Your Children Belong To The State

Yesterday we saw an article from Allison Benedikt on the education of our youth.

Her end point was that those who chose private education over public education are bad people, bad parents and morally bankrupt. Yes, she used the phrase morally bankrupt to describe those who choose to educate their kids at private schools, no matter the reason.

Religious convictions? Doesn’t matter. Crappy school district? You’re the cause. Want your child to not only succeed, but excel? You’re selfish and a horrible person.

I’m not exaggerating or paraphrasing by the way, you can see the exact quotes here:

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/08/private_school_vs_public_school_only_bad_people_send_their_kids_to_private.html

A few of the high points…

You are a bad person if you send your children to private school.

You want the best for your child, but your child doesn’t need it.

Take two things from this on your quest to become a better person: 1) Your child will probably do just fine without “the best,” so don’t freak out too much, but 2) do freak out a little more than my parents did—enough to get involved.

Reading Walt Whitman in ninth grade changed the way you see the world? Well, getting drunk before basketball games with kids who lived at the trailer park near my house did the same for me. In fact it’s part of the reason I feel so strongly about public schools.

By the way: Banning private schools isn’t the answer. We need a moral adjustment, not a legislative one.

There’s more, a lot more, but if you really want to burst a blood vessel, you’re going to have to click and read for yourself.

So while Allison says she doesn’t want to abolish private schools, that’s exactly the end result she wishes for. And what’s even more evil than private schools?

Homeschooling.

If sending your child to a private school is morally bankrupt, then what must homeschooling be?

If Allison is adamantly opposed to the choice of sending your child to a private school, what must she think of homeschooling? How dare a parent make the choice to remove their children entirely from the education system. Never mind that homeschooled children score significantly higher than those publicly educated in every subject tested. And when I say significantly, I mean 30+ percentage points. Never mind that they have higher college GPA’s, higher college graduation rates and are better at socialization.

http://www.home-school.com/news/homeschool-vs-public-school.php

No, the real point is that The State is God and your children should only be educated by The State.

Well Allison, Germany is ahead of the curve. They’re implementing what you’re suggesting. The State educates your kids. Or else.

Homeschooling parents, and children, have often faced a tough road here in America, both from government bureaucracies and from general public opinion. Apparently it’s much worse in Europe.

Four children, ages 7 to 14, have been forcibly taken from their Darmstadt, Germany, home by police armed with a battering ram, and their parents have been told they won’t see them again soon, all over the issue of homeschooling, according to a stunning new report from the Home School Legal Defense Association.

http://www.wnd.com/2013/08/police-storm-homeschool-class-take-children-by-force/

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Well, I’m sure there’s more to it than homeschooling. The kids were probably being abused or neglected or something.”

Nope.

The shocking raid was made solely because the parents were providing their children’s education, HSLDA said. The organization noted the paperwork that authorized police officers and social workers to use force on the children contained no claims of mistreatment.

“Ok,” you say, “but this was Europe, Germany even! It could never happen here!”

I direct your attention to the Romeike case. The Romeikes were a family from Germany that fled to the US and sought asylum in 2010 because the German government was attempting to force the children to attend public school. An immigration judge here in the US granted them asylum.

“See?! Can’t happen in the U.S. We’re better than that.”

The Obama administration, unhappy with the outcome, appealed and obtained an order from a higher court that the family must return to Germany. The Obama administration has argued in court parents essentially have no right to determine how and what their children are taught, leaving the authority with the government.

I repeat, The State is God.

The State has control over your children. It is their responsibility, and their’s alone, to educate your children.

This is the end result of thinking like Allison Benedikt’s. She argues that there is a moral imperative for children to be educated by The State. Is it really that great a leap from “you should be doing X” to “you must do X”? Liberal moral causes have become legal requirements over and over. Tobacco, abortion, gay marriage, “equality”, salt, trans fat, big gulps.

“You should” becomes “you must.”

