8/31/15

And yet more Outrage!©™

The FoxHoles are going nuts, along with Ohio's congressional delegation and other elected 'leaders.'

This time, it's over the renaming of Mt Denali back to ... Mt Denali. Right now, it's also referred to as Mt McKinley.

McKinley was a president, and he was from Ohio. He was a middle-of-the-pack president - nothing to brag about, but nothing really to sneer at, either.

But here's the thing.

McKinley was an Ohioan. He was born there, raised there, and except for a very brief educational attempt in Pennsylvania, lived there most of his adult life.

He had nothing to do with Alaska.

Mt Denali is in Alaska. 'Denali' is an Alaskan native American name. Alaskans generally want the mountain renamed back to 'Denali.' In fact, they already have, insofar as the state is concerned.

The Ohioans should find a hill somewhere in Ohio, and name it "McKinley's Knob" or somesuch.

And then get on with the important issues of the day.

Outrage grows over Obama plans to rename Mt McKinley.

8/20/15

Walkin' it back ...

Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) pumped out a pretty good falsehood the other day, when he stood up in the Senate, and bristling with self-righteous Outrage!©™ stated:

"... If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does."

That, of course, is nonsense, and it is easily discoverable as such:

Jon Kyl says abortion services are “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does”

But the real corker came a bit later, when Kyl's office was swamped with challenges to that statement. Kyl 'walked it back,' a euphemism for 'the Senator's staff is trying to wash the stink off the senator's bullshit:"

The senator's remark "was not intended to be a factual statement but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, an organization that receives millions in taxpayer dollars, does subsidize abortions," Kyl's staff says in a statement.

"...was not intended to be a factual statement."

Huh.

How about this:

Senator Kyl cross-dresses like a Colfax Avenue hooker and likes to parade around in his bedroom in stiletto heels.

Oops! That's not meant to be a factual statement.

How's that sit, Senator?

How about "Nothing Senator John Kyl says is meant to be a factual statement."

Yeah. This is one of our political leaders who would shut down the federal government over Planned Parenthood funding.

One of the other panderers to the Christian Right is The Donald, who has apparently succumbed to a rabid case of 'hop-on-the-bandwagonitis.'

Meanwhile, ISIS, the Iranians, and Vlad Putin are all laughing themselves silly at the farce that is our political leadership.

7/1/15

Twisting words

For some reason, The Hon. Doug Lamborn has been sending me his newsletters.

I don't know why; I'm not in his district. Attempts to unsub have proven fruitless.

In any case, here is his latest:

 Dear Friend, It has been a consequential week in the history of our nation. However, as a conservative who has battled Obamacare every step of the way and as a Christian, I am personally troubled by the recent Supreme Court rulings on healthcare and marriage. Yet again, the Supreme Court has twisted itself into a legal pretzel in order to uphold Obamacare. When words are no longer taken at face value by Justices, it is a disturbing omen for the future of judicial activism. We will continue to try to repeal and replace this disaster and fix the flaws that we can. However, it is patently obvious that, even with compelling Constitutional arguments to the contrary, the American people will have to wait for a Republican president to eliminate Obamacare from our lives. It was a stunning disappointment to me that the Court chose to utilize its power to disenfranchise millions of Americans with valid moral and cultural concerns via the marriage decision. By undertaking this staggering judicial overreach, the Court, in its very finite wisdom, decided to throw out thousands of years of tradition and societal structure. Decisions of this magnitude should absolutely be made on a state-by-state basis with local and individual citizen involvement. The decision was a slap in the face to all Americans who value this tradition of local government." Please let me know if you require any assistance with a federal government agency by contacting my local office at (719) 520-0055. I am honored to serve as your Representative in Washington.

We are in agreeance on one thing: The Robed Ones certainly did twist themselves into a pretzel with some of their logic - on Obamacare. Mr. Justice Scalia has hammered that one fairly well, so we'll leave commentary on that one to him.

But then, Doug gets into the gay marriage decision.

He notes that he is a 'Christian,' so I am assuming that his view on this will be more in line with that of the General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene, who cited Matthew rather than the venom of Leviticus. So far, however, very few 'Christians' have displayed that much understanding of Christ's teachings, behaving in a more Old Testament manner instead:


But here's the thing:

It was a stunning disappointment to me that the Court chose to utilize its power to disenfranchise millions of Americans with valid moral and cultural concerns via the marriage decision.

That's some interesting hyperbole. How have 'millions of Americans' been 'disenfranchised' by the Robed Ones?

Is my marriage to Leece no longer valid? Are hetero couples no longer allowed to apply for or receive marriage licenses from Sharon Sisenroy over at the court house? Will I no longer be allowed to shop at Hobby Lobby? Am I banned from Chik Fil A?

How have I been 'disenfranchised?'

Doug believes that 'Decisions of this magnitude should absolutely be made on a state-by-state basis with local and individual citizen involvement.'

And what if a state had decided to go gay? What if that state had been Colorado? Would Doug use the same arguments, that the decision somehow 'disenfranchised' millions of residents of the state?

I wouldn't pooh-pooh the idea of Colorado going gay on marriage. It wasn't that long ago that the idea of the state becoming a haven for the Cheech and Chong crowd was considered fairly far out, man. What then?

