Saturday, December 17, 2005

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is...

This is my response to a pro-public school essay.

"Put your money where your mouth is"

I can usually go for that...but not in this case. I am putting "MY" money where my mouth is and where it is not.

I am a property owner and as such, am forced through taxes to pay for the public school. I also home school my children, as do many in my area for the lack of good "quality" public education being available. We do not want our children to do well in a school system that is falling in ranks as compared to the rest of the world. When talking about "fitting" in with the community in terms of thanks! I want my children to excel, not only on the local or national level, but also on the international level. No trying to fit in here...leaders never fit in, they are ahead of the crowd.

Here in Arkansas, nationally we rank very poorly, and if I am not mistaken, I heard mention somewhere of Georgia...I think Georgia is ranked lower than we are. Quality teachers were also mentioned, and I do have to agree, there are many fine teachers, but the sad truth is that they are far outnumbered by teachers who can barely be called literate in their own right.

Someone mentioned “sex-ed,” well it works very well. Not until it became required teaching did our school system quickly rise to national status. Yes, we had the highest teen pregnancy rate per capita in the nation. By removing the stigma of sex and becoming able to openly speak of it, we have also encouraged exploration of it and thus encouraged the very state we said we were hoping to educate ourselves beyond.

Being able to gain access to college? You might want to take a look at which children are top ranked (GPA) at the collegiate level. You might also find it interesting that the "college" level instructors are about as disgusted as anyone else opposing the condition of public schools. The state educated children, for the most part, simply are not ready for college, and this is where teaching college freshmen becomes frustrating at all the backtracking required in order to progress. Colleges are now actively recruiting "home schooled" children in an attempt to raise our position internationally. The welfare schools are failing and to defend the institution seems a little like trying to put a fire out with gasoline...a lose-lose situation.

Concerning the whole issue of evolution. I say teach them everything, along with the holes in all the theories and beliefs. This singular issue needs to be decided at a personal level (familial) by the heads of the families, and not by anyone else. No matter how one looks at it, it requires faith. In fact, I believe in evolution and teach it to my children. A simple look at the differing species, and changes within a species requires a thinking person to acknowledge it. But, it is not the answer for the beginning. There’s only one reasonable original cause for being that make any sense.

Children being sent into the public schools as an ambassador for Christ, I don't believe in it myself. We are to be teaching and equipping our children for adulthood, not sending them out into a battlefield. I tend to think it could be for other reasons.

Financially, it is the most cost effective way to educate our children. Who would pass up such a good welfare program? We have allowed our society to get in such a pitiful state that it requires not only one, but both parents to work in order to “almost” get by…if at all. If you’re a single parent, then you are pretty much without a paddle. Also, many parents of this generation simply have not been taught how to parent. They cannot handle their children and find the state school as an easy way out. If you are remotely involved with the state schools, you cannot deny that many parents rely on them in essence, to be the parent. I know many people who rejoice when the summer break ends. They can’t wait to get “their” time back. Well, they sure had the time to make the kids, and now they are an imposition?

I agree with the “OP”. We should not waste our time trying to point fingers at the school. It should be obvious that they are failing, and we are the ones financing it. What we need to do is take a good hard look at ourselves. Decide what we want for our children, and then decide how to best be a parent. Ask yourself, is the state welfare school really the best we can do for our children? I say, get off welfare if you are able, and if you aren’t, then pray constantly.

Enough ranting…I said my nine cents worth and will settle down. Just my opinion and you are most welcome to holler back! This is a very good discussion indeed.

God bless

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Now I am angry...

Now I am angry! We have money owed us and it is still not here! It seems like if I am one second late paying anything, then everyone is down my throat, but…BUT…when I am owed, it is just fine for everyone else (the corporate world that controls all the money) can take their leisure and apply their rules of standard operation to delay paying what they owe. So much for the Thanksgiving feast…

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Glued Her Head Back On...

Well today started out all well and good. We had some contract work finally come in and while in preparation to head out, our three year old tripped and fell against a dresser and busted her head. There was blood everywhere and when I finally got everyone settled down, she settled down as well. She was actually quite the little trooper. It was very evident that she would need stitches so off to the emergency room we go.

On the way to the hospital we had to travel a rural highway and as par for the course, there was a road crew working and traffic was at a halt, but I was able to talk to one of the workers who managed to get us through without much difficulty. In the meantime, the good wife is sitting in the back with the baby to keep her calm…in reality I think it was the other way around. The baby was sure taking advantage of the attention.

One thing I was happy to see at the hospital was that they have finally gotten with the times. For years, I have been using super glue to mend cuts and such (works wonders on paper cuts), and it was such a relief when they gave a similar option. Stitches on a conscious child are tough, let alone when they are in the face. This turned out to be one of the least traumatic trips to the ER we have ever had. On the way home, we stopped and got her a corndog and completed the day for her. She actually enjoyed how things turned out. I think it was due to the fact the she didn’t have to compete with her siblings…She also was quite proud of the fact that they could, “glue her head back on.”