It’s just one more front in the War On Everything Not The State.

Miley Cyrus Loses Her Ever-loving Mind…

…and oh, btw, SHE CAN’T FREAKING SING OR DANCE EITHER.

MTV’s 2013 VMA’s.

This happened:

Where to start?

The sexual crudeness I guess. So she touched herself about 27 times a minute. She did everything but mount Beetlejuice (Jason Seaver’s kid) right there on stage. She….did something…with that dancer. She shook, humped, thrusted, gyrated and generally looked like she was having a grand mal seizure while having bad sex. You know, LOTS of singers have pushed the envelope. Madonna of course springs to mind. But there always seemed to be a point. This just appeared to be crudeness for the sake of crudeness. If you’re going to shock me, you need to at least entertain me.

The, I guess we’ll call it dancing. What. The. Hell?? Did I already mention seizures? I did. Ok. She appeared to barely keep in time with the song. I’m pretty certain the closest thing I saw to a well executed dance move was her waving her arm over her head. She attempted, about 2,893,719 times, a dance move called “Twerking”. She failed. Utterly.

Remember the video from just a minute ago? Of course you do. It’s now seared into your brain. I’m not gonna describe the move, I’m sure you either know it or can go look at youtube. It involves a wide stance and…uh…a lot of booty bouncing. Miley failed at that move. Hard.

The music. Let me be clear, it sucked. And it didn’t suck because I’m all “Get Off My Lawn You Hooligans!” No, it just sucked. Neither Miley nor Seaver’s kid can sing at all if that performance was any indication. Seriously, either one of them would be laughed out of my church and probably booed at most karaoke bars. The lyrics were ridiculous and poorly performed. If I wanna hear nonsense sung badly, I’ll get my 3 year old. She’s at least cute.

Ok, we’ve hit the crudeness, the dancing and the singing. The big question is “Why?” Why on earth would she do this?

Booze is always a good guess. Drugs as well. A psychotic break isn’t out of the question. But really, I think it’s easy. Attention. She wanted attention. She wanted everyone talking about her. It doesn’t matter what they’re saying, as long as they’re talking. She grew up being the center of attention, being the Star. Well guess what? She’s not a teeny bopper with a show anymore and now she doesn’t know how to get the attention fix she needs. It was always provided for her. Here are your lines for the tv show that’s been scripted and set out. Here are your concert dates and your appearances and your merchandising and the entire Disney machine is behind you. Now she has to go out and do it on her own. And I don’t think she knows how.

The only even marginally rational explanation I have for why this,

MileyCyrus_071025

turned into this,

images

is one almighty cry for attention. And you know what? I’m looking at you Billy Ray and former Mrs. Billy Ray. That’s your daughter out there making a fool of herself.

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Will, I feel ya man.

A Series of Bizarre Events…..aka My Lunch with Gangsters

So. Yeah. That just happened.

This is confusing, so stick with me.

I have an on site work meeting for a project that starts tomorrow. I get done with the meeting and since I’m not far from my church, I swing by to drop something off for the Pastor. I think to myself, “Hey, the Taco Bell is only like two blocks away and I like really bad mexican fast food. I’ll eat there and take a break for a few minutes.”

I go inside and I notice that there are two scruffy looking white artist guys milling around, talking loudly and waiting for their food.

Think, these guys….

Social-Media-and-blogging-lessons-from-kevin-smith-movies_Thill-Logistics_-carrieatthill_jay-and-silent-bob (1)

…only not as clean cut and wholesome.

I ignore whatever they saying, grab my horsemeat tacos and sit down.

Skinny artist dude (let’s call him Jay for clarity’s sake) starts rambling on about his “rapping.”

Cue the tatted up asian guy (we’ll call him Jet) that I hadn’t noticed sitting a couple tables over to my right.

mainimage_hanover

“You rap?? Lemme hear something.”

This was not a request, btw.

