Warning Signs of Teen Suicide and Shakespeare

On Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23, 1564, we need to examine just how brilliant his insights are to today’s education.

As a fairly new teacher with a few years of experience in the early 1970s, I was struck by a list of “Ten Warning Signs of Teen Suicidal Behavior” that were put on view in both the offices of our school nurse and our counselors. For the first time, big name universities had researched and published these lists to be distributed in high schools across the nation. These lists and sites are now commonplace, and the number of warning signs vary.

At that time I was completing a teaching a unit on Romeo and Juliet to high school freshmen. I was astonished to see that recent research and list.

I took several of these lists and posted them in my classroom. For one day I had each class search for the signs in Romeo and Juliet which was written and performed in 1599.

Nine of the ten signs from that list were discovered in Shakespeare’s plays. The intense interest of each class, regardless of their ability level placement, was astonishing. They poured over the work often finding additional hints and inferred suggestions. (Many of these students were reluctant readers who avoided reading anything.)

This was not a test with any form of grade attached. I chose to teach them that life will give them tests of much greater importance than one test grade in one semester of one class in one subject area in high school.

They all came to the conclusion that snitching is either not snitching or that snitching was not as important as the life of a fellow human being.

The following year, and for many years afterward, new students came in waiting for me to get to that in-class assignment with their own personal research ready for announcement. I, of course, told them how surprised I was of their own personal motivation to learn and teach others lessons from Shakespeare that are important to our lives.

Shakespeare is, as many of us know, disappearing from the required curriculum in high schools and colleges in America. The training offered by scripted texts offered by facilitators and people with no freedom to interact with students has become a new norm in what passes for education. Online learning assures the inability to interact face to face during those precious moments of awareness, sharing, and real learning that have far reaching consequences that none of us can even imagine.

Public education, professional and well qualified teachers, adequately funded public schools and more are all under attack by profiteers and corporate owned politicians who don’t give a damn about consequences or individual human lives that are not their own.

Fight for public education however possible locally and nationally. In 1599 Shakespeare understood life changing situations. In 2017 we need to heed his admonitions.

(By the way, what sections in Romeo and Juliet apply to the warning signs of teen suicide? You are an adult, read it yourself – and prepare to be astonished. Better yet, as a play that was meant to be well-acted and produced, watch the Zefferelli film that was nominated for many awards, including American Academy Awards.)

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A Teachable Moment: Separating facts from Russian fiction in election rigging

Russian rigging of our last presidential election is a fact.

Who was involved, and to what extent was there collaboration are the questions.

Below are facts as published and footnoted in Harper’s Magazine Weekly Review for April 6, 2017 available online and at newsstands. Here are extended excerpts.

