Chicago Corruption Deepens Distrust

TROUBLE REIGNS IN THE HALLS OF CHICAGO’S OFFICIALS… WHAT NEXT?

On News Radio 780 WBBM this morning came the article reporting that the red -light camera company, Red Flex, which has had the contract for Chicago’s red -light cameras for years now, is now in a bribery scheme worth millions of dollars… to somebody.

Not to the Chicago taxpayer, obviously, who time after time is getting the stiff short end of the stick we are constantly hit with by our elected or appointed officials. Our City Council is probably as trustworthy as our U.S. Congress, which, is in a simple phrase, NOT AT ALL. Congress has a very low, almost negative approval rating, and our City Countil seems headed that way. Apparently former Mayor Daley was warned about the policies of Red Flex but went ahead with the contract. Alderman Burke wrote letters and all regarding that deal but that did no good. Corruption station, corruption country anybody?

We have had to put up with all these deals someone in the mayor’s radar thought was so great, and we are feeling the effects right now of the parking meter deal. Mayor Daley thought getting that billion dollars was fine but now we are paying for it every time something happens where LAZ and anyone affiliated with them does not get proper payment for unused spaces and their reasons are about as lame as the “dog ate my homework” excuse. They claim pay is needed when spaces are closed off for festivals, but doesn’t the city have a plan for such things in place? What else are we paying for regarding this parking meter deal?

And what else are those council people doing to perk themselves up and waste our money? They are getting those expensive automobiles to tool around in, they are getting drivers, they are arrogant and foolish when handling campaign funds and they are getting booted out of office for such poor judgment. How many of them are dealing the demographic card and thus impeding real progress in their communities?

What needs to be done? Do we get rid of the demographic dribbling chatter, do we stop giving power to the Census people and the cable news talking heads who are driving that demographic trash into our minds and trying to make people vulnerable and worried and upset and competitive? Time to dump the demographers, what say? And along with putting the race -color -creed -economics -gender -ethnicity junk to rest permanently, get rid of these idiotic “neighborhood” divisions.

Neighborhood is a real boor, can you dig that? Where does one start or stop? What determines what makes a neighborhood… what the buildings look like, who lives where, what someone thinks those people want or enjoy or do? SO WHAT? Someone lives someplace, and they have responsibilities to everyone else around them, no matter who those other people are. You have the duty to keep your home and yard neat, clean, free of odors and trash, and your pets properly cared for and secured. You have the duty to watch out for and respect others in your area, to keep up with what is going on so you can be alert to problems of any kind and report them to the right people.

Updated article coming soon. Divi Logan for ®EDUSHIRTS, Chicago, ©2013

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Education and the Demographic Distraction

EDUCATION AND THE DEMOGRAPHIC DISTRACTION

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Now let us see here… what does education “mean”? ‘mid all the news and the talk and vague corporate chatter about the issue of “getting an education” we are not remembering the building blocks of what that has to do with us becoming good citizens in the first place. We need to take a deep breath, step back, and look at the whole idea of education from the beginning, in order to understand where our goals have failed and thus where we have failed ourselves and the children, the young citizens of America.

The roots of the word and concept of “education” mean to “draw out”, “march out”, or “lead out”. In that respect are those who talk of the issues and concerns regarding education doing those things? What is getting in the way of progress and satisfaction?

EDUCATION

EDUCATION

EDUCATION

INSTRUCTION

EDIFICATION

TRAINING

CULTURE

TUTORING

Then you can move on to… GRADUATION, which means what… yes, that’s right, moving up, taking higher, grander, greater steps. You have “gradually” gained sets of facts and skills that you can use to pursue a career and to grow as a good citizen. You have “made the grade”, taking the ups and downs of the learning process, the good with the bad, the late nights with the easy reading and the details with the attainment of the goals.

Thus when you are able to walk that stage and think, “I GRADUATED!”, you have accomplished something special, walking in the torchlight that generations before have set up for you to follow. Now you can research, take their ideas and concepts and designs and make something new, do something different, and choose your path.

Instead of saying this big-sounding talk of “get an education”, take it a different way and “BECOME EDUCATED”. The latter indicates that the idea of learning will always be with you if you are fortunate, every day, to take in something new and useful for your way of life. To become educated is a goal everyone should have.

As my grandmother says as a great mantra, “Learn something, learn something.”

She is correct. Do the right thing; make the situation easier at the outset:

BECOME EDUCATED and LEARN SOMETHING!

THE DEMOGRAPHIC DELUSION

In Chicago this year, and especially in the past month, the concerns over the closing of many dozens of public “neighborhood” schools has drawn fire onto the Chicago Public Schools bureaucracy, and has resulted in name-calling and the use of foul language.

American Education is in the Dumpster

American Education is in the Dumpster (Photo credit: brewbooks)

What is behind much of this prattle about the closing of the schools and the possibility of the “public” school being replaced by the “charter” school? Many factors are to be considered, among them and what we might think of as the main problem is demographics.

Far as this author can see, demographics focuses on separating and talking about people with regards to skin color/ “race”, religion, ethnic background, where they live, how much they make, the supposed concentration of certain people in a certain area, social and economic and gender aspects as well.

Is such thinking helping or hindering genuine progress? Is not such thinking making us a country that is NOT united? Any kind of separation pits one person or group against another person or group when seen in the light of demographics- whether or not someone has something the others do not or that they want, comparing people based on what someone assumes a certain race or gender will want at a certain time of day, using language that makes someone seem dumber or smarter in comparison to someone from a lower social-economic background, and making other arrogant and insensitive assumptions based on the few people they see and what those people appear to do and stamping others of that look with the prejudicial factors.

The people who are boiling in these issues need to learn some hard lessons, apparently. If education means in part “to lead out” and “to draw out”, and they talk about keeping the kids in their “neighborhood”, what does that say about those in control? They aren’t acting very EDUCATED, are they? What if the areas they are in now are more dangerous than the places where the new schools are?

So what about the type of school it is that they attend- what about it? One school type is no better than the other- all of them can have problems. The important point is achievement and holding to academic standards and personal behavior standards.

Best then to eliminate the divisive junk about “neighborhoods” and this stuff about “remember where you came from” and the rest of this “heritage” trash, than to continue the bickering based on such silly issues. Such demographic thinking does nothing good for anyone at all. As for this junk about “neighborhoods”, I don’t care where one area starts and another stops, what “race” or “ethnicity” lives there and who does not, what they look like or do or what kind of cars they drive.

The government is guilty of fomenting division in this nation, you can see that. The Census is their way of trying to keep such divisive practices in the pipeline and because those in power push it at us we think it so good to fill out those forms and send them in.

Why does “the government” want that information? Why do you think? They want to use those separatist statistics to parcel out “federal” money based on what race, color, creed, gender or ethnic group is in a certain school, workplace, or part of the country. They want to “help out” or “build that area up” based on those factors. And then they want to make it seem that they are doing those people good and helping them by giving them money, buildings, and parks and such. But is it helpful to think about people in those ways?

