Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Ben Foster's Response

First, an apology for not publishing this sooner. I forgot I'd said I'd post it, and I apologize.

Second, I wouldn't have voted for Mr. Foster anyway, but I do think that his opponent's campaigning was out of hand today. Larry Hujo seemed to have signs every 5 feet and had two people that were dangerously close to the polling place waiving his signs. For a job that pays so little, that is a lot of money and turnout.

So I called the elections hotline about how close the people were, and I wrote my own name in.

I appreciate your comments. First, Farmer Elementary School is public property. According to JCPS headquarters, candidates may pass out literature and talk with parents as long as they are not within 10 feet of a door to the school. (I asked the Principal of Cochrane Elementary the first time I visited a school in my District.) I will also address your other comments. I don't expect to convince you to vote for me, but I hope I do demonstrate to you that I have reasons for my positions and am interested in many important issues facing Jefferson County Public Schools. Considering the complexity of issues facing the school system and the attention the average voter pays to school board races, I necessarily kept my brochure brief.
(1) Jefferson County students, parents, and taxpayers need an objective and independent voice on the School Board. My parents were poor farmers who sent eight children through Daviess County public schools.—I know the benefits and importance of quality public education. My wife attended JCPS and has nieces and nephews in the JCPS system, one that has graduated, and some that have dropped out of JCPS for various reasons. The fact that someone does not have their kids in public schools does not mean they do not have the best for kids at heart. I have spoken with many parents who have experienced many problems with JCPS and have had very bad experiences dealing with JCPS administrators. For example, a group a Black Pastors is extremely concerned about the high dropout rates among African-American students. A group concerned about special-needs children has fought with JCPS Administrators for years to get the education required by law for their kids. Many other parents believe the school assignment plans are too complex and limit their ability to be involved in their children's school--and believe that their JCPS schools don't want parental involvement. Essentially, many parents like you who have not had any problems with their children's education are well satisfied. However, everyone I have spoken with who has had issues with their child's education has had a frustrating experience dealing with JCPS. Many parents have pulled their children out of JCPS for many reasons, and people with no knowledge of their situation cannot know the full rationale for their choice. (2) One of my campaign issues is that of the addition of "sexual orientation" to the JCPS PERSONNEL, EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EMPLOYMENT policy and that my opponent wants to add "transgendered" to that section of the Policy Manual. That portion of the Policy Manual not only mentions that JCPS "shall not discriminate in recruitment or employment", but also that “The District shall promote equal opportunities through a vigorous affirmative action program as an integral part of personnel policy and practice in the employment, development, advancement, and treatment of employees of the Jefferson County Public Schools."
http://www.jefferson.k12.ky.us/Departments/GeneralCounsel/boardpolicy0702.pdfThat issue is very important to many parents and taxpayers in my district and they communicated their disagreement with the new policy to my opponent. Last fall, with the support of the teachers’ union, the Board added sexual orientation as a specially protected category in their employment policies anyway. In comments before the Board, Kat Crawford, a teacher and teachers’ union officer, said she mentioned her lesbian orientation to a middle school girl during a “teachable moment.” The new policy may lead to more similar discussions between teachers and children in JCPS.

What teachers do in private is their business, but all teachers should resist discussing their sexuality with students. In fact, state regulations prohibit teachers from making “sexual remarks” to students. The teachers’ union publicly supported Crawford’s comments just as they recently sued to reinstate teachers not rehired due to inappropriate behavior. Will JCPS administrators enforce the prohibition on “sexual remarks?” Because bi-sexuality is a “sexual orientation,” can teachers place pictures of a man and a woman on their desks (like married people have pictures of their spouses)? If elementary students ask about those pictures, will these teachers feel compelled to answer questions honestly in such “teachable moments?”

