Saturday, April 29, 2006
Several years ago a fellow lobbyist, Teresa, encourage me to read the book Thank You for Smoking which was turned into a film this year. Since I thought the book was very entertaining I was anxious to see the film so I caught a matinee today. Overall the film was true to the book as I remember it. Granted this book/film is a comedy but there was an underlying serious discussion regarding what is freedom and what is the proper role of government in our lives. Using my "1 to 5" restaurant review rating system I would give this film a "3.5" due to great lines and the tobacco lobbyist - Nick Naylor - character who was very entertaining.
My idea of freedom and escape from government intrusion is a canoe trip such as my planned September 2006 trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) in Northern Minnesota. In an effort to help protect the great outdoors I am a volunteer for the Mississippi River Challenge which had an information booth at today's "Outdoor Adventure Expo" hosted by Midwest Mountaineering in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While promoting the River Challenge at our booth today I met the person in the booth next to ours -- Kate Williams, Executive Director of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, http://www.northernforestcanoetrail.org , (NFCT) which is based in Vermont. If you live in or are traveling through New England please consider visiting the NFCT.
Until today I had never heard of the NFCT but their organization was formed in 2000 with its primary purpose the management and promotion of the "historic 740 mile waterway through New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine..........." Mrs. Williams told me the NFCT is very similar to Minnesota's own BWCA consisting of various bodies of water connected with portages which is an ideal way to travel via canoe.
Let me close with this haiku inspired by today's Outdoor Adventure Expo:
Lake to Lake Portage
Mother Nature Welcomes Us
Silence is Golden
See you on the water,
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Today I returned from an overnight visit to Winnipeg, Canada for a dinner event hosted by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, http://www.fcpp.org, which is promoting free market alternatives to government in central Canada. The Frontier Centre's dinner speaker was columnist/author Christopher Hitchens. Not only was the speech very entertaining but it really pushed the envelope regarding society's assumptions about religion, personal liberties, and national security issues.
This event was held in downtown Winnipeg at the Fairmont Hotel which is but a three block walk from the "Goldeneyes" baseball stadium but beyond that the area was extremely quiet I thought. After reading the local newspapers, watching the local news coverage, and talking with my fellow dinner attendees my assessment of Winnipeg is that its economy is shackled by what one Frontier staffer called "loser's limp" -- drawing the analogy to an athlete who limps around the field/court with a minor injury which then provides them an excuse for lackluster performance. Winnipeg itself is really the capital of the breadbasket of Canada since it is farm/agribusiness country versus the Western provinces which are oil/minerals country and the Eastern provinces are manufacturing/financial country.
The taxi ride from my hotel was less than 15 minutes but I could tell that the town had seen better days. This thought was reinforced by the local TV coverage of the "City of Winnipeg's City Summit" which showed several interviews of ordinary citizens who attended the summit. Nearly everyone of them cited the need for the region to become innovative so new jobs would be created. I applaud the public policy work of the Frontier Centre which is working to overcome the "prairie populism" and welfare superstructure of the province which is the "limp" allowing people to wait for change. It is sad to note but many of the region's working age adults might be a lost cause after numerous years of socialist governments so I will encourage my Winnipeg contacts to work with programs such as Junior Achievement, http://www.ja.org, and National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, http://www.nfte.com , since no child should graduate from high school without having learned how to write a business plan.
Dreams produce jobs not government bureaucrats,
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Now I know that April 22nd is not Mother's Day which actually falls on May 14th but I couldn't help but think that the founders of the annual Earth Day should have considered proclaiming Earth Day to coincide with Mother's Day since "Mother Earth" is clearly the most important mother in their world. Personally I love the great outdoors so I spend my time and money accordingly in ways that support private enterprise and personal liberty. Although I don't agree with the entire worldview of my " more granola-like friends" at the Mississippi River Challenge, http://www.mississippiriverchallenge.org I am an active volunteer for this organization trying to do my part to protect Mother Earth via canoeing.
