Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hamas is a Cowardly Terrorist Organization

I am not a not an expert on Palestinian or Israeli history. However, I am a reasonably intelligent person who can process information and learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of others.

Palestine is run by Hamas, an extremist terrorist organization. Why this vital piece of intelligence is not made clear in every broadcast concerning the fighting in the mainstream media concerns me. At least once a year, cowardly Hamas terrorists fire rockets (supplied by Iran) into Israel in an effort to kill as many civilians as possible. Why? Because they hate Israel and desire their complete destruction. Israel, the only democratic nation in the region, responds by inflicting massive retaliatory attacks on Hamas targets.

The mainstream media continually responds to this by, more or less, condemning Israel for fighting back. Somehow, Israel, the only democratic country in the region, defending itself against unprovoked attacks on its population is the one who need to stop the needless killing. Give me a break! Palestinian civilians die because they allow Hamas to run their land. These cowardly terrorists dress up in civilian clothes, then wage war. Israel does the best it can to minimize civilian causalities when they are forced to retaliate, but this is difficult when the enemy is not wearing uniforms or hanging out in a barracks. Therefore, you find where these cowards are massing, and send in the missiles. Civilians hanging around these people are going to be hit too. I regret that innocent lives must be lost, but that is the way it goes when you allow cowards like Hamas to make your land their habitat. Bill O’Reilly in his book, A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity, expresses my feelings well when he says

If you have no money, no support system, no common sense, and no motivation to provide security for yourself and your family, you are going to get hammered. It’s not a matter of if-it’s a matter of when.”

O’Reilly was referring to Katrina victims, but I will extend it to apply to Palestinians who do not take action to end Hamas’ rule and then complain about the violence.

So, we go through this cycle again. Israel will catch hell from the world and the US mainstream media for fighting back. Hamas will seek a cease-fire to avoid more of their cowardly comrades being killed. Israel, wisely, will kill as many terrorists as possible before agreeing. Then, we will have six months to a year before cowardly Hamas terrorists lob missiles into Israel, repeating the cycle.

My message…wise up America and wise up Palestinians. Cowardly terrorists run Palestine. We did not put up with it and neither should Israel or Palestine. Support the annihilation of Hamas and support Israel. Once the world, particularly the US, seriously decides to end the terror of Hamas, then it will happen. Yes, this means a war in Palestine and making some people mad at you. Finally, for goodness sake, stop watching the mainstream media blame Israel. Exercise your free speech and power over the media and change the channel!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry….Um, Happy Holidays!

Merry….Um, Happy Christmas...Oh, um, Happy Holidays! Being a teacher, it is a given that we will be respectful of all students’ religion, views, and even atheism. Being a Christian teacher, however, I do not receive the same respect from the students. How many times did I want to say, “Merry Christmas,” but had to say, “Happy Holidays.” I’ve gotten pretty good at saying, “Happy Holidays,” but what is this holiday really about? It is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and his life. I’m not well-versed in what other religions believe, however, I do know that the calendar on my desk says, “Christmas Day.” Why is it that we are not able to wish other people “Merry Christmas,” whether or not they celebrate it? People have the options of:

  1. Ignoring the comment
  2. Saying, “Same to you.”
  3. Politely saying, “I do not celebrate Christmas, but I hope you have a good one.”

Why has Christmas become so taboo? Retailers are afraid to use “Christmas.” School systems are trying to be mindful of every culture, except Christians, so Christmas is out. I even just read an article about a woman in Florida who worked for a real-estate company and was claiming to be fired for answering the phone, “Merry Christmas.” Now, this woman was probably not a great example, because in the article, she said, "As a Christian, I don't recognize any other holidays," which makes Christians look intolerant. However, doesn’t she have the right to say, “Merry Christmas?” Although this woman also had the responsibility of following her bosses’ orders, why did costumers complain about the greeting? It seems as if people are just looking for a fight.

It seems as if everyone has forgotten the meaning of the season and it has become the lawsuit season. Christ came to this earth to model tolerance and love. However, around this time, people are intolerant and cannot love those who celebrate the holiday. So, this I ask you, can you be tolerant of the people who are always tolerant of your holidays?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Global Warming Responsible For...

