It’s official – I passed my Technician’s test. In about 3-4 days (maybe more, because of the holiday), I should be listed in the FCC database, and can begin transmitting. Until then, I can only listen in.
I work in a public school. As a result, I’ve occasionally been corrected – very gently, I must say – when I refer to the 2 week vacation at the end of the year as “Christmas Break”.
Oh, no, I am informed, it’s a GENERIC holiday celebration (I generally refrain from pointing out that HOLIDAY is a variant of the original HOLY DAY). Just happens that SO many important holidays occur around this time that it’s convenient to adjourn for vacation.
I always respond by saying, “I’ll call it Winter Break the very first year that it DOESN’T include Christmas”.
Christmas is the ONLY reason for the break – it comes at a bad time, just before the end of the semester. It would make FAR more sense to delay the vacation for another week, give the tests, then adjourn for a between-semesters vacation.
Won’t happen. Parents (most of them taxpayers and/or voters) would have the school boards roasted – like chestnuts – for daring to implement the sensible switch.
No, we break BECAUSE the majority celebrate Christmas – many of them attending church for the only time that year (I’ll address the twice-a-year Christians another time). A few celebrate Kwaanza – fewer every year – and, in selected locations, Hannukkah makes the present-giving event(s).
Christmas goes on from December 25 (the 1st Day of Christmas) to January 5 (the Eve of Epiphany, when the Magi appeared – celebrated as Three Kings Day in many countries).
The picture at the left shows the Holy Family at the start of their Flight into Egypt (by Michaelangelo).
So, in the spirit of the EXTENDED season,
I’ve been thinking about this, lately, what with the Imperial Decree from El Jefe that we WOULD admit all those He deemed worthy – not those icky non-Hispanic immigrants, who fail to show proper homage by voting solidly Democratic. No, the Right Kind of immigrants, who deliver the Dem vote, year after year, and – this is a plus – also show up at rallies demanding their Right to take over this country, and join any union that will have them, cheerfully paying exorbitant fees for – nothing.
Like we’re gonna let that happen. The world already has enough failed dictatorships.
I’ve been thinking about what it means to be an American:
- You might, like me, have a family history that traces to BEFORE this was a United States – even before the American Revolution.
- Or, you might be the 1st generation to hit our shores.
- You might, like me, be of largely Euro background.
- Or, you might be from any other ethnic branch, or several.
- You might be Christian – if viewed by that sole criteria, we are perhaps the largest religious group.
- You might be Jewish, Muslim, Hindi, Buddhist, or another group – or none at all (both non-believers, who don’t care what you believe, and atheists – who feel COMPELLED to tell the other groups that they are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG – do you hear them? WRONG!).
- You might be rich – we do have a lot of them in the USA.
- You might be poor – again, we have a lot of people who consider themselves poor (although, it must be said, by the world’s standards, even our poor people are quite rich).
- Probably, like most Americans, you would be considered middle-class.
Really, there are relatively few requirements for being an American:
- You might get it easily – through birth (talk about hitting the lottery!)
- You might have taken the slow road – getting permission to enter (Visa), applying for residency, learning our main language (English), about the rules and customs of our nation, and about the Constitution and our history. I’ve seen videos of naturalization ceremonies, and they always bring tears to the surface.
- Or, you might have crossed the border without permission (or, overstayed a legal Visa), and taken advantage of various amnesty programs.
Once part of the family, however, you are IN all the way. No “American, but not really” status in our country.
Not all Americans appreciate this country. Many want to change it – some in a radical way. A very few despise the United States of America. Even so, they remain Americans.
Many radicals would like to pretend that when Conservatives say “I want my country back!” they mean they’d like to take possessions, rights, and power away from non-White people.
What they mean is: I want the Constitution’s limitations on power to be respected. I want laws and rules to apply to ALL consistently. I want incentives for NOT working to be reduced (and, eventually, eliminated). I want those who earn money to KEEP their money. I want opportunities in America to be for ALL, not just those who suck up to the people in power.
The end of the year, for Americans in the 21st century, should be a hopeful, joyous time. We travel great distances to give Thanks with our families, optimistically slap down the charge cards a few weeks later, to buy for family and friends special treats.
During this time, we sing out happily to all, friends and strangers alike, with “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Thanksgiving”, and other holiday greetings. If asked by a stranger, we are quite likely to open our wallets and our hearts, and hand over cash. Many Americans spend hours of their own time to give to strangers – gifts, food, clothes, and shelter.
I’m betting the Obama administration is counting on that. At this time of year, more than any other, we let our guard down. Expect more outrageous abuses of executive powers in the next month.
The question is, what will YOU do about it? So far, complaints to our Representatives and Senators haven’t had much effect.
It goes without saying that anything the Congress passes, the President and his cronies will work, overtime, to get around. So, I think they have to build in automatic triggers:
- Don’t just tie Department-specific cuts to the CR’s being violated with Executive Action. Make an AUTOMATIC 5% cut to ALL parts of government, if he uses EITHER bureaucratic regulation OR Executive Action to get more illegals “legalized”.
