Russ Gibb at Random
politics

"Poor" Mrs Obama.

February 29, 2008

About being poor. Barack and I were in that position,” she continues. “The only reason we’re not in that position is that Barack wrote two best-selling books… It was like Jack and his magic beans. But up until a few years ago, we were struggling to figure out how we would save for our kids.” A former attorney with the white-shoe Chicago firm of Sidley & Austin, Obama explains that she and her husband made the choice to give up lucrative jobs in favor of community service. “We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do,” she tells the women. “Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.” Faced with that reality, she adds, “many of our bright stars are going into corporate law or hedge-fund management.”

What she doesn’t mention is that the helping industry has treated her pretty well. In 2006, the Chicago Tribune reported that Mrs. Obama’s compensation at the University of Chicago Hospital, where she is a vice president for community affairs, jumped from $121,910 in 2004, just before her husband was elected to the Senate, to $316,962 in 2005, just after he took office. And that does not count the money Mrs. Obama receives from serving on corporate boards. She would have been O.K. even without Jack’s magic beans.

National Review Online

education

Yet Another Sensationalized Issue

March 2, 2008


Once again the D.P.S. superintendent, John Burl Artis, has unnecessarily interfered with the operations of the schools. If his "reign of ignorance" has not yet reaped enough disdain amongst the district (faculty AND student body), his decision to support the "cease & desist" order against the Fordson N.H.S. fund raiser of "matchmaking" is a glaring joke. His "Clinton-esque" flip-flopping is typical of his guest-superintendency of the Dearborn Public School District. Was there not a staff adviser to the N.H.S. student body that needed to approve the "matchmaker" fund raiser to the administration at Ten Eyck or, at the very least, the administration of Fordson High School? Young adults will be young adults. They are not as suspicious nor as jaded as some "mature" adults can get or have become. Let them have their fun, grow up, and become responsible adults WITHOUT arresting their creative instincts or developments. Was this "matchmaking" effort harmful to them? Was it harmful to anyone?

Mr. Artis, in your waning days, please step aside and let OUR (the RESIDENTS and tax-payers of the D.P.S.) young adults of Dearborn express themselves in a positive, creative, humorous manner. Any individual can claim offensiveness to almost ANY situation in any society, but if a petition of nearly 300 out of 2500 is authenticated it should be respected. In OUR last mayoral election it took less than 200 authenticated signatures to qualify for the ballot out of a city population of approximately 97,000. How many signatures would it take to recall a D.P.S Trustee? How many signatures would it take to have you removed from your position?

Please let the children of OUR (the RESIDENTS and tax-payers of the D.P.S.) grow individually and express their creativity and humor WITHOUT your unneeded interference in situations that are NOT harmful to anyone. Please let OUR young adults believe in a United States Of America that does NOT cave in to the political games and lobbying that YOU have succumbed to.

Thomas P. Korte

education

The Dearborn Public Fools System

March 3, 2008


Message from: Dearborn Teacher,

Another example of poor decision making by the Dearborn Public Schools . . . Next Thursday, March 13, is the final day of "testing week." Juniors are finishing the MME/ACT, sophomores taking the PLAN, and freshmen taking the EXPLORE. All testing will be finished for the day by about 11:00 AM or so, and someone in the DPS decided it would be a good idea to HOLD CLASSES in the afternoon. This means the juniors, sophomores, and freshmen who just took a 3 hour long test have to now report to their final 3 classes of the day. That will be a great learning environment. To make mattters even more confusing, the seniors, who are not in the building that morning, have been told they DO NOT have to come back for their afternoon classes. What is the point of running PM classes in the first place if we are going to tell 1/4 the high school student body that they don't have to show up? Why wouldn't we let the juniors, who have just endured 3 days of ACT/MME testing, go home after the test like we are doing on Tuesday and Wednesday? Why not use the afternoon for some of this so called "professional development" our leadership is always preaching about, rather than throwing together a semi-half-day schedule that is 1 day before spring break and seems to encourage students to not show up in the first place or leave after they are done testing

education

The other side of the story. Fordson

March 6, 2008

At the school board meeting on February 25th, 2008 a few facts concerning this ordeal were omitted and/or misrepresented:

• First, the NHS president mentioned that I came to them with this
idea for the fundraiser. To clarify, the material for this fundraiser was in my mailbox at the beginning of the semester addressed to “The National Honor Society.” As with any fundraising material, I brought it to the NHS board and allowed them to make the decision as to whether they wanted to allow their members to vote on possibly holding this event. (I did mention that I had run this survey in the past at Dearborn High and that it had been financially profitable).
• The question as to whether this fundraiser had been done at
other Dearborn schools was, indeed, brought up at that the board meeting and Dr. Artis was unable to give the board confirmation as to whether it had. To clarify – it has. I am a graduate of the district and participated in this activity all four years of my high school experience at Edsel Ford. (This was under Jerry Dodd’s administration).
I also was the faculty sponsor at Dearborn High for the Class of 2006 and we ran this fundraiser in 2004 with no problems or parental concern.
(This was under Judy Coebly’s administration). This survey continues to be utilized as a fundraiser across the nation. In fact, it ran the week ours was terminated at a local high school in Novi.
• The (supposed) primary objection to the survey was the cover
letter that accompanied it. However, how this document circulated around the building was not fully explained at the community forum on the 25th. The NHS officers appointed two students to chair this event.
One I approved to make 2000 copies of the survey itself with our NHS copy code. I oversaw this process. I checked the survey and I approved these copies – and only these copies. Again, these were the only documents that were approved to be circulated in the school. The copying of the actual surveys, in fact, maxed out our copy code and any further copy attempts would have needed to be approved by me after this.
Shortly after the other student co-chair decided that having a cover letter for the NHS members to circulate around the school with (and possibly leave behind for classroom teachers) might be useful.
Utilizing the marketing packet supplied by the company, she chose one template (or sample cover letter) and adapted it to fit our Fordson information (date, drop off location, etc.) Her decision was made with the best of intentions and was innocent in nature – despite the backlash it would later entail. This addition of the cover letter was made without my knowledge and this student approached the main office (the principal’s secretary in particular) to ask for approval to make the copies (to renew the previously mentioned maxed-out copy code). The administration approved the copy code renewal (although it would appear without looking over the document in the student’s hand) and the copies were made. The first time I saw the cover letter was after the fundraiser had been ceased. A parent spokesperson noted that an adult should be responsible for this occurrence, that I in particular should be responsible for this document. However, I was clearly not the adult that made this particular error.
• The secondary concern with this event rested on the issue of
lost instructional time. Although I believe this to be a valid point of discussion, it should be noted that as both an educational and a social public entity, high schools in this country have long been marrying the two spheres together. The long history of pep rallies, class elections, and school performances attest to the importance of building school community, social relations, etc. If the district is suddenly going to mandate that from 7:20am-2:15pm in the school day no time can be spared for such longstanding traditions, a policy needs to be in place to enforce this in all three high schools. And, in my opinion, if this is passed, the high school students will be missing out. If not, uniformity needs to exist in terms of district and building wide decisions in terms of what exactly constitutes a “waste” of classroom/instructional time. At Fordson High school two weeks after the cancelled NHS fundraiser, another school organization was able to pass out Valentine’s Day roses (with notes of affection) to students (whom may or may not have wanted to receive them and had no choice in the matter – unlike the voluntary nature of the personality surveys our group tried to run). And just last week we lost almost 20 minutes of class instruction to a mid-semester locker cleanout. I am not saying that this school housekeeping event was not needed, I am simply pointing out the possible problems that might result (or procedures that would need to be changed) with such rigidity in terms of defining class time usage.
• In regards to this, board members questioned exactly how this
fundraiser was approved (especially if it was to have run during school hours). I believe their concern was that it had not been halted for this reason before it began. The NHS officers filled out a concession form and submitted it to the Student Congress. It was approved by the student congress members and their faculty sponsor. It was approved and signed by the principal as well. This concession form was signed, and the event was approved, although the time in which the surveys were to be distributed was listed as “TBD.” No one questioned the students or myself. No one from this level asked to preview the survey before it was copied and/or administered. The discussion at the board meeting made it seem that the staff and administrators were blindsided by this NHS fundraiser and that they were only aware of its existence when students arrived in the classrooms on Thursday January 17th, 2008. This was not the case. The week of the survey I personally emailed the building (faculty and administration alike) and forewarned my colleagues of this event. All teachers were given the option to: a) allow the students to take the survey on the spot, b) allow the students to simply be handed the surveys to then fill out at a later time and drop off, or
c) not even allow the NHS members to enter and interrupt the class time at all. I received no complaint from any staff member and so the fundraiser began as scheduled.
• As it was pointed out at the board meeting, this fundraiser was
stopped abruptly midway through first hour while NHS students were still in the process of administering the fundraiser. Board members questioned the rationale for this termination, especially the claim that it was halted due to “parent concerns” because there would (should) have been no way that a parent could have been aware of this fundraiser, or could have seen the cover letter or survey, at 8am during the school day. However, that there were staff complaints is accurate and I can attest to this truth. In fact, one teacher’s public announcement (in front of both her own students and the NHS volunteers) that she was outraged by the fundraiser because it was against her religion and because it “promoted dating in the Muslim community” did ignite passionate classroom discussion (as was noted) as students carried these comments with them into their following classrooms (forcing staff members to deal with this heated issue throughout the day) and it most definitely helped spark the student petition that then circulated in the coming days. It should be noted that this democratic tool had little ground to stand on in terms of “separation of church and state” (as was mentioned in their argument) being that the administration was very careful to not use this as their reason for halting the survey.
However, its other points concerning the student’s right to actively decide which activities to participate in and to not have one group’s preferences and/or cultural practices/comfort dictate those of the remaining were well made. In the end, the ultimate decision rested with the principal of the building and the petition was overturned.
• Before closing my correctives, I also want to reiterate the
intent of this survey. It was not, as some community members have mistakenly believed, a “dating” survey. It remains a personality survey aimed to match students with persons of similar mindsets. Some questioned our desire to do this. I doubt that it will come to anyone’s surprise that we remain a divided community and school district. This division is likewise seen inside the secondary schools. Although high schools are often known to have separate social circles, this problem is magnified at my school and our learners remain segregated (accidentally or not) by race, religion, and culture. Our organization opted to do this fundraiser to build connections and awareness within our building in hopes that a few students might come to realize that there are a great many commonalities among this student body so large that it rarely has a chance to question its social divisions and normative operations.
I still stand by the positive intent of this survey and object to its negative community response.

