Celestial Seasonings – April 2020

By Heather Durham | March 31, 2020

Before we review this month’s activities, I want to unpack one term which has arisen during our recent situation. I am speaking about distancing … but physical distancing rather than the perhaps misused social distancing. I am fortunate enough to be able to be remain physically distant from others because I reside in my own home and am able to function from there.

Socially, on the other hand, I connect often with others, whether it be by phone, email, FaceTime, or online audio, and/or video conferencing. I recommend strongly that you think along the same lines. We all need to keep in touch and look after one another.

Having said that, let’s now proceed to see what the skies have in store for us during April of 2020.


April 1 – First quarter of the moon. The Sombrero Galaxy from Virgo May be viewable with binoculars or a telescope.

April 2 – Asteroid 3 Juno from the Constellation Virgo should be viewable this evening.

April 3 – Mercury and Neptune will be rising. Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters from the Constellation Taurus will be viewable with Venus.

April 4 – A spiral galaxy, M94, from the Constellation Canes Venatici will be on display but not for the naked eye. A jewel box open star cluster known as NGC 4755 will be visible.

April 7 – Today we will have a full moon. Because it will be at its closest point to the Earth, it may appear a bit larger than usual.

April 9 – Jupiter and Pluto, both from the Constellation Sagittarius will be rising in the same direction.

April 10 – The Moon will be as far from the Earth as possible this evening.

April 13 – Eris, or dwarf planet 136199 is the most massive and second largest known dwarf planet in the Solar System, according to Wikipedia, will pass very close to the Sun. (Wikipedia,2019). Centaurus A or NGC 5128 will be visible but not with the naked eye. Omega Centauri, a bright globular cluster should be visible to the naked eye providing your view point is very dark.

April 14 – This will be the final quarter of the Moon this month. The Moon and Jupiter will rise together. The Moon, Jupiter and Pluto will be on display together. The whirlpool galaxy or M51 will be visible.

April 15 – The Moon and Saturn will rise and closely approach one another. M83 from the galaxy Hydra will be visible, but not with the naked eye.

April 16 – The Moon and Mars will rise and closely approach one another. 136108 Haumea from the Constellation Bootes will be viewable.

April 17 – Once again this month we have another visit from the Canes Venatici, M3, a globular cluster.

April 19 – The Moon will orbit to its closest point to the Sun.

April 20 – The Moon will appear slightly smaller on this date as it orbits to the farthest point to the Earth.

April 21 – The Moon and Mercury will rise together.

April 22 – The Lyrid meteor shower from the Constellation Hercules will be at its peak. The pinwheel galaxy, M101 from the Constellation Ursa Major may be viewable, but not with the naked eye. There will be a new moon tonight.

April 23 – The n-puppid meteor shower will be at it’s peak today.

April 26 – Uranus will pass very close to the Sun today. The Moon and Venus will rise together.

April 28 – Venus will be at it’s brightest today.

April 30 – The Moon will be at its first quarter today.


Previous in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – March 2020; next in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – May 2020


References:

In-the-Sky. (2020, March 30). Calendar of Astronomical Events. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org/newscal.php?month=4&year=2020&maxdiff=7#datesel

Wikipedia. (2020, March 31). Eris (Dwarf Planet). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eris_(dwarf_planet)

Authoritarianism & Homework

By Ian Aikens | March 17, 2020

Does voting really count? Why bother to vote? These are questions that came to mind recently when I read the text of House Bill 1309. It would amend current law by adding in the following: “Unless restricted by any provision of law, the vote on a petitioned warrant article shall be binding upon the town” and “Unless restricted by any other provision of law, the vote on a petitioned warrant article shall be binding upon the school district.” So, what’s the issue here? If voters approve a warrant, then it becomes law, right?

