Archives for the month of: March, 2018

I’ve seen my share of references, so I assume you’ve seen the headlines too.

Pope Francis is reported to have said those who refuse God eventually disappear. Official sources clarify that the report is exactly that, a report, not a quote. Given the Pope’s penchant for unorthodox views, I wouldn’t put it past him, but this ancient reporter seems likely to have added his own slant. I’m not sure why the Pope would interview with someone who is known for overt agenda, but oh well.

Apparently, it wasn’t supposed to be an interview at all. “A recent meeting between Pope Francis and Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, 93, was a “private meeting for the occasion of Easter, however without giving him any interview,”” … “Scalfari, a self-proclaimed atheist…”

I pulled from the Catholic News Agency, CNA news report here.

Regardless of what the Pope may think, Jesus had a few things to say about hell, and folks talk about translation and context, which is certainly needful, but Jesus didn’t pull any punches here: http://biblehub.com/matthew/18-8.htm What might he have meant by fire that endures the ages if not a fairly conventional definition of hell?

There are limitations to the information we have, and there is even more limitation to our potential to understand. Our understanding is truly finite and limited.

What a conundrum we have when we consider time.

If we exist, there is time. It exists as sure as anything.

Time is hardly more than the running down of our universe. Sure, we can complicate, and when we must consider the things that time affects, we must be more precise, but I consider here time of itself, moreover, eternity.

If time exists, eternity must. Time began with the universe. Time is a property of the universe, the space-time continuum, we correctly call it.

Eternity is without time; there is eternity; eternity is.

See? Eternity is not a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Time is what you have when you do not have eternity, or rather, when you are limited and expiring.

Can we accept eternity as a foundational, fundamental, encompassing premise? I assert we must. We know time is finite, at least as it pertains to our existence, our reality. If time is finite, must there not be more, something beyond time, something that has nothing to do with time, something for time to happen in? How can we be reasonable if we reject the notion.

How can we reason at all if we assume that all that exists is finite? Accepting nothing beyond the finite defies meaning as a premise. It reduces all to fundamental happenstance with no intent, no direction, no meaning, no reason. I hold it unreasonable to assert there is no reason. I hold it meaningless to assert there is no meaning. As has been rightly observed, we act as though we believe in reason and meaning. We act as though we mean something when we say it, as though we are reasoning when we suppose something.

Let us agree on eternity as a foundational premise.

Now, is eternity divine?

That is a question that seems certain to have two, and only two, possible answers, yes or no.

A religious view would probably shun the notion of eternity as the divinity, but can it not be fundamentally divine? Yes, it can. It is also possible that it is not. If not, we are looking again at utter happenstance with no possibility of meaning.

Still, blatant finitude, absolute meaninglessness, is a possibility we cannot disprove. Yet, if there is infinity, eternity, and it is divine, we end up assuming some divinity, some ultimate divine, eternally existent, infinite (not finite in any way) being. Well, hold up. Not necessarily a being. Still, something ultimate, infinite, unlimited, unbounded.

Shifting from the external and ultimate, let us look within. We do not, and perhaps cannot, understand consciousness. We have working models—workable, useful tools, but no understanding. We act as though we have a soul, but we explicitly denounce the soul as unknowable, unverifiable. We treat each other as sovereign souls (at least ideally–we know we should), as entities embodying the divine, the image of God, be that defined as it may. We, at least ideally, act as if it is so. If we act as though we have a soul while discounting it, what can we surmise as basis? Can we suppose that there must be something divine, eternal, within? Is there some attribute and capacity of ourselves, our consciousnesses, that is actually and truly eternal? It seems a reasonable assumption, a justifiable premise.

If we accept eternity, and we assume we are, at least in some way, part of it, then ultimately, we will exist long after the universe, long after world’s-end. (There I go assuming time again.) Fundamentally, the worthwhile possibilities for consideration are only two: With the divine in eternal existence, or without the divine in eternal existence. Unbounded existence with God, or without God. Regarding this latter, what more definition of hell might one propose?

I find it an undeniable possibility that there be no heaven, but if there is heaven, there most certainly is hell.

Micah 6:8

 

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Instead of fighting over whether the census should ask about citizenship, like Fred said to Ginger, let’s call the whole thing off.

We should work an amendment through the processes and fix it permanently, but Congress has the power to pass laws to direct the manner of census. They could simply direct the manner to be statistical.

