Archive for February, 2017

#237 “When did you…?”

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

By Hetty Gray

February 28, 2017

“When did you….?”

Most of us who recall readily old truisms recognize the catastrophic damage of an unsubstantiated accusation. Once launched at a person, even when disproved, it is immensely difficult to repair or restore one’s good reputation. In a total reversal of the basis for our U.S. system of justice, the accused is guilty until proven innocent.

Slurs and mud stick like glue and denials on the part of the accused rarely dampen the flames lit by detractors. When facts do not work, smears do their dirty jobs to mask the venom and animosity most often fueled by a warped ideology.

It’s the old scenario yet again. Yes, again….

We see this now. For more than seven decades our government began a disappointing moral and ethical decline. Eisenhower warned of it…. Few paid attention to his prophecy. The last time America was on the winning end of a conflict was World War II. That was 1945 — using my head and not a computer device, that is seventy-two years this summer.

ETO’s General George S. Patton saw Russia for what it was — a real threat to freedom and liberty. But, before he could move toward countering the spread of Communism that would encase Eastern Europe over forty years, he died in a car driven by someone other than his regular driver. Verdict? A very brilliant soldier’s vision of reality tabled forever. Likely no accident….

My father’s generation fought World War II. He worked in a defense plant. A pilot, he wore glasses, and that alone rendered him unacceptable to the then U. S. Army Air Corps (later to become the U.S. Air Force). An overlapping of two generations fought in Korea, but it was my generation fought in Vietnam. I lost a classmate in that. He was a very good person.

The Vietnam War lined the pockets of determined, unscrupulous Americans among the military, political and business ranks across this nation. Not quite the testament to respect for our soldiers…. The conflict was the continuation of the old boys’ network where payoffs in office were in the form of appointments or financial gain. Let’s look at the wide picture. Lots of money changed hands at the expense of tens of thousands of lives.

Today, we have elected a man who owes nothing to the establishment or the entrenched politicians. That is enough to put them on their own war footing. The accusations against President Trump will continue ad nauseum. Because the establishment and the undergirding bureaucracy cannot control President Trump, they must disgrace him. While he is the elites’ worst nightmare, he is the average American’s brightest hope. Someone who operates on common sense as a knowledge of what the bottom line is when it comes to money.

This past week I heard Retired General Jack Keane say that there are no better military minds those in the Pentagon, but they are not businessmen and women. They do not see at the world in terms on dollars and cents. They see the world in terms of strategy and the means to achieve goals.

Pentagon spending is legend. For years, The Golden Fleece Awards have highlighted some of the most inane examples. Remember the high dollar toilet seats? The coffee makers? Egad! Budgets are easily appropriated, but budgets must be cost effective. When we remove graft and corruption from the contract process, we can leverage at its highest efficiency.

For example, is it better to award a contract because of “connections” or “friends” or to do so with a business mindset — getting the best product or service at the lowest cost?

I am reminded of a line uttered by Frank Gilbreth. Sr. (portrayed by Clifton Webb) in the 1950 movie “Cheaper by the Dozen.” In the true story of an amazing man for his time, Frank and his wife Lilly (Myrna Loy) reared a family of twelve children. Accustomed to running the household with a family meeting, Frank decided that the chores were a bit too much for the live in- help, housekeeper Mrs. Monahan and handyman Jim Bracken.

The back fence of their Montclair, New Jersey, home needed whitewashing. Bill, one of the boys, said he would do it for $10.00. Frank, astonished, replied, “You must think this is a government job!”

Isn’t it amazing how things change so little over the years? The plot was set in the 1920s. Here we are nearly in the 2020s — a hundred years later — and government expenditures are still seen as ridiculous.

Let’s give this businessman a chance. Accusing him of racism, bias, and anti-everything is akin to the old question, “When did you stop beating your wife?”

The query alone taints the targeted person. It was never fair in the past and it is not fair today. A refreshing change would be to see the government operate well and give us the most bang for our tax bucks.

There is nothing more frightening to career politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists than to have the lid placed on their cookie jar. Think about it.

236 – “No Surprise!”

