disasters, politicians, politics, stupid people, Twitter

“My pronouns are Alpha/Male”… (I don’t really think that’s true)

Just a minute ago, I ran across the above tweet by Nick Adams, a man who claims to be Trump’s “favorite author”. I was delighted to see people offering witty, and often pithy, comments to Adams’ assertion that he’s an “alpha male”. My favorite response came from a guy named curt [sic], whose reply was, “If you have to say it, then it isn’t so.”

Wow.

Another person wrote “Those are nouns, you fucking moron.” Normally I’m not big on name calling, but sometimes, people just call out for it. When someone– especially someone who claims to be an author– makes such an obviously ignorant and egotistical statement, it begs for a sharp and stinging rebuke. So bravo to Santiago Mayer on Twitter. He wins the Internet today.

Make it a Quote even made Santiago’s comment into a graphic…

Yea!

I don’t know anything about Nick Adams. From what little I’ve seen on his Twitter page, he looks like someone who wouldn’t interest me. I almost wonder if he’s running a troll page. But then I look around Twitter, and I see plenty of folks who are still proudly flying their MAGA flags, completely ignoring Trump’s current legal morass. They don’t care that he stole classified documents and took them to his home in Florida. If my husband did what Trump did, he’d be in prison. But Trump does whatever he wants, and these red hat wearing folks don’t care. And try as I might, I just can’t understand it…

The only explanation I can come up with is that these people– most of whom are white guys from rural areas– see Trump as their last hope of staying on top of power in the United States. Joe Biden wants to give all people a chance to succeed. Trump just wants white guys to be in charge. Especially if they are wealthy people who can help him stay in power until he finally croaks.

No wonder, huh?

I am astonished by how *dumb* a lot of American people are. But it only stands to reason, given how many Americans are functionally illiterate. While there are some folks on Twitter claiming to be “well-educated” MAGA supporters, it appears that people who support Donald Trump are, by and large, not people who like to read. They’d rather “hear”… and when I say hear, I don’t mean listen. They are responding to energy, much like a dog would. Energy… and a little extra money in their paychecks. Politicians, not unlike evangelists, use the power of speech to get responses. Those who aren’t wary may find themselves “pumped up”, not by what is actually said, but by how it is said.

And now we have many right wing groups trying to ban books, which is sure to make the problem even worse. Just this morning, Bill told me about a group in Bonners Ferry, Idaho who are showing up armed to a local library and demanding that they ban over 400 books… which the library doesn’t even have. We have school boards across the country who are banning great works of literature, or forcing teachers to provide “counterbalanced perspectives” to positions that really have no counterbalances. For example, last year, I remember reading that in Texas, teachers are being told that they must provide a contrary view to The Holocaust. How in the world does one do that? Have the kids listen to one of Trump’s speeches about “bad hombres”?

Hmm… sounds familiar.

I try to maintain hope. I read yesterday, that women are flocking in droves to register to vote, no doubt because Roe v. Wade was overturned. I guess a lot of them have realized what will happen to their ability to stay independent if they allow mostly white men to dictate whether or not they maintain pregnancies. Some of the others are realizing that it’s not right to bring babies into this world, where the climate is rapidly changing and becoming less hospitable, and certain groups of people are trying to force their extremist policies and views on everyone. There’s war that affects everyone, as inflation climbs, and fuel becomes scarcer. And while people like Joe Biden are trying to make better policies that help everyone, they face massive opposition from people who admire Trump, Putin, and their ilk.

I find it all very depressing. In fact, when Bill was talking to me about the group in Idaho, who feel entitled enough to demand that libraries remove books that they don’t like, and the library doesn’t even have, I started feeling like things are getting more and more hopeless. I read an article about how booze kills… and I felt quite apathetic about it. Like… why should I want to stick around what is becoming more and more a misogynistic hellhole? But then I hear a beautiful song, or read something brilliant, and I momentarily feel better. But, I’ll tell you what… I am now glad I don’t have any children to worry about, even though I used to want them. At the very least, they won’t run into someone like Nick Adams, who thinks his pronouns are Alpha Male.

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condescending twatbags, Ex, narcissists, scams, social media, Twitter

Twitter twaddle from the number one twatbag…

DISCLAIMER: Today’s post is going to be kind of snarky and personal, and it may cause some readers to think I’m a terrible person. I don’t really care, because I know I’m not a terrible person. I also don’t care if people think I need to “move on”. I write about this shit because I find it entertaining, and it helps me keep a lot of bizarre things in perspective. I also write about this for those who are in similar circumstances and need hope or insight, and those who just find this tale funny or interesting. This is not a post about all ex wives– it’s just about my situation. So please, if you find yourself judging me for writing this, keep in mind that this post isn’t about you, unless you are Ex. And if that’s the case, you deserve to be upset for your years of abusing my husband and not respecting my privacy. If you are not Ex, but are still upset about this post, you can simply move on, too. I’m not crazy, obsessed, or unstable. I’m just completely flabbergasted by her gall.

