Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wendy Davis to visit Beaumont

Yes, folks, it's true!

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis will indeed be in Beaumont, Texas, on Tuesday, November 19th, attending a fundraiser in Old Town. I have happily managed to secure a ticket to the event. Don't worry, I'll provide as many details as possible following the shindig!



I AM SO EXCITED!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

BISD Spells BULLSHIT

I know it's been a while, friends, but things have been hectic. What with a now 18 month old child to keep up with, selling our home, my husband taking an employment opportunity that requires he drive an hour to and from work.... just craziness. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

So, here we go.

Ah, once again, Jefferson County's most notorious school district makes headlines. Following the Calvin Walker fiasco, and the less than stellar career of Superintendent Butch Thomas, the district now finds itself in hot water for no less than embezzlement.

Say it ain't so!

There are many good teachers and administrators in the district, a fact that people tend to lose sight of in the wake of so many public scandals. They have been railroaded into silence by new Superintendent Chargois, whom appears to be following in the footsteps of his predecessor (not really a surprise considering he was hand picked by Thomas).

People also seem to have forgotten that there was a major breach of 1st Amendment policy last school year, when a teacher forced a student to lead an entire kindergarten class in prayer, ending with "in Jesus' name, amen." at a graduation ceremony. The district has attempted to force the parent who complained about the church/state violation to remove her child from the district and refuses to issue a public apology for the teacher's actions, which is completely ridiculous. Ironically, the complainant was a Christian herself, but she is very knowledgeable about the 1st Amendment and how it applies to public schools. They also refused to provide education to their teachers regarding what is a breach of the 1st Amendment regarding the separation of church and state. Why? Because GOD.

Earlier this year, Public Relations person Jessie Haynes, an employee of BISD, accosted a board member when she tried to prevent him and a journalist from entering a board meeting. Video clearly shows her throwing herself into their path, and then hitting him on the arm after he opened the door to the media persons. She is under investigation, but guess what? Still employed. And if you disagree with her actions, and the actions of the board, you are obviously a racist. (According to BISD)

This of course is unrelated to what is going on now, but it lends itself to a pattern of behavior. Are we really surprised that dummy accounts were created to siphon off funds for the purposes of embezzlement? The superintendent and a handful of administrators, employees, and board members feel they are above the law because thus far, they have been able to get away with multiple criminal actions.

I applaud the US Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Texas for investigating this case of embezzlement, and for attempting to prosecute "master electrician"(hah!) Calvin Walker for his gross over charging of the school district. I applaud the FBI for becoming involved in the current investigation. I applaud the Jefferson County District Attorney's office for filing charges and issuing a warrant against spokeswoman Jessie Haynes.

This isn't a race matter, it's a matter of right and wrong. The color of these people's skin has no bearing on their criminal actions. Wrong is wrong is wrong, and just because it's committed by a minority does not mean that "the man" is trying to frame them for wrong doing when a non minority points it out. It also doesn't require the rest of that minority community to stand by them and show solidarity, because wrong is wrong. The reverse racism card is played out, BISD. It's time to pay the piper.

Snaps for the USAO and FBI!

Current Investigation:
http://www.kfdm.com/shared/news/top-stories/stories/kfdm_vid_7424.shtml

Jessie Haynes charged but allowed to keep job:
http://www.kfdm.com/shared/news/top-stories/stories/kfdm_vid_7036.shtml

Teacher forces student to lead class in prayer:
http://www.cbs7kosa.com/news/details.asp?ID=45500

Calvin Walker sentenced after trial, kept contract with BISD:
http://www.kfdm.com/shared/news/top-stories/stories/kfdm_vid_2899.shtml

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Welcome Back!

Left in Setx is pleased and delighted to announce the return of two old comrades, Gus Pillsbury and Sam the Eagle, from a year long hiatus!

We encourage you to become familiar with the most corrupt corruption in Jefferson County, Texas, at their respectibe websites! The content is hilarious, but also soberingly factful.

www.notthisonetoojacques.blogspot.com

www.operationkleinwatch.blogspot.com

These men (or women) may not realize it, but their actions inspired us to create this blog, and their return has endowed us with a new strength for posting.Thank you, brave soldiers, for being the voice of truth and rationality in an irrational area!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

National Foundations

Many people believe this country and it's principles were founded by Judeo-Christian Europeans. This is a fallacy, a belief repeated from generation to generation to attempt and rationalize the great misdeeds that were done by White, Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASP's) in the early years of the United States. 

