Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Technology...Spam,Spam, Spam, Spam, and Spam

What would the world be like without email or more aptly the first true internet event?  The post office would not be losing money, right now.  We wouldn't have that wonderful tether especially now since we carry our computers in our pockets...the wonder of smart phones.  Predators wouldn't have chat rooms. An obscene phone call would once again be attached to a voice.   No Facebook.  No mp3 or digital movies.  No IPhone.  No Andorid.  No porn around every search parameter.    No instant contact.  No tablets.  No ebooks.   I'd like to, "No auto-dial political  or spam calls" but we all know how determined phone sweatshops are.The lunatic fringe would never had to figure out how to turn on a computer and discover that there were enough people like them to make them believe that they were somehow normal.  No, they would all still be sitting there trying to figure out how to stop the VCR from flashing 12:00.

You get the idea.

I get a bunch of emails everyday from people I don't know.  It is not actually spam.  I signed up for most of it.  I get emails from everything from Twitter to Amazon.  I belong to a number of movie production groups such as Warner Brothers and Universal, all because I bought a DVD with digital copy.  I bought a tablet which attached me to Flixster and the world of Angry Birds.  I have a Google account because it's required for my smart phone and my blog.  I get emails for my favorite games.

I am connected.  I remember the first chat I ever had.  I called a friend via modem on my Apple IIe and we chatted by typing.  It would have been much faster if I had just picked up the phone and talked to him, which we did when we were having trouble making the programming work.  I could of course just walked the three or four blocks to his house.  The uniqueness of watching it come up on my green screen was fascinating, even though it tied up my only phone line.  When I first went on the internet, we had a second phone line so I could go on line and we would still have a phone.

We used our first cell phone, roughly the size of a brick, only for emergency calls.  It was just too expensive to use it otherwise.  No smart phones then.  A cell phone was a phone.  No texting...yet another form of email. We were not as connected...but we talked to each other more on the phone, just not as often.  We had maybe a bit more face time but not really much more.

I had the evil AOL on dial up.  I am not sure why AOL was evil, but many geeks I knew seemed to think that it was.  I had five email addresses, my personal one, one for my wife, one for each of our two children and one for a game I played. Then we moved from dial up to high speed and then from high speed to cable.  I have basically the same emails, except the kids are gone and for a while I had one that was my school/teaching address, and I've added one for my smart phone. I used IM for about a week and then turned it off.  I really hated pop ups.  I am still not big on instant chat.

So what has email done for us (Facebook, Twitter, texting, and chat really are a form of live email)? They have made us less considerate when we write.   We don't actually intend to be less accurate and perhaps not as reactive when we write our emails, texts, chats, tweets, status's.  Because all these are so immediate, we think we need to be immediate in our response and it is expected to be by the sender.  It has allowed us to be more connected in the sense we can email, text, etc. immediately, but it has also disconnected us because we can hide in our written words and abbreviations. It is safe and impersonal.  There is no voice at the end of an email.  There is no person there...well there is...but it's digital and no voice to hear the laugh or pain in.  And if we do say something cruel, we can always add =) or another emoticon.  Maybe Skype will solve this issue, but I cannot imagine having a half dozen faces staring at me from the screen, especially in high definition.

Immediate email has made us connected and less personal.  So I guess, without it, we would just have to be  insulting in person.,,or maybe, just maybe, more considerate.  Never have so many been involved in a social medium where they operate so alone.  Kinda like blogging...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

School of Choice: But I have a voucher..

There is more than one voucher in the political world.  Yes, there is the voucher idea for Medicare, but there is another.  That's the school voucher system, sometimes called the school of choice movement.  The idea is that the tax money that goes to a school for funding would be attached to the child, so that whatever school the child goes to, the money goes to that school.  This is different than open enrollment.  In open enrollment, a student may go to any public school as long as that school has space for the students in their district.  For now, I want you to understand that school choice is different.

The idea, as presented by proponents, sounds good.  Every student would be given a voucher which they would present to the school they attend. The tax money for that student would go to that school.  A poor student could go then to a private school and get out of that failing school in their poor neighborhood.  The average spending which was according to the Census Bureau $10,500 nationally in 2009 in public schools.  The actual cost is anywhere from $6,400 in Utah to $18,100 in New York.  So a student could go to any public or private school and take that money.  Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

There all kinds of "average costs" for private schools, but perhaps the best was a study done at the same time as the 2009 figures from Census.  The author of this study looked a Private Schools vs Public Schools in Boston.  The final is that an average of the best fifty-seven private schools was a cost of $22,377 dollars with many exceeding will over $30,000.  The average spent for Boston Public Schools, $12,966. Both figures are based on day only for comparison.  Any cost of boarding is removed.  On education nation during an interview with Mitt Romney, it was pointed out that the private school he attended in Michigan, Cranbrook Academy, now costs over $35,000 per student per year.  He advocated that poor parents could use "pots of money," Title I, to go to better privatized charter schools.  The average Title I fund is about $3,000 while the the local private schools cost over $7,000.  Does anyone see a problem with this?

What proponents of the School Choice movement fail is to explain how the poor will make up the difference.  They also make the assumption that all private schools and privatized charter schools are better than public. National studies would differ on that point. Nevertheless, private schools still must be paid.  While the voucher may tip the scales for upper middle income and maybe a few middle income families to allow their children to go private, for the most part it will not let the vast majority of students to change schools.  In other words the tax payer will be footing a discount for those who can already afford private schools.

What is more, is they are private schools.  They may be religious based which would seem to violate the separation of church and state according to the courts.  This also means they don't have to take students they don't want.  They don't have to provide services for special needs.  They don't have to have a due process to expel a student.  They don't have to prove their school is successful.  They don't have to take state mandated tests.  They don't have to meet standards requirements.  AND if the student is expelled or drops out, they don't have to give the money back.

A short while back, the conservative school board in Douglas County adopted a school of choice policy.  It was political and controversial. It also went against at least two previous state-wide referendums that had been defeated which means a small group was now using its power to thwart the will of the majority. It was also halted by the courts. The judge wrote in his sixty-seven page ruling, that "The prospect of having millions of dollars of public school funding diverted to private schools, many of which are religious and lie outside of the Douglas County School District, creates a sufficient basis to establish standing for taxpayers seeking to ensure lawful spending of these funds." 

