In defense of teachers

TRAVERSE CITY — News reports say there’s an acute teacher shortage in America. How does that surprise anyone? Their pay is low. The job is stressful. They’re criticized for “taking the summer off,” as if they have anything to do with that. They’re used by the GOP as a pawn in their jihad to crush unions. They’re blamed for not magically fixing the broken kids that parents send them. They have to buy their own school supplies. Their classes are over-stuffed. And worst of all, they have to endure the platitudes about how valued they are by a society that clearly doesn’t mean it. If we did, we’d put our money where our mouths are.

– Only about 50 years too late, the NCAA has decided to pay student athletes for the use of their name, likeness and image. That’s a good start, but what about a cut of TV revenues? Or a cut of the gate? Or a cut of product sales? There is no big-time college athletics without (duh) college athletes. How is it they’re the only ones not profiting from it? And let’s dispense with the nonsense that athletes are “paid” by getting a free college education. That’s like saying employees at McDonald’s should be content with free hamburgers.

– No, it wasn’t wrong for that World Series crowd to boo and chant “Lock him up!” when they saw Trump on the Jumbotron. What I liked is it wasn’t a planned reaction, nor was it a partisan crowd. It was simply a crowd of random baseball fans reacting in the moment. Good for them. Now let’s let that be the end of it. Let’s not hear that at the Democratic National Convention.

– The Detroit News reported this week that the Trump administration wants to dictate to auto companies how and where they make cars and parts. If they don’t play along, they’ll be subject to tariffs under the new NAFTA agreement. I’m sure that’ll go over well with Ford, GM and the rest. Nothing says “free markets” like being told what to do.

– The GOP is reaching a new low in its attacks on Alexander Vindman, director of European Affairs at the National Security Council, who testified before the House this week. Look at his background. He’s the epitome of patriotism.

– If there’s a reason candy corn exists, I haven’t discovered it.

– I haven’t watched “Survivor” regularly in years. When did they start including product placements? I saw a bit where the winners of some challenge were “rewarded” with food from Applebee’s and were clearly required to gush about it. “Oh, thank you, Applebee’s! Thank you!” You could tell they were lying because no one said, “Are you kidding me? I’ve been living on rice and snails for a month and you’re giving me lukewarm half-off apps? I’m calling Uber delivery.”

– USA Today is going to do away with its print edition. I, for one, will miss it. Print is still the superior medium, far as I’m concerned. You can’t fold your iPad. Your paper newspaper also doesn’t force you to read ads or click away from videos. Plus, y’know, there’s that little thing of the decline of print leading to a decline in knowledge and an increase in governmental bodies large and small getting away with stuff they’d have been called on before.

– I’ve never had an earbud that stayed in. Ever. I must have the world’s weirdest ears. Fortunately, I also don’t like listening to music that way. The sound scrambles my thoughts, and I have enough trouble keeping coherent thoughts together. Clearly.

– Did anyone think fantasy sports would become what it’s become. I remember when I was vaguely embarrassed to tell people I played. Now … OK, I’m still a little embarrassed. But less so!

“The whole future lies in uncertainty. Live immediately.” – Seneca.


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