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

By Hetty Gray

# 236

February 7, 2017

“No surprise here!”

Today, I booted up the computer to read the latest news via WTHR 13 in Indianapolis. It puts forth news at a good pace and boasts excellent coverage of Indiana happenings.

The article that caught my eye was this: Crisis in the Classroom. No — not behavioral problems among children lacking discipline — that theme would take up several columns. The topic cited hits far closer to home for me. What’s more, it awakens vivid personal memories.

It’s been over twenty years since I took the licensing exams for the State of Indiana. I scored in four areas. My lowest score was 97 and the others were 98. I was pleased as punch, but being the competitive being I am, I wondered what I had missed on those tests.

When I left, I was aghast at what I learned were the “passing scores.” Needless to say, had any of my students scored thusly I would have been recommending tutoring and questioning whether or not they would pass my class. To be blunt, I was not only shocked, but I was dumbfounded. It did not make any sense to assign a teacher’s license to anyone so unprepared.

I am not sure what the passing scores are today, but given the tenor of this article, the scores may be the same or worse. This should worry you. My teachers in the 1950s and 1960s were more than prepared. Not only did they know their subjects, but they also took time to know their students. Preparation went far beyond the classroom. Oh, I know, it was a different time. Few students fell behind because their parents took no interest. Teachers and students often interacted with one another in neighborhoods as well as church. Parents weren’t distracted. They worked, went to church, and attended school activities. Television was in its infancy. People read.

I do not know what is going on among the colleges and universities that they are turning out graduates who cannot pass basic exams. Given the fact that so much social engineering happens at the collegiate level today, it’s anybody’s guess really. Few institutions of higher learning have a both sides out there attitude. For the most part, colleges and universities are grossly liberal in their teachings. Over decades, this impacts how students think.

The bottom line is that we must educate aspiring teachers to know their subject or subjects and to know them well. Can you look back and name a particular teacher who had a profound influence on your life? I know that I can. In fact, I can name more than one — but among different disciplines. Hazel Ford was my fourth grade teacher, and I can still remember some of her phonics drills — not bad for 65 years later!

In high school Ray Hinshaw inspired a love for history fostered by my mother and Lawrence “Boots” Thompson engendered a high respect for mathematics and science. I was more of a wordsmith than a scientist, but Mr Thompson’s extra help boosted my grades to a solid A despite my trepidation. I can’t say that I retained all that information far beyond the classroom, but it did instill in me a determined study ethic that served me well — whether as an adult college student years later on as a researcher as I continues to pursue my career as an author and columnist.

There is no better way to sabotage the future than to hamper today’s students. If we are turning out education majors who are minor in achievement, we are in a really bad spot.

Don’t get me started on some of the history curricula at the college level. I routinely stop in at college bookstores and peruse history textbooks. Over the past fifteen years, content has not improved. To say that it is stilted is to understate. If this kind of edited history is replicated at the middle and high school levels, then we should not be surprised that college students buy into the political correct crowd that derides America at every available opportunity. They do not know their country’s rich heritage of freedom and the struggle to achieve it, let alone respect for those who defend us. It is rare for recruiters to gain access to campus venues. How sad.

Firm subject grounding in history is critical. I know I have preached this before, but history is a series of red flags — warning signs, if you will. The failure to recognize the danger signals dooms a people to existential threats.

When our children and grandchildren are taught to consider how they feel over what they know, and we realize that what they know is far from accurate, the problem is highlighted. We need to push for seminal teaching basics — cursive writing, mathematics without a calculator, factual history, respect for the scientific method of inquiry, and personal responsibility.

Life is a challenge for everyone. Bad things happen. To think that college of students need a “safe place” to avoid any criticism is laughable. Get with it, folks. Keep score in children’s games. Games have winners and losers. The old adage, “sticks and stones” doesn’t ring true, yet we must encourage moxie in our kids. Peers can be cruel. Words do hurt, but knowing life is not fair better prepares a child to function in today’s world.

Involve yourself with your local school officials. Insist to see curricula. Ask if teacher examination scores are available to taxpayers. If WTHR is right, Indiana faces a real problem. It is one that cannot be ignored. Think about it.