Monthly Archives: March 2018

Deleting Facebook

I am deleting my Facebook account… if I can.

Anyone who wishes to read my once in awhile blog  can do so via my wordpress account which is:

http://www.josephurban.wordpress.com

Simply bookmark that page and check in every 2 or 3 weeks for new blogs.

Anyone who wants to contact me by email can use this address: joetzu@yahoo.com

Why am I deleting Facebook?

Let me say first that Facebook has allowed me to contact old friends and distant relatives, which is great.  Renewing acquaintances , long distance, is what Facebook was supposed to be about. So, I am happy with that aspect.

However, in view of recent investigations  and the way they use data has convinced me to drop out of the company.

For example, Facebook either released or sold data of at least 50,000,000 users without their permission.

It is evident that Facebook not only allowed Cambridge Analytica to use this data to influence the 2016 election. But also Facebook employees actually assisted the Trump campaign in how to use this data to target specific voting populations.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4962402/Facebook-employees-worked-INSIDE-Trump-campaign.html

Facebook allowed unfiltered information and fake accounts to spread disinformation on the platform. Much of this disinformation was targeted at Bernie Sanders supporters and involve the the false narrative that Hillary Clinton “stole” the nomination. To what extent this depressed voter turnout in that specific demographic we will never know.

https://mashable.com/2017/11/02/facebook-phony-accounts-admission/#k_bBxMwemPqb

So, in my opinion, Facebook is a company that is and will be largely unregulated. It is abused as a platform for the dissemination of false information. It is a money making machine. Another good idea that has been perverted. And it has done nothing to prevent my personal information from being with organizations or groups that I may not want it shared with.

So, this is my last Facebook share.

 

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Filed under Politics

Everybody Run, Teacher’s Got a Gun

We live in the age of iodiotic ideas followed by even more idiotic ideas. Most of the “solutions” to problems seem to be designed to create even more problems. And they do. Inevitable.

The latest idiotic idea is that we should start arming teachers in our schools. The NRA supports this idea, of course. As the primary gun manufacturing lobby this will mean more sales. More sales means more dollars to legal gun runners. More dollars to legal gun runners means more dollars in the NRA account. So, the idiotic idea at least has an upside for someone.

As I taught school for 33 years I wondered how I would do if I were armed. Nothing big. Just a small sidearm. A six-shooter. At my hip. Ready to go. Bang. Bang. You’re dead.

It would have proven a useful tool in my arsenal of teaching tricks, to be sure. Before I go on you might consider this. A number of studies have placed teaching as the third or fourth most stressful job in industrialized societies. Third or fourth. Behind soldiers. Cops. EMTS/medical folks. Lots of stress. And not so good on the wages for all those professions. So, even more stress.

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/be_your_best/page/top-10-stressful-jobs-america-14355387

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/teaching-among-top-three-most-stressed-occupations

Back to my gun.

I can think of some situations in my long career where a gun may have been useful. And remember the old saying: Don’t point a loaded gun at anyone unless you intend to use it. Use it I would.

There was the 7th grader I will call “Billy Bob”. Billy Bob never did his homework. He almost always sauntered into class late. He shot spitballs on a regular basis. Never passed a test or quiz. Sometimes spit on the floor. He was sent to the office so often he earned frequent flyer miles. And he had a smart mouth. “You’re not my father, you can’t make me do nuthin”.  Wonder what I would have done with a loaded gun?

Then there was Akili . The 18 year old in 9th grade. Came to class once in awhile. Never had a book. Never had a pen or pencil. Never would answer a question. I asked the administration what to do with this kid. Why was he even in school? The answer? He had a “right” to an education and it was my job to teach him. Also, he is selling drugs but we can never catch him. So, once in awhile Akili would show up and take up space. Sit and smirk. Eventually Akili disappeared. Word has it he was “offed” by a rival in the drug business. Still, I wonder? If I had a gun would I have beaten his rival to the punch?

Then there is the monthly faculty meeting. Wherein a person who taught for 3 years and then decided he wanted to make real money but had no skills went on to get an “administrative degree”. This degree allowed such a person to be hired as a principal or vice principal of a school. And to supervise people who actually knew something about educating kids.

Now, this person would hold a faculty meeting. Usually the meeting was designed to inform teachers that they were responsible fo passing all the students. Especially those that did no work. I had one administrator tell me I should never give a grade lower than a 60 on any assignment, even if the student did not turn it in. Not hand it in. Give him an automatic 60. Really. That was his policy. Which I ignored, of course.

Also at the faculty meeting the room full of teachers will be told they must attend “teacher workshops”. Now, a teacher workshop is a place where teachers with 20 years experience sit in student desks and listen to a 23 year old who has never been in a classroom explain how to do the job better. How to inspire every student. How to write individual lesson plans . All 150 of them. Every day. Imagine a room full of armed teachers, after correcting 150 essays, most of which were downloaded from the internet, being told how to do their jobs. Locked and loaded. Yes, give me a gun. Please. Let’s get his meeting started.

