Thursday, December 31, 2009

Leftists and Racism in Education

Berkley High School in the Bay Area of California may remove advanced science labs and replace them with science remedial classes. In a time where most school districts in the nation are actively seeking to improve their science and math curriculum, Berkley wants to dumb it down. The reason? Because the board views AP Science classes as favoring white students. The reverse side of this, unspoken, is that minority students can't do advanced science programs. So rather than encouraging all students to pursue excellence, the Leftists and liberals of the Berkley High School board would remove these programs from the curriculum so that no student would be able to pursue upper level, college bound science coursework. The implication is racist in tone-that minority students are inherently incapable of doing this work. And that flies in the face of the breakdown of the students in the actual classes.

So what is the lesson of this debacle? The main lesson is that political correctness is driving curriculum in some districts to the point of lowering expectations for the overall student population. I don't know why parents are not up in arms about this action. And I don't understand why any teacher who values their subject would remain on the faculty at such a school. But the bottom line is that either you want all students to achieve and learn, or you want to handpick and dumb down classes to accommodate some ethnic spreadsheet that matters to no one outside the boundaries of administration.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fox vs Time Warner: More Important Than You ThinkFox

For those of you who have Time Warner cable services, you have probably been made aware that negotiations between Time Warner and Fox are not going well. Many people are dismissing this as a mere business decision. It is true that Time Warner, as a subsidiary of the much larger Time, Inc, has not been doing well. But what is also true is that there is a hint of a very insidious underlying reason for Time Warner to want Fox to go away.

First, there is the rating game. Fox has been beating out some of the big network affiliates on a regular basis. But this goes farther than just ABC, NBC and CBS. Time Warner, through a variety of mergers, is also the parent company of the following networks and entities
:

"...Among its subsidiaries are New Line Cinema, Time Inc., HBO, Turner Broadcasting System, The CW Television Network, TheWB.com, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Kids' WB, The CW4Kids, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Hanna-Barbera, Ruby-Spears Productions, Adult Swim, CNN, DC Comics, and Warner Bros. Games...."

Please note the primarily liberal slant of many of these entities. Turner Broadcasting was the brainchild of Ted Turner-a man too liberal even for Jane Fonda. HBO has become a hotbed of liberal thought through their many in-house productions. Even more disturbing is the way liberal concepts are inserted in children's programming. If you don't believe it, just try watching one of the news shows targeting children and see what is being passed on a fact to your kids.

Even more questionable is why this cable network would deliberately try to remove one of their top stations. This is the station that carries a great deal of big college football as well as other sports. During the height of the football bowl and playoff season, why would they do this? You can point to business as usual, but this is like shooting themselves in the foot. With Time Warner already seeing a drop off in subscriptions to their service, this would only make people who watch football less likely to join. So there's really no economic reason for this as the addition of Fox would increase their desirability in the market.


In order to make this decision which would cut Time Warner's income, somebody has to be making this worth their while. I don't know if this is from private funding or from some surreptitious political scheme, but it is no secret that this White House administration has big issues with Fox. Their various childish snubs and rants leads me to think that this is a hand in glove operation worthy of only the most astute student of Machiavellian thought. In short, this is not the simple case everyone thinks it is-this is an attempt to silence Fox with a warning shot and without bringing the Fairness Doctrine into play, which would alert conservative outlets. So this is more important than it appears and you as a citizen should be concerned that this is just the first in a series of moves to stifle dissent in our nation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Warner
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BH2FX20091218

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

January 20, 2010-National Strike Day

Had enough yet? Well let me explain it to you. Right now a four member family with an income of $66,000 will pay over ten percent of their income to pay for insurance that they will not receive for FOUR YEARS. That means that middle income folks, clerical workers, teachers, firefighters, police, will be effectively getting a reduction in their take home pay. And on top of that, since the insurance doesn't take effect for four years, you will still have to pay for insurance ON TOP OF THIS TAX for four years. Are you mad yet? How about this? The bill contains language that makes it where future Congresses can never repeal it in perpetuity. That means forever. As if this Congress has proven itself infallible on anything. TARP, Cash for Clunkers and now this bad bill rushed through so that Obama won't miss his check in time for his Hawaiian vacation. Excuse me if I say I am sick of this arrogant attitude toward the American people. The rest of us are hunkering down because we don't know if we will be able to afford food and a home-so how about you take a chill pill and linger in the White House pondering the serious nature of current events. I don't believe in reincarnation, but if there was ever a reinvention of Marie Antoinette, Obama is it.

At any rate, due to this bill and this continued dismissive attitude of Congress and the administration toward the WILL OF THE PEOPLE there will be a

National Strike

January 20, 2010

Don't go to work, don't buy anything, close your doors and call in sick.

STRIKE!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Would You Buy A Used Car From This Congress?

I've often considered that at the next to lowest levels in hell that there is a special place for two categories of congenital liars-used car salesmen and realtors. I am sure there are good and virtuous people within these ranks, but in my experience both groups encompass the sort of lying through omission that leads to lots of courtroom battles. This is why all adults should read every single word or clause or page of any contract they sign. The people that did not doing this during the heighdays of the mortgage balloons were the same ones who later defaulted using the lame excuse that "they didn't know" their payments would explode during the fifth year even though it was written in black and white on the very same contracts they had oh so willingly signed.Congress is debating healthcare. But what they are debating is NOT the bill amendment which will cause the most economic havoc. That amendment-the "managers amendment" is still being kept under wraps. What happened to transparency? What happened to honesty and representing the best that anyone regardless of their party affiliation had to offer? This was always a pale promise and once they got in office, Democrats blatantly ignored these promises. Drunk with power they have loaded up the healthcare bill with programs, paybacks and pork designed to entice unwilling moderates into voting away the freedom of millions of citizens. In doing so, they will doubly tax middle income workers such as teachers, fire fighters and police officers. They will gut Medicare and deliberately divert those dollars into petting along a resident alien population with hopes that they will someday produce the mythical permanent majority for the Democrats.
Make no mistake, this isn't about insurance reform, it is not about healthcare. How could it be when estimates say that while everyone will pay more, only half of the current uninsured will be covered? What other programs are soaking up the revenue? And what about the many millions of people employed by insurers and their ancillaries? Where will they go in an economy in which the published unemployment rate is over ten percent, but the defacto rate is closer to twenty. This is NOT an accident. In moving Americans to a dependent nation status, they must pry us away from our freedom and the best way to do that is to make it where government is the ONLY RESOURCE from which we can get life's necessities. This is no accident. It is the intentional diversion of a revenue stream from private industry, where it creates jobs, to government where it does not. Even the government jobs that have been created-since that is the only sector where job growth is evident-are fewer jobs that pay more than comparable jobs in the private sector.
This is theft plain and simple. So, would you buy a used car from this Congress????
Read more:
http://www.politico.com/livepulse/1209/Wait_goes_o...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Not Ready for Christmas

As a child, I loved Christmas. For most American kids, it's the centerpiece of the year. But then kids see the year as a procession of big events-Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter, Fourth of July. There's a certain sweetness to having your world defined by celebrations.

When I was a child, I helped decorate. I tested light strings for loose bulbs, hung the ornaments and decorated the tree strand by strand with tinsel. Each present was carefully guarded and wrapped with elaborate bows and ribbons. The tree was a gaudy, homely riot of color reinforcing the happy chaos of the holiday. I remember endless trays of homemade cookies and candies shared on plates with neighbors and friends. I remember a house filled with family, chattering, telling jokes, sharing food. I remember happy. I know what it feels like. Which is why I know what is missing now.

Even as a young wife and mother, the joy was still there. I carefully spent money on things that would make my husband and children happy. We made gingerbread houses, decorated cookies, made angels with glitter and glue. I recall the "Bike Christmas" where all three kids got bikes. Not fancy bikes, not bikes with pedigrees and special accoutrement, but bikes with bells and streamers. Bikes meant for going, not for showing. I remember hiding toys in the closet. There were countless Christmas Eves spent assembling toys or wrapping gifts as "White Christmas" played in the background. There were friends and eggnog, cookies and laughter. There was still joy. I know what joy feels like, so I know what is missing now.

