25 January 2012

Humpday Happenings...
Okay, so what has grated upon your nerves MORE this week....the GOP debates OR the fearless leader's "State of the Union" message last evening?
(stop yawning, too...LOL)
I'll let you mull that one over a spell while I attend to our "WHO SAID THAT?" quote of this week, so here goes:
"Be a model of valor by example and precept."
(hint - it was an American)
The answer will be at the top of tomorrow's post.
I thought THIS quote was particularly appropriate, considering what I was hearing last night for an hour (which was not anything close to that quote).
Now...on with "the show"....
*** There was a very interesting editorial in today's paper (Journal-Gazette) regarding these CHARTER SCHOOLS, and I think those of you with students might want to think on what it has to say to ALL of us.
Here's the link to the article:
Now, you have to understand a few things about these charter schools.
1 - They are funded 100% by TAXPAYER DOLLARS.
2 - They are "FOR PROFIT" entities.
3 - They are "voucher-eligible".
With that said, let's look into WHO is the "landlord" for this city's FOUR charter schools.
ENTERTAINMENT PROPERTIES TRUST is the major "playa" in this scenario, and made $84 MILLION in profit last year (not too bad)...
(uh, oh...here comes that other shoe dropping)
According to the article, the MAJORITY of those "funds" (from we, the people), are NOT going into educating the children attending those schools.
(say it ain't so, Bob)
In Indianapolis, LESS THAN 40% of the budget of the Life Sciences Academy East went to classroom costs in 2010, compared with the 71% of the funds that went into the Fort Wayne Community School system.
The Imagine MASTer Academy only spent 53.6% of it's budget compared to 65.3% of the East Allen County Schools system.
The cost of purchasing a building or even the LEASING of a building is eating WAY into the budgets of these charter schools, and not going into the classrooms for all that's needed there.
But, at least Entertainment Properties Trust is laughing all the way to IT'S bank, aren't they?
And those people have their fingers in a LOT of charter school pies in the area (like ALL of them).
Thing is, E.P.T. doesn't really have any competition...(and they like that).
Embracing charter school investment in such a cavalier manner should send up some warning signs to those board volunteers eager to offer such school choices at the taxpayers' expense.
Not as much bang for all those bucks (from us)...is it?
*** This is a case of apathy...and abuse of a privilege (imho).
Here's the article link:
Now a "take-home" vehicle IS a real luxury...and a privilege for those of us who had one at some time in our jobs.
I had a minivan, and I took as good care of that as I did my car, which meant I kept RECORDS (and receipts) of service and travel.
Since it belonged to the company, I could not try and claim such things as mileage for tax purposes - THAT was the sole realm of the company (accumulated depreciation, and the like). I was a steward of THEIR property.
Shame such things don't seem to work when it comes to vehicles taken home by CITY employees.
The article mentions that compliance and oversight issues trouble the program, and that should be a concern to the budget department.
City leaders acknowledged that take home vehicles (with the exception of public safety workers - aka the FWPD and other "on-call" employees), were an expensive PERK that had little to do with providing services to citizens...
('ya think?)
The REAL problem comes with those employees not covered above that HAVE take-homes, and yet ARE NOT tracking the PERSONAL USE of such vehicles.and were not taxed the appropriate amount on the value of the vehicle.
City leaders are REQUIRED to review the use of take home vehicles to verify that the "benefit" is worth the COST.
Not being done, people.
The BIG ticket "item" here isn't that FUBAR...it's THIS one:
City employees were APPROVING THEIR OWN REQUESTS for the vehicles...without seeking approval from either their managers or a governing board...!
How f$cked up is THAT?
And how much MONEY is being lost as a result?
We won't even get into the ETHICAL issues that something like this creates...that could a whole OTHER post.
suffice it to say, there needs to be some "watchdogging" done...people DO still want answers.
*** Now, about that speech last night...
Did a lot of what the "prez" had to say sound like something we heard before?
If I didn't know better, I'd think his speech "writer" pulled a "cut 'n paste" from several OTHER presidential speeches...
And I'm one of those folks that prefers the TRUTH...even if it's hard to take, because then WE (as a people and a nation) KNOW where we stand and what we have to do to get things back to rights.
Don't BS me, don't sugar-coat the crap, and don't talk down to me as if I'm some Aboriginal throwback with all the intellectual brilliance of a low-watt appliance bulb. That dog ain't gonna hunt with me.
Don't tell me one thing, when I already KNOW the opposite to be FACT...and the truth.
Don't say we ALL have to "pull together" when MANY of us have been pulling ALONE for quite some time.
Don't express EQUALITY by wanting to "level the field" (take from one group to give to another - more of that SOCIAL JUSTICE crap), when you know damn well that field HAS been level for a long time. People should never be MORE equal than others...that's class warfare, plain and simple.
Don't tell me you're willing to "work" with the other side, and then summarily dismiss any and all ideas THEY come up with, because it doesn't fit YOUR (progressive) agenda or between your golf outings.
Don't attempt to turn AMERICA into something it's not (nor ever wants to become).
This nation was The Grand Experiment...and it's worked pretty damn well for the last 236 years, so don't screw with it, kapeesh?
While I found the debates a bit taxing (and a might boring at times), this speech, although well-crafted and delivered, had little if any REAL substance beneath the words...sorry, that's just what I took away from it.
Indiana governor Mitch Daniels' "reply" afterwards had more depth..and a lot more facts.
*** Lastly today...we can see that things, however well intended are not always wheat they appear to be.
And such problems come from the top of government right on down to the local levels.
What becomes a sticking point is when such things trickle down further...to the PERSONAL level.
Everyone of these problems always begins with ONE person, whether it's fundamentally changing the face of America, or deciding to rob a Walgreens for prescripts...one person starts the ball rolling.
Conversely, it also takes ONE PERSON to make that (good) difference I end every post with...
Removing such things as tyranny and oppression from the lives of the early Americans began with ONE person...with an IDEA.
I still believe in such things, and I feel the numbers ARE growing, rather than diminishing.
It takes troubling times to often become the motivating factor that spurs people into action, because when things are going swell, who can be bothered with such "trivial" things, right?
And this nation has proven time and again, that no matter how difficult the challenge, we DO come out better on the other side of it.
We might be bloodied, bruised and battered, but this country, and all the good that she stands for continues.
There just might be a lesson in there...somewhere.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay safe out there, America.


