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The Summer of Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

martin schoeller courtesy of time mag










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

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


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

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

courtesy time














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










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












Trump with gun, Putin with gun.


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

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










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

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

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










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






Trump with Hillary, Putin with Hillary.








Trump on Mexicans.

Putin on Gays.

ABC Latest News | Latest News Videos

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

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

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

putin on bear

That Flag?

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

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

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

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

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

It Takes a Village and Other Thoughts

  • Posted on October 5, 2013 at 11:17 pm

I have deliberately not spent much time writing about the politics of D.C. this year because it is just so depressing.  However, I must clarify that the D.C. is not really the District of Columbia when it comes to politics; it is disastrous corruption.  This week, it appears we are on the brink of disaster once again.  The focus now is on the blame game, but I am tired of the unreality of the Tea Party movement.  If you just do a little reading on the internet, it is not hard to see that much of the financial backing of this “movement” is from the Koch brothers.  What is going on in politics is about money, not from the little people but from big business and influences that have nothing to do with the masses.  We are fed information from corporate owned media that wants to perpetuate their own purposes.  I notice on Facebook the Tea Party is alive and well, infiltrating and rotting the minds of people by making them more concerned about some person on welfare than the corporate welfare that permeates Washington.  There, I got that off my chest.  Now, I can write about what is really on my mind and that is children.

Global Children

Let’s Embrace the Creativity in our Children


I recently reread Hillary Clinton’s book, “It Takes a Village” and I feel a need to share what I am thinking about politics, children, and how it all fits together.  Hillary wrote this book long ago and some of the data is outdated, figures are probably even worse today, and of course, she wrote it before the technology revolution of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, iPads, iPhones, and everything else that kids are exposed to today.  I have a couple of brothers that think “It Takes a Village” is funny and they have made sarcastic remarks to me about this, but I don’t think most people understand how important it is that we all are part of creating the next generation of adults.  I think if we start at the top, and I mean the politics in Washington D.C., it isn’t hard to see how uncivil our country has become.  How could this hatred and bullying not permeate down into the minds and thoughts of our children?  People seemed shocked when some kid takes out many people at a mall, theater, school, or any place else where an opportunity is presented.  I think it isn’t hard to understand the pain and the suffering that these young people are going through.  Mental health is just not there, but mentally is there anything right with what is happening with the politicians that are in Washington supposedly leading our country?  I believe the political discourse has much to do with all of the negative things that are happening in our country.  Since Barack Obama became president, there has been an unprecedented amount of blatant racism.  Obama was not my first choice by far, but he is president and he was even reelected.  It is time that the party of “no” started to understand that what they are doing is destroying this country.  As far as the “Affordable Care Act” goes, it is now the law of the land.  I say, “Get over it.”  I wanted single payer.  I didn’t get my way but it is now time to see how it works.  The Tea Party Republicans have turned into nothing but bullies.  They want their way and nothing else.  They don’t really care about people, it is just about the next election.  Seriously, I care about my job, just like the next person.  However, I am not going to destroy some children in order to get what I want with the ones that are going to help get me a better evaluation.

It’s time our country started caring about their most important resource and that is our children.  Politicians battle it out while kids are suffering in homes where stressed out parents are out of work, where money is a constant source of frustration, and where affordable, good daycare is difficult to find.  If these politicians would focus more on getting the economy going instead of worrying about who can cut the most fat out of the budget, we would all be better off.  These are the same people that in one breath tell you, “You can pry my gun out of my cold dead hands.” but in another will be telling a woman whether she can have birth control or not.  If that isn’t crazy, I don’t know what is.  The Tea Party wants less government control but actually, they want to control everything that happens in our lives.  They want to keep the government out of their lives but want it when they want it for their own gains.  They can give government funds to churches to feed people but not to people to feed themselves.  Our children today are growing up in a society filled with hate, so if they hate, it is understandable.  I am the most positive person I know and truthfully, it has caused me pain at times because I tend to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe that’s naïve of me but I think I’d rather have a heart than be heartless and I see the Tea Party Movement as a heartless, soulless, creature that cares for no one, least of all the children.

When I was a kid, I became involved in politics because my family was into politics.  My parents were FDR Democrats.  I can remember some very heated discussions with different members of my family.  Many of my brothers today are staunch Republicans.  I think my parents would wonder how they could be so far from their roots.  However, we know our children are not cookie cutter reproductions of us, so it is understandable when some change from their roots.  What I don’t understand is how today there is so much hatred for both parties with each other.  There is a lack of respect for the president and the Democrats and there is a lack of respect for the Republicans.  I think the Tea Party Movement has brought out the worse of both parties.  They have decided that they are not going to negotiate anything which means absolutely nothing is going to be done.  From my point of view, it seems like there should be more being done to get this economy moving.  All that is happening is fighting.  How much money has to be wasted on the countless number of times the House has tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act?  I’ve lost track of how many times they have voted on it.  It must have cost many trees and hours of work for that legislation to be re-voted on in the House.  They don’t mind wasting that money but as for some person out of work hoping to get an extension on unemployment well, he/she is just a lazy bum looking for a handout.

