Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Can't miss TV

Tomorrow on PBS a new movie called "The Street Stops Here" is premiering. It's about a Catholic high school in Jersey City, NJ and its basketball program. I guess the school, St. Anthony's, has one of the best basketball programs in the state and it offers the students a path out of the city.

The trailer looks amazing. I am reading a book by the same name which is about a high school in Harlem called Rice High School. It too is a Catholic high school that is one of the only chances for the students in the area to make something of themselves.

As a Catholic school teacher, these have been incredibly inspiring for me. Check out the trailer for the movie:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What liberal media?

The media has been going berserk pointing out conservative anger and incivility in light of the passage of the health care bill. But of course, they never pointed it out when the shoe was on the other foot.

So says Bernard Goldberg in an amazing column:

Just a few days ago, college students in Ottawa threw a temper tantrum and wouldn’t let Ann Coulter speak on their campus. You see, Ann committed a major offense: she wanted to say things they didn’t want to hear. Or to put it another way: she’s a conservative.

Remember all the outrage in America’s mainstream media over that? Neither do I.

And you’ve heard about all the liberal outrage brought on by hateful conservatives who apparently have been leaving threatening messages on Congressman Bart Stupak’s answering machine. Funny, but I don’t recall any outrage when liberals left hateful messages on that same machine when Stupak was going to vote against healthcare reform. The messages only became newsworthy to those objective journalists when Stupak changed his mind, voted for ObamaCare, and became a hero of the American Left in general and to lamestream journalists in particular.

And maybe I was in a coma a few years back, but I don’t recall any liberal outrage when some lefty made a movie about the assassination of an American president. And not just any generic president. No, this was a movie about the assassination of President George W. Bush.

Imagine if some right-wing artiste made a movie about the assassination of President Barack Obama. We’d never hear the end of it, and rightly so. But when the movie is about killing W, well then it’s just art.

Maybe selective outrage is part of the human condition and liberals aren’t the only ones who employ it when it suits their purpose. But right now, they’re the ones who are crying over the state of our republic and saying we need to be more civil, even though they never cared about civility when the “bad guys” were being targeted. So libs are the ones who right now look like the hypocrites that they are.

See the whole column here - great stuff.

Where have you gone Tom Brady?

You know I am as green as anyone - I recycle and I am the recycling coordinator at my school (I actually started the program, got the bins, etc.). But, did I turn my lights out for one hour last night? Well, technically yes as we were not home but if I was home I would have turned them all one just to stick it to these do-gooders.

Speaking of which, what the hell has happened to Tom Brady???

Keeping the eye on the ball

Gov. Deval Patrick is in the fight of his life and to his credit, is working very hard at campaigning. Republican Charlie Baker, according to Howie Carr, is spending too much time focusing on Independent Tim Cahill and needs to go after Patrick.

I agree with many that anger over the health care bill will subside by November but we need to keep reminding people of the hackarama and the scams on Beacon Hill. Howie agrees:

It would be a shame for the GOP to blow this opportunity to reclaim the governorship. Deval Patrick is finally campaigning again, and it’s like watching a bird try to take off - a dodo bird. It’s hopeless. He’s gone from Teflon to Velcro in four years. Now he’s being stalked by Grace Ross - yes, that Grace Ross, the other nut in those 2006 debates besides Christy Mihos.

The Democrats still don’t get it. Bill Keating says he’s going to take a $119,000 state pension if he’s elected congressman, which pays $174,000 a year. And Keating’s primary opponent, Sen. Rob O’Leary, says he hasn’t bothered to figure out what his state pension is, because it’s only about $45,000 - “not a lot of money.”

Not a lot of money? 45 large, as a pension? Boy, are these guys out of touch.

See the whole article here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Week one down

This was my first week as the assistant coach for my school's softball team. I actually missed Wednesday's practice as before being asked to coach, I committed to attending a 5 week seminar at Southern New Hampshire University on foreign policy. The seminars are actually for high school students but I am sort of their advisor along with another teacher. We have about 10 students who attend and blow me away by their level of insight and knowledge.

The softball team practices every day after school until 5pm and our games start in two weeks. The games are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 4pm and are mostly in southern New Hampshire. The furthest we travel is Keene. Although I don't do a ton at the practices, it is still tiring to finish up at 5pm and then do some more school work and then come home to do other things. I haven't been able to go to the gym in over a week and I was doing so good. I am going to get back on track tomorrow before I take Kevin to gymnastics and a train show.