I just read an article off of the Fox News website. It is fantastic. Please read for the details, but here is the short list of what Global Warming fanatics claim:

Global warming causes...
  1. Cannibalism
  2. The death of the Loch Ness Monster
  3. Rising cost of beer
  4. Deadly python takeover
  5. Kidney Stones
  6. Skinny Whales
  7. Shark Attacks
  8. Black Hawk Down
  9. Frozen penguin babies
  10. Killer stingrays

Monday, December 22, 2008

Franken Dangerously Close to Stealing Minnesota Election

If you have been paying attention, you know this, if not, you may be surprised to learn that Minnesota senatorial candidate Al Franken will soon overcome Norm Coleman’s lead from the November 4, 2008 election and become a real senator. Yes, Mr. Spaghetti Head does appear as if he will be successful in buying an election. Through millions raised form left-wing groups and Hollywood, Mr. Spaghetti Head will actually steal an election.

For those of you who continue to point to the 2000 election as a stolen election, a brief lesson in history. Yes I know, history is boring and not nearly as cool as you, but I proceed nonetheless. There was absolutely no recount scenario where Al Gore comes away with the Presidency. Not even when you count hanging chads or in a God like action, decide what voter intent should have been. In a study undertaken by major media organizations such at the New York Slimes (I mean Times), Washington Democrat (I mean Post), Wall Street Journal, etc., Bush wins under all scenarios laid out by the Florida Supreme Court after they changed legislated election law to fit their ideology and if the US Supreme Court has not ruled against Gore. For reference, please visit the USA Today Article from 5/15/2001.

Now, getting back to Minnesota and Mr. Spaghetti Head. I implore you to look at the type of decisions being made over ballots in this article on Fox News. But more over, use your common sense in the future. Despite that Franken will likely steal this election; he could not have done it without the voters. This man is as deviant as they come. I am ashamed of all those in Minnesota who voted for this man, legitimately. What is wrong with you people?

A wise man I know and respect once told me several years ago that the fall of the United Stated is inevitable. This is not an easy thought to truly internalize. But, he is of course, correct. There has never been a world power in the recorded history that has not toppled. Now, I am not saying I will live to see it, but I doubt it is that far off, relatively speaking. And I believe it will be caused by the liberalization of this country. The destruction of society lead by soon to be senators like Mr. Spaghetti Head and Bill Clinton slowly eat away at our moral base. To destroy morals is to destroy decency and common sense. Once common sense is gone, anything goes. Once anything goes…everything goes.

The ignorant and uniformed in this country are easily swayed by an overwhelmingly bias press and the need to fit-in. Consequently, every decade or so, the country switches party power in Washington. It seems like the last switch to Bush was less of a swing back to the right. Bush remained strong on many issues, but economically was as liberal as the best of them. John McCain remains more of a democrat than ever a republican. However, I keep the faith and hope alive for this country. The people have always come through and I believe after more lessons in the failure of democratic ideals, another true conservative leader will emerge and bring this country back to its former glory where one stood proud to be an American, took the moral high ground, and could care less what the world around them thought. Despite my dislike for Obama and what he will bring to this country, there is truth that Bush’s economic policies of wild spending failed (Obama will just do more of this by the way). McCain’s maverickism (I made this word up) failed. But conservatism works every time it is tried and it will be tried again.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rick Warren Chosen to Lead Inaugural Invocation - The Intolerant Tolerant Police Protest

Tolerance is the ability to live in harmony with those whose religion, politics, race, nationality, etc. differ from your own. This does not mean that you have to accept these differences, just respect another’s right to them.

The liberal left in this country have anointed themselves the tolerance police (also the food police, smoking police, caring police, thought police, etc.). They are fond of passing judgment on all those who do not see eye to eye with their “progressive” agenda. The hypocrisy here is that it is the liberal left who are really the champions of intolerance. They have no respect for differences in opinion. If you believe that homosexuality is immoral, then you are labeled a homophobe. If you believe in the power of individuals to make and pursue their own happiness, then you are labeled as selfish, greedy, and uncaring. If you believe that the tradition of Christmas should not be ostracized from society, then you are labeled a religious zealot. My friends, this is intolerance by definition.

