On Going Barefoot and Dress Codes

From the archives. LTE Nov 2001. The precise links may not be valid, but the sites are still up. This issue ended with the Principal and I sitting down. The person simply asked me to wear shoes. They understood where I was coming from, but it was simply a request. So I did. If they had tried any other tack, I would likely have fought the rules.

I was recently informed that shoes are required for all visitors entering the Longbranch School buildings and perhaps any other MISD building governed by similar ways of thinking. I agree to temporarily comply with the request out of courtesy to those that have requested it. This short period will allow me to present reasons why my choice to wear shoes, should remain my choice. MISD may also use this time to present reasonable arguments to justify depriving me of this choice.

Dress Code – I read the dress code prior to enrollment and agree to do my best to see that my children adhere to it, as students. If your an employee of MISD, you no doubt have a similar code that you agreed to when your employment began. As a visitor to any campus, I am not bound by either . Much the same as I am not bound by the employee dress code at Wal-Mart or Kroger. I hope MISD does not decide to hold all visitors to the same code as the students.

Health Code – As far as I know there are no health codes, city or state that require I keep the bottom of my feet covered. Exceptions would be if I was employed in food service. If there is a high probability that I will suffer some injury without foot protection, I would be wise to wear something. In the time I have been traversing the halls of Longbranch I have yet to see an example of sloppy housekeeping. Quite the contrary, the floors are clean, soft, and warm. My thanks to the hard working staff that help to keep them that way. If the issue was health, gloves would be required for students and employees.

Liability – I do have the occasional doubts about our judicial system, but I do not believe that MISD could be held responsible if I should hurt myself while choosing to go without shoes. Informal investigation done by others found very little reference to bare feet in common insurance liability policies. See accompanying document.

Setting a good example – Should we have to wear shoes when visiting a school that requires it’s students to wear shoes, on the premise of setting a “good example” ? No one will argue the merits of setting a good example. I wish more people would work to set better examples regarding the things that really matter. There is and always will be a difference between many of the guidelines we ask our children to abide by and those that apply to adults. They deserve the same respect, but the rules may be different. I tell my children that I can go without shoes because I am responsible for what happens. I am better aware of the dangers and have more resources to handle those dangers and their consequences. Until they are more responsible for themselves and what happens to them in the world at-large , perhaps they should wear shoes. It would be a bad example of another kind for me to go along , simply to “fit in”. I hope my children grow up with the critical thinking skills that are needed to decide when to follow and when to speak up about things that may not follow majority thinking. Whether it be peer pressure or simply the status quo.

The document I have provided covers many of the finer points of going barefoot. It can also be found on the web at http://www.barefooters.org/key-works/KeyArticles.htm.

If your interested in specifics regarding children, shoes, and why it makes a difference. Or the influence of the 1.2 Billion pairs of shoes we buy a year (1996), ( which over 90% are imported ). Or perhaps the reasons we wear shoes beyond what is healthy for our feet.

Check out http://www.unshod.org/pfbc/

 

In light of this information. What is the imperative that supersedes my right to not wear shoes ?

Believing Things w/o Research.

From the LTE archives. circa 2003. I don’t have the original letter from Mr Snyder and have not tried to locate it. – ed

I appreciate Steve Snyder , Midlothian Today 2-13-03 , for checking out those items noted for the “Stella” Award. I was more than willing to believe the stories of extraordinary lawsuits with big awards. It supports my feeling that I pay too much for insurance and the inflation eating my paycheck has a tangible foe.

Superstition is a part of our culture, whether it be Tarot Cards, guiding stars, tea leaves, or spirits that listen to our wishes, guide our daily lives, and determine the outcome of sporting events. Some people will be willing to believe things even when critical investigation shows them to be false, unlikely, or perhaps even in violation of physical laws, as we know them. Some will fail to investigate things or listen to critical analysis because it’s already works for them to believe ‘as is’. In many cases it is not possible to prove, beyond all doubt, that these things don’t exist or are not possible. I suppose I’m not really ready to stop giving others the ‘benefit of the doubt’ when I hear things that may be unlikely. The world could possibly be worse off with a world of cynics and those that would require 100% proof before going forward. We would still be in the Dark Ages if many people in our history had not moved ahead with only unsubstantiated ideas to guide them. You should be willing to believe people or events relative to the cost of such a belief. It really does me little harm if someone wants to bless me when I sneeze, knock on wood when there may be some danger of altering time and space by speculating on the future, or attribute the course of our lives to purple triangles on the far side of the universe. So long as I am not required to adopt their superstitions, support them involuntarily, or base substantial action or even inaction on their likelihood, people are free to think as they wish. When someone requires that you give up time-tested theories of how the world works, it’s time to require more than unsubstantiated claims.

