Displaying 1 - 10 of 224 entries.

It Wasn’t Me!

  • Posted on November 6, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Whenever anything breaks in my art classroom, my students will all say, “It wasn’t me.”  I always find it fairly funny that no one wants to take responsibility for their actions when something goes wrong in my classroom.  However, my students have learned this behavior from what they see happening in the real world.  I have avoided writing on my blog for some time because I have just been so damn mad at the Democratic Party and the rigged primary election…that I just had nothing to say.  Words escaped me for many months.  I have decided to just let everyone know that regardless of what happens on Tuesday, it wasn’t me.

I am not voting for the lesser of two evils: Clinton or Trump.  That is like asking me if I want to be swindled or groped.  I will pass.  I am voting for Jill Stein, someone that I really have great respect for and admire.

I really don’t know what will happen although I suspect with all of the powerbrokers on Clinton’s side that they will manage to get her the election through hook or crook.  It is shocking to me that no matter what she does, no one sees what she does as illegal, corrupt, and/or dishonoring of the office of the presidency.  The fact that she can even run is shocking to me.  She can let her maid look at her documents for printing or she can sell arms to countries that will probably put them into the hands of people that will kill American troops and get her payback through the Clinton Foundation.  She can mishandle and ungodly number of documents that any teacher knows shouldn’t be done in a school setting let alone a government setting where people’s lives may be at risk.  She can make every poor decision from Iraq, to Libya, to Syria, and still be called the “most qualified person” to ever run for office.  She can get questions from Donna Brazile before a debate with Bernie, showing just what a cheater she is and nobody seems to care.

I feel like my party, my Democratic Party, has abandoned me.  So, I left them this summer.  It was a mutual breakup.  They said they didn’t need me.  They really despised those Bernie supporters and decided they would court the Republicans.  Now, it is interesting to see them coming to Michigan trying to get all those voters to get in line to vote for the most corrupt politician of modern times.  I refuse to line up for that one as I have some self respect left.  I finally figured out that the Democrats have been making us all swallow a bitter pill for many, many years.  I just have to give a shout-out for Jimmy Dore because he really does tell it like it is.  He pulls that scab off really fast.  It is only painful for a moment and then you are left with the thought of how damn stupid you have been all of these years voting for the lesser of two evils.  It didn’t really get you anything.

I think our country is in a very bad place.  Both parties have lost their way.  Neither of them properly represents the American people.  If they did, we would not have so many poor and one paycheck away from being poor people in this country.  This article is a real eye opener and everyone knows how expensive it is to live today.  http://www.alternet.org/economy/real-numbers-half-america-poverty-and-its-creeping-upward

Healthcare for the average person is unobtainable if it isn’t paid by his or her employer.  After this election, is it going to change?  We seem to want to put all of our money into war or war goods.  We aren’t taking care of our people, infrastructure, or anything else that really matters to most people.  Education has become a testing nightmare being taken over by private corporations.  Higher education is becoming unobtainable for many, as it is so expensive.  So, what are people to do?

I think we need a third party.  I am voting for Jill Stein in the hope that she can get that magic 5% that will help get the Green Party federal funding and be allowed to be on all state ballots.  I encourage others to do the same.  My vote does mean something.  I am trying to break the duopoly of the two parties that are a cancer on our country.  If more people would realize that we can take our country back, if we revolt from this system that has been set up to provide a feeding ground for corrupt politicians; then maybe we will survive.  However, if we keep going like we are our environment won’t last let alone ourselves.  I am begging people to think about another alternative.  Hillary has been beating a drum for war with Russia.  Troops have been readied for this.  She will not stand up for us.  She will stand up for those corporations that keep giving her money.  To think that she will magically be someone different than she has been her whole life is to be a fool.  I am not a fool and my vote will count for what I want, not what the Democratic Party wants and not what Hillary wants.  Just remember, she was a Goldwater Girl. I will vote for Jill Stein and I hope someone reading this will also think about doing it as well!  Regardless, pray for peace people! It is mind boggling to think that we could have had a President Sanders!  Just remember…it wasn’t me!

Yes, You Can Leave Your Abusive Spouse: The Democrats

  • Posted on July 17, 2016 at 8:23 pm

I have been a lifelong Democrat.  I have spent many years actually arguing that Democrats are not as bad as Republicans.  Yes, I know that is kind of a silly argument because bad is bad.  Just how bad does one have to be to be a better bad than the other guy?  I have finally realized that to continue this relationship is akin to continue being married to an abusive partner.

We all know the arguments about spousal abuse but let me share my thoughts about this.  The abuser holds all of the cards because the one being abused actually feels powerless.  The abuser cajoles us with that thought that they will change.  It is kind of like Hillary saying she will actually push for many of Bernie’s ideas; after all, the Democrats have included some on the Democratic platform.  Isn’t that proof enough that she will be a better spouse?  I think we all know of that spouse that says they will go to counseling and then he/she never goes back after the first session, or the spouse that isn’t going to drink anymore, but goes out on another bender.  Even though Hillary, Bill, and Democrats did everything they could to short our votes from Bill showing up at polling places, to magically having many voter registrations disappear or change voting preferences, to white out on Bernie’s name, to many other obstacles put in the way of Independent and Democratic voters, including strange exit polls not matching results, we are now all supposed to hold hands and sing “Kumbaya”.

We all see the abuse coming.  We know when we are going to get punched in the gut.  We brace for it and hope it isn’t going to be too hard this time.  Then when Hillary starts working on Social Security with the Republicans, we better get used to the idea of working longer and having less to retire on.  It is then that we will feel that punch in the gut.  If you aren’t sure what Hillary will do, well, it’s because she is always saying different things.  It depends which audience she is with at the time.  http://www.salon.com/2016/04/15/hillarys_social_security_mess_a_frustrating_half_embrace_of_a_good_policy/

Hillary and the Democrats are going to guilt you, just like your abusive spouse.  When your spouse tells you to stay to keep the kids together, you feel like your braking up your kids lives for something worse than a parent that abuses the other one.  The Democrats will say we must stay with them because of the Supreme Court.  That has been the kids in this relationship the whole time.  What will the kids do, if we leave our spouse?  Heaven forbid what will happen!  If you are staying out of fear, the abuse is only going to get worse.  How else could these Democrats continue to claim to be against so many things that happened on the Supreme Court like Citizen United and then turn around and embrace them by dismantling prohibitions on receiving money from lobbyist and political action committees?  http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/business-a-lobbying/269266-dnc-rolls-back-restrictions-on-lobbyist-donations

Some people put up with abuse because they don’t think they can survive on their own.  Their spouse makes the money.  How can they ever make it on their own?  I can say it is difficult but really don’t you already feel alone?   Your spouse may be sitting next to you but he/she is not really there for you.  Just like the Democrats, they are only there when they need something.  Right now, they need your vote. You have power; you just don’t know it yet.  Trust me, as soon as they get it, they will be back to their old philandering abusive ways.  If you think you are going to get that health care they promised you, think again.  Anyone that has really researched and read about healthcare, whether they are Republicans or Democrats down deep knows the system we have is broken.  It is time to embrace single payer.  Single payer will cost less for everyone, including business which is what the Republicans should be embracing.  At my own school, we have a tiered system.  If you want better insurance, you have to pay more.  The top insurance in order to insure a family is now pushing the unbelievable number of around $25k a year, a year!  Did I say a year?  The school has to cough up nearly $17K and the teacher around $8K.  Who can afford this besides someone like Hillary and Bill that get $250K for a speech?  As to single payer, I will always remember Hillary saying, “Never, ever!”

