Monday, August 30, 2010

Handicapped Parking

Handicapped parking is a real pet peeve with me.  My father was a paraplegic, who walked with the aid of crutches and leg braces.  Once I saw him fall trying to get over a curb in a parking lot.  Just then, a young guy came out of the restaurant and got into his car and drove away.  Oh, by the way, he was parked in a handicapped spot.

Now everyone has seen one of those handicapped signs where it boasts about a $250 fine for violators.  But does anyone know someone who has received the fine.  Probably not.  I am sure the whole process of fining someone is more pain in the ass than it's worth.  But, I have a solution.  Hold on to your seat, this might shock you.

When I am King, I'll do away with the fine.  Instead I'm going to have a police officer just shoot out a tire. Now I know this sounds a little radical, but consider the effectiveness.  A person comes back and finds he has a flat tire.  Now he has to change the tire - if he has a spare. He might have to call a repair service to come and change it for him.  If he uses his spare, he will need to purchase a new tire.  Do you see where this is going?  You have instant punishment, loss of money and a shit load of aggravation.  And best of all, the police don't have to waste their time.  I'll have the police keep a data base of offenders.  Therefore, if it's a person's second offense the policeman will shoot out two tires.  I think you get the idea. After awhile, I am sure their will be plenty of handicapped spots for people who need them.  Too late for my dad, but maybe just in time for yours.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Atheists For Glen Beck

Glen Beck had a rally today at the National Mall in Washington D.C..  He tried to bring God along by assuring people  "Something beyond imagination is happening," he said. "America today begins to turn back to God."  If Glen Beck is in charge of turning people on to God, atheists everywhere are rejoicing.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Why Preschool Education

Imagine you're the captain of an ocean liner leaving Los Angeles heading for Hawaii.   You're just a few miles out to sea when your navigator informs you you're two degrees off course.  You realize that two degrees at this point is only a matter of a few yards.  Even though it doesn't take a great deal of effort to change course, you decide to ignore it because it doesn't seem significant.  A few days later, you're so far off course you miss the entire state of Hawaii.

This is what is happening every day in education.  Kids are starting kindergarten with huge gaps in their readiness to learn.  Some have all the tools they need, but many are just a few degrees off.  Quality preschool can do wonders to narrow that gap. 

It would be nice if every parent could provide a plethora of enrichment experiences for their children.  But that is not always possible, for a multitude of reasons. Some kids enter first grade with a working vocabulary of only a few hundred words, while others have several thousand. If we start early, it does take much effort to change this course.  But if we wait too long, the gap will continue to grow until a student is so off course that failure is the only option.

When I am King, we'll spend our resources wisely at the front end of the journey so we don't miss our target all together.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Preschool Education

Several people asked me what I would do to improve education. The first thing I would do is think long term.  We need to make sure every kid in America has an opportunity to learn.  This means leveling the playing field by making sure every child has a quality preschool experience.  It should be mandatory that every school district provide a free appropriate preschool program.  Personally I am fond of the Montessori Method.  

The Montessori Method stresses self-directed learning activities.  Kids learn by doing and making their own discoveries.  The student's learning experiences are matched to their needs, not the needs of a store bought curriculum. Students take responsibility for their own learning which serves them well through the rest of their educational career. When they enter first grade they are prepared and eager to learn.

I  know for a fact that years three through nine are the most important years in a child's educational growth.  Around fourth grade is when we see kids start to act out and lose interest in school.  I believe it's because they are too far behind in their skill development.  In case you haven't noticed, school keeps getting harder every year.

When I am King, I'll give full scholarships to brilliant students who are willing to teach  preschool through 3rd grade.  Better yet, I'll make sure they get paid a minimum of $10,000 more than the other teachers.  Hopefully, this will attract some of our best and brightest to the field. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Standardized Testing In Schools

Here in Indiana, another school year is about to start and already the State Superintendent of Education is talking about holding teachers accountable via standardized testing.  Standardize testing might have its place in education, but using it as an evaluation instrument is a waste to time and energy.  The tests do not address reasons for lack of achievement, i.e. attendance, class size, prior educational experiences, home life, etc.  Basically, the blame is always laid at the feet of the teachers.

Can you imagine a dentist being held accountable for all the cavities of a teenage patient, even though the kid doesn't brush regularly, refuses to floss and lives on a steady diet of sugar.  Of course not.  However, the government thinks all kids should learn at grade level regardless of the student's effort, attendance or support at home. When I taught, it was not unusual to have students start school three or four weeks late.  I've  had kids who missed over a hundred days of school in one year.