We had a really lovely afternoon yesterday. I wrote about it on my travel blog. That post could use some hits, so if you’re at all interested, I’d appreciate a click or two. Now that COVID restrictions are less annoying and onerous, I’m hoping Bill and I can squeeze in some more fun before the cold weather hits us. That usually happens sometime in September in Germany, but given our global warming situation, it may happen later than that.

You may be wondering about today’s post title. I wasn’t actually planning to write about Twitter today, but I saw something and just couldn’t help myself. Twitter is very toxic, but it is fertile ground for blog topics. There are also a lot of posters there, wittier, funnier, and hungrier for attention than I am, who post things that make me think. And then there are those who make me laugh uproariously.

I’ve not made it a secret that I enjoy stalking Ex’s public tweets. I do this now, after years of doing all I could to avoid looking her up. In the past, I wanted to ignore her, because I didn’t want to disrupt my peace with anger toward her antics. So why do I read her posts now? Well, it’s mostly because she’s no longer a threat to me, and I find some of her posts interesting, particularly as I study narcissism. I despise my husband’s ex wife for MANY valid reasons. A lot of them are detailed in this blog, although I don’t think I’m quite as venomous in this blog as I was in my original one on Blogspot. In any case, aside from today’s post title that includes the word “twatbag”, I don’t think I will be overly nasty in this post, as it’s about something relatively trivial. It’s about obvious brown nosing and sycophantism.

I have mentioned before that my husband’s ex wife dropped out of high school when she was a teenager. She got a GED (general equivalency diploma), and then made a few half-assed stabs at higher education, which she never managed to finish while she was still a young woman. I think it was mainly because she had her first child when she was 20 years old, and was married to her first husband when she was still technically a teenager. There was no money or time for higher education, although she did apparently tell everyone that she had won scholarships to prestigious schools. She even told Bill she had been accepted at West Point. Somehow, I find that very hard to believe.

Ex’s first marriage didn’t last very long. She and #1 were posted in Germany at the same time Bill was, back in the late 80s. They all knew each other, as they had gone to the same high school. Bill was three years ahead of Ex. One day, #1 ran into Bill on a flight back to the States. He told Ex that he’d seen Bill, and she decided to look him up. Sadly, she was successful in tracking him down, even though the Internet wasn’t a thing back then. I guess she figured Bill, as an officer, would offer her a nicer lifestyle and more prestige. She certainly doesn’t marry for love.

At some point, Ex showed up at Bill’s apartment in Bavaria, her toddler son in tow. Bill lacked experience with women and self confidence back then, so she easily put the moves on him. They hooked up, and she hastily ditched #1. Then she came back to Germany, and she and Bill later got married in Denmark. Over the next ten years, she was a typical Army wife, having kids, working at dead end jobs, getting involved in MLMs and culty religions, and eventually running up huge debts. Not that running up debts is necessarily something an Army spouse automatically does. For instance, I made a point of getting RID of debt when Bill was still on active duty. I was mostly successful.

Ex did not have a college degree when she and Bill were married. She reportedly used to complain about that a lot. She supposedly told Bill that she was the smarter one of the two of them, and she should be the one with a fancy college degree. You can imagine what I think about that self-evaluation on Ex’s part… (eyeroll)

From late 1999 until mid 2000, Ex was deep in the process of discarding Bill. She didn’t know that Bill and I were online friends. She had moved #3 into the house Bill was still paying mortgage on, and was trying to get Bill’s daughters to forget about their real dad and attach to her latest husband. Around that time, Ex was working at an institution of higher learning, where one of the benefits was free or reduced tuition. She worked there for several years, but it wasn’t until 2006 or so that she finally decided it was time to get EDUCATED. Why? Well, it was probably because of me.

I could be wrong, of course. She might have decided entirely on her own that 2006 was going to be her year to finally get cracking on that college degree. But that decision coincided with an angry email I sent to her in the spring of that year, after then 18 year old former stepson called Bill to tell him he was moving out of his mother’s house and wanted to make sure he would be getting his child support directly. Ex, by contrast, wanted Bill to STOP paying former stepson, because she didn’t want him moving out of her control. Ex was the one who had set up the support agreement in the first fucking place. She literally wrote up their divorce decree, and quite handily screwed herself in the process. 😉

During that exchange, things got heated, and Ex sent Bill an email that was full of angry vitriol. In that email, she blamed ME for the fact that things were so terrible between them, and she had felt compelled to alienate the children. A few years earlier, circa 2003 or so, she trashed me to Bill, even though I had then only been married to him for a few months, and she had not then, nor has she ever since, so much as met me in person. I had told Bill a few years prior that if she ever did that again, I would be responding to her. In the 2006 email, she told Bill not to share with me her comments about me, because she hoped to “spare my feelings”. Indeed, I’m sure that was first and foremost in her mind. She also accused Bill of being a sexual deviant, which I can assure you he is not. I decided that she deserved a less measured response than the one Bill would send.

