Government

Simply not acceptable

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Invasion: Definition #2,

Invade: Definition #3a

Infringe: Definition #1

Illegal: definition #1 & #2

Flood: Definition #3

Whatever definition you want to use, it can’t be denied. Simply saying that it is something other than what it is, well, that’s just delusional. Unfortunately, a large portion of our elected officials are just delusional. Plain and simple. “No ifs, ands, or buts about it.”

Look, I have a heart. I can feel empathy. I understand that people are coming from places that are poor and there is suffering. I been there (Mexico) and I’ve seen it. I have been the drop in the bucket that brought light to someone’s world for a short time. So, I am not an ignorant soul spouting about something that I don’t know about.

However, there is a time and a place for the rule of law and my to my dismay (and many others) we have people amongst us that are actually inviting and encouraging the unlawfulness. They are sending a message that is directly counter to the foundations of our country – that we are a law-abiding people, who honor values and principles of law.

The border of our nation doesn’t get this way unless someone has invited and encouraged them. Our states don’t get this way unless someone has given them assurance that once they’re here they won’t be caught or charged with a crime. Our government doesn’t get this way unless someone has exploited the intentions of good laws for political purposes. Democrats, the fingers are pointed directly at you!

I don’t normally like to call out one single party (yes, I have done it in the past), as I try to look at both sides objectively, consider the factors, and understand decision aren’t always cut and dried. But, when a spade is a spade you have to call it that. When a duck walks and talks like a duck, you have to call it a duck. It’s time the Democrats be called on  the carpet and held accountable for actually calling for the open violation of our nation’s laws. They say they are doing it for the “humanity” of it all, but that can’t actually be the case because the message they are sending people who aren’t coming to the nation legally is actually dangerous and unfair.

What is happening at the border just simply should even be a concern, if we were a nation that actually believed in law and order. If we were actually a nation that believed in sovereignty. If we were a nation that actually believed that we could do this better and still follow our law, protect our borders, and improve the lives of people where they are.

 

barbed wire barrier blur border

What’s a guy to do?

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I live in a state that makes illegal things legal and tries to make legal things illegal.

I have a national, two-party political system that is broken to its core and has become so partisan that neither can let go of anything, any time, anywhere. The work of the people doesn’t get done because they have to play tit-for-tat with everything.

I live in a country where insane people want to give everything away for free and do no work.

I live in a country where approximately 3200 people die in automobile collisions and about 3000 unborn babies are murdered every day; however, the former has government campaigns to stop it and the later the government funds to assist in it.

I live in a country that supposedly holds the ideal of Free Speech sacred but has a culture that silences people who speak freely and are counter to mainstream thought.

I am in a country with national sovereignty and borders, but has a political party that openly invites people to violate the sovereignty and break the law.

I live in a country that has no better political choice for representation (and president) than to choose between the lesser of two evils.

I live in a state where one major city wants to willingly give heroin injections freely and openly but won’t listen to its citizens when they show up at a city council meeting.

I have a national media that used to tell us the truth, the facts and no more, but now they tell us their opinions and speculations with no reliable sources or verification.

So what’s a guy to do?

It’s weird to think that we are living in the upside-down. What we used to say was wrong is now right and what we used to say was right is now wrong. There will be no reprieve if we don’t change directions soon. A 180 degree turn, turning the down right side up is the only way to make it happen.

So what’s a guy to do?

I wish I had answers. It’s an age-old question that obviously none of us has an answer to. We can’t rely on our politicians. We can’t rely on our education. We can’t rely on our government. We can’t rely our political parties. We can barely rely on each other. We are gonna have to find the answer, somewhere, deep down within ourselves. We are going to have to work together and find common ground.

Common Ground.

Not what is best for me. Not what is best for you. But what is best for both. Can we even do that anymore?

Citizenship, the border, and the census

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Are you a citizen of the United States of America?

Seems like a fair question. A questions that any country of the world should be able to ask of anyone residing within its borders (Are you a citizen of ___*current location in the world*___?). A country has a right to know whom resides within its borders, right? A country also has a right to know if those who reside within its borders are citizens or not. Otherwise, what’s the point of borders, or even visas for that matter? The citizenship question and whether it can be included on the next census will get answered by SCOTUS here in the near future.

