Thursday, January 29, 2009

Heat for me but not for thee

Do you remember this memorable Obama quote from the campaign trail? The enviro-cultists loved it:
“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.”
Well, it seems that Barack Obama really does personify "change." What is his stance on thermostat settings now?
The capital flew into a bit of a tizzy when, on his first full day in the White House, President Obama was photographed in the Oval Office without his suit jacket. There was, however, a logical explanation: Mr. Obama, who hates the cold, had cranked up the thermostat.

“He’s from Hawaii, O.K.?” said Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss. “He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there.”
After a "green" inauguration that produced hundreds of millions of pounds of carbon dioxide and tons of garbage, Obama is now providing us with another glimpse of who he really is. Man, this next four years is just gonna be a hoot!

Good Day to You, Sir

Coma? Try brain death!

In a recent post, fellow edublogger Mrs. Bluebird gave a quality description of students in their 7th grade year as going through "The Year of the Coma." Their brains are so occupied with growing and hormones, they cannot seem to think of much else, like, say, academics or forming a coherent sentence.

I wholly endorse Mrs. Bluebird's coma theory, but after reading a note that I found left behind in my classroom today, I would say "The Year of Brain Death" would be a more apt description. I am often amused by the content of student-to-student notes that I find or confiscate, but this one struck me with its particularly brutal brand of nihilistic shallowness. Keep in mind that this exchange was written between a 7th grade boy and a 7th grade girl who I guess (???) are friends. I have typed it exactly as it was written, and a big warning to the timid - the language gets severe:
Wuz up Nigga
your dum Nigga!
whats your point?
That you dum thats my point
So is u is more dumb than me
when, were, and what time
watev so hou u been
Good I guess! you
Same o day koo
wow u hella stupid
wat eve
ha I got a on hush cause you know its true
what eve FUCK YOU!
I mean seriously. Seriously? Am I really supposed to be able to expect any kind of academic proficiency from these two? If they don't score basic or above on the CST in April, is it really my fault?

Good Day to You, Sir

You're a little late guys

I have to give credit where credit is due: every single Republican (and 11 Democrats) in the House of Representatives voted against Obama and Democrat's $819 billion so-called stimulus bill - excuse me, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. So good for the Republicans for taking a stand; this kleptocratic sham belongs solely to the Democrats.

Here's the problem. Where was this Republican unity when George W. Bush was doing his best impression of a socialist by signing spending bills hand-over-fist? It's great to be a tempering force on the over-exuberant whims of the party in charge, but do you know what even better? To be the party in charge! The problem is that when the Republicans ran the show in the Executive and Legislative branches, the federal government grew even larger than when Bubba was in the White House.

So where does that leave us? Even if you can get the Republicans in the House to do the right thing, then you have to deal with the nitwits in the Senate. You know, the same nitwits I just described in the previous post on Al Gore's appearance before the Senate.

In the end, in spite of the House Republicans' principled stand, the almost trillion dollar spending bill passed anyway. Yay.

Good Day to You, Sir

Bipartisan global warming buffoonery

Kudos to Dana Milbank! The liberal scribe for the Washington Post is usually too annoying for me to tolerate, but I must commend him for calling out Al Gore's ridiculous globaloney warming testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

What was really amusing about the piece was not the greenhouse gas-inducing hot air being blown by the Goracle (Milbank also uses this moniker), but the absolutely embarrassing rounds of ass kissing that the senators on the committee were bestowing upon the Bloated One. Republicans and Democrats alike all acted like a bunch of mafia underlings as they conferred with their capo. Just listen to some of the exchanges as noted by Milbank:
"Tennessee," gushed Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican from Gore's home state, "has a legacy of having people here in the Senate and in public service that have been of major consequence and contributed in a major way to the public debate, and you no doubt have helped build that legacy." If that wasn't quite enough, Corker added: "Very much enjoyed your sense of humor, too..."

Dick Lugar (Ind.), the ranking Republican, agreed that there will be "an almost existential impact" from the climate changes Gore described...

Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), challenging Gore over spent nuclear fuel, began by saying: "I stand to be corrected, and I defer to your position, you're probably right, and I'm probably wrong." He ended his question by saying: "I'm not questioning you; I'm questioning myself..."
And those snippets are just from the Republicans! They are the ones who are supposed to be principled enough not to fall for this garbage.

And the first "True American" to lead our nation is...