Jay goes from Grungy Artist Guy to YoYoYo Thug Life in .76 seconds and pimp walks over to Lee and proceeds to spend the next 20 seconds spitting out….something…faster than I knew was possible. I have no idea if any of it was English. If you put a gun to my head I couldn’t repeat a single word of what he said.

Jay gets done and now Jay and Jet are just staring at each other. Neither says a word. Then Jay turns around and pimp walks back over to Bob.

I’m just sitting there….”W..T..F..just happened?”

Jay and Bob then leave. Jet’s buddy, tattooed Asian dude #2 (Lee) comes over and sits down. They begin talking. While I’m not actively eavesdropping, they’re not being quiet and they’re sitting less than 10 feet from me. It becomes very obvious, very quickly, that Jet and Lee are gang members. I hear things like “flying the colors”, “prospects”, “he had his knucks with him” and “somebody’s trying to put something on me and that sh*t ain’t gonna fly”.

Awesome.

Then I hear Jet say “Ah sh*t, check this out.”

Lee looks over and snickers. I glance over and see two white guys and a black guy (Ashton, Justin and Will) come through the door.

tropic-thunder_l

Now Jet, Lee, Ashton, Justin and Will are all just kind of eyeing each other.

*head down, eating tacos*

So Ashton heads up to the register to order some food and Justin and Will decide to sit down. Two tables to my left.

Jet and Lee are two tables to my right and Justin and Will are two tables to my left. Jet and Lee are openly snickering.

This. Is. Just. Splendid.

*ducks lower, continues eating tacos*

Ashton turns around and sees where Justin and Will are sitting, looks at Jet and Lee and then loudly says to Justin and Will, “Go sit over there” and points across the restaurant. They get up and move.

Jet and Lee now loudly begin discussing various prospects, fights and other totally awesome gang stuff.

*not even tasting the tacos at this point*

Neither of these two groups of guys is looking directly at each other at this point, but they’re still eyeing each other. I’m wondering if the Taco Bell tables will stop a bullet when flipped up on their side.

Finally I finish my tacos and Haul Ass. Jet and Lee are still talking loudly and seem very pleased with themselves as I calmly run out the door.

Now, what’s the point of all this? There isn’t one. It was just the most bizarre 15 minute lunch I’ve ever had and I felt the need to share. You can thank me later.

My Descent Into Hell

So my wife is sick. I feel terrible for her. She works hard, does a great job with the house and the kids and all the stuff that I would make a mess of. And now she feels awful. She’s also big into crafts. She makes all kinds of stuff. That’ll become important in a minute.

She got some viral bug from the kids.

Being the loving caring husband that I am, I ask her “What can I do for you? Hot tea? Soup?”

“No, but there is something I need. I don’t feel like going to get it though. Would you?”

“Sure baby, where and what?”

Thus begins my Descent.

Where did she ask me to go?

joannfabric_0

Dear. Sweet. Lord. Why????

“Well I need jewelry wire for the necklaces I’m making.”

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She sells these things (I’m STUNNED by how much people pay for this stuff), so ok, that’s not a big deal.

“I also want you to get that bow maker so it’s easier for me to make those bows.”

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Oh joy.

So I drive up the street to JoAnns. It’s a madhouse. There are people (Women. I’m likely the only guy in the store.) everywhere. In every aisle. In every conceivable area that you could stand or walk.

I could not be more out of place. There are aisles and aisles of fabric and yarn and needles and ribbons and…..I think I’m breaking out in hives again.

Anyway, I find the jewelry wire fairly easily. Grab what I need. “Hey, maybe this won’t be so bad.”

Ha. Ha. Ha.

The bow maker. Folks, it’s basically a 1×4 piece of wood with half a dozen holes in it. It comes with dowels that you place in corresponding holes to get the size bow you want. I could build one for $5. In an hour. If you include the time it takes to go to Home Depot. But the wife wants the one from the store.