As you can see, Hillary tends to flip flop on her ideas, not unlike your abusive spouse who can appear so kind and loving one minute and fly off the handle the next.

You can survive without that abuse.  In fact, you will grow stronger the longer you stay away from it and start realizing your own self worth.  I know it is difficult to leave.  You may be Catholic, much like me, and you may be thinking that marriage is supposed to last a lifetime.  You have been indoctrinated after all.  Maybe your parents were Democrats that talked about FDR and JFK, much like mine did.  However, while you were sleeping, your abusive mate switched personalities just like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  The Democratic Party is the same way.  Many years ago, too many to count, they were a party of principles.  They had ideas much like FDR and JFK.  They believed in people, not corporations.  They stood for minorities and women’s issues, now they stand for corporations!  They were the party, you could believe in.  Now, they are much like that abusive mate that tells you what he/she thinks you want to hear and then does whatever the hell they want to do.

All of my life, I have stood up for the Democratic Party.  I have supplied excuses for them when they put up someone I am not too crazy about for the presidency.  They have had some candidates that were really strong progressives, but sadly, they were always taken out and usually by some stupid thing, much like the “Dean scream”, where a mountain was made out of a mole hill.  That scream had nothing to do with policy and everything to do with just getting rid of Dean.  Then along came Bernie Sanders, a seventy four year old Jewish guy with a passion for the people.  I am sure the Democratic Party thought it was a hoot that Bernie was going to run as a Democrat.  I can recall many times when different Hillary supporters told us he wasn’t a “real” Democrat and he was a SOCIALIST!  Heaven forbid.  They failed to remind us that Hillary started out with Republican roots.  It was like he was a demon from some dark and dreary place, but we all listened to Bernie.  He was the messenger.  He was the guy talking policy.  He told us our country could be so much better.  He told us that there is a future we could believe in and I believed him.  I still believe in Bernie.

The Democratic Party has fooled me way too many times.  This year, I did my research, just like past years.  I learned all about dark money, the Clinton Foundation, Wall Street speeches that I cannot find the transcripts for, and a Secretary of State’s Office that made up their own rules.  Hillary Clinton was investigated by the FBI and still may be being investigated.  We have been told it is a vast right wing conspiracy but sorry Democrats, I have found out there is some there actually there.  Why the Democrats have chosen to put up their weakest candidate shocks me but also make me think they must all be as deeply flawed and corrupt as she is.  They know she is lying and yet they keep telling us not to believe what we are seeing and hearing.  It is about semantics and that word “is”.  How Barack Obama can say she is the most qualified candidate to ever run for office is just mind blowing to me and an insult to every other person that has run for the presidency.   Yet, those are the words that her stand-ins keep using, “The Most Qualified” person.

FBI director Comey told us all the terrible things she did to expose our country’s deepest secrets but declined to indict her because of the word “intent”.  Intent is hard to prove in any case, but I don’t think the law was written with the word “intent” in it.   Now, sometimes laws do say intent.  Like the time, many years ago, when I was a juror on a marijuana case where the state was trying to prove that a guy was intending to sell marijuana.  When we met as jurors, we all thought it was a stupid case because we didn’t feel they proved intent.  How do we know what he intended to do?  We knew they had an undercover officer.  Why didn’t they wait to see if actually sold the drug? Now, Hillary will have another excuse for perjury charges.  She didn’t intend to lie.  She thought she was telling the truth.  There is such blow back of years of Clinton scandal that I can see that I don’t want a future where we are constantly lied to, by a Democrat no less.  It was bad enough when Republicans did it, like “lying” us into war!  Just connect the dots with all of these articles and think about what is going on!  https://medium.com/@blairerickson/the-iceberg-7eb3ea7a68e2#.tru1ojmq3

We have also been told by both corrupt two parties that we have to choose between bad and worse, that whole lesser of two evil things.  We can vote for lying Hillary or lying Donald.  Which one is worse?  I am a moral person.  I am not a liar.  I am a person that has convictions and believes in building a better world.  I think our youth are the future and I am so worried about that future.  What are our kids going to have besides a mountain of debt, poor health insurance, and insecurity?  We tell them to go on to school which gives them an ungodly amount of debt.  When they get out, they have to deal with predatory lenders which make many of their lives a living hell. Many settle for jobs that are beneath their education.  Others delay getting married, buying a house, or other things because they are so stressed about their student debt.  When they get their job, they discover that many of the perks have vanished, such as in the world of education.  A teacher could usually count on good health insurance and some day, a decent pension.  Well, those new young teachers don’t get what the old ones had.  I know this is true for many other careers as well.  Our youth are getting the shaft.  Now, they have this one opportunity to change the world.  They could elect a real progressive and somehow through all the Democratic manipulations they are stuck with the Democratic standard bearer of Hillary Clinton.  I think having our youth put up with more of same old political shenanigans is the biggest form of abuse imaginable.

So, I, being the good parent I am, will no longer put up with that abuse.  I know my child will be better off with a different future. Bernie’s message resonated with me unlike any message in my past.  If Bernie Sanders is not the nominee, I will vote for Jill Stein.  I suggest that every young person and parent of a young person should do the same.  Her stands on the issue are very much like Bernie Sanders.  Here is a really good reason to vote for Jill.  Just listen to what she is saying and think about how the banks were bailed out.  We need a revolution in this country and the only reason a third party can’t make it is because we have never had the guts to go all in and make it happen.  I suggest that the time is now.  Bernie was a once in a lifetime candidate.  We will never have another chance with a candidate like him, at least not in my lifetime.  If the Democratic Party is allowed to get away, once again, with their fraud of a primary election, they will become even worse, not better.  Don’t let them steal your vote any longer.  Vote for who you believe in, not some promise you know will never come.