In 2003 there are still many places around the world where people are dying in battles to see who has the most powerful supernatural friend(s). The outrage is our failure to use intellect and experience to realize our potential as human beings guiding the destiny of this planet. We need to encourage critical thinking skills and the ability to look for long-term solutions. We can’t do that if we are willing to relinquish control of our destiny to forces that cannot even be proven to exist, much less exert control.

Thanks Mr. Snyder, now if we can convince a few billion more people, the world will be a better, safer place.

Is Mad Cow Still With Us?

Letter to the Editor from 2005 about USDA and Mad Cow ( Bovine spongiform encephalopathy – BSE ) and its human cousin, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease CJD. It was a big thing back then and there is no reason to believe is was defeated. I have to believe it was just downplayed until it was no longer front page fodder. Considering its connection to Alzheimers, a disease that has not let up, we should still be concerned.

From the letter:

In reference to a letter published in the paper that the USDA is doing such a great job dealing with Mad Cow’a great job with BSE (Mad Cow), I totally disagree, the USDA has taken a poor stance. While the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1996 had several recommendations, including extensive testing, the US is one of the few ( if only ) nations that paid little attention to them. Almost every nation that has followed the WHO recommendations for testing have discovered many more cases of BSE. Why have we not found as many cases? Don’t test, don’t find. The USDA planned to test 38000 cows in 2004 (from this 2003 source) which barely exceeds what Europe tests in a day. We need to be testing millions of cows a year, we need to test every single cow that is slaughtered for human consumption. There have been several meat processors that have tried to advertise complete testing of every animal, only to be informed by the USDA that they will lose their USDA certification if they do so. Many countries already test every animal, why can’t we. According to testimony, it would only add pennies to each pound of meat. Perhaps if the USDA were not so ‘involved’ with the industries we rely on them to protect us from, they could do their job. Maybe it’s the revolving door between the USDA and the industries it was created to regulate. Maybe it’s money … nah.

Despite assurances from the USDA that cows are no longer fed to cows, it is still ok to feed cow blood to cows and still ok to feed cows to chickens and pigs and then use those animals to feed cows. Plus the regulations to not feed cows to cows is voluntary by the millions of beef producers and judging by budget cuts, government oversight is not a high priority. Are we also watching all the imported beef? Many countries that have taken public health seriously are banning practices that are still commonplace in the US. It is time to ban any feeding of animal protein to livestock destined for human consumption and substantially increase the testing of healthy animals, not just downer cows. The supposed ‘firewall feed ban’ in the US to keep cattle from contracting this disease is a joke and it is putting the health of Americans at risk. How many happy cows out in the pasture do you see eating other animals? The USDA and the Meat industry need to stop treating this like a PR problem. ‘Public health is more important than profit’ should be the USDA’s motto. USDA, prove to us that your doing everything you can (by WHO standards). Prove to us that you’re not the tobacco industry of the 70’s, telling us it’s all just fine. C Everett Coop, where are you when we need you.

Government Should Not Be Endorsing Prayer

In response to a News/Opinion piece entitled ‘Court: Commissioners’ Prayer Practice Violated Constitution’. Published by Midlothian Mirror dated July 20, 2017.

I do agree with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court in ruling that the Rowan County Board of Commissioners’ prayer practice goes beyond what the courts have held in the past. While I think the guiding word
should be ‘neutrality’, if that is not possible then certainly ‘balance’.

To consistently have one flavor of religion presented, showing little regard for the multitude of differing beliefs on religion, is not a recipe for fairness. I suspect it was not what the previous court cases had in mind when they ruled in favor of government led prayer. Those with differing beliefs could easily be made to feel like outsiders. Some may feel it in their best interest to guard such differences should any business before the court be jeopardized by having a worldview that is not shared by the court. Especially, as noted in the article, some prayer implying a particular religious view was the only way, and others may even be inferior. It is imperative that the Commissioners Court put forth an atmosphere where all those having business before them feel they get fair treatment. With all due respect to the dissenting Justices, the case was not about government prayer per se. It was about the coercive and one-sided way in which the prayer was presented. One has to realize that a good percentage of those in attendance do not share common ideas with regard to how the world came about, and unless the court wants to address the issue specifically, this is not the place to deal with it. Those holding no religious affiliation is the fastest growing segment of the population.

I completely disagree with Judge Niemeyer that the decision “… actively undermines the appropriate role of prayer in American life.” I think it upholds the role of prayer, it keeps it personal and reminds our government that it is personal. Religious prayer may have been an important part of the fabric of our nation and civil life 50 years ago when it appeared to be a unified public viewpoint, but since then, thankfully, we have grown to realize the spiritual world is bigger and there are many belief systems in this country.

