Wednesday, April 30, 2008

NCLB cat skinning

Not sure if this sort of 'out of the box' thinking should be rewarded or not but it certainly proves there is more than one way to skin a cat. From Joanne Jacobs where she explains that some schools failed NCLB and some student race reclassification changed the school's status.

Principal Jim Wong reviewed the files of all the students classified as African American on the test, he said, and found that four of them had indicated no race or mixed race on their enrollment paperwork. Wong sent his staff to talk to the four families to ask permission to put the kids in a different racial group.

“You get a kid that’s half black, half white. What are you going to put him down as?” Wong said. “If one kid makes the difference and I can go white, that gets me out of trouble.”

Why not START here?

The Tennessee House, lead by its Democrat leaders, continues to coddle it's own despite their conviction by the people of felonies. The latest is their unwillingness to add to the punishment met out by the judicial system and strip them of their taxpayer funded health benefits.

When asked then about why not pass the bill if lawmakers shouldn’t commit felonies, Miller said legislators were being unfairly singled out.

[This from Rep. Larry Miller, D-Memphis, House Calendar and Rules Committee.]
“I think what you’re doing, your finger pointing at legislators only,” Miller said. “Why not pass the bill and apply it to all elected officials statewide and all appointed officials? Why not?” Nashville City Paper
Man, those Memphis legislators can be tight as ticks can't they? You have to wonder if Miller is really trying to be fair or if he's just scratching the back of John Ford the convicted former legislator from Memphis who is finally starting to serve his time.

Why not START with the legislature? Why not lead the way, Rep. Miller? Why not demonstrate your own willingness to live under the laws you propose for the rest of the elected?

Rep. Jason Mumpower R-Bristol, whose district couldn't BE further away from Memphis, is exactly right:
“There’s a simple way, a very, very, very simple way, for legislators to not have to worry about this bill — just don’t commit a felony,” Mumpower said in an interview. “It’s flabbergasting.”

UPDATE: Bill Hobbs makes a great point. He's "more interested in finding out for whom Naifeh and too many Democrats in the Democrat-controlled state House think the benefit should be continued in the future."

Gone before it got here

The largess graciously handed to the peasant classes by our congressional overlords appeared in the checking account this morning. We had every intention of saving this but it was essentially gone before it got here. Yesterday's bad news from our HVAC guys means every bit of it, and much more, will go toward buying and installing a new 2.5 ton heat pump.

I'm thankful for this money but I can't help but wonder about all the stuff Congress and the State Legislature deem more important than leaving our hard earned money in our own pockets. Particularly galling is the Governor's whining about how revenue's are down and all his grand plans for our money won't happen. He'll have to rewrite his budget because his own number crunchers thought the money well would never run dry--or at least not until the next administration. Gee, who would have ever thought that taxing cigarettes would discourage their purchase? However, because rank has its privileges he won't suffer much at all. The $13 million party bunker is still moving forward. We might have to do without but he and his legislative comrades still be able to party on.

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and other Republicans are among those who don't support a funding increase when so many cuts have to be made in other parts of the budget.

"I won't be OK with that because I just can't believe that we're going to be cutting half a billion dollars out of the budget and still funding new programs," Ramsey told reporters in Nashville last week. "If we were doing the same thing, he'd be calling us irresponsible for doing that." Tennessean

Hold the line, Lt. Governor. Somebody needs to be responsible. Somebody has to be the adult and say "No." Somebody has to realize that taxpayers may not have any more to give.

And don't overlook the seeding of the income tax clouds by State Representative Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, chairman of the House Finance Committee who voted for it last go 'round:

"The general economic downturn across the country has affected us drastically on our state sales tax," he said. "It's a real critical situation as far as revenues go." Tennessean

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Acting responsibly

"I think, to me, it's a little irresponsible
to wait until someone commits a violent act
and then deport them,"
[Davidson County Sheriff Daron] Hall said.

That's the sentence in this morning's Tennessean that jumped out at me and very accurately sums up the situation for me. But he didn't go far enough. It's a LOT irresponsible to wait as the family of Donna and Sean Wilson know all too well. Sheriff Hall goes on to say:
"The person didn't follow immigration laws, driving laws and criminal laws, and that's reason enough to believe they will continue to not follow our laws.

