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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

On the other foot

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I asked my colleague John Sterling for permission to post this information that he sent me in email. He graciously agreed. The following are his words:

Biden: “I pray God when the Democrats take back control we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing.”  2005

This video clip is a montage of the most powerful Leaders in Washington today, on record as decrying the  so-called “Nuclear Option”.  I absolutely AGREE with them, as I did when they made these statements in 2005, when Republicans controlled the Senate.  These leaders spoke the truth, and the truth has not changed.  HOWEVER, what HAS changed, is their position of power. NOW (2010) that THEY control both House and Senate (although just barely), they have completely gone 180 degrees, advocating the very thing they so eloquently and passionately resisted just five years ago.

I DON’T CARE WHICH PARTY is in power, as long they are TRUE to the OATH of OFFICE that declares their absolute loyalty to the CONSTITUTION of the United States.  When ANY politician is in breach of that oath, they should be impeached, and then criminally prosecuted, and then denied EVER serving in a public capacity again, EVER!

John Sterling

Written by Donnell

February 24th, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Posted in Politics

Good analysis of history and today

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For an insight into a historical travesty and a modern one at the same time, read Stephen Smith’s “Winging It.”

Written by Donnell

March 22nd, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Posted in Politics

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Throwing an anchor to a drowning republic

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Consider this quote:

“The housing affordability crisis trumps any theoretical recommendations of economists,” New York State Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing, a sponsor of many of the rent-control provisions pending in New York, told

In other words, “I’m either an idiot, or I figure the people who vote for me are idiots.” Saying something like that is like saying, “The need to fly trumps any theoretical recommendations of physicists on such trivial things as gravity.”

“We must do something quickly so people will think we’re responding!” say these politicians on observing a drowning man. “Quick, throw him an anchor!”

This isn’t just a theoretical consideration, folks. Time and time and time again experience shows that when government mucks with the market, things get worse, not better. Yes, I think the AIG folks were idiots too, but they were idiots because they believed earlier government officials. The financial problems don’t come from some flaw in the free market; they come from attempts to “fix” it. Does anyone remember the long lines and the shortages that resulted when Jimmy Carter tried to “fix” a “broken” market with price controls on gasoline? Won’t politicians ever get a clue?

If you care at all about the direction of this country and its economy, please lobby your politicians to take their hands off it!

Written by Donnell

March 16th, 2009 at 6:15 pm

A voice for vouchers

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I’m having trouble finding anyone who specifically thinks Obama and Congress are doing anything right. Roland Martin speaks in an informed voice criticizing the education approach of the current administration. He makes a lot of sense, although I’d go one step further. For the same reason we don’t want the federal government running our churches, we should want them running our schools. If they won’t leave them alone (and who believes they will?), at least let us recognize the hypocrisy in the approach.

Written by Donnell

March 11th, 2009 at 11:59 am

Feds poised to create food police–no joke

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We’re less than two months into the Obama administration, and I’m scared to death. I was no fan of Bush, either, nor of McCain, for that matter. It just seemed to be a question of which person was going to get to head the growth of Big Government.

Here we see one of the effects. HR 875 seeks to impose a level of legislation that will be, in the words of one writer, “devastating for everyday folks but great for factory farming ops like Monsanto, ADM, Sodexo and Tyson to name a few.” This is no exaggeration, folks. Read details at Campaign for Liberty and OpenCongress, then call your Congress critter and protest.

Check back here for updates through the following widget.

Written by Donnell

March 8th, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Update: Cat. IV a problem only if you want to work in certain jobs

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We posted earlier several items about a ruling by the Tennessee Department of Education that would prevent graduates of Category IV schools (which includes some homeschoolers and some church-related-school students going through classroom-based private schools) from having their diplomas recognized as valid. An updated email from Kay Brooks, whose posts about the matter have consistently covered the who fiasco, points out the real effect: you may not be able to get a job as a peace officer or a worker in a license day care facility.

ALL other jobs are not in play. What the DOE thinks of a Category IV diploma is of no concern. If your student is going on to college, the military, trade school this issue won’t impact them.… For every other job on the planet, as near as we can tell at this time, what the DOE thinks of your child’s Category IV diploma doesn’t matter. [Emphasis in original–DK]

Even in these cases, the solution is annoying but simple: get a GED.

We appreciate the calming effect of this insight. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note the comments that Tennessee’s stance on this has provoked across the nation (see the page on for a more complete summary).

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Written by Donnell

June 18th, 2008 at 8:34 am

CRS diploma bill dead this year–looking to next year


Apparently, the bill offered by state Rep. Mike Bell to make state agencies recognize church-related-school diplomas is dead for this year. However, there is hope for a bill that Bell intends to offer next year. Details, so far as they are known, at Here’s my take and summary.

Kay Brooks points out that the House Calendar and Rules Committee (which basically controls which bills make it to the floor for a vote) is controlled by House Democrats, “many of whom have already expressed their bias against education choices not directly controlled by the government school system.”

Rob Shearer established that the committee is not just controlled by House Democrats, but is heavily stacked their way. Out of 25 members, 21 are Democrats. The majority in the overall House is only 53-46, but that allows them to appoint the House Speaker, who appoints the committee members, and you see where this goes.

Even though HB1652 was co-sponsored by a Democrat, Rep. Bell saw it was going nowhere this year, and effectively took it off the table in order to craft a bill likelier to get bipartisan support, which he will probably offer during the next session that starts in January.

The decision apparently resulted from a meeting following a similar result for the companion Senate bill, SB 1827. According to email from Claiborne Thornton, Tennessee Home Education Association president:

As a result there were meetings with the Department of Education, Senator Dewayne Bunch, sponsor of SB 1827, Senator Jamie Woodson, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and Bruce Opie of the DOE. [Note that it involved only Senators, so Rep. Bell was not present.] ….