Our children deserve better.  We had a better country when I was young.  We cared about each other.  I went to college and my school loan was $3600, something I didn’t have to kill myself over to pay back.  Kids today come out with unbelievable stress from school loans that would break the back of anyone.  It seems that education is for only the rich these days or those willing to live in a debtor’s hellhole for most of their lives.  We promise them that if they do well in school, they will get a good job when they get out.  Then we send those good jobs overseas or bring workers here because “We don’t have enough qualified people to do those jobs.”  Most of us know that this is just another way for business to get cheaper labor.  We send our kids off to fight wars that are made up of faulty intelligence only to act like, “Oh, my bad!”  Peoples’ lives are manipulated, so when one of them comes back and shoots up something, should we really be surprised?  Our children deserve better.  We send them off to school, which used to be fun, but is now turned into some kind of testing nightmare, should we really be surprised when they’re turned off and tuned out?  Our children deserve better.

We put kids under an unbelievable amount of stress from the constant talk about being fat, to what not to wear, to how they are constantly failing in schools, and how we were so much smarter than they are today.  I am so tired of the way we treat our children.  We tell them that they don’t measure up at every turn.  “Oh Johnny, your test scores really do suck.  I didn’t mean to say you are stupid but…..”  When does this abuse of our children end?  When are we going to look at children and see them as the gift they are?  When are we going to look at a child without measuring how fat or thin, or stupid or smart, or whatever other label we have deemed to put on them but as a person to nurture and help grow into a productive adult?  If we want a better country, we had better start taking care of our children.  We cannot simply drop them off at daycare or at the school door hoping that something better will appear.  We have to all nurture these children.  If you are a storeowner, do not act as if that child is there to steal from you.  Show some interest in the children in your community.  If you are a teacher, try to figure out why some children are misbehaving for you, maybe you will be the only real friend they have that day.  If you are a politician, think about how your actions are destroying our country and causing the nightmares of today for countless children across this country that go to bed hungry, poor, and tired, and wake up to the same nightmare they had when they went to bed.  I feel strongly that if a child lives with hatred, he/she learns to hate.  Do you remember this poem?  It is time we thought about how to take care of our children.


Dorothy Law Nolte

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.

If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive.

If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself.

If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns what envy is.

If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident.

If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.

If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love.

If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with recognition,
he learns that it is good to have a goal.

If a child lives with sharing,
he learns about generosity.

If a child lives with honesty and fairness,
he learns what truth and justice are.

If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith in himself and in those about him.

If a child lives with friendliness,
he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.

If you live with serenity,
your child will live with peace of mind.

With what is your child living?


The Courting of Hillary?

  • Posted on January 28, 2013 at 6:44 pm
, via Wikimedia Commons”]

I watched 60 Minutes last night because I wondered what the Obama, Clinton interview meant.  I was somewhat surprised by the relationship that appeared between the two.  Of course, there is much speculation as to what is really going on.  Will she run in 2016 or won’t she?  I came away with many different thoughts but number one I do think President Obama wanted to thank Hillary for her service to the country.  The Republicans have bullied her for years and they continue to try to take her down only to discover that she is more popular than ever.  President Obama praised her for being an exemplary Secretary of State.  I agree with him.  She has worked tirelessly to try to improve our foreign policy and our standing on the world stage.  Her tireless effort more than likely has contributed to her current health situation.  Hillary has given much to his country.  No one can question this.  I have no doubt that President Obama does have feelings for Hillary and he must admire her for her effort and unfailing devotion to her job and country.

If you think about it, women have always surrounded President Obama.  His mother and grandmother played key roles in his young development and of course, his wife and young girls continue to provide a certain female perspective for him today.  The recent appointments that he has made and the picture depicting so many male staff members has been talked about in such a way as to suggest Obama has no room for women in his cabinet and his life.  Could he have taken this time to thank Hillary to remind people of how closely he regards the counsel of those women around him?

Perhaps the president needed a moment to show women that appreciate Hillary that he too appreciates her.  I don’t know what caused him to take this moment to thank Hillary but me for one am glad he did.  Hillary deserves recognition for her years of service to this country.  I am glad that Hillary and Barack could look beyond the 2008 primary to get some things done for the good of the country.

I can only hope that the Republicans could learn from this relationship.  Hillary called the president, her president.   It’s about time the Republicans understood that he is their president as well as ours.  He won the election.   I think the president should pick the cabinet he feels is the best choice for the country at this time in history.  I also believe that the Republicans should be thinking about the good of the country and not their next election.

On Meet the Press Sunday, I saw Rep. Paul Ryan.  He still doesn’t get it.  Obama won and he won decisively.  It wasn’t even close, as the Republicans want us to believe.

Ryan feels like Obama has to make nice with the Republicans on their turf.  In one breath, he says we have a majority and then the next he talked about how he was disappointed that Romney didn’t win so they could put forth their “agenda”.  It is obvious that he felt that if they had won they would have the backing of the people to put forth their agenda.  My question is why he doesn’t feel the same way when Obama won?  It just dosen’t make any sense at all to me.  He also mentioned Hillary in a positive way, which is just bullshit from his mouth.  Is he really thinking any of us that like Clinton could possibly like his policies?  Dream on Paul.  If you want to watch him click .

