Category Archives: Teaching

Ron Paul is championing home schooling…God help us all…

I think we are all very happy that Rand has not inherited his father's raving lunacy.

I think we are all very happy that Rand has not inherited his father’s raving lunacy.

I believe so strongly in the homeschooling movement that I have just announced my own curriculum for homeschooling families. Please visit this revolutionary new project at http://www.ronpaulcurriculum.com.–Ron Paul on the-free-foundation.org

Ron Paul is championing home schooling.

 

Usually I would say this is a good thing.  Homeschooling can be one of the most rewarding forms of education around (so long as the parents are involved and also willing to put in the time and effort needed).  For instance I always recommend The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer for anyone considering homeschooling… it is a reasoned, balanced, and in depth curriculum for homeschooling that stresses critical thinking and reading primary sources.

And at first glance the program Ron Paul is pushing seems to be that…what with things like:

  • It should be an academically rigorous curriculum that is tied to primary source documents — not textbooks. Textbooks are screened by committees. They dumb down the material.

  • If your child completes the entire curriculum — which runs from K through 12 — here is what he or she should be able to do, again quoting.

  • Speak in public and speak confidently

  • Write effectively

But then you see things like:

“It should provide a thorough understanding of Austrian school economics.”

And I think as a Chicago school monetarist, isn’t that just as bad as Keynesian indoctrination…maybe teach them Keynesian, Chicago, and Austrian principles and trust that reason will work…(and then I remember that if we’re trusting reason, that would lead them to the Chicago school, and those Austrians can’t have any of that).

But it gets worse….

  • It should teach the Biblical principle of self-government and personal responsibility, which is also the foundation of the free market economy.

Ummm… am I the only one that remembers the self-government things can more be traced to Athens, and Aristotle, and the Enlightenment?  Certainly many of the ethics of the Bible lead to the ethics or capitalist democratic-republics…but the Bible wasn’t enough for republican limited government—there were other parts involved.

So this leads one to take a closer look at the person actually in charge of the project that Ron Paul is championing?  Well on the page of instructors is this guy named Gary North.

And this is where it gets fun.  And by “fun,” I mean unspeakably terrifying.  I pulled this quote off of Gary North’s own web side, garynorth.com

So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we trak up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God. Murder, abortion, and pornography will be illegal. God’s law will be enforced. It will take time. A minority religion cannot do this. Theocracy must flow from the hearts of a majority of citizens, just as compulsory education came only after most people had their children in schools of some sort. But religious anarchy, like  “democratic freedom” in ancient Greece, is a temporary phenomenon; it lasts only as long as no single group gets sufficient power and accepted authority to abandon the principle.

I’m going to give you a few seconds to re-read that.  Several times.  Because I’m sure you’re thinking he can’t actually be advocating a complete theocracy that will destroy all opposing religions.  But yes, yes he is. This guy wants a Christian Caliphate to wipe out all the non-Christians.  This guy makes Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum’s rhetoric look stable (I’m not sure if Ricky is stable, I suspect he may be in favor of this, but at least he has the good sense not to say it aloud).  Gary North is the psycho-Christian that the entire left thinks all Republicans are.  This is the Taliban of Christianity.

And this is the guy Ron Paul wants to create a home schooling system for the next generation.

Take a moment to think about this.  If the Paulbots had had their way, Gary North might have been Secretary of Education.  Even though Ron Paul never stood a serious chance, that he even came as close as he did, that should scare the shit out of you.

Now what is more frightening is when you consider how many Paulbots there are who follow the word of their master blindly (I mean they overlooked the racism and the anti-Semitism).  We have enough issues in this nation trying to fight the left without also having to fight blindly following groups of libertarian-theocrats (yes I know, those terms should be opposed to each other just on the face of it, but let’s be honest here, in real life, people are a mass of contradiction).  Think of it Paulbots, but now they’re also motivated by religious fervor—if this gets any traction, it is possible it could be more insane than Westboro.

I’m not saying everything this man is going to put out is wrong, nor should homeschooling not be considered if you have the time and resources…but I don’t think anyone should blindly follow whatever program Ron Paul and Gary North put out.

Ron Paul is brining his insanity to education

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Filed under Anti-Semitism, Education, God, Long Term Thinking, Teaching

In Defense of the Common Core Standards for Education

There is a move on the right to hate the upcoming common core standards.  And it’s not without justification.  No Child Left Behind partly due to the additions liberal Ted Kennedy made to the bill, and partly due to ineptitude on implementation by the Bush administration left a foul taste in a lot of people’s mouths over any federal reach into the education field.  Also there is understandable mistrust with the Obama administration trying to take the lead in the common core.  And there is the fact that the standards aren’t high enough.

That being said, the Common Core,  which are being adopted by the majority of the states in the union are a step in the right direction.

Why?

Well let’s deal with them in terms of their more common complaints.

Inaccuracy 1: The first is that this is a move by the federal government.

That is not entirely true.  The Common Core was originally endorsed by the National Governors Association.  It was originally a move by states in coordination with one other, without a great deal of help by the federal government.  The NGA may have announced the implementation of the Common Core in 2009  but most of its development occurred in 2008 before Obama was even elected.

Now the Obama administration has made adoption of the Common Core a requirement for certain grants.  And I’m sure that Obama would love to rewrite them in his own image. But that does not change the fact that these standards were not a move by the federal government, but rather by the states working together (i.e. that federalism we conservatives love so much) and if the states continue to drive this and not let the federal government dictate their wording this federal overreach will be halted.

Inaccuracy 2: That it will cut literature out of the curriculum, changing it all to non- fiction technical documents.

This probably is the most egregious claim.   The claim goes “A new school curriculum which will affect 46 out of 50 states will make it compulsory for at least 70 percent of books studied to be non-fiction, in an effort to ready pupils for the workplace.”

Now very technically this is true.  However what you’re probably thinking it means is that 70% of the things read in an English course are to be non-fiction.  This is not correct.  The Common Core calls for 70% of all of student’s reading in a year to be non-fiction.  Ignoring electives courses, every student should probably be taking an English, a Social Studies, a Math and a Science course in a year.  That means that the English course only takes up 25% of year…so actually the assumption here is that somewhere in the Math, Science, and Social Studies courses is where you would find that extra 5% of literature (probably mostly in Social Studies where literature helps illustrate a time period).  That’s not even mentioning good English courses do include at least some non-fiction reading.

Or in the dense wording on the Common Core Website:

The percentages on the table reflect the sum of student reading, not just reading in ELA settings. Teachers of senior English classes, for example, are not required to devote 70 percent of reading to informational texts. Rather, 70 percent of student reading across the grade should be informational.  

Further this claim goes that the Common Core calls for the elimination of classic works of literature.  Again wrong on two points.  The first is that all of the articles I’ve seen include that classic titles like Catcher in the Rye and To Kill A Mockingbird will be eliminated from the curriculumOn page 107 of the suggested literature title list you see, low and behold To Kill A Mockingbird (also keep in mind it says suggested, not required titles, the reading list makes it quite clear it is only a suggested to list to give an idea of where the quality of each year’s reading should be). Also I have issues with calling Catcher, a story of a self important whiny teenager bitching about how terrible life is, a classic.

 common core

Also take a look at some of the information texts suggested by the Common Core.

My god, what a collection of liberal tripe!  Common Sense! The Declaration and the Bill of Rights!  How dare we suggest students should read those!

Go and actually look at the reading list.  There are speeches by Reagan, plays by Shakespeare, novels by Hawthorne and Bronte, poetry by Whitman and Eliot.  It’s183 pages of suggestions!  It’s not exactly a limited list.  And by no means does the Common Core not suggest you should go off list.  Teachers are encouraged to, just so long it is on par or superior to the suggestions.

Keep in mind there are teachers out there who think Lovely Bones and Twilight are acceptable reading for high school courses! They’re not. This at least puts in writing a nation wide bare minimum.

Inaccuracy 3: This will only encourage teaching to the test.

Inaccuracy 4: The standards are not high enough.  

These two are tied together.  There has been for years the idiotic statement that teaching to the test hurts education.  Bullshit.  Good teachers teach.  And if you’re teaching appropriately then high quality education, in any subject area, will teach a student how to pass a test—especially low end tests like the ones that all states give.  If you teach them to read, to think, and to know the subject matter they’ll pass the test.  It’s people who only teach to the test that have their students fail.

