I've got 83 Firefox Windows of interesting stuff I need to clear out. So here goes. No, I didn't count the windows. Firefox has an add-in for nearly everything.
I'll start with a huge THANK YOU to Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker (R). While I'd rather taxpayers not bailout or subsidize or loan money to any private entity and take a risk of losing my tax money what he did manage to do was highlight the absolute fact that the UAW isn't one bit concerned about saving the auto industry. It's only concerned about saving their own benefits. Why their membership continues to believe that they can kill a company and still stay on the payroll is beyond me. It's an alternative planet than Planet Reality where workers who've been fired still receive FULL compensation four (4) years after being fired. Fox Business has the video of Sen. Corker explaining why the bailout failed. Those three words were 'a date certain'.
You want a clue about how many chains are on that UAW anchor to free enterprise? Check out this 22 lb, 2,215 page Year 2007 agreement with Ford. Will workman's comp cover you if you throw your back out putting it on the table to read?
The UAW is so upset that they didn't get what they wanted that they've nearly initiated another 'War of Northern Aggression'.
Festering animosity between the United Auto Workers and Southern senators who torpedoed the auto industry bailout bill erupted into full-fledged name calling Friday as union officials accused the lawmakers of trying to break the union on behalf of foreign automakers. AP via Yahoo NewsUnfortunately for them, the south of 2008 isn't the south of 1860.
Educational transition: The Obama's are sending their girls to the very exclusive Sidwell Friends school in the DC area. Ben Cunningham points out that the PTA meetings could be very interesting considering the number of well placed DC insiders with children also attending. I'm wondering if Sunshine Laws might be violated with a group like this. But I won't worry too much about that considering the ever vigilent national press is also very well represented in this parent group. Here's the full Washington Post article.
Further the Obama's will be homeless for their first couple of weeks in DC. Apparently, historic protocol for the incoming presidential family is to stay across the street from the White House at Blair House beginning 5 days before the inauguration. However, the Obama's want to get the girls settled in time for the new school term. They're trying to avoid, I assume, the mobility issues that so many DC students (and students in Nashville) experience when they're homeless. What is curious to me is why they just don't cut out the middle move and ask George and Laura Bush to move out of the White House immediately to accommodate the girl's schooling schedule. MSN.com
Clarksville is planning ahead...but based on what? From the Cheatham County School Board Watchdog:
"Commissioner Wood and McCannless stated at previous board workshops that due to huge residential developments in Pleasant View there needed to be a NEW high school built. (Interesting enough is that all these new families would only have HS students - don't you think?)"They also have an on-line poll going on now. If you're in Cheatham County you might want to stop by their blog.
iTunes U: Dr. Tim Webb of the Tennessee Department of Education introduces folks to their Electronic Learning Center.
According to their press release:
"Students currently can access curriculum-based lessons in language arts, and study skills, with math to be added this month. Educators can view training sessions on Tennessee’s new academic standards, School-wide Positive Behavior, reading and other teaching resources. Additional podcasts will be developed and added on an ongoing basis."Pity they've linked these podcasts to iTunes instead of just linking to the video files and letting folks pick their own media player. There is one that's an 8 minute primer about Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) which parents might appreciate but it took a couple of attempts for it download. And the production is basically a PowerPoint presentation with audio. I would have expected better. Maybe the others are.
Certified ≠ effective: There are several pieces that crossed my browser this week about teacher quality and effectiveness.
"...between 2003 and 2007 students in states with a real alternative pathway to teaching gained more on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (a federal standardized test) than did students in other states. (snip)More from the study authors at the Hoover Institute.
The study undermines the arguments from colleges of education and teachers unions, which say that traditional certification, which they control, is the only process that can produce quality teachers. The findings hold up even after controlling for race, ethnicity, free-lunch eligibility, class size and per-pupil state spending. (snip)
President-elect Barack Obama has expressed guarded support for education reforms like merit pay and charter schools. Yet he chose Linda Darling-Hammond to head the education policy team for his transition. Ms. Darling-Hammond, a professor at Stanford, is a union favorite and vocal supporter of traditional certification. She's also been a fierce critic of Teach for America and other successful alternative certification programs.
Via the Wall Street Journal (Hat Tip: Rep. Stacey Campfield)
Unfriendly Feds: Ben Cunningham points out how unfriendly the Federal government is toward 'undocumented students'. Seems the State of California will give an illegal immigrant in-state tuition but not legal citizen from, oh, say, Nevada. The Federal Appeals Court has said that has to stop. Documented students are looking for tuition refunds.
Speaking of unfriendly. Councilman Eric Crafton has had a lot of irrational and over the top heat directed his way for initiating a charter amendment in Nashville which would require our city's official business to be done in English. Some have suggested that he should be removed from office. However, they may want to rethink that when he's also sponsoring a change to the Metro Water fees which have prevented some of the very local restaurants that these same Goo Goos insist are essential to the vitality of their neighborhoods (and their community organizing efforts--they gotta meet somewhere). Seems the fees are so huge it's a financial strain on even seasoned restaurateurs and are preventing the next new round hot spots from opening. I don't want citizens footing the bill for these risky endeavors but we don't need to make it impossible to even attempt the effort either. Next hearing on the bill is this Tuesday evening.
Rude Guests: One more comment on this charter amendment. How is it that a Honduran immigrant comes here to escape her own bad government and then demands the right to derail our electoral system? CM Crafton has this absolutely right:
She alleges this would be hard for her to communicate, yet she knows enough about our constitution that she knows what unconstitutional is. She knows enough she can hire an attorney and file a complaint.” via City Paper
BlagObama: Does anyone seriously believe that Illinois Governor Blagojevich didn't ask his outgoing Senator Barack Obama if he had an opinion on who should replace him? No. Most of us would consider it a dereliction of duty if Blagojevich didn't ask or Obama didn't suggest. The sin isn't in the asking or suggesting. It's in offering it to the highest bidder.
Tennessee makes another Pork Report. This time Sen. Tom Coburn reveals it (page 22) not the TCPR. Apparently, there's an airplane shaped gas station in Knoxville---
It is an airplane that cannot fly and a gas station that has not pumped gas for nearly half a century, but the Powell Airplane Filling Station has just landed a $9,000 federal grant.(95) It is an old airplane‐shaped building that once served as a gas station, liquor store and used car lot, though is now an eyesore on the side of a busy highway. A few local residents have rallied around the old filling station in hopes of turning the tiny airplane into leased office space. Tom Milligan, who has been instrumental in the effort, said, “I was coming up through here one day and I seen they had two bulldozers on the front and I thought they was fixin' to wreck the place. [I] knew we were going to have to have quite a lot of money to fix it.”(96) Rock Bernard, another local resident, added, “If you ask 100 people in Knoxville, I bet 80 will know where it's at.”(97)I think the $9,000 would have been better spent on grammar lessons. Apparently, Matthew Lesko is right---you can get government money for just about anything. Better yet, gents, use your own money.
Last minute Christmas Shopping at Terry Frank's place. If you truly want to shop local and green check out her one of a kind 'Tennessee Treasures' gift ideas. My favorite is this 'Flip Your Lid'.
I'm down to just 67 tabs and there are cookies to be baked. More later.