Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘children’

True Life Story: What did you name your kids?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, March 18, 2017

–True Story–

A few years back (2006, to be exact), I recall having seen a human interest story on teevee about children in Birmingham Alabama’s Norwood Elementary Band Program and their need for instruments.

They were in dire need of instruments, having only about 50 – not nearly enough for all the children.

One dear, sweet child whom was interviewed was named Read the rest of this entry »

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The Great Unknown… Or Not: Separating #Fact From #Fiction: @realDonaldTrump’s First 100 Days – Realistic, Or Idealistic?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, November 12, 2016

November 11, 2016
Day 3: Still thinking

Yesterday, President Obama met with Donald Trump at the White House. It was the first time either of them had met. According to brief remarks made to the Press afterward, their collegial meeting lasted about one and a half hours.

The erudite will recall that “the first 100 days” is taken from a radio address given by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first term in office, in which during his first 100 days , and modeled after his plan to get Americans back to work, protect their savings and create prosperity, provide relief for the sick and elderly, and get industry and agriculture back on their feet.

Having read Trump’s goals for his first 100 days in office, it seems to me that there are some ideas I can support. Yet, there’s some pure bluster and ignorance designed for purely emotional appeal. I’ll separate fact from fiction, and we’ll have to wait and see how it all pans out.
See: donald-trumps-contract-w-american-voter

Trump’s objectives are in bold, my comments follow.

—/—

First: Constitutional Amendment for Congressional Term Limits – I have long supported that idea. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R), however, opposes them – as, presumably, do some others. Whenever their income source or security is potentially challenged, they’ll fight. Which is probably all the more reason it ought to enacted. A Lifetime Limit of Eight terms in the House of Representatives (2 years x 8 terms=16 years), and a Lifetime Limit of Two terms in the Senate (2 terms x 6 years=12 years) for a combined total of 20 years Lifetime Total ought to be enough for anyone.

Second: Federal Hiring Freeze, to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health) – I can understand that, and could go along with that for a period of time. Realize also that whenever any public action is required to be taken – such as “extreme vetting,” it is done by Federal Employees. So if their numbers are reduced, as a natural result, expect slow-downs and delays in any actions undertaken.

Third: Require that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated – That’s unrealistic, and impracticable. It may be nice to think about, but as a blanket statement, it’s simply unrealistic.

Fourth: A 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service – TOTALLY in favor of this idea.

Sixth: Lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government – Totally in favor of, and the ban should extend to ALL former Federal Employees.

On the same day, I will begin taking the following 7 actions to protect American workers:

FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205 – I have long advocated for changes to NAFTA, and other Free Trade deals to which the United States is a party.

SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership – TOTALLY in favor of this idea.

THIRD, I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator – Some say “yes,” some say “no,” but there is no disagreement China has bought American currency on the FOREX (Foreign Currency Exchange Market), and has purchased American indebtedness (T-bills, and other bonds). Mr. C. Fred Bergsten, Senior Fellow and Director Emeritus at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, put it this way: “Currency manipulation occurs when Read the rest of this entry »

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I had a Late Term #Abortion.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 21, 2016

I HAD A LATE TERM ABORTION.
IT IS NOTHING LIKE DESCRIBED BY TRUMP.
PLEASE DON’T BASE YOUR VOTE ON THE FEAR MONGERING HE IS DOING.
PLEASE READ MY EXPERIENCE:

I had to have a late term abortion. It was the worst moment in my life. What made it even worse was the State of Utah had made it illegal. I had one dead twin. The other had severe Spina Bifida, and would only have lived with life support, in great pain, for a few days.

by Alyson Draper
October 19 at 8:46pm · Midway, UT
used with permission

I lay on the hospital floor, bawling hysterically, for twelve hours, waiting for an ethics committee of the health care corporation to Read the rest of this entry »

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Homeless Veterans: A Rational Perspective

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, February 19, 2016

Let’s get some perspective.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s January 2012 annual point-in-time count found that 633,782 people across the United States were homeless, 57,849 of which were veterans.

  

However, Read the rest of this entry »

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Meteorology, Mama & Baby -or- How I Was Befriended By Luck

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 10, 2015

It was Easter Sunday, 2010, and unknown to me, dumb luck had befriended me.

Pure dumb luck.

Even scientists believe in it.

