They didn't wreck my life. They gave me a Reason to fight against Injustice, Greed, and Tyranny.

Honor

10 December 2008

Back in NoVA ...

Wow, that semester certainly flew by. Good luck to all students who are taking finals, completing final projects, and writing term papers. Try every flavour that your preferred energy drink offers. Push the coffeemaker to the max. Now is the time to ask, "How ridiculously strong can I make this coffee?" Don't forget your fiber :) Safe travels for all as you return home.

Tomorrow, I will be heading down to Panama (YEAH, BABY!) for 10 blissfully hot and humid days. This is where I will be staying, at my grandmother's house in Vista Alegre:

I listened to "Spirits in the Material World" by The Police while heading home from campus last night. It was the first time I had heard the song. The repetitive chorus was stuck in my mind for the remainder of the evening.


I searched for the song's lyrics, and, strange as this may sound, they reminded me of the current economic crisis:

There is no political solution
To our troubled evolution
Have no faith in constitution
There is no bloody revolution

Our so-called leaders speak
With words they try to jail you
They subjugate the meek
But it's the rhetoric of failure

Where does the answer lie?
Living from day to day
If it's something we can't buy
There must be another way

07 December 2008

Potential Obama Appointees Questioned on Guns

This gave me one more reason to ask Santa for a Colt Thirty-Eight Special this Christmas. Unbelievable!
The National Rifle Association has denounced the Barack Obama transition team’s questionnaire asking potential appointees about their own gun ownership.

The 63-question personnel form includes this query: “Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage.”

Paul Light, professor of public service at New York University, told Politico.com that there was no such question for potential appointees when George W. Bush took office in 2000.

“It kind of sticks out there like a sore thumb,” he said.

Light hypothesized that the Obama camp might want to avoid the spectacle of a Cabinet-level or other high-ranking appointee who is found to have an unregistered handgun.

But the NRA, which spent millions in an attempt to defeat Obama, is crying foul over the question.

“Barack Obama and his administration are showing their true colors and true philosophy with regard to the Second Amendment,” said Chris Cox, the NRA’s top political official.

“It shows what we’ve been saying all along — this guy doesn’t view the Second Amendment as a fundamental constitutional right.”

Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina also denounced the question.

“It’s very odd and very concerning to put out a question like that,” he said.

DeMint’s campaign organization sent an e-mail to supporters vowing to endorse legislation that bars federal hiring discrimination on the basis of gun ownership.

The question put to potential appointees is just the latest Obama move to irk opponents of gun control, NewsBusters contributing editor Tom Blumer pointed out.

Among other things, Obama has voted to allow lawsuits designed to bankrupt firearms firms, voted to ban almost all rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting, endorsed a complete ban on handgun ownership, voted to uphold local gun bans and the criminal prosecution of people who use firearms in self-defense, and supported a proposal to ban gun stores within five miles of a school or park.
E-mail sent by Newsmax

Nothing pissed me off more than reading "criminal prosecution of people who use firearms in self-defense." So, according to this, the couple who shot 3 home invaders back in October should be punished simply for defending their lives. HA HA HA. Good one! I guess I'll play dead when (God forbid) I get mugged, raped, etc. at knifepoint while jogging. Surely no one would want to see a mugger's, rapist's, etc. brains splattered all over the road.

Beer, Conservatives & Liberals: A History Lesson

Something to munch on while the semester winds down:
Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter.

The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups: 1. Liberals; and 2. Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement. Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q's and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement. Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as girliemen.

Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided. Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare. Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't fair to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, athletes, Marines, and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America. They crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get more for nothing.

Here ends today's lesson in world history: It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to angrily respond to the above before forwarding it. A Conservative will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute truth of this history that it will be forwarded immediately to other true believers and to more liberals just to tick them off.

30 October 2008

Something you might want to ask Obama supporters

Message sent to the members of the Facebook group: Virginia for McCain-Palin 2008
Subject: Something you might want to ask Obama supporters

Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read "Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on a "Obama 08" tie, again I laughed as he had given away his political preference--just imagine the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I've decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of my somewhat unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient needed money more.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application. I say we try this in the next 10 days and we might be able to change a few minds...

15 September 2008

Whistleblower Policy a Potential in PWC?

The following comment was made on the August 20 post:
Anonymous said...

Have you seen the latest out of greece? Can we get a similar Whistleblower policy in PWC to protect us from Walts?
LINK to article:
http://www.mpnnow.com/news/education/x560278441/Whistleblower-policy-in-place-in-Greece

Also - upcoming Math Investigations Work Session @ 9/17 PWCS Board Meeting
http://www.pwcs.edu/absolutenewsmanager/templates/?a=1183&z=11

concerned pwc parent!
www.pwcteachmathright.com September 11, 2008 9:42 PM
That is a very good question indeed. If there is enough call for such policy to be implemented in Prince William County, particularly within the school system, it may very well become a reality.

In the meantime, a highly recommended recourse is to report suspected abuses, fraud, or waste of Department of Education funds or programs either anonymously or in confidence to the Office of the Inspector General in several ways by:

1) Downloading this form (complete anonymity) and mailing it to:

Inspector General's Hotline
Office of Inspector General
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1500

2) Sending an e-mail message to
oig.hotline@ed.gov

3)
Calling the OIG Hotline's toll free number 1-800-MIS-USED. The Hotline's operating hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM, Eastern Time; Tuesday and Thursday, 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM, Eastern Time except for holidays.

4) Completing and submitting a complaint form online.

Reporting actions that go against the best interests of the students should never result in retaliation from the offending party. Unfortunately, the status quo for many places in the country is quite the opposite...

Let others know about this and other resources they can use to pursue their causes and cases.

