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May 2007 Archives

May 2, 2007

Arizona Has Their Own Caped Crusader

A masked man has taken to the nighttime streets near Phoenix, Arizona. Citizen Prime patrols the streets in his Nissan Xterra and a $4000 homemade super-suit! Armed with an arsenal of non-lethal weapons, Citizen Prime heads to crime-prone areas to deliver his own unique kind of justice. For example, one time he used his cell phone to alert police to a potential drunk driver. Another time, he stopped to help someone fix a flat tire.

Seriously, you have to check this one out.

May 6, 2007

To Protect and Serve... Themselves III: NJ Cops Threaten Radio Talkers Who Exposed Ticket Campaign

Over in New Jersey, the state police have been in damage control mode ever since one of their own was involved in an accident where he was driving 91 miles per hour while simultaneously text messaging. Their bright idea to fix their public image? Act like jerks.

But word of their plan was leaked to a New Jersey talk show.

From the Homeland Stupidity blog:

On Tuesday, they reported on their show about anonymous postings in a password-protected area of the State Troopers Fraternal Association Web site in which troopers planned to “Crush in May and Cruise in June.” According to the postings, troopers would step up ticket writing efforts during the month of May, to “absolutely hammer everyone (obviously except cops and family) who does 1 m.p.h. over the limit,” according to one such posting, and in June, to establish rolling roadblocks along New Jersey highways to disrupt traffic flow.

In response to the leak, the state police union leader gave out the home addresses of the talk show hosts, and threatened to "crush" the leakers.

From the Courier-News

Angered that a popular radio show drew attention to police message board posts calling for a ticket-writing blitz, the head of the state troopers' union Thursday said the show had endangered police and showed television cameras the home address and license plate number of New Jersey 101.5 FM personality Craig Carton.

What's more outrageous? That NJ state police think it's okay to threaten those who call them out for abusive behavior? Or that they seem to think that abuse of power is okay in the first place. Fortunately, state officials put an end to talk of a ticket drive in May. But that doesn't change the fact that these individuals view drivers as people to be punished, intimidated, and used for their own purposes. They believe that wearing a badge gives them an exclusive right to act like thugs.

The Asbury Park Press reports on some of the comments from the state trooper message board.

"Let's really give them something to complain about.... We must all do this together. Don't let the brass tell us any different.... When they were on the road, they could deal with people the way they needed to be treated, but unfortunately it is a different time.... Crush 'em in May."

"I am all for the May 1st blitz ... Better start pre-signing my summonses."

"Crush the whole month of May and slow down for the next 5-7 weeks."

"Just hang out in the right lane doing 70 and pick off the first (expletive) that goes by, shouldn't take long considering our plummeting respect."

Could there be a reason for your plummeting respect?

May 10, 2007

Revealing My Inner Redneck

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is leaving his father's company in search of greener pastures. No longer a contender, NASCAR's most popular driver has decided to move to a different racing team. But which one? He could start his own team... he owns cars in the Busch series. But I'm just going to take this time and say what needs to be said. There is only one right answer to the question "Where should Junior race in 2008?"

RCR can win races, and only Dale Jr. could ever race the #3 again. (RCR owns the #3 but chooses not to use it in honor of Dale Earnhardt.) It would be HUGE news for the sport.

Great Moments in Public Education V: Federal Way Teacher Accused of Fondling 11 Year Old

From the Seattle Times:

(A) 52-year-old man was arrested Wednesday at Twin Lakes Elementary School after an 11-year-old girl told her mother that she had been molested during band practice on April 16.

The girl told police that she had been struggling with a song and the teacher stood behind her. The girl said that while she played the teacher squeezed her buttocks repeatedly, according to Federal Way police.

The P-I reports that bail was set at $50,000 for the teacher, who had served in the district for nine years.

These things make me wonder how many times these people get away with things like this because kids are too afraid to say anything.

May 12, 2007

Blake Lewis in Bothell

We went to downtown Bothell today to see our very own Blake Lewis! I watch American Idol each week to see what crazy new thing he's going to do. His take on Bon Jovi was nothing short of amazing, so I think he's going to do well for himself. Blake came to Bothell to his adoring fans. (One was crying.) We weren't going to get a good view of his concert, so I decided to stand in a line where he would be walking through to the concert. Good idea, no?

Jennifer says to me on the way there... we always stand in the wrong place for these types of things. Well, not this time! That's what I said at least.

So Blake finally shows up (he was in a parade, but we skipped that thinking we were all smart) and he's walking towards us and I have the Nikon out and then he takes a sudden left. WHAT!?!?! For all the pictures I took, only one came out, and even that one wasn't in focus. With all the 12 year old girls, it was hard to get a good shot, and certainly not a steady one.

