Archives for the month of: April, 2018

NIMBY

No one wants to live in an industrial power generation facility. Industrial fans hurt people, and they do it today and will be doing it for years to come.

http://gatehousenews.com/windfarms/home/

http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2013/09/our-living-hell-life-next-to-wind-turbines/

A bit of Googling can find many more examples, old and new.

These problems are not new. Not to mention the disrupting and killing of birds and bats.

Oklahoma is about to fritter away $4.5+ billion installing 800 fans in the Pan Handle with 360+ miles of high wires to take the power to Tulsa, then on to MO, LA, AR, and TX. One can call such effort most anything but smart. I expect Wind Catcher to be the last of the large projects completed.

For a telling bit about the lies and exaggerations common with wind, why are they building a 600 MW power line for an installation of 800 2.5 MW fans? (Do the math.)

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/state/route-of–mile-wind-catcher-power-line-concerns-woodward/article_fa380ab5-d101-5255-b174-797e42007dcf.html

https://psoklahoma.com/info/projects/windcatcher/

I expect to see the last industrial fan built in my lifetime.

I expect my grandchildren to have passed from the scene before the last derelict is cleaned up.

Sadly, we humans fail to learn from history and our mistakes.

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I do not understand why someone would file for office as a total unknown.

Take me for instance, if I had filed yesterday, anyone with access to a computer could immediately find reasons to laugh at me, reasons to oppose me, or maybe for the rare few, find reasons to support my candidacy. (Hypothetical, of course.)

There would be no reason to wonder if I might be lying. You can look it up. I’m here. I’m on Facebook. I’ve statements scattered far and wide. You can figure out what I think without asking me to lie about it.

The fee for filing is nontrivial. It costs $1k to file for US Congress. The links are here: https://www.ok.gov/elections/Candidate_Info/Candidate_Filing/ All 794 of these folks plunked down at least $500. I suppose most had someone encouraging them with at least some portion of the fee. (For better or worse.)

Regarding the US Congress, each representative has nearly no significance for the state, except for bringing home some bacon. Not a thing I appreciate, but some find it paramount. My BS detector alarm goes off when I hear too much about “for the people” from candidates for US Congress. I want to know your principles, and I want to know what you intend to work hardest for. Beyond that, Congresscritters just don’t matter to the state, being stuck too close to the political-middle between anything useful.

It is this lot that has me writing at the moment:
UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE – DISTRICT 05
Democrat
00107 W KENDRA HORN, 41, 5909 N Ross Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73112

00295 W TOM GUILD, 63, 2109 Rushing Meadows, Edmond, OK 73013

00444 W LEONA KELLEY-LEONARD, 47, 905 Lincon St, Seminole, OK 74868

00507 T TYSON TODD MEADE, 55, 1728 NW 13th, Oklahoma City, OK 73106

00555 T ED PORTER, 67, 4205 NE 116th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73131

00668 F ELYSABETH BRITT, 39, 13600 N Blackwelder Ave #239, Oklahoma City, OK 73134

Republican
00546 T STEVE RUSSELL, 54, 1291 Scenic Trl, Choctaw, OK 73020

00568 T GREGORY DUNSON, 49, 123 NE 2nd St #365, Oklahoma City, OK 73104

00652 F DeJUAN EDWARDS, 36, 13717 Kirkland Rdg, Edmond, OK 73013

(BTW, WTF? What is W, T, or F on each?)

Ms. Kendra filed first. Cool. Gung ho! I found her with no problem. She looks like the Democratic candidate already, but where is her history? All I can see is lies about bipartisanship and pledges to make the Federal Government more meddlesome in Oklahoma. (I say lies because the Dems are no-nonsense when it comes to toeing the party line. Bipartisanship for Dems is purely partisan. Cooperate only when the party bosses tell you to, or you are out.) Regarding Ms. Kendra’s promise to involve the Fed more, I believe you, and that’s the trouble. (Nyves) (Don’t get me wrong; GOP is similar, but not as Draconian.)

Mr. Tom, need I say more than hope springs eternal?

