organization.

I hope you won't mistake my concerns for criticism of Jonesboro schools which has numerous good, dedicated teachers, and a good school system; I would just like to see it stay that way.

I know many people in the community and teachers are very concerned that Jonesboro is implementing magnet schools. I talked to school officials at Pine Bluff who implemented magnet schools back in the 80's. The Deputy Superintendent told me they received a federal grant (mega bucks – our taxes) and thought they had everything they wanted, but it just didn't work for them. They are going back to neighborhood schools this year. He said the busing problem had been a nightmare, and that students wanting to change from one school to another had been a nightmare. (Nightmare was his word) Another problem was that when the grants ran out they could not get the funds to continue their programs.

Both Pine Bluff and Hot Springs school officials told me they started their magnet schools in order to draw students from other districts because of declining enrollment. One Jonesboro school official told me pretty much the same thing. That doesn't seem like a noble reason to scramble an entire school system to me.

Hot Springs is one of the models Jonesboro is using for the magnet schools. Many Jonesboro teachers, board members, and administrators have visited that school. The paper also reported they were looking at Hot Springs as a model.

Based on the latest performance records on the Arkansas Department of Education website in 2005, Jonesboro's performance scores are better than Hot Springs in about 35 categories out of 40, ,and by many points, as much as 28 points higher in 11th grade literacy. The 2006 scores won't be out until March according to three ADE personnel with whom I spoke.

Hot Springs' graduation rate was only 56%. That is right, 56% graduation rate, 30% lower than Jonesboro's graduation rate which was 86%.

Sixty-seven percent of Hot Springs students had to have college remediation in 2005, 22% more of their students needed remediation than Jonesboro's students. Jonesboro had 45.8% remediation rate, better than the state average. Hot Spring's ACT score in English was 17.8 and Jonesboro's a 22.

However, a Jonesboro school official told me a few weeks ago that Hot Springs had great scores. I finally found one Hot Springs school with very good scores. It was the magnet school that had the IB program. That led to research that shows the magnet schools there have been set up pretty much like a social caste system.

The school with the highest scores has only 12% of the Hot Springs elementary students and has 75% white and 25% minority students. The magnet school with the lowest scores has 71% minority and 29% white. I don't think we want an elitist education system like that in Jonesboro.

At Batesville one magnet school has 35% minority and another magnet school has 4% minority. Research shows that although integration was supposed to be a goal for starting magnet schools, in practicality it has led to more segregation.

When the Hot Springs scores were sent by email to most of the staff at Jonesboro by a citizen in the community, that person was blocked by the district so the teachers could not receive more emails. I find it shocking that school officials would do this in order to keep the teachers and community from the truth.

Hot Springs per pupil spending is almost $1400 more than Jonesboro (Hot Springs $8,688 per student and Jonesboro $7,348.) Instead of improving after implementing magnet schools, Hot Springs' scores have fallen in numerous areas. For example, in 2005 the graduation rate at Hot Springs was 56%, but in 2004 it was 69.8% and in 2003 74.1%.

The International Baccalaureate) program (also called IB) is another concern of mine. IB is a United Nations program that has been thrown out of some school districts because of its far left and anti Christian agenda. Hot Springs is the only school in Arkansas that has implemented IB district wide.

In November it was posted on the web that Jonesboro would apply for this IB program "as soon as possible" - just as Hot Springs had done. One significant Jonesboro administrator pointed out to me that the IB had been deleted from the website; but when I asked if he could point blank tell me that they would not be doing the IB program , he said no he could not tell me that. I spoke personally with another school official just after that who had no idea they were backing away from this program. Shortly after that another school official in central office sent out an email to teachers saying they would not be doing an IB program. Shortly after that another influential school official said in a message to me that he certainly hoped they were not backing away from the IB program.

For rest of this presenation, see this link:

For link to the video clip on , go to this link:

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Clint Reed Promoted to RNC

It appears that Arkansas Republican Party executive director Clint Reed will be promoted to a regional position on the Republican National Committee. The state party lost all state-wide races this year by double-digit margins in a year that saw Republican setbacks across the nation.

