Tag Archives: people

Facebook is People Being People

Sometimes people get upset and bent out of shape over posts on Facebook – sometimes for good reasons, and sometimes for reasons not so good.  There are times when you laugh with people on Facebook and times when you want to wring their necks.  If you choose to be a part of social media, you will experience both.  Why?  It is simple.  Facebook is people being people, and if you can’t accept that, you have no business being on Facebook.

At the end of the day, there is one given with social media – people will post just about anything for just about any reason.  That means the odds are excellent you can find something to offend you if you look hard enough, or you are in the right frame of mind to be offended.  There are offenses to meet every taste on Facebook from really rotten truly offensive stuff to petty, silly, downright ridiculous stuff.  At times, people even get their panties in a wad over innocent things that were never intended to offend anyone, but what is sad is when the offended person refuses to let it go regardless how many apologies are forth coming.

Please, let me repeat!  Facebook is people being people, and if you can’t accept that, you have no business being on Facebook.  People post for a variety of reasons, and other than holding a stinky rotten cheese stick to their head, there is little anyone can do about it.  If a person owns a computer, tablet, or smart phone, with a Facebook app, they can post whatever they please.  If it offends, you can laugh it off, you can ignore it, you can lash out, you can hold a grudge, you can act like a blooming idiot and make a fool of yourself, you can offend them back, you can dig up dirty laundry you know about the offender and post it, or you can unfriend the offender, but that is about all you can do.  As of now, offending someone – intentionally or unintentionally – is not punishable by prison time or the death chamber, so move on – let it go, especially if the offending person offers an apology.  Remember, Facebook is people being people, so accept it, or go do something more constructive with your time like read a book.

People being People on Facebook:

  1. People who post to witness and share their religious status;
  2. People who post because they are lonely and seek human contact;
  3. People who post to be funny or humorous (at least they try);
  4. People who post to share something that makes them happy or excited;
  5. People who post to affirm their existence;
  6. People who post to share a political or social view or rant;
  7. People who post because they are on Facebook and don’t want to be perceived as lurking in the background;
  8. People who post to provoke a rise out of people or get their goat;
  9. People who post to Facebook as a family scrap book;
  10. People who post because it is easier to post to Facebook than actually talk to people;
  11. People who post because they like noise of any kind in their lives;
  12. People who post because they don’t have a life;
  13. People who post because deep down they really like people and like being around them;
  14. People who post on Facebook because they have a short attention span and cannot read or write anything beyond a handful of sentences;
  15. People who post because Facebook is the only family they have;
  16. People who post to share their pity party;
  17. People who post to keep up with friends;
  18. People who post because it gives them a sense of being somebody;
  19. People who post to simply inform; and
  20. People who post because they can.

Facebook is people being people!

JL

©Jack Linton, April 27, 2017

People I Find Hard to Handle!

Nine people I find hard to handle, yet at times I may be guilty of acting like them:

