Thursday, December 31, 2009
So what is the lesson of this debacle? The main lesson is that political correctness is driving curriculum in some districts to the point of lowering expectations for the overall student population. I don't know why parents are not up in arms about this action. And I don't understand why any teacher who values their subject would remain on the faculty at such a school. But the bottom line is that either you want all students to achieve and learn, or you want to handpick and dumb down classes to accommodate some ethnic spreadsheet that matters to no one outside the boundaries of administration.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
First, there is the rating game. Fox has been beating out some of the big network affiliates on a regular basis. But this goes farther than just ABC, NBC and CBS. Time Warner, through a variety of mergers, is also the parent company of the following networks and entities:
"...Among its subsidiaries are New Line Cinema, Time Inc., HBO, Turner Broadcasting System, The CW Television Network, TheWB.com, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Kids' WB, The CW4Kids, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Hanna-Barbera, Ruby-Spears Productions, Adult Swim, CNN, DC Comics, and Warner Bros. Games...."
Please note the primarily liberal slant of many of these entities. Turner Broadcasting was the brainchild of Ted Turner-a man too liberal even for Jane Fonda. HBO has become a hotbed of liberal thought through their many in-house productions. Even more disturbing is the way liberal concepts are inserted in children's programming. If you don't believe it, just try watching one of the news shows targeting children and see what is being passed on a fact to your kids.
Even more questionable is why this cable network would deliberately try to remove one of their top stations. This is the station that carries a great deal of big college football as well as other sports. During the height of the football bowl and playoff season, why would they do this? You can point to business as usual, but this is like shooting themselves in the foot. With Time Warner already seeing a drop off in subscriptions to their service, this would only make people who watch football less likely to join. So there's really no economic reason for this as the addition of Fox would increase their desirability in the market.
In order to make this decision which would cut Time Warner's income, somebody has to be making this worth their while. I don't know if this is from private funding or from some surreptitious political scheme, but it is no secret that this White House administration has big issues with Fox. Their various childish snubs and rants leads me to think that this is a hand in glove operation worthy of only the most astute student of Machiavellian thought. In short, this is not the simple case everyone thinks it is-this is an attempt to silence Fox with a warning shot and without bringing the Fairness Doctrine into play, which would alert conservative outlets. So this is more important than it appears and you as a citizen should be concerned that this is just the first in a series of moves to stifle dissent in our nation.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Had enough yet? Well let me explain it to you. Right now a four member family with an income of $66,000 will pay over ten percent of their income to pay for insurance that they will not receive for FOUR YEARS. That means that middle income folks, clerical workers, teachers, firefighters, police, will be effectively getting a reduction in their take home pay. And on top of that, since the insurance doesn't take effect for four years, you will still have to pay for insurance ON TOP OF THIS TAX for four years. Are you mad yet? How about this? The bill contains language that makes it where future Congresses can never repeal it in perpetuity. That means forever. As if this Congress has proven itself infallible on anything. TARP, Cash for Clunkers and now this bad bill rushed through so that Obama won't miss his check in time for his Hawaiian vacation. Excuse me if I say I am sick of this arrogant attitude toward the American people. The rest of us are hunkering down because we don't know if we will be able to afford food and a home-so how about you take a chill pill and linger in the White House pondering the serious nature of current events. I don't believe in reincarnation, but if there was ever a reinvention of Marie Antoinette, Obama is it.
At any rate, due to this bill and this continued dismissive attitude of Congress and the administration toward the WILL OF THE PEOPLE there will be a
January 20, 2010
Don't go to work, don't buy anything, close your doors and call in sick.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Make no mistake, this isn't about insurance reform, it is not about healthcare. How could it be when estimates say that while everyone will pay more, only half of the current uninsured will be covered? What other programs are soaking up the revenue? And what about the many millions of people employed by insurers and their ancillaries? Where will they go in an economy in which the published unemployment rate is over ten percent, but the defacto rate is closer to twenty. This is NOT an accident. In moving Americans to a dependent nation status, they must pry us away from our freedom and the best way to do that is to make it where government is the ONLY RESOURCE from which we can get life's necessities. This is no accident. It is the intentional diversion of a revenue stream from private industry, where it creates jobs, to government where it does not. Even the government jobs that have been created-since that is the only sector where job growth is evident-are fewer jobs that pay more than comparable jobs in the private sector.
This is theft plain and simple. So, would you buy a used car from this Congress????
Read more: http://www.politico.com/livepulse/1209/Wait_goes_o...
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
When I was a child, I helped decorate. I tested light strings for loose bulbs, hung the ornaments and decorated the tree strand by strand with tinsel. Each present was carefully guarded and wrapped with elaborate bows and ribbons. The tree was a gaudy, homely riot of color reinforcing the happy chaos of the holiday. I remember endless trays of homemade cookies and candies shared on plates with neighbors and friends. I remember a house filled with family, chattering, telling jokes, sharing food. I remember happy. I know what it feels like. Which is why I know what is missing now.
Even as a young wife and mother, the joy was still there. I carefully spent money on things that would make my husband and children happy. We made gingerbread houses, decorated cookies, made angels with glitter and glue. I recall the "Bike Christmas" where all three kids got bikes. Not fancy bikes, not bikes with pedigrees and special accoutrement, but bikes with bells and streamers. Bikes meant for going, not for showing. I remember hiding toys in the closet. There were countless Christmas Eves spent assembling toys or wrapping gifts as "White Christmas" played in the background. There were friends and eggnog, cookies and laughter. There was still joy. I know what joy feels like, so I know what is missing now.