Reed seemed to sound the theme that the guys at the RNC want to hear- that conservatives are the ones costing the Republicans victory. "We must be an inclusive party that is not relegated to fractional or regional ideologues," Reed said. "We've got to continue to broaden our base in central Arkansas, northeast Arkansas and southeast Arkansas."

An idealogy is simply a view of the world that allows for systematic and connected decision-making. Some are good because they reflect reality, some are bad, because they don't, but if an official really does not have one it is a near certainty that their polices will be chaotic and frequently at cross-purposes. But these guys who say they don't have an idealogy, they have an ideaology- and there is a reason they don't want you to know what it is.

The reason the guys in Arkansas lost is not because they were too "regional" and it certainly wasn't because they were too "ideological". It may not even be because of Clint Reed, although he didn't help any. It was because non-idealogical (read non-conservative) guys like Bush and Huckabee have ruled in such a way as to give people a bad taste in their mouths for Republicans, even people who once voted for the both of them like me. Our candidates in this state were operating with two millstones around their necks- it was not their idealogy, it was Bush and to a lesser extent Huckabee.

The guy at the top of the ticket came back into the state after being gone for years, and has now flown back to Washington less than six months after losing. Maybe that is what Reed meant by "regional candidates". You need guys at the top of the ticket who have lived the previous decade in the same region of the country that they hope to govern! The tone-deaf Hutchinson campaign continued to stress the close ties to the increasingly unpopular Bush administration. Their top-of-the-tickety candidate was a dignified and decent man, but he lacked perceived warmth. With all that against them, the business community saw they were in trouble, and the other side was careful to court them. Once the business community decided which way the wind was gently blowing, they put their money on the favorite and turned that wind into a howl.

Clint Reed seems to have one idea of why the candidates in this state lost, I just gave you mine. You decide for yourself which makes the most sense.

Any guesses as to who will fill his shoes?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Unresolved Lakeview Issues Get in Your Pocket

An informative Doug Thompson article on the Lakeview ruling should not pass without comment.

There were eight "unresolved issues" that the courts want resolved before they quit violating the separation of powers and release the state legislature from their court-appointed "special masters". At least until the next time the courts want to get in the legislature's business.

The most costly of the eight issues could be facilities. Governor Mike Beebe's office is quoted as saying that much of the surplus (which otherwise could go back to the taxpayers who were overcharged) will go to facilities. The Governor seems to think that localities should share in the responsibility by raising millages, so stand by for a tax increase if the court has decided your local school is not good enough for them. Of course, the state bailing out those who refuse to help themselves is another problem. The AG's office seems to be at variance with the Governor on this. "The state will ultimately assume the responsibility (for facilities) if the local districts are unable or unwilling to fund their share of the construction project," the attorney general's office said in Friday's report.

That seems like it would reward taxpayers in school districts who refuse to fund their own schools to the level that the court desires by doing it for them anyway. Where is the justice in all this? You can't have any by forcing fancier school facilities on a community than they are willing to support.

(continued- click MONDAY and scroll down for rest of story)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Phuyllis Schlafly's Testimony on ERA Before AR Committee Transcribed

Phyllis Schlafly Testimony on ERA Bill, (HJR1002)Feb. 7, 2007
(In less than ten minutes)

Schlafly Bio: Phyllis Schlafly was recently named one of the one hundred most important women of the twentieth century by the Ladies' Home Journal. She is a Constitutional lawyer and president of Eagle Forum which has chapters in every state. Her syndicated column appears in one hundred newspapers, her radio commentaries are heard daily on 460 stations, and her radio talk show, "Phyllis Schlafly Live" is heard weekly on forty stations. Schlafly is the author of twenty books and has testified before more than fifty Congresisonal and State Legislative committees.

The mother of six children, Mrs.Schlafly was the 1992 Illinois Mother of the Year. Friends and foes of Schlafly give her credit for galvanizing the grassroots movement that defeated ERA in its ten-year battle from 1972to 1982 when Presidents of both parties and the media had all endorsed it. [And all these feats were accomplished without an Equal Rights Amendment]

Transcription of Testimony:
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee: Thank you for allowing us to hear a non constituent. I have a special place in my heart for Arkansas because my husband's family owned the Mountain Valley Spring in Hot Springs from 1900 to 1987; and my husband brought me there on our honeymoon. I still drink Moutain Valley water, now owned by Arkansas people, and it is the finest water in the world. So thank you.

