Gone Camping

Yes, the boy and I are off for our annual camping trip. I doubt if there will be many posts between August 1 and August 10. Don't worry though, I will be back (and maybe The Frustrated Lawyer will chime in).

Have a great couple weeks!


NCLB Smackdown! Ouch!

I don't know how I got there, but I ended up at cleveland.com reading some reactions to a pseudo-letter published in the Clevelnad Plain Dealer. It is an apology from a principal to his constituents (yeah, the parents, students and teachers) for having to shortchange everyone in favor of testing. I guess it's a little over-the-top, but it makes the point rather well.

Anyway, at the site I ended up at, cleveland.com, the general feeling among the commenters was that the principal is a wimp, shamed the district, and should just shut the fuck up. Commenters go on and on about how schools and teachers are paid for with tax dollars, so the public should get more for their money, blah, blah, blah. This is the "Government School" crowd who can't wait to privatize education. I guess they don't realize privatizing it won't help, but whatever.

Now to the point of this post. One commenter decided to put into words something I have tried to say many times. I have seen versions of this in the past, but this comment is solid.

To all who have commented:

It seems evident from the majority who have responded that accountability of taxpayers' dollars is of paramount importance. I too don't want my taxes wasted, so let's improvise a bit. Education deals with the human condition as opposed to industries based on the production or servicing of inanimate objects. Perhaps we could curtail tax waste by uplifting the "No Child Left Behind" education law as a model for tax dollar accountability in other societal based endeavors receiving federal money of any sort. (Please remember, NCLB call for 100% student proficiency by 2014)

Given a 10 year deadline, police will eliminate 100 percent of all crime in local communities. Officers and administrators will face termination if significant progress isn't made over three-year intervals during the decade.

Given a 10 year deadline, established organizations whose purpose is to counter drug abuse will eliminate substance abuse with 100 percent efficiency within their jurisdiciton. Agents of such organizations (counselors, DEA personnel, law enforcement officials) will be terminated if significant reduction in drug abuse is registered over three year intervals during the decade.

Given a 10 year deadline, all medical practitioners and hospitals who accept Medicare payments will achieve a 100 percent recovery rate of their patients or be denied all future Medicare patients. (Practitioners deemed ineffective by the 100 percent criterion in publicly funded hospitals will be terminated.)

Given a 10 year deadline, all universities receiving federal funding (or accepting students with outstanding federal education loans) will achieve a 100 percent graduation rate. If the graduation rate does not make significant improvement over three-year intervals, identified professors from ineffective departments will be terminated.

In each of the preceding examples progress rates will be published on a regular basis in local newspapers keeping the public abreast on whose doing the best job with the public's (federal) money.

I am sure we can agree that "data-driven" proficiency/efficiency plans are the way to go to get maximum mileage from our tax dollars. They provide simple answers for very complex issues.

Yeah! If we are going to hold teachers accountable, after all, they are paid with public money, we should hold all the public employees accountable! So let's pay that rude DMV representative more money if she can plow through more vehicle registrations than her coworkers! Who cares about fairness when we can have accountability!!!!

Let's not forget Jay P Greene! He has a line by line takedown of the letter by the principal. He is just so horrible!


Jay P. Greene: Moron

I was visiting this lover of NCLB's site. He has a book. It got slammed on the Amazon comments (full disclosure, it was half and half, but the good half are his sycophants). I copied and pasted one of the comments, from none other than Philip Kovacs, and within minutes, JayP removed it and disabled comments on that page! He is a world-class putz, apparently.

You should head over to JayP's site and try to read his stuff (others find it laughable too). He is a professor, but I think he is getting paid by some rich folks to do their bidding. I could be wrong, but I'm not.


Shakesville: Most Hypocritical Site Ever? Updated!

(This is a re post of the other one. The comments are gone, though it was only 2 of us. I will try to recover them. Shouldn't blog with the kids.)comment recovered

Over at Shakesville they are ripping a movie promo about father's rights. Now, admittedly, the trailer is awful. The acting is bad, there's too much gratuitous sex and violence, and the whole thing just looks bad.

The problem, though, is not with the trailer. It is the non-nonchalance with which The Sister herself trivializes the very real problem facing parents who enter family court; especially stand-up fathers. Here is McEwan:
A word of warning to anyone considering the old "my cousin's best friend's brother's wife is a crazy bitch who won't let him see his kid and he's honestly a good guy I swear and his kid is dying to see him but she's totally a crazy bitch and did I mention she's a crazy bitch?" routine: Great. Good for him and shame on her, if it's true [emphasis mine].
Remember the shit Hillary got when she said Obama was not a Muslim, as far as she knew?
Well, here we have McEwan doing the same thing to good fathers. According to her post, McEwan seems to think the notion of a good father is nearly impossible; so nearly impossible that anyone claiming to know a good father (who is also the victim of a bat-shit crazy female partner) should be derided, blown-off, and doubted.

I have had the pleasure of commenting on the blog over there, and let me tell you, that is one intolerant community. I check them out weekly, and usually find something interesting. This one today though, struck a cord. Probably because I am one of those men who had to fight for every second I got with my son, who now lives mostly with me (not because his mom is a crazy bitch, but because the judge realized that my son deserved BOTH parents, and due to our schedules, that's how it worked out--which should be the default setting for conciliation/family courts, but it's not).

The courts are not family friendly. They deal with the worst of society, and that is how they are set up to run. The courts make assumptions about the population it serves, and, apparently, it serves a population of crappy fathers. The only problem is, we are not all crappy fathers. In fact, some of us good fathers, whose children have good mothers, are frequently sold short in court by requiring we pay for all attorney's fees (because we are men?), pay for a long-cause hearing, pay for psychological evaluations (to rule out "?") and be happy with visitation. VISITATION? You want me to VISIT my child?