When I wrote to Ex, I pointed out that she had no expertise in diagnosing mental health issues and was not educated in those matters. I, on the other hand, finished my education. Pointing that out to her obviously caused a huge narcissistic wound, as her lack of a college degree had clearly been a thorn in her side for years at that point. I’m sure it bugged the shit out of her that Bill’s #2 wife has THREE degrees, is five years younger than she is… and also has no crotch trophies by other men for Bill to support.

Next thing we knew, she was back in college, and talking about eventually earning a PhD. It was even written about in a local newspaper where she was living at the time. Much to my chagrin, I stumbled across that article by accident. I had been looking for information about traffic stops in their town, because former stepson was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia (this was public record). I happened to be looking at the time Ex was featured for going back to college. The story, which is included in the previous link, included a lot of bullshit about how she had arrived in that state with nothing but a dream and a few thousand bucks. There was no mention of the huge amount of child support she was faithfully getting from Bill every month for three kids, only two of whom were actually his legal responsibility. Meanwhile, she was telling everyone what an abusive bastard Bill supposedly was, and how he had abandoned her with three kids… even though she was the one who had demanded a divorce!

Ex did earn her degree, and evidently, she supposedly also earned a master’s degree. She went into more debt to achieve this, although she is not using her degree(s) for earning money. Neither am I, of course, but at least we’ve paid off my debts. According to her latest crowdfunding scam, Ex is in a single paycheck household, earned by #3. Apparently, she also still thinks she’s better than she probably is. Because today, I spotted this tweet from Ex to some CEO guy who looks like he’s on a mission to change the world, and the workplace. That has always been a very appealing goal for Ex. Have a look.

Bwahahahahhaa… No Ex. No, you are not anyone’s “girl”. You are a lying, brown nosing disaster with a brown thumb. Everything you touch turns to shit. Also, I’m sure you wouldn’t dare mention that you reportedly lost that job in “higher education” because you allegedly mishandled funds.

I also had a titter at Ex’s next tweet… Her comment is above SiggyRose’s post.

Ex advising anyone to be truthful is especially rich. She is one of the biggest liars and scammers, ever!

I know there are people who would say I shouldn’t care about what Ex tweets. If things had continued the way they were, before Bill got back in touch with his younger daughter, I probably would be trying much harder to ignore her. But, as we found out over the spring, Ex never really lets anyone go. She is not above trying to horn her way back into my husband’s family and trying to take advantage of Bill’s older relatives. It’s worth keeping an eye on her for that reason alone. And again, if you know anything at all about her, watching her antics is quite interesting– both in a funny and horrifying way. She is delusional, manipulative, and completely lacking in any shame whatsoever. I’d probably find her fascinating, even if she wasn’t my husband’s first wife.

But at least today’s topic is more amusing than horrifying. She’s always looking for inroads, trying to claw her way into a sweet situation that might offer fame and fortune, without actually doing the work to achieve it. She wants to win the lottery, but if she ever did, she would squander her winnings in a matter of months. She talks a good game, but the reality is, she’s brimming with shit. And I just feel like I have to keep it all straight before I get completely overcome by the stench of it.

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controversies, education, modern problems, YouTube

Anal retentive school administrator in Hinds County shows her ass over “buttiful” children’s book…

The featured photo is a screenshot from the excellent YouTube video by Lindsay Out Loud, who expertly read this book aloud on YouTube.

This is a great book! Author! Author!

Educator and father, Toby Rice, used to be the assistant principal at Gary Roads Elementary School in Hinds County, Mississippi. Today, he’s no longer employed at the school. What caused Rice to lose his job? He ran afoul of the district superintendent, Delesicia Martin, who took exception to Rice’s decision to read what she considered an “inappropriate” book to a bunch of second graders.

The trouble started on March 2, 2022. It was Read Across America week, and in honor of the annual event, approximately 240 second graders in Hinds County were to be read a book by one of the school administrators. But the administrator who was supposed to read to the kids had forgotten it was her turn to read aloud on Zoom. So Toby Rice, who has twenty years of experience as an educator, filled in at the last minute. He read Dawn McMillan’s 2012 book, “I Need a New Butt!”

I dedicate this “buttiful” song by Eddie Murphy to all of the anal retentive assholes in Hinds County…

Mr. Rice had read the book at a previous school where he had been principal. The father of three also read it to his own children, who counted the book as one of their favorites. The kids who heard Mr. Rice read “I Need a New Butt” in Hinds County were also delighted by the book, which is about a boy who decides he needs a new butt after seeing that his butt has a crack in it and thinking it’s broken.

