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Wisconsin Protests

  • Posted on August 12, 2013 at 11:52 am

It has been a fairly quiet summer, or so I thought.  I just realized that protests at the Wisconsin state capital have continued for a long time.  I thought they had been shut down long ago by Governor Walker and his austerity plan for unions.  They just haven’t been getting the national coverage they got when the “Ed” show managed to showcase them on MSNBC.  I watched daily on Big Eddie’s show to see what was going to happen.  Of course what happened was the same thing that happened here in Michigan.  Unions took a giant hit with Republican legislatures and governors.  Here, in Michigan, we became a “right to work” state which loosely translates into a “right to work for less” state.

As an art teacher, I saw the pinch of what all of this means immediately last fall when I had to have my union dues taken out of my bank account and not out of my paycheck.  They can take money for other things including charities, but union dues, not so much.  It really annoys me and I do my own form of protest for this.  It was set up this way to really try to break the union by hitting them in the pocketbook.  Who knows?  Perhaps some teachers have opted to not pay their union dues, thinking that they aren’t getting anything for their money.  However, I am not willing to go back to the dark ages of no representation other than who you know and how popular you personally are with them.  It is sad really as this past school year was the most stressful that I have witnessed in all of my years of teaching.

The stress was caused by all of the legislation going on at the state level.  Most interestingly is the way teacher evaluations are configured.  All teachers at my school have a portion of their evaluation tied to a group of student test scores in reading and math.  This means I have a mentor class that I see for 35 minutes each day that I must nurture so they can perform on a standardized test.  If they improve, I get more points on my evaluation and get to breathe for another year.  If they don’t, well, in time it means I’m a lousy art teacher I guess.  This group is not handpicked by me or any of the other teachers.  Although, if an administrator was so inclined I suppose they could give a teacher a tough load just for fun, to drive them crazy, or to try and get them to retire.  So, we have our own little hell here in Michigan.  What I didn’t know was that Wisconsin union workers have continued to protest.

I want to share a couple video links here so people can become more aware of what is still going on in Wisconsin.  We, as teachers, and other union members, have really taken a hit in the past few years.  We have had changes made to our pensions, pay, union rights, and insurance all because of the Republican power at the state level.  I’m calling it like it is as there is no way this would have happened to this extent under Democrats.  Often I say there is no difference between the two parties anymore but this is really not true. The right wing agenda is about privatization of everything and spreading the word of God as they take away programs for the poor, women, and disenfranchised.

We must be diligent in understanding what is going on across our nation.  We cannot sit back and idly play through the summer months without being more aware of what is happening to unions, the middle class, and the poor.  I am not saying to skip any vacations.  I just want people to be aware of what is happening.

Wisconsin Capital Protestors from the Real News

From Blue Cheddar (They will be doing a live stream today at 12:00 Central time here as well.)

Blue Cheddar Video

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

Chickens, Eagles and Michael Moore

  • Posted on March 6, 2011 at 12:11 pm

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you will not be surprised by some of the things I find online and become interested in.  Today I discovered a website called the National Priorities Project.  I, for one, resent so much of my tax dollars being spent on these two stupid wars that the government seems to want to perpetuate into eternity.  This website has some interesting tools.  One of the tools allows you to put in what you paid in federal taxes so you can see how your money was appropriated.  I must confess.  It did not make me happy, especially what went into education.  If you go to this page and put in what you paid, you will see what I’m talking about.

http://nationalpriorities.org/en/tools/taxchart/

After looking over that website I discovered this little article that will surprise no one.  http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/17/us-wiki-china-treasury-idUSTRE71G47920110217?pageNumber=1

China is flexing their muscle with us and what are we doing?  It seems we will go after entitlement programs and the unions.  That’s a nice little combination that will have an effect on the regular “Joe”, you know the normal people like you and me.  It will not have any measurable effect on the wealthy.  In fact they have been assured that their money is safe and secure from the grubby hands of the American taxpayer through the continuation of the Bush tax cuts and the changes made to the so called “death” tax.  The changes President Obama agreed to are significant.   http://www.sbnonline.com/2011/03/how-the-2010-tax-relief-act-could-impact-your-estate/?full=1

Yesterday I was listening to the replaying of Tom Hartman’s radio show I believe from Friday.  He said Mike Huckabee wants people to work until they are 75.  Tom laughed and said that a brick layer couldn’t work until he’s 75 and that perhaps the only people that could would be a preacher or a priest.  Mike, of course, is a preacher, not just an ex-governor or Fox talk show host.  These conservatives seem to have absolutely no heart.  They can take from the American people anything and everything without batting an eye.

