History In Halstead

Location: Halstead, Kansas, United States

This is my seventh year at Halstead which is also where I live with my wife and my soon to be two year old daughter.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Sad Day :(

My 35 game win streak on my school computer ended today. So sad.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

More Student Opinions

Casey brings up another intersting point about the environment:

Global warming is a theory, at best.

Yup. Say what you want, but the fact of the matter is that no one has proven that rising CO2 levels are causing these drastic changes in the global climate. Even the EPA says that "uncertainties exist" about the effects of CO2 on climate. While it sure may be easy to blame Global Warming on CO2, no one really knows if that is the true cause of climate change.

I do have my doubts about the effects of CO2 - Of the earth's entire atmosphere, carbon dioxide makes up a measly .035% of it. I have seen reports of where in the last 50 years, CO2 levels have risen from 316 parts per million to 369 parts per million - a 16% increase. A 16% increase in a gas that only makes up .035% of the atmosphere. And I am supposed to believe that this tiny change will melt the polar ice caps, sink New York City, and provide a set for The Second Day After Tomorrow in the next century? Excuse me if I'm being a little outrageous, but that's just outrageous.

FOR DISCUSSION: What arguments can be made against Casey's point of view?

Economics Online Question #2

What exactly is the "lemon's problem" in economics? How can the free market solve the problem without resorting to extensive government intervention?

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Finally The Voice Of Reason

I dare say Brittany writes pure poetry in her response:

First, I would like to say that the US' level of CO2 emissions is not a direct result of Bush's presidency. Things that happen are not always the direct result of current administration *cough surplus in the 90's cough*. Now, I am not saying that Bush is going to jump for something that will harm the oil industry, but seriously, he's not some evil ogre or anything, he's a crusader.
Second, just looking at meteorological history, there are HUGE fluctuations in atmospheric temperature. Its like the economy, hot or cold, rich or poor.
Third, in addition to the cost of creating anew department for regulating protocol, there would be law suits, fines, and probably some form of Emissions Insurance that people would have to pay for. Huge hit to the economy? Most likely.
Now, I am not saying that we should sacrifice the earth because of our economy. But shouldn't the money be put towards finding and encouraging alternate energy sources? Don't liberals usually argue for rehabilitation instead of punishment? Or is that just for humans?

I am not sure that I would call Bush a crusader but obviously Brittany was on roll. I especially the slight jab on the 90s budget surplus.

Friday, January 28, 2005

More Student's Opinions

We have new arguments from Becky and she is joined in her crusade by one of our German friends, Clemens. He provides a nice European flavour (notice how I add the ‘u’ in flavor for out European friends). To summarize their arguments:

From Clemens

I think it is rather sad, that the US, the country with the highest CO2 emission, does not see a need in reducing their emission. I certainly agree that the US economy would suffer from some sort of temporary deprivation, but one can be sure that neither China nor India will start to lessen CO2 emission if the world's biggest polluter is not willing to join.

I think that there won't be any major improvement as long as President Bush is still in office, as he and parts of his administration originate from an industry that would fear major expenses, if they had to reduce CO2 emission

From Becky

Basically, we really just need to crack down! Many scientists say that the Artic summer ice could be almost non-exsistent by the end of the century!! So, I really think the Kyoto Protocol is a good global solution. In the past couple of years, we've really done well to make alternative energy sources more popular and accessible, and that will continue to grow.

