Friday, December 14, 2012

A Dark Day



Today is a dark day. It is a day when evil walked on two legs into a kindergarten classroom. It is a day when a madman mowed down a classroom of kindergartners. I can’t help but think that five year olds were clinging to their teacher, the shooter’s mother, as she died. I can’t help but think they were crying and scared wanting their mommies. What kind of animal does this?

But then again, while you will hear a loud drumbeat from the White House and the anti-gun lobby, what kind of delusional person shoots a movie full of viewers enjoying a new film or a playground of school kids? Let’s look at this further-what kind of person drowns her six young children or cuts the arms off her baby to make her an angel? These people share the same problem-they are what used to be called insane. Now that has been sanitized into an “illness” for which they cannot be held responsible. The woman who drowned her six young kids pled not guilty by reason of insanity when in reality it should be GUILTY by reason of insanity. Likewise the woman who killed her baby was committed for a short time and was in the past few months discovered to be working in a Walmart. The attitude of the medical community and the liberals is that you make these people show up to get meds and then send them on their way. No monitoring, no oversight, no protection for those they come in contact with. And if they stop taking their meds, what then?

But how does it get to this point. Let me give you an illustration. A colleague of mine has been victimized to the point of having nightmares by a six foot four male student who throws furniture and has as recently as last summer was in a mental health hospital. For six months she endured verbal threats and had to intervene as this student threatened others. One day he told her “I could hit you in the head with this hammer and you can’t stop me.” Indeed, until violence occurs there’s nothing a general ed classroom teacher can do. And there’s nothing we can do to protect other students either. Luckily this student was finally removed to a unit designed for emotionally disturbed students. He lasted two weeks in a facility designed for his needs and was kicked out. Now he’s in another school district where I have no doubt he’s cycling through the same delusional and menacing behavior. Everyone’s scared of the ADA and nobody wants to make the call that this individual is dangerous. I have little doubt that down the road, he’s another tragedy waiting to happen.
The problem is not with guns. Richard Speck murdered several nurses with a knife. Jim Jones murdered men, women and children with poison. The Weather Underground murdered people with bombs. Guns have been with us a long time. But what has not been with us is the prevailing societal drumbeat that we must not judge those who act out in dangerous and delusional ways. The ADA and various liberal feelgood policies have created a situation of political correctness where seeking to commit an insane individual to a facility where they cannot harm others is “unkind” or “meanspirited.” Indeed, many of the recent events of mass violence reveal a known history of outrageously insane behavior that was deliberately overlooked for the sake of avoiding being “judgmental.”

What will happen now is yet another outcry for gun control when what needs to happen is that we must, for the sake of our nation, take back the right to keep the criminally insane from victimizing the innocent. A friend of mine who just left a position as an aide at a facility designed for the retarded told me that the majority of the people there are mentally ill, not retarded. They are allowed to act out in ridiculous and provocative ways. She left because a man tried to gouge out her eye. Nothing was done. Nothing will ever be done as long as the current ADA laws are in effect. We have actually turned over the sylum to the inmates. The uptick in homelessness, the rise in domestic crime and the increase in drug abuse are all biproducts of a society that refuses to accept that some people are simply too sick and insane to be left on their own. I am not talking about the depressed, or the bipolar or even the nasty-but of those who are so obviously insane that they pose a threat to others. I shudder and can barely hold back tears when I think of that roomful of kindergartners murdered for the sake of sparing someone’s feelings. We must take back the safety of our society. We have to realize that by allowing such people to act out with impunity, we are not helping them, we are allowing them to overtake us.

Hard Christmas

I am trying very hard to be upbeat.
I have done projects that echo Christmas. I have allowed my students to decorate my classroom door. I have attended the faculty Christmas party and am participating in Secret Santa. I just wish it didn't feel so hollow. I haven't really bought one gift. And despite the late date, I don't feel like spending the money. Our financial situation is so desperate that we may end up eventually losing the house. And this doesn't really mean much anymore as the house has serious problems that we cannot afford to repair. The roof, windows and doors need replacing. One shower walls has completely caved in and the other is falling apart. I don't have the skill or strength to do these things myself although I would if I could. I just feel like everything is falling to pieces and there's nothing I can do to stop it.

The one bright light is that my son, three years after college graduation, now has a job beyond fast food. My husband, however, is still essentially unemployed with no compensation and no end in sight. This is the Obama legacy. He is killing us by degrees.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Proof that California Doesn't have the Corner on Nutjob Professors

Sir,
In response to this story: http://weaselzippers.us/2012/11/23/univ-texas-professor-thanksgiving-a-white-supremacist-holiday-founding-founders-nazis/

As a resident of Texas who pays far too much in taxes and probably pays part of your salary, I request a response. Where did your family come from? The name Jensen would appear to be Scandinavian in source. That means your ancestors were rampaging and pillaging their way through Europe centuries before a very small group of religions refugees braved the North Atlantic to come to North America. Do you feel your own shame in pillaging Europe, in imposing a rule of terror on Ireland, Scotland, France and Normandy? Or is that okay because it's Europe? How far did the Native American technology advance? They had not even really developed the wheel or advance metal working techniques in the regions inhabited. But you freely brandish the label "Nazi" on people who were trying to achieve religious freedom. Oh, now I understand, it's about religion. You, a liberal who probably claims to be tolerant, cannot allow someone to worship in any way that you cannot control. And in the end, that's what liberalism is all about isn't it-ultimate centralized control. Oh....who wanted that? Who wanted to control what babies were born, how they looked, the control of media and the outcomes of elections-that would be totalitarian societies like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Unions. What a sad specimen of academia you are. You should be ashamed.

