Dog eat Dog

We have two dogs…a little faux Shih-tsu (long story) and a big curly Labradoodle. They used to both sleep upstairs with us. Lately, Sherman (the Shih-tsu) has taken to staying downstairs. Harvey (the Labradoodle) positions himself on the turn of the upstairs steps…halfway between us and his Brother. He likes the company of his little guy. It’s sweet to see.

They weren’t always the picture of harmony. Sherman was here first and rightly intimidated by the big rambunctious interloper that arrived one Holiday season. He struggled to “control” Harvey….to manage him and his overactive lumbering BIG presence. I’m sure it was a fearful time for him.

But over the years, they seem to have come to a draw…with neither asserting himself as the Alpha Dog….and with that issue seemingly settled, companionship was the happy conclusion.

One summer, a large tree limb fell on Harvey and broke his hind leg. He had a long, slow and painful recovery. Unfortunately, Sherman found a new weapon for the occasions wherein he wished to assert HIS ALPHA-ness….grabbing Harvey by that bad leg and tugging till it hurts.

I wince when I see it…for several reasons.

I remember Sherman’s fear as the Little Guy. But I see Harvey’s real pain too. He’s big, and someday, that pain may cause him to strike back. Only recently did I hear the story of a woman who adopted two puppies from a litter…and one awful day, they fought till one was dead and the other had to be put down because of his injuries.

A tragedy that left this woman, this animal lover…bereft.

I think a lot about that story today as I read the news. I think of the choices we have to love or to hate. Love is not easy and takes working at forever. It’s sometimes exhausting. But hate can destroy in an instant. I think about the responsibility we have to protect progress, fragile though it may be.

I would despise anyone who would encourage my dogs to be aggressive, to hurt one another in order to be the Alpha-dog. I would despise anyone who would come into my home and disrupt the camaraderie built over years of love and retraining. I don’t want to see one dog, big or little dominate the other. I don’t want fear to be an excuse for new pain. What if I “hired” a…um-m-m-m “trainer” who deliberately made things worse so I’d have to continue paying him. What if Anger and Divisiveness were a deliberate agenda?

This is how I see Obama. “A community organizer” who organizes people by keeping them angry and hating others. A community organizer who keeps getting a paycheck, who keeps advancing his own power by exploiting pain and differences. Obama wants us in boxes of fear and loathing toward others, defined by him as victims or villain…. motivated to keep HIM in power for our own payback.

All we have seen in this administration is contrived. Contrived to build Obama constituencies. There should be a special quota-area of Hell for those who exploit hate to advance themselves.

I see Obama as destroying what my generation made the cornerstone of our American experience…to advance to a color-blind society…to stay on that road and not be deterred. No one said it would always be easy…but we stayed on that road…till Obama the Community Organizer set in motion his plan to demonize, deal an unfair new hand and DIVIDE.

If Obama wants diversity…I suggest he drop the stupidity of skin hue. A Black surgeon’s son and a White lawyer’s son have very similar American experiences. The diversity lies in poverty not pale or dark. Require Wall Street to hire some kid from the Barrio, or Appalachia, or any inner city you choose…who had to work three jobs to get an education. Now that would provide REAL diversity…not this sham that is nothing but political payback to the Black caucus.

Why should a Black kid who’s Dad makes a 6 figure salary…get a quota job over a fatherless white kid from a dirt-poor rural background? Who wants to argue THAT is fair? Only a racist would excuse that.

And those racists are NOT in the Tea Party.

I want the least among us to get a hand up in every way. Let’s join together, all of us,…to invite them on the Road…push or carry them if need be. But don’t tell me that “skin hue” today in 2010 is a trump card.

That’s obscene. That’s Obama’s scam.

The Community Organizer who is hell-bent to get us trapped in our race, class, gender, ethnicity boxes….angry and hateful, snarling at each other…to keep himself employed.

Obama has set up deliberate tollbooths for “certain” unfavored people and quicker detours for favored others ONLY….to get us off that Racial Harmony road.

