#DM7 Article: Playing Whack A Mole With Wacko Birds

This is a repost of my weekly Da Tech Guy Column: Playing Whack A Mole With Wacko Birds

By A.P. Dillon

I have the distinct feeling most of us are witnessing a political version of whack-a-mole. However, in this case, it’s now wack0-birds in place of the moles.

Recently, Donald Trump gave out Lindsey Graham’s cell phone number at a public event. Lindsey Graham took a whack back at Trump for ‘selling fear and prejudice‘.

John McCain said Donald Trump ‘fired up the crazies’ earlier this month. Donald Trump turned around and whacked at John McCain’s war record.

John McCain whacked back at Donald Trump but made his response about veterans overall; Trump should apologize to all veterans.

Outrage over Trump insulting McCain’s war record flowed back and forth on Twitter in a manner that one can only characterize has simultaneously nauseating and hilarious.

Twitter and Facebook posts surged. Surely this series of sparring will dump Trump out of the polls, right? Nope.

Look, I’m not a Trump fan, I don’t want a celebrity president. I don’t believe he is a conservative by any stretch of the imagination.  I personally believe Trump is in this race to be a stalking horse, but for which candidate and which side I don’t really know yet.

But Trump’s blunt messages are resonating with a lot of people.

The people are tired of Washington liars, of divisive narratives, a lawless administration and of the complicit media.  In particular, conservative voters are tired of the establishment GOP ramming crappy, squishy candidates down our throats.

The establishment clearly wants Jeb Bush. It might happen with Kasich in the race. Anyone who hasn’t figured it out yet, Kasich is very likely Jeb’s stalking horse for this election cycle.

Should a Jeb Bush candidacy happen, I know a lot of Common Core moms who will be staying home on election day. 

One parting whack:

DM7 small LL1885A.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of LadyLiberty1885.com.
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review, StopCommonCoreNC.org, Heartland.org and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885

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Heartland Article: Missouri Passes Law Restricting Policing for Profit

This is a repost of my most recent column at Heartland Institute’s Fiscal Times.


Missouri Passes Law Restricting Policing for Profit

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) signed a bill placing a cap on the proportion of revenue cities and counties can collect from traffic enforcement and capping the total amount of fines and penalties on traffic violations.

The new law, effective August 28, also includes provisions for the dissolution of local governments refusing to comply with the reform measures.

Revenue Enhancers
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale), says towns in his district were using traffic enforcement to bolster flagging revenues.

“After [the unrest in] Ferguson, sometime last fall, there was an inventory taken that people took around the state, but particularly in St. Louis County, and [they] found that in St. Louis County alone there were 14 municipalities where traffic tickets and fines were the biggest source of revenue,” Schmitt said.

Schmitt says the problem of policing for profit seems to be concentrated in and around the St. Louis metropolitan area.

“There were 81 municipal courts in St. Louis County, which is 61 more than any other circuit, and some circuits include multiple counties,” Schmitt said. “We saw a real concentration of the problem. [As someone] who grew up in St. Louis County and represents a large chunk of St. Louis County, it’s important for the public to have the maximum amount of reform they could have.”

Speed Traps and Fine Caps
Schmitt says the bill removes cities’ ability to maximize fine revenue by capping the amount of fines a person can be charged.

“Speed traps were paying for most municipality budget holes, and we’ll have to compare them down the road,” Schmitt said. “The $300 cap is important when you consider that for a $100 fine, usually set with a night court date so people have trouble getting there or are forced to choose between paying a fine or paying for child care—since no kids are allowed at court—this situation often ended in a failure to appear charge being added on. Suddenly, you have a $100 fine turn into an $800 one.

“Basically, people were being used as ATMs,” said Schmitt. “Citizens and [people passing by became] revenue generators.”

Policing for Safety, Not Profit
Sarah Rossi, director of advocacy and policy with the Missouri chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, says the new law makes needed changes to the cities’ fiscal and judicial systems.

“Revenues should not be the goal of law enforcement under any circumstance,” Rossi said. “Law enforcement should be tasked with public safety, not paying their own salaries or providing general operating funds. That is what public safety levies and other levies are for.”

Rossi says people should be empowered to fight back against abusive governments.

“The government works for its people, not the other way around,” Rossi said. “If a municipality continues to take advantage of its populace to fill its coffers, then that populace should be allowed recourse.

“Generally, that manifests in voting for or against public officials,” Rossi said. “In this case, that recourse happens to be disincorporation.”

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See What $69,157,850 In Education Contracts Buys For NC

Next week is the NC State Board of Education’s monthly meeting.  It’s going to be an expensive one.

John Locke Foundation’s Lindalyn Kakadelis has noted that at this Board meeting, contracts totaling $69,157,850 are on the agenda.  Go read it and then come back here.

There are a total of 74 contracts. Let’s look at them a bit.

Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA)
First, as Kakadelis noted, there are a ton of Kindergarten Entry Assessment related contracts:

The new K-3 Formative Assessment, which begins as the Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA), involves 8 contracts – totaling $3,288,486. However, this is just a drop of what has been spent on this initiative since November 2013.

