Sunday, January 31, 2010

New abortion mill in East Knoxville

After the stopping of the abortion mill in Bearden was successful. The pro abortion community did not give up.

It is now coming out that Planned Parenthood has purchased property in East Knoxville. They are expected to open a new abortion clinic. As usual they are looking to prey on the predominantly minority community. There is a press conference planned by the Pro-Life Coalition of East Tennessee for Tuesday at 11:00 at True Vine Baptist Church (corner of Cherry and Washington) with several black pastors and community leaders to attend.

Possibly they heard the audio where a person called Planned parenthood and said they wanted to make a donation to kill black babies. Planned Parenthood said they were happy to help and thought it was a great idea.

I was going to post it here again (I had it up when it first came out) but youtube has banned it. Why? No reason was given. even though it broke no rules for use. I guess it was too honest.

Good for thee but not for me

Free speech is an interesting thing. Everyone seems to have an opinion on who and where and when it should be limited. Today the KNS comes out against limiting the free speech of trial lawyers ability to introduce what ever theory or mis fact they want. The theory is the public can figure it out.

OK. Fine, they are for free speech. I can see that coming from a credible newspaper.

But wait. Are they consistent with that?

Well, somehow they are all in favor of limiting the free speech of corporations at election time.

If you feel the public is smart enough to decipher when someone is lying to save their skin then how do they suddenly turn dumb when it comes election time?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Two out of four options offered

Two options keep getting offered to keep unemployment benefits up and solvent. The two offered are:

1. Get a loan/go in debt to the federal government.

2. Increase taxes on job providers.

Some how the option to decrease benefits never seems to come up. Like it just does not exist. That it is a non option. What we are required to pay by the federal government is minuscule compared to what we do pay. So to say we can't cut benefits just is not so.

The other non mentioned option seems to be due to a lock in on the classic liberal thinking of the past. The backwards thinking that the only person who should be forced to pay for insurance is NOT the recipient of the service, but their employer.

If the option were similar to free market health insurance where the recipient pays for the benefit then people could shift their thinking away from:

"Who cares what happens to my employer. I get paid either way"

To

"What can I do to make sure my employer stays in business so I can keep a job"

Tough times call for tough smart measures. We need to get away from being hit with the old one, two punch of tax or borrow. It is not responsible.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Knoxville's New Snow Removal Equipment

Times are rough with all the cut-backs.

The Snow Removal Crew

sure ain’t what it used to be!

The next big idea


After green energy gets going this will be next. I can hear it now..."We will call it "Jobs for Tennessee!" The state can employ a homeless person. Possibly getting him off the street. Think of all the money that will save right there! Then refinery business will grow and can employ more people! Its a win, win!"

Isn't that how they passed the lottery?

Quote of the day

"Green technology, It runs on money. Usually the taxpayers"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

She loves me, She loves me not, She loves me....

Local Democrats aren't sure of what to do . They want people think they can win against me. But they don't want to face me because I might win. They are not sure how to handle it. Support me in the primary because they really think they could win against me or oppose me in the primary because they know there is no hope in the general and thus throw their candidate under the bus.

Here is the Metro pulse article where the local liberal mouth piece (Courtney Piper) hits the mix up....

And this brings up an interesting scenario down the road. “You’ve got a lot of very moderate Republicans who do not care for [Campfield’s] leadership,” Piper explains, “and so I think that if he were to emerge from the Republican primary as the nominee, you could get a lot of those moderate Republicans who might take a look at a Randy Walker or whoever the Democrat nominee is.”

So should Democrats, likely strongly opposed to Campfield’s substance and style, root for him to win the primary?

“No,” Piper says, laughing, “and I’ll tell you why: He’s a very, very tough campaigner. I don’t think his campaigning abilities can be underestimated.”

In other words, don’t play with fire.


So Cortney, could I just say that you think I am the candidate most likely to beat the Democrat who ever it is?

Can I use that in a mail piece?

King of pop. Popped off concent.


A resolution to Honor Michael "The king of pop" Jackson was bumped off the consent calendar this morning. It should make it back up to the full house for a vote some time next week.

Some people think he's bad.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Might as well make it a million

It is almost laughable to think the Dems are offering a$25,000.00 bonus to take over the house, senate or governors mansion. It might as well be a million. I thought Dems thought bonuses were evil?

Still not me

Well it looks like the people desperate to discredit me have sunk to a new low. It started with a fake twitter account and has now sunk to fake e mail.

Now my name is being used on communications to legislators and other people in an attempt to discredit legislation I may be in support of.

Who ever you are, grow up. If you don't like something, have the courage to stand up on your own and and say it.

Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver has also been hit by someone trying to solicit money in her name.

Water video

You can view the water video here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Taxpayer supported

It seems the taxpayers like the idea of cutting out bottled water for legislators. Some legislators aren't as fond of the idea. It is odd how often that happens.

All for free speech except.....

When the left disagrees with it. I thought the pro aborts always said they were all for helping families. It had nothing to do with making money. Now when someone just says their are alternatives to abortion, well....

I guess we know were they really stand.

If they don't like the Teabow add why not run one of their own? I can just imagine it now...........

Water, water everywhere.....

And not a drop to drink. Cara Kumari is doing a story on my bill to stop the government from purchasing bottled water except in emergency situations. The Gray Poupon crowd may not like it but these days every penny counts.

The story will be on WSMV tonight at 6.

Monday, January 25, 2010

S.E.C.! S.E.C.!! S.E.C.!!!

The O show. David Oatney is running for the S.E.C. (State executive committee). He has a place that you can donate to help his campaign. It is just two clicks away from here. David is a great conservative and more important, a great person. He would make a great member of the S.E.C.

