WE MUST COME OUT AND VOTE.

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Dear fellow Westchester Democrats and moderate Republicans seeking to oust Rob Astorino. (With help from today’s NY Times) and vote for George Latimer, presently a State Senator from Rye.

Turnout on November 7th will be critical to our success. In off election years like this one, without a presidential or gubernatorial race to draw people to the ballot, We Democrats tend to stay home. On primary night Democratic turnout was less than 8%.

Astorino is relying on this.

“Donald Trump is not running in November,” said Mr. Astorino, 50, whom some political observers predict will again challenge Mr. Cuomo next year.

WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU?

WE MUST COME OUT AND VOTE.

“Certainly there are people who are motivated by the national scene and the Trump effect could lure them to the polls,” said George Latimer, the Democrat who will oppose Mr. Astorino.

“But many of the Democrats — they really don’t focus on the small towns,” he added. “They commute to the city and come back at night.”

WE MUST COME OUT AND VOTE.

Westchester have the dubious honor of competing for the No. 1 and 2 spots on national lists of counties with the highest property taxes in the nation.

HOWEVER…

The county portion of a homeowner’s tax bill is relatively small — around 15 to 20 percent — while school taxes make up the lion’s share.

IN ADDITION…

 

About 80 percent of the county property tax pays for expenses that are mandated by the state, giving the county discretion over a small fraction of the tax bill.

“So when you say you are not raising taxes, you are saving a taxpayer who pays 10,000 a year in property taxes $20 a month.” “And what are you doing to save that? You are cutting social services and co-opting the ability of the county to function financially.” (Ron Edelman, friend of Astorino and former Republican Consultant)

Mr. Latimer, a former county legislator, faulted Mr. Astorino for his fiscal stewardship of Westchester, saying he relied too heavily on borrowing and dipping into reserves.

He also criticized Mr. Astorino’s stance on social issues, citing immigration policies and his decision to allow the county’s exhibition center in White Plains to be used for a gun show.

“If you are a in an upstate county, where 85 percent of the people have guns, that’s different,” Mr. Latimer, 63, said. “In Westchester, far more people have no guns than own guns. So my attitude is don’t have a show like that; it’s not our lifestyle.”

SO IF YOU BELIEVE THAT OUR PRESENT COUNTY EXECUTIVE… THE TRUMP SUPPORTING, MONETARY MANIPULATING, GOVERNORSHIP SEEKING, AND ANTI DEMOCRATIC VALUES ROB ASTORINO NEEDS TO BE OUSTED…

…MAKE IT YOUR BUSINESS AND COME OUT AND VOTE FOR GEORGE LATIMER FOR COUNTY EXECUTIVE THIS NOVEMBER 7TH.

 

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The Bottom Line: A Keller-Greene Joint

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Good teachers are both process and bottom line people. They think about how to get students to walk away with what the lesson was about that day. What will they know, what will they understand, what will they be able to do that they didn’t know, understand, or could not do before that class? When they create lesson plans they think about the process they will use get to the bottom line – student  critical thought.

As education policy makers far removed from classrooms rethink everything in education we can’t forget that bottom line. In rethinking high school specifically, the bottom line is not to prepare students to fill job openings or to navigate technology. Those are ancillary goals of education. Employment needs and technology are too fluid. They change overnight.

However, what never goes out of style or becomes obsolete is simple… thinking critically. Every human invention, discovery or advance has been the product of thinking critically. Thinking critically lends itself to curiosity, to analysis, synthesis, and ultimately, to solutions.

How is critical thought achieved? The best teachers teach students to ask  significant, probing questions. They also teach students to ask those questions.

“Why?” Students ask why in order to better understand the topic or issue better and find a better solution to a problem. In doing so students are able to explain why their answer was the right answer because, “ If you don’t know why, you still don’t know.”

“So what?” is another question students must learn to answer. So what if we tried it this way? So what makes that an important decision? So what makes that action important? By asking that question, students learn to critique as well as reason. It is essential to the arts of questioning and thinking critically.

Thinking critically must be at the center of any change. Teaching students to think critically will in turn encourage them to be curious, to ask why, to ask, as Robert Kennedy did, why not? It will allow them to challenge the limits of what they find in books or the visions of the future they are being handed or told to accept.

Teachers also need to be free to “think out of the box” to be able to create their own materials or methods that can become “best practices” and shared with others who find them both useful and helpful to students. Currently, more often than not, they are not allowed to do either.

Most teachers don’t have a PhD in education, but we know what works. We know that no matter how much things change, the one quality that separates man from animals is and has always been the ability to think critically. Thus only we have the ability to create and adapt to the world around us. No matter what changes are made to education, the bottom line is, and will always be, if you are not teaching students to think critically and challenging them to do it, you’re not educating them.

Why can’t our teachers do this right things? Policies created by non teachers and corporate/government run agencies.

So what will  happen as a result? We already see  the loss of our best teachers. We see the loss of critical thinking as a result of standardized tests and the huge amount of time dedicated to that effort. We see the loss of best practices and sharing. We see the demise of the best American education had to offer as nations like Finland succeed by taking those very processes we developed decades ago.

