We Have Let Down Education


I once was arguing with somebody on the internet regarding public education.

This person’s comeback was that public education was an idea of Karl Marx.

Here is a philosophical flaw of that.  Every philosophy may seem perfect on paper, but it’s the execution of philosophies which find the flaws.

Take a football play.  Every single offensive football play was designed to score a touchdown.  Show me one play which does not have an arrow pointing to infinity.  The fact is that most football plays do not execute as well as they are drawn up.  Truth.  Because most plays do not actually score touchdowns.

fullback-dive

See how the arrow for the running back does not stop.  Nobody draws a philosophy which gets stopped.

So I come to the part of my article where I drop quotes from somebody with whom I agree with philosophically.

The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.
-Thomas Jefferson

Know any ignorant people?

Know anybody who is trying to be king?

Know of any nobles (or rich people) trying to take more power?

Know of any religions (CPAC) trying to influence government?

I’m about to get long-winded.  If you came here because google accidentally gave you Betsy DeVos instead of Betsy Ross…

Run!  And my apologies.

Now that all the fourth graders are out of the room, I can feel free to swear like it’s going out of style.

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
-Thomas Jefferson

It’s my thinking that we have stopped funding the school system appropriately so that we can Make America Ignorant Again.  It’s worked.

We pay teachers near poverty wages for going to school five to six years.  We entrust them with the future of our children, but have dismissed giving the tools to these people we once did.  We have set them to fail.  And it should be viewed as an American failure.

We have done this for a couple of reasons.

First, wages have stayed stagnant.  Therefore the taxes we collect which fund schools has decreased compared the growth in cost of living.  Corporations have fought for better profit and have, therefore, set themselves up as the keepers of the educational gate since they can afford to send their children (and future generations thanks to inherited wealth) to private schools with better teachers.

Second, people don’t believe in the educational system.  They have dismissed it as liberal and with an agenda.  No agenda.  Climate change and evolution is not fiction.

Ignorance.

Next, there is this common thinking that anything for profit is better than a socialized system.  This isn’t only a conservative idea.  See what Clinton did for the prison system.  Anybody who is easily influenced by capitalism and those who wish to influence how money gets distributed can influence a politician.

How much money does one have to have to think the only good thing to do with their money is influence elections?  That is another blog post.  Another time.

Let’s fast forward to Betsy DeVos.  She thinks that the public school system should be replaced with a charter school system.  Basically, parents should have the choice of the ignorance they will accept for their children.  Basically, she thinks that systems that work for profit instead of education work better.

This is less about DeVos and more about what got us here.

The Jefferson quotes above were chosen because that was the vision.  We educate the future so they will not be ignorant when they vote.  Do not let the elite, the religious, and the monarchs demean the use of education.  Do not let them dictate what should be taught and what should not be taught.

We already know that my children never had the same opportunities as Barron Trump has.  He will be taken care of every step of the way.  Likely not by his father, but he will see many more benefits than my children ever saw.

Education should not work like that.  Intelligence and creativity should not be held down.  It should be tendered to.  It should be allowed to grow as tall is it can.  There should never be a financial price tag associated with it.

That is the flaw.

What needs to happen is that we need to pay our educators a salary that doesn’t leave them in poverty or seeking a second job.  And I don’t want to hear about this summers off and all that shit.  I’m all for eliminating summer vacation.  It’s not beneficial.  In today’s two income family system, it likely puts more of a strain on families.  A strain that was not ever intended.

We need to create a curriculum that is fair.  And get text books back into the system.  My kids didn’t have text books that they could actually bring home and use for much of their childhood.  Seems ridiculous that I should be forced to dig for answers because there wasn’t enough of a budget to buy text books.

By the way, I believe that we need to get back to a one salary per family system.  One salary should be a living wage so that there is enough guidance and home education.  We have done ourselves a disservice on so many levels by cutting the wages of the average family to the point that the children end up suffering the most.

