Saturday, November 6, 2010

Politics & Mice

I might as well warn you in advance: this post is about government/politics/history. If you're not into that, maybe just skip to the bottom for a pretty humorous tale about some mice.

I generally dislike politics. I think most politicians who have been in government for more than a few years are dishonest and power-hungry. I think being in Lansing or Washington will make anyone lose (or change) their vision and their connectivity with their constituents....
Anyway. I'm happy for the *change* that's happening in our government and I'm cautiously hopeful that fresh, new faces and minds that haven't been (too) corrupted by politics can help out our state and country. Like I said, though, cautiously hopeful.

I don't usually talk about history/government on here because I don't think too many people really care about that stuff, but I'm going to add a couple more things to what I said above. In US History I've been teaching about the Great Depression and the New Deal. Have you ever heard of the book "Lies My Teacher Taught Me" or something like that? I brought that book up with my students while talking about the New Deal because I teach a side of that era that I only learned on my own, outside of any history or economics class. I feel it's really important to talk about with the students, too.
Contrary to popular opinion, President FDR (Franklin Roosevelt) did not end the Great Depression. He actually made it worse. If you made $200,000 or more during that time, your income tax was 94%. His programs caused unemployment to drop for one or two years, but then to skyrocket up to around 25%. He thought that competition caused the Great Depression, so he did his best to eliminate it. Yes, eliminate competition. During World War II he came up with some more "New Deal"-like programs that he wanted enacted once the war was over so that the Depression wouldn't continue. He drafted ideas to make government bigger and more in control of people's lives. FDR died before the end of the war and when his VP Harry Truman took over, he proposed all of FDR's ideas. FINALLY, after 12+ years of the government making the Depression continue, Congress said NO. They lowered taxes, allowed companies to make things for consumers rather than for the government, and our market returned to a free-market economy. (The framework for this free-market economy was set up in our Constitution.)
This caused the depression to end.

If you're still reading and you pay any attention to what the government has been up to over the last few years, you might think the same thing I thought. Wow, government now is remarkably similar to FDR's time. and the decisions the government made then caused the depression to last for over a decade.

Returning to what I said earlier, I'm cautiously hopeful that the new crop of lawmakers entering Washington and Lansing know the lesson of FDR's effect on the Depression and go the way of the 1946 Congress and say no to new taxes and laws that create more government control. Then we might return to a free market economy where the government isn't involved in every big (and small) business, unemployment will go down, and our economy will be doing well again.

Heather's been staying with me because Dave's been working out of town. The other night Liz was over and we were making some cookies. Liz started laughing and pointing and jumped up on a chair. I looked and saw the (almost-dead) mouse sitting in the corner of the kitchen, watching us and leaped onto the counter. I admit I might've squealed a little... Heather was in the living room and wanted to know what all the fuss was about, so she ran over and promptly jumped onto another kitchen chair.
[I don't mind spiders, ants, or almost any other bug. Chipmunks don't bother me. But there's something about mice. Yuck.]
After a couple of minutes of laughing and freaking out, Liz and Heather managed to get the thing into a bucket. [It seemed dead but moved its head and blinked its eyes once or twice.] Heather threw the whole bucket out the door. Since I didn't help in getting the thing out of the house, I was in charge of retrieving the bucket. I have to say, I handled that job quite well. It was still in there and I think it was dead this time.

Fast forward ten or twenty minutes. I was packing to go out of town and had to find a bag. We've been organizing and putting things away lately so I had to look a little for the right bag. Jokingly, Liz said she'd come with me and be on the lookout for mice. I found my bag in one of the spare rooms almost right away. As I was turning around to leave the room, Liz told me to slowly walk out the door and don't look toward the rest of the room. I thought she was kidding so I looked anyway and sure enough, another mouse! This one was dead, mid-stride, in its attempt to scurry across the room. This time I helped getting it outside (but again it was mostly Liz and Heather). I think Heather and I both had a really tough time sleeping that night. Every little noise could've been another mouse. :S
You might be wondering why we these mice were dead/almost dead. Before we moved in I saw a mouse a couple of times so we've been putting Decon out. Every week or so I have to put another one out because it's gone but this was the first time I actually saw a mouse since we've been in.