“But,” teachers complain, “testing takes up time in class.”  Well, to do your job, and teach you need to test to see if students are learning the material.  You need to test. The complaint is that now you’re taking up time with two tests, the test for the state and the test for your class.  Trust me, there is overlap between those two, a good teacher uses the state testing to see how their students are doing in their own class and not retesting them on the same material.  But you know that would require actually looking at the test, and test results and actually doing your job of taking the time to see how best to teach your students.  And, sadly, so many teachers nowadays aren’t really there for teaching, they’re there for a job that pays them for 12 months but only requires that they work 8 and a half.  A good teacher teaches above the test, and their students pass.  A bad teacher complains about teaching to the test because that’s a bar they usually don’t try to reach, and their students don’t do as well.*

The other complaint is that the standards are not high enough.  This is partly correct.  However it ignores that standards in this sense are supposed to be a bare minimum bar—a point that should be met by even the worst teacher.  States can have standards above the common core, and teachers should go beyond that.  These standards are there to correct for the fact that a high school diploma is only worth what the bare minimum that it takes to get it.  And yes these standards are low.  But guess what a lot of the previous state standards were EVEN LOWER.  I live in Arizona where the previous state standard for High School English is more or less the standards for Middle School English under the Common Core.  There are numerous examples in other places.  This does nothing but raise the low end of the bar.  Good teachers must still go above that bar; anyone who just remains at that bar is a terrible teacher.

Would I like to see the Common Core standards be higher?  Yes.  Would I like to see less federal and more state input?  Yes. Would I like a lot of things that the Common Core doesn’t do?  Of course.  But it raises the minimum bar from where it currently stands and if states hold the line (as many seem to be doing in a lot of other aspects) and don’t allow the federal government to take over then this is a step in the right direction.  It doesn’t solve all the problems we face, but it does solve a couple of them.

What everyone needs to remember is that standards and testing exist in this field because there are bad teachers.  If teachers wanted to mercilessly purge their own ranks of inept teachers, if they wanted to act like professionals and not rely on unions to protect the incompetent, if they wanted to work in such a way as to be worth more than 40K a year, then maybe we wouldn’t need to bicker about standards and testing.  But teachers do not police their own.  They protect and defend the worst. They make the issues about money and benefits rather than address their failings.

*This in no way negates the importance of the student in this.  Responsible students who care about their education will pass even with the worst teachers.  However, strangely most students are children, it’s odd how that works, and it is the requirement of good teachers to drag immature people across the finish line.  That does not negate the responsibility of the students to choose to succeed.  And of course there is parental responsibility in all this as well.

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The Sad Life of Julia Part V: Middle Age Dependency

It’s a shame Julia’s time in Head Start never taught her to not stand right in front of a frickin’ bus…there’s a reason little Zack never shows up again.  (This is what happens when you go to government funded schools that don’t have competition).

So I’ve already been over how Obama being beholden to unions and against choice is really bad for schools and will drive them down.  But let’s deal with the idea that Romney and Ryan would cut federal funding to schools.  So what if they did.  I can promise you, with a teacher’s view from the front lines, federal money does jack to actually help students.  It goes to programs and policies that benefit administration and bureaucracy, not students.  Now if individual states wanted to put in a rule that principals and superintendents can’t make more than twice their highest paid teacher (a good principal might actually be worth more than that…but a good principal in my experience is in the same category as unicorns and non-homicidal postal employees, they don’t really exist).

Also, I’m big on standards in education but regrettably the standards Obama has been hyping lately, now being referred to as the Race to the Top, are sadly underdeveloped.  The math standards seem to stop at Algebra and Geometry (maybe some of what would be included in Algebra II) and the English standards, which as an English teacher I’m very familiar with, actually are an improvement on the previous standards I was dealing with in Arizona…but are still woefully lacking.

Honestly their standards don’t do go further than halfway through what you’d expect a student should know halfway through 10th grade in an ideal world.  And I still have yet to see Science and History standards.  So we’re still aiming to only play second fiddle to the rest of the world in education.  I’m sure that will yield spectacular results.  Also may I add that in typical bureaucratic speak they take nearly 100 pages to say what could be said in 10 (I’ve even boiled it down to 1 page for my own personal use…but I have to use a lot of fragmented thoughts that still get the point across).

But Zachary really shouldn’t have to worry because, as you can see Julia has placed him in just the right place to join Obama’s grandma, Rev. Wright, Mubarak, Israel, Van Jones, and Hillary Rosen (among others) in being thrown under a bus when it’s convenient.  It’s SOP for the Obama bunch.

Now after 4 decades of the Philosopher King’s absolute rule construction by forced community service gangs (at this point community organizer takes on a whole new meaning—crack that whip) on the Great Pyramid of Chicago, which will serve as the divine one’s tomb, is nearly complete.  But even the massive structure, 10 times the size of its Giza counterpart, but still 100 times smaller than the ego of its future resident, needs promotion on the web.

So Julia thinks she should start a web design business of her own.

I have a few issues with this.

First, if the history of technology has taught me anything it’s that we don’t have an f’ing clue what technology is going to look like in 40 years.  Star Trek predicted we would have major genetic engineering by the 1990’s but cell phones wouldn’t come into use until the 24th century.  And I don’t see the hover-boards or high level of automation promised me by 2015 in Back to the Future.  And remember in the 90’s when they thought those virtual reality head gear things would take off…uh-huh.  And I think we can all agree we are tired of waiting and want our goddamn flying cars now; we’ve been promised them for over half a century and we want them NOW.  My point here is that it might be just a little arrogant to say with certainty that the internet as we know it will still be around…but then again that might make Julia’s web design business perfect to the Obama administration loans as I will bring up with my 2nd point.

Solyndra, and 13 other green energy companies, the black holes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, AIG and every other incompetent bank, Government Motors and their fabulous death trap the Volt, not to mention that spectacular bit of idiocy Cash for Clunkers. The Obama administration sure knows how to pick’em.  So this only confirms my suspicion that Julia is in a now dead field, the Obama administration is giving her a loan…something they don’t do for people who could ever theoretically make money.

I also love how the internet business is going to “help grow the local economy.”  Screw what the internet is going to be like now, internet companies aren’t exactly limited by local market nowadays.

There are of course two reasons why Julia has to get a loan from the government and couldn’t get one from a private bank like the rest of us.  The first being that, as we have discussed, Julia, she of the 7 years to get her degree in a field you go to a 2 year tech school to get, has clearly never made very good decisions and is probably a shitty programmer to boot.  The second is that after 40 years of Obama, private banks will have gone out of business.  To recap, in the past and currently banks are being forced to continue making bad loans as the Obama administration is still pushing them, while, and I’m not making this up, simultaneously suing them for making those bad loans.   Private banks don’t stand a chance after 40 years of this insanity.  And that may make the idiots of Occupy Wall Street thrilled, but the rest of us have to understand such a move will result in an economy that makes the Great Depression look like the salad days of prosperity.  So Obama will be the only money lender in town.

My last problem with the logic here is that she’s 42, which makes Zachary 9? 10?  Who has time to start a business when you have a 10 year old?  They’re still too young to take care of themselves…oh wait I forgot, she threw him under the bus.

And I’m not sure where this 20% cut thing for Romney/Ryan comes from (I’d be happy with a 100% cut and possible jail terms for the people who work for the SBA) but I do know that while I haven’t heard anything about Romney talking about the loans the SBA gives out, he has been very clear on gutting the $1.75 Trillion annual burden of regulation this monster of an anti-capitalist organization places on the American economy.

And rather than giving out money, Romney and Ryan have put forward plans that will improve the fundamentals of the system and actually allow businesses to grow on their own and make profits, hire employees, create new markets, all without government help.  It’s this strange miracle of capitalism.  Even though it’s always been hindered to one degree or another throughout U.S. history it has created the greatest advance to quality of life and opportunity of any system conceivable.  But you would have to believe in America instead of Obama to understand that.

Also is that a biohazard symbol on the wall outside Julia’s office?  What kind of web design is she doing?

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The Sad Life of Julia Part III–The wacky college years

Our little Julia continues to be among the most worthless excuses for a human I’ve ever seen (not really, there are worse)

So now that we’ve covered her early life and adolescence let’s move onto her college years.


Ah, I remember the first time I had major surgery in my early 20’s, just like everyone I know…oh wait, no…most people don’t have surgery in their 20’s.  Assuming Obama took office when Julia was 3, that would mean he has been Fuehrer for 19 years so I can promise you that almost all private insurance companies have gone out of business as Obamacare is designed to put private companies out of business and have everyone go to government care  …but don’t worry most of the doctors and nurses will have already left the field long before the private insurance companies as there will be no way to make ends meet in the medical profession if Obamacare goes into full effect.  But don’t worry, long before this happens drug companies and medical supply companies will go out of business.  And have we talked about this thing called the adverse selection death spiral, which is as bad as it sounds, caused by Obamacare.   So Julia will be having her surgery in a government facility, being treated by third rate doctors (the first and second rate ones went to countries with fewer regulations on the medical field like Canada and the UK…maybe India will start importing doctors from America), being done on a very limited use of anesthetics and antibiotics.

So it’s actually a small miracle she makes it out of the hospital alive…truly God loves Julia, and of course, by God, I mean the divine Obama.

Let’s compare this to the Ryan plan or Romney’s proposals for health care.  You know the ones that would one up choice and competition, lower fraud, reduce prices, and improve quality all over.  Yes Julia and her parents would have to pay for her surgery…but it will be half of what it costs rights now and one-twentieth of what it would cost under Obamacare.  And God (and I don’t mean Barry) help Julia if the rationing board determines that her surgery isn’t worth the cost.