Fine. How hard could it be?

Up and down the aisles I go, dodging high school girls discussing which of 5,000 types of glitter they should get and 300lb women discussing how much material they’ll need for that XXL blanket.

I can’t find the stupid thing. I can’t find the “hair bow” section. I can’t even tell the damn difference between ribbon for hair bows and ribbon for present bows.

I text my wife. No help there. “It’s called a Bow Maker. It’ll be with the hair bows and ribbons.”

I break down and ask someone. First person to walk past me wearing JoAnns stuff is a girl that looks like she’s 18. I describe what I’m looking for. I get this look:

confused_girl-711227

Awesome. Now she’s on the walkie talkie describing what I’m looking for. “I think Worker #2 can help.” We go wandering the store looking for this person. Finally find her. Describe what I’m looking for. Wanna hazard a guess at the look I got?

Now I’m faced with returning home without the “bow maker.”

Oh. The wife has sent a text with a pic of what she wants. I show it to Worker #2. “Hmm…..lemme go ask my manager.”

Working my way up the chain of command. Excellent.

Worker #2 comes hustling out of the back. “Right this way sir.”

Glory glory hallelujah. We have success.

She walks me down some aisle that has nothing to do with hair bows, reaches to the back of the bottom shelf and hands me this box and says, “Here you go sir, last one.”

mini_bowdabra-300x225

What the crap is this? A board. A half dozen holes. Two dowels. It wasn’t a complicated description. Worker #2 is all proud of herself too.

*sigh*

I text the wife. “This is all they have.” Wife, “No. Nevermind.”

I spent an hour in a place that would make Dante weep. What did I get out of that? $12 worth of jewelry wire and an aneurysm.

If you’ll pardon me, I’m sure there’s a bottle of vodka around here somewhere.

If You Like Your Recovery, You Can Keep Your Recov……Oh.

As we’re all aware, this country entered into a recession in late 2007/early 2008. The reasons are myriad and I’m not going to take the text wall necessary to hash it all out.

The recession was a rough one. GDP fell substantially, unemployment doubled, home values declined by almost 1/3, stocks slid, the median American household earnings were reduced by just over $1,000 and the debt, well, at least something was growing. Right?

Fortunately, all that’s in the past. President Obama, and his panel of Top Men, declared that the recession ended in June 2009. Thank goodness. I mean, sure, gas prices are still high, construction is sluggish, home values are still below even conservative estimates and the debt continues to expand faster than Honey BooBoo’s neck rolls, but the American People are back to work.

What’s that? Unemployment is still high? Hmmm.

Well, the good news is that everyone’s dollar is going further.

Oh come on. Buying power in 2007 of $1,000 is $1,126.62 in 2013???

http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=1000.00&year1=2007&year2=2013

Ok, ok. But the actual, honest to God good news is that incomes are up. People may have to pay a little more, but they’re making more.

You…said…what??????????????

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/incomes-have-dropped-twice-much-during-recovery-during-recession_750068.html

“New estimates derived from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey by Sentier Research indicate that the real (inflation-adjusted) median annual household income in America has fallen by 4.4 percent during the “recovery,” after having fallen by 1.8 during the recession.”

You’re telling me that not only are people not making what they did before the recession, they’re actually making SIGNIFICANTLY LESS THAN THEY DID DURING THE RECESSION?!?!?

b3mWa

Yes, yes I picked that gif for exactly the reason you’re thinking. Give me a break.

Well, if you will excuse me, I’ve got to go work harder for less money.

Rage Inspiring Idiocy and the Economy

I said in a previous post that there were some things that just flat piss me off. Idiocy is one of them.

Yes, I confess, I’m utterly intolerant of the stupid. Even moreso of the ignorant.

Stupidity, while annoying, can be somewhat forgiven. You can’t help being stupid. But ignorance, ignorance takes things to a whole new level. Ignorance is the fault of that person. You can fix ignorance.

