Opening Statement



Thursday, 25 July 2013

Odds + Sods: [July Teacher Digest #2]


School and union news is pretty slim pickings in summer unless there is a big crisis like last year. This is my June Teacher News Digest #2 in a modified Odds + Sods format instead. My Ontario by-election coverage continues @ THIS LINK.


Yup! Summer news gets rather forgotten!

TEACHER + UNION

ETFO ETT endorses NDP candidates in both Toronto by-election races. Public elementary teachers are encouraged to go help out to punish the Liberals for last year @ Teacher Endorsements

Heard it through the grapevine: Rumour of OECTA Provincial OECTA funding for the OLP by-election candidates is being refuted. Spending was only for the spring Heritage Dinner like in years past. None was handed out as donations to any of the parties in this summer's race. One wonders about the other affiliates too ... ?

Change.org needs member signatures for a petition asking President Paul Elliot to publicly disassociate OSSTF from Past President  Ken Coran's OLP by-election run in London West. So far mum's been the word. See @ Indie OSSTF Petition

Minister of Education Liz Sandals upon being questioned about any further plans for the provinces sex education courses admits she doesn't read the provinces education curriculum programming before she signs off on the changes. Ouch! So then what does the MOE do? Seems we remain just another political football to quick about the field in an attempt to score points! Sun News enjoys a few kicks at the story with their hard right wing boots. See the video @ Sandals

Disgraced former TDSB Director Chris Spence breaks silence on what it was like to be sent packing. Meanwhile other problems continue to plague the troubled school board @ TDSB

The Catholic boards continue to cherry pick which MOU terms they will or will not implement. The TCDSB continues to refuse the sick day plan agreed upon in the OECTA MOU. Now Brant Haldiman Norfolk Catholic board is refusing to implement any of the support staff changes agreed upon in the OSSTF MOU. OSSTF represents the staff in the Catholic schools. Enough is enough! Let's see how this goes over with them. The complete story is in my blog above. For a primer read more @ OSSTF + OECTA MOU's


Maggie Trudeau stayed at the Harbour Castle Westin too back in the day!

Here's the tentative itinerary for ETFO's August 12-15 Annual Meeting at the Harbour Castle Westin in Toronto. What dedication eh? In Summer! Both OSSTF + OECTA do it at the beginning of March break. Anyway, if you go and there's a reception upstairs in the penthouse on the West Tower check out the large bedroom. Amaze your colleagues with your inside knowledge. That's where Maggie Trudeau was caught in her pyjamas with Mick Jagger during the 1978 Rolling Stones heroin bust. She said she was just baby sitting. Hmmm. Well there, now you go, a little Toronto history. The agenda is @ ETFO

Principal arrested after fleeing his school in India where 23 students died after being fed a toxic lunch @ tried to flee!?

Journalist Sima Sahar Zerehi reports on how to bridge the gap between our unions and the public @ Public Image

PARTY POLITICS

Latest Forum polls show many ridings are too close to call as the by-elections end and voters head to the polls @ Forum Poll Results

The OLP braces for the end of the Premier Kathleen Wynne's honeymoon period with possible by-election close calls and lost ridings hanging over their heads @ OLP going down?

The PC's need to see some significant gains tonight or Tim Hudak's leadership could be on the line @ Hudak's PC fortunes?

The Toronto Star's Martin Regg Cohn argues that the declining number of voters means it's time to seriously consider online voting @ Online

Cell phone polling is flunking the test of time. 9/10's of people don't answer if they don't know who it is and/or will have to a pay by the minute for the call. Makes sense. Personally I don't provide any info to anyone I don't know, least of all on the phone, nor do I answer unlisted calls depending upon the area codes. Here's a good overview of the situation @ No Answer!

Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announces it's time to legalize marijuana in Canada. It would be easier to regulate and eliminate the crime element. Oh, and be a big cash grab + possible youth vote getter.  Read @ Oh Cannabis!


Harpers Conservatives don't think Canada should legalize marijuana. It's bad for you and associated with crime. Read @ No Cannabis!

The Toronto Sun is outraged about Justin'T's promise to legalize marijuana too. Putting the tired old refer madness arguments + political posturing aside, here's a pretty well balanced overview on public opinion in Canada and the US, and why it might or might not be a good idea @ Up in smoke?

And the tacky award goes to ..... hand me the envelope please ..... The Federal Conservatives for their mass mailing to the blind informing them what the government is doing to help them. It's written in fake braille. They can't read it! Whew! More @ Tacky + mean!