Sadly, humor challenged administrators in Hinds County were offended by Price’s book choice for the literacy promotion event. Fifteen minutes after Mr. Price read the book to the kids, he was called to his principal’s office. The principal told Price that he shouldn’t have read that book and that parents would probably complain. And then, Price was told that the superintendent wanted to see Price “immediately”. According to the Washington Post:

“They kind of just let me have it,” Price said. “She said, ‘Is this the kind of thing you find funny and silly? Fart and butt and bulletproof butts?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I did until I walked in.’ ”

Two days later, Mr. Price was fired. According to the termination letter Mr. Price received from the evidently “butthurt” school superintendent, Delescia Martin, Mr. Price violated the Mississippi Educator Code of Ethics, Standards of Conduct. Below is a screenshot of the portion Mr. Price’s termination letter regarding why he was fired. The entire letter can be found here.

Some people got their knickers in a twist…

Regular readers know that I don’t have children. I also don’t live in Mississippi. I would not choose to live in Mississippi, because it is a place consistently placed at the BOTTOM (see what I did there) of many important “quality of life” listings. Public school education is one area where Mississippi regularly ranks at the BOTTOM. According to the US News and World Report, Mississippi is DEAD LAST in state healthcare rankings. Given that Mississippi is often placed “dead ass last” in so many “quality of life” rankings, is it any wonder that a superintendent would get sand in her undies over an educator reading a book that mentions farts and butt cracks? Of course, opinions are like assholes; everybody has one, and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks. But I am of the opinion that Mississippi is close to the “bowels” of the United States, and “shitty” news stories like this one do little to sway my views.

Something really stinks about this…

I am a big fan of “inappropriate humor”, so if I had children who attended school in Hinds County, I would probably routinely “crack” lots of jokes about butts. I mean– it’s “HINDS County”, for pity’s sake. Where else would it be so funny to read a children’s book about butts? But in all seriousness, as Mr. Rice pointed out, there are a lot of “reluctant readers” in that county. According to Data USA, there are also a lot of poor people in Hinds County. In 2019, 21.3% of the county’s residents lived at or below the poverty line. Mr. Price said that a lot of students in Hinds County rely on free or reduced price school lunches, which makes teaching literacy especially important.

Many kids LOVE funny books with inappropriate “body” humor in them. A book like “I Need a New Butt” might be just the thing a young, beginner, “reluctant reader” needs to get hooked on reading, instead of more harmful things, like drugs and alcohol. Moreover, the book is marketed for children between the ages of 6 and 10. Second graders are usually about 7 years old, so this book was written expressly for them.

It sounds to me like the administrators in Hinds County allowed their personal preferences to dictate what is, and what is not, appropriate reading material for children. This book is very popular, and is used by educators and parents all over the country and, in fact, even worldwide. Below is a video posted by The Scottish Granny, who is reading a slightly altered version of Dawn McMillan’s book titled “I Need a New Bum”.

Look at her! She’s having a right good laugh at all the arse humor… How could anyone fault her for bonding with her grandchild over a funny book like this? Is this “inappropriate”? That child is a lot younger than seven.

We’re living in very serious times right now. We could all use a good laugh. Kids today have to face so many awful things– war, pandemics, political nightmares, school shootings, inflation, and the list goes on and on. Do the administrators of Hinds County really believe that reading a funny book about butts– which EVERYONE can relate to, because we all poop and fart, and the vast majority of us have cracks in our butts– is the worst thing a teacher or school administrator can do? Can Hinds County really AFFORD to lose an experienced educator who cares about children as much as Mr. Price obviously does?

Delescia Martin and her ilk may be educators, but I really think firing Mr. Price was a very shortsighted and decidedly *uneducated* decision. Now, if Mr. Price had read a book like Beavis and Butt-head’s This Book Sucks to the children, I might be more understanding about the decision to fire him for being “inappropriate”. But lots of excellent children’s books are about universal experiences that we all face– even unpleasant or unsavory topics like pooping and farting. Remember the popular children’s book, Everyone Poops? It was marketed to children aged 0 to 3 and is highly regarded as an excellent book for teaching potty training. As a matter of fact, a quick look at Amazon shows me that there are many other children’s books about pooping available. I don’t see how Dawn McMillan’s funny book about needing a new butt because of a “crack” in it is any more scandalous than a book like “It Hurts When I Poop”, by Howard J. Bennett, MD and illustrated by M.S. (Michael) Weber. And yet, that book also gets high marks from (probably) very grateful parents who use them to teach their children about life.

The people of Hinds County are definitely ready to give the administration a good figurative public spanking…

I read today that Mr. Price has retained a lawyer and will be fighting to get his job back. There is an appeal hearing scheduled for March 21, and a GoFundMe campaigned has raised over $100,000 to help Mr. Price plead his case to get reinstated. Above is one grandmother’s post on Gary Roads Elementary School’s Facebook page. Obviously, a lot of parents and grandparents are concerned and involved; quite a few of them would like to see the assistant principal be rehired. I would certainly hope that other school districts have taken notice of this case, especially if they need an experienced and dedicated educator who obviously knows and cares what children like. My many teacher friends tell me that teaching has been especially difficult lately, and a lot of well-trained and talented people are leaving the profession or not going into teaching at all. I’ll ask again. Can Hinds County really afford to lose Mr. Price?