Now you have heard about an hour and half of advocacy for the Equal Rights Amendment; but I note that you didn't hear about one single law, federal or state, that discriminates against women that this amendment will remedy. I note that you didn't hear a single benefit that women will get out of the Equal Rights Amendment. This thing was debated for 10 years, from 1972 to 1982; and it was rejected by fifteen states outright and five more that rescinded and changed their mind.

I think the main reason it was rescinded and rejected was that it is a fraud. It pretends to help women, but it does nothing for women; and they are not able to show any benefit, any correction of law that the Equal Rights Amendment will do. You know that the amendment does not put women in the Constitution, and it does not put gender in the constitution. It puts sex in the Constitution. Now we are at the mercy of the judges. The Equal Rights Amendment does not say whether it is the sex you are or the sex you do. We leave all those decisions up to the judges.

Now in looking for what the Equal Rights Amendment will do, I look to the best top authority on that subject. And the leading lawyer in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment those years was Ruth Bader Ginsburg who is now on the United States Supreme Court. She wrote a book, a 230 page book, to tell exactly how the Equal Rights Amendment will affect federal law; and she is very explicit in it. I think there probably is no higher authority about what it will actually do.

[Schlafly proceeds to take the main points from Ginsburg's book as to what the ERA would do: See rest of article at this link

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Media Bias and the ERA

There is no shortage of biased reporting in today's media, but once in a while what you know happened is so different from what some reporter puts in a newspaper that you just have to make note of it. I really sense a divide in this country between people who only get their information from newspapers and those who hear the conservative side of things through blogs or whatever. There is a gap of knowledge and perception of reality that is vast and growing. It is getting to where the two groups of Americans are having a hard time talking to each other because they are coming from such different places.

Jon Lyon's story, and I do mean STORY, not article, about the defeat of the ERA amendment is a case in point.

(continued, click THURDSAY and scroll down for rest of article)

A Good Week in Arkansas State Government

Sometimes it is easy to get locked into a negative outlook when you are a freedom lover covering government goings-on. I don't want that to happen to me. Good things happened in Arkansas Government this week, and I don't want to let them pass without comment.

1) Advanced placement scores in Arkansas are going up, and going up at a faster rate than other states even though the percentage of Arkansas students taking the test is also increasing. That last bit is critical because it does not simply mean that weaker students are being weeded out. It looks like either real gains or real increased opportunity. The schools are doing something right in AP courses, and/or since the state started paying for the tests the students themselves have made the most of the opportunity. This was a bit like what happened after WWII and the GI bill. Even though college enrollment went up, the academic level stayed high because there were plenty of people in our population smart enough to be in college but had lacked opportunity. Something good is happening with the AP part of Arkansas schools.

2) It looks like we may get more of our money back than originally planned. The grocery tax cut is going through, and the tax credit may still go through. Even a reduction in the sales tax used on utilities used for manufacturing (which never should have been levied since that is not a retail sale) is looking prettty good.

3) The ERA was exposed for what it was, and was voted down. The primary sponsor had introduced a bill her first term to make homosexuals a protected civil rights class. She tried to do it through the front door. The ERA, as Justice Ruth Ginsburg wrote in her book, would allow that to happen through the back door.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Victory for ERA opponents today.

It was an exciting day today for many of us. Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum, the Constitutional lawyer who is given credit around the nation for defeating ERA back in the 70's and 80's, flew in from Illinois to testify against the bill. David Pryor, our former senator and governor, spoke for the bill and sat at the sponsor's (Rep Lindsley Smith) side for an hour and a half while they presented the ERA and answered questions from the committee members.

The committee vote was 10-10. Smith needed 11 votes to get the ERA bill out of committee and onto the House floor. The yeas were Reps. Cheatham, Wagner, Hall, Sumpter, Saunders, Wood, E. Brown, Edwards, Pate, and Harrelson. The nays were Reps. Reynolds, Lovell, Green, Hardwick, Pace, Harris, Evans, Jeffrey, Adcock, and Greenberg.