My overall concern with many people in the environmental movement is their tendency to be "Gore-bots" (Al Gore robots) via their advocacy of central government planning solutions such as restrictions to combat "urban sprawl" (which is simply people choosing to move to bigger homes and lower crime areas). One such central planner that comes to mind is Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the Soviet Union and currently the Chairman of Green Cross International --
The mission of Green Cross International is to help ensure a just, sustainable and secure future for all by fostering a value shift and cultivating a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility in humanity’s relationship with nature.
Doesn't their mission sound like a "workers' paradise" ? That is exactly the promise made by for the former (thank God!!!) Soviet Union -- "global interdependence" via the spread of Soviet Communism and now the former leader of the Soviet Union (Mr. Gorbachev) has wrapped himself in a green robe so let me encourage you to boycott all support for this organization. What is next for our world? How about current Russian President/Czar, Vladimar Putin, becoming the chairman of Amnesty International once he retires from the Russian presidency?
If you were out celebrating Earth day this past weekend take some time to reflect on this collection of quotes from a wide range of environmental activists and academics who are clearly trying to scare us into submitting to more government regulation:
Before 1985, mankind will enter a genuine age of scarcity…in which the accessible supplies of many key minerals will be facing depletion.
—Paul Ehrlich in (1976)
This [cooling] trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.
—Peter Gwynne, Newsweek 1976
There are ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production—with serious political implications for just about every nation on earth. The drop in food production could begin quite soon… The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologist are hard-pressed to keep up with it.
—Newsweek, April 28, (1975)
This cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. If it continues and no strong action is taken, it will cause world famine, world chaos and world war, and this could all come about before the year 2000.
—Lowell Ponte in “The Cooling”, 1976
If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder by the year 2000. … This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.
—Kenneth E.F. Watt on air pollution and global cooling, Earth Day (1970)
It's the end of the world and I feel fine.......................................
Saturday, April 22, 2006
"Great minds discuss ideas,
average minds discuss events,
and small minds discuss other people."
Greetings from beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado where I am attending the annual Heritage Resource Bank, http://www.heritage.org, which is a conference of nearly 600 free market thinkers from around the world (45 different nations this year I think the Heritage staff announced). While I am attending this conference to complete client work I also personally love the work since I get to talk with "intellectual entrepreneurs" from around the world working to change public policies to create more personal freedom and economic growth -- I must say I feel very much at home with this community.
The Heritage Resource Bank actually ended this afternoon and was followed by the Atlas Foundation's, http://www.atlasusa.org, annual Liberty Forum which started with a dinner this evening. Sitting next to me was a young woman involved with a start-up think tank in Oman. Overall I find most US media coverage of the Middle East as lacking depth since the entire region does not get enough coverage to better educate Americans about the nations in this region. For instance, I was very interested in hearing that Oman's tax system is VERY simple as noted in these examples:
1.) Oman's corporate income taxes are capped at a FLAT rate of only 12%.
2.) Oman has NO personal income tax.
By contrast nearly 60% of Americans pay tax professionals to process their income tax which of course is a form of "secondary taxation" since we not only pay taxes all year we have to spend more money just to stay in compliance with the income police.
I have been attending this annual gathering for several years and always leave re-charged but also discouraged after hearing from the conference's speakers how much work we have left to do to overcome the nanny state we live in today.
Live free or die,
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Well I have delayed writing about this due to its personal nature but it is quite an accomplishment given our dynamic economy and the impact of world trade on jobs. I am proud to announce that after a 40 year career in the telecommunications industry my father retired on March 31, 2006 so my sincere congratulations to him!!! My father's pride in his work and dedication to the customer was unmatched and will no doubt be missed given my childhood memories of answering customer calls at our family home at all hours of the day/night. Enjoy your free time and canoe a lot more Dad.
Beyond celebrating someone's ability to complete a 40 year career with one company given the rarity of such an accomplishment in today's economy it is worth pausing to think about the state of telecommunications back in 1966 when my dad started in the industry. No one carried cell phones, Blackberries were not even an idea, the Internet was not the commercial enterprise it is today, and the phrase "web browser" was not in our vocabularies.