The level of hate being spewed by the liberal left at Obama’s choice to lead the invocation at his inauguration, Rick Warren, is an embarrassment to this country. Yes, Rick Warren is adamantly opposed to abortion, gay marriage, and other immoral acts that have been pushed upon society as “progressive.” But, as far as the liberal left is concerned, this disqualifies Warren from being able to call upon God to grant Barrack Obama the wisdom and guidance he will need to guide this country. Bloggers on the Huffington Post (a festering cauldron of ignorance and stupidity) comment on Warren, “…he [Rick Warren] has a psychology degree and knows how to manipulate people - but underneath he is a total megalomaniac. His church is close to being a cult” and “the hypocrite is wafting his prayer wherever with his filthy rags religion.” I wish I could say I had to hunt for these examples, but my friends, this is mainstream thinking and intolerance. All of you who hold these Christian values have been called megalomaniacs, manipulated, and followers of a filthy rag religion. Oh, and you are intolerant too.

Barrack Obama will benefit from choosing a true man of God to lead his inaugural invocation, assuming his heart was in the right place when choosing him. To select a minister who has adopted a “progressive” form of Christianity to lead the invocation would further this nation’s moral decline and bring us closer to truly reaping what we sow. Kudos to Obama for demonstrating what it means to be tolerant.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lessons From Winston Churchill On The War On Terror

After all, my friends, only a few hours away by air there dwell a nation of nearly seventy millions of the most educated, industrious, scientific, disciplined people in the world, who are being taught from childhood to think of war as a glorious exercise and death in battle as the noblest fate for man.

This quote is from Winston Churchill in a speech he gave on November 16, 1934. In the face of insufferable pacifism led by Neville Chamberlain, Churchill stood his ground for what he knew to be right. Britain declared war on September 2, 1939, unprepared. Churchill stood his ground for five years, vastly unpopular.

Readers, although we do not fight the most educated, industrious, and scientific people, we do face the most dedicated, fanatic, and heartless people in the world. Prior to September 11, 2001, the United States practiced a policy of appeasement. After the first attack on the World Trade Center, then president Bill Clinton treated the incident as a law enforcement issue. This was a major failure to see the world as it was and is. The result, thousands of innocent lives lost.

Today I write in disappointment in my fellow Americans. I am disappointed to see so many fail to understand how the world works. The war in Afghanistan and Iraq is a war to rid the region of terrorists. Sure, I would love to hear of Osama’s demise, but Osama is no more than a symbol now. This war has no foreseeable end. There is no objective that can be met to declare victory. Victory is preventing terrorist attacks on our homeland. Victory is in knowing there is one less madman living in some godforsaken country planning the death of American civilians. Victory is in our continued freedom and safety from those who would strip it away in hate and intolerance.

I agree with Rush Limbaugh that around four to six percent of this country carry the rest of the country on their backs. Where am I going with this? My point is that doing the right thing, as your mommy and daddy have told you, is always the hardest path to take, and few do. Sending American soldiers to potentially die in Iraq and Afghanistan is hard, but it is the right thing to do. I am embarrassed at how so many Americans turned their support away from the war when it was convenient to do so. Sure, you have your reasons. I’ve heard about weapons of mass destruction, terrorist links, oil conspiracies, etc, etc. You don’t get it. Neville Chamberlin didn’t get it. Churchill stood virtually alone, and Britain paid the price.

I pray that our soon to be president Barrack Obama is wise enough to understand this reality. But, I fear he will withdrawal our forces as soon as possible and not pursue terrorists wherever they may be. Failure to understand the severity of the hate for the United Stated in the Middle East under Bill Clinton led to the disastrous event of September 11, 2001. It led to a nuclear North Korea and soon, Iran.

I appeal to all Americans to search your souls and detach yourself from the need to fit in. Taking the easy road, the road of appeasement is a historical failure, time and time again. I leave you with this final excerpt from Churchill’s speech, which to me, is our warning of impending disaster without action.

There is a nation which has abandoned all its liberties in order to augment its collective strength. There is a nation which, with all its strength and virtue, is in the grip of a group of ruthless men, preaching a gospel of intolerance and racial pride, unrestrained by law, by parliament, or by public opinion. In that country all pacifist speeches, all morbid war books are forbidden or suppressed, and their authors rigorously imprisoned. From their new table of commandments they have omitted "thou shall not kill."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Paying Post - Paid to Blog Advertising

Although the Internet boom of the 90s is behind us, the Internet is still very much the place where entrepreneurs of all ages come to search for fast money and advertisers come to market their products and services to the world. Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to make some money online or an advertiser looking to find ways to get your products and services effectively marketed to the world, online marketing firms like Paying Post is your ticket.