Injustice does not have an indefinite shelf-life.

20 August 2008

Bright Morning with Dilated Pupils

Rumors are like coins: they are tossed into the air to be seen by all. Two outcomes flash as they present their faces to the audience. They blur into one; no person can track his/her choice side. Gravity takes over, and it brings the game of chance to its maker. Breaths held, the onlookers wait...

The touchdown commences and ceases in an instant.

Now back to the present. There was a flurry of gossip flying around and scuttlebutt on the grapevine that the superintendent was resigning, the office was being cleared, he went to the beach with Imon and was never returning, etc. A transportation meeting was where he could usually be seen at this time of year. Was he there today?

Definitely. It looks as though he is still employed by the school system.

It landed tails. Better luck next time.

08 August 2008

The Joker?

Just landed in my inbox minutes ago. I will admit, they did a pretty darn good job :)


27 July 2008

24 July 2008

"Mom! There are so many day laborers here!"

It's Thursday morning, and I'm off to The Home Depot just off the Rhode Island Ave.-Brentwood Metro stop in the hopes of acquiring employment there. I can commute with my father to the region (and use his stash of discarded Metro passes), work during the day, and return home with him. The Law of Resolution is a rather tasty treat one might find in Prince William County. I've been out and about during the summer, and the County is looking rather glorious :)

The Metro slows and comes to a stop. The electric bells chime and the matter-of-fact announcer says, "Doors opening." DING-dong , go the chimes again. I step out, relishing the 75° morning temperatures. I head down the platform and walk the trek to the store. As I round the bend, I have to stop because I am in utter shock: about 40-50 men are milling around in The Home Depot parking lot, sunning themselves while sitting on the curb and chatting amongst one another. I am stuck by the fact that a day laborer is something I have not seen in many, many months, particularly in Prince Willliam County. I had often wondered where many, if not most, of the day laborers had gone if they fled PWC. I guess I had found them.

I nodded to one gentleman and said buenas to another. I approached a foursome. Speaking spanish, I chatted with a laborer who said that many of them had been waiting for work since five or six in the morning. It was eight-ish or so when I arrived and asked if there had been any one to pick them up. They shook their heads no, there hadn't been too many people this morning. I thanked them for their time and left.

I took some pictures of the laborers milling around. I was a little nervous about getting close to them with a camera, so I took the shots from across the parking lot:











I returned in the afternoon. While the number of laborers was less than what it was in the morning, there were about 20 or so guys. I conversed with a couple fellows who were taking refuge from the sun in the shade. I told them that I thought there would be no one here because it was the afternoon; naturally, wouldn't someone have picked them up? This laborer said no, today had been a little slow. I chatted some more with the guys until I realized that I was no longer speaking to just two men. The other laborers had noticed there was someone talking to them and perhaps they thought I was a contractor. I paused for a second and saw that I was speaking to about 20 men. I got slightly nervous but figured as long as they didn't make any sudden or threatening motions towards me, I would be fine.

I asked them where they lived. They were from the D.C. area, they said. I told them about Prince William County and the Law of Resolution. They chuckled; it didn't look like they would try to go there. They seemed fine to try and earn a living while waiting in The Home Depot parking lot. It was a little hot that afternoon, and I asked them if they had enough water while they were standing outside during the day. Nearly all shook their heads in unison. "No agua, no baño," one said. "No food," offered another. I asked them how long they had been standing there. "Doce (12) horas," someone told me. I saw that the laborers were looking at me in a sort of eager, anticipating expression. "I didn't bring my car," I told them in Spanish. Nope, I was not there to hire them. I was looking for work myself! Nevertheless, they were interested in this person who had stopped to talk with them.

I talked with the laborers for a little while longer, then I bid them good-bye. I said that if I hopefully got the job at that Home Depot I would see them again. I thought I could hear one of them ask me what my name was, but the words were lost in their own good-byes. I stopped for a moment. He asked again.

"¿Cómo te llamas?"

I gave them my nickname.

21 July 2008

¿Adiós?

Okaaaay, I REALLY don't know what to make of the whispers and rumours and whatnot that's been spreading like fire on spilt gasoline in Prince William County and Greece, NY. It began last Friday, July 18 with an e-mail I received from someone stating that Steven Walts was resigning. I was out of town during that time, and when I returned home, my father had more information. As early as last month, the school board had apparently offered a buy-out for Walts. The amount wasn't quite what he was looking for. But then word comes around that he was resigning. The reasons spanned from being "caught en flagrante with a male math teacher" to suspicions that "one of the employees he brought from New York was his mistress and the wife found out. " A friend of my father's had called asking for confirmation. I would think that something this big would be reported in the Potomac News and/or Washington Post, but when I checked, there was nothing. However, underneath the hum of rush-hour traffic there is a palpable electricity, especially up in Greece.