Feeling the Bern

  • Posted on March 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm

Feeling the Bern

I am a sixty-year-old woman that had pretty much given up on having a candidate to vote for that was not the lesser of two evils.  This year, my dream candidate arrived in an unlikely package of a seventy four year old man that calls himself a Democratic Socialist.  I see Bernie Sanders as my once in lifetime political candidate cut in the model of FDR.  He is running a campaign that is both positive, which is how I have always lived my life, and issues oriented.  The appeal for me is the way he includes everyone in the process.  He knows he needs the people to be with him, not just for the vote but to make anything happen.  It really is not about him; it is about us!  How unusual that in politics today where most candidates are so full of themselves that they can’t even understand how us little people live, we have an opportunity to vote for a person that has always stood up for the people and is willing to take this on, even if it is the last thing he does!

I have had people say to me that he is too old.  My father lived to be ninety-seven and was a sharp person.  I feel no one has an expiration date stamped on his or her forehead.  Some people unfortunately die young; others seem blessed with long life.  Bernie’s ideas and platform have called me to him.  He believes we can make this country better and I believe it as well.  If other countries can provide universal healthcare, why can’t we?  My sister died an early death because she didn’t have health insurance.  I feel strongly about this topic.  I have given money to people on Go Fund me pages because they needed money for surgeries.  This should not be happening in our country.  A poor person’s life should be as valuable as a wealthy person’s life.  Republicans like to call us a Christian Nation.  I don’t particularly care for that label, as I believe in a separation of church and state.  However, if you want to go with that idea, then what would Jesus do?  Would he let people die on the street or suffer?  I doubt it.

AS far as tuition free public colleges go, I am all for this.  As a teacher, we have been pushing for college for everyone for the last several years.  Unfortunately, college is largely unaffordable for most people of lower and middle economic standing and thus unattainable.  I believe we need to be an educated nation.  It is better for our work force and it helps to teach tolerance of other people’s ideas.  We should be embracing college for all that are able to withstand the rigors of a higher education.  We should also be investing in trade schools as well.  I recently read an article about many American students going to Germany for their free college program.  http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32821678

Germany wants an educated work force and they know some of those foreign students are probably going to stay there and be productive in Germany using what they have learned.  Our country needs to embrace the concept of free tuition for public colleges.  Our kids are the future of this nation.  Do we really want some of our best and brightest students to skip college because they can’t afford it or leave after a year because they have accrued too much debt?  Do we want our children enticed to live in other countries because they have a better life style?  Do we want our children facing massive college debt that largely forces them into years and years of an ever-growing debt payment that sometimes gets larger because they can’t get the principal down on their paltry salaries?  I think we can do better as a nation.  We seem to have plenty of money for prisons and war.  Maybe we need to invest in our children first!

A few years ago, I read that the cost to house a prisoner at the little prison in Coldwater, Michigan was around $27,000 a year.  Most schools in Michigan are getting around $7000-$7500 to educate students.  I know that most prisons cost like double the figure from Coldwater, so that seems like a bargain.  However, from my point of view, I could see that money easily spent on educating people instead of building prisons and especially those “for profit” institutions.  Bernie also has talked about how the years from 0-4 are so important for children’s future well-being.  He wants affordable childcare for parents that have to work.  He has mentioned getting the proper training for the childcare workers so these children can be in a loving environment where they are nourished.

Bernie wants to invest in our country.  He knows our infrastructure is pathetic.  We need everything repaired.  There hasn’t been much invested in this country in years.  Why can’t we invest in our country?  We spend an unbelievable amount of money on these wars that seem endless to me.  I think we need to invest in our roads, our water systems, affordable housing, airports, modern transportation systems that move the masses, and building businesses that can thrive in this country.

Bernie believes in the American people and he will do everything he can to keep jobs here.  He has been against many of the trade bills that have devastated our country and moved so many of our jobs out of this country.  He bellows on and on about the 1% and how much they own and how little the rest of us own.  He has ignited a flame in the people with that bellow and it is what happens when he tells it like it is to the masses.  He asks us to have the courage to join him.  How can we not join the man who has dedicated his life to the people of this country?

This ad means so much to me.  I look at my students in school and I see all of them in this ad.  Yes, I know that the ad features adults but I see my students.  I think our country needs to come together and be the best that we can be.

TOGETHER from HUMAN on Vimeo.

Now some people might be wondering why I am not a Hillary Clinton supporter.  Back in 2008, I was a John Edwards supporter because of his issues addressing poverty and healthcare.  He was a flawed candidate and I moved on to Hillary Clinton and had an opportunity to attend a rally at South Bend, Indiana.  I was impressed with her and left supporting her.  Naturally, when she came into this election, my first impulse was for Hillary and that first woman president concept.  However, I study politics and read a lot about what is happening.  I discovered that Hillary was involved in things over the last eight years that really left me wondering what I ever saw in her.  It’s the whole money thing.  My son is always asking me when is enough enough?  Why do the rich always want more?  Her speeches to Wall Street firms for hundreds of thousands of dollars just put a nail on that coffin for me.  Her ties to Wall Street, the $350 some thousand that a Wal-Mart billionaire put into the Hillary Victory fund, her questionable ethics when she was Secretary of State, and the interesting Clinton Foundation donations during that time are inexcusable.  To add to this, she pushes for troops on the ground and war, which has created crises in Libya and Syria and make me see her as a very flawed candidate.  When she said we would never, ever have single payer, I wondered why anyone would support her.  Her constant use of the word “I” and not “We”, (Well lately, she seems to have gotten that message.) tell me she just doesn’t get it.  She has really become the candidate of the “establishment” Democrats.  This, for me, is just unacceptable and excessively far right of where I want the Democrats to be.

In reality, I feel like my party has abandoned me in favor of a center right party that appears to be a lot like the old Republican Party before it went very crazy.  I find myself unsubscribing from emails, un-liking Democratic candidates on Facebook, and very discouraged by the direction my party is going.  I see people pretty much the way Bernie does when he was asked a question about religion which I will share in the video below.  I believe we should be giving each other a hand up not stepping on people’s fingers when they are trying to pull themselves up out of despair, poverty, suffering, getting an education, getting a job, and volunteering.  We are all connected and it is time we all see what Bernie sees.

I can’t seem to embed this video, so here is the link.  I get the link to work so you will have to copy it and paste it into another url tab.  I am sorry you will have endure the ad first.  I guarantee it is worth watching.