- Don’t fall for a long-term solution – ANY CR has to be short-term. The new Congress has a right to act without having their hands tied.
- Go aggressive – use PR about the cost of illegal aliens to the country – in hospital care, incarceration, schools, spread of disease, lost jobs and downward pressure on wages, etc. Have a daily update, and post it on Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook. USE that alternative media – it can be an opportunity to influence younger and future voters.
- Set up a clock of the cost of illegal aliens, just as was done with the National Debt. The sight of those numbers were influential with some of the public, and have led to more serious discussion of debt issues. It’s a war of attrition, and we need to play full-court press.
If you have read this far, please contact your Congress-critters.
And, while I’m sure it’s going to be ignored, perhaps the sheer numbers will begin to align our Dear Leader with reality – The White House.
This is outrageous, and an excellent reason why politicians should have to wear sponsorship patches – like NASCAR drivers – on their clothing.
I’m generally opposed to the whole bailout thing – if any investor screws up, and loses money, well, that’s his problem. The government (and, really, the taxpayers, whose money funds it) should NOT throw money at their feet.
Check out the links – do these companies deserve PUBLIC money to increase their profitability? Especially since the taxpayers will NOT share in the expected return?
I’ve long had an interest in promoting self-education in the Everyday Conservatives (that is, people who almost instinctively support Conservative Principles, but haven’t studied the philosophical underpinnings of it). As the Leftist Philosophers are HEAVILY entrenched in the educational establishment – first, in higher education, and, now, moving fast into secondary and elementary education, as well.
When your kid or grandkids come home, confidently spewing the Leftist crap they’ve been taught by their teachers, you want to know enough about the philosophy to refute its conclusions.
That’s where I come in.
When I first graduated from high school, the Leftist professors were just beginning their Long March into the Ed Establishment. They were the Assistant and Associate professors (along with some grad students) who promoted the anti-war movement of the 1960s and 1970s. They wormed their way into classes, institutes, student organizations, and conferences. Over time, they not only got themselves tenure, but they used their positions to bring in like-minded hires.
As a result, the entire college and university establishment is heavily soaked in the Leftist Philosophy Bible, which includes the Leftist Prophets:
- Antonio Gramsci – his work is revered by Leftist “scholars” (I put that word in quotes, as too many of them sacrifice their claim to scholarship by the bias they bring to it). A fuller treatment of his thinking on education is here. A quote about his thinking on Cultural Hegemony (a term that had been often used in grad school classes, without ever explaining just what it was – below I’m quoting from Wikipedia, which has the best explanation of CH that I’ve ever read):
Orthodox Marxism had predicted that socialist revolution was inevitable in capitalist societies. By the early 20th century, no such revolution had occurred in the most advanced nations. Capitalism, it seemed, was even more entrenched than ever. Capitalism, Gramsci suggested, maintained control not just through violence and political and economic coercion, but also through ideology. The bourgeoisie developed a hegemonic culture, which propagated its own values and norms so that they became the “common sense” values of all. People in the working-class (and other classes) identified their own good with the good of the bourgeoisie, and helped to maintain the status quo rather than revolting.
To counter the notion that bourgeois values represented “natural” or “normal” values for society, the working class needed to develop a culture of its own. Lenin held that culture was “ancillary” to political objectives, but for Gramsci it was fundamental to the attainment of power that cultural hegemony be achieved first. In Gramsci’s view, a class cannot dominate in modern conditions by merely advancing its own narrow economic interests. Neither can it dominate purely through force and coercion. Rather, it must exert intellectual and moral leadership, and make alliances and compromises with a variety of forces. Gramsci calls this union of social forces a “historic bloc”, taking a term from Georges Sorel. This bloc forms the basis of consent to a certain social order, which produces and re-produces the hegemony of the dominant class through a nexus of institutions, social relations, and ideas. In this manner, Gramsci developed a theory that emphasized the importance of the political and ideological superstructure in both maintaining and fracturing relations of the economic base.
Gramsci stated that bourgeois cultural values were tied to folklore, popular culture and religion, and therefore much of his analysis of hegemonic culture is aimed at these. He was also impressed by the influence Roman Catholicism had and the care the Church had taken to prevent an excessive gap developing between the religion of the learned and that of the less educated. Gramsci saw Marxism as a marriage of the purely intellectual critique of religion found in Renaissance humanism and the elements of the Reformationthat had appealed to the masses. For Gramsci, Marxism could supersede religion only if it met people’s spiritual needs, and to do so people would have to think of it as an expression of their own experience.
For Gramsci, hegemonic dominance ultimately relied on a “consented” coercion, and in a “crisis of authority” the “masks of consent” slip away, revealing the fist of force.
If you’d like to learn more, here’s a link to The Gramsci Reader – translations from his work.
- Paulo Freire – again, I’m linking to Wikipedia as a starting point – yes, they are generally biased in their articles on politics and culture, but it’s a good primer on Leftist Thinking.
