Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Broadcast Bullies

Bill Bennett, David Brooks, Mona Charen, Charles C.W. Cooke, Michael Gerson, Jonah Goldberg, Victor Davis Hanson, Charles Krauthammer, Matt Lewis, Rich Lowry, Michael Medved, Paul Mirengoff, Dana Perino, John Podhoretz, Karl Rove, Jennifer Rubin, Kevin Williamson, editorial page writers for the Wall Street Journal and others of the Republican elite including Bill Kristol, must have had a cocktail party and decided that they are the cool kids, a gang apart, and Donald Trump and his supporters are not to be their friends. Trump is okay to donate money (like the kid who can do their homework), but heaven help him should he actually presume to dance at their party!

On my former favorite morning show, Mika Brzezinski, a Democrat, high on interviewing those women "who count" who had gathered  for a self-worth hootenanny on Arianna Huffington's bed, postures as a policy maker and judge of public morality. As a Democrat her opposition is a given, but Joe Scarborough must also have imbibed the Washington Kool-Aid.  Scarborough has chosen to preside over the Morning Joe name calling of Trump supporters. (Sinister. Stupid. Idiots. Uneducated. Racist. Imbeciles.) 

Like bullies on the playground these self-anointed guardians of those permitted admittance onto our national political playground have resorted to belittling Donald Trump and his friends. No Southern mother would approve of her child treating another child with such disrespect. The media does to other Americans who believe differently than their politically correct ideology exactly what they accuse Trump of doing. Our children hear this denigrating language on major media every day. So much for objectivity. 

As Pat Buchanan puts it "the establishment has become unhinged" (http://buchanan.org/blog/an-establishment-unhinged-124406). He writes, "Today the press decides what words are permissible and what thoughts are acceptable. The press conducts the inquisitions where heretics are blacklisted and excommunicated from the company of decent men, while others are forgiven if they recant their heresies."

These pretentious bullies are so full of their own self-worth in the rarified air of America's own District 1 of Panem that they have lost touch with reality. Real danger confronts us and their policies got us here. 

Hunger games occur throughout our country with homeless veterans and other victims of NAFTA, GATT, WTO and other trade deals that have left America hollowed out of those manufacturing jobs that once would have employed these people. Wall Street vultures feed fat picking on the carcasses of those whose life savings were bound up in those homes that often now sit empty. Our infrastructure crumbles while our leaders prance upon the international stage either currying favor by writing checks or flexing their muscle with their hawkish rhetoric backed up by the bombs and blood of our brave American military. Immigrants flood across our borders refusing to abide by the rules, be truly vetted, and wait their turn in line for the privilege of being an American.

One man on the Republican side acknowledges the need to rebuild America. One man realizes that we must set the alarm on a home secure before we sally forth to save the world. Otherwise the big bad wolf will surely come and blow our house down. While he may not be equipped to lay the bricks, he knows exactly who to call to produce the craftsmanship needed to build it strong and how to make the best deal to enable us to afford it. And then he will appoint the most able commanders to direct our overseas efforts. 

So while the privileged cool kids who have benefitted from the politics of the past don't want Trump sitting at their table, the rest of the lunchroom welcomes him. 


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

American Media--Presumptive Moral Arbiters

With the San Bernardino terrorist attack the politicians and media pundits are all out to outdo the other with their wisdom and insight. So forgive me if I want to shake the radio and punch the TV with their arrogance and presumption of being the moral arbiters of our society. My heart pounds as I listen to their derision of those who disagree with them calling them morally base and uneducated.

I am amazed at their condescension to all who see some common sense in Donald Trumps' admittedly politically incorrect statements. He disagrees with these smug arbiters of morality who had no compunction about supporting bombing innocent Muslim civilians, Muslim women and children, in Iraq with the mere assumption that if they were Iraqi Muslims they must be supporters of Al-Quaeda. Brave, honorable Americans were sent to fight and die in a foreign land for a cause that was based on a lie--Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction. 

By the way, I am a college graduate with a Masters degree, an author of historical fiction who finds that much of what Donald Trump says makes sense. Perhaps part of my support for Trump comes from my disgust with the arrogance of the talking heads presuming superiority of values simply because of a journalism degree and a love affair with a camera and the sound of their own voice.