The fact is, Europeans did not establish this land. They were met by the true founders when they arrived, an intelligent and content group of migratory Pagan natives. Often when you point out that the American Indian actually settled North America, especially the United States, people are quick to say that they were uneducated and technologically unadvanced. Not so. Native Americans were anything if stupid, they learned to exist in peace with their natural surroundings, to never take more than they needed. Rather than use a written language, many of them passed down their creation myths and genealogies through song and dance and complex rituals that took many years to both learn and impart to their youth. True, they didn't create factories and buildings like the Europeans, but they did live in towns and villages, with great structures like the Iroquois Long House which fascinated even the English with its complex structure and usefulness. And no, they didn't understand Capitalism, because their economic structure was much more friendly and based on providing for the many rather than accumulating personal wealth. The poorest among their number was often the Chief, who owned next to nothing because he gave everything he had to tribe members in need. And as far as government, they did indeed have hierarchies which placed women equally with men in many of their societies, and even recognized and gave rights to homosexuals. They fought and warred with each other, but so did any other nation that existed at the time.

When the Europeans did eventually settle here, most of the colonies didn't even erect their own buildings or perform their own labor, instead opting to import enslaved Africans who definitely were not Christian adherents. The more modern blocks of the foundation of the United States was built not on Christianity, but on the backs of enslaved pagans from the continent of Africa, establishing a tradition of take-all, do-anything capitalism that only unionization and the establishment of such agencies as the FDA were able to harness...to a small extent. The primary use of religion, especially Christianity, at this point was to rationalize the ownership of slaves and the extermination of the native peoples, as WASP's claimed they were acting divinely by bringing true faith to these people. The only gift they delivered to these two groups, however, was war, famine, disease, and subjugation. One of the few perks was that the two groups did, in some areas, combine forces to stay alive, resulting in a strong African heritage in such tribes as the Florida Seminole, whom openly accepted run away slaves into their midst.

So the next time you feel so happy to be living in the United States, think of how much better it could have been if we had adopted more of our true founders ideologies, and rejected the imported supremacist beliefs of self righteous invaders. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Letting Go

Recently there was an unexpected death in my husband's family, a family member that he was very close to. This of course meant a gathering of family, a funeral, and a time for grieving.

Now, as some of you may know, I am not Christian. I'm not even remotely religious. However, my husband is from a very deeply religious family, and I do not begrudge them their need to hold on to their traditions, even if I personally find them to be antiquated and ridiculous. I do, however, have a problem with the need to constantly insert themselves into our decision making. In my opinion, you raise a child in the hopes that they will lead a better and more fulfilled life than you; I find it offensive and selfish that some people honestly believe it is the duty of their children to become their caregivers in their old age. If one wants to do so, that is their choice, but by no means should a parent feel the need to try and guilt trip their children into abandoning their life to provide care for elderly parents. I'm not insinuating that we should abandon our loved ones in their old age, but that they should respect the decision, if it is made, to not rely on their adult children for constant care. Their are any number of retirement homes and trained professionals who can provide an outstanding quality of life for the elderly, without the person feeling like a burden on family. I personally do not want my daughter to be faced with the care of my twilight years; that is not why I brought her into this world.

I also do not understand what some parents can not let go. If you raised your child and feel you did a good job, you should be confident that they are making good life choices.I love my mother and father dearly; we have different views and opinions, but they are confident in my ability to lead my life in a positive way. I speak to my parents via phone once every two or three weeks, and see them maybe once every three months, not because I do not love them, but because they respect the fact that I am an adult leading my own life. I don't have to call my parents every day to give them a summary of my decisions and activities because I know that whatever they are, even if my parents don't agree, they acknowledge that this is MY life to live.

