You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘letter writing skills’ category.

Since becoming aware as a child I have often wondered if had I lived along the Boston-Concord Highway in Massachusetts roughly 239 years ago… whether I would have taken up my gun and head to Lexington? Or if I would sit and let others do it for me…

Pondering this as an idealistic youngster, I would certainly have gone and fought.  But as a mature, responsible individual I have questioned that automatic reaction….. It appears ones level of action depends on what one has to lose.  Being young, there is no lost investment one puts at risk. Being older, there is.

Today when we sit back, we know how that history played out.  That clouds our judgment: “Oh sure” we’d say, “I’d have grabbed my gun and stood in that square.” but we say that knowing full well how the British lost and the Royalists were run off to Canada… However, to those at that time, there appeared a greater chance for the opposite to occur.  Back then, Britain was the United States of today….

How could some dirt farmers overwhelm the world’s greatest army?  Fortunately for us today, they didn’t think like that or didn’t care, and in that there is the lesson for today.

As George Washington was hounded, as was Andrew Jackson, as was Abraham Lincoln, we living today have systematically against all facts and evidence to the contrary, been repeatedly told our current leader is an incredible disaster waiting to happen.  We have waited 6 years with the same repeating messages and yet so far things keep improving, getting better and better.

It is time we fire the messengers.  The lying messengers.

Like those Massachusetts’ farmers we too have two choices to make.  We can stay with what has been broken, and cling to the fact that it is not yet as broken as it could be, or…. we can throw our hearts behind the possibility of achieving real change,  betterment for our children, and a future brighter than our dreams can imagine upon looking through the reality of today…

Every lie so far told, each intended to scare us away from not achieving that dream we hold for ourselves (instead to accept theirs), has so far been false. Health care CAN be effectively controlled.  We CAN get Osama Bin Ladin. We CAN rebuild America’s auto industry. We CAN negotiate with Russia, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Israel, China and not have to go on a national alert as does North Korea does every time it faces an internal domestic crises.  We CAN stop Ebola from spreading here.  We didn’t have a crises in Benghazi. We didn’t have malpractice in the IRS.  We CAN raise taxes on our top earners and grow jobs faster than we could with tax cuts.  We CAN have gas prices at $2.84 a gallon for unleaded.  We CAN have people in love with each other, marry for life without the world caving in. WE CAN grow jobs at rates over 200,000 per month.  We CAN have the stock market earn rates over 30% per year….

Compare that to their alternative?  We could take 25 million Americans off  their health insurance. We could shut down our government, costing America another $25 billion of lost economic activity. We could again tax the middle class with user fees to pay for the tax cuts the top 1% can simply get for asking. We could make seniors pay more for their medical care and hospital visits,  and cut Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals. We could make Social Security pay half of what seniors currently receive.  We could legalize paying less, not more to employees.  We could privatize education by firing all teachers and rehiring them at reduced wages, making teaching a minimum wage job. What gets done to teachers then gets continued throughout the entire middle class.

We can stay with what has been torn down and remained broken since Republicans took over in 2000….. OR we can throw our hearts behind at least the possibility of change…. One party does absolutely nothing, except pass tax cuts for the one percent.  The other party vetoes those tax cuts, and tries to negotiate and offer compromises that at least push necessary legislation forward…

These House Republicans have created the least productive Congress ever across the history of the United States of America.  Even the cantankerous Senate has responded responsibly in bipartisan fashion to pass and send important critical issues into the House… only to see them languish, never to even be voted up or down… because if they were,  the votes are there to pass them.

So are you going to vote this year? Are you actually going to get up off your ass, head to the poll, wait in line to cast a vote for a better future, knowing full well that if you don’t, things will continue to get worse?  Or, …are you going to say… “it doesn’t matter whether I vote or not. The powerful will always get their way anyway. ”

You see?  You’ve been put in the exact same position as those boys and young men 239 years ago… Whatever level of action you decide to take, mirrors the level they had to ponder and decide, and will be talked about long after you are dead, like that shot heard around the world… THIS election, not 2012, is the one that REALLY matters.  THIS one decides Congress… We’ve seen it for six years; no president can do anything constructive without at least, a functioning Congress ….  Whereas in the past, Congress has sometimes led and the President has been delegated to either sign or veto, this current Republican House is so dysfunctional it can’t even do that.  Therefore this is a do or die election… Whether you always vote in every election, or you hardly ever vote at all…  this is the one your grandchildren will be asking you about…. This one unequivocally decides their future.  Like those boys or men along the Boston-Concord road 239 years ago….the call has gone out;  it is now in your hands.. Do you fight?  Or just let them win.  What will you do?

