THEY ARE DESTROYING OUR CHILDREN

Among the members of the South Carolina Organization of Rural Schools (SCORS) . we no longer should think of ourselves as rural, poor and minority. We should not think of ourselves as the Corridor of Shame. Those sobriquets tend to make our children feel as if they are second class and repel those who would want to live there or even teach in those districts.

Evidently the current Supreme Court of the state of South Carolina has no trouble decimating our schools for the sake of some political purpose. The Abbeville equity case has gone on since 1993. It was finally decided in 2014 by a 3-2 vote affirming the plaintiff’s contention that the funding system is unfair and inequitable.

Now, in the last few months of 2017, having replaced two judges, the Supremes now say, by a 3-2 vote, that they are relinquishing control of the case and giving it back to the legislature to attend to. The court also praised the legislature for what they have already done. No one here can figure out what large things have been done to ameliorate the lack of resources and the lack of qualified teachers in rural school districts.

South Carolina educators have not been aggressive in their lobbying efforts. The Abbeville case was their greatest hope for a reversal of policies that always disadvantaged poor and rural schools. As a simple example: whenever funds are dispersed in some sort of novel way, the condition of dispersal is the number of children in the district. Therefore, a small rural district might get an increase of $100 per student and in the same distribution, a wealthy district would get the same amount per child.

Those are seen, by the legislature and the administration, as a bone to be given to the plaintiff districts. In South Carolina, the Superintendent of Education is an elected position. She does not have access to the strings that let loose of the purses of funds. That is left to the legislature.

It even goes further down the line to local legislators who have some control over what is happening in the schools. In a particularly poor county, funds to school districts at the local level are still based on the wealth of the county. I am sure that you can figure out what happens.

It is beyond the scope of my understanding what sense it makes to treat 35% of the children in the state’s public schools in this manner. There does not seem to be any understanding of  how the rest of the country looks at South Carolina. A number of ratings list South Carolina as the 50th state in the union in education. Don’t those in power understand that the future of the economy of the state rests with the generations now in school?

There is much happiness in the upper echelons of government that South Carolina is growing in retirement enclaves. That the newly retired baby boom generation will disappear soon and that the villages of retirement may wind up as Section 8 housing? Will we live off the large companies that dwell here because we are a “Right to Work,” state? When offshore countries, with even lower wages than SC,  attract the companies that reside here now? You may rmember the VW plant in New Stanton, Pa that left after getting a bunch of tax goodies to reside there. They are now gone.

These are such obvious things. How can we not know that we need to offer our children the right to choose what they will be in the future? Do we want them to continue their trail to low wage jobs in a service industry that will end soon enough? Or do we want to offer them the education and training so that they will be proud to be South Carolinians?

Advertisements

WHAT IS A GOOD CHRISTIAN ?

This is a really tough one for me. For I am not a Christian, much less a “Good Christian.” In this time in history, the word Christian has undergone a miraculous change. No longer are those of the Catholic faith, the first Christian faith, considered Christians, but those of all of the Protestant denominations. I am not sure where Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Seventh Day Adventists, the Church of Latter Day Saints, etc. reside in what category.

I have now been told by the media and those who profess to be Evangelical Christians that there is a specific kind of belief that makes you a “Christian.” I can gather from their explanations that you cannot be a Democrat and be a Christian. I am sure that there are Democrats who would probably be surprised by that statement.

Good Christians do not believe in certain parts of the bible. For instance, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you,” is not part of the Christian faith. As an unbeliever, I was always convinced that both the old and new Testaments were pretty much agreed that was a standard for Jews and the followers of Jesus Christ.

Who then is left to lead these new “Christians?” I dug back into history and came up with guys like Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wycliffe, or Huldrych Zwingli; they don’t seem to mesh with any of the modern evangelicals.

There also seems to be a split between some evangelicals and others. The split seems to rest with whether  one follows the Reverend Hagge and religionists like him and people who follow Joel Osteen or other T.V. evangelists. I cannot tell why this is, but it sounds something like what the Sunnis and Shia. There are also many smaller divisions that have sprung up since Mohammed died.

There are also quite a number of schools of jurisprudence in all of these streams. Does that sound familiar? Judaism also has many of these same attributes.

So what are the attributes of the “Good Christians?” I believe that since most of them guns and believe fervently in the second amendment that must be part of their ethos. Supporting politicians, who pretend to be god-fearing church going men? Do not believe in the separation of church and state. Believe that since they have a direct line to the almighty, his work is above the law.

According to the faithful, this country was founded by the faithful Christians. Among them Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and so on. That means that there is a specific kind of religion that rules our country. The current president embodies each of these principles. That is why he is so supported.

