December 11, 2013
Things are not all merry and bright at the North Pole. Rumblings of revolution among Santa’s Elves are causing unrest, and Santa’s Chief Elf is planning insurrection. Watch what happens when our favorite fire-breathing, Capitalist, psychotherapist chicken, The Little Red Hen, offers a frustrated short guy a little elf-help advice.
Setting: Doctor Little Red Hen’s office
Characters: Doctor Hen, Collywobbles the Elf (foreman of Santa’s Workshop, LLC)
Doctor Hen: Bug, bug bugaawk, welcome Mr., uh, Cablewaders.
Collywobbles: That’s Collywobbles, COLLYWOBBLES!
DH: Oh my! Why so testy, Mr. Wollycobbles?
CW: Are you messin’ wit’ me, hu, chicken? Don’t mess wit’ me, you’ll be very sorry.
DH: Excuse me for a minute. Bug, bug, bugaaawwk, bugaaawk. (She reaches underneath herself and pulls out an egg) Mess with who? Are you trying to threaten me? (throwing the egg violently at the elf’s head) Take that you little shit!
CW: OOOOWWW! What the…dammit! You hit me with a friggin’ egg!
DH: Sit down, and take one minute to tell me why you’re in my office, threatening me. Do you think you’re tough, you runt?
CW: Okay, lady, er, Ms. Chicken, I get it. I’ll just sit right here.
DH: My name is Doctor Hen, Little Red Hen if you want to be formal. You pay me for an hour of my time not to threaten me, intimidate me, or vent your hatred in my general direction, but to gleefully accept my guidance and advice on how to make yourself a little less loathsome.
CW: (wiping egg off his face) Yeah, I get it.
DH: Why are you here?
CW: I’m a little low, you know, feeling kinda heavy.
DH: Well, you’re abnormally short, and pretty fat. You should feel low and heavy. Do you have any feelings other of the expected self-loathing that is natural to someone as squat and unattractive as yourself, Mr. Cobbywaddles?
CW: Wow, you are one tough broad.
DH: Very good. That’s the first thing you’ve gotten right so far. Now that you seem clear about my boundaries, go ahead and tell me, what problem brings you to my office?
CW: Well, ya see, things aren’t going so well at work. There’s a lot of tension. A LOT of tension.
DH: And, where do you work?
CW: Well, this is all very top secret stuff. Can I trust you?
CW: Please don’t let this get out. If I blow Santa’s cover…erp!
DH: Oh, Mr. Clobberwadder, I think I understand now…are you an elf? Are you one of Santa’s helpers? Bugaaawk! Hot damn! I have an elf in my office. HA!
CW: Oh geeze, Mrs. Doctor Chicken, please don’t let this get out. It would be really bad for us…us elves.
DH: No need to worry. I suspected it anyway. Who the hell else wears pointy green slippers with bells, and speaks like Richard Simmons sucking helium? So, tell me about the tension at work. How does it make you feel?
CW: Believe you me, it makes me feel very, very pissed. You see, I’ve been kind of agitatin’ the other elves, you know, reminding them that Santa…uh, the large fat guy who employs us, doesn’t pay us what we’re worth. They’re all gettin’ shafted by big fatty, and they don’t even realize it!
DH: Reality Therapy is one of my specialties, so let’s get real. You are extremely short, fat and malformed. You have a voice so irritating it gives me a rash just to hear you talk. Think about it, who else would hire you? SERIOUSLY! Santa Claus is your god-send. You would be working in the circus or in production at MSNBC if it wasn’t for the kindness of the old guy.
CW: Oh, you don’t know the half of it. Let me tell you about the hardships I endure for San…ugh…I can barely say his name without gagging, Santa! I sew the button noses on teddy bears. Day in, day out. My back aches, my fingers are calloused, and all I get for my effort is $32K plus benefits. Who can raise a family on that, hu?
DH: And…how many weeks a year do you work for Mr. Claus?
DH: Out with it!
CW: From the end of October until January 11.
DH: Ten weeks! TEN CLUCKING WEEKS! You have it really good elf, perhaps you should leave before I change all of that.
CW: But, what about my problems?
DH: Uh, hu. I have to be straight with you, Mr. Clabberwaffle, workplace issues are not my field. I help people with their psychosocial issues. You come to me whining about getting shafted by your boss when half of the country is unemployed and 60 million chickens are on food stamps, and you want sympathy? Ain’t gonna happen. I’ll be nice and just charge you for half an hour. Please pay nurse Henny Penny on the way out.
CW: No, no, uh, Doctor Chicken lady. This ain’t really about workplace issues. It’s about my innermost feelings about making more money per hour for the toil I put in to make frigging toys day and night. Can I tell you something?
CW: Me and the other elves…we’re planning a walk-out the day before Christmas. Shhhh. Very confidential.
DH: Were you born an idiot, or did your mother use your head to tenderize her minute steak?
CW: An elf labor strike is the only way to get Santa to pay attention to the injustices of his work conditions. An hour for lunch is too short. We want fresh donuts in the break room. It’s only fair. And bigger bonuses. Yes! BIGGER BONUSES!
DH: You should be wishing for bigger penises.
DH: Excuse me for a moment. Bugaaawwwk. Oh, look at that, I dropped my pen and I must bend over to pick it up off the floor. Buugaaawwwk, buugaaww, buu, BUUGAAAAWK! (while stooping over, an egg shoots out of her butt with great force and hits the elf in the head)
CW: OUCH! Son of a…what the…holy sh..you just shot a frigging egg out of your butt and hit me in the head! That hurt!
