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Archive for the tag “DOE”

US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

THE TIP OF A MASSIVE WAVE OF GOVERNMENT WASTE!

Some people are Liberal because they are lazy, some because they are crooks, some because they are dumb, some because they were brainwashed and some because they are dead. I challenge any sane person on this earth to justify why we have a Department of Energy and especially why we allow what are likely thousands of other debacles like the one described in this article to exist? No one on earth can justify this insanity to continue but Congress and our Executive branch of government. These hidden waste are allowed by Congress to exist by just ignoring them. This is not just a Democratic problem and it will never be stopped until the people demand term limits for every elected official in America. If you are asleep read David Stockman’s latest article in the papers this weekend. Wake up America and scream.

Listening to the news this morning about another scandal within the DOE about how they skirt the salary limits for thousands of consultants that are used as employees peaked my interest. I have admitted that I gather most of my news from blogs as the national news media ignores 99% of wasteful spending by our government.

This snippet on Fox News enticed me to scour the blogosphere for tidbits of facts to pass on to my readers. The following is a summarization about just one facet of the total waste of having a US Department of Energy that is so bloated it should have been axed 30 years ago. I located these facts in a blog, “Maggie’s Notebook”, written on February 14, 2013. I suppose it was read locally but escaped notice from the media. Why would any American care how much is wasted by our government? Well, I do!

A Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located in Colorado, was forced to hand over documents requested by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filed by Watchdog.org and Judicial Watch. This laboratory is 100% funded by your and my tax dollars and provide a way to hide waste and pay above government scale salaries to outside consultants and political friends.

The Manager of (NERL) is Mr. Dan Arvizu is paid nearly $1,000,000.00 million per year, He has two others that report to him that are paid more than $500,000 each. There are nine other people who are paid more than $350,000 each.

According to Judicial Watch, “federal employees” at NREL are “encouraged to” use Twitter and Facebook. Kerrilee Ann Crosby, told employees of Watchdog.org they deserved to die.

In 2010, the funding for (NERL) was a $181 million, up $40 million from 2009. NERL is a laboratory for solar, wind, biomass and biorefinery, hydrogen, geothermal, and water power. In 2010, Ampulse Corp published “A Case Study on Technology Transfer in U.S. Department of Energy Laboratories.” NREL’s job is to transfer what they learn to private companies. Ampulse worked with NREL. Remember Abound Solar, one of the U.S. government-funded bankruptcies? Abound received $70 million of a $400 million DOE loan guarantee.  When Abound closed shop, Ampulse hired Former Abound VP President of Global Sales Erik Mikysa and he is not the VP of Business Development at Ampulse.

Not only was the Abound solar project not profitable, the once-company was under investigation for “misleading investors and a bank.”

Company employees have since come forward saying Abound officials knew their solar panels were defective and sold them anyway in order to meet benchmarks, so the company could get the Department of Energy loan.

NREL delves into exciting research with our tax money. One project that we should all embrace was a “Feasibility Study of Anaerobic Digestion of Food Waste in St. Bernard, Louisiana.”

Feel free to visit their website to review more of these important projects that just “make work” for government leeches. Please remember that we were promised that waste in government would be eliminated with old “Trust me, Joe Biden”.

I wonder that if someone in Congress decided to really care about stopping this nonsense they would demand that the Department of Energy be eliminated. I feel certain that if details in each of the DOE bankruptcy scandals was made public the DOE would be gone. It would be interesting to know exactly how many cases just like Abound would we find connected in some way with the NREL. There must be hundreds of other DOE Laboratories like Sandia that was in the news today.

Does this bother anyone but me?

C Brewer 4-2-13

EDUCATION TEXAS- HELPING TEACHERS HELP THEMSELVES

 

 

 

I just read an interesting article in the NY Times, by Michael Winerip that makes more sense than anything I have ever seen regarding teacher improvement. I would like to paraphrase some of the highlights to share with others.

