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Archive for January, 2011

Rollback

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Thomas E. Woods, Jr. is back with his newest contribution to the current political/economic dialogue: Rollback.  Rollback proves once again that Woods is one of the most prolific and relevant authors in the liberty movement today. He wastes no time getting straight to the point: Government is too big and unsustainable. Unless drastic measures are taken and massive cuts are made, the system will collapse. Throughout the book, I kept getting the feeling that Woods was subconsciously channeling Harry Browne.

Woods occasionally touches on themes that were in his previous book Meltdown as he attacks bailouts and the Federal Reserve and champions true free markets.  Excessive government spending and meddling is discussed in detail and a giant spotlight is focused on waste and overstretch. Woods even goes where few dare to tread as he spends a whole chapter focusing on cutting military and defense spending. In order to survive, everything must be on the table. No more sacred cows.

While many libertarian books seem to use terminology that preaches to the choir, Rollback makes the case for limited government in a simple, easy to understand way that even our non-political friends can relate to.  It’s a great tool for educating our family and neighbors who have not been paying close attention to the causes of our economic troubles. You might even want to buy a copy for your congressperson.

Rollback is not scheduled to be released until February 7th but the Flagstaff Hastings already has several copies on the shelf.

flagstafflibertyalliance.com

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Help Send NAU Conservatives To CPAC

January 30, 2011 6 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

On Tuesday, February 1st, NAU Conservatives will be holding a fundraiser to help their group attend CPAC.  More information on this fundraiser can be found HERE. If you would like to help out,  all you need to do is print the attached flyer and give it to your server. 10% of all sales will go back to NAU Conservatives. You can print the Chili’s Flyer HERE.  If you cannot attend this fundraiser and would still like to make a donation, please contact NAU Conservatives at the following email address: nauconservatives@gmail.com

NAU Conservatives.

Last year, Congressman Ron Paul won the CPAC straw poll.  This year, he has an excellent chance of winning again. The more young conservatives who show up, the better his chances of winning are. Coming in first in this year’s straw poll would be a huge boost if he decides to run for president in 2012 (something those of us at Flagstaff Liberty Alliance are excitedly anticipating).

For those who have not been following the buzz surrounding CPAC this year, it is shaping up to be the most controversial and exciting convention yet. Christian and social conservative groups are boycotting because the gay group GOProud has been invited. Libertarian leaning conservatives are happy to embrace a more open minded forum that supports freedom and liberty for ALL.

Why shouldn’t there be room for everyone at CPAC? Conservatives claim to believe in competition so why not embrace the marketplace of ideas?  We don’t have to agree on every issue to be able to work toward common goals!  Too bad these socially conservative groups and individuals cannot see the big picture:

Dispute Over Gay Group Splits GOP Conservatives

 

Ron Paul wants YOU to attend CPAC.

Jack Hunter weighs in on the boycotting of CPAC by social conservative and Christian groups.

flagstafflibertyalliance.com

Name Calling

January 27, 2011 3 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

On February 1st, the FUSD board will hear a presentation from PFLAG asking the district to consider an anti bullying policy. I am not sure what their plan will include but since they will be pushing for action, I wanted to learn more about them.

Before I get started, let me go on record in support of safe schools where all children can be comfortable being themselves without being bullied and harassed. That said, when my son went to school in the district I was under the impression that FUSD was already protecting students from bullies. My fear is that PFLAG wants to promote a policy that would give some students special protection over other students. All students should be protected equally. I will be attending Tuesday’s meeting and will let you know what I find out.

In my research, I came across several articles about PFLAG including this one which was published yesterday:

Jan. 24-28 proclaimed No Name-Calling Week

 

Is name calling considered harassment, bullying and hate? I’m not going to argue that it isn’t but I am going to ask if we’re in the middle of a massive double standard. You see, while some name calling is forbidden and considered hate by my friends on the left, other name calling is perfectly acceptable and encouraged. Attacking libertarians is still very politically correct…even if politically incorrect words are used. A few examples:

In his infamous 2008 article in Flagstaff Live, liberal activist and former Justice Of The Peace candidate Avtar Khalsa called me and my friends “MOONBATS” for supporting Ron Paul in front of Flagstaff City Hall.

When I started my political action committee to oppose the FUSD override, a district employee sent me a Facebook message with a single word…a derogatory term for homosexual.

At that same time, someone mobilized a group of high school students to flood me with emails calling me a “HEARTLESS BASTARD” and “KID HATER”.

After the Tucson shooting, tea party groups across the country received emails calling tea party members like myself “MURDERERS” and “KILLERS”.

I could go on and on but I think you get the point. There is a huge amount of hypocrisy here. The examples above are, for the most part, from individuals on the left who support speech centered anti bullying policies like the one FUSD may be considering.  Perhaps these individuals should first learn to lead by example?

Avtar Khalsa thinks Ron Paul supporters are  “Moonbats”.

