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Michael Vey and Glenn Beck

  • Posted on July 5, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Michael VeyAs a middle school teacher, I am interested in my students.  Our school has devoted the first 15 minutes of the day to reading in an effort to get more students devoted to reading.  I often ask the students what they are reading to see what interests them.  A couple years ago, I decided to read what some of them seemed to like reading.  I’ve read many different books such as all of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Divergent series.  Recently, many of the students were telling me they were reading “Michael Vey”.  Since it seemed to be popular, I decided to read it.  It actually “Michael Vey:  The Prisoner of Cell 25”.  As I was nearing the end of the book, I discovered something that shocked me.  There is a connection between Michael Vey and Glenn Beck.

I went online shortly before I finished the book to see if it had been made into a video.  It seemed like the logical progression for the book.  Many times, I have read a book and then watched the movie.  It was natural for me to investigate this.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered one, that Glenn Beck has a publishing company and two, that his company, Mercury Ink, published Michael Vey.  Mercury Ink’s partner is Simon and Schuster.

The Michael Vey series is about good, evil, and making right choices.  I actually enjoyed reading the book and could see why students like it.  I am not going to say much about the book, as I don’t want to spoil anything for someone that might like to read it.  I will say it is about teenagers that have a special connection with electricity.  Something happened to them when they were born and now as they are coming into their teen years they have unusual abilities.  Michal Vey seems to have the most powerful ability.  The book takes the reader on an adventure from combating bullying to building friendships and developing an understanding of what makes people good and bad.  The underlying theme is good triumphs over evil and that sometimes-good people do bad things to help.  There is much more to it than the simplistic ideas I am mentioning here.  However, listening to Glenn Beck tell the story should create caution in all of us.


Is there an underlying agenda from the far right to infiltrate the minds of our youth?  Glenn is trying to find ways to reach the youth and he thinks these books might do it.  I know many students like the Michael Vey series.  Whether these books will have any dramatic impact on their worldview remains to be seen.  My concern is the effort that has been put into public education by the far right in the last many years.  It seems to me that there is a far-reaching goal to control public education and perhaps this is just one more puzzle piece that is being put in place for the greater good of the right’s influence on education.

I always say, “I learn something new every day.”  Today I learned about Glenn Beck’s goals.  I never would have connected him to the Michael Vey series unless I researched it.  I am sharing this because I think we all need to keep one eye open for understanding the manipulations that the media does to our children and to ourselves.  As an educator, I would be remiss if I didn’t investigate and share these things when I learn about them.  It certainly has made me wonder what else have I been reading that has an interesting back-story.


I’m a humanist! What are the Democrats and Republicans? Oh, yeah Corporatist!

  • Posted on November 10, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Most wars look a lot like this to me! If it isn't religion, it's oil or some other mineral.

It’s a week after the midterm elections and after hearing all of the Monday morning quarterbacks tell us play by play how the Democrats got it wrong and some how magically the Republicans got it right, I feel a need to express myself.  I heard for the umpteenth time today Joe Scarborough proclaim on “Morning Joe” that we are a center, right nation and Barack Obama doesn’t understand that.  He went on and on today about how so many Democratic senators have come to him and expressed their displeasure with Barack Obama.  The part that I am frustrated about is that center, right nation proclamation.  I, for one, have never had any real political representation in my entire life.  That’s hard to believe since I am fifty five years old, but it is true!  I have never had the real opportunity to vote in any election other than a primary for the person that I truly think will best represent me, my beliefs and values and, who for that matter, be best for the country.

I think conservatives have been over represented all of my life and in recent years the far right has had the ability to control much that goes on in politics.  I’m tired of the politics of fear and control.  I’m tired of politicians that talk about gays and lesbian as though they are some crazy creature from some netherworld.  I’m tired of politicians that talk religion and spew all kinds of morality issues and then run off to Argentina to have an affair like Governor Mark Sanford.  I’m tired of politicians that claim to follow the constitution but do everything they can to inhibit it by stomping on the rights of others.

I used to say I am a yellow dog Democrat.  I have also said I’m liberal.  However I am liberal only to a point, as I am liberal on issues but personally quite conservative.  These are labels that we assign to ourselves.  I really think I’m what I would refer to as a humanist.  I really believe in an education for everyone that includes free college to all that qualify and want to go.  I believe in the humanities and an approach in life that includes studying the human condition and the arts.  I am a woman and because of it I feel woefully underrepresented in politics.  We, as women, are a bit more than half of the population but we virtually run nothing when it comes to our national politics.  I am religious, but I don’t want religion to be mixed with politics.  I don’t believe in my tax dollars going to “faith” based initiatives.  I don’t believe in my tax dollars going to any form of private education either.  I definitely want less money going to defense and more money going to education.  I believe that in the pursuit of happiness we all should have health care, not health insurance, but health care.  No one should lose their home over an illness.  I believe in the common good of all, not the common good of the corporations or the rich and powerful.  I believe if you are at the top you owe it to your country to put your hand out and lift up those that are at the bottom!