Not necessarily. It turns out some towns and school boards are totally ignoring the will of the voters. There are several examples of this outrage, but for brevity, I will concentrate on only two instances here. The Newfound Area School Board dismissed as a “giant hindrance” petitioned warrant Article 5, which passed by a margin of 921 to 625 on March 12, 2019, that would have required large capital improvements to be approved by voters in separate warrant articles. On April 9, 2019, Merrimack voters passed, by a margin of 1,771 to 1,478, Article 8, which “seeks to require the following amendment to the “IKB Homework” Merrimack School Board Policy: “At the discretion of the individual teacher, homework assignments will be (1) collected, reviewed, and graded; and (2) the accumulative average of the semester’s homework grade will be counted towards the student’s total cumulative semester grade.” The school board had instituted a policy in 2017 that homework no longer counted toward students’ grades, and angry parents had presented the warrant article for the voters to decide. The school board ruled that the warrant was only “advisory in nature” and ignored it. A local parent filed a civil suit against the school board, but the New Hampshire Board of Education and New Hampshire Supreme Court both ruled in favor of the local school board. As is often the case, judges defer to bureaucrats over regular citizens.

I see a couple of issues here. The most obvious is who works for whom, and who bestowed the bureaucrats with divine knowledge? If you’re going to have representative government—and preferably a republican form that protects individual rights over mob rule—then obviously elected representatives need to listen to what voters have to say. Otherwise that makes a mockery of the whole process, and no wonder so few citizens bother to take the responsibility of voting seriously. Of course, with any issue, honorable people will disagree on the best way to do things, but majority approval for non-fiscal issues and super-majority approval of taxes are the generally accepted and tried-and-true ways to run a government in a civil society. Naturally, it would be best to have as few as possible of these critical areas in the realm of government and leave them up to individuals to decide their priorities—and fund them themselves rather than expecting their neighbors to fund them—but if you’re going to have government, elected representatives have to consider the folks they represent. If they don’t, you can always “throw the bums out” at the next election, but while they’re still in office, they can cause quite a bit of mayhem.

The school board’s attitude on homework is reflective of the dismal state of government schools these days. The board insists that homework is still required, but it just doesn’t count towards students’ grades. So why would students even bother doing it? No homework—what’s next? No grades? The standards just get lower and lower all the time. Why not let the teachers decide? In my time, homework was assigned to reinforce what was taught in school that day. It was also part of a curriculum that stressed time management, discipline, and personal responsibility. It is true that for the very bright, sometimes homework was more busy work than anything of real value, but in a one-size-fits-all compulsory education scenario, that’s inevitable. That’s all the more reason to expand school choice to accommodate individual needs, interests, and abilities.

But what about the less scholarly-inclined students who don’t fare so well in testing? Homework has always been their avenue to making it through school by boosting their grades. It’s generally accepted these days that testing isn’t always the best gauge of what a student actually learned, so why deny those kids the chance to succeed? Even more important, there’s an important life lesson to be learned by doing homework and having it count towards your grade: hard work is to be rewarded. And isn’t that how it is out in the real world? It’s not always the smartest that succeed the most, but those who apply themselves the most. There have been plenty of complaints already of students’ grades dropping due to the new school board policy, which has left some students at a disadvantage when competing for colleges and scholarships. Isn’t it strange that those who deride testing these days are the very same folks who would force the scholastically-challenged to rely more on testing for their grades? Strange or not, hypocritical or not, school board bureaucrats know better.

It is interesting that the school board was unanimous in deciding to keep the new policy, but the voters were about 55% to 45% in favor of going back to the old system. Clearly the bureaucrats felt one way and a significant portion of “the people” felt differently. Perhaps the bureaucrats truly believed they were doing what was “best” for the students and stuck to their guns. Or was it power lust? The truth of the matter is that there is no “best” way for all students, and any attempt to impose it will always give some students the short end of the stick.

By the way, the new homework policy instituted three years ago dictates that teachers may assign homework, and it must be “evaluated” by teachers, but “evaluated” does not mean graded. In my time, part of a teacher’s job was to actually read and grade homework. That was part of their homework. Should a labor contract dispute come up in the future, how convenient for government teachers to have their time freed up to walk the picket line for higher wages and benefits.

As always, I will see how Milton’s representatives vote on HB 1309, it if it ever comes up for a roll call vote in the state house. Unfortunately, the bill was “laid on the table” this past week, which doesn’t bode well for its passage. Apparently, school board bureaucrats and selectmen aren’t the only ones infected with authoritarianism virus.


