Resigned truth

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Two stories in the media over the last week deal with the truth and ultimately what may lead to a resignation in both cases. In one instance, the resignations came swiftly. In the other, it remains to be seen on what will happen but I am fairly sure it will also result in a resignation.

Truth hurts.

Plain and simple.

Of course, we live in a world that now speaks of “your truth” or “my truth.” There is no such thing. There is only one truth. You can’t create a truth for yourself because it makes you feel better. Truth doesn’t care about your feelings. Truth is truth. You can’t invent truth by telling a lie over and over again to make it true (though there are lots of people who do this). Truth is unchanging, even when we don’t like it.

School Board

Was the school board that far off on what they said in a “hot mic” moment for a meeting? They all have since resigned, but what exactly are they resigning for? The truth? Sure, they were speaking in generalities and doesn’t apply to all parents, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

If you have been in education at all (and I was for 15 years), the feelings of frustration expressed at the meeting are feelings that all people in education, at one time or another, have felt and thought. Teachers know full well that parents are the WORST part of the job. Not the students. Not the admin. Not the co-workers. Not the long hours or the endless paperwork. It’s the parents. Always the parents.

So, their criticism of the parents was not off base at all. Yes, they want their babysitters back so they can go to work. Yes, they want their kids gone so they can smoke pot (side note: the kids I was teaching as high school students are the late 20s, early 30s adults that led the push to legalize pot and are now smoking openly in their homes, around their children). Yes, parents don’t care what it takes each day to teacher their children. No, they don’t understand that their child acts differently at school than they do at home. Yes, not all kids are angels and they DO act like that at home and at school.

Professional Baseball

Kevin Mather of the Seattle Mariners head office (President and minority owner) stepped into last week with a video that basically offended everyone in baseball or that enjoys baseball. BUT, did he say anything that wasn’t true or hasn’t been thought and felt over the decades of baseball? No, I don’t think so.

The problem is that he talked of some things that are “taboo” I guess. Openly admitting that you are playing with people’s careers in order to keep them under contract longer or that hiring additional support staff to aid baseball personalities is a drain on revenue isn’t something we haven’t all thought or assumed. But the fact that he had the audacity to say the truth, in essence exposing a dirty little secret that every team in the league has dealt with, has turned the baseball world upside down.

Will he ultimately end up sacrificing his position? Yeah, I think he will. He is going to have to play to the PR nightmare game that is created by candor and truth, because people don’t like it.

To make amends, people will demand his resignation just like they did with the school board mentioned earlier. It won’t make the issues go away. The truth won’t make the issues go away. The issues will just be swept under the rug again and it will be business as usual. There won’t be a reckoning with the truth and people won’t change their ways.

They’ll (those being spoken about) just create their own truth to justify their behavior and keep on, keeping on.

Rover

Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com

NASA has done it again. They have pulled off a scientific and technological feat that is astounding, really. I watched the thing unfold and the landing appears to have gone flawlessly, even though the actual testing of this event was theoretical and computer modeling.

That’s all pretty cool stuff. But it raises some questions for me.

The first one has to do with the way it is powered.

It isn’t solar this time. It’s basically a small nuclear reactor. So, if there is technology to use this kind of thing in space and if there is technology to use something even bigger on our military naval vessels, why aren’t we using this technology to power our homes? Our schools? Our hospitals, stadiums, cities, our cars, etc? Why not? Wouldn’t it be better than the options we have now?

The second question comes back to the “search for life.”

Proof of life only has to be a single cell microbe of something. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as they can define it as “living.” Of course it would be hailed as an incredible scientific discovery and lauded for all time. It will raise other questions too.

What gets me on this one is that a small single cell microbe will declared as “living” but a human embryos and fetuses are still seen as “not living.” Human, multicellular organisms on earth aren’t considered life by a bunch of people up here on this ball of dirt, thus they don’t see any problem with destroying that life. How wrong and misguided is that? It astounds me.

Anyway, a robot on another planet (again) is pretty cool. I am sure it will help answer some questions, but not all of them.

What now?

Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

So, over the last couple of days I have gotten some rather distressing news regarding my daughter and her high school graduation. Suddenly, graduating on time is in question, which up to this point it was not.

She is, for the most part, on track to graduate on time. She is heading into the second semester of her senior year and she is in progress of completing her final credits. She has been doing Running Start at the local community college and enjoying those classes too. Her grades aren’t going to light the world on fire, but she is very successful in the areas of interest and moderately successful in areas that aren’t so much.

Well, two days ago it was brought to our attention that she still needed to fulfill an additional requirement to meet the state standard in math. She didn’t meet the state standard her sophomore year and because of the pandemic they did not administer the test last year and it looks like they won’t again this year. So, she took a third year of math thinking that would satisfy the requirement since she didn’t pass the test in her sophomore year.

