Monday, May 26, 2014

5 Years of "Facts" of Obama

I have had two FaceBook friends post this graphic in the last couple of weeks.  Maybe it has popped up in your newsfeed as well.  I believe it is important to have the facts to counter these kinds of claims.

As with anything else, context is so important.  Here is my response to both of them.

When one is looking at stats, one has to have the whole picture. This graphic doesn't have the whole picture. Here's the context of these numbers. 
First, the timing of these numbers is misleading.  If you remember, the Democrats took control of Congress after the 2006 midterm elections. So the real effect of Democrat policies started taking effect in January 2007. Remember also that both Obama and Biden were in the Senate during that time ~as well as Hillary Clinton~. 
1)  The Dow is up because of Quantitative Easing.  Federal $$ being printed and pumped into the stock market.  Hang on to your hats.  Remember the .com bubble and the real estate bubbles? 
2)  For the real unemployment numbers, one needs to look at the labor force participation rate.
Jan 2007 – 66.40%
Jan 2009 – 65.7%
April 2014 – 62.80% 
Lowest labor force participation rate since 1978.  The reason that the umemployment numbers are down is because of workers that have quit looking for work.   
3)  GDP growth – US Dept of Commerce
2006 – 2.7%
2007 – 1.8%
2008 - -0.3%
2009 - -2.8%
2010 – 2.5%
2011 – 1.8%
2012 – 2.8%
2113 – 1.9%
1st quarter 2014 = 2.9%
4th quarter 2013 = 2.6% 
GDP after the Bush tax cuts
December 31, 2002 – 1.8%
December 31, 2003 – 2.8%
December 31, 2004 – 3.8%
December 31, 2005 – 3.4%  
The facts show that GDP increased after the Bush Tax cuts and started falling when the Democrats took control of Congress and the Democrats started spending like drunken sailors.  My apologies to sailors; at least drunken sailors quit when they run out of money.  DC politicians just borrow and print money.   
The federal budget goes from October 1 - September 30.  When we elected the Republicans to Congress in the fall of they took office in January of 2011 and the first budget they had was the 2012.  That was the fiscal year that the federal deficit started to decrease slightly.  Here are the actual numbers. 
The federal deficit the last year of the Bush/Republican Congress budget was $161 Billion. When the Democrats took control of Congress after the 2006 elections, the next fiscal year the deficit climbed to $459 Billion and $1413 Billion the year King Barry I was elected. That was when TARP was forced on us. We then had 2 additional years of $1300 Billion deficits with Obama/Democrat Congress. Finally with Republicans back in control of the House, the deficit has come down slightly to $1100 Billion and $973 Billion. So yes, the deficit is technically down from its highs, but doesn't really paint the whole picture. For comparison, the highest deficit during the Bush/Republican Congress days was $413 Billion. 
One fact that this graphic doesn't touch is the increase in food stamps.  If the economy is so great, why are there millions more on food stamps today than when Obama was immaculated?  Why has spending on food stamps doubled under Obama if the economy is doing so well?

So far, I have not had one of these friends ~one is my TN State Representative~ who have even tried to refute any of my facts.  I'll post updates when/if I hear from any of them.  Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Update:  I just had one of the friends that posted this make a comment.  She didn't try to refute any of my facts, she just basically tried to make the point that Obama is only one person and doing what he can for the "betterment of all."  Sorry, but that doesn't cut it for me.  Even if you ascribe good intentions to Obama and the left, ~which I don't~ there are consequences to their wrong policies.  She did say she loved my "deep knowledge" though.  I guess when you can't argue with the facts . . .

Update #2:  There have been two friends of the original poster of this graphic that have said that they agree with the graphic ~no response to the facts I posted however.~  One of them was one my dh's cousins that unfriended me a couple of years ago when she couldn't handle my challenges.  She could call me racist, but heaven help if I pointed out her hypocrisy, but I digress.  I asked her if she was going to post my facts along with the graphic.  She responded with a long rant and called me rude, argumentative and accusatory.  She also proceeded to tell me what I could and couldn't say on this common friend's page.  You've gotta love libs . .

