More Gems From My History Students.

I collect gems of bad writing from my history students. Here are some goodies from my students’ homework of long ago.

“Napoleon Bonaparte was as short as he was tall. That’s called a Napoleon complex.”

“The first time John F. Kennedy was assassinated was in Dallas, Texas. The second time was in Washington, D.C.”

“Joan of Arc defeated the English in the Hundred Years War. Even after the English burned her at the stake, Joan would not give up and continued to fight the English until they left France.”

“King Louis XIV raised taxes in France sky high, filling his coiffures with gold.”

“Coluche the clown ran for president of France. Coluche was world famous, but only in France.”

“We took a tour of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. The tour guide was a French priest who spoke English surprisingly well considering how short he was.”

Alexander the Great was needed back in Greece, but he was in Persia, and he couldn’t be in 2 places at the same time. Only Roman generals could do that.”

“During the Gold Rush, wagon trains heading for California went right through Salt Lake City, where the miners stopped to buy salt water taffy from the Mormons.”

“Christopher Columbus is buried in Spain and the Dominican Republic.”

Bank Fees You Can Avoid.

Banks love to open new accounts for college students. That’s why banks set up tables and booths on campus at the start of the school year with giveaways if you open an account on the spot. Most college students have very little or no experience dealing with banks before going to college, so banks can nail them for fees that older, more experienced customers have learned to avoid. Banks earn billions of dollars a year from these fees. Here are some common bank fees that you can avoid.

Overdraft fees. These can be expensive. They typically run $25 to $35 per check. You can avoid overdraft fees by monitoring your balance with a free smartphone bank app or signing up for email alerts that tell you when you balance is getting low. You should opt out of bank overdraft protection plans that set you up to overdraw on your checking account. If you have more than one account at your bank, like a checking account and a savings account, you can often link them together so that if there isn’t enough money in your checking account to pay a check, money is automatically transferred into your checking account from your savings account, avoiding an overdraft fee.

ATM Withdrawal Fees. These are less expensive, typically $2 or $3 per transaction, but they can add up. You can avoid these fees by using your own bank’s ATM machines or by using your supermarket’s cash-back feature when you pay with a debit card, which at most banks is also your ATM card.

Checking account monthly fees. These typically run $8 to $15 a month. Recurring monthly fees like these can really add up over time. If you are paying your bank a $10 a month account fee, that will cost you almost $500 over 4 years. Some banks offer free checking accounts if you sign up for other bank services, like direct deposit. You can also switch your checking account to a credit union or a branchless online virtual bank where free checking is common.

Check printing fees. Some banks charge $75 for printing checks. A lot of people assume that you have to get your checks printed by the bank where you have your account, but that isn’t true. You can get your checks printed anywhere. Costco has the best deal on check printing. You can get 500 printed-to-order high quality checks from Costco for just $12 to $15 with free shipping. Licensed character checks, like Finding Nemo or Mickey Mouse checks cost $5 more. If you do not have a Costco membership card, you probably know somebody who does. You can order checks from Costco online. You don’t have to go to a Costco store.

Do Landlords in Berkeley Discriminate Against Irish Students?

The short answer is No. There have been a lot of claims in social media and the press that landlords in Berkeley will no longer rent apartments to Irish students because of the balcony collapse at Library Gardens downtown that resulted in the deaths of 6 Irish college students. These stories are untrue. I have been a landlord in Berkeley for over 40 years, and nearly all my tenants are U.C. Berkeley students. I know a lot of other Berkeley landlords, and none of them blame the victims for this tragedy. It is true that there were far more people on that balcony when it collapsed than was prudent; however, engineering reports showed that the cause of the collapse was poor construction resulting in wood rot and that had the balcony been properly built, it could have supported the weight of those students. The sympathies of all the landlords I know are with the families of these students. Yes, it is hard for Irish students to rent apartments in Berkeley for the summer, but not because they are Irish. There is a severe rental housing shortage in Berkeley, and because of our local rent laws, most leases in Berkeley prohibit sub-leasing. The Irish counsel general in San Francisco has investigated claims of discrimination against Irish students in Berkeley and has concluded that these stories are baseless and has said so publicly.

New Voter I.D. Laws Target College Students.

It is getting harder for college students to vote. In Tennessee, a recently enacted law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls explicitly states that ID cards issued by colleges and universities cannot be used to identify a voter. That means that if the only photo ID you have is a student ID card issued by the University of Tennessee, for example, you cannot vote in Tennessee. In Wisconsin, a provision in the newly enacted voter ID law prohibits college students from using university-issued housing lists as evidence that they live in the state. In Pennsylvania, the new voter identification law disallows most college-issued ID cards and out-of-state driver’s licenses from being used to identify a voter. Many universities in Pennsylvania are redesigning their student ID cards in an effort to comply with the new law; however, it is not clear whether any college-issued ID card, no matter how it is designed, would be accepted as valid identification under the Pennsylvania law. Several other states are also considering voter ID laws with provisions that would make it more difficult for college students to vote. In California, you do not have to produce photo identification at the polls in order to vote.