Archive for February, 2010

February 21, 2010

The Looney Bin

Many of the folks who are making decisions about Public Education and other important issues facing the state are either so far to the right that the John Birch Society won’t take them, or a bit addled, possibly approaching senility.

After our group of IEA Local Presidents spent the morning on Thursday at the State house visiting our legislators, we returned to the meeting room and reported on what we had heard. Some of us were fortunate in that our legislators are sane. Reporting on my conversations with Donna Boe and James Ruchti was a pleasure. Likewise a few others. The disturbing thing was that many, reported conversations with legislators who just don’ understand what they are doing, don’t care what teachers think, and are a more that little bit looney. Several expressed a desire to eliminate Kindergarten as, not only a savings but as an unjustified intrusion by evil government on the family. Several expressed the need to “get the Federal Government out of Education.” One legislator actually stated that, “Since kids today are better behaved, large class sizes won’t hurt anything.” He actually said that. I’m sure many of you would like to invite him to be in your classroom for a while to see how well your students behave. I hardly know any elementary teacher who doesn’t have to deal with behavior issues that didn’t exist even ten years ago.

Many of these folks are of the same bent that questions Obama’s citizenship, believes the Communists are coming in their Black helicopters, and thinks Fox News really is “Fair and Balanced.” Some read The Spotlight as if it were biblical and a small number may actually be borderline senile. Ye these are the people making decisions about your life, the lives of your students and your families. Although they could try to find creative ways to raise revenue in dealing with this crisis, they lack both the courage and the desire to do anything about it. They are totally reactionary, thinking they can cut their way to success. Most of this crowd hasn’t had a creative idea since the Civil War.

Many of the Extreme Right Wing element which now controls the legislature see the financial “crisis” as cover to do the things that they have always wanted to do. They wish to return us to the early 20th or lat 19th century, do away with any and all “socialist” and progressive accomplishments and establish the imaginary libertarian utopia of their wildest ideological dreams. They do not see these changes as “temporary” but permanent, and high on their hit list are teacher rights. There will be an unprecedented attack on the contract rights of teachers this year. They will attempt to do away with our continuing contracts and with the Evergreen Clause which. they will be supported in this attack by the State Department of Ed, and tacitly if not directly by the Administrator’ s and School Board associations . You and I, through the IEA will have to be willing to stand and fight. It is only us, and our few friends in the Legislature against them.

Yours in Solidarity

February 7, 2010

Hate the sin, love the sinner

That’s what I’ve heard some of my religious friends say when they are discussing say, same-sex-marriage or atheism. I actually feel the same way about religion. I love all my friends and family, no matter how much I dispute their beliefs. Mostly, they are good and decent folks who are simply deluded and I always hold out the hope that they will snap out of it.

Lest anyone believe that I have it in for any particular religion or group, nothing could be further from the truth. I find all religious beliefs irrational. The Mormon planet/star Kolob is no more ridiculous than the belief in a “virgin” birth or the rather disturbing notion of the twin doctrines of transubstantiation/consubstantiation, whereby the bread and the wine become the real flesh and blood of Jesus Christ during the Eucharist. ( Holy Cannibalism?) The Jehovah’s Witnesses who knock on my door occasionally are no more or less obnoxious that your standard fundamentalist street preacher. The Bible, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, are all three chock full of vicious, vile behavior, laughable contradictions, misogynist, racist rantings, genocidal violence, sexual perversion, incest, and unfathomable balderdash.

I was born an atheist. So were we all! The notion of a Christian baby, a Jewish baby, a Muslim baby is ridiculous. Almost immediately, after my penis was brutally mutilated because I had the bad luck to be born in a Catholic hospital, the process of brainwashing began and I grew up a good Lutheran boy, praying to my imaginary friend in the sky and trembling in tears and fear with the sureness that I was headed for eternal suffering in Hell if I did not toe the line. The religious indoctrination and forced brainwashing of children by the pious is perhaps the greatest ongoing form of mass child abuse in history and it continues every day, all over the world. I’m not talking about moral and ethical teaching here. I’m talking about using fear, threats, and often physical violence to shape children into non-thinking robots, parroting the “party-line” long before they have the intellectual capacity necessary to make up their own minds as to whether or not they wish to become believers in magic.

