School has started once again and now comes the pile of forms to be signed. Every year, my child brings home something called the “student, teacher, administrator, parent compact”. This pointless exercise in political correctness has a section where the administrator, the teacher and the student basically pledge to make the school a safe, respectful learning environment. These are not bad objectives, but it is silly to have students, parents, and teachers sign a nonbinding agreement. Here is this asinine waste of paper for your viewing pleasure.
There is a section of this compact where there is a list of things that I, as a parent of a student, pledge to do. I do not disagree with what the compact contains, but I do find it particularly insulting that the school board feels it has to remind me what my duties as a parent are.
Signing this paper is supposedly voluntary, but in the past, my child was denied a locker until he brought back the form. When I pointed out to the teacher that it stated on the form that it was voluntary, she said that she did not have the authority to make an exception and would take it up with the guidance councilor. Apparently the guidance councilor didn’t have the authority to apply what was written on the form either, and it took about two weeks before the principle called me and agreed that my child could have a locker. By then, all the lockers had been assigned.
If the school district is going to require us to sign a paper like this, it should be to explain what the school promises to do for the students and parents, rather than the emphasis being the other way around. Here’s what I would like to see this compact contain:
That the administrators promise to:
• Weigh the input of parents highly when making policy decisions, and choosing curriculum
• Recognize the parent as the final authority in decisions about what is best for a student.
• Understand that the school exists to meet the needs of the families it serves, not the other way around.
• To support teachers in their efforts to educate students by giving them the resources necessary to do the job, and by not burdening them with needless programs and procedures that may seem novel and innovative, but reduce the amount of time the teacher has to actually teach.
That the teachers promise to:
• Communicate regularly with the parents.
• Make themselves available in the classroom to answer questions.
• Suggest helpful resources for struggling students.
• Make sure that all students, who put forth the effort, understand the subject matter before moving on to the next thing.
The parents promise to:
• Communicate regularly with the student’s teachers.
• Pay attention to the educational materials and curriculum provided to the student.
• Be an advocate for their student to insure that the school system meets the individual needs of the student.
• Encourage the student to take advantage of tutoring, and other help offered by the school.
The students promise to:
• Respect the persons and property of other students.
• Respect the authority of the teachers and school officials.
• Ask questions when they don’t understand.
• Be prepared with the proper supplies.
• Discuss disagreements with school rules with their parents, then together approach school officials about it rather than simply breaking the rule in protest.
This Memorial Day amid all the boat filled lakes, bikini filled beaches and back yard barbecues, many of us will take the time to stop and reflect on what this day is really about. We’ll pause and remember the courage and sacrifice of those who paid the ultimate price to preserve the rights and liberty this country enjoys. Rights it seems, that many in this country are willing to just throw away.
We like to plaster bumper stickers on our cars, and sport t-shirts proclaiming, “Support our Troops”. But are we making a real effort to support them? The VA hospital scandal, and the whittling away of our Veterans benefits are truly appalling. However, there is another way that many Americans have dishonored our Vets that maybe we have never considered.
When men and women join the military they take an oath. Not an oath to protect our government, an oath to protect and defend The Constitution of the United States of America. When we treat The Constitution as a “living” document, to be interpreted at whim, we reject the spirit of that oath. When we elect to office, people of questionable integrity, people who care more about their own power and glory than serving their constituents, we tell our Warriors that we do not care about the document they are sworn to defend. When, either through ignorance or indifference we elect government officials whose goal it is to turn our Capitalist, Republic into a Socialist Commune, we tell our military members that their sacrifices were in vain.
As citizens of this country, we all have an obligation to learn about our history, our Founders, and our Founding Documents. We have a responsibly to make wise and informed choices when we vote. And we have a sacred duty to only put into office those individuals who will truly “uphold and defend” The Constitution of the United States of America. To do less is to make the deaths of our bravest, and brightest meaningless.
“We stand for freedom, for our rights, for social independence, for democracy, for freedom of speech, for everything, for a normal life,” she told The Associated Press from her hospital bed in Kiev. Excerpt from interview with Olesya Zhukovska
The words of this young woman, an ordinary Ukrainian citizen, a paramedic, should strike a chord with every American. They should give us pause, to stop and think about how precious these rights are. Right now in the Ukraine everyday people, most of them young, and middle class, are willing to die for them. I’ve listened to and read the interviews of these courageous people. I am amazed, and shamed by them. Amazed at their bravery and tenacity, shamed that they are willing to die for what we take for granted.