Between this story and the one involving McMinn County in Tennessee and their stupid decision to ban the excellent book, Maus, I’m actually feeling kind of glad I don’t have any children to worry about. But I do have stepgrandchildren now, I really hope the education administrators in the United States remove their heads from their asses before younger daughter’s children begin their educational careers. And I’m also glad that I, myself, grew up in a less ridiculous time. I feel like a lot of people in the United States could collectively use a mental enema.

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complaints, controversies, Duggars, education, religion

Christians sure are offending a lot of people these days…

This morning, I woke up to the news of the dismissal of the Duggar sisters’ “invasion of privacy” lawsuit against Springdale and Washington County officials, including Maj. Rick Hoyt of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Ernest Cate, Springdale city attorney and former Police Chief Kathy O’Kelley. The suit was filed in May 2017, two years after the Duggar family’s scandalous secret regarding eldest son/brother, Josh Duggar, and his penchant for molesting girls, was first revealed in the tabloid, InTouch.

An attorney for InTouch had made a Freedom of Information Act request for documents regarding an investigation done after the local Department of Human Services office had done after it received two tips about the molestation, which occurred between 2002 and 2003, when Josh was 14 and 15 years old, and his victims (four sisters and a babysitter) were between five and eleven years old. The police officials provided the documents, which of course, were made public. InTouch’s expose pretty much started the process that ruined the Duggars’ squeaky clean Christian image.

I remember being shocked about the revelations about Josh Duggar, but I had no idea what would happen a few years later, when Josh was busted for downloading some of the worst child sexual abuse images and videos that federal investigators had ever seen. Josh now sits in a jail cell, awaiting sentencing for his crimes. Meanwhile, four of his sisters, whose sexual abuse at the hands of their brother, have suffered another indignity.

I’m sure this lawsuit filed by Jill Dillard, Jessa Seewald, Jinger Vuolo, and Joy Forsyth, was very stressful for them, especially since it’s been very public and has dragged on for years. It would not surprise me if the lawsuit was Jim Bob Duggar’s brainchild, to help recoup the loss of income that occurs when a reality show falls into disrepute and gets canceled. Of course, I don’t know if that’s actually the case. I just feel sad for Josh’s victims… all of them. It’s an outrage that this family became rich and famous off of their supposedly Christian image, when it’s very clear that they were lying to the public and hiding egregious sins. Hypocrisy abounds!

The Duggar sisters’ lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, so they can’t file it again. God only knows how much money was spent on this legal action, and how much stress it’s caused the officials in Arkansas, as well as the sisters. But it’s over now. All that’s left are probably massive legal bills. I didn’t realize that lawsuits were a particularly Christian thing. Instead, Christians are supposed to work it out among each other. I guess that Biblical principle goes out the window when money is involved.

After I read about the Duggar sisters’ lawsuit being canceled, I read two more articles about Christians. Both articles were about Christian proselytizing in public schools in two states. Sure enough, one of the states was Tennessee, which I have been writing a lot about lately. The other state was, not surprisingly, West Virginia.

In the first article I read, there was a story about a Jewish girl from Chattanooga, Tennessee who was taking a Bible class in her public high school. The class, which was supposed to be non-sectarian, was to focus on the Bible as literature, and in a historical context. However, it appears that the teacher of the course did not get the memo that she wasn’t supposed to proselytize or insult other religious beliefs.

Mom Juniper Russo wrote in a now unavailable Facebook post:

“[The teacher] wrote an English transliteration of the Hebrew name of G-d on the whiteboard. This name is traditionally not spoken out loud, and is traditionally only written in the Torah. She then told her students, ‘If you want to know how to torture a Jew, make them say this out loud,’” Russo wrote, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, which first reported the story. “My daughter felt extremely uncomfortable hearing a teacher instruct her peers on ‘how to torture a Jew’ and told me when she came home from school that she didn’t feel safe in the class.”

According to the article I read, Jews typically do not pronounce the name of God as it is written in parts of the Bible, instead pronouncing it as “adonai,” which means “my lord.” I always wondered why my Jewish friends write G-d instead of God. Now, I know.

I remember our school had a Bible class offered in the late 80s that was supposed to look at the Bible as a literary and historical work. I recall that other religious books were also supposed to be explored. I was not at all interested in taking the class, since I hated going to church and wasn’t interested in religion at all. I have changed my views about religion over the years, although I still have no desire to attend church. I now find religion very interesting, mainly because I see how so many followers don’t seem to recognize how religion makes them behave badly, as they use religion as an excuse to act that way and be “forgiven”.

Interesting that the teacher would use the word “torture” in her explanation, especially as Tennessee is in the news because McMinn County’s school board removed the book, Maus, from its 8th grade curriculum. The incident involving the Bible class happened in Hamilton County. Russo and her family are members of Chattanooga’s Reform Mizpah Congregation. She has reported the incident to the Anti-Defamation League, which collects and investigates allegations of antisemitism.