IT IS NOT.

But you must remember this: YOU CAN AND MUST LEARN TO GOVERN YOURSELVES! You can branch out and get away from this derisive, delusional talk; you can wrest control from these terrible thoughts and patterns, you can break the chains those demographers are putting on you. You can think positively and forget the negatives so fast you will wonder why you didn’t focus forward in the first place.

You can stop thinking backwards and letting the Census and commerce and ad people keep hold on you. You can tell them, “I don’t like that way you portrayed X in this ad. It is not truthful and not every X acts that way!” You can tell them, “Your ad campaign and your business practices are highly offensive to X because of X!” You can write letters, you can stop watching the shows, you do not have to go to the movies and you do not have to take flack in the workplace due to some stupid demographic category.

You can stop thinking that something is happening on a racial basis; you can stop pulling your bag back because you think someone is going to take it on the street just because they are walking toward you and looking a certain way. If they happen to be looking at your level, so what- people DO move their necks and eyes! You cannot judge why someone is looking a certain way and doing something!

HOW DARE YOU PRESUME?

You just go ahead with your duties and tasks and let the guilty party realize their errors. Do you not presume, do you not assume, you just go about and take care of business. Let others “mind” the supposed problem, the offense that did not happen, the event that did not occur, their reasons behind their actions and their prejudices.

People of Chicago, learn some lessons of your own! Grow up, get your goals straight, and then air your differences and your ideas. When you can learn to do so in a civil manner, when you can act like the educated people you think you are or want to be, then come to the table and sit down and act like people who want to be civilized.

After all, who are you harming the most in the end? You adults, you officials, you people in control are not doing all you can to make the gang and drug areas less dangerous, then you say that closing the schools will put the kids in danger. Bologna. YOU are putting them in danger by being all talk and no action, or not enough action. You are causing more worry and harm than the good kids who want to learn and accomplish something no matter what school they attend. You could stop the gangs, get rid of the drug markets, punish the offenders in your family, and clean up your supposed “neighborhood” if you wanted to, if you were not saddled with corrupt cops and politicians and national red tape.

If you officials on the Chicago Public Schools board are harboring ANY kind of Census-type racial, ethnographic, gender biases of ANY degree, if you are nursing anything related to supposing who lives where, what they are like based on some survey results, what they look like or what they do, then you are inciting shameful behavior. ALL OF YOU are nursing this bad behavior, and believe me, it is BAD BEHAVIOR, and you are not attending to what the kids want at all, though you might say you desire things to go in their best interest.

YOU ARE SHAMEFUL, THE LOT OF YOU! SHAME ON EVERYONE WHO TRUSTS THE CENSUS STUFF TO DECIDE EDUCATION ISSUES!

What does it matter who lives where or how they ended up in a certain part of a city, town, village, state, community or “neighborhood” (what a ridiculous idea anyway based on how that data is now being used)? Who cares? You do, and based on those biases that divide us? YOU ARE AT FAULT THEN for any of the problems that arise because you are keeping the problems up and getting mad the moment anyone wants to go after this supposed security blanket of “identity” and “heritage” you are shielding yourselves with. It is a see-through shield, a false and shredded blanket, a wall that is crumbling and a guard that is losing power. Everyone loses when biases cloud progress, everyone loses when demographics takes over.

For the instant anything like this comes up, the VERY MOMENT, someone gets so angry and so mad that they cannot control their behavior and right away the anger bubbles up so heavy and hot and volcanic that their mouths erupt with slurs, race and gender terms, bias terms, and they finger-point at everyone else.

But do they take action to correct the small things in their own minds before they take out the boards in the other person’s eye? The people who get so mad so quickly are clouded to so deep a degree that all they can think to do is react, not pro-act; they can get mad but they cannot offer clear solutions to the problems. They cannot present themselves civil and decorous and disciplined because of the news spin and the corporate chatter that weights their minds with the demographic dribble. They want to hold others accountable, honest, transparent and trustworthy… but can these accusers and finger-pointers and yelling heads hold their lives to the same expected standards?

What does that say when you want to keep them in the same areas they are growing up in, with “their own kind” and “their own type” and filling them with such limiting ideas? That is not the idea of being educated. Keeping them in their own boundaries means that they will not expand their horizons, learn about other cultures and people except from a book or some online page that might not be adequate in information or might be skewed in one or another way that would not permit the reception of more information from all sides of a story. To learn about others, you have to experience others.

I was fortunate not only to learn about Asia but to visit China, Japan and Hong Kong in the middle 1980’s. Had I only read about these wonderful people or seen movies or television shows portraying some aspect of their culture my experience of Asia would be incomplete. As it happened I ate their food, tried their clothes, saw their homes and families, shopped in their stores, saw the local scenery and heard the language. I have experienced Europe and England and enjoyed the best parts of many cultures. Travel for certain brings a new meaning to the phrase “live and active cultures”.

Even though an American child these days might not be able to travel due to economic trials, they can branch out and learn from people of the cultures around the world. There are many communities in Chicago from all over the place. You can experience Mexico, China, Japan, Turkey, Korea, Greece and India.

But what I am talking about is simply mixing with other people, no matter what they look like or what they do. This talk of “Black”, and “White” and such other gibberish is trash talk and not suitable for educated, learned people or folks who want to consider themselves so and pass learning on to others.

You must be sure your standards are not prejudiced by thinking “Black” or “White” or “rich” or “poor” or any other demographic category. Anything less than ridding yourself of backwards thinking is showing that you are uncivilized and far from educated; you will only pass on skewed information to the next generation and keep them limited, dumb and thinking on the same low levels as you are doing.

What does that say to the students who want to branch out, who are tired of being hemmed in by so much talk of gangs, drugs, where one community ends or begins just because of who lives on certain streets or because of what the buildings look like or some other demographic detraction? What does that tell the serious learners who want to get away from thinking that someone who does not look like them is not “their own kind”? Their own kind is HUMAN and AMERICAN and that is foundation enough.

What then do you want to do- keep talking or dig deeper and get more active in ways to make the education system better and more appealing and attractive and efficient?

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO and WHY? ASK THE BASIC QUESTIONS!

Ask who, why, what, when, where and how… ask what is essential and needed. You do not build the roof first after all; you start by laying a strong foundation.

DO WHAT IS NECESSARY FIRST.

What do you NEED to do FIRST?

Title page to Locke's Some Thoughts Concerning...

Title page to Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divi Logan for ®EDUSHIRTS, ©Chicago 2013.

There goes the Neighborhood? Maybe that would be a great thing!

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD? MAYBE THAT WOULD BE A GOOD THING!

Chicago is known for its neighborhoods, and to some, that is fine. The city is divided on racial, ethnic, and income standards, and all that is (no) thanks to the demographers who just love to separate people for their own ends and means and make our nation a “dis” united states.

