Friday, June 27, 2008

Who failed?

A very poorly timed analysis appeared below the fold on this morning's front page of the Tennessean. Terence Hunt of the AP wants to call the game before the clock has run and states:

"Seven years of tough talk by President Bush failed to stop North Korea from enlarging its stockpile of nuclear bombs on his watch and Bush's administration is winding down with deep doubts about whether Pyongyang really intends to abandon its weapons program." (Not on Tennessean site. Here's a link to the AP version.)
Embarrassingly for the Tennessean, while their presses were running last night Pyongyang blew up one of its nuclear water cooling towers.

What bad timing, since Mr. Hunt had worked so hard to include 'cowboy diplomacy', 'axis of evil' and seemed so happy to provide in his analysis that Bush was stuck with Korea's six month late report regarding plutonium production. And the Tennessean was glad to put 'Bush fails' on the front page. The Korean's Koreans inconveniently blew that expert analysis out of the water, so to speak. It's looking like the failure wasn't Bush's.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What about OUR American Dream?

Good grief! The Senate is seriously considering taking $300 BILLION of our tax dollars to bail out people who shouldn't have gotten home mortgages in the first place. Congress uses the illogical but very emotional excuse of protecting 'the American Dream' which is supposed to be home ownership. Well, what about OUR American Dream. The one where we get to keep the money we earn and don't have to pay for the obvious political pandering of a Congress that has lower approval rating than the current president--about the only thing this Congress has done well.

Home ownership is not a Constitutional right that must be protected. What must be protected is the pocketbooks of taxpayers who have too few advocates in Washington DC. If they keep this up WE won't be able to afford our very modest mortgage which is hundreds of dollars below the rental rates in our neighborhood.

The mortgage aid plan would let the Federal Housing Administration back $300 billion in new, cheaper home loans for an estimated 400,000 distressed borrowers who otherwise would be considered too financially risky to qualify for government-insured, fixed-rate loans. AP News
How is it that people manage to become adults, let alone congressmen, without the basic financial skills necessary to recognize that, like the lottery, an Adjustible Rate Mortgage only makes sense if you can't do math. These 400,000 people shouldn't GET loans at all. They're a risky investment. Why should America take on that risk? They need to be renters. They need to live with their in-laws. They need to get roommates instead of living off of America.

Regarding the crooks that took advantage of people's lack of sophistication regarding mortgages---they need to have everything they own sold at auction and that money returned to their victims. They need to get their own roommates--ones with striped uniforms in very special gated communities and they need to be there for a very long time. THAT's a housing plan I can back.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bogus Blight

Joy Ford is fighting a battle that's important to us all and we need to do what we can to voice our objections to city leaders.

Miss Joy has got a bit of property on the backside of Demonbreun. Here's a Google picture of it. She's probably got the only real tree in the entire area. It's a utilitarian building and the property is much neater and well maintained than her neighbors'. Within that nondescript one level brick building is a small music business that she had her husband ran for years. He's passed on now and Miss Joy is carrying on and facing the Lions(tone) alone. These out-of town-developers want it and the city is helping them get it over her vehement objections.

The city is trying to use the old 'it's blighted and needs to be redeveloped' argument. Baring health and safety issues the city shouldn't be in the business of butting their noses into the property rights of citizens--especially on behalf of a money making entity. The blighted excuse is just bogus. This area is no where near blighted and the city should be ashamed of picking on Miss Joy to line the pockets of a developer that will never have the ties to that neighborhood or this city like Miss Joy and her Country International Records.

Does any of this look 'blighted' to you? Can you even FIND Miss Joy's property in these pictures? If Lionstone lacks the vision to make money with the property they have available perhaps they're not the entity that can make the best use of the property at all.

A couple of times a week I go down that section of Demonbreun and Music Circle East. From my regular trips through this area over the years I've seen it go from a fairly thriving tourist hang out where the Shoney's did a regular business and then Barbara Mandrell's gift shop did too, to a horrible eyesore where properties weren't cared for and were an embarrassment to the Music Row neighborhood.