Last night I came across an old video of Senator Teddy Kennedy fighting for an increase in the minimum wage.  It is well worth watching because it only showcases the lack of representation that we currently have in Congress.  Who is standing up for the workers of America?  Can’t you imagine Teddy talking about unions right now?

Teddy was frustrated in his quest to raise the minimum wage.  He noted tax breaks were given to wealthy corporations and he asked a couple of important question.  He said, “What is the price?  How much more do you want?”

These are the same types of questions the American people should be asking their elected officials right now.  What is the price and how much more do you want?  These same elected officials will go back to the well of the American people to select more young men and women to fight their wars.  Few of them will suggest to their own children that they should join the military during these trying times.  Most of their children will go into business and make a bundle just like their parents.  So where are these elected officials in Washington D.C.?  I know where the 14 senate Democrats are in Wisconsin.  They’re taking a stand.  It cannot be easy for them.  They are heroes to many people.  Governor Walker on the other hand continues to look for any way possible to destroy their credibility.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/03/wisconsin-senate-oks-arrest-of-absent-dems-for-contempt/1

It appears the Senate GOP leader in Wisconsin has issued arrest warrants for them.  After all they must be criminals for taking a stand!  Let’s keep on squeezing them until they say, “Uncle!”  Personally, with all of the bullying that has been in the news the last several months and the deaths of young people that have committed suicide in the news; I find it interesting that the governor of a state can act like such a “bully” to his constituents.  People wonder why these young kids “bully” people.  Is their really any wonder about this when bullying is constantly happening in politics on a grand scale?  Politics today is full of bullies and the worse offender is the “gang” of Republican governors that have the “mindset” to destroy American unions.  We don’t have any super major politicians stepping up to speak for unions but Michael Moore went to Wisconsin this weekend and rallied the union protestors with a rousing speech which you can see at TPM.  http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/michael-moore-rallies-thousands-in-madison-america-is-not-broke.php

We may have some chickens in Washington D.C. but thankfully Wisconsin has 14 senators that soar like the American eagle and are standing up for workers’ rights in a courageous way that we should all be thankful for across this nation.  Michael Moore wanted one fact repeated by someone in the main stream media.  He went on to say, “Four hundred obscenely wealthy individuals in the United States of America now have more, cash, stock and property than the assets of 155 million American people combined.”   He continued to talk about Wall Street and the banks running our country and the death of democracy.  We have all felt like there is nothing we can do about it but these brave 14 senators have made us realize that there is something we can do about it.  Michael Moore went on to talk about what he learned in his economics class in high school.  Watching Michael had to be uplifting for the Wisconsin crowd because it was uplifting to me here in Michigan.  He went on to tell people that the wealthy control the message because they control the media and he is right.

Many have said this will be decided by the message that is put out by the media.  If we rely on the mainstream media for this message, we will lose.  This is why bloggers everywhere have to get this message out and get those common “Joes” thinking about what is really going on in this country.  The American people, the common people that go to work every day and keep this country moving, have to step up and take back their country and take back their democracy from the extremely wealthy.  All I ask you to do is spread the word and get people talking about what is really happening in this country.  The message Michael ended with is, “We have had it!”  We have had it.  I’m fed up with how the American worker has been turned into the “scapegoat” for everything that is wrong in this country.  We are the United States of America as Michael said not the Corporate States of America!  If you do anything else watch Michael and spread the word.  Remember, Michael is always portrayed by the “corporate media” as a man that is a bit of a nut and outside the box of the American people but truthfully Michael is one of us.  He grew up in Michigan and still is doing what he can for the community he lives in up in Traverse City.  He is one of the founders for the Traverse City Film Festival which has done a lot for the tourism industry up in Traverse City.    http://www.traversecityfilmfest.org/

Even though right wing nuts tried to destroy what he was doing with the film festival most finally realized what a great thing it is for Traverse City.  At the end of his speech Michael finally reminds the crowd that it is one person, one vote and that’s what we should remember.  If we want to take back our country, we have to get organized and we must vote.

