Monthly Archives: July 2012

America’s students: even WORSE news….?

This article comes via our old friend John Galt at ‘YouViewed/Editorial’ blog.

I read it last week, but had too much else going on to address it properly. However, today is as good (or bad, I suppose) a day as any to look at the ugly truth.

The first half of the article (the BAD news) is that our unemployment is actually ….really, really bad. We’ve covered that before, and there’s not all that much new there. So, I am going to go straight to the “even WORSE” news.

By Mort Zuckerman at usnews.com:

“Bad News, or even WORSE News….?”

It’s time to adjust the gambit that people in all situations commonly use when reporting results to a supervisor: “What do you want first, the good news or the bad?” The formula that more aptly applies to the latest indicator of America’s economic predicament is: “What do you want first, the bad news or the even worse news?”

The bad news is the disappointing June unemployment numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The worse news is that we are failing to train tomorrow’s labor force for employment in a world of accelerating competition.

…..Here now is the worse news: America is adding to the length of unemployment lines in the future by falling behind today in skill areas where global competition has become so intense. Too few of our younger people are benefiting from what is called STEM education. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the human capital at the core of any productive economy.

America has long been a STEM leader. We have dominated the world in innovation over two centuries but most recently in computer and wireless power, the development of the Internet, and cellphones, and with those innovations came well-paying jobs.

But our leadership is at risk.

A stunning illustration of how far America has started to lag in training its youth is that we are only one of three countries in the 34-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development where the youngsters are not better qualified than their fathers and mothers. Men and women ages 55 to 64 have the same or better education than the 25-to-34 generation. The younger workers in most other OECD countries are much better educated than those nearing retirement.

This is an astonishing commentary on the limits of, and the deterioration of, America’s system of public education. The National Academies warned years ago that the United States would continue to lose ground to foreign economic rivals unless the quality of its science education improved. In a 2010 report by the academies, an advisory group on science and technology, the United States ranked 27th among 29 wealthy countries in the proportion of college students with degrees in science and engineering. In a larger study conducted by the OECD in 2009, American 15-year-olds were 31st in math and 23rd in science. Yet another study found American 12th graders near the bottom of students from 20 nations, and this doesn’t even focus on the achievement gap between low-income and minority students and their peers.

Again, this is just part of the first half of the article. As depressing as it is, it is a very worthy read.

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Zuckerman’s conclusions are another in a long line of indicators as to why we need to improve our children’s education. Over the years, there has been a systematic drop-off in basic scholastic ability and results in our youth, and a decent portion of the blame must be placed on the public schools. Before I generate too many angry comments, let me say that I know of some superb public school teachers, and one of my best friends is among them. However, more and more the good ones are becoming the outliers, with others just “teaching to the test” and not imparting actual, useful, memorable knowledge to their students.

When did this happen?

Prior to college, I attended parochial grade schools and a public high school, so I have a different life experience than most. However, my best teachers (in either school setting) taught me how to approach my learning; how to look at it so that I would retain the ‘how?‘ and ‘why?‘ portion of the subject, not just the factual ‘what?‘ part. I can clearly recall the overwhelming majority of my grammar, as well as how to solve a polynomial equation, plus many others lessons. One of those subjects was taught by a nun, and the other by a very small town teacher.

My point being, it wasn’t money that made those lessons, learned so many years ago now, effective. It was the instructor’s method, and it was their skill.

So I ask: are our teachers today simply so less skilled than the teachers of yesteryear that they don’t have the ability to teach effectively? Somehow, I just don’t buy that.

Consider this an “open call” for any/all opinions: WHY has our education system gone to heck over the years?

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****And, please: nobody say “money”, okay? Of all the things that could be the culprit, “money” ain’t one of them.

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By whatever means necessary: Voting In America

(Editor’s Note: since there are two of us, at least one Head is usually around to run the ship. However, while we were on vacation a couple weeks back, ‘LivinRightInPGH’ filled in for us ….and did a super job. So, we offered him a guest gig anytime the spirit moved him. It seems that today was one of those days. 

No idea how regularly ‘PGH’ will be posting in the future. We’re hopeful it’s fairly often.