Barack Obama of course! So says John Ridley from PBS. Yes, PBS. Your tax dollars are paying for this drivel. Get a load of this nugget from Ridley's commentary:
Every president to hold office has espoused some version of Americanism; the truths that we hold self-evident, even when those truths are not always in evidence. But for all their grand rhetoric and mostly good deeds, none was able to seal the deal on the trifecta of equality, plurality and socioeconomic ascendancy. Obama has. Obama is the more perfect union. He is a house united. Obama is the New Generation and the hot light of a dawn that goes way beyond clever phraseology of "Morning in America."

Quite simply, quite plainly, just by virtue of his being, Obama is America, and the first true American to lead our nation.
Ridley's reference to Obama as "the hot light of a dawn" reminds me of a joke I read today:

How many mainstream news reporters does it take to change a lightbulb? None. Obama is their lightworker.

See this San Francisco Chronicle article for that reference. Careful if you read it; you might vomit.

Good Day to You, Sir

Big new website for the blogroll

There's a new website in town, and it is tearing up the Internet: Big Hollywood.

Started by Hollywood insider and Drudge Report sous chef Andrew Breitbart, Big Hollywood provides a voice for the conservative side of Tinseltown (there are more hiding out there than you think!), and so far, the articles and posts written for the site have been absolutely fascinating. Give it a try!

Good Day to You, Sir

It's not easy to defend a brutal killer

Just ask Benicio del Toro. He is a left-wing actor who plays Che Guevara in a just-released biopic directed by Steven Soderbergh. Based on past interviews, it is obvious that del Toro thinks Che was a swell guy. However, when pressed by a Washington Times reporter about Che's documented brutality, did del Toro stand up for his revolutionary hero? Hell no! He walked out of the interview.

Soderbergh, another extreme leftist, recently defended his cinematic hagiography, saying,
"I've had people ask me: 'How can you make a movie about a murderer? A terrorist?'" he told reporters. "What they don't understand is that I'm in support of everyone who appears on screen. I have to be. I take the position of everyone who's on screen. I'm not judging them one way or another."
What a crock of bull! I will be the first to admit I haven't seen the movie, but I have read reviews from people who have. Soderbergh essentially glosses over or whitewashes Guevara's atrocities and shows him to be the heroic guerrilla leader that he wasn't.

By the way, this movie is over 4 hours long! You would think that in that amount of time, at least some acknowledgment could have been made about the dark side of Che Guevara.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pre-school history lessons

The following is not just me bragging; it can easily be confirmed by my wife: My four-year-old son practically worships the ground upon which I tread. I mean, c'mon, isn't every four-year-old boy awed by his father?

With that in mind, I do have to be mindful of what I tell my son, because he will believe every word I say and take it at face value. While I am indeed mindful of this, problems can arise when my stated beliefs conflict with those of others, and my intellectually curious son is all too happy to share my (his) beliefs with anyone who will listen.

A little back story is needed before I give you an example. Being a history teacher, history buff, and former member of our military, there are ample conversation pieces around the house that have prompted my son to ask me anything and everything about history; especially military history. He has grilled me on World War II, wanting to know who was involved, who were the bad guys, who were the good guys, what kinds of weapons were used, etc. I told him that in World War II, the primary bad guys were the Germans and the Japanese. I then stressed that this all happened when Grandpa was a little boy, and now in 2009, Germany and Japan are our friends.

Now I need to mention one more relevant piece of information before I continue my story. Every afternoon, two very nice Japanese ladies come to my son's pre-school to teach the students rudimentary Japanese - greetings, salutations, songs, that sort of thing.

(Yeah, you know where this is going, don't you?)

A couple of days ago, my son - bless his heart, he was just trying to make conversation - told the two ladies that "During World War II, the Japanese were the bad guys." Soon after, I arrived to pick him up, but when I entered the classroom, his teacher - who is an extremely sweet lady - gave me the "come hither" signal, and we spoke quietly in the corner, where she told me what had happened. Then it got interesting. In a very sweet and roundabout way, the teacher admonished me that she hoped that I would be balanced and tell my son that even though we Americans might look at the Japanese as being the "bad guys" in World War II, I also should explain to him that "in their eyes," the Japanese might look at themselves as the good guys in that War, and that who is considered to be good and bad is based on the perception of the two opposing sides.