Update: So it turns out that in their desire to be first, the media has fed us a great deal of disinformation and misinformation. The mother was the first victim, at home. The guns used were hers, and it appears they were kept in a basement gun safe. I can only surmise Lanza knew the combination. It also appears that the triggering moment was when Lanza discovered his mother, who had taken him out of public schools after a disagreement with school officials (this suggests an ARD where the school sought to have more restrictions due to escalating manifestation of violence or other disturbing behavior), removed him from private schools and they was homeschooling him was seeking to have him involuntarily committed. I'm sure she never thought her own son would have such pent up rage. That he went after the now first graders that had been her charges a year earlier is a clear manifestation of his resentment for the time spent with them. The wrong brother was sited as the shooter and a fictional girlfriend was sited as missing along with the father. That was incorrect. It's still a sickening tragedy that would not have happened if we didn't have committment laws that were so challenging to families.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Our Brave New Generation

Despite the economic gloom in the world at large, I do honestly try to stay upbeat and optimistic with my students. High school kids have usually been very earnest and often seek approval for their views. This time around many of them gave lip service to the ideals expressed, but not demonstrated, by the Obama administration. They seem to think that they are safer, freer and richer under the current administration. I'm not about to get into a political debate with someone who hasn't earned a paycheck so I let it go.

But here's the irony. These bright young people who claim to adhere to the kinder, gentler policies seen on DNC placards are in real life quite often shallow and narcissistic in their personal behavior. Witness this. Every year our student council does a food drive for Metrocrest Services-a local food bank that provides baskets of food for needy families in the immediate area. I have volunteered there and they do terrific work. So when the program was announced, I talked to my classes. I posted information. I discussed the need for food and how in the current economic situation there were more people-sometimes even people they might personally know-who were counting on the food bank in order to survive. I brought my own collection of canned goods-about ten cans in all. But not one kid, NOT ONE, not even the kids who claimed to be so in touch with the community ideals of Obama, could be bothered to donate a can or a dollar for the cause. Of course, I don't think that kids should be badgered into donating a la United Way (ugh!) but this particular group has been so aggressively supportive of what they view as liberal Democrat goals. It appears that they are only willing to help others as long as it isn't much trouble. I guess it's a good thing we have all those backward churches and all those middle class conservatives that do things like donate time and money and effort for such causes.

I am quite fearful of the outcome if these young people-who get their opinions from Colbert and SNL-come into power. We should all be very afraid.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Real War on Women



My daughter was married just last month. She’s young, educated, beautiful and in love with a wonderful guy. She’s a teacher in charge of an entire staff of dance instructors and he’s a psychologist working with autistic kids. They married because they love each other and because they want kids.
Enter Obamacare. If you want a look at the Real War on Women on Women is not the bogus media hyped limitations on abortion, but the very real economic realities that allow some women-notably the poor and ignorant who rely on public largesse-to make whatever choice they want. If they want birth control, it’s free. If they want and abortion, it’s subsidized.  If they want a baby, they can have as many as they want. And this is because they are the demographic base that the Democrat party relies on for votes.
As two young healthy working adults, you would think that health insurance wasn’t a problem, especially under the auspices of Obamacare.  But not so quick. My daughter had her own insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield. No underwriter in the nation is covering pregnancy on private insurance policies. She can have birth control. She can have an abortion. But under the private insurance, my daughter and her husband cannot have a baby without finding about $14K to come up with to cover labor, delivery and hospital costs. So while the indigent woman from across the border gets free pregnancy, prenatal and healthcare covered, my daughter cannot.
So they sought out the insurance from both their places of work. With a $5000 deductible-meaning they pay up to that amount out of pocket. For two young people starting their careers and paying off college loans, rent, car payments,  that’s a hard row to hoe. They looked at policies from both places. Both places costs two to three hundred dollars per month. And they covered things that they do not need, but which are MANDATED by Obamacare such as mental healthcare and drug treatment. As my daughter joked “maybe if I become a crack addict they will pay for me to have a baby.” It wasn’t a happy joke, but one that told she was giving up.
And what is she giving up? She’s giving up the dream of having kids. She’s giving up the dream of having her own house of being able to find other better jobs.  While the Obama Team likes to think that as a young  women she is supporting them, she is not. And many of her friends are in similar states of despair. They know the score. They know that they are paying for those who are too irresponsible to pay their own bills. And these young people, they ones with jobs who pay their bills and who live circumspect lives are growing in their resentment of a leisure class composed of Obama voters shouting “more free stuff” at every turn.
I ran into my own clarification of how Obamacare has created a Real War on Women. Today my doctor tried to make an appointment for me for a mammogram.  As the only one working due to the economy, I can’t simply peel off and pay a couple of hundred bucks for an appointment. I was told that if I ran it through insurance my bill would be $311 and it would go against my $5000 deductible (the deductible that I never reach because we can’t afford that kind of outlay) OR if I didn’t run it through insurance my bill would be “only” $150. First of all, this sounds like a scam to me. Why would you pay more when insured and less when it’s out of pocket? Second, why is it that doctors keep ordering tests and exams without knowing how much they cost? Three years ago a mammogram was $75. The only reason for rising costs is the rising cost of liability insurance and the failure BY THE PRESIDENT to have tort reform.
Many young people are still celebrating the dubious triumph of Obama. I think they are in for a harsh reality  come January. Layoffs are on the horizon and last hired is first fired. Contract workers are replacing full time employees with the self-employment taxes that entails. By the way, when you lose a contract position, as a contractor you are small business person and sometimes can’t get that nice unemployment check. Add to that the rising cost of healthcare insurance, shorter hours and the same braindead college kids who voted based on the preferences of Brad Pitt, George Clooney and  Steven Colbert are in for a very basic lesson in how our economy works.
How it works is like this: Every penalty, every fee, every tax placed on a business is passed along and paid for by the consumer. So when you make energy more costly, you drive up the cost of groceries which is a tax on everyone. And when goods and services become too costly to afford, businesses close, people become unemployed and tax revenue drops. At that point, government services have to be cut meaning  that all those feel good services suddenly cease. Then the rioting begins. As it has happened in Greece. As it has happened in France. And sadly, as I fear it will happen here. I wish I had some happy note of optimism to lay out here, but the mindless drones on the Left allowed their souls to be bought for cheap. We will all suffer for years as a result. God help us all.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Look at the map.