How ironic it is for Dick Cheney, with the blood of hundreds of thousands on his hands, to deride Donald Trump for espousing “un-American” values with Trump’s call for a moratorium on Muslims entering our country. Cheney was the major hawk beating the war drum to drop those bombs on Iraq and Afghanistan and send those troops into the Middle East calling their efforts a war on terror. Yet most of the terrorists who committed the 9/11 atrocities were from Saudi Arabia, not Iraq! May I be so bold as to point out that this event happened under the watch of George W. Bush. It is an event erased from the memory bank of JEB Bush as he claims that his brother "kept us safe", yet none in the media call him to task for this mammoth misstatement. JEB even has his brother's advisers now advising him! 

These folks in the media and the government are culpable for the world situation with which we now must deal. It was they who supported our country's interjection into an ant bed of religious wars going back over a thousand years.

And now they want us to let those who created the problem tell us how to fix it? Trust their moral compass?

And you wonder why those who have “experience” in government are so low in the polls?

It is morally okay to drop bombs and kill folks in fighting terror, but it isn’t okay to protect Americans (including Muslim Americans) by slowing down on immigration and actually enforcing the laws already on the books in order to assimilate the vast numbers of immigrants we already have? As for profiling, Presbyterians are not committing acts of terror. It is sane policy to look for terrorists where terrorists abide.

Every day in the news we hear about the numbers of unemployed looking for work. We know that the major cause of discontent among the young who are most vulnerable to radicalization is their feeling of alienation in the country in which they live. Rather than bringing more competition for the economic benefit that draws immigrants to America, it is time to allow the economy to recover so that we can offer these immigrants the hope of a prosperous future they expect to find. And, in the meantime, give those Americans whom the policies of the past have injured time to get their feet back on the ground.

Yet, Trump is being derided as espousing "unAmerican" values calling on the baser instincts of the "great unwashed" with his call for a moratorium on Muslims entering our country. I find this ironic when one considers that the neocons who are lambasting him with all of their power were the ones who had no compunction about bombing innocent Muslim women and children in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Syria. It is considered moderate and "all American" to advocate carpet bombing all lands held by ISIS whatever and wherever that might be to the degree that "we'll find out if sand can glow in the dark." I dare say it is not Trump's cautious defense of Americans that has stirred the cauldron of jihad but the war dance of the neocons running roughshod over countries and customs about which we STILL lack understanding. 

So we fight and spill more blood, American and Muslim. What if we "win"? What leader will we install to fight our enemies over there? Our nation building record leaves much to be desired. With all the weapons and training we left in Iraq, they still do not have the will to fight. What can we do differently? 

If as The Atlantic article, "What ISIS Really Wants," (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/03/what-isis-really-wants/384980/)
is right, that ISIS is intent on bringing about the apocalypse, the media and its governmental minions are certainly determined to be a participant. War drums pound once more. 


What kind of a crazy world is this?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Age of Greed and Narcissism

Clear water of the Wakulla River, yet alligators sun on the shore
The Age of Greed and Narcissism is bound to be the label future writers lay upon our times. The favored few float easy upon their boon of corporate welfare (NAFTA, GATT, WTO) while the rest of the country continues to dodge the detritus assaulting them (loss of jobs, homes, and health insurance as a consequence of their greed and the politicians who sold out their constituents for a "mess of potage"). Those decisions resulted in the 2008 economic debacle and yet the bail out went to the Wall Street fat cats that caused the problem. Self-absorbed personalities in this group remind me of District 1 of Panem in the Hunger Games, without honor, dignity, any sense of responsibility, yet with a singular claim to -- not personal morality-- but social justice -- a finger in the air to see what is current wisdom -- then hailed as heroes for indulging in another round of public introspection and revelation, always seeking the public adulation of a television audience and social media.

Meanwhile, the average American struggles to find a job that will support a family, to keep their family together with a roof over their heads, to feed their children. Many fight honorably to keep America free.

So today I praise the men and women who honor their vows, who put family first, who honor God without attempting to make Him into their own image. They will probably not be appear on television because their lives are full and focused on what really matters.