Now my children are young adults, with their own homes. They work as much as they can because even with a college degree there are no jobs that pay much. My son and daughter and her boyfriend actually share a house because they cannot make rent on their own. I despair that they are so desperate to survive. I don't remember feeling so desperate when I was their ages. I don't understand how things could go so wrong. I wish I could comfort them, make the path easier, because I don't remember it being so hard.

We did the right things. We paid our bills, paid our taxes. We saved for college for our kids, although when the time came they still had to work nearly full time to pay their way. We went to church, although the rules seem to be changing to make church more of a political arm than a spiritual release. We did what we were supposed to do, yet it seems that we are the ones who are being expected to surrender the most. In the past seven years it appears we are in a downward spiral. Perhaps part of it has to do with my Dad dying of a massive coronary on Christmas Day 2002. Perhaps it has to do with the increased responsibility that has been pushed on me by necessity. Perhaps it is because I am the main breadwinner and that my time is diminished and that I seem to be slowing disappearing. I am simply not the person I used to be. I look at old pictures and wonder where she's gone.

I go through the motions. I put up the tree. I put lights outside. I have even baked some cookies. But I am not ready. There's a dull aching emptiness inside. There's no hope, no joy, no happiness. I put on a mask of perky attitude hoping nobody will look too closely. I pick an angel from the Salvation Army tree at the mall, something I wish more people would do. I contribute food to the food bank, clothes to the community group and pet food to the local shelter. But it seems that in my quest to be Lady Bountiful, I am left behind. I know what Christmas feels like so I know what is missing. Please, how do I find my way back. I want to go home.

I am not ready for Christmas.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Obama's Failed Diplomacy

From the Wall Street Journal:

"The Obama bowing pictures are becoming iconic not for those reasons, however, but because they express a growing political perception, and that is that there is something amateurish about this presidency, something too ad hoc and highly personalized about it, something . . . incompetent, at least in its first year..."

I am not a big fan of Peggy Noonan. I only on occasion agree with her observations. But this column expresses the opinions that I have had regarding this administration's approach to diplomacy and protocol. It has been clumsy at best. And not a good or endearing sort of clumsy, but a deliberate flaunting of tradition in order to achieve some unknown display of a type of condescending obeisance. The bowing of President Obama to the Emperor of Japan is just another in a series of diplomatic faux pas which seem to be planned to show America's willingness to let go the reins of power.

No nation makes headway with foreign leaders by acting out a Uriah Heep type of demeanor. Reagan encouraged the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Truman when face with the possibility of a million American casualties on the beach in an invasion of Japan chose to drop the Bomb. Being the President is a serious job with serious implications. Unfortunately this White House seems to be running on the same game plan they used during the campaign. It's just not working.

From the IPOD for Queen Elizabeth II to the unseemly bowing to Saudi and Japanese royalty, it appears that this administration is trying to ingratiate itself with foreign heads of states by denigrating America's power and diminishing our policies. It is hamhanded and amateur. But then again, if you will read this column, you will see that even seasoned Democrat supporters are questioning their support in the face of a White House staff that acts as if they are either lacking in the abilities and knowledge for the job or that they are deliberately flaunting protocol with the goal being to shove off the burden of leadership.

Either action betrays a seriously flawed agenda and one that does not serve the American people well. Also note that the Democrat quoted said that if the healthcare bill fails to pass it would actually be a win for Obama because the bill itself is so inherently flawed. If this is what his friends are saying, then why is it that press refuses to acknowledge the concern expressed across demographic categories by the direction this Obama Administration and this liberal dominant Congress? I can only say that the core far Left are willing to follow this administration over a cliff if need be to maintain their fragile world view.

With healthcare being in peril, defacto unemployment at 17% and the Copenhagen treaty questionable in light of recent revelations on fraud and misdirection used to achieve Global Warming claims, wouldn't it make far more sense for this president to stay home and hammer out some meaningful pragmatic legislation to get American back to work? I am tired of worrying about the rest of the world, it's time for America First.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Definition: Concensus

We've heard a great deal about the concept of "consensus" lately. A consensus of Global Warming scientists supposedly all agreed that Global Warming is manmade and constitutes a "crisis." The word "crisis" stampeded politicians into allocating huge grants of taxpayer money to "cure" the "crisis." But what if a crisis really isn't imminent and what is a consensus is falsified and manufactured?

Academics have a great deal riding on their ability to attract grants both public and private. In many academic circles the concept of "publish or perish" has been replaced with a type of summation based on the ability to attract large donors. While this in itself isn't anything new, especially with private schools, the willingness to fudge data to fit the outcome is new. This is the antithesis of a true scientific process. In a true scientific process the entire outlay and design of the research is documented. In order to be valid, the process must be duplicated and confirmed. In this case we have scientists who are willing to suppress opposing views. Anyone who has been in academia will tell you that there is never, ever a time when ALL academics agree on a theory. So when the outcry from Al Gore and others in the celebrity community included the statements that ALL scientists agreed on the hypothesis of Anthropogenic Global Warming as a crisis, warning bells should have gone off.

But in academia these days, dissent is only accepted when it's the proper type of dissent. So you can opposed industries, you can oppose business systems, but heaven help you and hold on to your tenure if you dare to oppose those programs or ideas that are part of the agenda of Leftists. This scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. Many professors have already lost their positions for daring to oppose the political juggernaut of PC ideals. If we cannot trust a consensus of scientists, then why should we trust a consensus of economists that support the far Left views of the White House agenda?

A consensus is only as good as the true information they are selling. And in Global Warming, Healthcare and the Economy, they have been writing up hopes as facts and change as legislation. We deserve better. And we deserve honesty.

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240527487047...

Reeducating the Educators

I've been a teacher for a long time.
I genuinely like most of my students.
Students that I do not like are generally troublemakers, gangsters or overly spoiled.
I do my best to teach all of them in spite of themselves.
So reading this article was disturbing on many levels.

First, for all those who vilify public education, public education is what sets us apart from other nations. While we appear to have students not as well equipped, please understand that public schools do not have the luxury of denying students access to an education for any reason. Private schools can pick and choose their students, public schools must deal with kids who are often not ready for school and not supported at home.

Having said that, I feel that our nation is only as good as the schools we create. That inner city schools suffer poor testing results and high failure rates has more to do with the environment surrounding the schools than the schools themselves. It is difficult to teach in a warzone. That's what many of our urban schools have become. Because no parents are present or care enough to enforce rules, limits and goals, students are free to party, act as criminals and generally make the process of education difficult for every teacher and every student. Unfortunately there are those within powerful positions in society that would rather spend time blaming teachers than looking in the mirror. When I see almost every week another story about a parent threatening to sue the schools over dress codes, "unfairness" or other parental excuses, it is clear where the lack of achievement comes from.

So I was truly alarmed when I read this article. This article refers to a type of gross and obvious indoctrination that should be opposed by any member of any faculty that values free speech. Instead of teaching teachers how to reach students, how to handle problems, how to adapt lessons for maximum learning, this university is indulging in a type of self-serving political exercise that will not only drive away many intelligent students, but which could also fill schools with doctrinaire repositories that are far more concerned with spouting social justice than in teaching multiplication. This is absolutely NOT what our schools need. Yet this is a program closely allied with the goals of the Obama Administration. I have to wonder if they plan on systematically removing older teachers such as myself only to replace them with ideologues that will implement "change" as a matter of political elimination.

Scary, indeed. Read the story.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Letter From Grandpa: The Obama Reality

G O D B L E S S A M E R I C A

Maybe this will wake some of the younger folks up and maybe some of you have already read it, but this is really hitting the nail on the head as far as I am concerned.

John G. is 63 years old and owns a small business. He's a life-long
Republican and sees his dream of retiring next year has all but
evaporated.. With the stock market crashing and new taxes coming his way,
John assumes now that he will work to his dying day.

John has a granddaughter.. Ashley is a recent college grad. She drives a
flashy hybrid car, wears all the latest fashions, and loves to go out to
nightclubs and restaurants. Ashley campaigned hard for Barak Obama.
After the election she made sure her grandfather (and all other
Republican family members) received a big I told-you-so earful on how
the world is going to be a much better place now that her party is
taking over.