I just cant hate him


This last Sunday was the Knoxville "Walk for life". Before the walk some good news was being talked about around the church. Former Florida QB Tim Tebow and his mother are supposedly making a commercial for the Superbowl. No big news you might say. Sports figures often make TV commercials and often include their family.

This one will be different.

The commercial is supporting the pro life movement. As many of you may know Tim is a person who survived because his mother was pro life. She was told her life was in danger because of the pregnancy. She was told Tim would probably not live any way. She was told to abort.

She did not. The rest is history.

Focus on the family is supposedly paying for it. Word is Tim is being told to not do the commercial. It could hurt his stock as a pro football recruit. Tim is holding strong and standing by his beliefs and doing the commercial.

Good for him.... Even if he is a Gator.

Failing schools don't want reform

May I live to see the day when Memphis city schools do reasonable things. That place just makes me scratch my head. If a school has failed for five years in a row and is not getting better, how could you not want someone else to take it over?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rep. Joe Towns shoots a video



Hiding behind a false name of "General Larry Platt" State Rep Joe Towns shoots the video smash hit "Pants on the ground" in an effort to gain support for his bill to make kids pull up their pants.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Just wondering

I am just wondering with the supreme court decision allowing corporations to support campaigns, when Obama has the government take over a corporation can he tell them to donate to him?

The Dems seem upset that Republicans might get some money from corporations. Some could make the argument that the supreme court decision will help the Democrats way more then Republicans. They already have the unions. Now they want to take over the corporations as well.

Lets see, with stimulus and bailouts the government/Democrats are in control of many already. The auto industry corporations, the banking and finance industry corporations, the corporations that feed the government. They are pushing for huge government subsidies for some energy corporations. They are on a push to take over tons of corporations. They still want to take over of the health industry, insurance industry and their corporations. the list goes on and on.

Why are they upset?

I feel movement

With the supreme court decision coming down I am hearing movement for an idea that was only spoken of in whispers until yesterday.

Full disclosure.


Removing all limits on campaign contributions. There would be no state imposed limits on how much money can be given to a candidate from any person or organization whatsoever. Those donations would have to be fully recorded and disclosed, but that would be it.

Not that I have any problem with people who have money but many feel there is an unfair campaign advantage that the wealthy have over the regular income people in the current system. The A.G. has said he will not limit the wealthy from self funding. That puts regular income people at a huge disadvantage in a bigger race.

Bredesen did it for his first guber campaign. When he dropped his money into the campaign the other candidate (Van Hillary) could not keep up. Van saw his lead in the polling numbers drop away on a inverse relation to the money dropped in by Bredesen.

Many from the other side of the isle say the same happened with Corker/Ford in the senate race or might happen with Haslam.

They say the state donation limit of two thousand or even five thousand dollars per person makes it near impossible to keep up with a person willing to drop two or even five million of their own money into a state wide race. A regular candidate does not have the time to reach enough small donors or shake enough hands to keep up.

In all races money reaches a saturation point. That 11th piece of mail is not going to sway a person much more then the 10th piece. Same with radio, TV or other media buys. But if one candidate has dropped 10 pieces of mail and the other guy has dropped two there is a difference. All other things being equal the money wins. I hate to say it, but at least in bigger races, big money makes a big difference.

Full disclosure could help level the field.

This does something

Unlike the k-12 bill we passed last week, the higher ed bill actually does something to help students get a degree. This Chas Sisk article does a good little run down but for the most part it makes it easier to transfer credits between Tennessee schools and rewards schools for helping students to graduate.

A great step.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bombshell

The supreme court has struck down more of McCain Feingold as unconstitutional. Limits on corporations and unions being able to spend have been struck down as limiting to free speech. More to come?

I wonder if it will effect the outcome of the questions I posed to the A.G.

Headline of the day

I am not sure why but this one just strikes me as funny......or sad.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Boston tea party

A lot of bleary eyes strolling in to the capitol this morning. I think some were up late watching the results of the Boston Massacre roll in.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Still not getting it.

Just as a lark I decided to see what CNN was saying about the Scott brown election. After a prolonged segment on Haiti, They cut to their crew talking about how Scott Brown won "Ted Kennedy's seat"

Guy's, Brown made his entire campaign about how it was not "Ted Kennedy's seat". It is the peoples seat. Give it up. He won.

How long will it be??

How long will it be before liberals start spinning Scott Browns win as "No big deal". How Coakley was a terrible candidate and how Massachusetts really isn't all that liberal.

Riiiiiiight.

Let the count begin.

This could get ugly

For Democrats. If the Dems can not win in the liberal enclave of Massachusetts, home of Ted Kennedy, they are going to find it hard to win anywhere, much less Tennessee. This race proves that this revolution is not going to be just in the south where conservatives have a stronghold. It can go nation wide.

Local hero

A good friend of mine and a rock solid solid conservative deserves some big credit today. Lee Frank, former host of "Lets Talk Frank" and husband of blogger Terry Frank helped save a mans life yesterday.

While fishing down on the river yesterday a man intent on taking his own life jumped his truck into the river. Lee and another woman who was jogging near by jumped into the icy water, swam out to the truck and pulled the man to safety.

If I knew the woman's name I would give her credit as well. Both deserve credit for saving the mans life.

Big kudos to them!

Words conservatives seldom say

"God bless Massachusetts!!"

"The claw"

Today the Men's Health Network had a free health screening. Blood pressure, body fat etc.. One of the tests was grip strength. Rep. Frank Nicley and I had the two top grips of all those tested. 150 and 168 pounds of squeeze force.

I figure it has to be from all those years of pinching pennies.

