Saturday, June 21, 2008

Moody Memes

I'll take that challenge.... but not that seriously, as you will see.

Your coma: Unplug, or keep on pluggin’? Surprisingly, I can't decide.
Superstition you can’t shake: I tend to touch a lot of doorways.
Last person you yelled at: Ooh, that's difficult. Probably my parents or brother.
Duty at work you hate: Phone banking.
Invention the world would be better off without: Television!
Actor/actress you’d trade your partner for: Um, no. Too implicitly based on looks.
Selling price for your kids: No such thing.
One thing your mom would faint if she knew about: Two words: Lawn ornaments.
Sound of the little voice in your head: The Narrator
What you do when the Jehovah’s Witnesses knock: Politely say no. Refuse materials.
Web sites you visit instead of working: Google Reader
Tylenol or Ibuprofen? Why stop at one? (Seriously, I have no preference.)
Oldest thing in your fridge: Salad dressing?
First thing you’d do if made dictator for life: Dismantle the military.
Burial or cremation? Burial - with no chemicals.
Worst vacation ever: The drive to Baker City.
Speed you’d drive if you knew you wouldn’t be ticketed: Barring gas, 85.
Best hangover cure: Coffee... probably Irish Coffee.
Sex on the first date? Yes.
Thing you say that makes you sound like your folks when you swore you never would: I repeat stories.

Friday, June 20, 2008

What's in a Name?

A commenter at LT's place (check the third comment) brings up the issue of how teachers and students address each other. Since I had a particular (peculiar?) stance on this when I was subbing, I wanted to lay it out.

First, I should say that I think it's within a person's rights to determine their own name, even a high school student. Obviously this could conflict with both common sense and generally established rules around so-called decency; I prefer to handle such situations on a case-by-case basis.

That said, here was my approach: Most subs write their name on the board before students came in: "Mr. X" or Ms. Y."

I just wrote 'Dennis'. No last name, no Mr. Sometimes I would write "Sub's name:" in front of it.

Needless to say, this resulted in a lot of confusion from students, especially early on. They would ask - "Is that your first name?" "Can we really call you that?" "Where is the Mr.?"

When that happened, I would tell them yes, that is my first name. I prefer you call me by that, though if calling me Mr. Dugan is more comfortable to you, you are welcome to do that.

Then I would drop the proverbial bomb: I would tell students they could call me whatever they wanted as long as it was not vulgar. Generally, this resulted in a fair amount of laughter; however, very few students ever used anything but my name. I chose that route because I felt it was a way for students to know that I was relaxed and had a sense of humor.... and because it was true. If it made students happier, I was perfectly willing to be known as Sparkle McFluffypants (though none of them ever thought of that, thank goodness).

After several months, I would hear whispers among students right after the bell: "Is that his name? What do we call him?" Students who knew me would explain to others how it worked. I was always amused by that.

The other thing I would tell classes, when they kept asking questions about why I chose to be on a first-name basis with them, was some version of this: Calling someone "Mr." is done as a sign of respect. Demanding that students call teachers Mr. (or Mrs, Miss, or Ms.) does not mean that students actually respect teachers - in fact, I would say, you know and I both know you can use an honorific and not respect them. Therefore, I don't see the point. Call me what you want - and I will do the same, as long as it's not vulgar.

Like I said, students almost never called me anything but my name, and when they did, it was usually funny and not vulgar. In fact, my favorite nickname was Bear Man - and second to that, Leonidas. Go figure.

Anyway, the point of the post is this: Instituting a set of guidelines around how students are forced to address teachers seems unlikely to create respect. It might help in creating expectations of specific behavior, or even change the environment a little. But respect? That is and should be accomplished by other means, like the behavior of the staff. How students address the staff is a byproduct of existing conditions, not the other way around (mostly).

.... f*ckin' Obama....

From TPM, Obama's words on the pathetic FISA bill that just passed Congress (for more background, start here):

"Given the grave threats that we face, our national security agencies must have the capability to gather intelligence and track down terrorists before they strike, while respecting the rule of law and the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. There is also little doubt that the Bush Administration, with the cooperation of major telecommunications companies, has abused that authority and undermined the Constitution by intercepting the communications of innocent Americans without their knowledge or the required court orders.

"That is why last year I opposed the so-called Protect America Act, which expanded the surveillance powers of the government without sufficient independent oversight to protect the privacy and civil liberties of innocent Americans. I have also opposed the granting of retroactive immunity to those who were allegedly complicit in acts of illegal spying in the past.

"After months of negotiation, the House today passed a compromise that, while far from perfect, is a marked improvement over last year's Protect America Act.

"Under this compromise legislation, an important tool in the fight against terrorism will continue, but the President's illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance - making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses. But this compromise guarantees a thorough review by the Inspectors General of our national security agencies to determine what took place in the past, and ensures that there will be accountability going forward. By demanding oversight and accountability, a grassroots movement of Americans has helped yield a bill that is far better than the Protect America Act.

"It is not all that I would want. But given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as President, I will carefully monitor the program, review the report by the Inspectors General, and work with the Congress to take any additional steps I deem necessary to protect the lives - and the liberty - of the American people.

As dday notes, we live in a bipartisan surveillance state.

Fuckin' Obama. This is one of many steps he's taken to make the case that even the best and brightest progressives have to sell out to win in the current political system.

Northern New Mexico commune, here I come.


Also, who posted all the opinion stuff to the DH website today? Whoever it is needs to go back and check the formatting. It's all mucked up.

Hering: The heat is making me cranky

I've never seen Hering use so many exclamation points as he did today.

On the other hand, I have seen him pen editorials that are as banal.

Take this one, for example:

Editorial: Recall maneuvers

The maneuvering about the on- and off- and on-again recalls against various members of the Lebanon School Board sound a little too calculating and manipulative.

First the recall petitioners gave public notice of wanting to recall board member Debi Shimmin because her term had longer to run than two other members that the recall backers also want off the board. Then Sherrie Sprenger, the board chair, announced she would step down July 1 in order to pursue her election campaign for the legislature. That would give the recall targets a chance to appoint an ally of theirs in her place, giving them three or even four votes on the five-member board. So then the recallers filed against their main targets, Rick Alexander and Josh Wineteer as well as Shimmin. A few days later, they announced they had met with Shimmin and would no longer proceed with the petition against her. The five complaints against her in the recall petition were suddenly no longer all that grievous.

All that makes you wonder whether the long-suffering Lebanon school system would not be better off without the added acrimony of a recall campaign. (hh)

Not only does it make no sense - Things are complicated, so they should just call it quits! - it adds nothing of value to the discussion. There's no new information, no new insight, nothing. Zip. Nada. Heck, commenters on LT's blog add far more value to the discussion than this guy does.

Hering, based on this editorial, has no idea what's going on. All that's there is someone abusing the privilege of having an editorial page spot - that's valuable real estate, and readers of the DH deserve more than to read whatever ignorant musings Hering puts forth. Just because he has an opinion and a title does not make anything that comes out of his mouth worth listening to.

It's a worthless editorial.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Reader Stats

Number of unread posts in Google Reader that I intend to read right now: 726

Number of unread posts that I don't intend to read: It hits 1000 in a matter of a few days, and Google doesn't provide an accurate count above that. I bet it's over 10K now - I periodically mark everything as read just because it drives me crazy to have so many unread posts.

Number of feeds I am subscribed to (including the ~10 or so comment feeds I am subscribed to): 248

Number I actually read: Less than 100

Odds that this weekend I will choose to read the last few days' worth of posts and just mark the rest as read: High.

Note: I use Google Reader as my way of bookmarking blogs, which is why I have so many unread posts.

I really wanted a picture of McCain tearing into a bloody haunch of flesh to accompany this post, but somehow I couldn't find one on the interwebs

Via OG, this incredible statement from McCain:

Let me be clear, under my administration Osama bin Laden will either be killed on the battlefield or executed. Senator Obama's failure to comprehend the implication of the Supreme Court decision he embraced and the historical precedent of Nuremberg raise serious questions about judgment and experience and whether Senator Obama is ready to assume the awesome responsibilities of commander in chief.

Apparently "awesome" is being used here in the same sense that I used to call games like Postal awesome.

Not only is McCain not a moderate, he's not really all that sane, either. I shouldn't even have to point out that actually doing something like this sets a particularly stupid and vile precedent, namely "fuck the rule of law."

Ironically, I don't intend to defend the rule of law per se. I do, however, wish to defend the idea of a social contract: That what allows large groups of people to work together is abiding by the rules of the group. McCain - like Bush now - is essentially saying that such shit don't matter, and that what really matters is the size of his cock the power that comes from the barrel of a gun.