Sadly, we don’t just take these rights, rights protected by the Constitution, for granted, we are actually begging for them to be taken away. We ask the federal government to take away our sovereign right to bear arms. We look the other way when the FCC wants to monitor our newsrooms. We allow the IRS, a bureaucracy created to impose taxes on us, to dictate our health care. Is there any logic to that? We are happy to trade our personal freedom for a life free from worry or want. Let the government take care of us, just so long as we do not have to assume responsibility for our own lives. We willingly elect to office men and women more interested in increasing their own power and pocketbooks than meeting the needs of their constituencies. If we go to the polls at all, we choose candidates whose names we recognize, who are the best looking, the person our mother told us to vote for, or someone promising more free stuff. We are gullible and believe pretty speeches. We don’t expect our press to thoroughly vet our candidates and we don’t demand excellence from our leaders. We settle for men and women of lesser integrity lest we have to look too deeply at ourselves.
Meanwhile, half a world away there are those who are prepared to die for what we are happily throwing away. The very rights that generations of our own young men (and women, too) have fought and died to preserve. The rights that our Founders painstakingly preserved in our Constitution, that we might be a shining example of what a nation can become when its people are free. The kind of nation that the Ukrainian protesters are trying to create for themselves.
Yes, we should be ashamed
The recent trials of Curtis Reeves and Michael Dunn are sure to add fuel to the arguments for the increased need for more gun regulations. Reeves is on trial for the murder of Chad Oulson. Reeves had repeatedly asked Oulson to quit texting during the previews for the movie, Lone Survivor. He even went so far as to report the texting to the theater manager. Oulson, tired of being harassed by Reeves, picked up Reeves popcorn and threw it at him. Reeves then lost his cool, or panicked, or both, then took out his gun and shot Oulson.
Michael Dunn, is on trial for killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn was at a gas station in Jacksonville, FL and asked a group of teens in an SUV to turn down their music. After the teens castigated Dunn with a barrage of threats and profanities, Dunn claims he saw a weapon in the SUV (no evidence of which was ever found) so he fired several rounds at the vehicle, presumably in self-defense.
It is easy to blame these murders on an angry racist subset of society, with too easy access to firearms. But that only gives us an excuse not to look deeper. The uncomfortable truth, one that most of us are guilty of, is that as a society, we have lost our sense of civility. We have forgotten that good manners are not something that we demand to be bestowed upon us, but rather something we bestow upon other people. It used to be an automatic attitude, drilled into us as children, that in order to live peaceably with others we sometimes had to endure some inconvenience and discomfort. We took our unruly children outside the restaurant or theater; we made our calls and answered our beepers outside or in the lobby. Even though we might be tired, we offered our seats to the elderly and handicapped. We didn’t push to the front of lines, or cuss out store clerks. As children we were taught to respect our elders and those in authority. We said please, thank you and excuse me, because it was how people with a good upbringing behaved. Not because they were “magic” words we could use to get our way. We recognized that driving was a privilege not a right. We didn’t tailgate, cut people off, run red lights, or poach parking spaces on purpose.
We were also taught how to control our temper. We learned early that a tantrum would not get us toys or candy, but it might get us a spanking. Punching walls throwing things or otherwise destroying property wasn’t tolerated either. We were taught to try to find polite solutions to the people or activities that irritated us and if no polite solution was found, to remove ourselves from them.
Our homes, our schools, our churches and even the TV shows we watched, all taught us that everyone had rights. No one’s rights were more important than anyone else’s and those rights were to be respected. Sadly, not anymore.
Today’s gadget driven society feeds our egocentricity. We can be out in public without actually interacting with anyone. We have superficial conversations with friends, family, and even complete strangers, while ignoring the people right in front of us. We can hide in the apparent anonymity of a Face Book post or Twitter feed, and never have to really see the results of our words. We can blame guns, we can blame racism, we can buy into the ideal that we need more laws and stronger laws to protect us from each other. What we really need to do is some soul-searching, both individually and as a society. We need to ask ourselves how many more people have to die a senseless death before we recognize that our society is morally sick. It’s the kind of sickness that happens when people ignore the needs of their souls. It’s a sickness that no law, no government program can fix. It’s something we must recognize and heal ourselves.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 880 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 15 trips to carry that many people.
Today, as I was on my way to drop off the old “Silver Toilet” for an oil change, I turned on the radio and was subjected to this little gem here.
So this is not about spending. And this isn’t about fiscal responsibility. This whole thing is about one thing: the Republican obsession with dismantling the Affordable Care Act and denying affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. (Applause.) That’s all this has become about. That seems to be the only thing that unites the Republican Party these days.
