Self Discipline and Intrinsic Motivation

The word discipline has become synonymous with cruel treatment in educational environments and in many families. This is unfortunate because a child, a teenager, or an adult who grows up without self-discipline has lost the freedom of self determination and choice. I was taught self-discipline a child primarily by my father and also by my mother. There was very little harsh treatment by either of my parents. My father and I talked extensively about many things. If I asked him what he thought about a particular subject, he would always reply, “What do you think about it?” In this manner I was allowed to think through a question and give him a reply before he unloaded his opinions on me. After I had explained what my opinion was on the subject we were discussing, he would then tell me what he thought, but not in great detail. My mother was somewhat different in her approach and we would discuss her favorite topic which was her family in Arkansas which was quite extensive. She did not get to see much of her family once she and my father migrated westward to Nebraska, Idaho, and finally Oregon where my father worked on irrigation projects. He learned his trade by doing, because neither of my parents went to school past the seventh and eighth grade. My father was raised by his father because his mother died before he was a year old. They left Missouri and walked to Wyoming. My Mother was also raised by her father from about age eleven.

By learning to think for myself and making decisions at an early age, I also learned to live with both good and bad decisions by thinking through what I had learned from a bad decision as well as a good decision. I learned to persevere in spite of circumstances and to keep a positive attitude.

Since I spent my adult life from age twenty five onward as a public school teacher, a school administrator, and as college professor, my early training by both my parents affected how I approached teaching. I met many professors who expected one to feed back answers that they thought were politically or ethically correct. Many of my classmates would try to guess what kind of answers they thought the professor would approve of and award them with a good grade. This kind of approach always struck me as foolish. If I found this kind of professor I would risk it all in spite of the consequences. In a literature class we were to read all of the books by a certain author and write a paper on his or her world view. I chose to read and review all of Earnest Hemingway’s books and to write a paper on his works. I discovered that the Professor did not like Hemingway because he supposedly loved war. He graded me according to his views. I later took a graduate class from another professor who spent much of the time on group dynamics and had the class role play different roles people assume when in a group discussion either in the work place or in family groups. We would assume roles such as fact finders, the crowd-pleaser, who tries to make everyone feel good, the negative person who finds fault with everything. and so forth. I found this class to be of great value and incorporated it into my classes both in the public school and in college classes, particularly in teaching Philosophy of Education. I required the students to relate their readings and papers to how they saw themselves as teachers and how they related to their students. I told them they would be graded not by trying to guess what I thought, but by what they thought. I had to specify in great detail what I expected as far as spelling and punctuation and took off points if I received junk which I did from several of the students who had gone to school when the philosophy was not to correct spelling, sentence structure and content because it might harm a person’s creativity. My own daughter and step-daughter suffered from that approach. My step-daughter would send her papers to be read by her mother and myself. We marked them and critiqued them extensively. Her writing improved dramatically and by the time she completed her masters degree she was a great writer.

I adopted a method when teaching fifth grade of having my students write one page in a spiral notebook on any subject of their choice. I would read and correct their writing and then they would write their corrected copy on the right hand side of the page. When we had parent teacher conferences, I had a visual example to show the parents of the progress their child had made during the year.

Self discipline has to be nurtured at home and in the public schools. Rude behavior does not have to be tolerated in the public schools because a parent or parents have not done their job. Children can be taught to respect other people’s property and to behave in public and in other people’s homes. There is nothing worse than to have friends whose children run wild when they come to visit. The idea of logical consequences is a great way to instill self discipline in a child. If your child’s behavior is unacceptable you can expect some privilege to be removed for a specified period of time. Choose something that is particularly important to the child so that the message is received. Whatever the choice by the adult when choosing a logical consequence, it must be fair, consistent, and logical.

Finally, when an adult has attained self discipline, they have also attained intrinsic motivation which results in doing whatever task arises with a minimum of instruction or supervision. These adults are highly sought after in the work place because they can be relied upon to do their job thoroughly with little supervision.

MOTIVATING THE UNMOTIVATED

Motivating the Unmotivated

Having spent many years teaching all levels of students, the most important task is to discover what a person values and then build upon it. For example, suppose you have a student who shows no apparent interest in what you think is important. What do you do? You need to take your time and observe what he or she does when there is no assigned task. This may take time even as long as three to six weeks, but the time and patience you bring to the task is well worth it to the unmotivated student. Motivation comes in basically two forms, intrinsic or internal and extrinsic or external. Many parents focus their efforts on extrinsic motivation such as rewards for doing a task, by paying money for getting good grades. In real life this rarely works when there is no one around to reward you.

My primary technique in working with young students, say at the fifth grade level was to choose an unmotivated student to run an errand for me. I never believed in keeping students in at recess just because they were struggling at reading or math. Another technique that worked wonders was to have every student convene the class for a week. They talked about whatever subject that concerned them. This did more for the so called unmotivated student than anything I ever tried. So many times the only student who gets a chance to run and errand or lead a class discussion are the kids who are already stars. On one occasion one of the members of a class was upset because the class never agreed on anything. I rarely intervened, but on this occasion I told them that I could decide everything for them and tell them what to do. They agreed as a class that they preferred to discuss their problems themselves.