Sadly we look more and more like the time written of in the Bible when "All the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes." Judges 21:25

Monday, May 4, 2015

Jean Hancher's review of Mint Juleps and Murder


Love this review recently posted by Jean Hancher



Mint Juleps and Murder is the second in Sharman Ramsey’s Mint Julep Mysteries Trilogy. When most southern women in their sixties are sipping sweet tea and fanning themselves with their church bulletins, Dabney Rankin and Sophia Ransom, two widowed sisters, find themselves living life in the fast lane sipping mint juleps.  Their TV show, Partying on the Plantation, has succeeding beyond anyone’s imagination.  Since both sisters lacked culinary skills, their initial success was a result of some disastrous missteps in the beginning that sent the show to the top in the ratings chart.  The show was such a hit that they had no difficulty in attracting celebrity guests who really can cook to join their zany cast. Their nonexistent gardens complemented their nonexistent culinary skills, but when news got out that they were going to film a TV series in the Palmer, Alabama, the whole town wanted to get in on the action. Harvey Banks, a retired judge and the head of the Master Gardeners in Cox County was among many who came to the sisters’ rescue.  Betty Lee Simmons, the wife of the local Episcopal priest, was one of the few who came without a hidden agenda. Frederika Amos, the widow of a prominent doctor, seemed to be more interested in Harvey than in gardening.  Her sister was married to Harvey’s twin brother, Senator Hartwell Banks. With the enthusiastic support of the whole town and soaring ratings, what could possibly go wrong? Everything, to put it mildly.


Dabney is not only haunted by dreams, she begins to attract unwanted attention. Dabney learns that Ruby T., a local icon, has managed to get Sadie Summer to agree to come to Palmer to do a charity review. The fact that Dabney is already sufficiently challenged doesn’t keep her from bribing Ruby T. to letting her join the review.  Ruby T. is used to telling it like it is, “You skinny white girls just can’t carry it off.”  Ruby patiently tries to teach Dabney attitude and moves and tells her she has to get in shape. This leads to Dabney’s jogging which leads to Dabney being grabbed from behind, chloroformed, and dumped in a well. She is rescued, only to have another attempt on her life as she is driving Dabnabbit, her turquoise golf cart with pink leather seats, rhinestones around the top, and pink glow bars. Her children thought this was the perfect sixtieth birthday present. The shot missed, but now family and law enforcement combine to protect our heroine.  Drugs, a suicide that may not have been a suicide, and a Pinkerton trunk may be clues, but no one can connect the dots. Why is someone out to kill her?  Another attempt on her life, a surveillance team that spies on a philandering priest, and a successful kidnapping lead to a surprising ending.  Ramsey uses that sleigh of hand that mystery writers use to leave their readers shaking their heads and musing, “I didn’t see that coming.” Amid barbeque, Soul Sisters, and dancing, readers will laugh with Dabney as she cooks and dances her way to the top of the charts and into her readers’ hearts.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sunday School Lesson "He's Alive"


Just want to share the joy. I have been sitting here preparing to teach the lesson on John 20: 19-23 on Sunday at the Asbury Sunday School Class at the First Methodist Church in Panama City. This is definitely NOT an easy lesson and I have been concerned that I might not understand it well enough to share. Then I woke up Tuesday morning singing "He's Alive." I decided the Lord thought that song ought to open the lesson. I dug through my song tapes and found the tape. This morning I've been singing along to the tape in preparation for one of the hardest lessons I have ever studied to share with others, praising God, and thanking Him for His Holy Word and gift of the risen Savior. We'll be in the Trinity Center, Room 10, if any of you are visiting PC and would like to come and share in the wonder you are welcome. What Jesus did for Peter is available to us all!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyPBVwOCYmM

Library Foundation and Books Alive

I attended my second Board meeting for the Bay County Library Foundation today. Plans for an exciting expanded Books Alive 2016 are under way. I hope my author friends will consider adding Panama City to their book tours. We are so much more than Spring Break!!!!  http://www.booksalive.net and https://www.facebook.com/pages/BooksALIVE/309524262464587 More information about how to become a participating author, editor, agent or blogger will be on our website soon. Contact me at sharmanramsey@gmail.com for more information. Great plans are on the horizon!

Mothers are all slightly insane

My husband's mother, Hilda Ramsey, had been afflicted with Alzheimers for several years when the three of us took a ride, probably down the Azalea Trail, his mother's favorite time of year. I'll never forget being stopped at the intersection of Woodland and Main when Joe commented on a conversation he'd had recently with his Aunt Cassie (Ramsey), then around 80. 
He said, "Her memory is amazing!" 
"She never had any children," Mom stated matter-of-factly from the back seat. At that moment her mind was working on all cylinders.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Capstone Educator and Concerns




I got my new Capstone Educator, publication of the University of Alabama College of Education, my alma mater, and was introduced to new faculty members and the new goals of the College of Education. The title Passion Changes Everything: the next generation of faculty, gives kudos to the eduspeak of the apparent new guru (Music Man) of education, Sir Ken Robinson (http://sirkenrobinson.com/read/). 


