Includes thoughts and comments about energy needs, resources, conservation and their relationship to politics at home and around the world.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A battle is brewing over the renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act. The National Education Association, read teachers' union, opposes renewal of the act. Central to their opposition is the issue of teacher performance measurement. How is it we can measure the performance of every other worker and professional in the country, but for some reason you can't measure the performance of teachers? Nonsense.

Were I a teacher I would appreciate having my performance measured against reasonable mutually acceptable standards. I would be interested in knowing how well my students progressed over the period they were in my class. I would like to know where they stood in the subject matter coming in and at interim points during the term. Interim testing would soon differentiate the solid students from those in need of special help which I would gladly give them. Higher term-ending test results compared to what the students did on incoming tests would be a strong indicator of my performance.

Opponents of teacher performance measurement claim there are certain subjects that don't lend themselves to quantifiable measurement. I don't know what subjects they have in mind, but whatever they are I bet I could come up with reasonable perforrmance standards for them. Anything that defies measurement probably has little value in the first place.

Meanwhile, emergency appropriations bills covering the war in Iraq have now been passed by both houses of Congress. Both bills are loaded with non-related items, the Senate bill containing some $4 billion worth, designed to hurt Bush if he vetoes the final compromise bill which he says he will do in any case. It's a measure of how desparate the Democrats really are.

I have no doubt that most Americans want us to get out of Iraq, but it must not be done according to a timeline set by Congress. If there is a timeline it should be set by the Department of Defense and remain in the hands of the military. Under no circumstances should it be announced to the world. Those who want to publicize a timeline don't understand the conduct of warfare especially against a scattered enemy waiting for us to pull out.

I believe progress is being made in Iraq but a biased media doesn't want to publize it because it would be contrary to their Hate-Bush, Hate-America agenda. When we do begin to pull out some day, it should be a phased process. Combat ready forces should be kept in place in neighboring Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Our Navy should keep combat ready vessels closeby as well and, of course, the Air Force should be prepared to strike at a moment's notice.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The sport of Bush bashing continues unabated as the Dems conduct one investigation or hearing after another in their efforts to destroy the Bush administration. The Congressman Waxman Oversite Committee is looking for ways to beat down Bush on the global warming issue this week. A NASA scientist claims the administration is wrong in refuting the statements of he and his fellow scientists who say mankind's contribution to the problem is more than significant especially here in the USA. Other hearing panelists infer that none of the evidence is 100% conclusive which describes my position precisely. No scientist is infalliable (read Einstein et al). By far the biggest contributor to warming is cyclical in nature and it emanates from the sun.

What mystifies me is all of the hatred aimed at Bush. I've lived under Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II. I can truthfully say I have never hated any of them. I've disagreed with all of them at times and I have held some in higher regard than others, but hatred has never been in my feelings toward them. I was too young to render an intelligent opinion on Hoover. FDR made a noble effort to get us out of the Great Depression, but it took WWII to complete the deal. Truman had to make some difficult decisions, the dropping of the atomic bomb on Heroshima and Nagasaki and the removal of MacArthur from command during the Korean War among them. Eisenhower was a centrist who produced a calming affect when the nation needed it. Kennedy attracted the attention of youth all over the world. His loss was felt deeply and we really haven't recovered fully from it even now. He faced down the Soviets during the Cuban missile crisis showing guts and courage for sure. Johnson allowed the liberal media to drive us out of Vietnam and he personally capitalized on our efforts to get to the moon. Had Nixon burned the tapes he kept in the oval office he might have gone down in history as one of our greatest presidents. Ford held things together following Nixon's resignation and probably would have won re-election had he not pardoned Nixon. The pardon killed his chances, however, and as a result we got stuck with Carter, one of the weakest presidents in the nation's history. Reagan had star power and a keen perception of others. He knew if we beat the Soviets in an arms race, they would crumble. Bush I made two mistakes...he failed to go after Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War and he asked us to read his lips and a stupid promise of "no new taxes". His luxury tax came close to killing the U.S. marine industry. Clinton had two problems...women and lying under oath. Otherwise, he was not a bad, more or less centrist president save for some questionable pardons his last day in office. Bush II has struggled mightily to protect the nation since 9/11 and to defend our invasion of Iraq. His situation is not unlike that of Johnson and Vietnam except that we are fighting a far more dangerous enemy in the form of Islamic extremism. In a very real sense, he is facing challenges equal to any faced by previous presidents.

Every presidential election throughout our history has been critical to the nation's future and 2008 is no exception. So far there are three serious Democrats in the race...Obama, Edwards and Hillary Clinton, and three serious Republicans...Guiliani, McCain and Romney. Gingrich and Fred Thompson are thinking about it and if they enter I would describe them as serious as well. The rest of the announced candidates don't stand much of a chance. At this time, the likely choices at the conventions are Clinton and Guiliani or Romney.

The latest attacks on Bush II center on global warming and the firing of 8 U.S. Attorneys. The global warming hearings are mentioned earlier in this post. The firing of 8 U.S. Attorneys brings a facedown between the President and Congress over who has the power in the matter.
The Congressional committee involved has voted to subpaena White House aides including Rove to testify. Bush II says he will permit the aides to discuss the matter but not under oath before the committee. U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President over which he has the power to nominate and fire. I really don't know what the fuss is all about except more Bush bashing.