The FBI, the Senate, and the House of Representatives continued their investigations into the Russian government’s possible collaboration with the campaign of Donald Trump…[1][2] White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that the investigations had uncovered “no connection” between Russia and the Trump campaign, and U.S. officials said that the FBI had obtained records of phone calls, business transactions, and meetings suggesting that Trump campaign members coordinated with Russia over the release of information damaging to Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.[3][4] It was reported that the Kremlin had paid at least 1,000 people to create false news stories in swing states to tilt the election in Trump’s favor, and Trump’s longtime friend and former adviser Roger Stone, who refers to himself as a “dirty trickster,” who admitted to corresponding with the hacker responsible for leaking emails from Clinton’s campaign staff, and who, like Trump, was mentored by Roy Cohn [who worked with Sen. McCarthy during the notorious McCarthy Communist Witch Hunts and blackballing scandals], a former counselor for the Gambino and Genovese crime families, announced that he would not tell Congress who informed him ahead of time that WikiLeaks was going to release information stolen from the Democratic National Committee.[5][6][7] U.S. officials confirmed that the Kremlin had recalled a diplomat from the United States out of concern that his attempts to affect the outcome of the election would be exposed, an allegation previously made by a former British intelligence officer in a largely unsubstantiated dossier… and which Spicer called “fake news.”[8][9][10] Trump’s former national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, who resigned in February after he was discovered to have discussed U.S. sanctions with Russian officials before Trump took office, and who in 2016 said that “when you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime,” offered to testify before Congress in exchange for immunity, and Trump, who in 2016 said “if you are not guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for?” tweeted that Flynn “should ask for immunity.”[11][12] House Intelligence Committee chair and former Trump transition-team adviser Devin Nunes said that leakers of classified information needed to be stopped, then viewed classified information on the grounds of the White House, returned to Capitol Hill to report to the press what he had seen, and said he was unable to show the information to his fellow committee members or divulge to them where he had obtained it.[13][14][15][16]Later, it was reported that Nunes’s sources were members of the White House staff, and that the information they had revealed showed that the names of Trump campaign associates were captured during lawful surveillance of foreign officials.[17][18][19] Nunes recused himself from the House investigation of Russia, Trump stood by his still unsubstantiated claim that Obama was a “bad (or sick) guy” who in 2016 “wiretapped” Trump Tower, and it was reported that between 2011 and 2013 the FBI surveilled Trump Tower as part of a probe into a money-laundering network run by a Russian mafia boss known as Little Taiwanese. “Umm,” said Spicer.[20][21][22] It was reported that the Treasury Department was investigating the offshore finances of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was previously investigated by a bank in Cyprus for laundering money through at least 15 separate accounts; who at one time lobbied U.S. lawmakers on behalf of dictators in Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, Somalia, and the former Zaire; and who reportedly lobbied on behalf of Russian president Vladimir Putin for at least three years beginning in 2006.[23][24][25][26] Former Trump foreign-policy adviser Carter Page, who stated on numerous occasions in the past that he did not communicate with Russia during the campaign, and then admitted to meeting with the Russian ambassador during the campaign, was reported to have met with a Russian intelligence operative in 2013; and court documents indicated that the FBI had recorded two Russian operatives discussing recruiting Page, whom they referred to as an “idiot” who was nonetheless enthusiastic.[27][28] “If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight,” said Spicer, “that’s a Russian connection.”[29]

Will Democrats pursue impeachment or back away to assure strong voter and financial support for the next elections?

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The Art of the Trump Deal

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Schadenfreude: Republicans’ American Healthcare Act

The American Healthcare Act: The Republican Response (Schadenfreude)

 

 

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IRTA: These 80 Programs Would Lose Federal Funding Under Trump’s Proposed Budget

The Illinois Retired Teachers Association (IRTA*) has researched and listed the cumulative assaults on America’s responsibilities to its citizens by President Trump’s White House. These are obvious attempts to dismantle the social programs that people need to live full, productive and healthy lives of respectability and personal dignity.

Below is the message sent to its members.

These 80 Programs Would Lose Federal Funding Under Trump’s Proposed Budget

By David Ingold, Chloe Whiteaker, Michael Keller and Hannah Recht

March 16, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal includes massive cuts across most of the federal government. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture face unprecedented discretionary funding cuts in excess of 25 percent, as Trump attempts to boost the military and national security.

Proposed changes to agency discretionary budgets in 2018*

Source: Office of Management and Budget
*Some percentages differ from administration figures because change is calculated against fiscal 2016 levels, the last year for which the government was fully funded. The current fiscal 2017 stopgap spending measure runs through April 28.

Trump’s budget also proposes eliminating discretionary funding altogether for at least 19 agencies and 61 other programs. Plans for new NASA missions, climate change research, aid for low-income families and funding for commercial flights to rural airports would all be on the chopping block. Trump says many of these programs are inefficient or duplicative. All this could change; Trump will deliver a final budget in May and Congress would have to approve the cuts—something they have often resisted in the past.

Funding eliminated for 19 independent agencies

African Development Foundation

◦ Provides grants to community groups and small businesses that help marginalized communities in Africa.

Appalachian Regional
Commission

◦ Funds programs to develop economic opportunities, infrastructure and the workforce in 13 Appalachian states, with much of its work focused on coal-dependent communities.