You may be able to find some fast money, but not a lot. Getting rich quick just isn’t realistic. However, you can build wealth online if you are dedicated, hard working, intelligent, etc, etc. One of the fastest growing ways to start making money on the Internet is to get paid to blog. Blogging is where your everyday Joe, so to speak, just tells whoever will listen what they think about whatever they want. As you can see on my blog, I have an interest in politics, education, and religion, so I blog about them. I also have an interest in money, so I blog about blogging, like this blog.

Blogging can be very profitable, but it takes work. First, you have to understand why anyone would pay for a blog. The answer is simple, it’s advertising. Paying Post, a newly redesigned marketing business offers the model by bringing advertisers and bloggers together to the benefit of all. Companies such as Paying Post sell advertising through blogs to companies, big and small. Blogs, like this one, are specialized, meaning they have a specific focus. This brings in a specific audience. Given my site is primarily political and educational; the readers I attract have similar interests, which is why my ads relate to the content of my blogs. Here, advertisers can choose their markets. For example, let’s say you are the owner of a new tutoring program geared towards helping students score higher on their SAT exam. Wouldn’t you want to target those interested in education topics. My blog would fit the bill. My blog is likely to be displayed in generic searches by parents looking for ways to increase their child’s SAT score.

Targeting a specific audience is just one of the reasons advertisers are flocking to online advertisers like Paying Post to market their products and services through blogs. The more links on the World Wide Web that link to the advertisers own web site, the higher ranking they receive on Google, Yahoo, Alexa, etc. This, in turn, generates a lot of hype, drives more traffic to their web site, and increases the company’s presence on search results. If you’re are a potential advertiser, you need to be seriously considering using a marketing company such as Paying Post to build your company’s online presence. If you do some research, you’ll find it is well conceived, successful, and quickly growing.

Now that we covered why advertisers are willing to pay you to blog, we turn our attention to bloggers. Bloggers, you can make a good amount of money for paid blogs, but to get there, you have to build your reputation. As your blog sees its readership increase, so does your blog’s online ranking in Google, Yahoo, Alexa, etc. When this happens, you are more desirable to advertisers because you reach more of their targeted audience. This is when you can find yourself offered hundreds of dollars to write a relatively simple blog. However, to get to this point takes perseverance. For those of you just starting out, you can still find advertisers willing to pay you anywhere from an average of $2-$5 per blog. Remember, you are still targeting an audience and providing them with a backlink to their web site.

Paying Post is a great site to start. After your blog is up and running, all you have to do is register it with Paying Post. They will review your site and make sure you have properly categorized it. This helps ensure advertisers are getting what they pay for. Once your site approved, you can view your opportunities. This is a list of offers from advertisers based on your blogs popularity and focus. I accepted my first opportunity within days of my blogs approval. One you write the blog adhering to the specified requirements, you submit it, where it then goes to Paying Post quality control for approval. You don’t have to be the world’s best writer like me; you just need to follow the guidelines outlined in the opportunity details, which you are made aware before accepting. Once approved, you will get paid by Paying Post the first day of each month. They even add a little incentive where the best blog post of the month earns an extra $25 bonus. I don’t do it for the money; I do it as a hobby, which means I do it because it’s fun!

You’re not going to get rich fast, but if you are blogging about what you enjoy, you can make some great pocket change. And if you are motivated, you can really make some decent dough. The best advice I can give is to keep new content rolling out on your blog and to make sure it is well written and unique. Hey, give it a try and start at Paying Post. It’s totally free.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One of Life's Lessons on Change

Tim McGraw once sang, "Some things never change." As you listen to the song, it is easy to be caught up in the lyrics and you might even start to believe that some things never change. However, what really stays the same? In pondering this question, it was difficult to create a list. If you start with family, you could argue that your family’s love for you never changes. Although one may believe that, that is not true. There are people who move in and out of families all of the time, through marriage, divorce, or death. Your Aunt-in-law Celia may love you like her child today, but after the divorce from Uncle Roger, she may no longer love you like her child.

What else never changes? Humans and life are fickle, so most things change on a regular basis. However, here are the two truths I found to be constant:
  1. Whenever the patriarch or matriarch in a family is sick, loved ones flock to their side, comfort them, and bring them hope. Even when people are distant in a family, they still come together to show their love and support for the ailing member.