 

 

Advertisements

Last week Allan Loudell was waxing poetic on an live interview how the Supreme Court was Conservative on the voting rights act and liberal on the repeal of DOMA, finishing with: ” is it anyones guess what to expect?”   I was busy at the time, but thought it was rather easy to figure out.  You see, i know a Libertarian and  so making the assessment that Justice Kennedy was also a Libertarian, didn’t require much of a leap at all.

When one thinks of Libertarians, one thinks of that tiny party in the middle of a ballot.  But Libertarianism has played a dominant role in the US’s formation…  It is just that when it strikes, it is not on the ballot.  Below I show how Libertarianism easily explains how this court acts….

This past season the Supreme Court heard 75 cases… Of those seventy five, 30% were decided by a vote of 5-4.   This is one of the most contentious courts on record.  The roundabout average is 22% of  its cases decided by 5-4 decisions.  However, and this is surprising, almost 50% of its decisions were decided by a 9-0 margin.  That is unprecedented as well.

Graph Courtesy of  SCOTUS Blog

There appears to be a solid libertarian bias that leans through this court.  If progressive, they are libertarian progressives, if conservative they are libertarian conservatives, and if split, then the most libertarian of them all, Justice Kennedy, is the decider.

Let me first touch on those decision made last week.  a) Voting Rights Act…  If there is no firm reason not to leave it to the states, then leave it to the states… Libertarianism. b)  Repeal of Clause 3 of DOMA… If  the government is picking favorites of one custom over another, that is not the government’s business… Government needs to butt out… Pure Libertarianism.   Those inured in thinking only in terms of  “left” and “right” are by their blinders.. baffled.  However there is a very clear aim through out this court and that aim clearly states that the government should not be interfering with people’s rights to decide things for themselves.

Furthermore, although this court is very pro business, to call it an business court would still be an error.  The human gene concept, that actual genes were not to be patented, was decided in part because doing so would benefit the company that acquired the patent, but hurt those who didn’t.  There was no prevailing clause of ownership offered by the plaintiff, since the gene existed long before the company did, so therefore, everyone has a right to it.  The decision was business neutral.  Though one company lost, all others gained thereby making the decision a neutral one.  Very Libertarian.   Favorites should not be picked by the government.  However if Monsanto in another landmark case, actually did invent the gene, then for a farmer to replant some of the soybeans as farmers have since  civilization began, should not happen.  Those beans were not his intellectual property, because they were created legally under license by Monsanto.   No different than buying a CD and burning copies for one’s friends and acquaintances.   Again, very Libertarian.  The government should not interfere with either picking or hurting a company in its effort to make money by playing with existing rules.

Likewise the Federal Government should not limit or impose itself or it’s temporary values upon a company doing business overseas.  Therefore for the Federal Government forbidding an AIDs vaccine to be used in Africa for infectees caused by prostitution, was illegal.  That puritan law was stricken.  Government can’t interfere.

And so after this season,  federal judicial participation in guilty pleas is now subject to harmless error review; the government can’t involuntary dissolve a parent/childs bonding rights; a person who does not choose to willfully invoke their 5th amendment rights, can have their subsequent silence used against them. A sex offender in the armed services must like every other citizen who is one, register in the state where he resides.  Likewise an insurance beneficiary of a previous divorce, can get paid according to original contract, and no state law can override that.

Just “thinking like a Libertarian” has for the most part made one able to predict the outcome of this court with amazing accuracy.  It is really contrary to Allan Loudell’s statement, not a mystery after all…..  One just has to think outside the Red and Blue Box…

It’s not the genetics. We are all pretty equal there.. It’s the environment. We’ve Got To Change The Environment. Standardization is not helping. Not helping one little bit.