Including sexual orientation as a protected category in JCPS employment policies concerned many people. The teachers’ union, supported by Board members Larry Hujo and Steve Imhoff, wants to go further by adding transgendered employees as a specially protected group. Have union leaders and Board members Hujo and Imhoff considered practical implications of special employment protection for transgendered teachers? One group of transgendered people are commonly referred to as cross-dressers. If added as a specially protected group, a male elementary school teacher who started wearing dresses to work would be protected from negative repercussions. The dress code for students prohibits “distracting” attire; a man in a dress is usually distracting to children.
Also, according to some transgendered-rights advocates, a man dressed as a woman should be allowed to use the women's restroom. Citizens in Montgomery County, Maryland and Colorado now face this issue because of actions by their elected officials. Would a male JCPS teacher in a dress be allowed to use the girls’ bathroom? Could he demand a separate bathroom for himself?
People deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, but children also should be sheltered from some issues. Parents' concerns about the consequences of School Board policies are not just "religious" issues; these are common sense issues with moral dimensions. Apparently, only more citizen involvement can prevent further protections for teachers who use “teachable moments” to discuss their sexuality or want to dress as the opposite sex in public schools. (3) Things I do mention are that, from 1998 to 2007 enrollment was static, consumer inflation was 28%, JCPS revenues increased from $6,000 to $10,060 per student, nearly 68%, and JCPS revenue from property taxes increased over 100%. I agree that much of this was related to new housing starts, increased housing prices, and commercial property development. However, district-wide outcomes in student education do not indicate that taxpayers received improvements commensurate with the increase in spending. Property tax rates could have been reduced, relieving a burden on many hard-pressed taxpayers, while still maintaining adequate funding levels for our schools.One thing I did not mention is that Louisville/Jefferson County is known as a high-tax location. That hinders our ability to attract new businesses that will pay additional property taxes and provide jobs for the parents and future graduates of Jefferson County Public Schools.(4) The dollar amount spent on students in Jefferson County is far more than what is spent in many other successful school systems. In one debate, both John McCain and Barak Obama agreed that we spend far more money per student in this country than in other countries, and produce worse educational results. I believe what you say about Farmer Elementary. Keep in mind that Farmer Elementary is almost a brand-new school. Since filing to run for School Board, I have received unsolicited calls from people detailing some areas of waste in the school system. (They generally say that JCPS administrators are not receptive to suggestions for savings.) As a CPA, and as someone who has experience in educational institutions for many years, I can assure you that a tremendous amount of waste exists.(5) I have in no way implied that teachers in any school do not earn what they make. The question becomes from the taxpayers’ perspective: are the teachers paid more than what they would be under a satisfactory agreement if all members of the School Board were not elected through support of the teachers union? Years ago, the president of the American Federation of Teachers said something to the effect that, when students start paying dues, his union would start looking out for students.As a person who received a top-notch education from a public school system, and two state-supported universities, I do have much knowledge about what is important in the Jefferson County Public School System. I am somewhat surprised that someone would be morally and intellectually offended by the materials I distributed. Debate about issues should not be offensive. Also, assumptions about people's motives and beliefs frequently fall into stereotypical viewpoints from all sides of the political spectrum.
In the past, I probably believed more like you do regarding gay and lesbian teachers than I do today. I do not have time for the full debate, but I was more accepting of LGBT goals before reading the materials in the U of L Safe Space Training Manual produced by our LGBT Center and studying other materials. The Manual stated that nobody knows why some people are LGBT, that L women can transition to B or even H, and numerous other things that indicated uncertainty about the "people are just born that way" line usually espoused. The Guide also makes it clear that their goal is to make any type of sexuality considered normal, and from a diversity standpoint that different sexualities should be valued and "celebrated". Many studies have shown that as a group, homosexuals have more physical and mental health problems than the heterosexual population--even in cities where homosexuals are fully welcomed and valued. I would not want policies that would lead more children into less healthy lifestyles--similar to special protections for teachers who smoke. I view this as a common sense issue that has a moral dimension.
I also have studied some of the claims of excellence in our school system by JCPS administrators and the Courier-Journal such as: the Jefferson County Public School District has the highest market share of all large urban school districts, and "teachers in Louisville [are] the least likely to send their kids to private schools in the study's rankings of the 50 largest US cities". I examined the latest data from the US Census Bureau on the percentage of K-12 residents attending public schools. That data shows that Jefferson County ranks 14th lowest among the central counties in Greater Louisville Inc.’s 15 comparison markets. JCPS either must not include these counties in their comparison, or compares the market share of our combined city and county school system to inner-city school systems that do not include suburbs like that of JCPS. Either way, I believe JCPS must be making an inappropriate comparison when claiming the largest market share of all large urban school districts. The market share of most of the counties included on the chart would be well beyond any measurement margin of error when compared to JCPS. On July 13, 2004 the Courier-Journal ran a story about a study showing private school enrollments of children of public school teachers versus the general population. The storyline was that public school teachers in Louisville had the greatest difference with the general population, with only 15 percent of public school teachers sending their kids to private schools, compared to 25 percent of all families. The first paragraph of the story stated that this success applied to Jefferson County Public Schools, and a JCPS official was quoted saying the findings should 'inspire confidence' in public schools. To verify, I obtained a copy of the study, by the Thomas Fordham Institute. The Courier-Journal and JCPS were somewhat mistaken in their conclusions. First, the study was of the entire 7-county Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area, and hence included teachers and other families in Bullitt, Oldham, Clark, Floyd, Harrison, and Scott counties, as well as Jefferson County. Second, the authors of the study estimated that public school teachers in eighteen other large metropolitan areas (among the top 50) were more likely than those in the Louisville area to send their kids to public schools. I am including another chart based on information included in the Thomas Fordham Institute study. Thus, the Courier-Journal's statement that "teachers in Louisville [are] the least likely to send their kids to private schools in the study's ranking of the 50 largest U.S. cities" is factually inaccurate. I have heard a JCPS Board member and others in our community repeat this inaccurate statistic. To disseminate fair and accurate information to the public, JCPS probably should not claim that it has the highest market share of any large urban school district. JCPS is a large urban and suburban school district and its market share should only be compared to other districts that contain a large urban and suburban area. Otherwise, any claim about market share should contain many disclosures and qualifications as to how that claim was derived. Also to disseminate fair and accurate information to the public, no one should claim that a higher proportion of JCPS teachers send their kids to public schools than any other large cities. Whether I win or lose the School Board race, I want JCPS to improve and better serve students, parents, and our community. Consequently, I believe JCPS administrators must be careful in the claims they make. Instilling a false perception in JCPS employees, county parents and students, policy makers and the general public that JCPS is superior to other similar school districts can reduce the impetus for needed change. If problems are not recognized, improvement is less likely. Sincerely, Benjamin P. Foster, Ph.D., CPA, CMA

