SC

SC “Dumbed Down” Testing Drama: It’s Harming Your Children

GOVERNMENT-RUN EDUCATION: DIMINISHED ACCOUNTABILITY, DAMAGED KIDS || By FITSNEWS || Years ago, this website exclusively reported on efforts by South Carolina leaders to “dumb down” academic standards for government-run schools.  That’s right … the same bureaucrats who perpetually insist that private and parochial schools lack “accountability” led a successful push to make…

GOVERNMENT-RUN EDUCATION: DIMINISHED ACCOUNTABILITY, DAMAGED KIDS

|| By FITSNEWS || Years ago, this website exclusively reported on efforts by South Carolina leaders to “dumb down” academic standards for government-run schools.  That’s right … the same bureaucrats who perpetually insist that private and parochial schools lack “accountability” led a successful push to make their own tests easier for students to pass.

At the time, the leading testing authority in the country noted how the “use of the lower standards would result in dramatic increases in the percentages of students meeting standards in South Carolina schools, even with no actual improvement in student performance.”

Turns out he was being optimistic … according to the most recent data, South Carolina’s dumbed down tests are still too hard for students trapped in the state’s government-run academic hellholes.

Sadly, that’s for the course in a state where the only academic “success” stories involve the lowering of bars.

Of course the “dumbed down” standards are only part of the problem.  There’s also the incessant focus (and resources) being sucked away from actual learning in government classrooms – all so students can be drilled repeatedly (and in some cases threatened unfeelingly) in anticipation of schools’ standardized test-taking.

Frankly, it’s past time someone wrote a scathing condemnation of the ridiculously overhyped focus on standardized testing in our public school system – and the damage it’s doing to our children’s academic preparedness (and general well-being).

So … who’s gonna write that condemnation?

According to a former public school administrator who reached out to us this week, apparently we are.

***

NIKKI HALEY
NIKKI HALEY

CALLING OUT “LEADERS …”

There’s certainly no shortage of blame … starting with S.C. governor Nikki Haley.  A “conservative,” Haley supported market-based academic reforms as a state lawmaker from 2005-11 – but since becoming governor she has abandoned her school choice views and embraced the status quo.

“I want you to call out our governor,” our ex-administrator said.  “And our newly elected state superintendent of education (Molly Spearman), state lawmakers, and local school board members.  I want you to call them out for their silence in the matter.  I want you to tell them to take a break from posing at ribbon-cutting ceremonies for their pretty new buildings and do something that really matters for children, teachers and parents.”

Preach on, sister … preach on.  We’re with you.  One hundred percent.  In fact we have been calling them out.

According to the ex-administrator – who is now a successful private sector manager – government-run schools’ obsession with standardized testing isn’t just counterproductive, it’s emblematic of a broader, more systemic corruption.

“The tests don’t just dumb down standards,” she said.  “They dumb down learning. Real, authentic teaching and learning is pushed aside for test prep worksheets and packets.”

Why?

“Follow the money,” she suggested.

Ah yes: We forgot that in South Carolina, decisions on “accountability” are made by state lawmakers with a history of serving the interests of wealthy, well-connected insiders – not the needs of children.

***

COMMON CORE’S IMPACT … 

The chief culprit of South Carolina’s current testing obsession?  The Common Core-aligned ACT Aspire tests, which are scheduled to be given to tens of thousands of students in government-run schools this spring – in addition to previously dumbed-down Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) tests.

Here’s a brochure for the tests – in which administrators inform parents how the exams will used to determine their child’s “potential.”

And here’s a memo from the S.C. Department of Education (SCDE) warning parents they have no “opt-out” rights when it comes to testing their kids.

“It has come to the attention of the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) that opt-out request forms are circulating around the state giving some parents the belief that they can opt their children out of state and federal testing requirements, among other things,” the memo stated.  “With regard to testing, federal and state laws require that all students be included in South Carolina’s state assessment system.”

But this mandate is just the beginning of the problem …

In addition to instructional time lost to test preparation, government-run schools have gone off the deep end in hyping the exams with students – not to mention loading them up with sugar prior to test time.

"READY TO TEST?"
“READY TO TEST?”