Given our ever increasing life expectancies and my dad's relative youth he is considering his options for his "second career" which might include selling home grown produce -- hopefully such a venture will bear fruit (sorry!!) so that I can promote his products on this blog in the near future.
Enjoy your work today and plan for your next career,
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Now that baseball season has opened for the year the nation turns its attention to our national pastime -- drug use. Sadly, I missed my annual trip with friends to Spring Training this year but I have been unable to avoid the drug use debate.
With Giants slugger Barry Bonds under attack by the media and fans -- including one who threw a very large syringe on to the field in reference to Bonds' use of performance enhancement drugs - I really started thinking about celebrities' use of performance enhancement drugs. For Mr. Bonds in particular there is a real question whether or not there should be a footnote added to his statistics should he surpass Babe Ruth's home run hitting record. Since legend has it that the Babe drank alcohol to excess perhaps he used booze to enhance his own performance -- steady the nerves a bit for a game or just to relax -- which of course is a pretty big stretch from the alleged regular use of performance enhancers by Bonds but I hope you appreciate the point.
Now for the big leap in thinking so hold on -------------- Hopefully you have seen the Daimler-Chrysler TV ads featuring former CEO Lee Iaoccoa and musician Snoop Dogg:
Since Mr. Dogg has made it perfectly clear to the public that he loves smoking his marijuana/pot/mary jane/weed which apparently has enhanced his language performance given Chrysler's willingness to hire him for his laid back, smooth talking style-- which is completely unintelligible to most audiences so it makes me wonder which consumers Chrysler is targeting. I may have missed it but I don't see activists or the media digging into Mr. Dogg's drug use or calling on Chrysler to "Trade Dogg" to General Motors for some minor league players or a future draft choice ;)
The bottom line for me is call on fans to back off Barry Bonds -- boycott his games if you disapprove but look beyond Barry to have a much more comprehensive debate on the subject of drug use in America. The terrorists making money off the opium crop in Afghanistan are watching and waiting.
This is your brain on blogs,
Saturday, April 15, 2006
As my conference in San Antonio draws to a close I plan to focus this posting on a review of the city overall via a range of topics:
I travel to many cities throughout the year and sadly San Antonio's restaurants stand out as "lacking" when benchmarked against other cities I have experienced. Here is the roster of restaurants I dined at this week:
Delores Del Rio -- I just wanted a simple meal of a side salad as a starter and their antipasto appetizer plate described as having "a variety of cheese, vegetables, and meats..........." Based on the English I was taught the word "variety" means "more than one" so seeing one type of meat on the plate was disappointing -- completely defeating my reason for ordering the antipasto. While the waitress was attentive she reminded me of a drug dealer since she kept pushing me to have more garlic bread ;) This restaurant sits along the famous River Walk and offers live entertainment in a nice setting but the menu is lacking so they receive a "2" rating.
Twin Sisters Bakery and Cafe - just a short walk from the St. Anthony Hotel this is a friendly, semi-loud atmosphere due to the neighborhood feel of the restaurant. Clearly people knew each other and were enjoying themselves here. The customer service was above average and my salad and soup were tasty although the plate for the salad was not appropriate since everytime my fork hit the salad pieces of lettuce and olives would fall on the table -- that is one way to lose weight. Again a "2" rating overall.
Cafe Ole' - Located along the River Walk. When I have to wait for the hostess to seat me while I watch 5 or 6 wait staff standing in the background does not help to start dining experience in a good light. Advice to restaurant managers --- cross train your employees to work as a team (see Yokunyu review below). The restaurant is known for its fajitas so I ordered the beef version which were tasty but not exceptional since the beef lacked taste and all the fat was not trimmed off which combined with the very poor table location (one less table for two which they placed right at a doorway would not hurt their revenue stream) leaves me with on a "2" rating for this restaurant.