He's exactly right. He gets it. I'm very thankful he gets it. I'm very thankful he's got this 287(g) program up and running in Davidson County. The federal government has failed to secure our border. Governor Bredesen has failed to secure our border. Thankfully, Sheriff Hall and Chief Ronal Serpas and their officers are doing what they can to stem the tide.

I understand that the circumstances these people came from could be very hard and hopeless. However, I don't believe that's the case for all of them.

I also know that the US being the relief value for corrupt and dictatorial governments doesn't really solve the problem in the long run. Enabling these immigrants to fix their own governments and economies which would allow them to stay with their families is a much better solution. But no one really talks about that. It's as if people completely overlook the real reason they 'had' to leave their families and enter the US illegally. If the frustration level of citizens escaping their home counties doesn't rise to the level of their own Boston Tea Party and they stay and fight for their homeland how will things ever change? They won't. The major changes will occur HERE, not there.

Friday, April 25, 2008

AT&T and parental controls

I've been online now for some 13 years. I started with AOL and quickly learned that they'd rather promote spam than provide me with real email filters. I switched to BellSouth and had been a happy customer for most of those 13 years...until now. AT&T now owns BellSouth and I'm paying them the very same price for less service.

A couple of years ago dsl finally came to our neighborhood. I was one of the first to sign up and it's been great. Pretty good speed, no dial up screech, people can still call me while I'm online---Papa really likes that feature. After a couple of years the 2Wire 1700HW modem BellSouth provided me has, according to AT&T tech support (there's no way he's really named Martin) died.

They'll ship me a new'll only cost $$ plus shipping...No. If you can't provide a new modem free, I'll find someone who can....Oh, I don't know. I'll have to check with my supervisor...Good news, Mrs. Brooks, we can provide that for free with a 2 year commmittment...No. Do you see how long I've been a customer...Good news, Mr. Brooks... just shipping of....I'm not paying shipping...Good news, Mrs. Brooks.

So I get the new 2Wire 2701HG-B. We get it hooked up and running. Things seem to be working just great until I realize that the parental controls the old modem had aren't available on this new modem. That's not going to cut it. Too many children, too many devices---I gotta sleep sometime.
I call tech support and they tell me I have to download AT&T parental controls software. Fine. I do that. But the trick is it won't control the network that is our computer use around here. I call tech support back and they confirm that I have to install their software on each of the computers that access the 'net. Great, but how do I install the software on the game system? Or my Palm? Oh, that can't be done. So I'm paying the exact same price for less service? Oh, no. It's a better modem, they tell me. Better how? Because from my vantage point, I've lost a BIG service that I counted on to monitor Internet access in our home.

I spent a week emailing back and forth with AT&T asking them if there is a way around this, pointing out their webpages that say these controls are available, asking why they've downgraded their service and I'm still paying full price. I'm done. It's clear to me they don't care about providing the service I'd been using, appreciating and paying for all these years. Apparently, customers with home networks and wireless toys aren't worth bothering with. Surely, some company out there realizes that there is a need for router based parental controls.
Any suggestions for ISP's that do provide this service? Routers that do what my old 2Wire1700 did without subscribing to a service I'm already paying for but not getting?

Does someone out there have good news for Mrs. Brooks?

It's Briley's fault, I'm sure

Yes, I'm more than well aware of the Google ads for "girls" that's been appearing on this blog lately. That URL showed up a couple of years ago and I added it to my Google ad filter but it's back again. I'm blaming recent posts regarding Rob Briley's behavior as the cause of it all.

In the meantime I'm trying to get Google to remove it--again.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Proximity and Power

Jay Greene (of the Washington Post and Manhatten Institute) has his own blog now--that's good news. Here is a snip from his Proximity and Power update post.