Well if there were any jobs left…which at this rate 110% of the populace will have dropped out of the work force by the time Julia is 23 and Obama has been ruling the People’s Republic of America for 20 years.  Of course with no one seeking jobs anymore the Department of Labor will declare 100% employment and praise Obama for his genius.

I’m curious about the fact that she’s starting her career two years before finishing college…but I’m just not going to touch this bizarre non-sequitur.

Okay let’s take about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act…or as I call it bullshit.

What is it really?  It’s a bone to the trial lawyers who now have legal cover to sue for perceived injustices that are decades old.  It’s the exact opposite of the tort reform we so dearly need.   Because it has nothing to do with equal pay.

Did you know that women in their 20’s make more money than their male counterparts in the same field?  Did you know that when you correct for experience and education and the job then women of any age earn more?   It’s just that women take these large swaths of time off from their careers…the Obama administration can find no explanation but sexism for the time women take off from their jobs.

Since women in their 20’s are making more than men in their 20’s, actually if you had equal work for equal pay it means most men should be making more…hmmm…..oh wait because we’ve put in card check and unfair practices at the federal labor board everyone will be in a union by Julia’s 20’s whether they want to be or not.  Thus we will all be getting paid the same, irrespective of education, work, merit, seniority or skill.

But let’s see with lawyers suing up a storm expect everything to cost so much more which means even if Julia is making the same amount of money (which is odd as web design is often more of personal venture than a big corporation…but again let’s not get into the leaps of logic) it really doesn’t matter as with her inflated (caused by everything else Obama is doing to the economy) currency she will be able to buy even less!

I’m still a little confused, if she started her career 3 years ago and is still in the same field at 42…what was so important about college?  I think college is important, and when I have children it will be very clear that they will be going to college…but if you already have a career before finishing college and are making money off of it (and since she doesn’t switch careers between now and 42 she’s either making money or is very very stupid…oh wait)…but going to college has worked for a few like Paul Allen, Michael Dell, Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mary Kay Ash, John D. Rockerfeller, Mark Zuckerberg, and Robert Jackson (Attorney General of the United States, Supreme Court Justice, and chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials…never finished college let alone Law School) and I’m not so much of a snob as to chide someone for not going to college if they can make their career work…

Anyone a bit disturbed by the fact that it’s taken Julia 7 years to graduate from college?  It doesn’t quite make sense.  I can only assume she studied computer engineering, as she’s a web designer, but 7 years?  Web design actually wouldn’t take even an AA…so does she have a MA (still a year too long) or a Ph.D. in computer engineering…if so Microsoft, Apple or a dozen other programming firms would have hired her on the spot and lavished her with money, benefits and stock options…but she’s only a poor web designer.  And since she is still dependent on Obama for the rest of her existence I can only conclude it took her 7 years to get her B.A. (now we’re seeing why she didn’t get any scholarships and needed Obama’s help to pay for college tuition…and not a very bright college either as they don’t know that flag code requires that flag goes on the LEFT of the podium if you are facing the podium).

Also, and I’m not entirely sure here, but isn’t “web design” something you can get done it 2 years at ITT Tech or DeVry?  7 years?  Really?

And yes Obama kept the interest rates low, making that money cheap.  Which any basic understanding of how an economy works means that money that could have gone for investment in business or industry and created jobs will go to fund Julia and other slackers like her in their 7 year quest to become Web Designers.  Hey, Barry, look up the term “opportunity cost” and ask yourself if it has any bearing on artificially lowering the interest rate on college loans.  Of course it’s a lie that her loans are more manageable, the college jacked up their prices to be on par with what Julia could borrow…it’s just that Julia is really hoping for a bailout from Obama soon, like he bails out everyone.

(I wonder if Barry also paid for the dye job to her hair as it has gone from an inhuman shade of blue to red for no explicable reason).

So rather than letting the Romney/Ryan plan burst the bubble on college costs and actually make it more affordable for a far greater portion of the country, we must keep those prices artificially inflated.

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Idiot Legislatures, Bullies, Unions, and a dish best served cold…

So as much as I love my state of Arizona, it is becoming very apparent that the current state legislature is out of its mind. Not only passing two socially “conservative” laws that require a combined IQ in the low single digits (doubly stupid that they did it in an election year, triply stupid that they played right into Obama’s plan to make social issues an issue of this election…thanks morons) they decided to follow that up with a 1st Amendment violating censorship law. Ostensibly it is supposedly to help stop bullying, but in addition to making a mountain of the latest molehill of an overly protective society, this has to be one of the worst laws I’ve ever seen.

 

It’s updating an old law and replacing the word telephone with “any electronic or digital device.” This would be bad enough as it doesn’t update any language to only mean communication from one person to another. However ignoring that new technology requires new definitions, the law originally was kind of stupid.

“It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use a telephone […]”

I understand the intent of the law, to make harassment a criminal offense. But “annoy”? Good lord, I should stop paying my bills as any bill collector calling me would clearly be annoying and I could have them arrested. “Offend”? Oh I can’t wait for the next dipshit Democrat to call me asking polling questions. Their beliefs clearly offend me and as Obama is clearly in a criminal conspiracy with them (as defined by Arizona law) this will be fun. Yes my examples are preposterous, but so is the wording of the laws.

Or that it forbids one to “use any obscene, lewd or profane language.” Profane? Really? Profane is a religious concept and the government has no right to legislate my words in a religious sense, be they sacred or profane.

So, by the letter of the law the state of Arizona is about to outlaw the use of the internet. As I do not consider it a full day without annoying someone via blog, twitter, or Facebook, I am a repeat offender against this statute…and I dare any wanna-be Gestapo (previously known as Arizona police) to come and arrest me. I will have so much fun suing you personally and the state as a whole for multiple civil and Constitutional rights violations. Not only will it be great free publicity for the blog and my book, but I figure I will be able to retire off the settlement alone. So I dare you fucking stupid excuses for public figures (obscene, check, intent to annoy and harass, check) to come arrest me. Idiots.

Now in practice we know that this isn’t going to go anywhere as both the ACLU and every right wing legal group will eviscerate anyone who tries to enforce this on a legitimate use of free speech (like I said I understand the original intent of the law, but the wording is just shit for brains), but let’s deal with the reason why they didn’t update the part of it being individual to individual communication. To help stop bullying.

Are you kidding me? Once again because people don’t want to act like adults we are choosing to delegate all authority to government, who will inevitably, as always, makes things worse. At least I’m not the only one who thinks that the media hype over bullying might be more media than reality.

 

Now, yes there are some terrible cases where we get to see how vicious children can be…but you know what? This is not because there is a lack of laws, it’s because there is a lack of adults. Children should be encouraged to deal with things on their own when they can (something drilled out of them by being told to tattle to an adult the minute a single insult is hurled) and go seek help from friends and adults when it’s more than they can handle…and maybe educated to know the difference. One thing I notice in almost every case of extreme bullying from the media is a lack of adults. Now parents may bear some responsibility here for not being open with their children and making it known to them that they can come to them with problems, but that isn’t always the case; we all know our parents are sometimes the last people we want to take our problems to. However what I do notice in a lot of these cases is that teachers seem to be utterly absent. I’m a teacher, and I know it’s not hard to know what’s going on in student’s lives. Teacher’s thrive on the student rumor mill (because it’s the only life we have time to have) and while one teacher may not know everything I guarantee you a competent staff knows more about student’s personal lives than even the most well informed student (probably because we don’t limit ourselves to knowing only about a few select cliques) and so teachers have no excuse for not knowing if a student is being harassed. (Especially when you set up a work only account of Facebook and twitter and get your students to add you—you would be shocked at how quickly they forget you can see everything they post). And I am not the warmest of teachers, I play more into “tough but fair” rather than “everybody’s friend” but I would like to think that I always made it known that my students could come to me if they needed an ear or shoulder. And it is more the purview of a good principal to find good teachers who are competent and qualified to offer students support when they need it—not the purview of the legislature. Although since we don’t always have good teachers, I would wager that if you were to chart which states offer the teacher’s unions the most unimpeded power against which have the most instances of truly vicious and inhuman levels of bullying you would see a heavy correlation between union presence and poor support from teachers. After all if there is one set of organizations out there responsible for poor teacher’s it’s the teacher’s union.

And since we’re on the topic, I would be remiss in mentioning there is also the two other ways to deal with bullies. The first being the wise adage, “Never start a fight, but always finish them.” This being probably the best advice that the best way to deal with bullies is go on to be successful and makes massive amounts of money while the bullies never amount to anything. Perhaps with your success and piles of cash you could even make a music video to rub in your success in a wonderfully cold dish, as the Queen of Comicon, Felicia Day seems to have done.

 


It’s called taking the high road.

