Thursday, July 31, 2008

H.L. Mencken: sharp as a razor

From yesterday's Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:


Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The state — or, to make matters more concrete, the government — consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting ‘A’ to satisfy ‘B’. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction on stolen goods.

— H.L. Mencken, On Politics [1996]

Standard & Poors rates another junk bond

Standard & Poors is not the best judge of financial management. First there was their ratings of SIV, MBS, CDO, and other derivitives. Now we have Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Olentangy.

* STANDARD & POORS 'UPGRADES OLENTANGY CREDIT RATING TO "AA+"

Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S & P) has increased Olentangy Local Schools’ credit rating from “AA” to “AA+,” the second highest rating possible. The increased rating means the district will receive a lower interest rate on its bond millagemaking it easier for the district to maintain the existing 8.72 total bond mills target for community members. In Ohio, only one other school district has a higher S & P rating than Olentangy Local Schools.

“This is excellent news,” said Olentangy Board of Education President Scott Galloway. “This is important for our community and is a testimony to the quality financial management this district has demonstrated time and time again. I applaud our Treasurer Becky Jenkins and all staff members for their continued efforts towards making Olentangy Local Schools a sound financial investment for all community members. I also thank our residents for their continued support at the ballot box, a factor which played a significant role in this rating upgrade.”

According to a S & P release regarding the rating, “the upgrade reflects the district’s good management of financial operations and its capital building program during a time of strong enrollment growth, that, coupled with voter support, allowed for maintenance of solid reserve levels over the past few years. The ‘AA+’ rating is also based on access to the deep and diverse Columbus metropolitan area employment base, very strong income levels and extremely strong wealth per capita, good management of the levy cycle and moderate overall net debt burden as a percent of market value” (sic)

“I am thrilled for the district and the community,” said Interim Superintendent Jenny Hooie. “Once again an independent outside organization has recognized the outstanding efforts by Olentangy staff members to effectively provide a high quality education at a reasonable cost to our taxpayers.”

S & P is a worldwide leader in authoritative financial market intelligence. According to www.standardandpoors.com, S & P provides credit ratings and credit risk analysis for approximately $32 trillion of debt issued in more than 100 countries. The higher the S & P rating the lower the risk the organization is for investors, which equates to lower interest rates for the organization seeking the rating. Organizations receive higher ratings by demonstrating strong financial management and performance.

A letter regarding the Delaware senior services levy

Dear Editor:

I read with interest the recent letters regarding the August senior services levy.

This is what I gathered from the discussions about the levy and the services to be provided: the levy will allow some seniors to remain at home and not be a burden (financial or otherwise) to their children.

The problem with this logic is that government produces nothing. So, while the levy will allow certain seniors to remain at home, the burden remains -- it simply passes from the family to everyone else.

My issues are not the levy -- it's a minor tax increase. My issues are the current trend to have government replace the family as caregiver, as well as the belief that government somehow removes a burden.

And, as government assumes the role of caregiver, the bond that first goes from parent to child, and then from child to parent, is forever broken. A sad state of affairs indeed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wisdom from Bierce

From FreedomWatch:

Ambrose Bierce

From:
Bernhard1848@att.net

The Bierce's and Mencken's are long gone, and sadly replaced by court-journalists like the late Tim Russert who received a state funeral for helping prop up the Washington regime. Even if they existed, the Marxist media would have no place for them, like government schools have no use for brilliant students who excel. Bernhard Thuersam, Executive DirectorCape Fear Historical InstitutePost Office Box 328Wilmington, NC 28402
http://www.cfhi.net/

The ABC’s of Ambrose Bierce, by William HinesReprinted from the March 1954 issue of Democratic Digest.

It was a sad day for the race, that day 40 years ago when Ambrose Bierce called it quits and disappeared into the wilds of northern Mexico.

The reason one mourns an oldster like Bierce---he would be 111 if still around---is that the world could use such a man right now. He would be taken by neither the skullduggeries nor the inanities that plague modern man. What is more, he undoubtedly would be able to define for us precisely what the Russians mean by “truth” and “democracy”---which might go a long way toward solving the problems of the cold war.

As it was, Bierce---self-educated son of a Midwestern farmer with the improbable given name of Marcus Aurelius---did pretty well in pinning down the eternal verities. Toward the end of his life he complied a cynical work called The Devil’s Dictionary. The fact that human nature is immutable---at least over such a short haul as half a century---gives many of his definitions piquancy and aptness today.

Some samples:

Alliance: In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted into each other’s pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third.

Battle: A method of untying with teeth a political knot that would not yield to the tongue.

Cannon: An instrument employed in the rectification of national boundaries.

Deliberation: The act of examining one’s bread to determine which side it is buttered on.

Exception: A thing which takes the liberty to differ from other things of its class, as an honest man, a truthful woman.

Gunpowder: An agency employed by civilized nations for the settlement of disputes which might become troublesome if left unadjusted.

History: An account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools.

Idiot: A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling.

Immoral: Inexpedient. Whatever in the long run and with regard to the greatest number of instances men find to be generally inexpedient comes to be considered wrong, wicked and immoral.

Malefactor: The chief factor in the progress of the human race.

Optimism: The doctrine, or belief, that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly; everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong.

Passport: A document treacherously inflicted upon a citizen going abroad, exposing him as an alien and pointing him out for special reprobation and outrage.

Politics: A strife of interest masquerading as a contest of principles; the conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

Pocket: The cradle of motive and the grave of conscience.

Positive: Mistaken at the top of one’s voice.

Projectile: The final arbiter in international disputes.

Quorum: A sufficient number of members of a deliberative body to have their own way and their own way of having it.

Rear: In American military matters, that exposed part of the Army that is nearest to Congress.

Tariff: A scale of taxes on imports, designed to protect the domestic producer against the greed of the consumer.

Ultimatum: In diplomacy, a last demand before resorting to concessions.

Vote: The instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

Washingtonian: A Potomac tribesman who exchanged the privilege of governing himself for the advantage of good government. In justice to him it should be said that he did not want to.

Yes, it is a pity that Ambrose Bierce had to be born so long ago and had to go off and lose himself in Mexico. We could find a place for him---perhaps as an observer at United Nations Security Council sessions.

Monday, July 28, 2008

McCain from LewRockwell.com

A great summation of McCain from LewRockwell.com





Writes Bill Shefte: "To be clear, John McCain was not a fighter pilot. He was a ground attack pilot, a lower echelon in the Naval aviator food chain. The distinction being the former engages in a mutually committed interaction of organized homicide, the latter engages in an asymmetric exercise of premeditated murder."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Something to consider

Something to consider from a time before we became a nation that oscillates between fascism and socialism; a nation that allows government to trample on more and more of our property:.