I think some important points need to be made:

1. I do not believe that industry or people in general want to hurt the environment. If industry can produce and products that cause less pollution without and impacting cost they will. If you believe this argument, then I think you have to support the idea of providing incentive for over the idea of regulating current technology. Innovation moves you forward while regulation (Kyoto Protocol) takes you backwards. Cracking down will make the world poorer and probably cause the Protocol to collapse upon itself without helping the environment.
2. Regulation will also hurt innovation. Resources will be diverted into regulatory agencies whose sole purpose is to make sure the protocol is enforced. There would also have to be a lot of documentation and bureaucracy in order to track compliance. This leads me to believe that the protocol is not the best allocation of resources.
3. There is no solid proof that global warming is going to continue. The models that are being used take in many factors and slight changes in any of the factors could cause significant changes in global weather patterns. I know the weatherman is often wrong about the five day forecast, why should we trust the 100 year forecast.
4. The Kyoto Protocol is just one idea of how to help the environment. I would favor ideas that seem to encourage innovation over cracking down on people. I think if you are going to subsidize something, than Bush’s decision to subsidize hydrogen cell research has merit. Bush’s tax-cuts included a tax break for people who buy hybrid vehicles. Tradable pollution licenses can also have merit.
I think too many environmentalist are unwilling to take a long term approach. They feel that you must totally eliminate pollution in the short term, and if you compromise on that idea you are going to destroy the earth. The reality is that the less you impede the market the better opportunity there is to actually help the environment.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

An Issue To Weigh In On

Casey has a pretty good take on the current debate going on in many school districts concerning vending machines. He contends:

Isn't that interesting? The school board, in an effort to fight child obesity, may indirectly cause a loss of many sports and physical education programs at schools...The School Board will shoot themselves in the foot if they pass anything banning vending machines now. Schools will lose much of their values, and kids will not change their habits.

FOR DISCUSSION: Is it a good tradeoff for school to give up revenue in order to make a half hearted attempt to curb obesity?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Sometimes News Just Sounds Weird

Personally, I just think this current event sounds funny, especially when read out loud.

Suspected meteor lands in Cambodia: police

A 4.5-kilogram (10-pound) suspected meteorite has landed in rice fields in northwestern Cambodia, narrowly avoiding a nearby village, police said.
"The rock fell on a harvested rice field from the sky on Monday morning," said Sok Sareth, police chief of Banteay Meanchey province, which borders Thailand.
"According to the villagers who live nearby, it came very quickly from the sky and made a noise like a bomb exploding. It dug about 40 centimeters (16 inches) into the ground," he told AFP.
"The rock is a little bit black and was hot, and looks strange compared to other rocks... It was lucky that it did not land in the village or people could have been killed," he said, adding experts would examine the rock.
Pictures of the lump were splashed across the front pages of local newspapers Wednesday.
Sok Sareth said some villagers reportedly wanted to turn it into a shrine.
"Nobody has asked for it yet, but I have been told some villagers said that they want to put it on a shrine to pray to it, but we won't allow them to do that. It's useless," he said.
Cambodians, particularly in rural areas, are typically superstitious.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Becky Becky Becky . . .

First of all, I applaud my former student for her rational and insightful method in putting forth her argument. She has made me think about the issues and the short term and long-term costs/benefits of global warming. I would say that this is an excellent way that Blogs can be used in the classroom. I also, from Beeks Place, I have learned that Becky like cake. Now to the latest installment of the global warming debate. Here are highlights of Becky's rant:

Yet only in the past 50 years have temperatures increased considerably for the given time frame. So yes, there is a natural cycle of the Earth, but global warming has aggravated it IMMENSELY, which can take quite a toll on nature.

the US would have to help pay for emission costs in developing countries and help pay for technology to reduce emissions. I wish this wasn't a problem, but this is a world issue

This is a great opportunity to be a leader--other developing countries have signed, why don't we take some hints from them? And like I said before, most of the emissions are from westernized nations, spilling out into EVERYONE'S air

Bush said that he would help reduce emissions, which I have failed to see any action since. Some major businesses--Boeing, Toyota, IBM, and Intel--have been going on their own ventures to reduce emissions and have had economic benefits. Cutting down emissions is energy efficient and saves lots of money for these companies

Very rational points but she still fails to convince. I maintain that developed nations are not all on board with this issue. China and India are both massive polluters and they are not part of the agreement (neither is Brazil or Australia and many other countries that have signed the protocol have failed to ratify it at home).