Now on to the funeral, which I personally hate and feel very anxious at to begin with. I can honestly say this was the first time I have been to the viewing, the ceremony, and the "after party" at the deceased's home, and with a 10 month old in tow to top it off. I can also say with confidence this is the LAST time I will attend all three. it was uncomfortable and nerve wracking, and I find the viewing to be  barbaric tradition. I understand funerals are really for the living, not the dead, but if one does not want to attend all these traditions, people should be RESPECTFUL of that decision. The man who passed was a great man, and i GUARANTEE he did not think I and my child were "obligated" to attend his ceremonies. The comment was made that I would be "dragged to all three" the next time a family member passed because that is "what you do". I managed to hold my tongue, understanding there was a great deal of grief, but let me say: NO. That is what YOU do, and I am not you. I am not obligated in any way to participate, I will if I WANT to. To top it off, it was understood I would bring my daughter to the funeral ceremony. Being 10 months old, she did what babies do. She fussed. Imagine my irritation when I was told to bring her outside. I'm sorry, I understand fussing babies are a distraction, but she is not a puppy to be shown off before the ceremony and then tied up outside the building when she piddles on the carpet. For this reason,my child and I will not attend any further religious or somber ceremonies until she is old enough to understand how to conduct herself, AND to understand the message being relayed, and then only if she WANTS to go. There is no reason for an infant to attend church: she can not grasp the message and it is only an attempt to indoctrinate her with a message she cant fully comprehend. Religion and the act of acquiring it should be a personal choice, not a demand put on a young brain by parents and family.

With that being said, I love my extended family and I honestly believe we are all on our way to affording one another respect for our personal beliefs and opinions,it just may be an uphill battle to get there. We will always miss our departed family member, but the first step to closure is letting go.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Public Meeting: The Kountze Fiasco Continued

So the meeting opened up with a prayer from Penny Colton, who was wearing a jean jacket with a sparkly cross on it (I'm sure she means absolutely nothing by that... not). The board then kicked us out for an executive session. I was interviewed by four different stations, two local and two Houston stations. There were three of us there in opposition, but only I delivered a statement. After 6 other people, this is (mostly) what I said:

I am a 2005 graduate of Kountze High School, and a 2010 graduate of Lamar University with a BS in Political Science. My roots in this town are deep.

We live in a great country that seeks to protect religion and government by keeping them separate, where everyone no matter what faith is given equal respect. As a federally funded public school, the separation of church and state applies to KHS, and all of it’s employees and representatives. When I was in attendance here I was a member of the Aristocats Drill Team, and had many friends on the Cheerleading squad. After making either team we were required to review and sign the team constitution. One of the most important things in that constitution is that when you wear the uniform, you are a representative of the ENTIRE school and must act accordingly. Before games, the teams would often pray in a circle off the field; on many occasions I did not participate, but because the circles were on the sidelines where people couldn’t see me, I was not worried about negative reaction from people in the stands. These children do not have this luxury- they must either participate where everyone can see them, or they become very large targets on the sidelines for not participating.

No one is trying to persecute these students for their beliefs. They have a First Amendment right to read their bibles, pray, wear crosses, and express their religion in many other individual and group ways while at school. There are several religious organizations on campus for this purpose. If they wanted to hold individual religious signs in the bleachers or off field, they would be very much within their rights. The problem occurs when one team forces another team to make a public proclamation of their faith on the football field. High school is hard enough without added peer pressure to participate in something that you don’t necessarily believe in.

I understand why students and their parents are afraid to join the FFRF’s lawsuit against the banners- I myself have been threatened with bodily harm for speaking out against this religious bullying, and I saw a sign posted in the middle of town stating “IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT LEAVE- WE BELIEVE!”. As a non Christian who was born and raised here, I am appalled that people are insinuating you must buy in to this religious fervor to live here. I can not imagine how the non Christian students in this school feel after seeing and hearing such hatred, but I am sure they are honestly frightened and bewildered. One in four people in the U.S. are not Christian- it is irrational to try and present this school as being made up entirely of Christian students. A public school should be a safe haven for students of ALL religions, and non religions, not a pulpit for one group to try and push their agenda.

The bottom line is that this school should be supportive of all its students and not cater to tyranny of the majority. Everyone is entitled to free speech, but as was decided in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, free speech does not apply when it subjects students to participate who do not wish to comply. Students attending the game MUST read the banner, just as when prayers are said over the loud speaker they have no choice but to listen to them.