I enjoyed teaching my kids when they didn’t understand something, but I’ve always been forced to work so many hours it was exhausting at times.  But I feel that is the one advantage I offered over the childhood of rich kids.  I was there.

Bottom line, as I approach the magic 1,000 words, is that we really should be getting back to internal solutions.  Increasing the defense budget by 10% because of the fear that the government and media is peddlling is counterproductive.  We need to invest in ourselves.  After all, it is our taxes paying for all of it.

We all know Trump isn’t putting anything into the kitty.  Why should he get all the breaks?

And, my final point, the intention of a good public education system was intended to keep a guy like Trump out of the White House.  It was intended to create a educated voting class which would be able to assess the dangers of certain candidates.

But here we are.

A guy elected on the ignorance of the country and seeking to create more ignorance.

What else will the wealthy do to try and create an advantage?

We Stood There Like a House on the Side of the Road


Back in the 90’s I got a baseball game I really enjoyed playing.  There was no high end graphics.  It was all text.  And audio.  It was a statistical simulation which I really enjoyed.

I plugged my PC’s audio to my stereo and I would listen to my games being played out.

Ernie Harwell had the call on APBA’s Baseball.  It was pretty cool for its time.  It included a Markov calculation for the best lineup.

So.

Damn.

Cool.

One of Harwell’s calls came when a batter stuck out looking.

He stood there like a house on the side of the road and watched it go by.

Great line from a Hall of Fame announcer.  Take the bat off your shoulders.  You can’t ever succeed if you don’t even swing the bat.

Ernie Harwell is gone from this world, but I still appreciate the announcing style he presented.  I wish there were more announcers like those of his era.

I rushed home today and listened to the calls of the local Major League Baseball team as it was the first Spring Training game.  I had the news on with the sound down as I streamed the baseball game through my Sonos speaker over MLB At Bat app.

Times have changed over the last 20 years.

In many ways.

Baseball, as I’ve preached over the years, reminds me of my childhood.  Of being young.  I enjoy the game, but it’s not like I’m as passionate about it as others.  I’m not as passionate about it as, say, the fans of the local National Football League team.  I have no flags or decals on my car and there no day which is dedicated to the sport weekly.  I catch it when I can.

Baseball is a daily thing that allows me to enjoy it at my leisure.  And I do.

As I listened to the announcers of today tell me about every statistic they can muster up, I watch as Trump tweets are thrown up on the screen.  I’m sorry, today is not the day for a full baseball post.  It’s just not.

Sorry if I just lost you.

But I wish Ernie Harwell would have called this past year.  Not that he was political.  To my knowledge.

America, you stood there like a house on the side of the road and watched this happen.

America had a crazy great uncle who was always inviting himself to gatherings, but nobody had the guts to kick him out.  And he would say all kinds of crazy things to people.  He would offend the hell out of them.  But nobody had the decency to tell him he was wrong or he needed to stop saying things.

Political correctness really has a place.

And I have a grandmother who does these things.  She does not know when not to say things.  Or when NOT to say things.  I can’t help what people think, but you should be ashamed if comes out your mouth.

And then one day a member of the family started dating a black guy.  Well, many people liked this guy except for the crazy great uncle who kept inviting himself to the gatherings.

And crazy great uncle Donald started telling others that the one black boyfriend does not belong in the house.  He started convincing others that he was doing bad things outside the home.  He got really mad.  He gained momentum and eventually shifted the family gatherings to his house.

Nobody challenged him.  They just let it happen.  The problem is that not enough people said no.

Trump threw shade on the DNC nomination of Perez today.  He’s like a mean girl with old, orange skin.  Crazy great uncle Donald should have never been given a phone or taught how to sign up for Twitter.

trump20170225b

We have to accept that, as a country, we just stood there watching strike three.  We just stood there and accepted what could possibly happen.  And it may be because crazy great aunt Hillary was trying to get the gatherings at her stinky house.

The anger is coming out.

Nobody is all that comfortable with it.