Some folks wanted to see more data on my earlier post, Proximity and Power. In that post I described how Jonathan Butcher and I have actually measured the distance between interest group state headquarters and state capitol buildings. Our argument is that interest groups want to inflate the perception of their power by having offices that are very close to the capitol.
Here's his Tennessee information:
The rank is among the 25 most powerful interest groups as identified by Fortune Magazine. The teacher union is a prince among princes.

Return to sender

From the Wall Street Journal's Letters section in response to some teachers who blame poor performance on the children:

Still, [teacher] Ms. Wuller is on to something with her suggestion about returning "inferior raw materials to their place of origin." If sixth-grade teachers find their students aren't adequately prepared for sixth-grade work, they should return them to their place of origin -- the fifth-grade or earlier classroom they came from. Instead of blaming social conditions for student failure, let's just ask teachers to do their job: Educate students.

George A. Clowes
Senior Fellow for Education Policy
The Heartland Institute

The problem is the system segregates children by age instead of ability. When we learn to accept the fact that people learn at different rates and that your AGE shouldn't be a determining factor in your progress through the system we'll be able to focus on the needs of students instead of their time in seat.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's holiday time again

Ben Cunningham's mail from State Sentor Joe Haynes (D-Nashville) included this 'invitation' to take a sales tax holiday. Ben wonders where his notice about tax hikes got to. I got a similar invitation last year but haven't received this year's version. I remain less than impressed. As I said last year:

Sen. Haynes, I've been running a household budget for six some 20+years now. I've figured out that a savings of .0975 is rarely something to get all excited about. A sale of 10% at any store doesn't even get my attention. Usually, with careful shopping, stocking up and checking competitive ads (normal SOP around here) I can save much more than that. .0975% isn't worth driving up to Rivergate to fight the crowds of folks who think that this is a good deal. Especially when the state taxes me 21.4 cents per gallon to drive up there.

Frankly, I'm offended by this slick oversized announcement of your largess. I'd like REAL tax relief instead.

Briley v. Men

The Tennessean does a LOUSY job this morning of reporting on State Rep. Rob Briley's (D-Nashville) "Ophelia" moment last week during his completely out of line questioning of Rep. Stacey Campfield's (R-Knoxville) personal views on human behavior that had nothing to do with the bill before the committee. Frankly, it came off very much like Briley is still working through his own issues*. Instead of proffering legitimate reasons that defrauded men should be required to continue to pay child support for children that are not their own Briley stands in his glass house and demands Campfield's opinion regarding pre-martial and adulterous relations.

For some reason the Democrat 'statesmen' at the legislature have decided that Campfield is fair game for their petty antics and Briley took full advantage of this culture by threatening to hold the entire committee hostage until Campfield answered Briley's completely inappropriate questions. The legislature doesn't need to know how Campfield feels about adult relations. It needs to understand that this an injustice that needs to be corrected.

How Campfield managed to remain calm and professional during this latest personal attack, and the others, is beyond me.

And for the feminists out there that think this is some sort of assault on women---it's not. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You want the freedom to have relations with anyone---you need to be 'man' enough to suck up the consequences. Are we dependent upon men or not? We don't have a right to demand indentured servitude of anyone. We don't have the right to lie for cash. We don't have the right to lie to our children about where they came from.

I can't even imagine how stunned and shocked men caught in this situation feel right now. Rep. Briley owes Campfield, and the people of Tennessee another apology for yet another over-the-top abuse of his position as a 'public servant'.

*Links to an adult site

Monday, April 21, 2008

Outrageous, again

State Rep. Rob Briley (D-Nashville) is proving, again, why he needs to step down from the State Legislature. As if his personal battle with alcoholism and keeping his family together weren't enough he's decided that men who have been mistakenly identified as the father of a child, and paying child support as a result, shouldn't have any relief from that injustice. This inthe same year that Rep. G. A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) proposed to DNA test every child to establish paternity. What's up with these men?

But back to the current nonsense. This from Rep. Stacey Campfield's (R-Knoxville) blog post:

My bill to allow non biological parents (proven by DNA) to stop future child support payments was killed in full judiciary this last week. The bill did not cover people who had adopted or used artificial insemination or such cases. It was drafted for people who had been defrauded into believing they were the fathers and were not.
We're talking fraud here. We're talking about instances when mom wasn't faithful and kept it a secret from dad...for financial gain. And here's the astonishing exchange initiated by Rep. Briley via AC Kleinheider (now of the Nashville Post). He's got the transcript if you don't have a few minutes for this video.

