The news this morning is filled with items that the surviving NewTown students are going back to school at a new location. There will be armed guards at the school to insure their safety.  Too bad they didn’t think of that at their old school.

Newtown shooting survivors go back to school

MONROE, Conn. Classes resumed Thursday for the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School for the first time since last month’s massacre in Newtown, where a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators.

With their original school still being treated as a crime scene, the more than 400 students are attending classes at a refurbished school in the neighboring town of Monroe. Law enforcement officers have been guarding the new school, and by the reckoning of police, it is “the safest school in America.”

I seem to remember a few years ago, well a couple of decades ago, when drugs and gangs were problems in schools, there were armed officers assigned to schools then. I don’t know how many there still are. I believe they are now called “resource” officers.

That leads to the following question. Why is the NEA and AFT so strongly against armed guards in school? They don’t want armed, trained teachers, either? So what do they propose?

** crickets **

They have no solution and don’t want ours either. Perhaps they would be happier in a different area of employment? I wonder how RTW would affect their, the NEA and AFT, attitude, hmmm?


I see that our Senator Roy Blount was bragging that he voted for the new tax plan and “averted” the fiscal cliff. Now we’re told the Senate only had access to that plan for 3 minutes before it came to a vote and it’s filled with pork, new taxes and few, if any, spending cuts.

So, Senator Blount, you’re proud of voting for a bill that you did not read, knew nothing of its contents, raised taxes and did not cut any spending. Is that correct? Then why do you expect to be re-elected?

No bill would be better than more pork, more spending. If the bill isn’t passed, the government won’t stop. I don’t see you refusing Obama’s bribe—your pay-raise, either.



Something is going on in Illinois. It appears the Illinois legislature is jumping on Diane Feinstein’s gun-grabbing plan. This notice from the Illinois State Rifle Association was sent to its members this week.


MESSAGE FROM COMMITTEE DEMOCRATS: “Eliminating law-abiding gun owners is a good ‘first step’ towards a ‘civil society.’”

Votes on HB815 and HB1263 were split along party lines in the Senate Public Health Committee Wednesday night with the committee Democrats voting 6-4 and 6-3 to send the bills to the full senate. If these two bills become law, they will resulting most, if not all ranges in the state going out of business as well as the banning of ALL semiautomatic rifles, pistols and shotguns as well as banning all pump shotguns and rifles.

In comments made during testimony, committee Democrats stated plainly that HB815 and HB1263 were “first steps” and that these bills have as their objective the creation of a “more civil society.” In other words, elimination of lawful gun owners is a required first step for creating a more civil society. Of course, there was no mention of the impact of eliminating criminals.

I’m sure these democrats are proud how well gun banning has worked for Chicago and Cook County.


Boehner is scrambling to save his Speakership. He’s trying to persuade GOP House members that he’ll be tough with Obama this year…all the while picking off lint from his suit where he rolled over for Obama and the dems.

Boehner tells GOP he’s through negotiating one-on-one with Obama

By Russell Berman – 01/02/13 05:04 PM ET

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is signaling that at least one thing will change about his leadership during the 113th Congress: he’s telling Republicans he is done with private, one-on-one negotiations with President Obama.

During both 2011 and 2012, the Speaker spent weeks shuttling between the Capitol and the White House for meetings with the president in the hopes of striking a grand bargain on the deficit.

Those efforts ended in failure, leaving Boehner feeling burned by Obama and, at times, isolated within his conference.

Or, perhaps it’s the hot breath of opposition to his role as Speaker of the House?

Eleventh Hour: Speaker Boehner Moves to the Right

by Matthew Boyle 3 Jan 2013, 1:36 AM PDT

The Speaker of the House will be elected today and some conservatives believe they have the votes necessary to oust John Boehner. In an appearance on CNBC, American Majority Action spokesman Ron Meyer said there are more than 20 House Republicans willing to vote for someone other than Boehner on Thursday when the 113th Congress convenes to elect a Speaker. Another source from a different organization has similarly confirmed that more than 20 have planned to oppose Boehner.

