Archives for September 2009

Can you spare some change for a civics survey in Sweden?

By Matthew Ladner. Ph.D.
Goldwater Institute 
 
When the Goldwater Institute gave a version of the United States Citizenship Test to Arizona public high school students, only 3.5 percent of Arizona public school students got six or more questions correct, the passing score for immigrants. After seeing the results, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs wanted to know how Oklahoma high school students would fare on the exam, so we gave them precisely the same set of questions.

Perhaps I was too hard on Arizona students. They passed at a rate that was 25 percent higher than their peers in Oklahoma. That’s right: The passing rate for Oklahoma high school students was 2.8 percent. They underperformed Arizona’s abysmal performance.

Just for the record, Oklahoma’s state standards for civics read:

Oklahoma schools teach social studies in Kindergarten through Grade 12…A social studies education encourages and enables each student to acquire a core of basic knowledge, an arsenal of useful skills, and a way of thinking drawn from many academic disciplines. Thus equipped, students are prepared to become informed, contributing, and participating citizens in this democratic republic, the United States of America.

That all sounds great, except Oklahoma high school students know about as much about American history and government as they know about quantum physics or ancient Sanskrit.

I have an empty metal coffee can in my office marked “Sweden Civics Survey Fund.” Please drop by with anything you can afford to give. Once I get a couple thousand bucks, I’ll retain the pollster to give this exact same survey on American civics to high school students in Sweden. They couldn’t do much worse than kids in Arizona and Oklahoma. Sadly, I suspect they might do much better.

Dr. Matthew Ladner is vice president for research at the Goldwater Institute.

U.N. Stand and The Obi-wan Alliance

by Gayle Plato
According to the U.N. agreed ‘watchdog’ of nuclear proliferation and concern, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran just tipped its hand and told on itself.  There is a second uranium enrichment facility.  
 
“Iran knew exactly what it was doing in sending this letter to the IAEA ahead of the P-5+1 talks on Oct. 1. In revealing the extent of its nuclear denial and deception campaign, Iran is only adding to the uncertainty surrounding Western and Israeli intelligence on the Iranian nuclear program. The more wrong Iran can make the intelligence of its adversaries appear, the more it hopes to be able to deter an attack.”
 
Many blog/news sites are speculating that the United States knew all along, the French, and England all in a united effort,  came out to announce the strong stance, and warn Iran.  Well I have a theory.  I DO NOT believe the U.S. was originally involved in this decision;  I think the UK and France, Israeli awareness and pressure coming on strong, was a concerted effort to force Obama’s team to step up. 
 
POTUS’ team has been openly kow-towing to Russia, snuggling with Venezuela, and reducing support of Europe  (aka the shields coming down in Poland).  I submit that the Mossad  ALWAYS has the best intelligence, and went DIRECTLY to key European allies, but more importantly coordinated with the member NOT at the table right now–Germany.
 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has long suspected Obama’s team not a real friend.  She all but announced that the USA better cough up her gold or else she’s going to get chilly real fast.  Europeans are very skeptical of Obama’s loyalty. Huge amounts of money are moving around Italy and Switzerland with NO true investigation; the Secret Service has let go potential counterfeiters time and again.  WHY?
 
Obama’s foreign policy seems clear- revamp how we play ball and drop European alliances for a New Leftist World Order.
 
I submit that the USA was NOT in this last play: Obama was TOLD by our allies, with Obi-wan mind control style, ” You will stand tall with us and rebuke Iran; you will stand up to Russia and all of Asia to stop nuclear movement.” The Obi-wan Alliance may have just saved the day.
 
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, speaks during the United Nations General Assembly September 23,

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 23

  

Ahmadinejad is not the threat; the Iranian religious zealots who pull his puppet strings are the Evil with the switches on the nuclear time bomb. Everyone knows that Ahmadinejad is a tool. But Iranian power is coordinating with North Korea, Venezuela, and Russia.  But then, so it seems are we in the new POTUS brain trust.
 
We know that relations are frigid with China, and now Japan’s new leaders won their election due in part to promising to NOT BUY anymore American dollars. The world economy is on the verge of implosion; the vast amounts of dollars being printed and pumped into the world economy is like a dirty bomb going off.  All of Europe is being poisoned with the amateur, inept fiscal plans of a few geeks and crazy lefty idiots in D.C. Our allies have had it and this is going to be the line in the sand.  It’s as if the Europeans collectively said- “Hey USA, step up, grow up, and be a part of the solution or soon become part of the problem. We do not trust this POTUS team.”
 
