Monday, June 27, 2005

Courts Approve Ten Commandments In Some Cases

Finally, he courts came to a decision about the 10 Commandments issues. Their conclusion appears to be that as long as the monument is outside of the building itself, then the commandments are fine as a symbol of judicial history. However this was not a ruling soon enough to overturn the LA County ruling that determined the small cross in the county seal was too much of a religious symbol to be allowed.

This is the old seal

And this is the new one

This was what Chief Justice Rehnquist had to say about the whole ordeal. "Simply having religious content or promoting a message consistent with a religious doctrine does not run afoul of the Establishment clause."

Now if you don't believe that our founding fathers would have wanted those symbols there, then check this out.
"Meanwhile in Kentucky, two counties originally hung the copies of the Ten Commandments in their courthouses. After the ACLU filed suit, the counties modified their displays to add other documents demonstrating "America's Christian heritage," including the national motto of "In God We Trust" and a version of the Congressional Record declaring 1983 the "Year of the Bible.""

Friday, June 24, 2005

Teddy *hickup* Kennedy Pitches Some Chin Music to Rumsfeld

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was under scrutany at capital hill yesterday, defending the continuing of troop presence in Iraq. Now the media and the Washington Democrats want the people to feel that this is a "quagmire" and a lost cause bent for failure, but according to Assumption of Command, that's far from the truth.

Teddy even had the nerve to say this,
"In baseball, it's three strikes, you're out. What is it for the secretary of defense?...Isn't it time for you to resign?"
I thought it funny this morning when one of the Fox News Analysts shot back after the quote saying that Rumsfeld should have asked Kennedy how many he's been allowed.

*Update* GOP and College has broke the 3000 hit mark! (c: *

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Blank Check Won't Solve This Problem

Metro Mayor Bill Purcell is looking into a $541 Million for the Nashville Metro Schools this next year. And that's $30 Million less than was requested. Now granted Metro has the largest number of students, but it is the 2nd highest spending in the state per child, with Memphis being first. Now I would have no problem with this except for the fact that those two are the WORST performing school districts in the state. But for some reason the government has determined that simply throwing money at the problem is the way to fix it rather than actually looking into what is causing such bad numbers. The fact that the students don't have the enthusiasm that they need to try to succeed. They have all their friends and the people around them telling them "Oh, you're never going to succeed. Whatever you do it's not going to get you anywhere so why bother trying."

Well, I was at my high school the first year we had a Drafting program there. We started with literally nothing. There were barely 2 classes, splitting I think 3 sections. (2 beginning and one Architectural) The desks we worked on were taken from another school that was about to throw them away. We had the most basic of drafting tools, our own pencil, a compass, an eraser guard, a ruler, and that's it. We had used textbooks that were older than the students, and one computer that had to struggle to run the most basic AutoCAD program, and that was it. But you know what we did? We worked, and we worked hard at what we did. And you know what happened? The person who was in charge of giving money for the class would see that. There wasn't any goofing off in class, no slacking or anything, just genuine work. By the end of the year our old wooden stools had been replaced with new ones that had a back to them. The next year we got new Dell computers with AutoCAD 200 Light because the school board people had seen what we did. The next year we got licenses for Inventor (A 3-D Modeling program) for the students.

Now there are 6 full classes of at least 30 students in each, and the teacher has to turn away more than 50 students a year. There are a few classes for introductory drafting, some for Architectural, and some for 3-D Modeling. A close friend of mine went to TSU and took the drafting course there, at the end of the semester he was offered to teach the class because he knew more than the professors.

Side not to the story - The Pre-Engineering program after 1 year of amazing work, followed by 3 years of no success was completely dropped from the curriculum. Why? Because sometimes you just have to cut down a dead tree.

*UPDATE* - Metro schools have posted a 10% increse in reading proficiency as well as over 8% in other subjects such as math. This puts them right about at the state average now. Could this be a turn around for the district, or a 1 time deal?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

A Willing Waltz

"The five Tennessee lawmakers were being led down the garden path, according to court documents: Money was given to them, and a bill was introduced. More money and the bill was amended. More money and the bill was withdrawn.

The end of the path led to indictments for the elected officials and two others in the "Operation Tennessee Waltz" bribery case, interviews and a review of court documents show.

With each step on the pathway, more money came their way, and in return, a new request had to be fulfilled for men who turned out to be informants and undercover federal agents.
The allegations against the lawmakers in the "Tennessee Waltz" case are not simply a case of selling votes. The strongest element of the case against them, two former prosecutors said, may be the cause-and-effect relationship — of bribes in return for specific actions by the lawmakers, of what undercover federal agents asked for and what the legislators delivered."

An article by The Tennessean intoday'ss paper showed that ex-Tennessee State Senator John Ford, (D.Memphiss) as well as many others willingly danced in the TBI's "Operation Tennessee Waltz" that uncovered a pool of bribes and selfless legislation. With quotes from Ford saying things like, "You are talking to the guy that makes the deals," it's hard to deny what his intentions were when he talked to them. E-Cycle, TBI's phony company paid him a lump sum of $10,000 as a down payment in August of 2004 for 2 months worth of legislation. In total Ford got $55,000 of bribe money, and to top that off, when the state ethics bill came up, he had the nerve to try to guilt trip other legislators by saying that there were some there who had a guilty conscience.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Privatizing Social Security is a MUST

The NCPA (National Center for Policy Analysis) has conducted a study on which is better, trying to maintain the current Social Security program, or switching to the privatization system that president Bush is trying to push forward.

The study shows that in order to sustain the current system (including benefits) we would need to increase the tax rate, which is currently at 12.4% to at least19.4% in the next 20 years.

I've even heard that privatization was done in a study on the poor working class, and paying the rate we do today, when that person retired, they actually got a VERY significant pay increase.

The biggest thing I see about this plan is that the people who are against this plan, are the ones who are set to benefit the most. It is statistically shown that a black male has the shortest lifespan in America, so naturally, they don't get back the same amount as the longest living person, a white female. Although with either system you don't expect to receive everything back you put in, the privatization has a higher percentage return on it, therefore you get more in your individual checks.

Another group opposed to privatization is the elderly. They are afraid that this is going to just cut off their social security immediately. That's not true. The plan is to keep the people close to retirement on the same plan, then shift it over at a specific time to people who have already started putting money in.

The really big winner though, is the people like me. 20 year olds who are just about to break out into the world. The study shows that "The average 20-year-old male can expect to pay $182,000 in taxes in excess of benefits received from all government entitlement programs." And it gets even worse for infants. "For babies born this year, 81 cents of every dollar they contribute to Social Security will never be matched by offsetting benefits."

Linked on: Basil's Blog

Monday, June 13, 2005

Life in the 8-4 world

If you've been looking here at all you'll notice nothing's changed in a long time. That's because I started my co-op job with Magotteaux (Mag-a-tow). It's a regular 9-5 job...5 days a week, 50 weeks a year (It's a foundry so there's a 2 week plant shut-down for maintenance). I work as quite simply an all around engineer at the plant, sometimes doing Civil Engineer work, sometimes Mechanical Engineer projects as well as some Industrial Engineer work.

You know, after I took this job, I expected to have more time to write in my blog since I wouldn't have the constant drone of school, but I've found out that working takes up more time than you plan. I wake up at 6:30 and get there at 8 AM, work and then come home at 4, fix dinner and then start to get ready to go to bed. I don't have the time like I thought I would to check the news. I REALLY wanted to do a giant article on the wonderful *HAHA!* man John Ford and all of the Tennessee Waltz issue, but that's pretty well been done.