I was surprised by my perfectly polite, yet firm, response. Without feeling the least bit embarrassed about pressing the matter (this is huge for me!), I quietly and very sweetly told the teacher that I had to disagree with her on that one, and that there was no way I would ever tell my son what she just suggested. I ended it by saying, "I'm sorry, but if you read about what they did, the Japanese were the bad guys in World War II." I then emphasized that I had also informed my son that the Germans were the bad guys too, and that we are friendly with both countries today.

It is this kind of guilt-ridden moral equivalence that runs rampant among much of the faculty and administration in our nation's schools, both public and private. It's a good thing that my children have a heartless right-wing warmonger like me to inoculate them against the inevitable inanities that they will encounter during their education years.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another simple change makes a big difference

Since I started teaching at my school almost 5 years ago, the campus-wide policy has been for the students to line up outside the classroom door at the beginning of each class period. It usually takes awhile to get the students lined up, and while doing so, the tardy bell will often ring with all the students still standing outside the classroom, and straggling students who should have been marked tardy are sneaking into line. Once they are all standing in line and quiet, we teachers usher them in all at once, and the students come in... usually at a very loud level.

At the beginning of this semester, I finally reached my limit. During the first week back from Christmas Break, I announced to my students that they no longer had to line up outside my door; that I would have my door open and they were free to walk into my classroom. There is a catch of course, and it has worked beautifully. I put my students on notice that once they have entered my classroom, they are there to work quietly at their desks; even if the tardy bell has yet to ring. If they don't want to come in and work - if they still want to socialize - they are free to do so... outside! Just make sure you are not still socializing when the bell rings or you are tardy; you must be in your assigned seat by the time the tardy bell rings. But once they walk into my classroom, the socializing must stop, they must take their seat, and get to work on the Bellwork. If a student comes in making noise or begins talking once he is seated, I quickly order him back outside. Doing that has made my students get the message, and so now when the tardy bell rings, instead of being an annoyingly noisy gaggle making their way to their seats and taking many minutes to get settled down, my students are silent and on task.


In the meantime, my letter system that I described a few posts ago is still going really well. After a flurry of letters during the first few days to demonstrate my resolve and consistency, there was a huge dropoff in the number of letters issued at the end of last week and the beginning of this week. Hopefully that trend continues!

Good Day to You, Sir

Here's somethingy that bugs me very much

Teaching from year to year, I often notice unique trends that pop up in my classroom and on campus. It can be an article of clothing, a knick-knack (like those infernal teck-decks), or a catchphrase.

This year, I have noticed an extremely annoying tick enter the vernacular of both my 7th and 8th graders, and that would be the inclusion of the word "thingy" that is tacked on to the end of a sentence's subject. A perfect example happened this morning when a student who was absent yesterday asked me when she could make up yesterday's quiz. And how did she ask? "Mr. Chanman, can I come in after school and make up that quiz thingy?"

Or how about the other day, when during a lesson about the Bill of Rights, one of my 8th graders raised her hand and asked a question. "Mr. Chanman, you know that Constitution thingy? What is the difference between an article and an amendment?

I noticed the use of "thingy" so much last semester that when this semester began a couple of weeks ago, I made a point of warning my students against the use of it when I spent the first and second days reviewing rules and procedures.

The act of attaching "thingy" to the subject of a sentence is yet another way for the younger generation to perpetuate the Cult of Inaccuracy that was once described by Dr. Sam Blumenfeld and written about by me in a post from a couple years back. It is a way to tone down any chance of sounding interested in an academic subject. By adding "thingy," it seems the student is trying to give off an air of subtle anti-intellectualism that is so derigeur among today's youth, in order to let her fellow students know that she isn't too invested in the subject at hand.

I know it may seem petty for me to let something like this bug me, but I love the English language and I hate to see it mangled.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, January 26, 2009

...and to the banana republic, for which it stands...

Did you hear about the one where the U.S. Senate voted almost 2 to 1 in favor of confirming a tax cheat as our new Treasury Secretary? This would be the cabinet member who runs the executive agency that includes the IRS... you know, the agency that prosecutes people who don't pay their taxes. To see how your senator voted, check here.

Believe me, if we could abolish the income tax, social security tax, medicare tax, and the IRS tomorrow, I would be the first person to volunteer to sign the order. In the meantime, if I have to follow the government's confiscatory rules, don't also the government employees whose job it is to enforce those rules? If I failed to pay $34,000 in back taxes, do you think I could be Treasury Secretary too?

