Thursday, September 29, 2011

More Br'er Rabbit antics...

Mr. Obama recently mule whipped some more White House policy across our butts.

Under the guise of improving an educational system that in his words, 'doesn't work', he is dropping the accountability measures the previous system used to ensure students who graduated actually did.

What this is really about is the White House controlling one more aspect of the States right to govern itself. Mr. Obama bypasses congress once again, and implements a new law from his chair that affects how you and I live in ours. He's effectively saying that he knows more about how to teach, and raise our children than we do.

“Keep in mind the change we’re making is not lowering standards. We’re saying we’re going to give you more flexibility to meet high standards." POTUS.

This is the type of speak easy doubletalk that sounds real flashy but doesn't really say much at all.

'No Child Left Behind' was implemented in the first place to insure that we didn't have students receiving diploma's that couldn't spell their names. The shortcoming of it was teachers weren't given the tools, and resources they needed to make that happen. Like so many other big government aspects, they give us the 'how', but not the 'what' to do it with. So test fudging, cutting out difficult subjects, and to use our eloquent leaders words, "dumbing down", becomes necessary so schools can get the money they desperately need to stay afloat, let alone produce a higher level of education. Which is failing miserably, because schools in most areas are closing left and right.

Dedicated educators know that the majority of the challenge of educating a child falls on the support unit of that child at home. No support at home and their job becomes nearly impossible to accomplish. This, by cause and effect, all comes back to the government stepping in, tar baby fashion, and trying to fix something that they themselves screwed up way back when they Dr. Spock'd our kids.

When they told parents we couldn't discipline them, hog tied the school deans, took a 'higher moral standard' out of school, and courts, with reference to religion, and started taking the partitions out of the bathrooms.

What you end up with is a moral, educational decay that produces boneheads that vote in a clown like this guy in the first place just because of the color of his skin, or because his party is diametrically opposite of what they 'considered was the problem for all their woes'. Without taking into consideration that nobody can really confirm where he came from, where he got his money, or where he was educated, and by whom. He won't produce his own diploma, yet he claims an expertise on the best way of achieving one.

Ironically, that lack of common sense was predicated by his party predecessors policies. Its classic snake-eating-its-tail syndrome. Liberals stepped in and told us we didn't have the sense to raise our kids, raised them for us, and now 'those kids' are supporting an administration that is drastically flawed, and becoming more so by the minute. One that would be better tasked with at least balancing their own budget, rather than trying to tell us how to teach our kids the three "R's".

Observing politics is like watching the monkey cage at the zoo. It's amusing to watch them throw their poop at each other, until some hits the fence.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Ducks Tale...

It's been almost a year since I've sat before QWERTY and attempted to solidify some thoughts into the written word. Oh, I've sparred a few times on social networking sites with friends, and fools, but those have been knee jerk reactions, using all thumbs, in response to someone else's idea of common sense.

Some of the stuff I've seen posted on those sites, as well as other blog spots, has lead me to this conclusion, I don't know that the world has ever been a sane place to begin with, but I'm thinking it's never been crazier than now.

Ten years ago, as Toby puts it, a "sucker punch came from somewhere in the back". It rocked us to our knees. For a few days, we blacked out. For a few weeks we staggered drunkenly about, searching with unfocused eyes on just who would do such a thing. Folks in charge had to make some hard decisions. They followed up with some even harder policy "adjustments". I don't know that all of those adjustments were well thought out, but when the knees are a wobbling, so to speak, one tends to blindly circle with fists up and swinging at anything within unfocused view.

Hindsight always being twenty-twenty, we can look back on those decisions now and arm chair quarterback to our hearts content. Were they all good decisions? Nope, can't say they were. Would I have the depth of mind, and purpose to have made better ones? Nope, know I couldn't have. But having spent several years in the Marines, I know that sometime battlefield decisions aren't popular, either at the time, or when later perused.

Our nation was bruised, and hurting, but pulling together with a sense of moral pride, and sense of purpose not seen since Pearl Harbor. And yet, just like that gaping wound, we healed. Not without some scars, but we healed. And that's okay. It's expected, necessary and all too natural. Like the body, the mind has a fantastic capacity to compartmentalize hurt, pain and damage.

Here's the problem as I see it, with compartmentalization, comes blocked memories. They might still be there, but with time, comes a loss of the severity of the event. Maybe that's what keeps us from going insane when tragedy strikes. The proof of that pudding would be that some snap and loose it entirely, because they can't forget the pain. However, that doesn't mean we should forget the action. That we should act as though it never occurred. We can turn the other cheek to the "contempt" that is represented, we don't have to lift the chin to expose the throat.

Here's how the practical side of me wants to interject. Scars serve a purpose. They are a constant reminder that the protective layer of our body has been breached. Or they should be. To look at the puckered tissue of a hand badly burned, and not remember that it came from putting the hand on a hot stove is dysfunctional, at best. Down right stupid when considered, if you asked me.