Well, far as I am concerned, this neighborhood stuff can go to blazes in a handbasket and quickly too. I’m sick and tired of the “neighborhoods” making the news for gang and gun violence and drug markets and being known as “violent” or as “white” or as one factor or another that serves only to divide us even more so that the news people can have something to talk about.

Neighborhoods be darned, that’s all there is to it. Stop the bordering of the streets and the houses, head the divisiveness off at the pass and be done with this juvenile this is mine or that is mine and I’m not going to share kind of mentality. Ridiculous and delinquent and stupid, all of it. What are we, a civilization or a nation of immature people who have to be told how to do everything, have an app for everything, have an electronic reminder for everything and get someone else to do everything for us because there is too much convenience?

The idea of the neighborhood as being drawn along such lines has always been anathema to me, nothing but hateful and reeking of exclusivity and divisiveness. Time to grow up, folks. Time to give these people less to worry about and take down the historical neighborhood districts, tear down fences and improve streets. Just because some “neighborhood” cuts off at one or another street, the pothole repairs and the plowing and the planting have to stop at one corner and leave another looking unkempt?

PUH-LEEEAAASSSEEE.

Grow up, people. Get out, branch out; you are not hermits and no one should make you feel like a prisoner in your own home because of some “neighborhood” issue that turns into nothign but negatives for your area, in the way of turf wars, territorial battles for gangs and drug markets, and whether or not some income group or racial group lives there. Of course the latter is total bunk. “Whites” and “blacks” live together and with each other; ethinic groups can live together and in the same building. People marry outside of their nationalities and racial lines. In other words, who cares who lives where, except the demographers and the politicians who listen to them and think they are doing some good for this country.

Also total bunkum- these people do no one any good at all. They are demons of dividing and separating for the sake of having something to report on or talk about in the cable news or insert as being supposedly of some importance to the business world and the education community. The news on News Radio 780 WBBM in Chicago is more and more littered with the reporters thinking they have to say what neighborhood something happened in. Well I could care less whether a shooting happened in Wicker Park or Gold Coast; the point is that some act happened and someone thinks it worth talking about. Some one was robbed or shot or carjacked – who but the police and first responders would care where it happened? They will respond to it and help those in need.

Of course the more they talk about the acts the more coverage is given to those who do the acts and they will only do more.

Neighborhoods need to go, no doubt. Once the idea might have been just fine, when Frank Lloyd Wright and his associates made the nice planned communities decades ago. But now the idea of the neighborhood, which is often shortened to “hood” is very negative. You need a library, or need to put up new housing or gardens or a fire station or school… well, build it or improve it for goodness’ sakes and just get it done! So what where it is done – just work on it already!

The neighborhood can be a good thing if we want it to be. The historic districts can be atractive and wonderful and great for tourists to see and worth preserving. But when the sorting by race and income and ethnicity start to filter in then it is time to go away from the idea and turn to something else positive.

Clean up the act- break down this idea of separating by streets and the like.

Be a part of the solution, or else you are part of the problem.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

Congress is NO GOOOOOD!:: Treat Officials as Bad Athletes and Let ‘Em Have It!

CONGRESS IS NO GOOD DOING WHAT THEY ARE DOING HOW THEY DO IT. WHAT CAN WE DO?

Our Congress… our United States of America Congress, our highest elected officials short of the President and then of the Supreme Court (and what power is there!) is made up of something. What is that ‘august’ body of officials made up of?

American citizens, I think.

But what are they doing? Have they forgotten how they started out, as ordinary American citizens running for office, perhaps a relative unknown in their town or state until they burst forth from the ordinary run of the mill of life and work and decided to try out for so high an office as United States Senator? American citizens they are indeed, first and foremost, born and bred, tried and… uh…

True? Not so.

Let’s compare our Congress members to overpaid, over -hyped athletes or celebrities. First of all, we are not getting the value we want, the money’s worth it is taking to run our Capitol which is more wasteful than anything the average person does in a day. Congress does nothing but take up time, energy, money, water, heat, food and… and for what? They do nothing but sit there and filibuster and bicker and fill our airwaves with disagreement and party line junk. Pro athletes who misbehave get penalized, get fined, get maybe fired, get ejected and get technical fouls. They get cited for unsportsmanlike conduct, they get in trouble when there are too many people on the field and when they are doing nothing worthwhile or when they should not even be there. They get cited when they cannot manage their anger and also when they celebrate excessively.

As for celebrities, they are about the same, but they and the athletes get so much time on our mass media wavelengths that we come to see their behavior as worthy of talking about, of admiring, of imitating, of accpting, the latter of which is the worst of all. We pay them, we go see their movies, we listen to them when they brag about their acts of giving money to a cause, and all for some lousy photo op. The same for our Congress, all that showing off and materialism and ego tripping. They ego trip until those egos grow so big the possessor thereof trips over himself or herself coming and going, whatever they say and do.

Your behavior certainly is not “black tie”. You gentlemen and ladies are absolutely not the type of people I would want at my nice event. I mean what, get you in there where the times are to be good and wonderful and charitable and fine, and you probably would be bickering in seconds, unable to manage your anger and your party views for the favor of the rest of the guests and the atmosphere. No way would I want any members of Congress near my good event or dinner.

Oscar Pistorius (Preposterous), is an athlete who has made so much news here, and why on earth should we give a care about that guy? He murdered someone and just because he is an athlete he makes the news and all that hearing and trial stuff makes the news everywhere. I don’t care about that man but I feel sorry for the family of the woman murdered. They are the ones who will suffer the most. That Oscar character certainly deserves no Oscar for his actions.

So poor us for having a Congress that cannot cooperate, that has so much poor conduct that it is no wonder they have a nearly negative approval rating from us citizens. Poor us for having to listen to them and the “feds” every day with their lack of cooperation and helping out the country, which is what we put them in office to do. Our Congress is such an embarrassment, so pitiful, so terrible for our national reputation. Disgusting to the hilt, their gold -plated hilt as it would be.

They can stew in their bean soup until they wake up and smell the coffee that the ordinary citizens are putting down time and again in order to stay alert to try and go to work every day and make money and then get it taxed so much that we wonder if we will have anything more for food and for our households.

Congress, please do us this favor: turn off the lights in the Capitol, stop wasting water and heat and light and energy, don’t bug the cleaning staff, close the doors and go home until you find it in yourselves to come together as the President wants you to do, as he has you on the hot seat to do, as he told you to do in the State of the Union address, as he has called you to do, pleaded with you to do, and listen to the people you represent. Until you do that, just stay away from the Capitol and from Washing ton. You will do more good staying in your home states and spending money and working with your constituents than you ever will in the Capitol.

For the way you are acting now you do not deserve to be there.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

Guns in the Media: My Round’s For Superintendent McCarthy

IN (SELF) DEFENSE OF CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT McCARTHY’S “FIVE POINTS”

Gun control has taken a different turn here in Chicago with our CPD superintendent coming out with the following points regarding how to promote more gun control. Now each is perfectly good, but it is the way Mr. McCarthy put his views into words that needs a little clearing up.

