Labor Day and “I Hate Unions”

Labor Day and Dislike of Unions

Union meme 2It’s funny that the nation takes a day off the first Monday in September (unless you have a minimum wage job, in which case you’re probably selling grills or hot dogs) to celebrate the creation of unions. So many people are anti-union, especially when it comes to teachers unions.

I can’t tell you how many articles and comments I’ve read that denigrate teachers unions. They talk about teachers as if we’re demanding raises at the expense of everything else. They paint us as nameless, faceless greedy Grinches who will sell your kid’s soul to the devil for ten cents more a year. This comes after the month long lovefest of articles celebrating the generosity of underpaid teachers who dip into their own meager resources to provide pencils and glue sticks for needy kids. Isn’t that ironic?Union thug meme

Anyway, back to the union thing. In national polls, people have a low opinion of teachers and schools, yet when asked about THEIR community schools, people generally rate them quite high. People hate on the teacher unions, but they love their kids’ teachers. Why? Simple—we make an easy scapegoat. Teachers do care about the kids we teach, and most of us dislike politics. We want to teach kids, not fight legislators to increase school funding to keep up with inflation.

I’ve NEVER had a cost of living increase. I haven’t had an actual raise in over a decade. In fact, I’ve taken about a 19% pay cut. I now work two jobs. Last year, my second job brought in as much income as teaching. This year, it’ll bring more. Does that mean that teaching is now the second job?

Additionally legislators have made us pay more for health care. You’re thinking we should, right? What if I told you that in bargaining, we put would-be raises into paying for rising health care costs so that the district wasn’t paying out any more money? What if I told you that we were already indirectly paying for those increased costs?

Union memeWe pay a price for that method, one that actually eases the burden on the pension system. When we retire, the cost of benefits isn’t figured into our pension payout. Now that the legislature has forced us to pay out of pocket for health care increases, we’ll take those raises. Of course there’s been no increase in the per pupil allowance, so there will be no raise for us.

But what about those greedy teachers in unions? What do unions actually do? In my district, they made the district send home 650 kids in a school that had no power and water. The district was going to keep them there even though they couldn’t flush a toilet or get a drink of water. The union put pressure on them, and they sent the kids home, where they had access to bathrooms and water.

And just like your child’s teacher advocates for your child, so does the union. We may do it on a school or district level, but the union does it on a state and national level. Schools don’t make money, and so it’s ludicrous to apply a business model to them. They educate. They connect communities. They advocate for neglected and abused kids. They help community services find families that need help feeding and clothing their kids, getting sober, or finding jobs.

People often argue that unions prevent change from happening in schools, but that’s false as well. Teachers bring new methods to the classroom, but we’re often not supported or shot down by administrators. Unions advocate for updated curriculum and teaching methods.

I’ve seen people rage against the school calendar. Boys do better when they can learn in the afternoon, and elementary kids learn better in the morning. Teachers have no say over those things. Daily start times are determined by the bus schedule. The yearly calendar is in the hands of politicians. In Michigan, they passed laws that say school can’t start until after Labor Day, they set the length of the school year/day, and they determine holiday, winter, and spring breaks. That pretty much dictates when the year ends as well. Teachers have NOTHING to do with any of that, and we’re shot down when we bring up those kinds of ideas.

legislator_13Unions aren’t perfect, but they’re the only thing protecting your child from being treated as a trade commodity. After all, I don’t see parents out there advocating for their school-aged kids.

Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays: August 28th: An Icelandic Festival

Freyr would be honored with a great festival that would include horse races among other things.  Freyr was a god living in Icelandic culture. His festival was called, Freyfaxi, which was actually the name of a horse belonging to Chieftain Hrafnkell Freysgodi.

This was Chieftain Hrafnkell Freysgodi’s way of honoring the God Freyr, who presided over the land and it’s fertility.

Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays: August 27th: A Big Day In Ancient Egypt

Happy Birthday Isis! Ancient Egyptians would have made this her day of birth or at least, had a celebration honoring the day she was born.

Isis was a very important part of Egyptians culture and to date, is one of the oldest Goddesses known to survive Culture, Age and Time. Her name is still invoked and honored today by the many labels living under Paganism.

