The Mayor and Mr. Claypool: Chicago Citizens Suffer Under an Arrogant City Regime

THE MAYOR AND MR. CLAYPOOL: OUT OF TOUCH WITH CHICAGO’S CITIZEN MILLIONS

In the news what do we have? Here is just a brief list:

Citizens on a hunger strike for the support of the school they want in their neighborhood;
Among the worst (gun) violence in the nation;
Schools in disrepair;
Teachers upset and on strike and threatening strikes;
Pension funds a mess;
Roads and bridges in disrepair;
Homeless families and veterans;
Special needs people who are seeing cuts in funds for services……………………..

And what are our officials talking about? Here is just a sampling:

Property tax increases;
Garbage fees (we already pay for utility and garbage fees at many apartment complexes);
School property tax increases;
Congestion tax for people who drive in from the suburbs;
Taxes on sugary drinks such as sodas and fruit punches;
Cutting public school personnel and jeopardizing teachers and students;
Selling expensive parking lots and earning millions of $$ from those sales in downtown;
Closing schools and establishing charter schools that do not use union personnel;

***************************************************************************

What are our officials NOT talking about? Cutting their own perks and salaries and timing themselves on a time clock like many citizens do, and being accountable to the people who elect them instead of to the mayor who hand-picks many of those ‘trusted’ officials. These narcissistic people are so worried, so paranoid and obsessive-compulsive about giving up or sharing their power that they will do just about anything… but that is going to ruin not only their reputations but our city as well.

Who is going to want to have a business or a home in the city limits? Who will want to drive in and be sacked with a ‘congestion tax’? And by the way, some Chicago apartment managers charge for garbage collection and sewer services and a resident told me that doing so is illegal because the city already pays those companies so we are being charged twice for garbage collection. They head everything under the name of “utility fees”.

We certainly need people in our city department offices who are not accountable to the mayor, who are not hand-picked by the mayor, who have to answer to their employees and not their boss the mayor, and who must answer to a citizen’s board made up of people from all the neighborhoods and who have a bone to pick with the mayor and his arrogant ivory-tower inner circle.

No doubt they have their hands in every department and every office. I suspect that if you turned upside down and shook the boards of METRA, the RTA, Chicago Parks, the CTA, and the Streets & Sanitation, you would find some mayoral crony in the official circle. The Chicago City Council and the Chicago Public Schools already have that deep trouble, and they will push taxes through in a hurry without any consideration of the millions who will suffer.

We are in the grips of a high-money mayor who has his head in the clouds of big money and corporate favoritism and Washington politics. Yet he was booed out of a public meeting recently and there are many people who hope that happens at every public meeting he has until the problems we have are resolved completely to citizens’ satisfaction.

Those few tyrannizing over the many? Uh, folks, we need to get on the officials and in a hurry. We need to ask them what is going on, we need to ask to whom they are answering. If they say, “I answer to the mayor” then those who work for them have choices – they can strike, they can reply, “Oh, then if you cannot help me then why am I working for you?” They can leave the city and go elsewhere, to jobs where they will be appreciated and leave the officials hanging and wondering and having to search their own consciences and finally cooperate with their constituents.

Just look around – there are already people leaving for other cities and suburbs. There are plenty of ‘for sale’ and ‘for lease’ signs in downtown, and there are plenty of homeless and beggars and families suffering on our streets. There are vacant lots full of trash and there are abandoned buildings that attract drugs and crime and vermin. What is the mayor and his inner circle going to do – drive out so many people that only the rich will be left and those who are left will be ‘taxed to the max’ and then want to leave? What will Chicago be left with – no residents, no small businesses, and no workforce.

Get the officials to answer to you or band together and find ways to fire them for not doing their jobs. After all, if the average citizen did not do their job they would be severely reprimanded or fired or demoted, so considering that we let those officials keep their jobs and their money and perks and cushy seats, we should stay on top of them like our employers sandwich us in and hold them accountable for every little thing – yes, every pothole, every power outage, every flooded home, every rat and mouse in the alleys, every tax increase, every investigation that shows government waste, every closed school, every murder using a gun, every homeless veteran, and everything else we know can be corrected. We just have to do this ourselves.

