MEN SHOULD NOT LEAD

Anthony Weiner is the latest in a long string (better, rope, from which they hung themselves) of politicians who just can’t stop at being a powerful leader and special interests bribe taker: they have to be “sexy” men too. They have to feed their egos even further by having illicit sex, sending disgusting pictures of themselves to strangers, cheating on their spouses and tempting fate. When one has a very high opinion of one’s self, one is apt to think that the rules of society don’t apply.

Unfortunately, men seem to lean more toward that idea than do women. Sure, we have the Paris Hiltons, the Lindsay Lohans, the Elizabeth Taylors, etc., and we know that their egos have played a big part in their stupid actions, but these women are not public servants. I know that someone who reads this will immediately think,  ‘A lot of women in politics have not been lookers, so why would anyone want to see their crotch shot photos or read their dirty talk?’ Good point. Still, none of these guys are special: they’re just average to homely guys who worship at the temple of Narcissus. It’s not about looks.

We are a shallow bunch, we human beings. We deface our limbs with tattoos because we are sheep and see others doing so, so we follow (not to mention, puncture our bodies EVERYWHERE). We buy what others buy and watch what others watch. We drive what others drive (whether we can afford to or not). We buy what others buy. We rarely have an original thought; although it appears that original thought will make some people prosperous, so I would have to encourage it. When politicians (male) think for themselves, it is usually associated with greed or sex. Either way, it’s really an ego feed. They feel that they are above what society considers moral, ethical or even legal. They do whatever they wish with the true belief that they cannot be caught, and then are seemingly remorseful and ashamed when the truth inevitably is exposed. And what do they do next? Check into rehab, of course…or blame others, then check into rehab.

There are three types of political whores these days. The first is like Weiner: self-absorbed and willing to do anything to titillate himself. These guys are like Mark Foley who texted male pages at the Capitol in the hopes of hooking up. They are like Larry Craig, who plays footsy between stalls in a men’s room at an airport in Minnesota in the hopes of hooking up. They are also Elliott Spitzers and David Vitters, who just go directly to prostitutes who hook up.

The second type really includes Larry Craig and Mark Foley again: men who live a lie because they feel that “beards” make them more likeable and, therefore, more electable. These closet cases cheat on their wives and girlfriends with men, but condemn gays in public. New Jersey’s governor, Jim McGreevey, was having gay affairs while his wife stayed home and was left to look like a female cuckold. I realize that Republican politicians cannot be gay. It’s like being Mormon and gay: not at all possible. SO, a gay Republican either has to either change parties or live a lie. It has to be very difficult to condemn those that you love by day and hide in the shadows at night.

The third category of “naughty politicians” is the lowest of the low. They are lice on rats. Newt Gingrich, John Edwards and John McCain are all politicians who either cheated on a sick wife or abandoned one. McCain came home from years as a POW to find a maimed wife…and promptly dumped her. Gingrich went off in search of a replacement for his dying wife (later, he dumped the “replacement” wife too), and Edwards had the nerve to say he was cheating on his sick wife while “she was in remission.” We all know her remission didn’t last, nor did their marriage. These guys are priceless. In the cases of Gingrich and McCain, they still ran for office because they figured that cheating on  and abandoning a sick wife isn’t grounds for bowing out of a presidential election bid, but having oral sex with an intern is reason for impeachment. Whatever.

Occasionally, we hear about predatory behaviors of women in schools. Mary Kay LeTourneau was willing to give up everything for a dumb, ugly little boy…but, hey, Mary Kay LeTourneau? This woman should never have been allowed in a classroom in the first place. Women like LeTourneau are sick. Still, look at the men in such positions. It’s a story as old as Abelard and Heloise. My old high school has seen a fair amount of this: two teachers who were involved in such messes taught the same subject! One lost everything for a girl young enough to be his grand-daughter and the other was a closet case who preyed on a young male student. The first teacher is in a nursing home: the second on prison. There’s a special place in Hell for them both. 

Now, let’s turn to women in politics. How many women can one name who have been involved in such scandals who are public servants? While you ponder that question, I’ll move on. There are fewer women in high political positions in Washington and that might be a reason why we haven’t heard of similar stories among the nation’s female senators, members of Congress and other elected officials. Would these women, who have fought so hard to acquire these positions, risk ruining their careers for a cheap thrill? Never. They know that it’s not all about them: too bad their male counterparts don’t feel the same. Too many people are hurt by the foolish actions of that one politician – not only family and friends, but constituents too.