I’m totally unable to find anything worth mention regarding Ms. Leona. Ms. Leona is sufficiently unknown that my internet searches didn’t find that she filed and ran in 2016 and in 2014, receiving about 7,000 votes both rounds, coming in third both times. I happened to notice the fact looking at other candidates on Ballotpedia.

Regarding Mr. Tyson (I’m sticking with first names), he’s a rocker. Cool, but what does he stand for? The name of his old band (in the political sense) just might foretell the results of his run, but who knows how much his celebrity will gain him.

Mr. Eddie was easy to find, although only political. His bio is worth acknowledging. His Facebook page makes me think I’d appreciate his thoughts on corrections. He seems a general contrarian, though.

Ms. Elysabeth was just as easy to identify politically, and reasonably identifiable otherwise. I applaud her for trying to make herself known.

There is this: http://newsok.com/article/5582043/steve-russell-regains-fundraising-edge-kendra-horn-continues-to-lead-democrats

For the GOP, Mr. Steve is incumbent, and minds are pretty made up. I have a lot of respect for him, his experience, and knowledge, but he isn’t a stickler for precision. He doesn’t always bother double checking before he says things. He’s been in politics too long to find anything nonpolitical, but he’s been in politics long enough, you know what you are getting.

Mr. Gregory and Mr. DeJuan aren’t hard to identify, but they don’t seem to have any politics. Perhaps last-minute decisions.

I just keep wondering why anyone would wade into the muck. Well, no, I understand why someone would wade into the muck and the slime and the stench of politics, because I’ve always felt the pull. But it only takes a little exposure to snap me to my senses. These folks not only took time and made the effort to go down and file, they put their money into it. Those campaigning and fundraising have no out-of-pocket expenses. They let the campaign pay for everything. But, per the news-blurb, there are only three of them with any significant funding. Complain all you want about money, but it is just talk. Money really is speech and protected when used as such. It takes a dollar to do a dollar’s worth of getting the word out. Also, money isn’t everything, just ask HDR. She out spent the Donald two to one.

For me, the bottom line is that it costs me no money to find out. If I can research and do my own homework at no cost beside my time, then I’m okay with any money anybody wants to spend on it all. I can look up news articles. I can research at the library and online. I can find folks on Facebook and LinkedIn, et al. I see it as my responsibility to figure out where the candidate is on positions, and where they are talking out of both sides of their mouth, and where they are likely to compromise effectively, and where they are likely to compromise their principles and disappoint me.

Bloomberg complicates the things involved here, but presents some things well. It is clear that if money was the key, HDR would have won. https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/graphics/2016-presidential-campaign-fundraising/

While about 800 people signed up for about 200 elections, there were still unchallenged positions, with only the incumbent. http://newsok.com/governors-race-tops-oklahoma-candidate-filings/article/feed/2002984 I would like to remind everyone that we were used, especially the teachers. The only real point to the teachers’ strike, especially its timing, was the politics of the Democratic party. Undeniably, we were used and abused, and most people seemed not only eager but happy to oblige. I know it hurt me. I know others suffered in silence.

Elections are messy business. Respectable people will have nothing to do with elections. (Let that sink in.)

That points makes it rather shocking to me that people are willing to give up teaching positions to run for elected office. It will be a rude awakening, a slap in the face. For those few who succeed, the regrets are almost certainly going to outweigh any gains they can point to. I suspect the former teachers who are in office now will admit the life of an elected official is harder than that of a teacher, and generally with fewer rewards.

I’m looking at a lot of research requirements just for the statewide positions and the ones in my district. 15 candidates filed for governor. (15 x $2,000 = $30,000, I would suppose money like that will keep the polls open.) 15 candidates, lots of homework to do, but none of it matters per the experts. The frontrunner is clear. We shall see if the race muddles any. I’d like to see the Libertarians getting some press and stage time. I like their ideas and their flair. (I mean, who doesn’t appreciate that tragic soul, Joe Exotic?)

It will be a relief to have a new representative in District 94. I’ll be doing my homework, but I’m already worried. My main hope is to not have another grandstander.

I noticed something. My initial hypothesis is that there is a causative correlation between district wealth and the number of candidates filing. I’ve tabulated the races with more than four candidates, at least the ones I noticed.