Monday, January 18, 2010

But what does it do?

Yes we passed the "Race to the trough" bill. People are asking "I know, but what does it do?"

Not much in it is mandatory. A lot of "May" do this or that, instead of "Will or shall" do this or that. A lot of the bill is also redundant on things we could have been doing for years.

Teachers scores (on if the teacher improved an individual child's performance) "MAY" or "MAY NOT" be used as part (up to 50%) of an evaluation of teacher performance previous to giving them tenure. Tenure "MAY" be granted as late as the 4th year of employment (Or as soon as the first day).

The same teacher evaluation scores have been around for 20 years.

The state "May" take over failing schools if they have failed going on 5 years in a row. The ability to take over failing school systems have been around for years as well without this legislation.

The only semi real change is that teachers evaluation information will be available for the principal to look at on a yearly basis. Parents are still not allowed to see teacher performance scores.

Of course the principal CAN NOT use that information as a way to determine teacher pay or tenure status if the teacher has already achieved tenure unless the state has taken over the school.

When a school is taken over the state can do those things. They always could. Of course, a teacher can quit and take their tenure status to a non failing school and it all starts over or stay and get bonus incentive pay. Either way a teachers pay can not go down.

That is about it. As I said, it is not much.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Speaking of....

It looks like Rep. Susan Lynn will have smooth sailing for the senate as A.J. McCall has dropped out of the the senate race.

Republicans love the ladies

There is a real interesting potential for history to be made in the next congressional race. Not that I am making any endorsements and it may not happen but it is possible that Tennessee may not only be Republican majority, but a Republican majority that is lead by females.

Imagine A Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Rep. Robin Smith and Rep.Diane black or a possible Rep. Mae Beavers. It could make a Tennessee a Republican state party congressional delegation female lead for the first time ever.

Has that ever happened in any other state with a large number of congressional members? I don't know. But it is clear that Tennessee Republicans love the ladies. In Middle Tennessee it is almost unfair. Mae Beavers, Diane Black, Susan Lynn, Beth Harwell, Deborah Maggart, Donna Rowland and Terri Lynn Weaver are all leaders and on the climb.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sneakin one on

It appears the language of the education bill we just passed makes school vouchers possible. Sec 8 part 1.

Workers comp

Is on hold.

Ed bill passes

83-10

It doesn't do much for real change but it is a slim amount better. A very slim amount. That is my criteria for support. I voted for it. The federal money was never a factor for me.

Kyle on taxes

The senate Democrat leader on taxes from last night...


"Low taxes is not what people need,"

NFIB In but out

I mentioned my idea to the National Federation of Independent Businesses (The NFIB) lobbyist on them hosting a forum on jobs. He said he had seen it and started to talk to some member orgs and business related groups. The thought was they were going to wait until after the primary had thinned the herd a little.

I said I thought the real race would be over by then.

Where my rats at? Notes from last night

Odd notes from the forum last night. I did not see a single Democrat legislator in the audience. Not one. About half the Republican legislators were in the audience. Where was the Democrat love?

From what I am hearing from my Friends across the isle (Yes, I have a few) the big Democrat fundraiser dinner, the night before session started, tanked. Word was that some Democrat big wigs were even going so far as to tell some potential candidates not to run.



A bipartisan problem.

One note of agreement from candidates on both sides of the isle.

Everyone commented how Tennessee has had the statistical information we are supposedly getting from the "Race to the trough". We have had it for 20 years. All agreed we need to start doing something with it and have some accountability.

This bill does not have any real accountability at this time.

Governors show

The Republicans

Not a bad showing in the education forum. The big three Republican candidates seemed to do well. I didn't see any Knock out blows. The feedback I got from asking around was mixed. Most thought you could throw a blanket over them and pick any of them out and make a case for how they won the debate.

The line of the night came from Zac Wamp with his Lane Kiffen remark. It was a hit with the audience.

The swipe of the night came from Ron Ramsey Who took an off handed swipe at Wamp saying how the state could not print money like the federal government is doing.

Haslam played it safe with no gaffs or bold stances.


Bill Gibbons did OK but most people seemed to think he needed a big play to jump up in the polls and get some attention. It did not happen.

The Democrats (The race for second)

I have to personally give it to Kim McMillin. A Bold look, Being the only female up there made her stand out. I think she really helped her stock. The only negative I heard on her performance was that she reminded some of a school marm. I had to laugh and agree when I heard that one.

Of the people I spoke with, many thought Mc Worter won, but not by much. His only big goof came when he started to talk about how he was completely opposite of what everyone else was saying and was clearly not for elected school superintendents. The only problem was no one had even mentioned elected school superintendents.

Huh!?!?

I don't know what was going on with Jimmy Kyle. He looked fried. That or he just was not prepared. I am not sure but either way he didn't do himself any favors.

Overall the forum was a nice bit but most thought more topics needed to be hit. With jobs the topic of the day many thought the NFIB should put on a similar show to allow people to see the candidates plans to help jobs grow in Tennessee.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Those crazy conservatives"

Remember a few weeks ago how there was all the uproar about the revenue estimates coming in from the "Crazy conservatives" and how they were forcing the governor to make mean, drastic cuts?

"OOOHHHH, those evil conservatives just want to cut peoples services!" "They don't have to be that conservative!" Was the cry.

It seems that those "crazy conservatives" with their "crazy conservative revenue estimates" weren't crazy enough.

They needed to be even MORE conservative to match the actual revenue that came in.

"Free and reduced lunch means nothing"

Wow! Bruce Opie says that Doctor Sanders (The education researcher for the governor) is saying that the economic situation of the students who are in state schools has absolutely nothing to do with how well the student does on value added achievement testing.