  2. God’s love. In John 3:16, the bible reads, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Think back to anyone you know who has a child. Would that person give up their child so that you may live? Chances are, the answer is probably, "No." On the other hand, God gave up his Son for you, for me, and for everyone so that we may have eternal life. When bad things happen in the world, and people blame God, it is an unjust accusation. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that life will be perfect, however, it does say God will be with us.

by guest blogger, Kelly

Obama and Gore Climate Change Meeting

What the heck happened in the Barrack Obama and Al Gore meeting on climate change? Do you remember this meeting? It was big news, right before Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges. Now, the media is busy scrambling to protect Obama, so I will outline the most important information from the meeting you need to know.
  • Bush failed to act and global warming is his fault and yours.
  • Run for your lives!
That’s it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Finding a Good Merchant Account Provider

Merchant processing companies provide businesses of all types with credit card processing services. Whether you own an ecommerce, retail, insurance, restaurant, or other type of business where you offer a product or service, you either have, or are in need of, merchant processing in order accept credit card payments.

Search around to different companies and find out what they have to offer. Be wary of unusually low transactions rates, as unsavory merchant account providers use this tactic to catch your business. Check the fine print and make sure you understand the conditions of your transaction rate. For example, find out if the volume of transactions you need processed changes the terms of your account.

A good merchant account provider will fully explain the conditions of your account as well as several options to help best suit your needs. When you read the fine print, you shouldn’t learn anything you already didn’t know from talking to your merchant account representative. Also look at fraud protection, customer service, and for plans that fit your business. There should not be a one size fits all model. Another question to ask is whether or not your merchant account provider is able to work with your existing equipment.

Above all, know what your business needs to succeed. Your merchant account provider should fit your mold, not you into theirs. Search the Internet and ask your network contacts about their experiences and knowledge. Good merchant processing service is essential to good customer service.

Monday, December 8, 2008

SEO - Don't Go At It Alone

So you want your website to be listed number one in all the major search engines for your keywords? Good for you, so do the thousands of other businesses you are in competition with worldwide. Google can’t display all of you in the top ten, so you are going to have to fight your way to the top. But don’t be dismayed, there is Internet marketing services providers like DiscountClick who are in business to help.

I worked as a web designer for a small business for five years while trudging through college. Clients would pay thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, for the latest in web design incorporating the newest technologies; and we delivered. Without fail, however, clients would come back and want to know why their site wasn’t listed as number one in Google. The answer of course, is that we were a web design company, not a search engineer optimization (SEO) company.

Look, there are thousands of businesses like yours vying for the same customers. Let’s say you are a home builder. Naturally, when a user searches for “home builders” in Google, you want your site to be listed in the top ten. But you have to realize so do the thousands of other builders. When you realize this, you will understand why there is a distinct market for Internet marketing services providers. A good SEO is like good location in the business world. You need a lot of traffic to your site in order to make sure you catch the eye of the potential customer out their looking into a new home. This requires professionals to do it right.

Take a look at DiscountClick. Just look at all the services available to help build your websites presence on the World Wide Web. DiscountClick offers SEO services, ad serving, list management, etc. They even offer assistance to those of you who are inclined to go about marketing your website solo.

Look, Search engine optimization is a daunting task and equally important as a well designed site. If you are serious about marketing your services on the World Wide Web, then you must recognize that there are two vital parts, the design, and the marketing. Internet marketing services providers like DiscountClick exist for a reason. Take advantage of the services offered by companies like DiscountClick and solidify your location on the World Wide Web.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mr President Elect, Don't Throw Money at the Problem

Government created our economic crisis. Why on Earth are we looking to government to solve it? Obama’s latest plan to rebuild the infrastructure boggles my mind. How do giving millions of Americans construction jobs solve our problems? What happens in a year when the roads are built? Either the government invents new jobs for them, or those workers lose their jobs again. How does upgrading schools with fresh paint equate to better educated students? How does providing Internet in hospitals do anything to spur the economy? Besides, do the illegal immigrants even know how to access the Internet? And for the love of all things sacred, how do putting energy efficient light bulbs in government buildings accomplish anything other than to create a mercury hazard? Mr. President Elect, this is throwing money at the problem, no matter how eloquently you try to paint it.