The statement by the attorneys for the defense brought the point home. “The commissioners don’t force anyone to participate, noting that people could leave the room or stay seated during the prayer.” That’s really going to make them feel a part of the community and give them the confidence that they will be treated fairly in any business brought before the court. Just exactly what the prosecution was alleging.
– Thanks.

Once again, neutrality should be the aim. If that is not possible without consistently alienating a percentage of the population, which I don’t think it can, then we should move to abandon the practice altogether. There is no reason for prayer at these meetings. These are legal proceedings. If an elected official wants to pray before the meeting, they are free to do so. But when they put on the government service hat, they represent all residents of the jurisdiction equally. I am in no way trying to suppress any individuals’ right to express themselves, but this Constitutional interpretation has been around a long time. If they can’t show a little more respect for the religious diversity of those they serve, perhaps another line of employment is in order. The only reason to not pursue neutrality is if one is trying to, either get people to believe the same way, or trying to prove the strength of a particular belief system. Neither has a place in this situation.

On a related note, I noticed Ellis County is ready to buy new vehicles. I would ask that they refrain from putting ‘In God We Trust’ (or any other religious based motto) on these vehicles. I realize it is the national motto and while it is no surprise that our national leadership can’t seem to honor the Constitution, I have high hopes for local leadership. It is unconstitutional, divisive, and IMO useless. It does not recognize the diversity of our county. It does not recognize that those using those vehicles may not have a need for such supernatural assistance, and may even be quite insulted by it. Our County officials should rely on laws, proper equipment, training, and the dedicated men and women they serve and serve with to do their job. How about E pluribus unum ( Out of Many, One ), that has a nice ring to it. What about just PEACE. Or perhaps ‘In Reason We Trust’.

John McClean
MidlothianFreethought.org

When The ‘Annexing’ Gang Comes Calling

I wanted to get my opinion out regarding the annexing efforts of the City of Midlothian ( henceforth referred to as ‘The Gang’ ). Believe it or not, many people object to this group swooping in and claiming rights over private property. If I had wanted to live in the city, I would have chosen to do so. I realize there are many people that buy property in the country as an investment and annexation usually increases the value of that investment. I am not one of those people. Neither are most of my neighbors.

It’s only a matter of time and money that keep any city from consuming available land. Creating ETJ areas was a recognition of that voracity. The Gang is not special in that regard, they just happen to be the gang in power in this area. I had nothing against this particular gang before they descended on residents like an out of control HOA. While you might think you have something to offer for the increase in taxes, we see it as a move down, not up.

Between the direct city tax and the subsequent increase in property value, my taxes have increased by 30%. The only thing I get for my money is the promise of better fire and police service ( I hope I don’t test that ). We could have increased the staff for the county and had the same promise, but we decided we didn’t want to pay the money. We call that freedom of choice. The county did an excellent job of maintaining the streets. If they didn’t, we band together and allocate more money.

The gang just repaved the streets of a recently annexed neighborhood. I don’t know why. There were no holes, barely even a crack. I’m guessing it was to give them something to point to, claim we are getting something for our money, and make us feel better about the takeover. Nice job, but it doesn’t. Wonder how many streets that have been in the city a while really needed that work?

Perhaps, in the future, the gang can gobble up all the rural space first, saving most of it to preserve the country atmosphere and give farms and open areas someplace to be safe while providing necessary land use protection. Instead of waiting for areas to develop and then moving in to claim control. There would be far less unhappy people in the community. Those coming here would not have to worry about moving when the gang comes calling. But, I realize it is way too sensible for the laws to work that way and they appear to be on the side of the gangs, so we won’t see change from them.

The property owners that oppose this hostile takeover, including myself, will simply deal with it and mount whatever peaceful protest we see fit and then move on. Pay the extra money and deal with the burdensome laws, precisely as if all of the sudden an HOA had descended on the neighborhood like a gang of thugs. “Welcome, isn’t our vision for your property grand.”

It is a shame that the gang is willing to build this city by taking the rights of property owners, and grow a population of residents that are not intentional and voluntary members of your city. When city leadership wonder why more people don’t take the time and energy to get involved in building a progressive city, remember the percentage of residents you dragged into your city against their will. What kind of participation can you expect from residents that were victims of a hostile takeover? Is it possible that the cities have so little to offer county residents that they have to force people to join? The long term rewards for having a population that wants to be in the city and a population that sees the government spending more of their tax dollars actually improving the city, has got to be immense. When people want to be in the city they are likely to contribute to making the city a great place. Those unwilling participants are likely to be a neutral influence, at best.

