Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Talking to Kids About Trump

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
My Daughter's Whiteboard Crossed out: Equality, Diversity, Constitution, and Education

My Daughter’s Whiteboard
Crossed out: Equality, Diversity, Constitution, and Education

Well that didn’t go the way I’d hoped.  Welcome to a Trumpian world.  Or perhaps I should say dysTrumpian.  In case you hadn’t heard, Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.

I’m sure there will be plenty of analysis about how this happened and what went wrong and who is to blame.  Personally, I blame those who underestimated the amount of racism and hatred that has been hiding and festering in this country for at least the last 150 years.  I also blame not only those who fought for Trump but also those who fought against Hillary Clinton.  Too many people went around saying that while Trump was a nightmare, they didn’t trust Clinton or believed she was dishonest or even simply didn’t like her.

But that’s not the issue I need to deal with right now.  What I need to figure out is what to tell my kids.

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Being a Model Citizen

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Voter PamphletOkay, I admit it.  Other than for a couple of critical issues, I am just not that into politics.  When an election rolls around, I try to pick people who will run things for me the way I want them to, and that’s about it.  So when I realized that today was the primary election here in California — on the way home from taking the kids bowling — I was seriously considering blowing off voting.

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Why I’m a Girl Scout

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

I grew up in San Francisco, California and was definitely raised a city boy.  As a child, I could make my way around the Tenderloin at night as surely as Grizzly Adams navigated the Sierras.  I grew up on food from around the world and could use chopsticks as deftly as a country boy could handle a whittlin’ knife.  Buses and streetcars were my horses, alleys my hiking trails, skyscrapers my hills and mountains.  Guns, even the aquatic variety, were verboten (hunting was something done at antique stores or garage sales) and I think the only reason my mother allowed me fishing gear was because there weren’t any fish anywhere near us to be caught, other than at the grocery store; neither one of us would have known what to do if I actually did catch one.  In our family, “roughing it” meant going to “Opera in the Park”.

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One Ad, Two Dads, One Million Moms

Friday, June 1st, 2012

JC Penney's Fathers' Day AdWell, J.C. Penney is at it again.  They’re trying to destroy the very fabric of our society, causing social upheaval, widespread misery, and universal damnation.  Yep, they’re running a father’s day ad with real-life dads in it.  Two of ’em, to be exact.  But how is that any different from the hordes of other advertisements we’ll be subjected to over the next couple of weeks as we work our way towards Dad’s day?  It’s because the couple in question is just that — a couple.

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Grading on a Curve — for Schools

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

A young girl, studying in schoolGenerally speaking, in order to get an “A” grade, you have to demonstrate that not only did you learn the material but that you demonstrated an understanding far beyond what was expected for the course.  You could say that someone deserving of an “A” would know the material so well that they wouldn’t even make careless mistakes on a test — the material would be far too simple to provide any wrong answers.  In the case of a school, an “A” would mean that the school is turning out students who not only meet the standards but go well beyond them.  But what do you do if your schools aren’t performing so well and you still want to say they get an “A”?  Well, if you’re the Public Education Department in New Mexico, you redefine what it means to get an “A”.

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Alex P. Keaton and the Fourth of July

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

I have an early memory — probably from about age four or five — of Fourth of July fireworks.  We had gone to see the big fireworks show and I was in bed trying to go to sleep.  Back then, however, firecrackers and bottle rockets were completely legal and larger explosives were not uncommon.  To a young child, however, the noise was terrifying — I knew for sure that one of those fireworks I was hearing was going to land on our roof and burn the house down with all of us in it.  And perhaps that’s why I’m an ultra-liberal these days.  Yes, before you head out to that Fourth of July parade or fire up the Independence Day barbecue, you might want to take a look at what a new study has to say about the lasting effects of such festivities.

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Don’t Say Gay in Tennessee

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

I gather it’s not easy being gay in Tennessee. If you listen to country music, most of it seems to be about the value and nobility of small town life — hard labor, cheap beer, and church on Sunday. There’s not much room in there for difference, let alone anything not considered manly. It seems the rest of the state isn’t much different from Nashville’s music. The state senate has recently approved a bill that would prevent teachers from discussing anything related to homosexuality before the ninth grade.

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Giving New Dads Time Off

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Calling the current system “Edwardian,” Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg wants to overhaul Britain’s rules governing maternity and paternity leave.  Specifically, he wants to increase the amount of time men take off from work after their child is born.  Currently, women are allowed up to a year of maternity leave; under the new rules, if they return to work before that time is up, the father would be able to use the remainder of the unpaid leave.

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A Parent’s New Year’s Resolutions For 2011

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

At the start of the New Year, it’s traditional for people to make sweeping statements about how they plan to improve themselves or their situation in the coming year.  I could certainly do that — I definitely need to lose weight, I’d like to yell at the kids a little less, I really ought to work more on getting my book published — but that would only benefit me or, at most, my family.  So I thought I’d take a look at the big picture and come up with some resolutions that will help kids all over.

So with that in mind, here is A Parent’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2011:

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What Schools Must Have

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

As insane as it might seem, when times are tough, economically, it’s always education — the future of our society, our country, even our species — that seems to get cut first.  School nurses get laid off, along with librarians and counselors.  Art classes are pretty much gone, as are the band and orchestras of our youth.  There’s no money for after school activities and lunches are made off-site and trucked in like military MREs.  Now, however, a California court has ruled that there is one part of the school day that simply can’t be cut, regardless of how bad a fiscal crisis a school district is facing.

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