I love my friends and family but I will not shut-up about it, as some seem to want me to do. I find religious beliefs to be the source of many of the world’s great problems and I will continue to write, think, argue about that. I suppose some of you will pray for me. Whatever blows your hair back, I say. But, if you really have “the one true faith” then surely your God(s), or Yaweh, or Allah, or Elohim or Vishnu, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster (my own current affiliation), can stand up to criticism from lil’ ole’ me.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday.
Keep On Keepin’ On

February 7, 2010

The New Republican Party

This is what the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has become. The Teabaggers are in charge.

February 7, 2010

To My Cracked Pot Friends

My Old Friend Tom sent me this.

I love this – I hope you do too.

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.

But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.

‘I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.’

The old woman smiled, ‘Did you notice thatthere are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?’

‘That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.’

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You’ve just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

So, to all of my Cracked Pot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

Keep On Keepin’ On

February 6, 2010

Scientology Scam

The Scientology cult is a gigantic scam little different than any other religion. It’s all fake, playing on fear, gullibility and ignorance. Religion corrupts everything. Here is an interview or L. Ron Hubbard, third rate science fiction writer, the founder of Scientology, and highly successful fraud. Done in 1967, the interview is rare because it was done by an independent news crew.

February 6, 2010

What is there to hide?

This video has repeatedly been taken off of You Tube, but of course it’s viral now. Nothing ever really disappears on the internet. There is nothing her that isn’t true, but evidently the LDS church would rather not publicize its more unusual beliefs, and this doesn’t even get into magic underwear.

February 5, 2010

A Joyful Friend

We bring pets into our lives and often they lift us up. Memphis is such an animal, the most joyful pet we have ever shared our life with. They become members of our families, often playing the roll of doting aunt, small children, or in the case of Memphis, a little brother–sometimes frustrating, always energetic, sometimes in the way but always joyful, annoying now and then, but always a pleasure to have around.

He has been fighting a losing battle with cancer these last few months. he had surgery to remove a tumor from his throat last Spring and he rallied back, but the cancer returned. The vet told us that more surgery would do no good, that the cancer was spreading. Even a month ago he was still doing fairly well but we could see it advancing. Now, barely able to eat, he is deteriorating rapidly and the desire to end the suffering has finally exceeded our desire to prolong his stay.

He is a Black Lab/Border Collie cross, and possessed both energy and the gentle personality of those breeds. When he was younger, he stole an entire loaf of fresh baked bread from the kitchen counter, ate it and went back for the bag of tortilla chips. After much yelling, and banishment to the doghouse, he learned that counters were off-limits and never did it again. He loved to play fetch with the frisbee, but never really grasped the concept of watching the frisbee as it flew to see where it would come down. He would begin drooling at the mention of “biscuit,” and greeted every visitor at the door with ferocious grows, barks and a furiously wagging tail; a tail that could clear a coffee table and knock over a small child. Our grandkids loved him, and he them.

He is only eight years old. In a couple of hours I will take him to be euthanized. I will then take him down tot he farm in Blackfoot and lay him to rest alongside other family pets who have shared our lives. he will be missed.

Pets bring unconditional love to the table. Memphis brought that in spades but he also brought joy. He was alway a happy joyful dog. He would always greet us with that tail in full swing and no matter the stresses of the moment, no matter what problems you had, you could not help but smile, even laugh at his unbridled joy.
He seemed to ask, “Where have you been? I’ve missed you. Welcome home! Got any biscuits? ” I tried to give him a biscuit yesterday. Broke it up into small bites and put it in his mouth; he couldn’t eat it. he no longer jumps up to meet me. This morning when I said, “How ya doin’ fella?” he didn’t raise his head. But the tail , thumped weakly, three times. I smiled through my tears.