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The State of Michigan Needs Inspiration

  • Posted on March 30, 2010 at 10:00 pm

This is the time of year when schools look at their budgets and program offerings for the coming school year.  At Sturgis Middle school we recently found out about our MEAP scores.  Each year we hold our collective breath waiting for the results.  The MEAP doesn’t follow an individual class through their time in school but focuses on grade level.  This means that scores can go up and down sometimes based on the type of class that is currently being taught.  It has been my experience that some years we have classes that are challenging, usually behavior issues are the problem, and some years we have classes that are exceptional both in their behavior and their ability to pass the MEAP.  This year we all have let out our collective breath with a big “Hooray!” as our scores were very good.  We can only hope these scores will continue to be high in the coming years.  I know that everyone at our school is part of the team to help students pass these tests.  This year students, that needed extra time, were given extra “lab” time with their core teachers.  This was accomplished through much effort by the exploratory teachers.  Exploratory teachers were asked to develop a “split” time class in which they would have students for 25 minutes out of 50 minute period.  This has been a difficult thing to accomplish but exploratory teachers rose to the moment and did what was necessary to help make this program a reality.  Most days classes were normal but some days individual students were kept back for more lab time in math, science, etc.  This can be very challenging for any exploratory teacher working with project based media as the student can fall behind in that class and other students will get bored if they spend too much time waiting for the behind students to catch up.  There are often times teachers are pitted against each other based on being a “core” teacher or an “exploratory” teacher.  Core teachers always get the respect from everyone simply because they are teaching what most people see as being necessary for an education, “reading, writing, and arithmetic.”  Some core teachers see themselves as above exploratory teachers by virtue of their placement of importance in the system.   In my nearly seventeen years of teaching at Sturgis a well rounded education has been of utmost importance to Sturgis school district.  Unfortunately, with the current money problems I think many schools are being forced to make cuts to their programs.  Whether it is art, music, drama or extra curricular programs all will be judged regardless of their merits.  At Sturgis we have been able to maintain our programs.  I believe it helps us with the “school of choice” program but as people flee Michigan for other states where they hope to get a job, the outlook for our school is also dim.  The funding coming from the state is less and less each year while the costs for everything from staff to energy continue to rise.  This is forcing larger class sizes and the reduction of services just like what is happening to our state government.  It’s time for our state to develop some new ideas for funding and for surviving our current crisis in our schools as well as all other aspects of our lives.

Our state is in a crisis that can and has to be fixed.  We need more revenue coming into the state to fix these problems.  Either we must create more employment through industry of some type or we must raise taxes on those that are still here working.  The fact is we are going to see a reduction in services across our state in our schools, road work, police, secretary of state’s offices, and anything else that the state touches, if we don’t do something now.  Many people are tired of being taxed and feel it’s gone far enough but many don’t realize the perilous position the state of Michigan is in.  We have such a beautiful state.  I personally think it’s ridiculous that our state should be in such bad shape.  We have natural resources that are the envy of other states.  We have great universities where people come from all over the world to get their education from.  We have terrific hospitals across our state.  We have so much to offer for recreation all through the year from the lakes in the summer to the skiing in the winter.  Unfortunately, for many years we put all of our eggs in that one basket of the automobile industry.  It’s time for new industry to grow and prosper in Michigan.  I love our state.  I think it is an absolutely beautiful state.  We need to develop our commodities to attract people to the state.  We hear about the problems in Detroit but it isn’t just Detroit.  The problem is all across our state.  If you go to the thumb area it is just as depressed as Detroit.  It’s just a smaller population.  Here is Sturgis we too have lost business and of course the people that work in those businesses.  Yet, we have a beautiful little city that could be doing more to get people to stop and shop here and build our local community.  I find myself running to Coldwater and Three Rivers to get things because we don’t have the stores that those communities have to offer.  I’d like to keep my money local but I’m not willing to shop at the loss of choices in products.