He says that some poor students do well, some do poorly. It is more dependant on the teacher then the economy of the student.

Previously, tons of funding was pushed to schools with a high number of free and reduced lunch students. I would hear often of how schools wold recruit students to the free and reduced lunch programs so they could get more money.

I guess that principle does not hold water. Will things change? or will they admit that possibly it was just a way to push more money to schools who wanted to remain in the status Que.

Higher ed on hold

The higher ed portion of ed reform probably wont move until next week. Possibly after the special session.

Higher ed

I am not hearing as much dissent on the higher ed bill. The only bone of contention I am hearing is with the UT/ORNL spending. Not a lot of support with that one. Memphis wants the money and some legislators just don't see spending money on about anything when we are already kicking people off services and firing people.

All talk, no action

The education committee met last night until about 8:30 PM. No amendments were even offered. It was mostly just informational on the bill. A lot of questions were asked and a lot of holes were found. Today the bill may take up amendments in the education committee. Or not. After that it goes to finance and then to the entire house floor. Amendments may be added or removed at each level. If half of what I am hearing gets on we could have a good bill. As it is right now it is looking like an empty vessel with no solid accountability.

The threat is out there that if any substantive amendments get on that the TEA will kill the entire bill.

Many legislators know this is not the case. The TEA threats to stop this bill will not come to pass. The money offered is to great. No one is going to get in front of that 500 million dollar freight train.

Now, will we step forward and bring a good bill with real accountability? That is the question.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Just like uptown.

A bill to postpone the new workers comp rules is moving out. But it will only be a short term hold. Many legislators and groups still want it enacted but the bill was going to run a lot of small mom and pop contractors out of business.

In some regards the workers comp bill has many similarities to the federal healthcare bill.

It is forcing single person contractors to purchase workers comp insurance on themselves weather they wanted it or not. The cost is killing some small timers off. Many cant find single person insurance at any price.

The insurers want the bill to pass to sell insurance (Imagine that) and the big contractors want it because they don't think it is fair they have to pay for insurance and some contractors don't.

One in three

That is the percent of Republican reps that feel the immediate need to push the higher ed portion of the special session through now. Many understand the k-12 rush but see no reason to be bullied into a rush for the higher ed portion that can be handled in regular session. People are weary of turning into the federal government where they sign on to legislation before they have a clear understanding of the long term effects.

Yes, But not really

The talk on the "race to the trough money" is that new standards and evaluations will be used to determine tenure and compensation for teachers.

Yes and no. The standards and scoring(Or those incredibly similar) have been available for years. Possibly decades. They have just never been used by the entire state. Will they be used now to determine tenure? Maybe. Maybe not. The results will be given to the school systems and can be up to 50% of an evaluation for tenure. The issue is even if a teacher gets a 0 out of 50 it still could mean absolutely nothing. A teacher can still get tenure. It will all be up to the local school system.

Schools in the failing category will get federal money. word is we are talking about 15 or so systems. All the state money will probably be pulled from the school. Where does that state money go? you may ask. word is back to the general fund. It does not necessarily stay in education. Even if it did nothing says the gov has to keep the education budget the same.

The new name

We have decided to rename the governors K-12 education proposal. It is no longer the "Race to the top" bill. It is now the "Race to the trough"

Gettin all huffy puffy

Day two and it is already gettin testy. As session opened this morning Democrat honcho Mike Turner got up in front of the body and said the democrats would all be getting together after morning session. They had a deal on the education bill and it was "All worked out"

Republican Rep. Jerold McCormic stood up next and said along the line of "Well I don't know about the Democrats but no "Deal" I know of has been cut. Maybe us legislators should have some say in the issue"

Turner turned about 10 shades of red and had to be restrained by members and the sergeant at arms from getting to Jerold who sat calmly at his desk.

Quote of the day

"Kent Williams is the Lane Kiffen of the Republican party"

Name of legislator withheld to protect the legislator.

As always

For the first time that I can remember I liked the governors speech last night. At least the concepts he mentioned. We will see where it all goes. As always, the devil is in the details.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I am not tellin'

"A pig in a poke"

That is how one legislator described the education bill thus far.

When asked how the hundreds of millions of dollars that the state could receive from the federal government (if we qualify for the "Race to the top") was going to be spent, The response was along the lines of "We aren't going to tell you".

That did not go over well. If legislators had half an idea at least a significant percent was going to go for teacher incentives for performance I think that could go a long way.

Many conservatives like the concepts (accountability, reward for performance) even without the federal money. Other members are concerned with the long term strings that usually follow federal money. What will happen when the federal money runs out?



As it is now the governors staff is playing a little tight lipped in hopes it will give them an advantage in the application process over other states.


The tenure issue is a battle as well but is a little more clear. The gov. wants to make the evaluation to receive tenure a year later and make it so a large chunk of that evaluation (50%) be based on if the teacher was able to help improve students from their previous performance (NOT on the students performance compared to other students in better schools or parts of the state) The TEA wants that standard to be lower so more teachers get tenure faster. They want it to be about 35% of the evaluation. They also want all significant evaluation to continue to end after 4 years as a teacher.

I guess they figure nothing could change for the next 30 or so years of that teachers employ.

No love for education

There is not a lot of love coming from the house education committee for the governors k-12 proposals. Most people are saying he is not offering a lot firm details on what the long term strings could be if we buy in. The words "Trust us" seems to be what most people are getting from the governors staff.

Does he know who he is talking to?

Not a lot of trust running rampant around here in the capitol.

Developing...

Monday, January 11, 2010

If you are so inclined

If you would like to make a donation to my campaign, tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon is the deadline for me to accept a donation. You can donate on line with pay pal or a credit card by clicking the friendly little yellow box to the left of this blog that says "Make a donation".