I don’t trust John Boehner. He’s a liar; a phony to the core interested only in his own benefit. A loyal member of The Ruling Class. The sooner we’re rid of him, the better.



Plan B?

The news is filled with warnings and portents of the government running off the fiscal cliff. When you ask members of Congress the consequences, no one knows. Nor, does any seem to particularly care if it makes the other side look bad.

The dems want more—more taxes, more spending, more power, more debt. The ‘Pubs want…? I’m not sure what the establishment wants. We continue to see beltway insiders scream, “give the democrats what they want! Then we can blame them when it all fails!” It’s beginning to appear the real goal is to score points against the other side all the while the ones who are harmed are the taxpayers.

The Republican party is supposed to be for smaller government, lower taxes, less spending. John Boehner is for anything that will make him look good in the media…or at least less bad. He could not care less how his actions impact the taxpayers as long as he gets his portion of face time in the media and can blame someone else for his failures.

Pundits say the ‘Pubs should follow Plan B. Apparently Plan B is to give Obama what he wants.

If you believe that the best way to get a deal you want is to always negotiate from strength, then Republicans may just finally be coming to an adequate negotiating strategy on the fiscal cliff.  The New York Times reports that Republican leaders are considering giving President Obama what he wants on higher tax rates now while leaving the fight over entitlement spending till Obama needs to come to them for a debt limit hike early next year. —The Washington Examiner

Like the clashes over increasing the debt earlier this year, Boehner and McConnell are content to kick the can, once again, down the road. Anything as long as they don’t need to make a stand.

According to media sources, if the ‘Pubs follow Plan B, all they would be doing is to postpone any difficult decisions until we, once again, reach the debt limit. THEN! Then they would make Obama toe the line. It seems to me the last time Boehner and McConnell were in that position, we ended up with Sequestration. Never forget, Sequestration was McConnell’s brain-child. He mentioned it in a press conference and the dems jumped all over it.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Boehner caved on Obama’s demand to be allowed to raise the debt limit without Congressional authorization. When we have spineless, non-leaders in Congress, they will do anything rather than taking a stand for taxpayers. Why not? Taxpayers aren’t members of the Ruling Class. Taxpayers are there to be bled while Congress spends…more…and more…and more…without restraint.

One act the ‘Pubs “could” take to help stem this fiscal tide is to remove Boehner and McConnell from their power positions. I’ve suggested to a number of Congressmen that Paul Ryan would make an excellent Speaker of the House. Boehner should be reduced to the Chairman of the House Sanitary Committee. Perhaps then he can wallow in his favorite muck.

I urge you to call your Representatives and demand they vote against John Boehner for Speaker. We need a Speaker who is a leader and is willing to go head-to-head against Obama and the dems. Boehner has neither of those abilities.

Sold down the river

There is a historical reference to today’s post title. It once meant that recalcitrant slaves would be sold for heavy or dangerous work. The practice broke up families, divided parents from children, husband from wife, and frequently led to injury and death. Once you get past the connotations, it sounds much like today’s welfare state.

The ‘Pub establishment is about to sell us down the river. How? By a number of methods. First, there is a growing number who are disavowing Grover Norquist‘s Anti-Tax Pledge. Next, they are willing to “accept” some tax increases (that means bye-bye to extending the Bush tax rate) and closing tax “loopholes”. That last means removing some tax deductions like charitable giving and interest paid on mortgages. Nowhere in all this discussion, whether from John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Saxby Chambliss and other RINOs, is any demand for spending reductions—unless it’s cutting the military.

The ‘Pubs have retained their control of the U.S. House. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s controlled by RINOs like John Boehner who never saw a political battle he couldn’t evade.

So what can we expect from our Congressmen? Not a whole lot. Spending legislation is supposed to originate in the House. However, we’ve not had a budget passed in six years. The House has lost its major political function—controlling the government’s purse-strings. Real power is currently in the Senate. And what’s happening there? Harry Reid is attempting to remove the filibuster—the sole weapon remaining to the ‘Pubs, giving him rubber-stamp authority over all functions of the Senate—like approving appointments to the Judiciary, approval of treaties and the like. When that happens, our republican form of government is gone and the Constitution, already damaged, is powerless.

