AllenN's blog

School building: assumptions and repurposing

Last article, I wrote about my disappointment that the "recommendations" that came out of the School's elementary-school-building process didn't include any estimate of costs or potential impact on our taxes.

Hidden costs and pseudo-science

I attended the School Committee meeting last night (6/8/17) to continue to follow the issue of the resignation of Superintendent Brand, which had a couple of pertinent items on the agenda. For those looking to get involved in the next Superintendent search, please attend this Tuesday's (6/13) School Committee meeting. The meeting is currently scheduled to start at 7:30 in the Junior High library.

I stayed a little longer for the discussion of the new elementary schools that the School District wants to build, and I'm glad I did.

I made a mistake

Blog Post by Allen Nitschelm

The website is fixed, for now!

Today's article picks up the issue of the imminent departure of AB Superintendent Glenn Brand, who most people (at least parents in the community) think was doing a very good job. Having a change in leadership now is, at best, very inconvenient with a lot of complicated stuff on the School Committee's (SC) upcoming calendar.

People say that I never admit mistakes, and there is a very good reason for this misperception. It is because I so rarely make them.

Let go of your anger

[Acton Forum website continues to experience technical difficulties. You can read the article below online at this link: https://secure.campaigner.com/csb/Public/show/gmoo9--chldo-br0tmx3 ]

Yesterday, our "Facebook" group met to discuss next steps in our attempt to get a great Superintendent for Acton.

You are invited to attend tonight's School Committee meeting!

A community group, started online with a petition and then a Facebook page by Susri Anuradha, has met to compile a list of requests which it has sent to the AB Regional School Committee. The School Committee is holding a meeting tonight, Tuesday, May 30, at the R.J. Grey JHS auditorium, to discuss how it plans to move forward and the public is invited to attend. The meeting starts at 7:30 pm.

The agenda has several items and the School Committee policy is to allow public comment near the end of each agenda item for issues pertinent to that topic.

Time to move on in Superintendent search

[NOTE: The Acton Forum website is experiencing technical difficulties. Please forward this message or you can read it online at the link here: https://secure.campaigner.com/csb/Public/show/glos4--chg9k-br0tmx9 ]

It has been a tumultuous ten days since the abrupt announcement of Superintendent Dr.

What is "disparagement"?

[NOTE: The Acton Forum website is experiencing technical difficulties, so we are emailing articles in their entirety for now, until things get fixed. If you wish to share the article, please forward, or you can try sending this link: https://secure.campaigner.com/csb/Public/show/gic8k--cgmou-br0tmx9 ]

The School Committee released its Separation Agreement with Dr. Brand and as promised, there were few surprises, except for one.

My concerns validated over full regionalization of Schools

By Allen Nitschelm
Publisher, Acton Forum

[NOTE ONE: There is a critical meeting of the School Committee tonight at 7:30 pm in the High School auditorium. If you are concerned about the recent resignation of the Superintendent, please attend this meeting and demand answers from our elected officials.]

[NOTE TWO: Acton Forum website is experiencing some technical difficulties. So this article will be sent out in its entirety with no link to the website.

Questions the School refuses to hear, let alone answer

The Acton-Boxborough Regional School Committee (SC) is stonewalling Acton Forum and members of the public about the recently announced resignation of School Superintendent Glenn Brand. For a town whose residents, children, and tax dollars revolve around the school system, Brand's sudden departure is big news.

The School now says they will have a public meeting this Wednesday night at the R.J. Grey library. They may want to move that meeting to the auditorium and plan on several hours of questions.

Why socialism is terrible

(This is part three on the differences between capitalism and socialism...)

Good intentions and $4.65 will get you a mocha latte at Starbucks.

Good intentions are used to justify socialism's control of people in a society. And I believe that most people who promote socialism are not evil, they are just not very bright and somewhat confused. They believe that having good intentions gives them the power to make decisions for other adults.

They get that impression because already we allow government to make many decisions for us and most people just go along.

School Committee Chair refuses to speak with Acton Forum

Amy Krishnamurthy, the newly elected Chair of the Acton-Boxborough Regional School Committee (SC), has flatly refused to speak to Acton Forum editor Allen Nitschelm, after repeated attempts to contact the Chair and ask some simple questions about the resignation of Superintendent of Schools Glenn Brand, effective June 30, 2017.

Don't fire Jane Chu

A very strange story has appeared in my favorite Wall Street Journal, about a Yale administrator who was posting racially insensitive comments in her Yelp reviews. Jane Chu referred to some people as "white trash" and said that a particular Japanese restaurant might be good enough for white people, implying that they were not as sophisticated about Asian cuisine as she was, coming from a Chinese background.

The latest news is that Yale has put her on "leave" after more "insensitive" posts were discovered.