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rain + Louisville Drivers = CRASH!

Here's a lesson from Driver's Ed.

When rain has not fallen for awhile, the roads get covered in grit, grime, dust, and grease.

When rain falls it combines with these elements to make roads slicker than they would be with just the rain alone.

This means that it is probably a good idea not to text your friends while tailgating.

Already several accidents today being reported on Wave 3 Sunrise.

And I just remembered that I need new wiper blades. It's probably not good that one of them has part of its rubber pulling free.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rovian Politics Meet the School Board Race

I know it is sad, but I hadn't given much thought to my Jefferson County School Board election this year. I usually scan for such things in the week before the election and make up my mind then.

Well, choice came early for me in the form of Ben Foster, who is running against Larry Hujo for the spot. While I was waiting to pick up my daughter, Mr. Foster was wandering the school grounds, passing out campaign literature.

Since I tend to hate being given anything paper that I haven't asked for, I was angry to start with. Mr. Foster's campaign materials didn't make me any happier.

Seems Ben Foster is running against Larry Hujo because Hujo supported offering protection for gay and lesbian teachers.

I stuck my head out the window to say something and Mr. Foster turned away from me and kept going. For some reason, a voice in my head said, "I bet you he doesn't even have a kid in JCPS."

So I did some research. According to an October 15th endorsement of Hujo by the Courier Journal, Foster indeed does not have any kids in JCPS. His website, votefoster.net, hopes that you're not very skilled in numbers(sad for an accounting professor) when he points to escalating property tax revenues for JCPS, and seems to indicate that his major concern about the public schools (which again, his kids do NOT attend) don't spend too much of his money or let gay and lesbian teachers teach kids that aren't his.

So I wrote Mr. Foster an e-mail.

Dear Mr. Foster,

I want to express my dismay at you trespassing on the grounds of Farmer Elementary when you do not have a student there and using the car rider line to distribute your campaign materials. I'd also like to provide you with a list of reasons that I will NOT vote for you based on the information I have read about you in the Courier Journal and on your own website, http://votefoster.net.

1. According to the Courier Journal, you have chosen NOT to put your children in Jefferson County Public Schools. I find it difficult to understand how you can have the best interest of students or JCPS at heart when you won't even place your young children in the school system. And I don't understand how you'll be able to relate to the issues and concerns of normal parents that attend JCPS if you've never stepped foot inside of one as a parent.
2. The main concern of your whole campaign seems to be with the JCPS school board agreeing to protect gay and lesbian teachers from discrimination. Really? With all the issues in the world and within our school system, THAT is one of your top priorities? Can you point me to situations where a teacher's sexual orientation has created an issue that keeps them from being a competent teacher or threatened a child's well being?
3. Your website indicates that "JCPS revenue from property taxes increased over 100%" from 1998 to 2007." What you don't mention is that this time period also represents a tremendous boom in housing starts, housing prices, and commercial property development. Higher home prices and a higher number of developed properties means higher property tax revenue.
4. The pamphlet you handed out in the car rider line took issue with "spending efficiency -- $10,000 per student is enough". I can tell you that the facilities, teachers, and staff at Farmer Elementary are top notch, and as a parent who actually has students in JCPS, I don't see the waste you seem to assume is so rampant in the system.
5. You take issue with the JCTA and teachers unions on several fronts. While I certainly understand that the concerns of any teacher's union won't always reflect the interests I may have as a parent or a taxpayer, I also understand the need for a teachers union and the protection it provides. I also know that the teachers at Farmer Elementary are top notch, invest a lot of time, effort, and yes... their own money into their students and classrooms. They deserve and earn what they make.