When I am King, no state legislature will mandate student testing until every member has taken the required test and had their results posted  in the local newspaper.  Now that's my idea of accountability.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bush Tax Cut:: Just Say No

When Present Clinton left office he left behind a $127 billion budget surplus.  That quickly evaporated because the Bush Tax Cut (aka welfare for the rich)  gave the wealthiest one percent a huge tax cut. After that give away, the Bush administration ran up the largest budget deficit in history.

Now history is about to repeat itself.  Why?  Because Obama promised during his campaign  not to raise the taxes on people making less than $250,000.  If the Bush Tax Cut is allowed to expire at the end of the year the middle class will see a rise in their taxes also.  Hence, some legislation is needed.  The question is will the Democrats have enough spine to pass the legislation to exempt the middle class, while allowing the handout for the rich to expire.

If the Bush Tax Cut is not allowed to expire, the wealthiest 120,000 people in the United States ( you probably don't know many of them) will be given three million dollars each over the next decade.  Overall, that's 680 billion dollars of revenues that disappears from the federal budget. The Republicans will tell you that making the Bush Tax Cut permanent will stimulate the economy.  Bull shit.  It means a lot of rich people, who already have everything under the sun, will just stick some more money in their pockets.

The Democrats need to step up to the plate and provide some protection for the middle class.  But, when it comes to making the Bush Tax Cut permanent, JUST SAY NO!!!!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Blog: A Learning Tool

After less than a couple of weeks of blogging I've learned a few things.  First, I wish I was a much better speller and proof reader.  Writing has never been my strong suit.  I have opinions on everything, but I am not always able to express them in writing.  But, I can see how blogging regularly helps me improve my skills.

Second, I feel I am learning far more from you than you are from me.  Your comments really help me gain new perspectives.  It's refreshing to know there are so many intelligent people out there (but still not nearly enough).  The problem is  the dumb asses of the world get way too much attention, i.e. Sarah, Glen, and Rush.

Last, but not least, I have a new confidence in our liberal minded community.  I know there are a lot of really good-hearted people out there who will be our future leaders.  Things are really looking up.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Presidents and Religion

A recent poll showed that 20% of Americans think President Obama is a Muslim.  It's hard to believe there are so many ignoramuses out there.  This myth is caused mainly by an over active Internet and the ability of hate groups to manipulate it.  The real issue is, why does anyone even care?  We pretend to be a noble country that values religious freedom.  A president's religion should be a moot issue.

The truth is, religion has always been a pain in the ass issue for American presidents.  During the Civil War, anti-catholic feelings were extremely high.  Lincoln was constantly besmirched by rumors that he had been baptized a Catholic.  Rumors of Franklin Roosevelt being a Jew were non stop during his administration.  When Kennedy was running for president, he had to give a special speech to assure everyone he wouldn't take orders from the Pope if he was elected.

Some day Americans will elect a Muslin, or an atheist president and people will say, who cares.  I am hoping I live long enough to see it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fixing Congress - Step # 2

The filibuster, also known as Senate Rule 22, allows a minority group of Senators to keep any bill or appointment from ever coming to a vote.  In the past, a Senator would take the floor and just talk about any topic and keep legislation tied up.  Today, you don't even have to talk a bill to death, you just have to indicate you're willing to filibuster.  Southern Senators used this technique very effectively to block civil rights and anti-lynching laws. 

The problem is, unlike the House of Representatives, the Senate has unlimited debate.  The House did away with it's filibuster technique in 1842.  It's time for the Senate to follow suit.  When I am King, every bill reported out of committee will be voted on after allowing 10 hours of debate. This will cause a novel event to occur -- majority rule.  If you don't like the decisions of the majority, you'll be able to vote them all out of office every four years (see Fix #1).  Let's give Democracy a chance.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rush Limbaugh Insults the Wrong Religion

Rush Limbaugh is living proof that stupid people can still make it in America.  Recently Rush likened the NYC Islamic center to building a Hindu Temple next to Pearl Harbor.  Flash for Rush: Hindus are from India.  Maybe you missed it in history class Rush, but it was the Japanese who attacked Pearl Harbor.  Japanese are mainly Shinto or Buddhist.  If you're going to insult a religion, at least you should get the right one.

Of  course maybe my expectations are a little high for a drug addict who makes 33 million a year doing hate radio.   My father use to say that no man was totally worthless, he could always serve as a bad example.  Good job Rush.