All in all, a bad day was turned good. Now, trying to figure out when we can get the contracts fulfilled…I hate that money has such a grip on my family…some day…

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Crappy Morning...

I woke up this morning feeling fairly crappy, which was not too bad; I determined it would be a good day! I would let my good attitude be the captain of my day. I get out of bed, rub each of my kid's on the head, trip over the cat and give my wife a kiss.

She, the good wife, would soon be heading to a neighboring town to fulfill some contract work that needed to be done today, and me, the good husband, decided to help her out. I went out and loaded the van with all the supplies she would need for the day, and then, only after it was loaded, I notice it had a flat tire. A "crappy" flat tire!

Being the resourceful guy I am, and following the "good attitude" captain, I move all the stuff to our other van and was quite proud that I had managed to deal with the crappy situation without losing my cool.

Now, being that it was the coldest morning of the year (27 degrees) I decide to have the van warm for my wife, so I jump in to start it and, "click, click, click," went the crappy other van! The crappy battery was dead! I didn’t mention that my wife was inside making pancakes, light, fluffy, golden brown butter soaked pancakes; the kind that always soaks up the perfect amount of syrup. I also didn’t mention that I initially intended to be outside for a couple of minutes that I was barefoot and wearing only a T-shirt & my lazy sweat pants (no drawstring).

So here I am freezing to death in a crappy dead van that is parked next to a crappy lame van and all I want to do is be inside eating those pancakes! I decide that I needed to warm myself by setting both vans on fire…but no, the good captain attitude kicks in and say’s, “today is going to be a good day,” so I get out and decide what a good husband would do…better yet, what a “smart” husband would do. Because no “real” redneck would ever allow his wife to be seen driving around in a vehicle with one of those “donut” spare tires mounted, I would have to pull one of the good tires from the dead van and put it on the lame van, and then drive into town and get the flat fixed and have it mounted back where it belonged at the station. I would then drive back home and put the borrowed tire back on the dead van. In all truth, I could have just sent her on her way with the borrowed tire, but redneck pride wouldn’t let me suffer having my good wife being seen driving a vehicle with a wheel that didn’t match.

In my new direction, I head back into the house, walk past the inviting pancakes, reassure my wife all would be well, and put some shoes and jacket on. I then head back out past the pancakes and commence the operation. I jack up the dead van and remove a tire and position it for placement on the lame van. I then jack up the lame van and half way into the process it slips off the jack, which becomes pinned underneath. Now I am really mad! My only choices were to either place the borrowed tire back on the crappy dead van and borrow it’s jack to raise the lame van so I could retrieve it’s jack, or dig the trapped jack out. I chose to dig the jack out because a good redneck never does the same work twice.

Now with the jack back into position I remove the crappy flat tire and the stupid jack slips again! So back I go digging the jack out and once again, raising the vehicle, and finally I get the borrowed tire put into place. I have never, ever, had a vehicle fall off a jack like this!
Now that the vehicle is mobile, I drive to the station in town and get the tire fixed. I wasn’t able though, to get fixed tire placed back on the van because the station’s crappy jack was in use elsewhere…I would just have to put the right tires back onto their rightful owners back home.

Back home, I jack up the lame van and put the right tire back into place and then move to put the borrowed tire back onto the dead van when it’s crappy jack falls! So…I get the jack from the repaired van and go to work on it when “that” jack falls! Now I have both jacks trapped underneath the crappy dead van. An hour later I have them dug out and place them both under the vehicle and finally get the stupid crappy borrowed tire back into place.

Oh, being that it was freezing cold, it would figure that I would have my lazy sweat pants on which resulted in the constant battle of plumber’s pants syndrome…crappy sweats!

I have never had such a crappy morning! But, when I went back inside, the good wife makes me a stack of pancakes that would bring Paul Bunyon to his knees…I have never had such a good morning either…

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


It is a rough one this morning. It seems that the hardest time of the day is the morning. Everything hurts. I did manage to get to sleep around 3 am, so that was good.

The good wife is out and about early this morning on a job that should last her throughout the day. Hopefully I will get a couple of writing assignments so I can add to the money puddle. I like that; Money puddle instead of pool. I do hope that things pick up. Surely they will.

I do so hate that money has become such an issue to us. I never would have believed if someone had told me ten years ago about the me of today. Money, or the lack of, has too strong a hold on the world. Wouldn’t it be great to have access to all the money one could ever need? I would go out daily looking for people to bless. I would try to find nobody in particular, but people who have the look in their eyes that could use a break, you know, strangers. I would just send the people I know a pile of money anonymously so no thanks could be given and no chase taken up. I would also not want anyone to know about my setup. Money, money, money…

Anyway, back to the real world. Might write more later…may not.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

My Little Girl

My Little Girl

“One more smile daddy…say cheese.”
She doesn’t understand “past due”--
mortgage not in her vocabulary.

“Look this way daddy…say cheese.”
The Car’s broken down--
won’t be fixed for a week.

“Over here daddy…say cheese.”
The boss say’s I’m his best worker--
can’t hold my job.

“This will be good daddy…say cheese.”
The doctor’s did all they could--
I’ll walk no more.