Our current government continues to use the same old tactics and behaviors that they have been exhibiting for the past sixty years.  That is the Republicans want to argue about cutting programs and lower taxes and the Democrats want to maintain programs but don’t have the where with all to create the funding for them.  Neither of these approaches really seems to be working.  We need something new and daring to happen.  The same old politics just isn’t working.  Geoffrey Fieger was on a local television program and he was talking about being “inspired”.  He said, “We need someone that will inspire us.”   I couldn’t remember the last time a politician actually inspired me.  Maybe when I was a kid and learned all about John F. Kennedy I felt inspired.  As an art teacher I know that inspiration can lead to all kinds of wonderful thinking and problem solving.  I think maybe our politicians need to be inspirational to bring out the best in their constituents.  My sister is always talking about the “genius among us”.  These are every day people that come up with fantastic ideas and solutions to problems.  Many of them are over looked as being “kooks” or just flatly ignored but there may be somebody out there with great ideas for our state that is just being ignored and overlooked.  I think maybe our current government needs to go to the people for fresh, new ideas.  We need a suggestion box for the government just like those old suggestion boxes we used to see at restaurants.  Someone in Michigan has a great idea for this state and how to turn it around.  I just don’t think it’s a politician.  He or she may be sitting next to us with a wonderful imagination and a desire for change but not the where with all to make it happen.  The state of Michigan needs to set out the suggestion box to get this conversation moving.  Enough of the fighting over budgets and everything else, it’s time for new ideas for funding this state and developing it to its fullest potential.

Living in Time Saving Hell

  • Posted on March 28, 2010 at 10:50 am

Time Saving Hell for the World

The natives have been restless at school lately.  I’ve decided some of it is due to the spring time change.  I haven’t felt myself since I lost that hour of precious sleep.  I find myself running to the Coke machine to get some diet Coke for the caffeine.  That is highly unusual for me.  I suspect this tired, dragged out feeling isn’t any different for the students I teach.  This week was a tough one.  Some of the girls have been fighting.  I don’t mean screaming and hollering at each other but knock out, pulling hair, fighting.  The rest of the students seem to really get revved up by this activity.  After a big fight this week my students came down to class acting like it was so “cool” and “awesome” to see girls fighting.  I had to set them straight about the whole “mob mentality thing” and being a part of the solution and not the problem.  It was quite a lecture and it did seem to settle my class down but alas there was another fight today with more students from other classes.

All of this has really got me thinking.  I have never been in a fight in my life yet these young girls act like this is “normal” behavior.  Granted I’m fifty four and my parents would have had a fit if I didn’t act like a “lady” when I was young but what is going on with these young girls today?  I was talking to my sister and she thinks they are probably seeing it in their homes and for them it’s probably not that unusual.  She may be right.  The weather has been fairly nice lately and maybe everyone is feeling restless and wishing for our summer break to come.  Regardless of what’s causing all of the chaos with the girls at my school for me it’s been tough since the time change.  After all of these years I really don’t see why we still go through the spring and fall time changes.  Who really benefits from the chaotic change in our schedules?  Students need a regular routine, much like old people and babies.  When you mess with that routine I think you’re just asking for trouble.  All of this got me thinking about the history of this disruptive behavior.  I guess I can blame this all on Ben Franklin as it was his idea in the first place.

Who would have ever thought that my restless nature during the time changes all started because Ben wanted to save money by burning less candles and using more of the natural sun light? A lot of people seem to enjoy going home and still have daylight to do sports and other fun activities so I do understand why people like going through the time changes from spring to fall.  We have been told that it saves energy and it helps to get people out shopping longer.  In this tough economic time maybe longer daylight hours will help but if you don’t have a job, sunlight isn’t going to make you go shopping!  According to the website that I sited earlier a study by the University of Michigan claims less pedestrians are hit during those daylight savings times.  I know it’s hard to see students walking in the morning when we start school so early so this could cut both ways.  We start school at 7:45 a.m. which is really 6:45 a.m.  As the days get longer it is getting lighter but wow that’s early for young brains to get moving!  Is there any wonder they are confused, grumpy and fighting?

I may not understand all of the intricate details that make our country embrace daylight savings time but at least I have my free speech and can whine and complain about it without being thrown in the slammer.  I think it makes some of us a wee bit crazy and I don’t think it has helped my student’s dispositions in school but alas I don’t make the laws.  I just follow them.  So for the next several months I’ll be living in time saving hell and when I finally adjust to that hell, the cycle will start all over again when the clocks fall back!  I’ll probably stay up too late and whine and complain about how tired I am once again!

If They Sell It, We Will Buy It

  • Posted on March 27, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Do we really need another product like this in our lives?

More useless products that cost more than they're worth!

Why are there so many useless items in the world?  We are surrounded by things we just have to have only to find out that once we use them the novelty is all worn off.  I was watching a commercial for an egg cracker.  Yes, I said an egg cracker.  I never thought cracking eggs was particularly hard.  I can even crack an egg one handed so why would I need this device? Remember “Field of Dreams” and the moment when you heard the whisper, “If you build it, they will come.”  I think we have grown into a society that will buy anything if it is marketed correctly.  If you market it, we will buy it, even if it is a pile of crap!

