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Got this idea from New York where they are sending ridiculous homework assignments to Cuomo the governor.   But here that wouldn’t work.  They’d go right into the trashcan, and state police would be sent to stake out the return address.  But if one loaded up one’s representative or senator with all your children’s homework that didn’t make sense,  those elected officials who hope to still be serving you long after Markell and Murphy have moved on to other venues…. had better pay attention.

We have a better shot at stopping the maddness, and they as our representatives, really need to be aware of the child abuse being slung out by Common Core…Image

Like this… First try to figure out what they want.  Then try to figure out how to do it.  Then guess what age group this is for.

This is a first-grade test question of Common Core.  You can see the logo in the bottom left.  Struggling?  This is a first grade test. Remember first grade?  2 + 2  ?

What does this actually teach?  If adults can’t figure it out, why is it so important for children 7 years in under, to know what ever it is they are supposed to know?

This is basically garbage that has slipped through because there is no oversight or anyone checking the content of what comes out. Unlike the old days, there are no parent textbook committees.  It gets pulled out previously unseen, every day and handed out.

Your state representatives and state senators need to see this…So if you get homework that is bizarre, copy and send it to them…Their emails are here for the House and here for the Senate

Subjecting children to this is child abuse. It needs to stop.now.

Just in case you aced the first above (thinking of Mike O as I type this), here are some more examples.  Ask ;yourself, what are they teaching and why are we paying a premium in tax dollars for our children to become dumber through Common Core…..

Like or Unlike and Why We Don't Like Common Core   Common Porn Math

This is not making America great.  This is making us educationally worse than the Central African Republic….

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A Metaphor Worthy of All of Delaware's Bloggers
Courtesy of Aiming Thoughts At You

I’ll be brief.  Most of Delaware’s bloggers from both all parties (for Steve & Shirley) tend to be progressive.  Even if they are conservatives, they tend to trend towards a progressive conservatism.  Why?  I think the answer is obvious.  If one is going to put oneself on the internet, one is going to try his best to look good….  That is hard to do when supporting a failed policy….  Instead of on the internet, those failed policy supporters can be found behind closed doors, where there is no one challenging their failed assertions.  Places like the General Assembly, leadership of the Republican party, and leadership of the Democrat party, are glaring examples….

I saw one sentence that stands out on Delaware Liberal,  and forgive me if I forgot where…..  Someone decried how sad it was that we had to fight within the Democratic party for progressive ideals….

And yet Tyler Nixon within the Republican party is doing just that, and most of us would agree, he has a tougher time garnering support from his red blooded party than any progressive Democrat would find among their blue blooded brethren.

I think a good moral would be that if one wants a certain agenda, one needs to fight for it….

The conservative element in both parties is playing defense this election cycle.  A golden opportunity exists to overwhelm them with numbers of newly inspired politico’s and (without sounding too much like hyperbole), change the planet.

The change to which I am referring, is not one of a narrow agenda.  It is far more reaching.  It is based on a historical example.  As happened in the forties, after we pragmatically won two massive wars simultaneously in opposite parts of the globe, we looked at problems pragmatically and sought solutions that fixed those problems.  Perhaps the reality of winning battles against formidable enemies, (not Iraqis who surrender on sight), taught us that when doing things effectively, there is residual damage.  It is part of the cost.

Today decisions are based on politics, not science.   Problems such as too much waste, pollution, unnecessary death, are put on hold because they may offend a certain powerful person or powerful group of people….  A question that deserves asking is this simple one…….would Delaware be better if every bill in Adam’s drawer received its time on the floor?  How many helpful ideas have been left to wither because Adam’s would never go for it?

So one example, how to solve our state’s waste problem, is decided not on facts… for they are too boring, but rather on who is “for”, and who is “against” such and such a proposition…  Another example, this time in education, which argues that we can’t use a certain valuable and proven tool to better a child’s knowledge, because the DSEA does not support it..   Why?  Because incompetent personnel might get fired….  So instead,…. now that we are forced to cut back on personnel,  our incompetent teachers who have the greatest tenure, stay, and our best new talent, is laid off.  (A solution based on facts, would be to test the knowledge level of all teachers and keep those who scored highest.)  But alas, politics trumps fact.