In 1996, Duncan C. Blanchard, a meteorological researcher then affiliated with the State University of New York at Albany, authored a scientific paper entitled Serendipity, Scientific Discovery, and Project Cirrus” published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society in which he cited Project Cirrus (1947-52), a period and project of research from which “many serendipitous discoveries and inventions were made, opening up areas of research still being pursued today.”

Blanchard’s work was cited a decade later in 2006 by David M. Schultz, who was then affiliated with the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, and the NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma in a research paper entitled The Mysteries of Mammatus Clouds: Observations and Formation Mechanisms. In it he wrote that what little we know about mammatus clouds was, because of their nature, “obtained largely through serendipitous opportunities.”

In other words, what little we know about the clouds (so named after human breasts because of their appearance), has been obtained by pure dumb luck – although, being prepared, and being in the right place at the right time does account for something.

In conversation recently with a dear, and longtime friend, I shared about Read the rest of this entry »

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UPDATED: If #ALpolitics Would #ExpandMedicaidNow, They Could CUT Medicaid Co$t$ More Than 50%

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 6, 2015

UPDATE: Tuesday, 11 August 2015
CORRECTION ADDENDUM

In my first & earlier calculations, I inadvertently overlooked multiplying the Annual Medicaid Spending in Alabama figure (which is a TOTAL of $5,241,269,869) by 70%, which would represent the portion paid for by the Federal government. Alabama’s 30% share of that figure (the share paid for by the state) would be $1,572,380,960.70. It would also be reasonable to expect that Expanding Medicaid in Alabama to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level would increase total economic activity (through Medicaid spending) in the state at least 38%. So to Expand Medicaid, the baseline figure for TOTAL Medicaid spending (combined Federal and State funds) would approximate $7,232,952,419. According to the provisions of the law, Alabama’s sharing portion (if Governor Bentley chose to Expand Medicaid) would still be 2016-100%; 2017-5%; 2018-6%; 2019-7%; 2020 and beyond-10%. The corrections to the figures herein are dollar amounts only (based on the $7,232,952,419 total expanded figure), not the %ages. Data & figures are now also shown in table format.

Folks, it may (or may not) surprise you to know a sampling of the collective thoughts of our wrong-wing friends, and relatives on matters political in Alabama, especially as they pertain to Medicaid.

Here’s a verbatim excerpted sampling of what I came across today.

• No one want increased entitlements. Too much waste and abuse. get a job folks. no to medicaid
• Medicaid is a lifestyle
• scare tactic. nursing homes overcharge. working people of Alabama are tired of taking care of lazy people
• ask any hospital administrator or physician in private practice. Medicaid devalues services. Reject medicaid

I dare say, MOST are clueless about the genuinely tangible economic and public health benefits Medicaid provides to this state, and the revenue and jobs it creates. All they hear are the wails and moans of representatives and/or senators – mostly of whom, if not exclusively, are Republican.

Where does Alabama's Medicaid money come from? Where does it go?

Where does Alabama’s Medicaid money come from?
Where does it go?
Source: Alabama Medicaid Agency Annual Report – FY 2012

Medicaid is a Federal/State matching/sharing program which provides (pays for) healthcare services for the impoverished wherein states pay a minority matching portion, while the Federal Government through CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) pays the majority portion. Within reasonable guidelines, the states have broad discretion and liberty to operate Medicaid according to the way they see fit, and the needs of the residents they serve. There are, however, certain minimums standards to which every state must adhere.

Under the provisions of the OLD law, the states that do NOT Expand Medicaid pay a higher %age rate for their services than they would if they were to Expand Medicaid to provide services to those whom are at 138% of the Federal Poverty guidelines – which is what the PPACA provides. The PPACA is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act- though it’s more often called the ACA “Affordable Care Act,” and colloquially referred to as “ObamaCare.”

Under the provisions of the PPACA, states that choose to Expand Medicaid will have 100% of those costs paid-for by the CMS beginning 2014, until 2016. The incentive for expansion is based upon Read the rest of this entry »

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What are taxes for? Who should pay them? Should you pay more, or less?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 31, 2015

Kroger Tools for Schools Drive sign

Kroger Tools for Schools Drive sign

It infuriates me to see signs & posters like these, because THAT is what taxes are for!

And, if there aren’t enough taxes collected from the wealthy (and obviously, there aren’t), then we see “drives” and other collection points like this.

Just this evening, in conversation with my neighbor, she shared with me about how her co-worker – a young, single mother – recently confided in her, and said that she didn’t earn enough money to make ends meet – to pay the rent, keep the lights turned on, and feed her family and that she regularly has to go to a local food pantry (which itself often runs out of food because the need is so great) to augment her meager ability to purchase food – and that she, herself, didn’t have supper because she chose to feed her children, instead.