This: "Yet you want to punish a child as the result of an adulterous situation," said Briley. "You put the child in the position of bearing the burden of a parent's conduct." Ummm...Rep. Briley, that's life. It's what happens. Sins of the father (and mother) are visited upon the children as you well know. It doesn't do anyone any good to compound that error with further injustice.

KnoxNews has a few more details.

Nashville perspective

We knew Garth Brooks was a really big star, especially here in Nashville, but until today's Business Section of the Tennessean published this photo...we had no idea just how big a star.

Here's the shot not cropped so tightly.

Stakeholders and money

Bit and pieces that have collected over the last couple of weeks.

Stakeholders: The City Paper editorialized on 4/7/08 in regard to the number of people running for the MNPS BOE and how several current members got on the Board with 'business' support:

That being said, there is not only a debate that needs to take place about where the schools are headed but also what has the quality of the board’s stewardship been sine the 2006 elections.
It happened again, chatting up another citizen while waiting to give blood they sheepishly admitted they occasionally watch Channel 3 and the BOE meetings. Then they shake their head and make a comment about how unbelievably inept the BOE is and then they tell me what numbers their child has for the lottery to magnet schools. Their zoned school isn't an option.

Frankly, the Board's stewardship has been lousy. They have failed over and over again to hold their only employee responsible for the failures in the district. They gave him pay raises and extended contracts. No one who voted to keep Garcia at the helm of MNPS should be reelected. As the current candidate list stands the only person we can actually hold accountable is MNPS BOE member Ed Kindall (District 7-Downtown-Glencliff) as MNPS BOE member Gracie Porter (District 5-East Nashville) has no opposition and MNPS BOE member George Thompson ( District 1-Bordeaux) and MNPS BOE Chair Marsha Warden (District 9-Bellevue) have wisely decided to move on. Kindall has been on the board for nearly a quarter of a century. He's got a lot of explaining to do.

And so the 'business community' referenced above has decided that more community input is necessary. But they didn't mean community community. They meant special interests community. Again from the City Paper we learn that several entities have written the mayor and BOE expressing their desire to help find the new schools director.
The letter was sent March 27, and was signed by leaders of the Chamber, IMF, Metropolitan Nashville Education Association (MNEA), the local NAACP chapter, Service Employees Union, Steelworkers Union, Stand for Children, and Nashville Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Seems to me several of these entities have already put their money where their interests lie and have, essentially, bought and paid for their representation on the board. See Gracie Porter's contributors in 2006 as an example. <<<----- What we need is some vetting by parents and taxpayers. We need some specific statements from the candidates. We need a person who is an excellent administrator first and then someone who can work with the educators, parents, the council and citizens. Oh, and the Metro Council (those that hold the purse but don't have the authority to direct its spending) also wants a voice in the process. As quoted in the City Paper on 4/8/08
Council member Jim Gotto said, “It is fine and well for all of these individuals and groups to want to give [board members] input, but board members, you make the choice. You’re going to have to live or die with who you choose.”
Ah, but that requires some accountability by the voters. Which is something that has been sorely lacking.

MNPS budget: CM Emily Evans (District 23) has a series of lessons regarding the Metro Budget. Here's the link to her MNPS overview.
The Director of Schools, Chris Henson spoke at great length tonight about getting input from the schools themselves on how to improve and working to eliminate top-down decision making. This notion that the people that spend each day with your child are best equipped to decide what they need to get the job done is irrefutable and represents a cultural change that can only bring us good things. Chris also said that not every school needs the same thing.
Which fits very well with this City Paper article of 04-18-08.*
In accordance with what has been asked of the district by the Tennessee Department of Education (DOE), Metro schools will soon submit “action plans” on a quarterly basis that will monitor student performance and play a role in school funding. The plans complement the annual School Improvement Plan structure, which is already in place but in the process of being overhauled.
At some point we've got to recognize that each school, each district isn't the same. The Central Office is too far removed from the front lines to mandate how every dime of this money is spent. Schools have got closets full of 'central office ideas' that are going to waste because they don't fit that school's population or are yesterday's hot idea. We have got to hire great principals who, like the superintendent should be, more managers (and teacher mentors) than educators and let them manage their portion of the budget as their student needs warrant. I believe that will create better neighborhood schools AND create a cadre of experienced administers that can move up that career ladder and mentor the next generation of principals.