DH: Good! Now, sit still while I slap you around a bit.
CW: NO! Please, no! Look, I just came here looking for a little emotional support. This is a very stressful time!
DH: Stressful? Look, punk, I know your boss. He’s a friend of mine, we go waaay back. Now, Santa Claus knows stress. Think about it you pea-brained puke. The happiness of every child on the planet is on his shoulders. Every year he visits every hopeful kid in the world, and NEVER disappoints. Sure, some kids get toothpick dolls and some kids get ponies, but everyone gets something, all thanks to Santa. All he asks from you, you little maggot, and the other elves–who are paid very well, by the way–is ten weeks of effort to make the world a happy place for one little night. Santa is no young man. He’s old, very old. He has aches and pains, he’s a little forgetful, but he loves all those little kids, and you know what Mr. Collywobbles, he loves you too. Now suck it up. There’s nothing wrong with you but your crappy attitude and union membership. If you want a little elf-help advice from me, I say drop them both.
CW: Yeah, I guess you might be right, Doctor Hen. To be honest, maybe I’m not cut out to be an elf.
DH: What would you do if you didn’t work at Santa’s Workshop, LLC?
CW: My real passion…um, I’m a little embarrassed.
DH: It’s okay, tell me what you want to do with your life.
CW: Ballroom dancing. I really wanna teach ballroom dancing.
DH: Hmmm…Let me tell you a true story. Now this was a long time ago, you probably hadn’t been hired by Santa’s Workshop, LLC, when this happened because you obviously lack that old-timey work ethic, but hear me out anyway. Santa had a little elf who, though he worked hard and never complained, really didn’t fit in with the whole toy-making thing. You could say he was a misfit elf. His name was Hermey. Now this elf suffered in silence, while is real passion boiled inside him for years, maybe centuries. You know what this little elf really wanted out of life?
CW: Uh, Hermey? No, what did he want, Ballroom dancing?
DH: Dentistry, oral surgery, anything having to do with mouths. He loved it; pulling teeth, fillings, veneers, root canals, bleaches, crowns, implants, you name it! He even did some work on very large mammals…but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, Hermey repressed his desires for a while. After all, he was treated well, fed, housed, paid an excellent wage, and given good benefits by Santa’s company. But eventually he had to follow his dreams of Dentistry. He took a risk and left the workforce; no agitatin’, no planned walk-outs, no union shenanigans, no “Elves of the World Unite” bullshit. Hermey tendered his resignation, Santa accepted it, tearfully yes, but he loved Hermey like a son and supported his career move. Hermey eventually married a pretty little elf named Angina, fathered 10 or 20 elflets, moved to Orem, Utah, and now runs an international chain of dental clinics, “Bumble Dentistry, Inc.”
DH: Why the tears? What are you feeling right now?
CW: Oh, Doctor Hen, I feel so…so empty, like someone just cut out my heart.
DH: Those feelings are appropriate to the moment and circumstance. Think about it, you’ve lived your life being an asshole. You should feel bad.
CW: I don’t really know what to do. Now that I think about it, Santa’s Workshop is really a pretty good company. I mean, he sizes everything to us elves, and every Friday Mrs. Claus make a homemade feast for us to eat during lunch break. Maybe I’ve been petty, ungrateful. But…the other elves might mock me if I come back to work…different.
DH: Trust me, you couldn’t be anymore “different” than you already are, you’re an elf remember. Let me give you a little more advice. No more of the “Community Organizer” crap. No more whining and moaning about how hard you have it. No more hating the Jolly Old Elf who takes such good care of you. You’re going to go back to work, tell the other elves what an ingrate you’ve been, work through your contract with no walk-outs or agitation, and you’re going to do the best job you can for Santa and all the little kids he works so hard to make happy for one day. Got it.
CW: Okay, Doctor Hen.
DH: Do all these things with exactness and a good attitude, and come back to see me on January 12th. I know this guy named Arthur Murray, he’s an old friend. I’ll set you up with your ballroom dancing dream.
CW: Really? Oh my gosh, Doctor Hen! That would be so wonderful.
DH: My pleasure. You’re a changed elf, Mr. Collywobbles. Now go and do something nice for Christmas.
CW: I don’t know if you realize it, Doctor Hen, but I think you’ve saved Christmas.
DH: Bugaaawk, thanks. But it’s not the first time. Back a few years ago I had to do an intervention when Mrs. Claus got just a little too chummy with Yukon Cornelius, but that’s a story for another time.
by Marjorie Haun 12/11/13
Common Core even affects letter grades
This article by Joy Pullmann was originally published by ColoradoWatchdog.org on December 3, 2013 , and subsequently posted by Reagangirl.com on December 9, 2013.
By Joy Pullmann | The Heartland Institute
National curriculum requirements are influencing schools across the country in myriad ways, big and small.
One not-so-obvious change is that Common Core standards can influence how teachers grade student work.
Teachers have used standards-based grading almost as long as U.S. schools have been required to conform to centrally determined standards — about 20 years.
But the practice, in which teachers give students not the familiar A-F letter grades or 0-100 percentile grades — but numbers or letters like 1 through 4 or S, M, P — has ticked upwards since 46 states adopted national standards in 2010, said Ken O’Connor, a Canadian consultant who has worked with hundreds of schools across North America.
The nationwide shift to Common Core has meant more interest in standards-based grading in middle and high schools and in states requiring similar approaches, he said. Many also relate the practice to “proficiency-based grading.”
This year in Oregon, and by 2016 in Maine, new laws require teachers to assess students according to state standards, which is the idea behind standards-based grading.