Update #3:  I was asked for my source by a reader below.  I have revised my numbers and added the link to the U.S. Dept of Commerce.  At the link, you can create your own table of stats by year and/or quarter.  While my updated numbers are lower, they still show that the economy started to tank after the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Are the NGA and CCSSO Lobbyists Who are Funded by Corporations?

I have a friend on FaceBook who has been on a tear about Common Core.  It all started with discussions about Common Core Math.  At first he refused to talk about anything but the Common Core Math which he is in favor of.  That is a whole other story for another time though.  What I want to focus right now is on the funding for Common Core.

He posted the link to this article by Phyllis Schlafly.
“So the Obama Administration has latched onto a national education curriculum called Common Core that was launched by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2009. Those organizations have very official names as though they are government agencies, but they are actually private groups financed by foundations such as Gates and various corporations.”

He is taking issue with the fact that the NGA and CCSSO are lobbyists with corporate donors.  The question he posed was "Is Mrs. Schlafly being honest?"

His claim is that since the NGA is comprised by governors and they control it, then those of us who say that Common Core is not state-led are not being honest.  In fact, he says that the CC opponents aren't to be trusted.

Let's start out with the definition of a lobbyist.  According to Dictionary.com a lobbyist is "a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest."  According to their own websites, both the NGA and CCSSO fit that definition.  First off, both of their offices are in Washington D.C.  Secondly, both organizations have lobbying divisions or offices.

This is the description from the NGA website about their  Office of Federal Relations.

"The mission of the National Governors Association (NGA) Office of Federal Relations is to ensure that governors’ views are represented in the shaping of federal policy. NGA policy positions, reflecting governors’ principles on priority issues, guide the association’s efforts to influence federal laws and regulations affecting states."

Let's look at the CCSSO website:  They describe themselves as "The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nationwide, nonpartisan, and nonprofit membership organization."

This is what the CCSSO says about their Legislation and Advocacy for their members.

"As the national voice of the Chief State School Officers in all 50 states and U.S. Territories, CCSSO represents its membership by coordinating consensus on federal education matters before the Administration, Congress, and the U.S. Department of Education.

"CCSSO provides thoughtful, pragmatic, analysis of the implications and opportunities federal education policies, including all major federal laws and grant opportunities, have on state education agencies. CCSSO prepares testimony for congressional committees, analyzes proposed federal regulations, form coalitions with other national education organizations, and educates federal policy makers on the education policy needs of states.

"CCSSO regularly hosts informational discussions with its membership updating chiefs on policy. Additionally, CCSSO hosts an annual legislative conference in Washington, D.C. providing its members the opportunity to meet with federal elected officials, discuss state education challenges, and formulate the Council's stance on federal issues.

"Through encouraging collective state action, CCSSO strengthens the influence and impact each state has over federal education by unifying states around common principles, themes and policies."

I don't know about you, but that sure sounds like lobbying to me.

Next let's look at the corporate sponsors or funding for both the NGA and the CCSSO.  They are not self-sustaining from their membership of governors and school officers.

You can find the list of NGA Corporate Fellows at this link

What is a Corporate Fellow? So glad you asked. "As a Corporate Fellow, your contribution supports the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and positions you and your colleagues as intellectual resources for providing governors ideas that work. "

Unless I don't know what the word contribution means, I think that means monetary funding from the Corporate Fellows.

Here is information on the CCSSO's Business and Industry Partnerships.
"The Council's mission is to assist chief state school officers and their organizations in achieving the vision of an American education system that enables all children to succeed in school, work, and life. This mission cannot be met without forging new collaborations. In today's environment, success derives from working with and learning from diverse constituencies.

"One such constituency is the business community. The Council has engaged this community by developing a corporate sponsorship program for interested partners, who have provided support for Council meetings throughout the year. To ensure appropriate representation, the Council offers tiered levels of partnerships. The tiered partnership approach provides businesses with a menu of options from which to choose and enables the Council to receive sponsorship support to operate its meetings, conferences, and forums."

