Category Archives: Political Figures

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Hi!

I found a particularly egregious error in the social studies textbook used in Hillsborough County’s sixth grade classes. You know how much fun I have picking on educators and their horrible textbooks, so click to share the mirth.

I found a spam email in my inbox that used Obamacare in its sales pitch.  You know how much fun I have picking on leftists and their horrible policies, so click to share the mirth.

I found a humorous phrase that feminists use to sound academic, and you know how much I enjoy offending feminists, so click here to share the fun.

I found another layer of Orwellian doublespeak that may go into usage now that the shine is wearing off the old Common Core lingo.   You know how much I enjoy picking on the academic sounding, but ridiculously empty Common Core Standards, so click here to share the joy.

Okay, I’ll see you when I see you.  Hopefully soon, I really need to post about my garden.

World’s Tallest Midget, Reporting

Here’s my Da Tech Guy post from three weeks ago:  Is the Duck Pond the High Water Mark?  (Answer:  Yes.  Yes it is.)

Here’s my Da Tech Guy post from two weeks ago:  A Conservative New Year’s Resolution

Here’s my Da Tech Guy post from last week:  History Matters

I am terrible about posting and making the rounds nowadays, but nevermind.  At least my kids should be able to pass tests like these by the time they are in high school.

That’s kind of like being the World’s Tallest Midget, perhaps, but I’ll take it.

See you soon, raccoons.

The Raven, adapted for President Obama

I’ve adapted Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem for the current Obamacare debacle.  I didn’t have to change much.

Have a happy Halloween!  Give out lots of candy, and maybe eat some too.  That’s my plan, anyway.

Raven
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,

Over a quaint and curious bill from the Congress floor,

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

‘Tis some voter,’ I muttered, ‘tapping at my chamber door—

Only this, and nothing more.’

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,

And each separate lying member wrought his fate upon the floor.

Eagerly I wished the morrow; —vainly I had sought to borrow

From our kids an end of sorrow—sorrow for the uninsured—

For the rare and radiant victim whom the angels name ‘uninsured’—

Named Julia now for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each typing person

Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic power never felt before;

So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating

‘Tis some voter beginning the process to enroll—

Some late voter beginning the process to enroll—

This it is, and nothing more.

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,

‘Sir,’ said I, ‘or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;

But the fact is I was golfing, and so gently you came protesting,

And so faintly you came congregating, here at my DC mall,

That I scarce was sure I heard you’—here I opened wide the door—

Disapproval there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;

But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,

And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, ‘enroll!’

This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, ‘enroll!’

Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,

Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.

‘Surely,’ said I, ‘surely that is someone at the enrollment process;

Let me see then, what they have done, and this mystery explore—

Let my heart be still a moment and this glitchy site endure—

‘Tis a bump in the road and nothing more!’

And now I brung the teleprompter, with many a pomp and flutter,

In stepped a supporter of the saintly days of yore.

Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;

But with mien of lord or lady, perched above my teleprompter—

Perched near a bust of Churchill just below my teleprompter—

Perched and sat, and nothing more.

Then this racist bloke beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance he wore,

‘Though thy crest be shorn and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore—

Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”

Quoth this taxpayer, ‘Nevermore.’

Much I marveled this ungainly fool to hear discourse so plainly,

Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;

For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being

Ever yet was blessed with seeing a conservative who was not a fool—

Man or beast above the sculptured bust above his teleprompter,

With such name as, ‘Nevermore.’

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,

`Doubtless,’ said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,

Caught from some unhappy Koch brother whom unmerciful disaster

Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -

Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore

Of ‘never-nevermore.’

But the voter still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,

Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of him and bust and door;

Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking

Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous fool of yore -

What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous patriot of yore

Meant in croaking `Nevermore.’

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing

To the fool whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;

This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining

On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,

But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,

Liberty shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer

Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.

`Wretch,’ I cried, `thy God hath lent thee – by these angels he has sent thee

Respite – respite and nepenthe from thy memories of voters!

Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget the lost voters!’

Quoth the taxpayer, `Nevermore.’

`Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if fool or devil! -

Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest-tossed thee here ashore,

Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -

On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore -

Is there – is there universal care? – tell me – tell me, I implore!’

Quoth the taxpayer, `Nevermore.’

`Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if fool or devil!

By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore -

Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Utopia,

It shall clasp a sainted class whom the angels name supporter -

Clasp a rare and radiant class, whom the angels name supporter?’

Quoth the taxpayer, `Nevermore.’

`Be that word our sign of parting, fool or fiend!’ I shrieked upstarting -

`Get thee back into the tailgate and the Texas rough neck shore!

Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!

Leave my arrogance unbroken! – quit your perch near my teleprompter!

Take thy dagger from out my heart, and take thy form away from my teleprompter!’

Quoth the taxpayer, `Nevermore.’

And the taxpayer, never working, still is sitting, still is sitting

Near the pallid bust of Churchill just above my teleprompter;

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,

And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor

Shall be lifted – nevermore!

Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013

My homeschool peeps alerted me to a New Bill in the Senate.  It is purported to be a Big Bad Bill that creates a new (and bad, but I repeat myself) National School Board.

It appears that federal meddling into the local issue of education came to fruition with an “Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.”  I have no idea what that law entailed.

The next big thing to hit the federal landscape was Dubya’s No Child Left Behind.  Which.  Can I just say?  That is every bit as Orwellian doublespeak of a title as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

So then Obama topped Dubya’s concern for the children with his own “Race to the Top” law embedded in the Stimulus Package of 2009.  This law incentivized the adoption of Common Core.

Now, we have step four (or maybe step four thousand nine hundred eighty-four, if considering the Gramscian March approach to politics) in the transformation of education from a local issue to a federally overseen “right.”

All I’ve done in this post is digest and regurgitate the table of contents of this proposed law.  Pretty thick stuff, even so.  Further translation of this bill will follow in later posts.

Without further ado, I introduce to you the table of contents for this education bill, as annotated by yours truly:

A BILL

To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes.

Sections:

  1. Short title
  2. Table of contents
  3. References
  4. Transition
  5. Effective dates
  6. Table of contents of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
  7. Authorization of appropriations

Section 1.  Short Title.

This act may be cited as the “Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013.”  (Because the title “Finishing Off That Pesky American Exceptionalism” would be too obvious.)

Section 2.  Table of Contents.

Title I–College and Career Readiness For All Students (you do want your children to be ready for college and career . . . don’t you?)

  • Part A of Title I–Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged (Sect 1111-1126–you do want the disadvantaged to achieve academics . . . don’t you?)
  • Part B of Title I–Pathways to College
  • Part C of Title I–Education of Migratory Children
  • Part D of Title I–Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children . . . Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk
  • Part E–Educational Stability of Children in Foster Care
  • Part F–General Provisions

Title II–Supporting Teacher and Principal Excellence (you do support excellent teachers and principals . . . .don’t you?)

Title III–Language and Academic Content Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students

Title IV–Supporting Successful, Well-Rounded Students (you do want well-rounded students, don’t you?)   Sect 4101 thru 4111–(increasing access is good, and you are feeling very sleepy)

Title V–Promoting Innovation (you do promote innovation, don’t you?)

  • Part A–Race to the Top
  • Part B–Investing in Innovation
  • Part C–Magnet School Assistance
  • Part D–Public Charter Schools
  • Part E–Voluntary Public School Choice

Title VI–Promoting Flexibility; Rural Education

Title VII–Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native Education

  • Part A–Indian Education
  1. subpart 1–formula grants to local educational agencies
  2. subpart 2–special programs and projects
  3. subpart 3–national activities
  4. subpart 4–federal administration
  5. subpart 5–definitions & authorization of appropriations
  • Part B–Native Hawaiian Education; Alaska Native education
  1. subparts 1 & 2–mindnumbingly boring details

Title VIII–Impact Aid

Title IX–General Provisions

Sec 9101. Definitions

Sec 9102. Unsafe school choice option.

