Saturday, June 01, 2013

The Truth about Common Core

National Review is the nation's oldest and most prominent conservative journal and was founded by William F. Buckley, Jr.  In this article, which appeared in National Review Online, authors Kathleen Porter-Magee  and Sol Stern examine Common Core and counter some of the common criticisms coming from the right. Both Porter-Magee and Stern work for conservative think tanks and have an interest in education reform. They argue that Common Core is not a cicurriculum but a set of standards of what a child should know at a particular grade level, that Common Core is not "Obamacore" and did not originate in Washington, that it does not abandon literacy standards, that the math is not squishy or progressive and lacking in rigorous content, and offer other counter arguments to right wing criticism of common core. If you have been getting your information about common core from the populist right, please learn what other conservatives are saying about common core. It may not be perfect, but in my view it is a major step forward in fixing what is wrong with American education.

Why are prominent conservatives criticizing a set of rigorous educational standards? 

By Kathleen Porter-Magee , Sol Stern

The new Common Core math and reading standards adopted by 45 states have come under a firestorm of criticism from tea-party activists and commentators such as Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin. Beck calls the standards a stealth “leftist indoctrination” plot by the Obama administration. Malkin warns that they will “eliminate American children’s core knowledge base in English, language arts and history.” As education scholars at two right-of-center think tanks, we feel compelled to set the record straight. (link)

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A Fed attorney in Tennessee suggest anti-Muslim speech can be punished

Politico, By BYRON TAU, 5/31/13 - A U.S. attorney in Tennessee is reportedly vowing to use federal civil rights statutes to clamp down on offensive and inflammatory speech about Islam.
Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, was quoted by the Tullahoma News this week suggesting that some inflammatory material on Islam might run afoul of federal civil rights laws. (link)

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Friday, May 31, 2013

What is on the Council Agenda for June 4th.

Here is a link to the Council Agenda for June 4th. If you will wait I will analyze it for you, but if you just can't wait, here it is: Council Agenda.

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The Council's wish list considered

This is the Council budget work session where council members propose changes to the mayor's budget and explain how they would pay for it. This is where something gets in the budget or not. If something is put in, something must be taken out or a new source of funding must be identified. There is apparently not much disagreement with the Mayor's budget. Providing a subsidy for the fair ground is the only thing that seems to have a lot of support.  I suspect a subsidy for the farigrounds will make it into the budget. There are only a handful of proposed changes and this meeting is only 26 minutes long.

I am disappointed that no one proposed eliminating the Department of Human Relations and spreading that money among other needs. That department serves no useful purposs except for political correctness indoctrination. I feel we should not be funding a youth pavillion at the gay pride event. Maybe some one's alternative budget will propose defunding this department.

For more information on the proposed budget follow this link: Citizen's Guide to the Metro Budget.

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Metro Schools budget hearing before the Metro Council

I am not posting all budget hearings, only those that I think will be of most interest or generate controversy. Since the bulk of our tax revenue goes to support public education and since the School Board got considerably less than what they requested, I think the school budget is one that deserves close scrutiny. If you would like to view more budget hearings, you can find them at this link.

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The Government attack on the First Amendment


*** Update from the TFC ***

Rod -

ACT! for America and many other groups are paying attention to a serious issue here in Tennessee: civil liberties and free speech. Read below for a message from the national ACT! for America group.

On June 4th, an event titled "Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society" will be held from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center, 147 Hospitality Blvd, in Manchester, Tennessee. The special speakers for the event are a U.S. Attorney and an FBI special agent.

The instigation for this event was a Facebook posting by a Coffee County Commissioner, a Democrat. The posting showed a picture of a man pointing a shotgun at the camera with the phrase, "How to wink at a Muslim."

ACT! for America believes this posting was ill-advised, offensive and provocative - but it appears to us to be the kind of political satire that is protected by the First Amendment. And it's certainly less incendiary than some of the comments jihadists have been known to publicly make.

In an article in The Tullahoma News, the U.S. Attorney is quoted as saying:

"If a Muslim had posted 'How to Wink at a Christian,' could you imagine what would have happened?" he said. "We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we're here, they're going to be protected."

We know the answer to his question - nothing would have happened.
There would have been no meeting like this one to warn Muslims about how they might be violating the civil rights of non-Muslims.