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RAMBLINGS from ConservativeCathy: Real Conservative Values

I was compiling a list of numerous topics (SOPA, Economy, Defense, etc.) and listing what I could find as the most representative statements from both Romney and Santorum.  I was doing this as my research indicates that Romney is more conservative (fiscally, constitutionally) than Santorum.  But as I became more aware that it would be impossible for anyone to logically/rationally say that Santorum (or Gingrich for that matter) was more conservative than Romney (or conservative at all) a light bulb went off in my head.  This is not an issue of just putting facts in front of people it is a problem with word definition.  My son and I often have long debates over what is meant or interpreted by a phrase or word.

The actual definition will not help explain my beliefs so I am presenting my political party platform (would prefer if the Republicans adopted something like this) so when I say conservative you know exactly where I stand.

Below is what I would like to see as a conservative platform that I believe that most groups can get behind.  I would encourage an open rational discussion from others.

This country has direction and a guide in our country that must be followed – The Constitution and Declaration of Independence.  This should be taught in detail in public schools so that all grow up with an understanding of the original intent.  For me the ideal party platform is based on the belief that the Founders meant what they said and it was to be interpreted for areas that they had no knowledge of at the time but not that it is to be interpreted for all new laws people want to see.  That is what amendments are for.

That my party stops using the term “democratic” improperly as we are a democratically elected representative Republic and all should actually understand that concept and why that was chosen.

Once we accept the above premise then we go back to the 1st amendment and follow it where religion is concerned.  All religions are allowed and proper as long as they do no harm to others.  You cannot preach hate inciting violence just like you cannot yell FIRE in a crowded theater.  You can preach any other belief you want.  Let’s deal with the 2 particular issues the Republican Party has taken to heart (unfortunately).

ABORTION.  I do not want to discuss whether or why you support or do not support this.  I again refer you to the Constitution – The government has no right to be involved in this type of decision.  Row v. Wade and how it is being interpreted is not going to be overturned (even by the right wing appointed justices).  The federal government should not and has no authority to fund this type of service – period.  Regardless how I feel about 3rd trimester abortions the federal government does not have the authority to make laws regarding this.  Now I could make a suggestion that an amendment to the Constitution be made regarding how life is determined by scientifically stating when a fetus becomes viable – but I am sure that would cause others to start the debate again.  Back to the Constitution this is your only option as the federal government does not have the right to interfere in the doctor patient relationship and what occurs within that relationship – that would be a state issue.  Socially speaking if parents were actually doing their jobs this might actually affect this discussion.

Now the other big issue GAY PEOPLE.  This is a religious issue and can be discussed within the religion.   I do not consider believing that God is against gays as hate (stupid but not hate – I think Jesus promoted love and I think judgment is God’s purview) as long as your beliefs do not cause action against someone else.  Again this comes back to what I said previously you could believe anything you want as long as you do not harm to anyone else.  Now you can hold things like “Gay Parades” to the same decency standards that exist for other parades.  I think that sex should not be discussed in public schools until (I was going to say High School – my age showing here) Middle School.  This discussion should be biologically based only.  School is not the place to be making judgments one way or the other – except I think that scientifically and biologically schools can state that abstinence is the only 100% workable format.  Again I ask why are parents not doing their job?  I rather like Cris’ format for government only being involved in civil unions and marriage being a religious ceremony. But again this is a states right’s issue unless you all agree on an amendment to the Constitution.  Which I think needs to be done as it is becoming federal when crossing state lines which of course it will.  Maybe we can all agree on the civil union and work from there.

This is a rather long discussion but I also want reiterated here that all government buildings belong to the people so all religious displays should be legal as long as government is not paying for them.  This country is a majority of Christians and so we celebrate Christmas (it is a Federal Holiday), we do celebrate Easter, we also celebrate Halloween, Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day.  So it is what it is.  These celebrations do not hurt someone who does not believe in them so get over it as long as your tax dollars are not being used to support any celebration (Chicago is exempt for St. Patrick’s day – such a long tradition).

We really need an amendment for a balanced budget along with an amendment for the budget to be capped.  I think that you can debate how to cap it but once we start following the Constitution the budget will not be as high except that we also need an amendment ensuring that federal deficit takes priority in budgeting plans (meaning it needs to be paid off ).  The only reason that we should ever allow debt again would be for war or maybe you can suggest something I can not think of but it should be pretty great.

We will not be in the business of assisting people as that is a state or local government’s place – except of course all of our military need to receive all of the care that is needed for them and I do mean the BEST of care possible. I really do not think this is the area where cuts are made except for inefficiencies/beauracracies.

Since I am a realist and do not see Social Security being overturned as unconstitutional (as it is) we need to come up with a plan that supports savings accounts/stocks etc.  Pick an age and make it 50 years and older or 45 – I do not care and everyone below will need to continue paying taxes to fulfill the current agreement for that age up to death. For everyone else it from now on it will be a choice – a savings account with your state government, a savings account that you can not access until you retire (whatever age but you can not work anymore – you can invest but not work) or invest in stock market/mutual funds that again are not accessible or any combination of the 3.  This will be totally tax free.  So now citizens are personally responsible for their own lives.

I think we need to actually clarify our economic system so that it cannot change with the wind and have an amendment to the Constitution stating that we are a capitalistic country and believe in unrestricted free trade.  That cronyism eliminated as far as is legally possible and that the rules of capitalism (contract law, property rights, laws against fraud and theft, be considered sacrosanct and inviolable).

We need an amendment to the Constitution stating that every citizen has the right to work and not be forced to join and pay a union.  Also added into that all government positions cannot be unionized.

We need to support minimum standards for all grade levels and have a national test for those standards.  All states can do their own thing with public schools as I propose the Department of Education is eliminated but all students must meet the standards we desire for our citizens.  Keep in mind that I believe that you do not lower standards but always raise them and eventually more people will achieve them.  We need an electorate that understands our government and Constitution, can read to a 12th grade level, do basic math (multiplication tables in their head to 12’s), know how to count money without a machine, understand basic English grammar and how to write at a 12th grade level, need to understand the actual history of our country and a general understanding of world history – particularly how it affects current events as with a little study you become aware of how things repeat themselves (might that be because no one ever learns or hears about the lesson?) and science.  Again religious beliefs have no place in the school except that you can believe what ever you want but need to understand what others in the scientific community are doing and why whether you accept that or not.  Our platform should be clear in stating that school is not for preaching anyone’s belief system – again that is what parents are for!   Also that our platform clarifies that government is not there to promote whatever the latest scientific trend is.  Oh and by the way I do not think that government should be concerned with nutrition pyramids or picking foods for us but I would support offering physical activity requirements in public schools – whatever happened to Kennedy’s physical program?

All insurance can go across state lines and federal standards will be set for insurance companies (based on protecting the consumer not giving them something)

A federal fund will be set up for states to borrow from for emergencies at the going interest rate.  The loan will be based on percentage of costs and will not fulfill all that is necessary as again citizens must accept personal responsibility for choice in life such as where to live.

The federal government stops funding anything not allotted to it in the Constitution (just about everything we are currently involved in).

We do not financially assist another country unless there is a real time return for that – can’t think of that occurring other than rebuilding after wining a war.

There is so much more but I think I make my point – social issues belong in the social market not the government.  Freedom is paramount as long as you hurt no one – or your rights extend to where they touch mine but not beyond.  Personal responsibility is the guide for all laws and regulations.

I think that any reasonable person would see that Romney would have no issues with agreeing on most of these points (if not all) and Santorum would have issues with most of them.  To me that clarifies the issue as to whom is conservative and whom is not.  Gingrich would also have issues as it would not allow him as President to have those BIG IDEAS as they have nothing to do with the Federal Government.

And while I am rambling I have a point to make regarding the Moon site that Gingrich and his followers want – am I the only person to remember that there is an international treaty that states that no country can do anything proprietary on the Moon?

So any of you who want to join and support my platform, add to it or clarify it let me know and those who have issues with it – let’s discuss it rationally.

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My faith in humanity is redeemed just a little

Apparently the LA Unified School District has fired the anti-Semite that made those disgusting remarks at the Occupy LA rallies. This is more than I had expected from LAUSD, a lot more. The woman was a substitute (feel free to have chills run down your spine at the idea that that bigot was ever near children) which means that the school did not have to deal with the teacher’s unions (whom I am convinced, by the fact that they often defend pedophiles, would have defended this woman as well).  Occasionally it’s nice to be proven wrong and see that not everyone in California is insane.  Now let’s see if I’m wrong again and a judge will throw out her inevitable lawsuit (and I am more than willing to be disproven once again).

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Let’s make our economy like the Swedes…more Capitalistic!

As I’m getting bored arguing about why economic freedom works and redistribution of income doesn’t (there are two chapters in Republicans and Reincarnation on that, so you’ll understand on why this seems repetitive to me).

So let’s take a look at a country which the liberals love to point out as a model of a good socialist system.  Sweden!  A country whose public health care system is a mess.  Where vouchers have resulted in a strong education system.  And whose recent prosperity has been mainly due to…can you guess…replacing the socialist policies with the capitalist one.  But don’t take my word…


Contest for the comment section…what great puns did I miss out on making because I am not familiar with ABBA?

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Who is to blame? Answer: Bad teachers…and everyone else.

