Friday, May 30, 2008

I Move That the Corps Hire a New PR Consultant

Here's today's hysterical laugh...Last night on the news, the Corps said that they are willing to have outside experts analyze the situation (how nice of them); however, they are not alarmed because "seepage" is normal. They said if the floodwall were "leaking," they'd be alarmed. There's a big difference, they said, between "seepage" and "leaking."

You got to see this

(A bit of history: Several months before Katrina, residents along this floodwall where it failed, reported water in their backyards coming from underneath the floodwall; but the levee board failed to respond.)

A bit of perspective from my wise Uncle Phil: "Let’s put this in human terms. If some part of your anatomy was seeping vs leaking – would there be a difference to you? I think not..."

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Peculiar Thing, Race

Why is Barack Obama hardly ever described as "biracial"? We all know he is, but you rarely HEAR or READ that word in stories about him. (Mentioning that his father is black and his mother is white doesn't count because those attributions speak to his parents and not to him.)

And if he's as white as he is black, why is he never called "white"?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Now There's a Radical Concept

Instead of allowing students, faculty, and staff to carry weapons onto campus, Virginia's state legislators pushed for mental health reform in the wake of the VA Tech shootings. Those wacky guys! They crack me up. For a red state, they sure sound like a bunch of liberals. Even worse, I bet they're ELITE liberals (you know, the ones Hillary don't even want no part of).

Get a load of these softies on crime:

[it's not like those people end up killing cops just because they can't get a pill. C'mon!!]

Why can't they just understand that mass murderers and school shooters' don't commit crimes because they are emotionally and psychologically distressed. They commit crimes because no one is there to shoot them first. You can't just ignore the logic behind the fact that you can't kill someone if you are killed first!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Don't Worry. It's Only a Vote.

I'm not one of those people who automatically thinks all politicians are spineless and unethical. I even back the idea of our state legislators getting a full-time salary.

Except for the bozo I read about in the paper this weekend who apologized for voting for a bill with an amendment attached that would abolish the state income tax, which accounts for 1/3 of state revenue. He said it was one of his "cutesy" votes. He wanted to be on record as voting against increased taxes. Besides, it's not like such a ridiculous bill would pass.

The bill passed, unanimously if I'm not mistaken. It turns out all of our state senators were either being "cutesy," pulling a stunt to call the bluff of the anti-tax crowd, or just plain had no clue what they were really voting about.

Then today, we have this genius, Rep. Noble Ellington (D-Winnsboro), who just plain admitted that he'll throw anybody else under the bus as long as he comes out looking like the man back in Winnsboro: "I'm willing to work with the governor as long as he is willing to work with me on things in my district."

"My district." Nice. Thanks, asshole. So, even though all but 2 people from the New Orleans delegation are against Jindal's proposal to give $10 million dollars in vouche -- I mean, scholarships -- to local public schools students to go to private or parochial schools, and even though legislators typically honor the wishes of local legislators when bills affect only that particular area, Ellington is more than willing to bend over so long as Jindal promises to give it to him in the future. Again, thanks. Just use protection, k?

Jefferson Parish School Board member Greg Katsanis is apparently missing his calling to serve among our fearless leaders. He switched his vote last week because "I bowed to political pressure from the mayor of Kenner, who practically threatened me."

No wonder we need such stringent ethics laws. This is also why I doubt there will be more ethical behavior because of laws. Some of these guys seem to have a set of principles that are quite disposable. They clearly lack a respect for the power they hold, or a sense of duty to their constituents, let alone a sense of right or wrong. It's like my Catholic school teachers liked to say: "Boy, if you had a brain, you'd be dangerous."

I guess I could be overreacting. It's not like how they vote affects other people or anything. Silly, silly me!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Superintendent Pastorek, Please Report to the Planet Earth

From a Dept. of Education press release today:

The School has hired Dr. Alan Cohen, Medical Director and Founder of the National Deaf Academy, in Mount Dora, Florida. "Dr. Cohen is an expert in dealing with social and behavioral issues facing deaf and hard-of-hearing children," said Kenneth David, Director of the Louisiana School for the Deaf. "We're honored that he would work with us to improve how we serve our students."...

Also brought on board to assist is Dr. Cynthia Ashby, School Director of the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, and Dr. Reginald Redding, Director of the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf.

Superintendent Pastorek has scheduled a closed-door meeting this Tuesday with parents to receive their concerns and suggestions on how to provide the supervision needed at school and at home to improve student safety.

I must have missed the press releases announcing that Pastorek took behavioral and social problems in New Orleans schools seriously enough to hire 3 doctors (can't be cheap and is the statewide hiring freeze over?) and call a closed door meeting with parents here. I do, however, recall a friend who is a charter school principal expressing exasperation that staff were even more confused about how to help their special needs students (you know, including the hearing ones with behavior problems) after state education officials "explained" the special education process to them -- 3 months into the school year, I might add. Actually, that meeting made them aware of more barriers they'd have to cross to provide the federally mandated services that are alledgedly a civil right. Maybe if our public school students were deaf instead of just impoverished, abandoned, written off, and traumatized by exposure to violence and NOW by disaster too, Mr. Pastorek would do the same for them...

...instead of ridiculing our absurd concerns that the few kids who make it to 12th grade in N.O. are failing the exit exam by the busload.

He'd rather spend much more time on a scavenger hunt to find ethnic minority schools which actually aren't failing (notice not one of the 21 on the list is from Orleans, not even from a neighboring parish).

In February of this year, Mr. Pastorek was inspired by the doubts of a local elected official to find schools that served high minority/high poverty students and were achieving academic success. The Department of Education was able to identify 21 such schools...

It occurs to me that the top dog in state education, one who has really tried to find ways to help such schools, would have already identified most of the exceptions to the rule of the minority/poor failing school. To perhaps, I don't know, figure out how they defied the odds -- other by being located in the country (as if there's anything to do there besides studying).

As you can see, I've been watching this guy lately. I think he might be living in a parallel dimension...or perhaps on the verge of a break from reality.