“Pictures for Grandpa daddy…say cheese”
He’s gone to Heaven--
his visits are done.

“Just one more picture daddy…say cheese”
She doesn’t know there’s no film--
she’s only three.

©10-23-2005Darrell Bottoms

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Here's a poem I like

Where I Am

The Season:
Hope left the dream
No longer counted worthy
Life became misplaced

The Time:
Life will be recovered
Visions will be seen
Standing center stage

The Date:
Tomorrow never came
Yesterday never ended
Where I am I live

©2005 Darrell Bottoms

I like it . Say's so much. I really like the last line.

If you want to be Right…Do Right!

Friday, October 21, 2005

October's Life Thus Far...

Never mind the post about "My Wife's Husband"…it was something I wrote while feeling a little down. Had to do with how things always seem to go against me…a little self-pity.

Catching up a little, the arthritis/fibromyalgia has been increasing in degree. Getting very hard. Also, even though the bankruptcy did help some, still not able to do much in getting ahead…still swimming under water.

Don’t get me wrong; I am very grateful for what I do have. My family is so supportive and in them I truly am blessed. Thank goodness for the little bit of work I do have that requires and Internet connection, or this one connection to the outside world would also be gone.

In considering challenges facing us at this time, it would seem that all the children have taken to a new hobby. They eat, eat, eat, and then eat some more…lol. Getting tough keeping enough to feed them all. I actually tried to get food stamps, which I am not proud of, but was denied because our work is non-traditional (contract) and we cannot give an exact amount of money we anticipate to make in future income. So…we just do without. I really am getting tired of all the red tape.

On another note the weather has finally cooled off, which I love! On the downside, the heater has decided to go on the fritz…lol…will it never end? I wonder where I am supposed to pull that money from? Talk about frustrated!

In looking at the world, hurricane Wilma is getting to do her work it seems. I pray for a resolution with the weather.

I have been posting some of my poems on a site I just found. Writers review and have their works reviewed by other writers. Is a wonderful site to develop ones work. It is at If you are into writing…check it out!

For now…must run. Be blessed!

Friday, September 30, 2005

My Wifes Husband

My Wife’s Husband

My wife’s husband was a good man, a strong man.  Being a man of degree and impact, little managed to intimidate him, and if it did, you would never read it in him.   In times of desperation, he was a safe haven for many as he was a rock of fortitude and pillar of patience and understanding.  He could hear any who spoke and rejected few, but when he did, it was from a right heart.  He was not the most intelligent, yet was surprisingly well read.  His friends were numbered in the hundreds and could be seen with millionaires as easily as with the homeless.  His view of the world was very austere and always hopeful for a better future.  He was not rich but managed to generate money when it was needed.  He was rugged enough to be considered a “man’s” man, yet cried easily.  He was, that which his father, being a kind, considerate, thinking, manly man, had crafted him to be. He was a good husband and father and easily seen as an asset in his world.

Then one-day things changed.

My wife’s husband is a mean man, a weak man.  Being a man of a small degree and impact, all he saw intimidated him, and if it didn’t, it was only because he hadn’t seen it yet.  In times of desperation, he could be found in a corner of his mind crying.  Those in need often saw him as a desperate stretch of a man; he was an anchor on a sinking ship.  He could only hear his own pathetic voice and was only able to offer criticism cooked over a flame of jealousy.  All that flowed from his was from a broken and confused spirit.  His friend could only be found in the mirror, and there he only saw someone he despised.  His view of the world was always putrid; laced with the knowledge that no good thing rested there for him.  The homeless looked down upon the wretched creature he had become.  He was a poor man who could offer no good thing for his family.  He had no backbone, and could only be characterized as a sore to be hidden from view.  His father would weep if he could see him now.  His words would beg, “Whose son is this creature?”

All that once was, is no longer and all that is, has no reason or direction.  The portrait of life, on the surface beckons one to adore and want more of that which is easily seen, that which offers beauty. On the reverse, is the wooden frame and dull canvas only showing the stains of a life that once was.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Katrina the Ill Wind

What a sad thing it has been to watch the details of hurricane Katrina unfold. It has presented so much devastation and loss, as well as, so much opportunity and support. The loss of life was great as was the physical damage done to property. Who to help first and how to help was a major concern. Who is responsible for dealing with this tragedy and who should be held responsible for all the loss? And finally, how do we prevent this happening again in the future? I do not claim to know the answers to these questions, but I do have some thoughts. The devastations and loss is most apparent and known by most all. The gulf coast was left in little more than a heap of lumber and debris, which was what once constituted life for so many. Loss of life and material holdings are beyond reasonable grasp when viewed collectively. The wind literally removed so many communities and towns as did the storm surge. The flooding left death and disorder in so many other communities and cities that it took on a war-torn eeriness. Watching live reports and radar images on television left me with a view of humanity being fed into a giant meat grinder. So big and so fast was the carnage that little was left, save prayer. Along the gulf coast, Mississippi appeared to have taken the brunt of the storm. Wind and water damage was so immense and widespread that, “where to start,” was a real concern. New Orleans, Louisiana being to the west of the hurricanes eye was in a better situation for survival than was most other areas affected. They had been spared the focus of the storm, but the storm itself was not all that would affect them directly.

