Open Thread Friday

I was up at 6:00 a.m. getting the daughter off to her last day of school.  Then I went back to bed for two hours and it was mahhvelous. 

Heard yesterday the new Kroger signs went up. Someone asked in a comment if we’d heard about a higher ($30) wheel tax coming to Rutherford County.  Here’s a link from the DNJ about it.

Finally, I leave you with this video of a puppy who wants out.  I want out sometimes, too.


26 Responses

  1. We need to stand up and fight this increase in the wheel tax. What problems are facing the actual citizens being asked to pay this fee:

    – Rising food prices
    – Rising gas prices

    So, what do we as citizens have to do? We have to cut our spending. But no, we couldn’t dare expect the government to cut spending, no, when we are all facing increased costs, they just want to tax us some more!

    Contact your County Rep and tell them you oppose this increase. In LV, you are probably in either district 1 or 5.

  2. I think this is a great time to cut teachers pay 1% across the board (this should generate some lively discussion). Let’s face it, teachers are well compensated in the $30k – $40k range. There are several other benefits to being a Rutherford County teacher today:

    – Great health insurance benefits
    – Low cost of living in Rutherford County
    – 12 weeks paid vacation
    – Minimal risk of being laid off due to cut backs
    – Tenure after just a few years

    Ok, now I know the teachers are going to get on here and tell me how difficult working with students is, and I’m not going to disagree with that. However, many of us have tough jobs, make similar pay, but layoffs are more common in the private sector, and I don’t know anyone else who gets near that much vacation. Plus, because we are a small company, I have to pay way more for health insurance premiums than RCS employees who are a bigger group.

    I know, it’s not fair to cut teachers pay when other costs are rising, but if you do the math, that’s only $300 – $400 per year per teacher, but with the number of teachers we have, that would be more than enough to cover the proposed wheel tax hike. With the economy not growing as fast as it was, I simply don’t believe we’ll have massive teacher turnover.

    Ok, I can’t wait to hear what a terrible stupid person I am!

  3. Wow. Teachers? Really? You’re a trouble magnet, aren’t you Michael?

    I think we should pay a bus riding fee for our kids. These drivers in Rutherford County have to buy their own busses, pay for their own gas, etc. That’s insanity. I wouldn’t mind paying $2 a week for my daughters to ride the bus, but only if it goes to the drivers!!!

  4. and what about the proposed 50-cent increase in school lunches and the possible county property tax increase too? How about we all just bend over?

  5. I dunno about you guys, but I’m happy.

    I buy premium fuel, and pay $4/gal to do it. Every day my coworkers whine about paying $3.50/gal for their 87 octane (or thereabouts) and getting barely 20 miles to the gallon.

    I do the same, about 22; I paid $47 to fill up today, which by no means is “cheap”, but it’s not really that expensive.

    I’m single, I own my own house, I budget my expenses and I pay for fuel; I’m considering starting an electric car project, but at fuel costs (for me) of $218/mo today, and projected $3000/yr over the course of the next 12 months (currently $2,647) it’s a relatively minor expense.

    You could say I’m one of the few that can afford it, I by no means drive a large vehicle. It’s a 1991 Subaru – if you live around Lake Forest Dr you’ve probably even heard me (and by no means am I proud of the noise, working on getting that fixed this month).

    The questions I ask are, why is my 17 year old car getting similar mileage to 2005+ Honda Elements, Toyota SUV hybrids? my coworkers get 22-25 or thereabouts (the Toyota SUV hybrid was getting 27 on the highway in a recent miami trip, but that’s.. uh.. minor really, in comparison)

    Cheap fuel, I suppose. So this is just America coming in line with the rest of the world, right? The UK was paying for $4/gal fuel back in the early 2000’s when we were still shelling out at around $1-$2/gal; the difference being their fuel taxes (which inflated their prices) went to support better education programs, larger and more well funded socio-economic programs, universal health care (which is a good idea, go talk to anyone who’s ever been sick that HAS PPO/HMO health care, you get shafted even if you have it – guaranteed), etc.