Yukonyu Sushi - this "restaurant" has the unique honor of receiving my first ever "0" rating!!! They are located about 1/2 block from the St. Anthony Hotel but you would do yourself well if you just keep walking down Navarro Street to explore the restaurants along the River Walk. After attending Good Friday church services at a Catholic Church (their obvious idolatry reminded me why I am Lutheran!) I just wanted a light sushi meal so I started with a salmon skewer followed by green tea ice cream. Finally after waiting nearly 30 minutes (I was reading a book so I lost track of time a bit) for my ice cream I left my table to ask the host to get my bill but he informed me "I am only the host so I don't have access to the cash register......." so I had to wait for my waiter to get the bill and ultimately the restaurant manager. The waiter blamed the kitchen and I informed that manager that I planned to write a review on my blog and that he should focus on building some team work since this was "by far the worst dining experience I have had for at least a year............" Did I mention they receive a "0" rating for poor service, marginal food, and overall incompetence :) ? Downtown San Antonio has too many empty store fronts (caused by the area shopping malls my cabbie informed me) but I am afraid the Yukonyu Sushi building will be empty in the near future unless they improve.
DOWNTOWN SAN ANTONIO:
Per my earlier comment downtown San Antonio has numerous empty store fronts but some potential if they get organized. Perhaps it exists but if not then a "Houston Street Merchants Association" should be created to revitalize the area. They would do well to look into the "Main Street USA" program created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation for assistance. Since the River Walk area is a very short walk away Houston Street should work to create signage and perhaps even a trolley route to shuttle people to the area from River Walk. One example of revitalization needed is the renovation of the Majestic Theatre. This is a substantial landmark on Houston Street that is currently playing the "Lion King" but the store front has peeling paint - perhaps renovation plans are underway but there is no signage detailing their "master plan".
The other aspect of downtown that stands out for me is the area around the St. Anthony Hotel which includes Travis Park which apparently is a gathering spot for the city's homeless, very poor residents which coupled with the homeless gathering on the steps of the Travis Park Methodist Church across Navarro Street from the hotel leaves the area looking a bit run down especially given the garbage left behind in the park. Were I the owner of this hotel I would reach an agreement with the City of San Antonio that my employees would adopt Travis Park to clean it up daily, landscape it, etc. as a first step to improving the area but I am not confident the hotel management/ownership cares enough given their own customer service. The St. Anthony Hotel's concierge leaves at irregular hours -- 5 pm one day and 8 pm another day -- and the front desk staff is not very well trained as substitute concierges. In addition their "fitness center" should be called the "fitness closet" since the room is too small for the equipment they have packed into the space plus the staff rarely stops by to clean the room since the work out towels were always in complete disarray each day I used the gym. Your back up option is to visit the nearby "Spectrum Gym" on Travis Street but they close at 7 pm which is not very convenient if you are in town for a conference.
I have been to San Antonio several times over my career but do not need to return anytime soon. The defenders at the Alamo did not surrender but today's downtown San Antonio appears to have raised a white flag.
Ready to go home,
Thursday, April 13, 2006
While the USA Today newspaper ("McPaper" as my fraternity brother, T. Harvey, calls it) is a decent news source for me during my extensive travels they do not offer the depth needed for a full discussion of issues. A good example of their editorial board's failure to pose THE key question regarding the US Tax Code is their April 12, 2006 editorial -- "Who's keeping an eye on tax preparers? No one..............."
Their editorial points out that 48 out of our 50 states do not require any licensing or certification for tax preparers thus that apparently should be our biggest concern -- the need for more regulation!!!
The editorial goes on by telling us what "Percentage of taxpayers at various income levels who use paid (tax) preparers" -- which I have re-printed below:
INCOME RANGE PERCENTAGE OF TAXPAYERS
$0 to 20,000 53%
20,000 to 40,000 56%
40,001 to 60,000 57%
60,001 to 80,000 58%
80,001 to 100,000 55%
More than $100,000 64%
Now for the question the editorial board really failed to ask:
WHY SHOULD THE TAX CODE REMAIN SO BURDENSOME AND COMPLICATED THAT 53% OF PEOPLE MAKING LESS THAN $20,000 HAVE TO PAY SOMEONE TO PREPARE THEIR INCOME TAXES???
