Monday, December 29, 2008

Amended Prediction

I have been taken to task for my overly optimistic prognostications regarding the coming year. I will hereby amend them, although slightly, to say that maybe, just maybe, the recover won't start until summer or the fall of '09. That is the last word on the topic.

Side note: Caroline Kennedy is no more qualified to be a U.S. Senator than Palin was to be a VP.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Good bye 2008-Hello 2009

2008 has been a year of great turmoil. The war in Iraq continued; the economy has tanked; thanks to Congress, the U.S. taxpayer is on the hook for more money than anyone can possibly comprehend; corrupt politicians continue to pop up in the headlines; and current leadership continues to stumble along, utterly oblivious to the needs of the nation.
But the good news is that we have a new president who holds great promise for our nation while his predecessor and sidekick are mercifully on their way out. Which brings us to 2009. Herewith my carefully considered predictions:
The economy will continue to degrade throughout the first few months of 2009 but in the Spring and onward there will be a slow and steady improvement. Unemployment rates will slowly go down; the stock market will go up; one auto company will go out of business and the remaining two may merge-possibly with a foreign company; an Obama led initiative will demand and get explanations from banks and other financial institutions as to where the money went; the housing market will enjoy a resurgence due to low housing prices, huge inventory, more money being lent, very low interest rates, pent up demand and improving economic conditions. It could even lead to another bubble. Beware and learn from history.
Elsewhere, the war in Iraq will wind down but military efforts in Pakistan and Afghanistan will increase. The situation in Israel and the PLO will come to a head with either a U.S initiated peace treaty or a major invasion by Israel resulting in all-out war and a possible crisis involving Iran.
So there you have it. Oh, and one last thing: the price of gas will go up! Bank on it. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I have a question which may (or may not) have occurred to others: Where the hell did that $700 billion go??? Banks still aren't lending!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Today's Classrooms

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Christmas Story. Subbing the other day reminded me of several scenes in the movie. Has it been a while since you've been in an elementary classroom? If so, don't expect it to look like it did in The Christmas Story. Here's what you can expect to see in many elementary classrooms these days:

Neat, tidy rows of desks the tops of which are free of anything but a pencil??? Not a chance. Here's what's on TOP of most desks, or tables as the case may be.
-a box of several pens, pencils, highlighters, and erasers.
-a pencil sharpener
-a bottle of water
-folders, journals & portfolios
-perhaps a book or two
All of this of course creates a situation whereby every time a kid breathes, he scatters debris all over. The floors are therefore a constant mess.

Now for the method by which the teacher imparts instructions or information to the kids: Blackboards or green chalkboards with several sticks of white chalk and perhaps colored chalk in the tray???? Think again. In the school where I've been subbing, there are SMART Boards. SMART Boards are white panels mounted over what used to be the chalk board. There's a projector mounted against the ceiling and it's all operated by computer. Oh, that's another thing-lots of computers.
You can draw and write on the smart boards too but you need a special pen and eraser. I started to use a dry erase marker on one the other day and the kids went ballistic. Fortunately there are always several kids (usually girls) who are more than willing to show me how all this stuff works.
Another thing you can expect to see are lots and lots of books-all kinds of books-so there's something for everyone regardless of reading level or interest. That's a good thing. The other stuff may be a good thing too but given the expense of a lot of this technology, I wonder how much 'bang for the buck' kids are getting. On the other hand, children do have to be comfortable around technology because that's the kind of world we're living in today. Things have changed.

Monday, December 15, 2008


At last. Something positive to put on W's thus far blank list of accomplishments. He mastered the art of ducking and weaving!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More 'Bits & Pieces'

Herewith another addition of bits & pieces:
Does anyone seriously blame Michelle and Barack Obama for enrolling their children in a fancy private school in D.C.? I would think not. The public schools in Washington D.C. are among the worst in the nation. Who wouldn’t take advantage of their ability to send their kids to a good private school? Yet, in spite of this, I’m still against vouchers. Strengthen the schools-don’t destroy them. Fire incompetent teachers and pay the good ones more money. Rebuild the infrastructure and rewrite the curriculum. Then, if you still want to send your kids to a private school, fine-but you foot the bill.

First it’s 700 billion dollars for Wall Street. Now it’s 15 billion or so for the auto industry. The question put before me by my daughter a little while ago was ‘isn’t the auto industry in trouble because they aren’t building the kinds of cars people want to drive and when that happens isn’t it natural for a company to go out of business?’ The short answer is yes. Oh sure, the whole world is in recession now but the auto industry has been ailing for a long time. They just don’t seem to get it. The US auto industry is sending jobs to Canada and Mexico while the Japanese auto companies are building plants here. Isn’t that the opposite of what should be happening? Well, for starters the employees of the Japanese companies are not unionized while the UAW has a grip on the US makers-to the tune of $75 an hour counting benefits and pensions, etc. Everyone needs to pitch in here-management AND workers. And above all, Detroit has to start making cars people want to drive. Oh, by the way, if there’s anyone out there who really thinks gas prices are going to stay this low, I have some nice land in New Orleans I’d like to sell you! So, should they be bailed out? I suppose given the impact on the whole economy but with some very strong conditions attached.

How about that dirt bag governor of Illinois? Giving political favors for campaign contributions. On top of everything else, he’s actually thinking about filling Obama’s vacated Senate seat himself even though he’s currently under indictment. This guy is a class act-just like the other 4 Illinois governors who have disgraced themselves. Lock him up and throw away the key.

Finally, blaring headlines of The Wall Street Journal: “At Least Bush Prevented Another Terrorist Attack”. What a crock. Leave it to the Journal to make an outrageously stupid statement like that. The fact that we have not been attacked since 911 is not because of Junior. It’s because of the brave men and women of the United States Armed forces and the security agencies who have been working 24/7 watching over us. Yeah, yeah. Bush got Congress to pass the Homeland Security Act but that’s so flawed it’s ridiculous. No, WSJ. Our safety so far is not because of Junior. In fact our involvement in Iraq has jeopardized our safety-not ensured it. Pack up, Junior. Just about a month to go-but hey, no one will be upset if you were to go now (and take your sidekick with you)!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bold Prediction

Let's face it. If Obama's presidency is even half as accomplished as his 3 week post-election run, he's a shoo in for a second term. Given that reality along with his appointment of Hillary Clinton as Sec'y of State, how's this for a prediction:
2016 Hillary Vs. Sarah
This gives Sarah Palin 8 whole years to hire a tutor and learn something-providing of course 80 year old John McCain doesn't decide to make yet another run at it!