Sunday, November 17, 2013

sub-substituting

The only thing worse than being a substitute, is being a substitute in a long term contract.  When you sub in a class you step in for a teacher who has specific things to do and needs to step out of her classroom.  Most of those things take only a day, maybe two on occasion; but when a teacher is gone for an extended period of time, 30 days and more, the process of substituting changes into one of teacher rather than substitute.  One way to see this change is to notice what happens when the substitute gets sick; another substitute is called to take over for the first substitute who is still subbing for the original teacher. 

The real issue here is experience and credentialing over just another warm body hired to sit in a class and make sure the kids don’t actually cause themselves or others harm.  The experienced teacher is an asset and has the knowledge to keep a class moving in the right direction.  For the normal substitute almost any-body will do for one day and perhaps even three or four but when a replacement teacher is needed over a longer period the needs of the class require a well versed, well educated and prepared teacher, not a simple substitute.

I therefore propose a simple classificational change of the term “substitute” creating a sub (more appropriately a chief designation) category that designates those willing to replace temporarily but who have those essential qualification needed to step in and swap the teacher for a time, taking over the duties in mass, continuing the educational process as if the teacher were still there, this category should be paid commensurate with their leadership potential and long term needs of the class.

Most districts do pay long term subs more but the pittance currently paid in relation to the duties expected are abysmally inadequate and only the hopeful, newly graduated seem to be willing to bear the often overwhelming duties with very limited compensation.  Very often these long term needs are passed from sub to sub and the class in general tries to survive, never flourishing, never really succeeding but barely getting by as each successive, unprepared and unknowing temporary teacher wanders in, staying a few days, maybe even a few weeks and then leaves realizing the work required is not worth the money earned.  In many cases the district themselves change substitutes in order to keep them from the slightly higher pay of a long term status.  A district may save a whopping 30 dollars a day by limiting the successive days of a substitute within a specific class.  I think we can wipe out the national debt with this practice. 

My current position as a substitute has brought me to a multi-grade, multi- disabilities class that requires a considerable amount of time and effort in order to advance the students in relation to their goals and needs.  My experience as a special education specialist and special person based upon my own set of special talents and special insights have prompted me to stay with this tenuous but ever growing position.  The kids need the stability and I like the job but the pay is nowhere near what it should be in relation to what I have to do to be prepared each day.

To the district I am only a substitute.  I was called specifically for the position because of my credential in special education and I am able to stay in the position because I have a good handle on the class, the kids are progressing as they should and I have good aides that are a tremendous help but for the ordinary substitute the class would be a daily nightmare and I am certain that only a few select few would be able to deal with not only the challenges but be able to create a positive and educational environment conducive to real learning and success. 

I may be patting my own back but I am not alone in this there are many who are well qualified who work as substitutes and get paid the same amount as the 90 year old, retired postal worker who simply needs more money and passed the CBEST (California Basic Skills Test) and decided substituting was great way to keep working.  Those that are highly qualified should be paid much more than those who simply babysit.  I am not a babysitter and take great pride in doing a great job while the primary teacher is away.

Districts need to understand the difference between a substitute and a visiting teacher, a babysitter and a real stand in who knows the lines and is ready to sing or play the part required so the show goes on as before.  Why districts lump all substitutes together boggles my mind except perhaps for the desire of districts to simply not pay for the sake of being cheap. I can think of no reason not to pay those experienced and credentialed persons with a more proportionate rate to their true value.

For myself and in the current position I will most likely continue.  I feel too strongly for the educational process not to continue to serve these little guys.  I can’t imagine the trauma of subjecting them to different faces each week or those that barely qualify as a substitute trying to teach these disabled children.

I know I will be taken advantage of, and I know the district will try to get me to do as much as possible without having to pay me what I’m worth, but my position is also very clear, I know what I’m worth, I will be helping these kids regardless of the districts ineptitudes and uncaring attitudes.  For me, for now that will be payment enough but in the future it would be nice to be treated like the teacher I am and not the substitute who sleeps behind the desk or plays on his phone or simply stares into space, drooling and slack jawed waiting for the bell to ring.  We have enough of those in government, we don’t need them in school.



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Darkness Intesified

The ominous and elusive prospect of Dark Matter brings to mind the eternal struggles between light and dark, good and evil with planets spinning and careening between the illuminated cosmos and the darkened underworld.  Satan himself guiding his minions through the shadowy causeways, obscured and invisible as they manipulate, conjure up likable images of pleasure and repose but never revealing themselves.

There is no proof, no real evidence of their existence and so it is with Dark Matter.  The only verification is in the diminishing number of tested theories, leaving the matter of Dark Matter an unknown variable in the ever expanding question that is our cosmos.

The Father of Darkness is genuine for some and nothing more than a child’s tale to others.  It is the mind of man that seems to determine the viability of the unknown.  If it is real within one’s mind then it has credence in the realm of veracity and so it is with the search for Dark Matter and so it is also with man’s search for the divine or that opposite entity of evil.    It may not be enough to simply believe but the evidences of absence can be a very strong indication of possible unknown truths not yet discovered.

As it was for years with the Higgs Boson discovery at Bern that illusive but monumental discovery is closely related to all that is dreamed but still undiscovered.   This process of eventual and incremental detection is fundamental in science where far too often the grandiose has taken precedence for funding purposes leaving the basics of the scientific process at odds with the realities of honest peer review.  

