Politics: That Which People Avoid Discussing

March 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Some people have a rule of thumb; don’t discuss politics or religion. This has become even more “sensitive” in our country for two reasons:

(1) The art of discussion has been replaced with name calling, verbal bullying, intimidation, and the increasingly popular trend to lie or make up facts/statistics in order to force one’s idea(s) down other people’s throats.

(2) The line(s) between politics and religion are increasingly blurring and merging together so that, in some cases, there is no distinction between the two topics.

I find these trends to be deeply disturbing for a variety of reasons. Let ‘s examine one of the most popular forms of political discussion — news agencies and their use of punditry.

Since I probably qualify as a “news junky”, I was initially thrilled when 24 hour news networks came into existence. That thrill was quickly lost when the news would repeat itself every 30 minutes. While I appreciate the brevity of headlines and summaries of news events, this was too boring. Apparently the news networks quickly figured this out and tried to fill the time slots with different kinds of news programming.

The occasional tragedy or unexpected situation would arise and was covered at length (some people would say “ad nauseum”). I am reminded of the time Sadam Hussein massed troops on the border of Kuwait in what was reported as an alleged military exercise. Anyone with half a brain could see where this was going to lead. And of course this led to Operation Desert Storm which will forever in my mind be the turning point in live news coverage. People went home from work and hovered around their television sets as they ate supper. For the first time in US history, Americans were watching a war live as it happened. For those Americans who did not have loved ones fighting in the Gulf, it was quite entertaining. For others, it was scary, horrifying, and even tragic.

Skip ahead to a direct consequence of Operation Desert Storm — the horrifying events of September 11, 2001; another turning point in news coverage as I do not know of any other time in US history when every television channel, including premium cable channels, turned over their broadcast space to news networks. Among the countless nightmares of those tragic events, Americans could not stop watching the news coverage. It became a national obsession in a matter of hours.

Network news suddenly had to figure out how to fill air time and still cover these shocking events. Commentators were crawling out of the woodwork to share their thoughts, speculations, and even theories. News slipped from reporting events to seeing who could scare the public the most, regardless of any factual evidence supporting wild theories. Americans were terrified. Qualified and unqualified “experts” we’re ruling the air waves.

Fast forward again to 2004, 2008, and current election years. News networks are still utilizing qualified and unqualified spokespeople to discuss current events. The average American can easily misinterpret this as news reporting. When people like Glenn Beck can easily scare enough people into stock piling food, weapons, and ammunition because “the America we love no longer exists”, what does this say about our country? It is disturbing to me that I have found myself repeating to many people, “just because you heard it on a news channel doesn’t mean it is true”. Was it wrong for me to have been taught that the job of reporters and news agencies was to report the truth?

I currently find myself having to listen to political punditry from the pulpit of my church. This has gone beyond a being a disturbance to me. I can roll my eyes along with the rest of the congregation, but I find myself getting angrier that my religion is trying to force ( or stop) legislation. Arguments pro or against political ideals and philosophies belong in the government, not in a church. To me, this is an inconvenient example that our democracy is being destroyed from within. Study the Roman Empire and you will see that is what led to its demise.

Keeping religious ideals and philosophies separate from my discussion, I will clearly state that a government does not have the right to legislate medical care for its citizens. No where in our constitution is the right given to individual states or the federal government. And it certainly has not been given to any politician who thinks human healthcare should be equated with veterinary practices. That slippery slope is well greased and next to impossible to scale once we have gone down it.

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Politics: That Which People Avoid Discussing

March 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Some people have a rule of thumb; don’t discuss politics or religion. This has become even more “sensitive” in our country for two reasons:

(1) The art of discussion has been replaced with name calling, verbal bullying, intimidation, and the increasingly popular trend to lie or make up facts/statistics in order to force one’s idea(s) down other people’s throats.

(2) The line(s) between politics and religion are increasingly blurring and merging together so that, in some cases, there is no distinction between the two topics.