Of course there is the dreaded  hall duty. Stop a youngster in the hall who seems to be wandering around aimlessly. Might be lost. Might be looking to bust open a locker. Who knows. So, I ask him very politely: Do you have a hall pass? Where do you belong?

He answers: “Who do you think you are? None of your business. Nobody tells me what to do. Cram it asshole”

Yes, give me a loaded gun.

Now, don’t get me wrong. These are isolated cases and I could give you plenty more. They only happen once in awhile. I might be having a great day and then…bam…some kid destroys it. And, like Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, ” I’m a very gentle man…

even tempered and good-natured,
whom you never hear complain,
who has the milk of human kindness
by the quart in every vein.
A patient man am I, down to my fingertips,
the sort who never could, ever would,
let an insulting remark escape his lips
Just a very gentle man.”

http://www.metrolyrics.com/im-an-ordinary-man-lyrics-my-fair-lady.html

But some of my colleagues? Nope. They have neither my unending patient nor ability to digest bullshit, from all quarters, above and below.  Arming any of them would put all of us at risk. Every day.

An idiotic idea. Arming teachers. I can see it now. Take Mrs. Nicklebumpkins 9th grade Algebra class. She just can’t take it anymore. And we all understand why.

Shots ring out. Students running down the hall from her class, screaming in terror…

“Everybody run, teacher’s got a gun”

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Filed under crime, Education, gun control, logic, NRA, Politics, Society, Terror, violence

The Rocket Man Versus The Dotard

Yesterday the South Koreans announced that the leaders of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un and the United States, Donald Trump, will meet sometime this Spring.

This is a truly amazing event in modern history. Two nations that have technically been at war for almost 70 years finally getting it together. A step in the right drection. Talking is always better than a nuclear holocaust. On most days.

Both Kim and Trump shoud be congratulated for agreeing to meet. Even though nothing substantive will probably emerge, the meeting itself is a giant step toward lowering tensions and should be welcomed by all.

In any meeting each side wants something and must give up something. What does Kim want? Well, for over 30 years the leaders of North Korea have tried to engage the US in one -on-one meetings of this sort. All previous presidents have declined. Kim gets to stand next to the most powerful man on Earth (other than Putin). He gets the prestige of dealing with the US as an equal.

From Kim’s point of view, his nuclear gambt has worked. By rapidly developing long range missiles tipped with nuclear warheads he has forced the US to recognize North Korea as a world power. It matters not that his missiles may not work. Or may not reach the US. Or that his warheads might be defective. The propaganda is all good.

This meeting helps Kim promote himself at home as the great leader who forced the US to the negotiating table. A big win.

What does Trump get? He stands alone as the only US president with the determination to meet North Korea in the name of ending tensions. He can claim that his get tough policy has frightened Kim into meeting. He made Kim cry “uncle” (If Kim has any uncles left he has not murdered). It matters not that Kim refuses to give up his military force. The propaganda is all good.

This meeting helps Trump promote himself as the great dealmaker even if no deal is made at the end of the day. A big win.

Of course, a lot could still happen to derail the meeting before it takes place. There are political forces in each country that do not want to see a cessation of hostilities. Preparation for war is still the biggest business on Earth. Money to be made.

If Trump and Kim control their inner child it is possible for some good to come of this. But, just for fun, let’s say they don’t control their impulses. The following dialogue (based on actual statements each has made or each government has made about the other) could go like this. (Italicized words are things they have actually said about each other).

Kim: Greetings, Dotard. How is your senility today?

Trump: Shove it, Rocket Man. I may be old but I have the biggest nuclear button.

Kim: Listen, you old lunatic, no one believes a word you say.

Trump: Once a madman, always a madman, hey Little Kim?

Kim: Why do you constantly spout rubbish instead of thinking about what you say?

Trump: Watch your mouth or you will suffer fire and fury like the world has never seen before.

Kim: You are bereft of reason and a destroyer of world peace.

Trump: I am tall but you are short and fat. Go on a diet, already.

So, maybe they will put aside their insults for a good photo op, maybe not. When the meeting (if it ever does take place) is done, here is what Sarah Huckabee Sanders will say:

“The president and the dictator had a very productive meeting in which they agreed to plan another meeting  in which they can meet for the purposes of a closer dialogue and mutual understanding concerning the preliminary junction of three cans of tomatoes and I cannot answer that so I refer you to any lawyesr you can find…….

And the next morning President Trump tweets: I kicked little Kim’s ass all over the place ! MAGA!

http://time.com/4953283/kim-jong-un-donald-trump-insults/

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Filed under Foreign policy, government, Politics, Trump, United States