Not directly related to the search for Dark Matter but more influenced by the Father of Darkness is that determination to get recognition prior to substantiation and duplication of facts, moving all science away from the light of true discovery.  The very essence of the scientific process has been compromised to such an extent that it will take years of peer study and duplication to verify the claims of so many that the literal cause of science has been reversed by decades leaving a huge mass of darkness where once only light and progress existed.

The search for Dark Matter has at least been spared many of these charlatanistic processes and even though the search is still ongoing it can be said that the search is still viable and on track. With each new discovery that one theory is not going to work positively limits the field of potential theories with a growing hope that the remaining will prove successful.  What did Sherlock Holmes say? “Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth.

The parallels between Dark Matter and its obvious influences on gravity and light can be related to the unseen but often felt influences of darkness from that Father of Lies who has done an excellent job of disguising his existence.  On one hand you have a form of matter that is being sought after and the other a form of influence that is being discounted and overlooked.  Both have a profound effect on our daily lives and both are espoused by theoretical principals that govern their proposed existence but the later is mostly ignored and placed conveniently in the category of Greek or Roman Mythology and never really given the respect it’s due.

Theorizing that something exists is perhaps the first step in understanding the motivations of that something.  By contrast ignoring evidence for personal gain is not only dishonest but it is personally damaging.  It’s OK not to know but it’s not OK to ignore or be ignorant of the obvious.  Are we influenced by Dark Matter, the assumption is that we are, and are we influenced by the darkness that shadows the light of discovery?  Should we ignore the obvious despite the negative consequences that those apparent signs of evidence loudly proclaim, even when those signs cause us to rethink our motivations or prompt us to change?  I think we all agree that we should not.  It’s like driving down a winding road and a large sign warns of danger, “slow down”, do we speed up or do we heed the warning?

Warning signs can be obvious or subtle but they are ever present, telling us to be careful, reduce our speed, merging traffic, be considerate but most important don’t be influenced by the darkness that permeates our existence.  That darkness is an important part of our lives. It never ceases and never lets up.  The darkness will always be there, it will always be a persistent and almost all encompassing force to overcome. “According to the Planck mission team, and based on the standard model of cosmology, the total mass–energy of the known universe contains 4.9% ordinary matter, 26.8% dark matter and 68.3% dark energy. Thus, dark matter is estimated to constitute 84.5% of the total matter in the universe and 26.8% of the total content of the universe.” (Wikipedia)

We are surrounded by the darkness.  But that darkness can be overcome and with a single spark of light that darkness disappears replaced by the shining light of inspiration, the glow of sight and the dispelling attitude of knowing that we are not alone in our fight against evil.  Let your light so shine ….and for heaven’s sake don’t shine your light under a bush, it won’t do you or anyone any good.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Spying and lying

As a kid one of my super powers was that of invisibility, I wanted to be able to secretly move in and out of rooms without anyone knowing I was there.  Robbing banks would have been a snap and getting into a movie for free would have been great and there were other things that crossed my adolescent mind as well that I don’t need to elaborate but being invisible just seemed like the perfect super power to have.

One of my favorite comics growing up was the Atom.  He could shrink himself to atom size and travel through the phone lines jumping out at the other end of any phone, almost instantly appearing and with super strength he would vanquish his foes with ease.  His minuscule size made him almost invisible and that was close enough for me.   The only problem was it took him longer to dial the phone then it did to travel across the country, just a minor problem I know but it’s those minor and often insignificant issues that give us the most problems.

Like spying for example, it’s great to be a spy and the information gleaned from spying is often very valuable giving the spyer an advantage over the spyee or is it the spyee over the spyer?  In any rate the act of spying has its advantages; that is until the spy gets caught, like the US did when listening in on the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.  Those minor little glitches or problems that arise from well intentioned motivations are often the cause of great concern.  I’m not sure what kind of information we got from listening in on her cell phone but the consequences of getting caught may mitigate any good information and may completely negate any further relations we thought we had with Germany, currently an ally.

The information about this spying fiasco actually came by way of another spy who decided to spy on the US and disseminate thousands of pages of then classified information.  So in essence we were caught spying by another spy who was spying on us, seems ironic, we (meaning the United States government) is so incensed about the loss of thousands of pages of classified documents by Edward Snowden that we fail to see the double standard of downplaying the theft of private conversations from Germany.

Being invisible is a primary skill of being a spy. You really can’t be a very good spy if everyone knows that you’re trying to spy.  Creating that level of invisibility takes time and lots of practice, thousands of hours of preparation, timing and the manpower to monitor, record and sift through millions upon millions of bits of information, deciding what is relevant and what is not, what is simple chatter and what is worthwhile.  The NSA as far as I know is the premier spying apparatuses in the world, they listen in to our phone calls, look at our emails and basically decipher the communications of the world, maybe their reading what I’m writing right now and combing over this paper with a fine tooth comb looking for code words and hidden messages.  Just between you and me if you read this paper backwards there is a hidden message with creepy music that jumps off the pages as you read….

Many countries justify the means to an end philosophy when dealing with spying and rationalize their actions based on the security needs of their country but how far is too far and when is spying simply prying and meddling?  The more we spy the more others have to spy on us.  It’s like trying to hold a conversation in a noisy room, as the noise level rises the conversationalist raise their voices forcing everyone else having a conversation to do the same.  Soon the din is overwhelming and simple conversation is impossible, so it is with spying.