Back when I was doing art shows I did the Ann Arbor Art Fair.  People would stand for hours in line waiting to buy a metal sculpture on a stick to put in their gardens that was supposedly made by one person.  Of course I questioned this after seeing the first thousand or so of these stick items walk by my booth.  The Ann Arbor Art Guild surely wouldn’t let some mass produced Chinese junk into the art show would they?  My son and I used to joke about putting “shit” on a stick and selling it.  We would dream up all kinds of clay blobs to put on a stick but I never got around to producing those art “pieces”.  We weren’t the only street artists whining about the “taste” of some people that would buy anything and call it “art”.

In the seventies the big rage was the “pet rock”.  That guy made a million bucks selling “rocks” as pets and “we” bought them!  Another product, that I absolutely detest, is the extremely ugly “Croc” shoe.  I know those shoes have sold like crazy and they are beyond ugly.  I went into a Hallmark store a few years ago and they were selling their “version”.  I was thinking out loud and said, “Oh, my God, those are ugly.”  I actually thought I was “thinking” it and not saying it but the sales clerk assured me that they are so comfortable.  She couldn’t convince me though as I walked out of the store without the ugly shoes.

Another product that I’ve noticed advertised on T.V. recently seems kind of “X” rated to me.

It’s a shake weight used to get in shape and lose weight.  To me it just looks a bit too much like a vibrator.  When I see the ad it makes me laugh instead of taking it seriously.  I don’t know if everyone is going to run out and buy one but someone thought they would make money on it.  Over the years there have been many products that we have bought and then had buyer’s remorse a week later.  Some have bought the weight loss product with accompanying books, etc. that sits in their closet.  Some have purchased unusual exercise machines because they were convinced by the ad that they would really use them.  Others have bought everything from those strange “Chia” pets to those “Ginsu” knives knowing that they just couldn’t live without them.

What is there about us humans that make us so prone to buying these “junk” products?  Are we looking for a quick fix to all of our problems or are we just plain gullible?  I don’t know but I do know that I have my share of useless products that I have purchased over the years thinking I couldn’t live without them.  Today it’s the EZ Cracker egg machine which I will not buy.  Tomorrow it will be something else we just can’t live without.  I think we buy to satisfy a need for completion.  We will be completed when we “fill” our lives up with so much useless crap there isn’t room for anything else.  My home is full of crap but there aren’t many people there to share the crap.  I’ll end up carting my crap off to the Goodwill store and wait for the next irresistible product to come my way.  Oh, I’ll resist the temptation for awhile but in time those old feelings of “needing” some stupid product will creep its way back into my life and I’ll buy something stupid once again.  Advertisers have really got a gimmick going when they can sell everything from a pet rock to “Sham Wow”.  The products may be stupid but the people buying them are stupider!

Student Loans and the Cost of an Education or “This is the best day of my life!”

  • Posted on March 13, 2010 at 11:49 pm

I kind of miss the days when my son could get excited about his day.  For many years I could always count on my son to say, “This is the best day of my life!”  These days for Josh happened quite frequently.  They usually happened when he got something he really wanted.  They always made me laugh because each one was the best day of his life.  In recent times I haven’t heard that saying from Josh.  He seems to be mostly preoccupied with student loan debt.  His goal in life is now to be free of his student loan debt.  This will take some time as the cost of college has become astronomical.

I remember when I went to college back in the seventies.  I received my B.F.A. in 1977 and left Michigan State University with $3600 in student loans.  At the time I lamented the fact that I would be paying it off over a period of ten years.  I think I paid something like $41 a month.  It wasn’t a lot whatever it was.  Today our children are swamped with bills that are many times what we paid as young people.  My son has student loans that are way over ten times what I paid.  He had grant and scholarship money but the cost of an education today is enormous.  This is the current information from the University of Michigan where my son went to school:

Estimated Budgets for Fall/Winter 2010-2011 (September – April)

Tuition & Fees* Room Board** Books & Supplies Personal & Miscellaneous Total Budget
Michigan Residents
$11,659 $5,424 $3,500 $1,048 $2,090 $23,721
$13,141 $5,424 $3,500 $1,048 $2,090 $25,203
GRADUATE STUDENTS $17,525 $11,762 $1,192 $4,092 $34,571
$34,937 $5,424 $3,500 $1,048 $2,090 $46,999
$37,389 $5,424 $3,500 $1,048 $2,090 $49,451
GRADUATE STUDENTS $35,183 $11,762 $1,192 $4,092 $52,229