The Montgomery County, Maryland, Public School system has a program for evaluating teachers that is the closest thing to common sense I have ever seen. They provide teachers professional support if they are performing poorly and dismiss those who can’t or won’t improve.

Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) uses successful teachers to mentor new teachers as well as veterans having problems. If unsuccessful, the PAR panel — made up of eight teachers and eight principals — can vote to fire the teacher. 

In one recent case, 11 of the 12 panel members present voted to follow a principal’s recommendation and discipline the teacher; in  a second case, they decided in a 10-to-2 vote to reject a principal’s recommendation and support the teacher.

Since the PAR concept was introduced 11 years ago, 200 teachers have been dismissed, and 300 chose to leave rather than go through the PAR process. The superintendent of the Montgomery County system, which enrolls 145,000 students, stated that in the ten years before PAR five teachers were fired. “It took three to five years to build the trust to get PAR in place,” he explained. “Teachers had to see we weren’t playing gotcha.”

Maryland’s state superintendent of schools stated that PAR was an excellent system for professional development. The United States Department of Education has studied the program, and Montgomery County officials have gone to Washington to explain how it works.

Unfortunately, federal dollars from the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program are not going where they need to go. Montgomery County schools were entitled to $12 million from Race to the Top, but the superintendent said he would not take the money because the grant required districts to include students’ state test results as a measure of teacher quality. He does not believe the tests are reliable. He said. “You don’t want to turn your system into a test factory.” This is exactly what Governor Perry and the Texas Legislature are imposing on our teachers, which are not only sad, but a big waste of money. Sadly everyone is ignoring the students.

Race to the Top was designed to improve our student’s education by improving teacher quality. That is exactly what Montgomery County is doing. Sad to say, the district is getting the right results the wrong way. Common sense moved out of Washington D.C. and now it is moving out of Austin Texas.

84 percent of Montgomery County students go on to college and 63 percent receives degrees. This is what President Obama said was a true measure of academic success. 2.5 percent of all black children in America who pass an Advanced Placement test live in Montgomery County, more than five times its share of the nation’s black population.

12 states that were awarded the billions of dollars in Race to the Top grants are using student scores as a measure of teachers’ worth. The US Department of Education appears gratified that Race to the Top money has pressured states to adopt this senseless approach to measure anything. The Maryland state superintendent said the administration made it clear that if a state wanted to win a grant, the proposal had to include a formula for calculating student growth. Maryland toed the line and was awarded $250 million.

The state requested an exception for Montgomery because of the PAR program’s history of success and was told that no modifications were allowed. Districts are not permitted to appeal to federal officials, said the director of the Implementation and Support Unit at the U.S. Department of Education.

So, Montgomery’s PAR program, which has worked beautifully for 11 years, is not acceptable. But the Maryland plan — which does not exist yet — meets federal standards. This is irresponsible leadership and a waste of education funding. Who loses the students?

The major fallacy of Race to the Top’s teacher-evaluation system is that it is being imposed from above rather than being developed by the teachers and administrators who will use it. People don’t tear down what they help build.

Governor Perry and the hand full of legislators who are micromanaging Texas education should visit a PAR meeting. That would be a common sense approach, long ago ignored by politicians.

Clyde Brewer

EDUCATION IN TEXAS PART 1-A SAD TALE OF FAILURE

 

For the past few weeks I have been posting the sad state of education in America, using Wisconsin as a benchmark. When you see what has happened in Wisconsin, California, New York, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and other states that have closed shop laws, it is terrible. I think that somewhere back in time when the Unions took over leadership of public employees and introduced strikes, money making insurance schemes, etc., everyone forgot the taxpayer. Apparently the taxpayer did not care and in regards to education, everyone forgot the children.

Well, in Texas we do not have closed shops. We do not have the unionization of public employees. We do not have strikes. We do not provide adequate funding for our children’s education. We have no idea whether funding, greed, graft, capability or leadership is the reason our education system is inadequate.