In addition, this was the last day of third quarter so I was correcting tests and papers all day. I also have to correct some projects this weekend and then do all the head of quarter stuff on Monday as grades are due by 8am on Tuesday.

Life stays interesting!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Big change in the Senate

HUGE news out of Lowell - State Sen. Steve Panagiotakos, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, is retiring in January. Pangi has served in the legislature for 20 years and is a good Democrat, he's not some moonbat liberal. This is a big loss.

The Senator, as he is known around here, is a good guy and his leaving is not good for Greater Lowell. People are saying that he's been thinking of leaving for sometime and one has to wonder if the anti-incumbent mood of 2010 helped him with his decision. The other state senator in the area, Susan Tucker, has also bowed out meaning there will be a huge shift in the Merrimack Valley's delegation come January.

Election season 2010 is going to be so much fun.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Some thoughts

A good friend of my was yelling at me last night for my lack of anger over the health care bill and a few folks have left some comments too! In reading Facebook comments, people are apoplectic about this bill.

Again, for some reason this doesn't upset me as much as I thought it would but I am sick of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi acting all self righteous. I am also fuming at Rep. Bart Stupack who made a deal with Obama to vote for the bill if the president signed an executive order prohibiting any federal funding for abortion. That is nothing but window dressing.

Then I started reading more on the details and found this nugget:

The $940 billion overhaul subsidizes coverage for uninsured Americans, financed by Medicare cuts to hospitals and fees or taxes on insurers, drugmakers, medical-device companies and Americans earning more than $200,000 a year.

I watch "Meet the Press" every week and have been following this pretty closely. But it never dawned on me that we would be paying for people's health care. I thought they had to buy in by going to some sort of exchange. I can see now why people are worried about working harder and paying more to subsizide those who don't want to work. Why bother getting a job now when you can just have me pay for your health insurance? Just another reason for layabouts to keep laying about.

Hmmmm...maybe I am mad!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Not that excited

So I must confess that this whole health care thing doesn't have me in a tizzy as I'd expect. Perhaps because we have universal health care in Massachusetts, I am not that fired up about this. I may be wrong in the long term and come to eat these words, but I am not worked up.

Am I going soft?!?!?!? I hope not! What am I missing?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Words to live by

I became a teacher about four years ago. In doing so, I took a $20,000 pay cut but I have never, not once, not ever, looked back. While my old job was fine, I knew it wasn't what I was meant to do with my life. I know that we have a short amount of time in life and I wanted to do something fulfilling.

I heard a quote this weekend at Youth and Government that sums up my feelings and I plan on using it many times, especially when I say good bye to the seniors this year. It's from George Bernard Shaw:

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

Still kicking...

To give you an indication of how busy this week was, I began this posting on Tuesday afternoon and never got to finish!

On Tuesday, I brought my AP US History class to a conference in Concord. The conference was held at the New Hampshire Historical Society and was designed to help the students with their AP exam this May. I took the assistant principal's van and when we went to leave it would not start - I had left the lights on all morning! My principal picked up a group of kids but he was gone when I realized the battery was dead and I don't have his cell phone number. Our art teacher graciously came right up and gave us a jump and we were on our way.

From there I went back to school to meet our incoming freshmen. They were coming to set their schedule for next year and this lasted until 8pm. I always stay the whole time as I am the freshman class advisor and I teach most of the freshmen so I like to meet them.

On Wednesday, a colleague and I took a group of students to Southern New Hampshire University after school for the first of five seminar discussions on foreign policy. We have about 10 kids attending and they really impressed me with their level of insight.

This Friday and Saturday I took 11 students to the New Hampshire State House for the 61st annual Youth and Government. It is a mock government experience for students from all over the state and our kids did a fantastic job. Two of them won awards and others did great jobs as committee chairs, chaplain, rank and file members, etc. The highlight was an opportunity to go onto the roof of the State House and into the golden dome! It was amazing and the kids really loved it.

Needless to say, I was pretty tired last night. I tried to watch a movie (I am watching the 14 part series "Eyes on the Prize") but could not keep my eyes open. This week will be pretty busy too. We have a birthday party this morning and I have a meeting tomorrow night at work. This is also the final week of third quarter so I will have a lot of correcting to finish.

