Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bad Credit? Try Bad Credit Offers...

The credit crunch has come. And thanks to the crisis in the mortgage industry, thousands of Americans have seen their credit scores drop to uncomfortable levels. How do you fix that? You rebuild your credit…

Bad Credit Offers is one company that can help you do just that. The company monitors the credit market and makes bad credit loans available to people who want to improve their credit score.

Bad Credit Offers is a free service. They offer information on loans designed to help you fix your bad credit. The company brings you the best bad credit offers available. You can compare them and decide which one best fits your needs. There are credit cards, home loans and car loans available on the site, which makes it something of a one-stop shop for credit improvement.

Bad Credit Offers helps you with the most difficult part of rebuilding your credit: getting started.

Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I was financially compensated for this post...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Teacher Certification Update - Georgia

Note: Visit my education blog, The Green Cup.

After about eight months of working on it and five test sessions on four different dates, the state of Georgia has granted me a clear renewable license to teach with endorsements in several areas of special education, early childhood education (PreK to 5), middle grades math (4-8), and middle grades social studies (4-8).

It means I don't have to worry about keeping my job for a little while, at least. My Georgia license is good until the end of June, 2012.

It will be interesting to see how the special education certifications transfer back to West Virginia. Georgia certifies special ed teachers by grade and content area. West Virginia does it by disability area. I hope that my Georgia endorsements transfer back as WV certification in learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, and autism.

I should get the actual physical license from Georgia in eight or 10 days and I have the paperwork already filled out to submit to West Virginia fro them to recognize.

I take the test for certification in reading (k-12) in Georgia in March.

It Is What It Is... (Linguistics)

You probably know that a Congressional Committee is holding hearing about steroid use in professional baseball and that this week they had Roger Clemens (who says he didn't use steroids) and Clemens' trainer (who says he did use steroids) on the Hill giving testimony.

I would like to think that Congress had better things to do, but whatever...

National Public Radio had a story this week on a moment in the proceedings of that committee and I thought the story was interesting. The story had to do with the meaning of a phrase -- an idiom we here regularly that means, well, what does it mean?

The phrase is "it is what it is..."

The members of Congress present evidently weren't sure of the technical meaning of that phrase. The reason for the discussion was that the phrase gets used in a recording that Clemens' trainer made without his knowledge. At a point in the recording where the trainer could have said something like "we both know you used steroids," instead he says "it is what it is."

The congressional committee discussed whether the phrase was a regionalism specific to New York and evidently decided that it wasn't. One language expert compared the phrase to tofu, saying that it takes on the flavor of the words around it. And it was evidently decided that the phrase is used mostly as a way to put an end to a discussion. What do you say afterwards? It isn't what it's not...?

One linguist suggested that the phrase was stolen from the Bible, from Exodus 20:7. He suggested that it went back to Moses meeting God and asking God's name. God said, "I am who I am."

Like it often ends up in Congress, the discussion resolved nothing in the context of the issue being investigated - steroid use in baseball. But as a linguistic exploration, it perhaps had some value of its own.

The story was interesting...

The Hundredth Day

Note: Visit my education blog, The Green Cup.

Today is the 100th day of school for our students.

I suppose the best description of today's activities would be to call it a math literacy activity. We make a big deal out of the 100th day for a couple of reasons.

  • It helps develop a sense of elapsed time for our students. Measurement is a math concept and measuring time is among the hardest measurement tasks for elementary school students to grasp

  • It helps teach place value. We've spent the year so far making a big deal out of every tenth day. Now we've made it to the 100th day, and that adds a place value column to the number of days we've had.

  • It helps create an awareness of numbers and of their relevance to everyday life.

  • It helps create enthusiasm for math.
One of the things we do to help students get excited about place value concepts and the 100th day is that we have a visitor every 10th day. Zero the Hero comes to see our kids. Zero arrive at lunch time and usually gets a round of applause from the kids. The kids sing a song they've learned about Zero and Zero passes out cheerios (shaped like a zero) to the kids.

By the third or fourth week of schools kids are walking around talking about how many days it is until zero comes back...

Today we hope to do a video interview with Zero that we can put on the school website.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Aftermath of a Primary

I'm home. The clothes are ready for tomorrow. The coffee's made and the lunches are in place. I've checked my email and replied to the messages of the day that need any attention. I've had my shower and I am now sipping a small glass of an adult beverage.

I've been up for 16 hours and on my feet for most of that. I'm tired.

Streamlined reporting procedures let me get home a little earlier than I expected.

Of the 137 people who voted in my precinct, 98 voted in the Democratic Primary and 39 in the GOP Primary. In my Precinct Clinton got 81 votes, Obama 15, Edwards 1 and Richardson 1. On the GOP side, Huckabee got 31 votes and McCain got 8.

I plan to watch a few minutes of TV and then be in bed by 9:30 or 10pm...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Primary Elections in Virginia

Tomorrow I'll work the polls in Virginia. I am a poll worker in my home precinct of Adria, in the Northern District of Tazewell County.

So I'll get up at about 4:15am to be at the polling place about a mile away by 5am.

I think I have everything together for tomorrow. My clothes are ironed (a nice deep blue shirt to wear with my suit). The alarm is set. I have a few things to take with me to work on if the traffic gets slow. My lunch is made. I have a can of Pringles, some bread and cheese, and a couple of bottles of water in a cooler.