The other problem with spying is that those who know their being spied upon seem to understand the game and continue to spy on the spies while those not being spied upon take some kind of offence at not being important enough to justify spies wanting to spy.  Who wants to spy on Bolivia or Tonga but they may feel downright offended that we don’t take them serious enough to want to know what their up too. 

Even if I was invisible or could shrink myself like the Atom I would have to be careful not to run into anyone or prevent anyone from running into me.  Can you imagine driving an invisible car?  I would also have to watch overhead so I wouldn't get stepped on, in other words the best intentions may seem justified but what we don’t see or don’t expect is often the most problematic, like listening to another’s phone conversation perhaps?  My mother used to tell me it’s not polite to eavesdrop; you never know what you might hear.

I can see the need to gather Intel on those that are notoriously untrustworthy like Iran, North Korea or China but at the same time we have to expect the same from them, expecting them to feel towards us like we feel towards them, kind of like a reverse Golden Rule.  Are we more justified to spy, is our way of life more important than theirs and are we superior to them giving us the license to spy but not them?  Many would say we are justified and we do have the right and our adversaries do not should not be able to spy on us but they do and in this world of mistrust and intrigue it might make us wonder about the true motivations of those who spy and the level of uncertainty demonstrated by those who hold the power.

Let me make this as clear as I can.  I’ll spy on my kids when I have too.  I think the police and certain agencies should spy on criminals that are suspected of wrong doing and I think our government should spy on hostile nations that want to do us harm, but I do not think we should be listening in to phone calls of private citizens, friendly world leaders and others just in case.

We are a free people and that includes a freedom from incursions, a freedom to speak without reprisal and in secret if wanted, without the all pervasive listening ear of big brother.  Spying is important but it should not be a general tool that overshadows everything and everybody.  I would have thought the Gestapo would have taught us that great lesson at least.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Politicians are a terrible thing to waste



The estimated cost of the Obama Care Website is nearly 110,000,000 dollars, that’s a one hundred and ten million dollars, the cost is staggering and amazing in its excessiveness when after talking to a few programmers the entire site could have been up and working within a few weeks at a cost of no more than 1 million, including cost overruns and beta testing etc….

This problem is the problem with our government and the pervasiveness of these attitudes has infected every aspect of national, state and local governments. We have lost the ability to work rationally. In its place a cancerous growth replicates within the minds of our leaders causing them to spend what they don’t have. It is a disease contracted by close association with others previously infected, no one really knows how it got started or who patient zero is but it is a disease that is spreading and has reached epidemic proportions. I think it must be airborne and related to the hot air expelled by those pompous, bombastic, grandiloquent, purveyors of extreme ineptitude, you know the ones, the people who talk too much, work too little, the self serving selfish that expect all of us to support their Nero like attitudes of grandeur.

School Districts have become infected or more succinctly the administrators of those districts are clearly showing signs of infection with many too far along to be saved by any rational means, leaving only the alternative of removal and quarantine as the only way to combat their influences and infectious ways.

Cities and counties are clearly beyond help with many mayors and supervisors mentally incapacitated, compromising any and all decisions with the only alternative of salvation: A complete and immediate commitment and sequester. They can no longer be trusted to act rationally and for their safety and the safety of the communities they falsely serve it is prudent to remove them and get them the help they need.

It’s sadly like the crazy uncle that is forced to live with a relative and must be monitored and watched, making sure there are no sharp implements, no open doors and especially no car keys lying around. They used to be so sane and normal but now they’ve changed, their entire personality is different and most the time they don’t even know who we are. The worst part is that we still have to change their soiled diapers, pick up after them, wipe the drool from there slacked and gaping mouths and make excused for their actions. It’s too bad we can’t simply lock them up in the attic like they used to, making sure their warm and safe and have enough to eat but never letting them out in public….

110 million dollars is an amazing amount to spend on a website that doesn’t work. They could have simply called a thousand or so companies from India and the whole thing would have been working over the weekend with accented support thrown in from people called Bob and Mary, or Rajid or Sally, each one difficult to understand but capable enough to make the website work when problems did arise.

Another option would have been to contract with private web providers like Go daddy or a hundred others and Obama, while sitting in the oval office, could have pressed a few keys, answered a few questions and chosen a pre-set background and viola, the government has a website for under $500 a year including webpage support. But that disease makes rational thought impossible, it causes the brain to want to spend way more than needed for everything and pushes those infected to purposely (but it’s not their fault, remember it’s a disease) screw up and create the opposite of what the normal, coherent and lucid mind requires.

We really must be more understanding I guess of these infected and troubled souls, they are human after all and they need our help. Maybe we should start a drive and proclaim a multicolored ribbon week in support of these misunderstood leaders. The ribbons would have to be big enough to fit around their necks of course with a sliding knot that easily tightens and constricts blood flow to the brain but the ribbons could be very pretty and will help us all to remember the reason for out charity, they do indeed need our help.

Perhaps we should call it Public Official Awareness Week and storm the halls of administrators everywhere, ceremoniously slipping the ribbons over their heads and proclaiming them healed as we drag them from office and commit them under the guise of “protecting them from themselves” or a 51-50, you know the 72 hour hold to make sure their not a danger to themselves or others.

We don’t seem able to vote them out so maybe, just maybe the disease angle might work. It’s obvious that their not working for our best interest shouldn’t that be proof enough that they have addled diseased minds and some sort of intervention should occur? Think about it, I know where to get lots of ribbon.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The modern family and old cars

The unfortunate and tragic shooting by a deranged and troubled middle school student in Reno Nevada has prompted many comments but the most misplaced perhaps was the misuse of the word “family” when referring to the schools population. 