Over the last couple of weeks I have seen several articles on the topic of teachers not being to blame for the problems with modern schools, or you should listen to teachers, or there are other excuses for the low results in student achievement. But while everyone is willing to not blame teachers, let me make one thing very clear BAD TEACHERS ARE COMPLETELY, TOTALLY, WITHOUT QUESTION TO BLAME!

However to be fair they’re not the only ones who are to blame. I could blame the Teacher’s unions (i.e. the only organizations which I would take out before Neo-Nazis if I could…yeah I think they’re that bad) for constantly defending these worthless hacks. I could blame the truly incompetent class of people known as administrators (who were terrible teachers thus they sought out another job) who first hired the hacks and then didn’t fire them. Then I would blame the school boards (to call most boards a ship of fools would be overly complimentary) who hired, and didn’t fire, said inept administrators. I could blame the voters for voting such worthless boards in…but those voters are often the same parents who didn’t stimulate their children, didn’t teach them to read, didn’t hold them to rules and didn’t model good character.

However, this last paragraph, which follows the usual progression of blame is backwards. It needs to go the other way around and start with the person who is most to blame when a student fails to learn.

The child, the student. Free will is often forgotten in this whole endeavor. Every person is given free will. Most choose not to use it and would rather run on autopilot. Of the people who choose to use free will 90% make very good choices and rise above their circumstances…and oddly occasionally fall far below the situation they are put in (but they’re still better than the people who just run on autopilot). In the end every student is ultimately responsible for choosing to learn or choosing to just go with the current. Now if they choose not to exercise their free will that then issues of nature and nurture become relevant—because people let them be, because they choose to let genetics and environment lead their life, not their reason and will.

So if they choose to just be victims of nature and nurture guess who should take most of the blame? Parents. You have your children from moment one (if you adopted you have a slight excuse but you only have that for so long) and thus you are responsible for the environment. Which is why I blame parents so much. Did you start reading to your child early on (like before they could even speak)? Did you read every day to model the behavior? Did you talk to them (as opposed to at them) to encourage them to take part in conversations and learn how to think? Did you act like a modern day Socrates and barrage them with questions forcing them to defend and think about every statement they make (yes, I do recommend this; it creates incredibly well reasoned human beings)? Did you encourage and praise academic achievement? Demand school comes before everything else? The sad fact is that in my experience most parents do not do anything near this. They think TV is a baby sitter. They think children shouldn’t be engaged in conversation. They don’t really care about school. For all those bad parents out there, shame on you. If you weren’t willing to make an 18 year commitment to educating a human being you should have kept your hormones in check.

However we have a safety valve for weak willed people who suffer bad parenting, it’s called school. But that’s not much more of a help. Public education is constantly being destroyed by regulation from the federal, state, and local level. Rules and laws, and funding, and regulation, and documentation, and special needs, and this and that program, and licensing. I’ve gone over a lot of this before, so I won’t completely bore you again, but needless to say, politicians are incredibly to blame for setting up a system that care more about paperwork and inefficiency than results and education.

Next I have to lay a special level of hatred on the Teacher’s unions for encouraging, funding, and demanding those crappy politicians exist. Every single thing the Teacher’s Unions do is in the worst interest of the child. Be it the laws they demand. The deals they cut. The politicians they fund. The terrible teacher’s they protect. The Teacher’s unions are by far the worst organization that exists in all of modern America because they do the most damage by destroying that which should make this country great. And they’re morons to boot. Why are they morons? Because if they weren’t morons they would have to see the damage they were doing, which would at best be depraved indifference to destroying education of the nation, which by extension means they are destroying the economy…and willfully destroying the economy would mean destroying the country…is it just me or if is beginning to sound more and more like treason.

Oh but the villainous bastards from Hell at the Teacher’s unions and their political lackeys aren’t the only ones to blame. We have school boards and school administrators whose job it is to oppose such nonsense, to work around such idiocy, and to still demand standards at each of their schools. Most school boards shirk their responsibilities and rubber stamp anything the administration wants (usually because they’re bought and paid for by the teacher’s union) and most administrations are made up of terrible teachers with Napoleon complexes. Ask yourself what kind of teacher becomes an administrator? Great teachers, hell even good teachers, got into teaching to teach. They love the classroom, and for them teaching ranks up there with breathing. The kind of person who goes into teaching to get an administration job is one who doesn’t know the first goddamn thing about teaching, doesn’t understand what makes a good teacher, and has no clue as to how to improve teaching. Yes it makes perfect sense to put these people in charge. So damn them for not having the smallest amount of self-reflection that would allow them to know they’re not qualified for the job. (A side note, did you know the Peter Principle was first recognized when Dr. Peter looked at school hierarchies?)

And finally we get to the teacher who after everyone else has screwed things up is now expected to teach a student when every card has been stacked against them. Is it fair to blame them when the system is already so rigged against doing the right thing? Yes. It’s not like I’m telling you anything new. We all knew how f!@#ed up the system was before we joined because we had lived through it. Teachers are the last line of defense in this whole thing (more so if you’re a high school teacher). Don’t like the responsibility that comes with being the last line of defense? Then don’t take the job. If you take the job you take the responsibility that comes with it and if you fail to do the job, it doesn’t matter that everyone before you also failed, you took the job knowing you were going into a broken system and were expected to perform miracles. It’s not for everyone. But do not shirk your responsibility to do what you were hired to do: to be the only adult in this whole situation; to be the one who gives a damn when no one else cares; to save as many children as you can (no one can possibly expect you save them all, but you need to save some!); to succeed where everyone else has abysmally failed. That is the job of a teacher. To just complain that teacher’s aren’t to blame ignores what teachers are. If everyone else had done their job we really wouldn’t be needed. If every student had exercised their free will and reason and made a choice to learn, who would need teachers, you’d just need libraries? If every parent had made a choice to be a parent, who would need teachers? If the system were not corrupt and incompetent at all levels our jobs would be a tenth of what it is now and we wouldn’t need teachers to work as hard as they do now because the system would be designed to teach and encourage achievement, not reinforce bad habits. But the system is broken and the responsibility falls to teachers. If you don’t want that responsibility, if you don’t want to be blamed when you fail, do not become a teacher. Otherwise the position comes with responsibilities you are expected to meet.

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Reading Suggestion: Obama, the Veg-O-Matic President. Act Now!

Act Now! And with this terrible legislation you get soaring debt, rampant inflation, and if you call within the next 10 minutes total economic collapse! Operators are standing by!

This is the kind of wit that I am humbled by….

Read all of Bill Frezza’s article at RealClearMarkets.com

Did you catch Barack Obama’s This-Is-Not-A-Stimulus infomercial just before the NFL season kicked off last week? Were you amazed at how the wunderkind once hailed as the greatest orator of his generation has been reduced to a TV pitch man for a product that is so tired it can no longer be called by name?

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Two things are happening on Thursday that I loathe with a fiery passion

What are the two things I hate?

The first is Obama and his worthless speech.

In a move of genius the Republican Party is planning no TV response to Obama’s job’s plan. It’s a clear statement on what they know the president has to propose: nothing. He will have nothing tomorrow other than platitudes, talking points, and doublespeak. And nothing doesn’t require a response. And they won’t dignify it with an immediate response.

However, while it will be a deftly executed move on Thursday night, it needs to be followed within the week by a real plan to improve the economy and pass it through the House with all due haste. I suggest they start with the things proposed here.  It will die in the Senate, where every liberal can be on record as being opposed to capitalism, a free market, real growth and prosperity, or if the Senate has any sense of self preservation Comrade-in-Chief Obama will veto it. It doesn’t matter, as long as this socialist is in the White House real growth is impossible because he will try to regulate everything to death. Real growth beginning on January 20th 2013. However, the House Republicans need to pass their own sweeping economic plan to show that the Republican Party actually stands for something, actually has principles, actually has a spine and actually has a pair (Right now the only person I can apply all of those appellations to in the GOP primary field is Bachmann, especially that last one). The House, the Senate, and the White House can be won or lost in the next week. If the Republican Party shows it actually stands for Conservative economic values and is willing to back that up with votes, they win. End of story. Every time Republicans have run on being true fiscal conservatives they win—they lose when they play to the center, play to compromise, play to compassionate conservatism and play to social conservatism. They win when they have the balls to defend capitalism. I pray that I see they have learned this lesson in the coming month.

However that is not going to be the main thrust of this blog. Why? Well because I’m about to piss off just about every single conservative I know.

What’s the second thing I hate?

Football. The great sport of socialism. 

Let’s ignore for the moment that football is rank barbarism, outdone only by the true viciousness of boxing and the UFC, that plays to the absolute worst within the human soul. Let’s ignore that most football players should be behind bars not worshiped as icons (even forgetting the massive list of assaults, attempted murder and various other felonies…and just focusing on the fact that they let a man who gets his jollies by torturing dogs play this sport! And the rest of the league didn’t walk in disgust stating they would not play with such a disgusting sociopath! That should tell you the ethical quality of football players. I wonder if a child rapist could play if he could throw the ball the entire length of the field?) Ignore the fact that the majority of these players have an IQ that makes most rocks look like rocket scientist and thus should be the last people we have society look up to. Ignore the fact that that I would say it’s a safe bet that 90% of them are on steroids. Ignore all of that. I hate football because no sport so represents the ideals of socialism more and no sport steals my hard earned money to glorify its crude barbarism more than football. Yes this is a capitalistic problem with football, not just a snob’s problem with it.