THE LAST GRADUATION SPEECH

In 2009 the NYCDOE officially closed Adlai  Stevenson High School in the  Bronx, New York as part of its “revamping policy regarding large “failing” high schools they deemed unsuccessful. I taught and coached there from its opening in 1970 through 1986. I still have relationships with many of my former students. To me it was not failure. Policies were failures. The author of the speech, my friend Bernie Keller, taught English there for 35 years. He gave the last graduation speech.

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One of the best and most important lessons my parents taught me, (and the rest of my siblings), was never to allow others to define me, or to write my story. A more urbane epithet for this statement would be, “Let no man write my epitaph.” People will say Stevenson failed, that the teachers and the supervisors and the students who learned there failed. That is their perception, that is their definition, that is their story. An African proverb states, “The lion never gets to tell the story of the hunt.” This is because the lion always dies, so only the hunter, the survivor, is left to tell the story, or at least, his version of it. Each of you sitting in the audience today as graduates, along with your brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts and cousins who graduated form Stevenson High School must tell the story. The story must be told through the colleges you attend, the professions you enter, the lives you lead and the contributions you make to your communities, this city, this state and this country.

Those who see Stevenson High School as a failure, see something I do not see, because that is not what I lived or experienced throughout my three decades of teaching here. While Stevenson wasn’t perfect, (and no place on earth is), Stevenson was a living, breathing community. The people I was privileged to work with and the students I had the opportunity to teach throughout my tenure there were special people. The teachers I admired and respected were hardworking, with a sense of loyalty and commitment. They understood that a teacher “touches eternity,” and they took that responsibility seriously. They helped their students to stretch for their dreams and gave them the means to reach those dreams.

Every year, a new group of ninth graders walked into Stevenson, wide-eyed and overwhelmed, and four years later, more often than not, they left with their heads in the clouds, but their feet on the ground, with a vision for their lives hewn from the dreams, doubts, uncertainties, questions and wishes they possessed when they began as a result of the classes they took and the people who taught them. They learned you do not measure greatness or success with some number on a test paper or graduating in four years. They learned that you measure success, not by where you end up, but that the true measure of success and greatness is what you have to overcome in order to have that success. The diamond, the hardest substance known to man, is nothing more than common coal, until the weight of the earth crushes the coal and transforms a worthless lump of coal into a valuable gem. Like that diamond, it is the adversity and the challenges one must face in order to get where one wants to go to create the person one wants to be that produces the diamonds of our lives.

There were no shortcuts, no easy ways out. There was no magic, no miracles. While every student was given the opportunity to meet their challenges and adversities, not every one was willing to fight for what they wanted. For them, the battle was too hard, or it took too much work. They did not succeed, but those who were willing to do the work, to face down the struggles and the problems, those who were willing to persevere, those people are sitting here today, and they have sat in these chairs for the past thirty-five years.

Thirty five times, purple and white robed graduates have walked down these aisles and across this stage to begin a new chapter in their lives. Thirty five times, they have stood and walked forward in the faces of the doubters, the empty promises and the failed fads. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t sound anything like failure to me.

Remember that contrary to the experts who believe that one size does fit all and that what makes one person a success can be duplicated in exactly the same way in others to make others succeed, success cannot be measured or doled out in a certain number of years or by achieving a certain grade. No matter how long it takes or how much work is required to do it, I charge you all this day to continue your battle to succeed

On that note, allow me to leave you with two thoughts. The first thought is a definition of success. It states that, “Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is in the doing, not the getting, in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard – reaching for the highest that is in us – becoming all that we can be. If we do our best, we have had success.”

The second thought is a poem I write in every yearbook I sign. It says,

Reach for a star-

if you miss

there’ll be a cloud

for you to hang onto.

Thank you again for inviting me to speak with you today, congratulations Stevenson High School graduates of 2009, and always remember to keep a good thought.

What’s your good thought?

MARTIN LUTHER KING SAID:

Unknown“Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys a community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”

How dare #racists and #nazis claim they are equivalent to MLK when he used free speech and non-violence to fight for Civil Rights!

We know that the 1960’s Civil Rights and anti Vietnam movements splintered and that there were groups like the Weather Underground, the Black Muslims, and Black Panthers who were not afraid to use violence to fight violence. We cannot deny that the “Martin vs Malcolm” dichotomy existed.

However, in today’s battle for Civil Rights, I believe we have to be more MLK-like in dealing with the new versions of Strom Thurmond, George Wallace and Richard Nixon.

Free speech is a right to cherish and honor. We must decide how to fairly enforce it. We must also understand the tactics used by these right wing fanatics to exploit it.

In 1978, the ACLU took a controversial stand for free speech by defending a Neo-Nazi group that wanted to march through the Chicago suburb of Skokie , where many Holocaust survivors lived. The notoriety of the case caused some ACLU members to resign, but to many others the case has come to represent the ACLU’s unwavering commitment to principle. In fact, many of the laws the ACLU cited to defend the group’s right to free speech and assembly were the same laws it had invoked during the Civil Rights era, when Southern cities tried to shut down civil rights marches with similar claims about the violence and disruption the protests would cause.

They, by the way, decided not to march.

To not allow them to march was and still would be unconstitutional. But how we allow them to march can be closely regulated and monitored. To do this we need our leaders to set the proper examples and NOT INCITE marchers or protesters to RIOT or threaten everyone by carrying weapons even where the laws allow. We need our leaders (both national and local) to lower the tone of the rhetoric. We need law enforcement to make sure free speech doesn’t turn violent. Hey #45…We also know that it is the Neo-Nazi, KKK, white supremacist militia folks who are far more likely to do that.

