AllenN's blog

Time to go, Krishnamurthy and Brolin

The Chair of the Acton-Boxborough Regional School Committee, Amy Krishnamurthy, and the former Chair, Mary Brolin, have failed to resign despite being publicly humiliated by the knowledge of their involvement in the effective firing of Dr. Glenn Brand last year, and then covering up their role by lying to the public when asked to explain Brand's sudden and unexpected departure. Brand was paid for the entire school year for not working, wasting over $200,000 in taxpayer funds.

The fact that Dr.

The right to bear arms

In the light of so many tragedies with guns, some people argue we should severely restrict or even ban guns. This article is in defense of the Second Amendment.

My belief is my own. It is not based on others’ arguments or what the major political parties may believe or argue. I believe my argument is based on what the founding fathers intended with the Bill of Rights and is not a “partisan” defense.

Before I discuss and defend the Second Amendment, let me start with the First.

I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment.

Other than the attempted coup, Obama had most scandal-free presidency in history

A press release put out by the Barack Obama Presidential Library touted an opening of a new wing, dedicated to the U.S. Constitution, and included a brief statement by our former President. "I'm enjoying my retirement, and watching the heads spin in Washington in response to the Trump administration.

Republicans build extra stories on straw house

In the story of the three little pigs, the laziest pig builds his house of straw so he can have more time to relax. When the wolf comes, the house is no match for his tremendous breath and it falls down. In the original story, he gets eaten. Nowadays, the story has probably been changed to he runs away. Even the house made of wood is not strong enough to protect the middle pig. Only the pig who sacrificed to build his house of brick managed to survive.

When there is no wolf around, it is very hard to justify spending money on bricks.

Climate change is an illogical chain of hypotheses

Global warming is no "myth." There is definitely something going on. There are too many studies indicating changes not to believe that.

But, that does not mean humans should change their activity, if they could, or that those who can change their activity should do so.

President Trump, truth-teller

I was a reluctant Trump supporter for all the obvious reasons, who is starting to think that Donald Trump may be our best president in modern times. His State of the Union speech was filled with examples of how his policies (mostly mainstream Republican ideals) have been improving our lives and our economy, and how he has been reversing all the faults and mistakes of the previous administration.

One of the biggest surprises has been his honesty.

President Trump, Build That Wall!

I love the Wall Street Journal, except when it covers issues related to immigration. On this topic, the Journal is myopic, toeing the line pushed by the "mainstream media" that controlling immigration is wrong.

There are economic arguments for immigration and we allow immigration now. What Trump and his supporters are against are illegal or unvetted immigrants, and what they are for is following the law.

Tax loopholes defended

President Trump and Congress have enacted sweeping reforms to our tax laws, some of which will take years before the full impact will be felt. Not allowing full deductions for state and local taxes will be a big change, for example. And while the deductions have been simplified for most filers (with higher standard deductions doing that trick), those that pay the most taxes (the rich) will continue to look for ways to save money. This is human nature at work.

The term "loopholes" has become toxic.

Interest rates and inflation

I have written several times about our crazy monetary policies and how perpetual deficit spending is not wise.

Today's Wall Street Journal reports an uptick in inflation, most likely a sign that the economy is picking up, the money in circulation is starting to bid up prices, and thus people have to pay more to buy the things they want.

It has been crazy that with the printing presses running 24/7 over the past eight years and longer, we haven't seen inflation taking off.

Ambush game

By all accounts, Alabama is a deeply Republican state that elects few Democrats, until last Tuesday, that is. The Democrat beat Republican candidate Roy Moore by just 1.5 percent, a close race despite stories of Moore allegedly trying to pick up girls under 17 at the mall. His trolling allegedly occurred about 40 years ago when he was in his '30s.

Republicans never considered Moore to be a traditional Republican.

AllenScrip

I've always loved money. As a kid, I was a coin collector. Back before the mid-'60s, coins were typically composed of precious metals whose value was approximately the face value of the coin.

So if you were given a quarter made of silver, that was worth about twenty-five cents in silver. (Today, silver quarters are worth about $3.00).

Dollar bills were made of paper, which had no intrinsic value. But the government would exchange a $1.00 bill for $1.00 worth of silver upon demand. Of course, you could always just go to the bank and ask for change too.

Ethical dilemmas

I attended the Special Town Meeting which saw an overflow crowd, made up by my estimate of about 60% parents who came to approve the school building project and 30% of voters who were against marijuana shops opening up in Acton. Because of the crowd and some technical glitches, the meeting started past 8:30 and as they were wrapping up the vote on the third article, I was heading home (past my bedtime) and it was close to 11.

Obama the oath-breaker

Every American is supposed to follow the U.S. Constitution. It is the law of the land. The Supreme Court does not decide whether the Constitution has been violated until it is asked to review a decision that has already been made, perhaps years prior. That is why the president must swear an oath to follow the Constitution. We need leaders who take that oath very seriously and never intentionally violate it.