Hundreds of students who had enrolled in private schools had to scramble to find alternatives.  One can only guess at the cost to an already budget strapped district for the court battle to support the board.  They had already distributed about $300, 000 dollars which they would probably not get back.  The original pilot would have given each student $4,575 for private school.  

Having a voucher and a road to a "better" education are two very different things.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Party of Lincoln? Reagan Democrats?

You hear it often, "the Republican party is the party of Lincoln."  Yet, for his time Lincoln clearly had liberal views.  Then there were the Reagan Democrats of the '80s and '90s who were largely conservative.  There was also the group known as Dixiecrats, another set of conservatives of the late '50s and '60s. Yet the Lincoln Republicans led the way in freeing the slaves, which most would concede was a dramatic Civil Rights move.  By the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a Democrat, would lay the ground work for the  New Deal, which began welfare and social security.  There were segregationists like George Wallace and Stom Thurmond, the former a Democrat and the latter a Republican.  So when did the two parties change places?

Politics is a complex and nearly unfathomable occupation.  The fact is that there have been several such changes in beliefs by both parties.  To start we need to go back a ways...the birth of nation, before there was the DNC and RNC.  In the beginning...(of the USA) there were two parties: The Federalists and Democratic - Republicans.  The Federalists supported the Northeast and largely business.  The Democratic-Republicans didn't.  They were more artisan oriented.  The Federalists eventually folded and were replaced by the new party of business, the Whigs.  One of the people I came across while trying to figure this out stated that the Whigs primary goal was to raid the public treasury.  Mean while, the Democratic-Republican party became just the Democratic party in the early 1800's. Of all the presidents, by the way, only George Washington had no reported party affiliation.  John Adams was the only Federalist.  Four presidents were Democratic Republicans. Four were Whigs. Eighteen were Republicans. Fifteen were Democrats. Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's vice president is usually identified as a Democrat, but he never officially joined the party, so technically he was an independent.  John Tyler, a Whig as vice president, went against the party and was expelled from the Whig Party making him independent as well.

So when the Republican party rose to prominence, the Whig Party collapsed and actually became a part of the Republican party.  When the Civil War ended, the Republicans ruled, for the most part.  Remember, Andrew Johnson classified as a Democrat, was president.  He was also the first president to undergo impeachment proceedings.  Congress was controlled by Republicans.  So it was natural that Democrats became largely Southern and conservative.  After Johnson, the Republicans probably because of the reconstruction would control the White House until 1885.  The Republicans became the party of big business and, are you ready for this, the party of big government.  The Democrats in the South went the opposite way.  They didn't want big government because with Reconstruction, big government tended to be in their business.

This lasted, more or less, until the Great Depression.  The New Deal was it's name.  Franklin Roosevelt introduced the "Relief, Recovery, and Reform" in response to the depression in his first term.  This reset the control of the White House which would be seven of nine presidents until 1969.  The Republican Party split with its conservative branch announcing the liberal ideas of The New Deal was an enemy of business and growth.  Sound at all familiar?  Liberals accepted some of it promising to make the rest more efficient, again, a bit familiar sounding.

The first New Deal concentrated on saving various industries, railroads, and farming.  They all needed economic protection. The Federal Emergency Relief program would give out 500 million to states and cities. Hmmm another familiar sounding incident.  This was followed by the second New Deal in Roosevelt's second term.  This was much more liberal and set up the New Deal Coalition which lasted until the election of Nixon.  The second New Deal was a job program called the Work Progress Administration.  The WPA would make the federal government the largest single employer in the United States. In addition to the WPA there was the establishment of the Wagner Act, which supported labor unions, the Social Security Act which congress still seems to be at odds about, The US Housing Authority, The Farm Security Administration, and the The Fair Labor Standards Act, which established maximum labor hours and minimum wage.

In reaction to the second New Deal, a battle between labor unions of the AFL and CIO, and an economic downturn, conservative Republicans and Democrats, the Conservative Coalition,  took control of Congress, with the Republicans making substantial gains.  It was the rise of the Dixiecrats or Southern Conservative Democrats.  It may also mark the trend of the South becoming more Republican.  Programs were declared unconstitutional and  some were rewritten and upheld.

With the rise of conservatism in Congress a Gallup Poll asked if people believed that Roosevelt's programs were undermining the recovery and confidence by business.  The response was nearly two to one "yes." Other polls found the same was true, although by not as large of margin. Roosevelt responded by moving left and attacking the monopoly of power which included the sixty most wealthy families in America.  Although he had actually balanced the budget, with the down turn in economy, underemployment was at 19 percent having risen from over 14 percent, Roosevelt embarked on a five billion dollar spending program.

The Great Depression ended with entry into World War II.  The war economy demanded more manufacturing and employees as well as the need for men in the military.  Women entered the workforce. Despite the conservative Congress, New Dealers would pass a number of protective acts during the war.  Conservatives, in order to prevent wanted benefits for everyone wanted by the liberals, would pass benefits based on service which became known as the G.I. Bill. It became a landmark piece of legislation, establishing the middle class and economy largely driven by them. The last of the New Deal legacy was seen with Lyndon Johnson's Great Society which saw the rise of things like the voter protection act and of course the land marks of Civil Rights Legislation.  The battle between conservative Republicans and the Dixiecrats  and FDR would move the Democratic Party firmly to the left and Republicans to the Right.

So now you know how the Party of Lincoln became conservative and the once conservative Democrats became liberal.  Who knows if both survive another fifty years what they will become.

Is it just me or does all this sound a little bit familiar?  It might also contain a bit of a lesson for both parties as to which one dominated the White House for the next three and a half decades. Barring the stealing of the election by certain groups, we've seen this before.

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." ~George Santanya.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spoiler Alert

Abe Lincoln
George Wallace

Robert La Follette
Henry Wallace
Abe Lincoln was a Republican which at the time was a third party.George Wallace was a Democrat who before he became a segregationist, won the endorsement of the NAACP in his first run at major office. Robert La Follette, a Republican founded one of the Progressive Parties, Henry Wallace, a Democrat, ran for president as a member of that Progressive Party. 
Strom Thurmond
John Anderson

Strom Thurmond who was a Democratic Senator for 48 years, was a segregationist and ran as a member of the States Rights Party. John Anderson, a republican, ran  in the National Unity Party.  
Ron Paul
Ross Perot
Ralph Nader
Eugen Debs
Ron Paul, before running as a Republican, ran as a member of the Libertarian party. Ross Perot a wealthy businessman ran as an Independent.  Pat Buchanan, a Republican, ran as a member of the Reform Party after denouncing the Republican Party as the identical twin to the Democrats.  Ralph Nader, consumer advocate, ran for the Green Party.  Many believe the votes he garnered cost Al Gore the election.  I should probably not leave out one other famous third party candidates, union leader, Eugene Debs who ran for the Socialist Party.  