We cannot allow this generation of segregationists to steal the language of the Civil Rights Movement.

So what do we do? It is a quandary. Free speech should never be taken for granted.

MORAL SUPERIORITY?

This weekend, amid the horror of Charlottesville, we witnessed a return to the 1950’s and the early 1960’s.

In the fifties and sixties the fire-breathing moralists were the Governors of Alabama, Mississippi, and their like. Do you remember the phrase uttered by another presidential candidate? Alabama Governor, George Wallace’s 1963 inaugural address included Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” Wasn’t that him standing on his “moral” high ground”?

Remember Mississippi governor Ross Barnett who once said, “The Good Lord was the original segregationist. He put the black man in Africa. … He made us white because he wanted us white, and He intended that we should stay that way.” Barnett said that Mississippi had the largest percent of black Americans because “they love our way of life here, and that way is segregation.” 

It brings to mind Little Rock, Bull Connor’s fire hoses and dogs in Birmingham, and the attacks in Selma, Two recent articles make it very clear why, after 50 plus years we still haven’t cleared any of those racist hurdles and are at an impasse and loggerheads with each other again, today.

The first, written by Jane Coaston, entitled, HIGH HORSES, talks about how people, especially on social media posts, “flaunt their own moral superiority” using “virtue signaling” in ways that we have for centuries been told the dangers of doing. She claims, “We are living in an age of hypocritical showboats advertising their own righteousness.” Although I disagree with her focus on the left, I see it there too often.

Now before my fellow left/progressive/liberal/democrat (God, I hate labels.) friends start to profess their moral high ground about what follows, let me first say, If we are to progress left and liberal, we must listen and debate, as was once the case, especially in universities and colleges across the nation. Why do many who grew up with free speech in the 60’s now suppress their own allies if they cross some imaginary “moral high ground line”?

However I see it much more on the right. Thus Charlottesville. Their version of their “city on the hill” is revolting yet claims their version of “moral superiority and “value signaling”.

The left and right’s versions of the moral high ground and virtues differ strongly but their “conversational approach is the same. “Shut up! You are a moral miscreant.” “Only my values are valid.” “I am appalled at you, your thoughts, your beliefs, your actions and your causes.”

Every one of them, left or right, wants to show others how morally superior they are not only to those on the opposing side but also to show how great they are to their allies. This includes our disastrous president trying to appeal to his base. In doing so, they only add fuel to the fire.

As Coaston points out, they live in a ”virtual foxhole, the spot from which you will attack before logging off for the evening,” or go to bed after you’ve finished tweeting.

However, what happened at Charlottesville wasn’t virtual. It was the result of the venom spewed by “High Horsed” people, especially on the Duke, Bannon, Jones, Spencer led white supremacist “Alt Right. This time one of the stokers of the flame of hate was #45. Of course the White Supremacists came out in force.

Now these kind of “my righteous way or the highway” comments are everywhere on Twitter, Facebook, and every kind of social medium that exists. It appears on cable news. They are as destructive as a California wildfire or a driver mowing down demonstrators who disagreed with him.

That leads me to the second piece, by Frank Bruni, entitled, “I’m a white man. Can i continue.”? He says, “The legitimacy of my voice shouldn’t depend on my oppression.” All too often allies in the fight for social, political, and economic justice have been shut out or shut up because they are either not oppressed enough or haven’t properly renounced their “white privilege”.

I get that. So does Bruni, a powerful spokesperson for these causes in the NYT. He admits he is white was brought up rich and suburban and in private school.

We can say, “fuck him” and have our enemies laugh as we silence a powerful voice or we can say, hey this dude is actually with us. We need his help.

Who else do those on their moral high horse say fuck off to? Bill Maher? Really? Because as an atheist he critiqued all organized religions including Islam? These are the same people who cheered him when he criticized his own Catholic church. What virtue are they signaling? I don’t get it.

I know some will attack me for writing this, but I cannot change my view that we have to get off of our moral superiority pedestal. Claims to hold the highest ground often blind us from working with our allies in the fight against this newest version of Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

 Do we not see Jeff Sessions in action? This NYT article tells it all.

“Jeff Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee 20 years ago that affirmative action irritated people (he meant white people) because it could cause them to lose opportunities “simply because of their race.” This sense of grievance lies behind the Justice Department’s recent memo seeking lawyers to investigate “race-based discrimination” in college admissions.

It also implies that all that stands between hard-working whites and success are undeserving minorities who are doled out benefits, including seats at good schools, by reckless government agents.

In fact, today’s socioeconomic order has been significantly shaped by federally backed affirmative action for whites. The most important pieces of American social policy — the minimum wage, union rights, Social Security and even the G.I. Bill — created during and just after the Great Depression, conferred enormous benefits on whites while excluding most Southern blacks.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/12/opinion/sunday/making-affirmative-action-white-again.html?_r=0

920x920Either we get off our high horses, stop the moral posturing against each other as allies, and fight this together or the segregationists win…

…. Again.