Having lost both roommates, Ashley recently ran short of cash and cannot
pay the rent (again) on her 3 bedroom townhouse. Like she has done many
times in the past, she emailed her grandfather asking for some financial
help. Here is his reply:

Sweetheart,


I received your request for assistance. Ashley, you know I love you
dearly and I'm sympathetic to your financial plight. Unfortunately,
times have changed. With the election of President Obama, your
grandmother and I have had to set forth a bold new economic plan of our
own..."The Ashley Economic Empowerment Plan." Let me explain.

Your grandmother and I are life-long, wage-earning tax payers. We have
lived a comfortable life, as you know, but we have never had the fancier
things like European vacations, luxury cars, etc. We have worked hard
and were looking forward to retiring soon. But the plan has changed.
Your president is raising our personal and business taxes significantly.

He says it is so he can give our hard earned money to other people. Do
you know what this means, Ashley? It means less for us, and we must cut
back on many business and personal expenses.

You know the wonderful receptionist who worked in my office for more
than 23 years? The one who always gave you candy when you came over to
visit? I had to let her go last week. I can't afford to pay her salary
and all of the government mandated taxes that go with having employees.
Your grandmother will now work 4 days a week to answer phones, take
orders and handle the books. We will be closed on Fridays and will lose
even more income.

I'm also very sorry to report that your cousin Frank will no longer be
working summers in the warehouse. I called him at school this morning.
He already knows about it and he's upset because he will have to give up
skydiving and his yearly trip to Greenland to survey the polar bears.

That's just the business side of things. Some personal economic effects
of Obama's new taxation policies include none other than you. You know
very well that over the years your grandmother and I have given you
thousands of dollars in cash, tuition assistance, food, housing,
clothing, gifts, etc., etc. But by your vote, you have chosen to help
others -- not at your expense -- but at our expense.

If you need money now sweetheart, I recommend you call 202-456-1111.
That is the direct phone number for the White House. You yourself told
me how foolish it is to vote Republican. You said Mr. Obama is going to
be the People's President, and is going to help every American live a
better life. Based on everything you've told me, along with all the
promises we heard during the campaign, I'm sure Mr. Obama will be happy
to transfer some stimulus money into your bank account. Have him call me
for the account number which I memorized years ago.

Perhaps you can now understand what I've been saying all my life: those
who vote for a president should consider the impact on the nation as a
whole, and not be just concerned with what they can get for themselves.
What Obama supporters don't seem to realize is all of the money he is
redistributing to illegal aliens and non-taxpaying Americans (the
so-called "less fortunate") comes from tax-paying families.

Remember how you told me, "Only the richest of the rich will be
affected"? Well guess what, honey? Because we own a business, your
grandmother and I are now considered to be the richest of the rich. On
paper, it might look that way, but in the real world, we are far from it.

As you said while campaigning for Obama, some people will have to carry
more of the burden so all of America can prosper. You understand what
that means, right? It means that raising taxes on productive people
results in them having less money; less money for everything, including
granddaughters.

I'm sorry, Ashley, but the well has run dry. The free lunches are over.
I have no money to give you now.

So, congratulations on your choice for "change." For future reference, I
encourage you to try and add up the total value of the gifts and cash
you have received from us, just since you went off to college, and
compare it to what you expect to get from Mr. Obama over the next 4 (or
8) years. I have not kept track of it, Ashley. It has all truly been the
gift of our hearts.

Remember, we love you dearly....but from now on you'll need to call the
number mentioned above. Your "Savior" has the money we would have given
to you. Just try and get it from him.

Good luck, sweetheart.
Love,
Grandpa.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Voice From Middle America: A Letter to the President

Mr. President,I didn't vote for you. Maybe you will stop reading right there. But then again, maybe this once you should listen. The reason I didn't support your campaign is because I thought you were too inexperienced, too liberal and far too swayed by narrow political groups. But you won anyway. That's the way it is in America, the guy with the most votes wins. And being an American, I celebrate that idea. Although I didn't like your ideas, I honestly had hoped you meant what you said and that you would succeed.

But as time wears on and your administration progresses, it has become obvious not only are you inexperienced, but that you are disdainful of many Americans who are suffering under your regime. I say "suffering" because what else do you call it when effectively over 17% of the population is unemployed or underemployed?

I'm a middle class, college educated 53 year old woman. I have never asked for a handout. My husband and I worked all of our lives to buy our own home, raise our own kids and simply live. We don't have time to start over. Yet the economy keeps my husband marginally employed through a commission sales position that frankly hasn't paid much because nobody is buying in this economy. I look with trepidation at the moves made by the school district where I teach. With shrinking property values the tax revenue that funds the district is shrinking. Jobs are going to go away. At 53, just where am I supposed to find a job, Mr. President? It would take three years to retrain, and by then I would be 57. Who is going to hire a 57 year old entry level employee? No rational company will hire someone at that age and train them knowing they would not be there for more than a few years.

And what of my kids? My kids worked full time all the way through college. What little they got in help was in the form of academic scholarships. There were not special programs to pave their way, no mentors to make sure they succeeded. They have some education loans, but not as much as most grads. But even after six months, my son is stuck in his college job as a fastfood manager because there are no jobs for him even as a college grad. (BTW, remember "fastfood"-many liberals categorized those jobs as ones Americans wouldn't do in justifying illegal immigration.) Now faced with dwindling job prospects at the age of 23, my son is moving back home. My daughter is moving into a spare bedroom at a friend's house. Even though they paid rent on their own through college, the economy is such that they cannot afford to pay rent and their college loans. They are deferring marriage, kids, jobs because of an economy that seems only to serve the government infrastructure. The rest of the market is flat. And with the pending additional burden of a health insurance penalty, even what few entry level jobs are out there will go away. What do you expect these kids to do...wait a few years? How many? Five, ten, fifteen? And in the meantime the favoritism of affirmative action will insure that even if my kids qualify for a job that they will have to wait behind others based on nothing more than race.

While you and your handpicked cabinet of liberals and the Congress seem content to eviscerate the economy piece by piece, do you not understand that the relentless implementation of more corporate taxing ends up being a tax on all of us? Maybe when you were in law school, you missed this point, but corporations are NOT alive. When you tax a corporation, whether it is for transporation or manufacturing or energy use or profits, those costs are rolled into the cost of the product. And that means that we, the American consumers, pay that tax. It just passes through like grass through a goose. So for all your self-congratulatory talk about "taxing profits" and "penalizing corporations" you are really only penalizing US, the American people. We are the ones suffering with fewer jobs and higher prices.

In the month of October your administration racked up a deficit equal to the entire last year of President Bush's administration. Your party screamed at his spending. Yet looking back now, it seems as if this Congress and this administration is a runaway monster bent on wrecking the economy. I have to wonder why you are doing this. Do you want us all to abandon our homes to move into federal housing? Do you want to break down our individuality by imposing a rule of law that is so unconstitutional that even some of your own party would oppose it? For the entire summer you alternately ignored and dismissed the fear, the anger and the dismay of so many American over the penalties that will be imposed by your healthcare bill. When even New York writers, not known for the conservative views, startle at the penalties and costs of this bill, then is it not time to step back and stop and refine it to a bill that approaches the central problem of the hardcore uninsured without bankrupting the rest of us for a program that offers far less than we have right now.

Mr. President, I still am not a key supporter. There are too many mysteries in your past. You seem to dislike the people who live between the two coasts. You don't want to entertain the ideas that come from outside your own limited circle. And you seem driven to tax the middle class in order to buy votes. I'm sorry if you are offended by this letter, but quite honestly from what you have done so far, you seem more interested in shoring up your personal agenda than in helping the whole of the nation. And that means you are not a statesman, nor are you wise. It just means you are another politician who has been bought by a controlling majority of rich liberals. And that means the rest of us will lose again, even though we've already lost so much already.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our Disposable Society

Today in my email at work, I got a message from a coworker. Attached was the photo of two adorable Golden Retriever mixes. It seems that three weeks ago, someone left them in a park and never returned. A woman who lived near the park noticed them, noted that they stayed in the same area as if waiting. Finally she took them in to foster. But she has pets of her own. These are two housebroken, leash trained dogs, yet nobody claims them. Someone simply left them to fend on their own-to become feral strays or to get hit by a car. I guess now we don't have to commit to caring for an animal when it becomes too inconvenient. I guess pets are just disposable.