Let me share some facts:

Texas has 254 counties.

Texas has 1265 school districts.

Texas has 4,331,751 K-12 students.

Texas has 289,480 full time teachers.

Texas has 33,630 ungraded teachers. 

These figures along with myriads of facts and statistics are available on the internet and I feel sure this will be figures that our state legislatures and Governor have never seen. When you finish reading this posting, you will likely wonder if the Texas State leadership should meet in Rusk rather than Austin. For the unaware Rusk, Texas is the location of the most recognized mental institution, “Funny Farm”, in Texas. 

This post will be the first in a series about education in Texas. I sincerely hope you will contact your local State Representative and State Senator to explain their position. There is no use in wasting your time with contacting the Governor, Rick Perry, as he has done more to destroy education in Texas than the federal government. He will likely be trying to succeed Obama next year and as far as education is concerned, he will try to make all states as bad as Texas.

Let me provide you with some questions to ask the politicians who represent you. This includes your local Mayor, School Board President and the loons in Austin, or maybe in Rusk. The ones in Rusk are at least incapable of spending your tax money. I was able to find one State Senator, Florence Shapiro, who represents District 8, I will exempt from my list of loons. She has challenged the proposed madness in writing and is a strong supporter for assuring our children are not education and political pawns for her entire career. If anyone else in Austin feels slighted, show me what you have written to support the kids.  

Unfortunately some of the facts that follow are as late as I can find for you to evaluate. If you find any pertinent information, please forward me a copy.

Facts of Texas rankings out of all 50 states (not Obama’s 57) including Washington D.C. which makes 51 positions to rank;

Expenditure per student in 2008, Texas ranked 43rd.

Student poverty rate in 2008, Texas ranked 8th.

Fourth grade students in math in 2009, Texas ranked 32nd.

Fourth grade students in reading in 2009, Texas ranked 41st.

Eighth grade students in math in 2009, Texas ranked 21st.

Eighth grade students in reading in 2009, Texas ranked 40th.

Nationally defined graduation rates, Texas ranked 35th.

*School finance inequity, Texas ranked 41st.

*School finance inequity – or the degree to which per pupil spending varies across districts within a state relative to the state’s average per pupil expenditure – is an important factor in determining educational equity. The U.S. Department of Education calculates school finance inequity for each state in accordance with the Education Finance Incentive Grant formula, assigning each state an “equity factor.” The more equitable the distribution of education funding across districts in a state, the lower the equity factor. For more detailed information on the funding formula and see No Child Left Behind Act – Title I School Funding Equity Factor.1

At this time you can digest this and ask two simple questions to anyone who will listen. Please ask the questions to your State Representative and State Senator. I will ask Robert Nichols and Wayne Christian to respond to this by sending them a copy, they supposedly represent me. Although I do not expect any written answer, if I get any response I will share it with you when received.

Question #1 Can anyone why we have 1265 school districts in Texas?

Question #2 What reasons justifies the over 20% reduction of next year’s education budget?

Wait until you see some more figures on what Texas spends for education and a wide disparity between the 1265 school districts. These figures will get you excited if you pay school taxes or have children enrolled in Texas schools.

The above sounds like I am a liberal democrat thumping the super majority republicans in Austin to fire up contempt. There is not a republican in the State of Texas more conservative than myself. I just can’t sit on my hands and watch the slashing of education with no thought concerning the negative impact on the children. That is not leadership.

C Brewer

EDUCATION DECLINES-COSTS GO UP, WHY?

 

 

There are major reasons why education today is tragically different from in the 1930’s and 1940’s when I was educated. One reason we have had a major decline in education in America is the parents. Mothers did not work and were there daily to teach you respect for others and monitor your every activity including discipline. Dads were available to teach you about work and prepare you for life. If you challenged your mother, dad would make sure you understood that mom was always right. I learned as much from my parents as I did in school. If I had problems in school or homework, they were always there to help me.