Gun reasonability and gun accountability are the words I believe he used in the article aired on News Radio WBBM in Chicago. Now on the surface these sound right, but let us consider some basic grammar and writing pointers. Guns are inanimate objects meant for one purpose, being to inflict quick and serious, violent harm and injury upon a person, animal, or other object, and one shot is all that is needed. The old saying is “guns do not kill people; people kill people”. A gun cannot be accountable or reasonable. It should be stated that only the person in possession of that firearm is both ACCOUNTABLE and REASONABLE. The gun has no mind of its own, and only the person with the gun has the mind and the will of how to use that gun.

As stated in an online article from the Chicago Tribune:

“McCarthy also outlined five steps that he said would cut down on gun violence and prevent felons and gang members from acquiring guns: banning assault weapons; banning high-capacity magazines; requiring background checks for anyone who buys a gun; mandatory reporting of the sale, transfer, loss or theft of a gun; and mandatory minimum prison sentences for people convicted of illegally possessing a gun.”

The first two steps he speaks to, the banning of assault weapons and high -capacity magazines, suit me just fine. Though I might need a firearm for home defense I certainly have no need for something high -powered, high -round, with magazines of dozens of rounds and the power to mow down dozens of people in a few seconds. Military -style weapons belong in the hands of only those IN the military, active duty people with honorable records, as the type of veteran Wal -Mart wants to hire in a few months. Only in rare instances should anybody even need something as power driven as a machine gun or assault -style weapon, and then only in a war zone. Somewhere around the world where our troops are engaged we might need them, but certainly not on our streets or in our communities or for hunting or recreation.

Want to take your stresses out? Don’t need to take them out that way. Best try a vacation, a meditation sesssion at a temple or church or a spa day, or some exercise, or even getting out your cooking supplies and making a fresh, wholesome meal, or even going out, anything to get your mind away from taking your mind out for a rolling jaunt with an assault rifle. Using guns is a coward’s way out of situations, and using a machine gun only makes things worse. Children could be in harm’s way, innocent people could be in harm’s way, families could be in harm’s way. Why would you want such chaos and trouble to rain down on someone else? Suppose it was YOUR kid or parents or grandparents in the line of fire- would you want that? One thing is sure, around Chicago if you go after someone with the intent to murder, you might just draw the ire of someone down on you and your household or school. Guns used improperly bring nothing but trouble.

The lessons of West Webster, New York and Newtown, Connecticut, should teach us that much: the same weapon was used in both incidents, and innocent people were targeted. In Webster firefighters on a response to a residential blaze were gunned down and two died, and others were seriously injured. And we all know what happened in little Newtown, with the massacre of children and adults at the elementary school. Our firefighters and police officers put their lives on the line every single day they are on the job, and they are here to protect and serve and educate us; the children are the future of this nation and world. These are some of the most humble and innocent and loving people we have in our country, people we can learn so much from.

Point three of McCarthy’s Five take in these points: requiring background checks for anyone who buys a gun; mandatory reporting of the sale, transfer, loss or theft of a gun. It is so common sense that everyone who wants the privilege and honor of having any kind of firearm should be checked out with as detailed a background check as is possible. Check for anything unusual, signs of severe menal illness, suicide tendencies or talk of wanting to harm or kill another person for any reason at all, felonies, jail time, arrests, records of abuse of people or animals, anything that might raise a caution flag in the eyes of a doctor or of a law enforcement official.

Reporting the sale, transfer, loss or theft of a firearm is also essential, in order to keep track of these dangerous implements floating around in our society. Other things should be reported from a theft, such as jewelry, cars, and the like, so all the more vital that firearm theft, transfer, or sale or loss is immediately reported. It is up to the owners of guns to make as detailed records as possible, including photographs from many angles, serial numbers, and any unusual details about the weapon, such as wear patterns, decorations, engravings, etc. We must be able to know where weapons are or what they might be used for; if there has been an armed robbery in an area or guns have been stolen from a home or business, the moment it is known that these weapons are out of sight of their owners or not under proper lock and key, law enforcement and the community need to be informed in order to watch for the weapons or for suspicious activity in the area.

The next point is imposing a minimum prison sentences for people convicted of illegally possessing a gun. I think that anyone who goes so boldly into breaking the law and intending murderous or harmful purposes needs to be taught a lesson and be made fit to be in society again. They need to be put to labor appropriate for their strength and health and mental state in order to learn patience, something useful to get them back into society, and supervision- they need to know in every way possible that they will be watched, that breaking the law is not a good idea, and that they will now have a record that will possibly taint their re -entry into the workplace. They need to feel that booking process, the jail suit, hear the doors closing, see the bars and the heavy doors on the cells, and the misery that accompanies a stay in a prison.

Perhaps if prison is made heinous enough to be in right at the outset many people would most likely want to do everything they could to stay out of such a place. Prison is not a place any sane person, anyone who knows the awful conditions that can be there, the feelings surely of loneliness, of hearing odd noises and getting odd smells, no privacy, unusual food, a cold bed and a cold small window, and odd company. Just ask any preacher who has done prison ministry; I think they could tell you it is one of the worst places someone could find that they have ended up.

The points Mr. McCarthy puts forward make sense, and I will support him in any way possible.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

RESOURCES

1. Chicago’s Top Cop again calls for more gun laws. Article found at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-01-12/news/chi-chicagos-top-cop-again-calls-for-more-gun-laws-20130112_1_gun-laws-gun-violence-debate-over-gun-control. Accessed 15 January 2013.

Chicago Takes on the Negative Media Chatter

UNDERLYING NEGATIVES: SUBTLE OR OVERT, THESE WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS CLOUD OUR “SOCIAL MEDIA”

Well, if you are as I am, you have had quite enough of certain words, hints, expressions and concepts clouding our airwaves lately. What have you heard enough of, and how has hearing such things affected you or someone you know or love or care deeply about or work with?

In 2012 hearing the expression “fiscal cliff” was enough, but added to that in Illinois people had to deal with “pension crisis”, “gang turf”, “gang rape”, and “foreclosure”. Sure these are all terms that can interrelate as concerns politics, economic situations, neighborhoods and communities, but please folks, must we hear about them EVERY DAY?

Will talking about “gun violence” do anything until we actually sit down with a plan and ACT UPON what is needed?

And what about “behavioral problems”? Well now, everyone has some degree of a “behavioral problem”, and certainly this ties into “gun control” and the Second Amendment chatter going on.

Foreclosure and the banks and AIG and the insurance crisis… oh poor us under the gun of corporate thuggery and our own tendency to greed, pride, showing off, materialism, envy and coveting. Pity us who are in such a vulnerable state of behavioral crisis, and the corporations know that and see it and use their tactics to act on our vices, enhance them and make them seem acceptable, wonderful, marvelous and great. So we want a home larger than we can afford because we think it will make us “look good” or “get ahead” with someone? We think the same about our clothes and cars and jobs and the schools we put our kids in.