  • People who blow their nose in public and then open the tissue or handkerchief to take a look! If you need to blow your nose in public, please do so, but do you really need to look at it afterwards?  What do you expect to find – brain residue?
  • People who text and drive! Thank the good Lord, I am not very good at texting, so texting and driving is not a problem for me!  People who text and drive should drive with a revolver with one bullet in the cylinder next to them on the seat.  That way just before they text, they can pick up the gun, spin the cylinder, put the gun to their head, and pull the trigger.  The odds are the same that sooner or later the gun will fire and texting while driving will lead to a deadly accident.  Every time I see a person texting while driving, I always think, “There goes a funeral waiting to happen;”
  • Fat guys who wear a Speedo on the beach! I have never been guilty of this, but if I ever find myself alone in the world with no family or friends, this will be my way of getting even with the world!
  • People who think a “Yield” sign means they have the right-of-way! We’ve all been there. We are driving down the highway when from the corner of our eye we see some bozo merging from a side ramp without bothering to look to see if a car is the lane.  The result, we slam on brakes to let him in to prevent an accident.  Bozo continues along his merry way never aware that his failure to adhere to the yield sign and merge properly almost caused an accident;
  • Overweight women who wear a two piece on the beach! There are certain things that are simply unbecoming on a woman wearing a two piece bathing suit at the beach:  a cigarette in her mouth; dried out leathery skin; a stretched out boat anchor tattoo on her belly; boobs she kicks when she walks; and bikini bottoms that read, “Danger, wide load!”
  • People who smoke! There are few things in this world nastier than cigarette smoke.  Tried it one time, but thank God, it made me sicker than a dog, so I never tried it again.  If a person wants to commit suicide by smoking, that is his/her choice, but they should do it in the privacy of their home away from people who enjoy living;
  • People who cannot express themselves without the use of profanity. Unfortunately, when frustrated or I smash my thumb with a hammer, I have been known to use words I later regretted and made me ashamed of myself.  However, outside those times, I try my best to avoid thinking with my brain stem and using “hardcore profanity.”  Heck, it bothers me to hear just about everyone these days say, “I gotta go pee.”  Whatever happened to “I gotta go to the bathroom,” or “I gotta go to the restroom?”  I really don’t understand why it is so important for folks to broadcast which bodily excretion they need to discharge;
  • People who cannot accept others for who they are! Most people have been guilty of pushing their agendas on others at one time or another.  People feel comfortable when the world around them conforms to them.  However, not everyone is like me or you, and that is okay.  Unfortunately, far too many people in our society don’t feel that way.  If people do not think like them, believe like them, or live like them, some folks cannot rest until those people are converted into a “mini me.”  If conversion is not possible, therein lies the underlying current of tension in our society; and
  • People who are offended by everything! Most people, including me, have been offended at some point in their lives.  However, most sane people do not make it a habit to look for things to offend them, which is too often the case in our world today.  If something offends you, it’s okay to address it, but in the name of Bozo the Clown, don’t park your insecurities on the offense and make your life and the lives of everyone around you miserable – MOVE ON!  Therefore, if I offended you with this blog, MOVE ON!  I can assure you I was not thinking of you personally when I wrote the blog unless you are one of the people mentioned above in which case I am the one offended, so I shall now MOVE ON!

JL

©Jack Linton, April 9, 2017

Initiative 42: Are You Fed Up with being Manipulated Yet?

Initiative 42 is the result of nearly 200,000 Mississippians signing petitions to have an initiative placed on the November ballot to amend the state Constitution.   If passed, this citizen led initiative will hold the Mississippi Legislature accountable for keeping its promise to fully fund public schools, which the Legislature has fulfilled only twice in the past 18 years. That should be simple enough; however, Governor Phil Bryant, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, and Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn have used their power and position to help confuse the public about the Initiative. Why? Such action is contrary to statements the Governor has made in the past regarding the public’s role in education. For example, in a December 2, 2014 article by The Associated Press, Governor Bryant said the “public” is in charge of education. But, if he truly believes the public is in charge of education, why is he campaigning against the charge of close to 200,000 Mississippians?   He has also advocated for parental choice in education. However, if he is pro parent choice, why does he oppose Initiative 42, which is supported by parents who have made a “choice” to stand up for public school funding? If he truly believes in parent choice and believes the public is in charge of education, why hasn’t he stepped aside and let the public decide the issue without his political interference?

The reason is simple! In maybe the truest statement by the Republican leadership since the Initiative 42 debate began, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves in an October 22 article by Valerie Wells, published in the Hattiesburg American, stated Initiative 42 is a struggle for power rather than funding. “It’s not about funding,” Reeves said. “It’s about power.” Although Republicans would like for the public to believe Initiative 42 is about Democrats versus Republicans, black versus white, or a power hungry chancery court judge in Hinds County usurping the sovereignty of the state, those are simply smokescreens! The truth is as Reeves stated, “It’s about power.” For the political leadership in Jackson, this issue is about the power and control of the people to hold the state Legislature accountable to the law versus the power and control of the state Legislature to do as it pleases with no boundaries or accountability.