Let the people of this great nation solve the crisis. Let hard working and innovative Americans create solutions. Lower taxes and get out of the way Washington. You made this mess and by trying to fix it, you will not do anything more than poor lemon juice into an open wound.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Barrack Obama and Nancy Pelosi Want a Big Three Bailout

Barrack Obama and the democratically controlled congress are posturing. They have, and have always had, every intention of passing out your money to the Big Three automaker’s CEOs in just the latest bailout. Think about this. Democrats are in control of Congress, soon to strengthen that control and add the White House. Liberal philosophy is based on big government spending. If you think that the Big Three automakers are not going to get their bailout, then you’re fooling yourself. If the message from Washington was “No!” then the CEO’s would not have come back. But that’s not what is happening. They are coming back again and again. The American public is not going to change their mind and suddenly feel the urge to bail them out, but congress doesn’t need any mind changing because they want this to happen. Democrats are playing games with the public, pretending to be guardians of taxpayer money against frivolous government spending. The reality is that they are foaming at the mouth to do it. If Nancy Pelosi was really concerned about CEOs traveling in private jets, then why don’t you get rid of your first, Madam Speaker? I am telling you now; the Automakers will get their bailout.

Mad at Obama for not getting involved? The Office of the President Elect is not concerned with showing deference to the man still holding the reigns to make this decision, as he is implying. He knows that once congress passes this bailout, Bush must either support or reject it. Either way, Obama wins. If Bush rejects a bailout for automakers, he will be drawn and quartered in the main stream media who will tout that Bush caused this mess and then is doing nothing to fix it. Obama then gets to come in and show his “change.” If Bush signs the bill, the billions of dollars becomes a burden on his deficit tally and not Obama’s. If it fails, and it will, Bush gets blamed because he agreed to the deal and Obama gets to keep talking about the failed policies of the last eight years. Obama gets what he wants in the bailout, and he keeps billions of dollars of strain off his next budget and credits it to Bush’s out of control spending. If it succeeds, and it won’t, Obama takes the credit since he will be sitting in the big chair.

Here me now. There will be a bailout for automakers. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will get on TV and talk about how they forced CEOs to sacrifice their big paychecks and make concessions. In the end, the American public will provide billions of dollars to CEOs in a plan that will only temporarily sustain them. Then, we will give them more, or they go into bankruptcy anyway. Of course democrats will argue that since they already have invested in them, letting them fail would be a waste of that money; so we should waste more.

Want a better solution? How about Louie Gohmert’s, a congressman from Texas, idea for a federal income and social security tax holiday for January and February 2009. This stimulates the people, not CEOs, by providing them with potential thousands in tax savings to spend in this faltering economy? Don’t give me that line about only the rich will benefit. Are not CEOs the hated wealthiest Americans? Yes, I know an idea from someone named Louie must be questioned, but let’s at least look at alternatives that does not involve giving tax payer money away to sustain failed business models.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Problems With No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

For most Americans looking in from the outside at public education, there is a lot of disgust. The knee jerk reaction has been to criticize public school standards, or teachers themselves. In 2002, largely in response to this, President George W. Bush signed into law, in collaboration with Senator Ted Kennedy, the No Child Left Behind Act. The major stated goal of this program is that 100% of students across the nation will be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Each year, Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) are set by each state in math and reading by grade-level. A School’s Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) is met when all subgroups and all grade levels meet their AMOs. In Maryland, the AMO for reading in fifth grade was 71.8% and 69.1% in math. AMOs incrementally increases annually until every student is required to score proficient or advanced in math and reading in 2014. States are forced to disaggregate data into nine subgroups for evaluation. Each subgroup in each grade level must meet the AMOs or the entire school fails to meet AYP. For beginners, there are five major problems with NCLB.

First, the idea that 100% of a school’s population will pass reading and math standards is like mandating world peace by 2014. We all know that there are many elements that play into the success of a child. Students spend approximately 90% of their lives outside of school in their K-12 years. 10% cannot compete with the influences of 90%. That is why family and community are so important. NCLB is fundamentally flawed because of this. What happens in 2014 when not one public school in the nation meets the standard?

Next, a school’s progress is not measured as a whole student body, but broken into subgroups. Each subgroup must meet their AMOs. English Language Learners (ELL), Special Education, etc., all must meet AMO in order for the school to meet AYP. Here is the problem. Let’s say you are in a school with three ELL students in the fourth grade. If one fails to pass, then AYP is not met because that subgroup is only at 67% passing. One student throws the entire school into chaos. Now apply this logic to special education students. Here we have students who have documented disabilities. They must pass as a subgroup as well in each grade level.