The attorney further went on to state in the article that violations of civil rights will be prosecuted. ACT! for America is not in the business of violating anyone's civil rights. We are, however, in the business of protecting our constitutional right of free speech. And we find the tone of the U.S. Attorney's remarks, and the very existence of this meeting, disconcerting at best and a preemptive assault on the First Amendment at worst.

On March 11th we conducted a national webcast announcing the creation of "Americans United to Defend Free Speech." We explained how our own State Department was complicit in efforts by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to impose what amounts to "hate speech" laws in countries around the world.

This State Department effort is unprecedented, which is why we're encouraging people to sign our Open Letter to Congress and the state legislatures to oppose the effort.

Here's your opportunity to stand up against the intimidation of free speech in your state. You can join the many others we know who are planning on attending the meeting in Manchester.

Our message-your message-at this event is simple: The First Amendment right of free speech is one that we cherish and that we will defend - even provocative, offensive speech must not be used as a pretense to muzzle it.

Should you choose to attend, we encourage you to be respectful with any questions and responses to the speakers, and stay focused on the issue of free speech.

The Board of Directors
Tennessee Freedom Coalition

My Comment: Even "hate speech" should be protected and the government should not be engaged in indoctrination campaigns. 

I am more concerned about the growing trend of our government to indoctrinate people and to force people to conform to political correctness than I am those who may exercise bad taste and offend someone. I am more concerned about a coercive government that tells you what to think and forces you to display proper attitudes than I am the odd bigot who lumps all Muslims together and lets it be known he doesn't care for them. 

A good example of this trend to coerce proper attitudes is the incident in which the Department of Justice issued a memo to employees saying that failure to actively promote LBGT pride month would be construed as disapproval. "Silence will be interpreted as disapproval,” said the memo. If a Christian who thinks the transvestite in the next cubical is living a sinful life of which he does not approve, it is not good enough just to keep his opinions to himself and ignore the co-worker. No, he must actively show his acceptance, or surfer the consequences. He must display a LBGT sticker or leave a brochure promoting tolerance on his desk or do something to actively affirm acceptance. 

 If some coalition of advocates of toleration want to have a seminar in Coffee County because of this anti-Muslim Facebook posting incident, I would say, "go for it." It is another matter, however, when the government sends in an Attorney General and FBI agents to conduct a seminar preaching the virtue of diversity. This incident and the use of IRS police powers to silence conservative organizations and the DOJ LBGT memo are all evidence of a government attempting to coerce uniformity of thought and silence dissidents. The real threat to our liberty is an out of control government that does not respect the First Amendment.

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Bill Haslam: Continued Momentum, Continued Success

From Gov. Bill Haslam

Gov. Bill Haslam : Workers' Compensation Reform Bill Signing 

As governor, one of my top priorities is making sure we're doing everything we can to make Tennessee the best state in the nation to live, work and raise a family. And while there isn't a metric or an organization that measures exactly that, there are several annual rankings that help us gauge our progress. Several of those were released earlier this month. Here's a quick run-down of how the volunteer state faired:

No. 1 State for Retirement |
No. 4 State for Business | Chief Executive
No. 4 State for Job Creation & Business Recruitment | Site Selection

Speaking of job creation, we've announced over 1,600 new jobs at 14 different Tennessee businesses in the last month alone. In fact, one of our initiatives aimed at improving the state's business climate, bringing clarity to the Workers' Compensation system through reform, is the subject of the video above. We've made some significant progress over the last few years despite the difficult national business climate, but being proud of the progress we've made doesn't mean we're going to rest on our laurels. Folks across state government are working extremely hard to keep up this significant momentum.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Williamson County GOP guest is Marsha Blackburn

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The Sumner County Republican Women host panel on Common Core

Here is a balanced article about the new Common Core education standards. The Sumner County Republican Women hosted this panel of Tennessee experts on Common Core. 

Former State Representative Debra Maggert reports on her facebook page that she had attended the anti-common core rally in Williamson county last month and noted that it was very unbalanced and their "experts" were not Tennesseans. She says the Sumner County Republican Women's club tried to find anti-common core experts to speak on the panel, but were unable to find anyone with an education background who had first hand knowledge about Common Core to speak. All but one of the panelists at the Summer County event was a Sumner countian.  