“This morning at my child’s school they are having a PASS testing pep rally,” one Midlands, S.C. mother told FITS.  “The kids with the highest scores are being recognized. ”

“Good use of ‘instructional’ time, don’t you think?” she asked sarcastically.

“It goes on everywhere,” she continued.  “Pep rallies.  Popsicles for PASS.  I’ve seen Mountain Dew shots given before testing.  It’s nuts.”

Indeed … and South Carolina taxpayers are paying for every penny of it.

Of course the expense is just one part of the issue … there’s also the threatening, cajoling and pressuring that accompanies the tests.  One text message obtained by FITS – sent from one parent of children at South Carolina government-run schools to another – highlights the insanity.

“(My child’s) teacher is putting immense pressure on them,” the message read.  “He was sobbing this morning because he’s so afraid he’s going to fail.  He says they told him that if he fails he cannot go to fourth grade and that if his class doesn’t do well they’re going to close the school.”

Crazy … and that’s coming from a third grader, people.

***

PERCEPTIONS SHIFTING … 

Things have gotten bad.  So bad that even opponents of expanded parental choice – where accountability is driven by the marketplace, not bureaucratically defined standards – are at their wits’ end.

“There is growing discontent even among some of those who are ardent opponents of choice and free market competition,” the ex-administrator told us.  “Even some of those willing to blindly sacrifice generations of children in support of the status quo are frustrated.  I don’t blame the teachers, or even the administrators. Their hands are tied. And they are only playing by the rules established for them.”

And that’s from the left … on the right, activists who condemn the federal government’s imposition of standards on their children were already up in arms.

According to the ex-administrator, who manages dozens of workers in her corporate position,  “I have never once asked a potential employee what they scored on the PASS test.”

“It’s simple – if they can’t write a decent cover letter, offer a firm handshake, articulate how they approach problem-solving, work with colleagues, demonstrate initiative, they are not hired,” she said.  “I don’t expect ‘content’ knowledge. I’ve forgotten more than I ever knew. I expect them to be able to communicate well, and think.”

Unfortunately, those are the very basic skills being neglected at the expense of government’s “top-down” testing obsession.

“It is one thing for the public schools to not benefit,” she added. “It is an entirely different thing for the public schools to do damage. And with all that pressure applied, all those hoops for students and teachers to jump through, they are failing at preparing a competent workforce.”

That’s for sure …

Everyone knows South Carolina’s government-run school system is a disaster.  And everyone (except Haley and other state leaders) have realized throwing more money at this broken system not the answer.  In fact the liberal S.C. Supreme Court – in its landmark ruling last fall – reached that very conclusion.

“Spending fails to provide students with the opportunity to obtain a minimally adequate education,” the court found. “Rather, the evidence demonstrates that there is a clear disconnect between spending and results.”

That’s what we’ve been saying … for years.

But that’s not stopping our “leaders” from continuing to spend … or continuing to try and force feed “results” at the expense of our children (and our state’s future prosperity).

***

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83 comments

The Colonel April 24, 2015 at 12:15 pm

“…government-run academic hellholes…”

Hyperbole much?

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Too Much Much Much? April 24, 2015 at 2:10 pm

GrandTango has overused the “much?” line I had to do a double take on the screen name…

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Dan Ruck April 24, 2015 at 12:44 pm

Blather on, you dumb shit. No one is listening.

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:) April 24, 2015 at 12:44 pm

Except you, of course.

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Will Folks aka Sic April 24, 2015 at 1:00 pm

LOLz

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SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 8:08 pm

Who are you talking to? All I see on my end is Dan Ruck . ?

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Bible Thumper April 24, 2015 at 1:03 pm

Every time I see one of these articles, I repeat the same refrain. A child’s educational success has very little to do with the school, the teacher, the testing or the curriculum.

You want to predict a child’s success, study the parents. Modern pedagogy wants to ignore this fact. It is politically incorrect to state this because it is believed to perpetuate inequality.

Educators can’t solve problems that are essentially family problems. Acknowledging this also diminishes the professional status of educators. But if you don’t recognize the true problem you are doomed to failure.

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mamatiger92 April 24, 2015 at 1:19 pm

this. so much this.

