Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring Fever

Finally, spring.

The pollen on my car tells me spring is here yet today I still have the heat on and a fleece hoodie.  But, it's coming.

We are on spring break this week from school; it is much needed.  Spring is the semester of standardized testing: ACT, PLAN, EXPLORE, EOC, continues.  The kids are exhausted.  There is little time to actually have class, it seems.

For me, two days into spring break, it has been lovely.  We have seen three baseball games at the local college and last night we met friends for dinner and spent the evening listening to my favorite local band and good friends, The Sultans.  The Sultans includes 3/4 of the old Soulfish band and so I got to hear some of my favorite tunes last night while sipping a Dos Equis on the patio at the restaurant where they were playing.  It was fine.

Today I'm working on some things around the house and enjoying the down time.  It occurred to me that we haven't taken a little day trip in a while so I'm posting the last "Take a Trip..." list in case you are thinking of getting out of the house in the next few weeks.  If you live around this area you might consider some of these local day trips.  I'm planning a couple of  non-sightseeing trips to Natchitoches this week, but we may get out and do a day trip somewhere.  It's that time of year.

The SIGIS Take a Trip Series:
Take a Trip to the 2012 Defenders of Liberty Air Show at BAFB
Take a Springtime Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden, LA
Take a Trip to Logansport, Louisiana
Take a Trip to the Lock and Dam on Red River
Take a Trip to the 2012 Barkus and Meoux Parade
Take a Christmas Shopping Trip to Second Hand Rose in Minden
Take a Trip to the Fourth Annual Barksdale AFB Oktoberfest 
Take a Trip to Grand Cane's Fifth Annual Pioneer Trade Day
Take a Trip to the 2011 Highland Jazz & Blues Festival
Take an Autumn Trip to Jefferson, Texas
Take a Fall Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to the 8th Air Force Museum at Barksdale Air Force Base
Take a Summertime Trip to Grand Cane
Take a Trip to Desoto Parish
Take a Summer Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Melrose Plantation 
Take a Trip to Ed Lester Farms and a Random Antique Stop
Take a Trip to the Norton Art Gallery and the Masters of Cuban Art Exhibit
Take a Trip to Natchitoches to See the Christmas Lights
Take a Trip to the Third Annual BAFB Oktoberfest 
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Oakland Plantation

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pick the Paint

Hey Shreveport/Bossier:  The DOTD wants your vote:  what color do you want them to paint the Jimmy Davis bridge?  So far, purple is the most popular color.  Purple?

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is letting you help select the new paint color for the bridge that spans Red River between Shreveport and Bossier City. And with more than 2,700 votes thus far, purple is the top choice followed by blue and red, DOTD says. Do you agree?

Go here to vote.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The 2014 Louisiana Legislative Session Is Underway

The 2014 Louisiana circus legislative session has arrived which is always good for some lively entertainment.
During this session legislators will deal with at least a few bills dealing with Common Core.  During the pre-filing period, at least six have been filed.

The Alexandria Town Talk has a summary of the bills so far:

• H.B. 377 by Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Moss Bluff, which creates a commission to develop new state standards; 
• H.B. 481 by Rep. Rob Shadoin, R-Ruston, calling for the development of curriculum guides prior to full implementation of Common Core in public and nonpublic schools that have chosen to use the standards; 
• H.B. 554 by Rep. Henry Burns, R-Haughton, which calls for development of state content standards and assessments subject to legislative approval and allows local school systems to develop their own standards; 
• H.B. 556 by Burns which prohibit implementing Common Core and reverts to prior standards; 
• H.B. 557 by Burns which prohibits using Common Core and creates the Student Standards Task Force to study implementation; and 
• H.B. 559 by Rep. Barry Ivey, R-Baton Rouge, which drops Common Core, implements Louisiana-based standards and prohibits using the assessment tools planned for use with Common Core.
Michael Deshotels at Louisiana Educator has a more comprehensive list of all of the education bills here and here.

In Louisiana,  the backlash against Common Core has been growing with protests around the state and anti-Common Core billboards popping up.  There is even a Stop Common Core in Louisiana Facebook group.

In other bills, legislators will deal with the normal shenanigans with the budget, such as this shell game by Gov. Bobby Jindal:

Lawmakers are particularly irked by a budget maneuver that borrows $50 million in cash from the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to pay for state health care costs. The Jindal administration would replace the money with $75 million in bonds, so the deal is good for the New Orleans area. But it would also mean less for other state construction projects, like new highways and roads. 
Jindal's proposed budget would also essentially wipe out a trust fund for elderly care, a financial resource that Louisiana expected to last for decades. The account, once flush with $800 million, has been drawn on so heavily to fill state budget gaps in recent years, it could be entirely depleted by the end of this fiscal cycle. 
The governor is also using federal money given to the state for hurricane recovery to cover expenses not directly related to disasters, including state programs for people with disabilities. Some advocates are concerned the federal government might not approve such uses of the money, though the administration is confident their proposals will hold up to scrutiny.

The outnumbered Democrats this session will try to raise minimum wage, expand Medicaid, and enact statewide fairness laws.

There will also likely be debate to reduce marijuana penalties, increasing heroin penalties, and possibly even one bill to bring back the electric chair.

NOLA has an extensive roundup of topics to watch for this session.

You can read Jindal's opening speech here.