Ever heard tea party members called names? These kids have and many of the names have been used by supposedly trusted adults like teachers and politicians.

“Heartless Bastard”

flagstafflibertyalliance.com

January 25, 2011 FUSD Board Meeting

January 25, 2011 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Tonight’s FUSD Board Meeting was pretty mellow compared to the January 11th meeting which was full of controversy surrounding the vote to pursue a school based mobile health van.

It was nice to see teachers and staff presenting ideas and plans that actually focus on improving education in the district. FUSD has some very enthusiastic young teachers who are willing to put a lot of energy into their work and we heard from a couple of them tonight.

Unfortunately, FUSD is a little late to party. While they were busy pursuing distractions, parents were looking into other options. It wasn’t until the threat of a BASIS school coming to Flagstaff and taking 600 students away that the district decided to try to get their act together. Better late than never I suppose. Let’s hope red tape and bureaucracy do not stifle the enthusiasm before these educational magnet programs ever have a chance to get off the ground.

Many parents fear that another wave of distractions could hit the district at any moment (voting to pursue the mobile health van is just one example that could resurface soon). FUSD has a long way to go before they regain the trust of the community. I can’t say it enough. The district must stay focused on education or they will continue to lose students to other schools at an alarming rate.

In addition to the curriculum (magnet) presentation, APS and Kennedy Partners offered solar energy plans for district schools.  We’ll be hearing much more about this in the future so stay tuned.

Tonight’s full agenda can be found here:

January 25, 2011 Agenda

Here are the Action Items that the board discussed and voted on:

1. ASRS Supplemental Retirement Plan – The Board will consider and may approve
administrative recommendations concerning a voluntary supplemental retirement plan for
District employees through the Arizona State Retirement System. (B. Kuhn)

Board unanimously approved.

2. Change to the 403(b) Plan – The Board will consider and may approve a change to the
District’s plan for loans from employees’ 403(b) retirement accounts. (B. Kuhn)

Tabled.

3. Strategic Goals for the District – The Board will consider and may approve administrative
recommendations concerning strategic goals for the District. (B. Hickman)

Board unanimously approved.

4. Revision #2 for the 2010-11 District Annual Expenditure Budget – The Board will consider
and may approve revisions to the 2010-11 annual expenditure budget. (K. Garland)

Board unanimously approved.

In regard to 4., there was some discussion that the revisions to the annual expenditure budget could increase property taxes. Mr Garland assured the board that property taxes would not go up due to this revision. Time will tell.

I would like to thank Ms. Biggerstaff for asking so many questions for the benefit of the public. It is nice to have someone on the board who is willing to ask for details and demand transparency.

On February 1st there will be a FUSD Board work session to discuss budget issues. That meeting will also be attended by PFLAG who plan to ask the district to consider an anti bullying policy. I will be blogging more about that soon.

flagstafflibertyalliance.com

Bountiful Baskets

January 22, 2011 2 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Food Co-ops have taken off in recent years as people look to simplify their lives, find alternative food sources and restore a sense of community in their neighborhoods. My wife Cindy and I recently looked into some of the local options and thanks to a recommendation from a friend, decided to give Bountiful Baskets a try.

Bountiful Baskets comes to Flagstaff every other week to two locations: Knolls Elementary School and Cromer Elementary School. $15.00 (there is a one time start up fee of $3.00 to pay for the containers) gets you two full laundry sized baskets, one filled with fruit and one full of vegetables. We were surprised at how much we got and the variety.

Bountiful Baskets at Cromer Elementary.

Cindy helps distribute oranges.

For those looking specifically for locally grown food, Bountiful Baskets is probably not the route you would want to go. Like your local grocery store, the food comes from all over. For everyone else, I recommend signing up and trying it at least once. You might even want to get there early and help sort the food. It’s an enjoyable experience for the whole family and a great way to save on your food bill. We were very impressed.

To all my readers who are interested in getting back to basics and simplified living, please check out my wife’s blog Simply Flagstaff. She covers a wide range of topics and has a long list of projects and ideas she plans to blog about in the coming months.

flagstafflibertyalliance.com

Arizona Charter Schools MUST Accept All Students

January 19, 2011 14 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Comments on the recent BASIS article in the Arizona Daily Sun claim that Charter Schools do not have to accept all students. This rumor has been circulating around Flagstaff for quite some time. Last January, Bruce Johnson addressed this misinformation on another forum. Here it is again for all to read:

Clarification on Charter Schools by Bruce Johnson

Since the comments section of the AZ Daily Sun online is limited to 500 characters, I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify something that is often repeated by fans of FUSD with respect to Charter Schools.

As a response to Ms Bowen’s letter, one writer said ….