According to one of the great authorities on EVERYTHING, Rush Limbaugh, liberal mothers are to blame for the problems many of these politicians have today. He stated recently that women have raised their sons to be “Alan Alda” types making them weak and labelling them “sissies”, so they have to show that they are real men by being assholes and indulging in their sexual fantasies to prove their manhood. He should know better than anyone because he indulged in his fantasies in the Dominican Republic back in 2006 and was caught bringing illegally acquired Viagra back into the U.S. Anyway, there are so many things wrong with Limbaugh’s comment, but he was probably high when he said it. No mention of fathers when he threw out this cherry bomb, but Limbaugh, not be a father himself (thank the Lord) likely forgot that some children have fathers who actually play a part in the upbringing of their children. Further, he likely assumes that sex is the key force in these politicians’ lives. BUT, we all know that it’s about power for these boys. ‘I can do stupid stuff and get away with it because I’m a powerful man.’ The misguided Superman mentality will inevitably fail once the foolish politician finds out that secrets are like bullets and they don’t bounce off: they pierce the armor and leave Mr. Tweet, Mr. Pictures of My Penis or Mr. Secret Life exposed and vulnerable.

Call me a man-hater: I really don’t care. We know that men never quite mature. They like toys, noise and some secretly like other boys, BUT they never really get beyond the idea that each and every one is a center of the universe. Where I live, men seem to love big guns and gigantic trucks! I was told by a retired policeman that there are men in my hometown who will make their Harley payments before they pay the rent or buy food for their kids. It’s not about the good of the majority (family, workplace, community, society), it’s about the individual. Many have heard me say that most men never mature past the age of fourteen. Think about it. Motorcycles, loud trucks, violent sports, fart jokes and the endless collection of toys (boats, cars, trucks, campers, etc.) are all more associated with men than women. More men than women have ADHD. More men than women cheat on partners and studies have shown that the primary reason for adultery is boredom. While women are taking care of the house and the kids, men are looking for something more fun. Men commit more violent crimes against family and strangers. While I was certain that the answer was testosterone, studies have shown that hormone alone does not make people more aggressive or violent. What else can it be? POWER. And, as women gain more power and position in society, men feel threatened.

So, Mr. Edwards is facing charges that he used campaign money to support his pregnant girlfriend during his 2008 push for the White House. Mr. Weiner is facing a pregnant wife who has just returned from a European trip with her boss, Hillary Clinton (Mr. Weiner has a lot of explaining to do). Oh, and Arnold the Governator, is getting to know his illegitimate son who looks like his youngest legitimate son’s twin. Mr. Schwarzenegger has told people close to him that he doesn’t get his scandal because men have other children out of their marriage all the time. Men still wield the most power…and fall further when the abuse of power and foolish behavior bring them down. And the beat, will likely, go on..

 

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Choose: Leave the Country or Die

In case you missed it, a community health care center manager, Sharon Omand of Strafford, New Hampshire called her state senator, Martin Harty, back in March expressing concerns about her state’s move to eliminate funding for community health care programs. The state senator told her “the world is too populated” and that there are too many “defective people.” When Omand asked what should be done with these “defective people” that are mentally ill, Harty suggested sending them to Siberia, and let them freeze to death. This state senator wasn’t kidding and made no apologies for his comments when pressed further by local media.

In case you missed it, at a recent town hall meeting, an elderly woman made the following statement:

“I’m fine with my Medicare, and my children and my grand children — my children especially — would have a lot of heartburn if they know that I’m not on Medicare, because that voucher is not going to go very far,” said the woman.

Georgia Congressman Rob Woodall, responded to the woman by suggesting that she might find the type of health care she and her family wants in Canada, as if to say that she might want to move to another country, like Canada, to continue to receive anything like socialized medical care.

Both of these politicans are…republicans. Surprised? How could you be?

Republican politicians are offering a voucher system to seniors that will allow them to buy insurance from private insurance companies. Private insurance companies don’t WANT senior citizens as clients because senior citizens can become very expensive to cover as their health starts to fail. Seniors are costly, and most seniors are not rich. Vouchers will likely not allow them much, if any, private insurance. So, the solution seems to be this: if you’re not wealthy enough to have private insurance or pay for your own health care needs, you need to think about dying or moving out of the country.

I have been shocked by republican comments most of my lfe. See: Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, and any George Bush.

