Friday, September 4, 2009

what newt said

"Why is it political for the president of the United States to discuss education?"--Newt Gingrich
defending then-President George H.W. Bush's nationally televised speech to schoolchildren.

What I wrote the superintendent

I just wanted to send you an email to let you know I appreciate that you are not canceling the President's address to schoolchildren next Tuesday. My biggest concern when I began hearing that some schools, and school districts around the country were "boycotting" the speech was that we are setting dangerous precedent by implying that children should not be allowed to listen to the President of the United States speak to them directly about the importance of education because of the wild fears by some parents that their children might hear a "political" message. Indeed it is these parents who are themselves attaching a political agenda to this address.

And, it is those same parents who are jeopardizing their children's education by implying that if you disagree with someone's views you should not listen to them. And it is especially disturbing that parents are allowing their children to believe that the office of the President should be so disrespected. This is where I feel it becomes a bad precedent to establish...if this President is not allowed to address schoolchildren in a nationwide address—which both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush have done in the past—then no President (regardless of political affiliation) in the future should be allowed to address schoolchildren. Similarly, if I disagree with the politics of a Kentucky elected official (senator or representative) and they schedule a visit to my children's school, do I have the right to ask that my children not attend that event? This is where it can quickly become complicated, and an unnecessary obstruction to our children's education.

The President plans to speak to the children about ways they can achieve through education...a topic specific to the work they do at school. He has spoken on this topic many times, and has often emphasized how important it is for children to read, and how important it is for parents to take time to read with children. I am really saddened that some parents in this county are so threatened by the President's political views that they are not allowing their children to listen to the leader of their country encourage them to take advantage of the opportunities they have to learn at their schools.

My children will hear this address...and it is very important to me that they do hear it at school. I will be discussing what the President says in his address that evening with them, and I hope that other parents will do the same. Meanwhile, I just wanted you to know--because I'm sure you are getting many calls and emails to the opposite opinion today -- that I am in full support of this Presidential address being aired at the school on Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

then I'm proud too

If, by a liberal, they mean someone who looks ahead, and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas, without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people—their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, their civil liberties. Someone who believes that we can break through the stalemate and suspicioun that grips us. If that is what they mean by a liberal, I am proud to be a liberal.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, 2007


For good, and for bad, Edward M. Kennedy was an incredible Senator. I had the privilege of getting to watch him run a hearing on Superfund waste sites while I was an intern in DC during college. The room literally was charged with electricity as soon as he walked in, and it was fascinating to watch him question the witnesses, and banter with other senators.

And, exactly one year ago, he got up at the DNC convention in Denver and gave a speech in support of Barrack Obama. I went online and read the text of that speech, and while it wasn't a long or overly dramatic speech, the fact that he stood up in his diminished health and addressed that crowd was just amazing.

He certainly wasn't perfect as an individual -- far from it -- but the devotion with which he gave his life to public service, and to championing the causes of civil rights and health care made him a legend.

Go in peace.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

like I said

I'm adding an update to the last post. To be specific about what type of bed I was selling I included the brand name of the manufacturer of the bed...from a store that is still in business in this town. I just had a call from yet another illiterate person about my bed-for-sale. This time the caller asked if she had reached the store that I actually BOUGHT the bed from three years ago.

"No," I said, that is just the brand of bed it is, and oh yes, I sold the bed yesterday so it is no longer available."
"Oh," said the caller, "well do you have other beds?"
"No," I said.
"But aren't you a furniture store?"
"No," I said again.
"Well what is the phone number for the **** Furniture store?"
"I don't know." I informed her, beginning to lose patience.
"Are they still in business"
"Yes," I said..."and I was only selling that BRAND of bed...I'm not associated with that store."

Clearly confused about it all, she hung up. No doubt to start coloring her socialist protest signs for a healthcare town hall.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rampant ignorance

If you ever want to find out how stupid the people are who live in your area, place a classified ad in the "for sale" section of your local paper.

I placed two different ads last for a queen size bed we are selling, and one for our house. In our house I put information about our online listing in order to NOT pay for a lengthy classified. So far I got a call from a man wondering if it was a commercial property (no, I would have not listed it under "house for sale" if that were the case); and yesterday, one from a woman who after hearing the details of the house (price and size of the lot) proceeded to tell me how she was going to buy a house for her recently divorced daughter, and she couldn't spend more than roughly half what our house was listed for, and the lot was too big for her daughter to mow, and now she was also going to have to buy furniture for her daughter as well, but her daughter wouldn't accept USED furniture, it had to be new--at which point I was thinking "WHY am I listening to all this?" I wished her well in her house-hunting venture, and got off the phone muttering about the fact that maybe she had family issues to deal with before she started furniture shopping for this apparently ungrateful daughter.

The other ad has generated a lot more calls, and a LOT more stupidity and rudeness. Maybe I'm naive about this, and maybe it ain't how it's done 'round here, but when I say "bed" in an ad, it does NOT include a mattress! The bed is the headboard/footboard frame part. The mattress is the mattress. When is the last time you went to a furniture store to buy a bed (remember, the frame!) and they offered to throw in a mattress for free? All of the calls I have had have been either assuming that a mattress comes with the "bed" -- then hanging up on me when they find out it doesn't; or asking what additional furniture (nightstand? dresser?) comes with the bed. Huh? If I was offering a whole bedroom suite I would have put that in the ad. I had one call yesterday saying they were interested in the box spring and mattress I had for sale. I told them I DIDN'T have a box spring or mattress for sale. Oh, said the caller, clearly confused.

So my theory on all this is if the public can't read a simple classified ad and understand what it is offering how in heck is Obama going to get healthcare reform passed?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

organic food

I swear sometimes I think the news is going to do us all in. On the web this morning was a big story "Organic Food is No Healther, Study Finds." If you read the story the angle is that studies find that organic food is nutritionally no different than non-organic AND CHEAPER (as the story points out repeatedly) food. Here's a quote:

"Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority."

Well, duh. An apple is an apple--nutritionally speaking--and the way it is grown (pesticide free) isn't going to change how much fiber it has, or the amount of vitamins in it.

I personally don't buy organic foods thinking they will be more nutritious. I buy them because I want to support growers who DON'T use synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, and fertilizer, and who have greater suspect for the sustainability of their soil.

Of course the "read" of this story today is that we shouldn't be wasting money to buy organic because it doesn't really matter. It DOES matter, to me, and I will continue to choose organic over regular, when it is available (which isn't always the case here). I will spend $3-$4 on a half-gallon of organic milk instead of $3 on a gallon of regular (it tastes better...I promise you!) and twice as much on organic carrots (ditto...deeper orange, better flavor). There are some organic items I won't spend extra on at this point, but I suspect it is more a point of price-gauging on behalf of the local supermarkets, rather than the true cost.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Joe's Excellent Adventure

In the end the guy in the uniform always gets the girl. A photographic essay by T2

Monday, June 29, 2009

and it's lucrative too!

Much to our pleasant surprise, our ribbons garnered a total of $78 for us! Wooohooo!