Interesting trivia: the ratings of 5 year olds from the KEA, creating a “Child Profile,” will eventually be placed into the P20W (Preschool – 20 grade/Higher Ed -Workforce) Data System which receives $2,053,552 this month.  This amount is divided among 5 contracts: UNC General Admissions, NC Community College System, NC Independent Colleges, NC Dept. of Commerce, and Solomons International, Inc. This company receives $80,500 to provide “project management services for the federal grant that funds the P20W Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS).” Solomons must “ensure that the project completes all grant deliverables” to the Federal Government. Wonder if the Federal Government gets access to the data? Follow imaginary NC student “Will” from 1 year old until he is 26 years old (slides 11-14). Does this feel creepy to you?

Contracts 16, 17 and 18 are contracts regarding the KEA and are with departments of education in Maine, Arizona and Iowa respectively.

Contract 19 is also KEA related, but tracks back to the UNC Franklin Porter Graham Child Development Institute. I would bet that contract 19 has something to do with FirstSchools.

Contract 60, with Manifest Productions, is the one I find really disturbing.  I personally don’t want my child videotaped as part of this grand experiment.

“Migrant Children Program”
Contracts 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 31 all deal with Migrant children.
The first one, contract 21 with Blue Jay LLC is “To serve as a Regional Recruiter for the Migrant Education Program, identifying and recruiting migrant children and youth into the Migrant Education Program.”
There is little to nothing out there about Luis Ciliselli or Blue Jay LLC other than they are located in Wilmington, NC.

All Those Contracts to Corporations & “Non-Profits”
The lion’s share of the 74 contracts went to corporations, solutions providers and ‘non-profits. A lot of these contracts are sending dollars out of state.

#6 Heritage Consulting – The contract mentioned ‘Margaret Heritage’.  I found profiles for Margaret Heritage at Renaissance Learning, Dynamic Learning Progressions and the U.S. Dept. of Education’s go-to grant lapdog, WestEd.  It appears to be the same woman as cited by NC DPI’s Wikipage.

#36 – Craig Testing Inc. – Try Googling them. Nada. Zip.

#39 – 21st Century Solutions Inc. – I was unable to locate their website, but you can look them up at the NC Secretary of State.

#41 – New Teachers Center – They appreciate the over $10 million in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Hewlitt Foundation. The woman listed as the contact on the grant, Margaret Gayle, is a former NC DPI employee.

#42 – BloomBoard Inc. – “Formerly known as FormativeLearning, Inc., Palo Alto-based BloomBoard was founded in 2010 by Jason Lange, a former private equity associate, investment banker and NewSchools Venture Fund summer associate and Eric Dunn, formerly director of engineering at EdisonLearning.” EdSurge

#43 TregoED –  Common Core love affair.
“Reading informational texts and developing good arguments are two important skills that students need to develop to reach the common core standards.” – About  TregoEd ‘SCAN”

#44 – BlackBoard Inc.Partnered with more data driven, data collecting testing people than you can shake a stick at — Including Pearson.

#47 – Iron Data Solutions – Outsourcing reporting that DPI should be doing in-house? “Iron Data helps education regulatory agencies save time and money by automating critical business processes and reducing paper-based transactions.” Iron Data, About

#48 – MCNC – Deals with Broadband and Communications infrastructure in NC. An outfit brought to you by the legislature in 1980.  I bet most North Carolinians didn’t know that this thing existed.

#49 – CORE Education Consulting – Another tech firm using buzzwords; boils down to an outfit offering apps to test, track and report about activities by students and teachers.
“CORE ECS was established based on the idea that customized, tailored content and “high touch” services  – combined with effective, useful reporting and technology  – have the power to transform education in the 21st century.” CORE Education Consultin

#50, 51 and 52 – NewSouth Technologies – More business functions and data ‘help’. At least they are located in North Carolina to get their $521,920.00 in federal dollars.
“NewSouth Technologies, Inc. is an information technology services consulting company founded in 1998 and located in Raleigh, North Carolina. NewSouth specializes in helping state and local government clients develop and maintain state-of-the art information systems and business processes.” – NewSouth Technologies

#53 – KMQ Enterprises – You won’t find them under that name, try Tailwind Associates, located in upstate New York. More infrastructure and business solutions?

#54 – SAS Institute – With $3,816,474.00 in state funds, this contract to “provide reports” for  Educational Value Added Assessment System (EVAAS) — which attempts to predict student performance by looking at test scores. Goodnight will have more dollars to spend silencing Common Core critics from that chunk of change.

#55 -TECHEAD – Yet another business functions and solutions provider.
Staffing, Training and “Solutions“.  Let’s hope the money goes to the Charlotte location.

#56 – Trigyn Tech Inc. – Again, ANOTHER business solutions and IT related outfit.
No location in North Carolina.
“Trigyn provides IT Staffing, Solutions, Systems Integration, Software Development and Maintenance, Data-Driven Digital Marketing and other services to its clients.” – Trigyn

#57 – Solomon’s International – See their website. More tech/solutions from out of state. As Kakadelis noted in her article, “This company receives $80,500 to provide “project management services for the federal grant that funds the P20W Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS).” Solomons must “ensure that the project completes all grant deliverables” to the Federal Government.”

#72 – K12 Insight – This contract is apparently to supply an “online Software as a Service for a K12 Education Stakeholder Engagement Tool” to let NC DPI  “track, analyze and be responsive to NC K12 stakeholder concerns and recommendations for improved K12 education”.  – K12 Insight
Question: What stakeholders, exactly?
This is a company who helps steer the desired education narrative… or as K12 Insights call it, ‘overcoming obstacles‘ in that are in the way of administrators. Lately, those ‘obstacles’ have been parents and the public.

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