Cheese Head

Yes, Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker certainly is a cheese head.  Actually, he's a lying politician (redundant, I know) that has shown his true colors.  He has shown that his recent legislation to strip public workers' unions of their collective bargaining capabilities is exactly what was being claimed by its opponents: nothing short of union busting.  And like a man that gets caught cheating on his wife, he isn't sorry for the low, unethical, immoral act and the hurt it showers on others — he's only sorry that he got caught.

So how does this play out now.  Walker and his team tried to spin his 20-minute prank call with who he thought was his billionaire pimp, David Koch, as merely a bump in the road, and that he said nothing damning or different than what he's said publicly.  What an asshole.  I'm sure he and his team have listened to what we've all been able to hear — there were several tidbits in that call that gave us a peek behind the curtain.  And this guy is the son of a preacher?  (Should have paid more attention to his daddy on Sundays!)

So back pedal as best you can Mr. Governor, the eyes (and ears) of the nation are on Madison as you squirm and attempt to talk your way out of the mess you have created.  Your typical politician speak is disgusting and shameful and the people of Wisconsin are embarrassed and outraged, as they should be.  Perhaps you and your GOP legislature should have learned from the history playing out all over the world — people are tired and outraged at being held down and divided by their so-called leaders, and they are taking to the streets to take back their government.  And as in those cases, it is time for you to do the right thing and negotiate in good faith.  

Aches and Pains

This is NOT a post about raising children — I am referring to what you start feeling after a workout once you hit 50.  Yes, go ahead and smile.  You're either too young to understand and rolling your eyes right now, or you're right around that sweet spot and know exactly what I mean.

I am smart enough to know that my body has changed and that I can't do what I once could.  I lift still lift weights, but my mantra now is "it's not the weight, it's the reps."  Right.  I can still shoot baskets with my sons, but not if we're playing full court because I seem to have lost a step.  I can still jog through my neighborhood, but I don't because it scares the small children.

So why do we do it?  Why do we work so hard to stay in shape when as we age, it take greater effort just to maintain?  Pretty sure it's a combination of several things that can get any of us motivated:  wanting to be attractive to the opposite sex, or maybe wanting to be attractive to the same sex (you know who you are!), need of an ego boost, or maybe it's the result of meeting with your doctor and hearing the dreaded, "eat right, exercise and get in shape — or else!"  

We all know someone our age or older, who is in great shape, and you really start to feel it around age 45 or so — but there it is, it's out in the open.  The greatest motivator and what keeps us going to the gym, bench pressing, elliptical stepping, curling, standing flies, squats, lat pull-downs and more — peer pressure.  So to my friends, neighbors, work colleagues and family that are hovering right around 50 I say this:  get with it baby because I can still bench 235.  (Okay, it's more like 150 but if I have 2 spotters, a cup of coffee, and all the stars align …. then who knows!)

Now please send in the nurse.

Awe Inspiring

What an amazing past 18 days watching the Egyptian revolution come about and being part of Egypt-revolution16their historic moment.  To see this truly awe inspiring event unfold in front of our eyes as a young, powerful voice of the people demand and finally get the change they sought.  The same media that brought us fear and bloodshed from this very region brought us the peaceful protest of a hungry underclass direct to our living rooms, car radios and smart phones.  It was the type of news that kept me glued to various mediums from NPR to and my trusty NY Times app via the iPhone.

I was amazed to watch the determination of the Egyptian people who like the Tunisians less than two months ago, told their oppressive leader that he had to go.  Young and old willing to risk their life for freedom from his greedy grip. To watch as the energies ebbed and flowed over the past several weeks, and waiting for this day, knowing that Friday — the holiest day for Muslims — would be the day of new energy.  To witness a grassroots effort that grew from pent up frustration to a nationwide movement, without the need for weapons or violence — not so much as a fist raised or swung.  (Can't count the thuggery imposed by Mubarek's secret police one day last week.) Watching Arab Christians and Muslims uniting with one voice, singing songs and claiming "Balidinna, balidinna, balidinna!"  (Repeating "Our land, Our land, Our land".)