Doug's going to have to do better. But of course, since I don't live in his district, what I think doesn't matter.

Further of course - even if I did live in Doug's district, what I think wouldn't matter.


6/21/15

The Jawbone of an Ass - Timshel

We've been watching season 1 of Hell on Wheels. Episode 9 was pretty good. It was titled 'Timshel.'

Now, if you have read 'East of Eden', you will recognize that. You'll remember the conversation about it, between Sam and Lee. It is described as the best midrash on the matter, better even than those produced through the most exacting rabbinical argument - at least for we mere lay people.

The discussion is about Cain killing Abel, in Genesis, and the meaning of the word 'timshel.' It is, I think, one of the best arguments making the case for free will, and against predestination, as one will find.

During the fight scene at the river, which is linked from YouTube below, the music played is 'Timshel', by Mumford and Sons. You may have also heard it as 'As brothers we will stand.' It's a brutal scene, where 'brother' is pitted against 'brother' in the figurative sense - one human against another ... and as Black Moon kills his brother Pawnee Killer near the end of the scene, in the literal sense.



But what stimulated a bit of discussion was the part where Bohannon, out of ammunition and with no other weaponry to hand, grabs the jawbone of some animal and bloodily dispatches a Cheyenne Dog Soldier.

Choice. Free will. 'Timshel', the segment from 'East of Eden', and the nature of the song by Mumford and Sons would indicate the analogy here is Cain's killing of Abel, and the choices, the exercise of free will, made both in launching the fight, and the choice to stand to.

Timshel. "Thou mayest ..." which, as Steinbeck points out in his character Lee's explanation, offers the choice: "Thou mayest not..."leaving 'timshel' to be perhaps the most important word in the world."

As we were discussing it, I mentioned Cain killing Abel with the jawbone of an ass. Leece took exception, remarking that no one knows how Cain killed Abel, and in any case, it was Samson who wielded the jawbone of an ass with considerable homicidal efficiency. "But everyone knows he used the jawbone of an ass!" I argued. "How? How does 'everyone' know that?" Leece asked.

"Well, it's in the bible!" I exclaimed. And almost instantly realized that if she said it wasn't, I was almost certainly whistling a heathenishly ignorant Dixie.

She's right, of course. The bible makes no mention of how Cain killed Abel.

But biblical art; classical art; is full of examples of Cain killing Abel, and in many of those works of art, he is shown wielding the jawbone of an ass.

In Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes Vol 35 1972, we find an article by A.A. Barb which takes note of these works of art and their depiction of the weapon as the jawbone of some animal, and which further states:"...from at least the 9th century AD, Irish and Anglo-Saxon literary tradition maintained that the jawbone was that of an ass. It has been established that both the literary tradition, and artistic representation of the jawbone as a weapon,originated in early medieval Hiberno-Saxon Insular art and spread thence to the continent, but so far there has been no satisfactory answer of where the idea for this curious weapon originated ...". Barb goes on to discuss what other forms of weaponry might have been used by Cain.

"It's interesting how culture can color our perceptions of what the bible says, even when it doesn't say anything," Leece remarked, as she polished off the last of her sopapilla.

Ain't it, though. Would that a fundamentalist or two were listening ... particular those of a political bent.

Speaking of choice of weaponry ... in the video, we see some fine representations of the Winchester Model of 1866. We see no mention in Genesis of these, either.

5/22/15

Huckabee, Josh Duggar, and Family Research Council

Update 08.20.2015: Josh Duggar outed in the Ashley Madison data dump

"I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife," Duggar said in a statement Thursday.
____________________________________________

Josh Duggar has resigned from Family Research Council after his child molestation 'allegations' became known:

Duggar resigns from Family Research Council

Mike Huckabee, super-patriot and super-'Christian', is a great fan of Family Research Council, often citing them in his war on gays. That they are usually wrong doesn't faze Huckabee in the least. Meanwhile, he has come out in defense of Duggar:

"He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story."

Actually, Duggar and his family did not deal with it, and were not honest and open about it.

From this article on TLC dropping the show:

"The [police]report states that Jim Bob Duggar was first alerted by one of the alleged victims in March 2002."


March 2002.

Yet the police didn't investigate any of this until 2006, because:

"Jim Bob told police, when he was interviewed in 2006, that the Duggars sent their son to a Christian program at the advice of their church elders. However, later in the report Michelle Duggar states where their son was sent was "not really a training center," rather he was sent to stay with an acquaintance and do manual labor."


Jim Bob (dad) lied to the cops in the report, and was outed by Mom ... they never sent Duggar to a 'Christian training center' at all. They hid it. Did they do so with the advice of the 'church elders?' If so, then that church is complicit in covering up child molestation. If not, then Joe Bob is lying about that, too.  But wait! It gets even better, all this 'honesty' and 'openess:'

"Jim Bob told police he spoke with an Arkansas State Trooper in 2003 after another incident occurred. The trooper, who the police report states knew the Duggar family, explained to Josh what could happen if he continued this behavior."

We have a state trooper - law enforcement - with knowledge of this, and who did not report it, but 'as a friend' told Josh he should, like, you know ... stop feeling up his sisters when they were sleeping. But the cop, who had a duty to report, did not. The Arkansas State Trooper was complicit in all this 'openess' and 'honesty.'