An amendment was also added to the bill allowing 20 sponsors of the bill to withdraw their names.

Arkansas Times blog lists the names of the sponsors who withdrew their names (I presume they are correct) as the following: Tommy Lee Baker of Osceola, Toni Bradford of Pine Bluff (a woman), Eddie Cooper of Melbourne, Larry Cowling of Foreman, Otis Davis of Earle, David Dunn of Forrest City, Curren Everett of Salem, Nathan George of Dardanelle, Clark Hall of Malvern, Eddie Hawkins of Vilonia, Johnny Hoyt of Morrilton, Ray Kidd of Jonesboro, Buddy Lovell of Marked Tree, Allen Maxwell of Monticello, Mike Patterson of Piggot, Lance Reynolds of Quitman, Bill Sample of Hot Springs, Scott Sullivan of DeQueen, David Wyatt of Batesville.

Arkansas Times calls them the 20 cowards. We would call them judicious – and humble for being willing to act on the facts presented to them, facts of which they weren't aware when they signed on to the bill.

More details will be coming later. You can watch the edited video of Rep. Lindsley Smith, David Pryor, and Phylis Schlafly's presentations before the committee. Believe me, Schlafly's presentation is worth watching.

I noted after watching the video of Schlafly that Arkansas Times blog edited that they slyly left out the main point of Schlafly's presentation. Schlafly used Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's book on how the ERA Amendment would affect state and federal laws, saying a Supreme Court Justice would surely be an authority on just what the ERA Amendment would do.

The main points of her presentation about the radical changes ERA would bring were taken out of Ginsburg's book. Schlafly held up the book by Ginsburg several times in her presentation. I noted in the edited video of Schlafly's presentation on the ARkansas Times blog that there was not one reference made to Ginsburg's book nor one clip where Schlafly was holding up the book. Arkansas Times blog - Sly, yes. Dishonest, yes. Afraid of the truth. You bet!

Here is the link:

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Does Richard Dawkins Exist?

This article and this hilarious You Tube video, uses the arguments that Dawkins used in "The God Delusion" to prove that Dawkins himself does not exist.

Traitors From Within

Officials at the Department of Homeland Security now admit that they lied to Congress when they claimed they had evidence against two border patrol agents sent to prison for shooting a drug dealer that was attempting to escape after being caught smuggling a drug shipment into the United States. One of the border patrol agents has already been attacked in prison, presumably by members of the large illegal alien community in U.S. Prisons.

Words fail me. I can think of few things worse than the government lying to smear men that it wanted to make an example of. Such behavior undermines the respect we should all have for government institutions. Once again they act in such a way as to make our duty to respect them difficult if not impossible. Pardoning the agents, and sending the responsible DHS officials to prison in their place would be an excellent way to begin the long road back to regaining a good reputation.

Competition Stiff for Most Idiotic Policy Award

Governors from several states are vying intensely in an effort to advance the most catalclysmically idiotic public policy. Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, even with his endorsement of the mis-named ERA, is having a hard time breaking into the top three. Apparently, some of the judges are docking him points because the ERA, while doubtlessly an idiotic policy that will cripple business and give activist judges a whole new arsenal, is not his own original idiotic policy. Making idiotic statements in support of the policy, such as saying "every argument against the ERA was used against giving women the right to vote", are not enough. Judges must balance the magnitude of the blunder with its originality, and ridiculous statements in support of the policy can only count for so much.

Beebe still trails Penn. Governor Ed Rendell (D) and Texas Republican Rick Perry (R). Both of those men are advancing policies both gargantuan in the scope of their idiocy and uniquely their own. Rendell for example, has decided that oil companies doing business in the Keystone state have been making "unfair" profits and that they should have a special tax placed on them to pay for their "fair share" of the roads. At the same time, Rendell has proposed privatising the toll road system in the state. Of course windfall oil profits are just about gone now.

A Republican state senator who heard about the proposal said, "I will be very interested to see how the governor is going to enact that without it being passed on to consumers,".

