I’ve always believed that, if we ever want to reform Washington, we have to end automatic withholding. If every family in America had to write a check to the federal government every April, 90 percent of the nonsense going on in the nation’s capital would end overnight.
Recently, in a move welcomed by Republican legislators, the Republican-dominated State Board of Education instituted a new, “tougher” teacher evaluation linked to “student performance” (read: scores on standardized tests) that they imagine will “create better schools.”
I have to say, even based on my limited experience, being a grandparent is at least as good: all the joy and wonder of parenthood, without some of the hassles. And if that explanation doesn’t help you understand — well, it’s the best I can do with the words I have.
Dual Enrollment is one of those things that sounds almost too good to be true — except, of course, that it is true. And yet it might just be the best-kept secret in America.
Going to university is still worth it, if you play it smart
You might be pleased to know that, through a connection in the NSA — where I almost went to work several years ago, but that’s another story — I have managed to obtain an advanced, “beta” copy of the new SAT test.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy those actors’ work or admire their talent. I do. I have no problem going to see their movies. I’ll just skip the annual, sanctimonious propaganda fest known as the Academy Awards.
With mid-term elections still more than eight months off, this column might be premature. Then again, I’m already hearing political ads on the radio, so maybe my timing isn’t so bad — especially since I hope to start a grass-roots movement.
If this column seems a bit iffy, feel free to blame it on my lack of exercise.
We can observe this growing societal narcissism, too, on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. I have Facebook “friends” (some of them family members) who seemingly post a selfie a day.
Spending time on Facebook tends to make me angry —mostly because of all the political memes people post. Whether I disagree with the poster’s politics or agree and think our way of life faces imminent destruction, either way I’m angry, often for hours afterward.
Among the startling revelations that President Obama shared in last week’s State of the Union address was this gem: Some people make more money than others.
At the risk of sounding like an old fuddy-duddy, which I am not — well, maybe a little — I’d like to address some of the drawbacks of personal technology.
By now it should be ridiculously obvious to anyone who has not been living in a cave, or getting all their news from CSNBC (which is kind of like living in a cave), that neither of the two major political parties in this country represents the interests of middle-class Americans.
I don’t have anything against Mike Smith or Matt Ryan. I like them both, and I appreciate the stability and credibility they’ve brought to a franchise that has been the butt of jokes for much of my lifetime.
For the record, this is the 10th installment of “Stupid things,” meaning I’ve been spouting inanities now for more than a decade. Please know, I couldn’t have done it without you. My readers clearly rank among the most idiocy-tolerant people in the world, a distant second to Nancy Pelosi voters.
Each era produces its own slang. Some terms demonstrate staying power and become part of the lexicon, while others are relegated to the dustbin of linguistic history.
Call me out-of-date, but I’d much rather do things in the time-honored way: a nice dinner, in a room with decent lighting, where I can take my time over my food, enjoy some good conversation, and perhaps not end up with special sauce on my sweater, followed by a long-anticipated movie to which I can devote my full attention.
We are flying out to Boise for the holidays and taking our three sons, which means that for Christmas this year everyone’s getting a plane ticket and a small bag of Delta peanuts. Instead of letting Santa decide who’s been naughty and nice, we’ll have to leave that determination to the TSA.
We all know the nanny-staters, with which this country is rife and who in fact now seem to be running things, have long been opposed to fun.
All things being equal, most high schools will have a really tall kid every few years. Most will have the occasional college prospect, maybe two. But what should we make of those programs that feature a steady stream of 6-foot-9 athletes and boast multiple Division I signees every year? What are the odds that would occur randomly?
I don’t recommend the drive-through, however, for parents with small children. Using it will merely frustrate your real purpose: having half an hour to eat in peace while your kids will disappear inside the playground.
In cross country, parents pull for their kids, sure, but they also pull for all the other kids — even kids on other teams. One of the most heartwarming things I’ve ever seen in sports is a bunch of parents and athletes cheering on the very last runner as he or she approaches the finish line.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that one in 25 American teenagers attempts suicide and one in eight has thought about it. After recently reading a stack of essays written by high school seniors, I think I might have some ideas why.