In the last several years though lots of revitalization has occurred. The Shoney's motel was bought, renovated and seems to be fairly busy. The Shoney's restaurant has been replaced by a parking lot that services that essential need of the many business across Demonbreun. When driving through there I'm regularly having to dodge pedestrians, delivery trucks and local radio remote trucks coming and going. At times the number of delivery trucks makes that section a one lane road such is the amount of product that passes through those businesses. There's a new condominium complex going up there and that has added to the activity in the area. A new office condominium has gone up. This area is the most thriving and successful blighted area I've ever seen in my life. Miss Joy's property did not hold back any of that development.

All this puts me in mind of a small men's clothing store in downtown Nashville called Petway-Reaves. Back before the turn of the century Big Bank wanted to put up a high rise office tower but this stubborn little business, displaying the sort of fortitude that allowed it to stay in business for decades, and decades refused to sell. As I remember, it wasn't until the bank relented and created a building plan that wrapped around the clothing store that the issue was finally settled and the property owner sold. I can't find any archives about the battle and I don't recall exactly how willing the sale was.

Lionstone property needs to move on and realize that her little bit of property isn't theirs to have. The city needs to quit being the gun at the head of Miss Joy. Citizens need to realize that if we don't stand with Miss Joy 'our property rights' won't be worth the paper the deed is printed on.

"Metro Acts to Seize Music Row Property" Tennessean, Saturday, June 21, 2008.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Obama unveils his new logo. Seems presumptive to me. He didn't entirely ditch his old logo--it takes the place of the shield. I'd rather have the shield, thank you. At least he didn't eliminate the arrows.

Vero Possumus=Yes we can. Apparently, he can think highly of himself.

Granted his old logo was lame but this is waaaaay over the top for a guy still running for the job.

Friends in low places

From Americans for Prosperity who have a planned balloon launch to call more attention to Al Gore's climate beliefs.

Roy Wilson, the director of the Board of Parks and Recreation, has even reportedly told one of our staffers on the ground that Nashville police officers will be on hand and will physically restrain members of our crew if they attempt to launch the balloon.


UPDATE 3:00 pm Eastern time: Roy Wilson at the Nashville Parks Department must not have liked our earlier post, since he just completely revoked our permit -- even though his department's own rules state that he can't do that unless we break a law or one of the department's rules, which we haven't done and have no intention of doing. Then he hung up on our legal counsel. Get ready for the FOIAs, Mr. Wilson. If you've gotten any e-mails or phone calls from any of Al Gore's cronies, we want the world to know about it.
This is unfortunate. The event could have been portrayed as just another political stunt and quietly gone away after a couple of days had it gone on as planned. Now it's got longer legs and life. How Mr. Wilson couldn't have known what the AFP plans were seem beyond belief since it's been widely reported in the media. If it comes out that he's doing Gore a favor and didn't have the authority to do this, he needs to lose his job. I'll be surprised if Chief Serpas actually allows his officer's to be drawn into this pettiness.

This is the sort of stuff that makes Nashville look like a hick political town and for what gain?

UPDATE: Mapquest says the park and the Gore home are more than 6 miles apart. How much real inconvenience is this going to be to the Gores? Are they even home today? Seriously, if it actually does fly over the house, it's a balloon not a buzzing crop duster. What more privacy could they lose than what Google has already violated?

Hat tip: Instapundit

Thursday, June 19, 2008

They've decided

Truth in advertising via Brit Hume at Fox News where they didn't wait for you to decide. It got a chuckle out of me.

If it were Jim Bakker or Jimmy Swaggert fleecing the flock like this it wouldn't be just Brit Hume sniggering about this.

Hat tip: AC Kleinheider

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On my wish list

This is just what I've been suggesting for over two years that Metro Nashville Public Schools should do.

John Allman, Brentwood information and technology coordinator, said it will probably take about six months for the new system to be online.

Once it's finished, residents will be able to watch specific discussions of items on the city's Web site,

"The public can watch a video just like they do now," Allman said, "except they can scroll down the agenda and click on a certain item and it will jump them right to that position in the video." (via Truman's Take)
It took my being on the school board to realize that the wimpy little two page agenda MNPS had been publishing wasn't helping the community out at all so I started to .pdf them myself and upload them to my own web servers. Then, after I left the BOE, I had a conversation with the BOE secretary and got the entire board packet .pdf'd and uploaded to the MNPS website. But still, the problem remained that Metro 3 archives the BOE meetings in 10-15 minute segments that make it akin to throwing dice to find the portion of the meeting you're seeking. Connecting the agenda and the video was the thing to do. I'm so glad Brentwood is leading the way. I hope Metro Nashville, MNPS and the State Legislature follows suit.