 

“Not only can Russia completely destroy the effectiveness of a U.S.-led sanctions regime, but it can provide Iran with critical weapons systems that could seriously complicate an attack against Iran down the road.”

(http://www.stratfor.com/geopolitical_diary/20090924_mutual_commitment_postpone_commitment_u_n)

Crime is Up, Time to Cut Agents

Today, the Obama administration threw the state of Arizona under the bus by cutting the number of Border Patrol agents that are stationed at the troubled US/Mexico border.

(CNSNews.com) – Even though the Border Patrol now reports that almost 1,300 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border is not under effective control, and the Department of Justice says that vast stretches of the border are “easily breached,” and the Government Accountability Office has revealed that three persons “linked to terrorism” and 530 aliens from “special interest countries” were intercepted at Border Patrol checkpoints last year, the administration is nonetheless now planning to decrease the number of Border Patrol agents deployed on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Border Patrol Director of Media Relations Lloyd Easterling confirmed this week that his agency is planning for a net decrease of 384 agents on the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal 2010, which begins on October 1.

A Department of Homeland Security annual performance review updated by the Obama administration on May 7 said the Border Patrol “plans to move several hundred Agents from the Southwest Border to the Northern Border to meet the FY 2010 staffing requirements, with only a small increase in new agents for the Southwest Border in the same year.”

So in a bold and daring move, we are going to move agents from the Southern border where crime run rampant, to the Canadian border.  (There must be a lot of bad guys smuggling in Canadian bacon, I’m not sure).  This contemptable move takes place in spite of reports that Phoenix Arizona has become the “Kidnapping Capital of the United States”.

In what officials caution is now a dangerous and even deadly crime wave, Phoenix Arizona has become the kidnapping capital of America, with more incidents than any other city in the world outside of Mexico City and over 370 cases last year alone.

Some local authorities say Obama’s administration is too obsessed with al Qaeda terrorists to focus on these problems in the southwestern United States.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown warned that as the U.S. government focuses so intently on Islamic extremist groups, other types of terrorists – those involved with the same kidnappings, extortion and drug cartels that are sweeping Phoenix – are overlooked.

Janet Napolitano, who heads the Department of Homeland Security, is the former Governor of Arizona. One would think that she would have firsthand insight into the major problems we face here in Arizona. But she has swallowed the Kool-aid, and with the rest of the Obama administration, she blindly marches lockstep to the destruction of the United States.

Interviewed by Larry King earlier this year she said;

KING: A lot of Democrats in Congress want to you investigate [Joe Arpaio]. They think he is over the line. He says he is just enforcing the law and the problem is the federal government.

NAPOLITANO: Well, you know, Sheriff Joe, he is being very political in that statement, because he knows that there aren’t enough law enforcement officers, courtrooms or jail cells in the world to do what he is saying.

What we have to do is target the real evil-doers in this business, the employers who consistently hire illegal labor, the human traffickers who are exploiting human misery.

And yes, when we find illegal workers, yes, appropriate action, some of which is criminal, most of that is civil, because crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil. But anyway, going after those as well.

And that is a very interesting point of view considering this,

ENTRY WITHOUT INSPECTION IS A CRIME: In fact, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1325, crossing the border illegally is a crime–a misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony for the second and subsequent offenses.

Now, let us assume for a minute that what California Attorney General Jerry Brown says is true.  Janet and friends are SO busy catching al Qaeda terrorists that they cannot focus on these pesky problems at the border.  So what is recently appointed Border Czar Alan Bersin doing about this rising problem?  In a recent interview Sultan Bersin said this:

“It’s better to think of the border as a thermostat for the larger, long-term issues that both our countries are dealing with”.

So there you have it.  Janet says the real problems are up on the Canadian Border and Alan dances around these problems with “Can’t we all just get along”?  At least Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Phoenix police chief Andy Anderson understand what the hell is going on here.

“We’re in the eye of the storm,” Phoenix Police Chief Andy Anderson told ABC News of the violent crimes and ruthless tactics spurred by Mexico’s drug cartels that have expanded business across the border. “If it doesn’t stop here, if we’re not able to fix it here and get it turned around, it will go across the nation,” he said.

At least Janet has her own self-serving priorities in place. This story never really made a big splash in the news,

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Washington notables broke ground on the future home of the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, symbolically starting construction on the biggest federal building project in the Washington area since the Pentagon 68 years ago.