* Note that the distinction between lower division and upper division is made on the basis of the number of credit hours you have completed (including AP and transfer credits), not on the basis of the number of years you have attended.
**Based on the 150 Block Meal Plan

As you can see the cost of an education at the University of Michigan is tremendous for most working class people.  If you have money or are fortunate to have a lot of scholarship money, this might not seem too bad.  However, if you are like my son, raised by a single parent, but not at the poverty level and not a minority, you will probably graduate with a boat load of debt.

The government isn’t really helping the situation.  At the federal level money to the states has been cut and at the state level states can’t afford their budgets so they are slashing education costs.  This includes the costs to state universities.  Across the country students are protesting the increased costs of tuition.  Many students are staying in school longer and getting graduate degrees because they know there aren’t any jobs for them at this time.  They are delaying the inevitable onslaught of their own demise of student loans.  Hopefully, they will be able to get high paying jobs when they get out as they will need it to pay off their student debt.

The future outlook for these young people is a bit scary in my opinion.  In the teaching field young teachers are really getting the shaft.  They are probably going to end up with a far reduced retirement package just like what they can expect from their social security.  The country keeps borrowing money for these two wars we are involved in to the detriment of our young people.  I imagine many young people today will start their lives out in debt and remain there for most of their lives.

I like to watch HGTV.  I watch shows where young people are buying their first homes.  The amount they are paying for these homes is huge.  I always wonder what jobs these kids have on these shows.  Many put little or nothing down.  The shows were probably filmed awhile ago.  It really explains a lot about what was happening with the housing market in the last few years.  I saw a young teacher just yesterday on a show buy her first house and she had a payment of $1900 a month.  That is totally ridiculous as no young teacher could afford that.  She said something about getting a roommate but it still was a strange show to watch.  I think I know a bit about money and most teachers’ salaries wouldn’t support such an amount.

If young people have huge student loans and outrageous housing costs they are going to have to make tremendous amounts of money to support both of these or live with mom and dad and pay off their student loans.  The days of the sixties are really over.  I have brothers that went to college in the sixties and they had every break in the book when it came to the cost of both their education and housing.  It is this generation that is now retired and living large that is sucking the life out of our young people.  My son can’t get over why old people get a break on everything from free city bus passes to discounts for every other thing in life.  My answer to him is the fact that old people vote.  The government can always count on old people to vote so congress will listen to them.  Old people may be half way in the grave but they will get out and vote unlike the young that may have better things to do that day.  The laws have been written for the old for years.  Of course years ago the aging population was a mess.  Thanks to FDR that has been turned around.  Of course we all know plenty of old people that aren’t living large and that are living from paycheck to paycheck just like most of working America.  Life for them wasn’t as rosy as it was for my brothers.

As Americans it doesn’t do any good to divide all of us and feel resentment to the old or to the youth.  The truth is all people deserve to live without worrying about their jobs, healthcare and wondering how to make enough money to take care of ourselves.  The pursuit of the American dream shouldn’t be so scary that we spend our lives in debtor’s prison paying off our student loans and our house.  My son should be able to say, “This is the best day of my life!” even when he’s twenty six and living on his own.   He and others like him shouldn’t feel the overwhelming weight of endless debt just because he chose to further his education.  An education shouldn’t be just for the wealthy, minorities and the poor.  An education should be for everyone that dreams of the American dream.  If I was making the laws an education would be free for anyone that wanted to learn.  I wouldn’t make an education so expensive that life becomes more about the dream of making money than the dream of true fulfillment.  In my mind an education should be about opening your mind to the possibilities of living a fulfilled life that includes art, music and the humanities.  Life is too short to spend chasing dollar signs and paying off student loan debt.  I know for my son, Josh, he will once again tell me, “This is the best day of my life!” when he is free of the weight of his student loan debt.  Unfortunately, I expect that day to be far into the future!

Coffee or Tea? Neither Please!