Some may think I am an idealist but I am not.  I am a realist that believes in humans, not things!  I believe in kindness, not hatred.  I believe in the power of love and what it can do to transform people and even a nation.  It seems to me that there isn’t much real love going on in Washington D.C.  The two parties cannot even have a civil discussion unless it’s after hours.  From all appearances they don’t look like they care too much for each other.  However, I think that is a scam played out on the American people, so they don’t have to really get much done.  They can scream and holler and roll their eyes at each other for the cameras and never accomplish much of anything for the people.  It’s exhausting how little for the people, the masses, is really accomplished by either party.

I do understand the frustration people have and the many reasons they don’t vote.  Many don’t feel it really matters.  I’m starting to feel much the same way.  Why does it matter who we vote for when the new stuff smells and looks a lot like the old stuff?

As I said the new boss is much like the old boss.  President Obama decided to pursue much of the same policies of President Bush which is kind of mind boggling.  We are still involved in two wars, one of which was totally a war of choice and there will be no way we will pursue anyone in the past administration for any kind of crime or misconduct.  Oh, no we’re better than that.  Hearing President Bush recently explaining himself has left me breathless.  I feel like Ricky Ricardo when he’d say to Lucy, “Lucy, you got a lot explaining to do!”  President Bush continues to spread his lies about the war and he is treated with such respect about it all that it’s hard to understand where that line is between Democrats and Republicans and truth telling and lies.  The American people are expected to listen to his lies and take them as truth.  This is his truth which is water boarding is okay because some lawyer told him it was okay.  Could this have been his appointed friend, John Ashcroft?

In this letter I find an awful lot of that squirm test.  We will wiggle here and there and frankly do whatever the hell we want to do because we are the United States of America.  We aren’t bound by any Geneva Convention are we?  Aren’t we better than this?  Aren’t we part of the human race?  What about President Obama?  He ignores all of this.  Even though the Republicans will be dragging out a daily hearing on everything from Obama’s birth certificate to Nancy’s plane, rest assured he will do nothing.

However, he has brought out his “Deficit Panel” and surprise, surprise, the cuts are coming and their not for the wealthy!  Could this be the “Death” panel Sarah Palin kept talking about?  Oh, dear me, they will cut social security, Medicare, Pentagon (which has so much waste who cares) and Middle-class tax breaks.  Imagine that!  You know when Obama appointed Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson as co-chairmen on the deficit commission we shouldn’t be surprised.  Here is a direct quote from Simpson, “And yes, I’ve made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know ’em too. It’s the same with any system in America. We’ve reached a point now where it’s like a milk cow with 310 million tits! Call when you get honest work!” His response was to a Huffington Post blogger.  This was made this August.  Personally, I don’t think this man should have anything to do with the future of Social Security.  President Obama let him stay on because this is part of the plan.

Remember when Representative Alan Grayson said that Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick?  That was his response to the health care debate.  It seems like the same thing could be said of social security.  They want you to pay into it all of your life and die before you can use it!  None of this will concern the wealthy.  They don’t even need Social Security.  However, most people in the United States count on their Social Security.  For some people, that is all they have to look forward to with low paying jobs.

I said earlier that I have never truly been represented in my entire life by any politician.  The truth is that none of us have been represented.  Lobbyists and corporations are the only ones that get representation.  Back in the seventies when I was a young woman I really thought we had come a long way, but of course now I know that was all bullshit.  We are like an under developed nation when it comes to women in politics at the national level.  We may have some women governors and their may be state representatives but anyone would be hard pressed to name ten women at the national level in politics.  That is just unbelievable.  We have made a giant leap backwards with politics in its current state.  Women have suffered the most losses but the American people are the real losers.  We have no choice in our politics and we are told constantly what we believe.  However, the media doesn’t know me or you.  They feed us the lines they want us to talk to our friends about.  We are played constantly and most people are too stupid to even feel that voice of propaganda.  Our election system is messed up with these two corrupt parties and it looks like I’ll never get the representation I desire and deserve and you won’t either!

The Morality Test

  • Posted on February 21, 2010 at 1:06 am

Integrity comes in all colors!

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about spirituality, morality and all of the things that make us the way we are.  Why do we choose the things that we do?  I grew up in a family of fourteen children and I don’t think any of us think exactly alike.  So, what makes us choose certain moral choices?  Tonight I took a morality test on the internet.  I was surprised at the results as they fairly accurately described me.  (The Morality Test) I’m a shy person but am also out going in many ways.  I am politically liberal and yet very conservative socially.  I’m kind of close minded in my approach to morality because I see many things in very simple terms.  There isn’t much leeway for me on most issues of morality.  It’s either black or white.  There really aren’t many shades of gray for me.  I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about should I do this or should I do that as there really is just right or wrong for me  Like I said there aren’t any areas of gray.  I don’t consider myself to be a typically closed minded person on most issues.  I’m only closed minded on the issues of what I believe to be right and wrong.