Educators say Common Core sets higher expectations 

The Tennessean, May 28, 2013- Adopted in Tennessee in 2010, the Common Core initiative was a state-driven, bipartisan effort spearheaded by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. The movement was aimed at reforming schools to better prepare students for college and career readiness. In all, 45 states have signed on. With Common Core, states will for the first time be teaching the same standards at each grade level across the nation.

 The pushback is perhaps being fueled by a misunderstanding of Common Core, panelists said. The new standards will emphasize not only student knowledge, but students will also be expected to be able to apply what they know through higher-level, critical thinking skills, educators said. (link)

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Appeals Court overturns mosque ruling

Appeals Court overturns mosque ruling

The Murfressboro Post, Thursday, May 30, 2013 - A Tennessee Court of Appeals panel ruled Wednesday that the Rutherford County Planning Commission did provide adequate public notice prior to approving construction of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.

“We have concluded that the (Rutherford County Chancery) Court erred in finding the notice provided to be inadequate .....(link)

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School Board will balance budget and not cut teacher positions | Nashville News, Weather NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Metro School Board Members said they're preparing to make some difficult decisions when it comes to balancing the district's budget, but vow that won't include cutting teaching positions.

The proposed $1.81 billion budget before Metro Council Members includes $746.4 million for schools — a $26 million increase over last year's budget, but $18 million less  than school board members asked for. (link)

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Governor Mike Huckabee joins Lamar Alexander to Honor Republican Party Chairs from Middle Tennessee

“Lamar has consistently helped build a stronger Tennessee Republican Party and I’m excited to join him in honoring the state’s grassroots leaders.” – Governor Mike Huckabee

NASHVILLE, TN –Lamar Alexander’s re-election campaign today announced that Governor Mike Huckabee will join Senator Alexander to salute Middle-Tennessee Republican Party Chairmen on July 20 in Rutherford County.  

The event will feature Governor Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, presidential candidate, and host of the Fox Network’s Huckabee Show. Other musical and political special guests will join to pay tribute to Republican grassroots activists from across Middle Tennessee.  

“Governor Huckabee has been a champion of our party’s principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism. I’m delighted that he is coming to Tennessee to join me in honoring the men and women who work daily to advance our party’s mission” says Alexander. 

The event is free, but advance registration is encouraged to guarantee entry into the event.  More information and event registration can be found here: or by calling the campaign at 615-678-1940. 

The Alexander campaign is chaired by Congressman Jimmy Duncan with co-chairmen Governor Bill Haslam, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Speaker Beth Harwell as well as Congressmen Blackburn, Roe, Black, Fincher and Fleischmann.  

The campaign’s Honorary Co-Chairmen include former U.S. Senators Howard Baker, Bill Brock, Bill Frist and Fred Thompson as well as former Governors Winfield Dunn and Don Sundquist.  Serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Statewide Committee to Elect Lamar Alexander are all 13 living former state Republican Party chairs.

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1st Tuesday guest is Alberto Gonzales

1ST TUESDAY members and friends
Unless you've missed ALL that has been in news lately, you must have questions about  the WIDE ARRAY of breaking stories and investigations going on in Washington DC.
So.... you ask .. "WHO KNOWS"... understands and can answer questions about  the complex aspects of so many various political and legal topics ???....  
including questions applicable to...BUT .... not limited to ...
1]  The unfolding IRS scandal and the hearings in Congress ?   
Will we hear more from Lois Lerner? Can she still invoke the 5th Amendment?
2]  Team OBAMA's assault on FOX News, The AP, and others in the PRESS ?
Is FOX's James Rosen really a "co-conspirator" ?
3] Why can Team OBAMA still be preventing those who survived the attack at our  US Embassy in Benghazi from testifying ? 
How can an Ambassador die .. members of the Military refuse orders to "Stand Down" and join the effort to save fellow Americans .. No one answer where the President was that night... and still all these months later Congress is getting stonewalled by Team OBAMA?
4] How do the lines of responsibility and communication REALLY WORK between the White House and the various other Federal Government agencies including : 
a] Justice Department ? 
b] Treasury Department & the IRS ? 
c] State Department ?
d] "next DEPARTMENT to make the news" ?  
Again.."WHO KNOWS"... ... from actually having been ......inside the eye of many Washington DC political storms and "WHO KNOWS"  how it all really works ?....
Well..if you remember the classic NIKE ads. then you know the answer is .. "BO KNOWS"  !
In our case   ............  "ALBERTO KNOWS" 
"Alberto Knows" the Law
"Alberto knows" the White House
"Alberto knows" the politics of Washington DC
"Alberto knows" the Washington DC PRESS
"Alberto knows" the storms that form during a Washington DC scandal and crisis
Plan to join us at 1ST TUESDAY on June 4th... when our Guest Speaker will be [former] United States Attorney General, The Honorable, ALBERTO GONZALES
NO doubt, there will be MORE news.. and questions.. coming between now and our lunch event on Tuesday, June 4th... NO doubt, Mr Gonzales insights will be fascinating to say the least ! 
As usual, we will meet in the conference room at WALLER LAW - 511 Union Street -27th floor. Doors will open at 11AM for Coffee & Social Time. Lunch from Alexander's Catering starts at 11:30AM and our program will start promptly at NOON.
Lunch is $20 for MEMBERS and $25 for Guests and $30 at the door for all who have not paid in advance.Secure your seat at our 1ST TUESDAY website - and click on Shopping Cart.
Expect several other special guests to join us... so expect our noted Q&A SESSION to be remarkable !!!          [ but please don't address him as "BO"  ]
This will be a GREAT event to bring a guest or someone you know who is intrigued by what is happening these days in Washington DC. Please invite guests to join us. Expect full house of friends and others who are rarely able to join us.
Looking forward to seeing YOU at 1ST TUESDAY on TUESDAY, June 4th  !!
Tim Skow