If the officials are too prim and lazy to get out there then grass-roots efforts are the answer. We need to show them how it is done and organize cleanup days and go through this city from south to north and from east to west till we like the way it looks. Then we can work on deciding where our taxes should be spent and how they should be spent and who should control that money. We need to send the officials home for a few weeks, rather like a time-out for a fussy child, until they can cooperate and politely ask to come out of the corner and then assure us, their bosses, those who elected them (and what is the mayor but an elected official so where does he come off being so arrogant and stuck-up), that they can and will behave properly and do their jobs correctly and for the benefit of those who put them in office.

Meanwhile we have the:

Citizens on a hunger strike for the support of the school they want in their neighborhood and who are now going to rally for an elected school board;
Among the worst (gun) violence in the nation;
Schools in disrepair;
Teachers upset and on strike and threatening strikes;
Pension funds a mess;
Roads and bridges in disrepair;
Homeless families and veterans;
Special needs people who are seeing cuts in funds for services
Kids dying on our streets due to drugs and guns and gangs……………………….

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

Advertisements

Veterans Need the Best We Can Offer: Chicago HAVE For All Military Personnel

Chicago Needs to HAVE Veterans In Our Hearts All the Time

There are many men and women who have served our nation in uniforms of the military branches of our great United States. They have enlisted and signed the papers, put on the faces and marched through the mud. They have seen international tours of duty and they have seen service right here at home.

Speak Up, America! Watch US Work.

Remembering America’s veterans.

Home… a word that does not ring with many of those proud people, since they do not have a home to go to. Yes, there are homeless veterans… HOMELESS… the very people who have given so much, who have sacrificed and labored and been through obstacle after obstacle, to protect the homes we go to every day, do not have a home of their own to step into.

That is disgraceful.

Yes the Veteran’s Administration (VA) system is seeing its share of dishonorable behavior and wasteful disgraces, but to think that a veteran or any military member is homeless is a major stain on our nation and a pustule on our society. These are people with medical problems due to their tours of duty, and that to which they have been exposed, such as gunfire, diseases, shelling, shell shock, PTSD, and loss of limbs. They have been sick for us, been maimed for us, and been tossed aside by us.

Something has to change, and such changes cannot wait for politics or elections. Those in office, those who command and lead and order around those veterans must step up, just like those folks did in lines of rank or to police an area of their base. They wanted things to look better, they wanted freedom, they wanted health and well being, and they were willing to sign on and give their lives and legs and hands and arms for those privileges.

Do we arrogantly stand by and wait for a new mayor or new senators or a new president to be elected before we bother to look at the endurances these proud people have made for the rest of our nation and around the world? They cannot wait for the influential, the rich, the government that hired and ordered them about, to step up.

Every veteran and their families should have a home and work that is fitting to their talents and needs. Every man and woman should have a house they can call their own, a space that suits them. If the vet has lost a limb, build them a home that will accommodate their special needs. If they are sick, give them the best care a reformed VA system can provide.

HAVE is an idea I thought of while listening to excerpts of Mayor Emanuel’s inauguration speech recently, and the acronym means Home All Veterans Everywhere.

After all, we have homes; we have spaces all our own we can go to after work and play and worship and trips to the grocery and the mechanic, so why don’t these veterans have a home?

It is going to take a lot more than dropping a buck or two in the shaking cup of a homeless vet crouched at the side of a street under a light post, or holding a sign as he strains to sit up in his wheelchair; it is going to take elbow grease action, grassroots efforts, caring and tender and loving people who deeply understand that these are their fellow citizens and neighbors.

Treat them with respect. They deserve it.

America's flag flies proudly.America's flag flies proudly.

Bless our veterans, love our veterans, take care of our veterans, home our veterans.

Divi Logan. Chicago, on this Memorial Day 2015.

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)

**************************************

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.

Related articles

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.

****************************************************

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.

Neil Armstrong: Among America’s Best, the Spirit of What Makes Us Explore

On hearing only a few minutes ago that Mercury-era and X-15 Program pilot and astronaut Neil Armstrong had passed, I was struck with only one sentiment: this is a loss of national tragic proportions, indeed a national loss.

Flag of the United States on American astronau...

