Thursday, April 24, 2008

Just Another Laugh For Today

I was REALLY dragging this morning and needed a laugh. Luckily I found it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

At Least McCain HAS A Plan

DISCLAIMER: Up until about 5 years ago I considered myself a Republican but after seeing how corrupt the party has become, and how it serves the needs of corporate America rather than the people, I now consider myself an Independent.

There is now way in hell I will vote for McCain, I don't care who the Democrat candidate is. He or she will get my vote.

Everyday the news agencies tell us about the new record prices for crude oil and gasoline. My raise for this year has been erased by increased costs for gas just to get back and forth to work. Something has to be done.

McCain has been ridiculed for his plan to freeze the federal tax on gasoline. Whether the 18 cents would make that much of a difference is hard to say. I'm cynical enough to think the oil companies would just pocket the money.

What has received less attention is his proposal to stop pumping oil into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Bush has been pumping oil into it his entire presidency and refusing to release any to ease prices. Currently there are over 700 million gallons of oil in reserve.

Who benefits from all that oil sitting in reserve? The oil companies, since it helps inflate the price of crude. Don't expect Bush or Cheney to do anything to lessen the profits for their oil buddies, who surely see the writing on the wall and are soaking us for every penny they can get while the getting is good.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What Is WRONG With Teachers In My Area?

It hasn't been a banner week for teachers in my area, as several seem to have gone totally mad and gotten themselves arrested. Don't they realize it makes us all look bad when they do idiotic things like this?

First, there was the secondary teacher accused of having sex wiht a 17 year old student. Don't they realize it's against the law???

Then, there was the drumline teacher who was arrested and admitted to having sex with a 14 year old girl.

Finally came the first grade teacher who was arrested for providing alcohol to minors, apparently her daughter and her friends. This is one of those cases where I can easily imagine the parent saying, "I'd rather them do it here than out somewhere else".

Their actions bring disgrace upon all of us.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

How Could They Miss This Song?

A tip of the hat to NYC Educator, who brought us a link to Blender's Top 50 Worst Songs of All Time.

Like NYC Educator I have one I think they missed. How in the world could they not have Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" on their list?

It's bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Why I'm Not Impressed By Merit Pay Schemes

One of the biggest merit pay schemes in the nation is ongoing in Houston ISD here in Texas. Last year's awarding of checks was a debacle, with seemingly no rhyme or reason to the dollar amounts. In dozens of cases teachers who had been let go were given bonuses for the test scores, while others with extremely high passing rates received nothing.

This year's awards don't seem to be much better. Via the Houston Chronicle's School Zone Blog, one top ten recipient from last year dropped from a $6100 bonus to $420. Another teacher who received nothing last year got $7600 this year, without changing his teaching style. One commenter noted that teachers at a school that was rated "Exemplary" for 2 years in a row received nothing.

Meanwhile, of the 251 principals of Houston ISD schools, 232 got bonuses. The superintendent received a 75K bonus, all 19 Executive Principals (maybe someone can fill me in on what that is) received bonuses and all 4 Regional Superintendents received them.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How About A Laugh For Your Thursday?

I heard this quote from Dave Attell. I thought it was so funny I laughed out loud.
I got struck by lightning. Some people get magical powers when they're struck by lightning, like reading minds or seeing the future.

I got the power to twitch on the ground and crap my pants.

I still haven't decided if I'll use it for good or evil.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Teachers In Denver Beware! You WILL Be Held Accountable For This Child's Test Scores In 4 Years

Every marriages has arguments and disagreements, but how many of them have had this kind?

A couple fighting about which gang their 4-year-old toddler should join caused a public disturbance that resulted in the father's arrest, Commerce City police said Thursday.

No picture of the Mom but hey, at least she had a job.

Somewhere in Denver are some 3rd grade teachers who will be told they are not doing a good job when this child of these two idiots is a 3rd grader and can't past the mandated Reading tests.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just A Laugh For Today

As they say, it's a good thing it isn't contagious.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

My "Rule of 500"

Over at Joanne Jacobs there's a discussion about a kid who was suspended for 3 days for sniffing a Sharpie, after he had used it to color his clothing. I suggested there's was probably more to this story, like the kid is a chronic behavior problem, or at the least, he had taken a Sharpie from the teacher's desk. I also noted that if the fumes had been toxic, and the school had done nothing to stop it, the school would be sued.

Of course the public school bashing crowd over there took exception, so this morning I gave them my "Rule of 500" and I'm interested to see the response. In a nutshell it works like this.

The next time you have a parent complaining about the punishment you gave their little darling, who really wasn't doing anything all that bad, hit them with the Rule of 500.

In the example above I would say, "What do you think this school would be like if ALL 500 kids were taking Sharpies from the teachers' desks, coloring their clothing and then sniffing the fumes? How much learning do you think would go on? IF WE LET YOUR CHILD GET AWAY WITH IT WE HAVE TO LET EVERY CHILD DO IT."

That usually shuts most parents up.

Monday, April 07, 2008

I'm Not The Only One Who Thinks We're Getting Hosed By The Oil Companies

Automotive expert Ed Wallace agrees with me and has posted this article detailing what the facts are about high gas prices.