I would also point out that using the 1990 levels put the US at a disadvantage. The unified Germany had closed many massive polluting East German factories which pollution was counted on the pre-1990 levels. This makes the goal easily reached for our German friends but we do not get this benefit. Also, Great Britain had just found natural gas in the North Sea leading them to phase out coal as a chief energy source. The US would enter the agreement at a comparitive disadvantage.

Some experts also say that the protocols incentives for growing forces could cause a de facto destruction of wetlands which would hurt the CO2 levels.

The protocol also calls for quick fixes. This means massive regulations and stagnant economies. I would prefer a plan that called for innovation and invention. I would refer you to the decision of the US not to impose tariffs on Japanese cars in the early 1980s, which led to innovations in the US car plants. The economic ramifications are just too dangerous and brutal in the long run.

Let me give you this historical example: the improvements made in the US labor through the years. In the late 1800s, industrialization lowered labor standards in the US. But, through some internal government regulations and the demands of the people things changed for the better. I see the same for the future of the world environment. Innovations will cause less pollution and the dangers of global warming will be eliminated through the markets.

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Earth Isn't Green Enough

One of my former students has made some interesting claims that I believe are worthy of discussion. Becky M. claims that it is wise to for the government to highly involved in the trying to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses in the world. She says:

Global Warming is a global threat! I compare that to saftey regulations in
buildings and cars--when designing, you don't really have a choice to leave out
things like airbags or fire alarms. That wouldn't really be fair to the safety
of others. I think it's the same with global warming! It is something that
affects the whole world! Weird weather patterns and melting of ice due to
drastic changes in temperature (a few degrees in a decade or so is drastic!)
could cause mudslides and flooding--and lots could occur in places where they
don't really have the money to make a good comeback from the devastation. So, in
this case, science is warning us of this threat and I really don't think that
private ventures are enough. The United States is a leading contributer of
greenhouse gases, so I think it's fair that we should really be a leader in this
issue. Just look at the Kyoto Protocol! Hundreds of countries have signed
because they're aware and want to fix things, but we haven't. I think that if we
can put a man on the moon, we can definitely find an effective way to cut way
down on greenhouse gases!

I will refrain from mentioning that most cars do not come equipped with fire alarms and focus on her main concerns about the environment. First, there is some argument about the direct cause of increasing temperatures. While some scientists put they blame solely on the increased amount of green house gasses others point out that the earth warms and cools on constant cycles that should not be interfered with. This is a kin to letting naturally ignited forest fires burn their course. But even if greenhouse gasses are to blame the ideas of the Kyoto Protocol are not the answer.

First of all, the fact that hundreds of nations have signed the protocol means very little to me. Of course nations with the least burden are going to support the protocol. This would be like me supporting a tougher grading scale and higher graduation requirements at Bethel College. It is OK with me since I don’t go to Bethel. It is easy for undeveloped nations with few greenhouse gasses to insist for huge reductions; but this would be a huge cost for the US.

My problem with Becky is that she is looking at a solution for the short run and not the long run. Straight forward regulation is only going to lead to a stifled economy and lead us back to the stagflation of the 1970s. Becky, is this the tradeoff you are seeking?

Instead of tying the US to a global pact that does not hold India and China to the same penalizing standards it holds the US to, I would suggest the current administrations push toward rewarding businesses that reduce pollution. Of course, this type of policy gets blasted by the left as “Bush helping Big business and his oil cronies.”

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Economics Online Question #1

Stickemup Cable Company is the only cable television company licensed to operate in HarveyCounty. Most of its costs are access fees and overhead expenses. These fixed costs total $750,000 monthly. The marginal cost of adding another subscriber to its system is $2 per month. Stickemup's demand curve is described in the table below:

Subscription Price..............Number of Subscribers
(per month)

a) At what price is the total revenue the highest for Stickemup cable? What price will Stickemup charge for its cable services? What are its profits at this price?

