Monday, January 31, 2011

First day of class

My mom (The wise and all knowing former teacher) often sends me jokes, motivational sayings and political commentary. She must also have ESP because she sent me the one below the day after I got in a huge "discussion" on what education should and should not be doing in Tennessee.


OPENING DAY OF HIGH SCHOOL - A "MUST READ"
This speech was given by a new H.S. principal in Florida.

To the students and faculty of our high school:

I am your new principal, and honored to be so. There is no greater calling than to teach young people.

I would like to advise you of some important changes coming to our school. I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in America have worked against you, against your teachers and against our country.

First, this school will no longer honor race or ethnicity. I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow or white. I could not care less if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or if your ancestors arrived here on the Mayflower or on slave ships. The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity – your character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity this school will care about is American. This is an American public school, and American public schools were created to make better Americans.

If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere. We will end all ethnicity-, race- and non-American nationality-based celebrations. They undermine the motto of America, one of its three central values – e pluribus unum, "from many, one." And this school will be guided by America's values.

This includes all after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.

Your clubs will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties. Those clubs just cultivate narcissism -- an unhealthy preoccupation with the self -- while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself. So we will have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy, languages you do not already speak, carpentry and more. If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interesting in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.

Second, I am uninterested in whether English is your native language. My only interest in terms of language is that you leave this school speaking and writing English as fluently as possible. The English language has united America's citizens for over 200 years, and it will unite us at this school. It is one of the indispensable reasons this country of immigrants has always come to be one country. And if you leave this school without excellent English language skills, I would be remiss in my duty to ensure that you will be prepared to successfully compete in the American job market. We will learn other languages here -- it is deplorable that most Americans only speak English -- but if you want classes taught in your native language rather than in English, this is not your school.

Third, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor, everything in this school will reflect learning's elevated status. This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly. Many people in our society dress more formally for Hollywood events than for church or school. These people have their priorities backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.

Fourth, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school's property -- whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events. If you can't speak without using the f-word, you can't speak. By obscene language I mean the words banned by the Federal Communications Commission, plus epithets such as "Nigger," even when used by one black student to address another black, or "bitch," even when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you will be among the few your age to instinctively distinguish between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.

Fifth, we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way -- the way people attained it until decided otherwise a generation ago -- by earning it. One immediate consequence is that there will be one valedictorian, not eight.

Sixth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will be devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue. There will be no more attempts to convince you that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or not heterosexual or not Christian. We will have failed if any one of you graduates this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately lucky -- to be alive and to be an American.

Now, please stand and join me in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of our country. As many of you do not know the words, your teachers will hand them out to you.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thompson supports unlimited damages


Fred Thompson (like his employers the trial lawyers) thinks there is no problem with unlimited punitive damages.

"...never has the legislature imposed a dollar limit in cases where damages and negligence have already been proven.
I recognize that several other states have imposed such rules. It's understandable. The pressure to do so is very strong. That does not make it right or sound policy. Tennessee does not make a habit of simply following a path that has been cut by others"

If I chose not to choose have I made a choice?


"The Dean" calls the Gov. out for fence sitting.

"Ask him these days about most anything involving a modicum of controversy and his reply may boil down to something like this:

A) "That's an important issue that I'm really concerned about and we'll do something at some point, though I'm not ready to be specific just now." Examples include such things as budget cutting or education changes centered on charter schools and teacher tenure. And that's fair enough; you can't expect a governor to decide everything immediately.

B) "That's an important issue, but I am undecided and, maybe if I remain undecided, it will all be dealt with in legislative arguments and such so that I don't have to ever worry about it."...

...C) "I have a position on that, but it's no big deal. If the Legislature goes the other way I'll go along.""

How the constitution is Dunn


Rep. Bill Dunn in the Tennessean on the constitutionality of the judicial selection process.

"Our government only has the power given to it from the people through the constitution. It is the people of Tennessee who have the final say in changing the constitution, not those in government. This raw power grab, if left unchallenged, emboldens those in power to seize more.
If election no longer means election, but instead means appointment, how could anyone argue constitutionally if legislation is passed that says the governor will appoint representatives and senators and then there will be a no-opponent retention vote in eight years?"

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"No, no, no, no I don't do that no more."

Yep. I dropped a bill that says no more state assistance if you fail a drug test.

UPDATE: Sorry, "dropped it" is short for "Dropped it in the hopper" meaning set it in motion to be introduced.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Where could we find the time?