Also in Ancient Egypt, Bastet had her Procession marked in their Calendar on this day. Bastet protected women who were expecting and also, like her father Ra, was a deity of the Sun. She was untamed with a full and loving heart but while she was known for her willingness to do good and give, she was also known for being very capable of striking down evil and punishing them. She loves Cats and was drawn with a cat-head.  In fact, in Ancient Egypt, if you brought harm to a Cat, you could be killed for it… and you wouldn’t want to tick off Bastet, would you?

Offerings to the Minoan Deities

One pagan spiritual activity that has remained a constant from ancient times to the present is the making of offerings. I’m not talking about sacrifice (animal, human, or otherwise) but about the giving of gifts to the gods as a way to represent your devotion to them. In the same way that someone who honors you might give you a special present, you can also honor the deities by offering them a little something special.

Shrine of the Double Axes East Wing Knossos
Shrine of the Double Axes from the Minoan temple complex at Knossos, Crete

We can tell what the Minoans gave as offerings from  Minoan art and from residues that archaeologists have studied in containers from ancient Crete. And it all looks surprisingly familiar: incense, fruit, flowers, bread, and libations of wine and milk.

These offerings were typically set out in special dishes on altars and in shrines in people’s homes and at other sacred sites: the temple complexes, peak sanctuaries, and cave shrines of Crete. Indoors, libations were poured into bowls or into special recesses in the floor. Outdoors, they were simply poured out onto the ground.

Making an offering is a simple way of paying attention to the gods and goddesses. This isn’t “vending machine spirituality” where you give something to a deity and expect a favor in return. This is a way to develop a relationship, to show that you’re paying attention to them. Whether you think of it as putting energy toward an archetype that you want to strengthen in your life or giving a gift to a being whom you revere and would like to grow closer to, making regular offerings is a good way to develop a simple spiritual practice.

I’ll admit that one of the most common offerings I make isn’t something the Minoans did, because they didn’t have candles (like all people of their time period, they used oil lamps). I like to light a candle as an offering, usually a tea light that I let burn down completely. Sometimes I add a pinch or two of herbs or powdered resin or a drop or two of essential oil to flesh out the “vibe” of my offering. And sometimes I just light a candle and quietly say, “Thank you for being there.” Because that’s something we all like to hear, isn’t it?

Ancient Calendar & Pagan Holidays: August 26th: Finnish Creator of the Universe, Burner of Years, Day of Jubilation

In Ancient Egypt, today is a “Day of Jubilation in the Heart of Ra. “ Ra was a very important part of Egyptian Culture. He battled the unknown during the hours of darkness protecting the world of light. He symbolized the Sun.

The Finnish is a culture we hear very little about. They would have had a Festival in honor of their Goddess IImatar today. She was the one who created the universe. 

Now, over in Yorkshire of West Witton, Pagans were known to do a ritual either on this day or somewhere about that involved making a straw figure. They called the effigy Owd Bartle and proudly showed it off throughout town in a sort of celebration. After stopping at all the Pubs, they would take the straw figure to a place called Grassgill Lane. In a ritual, they would stabbed and then set Owd Bartle aflame on a huge bonfire.

What did this symbolize? Something beautiful, actually. A fresh start. Renewal. When they burned the deity, it represented the burning of the years, wiping the slate completely clean. Putting the past in the past or putting to bed the previous seasons. It’s something we could all use a little or a lot of….yes?

Do We Really Want to Mimic Nature?

I joined a Vegetarian Recipe Group on Facebook over the Summer but I ended up dropping it or rather, they dropped me after a discussion I just couldn’t wrap my head around.  Mind you, going into this article, I am not a Vegetarian. I was for a year or so and sometimes, I don’t have an appetite for meat, but even when I don’t I cook it for my family and we do hunt or raise our own as much as possible. The description on the Group said, though, it was for Vegetarian Recipes, those who were Vegetarian, or who were just trying to replace a meal once or twice a week, or were looking for new ways to cook Vegetables.

All were welcome.

I’m not sure how this Discussion/Argument started, I just know I seen a very similar train of thought since, which to this day, stumps me.

It’s the age old argument from certain devout Animal Lovers, which says we need to be more like Nature. These are the people who fantasize about how Animals live and co-exist and how in tuned with the Earth they are. These people usually have an obsessive infatuation with Wolves or whatever other predatory animal. (Don’t we all have an infatuation or love of a certain animal?) But they also believe we HUMANS are destroying the planet, overpopulating to the point that we are forcing these animals into extinction or hoggishly devouring their living space. Their biggest argument, Humans rape, kill and commit other great acts of evil whereas in Nature, they do not.  We need to mimic Nature.