My neighbor remarked, Read the rest of this entry »

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What Does It Mean To Be A Boot Licker In #ALpolitics, And Who Are They?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 26, 2015

BOOTS 1630 Jacob Duck-A Guardroom Interior

Various styles of “cavalier” boots, which are also called “thigh high” boots, from which the term “bootlegger” is believed to have originated. Note the boot’s high shaft which extends to, and often over the knee, and the widening taper to accommodate the thigh’s size & shape. The style originated in Spain with early cowboys, and was entirely one of functional design, then later took upon a fashionable trend among the well-to-do, moneyed nobility class.
Background image is oil on panel, dimensions 9.8 x 7.5 inches (25x19cm), entitled
A Guardroom Interior,”
c.1630 by Jacob Duck (1600-1667), a Dutch painter whom specialized in such guardroom images and contemporary period paintings.

To be certain,
it’s NOT “boot liquor,”

which in a sense could be
(or perhaps has been)

morphed into bootlegger,
which is a person who
illegally sells liquor.

The term itself derived from
the practice of
hiding a flask of liquor
in a
high-legged boot.

But to be certain,
the term
“boot licker”
is a
derogatory term
used to describe
someone whom is Read the rest of this entry »

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All You Need Is Love

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 8, 2015

I recollect, a few years ago, having gone with a dear friend to the apartment where her former husband lived.

He had died alone.

D’Angelo (not his real name) was a retired Army NCO, whom had volunteered for service. He was genuinely a “squared away” soldier, and rose to the rank of First Sergeant (E-8), which rank is politely nicknamed “Top,” because, aside from Sergeant Major which is also an E-8 position, it is the highest rank and position a NCO can obtain.

His generosity was well-known, and his humility, honesty and genuine love for his fellow man was evident throughout his life. And though he was a good man with many admirable character qualities, a congenial fellow, well liked – even loved – by many, it seemed he never could win the battle over the bottle.

What little I knew of him from others’ reports and my own limited interaction with him, he was an honorable family man. And yet, Read the rest of this entry »

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If Alabama Was A Loaf Of Bread

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 31, 2015

If Alabama was a loaf of bread, candy canes and root beer floats.

Pineapple ice cream cotton candy, pecan pies, Festhalle chicken, eggs ample, cinco de mother may I?

Johnny Monkeyshines, Goat Hill Hamburger Helper, largely poor, uneducated and easy to barbecue.

W.C. Keller, Bellingrath Handyman, Werner von Read the rest of this entry »

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Best Place To Meet Boys?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 15, 2015

At a school in Alabama.

Jennifer Collins McNeill was a married 39 year old 6th Grade Teacher at Thorsby K-12 School, in Chilton County, Alabama who went after her son’s friend who was 14 years old, and whom she had met at church.

Warrants filed in Chilton County Circuit Court show that Mrs. McNeill was charged with six counts of second degree rape and two counts of second degree sodomy with a juvenile male under 16 years of age, but older than 12, between April 10, 2012 and June 28 of 2013.  Court records indicate she was released from the Chilton County Jail Saturday, August 17, 2013 after posting $160,000 bond. She is due for arraignment March 10, 2015.

Jennifer Colling McNeill, was a teacher in the Jefferson County School system when she sexually abused a student at the school where she worked.

Jennifer Collins McNeill, 39, was a 6th-Grade teacher and cheerleader team sponsor in Thorsby, AL when she sexually abused a student at the school where she worked. The Chilton County District Attorney has charged her with with six counts of second degree rape and two counts of second degree sodomy for different incidents with the same victim, who was aged 14 at the time.

According to research performed by a former chief of staff of the U.S. Department of Education, Alabama has the nation’s HIGHEST per capita rate of sexual abuse by school system employees.

Terry Abbott, who owns Drive West Communications, a Houston, Texas-based Public Relations firm, counted a total of 781 sexual abuse cases in Read the rest of this entry »

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Analysis: Alabama Unemployment Higher Than Stated

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bentley UR Tweet 10-17-14

Alabama Governor Bentley claims he, and his policies – whatever they are (he has none… just look for your self) – have been responsible for declining Alabama Unemployment. Fact is, he’s blowing smoke.

Bentley UR Tweet Claim 10-17-14

Alabama Governor Bentley claims he, and his policies – whatever they are (he has none… just look for your self) – have been responsible for declining Alabama Unemployment. Fact is, he’s blowing smoke.

