Saturday, July 26, 2014

Cursive writing to be mandated in school. Why?

I am a conservative, both the socially and economically. I think we should be cautious in jettisoning practices and institutions that have served us well for the popular or trendy of the moment. We should respect inherited wisdom and not lightly dismiss it.  However, I am not the type of conservative who would refusees to embrace technological change and progress.  With the advent of electricity, I would not have clung to my kerosene lamp. I would not have refused to drive a car and said the horse and buggy was good enough.

Recently, responding to pressure from the State Legislature, the Tennessee State Board of Education issued a policy that will require cursive writing be taught in grades two through four.  Cursive handwriting is a dying art but a measure sponsored by Rep. Sheila Butts required all public school students in Tennessee to learn how to read and write in cursive.

There is lot of mandated curriculum now and as knowledge multiplies and instruction time is at a premium we do not need to be adding curriculum out of nostalgia. I want children to know science, mathematics and technology so we can have a workforce that can compete in the world and so America's standard of living does not continue to fall. I want students to know our history and understand our form of government so we do not lose our democracy. I want them to know geography and to have an appreciation of great literature.  I want them to have recess to let off steam so fewer of them will be on ADHS drugs. There is lot of things I think should be mandated, but cursive writing?

One of the arguments Butts made in support of her effort to mandate cursive writing is that children should be able to read the Bill of Rights in its original form. Why?  Does she think liberals are going to change the words of the Bill of Rights and we will not know it unless we can read the original?  Is it not just as meaningful in print as in hard-to read cursive.  I have seen the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence in cursive, but I do not think I have ever actually read them in cursive. If my understanding of those documents is imperfect, it is not because I did not read them in cursive.

We do not read the Bible in its original Greek and Latin, yet it is not less meaningful than if we did. I heard a preacher say that he was sticking with the King James version of the Bible, that if it was good enough for Paul and Silus, it was good enough for him. I guess those conservatives who are celebrating the cursive writing mandate can relate.

Other than sign my name or put notes in a notebook, I do not know the last time I have used cursive. I never write letters and mail them; I talk on the phone or email. When I do use cursive, I could have printed just as well.  In fact sometimes I can't read my own writing. My printing is more legible. If I did not now how to write in cursive, my life would not be any less fulfilled nor my earning potential any less or my pool of useful knowledge diminished.

One of the most valuable skills I ever learned was keyboarding, although at the time, it was "typing." I keyboard every day, for hours. Seamlessly, as soon as a thought is formulated in my mind, it appears on screen without a thought as to which keys I am hitting.  In my view, everyone needs to master keyboarding. It is a skill of the present and the future. Like fine calligraphy, cursive will be still be around and be learned by a few even  if not mandated, but I see no reason to mandate a form of communications no longer used.  I see no more need to teach kids cursive than I do Morse code.


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Gov. Haslam's response to 760 illegal immigrant unaccompanied children being resettled in Tennessee

Tennessee has received about 2.5 percent of the illegal immigrant unaccompanied children crossing into the United States. The children are fleeing poverty and violence in their own country and are drawn to the United States by Obama's de facto amnesty policy.

Last week the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families reported that Tennessee received 760 of the more than 30,000 children who have been released to sponsors this year through July 7.   The sponsor can be a child's parents, other relatives or a family friend. The sponsor may be an illegal immigrant himself.

Below  is the letter that Governor Haslam sent to President Obama yesterday when he learned that Tennessee has received 760 of the illegal immigrant children.

July 25, 2014

The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama:

I write to you to express my concern about the number of unaccompanied immigrant children entering this country and the failure of the federal government to notify states in which children are being released.

On July 13, the nation’s governors met with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell during the annual National Governors Association meeting, which I hosted in Nashville this year. We spent a significant amount of time in that meeting discussing the issue of unaccompanied immigrant children. Although this is a complex issue and one that ultimately must be solved at the federal government level, governors are rightly concerned about the impact on states. We emphasized to Secretary Burwell the need to be informed of any children being relocated to our states.

