Thursday, May 20, 2010

The sorry "end" to the Floyd Landis case

It's once again a sad reminder of how the mighty fall, and so terribly. Floyd Landis, one time winner of the Tour de France, after being stripped of his medal, launching a widely publicized legal defense fund, publishing a book to argue his innocence, losing his appeal, and then being served a warrant for computer hacking (I'm sure I missed something)- is now admitting publicly and in detail that he has used performance enhancing drugs through much of his career, including the Tour. But he is not stopping there. 
He has volunteered full cooperation in the investigation of nearly every big name biker that he rode with. He is accusing Lance, Levi, Hincapie, and others of blatant drug use including one instance in which a team bus pulled to the side of the road on a remote mountain road and feigned engine trouble while the whole team received blood transfusions.

I want to view Flandis' full disclosure as an attempt at doing good for the sport. Someone and something needs to give. But he needs to understand it cannot be him. There is so little sympathy for him from any corner that reactions will be sufficient to render doing anything about it impossible. Far more powerful would have been an honest and contrite admission of guilt, without any back door excuses, to burn the conscience of the collective sport. 

This news hits an additional nerve because of my wife, who is Mennonite. Landis' family are Mennonites and many people in this tight knit community were still arguing for his innocence. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Interstate squabbles make for entertaining politics

Arizona is now threatening to cut off or complicate electricity flow to California in response to tourism boycott. I love state politics like this! It feels old school and simple and out in the open. Reminds me of militia led border skirmishes between Michigan and Ohio (the Toledo War).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Confessional

Something must be terribly off balance or wrong if your work is becoming increasingly a source of guilt in your life, the place where dirty secrets pile up and you are glad no one else is watching. In the profession of teaching, I think it may be a game ender.
Would you believe that I yell at my kids? Even worse, argue with them? Would you believe that I even sometimes goad them, taunt them, make fun of them in front of their classmates and intentionally try to shame them? (sometimes a sense of shame would be a relief) I do all these things. And that is an area of repentance since what my students need most of all, and admittedly it is the hardest thing to give, is love.
I teach 8th grade students in an inner city school. For some people, that is a pardon more than sufficient for all of my sins. I'm not sure I agree or am willing to let myself off the hook. But then that's not what worries me the most. Because ultimately all of it probablydamages me more than any of my tough skinned students. They do care -that's a lesson I had to learn -but not nearly as much as me. I'll beat myself up at letting them beat me up, then say things I regret and beat myself up some more. Most of all, I'll just feel angry and ugly inside. This can no longer be.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Heavy Lifting: Are state governors doing the dirty work when Congress has failed?

Across the country, state governors are facing the reality of more than just slightly unbalanced budgets. For example, in NJ, the state deficit is approximately 1\3 of the entire budget. See the following article.
http://thehill.com/opinion/columnists/ab-stoddard/97603-nj-gov-sets-tone-for-us
I can't deny that I am harboring a small bit of NJ pride over Governor Christie's very bold and seemingly integrity driven stand. Check out this video:
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O70vGKpX-2Y&feature=player_embedded#!
Even as a teacher, I am unsympathetic to the mostly Union led outcry over salary freezes in education. 

Most states avoided severe cuts in services last year because of enormous federal payouts. This year, there's no escaping it. Another headline from the LA Times reads, "Schwarzenegger unveils austere budget plan."
 Unlike NJ, California is laying off Education funds, although teachers and administrators are still crying foul. If "audacity" was the rallying cry of 2009, surely 2010 will be something a little less, well, audacious.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Middle School


For Jim Pickard

Life is like a catapult
Launching kids into the world
Marshmallows (in winter)
And water balloons (in spring)
Don't kid yourself that summer
Is but a temporary thing.

Life is like a transformer
Making us into adults
There's magic still (in sixth)
And the seventh inning stretch
Please believe me 8th graders
These years you won't regret.


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