Until about 1910, excepting only the period of the Civil War, the cost of the federal government was met almost entirely by customs duties and the tobacco and liquor taxes; and until about 1910 the cost of state and local government was met by the property tax, supplemented somewhat by corporation taxes, license fees and death duties.

Insatiable Government, Garet Garrett

Friday, July 25, 2008

The evil speculator is me ... and you

Oops ... I just speculated.

Forgive me, but I had to. You see gas prices are lower than I've seen in a while. And with a weekend approaching, I topped off my tank in order to beat the likely weekend price increase.

So, if you are waiting to purchase gas, my demand today might cause tomorrow's price to increase. If it did, blame the increase on the speculator; blame it on me.

First they came ...

First the came ...

In Germany, they came first for the Communists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . .
And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

a poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller

As Jeffrey Tucker correctly notes here, they are coming for our children -- oh, wait, that's right, compulsory education already did that. Actually, now they are coming for our older children -- our young adults.

Government continues to expand its realm far beyond anything our Founders could have imagine. Why have we allowed this to occur? The answer is simple: we have allowed government to raise generation after generation.

The goal of government schools, run by union socialists, cannot be anything other than generations of constituents who worship government as the solution to every ill, real and imagined.

In the end, we -- as parents, community members, etc. -- must advocate for Liberty. We must educate ourselves and our children. Your locals schools never have, and never will.

Anyone want to bet on where Tiberi stands on this issue?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thomas Paine on Patriots

From yesterday's Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:




Wednesday, July 25, 2008


It is the responsibility of the patriot to protect his country from its government.

— Thomas Paine

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Article from World Magazine

Read World Magazine for a Christian perspective on the news. Every media source has its own bias, so chose the bias that fits with your view. And since there are no "R" rated photos or stories, you don't have to be embarrassed leaving a copy around for kids and guests to review. The magazine contains nothing other than the national and world news reported from a Christian perspective. Refreshing, indeed.

We subscribe to World Magazine -- the Christrian version of Time, Newsweek, etc. Here is a few excerpt from a great article that appears in the latest edition:


Wrong doxology
When big government becomes a false god it puts true worship out of tune Joel Belz


For a pretty long time, it's been a pretty good fit. Three significant groups of U.S. citizens—with a lot of important issues in common, but by no means everything—have formed a political alliance that even in recent times has sometimes seemed unstoppable.

The three groups are fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and those who believe in a strong national defense. If you want to oversimplify, you can point to (1) limited government; (2) pro-life and pro-family; and (3) muscular military.

...

To that end, let me recommend a good, if admittedly secular, starting point. The "limited government" segment of the trio has no more eloquent—or funnier—spokesman than Grover Norquist, author of a new book bluntly titled Leave Us Alone. Norquist offers a pretty comprehensive catalog of the causes important to folks who fear big government. He helpfully spells out who his allies should be: taxpayers, businessmen and women, Second Amendment voters, homeschoolers, property-rights activists and homeowners, communities of faith and parents' rights, the ownership society, the police, and the military.

...

But that needs to be spelled out—in almost exegetical detail—with one specific issue after another. We need to demonstrate in day-to-day terms how easily big government becomes the false god that the true God of the Bible so regularly warns against.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Corban: The Pharisees and the state

Mark 7:11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God) 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Good News and Crossway

So, what is Corban?
According to Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Corban is "a word applied to a gift or offering in the Temple which declared that gift dedicated to God in a special sense. Once a gift was offered under the special declaration of Corban, it could not be withdrawn or taken back; it was considered totally dedicated for the Temple's special use. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for encouraging the people to make such gifts to the Temple while neglecting their responsibility to care for their parents . . ." (1986, "Corban").

What does it have to do with the Pharisees and the state?

Simply put, the responsibilities of individual Christians are not to be given to the state in exchange for the modern Corban: taxation. A good introduction to this concept is the great article Charity: Biblical and Political, Russell Clinchy, The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Christians have allowed the state to play the role of the Pharisees in Mark, Chapter 7, as we have given it the responsibilities of raising our children and caring for our parents. And, more importantly, we allow the state to tax our neighbors so that the cost of our individual responsibilities are passed onto others. What we call the public good -- the general welfare, is simply theft at the ballot box.

Then we complain that the state does not raise our children or care for our parents in a biblical manner. But that's not the biblical role of the state; raising and caring. The state has a biblical role very similar to that described in the Declaration and Constitution.

While Jesus did not allow the Pharisees to walk away from the biblical commandments, today, through the state, we walk away from the very same.

Vote to raise everyone's taxes and the state educates your children and warehouses your parents. As our children are exposed to the humanist worldview, can we complain? Can we cry foul that our parents lie on bedsores? Especially as we ignore our individual responsibilities and push them off to someone else. Taxation -- Corban -- does not free us from such responsibilities.

The New Testament is directed at the individual. Never does the Bible say that you can shirk your responsibility by relying on the state. Just as giving Corban did not free one from caring for his parents, voting for a tax increase does not free us from the same.

Advocating for a Christian state as a means to correct this simply moves the Christian into the role of a Pharisee. The Christian ends up demanding Corban from neighbors so that he can shirk his biblical responsibility; using the theft of taxation to pay the cost of individual responsibility.

Hiding behind the concept of democracy does not provide proof that our neighbors really wanted to provide us with charity. Yes, if you need help raising and caring, Christian brethren are to be at your side. But, of course, true Christian charity has to be given with a glad heart; a feeling rarely felt when the tax bill is due.

There simply is no biblical means to rationalize the way many Christians seek out the modern Corban. The collective WE is not a biblical standard. Each individual is responsible before God; a responsibility that cannot be given to the state.

note: I'm not immune from this, especially in my past. Yet, today is the best time to start changing for the better - for the biblical.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ice cream and patents

Hot days and ice cream.

An old post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org.








Ice cream and patents


It's another hot summer day and nothing cools the heat like a large cone of ice cream. Due to our relatively free economy, I have the choice between many different sellers, brands, and types of the frozen treat. A relatively new concept is one where ice cream shops mix your choice of ice cream and toppings on a super-cooled stone slab before placing the mix in a cone. Someone, somewhere, conceived of this recipe and sought investors to bring it to market. Based on patent logic, no one would have invested time and money on this new idea unless he was protected by a government-issued, government-enforced patent.


Don't tell that to the entrepreneurs and investors who have brought similar, and successful, ideas to stores near you. I can go to either a local
Cold Stone Creamery or a Marble Slab Creamery when I finally succumb to the heat later this afternoon. Ok, one does use a granite slab while the other uses marble, but their concepts are close enough that, supposedly, any opportunity for entrepreneurial profit ends once competitors begin opening stores down the street.

Based on patent logic, gone is the ability to earn back the capital invested in order to bring this idea to market. Any hope for a return on investment and profit disappears, and the entrepreneur is simply left with his managerial income. This is due to other entrepreneurs seeking profit by entering the stone slab ice cream market and driving profit out of the financial picture. The uncertainty of a return on investment due to competitors quickly adopting a new idea stops development of that idea, thus hampering the market. Or, so the patent logic goes.