Look shakers, you have your niche where you point out every misogynist, sexist, ...ist thing you can find. Great. How about you do a little digging into this father's rights thing and see, if just maybe, we are not all trying to get custody of our children so we can beat them. Douchebags!

(Maybe The Frustrated Lawyer will chime in?)

UPDATE: Here is what I think is a comment representative of Shakesville. It is from the thread about the above mentioned item:
Molly, NYC
" . . . she's totally a crazy bitch and did I mention she's a crazy bitch?" routine: Great. Good for him and shame on her, if it's true.

Rule of thumb: In any he-said-she-said argument, unless she's clearly in the aluminum-foil-hat brigade, if he starts impugning her sanity, he's lying through his teeth.
Then came a levelheaded comment that was met with derision:
Bad acting, bad script from what I can tell, and I've no idea who the intended audience is meant to be (unless they're imprisoned in some kind of right-wing Christian compound and not allowed outside).

But it doesn't mean that there is no systemic bias against fathers in Family Court, unless you really believe that MOST fathers are undeserving of more than a few days a month with their children. Yes, that is the norm (otherwise why caution against too many anecdotes?). Also you'll find a selection effect in groups - more women screwed over among feminists, and more men screwed over among MRAs. No surprise there.

Conversely, the few cases where a real (i.e. not just alleged) 'bad dad" gets custody seem to be anomalies due to the system's incompetence, nepotism and cronyism. All the same, they are signs that the whole system needs to be reformed way from perpetuating itself by its "winner takes all" approach.

By the way, I suspect that its balding male judges, not "feminists", who are hardest on fathers, combining a toxic mix of political correctness and good old-fashioned chivalry to "help the [helpless, childlike] woman". It will be interesting to see how they handle lesbian custody battles in the future.
But Starfoxy couldn't agree with such sense-making gibberish:
But it doesn't mean that there is no systemic bias against fathers in Family Court, unless you really believe that MOST fathers are undeserving of more than a few days a month with their children.
This assumes that custody is awarded based on what the parents 'deserve' which isn't and should not be the case. Custody should be awarded in ways that best meet the needs of the kids, and in a divorce kids do best with continuity. That means that if mom was doing 90% of the caregiving then she should get [emphasis mine] 90% of the custody because that is what the kid is used to. This is true even if dad is a great guy and totally deserves to spend time with his kids. If fathers want to spend time with their kids after a divorce then they should start the habit before a divorce.
Notice how Starfoxy phrases that; its as if there is some sort of competition, and therefore some handicapping should come into play, regardless of anything outside the time-I-spent-as-opposed-to-the-time-you-spent giving care. That is the only measure. Giving care. Dare I say how do we define that? I wonder how long it will take to bring up breast feeding? Lawn mowing? Money earning? Dish washing? Driving to school? Shall I go on? I think Starfoxy's rubric is a bit nebulous.

Kids deserve their parents. Up until a few years ago in California the law was such that a custodial parent could move to Timbuktu. They changed that and now the custodial parent has to do what the court says is in the best interest of the child. I think it changed in 2004, not sure though. But at least the court recognized that kids deserve their parents, and one parent could not do whatever he/she wants just because there is a custody arrangement. These arrangements are made for myriad reasons, having nothing to do with abuse, or neglect, or not giving the right/equitable amount of care in someone else's eyes. The court now assumes both parents, as opposed to assuming only the mother, will participate in the raising and care giving of their child. Over at Shakesville, they are of the mind that fathers suck, and probably wish the court had not set a new precedent a few years back. Well, my son just asked for dessert, and I don't have any. What do I do?

Here's hoping we get over our stereotypes!

"We Must Guard Against the Acquisition of Unwarranted Influence...

...whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."

That first part of Ike's farewell we have not remembered. Unwarranted Influence. Understatement of the year century! Read this.

Reich: A Little Perspective

Does it seem like all you do is work, work, work? Well, You do!

The Myth of Summer Vacation

I'm about to take a few weeks off. If you are, too, we're in the minority. A Conference Board poll last April found fewer than 40 percent of Americans planning a summer vacation.

Of course, for most Americans, there's not much summer vacation to begin with. The average American employee gets a total of 14 days off each year. If you want to take a few of them around Thanksgiving, between Christmas and New Years, and maybe when the kids are home on spring break, summer vacation is already practically gone.

Those 14 days, by the way, are the fewest vacation days in any advanced economy. The average French worker gets 37 days off annually; In Britain, it's 26.

And even when we take those 14 days, we don't always get paid for them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us 1 out of 4 workers gets no paid vacation days at all. Every other advanced nation -- and even lots of developing nations -- mandate them.

On top of all this comes the current economic squeeze. That figure of 40 percent of Americans planning a summer vacation is the lowest in 30 years.

Not incidentally, consumer confidence in the economy is the lowest it's been in 28 years. In other words, there's a correlation between the small number of Americans taking a vacation this summer and this very bad economy.

It's not that we're too busy to vacation. Just the opposite: There's not enough work go around. Which means we don't dare leave work, lest we lose us a customer who might just happen to want us when we're gone. Or we could even lose the job, because employees on vacation might seem expendable to an employer looking for a way to cut costs.

Despite all this, you need a summer vacation. I do, too. I'll return in August.


Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor, I'll piss on 'em

Eighteen months of detention. This video of the daughter of the incarcerated is important to watch. This young woman, well, I hope she gets to stay in America!

from MJ

Total Pageviews