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Saturday Afternoon Update

Links, Thoughts, and Open Thread
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2012/11/24 22:00:00 (1485 reads)

Open in new windowOpen in new windowOpen in new windowOpen in new windowOpen in new windowSince the middle of this year, I've been thinking that I'd do something special when we hit the 3,000th blog post on LTJ. Somehow I missed it. This post is the 3,012th. Maybe in a year or two, we'll do something for #4,000.

All day yesterday, I went around thinking it was Saturday already. So today just feels like an extra day. My oldest son has been pestering me to get out the power tools and make him a three-bladed boomerang, so yesterday we took a trip to the Home Depot for some birch plywood and sandpaper. It was the only big box store we visited yesterday, and for that I'm thankful. The whole retail-worship thing just turns me off. It's off-putting enough to go into a Walmart on a Friday, but I damn sure won't do it when it's that crazy. I listened to a just a bit of the police scanner recordings from early Friday morning, and it sounded like there were a few few little incidents, but nothing major from what I heard.

Anyhow, we started yesterday with a geometry lesson for the kids - how to use a compass to draw the circle and set the angles correctly. We used the band saw to cut out the blanks, then a hole saw and disc sander to shape them. We even made a left-handed version for my younger son. They just went down the street to the open field to go throw them. Hopefully I won't owe anyone for any broken windows when they're done. If they don't lose them or break them, we'll stain and varnish them later.

After reading some encouraging comments from Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams the other day, I spent Thursday night - until about 3 a.m. reading up about the proposed new accountability standards for Texas public schools. I'll share some thoughts on that soon, but I'll say right now that I'm encouraged that it will move in the right direction - which is to say that it will do more to actually measure the quality of instruction, rather than how well off a school is socioeconomically. As always, I wonder about unintended consequences or worse: intended, but malevolent consequences for public schools. I'm normally not one for conspiracy theories, but I do believe that there is a faction out there rooting for public schools to fail, so they can push their agenda of public money for private and religious schools. I'll try to stay optimistic though, and just do my best to analyze it well and try to predict what the down sides might be.

So here are some links for today:

Open in new windowOpen in new windowWhy are people opposed to school "vouchers"? The superintendents of Denton ISD and Lewisville ISD, and the Dean of the College of Education at the University of North Texas have a very succinct Letter to the Editor that ran in the Dallas Morning News. For what it's worth, I think the biggest problem with it is that the cost of educating a child is not the same for every child. It costs more to educate children with problems, and who need special education. I get the feeling that even the WADA calculations the state uses can't fully account for that. Further, taxpayers deserve accountability for their dollars. At least with Charter schools, they face the same accountability measure that public schools do. Private schools are not accountable to the taxpayer.

Open in new windowMichael Burgess had his hypocrisy stripped bare on CNN by Soledad O'Brien. Burgess should just come out and admit that he would be opposed to whoever President Obama chooses to appoint as Secretary of State, because that's how the obstructionist Republicans roll lately. Of course you and I would be mortified to be so transparently hypocritical, but Burgess will no doubt double-down on it. Republicans want anything right now, other than attention to their failed ideas and failed policies - so they'll continue a witch hunt over a non-issue. Rice used the NON-CLASSIFIED talking points provided to her by the intelligence community, who felt there was a tactical advantage in not letting the terrorists know they were onto them at that point. The GOP knows this, but prefers to politicize it. They know damned well they'd be raising hell if Rice had leaked classified information to the media. They also know damned well they didn't raise hell when Condoleeza Rice told the American people there were WMDs in Iraq. What they're doing is a partisan game, and it really only plays on Faux News right now. The rest of the American people actually give a damn about our country.

What McCain, Graham, and Burgess have been doing is shameful, and really shows that their loyalties lie elsewhere. McCain is just a shadow of his formerly respectable self, and should just retire immediately, since it's apparent that he no longer has the capability of reason and judgement. Graham and Burgess need to drop the partisan posturing and get back to the business of doing the people's business. They need to stop obsessing over using every opportunity to discredit or de-legitimize the President and his appointees and nominees. He won the election (again), the American people have spoken, and he is the President. Their continued screeching and whining about everything simply makes them look like sore losers. Their continual hyperbolic wolf-crying doesn't help their cause, no matter how comforting it may be to their defeated base. Get over it, or get out. You have work to do.

Speaking of sore losers, my friend Terry Heaton has a great column he's written: "An Open Letter to Certain 'Facebook' Christians". It's a must-read.

In Flower Mound, the Town Council named a new Town Manager - Jimmy Stathatos, who was the city manager of Roanoke. On Monday, they approved the Lakeside DFW development. Lakeside DFW is a billion dollar mixed use development planned for Southern Flower Mound.

Say it simply. This drawing of the Up Goer Five explains things in terms anyone could understand.

Here's a funny story: The right-wing organization Empower Texans, which operates a front group called "Texans for Fiscal Responsibility" is suing a Republican campaign consulting firm for using its own front group called "Texans for Fiscal Accountability". I guess Empower Texans should have the monopoly on coming up with astroturf groups? BTW, Empower Texans is the group that briefly used this blog's tagline as their own a few years back. I'd probably be okay to start one called Texans for Fiscal Progressivism, right?

There was a little earthquake (2.3 magnitude) earlier in the week near Mansfield.

Mandarin Chinese is increasingly being taught in public schools, including in Lewisville.

Denton Police seized 173 animals in an animal cruelty case.

Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade resigned.

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