Politicians get paid to attend these meetings. Citizens don't and the personal cost to them to wade through agendas and video files to find just what they need in order to make their case with politicians and fellow citizens can be huge. I'm sure that this technology will result in Brentwood citizens being more involved in their government. While that may make it a bit more inconvenient for politicians and call them to more accountability I believe it's a solid win for Brentwood.

Wa waa wawa

The Tennessean provides cover, again, for Al Gore's 'energy' usage this morning by confusing apples and oranges:

In fact, over the past year the Gores’ utility bills have dropped 40 percent, thanks largely to the house’s spanking new geothermal heating and cooling system, which has reduced the Gores’ natural gas bill by 90 percent in the past year.
TCPR wasn't talking about his 'energy' use. Just his electricity use. Notice the Gore spokesman isn't denying that the electricity use has gone up and I'll grant that renovations could have used some extra electricity--but since November the savings haven't been enough to more than counter that and slow that electric meter? Oh, but that's OK, because he's buying green power. That's also beside the point. (Is there really this much 'green power' being created by NES/TVA or is this another shell game like Gore's carbon credits? )

Surprising to me is that Gore's 33 solar panels only provide 4% of his electricity needs. This family of six doesn't even have room for 33 solar panels. The part that America cannot get past is why do the two of them need 20 times the electricity of the average household? Around here the big energy consumers are the children. Teen showers, fridge door opening and closing over and over, computer games and television use, reading lights, LAUNDRY--and we're using a clothesline! The Gore children are adults out on their own, right? How can Al & Tipper use this much electricity in a home?

Gore needs to lead by example. The Gores need to simplify their life before he hits the stump again with scary stories about what will happen if we don't. Otherwise, it all sounds a lot like the adults in a Charlie Brown special: Wa waa wawa, wawaawaa.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gore Powered

Sometimes the RSS feeds come in just the right order. First we learn that Al Gore has yet to reduce his 'on the grid' electricity use despite being shamed into making major energy amendments to his Belle Meade compound:

"In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former Vice President’s home energy use surged more than 10%, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research." From TCPR
And then comes the news that:
'Americans for Prosperity (AFP) will attempt to fly its 70-foot-tall hot air balloon over Al Gore’s Belle Meade mansion on Friday, June 20, from Nashville’s Warner Park. (snip) Prior to take-off, the event will feature a presentation from Phillips and other speakers about the policies being promoted in the name of “fighting” global warming and the economic impact of those policies on Tennessee. ' From the Tennessean via AC Kleinheider at the Nashville Post.
Drew Johnson of TCPR is exactly right:
'“Actions speak louder than words, and Gore’s actions prove that he views climate change not as a serious problem, but as a money-making opportunity,” Johnson said.'
If HE WON'T walk the talk, why should I listen? When he increases his electricity use I don't believe he's really all that concerned about 'saving the planet'. Really, is this a residence or is he running his whole global Ponzi scheme out of this home?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Kindergarten debating skills

Sunday's Gail Kerr column in the Tennessean was a surprise to me. I didn't expect her to fall into the 'make fun of it' camp at all. I'm not surprised she disagrees with the effort to make English the official language of Metro Nashville business but I never expected her to pound out this sort of rhetoric:

So the Korean man trying to enroll his child in school? Tough beans. The Hispanic woman calling the police because her husband is beating her? Too bad, so sad. And how about murderer Paul Dennis Reid, who sits on death row thanks to the testimony of a Spanish-speaking man? The lone witness almost bled to death in the Hermitage McDonalds as he played dead until Reid left. He crawled to a phone and dialed 911.
This is just the sort of emotional nonsense I've come to expect from most opponents but didn't expect from her. Where does it say that NO Metro employee can speak or write in a different language? Nowhere. The amendment says:
"English is the official language of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. Official actions (those which bind or commit the government) shall be taken only in the English language, and all official government communications and publications shall be published only in English. No person shall have a right to government services in any other language. All meetings of the Metro Council, boards, and Commissions of the Metropolitan government shall be conducted in English. Nothing in this measure shall be interpreted to conflict with federal or state law." Voters shall be provided the two choices of FOR and AGAINST.
Where in the above does it say that a 911 operator cannot respond to an emergency in a language other than English? Since when does every utterance by a 911 operator or clerk on Bransford Avenue 'bind and commit' Metro? Let's talk about that and leave the kindergarten debating skills behind.