When an issue of ‘Midlothian Matters’ comes out, much space is dedicated to how the area has grown and how many families are now in the city. I realize the intended purpose is to show what a great job our leadership is doing. I suspect many are impressed and just as many are not. They dare not give figures about what percentage of that growth was by force. Just how many people in the city do not want to be there? That has got to have a negative effect on the atmosphere of the community. I do understand some of the politics. People get elected and the easiest way to show something was done is to highlight how the population has grown, with the assurance being that the growth was based on people that wanted to be here and not forced in against their will.

The first annexation meeting was was right after Columbus Day. Now that we have a more accurate detailing of history that shows us exactly the sort of ‘might makes right’ Columbus used to ‘discover’ this country out from under the original owners. I see not much has changed. They figured out how to do it without the violence. At least until someone doesn’t pay. Yea, progress.

It has been mentioned that meetings with the City Council regarding annexation are required by law and I suspect that’s the only reason they happen. I don’t believe that the gang really cares whether we want to join the city or not. They have might on their side and there appears to be little we can do about it. These meetings are a formality and I suspect if it were up to most city councils, a registered letter would be notice enough, and the rest, a legal formality. Perhaps some dispensing with that in favor of ‘notice by first tax bill’.

They could not even take the initiative to send a welcome letter, explain new services, or at least try to defend the takeover. Nope, not a peep. I know they have my address. Perhaps I’m just another mark. I suppose for some residents, the less they get reminded of their involuntary inclusion in the gang, the better.

If Midlothian can’t expand they might end up like Highland Park, oh no. Land-locked on all sides and forced to spend their tax dollars on improvements on what they have. Quality instead of quantity. Imagine that a population clamoring to become a part of the city, instead of the city clamoring to gobble up unwilling populations. What a concept.

The argument that people who use city provided infrastructure and services should pay for them is spurious at best. Should the residents of Midlothian proper be expected to pay when they visit places like Waxahachie, Cedar Hill, or even other states. How about when city residents come to the country to mooch our once open spaces, long ago fresh air, and past peaceful countryside. Of course not. We pay a fee for living in the US and communities get their cut (ideally) so we don’t have to pay a fee as we drive from one taxing entity to another. I’m sorry that the city does not charge a large enough fee to non-city residents for the use of their facilities, talk to the accountants. Besides, when Wal-Mart came in, Midlothian began to look like any other appendage of a metropolitan area.

So, how about voluntary annexation. If the city has enough to offer, people will want to join. If someone wants to be part of the city, get 90% percent of the area to agree and petition the city. Work on building the finest city around and people will want to live there. It can continue to spend it’s time getting bigger, with the associated legal wrangling and ill will, or become better and more attractive. The demand to be part of the city will drive up the price of houses and old houses will be replaced by new. Property values will rise and revenue will increase. ETJ’s should protect unincorporated areas from unenlightened neighboring cities from getting too close and those of us that like being outside of the city’s sphere of influence can live happily. Residents of the city will more likely be there because they chose to. Midlothian benefits from having a healthy rural community. Its healthy because it’s happy. Not to mention their taxes going to improve the city services instead of financing growth. Just because you have the space to plop cookie cutter houses, does not mean you should. The old saying, ‘Cut down the forest and then name the streets after the trees’.

It’s a incredible shame the gang will gobble up all the rural spaces that give this town it’s uniqueness. Like an unchecked herd that consumes all without regard to what it is losing. I think the future will see cities becoming more and more responsible for their own well being. Farmers cannot afford city property and we need farms. Let’s work it out. The city needs to make sure there are Land Trusts that preserve the farming community. It just makes good sense for a community to make sure it has resources that are close to home.

We can be a progressive community that attracts residents, not one that relies on forcing people to either join the gang or move.

Must be something to psychic abilities

Documents uncovered about our fine governments efforts to use mental powers that on the surface were ridiculed. Of course, no secret why they made fun of such things, because they had more potential than they wanted people to know. An entertainment intro to this would be the movie Men Who Stared at Goats. I can only imagine the other powers or inventions that we are capable of, but are not allowed to surface because of the potential to unseat power. Could be they spent a bunch of money and never had success.

The CIA’s Covert Psychics Program Revealed

I hope the days of nuclear energy for electricity production will be gone soon

Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Update — More Cleanup Delays, Continually Rising Costs, & Extremely High Radiation Levels Destroying Cleanup Robots

We have “Plans to remove spent nuclear fuel have been delayed again, this time until fiscal year 2018 at the earliest; new fuel leaks continue to be discovered; cleanup cost estimates continue to rise; 300 tons of radioactive water are still pouring into the Pacific Ocean every day; … ”

One more time – 300 tons of radioactive water is still pouring into the ocean. This happened in 2011. We have not torn down the existing reactors because of … money. It’s cheap energy if you don’t consider the cost to build, to take it down, what happens when it goes wrong, and if we don’t consider the waste. Let’s hear it for disaster capitalism.