Christmas Decorations outdoors in Oklahoma – Continued

After Thanksgiving my Post about “Christmas Yard Decorations in Oklahoma” was mainly about how I loved to decorate for christmas each year and promised to bring pictures of my process back to you. What  a difference a few days make. After waiting for the weather to cooperate and then cleaning out the front yard of the leaves of a Neighboring Oak tree, the set up began. The thought process was to be creative yet not outrageously Luminous that would cause the ISS (International Space Station) take notice

Beginning with a Blank Canvas
Of course Santa and the gifts are the centerpiece
Off course we must add the Christmas Trees
Add the Snowman Solar globes and the Lighted garland with Net lighting behind large Tree and of course  Candy Canes  at its base. Setting the Projectors in the foreground.

Gives the final picture.

Now while it is not a  professional display, it is my way of saying “Merry Christmas” to all from our family

How Facebook is Censoring Conservatives Points of View

Now before I upset everyone, let me explain what I am basing this on. I was replying to a friend’s Post and it is obvious that my friend and have a different political point of view. I am a Constitutional conservative and based from his posts I would say that he is not a republican and sides with the Democrats. It is just a guess as I have no verifiable proof.  In my Post I had stated that we are both entitled to our opinions and have the right to disagree. It is very interesting that when attempting to post my reply, three time, it said that they (The Facebook page) were unable to publish the post. Here are the attempts.

I know it is probably just a problem with the site, but it is one of those things that make you go Hmmmm!

The Mid-term Elections are Over

Good Morning America!

The Public has voted and the results are what they are. Now it is time to get to work. As one who exercised their right to vote, I can now say to those elected.”Remember what your duty is as an elected Public Servant

Your are the peoples voice that elected you. You Must Decide if your are going to represent all of them or just the party that elected you.

When the House of Representatives elects the new Speaker, I urge them to do so with that in mind. Lead by example!

If you are in it to seek revenge for 2016 you should resign.

If you are in the house to make America stronger, Safer, and a better place to live, work with the others to do so in a civil and honorable manner.

You have the right to disagree as do I. But find enough common ground to work for the country not your self or a particular party.Yes that goes to Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

You have a duty to the country so let’s be clear , all legislation should be “Read thoroughly before it is voted on“!

Backroom politics, and shutting out the debate is not how an Honorable Representation is done.

To those of you that have been newly elected to Congress for the First time, Congratulations!

Remember what you ran on and promised to all those that you represent.

It’s now time to heal the divide, and that can only be down through civility, and respect for others.

Stop the hate speech and decisiveness. Stop the squandering of our Tax dollars on on obstructive search and destroy tactics.

I have a phrase that sometimes is misconstrued as condescending and arrogant, but in reality it is about as truthful  as it gets.

“If you don’t like the past and feel rejected, GET OVER IT! Move on, get passed the hate and descension. The world will not come to a screeching halt because you lost.

Learn from it and try to see what is more important.

Many that read this may be offended by that, but as I say, they too will get over it, eventually.

I wish the entire country a great day and better life.

 

