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.