Instead why not unleash real economic growth and extend freedom by creating a flat federal income tax rate of 17% (to start with -- then we work to reduce it each year. Of course I want income tax completely eliminated since it is a violation of my personal privacy but I am willing to compromise by offering this proposal. Jesus himself only expected 10% via the "tithe" system so surely Congress can live with 17% of someone's income. ) starting at incomes of $100,000?
Come on USA Today you can do better.
Flat not fat,
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
This week I am reporting in from the home of the Alamo -- San Antonio, Texas -- where I am attending an economics conference. I had a very nice dinner at the "Houston Street Bistro" with a starter of bean soup followed by a spinich/apple/avocado salad with grilled salmon. Granted it is a Tuesday night but the restaurant options seemed very limited in this part of town but I will give this restaurant a "3" (1 to 5 scale) rating primarily due to my waiter, Bernie, who is a role model for wait staff needing to improve their skills.
Over dinner I read today's copy of the Austin American-Statesman newspaper which had an article, "Panelist: Legislators merit a raise", which focused on the relatively low pay of Texas state legislators benchmarked against the other largest states in the USA. For your own education here are what state legislators in the nation's largest states are paid annually for their service:
California - $110,880
Michigan - 79,650
New York - 79,500
Pennsylvania - 69,647
Illinois - 57,619
Ohio - 56,260
New Jersey - 49,000
Florida - 29,916
Georgia - 16,524
Texas - 7,200
SOURCE: National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
So how much are state legislators paid in your state?
One of my favorite figures is that legislators in the US Virgin Islands (not one of the 10 largest states listed above) are paid $65,000 annually representing a total population of 109,000 people!!! Not a bad job while enjoying the beach life :)
While California is indeed one of the world's largest economies I really have to wonder if their state legislators really need to be compensated over 10 times more than Texas legislators especially since Texas has its own substantial economic clout. The article did not go into detail regarding what calculations the NCSL used to generate these salary figures so I have to wonder if "added salary items" such as the State of Minnesota's 1.) housing allowance for non-Twin Cities legislators and 2.) per diem expenses are included in these salary figures.
See you at the capitol,
Monday, April 10, 2006
My hometown in Iowa is situated at the confluence of the Maple River and Odebolt Creek thus I spent several spring thaws exploring the river banks for any "treasure" exposed by the breaking ice but mostly the items were garbage of course.
Personally I love April showers begins that means the rivers and lakes will fill to their proper levels thus allowing for pursuits like canoeing and kayaking. Once again I am fortunate to be able to participate in the annual Mississippi River Challenge, http://www.mississippiriverchallenge.org , set for August 5 and 6 in the Twin Cities of Minnesota joined this year by my fraternity brother Pete as my paddling partner. The Challenge is a charity fundraiser for the Friends of the Mississippi River to help them raise funds for their education and environmental protection work.
As I look forward to this two day paddle I am FINALLY thanking those friends that supported me with donations in 2005 since each paddler in the challenge is expected to raise $200 in contributions. Let me recognize those friends today:
A token of my appreciation and a reminder of Old Man River is on its way to you this week. My sincere thanks for supporting this effort to clean and preserve our 22 mile stretch of the Mississippi here in the Twin Cities.
Everything flows downstream,
Thursday, April 06, 2006
During my morning routine of reading the newspaper while biking in my gym I was listening to CNN which had a story focused on how busy people are today and their use of electronic tools such as Blackberries, email, and voice mail. One person interviewed stated that she is constantly "spread too thin........"
Yet me be honest by admitting that I multi-task and over-program with the rest of the tax slaves in the USA but I try to balance that with exercise, some quiet reading time, and massages (see my posting - "Dr. Plato will see you now"). This CNN story reminded me of a clipping I had in my "Blog Items" file (yes, I am a dork with such a file but it is no different than files maintained by traditional writers) focused on the Long Now Foundation (LNF):
The LNF's main focus is society lack of "long-term perspective" thus one of their project's is the creation of the "10,000 Year Clock" which was first built in the year, 01997. So if you want a sense of a slower-paced, long-term view life spend some time reading about their work.
