Friday, December 22, 2006

Score one for LA schools

Yesterday Judge Dzintra Janavs slapped down Mayor Villaraigosa's bid to take over LA’s dysfunctional Unified School District.

The Judge ”found the entire law defective and ordered public officials "to refrain from enforcing or implementing" any part of it,"

Judge scuttles mayor's school takeover plan

A judge today nullified legislation giving Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa substantial authority over the Los Angeles Unified School District, a stunning setback to Villaraigosa's plans -- already in progress -- to assume direct control of dozens of Los Angeles schools.

The mayor, at a news conference this afternoon, said he has instructed lawyers for the city to appeal the ruling. He said he would also ask that the California Supreme Court hear the appeal directly.

We will not be set back," Villaraigosa said.

He added: "We refuse to be deterred by the forces of the status quo."

The ruling was a sweeping victory for the school district and puts in question the mayor's education agenda, which was embodied in the legislation before the court.

Under Assembly Bill 1381, Villaraigosa would have ratified the hiring and firing of future superintendents through a Council of Mayors that he would have dominated. And he would have had direct authority over three low-performing high schools and the elementary and middle schools that feed into them.


"The statute makes drastic changes in the local governance of the LAUSD, giving the mayor a role that is unprecedented in California," she noted in her ruling, adding that the law "completely deprives the LAUSD governing board of any ability to control or influence the actions or decisions" in schools directly under the mayor's control.

That was a primary goal of the legislation, but the judge rejected that intent as contrary to the California Constitution on numerous grounds. Fundamentally, she said, the Constitution forbids transferring authority over schools to entities outside the public school system.

She cited a 1946 constitutional amendment that "specifically removed municipal authority over school districts and appears to reflect the people's determination to separate municipal functions from school functions due to the variety of conflicts that arise between their respective interests."

Here’s the Ruling (PDF) This case will obviously enjoy a second hearing in Supreme Court but after reading the ruling and the citing of the 1946 constitutional amendment by this judge the mayor and his mob look to have a tough fight on their hands!

Although I feel the LA school board is responsible for making LA one of the worst-educated cities in the nation the answer is not turning over control to the mayor!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bloggers Must Disclose Sponsored Posts

For those who may not know about blogging for cash, let me introduce PayPerPost. PayPerPost is a consumer generated advertising company that connects advertisers with bloggers, videographers, photographers, podcasters and participants in social networks to market products. Until know, bloggers and others have been able to do so without disclosing the fact that they were being paid by said company!

Bloggers Must Disclose Sponsored Posts

A company that helps advertisers connect with bloggers willing to write about their products for payment will now require disclosures amid criticism and a regulatory threat.

Before this week, advertisers were barred by PayPerPost Inc. from telling bloggers they can't disclose the sponsorship, but bloggers were able to decide on their own whether or not to do so. Under the new policy, bloggers must disclose that they are accepting payment, either in the write-up or in a general disclosure policy on the blogger's Web journal.

"Ever since we launched, there's been a lot of controversy about disclosure," said Ted Murphy, PayPerPost's chief executive.

Besides other bloggers questioning the ethics of receiving payments without disclosure, the Federal Trade Commission said in a Dec. 7 staff opinion that failure to disclose could, in some cases, violate consumer-protection laws on deception. The FTC did not single out PayPerPost or say whether it would launch any investigation.

David Sifry of Technorati praised PayPerPost's move; so do I!
"Overall, this is an encouraging and long-awaited change," he said. "I think that people have learned that without trust, all posts become suspect. ... By encouraging honesty and transparency in sponsored posts, PayPerPost adds (some) clarity to the waters they muddied when they launched six months ago."

In my opinin this is a great move and should be applauded!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006



The Democrats promise;
"A New Direction For America"

The stock market is at an all-time high and America's 401K's are back.
A new direction from there means, what?

Unemployment is at 25-year lows.
A new direction from there means, what?

Oil prices are stabilizing,
A new direction from there means, what?