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At this time, the State of New York (soon to be followed by MANY others) is requiring companies who sell life insurance and annuities to run their entire client base against a Social Security Administration’s Death Master File, in order to see if there are any “unclaimed funds”.  You see, if the deceased was a New York resident, and no claim has been filed on their accounts, New York wants the insurance company to send THEM the money.  Of course (insert dripping sarcasm here), the state will do their best to find those beneficiaries, but in the meantime, that money will just happen to sit in their state’s general fund, accruing interest.

Which made me wonder: does the great state of New York do the same thing with their voter registration lists? Using the same methodology, they could quickly and easily make sure that the “dead” aren’t casting votes from the afterlife, right?
Right?

I’m intrigued and more than a little concerned by the whole issue that surrounds the integrity of voting in these great United States.  Moreover, I’m perplexed as to why the US Department Of Justice, led by Eric Holder, is doing everything in its power to block any measure that would enforce Voter ID laws.  I’d like to say that I don’t understand why they’d do such a thing, but sadly…I do.

If you can’t win on the issues, and if you can’t win fairly at the ballot box, you’re going to need a whole bunch of dead folks, non-citizens, et al, to swing the election your way.

Perhaps this is why Holder’s Justice Department stopped non-partisan election reform by claiming that unless there was a “D” next to a candidate’s name, African-American voters “wouldn’t be able to identify and vote for the Democrats.”  He went on to call laws requiring valid voter ID a “poll tax,” with the clear aim of stoking racial animus.  It was such a distasteful argument that even the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals rejected it.

As I recall, JTR covered a ton of places where ID is needed in a post several months ago. They included:

  • Driving
  • Getting on an airplane
  • Opening a bank account

(Oh, by the way:  If you want to visit the USDOJ, you need to show proper and acceptable ID.  Just sayin’…)

The whole argument against voter ID laws from the left is a smokescreen of perceived racism just to cover up one simple fact:  Without voter fraud, they CAN’T win.


The Heritage Foundation recently noted:

“Georgia, which has had voter ID since 2007, allows six different forms of ID to vote.  And there has been no stampede of would-be voters who lack identification:  ‘The number of photo IDs issued by Georgia to individuals who did not already have one of the forms of ID acceptable under state law is remarkably small, averaging less (than) 0.05% in most years, and not even reaching 3/10ths of 1% in a presidential election year.’”

You may be interested to know, however, that in Georgia, Hispanic voting increased over 140% from 2004 to 2008, while African-American voting increased by 42% over the same time frame.

So much for disenfranchisement.

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One more quote from Heritage:

“America cannot allow its elections to be anything but secure and legal.  Preventing voter fraud is common sense, and it is outrageous that the U.S. Justice Department would stand in the way.”

Well, my friends, outrageous or not, this is EXACTLY what they’re doing.

What does it really mean to be ‘thankful’?

We realize that this blog tends to focus on the negative…pointing out evil and absurdity, as we see them; they are far too easy to find.  

Here’s some respite, some thoughts which focus entirely on what is positive.  

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I didn’t grow up saying grace.  I didn’t grow up thinking ‘grace’.  I didn’t understand grace, and I couldn’t define it.  But after nearly thirty years of adulthood, and being an active Christ-follower, I was pretty sure that I could define “grace” in a pinch.

Until recently.

I was reading Colossians in my Greek Interlinear New Testament.  (Don’t be too impressed…I only know enough Greek to be dangerous.)  I was looking at the word translated as “thanksgiving” or “gratitude.”  It looked like “eucharist.”  That can’t be right.  Eucharist has to do with communion, I thought. Continue reading

Spectacular music performed by these Guys….

I must have been living under a rock for the past year.

Prior to yesterday, I had never seen or heard of a group calling themselves ‘ThePianoGuys‘. A collection of entertaining AND proficient musicians, they play piano, cello, …and probably a bunch of other stuff, too.

Many thanks to a longtime friend of the family, Dewey Roth, for bringing them to our attention.

We’re including two of their YouTube videos. The first one is new, is the most impressive (in my humble opinion) and is many times better than the original pop version which they’re covering. The other is from last year, but is just as laudable.

Happy weekend, everyone.

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What I saw last night at Chick-fil-A….

Just a brief follow-up to yesterday’s posts.

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I took Mrs. TurnRight and the two little Turns out to Chick-fil-A last night.

Three words:

  • De,
  • Li,
  • Cious!