Now, President Obama and Senators like Republican Orrin Hatch chalked up Timothy Geithner's failure to pay as a simple "mistake." The problem I have with that explanation is that Geithner worked for the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Someone in those positions of power don't make "mistakes" on their tax return. If he truly did err, then wouldn't this be the ultimate proof that our tens-of-thousands-of-pages long tax code has become too complex? If the president of a Federal Reserve bank can't get it right, how the hell can I?

Of course, even after Geithner figured out that he owed these taxes (which go all the way back to 2001), he didn't balance the ledger until he was nominated by Obama. I can't believe I'm on the same side as Robert "Sheets" Byrd (D-WV), but he summed it up pretty well, saying, "Had [Geithner] not been nominated for treasury secretary, it's doubtful that he would have ever paid these taxes." The definition of character is often described as doing the right thing when no one is looking. Since Geithner didn't pay his back taxes until everyone was looking, it would seem that he was out that day when character lessons were offered.

Timothy Geithner will fit perfectly into the Obama administration.

Good Day to You, Sir

Saturday, January 24, 2009

There's more than just the "white male" quote

It's January 7th of this year; Obama economic advisor and former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich is testifying before a congressional committee about how to spend the taxpayers' money in order to "stimulate" the economy. At one point, Reich expresses his support of putting people to work by rebuilding and strengthening our infrastructure - bridges, roads, that kind of thing.

Reich's remarks to the committee (headed by that crook, Charlie Rangel of New York) reach an astonishing level when he belts out this little nugget:
I am concerned, as I'm sure many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers....
Now, the "white male construction workers" reference has gotten the most play from the talk radio shows and conservative pundits. What actually bothers me more is his concern that only highly skilled professionals would benefit. Good Lord in Heaven, do you realize what this man is saying? Divvying out taxpayer money to workers based on their skin color is more important than giving it to people who actually know what they're doing! And just to emphasize what they are doing: Building bridges! You know, elevated stretches of roadway that would make you fall a long way down if they collapsed due to shoddy or inept construction!

Here's an example of what could be the ultimate result of Reich's plan of action:

Remember folks, these words were uttered from a man who advises our Dear Leader on economic matters. This next four (hopefully not eight) years are going to be so damn interesting.

If you care to watch a rather depressing (for our pocketbook) conversation between Reich and Rangel - including Reich's infamous words - watch the video:

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Carnival of Education

It is up, it is running at Teacher in a Strange Land, and my post on my new classroom management tool is included. Is the management tool still working? Mostly....

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama's benediction preacher forgets that it is no longer 1963

Talk about being stuck in the past and expressing it in a most racist and cynical fashion. The Reverend Doctor Joseph Lowery ended today's inaugural benediction with an embarassing, cringe-worthy ode to identity politics, and he uttered it in a way that would make you believe that since the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, we haven't made one iota of progress at all.

In the name of context, I have linked the entire 5-and-a-half minute benediction, but the embarrassing part comes right at 5:00:

... and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back; when brown can stick around; when yella can be mella; when the red man can get ahead man; and when white will embrace what is right....
OK, I get it; he was trying to inject a little levity. However, I have two problems with what Lowery said. First was his use of future tense - he was talking about a day that has yet to arrive, where the minorities of this country are still being held down by the evil white man who has yet to "embrace what is right." And he is saying this at the inauguration of this country's first black president for crying out loud! Talk about anachronistic! Second was Lowery's obvious slam against whites. Could he have been any more racist - assigning nefarious intentions to an entire race? Perhaps the good reverend should remember that this country's electorate is still 70% white. For Obama to win, quite a few of us palefaces had to have voted for him.

For all the talk of a "post-racial" America in light of Obama's arrival in the White House, I see race relations in this country becoming paradoxically more sensitive and more vicious in the coming four years. Joseph Lowery's race-baiting benediction served as a frightening harbinger of things to come.

Good Day to You, Sir

Inauguration Day

In light of the fact that our new socialist demagogue is being sworn in as President today, I have chucked my Stars and Stripes, and from now on, I will be flying this flag from my house. Thanks for the Christmas present, Mom and Dad! Give the photo a click for a nice look at the flag's finer details.

There were quite the fireworks on talk radio today. Rush Limbaugh expressed his hope that Obama's presidency is not a successful one, and then an hour later, Michael Medved was taking Rush to task, saying that we should always wish our president well, because to hope for his failure is to hope for our failure as well.