November 6, 2018: 7 AM – 7 PM Election Day

We are just shy of two weeks until election day! This election cycle is being called the midterms. There are many issues to be decided on 6 November 2018, we have several state questions, we have a race for the governorship of the state of Oklahoma, we have seats in both the state and U.S. Senate, the state and US House of Representatives. I am not going to get into a political discussion as to who to vote for who not to vote for. I’m not going to save what does to answer on the state questions! I am going to ask every Oklahoman to go to the polls between 7 AM and 7 PM on 6 November 2018, and exercise your privilege to vote. If you decide to stay home and not exercise your privilege, casting a ballot and voting for one of the candidates or the state questions then I say to you that is your choice but do not complain about the government or who was elected as you chose not to participate. I also ask all Oklahomans to be civil, respectful of others, and pleasant to the poll workers. We are classier and have better manners than some of the folks on the East Coast.
By exercising your privilege and casting a ballot. You have one more function to do. No matter who is elected to the office, they deserve respect.
In order to make changes and improve our education system and raise the bar so that teachers and educators, and support staff are paid an adequate wage for the job they do. We must use the system that is in place to achieve these goals. It does not take a strike, walkout, forceful demonstration to get the attention of the legislature. Instead of leaving the classroom. Why don’t we try staying in the classroom and teaching the students how to effectively communicate with their representatives in office. A successful letter writing campaign from all grades K-12 and all of the students in those grades and dumped on the floor of the Senate and the House of Representatives to prove what needs to be done would have more impact and gain more respect from the public, then to strike and be wishy-washy in your demands making you look like Oliver coming up to the headmaster with his bowl saying “please sir, and I have some more”! Solving the teachers inadequate pay will not happen overnight, it may take several years to finally be able to raise our standard pay higher than we are now and get ourselves into the top 10. What is more important getting a one time pay raise of six to $10,000 or raising the base pay of an entry-level educator, K-12 to to the rank of 15th Place, with a starting salary of $37,848 per year and an average salary of $48,670 per year. Those wages would be only the beginning. As the legislation would also allow for increases. The teachers pay package is just one of several packages that must be passed in order to fix our education system. When I was in school in the 50s 60s and 70s, families did not have to pay for items such as Kleenex, sanitizing wipes, notebook paper construction paper. All we were required to have or to have purchased was a number two pencil with an eraser and in elementary school. A big Chief tablet to write on. Teachers did not have to dig out of end of their pocket in order to decorate the room or provide the construction paper or the art supplies. We did not have school administrators making six figures a year and having all the perks of company car company phone get paid mileage and Per diem. The Board of Regents for higher Ed were also not making six figures a year. One of the things that I noticed when they passed House Bill 1017, which was supposed to give the teachers a raise and fix education was that the first thing it did was it raised the salaries of the Board of Regents of higher education, $167,000 a year. Oklahoma decided to devote a lottery to help fund education. So where does all that money go? It’s very simple $0.35 out of every dollar was to go to education majority of that money went to the Regents of higher education salary and the rest filtered down top to bottom. It was sad that the lottery was supposed to help fix education and all it did was raise the salaries of the Regents of Higher education and maybe a few professors in higher Education. It however,  had little if any effect on K-12. It is interesting that we continue to raise tuition yet our schools are still in trouble and I’m not just speaking of about K-12 it’s taking more and more money to run colleges and universities.
I urge everyone to go vote on November 6, 2018. Make your vote count and live with your choices! But don’t stop there for the legislature is paid by us to work for us. And while teachers are ranked 47th in the nation for pay, our legislatures are ranked 15th in the nation for their salary!

 

Education in Oklahoma

We are entering yet another election cycle where all the candidates are claiming they know how to fix education in the state of Oklahoma. I want to look at the problems facing the education system in the state of Oklahoma.

The rate at which we pay our elementary and secondary teachers in the state ranks 50th in the US. (https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/a-look-at-teacher-pay-across-the-united-states-in-2017.htm)

The amount of money the state puts into the classroom.

The sources of revenue for the education system in the state of Oklahoma.

This is in my own personal opinion the three top issues facing our education system in the state of Oklahoma. The ranking listed above with the state of Oklahoma being dead last in the 50 states even after the pay raise is frightening.

The methods to remedy the situation do not include another walkout by the OEA and other teachers unions. They also do not include demonizing sources of revenue as the way which would fix the low salary.

As the reader, you must decide which candidate you think would have the best interest of our students and our educators in their platform before you vote. I have gotten to the point where I do not listen to all the negative ads by the different candidates and organizations telling me how to vote. My standard is simply one of who has the most conservative values and supports the interests of all persons legally in our country.

I know one candidate has been in politics for as long as I have been able to vote. I also know that he supported national politicians that were not conservative and one of them did more to harm this country, then to help it. That candidate would not get my vote!

I have a unique idea, or at least I think it is. Form an independent committee of 13 people. The makeup of that committee would consist of educators in the K-12 system, higher education system, leading economists, and finally taxpayers in different age ranges. This committee, while having no authority to write legislation, would have access to the complete state budget. A review of each of the accounts in the budget, the sources of revenue for each account, and the last audit of each account. The next area that would be reviewed would be the budgets of all the school districts, the population of students in each district, the numbers of administrators in each district and their salaries, the fringe benefits of said administrators.

