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Good morning, class. My name is Mildred Mahli, and we'll be studying current events today in summer school. Tommy, let's see what you brang to class.

"I brought an article from Saturday's paper," Tommy says. "It's about a national survey and a local survey by the reporter from The Morning Call. Some people think Abraham Lincoln signed the Declaration of Independence in 1848."

When DID he sign it?

"It was in 1776, and it wasn't Lincoln. It was ...."

Never mind. Was there anything INTERESTING in them surveys?

"Various people at the Lehigh Valley Mall thought there were anywhere from six to 50 stripes in the flag," Tommy says. "Nationwide, 12 percent think either Lincoln or Benjamin Franklin was the first president."

So? Who was it?

"George Washington."

Ah, I don't think so, Tommy. Washington owned slaves, so it ain't politically correct to refer to him as father of our nation. I'm afraid you get an F. Peggy, what did you bring?

"I have this item from Monday's paper about Thomas Jefferson getting upset over something that was edited out of his draft of the Declaration of Independence," Peggy says. "But it doesn't say what was taken out."

Thomas who?

"I can help with that," Tommy says. "Jefferson wanted to attack the king for introducing slavery to the colonies, making it impossible to compete in some areas without slaves."

Stop right there, Tommy. Jefferson also owned slaves and was a sexual libertine, so we must not say anything nice about him in a government school. Freddy, what you got?

"Monday's paper had all this stuff about a big rumble in Gettysburg," Freddy says. "It says 15,000 guys re-enacted Pickett's charge."

There was 15,000 pickets on strike? I wish our teachers union could get that many out to help us get more pay for working nearly half a year every year. Anyway, you gets an A, Freddy. Susie, what sort of Fourth of July topics did you find?

"I have two clippings from The Call, one from June 1 and another from the Fourth of July," Susie says. "The first is about Ginger Spice leaving the Spice Girls. Saturday's is about the other Spice Girls being on Letterman without her. It's so sad."

Excellent, Susie. Culture is very important. OK, put your clippings away and we'll begin today's class. Let me start by aksing you this: Who does Ginger Spice remind you of?

"Good golly, Miss Mahli, the word is `ask.' And the other word should be `whom,'" Tommy says.

All right, that's quite enough from you, mister. Now, whom can tell me what Ginger looks like?

"I GOT IT! I GOT IT!" yells Jimmy. "She looks like Monica Lewinsky, except she has yeller hair."

A gold star for Jimmy. And what should that learn us?

"That it's more important to study the sex lives of political leaders and not worry about what they are doing to the Bill of Rights and all that history junk," Jimmy responds.

Two gold stars. OK, class, tomorrow's assignment is an essay on why self-esteem and do-gooderism should be compulsory and why merit pay for teachers should be outlawed. Extra credit if you can explain why it's more better for schools to focus on developing good football teams than on rubbish like English and math.

"Can I say just one other thing about Gettysburg?" Tommy asks.

Go ahead if it makes you happy.

"I just thought some words from the Gettysburg Address have added meaning these days," Tommy says. "It was about how we should highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth."

What idiot came up with that "government of, by and for the people" jazz? If it's the last thing I ever does, I'm gonna pound it into your heads that government regulates people, and not the other way around.


The Morning Call, Allentown, PA
Tuesday, July 7, 1998  -  Page: B01
The Morning Call Newspaper Company


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4 May 1999