Archive for December 2009

Happy Holidays

December 20, 2009

Oh No! I’m part of the homo-commie-atheist-liberal War on Christmas!

Actually, I’m just too lazy to type Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Nevertheless, we’re headed out of town and in case I don’t get a chance to blog again before returning, that is my wish for all.


La The Happiest State

December 19, 2009

According to this study, at least. Makes sense to me, based on their criteria. They asked people how happy they were and also considered objective factors like weather and housing prices. Here’s how one of the authors explains it:

“We were struck by the states that come at the bottom, because a lot of them are on the East Coast, highly prosperous and industrialized,” Oswald said. “That’s another way of saying they have a lot of congestion, high house prices, bad air quality.”

He added, “Many people think these states would be marvelous places to live in. The problem is that if too many individuals think that way, they move into those states, and the resulting congestion and house prices make it a non-fulfilling prophecy.”

Bingo. For us, at least. I’ve always thought about moving back up northeast, but have always decided against it because of the high costs. Down here, we live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood and can still afford to have only one of us work full time, and that’s as a teacher. Up there? Two full time all year round jobs wouldn’t come close to allowing us to enjoy the equivalent type of home and neighborhood. We’d be crammed into some dinky two bedroom two hours commute from our jobs. So while we’d be in an objectively nicer area, we sure wouldn’t be able to enjoy it.

“Remember The Reason For The Season.”

December 17, 2009

If that was displayed by a public school for anyone to see, as it is at mine, wouldn’t there be some First Amendment issues? No one within fifty miles of my school would even think about complaining. But suppose someone did? It’s not as explicit as saying “Jesus is the reason” but the intent, I think, is clear. And once that’s established, surely this is a violation. Right?

That 54:40 Was A Fight

December 16, 2009

That being the time it took me to run six miles tonight. Yesterday it took me only twenty seconds more to do another mile and a half. So why did I go from 7:20 minute miles to 9:00 minute miles on a shorter route? A jogger with two toddlers; or, in other words, about ninety pounds of dead weight.

I run with the babies every Wednesday. Tuesdays are a hard run, Thursdays are a hard run, Wednesdays are normally easy. I put them in the jogger and maintain a pace that lets me talk with them through the whole five or six mile route. We look for flags, and boats, and basketball goals. While “Mr. Sun” still shines they find shapes in the clouds. There’s several cars along the route that share traits with those in their favorite movie, causing them to shout at a bright yellow bug we always see on Albert, for example, “Just like Luigi!” Omi also like to randomly shout “Look!, A spaceship!” Not sure where the idea of extraterrestrials originated, but I think trees overhanging the road trigger the shout. Since Thanksgiving, Christmas lights have been the big show. I’ve enjoyed running this season more than any other, and the Wednesday run most of all.

This week, though, I was unsure if time would allow a run on Thursday. To make up for the possibility of a missed hard run, I did a hard run tonight. We ran a mile to the closest hill, made a block that let us go up it four times at a fast pace (with half a block to recover between each “climb”) and then went home by a slightly longer route. I didn’t talk much on this one. In fact, even if time permits a run tomorrow, I don’t think my legs will.

(If you haven’t had American history in a while, here’s the title reference.)

Is It Still Cynicism If You’re Right?

December 15, 2009

This is fantastic: A satirical look at what Congressmen do, in the form of a letter home to the constituents. Gerrymandering, party politics, lobbyists and the legislative process are all there. For example:

Are you shocked that lobbies write the legislation that I introduce? Well, wake up and smell the coffee. Do you really think that my staff and I actually write legislation? I’ll let you in on another little secret: I don’t even read the bills that I introduce. They’re really boring and technical. Besides, I don’t have the time to read any bills, even my own, between committee hearings where I can grandstand for TV and fundraisers for my next campaign.

Sometimes I wonder how I can teach civics when I have such a very low opinion of politicians. Then I remember than I’m right. I’m sure most of them aren’t as bad as this fictional letter writer. But no matter what they say, they’re all in it for themselves. Normally, there’s nothing wrong with someone’s primary goal being Number One. Rational self interest is, of course, the basis of our economy, one that has given all of us the highest standard of living in the history of the world. Private individuals, though, have to persuade you to part with your resources. Congressmen just force you to give it away, all the while telling you they are your servant.

My Students Asked Me Why I Don’t Own A Gun

December 15, 2009

I told them it’s because for every story I read about someone successfully using a gun to defend himself, I read ten stories like this one. (Or this one.)

Ron Webb Is An Asshole

December 13, 2009

What a douche:

Shreveport Councilman Ron Webb on Friday drew the ire of residents who took offense to his comment about denying funding to an organization he considers gay friendly.

During a workshop on the city’s 2010 budget this week, Webb said he didn’t want to give Robinson Film Center additional money. He had talked with organization leader Sylvia Goodman and told her so.

“I had her an additional $25,000 to put on this list, and I removed it,” Webb said Monday. “The reason why I did is it bothered me that they supported gay and lesbian rights.”

Here’s his e-mail clarifying his bigotry:

“I was elected to represent the majority of my district. It may not be politically correct, and some folks may choose to be offended because they didn’t get their way. But I stand by my decision to stand with my constituents. Special interest groups should not override the interests of the majority to promote their agenda with the people’s tax dollars.”

A few things here.

One, I have issues with using tax dollars to fund things like theaters. We have too many potholes and too many crimes for that. But once you decide to throw around money, you need to do it equitably. “There be gays there” just isn’t a legitimate reason to deny funding; no more than “there be coloreds there” would be a legitimate reason to deny funding.

Two, at least Webb is honest. I much prefer open bigots to ones who hide behind neutral sounding principles in which they do not really believe.

Three, he’s probably right about his constituents. I grew up in the area he now represents. It’s populated by poorly educated white trash bible thumpers. I say that in Christian love, of course. Still, if I had to choose being doing what’s right and pleasing an ignorant mob, I’d like to think I’d do what’s right. I, though, am not a city councilman.

Four, good for the rest of the council:

Council Chairwoman Joyce Bowman distanced herself and the rest of the board from Webb’s comments. “Those statements are Councilman Webb’s alone, not the view of the entire council.”

Let’s hope, in spite of what Webb thinks, they aren’t the view of most people, either. Surely even Shreveport can move beyond this type of foolishness.

And finally, any bets on how long until Webb becomes involved in a gay s&m scandal with a city council intern?