As a person who received a top notch education within a public school system, I wanted to let you know that the materials you handed out offended me both morally and intellectually. The fact that your biggest concern (or at least the one you thought would frighten the most people into not voting your opponent) was your opponent's vote for protection of gay and lesbian teachers shows that you haven't a clue about what is important in the Jefferson County Public School system. I honestly hadn't given the school board vote a lot of thought. Thank you for encouraging me to cast a vote for your opponent.

I'll let you know if he responds.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Henry Mattheu -- Rest in Peace

My uncle, Henry Mattheu, passed away today at his home in Parkton, Maryland after a long, valiant struggle with cancer. Uncle Henry helped bring our family together by establishing a yearly family reunion that enabled me to keep in touch with relatives I didn't know very well since I lived in Kentucky.

I will miss you Uncle Henry. I appreciate all you did for me, my family, and our extended family. I'm glad that you're no longer in pain, but I'll never say that it is for the best.

I love you, Uncle Henry. I play this song for you in your honor:

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

Before we criticize Michael Moore too harshly.....

Michael Moore's tongue in cheek comments about God sending a hurricane to New Orleans before the Republic National Convention was clearly meant to satirize the fringe elements in the right (sadly referred to as "the base") who believe that God creates major disasters, diseases, etc. to punish people they don't like.

Consider James Hagee, the idiot that endorsed John McCain for the nomination. Earlier this year he said that Katrina was a punishment for a homosexual rally they were having there.

The sad thing is he meant it.

Read more here.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cindy McCain on ABC Today: Palin Has National Security Experience Because Alaska Is Close To Russia

Is it just me or does Cindy McCain look like she stepped out of the V miniseries of the 1980's. She's a lizard woman, I tell you.
About Sarah Palin
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Sarah Palin First Impressions

Is it just me or does she look like the uptight woman in a Skinemax movie who lets down her hair at the end?
About Sarah Palin
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Graham: I Dread The Day Obama Becomes President

Lindsey Graham -- Sounds like a character in a lifetime movie of the week. You'd think he'd like an Obama Presidency because he'd no longer have to hide who he is.
About Sarah Palin
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Graham: I Dread The Day Obama Becomes President

You'd think that, given Lindsey Graham's personal leanings, he'd want a liberal in the White House so he could live the life he was truly meant to lead. Trying to defend Lil' Miss Sunshine is amusing. Attacking Obama on Iraq is like Great White telling a band their pyrotechnics suck.
About Sarah Palin
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Worst Vice-Presidential Nominee in U.S. History

C'mon guys.... let's look at this a little harder.

Cindy McCain is 54. She's got some health issues and she's lookin' a bit old.

Palin's an attractive, younger former beauty queen.

Little McCain needs someone to keep him company on the campaign trail.
About Sarah Palin
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Joe Biden Democratic Convention Speech (VIDEO)

Biden's speech last night made me want to vote for HIM. The 1 2 punch of him and Clinton were the juice the convention needed. He was impressive in many ways and a good choice for running mate.
About Democratic Convention
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Obama's Columns At Invesco Stir GOP

The sad thing is that the Democrats have several years of TRUTH to attack the GOP with and they seem unwilling to commit to doing it. The GOP does petty things like this because it has worked. Time for the Democratic party to start using the TRUTH against the GOP
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

That's Why They Call Him 'The Comeback Kid'

Bill's speech was everything that Hillary's was not. It laid out why Obama was the better choice because of who Obama was, not because of who McCain was. I thought it also showed why many Bill supporters have issues with Hillary. Hillary seems to be more into winning for herself than winning for the party.
About Bill Clinton
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, August 22, 2008

Mattie Jones -- Justice Resource Center -- Stick a fork in them, they're done

Watching the protests and conferences organized by the Justice Resource center, you notice one thing. These people are old. Older than dirt. So old that they tell John McCain to get off their lawn.