School shootings or crime of any kind are daily reminders of the troubled world we live in.  This is not about guns or the accessibility of firearms or knives nor is it about the increased level of insanity that seems to be permeating our once calm and sanguine lives.  This is about the family and the root of the problems that stem from the dissolution of what used to be the foundation of a moral and sane society.

Family has become synonymous with any designated group, regardless of genetic or adoptive association and has infused itself across every aspect of assemblage associations.  We have work families, school families, sports families and families of like minded political thinkers and I suppose we could even have a family of non-agreeing, cross cultural, multiethnic haters and lovers of pizza if we really wanted too.  

The word “family” as defined by Wikipedia is:  In human context, a family (from Latin familia) is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity (by recognized birth), affinity (by marriage), or co-residence/shared consumption (see Nurture kinship).

I guess you could classify schools as a family based on free and reduces lunches under the provision of consumption but I think that might be stretching it a bit.  A family is not a spurious construct of convenience, although many treat the institution as an inconvenience, the family seems to be the first to fall when troubles overcome good sense and weak minded and selfish actions separate the once good intentions with divorce.   Invariably however the prior actions to escape from one family almost always lead to the formation of a second family, new wife, new husband, new kids, different kids, new house, different house but still a family by definition.  That seems to be a lot of effort to simply sell and old car just so you can buy another different old car….

Taking the old car scenario to its ultimate and logical conclusion one may think the “new” old car is better than the “old” old car but in reality the only difference is in the associated problems adopted and those discarded or not wanted.  One could make the argument that certain problems become intolerable and almost any change in the short term looks better than the option of continuing but after that honeymoon of change is over the new problems become old and the intolerability returns and the process of escape rears its ugly head and divorce again solves the problem.  That’s why second marriages fail at an alarming rate (67-70% divorce).

Had the offending parties patiently participated in proactive psychotherapy the marriage of the first part would never become the marriage of the second part and the family of the first part would not become fractured, teaching the children of the first part that the family unit is an important and essential part of society, grounding those same children with the fundamental moral principles that can only be gleaned from responsible mothers and fathers within the functioning family structure.

I know I’ll get comments about single parents doing wonderful jobs, especially after a spouse is no longer involved, dead or abusive or stolen by aliens the point is the family, two parents a mother and a father, a male and female is primarily the designed structure that promotes genetic saliency, societal balance and mental health.  It is perhaps the mental health aspect that has crumbled the most showing those negative effects more often as more and more offenders act out to destroy or maim, not being able to negotiate the pressures of life, lashing out, kicking and screaming as they go. 

We need more emphasis on the family and its ultimate importance on the eventual outcome of our youth and their ability to cope in an ever changing world.  We need less coverage of societal connections that mask and imitate the family.  More two parent homes, whenever possible; more responsible parents taking pride in sticking it out and loving each other simply because it’s the “right thing to do”.  We need less confusion over the definition of “family” and more training of what a family should be.

A family is not a school; no matter how close they might be or what tragedy they might have to endure.  A family is not a place of employment unless it’s a family business then you might wonder how they can stay together.  Like minded groups are not a family of any kind. 

I know the principal was trying to bridge the gap of tragedy and pain, trying to make everyone feel good but his reference of family was unfortunate and misplaced.  I feel for those who suffered and lost their lives, I truly do, our country is at a crossroads and its very soul is at stake and with it the foundational family unit. If it dies the country dies, I sincerely pray that we wake up and make those needed changes in our own lives to salvage our own souls and with it our own families. 

Example sheds a genial ray which men are apt to borrow. So first improve yourself today and then your friends tomorrow.” Unknown


Strengthen yourself, strengthen your family the rest will take care of itself…. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lost Faith

For the past three weeks I've taken over a special education K-2 class.  I should be able to stop right there and not have to write another word, all those little hands and running noses, their little faces and special needs, their emotions and eyes staring me right in the face every single day and today one of those little angels gave me a cold, thank you Dayquil for helping with the symptoms.

Each morning I meet a few of them coming off the “short” bus and the rest trickle into the auditorium, each in turn giving me a hug and invariably coughing right in my face, sneezing openly, strategically turning their heads toward me at that most opportune moment.  Many come to school with runny noses that have to be wiped and blown throughout the day leaving mounds of tissue to be discarded and great gaps I’m sure in some far away forest.

They have issues, they have learning disabilities, they cry and pout, they often break down in class disrupting the rest of the class and causing a cascading effect of sympathy emotions that spread like a wild fire in an overgrown and over dried, windswept valley.  The best thing to do is get out of the way and let it burn itself out.

But with all these challenges it’s the eyes of those innocent children that pierce your heart.  They look into your soul and see only trust and kindness, visions that they rely on each and every day.  Their eyes may cry or may laugh but they communicate a desperate need to be loved and cared for, a look we all should have but for many that look is shadowed by failure and trauma, disappointment and tragedy leaving many with only a shell of hope and a specter of what life should have been. 

There are a few kids who do not like to hug but even in their eyes they want to be loved, their autism getting in the way perhaps of knowing or feeling those all important emotions, their eyes a bit more distant and self absorbed but deep within the child still lives, cries and searches for joy and in those rare moments when the eyes do meet the knowing is so important, those little hands reach out and hug melting the most hardened of hearts.