His biggest regret is that they didn’t win and they didn’t get to put the kind of “reforms” that he thinks the country needs in place.  He says this around 17.26 into the video.  He understands that his party needs to expand their appeal but he still just doesn’t get it in my mind.  Ryan thinks the president is more worried about a political conquest of the Republicans than with doing what is right for the country.  He went on to talk about if we had a Clinton presidency he thinks we would have fixed this mess by now.  This is all Ryan bullshit because he would have been doing the same thing to Clinton that he has done to Obama.  The Republicans are disappointed about the election.  After all, they had planned on Obama having only one term as president.  They were going to do everything in their power to make it so.  Well, they lost and the American people made their choice.  Now, they expect Obama to come crawling back to them with his tail between his legs like some whipped puppy.  I don’t think so.  Obama does have the backing of the people.  I like what has been happening with my stocks and I sure don’t want those Republicans to start putting the stops on the economy.  If anything, the government needs to put more money out to build up the infrastructure and get this economy moving even better.  We don’t need the boogey man Republicans constantly holding the fiscal cliff over our heads causing chaos and instability.

As far as Hillary goes….she rocks and the president knows it!  Unfortunately for them, so do the Republicans!  She had Paul Ryan singing her praises this weekend.  This coming the same week when the Repubs showed their despicable behavior to her which culminated with Sen. Rand Paul dreaming about being president so he could have the opportunity to fire her.  These Republicans are funny.  They fear Hillary and they will do anything they can to keep her from running in 2016.  I’m sure it won’t take long until the crazy nuts start talking about how she killed Vince Foster.  Hillary, if you run, you got my vote.  If you don’t, have a long and happy life.

Why I’m Voting for President Obama

  • Posted on October 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Woman of Liberty

I think I have been silent far too long.  For the last several days, I have watched Morning Joe on MSNBC and put up with the hogwash about Mitt Romney and what a great debater he is.  I say, “Enough already.”   What is hard for me to understand is the lack of substance in his debate performance.  It appears at least according to the pundits, that telling numerous lies and changing positions at the drop of a hat is exactly what it takes to be a great debater at the presidential level.  However, I wonder how it could possibly make one appear presidential.   I frankly, just don’t get it.  I did not see much about Mitt that appealed to me as a woman.  I know that when I watched the debate I found him rude, obnoxious, desperate, and overbearing.  I found his eyes to be annoying, as they appeared as if they were frozen in some crazy stare.  I kept thinking about deer and headlights.  The president appeared reserved.  He did not have the energy that Romney had and he did not throw any zingers.  However, he did say some substantial things that I heard.  He has now said that maybe he was too polite.  We all know that politics and politeness are not usually used in the same sentence, so maybe he is right.

Anyone that is familiar with my blog knows that I have had contempt for both major parties these past few years.  It seems the only winners in politics have been corporations and rich people.  During the 2008 Democratic Primary, I was a supporter of John Edwards.  Do not get all bent out of shape about this with over moralizing the good and bad in politics.  Be real.  I do not look to politicians for my morality code.  Of course, when I supported him Elizabeth and John seemed like a great couple.  Regardless of his personal problems, the message he spoke about is one that is lost today.  Unfortunately, with John out of the picture, the message has died.  John always talked about giving a “voice” to the voiceless.  I never hear anyone today talking about giving a voice to the millions of people that do not have the money and power to speak for themselves in politics.  Poverty has become a silent, deadly killer of our hopes and dreams for our future.  We all know money talks.  People in poverty do not have money and sometimes don’t even vote in their own best interests if they vote at all.  Mitt Romney talked about the 47 million people that he didn’t need to woo to become president.  He called them President Obama’s supporters and implied that they believed in a “trickle down” government.  He actually thinks that people want to be taken care of by the government.  His thought process is so off from what we, as Americans, are really all about that it is difficult for me to take him seriously.  Does anyone really think it is the rich that fight these wars?  The rich prosper from war.  The poor and the middle class fight them.   The poor and the middle class take care of people like Mitt Romney so he can live comfortably in his many homes, so he can travel easily, so he can feel safe and protected from harm.  The poor and the middle class really have built and continue to build this country.  No building was ever built without the sweat of real people.  No road ever was created by the sweat of the wealthy.  Mitt depends on the very people that he simply cannot relate to or understand.  They take care of him in every way possible yet he only sees what money can buy.  He doesn’t see what the American spirit is really made from.  We all have benefited from our ancestors hard work, even Mitt Romney.  Yet, he is a self-made man in his own self-made mind.  I find him ridiculous.

However, what I really wanted to write about tonight is why I am voting for President Obama.  It has taken me a long time to come to this decision.  I have been so outrageously mad at the Democratic Party since the 2008 Primary that I have joked about having DDS (Democratic Deranged Syndrome).  I was driven to exasperation by my own party with their made up rules for the Michigan Primary and what they ended up doing to Hillary Clinton in the process.  Enter Mitt Romney and the Republican Party.  If there is one thing, I can see clearly the way women have been treated by the Republican Party and flip flopper Mitt.