Now my children are young adults, with their own homes. They work as much as they can because even with a college degree there are no jobs that pay much. My son and daughter and her boyfriend actually share a house because they cannot make rent on their own. I despair that they are so desperate to survive. I don't remember feeling so desperate when I was their ages. I don't understand how things could go so wrong. I wish I could comfort them, make the path easier, because I don't remember it being so hard.
We did the right things. We paid our bills, paid our taxes. We saved for college for our kids, although when the time came they still had to work nearly full time to pay their way. We went to church, although the rules seem to be changing to make church more of a political arm than a spiritual release. We did what we were supposed to do, yet it seems that we are the ones who are being expected to surrender the most. In the past seven years it appears we are in a downward spiral. Perhaps part of it has to do with my Dad dying of a massive coronary on Christmas Day 2002. Perhaps it has to do with the increased responsibility that has been pushed on me by necessity. Perhaps it is because I am the main breadwinner and that my time is diminished and that I seem to be slowing disappearing. I am simply not the person I used to be. I look at old pictures and wonder where she's gone.
I go through the motions. I put up the tree. I put lights outside. I have even baked some cookies. But I am not ready. There's a dull aching emptiness inside. There's no hope, no joy, no happiness. I put on a mask of perky attitude hoping nobody will look too closely. I pick an angel from the Salvation Army tree at the mall, something I wish more people would do. I contribute food to the food bank, clothes to the community group and pet food to the local shelter. But it seems that in my quest to be Lady Bountiful, I am left behind. I know what Christmas feels like so I know what is missing. Please, how do I find my way back. I want to go home.
I am not ready for Christmas.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
"The Obama bowing pictures are becoming iconic not for those reasons, however, but because they express a growing political perception, and that is that there is something amateurish about this presidency, something too ad hoc and highly personalized about it, something . . . incompetent, at least in its first year..."
I am not a big fan of Peggy Noonan. I only on occasion agree with her observations. But this column expresses the opinions that I have had regarding this administration's approach to diplomacy and protocol. It has been clumsy at best. And not a good or endearing sort of clumsy, but a deliberate flaunting of tradition in order to achieve some unknown display of a type of condescending obeisance. The bowing of President Obama to the Emperor of Japan is just another in a series of diplomatic faux pas which seem to be planned to show America's willingness to let go the reins of power.
No nation makes headway with foreign leaders by acting out a Uriah Heep type of demeanor. Reagan encouraged the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Truman when face with the possibility of a million American casualties on the beach in an invasion of Japan chose to drop the Bomb. Being the President is a serious job with serious implications. Unfortunately this White House seems to be running on the same game plan they used during the campaign. It's just not working.
From the IPOD for Queen Elizabeth II to the unseemly bowing to Saudi and Japanese royalty, it appears that this administration is trying to ingratiate itself with foreign heads of states by denigrating America's power and diminishing our policies. It is hamhanded and amateur. But then again, if you will read this column, you will see that even seasoned Democrat supporters are questioning their support in the face of a White House staff that acts as if they are either lacking in the abilities and knowledge for the job or that they are deliberately flaunting protocol with the goal being to shove off the burden of leadership.
Either action betrays a seriously flawed agenda and one that does not serve the American people well. Also note that the Democrat quoted said that if the healthcare bill fails to pass it would actually be a win for Obama because the bill itself is so inherently flawed. If this is what his friends are saying, then why is it that press refuses to acknowledge the concern expressed across demographic categories by the direction this Obama Administration and this liberal dominant Congress? I can only say that the core far Left are willing to follow this administration over a cliff if need be to maintain their fragile world view.
With healthcare being in peril, defacto unemployment at 17% and the Copenhagen treaty questionable in light of recent revelations on fraud and misdirection used to achieve Global Warming claims, wouldn't it make far more sense for this president to stay home and hammer out some meaningful pragmatic legislation to get American back to work? I am tired of worrying about the rest of the world, it's time for America First.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Academics have a great deal riding on their ability to attract grants both public and private. In many academic circles the concept of "publish or perish" has been replaced with a type of summation based on the ability to attract large donors. While this in itself isn't anything new, especially with private schools, the willingness to fudge data to fit the outcome is new. This is the antithesis of a true scientific process. In a true scientific process the entire outlay and design of the research is documented. In order to be valid, the process must be duplicated and confirmed. In this case we have scientists who are willing to suppress opposing views. Anyone who has been in academia will tell you that there is never, ever a time when ALL academics agree on a theory. So when the outcry from Al Gore and others in the celebrity community included the statements that ALL scientists agreed on the hypothesis of Anthropogenic Global Warming as a crisis, warning bells should have gone off.
But in academia these days, dissent is only accepted when it's the proper type of dissent. So you can opposed industries, you can oppose business systems, but heaven help you and hold on to your tenure if you dare to oppose those programs or ideas that are part of the agenda of Leftists. This scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. Many professors have already lost their positions for daring to oppose the political juggernaut of PC ideals. If we cannot trust a consensus of scientists, then why should we trust a consensus of economists that support the far Left views of the White House agenda?
