Monday, October 20, 2014

Less Standardization Could be a Plus in Education

   Let the teacher take the wheel, then. Instead of becoming more and more standardized, I wonder if our education should become less structured.
   Keep all the testing that measures you against other schools, if you like. Let that remain standardized. But, let each school set its own course. Especially let the teacher be the one setting the course. If a teacher has their own way of going about doing something, and it is good, then by all means let them set their own course.
   We often get excited about our own ideas more than about the ideas handed to us. Let the teacher select the textbook, even though it means some textbooks for the same course might be different right within the same school.
    Give the schools a touch more freedom in what they teach. Maybe some high schools will forgo algebra, altogether. I'm not so sure that would be all so bad.
   What is important, is that they expand the student's knowledge in ways that will benefit when it comes time to move into a career. Let some schools be more science oriented while other schools choose to emphasize the arts or history.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

To Measure a Man,You Must Know How He Measures Others

   The measurement of a man is in how well he treats others. If he treats them well, he is great. But, if he scorns others, and picks at them, and finds faults, he not so great.
   In the words of Joseph Fielding Smith:
   "I believe it is our solemn duty to love one another, to believe in each other, to have faith in each other, that it is our duty to overlook the faults and failings of each other, and not to magnify them in our own eyes, nor before the eyes of the world. There should be no faultfinding, no back-biting, no evil speaking one against another in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
   Jesus taught a modern prophet, "If ye are not one, ye are not mine." (Doctrine and Covenants 38:27)
   So it is, then, that to measure a man, you must know how he measures others.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Let 'Em In, Martin Luther; Let 100,000 Haitians into America

   Friday, someone was listening to the old Paul McCartney song, "Let Em In," and they opened the floodgate to thousands -- some say at least 100,000 -- Haitian immigrants.
   "Someone's knockin' at the door
   "Someone's ringin' the bell
    "Do me a favor
    "Open the door, and let 'em in"
    One-hundred thousand? Will that many come in 2015? Or, are some of them still years from entering? Whatever the number, it seems somewhat massive.
   "Sister Suzie, brother John,
   "Martin Luther . . ."
   Funny, McCartney's song should call on Martin Luther to be one to open the door, for it does seem opening the door by some accounts is the Christian thing to do. If a people are just seeking to have a better life, if they just seek to join family, seems like a reasonable thing is to say, "You can come live here if you are down and out. We've nothing against you."
   Yes, I hope President Obama isn't letting executive decree overrule congressional law. And, I fear he is. If the quotas that are keeping them from entering are part of congressional law, then it is Congress that needs to lift the quotas, not the executive branch.
   And, Congress perhaps doesn't dare, fearing a backlash from voters who oppose easing our immigration laws.
    Would be wonderful to me if the people stepped into this impasse, if they raised their voices to let Congress know they are willing to let these people come live amongst us.
   But, yes, I fear there are too many people who do bear a grudge against letting too many immigrants in. I just wish they would take Paul's advice.
   "Someone's knockin' at the door
   "Somebody's ringin' the bell
   "Someone's knockin' at the door
   "Somebody's ringin' the bell
   "Do me a favor, open the door, and let 'em in"

Friday, October 17, 2014

Where Guns Go, Death Often Follows

   Meleanie Hain. Soccer mom. Took a gun with her to youth sporting events and in so doing gained national attention as a guns rights advocate.
   Then came the fateful day her husband, Scott Hain, whipped out his own gun and, in a murder-suicide, shot her dead. Bless her. Sorry to hear. But, where guns go, death often follows. Guns can save us, at times. But, at other times, the same gun we thought would save us ends up being the one that takes us out. This does not mean guns do not do much good. They do. But, we would be wise to notice how easily they fall into the wrong hands. Indeed, how often our own hands end up being the wrong hands. When we are in our moment of anger, we swing with the biggest stick we can find. We use whatever weapon is available. Our crime rises to the level of the tool we find to use to express our rage. If no weapon is available, then, it keeps our anger from being expressed through that weapon. It keeps our actions from escalating.
   It would be good if all people who would abuse weapons never had them in the first place, but it would be hard to get things worked out to where things stood that way. I don't believe in gun control, just that we need to realize that if we teach everyone to go get a gun, that "everyone" is going to include a lot of folks who would be better off without them.
   And, sometimes, we ourselves are better off without them.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Disease of the Future Might Exceed the Disease of This Day

   This should be about more than Ebola. It should be about the next disease to come along. So says Rep. Jim Matheson. I agree.
    While we are working to be prepared for Ebola in the United States, let's not forget there will be another villain, another plague, another disease. With super viruses becoming more common, we should be thinking in terms of how to contain all breaking infections. We should think of not just the disease from three African nations, but diseases spawned here on our own soil.
  What will we do? When should we isolate people? Ever? Does it reach a point where we all march around in full body suits, not a touch of skin being exposed? That certainly does seem extreme, and I realize we are not there yet -- and hopefully never will be.
   I do wonder if serious enough plagues could come that I should want to wear around a full body suit. Yes, it if would save me, I would march around the full of the day in such a suit.
   What are other things we could do? Could we have in place the ability to take temperatures for everyone when they show up for work? Are no-touch devices too expensive? Could we each have those mouth-and-nose filters ready to wear? Should we be more conscious abou keeping our hands out of our mouth?
   Or am I wandering into fear and fearing things that may never take place?
   Maybe. But if big, bad, dreadful diseases are in our future, then yes, we would be wise to prepare for them. Foolishness is not in being prepared and never having to use your preparation, it is in not being prepared.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

About 5,000 WMD Found Stretching Across Bush and Obama Presidencies

   The weapons of mass destruction President Bush promised to find in Iraq? They were never found. Bush was looking for weapons currently being produced in Iraq.
  But, reports the New York Times, nearly 5,000 weapons of mass destruction were found, all made by 1991. Since they didn't fit the government's description of a current program, they were not reported when found. The officers who found them, sometimes injured in the finding, were told to keep it secret.
   So says the Times story of Oct. 14. I'm surprised it isn't receiving more play. The weapons were found from 2004 to 2011, stretching across the presidencies of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and making it hard to decide which of them was responsible, if the military the cover up was known by the president.