Apparently the CCSSO has 3 different tiers of Corporate partners. Just glancing thru their list, several jump out. Microsoft, inBloom, McGraw-Hill Education, Pearson Education, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Both  the NGA and CCSSO have received funding from the Gates Foundation.  The NGA has received over $25 Million from the Gates Foundation.  The CCSSO has received $84 Million from the Gates Foundation.

My question is does being run by governors or school officers negate the fact that these organizations are lobbyist influenced by their corporate donors?

My friend has also accused me of being anti-capitalist because I object to our kids being treated like units whose information is being tracked for marketing.  I reminded him that there is a difference between capitalism ~which I am all for~ and corporatism, but again that is a discussion for another time.

What do you think?  Are the NGA and CCSSO lobbyists or are they as the Common Core proponents claim, state led?

Monday, April 14, 2014

More Common Core Math

Today we are going to visit some 4th grade worksheets.  Let's see if you can figure out how to do them.

First we have division using Base 10 which is a favorite strategy for Common Core.  Anyone understand what or how this works?


Our next worksheet comes with two issues.  First, where in the directions does it say to use pictures.  Secondly, what kind of pictures are the students supposed to use?  



What is it with Common Core and writing and explaining? This is math. The answer should be a number.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Common Core: Just Standards or really a Curriculum?

One of the big myths that Common Core supporters will tell you is that Common Core is just standards and that they don't dictate to schools and teachers what to teach.  Let's examine this claim and see if it is really true.

This article perpetuates that myth.  The author links to ~note that the link is not correct~ one of the math standards for 2nd grade as an example.  Here is the correct link by the way.

For example, the Standards require second graders to know that “100 can be thought of as a bundle of ten tens—called a ‘hundred,’” but curriculum dictates the textbook, or teaching methodology, or philosophy used to teach that skill. 

If one looks at all of the 2nd grade math standards that cover Number and Operations in Base 10, one also sees this.

Add and subtract within 1000, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method. Understand that in adding or subtracting three-digit numbers, one adds or subtracts hundreds and hundreds, tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose or decompose tens or hundreds.

What the heck are concrete models or drawings?  And up to 1000?  What does that even look like?  Glad you asked.  Here is a 3rd grader showing us what is looks like.  Now grant it, she is in 3rd grade so she will be showing us numbers above 1,000.  Are you ready?





And what does it mean to compose or decompose tens or hundreds?  It means breaking down numbers into their components.  And what is it's importance?  According to Leslie at KindergartenWorks.com

The simple answer is because there is value in students being able to see the groupings, relationships and patterns in numbers. We are laying the foundation for students to be able to do 53+12 and see that they can manipulate it into making 50+15 or 60+5 or 50+10+3+2 or any other variety of ways to see the quantity as it makes sense to them.

Do you understand that?  Is she saying that if our kids can break apart numbers, then they can build them back into a number they understand?!?  I'm lost.  How about you?  More importantly, how about your K-2nd grader?  Don't worry though because Ms. Leslie has written three articles to help you understand and teach your kindergartner.  Don't miss out on her visuals.  They will help you understand.  BTW, what is it with 10 frames and Common Core?!?  Are our kids destined to see dots and count dots to do math?

Back to the CC standards.  Here is another one of the actual math standards.  This one is for 1st grade and the Domain is "Operations and Algebraic Thinking".
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.OA.C.6
Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 - 4 = 13 - 3 - 1 = 10 - 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 - 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13).

Now let's put out critical thinking caps on.  That is after all, what the proponents of Common Core tell us these standards are all about.  Regardless of which company the school district buys its math "curriculum"' from, what has to be taught for the child to pass the test for this standard?  Ms. Lahey mentions Everyday Math as being the culprit here.  How is Everyday Math going to teach this without being confusing?  Ms. Lahey is right.  This fuzzy math ~and the education reformers~ have been around for a long time.  Common Core isn't the first rodeo that parents have had to push back on education reform.  Common Core is probably the first time that these failed math strategies have been written into standards that must be taught.