Look at the county by county map of the 2012 election. Liberals like to pretend they have a mandate. Instead they are the metaphorical tail wagging the dog. Even states like California and Illinois have significant numbers of red counties. I just have to shake my head and wonder what happened? If anything this election has driven a deeper wedge in our nation's psyche. When you add to that the running stories of voter fraud and voter manipulation, it makes me wonder if this entire election was purchased for thirty pieces of silver.




Today my youngest son told me he doesn't believe voting does anything, that government will put into place whoever they want in spite of what American voters want. Seeing this map and hearing this type of comment over and over shows me that the mainstream media and the liberals in power have destroyed our system of government and replaced it with a dictatorship. I don't know what the answer to this may be. Capitulation is the easy way out and of course the path of least resistance. It's the same advice that callous people give to rape victims-lie back and enjoy it. But if you cannot criticize anything about the people in power without risking loss of your job, then truly there is no way to combat this short of actual combat. I think we're done. I think our nation will follow the USSR into dissolution with the northeast being a liberal enclave while the rest of us peel off over the next few decades as the burden of liberalism gone wild proves too much of an economic burden to survive.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Aftermath 2012

I'm disappointed. I go back to that scene in "A Fish Called Wanda" where the crazy brother is clinging to the plane shouting DIS A PPOINTED!! Maybe I was naive. I thought that a decent man with a good plan and a history of turning around failed enterprises could win a national election. I thought that mere expertise stood for something.

But I guess you can't compete with the Celebrity Presidency that has evolved under this president. He seems more eager to talk to Letterman or Leno than his own briefing committees. Obama has had the media run interference. They have ignored by and large the overruns of Obamacare, which will hit us all in January's paycheck. The media failed to fully reveal the extent of involvement of the Attorney General in Fast and Furious. The media absolutely covered for the president himself on Benghazi, with CBS only releasing the full transcripts of a key interview Sunday night before the election. I do not know what the media has been promised. I know newspapers are bleeding red ink. I suspect that networks are being hit by a similar change in allegiance as young people drift to internet shows or movies ignoring standard fare. Could a media bailout be in the works? And, like the GM bailout, would it be based along political lines? Who knows? All I know is that I feel that the media played a key role in Obama's reelection. And don't even get me started on the MSNBC ad buy as a gift in kind. The most disgusting aspect of this was how the media spewed venom and lies at the public as fact in regards to Mitt Romney. I had a student swear to me yesterday that her preacher told her Romney would reinstate slavery. This is an almost direct quote from Biden, which the media distributed with impunity. They have a great deal to answer for.

My fears are the same ones I have had for three years. We appear to have a president that operates without principles or a budget. We appears to have the same essential set up in Congress for stalemate. But what is worse, we have the same stale ideas in play. I think that term limits across the board would go a long way in changing the status quo. I also think "no budget, no pay" should be instated to compel Congress to write a budget and for a president to sign it. I also believe that despite all the backpatting and self-congratulatory chatter, the Democrats are digging a much deeper hole. Today 2000 workers were laid off from Boeing. The stock market lost 313 points. Tomorrow key numbers on employment are supposed to be issued, and many believe that the most recent October numbers will be adjusted upward due to California's "accidental" failure to report last month. All I know is that my family is treading water and there's the real possibility that January's check will be less than December's. With that type of thing occurring across the nation in order to pay higher taxes (our 'fair' share) and provide money for all those freebies that Democrats like to shower on favorable demographic groups, next year is looking more bleak than this one. And that's no way to start a new year. Hey, maybe those Mayans knew what they were talking about.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sick

I hate being sick. I thought after breaking my nose in a fall last year and having subsequent rhinoplasty that my days of struggling through Fall wheezing and coughing were over. No such luck. I called in sick around five this morning, hoping that a substitute would pick up the job. I have a student teacher in tow, but she's green and frankly my classes can be challenging. If I could talk at all, I would have gone in. But, sparing you gory details, my vocal chords are immobile, my throat is sore and I have bouts of coughing that leave me literally aching. This is how my round with whooping cough began last year. I can't afford this.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

From the House of Are You Kidding Me, California?