Yes, there have been other candidates on the presidential ballot, but few achieved the notoriety that these men have as true third party candidates.  Most notable for several of them is that they denounced their party or joined their party with another party.  There is right now another "spoiler" on the ballot this year.  Independent and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.  In close elections, the third party candidate can sway an election.  Ralph Nader had nearly three million votes.  Ross Perot captured nearly 19 million votes. The closer the election, the more impact they may have. 

A few Republican states have even tried keep Gary Johnson off the ballot by trying to prevent the spoiler effect.  When Nader ran, he captured 100,000 votes in Florida.  Gore lost Florida by 537 votes and the electoral college.  Ross Perot, a conservative Independent, probably prevented George H. W. Bush from beating Bill Clinton.  Bush lost to Clinton by about six million votes. 

The campaign becomes more and more interesting.  Even a minor candidate who is on one or two states ballots can influence the election.  For example Virgil Goode is on the ballot in several states, but most importantly he is on the ballot in his home state of Virginia where he was a six term congressman. As a conservative member of the Constitution Party, he could easily take votes from Romney.  

For Obama there is Jill Stein, this year's Green Party candidate.  While Ms. Stein is not as famous as her predecessor Ralph Nader, in a close election, she could still take votes.  Spoilers are an interesting group that even though they will not win, can affect the outcome of the election and because of this they can also get many of their beliefs into the mainstream of politics.  After all, Lincoln was the third party candidate.  There is currently no member of the Whigs running, but before Lincoln, they were the other party.

P.S. I did not forget this guy who also ran as a Progressive Party candidate, also called the Bull Moose Party at the time. He though was president twice.
Theodore Roosevelt
Want to see how you line up with the candidates, try the Candidate Positions Quiz.  It might surprise you.  It is at

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tenure The Sequel: We Are not the Droids You Are Hoping For

(from )
One of the recent issues in the Chicago Teacher Strike was about the use of state-mandated tests as 40 percent of the evaluation.  This is by no means a new idea.  They finally settled on it being 30 percent of the evaluation.  You already know, if you've been reading these what I think of state-mandated testing on the use of evaluating anything. Teachers do not object to evaluations.  It makes sense and helps the teacher grow, but there are much better ways to evaluate than using a test that really evaluates very little.

Let's not forget that one test does not fit all.  The standards set by "test makers" and politicians are often a little more that arbitrary.  What is more, a test operates on a scale that treats everyone as if they were widgets in a factory.  So if one doesn't fit the mold, it's not their creativity or their ability to judge a problem from outside the box that is measured.  They fail because they are no longer inside the box.

Recently there has been a move in Colorado to again get rid of that evil tenure, even though tenure has not technically existed in Colorado for twenty plus years – no one has apparently informed the Colorado congress of this. The new law is one that is astoundingly moronic. Teachers will be judged in part on the progress of students on the Colorado mandated test, now called TCAP or "tee-cap."  On the surface that sounds like a good idea. If kids don’t show progress in a particular field, the teacher they have will lose his tenure if he has it and be moved back to probationary status. 

Remember, the test means nothing to the kid except now he can blow the test in the subject areas he doesn’t like to get rid of the teacher who made him do his work instead of playing video games. Adding to the problem is state testing generally only goes through tenth grade (junior and senior teachers you’re safe for the time being unless they decide to use the ACT or something). There is the whole host of problems with testing. There is the problem that if the tests actually do work, then the bar will have to adjusted because you can only demonstrate so much improvement. Not every area is tested (in fact right now we test English, math, and science, with possibly social studies in the near future). They have no idea how to judge the other areas of teaching (so band, drama, PE, special services, and family and consumer studies, etcetera, you too are safe for the time being). And last but not least, the rubric for the evaluation required of every teacher every year is several pages asking for judgment on things that have nothing to do with the teacher and even include items beyond the classroom doors.

Goodbye Creativity...we are going to be busy testing.

How much time will all this take? A lot. Colorado has announced that they intend to do this test 3 times a year.  It's not that more hasn't been added to teachers and students in the past few years either.  It is not as if extra days are built into school calendars for the tests; they aren't. So creativity in teaching in the classroom becomes more and more limited.  Time to teach and learn becomes more and more limited.  Education becomes mandated, stale and repetitive.  The pitfalls of such testing and evaluation are many.  

Administrators will be spending three times the amount of time of evaluating, and teachers will now be worrying about keeping their job because of a test. As I said, political decisions are, as we all know, too often driven not by what actually makes a difference but by what politicians perceive as public perceptions (often created by their own propaganda machines) and their need for reelection. 

Let's also not forget cost.  Schools are already strapped for funding in most if not all states.  Well someone must be paid to make all these tests and paid to grade all these tests and then someone paid to collate the data and then someone must be paid to analyze the data and then there is postage, printing, transport...etc. In Texas, for example standardized testing will cost the state half a billion dollars over the next five years.   And of course the cost in time for administrators who must now evaluate every teacher with a document of incredible length and the cost in time to education and classes and teachers.  All for something that will not accurately measure any group, learning, learning styles, teaching, or teachers.  Is it really a cost worth paying and...

When exactly were schools supposed to go about educating kids?

Friday, September 21, 2012

I Know...We Can Fix It with a Test

What many of our leaders have proposed or installed, I find pretty useless in helping us educate our kids. One of those ideas is  the current use of “state-mandated testing.” I’ve sat on enough committees to know that it really is true that of all the animals the only one God didn’t create was the duckbill platypus. It was created by committee, or so goes the old joke. Most state tests are also created by a committee of experts and were done so at the behest of politicians. The first state test in Colorado was called the CSAP or “see sap” which actually stands for Colorado Student Assessment Program or as as some in education called it when it first came out Can Students Assess Politicians. Some of what was originally intended was not a bad idea until we learned that students weren’t going to be held accountable for it in any way. Parents could opt out but if they did it was scored against the school. We also learned how the test would be scored and that it would be used as a political club to eliminate those evil, greedy teachers who were tenured and collecting paychecks without teaching a single thing. It would be used to put those awful schools in their place. In short, it was a great election tool and a reason to keep schools underfunded and taxes down. Besides Colorado had that hideous tax law known as the TABOR amendment that basically left all public services on a tax base some ten years behind.