As hurricane Katrina came into being, it crossed the Florida peninsula as either a category 1 or 2 if I recall correctly. It blew a little and dropped some rain, and heading on into the gulf in a weakened state, causing little concern for the rest of the gulf coast region. Over the next 24 hrs, it quickly grew into a category 5 hurricane, which many feared would approach levels of damage as compared to hurricane Camille. As it turned out, Katrina has replaced Camille as the evil overlord of storms, and will be the storm of comparison for future hurricanes, hopefully not to be outdone.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Katrina's Wake

As the storm approached land, mass evacuations had been enacted to protect as many as possible. On the Sunday morning before Katrina hit land, I had received a call from a close friend who lives about 100 miles north of where the eye of the storm hit in Mississippi. He was in the process of evacuating his family to Florida as he reported bumper-to-bumper traffic moving at an average of five miles per hour on one of the main interstates leading out of the state. As was he, many had watched this hurricane explode to a category 5 almost overnight and were trying to get out of its wake. The infrastructure is simply not able to adequately handle this kind of scenario.

I was up all night watching events unfold as I switched between news channels reporting the event take place. I watched reports from New Orleans, Biloxi and other site I can’t recall. They all showed the same views; massive amounts of rain, wind in excess of 100 miles per hour, people laying into the wind as if about to take flight, debris and various parts of structures being blown about. It was normal viewing for a hurricane, as points of reference to hurricane Camille were made Katrina was believed to be a weaker storm. Other than seeing reporters displaying these sites, not much else was learned. At 5 a.m. I went to bed believing, as many did, that this storm was very survivable.

Around ten that same morning I rose and tuned in to see more of the same along with some reports of coastal damage, but no real big deal. I went about my business and was most surprised when I tuned in to the news later that evening. The coast had been flattened by the wind and the storm surge. The pictures of so many flattened homes and people trying to dig out, or “dig in” looking for survivors.

Meanwhile, New Orleans, while having survived the storm in good shape, was being flooded due to levees having given way to the storm surge and massive amounts of rain. The mayor had called for an evacuation prior to landfall the day before, believing his city to be in the direct path of the storm, yet it seemed many had not, or could not take heed.

Katrina left the regions she hit in a crippled state, as communications were cut off, transportation was extremely limited, and injury and death rates still climbing. Many people fortunate enough to survive were found waiting on their roofs as rescuers searched in boat and helicopter. Those not flooded were left in the elements without adequate food and water supplies needed for survival. They couldn’t get out and it appeared people getting in to help were hampered severely in their efforts.

Those in New Orleans were gathering at the Super Dome for shelter and soon found themselves trapped in extremely hostile and unclean environment, as did those taking refuge on the interstate leading out of the flooded city. Once again, no food or water, no communications in or out (save television reports), and summer heat quickly placed many in a dire state of being.

New Orleans quickly became the focus of efforts and attention as the mayor plead for help and the governor appeared emotionally unsettled in press releases, offering little in the way of a solution or even a plan. The president declared the stricken states as disaster areas, even though the governor of Louisiana did not, and promised to tour the areas within a few days, as has been protocol for some time.

With hours turning into days, reports from Mississippi were limited with damage to structures and a lack of food and water occasionally being reported. New Orleans had taken the focus as we watched hungry, injured, and angry Americans crying out for help from anybody. The coast guard was plucking people from rooftops, with a few being shot at from the ground on a few occasions. Locals were seen walking through what had become sewage-contaminated floodwaters seeking higher ground. Looting was becoming rampant as we watched scenes of people getting away with expensive electronics and such. In other areas, the local police were trying to keep an order to the looting of grocery stores in an understanding of how grave the situation was. With a thankful attitude, reports were also coming in showing how well the French quarter had made out. Vacant streets were viewed with various sites being the focus while people across town were dying.

Masses of people had made their way to the Superdome for refuge and were now being held in place as a rescue point. We watched as small boats were taking people out. On the interstate overhead, we watched the sick and injured survivors in their extreme state with some losing their lives. Reports of hostility, rape, and murder were being reported. No electricity, clean water or food, and a lack of sanitation were taking its toll. All the while, we watched Geraldo and the good mayor of New orleans plea for help as they cursed the helpers throughout the revelation of the event.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Viewing Katrina in hindsight

Viewing Katrina in hindsight I have some personal revelations. Before the failure of the levy in New Orleans, Images of loss and devastation throughout Louisiana and Mississippi were being reported on in depth. Cities and communities just blown away in mass were being reported as the day unfolded. People digging through what was once their life in hopes of find anything…something… to anchor them to their personal history. It was sad and it was also uplifting to see people…normal, everyday, nothing special people come to the aid of their neighbors. They wept together at the loss, and they rejoiced together in holding close to the lives that were spared. It was a national tragedy and one that was being wept in mass.

