Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pia Durkin is "Woman of the Year?"

Let's begin with the weather:

It's colder than Pia Durkin's heart today!!!!!

Apparently some genius...or possibly just another sycophant decided that Pia Durkin should be named "SouthCoast Woman of the Year."

They even managed to photograph her majesty smiling.  Must've been excruciatingly painful.

Smile with me children...or I'll turn you into a bunch of toads.

According to the article she visited her son in Cape Town, South Africa and...

"Within 20 minutes, Durkin had a book in hand and was showing the program's leaders the best practices to use with the children."

I'm sure the locals were as delighted by her heavy handed meddling as the teachers of New Bedford are.  Perhaps she embraces the belief that foreigner teachers are just as stupid and incompetent as American teachers.  That's probably why she replaced so many of them with low wage dupes na├»ve enough to believe that their student loans will be paid off, people who've never actually been trained to teach school by the way.

Earn your pennies my flying green monkeys.  Just wing it.  How hard can it be?

I recommend that DurkaDurkaDurka send a few of her favorite Teach For America flying green monkeys, I experts over to Cape Town to continue her good work.  Should be a resounding success.

Before you get too upset with the editors at SouthCoast Today please remember that even Adolph Hitler was Time Magazine's Man of the Year once.  He was also an evil, humorless, mentally unstable sociopath, I mean...person, and he also had a brilliant turnaround plan.

How'd that plan turn out by the way?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Apparently nothing has changed in my absence.

How did I miss this reference to my brilliant oratory?!!

In this article City Councilor David Alves speaks of "the elephant in the room" and asks Emperor Pia Durkin how she plans to address disciplinary problems in the New Bedford school system.

In classic Durkin style she blames the teachers...

Durkin responded that disciplinary issues were "tied to instruction."

Oh my God!!!  This calls for a change of color!!

It's not morons who breed!  Nein!!  Nein!!  Nein!!  (Slap hand on desk.)  It's those teachers again.  Especially those sixty year old women who cause chairs to be thrown!  They're corrupting the natural innocence and goodness of New Bedford's feral humans by attempting to teach them something.

General Jack Durkin Ripper can no longer sit back and allow the teacher's union to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids!

Mandrake!  Deploy the wing!!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Repeat Stuff!! Repeat Stuff!! Repeat Stuff!!


The NBEA is like a cancer, eating away at the moral fiber of New Bedford!!

The title of this post is a reference to Bo Burnham who managed to skillfully satirize the public's tendency to believe whatever version of the truth they hear most often.  At one point in this You Tube video he has the audience chanting "Repeat stuff.  Repeat Stuff.  Repeat stuff." while he stands up and does a couple of Heil Hitler salutes.

And so it goes with people who scapegoat labor unions.

Since graduating high school in 1978 I've had a total of 13 employers.  I spent a couple of months installing carpets (not recommended), a couple of years in the U.S. Army (ditto), and less than a year pretending to sell real estate.  Real Estate is a wonderful place to meet lots and lots of people who couldn't by lunch on credit but seem (It's the union!!) to have endless amounts of time looking at other people's homes.  With the exception of those three employers, the rest consisted of a variety of corporations, two of which were unionized.  In those two places we mostly just sat around drinking beer in our underwear (It's the union!!) and devised more efficient methods of snatching food from the mouths of hard working corporate executives.

I imagine school teachers do that a lot because...(It's those union thugs!!)

Say that over and over.  Repeat stuff and you'll start to believe it.

Having a large number of employers in a diverse collection of industries allowed me to learn a few things about human behavior that many (Union thugs!!!) people never get the chance to learn.  In every workplace there are people who've been there a very long time.  Some of them have never worked anywhere else.  It was very common for them to tell the new guy (that's me) some equivalent of "this place is screwed up."  Initially I tended to believe (It's the union!!  UUUUUnion!!) them because every workplace has at least a few (and sometimes many) highly visible flaws or procedural dysfunctions.

Then I began to notice...

Every place is "screwed up."

