Washburn's World

My take on the world. My wife often refers to this as the WWW (Weird World of Washburn)

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Location: Germantown, Wisconsin, United States

I am a simple country boy transplanted from the Piehl Township in northern Wisconsin to the Milwaukee metropolitan area who came down "sout" in 1980 for college and have stayed in the area since.
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Friday, December 28, 2007

WIVA is not Home Schooling

Mike Plaisted at Plaisted Writes continues to call the Wisconsin Virtual Academy home schooling such as in this post.

Now, I know Mike Plaisted loves tax-supported, youth propaganda camps, but this love blinds him to reality on this topic.

WIVA is NOT homeschooling. Never has been. Never will be.

The incessant and false advertising of WIVA and its parent corporation, K12, does not make it home schooling. Actual home-schoolers, have objected to the false advertising of Bill Bennett and K12 for years (here is another example).

I would have thought Mike was more discerning than to perpetuate the lies of Bill Bennett. But then, Bill Bennett and WEAC are allies in the common goal of destroying actual home schooling.

Let's compare traditional, Prussian common schools (aka WEAC-approved, government schools), WIVA, and actual home schooling and let a candid world decide.

 Prussian / Government SchoolsWIVAHome Schooling
Can I choose the curriculum?NoNoYes
Can I choose which 180 days I hold class?NoNoYes
Do I need to file an IEP in order to modify my child's curriculum?YesYesNo
Can I discuss the religious teachings of Jesus, Mohammad, Jehovah, or Buddha?NoNoYes
If WEAC goes on strike does my child’s education stop?YesYesNo
Is the primary educator required to be WEAC certified?YesYesNo
Can I steal from my childless neighbors to pay for the education of my child?YesYesNo
Can I take the house of my childless neighbor if they refuse to pay for the education of my child?YesYesNo

The only reason WEAC had standing in out to bring suit is because WIVA is a tax-supported, government school. If it were home schooling, then WEAC (thanks to Wisconsin v Yoder) would have been powerless to call on the courts to shut down this effort to educate the public.

The next time WEAC, WIVA, or K12 lie again, just remember:
WIVA is not home schooling!
Never has been.
Never will be.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ron Paul -- Who Cares?

I was responing to a foolish comment on my previous post. The response got so long that it has been promoted to an posting unto itself. The complete, anonymous comment was:
    I am missing your point?
    4.3% for Paul as of 12/16 ???
    (Real Clear politics)
    Who cares????
The national average for national polls do indeed average to 4.5%. Fortunately, there are not national primaries in the US.

According to Real Clear Politics, Paul is kicking the snot out of Thompson in New Hampshire (7% to 3%) and Thompson is kicking the snot out of Paul in Iowa (9% to 5%).

But, even with the most optimist poll numbers (10% in South Carolina) Ron Paul will not win Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, or South Carolina. Thus, the point on the money should be obvious.

Money is the mother's milk of politics. Money translates into votes because of two things. Money can buy media and money can hire boots on the ground (e.g. Sean at Friends of Fred Thompson, Inc.)

Paul does not need to hire boots on the ground. He has actual volunteers. But, $17 million a quarter in donations buys a lot of media. My prediction is the money will be spent more in NH, SC, and MI rather than in IA. Caucuses are won and lost by "get-out-the-vote" efforts using boots-on-the-ground . Ron Paul has the upper hand in Iowa on this point. Thus, he will need to buy media in the primary states in order to increase his name recognition.

And at last the question: Who cares?
We who love liberty and freedom care.

Some of us would like to live in constitutional republic instead of an empire.

