Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The victim is always guilty

There seems to be an outbreak of contrary opinions being posted on various internet forums. People are logging into various sites and posting opposing conservative opinions without any support or evidence to their statement. When other refute their statements, they merely say the others are wrong and they are correct—end of discussion. Ignoring all evidence to the contrary, they continue condemning opposing ideas, claiming the opposition is just unwilling to educate themselves as to the truth and are being misled by ungodly liberals. Perhaps they feel that by not listing their evidence and calling for others to present theirs, will persuade others that those who fight, or can be made to sound angry, have to be wrong. After all, a logical and rational person with science on their side has little need to argue. We as a society have been exposed to training to prepare us to accept the illogical based simply on form of argument. Common sense has been given a bad name. We are being molded to accept the strength of a debate simply by the presenter’s attitude and poise? Redaction has been presented as necessary for security and as a tool for clarification. We are led to believe those in power know best and others are not able to share the same space with the mighty minds oppression. The fact that the oppressed are viewed as the oppressors and tyrants should be a red flag. The oppressors have been successful in making the oppressed look like they have the power? That it is actually the capitalist (oppressors) fighting for the dreams of the working class. The capitalists’ success in destroying the unions has been phenomenal. Having convinced the working class that the unions have prevented them from their birthright is nothing short of heresy and really should be applauded. While it is true some of the allegations lean towards the truth, the unions and the wage-slaves have allowed the image to be perpetuated. By allowing incompetence to reign with in the rank and file in favor of perks, the union has provided a foundation on which all other corpses have been laid. Which raises the all too obvious question— ARE WE ACTUALLY PREPARED TO ACCEPT THOSE WHO WRITE HISTORY TO BE OBJECTIVE AND FORTHCOMING WITH THE TRUTH?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Historical insight

So I picked up a book I have been hauling around the country for the past 4 years. I acquired the book at Boysville when we were cleaning out closets. The title is DETROIT IS MY OWN HOMETOWN written by Malcolm Bingay. This is the 1st edition published in 1946. Misspellings and grammar issues galore. Malcolm was a writer for the Detroit News from 1921 as a reporter at 17 until 1928 when he was fired as managing editor. After a year of doing other work, Malcolm found a position at the Detroit Free Press in 1930. Malcolm's book tells the industrial history of Detroit. The time when Detroit could and would do anything better than anyplace in the world. As I read the history thus far (I am at the point in history when Walter Chrysler has taken control of Dodge) I am feeling both awe and frustration for a city that now sits solidly at the bottom of US cities in every category except crime. To read how John Dodge told the secretary of defense to sit down and shut up, just let Detroit do what it does best is inspiring to say the least. In those days Detroit just needed a blueprint of something and their engineers and craftsman could reproduce a identical copy. Now the city can barely create a viable economy. It is caught up in political infighting, playing the race card and sharing the wealth amongst a select few in politics and business cronies at the expense of the citizens who so badly need to believe in someone.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just another Brick in the Wall...

I suppose it is the thing to do during Christmas. We all learned our lesson after watching Dickens A Christmas Carol and being a Scrooge, we all get uppity about helping others during the holiday season.
We all run out to stuff the Salvation Army kettles, drop a few dollars on St. Jude, and even manage to send in a contribution to a rescue shelter or two. We sit around watching TV shows that make us feel warm and fuzzy, and may be even a tear or two. My wife and I watched the Mitch Albom made for TV show Have a Little Faith on the Lifetime Channel. It is a real tear-jerker about learing the meaning of who is our neighbor. It ends with a lesson learned, the passing of an icon, and finding that something within our hearts to forgive and accept people can and want to change. Then the holiday season ends like it usually does--there are still thousands of people who need help and we get on with our everyday living.
I have been posting on the City Data forum lately on the education board. I have been discussing the impact poverty has on the education of our children. I say "our" because whatever community you live in, the children are indeed OUR responsibility--at least so far as watching over them and keeping them safe by providing for their education and having services /programs available to assist them in the transition from adolescence towards adulthood.
As a teacher, I have seen severe deficiencies in bother services to and programs for children living in less than stellar conditions. All these children live in an environment that is beyond their control. Many no longer have parents around and are being raised by relatives; typically a grandmother serves as the single parent. The last thing children who are living for the moment want to do is school. Especially a school where they are less a person because they come from a home where there is no support or encouragement. The schools and their communities all too quickly adopt the attitude if mom and dad do not care, why should we or anyone else?
Children from lower income settings tend to perform lower than their peers academically and socially. Not that this is a surprise—if it is YOU need to get out of your cave more often—but what is a surprise is that these children are slowly and systematically being denied educational opportunities. But you say:
They are going to school!
They are in the classroom!
They even get FREE breakfast and food!
WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY ARE BEING DENIED? They get more than my kids do…
While most of these points may be true, the poverty class student still lags behind their peer. Sure some of the blame belongs to their domestic situation. But an even larger part of the blame belongs to the educational system. The system has realigned itself to create a world where the poor / poverty child will be left behind.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We will not cry