Momma Fargo said...

I think the battle of boredom between the debates and speech are such a toss up bc I quit watching them both. Lol.

CWMartin said...

1- Guessed at the quote( one of the non-weight-challenged Kennedys), googled it, found I was wrong.

2- Did not know that about charter schools. Yet another good idea with piss-poor execution.

3- Sounds like SOTU was pretty much what I figured. I watched the Universe on H2. "cut and paste". Ha!

Bob G. said...

Momma Fargo:
Somehow, I think you are ON to something with that manner of thought...!
I might just follow your example.

TO me, all of it kinda still seems like CRIME...only with nicer suits and plusher carpeting (and commericals).


Hey, thanks so much for rolling on up today and commenting.

You stay safe out there.

Bob G. said...

S'ok about the quote...I think you'll smile when you see WHO said it (wasn't Patton, either, although it sounds like him).

Charter schools ARE a viable alternative to "public" education...but there HAS to be oversight (like they do with all those PRIVATE schools).

What amazes me is how people like EPT (which has holdings in a LOT of other NON-educational related gigs) can waltz on in, and take these schools under it's wing...(for the all-mighty dollar, mind you...kids come later).

The SOTU was less than enthralling (unless you're a progressive liberal), BUT the rebuttal by Gov. Mitch Daniels was outstanding!