 OTHER NEWS

Here's an update on the Toronto street car shooting for all the armchair policing experts out there, who are probably going to be mad with the politically incorrect statements I am about to make. As you probably heard a young 18 year old Syrian man, Sammy Yamin was tazered twice and shot 9 times by police on a crowded downtown Toronto streetcar last weekend. There have been angry protests with marchers heading to the police station to express their outrage over police brutality, because it does seem like excessive force was used. Police chief Blair has asked for calm until a thorough SIU police investigation and report with the complete story is prepared. The police officer in question has been suspended with pay. Angry citizens don't think he should be getting paid one more cent.


Toronto Police Chief Blair responds to angry calls for his officer's badge!

Rumours are rampant inflaming the situation. I've heard Sammy held the streetcar passengers hostage at knife point while pulling out his penis. The riders ran off the bus, some of them falling in the mad scramble that ensued. He then taunted and lunged at police when they arrived. Okaaaaay .... I've also heard Sammy was crazy, and that all he needed was a friend to talk him through his problem, whatever that might be. Boo hoo hoo!

Sammy's family has since said that he wasn't mentally ill. He was just a nice boy who wouldn't harm a flea, perhaps like Norman Bates. Chief Blair has promised to thoroughly review police training + procedures in emergency take down cases. Meanwhile the officer's name and picture has been released to the public. He wisely got a top lawyer to represent him, much to his critics chagrin.

Quite frankly, I taught in the inner city far too long to jump to any quick conclusion about the officer's response, regardless of how obvious it might seem that he overreacted. As a teacher professional I know he should be allowed a fair investigation before any verdict is reached. However I'm not surprised that isn't the case in emotional times like these.

It is easy and tempting to analyze the crisis and police response at arms length without knowing all the facts. Arguably Sammy should've been calmy encouraged to sit down for a friendly discussion in hopes of defusing the situation. Isn't that what we would be told should happen when somebody is "acting out" at school? Sure, it's easy to say afterwards when you are not there. The police were confronted by a very angry and irrational person wagging his penis and threatening folks with a knife. The pop psychology babble is quite predictable in the publics' response. It certainly isn't without precedent when all sorts of crisis's happen within our schools where Sammy would've attended in Canada after he arrived here from his troubled homeland. Sadly, one can almost see the surprise and shock on Sammy's face when things don't work the same way in the real world outside our school doors.


Sudden death on the mean streets of Toronto! Do we all need a reality fix?

The officer and his family wouldn't want him to leave work in a body bag. Neither  street car passengers nor the police would've understandably been interested in being Sammy's friend as he lunged at them in a violent manner with cock and knife in hand. C'mon now! Is it reasonable to expect Sammy wouldn't expect an unfavourable outcome to his actions if he was anywhere but in our schools? Then blame everybody else but him for what happened next instead?

I'll tell you I'm friggin' happy and relieved to have finally retired from the supposed behavioural "education" of our youth happening in the Ontario schools. Anyway you cut it, in Sammy's case we are stuck judging a very unfortunate situation. The officer certainly should have his right to the due course of law before any one of us jump any further to conclusions about what really happened, and whether he is at fault. In the minds of many if not most Torontonians he is not. God help us all!

There are numerous cellphone and security videos from at the scene to view @ See here

The 2013 Ontario Sunshine List for the top public wage earners has now been made available @ Sunshine

For a sixth consecutive year Toronto can boast the lowest crime rate amongst Canada's large metropolitan areas. We are even down further this year. Doesn't surprise me with all the major gun and gang busts. Across Canada the crime rates are the lowest since 1972. Wow! You'd never think so by watching t.v. though. Hmmmm. See @ Canadian crime rates falling


Incredible video footage of the deadly train crash in France as it shoots off the tracks at over twice the speed limit it should have been travelling. Horrific! 78 [ed: Correction] passengers killed and over 100 injured. You don't see any dead or injured bodies. If you still want to see how it happened it's @ Train Crash

Think this summers weather has been weird where you live? Check this out: The North Pole is melting and turning into a lake! Now that's scary! Some great photos to show you it's true all right! Global warning @ Melting!

The Walmart debate in the US is very interesting to follow. Insightful perhaps. See the video then read the comments below for some eye opening insights @ Walmart USA

KULTURE KULT INK

Surprise! Instagram videos prove North Korea isn't a workers paradise where happy folk dance around a maypole singing joyful songs about the great leader. Unless of course, it's under duress. This would almost be funny if it wasn't so depressing looking. Check out the bar scene in particular @ North Korea: No vacation hotspot!