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-quick-cuts/watch/bernie-sanders-gets-personal-on-religion-629654595662

 

 

The Summer of Trump

  • Posted on August 27, 2015 at 4:50 pm

This summer has been an interesting one for politics.  I have always had an interest in politics and I love watching what Senator Bernie Sanders has been doing.  However, according to the media treatment and attention, it is the summer of “Trump”.  I don’t know if Donald Trump will sustain his lead but he has managed to keep his name in the news on a daily basis.  None of the Republican candidates seem to have any conceivable idea of how to take him on, so he wins!

I listen to Trump and the things he says flabbergast me.  He has no filter and that seems to be what the people following him like about him.  He appears openly racist towards Mexican people by referring to the children born here of undocumented Mexicans as “anchor babies”.  He wants to change the 14th Amendment so that birthright doesn’t necessarily happen.  He also seems to have issues with women and a variety of other people that try to call him out on his behavior.  Whatever he says and does seems make him stronger; no matter how ridiculous he sounds to me or anyone else that finds his behavior disturbing.

With all of this, I wanted to share what has been on my mind and it is somewhat funny.  I see Donald Trump as being a lot like Vladimir Putin.  They are both powerful men that are full of themselves.  As a woman living in a patriarchal society, to me, they come from the same cloth.  This past year our country has been perturbed with Vladimir Putin for all of his antics.  Many times the media tries to make fun of him.  It might be his antics of running around shirtless or some other form that they show to convince us he is horrible.  I don’t personally know what either of these men is truly like.  I just know how they both come across through the mass media and that is what I will share with you.

When I see Trump looking smug, I also see Putinvp courtesey vanity fair looking like this.

THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE -- Episode 912 -- Pictured: Donald Trump -- Photo by: Ali Goldstein/NBC

THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE — Episode 912 — Pictured: Donald Trump — Photo by: Ali Goldstein/NBC

Trump with an eagle, Putin with a leopard.putin with animal

martin schoeller courtesy of time mag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump’s view of women, Putin’s view of women.

darren decker, miss universe organization120+putin+approve+femen+at+hannover+my+gawd+dat+putin_f89cf3_4528458

 

Okay, not Trump but his kids swimming with dolphins. Putin swimming with dolphins.trumps kids swimming with dolphins

courtesy of buzzfeed
Trump on Time, Putin on Time.donald-trump-01-435

courtesy time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump at the Central Park Horse Show, Putin on a horse.trump at the central Park horse show

vladimir-horse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump with puppy, Putin with Puppy.donald-trump-435

VLADIMIR-PUTIN-WITH-DOG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump with gun, Putin with gun.

Trump-gun

Picture taken on September 14, 2009 shows Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin examining a rifle during a visit to a weapons manufacturing facility in Tula. Putin made a routine working visit to the town and surrounding region.                     AFP PHOTO / RIA NOVOSTI / POOL / ALEXEY DRUZHININ (Photo credit should read ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images)

Picture taken on September 14, 2009 shows Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin examining a rifle during a visit to a weapons manufacturing facility in Tula. Putin made a routine working visit to the town and surrounding region. AFP PHOTO / RIA NOVOSTI / POOL / ALEXEY DRUZHININ (Photo credit should read ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump shirtless (Sorry, this one is photoshopped.), Putin shirtless (Not photoshopped).donalld-trump-shirless (1)

epa01091304 Russian President Vladimir Putin enjoys fishing on the Khemchik River in Republic of Tuva 15 August 2007.  EPA/DMITRY ASTAKHOV RIA NOVOSTI/KREMLIN POOL

epa01091304 Russian President Vladimir Putin enjoys fishing on the Khemchik River in Republic of Tuva 15 August 2007. EPA/DMITRY ASTAKHOV RIA NOVOSTI/KREMLIN POOL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump with Bush #1, Putin with Bush #2!from getty image

chinadaily.com.cn

 

 

 

 

 

Trump with Hillary, Putin with Hillary.
trump_clintonfrom mir-politika.ru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump on Mexicans.

Putin on Gays.

ABC Latest News | Latest News Videos

Maybe with these images and videos you can now understand why Trump merely reminds me of Putin!

I posted this here just for a laugh, although the election is really, in my mind, no laughing matter.  However, in the mood of what this post is about, here are two final images brought to you from the minds of photoshoppers online that show you just how silly Trump and Putin can be made to look.

Trump on a lion (photoshopped), Putin on a bear (photoshopped or not?).trump on lion

putin on bear

Workplace Deaths

  • Posted on July 13, 2015 at 5:17 pm

This past year I have noticed several incidents of work place deaths around the country and especially right here in Michigan.  I always notice these ever since my nephew had his hand cut off while working a summer job after he graduated from high school.  I am acutely aware of issues related to safety in the work place because of my own nephew’s loss.  However, I believe most people are unaware of safety issues even in their own work places.  Most of us assume that we are not at risk of injury or death when we go to work and we believe that our employer is looking out for our best interests at work.  In most circumstances, this may be true, but sadly, it is not true for all circumstances.  I am writing this today just to make even one person more aware of the safety issues that may come up while they are at work.

Here is an astounding statistic that I took word for word form Mibiz online.

“Every person who leaves for work in the morning in good health should expect to return home at night in good health. That did not happen for over 117,000 Michiganders in 2013.” – See more at: http://mibiz.com/item/22206-10-essential-elements-of-a-safe-workplace#sthash.HhdkxKCE.dpuf

Two recent cases brought all of this up for me once again.  In Ionia, Michigan, Wanda Holbrook recently died when she was caught in some kind of robotic machinery at Ventra Ionia Main, a company that makes auto bumpers, trailer hitches, and some kind of plastic parts.  She was a maintenance worker.  The case is being investigated by MIOSHA, so I don’t know what if any violations were made at this time.  In Germany, a man was also killed by robotic equipment at a VW plant.  It grabbed him and crushed his chest against machinery.  These two cases stood out for me as they both involved some kind of robotic machinery.  After reading about these two cases, I decided to look at some other cases involving worker deaths.

This poor kid, Jeremy Mc Spadden, Jr., probably never thought his life would end playing a zombie at a corn maze, but it did.  Workers were paid $50 a night to dress up like zombies and run through the corn while paid customers rode a bus loaded up with paintball guns and shot at them.  What could possibly go wrong?  The company was fined because of the risk they put the workers at with the uneven terrain and the lack of instruction on what to do if their goggles obstructed their vision.  The kid ended up being run over by the bus!

A worker out in California at Bumble Bee Foods was performing maintenance on a 35-foot oven when another worker filled the pressure cooker with tuna and turned it on.  Here is a good video with an interview with his daughter.  I am sure his death would have been prevented, if some good safety procedures had been in place.