  • For the first time in decades, we who love liberty can vote for a Republican.
  • Finally, there is a Republican who will keep his promises.
  • A Republican who will live up to the ideals of the Republican party by lowering taxes and expanding individual liberty.
  • A Republican who recognizes that "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."
  • A Republican whose yeah is yeah and whose neah is neah."
  • Finally, a Republican whose knees will not buckle and whose spine will not go all noodlely ala Newt Gingrich when there is a government shut down.
  • A Republican who will not will sign bad legislation just to avoid a shutdown.
  • A Republican who will secure our borders
  • A Republican who will not depricate our currency.
  • A Republican who believes the second amendment exists so citizens can shoot at tyrants.
  • A Republican who believes it is a parent's DUTY to "train up a child in the way that he is to go" and thus supports home schooling, private schools, and allowing institutions which educate the public to arise and replace "public education".
  • A Republican who will dismantle our newly created star chambers.
  • Finally, a Republican who will not publicly declare his commitment to lawlessness as he signs legislation.

  • Those of us, for whom Fairness, Justice and Freedom are more than just words, they are perspectives, care. We care very deeply.

    I am tired of the rich and powerful clinging to me as they are dragged from their throne. I want a humble man as President. I want a President who can predict the consequences of hubris (e.g. in 2005, in 2001, in 1998). I want a President to actually take his oath of office seriously.

    I want Ron Paul.

    Semper Libertas.

    $5 Million For Ron Paul?

    Earlier I was chided for predicting Tea Party 07 would garner $5.5 Million.

    As so many others have, I have probably underestimated the support for Ron Paul. Clearly, the message of bringing Liberty and Freedom to America resonates in spite of the self-admitted shortcomings of its most current spokesman.

    After 12 hours, the Tea Party has raised $3.1 Million in donations.

    If you are curious, the current total can be viewed in real time. Well as fast as the orders can be processed and the Ron Paul Graphs server can cough up the pictures. Rember these are cash in hand donations. This amount does not include pledges.

    Trevor Lyman must be saying to himself "I love it when a plan comes together."

    Semper Libertas.

    Monday, December 03, 2007

    Milwaukee Election Numbers Still Don't Add Up

    When I saw the testimony of Neil Albrecht before Congress, I was surprised to hear all the numbers from November 2, 2004 had been reconciled.

    I was interested because, I have wanted an explanation for why these numbers do not add up for some time now. I requested any correspondences between the City of Milwaukee Election Commission and any of the four parts of the Joint Task Force. The response was prompt (2 business days), free of charge and succinct. There are no records of any correspondences (electronic or otherwise) between the City Election Commission and the FBI, the US Attorney of Eastern Wisconsin or the Milwaukee Police Department. The only correspondences (electronic or otherwise) have been between the City Election Commission and Milwaukee County DA and there have only been 4. All four correspondences are emails. The emails were sent
    March 3, 2006 at 2:58 pm,
    March 3, 2006 at 6:28 pm,
    April 3, 2006 at 7:27 am, and
    April 5, 2006 at 10:12 am.

    Based on these emails, I have questions about the "investigation" itself.
    1. How were the wards to "investigate" selected? According to the first email, the joint task force "investigated" the election records of only six wards. Those wards located at: Riverside High school (43 and 44), Rose Park Senior Center (wards 97 and 98), and Trowbridge School (wards 238 and 239). There are more than 50 wards with anomalous numbers that are off by more than 25. Three of those wards have a higher variance than found at Riverside High school (either ward 43 or ward 44). Why were the election records from the Cass Street School (ward 54) not investigated? Why were the election records from the French Immersion School (wards 192, 194, and 195) not investigated. Perhaps election records from other wards were examined. If so, the results of those investigation(s) would be hidden in the as yet unpublished, final report.