    Their higher fuel costs inspired their people to live closer to work, in smaller more reasonable sized homes, buy smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles (and for auto companies such as Peugot, Citron, etc, to manufacture such vehicles to stay competitive); they’ve been looking at MPG ratings on vehicles at least 10 years longer than we have. We’ve been looking at SEER ratings on our A/C systems and ignoring MPG ratings on our vehicles.

    Just the other day I heard a radio ad on my way into work for Crest Hummer, the place down on Metrocenter/Rosa L. Parks Blvd; the salesmen were playing audio clips of glutton buyers bragging about the low 20MPG ratings of the Hummer H3, one was bragging about being (for all intents and purposes) “whipped” and that his wife “wouldn’t let him downsize”; disgusting.

    Essentially, we are where we are today because yesterday we were gluttons, we didn’t pay for it then, but we are now. It’s like stuffing yourself on thanksgiving, boy is it enjoyable on thanksgiving, but for the three days following you’re miserable. (at least this is what I always hear)

    To make a few comments about some comments posted above:
    Teachers are underpaid and schools are underfunded in comparison to other countries we “compete” with. Cut pay, watch teachers strike (like they rightfully should). If you think it’s unfair that your job is at risk of layoffs, budget cuts, suffers from lack of vacation (over the next year I get ZERO vacation, ZERO sickdays); then the problem isn’t that teachers have it “made” and you need to bring them down to your level, the problem is that you made a bad career choice.

    I have a neighbors kid told me once he wanted to grow up to be a plumber… a plumber. really? he cited the hourly wage they make/etc. But seriously, when there’s so many more interesting and exciting career choices, who aspires to be a plumber? This guy was maybe 14-15-16, at that age where he needed to be making decisions about who he wanted to grow up to be (like most don’t, but I luckily enough did). Not to say that such a job isn’t NOBLE to anyone who is doing it, but a parent should push their children to make challenging career choices that will open many doors of opportunity for them.

    Property Taxes, Wheel taxes, meh; big deal. Really. 50 cents a day? That’s $2.5 a week; tell me, do you enjoy yourself a starbucks coffee? Consider that when you’re complaining about the additional cost of feeding YOUR child a WEEK?
    that’s $96 over a 38.6 week school year (approximate).

    Property taxes will always go up; fight it now or fight it later but eventually they’re implemented, what you should be fighting for instead is proper spending in the local government’s budget, not fighting their income. The best you can hope for is better guards at local schools, better patrols on the streets stopping crime, more (no doubt) larger parks; fixing of road potholes, a local government garbage collection service; better WATER PRESSURE that some complain about.

    “I want you to fix all these issues, but I don’t want to pay for the added costs”, is what a lot of people imply. Pony up or do it yourself? If you think the gov is wasting money, be prepared to show us where and how.

    Now, I think I’ve said plenty for everyone; this isn’t a rant, just getting some thoughts out there.

    My question is, what are all these people parking on the side of the road at the Stones River Rd traffic circle? I see them every evening when I drive by, no clue what that’s all about. Some sort of drug deal? are they fishing? skinny dipping? I might want to get in on some of that fun. (the fishing and skinny dipping).

    Take care everyone, have a good weekend.

  6. David, That has been the fishing parking lot for years now… :-)

  7. Michael,

    I still like you, keep that in mind, okay? Because of all the dumbassed things to say, this may be the dumbest assed thing you have ever, ever said. I take it you don’t know any teachers, because they’d be flogging you to death about now.

    Seriously, in what world is a college graduate working in their own field who often has their master’s degree and (with a very few exceptions of older teachers who got “life licenses” a million years ago) continues their own education at their own expense periodically, in what world is $30-40K well compensated??

    Keep in mind to, that they being able to keep their jobs is key to whether OTHER PEOPLE score well on a test. Children who in this town especially, may not be getting proper nutrition or proper housing situations. Kids who may be dangerous. Kids shooting other kids in drivebys. And you expect these people who are educating the future citizens of LaVergne, to take a pay cut???