I came across a document from the National Council for Safety and Health that is very interesting and actually a quick study.  It highlights seven preventable deaths.  Each person deserved better and died a preventable death.  At their website, you can find out just what your rights as a worker are as most people just don’t think about these things.  I suggest that you give all of this some thought and think about your own job and whether it seems safe or has potential safety issues that should be addressed.  http://www.coshnetwork.org/

Andrew Beckman

In some cases as work is moved out to other countries and factories are closed completely or streamlined with fewer employees, people become more desperate about their jobs.  Sometimes they will work in situations that they may even know are not safe because they need to take care of their families and are holding on to their version of the American dream.  A Michigan steel worker was killed on the job back in 2014.  He was loading steel rods onto a flatbed by himself when they shifted and landed on him.  A full five minutes went by before anyone found him.  I am sure this man would have been better served working with another person.  So, what do you think was the price of Andrew’s life?  The company was cited by MIOSHA for $4900 for basically improperly training him with using a special sling to lift the 3000 pound load.

Another man in Michigan died just this month when he fell at a Walker packaging company.  His death is being investigated.

Many people probably still remember the worker who was crushed last year working at Grand Rapids Plastic, Inc.  Recently, they received a hefty fine for many safety violations.  I remember reading about the case last year.  Many of the people comented in the online article on the unsafe work environment at the plant, many were people currently working there.  People will take many jobs to take care of their families and sometimes they are unsafe.  His wife has retained Geoffrey Fieger as her lawyer.  This is probably a good move on her part but it certainly won’t bring him back.  I heard her on the news and I do know that she wants justice for her husband.

These accidents are happening all over our country and of course, around the world.  The big question is which of these are truly accidents and which are preventible?  One of the things that I came across about MIOSHA and the fines was that they usually negoitiate with the companies and the fines end up being half of the original cost.  Supposedly, the company is expected to take the balance of the money and put it towards better safety protocol.  I am sure some use it wisely and other companies seem to turn up with more violations year after year.

This was not a happy post.   I wasn’t trying to make anyone happy even though I am a very optimistic person.  I am merely trying to get people to become more aware of their own workplace environment and that of their children.  Over the years, I remember talking to students that were repeatedly burned by grease at fast food restaurants.  I am thinking maybe they could wear special gloves or there must be some way to shield them from exposure to the grease but it is time people started letting their inner voice question some of the things they are asked to do at work.  Are you slicing or grinding up meat?  Has anyone really taught you the safe way to do that?  Speak up if you think you know a safer, better way to do something.  Talk to other people on the job.  Just how did that guy lose his finger?  Was it really his fault or was something malfunctioning on the machine he was working on?  Sometimes, people are asked to multi-task, not the safest thing to do if you are cutting something.  When I am at school using my paper cutter, I am very aware of how easily I could lose a bit of my fingers.  Students are always talking and asking questions.  Sometimes, I just stop them and tell them I have to focus on cutting paper because I don’t want to be cut.  Many have asked me if I have ever cut myself.  Thankfully, I haven’t but I am keenly aware of others that have had that misfortune.  Please take your safety at work seriously.  When you get in your car, you buckle up.  When you go to work, make sure you are rested and aware of your surroundings, and up on any safety protocol!

That Flag?

  • Posted on June 25, 2015 at 8:22 pm

A couple years ago, I had some students that wanted to depict the Confederate flag on their scratch art projects.  I told them I would not allow it because it is a racist symbol.  They argued with me about that issue and did not believe me.  I said, “Let me see, how about I put racist symbols on Google images and see what happens?”   I did that and of course many images came up but the Confederate flag was smack dab in the middle of all that hate.  My students told me that just because it is on the Internet doesn’t make it true.  These are middle school boys growing up in southern Michigan with the mentality that there is nothing wrong with that flag.  I periodically have students that have challenged me on this issue, swastikas, and the KKK.  Sometimes they are testing me to see what I will accept and sometimes they are just so used to being around these symbols and seeing them that they just don’t know any better.

I know there has been more of this these past few years and it is related to the Tea Party movement and, of course, to the fact that we now have a black president.  Over the years, the more that I see of President Obama, the more I realize how much hatred there is in our country.  This is more than a Republican or Democratic issue.  Those Republicans that refuse to work with President Obama have refused from day one.  They don’t hate him because he is a Democrat; they hate him because he is a black Democrat.  I have always found President Obama to be a tad more Republican in his stances than that of a progressive Democrat.  I could not understand why the right could be so down on him.  He has done so much that they should be happy about.  Getting up the “courage” to take down this racist symbol is in my mind, is a joke.  As an educator, I know it is racist and so do all these powerful people.  I am no more educated than most of them, but so many of them, like these young boys, do not want to face the truth.

John Oliver said it right when he talked about the Confederate flag, “The Confederate flag is one of those things that should only be seen on t-shirts, belt buckles and bumper stickers to help the rest of us identify the worst people in the world.”   I laughed when I watched his piece on this because that is exactly how I see it.  Whenever I see someone with that flag, I think I know what they are about and I choose to avoid them.  It does however; make it easier for them to find each other in a crowd, if they are looking for like-minded people.  Now that it is out in the open and everyone knows it is a racist symbol, one would think that people would want to get on with the healing and remove it from any part of their lives.  If I were wearing something that I discovered was racist, rest assured, I wouldn’t want to wear that thing again.  For me, the Civil War was a part of history and should be treated as such.

What does our country stand for?  We go into other countries trying to democratize them.  We say we stand for all that is good and right in the world and for freedom of speech.  At home, we have allowed hate groups to spread their hate.  Whether it is the KKK, Neo-Nazi groups, or the American Family Association, hate groups teach hate.  They start when people are very young children to indoctrinate them with their personal form of hate.  These peoples’ rights are protected and often by groups like the ACLU.  I don’t know what we can do to stop all of this hate, but I do know that children are not born hating anyone.  Hatred is a learned behavior.  We believe in free speech so these people are still going to be allowed to spread their own form of hatred but it should be clear that anything that breeds that hatred should not be accepted on government property, whether it be federal lands or state owned, or allowed within government programs.  We, as a country, must be leaders on this issue.  It is clear to me that these flags and monuments to a time when we were a country with a master and slave population, need to be put in a museum.  It is time that we healed as a nation and worked to support each other.  Race should not be what defines us as a people.  Our spirit, integrity, and character should.

Poverty, John Edwards, and the American Dream

  • Posted on August 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm

In the beginning of this video from John Oliver he talks about income inequality, you know whether you get your HBO legally or illegally.  I had to laugh from the get go as I have to go to watch John from YouTube because I don’t have HBO.   John has such a way of getting to the heart of things and explaining how we are too stupid for our own good.  It was even funny when he said we have to have some Brit telling us what we probably should already know, and wouldn’t you know it he is a Brit as well.