Rendell said, you just have to love the sheer mass of the idiocy in this next statement, the attorney general will be given the power to prosecute any oil company found to be charging higher prices as a result of the tax.

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

ERA Bill On The Agenda Tomorrow, Wed. Dec 7, 07, Special Order of Business

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA bill, HJR1002) sponsored by Lindsley Smith in the House will be heard before the Stage Agencies and Governmental Affairs House Committee tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. as a special order of business. The chair of the Committee, Jeff Woods, said he planned to bring lunch in for the committee so they could work through the lunch hour and give as much time is needed to this controversial issue.

This bill is being promoted as a piece of feel good legislation to grant “equal rights” to women, while not specifically stating what those “equal rights” are. That is not what the bill is really about. There are 66 sponsors of the bill in the House. Most of these sponsors have no idea that the bill is a backdoor approach to promote publicly funded abortions and gay marriage. See previous post on this blog entitled "Feminists Want ERA So It Will Protect Partial Birth Abortion," at this link:

Lindsley Smith, the House sponsor, received a zero score on her voting record on family bills by the American Family Association of Arkansas. This is the link to that voting record page, and you will also find the score for the voting record of all legislators at this link as well.

Following is a link to a web page that is posting updates on actions on the bill.

and a list of members of the committee (Stage Agenices and Governmental Affairs - House) at this link.

Cutting Through the Fog on Teacher Pay/Performance

The corporate world thinks they have found an answer to improving teaching: by tying increased pay to increased student performance on a state-sponsored, standardized test. The liberal answer is, as always, throw more taxpayer money at it. That is the answer we have been trying for the last 20 years without notable success.

The best teachers do deserve more money. I am not opposed to merit pay in principle, but in practice I have never seen one that would not send the money to the wrong people- those who would ruthlessly focus on what is being tested to the exclusion of all other lessons. That includes character and life lessons as well as things that the community, but not the state, thinks are worth knowing. Anyone who has faith in the state to produce a perfect test is, to put it mildly, naive.

The corporate people's guy wrote an article saying teachers were not underpaid. We have teacher shortages in every state in this union. That alone ought to tell you he is wrong. But teachers are not underpaid in money, but in respect and in working conditions. It is gutless administrators and unrealistic parents along with megalomaniacal government types who send down impossible edicts from on high that run teachers out, or over time beat them down until they are less teacher than they were meant to be.

To fix it, we are going to have to liberate teachers to serve their communities and control their classrooms. To the state, the only test that counts is the one they give, the ones that the teachers give all year count as nothing. A lack of respect. Teachers are no longer allowed to discipline unruly students so classrooms have this unspoken agreement between cowed teachers and the unruly elements, you don't push me too hard and I won't disrupt this room too much- which is not fair to the kids who work hard and play by the rules.

Disrespect and bad working conditions are what is producing the teacher shortage, not pay. Disespect and bad working conditions are what is preventing the teachers we have from being better, and stopping more good ones from coming in. This cannot be fixed with the current school framework in which the school is the agent of the state there to impose the states values on communities. The community is not going to respect that, they are going to buck it in a multitude of ways. An example is the idiotic BMI index, but it extends to curricula and testing. When communites don't value the same things that educrats value, and the schools are the institution that is there to impose foreign values and knowledge (or disinformation when viewed from the community's perspective), then there is going to be tension. Right now teachers are caught in the middle. Each side, parents, far left state-educrats, and corporatists all assume the schools and the teachers are there to advance THEIR interests and wondering why they are doing such a crummy job of it.

We have to decide what schools are supposed to be, then empower teachers to serve those interests.

Teacher of the Year on All-Day Kindergarten

John Taylor Gatto was twice the New York State Teacher of the year before he left public education, because as he put it, "he no longer was willing to help hurt children".

Columnist VIN SUPRYNOWICZ has some nifty John Taylor Gatto quotes on all-day kindergarten, which presumably apply even more to pre-K.

""The Underground History of American Education," Gatto goes into detail:

"The push to extend 'day care' further and further into currently unschooled time importantly assists the formal twelve-year sequence, ensuring utmost tractability among first graders. ...