I believe in the capability of women to make their own decisions about their lives whether it is about their bodies or their minds.  Women don’t need men making medical decisions for them and they certainly don’t need to be taken back to the fifties with political and religious monkey business.  President Obama made two early decisions that were extremely important to me as a woman.  He chose two women to be on the Supreme Court.  With President Obama’s decision, I have better representation on the Supreme Court than I do at any other government level.  We have far too few women in politics.  One of the first things the president did was sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.  He basically said that my value as an employee was equal to any man’s value.  The president also chose Hillary Clinton to become Secretary of State.  Hillary has done a great job tirelessly working for our country.  I’ve watched her with great interest as she travels almost non-stop around the globe working for the good of our country.  She has brought great strength to President Obama’s foreign policy with her work ethic.

There are other decisions President Obama has made that I think have been good.  The auto bailout has really helped our country.  I even bought a vehicle this year when my brother-in-law let me use his GM discount.  I can only imagine the domino effect that would have happened if the auto bailout hadn’t happened.  It would have been devastating to our state, Ohio, and many other states.    While the economy is still not where it needs to be I feel we are on the road to recovery.  My son bought a condominium and was motivated by the special tax incentive program back in 2010.  It was a good incentive for selling homes and getting buyers for those homes.  The Affordable Care Act has really been given a bad rap.  Mitt Romney says he will repeal it and Republicans will come up with something better.  I can truthfully say that health care has never been a Republican issue.  If it were, we would have had health care under Reagan, Bush, or Bush.  It just didn’t happen and they even degraded Hillary when she tried to do something with health care when Bill was president.  Don’t believe the lies and truthfully, when Mitt is speaking he is lying.  I cannot believe that any politician can take so many different sides on the same issue in such a short time.  There is video proof of Romney changing positions one day and staffers changing back for him the next.  What he says really depends on the crowd he is with that day!

I have grown to appreciate President Obama.  While he is still a flawed person, I can say he is a far better choice than Mitt Romney.  “Race to the Top” is too much like “No Child Left Behind” with its heavy emphasis on standardized testing and tying teacher’s evaluations to those tests. However, he is still much better than Mitt and the Republicans.  Democrats will fund the programs that they expect schools to create.  When things were getting tough President Obama sent money to the states to keep teachers and police officers employed.  We cannot forget some of the stimulus programs that people have benefited from.  The Democrats got unemployment extended for people that were out of work!  I am sure there is more that I could say but I know that there are clear reasons to vote for President Obama and not just against Mitt Romney.

I, as a woman, would rather have a President that I trust can make a positive decision for another choice for the Supreme Court should it become necessary.  I feel I have that with President Obama.  As I said before, I do not want to go back to the fifties.  I was born in the fifties.  I have ten brothers.  I grew up in a male dominated world.  I live in a male dominated world.  I want women to continue to move forward and make their own decisions in the world.  I want women to have the freedom to be whatever they desire to be.  I am proud to be a woman that takes her vote seriously.  I value my freedom.  I value my liberties.  I am proud of my heritage and I embrace a future in America where all people are equal regardless of race, color, creed, or monetary value.  The poor and the middle class need to vote.  You may not have much money but your vote is your power!

Roseanne Barr and Bedtime for Bonzo

  • Posted on February 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Roseanne Barr, our next president.  I know it sounds ludicrous but in my mind no more so than Mitt, Newt, Ron or Rick.  What amazes me this year is my total lack of interest in the presidential race.  The Republican candidates have left me totally flat in terms of enthusiasm.  I’m not a Republican, so it’s difficult for me to get enthused in the first place, but I’m left thinking one idea.  Can’t you guys do better than this?  The last four candidates each have their own set of personal baggage that makes this “race” seem so over before it even begins.  For many months the “media sensations” have been telling us it’s Mitt Romney all the way.  Like a self-fulfilling prophecy they guide the voters to “their” choice, “Mitt”.

Personally, I think it’s because the money makers choose Barack or Mitt.  It makes no difference to them.  They will still get what they want.  The losers will once again be the American people.

I have some brothers that have been pro Mitt Romney for some time now.  It bewilders me what they see in him.  He is a rich guy that knows all the ins and outs of the tax code.  Maybe that’s why they admire him.  Some of them just want a “businessman” to be at the helm of our ship of a country.  We had that with GW.  My memory is that it took us to the brink of disaster by sending us on the road to bankruptcy.  Here in our state we have a businessman governor who is running the state with an iron hand or really a “fist”.  He strong arms to get what he wants and deals are made.  Maybe that’s just good business sense but the worker is the one that seems to pay.

This past Sunday I saw some Republican state senator or representative on a local show saying that he’s done all of this without raising taxes.  The statement was a total lie but the “news” man never called him on it.  If you are a retired teacher or government worker you are paying a new state tax, unless you have reached a certain age of course.  Teachers are also paying more into retirement, even though they won’t see that money when they retire.  It’s not considered a tax but it sure is one hell of a fee that is only levied on a certain group of people.  Another thing coming our way is a change in the gas tax.  I’m all for fixing the roads but I know that this type of tax will hit the poorest among us the hardest.

In the package of bills is also a plan to raise vehicle registration fees by 67%.  Again, this kind of “taxing” hurts the little guy much more than those people at the top.

I’m sure many people are totally unaware about these issues.  We all go to work, keep our heads buried in whatever we’re doing and just let things happen to us.  When it does, we complain but we keep voting in the same tired bastards.  We watch their stupid commercials and vote on some vague moral issue or some other “personal” quality that frankly means nothing when it comes to what they are going to do in office.  Here is Peter Hoekstra’s latest commercial which I find to be absolutely demeaning to the young lady in the commercial as well as to the American people.