A few years ago, “religious” republicans marched in front of women’s health clinics because, they said, they were making people aware that “murder” was being committed in these places. They fought abortion through boycott, public meetings…and yes, murder. Some politicians, including Iowa House republicans still preach that sermon. Recently, two bills sponsored by Iowa House Republicans could create a “wild west” kind of atmosphere in that state. They want a law that would make it legal to use deadly force against abortion or family planning providers. The two pieces of legislation together would create a situation where a fertilized egg could be protected by allowing “public execution” of anyone who would threaten it. A few years ago, a man shot and killed Dr. George Tillman, a doctor who performed abortions. He was killed when leaving his church after a Sunday service: poetic justice? Yes, because when you are executing people, it’s a good idea to “play God” in a church. The shooter was convicted of murder and is serving prison time: this pair of bills, upon approval, would allow such actions to occur with no fear of arrest or incarceration. Many religious people justify murder when the future of a nonviable group of cells is at risk. Whether or not I believe in abortion is not the point: the point is that people want to play judge, jury and executioner because of their personal point of view. Some of these same religious people feel that gays are demons, and people who do not follow the religious practices of their particular religion have no chance “in Hell” of ever getting into Heaven. Apparently, God has given a number of people on Earth appointments to the Eternal Courts.

Gays, too, are the targets of a great deal of hatred and persecution by conservatives who claim to be people of faith. To them, gays have no rights. To them, gays make the choice to live the lifestyle. A number of republican politicians speak out loudly against homosexuality, but have proven that they live the “down low” lifestyle when nobody’s looking.

As a liberal, I would never propose violence, despite the fact that many things the right stands for repulse me. I have accepted that many people are different from me: they live and believe in different ways from me. BUT, I don’t feel that it is up to me to condemn them or suggest that they should die or be banished for their lifestyles or beliefs. I have become active in other ways. I have always voted to support my beliefs. I have compaigned for people whom I support. I have told my students that they can be powerful through their vote. Even though we know that votes don’t always work in our favor (See Bush, 2000: Florida), we know that they can have a great impact on our country (See Kennedy, 1960 and Obama 2010). We can have a great impact as a collective. I sometimes have been able to deal with personal political losses with the idea that some republican had to get his Rolls Royce out of the garage to have his driver take him to the polls, only have that vote cancelled out by MY vote.   

On another subject, Paul Ryan was priceless on MEET THE PRESS this weekend. When asked about the poll in which 80% of respondents stated that they opposed Ryan’s plan to eliminate Medicare, Ryan responded this way:

“Leaders are elected to lead. I don’t consult polls to tell me what my principles are or what my policies should be…We are going to try to move these polls or change these polls because that’s what the country wants.”

It sounds like we elect people who have no intention of representing us once they get sworn in. They represent large businesses, the privileged, and the people who pay them to work for THEM…not for the electorate. Eight out of ten people oppose the elimination of Medicare, but that means nothing to Paul Ryan and his ilk.

My mother asked me recently why I made out my will. She fears that I’m ill and am  preparing for my own death. Yes, I am preparing for my death and, no, I’m not ill. I realized that I will be 55 years old soon and my affairs need to be in order should anything happen to me. BUT, I truly believe that there will come a time in my future when I will have to decide whether to spend all of my money to keep myself alive or die. I’m guessing that I won’t have a choice. Rich people get the meat and we get the bones. That has always been true, but it doesn’t seem fair when the rich expect us to give up what little we have so they are not burdened in any way: see TAXES.

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
all right, all right

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re doing what we can
But when you want money
for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
all right, all right
Ah

ah, ah, ah, ah, ah…

You say you’ll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You better free you mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right
all right, all right

Thank you, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

FYI, I purposely don’t capitalize the word “republican.”

I can provide sources on request. I don’t make this stuff up. Sad but true.

NOTE: Corrections were made today because I referred to Paul Ryan as Ron Paul…I meant Rand Paul. At any rate, one of the republicans…

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THE PLACE TO START

As I told friends and acquaintances, I have decided to blog. My beliefs and thoughts spill over the levee, despite my best efforts to stop them. I don’t want people to hate me because of my beliefs but, at the same time, I feel that everyone should have a right to express themselves if they feel strongly about doing so.

Facebook is a social site and not really an appropriate place for me to express myself. Because we live in a complicated society where people judge people so nonchalantly, I fear that my rantings will alientate me from others and possibly negatively impact my job.

So, Subject One.