Another Great Headline

From CNN-
Poll: Nation split on Bush as uniter or divider

A Former Students Blog!!!

Thanks to Casey, I have discovered a former student of mine has set up a blog. Becky graduated and is now attending Bethel College. Check out her site:


Halstead Wins Two In A Row

After losing to Haven in the opening round of the Rupp Tournament the Halstead Dragons have bounced back with two straight wins. In the Have game, we gave up a season high 83 points but only gave up 82 points combined in the wins over Wichita Independent and Inman. Overall, the tournament wasn't as good as we would have liked but two wind is three games is always good. No games next week and which gives the team time to prepare for the undefeated Hillsboro thoroughness.

More Technology In the Classroom

I was at a conference this past week and received more technology to enhance teaching. I now have a video camera to hook up to my computer. This will give me the ability to video conference with others and observe other teachers in my grant teaching without having to travel throughout Kansas.

Theses cameras can be very useful since teachers are in some ways like private contractors. We are hired and given a room to work and we spend a year in that room teaching students. We rarely if ever get to actually watch what other teachers do in the classroom. I will now have that ability. I continue to get more excited about these grants as they broaden my abilities and knowledge base.

Monday, January 17, 2005


I read this article from the Chicago Tribune. Its subject reminded me of a book from the Progressive Era. The first person to name the book I am thinking of gets five extra credit points. Good Luck!!

Here is an excerpt:

She is dizzy, almost wobbly. Her head aches, her coughing won't stop, and because she doesn't have enough money she has not filled her four prescriptions nor seen a doctor recently.

But that doesn't stop her.

Soon it will be midnight, and Ipifania Dominguez will be back at work cleaning up blood, bone and fat in the world's largest pork slaughterhouse. She'll be back in the "head room," as she calls it, where meat is cut from pigs' heads.

She'll be back reaching and bending as she scrubs the machines, walls and floors with a sponge, breathing cleaning chemicals that burn her eyes, clog her throat and linger, giving her a nauseated feeling when she stumbles home exhausted.

She'll be back at a job few want except someone like Dominguez, 35, a Mexican immigrant illegally living in the U.S., who is thankful for the work that has allowed her to send money home to her six children in Mexico.

For six hours nightly with no breaks or time to eat, she is clutching a sponge while shivering in the cutting room's permanent chill for a job that starts out at six bucks and ninety cents an hour. And she has to hustle because the factory must be clean for the start of a new day and the slaughter of up to 32,000 pigs.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Once Again The Headline Says It All

This is the headline from Sunday's Paper:

Abbas vows peaceful end to Mideast conflict, eight killed in Gaza

I think that new leadership in the PLO is going to be beneficial for the region but I maintain that Israel is going to have to make more concessions than they have thus far. Both sides are going to have to be more willing to trust one another. I would be willing to wager that is still many years away.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

What is your nerd score?

Have you been recently called a geek, a dork, a NERD? Do you want to be a nerd, geek, or dork? Well, this test is for you! This highly advanced 'test' will determine once and for all how nerdy you are. Upon completion, you will be given a score (out of 100) as to just how nerdy you are

I scored a 47 which makes me somewhat nerdy. I suppose that I am OK with this since I am happy and a teacher.

I bet my brother would score at least a 70.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Thoughts On A Loss

It was a bitter night for the Halstead Dragons as the Boys and Girls teams lost to the Smoky Valley. Both teams played with spirit and determination but could not overcome early leads by the Vikings. I was impressed with the vocal student section Smoky Valley had on their side and their large band. Both gave the home team lots of support. Their student section was at least twice as large as ours, even when we play at home. This leads me to this question. Why do so many students talk about there being nothing to do yet do not take advantage of going to school activities, playing sports, or participating in different clubs? Many students seem to "blame" the world for there being nothing to do; but I see many opportunities.

Monday, January 10, 2005


This is due on Friday by 3:20 PM:

Use a book of quotations from the library, your textbook or the internet to find one quote by one of the philosophers that we have studied in class this week.