It’s like back in the day when Jerry Lewis pretends to be a Chinese chef.  Obviously, he was a comic and this was done before we became more politically sensitive.

The Hoekstra ad is just plain stupid.  When I looked up bills that had been enacted that Hoekstra had voted on, there just weren’t many.  He basically hasn’t done all that much.  He certainly hasn’t sponsored or co-sponsored many bills that have gone anywhere!  So, if you want someone that doesn’t do much, I guess Pete’s your man!  You can see all the bills he voted on and which ones were enacted here.

I’m sick of this type of politics.  The ad treats the American people like we are basically idiots.  Some countries think we are fairly idiotic for our choices in politics but the reality is there just isn’t that much to choose from!

So, Rosanne Barr running for president is about as farfetched of an idea as the guy that played in “Bedtime for Bonzo” running for president!  Maybe we are idiots!

The End of Summer Vacation

  • Posted on August 31, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Beautiful Duck Lake in Norhtern Michigan

This year has been challenging for me.  In addition to teaching my regular art classes at school, I chose to take some courses so I could move up on the pay scale.  Originally I was going to take my 20 credits over a period of two years.  However, with everything our governor was busy doing in Lansing, I decided to escalate my goal to be completed in one year.  The classes I took were online courses that were actually very involved and demanding of my time and effort.  This summer I took the final two courses, both involved with using technology in the classroom and developing 21st Century literacy skills.  Now that I have finished my original goal, I have some time for reflection before the students start coming into my classroom.  I am really proud of what I accomplished this year.  While I’m glad I was able to get a pay raise, I was actually surprised at what I have taken away from the courses I took.  I know that I am a better teacher today because of them.  I always thought I was a pretty good teacher.  I have always been very dedicated to my profession and to my students.  What I have learned over this past year were some very useful strategies for helping students to become more motivated in the classroom, better classroom management skills, a greater understanding of adolescent student behavior, and ways to develop and integrate 21st Century literacy skills into my art classes.  That sounds like a lot and trust me it was!

I finished my courses on July 18th and since I hadn’t had a moment from the time school was out until then to have any summer at all, I decided to see if I could find a cottage where I could spend a week on a lake just relaxing.  My online search led me to Traverse City Chalet which is a cottage on beautiful Duck Lake near Interlochen and Traverse City.  As the picture reflects, this decision gave me a peaceful summer retreat.  This was just what I needed to get ready for the next school year!  I even managed to spend some time drawing and painting.  I loved it so much I’m going back next summer.  Two of my brothers, Joe and Paul, reside in Leelanau County so I invited them over for a barbeque.  I really didn’t want to leave the lake but I wanted to see them.  My brother, Bob and his wife, Sue, were also visiting Michigan from Alaska.  The dinner party included Joe’s wife Karin and Paul’s ex-wife Bonnie as well.  I am so happy that I got to see everyone as I haven’t been up north in a couple of years.

Given my families love of politics and discussing political issues it didn’t take long before the conversation turned to politics.  What I noticed was the fact that I was surrounded by political conservatives.  I consider myself to be a liberal.  These of course are just words that we attach to ourselves and most people don’t really understand exactly what they mean so I’ll explain what I mean.  My parents were really FDR Democrats.  They were married in 1934 and lived during the Depression and their experiences were shaped in many ways by the Depression.   They were savers and they didn’t waste anything.  My mom and dad were both teachers and my mom was very involved in the union at her school in Kingston, Michigan.  They supported the Reese teachers during their strike.  I can remember going to Reese as a kid!  In my young life both as a Catholic and as a child of my parents, I learned about caring for other people.  So when I say I’m liberal, the policies I’m talking about are policies to help and lift up people so they can become productive citizens.  I believe in helping people that may not be in the best circumstance to be their own advocate.  This doesn’t mean that I think I know what is best for people.  It just means I believe in finding ways to level the playing field.  This can be done mostly through public school education in many ways because the truth is education is the big divider in most countries.  Those that have a good education can usually attain a more successful job and lifestyle than those that don’t.