This house is already smelling like Ben Gay and gun powder.

Crazy Great Uncle Donald recently dismissed that he was Anti-Semitic by telling the world that he was the least Anti-Semitic person in the world.

So I remind you of a tweet (one of many) he posted regarding Jon Stewart.  “Overrated” is a go to line.  Trump is racist.  His footprints follow him

trump20140424

And, remember, he followed up his comments regarding Jews by telling the world his is the least racist person in the world.

If only he didn’t hate the black guy dating a member of the family simply by rounding up all the people who hate black people he could find.

If you’re not following, Obama was born in America.

It seems we’ve lost the power to tell crazy great uncle Donald he’s wrong now.  He can’t hear you.  He won’t hear you.  He thinks he’s in charge.  And like a 12 year old girl who has been dumped by his boyfriend of two months, he has tweeted out hatred toward the media.  Because that’s how he deals.

trump20170225

He also announced he won’t be going to the Spring Fling dance.  Take that boyfriend.  If you won’t love him, he won’t go at all.  And the White House Correspondents’ Dinner may be great again.

Nobody loves you, crazy great uncle Donald.  Your support is fake support.  You need to realize this.

You’re so unwilling to accept what people have to say of you, that your only defense is that of third grade “rubber and glue” defense.  Congratulations.

I’m not amazed that we got to this point.  I actually thought it would happen.

But as I start listening to more and more Spring games on my Sonos, I must be reminded of that famous Ernie Harwell call above.

Crazy great uncle Donald won the game because, in a game of 27 outs, 14 refused to swing the bat at all.

They just stood there like a house on the side of the road and watched it happen.

Tell Me If I’m Full Of Shit


I’ve probably written on this story before.  I don’t think it matters.

I’m reminded of it after watching a segment on CNN.  They told me that Trump has fired many people who did not agree with him 100%.

And then I watched a segment on MSNBC.  Similar story.

I’ve talked of a manager I had early on in my life who was the first to promote me.  I was around 24.  He said, “The reason I’m promoting you is because you are the only person here who will tell me if I’m full of shit.”

He continued, “You can’t tell me this all of the time.  I know what I’m doing.  But if you see something blatantly wrong, call me on it.”

I’ve spent my entire career telling people the same thing.  Promoting people with the same line.  Trying to get people to help me succeed.

I can’t see everything.  I know processes.  I know how to work toward metrics.  I know.
But, as I tell everybody who has been promoted under me, let me know if I’m missing something.  I tell them I want them to succeed.  I tell them I take care of those who take care of me.  I tell them I believe in empowering people.

I don’t like failing.  I don’t like letting people down.

I’ve had bosses on the other end of the spectrum.  Keep me away from those people.  I cannot believe in anybody who thinks every thought they ever had was the only correct thought.  It’s not.

I watch the news today.

Stop.

The news reports Trump’s hypocrisy.  Trump calls it fake news.  The news reports that they are not fake news.

You are being duped.  All of you.

Bigly.

And now the “fake news” is reporting on how Trump won’t accept anybody who does not agree with him.

Small hands needs to be big enough to accept a person who tells him he is full of shit.

And so does Clinton and the Democratic failure that is looming.  Wait.  That has already happened.  Accept that you are full of shit.  Accept you are barking up the wrong tree.
Just because you have all the money does not make you right.  It actually makes you elitist.  It actually makes you the enemy.  Not the press.

Inherited wealth is not brilliance.

A career politician is not brilliance.

Super PACs do not make you smarter. Or my trustworthy.

All of you need to accept that you are wrong sometimes.

Full of shit.

Maybe out of touch.

And now I’m thinking of more lyrics.

We’re all equal
Except for you
‘Cause you’re an asshole with an ugly point of view
And your insecurities
Can’t you tell, they’re driving me insane
Maybe in one day
They will conquer all
But in the mean time, you can try to build your walls
Our generation
We’re taking over
Hope we don’t die with that
Chip on your shoulder
Maybe in one day

I agree with the generation point.  Because, regardless of party, the younger generation is more progressive than previous generations.  We all know somebody.  We’ve all met people.