So what ignorance has pissed me off you wonder?

A friend posted a link on Facebook to the story about people on welfare “making” more money than those making minimum wage.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/08/21/study-in-most-states-welfare-pays-more-than-minimum-wage-job/

That in and of itself can cause a rage-stroke, but that wasn’t what did it. No, the very first comment on his post was what did it.

“the obvious solution here is not to lower welfare, but to raise minimum wage. these people are already below poverty level.”

movies_dumb_and_dumber_5

……………………………………………..

*blink*

…………………..

*rereads because it couldn’t possibly say what I think it said*

…………………………….

#*@&$%@#!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What kind of……you know, I’m gonna break my own rule about cursing in my posts……what kind of F*CKING IDIOT comes up with this solution???

Let’s just skip to what my real issue is. INFLATION YOU DOLT. Minimum wage goes up, everyone else’s wages go up. Some, such as unions, have their wages contractually linked to minimum wage. So minimum wage goes up, all the other pay levels go up as well. Welcome to paying more for virtually every product you buy.

Pardon me, I’m going to go open this bottle of tequila and engage in some stress relief.

We’re Off The Map: Liberty vs. Security

cb

You’re off the edge of the map, mate. Here there be monsters!” – Hector Barbossa

So, the NSA. I think we’re all familiar with the recent stories about the NSA. The leaks. The back and forth opinions on how much they’re monitoring, what they’re monitoring and if they’re storing it. How many degrees of separation between a person and a terrorist must there be before it’s off limits? Hey, most of us even learned a new word, “metadata”.

Well, I guess Homeland Security got a little jealous of all that attention and cool gear. According to the NYT (yeah, yeah, I know), the Dept of Homeland Security is getting closer and closer to having usable facial recognition software.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/21/us/facial-scanning-is-making-gains-in-surveillance.html?partner=MYWAY&ei=5065&_r=1&

“The federal government is making progress on developing a surveillance system that would pair computers with video cameras to scan crowds and automatically identify people by their faces, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with researchers working on the project.”

Uh huh. So the question becomes, when and how and for what purpose would this technology be used? Would it be used in the aftermath of a terrorist attack like we saw in Boston? Would it be used to try and identify a specific known threat? Or it would it just tie into existing cameras and run in real time?

What safeguards would be in place? Would police need a warrant or court order? In some instances but not others? If people are identified by this software but are not implicated or involved in the matter at hand, would any info collected be destroyed? For instance, an attack happens. Law enforcement goes to the tape to try and identify who the perpetrator is. They are going to initially have multiple people they’re looking at. They identify Citizen X as someone of interest. They note his movements, where he’s going, what he’s doing. He’s ultimately a nobody. Has nothing to do with anything. Is all that info destroyed or does it go into a database somewhere?

Facial recognition software is the stuff of movies, but it’s coming closer and closer to reality and that has some frightening implications for privacy. If the government can make it work, I promise you a private company can do it better and cheaper. There are serious commercial implications for this. We all know that Facebook has a reputation for generating privacy concerns. They have already launched facial recognition software for suggesting who to “tag” in your photos. What happens when Facebook starts matching facial recognition with ads clicked or the locations where the photos are taken and then sells that information to other companies? How would you like to walk into a store and within a minute or so the clerk knows your name and what your general interests are based on your online habits? Or the stores simply tie their facial recognition software with the purchases you make in that store?

If you think that sounds outlandish, I would suggest you take a few minutes and learn about targeted advertising and targeted sales.

At what point does this…..

face recognition technology

…become the reality of our everyday life? At what point are we identified every time we’re in public? Who controls that information? The government? AlextheChick, a commenter at Ace of Spades HQ, voiced the opinion that, and I’m paraphrasing here, “It’s not that I don’t trust the Obama administration with this power, it’s that I don’t trust anyone with this power.”