The story
My reactions:
1. Americans with Disabilities Act is the driving coercive factor that allows parents of special needs students to play bullies. This is a ridiculous case and the parents and adminstrators are clueless.
2. ADA is leading districts to implement a type of mainstreaming that is not conducive to a better education. Oh sure, everyone can shake hands because special needs kids are in the regular ed classes, but it's the same type of thinking that led to busing on the belief that just sitting next to a white kid would insure the academic success of minority students. While kids of all groups who can learn in a class should be there, with special needs students there are many medical, psychological and emotional factors involved. Case in point, what do you do when as a five foot six female teacher, a non-communcative six foot four male with autistic spectrum disorder starts raging around the room? What is more, who is at fault if and when another student gets hurt? What are you supposed to do when an emotionally unstable student begins cutting themselves because you can't drop everything and sit by them the entire period? These are the types of issues our teachers and our children are facing. Does that sounds like an environment where all students are valued or just one where special students are valued?
3. The real world, the future we are preparing students for, does not bend to the needs of the individual no matter how much liberals try to make it so. There will always be those things one person cannot eat, the stairs someone cannot climb, the books someone cannot read. Do we eliminate all of those things from life simply because of a few? Furthermore, does it make sense to have a student who cannot read or write or speak simply sitting in a Home Ec class or a Theater class just to fulfill goals that have little to do with the real world? And while we are at it, what of the unrealistic expectations that some special ed departments apply to their students? I had one poor child who was convinced by her special ed teachers that she was going to enter the very competitive world of animation. They put this on her exit papers from school! The child could not write, could not read and could not draw. Is this not cruel? Or is this an acceptable level of misdirection as advocated by our current regime?
4. Teachers are starting to show strain. I'm not an advocate of unions although I belong to an association. But these types of actions that leave teachers legally and professionally exposed at every turn, including the fear of physical attack, gives rise to unions. I am sure some will castigate me as "mean" for having these views, but I've seen too many students turned away from programs viewed as dumping grounds for special needs students. And I have seen too many average kids fall through the cracks while teachers scurry to fulfill every whim of multipaged IEP's. Something has to change. And soon.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A List of Accomplishments: Compare and Contrast

A Tale of Two Presidents   
Mitt Romney: The Next President - As president of Bain Capital, invested billions in private equity in these companies:
Staples Office Supply
Burger King
Burlington Coat Factory
AMC Entertainment
Domino’s Pizza
Dunkin’ Donuts
Sports Authority
Toys “R” Us
Warner Music Group

All of the above are profitable businesses that have created hundreds of thousands of jobs.
President Barack Obama - As president of the United States, invested billions of your tax dollars in these companies:
Solyndra—Bankrupt
Ener 1—Bankrupt
Beacon Power—Bankrupt
Abound Solar—Bankrupt
Amonix Solar—Bankrupt
Spectra Watt—Bankrupt
Eastern Energy—Bankrupt
Ener Del—Bankrupt
Range Fuels—Bankrupt

All of the above were major contributors to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. 
Thanks to:
http://www.nbra.info

Monday, October 08, 2012

Why Teachers Quit.

My district, under some truly delusional actions by the state of Texas, has implemented a program known as total inclusion. No pull outs, no special classes, no content mastery or small group teaching for the kids who struggle to function. Instead general ed teachers are supposed to magically develop the skills to intuitively know how to address multiple IEP mandates for multiple children within a regular classroom setting. To some, this may sound like insanity, but to many this is the endgame for special education wherein teachers are simply observers and record keepers. The sad thing is, I'm a good teacher. I find kids who have talent and I get them to where they need to be. I write recommendation letter, I find college sponsors, I push them, I reward them-which last time I heard is what a teacher is supposed to do. But the New Regime, a rather aggressive and arrogant movement led by Special Ed teachers who see general ed teachers as The Enemy, seem intent on making our lives more complex than it should be.

First, there is the placement itself. A student with mild challenges can be easily incorporated into a regular class with support. That means that the general ed teacher is informed-FULLY-and that care is taken to place the student into a class where his or her numbers won't tip the apple cart. But what is happening is that because of scheduling special core classes for these groups, a full third of some classes hold severely disabled students in a regular classroom. That in itself creates a situation where the teacher must pay due to the special ed student first leaving the regular students to their own devices. Then you have 504's, BIP's and other special designations. We have to file no less than five and sometimes as many as nine pieces of paper every single week PER STUDENT, which with ten students results in 90 pieces of paper be handled. Today the head of Special Ed celebrated all the necessary data we are generating. What she ignores is that in order to do this, many teachers are dumbing down programs, ignoring advanced students and diluting rigor in programs.

Second, there is the issue of classroom management. I am one of those teachers who rarely if ever sends students to the principal. Generally speaking, special ed students aren't referred for behavioral problems. But when you have a situation where you have autistic spectrum kids who can be set off by too bright a light, or a word or an emotionally disturbed student who likes to openly rant over ways to attack people it makes it hard to encourage students to stay in an elective program. when they view it as a holding area for kids who cannot do anything else.I spent half an hour on Friday trying to convince an amazingly talented sophomore to stay in art after she was verbally assaulted by an emotionally disturbed student. My fear is that the talented students will leave and my classes truly will little more than a place to put every problem, every kid who fights, every kid with issues.

I have five years until I can retire. Five years. That's 900 days of teaching. What's sad is I am good at what I do. I had more kids get 5's on their AP portfolios that the rest of the district combined. I have more kids taking AP than any other school. I have more kids in elite art schools or in art programs in major universities than any other teacher in the district. That is what I have always thought I was supposed to do-make kids successful. And while I am good at finding those kids who never realized they had talent, the stark reality is that someone who can't move their arms, cannot read, cannot write, cannot talk, is probably not destined for anything beyond a very limited life. I want to make their lives pleasant, but not at the cost of everyone else. After today, I feel broken. I feel that all my work is simply not worth it. I believe that everything I have done to build up the program has been nothing more than a joke.

I wish I felt differently. I wish I could feel more hopeful. But this is what the feelgood policies of the current crop of educational elites and the politicians of the Left has done to the once noble idea of a free public education. I hope my children will be able to afford decent private schools for their kids. It's over.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Read This While You Can

I hate to sound pessimistic, but when you have news agencies that are getting their stories from Soros subground Media Matters and a president who simultaneously supports radical Islam while denigrating anyone who dares to express traditional Christian views, we have a problem. And if Obama wins, I expect our first amendment rights will further erode to the point of attrition. So read this column, from one of the few last columnists willing to tell the truth about the Obama administration. Those FEMA camps are looking all too familiar now.
Diane West

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why Government Run Education is Failing

Years from now, when historians look back on how our nation cratered economically, socially and literally, they will be able to point to a government run system of "education" that was far more concerned with promoting social idealism over educating students. Too many fads have flown through our schools. New Math, Open Classroom, Whole Language and now the influence of technology. All these methods are not inherently evil or wrong in and of themselves. But they are gimmicks. They are sleight of hand tricks promoted to school administrators via lush seminars. These programs cost millions to school districts and they more often than not fail to deliver their claimed goals.