Judge Roy Moore is a hero because of his steadfast belief in the Ten Commandments, not the Bill of Rights. All of his actions, both past and present are guided by the good lord. Why even the Governor of Alabama supports him, even though she believes the non-believers who were sexually harassed by Roy Moore.

Of course, this is all very confusing to a non-believer. Sometimes, I am happy about that. I am kind of frightened by the group of Evangelical Christians who believe that the current President is the anti-Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

BLACKBART The best site for fake news

 

 

Since this is our first publication, we will endeavor to bring you along slowly with just a bit of our most fake news items of the day. We hope that you will take everything we say seriously or not.

As reported in the media all over the world,  a fantabulus effort by the Trumpanick has given the United States the lead in interstellar travel. His highly developed intelligence and infallible memory has brought us to the brink of travelling to far off places in the universe.

The announcement by his press secretary Satch Zanders, was surprising since Donny Liddle Hands has not tweeted about this subject at all. His plans include a stop on the rings of Saturn, the planet Youranus and a hop skip and jump to Alpha Centauri.

This will not cost the taxpayers anything. It will be funded by both Guatemala and Panama. The foreign ministers of both countries disclaim any knowledge of this effort. However, the Prez says that he will get the money from them one way or the other.

In the world of foreign relations, the latest news from the Far East is that we are no longer interested in a nuclear threat from North Korea. An agreement has been made that the North will only use its nuclear weapons on South Korea. The President of South Korea was aghast at this declaration and hopes that this is all some misunderstanding or mistranslation.

The world of female genital grabbing is now at a point where old men, such as GHW Bush are now being accused of pushing his wheel chair into position to pinch rear ends. Further investigations into these matters goes as far back as the 1920’s and 1930’s. We now understand that Long John Dong, the famous character actor was an inveterate grabber. The granddaughter of Sewer Rat Barbie, a silent movie star, claims that her grandma swore that she would never be on a stage with that human grabber again. This was a climax of many years of harassing movements and phone calls.

Figures on the right, left and center of the political spectrum are now coming out of hiding and telling us all that this has been habitual all along. Although power is seen as the instigation of these activities, this reporter thinks that it is sexual and that the aim is sexual gratification that these folks can’t get at home. Many of their extra-marital hand motions lead to divorce.

Very recently, the Bush, father and son, have conspired to heap trash on our beloved President. In a new book called, The Meshugena, the Bushes excoriate the current President by claiming that he was not born in this country. They say that he was the love child of French singer Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier. They claim that after extensive investigation, they have, in their possession the actual long form birth certificate. This certificate states plainly that a male child was born in Clichy Hospital in Paris in 1946. The named mother is on the certificate is Edith Giovanna Gassion (the real name of Edith Piaf) and the named father is Jacques Clouseau (obviously a pseudonym of Maurice Chevalier).

The President promises to release his income tax forms for the past eight years, as soon as meaningful tax reform and actual repeal and replacement of Obamacare are accomplished. However, he will not release them until the IRS completes their audits.

LOOK PAST HIS WORDS

Human speech to express oneself does not matter anymore. Social media verbiage has nothing to do with what a person does or is going to do. We must look past his/her words to determine what a person is really going to do. Let’s take a closer look at what this all can mean in everyday life.

Schneck v. United States in 1917 clarified what free speech meant. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said (I paraphrase), free speech does not mean shouting, “Fire in a crowded theater.” That suggests that speech of any kind has some meaning. In this case, Mr. Schenck was handing out leaflets to draftees in World War 1 to avoid the draft. His actions occurred during World War I and was deemed to be dangerous to the war effort.

So then, free speech has some meaning for the courts. Sometimes, the courts do look past the words themselves and delve into the thoughts behind the words. This is true in many cases. If you are at a bar and get mad enough about someone and say, “I am going to kill you,” does that mean that you are planning to do so? The words are one thing, but the underlying feeling is another.

So the expression, “Do as I say, not as I do,” has no meaning any more. That was a saying that I heard all throughout my youth. It had a great deal of meaning to me. It avoided looking at a hypocrite straight in the eye and telling him/her off. How many times did an adult tell me in my teen years not to smoke because it would stunt my growth? All the time that the adult was smoking.

Now, I am very confused. When the talking heads say, look beyond the words to what the actions are, I lower my eyes and try to see that. I do not succeed. I have just heard a new thing that I am ruminating over. Someone just said that what a particular person is saying is just, “hyperbole.” What in G-d’s name does that mean? Will we now drag out “poetic license?” Is there no end to this foolishness?

Can you imagine a world where speech has no meaning? If someone says “white” and then does “black” is that the way humans operate. Can we be sure that words mean nothing, but we wait for actions? What if those actions never come? Is this all too confusing? It is to me, but maybe you understand it. Good for you.

