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PaulHo's Journal
Posted by PaulHo in GLBT
Wed Nov 02nd 2011, 04:45 PM
Had to resist some pressure from admins to take it down. Also, lots of problems w. NYC DOE policy of "filtering" of glbt political, social and historic websites. Had to do most of the work at home.

Anyway.... October was LGBT History Month. Here's how I commemorated it in the school where I teach.

ED SEC. Arne Duncan ( I hate him, but he's good on these issues) wrote a letter in June to US school administrators telling them to let Gay-Straight Alliances use the facilities. The last paragraph calls for a little extra something. I guess my admins missed the letter. ( I forwarded a copy to the district supt. Hah. )

In the la -BOR -a- to-ry:

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Posted by PaulHo in General Discussion
Thu Jun 30th 2011, 08:02 AM
There are a LOT of reasons actually ...almost all stemming from his lack of familiarity with US public education and his consequent lack of understanding of same.

BUT...... here is the paramount reason:

Teachers do not run the schools. They don't even run their classrooms.

ADMINISTRATORS run the schools. And indirectly ( but most DEFINITELY), run the classrooms.

Administrators generally have little... and sometimes NO.... experience teaching. When they do have experience it was long ago and for a very brief time.

I have 5 administrators currently. I remember 2 of the 5 doing actual teaching in the 1990's as young men. One for about two years and the other for somewhat longer... but his service was mostly as in out-of-classroom position. Meaning... it's hard to explain to non-teachers.... he nominally had a teaching post ( i.e. at least on paper) but really did administrative chores for the school. Two other admins came from other schools about 10 years ago. They were admins in those schools also.The main problem here: classroom teaching changes radically from year to year. The job I have now bears little resemblance l to the job I had 5 years ago; though technically it's still the same job: classroom teacher.

The principal has been around for almost as long as I ( which , let's just say , is a real long time) but I've never seen her in a classroom. She's had various clerical/administrative jobs .

Some of these people are nice people. Some of them are well intentioned. Some of them are, let's say, *ambitious*. Most of them are a combination of both. All of them were somewhat unhappy in the classroom. Bored perhaps. Not a lot of glamor or glory in the day-to-day grind of teaching kids. This attitude is still reflected in my interactions with them: a general lack of curiosity about the actual educational product.

Yet it is these folks who make the important decisions within the school. What curriculum to use. (But.... how would they know?) How to organize the school day and the school environment to produce the optimal educational circumstances inside the classroom. ( Again, how would they know?) They evaluate the teaching staff, they decide who's effective and who's not. (One more time: how, on Earth, would they know?)

Interested in what others' perceptions of this situation are. Especially parents and teachers ( and ADMINS. extra-esp!).

And people who have no connection at all to education. This POV could be particularly illuminating.
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Posted by PaulHo in Political Videos
Tue Mar 08th 2011, 07:08 AM

There is nothing inside them ....or HIM.
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Posted by PaulHo in General Discussion
Sat Mar 05th 2011, 09:31 AM
Is this Quantico or Abu Ghraib?

After initial allegations of mistreatment, I requested a visit with Private First Class Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking classified information to Wikileaks, to see for myself the conditions of his treatment.
Despite the fact that Manning has not been found guilty of any crime, his lawyer reports that he is in isolation 23 out 24 hours every day, conditions which may violate his 8th Amendment protection from 'cruel and unusual' punishment. This treatment is in stark contrast to a presumption of innocence and raises questions of whether Pfc. Manning can be fit for trial.
My request to visit with Pfc. Manning must not be delayed further. Today we have new reports that Manning was stripped naked and left in his cell for seven hours. While refusing to explain the justification for the treatment, a marine spokesman confirmed the actions but claimed they were "not punitive."

Is this Quantico or Abu Ghraib? Officials have confirmed the "non-punitive" stripping of an American soldier who has not been found guilty of any crime. This "non-punitive" action would be considered a violation of the Army Field Manual if used in an interrogation overseas. The justification for and purpose of this action certainly raises questions of 'cruel and unusual punishment,' and could constitute a potential violation of international law.
The Army Field Manual, 2-22.3 (FM 34-52): Human Intelligence Collector Operations, Page 5-21, section 5-75 clearly states that: "If used in conjunction with intelligence interrogations, prohibited actions include, but are not limited to- Forcing the detainee to be naked, perform sexual acts or pose in a sexual manner."
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Posted by PaulHo in General Discussion
Tue Feb 08th 2011, 07:28 PM
>>>Presumed WikiLeaks source Pfc. Bradley Manning may soon see the charges against him dropped, according to reports citing his lawyers as planning to file for a full dismissal of the case against him.>>>

Intriguing irony if it's true: the Ellsberg-Russo case was likewise thrown out for comparable governmental misconduct... in a case with more parallels to Manning than you can shake a stick at.
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Posted by PaulHo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Nov 15th 2010, 08:24 PM
Home page of as we speak.

