College, a social imperative

As far as I am concerned, making college a social imperative is a form of institutional bullying.

If you are in high school these days, you are probably more than aware of the environment being geared toward college. Yes, the college requirements are everywhere. They are on posters around the school, in guidance offices, in handbooks and on the lips of just about every teacher you encounter. They have all attended college. There may be evidence in pennants located on the wall.

There are schools, actually entire districts, (I know from experience) where they actually play college or university fight songs in between classes. There are walls dedicated to the students that made the decision to enter a specific college early and even before graduation, some students are feeling left out. If you know anything about student behavior, they want to fit in no matter how much they cry for independence.

Schools have been trying to tamp down bullying in the recent years. Sadly, this was a few decades too late for me. They don’t see that when you push college so hard, you put an enormous burden on those students whose socioeconomic situation precludes them from considering college but they try anyway. As far as I am concerned, making college a social imperative is a form of institutional bullying.

I had a friend share this article. The only thing that I am sad about is that it is a year old.

Brainwashing

It’s time to start treating high school like the education will lead to the desire to learn more of what the student is interested in learning. Yesterday, I was guest teaching a class of APUSH. That is Advanced Placement US History. They were learning the names of presidents. They were getting facts so that they could compete on Jeopardy or take a test. There was very little discussion. They were the smart ones who lacked the opportunity to use this class to become a more informed electorate and more responsible citizens.

Safety is the parent’s responsibility

If you have responsibility for kids, be responsible. It’s about safety. Follow the rules. It doesn’t matter whether you are in a car, at a playground or at a wrestling event somewhere in America. Rules are for safety. They need to be enforced.

It is always the responsibility of the individual to follow directions or rules that are listed to protect someone’s safety. This should be the absolute truth. It is surprising how many parents ignore the rules of safety because they are willing to take that risk for themselves. The don’t seem to understand, due to ignorance or arrogance, that they are effectively making the decision for those who cannot judge for themselves.

Far too many people object to their “freedoms” being challenged by rules established to have a safe productive society when we have harnessed immense energies that put attention to laws and directions paramount to our own survival…both personally and in society. Texting while driving puts your own passengers at risk as well as others. Those to object to someone telling them what they can and can’t do in their own cars will also probably be the first ones to object to the self driving cars on the road.

The warning sign for exercise equipment.
Warning label on all equipment at the outdoor gym.

I moved to La Quinta, California over the past couple of years. One of the things that I absolutely love is the outdoor gym equipment down by the park in old town La Quinta. Just about 100 feet away from this adult fitness equipment is a playground with equipment appropriate for the kids. On every one of the pieces of fitness apparatus is a warning that states that no one under 14 is permitted to use the equipment. Knowing that kids who are extremely young can’t read, there is an additional warning for parents not to let the children in their care use the equipment. Still, seemingly responsible individuals continue to let kids play on this equipment.

I have seen children who are barely toddlers being allowed and even encouraged to play on this equipment. I have remembered cringing as they lean forward to grab a handle that is supposed to be an easy reach for an adult and the footing fails because the equipment moves. Item number 3 on the red warnings is that the provider provides no liability for the misuse of the equipment. Still, if an injury occurs, I am sure that a lawyer will be involved. This stinks.

If you have responsibility for kids, be responsible. It’s about safety. Follow the rules. It doesn’t matter whether you are in a car, at a playground or at a wrestling event somewhere in America. Rules are for safety. They need to be enforced.

Tracking Trackers

When you buy a device that is advertised as a must have tracking device, one of the most concerning developments is surely the loss of tracking on the actual delivery of the device. I have been a Tile customer for years. I am forever losing my keys or my wallet. In particular, I have a problem seeing things in my bag, my black bag. So, with the Tile Slim, I can keep it in my wallet and know that I have my wallet just by checking my phone.

The problem that I have with the Tile trackers is that their batteries are running dead and they were not able to be replace. Now, their newer products have replaceable batteries, but I am not sure how accessible the battery compartment is or whether it could fall out. Still, I have a Tile on 3 key rings and one in my wallet. Now, several are in need of replacement.

