Responsible spending and fixed rate finacing are the solutions to Co. debt, not raising taxes

A big thanks to Nancy McEntee for her letter to the editor about the County debt. It’s always wonderful to see citizens take an interest in important issues.

http://www.thedailytimes.com/opinion/your_voice/regularly-published-figures-surprise-reader/article_349bb33a-e6f6-5653-a646-cf989f181f48.html

There’s no need to raise taxes any further to pay down the debt. The local option sales tax was already increased. Responsible spending and fixed rate financing are the solutions, not draining your wallets.

Last Tuesday the Blount County Commission voted in favor of seeking fixed rate financing with no balloon payment for the Series E-3-B debt. This is a turning point in the County debt that will result in saving millions on interest costs and achieve some stability in a market that could become volatile. It’s one of the major reasons that I ran and I am ecstatic to be off to such a good start.

When They Came for Me…

“In May, Houston’s City Council passed an ordinance that extended anti-discrimination laws to gay and transgender residents.”

Now if you preach against homosexuality in Houston, you could be in trouble: “…City attorneys issued subpoenas last month…seeking, among other communications, “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to [the Equal Rights Ordinance], the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.” The subpoenas were issued to pastors and religious leaders who have been vocal in opposing the ordinance…”

More here.

When they came for the Muslims, I didn’t speak up because I am not a Muslim.
When they came for the drug users, I didn’t speak up because I am not a drug user.
When they came for the homosexuals, I didn’t speak up because I am not a homosexual.
Then they came for me, but there was no one left to speak for me.

The Real Status of Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq

Bam… Ron Paul nails it in one paragraph

“The Taliban government of 2001 in Afghanistan did not attack the United States. Al-Qaeda did. But the 2003 US attack on Iraq under false pretenses removed a leader who had fought ruthlessly against al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist fighters. The result was that the al-Qaeda we were supposed to be fighting in Afghanistan flourished in post-invasion Iraq, along with other even more brutal groups. Will our government ever learn that invasion and occupation are not the solution, but rather the problem? No new status of forces agreement can change that basic fact.”

Read the article here: http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2014/october/05/the-real-status-of-forces-in-afghanistan-and-iraq.aspx

The Highway Dept. has disposed of a Scooby Doo Mystery Machine Van

See page 36.  I can’t imagine why the Highway Department would need a Scooby Doo Mystery Machine Van, but apparently it’s no longer needed because it has been sold on GovDeals.  The vehicle was a 1987 model and was approximately 9 years old when the County purchased it on 9/19/1996 from the City of Alcoa.  I can’t imagine why the City of Alcoa would have needed this either.  If you can shed some light on what this was and why the Blount County Highway Department needed a Scooby Doo Mystery Machine Van, please post here.

Source: http://www.toonswallpapers.com/user-content/uploads/wall/o/10/Scooby-Doo-Mini-Van-1440×900-Wallpaper-ToonsWallpapers.com-.jpg

 

Audit the Fed Bill Passes, May Die in Senate

From The Daily Beast:

“In announcing the results of the successful House vote to finally take a look at the inner workings of the Fed, Rep. Paul Broun, the Republican sponsor of the bill, said that it’s passage had brought “us one step closer towards bringing much-needed transparency to our nation’s monetary policy.”

“Yeah, not so much. Despite such a lopsided vote in the House, the measure will die in the Senate. It wasn’t voted on before the pre-election recess, and Majority Leader Harry Reid will refuse to bring the matter up for a vote before the current congressional term expires in January. Irony alert: Reid himself co-sponsored bills in the ’90s calling for Fed audits.”

“Reid hasn’t explained exactly why he won’t allow a vote on the bill, which has 30 co-sponsors. He’s keeping his reasons secret, which means that the Fed’s secrets are safe for at least a little while longer. And that trust in government will keep shrinking, just like the value of a dollar has over the life of the Federal Reserve.”

 

If Ron Ramsey was against Pre-K…

Nice job on the pre-K redirect...they will forget all about that Islam social studies stuff!