It isn’t easy for politicians to push in this area because corporations and the wealthy are really driving the political agenda.  The last politician that really talked about poverty and inequality was John Edwards.  His own personal issues took him down, you know having an affair on his cancer stricken wife, and this essentially put a damper on the issues he was talking about, poverty and inequality.  He was going to be the voice for the voiceless.  John’s agenda was the driving force of the 2008 election.  He took Senator Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 trip through Middle America to put a spotlight on the issues of the poor and disenfranchised.  It wasn’t Hillary or Barak that were driving the discussion.  John was the one hitting on Hillary and trying to get Barak to chime in during debates.  John was the one that talked about fair wages and single payer.  John may have been an imperfect messenger but killing the messenger seems to have killed the message.  It really makes me wonder why other politicians can do what John did and survive politically.  Could it be the message that was really the target?

Are politicians today so corrupt and tied to their corporate masters that they cannot see what it is doing to our country?Perhaps they just don’t care?  When I was young, I had politicians that I looked up to, respected, and even idealized.  Bobby Kennedy was one of them.  These are his words, “It is a revolutionary world we live in. Governments repress their people; and millions are trapped in poverty while the nation grows rich; and wealth is lavished on armaments.”

These timely words could have been spoken today.  Our country is far more concerned about the military machine than the plight of the poor and middle class.  The ideals of my youth have grown to skepticism in my maturing age.  The people that seem to make the most sense about political matters are entertainers like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and John Oliver.  With the exceptions of Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, I cannot name politicians that make me feel that sense of respect and admiration for standing up for what is right and just.  There is a gap in our country between the rich and the poor, the powerbrokers and the bottom feeders that just try to be that crab in the basket that wants so badly to reach the top.  Someone at the bottom keeps tugging him down and someone at the top puts a lid on the pot.  In the end, he is cooked into a system that has no freedom because he is stuck to a class system that only recognizes the rich and the connected.  If you have connections, you are going places.  If you are poor, you are probably stuck in a system that is working to keep you down and under control.  I always find it interesting that your credit report can be tied to so many things that help or hurt you.  If you have good credit, you get lower insurance, lower interest on loans, and more respect.  If you are poor and you have a tough time paying your bills, you can now expect even more problems because your credit is going to tie you to a life of debt.  They say we don’t have a debtor’s prison any more but that really is not true.  Students getting out of college soon discover they have a world of hurt when they start trying to pay back their student loans.  Those loans can follow them for their entire life if they are stuck in some low wage job with no chance of real promotion.

I know I tend to rant about certain things but I am an observer in a system that I see is stacked for certain people.  It doesn’t matter where you live today, there seems to be two different worlds:  The world for the rich and connected and the one for everyone else.  If you or your family is “someone” in your community, then you will have a better chance at those connections, even if you aren’t wealthy.  They can lead to jobs, scholarships, and ultimately success.  If you are poor with few or no connections, you are like the crab in the pot.  You have to work extra hard to climb to the top.  Some at the bottom will be pulling you down and sometimes it is through their own lack of understanding the system.  It always amazes me when the poor vote for people backed by the right wing establishment.  These people are controlled through religion and do-goodery.  Yeah, I made that word up, so deal with it.  They are so busy trying to be on the right side of the “Kingdom of God” that they forget about the here and now.  They believe that old Biblical saying about the rich and the camel through the eye of a needle when it comes to heaven.  They are kept stupid by a system that wants to maintain the status quo.  They sacrifice their kids for war because they are inclined to believe that wars really matter.  They don’t believe in global warming because they have been told that these things are cyclical.  They are waiting for the rapture and worried about public schools putting some harebrained idea in their kids’ heads.  Then there are the other poor:  The ones that are so down on their economic luck that they have lost all hope.  They don’t see how they can change anything.  They may not be into religion and surely don’t bother to vote because they don’t have the time to worry about such matters.  They are too tired trying to keep food on the table and their bills paid.  Life for them is just a continuous sucking machine of bad luck and meager existence.

From my perspective, as a nation we seem to be more concerned with the poor in other countries than in our own.  I used to feel that sense of pride in my country and what “we” stood for in the world.  Today I have many mixed feelings.  Maybe I have become immune to the propaganda.  It is hard when I watch protesters screaming at kids on the border.  That behavior is in direct contrast to what I thought we were as a nation.  It is hard when I can remember being a student at Michigan State University back in the seventies and I was full of idealism.  Reality is so much more complicated than that young idealism that I held in my youth.  I worry about the young students I teach today.  What kind of world we are leaving them?  If they are poor and not connected what do they have to look forward to, a world of debt and stress?  People used to be able to live a good life by working for GM on the line.  Today, that just isn’t possible.  Most families need two incomes and if you are poor, you are probably going to need some kind of assistance to have a decent life.  I do not have all the answers I just know that the politicians today disappoint me with their constant representation of their corporate donors and not the poor and the voiceless.

Michael Vey and Glenn Beck

  • Posted on July 5, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Michael VeyAs a middle school teacher, I am interested in my students.  Our school has devoted the first 15 minutes of the day to reading in an effort to get more students devoted to reading.  I often ask the students what they are reading to see what interests them.  A couple years ago, I decided to read what some of them seemed to like reading.  I’ve read many different books such as all of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Divergent series.  Recently, many of the students were telling me they were reading “Michael Vey”.  Since it seemed to be popular, I decided to read it.  It actually “Michael Vey:  The Prisoner of Cell 25”.  As I was nearing the end of the book, I discovered something that shocked me.  There is a connection between Michael Vey and Glenn Beck.

I went online shortly before I finished the book to see if it had been made into a video.  It seemed like the logical progression for the book.  Many times, I have read a book and then watched the movie.  It was natural for me to investigate this.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered one, that Glenn Beck has a publishing company and two, that his company, Mercury Ink, published Michael Vey.  Mercury Ink’s partner is Simon and Schuster.

The Michael Vey series is about good, evil, and making right choices.  I actually enjoyed reading the book and could see why students like it.  I am not going to say much about the book, as I don’t want to spoil anything for someone that might like to read it.  I will say it is about teenagers that have a special connection with electricity.  Something happened to them when they were born and now as they are coming into their teen years they have unusual abilities.  Michal Vey seems to have the most powerful ability.  The book takes the reader on an adventure from combating bullying to building friendships and developing an understanding of what makes people good and bad.  The underlying theme is good triumphs over evil and that sometimes-good people do bad things to help.  There is much more to it than the simplistic ideas I am mentioning here.  However, listening to Glenn Beck tell the story should create caution in all of us.