A consensus is only as good as the true information they are selling. And in Global Warming, Healthcare and the Economy, they have been writing up hopes as facts and change as legislation. We deserve better. And we deserve honesty.
I genuinely like most of my students.
Students that I do not like are generally troublemakers, gangsters or overly spoiled.
I do my best to teach all of them in spite of themselves.
So reading this article was disturbing on many levels.
First, for all those who vilify public education, public education is what sets us apart from other nations. While we appear to have students not as well equipped, please understand that public schools do not have the luxury of denying students access to an education for any reason. Private schools can pick and choose their students, public schools must deal with kids who are often not ready for school and not supported at home.
Having said that, I feel that our nation is only as good as the schools we create. That inner city schools suffer poor testing results and high failure rates has more to do with the environment surrounding the schools than the schools themselves. It is difficult to teach in a warzone. That's what many of our urban schools have become. Because no parents are present or care enough to enforce rules, limits and goals, students are free to party, act as criminals and generally make the process of education difficult for every teacher and every student. Unfortunately there are those within powerful positions in society that would rather spend time blaming teachers than looking in the mirror. When I see almost every week another story about a parent threatening to sue the schools over dress codes, "unfairness" or other parental excuses, it is clear where the lack of achievement comes from.
So I was truly alarmed when I read this article. This article refers to a type of gross and obvious indoctrination that should be opposed by any member of any faculty that values free speech. Instead of teaching teachers how to reach students, how to handle problems, how to adapt lessons for maximum learning, this university is indulging in a type of self-serving political exercise that will not only drive away many intelligent students, but which could also fill schools with doctrinaire repositories that are far more concerned with spouting social justice than in teaching multiplication. This is absolutely NOT what our schools need. Yet this is a program closely allied with the goals of the Obama Administration. I have to wonder if they plan on systematically removing older teachers such as myself only to replace them with ideologues that will implement "change" as a matter of political elimination.
Scary, indeed. Read the story.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Maybe this will wake some of the younger folks up and maybe some of you have already read it, but this is really hitting the nail on the head as far as I am concerned.
John G. is 63 years old and owns a small business. He's a life-long
Republican and sees his dream of retiring next year has all but
evaporated.. With the stock market crashing and new taxes coming his way,
John assumes now that he will work to his dying day.
John has a granddaughter.. Ashley is a recent college grad. She drives a
flashy hybrid car, wears all the latest fashions, and loves to go out to
nightclubs and restaurants. Ashley campaigned hard for Barak Obama.
After the election she made sure her grandfather (and all other
Republican family members) received a big I told-you-so earful on how
the world is going to be a much better place now that her party is
Having lost both roommates, Ashley recently ran short of cash and cannot
pay the rent (again) on her 3 bedroom townhouse. Like she has done many
times in the past, she emailed her grandfather asking for some financial
help. Here is his reply:
I received your request for assistance. Ashley, you know I love you
dearly and I'm sympathetic to your financial plight. Unfortunately,
times have changed. With the election of President Obama, your
grandmother and I have had to set forth a bold new economic plan of our
own..."The Ashley Economic Empowerment Plan." Let me explain.
Your grandmother and I are life-long, wage-earning tax payers. We have
lived a comfortable life, as you know, but we have never had the fancier
things like European vacations, luxury cars, etc. We have worked hard
and were looking forward to retiring soon. But the plan has changed.
Your president is raising our personal and business taxes significantly.
He says it is so he can give our hard earned money to other people. Do
you know what this means, Ashley? It means less for us, and we must cut
back on many business and personal expenses.
You know the wonderful receptionist who worked in my office for more
than 23 years? The one who always gave you candy when you came over to
visit? I had to let her go last week. I can't afford to pay her salary
and all of the government mandated taxes that go with having employees.
Your grandmother will now work 4 days a week to answer phones, take
orders and handle the books. We will be closed on Fridays and will lose
even more income.
I'm also very sorry to report that your cousin Frank will no longer be
working summers in the warehouse. I called him at school this morning.
He already knows about it and he's upset because he will have to give up
skydiving and his yearly trip to Greenland to survey the polar bears.
That's just the business side of things. Some personal economic effects
of Obama's new taxation policies include none other than you. You know
very well that over the years your grandmother and I have given you
thousands of dollars in cash, tuition assistance, food, housing,
clothing, gifts, etc., etc. But by your vote, you have chosen to help
others -- not at your expense -- but at our expense.
If you need money now sweetheart, I recommend you call 202-456-1111.
That is the direct phone number for the White House. You yourself told
me how foolish it is to vote Republican. You said Mr. Obama is going to
be the People's President, and is going to help every American live a
better life. Based on everything you've told me, along with all the
promises we heard during the campaign, I'm sure Mr. Obama will be happy
to transfer some stimulus money into your bank account. Have him call me
for the account number which I memorized years ago.
Perhaps you can now understand what I've been saying all my life: those
who vote for a president should consider the impact on the nation as a
whole, and not be just concerned with what they can get for themselves.
What Obama supporters don't seem to realize is all of the money he is
redistributing to illegal aliens and non-taxpaying Americans (the
so-called "less fortunate") comes from tax-paying families.
Remember how you told me, "Only the richest of the rich will be
affected"? Well guess what, honey? Because we own a business, your
grandmother and I are now considered to be the richest of the rich. On
paper, it might look that way, but in the real world, we are far from it.