Your friend in liberty,

Stacey

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gubers on guns

The full survey can be found here.

Here is the full Republican rundown of carry on campus points of view.

Republicans:

Gibbons:

Allowing firearms on college campuses is not a good idea. Whether we like it or not, social activities on many college campuses end up involving alcohol. Allowing firearms on campuses would increase the probability of an unfortunate mix of guns and alcohol. I cannot imagine passing a law that would, in effect, sanction the carrying of firearms at on-campus keg parties. We need to preserve and secure a proper learning environment by making sure campus security personnel are provided with the training and tools to keep campuses safe.

Haslam:

First of all, I oppose a blanket prohibition. While I support making college campuses as safe as possible, I believe that each individual school has that responsibility. College administrators face a complex security situation and need flexibility to set appropriate rules for students, adult employees, and visitors.

Ramsey: I support legislation allowing permit holders to carry guns onto college campuses. First, employees of universities have the same rights to self-protection on their commute as every other employee of every other employer. Second, the list of tragedies that could have been prevented by allowing responsible, licensed, permit holders on college campuses is growing. The carnage at Virginia Tech serves as the most recent example of why we must empower conscientious citizens to aid public safety efforts.

Wamp:

Right-to-carry permits for law-abiding citizens who have gone through the training and permitting required to legally carry handguns for personal protection should not be exempted from college campuses. Pinpointing a location where law-abiding citizens with a right-to-carry permit cannot be armed could make that location a magnet for more criminal activity. The shootings at Virginia Tech a few years ago were a good example of how law abiding citizens with right-to-carry permits might have prevented or stopped the crazed criminal before he continued to kill.

Found it!

The response to my question on where do the candidates stand on allowing legal carry permit holders (such as retired military, current military, retired police officers or any other legal carry permit holder for that matter) being able to have their constitutional rights on a college campus was covered in the Tennessean.

From the Tennessean article....

Haslam also said he opposes a "blanket prohibition" on gun-permit holders' carrying guns on college campuses, saying it should be up to each college to set its own gun rules.

Ramsey and Wamp favor allowing guns on campus, while Gibbons and all three the Democrats said it's a bad idea.


Some are a straight no to the second amendment rights being allowed (Gibbons and the Democrats) Haslam is a no unless the school administrators reverse their position and say those second amendment rights should be allowed on campuses (Don't hold your breath)

Ramsey and Wamp support full second amendments rights on that issue.

Good to know.

Throw out the top and bottom

In the ca-bookie dance between the TEA and the governor things are looking good for change but will still be a fight. Tenure and student scoring are the hot issue and both sides have valid points. Some teachers fear blurred test results from one or two bad student in a class.

Most good ideas come from the person who is or was closest to ground level on the topic but does not have a "Dog in the fight". I went to the source of many a good idea. My mom. She is a retired teacher with lots of good input from being at the ground level for years. Some things were offered and brought forward to help teachers in this regard but still keep the standards high.

Throw out the top and bottom score in a class. The top kid can do it with or without the teacher. The bottom kid? Some kids you can not reach. Some may need a different carrier path or goals and they can waste an entire classes time if you try to teach it all for one kid who does not want it at all no matter what you do. Drop the extremes and score from there.

Support the teachers on discipline. Some kids are way, way, way out of control. Set up some sort of three strikes and you are out program where unruly kids can get bounced from a class after three verified discipline problems. Otherwise they can drag down an entire class.

The same rule holds even more true for teacher tenure. Civil service protection is plenty. Tenure will protect bad teachers way more then it ever helps good ones. A principle knows who is still doing good work and who isn't.

Now we are getting somewhere! Follow through!

This is a great compare and contrast piece on an important issue. I am glad to see hard questions being asked of all of our Gubernatorial candidates. I hope this part made it to actual print.

Not a lot of spin. Just how do you feel on issue X, Y and Z? For or against? Keep this up. This is what great papers can offer that a pressers can miss, a spin mistier can disguise or I might not have had time to cover in my interviews.

There is only one part I had a problem with.

Dodging the bullet?

Oddly one of my bills gets mentioned in the lead in article but is not covered in the actual response.

Where do the candidates stand on allowing legal carry permit holders (such as retired military, current military, retired police officers or any other legal carry permit holder for that matter) being able to have their constitutional rights on a college campus?

The lead in says 8 questions were covered yet only four responses are linked. If you are going to ask the question on where candidates stand with the second amendment at least put up the responses for that topic with that topic. Don't kill me with suspense!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Rumor mill

Word has it that former State Senator Mike Williams is considering a run against current Republican State Rep. Chad Faulkner. The rumor is Williams would run as an independent. Interesting.....

The two headed dragon of bad education


The "Race to the top" concept is interesting in that it could take a slice out of the two headed dragon of bad education. Teacher tenure and compensation.

As we march off to protect the villagers and do battle with the dragon not all of the swings we are hearing about are going very deep, but there are some good scratches.

If the hype holds true and up to 50% of teacher pay is based on real result then that would be a huge hack at the first head of the dragon.

If a strong pay compensation change passes it could become death blow to bad education results. Mediocre teachers would get dramatically less pay and either try their hand at helping an under performing school, improve their skills or quit. The one headed dragon could bleed out on its own.

All these years I have been hearing teachers unions say "Just give more money and the results will come". Now they have a chance to get more money but will have to show results and suddenly people are hearing the cry "Its not our fault if the kids do bad. It is all the family breakdown." The dragon puffs smoke.

Is it the money or the family?