WE GO TO COLLEGE

Every so often, Carol and I take a trip to a college with a bunch of students from Ridgeland Hardeeville High School in Jasper County South Carolina. Sometimes, we arrange for the trip ourselves and take our Jasper Gentlemen and Diamonds and Pearls. These are the two groups of young ladies and gentlemen that we work with during the year.

In some other instances, the trip is arranged through the guidance department or in past years, by the Gear Up program or other in school organizations. This time the trip was in the hands of the guidance department. They are exceptionally organized. The 44 students that we took were all seniors and some of them were in the groups that we work with.

The counselors, and there are three, have an itinerary that they distribute to all of the students. This document is extremely specific about times and places. The reason things were that way is because we visited three schools. Carol and I had trouble believing that we would actually visit three schools in one day having arrived at the first school and 9:30.As I looked at the itinerary, I was concerned that I would not even make it to the second school, much less the third one.

We arrived at Claflin University on time. Our bus driver, Mr. Washington was a pro at getting us to places on time and with little effort. Claflin is a private historically black university with a beautiful campus and a long history of successful graduates. If stability has any part in the success of an organization, Claflin has it. The President, a Dr. Tisdale, has been there for 34 years.

We were greeted by an interesting woman from the admissions office. She was to present to us, the process for admission and student life. Carol and I have seen well over 100 presentations at colleges and universities. We have never seen a presentation such as this. Ms. Payton was clearly expert at getting the attention of young people. Each point that she made was accompanied by gyrations, laughter emotion, dance steps and questions for her audience. The students were entranced by her.

They probably learned more in that 30 minute presentation about scholarship possibilities, student life and how to succeed in college, than they had known, or maybe will know from anyone else. She was at the same time loving, contrary, accusatory, accepting and many more emotions. Frankly, I was out of breath when she finished.

She then surprised us again, but telling us that she was going to be our tour guide for a while, until her Ambassadors (student guides) got out of their morning classes. That is exactly what happened. The guides were informative and supportive. One of them was a former student from Ridgeland Hardeeville High School. He knew many of the seniors from his time there and in the community. It was an advantage.

South Carolina State University is next door to Claflin. It is about twice Claflin’s size. It is the only historically black state college in South Carolina. We pulled up near the fine arts building. I was happy that we waited a while before the tour. I had texted some of our Jasper Gentlemen from last year. They both appeared at our gathering. It was so great to see them.

I believe, from what they said that they are both doing well. One of them is also involved in creating a new line of sports clothing. I never knew that when he was in high school. The other young man, Jamar, was particularly close to me. He was undecided about going to college until the last part of his high school career. His entrance in SC State was a wonderful accomplishment.

I asked him if he could speak to some of our gents who were worried about getting in to college and succeeding there. Jamar pointed about working hard, getting tutoring if you needed it, and going to class. He also said that you should get out of your room, make new friends, and get used to how things worked. You cannot imagine how proud I am of Jamar.

Our tour of South Carolina State University was long and warm. By that time, the sun was out in full force. I was wearing a sport jacket and Carol had a warm jacket on. It was kind of chilly in the morning, when we got up. Now it was in the middle 70’s and we began to roast.  The student guides were very informative and took us to a number of the dorms. Our group was very interested in how things worked. They found out about ID cards and how they worked along with the cash in your account to get meals or snacks. The student union was also a highlight of both schools.

By the time we finished with SC State, we were all ready to eat. We pulled up on the side of a Saxby’s (Southerners will know this place) and a Burger King. Most of the students had money to buy, but if they did not, someone gave them some. It was the first relaxation of the day, other than the bus ride.

We gobbled up our lunch and headed over to the Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College. Although we are very close to the Technical College here in Beaufort-Jasper County, we have not visited or had a tour. These folks at OC are really up on things. The presentations that we heard in the various areas were sparkling. Carol and I decided that these people could sell ice to the Inuit.

The various programs that we saw were forensics, computer technology, welding and robotics. Frankly, I would have loved to take the computer technology course myself. The instructors were very clear about the chances of getting jobs with the many certificates that you could come out of a two year course.

The school has memorandums of understanding with four year schools in the area. Their explanations of the programs were complete and understandable. They were right on target.

We left OC technical college with some hope that our students got as much out of it as they could. Some have even applied online already. Will follow their progress when we meet individually.

HOW STUPID DOES HE THINK WE ARE?

By this time, most of you have heard or read about Senator Bob Corker being critical of President Trump. His words are actually pretty scary. However, now that our world has been further divided, we can no longer be sure of how certain people perceive what is going on.

We have now been divided into even more groups. We now have liberals and conservatives, globalists and non-globalists, establishment Republicans, moderate Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats and a world filled with immigrants, dreamers, non-white people, and the one percenters and on and on.

To say that I am confused would be to understate my feelings about things. I have just read an article that clarifies almost everything for me. The gist of the article is that Steve Bannon is very happy about Senator Corker’s rant about President Trump. He now has a cudgel to whip the entire establishment Republicans.