Oh, and did I mention I am now my school's assistant softball coach which begins this week?!?!?

I hope my kids remember my face!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fun with the boy

I try to take Kevin out and about on weekends since Lynn has her hands full all week with both kids. Kevin can be quite a handful so she could use the break now and then. So yesterday I needed to get some blood work done early (fasting) so I headed to Lowell General at 7:15am or so and took Kevin with me. We were out by 8am (lots of people there ahead of me) and Lynn called and asked if I could stay out for a bit since she just washed the floor. I needed an oil change anyway so I decided to go to my usual place in Dracut. They have a TV, free donuts and coffee, a chalkboard for kids, and toys to look at.

I got there around 8:30 or so and by 9:15 my car hadn't moved. The guy told me I was 3rd in line but I was taking Kevin to gymnastics at 10am so I couldn't stay. I told him I'd come back later, which I did, but there were 6 or 7 people ahead of me and Kevin couldn't stay there that long.

So, around 10am we then headed to his trial gymnastics class at this new place in the mill building in Dracut. It's a great little place - nice waiting area for the parents and a huge gymnastics room. All the kids lined up and I told Kevin to wait in line. I admit I almost cried seeing him all big boy like waiting patiently in line. Alas, he was in the wrong line! But, we were next and for 50 minutes there was lots of tumbling, jumping, running around, walking on a balance beam, flipping on a bar, and hanging from rings. He LOVED it. He could not wait to go and had been asking for weeks to go to gymnastics. I heard about this place in the paper and am so glad - it will be perfect for him. They have 9 week classes as well as open gym time during the week and on Friday nights. It is just what an active boy like Kevin needs.

Later in the afternoon, we all headed to Lawrence to check out this Italian bakery my neighbor told me about - Triopli Bakery. I got some sort of cream/ricotta cheese thing whereas Kevin and Lynn got cookies.

Late this morning while Lynn and Erin were sleeping, Kevin and I took a ride to North Andover to see this maple sugar house. It was literally a guy's house with a sugarhouse in the backyard! Because of the rain his walkway was super muddy and my sneakers got stuck in the mud. My left sock got covered in mud and just as I got it out, my right sneaker came off too. It took a good yank to get them out of the mud, they were in there good.

We went in for a little tour and you could sample their maple syrup, the sap, some candy, and maple sugar and cream. I bought a small jar of their maple syrup and a jar of the maple cream. FANTASTIC! We all almost finished off the maple cream putting in on apples and toast and I had some maple syrup on my ice cream tonight. I better be careful - I am now down 19 lbs, don't want to ruin it!

All in all, a fun rainy weekend.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Shooting a gift horse in the mouth

Perhaps you caught U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy's meltdown on the floor of the House this week going on and on about the media and its lack of coverage of Afghanistan. He was screaming and going nuts, it was an embarrassing display, even for a Kennedy.

Well, Howie Carr reminds Kennedy that if it weren't for the media, then, well the Kennedy clan would not have the shine it does:

But in the aftermath of Rep. Ambien’s spittle-flecked harangue, why isn’t anyone mentioning his utter lack of gratitude? I mean, when it comes to reporting on Patches’ odious clan, the national press corps has indeed been despicable.

Despicable in the way these rumpswabs have covered up almost every one of the Kennedys’ endless scandals. For the past two decades of Ted Kennedy’s life, at all the country’s dying PC broadsheets, it was practically a firing offense to mention the word “Chappaquiddick” in the same sentence with his name.

The Kennedy family couldn’t have survived politically as long as it did if it had ever been up against a watchdog - as opposed to a lapdog - press. All the earlier Kennedy reprobates understood this. Patches’ anti-press outburst Wednesday on the House floor is just more evidence he is indeed the runt of the litter’s runt of the litter.


“It’s despicable, the national press corps right now.”

Always has been, Patches. Especially when it’s been covering (up for) your family.

Must be nice

Kudos to the Boston Herald as of late. They've been doing some fantastic exposes of state scams and the hackery in the midst of what the state calls a budget crisis. The "crisis" is so bad that cities and towns will face a 5% cut in local aid with the numbers being announced today.

But, that doesn't stop the state from charging state employees $310 a month to live in a lakeside house in Belmont. Or $840 a month in Carlisle. Or $311 in Saugus.