“There definitely is, as far as I can see, momentum gathering,” O’Connor said.
Source: Standards-based education
No Child Left Behind’s requirement since 2001 that states test students according to set standards led to a rising interest in standards-based grading, said Tammy Heflebower, vice president of the Marzano Research Laboratory, a nationally-known organization promoting standards-based instruction.
“I’ve seen (standards-based grading) be on a natural trajectory over the last seven, eight, maybe 10 years,” she said. “But now Common Core is going to help focus us because we have a common metric by which to measure kids … I would anticipate a resurgence of interest because we’re going to look at competency over point-grabbing, so to speak.”
As schools adopt standards-based grading, whether to tie instruction more closely to Common Core or for other benefits proponents claim, some parents and teachers are not impressed. They say the grading scale is confusing and grants too much authority to those outside classrooms.
Objective or subjective?
In standards-based grading, teachers rate students on specific skills, and often give several different ratings per assignment if it measures several skills. In Florida’s Clay County, for example, teachers label student work “mastery,” “progressing,” or “insufficient progress.” Report cards look different, too — they’re typically longer and more detailed.
“In a pure standards-based system you would have only two levels: proficient and not proficient,” O’Connor said. “The symbolic representations — A-F, percentages — they’re artificial constructs that very often are only identified in symbolic terms. A is 90 to 100, B is 80 to 89. That doesn’t mean anything because … if it’s an easy test on an easy skill, a high score may mean a low level of performance.”
He said a central goal of standards-based grading is to relate grades and teacher comments directly to the learning outcomes states demand, making grades more objective, based on outside criteria rather than teacher judgment.
“When I went to school 25 years ago, teachers decided what they taught, how they taught it and how to grade it,” Heflebower said. “The standards movement has helped make more consistent what we teach (from) teacher to teacher, school to school, across a state.”
Some teachers like the idea, and some don’t.
When Tracie Happel’s school district in southwestern Wisconsin began phasing in Common Core, it also decided teachers would use standards-based grading. The second-grade teacher joined the committee that designed the new system. New quarterly report cards were initially eight pages long, but the committee pared that down to one double-sided page. Now K-8 students are graded M for mastery, P for progression and L for learning.
“Kids were more excited when I told them they got an A-plus, or a B. They know that’s pretty good,” Happel said. “But when you give them a P or M they don’t know what that means.”
While her committee was excited about the change — “We’re so in the 20th century!” Happel mocked — the rest of the teachers in her grade level were not.
“They said, ‘Why are we doing this? How am I going to grade that? How do I know what an M is?’” Happel said. “Some just said ‘I’m converting them to percentages’ … I think people grade based on feeling and keeping score.”
It was different for Patricia Scriffiny, a 20-year Colorado high school math teacher. Before she switched to standards-based grading nine years ago, “I had some students, they tended to be mostly girls, who would work very hard, do every scrap of extra credit, and fail miserably on tests. ”
“They really weren’t learning, but they were being compliant,” Scriffiny said. “Students who were more likely to be boys would fall apart on student-management issues like staying organized and turning in homework. They would just sort of disappear, get Ds or Fs, and quit engaging because they were learning the math but their grade never reflected their learning.”
She said shifting her methods is the only thing that has kept her a teacher. Now, rather than traditional percentile grades, she crafts and grades assignments according to specific learning objectives from Common Core standards and Advanced Placement curriculum.
Teacher autonomy, input key
One of Scriffiny’s colleagues, however, feels exactly the opposite.
“She’s like, ‘If I was mandated to do that I would retire,’” Scriffiny says. “If teachers are told, ‘You’re going to do this’ and they don’t understand why, that tends not to work very well.”
Jenny Larson’s Minnesota school district recently moved into standards-based grading along with Common Core. The high school English teacher complained publicly in school board meetings about three aspects:
- The district attempted to tell teachers they could not assign a zero for work students didn’t turn in. Teachers could only grade what work students did turn in. So many students stopped turning in work. The district also said teachers couldn’t penalize students for late work, so a third of Larson’s AP class turned in everything right at the end of the semester, leaving her with hundreds of pages to grade in just a few days.
- The district told teachers to stop including behavior in student grades. “My colleagues in [physical] ed had a big problem with that,” she said. “It should be part of the standard because sportsmanship is one of the rules for professional sports.”
- The district decided that the work students did in class throughout the year could only be worth 20 percent of the final grade. So, Larson says, many of her students decided such work didn’t matter much, “not realizing there’s a payoff for that” because regular practice improves performance on big items like tests and papers, she noted.
After the first year and many complaints, the district changed its grading policies for the first two items, allowing teachers to give students a “drop-dead date” for assignments and a failing grade for assignments they didn’t turn in.
Practically, also, the new system is more complex and time-consuming.
“When I’m scoring a 60-question literary terms test, I have to translate that into a number: four, three, two, one, zero. I write down the number they get — 57, 44 — and then translate that into four, three, two, one,” she said. “And I also want them to know how close they came, so I have to enter both of those in my gradebook … If we have six different things we’re measuring in a paper, I have to enter each separately or figure out how to average them, so it’s taking twice as long. And I’m more prone to error, too, especially with a ten-point quiz. Ten would be [graded] a four, but sometimes I don’t enter four so I have to double-check.”
Two years into the practice, after lots of rethinking and explaining to students and parents, Larson says she generally likes standards-based grading. Her district, like many, translates their 0-4 scale into A-F grades and the standard grade point averages for high school transcripts.
