Tuesday, February 22, 2011

From last night's dinner conversation

Topics from last night's dinner table conversations....

First some background.  My two sisters, my brother, my mother, one of my aunts, my sister-in-law and mother-in-law have all been teachers.  So education issues (like the protests in Wisconsin) are a hot topic.

My sister-in-law teaches 2nd grade.  One of her 2nd grade kids recently got suspended for 3 days because he brought a set of brass knuckles to school.   
I somewhat sheepishly showed everyone the scar over my left eyebrow, a remnant of a college fight I got into that (ahem...) didn't go well for me.  The other team had brass knuckles and I didn't.
My mother-in-law graciously turned the topic away from my 1983 defeat to a proposal that's going through the Texas House Of Representatives:
AUSTIN — Texas is preparing to give college students and professors the right to carry guns on campus, adding momentum to a national campaign to open this part of society to firearms.

More than half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns. The Senate passed a similar bill in 2009 and is expected to do so again. Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs, has said he's in favor of the idea.

Texas has become a prime battleground for the issue because of its gun culture and its size, with 38 public universities and more than 500,000 students. It would become the second state, following Utah, to pass such a broad-based law. Colorado gives colleges the option and several have allowed handguns.

Supporters of the legislation argue that gun violence on campuses, such as the mass shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Northern Illinois in 2008, show that the best defense against a gunman is students who can shoot back.
I'm not a Rick Perry fan, but I like the idea of a governor carrying a pistol while working in a 5K before breakfast. 
I can only think of one thing that could guarantee that The Aggie would never, ever be the victim of a mass shooting.  And that's to authorize her to shoot back. 
I have a minority opinion on that, though. 

One of The Aggie's male friends recently gave her a rifle.  I've never met the guy, but I can tell you two things about him. 

1. He likes my daughter. 
2. He's not a psycho.  Psychos don't like armed victims. 

My mother-in-law then brought up a legit question.  What would've happened if I'd been armed in 1983?  What if my opponents (yeah, it took two of them) had been armed with more than brass knucks? 
I honestly don't know.  But either way, I don't think I would have a scar over my left eyebrow. 

That eventually got us around to politicians and the protests in Wisconsin.  My mother-in-law can say the words "Rick Perry" and make it sound like "malignant tumor".  Her hot-button is that Texas once paid 10 grand a month for a temporary governor's mansion, while cutting back on education. 
Yes, 10K for rent is too much.  As I've stated numerous times on these pages, electing a governor or a president should be no more important than selecting a lawn service.  If the decision really matters to you, then your government has gotten too big.  Once we start building Executive Mansions or Governor's Mansions, the Battle For The Minds Of The People has already been lost. 

Here's the comparison that I brought up....The U.S. pays about $11,000.00 per year per child for education.  My sister-in-law has 21 kids in her classroom.  At 11K per kid, she's making $231,000.00 per year !!!

Well, no, she isn't.  She's probably making a fourth of that.  So what is happening to the other 75% of that money?  The other $170,000.00 ??? 
It's being wasted, wasted in quantities that make Rick Perry's temporary governor's mansion rental look like a bargain along the lines of The Louisiana Purchase. 

Folks, for the amount we're pouring down the Department of Education rathole, we could start hiring freakin' Socrates to teach our kids.  You could turn the $11,000.00 per kid into, say, an $8,000 voucher.  Cut the spending per kid by 3K.  Then turn teachers loose.  My sister-in-law could rent a room.  Feed the kids via a catering service.  Select and purchase her own curriculum.  Hell, she's already having to supply pencils, crayons, and a ton of other supplies out of her own check, because even at $11,000 per kid, the school district doesn't have the money to do it !!!!!

What in the name of Thomas Tocco is going on there ???

One last thing, and this is something I didn't think of until I woke up this morning.  My sister-in-law used to teach kindergarten, but got moved to 2nd grade.  She's going to request a permanent spot in 2nd grade because one of her best friends in the kindergarten area is retiring, and kindergarten doesn't have the same appeal without this friend as a co-worker. 

Here's the catch.  The friend is something like 53 years old, and is going to retire with pay. 

According to Wikipedia, this friend will probably live to be 80 years old.  Can any organization fund 53-year-old retirees? 
Is anyone surprised that the retirement funds are now in trouble? We've made some extravagant promises to teachers that we aren't going to be able to keep. It's that simple. 

Here's Sonny Green, doing a forgotten classic "Don't Write A Check With Your Mouth (that yo' body can't cash.)" 

I'm not going to make a habit of transtribing dinner conversations. People would stop talking to me. I wish y'all could've been there. Last night was interesting. Good food for thought. And if I'd had a .357 magnum in 1983....

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