Through this whole fight, they’ve said the American people don’t want Obamacare, so we should shut down the government to repeal it or delay it. But here’s the problem: The government is now shut down, but the Affordable Care Act is still open for business. (Applause.) So they’re not even accomplishing what they say they want to accomplish. And, by the way, in the first two days since the new marketplaces — basically big group plans that we’ve set up — the first two days that they opened, websites where you can compare and purchase new affordable insurance plans and maybe get tax credits to reduce your costs, millions of Americans have made it clear they do want health insurance. (Applause.)
More than 6 million people visited the website HealthCare.gov the day it opened. Nearly 200,000 people picked up the phone and called the call center. In Kentucky alone — this is a state where — I didn’t win Kentucky. (Laughter.) So I know they weren’t doing it for me. In Kentucky, nearly 11,000 people applied for new insurance plans in the first two days — just in one state, Kentucky. And many Americans are finding out when they go on the website that they’ll save a lot of money or get health insurance for the first time.
So I would think that if, in fact, this was going to be such a disaster that the Republicans say it’s going to be, that it was going to be so unpopular, they wouldn’t have to shut down the government. They could wait, nobody would show any interest, there would be, like, two people on the website — (laughter) — and everybody would then vote for candidates who want to repeal it.
Remarks by the President on the Government Shutdown
M. Luis Construction Company, Rockville, Maryland
The arrogance was just too much to take. I shouted out loud “of course the website was flooded!” “We have no choice, it’s the law!” Surely Obama isn’t so narcissistic that he actually believes that people are flocking to the website in droves because they love him and his policies; not because he has forced them to comply by fining them with a tax penalty of they don’t. No, wait, he is. Like Sally Field accepting her Oscar, Obama gushes every time he looks in the mirror, ” you love me, you really love me.” I had to turn the radio off, I couldn’t stomach any more. Every day we are subjected to the propaganda, the soft ball interviews and outright lies of this administration, and no one, steps up to call them on it. It is beyond frustrating, and more and more it seems like we are powerless to stop it.
I keep asking myself, where are the Republicans?, Where are the people I hired by my vote to represent me? Why is there not a televised rebuttal every time Obama opens his mouth? The Republican party has taken the common sense of the American people for granted. They just assume that the masses are smart enough to see through all the lies and deception. Well, apparently they are not, after all they reelected the most miserable excuse for a leader this country has ever known, to a second term. The GOP needs to start striking back, they should have started months ago. Every speech Obama gives needs to be followed by a Republican press conference, pointing out each lie and fallacy one by one. Since we can no longer count on the mainstream media to educate the masses, the Republicans need to fill the airwaves with short PSA type commercials. Short spots of airtime, such as PJ Media‘s Afterburner, that extol the benefits of conservatism on society and highlight the perils of Obama’s Socialism.
The GOP needs to embrace its new blood, the Ted Cruzes and Rand Pauls and other’s of their ilk need to be endorsed and encouraged, not stabbed in the back by their own. The American people are hungry for representatives who will challenge the status quo, and speak for us, not speak down to us. 2014 is closing in. The Republican party does not have the luxury of time. This is indeed our most desperate hour.
I was sitting at my computer, musing about the purpose of mankind. Musing is so much more satisfying than balancing the checkbook (yes, I still do that) or paying bills, but I digress. I cannot believe that an entire race, a race capable of space travel, is nothing more than a cosmic accident that evolved over the eons into the most destructive parasite on earth. No, we are beings created and designed for a reason.
How were we made? To be honest, the Bible really doesn’t give us the details. Were we simply spoken into existence? Did God literally take a handful of clay from the ground and mold it into a human being like a great spiritual sculptor? Was He the catalyst that sparked the primordial ooze into a living blob that slowly over the spans of time, developed into the human species, and all the other forms of life as well? Or are we the product of a biological interaction of a superior being? Based on what we actually know, any one of these scenarios is possible, and none of them diminish in any way the sovereignty of God. But none of them tell us why God created us.
To answer that question is to search for the very nature of God. Something that humans in their present state of development cannot fully comprehend. Was God lonely? Are we really nothing more than pets to Him? Was God bored, so he created a race of playthings? Creatures he could manipulate at whim? Is God a narcissist, so he made someone to feed His need for constant adulation? No, we are called the “children of God” for a reason. Please understand that I am not attempting to presume upon God in any way, but here are my thoughts on the subject.
In any loving functional family, parents do not choose to have children to fulfill selfish desires. It is not a need to have a child to “show off”, or to love us back, that compels us to procreate. It is a deep instinctive desire to pass on our values, our knowledge, and our genetic code, to another generation; in the hope that they can learn from our mistakes and make the world better than the generation before. Having children fulfills our need to love and nurture, and so it is with God.