Brother against brother.

Dog against dog.

Do we really need that woman whose puppies destroyed each other to remind us where this could go?

It’s not Hope and Change.

It’s a template for tragedy.

“Rev Wright” is Coming to Wall Street

I might soon be applying for a Wall Street job. The fact that my simple addition skills are problematic and my checkbook is in a constant state of disarray, should not deter me from being a serious candidate. Our Leftist government has the boot on the neck of Wall Street now to demand women and minorities be given preferential treatment. There will be a scramble to employ any Doofus who has the right sex or skin hue. And a pressure to keep them….no matter how poor their job performance. Why not me?

My…how we are progressing along the road to a post-racial nation under President Obama and his pals in Congress! The trick has become not to hear Obama’s words, but watch what he and his troops hide in the Laws or say behind doors at the DOJ. What Billionaire John Kerry is…. to paying his fair share of taxes…Obama is…. to bringing our nation together as one people. Don’t listen…look at what they HIDE!

Pull up a chair to Dr. King’s table of Brotherhood …oops, NOT THERE! Obama has reserved those seats for “certain people.” Not the most qualified, the most experienced, the best and the brightest…no, special people who are the in the elite Pay-back Club. Special people who have the security of not having to compete….no, just be the sex or race that they are…to be installed in a job and enshrined forever (out of fear of lawsuits or Obama’s boot on the neck.)

We must all live in fear now of the Obama “ass-kick.”

Obama’s “hope” exists only for SELECTED victim-populations that will secure his power; his “change” is the most hostile attitude toward private business that this nation has ever seen. Bureaucrats everywhere…demanding certain genders and skin colors get hired and pushed ahead! Intruding, imposing, inflicting themselves..these people who have never met a pay-roll or sweated a start-up….into every area of American life. Ignorant bureaucrats emboldened by Obama to be between us and our doctors, our jobs, even, by God…our menu choices!

Much of this is being written BY STEALTH into legislation. Not discussed, not debated, IMPOSED!

A long time ago, I had a dream too. I had a dream that the evil, hurt and nonsense that skin hue was any different from eye color as a determinant of anything…would disappear. I had a dream if that my generation would stand up to the racist attitudes in our own families, that my children’s generation would never remember that such skewed thinking ever existed. I believe the best test for any of us on post-racial attitudes is to honestly judge the population of our own hearts. Who’s in there, folks? Look hard and you’ll have your answer.

Look hard at Obama’s heart. I bet you’d find his “mentor”, Rev Wright, sitting in Obama’s front heart-pew.

His Mentor.

I asked myself during the election, could I have spent 20 years in a pew listening to the racist vitriol of a white clone of Reverend Wright? Would I have subjected my little children to such a divisive, ugly mindset week after week? Could I have called such a man…”my Mentor?” Is there any excuse for a man who retired to the American dream of a million dollar home in a gated community…to be tolerated for preaching words and attitudes that breed an exclusivity of anger…that foster a new generation of separatism and hate? But Mr. Obama wallowed in that hate week after week.

American chose to look the other way and believe Obama’s protestations over his weekly seat in that front row pew. But we are seeing in his policies, actions, and non-actions…that Wright’s words have seeped into Obama’s presidency.

The Payback Presidency.

The result is apologizing to despots and dictators for “God-damn America”…the result is policies that protect certain racial civil rights, but ignore others…the result is decisions that prosecute White hate groups but coddle Black hate groups…the result is stealth laws that DEMAND jobs in a recession for certain races, but deny others. The result is not looking at both the NAACP and the TEA Parties as collections of people, including FLAWED people, behind faces in all colors. How ridiculous to elevate the NAACP to some collection of sainted all-knowing all-virtuous victims…who, by their victimhood ALONE, are never human enough to be wrong or unangelic enough to be accountable for THEIR OWN biased actions.