Status symbolism is materialism and the Seven Deadly Sins rolled up into one concept. So what if you have a box seat at the symphony or can get your name on the list of the highest donors to some hospital or park or music center? Is your home free of leaks, holes, broken windows and an overgrown lawn? Then what do you need so many bedrooms, bathrooms, and thousands more square feet for? To show that you can have an indoor basketball court or pool?

And what is a car meant to do? It is meant to get you from point A to point B, plain and simple. What do you need in a car- a DVD player, an IPOD hook up, a cell phone link or a miniature movie theater? What do you need to keep your kids entertained on a road trip, some little electronic device that makes noise and is easily broken? Didn’t have those things when I was a kid on road trips. I made do with visual and intellectual games, reading or eating or just resting and enjoying the scenery. I played games like finding out of state license plates or considering the types of architecture I saw on those road trips. I would think about the changing landscape or skies or weather conditions. If I became uninterested in the outside I turned to actual BOOKS and stimulated my brain that way. I did not need movies, my own phone or miniature television to stay entertained. I would read the newspaper and discuss currrent events with my travel companions.

What about upholding the Second Amendment? Hear ye, NRA, just because someone talks about eliminating assault -style weapons from our shelves and stores does not mean a total push to get rid of our Second Amendment rights and privileges – now that latter words is the most important here, PRIVILEGE. It is a privilege to own a weapon; we have the right to do that, to protect our homes and businesses with them, but we also must learn how to use them properly and take care of them so they function properly. No one needs a military -style weapon, unless they are in the military and are fighting in some situation where the potential of having to use dozens of rounds at a time might be necessary. You do not need one of those AR weapons or M weapons to go hunting or protect your home or property. Any gun will do the job, after all it only takes one right shot to do the work.

For the rest of the negatives, how about “the flu”, or “food stamps” (especially hearing that millions of American kids rely on them), or “the government”, and does everything have to be some sort of “crisis”?

Do we need to talk about the national debt one more day? Such expressions so cloud our airwaves that we begin to think that there is way too much talk and no action, and we are pounded constantly by talk of so many of the negative social issues, such as school closings, charter schools, payroll taxes, and the problems with the 787. We get the phrases, we get the issues, we get the concerns, and we understand there are problems, and one of the worst but most widely accepted is the hype about “social media”.

Now, all media outlets are in a sense social. The “mass media” are meant to draw people together to interact on certain events and concepts, to get us to think about something in a herd instinct mentality or to talk about issues of national or global importance, or at least what some news producer think is important, valid, or worth our time to see or hear. The private electronics world of the I -devices is social and yet it is antisocial. Through the pods and pads and tablets and readers people can chat, text, go to the Web, research, share data, look at electronic books and articles, and do business networking. That is the social/ society/ group aspect of those forms of sharing and media. These forms of expression and media become antisocial by… well, just look around next time you are on a city bus, waiting at a train or bus station or airport. How many people are silent, some with blank or glazed expressions, sitting or standing near you and others, holding on to those little devices as though they were platinum bars or something so precious that it would be a disaster to lose them? There they are with those cords hanging from their ears, wound around arms and hands, and sticking out of pockets, perfect targets for criminals who will think nothing of shoving that inattentive music listener to the floor and making off with that phone, pad, pod, tablet or reader and leaving them in whatever state they happen to be.

What else is negative, well anything dealing with our United States Congress, that is for sure. Anything about the Speaker of the House, the Senate, the House, any of them, I can do without. Anything about Syria, Israel, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Egypt I can care less about at this time. We need to focus on getting our own country, the UNITED STATES, not only back together but actually UNITED, thank you. No more money for foreign nations, not one cent. No more military support for them either, not one person or cent or plane or bomb until these folks can learn to take care of themselves instead of having us babysit and protect and train them. These countries were around long before America was even a thought, so let them deal with what they will. Let us turn to taking care of our own; it is long past due that we do.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

GUN CONTROL BEGINS WITH SELF CONTROL! Mental Health Crosses the Spectrum.

GUN CONTROL? WEAPONS OF DISTRUCTION? COME ON FOLKS, CONTROL YOURSELF!

Sandy Hook, Connecticut

Sandy Hook, Connecticut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the wake of the shootings – most recently of a police officer in Houston, Texas, of four firefighters and a wounded police officer in in West Webster, New York, and of the students in Sandy Hook/ Newtown, Connecticut, there have been talks regarding how best to implement and practice gun control.

Gun control? GUN CONTROL? We must begin a way many steps back than that, begin before the surface issues, begin before the copycat schemes and crimes that have riddled our nation with acts of violence in the past years and so many just in 2012.

The officials and legislators talk about mental health as of the utmost importance in working with the issues of gun control. Mental health is so complex an area of study that it, like the brain that works those faculties and processes, must be carefully considered. Everyday citizens have degrees of mental health, some towards mental illness and some towards what we might call sanity, but everyone experiences those degrees of mental health at one time or another ranging from experiences of euphoria and great dreams to depression and seasonal disorders (SAD).

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.
Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are others in our nation and around the world because of our policies, that also experience a wide range of mental health issues. Those folks are the personnel of our United States Military branches – the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, and the Coast Guard. Personnel in our first responder branches – firefighters, police officers and SWAT officers, and paramedics no doubt experience the widest range of mental health concerns possible.

The firefighters in West Webster and Rochester, New York, must now begin to pick up the pieces and, if someday possible, fill the holes left by the deaths of their volunteer colleagues. The police chief in those videos announcing the updates on that fire and shooting is visibly shaken when he talks of the friends he lost. We cannot even begin to imagine what the people are feeling in New York, who lost their homes and so much before Christmas, but have their lives to rebuild. Such tragedy… we must wonder what is happening within our nation.

But back to the concerns about our military personnel and the issues of mental health. There are tens of thousands of soldiers who have returned to the United States from violent and hectic tours of overseas duty, and some very young. They will have every range of mental health issues. They have seen people die, have killed people, have used high – powered weapons, grenades, machine guns, and fighter jets. They have seen horrible acts of rape, murder, burning, torture and desecration of bodies.

That would be enough to turn anyone’s gut, who has not had the training those folks have had. But though they are trained to be tough, to carry out those acts of sanctioned violence in the name of “freedom” and democracy, they are affected. They must see blood spilled, hear people screaming, see children scurrying for cover, see homes burning, hear the rocket -propelled grenades and the jets criscrossing the borders, the skies and the mountains and deserts. And they get involved in wrecks where the enemy plants improvised explosive devices that blow up vehicles and cause catastrophic injuries.

NATO personnel are tough, strong, brave, sure – just like military personnel are supposed to be, just like law enforcers are supposed to be. But only the hardest hearted person would not be moved to tears and turn green in the gut at the sight of innocent villagers huddling in bloodstained, burned -out buildings, wondering what the next day will bring. Will the coming hours bring freedom from their oppressors, will the troops harm them, or will they be killed by those who rule their nations, as in Syria?