Where’s Waldo, Dick Morris and Newsmax

  • Posted on March 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Obama reminding me of Waldo once again!

There seems to be a lot of discussion about a Washington Post article by Ruth Marcus titled, “Obama’s ‘Where’s Waldo? Presidency.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/01/AR2011030105489.html

I personally don’t see what all of the hoopla is about as I wrote about “Where’s Waldo” way back in September, but of course I’m just a lowly blogger with not that much traction!  Ruth concludes in the end, “Where’s Obama? No matter how hard you look, sometimes he’s impossible to find.”  It sure makes me wonder who is reading my blog.  I only see the numbers of people that are visiting.  Read my post and read her post.  My videos may be gone but if you scroll down past the videos and read all of it, you might be left wondering if Ruth read my post!

http://www.ksvoboda.com/?p=660

My take of course is a little different because before the election last fall Obama started “speaking” again and it was like a mystery because he had been so silent on so many issues.  Suddenly, with the election looming, he had all of these big ideas.  Of course after the election he was back to the same old “Where’s Waldo” moments.  You can check my post from September and see that I was first and you can have a laugh.  President Obama doesn’t stand for much and in my humble opinion if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.

In other news, I want to get back to the Wisconsin debate.  A friend on Facebook who I know is liberal wanted people to fill out a survey on Newsmax.  Yes, I know I should have stayed away because everyone knows that Newsmax is a conservative site.  I filled out the survey and of course being the honest person I am used one of my real email accounts.  I probably should have put some fake email up, but I would never do that, so I’m stuck getting emails from Newsmax.  I did unsubscribe, so maybe they will stop sending me these little tidbits of gross misinformation.  However, I found one in particular quite interesting.  I got an urgent message from Dick Morris.  You all know Dick Morris, the Fox News guy and Republican strategist that actually worked for President Clinton.  He was friends with Clinton before they became enemies and of course now he hates Hillary.  Okay, I’m digressing.  It seems Dick is really worried about Governor Scott Walker because those powerful unions, you know demonic like, are out to get him.  Here is Dick giving his take on things:

Governor Scott Walker’s fight is our fight. If he prevails, the reforms he proposes will spread to all the states in the country. New Jersey, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Idaho are already pushing similar legislation.

But if we lose in Wisconsin, the public unions will have their way all over the nation and we will never get reform.

When Walker says he wants to limit collective bargaining to wages and benefits, what he is really saying is that he needs to be free to roll back teacher tenure, reward good teachers with merit pay, give parents choice about where to send their children, and assure that — even if there are layoffs — that they are based on merit not seniority. The union contracts all over America block these key changes. But we have to put our children first and improve the quality of our schools.

Dick goes on to mention that the League of American Voters needs your help, probably with money, to help Governor Walker.  I must confess that when I first looked at that word, “League”, I couldn’t believe it.  I couldn’t believe that the League of Women Voters would be in cahoots with Fox News commentator, Dick Morris!  Thankfully, it wasn’t the right league.  I love the name of the group though because it made me feel like I’m supposed to be a part of the League of American Voters.  After all, I vote and I’m American!  Catchy, isn’t it?  Dick ends his email with the following;

This is a heaven sent chance to take back our country from the control of the public employees labor unions, which form the backbone of the Democratic Party.

Please donate today!

Good God!  It is a “heaven sent” chance because we all know that Jesus would have been a REPUBLICAN!  Oh, I didn’t know that the whole point of this exercise in Wisconsin was to destroy the “backbone” of the Democratic Party.  I thought that was the secret plan.  I didn’t know they actually put it in their emails to their constituents!