Since Corker laid out the scene that many Republicans in the senate feel the same way as he does, Bannon will now be able to blame the “establishment” for the lack of action on health care, tax reform and other high minded legislation.

Meanwhile, we await the sturm and drang that the President has promised to lay on the “little rocket man.” I am not sure what that means, but it does rattle my bones. Do people like Steve Miller, Bannon, and Jones really believe that brinkmanship with a deluded dictator will cure the ills of the world? Will ripping up the Iran agreement make the Middle East any safer?

I guess now I know what a globalist is. It is someone who does not want World War III to break out. Do these fragmentalists (my word) believe that they will change the course of our country by deluding their own followers for much longer? Yes, polls don’t always work, but most of the time they do. Unless, of course an election was “rigged” (I forgot who used those words) with the help of a foreign friend.

Having spent most of my adult life advocating and living with rural people, the same lack of understanding permeates our current government. The prejudice against rural people is long standing. The current crop in Washington is no different than those that came before. Their mantra is that rural people are dumb and you can put things over them.

No, they are not dumb. They were looking for someone to lift them out of the doldrums. They wanted someone who understood their needs. They wanted someone who spoke their language and could dethrone the liberals who had never understood them.

It is now dawning on many people in rural areas of our country that they have been hornswoggled. The new elitists speak a different jargon, but they still have the same view of rural folks. If anyone has ever seen the movie, “Face in the Crowd,” with Andy Griffith, you will know what I mean.

Watch it all of you deconstructers. You will have awakened a sleeping giant who will not look kindly at you and your confreres.

 

 

 

 

 

THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AND THE FLAG

Colin Kaepernick will suffer most for his kneeling as a signal that violence against black men is not what this country was founded on. None of the people, coaches, players, owners in all of the sports leagues, entertainers, politicians,  will  suffer like Colin.

So we have a prejudice against those athletes, or rather black athletes who make a great deal of money for a few years and then retire. Is it true that we resent the money that they make, or the color of their skin? Take a look to see how long these people last in their chosen sport of mayhem and violence. I believe the tenure is about 3 years and all the players don’t make as much money as Russell Wilson and Cam Newton.

Should we now castigate Senator Corker who has said that it is only because of General Mattes, Secretary Tillerson and General Kelly that we have not descended into chaos? He may not have knelt, but he certainly disrespected our President. Is that equivalent to kneeling?

Let’s observe the chief female grabber’s history with the flag and the national anthem. When the Vietnam War occurred, Mr. Trump got 5 deferments. He never was in the military while our countrymen fought and died for their country. He was living off dad’s money and having a ball. If you are interested about his deferments go to http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/celebrity/deferments-helped-trump-dodge-vietnam and read how he managed to stay home and respect the flag and the national anthem.

Our country was built on disrespect. We disrespected the British for trying to make us in their own image. Our founding countrymen and women did more than kneel to not pay obeisance to the crown. They fought and died for their ideals.

The disrespect for the status quo took many forms. It led to the fight that women made against the hegemony of white males. The disrespect shown by Rosa Parks to think that she could sit anywhere on a bus or a lunch counter. The gall of Mohammed Ali to object to the Vietnam War and forsake his career as a boxer. We saw the disrespect of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who refused to salute the flag in 1944 which led them to the Supreme Court and their victory in Barnette v. West Virginia.

We saw disrespect when we did not have a national anthem from the time we were formed until 1931, Although the lawyer Francis Scott Key wrote the words in 1814, the song went through many argumentative phases. Some critics saw the words as anti-British (which they were) while we were allies in WW I, and others, especially military bands played them as part of their repertoire of patriotic songs.

Another objection was that the song required a special voice with a very large range, maybe 4 octaves. To prove that the song could be song by sopranos, congress organized 4 sopranos to sing before congress to show that even a woman with a high voice could sing it. There was still objection and other suggestions. President Hoover signed the bill making in official in January of 1931.

The Philadelphia Flyers hockey team showed disrespect to the anthem by playing God Bless America at their games. They believed that playing that song by Kate Smith would bring them luck. It did as they won 2 straight Stanley Cups.

I have been to many sporting events in my almost 79 years. My experience at all levels of sports has shown me that there are people who just don’t stand for the anthem. Whatever their reasons, I have no idea. I always stand for the anthem. I have also sung the anthem for a number of sporting events. It always gives me chills. That’s my opinion.

I could see why certain people would not stand. They have their reasons. I understand that they have a right and maybe a duty to stand by their convictions. Our forefathers, our fallen military people, our great heroes in this country fought the battles to enable us to choose and carry out our convictions. Let it always be thus and in our minds, hearts and vision always see our flag unfurled. We are still the most wonderful country in the world.