Fun with words and words for fun

Monthly Archives: January 2016

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Just wow.

Sometimes I wonder if these guys listen to what they say. Do they read their own interviews? Do they watch the shows they’re on so they see what they say? Do they ever consider how ridiculous they are? Their hypocrisy is stunning, their lack of sense and sensibility staggering.

Let’s start here. Sean Penn is worth about 150 million dollars. Quentin Tarantino is worth about 100 million. Poor Michael Moore is only worth about 50 million. That’s about 300 million all together. They are not the downtrodden or the exploited, unless you want to count something like not getting the amount of millions per film they asked for as exploitation. I would be curious to see who their household help is, who their gardeners are; I’d be delighted to have them publish a complete list of their personnel and how much they are paid. I’d also like to see the amounts of money they have personally contributed to charity each year for the past five years. I don’t mean work they’ve done like making commercials and those sorts of things, but actual dollars donated from their own personal pockets. I’d also like to see the tax deductions they’ve taken for their charitable work. There’s talk that Mr. Penn used a good bit of his charity’s money for his own personal travel expenses.

Penn, Tarantino and Moore have exploited capitalism and continue to exploit the American public who goes to see their films. Furthermore, the first two have surely made some of the most violent and gory films ever. They can’t have it both ways. You can’t make your fortune promoting violence and then complain and even be a force advocating against the U.S. for its violent ways. You can’t be a capitalist and benefit from capitalism like they have and then go on to advocate against capitalism, specifically talking to its evils.

Want to see what a whore really is? Well that’s Mr. Tarantino and his speaking out against the police. Why did he do it? He did it for audience, nothing more. Then for him to be sorry (because the police are boycotting his film), what a pig.

Yes, America is the land of the free and at least so far we still have free speech. These guys can say what they want. But we don’t have to listen to them, we don’t have to give them media time and exposure, and we surely don’t have to support their films.

What we do have to do is learn from them and then apply what we learn from their examples to our politicians, especially the presidential hopefuls, those leaders who speak out of both sides of their mouths like they do.

And so it goes.

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Continuing to bitch and moan at this president, if you can call him a president, is now pointless. Sad to say, he is a legend only in his own mind. His world is not our world, and his world will never be our world. He is a master of rhetoric, the living example of the power of words although sadly the sum effect of his words translates into the powerlessness of the United States. That, the weakening of the greatest and most benevolent country ever, no matter what you think of its politics and policies, is something not to be taken lightly. Actually, and in effect, the global consequences of a weak and ineffectual United States can be staggering, can potentially be devastating. Obama in his Obama-world could care less.

We should have known better. We should have been smarter than to elect a person simply because he is Black. But we haven’t seemed to learn anything from that type of thinking if Hillary Clinton is any indication. She wants us to elect her because she is a woman and isn’t it about time we had a woman president? That’s one of her arguments. With women as a large part of the voting electorate, that may be a likelihood. God help us!

The other day in his town hall, the Obama blamed the Republicans for the gun problems in America. He named them first and the NRA next, and in his most unbecoming way, he chided the NRA for not attending the town hall. The head of the NRA said they would have attended if they were allowed a real dialogue. But all they were offered was to present one pre-screened question, so they could not see the point of attending. This Obama, in his most characteristic way, would have bullied them while professing to abhor and wholeheartedly fight against bullying.

Yes. That is this Obama in a nutshell.

It began early on. Mrs. O, when working for that hospital in Chicago, advocated for treating the poor but fixed it so her hospital did not accept indigent patients. Then Mr. and Mrs. O voiced support for the school voucher program but fixed it so the school their kids went to did not accept kids on vouchers. Then, even before he was elected, the Obama said he would not monetize the debt. However, he did that in spades, and his finance department has been printing money non-stop for the past seven years. Now true to his blame-game strategy and his not-my-fault nature, he claims it’s the rich people’s faults (rich people being synonymous with Republicans) that the spread between rich and poor has so dramatically widened. The fact of the matter is that his money policy has been a major cause of the gap widening, not the Obama-created evil rich. Ask Nancy Pelosi how she’s done in this Obama zero-interest-rate stock market.