I love it when some politician announces to the media that every measure has been taken to prevent teacher from teaching to the test and thus give them a true and accurate portrait of education. No test has ever given a true or accurate portrait of anyone’s learning or for that matter IQ. As to teaching to the test, think of it this way: “Today class we are taking a test. Since you know what I’ve taught you, I’ve decided to test you on everything that I didn’t teach you. That way I will have a true and accurate portrait of what you know.”

Of course teachers teach to the test. It is purely stupid, not to. We will also now ignore the fact that Johnny has a learning disability, hasn’t eaten more than one meal a day for the past week, has an alcoholic parent, has his family in the midst of a divorce, has parents who take him out of school to go shopping or on vacation, stayed up all night playing Xbox, was constantly texting or watching TV while doing his homework or simply didn’t do his homework, got a bad night’s sleep, has a cold, doesn’t take the test seriously because it has no impact on his life, has a parent who tells him how bad his education is or how unimportant the test is, or has a politician or media expert for a parent. True and accurate portrait from a test? Really?

On the original Colorado state-mandated test, which is like many given throughout the nation, a student on the section of math, where they are to show their work, can get the mathematical answer correct but because they don’t show some step that some math professor thought is essential, they are scored as having missed the question and yet if they are writing a paragraph if they meet use a comma correctly, it, is, still, correct, even if, they add too, many, commas (not even my punctuation checker counted that last sentence as incorrect). Tests are fascinating beasts that tell us very little and to make only the school or the teacher responsible for them is the height of stupidity. Kids are not widgets that are mass produced, but if you want them to take something serious, they need ownership. A junior or senior taking the ACT or SAT for college entrance takes the test far more seriously than a freshmen who has to take a test that counts for nothing. I’ve administered such tests and believe me there is clearly a difference.

The other reason that we have probably reached the state of testing we are in is my fault. Well not my fault but education’s fault. We made a horrible mistake in the 1960’s. The push was on and the race to the moon began. We needed scientists and mathematicians although many of those people would not graduate from school much before we actually made it to the moon. Education announced that we could teach any body and we would, in our ideal announcement, make everyone up to the task. It was a lie. We cannot teach everybody. We can try. It is difficult to make it happen though if you are ducking bullets from a drive-by or wondering if you will have dinner that night. It is difficult if you have a profound learning disability or are told over and over that you do. It is difficult if your parents don’t read to you or put emphasis on education. It is difficult if the people who want you to take the test don’t think you’re worth spending the money on. We can try; but there is political expediency and idealism; and then there is reality. The reality is that we cannot teach everyone, and for some, teachers are truly a baby sitter.  The reality is some have more economic advantage and social advantages. The reality is not everyone needs to go to college and we have dedicated far too many resources for students who aren’t going to go to college.

 The reality is a test has nothing to do with giving everyone that chance. The reality is we should never stop trying to give everyone the best possible education so they can have that chance and forget about massive testing as a means to fix education.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tenure: The Evil that Men Do

What is tenure? Many of you have heard of it and more than a few of you have discussed how evil it is because it makes it impossible to fire the evil, greedy and indolent teachers. Somewhere along the line, politicos, pundits, and others have twisted what tenure does. First let me explain something to you, tenure has not always existed. “What?” you proclaim. The first “tenure” law was passed in New Jersey in 1910* for college professors and then was extended to high school and elementary teachers a few decades later. It was actually more universal in the USA in the 1940’s and 50’s. It was originally described as an act for fair dismissal. It was designed to protect teachers who could largely get fired because the PTA president had become upset with a grade that little Suzie received. Somewhere along the line, tenure ceased to protect the innocent and began to protect the indolent if you believe the reports.

Why was tenure needed to begin with? When I took school law, it was apparent that teachers in entering the classroom gave up something – certain constitutional rights. Don’t believe me? A teacher may place a bible on the corner of his desk and even discuss some of the stories as cultural literature. A teacher may not at any time use the classroom to discuss his religious and personal beliefs. A teacher may wear a political button of support. A teacher may not at any time use his classroom or position to discuss why he wears the button. In fact, the button is frowned upon and teachers are expected to discuss political or religious ideals off campus. These are just two examples of a host of things that teachers cannot discuss. Teachers have given up their first amendment rights. They do so willingly because they know that kids are a captive audience and often quite impressionable and we must be very, very, very careful, even if the information they bring from home and discuss with other kids is a bucket load of you know what.

I find it somewhat interesting that every time there is a national crisis, whether it be promiscuity or drugs, you can turn to most any daytime talk show or late night broadcast, and invariably some expert will say “it’s something that we need to be sure is taught in school” and everyone applauds or nods their collective heads knowingly. Schools which have limited resources are suddenly asked to teach moral ideals without the benefits of any kind of belief system and at the same time fairly balance those moral ideals with belief systems that they may conflict with. Anyone here see the problem here? If so, you may applaud or nod your collective heads. 

Is it any wonder that in this insanity, teachers need some protection? I know we have all heard the stories of the bad teacher that was saved by tenure. When did those stories become the majority? At what point, did tenure become the evil protector of what men do? Tenure guarantees due process. That’s all it does. A principal must document the failure of the teacher in the classroom. He, the superintendent, board members or other powers may not fire a teacher without cause. What is more, they have in many states, a few years to fire a teacher without cause. It’s called the probationary teaching years and any teacher who changes jobs will tell you that tenure does not transfer. After the a certain number of consecutive contracts are approved a teacher is said to have tenure or has become non-probationary, which means that in order to remove that teacher from his or her position, a principal or superintendent or board needs to do its job and prove just cause. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to operate. It has nothing, and I mean nothing, to do with unions, except that a union attorney may represent the teacher. When I took school law, eons ago, there were in Colorado eight reasons to fire a teacher. Only eight? Yes, but number eight was simply ‘a teacher may be dismissed for any  reasonable and justifiable cause.’