So on the way back to the car, I took a look at the one shot I did get. Here it is!


Well, congratulations Blake on being the biggest thing to ever hit Bothell! Feel free to drop on by still when you're super famous!

Oh... and Jennifer was right. Like always.

Great Moments in Public Education V, Part II: Guess Who's Done This Kind of Thing Before

Remember the Federal Way music teacher who was arrested for fondling a student? Well, it gets better. From the TNT:

A Twin Lakes Elementary music teacher arrested on suspicion of molesting an 11-year-old student had been suspected of sexual misconduct at his previous school district in Nevada, Federal Way school officials said Thursday.

The Federal Way School District said it received an anonymous phone call in 2001 alleging that the teacher, Scott Riley, committed sexual misconduct with students while an assistant principal at Pahrump Valley High School near Las Vegas from 1993-98.

Because there was no evidence and Riley had no criminal history, the Federal Way district closed its investigation in November 2001, the letter states.

Fair enough I suppose. But either way, the district knew he was trouble. What did they do about it?

Riley began working for Federal Way Public Schools in July 1998 as assistant principal at Decatur High School, according to the letter’s summary, written by Chuck Christensen, executive director of human resources.

The district said it learned “well into” the 1998-99 school year that Riley had disclosed he dated and subsequently married a former Pahrump student.

At Decatur, he had “general performance concerns and issues” in his interactions with adults, the letter said.

Riley was assigned to other administrative duties in spring 2000 because of an angry outburst with a student. He was reassigned to teach music at elementary schools starting in fall 2000. He’s taught primarily at Twin Lakes since 2002, said district spokeswoman Turner.

Okay, so a year into his tenure at Decatur, the FWSD learns that the guy dated a student, and then married her. That doesn't set off any alarms?

After losing his temper with a child, and being deemed unable to work with adults, the teacher was reassigned to teach students at an ELEMENTARY school.

Here's what SHOULD have happened. Mr. Riley should have been fired. He should have been fired after his outburst. He SHOULD have been fired when it turned out he didn't work well in the position he was hired for. HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED WHEN THEY FOUND OUT HE WAS MARRIED TO A STUDENT!!!

Instead, he was allowed to stay at the district for nearly a decade, until he finally got caught. According to the student:

... He put his hands on her back, and slid them under her buttocks above her clothing... (and) kept his hands there while she performed the entire song.

The worst part is there's no one person to blame at the Federal Way School District. This is the way the system is set up to work. Teachers get hired, and then they have to molest somebody in order to get fired. Sick.

May 14, 2007

The Case For Ron Reagan

The field for President in 2008 is looking, well, the same as it has for the last twenty years. In other words, pathetic. Look at the contenders. Hillary Clinton, a well educated woman who speaks with a southern drawl when pandering to the right voters. Barack Obama, a man who has trouble with numbers, and belongs to the "do as I say, not as I do" branch of liberalism. Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, we have people like Rudy Guiliani, who is a RINO if I've ever seen one. John McCain's straight talk worked eight years ago, but now we've seen enough of him to know better. There are a lot of other candidates, but most of them are long shots. Now, even Newt Gingrich is talking about getting in the ring. What do all of these people have in common? Well, first off, I don't believe any of them. By that I mean, if they're telling me something, I don't know if I can actually believe that THEY believe what they are saying.

John Kerry was a perfect example of this. It's not that he was a flip-flopper, so much as he was a horrible panderer (hat tip to SNL.) It's an art form that the Clintons perfected.

George W. Bush ran a great campaign in 2000. He positioned himself as a real conservative... someone who would be more Ronald Reagan than Bush 41. But after six years, he's failed to live up to those claims. Ronald Reagan cut taxes because it was the right thing to do... the top marginal tax rate went from 70 percent to 28 percent during his term (although throughout most of it said tax rate was 50 percent.) George W. Bush also cut the top marginal tax rate... from 39.6 percent, to a current 35 percent. But I've always had the feeling that those tax cuts have a lot more to do with perception that actual economic reality. I mean, if you're really rich, the difference between 70 percent and 50 percent, or better yet 28 percent... that's HUGE. That's the kind of tax cut that changes behavior. But a 4.6 percent drop in taxes? It's just... Reagan appeared to cut taxes out of principle. Bush appears to have cut taxes because that's what conservatives do... or more accurately, that's what Ronald Reagan did.

So, I don't know, maybe the problem isn't that we picked the son of a former President. Maybe the problem is that we picked the wrong son.