So I’ll get back to the dinner I shared with my brothers.  What I came away with was how deeply divided politically my family really is.  My brothers grew up with the same teachings I did but we are a world apart in our views.  Bonnie and Sue both like Representative Michelle Bachmann because she is a tax attorney.  I was shocked because in my mind she has said some crazy things.  My brothers are over the top conservative.  Paul even talked about child labor laws and how they are detrimental to the work ethic for young people.  I said the laws are put in place to protect children.  Of course it made me think about the governor in Maine that is working on changing those child labor laws.  This divide that I witnessed at our dinner really seems to be all across our nation.  It isn’t just my family.  It may be your family as well.  The next day my brother Bob came back because he forgot his hat.  We chatted a little longer and I asked him how he could possibly have become so conservative given our parents and our upbringing.  He said he was a Mormon.  Several years ago Bob became a Mormon and that was his response.  I don’t personally know if all Mormons are politically conservative like Bob, but that was his response.  It felt like that was a standard answer.  I didn’t get an in depth response and of course religion choices are always very personal and I don’t think it’s my place to question him about his decisions any more than he should question me on mine.  This dinner party was relaxed and fun and nobody was fighting about politics.  Paul did bring up my hefty donation to John Edwards and made some snide remark about how I helped pay for John’s mistress.  Of course, I told my brothers that I don’t look to politicians of any type for my moral code of ethics and that I still believe in what John Edwards talked about.  He wanted to give a voice to the voiceless, you know the poor!  Of course Paul says John’s a big old phony and that’s the end of that.  Unfortunately, with Edwards being the constant poster child for scummy politicians that voice for the poor is silenced.  On both sides of the political arena politicians have been all too human.  I wouldn’t put any of them on some kind of moral pedestal.  Some of them have even been fairly good presidents though.  Everyone knows about FDR and his mistress or Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings.  Bob said FDR was a terrible president.  Bob said he read some books and I could feel hatred from him for FDR.  My parents loved FDR and they lived during the time.  I have to wonder if Bob’s feelings have more to do with the morality issue than the policies.  It doesn’t matter.  Our country is divided.  We can’t even agree on how to teach our kids.

The conversation moved on to education.  I personally think the push for constant testing is crazy.  Of course we have to meet certain standards but there is far too much emphasis on passing “The” test.  I told my brothers that a test isn’t what any of us remember from our days in K-12 education.  We may remember taking the ACT or SAT as those were memorable days because we were getting ready for college.  However, what most of us remember about our schooling is either some teacher that made us feel great or some teacher that made us feel lousy!  The rest is probably not that important to us today.  What is important for students today is still having great relationships with teachers.  Students need teachers that truly care about them, not how they perform on some test, but about them as children.  Teachers have a powerful position.  They can elevate dreams or crush them!  To me the No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top are both programs that have forgotten the key element to a quality education.  Money is tied in both of these programs to test scores.  This is ridiculous.  The push towards merit pay is not a true standard for teaching quality.  Ultimately, what will be retained by the students in the end after all the dust settles is whether a teacher cared about them or not.  Those students won’t remember the test as being important to them.  They will remember the teachers that treated them like an individual with a heart and a soul.

Monday and Tuesday of this week we had our first “teacher days” at Sturgis and our open house at Sturgis Middle School.  Of course I was in my room last week unpacking my supplies that were ordered for the coming school year and working on my room getting it ready for the open house.  Last Friday I invited a couple of seventh grade girl students to come in and help me and we had a lot of fun.  We took a break and ran to McDonald’s to get some lunch.  We brought it back to the room and those two girls had me laughing so hard I could hardly stop.  I know they are going to remember that silly day they spent with Ms. Svoboda and I will also remember it.  They felt special and I felt special to have some time alone with these two girls to get to know them even better.

Last night we had our open house.  I came away from that open house knowing how much so many of my students really do love me.  It is a wonderful feeling to know that I am having a positive influence on a child’s life.  I had a girl come back to see me.  I was astounded to realize that she is a senior this year.  I told her I wanted to show her something.  Back when she was at the middle school she gave me a student picture of herself.  I had taped it inside this swivel draw under my desk.  Whenever I open that swivel drawer, I see that picture and think of her.  I know she was blown away that I really do remember her and care about her.  She told me she is going to bring me a senior picture.  The point I’m trying to make is when these students are treated special by their teachers, they will remember those teachers.  I love teaching and I love middle school students, even the ones that on occasion drive me crazy!  I know they can have bad days but I also know that if I can reach them and develop a positive relationship they can accomplish great things.

I ended the night an hour after open house because I had a long conversation with a parent and a child that I really care about.  I gave them what I felt was some good advice so that this child will hopefully have greater success in her other classes this year.  As they were walking out the door the little girl had to come back to give me a hug!  I know she knows I care about her.  The point I’m trying to get at is not how wonderful I am but at how important it is for all of us teachers to remember that what is most important in our students’ lives today is not some test, but is still the relationship you create as a teacher.  As a teacher, I feel I wear many hats.  I have to teach, sometimes be a parent, sometimes a friend, and sometimes a counselor.  I have to know how to get a student back on track when their having a bad day, or had a fight with a friend, or seemingly doesn’t care about anything.  Anyone that thinks being a great math, science, art, music or any other type of teacher can be scored by a single test a student takes is just plain stupid!  The true measure of a teacher has more to do with what they have in their heart and their capacity to be persistent and patient and loving with the children they mentor and teach.  I don’t know exactly how this can be measured but I do know that when you can see it in action, you can recognize it!  Great teachers are those teachers we all remember in a positive way.  We hold them in our hearts and remember how special we felt because of them.  I have two teachers that I remember the most.  One gave me a briefcase for my books when I was moving away.  I was in second grade.  The other was a teacher that I remember paddling a boy almost daily when I was in fourth grade.  I know which one I have always aspired to be like.

Governor Granholm and Cheesy Portraits

  • Posted on May 7, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Governor Granholm

Former Governor Granholm has just had her portrait revealed to the world or at least to the state of Michigan.  I could mention all of the forced symbolism that seems to have been so important for her to include in this painting, but I think I will focus on the complete lack of emotion I feel when I view it.  This is of course the woman/man that was our first woman governor here in Michigan.  I always find it so interesting that women in politics feel they must look like men to govern.   This portrait of Jennifer shows us nothing of the soul of the woman that was our governor.  I have no feeling for this person.  It has been stylized to essentially make us feel that she has her pulse on the world and she has done everything she can to keep Michigan moving.  Of course while she has to look like a man, she did it wearing pumps that make her somewhat superior to any man.