“We don’t have extra credit,” she said. “Students would say, ‘In junior high I was getting a C or D and doing all these extra credit things to get a B,’ and here they actually have to work. I also like to give them assignments related to a standard. It removes the idea from students that they are getting busy work—it makes it very purposeful.”
What about the parents?
A main reason Happel dislikes standards-based grading is its propensity to alienate parents from their kids’ education.
“It’s too detailed and parents don’t know what it means,” she said. “And parents say ‘How come my child doesn’t get an M (for mastered)?’ So then you have to bring out evidence of how the child is doing. And in the state of Wisconsin everyone passes. We’ve been told you can’t give an M unless you can absolutely prove it, so no one ever gets an M.”
Parents often require lots of explanation if teachers and schools switch to the system, Scriffiny said.
“I’ve had every reaction on the spectrum you can imagine,” Scriffiny says, “but I’ve had parents come in and say ‘This makes more sense to me because this is how I’m evaluated at work.’ The ones who fight it the most are the parents of honors kids. They’re the ones who are good at playing school, aren’t they? They’re very good at jumping through hoops.”
James Wilson is a parent and teacher near Puget Sound. He also has overseen curriculum for the Georgia department of education and been a principal of several schools. His daughter’s school district uses standards-based grading, and he has been required to use it as a teacher.
“As parents, we hate it,” he said. “It tells us nothing other than our schools have implemented another screwball idea.”
Depending on the district, often most of a child’s grade under standards-based grading will come from large assignments like tests, with the remaining 10 to 20 percent coming from daily work, he said.
“The kids understand and they work it, and they say, “Hey, why should I do this, it doesn’t count for anything,’” he said. “So as a result they don’t do the practice that they really need to do to perform well on the assessments when it does count.”
Districts also typically convert standards-based grades into A-F grades or a 4.0-based system for a transcript, since colleges are used to those grading scales, which to Wilson makes the entire enterprise seem a waste of time. He says he’s seen no evidence the approach improves student learning, and it seems more of a fad that administrators pass around at conferences.
‘Infinite part of what we do’
Wilson’s larger problem with standards-based grading is philosophical: “We’ve moved away from content knowledge to wanting process.”
“You’re taking standard C, whatever standard C is, and you’re focusing on that to give a kid a rating … it cuts out providing kids with the greater liberal arts education,” he said. “You focus on such a minute part of something that is so much larger … and you realize the kid can do this and it looks like the kid is doing well but they really can’t do anything with the larger subject area.”
Because she decided to use this kind of grading on her own, Scriffiny said she’s had many conversations with colleagues about what it means to evaluate student work. Teachers’ beliefs about human nature and how to mold young people’s character influence their grading, she said.
Some of her colleagues believe kids should be penalized for late or poor work, because the real world often won’t give them second chances. Scriffiny said kids need to learn the power of forgiveness, and their ability to change labels others have given.
“I feel like a priest,” she said. “People I’ve just met tell me these horrible experiences they’ve had with math teachers. How you value people, it’s an infinite part of what we do. It’s visceral…. Sometimes the powers that be forget that. They think it’s just an instructional strategy, no big deal, we can just change it.”
Joy Pullman is a research fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing editor of School Reform News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reposted with permission on Reagangirl.com 12/9/13
December 8, 2013
Christmas Letter Mad Lib-erals!
What the heck is “Mad Lib-erals?” It is the altered (and probably illegal) version of the old party game “Mad Libs.” You get a little help with Mad Lib-erals because you don’t really chose your own words. You have to pick one out of three completely stupid words given to you by the psychopathic author of said Mad Lib-erals. For example:
Santa Claus was found ______ (tweezing, naked, unconscious) in the local ______ (Darth, shopping, Ron Paul) Mall. Concerned ______ (shoppers, Laplanders, pole dancers) attempted to rouse him but were ______ (itchy, transgendered, unsuccessful). ______ (Paramedics, dog whisperers, elves) were summoned to see what was the ______ (yellow-mellow-custard, matter, koo koo ka choo) with old Santa. They concluded that he was not _____ (Ellen Degeneres, finger-lickin’ good, unconscious), but had just laid down for a _____ (long, squeezy cheesy, Medieval) Winter’s ______ (tapioca pudding, nap, electromagnetic pulse).
Easy as Fruit Cake, don’t you think? Okay, let’s play
Just Kill Me Now So I Don’t Have to Read Another Christmas Letter Mad-Liberals!
Little sister ______ (Chlamydia, Edema, Sha Nay Nay) started 1st ______ (floor, grade, degree) at the local ______ (elementary, waxing, sardine) school. On the first day she wore an ______ (American flag, turkey baster, bicycle pump) Tee-shirt. She was promptly _______ (filleted, registered to vote, expelled) on the basis that her shirt clashed with the black ______ (eyes, burqas, hearts) worn by all the other little ______ (Muslims, nematodes, girls). Big brother ______ (Alopecia, Chavia, Rickets) just got his driver’s ______ (throw pillow, chewing tobacco, license). It was unfortunately revoked since he was found to have a ______ (bible, open container of milk, Sara Palin bumper sticker) in his possession while ______ (driving, praying, Tebowing). Uncle ______ (Whoop, Jack, Fat) went to ______ (court, the bathroom, Hooters) to have his name changed from Jones to ______ (Ass, So, In-the-Box). Auntie ______ (Helena, biscuits and gravy, Psoriasis) Handbasket had her first cosmetic procedure when she went to ______ (Saudi Arabia, West Hollywood, Twin Peaks) to have her ______ (Van Cliburn, butt dimple, Inuit) enlarged. Father ______ (Reflux, Super Fly, Rain Man) recently got a job with the Democratic National Committee in their department of _______ (manhood, neck, moral) enlargement. And last but not _____ (bacon, least, comfortable), Mother ______ (Jaquetha, Yum Yum, Gerd) has transitioned from her old career as a ______ (butt plug, oyster shucker, chicken sexer) and has taken a ______ (job, hostage, Kaiser roll) at the Ministry of Places with Disturbing Names located in ______ (Aerola Utah, Humptulips Washington, Spunky Puddle Ohio).