I knew that I had should have ordered these Tiles sooner because of the issues with deliveries on Christmas. Still, since it wasn’t necessary for me to get these replacements immediately, I waited until I had the funding and then I ordered them on December 20, 2018. I am including the year here because we are in 2019 and I don’t have my deliveries.

Now the Tile company utilizes multiple delivery service to service their customers. What I don’t understand is why they do what they do. My order was shipped and registered with a USPS tracking number but was then dropped of into DHL. So the first tracking site that you get is the DHL service and this is from a direct link from the Tile company’s email. The first time I checked it was on 12/26 when I was told that it would be delivered on 12/28.

I didn’t check it again until it didn’t arrive on 12/28 at which point I saw that it was “tendered” to the local delivery service also known as the USPS. When I went to the USPS site, the package was not listed as received. Now the real adventure begins…Tile Customer Service. Tile utilizes so much automation that they actually got several complaints from me and then sent me a customer satisfaction survey on the device that I never received. Also, they have no phone number on their website that can get a human being and their waiting time for their chat is over an hour. If I don’t have enough time to look for my keys, how am I going to give them time to just answer my text question?

After several emails and refused evaluations of the products that I never got, they sent another one…or so they say. This one was coming by way of UPS. Meanwhile, my original order ended up in Melbourne, Florida. It was last located in Compton, California which is a lot closer to my Palm Springs location. Now, the replacement is said to be in Ontario, California and that is the location of an airport with USP planes. It said that I should have my Tiles will be here by the end of the day tomorrow. We shall see.

Engaging vs Enraging

People are enraged. It makes it very hard to get to the truth. Now it makes it very hard to engage in a truly honorable and ethical way. We saw this in politics and now look where we are. People are enraged. They are not pointing to the death of a child, or multiple children, or even thousands of people out of work. They are pointing to a haircut. They are looking for a race controversy and they found it.

You really have to love social media. I mean it makes the world a whole lot smaller. You can be completely on the other side of the world and be caught up on all that is happening on the other side of the globe. You get the words, the pictures, the video, and it is almost like you are right there…only you’re not. That is the salient point here. You’re not there. It doesn’t matter that I called my mom on Christmas and my son called and my daughter called. We weren’t there. Now, it would appear that my former place of employment was in the news…again…now with a controversy over a haircut.

Now before people begin to think that I am minimizing what happened here, let’s put this in perspective. Nobody died. Nobody’s life was threatened. A sporting match did ensue. The participant who was “humiliated” prevailed and his team won the match.

I am quite sure that the young man would have preferred not to have his hair cut by the team trainer, but, if you ask me, what started as a teachable moment crossed over to humiliation when the cameras got rolling and the first person stated that it was a racist white official who clearly was out of line in applying a rule to the participants. In the subsequent days and reports by reliable national news people, cough, cough…rules were shown and debated and questions of appropriate rules for the sport were debated between college and high school. Nevertheless, there was a rule regarding high school sports, and it was spelled out in detail, and this was not this wrestler’s first match for this team.

So the headlines are out there already. It’s kind of hard to undo what has already been done. People are enraged. Once a person is enraged, they begin to lose the ability to really see the issue from other viewpoints or “the big picture”. So, here is my viewpoint and full disclosure here…I have been the victim of this type of hysteria and, yes, I could’ve also gone with the race card, but I didn’t and it’s not about me anyway.

I love sports…as a spectator. I love the competition…as a spectator. I love fair play. In every sport, there is an objective and a set of rules that must be followed so that there is no “unfair” advantage given to any one side. Rules are written so that everyone has an opportunity to understand the requirements and what is or is not allowed. The officials should know all of the rules. The coaches should know the rules. So should the participants, but even in the NFL, it appears professionals were surprised when a game ended in a tie.