In this meeting it was discussed that since legislation had not passed to remedy the problem of the Category IV diplomas not being recognized by the POST, the TN Police Training organization, and by the Department of Human Services, which sets policy for hiring of day care workers, there would be a temporary remedy agreed upon. That remedy would be that on a case-by-case basis, individuals could request a review by these agencies when their diplomas were denied recognition, with the hope that the Category IV diplomas would be recognized by these agencies. This, again, would be the temporary solution until there could be a legislative remedy agreed upon, hopefully next year.

The same email reports:

He intends to bring a new bill to the House Education Committee next year. He is already working on the strategy for this legislation. The bill would state that Category IV diplomas would be recognized by the state and their agencies, whether obtained by a full time, on campus, church-related school student, or a home schooler affiliated with a church-related school, when the student makes a score of 16 on the ACT.
Taking the ACT and making a 16 is about the equivalent of a “C” grade and is the accepted ACT score for admission in many colleges, including student athletes in the UT system. Rep. Bell thinks that this score could be used as a way to validate the student’s high school education and thereby validate their Category IV diploma.  In discussion with the DOE, with fellow House members and others, he has had very positive response to this strategy.

It’ll have to do. The irony is that Tennessee colleges and universities already accept diplomas under these conditions–the ACT basically tests for readiness for college entry. Graduates of any high school must take it, and usually must attain a specific score. Therefore, this bill will really only affect people who don’t intend to go to college.

High schools run by the state do not have such a stated goal–plenty of high schoolers in that system do not plan to attend college, and so follow a different curriculum.

So, in order to compete with other high school graduates for jobs that do not require a college education a homeschool or church-related-school graduate will have to demonstrate readiness to attend college.


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Written by Donnell

May 15th, 2008 at 9:51 am

More details on committee vote

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The Knoxville News-Sentinel today published some details about the committee hearing in the Tennessee legislature on the bill to end discrimination against diplomas granted by church-related schools.

Since that article will only be available for a limited time (I think you have to pay for access after a few weeks for older stories), I wanted to report what they reported regarding how committee members voted.

Those voting for the bill were Reps. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville; Jim Coley, R-Bartlett; Delores Gresham, R-Somerville; Beth Harwell, R-Nashville; Phillip Johnson, R-Pegram; Ron Lollar, R-Bartlett; Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga; Richard Montgomery, R-Sevierville; and John Mark Windle, D-Livingston.

Those voting no were Reps. Ulysses Jones, D-Memphis; Mark Maddox, D-Dresden; Tommie Brown, D-Chattanooga; Barbara Cooper, D-Memphis; Joe Towns, D-Chattanooga; Larry Turner, D-Chattanooga; and Les Winningham, D-Huntsville.

Do you notice a pattern? I really, really get sick of partisan politics.

The article also notes this:

Bruce Opie, legislative liaison for the Department of Education, told the committee that department officials “were a little overzealous” in deciding that homeschool certificates do not count as high school diplomas. [On the other hand,] “Do we get in the business of approving a diploma when we have absolutely nothing to do with oversight?” he said. “Under the law, we are told to stay completely out of (homeschooling).”

This is disingenuous at best, manipulative at worst. The actual text of the bill (technically an amendment) reads:

SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 1, Part 1, is amended by adding a new section thereto, as follows:

Section 49-1-1__. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a student who has a diploma recognized under or awarded by § 49-50-801 or § 49-6-3050 shall be considered by all departments, agencies or entities of state government as possessing a valid high school diploma. This section shall not apply to state lottery proceeds as provided in title 49, chapter 4, part 9.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.

Do you see anything in there that would require the DoE to “approve” diplomas issued by school that are not state-run? On the contrary, the bill simply requires state agencies to recognize as valid diplomas from schools that other sections of state law recognize as legal. How ludicrous would it be otherwise?

In fact, § 49-50-801 and § 49-6-3050 explicitly prohibit the state from approving or disapproving the teachers or curriculum. This new bill simply puts into law the common sense effect of that. If you can’t approve or disapprove the teachers or curriculum, what possible cause could there be for approving or disapproving the diploma? By trying to cast it as if this bill requires the DoE to approve of such diplomas, they are positioning themselves to de facto approve or disapprove of teachers and curriculum.

If they manage to pull this off, they put themselves in the position of regulating church-related schools without having to spend any state money on them. Enviable maneuvering, yes?

Imagine the parallel: the state of Tennessee recognize driver’s licenses from the state of Virginia as being legal, but since the Tennessee Highway Patrol has no control over the testing for such licenses they refuse to recognize those legal licenses as being valid. Therefore, they may ticket Virginia drivers for not having a valid driver’s license–but, Virginia, we will recognize them as valid if you let us specify your tests and procedures.

How far do you think they would get with that?

Written by Donnell

May 7th, 2008 at 9:33 pm

Update on committee vote

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Yesterday I told you about a Tennessee legislative committee that could affect thousands of people across the state regarding whether their high school diplomas would be considered “valid.” (More here and here.)

Short version update: the needed amendment passed; the Dept. of Education’s ill-advised version did not come up.

Long version update: read Rob Shearer’s summary of what went on.

Written by Donnell

May 6th, 2008 at 9:19 am

TN Department of Education declares church-related schools’ diplomas to be “worthless” « Contending with the Culture

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Rob Shearer also addresses the current controversy in TN Department of Education declares church-related schools’ diplomas to be “worthless” « Contending with the Culture. His post carries some weight–he is the director of the Schaeffer Study Center, and Vice President of the Tennessee Association of Church Related Schools. As such, he is in a position to call a spade a spade rather than a unipersonal earth-moving implement.

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Written by Donnell

May 5th, 2008 at 7:53 pm