As the day unfolded, New Orleans quickly became and remained the focus of 99% of all media. Not taking away from the seriousness of the event, and viewing the danger present to the residents of the city, they were not the only ones in peril. Just as people all across the gulf coast thought they could ride out the storm, so had the residents of New Orleans. They had all taken a chance and lost. While it is true that not all had the option of leaving, not all had such a large municipal force at their disposal either. As the floodwaters rose, the municipal government had people out in force rescuing and “trying” to rescue persons at risk. Not all would take the help…

Being a person who has personally worked with the utility companies of the south in supplying equipment vital to the quick restoration of electricity, I have had to “work” many hurricanes in the past. Here is how it “always” played out: individual’s dig out and dig in and are the first on the scene to rescue and restore. Next the local city government kicks in and is soon followed by the county government. Next, being somewhat larger and having a larger area to coordinate, the state government kicks in, and finally the federal government moves to do their part, which is usually in the form of disaster relief monies. I have never seen the federal government supercede any state in action being taken. It is always at the request of the state for a federal declaration of disaster. Not in any coastal state has it been otherwise concerning hurricanes. Not with tornadoes in Oklahoma, or earthquakes in California. The federal government is the last link in the chain and is likewise, the slowest to mobilize.

Back to watching the events unfolding, the governor of Louisiana cried on camera, and the mayor of New Orleans begged for help as he cursed the helper. He cried that the issue of race was the reason for such slow action on the part of the federal government. The governor still wept and proved very ineffectual in action on the part of the state. In the mean time, the only reports coming out of Mississippi was the one report on the President as he surveyed the situation on the ground…it seemed the only reason these “victims” got any national media coverage was due to his visit; maybe they were just not as worthy? While many became angered at the president’s photo opportunity, it was about the only attention they received.

Deeper into New Orleans saga, we all watched the coast guard (national) in their heroic rescue efforts. These people are specifically trained and appointed to rescues at sea, yet they were the first real force present making any real progress. We could see them plucking people from rooftops and we could also see them being shot at while performing their duty. We watched starving people cart off big screen televisions, rape, and murder their fellow citizens. I am not saying that all people in New Orleans was behaving in this manner, but responding on what was being shown on television. While not supporting looting, I was proud to see the local authorities assist individuals in the acquisition of food and other supplies.

Meanwhile, people were being directed to the Superdome as a refuge. The Superdome…a city owned property became a nightmare of crime and sanitation disaster as time move on. As we watched rescuers (not local) taking people from the Superdome, Geraldo was inside with the “real” victims screaming for someone to come and get them out! They were being held captive…maybe they should have been pushed out into the floodwaters, or again, maybe they could swim for the interstate where people were losing life in the heat of the summer sun?

With the criminal element (who were also victims and citizens of New Orleans) was a very real and present danger to everyone from victim to rescuer, the local government was finally able to announce that order had been restored, but didn’t mention the fact that over 25% of the local law enforcement had abandoned their jobs, nor did they say much in thanks to the national guard in risking their lives in this effort.

As an American I am both angered and embarrassed at how things played out during this trial of nature, and I emphasize nature. Here is what I see has been presented to me in my home and to the world as a whole, and my response to it.

  • This tragedy was a failure on the part of our Republican President and “his” government!

  • In what way could the president have stopped hurricane Katrina? Maybe brought out a really big fan to blow her away?

  • The federal government and their red tape cost the lives of many innocents

  • Who of us has not been affected by red tape? Is this something new? Which president has managed to do anything in regards to cutting it back?

  • The federal government should have taken measures both before and after to ensure the safety of the citizens of New Orleans.

  • So the president should have in effect, declared marshal law and removed the citizens of New Orleans by force? How would that have played out in the news? While it is true that many lives would have been saved, their personal liberties would have been violated.

  • In viewing photos of New Orleans you will see city and school busses, as well as a intra/interstate rail systems. In the seriousness of the situation and for the sake of humanity, why did the mayor not commandeer these venues of transit for the security of his constituents? At the known threat of levy failure and soon to be realized reality, he had time to load at the least, the victims taking refuge in the Superdome. How many of those victims would have preferred to be on a bus or at worst, a boxcar leaving the doomed city? How many lives would have been saved and how many crimes would not have taken place. It was the immediate responsibility of the Mayor and municipal government to protect the citizens of this city. There was time and you cannot convince me there was not enough time to evacuate a large portion of the victims in such hostile conditions. I still remember images of Vietnam and the evacuation at the fall of Saigon.

  • Another option would just be to declare New Orleans as uninhabitable. or maybe warn people living in New Orleans and make them sign a waiver of choosing to live where only they will be at blame in the event of another natural disaster. Oh yeah, that’s right! It is evidently pretty well know and has been that the great city is below sea level and has been at risk of disastrous flooding for some 4 decades, yet people still “choose” to live there? The absolute best way to prevent this kind of disaster in the future would simply be to condemn and abandon the city for good. This would allow individuals to live in a safer environment, and cause effect for lower insurance premiums for us all. In fact, maybe we should make everyone living in a potentially dangerous zone for natural disaster relocate to a safer location. Floods, hurricanes, fires, tornados, ice and snow, could all render a site uninhabitable. The only question left is, where is this “safe” place?