  • Posted on March 13, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Coffee or Tea, what do you prefer today?  Today is the coming out party of the “Coffee Party”.  You know the anti “Tea Party” party.  I’m already tired of both of these parties.  Neither one has a clue what’s really going on across this country.  People are anxious but they aren’t looking for cutesy named parties like “Coffee or Tea”.  People are tired of being taken for granted and worrying about their jobs and health care.  Neither of the two major parties, Democratic and Republican, are meeting the needs of their constituents.  Both are working hard to garnish money from lobbyists and those lobbyists are not our neighbors.  This newly formed “Coffee” party has Obama’s fingers all over it from the association to Jim Webb to people that worked to elect Obama.  I, for one, am tired of being manipulated by any political party.  My best guess is these are the “Starbuck” lovers that are willing to pay $4.00 for a cup of coffee.  They are definitely out of my league and are probably what the right refers to as “latte” lovers.  Oh, well, these are just labels we bandy around.  I refuse to put a label on my frustration and distrust of this new movement or the Tea Party one as well.  The Republican Party was quick to get on board the funding of the Tea Party movement so that makes that party completely distrustful to me.  I can probably say the same for this new Coffee Party.  From my point of view I want to hear more politicians sounding like Rep. Patrick Kennedy from Rhode Island:

He isn’t running any more so maybe he decided he was free to say what he’s really thinking.  I don’t know but this is the fire for the people that I want to see in my representatives.

Here is a post by “Wonk the Vote” much worth reading about coffee, tea and FDR.

I really enjoyed reading about FDR and his discussion of a second bill of rights.

I want a party that represents the “workers” of America.  These are the people that keep this country moving from factory jobs, police, teachers, transportation, and healthcare to the guy that picks up your garbage.  These are the people we all know that are our neighbors.  They aren’t a CEO and they don’t work on Wall Street.  They aren’t a Washington politician and while they may own a “mom and pop” store.  They don’t own “Wal-Mart” and they certainly aren’t a movie star!  We are the forgotten in this country.  While we make up the largest share of voters we are woefully under represented in our government.  While the wealthy including the politicians, CEO’s, Wall Street and Hollywood try to manipulate us at every turn by showing us what a war should be on screen, or by telling us to buy those ridiculous light bulbs that don’t last six months let alone five years, to always telling us we are the “greatest” and hoping we still believe that lie or to manipulating us to grasp our little “nest egg.”  We are the greatest to them if we keep buying the same old garbage they keep selling.  It’s time all of us woke up and figured out that these people are only looking at their own best interests.  The politician wants to get reelected so he will tell us anything.  The movie star wants to make more money so they call us to action on everything from the environment to our values of patriotism.  They do this because they are part of the corporate owned media.  Wall Street just wants our money and they will play games with the market to get it.  Once you’re in that market they will shake a few out ever so often and it could be your retirement that’s lost!

We, the true Americans, need to wise up and see these people that garner so much respect in the media for what they truly are.  We have the Internet.  We don’t need to be told by some Joe Scarborough on MSNBC or Wolf Blitzer on CNN or any other media pundit what’s going on in this country.  We can see by getting online and also by talking to our neighbors.  Here in Sturgis we know our property values have gone down.  We know there are vacant homes in town.  We can see that funding in our state is getting pretty down right scary.  We know that everything from the police to schools to state services have been cut and yet we still see plenty of money for war and politics.  We see politicians whooping it up at the Whitehouse with parties and dignitaries and don’t forget about those constant calls from the two parties for money for their next campaigns.  We see money going to two wars and a potential third and no one says, “Whoa, wait a minute!  What about the American people?”  I hear this phrase in my head.  I heard it as a teacher from GW Bush and now I’m playing it over in my mind.  That is over and over, “Expect more and pay less!”  This is in reference to teachers and I am a teacher but it really is in reference to all American workers.  We can all expect to do more and get paid less if we continue to buy what the politicians and the wealth in this country are selling.  Hollywood, politicians, CEO’s will all live large while the rest of us tighten our belts, pray we don’t lose our jobs or health insurance and scrape by.

Now do I want coffee or tea?  Not exactly!  I want real representation and I’m not going to get it over a cup of coffee or tea.  The best I can do as an American worker is to keep putting my voice out there.  I’ll keep calling my congress people and hope they change and I’ll keep saying what I think!

