Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Shorter Summer for School Kids? Bring it on!

Even when I was in middle (called jr. high then) school and high school, I thought the summers were toooooo long. I was always one of those dorks who looked forward to the beginning of school and, normally, didn't start praying for it to be over until after Christmas. I know, FREAK, but I truly loved school.

Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't want to go to school for MORE days a year, I just wanted the vacations spaced differently. I didn't know why we couldn't have an entire week off for Thanksgiving, it would have made travel easier. I didn't know why we couldn't have an extra week for Christmas and maybe 2 for Spring Break. I didn't want more than 6 weeks off in the summer. My mom worked, I was BORED!


Arne Duncan, the Cabinet secretary charged with overhauling America's educational system, is studying programs that keep kids in school longer to boost their academic achievements.

Since I have been out of the public school system for quite some time, and I don't even have a child attending public school (he's in community college) maybe this isn't an issue I should tackle.
But I will anyway.

Our education system is failing our children. Our teachers are overworked and underpaid. Our classrooms are overcrowded. And these hard economic times are making it worse with many teachers losing their jobs and many schools closing (several in Bay County alone). The model we use to run our schools is antiquated and out of date. Most children attending school now do not have to be on the farms in the summer to help out, so the long summers off are just allowing their brains to atrophy without good reason.

What is the answer? Maybe longer days. Other countries certainly have them. And it would help out those who can not afford to stay home with their children, by cutting day care costs. Maybe longer school years. This would, again, help those with younger children paying day care costs and it would give the teachers more time to ensure that our children are fully educated and not just taught to pass one certain test a year. (Full disclosure: I hate the FCAT and feel there has been too much focus on it since its inception.)

Another bonus to a longer school year would be to get rid of those who go into the profession just for summers off. We've all had wonderful teachers who were great at their jobs and obviously loved teaching the next generation. We've all had teachers who were just putting in their time until summer or retirement also.

The downfall? It would cost money, of course, and where will the states, counties and cities get it? More government funding? Higher taxes? I can hear the screaming about that already. But what choice do we have? Our children are getting more stupid by the year and just propping up the current system will not help at all!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

We Can Finally Honor our Fallen Soldiers

Whether you are for or against this Iraqi War (and I believe it is an immoral affront to thinking people everywhere) you must realize that those who are actually fighting and dying in that foreign land have no choice in the matter. Yes, for whatever reason, they did choose to join the military, but they took an oath to defend the Constitution and follow the orders of the President. They (probably) assumed the President would do the same, but they were wrong.

Now, almost 6 years from the time the public was lied to about the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction and a non-extistant link between Iraq and 9/11, the fallen soldiers, sailors and airman will be publicly recognized, if their families allow it.

Families of America's war dead will decide whether the flag-draped caskets of their loved ones can be photographed by news organizations when the fallen return to U.S. soil, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.

According to the article, Robert Gates is taking full credit for lifting the ban put in place by the Bush administration, but if you read the article carefully you will see that President Obama asked him to look into it.

I have always felt the ban on photgraphing the flag draped coffins was disrespectful to those who gave their lives in this farce. But I have also felt that it allowed the American public to be able to turn an even greater blind eye to what was happening. We, as a nation, have grown incredibly self absorbed through the years and do not seem to pay attention to anything that occurs outside of our safe little worlds. We have been asked to sacrifice nothing, do nothing, think nothing about the so-called War on Terror. Maybe, with the lifting of the photography ban, we will at least be called upon to FEEL something for those who gave the greatest sacrifice.

A Helping Hand

My mom and I were talking on the phone last night and the subject of the Stimulus Plan came up. My mom is all for helping those who need it. Those who have lost their jobs in this horrible economy and are now in danger of losing their homes and those who have battled catastrophic illness and have been unable to work and are now in danger of losing their homes. She has great empathy for those who have worked hard and, through no fault of their own, are now in deep financial doo doo. Those who overextended themselves and bought houses they couldn't afford and paid only interest on their loans for 5 years? No sympathy at all from mom.

But if we are honest, don't we all feel that way? Why have I worked so hard for the last 20 years, saving, keeping my credit card debt low, buying the car and the house I could afford and get nothing from this plan if others have done it wrong and get to keep their stuff? Stuff that I will not be able to afford in my lifetime?

Well, life's not really fair, is it?

But our conversation made me think, made me consider and made me draw some conclusions.

It is a lot like the man on the street holding a sign that says, "Homeless." Is he? Maybe he lives in a million dollar mansion on the water, drives a BMW and shops in the more expensive stores that I don't even walk through. Maybe he lives in his car with his wife and their 2 children, one of which is still in diapers. If I give him $5, he may buy caviar, or he may buy Cheerios and powdered milk. The point is, I have no way of knowing. So what should I do?