The project will bring together more than 15,000 employees now scattered in 35 offices in the region, placing them on a 176-acre campus strewn with historic buildings in a long-neglected corner of Washington, five miles from the Capitol building.

Department leaders hope the $3.4 billion consolidation will help the department fulfill its core mission — protecting the homeland — in ways big and small.

“It will help us hold meetings,” Secretary Janet Napolitano said. “It will help us build that culture of ‘One DHS.’”

We’re screwed.  Time to go buy more bullets…

Republic scandal with Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce forces resignation

Mike RyanAs reported on this blog earlier, Mike Ryan, a Vice President of theRepublic and General Manager of theScottsdale Republic (the Scottsdale community section of the Republic), had a clear conflict of interest by serving on the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce. It was hampering his judgment to report on issues involving the Chamber, such as the scandal last fall when County Supervisors’ attorney Tom Irvine advised the Chamber that it was perfectly acceptable to run a political campaign supporting candidates for Mayor and City Council without registering as a political committee (this isTom Irvine the kind of thing that got Irvine into trouble with the County Supervisors – telling them anything they want to hear). No wonder no one reads the newspapers anymore. Am just surprised this kind of stuff ever sees the light of day, the Republic has ignored it for the past year. Now, after publishing an article in the Republic defending his position to remain in both positions, Ryan has backed off and resigned from the Chamber. The Phoenix New Times has the full story here.

Reminder: Activist & Candidate training tomorrow

A m e r i c a n P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona

Thursday, September 24, 2009

am logo

Candidate and Activist Training in Phoenix, AZ September 26

You are Invited to Learn how YOU Can Make a Difference in Your Community!

American Majority is pleased to announce its Candidate and Activist Training Program is coming to Phoenix, AZ on Saturday, September 26 from 8:45am to 5:15pm.

The event will feature general sessions as well as two different tracks for individuals interested in running for public office (Candidate Track) and those looking to become more effective activists (Activist Track).

The event will be located at the Crowne Plaza Phoenix Airport located at 4300 E. Washington Street in Phoenix.  The general sessions and candidate track will be held in the Desert Room 123 and the activist track will be held in Desert Room 43.

Information and pricing for each track is as follows:

Candidate Track (Costs Include Lunch)

$50/per candidate or first attendee.

$20/per additional attendee (spouse, campaign staffer, volunteer, etc., attending with the candidate/first attendee).

Attendees of the Candidate Track will receive over four hours of specialized training (in addition to general sessions) on subjects including:

  • Communications
  • Campaign Planning and Strategy
  • Fundraising
  • Grassroots
  • Utilizing New and Traditional Media
  • Much More!

Activist Track (Costs Include Lunch)

$20/per attendee.

Attendees of the Activist Track will receive over four hours of specialized training (in addition to general sessions) on subjects including:

  • Building Coalitions and Organizing Meaningful Events
  • Holding Elected Officials Accountable
  • New Media Engagement: Blogs, Wikipedia Projects, Social Networking, and More
  • Effectively Communicating Your Views
  • Much More!

Included in the training materials will be samples and supplements to help you apply what you learn in the training to your organization, candidate, cause or community.

To register for the event, please click here to use our online reservation system.  If you have any questions, please contact American Majority at ok@americanmajority.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call (405)-605-6338.

Slideshow from Politics on the Rocks event with gubernatorial candidate Vernon Parker

GOP Gone Wild; Goddard’s Gallup Gains

by Gayle Plato
Lots of buzz hums above the  Arizona GOP party elites as every state republican with a pulse, a website paid up through November, 2010, and Blackberry that feeds their Facebook hits to a vibrating pocket, plans to dethrone the Queen, Governor Jan Brewer.  Even former governors are jumping on the bandwagon (enter Fife Symington) to run. It’s like the scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, “Bring Out Your Dead”, one almost hears Ms. Brewer yelp, “I’m not dead yet, I feel happy! (politically speaking of course).
Organizational grace and republican party savvy, grant us such a display of choice, we are at the Capitol buffet of leadership. This same astute talent management got us John McCain’s Presidential campaign, and the Arizona State Budget smooth talks.  I’m all a Twitter thinking of all of the fine guys  jello wrestling for the top spot.
Alas, we see the “Boy King”, riding in, with the clomping coconuts to boot, Terry Goddard has the clackity-clack down pat and might just Gallup, er a gallop on passed the GOP huge pack of elephants. Personally, I’m underwhelmed with the whole troupe and am holding out for a good knight, who, though triumphed and wounded by King Arthur, will only claim it a mere flesh wound.