    In times where food and gasoline prices are skyrocketing, where people are having to tighten their belts across the board. And you want them to have to take a pay cut of $300-400 a year so you can save thirty bucks. How selfish stupid, and shortsighted.

    Like I said at the beginning, I still like you. I think you’re intelligent enough to take a look at what you’re really saying. Because, really, what you’re suggesting is beyond ridiculous.

  8. I have started an electric car project. The project’s Web Address is GoGreenGeo EV Project – Building EG1 (Electric Geo One) . We are currently taking donations to get the project off the ground. It will be to convert a 1990 Geo Metro to an Electric Car and raise enviromental awareness.

    But I have to say I am templeted to sell the car. 1990 Geo Metro’s with the 1.0L 3cyc engine is having closing bids at $3900.00 and as the world turns. Check out the project site if you have the chance. The project headquarters is La Vergne Based.

  9. Ok, do I really think we should cut teachers pay? No, but I do not think they would strike or walk away. I think we would find that being a teacher isn’t the terrible job that some make it out to be. I don’t dis-respect teachers, I just don’t think its fair that our polic officers have a far more dangerous job, significantly lower pay, and nowhere near the time off. We need to cut expenses to education, it is the biggest suck on the taxpayers. Maybe instead of building new schools all the time, we should build schools to be bigger than the current need (how many mroe students could we get into a school if we simply made them two-stories instead of one???).

    David, please do us a favor and move to Canada and take your socialized medicine rant with you. Here’s a nice story from the weekend about the wonderful socialist healthcare leaving a patient on a stretcher for 5 days. To quote the story:

    “I’m angry we pay such high taxes and the more money we throw at the health care system the worse it gets. People shouldn’t be lined up on stretchers in the emergency department. If you are sick you should get a room.”

  10. I don’t dis-respect teachers, I just don’t think its fair that our polic officers have a far more dangerous job, significantly lower pay, and nowhere near the time off.

    I agree that police officers should make more money. But calling education a suck on the taxpayers…that’s shortsighted, although I must say that the entire education system needs an overhaul. Having an educated populace is important for our economy. Remember when I said the US will never have a manufacturing economy again and we need to have a tech-based economy? Yeah, we need a better education system to facilitate that.

  11. It’s not education I have a problem with, it’s the current public education system. Simply paying teachers more money and building more buildings is not going to make our kids smarter people or better adults. We need to seperate the good students from the bad students, and seperate the good teachers from the bad teachers. I think the worst thing we’ve done in this country is established school zones. I understand the logic, but the problem with school zones is that every school has to offer every thing, and if by no fault of your own a school in your zone goes to the dumps, it takes your property values with it.

  12. Why can we not have competition in the schooling system?

  13. I personally have no problem whatsoever with competition in the school system. Apparently in Japan, grades are posted and kids make fun of kids who get poor grades. While some people might think that’s a bad thing, kids are going to make fun of each other anyway, might as well encourage each other to get better grades.

    On the other hand, I was severely made fun of- to the point that I would purposely get worse grades than I should have- for getting good grades.

    I am not a supporter of just paying teachers more money and building more buildings. That is not going to solve the inherent problems with the educational system.

    If I was Queen of America, here’s what I would do to make public schools better:

    1. Detention schools for repeat offenders and/or very serious offenses. This would be determined by a committee of 3 people: The principal, guidance counselor and homeroom teacher. Each detention school would focus on 3 things: education, counseling, and manual labor. Students can earn their way back into regular school just once, after that they go to detention school for the rest of their education.

    2. Each kid is tracked according to their abilities. That way if you’re stupid in math, but great at English, you’re remediated in what you need to be and have a chance to shine at what you’re good at.

    3. Special ed kids have the chance to be in the regular classroom if they want to be or if their parents want to be. However, if the parents wish them to be in special ed, they can be. And if the kid has behavior problems in the mainstream classroom, it’s back to special ed. If you have behavior problems there, welcome to detention school.

    4. A huge expansion of vocational programs in high school. An especially big focus on health care fields and technology fields. Certain fields will get you a certificate in that field along with your high school diploma. Things like medical assistants and cosmetologists could start work straight out of high school.