This is where you have to follow the money in the complicated web that is Common Core.

IF one has a new set of standards that require new skills to be taught and tested on, what happens to the current textbooks and curriculum in a school?  That's right.  They have to be replaced, but replaced with what?  Why curriculum that is aligned with the new standards and tests, right?  Well, where would one go to get new curriculum for Common Core?  Enter Pearson.  Pearson is a London-based company ~yes, as in the London that is across the Pond~ whose goal is to "to transform education globally in order to improve people’s lives through learning."  Pearson is the leading education company that provides ~sells~ curriculum, tests ~for both students and teachers~ and data solutions.   The bonus is that it all fits together in one neat package for the school.  What could be easier than that?  In 2011, Pearson entered into a partnership with the Gates Foundation ~hmm where have we heard that name before?~  to create digital learning systems programs to teach the Common Core standards.  Guess who owns the GED Testing Service?  Well, what do you know.  GED is a joint venture of Pearson and ACE. ~The American Council on Education~  Who else has received Gates Foundation dollars to implement Common Core?  Let's see, there was $4.4 Million to Scholastic ~another familiar name in the school curriculum world~   $4 Million to Khan Academy in 2011, and  $1.5 Million in 2010.  Just for fun go to the Gates Foundation data base for Awarded Grants here and type in Common Core.  Currently it lists 161 grants for Common Core.  Just browse through them and see what names jump out at you.  We'll tackle the Gate Foundation funding in the creation of Common Core in another post.  That is a whole other knot to unravel as is the link between McGraw-Hill and No Child Left Behind.

Still not convinced?  Don't take my word for it, listen to what Bill Gates himself says about aligning the standards with the curriculum and the tests.



Suffice to say, I think we've answered the question of whether Common Core is only standards or do they dictate to teachers what to teach ~curriculum~.  What do you think?


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Are Your Tootsies Ready for Spring?

Are your tootsies ready to come out of hiding?  Are they ready to peak out of your sandals?  Your feet have been hidden all winter and now it's ready to let them out!  Are they ready to see the world?  Is the world ready to see them?

Or do they look like this?
Too often foot health is overlooked, when in fact, foot health is crucial to our well being.  Poor foot health can lead to skin problems, chronic foot pain, and even weight gain.  The feet carry our whole body everyday and can often benefit from nourishment, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

Treat Your Feet Today with BC spa Pedicure Collection.

Three Steps to Beautiful Feet:

•First, spray your feet with Pedicure Foot Spray.  Powerful exfoliating ingredients are combined with a soothing blend of moisturizers topped off with peppermint oil for a relaxing and cooling sensation.

•Next rub Instant Pedicure Scrub in a circular motion on the top and bottom of your feet.  Instant Pedicure Scrub removes loosened and dead skin cells to reveal a fresh new layer of skin.  Instant Pedicure Scrub is made with pumice from volcanic rock, a special moisturizing formula and peppermint oil.  Rinse with warm water.

•Last, rub ultra-rich Cooling Foot Salve all over your feet ~be sure and get between your toes~.  It moisturizes, nourishes and protects your feet.  This advance formula includes emollients like shea butter and grape seed oil to help moisturize and soothe skin; vitamins E & B to protect skin; and peppermint oil, which gives off a relaxing aroma, and provides a cooling and invigorating sensation for your feet.

Now that you have your feet ready, it's time to turn to your toes.  For a perfectly polished pedicure ~and BeautiControl's BC Color Nail Lacquer. An array of fun, limited-edition shades completes your look with salon quality nails. Long-lasting formula glides on smoothly, giving you a polished look for day or night. Provides coverage that helps reinforce and protect nails  Purple Craze, Carefree Coral and Sweet Pink will look great with your sandals and flip-flops.  Get the entire set plus a free mini Diana bag for only $29.00 during the month of April.