Get the blood pressure pills out and take a look here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Going into the lion's den

A huge factor in Sen. Scott Brown's recent election was his domination of talk radio. Martha Coakley only really appeared with WBZ's Dan Rea's (where she called Curt Schilling a Yankee [sic] fan) and Jim and Margery while Brown was all over WRKO and WTKK, especially Howie Carr.

Now it seems that Gov. Deval Patrick, who is in a free-fall, said he will appear on Howie's show as well with people like Michael Graham and Jay Severin. Howie writes in his column today that if Patrick does come on, he has a few questions already lined up:

Why exactly did you want to give Sen. Marian Walsh a $175,000 job?

How much money does Doug Rubin need?

How’s the book coming along?

Does it ever worry you, that $21,690.47-a-month mortgage payment on the mansion in Richmond, and does that include real-estate taxes too, and is the monthly payment in Milton still (approximately) $9,496 a month?

What were the payouts you got when you walked away from Coke and Texaco, and how do I get me one of those sweetheart deals?

This new judge who was confirmed by the Governor’s Council yesterday, David Barretto - you were kidding, right?

In your considered opinion, who was the greater public servant, Jim Aloisi or his sister Carol?

When does Rep. Garrett Bradley’s wife get her judgeship?

Do you think you’ll start crying when the Globe goes out of business and isn’t around to protect you anymore?

Do you have a life insurance policy on Tim Cahill, just like you had on Christy in 2006?

How’re those new curtains working out for you?

She's right for once

I am no fan of Herald columnist Margery Eagan but this week she absoultely nailed the hacks who are stealing from the taxpayers. While Boston considers closing library branches and schools, while teachers are being laid off, while social services are cut, hacks are retiring at 45 and receiving pensions of $100,000. They have no shame.

The whole column is here but below is the part that will get your blood boiling:

Take the civil engineers and police overtime cash-in that the Herald reported on Friday. One engineer’s base pay of $76,000 skyrocketed to $205,000. One state trooper’s salary of $70,800 ballooned to $180,000 with police details. Last Sunday the Herald reported on 200 already highly paid ($84,000 to $110,000) clerk magistrates and their assistants pocketing tens of thousands in bail fees, $40 a pop, that might have come back to the all-but-broke state. Last month, the Herald reported on Boston City Clerk Rosaria E. Salerno, a former nun, for God’s sake, boosting her $100,000 salary with $68,000 in wedding fees that could have come back to the all-but-broke city.

We’re reporting constantly on double- and triple-dippers, those government workers who’ve retired in their 50s, even 40s, then gone back to work at a second or third government job to collect yet another government salary on top of the pension they’re already banking.

Make no mistake. This is why we’re broke. This is why your neighborhood firehouses and libraries are shutting down and your kids’ class sizes are going up - along with your property taxes. Your local politician might try to blame the recession or energy costs or whatever. Don’t believe him.

The truth, Average Joe and Jane? You are paying more taxes and getting fewer services so that government workers - whose wallets already are fatter than yours - can continue to get theirs, and more. You’ll be scraping by in retirement, assuming you can ever retire. They’ll be retiring in their 50s, secure, with health care and pensions for life. And you paid for them.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Still kicking

Been a few days since my last posting, sorry for the lag folks.

Lately I've been on a roll with reading. I love to read but I never do it as much as I'd like. This Christmas I got a number of books as presents and I decided to read David McCullough's "Path Between the Seas" which is about the Panama Canal. It was a fascinating read about a topic with which I wasn't all that familiar.

After that I read Edmund Morris' "Theodore Rex" which is the second of three biographies of Theodore Roosevelt. I read the first one, "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" last year (which dealt with his birth up until the day William McKinley is assassinated). "Theodore Rex" pertains to his presidency and the third, about his post-presidential life, hasn't been written yet.

I then read a juicy, gossipy book about the Kennedys, especially JFK, called "The Dark Side of Camelot." You can imagine what it's about - I loved it! Yesterday I just started the new book on the 2008 presidential campaign "Game Changer." It's an easy read and very engrossing - I plowed through 130 pages in 2 hours. I also picked up a book called "The Street Stops Here" which is a chronicle of a one year at a Catholic high school in Harlem. I cannot wait to read that.