This is going to sound ridiculous, I know. Especially coming from someone who voted for Bush in 2004. Especially coming from someone who would likely vote for Bush again (theoretically) if he ran against any of the Democratic candidates currently running. But there's a certain respect I have for people who actually have conviction in their beliefs. Maybe it's time to forget about the Bushes and the Clintons and reconsider the Reagans.

I'm not talking about Michael Reagan, the adopted son of Ronald Reagan, and a political conservative. I'm talking about Ron Reagan. He has said that because he is an atheist he is unelectable. But that's exactly the kind of candor that would get him elected. In fact, it's exactly the kind of candor he inherited from his father.

People didn't love Ronald Reagan because of his politics. They loved him because he was Ronald Reagan. He was straight and direct and he seemed to be kind. But most of all, he believed that what he was saying was true, and by that standard he was not a liar. I'm not sure that today's candidates could say the same.

Ron Reagan is not his father. He is liberal, for one. As President, he would enact policies that I can't say I would agree with. But you know what he is? He's straight and direct, and he seems to be kind. But most of all, he believes in what he says. You can tell. I'm sure he believes things that I don't believe.

And I think he is electable. I think he could run as a Democrat and attract many Republican voters who are looking for a fresh change. I think he could run as a Republican too, because the party could use some shaking up. We have stood behind our President and maybe that has been a mistake. Maybe we should rethink stem cells and the war on Iraq.

And most of all... I would vote for him. I would vote for him knowing that he does not believe what I believe. But that's why we have checks and balances. I would vote for him because I believe he ultimately IS his father's son. He would be thoughtful and kind, truthful and humble. He would be upfront and honest, and because he has seen his father stumble, he would perhaps be even better. And he would be wrong. I think he'd be wrong about public education. I think he'd be wrong about a woman's right to choose. But his father was wrong too. Aren't we all? What's more damaging to this country? A man who believes that we should not overturn existing abortion laws or a man who spends hundreds of billions of dollars on a misguided, bloody war?

I know he would probably never run. I know that part of his appeal is that he reminds us so much of his dad. (He does have his parents good looks, although I don't know where the ballet thing came from.) But I can't help it... I think he would make a great President. And you know what? I think his dad would have agreed.

Great Moments in Public Education VI: Teachers Fake Gunman Attack to Teach Kids a Lesson


Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables

The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip....

During the last night of the trip, staff members convinced the 69 students that there was a gunman on the loose. They were told to lie on the floor or hide underneath tables and stay quiet. A teacher, disguised in a hooded sweat shirt, even pulled on a locked door.

After the lights went out, about 20 kids started to cry, 11-year-old Shay Naylor said.

"I was like, 'Oh My God,' " she said. "At first I thought I was going to die. We flipped out."

Principal Catherine Stephens declined to say whether the staff members involved would face disciplinary action, but said the situation "involved poor judgment."

Poor judgment? My mom once had her kindergarteners hide under their desks too. They were freaked out and crying. You know why? Because they were in the middle of a 6.8 magnitude earthquake!

Every single person involved in this emotionally scarring tragedy should be fired, period. These teachers are dumber than the students they teach. They're idiots. Emergency drills are fine and good, but you let the kids know it's a drill. The idea behind a drill is that kids know what to do when cooler heads would otherwise not prevail.

May 16, 2007

Great Moments in Public Education VII: Teacher Says He Should Line Up Students and Shoot Them


A Lake Stevens high-school teacher is being investigated by the school district after students say he told them he should take anyone who was talking in class and line them up against a wall and shoot them....

It's the second incident involving the teacher, Gary McDonald, in the past three months. In February, he received a verbal reprimand when students in another class complained that he offended Christians by including a biblical account of creation in an assignment on myths the day after telling them he was an atheist.

I'm speechless. Thankfully Mr. McDonald is retiring in June, so school administrators don't have to, you know, take any responsiblity.

Section 8: A True Story

It's about time I got some things off my chest. A year ago, after an extensive (and mostly unfruitful) job search, I was finally hired by a small, local private company engaging in market research. For the purposes of this blog, I am going to call this company Section 8 Market Research Group, LLC. Section 8 for short. I do this for two reasons.

1) I hold no animosity toward the people who work there, and don't wish to further involve them. In fact, the truth is that I enjoyed working at Section 8. I even miss it sometimes. I learned a lot there, and it was an experience I look back on fondly... even the stuff that was completely insane.

2) The company owner thinks anyone who wrongs him deserves to be sued. By wrong him, I mean does anything he doesn't like... for example, finding a different job.