Nice job on the pre-K redirect…they will forget all about that Islam social studies stuff!

by Eric Holcombe

Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey has been in print and on the airwaves recently with his anti-Pre-K message (which is largely true) that we now have paid for multiple studies of our own (because Georgia’s just wouldn’t do) that show pre-K has no lasting academic effect beyond 2nd or 3rd grade and broader implementation of this program is a waste of money. Remember back when Gov. Bredesen said Pre-K would be “voluntary”? Achieve Inc. board member Bill Haslam is still “leaving the door open” for more federal spending on Pre-K and wants to wait on yet another pre-K study by Vanderbilt  – while there didn’t seem to be nearly as much reflection on calling for the shutdown of Tennessee Virtual Academy (TVA) after only two years of operation and “almost” being in the bottom 10% academically (never mind the schools that actually were). This despite that TVA truly is voluntary, as no one forced any of those parents to enroll their children. On the contrary, Achieve Inc. board member Bill Haslam capped their exploding enrollment to prevent too many from having “school choice”.

There is one problem with this anti-Pre-K show. Lt. Governor Ramsey heartily endorsed Pre-K both as Lt. Governor AND as a then candidate for governor. What, you say? Yes, it’s true. Remember that Race To The Top application for over $500 MILLION in taxpayer dollars? All that mass plagiarism on those rubber-stamp letters endorsing the application and its contents? Well, Lt. Governor Ramsey had TWO letters in there. See Appendix A, pages 30 and 34.

He said as Lt. Governor on page 30:

We pledge to exercise the powers of our offices to vigorously support Tennessee’s Race To The Top proposal and commit to support the legislation required to achieve the goals stated therein, and assist in providing positive conditions for reform throughout the state.” (emphasis mine)

He and Achieve Inc. Board member Bill Haslam said as gubernatorial candidates on page 34:

If our state is successful in Race to the Top, it must also deliver on the proposed programs and investments in a manner that effectively spans the transition in January 2011 from the current governor [ed: Achieve Inc. board member] to the next governor [ed: Achieve Inc. board member]“. (emphasis mine)

So what, you say. That doesn’t prove anything about pre-K. Well, except that the Race to the Top application they are endorsing absolutely does on page 15:

In this application, we describe the ways in which we will….leverage other federal funds to create a P-20 statewide longitudinal database that encompasses data from education and social service sectors. We seek to organize our efforts and interventions around this data, enabling it to be used from the Capitol to the classroom. We believe that an expansion from a K-12 data system to a P-20 data system, as well as the creation of an early-warning system, will enable us to reach our graduation rate goal of 90%.”

That “P” means Pre-K. The “20” means year twenty, as in four more years after you have graduated from both high school AND a four-year university. We are going to be mining data from the human capital widgets for over twenty years of their lives via third-party testing contracts and selling it back to the federal government in violation of FERPA (before it was gutted by Obama’s executive order) *ahem*, so our children can “compete in the global marketplace”.

So why would Lt. Governor Ramsey write to Arne Duncan and promise to “vigorously support” this proposed Pre-K database expansion if we aren’t going to be spending more on Pre-K so we can have that “early warning” for the children? Why is he now backing out on his “must also deliver on the proposed programs and investments”? It would seem that Achieve Inc. board member Bill Haslam is keeping up his end of the bargain.

Ron did actually read the 1100-page application for Race to the Top before endorsing it….didn’t he? Surely he post-dated that letter, right? It would seem this might have come up in those recent super-secret Education Summit meetings.

Don’t fall for the anti-Pre-K rhetoric (even though the statements about no lasting improvement are true). The Common Core shackle is firmly around Tennessee’s neck, and so is the required P-20 Statewide Longitudinal Database System. We have already spent $500 MILLION of Uncle Sugar’s money. We will do whatever is necessary to prostitute our state for more.

If Lamar was against Common Core…

Lamar's coal-powered car - photo credit: US News & World Report

Lamar’s coal-powered car – photo credit: US News & World Report

by Eric Holcombe

Lamar has been busy lately (it is campaign season after all) trying to sell us on his convictions about president Obama’s “national board of education”, whatever that means.  He even tagged along recently with a group of Senators writing to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to declare:

“Federal law contains a number of general limitations on the federal government’s involvement in decisions concerning academic standards and curriculum.”

