Saturday, April 25, 2009

Blog #9: 100th day of President Obama

April 29th marks President Obama’s 100th day in Office. If you recall back in November, I promised we would evaluate President Obama after 100 days. Well here we are! The CNN channel plans to commemorate his 100th day with a big night of programming by looking at last year’s primary and reviewing the general election night. The White House press secretary Robert Gibbs indicated this milestone is not a big event, and they have plans do nothing special; he stated the 100th day is “Not a ton different than the 99th.” Mr. Gibbs is probably correct, it is not a huge event, but it certainly is a point in time to pause and reflect upon President Obama’s performance.

I want you to think hard about the job President Obama has done since taking the oath of office. Think about the challenges he has faced with the economy and how he has dealt with it. Do you think the stimulus package is a good thing for our country? Consider his actions with other world leaders. Has he represented the US well? He set a deadline for the closing of Guantanamo, is that a good or bad event?

I have mentioned only a few items for your consideration, while omitting several others. Feel free to comment on anything as long as it relates to President Obama’s performance. Finally, I want you to give him a grade A,B,C,D, or F and justify why you feel he earned that grade.
Let me pause for a moment and remind EVERYBODY this exercise is one of the great privileges we have as a democracy. We can speak openly about our government without fear of reprisal.

Let me also remind you this assignment is not a reflection of your political views. I want you to objectively evaluate the job he has done. Please make sure your opinions are well thought out and well articulated. Above all else, be respectful of others opinions; you may disagree with someone in a polite manner.

Blog #8: Bailout Money

This blog is not an attack on any political party, but rather a scorching criticism of an abuse of power and money. And we’re not talking about just anybody’s money, but mine and yours. Click on the link below to learn further about the horrendous act that AIG committed with taxpayer bailout money. This one really angers me!

The other day while at the bookstore I overheard a comment “It’s the average American that’s getting a kick in the seat of the pants, not those executives or politicians.” That perhaps summarizes the situation best! Granted AIG returned the money, and Congress passed a 90% tax on those bonuses, so the end result is the money went back to the treasury. However, what sort of mentality does AIG have that the bonuses were paid in the first place? Would they have voluntarily returned the money if not caught? Congress is angered but they are the very ones that approved the money without stipulations.

Consider this: should tax dollars be used for correcting others mistakes? Should tax dollars be used to pay off private debt, and if so, who should get that money? I have a mortgage and would love for someone else to repay that loan despite the fact I promised to pay the money back.
Getting back to AIG, should we point an accusing finger at the executives in that company? What about the politicians that approved the money? Should specific guidelines have been given with that money? These are but a few of the observations I want you to consider. Post your response to the fiasco going on with AIG. Make sure your opinions are well thought out and well articulated.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Blog #7: News Worthy?

Click on the above link to read a bit of “earth shattering news.” Clearly this is not important news, and ranks low on a list of vital information. Despite my condemnation, you will note this was posted on a BBC World News website, a well respected news agency. When I came across this article, several thoughts entered my mind. On one level, I’m curious how this woman fed herself, or how she got dressed. Daily existence must have been a real challenge. On a more practical level, I thought about the pointlessness of the article. This was information I really did not need to know; moreover, it’s not really that interesting. I am a big believer in our 1st Amendment, and we need the freedom of the press. It’s what makes our democracy so awesome! However, should the press use discretion when reporting news? Maybe or maybe not.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were two reporters for the Washington Post and through dogged hard work and luck, uncovered information that led to the downfall of President Nixon. Here I’m speaking of the Watergate scandal. These two reporters went from reporting the news to making the news. Referring back to the silly article about the woman’s nails, what makes information news worthy? Ponder this question, and post your thoughts about what information our news agencies should report.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Blog #6: Miracle on the Hudson

Welcome back to the cyber world of reading your teacher’s blog, and posting a response.
As we continue our study of God’s history in America, let’s explore a very recent, speculator piece of US history. In case you have not heard about the miracle plane landing on the Hudson, click the above link to familiarize yourself with the story. I think you will agree with me, this event is a miracle, and the only way those 155 passengers are alive is due to Divine intervention. The timing of the engine failure, the proximity to the river, the water temperature, all played a role in the survival of flight 1549. Those factors, I believe were the result of Divine intervention. Having said that, credit is owed to the extraordinary pilot. His years of experience, his skill, his steadfast nerve and especially his training, allowed him to land a plane in the middle of a busy river. Let us not forget the skilled flight crew that assisted in getting the passengers to safety. The flight crew was an integral part of the survival story, and they too owe much of their success to years of training.

