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Friday, June 25, 2010

Be Positive

I was having a conversation with one of my readers the other day. He was giving me some suggestions about blogging due to his significantly greater experience than mine. He encouraged me to be more positive with my posts. My response was that he may be right, but that this was a political blog with a partisan tilt to the left. How is it possible to be positive when responding to a gleeful Senator McConnell who gloats about defeating unemployment benefits? How can I be positive about two men who claim to be affiliates of the Democratic party philosophy, Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson who continually count local votes while screwing the nation? How can I be positive when people blame the President for an undersea oil explosion not of his making? How can I be positive when I continually see Republican politicians scream about Democratic spending when they themselves presided over incredible deficit creation and squandered surplus? Well, quite frankly I can't. I think therefore, I will take a few days off from blogging while I try to find the bright side and Be Positive. Don't count on it, but I will sincerely try. Where are you Americans for Reason and Truth?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dedication

Yesterday I said good-bye to the class of 2010. It was a very emotional experience and I dedicate this blog to them. I write to express my thoughts and opinions about the important issues of our time. As their teacher I tried to impress upon them the importance of becoming engaged in current events and in the processes of our government. I hope I have inspired them in some way to do so. This blog is therefore a simple encouragement for them to make every effort to become informed and to follow the issues. They are the Americans for Reason and Truth. Love you guys.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Runaway General

General Stanley McChrystal has been summoned to the White House from Afghanistan to account for his recent "Rolling Stone" interview remarks. Already the questions as to his continued status as leader of the Afghanistan War team are revolving around DC. All the pundits and the experts will be debating this for days. I do not condone such disrespectful remarks as made in this article regarding the Vice President and other members of the Obama team. However, it is my hope that a cooler President Obama does not resort to the usual knee jerk reaction and ask for the General's dismissal. After all, he is a warrior, not a politician. He is paid to fight and to be mean at times and to finish the battle against our enemy. So he spoke out of turn. Who hasn't? If we were all held to account for some of the dummer things we have said, none of us would pass the litmus test of 100 percent appropriateness. The General slipped up. Scold him and embarrass him a little and then let him go back and win the war. Where are you Americans for Reason and Truth?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

I am not much of a believer in these manufactured Hallmark Holidays. I know my son loves me and do not need one specific day to remind me of that. Instead of thinking about what children are doing for their fathers today, I am thinking about what more we can do for our sons and daughters....We can end the two wars we are fighting, we can figure out how to diminish the vindictive and vitriolic politics in our nation. We can reduce our dependence on oil can commit to real education reform and stop the greed and obsession with money on the part of our investment and banking community. We can show real respect for our environment by passing real reform and we can tell these moronic tea party activists that they need to read the Constitution. We must do these things for our sons and daughters and simply say thanks to our dads. There is too much else to do. Where are you Americans for Reason and Truth?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Another idiot politician heard from

It is easy to wrap oneself in the news of the oil disaster and forget the other realities in our nation and world. As unemployment remains a blight on the economic recovery, the Republicans along with a few by name only democrats and independents, continued to obstruct the most recent jobless benefits bill. The usual BS, not BP. Too expensive, hurts businesses, Obama a communist etc. The most recent idiot politician comes from Mississippi a state with consistently the lowest academic achievement and income levels of all 50 states. Still, election after election, they vote for the party whose policies have lead to their infamous ratings. Senator Roger Wicker from Mississippi has given the response to the President's call for the bill and bothered to make further idiotic comments related to the President's handling of the oil spill. He had the nerve to say that looking to change energy policy at this time is the wrong priortiy. Weaning ourselves off of oil and regulating dangerous oil drilling practices are job killers and the President is this and that etc. I suppose if he came through the education system of his state, still struggling to improve, he is at a liability in terms of vision and intellect. Perhaps we cannot blame his idiocy at all. Senator Wicker, you are not good for this country or your constituents. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Is it all BP's Fault?