Of course this goes on and on. In fact, it’s almost too easy to criticize this would-be president. Guns? Guns aren’t the problem. A gun doesn’t go off if you keep your fingers off the trigger. Gun crimes, despite Obama, have declined. The majority of gun crimes are committed by people with illegal guns and the availability of guns on the black market is a real problem. But enforcement of gun laws has dramatically decreased in Mr. O’s lack-of-Justice department, so he is in good part responsible for those illegal guns and for criminals and gang-youths not being afraid to have them or use them.  I wonder if this wasn’t part of Eric Holder’s don’t prosecute blacks plan. Furthermore, Harry Reid’s and Mr. O’s cronies  blocking Kate’s Law sent a perfect message to the criminals and all illegal gun possessors about just how okay it is for them to continue in their ways. Wasn’t that Eric Holder who let those guns get into the hands of the drug cartels?

You can’t much argue with Obama. He doesn’t know about anything, isn’t responsible for anything, and most scary, he doesn’t exist in the same world we live in. And you have to admit he has done what he said he would. He is the most transparent president ever. You can more clearly see his bigotry, hypocrisy and dishonesty than that in any other administration.


mlkToday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was made a federal holiday in 1986 but had a rocky start. Since 2000, however, it has been celebrated as a state holiday in all 50 states as well. It should be a state and federal holiday, and truthfully it should be one of our most celebrated days every year.

Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatest men to have ever lived. Most people put him up in the top 5. I personally put him in my top 3. In one of the meditation exercises I was once taught, I was supposed to picture entering an elevator on which were the three people of all time I would most have liked to meet. Mine were Jesus, Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. I’m not so sure they would still be my choices, but MLK would still surely be one of them.

When you look at the man, what you find is that he was a man. He was not perfect and did not always act perfectly. He had his faults and foibles. Many of his critics would like to concentrate on them and cite his indiscretions as opposed to his achievements. I tend to hold to his courage and strength, but even more than those, I tend to hold to the simple rightness of what he advocated. Without doubt and simply put, the only truly effective way to effect change within a society is by  non-violent civil disobedience. Then, the only true laws are those equally applied to all. And of course there are no peoples who are better or “worser” than others, or more equal than others, simply by virtue of their skin color.

Martin Luther King Jr. has caused some of the most profound changes ever in America. He stands apart from and ahead of most reformers, in a league of his own inclusive of only one or two other people who have lived. We should celebrate the day. We should herald and celebrate the man. More, we should stop listening to those who would undo the changes he fought for so selflessly, and all sides of the racial divide should return to his teachings. I believe he would say all lives matter.


quill-pen-300x300There was a story the other day about a school district in Chicago where female students spoke out against allowing a transgender student to change in the female locker room. Apparently the school made all sorts of accommodations for this student. The school offered the student her own locker room, gave her full use of girls bathrooms and it allowed her participation on girl’s athletic teams. But she sued the district anyway saying she wanted to feel like a girl in every way and not being able to use the girls’ locker room denied her that feeling. The Federal Government agreed and found the district in violation of Title IX. It then withheld the Federal funds, which turns out to be a considerable sum.  Finally  the school acquiesced and made accommodations inside the locker room.  But in the end, students spoke out against this and so the issue continues.

This one is really a tough one all around. It so fully represents the difficulties our society faces, and on some level that is a tribute to our society. In Russia, this kid and her family would be off to Siberia. In Communist China she would not be allowed to be what she feels she is. In some of the even more harsh totalitarian countries, ones some of our liberal celebrities pay homage to, she would be abused horribly and would then simply disappear one night. In those places she would be forced to suppress what she really feels she is or suffer the ultimate consequence.

In America we try to accommodate this child and in so doing a whole host of issues are created and a whole lot of people are made uncomfortable and even to feel that their personal freedoms and individual beliefs have been violated. And they have, and there’s the rub.

First, I feel for the transgender child. I believe that one can be a female trapped in a male body, or vice versa. And I even believe that these people should be able to be who they feel they are. It’s a really tough one, but that’s part of being free. But I also feel for the females who don’t want to change in a locker room with this child since she still has male body parts. And I don’t think they should be made to do so. No matter what accommodations the school and the school district make, if the females feel uncomfortable, the solution needs reworking and certainly reasonable compromise by both sides.

Some students say that the girls who spoke out have ideological objections to “transgenderism” and that is why they are speaking out. That’s okay too. They are entitled to their beliefs and if here they coincide, so be it. Other female students there say that at their ages, fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen, they are uncomfortable changing in front of each other, that that is hard enough. The transgender student just makes it so much worse.

So what’s a school district to do? What’s a school to do? What’s an involved student and an involved parent to do?