Before you think I am ignoring my wife and children to read, I do all my reading at the gym (down 15 lbs so far). I ride the bike for 30 minutes and the treadmill for another 30 so I get a lot of reading done. But, everyone is asleep now so I think I will take advantage and go start "The Street Stops Here." I need some inspiration right now so hopefully that helps!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Later Bill

As expected, U.S. Rep. William Delahunt announced on Friday that he would not seek re-election this fall. This makes him the 5,784,904 incumbent Democrat who is bailing out of the SS Obama. Delehunt's district is the South Shore and the Cape which, as Massachusetts goes, is pretty right leaning. Before Delahunt dropped out, State Rep. Jeff Perry (Republican) announced that he was running. Other Republicans such as former State Treasurer Joe Malone and State Sen. Bob Hedlund are thinking of running but Perry was out of the gate first.

As Howie Carr points out today, this seat is ripe for the picking by a Republican and once again, we have Ted Kennedy to thank:

So now another Democrat congressional seat goes into play for the Republicans, thanks to Ted Kennedy. First Teddy (twice) changes the law on Senate succession in Massachusetts - so instead of some dreadful hack like Paul Kirk in the seat, we end up with Scott Brown.

And now Delahunt says he wanted to quit in 2008 - a Democratic year - but Ted talked him out of it. So we have an open seat in a Republican year, and the Kennedy who was being groomed for the seat, Carrot Top, is wisely taking a pass.

See the whole column here.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Living the life

One of the many hats I wear at my school is advisor to our Youth and Government organization. Youth and Government is essentially a mock legislature where high school students spend three days at the State House playing government. They elected a governor, House Speaker, committee chairs, etc. It's all just like the real deal. I beliebe that Youth and Government is held in every state and we're lucky in that we get complete control of the State House in Concord and the Legislative Office Building. I guess other states do not allow the students to use the State House.

Today was day one of the session with days two and three later in the month. Today was more of a housekeeping day where the officers were elected and people got the lay of the land. One of my students ran for governor but lost. He seemed really upset at first but said later that he was kind of glad he lost as he enjoys debating and being a part of the nitty gritty. Another student is a chair of a committee, one is an Executive Councilor, and another is the Senate chaplain - so we have our share of positions.

I really enjoy this days as it's great to see the kids get into government and the machinations of politics. It's also a great chance to spend some time with the students outside of the classroom and to get to know them a little better. It's days like this that make me remember why I got into teaching, it's so amazing.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Why I love Howie Carr

Today's Howie Carr column is the perfect example of why I love him. The state says its broke and needs to do things like charge RMV customers $5 to speak with an employee. But, they will never make any cuts to the hacks that infest the state's coffers. Howie details the hack lineage of some folks connected to the RMV here, great stuff.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Another one bites the dust

State Rep. Brian Wallace of South Boston announced today that he will not seek re-election in November. Wallace has only been in office for 8 years but he's been around politics for a long time in various capacities.

I actually met Wallace once when I briefly lived in Southie (2002-2004). He was going door to door in 2002 when he was first running and he came by our place. He didn't say much to me, probably didn't think he should waste his time talking to a young guy since my age bracket doesn't vote in large numbers. But alas, Mr. Wallace, I've only missed one election my whole life (ironically, the 2003 municipal election) so you should have chatted with me! He seems to be a good guy but he switched his vote on gay marriage a couple of years ago to prevent it from going on the ballot.

Anyway, this is part of a bigger issue of tons of legislators leaving Beacon Hill in droves. The Globe reported last week that at least 30 people are retiring or running for different offices this year. I guess Wallce was going to have four opponents (I assume all Democrats) so he was not going to have an easy re-election.

This is exciting - state elections are usually boring as legislators get re-elected en masse but this year will be very different.

It it time to rise up

The people who run this state have got to be the most incompetent, tone deaf buffoons known to man. The Registry of Motor Vehicles, which is invested with hacks and surly, miserable people, actually had the audacity to charge people $5 to speak with an RMV employee, either on the phone on in person at an office. This was an effort to get more people to conduct their business on-line.

How stupid are these people? They continue to pass on these "fees" to us while continuing to hire their relatives and buddies and get Cadillac health insurance. Do they really think we're that dumb? Gov. Deval Patrick, realizing that his re-election is in mega trouble, ordered the fee to be rescinded "as soon as possible." How long until that I wonder?