Things are looking up:
It's looking like between Interim Director Chris Henson and the State DOE some major improvements are being implemented in MNPS. Throw in the obvious relief as expressed by many folks including today's Rex in the City
Principal hiring procedures are now what they were before Garcia arrived; the district is now completing school improvement plan forms using the same template as other districts in the state — MNPS had its own form during the Garcia administration — and district leaders have been told in plain language to shut down the “culture of fear” pervading many Metro schools.
and things haven't looked so good for MNPS in almost a decade. If Henson keeps this up and we get through this BOE election season in August we should seriously consider offering him the job--if he'll take it.

MNPS website still quite frustrating. Some sub-domains would be handy...., /Schools, /Budget. No one remembers numbers. Where's Interim Director Chris Henson's page? Why can't the BOE member page also include info on their district...or at least a link to that separate page that MNPS provides?

*[Man I HATE that the City Paper doesn't include a date on their articles. If no one comments you've no idea when it was published. I finally found the date by searching for the article. Thankfully, they've finally started including dates there.]

Friday, April 18, 2008

Revolving doors

FAA officials often are former execs of the airlines they now regulate.

Education officials are often former employees of the schools they now regulate.

Which is the actual, "shocking" headline in today's Tennessean? The former. Somehow, it's a headline maker when FAA officials have a conflict of interest but it's an asset when education officials have that same conflict of interest. They don't call it that though, it's called 'experience' and it's become an essential qualifier for positions on the school board and in community groups charged with improving the system, for Dept. of Education staffers and just about anyone else interacting with the system.

The article goes on to say: What the education industry wants from government it often gets, and no wonder. The people who work in schools one day can become education executives the next -- and vice versa. (snip) The industry's revolving-door relationship with the education industry is under fresh scrutiny after two education officials accused...

Oh, wait, no..."What the airline industry wants from Washington it often gets, and no wonder..."

Heads up, folks. Often the very people that create the public school mess have got jobs advising and fixing the problems they helped create. They act as hedges of protection and their alliances with the public education system too often keep them from cleaning house.

Conflict of interest is no better in the education field than it is in the aviation field. Customers in both industries fail to get to the destinations on their ticket if real accountability isn't part of the system.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Trusting Blackburn

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-Williamson County) is amending her 2002 campaign disclosure forms. Seems they found some errors and need to clean things up. Her new Republican opponent Tom Leatherwood (currently Shelby County Register of Deeds) is making hay of the situation while he can:

Leatherwood: "While many families are struggling just to make the monthly budget in this poor economy, Congressman Blackburn has misplaced over a quarter of a million dollars. If we can't trust her to manage her own budget, how can we trust her to manage our tax dollars?" (via Tn Politics Blog)
And how does the economic situation have anything to do with campaign finance errors? It's OK in good times but not bad? And nowhere does it say she didn't manage her budget well. No one said she failed to pay her bills.

Misplaced is a long way from lost or embezzled.

This wasn't tax money that was part of the accounting error. It was private donations to her campaign.

What needs to be out front is this paragraph from the Tennessean:
"Blackburn said her campaign discovered the discrepancies during a months-long review of its records after her bookkeeper and fundraiser raised concerns. The campaign contacted the Federal Election Commission last summer about the problems."


