Share

Bookmark and Share

Friday, April 30, 2010

What a Difference.

I really do prefer not dredging up the past. I find myself today, however, compelled to bring it up. It is not going to shock anyone if I suggest that our previous President botched the Hurricane Katrina rescue by his absence from the scene....both physically and mentally. Now, in the same state, Lousiana, we have another disaster with the BP oil spill. Guess what? Our President is engaged. He has already spoken about it, announced an aggressive role by the Federal Government, has communicated with state officials, has had his Homeland Security Director speak about the incident and describe the plans to monitor and assist and he understands the threat to our shores and the science and technology that will be used to minimize the environmental impact. What a difference. Meanwhile, Governor Bobby Jindal will soon have his hand out for Federal assistance and has already asked for National Guard assistance...all paid for with taxpayer money. This is the correct thing to do, but it is important to point out that this is the same person who thought it was politically acceptable to criticize the Federal economic bailout plan and not take money due his state at the time. I guess even Governor Jindal understands the role of the Federal Government...to promote the general welfare? Where are you Americans for Reason and Truth?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Real Talent

I have been Co-Directing the talent show at my school. This is certainly not an extraordinary event. It is done in thousands of schools across the country every year. It does, however, allow a teacher to reflect and to see his or her students in a different light. This is the light of the future. Getting up on stage is scary. Putting in the time to prepare is difficult with so many other priorities. Lastly, it requires a lot of effort. This evening about 25 students will come out of their shells, get on stage and be the best that they can be. They will sing, dance, rap, coordinate behind the scenes stuff and function like a well oiled machine. These young men and women are the real talent that will be needed to address the awesome challenges facing them as adults. We owe them a lot more than we have given them thus far. I look at our leaders, bickering politically, not doing the job that they were sent to Washington to do. Fighting over labels, and votes, and skin color and Wall Street and on and on and on. Where is their talent? Not to be seen right now unfortunately. I wish our Congress could go back in time and think about their own days as students, performing on stage at their own talent shows. Back then, they were the real talent. I only hope they can find their voices again. Break a leg kids. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Here we go again

Today, Financial reform, needed in this country to avoid another economic meltdown, failed to be brought up for a vote. Our Republican friends, not satisfied with obstruction over Health Care, Climate Control and progress, in their typical way sided with the very institutions that created the financial climate that has brought many to financial ruin. Way to go. These obstructionists still believe that the country is on their side. This time, they have gone too far. In a way I am glad they said no. Perhaps it will be a real wake up call to Americans who don't want the party of obstruction to seize the debate. And thanks to Senator Ben Nelson, a Democrat in name only for delaying health care and now siding with the R's on financial reform as well. This lack of conscience is reprehensible. Here we go again. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What a baby

When we were children and someone cut in front of the line, or took our hat and ran away, or called us a silly name, we might react by saying "I'm not your friend anymore" or "if you take my hat,then I'll take yours". These childish responses are certainly expected from children...but not from adults. Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina can occasionally be counted on to be reasonable. He accepted the President's recent Supreme Court nomination and has been at times a lone voice of composure and approrpriateness when responding to the extremists from his party. Yesterday, however, he became a child again responding as if someone took his hat. If you look at photos of the Polar North taken recently versus a decade ago, it will be a frightening reminder that global warming is real and not as the ignorant like to say...just a cycle. Senator Graham has been working in a bipartisan way with Senator John Kerry on a climate change bill that will change the behaviors of this nation and show respect for the planet we all share. This was to be announced on Monday. However, because our President had the audactiy to multi task and make Immigration reform part of the current dialogue again, Senator Reid, the majority leader, wishes to deal with this too. Senator Graham is pulling his support for the Climate change initiative because another important issue is moving up the priority line. Perhaps he is getting pressure from our Kentucky boy Mitch and sees this as a way to avoid bipartisanship, but Senator Graham is better than that. Come on Mr. Graham, get another hat and grow up. You are not a child. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

