Christian Terrorists and Public Education

What’s my gripe with public education? Besides the fact they seem to be devolving into a giant secular babysitting service, it’s public money – my money – being used to teach young people values that oppose my values. I don’t mind being opposed, really. I *do* mind being taxed to fund my opposition.

The latest examples I’ve read this week are examples of schools performing terrorism drills. That in itself is ok, but who are the terrorist examples? Right-wing fundamentalist Christians. Sheesh. With all the terrorist attacks in the last 5 years, what percentage were these atrocities committed by right-wing fundamentalist Christians? A teensy weensy amount, if any. Couldn’t they come up with a more representative terrorist?

From Cadre Comments and Another Day Closer come these stories –

  • In Burlington Township, PA, Hostage drill prepares school for crisis (a similar story about the same township is here):

    The mock terror attack involved two irate men armed with handguns who invaded the high school through the front door. They pretended to shoot several students in the hallway and then barricaded themselves in the media center with 10 student hostages.

    Two Burlington Township police detectives portrayed the gunmen. Investigators described them as members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the “New Crusaders” who don’t believe in separation of church and state. The mock gunmen went to the school seeking justice because the daughter of one had been expelled for praying before class.

  • In Muskegon County, MI, Christian homeschoolers are planting bombs:

    The exercise will simulate an attack by a fictitious radical group called Wackos Against Schools and Education who believe everyone should be homeschooled. Under the scenario, a bomb is placed on the bus and is detonated while the bus is traveling on Durham, causing the bus to land on its side and fill with smoke.

It’s outrageous. I don’t want my tax dollars to fund public education anymore. I want my money back.

Mechanical Investing for July 2006

June was another particular ugly month for investing, and there were significant losses by mid-June. I try to remember I have a longer time frame; I’m 20+ years from retirement and I’m certain this is my best investment vehicle. Sure, I’ll have some losses, but I hope the wins are even bigger. Fortunately by the end of the month all of the losses had been erased; the portfolio was up over 5% just in the last week. Still trailing the market, though; the stocks selected by the YLDEARNYR screen have not performed well.

  • Last 4 weeks: +1.6%
  • Last 3 months: -3.2%
  • Year to date: -1.3% (Dow is +4.7% ytd from 10,718)
  • Last 12 months:-0.2%

Holding for another month:

Ticker Bought Now Months Return  
AP $34.99 $29.21 1 -16.5% Ampco-Pittsburgh Corp. Originally from the Screamers screen, it’s now on the YLDEARNYR screen, the screen I don’t like.
CMA $55.03 $52.73 1 -4.2% Comerica, Inc. This one is back from the LPEYLD screen.
DDS $26.04 $31.90 2 +22.5% Dillard’s Inc. From the H52EARNPS screen. I sold off a small portion to keep things balanced.
FDG $41.01 $31.12 4 -24.1% Fording Canadian Coal Trust, from the YLDEARNYR screen. Another bad month for this screen.
SWFT $30.42 $33.49 2 +10.9% Swift transportation Company Incorporated. Last month’s -6.1% loss was erased nicely. From the TRPPE screen.
WM $45.96 $46.23 1 +0.6% Washington Mutual. From the LPE_YLD screen.

Selling these:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
AL $51.83 $47.14 1 -9.0% Alcan Inc. From the TREPPE screen.
GPI $60.70 $57.21 1 -5.7% Group 1 Automotive. From the H52EarnPS screen.
HANS $186.07 $198.56 1 +6.7% Hansen Natural Corp. This one went up and down like a roller coaster. From the Screamers screen.
HCC $34.24 $29.46 3 -14.0% HCC Insurance Holdings, from the LowPE_ZLTD screen.
HOC $38.225 $47.80 3 +25.0% Holly Corp. Split 2:1, from the LowPEZLTD screen.
UNTD $14.69 $11.99 6 -18.4% United Online Inc. The other terrible selection from the YLDEARNYR screen.

New stocks for this month:

Ticker Bought Sold Months Return  
CELL $13.60 $N/A 0 N/A% Brightpoint, Inc. From the LowPEZLTD screen.
EME $49.17 $N/A 0 N/A% EMCOR Group, Inc. From the H52EarnPS screen.
FSII $6.94 $N/A 0 N/A% FSI International, Inc. From the Screamers screen.
NITE $15.33 $N/A 0 N/A% Knight Capital Group, Inc. From the LowPEZLTD screen.
OXY $104.52 $N/A 0 N/A% Occidental Petroleum Corp. From the TREPPE screen.
VOL $48.50 $N/A 0 N/A% Volt Information Sciences. Sounds like a high school science fair project. From the Screamers screen.

The next trade will be July 31st if I can, otherwise it’ll have to be August 7.

Middle Class Military

Charles Rangel, the looney left-wing Democrat, has criticized the military on several issues, one of them that the military is made up disproportionately of minorities while middle and upper class families reap the benefits without risk.

Where he got that idea from, who knows. Certainly didn’t come from the facts, though. Turns out most of the military volunteers come from middle class families.

Researchers matched the ZIP codes of recruits over the past five years with federal government estimates of household incomes in those neighborhoods. Contrary to complaints from some liberal lawmakers and pundits, the data show that the poor are not shouldering the bulk of the military’s need for new soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines.

The poorest neighborhoods provided 18 percent of recruits in prewar 1999 and 14.6 percent in 2003. By contrast, areas where household incomes ranged from $30,000 to $200,000 provided more than 85 percent.

“We found that recruits tend to come from middle-class areas, with disproportionately fewer from low-income areas,” said the report, prepared by Tim Kane, an Air Force Academy graduate and economics scholar. “Overall, the income distribution of military enlistees is more similar to than different from the income distribution of the general population.”

Turns out they’re better educated than the average American, too:

Mr. Kane said overall evidence “is at odds with the image, painted by some supporters of the draft, that the military exploits poor, ignorant young Americans by using slick advertising that promises technical careers in the military to dupe them into trading their feeble opportunities in the private sector for a meager role as cannon fodder.”

About 98 percent of all enlistees from 1999 to 2003 had a high school diploma, compared with 75 percent of nonrecruits nationwide.

“In an education context, rather than attracting underprivileged young Americans, the military seems to be attracting above-average Americans,” Mr. Kane wrote.

Just something that warmed my heart, knowing my son returns from Army basic training tomorrow. 🙂

* Tip from Brutally Honest. About the news article, I mean, not the news about my son.