Further Kerr writes:
Apparently Crafton cares little about how his hometown is portrayed. Because he's at it again. He knows the council won't pass it.
The Council DID pass it. It was the former mayor who vetoed it. We're supposed to be more concerned about how we appear to outsiders than running an efficient and effective government? Caring about what our sophisticated and enlightened betters think is not the way to create and carry out good public policy. Being afraid of what they think is no way to ensure the best for the citizens of Nashville.

Absent fathers impact sons

Presidential contender Barak Obama was, amazingly, given the pulpit at a church he visited yesterday. He gave a rousing Father's Day speech which he apparently plagiarized from Bill Cosby. Of course, he was probably preaching to the choir. He should have taken his stump speech to a local high school or Planned Parenthood clinic.

And shades of Bill Clinton, Obama put his finger on another reason not to elect him president:

“I know the toll it took on me, not having a father in the house,” he continued. “The hole in your heart when you don’t have a male figure in the home who can guide you and lead you. So I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to break the cycle — that that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father to my children.”
So he admits he has a hole in his heart. This was Bill Clinton's story and I believe the nation has suffered a great deal from his attempts to make up for that absent father. I do not want to go through any of that again. These men can be tremendously successful in some areas...but the success is part of trying to fill that hole and prove their worth because Dad wasn't there to provide that approval all along. Usually, at some point, that hole filling goes awry. Do we want that to happen while he's POTUS ala Clinton? Not me.

And now a bit of criticism of a church that would subject its congregation to a political stump speech from the pulpit. Apparently, there is something in the air in Chicago that blinds people from the realization that inviting this man into your church, in this high profile way, will open up the church and its members to intense scrutiny that will likely not serve the congregation as a whole. This is no ordinary church shopping family. I'm not saying refuse him entrance, but giving him the pulpit is over the top and can only be seen as a political move on the part of their pastor or eldership that runs that church. So where are the 'separation of church and state' folks on this?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Community life

Very interesting article in this month's Atlantic Monthly titled "American Murder Mystery".

Nobody in the antipoverty community and nobody in city leadership was going to welcome the news that the noble experiment that they’d been engaged in for the past decade had been bringing the city down, in ways they’d never expected. But the connection was too obvious to ignore, and Betts and Janikowski figured that the same thing must be happening all around the country. Eventually, they thought, they’d find other researchers who connected the dots the way they had, and then maybe they could get city leaders, and even national leaders, to listen.
And they did find others connecting the dots which revealed very similar patterns between crime and Section 8 housing. They haven't yet gotten the ear of Memphis officials other than the police. Obviously, the answer isn't just getting people out of bad neighborhoods into 'good' ones. Community or family seems to be a significant part of the equation. As some of us know, you don't get to pick your relatives. Being able to choose a better 'family' can be life saving.

Maybe the new Memphis Superintendent of Schools can include some of this information as he attempts to create sunshine on the mighty bluffs of Tennessee.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Post's Pen Pans Postcard

My Nashville Post News Alert let me know they had taken a 'fine tooth comb to English First'. I got my hopes up...but that's not what they did at all with the petition postcard. Following in the 'make fun of it' instead of actually examine and argue it camp they critique the grammar and punctuation on the plea for signature side but didn't bother to do half as in depth an examination of the actual amendment. They didn't mention that side at all.

This is another example of what I wrote about this morning. How does this actually move the discussion forward? It doesn't. I expected the Post to turn the postcard over and dissect the amendment itself instead of wasting time and pixels on playing around. Here's the text of the amendment again. Maybe this weekend they'll have some time to give the other side of this card equal treatment. I've got plenty of red pens here if they need them.

The undersigned residents and qualified voters of Davidson County, Tennessee, do hereby propose the following amendment to the Metropolitan charter to be voted on by the people at the November 4, 2008 election. A new section numbered 1.08 will be added to Article 1 of the Metropolitan Charter. The new section shall state the following: "English is the official language of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. Official actions (those which bind or commit the government) shall be taken only in the English language, and all official government communications and publications shall be published only in English. No person shall have a right to government services in any other language. All meetings of the Metro Council, boards, and Commissions of the Metropolitan government shall be conducted in English. Nothing in this measure shall be interpreted to conflict with federal or state law." Voters shall be provided the two choices of FOR and AGAINST.