True to our values

On the pedestal of the great statue are the words ""Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Lazarus wrote them as a welcome to those from stranger places and darker circumstances. An invitation to join in the greatness of America. These are the values that most of us cherish. As an immigrant nation we welcomed the spirit, the know how and the energy of masses of people who built this great land and from whom we all descend. And then comes 9-11, hysterical fear mongering and a hatefulness that resides in the recently passed Arizona Immigration Bill yesterday. I am not advocating for illegal immigration or unrestrained border access. I am advocating for us to be true to our values. Racial profiling is wrong and racist now matter how or where it is done. Even and especially, when it is driven by a desparate Governor trying to hold on to the position and a desperate Senator who is being challenged in a primary and whose past words of sense and reason related to Immigration reform are now denied and ignored in favor of a few votes. Senator McCain ought to be ashamed and we are better off as a nation for his loss in the Presidential election. Sensible immigration reform is the way a nation of immigrants treats those who continue to desire the benefits of the greatness of our nation and for whom Lazarus's words ring true. I only hope that shades of skin were not at the root of this awful step in the State of Arizona. If business, industry and government were to only follow the laws that exist already instead of employing illegals to boost stock prices, we wouldn't have the problem that we do. It is shameful to see Arizona walk away from American values and Emma's words. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Diminishing Marginal Utility

So I was nice for a day. That day is gone and I am back to being my old self. In my economics class today, I was teaching the concept of diminishing marginal utility..a little tough for high schoolers, but nonetheless important. Our demand for something will shrink at a faster rate as we use more of the product or item. Unfortunately, this basic economic concept applies to learning and knowledge it seems. Now I view each day a gift and have set an important goal..to learn something new each and every day. My quest and thirst for learning grows each day. I remain inquisitive and interested and wish for more and more as I learn. So I am bucking the trend of diminishing marginal utility. Why, I keep asking, does this not work in my classes? When I moved to my AP Government class later in the day, I enthusiastically discussed the Federal Budget process. I compared it to the realities of today, discussed progressive taxation, explained the current debate about reigning in Wall street abuse. I discussed the many important and fascinating issues that make this topic so important in our lives. I was pumped, energized, really on my game...and then I looked out and saw the most amazing example of Diminishing Marginal Utility. An increasingly slower demand for knowledge as the day went on. I guess I am too good an economics teacher. Where were you today my future Americans for Reason and Truth.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Be Nice

A friend at work yesterday suggested that I was being too negative. As one who can indeed accept a little constructive criticism and eat some humble pie every once and a while, I have decided to change the tone in today's blog. I believe that the vast majority of elected members of Congress care deeply about this country and wish to do the right thing on behalf of the nation and their constitutents. I believe that most Americans cherish free and open debate and conduct themselves in a way that does not include vitriol and mean spiritnedness and does include honorable and ethical dialogue. I believe that overwhelmingly, Americans have a sense of fairness and believe in equality for all. I believe that we are making incredible progress toward racial harmony and respect for difference in this country. I believe in the American value system which is based on freedom, justice, equality and fairness. Lastly, I do have confidence that out there in our vast nation there are Americans who stand for reason and truth. There. I was nice. Enjoy it while it lasts for tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Your Rights Are Safe.

I was watching Chris Matthews last night and his final thoughts were the precursor to my blog today...therefore it will be short. He had two guests who in essence were asking for the President's head on a platter calling him a socialist again and desribing him as someone who is taking away our rights. So I ask them....can you live wherever you want? Can you say dumb things over and over in an unrestrained manner? Can you buy a gun? Can you quit your job? Is the Government telling you what you have to do for a living? Can you protest? Can you assemble? Can you travel? Can you vote? Can you march? Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, No, Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes. I do not feel threatened that my rights as a citizen are being taken away. I have no fears that Mexican Immigrants are going to pull a coup d'etat and bring down our Government. I am not afraid that financial regulation or other such rules to protect us from economic disaster will take away the capitalist spirit and stall the great capitalist engine of American enterprise. For anyone to suggest that we are about to lose our rights is quite ignorant, inaccurate and insane. I would suggest that those who are truly fearful of this, use their right to travel and go somewhere else where their freedoms will be safe and secure. How about China, Iran or North Korea for starters. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kentucky

