The US dollar hit 1.135 Canadian today. It’s been hovering around the 1.13 mark. Gee, I used to get excited when it went below 1.15.
There are other things descending besides Bush’s poll numbers. Apparently the freedom of speech is descending as well. From the web site of ABC News’s Good Morning America today:
A Colorado teacher who was suspended after making controversial comments about President Bush — which were recorded by a student during class — is filing a lawsuit against the school district in Aurora, Colo., this morning.
On the tape, the student, Sean Allen, repeatedly asks questions, and teacher Jay Bennish actually compliments him. But that may not be good enough for school officials, who will conclude their investigation within the week.
The district says the key question is whether Bennish violated policy by failing to allow ample opportunity for opposing views.
On Thursday, dozens of students walked out of class at Overland High School, picking sides in the debate between the geography teacher and Allen. The controversy started Feb. 1, the day after Bush’s State of the Union address.
“Who is probably the single most violent nation on planet Earth?” Bennish asked his class. “The United States of America.”
He went even further, comparing Bush to Adolf Hitler.
“I’m not saying that Bush and Hitler are exactly the same, obviously they’re not,” Bennish said. “But there are some eerie similarities to the tones that they use.”
Bennish told the class he was only expressing his opinions.
“I’m not in any way implying that you should agree with me,” he said. “What I’m trying to get you to do is to think, right, about these issues more in depth.”
Further searches on the Internet reveal that what Bennish claimed, was that during the last State of the Union Address, Bush said: “It is our duty as Americans to use the military to go out in the world and make the world like us.” Bennish continues (on the tape): “Sounds a lot like what Adolph Hilter used to say.” It turns out that he was paraphrasing Bush, and that those exact words weren’t said per se. At any rate, that’s what’ll get you fired these days in Colorado. Bennish had been teaching at that school since 2000.
By Way of Contrast
I’m continually surprised at how most of the big local news stories here (radio and TV) are usually about the difficulties with trying to fix one of society’s ills. Two recent cases have been:
- The inquest into the death by abuse of a poor aboriginal child, Sherry Charlie in 2002, who basically fell through the cracks in the Social Welfare system, and
- The death a few weeks ago of a frail, 91-year old woman, Fanny Albo, from her husband of 70 years just 48 hours after she was moved against her will (and his subsequent death 2 weeks later — he was 96).
Both stories have received a lot of attention as of late, but I doubt they would have even made page 2 or 3 in papers back in the US. They share the aspects of being about unknown, unglamorous, tragic deaths, perhaps preventable. No sensational tabloid material, no gun violence or pronouncements by pundits, just an outcry over something that went wrong, either through funding cuts or bureaucracy. I notice the distinct difference when I unwittingly tune into the news broadcasts of KOMO or KING in Seattle and start to hear about car-jackings, kidnappings or gang attacks. It’s remarkable how the media just across the border can be so different — and it’s becoming more different every day, it seems, sliding away just like the decent of the currency.