As we recommended here, in Providence Rhode Island, the testing being done in schools was done on adults.  The idea is to test if the problem is our students, or our tests.  The adults were all college graduates or higher, and all had either public or corporate leadership positions…

Out of fifty of our most successful adults: list comprised of elected officials, attorneys, scientists, engineers, reporters, college professors, and directors of leading nonprofits—

4 of these 50 people would have scored ‘proficient with distinction,’ 7 would have scored ‘proficient,’ 9 would have scored ‘partially proficient,’ and 30 individuals—or 60%—would have scored ‘substantially below proficient,’ meaning they did not get a high enough score to receive a diploma.”

The problem with low test scores are not the fault of the students or teachers… The test are design so those taking it fail….

When questioned the test maker responded with this…

“The original goal of NECAP was to evaluate schools, and, to some extent, students within the schools. In order to make a reliable ranking among schools, you need to ensure that the differences between one school and another are statistically significant. To do that, the statistics demand that you design it to ensure that a significant number of students will flunk. If every student passed this test, they would redesign it. That’s what it means to be a diagnostic tool. To attach high-stakes to such an exam is simply an abuse of the tool, and one that will have real consequences for many young people.”

One of the legislators who sits on Rhode Island’s Corporations committee put it thusly….

“My eyes have been opened,” said Teresa Tanzi, a State Representative from Wakefield and a participant in Saturday’s “Take the Test” event. “As one of the many capable and relatively accomplished participants who scored substantially below proficient on this exercise, I do believe this points to a problem with our state’s new diploma system. The fact that a majority of very successful adults—nearly all of whom have completed college and many of whom have advanced degrees—cannot meet this requirement should make us reconsider whether a NECAP score, on its own, is an appropriate arbiter for a high school graduation decision.”

Those following the issue are aware that overwhelmingly across this nation, reports of tests with purposefully impossible questions, are putting otherwise good students, into the also-rans of life…  Honors students are being refused by colleges of their choice because of these scores.

It can easily be fixed.  Just allow the sole guide of whether a student should move up a grade or not, be determined by the teacher….  We all did ok back when that was policy….. And we were competing with the Soviet Union for heaven’s sake…  Not some joke of a North Korean…

They had centralized education.  We had local school boards, unionized teachers, and PTA’s.

So who won?

I’m really sick today.. You see, when I was growing up, I was a history buff. I read childhood biographies of famous people, usually with the book behind the textbook while the teachers droned on and on, but once as a tyke, who upon seeing the obligatory National Park Film in the Williamsburg Visitors Center, after Patrick Henry sat down, I swore, I would always fight to protect the Constitution…. At that moment, even little as I was, I think I understood that I was temporary… But the Constitution like God, needed to be around forever…

With childish enthusiasm I imagined myself at times on the bridges of Lexington and Concord, roaming the swamps of South Carolina, and firing my muskets at King’s Mountain, and most importantly, crossing that line in the dirt on December 31, 1776 when no one else wanted to, to enlist till the end of the war.. . When it made the real difference, I said, I would step up at my own peril..

Today, I feel as George Washington must have, perched upon his horse on the New Jersey banks of the Hudson, watching the British inhabit New York and knowing there was nothing he or anyone else could do about it… Overmatched, the cause of freedom had taken a body slam.

Perhaps it is more like going back 2000 some years though. And being full of great optimism and hope for a burgeoning empire, a group of city states destined to prosper and rise, one whose morals would be impeccable, and suddenly without warning, ones best friend pulls out a knife and shoves it into your flesh and others pull out theirs, opening wounds where they can.

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution states that …. oh damn, here it is in it’s entirety.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Granted there have been times, particularly at war, when protecting Americans meant going against the grain of this… If someone is about to shoot you, I mean, it certainly would help if you know about it first…..

The problem with too much accumulation of information, is that once you have it, it can be used. Assurances along the lines of “I’ll never do that”… always down the line get replace with platitudes of…. ” I did it because I could…” or… ” I needed to.”