I have been feverishly preparing for the end of school, giving finals, preparing grades and other end of the year stuff, but none of these responsibilities is keeping me from continuing to remain engaged. So as Congress grilled the BP CEO leading perhaps to his demotion and the President speaks to the nation, and a member of the House has the audacity to apologize to BP for a government shakedown and the oil still pours into the gulf, I am still frought with anger, disappointment and frustration as are many Americans. Emotions, however, will not fix the problem and even when the oil is finally capped, huge problems will continue to persist and harm the environment. I was speaking to a friend today and she engaged me in a discussion about culpability and I couldn't agree more with her. Thanks Sandy. BP is not alone. We in America with an appetite for oil that is endless are probably more at fault. We have created through our consumption habits a situation that allows oil lobby groups to prevail and Congressmen and women to take a hands off approach about oil companies because they need donations to their campaigns. We avoid solar, and wind and clean coal in favor of cheaper gas and refined oil. We use it without any sense of conservation or any real commitment to pay the expense today for a cheaper tomorrow. We helped to cause this accident only we fail to see it or admit it. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Take it or Leave it.

The War in Afghanistan has now surpassed Vietnam as the longest war in our history. Originally, we attacked in response to 9-11 and admittedly reduced our presence too early due to an obsession with Iraq. Adjustments in troop levels made by the Obama Administration have again embroiled us in a very serious conflict against a ruthless and unwavering enemy, the Taliban. However, officials of our Government will continue to insist that this is a War against Al Queda and we have been successful in eliminating much of their power structure. The reality, however, is that if we wish to call Afghanistan a true democratic partner, Al Queda cannot be the only enemy to defeat. Now we discover a vast array of natural resources in Afghanistan worth by some estimates a trillion dollars. The President is planning to reduce troop levels by next year and turn the conflict over to remaining NATO forces and the Afghanis themselves. This may sound great and I am no supporter of a protracted war, but we are laying our lives down in defense of Afghan reconstruction with not much to show for it. My plan is this, take and secure these resources for repayment for our loss of life and continued protection, or get out for good. It seems only fair to me. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

That's the name

It is laughable that Britain is embroiled in a communications battle with our President over the disaster in the Gulf. In the U.S., President Obama has been criticized for not being aggressive enough ( I don't agree ) in dealing with the oil spill. Across the Atlantic, our closest ally and historical motherland is 180 degrees in the opposite direction. British politicians trying to stir up nationalistic feelings and protect pensioners have roundly criticized our President for being too aggressive and downright insulting. The thing is, all he did was call the company by their right name....BRITISH PETROLEUM. Instead of criticizing him, why don't they condemn BRITISH PETROLEUM'S irresponsible actions and mis-truths all in the name of protecting their muddy reputation. Instead of tar balls, we are now seeing thick and expanding pockets of oil hitting our shores. This disaster is now ten times the size of The Exxon Valdiez and it would be nice of our ally to support efforts to hold BRITISH PETROLEUM accountable instead of whining. This is a crisis and it needs serious grown up solutions. A British company is responsible for this disaster and trying to deny that fact is an insult to the thousands of people whose lives have been dramatically and sadly altered. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What do they want?

Yesterday some students of mine sent a picture text message to me during school, of picketers in front of a BP gas station. I was happy to see it because it shows that their level of consciousness regarding this crisis has been raised as it has been throughout the country. There is no doubt, that British Petroleum caused this, is responsible for it and all of the forces at our disposal should be employed to hold them accountable for the cleanup and for financial compensation to those they have harmed. The President, however, who may have gotten off to a slow start in communicating with us, is garnering all the available resources within Federal control, has visited the region multiple times to include another visit next week. He has absorbed knowledge, understands the science and technology and for my money, has acted forcefully and appropriately. Still, he is criticized. What else is new? He has been criticized for not calling BP's CEO, for the kinds of trousers he wore on the beach, for being too aggressive in stopping the drilling and for just being Obama. What happended to the days when we rallied as a nation around our leader, made constructive non political statements of support and acted like adults? Those days are gone. What do they want? They want Obama to fail. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Education....Not Just Talk