Although fear of losing “power and control” may be at the heart of the Republican opposition to Initiative 42, we must be careful their struggle to maintain power does not overshadow the original purpose of the grassroots initiative led by the people of Mississippi. Power was the furthest thing from the minds of the citizens who signed the petitions to place Initiative 42 on the ballot. Their intent was to help struggling teachers reach all children – poor, middle class, rich, black, and white; their intent was to keep public education alive. Unfortunately, at times, that intent seems to have been lost beneath the clouds of political smoke swirling around such issues as top heavy school districts and school consolidation. We need to save those discussions for another day. Besides, no one in Jackson has any intentions of tackling those political time bombs in the near future; such issues are simply there to confuse and divide the public.

In an era where a good education is a prerequisite for success in life, the idea anyone would not support funding education is mind boggling. At a time when Mississippi needs everyone working together to pull our state from the clutches of poverty by creating an educated work force with more options than unemployment or a minimum wage existence, it is unbelievable we have elected officials who refuse to make education a priority. In a state as untrusting of government as Mississippi, it is beyond belief the citizens would tolerate a governor and state legislators who believe they are above the law. At a time when the public has the opportunity to remind the state Legislature that they are not only in charge of public education as Governor Bryant says, but they are in charge of their elected representatives in Jackson as well, it is unthinkable politicians might actually get their way and not be held accountable to the law.

As a state, we should be ashamed for having this debate. It is disgraceful some would put politics above the needs of our children. It is appalling some people look for excuses not to support education rather than look for reasons to support it. It is disappointing Mississippi citizens needed to sign petitions to put an initiative on the ballot to force elected officials to do their jobs and follow the law. And, it is reprehensible public officials would use or condone the use of half-truths, fabrications, and scare tactics to misguide the public. It is unfortunate, but the current struggle for power and education funding resembles a throwback to the Mississippi of the 1950’s and 1960’s rather than the new enlightened Mississippi we have struggled to become since those dark days.

In spite of this apparent throwback, we are a more enlightened people! We have made tremendous strides since the 50’s and 60’s, but as the Initiative 42 issue has shown, we still have a long way to go in regard to our attitudes toward education, race, and our future. Too much of our past biases still lurk in who we are as a state. Hopefully, additional time will further eradicate those prejudices from us – at least from our children. Nevertheless, I believe for the most part Mississippians are good people who strive to do what is right. We are proud people often recognized as the most benevolent state in the nation! Mississippians are quick to come to the aid of others, whether they are in this country or countries halfway around the world. Mississippians have always generously given to those in need. It so happens, our children are the ones in need this time. It is time we looked in our own backyard and shared our benevolence with our own family. It is time we stood by our children and their teachers; there is no better place to share your generosity and compassion than with those who live in your backyard.

I pray the people of Mississippi will stand up for Initiative 42 and not be led astray by professional politicians with political agendas that often exclude what is best for our state. With Initiative 42, public school education has a chance to be funded as required by law; without it, the chances are slim and none. If you don’t want to vote for Initiative 42, that is your right, but if that is your choice, why not at least do the next best thing and vote those politicians committed to sabotaging public education out of office? Citizens concerned for education and the future of Mississippi need to send a message one way or the other that we are fed up with political manipulation not only at the federal level but at the state level as well.

JL

©Jack Linton, PhD. October 29, 2015

Under the Dome: CBS’s Thinly Disguised Look at the Republican Party

I intended to watch the recent Republican debate, but instead I watched Under the Dome, a science fiction television show about a town trapped under a mysterious dome. From what I have read and heard about the debate though, I didn’t miss much since it served little purpose other than to confirm what most people knew or at least suspected about the Republican Party – the GOP is a fragmented mess. Of course, the Democratic Party with controversy constantly swirling around Hillary Clinton and the Party not knowing how to take Bernie Sanders at this point is not much better off. Things may change for both parties over the next few months, but for now I would give the edge to the Democrats in the next presidential election. Unless the Republican Party gets firmly behind a candidate soon, come convention time it may be too late. As of now, the chances of a Republican being sworn into office in 2017 are about as good as the chances for the science fiction television show, Under the Dome, becoming reality – slim and none.