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GrandTango April 24, 2015 at 1:24 pm

Good post. But good teachers do have a measurable influence. Just as marginal – or poor – teachers do.

As it is: teachers get blamed for the failure…when it’s more political ideology, and failure of their politicians to lead the ignorant to enlightenment.

Because if they truly educated their minions…they’d cease to vote D anymore…

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Bible Thumper April 24, 2015 at 1:36 pm

Free markets with a light touch of regulation? I never have to worry if the store will have bread or milk. I am never concerned about it’s quality. Yet, I can’t explain how free markets work. It seems to me that the consumer who the least educated and intelligent link in the system makes the most important decisions (what to buy and where) and it works beautifully.

Putting the smartest people in charge of education leads to failure, like every government planned economy has always failed. I can’t explain why school choice works. I just know it does.

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FastEddy23 April 24, 2015 at 2:28 pm

“… I never have to worry if the store will have bread or milk. I am never concerned about it’s quality. …”

Chickens, too, I am assuming. …

I worry about things that have too much government involvement, mostly because as government influence and over regulation becomes dominant, the quality of the end result always, without exception, diminishes.

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Bible Thumper April 24, 2015 at 2:35 pm

I worry about my health care more now than before Obamacare.

ImpaledNazarene August 17, 2015 at 10:33 am

Putting the smartest people in charge of education will NOT lead to failure if those who are in charge have a prestige background in education and psychology. Putting parents in charge is completely stupid. Parents now a days are worthless and don’t know a damn about how school systems work in the first place.

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Bible Thumper August 17, 2015 at 11:25 am

You know, getting a gallon of milk from farm to the market is a very complex process needing educated professionals, they don’t need prestige, but at the the end of the day the customer is in charge. Only the customer decides if they are going to make the purchase.
Parents are stupid, because that is the way the system is designed. They have few choices anyway why bother. The experts were in charge in the Soviet Union as they are now in Venezuela, but they aren’t able to get milk without waiting in long lines or purchasing on the black market. They are no dumber than Americans. What makes rhe difference? Demanding stupid parents/customers.

Deo Vindice SC April 24, 2015 at 2:45 pm

Watch what you say, If they get a education, then they will be DEMS.

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Fecal Matters April 24, 2015 at 1:46 pm

You hit the nail directly on the head, it’s the same reason the Head Start program is a massive failure. It doesn’t matter what color a child is, if there is abject parenting at home they are predisposed to failing. So now, we have a standard that was written by liberal idiots who openly admit they got involved to stymie “white privilege”. What part of having a parent or parents who are engaged in their child’s social, familial and educational lives is white privilege?

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bert April 24, 2015 at 2:32 pm

I taught in the public schools for 34 years. I saw what happens when the standardized tests are given. Only the good students really take the tests. The others go through and mark answers and they are finished in a few minutes. The tests don’t tell what the students know because they don’t care about a test that does not hurt their grades. The only was to improve our education system is to put the blame where it belongs – on the students. They are lazy and can get by without doing much of anything because the parents and administrators blame the teachers if students don’t get good grades.

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SYNTwist April 27, 2015 at 2:30 pm

Your statement is contradictory “They are lazy and can get by without doing much of anything because the parents and administrators blame the teachers if students don’t get good grades”

I don’t disagree some students are lazy, but I do think some teacher and administrators are as well. Do we provide public education for the Teachers? The Administrators? Or the Students?

There is plenty of blame to be passed around, but none are blameless.

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FastEddy23 April 24, 2015 at 2:23 pm

“… Educators can’t solve problems that are essentially family problems. Acknowledging this diminishes the professional status of educators. But if you don’t recognize the true problem you are doomed to failure. …”

If so, then one wonders what the big deal really is? Are we interested in maintaining very large, very expensive day care centers?

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Bible Thumper April 24, 2015 at 2:32 pm

Free markets don’t automatically create smart consumers, but over time many become wiser and the worst consumer choices are eliminated.

School choice doesn’t automatically create good parents, but over time many become wiser and the worst choices are eliminated.