Facts used to control our policy.  And progressives of all parties tend to be keen on facts…    I think the population at large backs them for they are considerably factually oriented as well. To me it seems the basic frustration with which citizens feel towards their own government, is that adequate solutions are simply not forthcoming.  Courageous Individual citizens  directly face facts in their jobs, their homes, and sometimes under doctor’s care, and wish that our government would simply do the same.

Progressives can tap into this reservoir of discontent.  Old party regulars cannot.  Therefore anyone willing to sell his reputation to a party line this election cycle, deserves to be dissed this November 4th.

The primary fight is where most of Delaware’s battles will be fought.  I strongly feel that this cycle, Progressives have a duty to engage in an all out fight to restore sanity to our government.  Every Delawarean has a Constitutional right to a state government that offers more than personalities.  They deserve one that offers solutions…

It won’t come without a fight.  It won’t come without action.  It won’t come without some form of sacrifice….  Like a war, it may require an all-out-engagement full of practical solutions.  Like this example:  support progressive candidates irregardless of which party they choose to represent them….  For if we get a simple majority of decision makers, who are concerned with rectifying and undoing the wrongs perpetuated upon us by their predecessors chained to party philosophies that do not work, our lives will get better.

It will take sacrifice to make it happen.  If one is unwilling to stand tall and suffer their slings and arrows, they really have no right to wring their hands and complain, now… do they?

I disagree with some of those who put down Petraeus as a liar, simply because they fail to agree with his assessment. It may come across to some as funny that I have thought, if not said, some to the same things against which I am now taking issue, and if so, so be it……

What changed?

What happened was this. I became more familiar with what was going on within Iraq. Of course, being of skeptic I tended to look at things hard. Very hard. To my surprise, I found out that I was seeing real signs of hope. This hope was not in the eyes of the politicos; it was the eyes of Iraqis. Since desperate souls grasp any rope tossed to them, I have waited quietly to make sure that these Iraqis were not suffering any type of delusion. I listened to all three reports expecting to see something in them dash my half submerged optimism, upon the reality of Iraqi shores.

I think my conversion may have come about when I was studying the conversion of Al Anbar province. Those Sunnis chose to back us because they like us. Of course it wasn’t much of a contest, considering who their alternative was…..But it may have also come while studying the criticism leveled at us by the British, as they packed up and split. They criticized our arrogance , heavy handedness, and unwillingness to trust: all valid complaints Each of these were addressed under the Petraeus doctrine. After reading the Petraeus Book on the suppression of Insurrections, I realized his tactics were not part of the problem. They were in direct opposition to the problem. I understood what he was trying to accomplish.

What happened under Petraeus, happened not because of the amount of troops we had at our disposal, but because of the way we used them, that made a difference.

The surge may have helped. For before the surge, we, due to our insufficient numbers, acted like Soviets, if I may be blunt. We were there to suppress and pacify. We, with our own patriotic roots, should have been more aware that by taking that stance, we directly increased our own opposition.

Once we added just a few more troops on the ground, we were able to interact with the local population, while still having enough force surrounding us to protect us. Prior to the surge, the problem was that whenever a few shots were fired, we would have to shut down our clinic, and head out across the desert. However with additional troops able to chase the insurgents, the military medical corp could continue to cure the local citizen’s ills. That was the difference. We could finish what we started.

Of course the original problem was created by republicans, Rumsfeld in particular. Had we ramped up enough ground forces from day 1, we never would have needed the surge in the first place. Yes, we know their insurrection began because they believed we wanted their oil. (That republican Cheney messed everything up). But if I understand correctly, we dropped that privatized oil plank as a “no go” and are now supporting the nationalization of oil assets. We are pursuing more of a Biden local strategy, tribal leader by tribal leader, and doing so because of the surge. Paul Bremmer’s national unification strategy was not working.