First number is always D, second R, third is L or I, and fourth is I.
Senate 16 has 3 & 3
Senate 30 has 2 & 7
Senate 36 has 2 & 4

House 5 has 1 and 4
House 14 has 2 and 3
House 17 has 2 and 5
House 20 has 1, 6, and 1 (grudge match–people love to hate Bobby)
House 22 has 3, 2, and 1
House 26 has 3 and 3
House 27 has 1 and 5
House 31 has 2 and 3
House 36 has 0 and 5 (Rs)
House 41 has 3 and 6
House 43 has 2 and 4
House 47 has 3 and 4
House 48 has 2 and 3
House 53 has 3, 3, and 1
House 63 has 2 and 4
House 66 has 2 and 3
House 68 has 3, 4, 1, and 1
House 69 has 3 and 2
House 71 has 1 and 5
House 79 has 2, 3, and 1
House 80 has 4 and 3
House 81 has 1, 3, and 1
House 82, jeeze! has 1 and 12
House 86 has 3 and 2
House 91 has 3 and 2
House 95 has 4, 1, 1, and 1
House 98 has 2, 6, and 1
House 99 has 5 and 0
House 100 has 2 and 3
House 101 has 4 and 4

I didn’t double-check my hypothesis or data. I’m mostly noting several races have excessive candidates. The sad part is, it matters so little. No person’s vote really matters. We pretend every vote counts, but it is much more realistic to assume no vote counts.

Larry Norman said it well in many ways so long ago. When he asked who would lead us if none of us would vote, I always knew the loudest mouth or biggest fist would.

I haven’t given up voting, but I sure understand those who neglect it, and those who denigrate it. Voting, democracy, really isn’t all it is cracked up to be. The tyranny of the majority is tyranny nonetheless.

Plato talked about inferiors ruling, but that is inevitable. The only guards are restrictions and limitations on government. Otherwise, the violent do violence, and the manipulative use and abuse us all, far too often in the name of the children or some other vulnerables, never actually helping anyone but themselves.

Bottom line, do your own homework and be an informed voter. Or, forget about it; don’t sweat it, knowing you’ll almost certainly live just and long and die just as happy.

Only Matthew records the tale of the day-laborers in the vineyard.

http://biblehub.com/cev/matthew/20.htm

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.”

The commentaries expound well, but they don’t dig deep. http://biblehub.com/matthew/20-13.htm http://biblehub.com/matthew/20-15.htm

I think it important to remember Jesus’ closing of it, “The last shall be first, and the first last.” We know, we experience so often, this truth. Mark tells us, and Matthew records two instances, where Jesus tells us that from he that hath not, even what he had will be taken away.

http://biblehub.com/matthew/13-12.htm

http://biblehub.com/matthew/25-29.htm

An obvious point is the fleeting nature of worldly goods.

Paul seems to have noticed, and he stated he was content regardless of what he had.

There is a lot in the parable, a lot for every era and time, but I think especially for our time. The day laborers, the notion of fairness, the uprightness of faithfulness even without generosity.

Wikipedia, of all places, has a nice note and interesting details, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Workers_in_the_Vineyard

Perhaps Jesus expected us to assume the owner of the vineyard remembered the command, “You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the LORD, and you be guilty of sin.” http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/24-15.htm

This instruction seems a good thing to remember when considering migrant workers, even foreign workers. (That is a thorny and complex topic. I’d settle for few, limited, simple laws, consistently enforced, that considered each as an individual, not a labeled-group.)

The central point seems to be an individual responsibility to be content with agreements. If I agree to a price, or a wage, that is it. I have agreed. If other considerations make it seem unfair, my obligation is to remain faithful to the agreement. I’m responsible for what I agreed to and fulfilling my part of the agreement. Me, each of us, individually. I am responsible for my agreements and obligations. (Yes, I like redundancy.)

Jesus seems to be condemning the attitude of envy, and that seems consistent with all we know. Life rarely works out fair. Don’t begrudge the fortune of others, for no life is trouble-free. Wealth and influence generally make life less hard, but life, in general, is hard.

I note and emphasize that the owner asserted the right to do with his own as he pleased. That seems especially obvious when the use benefits others.

