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Political-Promises-4d3a109a90464

Do you remember high school election campaigns when many presidential hopefuls promised free ice cream on Friday, more school dances, relaxed dress codes and other pie-in-the-sky promises?

Such highfalutin promised were not limited to high school political candidates.  Who can forget when Herbert Hoover campaigned on a promise that if he were elected he promised “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.”

His promise hit a bit of a snag when shortly after his election the Great Depression left most Americans without a pot to cook the chicken and no garage to park the car.

When I listen to Bernie Sanders talk I go back to my college days when my kumbaya generation believed in peace, love and all that shit. Our idealism was only matched by our fundamental immaturity. Not that the lofty goals were not something to aspire to. I still believe in those lofty goals, but while I believe that many changes can be legislated, we can’t pass laws to make people less selfish and more compassionate.

That brings me back to good ol’ Bernie Sanders…a man after my idealistic heart, with particular attention paid to his Hooverism of promising all Americans free public higher education.

I’m all for education for a lifetime. I also like free.  And to be truthful, funding free education through taxation, doesn’t even bother me because the history of American education shows how “we the people” realized how important that education was that we first introduced free mandatory public elementary/grade school education and then extended it to free mandatory high school education…and then to state supported community colleges with low tuition.

My problem is not with a free college education, but with this notion that every American student is ENTITLED to the free ride.  If the motivation behind the Sanderesque concept of free college is to create a highly competitive work force, I suggest that we begin that process in the lower grades.  Bring back vocational education as a viable path for young people. That would call for a complete overhaul of our archaic educational curriculum.

But to develop education tracks, one being vocational and the other being academic, I fear would be considered elitist.

For a moment, let us imagine the day when EVERY students goes to college. Where would that get us? The common denominator would not only be common, it would be so commonplace that tomorrow’s college degree would have as much value as today’s high school diploma.

I’d like to offer Bernie Sanders a suggestion.  Make a college education free, but not to everyone just because, but to any student, regardless of his/her economic demographic, who, by virtue of his/her accomplishments in high school, is DESERVING of a free education.

If we raise the bar in high school we will separate the wheat from the chaff and the deserving will be like the cream that rises to the top of the milk.

(How do you like that? Two clichés in one sentence.)

 

ruby bowl

From professionals to pundits the money was on the Monkey Men to win the 2016 Ruby Bowl…and for good reason.  The Monkey Men had a perfect season while the Munchkins struggled early on in the season and critics said they only made it to the Bowl game because their division had a lackluster season…at best.

But when the two teams met on the gridiron, the game took on a life of its own. The Monkey Men’s star quarterback was no match for the Munchkin’s strong defensive efforts. No matter what the Monkey Men did when they had the ball they couldn’t take control of the game.

When the Ruby Bowl game was over, it left the Scarecrow scratching his head. “It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. I don’t know what went wrong.”

The Tin Man pulled the Scarecrow aside and said, “In life what we think should happen always doesn’t happen and it’s not because something went wrong. It’s because something went right.”

There’s a lesson to be learned here. On the YBR we can’t look back on what happened and let it influence what might happen. It just goes to show that an upset in not always upsetting for everyone.

Ozzywood

Lack of Diversity of Ozzie Nominations in 2016 on the YBR.
People are seeing green, and it’s not envy!

A reflective essay by the Scarecrow

rustybucket

The Ozzie Award asking the question, is the Ozzie bucket half empty or half filled?

When it comes to the 2016 Academy Rewards it’s like the late Yogi Bear said, “it’s de ja vu all over again.” For two years in a row, Ozzywood has failed to recognize the contribution of Munchkin actors in this year’s race for top acting honors. Instead the acting and directing categories are filled with well known Emeralds, who have taken home more than the lion’s share of Ozzies.  That’s not to take anything away from the fine work turned in by Emeralds. It just leaves me wondering, not just “why?” but also “how come?”

(Want the full essay? Follow the yellow brick link)

There’s Trouble in Ozzyland

second amendment

January 5, 2016:Moments after President Obama announced his executive initiative regarding stricter gun control legislation, US House Speaker, Paul Ryan, went on the offensive by letting the president know he could not mess with the second amendment.  Oy! Here we go again.

Unless I missed something, there were no guns in either L. Frank Baum’s Oz book or in the classic movie, but that does not mean the concept of individual rights was missing from the not-so-always-merry-land of Oz.

Until Dorothy dropped in and subsequently watered down the leadership, the people of Oz had no rights. Their freedom was not without challenges. The rights of the people had to be enumerated.

The same scenario challenged the “Founding Fathers.” (I can’t help but wonder what direction the new nation might have taken has there been a few Founding Mothers, but that’s the subject of a future blog.) So back to the FFs.

Having failed to impress the power brokers with the Articles of Confederation, it was back to the drawing board where the Constitution of the United States was eventually ratified and became the law of the land.

As amazing as the document was, it was really nothing more than operating instructions.  It lacked heart and was missing any soul.

Enter the Bill of Rights. Now we were talking. Those initial ten amendments to the Constitution made all the difference.

And while I am not a Constitutional expert, I do find myself scratching my head when trying to understand the amendments, especially the Second Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The amendment did make (some) sense 200 years ago when it was inserted into  the Bill of Rights. Americans did not invent the idea of giving “the people” the right to protect themselves from “the government.” It had been part of the 1689 English Bill of Rights that essentially gave the people the right to bear arms for self defense.