If only we had more time to teach our children science and math possibly we wouldn't be in the bottom ten (and dropping) for state rankings.

But what segment on earth could we possibly cut out of state education curricula (and have parents take care of) so schools could concentrate on their original job? If only we could find something to cut out.

Not that there is anything wrong with that

One of the big pushes for education reform this year is to remove the limits on charter schools. While I have no problem with that as charter schools have often proven to produce great results to say the limit in and of itself is holding children's education back is far from the truth.

Tennessee just passed a charter limit increases last year. The old limit was 50 schools. The current limit is 90 schools.

How many charter schools are there currently in Tennessee? 22

The limit, in and of itself, is clearly not stopping failing schools from becoming charter schools. Possibly we need to dig a little deeper.

Still the best

TNREPORT does the dish with Deb Maggart.

Con carry passes

Wyoming senate just passed constitutional carry. Now for Tennessee???????

Easy for you to say

A lot of people keep making a big deal about how Jim Cooper and Heath Shuler keep trying to change how US congressional district lines are drawn. Some claims they must be bi partisan because they even did it when Democrats were in control at the federal level.

The only problem with that argument is that it is not the party in control at the federal level that draws the district lines. It is the party in control at the state level that draws the federal lines.

Guess where both states stand or have been trending since they introduced said legislation?

Good for the goose

I have been wanting to do a post on this for a while. The big losers of the political wars may be the unions. For years the state has limited corporations and their donations. The fed court overturned the federal ban. The Republican legislature did it for the state on US corps.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. The unions could be in for a loooong uphill fight. Many Republican legislators have little love lost for the unions. Specifically the TEA and the SEIU should get ready. It is their turn in the ....barrel of trouble.


Hundreds of thousands of dollars was spent in exclusive attempts to beat Republican legislators. When a point of this was made to the TEA during the election cycle, the union countered by donating to a few Republicans. Of course those Republicans were not in contested races.

Expect legislation to remove the automatic payroll deduction for state employee unions that are politically active. Collective bargaining with the unions could bight the dust. I intend to bring legislation based on a court opinion that unions can be made to get approval to spend political activity funds on a case by case (Race by race) and member by member basis. Other union dreams such as tenure could go away. Also possibly in the works would be a tax on unions similar to the tax put on many businesses. Say $100 per member with the proceeds going to shore up the unemployment trust fund or for "Economic development".

Lets put this to rest

"This is not happening here"

The "This is not happening here" part of my blog is getting tired. I keep having to report on all the things that the school administration and teachers union swear is not happening anywhere in Tennessee.

But is.

This time it is abortion provider Planned parenthood being invited in to teach a class on sex ed at Harden valley in Knoxville and providing children links to websites featuring oral sex and bestiality. One parent found out and stood up.

From the article...


McCormick said a consent form was not sent to parents about whether students could view the presentation. McCormick said since October she tried on numerous occasions to reach school level and school system officials, including Superintendent Jim McIntyre, and they delayed in responding.

'I followed the avenues I was given as a parent,' McCormick said....


...The organization's presentation 'stays well within the parameters of what is suggested by the state Department of Education,' said Laura Boring, the school system's K-8 physical education and health supervisor.


Why was no consent form sent? because none is provided or required. Tennessee is a state where a parent can only "Opt out" instead of "Opt in" to a class. In other words you are in a class unless a parent magically finds out about something objectionable and then writes into the school saying they want to cover a topic on their own.

Until then, the child is property of the school.

I question why PP was invited into the class to start with. If the state is going to take the responsibility of teaching about sexuality to children away from the parents, isn't that what we pay teachers for?

I hear 'Focus on the Family' is doing a comprehensive re write of the sex ed curricula. I hope a change to "opt in" is part of it.

Fletcher Armstrong has more on the money side.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Joke? of the week

"How much do you think Senators make? They now make $154,700 a year. But they say it will stimulate the economy because eventually that money will trickle down to the liquor stores, the hookers, the brothels ... then it will get back in the community."

—Jay Leno, on Congress voting itself a pay raise

Friday, January 21, 2011

My red light camera bill featured on WBIR



The text can be read and commented on here.

A good start

First, work to eliminate the Hall income tax followed by a gradual elimination of the sales tax on whole foods.

Possibly as a rider to any time the Copeland cap is exceeded another percentage point is deducted from the tax on food.

Now tell us the truth!

