Loukanikos, Dog of Freedom, R.I.P.

We did have a soft spot for Louk, so we are greatly saddened by this announcement:

Like all legends, Loukanikos appeared out of nowhere. It was December 2008, and Athens had been in upheaval for two weeks after the killing of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos by a police officer, who was subsequently found guilty of murder. Riots rocked the center of the city daily. It was a moment that politicized my entire generation, and as a simple observer on the day, I remember standing on the southwest corner of Syntagma Square, taking photos of the small clashes taking place in front of the parliament building and on the surrounding streets. As a police platoon started heading my way to retreat in the narrow streets around Athens’ shopping district behind me, I noticed a dog following them, barking at the heavily armored policemen.

I didn’t know it then, but that was Loukanikos. Lore had it that he hated cops, politicians and austerity, so he took to the streets again and again to make his point. Most will say he barked but would never bite, but some riot police shins would beg to differ. He would occasionally be seen carrying away tear gas canisters in his mouth. His courage got him a spot on Time magazine’s personality of the year list in 2011.

In memoriam:

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Why We Need Teacher Tenure: Because Protecting Children Shouldn’t Be a Firing Offense

A while ago, I wrote about how elementary school teachers in Holyoke, MA were being told to use public disclosure of test scores to ‘encourage’ better performance. Because humiliating children is a great way to make kids hate learning. Or something. Since this is 21st century America, the school superintendent tried to pin this policy on the teachers–who then publicly presented documentation that rebutted this false allegation, and pinned the blame squarely on the superintendent. As the kids like to say, you’ll never guess what happened next (boldface mine):

Now, Morales thinks his standing up to the administration has cost him his job. And a preliminary finding from the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations backs him up. In September, the board found that there was probable cause to believe that the non-renewal letter he received in June from the district was because of his protected union activity.

Morales tells Salon that for the first two and a half years he taught in Holyoke, the western Massachusetts town where he grew up, his evaluations were stellar. But after the school committee meeting last February, his evaluations “just got so unbelievably negative.” He was elected president of the Holyoke Teachers Association, a local chapter of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, in May as a reform candidate, part of the Educators for a Democratic Union (EDU) caucus that also elected Barbara Madeloni president of the state union. A month later, he was fired.

All of a sudden I start speaking out and I can’t do anything right,” he says. “I can’t write good lesson plans, I can’t control my classroom, I’m doing everything possible wrong. All of a sudden. The writing for me was on the wall.”

…In Massachusetts, a teacher achieves “professional teacher status,” equivalent to tenure, after three years in one school district. Morales, who has been teaching for seven years, was just on the cusp of having this protection in Holyoke. It’s worth noting that tenure or its equivalent is not what Brown and other campaigners like to call it, a guaranteed job for life — the school district can still fire you, they’re just required to give you due process first.

Morales finds the attack on him frustrating because, he says, by speaking out he hoped to make things better. “Even in some of my speeches, you can go back and listen to them, I said ‘This is not about any one person or any one policy, it’s about a system that’s broken,’” he says. “I’m doing my job as a teacher, but because of my extracurricular activities speaking against some of the reforms, all of a sudden, my livelihood gets tied to my extracurricular activities and that’s just so inappropriate. Because here you have kids that are in front of me, and if I witness bad things, am I not supposed to report those things?

For all the people who rail against teachers unions and tenure, these kids could be yours.

No good deed goes unpunished, I guess.

Posted in Education, Massachusetts, Unions | Leave a comment

Links 10/20/14

Links for you. Science:

One more question, Dr. Frieden: 11 things we’d like to know about the new Ebola case
Here’s What It Looks Like When Ebola Fear Comes to the Heartland
Lax U.S. Guidelines on Ebola Led to Poor Hospital Training, Experts Say
The media is doing an awful job explaining Ebola, and #ClipboardMan is proof (but scientists are awful communicators. Or something)
The Ripple Effects of a Travel Ban Could Make The Ebola Problem Even Worse

Other:

Property rights
Why We Need to Break Up Amazon… And How to Do It (excellent)
Steven Attewell: Steve Rogers Isn’t Just Any Hero (this is really good)
The truth about our American schools! And about our non-journalism (one would think Vox would know the NAEP stats inside and out)
Shepard Smith: ‘Do Not Listen To The Hysterical Voices’ In The Media About Ebola
Carl Icahn has the worst idea for what Apple should do with its cash (Icahn is a fucking asshole)
Understanding Stalin
Abortion Without Apology: A Prescription for Getting the Pro-Choice Groove Back
As Boston Encourages Biking, More Suburban Cyclists Are Getting Struck
What people get wrong about the Yes Means Yes law
West Africans in Washington say they are being stigmatized because of Ebola fear
Many Americans Are Weirdly Indifferent About How the Federal Government Is Controlled
Don’t get too excited about a Wonder Woman movie

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So, John Oliver, About That MRAP in Keene, NH…

While we await prominent white leaders to disavow and apologize for the #pumpkinfest riot, it’s worth remembering that this is just one more instance of degeneratesuburban‘ culture. Meanwhile, a regular reader reminds us of John Oliver’s wondering why Keene, New Hampshire would need an armored vehicle to protect its annual pumpkin festival.

Now we know.

Posted in Run Ya Bastids!, WhatEVAH! | Leave a comment

This Is Post-Racial America: The St. Louis Rams Fans’ Edition

While people can get very tribal about football (both the U.S.-ian and global kinds), this response to a Ferguson-related protest at a St. Louis Rams game is not encouraging (boldface mine):

Stadium protester Shannon Wilson said, “We chanted in protest to tell the world that Rams fans know that black lives matter. Some Rams fans who sat in front of us ignored us at first. When our cries for our lives grew louder, some men began to dance as if to imitate monkeys, and shouted, verbatim, ‘Shut the f*** up you monkeys.’ I guess some Rams fans don’t know that Black lives matter.”

I can see being annoyed, but hitting the racist trope? Amazingly, they did this in public in the cellphone era. That means these assholes aren’t even embarrassed by what they did: they feel so confident about being publicly racist with no consequences, they didn’t even try to hide it. Pretty good definition of privilege.

One of the organizers (boldface mine):

Sorry to inconvenience the 3rd quarter, but the wild cheering of African-American athletes who can run fast, and the death and disrespect of Mike Brown simply cannot be separated from each other. Black lives must matter on AND off the field. We witnessed many hateful, hostile, and nearly violent responses from fans inside and outside the stadium. But we witnessed many Rams fans – including many white fans — who joined our protest in solidarity after initial hesitance. It’s almost like they needed permission to show their justifiable outrage. Last week the St. Louis Symphony protesters asked ‘What side are you on, my friends. That’s the question. There are six witnesses, no police incident report, still no arrest, and Mike Browns in every town. This is real basic. There can be no fence-sitting here. Dismantling the Blue Wall of Silence also includes ending white walls of silence.

I’m sure the ‘dancing monkey’ bigots would probably be all shook up if one of ‘their’ players were injured. But an ordinary young man, not much younger than the players, gets his life snuffed out? Not so much.

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Links 10/19/14

Links for you. Science:

Public Health in the Age of Ebola in West Africa
First on the scene: Emory University Hospital nurses discuss their care of Ebola patients (training is everything)
Lockheed says makes breakthrough on fusion energy project
Rats Aren’t Smarter Than Mice and That Actually Matters
Dallas hospital learned its Ebola protocols while struggling to save mortally ill patient

Other:

Abortion: Not Easy, Not Sorry (excellent must-read)
US public schools are better than they’ve ever been
Russell Brand: what monkeys and the Queen taught me about inequality (despite the title, very interesting)
Parrot Disappears for Four Years, Returns Home Fluent in Spanish
O’Reilly: CDC Director Is ‘Chief Propagandist’ On Ebola, Needs To Resign (no nation can endure half Fox News and half free)
Denied.
​Washington Post Dismisses 500-Page Civil War Nonfiction Book As Girly
One-Third of Food Is Lost or Wasted: What Can Be Done. From our farms to grocery stores to dinner tables, 30 percent of the food we grow is never eaten. We can do better.
Are Covert Ops Compatible With Democracy?
CIA Report: The CIA Is Fucking Useless
Old Timer’s Day
Ebola Isn’t a Medical Problem, It’s a People Problem (also see “16 Members of Doctors Without Borders Infected with Ebola, Nine Dead: Workers have had inadequate help from international community“)
The only guide to Gamergate you will ever need to read

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Blue-Green, Vision

Observed at the corner of C and 3rd Streets, Southeast D.C.:

Blue green

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