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Would that be smart, though? Honestly? I struggle with this because to me, the argument could go either way. Being too much like Nature may actually be our problem because what these people refuse to admit or wrap their minds around is, much of Nature, if not all, is as cruel and ruthless as some of us Humans allow ourselves to be.

There is a pecking order to Nature. Own a Farm or Backyard flock and that becomes clear right away. If you own Chickens – Hens and Roosters—you see it whether you want to or not. Hens will peck another Hen to death. Don’t care how well you intervene or how much you tame or baby a Hen, chickens will do what chickens will do and that’s sort out a pecking order. An order, mind you, that is always up for grabs and being fought for. Placing younger chickens in a Coop with Hens can be a disaster too. They’ll die. I’ve watched them starve them out. I’ve watched them freeze them to death. I’ve watch them just outright murder another Chicken. Sexually, Roosters take Hens whether they want to be taken or not. Anyone out there that just threw a vivacious Rooster in with one or two Hens—slap yourself. He will pluck, cut, jab and mate with them until you hear the poor things cluck screams. Have a Rooster—make sure you have the appropriate amount of Hens to please him. The correct amount or more will give all the Hens a much needed break from his insatiable appetite. And this isn’t even going into what Roos do to other Roos. Don’t care if you raised them together and they are sweet, sweet boys. One day, the boys become men and they will fight to be King of the flock—even if that means killing or seriously harming the other. Another constant battle in the barnyard.

Rabbits, love raising them but they can be vicious to one another. I know people who are doing “Colonies” now with their Rabbit kingdoms. No thanks. Not shooting you down or your success but Id rather keep my females apart. Even Moms who have been separated from babies for short amounts of time are known to tear them a new one once they are back together. I had a Mother separated from a daughter for three weeks. Not completely separated because they are side by side in pins. I put them both in a Chicken Tractor so I could disinfect their cages and the Mother began to chase her daughter ripping out her fur and biting the holy hell out of her.Don’t think there isn’t a pecking order that will draw blood or death if need be. Females are territorial which is why they are placed in a Males cage come breeding time. A female can kill him if you stick him into hers. And Males? They will breed whether a Female wants to or not. It can get rather crazy. Male Goats can be just as brutal to females. If he isn’t fixed, he will pester the hell out of her. In fact, I haven’t seen a male animal of any variety – where farm life goes—that didn’t make me thankful I was Human.

Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt, though. Maybe the people arguing that we HUMANS need to be more like animals aren’t talking about what lives on a Farm. Maybe they are talking about what lives in the deepest parts of Nature. Let’s look at some of that then….

d1d971b2bb2e7fb445d274b1a4bb26c7Wolves. While beautiful and one of the most fantasized creatures out there, the habits of a wolf is nothing to admire. They will eat their own and a position in the pack is consistently up for grabs. That means, if one of their own is sick or injured, the Pack will eat him or her. That also means the Alpha is constantly having to fight to stay Alpha. Same with the She-Wolf in charge. Chances are, he or she won’t hold the position for long because sure enough, even their own pups will grow to challenge and take the crown. Once beaten, they are most likely eaten especially if they are injured during the fight. When they hunt other species, they also do not kill “humanly”. The pack eats the victim alive until it bleeds out and dies.

Maybe you think Wolves are an obvious one. Alright, let’s try another….

What about the peaceful, agile creatures known as Bottlenose Dolphins? Even I look forward to going to the beach and watching these majestic creatures swim by on early mornings. While I still enjoy watching them, I am very much aware of the habits which may deem them as cruel. They will kill each other for no reason—just fun– and the males—many, many males– will steal a female or another male, raping them repeatedly. Penguins are no better. They have been known to do the same not to mention all the physical abuse they inflict and lets not forget these cute little things are totally into necrophilia.

The most heartbreaking of necrophilia, though, is what Otters have been known to do to Baby Seals. They steal and then rape them until they die. Once dead, they’ll keep raping them. It doesn’t have to be breathing for an Otter to have it’s fun. Is this Karma at play? Does Karma exist in the Animal Kingdom because what otters do to Seals doesn’t even cover what Seals have been known to do to Penguins.