This committee would be nonpartisan, with no political agenda! A task force of this makeup that is unpaid, would be able to post their findings to the state website and forward recommendations for the solutions to our challenges in our education system to the people that actually write the legislation. The state legislature both House and Senate would then have a recommendation to follow to improve the issue.

And a word of advice to the state legislators, if you’re writing legislation dealing with fixing education. It should include no other items! Yes, there will be funding issues. Yes, there will be revenue issues in order to reach the funding goals. We elected you to represent us and it is high time that you get to work, set aside your political ambitions and arguments, address the issues at hand and fix the problem.

A word to the educators of the state of Oklahoma, the only thing that strikes do is hurt the students. When you close school to walkout because of a pay issue. What are you teaching the students. Do not think that I am against higher pay for our teachers! It saddens me to discover that we, after getting a paltry 6% increase over several years lands us in last place. According to the Bureau of Labor. I agree in order to maintain qualified and exceptional educators we have to raise the base pay. We also have to raise the level of education of our students!

Voters of Oklahoma, it is in your hands. Make sure that you go to the polls on November 6, 2018 and make your vote count!

Mid-Term Election Mania

The American public is inundated with the most horrible rhetoric I have experienced in my 40+ years of voting. In the national side how can you believe a party that is obstructionist and viciously attacked members of the opposing party in the press And have members that have called for violence / harassment of members of the opposition party. All politicians make campaign promises to the people that vote. Some promises can never be kept, some are kept, some are attempted but fail because they don’t get the support from both sides.

  1. At the state level I have watched an interesting set of issues. Mostly about education funding. I MUST STATE I SUPPORT EDUCATION, having said that, there are points that I take issue with. Calling for a strike by the OEA, was effective, to a point. The legislature, too little too late, took the Teachers, seriously and made progress toward fixing the issues. The teachers did get a raise and some funding for the classroom was restored. Where I begin to disagree was when the OEA leader continued to say it’s not enough. And basically continued to bargain in bad faith. “Bad faith how can you say that”? You may ask.
    She continued her criticism of what was offered and when it was met, she changed the goal.
    She lied to the public claiming she had a consensus of the Union membership, yet numerous members were never asked for their input.
    She gave the perception that she wold hold the legislature hostage until all demands were met by continuing to strike. That is nothing short of extortion!

Was education fixed? Not completely, it was started down the path to a better system.

Should they Strike again this year? My personal opinion is No. this election will change the makeup of the state government.

How do we fix the problem? That is a subject for another. Daily Dose of Common Sense!