What I found, in essence, was that everything I said eight months ago that we needed to do in Iraq to win, we were now doing.

Can this late development be twisted to mean I justify this war that was fought on false pretenses? Hell no. It will always stand as a stupid war, instigated by stupid ass republicans. Nothing can ever change that. We could have achieved much better results at far less cost, had we chosen to use other means.

But we didn’t. We went in against all common dignity, history and sense. So since we did, does the resulting mess lie at our doorstep? Does we broke it, mean we own it?

Perhaps. But instead of a “oops, I broke it” moment, it is more of an “Honey, I’m pregnant” moment. Whatever happened way back then, has now changed things permanently.

Of course we can put up our hands and say, “Whoa, that’s your problem bitch…” and walk out the door. Many people do and feel no remorse about doing so. But that is not how I want my America to be perceived. I want My America to be responsible. I want My America to do the right thing. My America will be no punk. My America will be a Dad……….

So emotionally, that is how I have come around about to see how we could win in that barren land. It is nothing new. Biden has pushed it for years.

To win, these things must happen. They are in our control.

Congress must finally stand up to the President. If Iraq can finally realize that America does not equal Bush, that we too think he’s a moron, that we too can admit and correct our mistakes, our relations will improve. If the American Congress ever gets some backbone, and forces upon the president a withdrawal timetable, the Iraqis too will get some backbone and begin controlling their own affairs.

Congress must stand up to the president, and eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy 2%, and invest that money into Iraq’s infrastructure, hiring Iraqis to build their own sewers, roads, and buried electrical conduits. If Congress could do that, then the Iraqis might get some back bone and start controlling their own affairs.

Congress must stand up to the President, and force impeachment if he fails to comply with Congress’s orders. Only then will Iraq realize that America is not over there to conquer, but sincerely is over there to help. If we are decisive over here, they will be decisive over there,……. instead killing time and each other until our next inauguration day.

I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. (Helen Keller)

How true this is from a military perspective. We read of generals astride their horses, whose only contribution was to say, “let’s attack here” . Their work is done. They then receive history’s blame or credit depending on the outcome of those brave souls fighting for their lives.

The battle results are determined on the field by soldiers. Whether they choose to break and flee, or to stand their ground against impossible odds, alone determines the future reputation of their commander. History judges clearly.

Besides war, the same holds true for peace. Often it is more difficult to be non-violent, than to go into a rage. Yet those who propose peace, become castigated as being too cowardly to handle war, when in fact, the opposite is true. It takes deep spiritual devotion, and a strong belief in a higher power, to sail against the prevailing wind. To trust that peace will provide a dividend that is far greater than taking what you want to take with force……..requires great insight and courage, to make yourself believe in it……..

So who is brave?……. I learned that Marines (US) are brave. When shots were fired across Michigan Avenue in Fallujah, the uninitiated take cover. When they dare to look up, they see the Marines already running towards the sound of the shots. As you get to know Marines while off duty, you slowly arrive at the opinion, they are not that much different. But the moment live ammunition smacks around you, and you see them run at the source like fireman racing to a fire, you realize that courage has different levels.

We are taught from birth, (it may be instinct) that self preservation is a worthy cause. Survival is our primary concern. So when one takes the opposite tack, and puts survival below other considerations, those of us who witness it, call it courage.

It takes great courage to stand up to ones enemies. It takes even greater courage to stand up to ones friends. (Professor Dumbledore, Book 1) Think about it for a second………………..How easily do we lob insults at those representing the other side of the blogosphere? Too easy…………….Now how hard is it to do the same and to criticize those who have stood solidly with you and “watched your back” on other issues? Quite hard……..isn’t it.

But sometimes one must go against ones gut, and do what is right. What kind of insanity must possess a person willing to trust his life to some nylon and some string, and then throw himself out the door of a shot-up B17 over enemy territory? The answer is that the insanity of staying inside a falling chunk of metal, is greater than the insanity of bailing out……..

So what kind of insanity must possess a person who today, is willing to abandon the wreckage of what has been the primary focus of our nation’s foreign policy? Again, the answer is that the insanity of staying in a falling chunk of metal, is greater than the insanity of bailing out.