Additionally, what I saw there was: a spotlessly clean restaurant. GREAT food. And above all there were 4 of the nicest, most pleasant servers at a fast food place you could imagine. Not painted-on smiles, either: these were 100% genuine. The four girls working the counter loved being there, and took obvious pride in what they were doing: working for an independently-owned franchise that clearly treats them well.

There’s no need to rehash what we discussed yesterday. The Left’s faux outrage has been shown to be just as petty and contrived as one might suspect. What’s needed now is action, not words.

If you have an opportunity to visit a franchise near you, I’d urge you to do so. There is a planned Chick-fil-A “BuyCott” scheduled for next Wednesday, August 1st. Feel free to go then, but why wait? Go today, or go this weekend.

Just go.

In the business world, success is measured in dollars. We can each help fight this modern-day tarring & feathering with our cash, ….and get a great meal in the process.

A Charitable and Tolerant Reaction

I wrote the previous post in haste last night. It says more or less what I wanted to say, but I felt there was more. This blog from The Braunschweiger Express adds a dimension I think is very important. I hope you’ll read all of it (……it’s not any longer than mine was). Thanks!

The Braunschweiger Express

After seeing some highly inflammatory posts on Facebook about Chick-fil-A, I had to look into the issue for myself to see what was REALLY going on.  It seems Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A did a radio interview and a print interview which was published the same day the radio interview aired, and then the earth fell off its axis (that’s hyperbole for those who don’t get it).

Print article from June 16, 2012

Print article from June 19, 2012

Here’s what Dan Cathy DIDN’T say:

  • We don’t serve gays.
  • Faggots need not apply.
  • God hates queers.
  • Destroy all homos.

Here’s what he did say:

  • We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
  • [I]ts tradition is ‘to treat every person…

View original post 550 more words

Who’s the REAL Chicken?

OK, for the record, this is NOT a post about the “radical homosexual agenda” or whether gay marriage should be legal or not.  This is a post about freedom to do business according to one’s conscience, and freedom to express views with which others may not agree.   [Please note: neither I nor any of my family work for this company.]

Yes, I’m talking about all the ridiculous, inflated fracas about Chick-fil-A, a national fast food chain whose owner makes no secret of the fact that he supports traditional marriage. In a recent interview with The Baptist Press, he was explicit:

We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

And that’s ALL he said, people.

Company president Dan Cathy did NOT make disparaging remarks about the LGBT community, offer political statements about the validity of gay marriage, make any statement about hiring homosexuals or serving them.  Chick-fil-A has a fixed policy of being closed on Sundays to ensure their employees a day a rest.  Other than that, the most radical thing they do is refuse to sell beef–the source of their long-running PR campaign featuring spokescows who urge us to “Eat Mor Chikn”.

Here’s their statement from their official Facebook page:

The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 Restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.

Chick-fil-A is a family-owned and family-led company serving the communities in which it operates. From the day Truett Cathy started the company, he began applying biblically-based principles to managing his business. For example, we believe that closing on Sundays, operating debt-free and devoting a percentage of our profits back to our communities are what make us a stronger company and Chick-fil-A family.

Our mission is simple: to serve great food, provide genuine hospitality and have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.

Only now, in today’s hyper-polarized, overly-politicized society can affirmation of a biblical belief be equated to hating something or someone. Even 20 years ago, this news would have generated barely a peep. Now? It’s instant ‘high dudgeon’, plus some.

Enter the Jim Henson Company,  fearing to be tarred with the same family-friendly brush as the chicken vendor.  (Who IS the target audience for Henson Co.’s many products, one must ask?)   So Henson has pulled its toys from Chick-fil-A kids’ meals, thus shooting themselves in their own promotional foot in order to make a loud statement about Chick-fil-A’s alleged intolerance…and their own obvious intolerance.  Was Chick-fil-A putting disclaimers in the kids’ sacks, warning them that Henson is an ‘inclusive’ company?  Nope.  Did they refuse to carry the toys because of Henson’s pro-LGBT policy?  No again. But the company has made charitable contributions to not-for-profit organizations that Henson dubs “anti-gay”.

Notice how polemic language works?  It turns a positive statement into a negative one:  “PRO-life” or “ANTI-abortion”?   “PRO-family” or “ANTI-gay”?  In most cases, the positive statement is much broader (more inclusive, if you will) than the negative one!