Also new this month is the BC Color Nail Treatments.  Three professional-grade products work in harmony to help nails appear restored, strengthened and hydrated. The rich Nail Treatment formula helps nails appear restored and less brittle. Base Coat primes and helps nails appear stronger, and Top Coat lengthens the wear time of your nail lacquer while amplifying shine. Pair with BC Color Nail Lacquers and BC Spa Manicure and Pedicure products for a full salon experience.

I received my new colors the other day and immediately my daughter had to use them.  My daughters and I are fighting over the Mini-Diana bag that came with the collection.  Don't miss out on yours!

To get your tootsies ready to come out of hiding, go to my Beautipage and click on Specials.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I was put in FaceBook Time Out.

I have been blocked by politicians ~Democrat Steve Cohen who is my Congressional Representative has blocked me on both Twitter and Facebook~ and unfriended because I am very vocal in my opinions and I don't back down from bullies, but I think this is the funniest thing that has happened in a long time.

I was put in FB Time Out ~I can't comment for 12 hours~ because of a comment that I made that apparently violated FaceBook's Community Standards.  What was this horrible comment that I made?  

Drum roll . . . .

"Love how Elizabeth Harlis goes immediately to insults. Shows what kind of argument she has ~or rather doesn't have~."

Here's the context.  Heritage Action posted this picture on their page.  


This is Ms. Harlis' Comment that I was responding to;

"Any loser with access to a suit . . . . "

Her "brilliant" answer to my comment ~other than reporting me to FB~ was; 

"People from Tennessee are too ignorant to know what's good for them."

Hahaha, I guess I've been put in my place.  



What is so funny about this is that I have been called about every name in the book on FaceBook.  I have been blocked; I have had comments deleted; I have been unfriended.  I have never whined to FaceBook about it.  I see it as a badge of honor.  Liberals are such whiners.  


Thursday, January 2, 2014

What do You want from Your Politicians in 2014?

Local TV station WREG posted this question on their FB page, “What new year resolutions would you like to see local politicians make?”  As I looked down through the comments there were many that said “retire” “quit lying” and “work for the people who elected them.”  One was, “take better care of WE THE PEOPLE.”  Some even wanted fiscal responsibility and the impeachment of Obama.  While many of these responses are laudable and I agree with, I wondered how many of these commenters were actually holding their elected officials accountable.  They seem to think that it is the politicians’ responsibility to be honest and responsible when it is actually the other way around.    While it is true that we should seek to elect honest and trustworthy individuals into office, it is up to We the People to make sure that they are once they are elected.  Politicians are like everyone else. They must be held accountable. It is up to us to hold them accountable. How many of us attend city council meetings? Attend committee meetings? It is truly an eye opener. The first MLG&W board meeting that I attended was amazing. The way that they ~our employees~ treated Memphis citizens was shocking. Public servants they are not.

Outside Independence Hall when the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ended, Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it."

It is up to us to keep it. If we want Memphis and our politicians to change, it is up to us to be informed and hold them accountable. Don't be satisfied with what they tell you when they want your vote. Be informed throughout the process.  An example of this is TN Senator Lamar Alexander on the recent budget "deal" that cuts pensions for disabled veterans and negates the slight sequestration savings.  Lamar Alexander is up for reelection this year, so he dutifully voted against it.  The real vote however was for cloture, which he voted for.  So in essence, he can technically say in his campaign ads that he voted against the bill, but the rest of the story is that if he wouldn't have voted for cloture on the bill, ~along with some other wimpy Republicans~ it would not have made it to the vote for passage.

You would be amazed at what one person can accomplish.  That citizen must be informed and pro-active in the political process.  One of the popular quotes that we see around the start a new year is “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” by Gandhi.  We must apply this to the political process as well.  2014 is a big year.  Are you going to be the change that you want to see in Memphis or wherever you live?

If you really want to know how to effectively engage and be proactive, go to the Center for Self Governance.  Their training is invaluable to the citizen activist.  Don’t just leave your future and the future of your kids and grandkids to nameless politicians.  It’s up to us to keep our Republic.  I don’t know about you, but their future is worth it.  

The question isn’t how our politicians are going to change, it’s how are we going to effect change in our politicians.