    In addition to preparing some students to go to work straight out of high school, this would benefit the community by offering lower-cost services to the community. For example, there could be a low cost health clinic in each school district, with licensed PAs to do any of the actual doctoring, but students could learn things like phlebotomy and other simpler types of medical assisting at the clinic.

    There could be beauty schools, radio stations, restaurants, all kinds of things. Patrons of these services would help fund the program, as would (possibly) fees from students enrolled in the classes, on a sliding scale. Students have to have excellent attendance, behavior and grades to be able to enroll in these types of career tracks.

    Also, schools could partner with businesses to teach these kids a trade.

    5. Everyone is required to take a personal finance course. This includes teaching things like balancing a checkbook, figuring interest rates, why things like check advances and rent to own are a horrible idea, and all about credit and managing credit.

    6. Parents are held more accountable for their child’s education. Fines are assessed for various behavior and attendance infractions. Can’t or don’t want to pay? We have landscaping and office jobs available for you. Still don’t want to pay? How about a trip to the county jail?

    7. Teachers are given more of a chance to be creative with their curriculum. I know a social studies teacher that has a beautiful bunch of lessons on the Great Depression. She can only teach about a third of that because teachers are required to teach the same thing at the same time. And they’re all scrambling to teach to a standardized test, which brings me to:

    8. Standardized tests are no longer anything other than a means to place the student for next year. Period. No more teaching to a test.

    9. Allow parents and later, when students are older, to fill out a satisfaction form for the teachers. Bonuses are given to teachers who score very highly on these. Teachers who regularly score very poorly are fired, no matter how long they have been working in the school system.

    Expensive, you say? Yes, but keep in mind first that we are breeding the next generation of great minds, and this needs to be nurtured. I also believe in having parents pay more fees on a sliding scale basis, which can be worked off if necessary. This should ensure that many of the other inner workings of school, such as the school’s janitorial stuff, security, landscaping, cafeteria, and other administrative things should be able to make cutbacks and have to hire far fewer people.

  14. I vote Ivy for Queen of America!

  15. I think Ivy needs to consider going to my site, and donating to BOB BARR!


  16. […] I Hereby Nominate Ivy for Mayor Posted on May 27, 2008 by Kathy T. After Ivy’s thought-provoking, problem-solving comment about education in America, she’…. […]

  17. Well said Ivy. I only wish I had time to really go into some of this conversation. But hear this, as a bus contractor for this wonderful county, My expenses have more than doubled. in fact, since I’ve been a contractor (10 years nearly) I’ve gotten about a 19% increase in salary. My expenses are nearly 105% You do the math.

  18. michaelinLV said:
    David, please do us a favor and move to Canada and take your socialized medicine rant with you. Here’s a nice story from the weekend about the wonderful socialist health care leaving a patient on a stretcher for 5 days. To quote the story:

    “I’m angry we pay such high taxes and the more money we throw at the health care system the worse it gets. People shouldn’t be lined up on stretchers in the emergency department. If you are sick you should get a room.”

    Well spoken, you’ve provided all of us with an example of a patient who was not in need of critical care, rather WAS receiving treatment, she just was not afforded the privilege of a private room so she could sleep better (if at all).

    I’m sorry she suffered, and that a call to a local paper had to get her a private room. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone to suffer in such a way.

    I want to outline a few things since those are blinders you’re wearing.

    Your statement has suggested that canada’s socialized medicine is somehow inferior to america’s privatized health care system..
    (let me point out, the word ‘socialized’ isn’t a bad word, quit watching Bill O’Reilly. Your police officers are a socialized service, so are your schools, and pretty much every other taxpayer funded service can be considered a form of ‘socialism’)

    The issue of sick people waiting in the hallways, on stretchers, in lobbies, and DYING THERE is not new; nor has it ever been. We have an interesting media system here in America that sheeple (like yourself) pay attention to without looking at the big picture. People have been getting dumped on skid row and DYING THERE for a long time. Dying in waiting rooms due to long lines, lack of insurance (people with money get seen first). This woman received treatment, it’s not as if they were letting her die in a hallway, she was simply upset she did not have a private room she could sleep in.