So, there you have it. We know you would rather be ______ (skinned alive, augured, audited) than hear the maudlin ______ (head lice, neck ties, details) of our ______ (feather dusters, lives, sphincters). Suffice it to say that all is ______ (well, besotted, hopeless) and the Mad Lib-erals ______ (herd, lesion,hive) is quite ______ (binary, lubricated, well-fed).
Merry Christmas and Happy First Anniversary of the Mayan Apocalypse to you and your kin, yada, yada, yada. Enjoy it while you can.
By Marjorie Haun 12/8/13
December 7, 2013
God, not government, is the source of man’s rights.
That God and man are supreme over government and government is formed and directed by man, were the revolutionary notions that spurred the Revolutionary War. Kings were neither Divine nor just. God did not grant monarchies power to direct the affairs of men. Man, the individual human soul, was delivered from the rule of government to become its master through the Rule of Law.
The growth of government beyond its Constitutional limits; Socialism and centralized control of every aspect of human life, has lead to a loss of the uniquely American traditions of individualism and self-sufficiency. As the entitlement-state crumbles, the healthcare system collapses, and the economy evaporates, restoring of the ethos of individual responsibility may become a matter of survival.
The model of preparedness, which I call The Concentric Rings of Security, places the power of personal safety and survival with the individual. This provides the greatest assurance of personal well-being in the midst of national calamity and/or natural disaster, because it provides a structure in which the individual can exert the most control over his life. This is how the model works:
The central point of security is the self. Those things over which individuals can exert the greatest power are physical and mental fitness, financial stability, flexible thinking, a robust skill set, and a sound spiritual foundation.
- As the healthcare system in the United States collapses and access to medicine and mental health services becomes scarce–or impossible–the degree to which one has managed his weight, blood pressure, risk factors for cancer, substance abuse issues, etc., may become the determining aspect in how well he weathers a personal or national storm.
- Strong relationships, a positive, faith-based worldview, physical activity, a satisfying occupation, and the elimination of damaging substances and influences lend to individual mental wellness. Psychological toughness and resilience are required for survival during times of personal or national crisis. Such resilience along with education and the ability to perform a variety of basic tasks will add to a sense of confidence that one can control his own circumstances. A secure mindset faces sudden change with creative problem-solving instead of panic.
- Living within one’s means and avoiding excess debt is critically important, as well as paying off debt already acquired. (see sample debt-elimination calendar PDF) The self-discipline cultivated by consistent fiscal restraint will help the individual differentiate luxuries from necessities, which is critical in times of uncertainty.
- Spirituality is the key aspect of individual well-being during times of crisis. Active worship, faith in God, and a hope-based worldview will provide a reservoir of strength which cannot be found elsewhere.
- People living on their own are responsible for having sufficient emergency food storage, means of personal defense, and a survival plan in case they are isolated from their extrinsic support networks for a period of time.
The first concentric ring outside the self is the family. With responsible adults at the head, families’ needs during times of disaster, war, or civil upheaval, may include emergency supplies of medicine, food, water, home goods, fuel, and any other items necessary to sustain life for an extended period of time. Such emergency contingencies should be tailored to the needs of the individuals in the family, their ages, and their preferences.
- Families should store the types food they will eat, and eat the things they store in order to minimize waste. Sanitary goods, clothing, fuel, cleaning supplies, pet food, livestock supplies, non-electronic forms of entertainment, and comfort foods to provide some emotional respite during times of deprivation, should be stored. Medications and first-aid supplies, firearms and ammunition, and all other considerations appropriate to the specific needs and tastes of the family, whether rural, suburban or urban, should be kept and defended in the case of extended periods of unrest, or isolation from outside resources.
- Families should have a plan for evacuation and emergency “survival kits” wherein they can transport the items they will need to survive without help for at least 3 days.
- Property should be adequately and properly insured, and appropriate members of the family should be prepared to defend their home and provisions.
- Parents should guide the members of the family to maintain physical fitness and mental resilience by enforcing an appropriate code of health as well as behavioral restraints that will help everyone navigate abrupt and frightening changes in their lives.
- The spiritual well-being of the family is the responsibility of parents. Prayer, scriptural studies, discussions about moral principles, and loving, non-judgmental support for one another provides a basis of strength and pliancy for every member of the family.
- Parents are responsible to live within their means and provide wise financial guidance to their children. A sense of security and control comes from living simply, minimizing dependence on elaborate technology for entertainment, and learning the skills of past generations which include mechanical tasks, cooking, home maintenance, animal husbandry, gardening and food production, sewing, first aid, etc.
The next concentric ring of security is the Church Community, or social community. Like-minded people within faith-based or interest-based communities provide a support network for families and individuals.
- Bartering for goods and services within a group of trusted friends and associates is a natural outgrowth of regional long-term crisis management. Specialized skills, food, and goods of all sorts may be traded value for value in such a way that the entire community benefits. Physicians, farmers, mechanics, midwives, teachers, hunters, and engineers are just a few of the professionals with skills that will be particularly desirable during times of hardship.