I need to mention right now that the big, bad teacher unions don’t actually have the clout that Dick here seems to think.  The truth is here In Sturgis we haven’t “demanded” things at our district.  We’d like things but we have basically given up many things over the years.  We know times are tough and we work with our administration and the school board to try and solve problems.  We used to have Messa Blue Cross/Blue Shield Insurance.  It was probably what people consider the “Cadillac” of plans.  Some time after September 11th, 2001 insurance went up.  I had to contribute $2500 a year to keep that insurance.  That went on for a couple of years and it got to be too much of a burden for the group, so we gave it up.  Class size used to always be no more than about 24 students.  We gave that up a few years ago.  Now we have classes that can be into the low thirties.  When President Obama wanted everyone to compete for “Race to the Top” money, we ended up giving up on evaluations.  At Sturgis the teacher evaluation will be some how tied to student performance.  This happened across the state as well.  Guess what?  We still haven’t been “chosen” for the “Race to the Top” money. Last year the state of Michigan passed legislation that requires teachers and I believe other state employees to pay 3% more of their salary into their pension.  This was done to help fund all of the pensioners that retired under the state’s special “early” incentive plan.  We currently haven’t received a pay raise and because of the changes we are all making less money than we did last year.

Dick Morris went on to include the message from the League of American Voters and here is the main part:

This is why the League of American Voters is urgently launching a national effort to help Gov. Walker and to stop these bloated unions.

The League of American Voters is at the forefront of the battle in Wisconsin defending Scott Walker.

Dick Morris, the famous Fox News analyst, says “The League is the most effective grassroots organization in America.”

Dick credits the League for having stopped Obama’s “public option” healthcare takeover. The public option would have destroyed private health insurance, and we stopped them.

The League also led the fight to force Pres. Obama to renew the Bush tax cuts. Our national TV effort with Sen. Fred Thompson worked. Obama caved.

Now, the League has prepared a powerful new radio ad to air throughout Wisconsin in support of Gov. Walker.

With your help we plan on exposing the Obama-Labor machine in ads across the nation.

But it underscores the truth, Obama and his public union cronies are desperate.

They’ll do whatever it takes to keep power.

That’s why Obama says “Punish our enemies… Reward our friends.”

But together, you and I can help Scott Walker do what’s right for Wisconsin — what’s right for America.

I think it’s funny how the league used the term “Obama-Labor machine”.  I, for one, don’t much care for Obama any more than I care for Dick Morris.  After all it is Obama that pushed for “merit” pay.  The big question that begs to be answered is who is going to decide what is meritorious?  Obviously, there is no extra money, so how is “merit” pay ever going to happen any way?  A teacher friend of mine, who is conservative, said today that maybe they will lessen our pay and if you qualify for “merit” pay you’ll be at the level you are at right now!  I think that’s what I understood him to say today.  Stranger things have happened.  After all Dick Morris and Bill Clinton were once buddies.

Finally, I find it interesting that the league closes with the salutation, “Yours for Freedom”.  Those big bad unions are against freedom, you know.  They stifle freedom because they work for worker’s rights and we all know if workers have rights the places they work for have to follow some RULES!  Yes, if Dick has his way, teachers will go back to the good old days when they swept the floor, put the wood in the fire, and of course were ever so single and virginal.

This is Dick long before he sent out the email that didn’t really talk too much about education.

Just remember what Greta said about the election in 2012 because that’s what this is really about.  Dick says, “They’re digging their own grave.”  It’s interesting that these analogies are still being thrown around so easily by some commentators and politicians considering the shooting in Arizona.  I, for one, think it’s about time we stop with all of the targets with a bull’s eye on them and the sports analogies for politics.  Dick would love to witness the death of the Democratic Party and possibly democracy.  However, the death of the Democratic Party happened long ago.  The Democratic Party today is but a shadow of its former self and the same could be said of the party of Lincoln.