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SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 7:43 pm

I can agree to some extent BT, but as a homeschooling parent, I can certainly relate to:

““There is growing discontent even among some of those who are ardent opponents of choice and free market competition,” the ex-administrator told us. “Even some of those willing to blindly sacrifice generations of children in support of the status quo are frustrated. I don’t blame the teachers, or even the administrators. Their hands are tied. And they are only playing by the rules established for them.”
I chose Common Core Curriculum (yes, curriculum – it has a daily plan, books, instructional videos, etc etc), but…. I too am worried about the testing. As a home schooler, we are not required to do the PASS testing, but they are tested.

I am going to try to order some sample tests in preparation for 3rd grade, which is the first year students take the tests.

One thing I have recently found, and as a homeschooler it can be optional, but I don’t think it is if they are using same in public school? Anyways, we have reached a point they want my child to read and record it for playback. I’m not comfortable with that. I am comfortable with recording it privately and playing it back so she can hear how she reads, which is excellent, but I am not comfortable putting this on a site.

Even at home we are struggling to make learning fun and yet prepare for the tests. I am not going to change the curriculum yet, but I think there are too many tests and not enough focus on learning.

I had someone explain to me, outside of the school, that timed testing is a good thing because in life we are often forced to make decisions quickly, with little time to think. I agree with that, but I think the testing is too much. Way too much.

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GrandTango April 24, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Hey FITS…you Dumb@$$…it’s not GOVERNMENT-RUN EDUCATION — it’s Democrat Domination of education…

And even w/ that the FAILURE is the Democrat-voting parents of children who don’t have a chance because their Daddy won’t marry their Mama….and the “Club” and pop culture music are more important than their child’s welfare…

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Daniel Boome April 24, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Contrast your comment on this with Bible Thumper’s below. You are both essentially saying the same thing. Whose, though, is more likely to be taken seriously and thus be more effective? By golly, do you think that maybe, just maybe, the more mature and less menacing one will influence or at least stir up a more rational debate? No, that doesn’t mean the problem is “delivery”, because liberals will criticize that no matter what. At the very least, you can prove them liars by not being such a childish menace.

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soxinsc April 24, 2015 at 1:58 pm

I realize criticizing Republicans is anathema to you, but with a Legislature that’s been led by the GOP since Beasley was governor and an Executive branch that’s been under GOP control for 19 of the past 23 years, you are aiming in the wrong direction. Again.

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mamatiger92 April 24, 2015 at 2:02 pm

A quick check of statistics nationwide will tell you that nearly every state in the bottom 10 in education is controlled by the GOP.

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GrandTango April 24, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Funny how you stop at segregating by state, not breaking it down to districts, as student populations are defined. …because if you were honest…you’d have to admit what a total f*#k up you are….and how Democrats f#*k up everything you touch..

Feed your greed is all that matters to liberals…f*#k erbody else…you selfish b@$*@rd….

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GrandTango April 24, 2015 at 2:11 pm

In the Corridor of Shame…of what party are the politicians???

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CNSYD April 24, 2015 at 1:34 pm

“Everyone knows” A typical Folks lie that he repeatedly uses. He knows it is false but he thinks readers will believe it.

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CNSYD April 24, 2015 at 1:40 pm

We need to stop all this standardized testing. Why should we test lawyers, accountants, doctors, dentist, etc. for core competency? We don’t want to hurt their sensitive feelings if they fail. Just issue everyone a license, diploma, trophy, whatever. The “market place” will sort out the incompetents won’t it?

And what is this putting pressure on students to perform? “Everyone knows” that in real life there is no pressure to perform.

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FastEddy23 April 24, 2015 at 2:14 pm

“… government-run academic hellholes …” is not a double entendre’. [‘Government-run non-academic hellholes’ would be.]

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euwe max April 24, 2015 at 7:37 pm

I’m starting to think that for the South, education isn’t the answer. They all seem to like war.. why not just send them all to the Middle East?

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SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 7:43 pm

What is the answer Euwe? You seem to know everything, so why you don’t explain it to us idiots?

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euwe max April 24, 2015 at 7:49 pm

Vocational training – outhouse construction, still maintenance and horse stall shoveling.

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SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 7:58 pm

I was taught how to use a shovel as a young girl, in horse stall. I’ve found new uses for it as a woman. I need a shovel for the lies you tell and the shit you spew.

