(P) One of Jefferson's more famous letters has a line about God forbid we go 20 years without rebellion. That's about how much memory I have as I approach birthday number 25, and I am wondering if we're overdue. Or, perhaps, if it's already happened?

Hatred and fear and authoritarianism and greed have arrested such incredible dominance over our country that I wonder if we've already seen the apex and are now watching the collapse of movement conservatism. The battle for ideas is clearly lost to them. The thing is, they keep winning the outcomes, from disenfranchising millions of Americans to unfathomable wealth consolidation to controlling what most of the major media outlets consider appropriate topics of conversation. Is that disconnect a sign of revolution underway, or a call for revolution? Are the lengths to which the ends justify the means an inherent strength, or a sign of hollowed out weakness? John Edwards commented last month that "...we have reached this point in our history where we have to leave behind half measures, broken promises, sweet rhetoric...".

That's certainly revolutionary for leadership in Washington. But is Washington (and other power centers) so removed from what Americans want that to actually have a government representing us is a radical change? But maybe that's exactly the kind of rebellion Jefferson would have in mind, one whose very strength is the disgust of the people with the excesses of their leaders. We need radical change precisely because the current leadership is so entrenched and so poorly represents the people they govern, not because we need a fundamental change in the people being governed.

I remain quite optimistic and am excited that we seem to have reached a point in the last year or two where truth seems to be overwhelming the fingers in the dam holding back all the ugliness and lies and inconsistencies. Perhaps the most radical change we need is to simply stop accepting the misgoverning of our country, to be that which we want to see happen. The next 25 years could be very different.

But they won't just because we want them to be different. We actually have to stand up and say no, offering our own vision for the future.

I'm not entirely sure how to do that.

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must brag quickly

I haven't followed college basketball very closely this year, but I seem to have accidentally stumbled across a good standing. Seriously, check out where my ESPN pool stands, for a brief moment, at least. (There are millions of entries, by the way).

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must read

Someone from my work who likes to send joke emails around forwarded this little gem to me this week. It made my whole weekend. Approach with an appropriate level of humor at the ready.


School answering machine:

A School District is being sued for this message left on the answering machine. A group of rouge teachers from each school coordinated their efforts to put it on their school's machines on a Friday afternoon.

- no wonder some people were offended!

Here's the outgoing message when parents call the school......

Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting to the right staff memeber, please listen to all the options before making a selection:

......to lie about why your child is absent - press 1

......to make excuses for why your child did not do his work - press 2

......to complain about what we do - press 3

......to swear at staff members - press 4

......to ask why you didn't get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several flyers mailed to you - press 5

......if you want us to raise your child - press 6

......if you want to reach out and touch, slap or hit your child - press 7

......to request another teacher, for the third time this year - press 8

......to complain about bus transportation - press 9

......to complain about school lunches - press 0

......if you realize this is the real world and your child must be accountable and responsible for his/her own behavior, class work, homework and that it's not the teachers' fault for your child's lack of effort - hang up and have a nice day!

......if you want this in spanish, you must be in the wrong country.

Thank You!

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what would you do

(P) I've been thinking about this for a while, but the thoughts tend to be more angry than thoughtful. So lacking what I feel an appropriate post as we mark another year, I am left with a question.

What would you do with four years and a trillion dollars?

I must say too it is fabulous timing that the next DVD on Jodi's Blockbuster queue was a documentary about the Dixie Chicks. Bravo karma.

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clean sweep

While not quite the miraculous finish of a Liberty sweep, basketball turned out pretty well this weekend. The Liberty girls took first while Julie's school, McCluer North, took the boys title. Even got her German and math teacher parents watching the local news at the cabin late to catch the scores!

Yes, I said the cabin. Apparently her parents have this fabulous place south of Warrenton. Cabin doesn't do it justice, though. It's really a two bedroom house nestled in a hilly area which is a development of a couple hundred such structures on a couple woody acres each. Yay stars. These and these.

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stop the clash

(P) I have had some interesting discussions recently about Islam and relations between the US and Middle Eastern countries and differences between public opinion and the people running governments and so forth. And if you remember, I really enjoyed the speech the Executive Director of the Missouri Baptist Convention gave at the annual meeting.

I found this video looking at some blogs, and it is really interesting.

Check it out.