As the market continually shows, patent logic is false. Pure competition works in the ice cream market, so it will certainly work in all markets. Rothbard was right, patents are not needed in any market, whether pharmaceutical or ice cream.

Lucky for me, and my sweet tooth, patent logic is false and I get to face the cool decision of which slab to use as the base of my next ice cream cone. Granite or marble, which will it be?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Christian social democratic reading of the Bible by the Delaware County Political Reporter

You can read some interesting and valid discussions on the blog over at the Delaware County Political Reporter, but they occasionally miss the point.

The problem with these folks is that they have no ethical grounding. Consider their latest posts about Kris Jordan, county commissioner and candidate for state representative:

From DelawareCountyPoliticalReporter.blogspot.com (7-19-2008)

"Your penurius nature runs afowl of what the Christian Bible tells us to do:
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
Proverbs 11:24-26
You might want to work that in sometime."

Let me provide a little background.

Jordan does not believe that county tax dollars should be used to purchase fruit, refreshments and other amenities for the Delaware County Employee Health and Safety Fair. The DCPR feels that Jordan -- a Christian and government official -- must vote to give the tax money of county residents for the benefit of county employees.

In attempt to further their point, DCPR notes that some of these county folks will be fasting for 12 hours in order to get an accurate reading on their blood work.

Two issues:

1. Coveting others property -- DCPR feels that the Bible states that it is OK for folks to covet that which is not theirs; tax dollars in this instance.

2. Theft -- DCPR feels that the Bible states that some may rightfully thieve the property of others through the power of the government.

DCPR misses on both counts.

Jordan is absolutely correct, and he voted as a Christian. The county commissioners should not acquiesce to those who covet, and they should not steal bread from the plate of one in order to place it on the plate of another.

If the DCPR folks believe that a true service opportunity exists, they should provide the nourishment just as the Bible instructs. They should be the generous men and women who prosper -- "he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."

Instead, DCPR views the world through coveting eyes and demands that others be forced to pay for their good deeds. Hmmm.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Riding and Reminiscing

A recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org.








Riding and Reminiscing


While on an evening bike ride with my oldest son, we reminisced about one of the first government meetings we attended together -- an annexation hearing before our county commissioners. Looking back, we agreed that the meeting turned out to be an invaluable opportunity to witness government in action.

At the hearing, the attorney for the petitioner -- a single property owner seeking to be annexed by the local city -- presented first. The attorney stood at the podium holding a small folder. He began, "We present the completed application and forms as required by law. We believe that we have met all legal requirements. We therefore ask that you grant the petition as filed." He sat down.

Next, a long line formed to speak against the annexation. For the next hour, as the commissioners quietly listened, my son and I listened to folks demand a claim to the petitioner's property. Not one speaker questioned the legality of the petition. We left.

Days later, I read in the paper that the hearings were scheduled to continue for two weeks. In the end, the petition -- which everyone agreed was legal -- was denied.

This singular experience showed us that government is not based on laws, it is based on arbitrary power. And that ownership of property is a dead concept in these times of positive rights.

Of course, the opportunity to witness government in action is always a great way to understand our current state. But I must warn you that afterwards you will see your neighbors in a new light.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Olentangy School District: How many district folks does it take to meet with the bond rating folks

Seven! That's right, and they are all bound for Chi-town -- spending your tax dollars along the way.

According to ThisWeek Olentangy, Dimon McFerson said, "We do have a good story to tell." Ever hear of a conference call? A good story works over the phone as well as in person. Of course, when you work for the district, living large is the name of the game.

Hey Olentangy Taxpayers, You agreed to pay for this nonsense. Didn't OFK mention that? Oh, and remember, it's all for the kids.

Richard Cordray makes a complaint

Since the Ohio state treasure can't seem to pay his bills on time, he is using the political hammer to get his way. The Dispatch is reporting that Cordray is pushing for greater regulation of credit card companies -- all because he missed a payment.

Funny, when that happened to me, a quick call and the charge was gone. Of course, if you do that often, the credit card company is going to lose faith in you. So I must assume that Cordray has a problem with his payments.

And to think, he is the state treasurer. I don't have much confidence is his abilities to perform his official duties. Could anyone?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy Cost of Government Day

Government has the first right to your property. Thankfully, they have allowed us the glean our fields. -- Jim


From
Americans for Tax Reform

Happy Cost of Government Day!?

On July 16, Americans mark the national Cost of Government Day (COGD), the date on the calendar year when the average American finishes paying off his or her share of federal, state and local spending, and the regulatory burden. Cost of Government Day falling on July 16 means that you had to work 197 days out of the year just to meet all the costs imposed by government. In other words, the total cost of government – far more than taxation alone – consumes 53.9 percent of national income.

The burden imposed by government has increased in recent years, leading this year’s Cost of Government Day to be four days later than last year’s COGD, and sixteen days later than COGD in 2000. The looming entitlement crisis will only exacerbate the problem of government consuming more of the national income and, if left unchecked, will move Cost of Government even later into the year.

We have also calculated Cost of Government Day for each respective state –
where does your state rank?

ATR’s newly launched Center for Fiscal Accountability seeks to not only highlight the burdens imposed by government, but to promote transparency and accountability, which are key components to any reform that leads toward more limited government, and ultimately, an earlier Cost of Government Day. Stay tuned for the launch of our website at http://www.fiscalaccountability.org/. You will not be disappointed.

Americans for Tax Reform and, now, the Center for Fiscal Accountability need your help against the Tax and Spend crowd in Washington, D.C. if we are ever going to make a difference.
Please consider donating $10, $20, or $50 to help us fight back against an already, overly burdensome government. Any help you provide is truly appreciated

Onward,

Grover Norquist

Federal Indoctrination

This is nothing less than federal indoctrination in public schools.

Ask Tiberi if he thinks this nonsense is constitutional. Ask him if the federal government has any role in education.

The issue is not whether this proposal from the Democrats is worth supporting, the issue is bigger, much bigger.

Does Tiberi see a role for the feds in education that is supported by the Constitution (and, not a tortured reading of the Constitution). Want to bet he says yes? -- Jim


Wednesday September 5, 2007

July 15, 2008

Claiming to have the remedy for "nature deficit disorder," Congressional Democrats (along with some Republicans) are in the process of passing a new federal education program for all 50 states. The bill is called "No Child Left Inside" and is a major expansion of the federal education train-wreck, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

The bill is H.R.3036 (S.1981); the chief author is Rep. John Sarbanes (D, MD), it recently passed the full House Education and Labor Committee and it now awaits action on the House floor. Essentially the bill allows Al Gore's followers to define much of what now passes for "education.".