It began with a post on the Smarter CATS in the Greece Central School District blog titled ALL POINTS BULLETIN?
PWC Resident said...
There's word out that Waltsie and possibly his boys are going to waltz out of Prince William County Public Schools.
Keep a sharp eye out for these hoodlums. Do NOT give the bad guys any reason to return to your system. 7/18/2008 7:12 PM
This post sparked a furor. These comments give reason for pause:
Anonymous said...
Impeccable sources close to PWC report that Walts resigned yesterday (Friday) rather than be fired for cause. It is alleged that Walts was caught with an employee engaged in behavior that would be considered cause for dismissal . The cheering in PWC has just begun!!
Are their people on our board that are sick enough to want to bring him back?
Stay tuned for breaking news!
Oh, he allegedly overspent the budget on the new admin bldg. by $15 million. And the Board of Education members are profoundly embarrassed by this turn of events. Of course they were warned about Walts' behaviors three years ago, and again and again. 7/19/2008 2:39 PM
Anonymous said:
If the story about Walts resigning is true, then some hard questions need to be asked.
Was the employee wishing to be given a raise by Walts?
Was the employee seeking to get ahead at work?
Did Walts overplay his hand?
Was there bad-mouthing of or by either party?
Clearly a subordinate employee can be compromised by a powerful superior. It is called sexual harrassment!
Can Walts' lifetime health care paid by Greece residents be stopped immediately for actions that warranted dismissal by the current employer?
Or will Boily and puppets want to ignore yet another smoking gun!!! 7/19/2008 3:52 PM
A further post allowed for discussion of the former comment: OOPS!! HE DID IT AGAIN?? In the following discussion, an anonymous post that seemed to originate from PWC offers more:
The rumor started here in Prince William early in the week that he was going to resign. It spread among the principals and teachers in summer school like wildfire. When people called the admin office, it was denied. But then on Friday, the talk expanded and it was coming from people who worked on the Hill in or close to the super's office. They said they saw what was happening Friday morning and that he definitely was resigning or going to resign. He was taking things out of his office clearing it out. By Friday afternoon, it was all over the county, although not officially reported anywhere. At my school we never heard any rumors as to why or any allegations about Dr. Walts, just that he was leaving. But there have been wild rumors for weeks that Kisha left because of sexual harassment and misconduct. We're just as baffled as everyone else is.

We have rumors like any school system but I can't remember any rumor being this talked about and not true. I'm not saying it is true but the people it was coming from are people who have never spread rumors like this in the past. They seemed fearful of losing their own jobs with a new administration so I think they were being honest about what they saw and thought was happening on Friday. 7/20/2008 3:51 PM
And here's my comment:
At this point, I'm getting told two different stories left and right. For all the announcements our school board makes, it would be VERY helpful to hear one verifying or busting this rumour. >:( I am astounded that SCATS appears to have more info on this than our own papers. ><

For those wondering about blog coverage, there is at least one. BLACK VELVET BRUCE LI July 20: "No, PWCPS Superintendent Walts is not resigning/been fired or whatever, despite rumors to that effect. Some folks have confused the resignation of the State Superintendent with Dr. Walts. For beter [sic] or worse, Dr. Walts is still with us."

Hopefully, more info will come to light in the coming days. 7/21/2008 4:32 AM
I know, Wikipedia isn't the best source =)


Personally, there is nothing I'd like better than to see a certain someone walking out of Independent Hill with his tail tucked between his legs. I can only hope that all school systems have been warned of this character and will keep their doors shut to him and his associates.

09 July 2008

Put this in your toolbox

All Citizens should have this page bookmarked ASAP, courtesy of FAIR:


Stick 'em all over the discussion boards. Let's see the liberals try to spin this.

"Amnesty" my big American a**.

PSA for Illegal Aliens wanting to rob houses

It may very well be the last time you do so. Thanks to a Texas man, there are two fewer illegal aliens in the United States. Two men were shot and killed when a neighbor saw them crawling out of a window, and then came over to the yard of the neighbor and began threatening him. After ample warnings, Joe Horn opened fire. The illegal aliens were dead at the scene.

The two illegals already committed a crime by entering and remaining in this fine Country illegally. I guess it would only make their rap sheet prettier by adding burglary and threatening someone. Kudos to the 61-year-old for defending not only his life and his own property, but also the property of his neighbors. I don't know what's funnier: having the family of the dead men actually wanting something done to Horn, or trying to imagine what Horn's trophy wall currently looks like :)

Story can be found here and here.

07 July 2008

Sell Out the Bad Stock

I've received intel this afternoon that the Prince William County School Board has been looking into buying-out the current superintendent, sort-of like a "we'll-pay-you-to-skip-town" thing. Funny, but this is coming from the same group of people who released a statement back in February saying:
"Dr. Walts continues to have the confidence of the ... board. The Prince William County community can rest assured that the School Board has long-standing and transparent policies and audit procedures assuring integrity and effectiveness of all division operations."
Good job! This is certainly worthy of a medal. The Citizens are presented with a front that denies any and all wrongdoings of their star employees, yet at the same time, a hand or two sneaks underneath the table to bid a completely different errand.

Unfortunately, the likelihood that the position will be vacated due to a buyout (and the school board members getting their heads out of each other's rear ends) is, sadly, quite unlikely. When offended parties win their lawsuits and student performance continues to spiral downward in the Math department, we may very well have eight school board representatives walking the plank. And those sharks are getting mighty hungry...

Rumours have been going around that Freedom High School may see new leadership within the next academic year or so. I'll be keeping an eye out on the job posting.

19 June 2008

9500Problems

Gosh, it's been awhile! But I am back now with at least one new brake on the truck, hehe.

I checked Wikipedia to scope Eric Byler's page to see if anything interesting had popped up. Yep, there was still that pesky "Conflict of Interest" flag, expected of course.

Ahhh, but wait! What happened to the "Criticism" section that was on the page before???


That's funny ... it appears to have disappeared, only to be replaced with "Flim Criticism." Oh my, there go the liberals again, hard at work making sure that everybody only a few people have the freedom of speech in their grasp.

Fortunately, a wikiFan or two managed to put in their bid before it magically disappeared again from the site. Thanks for the warning, guys :)

31 May 2008

wikiOuch

Eric Byler of the loveable (insert appropriate adjective here) 9500Liberty has landed himself a fan or two.

There was a neat "Conflict of Interest" tag at the top of his Wikipedia page.