Intrinsic motivation is what makes the difference between success and failure in life. It does not have to lead to wealth, but it can. It does not have to lead to an executive position. A person in whatever occupation has to have a sense of pride in their work and to value what they do in life. Intrinsic motivation comes from what a person values. Extrinsic motivation is a device to get a person to do something whether they value it or not. To discover what a person values, that is their intrinsic motivation, spend time observing what a person, either a child or adult does with their own free time. Rewards for improving intrinsic motivation should be subtle, and not closely related to the desired outcome. After all, what you desire in a person is for that person to become what we call self actualized, that is able to function without depending upon external motivation.

Many corporations follow a line and staff style of leadership which is modeled after a military style of organization. A basketball player made a suggestion to the coach George Raveling at USC. George responded, “Son, I will tell you what my mother told me. When I want your opinion, I’ll tell you what to say!” Unfortunately, the line and staff form of organization does not work in all corporations or in many kinds of institutions where cooperation and personal responsibility are needed or valued.

I had a question from a viewer about how to acquire the motivation to exercise on a regular basis. This question involves intrinsic motivation. Setting a schedule on paper and checking off the times one exercises is one way of developing the required motivation. Also, varying the routine helps. For example, I have several exercise machines I can use to vary the routine. Whatever you do, do not stress your body and injure yourself. Gradually increase the time of your routine, but if you are sore, take a break. Both women and men need to do strength and aerobic exercise. Some people jog to condition their bodies, but jogging over a long period of time leads to worn out hip and knee joints.

MAKE GOVERNMENTAL HEALTH INSURANCE AVAILABLE FOR EVERYONE–THIS IS THE ULTIMATE PUBLIC OPTION

Make Governmental Health Insurance Available for Everyone

As it now stands, we have the Medical Associations, Senators, Representatives, and Pharmaceutical firms all claiming we are headed for bankruptcy, socialism, and probably a satellite of China, if we provide health care for the rest of our citizens. Those 50 million citizens amount to the combined population of Canada and Australia. Of course we could easily finance the cost of Medical Insurance for all of our citizens if we would make it a mandatory five year sentence for any Representative, Senator, or any other governmental employee who receives money from outside sources to pay for a vote either for or against medical care. To raise the ante, we could make it a mandatory seven year sentence for any company or member of a Medical Company who contributes money pay for a vote.

I am certain that we could easily provide medical insurance for everyone without going bankrupt, becoming a satellite of China, by adopting the same medical insurance that Representatives and Senators now enjoy. We need to remove bribery as a way of life from the our elected and appointed officials, because bribery may in fact be a form of Socialism for the privileged members of our nation. It is hard to believe that one life is more important than another.

We as citizens must make our voices heard and tell our members of Congress that we expect them to forgo accepting bribes for votes. The health of our citizens should be as important as their own health.

THE FEUDAL SYSTEM IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE UNITED STATES

The Feudal System Is Alive and Well in the United States

The recent turmoil in the financial markets stem from changes brought about during the Reagan Administration and culminating with the Clinton Administration. If the word derivative has any meaning to you, you are in the minority because much of the present and past Congress and Senate do not seem to have a clue. This financial instrument came about as the result of the deregulation efforts brought about by the Republican Party under Reagan and under the advice of people like Arthur Laffer and Allan Greenspan. During his Presidency, the national debt went from $700 billion to $3 trillion. A recent news report, that I cannot substantiate, stated that Reagan borrowed $1 trillion from the Social Security Trust Fund telling Greenspan that no one would ever find out about the transaction. His notable activity leading to a renewal of the Feudal System started with the firing of 11,345 air traffic controllers when they went on strike for better wages and especially better working conditions. It is ironic, that Reagan, who was once President of the Screen Actors Guild which was in reality a union, turned against unions. Doing away with unions has been the mantra of the Republican Party ever since. In the last primary contest every Republican candidate repeated Reagan’s name as if this was the high point of all the the Party had achieved throughout its existence.

The unions whose origins began in Europe in the 1830’s were brought about to improve the conditions of laboring men, women, and children in the textile industries and mines, primarily in Great Britain. As the United States grew into an industrial power, the robber baron era of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s gave little thought to the plight of the workers. The desire by the workers gave rise to the formation of unions in the 1920’s and 1930’s with the owners of the corporations doing everything they could to intimidate the workers who wanted to join a union and have some say in their working conditions, pay and retirement. Much of the benefits won by the unions including safety features in the work environment, pay, retirement, and health care have slowly eroded for several reasons. People became complacent and forgot or never knew how the job benefits were achieved. Areas such as state and municipal workers including teachers from K-14 grew to become the dominant unions at the present time, while industrial workers under union contracts have declined. The days when John L. Lewis could call a coal miners strike and paralyze the nation have passed. Also, the illegal behavior of the union bosses, particularly, the longshoreman’s union have not helped. With the rise of the high tech industries , the unions either did not try or were unable to get enough interested people willing to form a union. As seen in the latest scandals involving the giant insurance companies such as AIG the robber barons have arisen once more. We once again have a feudal system in the United States.