Flag of the United States on American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s space suit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let us not forget the millions of mathematical calculations, the hours of scientific achievement, the weeks and months and years of testing the equipment that would eventually place the great, the legendary, the brave, the courageous Neil Armstrong, among America‘s finest pilots and astronauts, on our Satellite.

We must not let the dream of, the love of, the romance of space exploration and astronomy pass from the halls of our educational institutions. We must not let the hard work and diligence that placed Armstrong and others on the Moon, go to waste when there is so much up and coming, so much potential out there in our young students who want to explore, to do more than remain earth-bound and stare at the stars and planets.

They want to step on those worlds, to gather the data, to touch the dust and rocks as Armstrong and his colleagues did.

As we consider the shock of this loss, let all politicians and officials who read this and who think of Pilot-Astronaut Armstrong, remember that it is the love of learning, the want and need of mankind to explore, to reach out, to yearn to visit other worlds and exotic places, that inspires students to get up, go to school, and spend hours learning, reading, doing those math calculations, the science and the designing.

It is those students who will join NASA, who will work at JPL, who will test spacecraft at Vandenburg and on the Space Coast, and who will join scientists and pilots in other countries in exploration, testing, flying and designing. Those students will do the astronomy, will explore the planets, will document the movements of asteroids, stars, moons, and galaxies. They will chart future courses to the Moon for bases and to Mars as well… provided we never lose sight of how important… how essential it is, that we keep focused on the STEM areas of education.

STEM: Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics- and when you think about it, what much of our education system relates to and our economy is built on. It is not complicated to consider. It is not “hard” or “difficult” or “complex” or for the “rocket scientists” only. It is for everyone who wants to do what is challenging, what is hard, what will require hours in the lab, late nights in the corridors of learning, and who will wait to see the test results of the latest booster craft, the capsules for space flight, the robotic rockets that will go where Viking, Mariner, and others have visited.

They will have the sense of curiosity that inspired us to send the Curiosity Rover to Mars only this month.

Neil Armstrong, we remember you and we hope others will follow in your flight path.

This article written in memory of Mr. Armstrong, Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee(the crew of Apollo 1), and all who have perished in the name of space exploration.

English: Astronauts (left to right) Gus Grisso...

English: Astronauts (left to right) Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee, pose in front of Launch Complex 34 which is housing their Saturn 1 launch vehicle. The astronauts died ten days later in a fire on the launch pad. Polski: Od lewej: astronauci Gus Grissom, Ed White i Roger Chaffee pozują na tle Kompleksu startowego nr 34 w którym znajduje się ich rakieta nośna Saturn 1. Astronauci zginęli tragicznie 10 dni później w pożarze na stanowisku startowym (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Congressional Space Medal of Honor

Congressional Space Medal of Honor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divi Logan for EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, 2012.

Back to School: Retail or the Three R’s?

Learning by Doing
Learning by Doing (Photo credit: BrianCSmith)

Every August and into September you hear it, that old worn out, trite phrase “back to school“. And what do you hear in the same paragraph? Retailers are hoping for… or some other commercial, financial, or corporate talk. Geez whizz already… a little off the main course, aren’t we? (And I am not talking about a big banquet, either.)

It reminds me of the advertising and talking up people do for weddings. In the bridal magazines are advertisements for gowns costing thousands of dollars, for honeymoon vacations, for limousine rentals, for rings and shoes, for the bridal party, for photographers, for reception favors and for gigantic cakes.

One might forget that the purpose of the wedding is a ceremony uniting two people, for the start of life together, for what those who attend can hope will be bliss, happiness and a good family life for the couple. Just as this goes to the retail pot every time someone talks of getting married, so this gibberish about back to school has become blown way out of proportion.

I mean, whose business is it anyway if some parents dress their kids in outfits costing hundreds of dollars, as a local news bit had on the radio today (so what, spend what you want on the kids and buy where you please- no one has to know). Whose business is it where you buy the school supplies– from the local small business drugstore or from Walgreens.