 

Is there an underlying agenda from the far right to infiltrate the minds of our youth?  Glenn is trying to find ways to reach the youth and he thinks these books might do it.  I know many students like the Michael Vey series.  Whether these books will have any dramatic impact on their worldview remains to be seen.  My concern is the effort that has been put into public education by the far right in the last many years.  It seems to me that there is a far-reaching goal to control public education and perhaps this is just one more puzzle piece that is being put in place for the greater good of the right’s influence on education.

I always say, “I learn something new every day.”  Today I learned about Glenn Beck’s goals.  I never would have connected him to the Michael Vey series unless I researched it.  I am sharing this because I think we all need to keep one eye open for understanding the manipulations that the media does to our children and to ourselves.  As an educator, I would be remiss if I didn’t investigate and share these things when I learn about them.  It certainly has made me wonder what else have I been reading that has an interesting back-story.

 

Bill Kristol Makes My Mind Want to Explode and Other Thoughts

  • Posted on July 3, 2014 at 3:03 pm

It seems strange that I haven’t been on here blogging in so many months.  My last post was the end of January.  Really?  So, what have I been doing, you may ask?  It would be that teacher thing, my Kindle obsession, and a serious malaise about politics in general.  I will try to get up to speed on what is recently on my mind.

I still watch a bit of Morning Joe, even though Joe sucks!  I don’t know which has been worse the build up for more war or the whole media frenzy about Bowe Bergdahl.  I am tired of watching people who never have any real skin in the game, (You know, their children will not be dressing up in fatigues any time soon.) telling the American people how we must go to war now and by the way, Bowe Bergdahl is a trader.  I cannot get on either bandwagon.

Everyone knows Bill Kristol.

bill_kristol

It has puzzled me why he is invited to be on so many news programs where he spouts his venom.  Why is he so important?  Every time I see him on Meet the Press, Morning Joe, or some other media program, I get a little crazy.  Years ago, I went to a website he was a part of called the Project or Plan for a New America.  The website seems to be gone now but the plan is still out there.  It takes us back to American dominance in the world and that plan developed by Paul Wolfowitz that has to do with pre-emptive strikes.  It later became the Bush Doctrine, which involves going to war before we have been actually attacked.  This strategy was used for the buildup to the Iraq War.  Bill Kristol seems to enjoy going to war.  Fortunately, Katrina vanden Heuvel seems to feel the same way I do.  I came across this clip today and somehow it made me feel better that others aren’t so impressed with this crazy person’s ideas either.  Yes, I know he is the editor of the Weekly Standard but it just doesn’t make him special to me.  It almost seems there is still hope in fighting these neo-cons and their ideas.

 

Another thing keeping me busy is that teacher thing.  This year has been very stressful for most of the teachers I know.  No matter how hard we work or what we do, it seems more is expected of us.  The pressure is out there from politicians that have no idea how to teach, to create classrooms that turn out kids that pass the latest test.  It just doesn’t seem to be about the individual but the test taker.  If a student is good at figuring out and taking tests, he/she will be prized by teachers that are expected to get him/her to pass a test.  Those kids that freak out on tests, struggle in general with testing, or perhaps have social and economic problems are in for a world of hurt as teachers jump through every hoop to try and get them “test worthy”.  Okay, I know I am sarcastic but this is for real.  I work long days trying to do whatever it takes to get my students attention.  I just still think it is strange that my evaluations are attached to reading and math scores of my students.  This is true for all of us.  Teacher evaluations are attached to test scores of students, all students.  Now, most people can see the problems with this.  How will students be selected or tied to individual teachers?  Why is a math teacher tied to reading and vice versa?  How can I, as an art teacher, affect those reading and math scores?  There is constant reworking of lessons and trying to tie in reading, math, and even technology skills as much of the testing is now on computers.  As crazy as this seems to me, it must be harder for the students, especially those students that are not the top reading and math students.

Considering all of this, it is rather amazing how much I have been reading in 2014.  After Christmas was over, I decided I wanted to buy a new Kindle.  I dropped my old Kindle so the lettering wouldn’t work in the corner.  I just had the little cheap model, but I liked it for reading.  I would read on my iPad but I was never crazy about it because it is heavier.  It seemed like I was not reading as much as I used to, so that is why I decided to get a new Kindle.  I bought the cheap HD model that comes with the ads when you turn it on.  I cannot say enough about my crazy obsession with my Kindle and Amazon Prime!  Since getting this Kindle the second week of January, I have read around 30 books.  I even have it read to me when I am doing things like cooking or cleaning.  I love my Kindle and even the offers.  I got a Mr. Coffee Café Latte machine for my birthday for just $20.  Since I have Amazon Prime, I didn’t have to pay any shipping.  I love Amazon Prime as I buy many things through Amazon and I do watch some videos as well.  However, recently the new music cloud has just blown me away.  There is so much music content that I have access to that it is amazing.  I just hope Amazon doesn’t up the rates on me.  I also really enjoy getting my BookBub emails.  Bookbub allows me to buy books for next to nothing or even free.  I have discovered authors I am not familiar with and I am enjoying reading most of these books.  What I really like about the Kindle is how many choices I have at any one time.  I have many books on my Kindle.  I also can get them through library loan although sometimes I have to wait awhile.  I can purchase a new book in mere seconds.  Amazon has made all of this super easy to use and so I keep buying…and they keep making money off me!

Today there is something new on my mind.  The Supreme Court just handed down their decision on the Hobby Lobby case.  Earlier this morning I made a comment on a video on Facebook that gave some statistics on abortion.  I usually avoid any comments on abortion issues, as that issue seems to bring out all of the crazy people ready to comment.  I received many replies to my comment, which I should have known I would.  I believe abortion is something a woman decides for herself with the help of her doctor.  I don’t think it is a decision taken lightly and I certainly don’t think politicians, judges, and the like who are mostly old, white men should be making these decisions for women.  It is rather patronizing to think the little woman isn’t smart enough to decide for herself what is in her best interest.  I personally have a secret wish that decisions like this one can move our country to single payer.  Why should insurance companies and businesses hold all of the special keys to any one person’s medical coverage?  Let’s just get rid of these middle “men” and go to a system where everyone pays a bit in their taxes and health care is guaranteed, Medicare for all or something like it.  If everyone is paying in, than no one group can say they are paying for someone else’s health care.  Everyone pays and all benefit.  It just seems to make sense to me.