This radical bill says that it will make K-12 students "environmentally literate" before they graduate. If passed, the program will actually indoctrinate our kids with the values of the sky-is-falling type of environmentalists, the same crowd that has given us $4.00 plus per gallon gasoline by making it impossible to tap into our huge oil reserves on the North Slope of Alaska and the outer continental shelf.

In its original form, the bill said that "nature deficit disorder" required the creation of this new federal initiative-creative language by the environmental extremists, to be sure. There has to be a crisis (manufactured, of course) to manipulate normal people into tolerating major and unwarranted expansion of the federal reach into our fundamental freedoms.

Under this bill there will be no need for students to be literate in the principles of freedom which have made this a great nation (see the
"The Twelve Pillars of Freedom"), but they will have to be "environmentally literate," instead. Passage of this bill will be a huge victory for team Al Gore. (Who won the 2000 election, anyway?)

And how will "environmentally literate" be defined? To answer that question, we need look no further than the
Earth Charter--the commonly held platform of environmental groups worldwide--to see the likely definition. The Earth Charter defines environmental education to include (a) promotion of gay marriage [12a], (b) embracing nuclear disarmament [16d.}, (c) adoption of legalized abortion [7e.], (d) ratification of Agenda 21, Kyoto and the Biodiversity Treaties [8a and conclusion], (e) socialized medicine [7e], (f) stopping activities that may harm the environment even when scientific proof of real danger is nonexistent [6a], and (g) indoctrination in the religion of Pantheism [numerous lines in the Charter]-to name just a few of its features. Don't expect federally required and defined "environmental education" to be anything less than this.

The bill has "environmental education" incorporated into existing classes. That way when your kids are enrolled in history, math, reading or science, you may think they are studying academic subjects, when much of their time will actually be devoted to this indoctrination defined by Al Gore types, instead. Even less time, money and effort will be devoted to genuine education, of course.

Like No Child Left Behind, the bill uses federal grant money to entice states to comply with this new federal power-grab. (See the author's book,
Fed Ed: The New Federal Curriculum And How It's Enforced for a probing description of how the federal government is in the process of imposing its curriculum on our schools.) (For a detailed description of the agenda of the activists who oversee the national education standards (de facto federal curriculum), see the author's book, America's Schools: The Battleground For Freedom.)

Our nation's education program used to be about teaching our kids basic knowledge and academic skills. It is rapidly being transformed into a system for indoctrinating our children into the radical ideology of the environmental left.

In addition to the damage this bill will do to our children, we must seriously ask if our nation can survive this kind of assault on its foundation. I assure you, it cannot. Call your U.S. senators and representatives and tell them to vote "no" on the No Child Left Inside Act. Tell them you want our kids inside a real school devoted to teaching academic knowledge and skills. Tell them to oppose H.R. 3036 and S 1981. Call them today.

About the author:
Allen Quist is Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota and is a widely recognized writer and speaker. He is the author of five books, four of them on education policy.

Allen Quist served three terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1983 to 1988. He chaired the Social Services Subcommittee and was also a member of the House Education Committee. Quist played an influential role in legalizing home schools in Minnesota. He was the Republican endorsed candidate for Minnesota Governor in 1994, and was one of seven delegates elected from Minnesota to the White House Conference on Families in 1980.

About EdWatch Action

EdWatch Action is a 501(c)4 that promotes the work of EdWatch. Contributions to help continue the work of EdWatch Action are welcome. Please click here.
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http://edaction.



Leno of Liberty

From yesterday's Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:



Tuesday, July 15, 2008


President Bush signed a bill giving phone companies immunity for letting the government spy on its customers without a warrant. Isn't that unbelievable? President Bush said 9/11 changed everything. And you know, he's right, because violating the Constitution and breaking the law used to mean jail time. Apparently no more.

— Jay Leno, The Tonight Show

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Olentangy School Board: the $4000 attempt to silence a fellow board member

"The board felt that this was an appropriate time to come together," said Scott Galloway, Board of Education president. "So much has happened in the past year with the election of new board members, the passage of our operating and bond issue, Dr. Davis' resignation and the ongoing search for a new superintendent. We felt this was the perfect time for us as a group to come together and fine tune our focus so we are providing the best service possible for our students and the community." (emphasis added)
Sure, if your idea of service is operating in violation of sunshine laws or keeping budget data from a fellow board member.

This Gallowaste stunt is nothing less than an attempt to muzzle Jen Smith, the only board member who speaks for the community.
According to Policy Governance, the authoritative source on the Carver Policy Governance Model, "the model enables the board to focus on the larger issues, to delegate with clarity, to control management's job without meddling, to rigorously evaluate the accomplishment of the organization; to truly lead its organization." (emphasis added)

Meddling? Sure, the embezzler always considers the auditor a meddler. Why is asking for financial data considered meddling? Do Gallowaste and the rest of the board have something to hide?

The Ohio School Boards Association provides folks who perform the same nonsense for much less. Of course, Gallowaste loves spending tax dollars. I wouldn't expect less from the executive committee chair of the Delaware County Republican Party -- the party organization that defines waste in government.

Remember, these political machinations are for the kids.

Have these folks no shame?

*OLENTANGY BOARD MEMBERS PARTICIPATE IN WORK SESSION FOCUSING ON COOPERATION TO ACCOMPLISH DISTRICT MISSION
Olentangy Local Schools' Board of Education members will participate in a work session focused on collaboration and cooperation in accomplishing the district's mission "to facilitate maximum learning for every student."

"The board felt that this was an appropriate time to come together," said Scott Galloway, Board of Education president. "So much has happened in the past year with the election of new board members, the passage of our operating and bond issue, Dr. Davis' resignation and the ongoing search for a new superintendent. We felt this was the perfect time for us as a group to come together and fine tune our focus so we are providing the best service possible for our students and the community."

"As with any productive team, there needs to be time to think, discuss, plan and strategize," said Kathy LaSota, deputy director of board development for Ohio School Boards Association. "Work sessions, retreats and workshops are the most common ways for boards to find the time to do this important work. Effective boards put aside their individual agendas and focus their collective energy on providing the best possible education for students by setting a vision with high expectations and standards. The ongoing work of the board is to ensure that board, staff, parent and community commitment to that vision remains strong over time."

The work session will include two experts in the fields of Carver Policy Governance Model and meeting facilitation. Irene Bandy-Hedden helped the Olentangy board re-write their policies based on the Carver model in 2004. According to Policy Governance, the authoritative source on the Carver Policy Governance Model, "the model enables the board to focus on the larger issues, to delegate with clarity, to control management's job without meddling, to rigorously evaluate the accomplishment of the organization; to truly lead its organization."

During the work session, each board member will have the opportunity to clarify or ask questions about their three top priority policies. Bandy-Hedden will be able to provide insight and history regarding specific policy questions.