Back to school should be about one thing- getting an education and preparing to be a good citizen of this great nation. It is not uniforms, clothes, shoes, the latest gadgets, computers, cliques (or how to avoid being caught up in one), sneakers, jewelry, hair styles or anything of the kind. These kinds of things are about as meaningless as the junk on the census forms, the demographic junk that inhibits national progress. Back to school should be about getting to the bus stop safely, behaving in school, paying attention in class, and learning what you are there to learn. School is not about what you are wearing or what part of town you come from- that is no one’s business but your own, and keep it that way.

There are the basics of course- the reading, writing, spelling, geography, history, social studies, civics, language arts and such. There are the niceties such as dance, music, band, shop, sports, and cheerleading, if one is so inclined to engage in these activities. You can learn the computer, you can learn the cello; you can learn auto mechanics, or you can learn physics.

It is vital that parents or guardians tell the students about avoiding bullies, about not being a bully, about sticking to one’s own business, about proper behavior and about staying out of trouble. Give incentives for being good, and emphasize the purpose of school and doing one’s best in academics, in sports, in whatever the student engages for achieveing a well-rounded education. After all, the roots of education prepare the student to grow strong stems (STEM, of course), in the future.

EDUCATION: From the root words meaning TO DRAW OUT, MARCH OUT, or LEAD OUT. That is what happens- in school one’s talents are drawn out and polished and used with wisdom and knowledge; the student is thus prepared, on graduation day, to march out to destiny with their class, perhaps as valedictorian. They will not only lead out the others but then will be come leaders and begin the cycle anew- drawing out the talents and gifts of others and leading them to do their best too.

Begin your students on a lifelong love of learning, literally a path to a good life and being a good citizen. LEARN comes from the root -leisa, which stems from words meaning bed, garden bed, track, furrow or path. Learning is creating a map of skills, talents, and knowledge you gain and put together for use in any situation, any kind of plan or for accomplishing any goal throughout life. Is it all “academic”? You better believe it is!

A love of learning plants strong roots and builts strong stems. The school campus is merely a ground for those roots and stems to be planted and to bloom and to be fertilized and grow. The learning experience takes place outside the campus too, and in the world away from those classrooms and the gym and the lunchroom is where many of the best learning experiences take place. Live it, love it, learn it and keep on “educating” yourself and others.

Have a safe, pleasant academic year!

Divi Logan for EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, 2012. Please write for permission to use this article’s content to the author at in2intellect@hotmail.com. Thanks for your cooperation and courtesy.

Related articles

Mayor To Be? What Would You Want Me to do for You?

For years I thought about running for Mayor of Chicago. I have learned more about the election process, watched the process, watched candidates come and go, seen the parties and the media coverage, the talks and the conferences, the photo-ops and the celebrities surrounding such elections.

English: Source: http://www.chicagob2b.net/lin...

English: Source: http://www.chicagob2b.net/links/pages/CitySeal1.gif This image is a copy of the official seal of the City of Chicago, Illinois, as designed and adopted by the City in 1905. As such, it is a work authored before 1922, and is therefore in the public domain. A 1895 edition of the seal can be seen here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But there is another side to the hoopla and the parties, the photographs, the lights and the glory of the position. And that side is WHY someone really would run for such a position, being Mayor of America‘s third largest city and of the city that contains what many people call the most beautiful lakefront in America.

That side – the important side of why someone ideally runs for office – is helping the people who really need necessary, urgent, and life -saving help. It is lowering tax rates, keeping communities safe, lowering the crime rate, improving the job market and “the economy” for more than just the big businesses/ corporations who plaster their names all over the parks, hospitals, donations rolls, educational institutions and street signs. It is doing all in one’s power to extend a hand to the single parent, the child who wonders why their school is not as safe as another school, who wonders how the environment can be made better so everyone can learn, the laid-off folks who wonder why their jobs are being taken to other states or countries.

I have asked people what they would want to see from a mayor. Some have said getting rid of the gangs is priority, and the gangs and their turf wars certainly are a big problem. The murder rate rises, evidence of drug use is all over those areas where gangs have their presence, and the use of guns is blatant. Innocent people suffer where gangs thrive, children are gunned down in parks- and all they are doing is playing or just hanging out with friends. Some idiot comes out with an assault rifle and, through a case of mistaken identity, guns someone down and sprays the area with bullets, not caring who is in the way, not caring whether young families are out trying to enjoy bonding time, not caring about the kids.  They do their thing no matter what, and that has to stop.