Due process is what any person has a right to. Because teachers are public figures and because what they sometimes do might rub a few folks the wrong way, they were given in law what is in many cases is a constitutional guarantee. They were given the right to a fair hearing of why they are being dismissed. Can it cost money? Yes. Does it protect a few? Yes, especially when the administration of a school fails to do its job. Tenure was not evil. It has been twisted to make it so. A number of years ago, Colorado eliminated tenure…well at least the word. Teachers became “probationary” and “non-probationary” not tenured. The thinking by the politicians who led the charge to get rid of evil tenure was that by eliminating the word, they would effectively eliminate all judicial/court rulings on tenure. Thank you George Orwell for your gift of double speak. After the passage of the law, two lawyers were in the superintendent’s office discussing with him the implications of the new law. One was from the union and the other was the school’s attorney. 

Superintendent: What does this law mean?

School Lawyer: (The school lawyer looks at the union lawyer and they grin) That we are both about to make a lot of money.

So this is it: Tenure is to protect teachers by giving them DUE PROCESS. It is not inherently evil.

( history from,8599,1859505,00.html)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Best Interest

With the release of the Romney video  and reading a discussion by a Romney supporter about how much more he admires Romney now, caused me to stop and wonder exactly how it is that people will do something that is against their own best interest. I know this supporter and my guess he is probably a tea party supporter as well.  What amazes me is he very likely knows someone who is a part of the 47 percent who pay no taxes.  It is true that we have a number of folks who don't pay taxes, although it is actually 46 percent.  What the problem is not that 46 percent don't pay taxes, but that Romney characterizes them as victims who don't take responsibility for themselves and are always looking for a handout. It is clear that he doesn't think he will represent them as president. The  majority of these people are poor and simply do not qualify to pay income tax.  The rest consist of people with tax breaks, small businesses, and retirees. 

This, of course, only includes Federal taxes.  It does not include things that the 46 percent do pay taxes like payroll tax, state tax, sales tax, property tax, etc.  I am sure that most of the poor would much rather be making enough money to pay tax rather than living with what they must.   Many have  suffered job loss or devastating illness or lack the training to do more.  It was for them that the safety net was created.  Yes there are some who are lazy and take advantage of the system, but my guess  is that this is a very small group.  I don't think there really are millions of people who want no responsibility for their lives.

This brings me to the idea of people who follow someone who is against their best interest. They vote Republican because they are, well, Republican.  They vote Democrat because they are, well, Democrat.  Such logic makes no sense to me.  It makes no sense to me that anyone would vote for someone who clearly has no interest in what they find important simply because they dislike the other candidate.

I've heard the argument that we should be better recovered because after all Obama's party controlled the White House, the House and the Senate for two years.  This argument of course ignores the filibuster rule in the Senate and the majority of 60 which is still a curious rule to me.  But I will let that pass for now. Yet using that same logic, in 2010 we gave the house back to the control of the Republicans and several of those seats were filled by the Tea Party candidates. So my question is: Since the Republicans have controlled the House for two years now, what have they done? Other than voting 33 times to repeal a law, Obama Care, which they cannot repeal in the Senate nor override the President's veto, what have they passed that would help people get back to work?  What have they passed that would reduce the deficit?  What have they done to loosen up the trillion plus dollars that Wall Street, big corporations and bankers are sitting on so that top down economics might actually work? (I would point out that there is zero proof that trickle down has ever worked.) I am not talking about something that actually became law; just something they passed in the house and sent to the senate.

I'll wait....
Still waiting....

Oh yeah, the Ryan Budget.  Let's see that's the budget that raises defense spending,  cuts medicare fast tracking it to premium vouchers, cuts/reduces education, medicaid, food stamps, research, science like space technology, transportation (infrastructure), natural resources and the environment. It was bad enough that ten house Republicans actually voted "no" on it in 2012 and had no chance of passing the Senate or being signed.  Another useful vote.

So what else?
I can wait...

The Republican controlled house has struggled to pass any significant legislation.  They held the debt ceiling hostage causing a downgrade in the US credit rating. They walked away from Simpson-Bowles. I know they want to blame Obama for that - and in all honesty Obama should have probably used the bully-pulpit a bit more - but the committee never passed the plan and so it never crossed Obama's desk.  They signed a no new tax pledge, not really a law though.  The have never allowed a vote on the jobs package.

The congress, both house and senate, has in fact produced fewer laws and appropriations bills than any other congress since records have been kept. Those records started with the 80th congress of Harry Truman.  The 112th congress, in 2011, sent just 62 bills to be signed to the President.  They are the least productive congress in history having a productivity rate that is half that of the next least productive congress.  Even the divided congress of Bill Clinton vs. the Republican Congress of Newt Gingrich passed 333 laws.  It is the most unpopular congress  since polling began.  What is more, it is the most divided congress since Reconstruction.  I can understand voting to repeal health care once or twice since they promised to hold a vote in 2010...but 33 times? How do you feel about a Senator who's stated primary goal was not jobs, budget, or economy but to make Obama a one term president?  Somehow, I just don't think his priorities are the same as mine.

And what of the Democrat controlled senate? Since 2009 they have failed to pass a budget.  In 2010, they had one up in committee which was never brought to the floor, but since then they have not even bothered.  They have refused to even bring up Obama's budgets creating the odd occurrence of the House bringing them to the floor so they can say that not even Democrats would vote for Obama's budget.  Yep..a political ploy, Obama really has sent budgets to congress.

Together Democrats and Republicans failed to act on infrastructure or even pass a five year plan which had been the norm.  And then there was the FAA funding failure.  The cost until they sorted it all out was $350 million dollars in uncollected airline taxes alone.  This is followed by the failure of the Senate to approve appointees.  The Federal Reserve needed a few members. The Senate Committee on Banking, led by Republican Richard Shelby blocked the appointment of MIT economist Peter Diamond.  While awaiting approval, Diamond would win the Nobel Prize for Economics.  Diamond removed his name from the nomination list.  Shelby it seems wanted pay back for the Democrats blocking Bush's appointments in 2007.  In fact the Democrats played this game in 2007 approving about 75 percent of Bush's appointees.  In the same time period and as a ploy to get even Republicans have blocked about 57 percent of Obama's appointees.

This is a game we can no longer afford. Who says that political parties in congress have not attempted to place roadblocks to the recovery every step of the way. I have one thing to say...get to know your congressman and what he or she has done and then use your vote and your voice to remind this person who is in charge.

So my questions remains...why would you vote for anyone who has done so little to represent you?  The taxes on the wealthy vs. the tax cuts for everyone  barely scratches how dysfunctional congress has become since what has become known as the Tea Party takeover.  The Tea Party originally bragged, when it started, on several news shows I watch that it was a grass roots movement including conservative Republicans and Democrats.  They seem to have dropped the Conservative Democrats from the party or perhaps they just converted them.  The conservative movement though has had two years...what have they done?