The owner had no obligation to explain or justify. He had a need, he hired workers to accomplish it. Each worker agreed to work for pay, and apparently only the first hired had established the set amount. (Note that the amount was the then current wage for a day’s work for a day laborer.) Those who went out for less than a full day likely expected a fair portion of the full-day rate. Those last hired were probably resigned to fasting for the day, so what little pay earned could go to feeding the family. Can you imagine the joy and relief each felt while accepting the full portion of pay?

Note that the money belonged to the owner. He, apparently, had earned it. He seems likely to have been a good and honest man. He chose to be generous with his worldly goods, and he chose to pay a full day for everyone that worked for him, even for only a twelfth of that day.

Changing tack, people who work for the government are in a different circumstance. People who work for the government are paid from taxes, money taken from others, for no reason other than the majority voted for it, at least in some roundabout way. Tax expenditures are governed by law, not generosity.

Again, tax expenditures, even if worthy wage paid for worthy work, are governed by law. Generosity is the sole domain of the individual. The government has no positive value. It makes no money of its own. It takes from citizens, and it uses the money according to law. While individuals run a mutually enriching system of agreements and exchange, the government’s system is zero sum. Whatever it gives to one, it took from another (and wasted some along the way). There are valid activities we want the government to do (but that doesn’t address governmental overreach), but when one group riles and rouses the majority and demands more, the fact remains, the favored are gaining at the loss of others.

This brings me back around to envy. It is an individual responsibility to avoid envy, especially that which begrudges and hates others.

Also, faithfulness. Fulfill your obligations, even if someone claims a higher calling. You can’t faithfully fulfill an obligation by abandoning another.

Finally, given the parable is about the kingdom of God, I take the lesson as showing us God treats all equally, and it often doesn’t seem fair.

Oklahoma is in crisis.

The unions are reporting increased parental support, but they’ve lied so much already I won’t accept anything they say.

I’m heart torn. I hurt. We homeschool. So, it doesn’t directly affect my family, but we’ve always supported our local schools and the teachers we know. The slogan is the walkout is for the kids, but the only fact establishable by empirical evidence is the teachers walked out on the children. It is abandonment, betrayal.

I don’t understand it. I know so many teachers, friends, family (including my daughter), younger, older, former, and current. I cannot doubt the heart of any one of them. I honor and respect everyone one of them. They each have accomplished so much, given so much. I trusted them, would have trusted them, but they did not remain faithful.

Again, I don’t understand. I know these teachers have the biggest, most giving, most loving hearts of any people I’ve known; yet, they walked out.

Not only did the teachers and their unions warn they would hold the children hostage and extort the parents, the parents (and legislators) believed them that their plight was dire (It was.), and the State paid the ransom. The legislators bit the bullet and raised taxes, a large tax increase. Sadly, the old adage held. Pay the ransom and embolden the extortionists.

It is interesting, even praiseworthy, how the teachers have acted, and, moreover, how many in our community have responded. Many private people and businesses have provided goods, services, and cash. It is with very mixed emotions that I watch it all. Despite being intimidated and threatened, we love our teachers and continue to work with them.

Of course, there is very little of anything good can be said of any politician in this whole mess. (Well, a small few, but that is not of concern here.) It is hard to condemn the politicians being under so much stress, intimidation, and disparagement. Some messed up, some just didn’t act right, and a few grandstanded and put on the show at every opportunity, never shying from any deriding or devise remark.

An oft-repeated chant aimed to deride the legislators was, “Do your job!” while teachers constantly thronged them and posted derogatory reports whenever the legislator was trying to attend business rather than offer a sympathetic ear. Teachers have boasted of overcrowding the legislators. Teachers complained when their disruption wouldn’t be tolerated. Teachers (and the grandstanding pols) pitched royal fits when the legislature adjourned early one day, and started slightly late the next. Lose-lose for all the legislators but the grandstanders.

As to doing their job, what is their job? The teachers seem to think it is to raise taxes and give the failing education system more money. Is it the job of the legislature to penalize the citizens of the state to appease the teachers unions?