- The Church community, or social interest community, can provide food, housing, and other forms of support to those families and individuals who lack such things.
- Community farms worked and guarded on a rotating basis by the members of the community can be a significant food resource.
- Communities of like-minded individuals lend emotional and spiritual strength to one another as well as bonding and a sense of well-being through recreation, shared food production, and other social opportunities that add variety and pleasure to life. Spiritual wisdom and leadership will be a greatly valued skill within such a community.
The neighborhood as the geographical concentric ring of security closest to the family can serve as a physical and emotional barrier to civil chaos and unwanted intruders . Functioning much like the Church/Social community, the neighborhood can help to secure homes in the immediate aftermath of crisis, and provide a variety of resources in the longer-term.
- HAM radio operators within neighborhoods can be the last line of communication when more modern technologies fail due to an EMP or other loss of electricity.
- Neighbors can serve as armed sentinels to warn of unwanted intruders bent on looting or home invasions in the aftermath of disaster.
- Neighborhoods can set up physical barriers to secure the homes within for a period of time.
- Known and trusted neighbors are often already part of the supportive and resourceful Church/social community.
- Vacant or large lots within the neighborhood can be cultivated and used as community farms, or for livestock operations.
The town or city is the next concentric ring of security outside of the neighborhood and church communities. Civic involvement at all times is critical if one is to exert any measure of control over the direction and well-being of your town.
- Be involved in local politics by becoming a precinct organizer for your political party.
- Volunteer for civic committees such as planning, safety, business development, and sports and recreation.
- Run for local office in the city council or school board.
- Form or participate in activist groups that represent your principles with which you can hold politicians accountable and diminish the negative influences of corruption and destructive political policy.
- Become part of an emergency preparedness organization.
- Network within your neighborhood to build friendships that will be helpful during a crisis.
- Volunteer to teach youngsters basic skills that will be necessary in times of crisis such as small engine repair, gun safety, hunting, raising small animals, camping, etc.
- Network within your town and build alliances with many people and organizations.
- Write letters to the editor.
- Use social networking to alert friends and neighbors to political actions that may affect their lives.
- Involve your children in community service.
- Know the layout of your town, its geography and resources.
The concentric rings of security which lie outside your immediate community, town, borough, or city are the county and state governments. Civic involvement here is critical as well. Political knowledge and activism are necessary to exert power over the individuals and policies that will govern your county and state.
- All civic activities performed within a locality are also appropriate for counties and states.
- Run for office at the county level.
- Campaign for others who run for office.
- Attend county budgeting, planning, and other meetings to ensure your voice is heard.
- Run for school board.
- Attend school board meetings and share your opinions.
- Write letters to the editor.
- Publish a blog or newsletter highlighting local issues and sharing your views and possible solutions.
- Register to vote and vote in every election.
- Become a poll watcher or volunteer for your county elections division.
- Form a school advocacy group.
- Network with your county officials and state representatives.
- Share information about emergency preparedness at public forums.
- Join the National Guard, Reserve forces, or a local militia group.
- Pray for your local and state leaders.
The final concentric ring of Security is the nation–not to be confused with the government. Keep in mind that when government uses its power against the people for any reason it becomes the enemy of the people. The nation, and in the case of the United States of America, the republic, is a resource primarily for protecting its citizens from foreign invaders and protecting the rights of its citizens. The individual has the least control over this outermost ring, but organized action and relentless commitment to the principles of liberty will make a difference in the condition direction of the country.
- Vote in every national election.
- Campaign for your presidential candidate.
- Call your Senators and Congressmen each time an important issue is being debated at the national level.
- Join the armed services, or support those who do.
- Volunteer at election time to work the polls.
- Join a national organization such as the NRA or The Heritage Foundation to advocate freedom at the national level.
- Educate yourself about national fiscal policy and prepare yourself and your family accordingly for those things outside your circles of control.
- Pray for the leaders of the country.
The national problems we face today can feel overwhelming. But the big scene is not where the greatest good is done by and for individuals, families, and communities. Exerting control over our own lives, beginning with ourselves and moving out from there, is the key to our survival. With the right perspective and remembering that salvation is achieved one person, one heart at a time, should give everyone hope that there are no storms we cannot weather with the help of God.
by Marjorie Haun 12/7/13
December 6, 2013
One neuropsychological effect of regular marijuana use is a significant loss in IQ points between the ages of 13 and 38, whereas non-users have no significant drop in IQ over their lifetime.
The plethora of evidence showing marijuana causes permanent harm to its users won’t stop Libertarians, hippies, and burnouts from defending the wacky weed with every ounce of passion they can muster. Frankly, I’m bored with people who tout pot as a medicine or a harmless social “lubricant” on a par with alcohol. As far as I’m concerned, such incorrigible fools can defend marijuana use all the way to the dispensary, but the rest of us have a moral obligation to warn our young people about the personal catastrophes that await them if they become users. The following list of facts are derived from several scholarly, peer-reviewed studies on the various ways marijuana will fry your brain.
HOW DOES THC FRY THE BRAIN?
- Delta-9 tetrahydrocannibanol (THC), the active chemical in marijuana, chemically resembles the endocannabinoids produced naturally in the human brain, especially the chemical, Anandamide. THC “fools” or interrupts the natural process of Anandamide receptors in the brain, causing disturbances to the functions that natural cannabinoids “modulate” such as mood, appetite, sensation, memory, pain and pleasure.