In the young American Republic the memory of living through the period of English domination made them wary of ANY form of centralized government. Because the people were so insistent on maintaining their own identities as individual states, it was imperative that they retained their right to bear arms to defend themselves from a federal forces.

Again it made sense…two hundred years ago.  But does the spirit of the amendment, or I might add, does the letter of the law defending the right to bear arms, make sense today?

Do the people of Nebraska live in fear that the US Army will take over the state by military force? Or is the issue today that people want to have the right to defend themselves from a criminal element (house invasion, terrorists, etc.)?

I believe it is the individual’s right of self defense that is the real issue. I don’t believe this was the motivation for the Second Amendment when it was written, especially since no one questioned the right of an individual to have a rifle. (We need to keep in mind that personal firearms were necessary for hunting and protection from predators…as well as armed individuals  who represented a threat.)

For argument’s sake, let’s say that Americans do have a right to own firearms. I have no problem with that. I can even…to some extent…understand the argument that if you limit the ability for the good citizen to protect him/herself from the bad guys who have no problem getting guns…illegally.

However, there needs to be some limits. Weapons that are common on the battleground should not be on par with arms for hunting or for self defense.

Passing legislation that could put limits on some “weapons” and could put potential gun owners to a vigilant background check would not necessarily violate the Second Amendment.

Unfortunately we are a nation “breastfed” on violence.  How many movies feature the obscene use of guns/weapons? How many television shows reek of gun violence?

The YBR that runs from sea to shining sea in America is paved with the blood of innocent individuals who were victims of gun violence. Saying those people would have been better off if they had been armed is like putting a band-aid a burst artery.

Democrats (or people on the left) have to considered the fear people have by being defenseless and Republicans (or people on the right) have to consider that parading out the Second Amendment without admitting  our gun laws are antiquated is not helping anyone.

 

 

 

rip french flag

P&G_logo

Back in the early ’80s religious extremists demanded that Proctor and Gamble remove their Satanic logo off all of its products. The religious righteous proclaimed that all the elements that went into the logo were deliberately chosen to promote devil worship.

It took years to put out the firestorm created by a bunch of whack-a-doodles, but even then P&G had to change the logo and eventually replace it with the simple letter logo we see today.

And now we’ve run a-muck again because a coffee company has thrown the snowman into the fire for a red cup that I can see college students using to play beer pong.

red cup onered cup four

When are we going to admit it that Christmas is for many
(a) religious observation (b) a secular time for good cheer to all men (c) both

If someone’s religious beliefs are threatened by secularism they have a right to voice their opinion. But, when we sanctify things like snowmen, snow flakes, stockings, candy canes, Christmas/Holiday/Evergreen trees, etc. we have crossed over to la-la-looney land.

Unless I’m wrong, none of the Gospel writers wrote that a snowman appeared in Bethlehem and offered Mary and Joseph a cup of Joe in a red cup. (Hmmm, maybe there’s something to this…Joseph? Joe?

In short, whether you honor this season by attending religious services or not, why not be inspired to be more loving, more giving, more caring, more peaceful…and then vow to keep that spirit alive ALL year long.

race

To say that in my lifetime that we’ve come a long way regarding race, gender, religious beliefs and age does not really add up to much when you consider the news today. Having had an “a ha” moment when some of my neighbors looked askance at me when as a seventh grader I brought an African-American friend home after school, I was made aware of prejudice and racism.

We, I believe, have made baby steps when it comes to becoming a human race where it’s not “the color of your skin that matters but the content of your character.”  And it’s not just skin color, it’s our penchant for believing “our” God is the true God and “our” religion is the only true religion. It’s also our steadfast belief that gender has rules that can’t be broken. And that aging is a weakness.

I’m sure that there was signs of discord between the different people who called the land of Oz home, but it’s here on the third planet from the sun that we have to deal with our inability to put race, religion, etc. behind.

But…as I’ve aged, I’ve come to realize that we’re going backwards. And while we would like to point a finger of blame on a very narrow demographic, we’re never going to make any progress unless we all do some intensive soul-searching and take a long, hard look in the mirror.

The problem, as I see it, is level-headed people can’t join the discussion because “we,” and I’m going out on a limb and calling myself level-headed…because we are afraid to speak up. Why? Because as much as we hate the ignorance that fuels racism, we also fear anger fed by entitlement.

Ignorance that erupts as racism can never be tolerated, and the feeling of entitlement that erupts in violence should never be condoned.

That one group of people in our society has a long list of legitimate concerns that need to be addressed should be obvious. But, it appears that those who are leaders in the struggle for justice are being sabotaged by those “few” who seize the moment to run wild, especially since many of those who are running wild are as ignorant as the people who keep them down.

I believe its time for us to have a time out.  Real leaders of both races… whose only agenda should be to reach a peaceful resolution to racism… need to emerge. Real leaders need to speak openly and honestly to “their” people. They have to put their foot down…hard…and say “no more.”  No more mis-use of the rights we all cherish. No more getting a pass for bad behavior because bad behavior is bad behavior, black or white. And bad behavior needs to be addressed.

Once we work on our bad behavior, we can begin to challenge the wrongs that befall us and use the proper power to demand our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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