Going To Church

When I was a kid, my mom and dad would take me to church about once a month, or whenever there was a holiday. I was bored to death.  I couldn't figure out why the minister always tried to make people feel so bad. All he talked about was sin, sin, and more sin.  Hell, I was only 10, how bad could I be.

I remember especially the hymns.  I really liked "Onward Christian Soldiers".  When you're a kid, talk of marching off to war sounded pretty cool.  What I dislike were the two old biddys behind me having an  I can sing louder than you contest.  I figured God gave special attention to really loud people.

I also noticed that some really bad people attended church regularly.  It was like Monday through Saturday really didn't count as long as you put something in the collection plate on Sunday - or sang extra loud.  When I got old enough to make my own decisions, I decided I would skip the Sunday part and try to be moral person at least Monday through Saturday.  Sunday I play golf.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Russians Piss Off God

First an Iranian cleric said that earthquakes were caused by women who dressed immodestly.  He had to be taken down by a Purdue science student - remember Boob-Quake?  You would think these holier than thou people would learn their lesson.

Enter Vasily Boiko, a Russian tycoon who blames Russia's extreme weather this summer on what he called a lack of ample religious faith.  In case you're not aware, Russia is having an extreme heat wave that is causing  hundreds of deaths per day.  More that a 1/3 of the Russian wheat crop has been destroyed. Can anyone say Al Gore.

Boiko had decided to be pro-active.  He has informed all of his employees who are living together to get married by October 14, or get fired.  All workers who have had an abortion will be fired immediately. Hopefully this will bring rain and cool weather to Mother Russia.

Of course, Boiko is no saint himself, having done jail time recently for fraud allegations.  I am sure God is still proud of his efforts. Where's that Boob-Quake founder when we need her.  I think another science project is in order.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Men Have Ugly Feet

Don't ask me why, but most men have ugly feet. Maybe it's due to excessive running, jumping, etc. But the fact remains, most are not very attractive. Now I know there's nothing a guy can do about it.  Please don't start putting on nail polish. But you can do one thing, stop wearing sandals. 

You're at the beach - OK.  But, do you have to go out in public and show those mutilated metatarsals off?  When I am King, restaurants will post signs for men saying "No Shoe, No Sandals, No Shirts, No Service.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dustin Johnson Grounded By The PGA

Dustin Johnson thought he was on his way to winning the PGA Championship when a strange thing happened.  He grounded his club in a sand trap and receiving a two stroke penalty.  Now I can hear some of you right now, how could this happen.  Is the man stupid?  Doesn't he know the rules?  

Before you're two hard on him, check out the whole story at CBS.  The man had so many fans around him he had no idea he was in a bunker.  He thought his ball was on a piece of bare land that was trampled down by the gallery.

After completing the 18th hole, thinking he was headed to a playoff, he was greeted by a rules official and informed that he was indeed in a bunker and therefore he was penalized and knocked out of the playoff.  Where the hell was that rules official when he was hitting the ball.  If the PGA had done a better job of crowd control he would have known he was in the bunker.  When fans are standing two feet from you, it doesn't dawn on you they're in the bunker.  

What a sad ending to a great tournament.

Fixing Congress - Step One

Congress needs a fix.  I think I know the first step.  Make all members of the House of Representative and the Senate have the same term length.  In case you didn't know, members of the House have two year terms, while Senators are elected for six years. Currently the entire House of Representatives and one third of the Senate is up for election every two years. 

When I am King, they will all be up for election every four years. If you want to throw out the whole government, you'll have your chance.  But, you should get two or three years of  service before the re-election cycle starts.  Currently, members of the House start running for re-election as soon as their election is over.  On the other hand, Senators tend to take a four year nap before they start their re-election campaign.

The major focus of Congress should be passing important pieces of legislation, not pandering to special interest groups. No one can run a four year election campaign -- they'll bomb out due to over exposure.  Hopefully this will force them to do some work in the first few years of their term.  If not, throw the bums out.

Another side benefit of everyone having the same term length is we'll save a boat load of money.  With half as many elections, the savings will be in the billions.  Who said liberals can't cut spending.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

How To Fix Tiger Woods

I just finished watching Tiger Woods play the third round of the PGA Tournament.  He's just not on his game.  In fact, he really looks like every other mediocre journeyman.  I always wished I could play like Tiger.  I am afraid my dream might be coming true.  Only problem is Tiger is getting worse, instead of me getting better.

