Tag Archives: paradigm shift

Enough is Enough: School shootings

I just sent off a letter to the editor at the KC Star.  Sometimes I just have enough.  Even though I already posted once this morning, I turned to the electronic of the KC Star and could not stop thinking about what has happened in Florida.  I can’t let this slide.  I can’t say enough about how change is needed.  Therefore, here is one of my entries I am calling Enough is Enough.  Please share if you agree.


Seeing Florida mom Lori Alhadeff’s outrage pains me and justifiably so.  The raw emotion should trigger the entire country’s sense of enough is enough. She rightfully screamed into the camera and asked that our country fix a problem that cannot be ignored another day, another week, another month.   

As a retired teacher, I hear the news and cringe.  I know the faces of the students, and I know them personally.  I may have taught in the Midwest, but that does not lessen the outrage I feel as the long litany of school shootings continues.
Young people carrying guns in backpacks is simply unacceptable.  Young people in school must focus on preparing for the adult world being educated how to learn, how to question, how to create, how to dream.  Schools must be filled with teachers and administrators focused on teaching the individual to the best of that student’s ability.
Our society is out of time.
Stop reacting and start shifting the paradigm now.
Education has become a numbers game:  educating all students as a mass, not as indviduals.
Education must value the students each as an individual at all cost.  And yes, it will cost; but we must not allow the cost to slam the door shut on the country’s future.
Enough is enough!

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Filed under Education, Enough is enough . . ., Paradigm Shifts

Elected representatives: public servants, not career politicians

When the Constitution was written, serving as an elected representative in the Executive and the Legislative branches was deemed a public servant’s role.  Today the positions have become careers.  Politics should not be a career field, political science is a career field.

The United States was built on elected officials from within the community culture that elected them.  Sadly, elected officials now see their ‘jobs’ as careers not a public service.

Remember amendment 22 that limited the president’s term (published below).  Look at the year it was ratified–1951.  I find a need to reconsider term limits not just for the elected executives in our federal and state governments, but for the legislative branches.  Our elected public servants seem to ignore the intent of the constitution.

Political science is a career field.  The product is professional analysis.  Political scientists study the culture, the sociology, the numerical data, and the myriad of influences that affect government.  It includes the geography, the leadership, the social standards, and virtually any factor that affects the way a people manage their government–not just United States government.

If our government functioned as a public service rather than politicians who make a career of manipulating decisions along party lines rather than for the good of the COUNTRY, maybe work could actually be accomplished in a timely, positive manner.

Here are a couple of recommendations:

  1.  Term limits for all elected officials:  2 terms for Senators (12 years total); 4-5 terms for Representatives (8-10 years total)  This is for the federal legislative branch, but should be included for the state level.
  2. Salary and benefits need to be re-evaluated:  There is no question that a reasonable salary and benefit package is appropriate for the duration of the legislator’s tenure, but to continue a fully-funded benefit package (esp. health insurance) once the tenure is completed is not appropriate.  (Join the rest of the citizens in managing benefits when forced to change jobs.)

Once a legislator’s tenure is completed, that individual returns to the public sector.  Much like those who are in the military reserves or the National Guard, they could be re-assimilated into their last jobs.  There should be no penalty for stepping up to serve as an elected official.  Additionally, there should be no penalty should the ex-legislator benefit from the experience by writing books, serving as lecturers, or otherwise capitalize on the PUBLIC SERVICE they have provided.

Naturally this promotes a paradigm shift for the country, but in light of the current mood of the general public for the work of the government, it is time.  If we complain, we must find an better way.  These are two of my recommendations.

Amendment 22

(Ratified February 27, 1951)

Presidents Limited to Two Terms

  1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
  2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three- fourths of the several states within seven years from the date of its submission to the states by the Congress.

[Accessed on February 10. 2018 at http://nccs.net/online-resources/us-constitution/amendments-to-the-us-constitution/amendments-11-27/amendment-22-presidents-limited-to-two-terms]

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Filed under History & Government

Journalism’s Paradigm Shift?

Paradigms are long held beliefs that become truths in our lives.  This week I have been considering some of the paradigms that have been shattered, cracked, replaced, or altered.  One really disturbs me this week and that is the definition or JOURNALISM.

Trained as a journalist at the University of Missouri graduating in 1976 with a BJ in news ed, I am offended by what has evolved in the profession.  This week, I have become incensed enough to speak out.

Journalism is–now was–a profession that served as a watchdog for the public.  The journalist was trained to maintain objectivity, honesty, and fair play.  In the past 15 years, the profession has deteriorated.