These little ones have a faith and hope that is almost unshakable.  They don’t understand what faith is but they react to an almost inherent process of reliance that all will be OK, that they will be protected and cared for and as the teacher it is my job, even if temporarily, to care, coddle, cuddle and clasp those little hands in such a way that faith is expanded and hope encouraged, as I think it is with many teachers.

Their are also many who do not share these emotional connections, relying solely on the perks of education to get them through each and every day; endlessly waiting for those strategically placed vacations days, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and the ultimate holiday of summer in order to endure the trials of teaching.
Teaching is a trial, it’s not an easy job and substituting is even worse but there are times when it’s all worth it, especially when those little eyes meet mine and I melt under their gaze, their little arms reach out they let go of their parents, they turn toward you and the transfer of faith begins and the hugs commence.

It is this transfer of faith that makes relationships strong; it’s also the lack of this transfer or the shattering of that faith that creates the most problems, not just with personal relationships but with business, with governments and with nationalities.  We are a world that craves trust and faith but so often those hopes are dashed by unscrupulous leaders and politicians who promise the moon but fail to deliver even a small morsel of cheese.  And so it goes, day after day the world deals with disappointment, deception and dishonesty and we continue to allow those that lead us down the flowery path of broken promises to continue to lead.

We continue to elect those same politicians with a profound level of false hope and counterfeit faith, blaming every other leader but not our own for the ills of our lives and society.  Can you imagine a teacher (yes it’s happened many times) failing to instill that trust or even worse stealing it away through evil acts or unintended actions?  That percentage of teachers who betray that sacred trust is actually very small, thankfully so, keeping intact, at least for the young years that faith so badly needed by the youth. I wish I could say the same for our politicians.

We expect our teachers to hold true and be vigilant to their sacred duty but why not our leaders?  We expect our teachers to be prepared and calm masters of classroom management and diplomacy but not our politicians. They commit whoredomes with secrecy, passing laws that protect and insulate, manipulating their constituency in order to retain their power and we never seem to question their motives or morals.  Maybe it’s time we started looking deep into their eyes to discover their true intentions, letting them look us in the eye to see our resolve and our lost faith and hope that they will actually serve our needs and not their own.

Maybe every politician should be forced to substitute a K-2 special education class and have to remain in that class until they can appreciate the beauty of that unmolested faith.  Maybe then they would be able to look into our eyes and see the faith we truly want to give to those that truly try to lead.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Obummer Care


This whole shut down/ Obama Care/ debt ceiling fiasco's are starting to make my head swim.  The numbers battered about are staggering and incendiary with both sides quoting economist and well known pundits to bolster their claims of wrong doing committed by the other side when the reality of the entire situation can be summed up with a basic understanding of economics 101.

The promises of the “affordable care act” (keep in mind that the very change in the name from Obama Care, helped to create a more advantageous outlook of this socialized program) were fairly simple, more coverage for less money, that was the promise.  It was also promised that you would be able to keep your doctor, which is if you like your doctor you could keep him.  And more people would be able to afford health care across the board.

These promises sound wonderful but when the programs started to be studied and the actuarial figures were studied the promises turned into impossibilities with real consequences and long term affects that will not only destroy the current system but virtually make it impossible for that past system to continue to operate literally creating a monopolistic enterprise of government mandated health care.

Taking to heart the promises initially and the idea of overhauling an already bloated insurance run system of excessive profiteering the prospects of a government run system may not seem too bad but when you consider the unintended or perhaps the well thought out and planed intentions of the “affordable care act” then the nightmare of the original system currently run and managed by greedy insurance companies starts to look like a my little pony cartoon compared to the real nightmare of limited services, increased premiums, sever exclusions and outright refusal for services due to age and prior medical histories. In short we are being forced from the frying pan into the fire and will be forced to pay more for that fiery privilege without any chance of getting to chose.   
    

Added to this dilemma the debt limit and you have to wonder what is going through the minds of those that supposedly lead us.  When you consider the current statements from Jimmy Hoffa, not the lost Jimmy Hoffa but his son and current union leader, “Obamacare Will ‘Destroy the Very Health and Wellbeing’ of Workers” yah he really said that!

 

 He may still support the premise of Obamacare but he understands from a union perspective the consequences that will rain down on his member’s ability to negotiate when employers move toward a part time work force to limit their exposure from the mandates of supplying insurance under the Obama plan.  He knows that employers, union supported or not, cannot afford the proposed health options proposed and has warned his members and Obama that Obamacare will destroy the Health and well being of Workers…

 

From one of the country’s leading liberals we see a glimpse of the effects of Obamacare and the efforts by liberals to pander to large corporations and Unions by giving them exemptions but those exemptions will not alter the economic consequences of a foreseeable part time work force, a reality in the making as companies are “forced” to chose the only game in town.

 

When you factor in the government closure and the desperate attempts by the Republicans to alter the law you can start to see why they are perhaps so adamant in their resolve to put an end to what has the potential to destroy our economy.    Our economy is not based on the billions of revenues of large companies but rather the ability of the middle class to save and spend.  This simple but profound fact regulates all that our economy is and the pressure on the middle class from Obamacare will be a disastrous and life altering process of full time employment toward part time employment with little or no health care subsidies from employees, leaving the bulk of coverage coming from the government, a truly scary thought.