References:

Bevill, Robert T. (2020, February 20). Why HB 1309 is So Important. Retrieved from bedfordresidents.com/bra/2020/02/20/why-hb-1309-is-so-important/

Caldwell, T.P. (2019, September 8). School Board Chooses To Ignore Voters’ Will. Retrieved from www.libertymedianh.org/school-board-chooses-to-ignore-voters-will/

Houghton, Kimberly. (2019, February 21). Merrimack’s debate on homework & grades continues to the ballot box. Retrieved from www.unionleader.com/news/education/merrimack-s-debate-on-homework-and-grades-continues-to-the/article_dadd8a85-83e1-51f4-bcb5-2a1d363e9bf9.html

LegiScan. (2020). HB1309: Relative to the effect of warrant articles. Retrieved from legiscan.com/NH/bill/HB1309/2020

Markhlevskaya, Liz. (2019, May 7). Merrimack School Board In Legal Litigation Over Homework Policy. Retrieved from patch.com/new-hampshire/merrimack/merrimack-school-board-legal-litigation-over-homework-policy

Pecci, Grace. (2019, May 9). Homework policy still debated by area parents. Retrieved from www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/local-news/2019/05/09/homework-policy-still-debated-by-area-parents/

Teach 4 the Heart. Why You Should Grade Homework (But Not How You Think). Retrieved from teach4theheart.com/why-you-should-grade-homework-but-not-how-you-think/

Celestial Seasonings – March 2020

By Heather Durham | February 29, 2020

Hi there everyone and welcome to the March Edition of Celestial Seasonings 2020! March is the month during which we transition from winter into spring. We will change the time on March 8, and spring will begin on March 19. As I sit here writing this today in late February, the Sun is shining brightly and my thermometer says 55 degrees. Time to put down my tech gadgets and go outside for a Sunday afternoon stroll.

Happy reading my friends and I hope you find the many delights offered to us well worth the wait and astronomical show. Now let’s begin our journey into the night skies of March 2020 …


March 2. LC2602, an open star cluster from the Constellation Carina will display. The Moon phase will be the first quarter.

March 6. M44, our prolific Beehive Cluster will closely approach the Moon.

March 8. Clocks are to Spring forward at 2 AM (or before you go to bed Saturday, March 7, or after you wake up Sunday, March 8). Neptune may be seen at the opposite side of the Sun from the Earth in the evening (Wikipedia, 2019).

March 10. NGC3532, from the Constellation Carina is also referred to as the Pincushion, Football, or Wishing Well open cluster will be visible (Wikipedia, 2019).

March 11. The Moon will orbit its furthest point from the sun.

March 14. y-Normid meteor shower from the Constellation Norma will be visible.

March 15. Asteroid 27 Euterpe, a minor planet designation will reach its highest point in the sky close to midnight.

March 16. This date will bring the last quarter of the Moon.

March 18. The Moon, along with Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will rise closely to one another.

March 22. Half of Mercury will be visible.

March 23. Mars and Pluto will rise together and be close to each other.

March 24. Venus will go to its furthest point from the sun. There will be a new moon which may appear smaller then normal for it will be at it’s farthest point from the Earth.

March 26. Venus will reach its highest point in the evening sky. 136472 Makemake, a minor planet designation will be visible most notably near midnight. Half of Venus will be visible. (in-the-sky.org, 2020).

March 27. Mercury will be as far away from the Sun as it ever goes.

March 28. The Moon and Venus will rise close to each other.


Previous in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – February – 2020; next in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – April 2020


References:

in-the-sky.org. (2020) Makemake. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20200210_11_101

Wikipedia. (2020, February 24). Daylight Saving Time in the United States. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time_in_the_United_States

Wikipedia. (2019, December). NGC3532. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC3532

Wikipedia. (2019, October). Solar Conjunction. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/solar.conjunction

 

The Snoopers’ Dream

By Ian Aikens | February 24, 2020

Is there no limit to the lengths school administrators will go to undermine families?

Judging by House Bill 1459, a bill I recently weighed in against in a public hearing in Concord, their nerve shows no bounds. Under current law, parents have to give written permission for their children to fill out non-academic surveys. HB1459 would change parental permission needed from “opt-in” to “opt-out,” thus placing the burden on all parents to deny permission, rather than on school bureaucrats to obtain permission.