Here are some of his points.

1. There Is No Shortage - Gasoline reserves on hand are at the highest levels since the early 1990s, which is remarkable considering the nation's refineries have been cutting back on the production of gasoline because their margins have declined. In fact, average gasoline reserves on hand have risen since this past October, while oil reserves in this country have gone up virtually every week this year—and only fog in the Houston Ship Channel that kept oil tankers from unloading their crude one week kept it from being every week.

2. Demand Is DOWN, Yet Prices Are UP - In January of this year, the U.S. used 4% less petroleum than we did a year ago. (Oil demand was down 3.2% in February.) Furthermore, demand has been falling slowly since July of last year. Ronald Bailey of Reason Online has pointed out that worldwide production of oil has risen 2.5% in the first quarter, while worldwide demand has grown by only 2%.

3. Speculation is Up, and the Dollar Is Down - The weak U.S. dollar as a primary cause for skyrocketing oil prices—there is "some" truth in that statement. But consider this: The dollar has depreciated 30% against the world's currencies since 2002, while the price of oil has gone up 500%. So is it the weak dollar that has caused a 500% increase in the price of oil, or is it the extra $241 billion worth of speculation? You can make the call on that one.

Does anyone, besides Glenn Beck, think we're not being bent over and screwed?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Stories That Should Be April Fool's Jokes But Aren't

If I had seen this story today I'd have thought it was a joke, but I saw it yesterday.

I have to admit to having some weird thoughts (Nose Hair Trimmer of the Gods), but I never once looked at a picnic table and thought, "Damn, I gotta HIT that!"

Meanwhile right-wing nutjob Glenn Beck thinks huge oil company profits are great for us common everyday folks. After all, he claims the average American has plenty of Exxon stock in his 401K plan. I haven't seen the statistics but I wonder just how many Americans have 401K plans. Oh, and more people are on food stamps, not because the economy is ruled by greedy corporations who won't pay decent wages, but because more people realize they can get them.

Meanwhile, everyone is having to make sacrifices in these hard times. These poor people had to trade in their Corvette for a Suburban!! if you can believe that. I gotta tell you, there's nothing sadder than some poor white people who can barely afford their mansion on the coast.

At least no kids tried to con me today.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

"Get Those Test Scores Up Or I'll Kill You"

Of course, it had to have happened in Texas, where the drive to destroy public education began via high-stakes testing. A principal has threatened 'I will kill you all and kill myself.' if TAKS science scores don't improve.

Now I'm not the least big surprised an administrator would do something this stupid; stupid administrators give me plenty to write about. And if you've read my blog you know I believe the entire purpose of NCLB is to destroy public education. What better way than to place insane pressures on administrators until they snap?

What really shocks me about this story is the comments made about the Houston Chronicle story. While most are outraged, many feel this is totally appropriate in order to get those lazy and incompetent teachers to do their jobs.

Here are some choice tidbits:
ConservativeVoice wrote:
This is what public school brings you.

mamby pampy teachers...crying. thats so funny compared to how they treat students.

paulinindy wrote:
finally someone thats deadly seriour about educating our kids.

The National Education Association's finest!

I don't know nubian, maybe the district should let the principal follow through with his threat. Then maybe the new science teachers will have the perfect example of Darwinism.

I don't know if the individual was making a real threat or not, but if he or she was, maybe the teachers got the message. Shape up or ship out.

finally some much needed discipline in our school systems

sounds to me like the teachers are nothing but a bunch of babies who cant be serious when they think he really meant he was actually gonna kill them then himself. he was not joking about the serious nature of the TAKS tests but used the "killing" as a way of getting his point across. some people have no common sense. that is who is teaching our kids! what a disgrace! bunch of whiny babies!

oh yes, and I am sure he was serious, please, we need to get rid of all of these whiney teachers and get some that have some balls.

The only question I have is whether or not the grades improved.

sounds to me like these teachers need to get off their lazy whiny pansies and teach the children! thats probably why they had low test scores...too much talking amongst each other and not teaching!

I'm sure that somewhere people from the Business Roundtable, the Fordham Foundation, the Broad Foundation and many other "compassionate conservative" groups are having a good chuckle at not only the havoc they've sewn, but the clowns who have swallowed their lies.

BTW, all comments were copied and pasted directly from the Houston Chronicle article.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Don't Cry For Me

Someone obviously had too much free time on their hands, but dang, I wish I'd have thought of it first.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I Thought These Summed Things Up Nicely

I've written before about how I feel we're purposely being shafted by the oil companies, while oilmen Bush and Cheney stand by and doing nothing. I thought this cartoon by Mark Cohen summed it up nicely.

The Exxon cartoon is by John Sherffius.

Now the economy is in the tank and Bush seems even more clueless.

This video shows how much Bush and co. care about what we think.

Remember, a poor and uneducated population equals low wages and docile workers. The real plan of the Bush owners

Sunday, March 09, 2008

'Cuz You Had A Bad Day

I hate that American Idol exit song from last year, but it seems appropriate for this picture.