 

I’m not proposing that our current system is a perfect system, far from it but it is still the best in the world providing the best health services this world has ever seen.  It needs to be changed and in my opinion doctors need to regain control over what they deem to be best for their patients not some disembodies bean counter in some far away call center regulating dimes and nickels while our lives are at stake.  Nor do I believe the government is capable of running a health system of any repute, most government fail miserably and most that succeed allow doctors the control they need to chose what is right for their patients relying on a heavy tax burden to subsidize those socialistic efforts.

 

The government closure is perhaps the only way to force the issue in order to save the economy from a mistake that we may never recover from.   Full implementation of Obamacare will prove to be an unmitigated disaster but then Obama has only thrived from one self made disaster to another, maybe this is just his coup d’Etta , his final disaster to secure his name in the annals of history as the savior of socialism and the destroyer of all that is capitalistic and free. 

 


Again I say…not that my words have any affect…congress stand strong and kill Obamacare, do not give in even if it is to pay the over bloated debt.  We could all use a good vacation from the overspending, the excessive excessiveness and power hungry politicians that only know how to react to one thing their power and ability to spend what is not theirs…take it away and they will die.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Go Home No one wants you.....

The recent closure of the “government” has had some peculiar consequences.  Generally when a business closes its doors they simply put a sign out front saying “closed” and lock the door and walk away but when the government closes its doors (figuratively speaking of course) they have to take extraordinary measures to make sure that they can inflict as much pain on the public as possible in order to shove home the point that they have had to actually close.

The first example is the brilliant plan of hiring programmers to create new websites to inform us, the public, that the old websites are no longer working due to the shut down.  My daughter actually tried to access an old website for some research and it stated it was closed, again due to the “shutdown”.  I’m confused here, I've had a web page for years, no one looks at it and its really just taking up space but I paid for a two or three year package deal and so it’s just there, sitting, waiting for those random surfers to accidentally click on the site and be wowed.  The point I’m trying to make is it takes no effort whatsoever to leave a site unattended and running, but it takes a great effort to actually close the site and create another site to let others know that the site is closed.

Another example is the closure of the National Parks and Monuments, but in particular the Monuments that are simply out in the open and easily accessed by passersby, those that had little or no supervision prior to the closure that now have barricades surrounding them.  The effort to enclose these Monuments with barricades cost more than leaving them open.  The Vietnam Memorial is a great example; it’s in the middle of a grassy area and is accessible by almost any direction.  They had to literally surround the entire memorial in order to close it in order to keep rogue war veterans from visiting.

Did I mention that congress is still getting paid?  And did I mention that furloughed workers will most likely get back pay for any time off due to the shutdown?  And did I mention that when some parks are closed there are a few parks still open, but only those near where certain influential Senators live in and around Washington DC? So we have to ask ourselves what is a shut down and is it really a shut down or just some cruel ploy to make the public suffer so they scream loud enough for one party or the other in hopes of garnering enough support that one party has enough clout over the other party that the one party wins.
What do we win?  What does the public get out of this?  It’s obvious; at least to me that this shut down is nothing more than a ruse and a slight of hand for political maneuvering.  It’s like two angry children arguing over whose ball it is and the rules of a sandlot game while the rest of the team, on both sides, sits by and waits.  It would be better for all concerned if the two perpetrators of selfishness would take the ball and there rules and go home, stopping the game altogether leaving the rest to simply start a new game.

I know its bit more complicated than that but in truth the rules of the game have become too complicated, the cost of playing to high and the players are continually arguing over who owns the field, the balls and the players, the referees are powerless, the owners have no say and have actually been locked out, debts are piling up, ticket sales are down and the stadium is in foreclosure.  It’s time to start a new game.

Since the stadium is in complete disrepair, the seats are missing and the concessions are tasteless and overpriced why spend the money to fix what is already a lost cause?  Since it’s closed already keep it closed and let’s move on, there is a perfect place down the river to build a new stadium where lots of games can be played, new players are willing and more than capable of entertaining the hoards of fans that are ready to pay the fee. 

Like so many aspects of our society the ungovernable seems to be the norm.  From large school districts to mismanaged cities and counties to states and the federal government the level of corruption is rampant, the level of incompetence pervasive leaving the public with only one choice, scrap what we have and start over. 
The Constitution still works, the framework of our society is still strong but the structure is weak, the roads are pitted with potholes, the senate riddled with fraud, the house rife with ineptitude and the executive branch and judiciary are slowly crumbling under the weight of their own importance.  None serve the people, so let the people rise up and close them down, even if they decide to magnanimously reopen the government I think we should refuse to participate, just like they refused to let us in to our memorials, our national parks and even those unmanned scenic roads that lead to nowhere but a good view of what makes this country great.  They had to spend the money to pay someone to install barricades on these roads that were never manned in the first place.

What kind of government does that?  Not one that I want!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Billion dollar Boondoggle

At the LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District), one of the biggest districts in the country and maybe the world did perhaps the most stupid thing ever perpetrated in any school district since the inception of all districthood.
The super- intendent, I used the word carefully to demonstrate his total lack of managerial skills, pushed though a massive boondoggle that will cost the district one billion dollars.

Let me premise my future remarks with a short background on the current thinking and educational mindset.  There is a philosophy that presupposes that education should be equally accessible to all and in theory that is nice sentiment.  Practically however the reality of providing equal access has never been achievable and will never be societally viable.  Access presupposes availability and opportunity and those two aspects will never be in balance when there are cultural differences, intellectual variables and financial gaps between the rich, the middle class and the poor.  In addition there are the natural inclinations toward wanting to learn or not and the level of interest innate in all of us to some degree or another that makes “forced or mandatory” educational practices ineffective and counterproductive.