In North Carolina, in 2006, the NAACP insisted a drug addled hardened Prostitute who was pulled drunk from another Strippers car…with the Louvre of local DNA in her filthy underwear…was Durham’s finest example of virtuous Black womanhood. And they pushed those lies on their official Website where those who might still trust their long-gone integrity…MIGHT have come for the truth. There has been no outrage or outcry. No apologies, no demand that anyone be censored. Where were all those people having the vapors NOW over Andrew Breitbart’s ONE video? Two YEARS of damnable NAACP LIES that might have cost three kids the rest of their lives in jail…in a city that would sit a predominantly Black jury. Not a job…their LIVES!

But all those Progressive eyes and hearts just shrugged and turned away.

The Duke Lacrosse Frame should be part of the next election cycle…it is the supreme spit-in-the-eye to any charge from the NAACP of racism.

I am amazed at how betrayed and angry I feel at an organization that I once revered.

I am amazed at how angry and betrayed I feel by the Obama con-job.

My generation, Black and White…began a march toward something better for ourselves and our children. This is something…generationally, that is almost holy to us. It is being defaced by the “Reverend Wright” mindset of this Presidency.

And THAT is the most egregious, terrifying and tragic aspect of this Presidency….Obama is taking us back. Taking us back to attitudes and emotional places that drive us farther apart. He is creating an attitude that Blacks are the Bosses’ Son now. Hired for WHOM they are not what they can do. Protected for WHOM they are and not how they perform. And. most of us know, in the workplace, and in our homes…how we come to despise the Bosses’ Son. What good, what unity can come of this?

Charlie Rangel…the tax thief…is Today’s Bosses Son. Why-ever should a thief of any Party, Race, Gender or Ethnicity NOT be driven out of Congress in disgrace? How DARE anyone demand he be treated with special favors?

Obama is ushering back in an odious era we struggled to put behind us…only the favored skin hues have changed. Is THAT progressive? Is that moving us forward to be one people? Is that Martin Luther King’s dream?

New anger, new enmities will arise out of this “selective empathy” and “special treatment.” I am befuddled that anyone who truly cares about a color-blind community of ONE…can back Obama’s blatant political attempt to keep us in our racial, gender, and social boxes…all to wield political power for HIMSELF . Obama is the worst kind of demagogue….he divides US to conquer for himself. He has to create enemies, ferment anger…to centralize wealth and power where he wants it. But in doing so, he has undone the progress we have made toward racial unity.

Why do we have societies for “colored people?” Societies for only women? Organization to promote certain “boxes” of people over other people? I believe excellence is found in all genders and nationalities and skin hues. Are these groups saying it isn’t? For HOW LONG, do they need a government intervention to get or keep a job? How long must Obama make certain people “special” and “quota-favored” until…in what generation…will THE OTHERS demand payback. And the ugly wheel turn again?

If this happens…and if Obama continues this way…it will…his legacy will be Black Jim Crow. Or maybe not even that. Separate…but, under our Progressive government’s eye…never “equal.”

What’s “progressive” or enlightening or forward thinking about THAT?

I wonder what MLK would say.

Because our first Black President, Dr. King…has scammed your Dream.

Mother, Who May I Bully? Read Me the List.

I’m finally home from a longer-than-planned trip to London…imprisoned, so to speak, under the Ash Cloud. Yesterday, we relaxed and spent the afternoon watching the Old Movie Channel. I’m always interested when viewing those old films to see how our culture has changed. Drunkenness was once a source  of much benign humor…”slapping the little woman around” brought no consequence. Thankfully, things have changed.

I think the Phoebe Prince case signals another swing on our cultural axis….very similar to what happened just a decade or so ago with drunk driving. Suddenly, a line was drawn in the sand, our tolerance level was breached…and our justice system signaled that the game had changed. Real prison terms were handed out; parents went to jail or were successfully sued for allowing minors to drink at their homes; our cultural free pass was revoked. It must have been surreal to those who first were convicted or bankrupted as this monumental reverse of fortunes landed squarely on them. “But, but…but…everyone drinks and drives.  But, but…but all kids have beer at parties…”

But when society at large becomes largely repulsed by certain behaviors…consequences change…. and the changes and consequences  MUST begin somewhere.