But it's worse than that. As I have said before, I teach high school. I teach in the most diverse school in the district, with kids that are scions of pro athletes alongside kids who live in trailers. But there is no significant difference in the role of negligence and absolute loneliness. We have kids who are in poverty who literally raise themselves. Sometimes it's because parents are working more than one job and must leave kids on their own. But just as often it is parents who have abdicated their responsibility to raise, nuture and protect their children. It is often just as common to have wealthy parents shove cars and money at children instead of spending time with them. I've been to many a school concert for choir, band and orchestra. There may be over 100 students on the stage, yet the audience is strangely missing. It is one thing to be unable to come, it is quite another to be unwilling to come. As a parent, I cannot imagine not being there for my children. Sadly, with far too many parents, that is not the case. I guess kids are just disposable.

Perhaps this comes from the sexual revolution. Remember when they said The Pill-Big Letters-would "liberate" women. If that's the case, then why was Roe v. Wade ever put into law? If that's the case then why are increasing numbers of poor children born to single parent households? Why is it that we have young women who seem willing to allow dangerous males into their lives and the lives of their children? Once upon a time, it was love and marriage that proceeded the baby carriage. Now it seems that in desperation some young women pursue the idea of a baby as a magnet to hold a man, but in too many cases, these children barely know the names of their fathers, much less have a relationship with him. And as these children see their mothers and fathers flit aimlessly from partner to partner, they don't see love in terms of trust demonstrated, all they see is love in terms of lust. So I guess relationships are disposable, too.

I may sound old-fashioned, but it didn't used to be this way. It used to be that even poor families had a mother and father. Maybe they didn't have the latest fashions or toys, but they had the constancy of family to rely upon. Our shiny new disposable culture seems fueled by acquisition of goods rather than appreciation for the finer things. Reading is seen as unnecessary, listening has become a lost art. And writing, well it exists only in small pockets with people who still believe the written word has power. I do not claim to know the answers, but I know that something has to change. Perhaps I am enough of an optimist to think that life isn't linear and that the problems our sloppy self-indulgence has wrought can be resolved by people caring enough to reinvoke the claims family, faith, constancy and reject the shallow TMZ world of style over substance. Our lives, our childrens' lives, are too important to allow them to be disposable.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Math Doesn't Add Up-False Stimulus Numbers

This administration has been adept at smoke and mirrors. But I think many of us are used to looking up their sleeves for the extra card or in the inside pocket for the white rabbits this administration has dreamed up. The most recent one has to do with false positives on numbers of jobs created or saved by the president's stimulus bill. Seems that he's even gone the route of "creating" over 470 jobs in a North Chicago school district that only employs 290 teachers. So somewhere out there are teachers who are being paid for not teaching or.....or.....or.....
The Numbers Lie. Read the story linked in the headline. Appalling.

Excerpt:"...More than $4.7 million in federal stimulus aid so far has been funneled to schools in North Chicago, and state and federal officials say that money has saved the jobs of 473 teachers.

Problem is, the district employs only 290 teachers.

"That other number, I don't know where that came from," said Lauri Hakanen, superintendent of North Chicago Community Unit Schools District 187...."

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Fort Hood

This is too darned close for comfort. My prayers go out to the soldiers, their families and the investigative team covering this story. I cannot help but think this is rooted in a type of complacency that has stripped us of our natural reticence to embrace those who seem to adhere to cultural beliefs counteractive to our own. That this man was a doctor, an officer, and a converted Muslim has to make many stop and wonder at what point mass murder of military personnel seemed like a good idea. This has to stem from some type of cultural hysteria that allows someone to suspend their own natural guilt to do this type of traitorous act. Has political correctness weakened us? Has an unwillingness to assign blame for things like drug sales, honor killings, religious based activism allowed a domestically grown terrorism to be nutured under our noses? This is terrorism. Make no mistake about it. And unless this administration is willing to take actions to maintain our sovereignty, control our borders and assert our independence, we will be hit again. It's only a matter of time.

Please pray for our troops. It seems they not only have to fear the enemy, but the well placed traitors in their midst.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Your Personal President

(I wrote this BEFORE the Nobel was gifted on the President. How much more does this theory apply?)
Since early in summer of 2008, it was clear that this wasn't your usual candidate or campaign. They were slick, they were savvy and they were everywhere---all the time. This slippery ability to be everywhere at once via the "new media" of the blogosphere, propelled the relatively unknown Barak Obama past the heir presumptive Hillary Clinton. And he did it by having uncounted ranks of bloggers acting as snipers against his peers within the primary and in the election at large.


This type of campaign that centers on the personal nature of the candidate has some serious flaws. First of all, by hanging their star on the candidate as a personal avenue to success, they had to create a persona that would both placate the population while simultaneously promoting an agenda of "social change." Have you heard this before? Social change is not without precedent. A plethora of radical politicians won the day on the wave of social change. But never before has a candidate injected the agenda with their personality. In some religious circles, the concept of a "personal Jesus" is one that presupposes what Jesus would say and do and think. The idea is that by having Jesus as your buddy, you would be exempt from the retribution for failure. Now we have a personal president. He's our buddy, and he approaches every issue based on the plan of smoothly suggesting which direction we should take even over the opposition of the voters.

So while many of his supporters assume that they know what President Obama is thinking, in reality, they haven't got a clue. There's a reason for this. For a long time the media and voters thought that the entire well-being of the nation had to do with them, but in reality, with this administration, it is all about Obama. How else do you explain the almost constant coverage of even the most plebian of speeches? And with so much media support deeply invested in the success or failure of this presidency, they have created a support system that enables the president to traipse even farther down that mirrored path of fame. Listen to the speeches and track how many times this president refers to his own experiences, his own feelings, his own opinions rather than seeking to explain the larger overarching needs of the nation. Is this really what he was elected to do-to fulfill his own dreams even if it is at the expense of the nation? Likewise, it is puzzling and troubling that while the leaders of other nations chose to shine the reputation based on the larger national image that the president and first lady chose to express personal feelings that appear to be more of a royal statement than a national representation.

At this point, early in the president's term, we have pundits and politicians alternately saying he hasn't had enough time to effect change and then excusing President Obama saying he has done nothing. You cannot have it both ways. Either this president is a stymied figurehead who will fulfill few if any of his big ticket promises, or he's someone so into his own image that he doesn't realize the damage he does by his statements and attitudes. If someone in the media is so hesitant of criticism that they would fact check a comedy sketch, then I think we have a problem that starts and ends with The First Ego.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Longer School Year-Who Pays

"Obama and Duncan say kids in the United States need more school because kids in other nations have more school.
"Young people in other countries are going to school 25, 30 percent longer than our students here," Duncan told the AP. "I want to just level the playing field."
While it is true that kids in many other countries have more school days, it's not true they all spend more time in school.
Kids in the U.S. spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests -- Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) than does the U.S. (180 days)..."


This is an argument we will see more as the year goes on and as unemployment remains high. I would question how the president plans to pay for this. This year our district cut all departments' funding 10% across the board and in electives an additional 10%. As property values continue to decline, the tax rates will have to go up just to maintain the status quo. Add days, weeks, months to the calendar and you had better have some meaningful way of paying for it. As a teacher I already spend at least an hour and a half after school every day and two to three hours over the weekend just to keep up with grading, mandated reports for IEP's and BIP's not to mention online lesson planning and keeping a website up to date for parents and students to access. I don't need more time in class. In fact the argument could be made that most public schools waste far too much time.

