Archive for the ‘National’ Category

2010 Elections Page Updates

I’ve made some updates to the 2010 elections page (and hope to be able to add some more soon).  The updates include some information about the soil and water conservation district candidates which is definitely lacking.  Yes! Weekly did little profiles of all of them and two of them responded to the UNC-TV questionnaire so links to those are on there to help you make up your mind.  It’s definitely a tricky one.  I am assuming that they are all using their real names this time around.  Additionally, I’ve added  a link to the Carolina Journal Online Voting Guide to the 13-candidate NC Court of Appeals race which opened up in August with the appointment of Jim Wynn to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.  NC is going to be the first state to use an instant runoff in a general election so we’ll see how that goes.

Absentee ballots went out a week or so ago and early voting starts this Thursday so there’s no time like the present to get informed!

Eliminating the “Achievement Gap”

George Will’s got the answer in his column.  Last paragraph at the bottom:

“He [Paul E. Barton] has estimated that about 90 percent of the difference in schools’ proficiencies can be explained by five factors: the number of days students are absent from school, the number of hours students spend watching television, the number of pages read for homework, the quantity and quality of reading material in the students’ homes — and, much the most important, the presence of two parents in the home. Public policies can have little purchase on these five, and least of all on the fifth.”

Something that should be obvious to someone with the most basic observation skills but, in any case, sadly, GCS can implement all the policies it wants to try and close the achievement gap but the real way to do that begins at home. Or they could just push all of the high achievers out of the public school system and then the gap would close itself!

What’s on Your Kid’s School Supply List?

The N&R has a whiny blog post asking if GCS will hire any new teachers with the latest round of porkulus funds.  Which doesn’t make sense because I am pretty sure they have managed to stave off any cuts to teachers anyway.  So is the N&R suggesting that we need more teachers than we  currently have?  In any case, right after reading that, I stumbled upon this post at Big Government pointing out that while Congress has passed a $10 billion bail out to the teachers unions (and union-like organizations, as the case may be), parents all across the country and being asked to send their kids back to school with toilet paper, cleaning supplies and other things that have absolutely nothing to do with the classroom.

At my local school, for instance, each child is asked to bring in an entire package of assorted color sharpies (what kind of idiot gives permanent markers to the kids? must be for the teachers!), dry erase markers, paper towels, wipes, tissues, two pairs of scissors (perhaps the expectation is that not all children are going to bring in the suggested supplies?) and on and on.  Aren’t dry erase markers, sharpies and paper towels (at a minimum) supposed to be provided by the school?  If the Feds are going to steal yet more money from taxpayers, can’t they at least cause it to be spent on something that will actually help our bottom line?

Recession with Benefits and “Funemployment”

I had not heard the term “funemployment” before but it definitely describes how a lot of people are, er, making the most of their paid time off.  Because that’s really what it is when you get unemployment “insurance” for months on end.  Unemployment checks used to come from a special fund that businesses paid into (different firms pay different rates depending on how many people they lay off, among other things I’m sure).  Nowadays though, it’s coming direct from good ol’ Uncle Sam.  And for up to TWO years!  Think how much fun you can have in that time!!  Here’s an interesting post about funemployment, as reported in the LA Times (“unemployment is welcome”!!) as well as some thoughts on the NY Times referring to this as a “recession with benefits“.  Maybe the writers at the NY Times actually believe that having a friend “with benefits” is a good idea and usually works out well.  They would.

More Abuse of the School Lunch Program

At least this is not coming from NC but it does seem interesting following on the heels of the big Carolina Journal investigation into abuses of the federal school lunch program.  Apparently a teacher was fired for complaining to the principal of her school that her fellow teachers were stealing federally funded boxed lunches earmarked for summer school students.  Makes you wonder if the principal was helping herself to some of those lunches.  But this just strikes me as yet one more reason why we should do away with the federal school lunch program entirely.  Read all about it on HotAir or philly.com.

Fraud with the 2010 Census

I can’t imagine that this is all there is.  (Ok, since I posted this, I’ve found some more about questionable goings-on with the 2010 Census.  Check it out.)  In fact, I’m sure there are plenty of other “senseless” trainers finishing up ahead of schedule and telling everyone to write down their time as if they had stayed all day.

Anyway, here’s the latest from James O’Keefe about the fraud he uncovered while working for the 2010 Census.  I agree with one of the commentators to this article that he should have stuck around longer to see what other kinds of shenanigans they pull with the headcount for those who have not mailed back their forms.  I remember getting hounded 10 years ago in my new apartment (which apparently had been vacant April 1st) by someone working for the census.  She came back several times even though I told her that I had already filled out the form in the location I was living at April 1st and was 1) not willing to fill it out again and 2) could not tell her who had been living in the apartment before me.  Incidentally, I don’t think Census workers are supposed to make up information about residents or take the word of a nonresident.  Any “adjustments” for “undercounting” are supposed to be done in a statistically responsible way.  If there is a such a thing.

Visualization of Obama’s Proposed $100 Budget Cut

This is a very helpful video showing you just how much cutting Obama intends to do.