I should give him the $5. I should give him money or food, because that is the human (or Christian, if you prefer) thing to do. If I give him money with an open, loving heart and he doesn't need it. Or he spends it on crack cocaine, that isn't really my problem, is it? My heart and my conscience are clear. I have done a nice thing to help my fellow human being. If he spends that money incorrectly or inappropriately or doesn't really need it, that is his problem. I do believe that eventually he will pay for that deceit.

This stimulus is the same way. People in this country truly NEED this money, without it they will be standing on the street corner. People need this money to stay in their homes, to continue their health insurance, to feed their families. If some people don't need the money and end up with it anyway, then that should be on their conscience, not mine and not the governments.

And if the government has to turn into an investigative agency and spend the entire stimulus trying to determine who does or doesn't need it, it didn't do a bit of good, did it?

We are going to have to learn to trust our government again, to trust our neighbor again, to trust ourselves again. Or we can just give the entire country up as a lost cause now.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An Impressive Speech, An Impressive Man and a little snarkiness

Wow, how great was it to sit on your couch and watch our new President and not cringe, or be humiliated at his inability to speak the English language or stand up straight? President Obama's eloquence and delivery were amazing. His ability to say what needed to be said, with no down home speech patterns, slam the last administration and still tell us "we will recover" was an extraordinary thing. I don't know if he (we) will be able to accomplish everything he wants to (we need to) over the next four years, but it was so nice to know that we are on the same page and that he is attempting to lead this country out of this hell hole we find ourselves in.

And for all of the Republican crazies out there, I distinctly heard the man say that MY taxes are going down. I heard him say that 95% of Americans will pay lower taxes. I recall that he repeated (again) that anyone who makes less than $250,000 a year will have lower taxes. So, if you don't fall in that 95%, STFU. And if you do and you just want to bitch because you feel it is necessary as a card carrying reThug, STFU.

And, just for the record, I gave your stupid guy, who was not even legally elected, my support for almost 2 freaking years. You know why? Because we were in a crisis. First, over the election that Dubya paid his brother to fix for him and, then, because our nation was attacked. And he was the one sitting in the Oval Office, the one who had sworn to uphold and defend our Constitution. So I supported him, publicly and privately. Until he decided that an immoral war over WMDs which weren't there was a good idea. So, how about you let my President try to clean up the mess your dipshit got us into and STFU.

Nice to get that off my chest.

Now, I don't want to be really bitchy here, BUT why exactly did Nancy Pelosi wear her housecoat to be addressed by Congress? I know it is probably colder in D.C. than it is here, but a lovely sweater would have been much appropriate, don't you think? And if that was the some sort of fashionable outfit, I'm glad I'm fashionably retarded.

I thought Michelle looked beautiful. She is such a great example for women everywhere with her poise and confidence. She just looks like someone who is comfortable in her own skin.
But I thought she needed a better bra with the dress she was wearing. Come on, Michelle, give the girls some support!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Quick Post

Mainly to prove that I am not dead.

I have started several posts, on the economy, on politics, on the crazy woman who just gave birth to octuplets. But, frankly, none of them were really coherant.

Work has been nuts. Home has been busy. I did get a 95% on my first biology test. DSD did not get the job interview he was promised. We managed a few days at his parents' in Lake County where it was warm.

I think I am going to start carrying a notebook around with me. The computer screen seems to make thinking and writing more difficult. I write beautiful, well thought out posts in my mind as I am dozing off every night. Really.

I just can't remember them the next morning.

So, I'm here. I'm reading your posts (when I find time) and doing my best to comment. Hopefully my brain will unlock soon and I will be back to it with a vengeance.
I'm certain you are on the edge of your seat wondering what I REALLY think about the insanity of birthing EIGHT babies at once.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another HodgePodge

I'm still here! There's been no time for blogging lately, and I really shouldn't be now. I should be working. But I figured a couple of minutes out of my day wouldn't kill anyone.


I'm sick of the Republicans bitching about the deficit. The budget was balanced 8 years ago, now it isn't, whose fault is that?


I don't know if this stimulus package is what the country really needs. I don't know that it will help; I don't know if it will hurt. All I know is that for the last 8 years whenever Dubya wanted to spend money, whether it was tax cuts for the rich or an immoral war, Congress passed it. Let's let President Obama do what he feels is best for the country at this horrific time.

John McCain, "I cannot and do not support the package on the table from the Democrats and the Obama Administration. Our country does not need just another spending bill, particularly not one that will load future generations with the burden of massive debt. We need a short term stimulus bill that will directly help people, create jobs, and provide a jolt to our economy,” McCain says in the e-mail. “I hope you will join me in saying no to this stimulus package as it currently exists by signing this petition” can kiss my ass.

And, no, I'm not linking to his stupid petition.


I can barely read or watch the news. Tens of thousands of jobs lost every day. No one spending any money. It's going to get worse before it gets better and my heart breaks for those in trouble and in need.


On a happy note, though, DSD does have a job interview tomorrow. It will probably be only part time and he probably won't be making much more than he is right now in unemployment, but it will be good for him to go back to work. Cross your fingers!