I wanted to provide you with this information so that you might have the opportunity to more fully cover this story and represent the entire occurrence. Although I am sure that many of us will be quite thrilled when this issue has passed beyond the spotlight, I do not believe it is fair to cover an issue and not represent both sides. (An example might be the fact that neither myself nor the student representatives in favor of the survey/petition were present at the board meeting whereas the other community speakers conveniently knew to attend the meeting and align their discussion points beforehand).

I write this letter not out of anger, as I do completely believe that this issue was blown out of proportion. I do, however, write this out of concern – concern for a building I care about, a district I owe my education to, and a community I belonged to for over two decades. I hope that the students I teach today will have the positive high school experience that I had not all that many years ago. I hope that the students I teach at Fordson will have the same opportunities (instructionally and socially) as the other two high schools. If this fundraiser debacle is any indication that either of the two above statements might not be true, then I will remain concerned.


Dr. Melissa Ames
National Honor Society Sponsor
Fordson High School

education

A Fordson student speaks out.

March 9, 2008


Hello all,
I am a future product of the Dearborn Public School system, and a personal bystanding witness of these events. Dr. Ames(not "Miss", as so many people have referred to her; she has earned the title and deserves it) is one of the few teachers at Fordson who does just that--teaches. Many teachers attempt to, but she is one of the few who actually forces the students to work. I have seen students try to drop her class, call her a "bitch" when conversing with their friends, and seem incredibly annoyed when walking to her class. Is this because she is a bad person, or a bad teacher? On the contrary, it is because our community at Fordson needs a student reformation as the majority of our students are becoming lazier by the year. People should not be attending classes expecting to pass simply because they show up, or expecting an "A" simply because they studied. The purpose of attending a school is to receive an education, and to gain knowledge. The students leaving Dr. Ames' class may not have the highest English grades in the school...but each and everyone of them has a undeniable knowledge of the subject that they may not even be aware they have gained---due to the hard work she gave them and introduced them to.
As an NHS sponsor, Dr. Ames sits to the side and lets the students run the meetings--not as a way of being irresponsible, but as a way of teaching these people to be independent, responsible, leaders. Everything that is discussed in meetings is previously discussed at the NHS board meetings. In terms of the survey, a student made a mistake. Should an adult be responsible? Of course. However, should the blame rest on one adult? No. Who renewed the copy code without checking the document first? Who saw the cover and did not put a stop to it from the beginning? If the student took the cover, copied it herself, and was not asked by the administration why she was making copies, should Dr. Ames be the one to blame? Truthfully, the student of this level, a Senior, should be aware of her actions. We're being raised and trained to be adults and to survive in society as such...shouldn't we be able to make simple decisions for ourselves, and take responsibility for our actions? These are not average students...they are products of the supposed honors and dual-enrollment programs at Fordson, and the, if I may quote WEB DuBois "talented tenth" of the school.
The board meeting, which was publicized on television and the internet, was somewhat of a joke on behalf of those who testified against the survey. The NHS president claimed that he agreed with the administrator on the survey issue. Well, if that's the case, then why did he approve it to begin with? Had the NHS board not approved this to begin with, the survey issue would not have even been around. The Student Council president stated that she also agreed with the administrator. Again, if this was the case, the survey should not have been approved. The question should not be whether or not the survey was appropriate, it should be "why was this supposedly inappropriate fundraiser able to make it so far