I rant to my students about the inability of our public school system to educate them and to prepare them for college. Ths is not an opinion: studies have shown that more and more students are taking developmental courses because they don’t have the abilities necessary to enroll in courses like English, algebra or chemistry without taking non-credit or partial credit classes that will help them develop the skill sets needed to succeed in such courses. We have watched the quality of education diminish for years, and the general reaction is to complain and do nothing else. The No Child Left Behind Act has deepened the gap: students can take tests, but cannot write, read, or do math. They can act like robots and write five paragraph essays that mean nothing, but they can’t be creative nor apply higher order thinking to evaluate, consolidate, and process the information they are given.

It is my observation that students today have no idea how to glean information from what they read. They cannot take notes, and they have little, if any, study skills. They are used to having information spoon fed to them, and then only the basic information that they will need to answer questions on standardized tests so that they might move forward from one grade to the next and their school system might continue to receive state and federal funding. Education today is based on numbers: scores and dollars.

When I see how little significance many students give their education, I am saddened. They can sleep in class, text in class, talk in class and skip class, but they have little understanding of why they’re in class, what value there might be in the classes they take, and how the knowledge they gain from them could possibly benefit them down the road. The momentary needs and desires of today’s students far outweigh their need to prepare for their futures. They carry books they never open, don’t complete assignments on time, don’t prepare for tests, and get very upset when they’re told that they are expected to be in class every period and show up on time.

I have warned my students that those who know how to get the most out of their educations – the students who do the work, take interest in that’s going on and plan for their futures – aren’t geeks or brown-nosers, but the people who the rest will probably work for and resent in the future.

Another concern I have involves the cluelessness among young people. They will say they want to be rich and successful, but show little interest or understanding of how much work it takes to get these things. There is a strong need for instant gratification. This comes with drinking and partying. It also comes from texting: they can text a friend, tell that person how bored they are and comment on the lameness of their class, fellow students, instructor, etc. and then get agreement or an “LOL” from a friend, and feel that they are absolutely right in their thinking and continue the behaviors that don’t serve well. They accept a C as a perfectly appropriate grade. It’s not failing, and it generally requires little effort, so a C is the target. I have told them that a C is an F in college, but it they don’t buy it. Those who seek a C will likely be nothing special, but they think of themselves as such.

Those who float to the top most generally deserve to be there. A friend recently said, “It kills me that the lazy and self-centered ones will somehow succeed and do well and it makes no sense. They’ll make more money than me and won’t deserve the breaks they’ll get.” I disagree. Unless they do something underhanded, marry well or were born into wealth and privilege, this won’t happen. We know that the wealthy and privileged generally put less effort into what they do because they already have the boost of inherited wealth and power, and those people don’t concern me. BUT, those who don’t have those advantages but feel that they’ll somehow get what they want by being charming, cute or popular find that charm, cuteness and popularity wear off after awhile. It takes toil and effort to do good things. Nothing falls into one’s lap…at least, no more frequently than every half million years or so. Moving forward takes energy. Nobody sits on his ass and becomes rich and successful. 

America, despite what flag wavers and Bible thumpers keep chanting, is not what it used to be. Our future is reliant upon its citizenry and they can only move forward with knowledge. As I say again and again, it is my belief that the Mike Judge satirical comedy film, “Idiocracy” is quickly becoming a documentary.

As this school year draws to a close, I am reflecting on the last two semesters and realize that I will have to make adjustments to all of my courses for the fall. I must give regular homework to ensure that the books are opened. I have to have in-class quizzes and lectures that require note-taking to ensure attendance. I have to add incentives to keep students focused and make it worth their while to pay attention. It’s not about obtaining knowledge: it’s about candy and extra points and the like. 

In my experience, I have found that I can’t force a student to do anything. They will continue to arrive ten minutes late and fall asleep within five minutes after they sit down. They will sit with their hands in their laps, phone between them, and look down to read what their friends are typing to them. They will slump down in their seats, baseball caps slung low (some guys in my classes have never taken their hats off in class, even to check for those pesky cooties), and sleep. They will talk and make rude remarks and laugh at other people.  They will tell their parents that they’re “really trying” in school, but it’s “too hard” and the instructors are “unfair” or “hate them.” And, most of them will not graduate or get the certificates they set out to earn. They’ll blame the school, the teachers and everyone else but themselves. In the long run, what my friend said will NOT be true. In the long run, the motivated will make a way, and the rest will be greeters at Walmart.

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