Vote for Ralph Emery

The National Radio Hall of Fame is asking for voters in several categories. Nashville's Ralph Emery is on one ballot.

Go here to register to vote. They'll ask for some basic info, send you a confirming email with a link for you to click on so you can vote.

Residents v. Citizens

Mayor Karl Dean's recent comments as carried at NewsChannel 5 are disappointing and bring up an issue that needs to be discussed. The context is the proposed charter amendment to make English the official language of Metro business.

In a statement Thursday, Mayor Dean said the city has an obligation to protect and serve residents without regard to the language they speak.
If protect and serve means provide basic emergency services and rooting out criminal behavior which takes advantage of them...I'm with him. I don't see the charter amendment as preventing our EMT, fire or police from doing that though. But if the Mayor's comments mean more than the emergency services I'd like to know if he is the mayor of the residents of Nashville or its citizens? Did residents vote him into office or did citizens? There is a difference and I think our community needs to discuss the differences.

I know that those opposed to the amendment want to make it all about those big bad xenophobes denying a pregnant Kurdish speaking woman from obtaining emergency medical care because it makes for easy sensational headlines, however, this amendment is more about the mundane business of the city and the consequences of translating from my point of view. I haven't seen opponents explain how Metro will not be held responsible in such cases. They fall back on the weaker, emotional and distracting rhetoric instead of addressing legitimate concerns about the running of our government, our liabilities, the costs. They ignore the Metro Council's vote for English First last year as if the will of the people via their elected representatives is inconsequential...and thanks to Bill Purcell's veto pen, it was.

While I understand that many residents are utilizing Metro services and paying some taxes which help pay for those services residents haven't made the extra commitment of declaring/obtaining citizenship and registering to vote and participating in the electoral system. Should our elected officials consider their wants over the needs of citizens? Should those who have not, or cannot, make the commitment to citizenship have all the rights of citizenship?

Hat tip: AC Kleinheider

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Rays of Hope

Between the Mayor's Special Education meeting featuring Mike Remus and the rehiring of Beth O'Shea some disheartened MNPS parents are beginning to hope again. If the BOE can stay out of the way and let Connie Smith, Chris Henson and Superintendent Mayor Dean have their lead their hopes for their children's attendance in MNPS schools may come true.

New Superintendent--in Memphis

Memphis has a new superintendent of schools according to the Commercial-Appeal. His name is Kriner Cash and he's leaving the Miami-Dade County (Fla.) Public Schools where he served as its 'chief of accountability and systemwide performance'. His only superintendent experience is at Martha's Vineyard (yes, THAT Martha's Vineyard).

The past year has been a harsh year for all involved with Memphis City Schools, as the district has faced operational scandals that have led to federal investigations and school violence that garnered national attention.

Cash said he would want to see the district have its own police force, something he has found effective in Miami.

Good luck Mr. Cash. Memphis has issues that are systemic and go way beyond the school system. You can try and create an accountability plan, but accountability isn't anything that Memphis powers-that-be welcome.
"A new day is dawning for Memphis City Schools," an emotional Cash said. "Starting today, the sun is going to shine for the whole world to see on the mighty bluff of Tennessee."

With poetry like that maybe they hired Jesse Jackson?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Did you get your petition?

I got my English First postcard petition in the mail yesterday. Very handy. Private. No chance of being harassed like the OK3. You sign the postcard, refold it, add a stamp and send it off. It couldn't be easier.

In case you can't read the graphic above here's the actual wording of the petition.

The undersigned residents and qualified voters of Davidson County, Tennessee, do hereby propose the following amendment to the Metropolitan charter to be voted on by the people at the November 4, 2008 election. A new section numbered 1.08 will be added to Article 1 of the Metropolitan Charter. The new section shall state the following: "English is the official language of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. Official actions (those which bind or commit the government) shall be taken only in the English language, and all official government communications and publications shall be published only in English. No person shall have a right to government services in any other language. All meetings of the Metro Council, boards, and Commissions of the Metropolitan government shall be conducted in English. Nothing in this measure shall be interpreted to conflict with federal or state law." Voters shall be provided the two choices of FOR and AGAINST.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Goo Goo clusters

Sometimes the pieces just fall together.