It should be a relatively straight forward answer, especially if you are a citizen or in the country legally. It’s as simple as YES or NO. If you are a citizen, I would venture a guess that nearly everyone would admit that they are. If you are not a citizen, you’re either going to lie or refuse to answer that you’re not a citizen. If you’re in the country illegally and DO admit that you’re not a citizen, you should be afraid of deportation, because you have broken the law.

If I speed, am I afraid to get caught? Sure. I don’t want to pay the fine. If I am caught stealing, do I want to get caught? Nope. I don’t want to go to jail. If I were to murder someone, do I want to get caught? Definitely not. I don’t want the possibility of the death penalty (yes, I know, another debate for another day). So why would illegal immigration be any different? If you are in the country without permission to legally be there, then you have broken the law and there are consequences for breaking the law, or at least there used to be.

It was recently reported that the border of our country is in crisis. The media is working overtime to make people to believe that it isn’t. The Democrats would like Americans to believe that it isn’t. But the numbers for the year don’t lie. The NYT recently reported numbers from the US Border Patrol that most definitely show there is a crisis. It can’t be denied. When you have a record number of people crossing the border per month, at the rate of 19,000 per week (on average) or approximately 633 per day, there really can’t be any other conclusion. To deny that there isn’t a crisis is just plain fantasy…or, it plays into a political agenda.

Why were illegal crossings way down a year to a year and a half ago? Why have things changed so dramatically in the last 6 months? Because we have a segment of the our population who are actively encouraging illegal crossings and actively pushing for law enforcement to turn a blind eye to breaking the law. There isn’t another explanation for this and there can’t be a claim of “humanitarian crisis” if you have sent the message that you aren’t going to enforce the laws. If there is a crisis, it was created in order to serve a political agenda.

I am not talking about a “political crisis” to build a wall. That need has always been there, but our politicians have punted that ball from one Congress to the next hoping that someone will do the hard work and get it done, unless of course it fits your agenda to not get it done. Is it possible to build a physical wall on the entirety of the border? Not even remotely. Is it possible to stem illegal immigration in totality with a wall? Definitely not. But, the effect of a wall would surely act as a deterrent and it would definitely slow it down. That is really the ultimate goal, to get it to slow down and eventually stop.

Why is illegal immigration such a big deal? Because it hurts the country. This isn’t about legal immigration. That helps the country. There are positives and negatives, but the distinction between legal and illegal has to be kept clear. You can’t encourage illegal immigration and you can’t encourage the breaking of laws because there may be an economic gain, but more importantly you can’t encourage it because it will give you political leverage.

Illegal immigration doesn’t just strain the border enforcement resources. It has an impact on resources well inside the border as well. Our doctor’s offices and hospitals are full and illegal immigrants with no insurance strain the resources of those facilities while those who have insurance bear the cost of increased insurance rates to make up the difference. Our schools (in many areas of the country) are bursting at the seams with students who are not in the country legally, but schools are required to educate the students without asking if they’re legal or not. Who bears the cost  of that? Those who pay the local taxes and, maybe in even worse, the students who wouldn’t have normally been in an overcrowded classroom. Illegal immigrants (in many places) can get driver’s licenses. By reasonable extension then, you can deduce that they are likely getting aid when in a car crash and in many cases they aren’t insured, so those drivers who are insured bear the cost of increased rates to make up for uninsured motorists. The list could go on and on.

My family were immigrants when they came to the country a really long time ago. They did it legally. I don’t think it is too much to ask that others follow the law and do it legally too. That is why we have a system that allows for it, and encourages people from all over the world to do it legally. We are stronger if we are a nation that follows its own laws, not if we are a nation that allows for some to break them and not face the consequences for it.

 

 

 

Should libraries be obsolete?

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Let’s get real for a sec, shall we?

Just yesterday I tried to download an audio book on an app that the local library uses. Sure, it’s been more than a year since I used my library card, but that shouldn’t really matter right? Nope. Turns out my library card has expired (it has to be renewed every year) and I can’t just do that over the phone. I have to show up and show them my picture ID. Really? Do we really need to be that rigorous in our library security?