I think this takes care of most of the "Conflict of Interest." Feel free to add to Byler's page as appropriate. :D

23 May 2008

Silly MapQuest

We're headed to Colonial Beach for Memorial Day Weekend. It looks like my folks will be taking the family sailboat down while I stay on Terra Firma and drive the van. How does one get there? Hop on the web and employ the tried-and-(98%)-true method of using MapQuest to chart the journey. They have a nifty feature where the user can route their trip by shortest distance or time.

Maybe I'm reading the directions wrong, but I observed something a bit odd when I switched from "Shortest Time" to "Shortest Distance." (Ctrl+click to enlarge)
"Shortest Time" route

Total Time Estimated: 1 hour, 17 minutes
Total Estimated Distance: 58.62 miles

"Shortest Distance" route

Estimated Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Estimated Distance: 71.03 miles

I think either some labels need to be switched, or just say that time and distance are saved with the top route. Anyhow, I still have the check with the man-'o'-the house for the best way to get to where we need to go.

Drive, swim, teleport, etc. safe this weekend!!! :)

21 May 2008

Passed the boiling point

A Board of Education member for the Greece Central School Disctrict in New York sent a loud and clear message when he resigned from his post a few days ago.
"I no longer wish to be associated with a school board that is politically controlled by its leadership and superintendent and is nonresponsive to the concerns of the community," he said. "The district's reluctance to seek an independent investigation by the proper police agency concerning the allegations of wrongdoing in the comptroller's audit is a prime example of this fact."
While this could very well be seen as a loss for the District, an independent voice of the system from the system may be able to do much more for Greece's constituents. An anonymous letter and a determined advocate for the community may be all that is needed to commence a criminal investigation into the Audits.

$2.5 mil+ was flushed down the crapper ... OOPS

They're playing this loss awful lightly. What happens a couple days later is a bit of a shock.

19 May 2008

If the Prodigal Son went to college

I'm going back to school tomorrow, which should be fun. I'm still in "college mode," and I need something to keep my mind busy.
"What goes up to the dorm must come back."

3 days before launch
8/19/07


T-minus 19 hours
8/22/07


This is why some people need a moving truck when returning home






Here comes the fun part: unpacking!




Two semesters, minus 2 textbooks and a bunch of smaller novels -.-
Total cost: $1032.30


There's been a buzz about keeping the grass cut on foreclosed property in PWC. I have to wonder where they're coming up with the figure of $2 mil to keep the lawns trim... it can't all be blamed on gas prices! Here's a solution: round up a batallion of college students home for the summer and give them a lawn mower and a mutually-agreed salary. Give them a list of properties to mow and plenty of water. The figure goes down significantly, and students' pockets are full at the end of the day. Checkbooks are fattened by the end of the summer in time for the fall semester. It's a win-win situation.

13 May 2008

GOING HOME TODAY, WOOT!

I checked out Waldo’s Virginia Political Blogroll just to see if any interesting posts had come up since this morning. I was greeted with a rather loud-looking post titled "Corey Stewart is a Big Fat Liar." Curiosity piqued, I couldn't resist checking out the post... yep, same-ol' same ol'. Nothing special or out of the ordinary; just the usual housing freakouts, and the oh-so-famous racial tie to the illegal immigration debate.

I had a couple problems with this post. Assuming that illegal aliens are nothing but a bunch of Latinos is racist in itself. It makes a point in saying "whether legally in the county or not;" however, we read "Latinos fleeing" and "Latino shops." The term "illegal aliens" knows no bounds of race or ethnic group- only law-breakers. Furthermore, the post says that Corey "ran off every Latino/a." I must laugh at this statement because THIS Latina (a native of Panama) keeps returning to Prince William County despite the fact that the Law of Resolution is in order! If it were allegedly true that "every Latino/a" (assuming that a mixed-heritage also counts) was leaving due to the Resolution, then my brother and mother would not be at home. Funny, but every time I need to be picked up from campus (a three-hour drive) it has almost always been my mother. (And she makes bien arroz y pollo. ¡Que rico!) Obviously, there are a couple "Latinos/as" that have NOT left the scene. The race-ranters are the true cause of what they are trying to take down. It makes perfect sense that the law-breakers are fleeing the Resolution.

As to the housing situation, this aspect has been covered ad-freaking-nauseum. Either someone needs to clean their ears out or stop running their pieholes long enough to actually LISTEN to what is going on. And, oh lookie here: if the blogger of the post in question were to search within the same newspaper that they used to grace their posting, they would find that the so-called "housing meltdown" isn't happening in Prince William County.

I was taught that a good letter to the editor does not mention an opponent by name, but includes enough information to have the reader think "Oh yeah, I know who they're talking about." The content of a blog post should be sufficient for a reader to know what, who, etc. are being talked about. "Corey Stewart is a Big Fat Liar" sends out the image of a person who lacks a whole lotta class and creativity. Suggested titles include "Do Pinocchio and the PW BoCS Chairman Share a Common Interest?", "Similarities in Pinocchio and the PW BoCS Chair," and "Link Between Weight Gain and Nose Length."

Haha, I have 6 days off until I start classes again... fun. At least they're only 6-week courses

Obama: "I've been in 57 states."

UN-BELIEVEABLE

12 May 2008

Ugh, finals

There's nothing like the sound of 22 scholars happily frantically clacking away at their keyboards as they finish (or start) last-minute assignments at the crack-'o'-dawn. The general consensus is that non-formal-exam assignments (i.e. final papers) are due at the glorious universal deadline of 5:00PM. I've been at the 24-hour lab since prior to 6AM this morning. I have not gotten an ounce of sleep since 2:30PM Sunday afternoon. I'm going to try to hold out until 2:00PM. Cheers to coffee, energy drinks, and cold showers to get us undergraduate students through the last hurdle.

09 May 2008

Audit Wars: Episode II?