This morning's Rex Noseworthy column introduced me to a new term.

Increasingly, those in and around Metro government aligned with more moderate politics and business elements in the city are coining a new phrase to describe their self-proclaimed progressive adversaries — the Goo Goos.

It appears this mildly derisive term is aimed at Nashville’s neighborhood-centric gentry, the same neighborhood forces that frequently clash with pro-development types. The more specific iteration is East Nashville Goo Goo.

The phrase was first coined in the final decade of the 19th Century to describe “good government” political factions in city governments seeking change, reform and a path away from machine politics.

And then we get this--also from the folks at the City Paper:
Stacy Mosley, president of the Historic Germantown Neighborhood Association, said Friday that residents of downtown neighborhoods moved there, at a risk, with the “promise” that their children could attend high-performing Hillsboro cluster schools. Mosley said she and other neighbors want their children to attend schools with “balanced” racial and socioeconomic mixes.
I put the pieces together and it was just too obvious: I'm thinking that 'progressive' neighborhood groups should be called "GooGoo clusters". Insert your own joke about their being nuts in every version.

Back on a much more serious note it's a curiosity to me how un-progressive these GooGoos are when the rubber hits the road as it has with these Germantown parents. I understand they took a chance on that part of town but also ensured, as best they could, that their children would attend 'high-performing Hillsboro cluster' schools. Would they have taken that same chance if the Hillsboro Cluster hadn't been available? No one really believes they would have. Likely what they'll do is what the East Nashville GooGoos did, opt out of the neighborhood school and create an enhanced option or design school. These 'urban pioneers' shouldn't pat themselves on the back for their support of public schools when they've done that. The parents who really deserve badges of honor for supporting MNPS are those who rolled up their sleeves and ensured their children graduated from Maplewood or Stratford.

Friday, June 06, 2008

This new right is wrong

More on the renewed battle to make Nashville's official language English. This quote from Mayor Karl Dean:

Dean specifically took issue with specific phrasing of the charter amendment proposal, which states, “No person shall have a right to government services in any other language.” City Paper

We're handing out 'rights' left and ...well, right in this nation. We invent them out of whole cloth. So now, surely Dean isn't saying new citizens have a right to have government business conducted in their native language? How can that possibly jibe with the requirement that new citizens must prove their proficiency in English? If he thinks it'll be expensive to defend the constitutionality of this charter amendment, wait until he sees the bill for this new right.

Holding judges accountable

Metro Nashville Police issue a heart wrenching press release regarding the death of a 10 month old girl. From the press release

This is not the first time Sudberry has been charged with abusing a child. He pleaded guilty in Criminal Court last August to a charge of child abuse for striking his then girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter with a shoe and leaving marks and bruises. Sudberry received a three-year probated sentence.

Last July, Sudberry was charged with statutory rape for having sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl, who became pregnant. He pleaded guilty in General Sessions Court to attempted statutory rape on July 24th. He received a sentence of 11 months, 29 days. All but 60 days of that sentence was suspended and he was directed to remain on supervised probation for the remainder.

On March 8th of this year, Sudberry was arrested on charges of driving on a suspended license and evading arrest. He was convicted of both charges on May 9th. He was sentenced to two hours on the driver license charge and 90 days on the evading arrest charge. The 90-day sentence was not put into effect so long as Sudberry did not reoffend during the three-month period.

Just yesterday they sent out BOLO on a fellow with 201 prior arrests. It's no wonder our police department is overworked when judges won't do their part. If the press wants to help fight crime, they'll include the names of these judges so we'll have some idea of who else to hold accountable for the death of this child. As a convicted rapist he should have still been in jail and had he been, a 10 month old would still be alive.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Their 'special' frame of reference

Jay Greene's got a post up now on his blog regarding special education. About halfway in though he makes five great observations.

Even normally smart and sensible people, including some very good ed reformers, are confident about claims that they cannot empirically support and that most evidence contradicts. Why?