So having every thing you’ve ever done electronically in a file instantly accessed by simply typing in your name, can be a bit disconcerting… It’s a catch 22. If you have not a single demerit because you lead such a bland life, you get castigated for being a wallflower and uninteresting. On the other hand, if you take risks to live life fully, you get castigated for the errors you made… Either way, those with the power will use it to castigate you for something…. And though disguised as their trying to put you in your place, it is really their effective attempt to prove to others they wield power…

Today’s Senate voted overwhelmingly to continue the FISA Admendments Act. Like ACTA or CISPA or any other internet freedom restricting acts, had opposition been organized, it may have demanded another outcome. But today’s bill arose out of nowhere, and leadership demanded it pass, and pass it did….

Numb today, I understand the implications. It is like we chose to keep Japanese interned in concentration camps after the war was over. It is that bad.. If we are doing it for the Japanese, eventually someone argues, why not anyone else? And really, how else can one answer such an argument except to expand the offense to a greater scale?

I didn’t find about the attempted coup until waking up 3 am today. I did see outrage that Zuckerman’s picture was Twittered off a private feed! The silence over government taking our freedom, and the outrage over the release of privacy, is a stunning comparison. It begs the question: what is wrong with all of us? Shouldn’t the outrage be the other way around?

For the first time that I can find, we as a nation, have chosen to continue a war-powers act, on into peace-time. 9/11 is gone. Bin Laden is dead. We’ve preditor’d out Al Qaieda’s 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, in command. We are out of Iraq. We will soon be out of Afghanistan. We are not in a war for our nation’s survival. So why does the government need access into every American’s email, facebook account, twitter, photo’s? Why does the FBI need to show up at your facebook friends home, with a letter stating that you are under surveillance and then asking questions of their relationship with you, then forcing their silence by telling them that they can be prosecuted themselves if they even reveal to you that they’d had contact with government officials? Gee, did you ever had a friend get weird on you suddenly, like for no reason?

Should our government be allowed to do that?

According to the text of the Fourth Amendment listed above…. Absolutely Not.

And it was over before the child in me could even get his powder cartridge out of his gunnysack…

The News Journal published a story of $10,000 bonuses being given out to 28 teachers in Delaware. Someone had deemed these to be our outstanding teachers, over all others employed in Delaware.

If any teacher does a great job, they deserve this $10,000. Hell, if the wealthy Republicans are paying; they deserve $100,000 in bonuses…

Notice I said…. “any” teacher… I read through the article glad these teachers had gotten awards, and glad they’d been called in to give their opinions and advice which may be used to help other teachers and then at the end of the article, I came upon this.

Award Recipients

These teachers and administrators earned a $10,000 award from the state Department of Education for improving the achievement levels of their students.
Capital School District: Lesley Louder, Jennifer Gumble, Gillian Fuller, LaTynia Young-Whitby, John Strong, Kristen Tanis, Karin Synoski, Stephanie Thompson, Takara Hopps, Laura Marecki
Laurel School District: Ann Lewis, Leroy Travers, Jessica Page, Julie Davis, Jennider Teagle, Julia Reader, Michelle Flynn
Kuumba Academy Charter School: Sally Maldonado, Tamara Price, Douglas Cuffy, Colleen Sheeron, Samantha Connell, Jennielle Eger, Chelsea Baxter
Academy of Dover Charter School: Danielle Sherman Mackey, Patricia Miller
Prestige Academy Charter School: Mansa Raifa
East Side Charter School: Brianne Kennelly
SOURCE: The Delaware Department of Education

Like any good parent I skim to see if I know any of these. I’ve see a lot of teachers come and go…

There was nothing from the Christina School District.
There was nothing from the Red Clay School District.
There was nothing from the Brandywine School District.
There was nothing from the Appoquinimink School District.

That is odd. No one in New Castle County? Not one teacher was excellent? Not only does that defy common sense, but it also defies my experience. Every school has a “teacher of the year”. Every district chooses one of them to become the districts “Teacher of the Year”…. Yet none of them were in contention?

Then there is the Capital School District, in Dover, next to the Education Secretary’s office. In that district, ten of the twenty eight awards, were given.

Next there was Laural School District. 7 of the 28 awards were given. In just these two districts near the Education Secretaries home, 17 of the 28 awards came….

Third, the Kuumba Academy Charter School. 7 came from there… The total is now up to 24. Two of the other four came from Academy of Dover Charter School. The balance was made up of one from Prestige Academy and one from East Side Charter School….