It was a rare moment in the re-birth of a nation, unlike anything I've ever seen before.  I was moved and am encouraged by the spirit of the Egyptian people, and I am hopeful for their future.  One of those moments that make you say, "It's a great time to be alive!"

Get over yourselves

So Christina Agulera messed up a line or two in the national anthem yesterday – BFD. Not the first celeb to do that and won’t be the last. It makes a case for having a local high school choir do the honors, but top of every news outlet? Let’s move on.

Remember, the Detroit Lions beat the Pack and held them to 3 points this season, so in a weird way, fans in these parts had something more to smile about. (If you have grown up a Lions fan, you know what I mean!)

Sent from my iPhone

Much Ado About Nothing

Not talking about the Shakespeare, referring to the end-of-the-world snow storm that was supposed to bury SE Michigan.  In typical weather forecaster fashion, we were warned for days leading up to today that the metro Detroit area would see 12 to 18 inches of snow — more to the west.  (What does that mean anyway?  Canton is west of Dearborn, but so too is Kalamazoo!  I digress.)

And if you happen to stop by the local Kroger supermarket yesterday, you would have seen the mobs of moronic people buying up supplies like milk, bottled water, batteries and so on.  What was everyone thinking?  And in the end, we got about 7 inches.  Now 7 inches will make some people shudder with excitement  and others with fear — but we're a hardy bunch in the midwest and we can take more!  (Yes, the attempt at double entendre was intended.  Sick bastards, I was referring to snow fall.)

Now we have to deal with two more days of "well, Doppler predicted greater snowfall than what we got, but all the indicators were read correctly."  And we'll have to put up with the scores of people that are sleeping in the airport lobby because they're too cheap spend another day in their hotel.  And don't forget the idiots that will drive around all day without having properly cleaned the snow from their vehicle — they'll drive slow in the center lane and even if they signal lane changes, we won't know because we can't see their tail lights.  Great.

The kids got a free day off from school and I was distracted all day at my work — my real work — and to top it all off, I had to shovel the snow.  And what will I do now with 3 gallons of milk in the fridge and a box of batteries?

Address Teacher Tenure

Bad Teachers I'll start by saying I love educators.  No, really, my wife is one.  So too are many relatives and friends.  But having a teaching degree and standing in front of students for pay does not an educator make.  (Ms. Groves from Fordson HS English would be sooooo proud of how I put that sentence together!) Not sure why it has taken so long for our governmental leaders to address teacher tenure laws that date back to 1909.  Just think of how much our world has changed in the 100 years since this was first enacted to protect teachers from being fired because of race, sex or political views.

We are the greatest nation on earth with regards to free speech, freedom of religion, pursuit of health, wealth and happiness, and so on.  But we are NOT the greatest nation on earth when it comes to educating our children — we lag way down the list.  That should piss off a lot of people.  But typical apathy has had this issue on the back burner for years, and it is FINALLY coming to the fore.

There are so many great teachers who are tenured, but it is the ineffective, apathetic teachers that must be singled out and sent packing.  Think back to your school days and you can think of a teacher or two that picked the wrong profession.  And if you're a parent, as I am, you know of teachers in your kids' schools right now that should not be there.  But they are because they're protected — protected by webs of unions at local, state and federal levels that shield mediocrity with so-called due process — it is more hassle to fire or reprimand a teacher than it is to simply shuffle them around and keep them in front of our students.

Keep the good, experienced teachers — parents, students and administrators know who they are.  And make room for the Gen X and Gen Y teachers that have some amazing ideas on how to connect with young people.  In this age of peer networking and with the proliferation of technology, the classroom must be updated in our approach to teaching and connecting with students.  It was great to hear President Obama mention it again in his State of the Union address last week — the concept of rewarding effective teachers.  And it is great to hear that many of the new crop of GOP governors (Florida, New Jersey, Michigan and others) are preparing to dismantle this old, outdated rule that so many hide behind.  

We can be among the greatest nations when it comes to the education of our youth, we just have to chip away at this problem first.  Empower the administrators and unleash the new, creative thinking in education.  (And NO, that is not me in the picture above, but thanks for asking.)