I’ve been disappointed with all of our past recent governors.  They all profess so much love for Michigan, but they just can’t leave our state fast enough once they are finished “governing”.  As you can see, Jennifer now resides in the state of California.  Michigan is just a distant memory, something she can simply add to her resume.  Like her predecessors, she will probably become a part of that revolving door of corruption that is the politician/lobbyist.  Looking at OpenSecrets reveals our last two former Governor’s penchant for making money and using their political clout.  Here is John Engler firmly enmeshed in the world of business.

Here is also former Governor Jim Blanchard also exerting his political clout in Washington D.C. as a lobbyist.

You may think I am just being critical and these guys have to work.  My feeling is this.  If you thought enough of Michigan to want to be governor, why would you ever leave it?  Truthfully, Michigan was just a stepping stone in their resume life.  There are those of us that love Michigan and will do everything we can to promote it, educate it and live in it and there are those that will just use it and go on to their next job.

As for that portrait of Jennifer, I find myself looking from that left hand firmly planted on her hip to those shoes and all I end up thinking about is Napoleon.

How did that come into my head?  I think it is because they both have that look of pomposity that is supposed to tell us, the “little people”, just how important they really are to history.  If Governor Granholm wants us to remember windmills, cars, shovel ready projects, education and the global impact of Michigan, maybe she should have left us with the feeling that our young people could stay and live in Michigan to work all of those new found jobs.  Unfortunately, mine, like thousands if not millions of other young people, have fled our state making us look like an uneducated society.  The statistics imply that proportionately few people here have a college degree, just 24%.  We are 37th in ranking with the other states.  We educate them here in Michigan.  We have great schools and universities.

Trust me, our colleges are not just educating out of state people.  Our young people get their degrees.  Once they get that sheepskin, they leave the state for greener pastures, just like Governor Granholm recently did.  Imagine that!

Mr. Rogers Comes to Sturgis

  • Posted on March 25, 2011 at 10:32 pm

"Fred" looking a lot like the original "Fred", Mr. Rogers!

Last night I went to a town hall meeting with Representative Fred Upton.  It was the last of his 18 meetings.  There were somewhere between 75-100 people that showed up for this meeting.  The Sturgis city hall room was packed.  Representative Upton wanted all of us to call him “Fred”.  He’s just one of us, even if he is a millionaire.  He was dressed like Mr. Rogers in his fashionable cardigan and appeared fairly low on that charisma scale.  As my pictures show, you might be wondering if they were separated at birth.  Fred may seem to lack charisma but he has been awarded a very powerful position in the House of Representatives as he is now chairmen of the House Energy and Commerce committee.

“Fred” opened by letting us know that this was a time for him to “listen” to his constituents.  He wouldn’t be answering a lot of questions but he would be taking notes down so he could respond later.  He began the night by telling us that the financial situation in our government is far worse than first suspected.  No mention was made of course of those big tax cuts given out in December.  He said the deficit numbers for the 2012 Obama budget were actually larger than what President Obama projected because the CBO, which he let us know is not biased, basically came up with different numbers that were far more alarming.  As he continued his little speech it was quite obvious that he wants us to be prepared for the big hammer that is going to fall on all of our heads because they (the responsible Republicans in Congress) must do what they have to do to get this budget under control.  He made sure to slam Representative Nancy Pelosi because she was terrible because she wouldn’t let the Republicans have any say what so ever on anything.  He also wanted us to know what a breath of fresh air Speaker John Boehner is because he wants everything to be transparent.  There will be no secrets and the Democrats will be invited to all the tea parties!  He let us know that there would be an open forum with microphones where we could ask our questions.  He wouldn’t be answering those questions but would give a small response at the end.

Fred Rogers looking a lot like Fred Upton!

The first man had a question that I just can’t remember because all I could hear was a pep rally for Ronald Reagan.  When I heard the white haired, old man sing the praises of Ronnie, I felt my ears implode and I wondered if this was going to be a Republican pep rally.  Thankfully, it did not end up being a rally for Republicans.  There were many questions asked which showed me that we have distinctly different viewpoints even in Sturgis.  Sturgis is a Republican area.  The questioners seemed to be from people from all sides of the political spectrum.   There were environmentalists and other people concerned about carcinogens at the meeting who don’t like Fred’s bill to amend the Clean Air act.  You can see the bill here.

There were other concerns about the nuclear power plants in Michigan and one in particular that is a similar model to the GE one in Japan.  There were also questions about hazardous waste from the nuclear plants and the government subsidy of these plants.

Many people were concerned about the continuing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya.  One Vietnam veteran spoke about how we were taken into a trumped up war in Vietnam and these current wars as being similar to that.  He wanted to know why we are there in what the mission is and if it was “accomplished” as President Bush said then why are we still there.  Another gentleman wanted to bring all of the troops back from all of the countries that we are in and establish them in bases here.  He said our economy would be booming if those guys were spending their money here and not in places like Germany.  He said they could protect our borders and we’d have a lot more jobs here because they would be spending their money here.  So, I was wondering how many troops we have in Germany and I came across this article.