As you said while campaigning for Obama, some people will have to carry
more of the burden so all of America can prosper. You understand what
that means, right? It means that raising taxes on productive people
results in them having less money; less money for everything, including
I'm sorry, Ashley, but the well has run dry. The free lunches are over.
I have no money to give you now.
So, congratulations on your choice for "change." For future reference, I
encourage you to try and add up the total value of the gifts and cash
you have received from us, just since you went off to college, and
compare it to what you expect to get from Mr. Obama over the next 4 (or
8) years. I have not kept track of it, Ashley. It has all truly been the
gift of our hearts.
Remember, we love you dearly....but from now on you'll need to call the
number mentioned above. Your "Savior" has the money we would have given
to you. Just try and get it from him.
Good luck, sweetheart.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
But as time wears on and your administration progresses, it has become obvious not only are you inexperienced, but that you are disdainful of many Americans who are suffering under your regime. I say "suffering" because what else do you call it when effectively over 17% of the population is unemployed or underemployed?
I'm a middle class, college educated 53 year old woman. I have never asked for a handout. My husband and I worked all of our lives to buy our own home, raise our own kids and simply live. We don't have time to start over. Yet the economy keeps my husband marginally employed through a commission sales position that frankly hasn't paid much because nobody is buying in this economy. I look with trepidation at the moves made by the school district where I teach. With shrinking property values the tax revenue that funds the district is shrinking. Jobs are going to go away. At 53, just where am I supposed to find a job, Mr. President? It would take three years to retrain, and by then I would be 57. Who is going to hire a 57 year old entry level employee? No rational company will hire someone at that age and train them knowing they would not be there for more than a few years.
And what of my kids? My kids worked full time all the way through college. What little they got in help was in the form of academic scholarships. There were not special programs to pave their way, no mentors to make sure they succeeded. They have some education loans, but not as much as most grads. But even after six months, my son is stuck in his college job as a fastfood manager because there are no jobs for him even as a college grad. (BTW, remember "fastfood"-many liberals categorized those jobs as ones Americans wouldn't do in justifying illegal immigration.) Now faced with dwindling job prospects at the age of 23, my son is moving back home. My daughter is moving into a spare bedroom at a friend's house. Even though they paid rent on their own through college, the economy is such that they cannot afford to pay rent and their college loans. They are deferring marriage, kids, jobs because of an economy that seems only to serve the government infrastructure. The rest of the market is flat. And with the pending additional burden of a health insurance penalty, even what few entry level jobs are out there will go away. What do you expect these kids to do...wait a few years? How many? Five, ten, fifteen? And in the meantime the favoritism of affirmative action will insure that even if my kids qualify for a job that they will have to wait behind others based on nothing more than race.
While you and your handpicked cabinet of liberals and the Congress seem content to eviscerate the economy piece by piece, do you not understand that the relentless implementation of more corporate taxing ends up being a tax on all of us? Maybe when you were in law school, you missed this point, but corporations are NOT alive. When you tax a corporation, whether it is for transporation or manufacturing or energy use or profits, those costs are rolled into the cost of the product. And that means that we, the American consumers, pay that tax. It just passes through like grass through a goose. So for all your self-congratulatory talk about "taxing profits" and "penalizing corporations" you are really only penalizing US, the American people. We are the ones suffering with fewer jobs and higher prices.
In the month of October your administration racked up a deficit equal to the entire last year of President Bush's administration. Your party screamed at his spending. Yet looking back now, it seems as if this Congress and this administration is a runaway monster bent on wrecking the economy. I have to wonder why you are doing this. Do you want us all to abandon our homes to move into federal housing? Do you want to break down our individuality by imposing a rule of law that is so unconstitutional that even some of your own party would oppose it? For the entire summer you alternately ignored and dismissed the fear, the anger and the dismay of so many American over the penalties that will be imposed by your healthcare bill. When even New York writers, not known for the conservative views, startle at the penalties and costs of this bill, then is it not time to step back and stop and refine it to a bill that approaches the central problem of the hardcore uninsured without bankrupting the rest of us for a program that offers far less than we have right now.
Mr. President, I still am not a key supporter. There are too many mysteries in your past. You seem to dislike the people who live between the two coasts. You don't want to entertain the ideas that come from outside your own limited circle. And you seem driven to tax the middle class in order to buy votes. I'm sorry if you are offended by this letter, but quite honestly from what you have done so far, you seem more interested in shoring up your personal agenda than in helping the whole of the nation. And that means you are not a statesman, nor are you wise. It just means you are another politician who has been bought by a controlling majority of rich liberals. And that means the rest of us will lose again, even though we've already lost so much already.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
But it's worse than that. As I have said before, I teach high school. I teach in the most diverse school in the district, with kids that are scions of pro athletes alongside kids who live in trailers. But there is no significant difference in the role of negligence and absolute loneliness. We have kids who are in poverty who literally raise themselves. Sometimes it's because parents are working more than one job and must leave kids on their own. But just as often it is parents who have abdicated their responsibility to raise, nuture and protect their children. It is often just as common to have wealthy parents shove cars and money at children instead of spending time with them. I've been to many a school concert for choir, band and orchestra. There may be over 100 students on the stage, yet the audience is strangely missing. It is one thing to be unable to come, it is quite another to be unwilling to come. As a parent, I cannot imagine not being there for my children. Sadly, with far too many parents, that is not the case. I guess kids are just disposable.
