Thursday, September 25, 2008

Election 2008 and finacial crisis

Dear Boys, (all others, go visit the wife's blog-much less boring)

(my mood- good, background music- Waiting for the night to fall- Depeche Mode From the Album Violator)

In 7Th grade I found I liked history. It was sparked by a teacher who presented the Civil War in a way that I found fascinating. It was one of the rare times when I aced a subject. I remember that I got the highest score of all the students in all of the classes, I don't think I can say that happened too many other times.

At the time I lived with my Grandpa who was dying of Diabetes and the family favorite, alcohol. He used to sit and watch documentaries about wars and he served in WWII. I would pick his brain about all kinds of things. I have always wondered what it was like to live at points in time and through him, I could sometimes get a glimpse.

So with that thought in mind, I start a set of blogs on current events. I want you to know what "we" thought at the time of the event. I want you to have more than the one paragraph that we got in the history books to cover an event like the shooting of President Regan.

2008 has been a strange year. I remember telling Mom that we were headed for trouble on January 2ND because it seemed like all the fortune tellers on the business channels were creating a sense of self-fulfilling prophecy of doom. All you could hear was the housing market was going to crash this year. . .either those guys are genius, or they created their own mess. Naysayers have more power than you can ever imagine.

Our economy was already skidding. Our family watched our transportation costs go from $30.00 fill-ups to $80.00 and our part of the nation is cheap comparatively. Milk is now even more expensive than gas. It is $4.00. Those increased costs are just a small example of the inflation that we are experiencing right now. Most of that inflation is hidden since on the flip side, housing is going down so we don't hear much about inflation. Luckily again in our part of the country housing is under control is still seeing an increase. Forbes magazine recently ranked us as the #1 recession proof city in the nation. (we have a little bit of oil around here and housing costs are good)

My sector of work is in decline as demand for big ticket items is declining due to the lack of disposable income. We are looking at about a 10% decrease this year if we have a good year. It will all be about these next few months.

As a family, we are struggling. Cars need replacing and debt continues to increase. Extras are decreasing. I need you to know though, that we are the rich of the Earth. Keep that in mind, we have so much that others don't have. We are also in a better spot than many of our fellow Americans especially considering we live off of a single income.

So this brings me to the 2nd biggest story of the year, the elections. Aaahh the elections. I can't tell you how many great arguments (meant in the positive meaning of the word) I have had with great friends over politics. This year has been different. I feel like I am the only one that wonders what it is that these guys have that make them candidates for President. I have not seen these guys offer any options as to how they will change it anything, even though they all love the phrase. I want someone who is going to change things for real. I mean I want a flat tax for people and a flat tax for corporations. (I am OK with the flat tax for corporations being changed to be competitive)

I don't see things like this being done. I don't see real "arguments" taking place. Take the gloves off guys, but do it about policies not how many homes you have and who wears lipstick, human or otherwise.

One of the most frustrating things for me is the choice of McCain's running mate. I feel like I am the only one who sees her as a last chance grab by a losing party to make things different. She is a woman and I understand that it would be smart to go for a woman and try and get some of those votes. I think a woman could do just as good of a job if not better than the male. I just don't think this lady has it. One of my concerns with McCain is he is not that young. He has years of wisdom and has had many experiences that would make him valuable, but now that he has put an inexperienced women on the ticket, I worry she might have to take his spot before the term is over. I think the only experience Palin has with "foreign" policy is the lower 49 states. I could be wrong, but we vote on what we know.

Obama. Yikes. The guy is slick. I have a friend who believes he is the anti-Christ. He comes out of basically no where. Goes to Africa a few years back and gets huge national coverage for it. He is a press-magnet. Except for conservative talk show hosts, the press doesn't seem to say anything negative about him. His policies are vague. I think Biden was a good choice for him and draws me closer to even contemplating to vote for him.

It used to be that I voted for people based on their stands on moral issues. Some are still really important to me. I don't agree with Gay Marriage. I am religious, I believe in God and in God's laws and that goes against them, there is nothing else to it. I don't agree with the law not allowing them to share insurance as long as they show some sort of Union, like the rest of us. Marriage is a religious word and as such should be left that way. It is not personal. My friends who are gay know where I stand, they know I love them as people and we just agree to disagree on this issue.

I don't want these issues to be resolved by the Federal government. I want the states to solve this. If all the religious want to live in the mid-west and live their ideals, let them. If the populous states want to allow it, let them. If I don't agree, I can move and visa-versa.
That is my real concern. The government should worry about the things that affect the whole union. Health care, education (double what teachers make!! BUT hold them to the same level I get held to at work, perform or get out!!)

