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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Don't Make "Pow Pow Pow" Noises ...

Last month, two elementary school students at Driver Elementary in Suffolk Virginia were suspended for pointing pencils and making gun noises.

The suspensions for pretending pencils were guns have prompted the Suffolk, Virginia school board to revise its zero tolerance weapons policy.

Under the revised policy, school administrators can look at factors such as intent.

The new policy will also clarify that "ordinary objects" will not be considered weapons.

Under the new weapons policy, principals will determine punishment on a case by case basis.

Read the full story:

Arming A Guy Who Eats His Enemy's Livers?

Please watch this video where Glenn Beck describes why we shouldn't back President Obama's arming of Syrian Rebels…

Monday, June 17, 2013

Getting To Know Big Brother At An Early Age

FoxNews reports:
Florida school district scanned children's eyes for bus program without permission

Back in May, parents of students in the Polk County School District in Florida received "an opt out letter" stating a pilot program would soon track public school bus riders using each child’s iris.

By the time the letter reached parents, 750 children’s eyes had already been scanned!

Stanley Convergent, the security firm implementing the scans, told the school district it deleted the information gathered from students.

Some parents are skeptical, citing the technology maxim: Nothing is ever really gone from the Internet.

The tracking program is the third such implementation of tracking by this same school district.

As a result of the parents' opposition to the various programs and the multiple failures and privacy concerns, the district is no longer considering using biometric devices on school buses.
Pickens County has similar tracking systems in place using RFID cards that must be carried around the neck of students in the high schools.
Read more:

Monday, June 10, 2013

IRS Audited: Can't Produce Receipts For Lavish Expenditures

from CNN:
The IRS gets audited but is unable to provide receipts for conference expenses?

$40 million dollars of taxpayer money on one "conference".

Can you imagine what the IRS would do to us if they asked us for receipts and we couldn't provide them?
Meanwhile … conservative and tea party groups are targeted in audits.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Opinion: PTA's Drank The Kool-Aid

PTA's Drank The Kool-Aid
by Johnnelle Raines

Recently, I sent a letter to the National PTA headquarters expressing my concerns on why they are endorsing Common Core State Standards. Their response was very troubling to me. It is obvious they have drank the kool-aid. Here is their stance, according to Chrystal Jones, MPA Senior State Advocacy Strategist… 
"We strongly believe that these new standards increase rigor and will better prepare our students to be successful in their career or college.” 
They also believe the “Federal government has no weight on the local/state decision to use or not use the standards.” Federal $ Race to the Top funds have no bearing on being able to opt out of No Child Left Behind??? Wow...that $1 million dollar grant PTA received in 2010 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to “educate” families on Common Core State Standards really worked! It even 'educated" the PTA...or should I say “indoctrinated?”

According to PTA's web site:
"PTA's everywhere must understand and embrace the uniqueness of all individuals." 
If PTA truly believes this, then I do not understand how they can support "one size fits all" standards. Each child is unique and special and learns at different rates. To expect ALL children to learn at the same rate and the same time does not "embrace the uniqueness of all individuals". Chrystal Jones further states in her letter, “National PTA volunteers have passed several resolutions beginning in 1981 calling for clear, high, voluntary academic standards for all children.” She neglected to say there were five members of the verifying committee on Common Core who refused to sign off on it. Two of which are Sandra Stotsky and R. James Milgram. Both of these people are well respected experts in the education field. Here are links which prove these experts who actually sat on the verifying committee don't think, “these are clear, high, voluntary academic standards for all children.”

I think it is time for PTA and parents to do more research on the pros and cons of Common Core and especially the Data Mining that comes along with it. PTA needs to acknowledge their mistake in endorsing this Federal overreach into our children's education. Implementation of one size fits all standards do not improve achievement gaps between disadvantaged and advantaged students and will not better prepare our children to be successful in their career or college. Here is a link to "educate" yourself on Common Core Standards … and I didn't get $1 million from Bill and Melinda Gates! 

Johnnelle Raines
Retired NC public schools educator

* Note: the 2013-2014 school year will create the final (and full) implementation of Common Core into the Pickens County School District. Many retiring teachers are concerned with the program.

Rails To Trails Litigation Against Federal Government To Move Forward With Help Of Dedicated Legal Team & Conservatives Of The Upstate

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. 
                         ~ 5th Amendment, The Constitution Of United States Of America
On May 8, 2013 law firm Arent Fox LLP filed a class action complaint in Campbell v. United States on behalf of property owners in Pickens County, South Carolina for a “rails to trails” case involving a railroad easement approximately 8.5 miles long in a corridor between Easley and Pickens.

Complex Litigation partner Thor Hearne is leading a team from Arent-Fox that represents more than 50 land owners in the class action, with more expected to join.

Nearly 100 landowners near the track are also opposed to the trail according to signed petitions.

Currently, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) has issued an amended abandonment order to work with SCDHEC because of suspected environmental contamination.

According to STB case # 1097x … the railroad is required to work with state and federal environmental agencies to determine if the track is environmentally safe and the track to be developed would be sound for close contact public usage.

A copy of the complaint filed in the US Court of Federal Claims can be found here [PDF].
Lead attorney Hearne states: 
“Recreational trails are a great public amenity, but when private owners’ property is taken by the government for a public use, the Constitution requires the federal government to pay those private owners ‘just compensation'. The Supreme Court has said that this responsibility ‘lies at the doorstep of the federal government,’ and this case presents an opportunity for private landowners in Pickens County to be fairly compensated for their property.”
The plaintiffs, all residents of Pickens County living along the abandoned "Doodle line" of track that runs between the cities of Pickens, SC and Easley, SC are arguing that the creation of a new easement for a future railroad corridor qualifies as a taking of property for which the 5th Amendment requires that the United States pay “just compensation” to all of the involved property owners.

Earlier this year, Hearne helped plaintiffs in Rogers v. United States [PDF] secure a financial settlement of $6.5 million with the US Department of Justice more than three years after the US Court of Federal Claims ruled the government must provide compensation under the 5th Amendment.

In April of this year … Hearne secured a win from the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit when it reversed a lower court decision in Ladd v. United States [PDF] and ruled that the six-year statute of limitations applicable in 5th Amendment takings claims against the federal government is suspended when the accrual of the claim is “inherently unknowable.” As a result, the court cleared the way for property owners in “rails to trails” cases to be justly compensated when the Surface Transportation Board (STB)* converts an otherwise abandoned railroad on their land into a new federal rail-trail easement.

Congress enacted the National Trails System Act to preserve shrinking rail trackage by converting unused rights-of-way to recreational trails. The Justice Department is currently handling more than 10,000 claims, according to a report released that involve lines in at least 33 states. The National Law Journal previously reported that trails cases make up the fastest-growing area of 5th Amendment “takings” litigation against the federal government.

Hearne is currently litigating more than a dozen “rails to trails” cases across the country.

Pickens County Rails To Trails Litigation / United States Court Of Federal Claims [PDF]

* The STB home page is laid out very peculiar … Scroll down to see searchable content.

Recent developments week of June 1, 2013 …

Without apparent authorization and against order from the SC Department Of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC) until matters are resolved … grading work and removal of the track has begun.

* Photo by Jim McDonald / Arial Crossing / Near Arial St & Church St in Pickens, SC

The "Real Reason" according to liberals, "It must be ethnic"

Chris Matthews has concluded that the reason Conservatives and Republicans would term Obama's actions as evil is because … "it must just be ethnic reasons".

Read more here:

Obama Has 'Never Done Anything Wrong In His Life, Legally, Ethically, Whatever'