Our only hope remaining is to replace Boehner and McConnell with people who have the guts to fight to the last remaining limit. No, that’s not right. There can be no limits opposing the authoritarian rule of Obama and the democrats. The gloves must come off. It may be too late already. I hope not.

There oughta be a law!

Perhaps today’s blog title should be viewed as a question. Why should there be a law?  When I was growing up, our neighbor down the road had a standard statement whenever he was frustrated. “There oughta be a law!”

Be it a matter of taxes, the cost of cattle feed or when he just ran a bad weld on a seam, he said the same thing.  Repetition, of course, diminished the impact. I heard many say the same in the face of life’s adversity. In fact, I think there is (was?) a comic strip with that name. Whatever the reason, people seem to want government to resolve these situations.

Or, do we?

John Stossel wrote a commentary that appeared on Rasmussen’s website titled appropriately, “There ought Not to be a law.” Stossel takes the inverse view of this common statement and explains why more laws are not solutions to our woes. Sometimes the best solution, be it a new law or bailing out mega-corporations, is to do nothing.


There Ought Not to Be a Law


A Commentary by John Stossel

I’m a libertarian in part because I see a false choice offered by the political left and right: government control of the economy — or government control of our personal lives.

People on both sides think of themselves as freedom lovers. The left thinks government can lessen income inequality. The right thinks government can make Americans more virtuous. I say we’re best off if neither side attempts to advance its agenda via government.

Let both argue about things like drug use and poverty, but let no one be coerced by government unless he steals or attacks someone. Beyond the small amount needed to fund a highly limited government, let no one forcibly take other people’s money. When in doubt, leave it out — or rather, leave it to the market and other voluntary institutions.

But this is not how most people think. Most people see a world full of problems that can be solved by laws. They assume it’s just the laziness, stupidity or indifference of politicians that keeps them from solving our problems. But government is force — and inefficient.

That’s why it’s better if government didn’t try to address most of life’s problems.

People tend to believe that “government can!” When problems arise, they say, “There ought to be a law!”


The tea party gave me hope, but I was fooled again. Within months, the new “fiscally conservative” Republicans voted to preserve farm subsidies, vowed to “protect” Medicare and cringed when Romney’s future veep choice, Rep. Paul Ryan, proposed his mild deficit plan.


It is unfortunate that the United States, founded partly on libertarian principles, cannot admit that government has gotten too big. East Asian countries embraced markets and flourished. Sweden and Germany liberalized their labor markets and saw their economies improve.


But we keep passing new rules.


The enemy here is human intuition. Amid the dazzling bounty of the marketplace, it’s easy to take the benefits of markets for granted. I can go to a foreign country and stick a piece of plastic in the wall, and cash will come out. I can give that same piece of plastic to a stranger who doesn’t even speak my language — and he’ll rent me a car for a week. When I get home, Visa or MasterCard will send me the accounting — correct to the penny. We take such things for granted.


Government, by contrast, can’t even count votes accurately.


Yet whenever there are problems, people turn to government. Despite the central planners’ long record of failure, few of us like to think that the government which sits atop us, taking credit for everything, could really be all that rotten. 


The great 20th-century libertarian H.L. Mencken lamented, “A government at bottom is nothing more than a group of men, and as a practical matter most of them are inferior men. … Yet these nonentities, by the intellectual laziness of men in general … are generally obeyed as a matter of duty (and) assumed to have a kind of wisdom that is superior to ordinary wisdom.”


There is nothing government can do that we cannot do better as free individuals — and as groups of individuals working freely together.


Without big government, our possibilities are limitless.

I like Strossel’s writing. I invite you to follow the link and read the entire article. I don’t agree with everything he writes but I do agree most of the time.