Next, enter Thomas Menino, the mayor of Boston, who is threatening to bar Chick-fil-A from getting a license to do business in the city famous for its Freedom Trail…because he personally feels that this company should not be free to say what it believes in.

Again, please note where the judgmental, harsh, intolerant, hyperbolic over-reaction is coming from:  not from the conservative family-oriented business.  No, no: it’s coming from the people who are screaming Tolerance, Openness, and Fairness.  Because obviously, their definition of Freedom of Speech is:  “You have a right to say whatever I agree with.”

http://es.memegenerator.net/instance/23965688

The New American Dream: Lawsuits

I am no fan of lawsuits. That’s not to say that there aren’t real abuses warranting legal action in the country; there are. Rather, it is the stupid, punitive and illogical lawsuits (which exist to simply target the deepest pockets) that drive me batty.

Working in the insurance industry for close to 20 years probably has something to do with my view, but you don’t need to have had my vantage point to see that lawsuit abuse is having a deleterious effect on our economy and freedom.

We’ve talked about some truly stupid cases before (look HERE and HERE for examples), but this one is as mind-blowing as any of those.

From NewsOK.com:

MIAMI, OK — Frivolous litigation ignited a series of lawsuits that is causing an Ottawa County gas can maker to close, said Rocky Flick, CEO of Blitz U.S.A. 

Blitz U.S.A./F3 Brands in Miami filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Nov. 9. On Monday, the company announced it would close July 31 and lay off 117 workers.

“This is quite a blow,” said Chuck Evans, plant manager. “We hope another plant comes in and takes over.”

11010 5 Gallon Metal Gas CanIn 1992, U.S. Metal Container became Blitz U.S.A., partly due to a switch to plastic containers. For years, U.S. Metal Container sold gas cans to government agencies for military use. In 1966, it was the only gas can manufacturer in the U.S., and a year later the gas can was painted bright red and sold to thousands of customers nationwide, the company’s website says.

Company officials said product liability lawsuits prompted the company to file bankruptcy.The lawsuits mostly involved people pouring gasoline out of a gas can onto an open fire, and the vapors igniting and causing injuries.

“We got 100 percent of the lawsuits even though we don’t have 100 percent of the gas cans out there,” Evans said.

Flick said the company was unable to put together a reorganization plan.

The 50-year-old company will have its assets sold Sept. 6, he said.

Flick said once the first lawsuit was settled, the floodgates of litigation were opened.

“The insurance company thought it was best to settle,” Flick said. “The first lawsuit settled for around $1 million, the last lawsuit for around $10 million, but most of the lawsuits were between $5 (million) to $10 million.”

The company went to trial on two cases, winning one and losing the other, a $4 million verdict involving the death of a child.

The jury found Blitz 70 percent liable, Flick said.

The girl, 4, was living in an unheated camper in Utah when her father poured gasoline into a woodstove, which ignited, Flick said. The child and her father caught on fire, the father ran out of the camper and left the child inside while he tried to put flames out that were on him, Flick said.

The case is on appeal.

Now come on: this mental midget poured gas onto a woodstove, it ignited, and the makers of the GAS CAN are liable? Really? Is no one responsible for their own idiocy anymore?

If I back my car into a tree, can I sue the car manufacturer? If I drop my ballpoint pen into the washing machine and ruin my shirts, am I now allowed to sue PaperMate®??

If that’s the case, we’ll never have a small business open in this country again.

Why would you take the inherent risk of trying to eke out a living working for yourself if you think that your life’s work could be confiscated by someone (with a lower IQ than your inanimate product) suing you, making you pay for your defense and, even worse…they might actually win?

Where does this end?

It ends when we stop appointing justices to courts who view everyone as a victim (except Conservatives and Christians, of course). It ends when the working folks stop trying to get out of jury duty, which too often leaves juries populated by the very people who are prone to bring a stupid case like this to trial.

It ends when we, as citizens, demand it to end.

Some on the Left bristle when they hear Conservatives say we need to take our country back. They whine something along the lines of “take it back from WHOM, exactly”? The answer should be that we need to take it back from those who would see it fall into ruin, and even from those who would merely turn a blind eye to the societal wreckage which surrounds them.

As I commented on another blog recently, if the United States was a train, we’d be running out of track. Either we each stand up, hit the brakes and turn this thing around…or we’re all going over the edge. Together.