It is unacceptable that we became aware via a posting on the HHS website that 760 unaccompanied children have been released by the Office of Refugee Resettlement to sponsors in Tennessee without my administration’s knowledge. Not only was our state not informed prior to any of the children being brought here, I still have not been contacted and have no information about these individuals or their sponsors other than what was posted on the HHS website and subsequently reported by media.

Although solving the border crisis is a federal responsibility, this influx of immigrant children could have a significant impact on state and local governments. Therefore, we strongly believe that the state needs to be informed prior to any additional unaccompanied immigrant children being released in Tennessee, and we also need immediate answers to the following questions:

1. What was the process for determining that these children should be released to sponsors in Tennessee?
2. How did you locate and evaluate the fitness of their sponsors?
3. What medical screenings were the children given prior to their release in Tennessee?
4. What is the official immigration status of these children and their sponsors?
5. In what localities are these children now residing?
6. What are the legal requirements concerning the provision of services for these children while they are in the state?
7. What additional information is available on these children, such as age and health status?
8. How long will these children be in Tennessee?

Tennessee is a diverse and welcoming state, and we also understand that this is a complicated issue. However, an influx of unaccompanied immigrant children to the state, with little information being made available to the public or to state leaders, creates confusion and could be very problematic. The start of school is approaching for many districts across the state, and the federal government’s actions have caused great uncertainty around this issue.

I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to receiving a response to these urgent questions.

Bill Haslam
cc: The Honorable Sylvia Burwell, Secretary, HHS

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Tea Party Patriots putting $20,000 into get-out-the-vote effort for Joe Carr

A few weeks ago, Joe Carr got the endorsement of  Tea Party Patriot but at time it was not clear how much money, if any, TPP would spend on his behalf. TPP is one of those national organization that spends a lot of money on overhead, fundraising and their CEO's salary and very little gets spend on behalf of candidates.  Well, Jenny Beth Martin, chairman of the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund today announced they would be contributing $20,000 into the  Real Conservatives National Committee's "Beat Lamar" get-out-the-vote effort. She also said more might be coming. 

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Alexander: Administration’s Ivory Regulations Could “Take Away Our Guns” (and guitars).

Introduced legislation to stop the administration’s efforts to prohibit buying or selling products containing legal ivory across state lines 

Lamar Alexander WASHINGTON, July 24, 2014 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) yesterday spoke on the Senate floor on legislation he has introduced that prevents the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from prohibiting the interstate commerce of legal ivory, and products that contain legal ivory, such as firearms, musical instruments, antiques, and family heirlooms.

“For those of us who are concerned that this administration is trying to take away our guns, this regulation could actually do that,” Alexander said. “If this regulation is approved, when you decide to sell a gun, a guitar or anything else across state lines that contains [legal] African elephant ivory, the government would actually take them away – even if you inherited them or bought them at a time when the sale of ivory was not illegal.”

Alexander continued, “I support stopping poachers, and I support stopping the trade of illegal ivory. What I don’t support is treating Tennessee musicians, antique shops, and firearms sellers like illegal ivory smugglers.  This legislation will stop the administration from taking away our legal guns, guitars, and other items that contain legal ivory if we try to sell them across state lines.”

Alexander introduced S. 2587, the Lawful Ivory Protection Act of 2014, in response to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s announced plan to prohibit interstate commerce of African elephant ivory as part of President Obama’s National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trade. Restricting interstate commerce of ivory would affect whether an item containing ivory can be sold across state lines within the United States, as well as whether it can legally re-enter the United States if carried abroad during travel. Alexander’s bill would “stop this misguided policy from going forward” and prohibit the Fish and Wildlife Service from implementing any new rule, order, or standard that wasn’t in place prior to Feb. 25, 2014. Alexander also introduced this month the same proposal as an amendment to the Sportsmen’s Act (which the Senate failed to vote on).