Carolyn McKanders will facilitate the meeting and help guide the board through the fine-tuning of their governance processes. McKanders is an independent educational consultant specializing in individual, group and organizational development. She is the Co-Director of the Center for Adaptive Schools, an organization whose mission is to help schools develop and sustain professional collaborative cultures by developing technical and social resources to realize continuing student improvement. Olentangy Local Schools uses the Adaptive Schools model on a regular basis to help facilitate the continuous improvement process. McKanders' expertise includes providing polarity management training that helps organizations identify and manage competing tensions inherent in social systems.

The total cost of the entire work session will not exceed $4,000 and will be paid for out of a Board Professional Development fund. "Under Ohio Revised Code, the board may allot at least $20,000 each year or two dollars per student, which ever is greater, for the purpose of professional development so that board members may grow and become better at their jobs just like our teachers," said Galloway. "During the Organizational Meeting held in January 2008, the board unanimously voted to create this fund and the board has not hosted a work session of this nature since 2002. This conference will entirely focus on our needs, policies and actions that work to improve our student achievement. I can't think of a better professional development opportunity for our board members."

The Olentangy Board of Education work session will take place on July 22 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the district's Administrative Offices, 814 Shanahan Road in Lewis Center. All community members are welcome to attend this important meeting.

Olentangy School Board: how many supplementals can the spouse of a board member get?

The number appears to be endless. Feasel is the husband of board member Julie Feasel. This has to be his fourth supplemental position. Keepin' it all in the family, I suppose.

From the board agenda:

10. Approve pupil activity supervisor contract for the following individual for the 2008‐09 school year, pending successful background checks and receipt of necessary documentation:
Feasel, John C., Olentangy High School, Fall Season, Boys JV Golf Coach,Group 5, Step 3 at $2,981

Monday, July 14, 2008

NEA has it all under control

Got to love those teachers unions. Sure, give the unions another trillion or so and the problems are solved. And, if the problems remain, at least the unionized workers are better off. Public education: It's all for the kids. -- Jim


July 2, 2008
NEA Unveils Education Plan to Reshape Federal Role in Education
Presidential election could bring a new direction for public education

WASHINGTON-After six years of treating children as no more than test scores, No Child Left Behind has not lived up to its promise. Education policy needs a new direction. Today, the National Education Association unveiled a plan to transform all public schools by the year 2020 through redefining the federal role in education.

"Federal education policy needs more than a legislative tweak here and there," said Reg Weaver, NEA president. "A change in the White House must bring fundamental changes in how the federal government treats public education. The government must move beyond testing, labeling and punishing, and begin partnering with states to close achievement gaps for all students."

As reauthorization of NCLB stalls in Congress, and as opposition to the law continues to grow, it is clear that NCLB has failed. The law judges children based solely on standardized test scores at the expense of preparing them for the real world. And the law's obsessive focus on testing, without providing basic resources, has narrowed the curriculum.

NEA calls for a new federal role in education, with the government embracing its role as a supporter-not a manager-of state and district responsibilities. The federal government should support public schools by:

  • Strengthening enforcement of civil rights laws to promote access and opportunity;
  • Funding past congressional actions and current federal mandates; and
  • Helping create the capacity at the local and state levels for school transformation.

"The federal government has a critical role in public education, and should focus on equity, opportunity and targeted assistance to underserved communities," Weaver said. "At the same time, the government must respect the role of states and school districts as the primary providers of education services."

NEA's recommendations echo new policy proposals by groups such as the Economic Policy Institute, the Forum on Educational Accountability, and the American Association of School Administrators. NEA will use its role as a leader and advocate in bringing together organizations and coalitions to work with the new administration and the next Congress.

Senator Barack Obama sent a letter to NEA members supporting the policy proposals on transforming public education.

"I applaud the NEA for its efforts to frame the agenda outlined in Great Public Schools for Every Student by 2020," Obama said. "This document provides a roadmap for educators, elected officials, policymakers, and all who care deeply about the future of our children to consider and debate in the days ahead. And it provides critical starting points for a new educational compact."

For more information, please visit:
nea.org/lac/federalrole.html

# # #

The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers

For the Want of Bill Gates's Money

My latest article published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute (Mises.org).


For the Want of Bill Gates's Money

By Jim Fedako
Posted on 11/02/2007
[
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"It is not from the 'rich' that the sums called for could be obtained, it is not indeed from the rich that the vast social expenditures to date have been obtained." — Bertrand de Jouvenel, The Ethics of Redistribution

A persistent virus is beginning to spread, threatening to sweep the country as the next great epidemic. What is the ill? The Fourier Complex of course.

The Fourier Complex? Yes, it is the mental state — syndrome — identified by its vile symptoms: extreme envy, fear of the free market, belief in redistribution, and the desire to legislate deprivation in order to harm those better off.


Mises coined the term Fourier Complex in 1927 to describe the ends sought by those who dream of the world envisioned by Charles Fourier, the utopian socialist of the 19th century. Its sufferers desire equality in starvation rather than variation in plenty.

So, how does the Fourier Complex play out in the national debate? Simple. Any report that details variations in wealth is greeted with the call for redistribution, an equalization of money and things — value — regardless of the cost. The line of thought runs in this direction: The United States is blessed by resources that are to be used for the benefit of all. Whenever one exceeds his allotted possession or enjoyment of those resources, he must share his excess equally with all others.


For the sake of argument, let's agree that redistribution is the ethical solution to variations of income and wealth. It would then follow that Bill Gates has to sell his possessions and watch them be divided equally among the rest of us.

continue reading ...


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Drew Carey: The Nanny State


The nanny is us. We are no longer strong, independent souls; we are government-dependent sheeple. Sad, but true. -- Jim

Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm no fool: Tiberi thinks otherwise

"Since I was first elected to Congress, I have been very conscious about spending taxpayers’ money responsibly. Before submitting earmark requests, these projects went through an internal review process and had to meet certain criteria. I’ve only requested a handful of earmarks, feeling those projects if funded would improve the quality of life for Central Ohioans. As I have long said, not all earmarks are bad, but when political concerns weigh more heavily in the appropriations process than the value of an actual taxpayer-funded project, it’s time for a change." (emphasis added)

NEW “PAY TO PLAY” CULTURE, NOT REFORM NEEDED IN WASHINGTON
Capitol Notebook: A Column By Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH)

Tiberi spent my money responsibly? How? By funding all sorts of socialistic wealth transfers? Please!

Political concerns? Value? Who's Tiberi kidding? There is nothing of value coming out of DC, certainly nothing that is not the product of political concerns -- such as his desire to be reelected. Yet he writes as if I'm dumb enough to believe him. Please! I'm no fool.

"Together, Republicans and Democrats must work together to come up with a new method of appropriating federal tax dollars. If we can’t solve this, an issue we have direct control over, how are we going to solve the bigger problems like lowering gas prices and making Social Security and Medicare more sustainable for the long-term? I hope we can fix the broken earmark system, so we can move forward in addressing the larger issues Central Ohio families face everyday." (emphasis added)

Government solving big problems? Never! Government does nothing save cause new problems and make existing problems worse.