Chemical Safety Board

◦ Investigates chemical accidents and makes recommendations to industry and labor groups, OSHA and the EPA, to prevent future incidents.

Corporation for National
and Community Service

◦ Funds thousands of volunteer organizations across the country and runs AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and the Social Innovation Fund.

Corporation for
Public Broadcasting

◦ Funds more than 1,500 public TV and radio stations, including PBS, NPR and affiliated local stations.

Delta Regional Authority

◦ Funds economic development projects in the seven states in the Mississippi Delta region.

Denali Commission

◦ Provides utilities, infrastructure and economic support in Alaska.

Institute of Museum
and Library Services

◦ Supports libraries and museums through research, policy development and grant making.

Inter-American Foundation

◦ Provides grants to organizations working to improve economic conditions for poor communities in the Americas and the Caribbean.

U.S. Trade and
Development Agency

◦ Funds projects that link American exporters with buyers in developing countries.

Legal Services Corporation

◦ Funds organizations that provide legal aid to low-income Americans.

National Endowment for the Arts

◦ Funds grants for nonprofit organizations and writing fellowships.

National Endowment
for Humanities

◦ Supports research and initiatives to preserve cultural resources and promotes humanities education.

Neighborhood
Reinvestment Corporation

◦ Assists organizations aimed at revitalizing rural, urban and suburban communities and securing access to affordable housing.

Northern Border
Regional Commission

◦ Promotes economic development in distressed counties near the Canadian border in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.

Overseas Private
Investment Corporation

◦ Helps U.S. businesses invest in emerging markets by providing loans, political risk insurance and support for private equity funds.

United States Institute of Peace

◦ Works to address violent conflicts and encourage religious tolerance through research, training and partnerships with governmental agencies.

United States Interagency
Council on Homelessness

◦ Coordinates with federal agencies to prevent and end homelessness.

Woodrow Wilson International
Center for Scholars

◦ A non-partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C. that conducts and promotes research on national and world affairs.

And at least 61 other programs

Environmental Protection Agency

Clean Power Plan

◦ Creates national standards for carbon pollution from power plants and helps states develop and deploy clean energy alternatives.

International climate change programs

◦ Promotes clean and efficient energy technologies and the sharing of scientific climate research through multilateral initiatives and treaties.

Climate change research
and partnership programs

◦ Research and report on climate change’s impact on the U.S.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

◦ Government task force focused on pollution cleanup, invasive-species reduction and wildlife protection within the Great Lakes.

Chesapeake Bay Program

◦ Regional partnership that oversees the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.

Energy Star

◦ Certifies and recognizes buildings and consumer products that meet specific energy-efficiency criteria.

Targeted Air Shed grants

◦ Assists local and state air pollution control agencies in developing plans and implementing projects to reduce air pollution in highly polluted areas.

Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program

◦ Screens pesticides, chemicals and other contaminants for their potential effect on estrogen, androgen and thyroid hormone systems.

Infrastructure assistance
to Alaska Native villages

◦ Assists Alaska Native villages with infrastructure projects to address problems with water quality, sanitation and other environmental needs.

Infrastructure assistance
near the Mexican border

◦ Funds environmental infrastructure projects in border-area communities that will have a positive effect on health and the environment in the U.S.

NASA

Mission to land on Europa

◦ Develop a spacecraft able to orbit and land on Europa, a moon of Jupiter, in efforts to look for signs of life, study Europa’s habitability and assess suitability for future missions.

Asteroid Redirect Mission

◦ Would visit a large near-Earth asteroid, collect a boulder from its surface and redirect the asteroid into orbit around the moon.

PACE Earth Science Mission

◦ Would study global ocean color, monitor ocean health and provide data on climate factors including chlorophyll and aerosol particles.

OCO-3 Earth Science Mission

◦ Would measure atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on Earth via the International Space Station.

DSCOVR Earth-viewing instruments

◦ Monitors solar wind to provide alerts and forecasts of space weather conditions including geomagnetic storm impacts on Earth.

CLARREO Pathfinder

◦ Produces climate data to test climate models’ projections, aiming to make future projections more accurate.