What happens then when those American personnel come home? Certainly they might look like the same man or woman on the outside, the same Private or Captain who went across the waves on tour. But inside, in the brain and in the faculties, they are not at all the same. They might exhibit many of the habits you as family or friends recalled when they left – eating meals the same way, cooking some things, dressing a certain way, or driving a certain way (provided they have their limbs, their eyes, and their appetites). But their minds are not the same because of the very nature of what they have had to do during deployment.

Official seal of Newtown, Connecticut

Official seal of Newtown, Connecticut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These personnel must be watched carefully for signs of PTSD (Post -traumatic Stress Disorder), depression, suppressed anger, and other signs that their minds/brains are in real trouble. They must be encouraged to talk about what they have seen and done, reminding them that it is strength to seek help, not weakness to ask for assistance. It is necessary that they talk about what is bothering them, that they not hide their feelings, and that they shed their toughened boot camp mentality so they can heal.

Another issue to think about would be whether or not the personnel had an honorable or a dishonorable discharge. An honorable discharge might not be so much a concern but someone who is booted out for dishonorable actions needs to be followed in case there were issues that caused their instructors or officers to doubt their effectiveness to serve and thus made the dishonorable discharge necessary. When it comes to background checks, every factor must be considered before a weapon is sold.

Background checks need to be extremely comprehensive, detailed, drawn out to the point of dotting every “i” and crossing every “t”. The potential seller must ask every relevant question and take down the information and share it with law enforcers in the area and at every level of government. If there is even any doubt about selling a weapon the sale must not go through. Weapons also need to be carefully traced from the moment they are sold, or when they turn up missing or stolen. The idea of another “Fast and Furious” must never cross our headlines again.

Collectors also need to be very careful of their possessions. Wherever they keep their guns they need to have detailed records close by, copies kept in case of disaster as well. They must note every possible relevant detail of each firearm/ weapon in their collections, from serial numbers to where they were bought to who sold it to them, if they bought it at a gun show, at a small shop, no matter. If possible, collectors should also have records of people in their area who are felons or who might not be allowed to possess weapons. Lists of national troublemakers should also be kept up with in case someone escapes and might be in the area of the collector, especially if they know the person who might have the guns and thus make them targets of robbery.

Mental health, as said, is a complex concern that runs the gauntlet of everything we do and say. It is not as easy as “self control” or as difficult as diagnosing eating disorders or criminal instincts. It is easy and it is difficult – we can say someone seems depressed or upset or sick, but to what degree? How can we… how can anyone judge the mental health of someone else, considering we all have those degrees of brain health and physical health that make us different? Is there a rule which we can call “normal”? Is there a person that you or I could say is deranged, when we might just be so? For what reasons do we judge others when we do not like to be judged?

We must be very careful, extremely careful, when we discuss mental health. Everyone needs to be heard, to take part in discussions and if possible the studies offered by counselors or hospitals. We are a nation at war within and without ourselves; we are at war around the world and deep within our brains and spirits and souls. For there to be proper discussion there must be a sense of a stable environment from which to begin those discussions, a place of peace and quiet and harmony where we can sit down like civilized people and talk about the issues in an atmosphere of parliamentary procedure and/ or military courtesy.

The more civil and properly prepared the atmosphere of education and discussion is, the better facilitated we will be to hear and be heard, to write the necessary letters, to talk about what bothers us, to confess if we must to our leaders of worship, to talk with our families and kids, with teachers and students, with our beloved and brave first responders, with everyone, with all our fellow citizens.

We are supposed to be a UNITED nation. Let’s start to act that way, and we will all be better for doing so.

Houston Police Department
Houston Police Department (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Condolences to the Houston Police Department, the people of the City of Houston and of Harris County, Texas; the people of West Webster and Rochester and the citizens of New York, and the people of Newtown and Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

Flag of Rochester, New York. Image created by ...

Flag of Rochester, New York. Image created by uploader based on previous SVG image (an auto-traced bitmap) on the English Wikipedia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

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Fiscal Cliff Talk is Bad Posture

PLAYERS IN THE FISCAL CLIFF SITUATION SHOW BAD POSTURE

Tax

Tax (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

Too much talk and no action, and according to the article there has been an awful (and I do mean awful) lot of “posturing”.

The problem is, it is bad posturing. What is the meaning of bad posture, and not just in the light of politics?

When someone shows poor or bad posture, they tend to slouch, to be rather the presentation of a “couch potato”, loafing about, eating a lot of the wrong or junky foods, not getting the proper amount of activity and the like. Bad posture is a sign of inactivity of the worst kind, a show that the person is not using their faculties properly, for wisdom and strength and such.

It seems our lawmakers (wrong word considering they do a lot of law breaking and corruptive behavior too) in Washington cannot even agree on what anyone in any of the two major parties has said or what their intentions are or what the results will be. They are no more than aged children gathered together on the same playground and they cannot agree on how to use even the basic equipment available. They cannot cooperate on the jungle gym, the see -saw, the swings or the slide; they quarrel and quibble and filibuster and bicker their way through our tax dollars used to run the Capitol every day while they waste time over their Senate Bean Soup wondering whom to blame and what to say for the news hour sound bytes.

And none of it is good for this country; none of it sounds good, comes off as good, or has any spot of decency that we can say is good or not. One thing is sure, it is trouble if we are pushed over that fiscal cliff, and no good will come of it. No one wants to be taxed, and we all are excessively all ready. No one wants to see their money going for more bombs or war expenditure or planes or rockets or rebuilding another country.

We need to rebuild our own rusting, crumbling, falling infrastructure right now, and have no more time to waste on this pointless bickering over where to get revenue. We need to get with it and cut wasteful spending and high time political perks before we, that is they in Washington, can talk of raising taxes even one red cent or cutting spending where it is most needed, for our elderly especially who have earned their pay and their time and deserve the right to benefit from what they have given their country, being decades of dedicated and good service for business and government in war and in peace. We need to hold our elders in higher regard than we do… we, that is again those in Washington who would see those estemed elders degraded and impoverished by rising taxes and higher medication costs.

In this week of remembering Pearl Harbor, those who fought and died and sacrificed and those hardy survivors who turned out to see the solemnities, we need to focus on what we can do for this country and not for any other right now. We need to repair not only our literal infrastructure but our moral and spiritual and morale inner structures as well. It is plain from many reports that employee morale is down, that corruption at state and local government levels is up, that the people we elected in trust to higher office are misusing public finds (witnes the Illinois official who bilked her charges out of millions of serious bucks), and that business is suffering. Families are hard up for putting food on the table, for heating their homes, for disaster relief and insurance payments, for car payments, for getting their kids the right education, for the basics of life… and what do those people in Washington do?