Other areas that will show up down the road is how our average students-not the brightest ones, not special needs students-but the generic kid in the desk, we often ignored and allowed to twist in the wind while teachers were forced by government mandate to serve special populations first even to the detriment of the rest of the class. What began as a feelgood law to allow mainstreaming of physically impaired, but educationally capable students into classrooms has evolved into a costly behemoth that provides one on one educational handling for some students while others linger in crowded classes. Does this make any sense?

Let's take an example. Student A, emotionally charged, autistic or disabled student, is placed in a regular ed classroom. The teacher must immediately jump to honor the IEP or any other special accommodations demanded by the Special Ed department or the parents. Never mind that there are other students in class, the few and the documented get the lion's share of attention. Even students with the most outrageous behavioral patterns are often placed into classrooms with little regard for the safety of others. What student wants to stay in a room where another student may randomly attack them and get away with it?


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Nation of Voyeurs



“In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes,”-Andy Warhol

Let’s consider Warhol’s statement for a minute. Between reality television and YouTube, have we not reached this level of development? Where it used to be that talent rose to the top, now it’s notoriety and “hits” that determine levels of fame. I can point out any number of local singers better than Justin Beiber, but he’s the one who got millions of hits on his YouTube online videos. I have no idea what Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton really do to merit their fame other than create sleazy homemade videos for public consumption. In another age the moniker “fools names and fools faces often appear in public places” has been replaced by the concept that anything goes where nothing is too silly, too vain, too vulgar or too horrid to be widely distributed to anyone who cares to do a simply online search.

Beyond this shallow existence, we’ve developed an entire industry made up of people who spend their “professional” lives hiding in bushed trying to ambush the famous and the powerful into some trumped up charge. This has played a role not just in entertainment, but in politics. Do I really need to know what a candidate’s stepdaughter thinks about anything? Do we really need to stoop to unsealing divorce decrees, custody agreements and other painful personal histories just to score political points? What sort of insight is that supposed to reveal? Likewise, it seems that a parallel universe has developed where people make up entire facts and because their voices are louder, they seem to think this justifies the lie. The Big Lie was an old Soviet trick used to quash underground uprising and to keep the working class in check. Now it seems to be used for distributing politically aimed disinformation to keep party line voters controlled while trying to stampede the opposition into making a mistake. Perhaps I am wrong, but I don’t remember it being so publicly vile and nasty in a long long time.

More than being voyeurs, we are also becoming victims to people who cannot or will not control their addictive urges to use the internet. I’ve heard cell phones going off at meetings, at church, at weddings and yes, even at a funeral. The same general demographic that accesses the internet to know end also likes to post things, often without thinking. Even the most circumspect individual can find themselves tagged and slandered without their knowledge. Now another industry has grown up just to clear up peoples’ online reputations for PR or employment purposes. I guess the bottom line is that people who act decently generally don’t have to worry about much, unless they run for public office in which case their entire history can be changed, attacked and destroyed with little forethought. And just the fact that decent people have to worry about something like that demonstrates how deeply we’ve all headed down that slippery slope.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Vetting Joe, Vetting Paul

Much has been made of the vetting process for political office. Obama was largely given a free pass  based on the media's perceptions that his ethnicity and his party affiliation exonerated him from blame. The press is now feeling the fallout as newspapers and the most strident Obama supporting networks are struggling financially.

But what of the VP picks, the guys "a heartbeat away" from the presidency. While the Democrats are trying to characterize Paul Ryan as a demon, in reality he is a well educated family man, whose interest in economics goes back to college. He is married to his first wife, has three nice kids and has regular, middle class backgrounds to rely on. Bill Bennett said the following about Ryan:
"...Over time this young budget guru, who once told me he relaxes by kicking back with actuarial tables, began to master the U.S. budget in a way that few ever have. He was appointed to be a member of the president's Bowles-Simpson Commission, but, not yielding to political pressure, voted against its recommendations because it failed to adequately reform Medicare. So, together with Alice Rivlin (Bill Clinton's former OMB director), Ryan co-authored the Ryan-Rivlin plan to seriously reform Medicare (although she didn't support the version of it he included in his all-encompassing budget).




Their plan fell largely on deaf ears, but just because Washington wasn't listening, Ryan didn't stop leading. He joined forces with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, to co-author a bipartisan plan to reform Medicare. Their plan leaves Medicare intact for existing recipients and those approaching eligibility and offers future enrollees a chance to enroll in the traditional Medicare government option or enroll in a premium support plan, where seniors can choose from a variety of competitive plans that work best for them..."
http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/13/opinion/bennett-paul-ryan/index.html

But what of Joe Biden? Joe, along with Obama, got largely a free pass. He likes to characterize himself as a blue collar guy, but he attended a prestigious prep school where his academic career was lackluster at best. He went to college where he graduated in the lower half of the class and his law school years, which he considered a bore, demonstrated him as a lower quality of student graduating near the bottom. To be fair, he's got a loud mouth. And he's got the same type of football player rah-rah appeal that attracts people who are either ideologues or are largely uninformed.  But while the hoopla over Ryan's accepting the VP nod from Romney seems to be a position for media scorn and scrutiny, I have to wonder if and when the media will dare to investigate the background of Biden-who seems far more dubious a pick to be a "heartbeat away."