"The social pathologies we associate with modern children are natural by-products of our modern system of schooling which produces:

" -- Children indifferent to the adult world of values and accomplishment, defying the universal human experience laid down over thousands of years that a close study of grown-ups is always the most exciting and one of the most necessary occupations of youth. ...

" -- Children with a poor sense of the future, of how tomorrow is linked to today. Children who live in a continuous present. Conversely, children with no sense of the past and of how the past has shaped and limited the present, shaped and limited their own choices, predetermined their values and destinies to an overwhelming degree.

" -- Children who lack compassion for misfortune, who laugh at weakness, who betray their friends and families, who show contempt for people whose need for help shows too plainly. Children condemned to be alone, to age with bitterness, to die in fear.

" -- Children who can't stand intimacy or frankness. Children who masquerade behind personalities hastily fabricated from watching television and from other distorted gauges of human nature. Behind the masks lurk crippled souls. ...

" -- Dependent children who grow up to be whining, treacherous, terrified, dependent adults, passive and timid in the face of new challenges. And yet this crippling condition is often hidden under a patina of bravado, anger, aggressiveness."

Sound familiar? Want more of the same? Dragoon every Nevada kid into the mandatory government homogeneity camps at the age of 5."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Going Nuclear: Illegal Immigration and Lame Excuses

Rep. Rick Green has a decent bill (HB 1024) that would at least require that contractors with the state government contracts certify that they are not hiring illegal aliens. He is still tweaking the bill to deal with the critical issue of subcontractors hiring illegal aliens. That is how most contractors who want to cheat skirt the law- they find one legal immigrant and hire him as a "subcontractor" so that there is a wall of separation between the contractor and the one who hires the illeglas.

Well, after reading the Laura Kellams column today on all this, I am about to go nuclear on some of the excuse makers. As usual when I go nuclear in a column, I must warn you that the high radiation levels of truth, fact, and righteous indignation could melt your monitor. You must assume all risk for that when you click "Sunday" below and scroll down to read the rest of this article.....

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Skipping the Super Bowl

It turns out the Super Bowl is going to prosecute churches for having "Super Bowl Parties". They got Congress to pass a law against the dangerous practice of showing the Super Bowl on a screen larger than 55 inches to large groups of people. They are afraid it will cut down on the number of "screens viewed" which is how they get paid. Instead of factoring in that Super Bowls are going to have a larger than average per-screen audience, they get Congress to pass this idiotic law.

I was looking for an excuse not to waste three hours of my life watching that thing. Thanks to their corporate greed I am going to boycott the game. I don't follow pro sports much anyway. I mean, most of those guys wouldn't give you or me the sweat off their socks if we were dying of thirst, so why should I get wrapped up in their lives? I just regret that it means no one will be at the rec center to play pick-up basketball with.

It looks like I get three or four hours of extra life tomorrow. Maybe I'll spend it doing something useful.

Feminists Want ERA So It Will Protect Partial Birth Abortion

ERA bill has been filed in Arkansas. See status of this bill at this link

Who Needs An Equal Rights Amendment by National Organization of Women (NOW)

Quotes from articles on the National Organization of Women verify that the ERA amendment is designed to protect partial birth abortion. The following quote came from this article, "Who Needs An Equal Rights Amendment" on their website at this link:
Quotes from the National Organization of Women (NOW) website are in red font.

"Since 1973, when the Supreme Court handed down the historic Roe v Wade decision which legalized abortion, a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy has been under continuous attack. These attacks come in the state legislatures, the U.S. Congress, the courts and at women's health clinics. The latest assault by the Congress has been on the late term abortion technique known as dilatation and extraction (D&X).[partial birth abortion]. This bill, passed by both houses of Congress, would have outlawed the abortion method, with inadequate protection for life and health of the woman. The bill was stalled by a presidential veto."

It is also obvious from the following quote in the same article and same link that feminists want ERA to pass so they can mandate public funding for abortion.

"Mandatory pregnancy has become the reality for many young and poor women and, as of 1995, for federal workers and women in the military serving abroad where safe, private facilities are not available The real issue for women is the right to bodily integrity, and without this basic right women can have no true freedom. " [ No freedom unless they can terminate a pregnancy at any time, even just before birth, and have it paid for by taxpayers.]