Every President and Governor in my lifetime that has made a speech about education has always said the right thing....that education is important, it is our future, teaching is an honorable profession, education lets us compete in a world of increasing globalization and on and on and on. Every politician loves to annoint his or herself as the education President or education guru and then regrettably when times are tough, do not honor the words and committments stated in their eloquent speeches. Often they make teachers the villains and school boards wasters of tax money. Today, President Obama will be visiting a high school in Kalamazoo because of its performance in the Race to the Top education competition. It is nice to have a President attend a high school graduation and talk about the importance of setting standards and competing and learning, but most times, these words are hollow and without follow up. Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education is doing a reasonably good job with the message, but so much is broken that it takes a lot more than words to fix it. The President has said that teachers are underpaid, but there is no mechanism in place to insure that they are given their rightful place in the respect hierarchy as in other cultures. The President says that technology and science are important, but there is no mechanism in place to break the realities of Federalism and State control over standards and paying for public education. In my own state, the Governor wants to break the Union, has contempt for it and has used public frustration with a bad economy, to slash local budgets for school aid. Teachers are being let go, supplies and courses are being eliminated and college graduates cannot find teaching jobs in many areas. I am not an apologist for corruption that needs to be addressed, but I want to see people really support education with action, direction and real contribution to honor their words as politicians. Education is indeed important and as our school year comes to an end, the prospects for the future are dim. Our leaders need to keep their words to a minimum and maximize their actions or American children will fall further behind. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Shut Up.

President Obama has nominated James Clapper as the replacement for Dennis Blair who resigned under fire as National Director of Intelligence. This is a very important job responsible for coordinating anti terror activities and to work through the amazing bureaucracy of our various intellignece services. This man's temperment according to our bi partisan Sectretary of Defense Gates is right for the job. He was confirmed by the Senate in his current position and has a lifelong resume of knowledge and experience in matters relevant to this new job. The President is best suited to get recommendations from members of the Intelligence community as he is closer to what is happening in intelligence than any other elected official. So before one question is asked at a confirmation hearing, we have the usual members of Congress from both parties articulating objections....we need a civilian....his personality is wrong.....he won't be forceful enough.....he this, he that. I believe in checks and balances, but Congress needs to shut up. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Friday, June 4, 2010

What am I Missing?

We are now in the 46th day of the Gulf Coast environmental disaster. Louisiana will be devistated again. The President has rightly put a moratorium on new leases for further underwater drilling until we can figure out how to avoid such a man made problem and/or to develop solutions to such catastrophes. Now, Governor Jindal of Louisiana and other politicians are begging the President to allow the drilling to continue. What am I missing? Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

So What Else is New?

Now admittedly, I have a soft spot in my heart for Israel. To be objective, however, it is important to note that it is the only totally free society in the Middle East area with a system of values and governance consistent with the United States and an ally in every sense of the word. If you could keep the religious and cultural aspects of the controversy out of the picture, there would be no quarrel with Israel as an example of true democracy. Unfortunately, we cannot put these complicated, historical and biblical issues aside and as a result, the world condemns Israel as the bully every single time as if there is no other side to the story. The recent commando raid looks bad on the surface. The media reporting this as an affront to humanity and the killing of innocent people. This has been the usual reaction so what else is new? The facts are clear. Israel is surrounded by people who have vowed to destroy it. The people of Israel are under a consistent existential threat. Daily, enemies shoot bombs into their territory. Daily, hatred spews out of the mouths of people in the area who have come to reject Israel's progress, people, innovation and hard work because they have not been able to duplicate such resilience. This supposed flotilla of aid involved ships that have been peacefully warned by Israel in the past, not to cross the blockade. The blockade exists because the Gaza Strip is run by Hamas, a terrorist group that vows to pursue Israel's destruction. How can much of the world ignore these facts? Think about your own lives. If they were threatened, wouldn't you react? For those who always condemn Israel under every circumstance, perhaps you should put yourself in its place. Less than one tenth of one percent of the land in the Middle East is Israeli land and yet the pressures for it to give more and to compromise more mount daily. It just isn't fair and it just isn't right. Interesting that these supposedly peaceful aid givers and Palestinian supporters were able to pull out weapons and beat Israeli commandos once they boarded the ships. Peaceful my butt. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Moments to be Proud

On Memorial Day, Vice President Biden spoke on the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetary paying tribute to the thousands who have died protecting our nation. At this very location, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, on the Thursday before, I was there with 60 High School Seniors ready to party and have a great time on a Senior Trip to Williamsburg. On the way down, we stopped in DC to see the sights and before we left, we spent time at Arlington. These students are very mixed in terms of their interests and academic motivation particularly at the end of their High School experience. For this precious hour at Arlington however, they all were one. The respect they accorded the location and the behaviors they exhibited were so wonderful and so appropriate for the location that I almost shed a tear. For all their desire for fun, they stopped, reflected and made the most of the experience. I am so proud of them all and they deserve only the best from us as we leave them a very tough world to fix. There is hope. Go South River Rams. You are the best. Where are you Americans for reason and truth?