Teachers actually taught classes without any disruption as discipline was expected and enforced. Rule #1, with any disruption you would get embarrassed verbally by the teacher. Rule #2, if you disrupted the class the second time you were likely disciplined physically by the teacher. Rule #3, next you were escorted to the principal’s office for a guaranteed physical event to get your undivided attention. Rule #3 also included notifying your parents which would probably result in some form of a Rule #4, physical punishment. As I have never been one to enjoy pain of any description, I never faced Rules 2, 3, or 4.

Bad or poor grades were another event that would result in discipline. Being berated verbally and embarrassed in class by the teacher was common practice. Showing a bad report card to my mother resulted in the loss of something important was guaranteed.

 I challenge anyone to produce any facts that parents and discipline are not the primary reasons we have lost our position of leadership in education to second and third world rated countries today.

Why has this happened?  People now want more materialistic things before they can truly afford them. Case in point, I never owned a car until I was 23 years old, had served over four years in the U.S. Navy, and was married with two children. It took that long to amass enough assets to use as collateral to borrow the $100 to purchase a 1940 car in 1953. Today it is considered punishment if you do not get a car when you turn 16. The result today is both parents have to work to provide the funds to keep up with their peers. Larger homes, fancier cars, club memberships and designer apparel are necessities rather than dreams. This success caused resentment from those without the desire to work that hard.  

Another reason is society has digressed and accepted new moral standards. One parent families only existed when I was growing up as a result of a tragedy.  Today one parent families is as commonplace as the sun rising. The number of one parent families has skyrocketed out of sight. Children do not have the preparation or support necessary to understand the need for education, work and discipline. The same resentment from these children for lack of materialistic parity has created the increase in criminal activity and instead of getting educated they occupy the prisons.

The last reason is that teachers and administrators are no longer allowed to discipline a student. If they embarrass or berate a student today it will usually result in facing a raging parent. Even if they agree with the action, they are mad because they have to interrupt their work to get involved. If physical punishment was involved you can expect the parent, their attorney and litigation. Whether you know it or not, teachers today have to buy liability insurance to protect their family assets. Today parents fear litigation for any form of physical punishment of their own children. It would not surprise me to see parents having to buy liability insurance to protect them from their own children. Obamacare has recently mandated that your children are you’re your responsibility until they are 26. This illustration is just to remind you that we did not have as many lawyers when I was young. We had no television so there were no commercials every 15 minutes from lawyers begging you to sue anybody for anything possible.

If you doubt my wisdom, please take the time to go spend just one day with a teacher in a classroom that does not include your child. If every elected politician and judge at every level of government from Obama to your local level would observe, by video, a full day of a classroom, common sense change would happen.

Again I would appreciate “factual” data that refutes my claims from anyone, including a government agency and especially the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). If the DOE would just spend 10% of the billions addressing discipline and correcting the problem, it would help the teachers and administrators immensely.

C Brewer

EDUCATION OR “SOCIAL JUSTICE”?

 

 

Over the past few weeks I have spent many hours reading about the education situation in America. Over the past few days, I have posted several interesting articles regarding abuses and failures of our current educational systems. One thing is certain to me, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has done more in recent years to destroy the education system than improve it. What they have accomplished is “Social Justice” that President promised he would expand. He may not get credit for starting this “change”, but he deserves 90% of the credit for putting it in overdrive with twin afterburners wide open.