Speaking of Under the Dome, if you watch the show, you have no doubt noticed the show’s parallels to the current state of affairs in our country, especially in regards to the Republican Party. It is really uncanny! In the television show, a giant bubble or dome has dropped out of the sky over the town of Chester’s Mill, thereby isolating the town from the rest of the world. In the real world, apparently a giant dome also dropped over the Republican Party a few years back, which effectively isolated it from the rest of the world, especially the people the Party claims to serve. Like the people of Chester’s Mill, the Republican Party is suffocating in a world of floating ideologies and in-fighting. Of course, as is the case in Chester’s Mill, the level of incompetence in leadership is at the heart of the pugilism.

There is no clear leadership in Chester’s Mill or the Republican Party although Chester’s Mill and the GOP are both swamped with “wanna be’s.” Due to inability to make decisions, weak leadership skills, or character flaws that often border on the absurd, front runners for leadership positions in both Chester’s Mill and the Republican Party can never quite get it together and take control due to their often acidic, corrosive leadership styles. This does not mean the Democrats don’t suffer from some of the same issues, but at least with them it seems to be confined to two or three knuckleheads and not necessarily the whole Party. However, the most striking parallel between Under the Dome and the Republican Party is that the people in Chester’s Mill and the Republican Party have been duped into believing their leaders care more about them than they actually do. In TV land’s Chester’s Mill and the Republican Party, the people are simply pawns to be manipulated at the will of an alien presence.

The idea of an alien presence within the Republican Party is where some might argue the parallels end, but this point may actually be the strongest of the parallels. In Chester’s Mill there is the ever present alien nemesis lurking in the background thwarting whoever attempts to step forward as a true leader and savior of the town. The Republicans, on the other hand, also have an evil alien nemesis making life difficult for them – themselves. The present day Republican Party may be one of the most self-destructive parties in history. They work with no one; apparently not even within their own ranks! They do not understand that compromise for the sake of the people is not all bad, but on that point there is room under the dome for Democrats as well. “My way or the highway” attitudes are stifling both political parties and suffocating the country. In American politics today, “people over party” is an alien concept.

Of course, there are those who will take exception to want I am saying, but when was the last time you actually heard a politician, Democrat or Republican, lay out a plan of action to move our nation forward rather than point fingers of blame. Okay, I get it! The socialist ideas of the Democrats are driving our country into the ground, and the rhetoric of Republican anarchists is tearing our country apart! Points to both sides! Now, which Party is going to take the lead and provide a legitimate platform to show the people what they plan to do about America’s problems? Or, will both parties continue to throw insults and blame at each other and try to win the presidency with a salty tongue? My best bet is that both Democrats and Republicans will continue to operate from under their respective domes.

JL

©Jack Linton, August 11, 2015

A Shovel and My Wife: Sometimes it Pays to be Lucky

It is hard to believe it has been two years since I retired after 37 years as an educator. After the initial withdrawal questions that I am sure most retirees experience such as what was I thinking to quit a perfectly good job; what will they do without me; what will I do without the daily interactions with people on the job; how will we pay the bills; and what will I do with all this free time; I finally came to grips with being a “has been” and moved on to being a “whatever I what to be.” It took some time, but I came to realize there is more to life than a “perfectly good job” that requires 12 to 14 hour work days; I learned to accept they, the job, will get along just fine if not better without me; I still miss the job specific interactive discussions that led to disagreements as well as confirmations, and kept me on my toes as a professional educator, but I have not had a single parent or teacher complaint in two years and that makes retirement heaven in of itself; as for “paying the bills,” my wife’s and my careers have provided us with a comfortable retirement with enough to pay the bills, and to occasionally travel and spoil the grandkids, so what more could we ask for or need; and when it comes to “what to do with my time,” the answer is very simple – WHATEVER I WANT TO DO! I sleep late almost every day; I play my guitar and sing along with cats screeching and dogs howling in agony; I write songs so I don’t make a mess of other people’s work; and I write stories, poems, and articles that hopefully are readable attempts at making people smile and think. I have no delusions of literary greatness, so I write what I have always wanted to say with little regard for political correctness, who it offends, or what people might think of me. But, most of all, retirement has given me the freedom to simply lie in my hammock all day with a cold drink in my hand and a smile on my face and be absolutely “sorry” if I so choose.