His last sentence is intriguing. “Without big government, our possibilities are limitless.” NASA, surprisingly, is taking a step in this direction, albeit a small step.  NASA is privatizing our ground-to-orbit launch systems.  There have been a number of successes, small ones given the size of NASA’s current budget. It is an opportunity for a company or consortium, if they take the risk.

Limited government, limited regulation, will free innovation and growth.  That is what we need for the 21st Century or we will go the way of the Roman Empire, fragmented and powerless.

Truth in Government—Really!

Hidden in the US budget (or at least the last time we had one,) is funding for a number of governmental offices that are “off budget.”  These are agencies like Freddie Mac and the US Post Office.  These offices are knows as GSEs or Government Sponsored Enterprises.

There are a number of GSEs (government sponsored enterprises) that are considered off budget.  Politicians use off-budget entities like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Postal Service to obfuscate the true cost of government.  Additionally, the government runs a number of credit programs, in which taxpayers are on the hook for loan guarantees.  These guarantees include loans for college students and for energy programs, such as the one that purveyed failed green energy programs like Solyndra. RedState

The “On Budget” cost covers only what these agencies actually do. But not budgeted is the results of those actions nor the money that passes through their hands.

Under current law, Congress only factors in the cost of the loan itself when formulating the annual budget.  Perforce, if the money is paid back with interest, there is no cost to the government.  However, as we have learned so painfully, the loans are, all too often, never paid back.  Taxpayers have been called on to bailout a modicum of failed loan guarantees.  In the private sector, they use “fair value” accounting in calculating the costs of credit programs.  Fair value accounts for the costs of the market risk the lender incurs by issuing a loan, in addition to the actual borrowing costs. — RedState

The US House has passed H.R. 3581 that will force these costs into the open.

H.R. 3581 would modify the budgetary treatment of federal credit programs such that the cost of direct loans or loan guarantees would be calculated on a “fair value” basis, which includes not only the borrowing costs of the federal government, but also the cost of the market risk the government is incurring by issuing a loan or loan guarantee. Under current law, the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 (FCRA) requires that the credit subsidy cost of federal direct loans and loan guarantees be measured on a net present value basis which determines the cost of a loan program based on calculations using the interest rates on Treasury securities and estimated losses that would be expected from defaults. However, this calculation ignores additional costs associated with market risks. According the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), “By incorporating a market-based risk premium, fair-value estimates recognize that the financial risk that the government assumes when issuing credit guarantees is more costly to taxpayers than FCRA-based estimates suggest.” By more accurately accounting for the costs of federal credit programs, H.R. 3581 would increase the estimated costs of such programs compared to measures used under current law.

When I read this article, I wondered if Missouri had similar funding issues?  Are there agencies in Missouri that have off-the-books costs that aren’t covered by budget?  Missouri has a balanced budget requirement.  But the state also receives Federal funding to support some state operated agencies…schools for instance and Medicaid.

People build a degree of expectation, of a level of performance from these agencies and programs.  The funding passes through our state government and on to the end recipient.  If, for some reason, federal funding is cut or stops for these operations, the state would have to provide the funds, cut back the offices and programs, or cancel them all-together.

The people and organizations (schools for instance) receiving aid, assistance or funding through these federally co-funded agencies and programs would feel their expectations are not being met.  Rightly or wrongly, the lack of federal funds would place a burden on the state.

Does the state budget correctly account for these federal funds?  I don’t know, but it’s a good question to ask.  I would expect, at a minimum, that agencies and programs who are dependent on some degree of federal funding, and those who use or are dependent on federal funding passing through the state government, be made aware of the situation and under what circumstances funding may be cut or ended.

We should also be informed, if federal funding was gone, how much additional state taxes would be needed to maintain that level of operation.  Much, much more than we can afford without a doubt.

I would strongly suggest to our state legislators that we begin to wean ourselves from such federal funding scams.  The state must live within its means and those means cannot include federal funding that can suddenly disappear.

We don’t want to become another Greece.

