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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

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures….or… Let’s just say the Republicans are in POWER!

  • Posted on March 13, 2011 at 12:10 am

Here in Michigan we are that sleepy old state that no one is paying attention to while everything seems to be going on in Wisconsin.  However, it seems like a coordinated battle plan has been drawn by many of the Republican governors in some very key political states all at the same time.  I don’t think this is a coincidence.  The main battles are taking place in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Florida but of course there is also New Jersey as well as other states that I’m not watching as closely as my own.  http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/11/us-usa-unions-states-idUSTRE7295QI20110311

One of the things I find really interesting is how close these states have been in recent national political elections.  It seems that all of these governors are hell bent on destroying unions, teachers’ unions especially.  The NEA is the biggest of all.  It is the largest professional organization and labor union in the United States.  Republicans have criticized it for years as being a big supporter of the Democratic Party.  In Michigan the MEA has supported more Democrats but has also supported a few Republicans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUpO1QFMDtM

Here is more showcasing the sneaky underhanded tactics being used by these governors to push through their ideology much like Wisconsin’s Governor Walker pushed through his plan in the dead of night.

http://www.freep.com/article/20110311/NEWS15/103110454/0/ENT04/-100-cost-shield-Gov-Rick-Snyder-s-tax-proposal-from-voters?odyssey=nav|head

The obvious goal is about taking away the financial support to the Democratic Party and to create an environment where business can have whatever they want.  A few years ago at our school everyone read a book entitled, Whatever It Takes.  Of course that book was about educating students.  These governors are using techniques that embody that spirit of whatever it takes to destroy the middle class.  John Edwards always said he wanted to be the voice for the voiceless.  Well, we know John has been permanently derailed because of the choices he made with Rielle Hunter and the fact that the Democratic Party, much like the Republicans, really don’t care about the poor and the voiceless.  However, I must mention here that Newt Gingrich can double down on being bad to his many wives and still gets respect from the Republican Party.  The reason I mention John here is no one is speaking for the voiceless, the poor and the disenfranchised.  President Obama is working as hard as the Republicans at thinking up new ways to screw the poor and the middle class.  Just keep this tidbit in your mind as you read on because no politician is really speaking for the disenfranchised today.  All we hear from politicians is how we have to have a “shared sacrifice”.  I don’t want to get too sidetracked from things but I wonder why these politicians in the following post aren’t sacrificing.  They want everyone else to sacrifice.   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/08/wisconsin-state-senate-republicans_n_833058.html

The first time I heard about farm subsidies is back in the seventies when I was young.  I was watching the Johnny Carson show.  Johnny had John Wayne on his show.  John Wayne was laughing about how the government pays him not to farm.  Now that’s class warfare!  The current Republican governors all seem to want to give massive tax breaks to corporations; you know those entities that the Supreme Court fully recognizes for their “corporate personhood”.  It seems to me that for years I’ve heard Republicans chastising Democrats for creating “class warfare”.  The Democrats are always pointing out the massive divide between the rich and the poor.  Unfortunately, this only seems to happen around election time, but it’s enough to get the Republicans crying for mercy.  However, truthfully the Republicans have declared a sort of war on the middle class and the poor in this country.  The class warfare of today is created through governmental policies that cater to the whims of the wealthy and big corporations while slashing everything from education to any assistance to the poor or disenfranchised.  I have always believed the one thing that can help to elevate a society is a good education.  It is getting harder and harder to obtain that education when policies are in place to ensure that it fails.  Budget cuts to education are designed really to keep the poor and middle class where they belong, dumb and uneducated.  If enough people were truly educated in this country, they might do something about the sorry state of our democracy.  We hear all about how education is broken but truthfully if you want a good education in this country you better fix poverty.  I know right now there will be some narrow minded person sitting here reading this and thinking how the poor will always be with us.  That’s uncreative, small minded thinking in my book.  The great leveler in society is education because it opens many doors that would be otherwise closed.

If you will remember back to when President Bush was in office you will remember that we had all of those color coded alerts about potential terrorism in our country.  We were constantly kept in a state of fear and panic at the thought that a terrorist might be living next door to us.  These terror alerts were manipulating us during the 2004 election.  Whenever John Kerry would go up in the polls, a new terror alert would be announced and like the sheep we are we would do whatever we were alerted to do.  Today the constant drumbeat has been about those lousy pubic unions and how they are screwing up our society.  Yes, it’s the lousy teachers that suck the blood and life from our society.  Even though some of them may give hope to the hopeless, they are the new enemy of the poor.  If it wasn’t for those greedy teachers, the poor would have money.  Sometimes you know the enemy of your enemy is your friend.  Those Republicans have called for a moratorium on spending for anything that will help you or me.  However, if there is some new subsidy or tax break they can give to corporations and the wealthy they’ll get right on it because they still pretend to believe in Reaganomics where that “trickle down” theory was invented.  Truthfully, our society is becoming one of the wealthy and everyone else that are left to “attend” to the wealthy.  I’ve never been able to figure out why enough isn’t enough for the wealthy.  How many billions do you need?  That trickle down theory just doesn’t work because the richer someone at the top gets, the richer they want to be.  They don’t let it trickle down and the only way you are going to get it to trickle down is through government policies that ensure that it does.  Our “desperate times” are created by policies designed to make the rich get richer and screw the poor.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Unfortunately, we don’t truly know how desperate we all are until we get a Republican governor to show us!  I’ll leave you with the desperate people in Wisconsin that have done everything they can to make our country wake up to what’s really going on.  This clip includes Michael Moore on the Rachel Maddow show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYrv65HufIs

Here’s part 2 of that show!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvqQ_olFJ2U&feature=related

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