Our delicate balance between our three branches of government relies on the oaths all these leaders take.

Mass. Supreme Judicial Court to hear church-state funding challenge

When you subsidize something, you tend to get more of it.

Massachusetts has a Constitutional prohibition against funding churches, yet many towns have used their Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds to financially support churches when doing things like building renovation. They have justified these expenditures by saying that the buildings themselves are historic, and their present use by private religious groups are not relevant. The money is following the building, not its current use.

So for years, this type of funding has been growing across the state.

School Committee's May 24th meeting in 47 seconds

In an amazing editing job, Acton Forum has created an incredible 47-second video clip which completely and totally summarized the May 24, 2017 AB Regional School Committee meeting.

This was the meeting held in the high school auditorium to answer questions from the public about Dr. Glenn Brand's abrupt resignation, and the reasons behind it. This video is just about all you need to know about the School Committee's response.

The clip boils down the entire meeting into one question and answer.

Free speech 101 and the AB School Committee's violation

A few days ago, some neo-Nazis and White Supremacists tried to hold a march in Charlottesville, VA, and were prevented from doing so on a pretext. The pretext was the concern over crowd control, but the real reason was to suppress their members' and supporters' free-speech rights. Americans must be allowed to speak freely, not only because it is in the Constitution, but also because it is the right thing to do.

Free speech makes democracy work. It ensures that when you vote, you have heard (if you cared to listen to) all available arguments.

Mr. Fantastic

"Hey Clint, how have you been?"

"Fantastic!"

Fantastic was Clint Seward's favorite word, and one which I now use, but not with the same relish and enthusiasm. Nobody could "out-fantastic" Mr. Fantastic himself.

Clint was an eternal optimist. No matter what was going on in his life, Clint was fantastic. Fantastic also describes Clint, in a funny way, although he would have been too modest to accept the label.

Improper coercion

Two weeks ago, Acton Forum released the unredacted minutes to two secret executive session (ES) meetings of the AB Regional School Committee. The School Committee (SC) met to criticize Superintendent of Schools Glenn Brand's professional performance and to pressure him into resigning or risk being terminated. Since Dr. Brand did nothing wrong, according to the minutes, he held his ground and ended up resigning but with full salary and benefits for the remainder of his contract.

Transparency

The School just released the Executive Session minutes for the two meetings in which Glenn Brand was apparently forced to resign. These are the meetings of April 26 and May 2, 2017.

$200 per hour gym teachers

Yes, you read the headline right. We have gym teachers that are getting compensated at the equivalent of about $200 per hour, give or take a few bucks.

I'm sure they are well worth it. After all, it is for the children.

How did I come up with this outrageous amount? I will carefully break it down in the following article. Feel free to post your disagreements below as comments. But if I am off, I'm surely close enough for government work, as they say.

START WITH SALARY
We have gym teachers in Acton who are making over $100,000 a year.

Acton Forum files SECOND Open Meeting Law complaint

Acton Forum filed a second Open Meeting Law (OML) complaint with the Acton-Boxborough Regional School Committee on June 29, objecting to its June 22 vote to expand a Subcommittee charged with searching for the Interim Superintendent.

The Subcommittee was formed at a prior School Committee meeting and consisted of five School Committee members. Its charge was to conduct a quick search for an Interim Superintendent while a permanent Superintendent search committee would begin work in the Fall.

Foxes guarding Acton's henhouse

Acton taxpayers, be prepared for more property tax increases, as our town leadership and elected officials refuse to stem the tide in rising employee salaries and benefits, while School officials are seemingly planning a Proposition 2 1/2 override to pay for some new school buildings.

Boxborough residents will see more moderate tax increases, as the School regionalization formula starts to more heavily tilt in Boxborough's direction as temporary payments to reduce Acton's share of school costs are phased out.

Acton Forum files open meeting law complaint

Acton Forum has filed an Open Meeting Law complaint with the School Committee (SC) because the school has refused to release the Executive Session (ES) minutes from two meetings in which the Committee and Superintendent Glenn Brand decided to part ways.

Massachusetts' most-unfair tax

I was driving up to New Hampshire to do some Father's Day shopping at BJ's in Nashua. We make the trip every couple of months to stock up on staples. And as I was driving, I began thinking about a Massachusetts tax "policy" that is just wrong.

Let's provide free housing for our new Superintendent

If anyone had any illusions about how unimportant having the right Superintendent for our school system is, those have been dashed by recent developments. I'll bet everyone now knows that we need a top candidate to lead our system and "second best" won't do.

Unfortunately, the recent abrupt departure of Glenn Brand, without any believable public explanation, has cast a cloud over our District. Maybe, one day, the public will learn what happened and maybe it is nothing bad.