  • In the last week, the mayor of New Orleans was in an uproar because the president and newly appointed director were actively condemning his bid to bring the citizens back into the city. When would they back out and let him run his city? As it turned out, hurricane Rita was cause for another breech of the temporarily repaired levy. Thank God that no citizens were brought back as the city did indeed flood, and once again, we watched reports of a vacant city flooding as real people in real situations were trying to survive yet another hurricane. It would seem that the empty city was more important than others in peril.

  • The President and “his” government are responsible for the failures of the levy system surrounding the (below sea level) city of New Orleans.

  • This is no new issue. The levy system has been a continuing debate since 1965. Once again, how many presidents have passed this issue by? Also, as New Orleans is a highly visited city bringing in revenues form the tourist trade, why did they not, as it is “their” city, do something about the levy? That’s what taxes are for.

  • The federal government moved too slowly in sending assistance to New Orleans.

  • The federal government has done more for this disaster than any other natural disaster in American history, and in a faster mode.

  • The slow response by all is due to discrimination based on race.

  • Give me a break! Being a person of ethnic lineage I can and will speak on this issue. This president and “his” government have moved just as fast on this issue as any other. In fact, to claim race on “his” political watch is ridiculous. What other president has appointed more, if any, ethnically diverse persons to such high positions in their term(s)?

  • The good Reverend Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton are the true voices and advocates of the afro-American citizens hurt by this disaster.

  • I am so tired of their political agenda’s and opportunistic actions that it makes me sick. I am embarrassed. Other than point fingers, which of the good Americans have taken the time to truly help the victims of any cause they rally for? Are they bringing in food and medical good? Organizing relief parties in this great time of humanitarian need? No! They are pointing fingers and crying discrimination. In fact, from what I have seen on the news coverage, it is mostly our white brother and sister Americans seen offering any relief. I defy any to disprove my statement that 90% of the on-ground relief workers are Caucasian!

  • The federal government should be doing more to help the victims.

  • More you say? I live in one of the areas providing relief through housing for many of the victims. They are given housing, food, clothing, counseling, assistance in locating family and friends, not to mention transportation away from the disaster zone. They are also receiving vouchers in addition to everything else. Who is paying for this? For the largest part, the federal government. You and me are financing this effort through our taxes to the federal government. They scream do more, but what about tax time? Will we want to do more then?

I think as a people proclaiming freedom, we want no real part of it, it would seem. All I hear is how little the federal government is doing and in this we are asking for more control on our civil liberties. Do we really want a government that can and will remove us from our homes by force in the threat of bad weather? Do we really want our tax burden to be increased, when in fact; we can pull the government back in this kind of work and instead contribute our money and time individually and get a tax break in the form of charitable contributions?

Another issue is one of being a victim. Since when is someone truly a victim of nature and in context, what would the definition of victim be? Folks, this is all part of life. Good things happen alongside bad things. I know of may people who have suffered loss through tornados, fire, automobile accidents, and various other losses physically and financially. When did it become the business of the federal government to cover losses on a personal level? I have suffered such losses and the government has given me no aid that I have not paid for. After 911, the fire and police workers killed when the towers fell had their families compensated to a very great degree. There were payouts in cash and scholarship that is beyond that known to our culture. While their actions were noble, were they any nobler than the actions of the volunteer firemen and women killed in a house fire. How about rural policeman shot in a traffic stop? What is the determining factor in placing the value of one person greater than that of another? Are the families of those lost in the line of duty worth more if the media plays it, or maybe it is part of a larger disaster? Plain and simple, the loss of life is hard for the families of all those taken regardless of how. If one is valuable, then all are valuable, and once again, if one chooses to work in a potentially dangerous line, then they accept the risk to themselves and the following hardship on their families. Want to know how we heroes of a lesser degree deal with it? Life insurance and planning for the reality of the risk is one way. Should we not be accountable for our choices and the hazards they might present?

In our screams for the government to do more, we are ourselves only willing to do less. My local community, I am sad to report, in housing many of the victims of hurricane Katrina, has betrayed our own speech. Being mostly white, fear has arisen from having “black” people living near us. Just under a thousand people are being temporarily house outside the city limits of one of our cities at a church camp. One article reported in that city’s paper was a discussion of the city council on whether or not the city should put up restrictive fencing to keep the victims “in” or restrained as a means of protecting it’s residents. I truly am ashamed. What kind of people are we? Well, to be honest, we are “real” people. From what the media has given us in reports of looting, rape, and murder, is this community really wrong in its concerns. It would seem that we are fed what the media allows, and then condemned when we digest and respond to their information. If you want us to be compassionate then do not make us fearful!