Sorry Medved, I have to agree with Rush on this one. If Obama is successful in his endeavors as President, we are thus condemned to socialized healthcare (which means rationed or no healthcare), higher taxes, cap-and-trade global warming cultism, higher prices, and a return to the malaise-inducing goodness that was the Jimmuh Carter era. No thanks.

I wish you much failure Barack Obama. I hope you fail miserably.

Good Day to You, Sir

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bush ends his presidency on a good note

Nothing like waiting until the last minute. President Bush has commuted the decade-long prison sentences of U.S. Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean. Instead of spending the next ten years in prison, the two former agents should be released from prison by the end of this March.

A full pardon would have been nice, but I'll take a commutation. I'm sure the agents and their families will also. Did Ramos and Compean do wrong? Yes - they didn't report their shooting in the buttocks of a fleeing Mexican drug runner and they picked up some shell casings. Did they deserve 12 years in prison for doing this? Absolutely not. President Bush agreed. This case was especially galling in that the federal prosecutor in the case actually gave the drug runner immunity so he could testify against the agents, and while the case against the two agents was ongoing, the drug runner got popped again for running drugs across our border.

President Bush was mealy-mouthed to the very end, but ultimately, he did the right thing.

Good Day to You, Sir

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Nice to see she has her priorities straight

Behold, as a Maryland state senator makes an ass of herself by providing us with a textbook example of the Cult of Obama.

I haven't seen a statement this hilarious since the woman who was excited about Obama winning because now she didn't have to worry about putting gas in her car or paying her mortgage!

Good Day to You, Sir

I have a better idea: how about YOU tell your parents!

If you have taught elementary or secondary grades for any amount of time, I know you will recognize the following scenario:

Student disrupts your classroom, you warn student not to do that, student disrupts again, you send student out of your classroom to either another teacher's room or the office, after school is over, you call student's parents to let them know their child was being an unmitigated ass.

There have been days where I have spent two hours after school making phone call after phone call. Meanwhile, I pictured in my mind all those misbehaving students having a good ol' time at home while I was sitting in my classroom, away from my family, making phone calls. Over this Christmas Break just passed, I read something that gave me a revelation - why not have the student talk to his parents instead of me? The book from whence the idea came was Setting Limits in the Classroom by Rob Mackenzie, Ed.D. What Dr. Mackenzie suggests is that if you have to send a student out of the room, you send out that student with a pre-printed form letter that says the following:
From the Classroom of Mr. Chanman
Room ##, Unnamed Middle School
Social Studies

Date: ____________________

Dear Parent or Guardian,

This is to inform you that________________________________

was sent out of class today, and missed ___________ minutes of class

time because he or she continued to disrupt the class after repeatedly

being instructed to stop. The problem was handled at school, and

no further assistance from you is required at this time. However, too

many of these notices may indicate that your assistance may be

in the future.

Please indicate that you received this notice by signing and

returning it with your child tomorrow. If you have any questions or

concerns please do not hesitate to contact me by email: or by telephone: (916) ###-####.

Thank you,

Social Studies Teacher

Parent/Guardian Name (Please Print)


Parent/Guardian Signature


This is the exact letter (minus my redacted personal info) that I have given out this week on 12 different occasions, and I have gotten 11 letters back to me, signed by a parent. The difference in overall behavior in my classroom has been nothing short of remarkable. The first thing I noticed is that every single one of my letters has been given out in my after-lunch classes, and the 12 letters have been distributed among 7 different students. One of my 8th period frequent flyers has already received three of those letters! As I forewarn in the letter, that student is now becoming eligible for a phone call home and a possible parent conference being arranged. In the meantime, right there were three different phone calls I didn't have to make regarding that student, and in the four days of the school week that I handed out these letters, I left work on time because I didn't have to make a single phone call, except for two doubting parents who wrote on the letter that they would like a call back for more information. In both cases, it turned out that their kid had fed them a line of bullsqueeze about why they got in trouble, and I easily and pleasantly straightened out any confusion the parent may have had.

I think what made this letter work so well is that it took the responsibility for the students' actions out of my hands and put it into theirs. They would have to go home and face their parents; they would have to hand them that letter and explain why they received it; I wouldn't even be part of the equation. With the old method, even if the kid got a talking-to after the parent got off the phone with me, that just doesn't quite seem have the same impact when the parents are softened up by me first before dealing with their disruptive offspring.