- Natural endocannabinoids shape brain development by guiding neuron growth where it is needed, supporting neuron function, and helping the myelination process in the growing brain. Myelination of the brain cells is not complete until the mid to late 20s in humans. THC interferes with all of these critical development processes, and is most damaging to the brains of adolescent marijuana uses because their brains will fail to myelinate properly, causing irreversible structural and psychological changes.
- THC mimics Anandimide but has a much STRONGER and LONGER-LASTING effect on neuron activity. The brain will adapt to THC exposure causing the user to become addicted.
- One way scientists prove the addictive power of substances is through animal research in which rats will ‘self administer’ a substance to which they become addicted. Laboratory experiments with THC revealed that rats continually administered the drug in the same way they would cocaine, heroin and nicotine.
- THC has been found to increase dopamine release in the reward center of the brain, causing a sense of pleasure or euphoria, much like other addictive drugs.
- The withdrawal symptoms of THC include; restlessness, anxiety, irritability, anger, aggression, sleep disturbances, decreased appetite, and weight loss.
- Marijuana addiction accounts for more admissions into teen substance abuse treatment programs than all other intoxicants combined, including alcohol.
- Marijuana addiction is related to the age at which a user begins using; the younger the individual when he begins to use marijuana, the more likely he will become dependent and suffer long-term negative cognitive and behavioral effects.
- THC affects areas of the brain which dictate memory, movement, coordination, vision, judgment and pleasure.
- The hippocampus, which is the center of memory formation and retrieval, sleep regulation, and stress responses, is especially sensitive to THC exposure. Brain imaging studies have proven that regular marijuana users have, on average, smaller hippocampuses and worse memory performance than non-users.
- One neuropsychological effect of regular marijuana use is a significant loss in IQ points between the ages of 13 and 38, whereas non-users have no significant drop in IQ over their lifetime. Those users who started before age 18 had greater drops in IQ than those who started using after age 18.
- Those who use marijuana regularly during adolescence are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop psychosis, schizophrenia, anxiety, and/or depression in adulthood.
- Brain scans of of adolescent marijuana users (who had little or no alcohol intake) indicated that the corpus callosum–the bundle of nerve fibers connecting the two hemispheres of the brain–were structurally much thinner than those of non-users. Similar structural differences in corpus callosum are found in people with schizophrenia.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THC
- THC intoxication impairs memory, motor coordination, reaction time and visual perception.
- National studies of intoxicant induced fatal car crashes have shown that by 2009 33% of the drivers had THC in the systems. This is a three-fold increase from prior years, and is on the rise in states where medical and recreational marijuana is now legal.
- Since THC stays in the body for protracted periods of time, an individual does not to be acutely intoxicated to be under the influence while driving.
GROWTH AND FERTILITY
- THC affects glands, hormones and certain organs. Studies have shown that adolescents who begin to use marijuana regularly before age 16 are shorter in height than their peer controls.
- Daily use of marijuana may increase the risk of testicular cancer.
NOT YOUR HIPPIE UNCLE’S POT
- Marijuana is bred and cultivated to increase THC levels in the plant. Marijuana now is 5 to 10 times more powerful than when it first became popular among young people.
- As the amount of THC in pot increases the adverse effects, such as paranoia, anxiety and panic, hallucinations, erratic mood swings, and aggressive behavior are magnified.
- There has been a dramatic increase in recent years of emergency room admissions by people who have ingested pot in some form.
- Synthetic forms of THC, which can be up to 10 times more powerful than even today’s cultivated pot are accountable for all of the typical adverse effects of marijuana, as well as seizure and heart attacks.
- Poison control centers are reporting a significant increase in calls related to synthetic THC.
MARKETING TO YOUNG PEOPLE
- After decades of decline, teen use of marijuana is on a dramatic upswing. This is explained by the promotion of marijuana as a “medicine,” legalization in some states, and positive portrayals of its use in popular culture, which all lead to a decreased negative perception of marijuana.
- Medical marijuana and recreational pot operations market to young people through “sexy” and colorful advertisements.
- THC in soda pop, candy, lollipops, butter, and other “edible” forms is designed to appeal to adolescents with the use of bright colors, funny brand names, and cartoon-style logos. These products taste like what they look like and it is not readily apparent that they contain natural or synthetic THC.
- Adults possessing medical marijuana licenses or cards account for nearly half of the pot obtained by teen users.
- Most adults using “medical” marijuana do so because they have a vague diagnosis such as “severe pain.”
- The THC in “medical” marijuana is stronger than street marijuana, often up to 12 times as strong.
IMPACT ON EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
- When medical marijuana became legal in Colorado, expulsions related to possession of pot or intoxication rose about 75% between 2009 and 2011. The number of marijuana-related expulsions has increased even further since recreational pot was legalized by the voters via Amendment 64 in 2012.
- Marijuana smoke contains most of the cancer-causing chemicals, including tar, contained in tobacco smoke.
- Marijuana smoke is usually unfiltered and held in the lungs longer than tobacco smoke.
- Regular marijuana smokers report bronchitis, wheezing, shortness of breath and more sick days in comparison to non-smokers (regardless of tobacco use).
Most who defend marijuana do so because they have a personal preference for it. There are some Libertarian purists who actually oppose any laws prohibiting free expressions of human behavior. Our realities, however, are not so simple. Decades of sound research proves that marijuana is a social evil to be socially discouraged and legally prohibited. The emerging generations of young people have a monstrous economic, social, and political obstacles before them. It’s time for adults to clean up their own lives so they may pave a better path for their children’s future.
by Marjorie Haun 12/6/13
A Comparison of Mainstream and Sidestream Marijuana and Tobacco Cigarette Smoke Produced Under Two Machine Smoking Conditions ~David Moir et al, July, 2007
Persistent Cannabis Users show Neuropsychological Decline from Childhood to Mid-life ~Madeline Meier et al, April, 2012
The Teen Brain on Marijuana [PDF] Sion Kim Harris, PhD, Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, Boston Childrens Hospital, Harvard Medical School
December 4, 2013
Phyllis Hunsinger is the secretary and founding member of the Freedom and Responsibility Education Enterprise (FREE Foundation) based in Colorado.
