Why Are Public Schools All or Nothing?

A friend at work home schooled his daughter up until high school, and one of the reasons he mentioned for sending her to public school this year was that she wanted to be involved in the band. That got me thinking. He pays taxes just like everyone else in the county. Why does his daughter have to accept an entire education that is inferior to the one he can provide her at home just to participate in band?

Then I really started thinking. Why can’t parents pick and choose which courses their children receive from public schools and omit the ones they don’t want? And isn’t disallowing a home schooled child the opportunity to take a single class that their parents don’t feel comfortable teaching them, say calculus, without enrolling in the full curriculum a denial of services afforded to all residents by the Constitution of the State?

I know the initial response to this is that state funds are tied to enrollment, but why can’t the school count students fractionally based on the number of courses (services guaranteed by the State) they use?

I’ll have more to say about this in the future, and I don’t want to jump completely off the cliff until I have time to think about it more and read a little, but this sounds like a reasonable proposition to me. In fact, I wonder if there would be grounds for a lawsuit against a county/state if a parent attempted to try something like this. I’m no lawyer, but it seems reasonable.

What do you guys think?

Some Funny Old Rugby T Ideas

I was digging through some old messages from a Yahoo! Group my rugby club used to use for communication, and I’m finding some pretty hilarious posts.  You don’t have to know anything about rugby for these to be funny, although the guys in the club may appreciate them a little more.

For instance, in 2001 we were trying to decide on a catch phrase for some t-shirts we were having printed.  There were several options.  Some were clever, and some were…not.  Here’s a sampling:

Bigger. Stronger. Faster.
Mostly Bigger.

Scrumming is one of the many services we provide.

It takes 15 men playing as one for 80 minutes to win a rugby match ……..hey can we borrow some backs?

What else is there to do in Knoxville?

Your sister

Rugby Players come with breakfast.

If it’s out there, we’ll catch it.

So what did we end up putting on the t-shirts?  It is actually pretty brilliant.  On grey shirts in large red lettering…

Knoxville Rugby

SAFE Bill Makes Me Feel Vulnerable

I’ve read a lot of bellyaching today about the SAFE Act.  Mostly people are worried that free WiFi access will disappear from Starbucks, hotels, bars, bike shops, and airports.

But Ars Technica says:

the bill doesn’t require any active surveillance of user behavior, and it won’t affect your local coffee shop’s WiFi, despite what you may have read.

I think this bill is bad, but not just because I’m worried that free WiFi is going away.   I think it’s bad because it is, well, bad.  If strictly enforced, as some fear it will be, it is invasive.  If not strictly enforced, it is worthless.  Why?  Because it doesn’t actually fix anything.

Proponents of the bill say that it is an effort to curb child pornography.  What a noble cause.  The problem is, that this doesn’t actually address that problem.  It only increases the responsibility of providers to report this activity and increases the penalty on them for not reporting it.  I see this all too often at my job, where this type of thing is called a “countermeasure”.  Very telling.  It doesn’t move towards a solution to a problem, only a reaction to it.

No, this bill doesn’t mention coffee shops and restaurants.  But it doesn’t give them exemption either.  One of the sponsors says the intent of the bill is not to punish mom and pop shops offering WiFi. 

It is NOT the intent of the SAFE Act to target Wi-Fi providers but rather the entities that provide the internet to those conduits. 

Then I’m confused.  Why wasn’t it written clearly enough to express its intent?  And if passed into law, who will decide how should be applied?  My guess is the courts–yet another opportunity for judges to legislate from the bench.

By the way, only two members of the House voted against this Bill.  Guess who was one of them.

Credit Card Regulation, Free Markets, and Paying Cash

The Coyote Chronicles challenges Free Marketers to defend deregulation of the credit card industry: 

You can make the argument that people who can’t pay their balances in full every month should not take out a credit card, but thats more than a little disingenuous since we would see a staggering drop in consumer spending if people only spent when they could pay cash. The restaurant and travel industries would suffer immediately. I doubt there would be a Black Friday at all. Don’t even get me started about the car business.

I’ll take a shot at this one.  First of all, Black Friday, car financing, and credit cards themselves are all fairly new concepts.  Somehow, civilization survived before they existed, and suspect it will survive long after they are gone.  The assertion that our economy is propped up by the insane amount of consumer credit that exists currently tells me that we are, as a country, living above our means.  The fact that the savings rate keeps declining while consumer debt continues to rise tells me that we are in denial of this fact.  Government regulation that enables this foolish behavior only delays the inevitable crash that must occur to correct the market and insures with each passing year that the crash will be harder.

What would happen to the economy if people stopped using credit cards and started paying cash?  One thing is for sure.  Every debt free individual would have greatly increased buying power because a higher percentage of his income would be available to purchase goods and services instead of paying interest on the Big Mac Value Meal he bought 4 months ago.

Hat tip to MCB.

And The Biggest Jerk Is…

Henry Rollins.  Obviously.  Although I only received half as many votes as Hank, I must say it was an honor just to be nominated.

I was surprised that Burt Reynolds didn’t get more votes, not because he’s that big of a jerk, but because I would have thought his noteriety alone would outpace Rollins.  I’m not sure how to take the fact that I received as many votes as Reynolds.  Am I that big of a jerk, or am I that popular?

It’s hard to say.

In The Nashville Know

MCB is linking up to Jared’s post on things you should know about living in Nashville.  I’m not from Nashville proper, but from “out in the county”.  I have a few that need to be added to help the newcomer get by.  Nashville folks, please don’t take these personally…it’s all in good fun.

1.  Never, under any circumstances, pronounce the word “Demonbreun” without using three m’s.  The correct Nashville pronunciation is “Duh- muhm-bree-uhm”.

2.  Don’t freak out and ask for an autograph when you see a someone famous.  Nashville etiquette says that you ignore the celebrity.  There is a very good reason for this.   You need to be able to brag to your friends later that you saw a celebrity and didn’t care.  Don’t make a big deal out of seeing someone famous.  Make a big deal out of the fact that you didn’t make a big deal of it.

3.  It’s not a “garden hose”.  It’s a “hosepipe”–having the properties of both a hose and a pipe.

4.  When you see a funeral procession, pull over.  Don’t just slow down.  Stop.  Yes, this stands true for most of the South, but Nashville is a gateway city–the first stop for many transplants to the South.

5.  The 24/7 Horn Honking Festival that takes place at the Capital every few years is not actually sanctioned by the Chamber of Commerce.  That’s just a few concerned citizens who feel they shouldn’t have to pay a fee for the right to earn a living in our great state.

I hope these help.  Once you’ve mastered Nashville, you can move on to a bigger challenge, like Knoxville.  On second thought, just stay put–we like our peace and quiet around here.  It makes it easier for us to here the whispers of our County Commissioners plotting and scheming in the shadows.

Ron Paul and Wolf Blitzer on 12/2

Here are the two parts of Ron Paul’s interview with Wolf Blitzer last night. He gets to cover a lot of ground in this interview–Iraq, monetary policy, globalism, taxes, and fund raising. I also received Dr. Paul’s newsletter today that addresses a great point regarding last week’s debates

mainstream politicians NEVER attack an opponent they think is far behind. The McCain campaign, we’ve heard, is worried sick about New Hampshire, and they thought a slam at me would help. Ha! Of course, it only strengthened our forces.

Enjoy the video, and don’t forget about the Tea Party on December 16!

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