If the child is the problem then I am sure they would agree that more money to schools would have a minimal positive impact on the students. Possibly they think the state should put the money into family counseling and things like that for better results with the children.

No?

Here is another idea. How about at least releasing the average score of the students being taught to the parents. Currently this is kept a secret. If parents know or can find out what teacher is doing a good job in a school and what teacher isn't then good parents will move their children as is best for them. It is good to know what parts of the dragon work and what parts don't.

We have an opportunity to get both heads of the dragon this special session. The other rumor of change is shifting when teachers get tenure from possibly year 3 to year 4. Not much of a swing in that move. That head could be possibly getting a scratch. Getting rid of teacher tenure altogether and replacing it with civil service protection is hoped for by many conservatives and would be a good chop at the neck.

Name another group of regular employees who get similar lifetime protections as teachers do? Good luck. Holding principals accountable is only effective when they can hold teachers accountable. After tenure that becomes quite difficult. It is like giving a dragon armor.

The sword is in the stone. The legislature has its hands on the handle. Will we be able to pull it out and fight? Or will we get scorched?

Stay tuned.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Bredesens plan to spend more money.

The Phil is dropping his plan to spend more state money.

No. I am not kidding.

From the KNS article....

KNOXVILLE — Gov. Phil Bredesen this morning announced an initiative to establish a “world class energy sciences” graduate program at the University of Tennessee that would create 200 UT faculty positions among researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory......

.....The governor said he will commit $6 million in seed money in the state budget to jump start the program....


I am about over all the taxpayer subsidised research facilities. The jobs end when the taxpayer subsidies end. I want profitable production facilities. Can we get some of those?

2nd amendment may be allowed in GA

The second amendment right to self protection may be allowed in Georgia .

Dang! I hate when that happens!

All this global warming has turned my front yard into white sand!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Who do the lobbyists love?

This year it is looking like the lobbyists are going to get their early retirement checks from the red light camera industry.

It is starting to look like there is a backlash against the cameras. Legislators are taking notice.

The camera companies and some of the local municipalities are not backing down though. In fact they are stepping it up. Word is the lobbyists are in overdrive and they are getting more. With millions of dollars at stake this could be one of the big issues for the year.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Turner: "I am not fat!"

I just received a call from my good friend Rep. Mike Turner. He informed me that he is not on the state insurance plan and he has lost 30 pounds!

Good job!

Keep up the good work! I want Mike to live a long life.

Now as for the firefighter insurance plan paid for by the county.....

H1N1, the chicken little flu

As predicted months ago, the H1N1 was being way,way, way over blown.

2,500

Wow! 2,500 posts. Whoda thunk it?

How about the "fluffy"?


Rep. Mike Turner wants to restrict state employees who smoke from being allowed to participate in state health insurance.

Knowing Mike enjoys cigars (And last I was in his office he had a humidor box on his desk) I wonder if he is thinking of what he plans to do to lead by example?

If he wants to go down the road of who can and can not receive state health insurance based on what it costs he may next look at people who are "Girthy", "Fluffy", "People of substance and measure", "Full figured", "Rubenesque"......or just plain fat. Their expenses for health care are much higher as well.

And Mike....Well.... I am not sayin but....Ummmm.....I am just sayin......Ummmm.....

Some rough concepts

These are some rough concepts being put forward by the Gov. for the special session. Word is the pre K-12 portion will be put together in one all or nothing bill. There is good and bad in that. It is a little tougher to pass and some bad ideas may get blended in before passage. If it fails a lot of good ideas could die with it as well.

Some members are curious as to if there will be future strings tied to state spending if we pass this or get a part of the race to the top money.

The delay of the workers comp bill may also come up in the special session. It keeps going back and forth. Some days it is yes and some days it is no. Depends on who you talk to.

Race to the Top Information
as Provided by Administration Staff or Consultants

Grant Request will approximate $400 million but could be more.
Need legislative action to be completed on or before Jan. 18th. Education reform policies to be included in grant proposal
Not all states will be awarded a grant
If successful in gaining award, the dollars will be split 50% for state wide efforts while 50% will be awarded to LEAs id they have agreed to participate.


Provisions Necessary for Inclusion on Grant Proposal:
(Priorities in Evaluation)

How effective is Tennessee in preparing High School Seniors for work/career or post secondary training?
How effective is Tennessee in tracking our education performance data from Pre-K through post secondary education?
Has Tennessee provided effective education staff for all students? (Equitable distribution throughout Tennessee)
Will Tennessee be prepared for intensive support and intervention in low performing schools?
Within these four priorities, how are the following ideas included in the plan?

a. STEM Education – This is the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Is this a state wide effort?

b. How effective do we use longitudinal education data from Pre-K through post-secondary?
c. Do we have effective coordination of effort from Pre-K through the post secondary program?
d. How effective is the school level reform and/or intervention?
e. Do we have an effective early childhood education plan? (Have we established a good educational base?)

Governor wants us to consider the following Issues:

Establishment of a new method of evaluation.
Effective use of current educational programs.
Develop effective AYP or growth in all grades.
School turnaround needs effective and timely state Department of Education intervention.
Develop reform partners as to school turnaround programs.
When state takeover and intervention is necessary, we need to be strong and effective. Return schools to the LEAs once successful in turnaround program.
Assessment program should impact compensation, tenure, etc.


Higher Education Issues:

Funding more connected to performance standards.
Create transfer agreements for all public post-secondary institutions. (Could possibly result in core courses transfer plan.)
Remedial classes will not be offered at 4 year institutions.
Establish a dual admissions and dual enrollment policy.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Come back to the tent revival

Kent Williams has decided by his inaction that he does not want to be a part of the big tent Republican party. That is sort of sad. The opportunity was out there and people wanted to usher him back in, but no party, idea, goal or ideal can force a person to go where he does not want to go.