When the Tail Wags the Dog

To begin with, I wanted to be known that I support education, full funding of the classroom, and an increase in teachers’ pay to bring us (the state of Oklahoma) from the bottom of the heap to at least equal to if not higher than the surrounding states. Education system in Oklahoma has long sense lacked proper funds. We rank 49th in the US for teacher salary. Which is sadly inadequate and has caused many quality educators to leave the state for the surrounding states, Texas being the biggest recipient, due to that low pay. Having stated my support for education I now have to say to the OEA, enough is enough. You called for a walk out with a list of demands that the legislature worked hard to meet. With landmark legislation raising taxes (sadly that it had to come to that title of landmark) the first thing they did was to pass a raise in pay. You asked for $10,000 a year, you are not satisfied with $6000 a year to begin with. Other legislation was passed to fully fund the raises unlike previous years where raises were given but never funded. But that still wasn’t enough for you to go back to the classroom. Now you demanded that all cutbacks in education were to be restored. You demand that the legislature restore the five-dollar tax on hotel stays to fund the classroom. You demand the elimination of the capital gains tax exemption. Your President has appeared on Facebook live giving the appearance of an angry person, demanding every need be met immediately. Her comments at the capital continue to make it look like the teacher’s union, OEA, is more interested in money then in education. I know this is not true, teachers are tired of being lied to by politicians that run on the principle of fixing the educational system yet failing to do so. When verbalizing my discussed with the continued walk out to a retired teacher of 40 years tenure, I was lectured that had she been able to she would have been at the capital with her peers. She was there in 1990 that got House Bill 1017 past but was unable to be there this time. She then told me that I shouldn’t blame the teachers for their actions when the disparity in pay is enormous. “It is amazing that we are 49th in the US in teacher salary, but 15th in the US for the salary of our legislators”. With that bit of information, I rethought my position, and began to look at the whole picture again. The title of this piece, When the Tail Wags the Dog, comes from the idea that a union should tell the legislative body of a state or of the US government how to do its job. The same analogy can be used in how insurance companies are successfully telling physicians how to practice medicine. It doesn’t work, and it actually causes more problems and increases costs while decreasing quality. Another issue is for the teachers to understand that their walkout was successful to a point, they are now approaching a point where the educational system will begin to lose federal funds, students will miss state testing deadlines, and the school year will be in jeopardy. Seniors in high school expected to graduate on time but now that may be delayed. This phrase was used on the steps of the state capital day after day after day “enough is enough”. Teachers the legislators have heard you, the public supports you, now it’s time to go back to work and do what you do best which is educate. Legislators it’s up to you to do the job that you were elected to do, you are public servants, you are no different in your profession as the teachers are in their profession! It’s high time that you start acting like a public servant more than an elitist. You were elected to do a job, you politicize the process pointing fingers across the aisle on both sides, were I grading your performance over the past 20 years I’m afraid I would have to give it an F minus. State legislators, it’s time to do what is right. Fully fund education here on out. Failure to do so will cause you to lose your jobs. Midterm elections are coming, and the movement is spreading. To our elected officials in the US government, I say the same thing. Get it done right. Quit playing petty politics with the security of our nation, balance the budget and reform the healthcare system. You want to find extra money to help balance the budget consider taking a pay cut, paying for your own health care, paying for your own retirement. And the state and federal entitlement programs to legislators. Folks you’re no better than the rest of us!

For those of you reading this, you can agree or disagree with my opinion because that is your right. It is however my opinion, and I am allowed to express it. Feel free to comment for that is your right.

Strike 3 and They’re OUT!

I admire the teaching profession, it takes a special person to desire to help another person learn and truly be concerned when they see the difficulty a child has in grasping the concept. Some of the best teachers have discovered a way to make learning fun. In the state of Oklahoma, teachers have been underpaid for many years. They have utilized their First Amendment right to march on the capital for education reform improvement in the education system and now for an increase in teachers’ pay. While I agree totally that they need an increase in salary both in starting salary for a new teacher as well as an increase in salary and benefits for our veteran teachers, I do not believe that continuing with plans for a walk out after the legislature has finally worked and done their job to fund a raise is appropriate. To have the president of the OEA publicly state that the demands given the legislature were not all met, gives the impression that they are more interested in getting their way than performing their duty. I will reiterate that I am not against raising the pay of those that are educators. The politicians in the legislature of the state of Oklahoma have for the past 40 years failed to do what they were elected to do. It’s been the last three sessions, with a decrease in revenue leaving a large hole in the budget and requiring cutbacks from all services they continue to spin their wheels and pass laws dealing with driving in the left lane, texting while driving, while procrastinating on fixing the fiscal problems. This is totally unacceptable. The legislature for the state of Oklahoma needs to use “A Daily Dose of Common Sense” when prioritizing their approach to legislation. Band-Aids and duct tape to fix recurring problems are also unacceptable. I asked that the teachers use that same “Dose of Common Sense” and accept the increase that is being worked on and not walk out if it passes. Politics today has become a haven for special interest groups. While our representatives tend to listen to these groups, they should be listening to the masses that elected them. This is not an uncommon problem in both state and federal legislators. It is time to get political parties and political agendas out of our government. Elected officials need to serve the people that elected them, not the PAC’s that funded their campaign. To be fiscally responsible and the funding of our education system reforms in all areas of the system must be addressed. Duplication and wasteful spending must be eliminated. Raises two elected officials should cease until those officials efficiently fix the problems with the state budget. We now enter the wait and see phase of the threatened walkout. Should the salary increase that is currently being worked on pass, it wouldn’t be ethical to continue with the Strike. Should they decide to continue with the walkout/strike, it would give the impression that they are just like all the other special interest groups. They would be more interested in getting what they want over the needs of all the people. Of course, this is just my humble opinion.