But the bottom line is that there is a difference between just lengthening the school calendar and providing a babysitting service. I am sure that in some sectors the idea of not having to pay for after school care would be a winner. But quite truthfully, by the end of the day kids are tired. Teachers are tired as well. I am not sure how much effective learning will really take place between four and six in the afternoon. And I am not sure that this is a good way to attract quality graduates into education by offering more hours for what would effectively be less pay per hour than working at Starbucks. I am also unsure whether this is the best and most efficient use of resources. If you add hours to any program, you must also add money to apply and staff that program. A program without resources is no program at all-it's play time. Most districts already offer remedial tutoring before and after school. Every district I know offers summer school to help students who have failed assessment tests for their grade level. What then is the purpose of opening schools and making all kids attend around the year other than to provide day care under the guise of education. As someone who has worked far too long and far too hard to be considered a professional, I don't consider this a way of improving education, but instead a way of invading family lives for the purpose of God knows what.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Political Blindness or How Dallas Dodged a Bomb

In Dallas today a potentional repeat of 9/11 was stopped. I know the mainstream media will bury this story because it falls directly against the pervasive attitude of this administration toward terrorists and terror states. This morning, a Jordanian national parked a car bomb in front of a tower in downtown Dallas. It was late rush hour. Luckily, the FBI had become involved in this plot early and although the self-proclaimed jihadi pushed the detonator, it was to a flawed bomb.You can read the full story here: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/sto...

Fountain place is 60 stories tall and located in close proximity to several buildings, theaters, museums as well as the Dallas ISD Arts Magnet High School. The tower houses outlets for many financial agencies. It is also important to remember that Dallas has seen a surge in many residents from Asia and the Middle East who seek places to live that have good schools and stable environments. Many Muslims have moved into the area and most are good citizens. But there are those who continue to support terror regimes in the same manner as the Holy Land Foundation out of Richardson, a Dallas suburb.

It is also odd timing. Ramadan has just ended, traditionally the time when insurgencies renew as the weather cools in the Fall. Likewise another terror attempt against New York which centers around a Denver insurgent was foiled this week. At some point our luck will run out. At some point a crucial communication will be delayed either by accident or deliberately by sources within our government who are so blissed out by their own egos that they cannot foresee that despite our president's role at the UN as Apologist-In-Chief, terror nations who do not accept us will try to destory us. Just as they will Israel, just as they will the United Kingdom, Just as they will the entire history of western culture if they get the chance. For a long time now, we have been told that we should not fear, nor be concerned about the Islamist threat. It was something that happens in other states, in other lands. After all 9/11 was eight years ago. And we should never never never be concerned about the legal status of foreign nationals. Instead we should NEGOTIATE, we should undermine our allies and appear our enemies, or at least that's the message from our president in his role of Apologist-In -Chief.

Yet doesn't anyone find it the least ironic that within hours of the president's speech that threw Israel under the bush to somehow placate Iran and Libya and all the other terrorist regimes that he seems to feel so strangely close to that Jordanian national, a self-proclaimed jihadi, tried to create a local terror incident that could have had consequences similar or worse given the time and location? So tell me now, tell me how safe we are, tell me how this institutional political blindness that is in reality political blindness to dangerous people in our midst. And while this applies to a terrorist from the Middle East, on a smaller but no less devastating scale we have a virtual invasion of people from many other nations who conveniently overstay their visas, come for one reason but get lost in the vastness of America. Is this not how 9/11 attackers managed to learn how to fly, but not to land? For all the 911Truthers and useful idiots out there, your blindness will get us killed. You continue in a baseless campaign of disinformation trying to peg the blame for 9/11 from within while on the outside we have active terror groups who are infiltrating and organizing to destroy us.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

9/12


I spent the day in RAINY Ft. Worth with thousands of my newest friends. We marched, we read signs, we chortled and shared stories. One lady I ran into was a former military attache in Washington. The stories she had to tell about Hillary and Tipper would curl your hair. Let's just say that a number of treasured gifts to the American People were protected thanks to swift action by Secret Service personnel. Never did replace that Ming Vase did you? But I digress.


Judge Napolitano was very informative and made me question some things that I had formerly wrongly supported. He discussed how our founders worried about the creation of an imperial presidency. Washington refused it. Jefferson wrote against it. And yet we have once again the cult of personality that filled the Kennedy White House in the current administration. At some point we must define the limitations of style over substance.


It was a long wet afternoon, but I feel surprisingly upbeat. I think there is hope. But I think this will be a battle to the end. People who believe we must regroup and restabilize the nation on the path of true freedom must get off their couches and participate. Today I saw everyone from bikers to teenagers to seniors. Every shade and every economic background was represented. While liberals want you to believe they represent the "big umbrella" they only represent the factions that they use to consolidate power. And this goes for BOTH sides of the aisle. Vote carefully, read the candidate's platforms and DEMAND that they follow what they promise.


It was a good day for America. There will be more.

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Week of School

I admit, the first day of school has always been met wtih sleepless nights and nervous tummies at my house. And I am the worst sufferer. Even in my role as teacher, I revert to first grade status wondering if things will go well. I worry that I am not prepared-although I chronically over prepare for every event. I worry that the kids won't like me, although realistically most kids don't like teachers. I don't enjoy being hated. I will settle for being tolerated. I worry that my evaluations won't go properly or that something from outside, such as real life events, will upset my apple cart.

I am happy to report that the first week went well. Technology is still not up to par, which really is normal. The students are a mix, with some potential doofuses in my third period. It doesn't endear me to students when they jovially discuss their summer fun of running from the police and committing crimes. Nevertheless, the advanced classes show SO MUCH PROMISE. They knocked out a quick piece this week, for me to just see where they were talent wise. I am impressed. I have several kids in Advanced Placement, but there are at least three others who should also submit portfolios, if they can. And....there are more kids in the wings. Our AP gave us a mandate to raise our numbers or risk losing a position. Well, we did that and more. Every section of every art class is FULL. Sure, it's crowded, but it's exciting too because lots of these kids are underclassmen and will fill our classes for years to come.

When I consider the somber tones of today's faculty meeting (yes, on a FRIDAY....) wherein teachers of Health and PE were informed that next year, the new requirements would make those classes 'go away' it makes me both happy and sad. We are holding on in our little corner of the curriculum. I just don't know for how long. Which is why this year, I will finally take that ESL certification test. In Texas, its the one discipline where you can come back from retiring and not take a hit in compensation. *sigh* I guess that's what it's come to.....

Monday, August 10, 2009

Better to Be a British Dog

"...The one kind of reform that America should avoid is one that is imposed uniformly upon the whole country, with a vast central bureaucracy. No nation in the world is more fortunate than America in its suitability for testing various possible solutions. The federal government should concern itself very little in health care arrangements, and leave it almost entirely to the states. I don’t want to provoke a new war of secession but surely this is a matter of states’ rights. All judgment, said Doctor Johnson, is comparative; and while comparisons of systems as complex as those of health care are never definitive or indisputable, it is possible to make reasonable global judgments: that the French system is better than the British or Dutch, for example. Only dictators insist they know all the answers in advance of experience. Let 100—or, in the case of the U.S., 50—flowers bloom.
Selfishly, no doubt, I continue to measure the health-care system where I live by what I want for myself and those about me.
And what I want, at least for that part of my time that I spend in England, is to be a dog. I also want, wherever I am, the Americans to go on paying for the great majority of the world’s progress in medical research and technological innovation by the preposterous expense of their system: for it is a truth universally acknowledged that American clinical research has long reigned supreme, so overall, the American health-care system must have been doing something right. The rest of the world soon adopts the progress, without the pain of having had to pay for it....