I think, in regard to the tolerance of school bullies…the six indicted Bullies of South Hadley High are going to find the New Way Forward begins with them. It commences with them paying a severe price for their relentless targeting of Phoebe Price. If they receive any slap on the wrist here…that will reverberate as our society condoning their alleged brutish behavior. It will mark a new low in even the basest level of decency we expect from ourselves and our children. These trials will trumpet a message across America. South Hadley High will either be steam cleaned by our justice system of the moral filth and crud festering in the alleged apathy of its staff and the alleged open cruelty of those accused…or it will be open season on your children and mine.

One message or the other…that’s it.

The question has arisen…will sullying Phoebe’s memory…be a winning strategy in court? Well, ask yourself this….if a drunk driver crosses the line on the Interstate and kills the occupant of another car….will any personal “defect” of the victim mitigate his punishment? If it can be proven that the Accused waged this relentless campaign against Phoebe…what exactly about Phoebe gives them the right to harass, to mentally torture, to verbally abuse …even to mock in death?

What?

What kinds of people do we decide as a society are free targets for others to vent their rage upon?  Please list the personality faults, the habits, the diagnoses, WHATEVER…that mitigate the alleged horrors these kids supposedly inflicted on Phoebe?  Come on…tell us…so we can forewarn the weakest among us…just to whom we deny society’s protection.  Because I want to know…don’t you? Am I or someone I love…on the Free to Torment List?  Perhaps if Phoebe’s family understood that she did not QUALIFY for even the lowest standard of care by staff at South Hadley High or qualified as a Cruelty Target for her Classmates…they might have made choices that rescued her.

The trial of the alleged Bullies of South Hadley High will define all that for us.

Give us a List.

Or not.

If there is any type of person that our society has selected as a communal punching bag at our public schools….they’ll tell us by letting these Bullies walk away with no severe consequence.

Yes, these trials will be a message.

But if there is no justice for Phoebe…the real cost will be paid in years ahead, in other schools, by other children….others on the list of acceptable Targets…The Unprotected.

Wait and see.

THe Capitol City of the Denial Nation

I’ll be traveling the next two weeks…but if opportunity presents itself…maybe on long , long flights…I hope to add to the Blog.

Phoebe’s tragedy is such an important lesson: we cannot allow those who failed her in life…to flail at her memory or hide behind feeble excuses now… just to cover their culpability. Many other children remain in their “care.”  Moreover…what happens in this  South Hadley case will reverberate…or not…throughout other communitues and other school systems.

There will either be concerted change or…continued complacency. We will help that choice be made by continuing to be a voice for Phoebe.

It seems almost every day we read of another child lost to this same type of brutal campaign of Bullying. When we stand with Phoebe, we stand with them too , and all those who today feel alone, unable to cope, and without any authority figure to offer solutions or solace.

Ignorance is no excuse among professionals; tolerating thug-like behavior in public schools where attendance is mandatory and escape for victims, barely manageable, is of itself… professionally intolerable.  Why should the victim have to flee and disrupt his/her education because the school refuses to provide  sanctions to the Bullies…and therefore a safe learning environment for all?  Why is the onus placed on the VICTIM, first by the Bullies and then by apathetic, enabling staff and faculty?

A three month campaign in a contained school atmosphere , among a close knit school community…means either outright professional neglect or downright apathy.

Please.

Here’s a bold idea.

Superintendents…SUPERVISE the learning enviorment in your schools.

Teachers, educate yourselves about Bullying.

South Hadley, embrace this tragedy for a learning experiment and lead…not have to be dragged forward…as examples of what should and should not be done to save our children’s lives and psyches from this current intolerable cycle of Bullying.

Right now, in my opinion,  you look like the capital city of the Denial Nation.

It’s a pitiful sight.

Teachers, Apathy, and Phoebe’s Trail of Tears?