Perhaps this comes from the sexual revolution. Remember when they said The Pill-Big Letters-would "liberate" women. If that's the case, then why was Roe v. Wade ever put into law? If that's the case then why are increasing numbers of poor children born to single parent households? Why is it that we have young women who seem willing to allow dangerous males into their lives and the lives of their children? Once upon a time, it was love and marriage that proceeded the baby carriage. Now it seems that in desperation some young women pursue the idea of a baby as a magnet to hold a man, but in too many cases, these children barely know the names of their fathers, much less have a relationship with him. And as these children see their mothers and fathers flit aimlessly from partner to partner, they don't see love in terms of trust demonstrated, all they see is love in terms of lust. So I guess relationships are disposable, too.
I may sound old-fashioned, but it didn't used to be this way. It used to be that even poor families had a mother and father. Maybe they didn't have the latest fashions or toys, but they had the constancy of family to rely upon. Our shiny new disposable culture seems fueled by acquisition of goods rather than appreciation for the finer things. Reading is seen as unnecessary, listening has become a lost art. And writing, well it exists only in small pockets with people who still believe the written word has power. I do not claim to know the answers, but I know that something has to change. Perhaps I am enough of an optimist to think that life isn't linear and that the problems our sloppy self-indulgence has wrought can be resolved by people caring enough to reinvoke the claims family, faith, constancy and reject the shallow TMZ world of style over substance. Our lives, our childrens' lives, are too important to allow them to be disposable.
Friday, November 06, 2009
The Numbers Lie. Read the story linked in the headline. Appalling.
Excerpt:"...More than $4.7 million in federal stimulus aid so far has been funneled to schools in North Chicago, and state and federal officials say that money has saved the jobs of 473 teachers.
Problem is, the district employs only 290 teachers.
"That other number, I don't know where that came from," said Lauri Hakanen, superintendent of North Chicago Community Unit Schools District 187...."
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Please pray for our troops. It seems they not only have to fear the enemy, but the well placed traitors in their midst.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Since early in summer of 2008, it was clear that this wasn't your usual candidate or campaign. They were slick, they were savvy and they were everywhere---all the time. This slippery ability to be everywhere at once via the "new media" of the blogosphere, propelled the relatively unknown Barak Obama past the heir presumptive Hillary Clinton. And he did it by having uncounted ranks of bloggers acting as snipers against his peers within the primary and in the election at large.
This type of campaign that centers on the personal nature of the candidate has some serious flaws. First of all, by hanging their star on the candidate as a personal avenue to success, they had to create a persona that would both placate the population while simultaneously promoting an agenda of "social change." Have you heard this before? Social change is not without precedent. A plethora of radical politicians won the day on the wave of social change. But never before has a candidate injected the agenda with their personality. In some religious circles, the concept of a "personal Jesus" is one that presupposes what Jesus would say and do and think. The idea is that by having Jesus as your buddy, you would be exempt from the retribution for failure. Now we have a personal president. He's our buddy, and he approaches every issue based on the plan of smoothly suggesting which direction we should take even over the opposition of the voters.
So while many of his supporters assume that they know what President Obama is thinking, in reality, they haven't got a clue. There's a reason for this. For a long time the media and voters thought that the entire well-being of the nation had to do with them, but in reality, with this administration, it is all about Obama. How else do you explain the almost constant coverage of even the most plebian of speeches? And with so much media support deeply invested in the success or failure of this presidency, they have created a support system that enables the president to traipse even farther down that mirrored path of fame. Listen to the speeches and track how many times this president refers to his own experiences, his own feelings, his own opinions rather than seeking to explain the larger overarching needs of the nation. Is this really what he was elected to do-to fulfill his own dreams even if it is at the expense of the nation? Likewise, it is puzzling and troubling that while the leaders of other nations chose to shine the reputation based on the larger national image that the president and first lady chose to express personal feelings that appear to be more of a royal statement than a national representation.
At this point, early in the president's term, we have pundits and politicians alternately saying he hasn't had enough time to effect change and then excusing President Obama saying he has done nothing. You cannot have it both ways. Either this president is a stymied figurehead who will fulfill few if any of his big ticket promises, or he's someone so into his own image that he doesn't realize the damage he does by his statements and attitudes. If someone in the media is so hesitant of criticism that they would fact check a comedy sketch, then I think we have a problem that starts and ends with The First Ego.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
"Young people in other countries are going to school 25, 30 percent longer than our students here," Duncan told the AP. "I want to just level the playing field."
While it is true that kids in many other countries have more school days, it's not true they all spend more time in school.
Kids in the U.S. spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests -- Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) than does the U.S. (180 days)..."
This is an argument we will see more as the year goes on and as unemployment remains high. I would question how the president plans to pay for this. This year our district cut all departments' funding 10% across the board and in electives an additional 10%. As property values continue to decline, the tax rates will have to go up just to maintain the status quo. Add days, weeks, months to the calendar and you had better have some meaningful way of paying for it. As a teacher I already spend at least an hour and a half after school every day and two to three hours over the weekend just to keep up with grading, mandated reports for IEP's and BIP's not to mention online lesson planning and keeping a website up to date for parents and students to access. I don't need more time in class. In fact the argument could be made that most public schools waste far too much time.