Thoughts on a free market economy… “Voluntary Exchange”
By Phyllis Hunsinger
(originally posted on the FREE website, November 19, 2013)
Each time we go to the grocery store, a restaurant, or a fast-food service there appears to be an abundance of food available. Have you ever wondered how this bountiful supply exists? How do the managers know how much food to put on the shelves, in the storerooms, and on the menus?
Supply and demand might be a quick answer to the above question; however, what does that mean? Supply is the amount that producers are willing to produce at various prices. Demand is the driving force behind supply. But, the underlying concept of supply and demand is voluntary exchange. People must be free to choose how to spend their time and their resources.
Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations analyzed the way “ a market system could combine the freedom of individuals to pursue their own objectives with cooperation and collaboration to produce food, clothing, and housing.” Adam Smith recognized that the prices that emerged from voluntary transactions between buyers and sellers, i.e., a free market economy, could coordinate the activity of millions of people, each seeking his own interest, in such a way as to make everyone better off.
So in the case of the above food example, voluntary exchange enables millions of people to cooperate with one another to supply and to purchase food. Voluntary exchange guarantees that when businesses provide what consumers want at an acceptable price, the supply continues and the business survives. The demands of the consumers determine the supply provided the consumer and the supplier maintain the ability to engage in voluntary transactions, the key to a free market economy.
https://www.free-dom.us.com, Phyllis Hunsinger, © 2013, All Rights Reserved
Reposted with permission by Reagangirl.com 12/4/13
December 3, 2013
“The more is given the less the people will work for themselves,
and the less they work the more their poverty will increase.” Leo Tolstoi
To give or not to give, that is the question. If “to give” is the answer, then what should I give, how should I give it, and will it really benefit the recipients? Even God does only for mankind what we cannot do for ourselves. But the giving fever that grips the Western World during the Holidays sometimes makes us blind to the fact that giving too much can harm those who receive.
Most towns have dozens of organizations that provide food, clothes, and toys to families during the month of December. Some are stop-gap emergency providers for the homeless or stricken. But even though the poor will always be among us, the poor should not be a static population of perpetually dependent families and individuals. Most people have the capacity to cycle out of a poverty state.
School-based programs have, unfortunately, allowed parents to abdicate the basic responsibility of feeding their kids. Most school districts offer breakfast and lunch. Many offer dinner, summertime lunch programs and weekend meals. Free and reduced lunches are marketed to families because it opens the door to Federal “Title” funds. Schools and social services organizations encourage people to stay enter or linger in poverty because self-sufficiency shrinks the funds available for the impoverished. Think of it as a looping Ponzi scheme, forever growing the problem it was meant to solve.
There is a program in my town which provides food for children to take home on Friday purportedly, so they will not go hungry before they get their next meal at school. The children are not at fault. Some are hungry but most are victims of poor parenting. The schools, churches, and government programs that will kids, are enabling parental neglect on a massive scale. With little or no screening required, many of these freebie programs are rife with fraud and abuse.
The criminal presence of illegal aliens is rewarded big time during the Holidays by churches and other charities. Because of a fawning politically correct ethos of non-discrimination, entire communities of illegal alien families receive goodies far above and beyond the consideration given to needy citizens. Illegals openly defy the laws of this country, tax the social welfare programs they pay nothing into, and send a large percentage of their cash to other countries.
The Christian Spirit of Love must be tempered with wisdom. Those going through a rough spell because of unemployment, illness, divorce, disability, and other challenges outside of an individual’s control, surely are blessed by Holiday giving. But there is a vastly different mindset among those who come to expect, year in and year out, that someone else will be buying their Christmas goodies.
The shame associated with accepting “handouts” is long gone. Many welfare recipients work the system to use government cash payments as supplemental income so a lifestyle above what they should be able to afford can be maintained. How many of us have witnessed people who pay for groceries with EBT cards, load those tax-payer subsidized groceries into an, expensive, late-model vehicle?
So this is the essence of that burning Christmas question; To give, or not to give? Who benefits most from the giving of others? There is a spiritual cost to those who never know the satisfaction of self-reliance or earned success. Can there truly be freedom where there is no independence?
In making our plans for Christmas and the things we want to give, and to whom, it’s good to remember that we have all received the most generous offering of all, at no cost to us, from the open hands of The Lord Jesus Christ, Himself.
By Marjorie Haun 12/3/13
Thanks to Obamacare, ‘hosurance’ is a thing
This article was orginally posted on ColoradoWatchdog.org By Dustin Hurst on November 13, 2013
By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.orgmerica, “hosurance” is a thing.
We’re not certain of the exact definition of the new phrase, but it sounds scandalous.
“OMG, he’s hot!” the ad, a product of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI), reads. “Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control.”
The ad comes from the same group, CCHI, that brought America “brosurance,” the pro-Obamacare ad that featured three dudes on doing a keg stand.
Here’s a look at CCHI’s latest offering:
Obamacare relies heavily on younger, healthier Americans signing up for insurance to help offset the costs of older, sicker citizens.
Posted on December 3, 2013 with permission by Reagangirl.com