Those people with the cushy seats in the Senate and House and White House, those people with the pages and the nice offices, heat and hot water, a kitchen, limousine service, access to the most private and exclusive clubs in the world, all the finest and all the best amenities of life… what are they doing? They are wasting the tax dollars those families put into “the system” every day when they buy anything, from groceries to medications to cars and gas to books and paper. Those families wonder where their next meals are coming from; the politicians can have food and drink whenever and wherever they want. They don’t have to worry about a few million dollars here or there; they would not miss that extra money in taxes or investments or in business deals. They make a great deal of money every day on the backs of those families who are down on their luck, trodden over by the same people they elected into office with their precious votes and time needed to make those choices.

They are using resources to excess and living in the luxury those families cannot even imagine having, while they waste away the hours in the marble halls and behind the heavy, gilded doors of their chambers. Those senators and representatives do not care any more; they are so jaded and their minds so clouded with luxurious excess and their eyes glazed over with golden glitter from their expensive jewelry and engine – turned silver belt buckles and the shine from their tailored shoes that they cannot see the right path to take. They are so over the path of obsession with materialism and power that it might take a billion confessions to turn them back to the level of even thinking of the right and proper path for their debates to take in order to put this nation back in good form.

It is time you people in government tightned your belts in the same way you are asking the rest of us to tighten ours. You are not playing fair when you do not do the work we sent you into office to do, when you bicker and rant, rave and play the blame game and the party lines of corrupt and worthless political bantering. You are the ones we will blame when we are futher taxed, when we are unable to support the local businesses or promote our own businesses, when more families go hungry and more people lose jobs.

You believe that with your nice suits and expensive cars and such that you are figures of dignity and diplomacy. You are nothing of the sort. You are undignified, unworthy and blame -worthy people who have used your power for your own selfish ends and means, who have used information to gain to excess millions of dollars, book deals, news spin and photo opportunities. Your halls are filled with scandal and dishonor, and I cannot even begin to think what your consciences would look like if we average citizens could take them out and examine them under an electron microscope. I think we would see such dirt and filth, such grime, grit and muck that we would wonder if any amount of cleansing would make your souls and consciences clear again.

How pitiful it is that we are thinking about going over this fiscal cliff and seeing this nation plunge into a deep recession or even a depression. How sad it will be if small businesses, that do so much hiring and product promotion and advertising will fail or will come so close to failing that their employees will leave, give up, or wear themselves out trying to keep the store afloat. What families will suffer the most? What small towns will be hit hardest, what communities will feel it in the most challenging way, and what children will suffer when their school funding is reduced? Hazards lie ahead for us all if we cannot get our nation in order and our minds properly focused.

Oh, Senator Boehner, by the way, don’t let your friends’ grandchildren play on that bridge – it might crumble under them. What a vicious circle that will begin…

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

Education: A Closer Look at the Education in the United States, Part 1.

Teachers’ strikes, dropouts, standardized test scores as a criteria for judging achievement… funding or underfunding for certain school districts or in certain areas; we are hearing so much related to the education system that it seems a step back and a look from other angles is warranted.

In this case the sooner the better. The education system is experiencing waste of billions of dollars a year and so many hot -button issues that there are obviously flaws, shortcomings and corrupted elements in the system as it now is.

I thought it a challenge to take one of those different angles, one which is skipped around in the news these days in the face of talk of competitiveness, longer school days or more hours added to every day, “learning” goals, test score goals and the like. If the United States education system is of sorts a laboratory to try and get people “standardized”, “normalized”, and put them in the state of losing their individuality and their uniqueness and their special gifts and talents in order to make everyone follow a sort of herd mentality, then I suspect that these failures are part of the grand experiment. There is control and observation in any experiment; there is learning from what goes into the experiment, and then there is how the results are disseminated and whether or not everyone who needs to know the facts is let in on said facts. As observed, the hot -button topics are just that, methods to quickly incite people to strike, to cause other forms of trouble in talking about funding, resources, hazing, bullying, vandalism of campuses, etc. There are part of the problem… and if there is one thing then there is its opposite, there is a solution.

It seemed best to begin at the head, at the top of the mountain, at the crown of the ruling body, naturally, and that is the federal level, the United States Department of Education, and what its goals are. One can gauge a goal from the mission or objective statement, and in this case that of the USDOE is as follows:

(The department’s) mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. Among its other goals are:

Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds. Collecting data on America‘s schools and disseminating research. Focusing national attention on key educational issues. Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.

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Now perhaps to some these goals are well and good and sound complete enough, promoting achievement, preparing the students for the worldly workplace, fostering excellence and ensuring that everyone has equal access… but to what, we must ask. There can be equal access to the lane of a highway, but those who are using those lanes must cooperate to ensure that safety comes first, that it is all right to merge and that there is nothing going on that blocks one’s clear passage down the road. Thus there can be equal access to any resource that deals with providing students with the proper education: paper, school buildings, proper lunches, energy, water, science equipment, books, school nurses, music instruments, band uniforms, bus transport, sports uniforms, etc.

And what are the “key educational issues” spoken to in the goals of the USDOE? Why also are they talking in language that speaks to past failures, such as adding the words equal access, discrimination, financial aid, monitoring funds? Have we not yet become civilized enough to ensure that such issues can be as everyday as breathing and eating, things that can be taken care of without worry and concern clouding every move someone makes when money is an issue or when the idea of proper funding or the right kind of research is brought to the front?

What are we researching, as well; what sort of data are we collecting and for what purpose are the data being collected? The Census collects data regarding national demographics and then what happens with that data? When you gather information on something, what is the intention for which you do that research? Is it to talk up some sort of “diversity” issue and fund or not fund businesses based on the kind of people they are hiring and what neighborhood they are in and what they sell; is it to use the categories we use to separate people (race, religion, marital status, economics, education level, ethnicity) and then give a company or organization funds based on those divisive aspects?

We talk about preparing students to be “competitive”, but what comes before learning to fight someone or get into competition with somebody? Well, before you can get onto the plane that takes you to the battlefield you first have to learn to work with the people you will be in the same unit with. Take the basics from the classic TV show, “Gomer Pyle, USMC“. Before the recruits have any access to weapons or to battle, they must first learn to be a platoon, to drill properly and in step, and follow the clear commands of the leader. They must learn and practice military courtesy, a requisite for working together in a disciplined, civilzed, and respectful atmosphere. They must learn to dress appropriately, to do things at a certain time in the right time of day or night, and to be in the correct place at the ordained time. The point is the recruits must learn to work together and cooperate first. They tackle the obstacle course, take other training, and play the occasional joke on each other, but in the end they cooperate and become an honor platoon.

In later eposides the recruits learn to spar with the pugil sticks, they learn how to clean and handle their rifles, and they do other things to get them in combat readiness. But this process takes weeks, months, even years to achieve. The marksman’s medals do not come overnight; and neither does a proper education come in a week, even to the most aspiring student. Shakespeare, in the play Henry IV, may have touted the battle -ready Prince Hal as one endowed with the spirit of “teaching and of learning instantly”, but that is in an idealized moment when the prince, who in previous scenes was wanton in his ways, carousing, exploiting his rank and having less interest to the affairs of state than his younger brother, shows on the field in shining armor, his cloak flying, his weapons at the ready, his mind and eye set to victory. It takes years to get to such a level of accomplishment. This cannot be done by over -eager parents and officials gathering around the young children and telling them their life history in a matter of seconds, the “please your teachers, please your parents, get good grades, grow up, go to a great university, pass the tests, and get a job and maybe become president, and start a family and get a home and pay your taxes…”

That’s enough to make even the hardiest soul want to reverse course and go to another part of the battlefield to get another view, and that is what this series of articles is going to be about, that view of our education system that takes a challenge to the talk about competitiveness, business, global this and that, and such, and get to what could be considered the heart, the center, the cornerstone, the foundation of the matter.