In a way politics is like religion in that regard. When you talk to Joe or Jane Doe on the street, about 95% will say "Yes, Most definitely I want to go to heaven" but when you open up the bible or about any book of any religion and say "Well, by our religion, these are the basic goals and steps you will want to take to try and get there" Some people cover there ears, close their eyes shake their head and scream "I just want to go to heaven but I don't want to change to get there!".

That is there right. But when judgement time comes around don't cry and say "But they wouldn't let me in! I didn't know what to do or I would have done it. Let me in. Let me in!"

Be an adult. Step up to the plate and say "I knew. I didn't even try to do it. I knew what would happen. Do what you will."

Ideas from a teacher

A teacher from Tennessee who teaches in VA has sent me some ideas to help our education system. I always say the person at the ground level usually has some pretty good insight. Many of the ideas are similar to the post I did on my ideas for education. Feedback is more then welcome.

Suggestions on education:

Reduce the number of degrees issued to qualified students. Make the standards higher. Have students prove they are qualified to begin matriculation. If they are just there for the money, not good enough. Make better use of the Community college system to filter out the unqualified. Definition of qualified may be hard to pin down, but necessary.

Reduce the variety of degrees available. How many "Bachelor of Basket Weaving" type degrees do we really need? How does it advance Tennessee? If a department can only support one full time professor in that discipline, how can the institute say that they offer a degree in "X"?

Increase number of employers (or positions at current employers) for earning degrees. We don't need Bachelor of Science graduates to flip burgers. At some point, I would like to be working in Tennessee again.

Reduce the size of state supported higher colleges. I find that the current administrations of many of our colleges/universities are top heavy. For the tuition that the student pays, only half should go to the administration and facility. After all, the student is paying for the professor to teach them, not the administration. Based on my last class, two thirds or more of the student tuition went to the administration/facility, not including what the state kicked in on top of that.

Change the lottery scholarship system. Provide qualified grants to those attending community colleges (freshman/sophomore level) to encourage finding out if they are qualified for college and that discipline. Change to reimbursement for higher levels, if they pass the course. Stop calling it scholarship, as the student has not earned the money, it was just granted; unless there is some type of academic competition for the reward.

Public Accounting for lottery expenditures (check written to who, how much, and for what reason). Graduation rates of recipients vs others. Are we getting the best value?

Provide for separate facility/resources (outside of college system) to provide the transition between high school and college just to get a student to the qualified freshman level.

I may be in the minority as far as unionization and/or tenure, but I think that both systems should be abolished. It keeps qualified instructors out (including those without "teaching" certificates), as well as "fresh" ideas. How many tenured professors are aware of modern technology to teach with? I was watching fellow instructors this semester using the old fashioned paper grade book to turn in their grades and roll sheet, when technology is available to avoid that hassle. I watched my son go through our college system not learning about latest technology or ways of communicating. If we want Tennessee to be teaching the next generation, this generation of instructors had better get with it.

Reduce the federal mandates or requirements on colleges (and all education levels in general). Many decisions need to be made at the local level, not the state or fed. Research institutes should be the ones seeking federal grants. "Publish or Perish" at the university level can only be supported if the freshman/sophomore classes are eliminated from teaching loads.

Encourage endowments. Better management of and tax benefits of same. Instead of being used to pay admin salaries, distributions should be restricted to scholarships and facility improvements.

Tax supported Vouchers, charter schools, home schooling, and other private educational systems need to be encouraged. The state can't answer for every situation. The more choices, the more competition, the better the systems will become. The state does not have a God-given right to provide all education for everyone. It is a Government Sponsored Enterprise. Sound familiar? Think Fannie Mae, All State of Tennessee is required to do is be able to "certify," or verify, that students that graduate are qualified for that level, especially if they receive tax funds.

Institute financial education from kindergarten to college graduate. Include mandatory courses in basic finance (savings, checking accounts, etc.), cd's & mortgages, taxes, bonds, stocks, real estate, entrepreneurship, capital finance, retirement funding, etc. By teaching our students how to manage money, they can learn how to take care of themselves, have more discipline, and plan for life events. By the time they are of age, many will learn how to be business owners and create new jobs for fellow citizens. I learned more about money in five years of Texas schools than many of the students ever do here in Tennessee. Keeping our citizens in ignorance about money management is a great disservice.

A different system to handle dropouts and trouble makers. Not everyone is able to handle school. Encourage apprentice exceptions and scholarships to encourage these children in real world expectations.

Grades are only useful to other educators. Employers only need to know: is this person trained and qualified to do the job? Focusing on grades and not outcomes is like measuring how much oil is under the sea: we won't know until we pump.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

A few fun photos

Pix from vacation.

The big catch of the day!




My Parana caught with high tech fishing equipment.


In the Amazon, About 90 degrees, late at night, on vacation, answering e mails by candle light. Work does not wait.

My mom took all the pix so she gets credit and has all the exclusive rights to reproduce them.

Quote of the week: Its cold

Its so cold I saw a Democrat with his hands in his own pockets!

Hat tip: Ben Cunningham

Red light Camera ideas

Tona Monroe Ball has been a citizen activist on the red light camera issue for quite some time. I asked her if she would like to do a guest post on her ideas and suggestions regarding the issue if they were to remain legal. Here is her guest post.

Red light cameras, also known as surveillance cameras, and more appropriately called scameras, should be banned for a variety of reasons. Scameras are unconstitutional violating the 5th, 6th and 9th amendments of the federal constitution, they are used to track us and 3rd party analysis shows that the contraptions do not improve safety and in fact increase accidents. The Constitutional, and correct thing to do is ban the devices, but if the State legislature is going to continue to allow scameras then there are several things that can be done that will shut the cameras down by eliminating the profit motive, while at the same time improving safety.