In light of trying to create a completely equal footing for all students LAUSD phonetically now knows as loused (meaning to be infected with a small insect of sorts commonly known as a louse)  LA School District purchased thousands of I-Pads and distributed them to each and every student or will distribute them throughout the coming year.  The cost of this endeavor will most likely exceed 1,000,000,000 dollars (that’s Billion with a B).

Being in special education I see the value of certain technological advances that actually help specific students to learn better but the idea that an I-Pad will level the learning field and fill the gaps of opportunity, natural ability and socioeconomic position is nothing short of retarded and I mean that in a literal sense, the superintendent and those that came up with this hair brained scheme should be summarily fired and held responsible for wasting the tax payers hard earned dollars.  My suggestion is to make them work for ten years in a SED (severely Emotional Disturbed) classroom without aids and without the ability to quite…They can use a few I-Pads if they want, let them see firsthand how much learning takes place and what an advantage it is to have that technology.  They better learn to duck.

Technology has taken precedents over learning and has in many ways overshadowed the very processes needed to ensure learning.  Technology is great in the hands of those who understand it, know how to use it and value the opportunities it provides, but it does not teach, it does not ensure learning nor will it make teaching or learning any easier.  For the most part technology in education has muddled the process and confused the very nature of what learning is supposed to be. Learning is simply understanding the past, preparing for the present in order to advance toward the future.  There are a thousand ways to accomplish those goals and none of them require technology.  Learning is not dependent on technology and LAUSD should have known that prior to spending one Billion dollars.

There is another problem not related to the issues with technology, don’t get me wrong I like the advances and the opportunities and the ease of access of information and dissemination of knowledge but the real issue is the size and budget of these large districts and for that matter any District, the redundancy of programs and personnel, the oversight and supervision that supersedes common sense to such a degree that a well qualified Principal has to get permission on how to run his school, making him or her nothing more than an extension of the superintendent.  Let the principals run the schools and fire all the superintendents.  Disband and disperse all district personnel and let each individual school run independently letting the community of that school, the teachers and parents make the rules, decide what to teach and balance their own budgets based on attendance, ADA.

LAUSD has a budget larger than most small countries and with it the bureaucracy and waste associated with too many hands, too many decision makers and too much money.  Education can be saved by letting each school decide what is best for its students, letting the teachers and parents of that school make the important decisions about what should be taught and how to teach, getting education back to the community rather than the over-bloated  districts or state or federal government. 

I’m a teacher but I can’t afford an I-pad for my own kids. My kids learn just fine and in fact learn more because they don’t have an I-Pad to play with, they learn because that is the kind of culture our family has.  We have a culture of wanting to learn, wanting to expand our knowledge, a culture based on mind development not technology dependency.

Please join with me in an attempt to minimize the negative influences of over-bloated districts.  I’m looking for ideas and like minded readers who believe that the time of the district is over.  It’s time to create legislation that will allow a community to insulate their school from district influence allowing them to work autonomously and directly for the student they represent.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Shut it Down

The problem with a government shutdown is not in it actually shutting down but in the accumulation of debt because it fails to actually shut down.  This may sound a bit like double speak but when you look back on all the other shut downs the employee’s, the government workers, contractors, special interests etc… always get paid what they would have been paid had they never been furloughed.

The insanity of our current governmental practices makes any attempts toward change by either party an almost impossible scenario of laviathonic eventuality.  The hope of change from shutting down the government only prolongs the inevitable juggernaut that rolls over and crushes everything in its path.   A few weeks or a few months make no difference to the trillions spent annually and the billions spent daily to the relative few who are sidelined by the temporary shutdown (it’s really only a slowdown).

There are some who will suffer but then what government really cares about those few in any regard; governments routinely push aside entire groups in order to sustain their own existence, knowing that the programs, the process or the agency is ultimately more important than a few misguided groups that supposedly believe in the inalienable rights guaranteed under the provisions of some constitution or document of ancient design.

Shutting down the government never really shuts down the powers in charge, it only relegates those in need to a deeper and a more desperate need, transforming that once simple need and dependency to a profound addiction based on a newly found hatred toward those affecting the attempted change.  That change is almost always initiated by the more conservative, trying to garner support for what they perceive as a runaway process of spending and entitleism.

Sorrowfully those attempts have never turned the public ideals toward their cause leaving them scrambling for support and running for cover.  Especially now in 2013 the call for fiscal constraint is tied to the affordable care act (Obama Care) and the desire to defund the before mentioned act in order to save the people from the evil of death panels, higher costs, less choice and longer lines for all that is health care will most likely fall upon not only deaf ears but ears filled with the fluff of discontent and the idealism of social reformations that entice those that profess to hear only what they want to hear, leaving the rational to query without recourse over the insanity of it all.

Idealistically the notion of a closed government rings with a sense of victory, even if the reality is nothing more than a wistful dream.  A closed government brings to mind the idea that the monster can be defeated and the hoards of regulations can be overcome, even if only for a few days the victory may be worth the ultimate failure of losing the war, a war that was in essence lost a long time ago.