So hang on to your hats and here we go.  As lively as this session is likely to be, I doubt it will top this momentous event (actually, let's hope it doesn't):

Saturday, March 15, 2014

What a Shock

Wow, who knew?!  You can't actually keep you doctor?  Shocker.

Not only that, it's going to be more expensive, too.  Premiums are going to go up.

I'm stunned.


(H/T: Hot Air)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Checking In

Sometimes life takes us in the strangest directions, and sometimes it takes you exactly where you somehow knew you were meant to go.


A little, I guess.  Things have been so busy at school this week: some of it truly work related and some of it self-imposed.  We are gearing up for our standardized testing soon and that's involved a little extra time this week, what with meetings, in-service training, and coding sessions.  Wednesday was just crazy: I had duty before school and at lunch, a meeting during my planning period on testing, taught three classes, and had a meeting across town after school.  Thankfully, that's not a typical day.

The self-imposed part comes from the fact that I'm behind in grading papers and research papers and grades are due next week.  That's my fault.  Ever since my two friends at work got me tuned in to HBO's True Detective, I got lost for about three weeks getting caught up on past episodes and then down the rabbit-hole of the internet in all the conjecture theories.  It's been a truly fascinating ride and as much as I'll hate to say goodbye to Rust and Marty tomorrow, in a way I'll be a little glad.  Maybe I can get back to my life!  True Detective is an absolutely brilliant show: the writing is amazing.  Just mail the Emmys to Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrellson, Nic Pizzolatto, and the cinematography people.  That's a lock.  Best show on TV.  Maybe ever.  I'm serious.

Anyway, life goes on.

I've picked up a weekly paid blogging slot at Da Tech Guy's place and so that's another item on my list of things to do.  I'm honored by the invitation and am looking forward to getting to know some new people there.

And finally, I'm in the very early stages of a new project.  I don't want to jinx anything by talking about it much just yet, but I'm very excited about it.  It's a good fit for me.  It will be a quite extensive project and take a lot of time and focus, but it'll be worth it.  And as a very wise woman once said, "you can't tell what you can do till you do it," we shall see!  I'll fill in more details as things progress.

So, if the blogging gets a little slow here, don't give up on me.  It's not burnout this time.  That same wise lady I just mentioned also pointed out that "you can't serve two masters!"  And so I may have to slow down here to keep focus elsewhere.

Have a happy weekend and light a little candle for me as I venture down this new path.  I'll be checking in.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Loose Thoughts

Be sure to check out my first post over at Da Tech Guy's blog.  I'll be posting there each week as part of his Return of the Seven faction of his Da Magnificent Seven group of co-bloggers.

Around the blogs:

Everyone is talking about Russia.  I looked at Memeorandum at one point yesterday and every single story was about Russia.

The most articulate analysis of the situation comes from Bride of Rove.  She's closed comments on the post but if I could comment on it I would have told her how glad I am that she's blogging again; I've missed her perspective.
To everyone who elected Obama because they say they are tired of committing US troops to be the world police. They want to stop supporting a huge military and only engage if we are attacked on our own soil. I’m talking to you Ron Paul supporters.To everyone who thinks that every war is about oil and thinks that’s stupid. We don’t need to enrich the oil companies with the blood of our own. It’s time to support your President. He is doing exactly what you asked him to do. 
The rest of us believe that inaction against aggressions like these leads to World Wars, as it has done twice. The rest of us believe in Karma; that if you do not act in defense of the weak, expect to be next. They are weak standing alone, but there is strength in numbers. If the US does not count itself as one of the numbers that make up the whole, if we back away and say, “Woa there, this is not MY fight.”, then we all fall.

The Lonely Conservative reports that the wealthy are fleeing New York.

Pirate' Cove has the Sunday round-up.

Right on the Left Coast shows you some un-Professional Development which explains a great deal about the state of education today.

Ed Driscoll pays tribute to Andrew Breitbart.

That's it for now; I'm off to watch True Detective!

How Much Riboflavin Are You Getting?

Because America is apparently full of illiterate and ignorant housewives who can't decipher a food label, Michelle Obama is here to help you.

Who knew grocery shopping was so filled with drama and tension:
"So there you stood, alone in some aisle in a store, the clock ticking away at the precious little time remaining to complete your weekly grocery shopping, and all you could do was scratch your head, confused and bewildered, and wonder, is there too much sugar in this product? Is 50 percent of the daily allowance of riboflavin a good thing or a bad thing? And how on Earth could this teeny little package contain five whole servings? 
It hard to conceive of such nerve-wracking stress at the ol' Super One Foods.  The clock is ticking!  There is so little time!  Am I getting enough riboflavin?  The decisions!

Of course, now that Obamacare has forced people to work fewer hours there will be more time to decipher those pesky labels because according to Joe Biden, you just don't have to keep that job!  You can stay home with your kids or linger in the grocery store aisles deciphering those oh-so-confusing labels.

Who knew that making the font bigger on the calorie count would solve all my problems!

Honestly, don't these people have something real to do besides continuing to point out how stupid we all are?  How many food labels do you think Michelle Obama reads?  We're supposed to believe she identifies and relates to us?  The little people?

She wears me out.

Save the Date

Mark your calendar, Shreveport-Bossier, for a wonderful opportunity to brush up your Constitution skills.

Local attorney Royal Alexander will deliver a lecture on Article V Thursday, March 27 at 6:00 p.m.  The event, entitled "The 2nd Method of Amending the Constitution" will be at the Clarion Hotel on 70th St and is free and open to the public.