A Tale of Two Cities

  • Posted on February 27, 2011 at 8:20 pm

This weekend, just like every other weekend this year, I have been busy working on assignments for a couple of courses I’m taking.  When I finished today, I sat down and watched CNN and HLN news.  I couldn’t help but notice two news posts that seemed like a strange juxtaposition to be next to each other.  One showcased Oscar opulence and the other a scene from the state house at Madison, Wisconsin where protesters are camped out and being asked to leave.  http://www.wkow.com/global/category.asp?c=123753

Tonight belongs to Oscar but I, for one, could care less who or what gets an Oscar.  Watching the news where Wolfgang Puck showed off little Oscar chocolates coated with 24K gold just kind of repulsed me as I thought about what is happening in Wisconsin.  The heat and pressure is really being put on the teachers.  The next move is layoff notices which are now being sent out to teachers by many school boards across the state.  http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/article_4f6825c2-4160-11e0-afd8-001cc4c002e0.html

Of course we all know that Governor Walker is threatening to layoff state employees as well.  While this is being played out in Wisconsin, Hollywood is busy with all the Oscar parties and events.  The Oscar swag bag could pay for a teacher, benefits and all.  http://www.hollywoodtoday.net/2011/02/27/oscars-2011-even-the-losers-get-75000-plus-in-swag-bag/

It is kind of scary the tale of these two cities.  One full of opulence and one filled with normal people doing normal jobs just asking for the right to negotiate.  It’s even scarier when a simple gift bag for the 1600 or so Oscar elite is worth more than what most teachers received in a year’s salary and benefits.  Winners’ swag bags are worth twice as much.  Imagine a gift worth $150,000!  It’s hard to fathom how the rich, powerful and famous live.  I’m just a teacher.  I drive a 2001 Ford Taurus and I live a simple life but now the government has put a target on my back because I’m paid too well.  I have to “share” the sacrifice.  I don’t have a problem with sharing a sacrifice as long as everyone has to give their fair share.  What I want to know is what sacrifices are the wealthy facing?  What will they be missing in their opulent lifestyles?  Will the Koch brothers have a few less billion to throw around?  Will the Hollywood elite have to give up a few thousand from their swag bag?

Educating our children should be the top priority in our country.  Our children are our most precious resource.  The best thing you can give your child is a good education from dedicated professionals.  I know what I put into my teaching and I see my colleagues doing the same.  I’m sure Wisconsin teachers are dedicated as well.  There may be a few bad apples as every profession has those people that might be considered “lazy”.  However, the truth is teaching is a profession that has come a long way.  Teachers used to be able to teach with an 8th grade education.  Those days are long gone as most teachers have earned the equivalent of their Masters and beyond.  Teachers want to be paid for being the professionals they have become.  Teachers have had a lot of pressure to keep up with the times.  For years teachers have been the first to learn about the new technologies when they come out and they have worked hard to get that technology installed in school districts.  There is much more to the profession of teaching today than has been in the past.  Teachers have to learn new strategies for teaching the 21st century student who has been raised with an appetite for TV, video games and computer gadgets.  Teachers attend conferences, take more college courses and get involved in professional development to improve their teaching ability.  This effort is on going and lasts for the lifetime of the teacher.  Many people have no idea what is really going on in schools today.  They hear something about a test score and think they know the whole story.  Much of what a teacher does on any given day could never show up on a test.  I’ve listened to children tell me how their parent died and why their sad to letting me know they’re hungry, to even showing me their excitement at learning something new in my class.  These are precious moments.  Sometimes I’m teaching and sometimes I’m listening and sometimes I’m just someone showing a young soul that I care about them.  You may see me as someone that needs to share a sacrifice.  I see myself as someone that puts her hand out every day and lifts up children that need a helping hand!

Republican Right Wing…..You Don’t Need No Education!

  • Posted on February 22, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Just let Pink Floyd play while you read my post!

Those right wing pundits must not have been coddled enough by their school teachers.  Let’s take Rush Limbaugh who couldn’t seemingly tackle college and dropped out after two semesters.  Glenn Beck’s post high school education consisted of taking a theology class at Yale that he ended up dropping.  Were they worried about mind control or were they just not that good at schooling?  Why am I bothering with this?  I’m bothering with this because these are the two big guys that push the right wing media agenda.  I even have family members that listen to their bullshit and truthfully these two guys don’t know much about anything!