When you say Kentucky, most people think of the Derby, or Mint Juleps or Bourbon. I DON'T. I think of Senator Mitch McConnell, minority leader of the Senate. Recipient of donated money from Wall Street Institutions, congressional parliamentarian looking for ways to derail, obfuscate and kill good legislation for America and lastly, distorter of the truth. Senator McConnell did his best to destroy Health Care Legislation and while he did not succeed, he did succeed in confusing America about the bill and brilliantly used political tactics to actually distort it. Many Americans as a result of his effort, are still unhappy and confused about the bill. Senator McConnell is at it again. Now he is against Finance reform because it may make the banks and investment firms more accountable to America but the Senator doesn't want to hurt his friends in the banking industry. So, he is out there going on and on about how bad it is....too complicated....start over...all the same rhetoric used before. There is one big lie....that this bill will cost the taxpayers for future bailouts because there is an emergency fund set up to be used to avoid the failures of big banks in the future. What the Senator doesn't tell you is the truth. This fund is to be put up by the banks...not the taxpayers. You go, Senator McConnell. Keep trying to kill all the President's agenda items. It may help in Kentucky for you personally, but no wonder as of today the people trust Government at the lowest point since 1958. Good for you Mr. McConnell. Enjoy the race, have a sip and keep doing what you do best....pound on the President. Long term, not really good for the country...or don't you really care? Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Priorities

I was born in NYC. I live in NJ. It is true that both states along with many others, are struggling with deficits and budget mismanagement. In my own profession, education, New Jersey Districts are facing real problems with cut back in state aid costing teachers their jobs in many cases, not that teachers should necessarily be more exempt from economic strife than the already unemployed, but they are getting a bad rap. Anyway, in NYC there is a marvelous institution in Greenwich Village named Saint Vincent's Hospital. This is a hospital that dealt for decades with the poor, with those who could not get care elsewhere and has been an historic health institution in the city. It faced its own fiscal crisis and is about to close. Both state governors are trying to deal and make tough choices to put some sense of fiscal feasability in place but I am not sure they have a sense of perspective. In addition, NJ residents will see 25% increases in commuter fairs along with cuts in education et al. Governor Christie does not think that a tax on those making over 400,000 dollars a year should also be implemented to share the suffering. Governor Paterson has decided that in the middle of this crisis another failed institution is too important to fail. OTB (Off Track Betting....). While Saint Vincent's Hospital will close, 1300 legal gambling employees will be saved for a while longer. I do not wish to see people lose their jobs but if gambling is more important than health, and taxing the middle class through education cuts and commuter fare increases is more important that asking the wealthy to contribute a little more, I think our priorities are all screwed up. Priorities are setting a level of importance with the issues that we must deal with. Putting education and health behind gambling and asking for a little more help from those who can, just isnt correct. Where are you Americans for Reason and Truth?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Where is the Thank You?

Yesterday in Florida at a fundraiser, President Obama was having some fun with the Tea Partiers by asking for a thank you. His demeanor may have been somewhat humorous and Fox News and the Repubs. have already called it rude in their typical hateful and inaccurate fashion, but the reality is that since President Obama came to office, tax relief in the form of many deductions and actual tax reduction has impacted the vast majority of Americans positively. In fact, a disproportionate number of Tea Party Whiners are complaining about taxes. As they say in the south "that dog won't hunt". What's scarier is that these folks are being told by the political spinners that their taxes are going up while their paychecks show less taxes being taken and more deductions available. (Hope their accountants were smart enough the other day when we all filed.) Where are the brains? They are in their heads, but not working. This same group is screaming at the top of their lungs about this conversion to Socialism without even understanding what it means. Socialism means that the Government owns and operates the means of production and that there is an absence or diminishing level of private property. Does the government own the Tea Party activitists' homes? Are IBM, Microsoft, Honeywell, Intel, Ford, and the thousands of other small and large businesses contributing to the larget capitalist engine in the world owned by the Government? With this alleged communist takeover of health care did the Government acquire Cigna, Aetna, Blue Cross and all these huge private health care company money rapists? The answer to all of these questions is a loud and obvious NO. The United States is not approaching socialism, is not reducing private enterprise, has not engaged in a mass takeover of private property and it is silly to suggest that anything close to that is happening. Those who yell the loudest, seem to know and understand the least. It is like being told to jump into your pool, knowing there is no water in it, and doing it anyway. Wake Up people. As one who earns less than 250,000 dollars a year, I will say it. "Thank You Mr. President". Where are you Americans for reason and truth? Enjoy the weekend.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Water's Edge