No, the job of a legislative representative is to represent the people who elected him or her. Being in the district of the chief grandstander, it just might be that the majority in my district did so want more expensive failure in education, and the majority may very well have thought it right that grandstander-in-chief opposed all tax increases for being too small, until the strike was certain. (I wrote him often asking him to not raise my taxes and to not make such spectacle of himself.)

However, it is clear from recent history that most of the voters in most of the districts wanted their legislators to represent their interest in holding the line on tax increases. Maybe moods have changed, but it is simply disingenuous to assert the representatives were failing in their job. The legislators were, in fact, fulfilling their duties and obligations. Again, there is blame can be handed round all round, but on the whole, the legislators were doing their jobs, even while being railed against by the grandstanders and union activists.

Amongst the railing and intimidation and threats, the legislatures settled on a package of tax increases that drew compromise agreement of the required supermajority. A large, and likely painful, tax increase, and there were celebrations and dancing in the streets, even a high-five from the Governor as she rushed to sign the measure.

Yet, the strike was still on.

Come Monday, with new tax increases and new laws funding education confirmed and in the books, the strike came. The teachers walked out of their classrooms leaving students and their parents holding the bag. Betrayal of trust by any objective evaluation.

Yet, the parents bucked up and voiced support. I’ve heard no estimates of how many people had to take off work. The cost has to be over several millions of dollars, just for that first day of the walkout. In Oklahoma, it is illegal for teachers (unions) to strike against the school board (their actual employer). However, the school boards also believed the dire circumstances, and many authorized the walkout, keeping it legal.

Still, day two. Surely the teachers had made their point. Surely, with the extraordinary raise (16 to 18% per teacher, and more money for this and that) and tax burden tolerated, the teachers would be happy, but no. The unions had started the mantra Monday that it was never about the raise, never about “the money,” but about the classrooms, about education in the state as a whole. Oklahoma already spends half of its budget on education. One can argue particulars, but one cannot claim Oklahoma doesn’t care about education. That fact mattered not to the unions.

Now, we’ve muddled through the week. Some schools have called the teachers back to the classrooms. A few never walked out at all. (At least one small district sent a delegation of teachers to represent them while classes continued. Quite reasonable, I believe.)

Still, most, including all the larger districts, day by day canceled class for want of teachers. I know not what most of the school boards have done, but they face the very real possibility of having to fire, perhaps even prosecute, teachers if they (the board members) grow stubborn and insistent. There is no win, only harm, in that prospect. It is still possible. It may come to it in some instance.

I’ve waxed verbose, and I offer my appreciation for reading and sharing my pain. I aim to express my disappointment in the teachers, even in those who have vehemently supported them, but my primary aim is to end the betrayal. I hope the teachers will return to class. It is a sad fight. It is sad that it is a fight at all.

While the teachers say the government has failed, it cannot be said the education system is better. There are systemic problems of myriad sort in our education system, even more than our government system. Both are flawed from inception, with error compounded upon error over the decades. Our defects have grown for more than a century. No thorough fix is possible in even a few years.

But we can start, but not while teachers raise ruckus and disgraced politicians show no shame. The legislators cannot do their job while teachers hinder them.

While I sincerely hope the teachers will return to class Monday, we citizens of Oklahoma, all of us, must continue to call upon our legislature to address the flaws in our systems, all our state systems. They are badly broken. The problems are clear, but the causes are not. The remedies are even more elusive, but we must. We simply must find repairs, and we really must install workable systems before we make them all more expensive. We may find we need more taxes. We likely must revamp our taxing system overall.

No easy answers. We won’t find any if we get complacent. We will repeat this hurtful, tragic fiasco again in a few years if we don’t keep at honest effort for accountability and solutions.

 

But hatred is best combined with Fear. Cowardice, alone of all the vices, is purely painful—horrible to anticipate, horrible to feel, horrible to remember; Hatred has its pleasures. It is therefore often the compensation by which a frightened man reimburses himself for the miseries of Fear. The more he fears, the more he will hate. And Hatred is also a great anodyne for shame. To make a deep wound in his charity, you should therefore first defeat his courage.

Screwtape to Wormwood, per C.S. Lewis

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