One audit looks good on a past record, a second one would make it fashionable.

Democrat and Chronicle
May 7, 2008

GREECE — The Greece school board could soon initiate a detailed forensic audit of a building project the state Comptroller's Office said was rife with financial mismanagement and wasteful spending.

During a meeting Tuesday, the board formed a committee to investigate how much such an audit of the 2001 Capital Improvement Project would cost and what it would cover.

"We need to see what we will gain from a forensic audit," said Roger Boily, board president. "We don't want to pay for it if we get less information than we already have."

Forensic audits are often used to trace fraudulent accounting practices and pinpoint economic crimes.

A recently released Comptroller's Office audit of the Greece Central School District identified more than $2.5 million in excess spending on the building project and determined former district officials deliberately split orders for changes to the project into multiple parts in order to shield some spending from Board of Education review. The audit faulted former boards of education for lax financial oversight.

Also during the meeting, board member Joseph Moscato asked the board to rescind lifetime health care benefits given to former Superintendent Steven L. Walts, who left in 2005 to lead the Prince William County schools in Virginia.

With no concrete evidence of wrongdoing on Walts' part, doing so would be premature and defamatory, said board member Patrick Tydings.

"This calls for action before an investigation is done," he said, voting to defeat the proposal.

Moscato's motion to hire an outside agency to investigate whether the comptroller's findings warranted criminal charges also failed. In other audits, when significant criminal activity was found, the Comptroller's Office has referred the matters to local law enforcement. It made no such referral in Greece.

However, Superintendent Steven Achramovitch has asked the Monroe County District Attorney's Office to review the audit. That review is ongoing.

Pending cost estimates, the board held off authorizing school lawyers to investigate the findings.

The matter could come up again May 13.

The effects of Insomnia are starting to rear their ugly heads. Nap time!

08 May 2008

The answer we've been waiting for

It's funny how 2 states and an eight hour drive can be connected to one person. Here's a three-step formula to getting free healthcare from your place of employment:
  1. Insert nifty clause in contract
  2. Work five years
  3. Retire

It's that simple! Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch?

How did Walts get his benefits?
Greece Post MPNNow.com
Wed May 07, 2008

Greece, N.Y. -

When Steve Walts walked out of Greece Central in 2005, he did so knowing that his former district would foot the bill when it came to his health-care benefits.

A 2004 deal by Walts and former Board of Education members included Greece Central paying for his health care, even if he stopped working in the district. The Board of Education now is looking into whether to end the deal.

Walts, superintendent from 1998 to July 2005, entered into the agreement with the Greece board, led by then President Paul Wawrzyniak, in June 2004. Part of the agreement included the district's coverage of 80 percent of a health insurance plan offered by the district and chosen by him.

But the contract was updated in December of that year and expanded how much Greece would be responsible for regarding his benefits. An addendum passed Dec. 14, 2004, when Walts was 50, said that, if he retired or became disabled, he would be eligible for coverage in any group health insurance program with the district covering 100 percent of its costs.

When Walts left Greece in 2005 for Prince William County School District in Virginia, the benefits kicked in because of this clause: “For the purposes of any retirement benefit ... the Superintendent shall be deemed to have retired from his employment if he has completed at least 5 years of service as Superintendent of the District and there shall have been no finding of guilt on charges brought against the district.” Walts was considered retired from Greece.

Some board members have tried unsuccessfully before to overturn the agreement, but a recent State Comptroller’s audit could open the door, based on the wording at the end of that clause. Board member Joe Moscato made a motion to end the benefits in February, days after a preliminary audit was leaked, but other board members did not support it.

In 2006, then board President Ken Walsh said Walts' coverage cost Greece a little over $1,000 a month but the district would not confirm that, citing privacy reasons. Board member Joe Moscato estimated a few months ago that Greece could save close to $6 million over the next 30 years if it ends Walts' coverage.

Some have criticized the way the addendum was approved. Video of the Dec. 14, 2004, meeting shows the vote took about 15 seconds. No board members asked questions and there was no discussion.

Former board members Bill Grason, George Hubbard and Ken Walsh voted against the addendum. Former board members Karen Hoffman, Bob Mueller, Larry Sweet, Eric Peterson, Bill Russell and then President Gerry Phelan approved it.

School districts paying the bulk of a superintendent's health care isn't unusual. The contract of Walts' short-lived successor, Meg Keller-Cogan, included 90 percent health insurance coverage. If she retired, she was eligible to continue coverage in a district plan, with the district paying 90 percent.

But Keller-Cogan’s contract didn't contain the clause regarding retirement after five years that Walts' did, so she wasn’t eligible to receive the benefits after she left Greece within a year of being appointed to the post.

That Dec. 14, 2004, meeting also left Walts with a longevity clause in his contract. It granted him “$1,000 for each completed year of his tenure: Next July (2005) — the start of his eighth year in office — he will receive a $7,000 bonus; in July 2006, the bonus will increase to $8,000, and so on.”

Grason, Hubbard and Walsh voted against it. Hoffman, Mueller, Sweet, Peterson, Russell and Phelan approved it.
Wow, $6 mil in savings. And that last chunk of the clause is curiously starting to fall away.

Why don't they give the teachers free healthcare?

06 May 2008

For the horse enthusiasts...

A very different change of pace here, but there's something I need to make known. First, I don't keep up with horse sports as much as I used to, especially racing, but I heard about what happened over the weekend. My condolences go out to the owners, trainer, jockey, grooms, and others who were involved with Eight Belles.

I'm guessing PETA has never learned the definition of the word "accident." Instead of calling for the suspension of Gabriel Saez and revocation of the second place prize (which would not change anything at this point), why not commend the equine veterinarian in his decision to quickly end the pain and suffering for the filly by having her humanely euthanized on the track? Does PETA even know what an open fracture is and what that means for a horse? I think a quick death by injection is pretty ethical. PETA, please tell me how that animal was supposed to stand on two rear legs while her front legs healed. Where were their animal cruelty rants when Barbaro's muscles atrophied and his unaffected rear hoof foundered because it had to carry the remaining weight? Saez did everything in his power to try to pull up the horse after he said she "started galloping funny." One has to consider the size of the horse and the speed at which she was coming out of the race. In any case, it's delightfully refreshing to see how PETA jumped at the opportunity for a little publicity. Did they ever consider how the owners, jockey, and trainer must feel now? Didn't think so.

Rest in peace, Eight Belles
You put up a gallant fight and gave the guys a run for their money

Photo courtesty Blog.Cleveland.com
Photo courtesy TheOlympian.com

04 May 2008

Even Clorox can't clean a soiled reputation

More news from further up on the Eastern Seaboard:

MPNnow.com
Greece to discuss audit again
May 3, 2008

Greece, N.Y. -

The Greece Board of Education may look into whether it can end the controversial health-care benefits Greece Central is paying former Superintendent Steve Walts.

The board will have a discussion about the issue at its Tuesday board meeting at Apollo Middle School, 750 Maiden Lane. The board will hold a public hearing on the proposed $194,075,636 budget at 6:30 p.m. May 5.

After that, it will hold a study session on a recently released State Comptroller's audit, which found former Greece board members and administrators mismanaged money during Walts' tenure. There won't be any public comment but there will be board discussion, said board President Roger Boily.

The district held an audit forum about a week ago, which drew about 50 residents, administrators and staff.

Since then, "a number of board members suggested maybe we have a special meeting/study session to discuss the audit and come up with some ideas to look at where we go next," Boily said.

That includes looking at any recourse the district may have in changing or ending Walts' health benefits, which the district is continuing to pay, despite the fact that Walts now heads Prince William County Schools.

A 2004 deal by Walts and former Board of Education members included Greece Central funding his health care, even if he stopped working in the district. The agreement, brokered when Walts was 50, says Greece would pay 80 percent of a health insurance plan chosen by Walts from a selection Greece offered. If he retired or became disabled, Walts could continue the coverage, with the district footing the entire bill.

Walts' short-lived successor, Meg Keller-Cogan, had a similar clause. The district paid 90 percent of her coverage and agreed to pay 90 percent if she retired.

The sticking point, for some, though, is a clause in Walts' contract that says "... the Superintendent shall be deemed to have retired from his employment if he has completed at least 5 years of service as Superintendent of the District and there shall have been no finding of guilt on charges brought against the district."

The end of that clause could offer a chance end Walts' benefits. When he left Greece in 2005, he was considered retired, and the benefits kicked in. In 2006, then-board President Ken Walsh said Walts' coverage cost Greece little over $1,000 a month but the district would not confirm that, citing privacy reasons. Board member Joe Moscato estimated a few months ago that Greece could save close to $6 million over the next 30 years if it ends Walts' coverage.

Moscato made a motion to end the benefits in February, days after a preliminary audit was leaked, but other board members did not support it.

Boily said the best approach, for now, is to have the district's attorneys "take a look at the audit and its implications as far as what we can do as a board to look at the former superintendent's benefits and any other issues that may be oustanding: who got buyouts when they left the district and what we can, as a board, do about that," Boily said.

"But it will be left to the attorneys to do that," he added. "This is not something that the board says we have to cut off benefits or do anything of that nature. We need to have a legal opininion, based on the audit, where do we go from here?"

Some critics have suggested the district and board should pursure criminal charges against Walts and past administrators. But the board "has no indication whatsoever" that the Monroe County District Attorney's office will do so, Boily said.

More often, though, Boily said he fields questions about Walts' benefits.

"And my answer is, 'I never would have voted for something like that.'"


It is unfortunate to think that those who are perpetually blind to the truth are the very same people who call the shots. I hope someone in the Annex is paying attention to this.

02 May 2008

ATTN: Someone on the Hill

Interesting news from the Empire State.
Democrat and Chronicle
April 30, 2008
Greece teacher's bias suit may go to trial

An age discrimination lawsuit filed by a teacher against the Greece Central School District probably will go to trial because the two sides failed to reach a settlement during a conference Tuesday.

Lawyers representing the teacher, Mary Donlon, and the school district met for less than an hour Tuesday during a conference with U.S. District Judge Michael Telesca, said Donlon's lawyer, James Bilik.

Bilik said the case had not been resolved and might go to trial. No trial date has been set, and Bilik said he could not comment further. School district officials said they would not comment because the case involves a personnel matter. They referred calls to lawyer Daniel Moore, who said the same.

Donlon, 57, a second-grade teacher at Autumn Lane School, filed the suit in 2006. She had been removed from her classroom in March 2005 and reassigned as a substitute teacher. District officials had charged her with incompetence, neglect of duty, insubordination and conduct unbecoming a teacher.

Donlon alleged that beginning in January 2002, district leaders used an orchestrated campaign of unfair and inaccurate performance reviews to force her to retire. She contended that continuing bad treatment was retaliation for an age discrimination complaint she filed in 2004 with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Three other teachers who sued the Greece district for age discrimination settled their cases in 2006 and received payments ranging from $20,000 to $60,000.

If 60K wasn't agreed upon, I won't be surprised if the amount sought is 100-150K.

This reminds me of a song I heard:

And I ran
I ran so far away
I just ran
I ran all night and day
I couldn't get away


(Yeah, you couldn't get away from your troubles.)