It goes without saying, “I am lucky,” but I have worked hard my entire life to be “lucky.” However, hard work alone will not make a person happy (I am), wealthy (I am not), comfortable (I am) or even lucky (I most definitely am); the right people, the right situations, and the right opportunities are also factors that determine a person’s worth as well as a person’s success. I have been blessed to have had such people, situations, and opportunities in my life. Looking back over my career, the biggest reasons for any success I had were God, the people I worked with, my father, a shovel and my wife.

I strongly believe the reason I survived as an educator as long as I did was due in no small part to the patience and sense of humor of God and the people I worked with over the years. I am sure I gave both God and the people who supported me, as well as those rearguard mumbling geniuses who were never pleased with anything I did, a good chuckle on more than one occasion. Although I did not always make everyone happy, it was not for lack of trying. I have always prided myself on trying to do the right thing, but doing the right thing as you see it does not always make you the most popular or liked person around. Leadership does not come naturally for most people, and I was certainly no different; I made good decisions and I made some “bone head” decisions, but as a leader I made the final decisions. I always felt the buck stopped with me, so ultimately all decisions rested on my shoulders even when that sometimes meant standing alone. It was during those “stand alone” times that the humor and patience of God and the people who supported me meant the most. They stood by me while I learned – often the hard way – and they provided the wisdom to help me learn to laugh at myself and understand no matter what decision I made, in the end, it all turned out as God planned it.

However, when it came to my father’s contribution to my success, patience and humor were in short supply. He had a sense of humor and could be patient at times, but those were traits he rarely shared with me. Nevertheless, the straight forward work ethic he instilled in me was a major cornerstone of my career. Although I hold three college degrees, including a PhD, I came from a background where graduating high school and getting a job were the expectations. College was not financially a practical option. A man in my family was expected to graduate high school, get a job that paid a decent wage, and stay with that job until retirement or death to ensure a livelihood for his family. Missing work other than for severe personal illness or emergency family illness was not a consideration. Growing up, I was taught if you agreed to take a man’s money for a job, you were to give the man an honest day’s work for his money, and I was taught the time for quibbling over wages was before you agreed to take the job not once you were on the job. These were the expectations handed down by my grandfather who labored for Hercules, Inc. in Hattiesburg, Mississippi for 40 years and by my father who labored there for 38 years. Both men rarely missed a day of work, and because of their influence I am proud to say I missed less than 10 days of work in my 37 years as an educator. The work ethic I was taught growing up helped me as much as anything to have a successful career. I can still hear my father say, “Boy, you will sometimes meet a man who is smarter or more talented than you, but you should never meet a man who can outwork you.” He said the only man he feared was a smart man with a work ethic, and if such a man existed and had common sense to boot, you might as well say, “Yes sir, boss,” and move out of his way. According to my father, knowledge, hard work and common sense were all a man needed to climb a mountain. Looking back on my career, I would have to agree.

The fourth factor that influenced my career was a shovel. In fact, a shovel was the second biggest motivation I had for not following in my grandfather’s and father’s footsteps and going to work for Hercules after I finished high school. Actually, that is exactly what happened; I graduated high school in May 1971 and started to work at Hercules in June 1971. I couldn’t have been happier! I had worked a couple of part time jobs while in high school for about $1.35 per hour, so when Hercules offered me $2.50 per hour for a 40 hour week, I thought I had it made! Making a $100.00 weekly wage was more money than I had ever seen or dreamed of in my life. I would have probably retired from Hercules if not for a girlfriend who was a lot smarter and wiser than I was and a shovel stuck fast in Mississippi red clay.

My first week at Hercules, I spent unloading and stacking 55 gallon steel barrels (Thank God they were empty!). I am not sure how much each of those barrels weighed, but I can tell you rolling those barrels into place and stacking them in rolls a hundred feet or more long and five to six barrels high whipped a skinny 140 pound 17 year old’s butt! I have never been as tired in my life as I was at the end of a day stacking those 55 gallon steel drums. However, that $100 dollar paycheck dangling in front of my sweat blurred eyes kept me motivated. When at 7:00 a.m. Monday of the second week they handed me a shovel and told me and one other rookie to dig a ditch two feet wide by three feet deep around a group of storage tanks near the front of the plant, my motivation began to waver. It took us three days to dig that ditch, and then on the fourth day, the foreman told us to cover the ditch over; there had been a change of plans. Week three, the two of us were taken to the middle of the plant and assigned to dig a three foot wide by four foot deep ditch. We spent a week under the sweltering Mississippi sun with shovels and picks digging that ditch, or I should say, I spent a week digging that ditch since my partner spent the majority of his time leaning on his shovel, singing hymns and praying for deliverance from the trench he had appropriately named “Hell’s Door.” God must have heard his prayers because just before noon Friday of that week my shovel became wedged in a crack in the hardest, driest red clay I had ever seen in my life. I could not force the shovel deeper into the crack nor could I pull it out of the crack, so I grabbed the pick and commenced to hammer on the shovel head and claw at the dry clay to try to free it. About that time, the foreman over the job and an assistant stopped to check our progress. He said something about the heat and then he started choking, sputtering, and pointing to where my shovel was wedged in the clay. His assistant’s face went pale. He yelled something at me that I could not understand and jumped into the hole, grabbed me and literally lifted and threw me out of the ditch. After the two men caught their breath, they angrily scolded the two wide eyed, sweat drenched kids in front of them. It turned out the red clay my shovel was wedged in was not red clay at all. It was red concrete marking a high voltage electrical line just inches below the tip of my shovel. One more good whack with the pick against the shovel, and I most likely would not be here today. My partner quit that afternoon. I made it through the rest of the summer, but shortly after the red clay incident, I followed my girlfriend’s advice and enrolled in college for the fall. Although at the time I had no idea what it might be, I decided there were better ways to make a living. The Mississippi sun and that shovel wedged in red concrete were all the motivation I needed to look for something new.

Everything I have mentioned played a significant part in my career success. However, the biggest reason for any success I have had in my career or life came from the single most important person in my life – my high school sweetheart, my girlfriend, my wife. Without her, I would never have finished my undergraduate degree much less my doctoral degree. Without her belief in me, I would not have survived when so many others doubted me. She gave me the courage and motivation to keep moving forward when it would have been so easy for me to say, “To hell with the world; I quit!” She stood by me when I am sure it would have been easier for her to say, “To hell with you; I quit!” Without her, I would not have had a career, nor would I have had a life of any quality or worth. Without her, I wouldn’t have the three greatest kids a man could have. In fact, without her, I would probably be an old single guy frequenting church socials and local bars looking for love with blue haired ladies wearing pink skirts too short to hide cellulite and varicose veins. Thank the good Lord, my wife saved me from such a life. She helped me grow up, clean up, and rise up to meet life’s many challenges. Anyone who knows me and has also met her will attest to the fact that she is certainly more beautiful, intelligent, and unselfish than I deserve. A buddy once said after meeting her, “Wow! How did you manage that? You are so out of your league.” As I explained to him, it’s called luck, and sometimes it is better to be lucky than good looking, smart, wealthy, or charismatic. I may fall short in all those, but I am LUCKY, and luck has served me well.

JL

©Jack Linton, July 14, 2015

Gullible

Part IV of the “You might need to go back to school if . . .” Series

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, gullible refers to a person who is easily duped, cheated, or quick to believe something that is not true. If that is the case, then every man, woman, and child is gullible; some are just better at hiding it than others. However, the upside to being gullible is that people do not have to practice being gullible to be good at it; novice or veteran, we are all experts. People are naturally born gullible and remain that way until they depart this world in a hand carved cherry wood box entombed in a water tight hermetically sealed vault that provides eternal comfort and peace of mind for the deceased. Like an astigmatism in the eye, gullible is a condition of the brain that clouds, muddies, or blurs rational thinking due either to an acute absence of common sense or a sincere devotion to ignorance.

Most people are quick to argue they are not gullible, but to argue that you are not gullible is like arguing that chickens do not have feathers; of course, chickens have feathers, and of course people are gullible. Television, with its high power infomercials that sell perfumed auto-wipe toilet paper dispensers to doting pet owners, and Facebook, with its constant parade of nonsense, conspiracies, and drama rich hearsay that its readers believe and rally around, are prime examples of the gullibility of people. If painted the right shade, people will believe anything they hear or read with no more thought than a pebble gives the hand that throws it. Shel Silverstein summed it up nicely when he said, “Teddy said it was a hat, So I put it on. Now dad is saying, “where the heck’s the toilet plunger gone?”