And then there is the issue of what to do about the teachers, the “neighborhood” schools, the education budget, the school board, the longer school day, demolition or refurbishing of other buildings, charter schools, library hours…. EDUCATION! What are the real budgetary needs, who deserves the big pay, what should be done about the school board? What would YOU as a non-board citizen like to see from the next mayor?

Then there is the issue of businesses, small family-0wned and -run businesses, local specialty businesses tired of government red tape, talk of health insurance, talk of this and that regulation, talk of corporations outsourcing jobs to China and Mexico and India. As a small business owner, what have you asked mayors and aldermen to do that they seem not to hear or want to hear? What would YOU want a listening, duty-bound and honorable person to as your next mayor?

What would you like to see done about dilapidated buildings, run-down houses, trashy and vacant lots, run-down playgrounds, schools without air conditioning? What do you want done about potholes on your neighborhood streets, lighting on your streets, flood zones in your community, building code enforcement, adding more fire departments or police protection? What would you want done about dogfighting or cockfighting, stray or hazardous animals? Do you want chemical contamination cleaned up? Have you tried and failed with the present old-school, old-boy network, are you tired of the rubber-stamp city council?

What about transportation, the bunched busses, the CTA stations? What do you want- lower fares, better services; are there regularity issues in your neighborhood? Maybe you need more service? Maybe you need a safer area for the busses to have stops and so the organizations will build nice stations and so that the appearance of your area will improve and then jobs, businesses and other services will come in.

Maybe a lower tax rate is in your radar, and so it should be. Too much money in the coffers seems to give the present officials the mind to think they have it to waste. WASTE? It is not their money to waste. It is the money THEY have taxed out of YOU and with the claims that they need that money for services and other projects. But what happens? They give themselves hefty pay raises, fine office perks, travel, rented luxury vehicles. They tell YOU to tighten YOUR belt while they do the opposite!

As mayor I will NOT do that. If anyone need to tighten their belt, it is the city council, the boards of the city, and the leadership. If I ask for something such as reduction of a budget I will adhere to those cuts and would not ask anyone to do what I would not do. Reduce pay for the boards, sure! AND hold them accountable for every action. Hold the power board accountable for every outage, every transformer blowout, every street light, every time a crew comes out to repair after a storm. Hold those people accountable to give reports of what is going on and see the evidence. I want to know the people who work for me REALLY ARE WORKING, and not sloughing off in their desk chairs or having some expensive lunch on the clock.

Citizens, I WANT YOU to talk to me. I want to know what is going on, to see what is happening, to see if the officials who say they will do something really follow up on it for your community, school, church, streets, etc. I want you to write, to respond, to call, to come by my office (I think I will call it the “Duty Hut”), and sit and chat. No big fat parties for THIS Mayor, no way, not until my constituents, the “regular”, “everyday”, all-around working taxpaying citizen is satisfied with the services, the officials under my command, the appearance of their streets, and the safety of their schools. No celebrities in my office during working hours, no corporate lunches, no luxury vehicles in my city fleet, no way- not until everyone else is satisfied, as happy as people can be, as well-fed, as well-educated, and as well-housed as Americans should be.

My slogan: NO SIDES CHICAGO! My vision: A United Chicago for a Stronger Nation! My “STEM”- satisfied and loyal constituents, and my roots, a fertile area for people to prosper, for families to safely live, work, play and have fun together; a safer place for businesses to prosper and grow, a safer place to learn for our students at all levels, and fairness for everyone. I will be a listening mayor. One cannot learn anything unless one listens to others. I will be an acting mayor and hopefully those who work with me will be of the same set of mind.

Everyone is on my team- that is my “sub-slogan”. You can be… YOU CAN BE on my team too. The Mission Control Mayor… think of that.

The essential question is this: What do you want your mayor to do for you?

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

It is a lot to think about, isn’t it? Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012. Writer, designer, and web developer for ®EDUSHIRTS.

Chicago Public Schools: What is the Real Problem?

What is a “school”? We can think of a school as a collection of fish of like type swimming together. That is not far from what some Chicago folks see as the sort of school environment they are dealing with: a school in their community being a place where children of like appearance or ethnicity come together to… do what… learn and get along and interact?