We know how to do it, and it would save a lot of money. Of course, there is that “actual enumeration” phrase. My argument is that an actual enumeration of every person, citizen or otherwise, is quite impossible. The confidence intervals are hardly tighter for the full census than for thorough statistical estimates. Congress has the power to enforce. They can do this if they have the will.

The worry is apportionments. While Representatives and corresponding electoral votes are decided this way, it’s really all about the money. (Isn’t it always?) Which State gets more money is partly based on which State has more people. The definition of people has changed throughout history. So the change continues.

The question is really addressing how we should define people nowadays. I support treating every individual as one individual, not as a member of a group or class, but as a single, self-sovereign individual. So, let the statisticians and pollsters count heads, every head, regardless of other characteristics. Let them satisfy the proven models (and reprove and improve the models with oversight and some regularity), and let’s use the numbers for apportionment. The portion is never fully based on just the numbers. (Some Congresscritters are just better at bringing home the bacon.)

The apportionments for 350,000,000 people split unevenly among the States, and cannot be evenly, fairly divided, at least not perfectly. We are human after all. The population is also dynamic, so what was “perfect” yesterday is faulty tomorrow.

Let’s drop the full mansion-to-mansion, door-to-door, hovel-to-hovel, bridge-to-bridge, shelter-to-shelter notion of census. The money saved will more than make up for any slight deviation of this group versus that group. There will be more money left over to apportion, so even the underestimated groups will end up with more. Win-win!

The point of the census is apportionment. A person is a person. The community deals with every member. We have needful reasons to be mindful of the ramifications of citizenship, et al., but not here, not with the census. Apportionment must consider persons, nothing more.

Note, the Constitution very specifically considers citizens for privileges, such as the vote, but it just as specifically considers persons, individuals without regard to other characteristics, for protection and due process. No person can be denied equal protection under the law. Every jurisdiction in the USA is bound to provide protection to every person within the jurisdiction so far as the law is concerned. Every protection equally, to citizen or alien, sinner or saint. Equal under the law.

Please, also, don’t conflate need to offer protection with general aid. No, the jurisdiction doesn’t owe you anything except protection from others infringing your basic rights as a human, as a fellow traveler in this brief moment we have, this experience we share.

Some background:

https://usconstitution.net/

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers…actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. Originally Reps per State could not exceed one per 30,000. (Getting back to that proportion is an idea worth considering.)

14th
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Since no taxation without representation was a founding principle, our Constitution says no representation if you aren’t taxed. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding [those] not taxed. The wording in this section is outdated, but the point is, the vote can be denied to criminals, but those who cannot vote cannot be counted for apportionments.

Many offices in the USA and the States require an oath. Ever breaking that oath disqualifies you from holding Federal elected office. Congress can override with 2/3rd.

USA debt cannot be questioned. It is valid by law, etc.

Congress has the power to send armed enforcers if they want to keep you in line.

 

 

Who Do Teachers Work For?

First, why, in public education, are teachers paid, pretty much, all the same? In life, everything sorts. Some are good at something, most are not. Those who are good sort further into adequate, competent, good, better, outstanding, etc. Shouldn’t the best be paid more than the mediocre? Can’t the mediocre acknowledge their lot and either be content or strive more diligently?

Think back. Didn’t you have a few poor teachers? Weren’t most of your teachers good? Perhaps you had one or two really great teachers, perhaps none, very unlikely more than two. Obviously, the compensation and recognition of the best should be more than the lesser. (Some won’t agree. They have their reasonings and rationalizations.)

Back to the question: For whom do teachers work?

If I hire a teacher to tutor my child, obviously the teacher works for me. Of course, government-organized schools add several complications, but let us consider this simple case.

If I hire a teacher, we two set the pay. We two set the conditions and guidelines for the education. For the most part, I can alter any pertinent consideration, and the teacher can agree or tender resignation. Where circumstances set such arrangements, they are typically mutually beneficial, and mutually satisfactory and fulfilling. This one-on-one arrangement cannot exist in the public school, in the government dictated school. It is the nature of authoritarianism. (Perhaps some of the downside can be mitigated, but that is another topic.)