For the record there are 579 charter School Teachers; there are 7793 public (non-charter?) Teachers in Delaware.

11 Charter winners out of 579 or 1.2%. 17 Public School winners out of 7793 or 0.2 of one percent….

I would like to know the standards on how these particular individuals were gleaned. It appears that the administrator made a few visits, sat in on some classes, and awarded everyone he saw….

If one looks at the ratings across the state, there is nothing different between Capital, Laural, and all the other commendable districts. There are 12 other public schools with Commendable Ratings. One must wonder why all the brilliant teachers wound up in only two.

In Reading (5th Grade), both Capitol and Laural Districts were surpassed by Appoquinimink, Brandywine, Caesar Rodney, Cape Henelopen, Christina, Colonial, Delmar, Indian River, Lake Forest, Milford, Seaford, Smyrna… or in other words, almost all the districts were better at reading than these two….

And in none of them could one good teacher be found?

In Math, Capital District was the second lowest district in the state. It had the most winners out of any district…

In the Charter School’s territory, we have Kuumba taking the lion’s share of $10,000 prizes. The school has 19 teachers. 7 of them are better than all 7793 public teachers scattered across the entire state.

I’m not defaulting the excellence of any of these teachers. In may view, any teacher who can get some learning into a kid’s head today, IS an excellent teacher. Seriously, how does one compete with Assassin’s Creed Three? Not even Donald Trump has problems like that….

But one cannot help but think, Mark Murphy had 28 $10,000 checks in his pocket, and made a road trip visiting schools and handed them out arbitrarily…. “Oh, I love the way you did that; you’re awesome. Here’s $10,000…..”

I hope I’m wrong…

If Tony DeLuca was in a Warners Brother’s cartoon, he would be the little red devil flirting above the head… Karen Petersen, his Senate antagonist, would be the winged, angelic figure, flirting about the other ear…

Recently Karen was alluding to Tony DeLuca when she said…. “When any member of the Senate abuses power, we have not only the right, but the obligation to elect a better representation. The 11th District deserves a Senator who has integrity, a good work ethic, a record of community service, and a desire to serve the people who elect him…. “ She obviously supports Tony DeLuca’s opponent.

Recently someone in Tony DeLuca’s District was quoted:… .. “I never heard of the guy and now I get 5 pieces of mail a day from him!!!… You say fourteen years!!!!! And I never heard of him? That’s ridiculous.. He’s got to go…”

Which to this intriguing mind, begs the question: How is this guy able to be keep getting reelected?

Naturally one pulls up his campaign finance forms….

As of the 30 day financial report, Anthony had raised $48,760… That is to be expected… When you single handedly control which bills get onto the floor to be voted upon in the corporate capital of the world, $48,760 is really not that much… One would certainly expect the maximum contribution allowed from corporations with names like Axcess Financial Services, Inc., Artesian Water, Advance America (Spartanburg, SC); Cozen O’Conner First State PAC (1900 Market Street, Phila. PA); DELBANKPAC, Delaware Association of insurance&Financial Advisors PAC; Delaware Automobile and Truck Dealers Association; Delaware Park Management Company; Delaware Standardbred Owners Association; Delaware Supermarkets; Franklin Strategies; MacFarlane Group Inc (Mission KS); NRG Energy (Princeton NJ); Orrick, Harrington& Sutcliffe.LLP (San Francisco,CA); PLF Properties (Mission KS); Pilots Association for Bay and River(Columbus Blvd,Phila.PA); Retail Services and Systems (Potomac, MD); Senate Victory PAC (209 Linden Ave. Wilm); THE PAC (1201 N. Orange Street); The Committee for a Better Future; The Hertich Family of Automobile Dealerships (Seaford); United Distributors of Delaware; Wilmington Trust Corp PAC…….. and that is just up through August… The next report, the 8 Day report, gets turned in… now in fact… The election is in 6 days…..

Hmmmmm…. Has anyone seen the 8 Day Finance Report for Anthony DeLuca 2012? Hmmmmmm…. It seems to be missing…. Let’s check the calender one more time…. Let’s see… The election is on Tuesday, right? That is September the 11th. So… one day would be the tenth, one more the ninth, then the eighth, seventh, sixth, and today. … I count six days, which means,,, ELECTION LAW VIOLATION? … go figure it was on the President Pro Tempore of the Delaware General Assembly, Mr $48,760 himself….