Billions of our tax dollars, in reality, have been used to make sure minorities and illegal aliens are provided a superior quality education opportunity than the remaining children. Money has been lavishly provided without equality in the staffing and equipping of what are called “Title One schools”. They have the finest and most expensive modern equipment available. They also have what are called “Re-starts” that are not provided to other schools equally. “Re-Starts” are specialists in subjects like reading, science, math etc., that the teacher has available to help with a single student if they have a problem in a particular subject. The costs for these programs are provided by the “DOE” and several other federal agencies with your money. If you doubt my facts I challenge you to go visit a “Title One” school in your district and ask questions and observe. Next go visit what is supposed to be an equal opportunity school, without this special designation. Review the 92 page DOE budget breakdown like I did and previously reported on. This is blatant discrimination specifically designed to share the wealth of others and deny equal opportunity for every child to have equal rights. 

If you doubt my facts then go prove me wrong. I actually observed this in a large Texas school district a couple of years ago. The teachers in the regular school had to spend many after hour’s time in preparing and copying study and work plans as they had to use critically limited equipment. There were no “Re-Starts” available to help with children who needed special attention. In the Title One school each teacher had the necessary equipment in their classroom. They could work on future study and work plans while the students were at work, at lunch and on the playgrounds. In addition the teachers and the principal in the Title One school were paid extra for having to teach mostly minority or illegal students. Even though the work environments were drastically different and the pay was uneven, I did not observe any difference in a teacher’s professionalism at either school.

Any “normal” American, by now, should agree that discrimination is wrong. Everyone should agree that discrimination in the past was terribly wrong. Regardless of anyones belief, penalizing any childs chance to get an equal education opportunity using “Social Justice” as a reason, is wrong. Our government for the past several years decided that revenge for what happened in 1700’s, 1800’s and early 19oo’s will be paid back in the 2000’s. We have been in a second civil war in America for the last 50 years. Sad but true, instead of the north against the south we have the government against the people and the people against each other. Thank God we are using words and printing money as ammunition instead of bullets. It is time to stop this self-destruction and we need a leader instead of a community organizer. Has anyone seen a leader emerge, I have not so far.

The primary reasons we have a decline in education in America has never been admitted or addressed by the DOE. Later I will share with you what are the prime reasons we have let educating our children erode and offer some specific recommendations.

C Brewer

US Department of Education-Part 1

 

I plan to write a series of articles that will use Department of Education (DOE) documents, and the myriad of information available. My mission will be to follow this Agency’s function to see how the United States went from having one of the best educational systems in the world to one that appears to me to be a total disaster when compared with Asia’s advancement in education over my lifetime. When you read the specific facts you can draw your own conclusions to decide if the Federal Government has caused or ignored the problem, or both.

My initial reaction after spending several hours of reading is that the DOE, that like most other Government Departments, primary mission is to brag about the accomplishments and support its government union employees. The DOE was created in 1867 when we had started the path to lead the world in creativity for the next 100 years. My concern is how did we lose our educational leadership?

Next I will provide a copy of “The Federal Role in Education” that summarizes an Overview, History, Mission and Staffing that is available on the DOE website. Finding this was a time-consuming process by design. Another unusual thing I found is that you have no way to pose written questions by “E” mail that can be done with other government agencies. I encourage you to print the next issue to help you follow the series. It contains the Overview, History, Mission and Staffing summary.

When you see the money they spend it seems simple to eliminate any department of the government that has accomplished nothing to improve our educational standings in the world or stopped its demise. Some one, some where, caused this problem. I doubt all 50 States, that are never in unison, are the cause!

If you have the same concerns help me obtain factual data to use in my articles.  CB

WHY NOT START CUTTING HERE?

The following information was copied from the Department of Energy (DOE) website. Before I comment and suggest the need for someone to ask some questions, let me share some facts. Prior to President Carter there was no Department of Energy. I suppose that we as common folks should just assume that none of the things the DOE is doing today were being done by any other government agencies.

Please read the following two paragraphs that are copied from the DOE 2011 Budget Request which is 92 pages long;

 “The Department’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 budget request of $28,400,000,000.00, a 6.8 percent or  $1,800,000,000.00 increase from FY 2010, supports the President’s commitment to respond in a considered, yet expeditious manner to the challenges of rebuilding the economy, maintaining nuclear deterrence, securing nuclear materials, improving energy efficiency, incentivizing production of renewable energy, and curbing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Together with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) and FY 2010 budget, the FY 2011 budget request supports investment for a multi year effort to address these interconnected challenges.”

