Students Will Rise to the Level of Expectations, Sr. Molina

Last night, a man I never met died while undergoing cancer treatment in Nevada at the age of 79.

Very few people I’ve never met have directly impacted as much of my psyche as this man. His lessons, learned at a very formative time in my life, provided a basis for my outlook that reverberates even now, more than a decade after I first heard about this man, which was a decade still after some of his greatest achievements.

If you’ve seen the news since last night, or if you know the quote from the title of this post, you know that I am referring to Jaime Escalante, the Bolivian Computer Scientist turned California math teacher.
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It Finally Happened

and ironically, this time (to my knowledge) no doctors predicted it.

I just found out that my cousin, Nick Waters, died this morning. Y’all may know him from Christmas several years ago, when the docs thought he didn’t have long to live then. You see, that Christmas he wanted a Christmas Miracle – he wanted to get 10,000 Christmas cards. He wound up with more than 10x that number, and I heard stories that Christmas of so many mail bags full of cards that you could literally barely walk in his house – much less drive his motorized wheelchair.

Nick was always a very medically fragile child. I don’t know all the details, but I know he was born prematurely, with several birth defects. He’s had countless surgeries throughout his life, including at least a couple of open heart surgeries before he was three years old and later surgeries to implant steel rods along his spine to allow him to sit upright enough to breathe.

Nick was always the bright spot in family get togethers. His enthusiasm and optimism knew no bounds, even though he had probably experienced more pain in his life than most of us would ever wish on our worst enemies. Indeed, some of my fondest memories of hanging out at my grandfather’s farm growing up were playing with Nick.

Nick and his family had been told countless times throughout his life that he didn’t have much longer to live. Due to his birth defects, it was always a threat. If he had been born even 30 years prior, there is no doubt he would never have lasted anywhere NEAR as long as he did. As I noted above, apparently there were no doctors around this time. They finally figured out that Nick was stubborn enough to beat whatever length of time they gave him. 😀

But now he is gone. His pain is finally over. He died peacefully in his sleep, rather than in some ICU or on some operating table, two places he had gotten to know quite well in his life.

I’ve done so good about not crying at my grandmother’s funeral 3 years ago, or my aunt’s 2 years ago, despite the fact that I loved them deeply. I can barely hold back the tears enough to type this post though. Nick Waters was a source of encouragement and inspiration to all who knew him, and to me in particular.

Yet again, I have another trip to Canton to bury yet another family member. This was already old when it was my grandmother three years ago – she had been the fourth to go on that side of the family in under 3 years, with my grandfather, his twin brother, and her husband preceding her.

As hard as the others were, this one will by FAR be the hardest.

The day many in my family have dreaded for years has finally arrived.

It finally happened.

Proms and Lesbians In the Bible Belt

I don’t know if y’all have seen this one, but over the past couple of days a story has come out about a certain high school senior in Mississippi. Seems this student likes to date girls and wants to wear a tux to prom.

The problem? The student’s name is Constance rather than Conrad.

Yes, Constance is a lesbian, and rather than just showing up at her prom wearing a tux with her girlfriend on her arm, she checked with the school to make sure she would be allowed to attend when she did. (There is a bit of debate over what she should have done here, and I’ve heard from both sides. Personally, I think she probably did the smart thing at this point in the story.)

The school refused, and when she threatened a lawsuit, the school cancelled prom altogether.
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You’re Being Played

Over the last week and a half or so, much ado has been made about potential cuts to colleges (including cutting several degree programs at Albany State and other institutions) and the 4H program. Indeed, this is what motivated my first discussion on the budget last Friday.

Now, I keep hearing from legislators and some pundits that this isn’t the legislators’ fault – it is the Board of Regents’ and the Presidents of the colleges themselves. They claim it is a Constitutional issue, that the Georgia General Assembly can’t dictate to any school, or the Board of Regents as a whole, exactly how to spend its money.

Most people may see this as a cop-out, as the legislators trying to dodge a bullet.

But the legislators are correct.

Per Article VIII, Section IV, Paragraph 1(c) of the Constitution of the State of Georgia:

All appropriations made for the use of any or all institutions in the university system shall be paid to the board of regents in a lump sum, with the power and authority in said board to allocate and distribute the same among the institutions under its control in such way and manner and in such amounts as will further an efficient and economical administration of the university system.

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Roosters in Subdivisions? Say It Aint So!

Lately, some “liberty” (I use the term loosely here) activists have gotten it into their heads that local governments are trying to persecute them.

How?

By saying “no” to roosters in subdivisions.

So they had their go-to boy, State Rep Bobby Franklin, introduce a bill that would preempt local control on this issue and mandate that no local government could prohibit gardening nor the keeping of chickens, goats, or rabbits – and nor could they require a permit for these activities.
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Open Letter to Members of House Government Affairs Elections Subcommittee

Dear Rep,

I know with the session starting back in full swing today, you really don’t have time to read a lot of emails, so I’ll make this short.

Please vote for favorable passage of Rep Reese’s HB 1141 in the Elections subcommittee meeting today.

I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but right now anyone who seeks to run for a statewide office under any banner other than Democrat/Republican/Libertarian must collect signatures from 5% of the registered voters in the state -roughly 50,000 signatures- on a nomination petition, just to be allowed to be on the ballot. This is in addition to the same filing fee D/R/L candidates pay. This represents an undue burden that has RARELY – if ever – been met. Rep Reese’s proposal changes this requirement to the lesser of 5% or 5,000.
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Libertarian AND Christian

Yes, Bill, I saw your post. You didn’t bother to link here, so I’m not going to bother to link to your upstart either. I also maintain my commitment to not work with you so long as you harbor the known liar Mike Sabot. With that said, your post does deserve a response, and here it is:

Free Will.

It is God’s greatest gift to mankind – the very gift that necessitated the Mosaic Law (which was always meant to be temporary) and the Cross (the permanent Sacrifice).

The Big Government Party, with its proxies the Tea Party and the Coffee Party, wants to infringe upon that penultimate gift from God to humans. I hold that in doing so, you try to put yourselves above God Almighty.

As a Christian, I believe that NO ONE is higher than God and that each and every man, woman, and child who ever lived, lives, or will live, must choose each day whether they will serve God or sin. It is NOT my place to tell them how they should live, though I am certainly free to act as an individual and peaceably let my feelings be known.
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