Address issues facing Central Ohio families? Sure, get out of our lives. Since when does Tiberi think that he can run my family better than I can? Pure arrogance!

Government lowering gas prices? Sure, quit hampering the market with taxes, laws, and regulations and we will all be better off.

Tiberi is becoming more like a Democrat every day; he is certainly no Reagan Republican. And, I wonder if he ever read the Constitution that he swore to uphold.

I'm no fool; and Tiberi is not some omniscient savior.

Government and Tiberi helping Americans. Please!



Full text of Tiberi's column:

NEW “PAY TO PLAY” CULTURE, NOT REFORM NEEDED IN WASHINGTON
Capitol Notebook: A Column By Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH)

During the 2006 election season, promises were made by Democrats that they would “clean up” Washington. After Election Day, when Democrats assumed control of the U.S. House, they promised to follow through and “drain the swamp.” It was a prospect I eagerly anticipated. I agreed with many who said Washington had gotten out of control with reckless spending and political games. But overall the environment here in DC after 19 months of being in the Minority hasn’t greatly improved; the rules of the game have just changed. “Tough Races, More Earmarks”, a recent article in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, highlights part of why Washington is broken.

In two of the major spending bills this fiscal year, the article reports that vulnerable members received significantly more earmark (lawmaker-requested projects in federal spending bills) dollars for their special projects, than other more senior members. The article said the phenomenon was “particularly pronounced among Democrats.”

While Democrats pledged to cleanup Washington, Roll Call reports that “sixteen Democrats in the ‘Frontline’ program, aimed at protecting the 29 most vulnerable House Democrats, secured $810,000 worth of earmarks each in the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending bill. It is unclear how appropriators arrived at the sum.” In addition, a handful of members who just recently won special elections, making them the most junior members of the entire House of Representatives received equally high sums of earmark money. Another line from the Roll Call article: “In the Commerce, Justice, and Science spending measure, 18 ‘Frontline’ members received $900,000 worth of projects each…”

This coordinated effort indicates there are new rules where money is dolled out by the Majority based on who could benefit more politically. In fairness, this may not solely be a Democrat issue. The article also indicates that, 14 Republican members who were part of the 23-member Regain Our Majority Program, received more earmark money than the average member, but the amount varied widely and an Appropriations Committee spokesperson insists every earmark was vetted and considered on its own merit.

Since I was first elected to Congress, I have been very conscious about spending taxpayers’ money responsibly. Before submitting earmark requests, these projects went through an internal review process and had to meet certain criteria. I’ve only requested a handful of earmarks, feeling those projects if funded would improve the quality of life for Central Ohioans.
As I have long said, not all earmarks are bad, but when political concerns weigh more heavily in the appropriations process than the value of an actual taxpayer-funded project, it’s time for a change.

I believe the earmark process needs to be more transparent. While we’ve taken steps at the end of the process to ensure we know which member is sponsoring what project, there is no transparent, uniform evaluation at the front end of the process. Abuses still exist, and this has to change. This culture contributes to an environment that doesn’t put the needs of voters or the hard-earned money of taxpayers first.

I pledged not to request earmarks this fiscal year because I believe so strongly that in order to regain the people’s trust, we must become more transparent and quit playing political games. Together, Republicans and Democrats must work together to come up with a new method of appropriating federal tax dollars. If we can’t solve this, an issue we have direct control over, how are we going to solve the bigger problems like lowering gas prices and making Social Security and Medicare more sustainable for the long-term? I hope we can fix the broken earmark system, so we can move forward in addressing the larger issues Central Ohio families face everyday.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

McFerson's Bridge at Orange Road

Olentangy Valley News reports that Olentangy school board Vice President Dimon McFerson told Liberty Township trustees that the absence of an Orange Road "bridge connection is driving up transportation costs for the school district."

Really. Is that true? Or is the lack of a connector simply a personal inconvenience for McFerson?

Smart money is on the latter.

Lottery Fraud

Perpetrated by the state of course. While I'm not certain that Ohio is running a fraudelent lottery, I certainly wouldn't be suprised if that was the case. -- Jim

From LewRockwell.com:




Just a Little Bit of Fraud
by William L. Anderson


Out of principle, I don’t play the state lotteries. If I were to win, I suspect I would be in the position of the Orthodox Rabbi who snuck in a game of golf on the Sabbath and hit a hole-in-one. Who could he tell?

Nonetheless, there are many reasons to oppose state lotteries, which still do not provide the odds that the old "numbers" games run by the Mafia used to have. The "numbers rackets," of course, were illegal; state lotteries are promoted everywhere one can turn, even though they are inferior to what the "criminals" offered.

However, until today, I did not realize that maybe the real criminals reside in the lottery offices. This bit of news confirmed my lack of desire to purchase lottery tickets, although I always have been under the impression that while the odds are stacked against those who purchase tickets, nonetheless there is a least a "1" on the left-hand-side of the fraction, as in "1 in 1,000,000." However, I now realize that in many cases, the proper number is "0," as in "no mathematical chance whatsoever."

According to news accounts, this is the situation in many states:

NEW YORK (CNN) – When Scott Hoover bought a $5 scratch-off ticket in Virginia called "Beginner's Luck" last summer, he carefully studied the odds. Even though he figured his chances of winning were a long shot, he felt the odds were reasonable.

Hoover, a business professor at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, wasn't surprised when his tickets didn't bring him the $75,000 grand prize, but he was shocked to learn the top prize had been awarded before he bought the ticket.

"I felt duped into buying these things," Hoover said.

He discovered the Virginia State Lottery was continuing to sell tickets for games in which the top prizes were no longer available. Public records showed that someone had already won the top prize one month before Hoover played. He is now suing the state of Virginia for breach of contract.

"It's one thing to say it's a long shot to win the $75,000, but it's another thing to say you have no shot to win it," said John Fishwick, Hoover's attorney.

Through a request filed under the Freedom of Information Act, Fishwick's firm was able to obtain records that showed the Virginia State Lottery sold $85 million in tickets for which no top prize was available. Fishwick says the state should pay $85 million in damages.

Now, imagine that a brokerage house on Wall Street was operating a mutual fund for which those who purchased the shares not only were receiving zero return, but also could not get their money back once they put it in. Furthermore, assume that the operators of this fund were advertising that "investors" could receive fabulous returns far in excess of what they put in, even though they knew those returns did not exist.

It would not take long for government agents to swoop in on that fund and lead the fund managers in handcuffs to waiting patrol cars. There would be no letup in the public and media condemnation of these scoundrels and a federal jury would convict them and a judge would have them sentenced to a few thousand years in federal prison.