Still not convinced of Animals being cruel to other animals? Are these beasts not quite intelligent enough for you? Let’s try one who is famous for intelligence.

When I was young, I loved, Planet of the Apes, and I loved Chimps but even though these creatures are sometimes viewed as being far more civilized than humans, the truth is, they’re not. Males will try to force a Females into heat by ripping her baby to shreds and then eating it right in front  of her eyes. Females are no better…they will do it to other females in a heartbeat. Just for sheer cruelty.

Look, I’m not saying we should suddenly hate animals or practice animal cruelty because I am firm in my belief, you are kind and loving to all animals you raise and only hunt what you mean to eat. (If you are an omnivore.) And I am not saying those who Advocate for Animals should stop or that Vegetarians should become meat eaters. I am saying that those who hold this dreamy illusion over the Animal Kingdom need to take off the rose colored glasses. While its okay to fantasize, its not okay to say we should all be more like Nature because honestly, I think as Humans, we should be a little less. While SOME of our kind shamefully consume and destroy, rape and murder amongst ourselves, Nature doesn’t seem to reflect much of a difference. In other words, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

SCAM ALERT!!!!!!! FACEBOOK SCAM ALERT!!!!!!

This maybe a little different for this blog but I felt it important to share this here.

If you have a Facebook account then no doubt, you’ve seen a Friend’s Page littered with Posts they’ve shared to win something. Maybe its jewelry, clothes, a truck or a Modular/Mobile home. The post will sport tempting photos of the item. The caption will be easy to read and simple.

In order to enter to win, “Like” our Page, “Share” on your Timeline and then, “COMMENT” something like, “Done” or whatever.

These Pages will rake in thousands of “LIKES”, all because deep down, we all want to WIN something. Sometimes, we desperately NEED it.

Such is the case with a family member of mine who has worked her entire life two and sometimes three jobs. Her house is falling down around her, though. Filled with Mold. When she should be retiring and spending time kicked back with Grandkids, she is putting in more hours, going to work at 3 am and then off to clean houses once her fulltime job—plus overtime, is done. Why? She is trying to earn enough money (because she doesn’t want to take out a Loan) to hire someone to rip out her ceilings and roof, fix it and then redo the walls and floors of her house where the roof and mold has literally ruined everything. Now, my family member has never been one to believe in Fairytales. Obviously, a woman like that who has worked two to three jobs knows nothing in life comes free, but at night, when she is trying to wind down, cruising FB for pics of her Grandkids, and she stumbles upon one of these Mobile Home Contests, well, she can’t help but LIKE, SHARE and COMMENT—because wouldn’t that just make her life a little bit easier? And in knowing that, I have even played along, daydreaming, “What if I won this thing for her? Wouldn’t that just blow her mind?”

But does anyone win?

No one ever brags about the winners. Wouldn’t these so-called Companies do a Follow Up with pictures of Prizes being delivered or homes being put in? Interviews or Video Clips of the Winners getting their Prize? While even that can be staged, where are the trails and bragging rights done by the Companies who supposedly donate these items? If I was Casey’s Mobile Homes and I just gave some other Company a Mobile Home to launch off as a Prize, wouldn’t I want the recognition or advertising in order to send more business my way? So people can say, “Hey, Casey is a cool cat for giving away that prize!”

Nothing. You can track nothing.

This morning at 6 am, I signed onto Facebook to check my Newsfeed when low and behold, there was ANOTHER contest being shared by a Friend. Another Mobile home, or well, Modular.

Viral News

I commented. I asked, where are the previous Winners? Why no Follow up? Is this a SCAM? Maybe I should contact CNN, 60 Minutes or some other Media site to see if they will investigate these kinds of posts on Facebook.

My Comment was deleted. Not by me. By them. I should have known they were paying attention when every comment posted before mine, immediately after said:

VIRAL COMMENT

I have requested Viral News’s address and phone number. And I did send out messages to Dr. Phil, 60 Minutes and other News Outlets asking if they would investigate a growing trend on Facebook. Will they? Who knows, but I am posting about it here and hopefully, others will to.

Looking under the Page’s REVIEWS, I find things like this:

(I protected the picture and names of people but have original in my Files.)

Viral REVIEW NAME PROTECTED

If you have a blog or online platform, please, share my post or create one of your own. Let’s start shutting these crooked places down.

Oh, and it seems I am prevented from Commenting further on their post or page. Priceless.