    2. Why were no inspectors questioned? The four emails make it quite clear the "investigators" only asked Room 501 for explanations. Ms. Edman and Mr. Albrecht are in the tough position of having to answer for a mess they did not create or administer. I don't envy that position. This is all the more reason to ask poll inspectors who were present: "What happened?". Again, maybe, election inspectors were questioned by the task force, but, if so, the results are hidden in the as yet unpublished, final report.
    Here are some findings of the task force as described in these emails.
    1. The Task force proved the Optech IIIP Eagles scanners cannot count properly. The number of ballots passing through the scanner (as determined by hand counting the number of ballots) is MORE than the number of ballots the scanner claims to have counted (as reported on the machine tape total).
    2. The Task force proved the ballot boxes may have been stuffed. The question seem to answer seems to be how much stuffing (e.g. 186 or 470 in ward 44). Even with the most generous accounting for then number of ballots handed to electors (poll list + same day registrants + Sworn Registered Voters), the ballot box in ward 44 had more ballots in it than handed to electors.
    3. Even more election records (besides poll books) have disappeared. It is stated the email, that the Sworn Registered Voter list for about half the wards in the City of Milwaukee had disappeared by April 5, 2005. The Milwaukee Police Department is cited as perhaps having the records, but since no receipts were kept and the date the records were transferred to the MPD is unknown, this is unsupported speculation.
    What we have here is a failure to count.
    The explanation for the scanner not being able to count the number of ballots cast, is the unsupported, speculation "the ballot jammed". This is different than the miscounting error due to faulty programming reported reported during the September 12, 2006 primary election. This may be related to the miscounting counting error videotaped on September 12, 2006. Ballot jams was the same explanation offered for the documented miscounting in Germantown District #1 during the November 2, 2004 and April 5, 2005 elections. Since, the "ballot jams" has been offered as the explanation for miscounting on scanners from 2 vendors (ES&S Optech's in Milwaukee and Diebold AccuVote scanners in Germantown) in multiple elections perhaps we should test to see what happens when ballots jam in a context other than an actual election? I am NOT advocating dropping optical scanners in favor DRE touch screens. The only reason we KNOW the scanners miscount is because there are software independent records (the actual ballots) available to confirm or deny the software works as advertised. With DRE touch screen computers there are no pesky contradictory records. The DRE computer generates all of the records, so the records are consistent. But, consistent records are not the same as accurate records. I am proposing we test these scanners to find out how they really work so election officials in the polling places can handle machine and software faults appropriately.

    Does the Sworn Registered Voter List, "close the gap"?
    In the March 3, 2005 email Mr. Albrecht speculates the missing 186 voters handed a ballot could be on the Sworn Registered Voter List. This he states might be an explanation for the appearance of ballot box stuffing (more ballots counted than handed to electors). He offers no evidence though that there were 186 people from ward 44 who registered to vote at City Hall 13 days prior to the election. some questions on this "answer":
    • Is the Sworn Registered Voter List for ward 44 one of the half that have disappeared?
    • If the list exists, does the Sworn Registered Voter List for ward 44 have 186 people listed?
    • If the list exists and has 186 voters on it, why weren't these sworn registered voters given a voter number like everyone else?
    • If the list exists and is short, were these same election inspectors allowed to corrupt subsequent elections?
    • When did this meeting with the MPD about Sworn Registered Voter List occur and why is there no record of it or results documented? I did ask for such records and was told none exist.
    • How is it ward 39 located at Sandberg Hall of UWM handled more electors (2100) than ward 44 or ward 43, but manage to have every single number reconcile nearly perfectly?
    More missing records !?!
    It was not reported until July 2007 that many of the poll lists for the November 2, 2004 election had disappeared. The explanation offered was the poll books were lost by the MPD sometime during the 2 years the records were unavailable for inspection. Since, there no receipts were issued or demanded, there is no way to confirm or deny this speculation on the poll books. The Sworn Registered Voters list though disappeared sometime on or before April 5, 2005. This assumes the lists were created at all. Within 5 months of the election it was known that vital election records had gone missing or had not been created. I don't remember any prosecutions of election official for negligence in performing their duties. These emails support my speculation that the task force focused on voter fraud (e.g. Kimberly Prude) instead of election fraud. The task force is and was majoring on the minors". But, the bigger question though is what other records are missing?
    • Has anyone on the task force bothered to look?
    • Or, is the complete catalog of missing records hinted at in the preliminary report contained in the as-yet unpublished, final report?
    As usual the more questions you ask the more "answers" you get and the more answers you get the more questions you have. The official explanation though remains constant:
    "Mistakes were Made"