"Blackburn blamed the unreported donations on a credit card company that handled online donations and inexperienced campaign workers who deposited checks without recording them in the ledger of donations reported to the FEC."
HER campaign caught the errors. HER campaign contacted the FEC. The FEC didn't notice anything about these 2002 finances that was amiss. I've done some bookkeeping in my time. Stuff happens. That's why you double check. It's why you routinely audit. No one actually expects the books to always be 100% perfect. They do expect them to be reviewed in a timely fashion and corrected quickly. I'm willing to bet she won't let 6 years pass before her records get a through going over again. Let's see if Mr. Leatherwood's campaign glass house does it better. Maybe we should go back and examine his records from his first race for the State Senate.

As an aside, I have always appreciated her keeping the 'congressMAN' title. Seems to me if the feminists really want equity...they wouldn't quibble about her not being called 'congressWOman'.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

But we're special

There isn't enough information in this Tennessean article to provide a clear understanding of the complaints of 'a group of Metro principals' but you do get the feeling that MNPS still thinks they're special and exempt from real world consequences. If only their charges were also exempt from real world consequences when their educational needs aren't met.

Let's start with this unnamed "The Metro Nashville Principals Advisory Board", composed of principals across the school system". It would certainly be helpful to know who they are, what schools they're in charge of in order to evaluate their claims. Frankly, I'll take the word of some principals over others. The track record of some gives their observations and suggestions much more weight than a mysterious group of complainers.

You have to actually look at the draft document the Tennessean links to online in order to get the details. These unknown principals allege:

  • The testing date was changed three times and final clarification only came three days before the tests began. They've got a point here if that clarification was actually a clarification and not just part of an attempt to delay.
  • Middle schoolers don't have their own calculators. Come on folks, they're a buck a piece at the Dollar Store and Wal-Mart. We can't afford to outfit each class with $30 worth of calculators? Parent's can't afford $1.09 for their child's benefit? Oh, and why do middle school math students need calculators?
  • Basketball finals kept some children up late. Tough toenails. At some point we've got to instill in the system that athletics don't trump academics. Yeah, Maplewood's football team is great. Taxpayers aren't paying for football diplomas...or are we?
  • 'We know other districts in Tennessee had testing schedules significantly different from the one mandated in MNPS." Name 'em. How different? Why?
  • "The state demonstrated lack of trust reserved only for MNPS." Have you noticed you're a hair's breath away from being taken over by the state? The distrust seems earned.
  • And the last point which seems to come straight out of the MNEA office: The state added an accountability clause to the principals' contract and then won't let them decide the scheduling of the tests. I guess we need to go over that employer/employee part again. The number of bosses that set reasonable goals and schedules is few. Most people are working under that kind of pressure.
"Metro officials said they considered the test requirements to be recommendations, not mandates." Oops.

"Next year, [TN DOE spokesman Rachel] Woods expects that Metro will be required to administer testing in a single week, as other districts do." You thought it was tough this year?

In a perfect world we wouldn't need NCLB testing. MNPS is far from perfect. Until they get much closer...they're going to live under some onerous conditions.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

They should probably wait longer

A little filler in Wednesday's Tennessean tells us that BOE member Mark North's (Madison) rezoning committee will delay its recommendations.

"The task force was scheduled to have zone line recommendations this month. But board member Mark North, the task force chairman, said the group needs more time to redraw school zones."

I'm not sure it's a good idea to make major changes in zoning before we've got a new superintendent of schools in place. My suggestion is they wait another year, if financially possible, and get the new superintendent's input. They're going to have to live with it and starting a job with lots of folks angry about their child changing schools doesn't seem a fair start. The new superintendent will have plenty on their plate as it is dealing with Metro's current standing with the State Department of Education. I don't think they need to start anymore behind the 8 ball than they absolutely must. They might also have some valuable insight that should be included in the process.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Color over competence

I've said for years that Memphis is a 'whole 'nother planet' and I'm regularly amazed that it continues to top itself in the unbelievable. This from the Tri-State Defender via Mike Antonnuci's Education Intelligence Blog:

Reginald Fentress wants to succeed Yvonne B. Acey as president of the Memphis Education Association, and he is not willing to wait. However, the Memphis Education Association board of directors has said he must.

The board voted April 1 not to include Fentress’ name, or that of any other African-American candidate, on the ballot for the 2008-10 presidential term. Since Acey is African American, Fentress was ruled ineligible to run for the office because the next MEA president must be white.