It must be very uncomfortable for non-Christians to live in the southern United States, were many people are white, conservative Christians of the Protestant persuasion. Religion has become very polarizing in the United States since I was in school. In my day, most everyone I knew went to church, and the vast majority of the people I knew were Christians, and Protestants, in particular. I didn’t know any Jewish people until I went to college. That was also where I met my first Mormons, although I later discovered that a guy I knew in high school was LDS. I didn’t know it when we were in school, though. I did know a few Muslim kids in school, but they kept to themselves. I didn’t even know they were Muslim at the time; I just noticed that they dressed differently and were allowed to wear little beret type hats.

After I read about the incident with the Jewish girl in Chattanooga, I saw yet another article about proselytization in a school, this time in West Virginia. Sixteen year old Cameron Mays and his classmates were told that they had to attend an evangelical Christian assembly at their high school in Huntington, West Virginia. The assembly was a revival, and was taking place during COMPASS, which is a “non-instructional” break period during which students are usually allowed to read, study, or listen to speakers. Attending the revival, which was organized by the school’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, was supposedly optional. But Mays was told that he had to attend, and once he and his schoolmates got there, they were told to close their eyes and raise their hands in prayer. The assembly was being led by 25 year old evangelical preacher, Nik Walker of Nik Walker Ministries. Students were allegedly told that they must give their lives to Jesus Christ, and that those who don’t follow the Bible will go to Hell.

I was shocked to read about this incident, since it’s a clear violation of the separation of church and state, and should never have been allowed in a publicly funded school. But then I remembered my own high school years, and recall that a group called Teen Challenge came to my school. I think they were kids who had been in trouble with the law, but then found Jesus. They put on a show for us. It never occurred to me to be upset about it. I also remember the Gideons handing out pocket sized New Testaments to us in elementary school. But again, although I wasn’t interested in the Bible at all in those days, it didn’t occur to me to be offended. After all, I was raised a Protestant Christian– specifically Presbyterian. I can’t begin to imagine how awkward it must have been for the parents of children who weren’t Christian to have to deal with those situations.

In the case of the students in West Virginia, one Jewish mother said that her son had felt uncomfortable and wanted to leave the assembly. He was told by his teacher that he wasn’t allowed to leave, since the classroom was locked and there was no one to supervise him. The mother, whose name is Bethany Felinton said,

It’s a completely unfair and unacceptable situation to put a teenager in. I’m not knocking their faith, but there’s a time and place for everything — and in public schools, during the school day, is not the time and place.”

Cameron Mays’ father, Herman Mays, agreed, and added,

“They can’t just play this game of, you know, ‘We’re going to choose this time as wiggle room, this gray area where we believe we can insert a church service,'”

But, even though some of the parents were not happy about the revival at the school, others were happy to see it. They see the evangelical ministry as positive, and good for their kids, many of whom are struggling with anxiety, addictions, and depression. Personally, I don’t think a public school is a place for a revival, even if it is an optional activity. It really is very creepy how so many Americans completely ignore some of the standards the United States was founded on, as they cite the wishes of the Founding Fathers and yell about their freedoms. It seems they only want freedoms for certain types of people.

There’s a reason why religion is not supposed to be part of government entities, although if you think about it, religion IS a big part of our government. But it seems to me that many conservative Christians would like to see public schools completely destroyed, so their kids can be indoctrinated at school, as well as at home. They would truly like to see the United States turn into a theocracy. That, to me, is a very sad idea. One of the things I like best about American culture is that it is diverse. What happened to our “melting pot”? It seems to me that some folks would like to see the spicy melting pot disappear in favor of a more depressing, bland, white concoction.

Here’s hoping the people whose children have been affronted by overweening Christian influences in government funded entities will get some justice. As for the Duggar sisters, I think it’s time they moved on and enjoyed their lives in private. Jim Bob Duggar is a very poor example of a true Christian. It’s time he stopped having an influence on American culture.

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disasters, education, politicians, politics

America’s teachers are under attack by Republican leaders…

Judging by the news I’ve been reading lately, I’m beginning to think that a certain segment of the population is determined to drive people out of the business of educating children. Republican lawmakers and leaders are trying to pass new laws that really make it difficult for teachers in public schools to do their jobs. It’s like conservatives want young people to be dumb. Either that, or they want to control their thinking… as they insist that they are trying to prevent teachers from indoctrinating their children with what they consider wrong-headed, progressive ideas.

For instance, recently, Virginia’s new governor, Glenn Youngkin, was under fire for announcing a tip line intended to encourage citizens to report teachers who are teaching “critical race theory” in school. Because I am a graduate of Virginia’s historic teacher’s college, Longwood University (which was Longwood College when I was a student), I have a lot of friends who are teachers. I also have friends who didn’t go to Longwood, but teach school. Quite a few of them were absolutely horrified by the prospect of Mr. Youngkin’s “tip line”, meant to identify and sanction teachers who promote ideas that offend Republicans.