You speak like some saintly man of God All Mighty, yet quote Nietzsche. By your admission you are a Socialist Democrat and you have many Biblical quotes for that.

I have been on and off this site for several years. You and I have argued horribly. I thought I was wrong, that I was the judgmental one, maybe the one out of line.

NO. You are not honest. You are judgmental as the day is long. I can only imagine you must be one hate filled, angry old man who lacks tolerance and all you have left is your ability to judge others.

Don’t blame Jesus for that and you him a disservice to attach your name to anything he has quoted. You are not better than GT. The only difference is….this site thrives on division.

So next time you want to send someone a bunch of Bible quotes, make sure YOU are listening. As you said, there is a big difference between listening and hearing.

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euwe max April 24, 2015 at 8:20 pm

Maybe my only purpose in life is to get people to re-examine theirs through my bad example. :)

Bez never has to say this, because he’s a *genius*, but I’m but a lowly peasant… it’s about trust.. the design in the tapestry I create is meant only to entertain… to cause wonder…the parrot cocking its head at the ringing of a nearby phone… the theater of the absurd… a parody of the blundering, blind… the pompous poser.. the hysterical faerie… that so often swarm these woods. It is my paint.

The power of my eye heals the cut from my razor sharp tongue, even before the pain reaches your heart… leaving instead, the smell of fresh rain and the laughter of litle children.

SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 8:49 pm

I laugh at all the gods, they are man made. I do believe in philosophy, a good way to live your life. I wish I could believe in fairy tales and do wish ill on not those who do – I hope they hold their innocence until they die. But I also hope they do good with it.

I must confess, I love the poetic copy of your uncommon prose. I love the riddles that you pose. I do not like when you place me behind a dumpster of YOUR choosing, when know nothing at all about me personally. We have never met.

I come to this site for engaging conversation. I am one of the few without a game. Hell, for all I know, I am the only one. Game = pay. I come here for engaging, thought provoking conversation. Not to be mocked or ridiculed.

As you know I home school. I am a real person, believe it or not. I come here to talk about issues, to laugh and joke. I appreciate thought provoking, insightful information and yes, I have tons of questions. I do not come here to be insulted, to judge or be judged. My skin is pretty thick, and I have a high level of tolerance. I give as good as I get, but some of the comments cross my heart and I don’t like being that ugly.

I don’t have a “game” – I am looking to discuss, have conversation, find out what others believe, why they think that way. I don’t pretend to know all the answers.

One answer I do know – we all deserve to be treated with respect. Period.

SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 9:01 pm

Last edit *not :)

euwe max April 24, 2015 at 9:07 pm

Respect yourself – no one else can do it for you. :)

I’m a real person too… for instance, right now I’m installing TFS 2013, SQL Server 2012, and trying to get TFS 2013 to import the databases from SQL server express 2008.. and what with the many service packs and the UAC requiring administrator override… incompatibilities multiply like squash bugs.

That’s the “game” I’m playing … 5 years of work is in them thar hills!

SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 9:11 pm

Dear goodness, you sound like the man I married. He’s the nerd, I’m the construction worker…LOL. Not entirely true. But funny?

We are both nerds in our own way, but he trumps me every single day. I am more business minded and construction. I’d be the one more likely to figure out how to build an outhouse or add oil to a vehicle ;)

euwe max April 24, 2015 at 9:41 pm

People need to have faith in themselves – everyone is always trying to step up by pushing others down.

Einstein said “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 9:46 pm

I don’t disagree with you in that respect. But I am not trying to step up by pushing others down. I am no longer climbing a corporate ladder and even when I did, I wanted my work to be judged based on production, not favors.

I love Einstein. I don’t believe I am stupid. I strongly believe I deserve the respect I am asking for, I also give it when deserved.

Only a fool would continue to allow themselves to be insulted day after day. I have to take breaks periodically. I don’t want to say mean things, other than in jest (when people are asking/expecting) and I don’t like mean things being said to me. I deserve to be treated with respect, as does every person on this site, until they don’t.

I have confidence in me, it’s the rest of the f*ckers I worry about. (ok I had to laugh a little at self, but it is true!)

euwe max April 24, 2015 at 10:16 pm

I think the most magnificent literary construction is the tease… it is a dialectic in prose. It adds creativity to the pedestrian… color to the grey.. involves the heart, promotes humility, and strengthens friendship.