So, if you are one of us poor souls with a toilet plunger on your head, you might want to join us in the fall as we journey back to school to take refresher courses in Common Sense 101 and The Psychology of Ignorance. I hear the classes are filling up very quickly, so call your local school and register today to avoid the last minute rush. However, if you are not quite sure if these classes are for you, take the simple quiz printed below to a get a brief overview of your gullibility rating. If you believe any of the ten items in the quiz or need to think about any of them for more than five or ten seconds, I strongly advise you to enroll in the refresher classes ASAP.

You might need to go back to school if . . . .

  1. You believe a person when he/she tells you, ” I don’t mean to be critical, but . . .;”
  2. You believe everything your child tells you about school;
  3. You believe reality TV is real;
  4. You believe “fat free” won’t make you fat;
  5. You believe Albert Einstein failed mathematics in school;
  6. You believe ads that claim 9 out of 10 dentists, doctors, and sanitation directors recommend a product;
  7. You believe those beauty aids from ancient India and Galamastan endorsed by a gorgeous movie star will reverse aging, make wrinkles disappear, cure cancer, and change the oil in your car;
  8. You believe a Burger King Whopper actually looks like it does in TV commercials;
  9. You believe you can get all your news from Facebook; and
  10. You believe it is more important to know than to understand.

If you passed the quiz, that is fantastic, but don’t discard the quiz; file it for future use. Your gullibility rating is guaranteed to be challenged by the next telemarketer or phone donation solicitor call, email guaranteeing the National Bank of Nigeria has twenty million dollars waiting for you in an account in your name, or by a television evangelist promising the grace of God can be yours for a hundred dollar donation to his ministry. However, please do not feel bad if you didn’t do well on the quiz. Most Americans fail the test, and that is why the Gullible American Group (GAG) is sponsoring their most progressive and aggressive “Let’s Ditch Ignorance” campaign ever. “Back to School Degulliblizing” classes will take off across America this fall, and it is GAG’s goal to completely choke out gullibility by the turn of the century. GAG is out to take back America! My registration papers are in the mail; hopefully, I will see you in class.

JL

©Jack Linton, June 7, 2015

A Casualty of War: The Takeover of Mississippi Education

The hostile attitude held by so many Republicans toward education in Mississippi is sickening. Their view that Mississippi educators have let the people of Mississippi down is preposterous. The lip service they pay to supporting public education is highly questionable. Their refusal to work hand in hand with state educators to fix education problems in favor of resolving issues on their own is dangerous. Their desire to tear down every existing education fence without first understanding why it was built is absolutely crazy. Their methods that often smell of Orwellian “Big Brother” is horrifying. That they are Mississippians waging war against fellow Mississippians is disheartening.

I have nothing against the Republican Party or the Democratic Party; over the years, I have probably voted Democrat or Republican an equal number of times. My vote has always gone to the man or woman I believed had the credentials, experience and integrity to lead and do what was right for the people. Lately though, with the lack of cooperation exhibited by both parties, I find support for either to be difficult. It is problematic for me to support what has become a messy Red and Blue political war at the expense of the American people. What went wrong with the political party system? How did politicians at both the national and state levels come to believe they know more about what is best for the people than the people? When was the Constitution amended to give Republicans or Democrats the power and authority to rule over the people rather than serve the people?

Some say it began with the election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States. That may be true, but I believe the roots go much deeper. I believe it began when we lost respect for ourselves as a nation and a people. Recently, I watched the combined United States House of Representatives and Senate act like bad-mannered schoolboys as they riddled the President’s State of the Union Address with unrelenting disrespectful side chatter. Members of Congress do not have to like the man in power, but the man in power is the President of the Greatest Nation the world has ever known, and he is the elected choice of the people. Regardless of the man, the office of the President deserves to be treated with respect, but maybe respect is too much to ask when apparently so many no longer respect themselves or the Congressional offices they hold.