By the Way if you haven't watched the Romney video, you should.  It's not just the 47 percent remark; it is clear that he thinks very little of anyone who was not at the $50,000 a plate dinner.

(stats from and and

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Legislating morality

I have to admit I don't know why anyone would believe that they can legislate morality in a free country.  I believe what I believe.  One blogger I read says that saying "you can't legislate morality" is a liberal dodge using a tired out phrase that is patently untrue.  By his definition, morality is the difference between the right and wrong.  It is wrong to kill another and the laws punish those who do.  It is wrong to steal from another and laws will deal with thieves.  The problem is though with the definition only works if we see a world of black and white and definitive rights with easily defined wrongs.  So so long as you see these ideas through a single pane of glass, then there could be a moral legislation.  While there may be some things that are black and white, when it comes to laws it becomes forever gray. 

When some one kills another it is not necessarily murder.  There is vehicular homicide, negligent homicide, accidental homicide, justifiable homicide, manslaughter, second degree murder, first degree murder and, I am sure, a host of other forms I don't know about.  People charged with crimes regularly negotiate or "plea bargain."  What about robbery? Again there is a host of levels depending on everything from breaking and entering, use of a weapon, and the amount stolen.  Almost every crime has a degree or level attached.  

So we now have a problem.  Oddly enough The United States has more people incarcerated than any other nation.  While the USA represents less than five percent of the world's population, we account for one quarter of the people in prison.  There is apparently some disagreement as to who is in prison for what.  One website says that those in prison for violent crime is around seven or eight percent, another says that eighty-two percent are in for victim-less crimes and another says that over fifty percent are in for violent crimes.  By the way at least two of these sites would be considered conservative.  Most agree that those incarcerated for drugs have declined since 2000, but they disagree as to why.  Some say it is because of the strict drug laws and some say it is simply a decline in drug use or maybe is the lessening of prosecution for some drugs.  The point though is that while there are over two million people in  prisons in local, state and federal prisons our push to legislate right and wrong seems  not to be doing reaily well.  

I am not saying that we stop enforcing our laws, but I am saying that we need to be more careful in the laws we legislate and keep on the books.  At one point spitting on the sidewalk, as unsanitary as it is, was a criminal act.  So as I listen to the controversy surrounding things like the legalization of pot to the criminalizing  abortion, I have to wonder if some of the things people have made a crime or want to make a crime is really going to protect society.  Laws, I believe, are created to protect society so that we can live as a cohesive group.  

This presents something of a puzzle.  On the political scene, the most recent and pressing of the legislative issue seems to be abortion.  I for example am a limited pro-life person, but that said, what I believe is not what someone else may believe and in no case should my beliefs be imposed on someone else.  I do not favor any law or constitutional amendment that would do such a thing.  The history of amendments that limit have not been so good while the expansion of rights in the constitution has only added to our freedom.  In fact the only amendment that I can recall that limited us was one of morality...Prohibition.  It is also the only amendment to ever be repealed.  I am not enough of a scientist to know when life begins.  I do know that no politician or special group should make that decision either and they are probably no smarter than I am in determining when life begins.  It is not a matter of courts or congress; it is a matter of conscience.

This is just as true for marriage.  Just as I believe that the government should not rule what religious institutions should recognize as couple, I also believe that there is zero reason that laws should not recognize any couple who has committed to share a life together  regardless of sexual orientation.  It is not the laws duty to make a moral judgement.  To base one on a religious cause violates the separation of the church and state.

Pot is another issue.  I do not use the drug nor do I condone its  use.  I have heard the argument that it is a gateway drug but I suppose the same could be said of alcohol.  If it can be shown that it is a danger to society, then it should remain illegal; however, if not, then it should be as controlled and taxed as alcohol or cigarettes.  Again the choice to do such things is more moral than societal danger.  Besides, it could be a great money maker.

You cannot win a moral argument, I would tell my students.  Morality is based on philosophical considerations.  It's like choosing Coke over Pepsi, a matter of taste.  What government should do is make the laws based on does it hurt another, does it prevent us from living together safely, is it constitutional.  If it doesn't meet those standards, then  morals of your personal belief system or of mine should not be imposed on another person or group. So the legislation of morality may be trite, but it is not a dodge, not the sole domain of the liberal, and certainly not patently false.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Power of Protest, the Press, and the Ratings

The violence in Middle East has been on my mind.  My thoughts are about the loss of not just an American ambassador, a diplomat, two security personnel, and the Libyan guards, who were also sons, fathers, brothers - men who had lives and who took dangerous jobs. I also think about the politicizing of this horrible event and not just by the candidates but by the media as well.  

Oh sure, there are a few that report on the fact that many of the protests are actually led by small, extremest factions and that, for example, the protests in Cairo happen on pretty much a regular basis.  That one can be found on almost any Friday night says one report.  Nor have they done a real good job about reporting on the people who do support the US or the vigils that were held in Libya by its citizens following the deaths. 

No they are interested in showing you the protesters yelling and waving militant Islam flags as they burn the American Flag, like the one below. 
But this picture is not from Egypt, Libya or the Sudan.  It is in fact from Oakland, California.  It came with the caption:  Protesters burn an American flag during a small march through downtown Oakland.

or this one -


which was done 1989,  when Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag at a political rally protesting the Reagan administration.

Or how about this one?

It was taken when some English soccer fans burned American flag before a match. The English, I am pretty sure, are our allies.

You see, while we are looking at the protests and their seeming violence we miss a few things.  On Friday, for example there were actually two protest groups from two different sects.  The ones that clashed with Egyptian security forces were described as "soccer hooligans." These are the young men you see at the protests often with no shirts, using them to cover their faces.  The protest involved around 300 of  "soccer hooligans."  It sounds like a lot until you consider that Cairo has a population 17.8 million. 

I've seen a couple of diplomats and retired generals who point out a couple of facts like many of these protests are relatively small and are often from the disenfranchised extremists who would love nothing more than to topple their new democratic governments.  One diplomat pointed out that many of these people were under the thumb of dictators who used the USA as their bogeyman for years.  These dictators were the ones standing between the people and the "evil" US.  It is going to take some time for these new democracies to realize that we aren't the bad guys and perhaps that our freedoms also let the lunatic fringe do things that most everyone condemns. This is something that is barely mentioned in the mainstream evening news.  