Visit North Korea? Lot's to see and do ...

Have you seen the Putin Airlines Safety Video? It's a satire on the anti-gay laws in Russia @ Putin Airlines

Boy things have just never been the same in Russia since Gorbachev eh? See President Vladimir Putin. See Putin catch 21 kilo pike. See Putin kiss big fish. In Russia everybody love you. Big fish too! Watch @ Putin Fishing Video


Putin: tell me you love me Mr. Big Fish like I love you!

Here's a 360 degree photo of the crowds outside St. Mary's Hospital in London England yesterday as Prince William and his wife Kate make their first public appearance with newborn Prince George. Okay! I know what some of you are thinking: More royals?!? Still, who wants to be a spoil sport at a time like this. See @ Royal Crowds

Far out! Literately! The Russian cargo ship Progress undocks after delivering almost 3 tons of supplies at the International Space Station. It later burned up upon re-entry into the earths atmosphere, according to plan. The video is @ Space Delivery!

I absolutely hate how "awesome" is commonly used to describe anything these days, even the most blase of happenings or events. However I think I might make an exception. The following video almost qualifies for the title. Maybe it does? Watch a live space shuttle launch from earth into orbit as filmed by an on board high definition camera. The booster rockets thunderous roar + the radio communications with the crew have even been gloriously remastered so they are sound perfect. It will be featured in an upcoming Bluray dvd. BTW check out the missing protective heat tiles on the underside of the shuttle that must've fallen off during lift off. Ouch! Not  safe! See now @ We have lift off!


NYC Mayoral candidate Wiener is in a real pickle now!

There are increased calls for New York Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner to pull out of the race. In the latest scandal he admits sending a "progressive activist" woman named Sydney Leather, whom he met on the internet, photos of his ...ahem! ... male appendage whenever he has a fight with his wife. Acknowledges he has been doing so since at least 2011. Somehow I can't see that being very good for their relationship. Nope. Hey! Don't try this at home! Especially if you are a teacher! Sheesh! Sounds like NYC might be about to get it's own version of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. No wait! Even Ford hasn't been caught doing this ..... yet. Hope he doesn't rise to the occasion now that Weiner has been exposed .... Story @ Mayor Wiener?! 

The times they are a changin'? Well they would seem to have passed me by. Is your loved one/ spouse upset because you sent out photos of your sex organ on the internet in a snit after a domestic spat? No problem! Having an affair with your ex can help save the ol' marriage! The bit about there being less stress from bringing STD's home seems weak to me, but then again colour me totally surprised with these latest breakthroughs in relationships today anyway. Good marriage skills have never necessarily been my forte. Still see this @ And you thought ....



Bob Dylan: Icon or iconoclast? From the folk protest movement in the early 1960's, through his rock, then country, then "saved" and "Everything is Political " periods, Dylan continues to chart new albums up until and including today. Plus he still continues to tour non-stop! Here's a whole falootin' load of info that you probably didn't know, unless you are a hard core fan. It's a good, lazy summer surf with lots of links, if you'd like to relive the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's or just stay put here in the new millennium @ Dylan

Here's a link to over 40 Dylan Youtube music videos @ Youtube Bob

I've also currently posted links to a few short Dylan docs in my videobar below this blog column.

We loved then yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Check out these fabulous black + white photos of the Beatles first concert in North America circa 1964 @ Fab 4!


Ringo Starr: This "Beatles thing" of his was very big back in the 60's!

Here's 15 Beatle hits with a slide show @ Enjoy!

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Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

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A careful analytical study!

Help! I Have No Arms!

Help! I Have No Arms!
Please scratch my back.

I can't find my underwear!.

I can't find my underwear!.
Have you seen them!

Weee! I can fly!

Weee! I can fly!
Look! I can crawl thru walls!

I have a headache!

I have a headache!
And a broken nose.

I have a square hole in my bum!

I have a square hole in my bum!

Here try this, it's very good!

Here try this, it's very good!
No. You have a bird face.

I have an ugly baby!

I have an ugly baby!
No I'm not!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!
OK but I need a new hand too!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

You don't look well.

You don't look well.
No. My head hurts +I have a sore chest.

Would you like a bun?

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Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

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The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

Gotta love it!
Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

The Snake!
It runs the length of the ball field!