“The FY 2011 budget builds on the $36,700,000,000.00 in Recovery Act funding. By the end of FY 2010, the Department expects to obligate 100 percent and outlay roughly 35-40 percent of Recovery Act funds. In developing the FY 2011 budget request, the Department has taken these investments into account. Recovery Act investments in energy conservation and renewable energy sources ($16,800,000,000.00), environmental management ($6,000,000,000.00), loan guarantees for renewable energy and electric power transmission projects ($4,000,000,000.00), grid modernization ($4,500,000,000.00), carbon capture and sequestration ($3,400,000,000.00), basic science research ($1,600,000,000.00) and the establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy ($400,000,000.00) will continue to strengthen the economy by providing much-needed investment, by saving or creating tens of thousands of direct jobs, cutting carbon emissions and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.”

About DOE

The Department of Energy’s overarching mission is to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States; to promote scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission; and to ensure the environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex. The Department’s strategic goals to achieve the mission are designed to deliver results along five strategic themes:

Energy Security:  Promoting America’s energy security through reliable, clean, and affordable energy
   
Nuclear Security:  Ensuring America’s nuclear security
   
Scientific Discovery and Innovation:  Strengthening U.S. scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and improving quality of life through innovations in science and technology
   
Environmental Responsibility:  Protecting the environment by providing a responsible resolution to the environmental legacy of nuclear weapons production
   
Management Excellence:  Enabling the mission through sound management

 

Within these themes there are sixteen strategic goals which are designed to help DOE successfully achieve its mission and vision.

WOW

Maybe you need to read this again to digest the magnitude of how screwed up our government has become. For a business educated and successful businessman this is the icing on top of the icing on the cake. I have no idea how many employees the DOE has but you can bet it will increase every year as long as our Congress-persons do not even care what is wasted. I sincerely wish everyone who reads this message will make sure their Representative and Senators get a copy and ask them to answer the following questions.

1. Who was responsible for the global threat of nuclear weapons before the DOE? What does Homeland Security do now?
2. Who was responsible for unsecured or excess nuclear materials before the DOE? Probably the DOD.
3. Who was responsible for improving energy efficiency before the DOE? What does the EPA do?
4. What is “incentivizing production of renewable energy”? What does the Department of the Interior do?
5. Why do we need multiple government agencies responsible for curbing greenhouse gas emissions to curb climate charge? I thought this was the responsibility of the EPA.
6. Why is the DOE in the loan business guarantee business? Why not the Treasury or Commerce Departments?
7. What is “Carbon Capture and Sequestration”? Again why not the EPA.
8. What specific direct jobs have been created with DOE investments? Unbelievable!
9. What happened to all of the government employees who did these things before the DOE was created? What Departments shrunk?
 
I found these questions from just reading two paragraphs of a report that is 92 pages  long. If I read a whole page this list would be so long no one would read the message. There is not one single reason for the DOE to even exist as someone else did all of these things before it was created. We are more dependent on foreign oil than we have ever been because the “Tree Huggers” have control of Congress and could care less what it costs the folks for energy. We have not built a nuclear power plant in over 40 years to produce clean energy, why, DOE regulations that are economically impossible. Look at Europe and Canada who still build nuclear power plants because they do not have the DOE, why?
 
My last question is why with the multitudes of organizations that do nothing but watchdog Washington and snipe at individuals rather than probing for the facts? Obviously the media that is so biased and interested in ratings, they just attack the messenger rather than probe the message. If one individual can dig up this many questions in one morning, the media with its large staff of gofer’s should have a field day. They just have no incentive I suppose.      C Brewer

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