Open Letter to the Oklahoma State Legislature

Today is March 24th and the State Legislature has failed to appropriately address the Financial situation of our State. The educators are demanding a pay Raise, the state employees are demanding a pay raise. The state infrastructure is in dire need of repair. Roads Bridges and Highways are deteriorating to a questionable state of safety.  I will stop with the Doom and Gloom.

First, I want it to be know that I do not expect the government to “FIX” everything and supply us with all our needs. What I do expect from our elected officials, also known as “Public Servants”, is to serve the Public and be consistently efficient. What were the Priorities of this session?  As I see it the following should have been done in order.

  1. Balance the Budget for FY 2018 and FY 2019. The “How” is the hard part. With a decrease in revenue that has caused a huge shortfall for the past 2 years, it is irresponsible to continue to think that cutting the budget is the only way to fix the issue. It would more prudent to eliminate waste in the government. That would solve part of the problem but not all.  To put everything back (referring to crucial services) and fully fund the necessary programs, there must be a dramatic increase in revenue. This must be done judiciously with prudence and care. Raising Personal State Income Tax is not an option. Raising State sales Tax is not a great option but may be needed. What other revenue sources are there? Gross Production Tax Would hit our largest source of revenue. That is the problem with a single source economy. We need to seek more industry and make it more diverse. While the increasing of taxes would be contradictory if we were able to increase the tax base we could Lower Personal Income Tax or even become a “No Personal Income Tax” state. That would put more money in the consumers pocket and make the state more enticing to new industries. Alternative energy is a hot market and incentives to bring more into the state would also increase the base corporately.
  2. Clean up the Department of Human Services: reduce the amount of fraud of state services. Complete the reduction of welfare dependency that was started. Stop paying benefits to undocumented aliens. Enforce the laws as written!
  3. Reform the corrections system to cut down overcrowding and work diligently to enforce the current laws.
  4. Current Laws need to be reviewed and excessive regulation can impede progress. Have Law’s that are duplicate are impractical and redundant. Example; trying to regulate common sense are impractical. Making it illegal to texted and drive is already covered by the Law of “Failure to devote full time and attention”. The latter could be used for the wide abuse by anyone that is doing something other than paying attention to driving. i.e.: eating while driving, texting while driving talking on cell phone while driving, putting on makeup, shaving, reading a book, newspaper or anything else while driving. As I said common sense. I think the most important fact is that we need to enforce what is already on the books. Reduce the confusion by not attempting to legislate common sense. “Slower traffic keep right is an excellent example of correctly making the driver aware that driving below the speed limit in the left lane is not legal. Why make it necessary to make signs saying, “Do Not Impede Traffic in The Left Lane”.

These are just some examples of Prioritizing and using common sense to legislate and run the government. That would be in an ideal world. The biggest stumbling block is Politics. Democrats, republican, independent, Tea Party. Are labels just as Liberal and Conservative. Who cares about what party gets credit when the Body does what is best for the people not just some people but all people.  Enforcing the Laws that are on the books efficiently and fairly.

Just a thought Oklahoma

Toil In The Soil

I have found that the older I get the more I like to toil in the soil. After the winter at the beginning of spring I love to plant and watch my garden grow. This year I tried something different, I tried using an indoor greenhouse and started seedlings in my garage. I enjoyed so much going out each day and checking to see if the seeds had germinated and after two weeks of patiently waiting the first new sprouts pop their little heads up and said hello. Not every seed I planted germinated, that’s just like life. We continually plant seeds in order to reap a rich harvest, but some fall on Fallon soil and will not germinate. The key is to continue to plant, to water, to feed and nurture in order to reap a rich harvest.
Take care of your life as you care for your garden and ye shall reap a rich harvest.