Fortunately, a lot of Virginians, even the Republicans, still have a lot of respect for teachers and the very challenging work they do for too little pay. People were being encouraged to contact the tip line, but flood it with compliments instead of complaints. I’m not sure if the tip line has gotten off the ground or has actually received any complaints, but my guess is that this idea has gone over the like proverbial turd in a punch bowl. One of my friends, who is a teacher, and I know votes Republican, recently shared this excellent letter to the editor that appeared in a newspaper near where she lives. I think this sentiment is being echoed by a lot of people.

This gives me some hope for the future.

Mr. Youngkin has only been in office for a few weeks, but he’s already been sued by seven school districts in Virginia for writing an executive order unilaterally lifting the face mask mandate in public schools, and allowing parents to opt out of making their children wear masks. At this writing, a judge has blocked Mr. Youngkin’s executive order, at least for now. The school boards protested the executive order, because they claim it violates the Constitution of Virginia and Senate Bill 1303, which requires all school districts in Virginia to implement COVID-19 mitigation strategies as provided by the CDC. The school boards also claim that Mr. Youngkin’s executive order, which are supposed to be used in case of emergency, undermine their local powers of authority.

As I read about this, I can’t help but be a little surprised by Mr. Youngkin’s decision to act like tyrant, especially since he’s a Republican, and Republicans are supposed to be against government overreach. But he’s pandering to parents, many of whom are not exactly the most educated folks themselves. I think Youngkin must have designs on a much higher echelon of politics, since in Virginia, governors can’t run for consecutive terms in office. So he can’t be immediately re-elected when his term ends in 2026, which makes me think that maybe he’s eyeing a more powerful position someday. Perhaps he wants to be POTUS? Who knows? But, as a governor who can’t be re-elected, there is no incentive for him to try to work for all voters. He has nothing to lose by pulling the shit he’s already pulled, and taking Virginia back to the Dark Ages. Below is a screenshot of a statement his spokesperson provided to News Channel 6, out of Richmond:

Except that history has shown us that parents DON’T always know or care what is best for their children’s health…

Ironically, Mr. Youngkin’s own son attends an out-of-state private boarding school, where face masks are not optional. I wonder if this is the same son who is a minor and illegally tried to vote for his father… twice! As a native Virginian, I am not surprised to see that Glenn Youngkin won the election after Ralph Northam’s term. Although I liked what Governor Northam was doing, I could see that many of my friends and relatives couldn’t stand Northam’s liberal policies. And Youngkin’s opponent was Terry McAuliffe, who was governor before and was, evidently, not very popular. So I knew Youngkin was going to win… but so far, he’s not showing that he cares much about the citizens of Virginia. He’s just pandering to Trump supporters, many of whom, I am so sad to report, are not exactly educated or deep thinkers. Either that, or they like the status quo, which puts white Christian men on top of the power heap.

But it’s not just in Virginia where this attack on teachers is happening. This morning, I read an article about an Oklahoma’s senator’s attack on teachers. Republican Senator Rob Standridge has introduced a new bill that would allow citizens to sue teachers who present opposing views to religious beliefs held by students. I don’t know a thing about Mr. Standridge, but I’ll bet he’s a protestant Christian. I wonder if, when he came up with his Students’ Religious Belief Protection Act, he was thinking about students who aren’t Christians.

It seems to me that this proposed bill could really present issues for teachers, constraining them in ways that would make it difficult or problematic to discuss certain topics in school. If passed, the law would make it so that parents could demand the removal of any book with perceived anti-religious content within it. According to a news article by The Independent:

Teachers could be sued a minimum of $10,000 “per incident, per individual” and the fines would be paid “from personal resources” not from school funds, from other individuals or groups. If the teacher is unable to pay, they would be fired, under the legislation.

$10,000 is a lot of money, especially for teachers, who historically don’t make a lot of money… especially in public schools. But apparently, some lawmakers think it’s really needed, as it’s been referred to as “necessary for the preservation of the public peace”. If the Act is passed, the law would take effect immediately. So that means that teachers in Oklahoma had better get their shit together and get it in their minds to STFU about anything deemed “anti-religious”, or they could be forced to PAY. Also, it sounds an AWFUL lot like the anti-abortion law passed in Texas last year, right down to the amount of money teachers could be forced to pay if they violate the rule. What the fuck is up with these legislators, anyway? I thought Republicans didn’t like frivolous lawsuits and government overreach. I guess they don’t mind legal action when it comes to pushing their own warped interests.

I really think that these actions are a slap in the face to people who have devoted their careers to making sure children are prepared to be responsible and functional adults and who, let’s face it, are taking care of children while the children’s parents are, hopefully, earning a living that supports them. I mean, I don’t have any children myself, but I do know that there were a LOT of parents who struggled when their kids had to be homeschooled because of COVID-19. Parents ought to be so grateful for everything that teachers do. But these right wing lawmakers seem bound and determined to turn parents against the very people who work long hours for little pay and put up with their little darlings and their many issues in schools every day. I tried being a teacher in Armenia. The discipline issues alone were a challenge for me, and there, I didn’t worry about some kid going crazy and shooting up the classroom. My friends who work as teachers have a heavy enough load to bear without lawmakers attacking them with these policies that are intended to restrict them from actually doing their jobs and educating children.