Please remember that while THIS particular group of cheerleaders appear to be in agreement on allowing religious statements on the run through banners, some of them will graduate and be replaced by new students. What will the reaction be if that student is a Muslim, a Hindu, or an atheist? What if she does not want religious statements on the run through banners? Will she be removed from the team? I hope the parents here are able to put themselves in the shoes of others and see the long term negative consequences that their actions will have on this school and its students for years to come.

Thank you for your time and attention,

Lindsey Brackin
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Polite, informative, and fair. I don't mind kids practicing their religion in public schools, but this nonsense has gone too far.

Immediately following me a woman who we shall refer to as MS gave a statement that I was "one woman, the only woman" who opposes the religious banners. I don't know this person, though I have read some of the ignorant ramblings she's made about the situation, and I was pretty tickled. Unfortunately for her, I AM NOT the only person who disagrees with what is going on. I didn't make the initial phone call, but I fully support the person who did. There are students who have private messaged me from KISD that do not agree with the ban, but they are terrified to speak. And after the things I heard tonight, I can't blame them. The people who spoke made it pretty clear that the ONLY way you could be considered a "good kid" in Kountze is if you get behind this establishment of religion in public schools. Never mind that more than 70% of people in prison are Christian, ONLY Christians can teach good values and morals and make sure these kids don't go down the wrong path. Never mind that some of the brightest minds that have come out of that school were atheists and agnostics, we don't want to talk about them. There were a lot of examples given from the bible of students leading adults to war, but I kept waiting on a REAL example. You know, like, from an event that actually happened. That never happened. It was the closest thing to a Sunday school bible study that I have been to in 15 years.

The board voted unanimously to extend the period for receiving written and oral statments to ten more days. So if you are as disgusted as I am, please don't hesitate to send them an e-mail regarding the subject. These people need to know that numbers do not make what you are doing right, that they need to leave the religious education at home or send their kids to a private Christian school. Enough is enough.

You can send your e-mails to Jerri Smith, Administrative Assistant, so that the board can read your opinion. The e-mail address is:  jsmith@kountzeisd.org

Oh! And the best part of the night was when some preacher guy handed me a BADLY hand written card inviting me to some religious meeting at a place called Angel Gardens. I glanced at it and passed it down and he asked "did you already hear about it?". I replied, "no, I'm not a Christian" and smiled at him very politely. He screwed his face up like he had bit into a lemon. After that the closed session was called and we were ushered into the hall where this "gentleman" demanded that we ALL pray. He gathered the cameras around himself, turned towards the three of us, and held out his hands and attempted to pray our demons away. Don't believe me? I took a photo.
I think I felt the atheism leave my body! No, wait... yep... that was just gas.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Kountze High School Fiasco

 I have signed up to speak on February 26th at Kountze High School's public meeting regarding the use of religious messages on Football run through banners. I checked and I am the 7th person signed up to speak that night. After the meeting I will post a copy of the statement I prepared here for everyone, as well as a summary of the events that night.

It is a deep embarassment to me as a native of Kountze that these religious zealots are using their children to push their Christian agenda on our public schools. Some one has to stand up for secularism in our federally funded schools, seeing as how they have frightened any parents and students who oppose them into silence. Luckily I quit being afraid of religious bullies in high school when I realized they are usually ignorant cowards that live in fear of having their belief system exposed for the lie it is (no offense to my religous friends and followers who are not religiois bullies but are of a religious nature). They can't compete on an intellectual level, so they stoop to physical threats and name calling.

The irrational mob mentality has included threats of violence against those whom oppose them, as well as demands that we get or stay out of "their" town. Excuse me? My family helped FOUND that town. Being a Christian is not a prerequisite for living in or being born in Kountze- I am living proof. We will not sit by while the separation of church and state is being breached. Can you imagine if people had remained silent instead of fighting for Civil Rights? Regardless of what the fundamentalist Christian population of this town have convinced themselves of, Kountze is not exempt from the United States Constitution. Hopefully this case makes it's way to a federal court and the school board doesn't back down. Expect more on this topic in the future.