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Laura Ingraham tweets for Joe Carr. She was here for a Joe Carr rally on Tuesday

Laura Ingraham @IngrahamAngle

Joe Carr & I aren't worried abt the Establ. flexing its mediocre muscle #VoteCarrRetireLamar
 06:59 PM - 22 Jul 14

In case you missed it, here is the Tennessean story on the Nashville rally for Joe Carr featuring Ingraham, that occurred Tuesday of this week.

About 500 tea party activists gathered at a Nashville hotel Tuesday night for a rallying speech by conservative radio show host Laura Ingraham in support of Senate candidate Joe Carr.

In a speech that seemed to tap into the audience's deep-seated concerns over immigration and the pace of change in the country, Ingraham spoke for 45 minutes to a packed house at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel that attended a "Beat Lamar" rally for Carr. (link)

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lamar Alexander Announces “Standing up for Tennessee” Bus Tour

Senator will make 35 stops across Tennessee in final two weeks of campaign

NASHVILLE – Lamar Alexander today announced that on Friday he will kick off a nearly two-week “Standing up for Tennessee” bus tour that will begin in Maryville, the senator’s hometown, and feature 35 stops in all regions of the state before the Aug. 7 primary.

“I learned from Howard Baker that one of the best ways to finish a campaign is a bus tour across the state,” Alexander said. “I work hard every day to stay connected to Tennesseans, and this bus tour is one more way to keep providing Washington with a steady supply of that Tennessee common sense we need so much more of in Congress.”

The tour builds on the rest of the efforts by Alexander’s campaign for re-election, which include a TV ad showing Alexander sparring with President Obama over Obamacare; a TV ad about Alexander fighting against the Obama administration acting like a de facto national school board; endorsement ads by former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson and former presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; and a series of radio ads featuring community leaders across Tennessee.

Read about and watch the Obamacare ad here.

Read about and watch the education ad here.
Read about and watch the Thompson ad here.

Read about and watch the Huckabee ad here.

Read about and listen to the radio ads here.

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 (1925-2014), 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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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Alexander on Federal Appeals Court Striking Down Obamacare Subsidies for Tennesseans, Americans in 36 States

“Obamacare is not working – and cannot work – for the American people. It was an historic mistake.”

July 22 2014, Washington, D.C., July 22 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the senior Republican on the Senate health committee, today released the following statement on a federal appeals court ruling that Americans in 36 states, including Tennessee, cannot receive Obamacare subsidies through the federal exchange:

“This is yet more evidence that Obamacare is not working – and cannot work – for the American people. It was an historic mistake. It is time for Democrats and the president to realize this and work with Republicans to start over as rapidly and responsibly as possible with step-by-step reforms that reduce the cost of health insurance and expand freedom and choice. Republicans are ready with proposals to repair the damage Obamacare has done and prevent future damage.” 

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Sarah Palin endorses Joe Carr

Thank you, Lamar Alexander, for the respect and integrity you’ve shown in your many years of public service in Washington. With the new challenges in D.C., the time has come for new leaders who are willing to stand up to the political establishments and the Obama administration and say, “no mas!” Unfortunately, advocating and voting for amnesty, cash for clunkers, bailouts, raising the debt ceiling, and many controversial Obama administration nominees has marred the incumbent’s record. It’s time for a change.

Joe Carr is the new voice Tennessee needs in the U.S. Senate! Joe is a citizen legislator who brings his small business experience to bear in the Tennessee General Assembly. He’s stood up to those in his own party, fighting to enact some of the toughest illegal immigration legislation in the country and working to make Tennessee the 4th most business friendly state in the nation. Joe knows that government is most often the problem, not the solution, and he will work to reduce the size of our federal bureaucracy and always use the Constitution as his guide.