Huckabee and these people could give lessons to Archbishop Robert Carlson.

Huckabee has a funny concept of 'openness' and 'honesty. He's willing to forgive anything ... unless you're gay, lesbian, or a Democrat.

He also has a strange view of "American values" as well, especially for a Man Who Would Be President. Here's his infamous 'hold 'em at gunpoint' video:



This was at the 'Rediscover God in America' confabulation a few years back. This part was edited out of the 'official' videos of the shindig.

Update 05.23.2015:

A timeline of the molestation allegations against Josh Duggar

The cop that 'explained' what could happen? He should have taken his own advice:

That officer, Joseph Truman Hutchens, is currently serving a 56-year prison sentence in an Arkansas Department of Correction facility for child pornography offenses.

And the fellow who handled the 'counselling'? At that 'Christian counselling center? That was Bob Gothard.

In 2014, Gothard resigned from the Institute in Basic Life Principles following allegations of sexual harassment, molestation and failing to report child abuse. A spokesman for the Institute couldn’t confirm or deny to the Democrat-Gazette whether a youth treatment program was in place at the building in 2003.

Huck certainly seems to have some strange bedfellows, and an even stranger view of what is 'honest' and 'open.'

5/19/15

High times at the Broadmoor for Colorado's school boards

The Colorado Association of School Boards has for several years held its annual bash at the Broadmoor.

At tax-payer expense. Yep. School board members from all over the state travel to the Broadmoor for a few days of being wined and dined by lobbyists, textbook salespersons, and purveyors of other vital school equipment. They stay at the Broadmoor on your dime and mine.

When's the last time you stayed at the Broadmoor?

It has been a scandal reported on by a number of newspapers, but the arrogance of CASB and school board members has been such that they just ignore the outrage.

Livin' large at the Broadmoor

Greeley/Evans District 6 board member Brett Reese objected to this gluttonous display of self-indulgence, but was pushed aside. He has since been vindicated:

Vindication: Mainstream media discovers Reese right about Broadmoor

From the article about the 2012 conference:

“One staff member charged $30 for a room service hamburger. Another charged $48.19 for a room service delivery of a plate of chicken and a glass of milk. Still another staff member submitted a room service bill for a single $30 mahi sandwich.” 

CASB also fed 19 staff members lunch with the bill totaling $1,217.69 or $64 per person and a few days later a breakfast meeting for 22 staff members cost another $1,439.54 which came to over $65 per person.

CASB president Ken Delay blew that off: "It's the going rate at the Broadmoor."

The report also noted that CASB also permits spouses and children to attend and the organization picks up the tab. So while school districts like ours are feeding us shit sandwiches, they are stuffing their faces on our dime up at the Broadmoor ... while attending such seminars as:

“The Game has Changed: What will it take to pass a bond and mill levy override in 2012?” 

“Changing the Constitution and other trivial matters” 

and “Unstuck and Maximizing Diversity.” 

Yep. They're trying to figure out ways of squeezing more tax revenue out of us. While shoving $30 dollar burgers down their maws.

They haven't quit. They had their Broadmoor junket this past December, as usual.

How 'bout that WiFi the building leadership teams want for our district?

How about that settlement with Carol Noll, after the geniuses on the school board played their power trip and ego games?

Today's oxymoron: "school board fiscal responsibility."


The East Otero R-1 School Board's shit sandwich

It would appear that the school board's machinations come at a pretty good price:


So "The Noll Problem" has been taken care of. I'm wondering how many services to students had to be cut to pay for this little folly. How many text books would that have purchased? What about that student WiFi setup the teaching staff proposed? You know, so they could do some of that '21st Century teaching' school board political types are fond of yakking about, but which in East Otero R-1 take second seat to witch hunts, power plays, and cheap shots.

And of course, it's coming out of the pockets of taxpayers in the district. What about the board members who behaved "inappropriately," according to Noll's response to the evaluations made by the board just before they broke into song, "I bin werkin' on the railroad ..."?

I found the allegation about a board member discussing 'personnel matters' with district employees at one of the basketball games particularly interesting, especially considering the info was to have been out of an executive session. I was surprised to hear it happened at a basketball game; I would have thought it more likely to have occurred at one of the Breakfast Club meetings over in the Copper Kitchen.

How many times have we heard this board use 'personnel matters' as part of the 'circle the wagons' reaction in order to stonewall public inquiry? Apparently the sanctity of the 'executive session' disappears like dust in the wind, when a board member wants to do a little character assassination or gossip-mongering

There's an FB page up now, take it or leave it as you will:

East Otero School Board Watch

 which seems to have as one of its authors a fellow named David Seaney.

Mr. Seaney has taken the board to task several times, at board meetings and on this FB page.

An anonymous person who has created an FB profile, "Joe Friday" seems to have taken it upon himself to launch a smear campaign against Seaney:




 It seems that Mr. Seaney was the district superintendent in question. The DUI is from December 2010. That's quite a dig into the past. I'm not sure what relevance it has to Mr. Seaney's questioning of school board activities, especially since he is clearly within his Constitutional rights - both state and Federal - to question and even 'remonstrate with' our elected officials.  More to the point in refuting this bit of miserable cowardice, the school board has had no problems  in the past with  hiring them what's a bit too fond of their booze. Have they since gotten religion? Or is this selectivity related to Who's Whose Buddy in The Smile Hi?