It's the union!  Repeat stuff!  Repeat stuff!  Repeat stuff!  It's the union!

Every place I've been employed exhibited employee behavior that could be displayed very neatly on a bell curve.  I eventually started referring to this as the "10% Dud Rate."  In every workplace about 10% of the employees will do a great job no matter how horribly they're treated, about 10% will intentionally do a lousy job (UNION THUGS!!!) no matter how well they're treated, and the other 80% are more or less evenly distributed between those two points.

In union shops, the 10% who are by any measurable standard, duds are usually protected by their union.  In non-union shops the duds are protected by the fact that few managers really want to fire people.  Some duds are (Damned liberals!!) friends of friends or drinking buddies of those who are supposed to be in charge, but most of the time, firing someone is just an unpleasant experience for the individual manager charged with the responsibility, so they avoid it.

The difference is simple.  In a non-union shop there's no (damned liberals or union thugs) union to blame for the presence of duds.  But in terms of employee performance, every workplace is about the same and employers dumb enough to believe they can fix the problem with more supervision or by churning the bodies are only fooling themselves.

Take notes Pia.  You'll be tested later.

For those of you who haven't noticed, Pia Durkin and her peanut gallery of toadying sycophants are blaming every problem that comes down the pike on "union thugs."  I don't believe either they or the dopier members of the public who listen to them are stuck in some kind of Terry Malloy time warp.  The New Bedford School System (Union Thugs!!!!!) is not the set of "On The Waterfront."  It's part of a massive public service system that nationwide is pretty "screwed up" for a long list of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with the teachers (THUGS!!!) union.


As the Nazis learned, if you repeat stuff loud enough and often enough, the public will come to believe it.

As I wrote in the previous post, people don't think...they feel.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

How to say absolutely nothing in as many words as possible.

Politicians on the campaign trail are infamous for making speeches that contain little, if any information.  They're not the only people who do that.

A May 14, 2014 article in the Standard-Times (reprinted in the NBEA weblog) illustrates the hollow nature of Pia Durkin's turnaround plan.  The overabundance of slogans and buzzwords is worthy of a Dilbert satire.

"a new beginning, one that would ensure excellence for every child in every school."
"the people of New Bedford"
"outcry for dramatic change"
"bold steps"
"countless parents, teachers, students, and leaders from business, nonprofit and higher education institutions"
"rare opportunity"
"ambitious District Accelerated Improvement Plan"
"A bright future"
"strong turnaround plan"
"dynamic administrative team"
"redesign team"
"emphasize a safe, positive school culture"
"extensive professional development"
"emphasize strong core instruction"
"jumpstart their acceleration toward achievement gains"
"refuse to be discouraged by setbacks and skeptics"
"institute significant reforms"
"inform and engage"
"involve the school communities"
"important to engage the teachers"
"amplify their voices"
"diverse cohort of teachers"
"provide the support they need"

This isn't all of them.  It's just a good representative sample of really exciting but ultimately meaningless slogans, sound bites, and chunks of rhetoric.

One of the lessons I've tried to teach my own children is that the bulk of ordinary people don't think a whole lot.  People make decisions, sometimes very critical decisions based solely upon how they feel.  People vote for the political candidate who is most charming, best looking, or tells the funniest jokes without knowing anything about their record.  As one very slow speaking Palin supporter put it, "She's got the hooooly spirit in her."  Sure Jethro, let's put her in charge.

People see a beautiful model advertising a particular brand of clothing, automobile, or liquor and somehow get the idea that they'll become more beautiful, more successful, and more popular if they simply buy the product.

People don't think, and those who craft political speeches, commercial advertisements, and Pia Durkin's Standard-Times article all attempt to take advantage of this human weakness.

Read her article and try to nail down exactly what she's going to do and how it will significantly improve the academic performance of New Bedford's students.  I bet you can't even come close.