Wait a second: many of you by now are thinking. “Your analogy is not a good one. Many B 17’s were shot to hell and still made it back to English airfields. Those who persist in the war effort are like those few B17 crewmen who did not abandon their posts and persevered to safe harbor. Your analogy seems to support the opposite of your views?”

But there were also many who did not bail out over continental Europe, and then were force to bail out over the English Channel and certainly perish. By bailing early, their chances of survival would have been higher.

So rational people must look at each of these circumstances and make a decision based on their assessment of all the evidence. We are humans, we do this all the time.

For those who haven’t yet “got it,” the conversations we have about the war here within the blogosphere, mirror the conversations that took place within those shot up B17’s. The upcoming Petraeus report, is no more than a damage assessment sheet.

So with this upcoming report, how do we determine whether we throw our support against those who want to stay, or against those who vote to leave?……..We do it by performing a gut check.

Gut Check 1: If I lose my son or daughter in this war, will I always feel that they died to preserve my nation’s freedom.

Gut Check 2: Would I be better served to have all my money spent on this war and not on something else?

Gut Check 3: Would I be worse off if we left the war, or would it be better off to stay the course and continue doing exactly what we are doing now?

If you can answer no to any of these questions, you need to be in Rodney Square Today, from 5 to 7 pm. The rest of the arguments offered by both sides don’t matter one iota. The only thing that matters is your answer to these three gut checks.

Once you have decided that this war is not for you, then get moving to Wilmington’s Rodney Square. Don’t expect anyone else to do it for you. Even though the time will come when our policies dealing with foreign affairs will change for the better. But that will be because we can no longer afford the extravagance of war. This will occur when the American people realize that war causes too much suffering here at home, and the benefits of peace again become attractive to us all.

It is my humble opinion that America needs to change its policy. This change in policy can come easily once the people of this country decide that there is a better way to conduct ourselves throughout the world. Whenever the people turn against war as a tool to promote certain beliefs, the war ceases. That’s what we need today. (Ron Paul)

As Helen Keller stated in the opening of my piece: “the world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. ”

Today we are in desperate need of more honest solders for peace. Ask yourself this question: “if your showing up to this event, would make the actual difference and stop this war, could you then make a greater effort do it?” If you answered yes, then show up. Just showing up may be only the “tiny push: that Helen Keller spoke about, but if you passed the gut check, it is a push in the right direction………one requiring a great amount of courage……………………

Time to run like Marines towards those enablers who keep this war running; not duck and cover.

Education is a vast enterprise, covering the scope of human existence. Currently our nations entire bureaucratic focus is to raise our test scores. This starts on a national scale and penetrates right down to the roots of each individual. Obviously, to increase test scores, you remove those who are pulling down the average.

Since our obsession with test scores has mushroomed, so has our dropout rate. More students are failing to graduate. Is there a correlation?

It seems from personal experience that as soon as a child has taken his last DSTP in March of his 10th grade year, he is considered a lame duck, and is left in educational limbo. Of course that is not true, all school administration officials will sound…..but for those skeptics I challenge them to compare the intensity that exists before the test to that of the educational process that occurs afterward.

So from society’s point of view, what good does it do to increase test scores marginally, even as we fail to graduate more of those same students? In energy talk…..we are drilling a dry well.

Since Delaware, due to the relationship of its size to its wealth, is the perfect laboratory to test this rethinking, we should begin debating the use of graduation rates to rank our schools.

But wait,…. some of the more astute will say. That is just what we did before testing and people were being passed to the next grade even though they were not ready? They are right. Graduation rates alone should not be the final word in ranking a school.

When struggling with a problem, it is always prudent to ask, 1) who is doing it right and 2) how can we do what they are doing. Reinventing the wheel is usually fun, but is always much more expensive than purchasing one cheap that does the job.

Except for the US, almost all other industrialized nations have a comprehensive exam that is taken post secondary school. We have two that could be used. The ACT and the SAT. Our higher educational institutions have relied on these two tests for half a century to determine the future potential of a high school graduate.