That got me thinking? Should we really need a “membership” to access a library? I mean, in the practical sense, yes I understand they want to make sure books are returned and they can collect fees if they are not, but when it comes right down to it, is it really necessary? But I only consume audio-books and the only time I have stepped foot, literally, in a library is to renew the stupid card. That is absurd and impractical if you ask me.

There is a wealth of information on the internet and most of it is controlled by memberships via electronic registrations and whatnot. Can’t a library be like that also? Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, and a whole host of other companies/institutions have memberships all generated electronically and it seems like it is a fairly efficient way to deliver content to consumers. So why can’t a library do the same thing?

Does a library really need to be the gatekeeper for information access? I don’t think so. That’s why I have said many times in the past that libraries are kind of a waste of space. Sure, it’s nice to hold a book once in a while. Yes, it does take some getting used to consuming what is normally “printed” data via an electronic source. I get that some people prefer to do it the “old-fashioned” way.

So, readers? What say, ye? Do we need libraries or can we (better yet, should we) do away with them?

I choose life

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There is so much to say about this topic and I just can’t process all there is to say, so I will say it in a rather short, blunt manner.

New York, you’ve got it all wrong. I suppose you were outraged by the news of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, but honestly this just puts you on a similar level – only now you make it legal.

Apparently, in New York, the definition of life involves which side of the vagina a baby is on, inside or outside. Outside the vagina, you’re good, kid! Inside the vagina, well, you’re SOL! Doesn’t anyone (ok that is a generalization) in New York recognize that mere seconds doesn’t make life? A baby is a baby. Inside or outside. There is no difference.

It hurts my heart to see that people actually cheered for this as it was signed. The level of stupid has reached new heights. You seriously need to question your morals if you think this is even remotely a good idea.

Get this contradiction: In New York, it is illegal to kill a convicted criminal but it isn’t illegal to kill a completely innocent baby.

Yeah, let that sink in.

Nice work, America. You have managed to tarnish that whole “LIFE, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” thing.

 

Checks, Balances, and Gridlock

Andertoons.com

It is unfortunate that our system of government has been HIJACKED by political parties. Instead of doing what is right for the American people, we have two parties who do what is best for themselves based on ideology first, then try to sell it to the American people by telling them this is what is best for them.

Our first president, George Washington, warned against political parties and, even then, we didn’t heed his wisdom:

“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

FAREWELL ADDRESS | SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1796

*emphasis is mine*

It is getting rather old. Oh, and before we start bashing on one party more than the other, let’s get one thing straight – BOTH parties are guilty of it to a high degree and NEITHER party is the answer to everything. There has to be cooperation and sacrifice. Neither party can do what is best for the people that way. The problem then is that when one party “takes control” they force their agenda on the American people, whether is it best for them or not. That is not a way to govern.

You wanna know why we are where we are today and why Americans are so cynical about our government? Wanna know why we are more divided politically than ever? Look in the mirror.

It’s our fault really. We created it. We put up with it. We don’t do anything about it.

Look in the mirror. This is your fault.

The Decline of American Society: Cause and Solution

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Ok, guys, this is a pretty serious topic and it warrants a long discussion. However, I am going to let the article speak for itself and reserve my comments for a discussion, should one actually occur.

This topic doesn’t just apply to American colleges, but at all levels of education and society in general. We have trained out students incorrectly, done them a huge disservice, and I have been saying it for years.

Before I share the article, I would like to suggest that microaggressions don’t actually exist. I would posit instead that they actually should be referred to, and focus on the opposing source, as microsensitivities (not hypersensitivity), meaning one is so sensitive that anything and everything could cause an individual to over-react in nearly all situations. In essence, one is so fragile that they believe they and others should be protected from reality. We have an entire segment of society that avoids anything that causes discomfort and if it is challenging they won’t even attempt it.

I ask that you read the WHOLE article below before making a comment  (it is a long one). It is well written, well reasoned, and well supported. We need more of this type of journalism and thought.

 

The Coddling of the American Mind

 

What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments.

Fake News and Media Evaluation

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In a world where “fake news” is a thing, whether on social media or on an actual network, and lots of people are looking for ways to back up their own opinion YOU can do something to be aware of your own bias. Everyone needs a wider view of the world and being informed in a well-rounded manner could only make things better.