01 May 2008

Déjà Vu: 2008-2006


It's May 1! There were protests last year and the year before. Here's a good one from the Associated Press via the Potomac News:

Associated Press
Published: May 1, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A coalition of immigrant rights’ groups and social justice organizations are marching today in Washington to call for immigration reform.

The groups are demanding that Prince William County, in northern Virginia, rescind its anti-illegal immigration measure. They also want raids and deportations to end, and are calling for worker centers to be established in Washington, Maryland and Virginia.

Activists also plan to deliver a letter to the Republican and Democratic national committees, asking the presidential candidates to enact immigration reform.

The events in Washington are part of rallies and marches planned in cities across the nation.

They are protesting anti-ILLEGAL measures. Just great. Protests like these would make the ICE's job significantly easier; everybody is standing in one place!

Are you thinking about launching a counter-protest? Here's what you can do:

1. Go to Wal*Mart and splurge on that digital camera you've always wanted


2. Get a couple US flags
and some poster boards while you're at it

3. Once you're home, hang one of the US flags proudly on your porch

4. Call a bunch of your anti-illegal and pro-US Citizen friends and tell them to meet you at your house

5. While you wait, exercise your right to free speech at Anti-BVBL
. Fight the slowing economy by ordering a few anti-illegal alien merchandise from RightWingStuff.com

6. When your buddies show up, make patriotic USA posters


7. Fill up your diesel-guzzling truck with a full tank


8. Head to a busy street corner with your posters and flag


9. Launch counter-protest.exe


Congratulations! You are successfully counter-protesting. If anyone starts harassing you, that's where the digital camera comes in. Many have a video camera mode. Faces, clothings, vehicle make and models, and license plate numbers are the best "tags" you can place on a harasser. Human memory fades, but the camera is the best impartial witness you can bring to court should the need arise. Remember, there is safety in numbers. The sight of a gun on a hip may be enough to deter potential trouble. Stay safe, and be proud to be a US Citizen.

¡¡VIVA LA RESOLUCIÓN!!

25 April 2008

Day of Silence Noise

What are educators to do when their students are participating in some sort of protest?

Do they allow the student to participate in protest measures while in the classroom? Or does the academic setting take precedence over such activism, thereby insisting that the students participate in the class discussion, whether it goes against the protest measure or not?

What about those who chose not to engage in the protest? It can become quite frustrating to communicate ideas when one or more group members are unable to speak.

Are protesters entitled to the same participation credit as non-protesters?

At least this is only a one-day thing.

23 April 2008

He's begging for it

You don't yell "FIRE" in a crowded theater and you sure as HELL don't threaten the President of the United States. Last time I checked, it was illegal. The video was posted on http://www.WorldStarHipHop.com April 19.

21 April 2008

10 April 2008

Storm Watch

Here we go again ... taxes and budget time! Last year was a bit of an eye-opener. This year looks to be about the same. There may be less bickering, there might be more. It's the manager's choice. I read a very interesting point in the PotomacNews regarding the school budget. Actually, I never thought about it this way, but it made a whole lotta sense:
Supervisor Wally Covington, R- Brentsville, questioned why Prince William administrative salaries seemed to rise at a much higher rate than teachers, according to research he said he conducted using state Department of Education statistics.
Why not move the $1.3 mil raises that the "Top 10" are reported to receive for 2009, and give it to the teachers? Goodie Lord, it wasn't until 2007 that I've read so much beef regarding the school budget. Prior to that, nada. It's still in the air at this point, so the numbers will change. I guess we'll just hold our breath.

And another thing: I'm not extactly thrilled that there is a near-constant PWC vs. Fairfax comparison made. (They're probably not too happy about it, either.) Physical proximity does not always guarantee similar populations. Both counties have specific needs that make it almost impractical to cross-compare each other, especially when the issues become more complex.

In any case, perhaps there will come a time when we will all get along...

Or never.

09 April 2008

Counterstrike

A protest against illegal immigration, this time in an academic setting. What happens next is not surprising...

05 April 2008

Curiously Odd

I cruise FunnyJunk.com from time to time. Recently, they've allowed YouTube videos to be added to the site. In keeping with tradition, FunnyJunk visitors are able to comment videos as they do pictures or non-YouTube clips. One video in particular caught my eye. Titled "Fox Attacks," it wasn't the actual video I was interested in, but a comment poster Endpoint wrote:
Obama supports Caesarian abortion law, which allows a baby to be pulled from the womb and left todie on a gurney. Nurses are not allowed to assist a "fetus" that persists in living after beingremoved. Look it up.
These may be the words of a fierce Obama-hater that is only making this up in order to stir similar sentiment towards the candidate. Sifting through mud and muck to find the truth and confirm or bust claims such as these requires a little detective work. Has anyone else heard of this? Are there any sources that can prove this?

Do "caesarian abortions" even exist???

18 March 2008

New Wine and Old Wine-skins

$14,000

Last time I checked, a goverment employee didn't get a raise that high. Last time I checked, a government employee wasn't allowed to earn more than the President. I needed some time to digest this bit.
Prince William County Superintendent Steven L. Walts stands to earn an extra $14,357 this year, based on proposed fiscal 2009 school budget figures that call for 6 percent merit and cost-of-living raises for all eligible employees.
(God help this poor blogger who made one-day's worth minimum wage canvassing on a street corner asking complete strangers if they "had a moment for the environment.") 14K is a nice cushion on top of an extremely comfortable salary, but 14K is what many people need. Sorry school board, you're not in control of things as much as you'd like to think you are. Fortunately, we have the BoCS who can sweep in and say, "I'm in charge now" and fix the school budget if necessary... I have a feeling it's getting very close to that point. Get your amour ready, and spit-shine that helmet! We're in for the long haul; extra rations optional but highly recommended.