Now we find out that wasn’t enough.

According to her counselor, she needs to take the ACT and pass that with a certain score or she needs to take the college math placement test and then take and pass a college level math course.

SAY WHAT?

My daughter has struggled with math for three years. She has managed to get over the bar each time, but there were times that bar was wobbling, so to speak, and passing the class wasn’t totally a certainty. So, to see that she has more math to do isn’t a pleasant surprise.

Being realistic, she likely wouldn’t score high enough on the ACT to get credit that way and taking the college placement test will likely qualify her for a remedial level course, not a college level course, so she won’t be able to complete the requirement going that route in the last quarter of her final high school semester.

NOW WHAT?

Here’s the problem: We are just finding this out now. NOW!?!?

I called the high school counselor to ask why we were just finding this out now. He seemed a bit perplexed as to why I was asking. REALLY? Your job as the counselor is to make sure your students know what is needed to make it graduation. As it turns out, he never met with each senior before their senior year to outline the steps they needed to take care of to meet their graduation requirements. So his seniors didn’t get an individualized consultation looking at their progress and future path forward, that would have had an individualized plan laid out for each one of them.

WTF?

I taught high school history for 15 years and most of those years were to juniors and seniors. I can’t think of a time when the seniors hadn’t met with the counselor before their senior year so they knew exactly what needed to be done going into their senior year. My students always had that meeting. It was standard procedure at the school.

To my surprise, this doesn’t happen at my daughter’s school. In fact, it sounds like they have never even considered it as part of their aid to helping students graduate. REALLY? So how many other seniors are in the position of not graduating because of this? Granted it may not be a large number, but is should be a number that equals zero. Is this guy incompetent? Is he stupid? Does he really even know what his job is? Honestly, that pretty much his whole job – meet with students and help them plan their path to graduation. How does this not happen?

If we had known at the beginning of the year, going into her senior year, we could have made sure she took the high school level course that was offered at the school. Or, we could have made sure she took the college placement test, taken a lower level math course, and then progressed into a college level course naturally. Instead, we didn’t know this and we are left scrambling to figure out a way to make it happen. (Or, we cross our fingers and hope the state waives the requirement for this year like they did for last year – right now it looks like the Class of 2021 will have done a full year and a half of online learning.)

Needless to say, my frustration level is quite high. Not just for my own daughter, but for others who are in the same boat.

Waiting till the last minute to lay out this news is piss poor work. You had one job and you sucked at it. Get your crap together for next year. It may be too late for my daughter and others, but at least you could fix your crap for those who come after.

One man’s…

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

Perspective, or point of view, makes a big difference in how you or others view something. When it really comes down to it, no one perspective is correct because everyone sees things just a little bit differently. Two people can experience the exact same thing, yet have different views about what happened, how it happened, who it happened to, and what happened afterwards.

One man’s patriot is another man’s terrorist.

When I was teaching my history classes and specifically a class on modern terrorism I used to challenge my students’ thought by giving them the phrase above. It is based on the statement, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” I have researched who may have first uttered these words, but I can’t find anything that definitively gives attribution, so I can’t give you that info. But, that isn’t really the point.

Who defines a patriot and a terrorist really comes down to perspective or interpretation. There is no one definition that can truly encompass what the words actually mean. As such, it almost always comes down to who has the power to define the people, the actions, and the result. As Michael Bhatia of Brown University puts it, “…it’s about power, authority, and legitimacy.”

Now, he is talking specifically about international terrorism in general, but I think we can apply the situation and phrase to many different historical events because there are always two sides to take a look at.

  • The leaders in Britain saw the colonists as insurrectionists, terrorists, etc. as the colonists fought to create the United States. But the colonists saw their own people as freedom fighters, patriots, etc. because they were standing up to the tyranny of England.
  • The American military saw Iraqis in Iraq as terrorists when they blew up convoys, attacked bases and outposts, and killed Americans whether they were in the military or not. But the Iraqis saw the American military as an invading occupier and those who fought against the occupier were freedom fighters and patriots.
  • The leadership in South Africa saw the South Africans fighting for their rights and freedoms as insurrectionists and terrorists, but Nelson Mandela and his followers saw themselves as a freedom fighters and patriots.
  • Fidel Castro and his followers viewed themselves as patriots and freedom fighters who liberated their island from the right wing government and imperialist international interests while the government and international community viewed him as an insurrectionist and terrorist.

These are but a few examples. The point is, those in power have the ability to define anything and anyone as they see fit. We can’t let them define situations and people so easily without a little common sense and critical thinking.

