Archive for October, 2012

SOLVING THE ARKANSAS EDUCATION PUZZLE

October 13, 2012

Arkansas Governor Beebe, in political ads with great fanfare says the state is 5th in Education. I guess other states are flocking to Arkansas to learn how we did it, right? Not exactly. The study Beebe is so excited about is the Education Week Quality Counts 2011 survey, which ranked Arkansas #5 based on education policies. It reminds me of the Dog Food Company meeting. The boss asked who had the best sales staff, “We do” was the reply. Who has the best company, “we do, we do” who has the best distribution, “we do”. Even so our sales are down, what’s the problem? A man called out, “The dang dogs won’t eat it!”

Even the questionable Quality Counts study gave the state low marks in two areas where the state has long struggled to advance: Student achievement and the chance for a successful career with an Arkansas education, areas where high marks really mean something!

There are a lot of organizations that rank education performance. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) gave Arkansas a C in Education Policy along with 8 other states. There were 30 states with grades higher than C. In performance Arkansas ranks 45th, thank you Mississippi and West Virginia! I believe the ALEC study provides a more comprehensive look at how state education performs based on student scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).

ALEC researchers are heavy into various school reform measures, with high praise for different education reform programs in disparate states:

“The past two years, however, have been crucial in demonstrating that reform is not only necessary but in fact achievable. In the past, governors gave lip service to education reform but tended to simply increase spending and kick the can down the road. The 2010–2011 period witnessed something entirely different: lawmakers taking on the reactionary education establishment directly, and defeating them repeatedly. States having passed reforms must move vigorously to implementation, given the huge difference between changing law and changing policy and opportunities for subversion. Reformers in other states should carefully study the comprehensive approaches of Florida and Indiana lawmakers. Dramatic improvement results from broad, rather than incremental, reform.”

Of course the wild eyed Arkansas liberals are trying to discredit the ALEC. Dan Greenberg wrote an insightful article for THE ARKANSAS PROJECT, “Confessions of an ALEC Conspirator,” which scoffs at all the paranoid liberal handwringing about the organization with a calm look at the facts about the role ALEC plays in policymaking. Liberals don’t like facts.
http://www.thearkansasproject.com/confessions-of-an-alec-conspirator/

HEART TO HEART TALK ABOUT U.S. SECURITY

October 6, 2012

I would like to have a heart to heart talk with you about the security of the United States. You have seen our citizens killed on our soil and abroad. You see intrusive security measures at airports and federal buildings. You are aware of intelligence organizations including the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence to mention a few. Billions of dollars are spent on security, yet we are anything but secure.

I once had a Security Squadron under my command with Air Base Security Forces, Security Police and Law Enforcement personnel. Fifty years ago I was an Intelligence Analyst at NSA but my training was not really in security. I had something that was lacking in my Air Base Security Squadron Commander, I had common sense. We had an exercise and my Squadron Commander concentrated his forces on the main gate. I called him aside and asked him if we were prepared for the enemy to penetrate through the ditch at the back of the base. You can see the same mentality today with Airport Security, Federal Building Security and so forth. There are lots of ways to get into a Federal Building besides the front door. A lot of people have access to Airliners who never go through the TSA. When we concentrate our security at airports and Federal Buildings, what about Bus Stations, Train Stations, Schools, Hospitals, fuel storage and Sports Arenas?

The major failing of US security is the failure to protect our borders and coastline. The Commandant of the Coast Guard once told me that if they tripled the size of his organization they still could not protect our 92,000 miles of coastline. The terrorists are already here and they are here in force. The paths leading from the Mexican Border are many and broad. Along those pathways discarded Iranian books have been found. I estimate that at least 30,000 illegal aliens are in the US from Yemen, Iran, Syria, the Sudan, Libya, Egypt, Somalia and Afghanistan. They did not sneak into the US to pick apples. They have not attacked our electric grid and fuel storage because the time is not right, not because we have armed guards at Social Security Offices.

I predict that when the terrorists attack it will be broad and massive, perhaps even nuclear. Remember there are Russian Suitcase Nukes that cannot be accounted for. You will hear Liberal Cabinet Members saying citizens don’t need assault rifles to go hunting. The Constitution doesn’t give us the right to bear arms to go squirrel hunting. Japan opted not to attack our homeland during WWII for only one reason, an armed citizenry.

The terrorists probably have not been in a hurry to attack because the Obama Administration has been doing a pretty good job of weakening America. Admiral Mullen as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said our debt was the single biggest threat to our national security. Other existential threats include the Russian Nuclear Weapons and Cyber Attacks. Vladimir still does not love us, to Muslims we are the Big Satan and Israel is the Little Satan and to China we are their useful idiots.

It is incumbent upon each of us to be vigilant. While our government stands guard over Social Security Offices we must be alert for possible enemy activity. A few years ago one of my friends observed a Middle Eastern man taking pictures of a hospital, not in New York or Washington, DC but in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He followed the man and got pictures of him and his license number. The man got away. He was later identified as one of the most wanted terrorists. They are here and they can be anywhere. If you don’t have an assault rifle maybe you should get one.