Ben Stein: NYT Purges Conservatism

What most of the recent hooha has been centered around are what is known as "free speech rights." In a nutshell, that means that all Americans, not just some, not just certain wealthy people, not just Democrats, not just Republicans, not just Christians and not just Atheists have endowed upon them the inalienable right to have their own opinions and to state them freely without repercussions. Much of what we see in the media is limited speech. By admission, most big time journalists are politically liberal. And that is their right. But there is also a necessary balance that must be served. When vast groups feel they are not being heard, confrontations occur. That is what happened with civil rights, gay rights and just about any other situation we have debated. So why then, considering the ACLU's constant mission to allegedly preserve free speech and the lipservice of the left to the idea of free speech, are conservative outlets, writers and pundits being forced into a type of journalistic purgatory? If you cannot listen to the opposition, then I would contend that your own grounding in whatever philosophy you espouse is weak and meaningless to you. We saw this idea, with the Big Lie making candidates appear to be mindless villains just because the churning entrails of the blogosphere says so. I have cautioned conservatives to avoid entering the type of debate that is a personal attack, but for many people having seen their friends, candidates and coworkers vilified, that is a difficult chore.
At any rate, the reason for writing this blog was that Ben Stein was fired from the New York Times. I am not sure what a conservative with an economics background was doing there in the first place, but I would think in order to at least pretend they gave the full scope of the political spectrum the NYT would keep a few token conservatives around. But as with so many other conservative, the NYT and its ancillary blogs, websites and such chose to create a type of aura that Stein was participating in conflict of interest situation with a company that he was a spokesman for. And to be additionally callous, they emailed the firing to his phone from someone that he had not met and did not know. Who is running the HR department at the NYT? Ron Burgundy? But as with all things, this too shall pass. I hope he writes a book detailing the idiocy that passes for reporting in liberal outlets. I also hope that if some writers, notably the idiot on Reuters, continue to defame his character that he follows up with a lawsuit.
Here's the
column that Stein wrote outlining his fall from grace that began, oddly enough, with a column that was never published which criticized Obama. Are you sensing a trend here?
Excerpt:
"...But the two main things, as I see them, were that I started criticizing Mr. Obama quite sharply over his policies and practices. I had tried to do this before over the firing of Rick Wagoner from the Chairmanship of GM. My column had questioned whether there was a legal basis for the firing by the government, what law allowed or authorized the federal government to fire the head of what was then a private company, and just where the Obama administration thought their limits were, if anywhere. This column was flat out nixed by my editors at the Times because in their opinion Mr. Obama inherently had such powers..."

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Is AARP Pushing Obamacare?

Without polling their members, AARP is choosing to blindly support the president's healthcare bill unseen and unread. Below is an account from a townhall meeting with state of Texas AARP reps. Note that they are dismissive of members concerns, ignored members questions and left in a huff when they were asked to justify their actions. I am of an age where I get literature from AARP, but I have known for quite awhile that they were lobbyists for a type of socialist system. Here's the account from one of my good friends in the group who was at the meeting: "...I went to the AARP meeting today (billed as a listening meeting - AARP was to do the listening) at the rec center on White Rock Trail. I asked the coordinator how it was that AARP was interested in the Obamacare bill in that it was unconstitutional. No answer was given. The crowd got upset that the question was not answered. A retired professor explained the 6 issues and opened for questions. The major questions were about why AARP was supporting the bill. They said they weren't. Most of the members did not agree, expressing their disagreement verbally. Once the questioning got to the coverage of those age 50 - 54, the audience asked questions that were not answered. The audience was not accepting. There was some discussion about why AARP didn't poll the members as to whether they supported Healthcare. AARP said that that was decided by the policy board. The policy rep that was there said it was because of all the stories that they had received about how bad the current system was working for them. The crowd did not accept this answer. Further valid questions from the audience brought answers from AARP that were not acceptable to the audience. It deteriorated. After, maybe 20 minutes, the AARP coordinator and the AARP expert pulled the microphone and left the building. We were told the meeting was ended because some members that agreed with her were leaving. The policy board member (to his credit) stayed for the whole time to hear the members views. After the AARP people closed the meeting there was a lot of preaching to the choir. One believer in the Healthcare program did stay and had heated discussion with others. It was at this time that I spoke with the AARP policy board member who told me that he had a problem with AARP wanting to cover the illegal aliens. I once again brought up the constitutional issue. Again no answer but he was friendly..."

Internet Intimidation

I don't know if this is organized or not, but it sure seems to be. I was a long time blogger on a local news website. I would sometimes discuss political things as well as current news events. On our blog in DFW, two posters came about three weeks ago. Their mode of action is to trash other people's blogs, even when the blogs are something as inncuous as commenting on the weather. In talking to some other people, this seems to be a growing trend. As conservative bloggers start truly pressing the issues, there seems to be a coordinated action to silence us. I find this disturbing because it is a denial of freedom of speech, a denial of freedom of the press and has all the earmarks of a political group trying to seize the blogosphere for their own political ends. We already deal with a mainstream media that is in throes of ecstacy over anything uttered by the current administration, I shudder to think what would happen if indeed all other information sources are systematically bullied out of existence. On a larger scale, now the Justice Dept has pulled the rug out from a case that was already won regarding voter intimidation. As with Gates' Gate, one has to wonder if the racial makeup of the people involved were different, would this ever have happened? And how is having a paramilitary organization within the legal boundaries of a polling place a good idea-unless you mean to influence the election. Is this a precursor of what we will see in 2010?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Evil Exists-And We Are Allowing It

This is appalling. And I want to know why this adminstration, which is supposed to be oh so compassionate to the rest of the world is allowing this story to pass by without comment.

"NKorea 'Tests Weapons on Children'
July 24, 2009
Knight Ridder/Tribune

SEOUL, South Korea -- When Im Chun-yong made his daring escape from North Korea, with a handful of his special forces men, there were many reasons why the North Korean government was intent on stopping them.

They were, after all, part of Kim Jong-il's elite commandos -- privy to a wealth of military secrets and insights into the workings of the reclusive regime.

But among the accounts they carried with them is one of the most shocking yet to emerge -- namely the use of humans, specifically mentally or physically handicapped children, to test North Korea's biological and chemical weapons.

"If you are born mentally or physically deficient, says Im, the government says your best contribution to society... is as a guinea pig for biological and chemical weapons testing."

Even after settling into the relative safety of South Korea, for 10 years Im held on to this secret, saying it was too horrific to recount.

But with Kim's health reportedly failing, and the country appearing increasingly unpredictable, Im felt it was time he spoke out.

Daughter given up

The former military captain says it was in the early 1990s, that he watched his then commander wrestle with giving up his 12-year-old daughter who was mentally ill.

The commander, he says, initially resisted, but after mounting pressure from his military superiors, he gave in.

Im watched as the girl was taken away. She was never seen again.

One of Im's own men later gave him an eyewitness account of human-testing.

Asked to guard a secret facility on an island off North Korea's west coast, Im says the soldier saw a number of people forced into a glass chamber.

"Poisonous gas was injected in," Im says. "He watched doctors time how long it took for them to die."

Other North Korean defectors have long alleged that the secretive nation has been using political prisoners as experimental test subjects.

Some have detailed how inmates were shipped from various concentration camps to so-called chemical "factories".

'Widespread practice'

But Im's is the first account of mentally-ill or physically challenged children being used.

Security analysts believe Kim oversees one of the most aggressive and robust biochemical weapons programmes in the world.

A member of the special forces' Brigade No.19, Im says he was trained on how to use biochemical weapons against the "enemy" -- including how to fire them from short-range "bazooka-style" weapons.

He says such training was normal practice for all elite units.

Today it is estimated the country has accumulated a stockpile of more than 5,000 tonnes of biochemical weaponry; from mustard gas, to nerve agents such as sarin, to anthrax and cholera.

The extent of the stockpile is a concern to Kim Sang-hun, a retired UN official who has spent years investigating the North's chemical and biological weapons programme.

He believes over the past 20 years, the programme has advanced at a startling pace, specifically because the country's rulers approve and support the use of human test subjects.

"Human experimentation is a widespread practice," Kim says.

"I hoped I was wrong, but it is the reality and it is taking place in North Korea and it is taking place at a number of locations."

There are some who question claims that the North conducts human trials. But Kim says he has interviewed hundred of defectors who, more times than not, volunteer personal vivid accounts.

"The programme is now a commonly known fact in the North Korean public," he says.

As a former member of the elite special forces, Im agrees.

While the government may be secretive about a lot of things, he says "when it comes to human experimentation, most know it happens".

Investigating what he says are serious UN violations regarding the rights of children and prisoners, Kim Sang-hun has amassed a vast amount of evidence.

Compiled in folders at his home in Seoul are reams of testimonies and documents.

Some bear what appear to be official government stamps approving the transfer of prisoners from camps to chemical "factories".

He says he believes these are, in reality, experimental weapons sites.

He has pinpointed at least three to five labs that he believes are situated in different parts of the country, including one just a few kilometres north of the capital, Pyongyang.