What happened at the capitol last week can be viewed in much the same way. Are we going to let the media and those in power dictate who is a patriot and who is a terrorist? The use of either word has strong connotations behind them and if not used carefully, as in just throwing them around to fit a political agenda, it could harm people and ideas, and most importantly freedoms. It could keep people from standing up and fighting for their rights when there is legitimate cause to do so.

We must be careful when defining who is a patriot and who is a terrorist, because if we aren’t then the terms can too easily be manipulated for political purposes, which in turn allows us to be manipulated for political gain.

Idiocy

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

I hate to say it, but America (the land that I love and still think is better than anywhere else in the world) has become the land of idiocy. Yesterday, as well as the events of the last…well, pick a time frame…either way, this stupidity has been going on for a long while. A LONG while. Yesterday, and many events over the last year, are just coming to a head of ultimate stupidity.

Let’s be clear, the events of yesterday and storming the Capitol building are unacceptable. It should have never happened and I hope that it never happens again.

History has shown us (our own history) that displeasure with the government isn’t all that unusual and leads people to do things they would not normally do. Our Founding Fathers led a rebellion against a king and a government they found to be unjust. Those who supported the king and did extreme things in their support of the king likely found some actions despicable when the “other side” did them. Those who supported the colonies and eventually a free nation likely found the “other side” despicable when they did some of the same extreme things. Heck, even during our Civil War, both sides did despicable things to each other. Vietnam era protests? Yep, still some ugly things happening even then.

The difference between now and then?

Increased, instantaneous communication. It exists now, it didn’t at any time in the past.

How does that play a part in all this? Well, it literally takes no time for a rumor, opinion, or thought to spread far and wide. In an instant “information” can be disseminated to any number of people at one time. That’s a problem. It could be a good thing, but for the most part I think we see more problems with it than we see positives for it. Why?

It eliminates the possibility for someone to evaluate information and immediately creates an emotional response. There is little time for an individual to consider the information, process it, and then evaluate a response. Instead, people have devolved into an instantaneous, emotional response. They don’t think. They let their idiocy take over.

Instead of thoughtfully considering a response, or thinking clearly about their actions, they just respond. No forethought. No consideration. No evaluation. No wait. No weighing of consequences. No evidence. No proof. No nothing. Just response.

That, folks, is a terrible thing.

Social media has killed our ability to thoughtfully consider, to evaluate response, and restrict our own actions. Instead, we feed our need of immediacy, our need of instant gratification, with regrettable words and actions. We don’t wait for facts. We don’t consider another’s point of view. We don’t tolerate those who are different from us, think different from us, or believe different than us. We just don’t. We are not better off because of this.

We are actually becoming unrecognizable.

We are no longer a bastion of freedom, tolerance, and opportunity.

We have divided ourselves into camps of this or that. We have let ourselves be divided into those camps. We are not what our Founding Fathers believed we could become. And the direction we are currently headed won’t get us there either.

This idiocy can’t continue. We are in trouble if we continue to let it happen.

Doorknob

Photo by PIRO4D on Pexels.com

WTF? Who is this doorknob and who the hell let him pray? An utter embarrassment to himself, to those who listen to him, to those he represents, and to all people of faith in general.

Leave it to the Democrats to make a circus out of something so basic.

Amen and awoman“? You gotta see it to even believe it.

I am stumbling all over myself at the stupidity of this. It’s hard to even put into words how uneducated and unnecessary something like this is. It doesn’t take much research to know that “amen” means “so be it”. It has nothing to do with gender.

But this doorknob has to make an issue out of a word he clearly doesn’t know the meaning of. Actually, I believe there were quite a few words in his “prayer” that he didn’t know the meaning of. Not because he is ignorant (actually, he might be), but more because his speech writer likely used a thesaurus to write the speech. It sounded a lot like the essays I would get from my high school students who were trying to fill space by using words that made them sound smarter than they were and sometimes didn’t even fit in the sentence correctly. Whatever is going on there, it was a piss poor display of speech writing and intelligence.

Please, sir, never pray again. You obviously don’t actually know what it means, understand how it is done, or have a concept of where a prayer comes from – the heart. It isn’t a political tool, or stunt.

Mind reader

Photo by Gantas Vaiu010diulu0117nas on Pexels.com

I provide customer support to school district for their SIS. I have clients all the time that apparently think we are mind readers because they give us no details in order to investigate an issue.

Today’s email:

Hello, one of my teachers has posted his grades but some still show as not posted. Can you tell me why this is so so I can pass it along?

What am I supposed to do with this? There is nothing in this email that gives me any clue what to investigate other than it is a teacher and has something to do with his gradebook.

This should be proof about customer service people and why they are already irritated before you even start talking to them. If you are going to be a smart customer/client, you have to provide the people that help you with detailed information not just “it’s broke and I don’t know what to do.”