You don't miss what you had, until it is taken from you. Yada, yada, yada...we hear this from such an early age and it is repeated throughout our life. We allow ourselves to become callus so that the pain cannot touch us. It starts with our first experience with death. If we have any thing in common, it is our first taste of death. This is usually when our pet dies.

Until that moment, we really have no concept of dying. We find ourselves crying for our pet, but never really knowing why. If we were to completely understand the situation, we cry because we no longer possess the beloved pet. Which in itself is a from of loss, but death itself remains an abstract notion for years to come. In the mean time, it was just a stupid animal afterall.

It is then that we begin to demonize other life forms to justify our callousness. We erect the wall around our heart. We fear the pain associated with loss. To better avoid this fear, we justify our cruelty by making everything an inanimate object. When anything is stripped of its value, we are able to dispose of it without a second though or a moment of regret.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Declarations of my secret deeds.

A while back I wrote about addiction in the Blue Road Publishing blog. The controlling force of our desire. So strong that we are all but powerless. We fear domination, so we in turn create excuses for our behavior. Our choices are protected by our need to be seen as influential to the public.

That concept--choice--is in and of itself misuderstood. Try explaining the idea to someone who has never seen any decison as a choice, rather it is and will always be survival. Choice seems to conjure the image of having the ability to pick between two or more scenarios. Choice is the ability to consider possiblities; to have the foresight to determine the best play. Saying we have a choice leads us to believe all outcomes are acceptable.

But what would everyone else have done? I have no choice except to confess the transgressions of my past. For too long I have refused to accept the consequences while enjoying the benefits of my sinful desires which have driven my choices...

I can only pray...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

So this is Christmas...

It is the holidays and John Lennon is on my mind. Not the person, but the attitude. Looking back I can see where Lennon has been a driving force in my thinking. It started with the proverbial fixation with the Beatles back in 1971. I was ii years old and just starting junior high school (7th grade). Well before the idiots created the middle school concept and education started on the descent into Dante's 7th circle.
I am not sure what made the Beatles resonate with me. I had been an ardent country music fan. I suppose the Beatles were my gateway into heavy metal a few years later and my man crush on Robert Plant and Roger Waters. But I remember I took rather quickly to John and Paul's writing. Though each of the Fab 4 had a distinct style, John's always held my attention. Paul's was alright, but I was the kid that never thought of love as something to be experienced, rather it was just a feeling to empathize with.
John's writing always took you some place. Though I must admit when he set out on his solo career, I was less than enthusiastic. Double Fantasy was a mixed bag of worries for me. But over the years, I have realized the importance of this album and why Johns felt he had to record it. Now I find myself longing to hear more Lennon songs. To hear that idealistic soul, reaching out to the world, just trying to get us some peace.

So I started with the Christmas theme and digressed to Lennonology. My original point was being here in North Carolina, on December 11, 2011 and it is 55 degrees outside. The Christmas spirit is not moving me. Mary commented the other night how there is a blantant lack of holiday lighting throughout the area. We are just south west of Raleigh near Ft. Bragg and folks here just aren't lighting up.
There are select places that do the Chevy Chase Christmas light explosion, but they are overtly commercial. There is Meadows Lights that require a train ride to see all the lights clearly and another place just east of Raleigh in someone's front yard. But very few private residences light up.

I just expected a little more participation from the Bible belt.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

SO Herman Cain's faux presidential run is DOA. I thought he was always just a tail wagger for the republickins. I believe that the real republickin candidate is yet to be revealed. I expect the person to be candidate will arise from the pyre just before New Hampshire primaries. The media will conveniently fail to vet the candidate and he will be hoisted on high as the new GOP saviour. I say "he" because I truly doubt the republickins will not put a woman up against an incumbent. I want to say he will be old, but the GOP just might pull a rabbit out of their ass and hold up a 40 something guy with moderate leanings in the public eye, but he will in turn choose an ultra conservative VP. The GOP is still trying to find a way to discredit a black man who happens to be president without being overtly racist. And the black man is trying to be president without being overtly black?
Time for President Obama to step up and be the leader this country needs. He was elected on a mandate. If King George II could say this with a straight face after the 2004 elections, then Barack can say it with sincerity. This country needs to get over the race barrier and accepot the fact President Obama has to do what a president does; that is to manipulate and coherse others into getting the job done. I for one am tired of this avoidance of the "Angry Black Man" appearance. President Obama was elected by the majority to GET ANGRY and correct the ills of this country.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Watchful Eyes

Thanks for the guest post by Donn Schroeder

One of the best things about living in a neighborhood is that you have neighbors to keep an eye on things while you’re away. This is one of the fundamental benefits of purchasing a home in a neighborhood. Unfortunately, we do not live in a friendly neighborhood. We have lived here for over a year and a half, and not one of our neighbors has offered anything by way of greeting other than a very unenthusiastic wave as we drive by. Therefore, I have little faith in their willingness to watch our house while we’re gone. It’s a sad reality. As with any sad reality, I choose to ignore it. Instead, I enlist the help of ADT LICK CREEK. I pay a paltry amount every month for the peace of mind that having an alarm provides me, in my opinion. I know that if we’re away from the house for work or if we choose to take a last minute weekend trip, our house is protected. If there is a fire, flood, or burglary, my alarm monitoring company notifies me immediately and then alerts the proper authorities. While having an alarm can’t prevent something bad from happening, it certainly makes handling an undesirable situation much easier. It’s worth every penny.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Suffer the Children.

Hav i ng spent my career in education, I have seen it all. Kids beaten, raped, sold, bought, and murdered. Not to say it was education's fault nor the lack of standards and expectations. The majority of kids are are still in the home with some sort of relative. Either biological parents, grandparents or aunts / uncles. Some are abused willfully, others by beingf wrong place at the wrong time. Butthey come to school everyday, unless they are forced to stay home or physically locked down. School is a sanctuary. It is not a treatment facility. A place to fix all the world's ills. But is is a place of respite.

Now we have taken that away. We have refused to see the kid as an individual. We are being forced to see all kids as the same. We are placing every kid into the same round hole, no matter what shape they really are. The singer is forced into college math, the writer into chemistry. The musician has to diagram sentences. Is it any wonder we are losing kids in such large numbers?

We need to raise our children to achieve. We need to teach our children to achieve their personal potential.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

When the snark is on

There is always something to snark about. It isn't a matter of having material; it is usually a matter of what is snark-worthy. Those of us, who do snark, do so not to humiliate (seriously) but rather to educate and persuade others of the hidden reality. Sometimes we snark too long on the dead elephant or donkey as the case may be.
I am thinking it might be time to do a few more snarks on those religious zealots. Those self-proclaimed family value folks who never seem to have time to practice what they preach.
This idea is always ruminating in the brain. Not at the forefront, but within the thought process nonetheless. Occasionally people like Steven Colbert will bring it to the forefront. Last week I found his WWJD quote.

"If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it."

Now most zealots will point to this and scream heresy on the part of Colbert. In an attempt to wag the tail and avoid any condemnation of themselves, they start pointing and chanting about anti-Jesus rhetoric. Blaming the "liberal" front and the Democrats while upholding the conservative and Republican platform.
And all that is good and holy in the opposing parties will run and hide out of fear they will get caught up in an apologetics argument. One we feel unworthy of winning because we have accepted the fact that we are ungodly. They have convinced us that their right is right and we are wrong.
Those of us on the opposition have surrendered our right to be right. We have let go of God and have tried to fight for our community based on reason, logic and common sense. All the while the conservatives have used irrational, illogic, and the inexplicable acceptance of a god to rally the masses to do stupid things. The god of the conservatives is an old white guy long since DEAD who encourages wealth and status by any means necessary--but not for EVERYONE...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hubby and the Dog

Authored by Leandro Delgado

When we got Direct tv for my husband at home I was finally allowed to get the Pomeranian I’d been wanting for so long. He told me that if he was allowed to get all his football channels I could get a dog and that’s exactly what I did! I love Penny and she’s my little football dog, at least, that’s what my husband calls her. He even got her a tiny little jersey to wear on game days which I think is a little bit ridiculous! I love him to death but he has some weird ideas about how things work. He says that now that I have Penny he should be allowed to get a Doberman which is what he’s always wanted but I say there’s no way a dog like that is welcome in my home. I’m sorry, but with Penny and the kids around I don’t want to take any chances with a dog that may turn violent, you know? I told him he got his football and he should be happy with that!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Everywhere there seems to be something "new"

It seems we are exposed to the "new & Improved" on a daily basis. We have all thought why did it have to be improved? I thought I heard last week about how that changing of the original Coke © recipe was all just a huge publicity ploy.

Somedays, I am just soooo tired of manipulation by the media. President Obama, who I respect and admire, said Hurricane Irene was an "historic storm."
Seriously? A category 1 hurricane historic? It was below 100 mph after it left the OBX heading for NY. As with any hurricane, it was a dangerous storm to be sure.
Eventually our language suffers when we continue to use words to impress when the actual event ought to be impressive in and of itself. Taking out a thesaurus to hype something, is just asking for people to ridicule it. The bigger and badder something or someone is made out to be, the more people will step up and challege it.
There were folks in NY city laughing at Hurricane Irene. Though I have never been in a hurricane un close and personal, I am pretty sure they are nothing to be laughed at. Even 85 mph winds have the power to take down an average house, telephone poles and a few roofs off shopping malls.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tired of doing what we love

Finally, we have realized that true value of doing what you love...ZERO...ZILCH...NADA...We have known it for some time. We wanted to make a difference in someone's life. We wanted to influence others to change their world. On some level we were successful. We have been able to facilitate postitive choices and have seen improvement on an individual level.
Everytime things got tough in the classroom, we always had that one moment that always made it worthwhile. Like the parent who came up to me at graduation telling me "You gave me back my son." All I did was treat him like a person and that made the difference. My wife and I NEVER imparted ACADEMIC knowledge to any great degree. None of our students developed into Genius or Rhode Scholars (unless they already were), rather they became HUMAN. They learned that people care fore each other, that it is ok to make mistakes, that we don't like everyone and that tomorrow is a new day.
However, they were not able to apply this to standardized tests. They did show documented growth in the areas of Math and Reading, just not significant enough to warrant praise from the administration. We were unable to take a child 2-3 years below grade level and within 1 year have them at or just below current grade level.
We knew teachers who could do this...somehow they could take a SpEd student in the 7th grade (chronologically 8th) who was reading at a 4th grade level and doing math at a 5th grade level in September, and have that student reading and doing math 2-3 grade levels up from where they started.
But suddenly when that same student was in my room, they couldn't read 4th grade texts nor could they do 7th grade math---What a BAD teacher I was...
Yep, uh-huh...
Having spent my entire life in education of some form, I can tell you that for the most part it is all SMOKE and MIRRORS. Just an ILLUSION.
I started in 1995, making $29K a year. At one point I was making $50K. Generally I averaged $42K between 1997 and 2009. Currently I am making less than $40K,(for the past 3 years with no increases) co-pay insurance just for myself--NOT family, and contracted to work an 8 hour day. All this I did for the love of teaching.
Today I have NO retirement, no medical pension and no real job security. They are RIF'ing senior teachers who make $40K or more on a regular basis and hiring new graduates for $30K.
This year I have promised myself will be the last. At 51, it is past time for a career change. Time to forego love and latch onto income potential.
Teaching is a dying ART. It is becoming scripted and like housing, pre-fabricated to the point any one who is willing to follow directives without regard to the child's well-being, will be successful.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Learning the Ropes

Post contributed by Leonard Phelps

Owning your own business sometimes isn’t all it’s cracked up to be but all in all I’d say it’s a pretty good way to earn a living. My husband and I have our own specialty cheese shop right in downtown and I love being able to go into work everyday knowing it’s going to be with something I know I like to do. I couldn’t take one more day of spreadsheets! It took a lot to get the place off the ground and we spent over 6 months just renovating the shop itself. We went to, hired a guy to come fix the broken AC system and even someone to plant some really pretty boxwoods out front the window. IT’s been quite the journey but business has actually been great and we’re really starting to integrate into the neighborhood like I imagined we would! I love my husband and it’s really great being able to go into work every day and hang out with him and play with fresh, homemade

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Love don't pay the Edison bill...

Folks on another forum are encouraging a gainfully employed person, living in Denver, to quit his job and move back to Michigan. Chance are the person will NOT find a job in the very near future, and will be moving back in with his parents since he will have NO income other than a savings.

The questions were asked, "What is $ when you have family close to you?"

And "Family and Michigan, what more do you need?"

This was my response---

May be an income? A means of supporting yourself rather than sitting on momma's couch watching Transformers and mooching pizza from your friends and daddy?

I mean, family is great, but there comes a time in every human's life that they have to start their own life. Sometimes we don't get to chose where that is.

Not sure what vast job opportunities are available in Michigan, but my family and friends tell me there aren't many. The wind turbine business is VERY slow in getting off the ground and now King Richard is said to be destroying much of the fabric that made life in Michigan good. Though I hear Snyder is poised to take down those "evil, nasty, vile" unions that brought prosperity to millions of folks in the 1950s and 1960s.
Seems the companies are now dealing with employees fairly and unions are dinosaurs. Isn't it just wonderful that billion dollar companies FINALLY respect employees and pay a fair and living wage without the negotiations and backroom dealings with a union?

I hear there are several hundred jobs coming soon. Will these positions be filled with company people who transfer from out of state? More than likely they will be filled by desperate people who need income (because family and Michigan [or any state] isn't always enough to pay the bills) and minimum wage is looking really good when your kids are hungry, Edison wants their $500 payment on that installment plan because last winter's gas bill averaged $700 a month and it had to be put on it's very own revolving credit account. $7.50 is darn good, it is almost what unemployment paid 3 years ago when the company laid everyone off to move to Mississippi or Mexico.

Some will still hold the unions to the light and claim there is nothing but despair and corruption running through its heart. BUt think about this, who is getting the millions that the company is earning? Does it get reinvested? Oh contraire, it goes into the CEOs pockets while the company is run into the ground (because the tax breaks will end and the company will move at that time) so if anyone has to benefit, let it be the CFOs and CEOs. The employees will finally learn what it means to be grateful they have a job and might even gravel and turn on each other--doing ANYTHING to keep it.

So why not move back home... tell the country that $ doesn't matter. Americans do not need to be financially content, because we now have family to support us, because this generation no longer needs to rely on government entitlements because we are too proud for that--besides mommy and daddy is just letting loose of our inheritence a bit early--it's not a handout, it's a handup...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

When does the snark ever slow down?

Only when we get over whelmed and seem to have 2000 and 12 things to do. We have been slacking with our responsibilities on the Snark site and it has been showing. Between a few sites / blogs and our infamous vehicle dilemmas, we almost missed the 6:00 pm rapture and the news of Da' Donald's untimely withdraw from the presidential race. Undoubtedly the withdraw was caused by Palin's desire to have Bristol Tippacanoe and baby too run for Arizona representative...As soon as the loop hole is closed that allows represenatatives to remain in office after an attempted assination while they FIGHZT for ANY recovery...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Can you hear me?

Every now and then, I get to participate in some good old fashion social intercourse. You know the kind, where all you can do is scream. It is almost painful, but you don't want it to stop. But if it goes on much longer you just know you're going to pay for it later...and aspirin is not going to help with the pain...
Tonight I engaged in just such a conversation. I immediately screamed at the computer when the person sent what I knew was a redundant question. One I had answered most clearly almost a year ago. In very great detail I might add. Surely I left NO doubt as to what it was we had shared--even though we had never met, nor had we experienced the event together at the same time and space.
Over the couse of the year, I followed their discussion on the internet. All the while wondering if this person was actually capable of empathy. I knew we had shared the same city growing up, different high schools, but I was confident we knew the same people--at least I knew the people they knew--it was doubtful they knew the people I knew on the other side of town. We probably even attended the same middle school ( they were junior high schools in the 1970s).
I tried to guess who this person was. They did not sound like anyone who would come from the same environment and end up as a scientist in the engineering field. Then leave that for education? They also would be at the same school I had taught at 8 years prior to their arrival.
Tonight they were on line at one of the forums I snark on. They PM me about a reference I made to a place near DTW. They ask if it is XXX crappy school. I say yes and name a few idiots that work there. They write back and say, OMG, when did you work there?
Silently screaming and pounding the keyboard, I ask them if they remember ANYTHING that is more than 24 hours old. I wonder if they remember their phone number, the names of their kids, their dog, or if they even know they have a dog and that they need to feed the dog.
When the guy asks if you can hear me now, it isn't a matter of having a good connection, it is a matter of comprehension and focus...Can that be any clearer?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A personal driveway moment.

If you listen to NPR with any regularity, you are familar with the "driveway moment."
It is when you park you car, but the story on NPR is too good to leave, so you sit in the car to finish the story. I used to have such moments all the time. Then I seemed to forget where NPR was on the radio dial.
Maybe the memory started to go bad when I came across an NPR table one night in Detroit. WDET was set up for First Friday at the Detroit Institute of Arts. First Fridays started as a way to bring folks back into the museum and soon became an every Friday event at the DIA.
I stopped, chatted and signed up to volunteer for some activities with WDET, the Detroit affilate of NPR run by Wayne State University. I went home and waited for a phone call to tell me about the next great opportunity with WDET.
I waited. And waited some phone call. No contact. At least not to volunteer. WDET did contact me via the United States Postal Service asking for monetary contributions. They sent me a LOT of these, but not ONE request or inquiry about volunteering...
Besides, the news was becoming depressing. I heard stories for which NO ONE else seemed to care about. Important stories that were being ignored by mainstream society. I shared news tidbits that my friend would hear about weeks later. And I was laughed at as a conspiracy nut.
Today I found myself listening to NPR here in North Carolina. For some reason my wife had it on her radio--91.5 here in the Triangle area. Lead story was Microsoft buying Skype for $8 billion, the largest purchase to date by Microsoft.
I turned the radio dial to some country music thinking the SKYPE news was another great story that will be ignored by mainstream society. I think the song was blue eyed devil in jeans...what was it Microsoft had done?

Monday, May 9, 2011

With 23 school days left, thinking about education...

Each day we read that another governor is attempting to dismantle education and or labor unions.

Typically both are targets when talking education. Unions killed the Big 3, ruined smal business and is doing the same to education.

Education is no longer about knowledge, learning or fun. Education has become an experiment in sociology (NOT socialism) and mass conformity. Society has been told that education HAS to be measured by some set standard. That standards will be the only mean by which we can acurately judge success of students and teachers.

Only today, the failure sems to lie with just one party. Since we cannot fire students and since they are all so competent, itr has to be the FAULT of teachers! We can fire them. They work 180 days and are paid more than the average person makes working year round. It is easy to create resentment and prejudice against a group once you instill the idea that the majority are suffering for the few.

The politicians are all about vouchers and charter schools. Give the public choices; let them seek out better schools that teach what the parents want their children to learn, not the socialist rhetoric being taught in public schools.

But wait--where did the current curriculum come from? Politicians elected by the PUBLIC to serve in state legislature! If they wrote this current TOXIC curriculum, surely they can edit and amend it?

Somehow the politicians have been able to convince the community they have nothing to do with curriculm and that it is BEYOND their control.

When will we wake up and see that the king has no clothes on? That the career politicians have taken this country and its Constitution hostage and we pay a hefty ransom EVERY day we refuse to hold them ALL accountable.

Want to talk salary? Who has life time health insurance, retirement after serving 1 term (80% of salary after serving 2 or more terms) and VOTES their own pay raises? TEACHERS?

Look around America and answer the phone--it has been ringing for a long time...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Detroit is alive and well, if you are a politician.

There are almost a million less people than there was in the 1950s. 200,000 less than 10 yers ago.
Yes the city has some fabulous areas. (How many rock stars, athletes and CEOs live in the city limits?) Even DAve Bing had to MOVE into the city to run for mayor..
But there is nothing (ok, very little) opportunity for the people who live in the city to make a living, shop at a real grocery store, or pick up a few quick items at Wally World. Because there are NO name brand franchise stores in the city. Not really sure why that is.

There was a time when Wally World offered classes at one (maybe more) Detroit high school teaching the skills needed to be a greeter or some other great position at Wally World. Problem is, there are no Wally Worlds in Detroit. So these Wally World students have to get on a D-DOT bus, take it to the city limits and either jump a SEMTA bus to the northern or southern burbs for a Wally World. They CANNOT get a bus to Livonia WAlly World because the good folks of the wonder bread capital USA voted to kick SEMTA out so that "those" people would not ride into LIviona via I-96 to shop at Meijers or Wally World.

ILlich has been allowed to use imminent domain to build his empire on Woodward which includes the FOX Theater, Comerica PArk and Hockey Town. Now he wants to force more landowners to goie up what is theirs and give it to him to relocate the hockey arena near the Illich compound.

So even the hard working folks in Detroit can lose their property to PROGRESS for pennies on the dollar--but hey--it's not like anyone else is wanting to but them, right?

And those who do live in one of the mansions that line certain areas (where are those?) pay a tax rate that amounts to extortion (but everyone pays that high rate, not everyone gets the services) for fire and police coverage. Because a house outside the covenanted mansion row will burn to the ground, or be burgled 5x faster than one on mansion row. But even a mansion has the chance to burn on a bad day.
Folks use the term GENTRIFICATION when talking about Detroit. Maybe that is an appropriate term? I see it as the powerful and influential feeding off the folks who are working themselves to death to pay taxes, get to a decent grocery store, and buy clothes so they MIGHT be able to get a ride, gas up the car and drive into the burbs to try and find employment. When that fails, well it usually ends up on the news as some hyped up lead story of how the citizens of the city have turned to self-indulgent acts to satisfy their cravings..

So is it the worse in the world? Doubtful. Have you seen any city India? Any city in Mexico? Central America? China? Detroit is far from the worse in the world.

What it is one of the worse at is allowing politicans and elected officials, from the school board to city council and all the Kilpatricks that have been and are yet to come, to run roughshod over their right to a humane existance and convincing the citizens they don't need no accountability or responsibility from their officials because "We are all in this together.' only when the city starts to stager, the officials are the first out with their war chests and the citizens are worse for the wear...

Will we teach our kids to LEARN?

I once taught a John Updike short story to an AP class one day. I forget the title, but it was about a priest who is working in a migrant community in the southwest and has the role of a Christ-like figure. In the end the priest is rounded up and killed as a martyr protecting the farmer...yada yada yada...The assignment was to write a character analysis of either the priest or the farmer and support it with quotes from the story that lead the student to that view.

I had never read the story prior to that day. I was a substitute (didn't even have my certification as I was junior year at Eastern Michigan) and the class had 10 senior AP English students. We read the story, actually I read the story in a VERY animated manner. As we began to discuss the book, the students looked a bit lost. It was just a farmer and a priest, a stupid priest at that since he had gotten himself killed..not very exciting characters they said.
I then asked what kind of person was the farmer. The class started talking about how he worked, cared for his community....the usual. We then talked about other "famous" personalities that had similar traits...Then we discussed the priest....we quickly filled the 12 foot long board with 100's of observations related to character and the students started writing their papers conversation filled the room. Most were amazed that such a short story, 6-8 pages, had so much in it. Most wrote papers that were 4-6 pages long--almost as long as the story they said unbelievably. As they were writing, a teacher from down the hall stopped in to see how were were getting along. She looked at the kids, all busy writing, looked at the board with all the prompts, and looked at me and asked--

"Of course you discussed the literary aspects and components of the story as well, right?"

Though I was at the school a few other times that year, I was never asked to sub in another academic class and was given either SpEd classes or CTE type classes.
I did see some of the students from the AP class and they all said they had done very well on their paper, but it was an omission on my part leaving out the literary terms.
I followed the lesson plan--READ, ANALYZE, WRITE/RESPOND, but somewhere in there a discussion of concepts was "assumed," after all it is an AP class...

Throughout my career, I have taken the creative road towards teaching. When a unit was completed, the students could tell you anything about the material--take a test and they failed miserably. Because, as I was told, it wasn't taught in a testable format...(ROFLMAO)
So I guess the point of this rant is that teaching isn't just about certification, hands on experience, or knowledge of a curriculum, teaching is about being able to instill a passion for learning--not necessarily knowledge. Knowledge is the result of learning. If we cannot, do not or will not learn, we have no chance to gain knowledge.

As David Allen Coe sang in his song The Ride--Can you make people feel what you feel inside...
Why are we expected to know how something works before we learn about it? We have forgotten how to teach others how to learn and forced them straight to knowledge.
Isn't that like forcing someone to eat liver everyday, telling them it is good for them and refusing to allow the person to learn what is "good" and discover possible alternatives that have the same out come?

Do we explain to a child how walking works before we try to get them to walk? Would they understand the laws of physics and balance? We just encourage them to walk and later they learn "why" it works.

I believe education has many things assbackwards. We have allowed ourselves to be consumed by the test, and lost sight of individuals and the importance of learning.
Like the proverb about giving a person a fish or teaching them to fish---

we are GIVING our kids knowledge without teaching them how to learn LEARN..

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday nights alright

So the talk today is gasoline prices. The papers and news outlets are saying a 10%-15% drop in prices are on the horizon as the speculators fear some sort of economic disaster should they continue playing petroleum god.
Reminds me of the Eddie Murphy movie Trading Places where the old guys are betting on how individual lives can be changed with the right influence.
Since when has it become fashionable to wager on the future of petroleum, food and now precious metals? Wall Street isn't just buying and selling anymore, they are now investing on a yet to be determined price...
Isn't this a bit like being a dentist and then handing out sugary treats to everyone then waiting for them to come into your office for fillings? Doesn't this smell just a little like a conflict of interest? At the very least it has to be suspicious...