So what if we made the SAT mandatory? To be taken at the end of the senior year? For one, most college bound students have already taken it twice, so perhaps they may pull off their highest score yet……. 2) It is pre-standardized making the act of developing a separate state test nothing more than a waste of money. 3) It can be trained and taught within a curriculum that begins with the seventh grade. 4) Every student can be given the pre-study books out today that not only trains one on the questions that will be asked, but in the explanations provided, actually teaches how to solve the problems better than all but the most motivating teachers on the planet. 5). As a student graduates, the test score beside their name, gives future institutions a clear idea of whether they deserved to graduate.

Therefore, by streamlining the DSTP to blend and meet with the future criteria of the final Comprehensive Exam (SAT), we can use that data to determine and rate the effectiveness of each student, each teacher, each school, each district, each state, as well as the quality of our nation’s educational output compared to our intellectual rivals for future economic opportunities.

Now that we have a way of measuring results, it is time we get to the heart of the problem and figure out how to stem the drop out rate that is extremely high in schools where our poverty is the highest.

Again we turn to someone who has succeeded. The inner city district showing the most success is the Boston District. Basically they have found that it is rather cheap to target those individuals where intercession is needed, intercede, and follow through up to the point they graduate.

Delaware does well in the lower grades (K-5). Our problems develop first at the middle school level, and continue into the district’s high schools. Based on the inner city districts of other cities, we can be reasonably assured that if and when a Wilmington District is reborn, that it will have the highest drop out rate of all Delaware’s schools. Especially if nothing is done to intercede.

The intercession dollar amount tabulated in Boston was between 600 to 800 additional dollars needed per student. In Delaware this funding will need to come from other sources outside the current revenue flow patterns for our schools.

The Chicago school district study reveals an even finer point. Based on correlations with those who failed in freshman year or 9th grade, with those who failed to graduate, by interceding just with those failing or about to fail (D), one could make drastic reductions in the graduation failure rate, and increase the numbers of those continuing education beyond high school.

The most interesting facet of the study was this caveat. Interviews with 8th graders still showed strong positive outlooks towards their future. Many thought they were going to college, or getting a great job. But physical data directly shows that those who fail one grade in freshman year, will probably not go all the way to finish high school.

One failing grade during freshman year has not been considered critical. The student has three years left, they can make it up. But evidence shows that the tendency exists to fail another courses the next year and the year after that. It is the accumulative effect that disillusions most students who then fail to apply excessive effort.

100% success rate is a worthy goal, and may be achievable. However my concern is reducing the rate of drop outs.

What worked in Chicago was targeting those in freshman year who needed additional help, and giving it to them. Once they had the basics down pat in algebra, the tended to do well on their own in the upper classes.

Of course parents and society have a part to play in the ennui occurring in each student. But even those students who had nothing to go home to, if given proper respect, encouragement, and instruction at school, they too began to believe in themselves despite their economic surroundings.

This is just one head of Delaware’s hydra of educational problems. But for someone looking for a bang for the buck, and willing to donate substantial funds to do Wilmington’s poverty stricken schools some good, this intense focus on incoming high school freshmen, just might to the trick…………

Positivity works with children. Negativity works for wizened adults. Unless you turn an inner city school into a meaningful experience for each student who lives in an inner city environment, you give them no reason for wanting to succeed.

I guess one lives with the fear from the first day………But today it came quite unexpectedly.

Dad, I need to apply at the mall for a job….Can I be dropped off?

Sure, call me when you need picked up.

No call. Three hours later.

The door opens. Curiosity. “How did you get home?”

“I walked.” oh. “Dad can you get a light bulb?”

” I have to buy some.” Oh.

Nine minutes later my daughter walks by with her bookbag and bass guitar.

“I’m leaving.” Yeah right. but why the bass…….

Out the window she heads in the wrong direction. “Where is she going” the wife asks…..

“I’ll find out” as I open both doors. She moved fast. I needed to run a little.