If there is a heaven it is in the imagination of those who battle evil without violence… whose strength is in their self-confidence.. who need nothing more than their knowledge of themselves.. their own character.. to confront the monsters of the world, and bask in the warm glow of like-minded warriors..

the good – they have each other’s back.. the bad – can’t be bothered with such finery.. :)

SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 10:29 pm

You ….You….You….wonderful person. I don’t always understand you, am just getting to know you. I wrote you off a year or few back, because I took you literally.

I came back determined not to be judgmental, but myself. There is always something true in my alias(es), because I am always true to myself.

I read some of your stuff on another alias and thought….hmmmm. I agree with him. He is deep, dark, thought provoking and enlightening all at once. I want to know more.

Yes, might be a little guilty of stalking, if you consider following your comments stalking, but I decided not to do that. I don’t allow others to follow mine, so, I probably shouldn’t follow others?

I do like to get into others minds, simple curiosity? Even as I contemplate/analyze my own reasons, I can come up with nothing more. When you are, who you are, what reason do you have? I have no, absolutely zero political aspirations, but I do love politics. Yes, I will influence them as much as I can, but I do want to be fair.

Go ahead, call me altruistic – I don’t care. I do care about people. That is what I care about in life. People, relationships, living life to its fullest. Last, and most important – my children. You can call it altruistic or selfish?

So, in case you or anyone else is wondering what my game is – well, there it is. ;)

euwe max April 24, 2015 at 10:40 pm

When that kind of love crosses property lines, all sorts of good things happen on earth… contrary to what the psychopaths say. :)

SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 10:54 pm

Before I reply – who is the psychopath? Me or you? LOL

euwe max April 24, 2015 at 11:00 pm

I’m always talking “ex cathedra” – about “the rich” “the poor” “the humble” “the proud” – it’s idealism at it’s finest… only the dregs and the innocent.

We? Of course, we are the innocent.

Under my umbrella, we are all good, innocent… fighting for peace.. meeting violence with tolerance.. never adding anger among friends… making those with the most grievous fatal flaws.. the kings with no clothes… the butt of our musings about life… our loved ones are not crushed in the black hole of greed and hate.. not seeking to exact justice from those less fortunate than themselves.

Out comes the pizza and beer for the passer-by.. happy to share… happy to be happy. Fighting the good fight, avoiding the pettiness of ego and the scurrying throngs driven by greed.

SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 11:11 pm

None are innocent. Unless we have refused to look at facts and act accordingly. None are innocent. Of course, we could say all are innocent, absent of facts and act accordingly.

You can stand my umbrella, if you are good (omit innocent), fighting the right causes, make an effort not to add anger, but allow anger when the time requires it. We all have grievous fatal flaws and kings with no clothes.

I will fight to keep to keep my loved one from being crushed in the black hole of greed and hate, but I will look down that black hole and yes, the abyss will look back at me.

I do not seek to extract justice from those less fortunate – IMO a tyrant does that. Not a neighbor, not a friend, not an associate of mine.

I don’t know what the good fight is, but I am trying to fight it, what I think it good. I’ve almost given up faith there is such a thing? I’ve no ego left, but crossroads. Money is a thing to achieve your goals, but money never satisfies. It doesn’t bring happiness.

Bring out the pizza and let us have a pity party or shall we fight – it’s fight or flight in my world ;)

euwe max April 24, 2015 at 11:21 pm

The simplest pleasures.. cool water.. soft breeze.. sunshine.. hills.. valleys… trees… with the random sound of birds.. the rush of cars.. laughter.. rest after labor.. the company of friends.. talk that comes from nowhere, feeds our smiles, and returns complete..

While those whose lives are the thinnest plastic, whose grins go forth only for profit.. whose labor ends at the wrist.. whose heart is full of dead man’s bones… flowers may as well be made of stone… until finally, his riches are stripped from him, and he lies his head on silken pillows.. while those nearest, who stood, bored around his bedside, bare their teeth to secure their share of the rotten carcass he left behind… his riches enjoyed by others… his empty life now complete.

SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 11:30 pm

While I may be rich, all my riches are gone. I still remember the mulberry trees, sitting underneath. I remember the tents made of blankets on clothesline, with garden cucumbers, tomatoes and a sprinkle of green Koolaid. The smell of washing clothes and hanging them on a line. Toilets much less divine. Fighting with my uncles and aunts who were much older than me. The punches in the gut, that taught me, so much

The stars in Saudi Arabia, I thought world never end. The clear blue skies and cool nights. The gas masks held tight. It was only yesterday, but I remember it like today.

I remember my first and second birth. 21 years apart. Love like a lioness, I cannot part.

I’ve given up faith. I only believe in me. Even there, some doubt, but a tree, I might rest for a while. And remember me.

euwe max April 24, 2015 at 11:39 pm
SYNTwist April 25, 2015 at 12:12 am

Great tune, many interpretations. Mine is checking out. Not literally.

euwe max April 25, 2015 at 1:34 am

To me, it’s an offer to take a seat on a custom ride through imagination in music. Joy in others is joy in us.

SYNTwist April 26, 2015 at 8:06 pm
SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 11:12 pm
shifty henry April 25, 2015 at 9:28 am

Be kindly toward Max — I’m going to have to rely on his knowledge about Texas Women, specifically Adorabella from Amarillo.

SYNTwist April 25, 2015 at 11:19 am

I know I probably shouldn’t but I’m going to ask anyways – who is Adorabella from Amarillo?

shifty henry April 25, 2015 at 11:50 am

A woman who recently moved from Amarillo into my neighborhood to be near her son who is her only surviving family member. Max is from Texas and may give me some serious advice about Texas women. She is the cutest thing around but keeps to herself. She also seems to be a enigma so I’m taking it very slowly. Right now I’m the only dog in the hunt. Some other female friends of mine have seen me visiting her and have become jealous of my time. I wanted a screen name for her so I came up with one that sounded western — Adorabella…..

SYNTwist April 25, 2015 at 11:57 am

Just keep her laughing – women love men with a sense of humor ;)

shifty henry April 25, 2015 at 12:26 pm

My jokes and humor are toned down around her, but she has a way of holding her head down at an angle and smiling up at me — she’s beautiful when she does that and it tugs at my heart strings…

SYNTwist April 25, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Hmmm….Sounds like Henry is getting ready to be taken off the market. No wonder your women friends are jealous ;)

shifty henry April 25, 2015 at 10:59 pm

In matters of love, from my years of cosmopolitan dalliances, I am left now with only two broken hearts, which I keep in the freezer.

SYNTwist April 26, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Life’s a game for everyone and love is the prize. I’m thinking it might be time for you to wake up that broken heart and get back in the game. Are you not older and wiser? ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y_KJAg8bHI

shifty henry April 26, 2015 at 7:55 pm

— intriguing, but I’m wiser before I’m older

SYNTwist April 26, 2015 at 8:11 pm

Hmmm…..maybe this one is better suited? ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YxaaGgTQYM

shifty henry April 26, 2015 at 8:43 pm

good driving music, but I’m unable to understand the words….

SYNTwist April 26, 2015 at 8:47 pm

It is a bit hard to understand driving and a little on the dark side. But so is Pink Floyd, “Comfortably Numb” :)

shifty henry April 25, 2015 at 9:22 am

Hmm, sounds like you just got a copies of the GrandTurnip’s psychiatric reports…..

SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 7:48 pm

And could you be kind enough NOT to reply using a Google Drive document that you swear is not a damn virus? I am not the first person to notice this, so I retract my previous comment that I didn’t think it was you.

Yes, I am hiding behind a dumpster while I type this. I feel the need to explain that is sarcasm lest you take me literally and no, I am not trying to relate to you. Not anymore.

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euwe max April 24, 2015 at 8:21 pm

:) – there’s no virus.

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SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 8:28 pm

Why is it that I am not the only person to notice problems with documents you put up from Google Drive? Fast Eddy noticed it on another thread. Wonder how many others have?

There was an attempt to break into my computer again yesterday. I don’t know who you are, but I do know this – you are not the frail stupid man you play.