For the Federal Government to squeeze the school district financially is wrong. This seems to be one of those political correctness issues for which there is no perfect solution, so to strong-arm a solution is as wrong as the mafia squeezing payoffs. The Feds can’t continue violating citizen’s rights, only selectively enforcing laws and using its power in such personal and private-sensibility issues. Furthermore, the PC police can’t keep upsetting all logic and sensibilities. It is time for the majorities to speak up, talk out and fight for their rights and enforcement of their feelings. So I applaud the students who spoke up here.

Perhaps another type of solution should be offered up. Why not have a transgender student locker room? It would be as equal as a girls locker room and a boys locker room, and as legal as either one under Title IX.  It should be placed right between the girls and boys locker rooms and should be transitional, only for those people in transition who have not completed the journey. If that transgender student is the only one who changes there, so be it. It seems to me that her wanting to be able to feel like a girl in every way, while understandable, is impossible since she is not a girl in every way yet. Her refusal to make any compromise, despite being offered more than one-could-ask for in all other accommodations, moves her into the realm of denying others their one hundred per cent desired feelings. All others accepted the many compromises. Perhaps she should be find it within herself to be compromising too.

Yup, this is a tough one. Clearly though, the Feds should butt out and let the parties concerned find their own solutions.

 

 

 

 

 


no solution2We seem to exist these days within a poverty of solutions, but we surely don’t have a poverty of ideas. Ideas seem plentiful. Unfortunately, however, many of them are reiterations of old ideas we already know don’t work. Solutions, however, those are hard to come by. They’re hard to come by for many reasons. A generally understated one is that our society is complex, the opposite of a homogeneous one. Perhaps in and of itself that says it best.

Still, even within our complex society, one would think we could find solutions to the problems which haunt us. Poverty, inequality, a failing educational system, a dysfunctional government, terrorism, huge national debt, unemployment: oh my. Why that’s like lions and tigers and bears. If only we could click our heels and return to Kansas.

I wonder how many people will not get that reference, and while I hope it’s not a lot, my gut tells me it is a whole generation of people, and maybe more than one generation. Surely the cell phone-video generation is a likely candidate.

In my last year of teaching high school, a fourteen year old freshman student stopped me in the midst of teaching a lesson and told me he didn’t need to learn what I was teaching. He went on to tell me what he wanted to learn. When an administrator not even half my age with not even a tenth of my teaching experience concurred with the youth, I knew it was time to retire, but more important, I knew I’d been clearly presented with a concrete illustration of why we live in the poverty of solutions.

Round about 2003, Mayor Bloomberg set about “reforming” the New York City school system. The idea was based upon sound pedagogical theory, that a smaller class size is preferable since the teacher-to-student ratio is higher. Of course nothing is that simple, but surely the research bears this out for at-risk students. For high achieving students, teacher-student ratio is much less important. A bit more than a decade later, the reform is a failure. They will tell you that the graduation rate is higher and will show you one of their tremendously successful schools every now and then. But they will neglect to remind you that the graduation requirements are much easier or that earning credits is vastly simplified. Moreover, they will rarely show you the many, many failing schools and the ones that have already fallen by the wayside. They won’t tell you that per-student spending is at record levels but we keep falling further and further behind in world standing in education.

The equation kind of goes like this. A bit ago, the powers that be, using another one of those entries from the treasure chest of ideas, decided that the scores on the SATs were too low and would be higher if they changed the scoring system. A really brilliant idea, to be sure. The end result is that now the national average score is 1500 out of 2400. Saying your score is 1500 sure sounds better than saying it’s 900. But what’s the meaning? I was a relatively average student. I got an 1150 out of 1600 on my first try and I never took them again because I knew that was enough for CUNY, which is where I knew I was going to college. Do the math. 1150 out of 1600 is 72% rounded up. 1500 out of 2400 is 63% rounded up. I’d rather have the higher percentage, no matter what the score sounds like.

The two examples above illustrate why we are living within the realm of the poverty of solutions. Appearance weighs more heavily than substance. Changing a school without doing anything with the clientele makes no sense. But it does look better. A 1500 looks better than a 900 or my 1150, but it’s meaningless if it does not represent real gain in overall percentage score. Spending more money per student than any other country sure looks great. So why do we keep slipping in world standings?

Our leaders are scamming us. They are more concerned with making us believe they are solving our problems than they are in actually solving them. This has led us into the era of the poverty of solutions.

Happy New Year everyone. May it be a good one for you all. It certainly looks like it will be an interesting one.