Why such a big deal over some innocuous questions in a survey? Under the law’s definition of a “non-academic survey or questionnaire,” it is “designed to elicit information about a student’s social behavior, family life, religion, politics, sexual orientation, sexual activity, drug use, or any other information not related to a student’s academics.” First and foremost, what business is it of busybody school administrators to pry into students’ and their parents’ family lives? Where I come from, we call that snooping, pure and simple. These are extremely personal areas—and definitely not in the province of school officials. In case they’ve forgotten what they get paid for, it is teaching the basics like the 3R’s, literature, history, science, and maybe a pinch of The Constitution once in a while, not probing into private lives.

The information the nosey parkers are going out of their way to obtain should be extremely alarming to any parent. Just think about the questions that could be asked in these surveys. Are there firearms in your house? Do your parents ever hit or spank you or your siblings? Do your parents ever leave you alone in the house? Have you ever seen marijuana or other recreational drugs in your house? Have you ever tried to kill yourself?* When you have sex, how often do you and/or your partner use a birth control method such as birth control pills, Depo-Provera shot, an implant, ring, patch, male or female condom (rubber), foam, diaphragm, or IUD?* How many adults have you known for two or more years who do things that are wrong or dangerous?* What political parties are your parents registered under? Who will your parents vote for in the next presidential election? Do your parents smoke or vape? By including the text “or any other information not related to a student’s academics,” the surveys could legally ask just about anything. Whatever happened to privacy and all those millions of privacy forms we see all the time that are supposed to protect our privacy? If it’s wrong for big corporations and private companies in the voluntary sector to share our data without our permission, why is it OK when government school bureaucrats do it? It is well documented that when government employees get hold of personal information, they sometimes misuse the information for nefarious personal purposes. And, even if not for personal misuse, can you just imagine what overzealous Child Protective Services bureaucrats would do with the survey data if it got into their overreaching hands?

(*Questions excerpted from a survey given to students as young as 5th graders).

All the survey results are supposed to be anonymous and kept confidential, but especially with declining student enrollment and smaller populations in many of New Hampshire’s rural towns, it wouldn’t be difficult for the snoopers to figure out where the responses came from—and possibly pay a surprise visit to a child’s home to check up on his “family life.” Data collection is one of the favorite ways for government bureaucrats to justify expanding their “services” in order to obtain more funding and personnel. Judging by the number of special interest groups who testified in favor of the bill, clearly they were looking for more business if only the schools could provide more data.

So how would the system of getting permission work under HB1459? Right now, if the school doesn’t receive the signed permission slip back from the parents, it’s a no go for the survey to be given to the student. Under HB1459 however, all the school would need to do is send written notice home to the parents via the student, and no signed permission slip would need to be returned. There was much ado by the bill’s proponents that the problem now is permission slips get lost in the shuffle of paperwork and never make it back to the school. The implication is that parents want to grant permission but logistics get in the way. From raising my own son, who always managed to lose not only papers being sent home but even the folder that contained the papers (“No homework, Dad!”), I can definitely agree with the proponents that indeed papers do get lost. However, their solution to the vanishing papers issue doesn’t solve the problem because the permission slip might never make it home in the first place; thus, by default the parents will be deemed to have given permission without ever having seen the permission slip.

Here is a real-life example how this scheme works in practice and enables bureaucrats to pull the wool over the public’s eyes. When I lived in San Francisco, the city was pushing its own government-owned electricity supplier CleanPowerSF over Pacific Gas & Power. Of course, they wanted enough rate payers to choose CleanPowerSF to make it financially feasible, so they have been “opting in” the entire city, one neighborhood at a time, over the last few years stealthily. When the issue happened to surface, a friend of mine who is a certified political junkie and in tune to what goes on at City Hall confessed that he didn’t even notice that he had been “opted in” to CleanPowerSF. He quickly opted out once he realized what happened, but considering that he is well read and generally informed, can you just imagine how little of the general public would even be aware of what had occurred right under their noses? In the olden days, when phone companies used to switch people over to their company without their permission, this was called “slamming” and was widely condemned. If it was wrong for “evil” corporations to pull this shenanigan, why is it suddenly OK when government officials do it? Where is the outrage now?