Under a feudal system the workers have little or no rights under the system run by the corporations or the individuals they work for, and they can be fired, laid off, or transferred without cause if they have no one to represent them, and in order to have representation, you either have to have the money to hire an attorney or a union to hire the attorney for you. With no union representation, particularly in an economy such as the one we are currently experiencing, the workers in high tech, in banking, in the insurance industry, and in the auto industry have no one to look out for their interests. It is interesting that the Senators and Representatives in the Southern States, particularly in the Republican Party, have fought to prevent federal funds from being distributed to the auto industry. Only Ford, GM, and Chrysler have alliances with labor unions. The Southern States auto companies, Honda, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota and others I may have forgotten, do not have labor unions. Labor unions change the social and political equation from one of feudalism to one where the laboring class and low paid professionals can climb the economic ladder, receive pensions, and health care for life, as well as invest in IRA’s and other financial instruments to supplement their income in retirement. If labor unions are strong and viable, there is no longer a special class of wealthy people who can hold the rest of humanity hostage while they enjoy both economic and political privileges. In the South, the reason for this attitude is that, from the time of slavery to the present, the South has supported a kind of feudal system whereby the working class has been without labor rights and representation. This same lack of labor and legal support for workers has crept to the Northern States, as well , and led to the decline of textile mills, furniture companies, steel mills, and industrial plants of all kinds. The crowning blow to this situation, was the rise of NAFTA and other free trade agreements whereby all the countries involved were going to open up free trade and the world was going to be a rosy place for all. What has happened is the the American worker has been forgotten in all of this. We have outsourced our industrial base to any place in the world where there are no labor laws and where labor is cheap. We have given companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Ford, Chrysler, GM, GE, to name a few, tax incentives to set up plants all over the world. We are no longer the great industrial power we once were, and if we ever have to fight a World War again we will not have the industrial base to support such a war nor the workers trained to work in these industries.

I want to include a disclaimer here in that I do not place all the blame on the Republican Party, because much of the outsourcing started in the Clinton Presidency, and the joint action of both Political Parties, North and South, worked against the US workers in NAFTA and in 1999 abolished the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 which prevented Insurance Companies and Banks from selling securities. Not only were banks and insurance companies allowed to sell securities, but a brilliant woman, Brooksley Born, was removed from the Commodities Trading Commission because she insisted that there needed to be margin requirements for a newly named commodity called derivatives. On the advice and urging of Allen Greenspan, Robert Rubin, and Larry Summers(currently one of Barack Obama’s economic advisors), Arther Levitt fired Brooksley Born because she insisted that derivatives were commodity instruments and should be under the commodities laws which would have required margin requirements just as you have to post when you buy a future on a commodity such as feeder cattle. Rubin stated that money was not a commodity which is very interesting because one can buy both gold and silver through a commodity account, but you do have to stipulate a margin for such an account.

In a book by Saul K. Padover, Jefferson, published in 1942, he tells about Jefferson’s time spent in Europe as a roving ambassador prior to the French Revolution. Jefferson stated that while he had made friends with many of the leading families in Europe, he was glad to return to his home in Virginia where he could interact freely with people of all economic levels. In Europe, he found that about 1% of the citizens had 99 % of the wealth while the rest of the population was barely above the starvation level. In Jefferson’s fight against the Federalist Party, to which Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito belongs, it was the same haves and have more group that President George Bush referred to in his speech about four years ago. The only people deserving of the rights and freedoms of this great nation were the wealthy. Anyone belonging to a labor union was responsible for our present inability to compete with the rest of the nations of the world, so that it was necessary to ship all of our manufacturing overseas and allow the other 99% of the population to sink to the level of the population of Europe during the feudal system.

We even approached the same level of censorship under Bush with his misuse of the FISA Act as we did under the Federalist Party when President John Adams and his cohorts in the Federalist Party tried to reinstate the privileges of the Royalty through the passage of the Alien and Sedition Act of 1978, to prevent any criticism of the second president. This act allowed the President to expel all those whom he should “judge dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States,” or should have “reasonable grounds to suspect are concerned in any treasonable or secret machinations against the government.” The Sedition Act provided for a fine of no more than $2000.00 and a term of prison of no more than two years. When President Adams and the Federalists introduced the pomp and circumstance of Royalty, Thomas Jefferson, his Secretary of State, quietly, via letters and other writings, set about the task of rallying the Republican cause of strengthening the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence(note, my reference to the Republican cause does not mean the same as the current Republican Party of today which was created by the demise of the Whig Party.) Various newspapers published articles stating that they had no respect for Adams and could not support the Federalist attempt to reintroduce a monarchy. The result was the passage of the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798, which allowed the President to expel all those whom he should “judge dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States,” or should have “reasonable grounds to suspect are concerned in any treasonable or secret machinations against the government.” This sounds very much like the reasons set forth by President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney in their misuse of the FISA act in spying on both U.S. citizens and aliens.