Perhaps there is hope. Just read the attached for today. I presently and probably temporarily feel a little better.

http://congress.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/04/16/the-waters-edge/

Thursday, April 15, 2010

1773

In 1773, in an effort to protest English Parliament's tax on tea, the colonists refused to accept tea from three East India ships because this would have implied acceptance of the right of Parliament to tax without colonist representation. Two hundred and thirty-seven years later, we have a movement which I will called Tea Party Two made up of activists in total opposition to the Obama Administration and Big Government. Why they are active now but not during the Bush years where massive spending and unchecked government greed were in place I have my own theories. Nevertheless, yesterday in the same city of Boston, 5,000 of these tea party two activists showed up to scream their usual comments about unconstitutional actions, big government, taxes, states' rights etc. The real tea party of 1773 actually had 7,000 colonists protesting the tea tax which makes yesterday's crowd microscopic. Suffice it to say, however, that there is an activist tea party movement in this country trying make Obama a one termer. What they fail to realize is that their interpretation of the Constitution is so lacking that it is laughable. Do they deny the existence of the 16th amendment giving Congress the right to levy an income tax? Do they deny that WE the PEOPLE includes sensible and intelligent Americans too? Do they deny the Constitutional provision that a census be conducted every ten years and isn't a communist plot? Do they deny Article I section 8 which says Congress shall have the power to tax to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States? Do they deny Congress's role to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying out their powers? Do they deny the fact that Hawaii is a state, or does it have a star on the flag making the President a qualified natural born citizen? Do they deny the fact that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid accepted by virtually all Americans as valid programs are all Government run and paid for by American tax dollars? In Washington DC over the next day or so, advocates of the Tea Party Two movement will be screaming and yelling at the White House promising to stop taxes, big government, Obamacare, Socialism, communism, death panels, abortion, the plague and all other such stuff. I hope they read the Constitution and Bill of Rights at some point in time and bless the first amendment which gives even them the right to freely assemble without anything worthwhile or appropriate to assemble about. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Yes Sarah, Yes!!

I am sleeping. What a wonderful dream I am having. You know, that Sarah Palin really is hot. That twinkle in her eye, that smile, that sexy look? I can see why she is on every cover of every magazine. She really does turn me on. Oh Lord, Sarah, I can't believe you can do that, wow, yes, yes, Yes Sarah Yes......oh crap, I woke up. Why is it that every time you are having a wonderful and erotic dream this happens. Damn, I am too excited to sleep now. I think I will turn on the TV. Oh my, there she is. My dream girl..Sarah. What's this? She's speaking. What is she saying? Death Panels....huh, tea party...what?....fight for lost freedoms.....I can see Russia from my house......hockey moms...blah blah blah, gee wiz. What an idiot. How stupid can one person be? What was John McCain thinking? What a friggin turnoff. Darn it.....I am going back to sleep. YES Sarah YES!!!! Where are you Americans for truth?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Party of No

The Republican Party has been criticized since President Obama took office as the Party of No. To be fair, this is a misnomer. In fact, they are the Party of Yes. For the six years under President Bush that they controlled Congress they said yes to every spending item recommended. They said yes to unrestrained Wall Street greed by ignoring the simple regulations already in place. They said yes to banks that offerred bad loans to people who now find themselves near or in foreclosure. They said yes to tax cuts for the wealthiest people in America while also saying yes to funding 2 wars without budgeting for these wars. They said yes to big government by passing spending bills and growing our deficit to record levels only exceeded by the Democrats recently in an effort to fix our ailing economy. They said yes to continued bigotry in our military ignoring the need to change Don't Ask Don't Tell. They said yes to Hedge Fund Managers whose unchecked greed cost investors billions and billions of dollars. Need I go on? I don't think so. The real Party of No are the Democrats. They are trying to say No to a policy that denies 40 million Americans Health Care. They are saying no to Wall Street Executives who continue to take advantage of Main Street American by continuous policies of financial greed. They are saying no to a failed policy that discriminates against patriotic Americans who choose to join the military and fight for our values. They are saying no to attempts by republicans to delay and deny Americans in need, the unemployment benefits they deserve. Need I go on? The Democrats are the Party of No and this is a party I can go to. Where are you Americans for truth and reason?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hypocrisy