A couple of days ago, I wrote about one of Michigan’s Republican governor hopefuls, Garrett Soldano, who thinks that rape victims should be forced to birth, since their unborn fetus could one day be the President of the United States. In the podcast where he talked about that idea, Mr. Soldano also attacked critical race theory, calling it “absolute hot garbage.” He continued on a lengthy diatribe about how teachers need to stick only to the subjects they teach– English, math, science, and the like– and students should never know what a teacher’s political or religious beliefs are. Just stick to what’s in the approved textbook. Don’t be a human. Don’t share anything personal. Just teach from the book. By that idea, maybe teachers should be robots, completely programmed by whomever is in charge, and promoting things that are approved by the state. Wait… again, I thought Republicans were against government overreach! In his comments, Mr. Soldano sure did talk a lot about God… who, again, shouldn’t be part of a discussion about the government… Separation of church and state, you know… something I learned about in eighth grade civics class, many years ago.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I think the issue is, Republican politicians don’t actually want the rank and file children who attend public schools to be taught how to think for themselves. They are afraid that children in public schools could be introduced to ideas that make them challenge the status quo and knock them out of power. I think that’s the main reason why brilliant books like Maus, which provides a poignant and engaging account of the horrors of The Holocaust, and ideas on how that atrocity began, are being banned from curriculums. I think that white Christians who are running the government are afraid that children could be taught to think in ways that challenge their grips on power. It’s probably TERRIFYING to some of these people that young people’s minds could be opened to something beyond white, Christian, cisgendered MALES running things. And so, they want to offer a lot of negative reinforcement to the bright, sensitive, humanitarians who opt for careers in public education. It’s shameful and embarrassing.

Intelligent southern man named Beau talks about how the people in charge don’t want kids to be taught to think…

Some of you might be thinking that you don’t want teachers “influencing” your kids. To that, I would say you should take your children out of public school and educate them yourselves. And you’d better be prepared to keep your kids away from television, Internet, movies, music, books, museums, and other people who don’t think just like you do. Oh, and you’d better be prepared to live FOREVER. Because sooner or later, your kids WILL be influenced by someone other than you. Unless you intend to be there forever, you’d better resign yourselves to the idea that your kids are going to learn things that you’d rather they didn’t. Personally, I think I’d rather they learn from trained, educated, professional teachers who are prepared to answer their questions than some rando on the street.

And yes, I also realize that not all teachers are “good”. Some teachers do need to be removed from their positions. Certainly, if a parent has a valid complaint about a teacher, he or she should speak up and make their concerns known. I have read a few shocking stories about ill-conceived lessons that some teachers have come up with– things like asking Black children to participate in mock slave auctions. Actually, if you Google “mock slave auctions in schools”, you will find that this is an idea that has been used in a number of different states around the country! Last year, I read about a teacher who got in trouble for a lesson on chivalry that irked some parents. Several years ago, some school officials in Utah were under fire for requiring that girls dance with anyone who asked them at a school dance. Some of the lessons were certainly well-meaning, but parents rightfully pointed out that they could be damaging. I don’t think it’s wrong for parents to object in those situations.

However– I DO think it’s wrong for lawmakers to pass laws that are intended to make teaching harder than it needs to be. Some of these new policies being proposed are making teaching especially onerous for teachers. I know for a fact that teachers go through a lot to be able to legally do what they do every day. It’s not easy to get qualified to teach school. And right now, especially, teaching is difficult. I can remember growing up in the 80s. We never heard anything about issues like autism or attention deficit disorder. Children who weren’t “normal” in all ways, were simply put on the “short bus” and labeled special ed kids. Nowadays, children with special needs can get individualized education plans, which is surely better for the children, but more work for their teachers. In my day, teachers were allowed to use corporal punishment to control children, and I did have a teacher who had a paddle shaped like a whale that he used to paddle kids in front of their peers. Nowadays, doing that would get a teacher put on the news. And, of course, we do have a pandemic going on, which makes teachers have to enforce mask policies and the like, putting themselves at risk of contracting a potentially deadly virus.

I guess it all comes down to people disagreeing as to what society needs kids to know…

Do we really need for lawmakers to pass laws making it even easier for parents to harass teachers? I think not. I think these lawmakers ought to be ashamed of themselves. But most of them are Trump supporters, which only goes to show you that they have no shame… or critical thinking skills. And, once again, as much as I wanted to have children, I’m left feeling glad I don’t have them. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I have a lot of empathy for my friends who do. I think they’re going to need all of the thoughts and prayers they can get, as Republicans desperately try to get back in control of the government and turn the United States into a dystopian theocracy.

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