Even Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker couldn’t quite “cut” getting that little old college degree.  He dropped out!  My sister loves the statement, “To know something is to know nothing, and to know nothing is to know something.”  It really says a lot.  These guys don’t know much about anything, but they all know how to manipulate their audiences and make tons of money doing it.  These guys have nothing in common with the average working “Joe” but many of those average working “Joes” think these guys know what’s going on with everything from politics to religion.  I include Governor Walker in on all of this because he is so over the top with the right wing agenda, that he supports pharmacist not filling prescriptions for contraceptives because of religious or moral grounds.

Well, Rush and Glenn both have come from troubled personal lives.  They both wrap themselves in religious metaphors and both have been married more than once, Rush too many times to bother counting!

In my opinion, Glenn Beck is simply dishonest as this video shows:

Rush always tends to add “fuel to the fire” with his outrageous “OxyCotin” laced tirades.  Here is Rush saying teachers feel entitled to be “freeloaders”.

Here again is Glenn Beck feeding his special form of “hatred” to his fellow countrymen.

From my point of view, there are bad guys all around that have done much to destroy private sector unions and the right for people to belong to any union.  Now the right ring of the Republican Party is going after the public sector unions.  Even President Obama has done much damage to the teacher’s unions.  Here in Michigan we have signed onto legislation that ties evaluations to student test scores that really is rather senseless.  This opinion piece is well worth reading and basically says what I’ve been thinking about.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/race-to-the-top/the-irony-of-obamas-help-for-w.html

So what can you do?  I think everyone needs to get educated about the subject matter as eventually the bargaining rights of all Americans could be in jeopardy.  We, the working people of America, need to stand together or everyone will lose all bargaining rights.

So, stand together or FALL together!

If you do nothing else today, read this bit and definitely watch the Jon Stewart video placed here from last night!  By the way the “liberal’ pundit, Jon Stewart, has a college degree!  Imagine that!

http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/02/22/jon_stewart_wisconsin_scott_walker

I will leave you with this last bit from Paul Krugman:

You don’t have to love unions, you don’t have to believe that their policy positions are always right, to recognize that they’re among the few influential players in our political system representing the interests of middle- and working-class Americans, as opposed to the wealthy. Indeed, if America has become more oligarchic and less democratic over the last 30 years — which it has — that’s to an important extent due to the decline of private-sector unions.

And now Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to get rid of public-sector unions, too.

There’s a bitter irony here. The fiscal crisis in Wisconsin, as in other states, was largely caused by the increasing power of America’s oligarchy. After all, it was superwealthy players, not the general public, who pushed for financial deregulation and thereby set the stage for the economic crisis of 2008-9, a crisis whose aftermath is the main reason for the current budget crunch. And now the political right is trying to exploit that very crisis, using it to remove one of the few remaining checks on oligarchic influence.

So will the attack on unions succeed? I don’t know. But anyone who cares about retaining government of the people by the people should hope that it doesn’t.

I just had to come back in here and post Rachel Maddow’s video.  It is long but so thorough.  It is a “must see” video! You must watch the whole thing and by the way Rachel is a Standford grad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7e4bj5rrd8

Wisconsin, the Koch Brothers and Luscious the Cat

  • Posted on February 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm


The Citizen United decision has changed and corrupted the election process.  Most of us thought the election process was bad before this ruling.  However, what is bad can obviously get worse.  We should all be alarmed to discover the close ties of Justice Clarence Thomas, his wife, and Justice Antonin Scalia have with the Koch brothers.  If you’ve been hiding under a rock, you might not know who these powerful brothers are and why their relationship with these justices on the Supreme Court should cause alarm and concern for normal American citizens.  From the archives here is the case:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/politics/22scotus.html

The Supreme Court may have been bitterly divided on this case at the time but we didn’t know how close the two above justices are to the Koch brothers.  The Koch brothers have benefited greatly from this ruling.  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/us/politics/15thomas.html?_r=1&ref=clarencethomas