Rod Blagojevich: Innocent Until Proven Guilty or Free the “Blago” Tapes

  • Posted on March 7, 2010 at 11:19 am

"Birds of a Feather Flock Together"

I can’t wait to see “Celebrity Apprentice” with Rod Blagojevich.  The media has portrayed Blagojevich as just some crazy crooked governor.  I really think there is a lot more to it.  I was watching C-span last night and I really find Blagojevich extremely interesting.  He has a point with Tony Rezko.  Barack Obama has gotten a free pass on his relationship with Rezko where as Rod Blagojevich’s relationship with Rezko is considered so much more suspicious.  Rod wants the complete tapes released.  He claims that the snippets people are hearing are not the whole story.  I think he has a point.  He mentions Obama and the property Rezko helped him obtain.  The media hasn’t come down on Obama for his Rezko connection.  You never even hear about Rezko and Obama together unless Blagojevich is talking.

Rod says, “Do you have what it takes to fight back?”  I think Rod does.  He’s out there fighting.  I want to know what’s on the tapes with Rahm Emmanuel.  Don’t you?  Rod’s advice, “Surround yourself with good lawyers.”  When Rod met Sarah Palin he told her he spent a couple of years working on the Alaskan pipeline.  His college roommate was appointed Attorney General by Sarah Palin.  As far as his stint on Celebrity Apprentice he says, “We are a society that values celebrity.”  He has to make money for his family.  He felt he was railroaded out of office because he wouldn’t raise taxes on the people of Illinois.  He tried to close loop holes and tax some corporations.  He feels some of these things are the reason he was railroaded out of office.  He says Pat Quinn loans his campaign fund money at 10%.  Rod thinks that’s corrupt when the rest of us can only get 1-2% from a bank.  Rod says he never lost an election because the people placed their trust in him.  He says he’s keeping his face out there because he is innocent.  He reminded the panel that he is innocent until proven guilty.  He suggested that the media should be trying harder to get those tapes out to the public.

I don’t know the truth about this issue.  We all know about “Chicago style politics”.  I do know that my son is in Cook County and his property taxes just went up.  It’s hard to believe his property taxes would go up when he just bought a condo back in July that was foreclosed on.  I know where I am here in Michigan the property taxes are going down because the appraisals are down.  Leave it to the politicians in Illinois to dip into an already depleted source of taxation.  I do think Blago is closer to being one of us than a lot of the politicians that you see on the scene.  My brothers worked on the pipeline.  The elite don’t get their hands dirty with their jobs.  Those jobs are left to the rest of us.  My brothers were anything but the elite.  They grew up in a family of fourteen children.  I have several brothers that went up to Alaska to try to earn money back in the seventies.  Michigan, like now, was a mess economically.  My brothers had dreams of making big bucks and for the most part Alaska has been good to them financially.  Hillary Clinton worked in the fishing industry in Alaska.  That qualifies her to almost be like one of us.  She obviously was willing to get her hands dirty in her Alaskan adventure.  I suspect Blago went to try and make money whereas Hillary probably went for the adventure.   I don’t believe she needed the money.  That’s the difference between the real elite and everyone else.  The elite may do a dirty job just to experience it much like that new show where the CEO of a company plays a common worker for a week.  He knows he’s going back to his real job.  I, of course, am suspicious of that show because the common people are fed up with the rich, CEO pay, and the elite politicians.  We want common sense in politics and we definitely want to not have our civil liberties infringed upon.

How this all relates to Rod Blagojevich I’m not sure but I feel that he came from us, the people.  He wasn’t from the elite.  He started out as one of us so I think let’s just let him have his day in court and release the tapes.  Don’t just give us snippets of information that is used solely to color our minds and don’t protect people like Rahm Emmanuel, President Obama, David Axelrod, and anyone else that might be on those tapes.  We should all be questioning everything about this case as he was so close to President Obama.  If Rod is truly “bad to the bone” what does that make President Obama?  My mother always told me, “Birds of a feather flock together.”  I suspect the president doesn’t want the full tapes released because they might not show him and his people in a positive light!

Women in Politics and What’s in the Fridge?

  • Posted on March 6, 2010 at 2:22 pm

How to Keep People From Stealing Your Food at Work

I was having lunch with a couple teachers in the teacher work room.  Another male teacher walked in took bottled water out of a bag in the bottom of the fridge and said, “I guess it’s unclaimed, so I claim it.”  This made me think about the differences between men and women.  There was another female teacher there and I said to her, “You would never take anything out of the fridge that didn’t belong to you, right?”  She said, “Of course not.”  So the other male teachers in the room pointed out that if something has been in there a long time and it’s unused, they would all eat it.  I told them, “So that’s why I was losing my bottled water a couple years ago.  I now drink it at room temperature and keep in my office.”  What this discussion meant for me was there is a vast difference between men and women and what they think about their place in the world.