He kinda all but said "you go to hell" in such a wonderful way that a lot of folks will really ENJOY THE RIDE...lol.

Thanks for taking the time (from your time off) to stop on by today and comment.
Much appreciated.

Stay safe up there.

gadfly said...


Let me start by saying that I am unusually skeptical about proposals from a racially-oriented socialistic organization such as Urban League.

I will add that I have never really understood the concept where government sets up "private" Charter Schools to compete with government-run public schools. Acutally, I am appalled that conservatives buy into the idea, especially since taxpayers always end up paying out more.

Throw into the pot the criticism by the liberal J-G which always opposes things that conceived to be anti-Wendy, anti-Mark-Gia-Quinta and anti-FWCS-Teachers-Union. This time they went waaaay over the top by cricizing for-profit corporations without ever mentioning the high costs of running the public schools because of bureauacracy, poor management, no leadership and unionized employees. Who needs efficiency, they think, when the taxpayer is always there to bail us out?

Bottom line is that we do not need the Thurgood Marshall Academy, so lets not pay to run a brick-and-mortar facility previously declared surplus. Not a single child is likely to obtain any long-term benefit.

So did I thoroughly confuse you?

John D. said...

Wow, hard to believe the city is so lax about the take-home cars. In my job, the bosses are downright anal about the subject. Maintenance, fuel, and mileage records have to be turned in every month. Even car washes have to be accounted for. And the only personal use we're allowed is the commute to and from work. Which is reported to the IRS as a taxable benefit. It's a pain in the butt, but it's cheaper than buying gas at these prices. :)

Bob G. said...

Not at all...I'm glad you actually brought to light some issues I neglected to add in my post.

Yes, the PUBLIC schools are WOEFULLY "over-funded", and by that I mean they WASTE a ton of cash every year...on nonsense and handouts.

And yes, MOST charter schools have a "theme" to them...mostly racial or socio-political in nature.
(guess REAL education comes second).

I'm really NOT for charter schools...as I see them taking money AWAY from the public schools...and that will only make the public schools cry out for even MORE money...

Naturally, the taxpayer fronts the tab for EVERYONE here...not a good thing AT ALL.
Even a person like ME (with moderate tendencies in some aspects towards government) can see the problems with this situation.
Maybe I'm MORE conservative than I realize...lol.

YOU "splained" it all VERY well.

Thanks for dropping by and commenting.
Much appreciated.

Stay safe out there.

Bob G. said...

John D.:
EXACTLY right...!

Now, as well as a "take home" vehicle, I also had an a credit card (for gas and the like) and we had to account for EVERYTHING it was used for...
I got to be a stickler with receipts...still am, too.

Sometimes, I actually got to "pay them back" whenever the vehicle was due for scheduled service...and I had to sit and WAIT for it, because a replacement wasn't available.

I became almost as "anal" as they were...worked out OK.
I had one of the best-running fleet vehicles around...and they NEVER could fault MY "record-keeping".
I look at it this wway - they do YOU a privilege, and you "return the favor". Simple.

We had one guy fired for MISUSE of his credit card...it happens.
And I never used "my" (their) van for personal use.

Guess all that personal responsibility stuff the parents tossed at us when we were young never rubbed off.

Thanks a lot for dropping on by today and commenting.

You roll safe out there.

Disgusted said...

There is a Allen County employee who drives a Allen County Commissioner's pickup. He runs his girlfriend back and forth from work. This is everyday and has been going on for quite a long time. It has been reported to the Allen County Commissioner's Office. Nothing has been done about it. Do you think it should be reported to The Allen County Council? Do you think his wife should know?

Bob G. said...

Hey, if it were me seeing & knowing this was going on...sure, I'd blow a whistle or two, especially to the Allen County Council.
This is EXACTLY what the article is talking about, and MAY-BE some of those "employees" need to be a bit more responsible and set a better example for their peers.

Thanks for stopping by & commenting.
Stay safe out there.