Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Obama Birth Certificate

News today is that President Obama has released his long form birth certificate. The LA Times is also reporting that a "self-annointed leader of the so-called "birther" movement" still has doubts (no one should be surprised).

I'm hoping this issue can now be put to rest. But I have one question: The issue has been going on for over 3 years, why release the form now? Why wasn't it released 3 years ago?

I suspect that instead of resolving issues, new ones will come up....

Monday, April 11, 2011

School budget problems resolved - Auburn, Maine

Auburn Maine school department has found a way to solve their budget problems. Details in the accompanying article are sketchy (non-existent), but evidently it's true. Rather than spend public funding on more books, more material for the classroom or even more teachers or aides, the school department has decided that the money would be better spent on iPads.

The iPads have apps for "learning your letters from books, that can be read, (and) finger painting your name" so it's easy to see why Superintendent Tom Morrill sees why "it's absolutely something we must do." It's amazing that anyone was ever able to learn their letters in the past.

I know you're thinking that iPads cost a lot of money, but these only ended up costing the school department a little over $700 each - 285 for only $200,000. You're probably thinking you could have bought a lot of real books for that money and maybe even some blank paper and real finger paint, but wouldn't that get the kids' hands messy? Why you might even have to buy paint aprons and how many of those can you buy for $200,000?

Hiring another teacher is out of the question. Hiring teacher's aides for the classroom is out of the question (you know, those people who only make about $15k each? 10 more teacher's aides won't do as good as an iPad). If the money had not been spent on iPads I'm sure it would have been spent on another administrator trying to Race for the Top (while sinking to the bottom).

This "cutting edge technology will boost literacy rates from 62 percent to 90 percent in two years" (or it's hoped it will).

I'm not sure what they did to solve their budget problems, but I think every school district in the US should fly to Auburn to see what they've done and immediately implement the same plan. Times being hard, trips will be limited to 3 days and district employees will have to fly coach...

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Memo to congress - thanks for doing your job

I say this almost sarcastically. Congress has finally done what they were supposed to do last fall. Apparently. There's still more haggling to come, the budget bill signed last night is really only for another week, the final bill will be hammered out in the coming week.

Understand that the main issue here is spending. We want it cut. It's not just because of the recent deficit (although that's what woke everyone up), we wanted spending to be cut before that. It's not just about the threats to cut military pay (which by the way were uncalled for), it's about planning and living by a plan. It's not about telling federal workers on Friday that they may not have a job on Saturday, it's about providing for the common defense and if a worker isn't doing that, he/she needs to find a real job that helps the US, not drags it down.

It's not about throwing women under the bus, it's about removing funding from an organization that doesn't fulfill the job it portrays to do and kills babies, protects rapists and hides pimps instead. It's not about which radio station you listen to it's about what radio station the government should pay for (I'll give you a hint - none) and which ones should be paid for with private funds (another hint - all of them).

I could go on an on, but I won't. Instead I'll say "Thank-you" to congress - "you did your job". However, most of us in the real tax-paying world understand that just doing your job once a year isn't enough. Now you need to go back in there and do your job AND MORE for the rest of the year. Remember, elections are coming!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Budget crisis solution - Mr. Pruitt style

Watching the mess in Washington made me think of a solution. It involves Mr. Pruitt - the teacher I had for wood shop in the 8th grade. I think some of his teaching solutions would help out.

Mr. Pruitt taught at Hughes Middle School and at the time, only boys took the class (I think my younger sister was the first girl to take wood shop. Mr Pruitt retired soon after that, I don't think he could handle girls). 8th grade boys being what they were, they would occasionally get in fights. When this happened, Mr. Pruitt would put the chairs in a circle and we would all stand around while he encouraged the two boys to go at it. They would walk around with fists up, looking at each other. Mr. Pruitt would push one towards the other and they would both back away. As Mr. Pruitt would say, one was scared, the other was glad.

I think his solution to the budget crisis would be similar. He'd get a group of citizens to stand around the Capitol and let Congress go at it until they finished the job we hired them to do. He'd push the Democrats and watch the Republicans back away. One would be scared and the other would be glad.

At the end of the day, we'd have a budget. It might not be the best budget, but it would be a budget. And no one would be pointing fingers. I think Mr. Pruitt could solve a lot of our problems.