I find these trends to be deeply disturbing.

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Sunday, February 3rd, 2008 ~ Yes. We. Can.

February 3, 2008 at 5:40 pm (Uncategorized) ()

I am ignoring the Super  Bowl and anything Super Bowl related today. 

I had planned on a Torchwood DVD marathon, but that has been slightly delayed due to the housework I have been trying to do.  (Yes, my life is THAT boring!  I believe I stated this earlier in my blog.)

I came across something at YouTube I’d like to share.  Written by the Black Eyed Peas, this is music set to Obama’s famous speech in New Hampshire.  Check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjXyqcx-mYY

Remember that Tuesday is a very important day.  What happens on Tuesday may decide the fate of our nation or simply delay that decision even further.  Get out there and vote!  Show the politicians in Washington and the special interest groups that the American people are stronger than they think!

Yes. We. Can.

http://www.yeswecansong.com

http://www.barackobama.com/

http://factcheck.barackobama.com/

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics…they will only grow louder and more dissonant ……….. We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea —

Yes. We. Can.

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Friday, February 1st, 2008 ~ Day #5 Without Sharon

February 1, 2008 at 12:34 pm (Uncategorized)

Weather is horrible!

Our school was the first to announce it would be dismissing early.

Our school was the LAST to actually dismiss.

I fell on the driveway at home — twice!

Downstairs neighbor/landlord didn’t even ask if I was okay.

I think I might have broken my thumb.  Even if I did, I can’t do anything about it as it is too dangerous to go on the driveway again.

I think I’ll spend the afternoon wallowing in self-pity while placing ice on my hand.

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Thursday, January 31st, 2008 (Thank God this month is over!) ~ Day #4 Without Sharon

January 31, 2008 at 11:33 am (Uncategorized)

One of the xerox machines is “out of order” (“ist kaput!” for our German friends!)

Everytime someone walks by it, they snarl.

No one can hear announcements because the P.A. system is having problems.

My principal has not been into work all week.  He has something wrong with his back. We can’t make any official “decisions” about certain things without his approval.

On the BRIGHT side of things…

Statement as of 3:33 AM EST on January 31, 2008

… Heavy mixed precipitation expected across the north country Friday
and Friday night…

… Winter Storm Watch in effect from Friday morning through late
Friday night…

The National Weather Service in Burlington has issued a Winter
Storm Watch for a heavy mix of snow… sleet… and freezing rain
… Which is in effect from Friday morning through late Friday
night.

The potential exists for 6 or more inches of snow and sleet across
the St. Lawrence Valley and northern Adirondacks by early Saturday
morning. Across the Champlain Valley and central and northern
Vermont… several inches of snow plus significant sleet and
freezing rain accumulations are possible.

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Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 ~ Day #3 Without Sharon

January 30, 2008 at 6:38 am (Uncategorized)

6:30 a.m.    

Report card grades are due.  The server must be down.  I tried to log on last night and again this morning to put averages into the main system.  “No Service Available”.

I can’t work on this during the school day as I am being forced to attend regional scoring.

*throws hands up*

SO…what am I suppose to do?  I’m telling myself not to concern myself — it’s not my problem.

On top of that, the wind is howling and moisture falling from the sky keeps changing form.   Here is today’s forecast!

Statement as of 1:12 AM EST on January 30, 2008

… Freezing Rain Advisory remains in effect until 8 am EST this
morning…

A Freezing Rain Advisory remains in effect until 8 am EST this
morning for the St. Lawrence Valley of northern New York.

Temperatures across the Saint Lawrence valley are expected to
remain below freezing overnight. Periods of freezing rain will continue
overnight… with some light ice accumulation expected.
Temperatures are expected to climb above freezing by mid Wednesday
morning… ending the threat of additional ice accumulation.

A Freezing Rain Advisory means that periods of freezing rain or
freezing drizzle will cause travel difficulties. Be prepared for
slippery roads. Slow down and use caution while driving.