Security analysts suspect there are as many as 20 such plants across the country.

Biochemical threat

As the world's attention focuses on the North's nuclear programme, Im is worried the international community will miss what he believes is the more imminent threat posed by the country's biochemical arsenal.

Arms experts say at least 30 per cent of North Korea's missile and artillery systems are capable of delivering such weapons. With each successive test, they warn the North's accuracy improves, and so too its range.

The UN Security Council now says it believes three of the seven missiles tested by the North on July 4 were Scud-ER missiles, which are known to be more accurate and have a range of 1,000km.

Tokyo is roughly 1,160km from the base on North Korea's east coast from where the missiles were fired, while other parts of Japan are closer.

Im believes the government would not hesitate to use such arms, saying he has seen the "ruthlessness" of the country's leaders.

During his escape from North Korea in December 1999, Im says he and his men battled their way out, chased by dozens of members of other commando units.

"I myself killed three men," he says. "Then after swimming across the half frozen Tumen river into China, we sold our guns, and left that life behind."

Im now devotes his time to gathering intelligence about the North's military capabilities.

Even a decade after his escape, the threat he still poses to the North Korean government means that he now lives under the constant protection of South Korea's National Intelligence Service
."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Healthcare, Obama and You

Many people have been lured into blind support for the healthcare bill under the misguided idea that it will offer "free" healthcare. Nothing could be farther from the truth. First of all, you get what you pay for. And this bill won't pay for just healthcare but for a variety of socialist oriented neighborhood programs that have little to do with health, care or anything remotely medical. In addition, the congressional leadership refuses to work with moderates or the opposition and seems intent in writing a secret bill which will not have public scrutiny until after it is a fait accompli. As with Cap and Trade, this is a cynical attempt to hide the true cost of these gilded programs from taxpayers. It also is hiding some very serious provisions which are sure to alarm seniors and their families. Read below.

"...Two main bills are being rushed through Congress with the goal of combining them into a finished product by August. Under either, a new government bureaucracy will select health plans that it considers in your best interest, and you will have to enroll in one of these "qualified plans." If you now get your plan through work, your employer has a five-year "grace period" to switch you into a qualified plan. If you buy your own insurance, you'll have less time.
And as soon as anything changes in your contract -- such as a change in copays or deductibles, which many insurers change every year -- you'll have to move into a qualified plan instead (House bill, p. 16-17).


When you file your taxes, if you can't prove to the IRS that you are in a qualified plan, you'll be fined thousands of dollars -- as much as the average cost of a health plan for your family size -- and then automatically enrolled in a randomly selected plan (House bill, p. 167-168).

It's one thing to require that people getting government assistance tolerate managed care, but the legislation limits you to a managed-care plan even if you and your employer are footing the bill (Senate bill, p. 57-58). The goal is to reduce everyone's consumption of health care and to ensure that people have the same health-care experience, regardless of ability to pay.

Nowhere does the legislation say how much health plans will cost, but a family of four is eligible for some government assistance until their household income reaches $88,000 (House bill, p. 137). If you earn more than that, you'll have to pay the cost no matter how high it goes. (So much for saving money for the middle class.)

The price tag for this legislation is a whopping $1.04 trillion to $1.6 trillion (Congressional Budget Office estimates). Half of the tab comes from tax increases on individuals earning $280,000 or more, and these new taxes will double in 2012 unless savings exceed predicted costs (House bill, p. 199). The rest of the cost is paid for by cutting seniors' health benefits under Medicare.
(The implication here is they want seniors to die and get off the books...)

There's plenty of waste in Medicare, but the Congressional Budget Office estimates only 1 percent of the savings under the legislation will be from curbing waste, fraud and abuse. That means the rest will likely come from reducing what patients get. (Rationing, the thing they said they would not do)

One troubling provision of the House bill compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years (and more often if they become sick or go into a nursing home) about alternatives for end-of-life care (House bill, p. 425-430).

(Now wait a minute right here. Is there anyone out there that wants their parents to recieve government issue 'counseling' as to end of life issues? This is especially troubling since some of the more radical leftists in the Democrat party support Assisted Suicide as a viable alterantive. Will they talk innocent seniors into giving up their lives for some intangible payback? Will they guilt them into a rash action? THIS IS DISTURBING and where is the AARP on this issue? Oh, I forgot, they're in the tank for this too....)The sessions cover highly sensitive matters such as whether to receive antibiotics and "the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration." This mandate invites abuse, and seniors could easily be pushed to refuse care. Do we really want government involved in such deeply personal issues?

Shockingly, only a portion of the money accumulated from slashing senior benefits and raising taxes goes to pay for covering the uninsured. The Senate bill allocates huge sums to "community transformation grants," home visits for expectant families, services for migrant workers -- and the creation of dozens of new government councils, programs and advisory boards slipped into the last 500 pages.

The most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll (June 21) finds that 83 percent of Americans are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the quality of their health care, and 81 percent are similarly satisfied with their health insurance. ..."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Obamacare Explained

Let's imagine that you have a family. And in this family there are two children. One child saves his allowance, works part time, does his homework doesn't eat junkfood, doesn't use drugs and gets plenty of sleep. The other child stay out until all hours, uses any drug they can get their hands on, squanders their allowance and steals from Mom's purse when she's not looking. Let's say that the family wants to go to Disneyland. Mom and Dad say "We will pay the airfare, but you will have to buy any tee shirts or special tickets yourselves."

Under conventional health care, the good kid gets to go on extra rides, buy more stuff and have a better time as a reward for DOING THE RESPONSIBLE THING. The other kid suffers by having to spend the entire trip with Mom and Dad.

Under Obamacare Mom and Dad take all the money that the good kid has earned and saved, gives it to the other kid who blows it on junk and then when that runs out, they make the good kid give more of his already dwindling share of the money because "we are all in this together."

So the bottom line is Obamacare punishes responsibility and rewards sloth and irresponsibility.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Final Solution Revived in France

I will warn you, the story linked in the title is appalling. And it is appalling not just for the torture and murder of an innocent man, but because of the political and judicial manipulations designed to keep this story off of the front pages. True, people are killed every day. But in this day and age, when a young Jewish man is lured by a woman and then tortured over many days only to be killed by an Islamist, the implications are much larger. One has to wonder, do the French, the Germans, the Brits, realize the vipers that they have welcomed to their homelands? Do they care about the safety of their citizens or are they more concerned with looking good in the World's stage? When British Jews feel so unsafe in the face of repeated slurs, graffiti and even the public implications of subjection to sharia law from neighborhood to neighborhood, isn't it pretty clear that we are not seeing a unification of Europe, but instead the systemic dissolution of Europe at the hands of those who passively invade her? Is this not akin to rape?

Playing God: Bioethics and National Health Care

We have all seen the stories- Michael J. Fox, an actor I really like and admire, stricken with a serious disease, Mary Tyler Moore and diabetes. We’ve seen the tragedy of spinal cord injuries such as those suffered by Christopher Reeves. We see the famous and not so famous that clutch in desperation for any straw that offers them hope. This has been the impetus behind stem cell research. The controversy comes when the stem cells from fetuses, unborn children, are used. Studies have shown that adult stem cells react in the same way, but the controversy continues. Why should you care about this topic? Because it is one of the many covered under the umbrella of bioethical concern.

Bioethics is a branch of medical philosophy that weighs the ability to act against the assumed quality of life. In short, this is doctors playing God. And as we move towards a more controlled or as some say, rationed, measure of care, we need to be very specific in what we are getting into.

Consider this story:

“...When fetal stem cells are publicly discussed, three diseases—often represented by their celebrity spokespersons—lead a list of potential therapeutic applications. They are Parkinson Disease (Michael J Fox), paralysis as a result of spinal cord injury (previously the late Christopher Reeve), and Diabetes Mellitus, type 1, (either Mary Tyler Moore or Ron Santo). The media packages the information as foregone conclusions: fetal stem cells are a veritable source of untapped, and then implied, “unlimited” therapeutic uses. A stunning recent series of setbacks in the context of fetal stem cells and Parkinson Disease (PD), however, has not received equivalent publicity. It appears that the promise of this controversial, and as of yet unproven, therapeutic modality for an estimated one million persons with PD, has been scientifically exposed and found wanting.