Now, I have to call this client and ask questions before I can even begin to investigate the issue. This is a waste of my time and a waste of theirs as well. It could be easily fixed, but I won’t know this on the initial call because I will have to get more info first.

*shakes head in disgust*

Come on people, work with us here. We aren’t mind readers.

Precedent

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com

The war on your rights, freedoms, and beliefs is about to get worse. Thankfully, there have been some changes in the Supreme Court that will (hopefully) change the trend of erosion that has been taking place. That, however, won’t stop those on the left from waging a war on the Bill of Rights.

A prime example of such would be the attach on student rights. The indoctrination of students has been going on for years and will continue as, unfortunately, there are not enough people in education that come from the conservative side of the aisle. Everywhere you look, from K-16, there are liberals dominating the arena of education and they are bent on destroying anything that smells of traditional, conservative values.

Last week, a 3rd grader felt the wrath of such an attack. All because a face mask had a message that the principal apparently found offensive. Double standard? Of course. There have been other messages on face masks that didn’t offend, though it may have been to some. But, this little girl gets called out for her message – one that was only directed to herself.

“Jesus love me.”

Not “Jesus loves you.”

The former is a personal message, meant for the person. The second is a message of projection, meant and directed at others.

I have a feeling the school district and the principal will be issuing apologies fairly soon. They are totally in the wrong and the Supreme Court has already addressed and established precedent with related to student speech, including symbolic speech. So, there should be a reversal fairly shortly.

Should schools protect students from some messages? Of course. The courts have established this too, when it comes to messages and images that would be inappropriate for the age group as well as something that would be deemed a disruption to the educational process. So, anything that promotes illegal drugs, illegal actions, offensive language, sex, etc. The definition of “offensive language” has changed over the years and seems to be subject to the whims of whomever is in charge. There has been an obvious double standard here when it comes to liberal and conservative values. So, that seems to waver, even though the established “offensive language” is really based on the seven words that supposedly can’t be broadcast (even this has changed).

Anyway, I am glad that someone has challenged the principal and district, though the district (as far as I can tell) hasn’t come out in support of the principal. Students, when at school, should be able to see and hear both sides of an issue and make a determination for themselves, not be indoctrinated one way or another.

Last minute

Photo by Mat Brown on Pexels.com

Nothing like starting the day off at work thinking you are going to be doing one thing, only to find out that that plan is totally out and you will be doing something completely different and something you haven’t prepared for at all.

I got thrown into a training today, on a piece of the software that I am somewhat familiar with but by no means an expert on. Someone else has been prepping for this training for weeks and they were ill so they couldn’t do the training this morning. Luckily they had written a script for the training and I had an outline to work from. Otherwise there would have been a lot more fumbling around than there was.

The training went fine (I think) with only a few little spots where I needed a little help from my co-host, but the software was demonstrated and is now at least familiar to those who might be using it.

I may not get the best training ratings though. As someone who has sat through plenty of trainings, you can always tell when the trainer isn’t as familiar with the subject matter as they would like to be. That was me this morning. So, I imagine the reviews won’t be all the great.

Oh well. Good thing my paycheck doesn’t depend on it at this point.

Journalism is dead

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Or at least it is nearly dead. There are still people out there who are doing their best to write and publish from a neutral perspective and this is EXTREMELY rare these days.

Glenn Greenwald isn’t the poster child for complete neutrality, but at least he comes close. While he may be a left-leaning journalist, he hasn’t pulled his punches when it comes to criticizing the left. He has pursued the truth and has exposed some very dark corners in American politics and government. But, that obviously can only go so far. Up to now, he hasn’t seen much in the way of censorship (or at least that is the way he describes it).

But, that has changed. Balanced and honest journalism requires that you see things from both sides and attack both sides when necessary. Yes, that is a little like biting the hand that feeds you, but a true journalist can’t ignore one side of every story. If they choose to do so, the sully the profession (as I am sure you are fully aware that most Americans don’t trust the media any longer).

Greenwald has resigned from the media outlet he helped co-found. Because they wanted to censor an article he wrote on Hunter and Joe Biden, one that was critical of the Democratic darling and the media cover-up of revelations related to business dealings in foreign countries. He is justified in asking questions and form an analysis, apparently that other journalists are even unwilling to think about, because others are not asking the questions and are not willing to be critical.

We have known journalism is dead for a long time. Thus, the distrust of the American media. But this, this is a whole different level of censorship and verges on conspiracy by the left to support a political candidate purely because he is the alternative to a candidate they have tried repeatedly to destroy over the last six years. Their mantra has been and continues to be, “Anyone but HIM!” So much so that they even eat their own when people don’t fall into line with their narrative.

I hope you take a look at the information provided by Greenwald. It is fascinating and eye opening. It is enlightening, but also confirms what many already know. Only now, we know it without a shadow of a doubt.