For all I know, maybe I'm being a bit too optimistic; next week could be a disaster, and the letter could end up having as little impact as the traditional phone call home that I have used up until last week. Either way, I will definitely keep you all updated.

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Walter Williams must read my blog

Well, probably not, but I was pleased to see him articulate something I have been screaming from the rooftops, and that is this silly and dishonest notion that our current economic crisis was caused by "deregulation" of the mortgage and banking industry.

An example from Dr. Williams:

News media people, often plagued with little understanding, fail miserably in their duty to inform the public. This is particularly evident in their reporting on the current financial meltdown, suggesting it was caused by deregulation and free markets.

Professor David Henderson, research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, writes about regulation in "Are We Ailing From Too Much Deregulation?" in Cato Policy Report (November/December 2008). The Federal Register, which lists new regulations, annually averaged 72,844 pages between 1977 and 1980. During the Reagan years, the average fell to 54,335. During the Bush I years, they rose to 59,527, to 71,590 during the Clinton years and rose to a record of 75,526 during the Bush II years. Employees in government regulatory agencies grew from 146,139 in 1980 to 238,351 in 2007, a 63 percent increase. In the banking and finance industries, regulatory spending between 1980 and 2007 almost tripled, rising from $725 million to $2.07 billion. So here's my question: What are we to make of congressmen, talking heads and news media people who tell us the financial meltdown is a result of deregulation and free markets? Are they ignorant, stupid or venal?
For the rest of his column - hilariously titled The Media Think We're Morons - Click here.

Good Day to You, Sir

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

College is the new high school

So says writer of all things education, Diane Ravitch.

Good Day to You, Sir

Friday, January 09, 2009

Your government at work

When you listen to our current President, our President-elect, and our Congresscritters wax poetic about how they are working hard to keep our economy from going in the tank, that makes it all the more amusing when I find out about laws like the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSI).

This law came about in response to the 2007 lead paint panic from toys that were made in China, and CPSI was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives and by the Senate with just 13 nays. This law requires all home crafted toys to be tested for high levels of dangerous chemicals. That means anyone who makes toys and other products used by children (clothing, furniture, bedding) at home and then sells them on EBay/Craigslist, at county fairs, at trade expos, at church bazaars, and so on must pay an exorbitant amount of money (between $400 and $4,000 per batch) to have the products tested. In effect, this puts these entrepreneurs out of business. Meanwhile, goods coming from China - who caused this problem in the first place - keep on comin'.

Due to huge numbers of complaints from people who have taken the time to call or email the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is the executive agency that would carry out this law, there has been a tentative agreement to soften the requirements of the law, but nothing is set in stone by any means. For all we know, CPSI could still be implemented as written.

This is a perfect example of our nanny government hurting the American people in the guise of helping them or keeping them safe. It is especially galling when it was not home crafted toys that had high levels of lead in the first place; it was toys crafted in factories in China - factories mostlikely manned by political prisoners.

CPSI goes into effect on February 10th, 2009. As the American people worry about what is going to happen to our economy this year, laws like CPSI are exactly what will continue to financially hobble us, and make it that much harder to recover from our current economic predicament. Shame on Congress (both Democrats and Republicans - although the 13 Senate nays were all Republicans) and shame on President Bush for signing this travesty into law.

If you want to read the text/summary of CPSI or find out who voted yea and nay, click here. If you want to read what the media has had to say about it, read this L.A. Times article or watch this newscast:

Good Day to You, Sir

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

"Iceberg right ahead!"

My last post spoke of the "iceberg" that is Barack Obama, as he puts himself in the way of the "Titanic" that is our country and our economy. Here is a perfect example of his doings which illustrates my point. With the help of a compliant and sycophantic Congress, Barack Obama is ready to "invest" (his word) quite a bit of taxpayers' money - my money, your money - toward trying to get the United States out of its current financial mess. Not that this so-called investment is going to help. Here is the money quote from the Obamessiah:
"At the current course and speed, a trillion-dollar deficit will be here before we even start the next budget," Obama said Tuesday. "And potentially we've got trillion-dollar deficits for years to come, even with the economic recovery that we are working on at this point."
Rather than confiscating and borrowing trillions of dollars of our hard-earned money, the one thing Obama and the Congress need to do is the one thing that they will NEVER do, and that is to simply get out of the way. Contrary to leftist belief, it was overregulation of the business and financial sector, not underregulation, that caused this mess in the first place. The last thing we need is more regulation and government meddling. That has been tried before. It was called the New Deal, and it failed miserably. Unfortunately, voters get the politicians they deserve, and the fact that our two primary choices this election cycle were Barack Obama and John McCain show that voters from both parties are pretty damn ignorant. For quite a while now, American voters gauge the effectiveness of a politician on whether or not that politician does something. The thought that government should, by and large, stay out of our lives is one that has never crossed too many minds of the American people. Hence, the situation you see today, and have seen more or less since the 1930s.