I am not a wrestler but I certainly had to endure it as a middle school physical education activity. When I think of the rule about hair length, I am not thinking that the rule was put there for anything but safety and fair play. As a middle school wrestler, I can remember my opponent grabbing me on the back of my neck in order to execute a maneuver designed to put me flat on my back and get pinned. (This was a humiliating experience to me and nobody said a word, but…I digress.) If the length of the opponents hair extends down past the neck and it is not properly secured as per the rules, then there is a danger of the hair falling right in front of the area that the wrestler uses in the course of the match, there is a distinct safety issue in my humble opinion. Grab the hair and if it leads all the way up to the front of the head, you could snap someone’s neck back and hurt them very badly. If the opponent knows this, then they are required to avoid the area in it’s entirety to keep from “accidentally pulling the hair” or being accused of it in the heat of a match.

The solution is to regulate the hair length by rule so that there is no chance of this being an advantage to either participant and make it a “fair fight”. Now that’s how I see it as a former participant in this activity, albeit an unwilling participant. If you’re an official, you know these things. The farther you get away from being that official…a coach, a teammate, a spectator, or just someone on social media…the more likely it is that you don’t have all of the facts and you will follow the lead of the sound bite, the controversy, the righteous hoard who don’t see the damage that they are doing to the participants, the school, or the sport.

There are hundreds of editorial versions of this single video online to stoke controversy over this one event. Everyone has an opinion and the problem is that everyone wasn’t there. Everyone doesn’t know the rules as it pertains to this event. Everyone doesn’t know what this and other officials may have had to deal with on the previous day, weeks or months relative to hair length and wrestling. Everyone has an opinion. It’s like throwing gasoline on a fire and saying, “why is everything burning?” If you noticed, it is the one’s with the already decidedly racial slant that are getting the most views.

Here are some things to think about as you are feeding this monster.

  1. If you want to wrestle, you have to follow the rules. This means all of the rules and you have to honor the interpretation of those rules. When I was in high school, you always knew who was on the wrestling team. You knew because they were dressed in a shirt and tie on a day of a wrestling meet. They did it because it was a rule. It was a coach rule. They followed the rule. This rule had nothing to do with safety but I will bet that no wrestler on that team ever had any problem with their equipment relative to what they needed to compete with on the mat.
  2. The match was forgotten. The student in question had an opponent. He was ultimately the forgotten man here. What should have been a wrestling match became a national issue and he was just forgotten. Maybe he should get a lawyer.
  3. All refs have to make judgement calls. If it’s a ref at a high school wrestling match, he is the only one vested with calling penalties and such during a match and is the one who will be blamed if something happens, particularly if it involves safety and should have been handled earlier. Now that he is being crucified for this…all referees will be targeted. All of them will be thinking of race relations before making a call that could affect the safety of the participants and ultimately their own liability. Some will bend the rules. Some will quit. Everyone of them will be looking for color now before the match. Is that what everyone wanted?
  4. Personal accountability goes out the window if this only becomes about the official. Before you are placed on a team in school, you have to be academically eligible. You then have to commit to following the rules…all the rules. The hair length issue should have been addressed at the team level by the coach in the beginning. Chances are that it was addressed. We will never know because it was picked up by the Internet before anyone could ask the question. How many times does it have to be put in writing? Now we are debating the rule, the official, the coach, the school, the governing body and opinions are being generated all over the world by people who don’t know…and neither do I.

People are enraged. It makes it very hard to get to the truth. Now it makes it very hard to engage in a truly honorable and ethical way. We saw this in politics and now look where we are. People are enraged. They are not pointing to the death of a child, or multiple children, or even thousands of people out of work. They are pointing to a haircut. They are looking for a race controversy and they found it.

If you’re looking for blame, I start with the government. Social media controversies are mainstream in our lives and we can’t even teach responsible, ethical, and legal use of these platforms in our schools because of all of the other useless shit you mandate.

I could blame the school district but they are so handcuffed by the government and now the media that they can do little to interfere with the educational process and include social media skills as part of their regular curriculum. Still, having worked in this district, I also know that it is so clear that they are mismanaged because their student population continues to decline and they have done nothing to stem the tide over the past few years. No innovative programs. No support of existing programs that used to be great.