All this protest and new-found conviction has to do with Arne moving to count the NAEP test scores toward a state’s programmatic compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as part of his “Results-Driven Accountability”.  I can think of at least two reasons for the recent change of heart:

1. Tennessee is not scoring well on the NAEP, even after spending $500 MILLION plus of fraudulently obtained Race To The Top federal tax dollars. We are still below average on every metric. This won’t jibe with our current state propaganda of highest, bestest, most improvingest scores ever.

2. If the federal government gets to decide (*wink*wink*) who the testing contractor is, uh, I mean which federal test we use to qualify for federal dollars, then that whole Achieve Inc./PARCC/Bill Gates enterprise may not pay off as planned.

I say if Lamar was really against Common Core and federal government control of education, he shouldn’t have sent that first letter to Arne Duncan heartily endorsing it. Remember, the one in Appendix A (page 32) of the Race To The Top application? The application that explicitly committed the state to the Common Core “state” Standards when they didn’t exist yet? The same application that committed us to the increased data-mining and soon-to-be PARCC assessments? In that letter Lamar said:

In utilizing these federal funds, Tennessee seeks to capitalize on its assets – a rich pool of data, a plan for revamped standards and assessments, increasing collaboration with high-tech firms and facilities, and an expanded charter school system. Tennessee’s RTTT proposal builds upon these assets and will accelerate reforms necessary to support educational achievement and excellence.”

So you see, it is all about the wrong fox getting to guard the henhouse. He sounds like Andrew Johnson, the “military governor” (just try to find that in your Constitution) of Tennessee for “honest” Abe Lincoln. It’s all sour grapes when you sold out your neighbors and now you aren’t getting the payoff you expected.

 

But see, Lamar isn’t really against Common Core. In this story from last year, you see the same objection to federal testing – well only as long as the federal government is getting to choose the test. How about this whopper:

“Referring to the Democratic education bill, the subject of today’s committee meeting, Senator Alexander said, “If your proposal passed, and the state of Tennessee – which adopted the ‘common core’ standards before the secretary ever included it in Race to the Top or anything else, and even helped write the standards – then wanted to change its standards, it would have to amend its state plan, send it to the secretary, he’d peer-review it, and he could approve it or disapprove it.”

 Uh, Lamar, please actually look at the 1100-page application for Race To The Top you endorsed with your letter to Arne Duncan, like maybe the first 10-12 pages is all it would take.
 “Senator Alexander said “Common core” standards “are the result of a state-led effort, driven by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, and were meant to be a set of standards states could voluntarily adopt to improve their K-12 schools.”
In other words, they are not “state-led” (by actual residents of Tennessee) but driven by the two Washington DC corporations that hold the copyright to them and collected all that money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since the first “confidential” draft of the Common Core State Standards did not even exist yet when Lamar wrote his letter endorsing them in the Race To The Top application, I am not sure where he gets the idea that they were ever anything else than a federal bribe in Race To The Top. That is the first time they ever appeared. NO ONE had implemented them prior to that – because they didn’t exist. Just like Lamar’s convictions.

License Plate Readers

The Daily Times has recently run a couple of puff pieces on automated license plate readers, including the lead/main story featured today.  There is a more nefarious side to consider about constant surveillance.  The matter has been discussed several times before here on BC Public Record and throughout the internet.

Setting the record straight on DHS and license plate tracking

90 Day License Plate Storage Bill Signed by TN Governor

California Court Denies Sampling Of License Plate Information
California Superior Court judge refuses access to license plate camera data.
http://thenewspaper.com/news/45/4505.asp

Virginia: Cops Spied On Motorists At Political Rallies
Virginia State Police plate reader cameras record the identity of participants at Republican and Democratic political events.
http://thenewspaper.com/news/42/4232.asp

ACLU Report Exposes Extent Of License Plate Surveillance
Report documents police use of automated license plate recognition technology.
http://thenewspaper.com/news/41/4155.asp

Federal Agencies Trade Motorist Data to Insurance Companies
Department of Homeland Security agrees to track motorists using a database built by the insurance industry.
http://thenewspaper.com/news/38/3877.asp