Has the Music Man's think system become simply passion? You don't just have to think positive thoughts, you must be passionate about them! 

This new slew of professors will now be demonstrating and  training aspiring teachers how NOT to teach directly.  "The professor can no longer be the 'sage on the stage," the author writes. Today's teacher must be a "guide on the side" -- and with passion! 

It looks as if we are now embarking upon a new brand of old education gimmicks. We've been here before with Outcome Based Education, Whole Language, etc.  This gimmick will simply be more of the same with expensive high tech devices that become obsolete within a year. The author tells that "Today the classroom is necessarily more dynamic and more conversational than in the past and is inevitably linked to online resources."

I wonder just how experienced and successful these fresh faced new professors are in the classroom as measured by what parents expect schools and teachers to do -- or have they merely mastered the psychobabble necessary for acquiring a PH.D. in Education. Did they become disillusioned in the classroom and decide to move on to higher education? Or have they actually spent any time in the classroom?

It was sequential learning and direct instruction that got us to the moon. Then Ken Goodman in 1967 published "Reading: a Psycholinguistic Guessing Game," revolutionized reading instruction and brought teachers out for professional hootenannies in support of the liberation of the classroom and teachers. Sequential learning and direct instruction has now been pushed further down the trash bin in colleges of education and extremely high illiteracy rates (the basic reason businesses complain that that they cannot find competent employees) continue.

When researching those school systems that scored best in my most basic determination of a successful school system -- reading scores -- those schools closest to colleges and universities scored lowest. The reason could be because those children closest to the universities are the most likely candidates for experimental programs of those scholar faculty members that we are told must be "more widely published than those who walked in their shoes a generation ago" and that "... Their work must meet the highest standard of rigor- represented in frequent and consistent publication in nationally recognized referred journals."

Well, now, that gives me as a parent and teacher the willies. That's all we need. More experimental programs and people looking to make a reputation through such "scholarship" using our children as guinea pigs!

I actually saw this in action with Block Scheduling (Four Period Day) in my hometown of Dothan, Alabama. An administrator with her eye on a Ph. D. used our children as her subjects for a study on how Math education was impacted by the Four Period Day. She ignored the research out of Canada, refused to give it to the parents in town, used our kids as the subjects of her study, got her Ph. D. and a Superintendents position. Then she and others in the administration published in journals and were lauded by their profession for their innovations. The kids got the shaft on their education and our education dollars were wasted promoting the Four Period Day (glossy brochures and teachers taken out of the classroom) throughout the area even though our schools were new to the methodology with no objective data (standardized tests) to validate its use. It didn't take long to find out what a boondoggle that was. Parents paying for the Advanced Placement tests discovered lower scores and because of their influence, it is no longer used. But it showed me how important it is to administrators and professors to make a name for themselves rather than actually find what works best to truly EDUCATE children (in the traditional sense).

This quotation from the article may give us insight into the direction of one professor: "... He is interested in developing translational learning and design theories grounded in empirical studies forming computational tools for learning based on these theories and conducting investigations on STEM learning and cognition both through experimental designs and design based research in authentic contexts." (Say what...?)

According to author, historian of education, educational policy analyst, and research professor at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Diane Ravitch, OBE reforms (something I fought in the nineties) usually had other disputed methods, such as constructivist mathematics and whole language, added onto them. So, when I read that the teaching methods for the new professor of Social Science (used to be History) Education "are strongly based on constructivist pedagogy" and the new professor of Elementary Literacy Education wants to examine "culturally relevant literacy instruction in elementary classrooms" my heart starts to pound a warning. With no more community watchdogs who determines cultural relevance?


Once, in my naivety, I thought the education profession to be pure, truly based on replicable research, meant to prepare children to read, write and compute -- untainted by politics. And then I discovered the huge number of illiterate students in my secondary classroom and set out to find out why. I now believe the source of America's academic decline can be traced directly to America's colleges of education.

I thank God my youngest grandchildren are in private Christian schools using tried and true methods to teach sequentially, intensively, directly and early those basic skills we KNOW are foundational to success. 




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