Sunday, August 12, 2012

Romney, Ryan, Right now

I like Paul Ryan alot. I think he's one of the brightest stars in Congress and furthermore with his background in economics, he is one of the few people in Congress capable of understanding what is wrong with the economy and why Obama is not the person to fix it.

It didn't take long for the DNC to sic their mad dogs on Ryan. Ryan, who is generally characterized as a nice guy, a smart guy, a family man, is already being savage in the Democrat driven media. This may be because like Romney, there are no divorces to unearth. That's been a characteristic of Obama's campaigns for a long time. So they resort to scaring seniors by claiming that Ryan wants to cancel Medicare. Even Politifact, which is run by highly liberal Annenberg, said that was a lie. But it doesn't stop idiots at Kos and Mother Jones from perpetrating the lie. I don't know many seniors that read those rags, but I suppose their grandchildren can try to terrify them into compliance.

It's going to be a rough one folks. This campaign is already a dirty one and with people like Axelrod in the mix, I suspect it will get dirtier still. Romney and Ryan must stay ON ISSUES because that is the one place that Obama cannot run.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

I Haven't Posted For Awhile

There's a reason for that. First, I was at a professional seminar in Illustration in Kansas City, one of thirty teachers selected from across the nation. I did enjoy it and found their museums to be amazing. The Decorative Arts from the World's Fair Show was impressive and I hope many folks go to see it during it's time there and in other cities on the tour. The Tiffany jewelry alone is worth the price.

But more than that, I haven't written because I find myself depressed and dismayed over what is going on with our nation. The ads are appalling but the open attempts by those on the Left to seize the media for their Disinformation Campaign has led me from mere dislike to a true hatred for the administration and their members. How have we come to this? What can we say about and administration that features people who use the public trashing of their opponents as a matter of standard operating procedure? What can we say about an administration that would not have a budget for three plus years, that would cook data every single month to give the appearance of unemployment improvement and hasn't even answered one single question in a press conference, during an Election year, for over 49 days?

I listen to the media, I hear the planted disinformation talked about as if it is fact and frankly, it fills me with fear. I fear for our future, I fear for my children. I don't know how we are going to survive this. All I know is that we cannot afford four more years like the last three.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Nature of Evil and Insanity: Aurora

If you ever doubted that evil is tangible, that it exists, the Aurora theater shootings were a clear reminder. Every nation has had it's history of evil. Particularly heinous are those acts that take innocents unaware. When you see war torn nations, you know that those children exposed to violence are no longer unaware. They have learned to look over their shoulders. But when an event like the shootings at Aurora, or the Giffords shooting, or the shooting at Virginia Tech or the shootings at Wedgewood Baptist in Ft. Worth or Columbine occur, you realize that the very safety that most of us enjoy makes us blissfully unaware. And being unaware of your surroundings makes you an easy target.

All these events featured shootings. But that doesn't make guns inherently evil. In places where police and neighbors are far away, having some method to defend yourself is not just a frill, it is necessary. People who cannot defend themselves become targets. In a way, designating any area as a gun free zone has the opposite effect, making the population fish in a barrel. Evil has also been done with bombs, such as the domestic terrorism of groups like Weather Underground, with poison like Jim Jones in Jamestown or through intimidation and brainwashing such as the mass suicide at Heaven's Gate. Just because guns were not involved doesn't make these acts any less violent.

So what do we do about evil? Do we cower in our homes and avoid all public places? That's been the result in some locales but it's a mistake. Stories abound of Paris cancelling this movie's debut or parents saying their kids won't go to the movies anymore. When you cower, you let evil win. Do we ban all guns? By doing that we open ourselves up to greater intimidation because the same people who plan and act in evil ways will not be stopped by abstract ideas like laws and social conventions. So what can be done? We can enforce our laws on acquisition of paramilitary gear assertively. In Aurora, the shooter obtained body armor and other materials that require special permits. We must make this more difficult.

It is also possible that the shooter in Aurora was mentally unstable. Insanity itself is not evil but can push the individual into living out their delusions. Laws that were aimed to prevent unlawful institionalization of the insane have created a situation where mentally unstable people walk among us, terrorizing their families and the community. It's not a huge secret that along with economic need, mental instability is a key factor in homelessness. While more likely to become victims, the mentally ill can lash out. It's early days yet, but I think that the Aurora shooter will be found to be insane, on drugs or both. And furthermore, I think people in his life knew about this and knew there was no way they could do anything legally with existing laws in place. And that's a tragedy because insanity often opens up the doors to evil and allows it to impact our lives.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Predictions for 2012: Stuxnet, Biden and more

If you have not yet done so, I highly recommend reading the Richard Clarke interview in the April 2012 Smithsonian. I'm not a huge Clarke fan, but he is a master spy and knows the ways of Washington well. What I found the most interesting about this article was that it clearly points the finger at Washington leaks for the information regarding the Stuxnet virus that shut down Iranian certifuge refiners. He also analyzed the inclusion of lawyers, American lawyers, in the composition of this little game. So in spite of the Israeli code in the virus, it is a Washington Creation. Why this matters is that this is a weapon that in their zeal to boost Obama's image was handed over to the Iranians. They aren't stupid. They will rework the virus and turn it back on Europe, on us and on a world where they intend to impose their own perverted brand of shariah.
Richard Clarke Interview in 2012 Smithsonian Magazine

I am going to make a prediction here. Just today Senators McCain and Lieberman said they had a lead on who leaked the classified information to the press. There are several people who could be part of this with Obama, Biden,Clinton, Axelrod, Jarrett and their subordinates all having clearance to access. But regardless who actually used national security to bolster the sagging presidential image, they are going to pin the deed on Joe "Ted Baxter" Biden. Biden has become a political liability and frankly I think there's little love lost between the president and vice president. But here's the problem, Washington is NOT Chicago and Joe Biden is NOT Blagojevich. Having his own presidential aspirations (no matter how misguided) Biden won't take one for the team like Blago did. And as for the vacant VP position, I believe that Obama, using Jarrett as agent, will offer it to Hillary Clinton. The idea is it will appeal to the wounded Clintonistas who feel they were robbed last time as well as attracting the usual set of goopy minded idealogues that will posture that "now it's time for a woman in office." I guess Palin didn't qualify. But I digress.