However, what will happen in Virginia and other states that have openly defrauded people who purchase lottery tickets? Nothing. Read on:

Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia State Lottery, said the state's games are fair and the top prize money is actually a small percentage of the money given out to lottery players. Most of the players win through the second, third or fourth-place prizes, she said. Otto also said it's no longer possible in the state of Virginia to purchase tickets with no top prizes available.

"We absolutely have always been very open and honest with our players about the way our scratch tickets are distributed," Otto said. "Yes, there were times when there was a scratch game out there that might've said "zero" in terms of the number of top prizes, but our players knew that."

Otto would not comment on the lawsuit, but said she stands by the integrity of the games in Virginia and looks forward to vigorously defending them.

Virginia isn't the only state to sell tickets that have no top prizes available.

USA Today estimates that about half of the 42 states that have lotteries were, as of early July, continuing to sell tickets after the top prizes are claimed.

Lottery officials from some states say the practice is fair because lesser prizes are still available, and they say tickets and lottery Web sites make that clear.

In New Jersey, tickets for the "$1,000,000 Explosion" scratch-off game were still on sale last week, even though the million-dollar grand prize was already awarded.

Lottery ticket buyers outside a New Jersey convenience store were stunned to hear the news.

"Oh really? I didn't know that," one shopper told CNN. Another added, "That's just not right."

Dominick DeMarco, a spokesman with the New Jersey Lottery, said information about winning tickets and prizes is readily available on the lottery Web site and at retail outlets. However, officials are still looking for ways to improve on their procedures.

Still, Hoover hopes his lawsuit will alert lottery players in all states to be careful before they place their bets.

It is obvious that the "players" who purchased zero-return tickets did not know about the fact they were buying a pig-in-a-poke, despite what the lottery directors might say. And don’t think for a second that knowledge of risk by purchases of fund shares would save the mutual fund directors from being convicted and imprisoned. Moreover, even if "players" could win smaller prizes, the fact that an unwinnable grand prize was front-and-center in the advertising makes the sales fraudulent.

So, what is to be made of this situation? The government holds state lotteries and their leaders to much different standards than it holds for people working in private businesses. No lottery spokesperson or director will receive a visit from a federal or state law enforcement agent. No prosecutor will seek indictments, and no jury will convict, and no judge will sentence.

The next time someone is hauled out of a Wall Street office in handcuffs, as was the recent case with Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, formerly of Bear Stearns, remember that federal authorities are making claims against them that they never would make against their own, no matter how dishonest or egregious the behavior. In the case of Cioffi and Tanner, prosecutors cherry-picked emails that they sent each other regarding concerns about the funds, conveniently leaving out the other emails that told a story that contradicts what the prosecution is claiming.

(While it is true that Cioffi took $2 million in personal funds out of the hedge fund he was helping to manage, he put that money in another Bear Stearns fund, but left $4 million of his own money in the original hedge fund, something the ancients once called diversification. The prosecution and the New York Times did not see fit to share that tidbit of information with the public.)

One can bet that there will be no public vilification of these crooked lotteries. The New York Times will not demand indictments, and federal prosecutors will oblige, choosing to target others. Thus, the fraud will continue, blessed by the politicians, the prosecutors, and the judges.

July 9, 2008

William L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him mail] ,teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland, and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He also is a consultant with American Economic Services.


Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Churches and the IRS

From Tuesday's Columbus Dispatch:


Tax status shouldn't concern churches
Tuesday, July 8, 2008 2:55 AM

In the end, the question that remains after the debate ("Should clergy endorse candidates from pulpit?" Forum columns, June 30) is this: Why are churches even concerned about tax status?

Jesus instructs Christians to "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

If speaking out results in a church losing its tax-exempt status, so be it. Since when is God's word subservient to the government's tax policy?

JIM FEDAKO

Lewis Center

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Columbus Day Snake Count

For those interested, my other big count occurs during the Columbus Day weekend, when I typically ride to Carter Caves, Kentucky -- via Portsmouth. Along the way, I usually count close to 100 dead snakes. Yuck!

The count seems to be weather dependent. The snakes are mostly 4 to 6 inches, but snakes nonetheless.

Still, counting snakes is a fun way to pass the monotony of riding 23 South. Of course, once across the bridge into Kentucky, the scenery changes for the better. (Not to say that Ohio has bad scenery, just that riding 23 South is something other than pleasant.)

note: Of course, head to an Olentangy board meeting if you want to encounter snakes throughout the year. These snakes are of the elected kind, slimy and full of venom. Luckily, board member Smith -- the only non-snake -- is immune to their bite.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Todd Hanks and Responsibility

According to the auditor's page on the Delaware County website, the "Duties and Responsibilities of the County Auditor" include:
Real Estate Appraisal and Assessment
Ohio has more than 5.5 million parcels of real property. It is the duty of the Auditor to see that every parcel of land and the building thereon are fairly and uniformly appraised and assessed for tax purposes. A general reappraisal is mandated by law every six years, with an update at the three year midpoint. Delaware County had over 74,000 parcels in 2005 and will undergo its triennial reappraisal for the tax year 2008, payable in 2009. (emphasis added)
But, wait ... Hanks is NOT going to reappraise properties this year. So when he claims that "With the Auditor's title comes much Responsibility," he must be referring to something else entirely.

Could his idea of responsibility be nothing more than selling dog tags?

Hey, Hanks, Reappraise our properties so that our tax payments are reduced. It's YOUR responsibility!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Annual Roadkill Report

Saturday, on my 134-mile bicycle ride from Lewis Center, Ohio to the beautiful village of Nellie, Ohio, I took my annual survey of roadkill. My report: The roadkill count once again hit a new record. Dead along the road were deer, raccoons, groundhogs, opossums, skunks, a coyote, and birds -- lots of birds.

I have been seeing more roadkill year after year. At times this year, the proximity of carrion created a pungent smell of death that lingered for close to a mile. Nasty, especially on a warm, humid day.

As expected, the number of carrion-eating birds appears to be at a new height. At least something benefits.

My conclusion: Wildlife in Ohio is becoming more abundant. That is wonderful, but it does lead to heads up riding and the more-than-occasional held breath.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Olentangy School District: an outsider's view

Paul Lambert over at Save the Hilliard Schools has been observing the actions of the Olentangy school board for a while. He just posted a summary of his observations. I will let Paul speak in full:

The Roots of the Revolution

By: Paul Lambert

A few months ago, I became pretty impressed with what I observed about the way the Olentangy School Board was run. They are prompt about publishing the minutes of their meetings on their
website, and even include audio recordings. Unlike our Board, their meetings often last an hour or more, with a good deal of discussion.

But as time has gone by, I've become less impressed and more disgusted with these folks. Last November, Jennifer Smith was elected to the Board for her first term. Her official bio on their web site says "Ms. Smith has a bachelor's degree in Political Science with a minor in Organizational Communication from The Ohio State University. Prior to her election on the school board she served as a Finance Counselor for Consumer Credit Counseling Service. She and her husband, Matt, have five children." These sound like good credentials for a Board member.