Also worth mentioning are comments made during the hearing I attended. One committee member noted that he heard from past similar surveys that older students weren’t taking them seriously and were filling in bogus answers. After all, if you’re taking drugs or sleeping around, would you really want to take a chance of your parents finding out, even though the results are supposed to be anonymous? So, after wasting limited resources to gather this data, even if the snoopers didn’t misuse it, it might not even be accurate in the end. Another point was brought up by the only other person to oppose the bill: who is vetting these surveys before subjecting the students to them? The lack of oversight really concerned her over the inappropriateness of some of the questions.

Lastly, should there be any question as to the motivation and purpose of the bureaucrats, one of the letters sent home to parents announced that the survey itself would be available for viewing during school hours at the school. Of course, most parents are at work during school hours, so why not just send the survey home for parents to view it themselves before granting permission? OK, for those concerned with wasting taxpayer dollars on hard paper costs, why not just post it online for all parents to see? In fact, parents complained about not being able to take the survey home for review, and some had to file several Right-To-Know requests to get hard copies. The breathtaking depth of the snoopers’ nosiness is surpassed only by their zeal to deceive and circumvent parents.

The bill is currently pending in the NH House Education Committee. If it makes it out of committee to the floor, I will keep an eye on how Milton’s representatives and senator vote on it. It and the shameful surveys are further evidence that something has gone really awry at government schools.

References:

Bamforth, Annabelle. (2014, April 9). School Misleads Parents On Survey Questions For Students. Retrieved from truthinmedia.com/school-misleads-parents-on-survey-questions-for-students/

Legiscan. (2020). HB1459: Relative to non-academic surveys administered by a public school or a chartered public school to its students. Retrieved from legiscan.com/NH/bill/HB1459/2020

Ross A. Lurgio Middle School. (2014, March 31). Dear Parent or Guardian. Retrieved from www.girardatlarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/AssetSurveyNotificationLurgio-03.21.14.pdf

School Choice for NH. (2016, February 16). Dear State Senators: Open Letter from Kathy Dunton. Retrieved from www.schoolchoicenh.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/SB-320-2016-letter-by-Kathy-Dunton-Rochester-NH-survey-homework.pdf

School Choice for NH. (2017, January 7). Non-Academic Surveys in the Classroom. Retrieved from www.schoolchoicenh.org/2017/01/24/non-academic-surveys-in-the-classroom/

Search Institute. (2012). Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes & Behaviors. Retrieved from www.girardatlarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Attitudes-Behaviors-Survey-1.pdf

Celestial Seasonings – February 2020

By Heather Durham | January 31, 2020

Hi everybody and welcome to the February 2020 issue of Celestial Seasonings!

This month brings with it another visit from our Beehive Cluster, M44, as well as an increasing amount of daylight. Additionally, we are having an extra day this month for 2020 is a leap year. Now let’s see what the skies will provide for our viewing pleasure.


February 1: The first quarter of the Moon will appear.

February 8: The Open Beehive Cluster commonly referred to as M44 will closely approach the Moon. M44 is from the Constellation Cancer. The Moon will be 15 days old on this date. The a-Centaurid meteor shower coming from the Centaurus Constellation will occur. As part of the Milky Way, the globe-shaped cluster, NGC2808 from the Constellation Carina will be displayed (Wikipedia, 2019).

February 9: The Moon will be full.

February 10: Mercury will be far away from the Sun. This is also referred to as Mercury being at it’s greatest elongation East (in-the-sky.org,2019). The Moon will be at it’s farthest point from the Sun and the Moon will travel by it’s closest point to Earth.

February 12: Mercury has an 88-day orbit around the Sun and will be at it’s closest position near the Sun. As well, Mercury will be at it’s highest point in the sky.

February 15: This date will bring the last quarter of the Moon.

February 18: The open cluster from the Constellation Sagittarius, NGC6530, will closely approach Mars. The Moon and Mars will rise closely together in the same direction.

February 19: The Moon and Jupiter will rise up in the same direction. The Moon and Jupiter will rise closely to one another. Bode’s Galaxy or NGC3031 from Ursa Major will be great for observation.

February 20: The Moon and Saturn will rise in the same direction with the two of them passing close to each other.

February 21: The Moon will orbit towards it’s closest place to the Sun. NGC3114 also known as a sparse open star cluster from the Constellation Carina should be visible with binoculars.