    I feel for her, I really do. In America’s privatized system, you can have the best coverage in the world and the same exact thing happen to you; what makes you think that because we pay out of pocket for our health care somehow we’re superior?

    Every year in America more than 18,000 people die simply because they could not afford any form of treatment for their condition. What’s that number in Canada? 0.
    everyone gets treated. not everyone lives, but everyone’s given a fighting chance regardless of their ability to pony up. The idea is that everyone helps everyone else.

    I know that concept of sharing is lost on you, helping your fellow man; paying your taxes to improve your schools, roads, and police force may seem obsurd; but in reality it’s for the best. If you live long enough you’ll come down with cancer like many others have, and if you can’t afford to pay for your chemotherapy on your 30-45k job, well. Hope you can find some lovely lady in Canada to marry.

    I’ve had family members sick before, and die because they couldn’t afford chemotherapy, or critical drugs to keep their diabetes in check. In Canada that wouldn’t happen. They’d receive treatment just like everyone else.

    Yes, it’s not the best system. Yes, people have to wait. Yes, everyone’s treated equally. Yes, everyone’s treated. In America? it’s show me the money first. If you can’t pay, best of luck to you.

    Reganomics 101.

    Good luck to you, hope you never end up uncovered and ill; or better yet, seriously ill and fully covered, getting that insurance company to pay out will be fun!

  19. michaelinLV = classic ultra-conservative, right-wing Republican. Avid watcher of all the windbags on FauxNews (O’Reilly, Hannity, etc). Early influences include Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy.

    david = classic non-extremist, moderately liberal Democrat with a little interest in keeping watch on what’s happening in the Libertarian arena. Avid watcher of the blabbermouths on the Clinton News Network (Cooper, Dobbs, etc). Early infuences include Al Franken and Michael Moore.

    This, friends, is a train-wreck waiting to happen……..but fun to watch nonetheless!

  20. I have no political affiliations, do not watch TV and do not watch Cooper, Dobbs, or any other sham reporter making their living reporting on what’s wrong in the world today.

    The truth is I have a little common sense; the things I speak of MAKE SENSE. Look at the rest of the modernized wealthy nations in the world, how many of them don’t have universal health care for their citizens? 0.

    Hell, even Iran has universal health care. Some people like to call Iranians dogs, scum, the next problem; what have you. I don’t watch what O’reilly or any of the others have to say but I’m sure they have their little pet names already. The fact is the 1963 ‘White Revolution’ in Iran formed the ‘Health Corps’ among many other things that insured their people had the most basic of necessities. education, health care, the right to vote. etc.

    It just makes sense, really it does; I know a lot of you old windbags were frightened by your leaders of yesteryear who advertised their brains out on TV about socialist healthcare = soviet russia socialism during the cold war; so people can never change your minds once you’ve got them set.

    Go out there and ask someone who’s actually had to USE our healthcare system to any extent further than a regular doctors visit for the sniffles and you’ll find they’re in support of universal funded healthcare.

    Even my ultra conservative grandfather supports it; the same guy that disowned my sister for dating a black man with the words “shes’ dead to me for all I care”, nearly lost three fingers in a woodworking accident, double renal failure and a dose of kidney cancer followed by finally finding a donor and getting an implant just a couple months ago. Full healthcare coverage, covered up in deductibles and procedures that the insurance company wouldn’t pay for this or that reason.

    Universal Healthcare just makes sense, and anyone who doesn’t support the idea is living in a “me me me me me me me” bubble. that always pops.

  21. I watch TV, but I don’t watch the political shows. All networks have an agenda, I’m not interested in propeganda.

    David, I do’nt live in a hole. My dad has spent the better part of the past 12 months in and out of hospitals. Yes, he has health insurance for the same reason he has life insurance – It’s the responsible thing to do. If my dad chose not to get health insurance, why should taxpayers who work hard for their money have to pay for their medical care?