into the system before anyone put a stop to it?" Someone along the way didn't do their job, and it currently seems to be more than one person. A parent at the board meeting who spoke against those who petitioned questioned the board's motives as to whether they had proper documentation, not just emails and phone calls. Emails and phone calls are legally binding in the court of law in the U.S. If an email can get us into trouble, and put us in jail for sexual assault, why shall it not protect us as well, when we feel the need to speak our minds? Those parents who opposed this survey due to religion and culture (more so the second), had every right to do so in terms of their children, however, in terms of ridding it from the school entirely, I do not think that the parent of one student has the right to infringe his thoughts and ideals on the child of another parent. We are all raised differently, and if one parent disagrees with something, another may not. As long as the children are not being physically harmed, what's wrong? The way in which the PTSA approached Dr. Ames was in an overtly crude fashion, acting as though they were on a mission to teach her a lesson. She is human--and she deserves to be spoken to with respect.
Students of the Fordson community are constantly complaining that "Dearborn High does this", "Dearborn High gets that". Our test scores are constantly being compared to those of the other two high schools by the administration of our school. However, when someone tries to bring something to our building that could possibly benefit the students socially, he or she is put under fire and forced to endure a situation that is far from pleasant. Is this what someone gets for trying to encourage students to get to know one another? The school spirit at Fordson is far from average, and not in a positive way. In all honesty, there is not much to look forward to. We go to school. We do work. We go home. Well, the good students, anyway. We're the ones who suffer. Those few who are failing, those few who are the cause of all the strict rules and the cause of the hall sweeps and stricter attendance policies are already having their fun. High school has not been much of an experience. It's been work and slight socialization, however, cliques are separated, so the option of being exposed to new people to socialize with is not necessarily available to all, and the survey would have helped this situation. This is an American school, and American ideals, regardless of what many of those in opposition to this survey may think, are not meant to encourage dating or immoral behavior, the ideal of high school, on the contrary, is a time to have fun, enjoy ourselves, learn from our mistakes, learn about our lives and transition into adulthood, all while enjoying our last few years as children. These are supposed to be "the Golden Years", the last few years where we are allowed to be teenagers and have our fun without any extreme responsibility. School is where children receive most of their socialization...and allowing the students to participate in fun, wholesome, supervised activities keeps them from doing worse things behind their parents' and administrators' backs, which, because as I must stress again, they ARE teenagers, and they WILL likely do.
To blame Dr. Ames for everything, and to question her intent is unfitting. To completely blame Mr. Fadlallah for the situation on opposing ends and claim that he doesn't care about the students is also unfair. One thing that nobody can deny him, regardless of their feelings for him, is that he does take time out to listen to the students. In this situation, the parents and staff were involved as well, and the entire issue was blown out of proportion. I commend Dr. Ames for taking the initiative to state her case...she has every right to do so. As far as those adults who are being disrespectful and acting like children go, if you act this way in front of us, who are we supposed to look up to? It's not a good example. You need to show us how to behave, how to act, and what to do, if you expect anything morally fruitful to come from us.

Thank you for your time.

at random

How did he know?????

March 12, 2008

This is so unbelievable. In 1969, how did he know?

Some of you may remember him but he passed away before many of you were born. Red Skelton was a good & funny man. He also ended every show by saying, "GOOD NIGHT AND GOD BLESS." Listen to the end of this. It is something he said 39 years ago.