Personally their "Rosetta Project", http://www.rosettaproject.org/, intrigues me the most. This project seems to archive the world's languages with their current count at 3,000 known languages.
Don't stop thinking about tomorrow,
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
"The great error of our day in the treatment of humans is that some physicians separate treatment of psyche from treatment of body" Plato
One of my favorite Saturday Night Live characters is Steve Martin's "medieval Barber" where nearly every medical solution he offers to his patients (victims?) is a blood letting regardless of their medical condition.
Personally I am blessed with good health in that I have never had a sick day from work in 17 years now which I attribute primarily to an active lifestyle, the regular use of the steam room at my gyms, avoiding medicines as the immediate solution, and occasional visits to a spa for a massage. This is my "holistic" approach to medicine thus I am very encouraged by the growing availability/flexibility of Health Savings Accounts (for more information -- http://www.ncpa.org) since it empowers consumers/patients to spend health care dollars in the way they want.
Hopefully HSA will completely restructure the "pay and pray you get something back" medical insurance system we have created in the USA. For instance, instead of some prescription drug I want my personal doctor to prescribe a few full body massages for a few weeks perhaps coupled with some one-to-one yoga instruction to counter cold/flu symptoms I might be experiencing but today's insurance claim system does not cover such "prescriptions" .
I thought about the need for reforming our current "trade guild" medical profession after reading about this TV program focused on alternative medicine options such as -- herbs, acupuncture, meditation:
Empower yourself the next time you see your doctor by asking him/her to prescribe a massage or some aromatherapy treatments for you then let me know what their response is -- always trying to educate myself.
While traveling in Philadelphia this past weekend I saw an ad for this new film:
IOWA - THEY DON'T JUST GROW CORN HERE ANYMORE
To be completely factual my home state of Iowa also raises substantial amounts of soy beans and hogs but that would probably make the film's tag line a bit too long ;)
Since this was the first time I had heard or read about this film it caught my attention so after reviewing its website I discovered that it is focused on the production of "meth" which is reportedly a booming industry in Iowa. I love my home state so I am greatly concerned about the current state of affairs and the outside world's perception of Iowans generated by this film's release.
Regardless of how this film portrays drug use I am still opposed to living in - and paying for - the police state created by the "War on Drugs" . Additionally, I am very tired of hearing journalists and politicians constantly asking President Bush when he plans to withdraw troops from Iraq so let me generate a new line of questioning -- "Mr. President, when do you plan to withdraw the troops/police from the War on Drugs?" Perhaps some of the thousands of police officers and narcotics agents involved in the drug war could be retrained and re-deployed to Iraq to help that country create the police structure it needs to establish law and order.
Unless we plan to create a 100% income tax bracket we need government to completely rethink how they spend our tax dollars today.
DARE to think anew,
Despite our high tax culture in my adopted State of Minnesota I have several Minnesotan things that keep me happy such as canoeing in the Boundary Waters (http://www.ely.org) and listening to the "Garage Logic" talk radio program -- http://www.am1500.com/garagelogic.htm
Garage Logic is a world view, a philosophy that I sum up as -- "life is not so complicated that we need a government program for every 'crisis' , instead we just need to sit in our garages enjoying a cold beer while talking with friends to solve problems using our common sense............." One of my favorite jingles on this show is when a choir sings, "Don't tell me we don't have any money.............."
I was reminded of this jingle on Monday when I was lifting weights at my local gym. While I was stretching two women in their late forties/early fifties were talking about the one woman's interest in some part-time work in local schools. This led to a discussion of their mutual friend's current job in some local school district serving as the CULTURAL LIAISON.
At the risk of sounding like an old, grumpy man talking about things in a "back in my day we never........." mindset but here it is true. Granted my school was not at all diverse in terms of new immigrants, languages spoken, etc. so we clearly did not need a "Cultural Liaison" but at the risk of sounding cold-hearted and ignorant let me call for the replacement of all "Cultural Liaisons" in our nation's schools with a very crazy idea -- more math and science teachers!!!