Social media and partisan main stream media as well have created this firestorm. We live in an era of this media and we need to understand that it is a tinderbox of terror particularly when stoking negative emotions. People need to read beyond the headlines and the soundbites. This is an education that is necessary and relevant to this age.

To Anthony Johnson who, I don’t know even though I taught at the school, I offer up this as something to ponder. Jim Rohn has said, “it’s not the blowing of the wind, but the set of the sail that determines your future.” This moment, all that is happening around you can keep you a victim…if you continue to focus on what you cannot control…or you can be a leader. Look at your face in the mirror and know that you ultimately made a decision, you led in the face of a wind you couldn’t change, and made a decision for yourself and for your team. You were in control of that decision. If you give in now and become the “victim”, you will forever be at the mercy of the wind. The firestorm around you is just the wind…albeit a strong wind.

To the rest of the world that got caught up in this, maybe you could think with some perspective.

  • There was a hair cut-that will grow back
  • There was a sporting event-that went on
  • Nobody died-or even got hurt…well, at least physically

Happy New Year, Internet!

Morning Mood

Like most people who are transplants from other parts of the country, I make a big deal about this climate. The people who live here all year round are oblivious to awesome this daily experience.

Warm Winter Mornig

A couple of days ago, it rained.  Over my life in New Jersey, particularly in the last 10 years, rain affected my days in negative ways.  I had a love affair with bicycling to work everyday.  Rain was my enemy.  I now have the freedom to bike everyday, or so I thought.

Just one day of rain is unusual here in the desert.  Recently, it rained two days in a row.  The slow, consistent rain accumulated to about 1/2 inch overall.  It also allowed for much more in the nearby mountains.  That rain fell as snow.  

While I hate the idea that I had to suspend my biking to work for the last several days, I am thrilled that I was able to ride this morning for enjoyment.  I was wearing shorts at 9:30 AM and delighting in the fact that I can see the snow covered mountains, but I don’t have to deal with the snow that affected my commute in New Jersey.

Like most people who are transplants from other parts of the country, I make a big deal about this climate.  The people who live here all year round are oblivious to awesome this daily experience.  I hope that I never lose my appreciation for where I am living and how lucky I am to live right here, right now.

Mount San Jacinto

My First Post In 5.0

Well, this is a little different. OK. It’s a lot different.

Well, this is a little different.  OK. It’s a lot different. I just had to try it after upgrading my WordPress to 5.0.  Now, I am going to have to make my content so much richer.  Challenge accepted. Bring on the Guttenberg editor.

Last Post Before Guttenburg

If you believe what they are saying…my next post will be on the new editor for WordPress.  We’ll see.

FBI Failure

Why the FBI as an institution continues to be undermined by the president.

It is not surprising that the FBI failed to find any evidence to support the claims made by women who have known Brett Kavanaugh.  It is also not surprising the Donald Trump supported the FBI investigation.  Donald Trump has long been attacking institutions that have dared to stand in his way.  He took an issue that the FBI was investigating to the director of the FBI and said, “let the Michael Flynn thing go.”  The director at the time, James Comey refused and then documented the conversation and then not long after he was fired.  The message is, that if you don’t follow my rules, you will be fired.  If you stand in my way, I will ruin you.  Intimidation instead of Integrity.

Donald Trump owns the FBI.  He knows that his new director needs a job.  He leads by intimidation.  He loves dictators who act in the very same way.  This is not freedom.  This is a dictatorship…with a willing populus who continues to defend him as the hero.

The Problem with Kavanaugh’s Defense

College drinking…in the 1980s.  I am very familiar with the practice.  I attended college from 1980 through 1985.  Please note the time period.  College was a time for exploring your independence…making your own decisions…some good…some not so good.  For many of us…me included…I had to make my own decisions about alcohol.  What to drink, when and with who.

In the quest to “belong” in a new environment…sometimes you follow the crowd.  Here, you go to parties.  You pledge fraternities and sororities.  You look up to and take advice from people who are barely older than you are and in some respects a lot less mature simply because they have been there and know the ropes.  Sadly, their motives are often in question.  Some people will ply you with alcohol in order to get some crazy behavior and have fun at your expense.  We’ve seen the tragic consequences of this behavior recently with the situation at Penn State and others around the country.  Still others have a more sinister desire…the desire to find a person and victimize them for sex.  Alcohol goes a long way to that end by itself but is often enhanced with drugs that immobilize a person beyond the point of just making “bad decisions”.