When I started at the company, I was very excited to prove myself and show what kind of employee I could be. And I did. I showed myself to be extremely capable and was quickly recognized for my capabilities. This was, perhaps, a mistake on my part. I would have ultimately fared better to not make it known that I was ambitious and willing. As it was, I showed an innate ability to come in at crunch time and save projects that would otherwise have failed. Not only did I become trusted for important projects, but I also became the go-to guy for problem projects. By problem projects, I mean projects that became problems due to management incompetence. I don't mind problem projects... I find them fulfilling and challenging. However, they rarely go off without a hitch, since they were usually nightmares long before I got to them. And at Section 8, that means that when things go wrong, you'll end up with the blame. Everything at Section 8 is about blame. I'll gladly take it when I'm responsible. But at Section 8, the blame never rested with management. It was always the fault of the employees.

Take for example, employee turnover. This is one of the most costly and wasteful problems a company can have. At Section 8, company turnover is an amazing 100%. Why? After several decades in business, the company just hadn't found the right people. Really? How long could it possibly take? When I arrived, of the five employees in our group, three had started in the last month. Only one had been there longer than a year. Today, a year later, only two have been at the company longer than a year, and one gave his two weeks notice over five months ago. In the last two months, four of the members of the group either quit or were fired (despite adequate or excellent performance.) The company is a nightmare, and I finally left because the other option was to simply go insane.

So I start off today by addressing one of the final straws that made me leave. Let's call it the Blowback Incident.

The Blowback Incident

One day a customer of ours arrived to discuss further research. I was not able to attend, so I gave the company owner (let's call him Mr. Sate from now on) materials from a previous stage of our research project that we had completed over six months earlier. Big mistake! Mr. Sate handed the customer the research as if it was something we were still working on. Then I was given the research product back by my direct manager and told to revise it because it needed more work.

We already finished this project, I told her. Just run it through the review process again I was told. Fine, so I did so, making alterations along the way when recommended. But things only got worse. We finally had a meeting between Mr. Sate, my direct manager, and myself regarding the project.

Mr. Sate felt he was getting "blowback" from me regarding the project because I was doing things like mentioning the project was already complete. I would have happily continued work on the project, but we had already billed the customer, and there was no budget to continue work. (And going over budget was grounds for termination.) But Mr. Sate showed me the proof that I was wrong. The project had been worked on since the original report was delivered to the client. He showed me two different copies of the report in an effort to catch me in my web of lies. Well, what could I say about that?

The project had been worked on because,as I mentioned earlier, I was told to review and revise it the week before. But for some reason, he refused to accept this explanation. Never mind the revision, he said, the project had been, well, revised. Uh....

(He often refused to accept answers that were placed right in front of him. He would tell you that the project needed to include something, and you could say "it's right there on page 24" and he would say "no it isn't." You would say "yes, see, right there." "No, it's not.")

Finally my frustration level was to the point that I told him "fine, don't believe me." What else was I supposed to do. I felt like I wasn't even in a meeting with an adult.

I had been ready to leave for a long time. And I decided that the only way to stay was not to put up with insanity. I wasn't going to take the ridiculous demands anymore. And I guess by calling him on his behavior, Mr. Sate was getting "blowback" from me.

This wasn't the only reason I finally chose to leave. But it was one of the last, and frankly one of the most ridiculous. I found the need to blame me and attack me childish and petty. I found the inability to understand basic concepts infuriating. And it was just another in the long list of reasons why Section 8 was a terrible, terrible employer. I do miss it, in a weird, sick, co-dependent way. But at the same time, I'm so, so, so glad I'm gone.

May 25, 2007

Cat vs. Printer

Kitty Hates Printer - video powered by Metacafe

Mrs. Mong Makes Fox News

I heard that some kids at my alma mater, Kentridge High School, had gotten in trouble for posting an offensive video about a teacher. I didn't really pay attention. When we were a kid, we had a great substitute teacher, Mrs. Mong. We LOVED getting Mrs. Mong.

Well, it turns out the current crop of kids at Kentridge don't like Mrs. Mong. And judging by the following video, I can see why...

... it's because the kids are idiots. Honestly, how immature and pathetic can they possibly get.

Turns out poor Mrs. Mong was featured on Fox News too.

Obviously I graduated like a decade and a half ago, so maybe Mrs. Mong has turned into a real witch or something, but I don't really see her doing anything wrong, and I honestly doubt that she only powder bathes once a week. For one, that's ridiculous. And two, why would she tell her students that?

About May 2007

This page contains all entries posted to marchdecember in May 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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