I'll get to vote after we set up the polling booths and open up, since I'm working in my own precinct. John Edwards will still be on the ballot. he drew 10% of the vote in Oklahoma on SuperTuesday despite having dropped out a week earlier. I don't really car whether Obama or Clinton gets the Democratic nomination. I'll probably cast my ballot for Edwards.

The biggest tension tomorrow will probably be over the procedure that requires voters to declare whether they want to vote in the GOP primary or the Democratic primary when they present themselves. The two are separate events (taking place at the same locations on the same day, true), and the worker who checks identification and marks voters off will give them a card that tells the people who's managing the voting machines which ballot to load - the GOP or the Democratic one. We expect some voters to object to having to declare their party...

Voting stops at 7pm. It will take between an hour and 90 minutes to wrap up the paperwork and break down the machines (assuming all goes well). I should be home by 9pm, making it a 16 hour day.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Primaries & Caucuses: SuperTuesday and the Saturday Stumble

For a variety of personal reason, I never really got around to commenting on SuperTuesday. But now that the dust has settled a little, there are some things worth saying about each party's race for the presidential nomination.

I haven't heard much comment on voter turnout.

  • In Colorado, about 120,000 people turned out for the Democratic Caucuses; the GOP drew only about 55,000 people. Colorado went for Clinton in 1992 (but not in 1996), for Jimmy Carter in 1976, and for Johnson in 1964. In the last 12 elections that state has gone to the Democrats just three times.
  • In Georgia, 1,046,000 people voted in the Democratic Primary. Only 958,000 people voted in Georgia's GOP Primary. Georgia went for Kennedy in 1960, Carter in 1976 and 1980, and Clinton in 1992 (but not in 1996).
  • In Missouri only about 585,000 people voted in the GOP Primary compared to around 820,000 in the Democratic contest. Missouri has gone to the GOP in seven of the last 12 presidential Elections.
  • In North Dakota the Democrats drew almost 18,000 caucus goers, compared to only about 9,000 for the GOP. North Dakota hasn't voted for a Democrat in November since 1964.
  • In Oklahoma the Democrats drew over 400,000 voters to their primary while the GOP only saw about 330,000 come out. Like North Dakota, Oklahoma hasn't voted for a Democrat in November since 1964.
  • Democrats in Tennessee drew 614,000 voters to their primary, while the GOP managed to get out only about 547,000 (even with favorite son Fred Thompson running). Tennessee went for Clinton in 1992 and 1996, Carter in 1976, and Johnson in 1964, but they've gone to the GOP in eight of the last 12 elections.
The question: Will this translate to the November election? Maybe...

The trend continued in Louisiana, where over 350,000 people voted in the Democratic primary yesterday and only and only about 155,000 voted in the GOP race. The state went for Kennedy in 1960, Carter in 1976, and Clinton twice, but has gone to the GOP two-thirds of the time since 1960.

Did SuperTuesday have winners? Well, it certainly had losers on the GOP side. Fred Thompson placed fifth in his home state. I'll go back to the actor metaphor I heard somewhere a while back and say that Mike Huckabee seems to have gotten the part that Fred Thompson tried out for.

Time to make another pot...Romney fell victim to a combination of factors. There was the fact that the Conservative vote was divided three ways. That made it easy from McCain to pull out a win in states like Missouri and Oklahoma. In a head-to-head race with just the two of them, Romney might well have beaten McCain out of those 90 or so delegates. Romney fell victim to high expectations; he was expected to do better than he did, and that made it difficult to justify staying in the race. I think Romney also fell victim to his own ambitions in as much as he's more committed to being president someday than he is to being president now. He could be perceived as having hurt the party by staying in, so he suspended his campaign.

While McCain carried the day, the biggest GOP winner may well turn out to be Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor is now the only choice for many Conservatives and logic choice for the anti-McCain block. Huckabee picked up the endorsement of Dr. James Dobson, champion of the Religious Right. And Huckabee's two wins yesterday testify to his new status as Last Conservative Standing. Mathematically, it's still possible for Huckabee to win the nomination (especially is Romney releases his delegates to vote however they want). It's not very likely, but it's possible at the moment.

On the Democratic side, SuperTuesday proved that the Clinton-Obama race really is a tie. That translates to a win for Obama. And that momentum carried him to three new wins yesterday. More and more, the focus of the Democratic race is on SuperDelegates since it doesn't look like either candidate will get enough delegates from the primary and caucus process to win outright.

The Saturday Stumble is the name pundits giving to the performance of McCain and Clinton yesterday. If McCain is not careful, he could end up being offered a position as Huckabee's VP. If Hillary is not careful, she could just plain lose.

No one seems to stay a front runner for very long...

In case you hadn't noticed:

  • Fred Thompson endorsed John McCain.
  • Ron Paul made some statements to the effect that he probably really would support the GOP candidate (he refused to rule out running as an independent during a Washington Post interview a few weeks ago).
  • NYC Mayor Michael Bloomburg seems to have shut up about running for President as an independent now that it looks like the GOP will nominate a moderate candidate.
  • President Bush said yesterday that McCain wasn't a moderate and endorsed McCain's credentials as a true Conservative.
  • Conservatives from Ann Coulter to Dr. Dobson are suggesting that their people should just stay home in November and left the Democrats have the White House if McCain is the nominee.
  • And Mike Gravel is still technically a candidate for the Democratic nomination.
But who cares about trivia...