February 23: This date will bring us a new moon.

February 25: Mercury will pass closely by the Sun.

February 26: The Moon will appear somewhat smaller as it orbits towards it’s farthest point from Earth.

February 27: The Moon and Venus will rise in the same direction.

February 28: M22, also known as NGC6656, an elliptical globe-shaped cluster from the Constellation Sagittarius and Mars will be making a close approach of one another (Wikipedia, 2019).

February 29: This year is a leap year, so there is a February 29. In Irish and English tradition, women were allowed on this day to initiate dances and propose marriage. If refused, the bachelor had to pay a forfeit.


Previous in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – January 2020; next in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – March 2020


References:

in-the-sky.org. (2020). Mercury. Retrieved from  https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?id=20200210_11_101

Wikipedia. (2019, December 9). Bachelor’s Day (Tradition). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bachelor%27s_Day_(tradition)

Wikipedia. (2019, December). Beehive Cluster. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beehive_Cluster

Wikipedia. (2019, October). Messier 22. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_22

Lemonade Freedom

By Ian Aikens | January 22, 2020

Do you ever read about something in the news that gets your blood boiling?  HB1147 currently in committee in the state legislature gets mine up to a thousand degrees. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a positive, simple, and logical piece of legislation that needs to be voted into law without hesitation, but the fact that such legislation is needed speaks volumes about the state of liberty and government overreach these days.

HB1147 prohibits a city, town, or village district from licensing a lemonade stand operated by a person under the age of 18. It is an amendment to RSA 31:102-a which applies to “Hawkers, Peddlers, and Vendors” and allows municipalities to “adopt, by ordinance or regulation, provisions for the licensure and regulation of itinerant vendors, hawkers, peddlers, traders, farmers, merchants, or other persons who sell, offer to sell, or take orders for merchandise from temporary or transient sales locations within a town or who go from town to town or place to place within a town for such purposes.”  Lest you think we’re talking about just a “friendly reminder” here, think again: “Any person who violates any provision of such ordinance or regulation shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor, and each continuing day of violation after notice shall constitute a separate offense.” The moment you don’t comply to bureaucrats in power, they start up with their threats and fines and escalate from there.

So why all the interest in lemonade?  In case you haven’t heard, police across the country have been shutting down lemonade stands run by kids for years. It could be a coincidence, but the first reported case of a municipality shutting down a kid-run concession stand occurred in Salem Common, Taxachusetts on August 3, 2005 after a nearby sausage vendor complained to the police that a lemonade stand run by a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old was hurting his business. A county inspector in Maryland closed down a kids’ lemonade stand and fined their parents $500 on June 16, 2011. On April 16, 2012, city health officials in Hopkinton, Taxachusetts shut down the Westbury family stand that sold lemonade, cookies, and banana bread from the end of their driveway to spectators at the Boston Marathon and donated the proceeds to the Relay for Life anti-cancer charity. The official explanation was lack of a permit. On August 8, 2013, police in Queens, New York shut down a lemonade stand run by 9-year-old Nora and 11-year-old Jameala Lahoud also because they didn’t have a permit. On July 28, 2018, a New York State Health Department bureaucrat ordered a 7-year old to stop selling lemonade from a stand set up in his backyard in Ballston Spa, New York. The list of “crimes” committed throughout the country goes on and on.

Why would anyone deny young people the opportunity to become budding entrepreneurs and learn life skills that encourage independence and self-reliance?  A study in Educational Psychology Journal found that early youth engagement leads to future entrepreneurs. A Youth Impact Report in 2017 compared kids who had been involved in the national Lemonade Day program (which teaches children how to gain practical entrepreneurial experience by running a lemonade stand) to those who had not been involved. It found that 31% of the Lemonade Day kids are running their own businesses today while only 4% of the non-Lemonade Day kids are running their own businesses. One father penned “3 Sales Lessons You Can Learn from a Simple Lemonade Stand” after observing what his own son learned from his lemonade stand: fearlessness, cross-selling, and understanding what your customer is really buying. Just ask Warren Buffett or Todd Graves, founder of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers enterprise, where they got their first taste of business smarts: selling lemonade. To most of us older folks, kids selling lemonade was a normal part of childhood on the way to adulthood. Today the growth of government — with its strangulating reach of the administrative state — has coincided with overwhelming efforts to extend childhood later and later and treat young adults like children. (In San Francisco, where I used to live, the voters actually passed a ballot measure extending “youth” benefits up to age 24.) Is it any wonder that there’s a whole crop of “youth” out there in colleges and universities who have been so overprotected by helicopter parents that they can’t deal with the normal responsibilities and stress of adult life and are justifiably called snowflakes?  Clearly more children-run lemonade stands are needed, not less.