Math and science are built on a foundation of universal and eternal concepts -- created by God or simply the cosmic order of things depending on your own belief system -- I will pray for you regardless ;) -- that are not dependent on changing cultures. I have to believe that having more math and science teaching positions created will generate more economic growth for the US economy than cultural liaisons will generate.
In fact given the constant drum beat about the need to "reduce class size" why can't we completely re-think and re-tool the way classes are taught. Looking at my university experience it is clear to me that classes can be taught effectively using varying class sizes. For instance -- why don't we create high school math courses that only have 15 students per class while a course like literature could be taught with 30 or 35 students based on a format focused on reading books and writing about them perhaps using a book club format of small student work groups within each class.
No I don't have the perfect solution but my options are better than the thinking offered by the current education establishment which simply says -- "give us more money so we can reduce class size and everything will improve..............." We have thrown enough money into this money pit called public education so some new thinking would be refreshing.
More teachers less liaisons please,
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Perhaps it is my growing sense of my own mortality or Catholic school guilt (wait, I am Lutheran and went to public school!) but after some deep, soul-searching reflection I now admit that my personal, life-long crusade for greater freedom and less government has been completely mis-guided and mean-spirited. I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT I WAS COMPLETELY WRONG AND SELFISH!!
Government is good for all of us and simply needs more of our money so it can do more good things for more people so I am now willing to accept a 100% income tax bracket thus fully releasing myself from all personal decisions to allow myself to fully embrace a cradle to grave welfare state. Ah, my stress level has flat-lined now that I have entered this utopian mental state.
APRIL FOOL'S DAY MY BIG GOVERNMENT FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You can have my freedom when you rip it from my cold, dead hands :-)
Reduce government not liberty,
I have returned to Philadelphia after nearly four full days of meetings in Washington DC. One night of my DC visit was devoted to the "Media Research Center's Gala - featuring the Dis Honors Awards" at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
This annual event is the Media Research Center's (MRC), http://www.mrc.org, version of the "Razzies" (given to the worst films of the year) with the "Dis Honors" awards focused highlighting those members of the media establishment most deserving of ridicule for their bias, ignorance, and general opposition to freedom (my own summary - please visit MRC's website for their own explanation).
So this year's "winners" are as follows:
"Slam Uncle Sam Award" -- Chris Matthews, MSNBC's Hardball program
"Send Bush to Abu Ghraib Award" -- Jack Cafferty, CNN's The Situation Room program
"Cindy Sheehan Media Hero Award" -- Chris Matthews, MSNBC's Hardball program
"Aaron Brown Memorial Award for Stupidest Analysis" -- Ted Turner, former CNN founder who sold out to AOL/Time Warner and lost most of his fortune except for what he donated to create the United Nations Foundation. Now that I think about it the AOL/Time Warner stock is still worth more than the investment in the UN's "work"
"I'm not a Political Genius but I play one on TV Award" -- Rosie O'Donnell. PLEASE, PLEASE run for public office to provide new content for Comedy Central!!!
Overall this was a very entertaining evening especially since I did not see the video clips of these "winners'" comments when they originally aired since I travel too much so I greatly appreciated seeing Ted Turner's comments about North Korea where he said in response to Wolf Blitzer's question about starvation in this Worker's Paradise that Ted had, "......seen thin people riding bikes but I did not see any evidence they were being abused.............." (something to that effect -- truly an amazing moment especially since in late January Turner's own CNN ran a feature on "CNN Presents" showing video smuggled out of North Korea showing first hand, mass starvation and public executions.
Let me close with this disturbing quote from the highly discredited Dan Rather (thanks to the bloggers at Powerline!!) -- "CBS is a magical, mystical kingdom of journalistic knights" Dan Rather -- thanks to my friend/fellow blogger, Stacey, for writing the quote down for me. I will have to add Stacey to the Space Beagle staff :)
Turn off your TV and read a book,