This is the goal of preparing students in an atmosphere of teamwork and cooperation, that they may become productive and good citizens. Thus what is needed is to explore what it is to be a good citizen and what the USDOE is or is not doing to foster this essential element of what it means to live in any country and practice the duties that come with being a good citizen. Just as it is the duty of a recruit to learn to drill properly, to listen closely to the commands of the drill instructor, to learn to clean a rifle properly, and to learn the general orders, so it is the duty of every good citizen to learn how to get along with others, to follow the law, to keep up property in orderly appearance, to keep up with community issues and participate in improving one’s city/town/village, and other important aspects of being a proud citizen… a proud participant, that is, in one’s national happenings. It is, simply, having what is known as patriotism, or national pride.

Let us get started with a look at what the aspects or principles of GOOD CITIZENSHIP are. I consider that I and my best friends are good citizens, and we:

Are community -minded and work to improve the areas we live in; Do not use violence against others; Keep up our properties in neat and orderly appearances; Follow the law for the safety of ourselves and others; Do not cause trouble for others; Behave respectfully in public (in transit, while shopping, at worship, dining out, just walking in the park); Keep up with current events in order to stay informed on important issues; Exercising the right to vote; Respect others; Follow the principles of trust, accountability, and decency.

We endeavor to live quiet, humble lives, do our work well/ perform our jobs in a timely and orderly fashion, keep up with national events in order that we know what to discuss when an issue of importance arises or when natural disasters threaten our fellow citizens, and we are concerned for the safety of others, and that we respect others. This means the best of what it is to be ‘civil’ and ‘honorable’ and ‘duty -minded’.

You could also tie these facets of behavior, thought, and action into the principles followed by the folks of NASA’s Mission Control. Good behavior is vital the completion and success of any plan and the satisfaction of the participants. The goals of the Moon Program at the outset were twofold: to put man on the moon AND return him safely back to Earth. Had that second part of the plan been lacking, what would have been the point of the first? There is so much tied into ensuring the goals of our education system are proper and thoughtful, so that no more resources are wasted – no more time, money, hours, paper, energy, diesel fuel, food, anything.

Failure is not acceptable (read Gene Kranz’s book, Failure is not an Option). If we are talking up a system that has more holes than a Swiss cheese, more flaws than the worst – quality diamond, and more ruts than the surface of Mercury, a system that plainly has so many cracks that anyone could fall through them, we need to take a reverse course and go to doing the whole system all over again. After all, it would be rather silly to build the roof before you build the foundation of the house. And even then, it would not make sense to start on the house before the ground is prepared to receive the building materials… and naturally one must make a budget before even one order to the builder’s supply shop is placed.

It is known that round diamonds, also called brilliant cuts, have as a standard 58 facets. Some cuts have different numbers, and all of them are different. We can make it with 50 fine gems of our own, every one of our states… and a few territories, as the subject of this series on education in America. Like diamonds, our system has flaws, but there are good points about it and about the principles of good citizenship upon which we can all build to make our nation better, stronger, more civil, and, as the goal states, competitive.

SOURCES: WEBSITES ACCESSED

1. United States Department of Education. Overview and Mission Statementhttp://www2.ed.gov/about/landing.jhtml. Accessed December 4, 2012. Page 1.

2. An interesting site came up during my research: Citizenship Counts, at http://citizenshipcounts.org/index.php/about/vision-statement/.

3. M. Martin and Company, of Chicago. http://www.mmartinjewelry.com/diamond-buying-guide/.

Divi Logan for EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

National Needs: What Do We Now?

We have had enough… we have had so much of negation, of politics and wasted millions of dollars, of droning ads and mudslinging. We have been fairly innundated with corporate big bully, big wig, big business chatter, talk of financial figures and celebrity name – dropping.

Are we tired of it, tired to the point of being sick of mind and being affected in body and in spirit? Have we lost that spirit which makes us great, special, diligent and hard – working?

What do we need, then, to do in order to foster a positiv e revival and bring our nation back from the brink of depression and recession? We have seen the negatives; now we need the positives. It is clarity we need, not vague, droning, clacking yakety – yack of repetitive commercials; clarity, not pollution that clogs the higher instincts of the intellect and the heart.

Certainly having a Congress that cooperates for the greater national good would be really nice, a great Veteran’s Day present for a nation in need in so many ways. Just consider what we are going through and, in the past year, have endured.

Right now, there are people enduring days of having power out, freezing temperatures, high winds, snow, rain and floods. They have wasted food, homes in shambles, children that need clothes, transportation requirements, job needs and the need for hope and attention. We have had tornadoes, hurricanes, nor’easters, fires, floods, hailstorms, exploding homes, airline accidents, wrong – way drivers, highway snipers, mall shootings, and an increase in gang and drug activity.

We are certainly a nation in need of repair and revitalization, of spirited people to come out and help those in need whenever and wherever possible. We are in literal need of repairs to our transportation infrastructure at every level, we are in need of companies to hire workers and invest in new products, and we are in need of something even more important, really the foundation to all of that and more.

We are in need of trust.

Our trust has been tested and compromised by officials we have elected to do a job, one they have not been doing for the greater national benefit. Our trust has been tested by business managers, by property managers, by journalists, by generals, and by colleagues. Perhaps the precious commodity of trust has been bent… but it has not been completely broken. Oh say can you see, it is trust that we need, between each other, between employers and employees, between officials of school boards and teachers and the students who are serious about sticking to the curriculum and achieving an education. We need the ultimate investment, the highest expression of the word “trust fund”.

For only with that highest form of expression of confidence (with faith) can we achieve, accomplish, and revive our spirits and our economy.

The golden jewel in the intellectual lotus is that relaxed sense of trust that ideally we should have towards each other. Certainly would be fine, to have that peace of mind that trust brings to everybody. We would be better all around for fostering that quality of life that is more precious than the oil we fight for, the diamonds we mine for and draw blood over, the gold we pan for, and the platinum we risk lives to find for use in jewelry and computers.

We need to govern ourselves and get with it, lead with the positives and inspire each other. Though the day be gray and the skies heavy with rain, though the shop be perhaps a little empty of customers, and though the parties fight it out in the halls of power and decision, we as (so they call us, average, ordinary and common) citizens of this great nation, which can be even stronger and greater, must learn to rule and govern ourselves and lead by example.

Divi Logan for EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, 2012.