In my thoughts, there is little blame to be cast in this situation. I saw people responding to a natural disaster (one which is part of a known cycle), then governments following, as it should be. Are we so callous a people that we would rather wait on any government when we have the opportunities to command a positive change in the lives of our fellows as well as ourselves? Should I call on someone from afar to help a neighbor in my immediate vicinity? Will I stand by and watch them suffer while waiting for my governmental body to act? It would seem so…and if it be so, then shame is upon us all…

If you want to be Right…then you must Do Right!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Bankruptcy Bums...

We all know that only low-life, no good, mooching cheaters file bankruptcy. They go out and spend, spend, spend, then turn around and take the easy way out by letting all the rest of us honest people pay for their “free-ride”.

I personally know of a couple who have really learned the system. She’s a stay at home mom who on occasion takes the time to glance out a window to see if the kids are still alive. He is a truck driver….well in a way. He gets a job driving across country and drives for a week or so, then goes home and calls the agency to come and pick up “their” truck! This is an ongoing cycle for him as he drives just enough to “say” he has worked and draws his unemployment.

This couple also bought a small house as most people will do and put forth a good impression for all to see. They also bought a new vehicle and shortly after saw the need for a larger and nicer house; so they built one. Living the American dream!

How they managed their “good” life? It goes something like this. They signed a contract with a person who agreed to owner finance them some land. They then went to the bank and borrowed money to build the new house. They hired a builder to build their house, which he did until he realized they would not pay up, so he left the house unfinished; inside needing finishing. They then default on the house and file chapter seven bankruptcy and get it. The bank in trying to claim the house back found that it was sitting on land belonging to someone else, so couldn’t touch it. These people got off with a home which they finished out, a new vehicle and the only payment being paid to the man who owns the land. Pretty good deal for them!

This is how it always seems to play out……the honest people struggle while the cheaters always get ahead. Bankruptcy bums!

Now I find myself having to admit to being one of those bankruptcy bums. It all happened so fast that it still seems like it happened to some other bum. We are a family, a large family in fact, and we were paying all our bills while managing to drown slowly instead of instant death. Now mind you, we have never been late on a single payment in fifteen years and our credit rating was perfect. So how did we end up having to file for bankruptcy? It took one quick notice from a credit card company. As it turned out, the original company had been bought out and the new company jumped us from 9% interest to 29%. That totally threw us into the abyss of debt. No way could we ever make that kind of payment.

We ran to credit counseling for help with no good end. All the promises you see on television didn’t pay out for us; after some $500.00 in processing fees.

Next we run to the friends. You know the ones that life worked for. The ones who figured it all out...self made people. The lucky ones. The ones who are there if you ever need them; you know them…everyone knows them and everyone would consider themselves lucky to have friends like them. Good upright people ready and willing to offer a good hand.

After a lot of humbling we went to these people; our last call and in a lot of ways our safety net. We explained our situation and they promptly offered their good wishes and prayers. That was it. They were willing to feel for us but unwilling to lift us out of our misery. Not that they owed us anything, but more like they had made so many offers and hints of being like family that we trusted them with helping us if that makes any sense. The really tough part for me is in being Christian and these people being the same. I am very careful with my word and never offer more than I can or am willing to give. My word is about all I have left, and for these people to give it so easily and not follow up really got to me. Another lesson learned.

Next we finally realize there was absolutely no place to turn, so we ran to an attorney. It was all somewhat simple in process, but rather hard in heart. We borrowed the money to hire the attorney, explained our situation and filled out the paperwork. A couple of months later we were in court explaining our situation and was granted chapter 7 bankruptcy. Done deal!

How we got here is not a nice story, but one that I feel I need to share. Long story short, I was ran over while trying to help a drunk woman out of a busy highway. A month in the hospital, lose the good job, have big family and the need to feed them. We really had nothing to show from all these years except a couple of old cars and a small house. Nothing to hide and nothing to show….except for four wonderful children. Somehow all the plans and dreams just seemed to drift away. Not really sure how they all got away. I just somehow figured it would turn out better…so much for figuring.

At any rate, I am now that which I have held in contempt. Sure tastes different from this side of the table….

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Once again I am saying, "it's been a while."

Once again, I am saying, “it’s been a while.”  

What an opening…right?  Well maybe not, but then again, here I am.  Still wanting to pour myself into this blog, yet, not having the time or energy I always presume myself to have.  

These past few months, not much has changed and everything has changed.  For one I am no longer in school.  I absolutely loved going to college but have lost site of the end goal.  I am a 40 year old husband and father who is disabled and without direction.  I once saw myself getting my doctorate in history and teaching on the collegiate level.  The truth though, is that I would most likely not see it to an end physically.  

Putting this together with the truth that our four children are growing and needing my presence around here I made what appeared to be the wisest move I could make.  So now I am home “trying” to teach the kids along with my wife.  Homeschooling is a lot tougher than most would think.  Beside that, I am attempting to do some writing, which seems to have developed a will of it’s own.  When I want to write, there is never anything in the well, but when I am not is a place to write, it is like there is not an outlet capable of handling it all.  What I really need is a laptop to carry with me everywhere I go.  Just a keyboard and the ability to stop and write would probably produce some good words worth reading.  