The Tennessean does a cover up piece for the company that I am convinced really creates inclement weather;-)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A good look at the ice cube

Frank Cagle lays out the history and the tip of the iceberg problems with the PBA. If I had a dollar for every time someone complained about the PBA and commented how a select few are making a fortune off of it, I would have my own fortune.

Good luck Mayor Tim.

Calling the thought police.

UT wants to stop points of view that do not agree with their own so no one is ever offended.

How P.C.

Plans include reviewing current policies on derogatory language, encouraging people to report incidents of bias even if they are not criminal, and creating wristbands, T-shirts and slogans to market the campaign for civility.

I look forward to the report of bias by the university against conservative speakers or clubs on campus soon to be followed up by the bias against legal gun owners or religious groups I am sure.

While limiting what paid staff say on the company clock to its customers is reasonable, student thought is another matter. Heaven forbid someone write a critical editorial in the student paper about their thoughts on the president, or even the former president. Why stop there? How about censorship when a kid supports the Mets instead of the Braves (Are we still allowed to call them that?) or the Bulldogs and not Vols? While there are ideas I do not agree with, the world is a tough place, freedom almost grantees people will be offended. I guess those who can not stand the thought of divergent opinion will try to sensor those whose ideas they do not agree with.

You cant stop me. You can only hope to contain me!

How might the new committee system in the house work? WPLN gives it a once over. Personally I think it will allow more bills supported by the majority to pass if they go directly to the full committee. The opposite could be said of those going to the subcommittee system.

Long extended full committee sessions could be the norm and the final weeks could be brutal sessions on the backsides of some legislators as a ton of bills come up for final runs at the committee system.

Deciding what will and wont go to the sub committee system could be key to a bills survival.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And you thought the election was over

Please vote for my cousin Paul Berney to be Knoxvilles most eligible bachelor and help the Friends of Literacy.

Insert literacy joke below.

Learning the ropes

As the Haslam cabinet comes together A few things have me mildly concerned. So far it seems there are going to be few if not no relatively recent former legislators. Nor are there any out of state "Big names" from other states that were expected to be part of the new administration.

It (so far) is a list of local Tennessee mayors and such.

Not that there is any thing wrong with them. Many times local outsiders can bring in new perspectives and directions with a local feel. But in state government, one thing I have learned is there are lots of confusing and often conflicting regulations, issues, bureaucracies and federal ties to other programs that are not apparent on first glance. Not to say these people won't do a good job or be able to cut through some of that but it is becoming more and more clear that they will have to rely on the legislature and current bureaucracy for a year or so while they learn the ropes.

Don't expect the new broom to sweep clean.

how bout we look at the top wage taker

Guess what? The lottery scholarship fund is running out of money. Well when you pay the person running it mid to high six figures instead of mid five as some states do then funds tend to diminish quicker then hoped.

True education reform

There is a move to finally pass some true education reform. I have always advocated major reforms to teacher tenure system. At best I thought changing it out with civil service protections would be a good compromise. Rumor is that what they are looking at is a system that would grant tenure on a renewable 5 year basis. every 5 years you would be back up for renew. No more lifetime contract.

The rumor of who Haslam has in mind for education cabinet member are squirreling. A few days ago the word was one was almost picked but some flags came up on deep background check.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bredesen's final mistake

Oh. I am sure many would make an argument for his moves on health care or spending for some research project that will never yield fruit but you would be wrong oh mighty reader. Bredesens final mistake?

Was in his final speech as governor.

He said when offering advice to the incoming Governor...

Do what I did. Look out the window for a minute at some of the statues on the grounds of the Capitol, and comfort yourself with the though that there are very few statues of critics. They only build them of doers.

Well, I hate to let him down but as with many things the left says and does, possible good intentions, but wrong. They did build a statue for a critic. There is a statue to a critic in Tennessee. In fact, it is one of the few that IS on the grounds of the state capitol. It is quite prominent and not far from where Phil's own office window was. The state statue is for Edward W. Carmack.

From Wikipedia...


Edward Ward Carmack (November 5, 1858 – November 8, 1908) was an attorney, newspaperman, and political figure who served as a U.S. Senator from Tennessee from 1901 to 1907.

Following his political service, and after an unsuccessful run for Governor of Tennessee, he returned to his job as editor of the Nashville American. He was shot to death on November 8, 1908 over a feud precipitated by his editorial comments in the paper

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The "Who's who" of "who?"