Why is it that I think this gutless, no-balls "Joe Friday" character might be one of our real flag-wavin' all-American "Christian" super-patriots? Perhaps because a whole lot of life experience has shown me time and again, that's how they roll? Perhaps because it's the "Christian" super-patriots who have little or nothing of Christ in them, and who are the first to demonstrate a total lack of understanding of "American values?"

"Joe Friday" tried a cheap shot at Seaney, but all he has done is demonstrate a shocking level of cowardly behavior, hiding behind an anonymous FaceBook post to try to do a bit of back-stabbing.

"Joe Friday" also demonstrates with that comment, "Since there were two additional board members that voted to approve the resignation if they will be recalled too." that he really isn't overly bright. The 'two additional board members', having been handed a shit sandwich by The Gang of Three, understood quite well that a) there was nothing they could do about the railroading of Noll; and b) that Noll has the district by the short and curlies, otherwise, why a 'settlement', so c) take the best deal for the district at this point, which is what they did. Those two board members are the only ones demonstrating any semblance of 'adult leadership' in this matter.

Press on, Mr. Seaney. I'm also curious as to the workings of the selection process for Mr. Lovato. Not that I think he doesn't have the talent and brains to be a good superintendent; it's clear that he does. But this isn't about Mr. Lovato; it's about The Gang of Three and their slippery ways of doing business, and their skills in running a deli. That shit sandwich thing, you see.

Can we have that on a nice rye with a snappy mustard, please? And can I have that as part of the school lunch program?

Tossed under the bus?


Reposted from the archives:

Apparently the school board is concerned over test scores.

La Junta's junior/senior high and the intermediate all have "D" scores from ColoradoSchoolsGrade:

La Junta Junior/Senior High School standings

while the US News and World Report school findings show that despite those abysmal scores the junior/senior high is 'near' the Colorado average.

US News and World Report School Standings

If East Otero is 'near the state average' with a 23% proficiency in math and a 64% proficiency in reading, then it's clear that the problems East Otero is facing are endemic to Colorado, and nationwide as well. If ColoradoSchoolGrades.com reports La Junta as an "F" in academic growth, and and "F" in math, and a "D" in reading, and a "D" in English, and La Junta is considered 'near the state average,' then it's fairly clear that the school superintendent is not our problem. The whole system is the problem, and not the least part of that system is our school board. It's pretty clear the entire state has a problem. 

Flushing the one administrator who has considerable public confidence is not going to fix anything.

How exactly is Carol supposed to single-handedly fix any of that, and what exactly is dumping her going to accomplish? 

She has also had to deal with inherited problems, the sorts of problems that over time become almost institutionalized. If that sounds too much like the Big O blaming Bush ... then consider that she has to deal with all the federal interference and 'oversight' that comes from pandering to the federal and state governments for all that free money for all those free programs. 

Then, Noll has to deal with state-wide inertia and the political and economic geniuses that drive our business, social, and cultural establishments.

Carol is, in our opinion (mine and Leece's) the best supe we've had in decades. We have always been able to talk to her without being made to feel like Untermenschen; too many of these 'educators' are so impressed with their own credentials they can hardly find time to talk to common swine like us. 

Whenever there were problems with the educational process for one of our granddkids, Carol answered the important questions and school administrators and staff took care of the problems. Sometimes, given the vacuous reactions from some of the staff, I suspect that some of the staff required Noll's boot up the ass(es), but that's just me.

There was no self-serving double-talk or vague promises or vaguer excuses.

East Otero has some serious 'issues.' There's no doubt about it. But then, so does the entire state.

As the SchoolGrades link above shows, Swink - the Princeton of the Plains - is doing pretty well in comparison, but look at the difference in low income stats for both schools. How's that translate into parental involvement, awareness, and understanding of the educational process? What leadership is the school board presenting to deal with that? What marching orders have they given, based on their plans and vision? Do they even have any plans or vision, or are they so impressed with their own importance that sort of thing is unnecessary?

How has Carol failed - and failed consistently, with a documented-over-a-period-of-time lack of responsiveness to the board's direction - sufficiently to justify getting rid of her? How has she failed in the critical areas of "... fulfilling the adopted school district objectives, fiscal management of the district, district planning responsibilities, and supervision and evaluation of district personnel?"

I've seen railroad jobs where an eval suddenly pops up that is totally out of sorts with everything that went before. It's easy to do that. It's much harder - impossible, in fact - to backfill counselling records that show a disregard for direction or a failure to correct following guidance. 

So if this eval is bad, I'd like to see that paper trail, that history. I'd like to see the last three evals. We aren't talking about canning a burger-flipping high schooler with a bad attitude here. We're talking about a long-serving professional with a demonstrated ability to get things done. Otherwise ... why was she hired as supe in the first place? And why has she been kept on all this time?

Those areas of her evaluation are to be open for public inspection, by state law. If she has not failed in those areas, then what is the basis for not renewing her contract? East Otero is just below ... a squeaker below ... the state average. East Otero's failings are not even close to being an isolated matter. Throwing Carol under the bus so as to make it look like they as a board - or at least those who voted against retaining Carol - are 'doing something' is a shame and a disgrace.