Hmmmm, maybe it’s a glitch within the Elections Office….

Anyways, the point being made, is that if Tony has not been seen in his district, and if there are no addresses within his district who support him on his campaign finance forms, and he has the maximum being dumped into his campaign from groups in Mission, KS; Spartansburg, SC; San Francisco, Market Street in Philly, not to mention the global corporate capital of the world, ….. who exactly is he spending all his time working for?

So back to my original question…. How does one then, buy a District’s Vote?

Expenditures: Campaign Finance Form. 30 Day Primary……

People in the 11 District have received on the average, one campaign piece per day… They are slick pieces that extol Tony’s virtues as a community organizer (cough, cough)… as a champion for open government (cough, cough); as a labor supporter (cough, cough); as someone tight fisted with government’s money (golf courses, cough, cough); as an educational leader (cough, cough); as an anti industrial friend of the environment (Valero cough, cough); as a fearless labor negotiator who stands up for the working man while he cuts their salaries (cough, cough)…. These come flying in at one a day… One a day? I exaggerate… try two a day… You can tell you are in Tony DeLuca’s district because when you look down the street all the mailboxes are tipping sideways…..

Expenditures: Tony DeLuca 30 Day Primary 2012

787 8th SE Suite 202 Washington DC 20003 $6887.50 8/10/2012
737 8th SE Suite 202 Washington DC 20003 $3443.75 6/26/2012
737 8th SE Suite 202 Washington DC 20003 $3770.00 7/31/2012
737 8th SE Suite 202 Washington DC 20003 $10,875.00 7/18/2012
737 8th SE Suite 202 Washington DC 20003 $3987.00 7/18/2012
737 8th SE Suite 202 Washington DC 20003 $3987.50 7/17/2012

Aggregate Total of money leaving Delaware and going to Washington Dc to this address?

$32,951.25 going to a Petel & Company….

Patel & Company to whom you pay a fee, and they create an “image” of a candidate who really does not exist in real life…. I gotta admit. They do a good job and the CEO is “hot”… I hope this piece steers some credible business their way… Because they do a good job. The Tony DeLuca in everyone’s mailbox is not… the Tony Deluca they have had as their Senator for the last fourteen years…. Yep… Fourteen years of an invisible presence… Well, I shouldn’t say invisible…..

The Lobbyists sure see enough of him….. Lol…

And that, my friends, is how you buy a district’s votes…..

The Commanding Officer Women Would Love To See
This Awesome Live-Action Photo Courtesy of Jesebel

Rick Santorum Says Women Aren’t Fit for Combat Because They’re Just So Emotional

Apparently Rick Santorum said on CNN’s John King:

“I do have concerns about women in frontline combat. I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved. And I think that’s probably—you know, it already happens, of course, with the camaraderie of men in combat. But I think it would be even more unique if women were in combat, and I think that’s probably not in the best interest of men, women, or the mission.”

Jesebel digresses further, far better than could I….

Can you be more specific about exactly which of the well-known lady emotions will be compromising the mission? Is it the lusty kind of emotion that leads us to give out BJs in the backseats of tanks when we’re supposed to be shooting people? Or is it our ‘fraidy cat emotions that cause us to start crying when things go boom? Or worst of all, is it those “time of the month” emotions which make us so bitchy that we refuse to take orders from our commanding officer? Or maybe it is some witches’ brew combination of all three? Or, even more terrifying, maybe it’s the men that are the problem. Will they be so concerned with being chivalrous that they’ll do something dumb, like try to be a gentleman and hold the helicopter door open for us? There are just so many “feelings”.

140 women have been killed while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. You’ll have to run that through your own special logic machine, but here in reality, where most of us live, it seems like if women are brave enough to die for our country, then we should be good enough to fight for it.


Right click to open full image… Pictograph Courtesy of Viral..

So, can someone tell me again, why we shouldn’t tax the rich, and instead, balance the budget on the backs of everyone else?…….

I seem to be missing that little detail where that all makes sense……