First, many ed policy wonks live in the DC area and their perceptions of special ed are distorted by the highly exceptional practices in the District. (snip)

Second, many ed policy wonks run in relatively elite circles. (snip)

Third, school leaders and educators have a vested interest in complaining about the financial burdens of special education or the unreasonable demands of parents. But newspapers treat their claims as if they were those of disinterested experts. (snip)

Fourth, the hard reality is that most people are primarily interested in their own children. If they are led to believe that special education is going to drain resources from their non-disabled kids, they want to stop that. (snip)

Fifth, there is a false image in some people’s heads that disabled kids are basically basket cases and that money spent on them is money wasted. (snip)

From the folks at FACE (Family Advisory Council on special Education) I got this reminder today:

Mayor's Council on Special Education: Monday, June 9 at 6:00PM will be the second public forum on Special Education at the East Park Community Center.

The meetings are open to everyone including students, parents, community leaders, teachers, and all MNPS staff. At our last meeting we heard from parents, bus drivers, Special Ed teachers, and administration. The forums are your opportunity to make your concerns known.

Registration begins at 5:30 and the open forum begins at 6:00PM and ends around 7:00 PM.

That's it?

AC Kleinheider points us to Bellvue BOE candidate Lee Limbird's brand new site. It's underwhelming to say the least. One page, no position statements. Just what are her beliefs? We should vote for her because her children attended public schools and she's a teacher and a 'proven problem solver and consensus builder?' What about our current standing with the state? What is SHE looking for in a new Superintendent of Schools? She wasn't at the former BOE member/candidate for BOE meeting with the headhunters that I and Alan Coverstone and Paul Brenner attended. What about Standard School Attire, charter schools, the MNPS budget, rezoning/busing, the dropout rate, school crime...

Heads up campaign staff: "canbalance" does not equal "can proofread".

Overiding Purcell's Veto

Councilman Eric Crafton hasn't given up on English being the official language of the business of Metro Nashville. According to this morning's City Paper he's taking it to the people and it's very likely to be on the November ballot along with the presidental candidates.

The new ballot initiative comes just over a year after Crafton’s ordinance to accomplish the same thing was passed by Council with a 23-14 vote but subsequently vetoed by Mayor Bill Purcell.

I don't think Crafton will have a n y trouble getting the 10,103 signatures needed to get this on the November ballot.

To review my opinion on the matter:

1. It's foolish to take on the responsibility of ensuring that every language gets equal treatment in Metro business. The liability of not correctly translating could be enormous. The costs of providing materials in multitudes of languages shouldn't be overlooked. What language gets left out because of an arbitrary decision about 'the need' for that particular language?
2. For the safety and well-being of immigrants, as well as citizens, we need to encourage in every way possible their learning English. I'd rather spend money there than on printing things in who knows how many languages which is just a stop-gap measure. Haven't we seen enough stories about how immigrants are taken advantage of because they haven't learned English and haven't assimilated? Their inability to speak English handicaps them in every day life and encourages predators.

“No person shall have a right to government services in any other language. All meetings of the Metro Council, Boards and Commissions of the Metropolitan Government shall be conducted in English. Nothing in this measure shall be interpreted to conflict with federal or state law.”

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

MNEA endorses...

WPLN is reporting that the Metro Nashville Education Association is endorsing BOE incumbents , Mark North, Gracie Porter (who is running unopposed) and Ed Kindall (who has been on the BOE for 23 years). Not surprisingly they've also endorsed Sharon Gentry for George Thompson's seat. The Bellevue district endorsement of Paul Brenner will add an interesting twist to that race. Alan Coverstone has all the cash but Brenner's campaign gets a boost, past BOE Chairman Warden's endorsed candidate Lee Limbard, with this endorsement. I'm concerned that the Bellevue district will get all the attention and it's Ed Kindall's 23 years that really needs a thorough examination.

Hopefully, by tomorrow the MNEA site will actually have their endorsements posted on their own website.

Monday, June 02, 2008

You want cheese with that whine?

"When you've got nothing with which to argue the point, get personal."

It's a tired and desperate tactic that is a litmus test of desperation and frustration. So the Tennessean, working again as surrogates for the Democrat Party, attacks the messenger instead of examining the actual message.
Asked whether the Democrats have any interest or intention of retaliating with a blogstorm of their own down the road, Munday said: "We just highlight the positive message. In no way do we exist to bring attention to ourselves. Our focus is on our candidates and our message."
Apparently, Mr. Munday isn't reading his own party's Braying Blog.