She’s absolutely right. Power corrupts. There will be abuses. How do we stop, or at least curtail, those abuses? Oversight has generally been the answer. And that’s the one thing that has been severely lacking in our government for quite some time.

How do we stop this? How do we protect ourselves? Damned if I know. I’m a newbie partisan hack blogger. But I do know we’re in a fight folks. And the arena of that fight is ever growing. And there seem to be no rules. If you push back against this stuff then you’re either a racist or anti-homeland security or a right wing freak or whatever or whatever or whatever. There is no insult/slander/lie that’s too low for the minions of the continually expanding state to use in their quest for a bigger, more powerful state.

My thoughts on that? Well…..

Butch-Cassidy-&-The-Sundance-Kid-Robert-Redford-and-Paul-Newman

“Well, if there aint’ going to be any rules, let’s get the fight started. Someone count. 1,2,3 go.” – Butch Cassidy

1…2………

Blood Stained Hands

BENGHAZI

I don’t think there’s another word in the English language that immediately fills me with rage like “Benghazi.”

I’m struggling to write this post because I don’t know how to express the feelings about what happened and what’s continuing to happen.

I guess the best way to say it is that Benghazi offends me. It offends me as a man and as an American. “No one gets left behind” was the credo of our Armed Forces. Men have fought and died knowing that they would never be left behind. That their brothers, whether standing next to them or back home, would be there for them. Would support them. Back them up.

Then Benghazi happened.

There was no support. There was no one there. American Heroes charged into a firefight to save our people, and they did, and then they were left alone. No help. No support. Hour after hour they fought off overwhelming adversaries. Hour after hour they had to wonder where everyone was. No one was coming.

Two American diplomats died.

Chris Stevens Sean_Smith_Diplomat

Two American servicemen died.

doherty Tyrone Woods

And then the lies began. The cover up. An American filmmaker was blamed and arrested. Our leaders blatantly lied to not only us, but to the faces of the families of those brave men. We heard that no one was available to help. We heard “What difference does it make?” We were told people would be held accountable. Lie after lie after lie.

“But wait!” you say, “There were people from the State Dept that lost their jobs!”

And here is the point of this post. No they didn’t.

Four employees of the State Dept were placed on “administrative leave.” And now, Secretary of State John Kerry has reinstated those four employees.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/19/kerry-clears-benghazi-officials-clinton-punished.html

So now, no one is accountable for Benghazi. That’s right, not one American has been held to account for this debacle. Men responsible for this attack are openly sipping coffee at cafes.

Four men died. What difference does it make?

Benghazi Blood

Blood stained hands indeed.

The First Pitch

The First Pitch. The players are still in the dugout. Umpires yet to call the start of the game. It in no way affects who wins or loses. But does it matter?

I think it does.

It sets a tone. The First Pitch can be funny, it can be clever, it can bring tears to our eyes or it can cause us to point and snicker.

It can be inspiring. One of the most stirring images to me, post 9-11, was President Bush walking past the rubber that had been placed at the bottom of the mound, taking the hill and firing  a strike. That image meant something.

George_W._Bush_about_to_throw_out_1st_pitch_at_Game_3_of_2001_World_Series

But there’s a flip side. We’ve all seen that pitch. That pitch that makes us cringe, that makes us wonder “Why would someone go out there and do that?” or “That’s the best they’ve got?”

obama-first-pitch

So what is this post? Is it that inspirational moment? Is it cringeworthy? Is it something in between?

Frankly, I’m shooting for just above cringeworthy. I’m new at this and I’ll be learning as I go.

I promise to put out some actual content soon. There are lots of things that just flat piss me off. From infringements on our Rights to attempting a denial of Math to the way Republicans in positions of power play the game like syphilitic popinjays.

Who knows how well that content and this blog as a whole will go, but at the end of the day I can, and will, say “I’m the Marginally Honorable Chairman. This is my blog. And yes, I Built This.”

Good night, godspeed and remember, “Never, never, never give up.”