I’ve raised my children on a couple rules.  They are not original thoughts, but I’ve accepted them.

Question everything.

Think for yourself.

So I expect they will succeed with a boss who is willing to be questioned.

I welcome it.

And the flaw I see in the current world is that it is not accepted.  It’s frowned upon.  We have a leader who will not accept challenge.  In fact, each challenge prompts him to question the question.  It’s really a horrible scheme.  It’s really a horrible flaw in a leader.

In my opinion.

Listen, Cheeto head, if you won’t accept criticism, you’re not fit for the job.

I don’t think you’re fit for the job you’ve been doing the last 40 years.  You’ve been a failure who has merely used the system and inherited wealth to feed your ego.  Bankruptcy is real.  You fucking failed four times.  And then there is the USFL.  And the marriages.  Maybe you needed somebody to tell you that you were wrong or going the wrong direction.  But you refused to listen or accept criticism.

So you bullshit your way through life and then you bullshit people with red hats and orange skin.

Fuck you.

I’ll do it.  I’ll let you know.

You’re full of shit.

I got this job back in May.  I worked six days a week for a few months not taking a day off until I determined who was in my crew I could trust and who might actually question me.  I made the right choice.

He tells me I’m missing something if I really am.

I’m good with this.  I’m not always right and I don’t pretend to be perfect.

I’m human.

I’m saying if I was President of the United States….

I would only hire people if I’m convinced they they would tell me if they think I’m completely full of shit.

But if I were President, you couldn’t tell me I’m full of shit all the time.

>If I won convincingly.

Best Rock Song


As much respect as I have for David Bowie’s career and talent, the best rock song was not Blackstar.  I realize why he won the rock Grammys, but let’s be real, the album released hours before he died wasn’t that great.

This, though, this is good.  And stuck in regular rotation for me.

I’m feeling the way that I’m feeling myself
Fuck everyone else
Gotta remember that nobody’s better than anyone else, here
(Do you need some time to think it over?)
Look what they do to you; look what they do to me
Must be joking if you think that either one is free, here

Get up off your knees, girl
Stand face to face with your God
And find out what you are
(Hello, my name is human)
Hello, my name is human
And I came down from the stars
(Hello, my name is human)

I’m ready for love, and I’m ready for war
But I’m ready for more
I know that nobody’s ever been this fucking ready before, hey
(Do you need some time to think it over?)
So figure it out, or don’t figure it out
I figured it out
The bigger the river (the bigger the river), the bigger the drought (the bigger the drought)

Get up off your knees, boy
Stand face to face with your God
And find out what you are
(Hello, my name is human)
Hello, my name is human
And I came down from the stars
(Hello, my name is human)

Fire world[?] I love you
Fire world[?]

I’m up off my knees, girl
I’m face to face with myself
And I know who I am
(Hello, my name is human)
And I stole the power from the sun
I’m more than just a man
(No longer disillusioned)

But, more so, this song.  I wake up with it in my head.

Progress. Is.


I’ve been working on this idea for a few days.  Seems as if it is worth writing.

I’m not really worried about Trump.  He’s been exposed as a liar and a hack.  He’s nothing but a conman.  His strength should diminish with each and every day  that passes.

He’s still scary.  The fact that people agree with his policies.

I’ve really been thinking about what the reaction will be.  Whether the reaction will be neo-liberal or truly progressive.

I’m going to start with some quotes from some famous people.  And a definition.

pro·gres·sive
/prəˈɡresiv/
noun

1. a person advocating or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas.