But the bottom line is that there is a difference between just lengthening the school calendar and providing a babysitting service. I am sure that in some sectors the idea of not having to pay for after school care would be a winner. But quite truthfully, by the end of the day kids are tired. Teachers are tired as well. I am not sure how much effective learning will really take place between four and six in the afternoon. And I am not sure that this is a good way to attract quality graduates into education by offering more hours for what would effectively be less pay per hour than working at Starbucks. I am also unsure whether this is the best and most efficient use of resources. If you add hours to any program, you must also add money to apply and staff that program. A program without resources is no program at all-it's play time. Most districts already offer remedial tutoring before and after school. Every district I know offers summer school to help students who have failed assessment tests for their grade level. What then is the purpose of opening schools and making all kids attend around the year other than to provide day care under the guise of education. As someone who has worked far too long and far too hard to be considered a professional, I don't consider this a way of improving education, but instead a way of invading family lives for the purpose of God knows what.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Fountain place is 60 stories tall and located in close proximity to several buildings, theaters, museums as well as the Dallas ISD Arts Magnet High School. The tower houses outlets for many financial agencies. It is also important to remember that Dallas has seen a surge in many residents from Asia and the Middle East who seek places to live that have good schools and stable environments. Many Muslims have moved into the area and most are good citizens. But there are those who continue to support terror regimes in the same manner as the Holy Land Foundation out of Richardson, a Dallas suburb.
It is also odd timing. Ramadan has just ended, traditionally the time when insurgencies renew as the weather cools in the Fall. Likewise another terror attempt against New York which centers around a Denver insurgent was foiled this week. At some point our luck will run out. At some point a crucial communication will be delayed either by accident or deliberately by sources within our government who are so blissed out by their own egos that they cannot foresee that despite our president's role at the UN as Apologist-In-Chief, terror nations who do not accept us will try to destory us. Just as they will Israel, just as they will the United Kingdom, Just as they will the entire history of western culture if they get the chance. For a long time now, we have been told that we should not fear, nor be concerned about the Islamist threat. It was something that happens in other states, in other lands. After all 9/11 was eight years ago. And we should never never never be concerned about the legal status of foreign nationals. Instead we should NEGOTIATE, we should undermine our allies and appear our enemies, or at least that's the message from our president in his role of Apologist-In -Chief.
Yet doesn't anyone find it the least ironic that within hours of the president's speech that threw Israel under the bush to somehow placate Iran and Libya and all the other terrorist regimes that he seems to feel so strangely close to that Jordanian national, a self-proclaimed jihadi, tried to create a local terror incident that could have had consequences similar or worse given the time and location? So tell me now, tell me how safe we are, tell me how this institutional political blindness that is in reality political blindness to dangerous people in our midst. And while this applies to a terrorist from the Middle East, on a smaller but no less devastating scale we have a virtual invasion of people from many other nations who conveniently overstay their visas, come for one reason but get lost in the vastness of America. Is this not how 9/11 attackers managed to learn how to fly, but not to land? For all the 911Truthers and useful idiots out there, your blindness will get us killed. You continue in a baseless campaign of disinformation trying to peg the blame for 9/11 from within while on the outside we have active terror groups who are infiltrating and organizing to destroy us.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
I am happy to report that the first week went well. Technology is still not up to par, which really is normal. The students are a mix, with some potential doofuses in my third period. It doesn't endear me to students when they jovially discuss their summer fun of running from the police and committing crimes. Nevertheless, the advanced classes show SO MUCH PROMISE. They knocked out a quick piece this week, for me to just see where they were talent wise. I am impressed. I have several kids in Advanced Placement, but there are at least three others who should also submit portfolios, if they can. And....there are more kids in the wings. Our AP gave us a mandate to raise our numbers or risk losing a position. Well, we did that and more. Every section of every art class is FULL. Sure, it's crowded, but it's exciting too because lots of these kids are underclassmen and will fill our classes for years to come.
When I consider the somber tones of today's faculty meeting (yes, on a FRIDAY....) wherein teachers of Health and PE were informed that next year, the new requirements would make those classes 'go away' it makes me both happy and sad. We are holding on in our little corner of the curriculum. I just don't know for how long. Which is why this year, I will finally take that ESL certification test. In Texas, its the one discipline where you can come back from retiring and not take a hit in compensation. *sigh* I guess that's what it's come to.....
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Selfishly, no doubt, I continue to measure the health-care system where I live by what I want for myself and those about me.
And what I want, at least for that part of my time that I spend in England, is to be a dog. I also want, wherever I am, the Americans to go on paying for the great majority of the world’s progress in medical research and technological innovation by the preposterous expense of their system: for it is a truth universally acknowledged that American clinical research has long reigned supreme, so overall, the American health-care system must have been doing something right. The rest of the world soon adopts the progress, without the pain of having had to pay for it....
At any rate, the reason for writing this blog was that Ben Stein was fired from the New York Times. I am not sure what a conservative with an economics background was doing there in the first place, but I would think in order to at least pretend they gave the full scope of the political spectrum the NYT would keep a few token conservatives around. But as with so many other conservative, the NYT and its ancillary blogs, websites and such chose to create a type of aura that Stein was participating in conflict of interest situation with a company that he was a spokesman for. And to be additionally callous, they emailed the firing to his phone from someone that he had not met and did not know. Who is running the HR department at the NYT? Ron Burgundy? But as with all things, this too shall pass. I hope he writes a book detailing the idiocy that passes for reporting in liberal outlets. I also hope that if some writers, notably the idiot on Reuters, continue to defame his character that he follows up with a lawsuit.