Very important that you listen to the very end! Eerie! Take a moment and listen to it (from 1969). How would he have known that this is what is happening?

Thanks
Mark Campbell

politics

Talkin' the Talk

March 13, 2008

ABC News recently woke-up to Democrat Barack Hussein Obama's Chicago Afrocentric Trinity United Church of Christ,and it's Pastor Rev. Wright's hate America speeches. Obama says he does not always agree with his pastor. Fair enough. But maybe a little audacity of honesty is called for here where Obama tells us exactly what he agrees with and what he does not agree with. Take a read.

ABC News review of dozens of Rev. Wright's sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the U.S. based on what he described as his reading of the Gospels and the treatment of black Americans.

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

In addition to damning America, he told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001 that the United States had brought on al Qaeda's attacks because of its own terrorism.

"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.

"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost," he told his congregation.

hate America speeches.
Take a read: An ABC News review of dozens of Rev. Wright's sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the U.S. based on what he described as his reading of the Gospels and the treatment of black Americans.

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

In addition to damning America, he told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001 that the United States had brought on al Qaeda's attacks because of its own terrorism.

"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.

"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost," he told his congregation.

Read full report at:

at random

thank you

March 16, 2008

Every time I see some of the young service men and women putting their lives on the line for our country I think of this video; I hope you will think about it too.

http://www.gratitudecampaign.org/fullmovie.php

at random

Scrap Happy Hits Michigan

March 18, 2008


Dear Russ, with the growing value in scrap metal you would not believe what measures are being adopted to gather metals illegally. Just to name a few of the acquisitions that have sky rocketed in our city (particularly in the eastern side of town).

Central Air Conditioning units
Catalytic Converters
Porch Railings
Storm Screens
Car Batteries
Yard Implementations (shovels, rakes etc)
Sewer lids
Copper Plumbing
Aluminum siding
Outdoor Power equipment (lawnmowers, snow blowers etc.)
Copper wiring

Our city has seen theft of these items rise 400% in the last 18 months as the value of metal continues to rise uncontrollably. The methods employed to gather these items have become brazen.

If you’re driving a SUV or truck that sits high in the air, beware! They just slide under the truck with a battery powered”saws all” and cut the converters right off your car. They break into abandoned homes in foreclosure, and just cut the copper and steel pipes right off the basement ceilings and take the aluminum storm screens and porch railings. Last week, I saw a foreclosed home get the garage door stolen and the first 5 feet of aluminum siding ripped off. It wasnt bad enough that we had to look at that dump, now its really bad!

With a single catalytic converter fetching as much as $80.00 on the open market for scrap, its insanity! Why aren’t the city and the county requiring permits to be able to sell scrap metal (not just gather it)? Why isn’t the county cracking down on collectors who bring things like copper plumbing and aluminum siding in for cash? This problem is so easily rectified but no one will act! There is so much tax revenue in scrap metal that the state and the county have no reason to quash it!

Adding to this disgusting trend of being robbed in our own homes, I would also encourage our Michigan Residents to look at what our brilliant governor Grandholm has done! She recently began pushing our state legislature to sell off our mining rights to Upper Michigan’s copper rich mines to private mining operations for a fraction of their value. That’s right folks, just like the billions of dollars we lost when Grandholm sold off our stake in the Tobacco lawsuit payoff for a fraction of its worth to make her numbers look better, we will pay a hefty price later for this shortsighted money grab in health care costs. The same mining operation that is going to get exclusive rights to mining our copper contributed MILLIONS to her re-election! These privately owned mining companies will make billions off of Michigan’s natural resources while the people of Michigan will suffer immeasurably with the ecological nightmare that will be left behind for us to pay for and clean up. In the long run, you and I suffer horribly!

Just a little good news to the people of Michigan about what your state and county government is doing to protect you and your family.

Thanks Mr Miller

politics

race in the race

March 18, 2008

It's a funny thing watching Obama and Clinton both trying to take race out of the competition for Democratic Party’s nomination for President.

Obama dismisses his race-centric pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and Clinton dismisses Geraldine Ferraro… and on, and on it goes.

Only problem, race is the issue, it won't go away and both the Democratic and Republican party know that.

The big question is what will the Democratic women voters do and the Democratic black voters do if one or the other side takes the nomination???

What do you think will happen?

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