Sec 9103.  Evaluation Authority.

Sec. 9104.  Conforming amendments.

Title X–Commission on Effective Regulation and Assessment Systems for Public Schools

Sec. 10011.  Short title

     A bunch more tedious sections . . .

Title XI–Amendments to Other Laws; Miscellaneous Provisions

  • Part A–Amendments to other Laws
  • Part B–Misc. Provisions

Section 3. References.

Unless otherwise stated, references of repeal are assumed to apply to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 USC 6301).

Section 4. Transition.

a) Multi-Year Awards.  If you are a recipient of a multi-year award under the old 1965 law, you shall continue to receive those funds until Sept. 30, 2014, then it’s tough luck, unless you get a “flexibility waiver,” but only if it was granted before enactment of this here new school-strengthening bill, and only for as long as the original waiver period.

b) Planning and Transition.  If you get funds under the 1965 law prior to this new bill’s enactment, you can use it towards implementation of this here new school-strengthening bill if you like.  We are magnanimous that way.

c) Orderly Transition.  The Secretary of Education will make sure things are orderly.

Section 5. Effective Dates.

 a) In General.  This bill is effective law upon date of enactment, unless otherwise stated.

b) Noncompetitive Programs.  For these programs, this new bill will take effect July 1, 2013. Because retro-active is all the rage.

c) Competitive Programs.  For these programs, this new bill will take effect fiscal-year 2014.

d) Impact Aid.  For stuff done under Title VIII, this new bill will take effect fiscal-year 2014.

Section 6. Table of Contents of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

Section 2 of the 1965 Act is amended by sticking Title I thru Title IX of this new bill into it.

Section 7. Authorization of Appropriations.

The old 1965 Act is amended by inserting the following after sec. 2:  “sec 3. Authorizations of Appropriations:  The money needed to carry out Title I, part A (except for sec. 1116(g), 1125A, 1132, & subpart 4 of part A) for fiscal year (fy) 2014 and the next 4 fy can be appropriated.

Also, the Secretary of Education can reserve 2% of appropriations for national activities described in sec. 1116(f)(6).

Also, funds can be appropriated for the administration of State assessments under the National Assessment of Educational Progress, for fy 2014 and the next 4 fy.

Also, funds can be appropriated for part B, C, and D of Title I, for fy 2014 and the next 4 fy.

Also, there are about 7 more pages about how appropriations are authorized, and I cannot continue to slog thru them.

World’s Tallest Midget, Reporting

I haven’t posted for awhile, but I am still around, and doing well.  With Hubs deployed, I am once again travelling our time away. Also, I have the honor of working on a worthwhile project. With my extensive experience arguing on Twitter, I reckon that I’m well suited to the task of answering questions about my nominated hero in 500 characters or less.

500 characters is way more than 140.

Thanks to Mr. Carey for continuing to faithfully add me to his link list.  Every time I get used to seeing tumbleweeds roll across my screen, the Sentry Journal kindly lights up my comment section.

Thanks also to Lady Liberty, Citizen Tom, and Freedom, by the way for their nominations of my humble blog for the intimidating title of Most Influential Blogger.

I fear that being Most Influential Blogger may in reality be less noteworthy than being World’s Tallest Midget, but nevermind.  The important thing is, you like me.  You really like me!

I like you too.

The questions that a Most Influential Blogger is supposed to answer varied from blogger to blogger. Here are the ones I felt like answering:

  1. Why did you start a political blog and when?  I started my political blog in 2010, about a year after getting active in Tea Party activities. I did so because bleep holes on the left called us all racist, and they are lying bleep holes.
  2. If President Obama invited you to a beer summit, would you attend? No. Not even if it was the last beers on earth.  Which would totally stink, by the way.
  3. What book other than the Bible has influenced your life, and how? Heinlein’s The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress because it introduced me to libertarian concepts when I was a mere teenager, in a way that stayed in my memory.
  4. If you could visit one nation you’ve never been to before, which one would it be? Totally Hawaii. Except, oops.  That’s one of the 57 states, isn’t it?  Still, I’ve never been there before and would love to go.
  5. If you could create your own planet, what would it look like?  Willy Wonka’s factory. Because yummy.