Taxes are at 20 year lows.
A new direction from there means, what?

Federal tax revenues are at all-time highs.
A new direction from there means, what?

The Federal deficit is down almost 50%, just as predicted over last year.
A new direction from there means. What?

Home valuations are up 200% over the past 3.5 years.
A new direction from there means, what?

Inflation is in check, hovering at 20-year lows.
A new direction from there means, what?

Not a single terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11/01.
A new direction from there means, what?

Osama bin Laden is living under a rock in a dark cave, having not surfaced in years, if he's alive at all, while 95% of Al Queda's top dogs are either dead or in custody and cooperating with US Intel. A new direction from there means, what?

Several major terrorist attacks already thwarted by US and British Intel, including the recent planned attack involving 10 Jumbo Jets being exploded in mid-air over major US cities in order to celebrate the anniversary of the 9/11/01 attacks.

Just as President Bush foretold us on a number of occasions, Iraq was to be made "ground zero" for the war on terrorism -- and just as President Bush said they would, terrorist cells from all over the region are arriving from the shadows of their hiding places and flooding into Iraq in order to get their faces blown off by US Marines rather than boarding planes and heading to the United States to wage war on us here.

A new direction means what?

Now let me see, do I have this right?

Can we expect:

The economy to go South

Illegals to go North

Taxes to go Up

Employment to go Down

Terrorism to come In

Tax breaks to go Out

Social Security to go Away

Health Care to go the same way gas prices have gone

But what the heck!

I can gain comfort by knowing that Nancy P, Hillory C, John K, Edward K, Howard D, Harry R and Obama have worked hard to create a comprehensive National Security Plan, Health Care Plan, Immigration Reform Plan, Gay Rights Plan, Same Sex Marriage Plan, Abortion On Demand Plan, Tolerance of Everyone and Everything Plan, How to Return all Troops to the U.S. in The Next Six Months Plan, A Get Tough Plan (adapted from the French Plan by the same name and a; How Everyone Can Become as Wealthy as We Are Plan.

I forgot the: No More Katrina Type Storm Plan!!!

Now I know why I feel good after the elections; I am going to be able to sleep so much better at night knowing these dedicated politicians are thinking of me and my welfare.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Defence of Rorke's Drift

The Defence of Rorke's Drift stands out in history as one of the finest examples of discipline and valor ever recorded. A battle in which, about 140 men successfully defended the Drift against an overwhelming force of about 4,500 Zulus.

The Battle of Rorke's Drift

The Combatants: British infantry with Natal irregulars against Zulu warriors.

The Commanders: The British garrison was commanded by Lieutenant John Chard, Royal Engineers, and Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead of the 24th Foot. The Zulus were commanded by Prince Dabulamanzi kaMapande.

The Size of the Armies: 139 British troops against about 4,500 Zulus.
British Regiments: B Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot: later the South Wales Borderers and now the Royal Regiment of Wales. Men of the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Army Service Corps, Commissariat and Medical Corps.

The Zulu War of 1879 is full of individual acts of heroism, devotion and situations of the gravest peril; yet the one that clearly stands out and has echoed its way though history is The Defence of Rorke's Drift. On January 22nd 1879, the main Zulu Impi of 20,000 men attacked the British Camp at Isandlwana. The 1,500 defenders were overrun and massacred. Later that day, the mission station at Rorke's Drift was attacked. 140 men successfully defended the Drift against an overwhelming force of 4,000 Zulus.

11 Victoria Crosses were awarded for this action. Asandlwana January 22nd 1879. Eleven days after invading Zululand, the camp at Isandlwana was attacked by 20,000 Zulu warriors. Chelmsford had left the camp earlier that day with half the Column, believing the main Zulu Army to be some way away. The 1,500 men that remained fought a furious battle, but as the horns of the Buffalo surrounded them, they were overrun and massacred with deadly efficiency. It was the most devastating defeat of a modern army. More officers were killed than at Waterloo and more men than at Alma or Inkermen.