Freire’s thinking permeates the Educational Establishment at most colleges and universities. He is even more revered than Dewey. The core of his philosophy is that education HAS to be revolutionary, or it will support “the system”. For him, there is no such thing as a “neutral” education.
In the course of his work as a physician and psychiatrist, Fanon supported the Algerian War of Independence from France, and was a member of the Algerian National Liberation Front. For more than four decades, the life and works of Frantz Fanon have inspired movements in Palestine, Sri Lanka, the U.S. and South Africa.
Fanon was a supporter of the revolutionary liberation movement in Algeria. He believed that ALL colonial governments were inherently violent, and that, therefore, violence was totally justified against those governments. That viewpoint provided the basis for much of the 1960s revolutionary movements, in Viet Nam, Burma, Cuba, and other locations.
I’ll be adding more information about prominent “Progressive” and Leftist thinkers. We need to become familiar with their work, to be able to effectively argue against their agenda. Look for this Continuing Conservative Self-Education in the Tab at the top of the blog.
There’s a group of Senate staffers who are eager to bring back the filibuster, according to Ed Whelan of the National Review. It was abolished for lower court nominees during the Democratic Totalitarian Control of the Obama Regime Era.
It’s a bad idea – for several reasons:
- Using the filibuster for partisan purposes (and, what OTHER reason would a Democrat have for using it?) would clog up the system unnecessarily. Unless those opposing a nominee can marshall solid reasons, related to the performance of their judicial responsibilities, for turning thumbs down to a nominee, that person should be affirmed. Too many courts are backlogged already – we needn’t make the situation worse by making it hard to get replacements or reinforcements.
- Yes, the filibuster is a time-honored tradition – so are duels. Some old ideas need to stay DEAD.
- Lastly, I’m in favor of keeping the status quo, because it would be a necessary correction to the recent rampage of the Senate demagogues. They imposed rules and procedures to make THEIR rule opposition-free. They should have to live with the consequences of their actions for at least as long as they used the changes against Conservatives/Republicans/Any Sane Legislator.
It’s the dread of teachers everywhere, right up there with pre-Christmas inability to concentrate. And, it’s not just limited to elementary-age kids. High school students spend hours talking about their costumes, and carrying around treats for their friends.
Although Michelle Obama’s Grim Substitutes, the vegetable tray and other low-calorie treasures, may stop that. We’ve been told – officially – NOT to bring in treats. For ANY reason.
I never thought sugar and fat would become the New Crack.
I’ve never been that into Halloween, post-elementary age. Until well into the 1980s, it was a relatively minor holiday.
No more. Adults and teens have taken over the grim festivities, with gruesome body parts, truly repulsive costumes, and weeks – even months – of planning for the parties. It’s chance for women to unleash their Inner Slut, men to experiment with Cross-Dressing, and for all to use conspicuous consumption as a signal of their Elitist Status.
Don’t like horror movies. Don’t enjoy dressing up. Hate parties, for the most part.
Not my holiday.
The funny thing is that this all comes at a time when few believe in Hell, most think their “sins” are not an offense against God, and many try their Wildean best to avoid the appearance of aging, and throw money in a futile Faustian bargain at doctors, trying to avoid their inevitable death.
For all that many enjoy the Lion King’s Circle of Life song, they can’t quite see themselves as nearing the end of that Circle. And, for those without spiritual underpinnings, that “endless” circle is broken.
I started this several days ago, just was too busy to finish. My bloglife is a lot like that lately – not that I’m not interested, just too busy.
Which, is OK with me right now. In the past, I hovered over my blogs. Were enough people reading them? Had I responded to a political issue? In short, did I put my 2 cents in?
I still have strong feelings. But, more often now, I’ve found other people (in REAL LIFE) who are willing to listen to me, and respond in their turn. Taking the blogging discourse into real life is FAR more satisfying.
Plus, over time, I’ve found those on Facebook and Twitter who are simpatico – some of them friends or family offline, as well, others – not.
So, even though I still have a burning desire to have my say, I – more often than not – can get that in other ways.
Right now, I am tired. Weary of the political ads, the “issues”, the “news” clawing at my attention.
Work is tiring – not bad, but truly fatiguing. I’m temporarily overscheduled – mentor stuff, grading, planning, and, now, getting signed up for a Gifted & Talented course – or, rather TWO courses – that I have to take to teach the Honors classes next year.
I’m 2-3 years away from retirement. By that time, I likely will be REALLY ready for the rest.
At that point, I will – FINALLY – have time to write.
Which is my plan.
However, unlike Otis Redding, I am NOT lonely.
Just enjoying the sun – it’s perfect. Mostly dimmed by cloud cover, occasionally breaking through for a dazzling over-the-top light (I left my seat, briefly, to get a hat with a brim). My newly-finished Adirondack chair is comfortable, the air is warmish, without inducing sweat.
So few moments in life are that. We need to stop sometimes to enjoy God’s creation. Just sit in the sun.
And, don’t forget to sit and do NOTHING occasionally.