Here's the column that Stein wrote outlining his fall from grace that began, oddly enough, with a column that was never published which criticized Obama. Are you sensing a trend here?
"...But the two main things, as I see them, were that I started criticizing Mr. Obama quite sharply over his policies and practices. I had tried to do this before over the firing of Rick Wagoner from the Chairmanship of GM. My column had questioned whether there was a legal basis for the firing by the government, what law allowed or authorized the federal government to fire the head of what was then a private company, and just where the Obama administration thought their limits were, if anywhere. This column was flat out nixed by my editors at the Times because in their opinion Mr. Obama inherently had such powers..."
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
"NKorea 'Tests Weapons on Children'
July 24, 2009
SEOUL, South Korea -- When Im Chun-yong made his daring escape from North Korea, with a handful of his special forces men, there were many reasons why the North Korean government was intent on stopping them.
They were, after all, part of Kim Jong-il's elite commandos -- privy to a wealth of military secrets and insights into the workings of the reclusive regime.
But among the accounts they carried with them is one of the most shocking yet to emerge -- namely the use of humans, specifically mentally or physically handicapped children, to test North Korea's biological and chemical weapons.
"If you are born mentally or physically deficient, says Im, the government says your best contribution to society... is as a guinea pig for biological and chemical weapons testing."
Even after settling into the relative safety of South Korea, for 10 years Im held on to this secret, saying it was too horrific to recount.
But with Kim's health reportedly failing, and the country appearing increasingly unpredictable, Im felt it was time he spoke out.
Daughter given up
The former military captain says it was in the early 1990s, that he watched his then commander wrestle with giving up his 12-year-old daughter who was mentally ill.
The commander, he says, initially resisted, but after mounting pressure from his military superiors, he gave in.
Im watched as the girl was taken away. She was never seen again.
One of Im's own men later gave him an eyewitness account of human-testing.
Asked to guard a secret facility on an island off North Korea's west coast, Im says the soldier saw a number of people forced into a glass chamber.
"Poisonous gas was injected in," Im says. "He watched doctors time how long it took for them to die."
Other North Korean defectors have long alleged that the secretive nation has been using political prisoners as experimental test subjects.
Some have detailed how inmates were shipped from various concentration camps to so-called chemical "factories".
But Im's is the first account of mentally-ill or physically challenged children being used.
Security analysts believe Kim oversees one of the most aggressive and robust biochemical weapons programmes in the world.
A member of the special forces' Brigade No.19, Im says he was trained on how to use biochemical weapons against the "enemy" -- including how to fire them from short-range "bazooka-style" weapons.
He says such training was normal practice for all elite units.
Today it is estimated the country has accumulated a stockpile of more than 5,000 tonnes of biochemical weaponry; from mustard gas, to nerve agents such as sarin, to anthrax and cholera.
The extent of the stockpile is a concern to Kim Sang-hun, a retired UN official who has spent years investigating the North's chemical and biological weapons programme.
He believes over the past 20 years, the programme has advanced at a startling pace, specifically because the country's rulers approve and support the use of human test subjects.
"Human experimentation is a widespread practice," Kim says.
"I hoped I was wrong, but it is the reality and it is taking place in North Korea and it is taking place at a number of locations."
There are some who question claims that the North conducts human trials. But Kim says he has interviewed hundred of defectors who, more times than not, volunteer personal vivid accounts.
"The programme is now a commonly known fact in the North Korean public," he says.
As a former member of the elite special forces, Im agrees.
While the government may be secretive about a lot of things, he says "when it comes to human experimentation, most know it happens".
Investigating what he says are serious UN violations regarding the rights of children and prisoners, Kim Sang-hun has amassed a vast amount of evidence.
Compiled in folders at his home in Seoul are reams of testimonies and documents.
Some bear what appear to be official government stamps approving the transfer of prisoners from camps to chemical "factories".
He says he believes these are, in reality, experimental weapons sites.
He has pinpointed at least three to five labs that he believes are situated in different parts of the country, including one just a few kilometres north of the capital, Pyongyang.
Security analysts suspect there are as many as 20 such plants across the country.
As the world's attention focuses on the North's nuclear programme, Im is worried the international community will miss what he believes is the more imminent threat posed by the country's biochemical arsenal.
Arms experts say at least 30 per cent of North Korea's missile and artillery systems are capable of delivering such weapons. With each successive test, they warn the North's accuracy improves, and so too its range.
The UN Security Council now says it believes three of the seven missiles tested by the North on July 4 were Scud-ER missiles, which are known to be more accurate and have a range of 1,000km.
Tokyo is roughly 1,160km from the base on North Korea's east coast from where the missiles were fired, while other parts of Japan are closer.
Im believes the government would not hesitate to use such arms, saying he has seen the "ruthlessness" of the country's leaders.
During his escape from North Korea in December 1999, Im says he and his men battled their way out, chased by dozens of members of other commando units.
"I myself killed three men," he says. "Then after swimming across the half frozen Tumen river into China, we sold our guns, and left that life behind."
Im now devotes his time to gathering intelligence about the North's military capabilities.