The journal Nature Medicine published three articles in May 2008 analyzing eight patients from three separate cohorts who received human fetal midbrain tissue transplants 9-16 years earlier for PD.1 The published results led to two insightful editorial commentaries. The studies have dispelled the myth that fetal stem cells are a straightforward panacea for PD. In addition, they propose a plausible theory that these cells, even with continued research, may never work in this regard....

http://www.cbhd.org/resources/stemcells/rutecki_2009-06-19.htm

To translate, the researchers are finding that in their application of the proposed stem cell therapies, the reaction is NOT as they anticipated and in further examination, may never reach the goals that so many are intent on throwing millions of dollars in support. But let’s assume that these disabilities and injuries don’t impact your life directly. Why should you care? You should care because groups that support such research and efforts are politically placed in such a fashion through either their celebrity sponsors or their PAC’s to demand millions of dollars from the proposed healthcare bill in terms of research. But if we are going to be honest about the quality of research, should we not also be willing to admit that it is possible that the proposed “cures” may not work?

This is not the first instance of such politicizing of medical research for funding purposes. Consider the amount of money given for AIDS research. AIDS is a devastating disease and due to research those who have this disease are living longer, fuller more productive lives. Yet, they represent a small number within the population of people who are dying for a cure. Heart disease and cancer are the top two-and AIDS by relation of Karposi’s Sarcoma would fit in that category. But generally speaking, cancer, except in tragic circumstances is usually the disease of old age.

So this brings up another problem. If we have a finite amount of service slots available for medical care under a nationalize system, and we have more people needing services than there are slots, who gets priority? If you follow the bioethical limitations, you serve the younger and healthier in society before you serve the sick and aged. To bioethicists, this makes sense. But there is the slippery slope. Once you begin to codify procedure and medications into
narrow absolutes, you are in danger of ignoring the humanity of the patient. Consider the following excerpt from an NYT interview with President Obama:


“...THE PRESIDENT: Exactly. And I just recently went through this. I mean, I’ve told this story, maybe not publicly, but when my grandmother got very ill during the campaign, she got cancer; it was determined to be terminal. And about two or three weeks after her diagnosis she fell, broke her hip. It was determined that she might have had a mild stroke, which is what had precipitated the fall.

So now she’s in the hospital, and the doctor says, Look, you’ve got about — maybe you have three months, maybe you have six months, maybe you have nine months to live. Because of the weakness of your heart, if you have an operation on your hip there are certain risks that — you know, your heart can’t take it. On the other hand, if you just sit there with your hip like this, you’re just going to waste away and your quality of life will be terrible.

And she elected to get the hip replacement and was fine for about two weeks after the hip replacement, and then suddenly just — you know, things fell apart.

I don’t know how much that hip replacement cost. I would have paid out of pocket for that hip replacement just because she’s my grandmother. Whether, sort of in the aggregate, society making those decisions to give my grandmother, or everybody else’s aging grandparents or parents, a hip replacement when they’re terminally ill is a sustainable model, is a very difficult question. If somebody told me that my grandmother couldn’t have a hip replacement and she had to lie there in misery in the waning days of her life — that would be pretty upsetting....”


In addition, the president has stated that if his wife or children were in medical peril, he would want the best care. “Quality of Life” assumptions aside, who would NOT want their family members to get the best of care. But what if that level of competency becomes unattainable due to the defacto rationing of services that a nationalized health care system would require. Please remember, the UK and Canada have both had to resort to allowing private insurance on top of what is assessed in taxes in order to allow everyone to get services on a somewhat timely basis. And even then, the wait for common ailments such as gall bladder disease and kidney stones lag far beyond what the majority of Americans would tolerate.

While the “best” care doesn’t always translate into the most costly care, it sets up a system where some people will get the “best care” and the rest of us will settle for what the government legally allows us to have. Congress has not shown itself willing to adhere to the less costly, and less special type of medical system that they expect the rest of America to embrace. In addition, there are plans to exact a penalty for those who choose private care from their employer in terms of an additional payroll tax. So responsibility will be punished, medical facilities compensated less and who wins here? The people who win are those who don’t pay into the system. But the unfortunate aspect of that is that many of the self-proclaimed “uninsured” qualify for medical care under already existing government programs. All they have to do is sign up. But the hurdles to that is the amount of paperwork. If this new program also involves paperwork, then what will we do when these same populations STILL don’t have coverage.

Then there is problem of penetration. Even the most optimistic of supporters of this nationalize healthcare system realizes that not all people will be covered. As a sort of microcosm of a possible program, we can look at what Massachusetts has done with their state health care system. Here’s an excerpt of what is going on in that program:


“...The Massachusetts law, which was championed by former GOP Governor Mitt Romney, imposed an individual mandate, requiring nearly all residents to buy health insurance or else pay a penalty. (The exceptions are those who qualify for the state's public program.) This was supposed to cover everybody and save money too. We've written before about how costs have exploded, but it also turns out that consumers have other ideas.

For 15 years Massachusetts has also imposed mandates known as guaranteed issue and community rating -- meaning that insurers must cover anyone who applies, regardless of health or pre-existing conditions, and also charge everyone the same premium (or close to it). Yet these mandates allow people to wait until they're sick, or just before they're about to incur major medical expenses, to buy insurance. This drives up costs for everyone else, which helps explain why small-group coverage in Massachusetts is so much more expensive than in most of the country. Mr. Romney argued -- as Democrats are arguing now -- that the individual mandate would make that problem disappear, since everyone is always supposed to be covered.

Well, the returns are rolling in, and a useful case study comes from the community-based health plan Harvard-Pilgrim. CEO Charlie Baker reports that his company has seen an "astonishing" uptick in people buying coverage for a few months at a time, running up high medical bills, and then dumping the policy after treatment is completed and paid for. Harvard-Pilgrim estimates that between April 2008 and March 2009, about 40% of its new enrollees stayed with it for fewer than five months and on average incurred about $2,400 per person in monthly medical expenses. That's about 600% higher than Harvard-Pilgrim would have otherwise expected....”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124726287099225209.html

There are lots of numbers thrown around, but in helping my daughter find individual healthcare, she was able to find insurance for less than $100 a month with pre-existing conditions. As with any other budgetary concern, families can choose to spend their money any way they want. For example, it alwasy amazes me how some students don't have money for school supplies, but seem to have money for costly manicures and expensive clothes from the likes of Hollister and Abecrombie and Fitch. Everyone makes choices, but with political power pressing the requisite of health insurance, this changes the playing field.For example, in Texas we are supposed to have car insurance to drive. But 25% of us do not have that kind of financial responsibility. What happens is that the rest of the responsible driving population must pay higher premiums and be covered for uninsured drivers in order to make up the difference. I don't see anything changing just because this is medical insurance. In fact, given the political powers that drive hospitals, schools and police away from demanding an ID in return for services, I think this kind of program will be absolutely gutted by the fraudulent use of identities to recieve services. And before you deny this, consider the amount of fraud that was recently discovered in the social security system wherein dead people were receiving payments.

What this boil down to is do you want someone else, someone who doesn't know you, making life and death decisions? While this administration uses the crutch of technology to forge their program, remember that with more interconnectivity, there is also more of a chance for your private medical history to become public knowledge. HIPPA laws were developed to avoid the possibility of employers finding out employees secrets, but how many people do you know who seek drug dependency, psychiatric help or other possible services that could be viewed negatively, off the books and on their own dime? That would be impossible under this system. While the government likes to assume privacy will be kept, once it is in the system, your information is no longer your own.Currently there is no law that you must accept whatever your employer offers. Sometimes you can do better on your own and there is certainly more privacy under an independent plan. But not every family will make those choices. I know of very well to do families who don’t get health insurance at all. I guess they hope and pray they never have to go to the hospital. I also know people who believe they can simply skip out on medical bills. The sad thing is that all of these scenarios drive up the cost for everyone that does the responsible thing and gets insured. And what is worse, if we are forced into a program that presumes to make ethical decision for us through the withholding of care, then we really have to question who is playing God here.