My family is Roman Catholic.  I’m sure this has much to do with my morality code.  I remember talking with a fellow male teacher years ago.  He used to joke about messing around on Saturday night and then going to penance on Sunday.  Maybe it’s different for guys but I never did that.  He loved the Catholic Church because it taught forgiveness.  He always felt that he could go ahead and mess around on Saturday because on Sunday all would be forgiven.  He also talked about it being his “duty” to test the girls.  I never felt that kind of connection with the church.  My connection with the church was more inwardly spiritual.  He knew he would be forgiven for his weaknesses.  I, on the other hand, couldn’t bring myself to be weak and out of control morally because I couldn’t face the consequences that bad behavior might bring.  This may be something to do with the differences between the sexes.  Of course a young woman would and could pay dearly if she messed around on Saturday night as she could get a bad name or an unwanted pregnancy.  None of these things showed for the young men.  Back in my day, the only people that got “bad names” were girls.  It was always “boys will be boys”.  It was almost expected that a guy would “sow his wild oats” but girls were treated differently.

In many ways the Catholic Church treated women differently by classifying them as either virgins or whores.  Back when I lived in Oklahoma I used to attend a mission church.  I lived out in western Oklahoma in Cheyenne.  One time when the priest came out to the mission mass I asked him to stay after as I needed some counseling.  I was alone in Oklahoma with my small child contemplating divorce.  He came out to my home, had dinner with me and we discussed many issues.  It was interesting because he explained to me how the church classified women and how it was difficult for a priest to be alone with a young woman as the priests are taught that there are women out there that are attracted to priests as mates.  He said that they essentially are taught that there are two types of women, the virgin and the whore.  Of course it’s easy to see when you really think about it.  Women are not in real positions of power within the church.  Their role is largely subordinate to the male dominated patriarchy of the church.  Of course we are taught about the virgin birth and the Virgin Mary so Mary’s position is elevated.  She is virtuous.  Mary Magdalene on the other hand was the whore but she redeemed herself so there is always the “hope” of redemption.

Morality of course has many facets.  Sexuality is just one area.  For me morality is more about honesty and integrity than anything else.  We all may know right from wrong but do we all have the integrity to live a life that is virtuous in the area of honesty?  Living a virtuous life doesn’t get anyone an award.  We hear more about the lack of virtue than about people that live with honesty and integrity.  Recently in the news we have been bombarded with the sexual mores of the rich and powerful.  We are seemingly shocked at the behavior of Tiger Woods, John Edwards and Mark Sanford.  We share indignation and are morally outraged at their audacious sexual behavior.  The truth is that none of their lives will ever effect our own situation.  We as a people do not live our lives and learn our morality from politicians, powerful people, sports figures or other wealthy people.  Most of us learn our moral behavior from our parents.  We learn from very little on what is acceptable behavior.  I contend that when people exhibit a lack of moral judgment it is because they either lacked moral guidance as youngsters or they learned how to behave like the Romans.  We have all heard the phrase, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”  Now, I don’t mean to say that all politicians cheat on their wives and it is learned behavior that is acceptable to that segment of the population but I think there may be some truth to it.  We all know that sports figures have groupies that follow them around trying to steal some time with them so we shouldn’t be so shocked when someone like Tiger gets his hand caught in the proverbial cookie jar.   I personally think the farther you move away from your roots, whether it is through physical miles or mental miles, the easier it is to go with the “crowd” that you are hanging with and forget about your moral upbringing.  This is why it can be a real eye opener when that young freshman goes off to college.  Suddenly, they are exposed to a whole new world away from the eyes of mom and dad.  It is here that integrity and honesty is truly born.  Will that child go with the flow and follow peer pressure or will they become the person they were meant to be?  Some may take years to discover who they were really meant to be.  It is a part of the learning experience.

Small town living has been pegged as narrow minded, small minded living but in reality it is very difficult to get lost in the crowd when you live in a small town.  When you live in a metropolitan area you can more easily get lost in the crowd and do you own thing.  Small town people talk and they know generally what is going on in their own communities.  I’m not saying that small towns exhibit a higher level of morality than city dwellers.  I’m just saying that people are more apt to know of your personal misgivings in a small town.  Of course the internet has made the whole world a little bit more of a small town.  It amazes me to think that so many people put pictures on the web of their outrageous behavior as though they think a future employer doesn’t know how to use Google.  I can remember going off to college and thinking that small towns were small minded but really my heart is in the small town.  It is here that I feel I can make a moral impact.  I feel if I live an honest life with integrity I become a positive role model for the many children that are raised in chaotic life styles.  I’ve always felt that we should treat each other in the manner that we would want to be treated.  I choose to live my life with integrity.  I do everything I can to treat people with respect and I expect to be treated with respect as well.  It is a lifestyle that may seem boring to many but I live my life with a clear conscience.  I know I can sleep at night knowing I don’t have to fake who I am.  If you are living with a liar whether it be you or your mate you can never really live a virtuous life of integrity because you are always expending negative energy fighting the lies.  I may be old fashioned and virtue may be over rated but I can’t imagine being anyone else.  So sleep well my friends and remember that integrity sleeps with a clear conscience.

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