Another strange twist to this whole lemonade business is the bill only protects those under the age of 18. Aside from the fact that this is age discrimination — something that those who believe “there ought to be a law” for everything we say or do profess to be opposed to — what has age got to do with “public safety”? Isn’t “public safety” the justification for all these types of licensing, fees, and regulations?  Is an adult more likely than a child to put arsenic in lemonade he/she is selling to the public?  If not, then what’s the reason for the original law and now apparently the need to grant an exemption?  It turns out “public safety” is the least of the real reasons for enacting such laws. It’s all about eliminating the competition, and that’s all it’s ever been or will be about. Occasionally the real truth slips out. Police in Appleton, Wisconsin informed children that despite legally selling lemonade and cookies in their front yard during an annual city festival for the last 7 years, a new ordinance bans these sales in order to protect licensed vendors. In Denver police shut down a lemonade stand last spring run by two young boys who were raising money for Charity International because they didn’t have a permit that would have cost $30. And how did the police happen to notice their stand?  They were “informed on” by a lemonade vendor at a nearby festival who was charging 10 times as much as the kids for a glass of lemonade. To me, this sounds a lot more like an extortion racket (“pay to play”) than “protecting” the public.

This brings up the whole question of government licensing and regulation. Don’t get me started!  The explosion of licensing of jobs has reached epidemic proportions all over the country, and I am not happy to report that New Hampshire is doing poorly in this department these days. A cursory glance at what current bills state legislators are cooking up to license more jobs this year include art therapists; massage, reflexology, and Asian bodywork therapy; music therapists; pharmacy benefits managers, and locksmiths. At the rate they’re going, will the politicians soon be requiring licensing just to work at McDonald’s?  Lest you think I’m exaggerating how absurd the licensing-industrial complex has boomed these days, here are a few facts to ponder: 1) In 1950, only 5% of jobs required a license, but in 2020, it’s 30%–and getting higher all the time; 2) 37 states require a license just to shampoo hair in a salon; 3) Over 20 states require a license to paint houses; and 4) On average, emergency medical technicians require 120-150 hours of training to be licensed, but interior decorators need to complete 2,200 hours of training. Is there no end to this authoritarian paternalism?  Do consumers really need to be treated as helpless children who can’t choose their own service providers based on reputation, word-of-mouth, and voluntary professional association certifications?  Does a piece of paper issued by a government bureaucrat really guarantee that an individual or business is going to provide “safe” and sound service?

Another issue HB1147 broaches is local control versus central control. As a general rule, local control is the lesser of the two evils because, just as people differ, so can communities. Certainly urban, suburban, and rural folks tend to all have different political values and sensibilities, so as long as overreaching laws are kept local and not imposed on all communities, at least one can “vote” with their feet. However, when laws are passed statewide or even nationally, then voting with your feet is less effective. That said, tyranny is alive and thriving at the local level, and often times the biggest violations of individual rights happen locally when power-hungry selectmen, and planning board and zoning board members throw their weight around and ignore property rights and constitutional protections. So, in this case, though it’s a state law that overrules local control, it does protect individual rights — though in a small way — and puts a harness on local busybodies, so it should get 100% support.

I will keep an eye on what happens with this bill. It was introduced on January 8, 2020 and referred to the Municipal and County Government Committee. It’s due out of committee on March 5, 2020, so let’s see what the politicians do with it. I’ll be watching how Reps. Hayward and Rooney and Senator Bradley vote on it when it comes to a vote. I can’t imagine any reasonable person opposed to this bill, but in politics anything is possible!