Post a response with your thoughts about the “Miracle on the Hudson.” Also, share any thoughts you have about the importance of training?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Blog #5: Obama's first 100 days

The election is finally over, and based on those early polls, it comes as no surprise Barack Obama will be our next President. A historic election for many reasons, but probably the most significant is the United States will have for the first time ever a black President. Personally, I am glad the campaigning is over because I am SICK AND TIRED of all those political ads. Televisions, radios, yard signs, and all those phone calls have been driving me crazy. It got so bad at my house, I stopped answering the phone when the caller ID registered a number I didn’t recognize. That’s pretty bad when a person must hide in their own house. The one thing I will not miss is talking about the election with my students. Like so many things about education, one of the great joys about teaching is talking to YOU (my students) about the subject at hand.

As we continue to talk about President Obama, he faces many challenges in his next job. He will be President of a nation greatly divided along party lines; many Republicans are not enthused about the future of our country. Obama must win over their trust and respect. The economy continues to be a serious problem in the US and world. He made campaign promises about energy solutions and our dependence on foreign oil. For his proposed health care plan, I’ve been assured I may keep my current health care but the cost will be lowered by as much as $2,500 a year. You can be sure the country is going to scrutinize him very closely. Yes, he too will be judged by the very people who elected him. Let us not forget the world stage, as foreign governments and its citizens will be evaluating him. You can see the pressures Obama faces, but these are the very challenges every newly elected President must face. Sometime in late April, we will evaluate Obama’s first 100 days in office and decide for ourselves his job performance. But for right now, post a comment on what you believe will be Obama’s biggest challenge in the first 100 days, and WHY?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Blog #4: Campaign Money & Commercials

As of this posting, the presidential election is only 27 days away. We are in the home stretch, and both candidates are fired up and going at each other with full force. All those commercials attacking each other can be very powerful, especially to an undecided voter. Also, those commercials cost the candidates a fair bit of money. As your parents drive you around town you may have spotted the candidate’s signs. Have you thought about where the money is coming from for those very expensive commercials and yard signs? Click the above link and read the article to familiarize yourself with some basics about this campaign's finance.
I think you will agree this campaign has some “big bucks” involved. It has been argued candidates can buy elections with enough advertising. Think about songs you have heard on the radio that you did not particularly like at first, but after hearing it enough times you start to like it. The same has been said of campaign commercials-you start believing what the candidates tell you.

Here is your assignment in two parts; be sure to post your responses: 1) Do you think campaign television commercials are important in this election and why? 2) Which candidate’s commercial do you think is the most effective and why? For part two you will need to watch some television (you don’t get that very often as a homework assignment!). Remember you need not agree with the candidate, but view the commercial objectively and determine if it was persuasive.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Blog #3 Mudslinging

The Presidential campaign is in full swing, and both sides are taking jabs at each other. An Obama advertisement criticized McCain’s lack of computer skills. In the commercial, an announcer notes McCain “still doesn't know how to use a computer, can't send an e-mail.” Ouch!! John McCain cannot send an e-mail because he is physically unable to do so. He was tortured by the Viet-Cong while a prisoner of war. Not to be outdone, click on the above link to read about Obama’s running mate Joe Biden’s “designer cuff links” and “Questions about his hairline”. Does being able to send an email or having a full set of hair really matter in this election? This is mudslinging. A term used in politics to describe the negative ads put forth against the opponents. Mudslinging is nothing new in politics. Thomas Jefferson hired a writer named James Callender to attack President Adams. He wrote that John Adams is "a repulsive pedant," and a "gross hypocrite.” In 1876 the opponents of Rutherford B. Hayes spread a rumor that he shot his own mother in a fit of rage. A complete lie! In this present election with so much mudslinging taking place, it’s quite easy to lose sight of what really matters: who is the best person to run our country? To best answer that question, we must carefully scrutinize where the candidates stand on the issues. Some of these issues include national security, healthcare, taxes, immigration, education, the war in Iraq, energy, etc… Again, these are only a few of the big issues, and I’ve left out many important ones you probably feel are vital.

I want you to think about what you believe are the two most important issues and why they are so relevant. After you have considered this, I want you to post a response. Be sure to explain what issue you feel is the most important and the second most important issue; moreover, explain WHY for both choices.