Today I wish to express my anger with hyprocrisy. First, we have previous Presidential candidate John McCain who has marketed himself for decades as a maverick, having the nerve to suggest that he never considered himself such. He would do absolutely anything for a vote and it is time to move this war hero and dedicated American out of the daily political scene. Unfortunately, his primary opponent is even worse. The real hypocrisy is not really the McCain issue however. He is just another politician hawking for votes and changing his position. It is with those who pride themselves as 'Family Value" leaders, in particular, three to write about today. Senator David Vitter from Louisiana, Governor (oh no she quit) Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. David Vitter has always been an advocate for family values. His consistent voting record against any non mainstream social group or desire to press for equality for all has given him the support of the vast majority of voters in his state for who family values are a top voting prioritiy. Yet, this man, soon to be re-elected has cavorted with prostitutes. He has given the usual political cliche apology but his actions should be reprehensible to his supporters. Yet, they continue to support him. Mrs. Palin is a devoted Christian who gets much of her political guidance from the Lord. This is admirable and many devoted family values voters support her. Do they support pre-marital sexual relations of teen children? Probably not and yet they support someone who has had to deal with this in her family. Newt Gingrich loves to promote himself as the purist of the Conservative wing of his party and relies on the support of many family values voters. Yet, while his ex wife was ill with cancer, he carried on an adulterous affair. Still, he promotes himself to the constituency that believes in good family values. Now, I believe that all of these unfortunate personal issues are private and should not be as much a part of the poltical discussion in America that they are. But, if I were truly a voter who cast his votes on family values issues and issues of good moral behavior, Palin, Gingrich and Vitter could not make my list. To those Americans who believe in good family values, check out the wonderfully successful marriage of our President, his two marvelous children, their care being done my grandma at home and a family unit that is a wonderful example of what is good and right about behavior. How does a family values voter support a man who likes prostitutes, a woman with pre teen sexual behavior within her family and a man who cheats on a sick wife, over our President? It is hypocrisy of huge proportions. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Americans for reason and truth

I am not a person of any particular importance. I am a teacher by profession who struggles daily to guide students to recognize the importance of citizenship, to understand both sides of an issue before deciding their views and to recognize truth from folly. I am a supporter of reasonable government intervention when it is for the collective good of our people and a political independent with leanings toward the left but open to good honest debate. I can be swayed. I don't take Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh seriously and am not afraid that they will take over the media. I prefer MSNBC and NPR for my political news but try and inform myself about world events through publications like "The Economist". I am saddened by the gradual demise of the written word in the form of newspapers and am troubled by the 24/7 soundbyte mentality that seems to have taken over our already short attention spans for important issues of the day. Of all the things that may frustrate or scare me, the most concerning is how the likes of a Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman or a Newt Gingrich can simply say whatever they want with no concern for the truth. Continuous statements and platitudes with no basis of truth or accuracy continue to be accepted by irresponsible elected officials whose re-election takes precedence over the truth. So, I begin today to hope that there are other reasonable people out there who are also interested in the truth. If you want smaller government, fine but don't say there are death panels taking over our health care decisions. If you believe we should be taxed less, fine, but don't call our President a socialist without understanding or researching the term. If you wish to support a republican, fine, but demand alternative solutions from them that are founded on truth and fair debate. Most important, recongize that intellect and international curiosity are not sins, but required and needed qualities for our leaders to have. Don't support individuals who are so unqualified that it is scary. Remember, leaders lead, liars lie and Americans must stand for truth, honor and decency.