This week one of the oldest programs in journalism sent its entire anchor team to attend the Golden Globes.  The amount of time and money this production commanded may seem appropriate but I disagree.

The emphasis professional journalists now place on following the Hollywood characters now places them into an entirely different career category.  The journalists are now part of the paparazzi.  Journalists are even being marketed as Hollywood personalities themselves becoming part of the story they are suppose to be covering.

The pride I had in earning my journalism degree from MU has now dwindled as I witness the deterioration of the profession.  At a time when the political parties are failing the constituents and the government is seldom a unifying factor for the people, journalism needs to serve as the fourth branch of the government once again.

The journalism profession must repair its image.  The journalists must check themselves that they are maintaining the Canons of Journalism rather than destroying the integrity of the profession.

During the Spanish-American War, the term yellow journalism described the less ethical  behaviors of journalists.  During early 20th century, many journalists formed the paradigm of journalism that established a trust between the public and the reporters.  Now, what does the public do?  Who can the public trust?  Can the profession rebuild its character and regain public trust?

A challenge:  Journalism schools must evaluate how thoroughly the canons are taught.  Checking sources must be required.  Professors and Editors must accept the responsibility to require veracity, check sources, and insist on quality final products.

I long to tout the journalism profession once again.  I need to find reasons to proudly declare myself as a trained journalist, a trained educator, and now a UMC local pastor.  These three professions can co-exist as long as the foundation is ethically maintained and the purpose is to maintain the democratic culture which birthed journalism.  The paradigm needs to be maintained even though the methods of communicating the news continue to improve so everybody has

The Canons of Journalism:  [Accessed on January 13, 2016 at http://ethics.iit.edu/ecodes/node/4457.%5D

American Society of Newspaper Editors (1923)

The primary function of newspapers is to communicate to the human race what its members do, feel and think. Journalism, therefore, demands of its practitioners the widest range of intelligence, or knowledge, and of experience, as well as natural and trained powers of observation and reasoning. To its opportunities as a chronicle are indissolubly linked its obligations as teacher and interpreter.

To the end of finding some means of codifying sound practice and just aspirations of American journalism, these canons are set forth:

I. RESPONSIBILITY: The right of a newspaper to attract and hold readers is restricted by nothing but considerations of public welfare. The use a newspaper makes of the share of public attention it gains serves to determine its sense of responsibility, which it shares with every member of its staff. A journalist who uses his power for any selfish or otherwise unworthy purpose is faithless to a high trust.

II. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS: Freedom of the press is to be guarded as a vital right of mankind. It is the unquestionable right to discuss whatever is not explicitly forbidden by law, including the wisdom of any restrictive statute.

III. INDEPENDENCE: Freedom from all obligations except that of fidelity to the public interest is vital.

1. Promotion of any private interest contrary to the general welfare, for whatever reason, is not compatible with honest journalism. So-called news communications from private sources should not be published without public notice of their source or else substantiation of their claims to value as news, both in form and substance.

2. Partisanship, in editorial comment which knowingly departs from the truth, does violence to the best spirit of American journalism; in the news columns it is subversive of a fundamental principle of the profession.

IV. SINCERITY, TRUTHFULNESS, ACCURACY: Good faith with the reader is the foundation of all journalism worthy of the name.

1. By every consideration of good faith a newspaper is constrained to be truthful. It is not to be excused for lack of thoroughness or accuracy within its control, or failure to obtain command of these essential qualifies.

2. Headlines should be fully warranted by the contents of the articles which they surmount.

V. IMPARTIALITY: Sound practice makes clear distinction between news reports and expressions of opinion. News reports should be free from opinion or bias of any kind.

1. This rule does not apply to so-called special articles unmistakably devoted to advocacy or characterized by a signature authorizing the writer’s own conclusions and interpretation.

VI. FAIR PLAY: A newspaper should not publish unofficial charges affecting reputation or moral character without opportunity given to the accused to be heard ; right practice demands the giving of such opportunity in all cases of serious accusation outside judicial proceedings.

1. A newspaper should not involve private rights or feeling without sure warrant of public right as distinguished from public curiosity.

2. It is the privilege, as it is the duty, of a newspaper to make prompt and complete correction of its own serious mistakes of fact or opinion, whatever their origin.

DECENCY: A newspaper cannot escape conviction of insincerity if while professing high moral purpose it supplies incentives to base conduct, such as are to be found in details of crime and vice, publication of which is not demonstrably for the general good- Lacking authority to enforce its canons the journalism here represented can but express the hope that deliberate pandering to vicious instincts will encounter effective public disapproval or yield to the influence of a preponderant professional condemnation.

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Filed under Paradigm Shifts