1st Legalize right turn on red at camera intersections

The standard at camera intersections should be yielding, rather than stopping, because there’s little to no safety benefit for stopping. Often, the majority of tickets being issued at camera intersections are for safe right turns on red.



2nd Ad one second to the yellow light timing at all intersections

Georgia has seen an 80% drop average in red light running at camera intersections after a state law mandated that the yellow light timing of camera intersections be set at nationally recognized engineering standards, with an additional one second.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/27/2720.asp

Truth is, the Dick Armey report shows that the yellow light timing formula has been intentionally manipulated to increase red light running; thereby, increasing profitability. It’s a scam! http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/reports/rlcreport.asp



3rd Require engineering solutions first before cameras can be implemented
A AAA Michigan study showed that enlarging traffic light lenses by 50 percent, re-striping left turn lanes with pavement markings, re-timing the traffic signals, and adding an all-red clearance interval resulted in a 47% reduction in collisions and 50% reduction in injuries. http://www.motorists.org/photoenforce/home/aaa-michigan-study/



4th Remove the profit motive
Make all revenue go into a fund that can not be used at the prerogative of City Councilmen. Many North Carolina cities shut their camera programs down because the State constitution requires 90% of the revenue to go to education. When the easy money dries up, the scameras come down.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/18/1834.asp



5th Make the violations criminal instead of civil
Cities have been skirting due process constitutional requirements by changing the type of the citation issued from criminal to civil. Precious constitutionally protected rights should not be eliminated simply by changing the name of the violation and/or tribunal. Criminal due process would afford compulsory subpoena power, the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the charge against you, and the requirement for cities to prove that it was actually you behind the wheel. The burden of proof would be on the City.



Tennessee legislators should show some intestinal fortitude and ban surveillance cameras. 15 states have already done so, through legislative or judicial action.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/27/2769.asp

Friday, January 01, 2010

Dems down another seat in 2011

John Mark Windel will be gone a year as predicted.Tom Humphrey gets the details on it.

Windle said he has completed "almost all of my tasks" in preparing for deployment and, though he has not received final orders, expects to depart for Iraq on Feb. 5 as for a year overseas.

The 2010 session of the General Assembly begins Jan. 12. Windle said he does not yet know whether he will be able to attend early days of the session.

Built to loose.

The bio fuel plant you spent tens of millions on is ready to go full steam ahead.

The thing is to move forward really means it moves backwards. People are starting to ask questions. Some of the comments in the news story say it great so here they are.

drummer#507873 writes:
Larisa,

If this plant produces 250,000 gallons of ethanol per year then it is only producing $500,000 per year of cash value as the current market price of ethanol is ~$2.00/gal.. If the plant cost $40,000,000 when will Tennessee taxpayers ever receive the return on the investment. It would take 80 years to pay it off. Will the current plant have the capacity to make larger annual volumes of ethanol? If so, what is the projected capacity?

We need energy development that is cost effective. Nothing presented in the article would substantiate that.

billed23#213533 writes:
Just looking at the picture, makes me think the administration facility is almost as large as the manufacturing facility. That means,to me, that the government paper shufflers will out number the producers. There goes your 500 grand Drummer.

EaTn writes:
Corn cobs are a by-product of food consumption, either for livestock or humans. Switchgrass is raised on valuable food supply land, either for livestock grazing or cultivation.

davidpetersen writes:
What a scam. The questions continue for ORNL and UT. The legislature should not let Bredesen simply put this all under the rug.

What really happened with the Mascoma relationship?

What are David Milhorne and Thom Mason telling Bredesen now?

Why did plans change from 5m gallons to 250k? When did Bredesen really know?

Has ORNL lived up to its promises and cost matches?

Who gets the profits from the Intellectual Property developed as a part of the deal? State? UT? ORNL? Mascoma? DuPont? Follow the real money trail to determine if this is a good deal.

What did ORNL and UT officials really promise Bredesen and the legislature?

This deal stinks worse than odor of the plant.


Sticky questions. The gov. pushed hard on some promises of more investments and investors by the new year. Tom Humphrey asked the question around Christmas. We heard the talk. It is time to show us the money!

Happy new year!

While I am not much for looking backwards (input my terrible impersonation of JFK saying "Forward....ever forward!" here) As I look back over the year in politics I keep coming up with one word.

Interesting.

This last year was interesting. A mixed bag from the start. Some good some bad.

It started with high hopes and excitement early in the year by the thoughts of our being at 50, followed by dashed expectations and realizing we were really at 49. Some slight growth as a few of our marquee pieces of legislation finally saw the light of day. Mixed with frustration on what could have been and the reckless spending of the final month of session. Looking back, if I had to grade the legislative year I would say it was about a 6.5 out of 10.

The last month or so has been a sort of like extra hot fudge on that plain vanilla ice cream. All the retirements by dems, the political dominoes caused by it and what is looking like a collapse of the Democrat party in Tennessee. I could see it coming but didn't think it would all happen at once. Their lockstep devotion to unpopular liberal policy nationally is killing them locally. The smart ones know it but have no real escape available.

Some of the legislative/non legislative personal things thrown in the pot have kept it intriguing as well. The decision to go for the senate. The explosive growth and excitement as the tea party movement energised conservative people like I don't recall seeing in my lifetime. Pat Marsh's win. The thoughts of new goals, new ideas, new plans and new mountains to climb.

See ya later 2009. Look out 2010 here we come!!