Third, states are free to develop their own assessments. Yes, In Maryland, we use the Maryland State Assessment (MSA). Florida and Virginia develop their own tests. Therefore, there is absolutely no way to compare the educational programs of one state with another. This is basic data manipulation. One state claims success, but the reality is they are assessing on different levels. Their students could actually be doing worse if a valid comparison is used.

Fourth, getting back to subgroups, each state gets to decide how many members of a particular subgroup are necessary to count the results. This is called the N-Value. In Maryland, this mystical number is five. In Maryland public schools, if any subgroup has more five or more students, then that subgroup is counted. So, let’s say one school has four ESL students and all four fail to pass. Well, it doesn’t matter, the subgroup is too small to count and those students are left behind. Here’s the problem, states get to decide what their N-Value will be. Maryland has the lowest N-Value, which means they are counting just about all of their students. The next highest N-Value is 15, and Virginia’s is 70! Basically, Virginia is not counting their students who would reflect poorly on their public school system. There is again no validity and how states meet NCLB requirements.

Finally, NCLB is not fully funded. Basically, the federal government is telling all public school systems what standards they have to meet, but providing no support in achieving it. They can talk the talk, but not walk the walk.

Now, if you are thinking…thanks Mr. President, you failed again; then you need to know that NCLB is nothing more than an extension and modification of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act originally adopted in 1965. NCLB is not new; it just has a new name. And guess what? Barrack Obama is likely to reauthorize it again with a new name and a few more modifications. In fact, he might not even change the name. After all, this is the brainchild of Senator Ted Kennedy as much as George W. Bush.

That aside, I don’t believe the law should be scrapped. There are a lot of legitimate problems with NCLB, as I have just outlined. But there is also a lot of unsupported criticism floating around. Despite its problems, schools have greatly improved across the country. The sense of accountability does exist in the nation’s public school systems where it did not before. President Barrack Obama needs to gather experts in the field of education to work out the kinks. However, it’s never going to be perfect because there is no perfect solution. There will always be students, for a variety of reasons, which will not meet math and reading standards. Simply increasing the rigor of graduation requirements does not solve that problem, even though it feels good to demand. Some kids just don’t have what it takes. But I tell you what; there is nothing more valuable to Americans than a trustworthy auto mechanic, contractor, landscaper, etc. But, it is political suicide for anyone in any type of position of power to say so. So instead, we have mandated that no child will be left behind by 2014.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Coin Role Hunting – A Resource for Your Coin Rolls Collection

One of the cool things about my grandfather is that he kept a lot of junk from…a long time ago. Yes, he also keeps pancakes frozen in the freezer for indefinite periods of time, but that’s just disgusting. The cool part is the collection of coins and coin rolls ,including silver dollars. I also have a collection of pennies, nickels, and dimes that my mom and I started when I was just beginning to show my keen intellect. I imagine many families own such collections since coin collecting is such a cheap hobby. Of course, what everyone wants to know about such coin collections is…how much are they worth?

Well, welcome to Coin Roll Hunting! Coin Roll Hunting is a website dedicated to coin collecting as a cheap hobby. Although there are several ways to coin collect, Coin Roll Hunting promotes purchasing coin rolls from the bank, and then scouring them for gems.

At first glance, I found myself asking…what the heck is coin roll hunting? The website would benefit from prominently displaying this piece of information, given that most users do not stick around too long to find out that it has the answer on the homepage. Problem is, the homepage is a little busy, and important information doesn’t stand out. Their tag line of “Building Collections out of Spare Change,” would serve them well as a top banner. However, once I took some extra time to figure out what the site was all about, I have to say, there is a lot of good information if you are into, or want to start, a coin roll hobby. There is information for beginners to advanced, as well as forums, links, and collecting tips.

The site has been working on a redesign, so I expect good design improvements. Mainly, the site needs to add color. Currently, the idea of Coin Roll Hunting sounds boring and the website doesn’t do anything to dispel that thinking.

Nonetheless, information is easily navigable on the sidebar, organized by categories. But what the average user still wants to know is how much their pennies are worth? I have had a hard time easily finding that information. However, I did find some estimated values given if you sold on EBay. I think the real potential for Coin Roll Hunting enthusiasts, or soon to be enthusiasts, are the forums and links. As more and more Coin Roll Hunters discover this resource and how great of a cheap hobby coin roll hunting is, the more and more information on the hobby will be shared.