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Now The Gibson Guitar Raids Make Sense

Now The Gibson Guitar Raids Make Sense 

Investors Business Daily, 05/23/2013 - IRS Scandal: The inexplicable raid nearly two years ago on a guitar maker for using allegedly illegal wood that its competitors also used was another targeting by this administration of its political enemies. (Read More)

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Not In Vain (Memorial Day Tribute)

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 By Ken Jakes

I have an old hammer, its like any you could buy.
But this hammer is special, I'd like to tell you why.

This hammer was my Dad's, it has seen better days,
The handle has become loose, and a crack well displayed.

This hammer was held for years, in the hands of a true man.
It has driven many nails, in structures that still proudly stand.

It is just a simple hammer, that is an example of Dad's life.
He built his home strong to share, for his children and his wife.

He used that same old hammer, he'd say this will do just fine.
He saved the expense of a new one, keeping family on his mind.

He showed me it doesn't take a lot, to complete a job well done.
This hammer would not bring a dollar, but it is priceless to a son.

Dad I will keep your old worn out hammer, to remind me every day.
Of the Nails you drove in life, let your hammer guide me along life's way.

This old worn out hammer is the most expensive of them all.
It will still keep working for Dad, as it proudly hangs on the wall.

Just an old worn out hammer, seen by most people in the world.
But I hope to leave this hammer on the wall, to my precious little girl.

I hope it will bring to her memories, of a Dad who loved her so much,
That he left a special hammer, and through it may she feel his touch.

If it will bring to her just a small portion of the memories it brings to me.
Then Dad's hammer will continue to build, and Dad would be pleased.

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ron Paul Political Training Class

Ron Paul Political Training Class

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MNPS charges Charters push out difficult children to look better on achievement test

Charters say charge is untrue

By Andrea Zelinski, City Paper, May 23, 2013 - .........School board member Jill Speering said she sought out district attrition numbers this year after hearing complaints from principals who said they were getting back hard-to-teach students straight from charter schools in the weeks before the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program tests. The annual exams measure students’ achievement as well as their teachers’ and schools’ ability to advance  student performance.

Speering, a retired teacher, was particularly interested in the case of students leaving KIPP. She found that 19 of 20 students who left the charter school since the end of January had served at least two out-of-school suspensions. Eight of those students also are categorized as having a special-needs disability.

“If this is the case, and they’re able to, through attrition, perhaps get rid of children with behavior issues and students that have academic challenges, then we can’t compare their [TCAP] scores to Metro scores,” Speering said. (link)

My Comment:  There seems to be a continuing hostility to charter schools on the part of some in Metro Schools. It seems some would prefer no child left behind even if the cost is no child excels. There also seems to be a mind set that social engineering is more important that quality education. There are a couple school board members who are the most hostile to school reform that need to be replaced.  Also, I would hope that the state would appoint a charter school authorizer next session and even go further and remove Charter schools from accountability to local school boards.  

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