“Nearly three months after 15-year-old Prince took her own life after a slew of relentless bullying attacks, the president of the South Hadley teachers union yesterday issued a strident defense of high school staffers, saying many were “shocked” to learn of the extent of the teen’s alleged abuse.

“Some in the media have painted a picture of South Hadley High School as a school out of control – a place where everyone knew of the bullying and no one did anything about it,” Bill O’Neil, head of the South Hadley Education Association and a teacher at the high school, wrote in a letter to the Herald. “That image is just plain wrong.”

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1246759

They were “SHOCKED!” SHOCKED , Bill says.

PHUL-leeze!

Okay, Bill…let’s review.

For some reason, last Fall, Gus Sayer and his administrative Goodfellas decide to spend money to call in a Bullying expert. Now, maybe cash was just overflowing the school coffers there in South Hadley, and the administration just couldn’t think of any other way to spend it…but if not, logical minds might infer you all knew you had a culture of Bullying in the school. Something spurred that decision.

That said…the calling in of a professional Bullying expert might have been your first clue, Bill.

WE KNOW you knew you had a problem.

Moving right along…into this known culture of Bullying…now comes a transfer student from another country…whose family alerts the administration that she might be susceptible to….guess what… Bullying!  You know…the problem you just sought help for! Are lights flashing now?  Red alert!  Red alert!

“South Hadley High has a problem we know about and now here comes a kid VULNERABLE to just that problem! All hands on deck!  Red Alert!”

Right?

Assuming, the Administration, in a district with a Bullying problem WOULD DO the responsible thing and offer this child an increased level of observation…logical minds might infer the staff and faculty got a heads up here.  I mean this is like someone with a nut allergy being forced to work in a peanut butter factory. Surely, word was put out to be aware of Phoebe?

If it was, that was your second clue.

If not, Gus Sayer and his Principal are unfathomable, despicable failures at their jobs.

But even if they were so irresponsible to keep the faculty unaware…logical minds would assume that good teachers have quality relationships, communication, and interactions with the kids they teach. Are you saying, Bill,  that South Hadley teachers could not connect the dots? Are you saying they could watch Phoebe shoved and knocked about in the halls, shouted at in class, surrounded in the cafeteria and library. hounded, whispered about, her pictures defaced…and none of you ONCE saw a pattern? None of you connected the reports that WERE made and had concern? None of you cared enough to ask questions, share information with other faculty or with students or get involved for this child?

Your students successfully hid a campaign of cruelty in plain sight among the entire South Hadley staff for months?

Really?

How disinterested are you people?

If not disinterested…so many clues for you here.

Or are you saying , Bill, that South Hadley teachers have an “Eyes Wide Shut” approach to their professional obligations to their students? Because, otherwise…every incident…reported or just observed… as they continued to be inflicted on the same particular child…should have been an avalanche of clues…to any teacher that cared.

But YOU say…you were all…clueless. Unaware. Know-nothings.

“Meanness” ( your word) is not just an overt act…it is also the imposition of apathy. Adults, teachers, authority figures …turning a child away time after time, turning their eyes away…making the child cope and carry that cruelty all on her own.

THAT is the burden , Bill, that the apathetic staff and faculty of South Hadley High appears to have put on Phoebe…on a child whose family notified YOU…was vulnerable. If indeed , it is proven that she spent her last day at SHHS…essentially walking her own trail of tears, even seeking out the school nurse…and not one teacher or staff member stepped up to show her any support..or give her any hope for her future…then THAT should be answered for.

If it is shown, Phoebe carried your burden of apathy…you can be sure we will require you to carry the burden of accountability.

Why didn’t THEY know?

The Phoebe Prince tragedy confounds me…from two distinctive perspectives.

I have been a high school teacher…in a school with a reputation as being a “tough” school. Many of our students were from single family homes, living on public assistance. Having an older sibling who “graduated” into a prison facility was not uncommon. So please disavow yourself of any mental picture of this high school as the gathering place for scrubbed adolescents in button down shirts, eager to learn Shakespeare.

But all that being said..it was a far, far, far more civilized place than the picture we’ve been given of South Hadley High.