Now, let’s look at some progressive ideas over the years.  I’m not talking anything recent.  Let’s go back in the way back machine.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
– Albert Einstein
This is relevant.  The reason for the dissent in the Democrat party had nothing to do with Trump.  It had everything to do with whether or not we should embrace progressive values or continue to do the same damn thing we’ve been doing for 40 years.
Do we elect another corporate candidate?  Or do we move forward and try to progress?
The following quotes are from two people who share the exact same birthday today.
Yes, February 12, 1809 was the birthday of both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character give him power.
     – Abraham Lincoln
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
– Charles Darwin
 The Lincoln quote can be directed right toward Trump.  He has power.  He has shown his true colors.  He lied repeatedly on the campaign trail.
Neither his lies nor his actions are progressive.
The Darwin quote is what Trump feasts on.
Wait, it’s also what Joy Reid feasts on.  It’s what all the neo-liberals count on.
The understandable reaction to what is going on in the United States today is full on progressive change.  We need to make a statement.  We need to reject the ideas that have put all of America in the position it is in.
In order to do that we must get younger.  Stop holding back new voices.
The true flaw of the last election was the it was between two people who held extremely old ideas and neither was trying to move forward.  The Democrats deflated the footballs and refused to move forward.
 If we look back at the past 60 years, each generation of progressives has changed the thinking of the previous generation.
Think of how Sessions was determined to be “too racist” in the 1980’s.  Think of all the racism that existed back then.  How racist does one need to be to be too racist back then?
This is called regressive.
How about our new Secretary of Education?
This is a regressive candidate.
The entire Administration is regressive.  They are trying to undo generations of progress.  And instead of moving forward, the Democrats have allowed it to happen.
The reaction needs to be swift and harsh.  The reaction needs to be strong.
Progressive ideas have brought to us civil rights, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, and an overall acceptance of all things we hadn’t understand the generation before.  Just in my own lifetime, acceptance and tolerance has grown greatly.
Think about the acceptance of homosexual people during the last 25 years.
Think about the lack of hope all young adults must feel today.  Nobody has addressed the needs of these young people.  They are entering a world in which getting a minimum wage job is not enough to live on their own.  They are entering a world in which the middle class is shrinking and nobody is trying to help that cause.
Progressive values are the values of the youth.  They are the values that will drive the future.  They are the values that people crave.
Not the comfortable.  Not the generations previous.  There’s a cut.  There’s a turn.
There’s an age in which things became less comfortable for the common person.  Your average politician would not understand.  You average billionaire definitely would not understand.
Anybody with inherited wealth should not be making decisions for the regular population.
There needs to be a sharp turn toward progressive values.  Quickly.
The youth needs to get involved and make their voices heard.
Apathy is the desired effect and it’s working.  Don’t give in.
This country has moved too far right.  Too complacent.  We need to take a page from a couple progressives who were born on this day years and years ago.
We need to take chances.  We need to take strides.
For fuck’s sake, we need a swift progressive reaction.
Challenge the status quo and demand more.
Demand progress.

Benevolent Dictator- Bait and Switch


I promise this will come together, so bear with the pieces of information in the beginning.

We are the product of everything that has happened to us.  This is the truth.  I refuse to believe anything else because I’ve witnessed this over and over.  It starts with the genes that were given to us, it moves on to how we were raised, it’s influenced by the people and events we’ve witnessed and interacted with, and it ends with death.

There are random events between genes and death which will influence us all with some coefficient.  Yes, I believe it’s math.

When I write, I often find inspiration from those in which I can have honest discussions.

I have a problem:  I cannot back down from any conversations regardless of topic.

It’s a flaw I’ve learned to live with.

I currently have a boss who goes to great lengths to restrict honest discussion regarding anything.  I received an email once.

Years ago I had weekly interactions with a person from the other side of this country.  He picked up product every Tuesday.  That was it.  And he would come in to my office and wait for his paperwork.

He hated Obama.  Told me that Obama would take away all our guns.  He told me that he lived in Illinois and knew best what Obama really wanted to do.

I wish Joe was alive now for me to show him how many guns everybody has.