Coin Roll Hunting is more about the joy of coin collection by searching through coin rolls, not about how to get rich. If you are looking for a cheap hobby, Coin Roll Hunting is a good choice. But, I don’t think I would actually sell my coin collection. I have always enjoyed knowing I have it. Keep those coin rolls coming!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Plaxico Burress and Gun Control - Part 2

So, as promised, the media’s use of Plaxico Burress to promote gun control. Or I should say the elimination of the Second Amendment. Because I am tired and don’t feel like listing every site I found, I selected the biggest one to prove my point. It is titled, Burress should've packed his brain, not a gun, by Mike Celtic (MSNBC). A quote:

“No matter how often guns get innocent people either dead or in more trouble than anyone ever wants to be in, people can always point to an incident where they can convince themselves having a gun would save a victim’s life.”

Celtic then goes on to argue that if Sean Taylor had a gun, he would still be dead. I say, maybe, maybe not! The maybe not wins the day.

Plaxico Burress Equals Gun Control for the Left?

I want to be the first to predict that the latest debacle by an NFL player, Plaxico Burress, will be used by the Left to advocate gun control. Somehow, an idiot who shoves a gun into his pants, yes, in his pants, will be used to argue why gun control must be legislated immediately. I challenge you to pursue the blogs and mainstream media sources and read the articles that are sure to be bountiful. Read carefully, they will not come out and say it; it will be hidden under the details of the incident. Leave a comment with the proof you find. I will update tonight with what I find.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ticket Solutions – A Resource for Hard to Find Tickets

I hate trying to find tickets to sold-out events or at the last minute. I find myself carrying out Internet searches and looking up vendors in the phone book. Then, I never know if I can trust the person or if I am getting totally ripped off. Often, I come out empty-handed, which always sucks.

I recently discovered Ticket Solutions, a UK based website for hard to get and sold-out tickets to concerts, football (the soccer type), arts, and theatre. The downside is they only sell tickets to UK events. But, in the name of helping my fellow British friends, I present this review.
My first impression of Ticket Solutions is that I can trust the company. Their site loads quickly and is appealing. It doesn’t have the feel of some scalper running a website out of his mom’s basement. Ticket Solutions offers a number of good features, beginning by presenting a quick list of major events by categories on their homepage. They also provide a quick search feature to help you find your tickets more efficiently. Another great feature is the “Last Minute Offers.” This section, displayed on the homepage, provides tickets for events at the last minute, which is good for those times I bore myself into action. A brief description of each event is also included, which really adds flavor to the site and the excitement of the event. For sporting events, a description of rivalries and each team’s history are often included.

If you are finding that hottest events in the UK are sold out, Ticket Solutions could be your saving grace. Although there is no guarantee they will have tickets for you, it’s another avenue to try. They clearly show the quantity of tickets they have available for each event and the price for each. You are going to have to pay more than face-value, but that is expected for sold-out events.

Ticket Solutions would benefit from updating their copyright to 2008, as well as eliminating events that have expired. I was able to find tickets to events several days after they had taken place. It is not a big deal, but would go a long way in building their site status. Ticket Solutions is in the process of creating their FAQ page, a frequently visited link for regular users. However, a phone number and email address is provided and easily locatable on every page, allowing me to contact them directly and check them out. Sometimes I just need a human with pricier transactions. Ticket Solutions accepts all major credit cards and is a member of the Association of Secondary Ticket Agents (ASTA), which although I don’t know anything about it, makes me feel better.

So, if you are finding tickets to the big event in the UK elusive and you don’t mind paying a bit extra, give Ticket Solutions a try and let me know about your experience. I hope they are able to eliminate the need for shady Internet searches and phone book perusing in order to have a good time out in town.

Mumbai - Terrorists Still Killing - Now What?

The majority of the American public recognizes the situation Israel is in. A small, democratic country surrounded by those that wish its destruction. Israel is at constant war, and in hindsight, is not without blemish. So how does the world eradicate terrorism? By talking them to death? The war in Iraq and Afghanistan, in my humble opinion, proves Americans and the people of the world do not have the resolve for such an endeavor. This is my main point of respect for Bush, like it or not. Despite the waxing and waning support for a war, he recognizes what must be done and has taken the hits. Will Obama do the same? As terrorists continue to hit one country at a time, will the world learn terrorism is a common enemy, not just the Great Satin's and their allies?