October 2008 issue
Beggin’ 4 Bucks
It’s not exactly "news" that teachers don’t make enough money, but many of them teach simply because they love it! My wife, Irene, is a case in point. She now commands a classroom of just six students, and has two excellent adult assistants in the room with her every day. Sound easy? All six are boys in their early teens, and all six suffer from autism and cannot relate to the real world in a normal sense. They have to be taught all the things most of us understand instinctively, such as acceptable social behavior. Intangible concepts like respect, empathy, logic and such are nearly impossible for them. One of them is still struggling with toilet training! Public schools must accommodate them, but also have to keep the lowest functioning kids in self-contained classrooms to avoid disrupting the rest of the classes.
Now the Federal government requires that these special kids be taken on “CBT”s (Community Based Trips) once a week, to help them learn social skills and deal with real world interactions, such as ordering a meal in a restaurant. Who pays for these trips? Why, the parents, of course! …Except many of these kids come from impoverished families, often with single parents who can barely afford to clothe them and depend on the school’s free lunch assistance program to feed them. They can’t afford the extra ten or fifteen dollars every week so their kid can go on a required field trip!
and her assistants, Sue and Shelly, have been digging into their own
pockets to help these kid's families, but it’s quite an ongoing
expense. Six kids, at $15 each, for 13 weeks equals a little under $1,200
each semester! We’ve made a few stabs at trying to get a local
“sponsor” to donate funds for this, but haven’t had
any luck, so far.
Speaking of Politics...
been a busy political season in the MrVO studio. I don’t let my
own opinions get in the way of doing my job, so I have a good mix of
political clients from both sides of the aisle. I’ll be curious
to see what my “batting average” will be after the votes
are counted next month.
to Washington, I’ve done commercials for Democratic
Maryland State Attorney Frank Kratovil in his attempt to win the First
Congressonal District Senate seat from incumbent Andy Harris. And, in
one of the more nationally visible contests,
it’s my voice on ads for Republican Norm Coleman who is in the
fight of his career with writer/comedian Al Franken.
Archeologists recently pieced together the skeletal remains of a body found in a dig near Washington, DC.
A spokesperson stated that they "are pretty sure it is one of the first politicians!"
Are Locusts Next?
I saw a bumper sticker the other day that summed it up: "WHERE ARE WE GOING, AND WHY ARE WE IN A HANDBASKET?"
I live in Charlotte, NC, which has been one of the major financial centers of the US; headquarters to two of the largest banks in the nation... Bank of America and Wachovia. Um, make that one of the largest banks. Wachovia's plummet from greatness has had severe effects on this city. You can almost see the pucker marks! We already had enough problems.
In recent weeks we've seen long lines at gas stations, and even longer ones at the unemployment office. Credit is so tough, one businessperson tried to use their line of credit to meet payroll and was told the account had been closed, suppossedly due to inactivity. To reopen it, they would have to buy a CD in the amount of the credit line they requested! "Hell, if I could afford to do that, I wouldn't need the loan!"
Bottom line: Cash is king.Those that have it are sitting on it, and those that don't are in a world of hurt. Real estate and investments have dried up along with a lot of retirement plans.
Except mine! My retirement plan is still going strong... Costs just a few bucks each week, and pays millions!!
It's called the North Carolina State Lottery.