By the way, I saw the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center. I had always thought the building was going to be built right there on Joplin Road. It's not. I guess you can't erect a new building on old grounds (hence the title).

I wonder if the saying "You can't put old wine into new wine-skins" applies to school board members.

hmmm...

12 March 2008

By Request

There is much to be said about the power of the ballot. "VOTE 08" signs dot college student centers and libraries. Reading material gets distrubuted either in-person or through the inbox (both electronic and real).

However, what about those who elect not to participate in the election process? There could be several reasons for this.
  1. They are not interested in politics

  2. They did not conduct their research on the various candidates beforehand and feel that they should not vote

  3. They are so fed up with the current system that they do not vote out of spite

  4. Or the current electorate is satisfied with the incumbent's work. If the candidate is running unopposed, then the spot has been secured

Which bring us to the mayoral elections of PWC. In Occoquan, Haymarket and Quantico, the mayors pretty much have their positions guaranteed to them by the time the May 6 elections roll around. It would seem that the voters are happy with the work their mayors are doing.

Good luck to all candidates! My favourite to win is Earnie Porta. :)

10 March 2008

Too True

Cruising the 'Tube has its benefits

09 March 2008

Daylight Savings Time

Time to set our clocks forward... and subsequently fool our bodies by missing lunch and losing sleep. Good luck to the BoCS as they gear up for Tuesday. The PotomacNews reports

Prince William supervisors will begin the process of sifting through 500-plus pages of fiscal 2009 budgetary items with scheduled work sessions in the afternoon and evening.

(Some undergrad students will scoff at this number.) Just as important, the tax rate to advertise will also be addressed. Tic-tac-toe, 4 ties in a row was last week's outcome of the tax rate discussion. Hopefully, the supervisors will be able to reach a consensus tomorrow. March 18 is the deadline.

Here we go!

Sisyphus: The ten worse countries for women

We will be learning about this in Global Realities tomorrow. It's hard to imagine that this is acceptable on any level. But it is.

Sisyphus: The ten worse countries for women

08 March 2008

Shields Up!

So you may have noticed that about 42% (I) and 65% (II) of the abovementioned links do not lead anywhere. I took them down for the sake of convenience. It was fun while it lasted, though.

I've been told that people are just starting to notice. Let's start some discussions and take down some names. I live for this :)

“Plans made after advice succeed; so with wise guidance, wage your war.”
Proverbs 20:18

07 March 2008

-^_^-

Many thanks to BLACK VELVET BRUCE LI for listing this blog on their site. Please be sure to visit them!

New Trade Winds

Hey, Stevie Wonder! How's the weather in New York? It's a bit cold, isn't it. And it's not because you travelled a few degrees higher in latitude... it's the cold look your old system is giving you. And what's that smell? Oh, it's the Stink Eye. Your reign of tyranny is coming to an end. Pretty soon, no school board/board of education will be folly enough to accept you as its school's chief. So let's take a look at your oh-so-stupendously colourful background:
  1. EEOC discrimination charges (Age is the trademark, Retaliation almost always accompanies it)

  2. Mainstreaming schools out of their special education programs just to save a few bucks. Note: few students come with success stories

  3. MATH INVESTIGATIONS. $2.4 million down the crapper thus far WITH MORE TO GO. It doesn't take two eyes and a pair of ears to see the number of concerned and pissed-off parents flooding school board meetings

  4. Questionable prior fiscal activity. Wow, the draft audit from my lemonade stand looked better than the one coming from Greece

Holy smokes...

And if you haven't already heard, the school board sent its opinions to Richmond. I wonder why they thought House Joint Resolution 245 was "detestable." Just to give a quick rundown, the PotomacNews says:

The measure would amend the Virginia Constitution so that schools could be supervised by "a local governing body and locality’s chief administrative officer," if the General Assembly enacted legislation toward that effect, according to the bill. In other words, laws could be passed giving the county supervisors and executive, say, authority to run the schools in place of the School Board and superintendent.

OOPS, I guess this came at a bad time for the school board; with all the fire they've been under recently, it's almost implying that someone else could do the Board's job better... which might not be too far from the truth.

Right now, please make like the school board and take both hands and place them on each buttock cheek. There, you've just made a sorry attempt to cover your derriere. That's what happens when you try to support a bad employee. And when something comes out of this, you'll go right down the drain with him because you didn't disassociate yourself from his actions.

Anyways, it's the weekend, a time to recharge and recover from the workweek's blows and near-misses. We will return in not-quite full form for another 8 days of this blogger life.

02 March 2008

24 months ago...

Don't you just hate the "It's-that-time-of-year-again" feeling??? I'm feeling it now, and it's not helping things any being an even-numbered year.

It's never a question of when our pasts let go of us, but when WE decide to let go of our pasts.

22 February 2008

Keep the Old, INTEGRATE the New

WTF?! Have you seen PotomacNews recently??? The page theme looks a little more contemporary, but I can't access any of the old articles!!! Great, now I can't read my old comments >< Unfortunately, articles that had comments on them before the switch are no longer active in the new pages. Damn!

13 February 2008

It's coming sooner than you think...

The destruction of the tyrant, that is. Who says a renewed contract can't be nullified?

12 February 2008

Hear ye, Hear ye!

Ahhh, nothing like the smell of corruption first thing in the morning. Look no further than in Prince William County!!! And guess what they're checking out... FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS!!! Now, it's not the financial documents of PWC, although they may later be affected by the current situation, but those of Greece, New York. Wow. I think we have finally reached a turning point in PWC (and the boiling point of Her citizens). Be sure to check the updated links.

May Justice be served...

After you've voted

After you've voted
They say the taste of Revenge is sweet ^_^