I’ve just watched a person that I have admired for years prosecuted for drugging women for the purpose of taking advantage of them for sex and subsequently going to prison for this crime.  He planned it out and carried it out.  A lot of these women had their memories blurred by the very same drug.  Often, alcohol by itself can cause blackouts.  If so, this makes it impossible for you to believe a person’s testimony when they admit to drinking and being drunk and then denying that they were at a certain place at a certain time…because alcohol affects your memory.  Remember that his denial is that he doesn’t remember…even if he never said that because he has admitted to drinking in high school and college.  He could have very well done it and doesn’t remember.

I feel for the victims of these crimes.  I feel for the person, Brett Kavanaugh right now and the person that he proports to be.  He lived through that time called college and it doesn’t matter whether it is Trenton State College or Princeton…they all had parties.  Academics don’t make a person a better person.  We are all susceptible to bad decisions.  Learning in college is not all academic.  We are responsible for actions even in learning our lessons.

I don’t drink like a used to.  I am sure that no one continues to live like they lived in college.  I am aware of my behaviors good and bad in college…some even when I was drunk.  It’s the behaviors that I can’t remember that are the scariest.  If there’s anybody I’ve offended, it is still my responsibility.  If witnesses can be gathered and believed, it should be done…particularly if I am getting a high profile job…government or otherwise.  It is a long time ago for me.  It is a long time ago form Judge Kavanaugh.

It will take an experienced nonpartisan organization like the FBI to get to the truth or as close to the truth as possible.  If there are witnesses…they should be found.  If they are credible…the FBI will know.  It’s time to stop believing the accusers because they say so and it’s time to stop believing Mr. Kavanagh because of who he says he is and partisan politicians say that he is….  We have an entire Bureau dedication to investigations at the federal level.  Get this away from congress now!!!

Challenged to follow the facts…am I committing treason?

I do know that in an exchange that followed, I felt that I was being accused of treason because I didn’t follow the facts.

Ah Facebook, the place where we share…probably far too much…and lose far more…

An old acquaintance from my school days posted a question that prompted a rather curt response from my brother.  My brother and his friend were older than me, so I always accorded them the respect that the additional 365 days or so they spent alive may have earned them.  Particularly in the area of history and politics as they seemed to know far more than me when we played RISK in my basement.  Those 365 days shouldn’t really make a difference now, yet somehow…I don’t know.  I do know that in an exchange that followed, I felt that I was being accused of treason because I didn’t follow the facts.  I will respond here by reprinting the post that has me concerned…but will conceal the name.

So are the people from your “hick town” unintelligent?
If they are “chirping” about things they don’t understand, is that your understanding, or do you have facts to support your statement.
He is a legitimately elected president, whether or not you are conservative or liberal. If you don’t like it, get over it. Undermining his presidency is treason.
I didn’t engage in attempts to delegitimize Obama’s presidency(despite the fact that I identified as a Democrat for many years) I supported it. Maybe “Hope and Change” was real. Obviously it wasn’t. The midterms proved that and the constitution mitigated his misguided presidency.
The American people have now chosen a deferent path and the deep state is working overtime to destroy the will of the people.
There WAS Russian collusion,..by Hillary. If you are so open minded, why do you disregard the hard facts?
The Russian investigation IS PARTISAN because they refuse to investigate the facts.
There is collusion and criminal acts that were committed to delegitimize a constitutionally elected president. FISA courts were lied to. The FBI and Justice department was weaponized to take down a president that the American people elected. That’s deep state.
The CIA has been smart enough to stay out of the line of fire

Well, the persons who get together at my Dunkin Donuts I believe don’t have the intelligence of the person who wrote this post…and that was my point.

I was cautioned that the Justice Department isn’t following the facts.  I researched a few.

  • In 1972 the American people legitimately elected a president.  His campaign was charged with physically breaking into its opponents headquarters.  Then, President Nixon was charged with a coverup.  He resigned in disgrace as Impeachment proceedings became imminent.
  • In 1996, the American people legitimately elected a president.  He was charged with sexual harassment from his time in Arkansas.  He was further charged with having a secret sexual relationship with an intern.  There was a special counsel, Kenneth Starr who investigated.  Impeachment proceedings started and he survived because it takes 2/3 majority to remove a sitting president.
  • In 2016, the American people legitimately elected a president.  During his presidential run, he was accused of sexual misconduct also by multiple persons.  His campaign was also accused of paying off a porn star.  His campaign is also being investigated for possible collusion with Russian election interference where the evidence for such interference is very strong.  His own hand picked Attorney General recused himself in the investigation and ultimately it led to the selection of special counsel, Robert Mueller.  Now he is investigating both sexual misconduct, infidelity, and campaign collusion with a foreign government.  In a campaign rally, he asked Russia publicly to release stolen emails.  He lied about a meeting at Trump Tower to meet with Russians for the purpose of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton.  These are facts that no longer seem to be in dispute.

I am an American, so according to the First Amendment, I am allowed to speak my views.  I don’t think that I am undermining the president’s leadership…certainly not by my lonesome.  Perhaps this statement has to do with those individuals who have or had a security clearance.  I don’t know.  I never had one.  The author also posts that he didn’t attempt to delegitimize Obama’s presidency no matter how misguided it was…according to the midterms.  The fact that it was misguided is certainly not a fact, but an opinion…I am being accused of ignoring the facts…or the Justice department is…I can’t be sure.

Regarding the statement that The American People have chosen a different path, all I can say is that I am an American, and I didn’t choose this path.  As a matter of fact, more American people voted for his opponent.  I did discover a new word in my research…Gerrymandering.  This is the process of redrawing voting districts to purposely favor a candidate or party and has been done by the Republican Party.  Also, when I researched Deep State, its use in America seems to be associated almost exclusively with this election and in most of my research, it has been defined as a conspiracy theory.

Also, there was Russian collusion by Hillary.  My research on that seems to have gotten me to the Trump Dossier which has been attributed to a bloke named Steele who is a British national.  There is evidence that it was originally paid for by Hillary Clinton and was hidden from the public because foreign countries are not permitted to be engaged in influencing and election.  It is true, this is against the law and had she prevailed, her legitimacy as president should be equally questioned.  This is certainly far from Russian collusion though as the intent was to uncover possible Russian ties to her opponent.  Britain, after all is an ally.  Seems a little more worthwhile, but I certainly will give you that one.

Regarding the FISA warrants and investigating American Citizens, so much was redacted that it is hard to tell what really happened.  Here, I guess, the old security clearance thing may be the issue, or it may be part of an ongoing investigation.  After all, Mueller isn’t finished yet.  While there may be some things that were done wrong by Mueller’s team, most of it falls into a human weakness category and I don’t think it had much to do with the real investigation.  These facts are hidden for now and may not be available to anyone without clearance until they are declassified.    Hidden facts aside, here are a few I do know.

On May 15, 2017 president Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials…even during an investigation of Russian collusion without telling American allies.

On June 12, 2018, president Trump praised Kim Jong Un after unilaterally agreeing to cease military drills with our South Korean Allies and openly muses about having blind loyalty like the reputed murdering dictator for North Korea.

On July 16, 2018, president Trump praises Vladimir Putin from the podium at a post summit press conference and the man who says has been tougher on Russia than anyone, takes him at his word that there was no collusion.

It’s interesting that a person that I used to admire playing RISK would miss the danger in the blind loyalty to a man who cozies up to totalitarian regimes that seek to destabilize freedom and democracy all over the world.  Since the tone of the post above seems to be short on facts and explanation and long on feelings and opinion, I welcome a dialog here in my blog.  I don’t need to air my feelings on Facebook with people who don’t value civil discourse, particularly between people called friends.

I am right here.