Who are these people? The Governors new cabinet.

About leaders

A leader is not a title. It is an action word.

A good leader inspires people to have confidence in their leader. A great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves. A leader will not limit you, but will inspire you to do and be your best. During times of change, getting others to believe it can be done, and that they can do it, is the most important thing a leader can do. To focus other people and yet not limit them because of possible failure is the yard stick.

It is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining who and where we are without any possiblity of failure. A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. We all fail at one time or another. We all, at times, will fall short. But without at lest some risk taking we will never grow or move.

We become what we think about. People acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way. We become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions. The final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands, not in the hands of some other "leader". A person who remembers life is either a daring adventure or nothing will always lead, grow and have character no matter the title. *


*Various

Friday, January 14, 2011

The family

Yes, there will be layoffs

We had a Senate Republican caucus meeting today where we got together and talked about the budget. Later some of the governors staff came in to talk about the governors agenda, plans for the new year and answer questions.

We got a short rundown on some new appointments, vague talk of looking for efficiencies, higher quality of service and better education.

I had to ask the question.

I commented how this years budget has already called for a billion five worth of layoffs that had not been implemented yet and next years budget was probably going to be 900 million to a billion two short of that. I went on to comment how any realistic economic recovery, natural attrition and buyouts were not going to cover a 2.5 billion dollar shortfall. I asked by what magic trick the governor planned to ballance the budget without any layoffs.

Long and short, they said they had not had much of a chance to really dig into the budget and were still trying to get a staff together to find out what they could do. They went on to say that they will probably end up having to look at some layoffs before it is all said and done.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Knoxville seat

I have been looking at some preliminary population numbers from 2009 and it is looking like there is quite a good chance that with the population growth for the area, Knox county could pick up a state house seat after redistricting (in 2012).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New look

As you may have noticed, I changed the look on my blog from the dark background to a light sunny background. I have always said, When Republicans truly take over the legislature it will be like flipping a light switch and going from darkness into daylight.

That day has finally come.

While I am sure we will still have some clouds, an occasional rain and even some snow, I know the future of Tennessee will be dramatically brighter then it has been in the past.

Here is looking to the sunny days ahead!

Game on!

Almost time...

Saturday, January 08, 2011

CAN win for losing

Far be it from me to correct a winning system.

There is an old saying, "He can't win for losing" Well Chip Forester did! How totally awesome is that! First the national Democrats re elect Pelosi, now they re elect Chip Forester to be state party leader. I didn't think they would do it, but they did! Republicans are rolling.

There is a philosophy that says if you are doing what you want to the best of your ability and still get completely demolished then you need to change something. That something usually starts at the top. If you don't, you can expect similar types of "wins".

Democrats, keep it up. This is getting fun!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Quote of the day

"A lot of people have gone farther than they thought they could because someone else thought they could."

~Zig Ziglar


Thanks mom.

3 years???

Teacher who had secret, inappropriate contact with a student will lose his license for 3 years

3 years and he is back teaching children? Come on!

Teachers unions. Fighting for the lowest common denominator.

Not gonna happen

Rumor is the Democrats are not going to put up a nominee for speaker of the house. With such wide disparities in member numbers and the possibility that many Democrats may not even support their own nominee, the thought is Democrats want to avoid the embarrassment and keep what little unity they have.

Why we didn't trust the governor

For years, many Republicans have been weary of the Bredesen/Democrat budgets. Balances were sold to the legislature by John Morggan and the Bredesen staff, then approved by the legislature, only to later come back at significantly different amounts. This allowed Bredesen and the Democrats to spend the surpluses paying political favors and spending on pet projects while legislators were forced to make bad decisions.

As Justin Wilson and Republicans took control of the comptroller office and the house, the tricks and fluffing became more and more evident. Toward the end of Bredesen’s term, Republicans were putting restrictions on surpluses and making requirements of the governor when numbers came in below predictions.

Still, as Bredesen slides out of office, rumors of cooked books, raided funds and over inflated predictions run rampant around the capitol.

One example of this is being reported in the Tennessean.

Lawmakers' focus on the Certified Public Expenditures funds follows several years in which TennCare accrued unprec edented year-end surpluses because of enrollment and benefit cuts — funds not subject to the regular budgeting process requiring lawmaker approval.