Have a great week all.  I’ll be back!

Yuck, The Movie

A 4th grade kid wanted his parents to let him bring packed lunches to school.  The parents said no.  So the 4th grade kid violated school rules by secretly filming the meals he was served.  Then he showed his parents how reality compared to the fantasy menu posted at the Department of Education website.

He must have made an impression.  With the help of his dad, this 4th grade kid–Zachary Maxwell–has turned his footage into a documentary:  Yuck.

Of course, we’ve all known since before I was a 4th grader /cough cough! years ago/ that school lunches are generally mediocre at best.  But we also know that folks have spent lot of time, effort, and money at district, state, and federal levels in the past few years to Make It Better–nutritious, yummy, calorie-rationed food to nourish active, alert, non-obese children.

Word has got out about the sad reality of these Michelle-approved meals, here and there. However, we can’t expect the schools dependent on the National School Lunch Program to just get off their heroin federal money addiction overnight.

If the unwashed masses continue to reject what Nanny Government says is in Your Best Interest, whatever will the bureaucratic nannies do?

Ban bag lunches?

It has been proposed in England recently.  How many years do you figure are we behind Old Blighty on the progress of nanny statism?  And did anyone ever get around to slapping the hand of the North Carolina nanny that took a girl’s packed lunch away from her last year?

Anyway, this film is just dripping with Awesome Sauce, guys.  (PS. I found this movie via Kottke.org.)

UPDATE:  I’m having trouble embedding the video.  For now you’ll have to click on one of the links below.  Sorry!  If any of know a trick for embedding Vimeo stuff, let me know.

yuck

https://vimeo.com/43793321

All In All You’re Just A . . .

As you may already know, homeschooling is with rare exception illegal in Germany, as well as many other countries.  Over the last few years Sweden and Germany have become more tyrannical over the issue, even raiding homes SWAT-style, removing children and putting parents in jail.

Since learning of the Romeikes’ quest for political asylum here in the United States, all I’ve done so far is look up the basic criteria for granting asylum:

“a well-founded fear of persecution based on at least one of five internationally recognized grounds:  race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”

and briefly attempt to debate a commenter over at Tom’s who, unsurprisingly, didn’t stick around for much of my argumentative stylings:

The criteria to which you refer are race, religion, nationality, political opinion, and social group.  I could reasonably argue that social group and political opinion apply, but the most obvious criterion is religion.

Want to take another stab at your argument that their decision to homeschool is not religiously based?

He did not want to take another stab.

The 6th Circuit ruled several weeks ago that the German homeschooling-and-evangelical-Christian family is not eligible for refugee status and should be deported.  The Romeikes appealed for a rehearing en banc. The DOJ responded on the 26th of June.  At this point, the parties are waiting to see if the 6th Circuit will grant the rehearing.  If they do not, the Romeikes’ next step will be to appeal directly to SCOTUS.

Now I’ve had a peek at the two latest briefs.  They aren’t long or complicated.  Basically, the Petitioners said the 6th Circuit panel did not follow precedent for evaluating asylum claims, and further that the panel’s new rule is flawed and the decision erroneous.

The United States responded first with the obligatory standard of proof argument that every party not bearing heightened scrutiny uses in the hopes of winning without getting to the merits of the case.  Then they basically said nuh-uh, they did too decide correctly.

The arguments are mainly legal, but the DOJ also disagrees on a crucial point of fact: whether the German government uses its compulsory attendance law in order to prevent Christians from homeschooling their children for religious reasons.

