October 2008 issue

Vote For...
Not Against!

OK, so one of these guys is gonna win and be our next President! And you've got a say-so in how it turns out. But do you know who you're going to vote for? Or do you just know who you're going to vote against.

Political campaigns over the years have fine tuned the art of swaying the public's perceptions and, in the process, learned that it's easier and more effective to tear down the opponent than it is to build up your own candidate. Since it's a 2-party system, getting voters to vote against the other guy generally equals a vote for your guy.

So we've heard all the bad stuff there is to be heard about the candidates , and very little about what is good about them. Kinda makes you want to take off the first week of November and go fishing somewhere far away! However, we have an obligation to take part in the election process an that includes making intelligent, informed decisions. You're not going be well informed if all you know about a candidate is what their opponent is saying about him (or her.)

You've got a couple of weeks. Take some time to study up on the contests you have a vote in. Look for actual plans and platforms, promises and perspectives. See who thinks most like you, then go vote for that candidate.

If all you do is punch the button for the guy who claims his opponent hates puppies and babies, likes to burn poetry, and has cooties... chances are you're just making things worse!



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!

Irene 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.

So there’s the quandary: The trips are Federally mandated. The school can’t afford to pay for it. The parents can’t afford to pay for it. The government wont pay for it. And the three ladies in charge of making it happen each week don't earn enough to pay for it, either! So what the hell are they supposed to do now?!

If you’ve got any ideas (or would like to adopt a classroom,) we’d love to hear from you. Drop us an e-mail, please!


Speaking of Politics...

It’s 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.

In South Florida, I’ve voiced commercials for Annette Taddeo who is trying to unseat incumbent Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. A bit further West, I’m the commercial voice for Democrat Mary Landrieu, who is trying to retain her Senior Senate seat from Louisiana in a hard-fought challenge from Republican state Treasurer, John Kennedy.

Closer 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.

Of course, these are just a few of the big Senate races I’m involved in. There are other, less high-profile contests for more localized positions… sheriff, school board, dogcatcher, etc. I suppose some of ‘em are even running unopposed..., but
like to hear their name on the TV and radio!


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!"


Half the Wheels,
Twice the Mileage!

What used to be my "toy" is now looking more and more like sensible transportation. That'd be my 50 mpg Harley motorcycle! But here's a guy who's riding a "Hover Harley"... scooting by on a friction-free cushion of air!

At least, that's what we're supposed to think. But I suspect his modifications were made in Photoshop rather than a garage.

Still... Wouldn't it be cool!?!

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.

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