Midway through the 2006 fiscal year, for example, when TennCare cut program enrollment by 170,000 people, a $536 million surplus resulted, according to figures compiled by the Fiscal Review Committee.
The next fiscal year, more than 80,000 enrollees were cut. A $333 million surplus resulted.
For each of the fiscal years between 2005 and 2010, with the exception of 2008, tens of thousands of individuals were cut from the program and services cut back, leaving year-end surpluses. Whatever funds weren't allocated for specific purposes by the lawmakers in the budgeting process fell to the Bredesen administration to spend.

Government wage and the free market

While they offer a counterpoint the Tennessean also prints an editorial focused on government wage regulations and how it effects teen employment.

From the anti regulation side...

Joseph J. Sabia of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point looked at state and federal minimum-wage increases between 1997 and 2007 and found that each 10 percent increase in the minimum wage in a state corresponded with a combined drop of employment for 16- to 19-year-olds of 3.6 percent.

William E. Even of Miami University and David Macpherson of Trinity University completed the picture, with research showing that the 40 percent increase in the federal minimum wage between July 2007 and July 2009 resulted in a 6.9 percent drop in employment in affected states; more than 114,000 fewer teens were employed as a result, with larger employment losses possible as businesses adjust over the long term.

Business rule changes in the air

The Tennessean looks at some of the business rule changes in the coming years including.

-Reducing the requirements placed on employers in workers' compensation and unemployment insurance cases. This would make it harder for workers to win claims on technical grounds, business groups say.

• Relaxing water rules. This would allow more construction projects to go forward faster, supporters say.

• Placing hard limits on non-compensatory damages in personal injury and medical malpractice cases. This would attract investment from outside the state, proponents say.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Projects

Some of the legislation I have been working on for a few years is starting to get traction nation wide. This is a good article about birthright citizenship for children of illegal aliens.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Quotes of the day

The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave.

Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826)


As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

Nelson Mandela
(1918 - )

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Nothing is over until we say it is

The battle to elect judges as the constitution requires is getting more play. This year things look good.

Quote of the....

"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."

- Cicero - 55 BC

The almost awards

The things, events and people that ALMOST made it to the top ten or at lest deserve Honorable mention.

Biggest boondoggle.

Pre K came close but the switchgass refinery that never produced what was promised yet still cost tens of millions hits the mark.

Best quote.

Ron Ramsey on college professors...

" step off campus and they're lost."

"They like to get up in the morning, comb their beard, put on their wire-rim glasses, throw their little tweed vest on and go to school for three hours... and hate Republicans,"







Did I mention we have a new UT president in Joseph-DiPietro? Where is his vest?







Biggest shock.

OK there were tons of races that were shocks. Most thought 54 to 56 Repubs in the house would be a max so above and beyond that was a shock up but one rose WELL above the rest (and it wasn't even in the state house). Doug Jackson going down to the thousand dollar man Jim Summerville wins hands down. Jackson was the only Tennessee State Democratic senator to be defeated in the November election and it was done by a mystery man, driven by issues, supported by the TEA party, who hardly campaigned. No one. And I mean NO one saw it coming. He makes “Rocky” look like a piker tail.




ALMOST biggest retirement...

I was thinking of nominating the Democrat party but I will go with just one man. Ben West. He was in the legislature for just less then a million years and when he left, he did it voluntarily. So much more graceful then those who go the other ways (toes up or bitter). Now it's off to sit by the pool like its the fourth of July.





Almost Biggest drop...

Gary Odom may win but I have a feeling Democrat party leader Chip Forester, may nip him out on Thursday.

















Biggest media factor (Local)...

I will have to go the appearance of Dan Andrews onto the Knoxville scene. Dan "The man" is about everywhere (That's Dan on the left in the picture). Dan doesn't care if it's roller derby, music scene, big UT sports events, covering the Knoxville county elections and political scene or dogging behind Bill Haslam in his run for Governor. Dan is a one man gang. He helped his small local paper (The Knoxville Focus) scoop the entire state on election night with the "Haslam Wins" print edition that was in the future governors hand as he gave his acceptance speech. Dan has said "If my camera don’t flash, I don't make no cash" At this rate he will be rich any minute now.


Biggest media factor (State)...

The appearance of TN Reports onto the Tennessee state legislature. Privately filling the gap in coverage with video and interviews on issues, events and people in the legislature, this small blog is catching on. Not just another aggregator or opinion blog but they dig for info, facts and quotes. It is the best of what citizen journalism can and will probably be in the new age.