As mentioned, I recently did some sparring on a social network with some folks over a comment posted about a current hot button topic, to whit, "profiling". An entertainer friend, who I've yet to meet personally, yet tend to share some common theological/political beliefs, posted on her site. On the 9/11 weekend, she was performing on stage with some patriotic songs. The setting was one of those rustic Old West towns where they do gunfight re-enactments, have saloons, hotels, and a sawdust on the floor restaurant with a stage.

The comment she posted had to do with the audiences reaction to the songs. All things being considered in that type of setting, one would expect a pretty unanimous response. And it was. Except one couple, of Mid-East decent, made obvious by the clothing they wore, who sat stone-faced, and unresponsive to the mood.

It's a free country, so whatever the response, short of detrimental to the safety of the people, would be fine. And in this case, just as fine. When my friend made the comment, which I read carefully, it was made as an observation only. She merely stated the facts, as observed from the stage. The only implied innuendo, might have been the "hmmmm.." at the end of the comment. Which, as far as I could see, served only to open the post up for comment. Which it certainly did. Some ninety three comments later she yelled, "SCENE"! And that, several times before the point was made. Not being in the entertainment field myself, I like most, would have simply said, "Enough Already"!!! But that's the entertainment field for you, always with the drama! (Here's where I would put in the semi-colon and half parenthesis to indicate a knowing, winked smile, so as not of offend those "birds of a feather" friends).

To circle, here's the link back to the "crazy world" point presented earlier. Her comment was obviously a "profile" of those people. She took a couple of notable facts, the dress, and the reaction, and made a logical observation. These folks were Muslims, and not impressed with the patriotic nature of her performance. What should have ensued after that point, referencing the thread of comments, was a discussion on the merits, demerits, of profiling. Only it didn't. It went way wide of that center, far to the left, far to the right.

I won't deem to bore you with the nature of all of the comments, suffice it to say that some went so far to the left, they elicited some pretty radical right swinging responses. Some of those mine. When pressed, I can get that way. The main stream of the thread went to the theological, as opposed to politically correct, side of things. Therefore, as an "apologist" of the gospel, I took it upon myself to address some of the backhand, leftist remarks with some, shall we say, severity? But don't let me digress, I'm not here today to debate theologies, or the lack thereof.

What I do want to clear up though, are some thoughts on this whole "profiling" aspect. My personal take is that it's a pretty natural thing we human's do. Every day.

If I'm motoring down the expressway, and I see a write-me-a-ticket-red Camaro, dodging in and out of traffic erratically, coming up on my six, I'm going to assume a spastic driver and do all I can to get as far out of the path of that car as possible. I see red, I see spastic, I profile foolish, and therefore, potentially dangerous, so I get out of the way. Survival tactics in the flesh.

Now maybe, its not a fool at the wheel. Maybe it's a fireman, in an unmarked POV, on his way to a fire. Maybe he knows how to drive erratically in expressway traffic, he forgot to turn on the little dash bubble light, and he's no particular threat to me. Maybe he feels offended because of the dirty looks people are casting his way as he blips by. Maybe because they "just don't understand" the nature of his purpose, by virtue of his appearance, and actions, they assume he's a threat, but he's really not.

But maybe, because it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and acts like a's a duck.

I could speculate indefinitely here on what he might, or might not be up to. But logically, I have just that one blip of information my eyes can see to make a judgement call on how I'm going to protect myself, or at the very least, react. It is that persons responsibility to present himself (or herself), in such a fashion as to appear non-threatening, if in fact, that is their desire. If they don't care, or if the circumstances of their appearance/actions are currently not at the top of their give-a-damn list, they should expect the worst. Expect the best, prepare for the worst is pretty sound philosophy for survival.

Personally, I wouldn't think it wise to walk into a mosque, downtown Riyadh, wearing motorcycle leathers with the American Flag emblazoned on the back, replete with US military insignia, and give the Imam the stink eye. And if I did, however unwise that might appear, I would certainly expect to get my ass kicked at the very first available opportunity. I used to bounce in bars and we didn't allow club colors in the bar for the same reason...too inflammatory with too much potential for trouble. That's profiling. We do it to ourselves, for our own best interest, why in the world wouldn't we do it considering recent political circumstances?

Had those Muslim folks gone into that setting, even wearing their traditional dress, and joined in the festivities in a positive, if not patriotic fashion, it would have gone a long ways towards the perception of what they represented. The fact that they were out in public, on the ten year anniversary of a major terrorist action, perpetrated by self admitted religious fanatics, of the same religion as those present, indicated by the wearing of obvious extreme religious clothing, coupled with the expressions of disdain they presented, is what drew attention to themselves. And in the stated fashion, which as far as I know, was limited to just "hmmmm...", and not the boot in the ass as would have been expected "over there".

The basis of profiling is called "observing the totality of circumstances", and as previously mentioned, is wise, expecting the best, preparing for the worst.

It's also what leads the State Trooper to pull over the write-me-a-ticket red Camaro, and do just that. If it walks like a duck....and so on, at least until the opportunity comes along to safely give it the benefit of the doubt and prove it's not, no matter what it looks, or acts, like. Personally I'd rather live to apologize, than to be blown up by a duck wearing a burqa, driving a red Camaro. How's that for profiling.....