I don't know Ms. Smith, but perceive that she intends to be a voice of change and accountability. There are no other first term Board members, so she appears to starting with a 4-1 disadvantage against the incumbents. At an earlier meeting (April 8, 2008,
audio at the 1:00 mark), she dared to suggest that Board members should actually read administrative contracts prior to approving them. She was chastised by Superintendent Scott Davis for seeking to change long standing Board policy.

Superintendent Davis recently resigned for health reasons, so the Board is now engaged in a search for a new Superintendent. An executive session was called to invite a search firm to make a presentation. That use of executive session certainly seems to be a violation of the Sunshine Laws, and they were called on it by resident Jay Siefring, who went so far as to file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's office. Board President Scott Galloway consulted with the district's attorney, who said this was a 'grey area' of the law. Appropriately, the Board decided to resolve this by repeating the executive session in a public meeting. Mr. Siefring seems to be a kindred spirit, and I hope to make contact with him. His comments at their April 11 meeting inspired a little
déjà vu on my part (at the 2:50 mark).

In May, the Olentangy School Board enacted a new policy that would prohibit the possession – not just use – of recording devices in Executive Sessions, and part of the enforcement would be a requirement that Board members shall leave all electronic communication devices and all personal effects or accessories that could be used to conceal such devices, such as brief cases, purses, backpacks, book bags and overcoats, in the secure possession of the treasurer or designee before entering into executive session." Doesn't that sound a wee bit paranoid? (text provided at
Jim Fedalo's blog, audio at 1:50:00)

The latest episode appears to deal with the fact that some of their own students have been declared ineligible for sports next year because those students asked to be allowed to remain at Liberty High School rather than shifting per the redistricting plan to Orange High School, which will open in the fall. The parents of these students have apparently been trying without much success to appeal the decision of the Administration, and so brought their case to the School Board at their June 24th meeting.

Ms. Smith tried to get a discussion of this situation on the Board's agenda for that night, and contacted President Scott Galloway on June 16th (eight days before this meeting) with that request. Mr. Galloway refused to amend the agenda, reportedly saying that Ms. Smith had no second for this agenda item. Doesn't this ignore the fact that the Board votes on the agenda at the beginning of the meeting, giving the Board the chance to remove the requested item if there is really no support?

So when the time for public participation came in the meeting, Ms. Smith stepped down from the Board table and stood to address the Board as a member of the public. President Galloway then asserted that "being a Board Member precludes you from acting in Public Participation." Ms. Smith disagreed – she claimed that a Board member is also a member of the public and very much has a right to address the Board during the public participation time. Mr. Galloway asked for a recess to consult the Board's attorney (audio at
18:16). The Board's attorney agreed with Ms. Smith, and she was given her 5 minutes, just as would any member of the public.

Ms. Smith is trying to bring change to the Olentangy Board, but is finding it all but impossible because she is a minority of one against the other four long-serving members. Meanwhile, I'm cheering Ms. Smith's persistence and inventiveness. I hope she's getting support from the Olentangy community.

School Boards have a personality. It's one part a function of the people currently sitting on the Board and one part the sum of its traditions – practices that are carried forward without question because "it's always been done that way." Tradition vs. Progress: It's a point of conflict in many organizations: commercial, civic and even churches. The initial cries for change come from the minority, who are squelched by a majority which is invested in the status quo. There are only a few ways out of this situation: a) the minority capitulates to the majority, nothing changes, and the minority withdraws – maybe even leaving the organization; b) the majority truly listens to the minority and works with it to find a new way of doing things; or, c) the minority grows impatient and seizes power.

Right now the Hilliard School Board is of the first type (as is the Olentangy School Board). While there are radical changes going on all around them – changes which demand radical thinking – they are hanging on to tradition and past models. The Hilliard School Board is going to get another shot of reality in November, when the levy comes up for vote. They should have been using the months since the March levy defeat to become a majority of the second kind: listening and changing. Sadly, there is no evidence of this happening. The November levy vote could well be the opening battle of our own revolution. Early/absentee voting begins in 88 days.

In November 2009, three Board seats – a majority – are up for election. It will the only opportunity until 2013 to seat a new majority and declare our independence from the past.

Happy 4th!

I think Paul is being too kind to the board, but he does not have all the history. In particular, Paul likely does not know that board member Julie Feasel is also a leader of Olentangy for Kids. Feasel sells one view of reality to the grassroots levy workers while living a much darker reality at the board table.

Setting Smith aside, the other board members are either political hacks -- Galloway, or administrator yes-folks -- McFerson and Meider. Galloway lives a life of spin while McFerson and Meider think they are serving by being bobbleheads for the administration -- bobbleheads with an evil disposition, the
Chucky dolls of public service.

Feasel, on the other hand, has a different story for everyone. Good politics, bad ethics. Of course, ethics has never been a concern for the current board.

Friday, July 04, 2008

What should we celebrate on the 4th?

Our independence from an intrusive government, of course. Yet, instead of such a celebration, we gather at parades where an ever-intrusive government -- one more invasive and expansive than that faced by our Patriots -- displays it wears as we bow before it's tokens and idols.

In typical fashion, the elected officials and bureaucrats of the local public schools ride at the head of the line, as if they are the hallmarks of Liberty. Next up are sundry elected officials who seek office simply to lord of the rest of us.

Is this a display worthy of celebration? Not in my opinion.

Why have we turned our backs on Liberty and acquiesced to a government that intrudes on nearly every aspect of our lives? Take some time to read the Declaration of Independence (linked below) and feel the breath of freedom once more. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness were the words that struck the hearts of the colonists. Let's repeat those words once more on the 4th.



from the blog at LewRockwell.com:



The Declaration of Independence, in which the American colonists declared their secession from the British empire, was "reinterpreted" for Americans, beginning with Lincoln, as an anti-secession document. The main ruse has always been to focus exclusively on the "all men are created equal" phrase (which Lincoln did not believe in, of course) at the exclusion of the rest of the Declaration.

The last paragraph of the Declaration is arguably the most important. It speaks of "the united States of America" with a small "u" in "united," clearly signifying that the signatories of the document considered themselves to be citizens of thirteen free, independent, and sovereign states that were united in the cause of seceding from the British empire. Then there is this:

"That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved, and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do."


Virginia, Massachusetts, and the other colonies were considered to be independent countries with their own governments, just like the British state or the French state. As such, they were considered to be SOVEREIGN, which is why they were later able to delegate a few of their powers, mostly for foreign affairs, to a central government that was in theory supposed to serve as their agent and in their interest.

When the King of England signed a peace treaty he named all of the individual states. That's who he waged war against, not something called "the United States government." In the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, the phrase "united states" is everywhere in the plural, further signifying this truth.