Thursday, January 24, 2008

When the school building takes sick days

So far in 2008, I should be thoroughly back into teaching after a much-needed holiday over Christmas and New Years. However, at my school, I've barely had any classes to teach. The first week back started with a day that was deemed too cold for school, and ended with frozen pipes that shut us down for an afternoon and a morning. The second week was broken up by a two-day professional development workshop for teachers, and as soon as we were back last Friday, a strange smell shut us down that afternoon. You'd think that smell would have been dealt with last weekend... nope. It came back on Monday stronger than ever. Tuesday morning, more of the same, but this time we tried to stay open. By the end of the day, I had a brutal headache and a burning throat, along with much of the rest of the staff. The school has been closed since yesterday (Wednesday), when they finally figured out there was mold in the building.

Long story short, we should be 3 weeks of classes into 2008, but instead we've had only about 6 very sporadic days of class. I will admit, it's been a very relaxed transition back into work, but I'm about ready to get back at it. The plan is to have classes on Monday no matter what, although we won't know for sure until tomorrow if these classes will actually be at the school, or scattered around town.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Take my finance minister.... please.

I try to avoid writing about anything political on my blog, especially when I have limited computer access, but this story really bugged me.

To summarize, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives wrote a thoughtful and understandably critical report on the Canadian government's economic plans, which outlined different possible economic scenarios for the next few years. Under their most optimistic forecast, due to the Tories recent tax cuts, the Federal government surplus would be gone by 2008-09, and turn into a $2.4 billion dollar deficit by 2009-10.

Now, Jim Flaherty's economic credentials are already well established - when his Ontario Tories were kicked out of office in 2003, they left the province with a multi-billion dollar deficit due to their neo-con tax cutting agenda. However, Flaherty's response to the CCPA report shows that he hasn't learned much...

" the autumn we were anticipating some slowing in the Canadian economy, as a result of the quite significant slowing in the U.S. economy," Flaherty told reporters at a Vancouver news conference.
"For that reason, in the fall economic statement on Oct. 30, we made dramatic historic tax reductions — business tax reductions — in Canada," he said.

To paraphrase, Flaherty defends himself and his government by pointing to the exact reason why the government is at risk of going into deficit again... because they're cutting into revenues. In fact, he even brags about the "dramatic historic tax reductions." In other words, as usual, the neo-cons are gambling with our future.

Since conservatives are so fond of wanting to govern like they're running a business, let's imagine one is the president of Widget Canada Co. [WCC]. While anticipating a slowdown in demand for Widgets, CEO Flaherty decides to lower prices, reasoning people will buy more widgets. This may, in fact, lead to a temporary boost in sales, but if the overall widget market is slow, it seems like a risky strategy, that could very likely result in drastically lower profits.

Now, if I was CEO of WCC, I might consider investing in research and development to make widgets more efficiently, or find new markets, such as more environmentally friendly widgets. Although that makes alot of financial sense to me, in our current political climate I guess it makes me a socialist.

Speaking of politics, as far as the U.S. primaries go, Elizabeth Edwards, John Edwards' wife, has the best quote so far: “He seems like a nice charming guy. [Mike Huckabee] doesn't believe in evolution and has some nutty views about what it is we should do about ending violence in our inner city—we should make sure all of our young people are armed. Republicans scare me.”

Friday, January 11, 2008


As mentioned in my previous post, I'm currently computer-less, after being the victim of a Christmas Day theft (sympathy cards are welcomed). As a result, expect blog posting to be sporadic at best over the next couple of weeks... until I get my new MacBook.

In the meantime, you can find out about my life through other bloggers like Kate Nova, or Bob Izumi Jr and his recent Dance Dance Revolution pictures.

I arrived safely in Iqaluit last Friday - although just barely, since my flight was greeted by a freak snowstorm that shut down half the town and almost sent my plane to Rankin Inlet. Luckily I got off the plane and got to experience the howling winds sub minus 50 degree temperatures - which ended up shutting down schools on Monday. I'm also off work today, because the pipes froze at our school and it's taking some doing, apparently, to get them going again.

Oh, also I have a new place to live, with a sort-of view of the bay, and new roommates, including a mastif. Photos to come... once I get the aforementioned computer, not to mention a digital camera, which is also missing from my life.