Our press forgot to mention that we've had protests too and remind us that not all of our protests have been peaceful.  Dissent is a part of democracy.  It is a part of freedom.  While burning the flag and showing the protests may get ratings and the discussion of the politics involved make for peaking the interests of viewers, it is not necessarily balanced reporting.  Neither President Obama nor Governor Romney if he were president, despite what he may think, could control these protests or the fringe elements that drive them.

How many of you have seen these pictures of the other side of the protests and violence like a picture from the vigil for the ambassador

or these which are just a few of the many pictures of Libyans who have condemned the attack?

No, we need to remember those who died.  We need to honor them.  We need to recall what it means to be free.  And we need to lead by example of what these freedoms mean not by politics or by brandishing our weapons.  Those people who have done these heinous acts need to pay for what they did but they are not the representative of their people anymore than Terry Jones or the producer of that childish film are representative of the USA.  

"Freedom is never free." (author unknown) For freedom to exist, we must be prepared to defend all ideas.  We forget as Will Rogers pointed out that "Liberty doesn't work as well in practice as it does in speeches."

Friday, September 14, 2012

In the Eyes of Madmen

Above is Peter Ustinov portraying one the the great nutcases of history, the Emperor Nero...or the great


Both political parties have them.  Religions have them.  The human race has them.  These are the extremists.  Jeff Foxworthy could do a whole routine entitled "You might be an extremist if..." Comedians make their living taking the odd to the extreme.  The problem is the extremists have reached the levels where the Comedians really have no place to take them.

And what is more...they seem to be in control in a few places.

The extreme have always been with us be they political, secular, or philosophical.  What has changed is that they are instantly visible and some are even capable of writing a cogent sentence on Facebook.  They are the reason we see the rise of reality TV.  Well that and the fact that Reality TV is cheaper to do than true entertainment which occasionally involves real talent.  Reality TV, which has virtually nothing to do with reality, has at least two or three of these bizarre human train-wrecks that get us to watch and occasionally one of them wins.  It is the one talent-less singer that is constantly pushed through on one of the many 'talent shows' just so us normal folks will have something to be outraged about.  "I don't care how cute the twelve year old kid is; he has zero talent." don't think we see these extreme versions sell? Explain to me Honey Boo Boo or Hoarders or Dog the Bounty Hunter or ... Would anyone watch a show called "Dancing with the Has Beens"?

You might be an extremist if you have to put a political ad out that states you are not a witch.

It would be funny if we could point at these folks like monkeys in a zoo as we watch them sling their poo, but  the problem is that in a few places they seem to be in charge.  In Kansas a birther complains that Obama is not a citizen and the Republican ran elections commission actually take time consider the idea despite the fact that the long form birth certificate has been on public display.  A recent poll shows 36% of Ohio Republicans believe the birthers.

When asked who should get credit for the killing of Bin Laden, Obama or Romney, in one poll of Republicans in Ohio, 15% thought that Mitt Romney should get credit for killing Bin Laden and 47% were unsure.  And this is not the only state that this happened in.  How on earth any one could think that Romney had anything to do with the killing of Bin Laden shows how far the wack-a-doodles have come.  Report after report has discussed how much of the parties now seem to be controlled by these extremists.

I also looked for someone who might be politically considered an extremist on the left.  Someone who had accused so and so of not being an American or of having met with the Marxists or Communists.  I mean we have certainly had our fair share of strange accusations such as a certain congresswoman who thinks the Whitehouse is ran by Muslim extremists.  Well ...paranoia seldom usually gallops. Just ask Joe McCarthy.

There are some serious extremists...Rush Limbaugh, Bin Laden, the Grand Wizard, Snooki...

I suppose you can look through any persons eyes and see someone as extreme.  I had a great uncle from the South who thought Martin Luther King Jr. was an extremist.  Malcolm X to Franklin Roosevelt have all been thought of extremists by some and heroes by others.  What we need to realize here is there are extremists and then there are extremists.  One are the wack-a-doodles who believe stupid things or behave in truly odd ways.  Sadly they don't get that they are being ridiculed.  These are the ones we need to remind a few of our leaders that they should not be in charge no matter how loud they are or how many they think they represent.  Truth be known, they represent a very few.  If the true leaders don't get a handle on their wack-a-doodles, they will ultimately destroy their political party or special system of beliefs.  Those folks in that extreme are in it for other reasons like fame or to feed their tiny little egos.

We must remember that some like Rush Limbaugh are a RADIO and TV PERSONALITIES.  Like Howard Stern, Rush's job is to stir things up.  If he doesn't...he loses his job.  They don't really give a hoot if they are right only that they can convince a slew of the uninformed that they are being mislead to the right or to the left.  Honestly, advice on science or running a country from a guy whose famous for being on the radio?

You might be an extremist if you have a congregation of twelve but your threat to burn a few books puts hundreds of lives at stake, and you don't get it.

The other is the ones are the ones who are so obsessed by their twisted point of views that they cause riots and death.  They may even be proud of the fact.  Some may even seem to operate with no moral center.  No compass that shows them that they are way south of normal.  These are the ones who think that an automatic weapon is something they need to protect themselves from the coming onslaught of evil.  They are not the guys in aluminum foil hats.  They are paranoid and seldom think of the inflammatory nature of their words, visuals, or actions and they certainly don't take responsibility for their actions.  They don't care if they put lives in danger as long as they fulfill their need for power and ten minutes of fame.  These extremists often feed the other extremists who are on the opposite side of the fence. Neither Christ nor Mohammed advocated violence, in fact they advocated quite the reverse.  It is the religious nut cases that don't seem to even understand the religion they advocate. True political and religious leaders believe.  Extremists will never be Reverend King, Gandhi, the Dali Lama, or Mother Teresa because these people didn't seek titles or power.  They sopught to make the world better than the way they found it.   Extremists have lost the ability to see what they once may have believed in.  They have twisted, folded and bent it in to shapes that no longer resemble what they once held as truth.  They have lost their way.

It is through the eyes of these madmen that the world becomes a truly dangerous place, and we must be careful not to look through those eyes as well.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

That Hopey Changey Thing

In 2010 Sarah Palin asked the question at the Tea Party Convention "How's that hopey changey thing worin' out for ya?"