The choice of who to try under the Alien and Sedition Act was interesting, and even more interesting were the Supreme Court Justices chosen to try the cases. The first person to be convicted, in October 1798, was Matthew Lyon, a Congressman from Vermont, born in Ireland, with a record as a patriot and soldier in Washington’s army. His crime was to criticize the pomp of Adam’s administration and its continual grasp for power. William Patterson, Justice of the Supreme Court, tried this case and one other related to it. The second case, with the same judge and jury, was Anthony Haswell, Editor of the “Vermont Gazette”, who had written that Lyon was brutally treated by the Marshal who had arrested him. Haswell was born in England and the father of thirteen children. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase tried two of the cases under this law. The third man to be convicted was Thomas Cooper, and English born educator and scientist, who did little more than make general remarks about President Adams. In the fourth case, Justice Chase was arrogant, rude, and dictatorial. In one instance he made jokes about the counsels involved with the defense, and told others to shut up and sit down. This case involved the indictment and the conviction of a Virginian, James Thomas Callender, a Scottish born political writer, for the grave crime of criticizing President Adams. The case was sensational because Callender was defended by three of the best lawyers in Virgina–William Wirt, Thomas Nicolas and George Hay who quit in disgust because of the behavior of the Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase.

As a sequel to this sad saga, Thomas Jefferson, who was Vice President under President Adams, succeeded Adams as President and took steps to have Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase impeached and removed from office. Jefferson described the impeachment process a farce when Chase was found not guilty. In my lifetime, I have listened in detail to the McCarthy hearings on the radio, to the President Nixon hearings on TV, to the attempted impeachment and indictment of President William Jefferson Clinton, and read about the misuse of power through signing statements by President George W. Bush, which allowed him to ignore the FISA Court, and any other laws he did not like. President Bush used the signing statements more than all of the other Presidents combined–I have heard of numbers of 480 to over 1000 signing statements. He frequently cited Supreme Court Justice Samuel Allito’s paper on the Unitary Executive Theory, in which Allito wrote, “Congress, to be sure, has a substantial and essential role in both foreign affairs and national security. But it is crucial to recognize that judicial interference in these domains destroys the purposes of vesting primary responsibility in a unitary Executive.” As a sitting judge on the federal bench, Judge Alito advocated his personal legal view supporting executive theory before the Federalist Society in the year 2000. He also wrote a memo while in the Reagan Administration recommending the expansion of presidential power through an increased use of presidential signing statements which allows a president to effectively ignore or alter laws passed by Congress and increase Presidential Powers and diminish those of the Congress.

As a nation, we have a problem in trying to preserve the democratic principles to which we all tacitly adhere and at the same time keep a proper balance between the coequal branches of our government. We cannot allow any branch of the government to assume powers without the consent of the citizens of this nation. The Supreme Court should never have assumed the power to appoint a President just because the State of Florida or Ohio choose to ignore the right of our citizens to vote in the 2000 election and the 2004 election respectively. We need to change our election laws so that one does not have to be wealthy in order to hold public office, or allow corporations the hold any branch of our government hostage by bribing members of Congress, the Executive, or the Supreme Court. We need to allow the working class to form unions without intimidation by Corporate executives, because without labor unions representing the workers we will continue to allow the wealthy to treat their workers as slaves or serfs as has been common in many countries throughout history. Each generation must work to preserve the benefits attained in previous generations and not assume that those benefits have always been present. If our so called multinational corporations allow China to dictate that their citizens working for such corporations must be allowed to form unions, then any multinational corporations who does so must be required to allow their stateside workers to form unions. Lastly, if we are to remain a democratic and sovereign nation we must be willing to pass and enforce laws which benefit the working class and not just the wealthy. A case in point is the solvency of the Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. We should not allow those persons who earn more than $100,000 dollars to be exempt from paying Social Security benefits on amounts greater than $100,000. To change this one benefit enjoyed by the wealthy, the Social Security System would be financially solvent. Even the wealthy can draw Social Security benefits, so they should have to pay according to their income.

CHICKPEAS, MULES, AND WATER–THE SIEGE OF VICKSBURG

Chickpeas, Mules, and Water–The Siege of Vicksburg

If you have ever gone through a Memorial which is dedicated to the fallen soldiers and civilians who have died or survived a horrific battle between two armies, you cannot come away from the memorial without a feeling of sadness and despair. This was the experience my wife and I had when we spent about three hours driving through and viewing the memorial of the seige at Vicksburg, Mississippi about fifteen years ago. If you read the account of the battle in Wickipedia, you do not get the same feeling nor do you get much more than a recitation of the Generals who commanded the armies who fought in this terrible battle. The scene of the battle was a grassy knoll where the Union Armies with supperior manpower and weapons laid seige to Vicksburg which lasted about six weeks. The feeling we got was eire. It was almost as if we had come upon the battle as it was being waged. The loss on the Union side was approximately 4 to 1, although the Wickipedia version does not tell the true story because it counts the men of the Confederate side as casualties even though they surrendered. I have never seen an account of a battle which counted those who surrendered or were captured as casualties. It reminds me of a professor I talked to who told me if you want to make history you have to write it.

The Siege of Vicksburg was a turning point in the Civil War, or as the Southerns call it “The War Between The States.” The reason the siege of Vicksburg was so important, had to do with its geographical location on the Mississippi River. Vicksburg is located on a high bluff overlooking the river where the Confederate forces mounted their big cannons and could blow any Union ships out of the water coming from the north or the south. The Union forces were determined to drive out the Southern forces in order to split the South into two regions. The siege of Vicksburg began about May 19, 1863 and ended about July 19, 1863. To get to Vicksburg, General Ulysses S. Grant’s Union Army of Tennessee had to bring his army down the west side of the Mississippi River and in some places had to build a canal to get his supplies and munitions so he could cross the river south of Vicksburg through some very. swampy land, with his army besieged by mosiquitos, knats(called by the Indians as”no-see-um’s”, snakes, probably alligators, and heat, because by the end of February, Mississippi gets very hot and miserable. An aside, having lived in Mississippi, I can personally attest to the misery the “no-see-um’s” caused me when raking leaves or working outside, so Grant’s Army had to be miserable while marching through this terrain.

Once General Grant arrived near Vicksburg, he approached it from the east with about 35,000 troops which later grew to about 77,000 troops, which compared to the Confederate Army forces of about 18,500, commanded by Lt.Gen. John C. Pemberton, was a very lopsided conflict. However, as my wife and I read about the conflict as we drove through the memorial, the Southern forces were very good at defense. Their forces were able to look down upon the Union forces and they were well defended with gun emplacements, tunnels, etc. When the Southern forces surrendered, according to the Wikepedia account , the Union forces had 77,000 men with 4835 dead and the Confederate forces had 32,697 with about 3,202 dead. I am not certain whether the Confederate forces who surrendered included civilians as well as soldiers or not.

I found out in talking to people currently living in Vicksburg an interesting detail that I had never seen mentioned in any of the history books written about the Siege of Vicksburg. According to the locals, the main sources of food as the siege continued were chickpeas and mule meat. Much of the population were living in caves to escape the artillery shells fired by the Union Army, so the casualty rate was very low, and the primary reason for the surrender of the Confederate forces was not because they were being overwhelmed by the Union forces but for a different reason entirely. The South was experiencing a very severe drought, and Vicksburg did not have wells but cisterns, which could only be filled by local streams or rainwater. So, while a diet of chickpeas and mule meat might have gotten very tiresome to eat, the population could not survive without water. So the Confederate Army at Vicksburg was forced to surrender. The Union Soldiers were so in awe of the bravery and the defense put up by the Confederate Soldiers that they lined up and shook hands with them as they surrendered. The Confederate soldiers were allowed to return to their homes because the Union Army could not provide food for so many men and did not want to divert their forces from bringing an end to the war.

In one Southern home we visited, there was a bulge in the wall in the entry hall to the home which was plastered over and left because am artillery shell was logged in the wall. It was too dangerous to try to remove it, because there was no way of knowing whether is was live or not. Two unmarried sisters had lived in the house during the Civil War and as well as after the war. It was obvious that at one time they had been well off, but the war changes the fortunes of many. This included the two women living in this home. The wisteria vines had not been trimmed so they came in one window of a very large room and went across the room and out the other side through another window.

Our next stop on our tour of Vicksburg was to go to the bluff and look down upon the Mississippi River. It is an awesome sight because it is a very long way down to the river bank. If the Union forces had tried to scale the cliffs the casualties would have been very great. I think one reason for our reaction to Vicksburg, was that I am certain that both my wife and I had family members fighting on both sides of the Civil war. We probably had more on the Confederate side since our ancestors were primarily Southerns. The soldiers on both sides of this conflict usually went to join a unit as friends. My Grandfather was 18 years old during the Civil War but did not serve because he broke his leg. By the time it healed, all of his friends had already gone of his had already gone to war. Serving in the Civil War with friends was a common practice as depicted in a book I just finished reading. This book, by Harold Coyle, “Until The End,” is about the conclusion of the Civil War, and follows two other books he has written about the Civil War. “Until The End” takes place in the Eastern states and is well worth reading.

BLUEHOST THE DOMAIN HOST OF CHOICE

Bluehost is an excellent choice for a hosting service because it has an excellent C-Panel to assist your in setting up your own blogs. If you use WordPress.org and are unfamiliar on how to setup your first blog, a technician is always available to load it for you and help you out when you have trouble. I know because I went through this process myself and made several dumb mistakes, or should I say uniformed choices leading to starting my blog all over again. At present, I have two blogs each for a different purpose, both are WordPress.org blogs and both hosted by Bluehost. You can host as many blogs as your want for an additional hosting fee. I chose to host with Bluehost.com for a period of three years which includes 24/7 access to technical help and many other services listed in the C-Panel. A major help in setting up your own blog is the existence of both Bluehost.com and WordPress.org. The latter is an open source service that allows you to set up your own blog for free and have access to online forums. In the forums you have the opportunity to interact with people who are having problems and successes with their blogs. WordPress also has plugins which help you to add a multitude of features to enhance your blog. I have learned much about blogging in the past year after starting from zero knowledge about blogging to a point where I am still a beginner in many ways, but much more proficient than when I began in 2008. To find our more click on the Bluehost logo.

MYTHS AND GREEN TECHNOLOGY

Myths and Green Technology

The information given out by various companies regarding their efforts to fund green innovations to improve the fuel efficiency of present and future automobiles, trucks, tractors, and other farm implements are both short sighted and often intentionally misleading. For example, the promise of electric vehicles which would be powered by the electrical grid does little to reduce overall pollution if it means that the source of the fuel to produce the electricity are coal fired plants or nuclear plants. Even the promise of clean, coal fired technology does not remove the pollution caused by the mining of coal. Likewise, the promise of hybrid cars which use both a gasoline and an electric motor are not cost effective at the present time. The State of South Carolina, along with funds provided by the EPA recently retrofitted a Chevrolet Pickup to run exclusively on hydrogen. One of the companies participating in this project was Ecotality which is currently using Jet Propulsion Laboratory(JPL) technology for hydrogen on demand to run a demonstration bus, but this technology was not used on the pickup. Instead, the project used hydrogen cylinders which were placed in the pickup bed, which basically made the bed unusable for ordinary cargo. Also participating in this project was a company that makes flywheels of carbon fibers which can turn up to 90,000 rpm, but again this technology was not incorporated in the pickup. In 1972 Scientific American reported that with a flywheel engine, made of fibers, which would operate in an evacuated chamber, it would be possible to charge up the flywheel, drive to the airport, park it for three weeks and still have enough energy to drive home. These engines would be charged at night on the electrical grid. The whole focus of the current hydrogen technology is to develop a hydrogen infrastructure whereby one could fill up at a hydrogen service station. The problem with such a scenario is that it ignores the fact that our present gasoline and diesel engines already run on hydrogen since gasoline is at least half hydrogen. Also, there are estimates that the percentage of one gallon of gasoline used by a car is only 20%. This means that the other 80% of a gallon of gasoline is wasted. The problem according to one source, is that the fuel sensors set at the factory by the new car manufacturers are intentionally not meant to provide the best mileage. If a sensor is changed with an aftermarket or alternate sensor, the mechanic can be fined as much as $250,000. The purpose of this law is obvious, do not try to increase fuel performance by altering the fuel sensor.

For those who want to change this policy, there are several things you can do to change the policies of the EPA:

1. Write or call your Senator or Representative
2. Write or call the EPA
3. Write or call the Bush Administration
4. Write or call the Governor of your state
5. Write or call your State Senators and State Representatives

Remember, the ordinary gasoline powered automobile runs on hydrogen, because gasoline is mostly hydrogen. So to create a hybrid car we only have to add a hydrogen generator to break down water into its component parts, two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule. This process is accomplished attaching a hydrogen generator to the battery and generator and feeding the hydrogen and oxygen into the carberator or fuel injection system. The addition of these kits have two effects, an increase in fuel economy and a decrease in pollution. Additional hydrogen injected along with the existing gasoline increases the amount of hydrogen available to the engine, it helps the combined fuel to burn more efficiently, it cleans the engine of carbon deposits, and the emission is mostly water. It is necessary to add an after-market fuel sensor, which is usually included in the kits available on the market, and since it is an after market sensor it is legal. The cost of Hydrogen kits can run as much as about $1200 or less depending upon the size of the engine and whether it is gasoline or diesel . There are also instructions for building your own kits if you are mechanically inclined.
There are many websites advertising hydrogen generator kits so all you have to do is look up information on Brown’s Gas which is HHO. You can also learn about the History of Brown’s Gas at www.brownsgas.com.
It is important that our politicians at all levels are informed about the alternatives to oil, nuclear energy, coal, and other polluting forms of energy. Most politicians have very little scientific or technical knowledge so they are easy prey for lobbyists, particularly those with large sums of money who represent large corporations who do not want any significant changes. For example, hydrogen on demand does not require a significant change in the infrastructure. It requires water, electrical energy, and a catalyst such as sodium hydroxide(NaOH). It can be installed on any internal combustion engine, both gasoline and diesel, and with the installation of an after market fuel sensor, it can be tweaked to provide optimum fuel consumption. The best mileage is achieved with these devices at normal freeway speeds over long distances. As with any stop and go traffic, the mileage achieved is less than you will get on the open freeway.