Since 2009 when the childlike pettiness and mule-headed refusal to work together began to truly escalate, the party system (Democrat and Republican) in the United States and at the state level has served little purpose other than to take up space. In his Farewell Address, George Washington warned this would happen, “It (party) serves to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another. . . It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption . . . .” Doesn’t that sound exactly like both political parties at the national and state levels today? Their inconsequential jealousies and blatant animosity toward one another have nearly crippled our nation, and it is threatening to do the same to Mississippi.

The spirit of war that this jealousy and animosity has created between the Red (Republican) and Blue (Democrat) political parties is destroying the very foundation of our state. Unfortunately, in Mississippi, children, teachers, and school administrators are the first to be caught in the crossfire. Education has become a convenient rallying point for the Governor and Republicans’ obsessive fears of takeover by the extremes of the Obama socialist left on one side, and what they deem an incompetent education system that has strayed too far from the conservative values of the Republican Party on the other side. Yet, as the Republicans stage their own state takeover, they refuse to listen or work with state educators, and they propose bills just as heavy-handed and to the left as any regime with intentions of suppression. When it comes to education, not working hand in hand with state educators for improvement is shameful. When it comes to taking away the rights of the people, it does not matter if it is Obama or the Republicans leading the charge – both are wrong.

Although wariness of big government is not completely unhealthy, tearing apart an education system without knowing what you are tearing down, and then trying to legislate it back together is foolish. That’s like putting together a commercial airliner with Elmer’s glue; it looks good on the runway, but falls apart in the sky. You cannot fix the state’s education problems with Elmer’s glue/rhetoric nor can the problems be fixed with legislated band aids; it sounds good in theory and in the media and looks good on paper, but such superficial solutions will still fall far short of the educational needs of the state’s children. The first steps in improving an organization is to establish stringent guidelines for the product produced, secure funding, and hire the best people possible. Therefore, the first steps to improving education are to stabilize and strengthen it with stronger education standards, provide adequate funding that provides adequate resources and facilities, and secure incentives for recruiting bright young minds to be teachers. The Republicans who often speak of operating education more like a business do not seem to understand this, or they choose to ignore it. Instead, they are convinced Mississippi will be better served if they simply crusade to save the people of Mississippi from the incompetence of state educators and the socialist left of the Obama regime by increasing rhetoric and passing more laws.

I am afraid there is much more going on here than just a fight against incompetent teachers and protecting the people from Obama’s socialism. If you look closely at the Republican education bills proposed by the 2015 Mississippi House and Senate, it becomes clear this fight has very little to do with incompetent educators or the socialist left. This is a fight for power; a fight to dismantle the public school system in Mississippi to ensure the socioeconomic status of the “haves” and the “have nots.” Under the pretense of parental choice, this fight is about directing public dollars to charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling to ensure a segregated education. This is a fight that if lost will set Mississippi back at least a hundred years.

With such Republican sponsored bills as HB (House Bill) 449, designed to take away the First Amendment right of state educators, and SB (Senate Bill) 2249, which will create the Mississippi Commission on College and Career Readiness and strip the State Superintendent of Education as well as the State Board of Education of their duties as education policy makers, it is fast becoming clear that the “bad guys” on the left the Republicans have so vehemently cried against may have been on the right all along. Proposing a law to hush educator questions and concerns or imposing Gestapo like laws to strip the Constitutional authority granted a state agency are actions Americans may expect of hostile socialist and communists takeovers, but not from an American political party. There is nothing conservative or American about such actions; such actions go against everything Americans believe! Yet, this is happening in Mississippi. There is always hope that such bills as HB 449 and SB 2249 will not make it out of committee, but since the state’s Republicans have appointed themselves as education’s judge, jury, and executioner, I would hesitate to bet money against either of these bills. The Republicans often paint themselves as conservatives, but some of the recent bills they have proposed are anything but conservative. As unbelievable as it may sound, the Republican Party in Mississippi has moved so far to the right that they are now on the left. The only positive I can see is that their red colors fly well on the left.

JL

©Jack Linton, January 26, 2015