I think Tiger can get back on track if he follows my easy two step plan. First step, get laid -- a lot.  Face it, your marriage is over.  You need some stress release.  Sex seemed to work in the past. Second, start playing a lot more golf.  Tiger should play every week through the rest of the year.  His game has too much rust.  I suggest he plays every tournament for the rest of the season.  After the season ends, go play the Asian Tour. But play, play, and play some more.

Follow my plan Tiger.  I guarantee you'll start winning again and you'll have a smile on your face.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Unemployment Benefits For The Rich.

After a round of golf with one of my rich Republican friends, a discussion broke out about the economy.  My friend said the problem was there's not enough money in circulation because people lack confidence in the country's  leadership.  I told him to start spending. The real problem is too much money is in the hands of too few people.

Mark Hurd
While the Republicans try to kill unemployment benefits for working class people, they have no problem with their buddies taking multi-million dollar severance packages for screwing up the economy.

What would you expect to happen if you falsified your expense records and sexually harassed a co-worker?  You get your ass fired, at the least, or in jail at the worst.  However, if you're Mark Hurd, CEO of HP, you get a 30 million dollar going away present.

Of course, HP has a habit of paying off bad CEOs.  They gave Carly Fiorina  21 million to just get lost.  Now she's running for Senator from California.  Why screw up one company when you can fuck over the whole nation.

Turns out Hurd and Fiorina are just small potatoes.  William McGuire, former CEO of UnitedHealth Group received 1.2 billion to settle some civil and SEC suits. To see who the really big winners are in the golden severance package race, click here.

When I am King, no CEO will be paid more than a 100 times the salary of the lowest paid company employee.  There will be no severance packages.  But, they will be able to draw the same unemployment benefits as the rest of the working class.  That should get some money in circulation.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kill Instant Replay

"Kill the ump!"  "Come on ref, how can you sleep with all the lights on!" "We would have won if the refs hadn't screwed us!"

Just a sample of some classic statements that  might disappear  from sports some day. With all the instant replays, some genius will figure out how to do away with officials all together. Hating a machine is just not the same. Fear not, When I am King, there will be no instant replays.

Besides, it's a horrible waste of time. With all the commercials nowadays, the average NFL game lasts almost four hours. Throw in a few instant replays and the game could last longer than most brain surgeries.
Now I know some announcers will say "at least the refs will get the call right".  Who gives a shit.  I'll tell you who, GAMBLERS.  Anyone who's dumb enough to bet on professional sports should lose his ass from time to time.

The vast majority of the time the refs get the call right in real time.  Let them call the game.  If they get the call wrong, bitch your ass off the next day.  You'll feel better.

Just Because You Can, Doesn't Mean You Should

What do Takeru Kobayashi and Timo Kaukomen have in common? Both are World Champions. Kobayashi eats hot dogs for a living. When he goes to work, his goal is to eat 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Can you say Pepto Bismol? Kaukomen’s job is to sit in a hot room for six minutes at a time. I mean, really hot. His occupation requires him to sit in a 230 degree room and see if he can outlast his opponent. In his last outing, his opponent died.

Why would people risk their good health to do such dumb ass events. Better yet, who are the dumb asses who put on these events or show up to cheer the competitors ? My dad taught me just because you can do something, like eat dirt, doesn't necessarily mean you should. Too bad he didn’t get this message out to more people. When I am King, the media won't be allowed to cover these morons. Lets see what happens when people can't get their 15 minutes of fame -- or 10 -- or 6.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Welcome to "IF I WERE KING"

First of all, let me assure you that I do believe in democracy. But from time to time, I just wish I was in charge so I could bring about some type of change without giving a damn about numerous ass kissing procedures to make it happen. Hence, I want to be an occasional King and not a President. I want to see a wrong, or just something that pisses me off, and come up with automatic solutions. However, sometimes I just like to shout out my own opinions. My family will assure you I don’t have a shortage of opinions. Some you might agree with, some you shouldn’t. Others might get you thinking about your own take on a particular subject.

Kings can have an opinion on anything and most people won’t tell them they’re full of it. But, don’t worry if you disagree with me, I promise not to behead you. Hell, my own family thinks I am nuts from time to time. Sometimes I just like to tell a story. It might be a story about an event in my life. I might want to talk about a book I recently read. Who knows? Basically I like to talk about politics, social wrongs, sports and other things that drive my family from the room. If I Were King, they would have to stay and listen – followed by a quiz.