(I’m going to make some comparisons to other sports in here which I believe to be correct, but if not, please inform me and I will make corrections. I watch only baseball games when sitting in the stadium and the Olympics on TV, so sports really isn’t my best subject).

How does football resemble socialism? First, almost every team sport does its obsession of working together over individual performance (some more than others, football being the sport where the individual can have the least effect…on the other end of the spectrum you have baseball where every single pitch comes down to a battle between two individuals). But more so than just the nature of team sports let’s look at the professional level sport. Football makes a lot of money from TV revenue…which it then pays in EQUAL shares to all of the teams. Doesn’t matter which team draws in more viewers, doesn’t matter which team invested more into the stadium or the players…everyone takes an equal cut. From each according to his ability to each according to his need. Everyone benefits from the Super Bowl, whether they made it there or not. How socialistic (I have no idea how other sports handle TV proceeds, but even if they’re all doing this it’s quite socialistic in its nature). Oh, and the best team gets last pick in the draft. That’s right you’re punished for being good. Oh and there’s salary caps which means you can’t pay people what you would pay them if you could (I think all football players are overpaid, but that doesn’t mean I don’t support their right to make as much money as possible if someone is willing to pay for it). Doesn’t sound like capitalism to me.

But these are private corporations and they have the right to run their organizations however they see fit. Let’s talk about where their socialist values begin to hurt me and you.

Oh and dare we forget that most of those stadiums were built with city bonds, or city exemptions to this or that or all taxes, or various other forms of corporate welfare. The idea is that the city will make back its money from tax revenue of increased ticket sales, increase restaurant use around the stadium and increased tourism. This is never the case. Even if they were getting close to even breaking even, most cities then have to deal with threats by team owners to move if they aren’t offered a new set of tax breaks and incentives. Pure corporate welfare. And nothing but that. And as you know I blame corporate welfare as one of the main causes for making our economic system unstable. This is city tax money being wasted to subsidize multi-million dollars businesses. My tax payer money. Your tax payer money. If you like the sport so much, pay for it in increased ticket prices. But don’t demand I subsidize your entertainment. I would love to see more Shakespeare plays put on, but I will never ask that your tax payer dollars go to support my preference; any good capitalist should understand the reverse is true. And any good socialist can go to hell.

But on this point football isn’t that different from other sports (may their unethical un-capitalistic owners all burn in hell). So I know I still haven’t proven that football is more socialistic than any other sport.

So let’s go down a level from the professional level. Even if cities, states, and the federal government banned corporate welfare in all forms (which they should all do) football would still be socialistically sucking off the teat of the taxpayer. Why do I say this? Well there’s the college level. Just about every single state funded university in the contiguous United States has a football team. And as economist Thomas Sowell points out in his book “Economic Facts and Fallacies” just about every college in America is running its sports program in the red. As the biggest sports at any college are football and basketball, that pretty much means that these sports (with their million dollar coaches, and hundred thousand dollar scouts, and thousand dollar scholarships, and bonuses on the side) are costing colleges more money than they take in. Most state universities run more off of state (i.e. taxpayer) funds than they do off of real tuition. Well why not increase ticket prices. Maybe because they know if they make any more increases in prices then ticket sales will drop incredibly and they’ll make even less, and lowering the price won’t help ticket sales enough either. They’re already at optimum pricing; if they make any change in pricing they lose even more money. But that means that football and basketball at the college level are failing businesses. They don’t provide profits to the college, they provide a loss. But the argument goes, having sports brings in more donations from alumni! Really? What do most of those donations go to? Sports. So that means that these are losing money even when they’re being subsidized by donation. Sounds like a great business model. But let’s say that the other donations that come in make up the difference and the college doesn’t come out behind. First I would say that people who are going to donate for a library or a new science wing might have donated whether you have a football team or not. Second I would say, colleges need less donations anyway, as most of that money is now going to subsidize professors doing research (often in the liberal arts…I love Shakespeare, but really how many articles on him do we need?) and not teaching! Perhaps if colleges were not getting so much free cash they would cut T.A’s and make the professors actually teach their own classes. I can’t see how this would be bad for the students, actually being taught by people who know more. Further this might mean that fewer jocks were skated through classes (don’t even try to feign outrage, you know it happens) which devalues the degree of everyone who earned their education. There are only a few colleges to point to, but every college I know of that has dropped its football program has been able to drastically increase its endowment and the quality of its teaching….granted I’m working off a very small sample but just the suggestion of that fact implies we should at least try it on a larger scale. If dropping football leads to better education, then don’t we own this country a better educated populace?

Further keep in mind that it’s your tax payer dollars that go to subsidize this loosing investment in schools. So the city is subsiding this sport, as well as the state through the college. Are you beginning to wonder if this is this is a business model worth keeping? Or maybe that it exists only through government handouts.

But the socialism doesn’t end there!

You probably forgot about high schools. High schools which will cut teachers, books, fine arts, new facilities, pay raises to attract better educators (but sadly never the pay of school superintendents and principles, i.e. the most useless people on any school campus) before they cut football. At a high school level basketball doesn’t take much funding for up keep (you already need a gymnasium, which often doubles as your auditorium anyway) so you were already going to spend that money. But football is different. Football takes money for equipment (which brings to mind a quote from one of my favorite author’s “I just think it’s rather odd that a nation that prides itself on its virility should feel compelled to strap on forty pounds of protective gear just in order to play rugby.” And he’s right, rugby at least has the decency to admit its barbarity.), equipment which could fund a whole new set of microscopes for a biology class, a new set of books for an English class, possibly enough to pay a teacher to take on an extra period and actually teach more (I know it’s a radical thought that schools might be there to teach!). More skating of students (I personally have had it suggested to me that I shouldn’t flunk a football player…I did it anyway and the coward didn’t have the guts to do anything about it at the time, but the fact is that football players are skated through school to this day). Oh and let’s talk about the cost of football fields. They’re expensive. And they often have to be done every couple of years. (But the idiocy of most boards will say, we can’t do Astroturf it’s too expensive…to hell if the cost of redoing the field even twice out does the cost of Astroturf, thinking that far out would force school boards to think past the next election, which is utterly impossible for skilled politicians in Congress, you have no hope with the idiots who get on schools boards…especially since the teacher’s unions spend millions nationwide to prevent intelligent people from getting on school boards.) And those stadiums are also expensive to build and maintain…and they almost never make their money back. That’s all money coming out of your pocket again as a tax payer!

As a tax payer you pay for the local high school’s football program, the college football program, and the professional league. And if you actually like the sport you pay even more for the cable station and the stadium tickets. But for those of us who hate the sport, we still get to pay for it! Don’t tell me this isn’t socialist.

In 2010, 106 million people watched the Super Bowl! That’s the highest rated number of viewers ever. Let’s say that there was another 40 million football fans who didn’t watch because their team wasn’t playing (which is stupid because people who don’t regularly watch football watch the Super Bowl, but I’ll give you 40 million). That’s a 146 million football fans. There are 312 million people in the country currently (half of 312 is 156) so not even half of the country watches football. So the majority of taxpayers are subsidizing the entertainment of the minority. Have you ever been upset hearing that your taxpayer money is going to pay for sacrilegious images of the Virgin Mary covered in dung, or for useless modern art paintings of a giant dot on canvas, or for PBS and NPR? Or do you get upset at how many tax breaks Hollywood gets for producing movies that I am hesitant to call dung, because I could use dung as a fuel source or as fertilizer…I’m not quite sure that half of what Hollywood puts out is even as useful as that! How is that different from funding rank barbarism? Some people find that worthless modern art shit entertaining, some people find football entertaining. The government shouldn’t be paying for a dime either way.

I am willing to pay more for movies that are good because I love movies and I believe not a cent of tax payer money should go to this kind of corporate welfare. (And I would even pay more for a baseball ticket, because I think the first thing the MLB would do if it no longer had subsidies would be to fire all its current players and bring up the minors which would actually lead to more class and grace in the game and less vain showmanship). Are you willing to pay more for your football ticket? And if not will you continue to demand I pay so that you can be entertained? If so, how can you say that is anything but socialism?

Occasionally someone will try and bring up the idea that football is the only thing keeping these kids in school. Huh? If that’s all that’s keeping them in school, trust me they’re not really learning in their classes (remember all the skating I referenced) and they certainly aren’t conducive to a healthy learning environment for other students who may actually give a rat’s ass about education.

And don’t even try and bring up the idea of the scholar-athlete to me. There are scholar-athletes…but less than one in a thousand of them are football players.