According to bylaws formed when all-white and all-black teacher associations joined in the mid-1970s: “The position of president shall alternate from white to ethnic minority.”
Of course, I don't know if either candidate is competent but surely this 'taking turns' plan is suitable only for elementary school children and not adults who should be leading by example. Is the lesson for Memphis' children that being competent and working hard matters less than what color you are?

So there was fat to trim

"I do not think people will be able to visually see the reduction [of 7-9% of the personnel at Public Works) because of the way we're going to organize our trucks and equipment. Our main focus is customer service."

Thank you, Mayor Dean. Keep it up. We need more examination and adjustment of systems to ensure they're running as lean as possible.

(Hat tip: Ben Cunningham)

So which is it?

I get emails with news updates from the Nashville Post. This morning I clicked on the link for AC's new space at the Post and I got the following mixed message.

"[Article available without subscription]" and "The full article is only available to subscribers"

Haven't found enough cash in the couch cushions and car console to pay for a subscription yet and was really counting on that free access to AC's stuff.

UPDATE: AC says the link works now. Yippee!

Happy Tax Freedom Day

It seems very appropriate that the day after the Brooks' file our federal income tax forms it's Tax Freedom Day in Tennessee.

From the TNGOP:

According to the study from the Tax Foundation (, Americans, as a whole, work a significant number of days each year to pay for things other than government, but nothing else is so expensive. According to the Tax Foundation, Americans will work longer to pay for government (113 days) than they will for food, clothing and housing combined (108 days). In fact, Americans will work longer to afford federal taxes alone (74 days) than they will to afford housing (60 days). As a group, Americans will also work longer to pay state and local taxes than they will to pay for food. The average American spends 30.8 percent of their income paying taxes at all levels of government.
That's all a bit sobering and it tempers the "YES!! That's done for this year" celebration.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Learn to type

Ben Cunningham's post on subsidizing philosophy majors was clearly demonstrated to me while I sat in the hospital emergency waiting room. One of the few available phones was being monopolized by a woman who made phone call after phone call. Eavesdropping wasn't necessary as she was speaking very loudly and on occasion was quite put out with folks who couldn't/wouldn't help her. Clearly, her bad manners were wearing on the other folks who had enough stress on their own plates. Her basic patter went:

"Hello, I'm a homeless, 59 year old unmarried, unemployed major in Public Psychology looking for transitional housing. Can you help me?"

After about the fourth phone call and hearing the details of her life over and over someone couldn't contain themselves any longer and stated dryly: "She shoulda learned to type."

Back in 1980 I left a good paying industrial purchasing agent job to move to Nashville. I didn't know how enlightened my Northern employer had been until I was informed by several headhunters that no one was going to hire a woman to do that job here in Nashville. I avoided an available part time secretarial job for months...until I ended up borrowing money to pay the rent and realized it was time to take any job that would pay the rent. So I humbled myself and took the job that had mysteriously remained opened for so long. It turned out to be a wonderful job with really nice people that suited me quite well. I was very glad I had learned to type.

George Thompson drops out

More good news for Metro Schools. Too long MNPS School Board member George Thompson has decided not to seek reelection this time. Details, such as they are at this moment, at the City Paper.
Now if 23 year seat warmer Ed Kindall would do the same MNPS might actually shed the last century's shackles and move into the new one utilizing current technology, choices and mindset.

(Hat Tip: Rick)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Light blogging will continue

Legislation impacting homeschoolers has kept me away from the blog and haunting the Legislative Plaza. Add to that a husband newly diagnosed with a separated shoulder and torn ligaments who will be home and needing additional care. So for a while my online presence will be minimal.

Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Marsha Warden drops out

The Nashville City Paper is reporting that MNPS BOE Chair Marsha Warden has changed her mind and isn't going to run for reelection. That's good news. She had plenty of opposition, it was going to be a tough competition and I don't think she'd have come out on the other end in good condition. The YouTube's weren't going to be pretty. The question now is, who will she support and will they really want it?