As Mattie Jones appears to be on her way out from the JRC, perhaps it is time to just scrap the whole thing. The constant bitching and moaning, as well as infighting from the group indicates that whatever usefulness they once had is done.

You guys are old. The world has passed you by. As you jockey for position like kids in a treehouse club, nobody younger than 55 cares. While I understand the dislike of Christopher 2X, I think he represents what the new breed of civil rights leaders needs to be. Less confrontational, more action oriented, and more focused on bringing everyone together. The JRC fought the good fight, but now it is time to move on and pass the bullhorn to someone who doesn't get a discount to Denny's.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Zap Cars -- Are we being taken for a ride?

Buried within a WAVE 3 story was a mention of a Wired article on Zap Cars that paints an unflattering picture of the car and its capabilities, as well as the integrity of the company.

It also had the CEO apparently lying about Wired retracting that article, and comparing statements the company has made about the car to the EPA's fuel economy estimates, which he said were made based on "optimum conditions."

Maybe someone should tell the CEO that the EPA now bases its estimates on real world conditions, and the numbers on the window are far closer to reality than ever before. Additionally, this is an apples to oranges comparison. The fuel economy statements don't say on them, "Warning, this car will no longer hit 55 MPH if you're going up a hill 10 minutes into your charge."

I have to wonder if this company isn't simply searching for a good deal from a state that it can swindle out of incentives. I think we need to work on attracting real businesses with a strong business model.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oldham County High School Class of 1989 Reunion

We're trying to get contact information for the Class of 1989 Reunion for Oldham County High School in Buckner, Kentucky. Please sign up on this website so we can contact you later:


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bloggin Me Baby -- Set to Rockin' Me Baby by Steve Miller

Well I've been lookin real hard for a place to put my blog
And I found a place with a C preceded by an A
And when I post my ramblings, you'd get good odds on gambling
That toxic people will criticize today

Well I'm quite suspicious that people are malicious
When they say women aren't friends of mine
And I know it ain't true when they say I've no clue
I'd really like to kick their behinds

I'll keep on bloggin them baby.
I'll keep on bloggin them baby
I'll keep on bloggin them baby
I'll keep on bloggin them baby.

My articles are like a carcinoma or maybe a melanoma
From Bumblesville to Eastern LA
But not on Yahoo360 where the girls aren't warned
That they truly need to stay away.

I'll keep on bloggin them baby.
I'll keep on bloggin them baby
I'll keep on bloggin them baby
I'll keep on bloggin them baby.

Bloggin baby baby baby

Don't get malicious, now CP, your comments aren't nutritious
And I'll combat them with imaginary friends of mine.
They'll be on you like flu and no matter what you do
You'll never get away from hearing me whine

I'll keep on bloggin them baby.
I'll keep on bloggin them baby
I'll keep on bloggin them baby
I'll keep on bloggin them baby.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Kroger Plus Card

Not to Kroger. When I'm trying to unload a cart full of a $200 worth of groceries, please don't hold up the entire order until I pull out my Kroger Plus Card. You'll get it, trust me. I don't care if once in a blue moon your system messes up. Just wait.

Friday, January 11, 2008

PETA -- People Enjoying Their Attention -- Eat a bucket of beaks for Lindsey Rajt

Ever pay attention to the people of PETA? Sure there are some celebs. Most are of the messed up, attention seeking kind. Just like their rank and file. The latest is Lindsey Rajt, a self professed 25 year old vegan whose myspace page says that Lindsay Loathes KFC. This sad individual who obviously joined PETA so she could call attention to herself, was busy highlighting a headstone that PETA had placed in Cave Hill Cemetary near Colonel Sanders' grave. No doubt she or a cohort called the news to get the cameras there before she started.

In laborious tones, she looks at the Wave 3 reporter with the seriousness that only a 25 year old girl whose listened to too much Tori Amos can muster. She angles her head slightly to let you know that you shouldn't find the fact that she's painting a fake headstone sad and says, "It's a monument to the nearly 1,000,000,000 chickens who are tortured and killed for KFC restaurants every year."

PETA is not a constructive organization, nor do they add anything to the plight of animals. Honestly, (with apologies to A. Whitney Brown), I think that these people don't love animals as much as they hate plants. I'm thinking that when they eat a salad, they're thinking, "Take that you worthless piece of spinach!" Isn't there something that all of these people could do with their time and money? Like adopting stray animals, running spay and neuter clinics, or researching what really went into KFC's Chicken Littles.

Grow up Lindsey. If you don't want to eat chicken, don't. If you want to call attention to your cause, do it like an adult, not with some You Tube worthy prank.

In the meantime, bring on the nuggets.