Back in the real world, we also found ourselves in bad financial shape….but I really don’t want to write about that now…maybe later……

Remember……If you want to BE RIGHT, then you must DO RIGHT!    

Monday, May 16, 2005

A Little More Catching Up

Well I find myself once again at the end of another semester of college. It has been good, but I think it is time for a break. So far, all "A's"!
It is almost 11:30 p.m. and everyone in the house except me is asleep. My mother-in-law is visiting from Texas and everyone is having a good time so far. Tomorrow we are planning on going to the Tulsa Zoo.
The weather has been a little unseasonably cool, but hey, who's complaining?
We have found one of the most incredible and unusual places to get good food. It is in an out of the way place in rural Oklahoma. In a little community called Chewey, is a convenience/gas station with a kitchen. When I say community, I mean that you can see at least one house every mile or so.....very rural. The store is called "W5 Gas & Grocery" and is seriously one of the best places we have found for burgers/pizza/whatever. I have never had food so good....and pretty reasonable in price as well. If for some odd reason you find yourself driving through the Chewey, Oklahoma (NE) countryside and come across a lone gas yourself a favor and go in and get something to eat!
That's all I have to post for the time do Right and BE RIGHT!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

A little catching up

Been some time since last posting. What’s new?
Went to dentist for post build-up and temporary crown. Talk about painful! It was without a doubt the worst trip to the dentist to date…and my teeth still hurt.
Am back in school; somewhere around week eight. Algebra is still giving me fits, but what did I expect?
Will write more later if time permits.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Water We Drink...

TheChristian Science Monitor 1-3-05

A scare rippled through Washington, D.C., earlier this year whenresidents learned their drinking water contained lead, a metal linked tolower IQs in children and other maladies. The lead had leached into thewater from aging pipes and fixtures. The city's water authorityresponded with a common remedy: It added a chemical calledorthophosphate, which coats the inside of the pipes to contain the lead.But a month later, the city found the water contained elevated levels ofbacteria, a side effect of the treatment. Both the city and the USEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA) assured residents the situationwas not an emergency, and that the bacteria could be treated withinmonths. Still, the city notified consumers of the situation andsuggested that at-risk households, such as those with young children,seek medical advice.So what should consumers believe about the safety of their drinkingwater?Drinking water in the United States is among the best in the world - aUnited Nations study ranked it 12th among 122 countries. US water istreated and closely monitored so that isolated problems like the one inWashington, D.C., can be dealt with quickly. But scientists also aredetecting for the first time substances - called "emerging pollutants" -that occur more routinely than had been thought. With new tests andtechnologies turning up these previously undetectable contaminants, amixed picture is emerging of America's rivers, aquifers, and otherfreshwater sources that supply an estimated five out of six Americans.What's disturbing is what's showing up in the water: industrialchemicals, human and veterinary drugs, feces, natural and synthetichormones, microorganisms, detergents, and even fire retardants. Watercompanies do not yet test for most of these substances, and theireffects on health and the environment are largely unknown. Read thecomplete story here:

I think more people should be concerned with their water supply whatever the source. We get our water from a well on our property and so far has consistently tested clean, with the exception that the state of Arkansas requires a certain amount of chlorine, which we add for the test, then pump out afterwards.
I think it would be reasonable to make a connection between increase in disease with the increase in mass water treatment facilities. The problem with a large centralized water treatment facility is that if something goes wrong, then everyone is a victim. With the old system of cistern or well to supply the individual family or small community with water is that contamination is isolated and easy to identify.
As mentioned in the article, Both the system and cure have proven to pose a risk to the consumer. One thing a person can do to minimize the lead is to simply let the water run for about a minute to purge the lines of any leached lead before consuming. As far as the bacteria, one can either put a very small amount of bleach (chlorine) in their water to kill it. If you do this, or have water that is chlorinated, you can let it sit out open overnight, which will allow the chlorine to dissipate into the air, and the water will be good. Another way to treat against bacteria is to cook the water in a microwave but, I do not recommend this because seeds being watered with "nuked" water will not grow, which should throw up a red flag! This really makes me reconsider if we should be using a microwave at all?
One thing I truly do not understand is the use of chlorides and fluorides to treat municipal drinking water. Both of these are known to be carcinogens and with their inception we have seen a vast increase in various disease and illness. In looking around our piece of the woods I see deer, birds, cats, dogs, raccoons and just about any other creature drinking untreated water from puddles, our pond, streams, and just about any other place it might collect or flow through. This water would most definitely be deemed contaminated and unsafe by our local health department, yet somehow these various creatures seem to flourish? Even the fish, turtles and frogs living in the "bad" water seem to be healthy??...Go figure…
I believe God gave us a system to utilize this living water to advantage, but we have cleaned it to a point of contamination. Where we live, we have a freshwater well that is routinely tested and found to be living. When we try to drink “treated” water it burns our throats so we only consume what is necessary. We are also trying to eliminate any engineered or chemically treated food from our diets as well, which is proving a little more difficult. Seems like our only affordable means will simply be to grow what we consume (organics are outrageously expensive).

Anyway, that’s my nine cents worth when it comes to water….
Be Right!