PR: Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker Launches Gubernatorial Campaign Website

VPLogo

With the announcement of the first 1st-tier candidate into the gubernatorial race, comes the first campaign website. Here is the press release just issued by the Parker Exploratory Committee:

Paradise Valley, AZ. September 24, 2009. So what’s all the excitement about? Check it out at www.Parker2010.com.

Yesterday, Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker shook up the 2010 Governor’s race by forming an exploratory committee for the office. Robust fundraising is already underway.

Evolving daily www.Parker2010.com will be a state-of-the-art web site. Visitors will be able to view Mayor Parker’s Twitter feeds, Facebook updates, a biography of the Mayor, his compelling life story, issues that are important to Arizonans, the latest videos and the speech he gave September 23rd to hundreds of supporters & Republicans to launch his campaign.

Supporters are encouraged to sign up on the site in order to receive campaign updates.

In case you didn’t catch that URL. it’s www.Parker2010.com.

The Obama Youth Corps

Looks like “they’re” starting them off young in New Jersey.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zrsl8o4ZPo

Parents and taxpayers should be “proud” of the teacher’s union and the use of their hard-earned tax dollars.

I can only imagine the outrage if teachers had done the same for President Bush.

NY Times writes false piece about success of our light rail

In typical liberal biased journalism, The New York Times ran an article a couple of days ago called “In Phoenix, Weekend Users Make Light Rail a Success.” It was a typical puff piece, claiming that light rail has been even more successful than envisioned.

But it conveniently omitted any of the negative information about light rail since it launched in January indicating that it’s NOT a success, which our local media has helpfully been reporting. Sales tax revenues have decreased (guess light rail hasn’t helped spur the economy as predicted) and so there is no money to expand it to the planned 57-mile network. Light rail lost $235,000 in revenues in February alone. According to Phoenix Metro, the lost revenue was due to “technology provided by a German computer plus the passengers who use the ‘smart cards’ to pay their fares.” Nationwide, transit companies everywhere have been suffering economically, so it is suspect that the New York Times claims Phoenix light rail is doing well. “Transit systems all across the country are having very severe financial challenges,” said Virginia Miller, spokeswoman for the American Public Transit Association, a Washington-based lobbying group.

Without expanding light rail,  its range is fairly limited and will not reach any kind of potential or popularity. Right now it barely covers downtown to just past ASU barely to Mesa, and doesn’t go far enough north of downtown to reach anywhere like Glendale. That most important wing, to Glendale, is being put off for at least another three years.  Expansion to Paradise Valley is being put off until 2030.  Expansion into South Tempe has stopped. Scottsdale has withdrawn from participating, indicating there will be no expansion there.  Phoenix Metro admits that decreasing revenues have forced light rail to revise its original design as approved by voters, so to say it’s proven more of a success than envisioned is a flat out lie.

Light rail isn’t even the bargain it was envisioned to be. The costs of providing light rail increased way beyond estimates after it debuted, requiring significant hikes in fares. “Officials say the hike is due to a continual increase in the cost to provide service.” The fares increased dramatically soon after light rail debuted this year, on July 1, from $1.25 to $1.75 for a one-way pass and $2.50 to $3.50 for an all-day pass.  Some fares even more than doubled, with cash one-day onboard fees going from $3.50 to $7.25.

Perhaps  the most alarming news about light rail is that accidents have been increasing. Some of the reasons being looked at for the increasing number of crashes include confused motorists, improper procedures by train operators, defective safety equipment and systems, unclear intersection markings and signage, bike and pedestrian accidents including by ticketed riders, quick stops, insufficient security, and injuries suffered while loading or unloading. Trial lawyers are ready and waiting to file lawsuits, which will result in substantially increased costs.

Light rail is a big mistake for our commuter region. It is too late to try and build a comprehensive light rail system; not only is it too expensive, but there is no room to build, too many properties would need to be condemned. We are too spread out for it to be realistic. In a city where everyone lives on top of each other, like New York, mass transit was possible. But this is Arizona, and we’re becoming so spread out they refer to us as a smaller L.A. What an embarrassing legacy for Phoenix Democrat Mayor Phil Gordon – a failed mass transit system.