“The problem is, charter schools don’t have to take ANY student…they can literally pick and choose so of course they can handle their budgets better. Charter schools don’t have to teach learning disabled kids, or ANY disabled kids, or kids with behavioral problems or ADHD kids or homeless kids or kids with chronic diseases or any of those things. Public schools MUST teach EVERY kind of child and that’s why they have greater budget issues”.

http://www.azdailysun.com/news/opinion/mailbag/article_698d087b-3427-5cac-b0b8-935c56ceff8c.html?mode=comments

This is absolutely false.

Here is the entire statute that guides admission to Charter Schools. Read for yourself. Notice the reference in paragraph B to admission of students with “disabling conditions”. It is quite unfortunate that the defenders of district schools continue to believe and repeat such falsehoods.

http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=%2Fars%2F15%2F00184.htm&Title=15&DocType=ARS

15-184. Charter schools; admission requirements A. A charter school shall enroll all eligible pupils who submit a timely application, unless the number of applications exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level or building. A charter school shall give enrollment preference to pupils returning to the charter school in the second or any subsequent year of its operation and to siblings of pupils already enrolled in the charter school. A charter school that is sponsored by a school district governing board shall give enrollment preference to eligible pupils who reside within the boundaries of the school district where the charter school is physically located. A charter school may give enrollment preference to and reserve capacity for pupils who are children of employees of the school, employees of the charter holder, members of the governing body of the school or directors, officers, partners or board members of the charter holder. If remaining capacity is insufficient to enroll all pupils who submit a timely application, the charter school shall select pupils through an equitable selection process such as a lottery except that preference shall be given to siblings of a pupil selected through an equitable selection process such as a lottery.

B. Except as provided in subsection C or D, a charter school shall not limit admission based on ethnicity, national origin, gender, income level, disabling condition, proficiency in the English language or athletic ability.

C. A charter school may limit admission to pupils within a given age group or grade level.

D. A charter school may provide instruction to pupils of a single gender with the approval of the sponsor of the charter school. An existing charter school may amend its charter to provide instruction to pupils of a single gender, and if approved by the sponsor of the charter school, may provide instruction to pupils of a single gender at the beginning of the next school year.

E. A charter school shall admit pupils who reside in the attendance area of a school or who reside in a school district that is under a court order of desegregation or that is a party to an agreement with the United States department of education office for civil rights directed toward remediating alleged or proven racial discrimination unless notice is received from the resident school that the admission would violate the court order or agreement. If a charter school admits a pupil after notice is received that the admission would constitute such a violation, the charter school is not allowed to include in its student count the pupils wrongfully admitted. F. A charter school may refuse to admit any pupil who has been expelled from another educational institution or who is in the process of being expelled from another educational institution.

flagstafflibertyalliance.com

January 23-29 Is National School Choice Week

January 17, 2011 1 comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

On January 23-29, organizations and individuals across the country will be shining a light on the many different educational opportunities available to parents.  National School Choice Week is something we are very excited about at Flagstaff Liberty Alliance. School choice and competition lead to innovation and success! Flagstaff offers some incredible alternatives to the status quo with several new options being added for the 2011-12 school year. Whatever educational route we choose for our children, it is always comforting to know that so many options exist. Here are just a couple examples that I would like to highlight:

BASIS School

Today, the Arizona Daily Sun had a fantastic article about the new BASIS charter school:

BASIS gaining momentum in Flag

I attended their first public meeting at the Orpheum on May 24, 2010 and was very impressed with the presentation. The theater was packed with excited parents who were all enthusiastic about giving their children an exceptional education. Their new campus will accommodate 650 students, with 550 being the ceiling for the 2011-12 school year. Be sure to check out their website: BASIS Schools.

Arizona Connections Academy

Arizona Connections Academy is a home school charter that has really taken off over the past year in Flagstaff and across Arizona.  Not every parent can stay home and be their child’s learning coach but for those who can, this is an excellent choice. I have attended their science camp in Prescott and been on several of their field trips and have nothing but good things to say about them. Unlike most charters, Arizona Connections Academy does not have a waiting list. Very convenient for parents who are in a hurry to improve their child’s learning experience.

Many other public, charter, private, and home education choices exist.  National School Choice week is about encouraging parents to look into all options before choosing which school to send their child to. All kids are different and learn in different ways. Finding a school that works best for each individual child is essential. It is exciting to see school choice take priority as it becomes a mainstream movement.

Over the week of January 23-29, there will be many events planned across the country. You can find some of them listed on the School Choice Week website. For those of us in Arizona, there will be a screening of the film The Cartel on January 25th in Phoenix. More info HERE.

Watch the trailer:

During school choice week, please consider tracking down one of my favorite documentaries:  The War On Kids. It’s available at Netflix and you can buy it HERE.

Watch the trailer:

Keep up on Flagstaff education news and local schools by joining the Flagstaff Education Forum on Facebook. All are welcome and discussion is encouraged.

Our children deserve the best education possible. We can’t let them down!

www.flagstafflibertyalliance.com

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