The author is a somewhat privileged 67 year old white boy who grew up as a white shadow in the South Bronx, taught there for 16 years, and after a long teaching career, spent 4 more years after retirement teaching new, mostly white, teachers how to teach in the hood where he grew up.

NEWS FLASH: FOUNDING FATHERS USE NEW TECHNOLOGY

Handicapped-writersMembers of both major political parties attacking each other. Fake News. Name-calling. Wild tweeting? Today’s world? Of course, but it is not the first time in our history.

Any informed and well-read turn of the 19th century citizen could have easily either been excited or disgusted by what went on in the press and in published letters during our first three Presidential administrations. Each side had it’s own newspapers that not only supported their own agendas but also threw bombshells at their opponents. The records are there and well recorded for all to see.

But for fun, just suppose, that our Founding Fathers, the men who wrote our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, set precedents for our great Republic, and created our earliest newspapers, had “quiller accounts. Lets see how things might have gone. Each of the following “quills” is an actual quote. However because of the wordiness of language in that era the “quills” were not limited to 140 characters

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

George Washington @twash

Alexander Hamilton @aham

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff

John Adams @jadams

James Madison @jmad

Aaron Burr @aburr (Third VP of the U.S. and killer of Alexander Hamilton in their famous duel)

Oliver Wolcott, Jr. 2owalcott (Sec. of the Treasury following Hamilton’s resignation)

Senator William Plumer @senatorplumer (U.S. Senator from New Hampshire

Robert Troupe @rtroupe (friend of Alexander Hamilton)

Aristides @Aristides (probably Noah Webster. Yes, that Noah Webster.)

Philip Frenau @pfrenau (editor of the National Gazette while hired by Thomas Jefferson as a translator at the State Department for an annual salary of $250.)

The National Gazette @Natgaz (a partisan newspaper founded at the urging of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson – the leaders of the Democratic-Republican Party. Many prominent Republicans contributed articles, often pseudonymously, including Madison and Jefferson. It is unique for being substantially supported by a major player within a sitting Administration while simultaneously attacking that Administration’s own policies.

The Philadelphia Aurora @aurora (The Aurora’s articles generally denounced Federalists, including vitriolic attacks on the presidential administrations of George Washington and John Adams.)

The American Citizen @americancitizen (NYC newspaper in New York City in the early 19th century. Editor James Cheetham was frequently sued for libel, although many of the suits ended in mistrial, dismissal, or deadlock.

 

LET THE “QUIILLS” BEGIN:

THE WASHINGTON ADMINISTRATION:

Alexander Hamilton @aham
Re #tjeff and #pfrenau AND #natgaz “He knows how to put a man in a situation calculated to produce all the affects he desires without the gross and awkward formality of telling him, ‘Sir, I intend to hire you for the purpose’.”

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff
Re: #natgazette: “nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”

James Madison @jmad
Re: #aham #gwash “a government operated by corrupt influence, substituting the motive of private interest in place of public duty.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
“#jmad cooperating with #tjeff is a the head of a faction decidedly hostile to me and my administration and…subversive of the principles of good government and dangerous to the union, peace, and happiness of the country.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
#tjeff is a “man of profound ambition and violent passions.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
“Is it possible that #tjeff, the head of a principal department of the government, can be a patron of a paper (#natgazette) the evident object of which is to decry the government and it’s measures?”

The National Gazette @Natgaz
@Aristides #treasurysec “a cowardly assassin who strikes in the dark and securely wounds because he is unseen.” #federalists are “monarchial party” and “monocrats”.

James Madison @jmad
#Hamiltonians are “more partial to the opulent than to the other classes of society…want to conduct government by “pageantry of rank, influence of money and EMOLUMENTS, and the terror of military force.”

Philip Frenau @pfrenau
#gwash “A certain monarchial prettiness must be highly extolled, such as levees, drawing rooms, stately nods, instead of shaking hands, titles of office, seclusion from the people.”
John Adams @jadams
#pfrenau #natgazette “sour, peevish, fretful, lying paragraphs”

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff
#aham “resolved, that the #sectreasury has been guilty of maladministration in the duties of his office and should…be removed from his office by the President of the United States.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
#jeffersonians are “wily hypocrites” and “crafty and abandoned imposters.”

RE CITIZEN GENET AFFAIR:

John Adams @jadams
(AFTER IT WAS OVER)
“You @tjeff never felt the terrorism…when ten thousands people in the streets of Philadelphia, day after day, threatened to drag @gwash out of his house and effect a revolution in the government…                                                                                                    John Adams @jadams
…or compel it to declare war in favor of the French Revolution and against England.”

Philip Frenau @pfrenau
#gwash “The Funeral Dirge of George Washington” (in which Washington, like Louis XVI, was executed by guillotine)

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff
@jmad #gwash “naked he would have been sanctimoniously reverenced, but enveloped in the rags of royalty, they can hardly be torn off without laceration.”

John Adams @jadams
#gwash is “better at striking heroic poses than providing leadership.” He “could not write a sentence without misspelling some word,” and “but very superficially read in the history of any age, nation.”

Philip Frenau @pfrenau                                                                                                                     #gwash “His wishes (through the treaty) will be gratified with a hereditary monarchy and a House of Lords.”

John Adams @jadams
#tjeff “thinks by this step (his resignation) to get the reputation as a humble, modest, meek man wholly without ambition or vanity…
John Adams @jadams
…But if the prospect opens, the world will see and he will feel that he is as ambitious as #OliverCromwell.”