Why capitalism is so great, part two

In part one, I talked about the greatness of capitalism, and tried to show sort of a mathematical way of proving it. Capitalism likely improves the outcome of economic trades made by people versus trades authorized by, or restricted by, or controlled by, the government. A little improvement here and there, over millions of transactions a day, over millions of people, over thousands of days, yields a huge dividend to society. It sort of reminds me of the difference between getting 5% interest or 10% interest.

Why capitalism is so great

It is hard to write about the greatness of capitalism because it seems so obvious, like explaining why one plus one equals two. But there are so many people now who seem to embrace some form of socialism that it does seem necessary to remind them of why capitalism is a much better economic and social system. "Socialism," despite its label, is much worse for society.

Let me start by discussing a principle in Economics 101, which is that people act rationally and do what is best for themselves.

Former President Obama to receive Kennedy Center award

Former President Barack Obama has won the Kennedy Center's 2017 Profile in Courage Award for a speech he is to give to Cantor Fitzgerald, the Wall Street brokerage house. Obama will be paid $400,000 for the speech, which is expected to take him about forty minutes. That works out to about $10,000 per minute or $600,000 an hour, which means Obama will earn over 10,000 times more per hour than the average American worker.

How real journalists can combat "fake news"

There has been a lot of discussion about "fake news," with much it it fueled by the rise of the Internet. It used to be that getting your story in the newspaper faced a certain high barrier. Your item had to be newsworthy, of course, but it was also subject to review and confirmation by the reporter or editor. Publication conveyed a certain amount of legitimacy. If a mistake was made, a correction would be run.

But something strange started to happen several years ago, and maybe it was started by our love and fascination with celebrities.

Sanctuary Town fallacies

I wanted to thank Richard (Anping) Liu for his articles on the Sanctuary City/Sanctuary Town issue, as well as the other contributors we have had over the last couple of months on this topic. Richard's most recent article examines crime rates for Sanctuary Cities and Towns versus state averages.

How Chief Justice Roberts' decision helped Trump

There are probably a few big reasons and a million little reasons why Donald Trump won the Presidency, not the least of which was the flawed persona of his main opponent. But history will show that Chief Justice Roberts was a primary cause.

Roberts' correct decision not to intervene in overturning Obamacare led to Trump's victory as it galvanized opponents of President Obama and his policies, and Mrs. Clinton ran more on Obama's legacy than on her husband's. Embracing Obama allowed the many failures of Obama's presidency to be assigned to candidate Clinton.

Finance Committee fails Acton Town Meeting

At last night's Annual Town Meeting (TM), my friend Charlie Kadlec proposed an amendment to the town funding warrant article to transfer $1 million from our reserves to lower next year's tax rate, which would have saved the average taxpayer around $125. The average single-family property tax bill would still have increased to $10,988, a 2.77% increase, but would have stayed under $11,000. His amendment was defeated by about 160-110.

The clash of dictators with free societies

PART ONE IS HERE: http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/dealing-authoritarian-dictators

I'm up in Canada for a trip this week, and read the regional "Globe and Mail" newspaper, which reported on a recent attempt by the Canadian government to agree to a criminal extradition treaty with China.

Dealing with authoritarian dictators

The concept of free trade is great. We should assume every bilateral relationship with other countries would be based on the ideal of free trade. Free trade provides an economic benefit to our citizens, in that it brings cheaper, or better-quality, goods to our citizens than we otherwise would have had. And in general, competition improves the products made by domestic manufacturers.

Take the American car industry for example. Without competition, American manufacturers had a virtual monopoly and were able to make cars with planned obsolescence.

The subsidization of America

Today's WSJ had a story about some older guy, holding a cute dog in his lap, who was going to be "paying more" if the Republican plan to replace Obamacare came to pass. Nobody likes to hear about someone "paying more" so I read the article. Turns out he was a vet who ran a small office and who offered health insurance to his staff. But his costs would rise because he had an older workforce whose premiums would increase under the new Republican healthcare plan. What a shame, what an injustice!

This is an example of misleading news, if not fake news.

10 Billion apologies

The mainstream media continues to act like the tail is wagging the dog with regards to Donald Trump. He apparently spends a couple minutes on a "tweet" and the media spends several weeks dissecting it, discussing it, and commenting on it. What a master manipulator this guy is.

Fake News, part four

I was reading my favorite WSJ this morning and saw an intriguing headline in the Best of the Web column, which I will paraphrase: Is Mona Lisa happy or sad?

The politics of Living in Fear

Emotions are funny things. Our lives are governed by doing things that make us feel good, and trying to avoid things that make us feel bad.

I guess pain is also like an emotion. The body produces physical pain in order to teach you how to protect yourself. If you touch the hot stove and it really hurts, you won't likely do that again. But if you were able to sever the nerve connections between your finger and your arm, so that the pain message never got to your brain, you could hold your finger to the stove until it was well done.