I would have no problem if all levels of football paid for themselves. I still wouldn’t watch it, but I wouldn’t be as viscerally opposed to it as I am now. (Hell I might not even have a problem if the subsidies for high school and college were put up for public referendum and passed by a healthy margin). Right now it’s a socialist sink hole stealing money from me. If you want football, then you pay for it. I won’t ask you to pay for my snobby operas and plays (and any tax payer money that is going to that should be cut) and I would appreciate if you not rob from me to pay for your entertainment.

But the question is if professional football had to pay for itself, if college football had to pay for itself (and that includes paying for its own scholarships through ticket sales and donations), and if high school football programs had to pay for themselves (especially when there are far, far fewer football scholarships available, thus lowering the demand for high school football, thus lowering the pool from which the professionals can draw from), do you really think that this sport could survive? I don’t think it could. And if that thought disgusts you, remember you should be a capitalist and demand that only businesses that can support themselves through their own means…or do you still demand I support your entertainment through my taxes?

If you are a capitalist, which is likely if you read this blog, then you understand to have any integrity you must stand on principle and oppose these government subsidies at all levels, even if you love the sport, it has no business taking tax payer money to support itself.

Now I will admit that this is partly informed by personal bias. Some of the most disgusting and most unethical people I have known as a teacher were also the biggest supporters of those school football programs, and I can’t deny that I see a correlation between these two. But still before you bring my personal bias into this, can you deny that modern football exists in great degree due to its socialistic subsidizing by the government.

And one final question. The government seems hell-bent on supporting football (it’s doing it at three different levels!) one has to ask why? Is it just that most communities think football is so important….or it is because government understands, as the Caesars did, that if you give the people their bread and circuses they won’t pay as much attention to evils committed by the government. Just a thought.

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California, Land of the Crazies, and why the Luthor plan may be the only way to save the state.

Continuing with my astonishment at the absolute insanity that seems to permeate all of society at this point, one must mention California, Land of the Crazies. The state is all but beyond hope, and let’s take a look at why it’s so far gone.

There is no need to go over the obscene welfare state, extreme illegal immigrant problem (a problem so bad that they have become a powerful voting block, despite having no legal right to vote), and the fact that the state has avoided bankruptcy only through budget tricks that make Enron look ethical. These are all known facts. The problem comes in when you consider what California is doing about it…

Well first they elected Jerry Brown. Brown used to be Governor of California back in the 1970’s when he did the same thing to California’s economy that dim Jimmy Carter was doing to the national economy, i.e. destroying it. So it made perfect sense to reelect him again? I’ll grant you the Republican option wasn’t very good, but Brown’s track record is literally that he destroyed the California economy. I don’t care how bad the Republican option is, you don’t elect a man who has already failed at this very job.

But let’s ignore who got elected to the executive branch. The real insanity comes from the legislative branch. Sane people might want to get California’s budget under control, lure businesses back, reduce unemployment, make the cities safer. Something along those lines…but not the lunatics in California.

Let’s look at some of the things that California has busied itself with while the state went to hell.

Well first you have the fact that they decided to tax all the business that Amazon.com did in the state. This was a tax designed to go against Amazon and its business within the state, to tax them, to hurt them. It was backed by businesses whose bottom line was hurt by Amazon and designed to make it so bad that they would not be able to do business in the state—rather than lowering their prices to compete, Amazon would have to raise its prices just to stay profitable. Who suffers here? Amazon obviously, but also the consumer who no longer can find things at cheaper prices online. That’s right, the socialists in the legislature of California conspired with businesses to price gouge consumers. Do you begin to see why capitalists scoff at claims of maintaining fairness by government officials?

This law is unpopular in California. So much so that there is a move to have it overturned by the voters in a special election. In response to its unpopular nature what do the liberals in the state capital do? They move to have the laws referendum votes change to make sure that their business killing, job destroying, consumer hurting law will not be overturned. How wonderfully democratic of them. Did I say democratic? I meant fascist.

Also there seems to be no end to new business regulations coming out of California. Because being one of the five worst states for businesses isn’t enough…apparently the geniuses in California think that the only way to improve the economy is to be the most business unfriendly area in the world! Maybe that will help bring money back into the state.

But why stop with regulating businesses, when you can regulate individuals as well. If you’re a parent who wants to go out for the night and so you just hire the sixteen year old down the block to look after the kids, guess what, in California you and the sixteen year old babysitter will soon be criminals. Yes, that’s right you can now only hire adults, you have to pay them an hourly wage, have them keep an official time card, pay all the social-security/unemployment/and all other taxes for a full time employee, provide breaks and you must pay them at least minimum wage. Well if you thought teenagers were having a hard time before this in finding a job, apparently in California the goal is 0% for all teenagers. So teenagers won’t have any money to buy stuff, and parents won’t ever be going to movies or restaurants again which will kill the dining and entertainment industries even more. Not to mention is the state telling you who you are allowed to trust your children too, you personally as a parent should have no rights in this area whatsoever, the state knows best.

But the insanity doesn’t even come close to stopping there!

California is about to completely ban Styrofoam! Yes no more Styrofoam plates or cups in any restaurant or store. None whatsoever. This will of course be great for the environment because as we all know Styrofoam takes 700 years to biodegrade. Let’s ignore the fact that wax covered paper, which is what Styrofoam will be replaced by takes 400 years to biodegrade, require more money, over twice the energy (so a larger carbon footprint if you cared about such things), over ten times more chemicals to create (you think wood is naturally that color or consistency) and has far more chemical byproducts in its creation that are all harmful to the environment. To hell if Styrofoam is vastly more friendly to the environment when you actually take everything that is required to make it into account. We need to ban it because we follow the religion of environmentalism which can never be questioned by those little things called facts. This is California the state that destroyed hundreds of farms in central California all to defend an ugly fish no one ever heard of and so evolutionally backward that it can only exist in central California and will die at the drop of a hat. (Has anyone ever explained to environmentalists that the environment is almost designed to get rid of species that can’t adapt and to protect every single species is actually working against the very mechanism of evolution?)

Oh and why stop there? Let’s release thousands upon thousands of convicted felons back onto the streets. I’m sure that will do wonders for the state.

And dare we forget what California is doing to make great strides in education. Let’s make sure that we teach Gay History. But in addition to making sure that we bring up all the gay people in history, we can’t bring anything negative about any single gay person in history. (I’m not sure if this means we have to just ignore Roman history or if we have to portray all the Roman Emperors as saintly figures who wouldn’t ever do anything wrong…but either version seems somehow wrong). Did I miss a memo? Are gay people these magical people who are incapable of doing anything wrong? Because, for all his literary genius I recall that Oscar Wilde was quite the asshole, as was Michelangelo and J. Edgar Hoover. Yes, they’re all people who should be covered in any halfway competent History course, but to whitewash their acts just because they’re gay smacks a bit of 1984. Last time I checked gay people had morons and geniuses, those who were saintly and those who unspeakably evil, nice and cruel, charitable and stingy…why? because they’re human. Sexual orientation does not change the fact that you are a member of the human collective. If your acts are spectacular enough, for good or for evil, that they merit being brought up in a history course they should be brought up. Whether you’re gay, bi, straight, asexual or some category I’m forgetting, if you did something worthy of making history you get put into history, who cares who you’re attracted to. Or as my friend The Snark Who Hunts Back put it “Sorry, I was unaware I had a separate history from straight people.”

And I could go on and on…$150 additional tax for people who live in rural areas to pay for protection from fires that the fire service “accidentally” sets every year, SWAT teams sent to arrest people for selling milk, forcing all teachers to join the teacher’s union, not legalizing a major business in the form of pot use and then taxing the shit out of it, (this list could go on for pages) and dare we forget the banning of Happy meals and anti-Semitic push by the Nazis* who run San Francisco to ban circumcisions (thank god that one failed).

The state is insane! Completely, totally, certifiably, bat shit insane!

Which brings me back to the title of this blog “and why the Luthor plan may be the only way to save the state.” What’s the Luthor plan you ask? Well you probably already know it, you were just hoping I wasn’t going to go here. Most of the lunatics in California are concentrated in two areas Los Angeles and San Francisco, with a few other pockets scattered up and down the coast. In other words the loonies all seem to be west of the San Andres Fault line. What’s the Luthor plan? Well, as you may recall from the movie, it’s the idea that we need to place several large nuclear weapons on the San Andres, detonate them, and let that part of the state fall into the ocean. Good riddance. Yeah, that Luthor plan.

I’m of course joking, but can you really say that there is any logical way of dealing with insanity at this level?

*You may think that my calling the people who run San Francisco Nazi’s is just petty name calling. It’s not. They were making a law to ban a Jewish practice and enforce it with full fascist use of the law. That’s not hyperbole or name calling, using laws to hurt Jews demands that they be called what they are.

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Laws for the GOP to pass: Sane Teacher Certification

I don’t know if this could be a federal law or just have to be 50 state laws. Let’s have it be both so that we never have to deal with the BS I’m about to deal with.

So I went to go renew my teaching certificate today. It was a fairly painless process but I was reminded that I need to get more hours of “professional development” before my next renewal in six years.