She is putting her stuff in the back of a real nice pickup……..I try to memorize the license number.

What to say……..It could have devastating consequences forever if I err.

“I don’t even get a hug?” I get my arms around her……”Be careful, don’t get pregnant on me……” Silence for a moment.

“I’ll be careful”

“What about school?” “I don’t know.”

“You sure you want to do this?” arm still around her.

“It’s time for me to take some risk.” I felt her shaking.

“You don’t have to go,”

“Yes,….I do.”

“Ok, girl.” I had forgotten the license number so I rechecked.

The back window of the cab opens and a male voice calls out: “I’ll take good care of her. ”

“Who are you?” I ask.

“It’s me. ” answers her first date of three years ago.

“Sorry, it was dark, I didn’t recognize you.”

“Understandable.” he said.

Car starts: lights come on. I stare at the plate again, having forgotten all the numbers and create some type of association to help me remember.

Her last words, “Goodbye, Daddy. See you in church……”

Goodbye my love……….

I learned it in sports and have carried it through my professional life. Sometimes one needs to be competitive.

You may have morality on your side, you may have competence on your side, and you may have legality on your side, but still, if you do nothing to stop an opponent, he wins.

Common sense right? It does not seem so with Democrats. Often criticized by the other side as being pushovers, it seems like the school of hard knocks has given Democrats an “F” in “learnability”. Some of the basic tendencies of human survival seem to have mutated away and out of the Democratic party. Some old democratic dinosaurs still have it. But when push comes to shove, Democrats primarily get the shove……….

Primer: here is how it is done……Whenever someone blocks one of my actions that I feel is instrumental in propelling my business forward, I make against him, an outrageous accusation in public. There may or may not be a smattering of truth to it, but the accusation is so well made, that the opposition is momentarily stunned. Stunned. Their brains fumble for the logic behind my remark. They cannot believe they were even accused of such an outrage. While they are still stumbling dazed through the fog of unbelief, I point out their slow response time and comment that they must be guilty. Unless they are super well put together, they usually respond in a stutter like fashion and make a number of errors that I can then expound on. “See. I told you so,” I say to the others.

This happened precisely as such with the Swift Boat controversy. Kerry did not respond well enough. Previously this happened earlier when the diminutive Dukakis almost fell off his step stool as Bernard Shaw implanted into every American debate viewer, the image of Dukakis walking in on his wife being raped……..

Immediately after making the accusation, you point out to the others, “See, I told you he is ineffective. Look at his demeanor. He is ineffective….”

Kerry looked ineffective as the tried to stare down the Swift Boat gasoline sniffers. Dukakis did not appear presidential in his answer either.

So who is getting it now?

Congress? Yes, Congress.

Congress is rated low in public opinion polls. Americans feel they are ineffective. Anyone with their pulse on America knows full well that Congress is getting it in both front and back by Republicans who are unhappy by nature, and Democrats who feel betrayed by the rhetoric that was campaigned upon………

When compared to Congress, the Executive Branch looks competent.

Congress is getting manipulated. The message ( not yet spoken out loud) is this: this Executive branch functions better without direct oversight by the American people. This ties together many strings into one package: Cheney’s outrageous comment, Gonzales cocky smugness, Harriet Myers blatant refusal to testify before Congressional committees, and now the threat to fire whichever poor sap of an attorney dares to file Congress’s contempt charge.

Flatly this administration is saying: We are a separate entity and there is nothing you can do about it.

Congress has done nothing.

The public is saying: “You know? The administration was right on this one. Look, the Constitution is in deep, deep trouble and Congress sleeps on their hands and does nothing. We are stuck with a king.” Today every Democrat should be worried about the permanent consequences of this ineptness: an uncontrollable executive…… Today every republican should be worried about the permanent consequences of this ineptness, during the next administration: an uncontrollable executive………

As an old pro, here is what Congress needs to do. It is not too late,… yet. Hopefully some of this advice will penetrate their archaic plugs of earwax, and resonate with action.