Our guys sometimes are nothing more than sitting ducks.  They don’t make the policy.  They just enforce it.  I didn’t hear about this on any newscast lately.  Here is a chart put up on Wikipedia that shows the number of troops we have and then how many are overseas.  I saw another figure on Wikipedia that is closer to 400,000.  Regardless, it looks as though we have about a half a million soldiers around the world ready to police it.

Of course many people had concerns over jobs.  These questions ranged from protecting the middle class to incentives for businesses to CEO pay compared to the common worker’s pay.  My question was like all of the above rolled into one.  I questioned why there is so much talk about the trouble with Social Security, etc. when in December Congress passed the tax bill that made it so I pay 2% less in Social Security.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  If it’s such a problem, why would you make it a bigger problem?  It seems to me a good way to destroy a program.  I also was concerned about the endless supply of money for wars and there is not enough money for domestic spending for things like education.  It seems to me all the real tax breaks go to big business and the wealthy.  If more and more money is going to war, less and less is coming back to the states.  There were some in the audience that mentioned the “Fair Tax” which Feed seems to like.  You can find out more here about this issue. I don’t know enough about this tax but it was mentioned a few times so knock yourself out figuring out how you would do under this tax.  There is a calculator there so you can see how it would impact you.

There were many more questions from the cost of cleaning up meth lab houses, which is very draining on our tax dollars, to DOMA, the economy, health care, to the new proposed bridge to Canada, and even the “bridge” card.  One man was very upset at the abuse that he was seeing with the bridge card.  He claimed he had “court documents” that prove that a person was using the card to buy drugs like crack.  He went on and on about this abuse and how he has tried to get this person put in jail for their crimes but to no avail.  He even wanted the congressman to look at those papers to see what he could do.  I know I was sitting there wondering what papers this guy could have in his possession.  He ended his long tirade to let us know that the “offender” of these terrible crimes was none other than his WIFE!  Yes, all of his credibility went out the window with that disclaimer.  Every ex-whatever must have been thinking about that ex-husband or wife that is so full of revenge that they want to put their ex-lover in JAIL!  It was the comic moment of the night as everyone split a gut with laughter when he said it was his WIFE!

The night was interesting and I was glad that it wasn’t a pep rally for Republicans.  I am glad I went to the meeting.  However, I really didn’t get the feeling that “Fred” was doing all that much listening in the sense that it would change anything he chooses to do.  He spoke at the end and mentioned that some of the questions were state issues and he said we could get in touch with our state representative for those issues.  He wanted to clear up the issue about his “Clean Air” bill.  He basically sugar coated what it would and wouldn’t do and let us know that we must do these things to get business to stay in this country and not go to China.  He told us he has been to China and they don’t have any standards so it’s better if we lessen our standards and get the businesses here because we would be doing our part to save the world.  It was some kind of funky logic to me.  I don’t think Fred will be saving the world any time soon with this but I’ll give him credit for at least putting together a “listening” tour, even if it seemed to me that he was more interested in spreading those latest “Republican” talking points around.  I will say this in Fred’s defense, when I have contacted him through email or phone; I always eventually get a response to my concerns.  They may not be what I want to hear, but he does send a personal letter that is not a form letter.  So, Mr. Rogers came to Sturgis and now he’ll go back to D.C. armed with all of his “notes” about our questions and he will join his buddies on Capital Hill and put his expensive suit back on, so he can fit in with that crowd!  To really get the flavor of who our congressman is all about, here is his voting record.

Here is an interview with Fred.  He doesn’t look so much like Mr. Rogers here.  He is dressed in his Washington garb.

Wear Red on Tuesday

  • Posted on March 20, 2011 at 12:40 am

Now that I have your attention, wear red on March 22nd!

I was sent an email by a guy named Jonathan.  He asked me if I could write something for March 22nd.  They want to have a blog day in support of teachers.  He included these links and his own.!/event.php?eid=159856257404609 FB page where you can sign up and say you are in. webpage, pretty, where we’d like you to ping back.!/home.php?sk=group_207762892567061&ap=1 A more general facebook page


Here is a snippet from the Edusolidarity website:

On Tuesday, March 22, teachers in NYC will wear red in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are under attack in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and elsewhere. We also stand with teachers in places like Idaho, California, and Texas who are facing massive layoffs. We would like to take this stand on the web as well. We encourage you to publish a piece on March 22 entitled “Why Teachers Like Me Support Unions.” In this piece, please explain your own reasons for being a proud union member and/or supporter. Including personal stories can make this a very powerful piece. It would be great to also explain how being a union member supports and enables you to be the kind of teacher that you are. We want these posts to focus not only on our rights, but also on what it takes to be a great teacher for students, and how unions support that.

I encourage anyone that is reading this to wear red in support of unions on March 22nd.  If you are a blogger pass this on please.  The United Federation of Teachers website is here.

I am a member of the National Education Association.  While red is definitely not my color, I’ll see what I can do for a good cause.  I will be working to get a post ready for Tuesday so please check back with me.  I’m not sure what I’m going to write, but I have a lot of thoughts on the subject.

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