God is an omniscient being, and it is my belief that God’s intention was to mold us, groom us and teach us so that he could some day share; when we as a race were ready; his infinite knowledge and wisdom with us. Just as any loving parent does not give an infant steak and lobster for dinner, or gives the car keys to a preschooler, the process of teaching was meant to be slow and thorough. By proving ourselves worthy with the little things, God would then trust us with the bigger things.
But Eve was impatient. In some families you have the obedient child. The one who does as he’s told, who pays attention to the teachings of his parents. This child is content with being given privileges equal to the responsibilities he takes on. This child has a special relationship to his parents because they can trust him. When he becomes an adult, they can send him out into the world with confidence. Then there is the headstrong child. Ready or not, this child wants the privileges and wants them now. Too stubborn to listen to the wisdom of his parents, he wants the short-cuts and will turn to those who can provide them. He is a source of anxiety to his parents and is not close to them. As an adult, this child is frequently in financial or moral trouble and turns to his parents for a solution. Eve was this kind of child
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, was not literally a tree, and she did not literally take a bite of a piece of fruit. Through the wily machinations of Satan, Eve became privy to a secret she was not ready to know. A secret she shared with Adam, and betrayed the trust of God. The acquisition of this knowledge, gained through disobedience, was the original sin. This knowledge, obtained without the wisdom to know how to handle it, is the basis for all of our ethical struggles. It is why there is such animosity between the spiritual and the scientific. God did not intend for it to be this way.
The human mind is a powerful and wonderful thing. The technologies that we have developed, the scientific breakthroughs are not inherently evil things. God wants us to know these things. He wants us to use our minds to learn how the Universe works and how to cure disease. But because of Eve’s impertinence we push on gaining a wealth of knowledge, without the wisdom to know the unintended consequences. God wanted us to know how to use the resources of this earth without laying it to waste. He wanted us to know how to heal the human body without creating genetic monsters in the process. He wanted us to know how to harness the abundant energies of the Universe, without creating the means with which to destroy ourselves.
As Christians, we have to fight the temptation to regard science as an affront to God. Remember, it was God who gave us our minds, our capacity to learn and our hunger for knowledge. To use the Bible as our only source of knowledge is to limit our minds. “The Bible said it, I believe it, and that settles it” ; when we do not even fully understand and agree with what the Bible says; is the mantra of a closed mind and a decaying spirit. This attitude will turn us into illogical beings unfit to share the greater truths God wants to share with us when we are ready. For science to disregard the spiritual is to deny an entire aspect of our being. It is through the spirit that God teaches us the wisdom to know how to use our knowledge in ethical ways. It keeps our eyes on the right goal; a mature race, ready and worthy to share in God’s kingdom.
The human race is approaching the adolescence of its existence. We are becoming increasingly dependent on our own technology. We are arrogant and stubborn and too proud to admit to needing God’s wisdom. Maybe this is why the world seems to be such a hostile place now. Like a loving yet wise parent, God is letting us experience the consequences of our actions. It is my hope and prayer that the human race learns its lesson. Before we wander so far from God, we can’t get back.
Every generation has it’s defining moments. Those events where you can remember where you were and what you were doing at that time. I can remember three such events during my lifetime, the moon landing, the Challenger explosion,… 9/ 11. I know we all have our recollections of that day. Here are mine.
We were stationed at RAF Lakenheath, in England at the time. There were two other bases nearby and we were living in the housing units just outside of one of those bases. The circular street, called a close, had about twenty-five, neat brick houses surrounded by a fence. It was just outside of the main gate of RAF Feltwell, just outside of a village with the same name.
“G” was taking his nap and I turned on the TV to CNN. It was nearly two o’clock in the afternoon. I watched what I thought was a report about a terrible airline accident. Then, live on the TV I watched as a second airliner circled around and crashed into the South Tower. As I sat transfixed watching the events unfold, it still hadn’t sunk in that this was a deliberate attack. Then came the crash at the Pentagon. I know at some point during this time I must have prayed, prayers for the people at the Pentagon, prayers for the safety of my family and my husband’s family even though they were thousands of miles from New York and DC. And prayers for the people trapped inside a house of horrors as I watched through the TV screen as the South Tower collapsed. I knew life on base was about to get very complicated. My mind turned to some mundane thoughts. “Did I have enough milk and bread? What about diapers? Heaven forbid I run out of diapers.
