Richard Barnes

A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson

Email: lildog@comcast.net

Wednesday
Aug222007

Thoughts about School Spending

I read a letter to the editor a while back that really got me thinking about school spending.  The author "CamillusGrl" was arguing back about a comment that teachers are nothing more then over paid baby sitters.

Her (I'm assuming based on the name that it is a woman) comments got me thinking.

The idea is a baby sitter gets $5 an hour ($10 if they are really good).

And since teachers only actually have the kids in the room 6 hours they should only be paid for 6 hours.

And they don't work a full year so only 180 days worth of pay.

Average class is 20 to 25 kids so let's call it 22.

So do the math with me... $5 an hour X 6 hours a day X 180 days a year means each parent would be responsible to pay $5,400 a year.

Now multiply that $5,400 by 22 kids in a classroom and each teacher would be making $118,800 a year.  Benefits are roughly $20,000 per full time employee so take home would be $98,800.

Even if parents pay $1,000 more for books and transportation costs, heck how about $2,000 more for such things the cost per student still falls far below the nearly $10,000 per student we're paying today and teachers earn FAR less then $98,800 a year.  Most admisistrators don't even make that much.

Instead teacher earn on average around $45,000.  Add in the $20,000 in benefits and that's $65,000.  Break that out by 22 kids and it's just about $3000 per year per kid.  Yet as I brought up before, we're paying close to $10,000 per year per kid in this state.

That's $7,000 per year going for something other then the most important thing in the classroom besides your own kid (the teacher).

Something to think about! 

Tuesday
Aug212007

Follow the Money to Federal Coruption

I found an interesting article recently discussing a bill with $1 million earmarked by Democrat John Murtha going toward the "Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure".  Republican Jeff Flake questioned if the center actually exists as he was unable to find a web site for it or any information about such a group.  Democrat Peter J. Visclosky chairman of the spending subcommittee in charge of the project responded "At this time, I do not know.  But if it does not exist, the monies could not go to it."

If it doesn't exist the monies could not go to it?  That's an answer???

Flake's challenge of money going toward a group that may or may not even exist fell flat with a vote of 326 to 98.

The bill itself (HR 2641) passed 312 to 112.

 Now here's where it really gets interesting... investigating further into what exactly the "Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure" actually is, it turns out that it is part of a corporation called Current Technologies Corporation (CTC).  Now CTC is also listed by Washington Technology magazine in the list of top 100 government contractors.

So far fairly interesting right?  Here's the real kick in the pants... the CTC board and directors nearly have all contributed to Murtha's campaigns and their president, Daniel DeVos, is part of the PMA group heavy funders of Murtha's campaigns.

Now in all of this you may ask are our own state representatives questioning this as Rep. Flake is?  Are they watching out for where our money goes?  Surely Rep Shea Porter and Rep Hodes would do the right thing here and question this right?  NOPE!  They both voted in support of this bill and against Flake's trying to remove the earmarked money!

Tuesday
Aug212007

Get Off The Bus

Reported in the telegraph today, Nashua is looking to install an alarm system on school buses to assure kids are not left on the bus.  What makes me wonder about this is that the article goes on to say this is not a problem here but it is in other areas of the country.  David Rauseo the Director for Transportation even admits that they currently have a policy strictly enforced that bus drivers check their buses at the end of each shift.

despite this non existent problem, First Student Transportation is looking to install an alarm at the tune of $350 a pop for 128 buses.  This totals up at $44,800.

Roughly $45k for a problem that doesn't even exist here!  If anyone wonders why the cost of education continues to climb out of control this is a perfect example.  Not to mention this is just one more reason why education competition needs to be pushed for.  If you are concerned your child wont get off the bus then you can send them to a school which uses such technology on their buses.  Maybe you can find a school that takes the next step mentioned in the article and uses the technology to scan kids as they board and exit the bus and put them in a complete police state.

Here's an idea, how about actually spending the $45k to educate our kids instead of paying for solutions to problems we don't even have! 

 

Tuesday
Aug142007

In Memory of the Scooter

"Holy Cow!", those two words will forever remind me of one person... Phil Rizzuto.  Phil passed away earlier today at 89 years old.

Phil was a baseball great.  He played along side Joe DiMaggio. Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra and yet was still able to stand out and be noticed.

For Red Sox fans it is worth noting that it was Red Sox great Ted Williams who is perhaps the most responsible for Phil being inducted into the baseball hall of fame.  Williams had said about Phil, "If we'd had Rizzuto in Boston, we'd have won all those pennants instead of New York."

Phil, you'll be missed! 

Tuesday
Aug142007

Sex Offenders Rights

According to the Union Leader this week, Manchester is currently debating whether or not to ban sex offenders from being able to live near schools, playground or other places children would gather.  Sounds great, but is it actually a good idea?  For that matter, is the sex offender registry even a good idea?

As a parent I certainly appreciate knowing who in my town or near by towns are sex offenders, but just because you know Mr. Smith down the road is a sex offender doesn't mean Mr. Jones down the other side of the road may not also be someone dangerous we should keep our children away from.  The lists only point out known sex offenders yet it is the ones you don't know who you should be most worried about.

Also there is the question of when has a criminal done their time? The 5th Amendment states, "nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb".  In other words if you've already done the time the court has given you that's it, you cannot be re-punish for the same crime twice.  Yet that is what we are looking to do in many cases.  Criminals who have done their time and since been released are later sentenced a second time by being told they must "register" on a list.  And now as in what is being discussed in Manchester, they are being told they must sell their homes and move from where they live.

 The 5th Amendment also states however, "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;".  So someone convicted of a crime can be put to death if that is what is deemed correct punishment for their crime.  But that's just it... once punishment is given, that's it.

Ideally then when someone is released from jail we consider them having adequately being punished for their crime.  In some cases we continue the punishment after jail with probation and yes the sex offender registry but that was given as part of the sentence when the person was punished.  However, those who were sentenced and punished before the registry was created are now being given a new punishment for a crime they've already done their time for.  And as more and more towns seek to enact bans such as the one Manchester is looking at, that too is creating even more new punishments on top of what was already given.

There are also people who irresponsibly use sex offender lists to target ex-criminals for harassment and tormenting as was the case Gloria Hout in Manchester who had a mob of 15 people show up outside the apartment building she lives in shouting out names and even lighting a scarecrow on her wood front porch nearly setting the entire apartment building on fire.  While I'm of the mind that a bullet in the back of the head is correct punishment for many of these offenders, I'm also of the mind that regardless of the crime, once someone has done their time that's it... they did their time.  And in this case there were children living in that same apartment building.  Who was the greater threat to those children I ask you, the known ex-criminal or the angry mob who nearly burned the building down while the children were inside?

And now if Manchester does pass the ban, Gloria and others like her will be forced to move and in some cases to sell their homes after they've already done what the court has ruled as the correct sentence for their crime.

Re-sentencing someone who's already done their time, regardless of the justification for it is not just.   And in doing so as I already pointed out, it does nothing but create a false sense of security.  Sex offenders are out there.  Forcing those who are identified and known about to move away doesn't prevent new unknown sex offenders from moving in.  The other fear is that forcing more and more restrictions on those who are known will only drive them underground.  Think about it, if someone is a known criminal and they wish to continue committing the same types of crimes they were already convicted once for (or worse crimes) do you really think they would hesitate breaking others laws as well?  Of course there are those who think that stopping someone doing nothing wrong simply because they choose to use their second amendment rights actually accomplished something as well.  News flash, it doesn't.  It makes you FEEL safe but that's it... you feel safe.  Just like those at Virginia Tech felt safe because the campus banned guns.  Lots of good that did.