    Do I think that we need to provide a way for everyone to have the opportunity to buy health insurance? Yes. Do I think I should be taxed an additional 20% to buy health insurance for people who don’t have a job but have 5 kids with 5 different daddies? No.

    We have created a nanny state in this country. People no longer think they should take care of themselves, after all, there are rich people who can pay more taxes and take care of everyone.

    Again, I’ll say if you think Canada and Europe have great healthcare, why don’t you move there? Why do people countinue trying to force Americans to be Europeans? Didn’t we fight a war over that a couple hundred years ago?

  22. Do I think I should be taxed an additional 20% to buy health insurance for people who don’t have a job but have 5 kids with 5 different daddies?

    Because those children should totally pay for their mom being a whore*.

    *I’m not saying that, but that sure seems to be what you’re saying, Michael.

  23. michaelinLV,

    If the price of universal health care for everyone, saving the lives of those who truly deserve the help and the care when they’re unable to afford it is the price of supporting some woman with 5 kids on welfare then sign me up.

    It’s a small price to pay; and I bet if you start counting up the people that truly abuse the system, they’re probably no more than a few percent of the total that honestly need the care. Sign me up, garnish my 45,000/yr income, I’m all for more taxes on me now if it will ensure that when I get old I can find health care that doesn’t cost me a dime. I can take care of myself today, but then? I doubt it. We all get old some day.
    It’s like saving up for retirement, except the 10% additional taxes you’ll put in today have the potential of paying out many fold later in the form of services.

    in 1948, the British government distributed a leaflet about two years after the war, in a time when the country was devastated and still recovering; In part that leaflet read:

    “Your new National Health Service begins on 5th July. What is it? How do you get it?
    It will provide you with all medical, dental, and nursing care. Everyone–rich or poor, man, woman or child– can use it or any part of it. There are no charges, except for a few special items. There are no insurance qualifications. But it not a “charity”. You are all paying for it, mainly as taxpayers, and it will relieve your money worries in time of illness.”

    I think that really says it all. It removes the selfishness human nature in people.

    I’m not saying we should be everything that Europeans are, I’m saying we have a lot to learn, and we should learn from others who have done some things right. America has always had this rebellious nature in that we want to do everything our own way without anyone else’s input, we’ve got to learn the hard way – that’s what we’re doing today, as our citizens sit and die on the streets of a preventable or treatable illness simply because they couldn’t afford the care.

    It reminds me of a teenager fighting back against the parents, declaring they’re going to make their own way and “you’ll see”, in the end the facts of life don’t change, and those that have been around longer just might know a little bit more than we do. The sooner we accept that, and learn from our neighbors, the better a place we’ll be.

  24. I would say I’m just throwing my 2 cents in this Thread but with gas prices, I’m afraid I can only afford a penny..

    Healthcare discussion—

    The Tncare wouldn’t be in such a bad shape if it wasn’t for the fact that illegal immigrants can have FREE health care. They can fill out a Tncare application at the hospital, get an appointment to go to DHS, not show up and still get covered. How? They are now covered under another program that will go ahead and pay the hospital.
    A legal citizen can fill out a Tncare application, not show up for their DHS appt., get one more chance to show up within 14 days, if they miss that, they are automatically denied.
    Now, how does that seem fair?

    …Hey Gov. Bredesen, how’s that bunker coming along?

    One last thing, my Mother moved here from Amsterdam over 50 years ago and she thinks the U.S. healthcare is much better in serving the people than it is in Europe. And gas is cheaper here than there but then again, they have public transportation everywhere. I wish the train that ran through La Vergne everyday would turn into a community train!

    Have a GREAT weekend everyone!

  25. Hey is there anyone out there concerned about the water violation in La Vergne?! They sent out that nice little convenient notice, but they never said that ANYTHING was being done about it. It said that it could cause all kinds of problems over several years. And I don’t know about you but my water smells and tastes horrible! Anyone try to contact the city about it?

  26. I came across an article today and thought of David. It appears the Father of Socialized medicine in Canada now thinks it’s a bad idea.

    “Castonguay, the man who championed public health insurance in Canada, now urges for the legalization of private health insurance.”

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