Even a decade after his escape, the threat he still poses to the North Korean government means that he now lives under the constant protection of South Korea's National Intelligence Service."
Sunday, July 19, 2009
"...Two main bills are being rushed through Congress with the goal of combining them into a finished product by August. Under either, a new government bureaucracy will select health plans that it considers in your best interest, and you will have to enroll in one of these "qualified plans." If you now get your plan through work, your employer has a five-year "grace period" to switch you into a qualified plan. If you buy your own insurance, you'll have less time.
And as soon as anything changes in your contract -- such as a change in copays or deductibles, which many insurers change every year -- you'll have to move into a qualified plan instead (House bill, p. 16-17).
When you file your taxes, if you can't prove to the IRS that you are in a qualified plan, you'll be fined thousands of dollars -- as much as the average cost of a health plan for your family size -- and then automatically enrolled in a randomly selected plan (House bill, p. 167-168).
It's one thing to require that people getting government assistance tolerate managed care, but the legislation limits you to a managed-care plan even if you and your employer are footing the bill (Senate bill, p. 57-58). The goal is to reduce everyone's consumption of health care and to ensure that people have the same health-care experience, regardless of ability to pay.
Nowhere does the legislation say how much health plans will cost, but a family of four is eligible for some government assistance until their household income reaches $88,000 (House bill, p. 137). If you earn more than that, you'll have to pay the cost no matter how high it goes. (So much for saving money for the middle class.)
The price tag for this legislation is a whopping $1.04 trillion to $1.6 trillion (Congressional Budget Office estimates). Half of the tab comes from tax increases on individuals earning $280,000 or more, and these new taxes will double in 2012 unless savings exceed predicted costs (House bill, p. 199). The rest of the cost is paid for by cutting seniors' health benefits under Medicare.
(The implication here is they want seniors to die and get off the books...)
There's plenty of waste in Medicare, but the Congressional Budget Office estimates only 1 percent of the savings under the legislation will be from curbing waste, fraud and abuse. That means the rest will likely come from reducing what patients get. (Rationing, the thing they said they would not do)
One troubling provision of the House bill compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years (and more often if they become sick or go into a nursing home) about alternatives for end-of-life care (House bill, p. 425-430).
(Now wait a minute right here. Is there anyone out there that wants their parents to recieve government issue 'counseling' as to end of life issues? This is especially troubling since some of the more radical leftists in the Democrat party support Assisted Suicide as a viable alterantive. Will they talk innocent seniors into giving up their lives for some intangible payback? Will they guilt them into a rash action? THIS IS DISTURBING and where is the AARP on this issue? Oh, I forgot, they're in the tank for this too....)The sessions cover highly sensitive matters such as whether to receive antibiotics and "the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration." This mandate invites abuse, and seniors could easily be pushed to refuse care. Do we really want government involved in such deeply personal issues?
Shockingly, only a portion of the money accumulated from slashing senior benefits and raising taxes goes to pay for covering the uninsured. The Senate bill allocates huge sums to "community transformation grants," home visits for expectant families, services for migrant workers -- and the creation of dozens of new government councils, programs and advisory boards slipped into the last 500 pages.
The most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll (June 21) finds that 83 percent of Americans are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the quality of their health care, and 81 percent are similarly satisfied with their health insurance. ..."
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Under conventional health care, the good kid gets to go on extra rides, buy more stuff and have a better time as a reward for DOING THE RESPONSIBLE THING. The other kid suffers by having to spend the entire trip with Mom and Dad.
Under Obamacare Mom and Dad take all the money that the good kid has earned and saved, gives it to the other kid who blows it on junk and then when that runs out, they make the good kid give more of his already dwindling share of the money because "we are all in this together."
So the bottom line is Obamacare punishes responsibility and rewards sloth and irresponsibility.
Monday, July 13, 2009
We have all seen the stories- Michael J. Fox, an actor I really like and admire, stricken with a serious disease, Mary Tyler Moore and diabetes. We’ve seen the tragedy of spinal cord injuries such as those suffered by Christophe
Bioethics is a branch of medical philosophy
Consider this story:
“...When fetal stem cells are publicly discussed,
The journal Nature Medicine published three articles in May 2008 analyzing eight patients from three separate cohorts who received human fetal midbrain tissue transplant
This is not the first instance of such politicizi
So this brings up another problem. If we have a finite amount of service slots available for medical care under a nationaliz
So now she’s in the hospital, and the doctor says, Look, you’ve got about — maybe you have three months, maybe you have six months, maybe you have nine months to live. Because of the weakness of your heart, if you have an operation on your hip there are certain risks that — you know, your heart can’t take it. On the other hand, if you just sit there with your hip like this, you’re just going to waste away and your quality of life will be terrible.
And she elected to get the hip replacemen
I don’t know how much that hip replacemen
In addition, the president has stated that if his wife or children were in medical peril, he would want the best care. “Quality of Life” assumption
While the “best” care doesn’t always translate into the most costly care, it sets up a system where some people will get the “best care” and the rest of us will settle for what the government
Then there is problem of penetratio
For 15 years Massachuse
Well, the returns are rolling in, and a useful case study comes from the community-
There are lots of numbers thrown around, but in helping my daughter find individual
What this boil down to is do you want someone else, someone who doesn't know you, making life and death decisions?