Sometimes I feel like I am in some kind of time warp machine.  For every step forward women make on issues there are plenty of people, including other women, dragging and pulling on them to hold them back, keep them down, control them, and generally keep them as less than men.  Why is it that we aren’t hearing cases about business companies refusing to provide Viagra?  Why is it that men can make all of the decisions about their own bodies but women have to be second-guessed at every turn?  It just doesn’t make sense to me currently.  We live in a time when many women are the main or only breadwinner in their families.  They should be able to make all of the decisions applicable to their own bodies.  From my point of view, enough said.

As the summer moves on, I hope to get on here more often and spew my only little mind chatter.  It is different to be me.  I am constantly thinking about many things and sometimes it’s hard to get on the bandwagon of just one thing.  It is how my mind works, so sometimes you may have to adjust to my wandering brain as I interpret the world around me.

 

The TSA and Other Things on My Mind Today

  • Posted on January 31, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I think this is going to be a long day.  I have a stressed out dog, a curious cat, and a backache.  It is the middle of winter and I am getting a new roof.  My animals, especially my poor dog, seem confused by the noise and feel somewhat invaded.  It is early.  I know that this day is only going to get much worse.  Speaking of feeling invaded, I just read the article, “Dear America, I Saw You Naked and Yes, we were laughing. Confessions of an ex-TSA agent.” by Jason Edward Harrington over at Politico.com.  I have to say nothing in it surprised me but it sure reinforces many of the things I had been thinking about giving up our freedoms and all for the sake of safety.  Some of it is just to keep us in line, so to speak.  Nothing more but to make it look like someone is doing something to keep us safe.  The next time you are traveling and have to be personally checked in some way, you might think more about why it is you.  He even suggested there is a special code for attractive women, no real surprise there.  It sounds more like a Frat house party than what we should consider serious government business.

Poor Ann Romney is still whining about the fact that she won’t be FLOTUS.  I am not sure why but I did watch the Mitt movie on Netflix this week during our hiatus from school because of the chilling weather.  The movie was a great, big, warm, and fuzzy fluff piece for Mitt.  Aw shucks people, he is just one of us!  We just don’t really understand what a decent, caring individual he really is.  While I am sitting here trying to comfort my poor dog, I cannot help but think back to another dog that spent a treacherous time on the roof of Mitt’s automobile.  Maybe Mitt is one of us, one of those people that don’t understand those of us that treat our animals as if they are human.  Enough said, but don’t be surprised if Mitt doesn’t run again.  The movie made me think it was a setup for 2016!

While I was home, I also viewed those annoying videos all teachers have to view yearly about everything from blood borne pathogens and sexual harassment, to chemicals in the work place and what OSHA means to me.  I am not sure why I have to view these every year because my memory isn’t that bad.  However, it is just one of those things that some government official thinks we need to freshen up on yearly.  I always find the sexual harassment video interesting.  When I see the young female teacher sitting at her desk with the lecherous older teacher trying to persuade her to get on his team, I can only wonder what female teacher wears a top like that.  It has spaghetti straps and I think she is ready for a party.  I know many young, female teachers and I haven’t witnessed any of them dressed quite like that at school.  If they did, the boys would surely be having much better attendance rates than some of them do.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending an online art conference put on by the Art of Education.  It was an interesting day.  There were many technical problems for people as the video streaming had some issues.  Even though there were problems, I still had a great day.  It was nice to feel like I was part of something bigger as I viewed and participated in conversations with other art teachers from all over the world.  Of course, art is universal and it is truly, a language that all people can understand.  AOE gave us a password so we can view the videos for the next six months or so.  This is great as I remember many times coming back from a conference trying to remember all of the different presentations I attended.  At AOE, I can review the videos and maybe get even more from them.  While they didn’t present enough material at the high school level, I was able to get plenty of ideas that I will be using in my own classroom in the days and years to come.  I really can’t wait until the next one.  Therefore, if you are an art teacher, you might want to look into the Art of Education website for future reference.

Speaking of art and websites, I want to give a shout out to my favorite online art teacher, “The Helpful Art Teacher.”  Rachel Wintemberg teaches in New Jersey and has only had her blog for a bit over three years, but it is jam packed with great lesson plans.  She shares everything and researches whatever she is posting online.  While the site visually may look a little simplistic, it is far from it.  I can spend days perusing Rachel’s blog.  It is just a treasure.  If you are an art teacher, you really need to check it out.  It is really geared for the middle and high school crowd but it is awesome.  I have nominated her blog for the Art of Educations Art Ed Blog of the Year Award.  You are welcome to nominate her as well if you are so inclined.

While I am hearing a lot of pounding, my baby dog, Brodie, has seemed to settle in under my feet, so to speak.  He pipes up once in awhile but he seems to be appreciating my presence near him and is glad that I am calm and not freaking out by the noise.  The geek in me finds this product very interesting and it reminds me of a piece of sculpture.  It could be revolutionary and it is based on an old concept.  How cool is that?

I talked with one of my ten brothers the other night about farm subsidies.  I won’t get into the sum total of our conversation but it had something to do with the concept of socialism and how some people that despise the concept of socialism are the biggest socialists, so to speak, as they get subsidized. So of course, I had to go find the website for myself and it is interesting.  If you would like to know who is getting farm subsidies in your area, just plug in the zip code.  This is for the period of years from 1995 through 2012.  I always find these things interesting because so many people worry about the $133.85 some poor person might be receiving from SNAP.  Maybe we should be looking beyond to the people that really get the lion’s share of government money through special programs, lobbying efforts, and no bid contracts.  Don’t even get me started on those charitable organizations like churches that get government money for “helping” other people.  I always think it would be better if the government just gave the money right to the people.  Think about how the bankers were all bailed out, if the government had just sent that money out to us, we would have gotten the economy going, by spending it.  Instead, the bankers kept it and then made it more difficult for businesses to get the loans they needed.  I am not an economist but something stinks in our government.  We have two parties that get their seed money for their elections from businesses that lobby for special treatment.  The rest of us out in the real world just keep doing what we are supposed to be doing and keep on hoping that something different will be done.  President Obama was going to bring us change but that’s not happening.  Washington is more gridlocked than ever and controlled by special interests that have nothing to do with most of the American people.  The one percent is getting richer and the rest of us continue to hang on….hoping to see something constructive done by our government.  I won’t hold my breath.  I don’t see any real change in anything but education and that’s just because there is money to be made there.

I have had fun writing my little thoughts.  I hope someone finds me somewhat entertaining and perhaps I can get someone thinking, a simple thing this teacher would like to do.  You don’t have to agree with me on anything, but just think.  I’ll leave you with a picture of poor Brodie.  As you can see, he is frightened but sitting under my computer chair knowing I will save him from all that is evil!100_2107

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