Friday, May 6, 2011

TGIF what more is there

So like it's Friday in America. The beginning of the weekend for many folks in the country. If it takes 5 days each week (20 total for the month) to pay the bills (and barely for most people) and we only get 2 days a week (8 for the month) to rest and play, just how valuable is play? 26% of our time each month is devoted to relaxation.
I know most people forget the original meaning of May day although I hear people proclaim HAPPY MAY DAY as if it's a rite of passage. MAybe we need more lessons in real history and not the rah-rah USA montra being heard in every school building in America.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

SO much to snark

I missed my snark yesterday. I had a great one to share. I watched the Oprah show on Wednesday and she was hosting the 50th anniversiary of the Freedom Riders--all 178 survivors. I was amazed at how causually folks were able to "forgive" the past and those involved in the discrimination throughout the south. I kept thinking that people cna change, they are allowed to mature. After all, I am not the same person I was 25 years ago. Even 10 years ago I had different ideas than I have today.
I was already to snark on the hypocrites who hid behide the sheets using fear to prevent their world from changing and losing their position of authority. But that would have been too easy. Trying to hold the lynchers and mobs to a higher standard cries for snark. But I believe the focus needs to be on those who stood shoulder to shoulder and said "We will not be pushed around." Those folks who stepped into the shark infested waters and insisted on swimming.
What fun would it be to snark the metally deficient? After all they knew not what they done...They were folloeing in their daddy's and grand-daddy's fime tradition of superiority. One that required at least 10 peers to go out and perform "intervention" on a group of muck-rakers.
Soinstead I rested. Pondering what has happened to the America I grew up watching on the television screen in the 1960s. A time when people were proud of their neighbors, proud of their leaders and proud of their families. One would be hard pressed to find any person with a feeling of belonging to any group. Most of us participate simply for what benefits we can derive from those we flatter.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Watched the clip of Jon Stewart talking about Bin LAden' death. He said some folks would have "perspective." Some pithy words of wisdom of how anyone's death is not to be celebrated. That every person is valied and we, as civilized people cannot allow ourselves to rejoice in any form or death.
I, like Jon, paused for a split second, and resoundly said--YES WE CAN REJOICE in the death of one person. Especially if that one death brings hope to the world.
Bin Laden was an evil person. I for one refuse to accept the idea tha evil people are ALLOWED to walk amongst us. Because evil exists, does not mean society has to fit it into their schedule. We do not have to give it a chance. We do not have to try and modify it. We do not have to try and love it into submission.
We can however eradicate it at our earliest convenience. The longer evil is permitted to walk the Earth, the more innocent people are going to die. How can we mourn the deaths of innocents, while claiming to rehabilitate the evil? Does this not stink of conflict? We must love the evil in hopes of converting it while innocent are allowed to die beacause evil has yet to accept responsibility and accountability?
If evil were eliminated from society, how many innocents would die?

We rejoice over the resurrection on Easter morning, yet we refuse to celebrate the death. If there was no death, there is no redemption. Yet society steadfastly claims that the death is an abhoration in their eyes, in so far as to continue blaming the people of that time for the death. YET was it not HIS plan? Did he not orchestrate the whole event? WHY>?

Was it nor for our benefit>?

Sometimes DEATH must be a celebration.

Osama Bin Laden's surely is reason to celebrate.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wow, all the stuff!

Guest post written by my buddy Aldo Mays

I really had no idea all the things that went into opening your own business before I opened one of my own. For example, I had no idea how much effort went into creating a business website until I contacted with a designer… Thank goodness she knew what she was doing! Additionally, I had no idea who to call about our credit card merchant services or about credit card processing, so that took some research as well. All of the tax implications and bookkeeping regulations that come with being a business owner are really complicated, so I hired a part-time accountant to help me manage all the numerical details. I feel like I'm finally wrapp! ing my head around how difficult it is to manage a business, when all along I thought I would spend most of my time thinking of product innovations and customer service! That stuff is definitely important, but nowhere near as crucial as the day-to-day services and vendor relationships that really impacts how the business is run. I'm so glad I have so much help!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Free to SNARK

I am just tired of all the PC mentality that is floating around this society. When did it become wrong or bad to question authority or point out the obvious truth?
Why are snarkers made to feel like they should be embarassed for responding with obvious answers to unthoughtful statement? My bad, I jsut used a Polotically correct word. I said unthoughtful (is there even such a word) when I really wanted to say STUPID. Not that a snarker would say any statement in and of itself is stupid. But the snarker would give a rhetorical response that could be interpreted as saying."That was a stupid statement." Hence, a rhetorical statement. Why is it people like Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert are free to utilize SNARK in their shows? Is it because the shows are not taken seriously? If that were true, why are the movers and shakers so anxious to get on the show? Is it so they can say stupid things and not be taken seriously, if ay all?
At its best, SNARK will address the topic, issue or ideal, not the person. Though the person may be "guilty" by association with that idea, issue, or topic, they are NOT the target of the SNARK.
We need to remember hate the game, not the player..and not KILL the messenger, but the message is free-game...