Please stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio… your local media… or
go to http://www.Weather.Gov/Burlington for further updates on this
weather situation.

High Wind Warning
Sponsored by State Farm

<!–

Expires 8:00 PM EST on January 30, 2008

–>

Statement as of 4:33 AM EST on January 30, 2008

… High winds up to 60 mph to impact the north country beginning
late this morning…… High Wind Warning remains in effect from 8 am this morning to
8 PM EST this evening…

A High Wind Warning remains in effect from 8 am this morning to
8 PM EST this evening for wind gusts up to 60 mph across the St.
Lawrence Valley and northern Adirondacks… as well as the
northern Champlain Valley including Grand Isle County Vermont.

An intense cold front will sweep across the north country from
southwest to northeast late this morning. As the front
passes… winds will increase rapidly from the southwest into the
25 to 35 mph range with gusts of 50 to 60 mph expected. The
strongest winds will occur late this morning and through the
afternoon hours… before slowly subsiding into this evening.

This is a dangerous weather situation. Winds of this magnitude
will easily cause damage such as breaking of large tree branches
and downed power lines. Scattered power outages may occur across
northern New York and the far northern Champlain Valley later
today due to damage stemming from the anticipated high winds.
Persons across the Saint Lawrence valley and northern Adirondacks
of New York… and northern Champlain Valley… .should take the
necessary actions to prepare for the strong winds today.

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Tuesday, January 29th, 2008 ~ Day #2 Without Sharon

January 29, 2008 at 3:22 pm (Uncategorized)

This morning the laser printer in the faculty room stopped working.  It “insisted” that there was a jam.  The machine was taken apart and there was NO jam.   I don’t know who eventually fixed it, but at the end of the school day, it was finally fixed and printing.

People didn’t have a meltdown, but some came pretty close.

Weather forecast for tomorrow:

Wednesday
Cloudy. Rain or snow showers or a chance of thunderstorms in the morning…then a chance of snow or rain showers in the afternoon. Total accumulation around an inch. Very windy with highs in the upper 30s. Temperature falling into the upper 20s in the afternoon. Southwest winds 25 to 35 mph. Gusts up to 50 mph… increasing to 60 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation 90 percent.

Everyone is hoping for (at the very  least) a delay tomorrow OR a snowday.  I have to be out of the building as I am scheduled to do regional grading of the State’s ELA tests.  (Dammit!)  I would love to stay home and relax.  This has been a very stressful week! (And it’s only Tuesday!!!)

I’ve left a ton of work for the substitute.  I’ve left a ton of warnings for the kids.

*sighs*

*hopes Sharon is having fun at Disney World*

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Monday, January 28th, 2008 ~ Day #1 without Sharon

January 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm (Uncategorized)

Preface:     “Sharon” is the lady who runs the main office.  She actually runs the school.  She is the only one who knows how to fix any of the xerox machines in the building.  She is the person in charge of getting substitutes in for teachers.  Sharon knows the name of every student in this school.  She knows where each of them lives and where their parent(s) work.  Sharon is on vacation this week with her family. (Disney World, Florida)

Day #1 Without Sharon:

8:00 a.m. —  What happened to the four boxes of paper that were delivered after 3:00 p.m. on Friday?  How could two of the boxes be gone already?

10:30 a.m. — No one has found a substitute for me for Wednesday.  This can potentially be good as I do NOT want to go to regional scoring on Wednesday.  There are few to no substitutes left.

10:50 a.m. — Dammit!  They found a substitute!!!

2:45 p.m. — We are having trouble hearing the announcements because the person (who got stuck with the job while Sharon is gone) reading announcements is very soft spoken.

4:35 p.m. — Dammit!  Someone has already “mucked up” the xerox machine!  Good thing I have a limited knowledge of how to fix the stupid thing.   Diagnosis:  It needs a new toner waste bottle.  Where the heck do they store those?