Let me run down what I’ve had to do so far to get my credential in Arizona.

I had to have a credential in another state (I had two, California and Washington, they have since expired). To get the Washington Credential I had to earn a degree in English, minor in Education, pass a background check, and complete a student teaching program.

I had to have 60 hours of Structured English Immersion training. (60 hours of learning how to help students for who English is not their first language…it boils down to having some idiot tell you to treat high school students like elementary school kids with lots of games and visuals. It was 60 hours of my life that was wasted and I’ll never get back. Actually more than 60 if you count travel time.)

45 more hours of professional development. More being told to draw and act out and play with high school students. I have never used a single thing I learned in any of this because to do so would be to insult the intelligence of the slowest student I’ve ever had. I’m an English teacher, not one of these hours was dedicated to learning anything about English, grammar, writing, or literature above a 3rd grade level. Given that I primarily teach Juniors and Seniors this was all but another 45 hours of my life that was wasted.

I had to take a test on English Literature. The SAT’s were harder. And given that I have a degree in English from one of the best colleges in the nation, this too was insulting. 3 hours of my life wasted. Plus the money I had to pay to take the test.

I had to take a test on teaching skills. It was half vocab test and half what would you do in this situation questions. A trained monkey could have passed it. More money and more time wasted.

And my favorite, I had to take a test on the U.S. and Arizona state Constitutions. Because that’s relevant to my job as a teacher of English (primarily British literature if I have anything to say about it). There was actually a question about the article in the AZ state Constitution that deals with mining rights. HOW IN THE NAME OF GOD WOULD AN OBSCURE ARTICLE IN A STATE CONSTITION BE RELEVANT TO MY SKILLS TO TEACH?!!!! More time and money wasted.

Just about the only legitimate thing I had to do since leaving Washington was A) complete two years of teaching full time, and B) get my background check renewed.

Everything else was an utter waste of my time.

The tests, the hours of professional development, all worthless. Now I might respect the tests if they had been relevant to teaching, but they weren’t. Just about anyone who went to college should be able to pass those tests (of course I do live in Arizona, home of ASU)

And just to show that this isn’t just me bitching, here’s another person pointing out the system is broken. 

Teaching is an art, not a science. There is no way to test on paper whether someone is going to be a good teacher or not. Yes, there are some basic classes that everyone needs. They need classes in their subject area. They need at least one class in every subject they will not be teaching (the four subject primary and secondary education are English, History/Social Sciences, Science, and Math). They need classes in general psychology and developmental psychology. They probably need at least one class in acting because good classroom teaching involves putting on a persona that is not necessarily who you are in real life. You need a course or two in curriculum development and implementation. And maybe a course on the history and philosophy of education. There, that’s your major and minor right there.

But no, states all seem to think you need more and more and more useless “professional development” which develops nothing. You know what actually develops a teacher? Teaching! Actual teaching. It’s an art form; the only way you get better at it is by actually doing it, followed by moments of reflection and discussion with other teachers. But certainly not so-called professional development! Now I’ve been lucky and the schools I have worked for have provided this requirement for their teachers (at great cost to the company) but if you aren’t so lucky then you have to take college courses at your own expense (courses which will likely teach a teacher nothing!). So really it’s all a big scam for the colleges and states, they get to charge money for all these courses.

Do you think all this worthless education, much of it at your own expense, is going to drive out some people from the field? Probably does. Not the great teachers, no. They’ll stay because to them teaching ranks up there with breathing and water as basic needs. And it doesn’t drive out the incompetent teachers either, because they usually know they have nowhere else to go…but it drives out all of the mid-level teachers—the ones who may never inspire a student, will get the job done and teach something. You think that may have any negative repercussions…like not being able to fire the morons because you can’t replace them with anything other than another idiot.

Trust me teaching hasn’t changed much in the last few thousand years. One of the single best forms of teaching is called Socratic Discussion, it was a form of teaching used in fifth century BCE by Socrates, it hasn’t changed much since then. You don’t need to be caught up on studies or professional journals; you just need to be passionate and self-reflective.

All these piles of requirements and tests and professional development and hoops and money are a farce. States need to change their requirements to be as follows:
A) B.A. or higher in the field you’re teaching (or at least it’s tangentially related).
B) An education minor
C) A background check every few years
D) Completing a student teaching program
And for that you get a provisional certificate.

Add on three years of teaching experience and you’ve got a life time certificate because this is not something that needs to be renewed ever. If you knew it at one point you will know it until senility fully sets in.

States, get rid of all this BS….oh and make all teaching certificates for all 50 states completely reciprocal in all states.

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Republicans and Reincarnation is for sale!!!!

It’s for sale.

Republicans and Reincarnation: The Conscience of A New Age Conservative is finally for sale!!

You should buy a copy. Or three. One for you. One for your best friend whom you want to have one of the best books of the 21st century. And one just because you never know when you’ll need a back up copy.

Buy it at my publisher AuthorHouse

Barnes & Noble

Amazon  (although they apparently are not selling the Kindle version just yet, but they should have it up soon).  

Prices for the book are lower at my publisher, prices for the Nook at B&N is lower than the price at my publisher.  (Royalties are higher from my publisher, so you know where my bias lies).

Feel free to write a review or two…Feel free to mention it to every carbon based life-form you know…feel free to forward information to any member of the media you know.

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The private lives of teachers


Another reason we have a terrible education system: Parents are idiots.

Do parents want to ask about pass rates, curriculum content, test scores? Nope. Apparently there is far more fun into searching out the private lives of teachers.

Apparently, in Pennsylvania, some parents found out that one of the 10th grade teachers at the local school writes erotic fiction in her private time under a pen name. Finding this information out seems to involve going to at least 3 different web sites. Now the report doesn’t ask the obvious question of how did the parent find this out (I’m going to guess either the parent or someone they know reads this kind of fiction…and what does that say about them? Nothing, really. There is no shame in reading erotic fiction, just as there is no shame in writing it. There is however shame about requiring Puritanical standards.)

This parent who has WAY to much time on their hands to dig into the private lives of teachers says “Now my son knows so how is he thinking when he’s sitting in her class knowing what she does on the side.” First off, the way the story is written it appears that he knows because this idiot parent told him…so whose fault is that? Second, he’s in 10th grade and a boy. Hmmm. Is knowing what his teacher writes going to make him think about sex? To answer this I am going to defer to a line from possibly the greatest screenwriter/director alive (who has also been persecuted relentlessly by modern day Puritans) Joss Whedon:

“I’m seventeen. Looking at linoleum makes me wanna have sex.”

I really don’t think this knowledge is going to change the fact that the kid is a teenage boy. (God help us what he’ll be thinking when he finds out his parents had sex once.)

Now, if this teacher had been brining her work into class that would be a clear argument against her, but the hack reporter for this article could only find two former students who said they were “Shocked” to find out. Shocked, as in this teacher, who has been teaching for 25 years, gave absolutely no hint that she wrote adult fiction in her PRIVATE life.

What is this parent’s expectation that teachers go home and live like nuns in a cloister?

But here is my favorite part, this busy body Puritan of a parent states, “I think she needs to make a decision as to what she wants to do. Either be a school teacher or author.” This a teacher, who never brought this into her classroom, and from all other appearances is competent, as I’m sure this reporter who deals in smear campaigns would have turned up other complaints if they existed, but despite being competent, she can’t live her off campus life as she would wish?

Which brings up the question can parents dictate what teachers can and can’t write under a pen name on their personal time, where does the line stop? Can parents say that a teacher can’t have an outside job at all? After all they might be doing some kind of job that the parents don’t like? Can parents say a teacher can’t read certain things; after all it might corrupt their thinking and thus their teaching? Can parents dictate the sexual practices of a teacher? Can parents dictate the religion or politics of a teacher? Can they dictate whether a teacher can write about politics and religion? After all what if the teacher is a pagan conservative?

Oh wait, no, they can’t, because that’s all done in the teacher’s private life. And as long as it stays out of the classroom parents have no right to dictate what a teacher does in their private life (so long as they are not criminals, but last time I checked novels come under a basic First Amendment protection).

Of course, in the end, I can guarantee that this teacher will be forced out of her job. And after that happens I hope she sues. (I hope she sues even if she doesn’t get fired). This parent suggested publically that this teacher wasn’t good at her job. That’s slander. The reporter and the editor who allowed this report contributed to spreading this implication. That’s libel. I hope they are sued for slander and libel and forced to sell everything they have and still be in debt to this teacher.

But this is indicative of a much larger problem. Do parents care about the actual curriculum? Do they care about how their kid is doing? DO they care about the actual quality of teachers? Or how funds are being allocated in the school? Do they care about what is best for the student? Apparently not, apparently the only parents that care enough to get involved are the ones who want to have the morals of the community as in the Scarlet Letter. (For a pagan like me I seem to remember what they like to do to my kind, involved wood and stakes, and fire. Not what I’m looking on returning to.)

Hmmm. Maybe parents should care more about what goes on in the classroom, than what teachers are doing outside of it.

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