My personal view is that Clinton will be torn. She loves power. LOVES IT. And she wields quite a bit right now as Secretary of State. You will notice that there are few photo ops of Hillary with Obama. I think that's intentional. She's putting as much distance as she can between herself and this administration. While her first inclination will be to accept, she knows how divisive this administration has become. And her strength is not in Washington. I believe that knowing the taint of the Obama administration could stifle her own attempts for nomination in 2016 that she will say no. So where does this leave Axelrod, who needs someone far more solid to anchor down his ethereal and somewhat aloof POTUS? Don't be surprised to see some governor or even a mayor plucked from obscurity not because of their abilities but because they fulfill a critical socio-economic-ethnic niche.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Free At Last-Until August 17th

Last day of school for the 11/12 school year.
It's been a very tough year. Frankly the students I had, especially in the sophomore level, were actively seeking to be as distracted and disengaged as possible. This was because of a new policy called Bring Your Own Technology or BYOT for short. It's not a bad idea, but the way it was implemented left teachers trying to monitor engagement of thirty students. And what's worse, is that next year they plan to use our evaluation system as a brickbat to punish teachers whose students aren't engaged. It's a sucker bet. I could grow antenna out of my head and turn purple and whatever is being texted by Susie in the next hall is going to get precedence. One thing I will do is stop allowing students to charge phones in my classroom. What I've observed is kid bring their smart phone to school, use up the battery sending texts and photos then run out of battery life around 1:00. Then they want to charge their phones. If this scenario plays out in every seconadary classroom, that's a good amount of money being spent to power phones which by and large are simply wireless distraction devices. Next year, phones being plugged in will be taken up. Sorry, but when my job's on the line, I get serious.

But right now, having cleared my grades and cleaned my room...I'm tired.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why Does This Not Surprise Me?

Because my district is on accellerated block, we go five additional days than those mandated by the state of Texas to allow for state testing. So we are already starting earlier and finishing later than every single district in our county, in our region and in our state. For some reason, our new superintendent, the same guy who implemented Bring Your Own Technology, decided we should have MORE in-service days. I don't know about you, but after twelve or so years, sharing ones best lesson plan becomes an exercise in monotony. It's not that I don't want to do it, or can't do it, but it is rather that I have done this so many times before that it's become routine. So today, in the last full week of school, our coordinator, who I have seen for about 10 minutes this entire year, informed us not only will we have two additional REQUIRED in service days, but that we cannot comp them with other workshops. This is problematic because I was awarded a grant to study illustration at Kansas City Art Institute (not the for profit, the real art school) this summer. But I had to pay my own flight. I accepted with the understanding that it would be accepted for comp time. But now, nooooooooo, it won't.

And on top of that we once again, for the fourth year in a row, will not get any sort of raise, all stipends are ended. So now we go ten days more for the same pay. If school districts don't want unions-and believe me, I don't want them really-they need to stop pulling stunts like this.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gay Marriage vs Real News

Excuse me if I am underwhelmed. Obama's announcement of his "evolving" support for gay marriage strikes me as just a tad bit self-serving. In the past three and a half years, I have noted that these guys love the Friday night news dump. Quite often, they provide themselves with political cover by launching some noisy non-issue into the media frenzy. I think this is EXACTLY what Obama has done with gay marriage. It wasn't all that long ago that he proclaimed to a largely Christian audience his disdain for gay marriage. Now it seems he's had some sort of epiphany. Either way, it comes conveniently after Joe "Ted Baxter" Biden was on Sunday talkers blathering about gay marriage and I have to think that there's some nasty Friday night news story waiting to be dumped onto an unwary public. What will it be? Holder gets indicted for contempt of Congress for Fast and Furious? Homeland Security takes over public law enforcement in Arizona over the objections of citizens? Another attempt to force a Dream Act? Of course we won't know unless we read it in a blog because the guys and gals in the media only work during the week.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

So Very Confused

I do my own taxes. I see no reason to pay someone to ask me the same exact questions that I can read for myself. So I've used Turbotax in the past. This year, originally, Turbotax imported the wrong amount for my total income. That's pretty disturbing because since Texas teachers don't pay into Social Security, that's a big difference in the total amount. In addition, it didn't pick up the taxes I had paid in. As a result, Turbotax had use owing money-very disappointing considering that my husband hasn't had a job for over 18 months and our income has been slashed by over 55%.

Just for the sake of argument, I tried H&R Block online. This is not an ad for them. But they did end up getting us nearly twice what Turbotax said we owed. I have gone over the data THREE TIMES on both programs and the input information is exactly the same. So why does one make us pay and the other does not? Now keep in mind, on both our audit risk is low because frankly, we don't make that much. But, having used Turbotax for the last five years, I am going to be mad as hell if we overpaid our taxes for years.

Yeah, yeah, I know, accountants want us to go to them. But I took my Mom to a clinic where there were a roomful of retired CPA's and depending on who you talked to this deduction or that was disallowed. This leads me to my final observation-our tax code is far too unwieldy. Millions of dollars are spent on trying to avoid paying taxes when by simplifying taxes and lowering them, MORE people will willingly pay. This also gets into the area of needless accumulation of paper. Why must we collect and retain copies of paper for years and years when the IRS has them on file? Why must we send them in? It's ridiculous. It's busy work.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Glimmers of Hope

So if I work it out right, I may not work a full week for the rest of the year. We get Good Friday and the Monday after Easter off. Then I head with three kids to State Art competitoin on the 13th. The following week I head to Texas A&M Commerce for a studio symposium for teachers. The following week I go to work on the general schedule for next year. The following week, in May, I have AP testing. The following week I am taking my advanced classed to the Kimball in Ft. Worth. That leaves two weeks and I have to have my blood work done sometime during that period.

Busy time.
PLUS...and this is great news....I won a grant for a Teachers Summer Workshop at Kansas City Art Institute. It's a seven day summer intensive in Illustration . And except for transportation-IT'S FREE!! I am so excited!!!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Nose Knows

Being the epitome of grace, I fell on my face two weeks ago. Yesterday I had reconstructive surgery. Because Workman's Comp delayed on approving things, they had to go in an rebreak it. Needless to say I look like the victim of a mugging. I admit, I needed to have the surgery because I could not break through my nose at all after the fall. But having gone through this procedure, I do not understand anyone putting themselves under the knife for anything other than purely reconstructive purposes. I don't know how the Hollywood types do it repeatedly subjecting themselves to surgery. All I can say is they must do it for the meds....but frankly they gave me a script for painkiller and I haven't taken one since last night. I think I feel better without the brainfog.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Klutz

I am a klutz. I admit it. I tend to trip or run into things mainly because I am so easily distracted by more interesting ideas, people and things. Yesterday was a big one. I was walking from my car into school. It's a trip of no more than 100 feet and one I have made daily for more than ten years. I had my laptop in its case, my bag with my sneakers and lunch and my purse. I don't know how or why, but one minute I was up, the next I was face down on the ground. I have (perhaps) a broken nose, two black eyes and a headache to beat the band. I didn't teach yesterday, I did today. I let my injuries be a springboard for my kids' warmups. I asked them what they thought had happened, if it was ninjas, my secret full contact karate sparring group or....? The answers were amusing and I would laugh more if it didn't hurt so much. And now to add insult to injury, I have misplaced my cell phone. I was forced to do a mass email to the entire staff hoping that somehow it would turn up. The phone could be replaced, but photos of my grandson could not. The upside may be that since I was on school property on my way into the building, workman's comp may cover at least some of the bills. That's good since rhinoplasty is expensive to say the least.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tolerance vs. Acceptance

In my younger days, I worked in two different businesses that were owned or managed by gay men. In one instance I did not even know the manager's personal preferences until after I left the job. His personal life had no bearing on the way he chose to do his job. In the other case, the gay lifestyle was what it was all about and every holiday, gathering, meeting or discussion was just another opportunity to push the gay lifestyle on a group that while tolerant, saw no reason to inject sexuality into the running of a design firm business. That was thirty years ago when gay rights were in their early days. Some of the hedonism I saw in those days before AIDS was shocking, deliberately so. Many of the behaviors viewed in the office were provocative, so much so that had they been attempted by someone not gay, the person would have been written up at the very least or possibly fired outright.

You cannot legislate acceptance. You can legislate tolerance. I tolerate those who don't share my beliefs. As long as they don't try to impose them on me, what do I care? My mother is all hot and bothered about a second, or perhaps it's third, cousin who converted to Mormonism and is going back to rebaptize dead relatives. That's her thing. My mother is outraged, but my belief is that while it is odd and probably not particularly respectful, if you don't believe in another faith, whatever they do doesn't affect you in any way. So if voodoo practicioners try to put the Evil Eye on me, that's fine. But I don't believe in them and therefore I don't believe what they try to do will impact my life in any one way.

Tolerance is another word for civility. Manners are passe to the modern crowd, but in earlier days manners were defined as the grease that made society function smoothly. While it doesn't matter much which fork you use or whether your servants have the proper color of livery (I used to love reading my grandmothers copy of Emily Post's first edition book on ettiquette) it does matter that you don't bring unwarranted attention to yourself by making a scene. Divas are common in our culture. There are those who seem to crave the limelight and grab it by making everyone unnecessarily comfortable. Let me say right here that I am old school-I am not happy seeing heterosexual couples grope each other in public, but for some reason there are those of various genders who think it is their God give right to make the rest of us collectively gag. It's not the act itself, but the lack of respect for everyone else. It's selfishness on a public scale.

Having said all of this, as a long time conservative, I have no problem with coworkers who are gay, with ministers who are lesbian or with same sex couples married or not. My daughter is getting married in a few months. The guy she is marrying is great. But I know some of our invited guests will be put off by the minister, an out of the closet lesbian who is one of my daughter's best friends, and by several of her male college friends who happen to be gay. She was a dance major, she didn't know many straight guys. That's the way it goes. Although I don't accept their lifestyle, for her sake I will tolerate them and make them as welcome as any other guest. But see, that's the difference, I am choosing to tolerate their behavior as most well mannered decent people would do. What I hope is that they don't demand I accept their lifestyles because while they are adults and free to choose, I can't do that.

Isn't it time we get beyond the idea that everyone MUST blindly accept everyone else no matter what? Do I have to accept the racist guy down the street? Do I have to accept the snarkly clerk at the grocery store? Do I have to accept every criminal just because someone says so? Or can I choose to tolerate them without having to surrender my will?