The men felt entitled to take whatever was in the fridge as long as it had been unclaimed for awhile.  It almost sounded like they look in the fridge daily and make a mental note of what’s been in there for awhile.  Women on the other hand would never take somebody else’s food for several reasons.  One, they think it’s stealing.  They know it doesn’t belong to them and they don’t feel “entitled” to it.  Two, they don’t know what’s in it, who has touched it or how old it is and finally there is that whole germ phobia thing!

All of this made me think about men, women, politics and living.  Living with ten brothers I know the women in our family took second place at best.  The men always came first in everything.  When my oldest brother brought his future wife home she couldn’t believe all of the baked goods my mom had laid out on the counter tops.  She wondered what they were all for.  She thought maybe a bake sale or something.  By the end of the night she knew it was for all those boys.  They ate until the cows came home, all kinds of pies, bread, kolaches, all of it was gone.  My mother was a saint cooking for them.  When the boys were young we lived on a farm and they worked out in the barn.  My older sisters worked in the house trying to keep it clean with all those boys.  One day my parents were gone and my older sister Colleen was in charge.  She had just washed the kitchen floor and Paul, who was younger than my sister came in with his dirty boots from the barn.  She told him not to walk on her drying kitchen floor as she had just mopped it.  He ignored her as men are apt to do and walked on it any way.  Colleen took a broom and cracked him on the head with it.  I think she thought that was the only way to knock some sense into him.  I think the broom broke but that defiance that my brother showed came out in many ways from the males in our household.  One of the boys was five, who will remain nameless to protect him from adult embarrassment, just in case he finds this blog, was too lazy to go inside to take off all of his snow equipment; you know the old snow suit, etc.  So, he would soil his pants so his older sisters would have to clean him up when he came in from playing.  Luckily for me I was the youngest in the family.  He also had the nerve to tell mom that he would kick in the china hutch glass if he couldn’t have his way.  He didn’t get his way and the glass was gone.  None of us girls would ever have acted that way.  Now plenty of those ten boys would never have done that either but it’s interesting that some boys grow into men that feel “entitled” to certain things that don’t necessarily belong to them.

My brothers as youngsters and even as adults have never shown great respect for their sisters.  I don’t know why.  I just know that I have been disrespected in many ways by them over the years, not all of them, but a lot of them.  I don’t think they are so different from most men.  Some men from a younger generation that are growing up today may be different.  They help out in the house and all of that but from my stand point I still see them as thinking certain things can belong to them after a certain amount of time.  You know if it’s unclaimed or something.  I think when boys are young the whole world revolves around them and they grow up thinking that the world is their oyster for them to pluck whatever they want from it.  Women on the other hand are usually brought up to nurture.  We don’t think about our needs like most men do so it affects our choices.  The effect of all of this is that women do not feel that they are entitled to anything that they don’t work for themselves.

If you think back to the 2008 election many of us saw the bullying of both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.  Both of these women seem to make men a little bit crazy.  I can’t quite figure out why.  Even though their basic politics are different, they are both strong women that carry themselves in a confident way.  They both are competent politicians that have proven records of that competency whether you agree with them or not.  So why were they able to be bullied by the press and the other politicians?  Why in this age was this allowed?  I’m still scratching my head over it but I have a better understanding after the male teachers were able to take what they wanted from the fridge and justify doing so.

I think that male politicians will take what they want from the election because they feel entitled to it.  Who is this woman, you know Hillary or Sarah, who so daringly tried to take what rightfully, belongs to them?  She’s just a woman.  Men know the difference because they have been entitled all of their lives.  When Hillary Clinton thought she could run for the office of the president she didn’t count on the male “club” of senators and congressmen that secretly went to Barack to get him to run.  She wasn’t part of that male club so no matter what kind of networking she was used to she could not possibly be part of that club.  The club allowed a few women in only because they could “control” them.  One that comes to mind is Claire McCaskill who openly admitted to supporting Barack because her teenage children wanted her to do so.  I remember my teenage son wanting me to do a lot of stuff, you know because everyone else is doing it.  I was a real spoil sport as a parent!  This boy’s “club” used their powerful influence to make Barack president.  They didn’t want a woman and they surely didn’t want Hillary Clinton.  They allowed Barack Obama and his cohorts to treat Hillary with much disrespect by using everything from music to racism.  Nobody screamed, “Foul!”  On the other hand Barack could do anything he wanted from playing foul music about “bitches”; you know that was secretly Hillary, to hanging out with Reverend Wright to having Bill Ayers host his first fund raiser for getting into politics.  Nobody cared because “boys will be boys”.  That attitude has let many men stay in politics when women can’t even get their shoe through the door.