Alabama’s Republican Governor Robert Bentley, MD has crowed about “success” in lowering Alabama unemployment during the past 4 years of his term.

However, to be certain, a random statistical examination of the state’s Unemployment rate shows that it is very likely, AT LEAST two points higher than reported.  Here’s how.

Unemployment is calculated as a simple average. Take the number of people working, added into the number of people NOT working, AND who WANT to work, divided by the people who are available to work, gives the unemployment rate.

Here’s how the Bureau of  Labor Statistics defines the parameters of the equation:

What are the basic concepts of employment and unemployment?

The basic concepts involved in identifying the employed and unemployed are quite simple:
• People with jobs are employed.
• People who are jobless, looking for a job, and available for work are unemployed.
• The labor force is made up of the employed and the unemployed.
• People who are neither employed nor unemployed are not in the labor force.

Simply put, the formula is:

Unemployment Rate = Unemployed


Employed + Unemployed

 

However, if you’ve had a college course in Statistics – and most folks in Alabama have not (it’s part of maintaining the policy of “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”) – then you’d understand that a random sample of the set would show essentially the same results.

And face it… most folks in Alabama DO NOT HAVE A COLLEGE EDUCATION. In fact, according to the Alabama Department of Education, Alabama’s High School Drop Out rate is 28%. Page 2, Frame 2 of the linked document shows the 2010-2011 TOTAL Graduation Rate as 72%.

Face it… ALABAMA IS

Read the rest of this entry »

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“No, Dr. Bentley, we are in no way prepared for Ebola.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 10, 2014

Pippa Abston, MD, PhD, is considered by many, to be the preeminent, board-certified general pediatric physician in the Tennessee Valley, and is author of the following commentary, written in response to a news item entitled “Ebola hasn’t surfaced in Alabama but state ready, Gov. Bentley says,” published October 08, 2014 at 9:03 AM, updated October 08, 2014 at 12:59 PM at http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2014/10/gov_robert_bentley_on_ebola_vi.html.

In his press conference, Governor Bentley said, “In the event that Ebola spreads to Alabama, we are ready and we are prepared to respond.”

Thursday, 9October2014, 6:18am

By Pippa Abston, MD, PhD

Governor of Alabama, Dr. Robert Bentley, MD makes a Press Conference Wednesday, 08October2014 to assert Alabama state readiness for Ebola virus.

Alabama Governor, Dr. Robert Bentley, MD (a retired dermatologist) holds a Press Conference Wednesday, 08 October 2014 purporting to assert state readiness for the Ebola virus.

No, Dr. Bentley, we are in no way prepared.

First and most seriously, people lack insurance or have high co-pays/ deductibles, so they will delay going to the doctor or ER and expose others in the meantime.

Second, our public health infrastructure is underfunded and understaffed.

A couple of years ago I let the local HD (Health Department) know about a new viral syndrome I was seeing, which needed Read the rest of this entry »

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Reasons to Oppose Common Core from the Left & Right

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 11, 2014

Once, I supported Common Core.

Now, I do not.

Read on to understand why.

***

***

***

Everything you need to know about Common Core — Ravitch

January 18, 2014

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/01/18/everything-you-need-to-know-about-common-core-ravitch/

Diane Ravitch, the education historian who has become the leader of the movement against corporate-influenced school reform, gave this speech to the Modern Language Association on Jan. 11 about the past, present and future of the Common Core State Standards.

Here’s her speech:

As an organization of teachers and scholars devoted to the study of language and literature, MLA should be deeply involved in the debate about the Common Core standards.

The Common Core standards were developed in 2009 and released in 2010. Within a matter of months, they had been endorsed by 45 states and the District of Columbia. At present, publishers are aligning their materials with the Common Core, technology companies are creating software and curriculum aligned with the Common Core, and two federally-funded consortia have created online tests of the Common Core.

What are the Common Core standards? Who produced them? Why are they controversial? How did their adoption happen so quickly?

As scholars of the humanities, you are well aware that every historical event is subject to interpretation. There are different ways to answer the questions I just posed. Originally, this session was designed to be a discussion between me and David Coleman, who is generally acknowledged as the architect of the Common Core standards. Some months ago, we both agreed on the date and format. But Mr. Coleman, now president of the College Board, discovered that he had a conflicting meeting and could not be here.