There are no conservatives really, no banner flying, died in the wool constitutionalist that live and die for the sanctity of what our founding fathers established; there are only posers who ply the language to garner the votes to stay in office, never really standing tall and leading the charge toward their spurious but oft spoken beliefs.  The war is lost, so let’s bloody the opponent’s nose, let’s cut a few cuts and help them to remember and maybe, just maybe a leader will arise who has the courage and the fortitude to be believed and more importantly actually deliver us from the socialistic junta of despair.

Like a cyclone fed by the hyperbole of global warming our government is on a certain path to self destruction and un-sustainability.  It may take generations to complete the logical demise but this socialistic path has never worked, will never work and will eventually implode bringing with it the Constitution and the United States.

So let the government flounder, but do not give in, do not buckle under the pressure of those oily mouthed constituents, the free loaders, the special interests…come to think of it I’m a special interest group: married, religious white male in his late 50’s underemployed with kids still at home…so every other special interest but mine. 

You let the government stop so let it stop!  Keep it stopped until you get what you want.  Keep it closed until you force the Senate to acquiesce to your demands.  If your goal is to stop Obama Care now’s your chance, don’t blow it, and don’t get scared, ride it out, the house is on strike, so act like the heroes you think you are and maybe, just maybe we can actually get some real change, for a change. 

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Quest for Beauty


The quest for beauty and personalized perfection has been a constant theme throughout history.  Even I the most humble of them all (too much?) let’s my own vanity get in the way, stopping to gaze in a mirror as I pass making sure I don’t have any jam on my face or my hair is in place.  We all have a vain side I suppose but the incidents of extreme vanity are on a precipitous increase.

What used to be only reserved for the few outlying tribes from various countries the practices to attract the opposite sex has become almost mainstream.   Intrigued by the old National Geographic magazines that my parents used to get I would thumb through the photos, I really only read the articles, and look at the bazaar and unusual practices depicted, the half naked women or in some cases the completely naked women and men with scares or tattoos covering their bodies and rings through their noses and ears.

The faces of young men and women with their lips stretched to unbelievable extremes surrounding some kind of plate or object that in their culture spawned some sort of sexual attraction.  The women of Thailand, formally from Burma, Kayan Tribe wrap their necks with rings making them look like they have impossibly long necks.  What happens actually is the collar bones are somewhat displaced pushing them down and making the neck look longer.  Have you ever wondered what would happen if they removed the rings and do they sleep in those things? Not too farfetched perhaps but look at the models we revere and the style of their bodies, their long necks, their long legs their emaciated continence, are we that much different?  

We look at the styles of today and we see the same extremes practiced but in most cases there is no religious or cultural significance only a desire to be different, but in that desire toward uniqueness a commonality emerges and society begins to accept and emulate.

Ear piercing used to be for women and pirates, now it’s for five year old boys whose parents want their child to be “cool”.  Stretched rings extend the lobes to unreal proportions as larger and larger gauges are inserted to supposedly push the boundaries of acceptability.  Nose plugs and rings, eye brow studs and nipple piercing for both men and women are now considered almost normal.  Normal is a word that suggests a majority and that word most definitely fits the use of the Tattoo.

Ancient cultures used to use tattoos as a religious expression to ward off evil spirits and instill “good luck”, San Yak tattoos are still inked in the traditional way using long needles dipped in ink by Buddhist monks and holy men and set deep into the skin to create amazing and intricate work.  Today we have special machines and amazing artist that use the skin as a canvas to show their talents, letting the user showcase that work for evermore.  The incident of tattooing (sounds like a star wars term) is so pervasive it’s hard to find individuals without at least one inked adornment.

Tattoos are not just for colorful expression but have real value to some.  Women who have gone through mastectomies have often opted for a recreation of their areola through colored ink to give the impression of what used to be, giving them a sense of normalcy.  But even that has taken on a bazaar twist with unaffected women and some men opting to expand their natural pigmentation to enhance the area making them seemingly more attractive to the opposite sex.

Butt implants, breast implants, facial reconstruction, not just for those in need, in fact the statistics of “plastic” surgery as an elective  procedure far outweighs the incidents of true reconstruction supporting the overall premise of a vain and self absorbed society.

 A few blogs past I called for a week for women not to wear makeup and thought what a great idea, let women have a week off from all the pressure of having to put on all that stuff and let men have a chance to see women as they really are, it was a complete and utter flop, no one even commented on the plan and I must say I was disappointed but I’m starting to understand that even for a week those women would feel completely exposed, naked and even ashamed to go out in public. 

We spend a considerable amount of money and time to create these illusions of who and what we are.  We alter our faces, cover out skin, expand or minimize our natural features, just so we can look in the mirror and think we look good.  Nothing is really going to change I guess and I was a bit na├»ve to think that my simple but expanding blog (now over ten thousand readers to date, share with a friend…sorry for the shameless plug) could affect such a dramatic change.

History does teach us about the past and the past suggests that the bazaar generally becomes the accepted.  Those that want to be unique act and plan toward that end with the eventual outcome of creating a new “normal”.  That’s seems to be the case with these increasing self masochistic tendencies. 

I must admit that even I, the humble one has considered a tattoo of sorts from time to time, nothing outrageous, but the trend to join in is a powerful draw to many and that quick view in the mirror has tempted the best of us to follow the crowd but my advice is to stay strong, avoid those temptations, keep your skin free of holes and pictures, enjoy the god given freedom of liking who you are.  A few lip piercings, butterfly on your ankle or a two inch size nose ring will never really change who you are so why bother?