At “my” school, it was a custom for teachers to stand IN the hallways, right outside their door… while classes were changing. It was NOT required….as I say, it was custom. A teacher learns a lot in the hallways as classes are changing…and there is much “interaction” with the kids that a classroom does not provide. In the hallways, you will see tears…and you can question and comfort; you will see fights… and you can step in.  In the hallways…you will learn who are friends or enemies…outcasts or instigators…you can get a good take on what’s bubbling up.

Hmmm…Do the South Hadley teachers stand in the halls?  I’d like to ask them.

I have been the parent of children who attended public school as well. On the day that my daughter started kindergarten..we excitedly made our way to her classroom door (open campus  setting.)  There we saw a group of bewildered children, some alone…some with irritated parents. The teacher was indeed in the classroom, but she had locked the door and was enjoying a smoke.  When I inquired about it later, I was told her contract did not require her to open the door till the minute school started. In the months to come, she never did one whit more than her contract demanded.  The teachers I knew would stay on their own time if a high school student needed help after school; this kindergarten teacher would leave five-year-olds’ unattended… if it was one minute past her union contract obligation.

While I’m on the subject of spending time with students ON YOUR OWN TIME…let me say…that has innumerable rewards as well. One on one…kids will confide. will gossip, will share their stories and the stories of what is really going on in their world. Moreover, that intimacy builds trust…even among the “toughest” kids…and builds cooperation. If any teachers at South Hadley High had had this kind of relationship with Sean Mulveyhill or any of the others…they might have called them in and said..”Make this STOP. C’mon, you’re a leader, a captain. I’m watching you. I’m counting on you. Stop by tomorrow and the next day…I want to know how YOU are making this stop.”

But of course, that means TEACHER cannot be the first out the door.  TEACHER has to engage, listen, and give freely of his or her free time.  How “engaged” are the faculty at South Hadley High?  You know, the place where books are shoved from students arms, girls are slammed into lockers, new students are threatened and pursued into restrooms. vulgarities shouted in the library…bullies barge into class-in-session.

And no one KNOWS anything…unless a report is made?

Teachers are still professionals, aren’t they…not watch-the-clock fast food clerks?  Why didn’t they know? How COULD all this have happened in their professional workplace and they missed it? To me, this is analogous to a patient bleeding to death in a busy hospital corridor…and staff saying”Huh? Well no one TOLD me!”

Do they realize their plea of ignorance is a serious indictment of their professionalism?

WE KNOW…THEY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.

And now, they should be held accountable.

One….Alone and Lost

“Dim trotting figures that seldom will attack

Two with a light who match their steps and sing:

To one… alone and lost…another thing.”

We learned more yesterday about the “dim trotting figures” at South Hadley High …the alleged Bully Posse…and their organized conspiracy of relentless cruelty toward Phoebe Prince.

http://media2.wwlp.com/storydocuments/southhadleyteenindictments.PDF

Flannery Mullins is alleged to be the Big He-Girl…the “Muscle”, laying plans to find the opportunity to do physical harm to Phoebe, trolling school bathrooms and hallways for assualtive opportunities.

Velazquez, the archetypal Wannabee (displaying the high moral fiber her Mother tells us she instilled at home.)…prefers loud, obscenity labeled verbal assaults in support of her friend.  As further evidence of her gentle rearing, she describes this harassment  to authorities as but a manifestation true friendship for Mullins….whose pain causes her pain.  As for any such feeling for Phoebe…well, let’s not go overboard with empathy..even post mortem:

“Another student told police that after Prince’s suicide, Velazquez said she “wasn’t the only person that caused Phoebe’s death and that she didn’t care that she was dead.”

And Longe must have been a legend in the Library…where she was permitted to shout her abuse both up close and from tables away…unrestrained by any supervision, of course. FYI, to you taxpayers funding the place, that South Hadley High is providing quite the atmosphere of civility and academic learning,wouldn’t you say.  (Remember when we feared whispering behind the stacks?)