4:45 p.m. — After sucking up to a custodian, an empty toner waste bottle has been located and I installed it into the machine.  *contemplates leaving a sign on the machine that says, “If you don’t know how to use this, leave it alone!”*

Four more school days to go without Sharon!!!!

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Thursday, January 24th, 2008 ~ I feel old — very, very old.

January 24, 2008 at 8:59 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

Can you believe that 98% of my 6th graders have never seen the movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark?  How is that possible?!

They’ve watched every crap video there is, but they have never heard of Indiana Jones.

What kind of country do we live in where a child can reach the age of eleven or twelve and have no knowledge of Indiana Jones?  With the much-expected fourth movie coming out this summer, how will they know that they should go and see it?!  Shia Lebeouf will be a big draw; especially since he was in Transformers.  I love the kid, but he is no Zach Efron — someone who could stare silently at the audience for thirty minutes and the kids would still pay to see him at least three times.  Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom would draw the kids easily too, but the kids shrug their shoulders when I say, “Harrison Ford?”

“C’mon!  Han Solo?” I try to give them something familiar.

They stare at me and shake their heads.

“Star Wars!” I plead.  “You HAVE to have seen Star Wars!”

“Which one?” someone asks.

“The FIRST one!  The ORIGINAL one!”

They blink and continue to stare.

“Luke Skywalker! Princess Leia! The Millenium Falcon!  Darth Vader!”

“Oh!” a girl squeals, “He was SO cute before he turned mean!”

I sit down in my chair and shake my head.  This is why I feel very, very old.  I know that I taught the parents of some of these kids.  I bet their parents know about Indiana Jones!  Have I failed as a teacher?  Why haven’t these parents exposed their children to cultural icons?

A brief trip to Amazon.com last night and I should receive a boxed set of all three movies by next week.  Will I show them all three?  No!  Will I show them Raiders of the Lost Ark?  Sure!  I can back that one up with my Social Studies curriculum (Ancient Egypt,  World War II, Nazis, Judaism, The Ten Commandments).  If I make them write about it afterward I can also back it up with NYS ELA standards. 

With the horrible month of February quickly approaching and everyone suffering from “cabin fever”, I’m sure the other teachers wouldn’t mind if we took a couple of hours on a dreary day to let the kids relax and watch the movie.

So… of the three weeks before our “winter break” I have two hours covered. 

*blinks*

How am I going to get through the rest??!!

I feel old — very, very old.

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Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008 ~ AMAC has a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad… week (or so).

January 23, 2008 at 8:33 pm (Uncategorized)

Where, oh where have I been?

Right here.

What, oh what have I been doing?

At times, hiding (from the world in general).  At other times I’ve been wallowing in self pity.

Why, oh why have I not posted?

It’s kind of complicated. I had actually started this post last week to catch up on the many horrible things that have happened, but I couldn’t finish it.  Too depressing. Too complicated.  Let’s just say that a number of mean people randomly made my life miserable.  I didn’t post these situations because, many of them are from work.  Though I would never use real names, details of frustrating events would have violated rules of confidentiality and possibly upset those whose actions would have been described.  Remember, THIS is a public forum and easily located by the curious.  Also, had I described the “crap” I had to deal with, it would have come across as whining, and I don’t want to be known as a whiner.

So, putting all of this behind me and trying to move forward…

I dedicate today’s blog to my brother, Brad.  While wallowing in self pity I discovered that Brad was having a far worse time with life than me.  Having put my problems in perspective, I need to be thankful I have not been in his shoes.  I love you, Brad!  I hope things are getting better!

I had a lovely three day weekend.  I spent most of it doing laundry and sleeping.  I did manage to catch a showing of “Sweeney Todd”.  I enjoyed it very much.  (I should probably mention that this is one of my all time favorite musicals!)  I highly recommend it, but please be advised that the gore-meter reached it’s maximum.  If you don’t like blood, don’t go and see this.

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