That such a belief is problematic is really something I shouldn't have to explain.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Work, Part II

I don't have the time or energy to get out a full update on how work is going, but I will say this: When all one of your bosses, the most powerful boss, does is show up once a month or so and berate you, it generally does not make you want to work harder for the organization.

I would have that thought it would have been obvious. Apparently it's not.

It's certainly not making me want to keep working for this organization.

McCain and Torture


The Armed Services Committee is holding hearings this morning on torture. The ranking Republican member (John McCain) couldn't make it. So he sent his faithful hound Huckleberry in his place.

The leading voice in the nation on the subject of torture, a living symbol of everything that is wrong with it, a man who cannot raise his arms above his head today because of the wounds he suffered under it, is out on the campaign trail today, ducking the subject. It seems his days of being a hero are long behind him.

If McCain had been steadfast since Vietnam that torture should be legal, that would be one thing. But until the last few years, he was solidly against torture.

I can only marvel at how complex and complicated an issue this must be, and how much he looks like a craven politician because only now that he's running for President as a Republican does he endorse some of the same types of torture that were used on him.

There is no sarcasm in this sentence: The lack of ethics here is colossal.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Upgraded comment on the Sansom issue

I am posting this comment on the front page (as it were), since I think it makes some good points. I can't ask permission since the commenter is anonymous:

The District Administration wanted to hold Ed S. more accountable so they asked for a non-renew. This was not a vendetta against Ed S.

As Sherrie S. (who actually read the materials the Board requested from the Admin) pointed out--there were things dating back to the original reviews that showed increasing levels of concern.

Communication; Ed's vision (not Jim R.'s vision as Rick A. was confused on) not being clear and Building-wide; financial and other over-sight of his staff being sub-par (which gave occasion to the embezzlement under his watch); lack of clear improvement in these areas; etc.

Since it was obvious that the Board was going to dismiss the non-renew request, the Superintendent suggested a 1-year contract instead of the 3-year in order to continue addressing these issues (which was the original intent).

Mr. "Take-it-to-the-Mat" (Rick A.) immediately made a motion (failed) to give a 3-year contract. Talk about in-your-face disrespectful behavior and attitude. If he is like that in public imagine what he is like in private. Wow!

Amazingly, no one has mentioned how this situation is EXACTLY LIKE what Jim R. faced with his evaluation by this very same Board majority!

Their evaluation of Jim R. takes the Blue Ribbon for being the most vague, inconsistent, subjective evaluation.

They did to him (and worse because they do have a vendetta against him and want him gone--not to improve) EXACTLY THE SAME THING as they cried "Foul!" of the Admin doing to Ed S.

What a complete disconnect they have between their own behavior and what they say is why they want Jim R. gone.

Jim R. should hire Ed S.'s lawyer (who nailed the problem of the subjective evaluation on the head at the last Board meeting) and give the Board a taste of their own medicine.

A plethora of news

I don't have a lot of time this morning, but I felt like I should at least note the fact that Moody has five stories about the LCSD online that have appeared since the school board meeting last night. That's practically a marathon.

Superintendent files complaint against director

Update: Link fixed.

I expected this one to be filed by Paul Dakopolos, though if I understand the story right, the content of the complaint is what I predicted: That Jackson, as an attorney, can't cut other attorneys out of the process. What remains to be seen is what Jackson alludes to in the story: Because Jackson claims he was not acting as an attorney when he and Wineteer worked out the amendments, does the rule apply?

Also interesting was the discussion between Alexander and Robinson about Robinson's failure to inform the board about the complaint. I don't particularly like the "preserving privacy" argument, though it might actually be true.

Lebanon group drops 1 of 3 recall petitions

This just confirms what I was told last night. However, I am still left with the question of why.... and the fact that this almost certainly is going to make CARES look bad, which is going to hurt their other recall efforts.

Board overturns principal recommendation

Umm.... yeah. Based on media reports, I have to agree with the board. Unless there is some piece of evidence Robinson and Kelley are hiding (which would not be good), they seemed way too eager to get rid of Sansom given the situation.

Old contract for Sand Ridge extended

Heh. Another consequence of the FUBARed process the LCSD Board used. Now someone has to fix the mess.

Welding teacher quits

I will definitely return to this last one later. There's a lot going on there.

Monday, June 16, 2008

CARES drops recall against Shimmin

I just got a rather short email saying CARES has dropped their recall effort against Debi Shimmin.

Anyone hear anything about this?

For example, is the recall still on against Wineteer and Alexander?

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