It has taken me a couple of days to finish this blog. Since I started the government has suggested a bail out of nearly 700 Billion dollars for the financial sector. I disagree strongly. I didn't see these sectors handing out money to tax payers when they were doing well. I think this should be about the homeowners. Yes many of them bought way outside their spending. (I don't live in Oklahoma because it is my dream, I live here because I can afford to.) The rest of the world is looking at the U.S like we are idiots. We preach a free capitalist economy until we screw it up. Then we let the rich off and charge it to the poor.
All right, all right, you get the point. I hope you read this text and we as a nation made the right choice. You be the judge.
Love, Dad


Michal said...

interesting thoughts. it's good to read what you think and feel.

i'm afraid that "teacher accountability" bothers me. the reason that our educational system stinks has a lot to do with lack of parental involvement. nana was a teacher who dealt with lots of kids who didn't speak much english, whose parents did not make it a priority for them to come to school every day, to do their homework, etc. they didn't read with their kids at home. should she have been accountable for the kind of families that attended that school? if she was paid based on the kids' performance, you can bet she would have been teaching in a higher income demographic, which means that the poor are left with the bottom of the barrel teachers. with that being said, i myself gave up hope on public education and am now homeschooling, so i don't know what the answer is.:)

McD said...

scores are an indicator, kind of a warning light if you will. If scores are low, it falls on the principal to observe behaviors. I thought a lot about the class issue, I would be willing to spend extra in those areas. I think we are going about it all wrong concerning poverty. we have spent years trying to lift families out of poverty by focusing on getting parents out. I want to educate the children and invest in that program. give them the chance to break free of poverty based on their decisions, not the mistakes of their parents.
Getting back to the teachers, there are good teachers and lets face it there are some poor ones. the poor ones have to go.

Scooter said...

To continue the teaching focus, a couple of thoughts:

Research shows that poorer parents are not as likely to monitor their child's homework (may not even check to see if the child has any), are less likely to read to a child, less likely to take to a museum, etc., than middle class parents. They are more likely to treat a teenager as a peer. These things are indeed difficult for a teacher to counter. Throwing money at schools hasn't been clearly shown to solve these problems either. So yes, this does pose a challenge to the whole accountability issue for teachers.

Also, the money teachers get does not promote a competitive atmosphere that allows for the cream to come to the surface. The most gifted people are not going to be attracted to teaching when they can make so much more money elsewhere (in general--I don't mean to suggest that all that people care about is money, or that there aren't very talented teacher--I'm talking about general groups of people). Men, in particular, are going to be less attracted because in most cases, they provide the primary or sole income of a family. I think some boys in school could be helped by having more male teachers.

On the other hand, the fact that teachers don't make much money could mean that many teachers do it out of love and passion for the work--which you would hate to lose. So, I've wondered at times if an increase in teacher salary would have a net positive or negative effect. I would say, though, that if there was very good pay, administrators could hire and keep the very best teachers because they would have plenty to choose from, theoretically. But, where would that money come from?

(I'm too lazy to proofread this--I hope that doesn't hurt my future appointment)

Tara said...

This is a fantastic discussion. . . all of you, right on! I taught high school in southern california at, I must say, a fantastic school. Fooey to the whole "true to the alma mater" at that point. Unfortunately Zimmerman really screwed our wonderful school. La Serna had a faculty that really cared about its students. We were all in it for them. I substituted at Whittier at the height of it's "lowness" and I know what was going on there - I know how low the "honors" students were - and sad part is, now I live in Philadelphia, and if I had kids, and I had a choice, I would send them to Whittier before I sent them to ANY school in Philadelphia. The philly schools are rampant with racism. All white kids go to private schools and all black kids go to public school. I did two residencies in two different schools and they sent me to hours-long sessions with my therapist. I was in tears. It's terrible what is going on in the schools. No one cares, there are too many kids in classrooms, teachers have to teach reading, 'riting, and 'rythmatic, ad nauseum, which is not really relevant anymore. Visual literacy is key - if you want a job you must be able to decifer visual cues in everything. Let's give these poor kids some skills! These stupid tests don't do anything. The classes I had residencies in didn't have markers, scissors, rulers, pencils, paper for art projects - absolutely nothing for creative expression. There are so many surveys out there that proove that kids who have art in their education have better imagination and can think outside the box. (sorry I can't provide proof at the moment - email me for further info - I do have it.)So, Michal, I'm so sorry you feel the need to home school your kids - that's not fair, you SHOULD be able to send your kids to public school and feel good about it - that's what it's all about.
And Scooter - right on - you know, the reason we can't get fabulous teachers to STAY is because the salary sucks! When I left five years ago I was making about 50 grand. That is NOT enough to raise or maintain a family on. Teachers have to have as much education and as much hoop-jumping as doctors. Okay - so teachers don't have to pay malpractice insurance - however, we still hold the future of our country in our hands, you would think that was more important to the tax payers. Just FYI - in Germany, teachers are paid for 13 months. They get one month bonus for teaching. Plus they get six weeks in the summer, one in the fall, three for Christmas, and two for Easter (its a Christian country), AND, shocker - they are respected! If they paid six figures, I'd go back to teaching.
Alright - enough of a rant - boys, I hope things change for you, your education, and for our future. :) - Tara