Considering this is Holy Week, the board's washing of hands is not only quite ironic, but gives considerable pause for thought as to just how much sway that Christ fellow has in our bucolic little 'Godly community' as it has been described by our school board. 

Our kids and grandkids have not been well served in this matter by the majority of the East Otero R-1 school board.

5/17/15

A second decade of bloggery

We are entering into our second decade of bloggery. Yep. It's been ten years since we started this thing. We've archived nearly 4,000 posts.

Meanwhile ... there's the recent Pew survey on the 'religious landscape' in America.

How does that data tie into the recent and ongoing dustups at NNU and MidAmerica? As well as other churches and denominational institutions across the country? Good questions, those.


5/6/15

"We can't remember what our goals are ... were ... might be ..."

From the minutes of the meeting of the La Junta City Council, 05.04.2015:

B. Committee/Board Reports

 1. Report from Re-Imagine La Junta Creative Arts Committee. Barbara Ingles and Maryanne Hale reported that two of the three goals have been accomplished, but they could not remember which ones. They went on to report on the accomplishments of the Southeastern Colorado Creative Partnership. 

Isn't that the outfit that wants how many thousands of dollars of tax bux for those tumbleweed "Christmas trees?"

Why, yes ... it is:

Ingles proposes tumbleweed Christmas tree

And the governing body is going to hand them the cash? Or the labor-in-kind in lieu of cash?

Like ... seriously?

They show up at a City Council meeting to report to council, and can't remember what they accomplished ... and then Council is going to give them piles of munny?

That's quite "Creative." It's better than "Creative." It's downright ...Re-imaginative.

5/5/15

Patriot Games and other follies

It would appear that the school board's machinations come at a pretty good price:



So "The Noll Problem" has been taken care of. I'm wondering how many services to students had to be cut to pay for this little folly. How many text books would that have purchased? What about that student WiFi setup the teaching staff proposed?

And of course, it's coming out of the pockets of taxpayers in the district.

What about the board members who behaved "inappropriately," according to Noll's response to the evaluations made by the board just before they broke into song, "I bin werkin' on the railroad ..."? I found the allegation about a board member discussing 'personnel matters' with district employees at one of the basketball games particularly interesting, especially considering the info was to have been out of an executive session. How many times have we heard this board use 'personnel matters' as part of the 'circle the wagons' reaction in order to stonewall public inquiry?

There's an FB page up now, take it or leave it as you will:

East Otero School Board Watch

which seems to have as one of its authors a fellow named David Seaney.

Mr. Seaney has taken the board to task several times, at board meetings and on this FB page.

An anonymous person who has created an FB profile, "Joe Friday" seems to have taken it upon himself to launch a smear campaign against Seaney:


It seems that Mr. Seaney was the district superintendent in question. The DUI is from December 2010.

That's quite a dig into the past. I'm not sure what relevance it has to Mr. Seaney's questioning of school board activities, especially since he is clearly within his Constitutional rights - both state and Federal - to question and even 'remonstrate with' our elected officials.

Why is it that I think this gutless, no-balls "Joe Friday" character might be one of our real flag-wavin' all-American "Christian" super-patriots? Perhaps because a whole lot of life experience has shown me time and again, that's how they roll? Perhaps because it's the "Christian" super-patriots who have little or nothing of Christ in them, and who are the first to demonstrate a total lack of understanding of "American values?"

"Joe Friday" tried a cheap shot at Seaney, but all he has done is prove the validity of this:

A Study in Civics

"Joe Friday" also demonstrates with that comment, "Since there were two additional board members that voted to approve the resignation if they will be recalled too." that he really isn't overly bright. The 'two additional board members', having been handed a shit sandwich by The Gang of Three, understood quite well that a) there was nothing they could do about the railroading of Noll; and b) that Noll has the district by the short and curlies, otherwise, why a 'settlement', so c) take the best deal for the district at this point, which is what they did. Those two board members are the only ones demonstrating any semblance of 'adult leadership' in this matter.

Press on, Mr. Seaney. I'm curious as to the workings of the selection process for Mr. Lovato. Not that I think he doesn't have the talent and brains to be a good superintendent; it's clear that he does. But this isn't about Mr. Lovato; it's about The Gang of Three and their slippery ways of doing business, and their skills in running a deli.

That shit sandwich thing, you see. Can we have that on a nice rye with a snappy mustard, please? And can I have that as part of the school lunch program?


4/21/15

Super-patriot Todd Starnes

Solidly 'Christian' all-American flag-waving super-patriot Todd Starnes is at it again.

Starnes is of the same ilk as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly. All are far right muckrakers who are not overly concerned with fact, who rely on half-truths and outright falsehoods to stir the right into paroxysms of Outrage!™©

Brother Todd's latest is over the apparently left-wing supporters of flag-desecrators at Valdosta State University.

It seems some students were tramping upon a US flag that they had put on the ground.

Michelle Manhart, another self-styled super-patriot, was incensed by this, and took the flag, refusing to give it back. She was then arrested.

Starnes and his supporters have been going off the deep end over the horror of this.

Well ... the Supremes have long ruled that flag-burning and other forms of protest are protected speech. If you examine the opinions handed down by the justices in these cases, you can see that their reasoning is Constitutionally solid.