1. Post the quotation as a comment (be sure to include who said the quote)
2. Tell what the quote means or explain why you agree or disagree with the quote.


Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
Famous Quotations
Brainy Quote

It is all right for you to write this assignment out and hand it in to me on Friday.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Education Department Report On School Technology.

Schools lag behind much of society in using technology, but students are seeing benefits and clamoring for more access to computers, the government says. Almost all U.S. schools are connected to the Internet, with about one computer for every five students, according to an Education Department report on school technology:
Overall, more schools are using technology to offer tutoring, track student performance and increase communication between parents and teachers. At least 15 states provide some form of "virtual schooling," in which young students gain access to individual instruction online. (OLD BACKWARDS KANSAS IS ONE OF THEM!)

Yet educators still lack of training and understanding about how computers can be used to help students, said Education Secretary Rod Paige.

"Education is the only business still debating the usefulness of technology," Paige said in the National Education Technology Plan, scheduled for release Friday. "Schools remain unchanged for the most part despite numerous reforms and increased investments in computers."

FOR DISCUSSION: How would you rate Halstead's use of technology and the teacher's knowledge of technology? What needs to be improved?

More On Outsourcing

I had a conversation with another teacher in our school about outsourcing. He is still trying to convince me of how evil corporations are for moving jobs to other countries. I countered him with this information:

According to the 2004 U.S. Job Recovery & Retention Survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management and CareerJournal.com, approximately 35% of all employees are actively job searching and another 40% are passively searching. The top reasons for initiating a job search are:

* Better compensation elsewhere - 43%
* Better career opportunities - 32%
* Dissatisfaction with opportunities at current job - 22%

My argument is that, why is it all right for employees to be searching for the best working situation but wrong for companies to look for the cheapest quality labor?

FOR DISCUSSION: Should companies and employers be more loyal to one another?

Dragons Victorious!!

The Halstead Dragons beat Ellinwood and Wichita Trinity on successive nights. They beat both teams by 17 points and off to their best start since the 2000 season. Also, congratulations go out to the Girls Basketball Team for their win over Wichita Trinity by 22 points. I hope both teams continue to play well.

I suppose the good news is that I will not have to rake as many leaves next fall Posted by Hello

Here are about half of the branches from my trees Posted by Hello

I just thought that this was a cool picture of my hammock Posted by Hello

This is the fence I will be repairing soon. Posted by Hello

This is the branch that knocked out my cable and cut me off from the world. Posted by Hello

Here are some pictures of the ice storm that hit Halstead last week.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Sorry for No Posts

The large ice storm that smacked Knasas has wiped out my cable internet. I am also busy chainsawing tree limbs off of my house. Anyway I will post pictures soon. Stay warm!

Monday, January 03, 2005


The Kansas Supreme Courtt ruled that the current system of financing schools is flawed and needs to be overhauled. It said while there was no intentional discrimination, large schools with large immigrant, minority and special ed populations are not funded adequately based on current accreditation system.

What does this mean?

It is clear increased funding will be required; however, increased funding may not in and of itself make the financing formula constitutionally suitable. The equity with which the funds are distributed and the actual costs of education, including appropriate levels of administrative costs, are critical factors for the legislature to consider in achieving a suitable formula for financing education. By contrast, the present financing formula increases disparities in funding, not based on a cost analysis, but rather on political and other factors not relevant to education.

The court made a wise decision in keeping jurisdiction and allowing the 2005 legislature time to act in this matter before handing the case back to District Court Judge Bullock. This will give the legislature time to make suitable changes.

What is the legislature does nothing?

Its failure to act in the face of this opinion would require this court to direct action to be taken to carry out that responsibility.

FOR DISCUSSION: How do you think the legislature will respond to increase funding?

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year

This is the mandatory Happy New Year message that must appear on everyone's web log. I do hope that everyone has a wonderful and productive 2005. As for me, I am not sure that it can be any bettr than 2004 but we will see.

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