A PARTIAL FAMILY HISTORY

I have two older sisters and a nephew who spent years compiling a history of my fraternal relatives, the Bells, and my maternal relatives, the Rankins. I was only mildly interested and would spend a small amount of time reading the genealogical record they produced. Over the past five years since I have had time to do some research of my own I have become very interested because as you read about the ancestors, you begin to understand that human history repeats in the form of triumphs, tragedies, successes and failures. We not only share genetic material but psychic tendencies as well. For example, my fraternal family came from Northern Ireland to Virginia, and began to expand south as well as west. Some were killed by the British and some by Indians. We always thought we were of Irish descent, but because of the trouble between Cromwell and James I, much of Northern Ireland was depopulated. As a result, Northern Ireland was open to settlement from Scotland. The Scots were primarily Protestant while the Irish were Catholic which later led to the killing on both sides by the Protestant and Catholic factions of Northern Ireland. When the Scots were defeated by Cromwell’s Army at the Battle of Dunbar, many of the leaders were started on a forced march to the South of England, and like the Cherokee Indians, in the forced march known as the Trail of Tears, many died during the march and during captivity. My wife’s ancestor, Ninian Beall, was one of the captured leaders of the Scots. He was sent to Barbados and served four years in prison before coming to the area now known as Washington. DC. He served five more years as an indentured servant and was given fifty acres of land at the end of his servitude. By the end of his life, he owned seven square miles of land in what is now known as Washington D.C., served as a Col in the Militia. Either he or one of his sons built the mansion that Jacquelin Kennedy lived in for a year after President John Kennedy was assassinated.

The Scots were scattered worldwide many going to Australia and the Americas. The ones staying in Great Britain, became leaders in medicine, teaching, finance and many other professions requiring advanced education. During the Cromwell era, the Royalists were scattered as well with many of them coming to Maryland and Virginia for their own safety. My first known relative, a John Bell came as a stowaway on a ship, probably to escape from Cromwell’s tyranny. He married Ann Bennett, member of a prominent Virginia family. There are two distinguishing characteristics of the early families to their new homeland, one they acquired vast tracks of land and two they had large families. My ancestor and his new wife were given a large track of land by the Bennett family. This trend continued as the families moved westward on both sides of my family and my wife’s family. Another interesting pattern was the marriage of first cousins and the marriage of two or more brothers marrying sisters in a neighboring family. My wife’s mother and two of her sisters, of the Goss family, married three brothers of the McGehee family. These same patterns happened in my family as well. Cousins born into these families are referred to as double cousins. They often have similar medical problems and other similar traits because they share more genetic material than normal cousins. I do not know if any double first cousins intermarried, but I would certainly hope not.

GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH
When my nephew, retired from teaching, he started his own genealogical business. He had much experience and was able to gather information on my wife’s family and found that our ancestors had intermarried. A McGehee married a Borum on my side of the family. I grew up in Oregon, and my wife, Doris McGehee Bell grew up in Mississippi. but we met in Oregon. My Mother grew up in Jonesboro, Arkansas and my wife’s Mother in Greenwood, Mississippi. These two communities are only 150 miles apart and both in what is known as the Mississippi Delta. However travel was limited for most families, so communications were also limited. Another limiting factor is researching ancestry are the changes in spelling. Bell and McGehee have many variations so that from one generation to another the spellings may change from Bell to Beall to Beal, etc.

Many emigrants to this country were at the mercy of the census taker whose spelling was poor or who could not understand either the dialect or the language spoken by the immigrant. If one looks at writings in early American , the spelling was not standardized.

The practice of having large families was necessary in order to manage the large tracks of land and also because so many children did not survive to adulthood. My paternal grandfather had eleven or twelve children, but only three survived. His first wife died after having nine children with one daughter surviving and one who was born blind and raised by another member of the family. He then married a second time to a young woman who was a friend of his eldest daughter and also the same age. His second wife was supposedly part Cherokee, but this is primarily oral tradition. She had two children and two miscarriages and died in her twenties. It was not uncommon for the men to have two, three or four wives by the time they died. One of the common ancestors of my wife and I have had twelve children by her mid-thirties and died. Her husband married again and had more children.