You may not like such means of protest - I certainly do not - but the fact remains ... this is protected speech. It's not a particularly effective means of protest; not many of us are going to be won over to a point of view that relies on these behaviors to make a 'point.' But, it is protected speech, and it should be, if we are going to live up to the values inherent in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

But Manhart basically stole the protestors' flag, refused to give it back, and disrupted a lawful assembly. Until she showed up, it was a peaceable assembly, too.

The Starnesians are fond of going on about the US Flag Code when they go off the deep end over these matters.

But here's the thing. Manhart, a USAF vet, posed in her uniform - or bits and pieces of it - for Playboy magazine, and in some shots, she was draped in the US flag, with part of the flag lying on the floor. She got her knickers twisted pretty good by USAF, too. She was demoted, and then discharged.



Starnes doesn't see anything wrong with this. Nor, apparently, does he see anything wrong with this:

All-American super-patriots

all of which makes a mockery of his beloved flag code. Apparently everyone in these photos, wearing the flag as some kind of garment, is a 'true patriot' so it's OK to engage in a bit of patriotic flag desecration.

Why is that? Why is this OK with Starnes and his supporters ... yet the lefties at Valdosta are un-American losers?

It's just when you don't agree with Starnes and his brethren's political and religious views that it becomes an 'issue.'

More hypocrisy from the super-patriot flag-waving 'Christian' right ...

Starnes and his accomplices bring truth to the old saw, “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

4/3/15

Tumbleweeds

Having just spent the last hour or so pitchforking tumbleweeds, huge piles of tumbleweeds, out of the yard, I cannot help but think that any governing body in this part of the state - or anywhere, for that matter - that votes to expend tax dollars to gather up these damned things, spray them with fire retardant, paint them, and then have city utility crews stack them up as a Christmas tree ... deserves to be impeached.

Do we not have anything better to do with the money that the government filches out of my wallet than to make a monument out of one of the state's most noxious, water-wasting weeds? Why not plant Russian olives and tamarisk in our public parks while we're at it.

Do we have to take every cockamamie idea from "The Creative Crowd" and "The Idea People" and inflict it upon the rest of us as though it were coming down from God himself?

Here is a reprint of "All that glitters ..." from last year, when "The Creative Crowd" was in full cry over this nonsense:

Glendale, AZ, has an annual bit of festivity they call 'Glendale Glitters.'

Here is a the link to Glendale Glitters imagery on Google:

Glendale Glitters images

We've been there. It's quite enjoyable. Festive. Wouldn't this be a nice look for the Santa Fe Plaza? Especially if we could get a couple of stores to stay open?

We really like Glendale Glitters. They have shops, restaurants, etc open all around the square, and back a block or two. Sadly, many of the doo-dad shops sell a bunch of Chinese crap, but there is still a good selection of local goods. The restaurants and coffee shops are generally quite good.

Note there are no tumbleweed trees.

The Anthem Christmas tree is another favorite, especially for the kids. You can't miss it as you come into Phoenix from the north, on I-17.

The Anthem Christmas Tree

I don't suppose we need a 112 foot tree, but a 'real' tree of some size down yonder at Santa Fe Plaza would be nice, don't you agree?

If Our Beloved President can speechify whilst lighting the national tree ... I would think local politicians would leap at a similar chance on a local scale.

But we aren't looking at that. We have a bug up our butts over a tumbleweeds Christmas tree.

I suppose a tumbleweeds Christmas tree would be a bit of a novelty in the urban setting, but personally, I see a tumbleweed tree, here in an agricultural community on the high plains, as incredibly poorly advised. But if we are going to be the laughingstock of every rancher and farmer between here and the Nebraska line ... let's do it right. Let's include some Russian olives (bare branches decorate well, as we see in Glendale Glitters) and tamarisk along with the tumbleweeds tree. That way, we can have three of the most noxious water-wasting weeds in the state, on which millions of tax dollars are spent every year for eradication and control, representing our commitment to conserving our water and protecting and preserving our shortgrass prairie. The rest of eastern Colorado - except for recently arrived transplants from California or the east coast, and locals who have taken complete leave of their senses - can ROTF LTAO at us, along with the goofs who buy this stuff:

Extra Large Tumbleweed

Note how the sale is pitched to appeal to the urban drone. Me, I'd add that it was 'organic' and a non-GMO item as well.

But that's just me. And Leece. And what do we know. Other than we're going to start collecting tumbleweeds and sell them to clueless urban hipsters. With free shipping, of course.

For a nominal charge, Leece will even throw in a crocheted prairie dog spare toilet paper roll cover. Very rustic.

The oppression of Christians in the United States

So there's all this hoo-hah over the various 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act' bills. You know, the ones that will give God-fearing 'Christians' freedom from the frightful repression and persecution they suffer in These United States.

Meanwhile. one of the 'Christian' companies at the heart of the argument, Hobby Lobby, a paragon of corporate 'Christian' values, stocks its shelves with cheap goods from the most oppressively anti-Christian regimes on the planet. If you haven't yet done so, take the opportunity to walk through a Hobby Lobby and pick up the items and look at the country of manufacture.

Now, is that hypocrisy, or what.

This is the Gao Brothers' "Execution of Christ in China."


More on the Gao brothers:

Zhen and Quiang Gao

Rumor has it that you can get a cheap 'made in China' copy of "The execution of Christ" in most Hobby Lobby stores. They should be right next to the 'made in China' US flags and 4th of July patriotic goods.If they aren't, Hobby Lobby is missing a great sales opportunity.

4/1/15

A study in Civics

Some of you old farts might remember "Civics." It was a course in government. Back in my time, it was a class in 7th grade. You didn't make it to junior high in those days without at least a basic understanding of what was meant by the term "American values." Whether that understanding stuck through later life was another 'issue' altogether, but the basics were there.

Mike Huckabee, that darling of the flag-waving bible-thumping Christian Right, serves as one of the best examples of how the concept of "American values" can be twisted into an unrecognizable state. Huckabee believes that Americans should be held at gunpoint and brainwashed with debunked creationist David Barton's garbage:



Huckabee gives truth to that "When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

Over in the fishwrapper article on the latest shenanigans of our La Junta/East Otero R-1 school board, we find this:

"... Craig also said although some people were afraid of their jobs being on the line if they showed support, she isn't one of them and adamantly supports Noll's leadership."

That gives some interesting insight into the perceptions of at least some of the the public's view of the school board's understanding of "American values."

If you open your mouth, and express an opinion over matter of public interest - your job is in jeopardy.

Given some of the reactions of some of our political 'leadership' to what they perceive as challenges to their self-importance and political prerogatives, that is probably more than just a perception. I suspect there is a good basis in fact for holding that view, for harboring that fear.

The Smile Hi has more self-styled All-American pledge-reciting flag-waving super-patriots than anywhere I have ever lived. An unfortunately significant percentage of these are people who will shove the Bible and the flag down your throats in an instant if you disagree with them. They are the sorts who will fly into a rage over perceived 'insult' to the flag, going so far as to slap kids who fidget during the pledge and agitate for jailing those who do not share their particular brand of reverence.

I think what the school board should do is make available an adult civics course, so as to refresh some understandings of 'American values.'

They could start with a tour of Fairview and Calvary. There are a substantial number of veterans' headstones there. Perhaps they could finish up with Fort Lyon.

Does any political body in this city really believe that all those people died in the service of this nation so that people could live in fear for their jobs for voicing an opinion about the behavior and decisions of our elected officials or their pals and buddies?

After that cemetery tour, perhaps a forced reading of de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" would be helpful. "Forced reading?" Sure. That's in keeping with that darling of the flag-waving Religious Right's views on how Americans should be indoctrinated with American values. I think I'd draw the line at all-American flagwaver Huckabee's 'at gunpoint' thing, though. 

After Mike Huckabee and the school board have a refresher in 'American values," I'd suggest the Urban Renewal Board also have a re-read of that 7th grade civics textbook, and then de Tocqueville.

What those who are in fear for their jobs are afraid of exercising is called 'freedom of speech.' It is a God-given right, not something allowed at whim by politicians, and it was paid for in blood, real blood, and lives, real lives, lives ended far too soon. It is not to be trifled with and cheapened by podunk politicians who are a bit too big for their britches.

My own participation in making payments due on those 'American values' thingies, though the connection is nebulous at best, saw more than 58,000 of our compatriots dead, hundreds of thousands maimed, and unknown numbers PTSD'd for life.

So I tend to find political arrogance that trivializes and discounts all that blood-letting and sacrifice somewhat vexing, particularly so when such arrogance is on the part of self-styled super-patriots who never served, other than themselves at the local buffet.

3/31/15

Tossed under the bus?

Apparently the school board is concerned over test scores.

La Junta's junior/senior high and the intermediate all have "D" scores from ColoradoSchoolsGrade:

La Junta Junior/Senior High School standings 

while the US News and World Report school findings show that despite those abysmal scores the junior/senior high is 'near' the Colorado average.

US News and World Report School Standings 

If East Otero is 'near the state average' with a 12% proficiency in math and a 55% proficiency in reading, then it's clear that the problems East Otero is facing are endemic to Colorado, and nationwide as well. Flushing the one administrator who has considerable public confidence is not going to fix anything.

How exactly is Carol supposed to single-handedly fix any of that, and what exactly is dumping her going to accomplish? She has also had to deal with inherited problems, the sorts of problems that over time become almost institutionalized. If that sounds too much like the Big O blaming Bush ... then consider that she has to deal with all the federal interference and 'oversight' that comes from pandering to the federal and state governments for all that free money for all those free programs. Then, she has to deal with state-wide inertia and the political and economic geniuses that drive our business, social, and cultural establishments.

Carol is, in our opinion (mine and Leece's) the best supe we've had in decades. We have always been able to talk to her without being made to feel like Untermenschen; too many of these 'educators' are so impressed with their own credentials they can hardly find time to talk to common swine like us. Whenever there were problems with the educational process for one of our granddkids, Carol answered the important questions and school administrators and staff took care of the problems. There was no self-serving double-talk or vague promises or vaguer excuses.

East Otero has some serious 'issues.' There's no doubt about it. But then, so does the entire state.

As the SchoolGrades link above shows, Swink - the Princeton of the Plains - is doing pretty well in comparison, but look at the difference in low income stats for both schools. How's that translate into parental involvement, awareness, and understanding of the educational process? What leadership is the school board presenting to deal with that? What marching orders have they given, based on their plans and vision? How has Carol failed - and failed consistently, with a documented-over-a-period-of-time lack of responsiveness to the board's direction - sufficiently to justify getting rid of her? How has she failed in the critical areas of "... fulfilling the adopted school district objectives, fiscal management of the district, district planning responsibilities, and supervision and evaluation of district personnel?"

I've seen railroad jobs where an eval suddenly pops up that is totally out of sorts with everything that went before. It's easy to do that. It's much harder - impossible, in fact - to backfill counselling records that show a disregard for direction or a failure to correct following guidance. So if this eval is bad, I'd like to see that paper trail, that history. I'd like to see the last three evals. We aren't talking about canning a burger-flipping high schooler with a bad attitude here. We're talking about a long-serving professional with a demonstrated ability to get things done. Otherwise ... why was she hired as supe in the first place?

Those areas of her evaluation are to be open for public inspection, by state law. If she has not failed in those areas, then what is the basis for not renewing her contract? East Otero is just below ... a squeaker below ... the state average. East Otero's failings are not even close to being an isolated matter. Throwing Carol under the bus so as to make it look like they as a board - or at least those who voted against retaining Carol - are 'doing something' is a shame and a disgrace.

Considering this is Holy Week, the board's washing of hands is not only quite ironic, but gives considerable pause for thought as to just how much sway that Christ fellow has in our bucolic little 'Godly community.'

Our kids and grandkids have not been well served in this matter by the majority of the East Otero R-1 school board.

2/17/15

"A View of Forever ..."

Leece posts about our recent visit to Pikes Peak:

"A View of Forever ..."

1/3/15

Reminder ...

Good eats and travels over on The View From the Pizer, and photo galleries on WritingPlaces.com.

12/31/14

Trinidad's drug busts ... and Pinocchio's nose

The Trinidad drug bust fiasco continues, like Pinocchio's nose, to grow:

The Snitch Who Stole Christmas

It was on the front page of yesterday's Trinidad Chronicle, and KOAA has been running with it for nearly a year.

Sloppy police work leads to dozens of dismissals

We can only wonder at the enormous erections that must have been generated by this, among the super-patriotic flag-waving right-wingers throughout southeastern Colorado, as the forces of Law and Order crushed the evil criminals with all-American righteousness.

Unfortunately, the cops once again look like complete morons - with considerable justification:

A surprising number were not only loudly proclaiming their innocence, but were insisting that the transactions they were accused of making couldn't have happened at the times and places described. Yet none of this appears to have triggered any skepticism among police or prosecutors -- not until the entire operation began to unravel, just weeks after the big bust ...

... Defense attorneys probing the case soon discovered numerous misleading or false statements in the sworn affidavits submitted to obtain the arrest warrants. The affidavits routinely stated that the dope purchased by the informants had field-tested positive for heroin, meth or some other controlled substance; in several instances, though, subsequent testing by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation indicated that the substance in question had no narcotic qualities at all. Although the informants were wired, the affidavits offered only bare excerpts of the conversations recorded and little dialogue that suggested a buy was taking place. And there was no information provided about how the targets were selected, how the meetings were arranged, or what the informants were getting out of the deal.

and the dopers among us - and they are Legion - have one more argument for their 'cause.'

District Attorney Ruybalid and Trinidad police chief Charles Glorioso did not respond to repeated requests for comment about the operation.

No surprise there. I'll wager they've lawyered up like a pedophile confronted with a hard drive full of selfies.

Meanwhile ...

As for the two confidential informants who lied, Carla Hernandez was not charged with perjury after openly admitting she wasn't being truthful in court. Bachicha is charged with perjury and pleaded guilty.

She will be sentenced in February 2015.

Rybalid, Glorioso, and da Judge ... southeast Colorado's own version of The Three Stooges.

12/17/14

Pocatello Police Shooting

Killer Kops DRT another one ... this time after an escape and a foot pursuit. The comments in the article from the Idaho State Journal are particularly telling as to citizen attitudes toward this type of reaction.

Cops kill unarmed escapee

Then ... the drama continued with more escapes, possibly with assistance from outside the detention facility:

Following the police shooting of an unarmed escapee in Pocatello, Idaho, four more prisoners escaped, or were possibly released from custody by activists. During the escape, the co-owner of the facility was in fact brutally attacked and suffered several broken ribs. One of the escapees was shot down in cold blood by the slaughterhouse's co-owner; one was taken into custody, and two remain at large. Stories of heavily armed police SWAT teams roving the area remain unconfirmed, as citizens reportedly cower in fear in their homes ... meanwhile, owners of the 'custodial' facility from which the bovines escaped are receiving hate mail and possibly death threats ...

Two escapees remain at large

As it turns out, both episodes were part of an on-going conspiracy. Hats off to Pocatello PD for putting a stop to it before things got completely out of hand. The following video provides outstanding insight into a little understood revolutionary movement. It's the Che Guevara reference that spooks all we leftovers from the Cold War era. I understand that Department of Homeland Security has undercover operatives in the Pocatello area, scoping out the ringleaders of the local cell