Let us assume the teacher and I have agreed her duties also include full supervisory responsibilities during the workday, such that she is caregiver for my seven-year-old as well as teacher. Perchance, she recognizes that just down the road, she could earn at least 20% more than I pay her. If she decides she needs a raise (or she will seek her fortune down the road) she can ask for a raise or other consideration. Let us assume I simply am at my budget limits. I cannot pay more or provide any additional consideration that extracts from my budget elsewhere, or I will fall in arrears. Assume I am blacklisted and no one will lend to me. I have no ability to pay more. It is reasonable for said teacher to give notice. She has no future obligation past a reasonable notice. However, would not all agree that she treats me diabolically if she calls me at work the next morning and states she will abandon me and my child at this very moment if I agree not to an 18% raise. (She asserts she is compromising, meeting me part way. Of course, she is also insisting I hire a helper for her.)

Think it through. How is a teacher walkout here in Oklahoma any different in the general sense?

Certainly, there are differences in the details, but how is what the teacher’s unions propose any less extortion versus what I suppose of this fictitious nanny-teacher?

Am I exaggerating that the budget is set? Am I exaggerating that no money can be borrowed? Am I exaggerating the example of extortion with the child held hostage at threat of abandonment?

You may not like my candor, but you cannot call me a liar. These are the facts.

Teachers in the government-dictated public schools still, notionally, work for the parents, yes? Of course, yet there are many complications.

While the ideal is that the teacher is accountable to the parents of the children in her classroom, the fact is, most of those parents are hardly involved. Sadly, most of those who are involved draw the ire of the teachers and administration for being meddlesome. Involved parents may help in one area, but such parents hinder accomplishment of legislative dictates and administrative objectives. If you doubt my assertion here, I consider it probable you are not significantly involved in your children’s school.

The practical matter is the teacher answers not to the parents, but to the signer of her paycheck. She answers to the principal, to the school board, and to the bureaucracy. Let us not overlook the complicating factor that the bureaucracy includes that of the school, that of the state, and that of her union.

In the final analysis, she works for and answers to the principal and this complex of bureaucratic requirements and expectations. When the bureaucracy demands she abandons the children, holding them hostage and extorting the parents, what else can she do? While she probably worries that she will not be paid while on strike, she knows she will not be paid if she is pushed out by the bureaucrats. Our teachers are in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t conundrum.

While the ground truth is harsh, the right thing is clear. Teachers owe loyalty to the students and the parents. If teachers abandon and betray the students and parents…

No one respects a betrayal. Cowardice is the one failing that always hurts, always hurts in every way, always hurts everyone affected, everyone who remembers, everyone failed by the coward, especially the coward.

Hate has its pleasures. Hate is too often used to cover the pain of cowardice. Blame and shame casting, likewise.

The simple fact of the matter is teachers are betraying those they work for and those for whom they are responsible. There is no sin greater than betrayal.

Frankly, if you can’t hack it, get out. What is the adage? First, do no harm. Only harm comes from betrayal. Accept responsibility and acknowledge the truth and stand faithful. Lead by example, not coercion.

Again, remain faithful. Lead by example, not coercion.

Micah 6:8

It’s still the 80s (well, maybe),

And Stryper is still rocking the long-hair.

Sorry
It doesn’t always make it starry
Maybe next time be more charming
So you don’t have to say Sorry

Actually, I was thinking of going a bit farther back:

What a mess the world is in, I wonder who began it
Don’t ask me, I’m only visiting the planet
This world is not my home
I’m just passing through

And,

Don’t forget, without love, you ain’t nothin’.

It is truly sad this song is still so relevant:

And your money says in God we trust,
But it’s against the law to pray in school;
You say we beat the Russians to the moon,
And I say you starved your children to do it.
You say all men are equal, all men are brothers,
Then why are the rich more equal than others?
Don’t ask me for the answer, I’ve only got one:
That a man leaves his darkness when he follows the Son

I said a bit on my Facebook page. Here, I’m pasting a couple of links and just saying I don’t like none of it! PSO is messing up. OK Corp. Comm. is messing up. The end result will be unjustifiable suffering for far too many no matter how it turns out.

Oklahoma’s Corporation Commission asks Public Service Co. of Oklahoma to seek settlement on its Wind Catcher plan, by Jack Money

PSO, Walmart reach Wind Catcher agreement, Ryan Miller

Over and over for over three thousand years, we have abandoned windmills. We will this time, too. Then, someone will still have to clean up the mess.