The Zulu Prince kaMpande commanded an impi a force of about 4,500 zulu warriors. The Prince, disobaying his brothers (the King) request not to cross the Buffalo River into Natal, he chose to attack the British supply base close to a river crossing known as Rorke's Drift. A mission station that consisted of a dwelling house and a chapel, both sturdily built of stone. The house was doing temporary duty as a field hospital, the chapel was full of stores and there were only 104 men who were fit enough to fight.

The command of the post had passed to Lieutenant Chard of the Royal Engineers and commanding a company-strength detachment was Lieutenant Bromhead of the 24th Regiment.

James Langley Dalton, Acting Assistant Commissary, ordered the construction of barricades connecting the two buildings.

When the Zulus attacked they were unable to reach the men behind the barricades and they were pelted by rifle fire at point blank range. Most of those who withstood the fire with armored checst plates were thouraly dispatched bayonets.

After a number of unsuccessful attacks the Zulus set fire to the hospital breaking in they began attacking patients. A private named Alfred Henry Hook kept them at bay with his bayonet while John Williams hacked holes in the wall separating one room from another and dragged the patients through one by one.

The Fighting continued all night as the Zulus made charge after charge on the barricades. Both sides fought with desperate courage. In the yard Surgeon James Henry Reynolds tended to the wounded, oblivious to the life and death struggle going on all around him. Those too badly hurt to shoot propped themselves up as best they could and reloaded the guns, and re-supplied ammunition to those who were still on their feet.

*As dawn broke, the British could see that the Zulus were gone; all that remained were the vast piles of dead - over 370 bodies were counted. Patrols were dispatched to scout the battlefield, recover rifles, and look for survivors. At roughly 7am an impi of Zulus suddenly appeared, and the weary redcoats manned their positions once again. Yet no attack materialised. The Zulus were utterly spent, having been on the move for six days prior to the battle and having not eaten properly for two. In their ranks were hundreds of wounded, and they were several days march from any supplies. Soon after their appearance, the Zulus left the way they had come.

Around 8am, another force appeared, and the redcoats abandoned their makeshift breakfast of rum, tea and biscuits to man their positions once again. This was no Zulu force, however; Lord Chelmsford and the column he commanded had arrived. The battle was over. Eleven soldiers, including seven of the 2/24th, were awarded the Victoria Cross - the most awarded in a single action in the history of the British Empire.

Along with discipline and valor defending a small outpost when vastly outnumbered has been a strategic goal of western fighting forces ever since this historic battle. It’s a shinning example of what a disciplined fighting force with strong on the ground unit leadership can accomplish 1879 Africa or 2006 Iraq and Afghanistan.


* is taken from wikipedia Rorke's Drift

Book - Like Wolves on the Fold: The Defence of Rorke's Drift by Mike Snook

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Venezuela Halts Transmission

Telemundo: Venezuela Halts Transmission

Officials identifying themselves as members of a state regulatory agency forced the U.S.-based Spanish-language TV network Telemundo to halt transmission Sunday of its presidential election coverage.

"We're surprised by this," said Pablo Iacub, a member of Telemundo's eight-person team, which arrived last week. "We only want to do our work," he said by telephone.

At least six people who identified themselves as members of the National Commission of Telecommunications (CONATEL), which regulates electronic media in Venezuela, arrived Sunday afternoon at the hotel from which Telemundo had been transmitting since Friday, said Iacub.

The officials said the network needed permission to transmit and lacking such could not, he said. Iacub said he was unaware of such a requirement but that the Telemundo journalists were accredited with Venezuela's national elections council.

Iacub said the Telemundo team asked how they could obtain permission and, after an hour, were told that they would not be able to transmit.

Telephone calls to Conatel offices seeking comment on the incident went unanswered.

Telemundo Communications Group is owned by NBC Universal Inc., which is controlled by General Electric Co. It claims to reach about 93 percent of Hispanic households in the U.S. and also has viewers in Mexico.