You all should remember Glenn Beck’s rally in Washington D.C. or the Tea Party movement.  Well, the Koch brothers, in the words of Frank Rich are the “Sugar Daddies” that help fund these “noble” causes.  So, how does this all matter this past week in Wisconsin?  The Koch brothers are funding, once again, the efforts to destroy and take down public unions.   http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/02/18/koch-brothers-behind-wisconsin-effort-to-kill-public-unions/

Not only that, but within the legislation that the governor wants pass is some writing that allows for “no bid” contracts.  Many believe this is set up to pay back people like the Koch brothers that have been funding the campaigns of people like Governor Walker.

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/02/wisconsin-scott-walker-koch-brothers

This all gets more and more interesting as the days go by.  Governor Walker, trying to appear all noble, is just looking out for payback for his buddies.  That payback is about killing unions, not just public sector unions but private as well.

I found this hilarious video that pretty much says it all.  It’s created by some person named Luscious the Cat on Youtube.  It seems that Luscious is trying to educate the American public in what I think is a very creative manner!  I figured why should I keep writing when Luscious can dramatically educate the public for me.  Thanks Luscious!

Solidarity and Why Wisconsin Matters

  • Posted on February 20, 2011 at 11:27 am

I’ve been watching the protesting going on in Madison, Wisconsin with great concern.  Many believe, just as I do, that Madison is a test case for the rest of us.  I believe there has been a constant push to divide workers in our country and around the world.  All people that work for someone else need to pay attention to what is happening in Madison.

Unions have become the target of business and we, the American people, have been duped by the corporate propaganda machine.  Unions have been blamed for everything from the current economic condition to why businesses are choosing to manufacture goods in other countries.  However, what most people should be thinking about is how workers are being treated around the globe.  We were lead to believe that NAFTA and opening up normal trade relations with China would help raise the standard of living around the world.  http://articles.cnn.com/2000-10-10/politics/clinton.pntr_1_wto-membership-china-global-trade-regime?_s=PM:ALLPOLITICS

What is really happening is a growing divide between the very wealthy and the rest of us.  We, the American people, the real laborers of our country, have not understood how we should all be banding together in solidarity.  We should be insisting on good and fair working conditions and benefits for everyone from the person that sweeps the floor in the factory to teachers, doctors, waitresses and anyone else that is an employee in this country.  Instead we sit back thinking only of ourselves and our particular circumstance.

Some look at teachers and think they deserve this.  Part of this is because this whole past year there has been systematic propaganda put out by the corporate media about how bad teachers are because the American student is so poorly educated.  We have heard the drumbeat from the president on down through Michele Rhea in Washington D.C. and the video, “Waiting for Superman.”  If you are to believe the corporate media, then you would have to think that your own child is getting a poor education.  I’m not saying that all students are getting a great education.  What I am saying is that the corporate run media has been pushing hard for the demise of the teacher’s unions for the past several years.  This should come as no surprise for anyone that can think back over the last few years and especially this past year.  The corporate run media wants people to think this group in Madison is just a bunch of cry baby teachers that don’t care about anything but their cushy jobs with summers off.  The corporate run Republicans have been taking our government from the federal level on down to the state level and privatizing anything they can get their hands on.  This is another area that we have been lead to believe is a better choice.  Private companies can do a better job than the government, or so we have been told.  This is just another way that politicians have been rewarding those companies that have been giving charitably to their campaign coffers.

Looking around the world this year there have been protests all over the globe. While the banks have been rewarded because they were too big to fail, the citizens of the world have been taken down a notch through the decimation of benefits, pensions, health care, and college education. I remember distinctly this video of students protesting in England and some of them shouting, “Off with their heads.” This video doesn’t play the sound but it did happen. This was in reference to Prince Phillip and his wife. Unions have been protesting around Europe as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zptklj49AYs&feature=related

As a country we need to stop pitting the old with pensions against the young, the union employees against those non union workers, as well as government workers pitted against private employed workers.  The workers of the world need to unite in solidarity or they will continue to lose benefits and wages while the wealthy will continue to rake in the money, get all the tax breaks and the CEO of these big corporations will continue to receive unbelievable bonuses.  The truth is what is happening in Madison, Wisconsin is the destruction of bargaining.  If unions across this county cannot have true bargaining rights, you won’t have them either.  If they lose benefits, you will surely lose benefits as well.  If they have no strength, neither will you!