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the great moral tissue of our time

This is great. I would end up quoting every other paragraph, so just read the whole thing.

I know you want to. It even says genitals in the title. No self-respecting person can avoid an article like that. Plus, I needed an excuse to add a new label called scrotum.

"You liberals are such losers...
I bet you think it’s a big deal that al Qaeda and the Taliban – you know, the folks we said did 9/11 – are regrouping in Afghanistan, and that Osama bin Laden remains a free man five years later. So?...
How about all the corruption scandals and gross incompetence of George Bush’s crony government? Get over it...
I’ve heard you guys ranting on and on about the mountain of debt we’re leaving for your children to pay off, plus interest, in order to finance our twin extravaganzas of huge tax cuts for the wealthy and a useless war costing $1-2 trillion. What’s wrong that?...
No, the great moral issues of our time are: Your genitals..."

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this is it

Hmmm, it was kind of settling in today that I am turning 25 this month. It's the first age that I have a distinct memory of noting when I was younger. I remember one particular dinner at my grandmother's when my uncle was about to turn a quarter of a century. He was reminded of this repeatedly in a variety of ways.

I remember thinking that by that age you had to grow up and know what you're doing. I've discovered exactly the opposite. I was much more focused and intense in high school. Now it's kind of wandering around going through the motions. I could live with Jodi for 10 years, or end up in Paris next month.

Grr, it's really exciting finding something you're really passionate about at a pretty young age, but it makes you wonder about times that are less so. Is it ok? Are you supposed to be looking for something? Are those rare times, to be treasured? Or the standard for how most things are supposed to be?

Are you talking to yourself?

Don't worry though, I'm not hearing voices yet. That's still a few years down the road.

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back to school

When you spend all weekend back in high school, you see and hear some interesting things. Particularly when most of that time is spent with high school kids saying things at you.

My favorite Freudian slip? President Cheney. Oops.

But there were lots of good ones.

One puffer thought that the con's statistical evidence was seriously screwed. Repeatedly so, in fact.

An orator seemed to go out of his way to emphasize he was only opposed to illegal immigration, then left an awkward sentence hanging with immigrants notably lacking a preface of illegal. Also, among other things, we need to stop border smuggling of drugs before they get out of hand. Before? High schools are shopping malls. Then the next speaker mentioned how Ritalin could be considered kiddie cocaine so many kids abuse it. Considered? It's only a schedule II drug just like meth and cocaine and amphetamines.

An extemper was talking about how peace in the Middle East means the US needs to protect Israel better. After all, it's where the civilized nations, er, cities, are.

And one guy tried to convince me that Hugo Chavez is so dangerous that his influence is unstoppable in creating some kind of evil anti-capitalist socialism. He has so much influence he can make a PhD in economics do it [whatever exactly this horrible it is]. I mean, the US is such a great example of free trade in South America, from the DEA's coca eradication efforts to such open borders with Cuba.

And then there were the debate rounds. Ah, good times. Did you know that 277% of housing foreclosures are due to bankruptcy? Or that a war with North Korea is imminent unless we expand the army...7 years ago?

But perhaps those lovely posters teachers love to plaster all over the walls take the cake. I share two. On one, a very comfortable Garfield lies down, thinking in thoughtbubbleland that to make your dreams come true, you have to stay awake. Right. My dream after setting an alarm for 5:45am was precisely to not be awake. And 30 years from now, it won't matter what jeans you wore or what hairstyle you had...it's what you learned and how you used it. Uh huh, let's see, you didn't graduate from high school, but you say you learned a lot. Welcome aboard Johnson!

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So I did the drive Interstate 64 as fast westward as possible today. It's so almost comfortable yet so not what I really want. It just feels a little dirty hightailing it out of the city as fast as possible after work.

But, it was for a good cause today. Districts have started! Debate tonight, IEs in the morning, then more debate, then some IEs, then back on Saturday.

Oh, and I made some good time, too. 19 minutes from my work parking lot to 141 and Clayton Rd. Take that you regular Ballwin/Chesterfield/Des Peres types.

Also, exciting basketball news. Liberty boys and girls are both headed to Warrensburg. I decided this was postworthy when I noticed that opposite them in the bracket is a certain McCluer North High School. I was already planning on being in Columbia next weekend anyway with my Clayton kiddies. How fabulous would that be?

Seriously, how fabulous?

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