I used to tell my students there was no such thing as unbiased media – everyone has a slant – and I stand by that statement. However, there are media resources/outlets that do their best to remain “neutral”, as hard as that may be. One thing we know, even if an outlet tries to remain bias free the person/people contributing the media still have a bias.

I recently found a source I wish I had known about while I was in the classroom. It would have been incredibly valuable! The site is called AllSides.com. The cool thing is that you can get news from across the political spectrum – the Left, Center, and the Right. So, if you are a news hound like I am, you can get your news from all perspectives, not just the ones Google thinks you want to see (remember, Google logs your clicks and searches so it progressively narrows the results you get based on your selections).

Allsides

AllSides.com site banner

An interesting part of this website is the ability to check your own bias. It has you take their short bias survey, but you also have the ability to complete a bias survey from Pew Research as well as a political party quiz from Pew (for confirmation of where you fall, specifically, or seriously have no idea). All together those surveys give you a pretty complete picture of your social and political bias.

From there, you can rate the numerous media outlets based on your perception of their bias. Of course, your opinion is only a small part of the overall bias rating. They take all the submissions (a sort of crowd-sourcing) and then use statistical research and methodologies to develop on over-all rating for the media source. The methods they are using is really quite interesting. For me, I agreed with the bias rating on about 70% of the media outlets. I gave my input and added it to the aggregate results.

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An example of what you would see at AllSides.com

The important thing here is that you are contributing to bias awareness. Why is that important? Well, too many American’s get their information from too few sources. If more Americans took time to look at the same topic from different sources/perspectives, they might understand the topic in a more well-rounded way. Instead, many Americans fall into or use a confirmation bias. This is dangerous, especially in a technological, highly connected society that is hyper-sensitive and hyper-politicized.

We have to (no, really NEED to) stop using just one source to support our argument. Or, even better, we need to stop using sources that fit our point of view. We need to encourage more media sources to go back to what they used to do – report, without editorial and bias. We need to stop trying to argue our points over social media and instead demand truthful, unbiased reporting.

I know. Maybe I am too hopeful that we can “turn this ship around”. But, I believe that if we are more aware of our own bias we might have a chance. I think using websites like this is a good first step in the right direction.

**Disclaimer: This is not a paid endorsement for the website mentioned above and I am in no way affiliated with the organization. Just a satisfied new user.**

Why isn’t this reality?

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For just a short minute, my car hit max fuel economy.

I bought a new car a little while back. Like, a brand NEW car. Not a car that is new to me. I have never had one of those before so I was kind of fun.

I did my research and though I probably could have gone out and gotten myself a “mid-life crisis car,” I did not. I was relatively responsible and tried to keep it affordable when it comes to fuel since I drive over, on average, 2200 miles a month. Fuel economy is kind of important. However, I didn’t get the most fuel efficient vehicle because I did want something that was more attractive than the last vehicle.

Anyway, it occurred to me in my search that perhaps a hybrid would be better than an all electric (thought Tesla is intriguing), mostly because places to charge your vehicle are limited at this time.

So, why a hybrid? Well, it seems to me that it is the best of both worlds. The fuel obviously is needed to help supply energy to the car. But the electric motors also help with lowering fuel consumption at the same time. So, after doing some research I decided on a vehicle that I thought was most attractive and relatively efficient – a 2018 Kia Niro.

Now, I am not going to go into a sales pitch. That isn’t the point of this post.

The point is the picture at the top of the post. Why can’t we get max fuel economy all the time? It seems to me that 99.9 miles per gallon should be the standard. I believe the technology is out there to make it happen, so why doesn’t it?

My guess is that the oil industry/lobby has a great say in the matter. Of course they are protecting their profits, who wouldn’t want to do that? But, at the same time, perhaps investing in or creating engines that maximized their products for the consumer would be just as profitable if the consumer had the option? Oh, I am being silly. I am sure the oil industry is or has already been doing that. But, at the same time, we don’t see fuel efficiency in vehicle continually going up so someone is holding or killing the tech to make it happen.

I guess I am preaching to the choir here. I know you all want the same thing too. Just imagine, a small tank of fuel (10 gal?) and 100 mpg. Who doesn’t want 1000 miles on a tank? I know I do!

What do you think? How do you feel about the issue?