It's Spring Break, so I refuse to take anything too seriously.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Maybe Some of The Right-Wingers Can Explain This To Me

I've written numerous times about how the oil companies are screwing us consumers and in a post called Bend Over and Take It a right winger made the snide comment that I obviously hadn't learned any economics while I was in ed. school.

So maybe that right winger can come back and see how my grasp of it is.

Let's start with supply and demand shall we?
But oil slipped after the Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory report. EIA said crude stocks rose by 3.2 million barrels last week, higher than the 2.4 million barrel increase expected by analysts, according to a Dow Jones poll. Gasoline supplies, attracting more attention as traders anticipate the upcoming summer driving season, rose by 2.3 million barrels. Analysts were expecting a gain of 400,000 barrels. EIA said gas stocks are now above average for this time of year.

That was the 7th week in a row US crude and gasoline supplies have risen.

So apparently, supply and demand is not the answer.

How about the economics of it all? Let's see, it's now costing me $60 a month more to fill my vehicle up with gas. That's $60 I'm not spending anywhere else. But where does that $60 go? Into the bank accounts of Exxon, Shell and other companies, which are experiencing record profits and getting a nice tax break on it all, which their president has pledge to protect.

But the effects don't end there. Not only am I putting an additional $60 a month into oil company profits, I'm also having to pay more for everything I buy, since EVERYTHING we purchase has to be produced and transported using gasoline, oil and diesel.

I wonder what it is costing me total every month? $75? $100?

Is it any wonder the rest of our economy is going down the crapper into what may be the worst recession since the Great Depression?

Explain it for me some of you right wingers.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Best Dilbert Strip Ever Written

You married guys know what he's talking about.

Friday, February 15, 2008

My Wii Quest Appears To Be Over

Like 50 million other people I've been trying to find a Wii. The local Wal-Mart seems to have them occasionly, but the problem for me is they get them in on a weekday in the morning when I can't go so I had to resort to using the internet.

If you're searching for one check out WiiTracker. It checks all the major sources, lists when they have them in stock, and has a timer that tells you how long its been that they've had them in stock.

I would watch out for the bundle deals. To me (an admitted old fart) they seem to come with games I'm not interested in.

Now to work on my Wii boxing skills.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Failing Charter Schools

The school choice is well funded and has the ear of the media. After all when Bill Gates and Eli Broad call reporters $60 million can buy you alot of attention, so its no big surprise that stories about how often charters fail don't get much attention.

This past week in Texas News 8 in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area obtained information with this telling statistic about charter schools:
According to the Texas Education Agency, one out of every six is a failure.

In another state with a long running charter program, Ohio, the charters are even worse, with traditional public schools outperformed charter schools on all 28 state achievement tests with an average difference in proficiency levels of nearly 26 percentage points.. In fact, 58% of all Ohio charter schools have been rated deficient, compared to only 10% of regular public schools.

But yet politicians, mostly Republican, continue to clamor for more charter schools. And as always, the evil teachers' unions are to blame.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Nose Hair Trimmer of the Gods

Sometimes, in the mornings before I've had my coffee, I have some REALLY weird thoughts. But as Dave Barry always says, "Wouldn't that be a great name for a band?"

We won't discuss what I was doing but all I want to know is, how come hair grows everywhere but the top of my head?

Monday, January 28, 2008

I've Been Flamingoed

A local religious school, that my neighbor's daughter attends, has figured out a unique way to raise money. First they load someone's yard up with pink flamingos, then charge them $25 to remove them and plant them in someone else's yard.

The money will go for a trip to Washington, D.C.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Let's Take Care of What's Really Important

As teachers we've listened to years of political hacks telling us how important standardized tests were, how schools needed their feet held to the fire and how if it wasn't measured it wouldn't improved.

Well, Texas politicians and school officials have proven that tests are not really that important. Seems there was a little problem in scheduling. Texas primaries were scheduled on the same day as TAKS testing in the schools, and since a large number of polling places are in schools school officials and the governor decided to reschedule the mostly pointless primaries.

Just kidding of course. Instead they moved the all important, schools have to be accountable through standardized test, TAKS test to a day later.

Via the Corsicana Daily Sun.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Teacher Loses Award For Refusing To Miss 2 Days of School

It sounds like something from a cheesy Hollywood movie or TV show, but an East Texas teacher is missing out on a prestigious award because he refuses to miss 2 days of school to attend a mandatory "conference".

Via the Lufkin Daily News comes this story about high school Math instructor Bill Newell. Mr. Newell was, in effect, selected as one of the 10 best teachers in the state of Texas by the University of Texas.

The award came with a catch:
Newell learned that, in order to receive the award, he had to attend the conference.

"They didn't say anything about that in their application," he said. "I thought it was a no-win situation. If I didn't go, I wouldn't get the award. If I did go, I didn't think it would be fair to my students. My students depend on me to be here every day. They always say to me, 'What will we do if you're not here?' I get that all the time, because they're so used to seeing me all the time."

Not wanting to miss his classes, Newell explained the situation to award administrators to no avail.

Mr. Newell will also have to forfeit a $2250 cash award for his refusal to miss 2 days of work.

It sounds like some people at the University of Texas has their priorities a little messed up, doesn't it?