It was just after three pm, school had just gotten out and “A” came rushing through the kitchen door. “Mom, I left my back pack on the play ground and we have to go back and get it.” “We’ll have to hurry before they lock the gates” I told her. “Why would they lock the gates? “ She asked, unaware of what had just happened. “I’ll tell you later.” I knew that any minute the base would be going into Threatcon Delta and if the base was locked down we might be stuck there for hours. I grabbed “G” and buckled him into his stroller, grabbed my purse and a couple of diapers, just in case. We ran a block to the street that separated the houses from the main gate of the base. As I showed the guard my ID, I asked him how long we had before he would be locking down. He gave me a strange look and said he wasn’t closing the gate. Obviously he didn’t know yet. We ran to the playground, found the backpack, then ran the couple of blocks back to the gate. We crossed the street just as the guard pulled the big iron gates, that would block vehicles from coming on to the base, closed with a loud clang.
Why did we have to run? Why did they close the gates? How do you tell an eight-year-old child that we are at war and maybe in danger? I had to be straightforward. “A” would not accept a half-truth. We sat down and watched as the events continued to unfold on the TV. Some people thought that it was wrong to let a child see the coverage. But I have never lied to my children even when the news might be hard to bear. The phone rang. It was the hubs calling to say he would be home late. “I know,” I said. Then hung up the phone. I know at sometime during the evening I called my family. Even though I knew they were fine, I need to hear it from them, and “A” needed to know that they were OK.
The next morning, the gates to our housing unit were locked. In front of the pedestrian gate where the kids would meet the lollipop lady that helped them across the road, was a humvee with a .50 caliber machine gun on top. For the next three days we were locked in. Only the active duty military members were allowed in or out on their way to and from work. No school, and very little information as to what we were supposed to do. This was new territory for us military spouses. Some kept their blinds closed, others kept their lights off after dark. The BX was closed, the Commissary was closed. After a few days the walls began to close in. We decided it was safe to let our kids play outside. Under the watchful eyes of the guard, we walked by the gate. There on the other side of the street in front of the entrance to the base was a mound of flowers. Our English neighbors showed their support in so many ways. The Queen even ordered that “The Star Spangled Banner” be played at the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. The only time another country has been so honored.
Slowly we settled in to what was now the “new normal”. The humvee was replaced with a portable guard shack. The gates were open, but were filled with iron obstacles that resembled giant jacks. The kids having to show ID’s to the gate guard, the vehicle searches and the dogs became routine. As we once again returned to the villages we were often greeted with, “we’re so glad to see you out and about”. It wasn’t the greeting of shop owners, glad for the returning business; it was the kind of greeting you would give a friend who was finally outside after recovering from a serious illness.
The whole experience was surreal. As I went about my normal routine, it seemed somehow inappropriate to do so. After so many had lost their life, it seemed wrong to go to the market, to go out to eat or to the pub, or go to London to do some Christmas shopping. But carry on we did, because to do otherwise, was to let the terrorists win.
My most poignant memory of that time did not happen on 9/11 or the days following. It came several months later. “A” was learning patriotic songs in music class. In her backpack I found a paper the music teacher had given them, and this was what she had doodled on the page.
The patriotism, the pride, the tribute of an eight-year-old girl. There is hope for this country after all.
With the President hell-bent on attacking Syria, and doing everything he can to garner support for his cause, it is of vital importance to contact your Congressional Representatives and let them know that America does not want this war.
Here is a copy of a letter I wrote to my representatives. Feel free to copy it, change it and make it your own. Just do it. Do it now.
If ever there was a time that you should pay attention to your constituents, it is now. The President’s ill conceived, plan to wage a limited strike against Syria will contribute nothing to our national security, will further increase our national debt, and will stretch our war-weary military to the breaking point.
Yes, the killing of innocent civilians by the Assad regime (if indeed it was Assad) was a despicable act and worthy of a response. But that response should be an international one, not one shouldered solely on the backs of U.S. service members. Despite the President’s assurances of a limited engagement, (which would only make us appear impotent), common sense tells us that this will lead to an escalation of hostilities that would keep us fighting in the Middle Eastern theater for years to come, and would result in far more bloodshed that the Assad regime’s chemical attacks. It would also activate the terrorist threat within our borders, and cause energy prices to skyrocket. There is no clear justification for our going it alone, no clear mission, and no clear exit strategy.
You were elected to your office as a representative of the American People. Your duty is not to the President, it is to us. I urge you to the job you were elected to do. To bring the voice of your constituents to Washington and vote against any resolution to attack Syria. The American People do not want this war, there is no immediate threat to our borders to justify this war, and it can only end badly for us.
Here is the way to contact your representatives.