Joe also discussed with me one night that what the United States really needs is a benevolent dictator.  He thought we needed a person who would step in, do what’s right for everybody, and things would just fix itself.

Because, let’s face it, the reason we can’t have good things is because Congress is too easily influenced to do the wrong thing.  At all cost.

Greed ruins everything.

We’ve all seen it repeatedly.

But I don’t think Joe was alone, because while half the country sat at home on election night, the rest voted for a man who they seemingly thought could be that benevolent dictator.

The key was that the country needs to move away from politics as usual.  Step away from the normal that we’ve experienced over the last forty years.

I think if Joe were alive today, we’d revisit this benevolent dictator discussion from eight years ago.  We’d revisit whether or not the man who ran to be the benevolent dictator has changed adjectives.  Spoiler alert:  Trump is not benevolent.  At least not to the average person.

He’s really just dictator.

No, corporate dictator.

Were he to be a benevolent dictator, his executive orders would be very different.

His cabinet would be completely different.

I recently read that the word “very” should never be used because there is a better word to describe what you are saying.  I’m not sure I have one for very different, but I’m going to think on that.

A benevolent dictator would not ban people from a certain region.

A benevolent dictator would not hire only men to decide what women would be legally allowed to do regarding their bodies.

A benevolent dictator would not sign only billionaires on to help run the government as if it was a fraternity of the wealthy.  One cannot really run the government like a business.

A benevolent dictator would never use religion.

A benevolent dictator would not deregulate.

A benevolent dictator would not be so upset about his daughter losing business with Nordstrom’s.  Or Macy’s.  Or Ross.

So I have some executive orders that a benevolent dictator may sign.  Because, let’s face it, a benevolent dictator is making rules to help people.  Not business.  If people have money, then business will do well.

Those were the laws of the past.

We have conned people into thinking that businesses need continued growth on our backs.  We have convinced the people that they need less than they’ve ever had before so that the Trump family can have more each and every year.

And so that the Koch Brother finally feel like people because of Citizen’s United.

It’s like what happened to Pinocchio.

So here are a few executive orders I would sign.  Things that would really help people.

  1.  I’m calling this the Vonnegut Amendment- Every person who wants a job deserves to get a job at a living wage.  Basically, we need to encourage the growth of this country not through golf courses and credit and Wall Street, but through middle class growth.  We need to get people in a position where they can spend money readily and stimulate the economy.  We need to help people raise families.
  2. No corporation is human.  They just aren’t.  They have people who work for them.  They cannot donate anymore than they could the lowest earning human.  They cannot spend company money influencing the government.  Stop giving more influence to the wealthy.  It does nobody any good.
  3. Churches start paying taxes.  If a barista is responsible for paying taxes on her tips, then a pastor should have to pay taxes on his tips.  When I see churches larger and better built than the neighborhoods they live near, we have an issue.  You may say this is ultimate socialism.  I say the wealth of a church should exist only in the words that are said.
  4. On top of that, a clear separation of church and state.  It needs to happen.  There should not be a PAC for every major religion so that they get to influence politicians.  There should not be anybody who tells me what his or her religion says in regards to a certain law.  I call this the Reason Amendment.
  5. A Fighting Chance Amendment- All people have a right to education, health care, and time off work.  We need to rebuild the family and the mental state of those within the family.  We should privatize education nor health care.  We shouldn’t profit off those wanting to do better for themselves.  We need to develop a country to be prosperous, and the best way to achieve that is to guarantee all people have a chance and opportunity.  I find it laughable that wealthy, corporate Republicans talk about family while unwilling to help even the poorest earning families.
  6. Congress can only give themselves raises if the people get more money each year.  I’m not looking at median wages.  I’m talking minimum wage.  If the demand for the average employee raises 3%, Congress can take a 3% raise.  Congress only gets health care for life if they offer people health care for life.  There needs to be a fair representation of the people in Congress.

There’s my benevolent dictator orders for day one.

Maybe I’ll come back with day two soon.

Regardless, we need to build up the working class again.