 

THE ADAMS ADMINISTRATION

Oliver Wolcott, Jr. 2owalcott
#jadams “Thus are the United States governed, as Jupiter is represented to have governed Olympus. Without regarding the opinions of friends or enemies, all are summoned to hear, reverence, and obey the unchangeable fiat.”

The Philadelphia Aurora @aurora
“We see #jadams gasconading like a bully, swaggering the hero, and armed cap-a-pie, throwing the gauntlet to the most formidable power on earth.”
The Philadelphia Aurora @aurora
“We behold him placing himself the file-leader of a British faction and marshaling his forces as if he were the representative of George the Third, instead of the chief magistrate of the American people.”

DURING THE XYZ AFFAIR “An episode at Congress Hall in January 1798 symbolized the acrimonious mood. Representative Matthew Lyon of Vermont, a die-hard Republican, began to mock the aristocratic sympathies of Roger Griswold, a Federalist from Connecticut. When Griswold then taunted Lyon for alleged cowardice during the Revolution, Lyon spat right in his face. Griswold got a hickory cane and proceeded to thrash Lyon, who retaliated by taking up fire tongs and attacking Griswold. The two members of Congress ended up fighting on the floor like common ruffians” (Chernow, HAMILTON p569.)

 

THE JEFFERSON ADMINISTRATION

Alexander Hamilton @aham
@GMorris #aburr “is sanguine enough to hope everything, daring enough to attempt everything, wicked enough to scruple nothing,”

Aaron Burr @aburr
@aham “General, all things are moral to great souls!”

Robert Troupe @rtroupe
“At one of the polls, @aham, with impunity by the populace, was repeatedly called a thief and at another poll, with the same impunity, he was called a rascal, villain, and everything else that is infamous in society!” “What a commentary is this on republican virtue?”

RE PRESS WARS AND ”FAKE NEWS”

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff
“The liberty of the press consists, in my idea, in publishing the truth from good motives and for justifiable ends, [even] though it reflect on the government, on magistrates, or individuals.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
#thepress “I consider this spirit of abuse and calumny as the pest of society. I know the best of men are not exempt from attacks of slander. . . . Drops of water in long and continued succession will wear out adamant.” Hence the importance of truth, fairness, and absence of malice in reportage.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
“I never did think the truth was a crime. I am glad the day is come in which it is to be decided, for my soul has ever abhorred the thought that a free man dared not speak the truth.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
“To watch the progress of such endeavours is the office of a free press. To give us early alarm and put us on our guard against the encroachments of power.”

The American Citizen @americancitizen
“General Hamilton did not oppose Mr. Burr because he was a democrat . . . but because HE HAD NO PRINCIPLE, either in morals or in politics. The sum and substance of his language was that no party could trust him. He drew an odious, but yet I think a very just picture of the little Colonel.”

The American Citizen @americancitizen
“upwards of twenty women of ill fame with whom #aburr has been connected.”

The American Citizen @americancitizen
“#aburr has been loaded with almost every epithet of abuse to be found in the English language. He has been represented as a man totally destitute of political principle or integrity.”

AFTER BURR SHOOTS HAMILTON

Senator William Plumer @senatorplumer
#Republicans “I never had any doubts of their joy for the death of #aham. My only doubts were whether they would manifest that joy by caressing his murderer.”

 


DO THESE EXCHANGES TRUMP TODAY’S?

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

 

WHAT IF THE FOUNDING FATHERS HAD TODAY’S TECHNOOLGY?

Members of both major political parties attacking each other. Fake News. Name-calling. Wild tweeting? Today’s world? Of course, but it is not the first time in our history.

Any informed and well-read turn of the 19th century citizen could have easily either been excited or disgusted by what went on in the press and in published letters during our first three Presidential administrations. Each side had it’s own newspapers that not only supported their own agendas but also threw bombshells at their opponents. The records are there and well recorded for all to see.

But for fun, just suppose, that our Founding Fathers, the men who wrote our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, set precedents for our great Republic, and created our earliest newspapers, had “quiller accounts. Lets see how things might have gone. Each of the following “quills” is an actual quote. However because of the wordiness of language in that era the “quills” were not limited to 140 characters

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

George Washington @twash

Alexander Hamilton @aham

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff

John Adams @jadams

James Madison @jmad

Aaron Burr @aburr (Third VP of the U.S. and killer of Alexander Hamilton in their famous duel)

Oliver Wolcott, Jr. 2owalcott (Sec. of the Treasury following Hamilton’s resignation)

Senator William Plumer @senatorplumer (U.S. Senator from New Hampshire

Robert Troupe @rtroupe (friend of Alexander Hamilton)

Aristides @Aristides (probably Noah Webster. Yes, that Noah Webster.)

Philip Frenau @pfrenau (editor of the National Gazette while hired by Thomas Jefferson as a translator at the State Department for an annual salary of $250.)

The National Gazette @Natgaz (a partisan newspaper founded at the urging of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson – the leaders of the Democratic-Republican Party. Many prominent Republicans contributed articles, often pseudonymously, including Madison and Jefferson. It is unique for being substantially supported by a major player within a sitting Administration while simultaneously attacking that Administration’s own policies.