If you are my age or older you will remember the saying, “As the Dow Goes, so Goes the Country.”  Today as a worker and a teacher I can honestly say I believe as Madison goes, so goes the country.  If they lose, so will we!  There is a concerted effort by the Republican governors across this country to destroy union’s rights to collectively bargain.  Here is a piece from Ohio.  http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2011/02/overhaul_of_states_collective.html

I want to play a video from last week that really explains what is going on in Madison.  It really is about busting the union and nothing else.  It’s a longer video but you should watch the whole thing and listen to John Nichols at the end when he talks about what is happening around the world.

Ed Schultz has done a great job of covering Madison this whole past week.  His show is on at 10:00 p.m.  Eastern time on MSNBC and he has been spending time there.  I found this video of Ed talking to the teachers just before his show the other night.  It really is good.  Ed understands what’s really going on.  It is as he says about what is morally right and fair.

As a teacher I want to add some information that most people don’t realize.  Young teachers here in Michigan have to take classes for the rest of their lives.  The cost of this comes out of their pockets.  I’m currently taking courses and it’s not cheap.  The teacher qualifications and licensing has changed drastically over the last twenty years.  Teachers used to get a life certificate.  I have a continuing certificate.  I don’t have to renew my certificate any more.  I’m taking my courses to reach a higher level of pay and expertise, not because I have to do so.  Younger teachers have to take courses in order to keep their license updated.  They also have to pay for renewing that license.  I’ve been taking courses throughout the school year, so I don’t have a lot of “free” time.  Many teachers take courses in the summer time as well.  Curriculum planning is also done in the summer time.  I think some people just don’t have a clue how much planning goes into creating a good classroom atmosphere and education for the children of our country.  I know what my commitment is as a teacher.  I give my all to my students.  I know other teachers that do the same.  We are dedicated professionals that care about the well being of our students.  We go out of our way to do our best to help students reach their full potential.  We even buy things to bring into our classrooms and donate for good causes that will likely benefit some of our students and their families.  We are not the enemy.  We, the American workers, should all stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Madison, Wisconsin.

I would also like to thank the brave Democratic state senators that have chosen to leave the state of Wisconsin so a quorum could not be met to pass this vote.  They are true heroes for the working people of America.  http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2011/02/19/wisconsin_protests_in_images

Additional food for thought:

Here in Michigan our Republican governor has proposed a budget that would mean a $470 funding cut for each and every child being educated in our K-12 public schools.  http://www.michiganpolicy.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1018:a-comprehensive-analysis-of-governer-snyders-budget-proposal-for-k-12-education&catid=75:k-12-education-blog&Itemid=132

I’m sure he’ll be looking to see what happens in Wisconsin.  We have already faced some changes in bargaining rights based on the Race to the Top program instituted by President Obama.  http://www.michiganpolicy.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=840:hb-6331-collective-bargaining-agreements-and-performance-based-initiatives&catid=35:k-12-education-policy-briefs&Itemid=117

By the way we haven’t won any “Race to the Top” money.

Here is a good op-ed piece from the Washington Post.  http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2011/02/scrooge-ism_in_wisconsins_unio.html

This is an interesting website to look at union membership across the nation.  The numbers here in Michigan and in Wisconsin have gone down.

http://www.bls.gov/ro3/mdunion.htm

This is good if you like to look at statistics from the Census Bureau.

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/

This blogger has written about wage stagnation and how we have coped.  This is interesting.

http://bonddad.blogspot.com/2010/05/wage-stagnation-biggest-threat-to.html

Also if you think this isn’t going on around the world, just look at these pieces and think.

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/295564

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/13/civilian-protests-around-_n_808306.html#s223153&title=Tunisia_

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