After the primary and Sarah Palin was brought on the scene much energy was spent trying destroy her character.  Men were scared of this woman that could draw crowds bigger than Obama.  She was made into a cartoon figure.  Men acted like they would like sleeping with her but wouldn’t want to have her as Vice President.  She was totally disrespected by the media and the other male politicians and even the people John McCain supplied on her staff.  Is there any wonder why more women aren’t in this dirty game of politics?  Personally, I think our country is sick of the same old politicians and maybe it’s time to get some women in that don’t necessarily feel like they are entitled to everything they see.  Maybe more women of the caliber of Hillary and Sarah would think twice about spending my money because they wouldn’t feel entitled to it.  I’m just thinking out loud here.  The men have been running the show for years whether they be Democrats or Republicans and frankly I don’t think they’re doing all that well.  I would love to see more women in politics.  I know they will think twice before they get us into some stupid war and they’ll think twice before they send my kid to war or your kid to war.  They will also think twice before they waste my money on some stupid program that some lobbyist dreamed up.  They will do this because they don’t feel entitled to anything they see in the fridge.  No, women will think twice before they grab anything free out of our fridge.  That’s the kind of person I want to see in politics!

Sign the Kucinich Petition

  • Posted on March 2, 2010 at 8:14 pm

I just got a letter from Dennis Kucinich with this video attached.  Please sign the petition to end the Afghan war.  We need to take a stand on this.  He wants to force a vote on whether we stay in Afghan.  He wants to build a civic movement for peace and social justice in America.

You can sign the petition here:

This is the petition:

A Petition Requesting
the U.S. Congress
to Stop Funding Additional Troops
in Afghanistan.

Whereas, Congress has the responsibility to decide whether to go to war under Article I, Section 8; and

Whereas, it’s not up to the United States to be able to choose the government of other countries, and

Whereas, Congress has the responsibility to focus on conditions at home in America, addressing infrastructure, putting millions of Americans back to work, saving millions of people from foreclosure and helping 47 million people to receive health care; and

Whereas, Congress must knowledge public sentiment in our communities, where people are desperate for jobs, trying to protect their wage levels, worried about their investments, their savings, their security; now therefore,


Only in Texas

  • Posted on March 1, 2010 at 6:57 pm

I’m tired tonight so I’m just messing around looking on Youtube and to my surprise I came across this guy,  Scott Wade.

This is really one of those stranger than fiction things.  It really makes you wonder when he started this kind of art.  I lived out in western Oklahoma during the early eighties so I do understand the “dust” problem in that part of the country.  I don’t remember it raining all that much though so maybe his art lasts longer than it would up here in Michigan.  This is a novelty and that’s probably just why he does it.  Texas is a state that has all kinds of strange and odd things that tend to happen.  It wasn’t too long ago that Gov. Rick Perry wanted to secede from the union.  He’s running for re-election and Kay Bailey Hutchinson is running against him in the primary on the Republican platform.  The Tea Party activists also have a person in this race, Debra Medina, so this should turn out to be an interesting race.  Tomorrow is the primary and it looks like Perry is going to win.

What is surprizing is the fact that Kay Bailey Hutchinson had a big lead at the beginning of this race.  It seems she is now considered to be a Washington D.C. establishment figure and Perry has successfully turned this race into an anti-Washington race.

I can’t say I really care about the Texas race but you have to wonder about Texas as all of those classroom textbooks keep coming out of Texas.  I don’t know if that is a good thing considering the makeup of this some what unusual state.  I find Texas a little odd and it’s not because it is so gosh darn big.  Here is a link to some of their oddities that you can just travel and see.

This one probably takes the cake:

This one is about the lynching of Santa Claus.  Yes, they took the law into their own hands and it’s not pretty.  This is a true story of a sick society.   After reading this story you will be glad you live in the state you live in as long as it isn’t Texas!  Now, I ‘m wondering even more about those classroom textbooks printed in Texas.  Here’s just a sampling of what might be in a history textbook coming to your children in the future.

It looks like Paul Krugman is worried about those Texas textbooks too!

This is why we have to teach our children how to think for themselves and not just regurgiate the “facts” because we really don’t know whose writing the “facts”!

I’m not trying to offend any Texas people here but come on you Texas Republicans are these three candidates the best you got for the governorship?

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