References:

Freedom Center of Missouri (Dave). (2011, July 26). The Government War on Kid-Run Concession Stands. Retrieved from http://www.mofreedom.org/2011/07/the-government-war-on-kid-run-concession-stands/

Golombek, Allan. (2019, August 30). Buy From a Lemonade Stand, Take a Stand for Freedom. Retrieved from https://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2019/08/30/buy_from_a_lemonade_stand_take_a_stand_for_freedom_103887.html#!

Gordon, Steven. (2019, August 30). Op-ed: New law provides more freedom for kids to launch a lemonade business. Retrieved from https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2019/08/30/op-ed-new-law-provides-more-freedom-for-kids-to.html

Legiscan. (2020). NH Legislation | 2020 | Regular Session. Retrieved from https://legiscan.com/NH/text/HB1147/id/2072323

 

Celestial Seasonings – January 2020

By Heather Durham | December 31, 2019

Happy New Year and new decade everyone! This month comes with an eclipse of the Moon as well as from M44, our Beehive Cluster. The darkest days are over now providing us with ever increasing daylight until June.

Let’s hope that our new decade is full of increasing optimism and joy! Now let’s explore what the Cosmos has in store for us this the first month of the new decade!


January 1: The Moon is at its farthest point from the Earth.

January 2: M41, the open cluster from Canis Major will be at its highest point in the sky.

The first quarter of the moon will occur as well.

January 4: Quadrantid meteor shower from the Constellation Boötes will be on display.

January 5: Earth will be at its closest point to the Sun.

January 10: The planet Mercury will travel close to the Sun.

A penumbral eclipse of the Moon will occur on this date meaning that the Moon will pass through the Earth’s shadow. Not only will the Moon be full tonight, but it will also travel to its farthest place from the Sun.

January 11: The Moon and the Beehive open cluster from the Constellation Cancer will approach one another. (Wikipedia, 2019).

January 13: Saturn will move closely by the Sun. Also, Pluto will move closely by the Sun. The Moon will pass closely by the Earth making it appear slightly larger than usual. As a minor planet designation, 1 Ceres will move very close to the Sun.  Also of note, 1 Ceres passes back and forth between Mars and Jupiter as the biggest object in the main asteroid belt.

January 15: On this date, another minor planet designation, Asteroid 511 Davida will be visible.  This is from the Constellation Gemini. From Puppis, the open star cluster otherwise referred to as M47 or NGC 2422 will be available for viewing. NGC 2403 which is also referred to as Caldwell 7 comes from the Constellation Camelopardalis is an intermediate spiral galaxy available in the night sky. (Wikipedia,2019)

January 17: This will be the date for the last quarter of the Moon. Once again from the Puppis Constellation, comes open star cluster NGC 2451.

January 19: Today will bring us y-Ursae minorid meteor shower from the Constellation Ursa Minor.

January 20: The Moon and Mars will both rise to the right (in a right ascension (see References)) and they will come to be in close proximity to one another.

January 21: From within the Constellation Cancer, comes Asteroid 5 Astraea.

January 22: The Moon and Jupiter will be both close together as well as rising to the right (in a right ascension (see References)).

January 23: The Moon will go to its closest point to the Sun.

January 24: The Moon will be new today.

January 27: Venus and Neptune will be close and also rise to the right (in a right ascension (see References)).

January 28: The Moon and Venus will rise to the right (in a right ascension (see References)). The Moon, Venus and Neptune will be in close proximity to one another.

January 29: The Moon will appear smaller for it is far away from the Earth.

January 31: Once again this month, we will be presented again with M44 or the Beehive Cluster. An open star cluster from the Constellation Vela, also known as Caldwell 85 may be visible with binoculars.


Previous in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – December 2019; next in sequence: Celestial Seasonings – February 2020


References:

in-the-sky.org. (2019). Retrieved from in-the-sky.org/newscast.php?month=1&year=2020&maxdiff=7#datesel

Wikipedia. (2019, December 19). Beehive Cluster. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beehive_Cluster

Wikipedia. (2019, December 7). Boötes. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boötes

Wikipedia. (2019, December 18). Canis Major. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canis_Major

Wikipedia. (2019, December 27). IC 2391. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IC_2391

Wikipedia (2019, October 16). Penumbral Eclipse. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_eclipse#Penumbral_eclipse

Wikipedia. (2019, December 15). Right Ascension. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_ascension