It’s a disappointment that after so many years in office Senator Alexander has refused to debate Joe Carr in this campaign. Really, it’s pretty unbelievable because the good people of Tennessee deserve to hear from both these candidates to know who will be on their side and who will choose the Washington status quo.

The conservative grassroots patriots in Tennessee have clearly spoken. When I visited there earlier this month, I was impressed by all the energy and momentum behind Joe Carr. Please join me in supporting him as the Volunteer State’s next Senator!

- Sarah Palin (link)
My Comment: This is a big endorsement. It doesn't come with any PAC money however as far as I can determine and it is almost too late in the game. Still, Sarah Palin carries a lot of weight with some Republican primary voters. If Carr is smart he will use this endorsement for all it is worth. If this is endorsement is widely known, it could help Carr. I still think Lamar is safe, however. I am sure the Lamar camp is carefully watching the polls and I would assume that if Carr looks close to pulling an upset, the Lamar camp will go negative on Carr. If that happens then I think Carr's poll numbers will drop like a rock. I think the more people know about Carr, the less they will like him. Also, even if Carr is rising in the polls, early voting has already happened, TV air time has already been purchased and there are only 13 days until the primary. I am still betting on Lamar.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fred Thompson Supports Lamar Alexander in Endorsement Ad

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Another Blow to Obamacare- Maybe the fatal blow.

In case you missed it:

Federal appeals court strikes blow against ObamaCare subsidies

A federal appears court on Tuesday struck down one of the pillars of ObamaCare, ruling that the law’s premium subsidies are invalid in more than two-dozen states.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 2-1 decision that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not permit the IRS to distribute premium subsidies in the federal ObamaCare exchange, meaning those consumers must bear the full cost of their insurance. (read more)

My Comment: No doubt this will be appealed to the full circuit court and then if the government loses there, it will be appealed to the Supreme Court. This could spell the end of Obamacare.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

US Rep. Diane Black and State Rep. Susan Lynn Endorse Clark Boyd for State Senator

Rep. Susan Lynn, Clark Boyd, and Rep. Diane Black
State Senate candidate Clark Boyd who is running against Senator Mae Beavers has received the endorsement of Clark Boyd. In her email newsletter out today, Susan Lynn writes:
US Rep. Diane Black and I have both enthusiastically endorsed state Senate candidate Clark Boyd.  Clark is a veteran, small business owner in Lebanon, a loving husband, father and a Sunday school teacher. As immediate past Chairman of the Wilson County Republican Party Clark did an excellent job and his leadership made us very proud.  Clark will make us proud as our state Senator. 

Please visit Clark's website at, and on Clark's State Farm website you can see a video of Clark that you might enjoy viewing;  A state Senate district contains 180,000 people and Clark has been working very hard but because it is very difficult to meet each voter at their door Clark asked me to provide you with his phone number and websites: 615-618-3329. 
I am pleased to see Senator Black and Rep. Lynn, two people I greatly admire and respect, endorse Mr. Boyd.  I do not personally know Mr. Boyd but if I was voting in that district, I would be voting for him.  Mae Beavers has too often taken fringe position, such as sponsoring legislation to nullify federal laws. She is an embarrassment and needs to be replaced by a sane Republican.

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Education Opportunities: A Path Forward for Students in Tennessee

Education Opportunities: A Path Forward for Students in Tennessee
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. CDT
Renaissance Nashville Hotel (Meeting Rooms 108 - 109)
611 Commerce Street, Nashville, TN 37203
RSVPor watch live
Learn more at

Sponsored by the Charles Koch Institute and proudly supported by the Charles Koch Foundation.
Moderated by Brennan Brown, Program Manager, Higher Education Charles Koch Foundation
Jonathan Butcher, Education Director, Goldwater Institute

Stephanie Linn, State Programs & Government Relations Director,
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Justin Owen, President & CEO, The Beacon Center of Tennessee

Dr. Steve Perry, Principal, Capital Preparatory Magnet School

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