So, unfortunately, you will hear only my narrative, not his, which would be quite different. I have no doubt that you will have no difficulty getting access to his version of the narrative, which is the same as Secretary Arne Duncan’s.

He would tell you that the standards were created by the states, that they were widely and quickly embraced because so many educators wanted common standards for teaching language, literature, and mathematics. But he would not be able to explain why so many educators and parents are now opposed to the standards and are reacting angrily to the testing that accompanies them.

I will try to do that.

I will begin by setting the context for the development of the standards.

They arrive at a time when American public education and its teachers are under attack. Never have public schools been as subject to upheaval, assault, and chaos as they are today. Unlike modern corporations, which extol creative disruption, schools need stability, not constant turnover and change. Yet for the past dozen years, ill-advised federal and state policies have rained down on students, teachers, principals, and schools.

George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Barack Obama’s Race to the Top have combined to impose a punitive regime of standardized testing on the schools. NCLB was passed by Congress in 2001 and signed into law in 2002. NCLB law required schools to test every child in grades 3-8 every year; by 2014, said the law, every child must be “proficient” or schools would face escalating sanctions. The ultimate sanction for failure to raise test scores was firing the staff and closing the school.

Because the stakes were so high, NCLB encouraged teachers to teach to the test. In many schools, the curriculum was narrowed; the only subjects that mattered were reading and mathematics. What was not tested—the arts, history, civics, literature, geography, science, physical education—didn’t count. Some states, like New York, gamed the system by dropping the passing mark each year, giving the impression that its students were making phenomenal progress when they were not. Some districts, like Atlanta, El Paso, and the District of Columbia, were caught up in cheating scandals. In response to this relentless pressure, test scores rose, but not as much as they had before the adoption of NCLB.

Then along came the Obama administration, with its signature program called Race to the Top. In response to the economic crisis of 2008, Congress gave the U.S. Department of Education $5 billion to promote “reform.” Secretary Duncan launched a competition for states called “Race to the Top.” If states wanted any part of that money, they had to agree to certain conditions. They had to agree to evaluate teachers to a significant degree by the rise or fall of their students’ test scores; they had to agree to increase the number of privately managed charter schools; they had to agree to adopt “college and career ready standards,” which were understood to be the not-yet-finished Common Core standards; they had to agree to “turnaround” low-performing schools by such tactics as firing the principal and part or all of the school staff; and they had to agree to collect unprecedented amounts of personally identifiable information about every student and store it in a data warehouse. It became an article of faith in Washington and in state capitols, with the help of propagandistic films like “Waiting for Superman,” that if students had low scores, it must be the fault of bad teachers. Poverty, we heard again and again from people like Bill Gates, Joel Klein, and Michelle Rhee, was just an excuse for bad teachers, who should be fired without delay or due process.

These two federal programs, which both rely heavily on standardized testing, has produced a massive demoralization of educators; an unprecedented exodus of experienced educators, who were replaced in many districts by young, inexperienced, low-wage teachers; the closure of many public schools, especially in poor and minority districts; the opening of thousands of privately managed charters; an increase in low-quality for-profit charter schools and low-quality online charter schools; a widespread attack on teachers’ due process rights and collective bargaining rights; the near-collapse of public education in urban districts like Detroit and Philadelphia, as public schools are replaced by privately managed charter schools; a burgeoning educational-industrial complex of testing corporations, charter chains, and technology companies that view public education as an emerging market. Hedge funds, entrepreneurs, and real estate investment corporations invest enthusiastically in this emerging market, encouraged by federal tax credits, lavish fees, and the prospect of huge profits from taxpayer dollars. Celebrities, tennis stars, basketball stars, and football stars are opening their own name-brand schools with public dollars, even though they know nothing about education.

No other nation in the world has inflicted so many changes or imposed so many mandates on its teachers and public schools as we have in the past dozen years. No other nation tests every student every year as we do. Our students are the most over-tested in the world. No other nation—at least no high-performing nation—judges the quality of teachers by the test scores of their students. Most researchers agree that this methodology is fundamentally flawed, that it is inaccurate, unreliable, and unstable, that the highest ratings will go to teachers with the most affluent students and the lowest ratings will go to teachers of English learners, teachers of students with disabilities, and teachers in high-poverty schools. Nonetheless, the U.S. Department of Education wants every state and every district to do it. Because of these federal programs, our schools have become obsessed with standardized testing, and have turned over to the testing corporations the responsibility for rating, ranking, and labeling our students, our teachers, and our schools.

The Pearson Corporation has become

Read the rest of this entry »

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