Instantly every Democrat needs to say into any microphone thrust towards his face: This is wrong! This is what the Soviets did! This is what the Chinese did! This is what the Nazi’s did! This if unchallenged, will be the end of the United States of America! Every day, Americans stand up and say “I pledge allegiance, to the flag, FOR WHICH IT STANDS………” And I may be dead tomorrow,… but while I am still alive and breathing, I am going to make sure as hell that our flag, does NOT stand for Dick Cheney and his youthful sidekick, George W. Bush!”

Every Democrat. Every microphone. And it must resonate….. if this country shall be saved as our Founding Fathers dared envisioned it………

We are there already?

The night before Father’s Day was a beautiful one. Not too hot, not too cold, just a small breeze to rustle the hair. The moon was a sliver, and the planets bright. I took a little too long exiting the car with the family and stopped for a few moments to be alone with the sky…….

Inside the family was stirring. The buzz of voices was blurry, and if I tried, I could have picked out what they were saying if I wanted to, but I had lagged to be alone. Instead I became preoccupied with what I was experiencing at that time.

I sat down on a waterproof seat cushion, and looked up. A couple of friends I had known since college stared back. Arcturus, the mighty giant was overhead, and slightly southwest lay the sparkling beautiful Spica. But tonight this summer sky was dominated by Saturn hovering over the southeast. And as I relaxed, ….. I let my mind pull up, high above the accretion disc of planets, and attempted to visualize where I sat in the context of this solar system. That yellow orb of Saturn was over 7 times the distance of the sun from earth. And right now, a metallic object, built by several members of our species, was orbiting that orb surrounded by 59 moons, and was at this moment sending digital photo’s back to earth. Not to mention that we had been able to put a probe onto one of its moons, which looked eerily like parts of earth, even though any water had been locked up as ice for billions of years……

And then out of nowhere the thought came, from where I don’t know, that asked me the question of just how such a species, capable of manipulating the laws of physics so precisely as to send an object into that planetary system from ours, the equivalent of aiming an electron the length of a football field and have it land on a softball over a hundred yards away,………how could such a species, capable of cooperating so precisely, be at odds over something like Iraq?

And where do I, one tiny electron, fit into this vast expanse of empty space?

Occasionally the “philosophical” muse finds me, like a little boy who looks for bugs under a rock. Suddenly it is there, scaring me. This night was one of those increasingly infrequent times. As I stared at Saturn, which to my eyes was nothing but a yellow dot, ( but knowing full well the power of its 900 mph winds and its immense beauty,) I switched topics and asked myself this question: how do I define myself……….who or what am I?

To most of you who will read this, you know me as a blogger. I write down ideas. I try to express them as interestingly as I can. I have been doing it for only a short time. And as I peruse my archives today, most of what I once wrote, now matters little. However, my perusing through the archives of other local bloggers, turned out to be rather fascinating. Looking at those blogger’s early days were reminiscent of looking through their high school yearbooks; one could see the seeds of what they would one day become, mixed in with the joyful exuberance over their own discovery of just what their abilities would allow them to do…………

But if our electronic memories like this, fade in such a short time, how does one stack up in a long term analysis. Fame is fleeting. We may remember a name for awhile, and maybe a couple of trivial facts, but then we move on. Take Ronald Reagan for instance. Just less than 20 years ago he was the driving force of our society, all over our newspapers and TV’s. Today he is still somewhat the driving force behind one of our nation’s political parties. But ask a fifteen year old who has finished American History, and you get this answer: “uh…….was he one of America’s Presidents?” “Yes?…………………………………………..” and that is enough of an answer for him. He feels vindicated. He got it right. Today it takes two or three college courses in Reaganomics to reach that level of knowledge that everyone who was alive in the eighties, now takes for granted. So if Ronnie Reagan’s influence has faded this fast, what on earth does it take to make a concrete, lasting impression?