Appellate courts give deference to trial-level findings of fact.  Since this was an administrative case, the trial level wasn’t in a federal district court, but rather before an administrative judge, who granted the Romeikes’ request for asylum.  In order to rule in their favor, the judge must have made factual findings in favor of the Romeikes.  Yet, the only reference to findings of fact is in a DOJ reference to the “Board.” How that relates to the administrative judge’s decision, I do not know.

Anyhow, in the latest brief the Petitioners used a quote from a high-level German court to demonstrate intent to prevent religiously motivated homeschooling:

Home-schoolers are prosecuted . . . because “[t]he general public has a justified interest in counteracting the development of religious or philosophically motivated ‘parallel societies’ and in integrating minorities in this area.”

Konrad, Bundesver-fassungsgericht [Federal Constitutional Court] April 29, 2003, 1 BvR 436/03 (F.R.G.). A.R. 760.

Got that?  The public is justified in counteracting minority religious groups.  Hilariously, the DOJ expands the very same quote, arguing that the context disproves the quote’s own plain meaning:

Romeike continues to make much of a single line in a German court’s opinion upholding the law here, indicating that the public has an interest in counteracting the development of religious or philosophically motivated “parallel societies.” . . . But one need look no further than the same paragraph from which the “offending” line is drawn to determine that . . . the law has nothing to do with marginalizing Romeike based on any protected status.

The subtle misuse of quotation marks is a nice touch–using them only for the “parallel society,” which should really be a quote within a quote, then coupling it with “offending,” which isn’t a quote at all but a sly way to say yeah right.  The impression is that the “parallel society” phrase might merely be the Petitioners’ over-dramatization, rather than, you know, the actual words used by the German court to describe homeschoolers.

If you are still reading this getting-longer-by-the-minute post, you must be ready to see how the expanded quote shows that counteracting is by no means marginalizing, let alone persecuting:

“The general public has a justified interest in counteracting the development of religiously or philosophically motivated ‘parallel societies’ and in integrating minorities in this area.  Integration does not only require that the majority of the population does not exclude religious or ideological minorities, but, in fact, that these minorities do not segregate themselves and that they do not close themselves off to a dialogue with dissenters and people of other beliefs.  Dialogue with such minorities is an enrichment for an open pluralistic society.  The learning and practicing of this in the sense of the experienced tolerance is an important lesson right from the elementary school stage.  The presence of a broad spectrum of convictions in a classroom can sustainably develop the ability of all pupils in being tolerant and exercising the dialogue that is a basic requirement of democratic decision-making process.”

For anyone whose eyes keep sliding off this formidable bulwark of progressive platitude (dialog with dissenters! experienced tolerance! sustainably develop!), let me rephrase:  we have to be intolerant of you in order to teach your children tolerance.

I can’t help but admire this reasoning.  It’s a perfect example of Orwellian doublespeak–a work of art, assuming you can buy the idea that lying is an art.

Now, I’m no fancy German judge nor United States attorney, but I’m pretty sure that a “religiously motivated ‘parallel society'” is a social group.  You know, one of those little criterion for being granted asylum in the United States if you have a well-grounded fear of being persecuted for membership in it.

Interestingly, social groups to whom the United States has granted asylum in the past include parents of Burmese student dissidents, Mexican men who identify themselves as women and are sexually attracted to other men, and former members of a Salvadoran street gang.  Yet religiously motivated homeschoolers aren’t a social group within the context of asylum?

And threats of jail and loss of your children defo isn’t persecution.

This post has grown too long, the hour has grown too late, and I just used “defoin a sentence.  I need to wrap things up.

You can read more on this case here, and here.  You can sign up for the latest updates on the Romeike case and sign a petition here.  Or you can bang your head in frustration right here, on this handy-dandy visual representation of what children are to those who believe natural rights do not include the right to educate your own kids:

brick wall

UPDATE:  Wow, another Instalanche!  Thank you Glenn Reynolds!

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