The Next Step in Education

My family, continuing to this day, has been involved in education (note small “e”), for a couple of generations.  My mother was an elementary teacher starting in the 1920’s and later a school principal.  My sister was a teacher, now retired, at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels.  My father was on our local school board and was the President of the school board his last term.  My wife has a teaching degree, other degrees including a ThD and teaches at a local bible school and seminary.  I’ve taught in company schools teaching software, operating systems, disk-controller firmware operation, hardware maintenance and other IT technical subjects. We have all been involved in all aspects of education.

I have strong opinions on education and what should be done to improve public education.  Briefly, those improvements would be getting the government, above the local level, and unions out of the field.

Education today, with a few exceptions, is non-existent. What we call “education” is really indoctrination.  Subjects are taught by rote and more emphasis is placed on just about everything other than the basic needs of reading, writing, spelling (yes it IS important), grammar, and history—not that PC fiction that is passed as history.

Recently, in just the last few months, there have been overtures of changes in education.  Wisconsin was one starting point to corral the rampant chaos of public unionism.  Wisconsin triggered an avalanche that was followed by a number of states—Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee and others. 

It began in Wisconsin, but it’s not stopping there. When legislators in the Badger State moved to reform unions’ collective bargaining power earlier this year, their action not only stirred movement in their own state but sent a ripple effect across the nation. And it continues to spread.
As Charles Krauthammer noted in February, “Wisconsin is the epicenter. … When Gov. Scott Walker proposed that state workers contribute more to their pension and health-care benefits, he started a revolution.”
This revolution has extended to states near and far, including Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, and New Hampshire.
While much of the debate around the curbing of union power centers on its role in balancing the budgets of debt-laden states, this “revolution” is also profoundly important to promoting critically needed improvements in the nation’s education system.
This is because for years, unions have stood in the way of necessary reforms aimed at helping students and improving schools while at the same time protecting underperforming teachers. All of this has come at the cost of children’s education. Yet, with power to siphon money out of teachers paychecks—in many states teachers have no choice but to join a union and pay union fees—there really is no need for teachers unions to take into account the academic well-being of students. (Perhaps the late Albert Shanker, former president of the American Federation of Teachers, best summed up their view of children when he stated: “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”)

It’s critical that states put control of education back into the hands of those closest to the students—families and schools—instead of continuing to allow unions to call the shots.

To this end, closely following Wisconsin’s collective bargaining reform, Ohio passed similar legislation that “allows unions to negotiate wages but not health care, sick time, or pension benefits. It gets rid of automatic pay increases and replaces them with merit raises or performance pay.” The Foundary, “Wisconsin Wave Continues: Students’ Interests Overtake Union Demands”, May 3, 2011.

Idaho has taken another tack—eliminating tenure.  Tenure was supposed to protect teacher’s “academic freedom.” Instead what it does is protect the incompetent that in other areas would have been speedily removed from teaching. Just look at the mess when the University of Colorado finally fired Ward Churchill

The plunge of the quality of education started with LBJ’s Great Society that included the Higher Education Act of 1965.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 was reauthorized in 1968, 1971, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1998, and 2008. Current authorization for the programs in the Higher Education Act expires at the end of 2013. Before each reauthorization, Congress amends additional programs, changes the language and policies of existing programs, or makes other changes. — Wikipedia

One way to take back out schools is to refuse to reauthorize that Act when it expires in 2013.  There are three needed steps to reclaim education. 

  1. Get the FedGov out of education by allowing the Higher Education Act to expire in 2013 and to dissolve the federal Department of Education.
  2. Get the unions out.  The late leader of the American Federation of Teachers, Albert Shanker, once said, “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”
  3. Eliminate tenure at all levels.

Regardless, whether the motives are budget-driven or philosophical, something must be done and quickly.

Tell Congress where to cut the budget

I received this via an e-mail (H/T to John Johnson.)

Eric Cantor has a webpage so people can go online each week and vote where the government should cut spending. He says it is actually having an effect.

Go here if you want to check it out.

This week most people voted (over 500,000) to eliminate federal pay increases.

Go and tell congress where you want the cuts. I just voted to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.