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euwe max April 24, 2015 at 8:32 pm

fast eddy hasn’t said what happened.. he’s in IT.. believe me, if it were a virus, *he* would know!

SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 8:35 pm

You have something going on with your Google Docs, I know that much. Believe it or not I was once in charge of IT. Back in the day of MSDOS. I was great at installing programs, shutting down, restarting – problems solved ;)

euwe max April 24, 2015 at 8:43 pm

Yeah, I remember MSDOS.. my brother collected all of the versions on floppy disk… kept each one in it’s own immaculate sleeve in a translucent smokey disk case.

He also had the latest norton commander..

But he didn’t use his computer for anything.

I disassembled DOS 3.0… I wrote a “sidekick” like program in assembly language for the 808x machines that hid in the slack area in 640k machines…

I cracked the code of hardware dongles… snuck into the servers at the university through the accounts of unwitting Business Administration accounts…

..and I missed classes while playing text games.. sound produced by chattering relays that eventually corroded and failed…

I ‘member DOS… .
mov ah,4h
int 21h

SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 9:06 pm

I liked MSDOS, for one reason – hmmmmm…..I had control of my system. I could create my own programs, was not subject (at that time) to viruses, I could add on whatever I wanted singularly v. whole package that adds on with upload.

Call me a control freak, but I like being in control of my life ;)

euwe max April 24, 2015 at 9:07 pm

the internet changed all that, didn’t it?

SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Dawg gone it, Windows changed all that. Initially they had a MSDos prompt, You could still define the limits of your data base and add Word Perfect (which was perfect in my mind at the time), but then they continue to update. Some good, some bad.

I found I like Dreamweaver better than Word Perfect. The interface for Windows is easier, AFTER you get used to it. We all hate change (i.e. getting older?).

I like hard wired control, but that is pretty much obsolete these days, so we move with the times. It’s easier for every one else, so we learn their way. I won’t say I like it, but I continue to move forward.

The internet did change a lot of thing – i.e. how we communicate. That much I appreciate. I remember the old AOL dial up. Damn I was a pro at figuring that crap out, with some help from friends, I had a master setup…LOL. I loved roleplaying – uh – yes….Dungeons and Dragons. I was a guild leader of Assassins Of The Silent Order. Ha!

euwe max April 24, 2015 at 9:37 pm

I was on Compu$erve, and then GEnie.. and then I got an AOL account… hated it… left it for free browsers.. bumped along until now, I use Google Chrome.. it’s the best.

SYNTwist April 24, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Similar path, but not entirely ;).

shifty henry April 25, 2015 at 9:16 am

‘you are not the frail stupid man you play’ — could Max actually be.. The GrandTurnip?? (the HORROR of it!)

Mom April 25, 2015 at 5:50 pm

Yeah. Well the only alternatives to public school are private school or homeschooling. As a parent who wanted to best education for my kids, I wrote large tuition checks to Heathweed Hall Episcopal School in Columbia. Parents were also coerced into writing additional checks to the “Giving Fund.” First of all, the Christian education component consisted of a weird Theology teacher who required students to bring Kosher food to share with the class for an A. Also, there is a weekly “Chapel” in which unordained administrators issue wine and bread at “communion”. Drugs are rampant bc, after all how does a school expel the kids whose parents are donating the big bucks. Private schools are BUSINESSES with cash flow being the top priority.

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disqus_SZ8t0bhFdT April 25, 2015 at 8:05 pm

if you have a problem with communion, just tell your children not to put their hands out to accept the sacrament, the priest will give them God’s blessing and move on to the next supplicant. Oh and let me guess you are a rich judgmental hick.

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Mom April 25, 2015 at 9:05 pm

My point was there is no priest for communion. Anne Weston, who was a glorified paper pusher was one in particular who was administering communion. She is not ordained, nor has a religious background. She has since been fired, btw. I’m not quite sure why you called me a rich, judgmental hick because I am neither. More importantly, my point is that while government run schools are veering of course, private schools are corrupt and nothing more than money grubbing scum. Especially Heathweed Hall.

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disqus_SZ8t0bhFdT April 26, 2015 at 8:23 am

“Heathweed Hall” honey that is hick through and through.

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