Good Day to You, Sir

"Titanic will founder"

As our economy continues to circle the drain and the dire announcements of the incoming administration continue to cause uncertainty, it is sometimes strange to notice that on the surface, nothing has changed. If you drive down the street, or look out the window of a Baja Fresh as I did while eating dinner with my wife, you will notice that people are still driving their cars, businesses are open and the lights are on, pedestrians still walk along plugged into their iPods.

This evening, as I noticed all of these sights while enjoying my Baja chicken burrito, the goings-on outside had an almost calm-before-the-storm quality about them. I happened to think of a scene from the 1997 movie Titanic, where the ship's designer, Mr. Andrews, tells Jack and Rose that Titanic is doomed:

Rose: Mr. Andrews... I saw the iceberg and I see it in your eyes... please, tell me the truth.
Thomas Andrews: The ship... will sink.
Rose: You're certain?
Thomas Andrews: Yes, In an hour or so, all of this will be at the bottom of the Atlantic.

Just remove the word "ship" and plug in the word "economy" or "society." People are wearing life vests, but they don't seem too worried, being on an unsinkable ship and all. They are blissfully unaware of the disaster that is about to overtake "all of this" - this beautiful ship that surrounds them.

I truly hope that none of my worries come to pass; that once again, the American people can weather the storm and succeed in spite of all the icebergs put in their way by scheming, power-hungry politicians, including a particular iceberg named Barack Obama.

Good Day to You, Sir

You call that a Ponzi scheme? Now this is a Ponzi scheme!

In the wake of Bernie Madoff's $50 billion dollar bilking of investors, the ever-enlightening John Stossel puts things into perspective:
If Bernie Madoff tried to foist Social Security and Medicare on us, he'd be arrested, prosecuted and thrown in the hoosegow.

There's one thing I can say on behalf of Madoff: He never forced anyone to participate in his scheme. That's more than I can say for the government. Through taxation and inflation, it forces us to pay for all its schemes.
Read the rest of Stossel's column for a heads-up on a $40 trillion dollar bilking of the American people. And it's the government who are the perpetrators.

Good Day to You, Sir

The Neverending Vacation

Hi! Remember me? Unlike many other teachers, my district gives three weeks off for the Christmas Break instead of two, so I am still lollygagging at home until the 12th day of this month. I guess "lollygagging" wouldn't be the word, as I have been tackling a monster To-Do list this week while my wife is back at her teaching job, and my kids are at pre-school. Yesterday, I had out the asphalt cement and the caulking gun as I sealed a hole in our rain gutter and installed some hand-fabricated (by me) sheet metal flashing on some exposed rafters that stick out of the side of our house and into the elements. You don't want dry rot getting a foothold there! I also installed a ceiling fan in my daughter's bedroom, but I can't get the lights to work, even though the blades turn fine. Ugh.

Today, I will be picking up red volcanic rock from our front area that we are redoing, and then I will be patching and painting some small holes in our walls. I made the holes a few months ago when we were hanging things and then we changed our mind as to where to hang. That left us with holes. If there is time, I will also be cleaning our back patio with my new gas-powered blower that my mother-in-law was kind enough to get me for Christmas!

So this last week is work work work at home, but I sure had fun for the first two weeks of this break! During the first week of the break, a family friend and I took our sons to my friend's grandparents' 2,000 acre ranch in the Sierra foothills east of Stockton. There are ponds dotting the landscape where we caught a couple fish and there are roads where we drove along the property and took in the sights. The ranch is in that part of the foothills I love where you feel like you are in a Steinbeck novel: Grassy rolling hills that undulate with spurs and draws, and are dotted with oak trees. Here are some pictorial examples:

Not a bad way to spend a December day.

Good Day to You, Sir