Like many families who had ancestors living in both the North and South, we very likely had family members fighting against each other. The conflict we have been having this past six years is only a continuing saga in human history. Finally, the Scots have continued the tradition of scholarly achievement in the United States and have held public offices in all branches of government and in the professions. My family has a long tradition in teaching as well as military service. If I remember this fact correctly, about two thirds of the leaders in this nation are descendants of Scots, so Cromwell may have done a great service in sending them on their way from England. I have a book of note: Sir Robert Bell and His Early Virginia Colony Descendants, by James Elton Bell and Frances Jean Bell(2007).
Kentucky Ancestry: A Guide to Genealogical and Historical Researchby: Roseann Reinemuth Hogan
Scottish Ancestry: Research Methods for Family Historians Revised 2nd Edition
Tracing your Scottish Ancestry Third Editionby: Kathleen B. Cory, Leslie Hodgson
Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families (Royal Ancestry) by: Douglas Richardson; Kimball G. Everingham
Google Blog Search
I have my own blog, actually two blogs. I might very well consider dedicating one of those blogs to book reviews and another to genealogical research. Of course I would like to monetize them to support my hobby. I could easily start with my own library and expand from there. I have many topics in mind including reincarnation, utopian novels, zen philosophies, several books such as writings by Kahlil Gibran which are out of print but not out of mind,
I lean to reincarnation, because it is the most logical. It is not a continuation of life from one point, i.e., birth , but a continuation of past, present, and future. I would hate to think as some scientists claim that we are nothing but a combination of atoms and that thought is merely a chemical process. If you consider scientific thought and look at persons such as Einstein, or children born with information that they could not have acquired in such a short span of time, it creates doubt that we live only one life. In fact thought may be the ultimate reality.

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ETHNIC AND OTHER STEREOTYPES

I do not know about you, but when someone uses an ethnic stereotype or any other stereotype, I wonder if we as a group of creatures known as human beings will ever learn to trust one another. Warfare has been the primary method of eliminating anyone who is different from us whether it is their religion, tribe, color of skin or any other excuse. During my lifetime, I have lived through World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War, ethnic cleansing in what was once Yugoslavia, and presently the war in Afganistan, and Iraq. We currently have two Presidential Candidates who have radically different ideas on how to end these wars. One thinks winning the war with honor is important, but we got into the last war in Iraq, dishonorably so how can be get out of the war honorably? One candidate, John McCain, stated on Larry King’s show about three years ago that we should not have a draft because we were not well served by draftees, but he must have forgotten or never knew that most of the enlistees in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War were enlistees only after they got their draft notices and then signed up for the branch of service of their choice to escape being assigned to a branch not to their liking, the infantry, for example. I wrote to John McCain, after that interview with Larry King, and asked him how he came to that conclusion, since his way was paid for by taxpayer money at the Naval Academy. It was only by chance that he was shot down and spent five years in Hanoi Hilton as a prisoner of war. He might have been killed, just as the enlistee or the draftee, could have been killed, and if they were killed then dead is dead. A bullet or a bomb does not stop and seek out only the draftee.

In my family, my father served in the Navy in World War I, a Greek brother-in-law, served in the Army Air Corp in World War II, a Hispanic brother-in-law served in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, was a DI in the Marine Corp, and was sent to Texas to tell the the Spanish Speaking residents that their son had been killed in action. I had a cousin of Scottish descent who was a Naval Academy graduate and served on board a ship in World War II. No one cared or asked their ethnic, political, or religious background before, during, or after the wars they served in. No one asked how they happened to be serving in the military or how it happened that someone they knew either never served or never served in combat. In my case, I served in the National Guard and later in the US Army in a Helicopter Company. I served honorably, had only one three day pass, primarily because I had several jobs I performed, and yes I was a draftee. I got a deferment to finish college, which meant that I would get drafted once I finished college, and I served honorably and well even though I was a draftee.

John McClain was asked if he resented the treatment he received from George Bush in the 2000 campaign, because Bush lied about him in that campaign. He told Larry King that he forgave Bush because every politician lies and cheats during an election. So are we well served by a graduate of the Naval Academy, who is not supposed to lie or cheat, yet decides it is the correct thing to do when running for and is elected to a public office such as as the United States Senate? What happens when his opponent is of mixed race, white and black? If you come to think of it, my family is certainly mixed. Both sides of my family came from Scotland to the Colonies to escape persecution by the English. But the British Isles were constantly being invaded throughout their history so they were certainly not ethnically pure. We have found out recently that President Thomas Jefferson supposedly had a black mistress, although later reports point to his uncle as the one who had a black mistress, not Jefferson. He happens to be a relative of mine. In fact, at one time, many of my relatives were large land owners in what later became the Southern States. Many of these relatives had slaves at one time when the rum, slave and cotton trade became profitable. I am very certain that some of my slave owning relatives had black mistresses. There are certainly a good number of U.S. citizens who have my last name as their last name. The same is true of my wife, who is also a distant relative of mine. She thinks her paternal grandmother was probably part Choctaw Indian. My fraternal grandmother was part Cherokee Indian. So I have trouble keeping my ethnicity pure, and I have trouble knowing which ethnic group to hate. Maybe I should just accept all ethnic groups as deserving of respect.

General Colin Powell commented that even if Barack Obama were Muslim rather than Christian, which he is not, would that along with his Black and White heritage, make him unfit to become President of the United States? He had just read about a Muslim Soldier who had served honorably in Iraq and had been killed in the line of duty. His parents are U.S. citizens and certainly were grieving for him as would any parents regardless of their race or ethnicity. I hope we are ready for Presidents of many different backgrounds. This nation was founded upon the principles of religious freedom and civil freedom if I remember correctly.

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