I am not going to discuss Tea Party, Sarah Palin, The Far Right, or the politics of hope and change.  I am going to discuss how it's working.  You see the tone of that question...just the pure vitriol of the statement is something that causes me to ponder...

When did it become wrong to hope?  When did change become always bad?  What exactly is wrong with hoping for things to change for the better?  You see I have hope.  Even if it is sometimes a little scary or even a lot scary, change is good thing.  For any one to belittle the idea of hope, tells us the nature of that person.

Hope is a verb.  It is an action verb.  Hope is not a state but a movement for or towards something.  It is according to Mirriam-Webster, "to cherish a desire with  anticipation" and "to desire with expectation of obtainment."  Is that such a terrible thing to HOPE for? And yet there is a whole slew of people who think that hope is a thing to be diminished, to be made fun of, to be used as a political sledge hammer.  HOPE is not something we should give up on.  Just because it we don't obtain it in a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade does not mean we should give up hope.  Why would anyone want to take that away except for the meanest, small-minded, wretch who has given up hope and has decided no one else should have it either.

Change too is an action verb.  Again according to Mirriam-Webster it means "to make different in some particular, to make radically different," or "to become different."  Okay, change is hard but it occurs.  It can take time.  It can be good or bad.  We can hope for a change or dread the change that follows. We can hope that the change that comes make our lives better and that we will move ahead to become a better person, people, nation, world.  We can fear the change to our economy, our environment, our checkbook.  But to attach the word hope to the word change is not a bad thing.  Of course if you live in the past and think that things were better during a certain period of time than it actually was, then a hope for change probably does scare the bejesus from your little "boy-in-the-bubble" world.

I still believe in hope.  I still believe in change for the better.  It is what I desire.  I don't want to go back to the past.  I want to remember the good times and bad times from then so I can enjoy the good times and avoid repeating the bad ones.  I want to move past the dark ages of extremists and look to the light...the hope of new day.  If I am naive, then I am naive.  Hope and Change are still in my life...not the small minded thoughts of anyone who would take it from me.

That hopey changey thing is working just fine for me.

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." -Albert Eistein

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

To Vote or Not to Vote...That is NOT a Question


So....One of my readers contacted me and inspired today's missive.  She had been reading a comment from another of my blogs and sympathized with the young man who is facing his first national election and really is having trouble picking a candidate that he feels holds his viewpoint on the world.  I sympathize with him and commend him for paying attention.  The problem he faces is an old one, neither major party offers a clean choice in leadership and neither is really offering any real statements of substance.  At least that is the way he feels.  I understand.  I am a bit envious that he gets to take that first step into making a choice that really could affect his future.  I think my first vote in a presidential election went to Gerald Ford in 1976, but the one I remember best was the year I voted for John Anderson in 1980.  I clearly knew that Anderson could not win, but it didn't matter.  I wanted to be heard by the major parties and voted for the third party candidate.  Many of us did.  I have never missed voting in a presidential election.

The problem was according to my reader is that she is one of the few people in her circle of family and friends who still planned on voting.  Many in her circle was like that young man but they had decided that  they liked neither of the major candidates and were simply not going to vote.  As I told her, you get what you pay for.  If you pay nothing you will get nothing.  Tom Stoppard wrote, "It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting." The only way you can count is if you vote.  It is because of the attitude of not voting that some try to make it difficult to vote.  There is more on the ballot than the president.  I believe that had the middle come out and voted in the midterm elections of 2010, many of the wack-a-doodles who got elected would be roaming the sidewalk muttering to themselves.

Unfortunately it will usually be the case that few presidents become legendary until they have the benefit of history.  While in office, they are all too very human.  John Adams and George Washington were just men with all the failings of someone from their period of time.  It is history that bestowed legendary  status on them.  Lincoln, Jackson, Truman, Johnson, Reagan, Clinton, Roosevelt-take your pick of famous presidents and you will find all of them had political struggles and failings.  All of them had ups and downs. All of them were human. We cannot judge a sitting president or a candidate as accurately as we would like, but ultimately we do judge and pick one and with only few exceptions, as a nation we've done pretty well.  We realize that perhaps one is looking to the future or another is offering something we've seen before just wrapped in a shiny new package.  We may think there are no more Lincolns or Jeffersons, but in truth, we cannot know that.  What amazes me is that without knowing we still manage to pick them.  Great men are still with us, it just may take a while to realize it.

There are congressmen and initiatives and judges and county and city officials and school board members and so much more than the president.  It is some of those local officials who will affect so many aspects of our local lives as well.  If you don't vote especially in this year where there is very definitely a group of extremely wealthy men who want to control the election, you really will be fulfilling someone's wishes.   Someone who thinks he can beat you into submission by inundating your world with negative ads.  If you think it doesn't count, Al Gore who won the popular vote lost the election by one state in the electoral college.  John Kennedy beat Richard Nixon in 1960 by just 2 tenths of the popular vote.   Like now, that election was, most historians agree, decided on Television. The failure to vote does not make a statement but a non-statement.

We vote.  Many countries in the world cannot.  Many countries have elections that truly do mean nothing.  They are for show.  In many countries, the opposition simply disappears.   Extremists can easily be in control and they will never let go.  We have been given a gift by our beliefs and our constitution.  I encourage you to turn off the negative ads and check out the real candidates.  In the last twenty years or so we have learned many things because people vote.  The Republicans controlled congress in the 1990's and the Democrats in 2000's and in both cases we learned that the adversarial nature of the two houses of congress was a wise decision on our founding fathers.  We have learned what drastic prices we will pay in services and education when we pass agendas like TABOR.  When we vote, we make a leap of faith. When we fail to vote, we have lost our faith.

Vote for those you believe in; vote against those  you don't.  Vote for the person who supports your one, most favorite thing or for the one who will more likely be able to handle the complexity of the job they are taking. Vote for the one that is least likely to be an idiot.  Vote because you are an extreme conservative. Vote because you are an extreme liberal.  Vote because you don't like Democrats.  Vote because you don't like Republicans.  Vote because you are a Libertarian, a Socialist, a union member, anti-union, evangelical or atheist or a dog lover.  Remind your congressman that he or she is in Washington or the state capitol for you, not some special interest or personal agenda or a lobbyist  or rich fat cat who thinks his money entitles him to more say than you have.  That is the wonder of the one voice, one vote. There are so many reasons to vote and really only one not to.

Franklin Roosevelt said "Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting."