Fate's Obligatory Update

Since starting the new gig, I’ve definitely found myself – slowly, but surely – having more energy. It helps that my current work environment is a lot more positive than the previous. Meanwhile, on the home front, the haunted house and family health concerns have taken over. Today, is the first in a long while, I’ve felt like I could sit back and breath.

I actually sat and played piano some. All that, and I still have a list of chores around the house. Even as ugly clouds hang over us, Fin and I have been fairly motivated lately. When we both were feeling down and out, we decided to start working from “the inside out” – taking the steps to reach our goals that were closest to us, as opposed to simply trying to hit them.

Changing my job was one of our first steps.

Now, we’re working a bit more on getting healthy, and I’m starting to think more and more about fixing this old house up to sell – or at a minimum, but nicer to live in. We’ve got a few cool experiments going now, and Fin may yet have a few blog posts to write.

There’s been a lot of news lately, but I’ve been lax on writing my “interesting news bits”. Given my general feelings anymore about the news, and people writing it, I’m not sure I’ll continue the series.

I’m tired of “news” for the sake of creating opinions that doesn’t lead people to think or actually do things. I’m tired of the continual attacks on various “cultures” deemed inferior by talking heads. In short, I’m tired of reading the opinions of others with no real backing or facts other than to spew forth their personal Utopian view for society. Or, to put it another way, news is dead, propaganda is all that seems to be around now.

And I’m tired of reading it.

I’m hopeful I’ll figure out a way to cut through some in favor of reporting on “cool things” going on out there. That’ll be my goal for next week. Until then, I’ve got some music to find and work around the house to get done.

— Fate

Missouri Election Info

While I’d like to avoid this becoming a super-political blog, Tuesday is election day and there are a few big-issues coming up for a vote. There’s not much going on with our State / County officials, but the Amendments are important.

If you’re voting on Tuesday, take some time to learn what’s up. These amendments all have some hidden agendas and funny business going on.


Amendment #2

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that it will be permissible to allow relevant evidence of prior criminal acts to be admissible in prosecutions for crimes of a sexual nature involving a victim under eighteen years of age?

If more resources are needed to defend increased prosecutions additional costs to governmental entities could be at least $1.4 million annually, otherwise the fiscal impact is expected to be limited.

Most press sources are endorsing this particular amendment. It’s very hard to not get the “for the children” element. That said, there are a few that have some arguments against.

Amendment #3

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

• require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system for which each local school district must receive state approval to continue receiving state and local funding;

• require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system;

• require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts; and

• prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system?

Decisions by school districts regarding provisions allowed or required by this proposal and their implementation will influence the potential costs or savings impacting each district. Significant potential costs may be incurred by the state and/or the districts if new/additional evaluation instruments must be developed to satisfy the proposal’s performance evaluation requirements.

If any conservatives are out there, I’ll warn you – while the collective bargaining elements of this might sound good to you, I promise you’ll likely see a fairly immediate move to “Common Core“.

I’m not as rabidly anti-common-core as some of those tea party people out there, but as someone that’s spent a lot of time in classrooms, I hate standardize testing. I’ll be voting NO.

Amendment #6

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to permit voting in person or by mail for a period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before the election day in general elections, but only if the legislature and the governor appropriate and disburse funds to pay for the increased costs of such voting?

State governmental entities estimated startup costs of about $2 million and costs to reimburse local election authorities of at least $100,000 per election. Local election authorities estimated higher reimbursable costs per election. Those costs will depend on the compensation, staffing, and, planning decisions of election authorities with the total costs being unknown.

Call me a traditionalist / snob, but I’m not generally a fan of week-long election cycles. That said, if you ARE a fan, it looks like this Amendment has a few provisos that would potentially kill early voting in MO for the foreseeable future.

Amendment #10

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to require the governor to pay the public debt, to prohibit the governor from relying on revenue from legislation not yet passed when proposing a budget, and to provide a legislative check on the governor’s decisions to restrict funding for education and other state services?

State governmental entities expect no direct costs or savings. Local governmental entities expect an unknown fiscal impact.

The KC Star calls this a “vindictive” amendment. I may not agree with the reasons it was created, but prefer strong legislative oversight.