Ask about Lincoln, and you get “He freed the slaves”. So that’s the magnitude of an act necessary to be remembered just 142 years. So what do we know of a hundred years before that,… five hundred before that,….. a thousand,….. two thousand, …..four thousand?…………………….Surprisingly we actually know a little from those vast expansive time frames. We know of Abraham’s journey, from what today is Basra, up to Damascus, and down through what today is Israel and over to Egypt. We know of the attempted sacrifice of his son Isaac, the destruction of Sodom and Gamorrah. We know these things because religion…..one religion in particular, made a point of writing it down. Why? Why did they not follow the trend of all other local religions who emphasized power, the accumulation of wealth, and exalted position?

We don’t know why. But for some reason they just thought it was more important to tell their stories, which emphasized the common elements of our existence, and by preserving such stories of life and love, that relate to all men and women, their stories were told from generation to generation, and therefore got passed down to where we know of them today…………. ……One should note, we know much less about the pharaohs who left the longest-lasting monuments ever built by man. And we know even less about all other civilizations who studiously logged each accomplishment of every king throughout their civilization. Those names never survived the conquering armies and now are lost forever………………………..but we know of a lady named Ruth.

The window suddenly opened behind me and a voice full of love and life said, “Daddy, oh, there you are………………….” and that is when it hit……………………I am a dad…………….and that…………. is how I define myself…….. ….Whether planned or unplanned, those four indiscretions of my youth, have in their turn, now defined me. No matter how else I choose to define myself, it will be that special code of proteins, which got passed down to this small, select group of the next generation, enhanced with those of my wife, that will carry what I am, long and far beyond after anyone will have any clue of who Bush I, Bush II, or Clinton I, Clinton II were. It is this gift of life, given to me by my father and mother, stretching back to the beginning of our species, a chain of which I am most grateful to have been a part of, that now, has been passed on…………………………

Someday……….. a small living part of me may grow up in a floating colony plotting its own orbit around the giant orb of Saturn. … Wouldn’t surprise me….. I am almost sure I carry that gene.

But my greatest responsibility as a man on this planet, is to prepare my own kids for the success of their own lives. Those of you who read these blogs know first-hand the personal cost exacted by the inordinate amount of time it takes to research and track down elusive leads. You know the choices neglected to make it happen. But your contribution to the blogosphere, no matter how spectacular, matters little if you neglect that progeny that wants to spend some of that fleeting time with you, before they are grown and literally, gone……………………….

So if our life is this important, with the continuation and passing down of traits from one generation to another, when is it morally and proper to kill someone, and thereby break that link and chain forever? When are we morally entitled to stop that genetic line in its tracks and prevent it from continuing through time up to our species extinction?

For instance, is it theoretically ok to kill another family’s son, who is at that moment is in the process of trying to kill me? ……………………..Yeah, we all have the right to survival. Ok,…..So let’s try this one: is it ok… to kill another family’s son who is preventing me from taking something of his that I want, like oil? Do I, because of the special configuration of my own amino acids, have that moral right to take his life?

On this point……….I find it hard to justify permanently erasing something that has taken over million years to evolve, like someone’s unique genetic code. I cannot sanction the removal of a unique human history, spawned from the mixing of memory and desire, just so I can drive my SUV.

So as a “dad” ……….on this Father’s Day or anytime, …..do I have the moral right to remain silent, as other sons and daughters are getting slaughtered for a reason,… …one that borders on lunacy whenever, and if ever, it is rationally probed?

Well, let’s think about it……I definitely have that option……I can certainly choose to say nothing,………but do I have the right to say nothing?……….. And this is what I struggle with…….

The Constitution gives me the right to remain silent whenever I am wrongfully prosecuted. But for the Constitution to remain relevant, it demands that all of us stand up and speak up, whenever we feel that the Constitution is misused to wrongfully persecute others. So as an American citizen, by default, I am required by my Constitution to make my views known……………in any public forum to which I have access. If my views are relevant, they get picked up and rise to the top. If they are not quite all there…….they get passed over, forgotten, and sink to the bottom……..But as a citizen of this great country, I , as well as you, continue to have the obligation, or duty, to make our views known.

So as a “dad”, here I am on this Father’s Day: Just doin’ my part, man. Just doin’ my part…………………..