That's the good news. The bad news is: the video of the 14 y.o. gay kid in Ann Arbor has gone viral.

Here's a sample of readers' comments.

Mother Jones, we gotta long way to go.

To wit:
I never understood how 1 man could find love in another mans hairy ass? let alone a 9 year old to understand that to?

00Salvatore 1 minute ago Report Abuse
how in the world is a 9 year old know he is gay....and who is he having sex with to know this.. the parents should be put away and their child taken away..for neglect...

00GoldenBoy12 1 minute ago Report Abuse
WE MUST PUT GAYS ON THEIR KNEES WITH THEIR HANDS TIED BEHIND THEIR BACKS AND PUT A BULLET IN THEIR@#$% SKULLS_______________LOL, this was by Stay_Real: kind of cruel, but i wouldn't stop anyone from going through with it

00Zx7o2 1 minute ago Report Abuse
How does a 9yr. old kid know that they are gay?

00Nern 1 minute ago Report Abuse
Kids do not have the same rights as adults; for example, kids have to go to school. There is no choice involved. It follows, then, that if a kid has no choice of whether or not to be there, they should be provided with a safe and generally positive environment. Verbal abuse, bullying, and general douchebaggery should be stopped by the adults that are responsible for the environment.

That being said, the kids that were kicked out of class (for being douchebags) are allowed to have their opinions and can express them however they want-- on their own time. That means not on school grounds. They can also wear what they want, but not on school grounds.

Kids should be entitled to a safe, hate-free education, just as adults are entitled to a safe, hate-free workplace. The difference is that adults can make the choice to go to work dressed as they please, and can accept the consequences. Adults can call their gay boss whatever they want, and be fired accordingly. Kids do not all have the sense to act appropriately, and have little influence over the school environment, so it falls to the adults to define what is appropriate for them.

In this case, the teacher did the right thing. There should be more responsible adults like him. The school system wouldn't be as disgusting as it is if there were.


And on and on it goes.
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Posted by PaulHo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Oct 11th 2010, 03:31 PM
President Obama ... at long last.... face to face with real , actual, in the flesh, public school kids.

He's heard so much about them!

He heard about them in Hawaii. He heard about them in Chicago. He's heard about them ( mostly, I'll wager from Ms. Rhee) in DC.

But this.... at long last! To actually lay one's eyes on them. Words fail me.

So:look for my post re. Superman tomorrow nite or Wednesday.

"The minutes will fly like hours."
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Posted by PaulHo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Oct 10th 2010, 03:18 PM
You're braver than I am.... I'll give ya that.

Re Obama: I am assuming ( The path to hell is paved with erroneous assumptions. Allow me to mix a metaphor or two.) that someone is ADVISING him on public school matters. I'll take a wild guess: it's his educational expert: Duncan.

Obama is no fool. He knows what he doesn't know about education ; and what he doesn't know is ANYTHING having to do w. public schools. What scares me is Duncan is ALMOST as clueless. ( He does have "Moms", and his kids currently are tucked away in , I understand, Arlington , Va. public school system... but he himself is a non-teacher and went exclusively thru private schools.

Talk about ill-equipped.

God knows who or what are actually guiding these guys... other than standard issue, thoroughly discredited, traditional REPUBLICAN educational philosophy.
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Posted by PaulHo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Oct 10th 2010, 12:41 PM
>>>.Chicago Public Schools
After President Barack Obama’s appointment of then-CPS CEO Arne Duncan to be United States Secretary of Education, Mayor Daley selected Huberman to head CPS on January 28, 2009. Upon appointing Huberman, Mayor Daley stated, “I have utmost faith in him. I can go to sleep at night, and just close my eyes. I don't have to worry about Ron Huberman.” Thus far, Huberman has highlighted teacher retention and recruitment, safety and security and innovative teaching methods that are data driven as his key strategic initiatives.<6> An advocate of year round schooling, one of Huberman’s first actions was to add an additional 76 schools to Track E (year round) status<7> in an effort to maintain educational continuity and engagement over the summer months. In July 2009, Huberman announced the elimination of 550 central office positions to save $100 million.<8>>>>>>

It's great that Huberman's out... in any case.

It's not so great that he took the job as schools ceo with no experience of any kind in education. ( Even Duncan had a "mother who ran a tutoring service"... as we ALL by now are *p a i n f u l l y* aware. What's Huberman's connection to the field?).

Breaking barriers is an important part of any movement. Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks are not celebrated all these many years after their brave deeds for no reason. So... let's give credit, for the sake of argument, to Duncan for Jennings and Huberman and all the rest.

BUT....if the school "reformers " succeed in gutting existing job protections, if they succeed in dismantling due process, if they weaken unions and get rid if tenure, ... what demographic group, what historically unpopular minority, what traditionally marginalized subsection of the teaching profession is likely to suffer DISPROPORTIONATELY?

I can't speak for you, but I can't imagine saying and doing HALF the things I say and do at work without a union contract and without TENURE.

I'll concede that he may have helped break a few barriers ( and, BTW, he's serving in a DEM administration; isn't that what we should *expect him to do?) but Duncan and Duncanism are bad news for glbts... both kids and adults.

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Posted by PaulHo in GLBT
Thu May 20th 2010, 10:40 PM
It's been two months and no one in admin has mentioned it to me. I'm thinkin' they're thinkin' there's no way for them to win on this one.

Anyway.... in case the pics aren't too clear: that's Michaelangelo, Da Vinci, Aristotle , Alice Walker, Whitman, E. Roosevelt, Warhol, Bernstein, Brando and a bunch more.

I decided to claim Brando for our side , though he was "only" bi and of arguable "historical" significance; but what the hell. Kids think he's cool. ( So do I.)

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Posted by PaulHo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Dec 26th 2009, 12:19 AM

... and he will kill everything in sight."

Stumbled across it in The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal; p.368

Here's an online version: ...

So. How true is this of TR?

How true is it of American foreign policy in general?
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Posted by PaulHo in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Wed Aug 12th 2009, 04:54 PM
There's other stuff involved but that's what it's essentially about. Bloomberg thinks he can run the PS system on the cheap by getting rid of expensive educators ( i.e. experienced) and replacing them with newbies.

The newbies won't stay long enough to make pension demands, etc. on the system. ( Half of all new teachers leave within 5 yrs. in NY). Constant turnover is OK w. Bloomberg so long as he's calling the shots and costs are kept *low*. Neither he nor anyone in his social sphere use or ever WILL use the public school system so it's actual quality is completely beside the point.

There's a line from "The Verdict": "Wake up Frankie; these people are *sharks*; how the fuck ya think they got all that money in the first place."
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Posted by PaulHo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Jun 30th 2009, 06:02 AM
I retain three of my old old stations ( PBS is one of the three... the gods be praised) and have two new Spanish language stations ( we're essentially monolingual English) and a 24 hour kiddie station that seems to have on the cartoon about the "big red dog" pretty much round the clock. Plus some kind of weather channel dealie. I know what the weather is in South Bend, Indiana ( and I know WHY!) but I live in NYC.

Boooo. Hisssssss.

On the plus side, I lost FOX ( Hah ! So long, suckers!) but in so doing lost The Simpsons ( waaaahhhhh!!).

Question: Is the conversion thing a scam to make everyone buy cable?
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Posted by PaulHo in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Jun 16th 2009, 07:03 PM
Forget about Kansas. Why does this supposed mecca of political super-sophistication produce such an unending daisy-chain of political meidiocrities, scoundrels , blatant, shameless opportunists and and a limitless supply of moral and ethical political retardates? ( google "Bloomberg"+"term limits"+"City Council", if you need to be convinced of my premise.)

This was the city and state that produced FDR, RFK, Lehman, Wagner, Lowenstein , Cuomo,, ODwyer, Abzug. and countless others. Now we produce Kirsten Gillibran and Hiram Monnseratte. Good god.

I'd lay the blame at media consolidation... more blatant here than elsewhere in America. But perhaps there's more going on than just that.

Here's a snippet from Clyde Haberman ( my favorite local observer who seems to forever slip somehow thru the media monolith) in today's NYT.

Remember it's just a snippet. You should really read the whole thing. And *everything* Haberman writes for that matter.

One, Hiram Monserrate of Queens, is charged with slashing his girlfriend’s face with a broken glass. The other, Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx, has been the target of more investigations than an Enron executive.

We’ve strayed exceedingly far, have we not, from the selfless heroics of D-Day.

New Yorkers are running out of ways to describe Albany as a political version of clown school. Perhaps it is time, then, that they examine what the state of the state says about them. If one believes that people in a democracy get the government they deserve, then we in New York should be unable to look in the mirror without cringing.

We overwhelmingly elected a governor, Eliot Spitzer, who turned out to be hooked on prostitutes. His replacement, David A. Paterson, was never thought of as governor material and now has approval ratings at Cheney levels, somewhere in the subbasement. Albany under Governor Paterson is reminiscent of Afghanistan: nominally commanded by a weak leader, but with powerful warlords ascendant.

We elected a state comptroller, Alan G. Hevesi, who was forced out of office by scandal. Now, some of his closest associates have been indicted on charges of bribery and grand larceny. A reasonable person may infer that Mr. Hevesi either knew about these shenanigans or was out of touch to the point of dereliction.

To boot, we have an appointed United States senator, Kirsten E. Gillibrand, who immediately upon taking office swiveled on so many major issues that you could have suffered whiplash trying to keep up.
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Posted by PaulHo in Education
Mon Apr 13th 2009, 09:57 AM
>>>>>Do you honestly believe this is part of a grand, bipartisan conspiracy to demonize teachers? Frankly, it would not and could not happen - they are one of the few professions that are mostly beyond reproach politically. If you're anywhere near smart, you don't attack teachers.>>>>

But "beyond reproach politically"? Wha? Whenever these issues are discussed in MSM the phrase "has the courage to defy the teachers' unions" ( or it's equivalent) is so commonplace it's already passed "cliche status".

The *mythical* teacher is beyond reproach. Bette Davis in the "Corn is Green", is beyond reproach. Mr. Chips, the White Shadow, Gabe Kaplan and Leave it to Beaver's Miss Landers: they're all "beyond reproach." Real-life teachers who organize for fair compensation, reasonable job security and in order to practice their profession without undue (*undue*) interference from non - pedagogues are an entirely different matter. 1. They cost money. 2. No living human can match the self sacrifice and saintly dedication of the Mr. Chips and the other above-mentioned FICTIONAL characters.

>>>My problem with the teachers unions on these issues is that instead of pushing for those changes and pushing for better leadership, they too wind up taking the path of least resistance and just argue against the very measures we need to improve education. In this regard, they are no better than the principals and administrators. Everyone involved is playing the "cover your own ass" game and passing blame for the problems on someone else - ultimately, they're all passing the buck to parents, which is easy because there's no unified voice of parents to fight back.>>>>

To the extent that the above is true, I agree. I'm just not sure it's true. There is, I'll grant, a kind of paranoia in the profession that may be reflected in what you are describing. "Paranoia" may be the wrong word; perhaps a "very heightened degree of vigilance" is what it really is. There's a sense among many that EVERY educational reform is part of a larger plan to weaken and essentially *break* the teachers' unions and professional organizations. The fact that the educational "reform" movement is led , in part, by RW ideological fanatics who HATE unions and HATE the very idea of public education on general principal may account for the "heightened state of vigilance". But they "are what they are".

The "reformers" that bug me the most are nominally progressive types like Obama, Bloommerg, ( actually I might just as easily put him in the *first* camp) Duncan , Rhee, Caroline Kennedy, et al, whose life experience and current circumstances are so laughably removed from the reality of public education.

The machinations and posturings of NEITHER wing of this reform movement is likely to result in a better public school system. The first faction is too emotional and the second faction is too indiffernet... since nothing that happens to the public school system ( it exists for the "little people" , you realize) is going to gore, or NOT gore their particular ox.

In a sense , the political dynamic that has taken over the debate is a lot like the abortion wars. A lot of folks are pro-choice because they don't trust the motives of the anti-choicers. Not because they regard the complex ethical issues associated with legalized abortion as a slam dunk.

Something similar seems to be happening in this debate.
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