One of the best things about our American higher education system is that it routinely offers students second chances — and sometimes third and fourth.
That’s the reason zero tolerance polices exist: So that self-styled “educators” don’t have to make judgment calls, something that would require using their common sense cortex, which for many of them atrophied long ago.
Three kets to a lasting marriage
Each fall I read the Peanuts cartoon in which Lucy entices Charlie Brown to kick the football — just so she call pull it away at the last minute and watch him fall flat on his back. And every year I want to scream, “Don’t do it, Charlie Brown! It’s a trick!”
We’ve all heard the old saying, “Aim for the sun and land among the stars.” That analogy might not be astronomically accurate, but we get the gist: strive for excellence and, even if you don’t quite get there, you will still have succeeded.
In place of the Common Core, Tienken calls for a system that would “end standardization, return local control, and provide financial and technical assistance for school districts to design comprehensive programs with large curriculum offerings to meet the needs of all kids.”
All you have to do is decide what’s important to you, then discard that in favor of what’s important to your wife, your kids, and your boss, in that order. Your own wants, desires, and needs come near the bottom of the list, just after those of the cat but before the house plants.
Whether political divisions are good or bad, they appear to be inevitable, stemming from the fundamentally different ways in which people see the world.
Columnist Rob Jenkins talks about the new definition of man
A look at the domestic dealings of one dad
When I was growing up, the fastest way to get boys engaged in learning was to make it a competition between them and the girls. The girls usually won, but at least the boys competed.
These days, the big-screen chaos grows increasingly more spectacular with each new release, as directors strive to one-up each other. So your hero knocked down a building or two? Hah! Mine took out an entire city block. Oh, yeah? I’ll see your city block and raise you Manhattan.
The problem is that online classes usually aren’t easier. Yes, you can “attend” on your own schedule, and you might not even have to leave your room. But online classes, by their very nature, require an unusual degree of self-discipline, not to mention considerable technological know-how. Even more problematic may be the fact that, although many institutions push online classes shamelessly, research shows that employers are considerably less enthusiastic about them.
Kids, you probably already know these things, but a few might not, so I’m going to clue you in. Certain strategies are virtually guaranteed to make your parents do whatever you want, whether it’s buying you something, taking you somewhere, or just leaving you alone.
The more adults we have in every community who are willing to stand up and denounce this culture of violence, the sooner the casualty rates will begin to decline.
We encouraged our kids to play rec league sports and, later (of course), school sports, and we supported them in those activities. But travel teams were always out of the question, and they understand that even if they didn’t always like it.
Heaven protect us from crusading, do-gooder education types who believe they know more than parents and are hell-bent on controlling every moment of our kids' lives.
If both conservatives and liberals think the Common Core is a bad idea, who exactly is pushing it?
Facebook's growth has leveled off, and will no doubt soon begin to plummet, because it has lost its appeal for young people. We old people, with our sugar cookie recipes and Farmville invitations and political memes and pictures of our grandkids have killed it off.
Far from being insignificant, the distinction between justice and social justice defines today's warring political ideologies. Conservatives believe that the highest form of justice is for each individual to be treated fairly and equally under the law. The left has no problem treating individuals unfairly as long as "historically oppressed" groups get theirs.
Looking back at some of the things I've written about fathers and being one.
Young guys ask me all the time, how do you make a marriage last? The simple answer is, don't get divorced. But a better answer is that you have to find ways to keep the romance alive -- and as a husband, that duty will fall mostly to you.
Evidence has been mounting lately that the so-called Bill of Rights -- the first 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States -- has become not only outdated and irrelevant but perhaps positively subversive.
Congratulations -- you've just graduated from high school. Now what're you going to do? Besides go to Disney World. Or Panama City. Or wherever. What about after that?
While you're hauling your kids around, spending interminable hours sitting on bleachers and folding chairs, and eating ballpark hot dogs, just look at it as a kind of retirement plan, albeit a risky one.
Normally a woman carries a child and nurtures it from birth, forming an unbreakable bond. The child will love her unconditionally until about age 13, at which point it will hate her for about six years before eventually coming to love her again. Meanwhile, she never stops loving the child, no matter what. That's known as motherhood.