Have those goals been put by the wayside because of vague talk going on around and in the Chicago Public School (CPS) board? People talk it up about “the schools”, but what are “the schools”? are they the people within the learning environment, or is it more a concern over the campuses? Have these become mixed up as the issue gets hotter and worse in the media?

Let’s try to take a few steps back and look at the issue with a clear vision. Now, what literally is a school where this issue is concerned? The school itself is the structure, the campus where the learning and instruction take place. It is the setting for formal classes in art, music, drama, mathematics, the Language Arts, social studies, history, civics and the like. It is where for a few hours a day students and teachers come together. But what do they while they are in that setting?

How does the setting affect the learning is another aspect worthy of attention. The whole business of “neighborhood” schools needs to be looked at again and probably the idea of “neighborhood” needs to go by the wayside too. The problem with such a narrow focus is that it excludes, it divides, and it wastes energy and money and time. Being around others who are like you can get awfully boring, rather like traveling the same route each day and seeing the same people, cars, books and food. Sooner or later someone who wants to learn and get beyond the divisiveness and exclusivity will ask questions, will branch out, will take that chance and learn more about others and ways to interact and glean wisdom from others.

A school system needs funding, as any agency does, but what do we with the money we are giving to the school system. That seems to be another problem with the idea of the neighborhood or community focus- keeping one system stoked with lots of money per student and, as was made clear in one article regarding the CPS issue of the week, draining other school systems of money for arts, music, tutoring and gym. Everyone deserves to be treated with civility and respect. All students deserve updated books and electronics, the best and freshest food for any meals they need to have outside the home, the finest libraries, the best band instruments, the best art supplies and all that will inspire them to learn.

So, what is the best word to define what we have? Do we want “a school”, or do we really want a LEARNING ENVIRONMENT? Think about how the word “learn” is defined. The word has roots that mean “track”, “furrow”, and “garden bed.” Its basic meaning is to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience: receive instruction in.

Take a closer look at your goals and what you want to see in the system for your children and the community and of course the nation- see the big picture and think carefully, act equally as carefully, and research every aspect of the situation you can before plunging headlong into the war and causing even more trouble.

It is time to get an education of your own- one where you are inspired to go beyond the book and the classroom, and discover and learn, and share that knowledge with others.

Divi Logan and EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago. 2004 – 2012.

Marketing Art: What Inspires You to Buy?

WILL EDUSHIRTS BE YOUR NEXT STOP FOR MARKETING AND ADVERTISING YOUR COMPANY, SERVICES, AND PRODUCTS?

What do you want from purchasing a tube of toothpaste? No matter what kind you buy, the flavors or whether or not it has baking soda, what you want is clean teeth (and fresher breath).

The same principle applies when you purchase anything- a new television for better picture quality or other features, for instance. You might get one kind of prepared frozen diner over another because of how the package looks. Besides, what you want could be a quick lunch or a change of culinary pace. You might have only a short time to eat, or you might want a bargain if the item is on sale. Whatever the factors that drive you to buy, you want a result and you desire satisfaction from what you buy.

You purchase a book sometimes just from how the cover looks, the descriptions and reviews pushing you to lay out your money right then and there. You get a new coat for warmth, appearance, or because your other one is just plain flat worn out.

It is basically artwork that drives the commercial process- any kind of item, packaging, cover, color combination, shape or size of the product that gets the attention of the potential purchaser. It is the message the product sends you, of the company, the ingredients or the materials, and what the item can do for  you or how it can change your life- that is what promotes the purchase.

At EDUSHIRTS we offer what I call “marketable artwork”, clever ideas and concepts, principles and words of wisdom or inspiration, motivation, and teamwork that will help promote a company or a new product line in any stage of development or expansion. Our ideas are placed on practical and standard products designed to quickly and easily make your ideas visible to your intended audience.

What could an item showing your special and motivational Marketing StrataGems do for your company?

Visit www.edushirts.com to learn about our artistic, creative, and symbolic designs and shop our product offerings.

Divi Logan and ®EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, ©2004 – 2012. PURCHASE: The Shopper‘s Toolbox, is our book still in revision. Look for short sections of it on our business blog for Pound Feet.