While teachers and other state workers plan to hold me, the rest of Oklahoma tax payers, and our children hostage, our education leaders do things like extend the contract of the Tulsa Superintendent, paying her roughly a quarter-million per year (plus any official expenses, of course). http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/education/tulsa-school-board-strikes-three-year-contract-deal-with-next/article_cdd7589c-c7bb-5019-bba9-8a6347b35fd2.html

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/education/deborah-gist-s-contract-renewed-tulsa-public-schools-superintendent-remains/article_b183e73a-6023-57c2-af55-dbfca517b8f8.html

Apparently, new teachers should only get $31k, and generally not get raises for years (and experienced, proven teachers don’t end up making much more in many instances), but administrators pull in the big bucks, and news editors proclaim how much they deserve it. Hmm…

Still, apparently, the situation is my fault.

I mean, it must be. The teachers and other school officials (and state workers) all clamor that I’m not paying enough taxes. They say shaking me down is the only solution to their problems.

Well, obviously, I disagree.

If the Oklahoma City Superintendent, making only a little less than Tulsa’s, wouldn’t stick it out, I think the problem is not the money. I mean, who walks away from a $220k per year job because of a bad day at the office? It must have been a really bad day.

Sure, the Supers have to be paid something, and that quarter-million won’t cover much of the needs of the districts, but we keep pouring more money into education, and education keeps declining. It isn’t a money problem! The problems aren’t such that money will fix!

If teachers walk out of classrooms in Oklahoma, that says plainly that teachers don’t care about the students. Sorry, no other way to look at it. You can pretend the teachers have no recourse, but that is a lie. It is simply untrue.

In general, in most individual instances, we pay for perceived value. Sure, many things skew this or that, but for the most part, compensation is consistent with perceived value received.

I suspect most people will argue that teachers deliver more value than they are paid for. Well, true. Really, our teachers are delivering more value than they are being paid in compensation, but (you knew there’d be a but) Oklahomans are paying for an education system, not just teachers.

I, for one, think Oklahoma is taking more from me than is justifiable.

Oklahoma governments (including local) take from me in multiple taxes, and they take from me every year–in sales taxes, every day. They take from me with every utility bill, and they take from me every time I buy fuel.

Scott Inman, my representative (who has me blocked on his Facebook page), voted against raising taxes on me. I thank him for that, but he said he did so because the tax increase wasn’t large enough! Good heavens! He shouted that the proposed tax hiked taxes on the little guy, but not on the fat cats. I’m not sure who he meant, but he called them the Republican’s fat cats. Since Scott wanted more taxes on oil, I reject his argument.

Scott Inman and other Democratic representatives insisted on more cost imposition on oil companies. I suppose he thinks “the little guy” is too dumb to realize that the imposed cost is simply passed on in higher fuel prices, higher utility bills. I suppose Scott thinks “the little guy” will feel better about pretending “big oil” is paying a fair share, while each paycheck stretches tighter with increased cost of fuel for getting back and forth to work. I’ll simply remind that no business actually pays taxes. All businesses have costs, and taxes are simply costs. Prices charged must exceed all costs, or the business is bankrupt. Taxes on business, all taxes on business, are simply and only taxes on the little guy.

Overall, the governments of Oklahoma (and the USA) take more from me, by force, than can be justified by the services (including primary and secondary) rendered.

It is too much. Government is too much. The education establishment, with all its state employees, administration, and staff is too much!

We can pay teachers more without tax increases. We should pay teachers more, but it won’t help with the system. Education is broken, and no amount of money will fix it. (Just ask Aurora Lora.) Superintendents have some ability to fix things in their districts, but school board administrators must cooperate. Teachers unions have to get out of the way. Still, all that is only a small part of the problem. The first step is to end compulsion. While we coerce children and parents into State-sanctioned schools, the education cannot but worsen. The plight of teachers cannot but worsen.

Regarding unions in general, they exist to oppose the “boss,” yes?

Of course. Unions exist to collectivise the workers against the employer. The notion, which has sometimes been true, was employers exploited workers for greed.

Okay, but when have parents been greedy and knowingly exploitive of teachers?

Don’t teachers work for the parents?

I know unions disagree, but don’t we all say that teachers work for the parents, for the students? Isn’t that what we all assert?

Then the unions oppose the parents and students.

Yes, there is no way around it. Teachers unions exist to coerce and tyrannize parents, students, and taxpayers in general. That is who teachers work for. That is who unions oppose.

We err with teachers unions. Teachers err with unions.

Union coercion is part of the problem. Nobody likes to be coerced.

Coercion is evil.

 

 

 

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