Sports and politics

A couple of months ago, Tom Brady wore a “Make America Great Again” cap and refused to comment on it when asked.  A week ago, it came out the Belichick sent Trump a letter congratulating him on his leadership policies.  A few days ago, Kraft visited Trump Tower during the time that Trump was naming people to various administration posts.  No more Patriots support from me.  I may send my hoody back to Foxboro with the note that Belichick stick it up his ass.  I now view the Patriots as the football version of Trump’s “The Apprentice”.  Seymour, Collins, Milloy, Samuels, Jones—“you’re fired!”, because Belichick can’t tolerate anyone who does not toe his rigid line.  Thus he drafts and keeps second rate defensive backs.

Brady it now seems has a very limited personality.  Fifty years ago, he would have made an excellent  man in a gray flannel suit fitting in to a large corporation.  Good at his job but basically one who takes orders.

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Police and demonstration

Following the action of Colin Kaepernick, several other professional, college and even high school athletes are deciding not to stand when the national anthem is played at the beginning of games.  At least two police organizations have responded by saying that police should not provide protection to these folks and one opined that pro football players do not have the right to demonstrate in this way when they are part of a team.

I think these reactions show a general pattern of rigid and erroneous thinking among those who chose to be policemen.  Being a policeman faced each day with the potential for violence against them and needing to deal with people who are disrespectful to them is hard work.  We do not support the police adequately in terms of salary and benefits.  The police, however, need to understand and accept legitimate, non-violent demonstrations of opinion with which they may not agree.  It is the police who do not get to choose those that they want to protect and those that they don’t.  It is interesting that a veteran’s group came out in support of Kaepernick’s actions but this had no effect on a local police group’s response.

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A Start on Public Education

Many people have made suggestions and pronouncements for what will cure the ills of public education.  Here’s where we need to start:

  1) Preschool for every child

  2) Extra time, help or whatever for the lowest 40% of achievement scorers at least K-3

  3) A sane, accurate evaluation system done by sane administrators


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So, Maine is on the way towards allowing charters schools. Thank you, Governor LePage and the other Tea Partyers, religious right and anti-labor folks now in charge of Maine’s government. I oppose charter schools primarily because they undermine our country’s public school system which is the only place people of disparate socioeconomic backgrounds come together for any length of time. Of course now we know that fewer than 20% of charters even out perform our “broken” public schools.

Getting to my point, here’s my paranoid thought. In Lisbon, Maine (where I have worked in the school system for 17 years), there are three church based schools. I can see them becoming “charter schools” by holding religious classes outside of what will be determined the “school day”. They will then be eligible for public money. The radical right never gives up.

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Remember the movie “Network” in which a main character yells, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”?  I wish I was that articulate.  I wrote a letter to my local newspaper and when it was published it read like an only semi-thoughtful rant.  I was embarrassed.

A town councilor in the town in which I am employed by the schools is also a state legislator.  He has just proposed legislation that would expand locations in which people could carry concealed weapons.  This legislation is almost uniformly opposed by police chiefs and many businesses as well.  Another good example, if more were needed, of the far right’s muddled thinking.  What thought process enables one to propose that more concealed weapons will be a good idea when the police and business people (in our now ‘pro-business’ state) believe that it will not be?

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Blunt? Only by definition. Snide, dismissive and derogatory? Yes, that’s the real LePage. He was confronted by his caucas about the harmfulness of his comments so he may change his tone but we have heard the real person. Perhaps he is nice when he is in total control of those around him but we’ve seen what he resorts to when others have strong opposite opinions. Or mearly make a suggestion that he stop by for lunch.

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Should we dispense with all attempts at sensible conversation with Maine Governor LePage and just call him the ‘Idiot King’? I believe that he and his Tea Party brethren want to return our country to the early 1900’s when wealthy white men ran things and brooked no critism of their actions and views. Perhaps LePage will soon call out the National Guard and Pinkerton’s in order to discourage groups from puiblicly marching on the mansion and expressing disagreement with him. What kind of thought process and system of beliefs does LePage have that allows him to remove and then hide the mural in the DOL building because it is an affront to his desire to make his administration soley business oriented? What do you say, Governor, to those Republicans and business people who want a more ‘pro-business’ state climate but are not offended or affected by the labor mural?

On another topic, I just read an editorial by Dianne Ravitch in the 3/20/11 issue of Newsweek. In it, she rightly criticizes Obama and Duncan for their continuation of the damaging NCLB Act and their very own RTTT. In the article, Ravitch says, “NCLB turns out to be a timetable for the destruction of public education.” I am paranoid (realistic?) enough to think that this was exactly what the Bush II administration was going for. They couldn’t come out and ditch public education quickly because there would have been too much outrage but with time, Republicans (and now Democrats?) can say, We tried other alternatives but they didn’t work so now we have to give families choice.

Ravitch also mentions the deleterious effect of high stakes testing—decreased student innovation, creativity and innitiative. Some time ago, I read that an educator in Singapore bemoaned the rigid curriculum and testing system that is in use there because it stifled creativity and innovativeness in their students. Aren’t these the qualities that the US is famous for and that drive our economy?

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