Feminists also want the ERA to prevent any judge from considering the fact that a father or mother is homosexual in child custody cases. See this quote in the same article and same link given above.

"Lesbian and Gay Rights. Currently lesbians and gay men are discriminated against in areas as basic as employment, parenting, marriage and housing rights. Numerous court decisions demonstrate the need to establish a constitutional "Many cases illustrate the pervasive discrimination against lesbians and gay men. One of the most plainly egregious and unfair is the case of a lesbian mother in Pensacola, Florida."

Feminists are now advocating a more thorough Equal Rights Amendment (called Constitutional Equal Right) that would spell out all the issues they desire. However, they admit that the present Equal Rights Amendment could be used by a friendly judge to do the same. See the following question and answer quoted from this NOW article "Frequently Asked Questions about the CEA" at this link:

2." Couldn't an amendment based on sex [meaning the ERA] cover all the issues?" [All the gay and lesbian and abortion issues NOW is concerned with]
"ANSWER: The short answer is yes. Theoretically, a court could interpret a prohibition against sex discrimination to include the protection of lesbian and gay as well as reproductive rights. However, we have learned not to leave anything to chance. The proposed CEA says explicitly what we want."

Now there is no doubt as to why Representative Lindsley Smith is determined to get the ERA passed in Arkansas. Lindsley Smith received a zero on her voting record on family issues in 2005 by the American Family Association of Arkansas.

Following in NOW's own words is a strategy for the ERA amendment to still be adopted nationwide. (Same article and link as last one above)

"4. What is the Madison Strategy?
"ANSWER: The "Madison Strategy" calls for trying to get the last three states needed to make up the 38 necessary for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and then present it to Congress for certification. Some people believe this strategy will work because in 1992, Congress certified the Madison Amendment (which concerns congressional pay raises) as still viable and therefore considered it ratified when passed by the thirty-eighth state 203 years after its original presentation to the states by Congress."

Willett to Resign as Democrat Chairman

Jason Willett intends to resign as chair of the Democratic Party of Arkansas. He has registered as a lobbyist, and his clients ironically include a organization that want to bring elephants to Arkansas. That may be as close to bi-partisanship as Jason Willett will ever get.

So did he just get a better opportunity, or is something else behind this move?

Having it Both Ways on Bill Halter

The Dem-Gaz blasts Lt. Governor Bill Halter for his lottery push today. But didn't we just have an election where they endorsed Halter strongly? And Halter made no secret that he was going to push for a lottery. It was one of his top three issues. Hey Demo-zette, you helped put Mr. Halter in office. Now he is doing exactly what he told you he was going to do, and you are blasting him for it. If you really cared about what a lottery would do to the poor you would have printed this column in October, not February.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Lottery vs. The Golden Rule

Lt. Governor Bill Halter: Gambling that a lottery will increase his standing.

It has often been said that a lottery is a tax on stupidity and you decide how much you should pay. But a lottery is not like a regular economic transaction. In a way, it is less moral than prostitution and a host of other things that legislators would never vote to "put on the ballot and give the people a choice". I will explain why shortly.

The people have voted down lots of gambling amendments before. It seems our leaders are determined to have them choose again and again until they make the "correct" choice. The money we are "losing from the state" could also be said about the state's refusal to operate brothels or peddle child-porn. People are spending money on that activity, if we don't legalize it those tax dollars will just be lost, right? Abject greed will thus lead us straight down into the moral cesspool of state sanctioning and hawking any and every moral failing known to man.

(continued- click THURSDAY below and scroll down, or if sent striaght here just scroll down)

All Tax Cuts are Not Created Equal

The current stir in the state ledge is about what kind of tax cut to pass- if any is to be passed at all. Some argue that the sales tax on groceries should go, others take the view that even millionaires buy groceries, so a "targeted tax credit" to the poorest taxpayers is the way to go. There are even some voices calling for the tax cuts to go to business, in the belief that they will efficiently take advantage of such opportunities, and hire new people at good wages to do so. That last is sometimes perjoratively referred to as "trickle-down economicis".

All tax cuts are not created equal. Some are better than others, some worse.

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