The Philadelphia Aurora @aurora (The Aurora’s articles generally denounced Federalists, including vitriolic attacks on the presidential administrations of George Washington and John Adams.)

The American Citizen @americancitizen (NYC newspaper in New York City in the early 19th century. Editor James Cheetham was frequently sued for libel, although many of the suits ended in mistrial, dismissal, or deadlock.

 

LET THE “QUIILLS” BEGIN:

THE WASHINGTON ADMINISTRATION:

Alexander Hamilton @aham
Re #tjeff and #pfrenau AND #natgaz “He knows how to put a man in a situation calculated to produce all the affects he desires without the gross and awkward formality of telling him, ‘Sir, I intend to hire you for the purpose’.”

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff
Re: #natgazette: “nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”

James Madison @jmad
Re: #aham #gwash “a government operated by corrupt influence, substituting the motive of private interest in place of public duty.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
“#jmad cooperating with #tjeff is a the head of a faction decidedly hostile to me and my administration and…subversive of the principles of good government and dangerous to the union, peace, and happiness of the country.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
#tjeff is a “man of profound ambition and violent passions.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
“Is it possible that #tjeff, the head of a principal department of the government, can be a patron of a paper (#natgazette) the evident object of which is to decry the government and it’s measures?”

The National Gazette @Natgaz
@Aristides #treasurysec “a cowardly assassin who strikes in the dark and securely wounds because he is unseen.” #federalists are “monarchial party” and “monocrats”.

James Madison @jmad
#Hamiltonians are “more partial to the opulent than to the other classes of society…want to conduct government by “pageantry of rank, influence of money and EMOLUMENTS, and the terror of military force.”

Philip Frenau @pfrenau
#gwash “A certain monarchial prettiness must be highly extolled, such as levees, drawing rooms, stately nods, instead of shaking hands, titles of office, seclusion from the people.”
John Adams @jadams
#pfrenau #natgazette “sour, peevish, fretful, lying paragraphs”

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff
#aham “resolved, that the #sectreasury has been guilty of maladministration in the duties of his office and should…be removed from his office by the President of the United States.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
#jeffersonians are “wily hypocrites” and “crafty and abandoned imposters.”

RE CITIZEN GENET AFFAIR:

John Adams @jadams
(AFTER IT WAS OVER)
“You @tjeff never felt the terrorism…when ten thousands people in the streets of Philadelphia, day after day, threatened to drag @gwash out of his house and effect a revolution in the government…                                                                                                    John Adams @jadams
…or compel it to declare war in favor of the French Revolution and against England.”

Philip Frenau @pfrenau
#gwash “The Funeral Dirge of George Washington” (in which Washington, like Louis XVI, was executed by guillotine)

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff
@jmad #gwash “naked he would have been sanctimoniously reverenced, but enveloped in the rags of royalty, they can hardly be torn off without laceration.”

John Adams @jadams
#gwash is “better at striking heroic poses than providing leadership.” He “could not write a sentence without misspelling some word,” and “but very superficially read in the history of any age, nation.”

Philip Frenau @pfrenau                                                                                                                     #gwash “His wishes (through the treaty) will be gratified with a hereditary monarchy and a House of Lords.”

John Adams @jadams
#tjeff “thinks by this step (his resignation) to get the reputation as a humble, modest, meek man wholly without ambition or vanity…
John Adams @jadams
…But if the prospect opens, the world will see and he will feel that he is as ambitious as #OliverCromwell.”

 

THE ADAMS ADMINISTRATION

Oliver Wolcott, Jr. 2owalcott
#jadams “Thus are the United States governed, as Jupiter is represented to have governed Olympus. Without regarding the opinions of friends or enemies, all are summoned to hear, reverence, and obey the unchangeable fiat.”

The Philadelphia Aurora @aurora
“We see #jadams gasconading like a bully, swaggering the hero, and armed cap-a-pie, throwing the gauntlet to the most formidable power on earth.”
The Philadelphia Aurora @aurora
“We behold him placing himself the file-leader of a British faction and marshaling his forces as if he were the representative of George the Third, instead of the chief magistrate of the American people.”

DURING THE XYZ AFFAIR “An episode at Congress Hall in January 1798 symbolized the acrimonious mood. Representative Matthew Lyon of Vermont, a die-hard Republican, began to mock the aristocratic sympathies of Roger Griswold, a Federalist from Connecticut. When Griswold then taunted Lyon for alleged cowardice during the Revolution, Lyon spat right in his face. Griswold got a hickory cane and proceeded to thrash Lyon, who retaliated by taking up fire tongs and attacking Griswold. The two members of Congress ended up fighting on the floor like common ruffians” (Chernow, HAMILTON p569.)

 

THE JEFFERSON ADMINISTRATION

Alexander Hamilton @aham
@GMorris #aburr “is sanguine enough to hope everything, daring enough to attempt everything, wicked enough to scruple nothing,”

Aaron Burr @aburr
@aham “General, all things are moral to great souls!”

Robert Troupe @rtroupe
“At one of the polls, @aham, with impunity by the populace, was repeatedly called a thief and at another poll, with the same impunity, he was called a rascal, villain, and everything else that is infamous in society!” “What a commentary is this on republican virtue?”

RE PRESS WARS AND ”FAKE NEWS”

Thomas Jefferson @tjeff
“The liberty of the press consists, in my idea, in publishing the truth from good motives and for justifiable ends, [even] though it reflect on the government, on magistrates, or individuals.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
#thepress “I consider this spirit of abuse and calumny as the pest of society. I know the best of men are not exempt from attacks of slander. . . . Drops of water in long and continued succession will wear out adamant.” Hence the importance of truth, fairness, and absence of malice in reportage.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
“I never did think the truth was a crime. I am glad the day is come in which it is to be decided, for my soul has ever abhorred the thought that a free man dared not speak the truth.”

Alexander Hamilton @aham
“To watch the progress of such endeavours is the office of a free press. To give us early alarm and put us on our guard against the encroachments of power.”

The American Citizen @americancitizen
“General Hamilton did not oppose Mr. Burr because he was a democrat . . . but because HE HAD NO PRINCIPLE, either in morals or in politics. The sum and substance of his language was that no party could trust him. He drew an odious, but yet I think a very just picture of the little Colonel.”

The American Citizen @americancitizen
“upwards of twenty women of ill fame with whom #aburr has been connected.”

The American Citizen @americancitizen
“#aburr has been loaded with almost every epithet of abuse to be found in the English language. He has been represented as a man totally destitute of political principle or integrity.”

AFTER BURR SHOOTS HAMILTON

Senator William Plumer @senatorplumer
#Republicans “I never had any doubts of their joy for the death of #aham. My only doubts were whether they would manifest that joy by caressing his murderer.”

 


DO THESE EXCHANGES TRUMP TODAY’S?

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

 

 

We have become too Permissive, not Progressive.

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Defined as granting or inclined to grant permission as in permissive parents; characterized by freedom of personal behavior or a disregard of social mores, the term was heavily used to describe the parenting practices of my generation of baby boomers. It was sparked by the changes of the 1960s and a revolt against the practices of their far stricter parents. As in every decision in life, there were intended and unintended consequences to this generational decision. Were the consequences of the acceptability of permissiveness the far-reaching social, economic, and political issues we face today in our wild and wacky society?

I am a proud independent, anti-authoritarian, libertarian, liberal and moderate progressive. (If you know me, pick your own label.) But folks, somehow we got things totally screwed up. I know what I am about to go on record saying may piss off a bunch of you but tough shit. See, I already did, but made George Carlin Proud.

Speaking of my comic hero, why is it that the most anti-authoritarian, independent, libertarian, liberal, progressives in our country today are comics (some not even citizens) like Samantha Bee, Lewis Black, Ronnie Chieng, Steven Colbert, Jordan Klepper, Desi Lydic, Bill Maher, Hasan Minaj, Seth Myers, Trevor Noah, John Oliver, John Stewart, Larry Wilmore, Michelle Wolf, and Roy Wood Jr. Sorry about the alphabetical listing Roy.

These comic pundits make more sense and are far more transparent than their “news” counterparts. Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce would be proud.

Plus, I would sooner vote for them than most politicians running for office these days.

They don’t care if conservatives, moderates, or liberals commit the vulgarities of society. They just point them out, as will I.

PERMISSIVE actually means to permit.

Here is a short list of ways I believe our true values, norms and mores have been disregarded and destroyed.

WE NOW FREELY PERMIT, in no particular order:

  • Trolls. Yes, that means some of you.
  • An incredible lack of civility and the courage to restore it.
  • Censorship in the name of political correctness as the norm for liberal colleges.
  • Free Speech for me and not for Thee.
  • No real Gun control.
  • The rise of corporate power and wealth beyond anything in the past.
  • The destruction of the only protection workers EVER had – Unions.
  • The extermination and incarceration of black males.
  • Turning immigration into a bad word.
  • Wage slavery especially for typically women’s jobs like health care, day care, and retail workers.
  • Parents to opt out of vaccinating their kids.
  • The destruction of our once proud public education system.
  • The ignoring of the failures of our education system to pick up on the distinct needs of male students as it did the needs for females.
  • Only 43% of college enrollees are male and 140 women will graduate with a college degree at some level this year for every 100 men.
  • BUT, on the other hand… female college grads earn about $8,000 less than heir male counterparts.
  • Republicans to get away with obstruction of just government for years.
  • Too many Democrats with no courage.
  • The resulting ineptitude of governments to improve conditions in this country.
  • The likes of Ryan, McConnell, Cruz to control Congress.

I think George would smile at this list.

And of course we have permitted…Donald Trump.

Need I say more?

21st Century Reforms Need to Look Back in Time

Guest Writer: Bernie KellerIMG_0268

As the demands to “change” education to “fit the 21st century” paradigm swirl about us, I want to ask you to do something for me. I want you to close your eyes and think back to your third grade class.

For all of the “new”, innovative “21st century education” ideas being tossed around, what I see being proposed doesn’t seem to be adding anything to the mix. A lot of money is being spent, a lot of books and materials are being created, but I’m having a hard time seeing any benefit.

When I think back to my third grade class, I remember sitting in rows and quietly walking in pairs. I remember learning the times table. I remember being given, (and doing) homework in every subject, reading books in class and carrying them back and forth from school to home, and I remember learning to spell words correctly.

I have two degrees and 40 years of teaching experience on my ledger and I live in the 21st century. Since people frequently engage my services to edit their work, teach writing and speaking techniques, prepare for the S.A.T., etc., I’d have to argue that many, if not most of the non-21st century techniques and skills I possess work very well, in the 21st century!

My 1960’s -70’s education taught me discipline. It taught me responsibility. I was given a book for each subject and it was my responsibility to cover it, bring it to school and home, to come prepared with paper, a pen and a pencil, prepared to take notes and ask questions when I didn’t understand.

It taught me that I didn’t have to like you to learn from you, and that sometimes there actually are people who know more than you.

It taught me that for all of the changes the “experts” purport are so vital and necessary if we are to succeed in the 21st century, in this new millennium, what was always true, will still be true, and what has always worked, will still work.

In the end, English is still English. A verb is still a verb, an action word, whether you write it on a chalkboard or a Smart Board, whether you read it in a book or on a Kindle.

Smart Board, no board, chalkboard, computer-learning program, in the end, math is still math. Three squared is still nine, and you still succeed at math through learning the processes and the theories, and through replication and application.

It taught me that any successful education system, school, classroom or teacher would provide students with:

Structure- an organized, method to accomplish a goal.

Self discipline- order, control, training and instruction.

Knowledge – information students will need in order to have at least a basic foundation to negotiate the issues/challenges life will present to them.

Replication/Application- the opportunity to process and sharpen the skills they have learned.

When you look at things in this way, it is very hard to understand why there is so much chaos clouding the education issue. The reality is actually so simple that a third grader can figure it out.

You Can’t Pick Great Teachers from a Tree.

-Bernie Keller

IMG_0268As the experts assess the needs of the educational system and come up with “the solutions”, one solution that displays very little thought is the “great teacher” solution. The people who operate the Department of Education in New York City, (a department “recognized” for its innovative and leading changes in the field of education by organizations I have never heard of), have decided that one of the best ways to improve the educational system of New York City, is to recruit great teachers.

That may be a great solution if you can go to some school or place that has a bunch of great teachers just waiting to be picked like fruits off a tree. Perhaps these people know of some place like a supermarket for great teachers, where you can just go and pick them up like you pick cans up off a shelf. If these ideas sound ludicrous, it’s because they are ludicrous. The idea that you can just “recruit” or “pick up” a great teacher is as inane a thought as saying that you can just go to a park and “pick up” a Derek Jeter or a LeBron James.

Great teachers get it; they understand that when you get into teaching you are in it for the long haul. They understand that teaching is a “long time “ proposition, not a layover or a pit stop until you get your chance to go to med school or law school, or get your MBA. They understand this not something you just do because you can’t get a job in your profession or they downsized your company, or because working in a school will reduce your loan repayment. Great teachers understand they will have to make a commitment to be great, that they will have to work at being great, and that it will be hard work. They do not “sign on” to make a lot of money, to be feted or to receive awards.

Great teachers get it. They understand that teaching is a craft and crafts take time to hone and perfect. They understand you will not simply walk out of a college classroom or out of a corporate boardroom or “teaching institute” to step into a school’s classroom as a great teacher. They understand that greatness is a punctilious taskmaster. Great teachers realize that it takes time to learn what works, what doesn’t work and what has to be repackaged. Great teachers battle year after year, fighting their way through ennui and burnout. They work their way through every new administration and “innovative” theory to help learning to take place. They understand that becoming a great teacher is a process – it has a beginning, a middle and an end and that you don’t just start and step into the end of that process.

Great teachers aren’t recruited, they are developed and that development takes time. They recognize being a great teacher has little or nothing to do with numbers or some magical, mystical occurrence. If being a great teacher is as simple as having great numbers, one can have great numbers, but will those numbers make a great teacher? Will those numbers ensure that those students have learned anything?

A great teacher does much more than work in a classroom and teach or just try to get “numbers.” In and of themselves, numbers are not important in anything. Even in sports, a player with great numbers is not considered a great player unless his/her numbers can translate into wins and/or championships for his/her teams.

Great teachers understand the vacuous, void numbers represent. Great teachers recognize and understand that true teaching goes far beyond the teaching the theme of “Hamlet” or the division of fractions, and that it goes beyond getting students to pass tests in school. Great teaching gets them to pass the biggest test of all, the ability to survive, to succeed, and to live a fulfilling life after all of the tests given in school are over.

That preparation cannot be measured in percentages or test grades. Great teachers bridge the gap between what must be taught in school and what is needed to succeed after all the tests have been taken and passed. Great teachers do not measure themselves by percentages and test grades, they measure themselves in lives, by the lives they change, and when they get a little lucky, by the lives they save.

The idea that every teacher can be a great teacher makes no logical sense. By definition what makes a person, or event great is that it is special or different from those people or things who/that are “normal”. In fact, if every teacher were great, being great would be the norm, which would mean that no one would be great! This idea also strikes at the heart of the proposal to “measure” teacher success or greatness by using test scores. Test scores are not produced solely as a result of a teacher’s greatness or ineptitude. A major portion of test scores is about what students do or don’t do.

Teaching is “alive.” If it’s done right, it has passion, it grows, it engages, challenges and inspires. It does not merely allow for diplomas, test scores or a graduation rate. It changes lives and helps those lives survive after they have left the warm and fuzzy confines of the world of school.