Durkin's "strong turnaround plan" will no doubt produce some useful and impressive numbers for her to crow about, but it won't precipitate any permanent change in the local culture.  Student performance isn't poor because of bad teachers.  Student performance is poor because academically gifted people are not respected by their peers.  Go into any high school in America and ask some of those "countless students" who the most popular kids are.  The school brain rarely makes the list.  In fact, being a good student in some communities is a good way to get beaten up every day after school for making everyone else look bad.  Strangely, Durkin doesn't mention that problem in her article.

Pia Durkin has demonstrated how to say absolutely nothing in as many words as possible.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Nothing speaks to one's character like depraved indifference.



Those who blame the results of bad parenting on teachers are insulated from the problem.  The mayor, the school committee, and the Standard-Times propagandists don't have to put up with being assaulted by sociopaths pretending to be students.  None of them will lose their jobs or be injured.

They don't care how many teachers and students live in fear of attack.  They don't care who gets injured, or who gets killed as long as they make their numbers.  In fact, if someone showed up with a gun and started spraying bullets into crowded classrooms, the city would probably receive a huge federal grant so they could study the problem of bullying (to be quickly squandered no doubt) and the Standard-Times would be able to increase its circulation by having something dramatic to report.

They don't care.

They don't have to.

Think of them as morally equivalent to Jared Remy's lawyer.  He'll never have to bury his daughter, so he doesn't care either.

He doesn't have to.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Durk-Ming the Merciless is not pleased.

My subjects do not blindly worship the ground upon which I walk.  I require and receive absolute obedience from my figureheads in the Mayor's office and School Committee.  Why are my subjects disobedient?!!
The Elephant can't speak for the toadying figureheads, but I think I can clear up Her Majesty's confusion about the recent near unanimous vote of no confidence cast by members of the New Bedford Educator's Association.
First you established your relationship with them by announcing that 50% of the teachers would lose their jobs.  You did not claim to have reviewed everyone's performance as teachers.  You did not announce that 50% of them were performing below the minimum level of professional competence and deserve to be fired.  You just picked a nice, psychologically pleasing number out of your wrinkly butt in an effort to terrify and divide them.

Then you demanded an across the board reduction in the number of student suspensions.  You sent a clear signal to every violent sociopath in the school system that you are now forbidding teachers from administering the already laughably ineffective punishment previously allowed.

Then you attempted to railroad Joanne Maura.  Did you get your Ph.D. from a damned cereal box?  Are you really that mentally challenged or are you so insulated from the disastrous results of your own policies that you live in your own fantasy world...kinda like this drug addled, syphilitic weirdo?

I don't know what happened to you in your youth to make you such an embittered, power mad troll and at this stage of the game I really don't care.  What I do know is that you're punishing teachers because they have the misfortune of working in a community where violent sociopaths who place little or no value on education reproduce early and often.  You're punishing teachers for the criminal incompetence of parents and you're horrified by the very thought of speaking the truth out loud.

They have no confidence in you as a leader and they're not afraid to say so out loud.

Take the hint.

The Imperfect Plaintiff Defense.


On May 1st at 11:09 A.M. someone left the following comment on my Every campaign needs campaign slogans post.

"the elephant should look in the mirror"

I left the following response:

"This is called the Imperfect Plaintiff Defense.  Trial lawyers used to defend rapists by dragging the victim's sexual history into court or by implying that she somehow brought it on herself by dressing or behaving "provocatively." People are mean, stupid, and jealous so it worked quite well much of the time.

It's often referred to with the maxim that those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

There's even a Biblical reference, "Let he who has never sinned cast the first stone."

And it's a very efficient method of preserving one's right to behave badly. It implies that anyone who has ever done anything wrong should refrain from criticizing the antisocial or criminal behavior of others. long as you live in a society full of imperfect people you never have to clean up your act because no one is allowed to complain.

If you know my children or have witnessed something I should know about I'd very much appreciate being informed. And if you're aware of some details regarding my own imperfect behavior as a parent, I would also appreciate knowing about it."

The Imperfect Plaintiff Defense is closely related to the human tendency to blame the victim, a problem I wrote about here.

If you witness this behavior during your sentence in the public school system, feel free to write about it here.