Office of Education

◦ Supports education in public elementary and secondary schools and informal settings, coordinates and disseminates findings of NASA research projects.

Education

Supporting Effective
Instruction State Grants

◦ Provides grants to non-profit organizations that recruit and provide professional enhancement for teachers and principals.

21st Century Community
Learning Centers

◦ Supports community learning centers that provide before-and after-school programs for children, particularly those in high-poverty areas.

Federal Supplemental
Educational Opportunity Grant

◦ Provides need-based grants of up to $4,000 to low-income undergraduates for postsecondary education.

Striving Readers

◦ Helps states fund literacy programs for children, birth through grade 12, including those with disabilities and limited English.

Teacher Quality Partnership

◦ Funds initiatives aimed at improving the quality of new teachers through better development and recruiting methods.

Impact Aid Support Payments
for Federal Property

◦ Provides funding to school districts that have a diminished tax base due to federal property ownership in the district.

State, Treasury, USAID

Global Climate Change Initiative

◦ Provides financial assistance for global climate change initiatives in developing countries.

U.N. Green Climate Fund

◦ Funds projects to help developing countries mitigate and tackle the effects of climate change.

U.N. Climate Investment Funds

◦ Pairs developing nations with multi-lateral development banks to create programs to reduce emissions and combat climate change.

Emergency Refugee and
Migration Assistance Account

◦ Funds U.S. government refugee assistance efforts during unanticipated and urgent humanitarian crises.

Complex Crises Fund

◦ Provides rapid response funding to USAID to prevent violent conflict and mass atrocities.

East-West Center

◦ Strengthens relations among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific and the U.S. through education and research initiatives.

Energy

Advanced Research
Projects Agency-Energy

◦ Provides funding and support to short-term energy research projects aimed at improving the U.S. economy, environment and national security.

Title 17 Innovative Technology
Loan Guarantee Program

◦ Provides loans to support the use of new energy technology.

Advanced Technology Vehicle
Manufacturing Program

◦ Provides loans to automotive and component manufacturers for facilities and engineering that support advanced technology vehicles.

Weatherization Assistance Program

◦ Provides grants to local governments to improve weatherization and energy efficiency of homes of low-income residents.

State Energy Program

◦ Supports local State Energy Offices in advancing energy efficiency and infrastructure.

Housing and Urban Development

Community Development
Block Grant Program

◦ Funds programs that assist low-income people with housing issues, including the elimination of urban blight and other community programs.

HOME Investment
Partnerships Program

◦ Provides block grants to state and local governments to create affordable housing solutions for low-income households.

Choice Neighborhoods

◦ Funds programs to replace distressed public housing and promotes investment for neighborhood improvement.

Self-Help Homeownership
Opportunity Program

◦ Funds nonprofit organizations that build new housing for low-income families through sweat equity and volunteer labor.

Section 4 Capacity Building
for Community Development
and Affordable Housing

◦ Works with nonprofit groups to fund community development and affordable housing initiatives aimed at low-income families.

Commerce

Economic Development Administration

◦ Provides grants and assistance to create new jobs, retain businesses and stimulate growth in economically distressed communities.

Minority Business Development Agency

◦ Promotes the growth of minority-owned businesses through advocacy, policy, research and access to capital and contracts.

Manufacturing Extension Partnership

◦ Regional centers that assist smaller, U.S. manufacturing companies with adopting new technologies.

NOAA Sea Grant programs

◦ Network of 33 university-based programs that support and sponsor marine research, outreach and education projects.

Agriculture

Water and Waste Disposal
Loan and Grant Program

◦ Provides funding for clean drinking water, sanitary sewage disposal and storm-water drainage programs in rural areas.

Rural Business and Cooperative
Service’s discretionary programs

◦ Provides financial assistance for economic development programs in rural communities, including renewable energy and biofuel initiatives.

McGovern-Dole International
Food for Education Program

◦ Supports education, child development and food security initiatives in low-income, food-deficit countries around the world.

Labor

Senior Community Service
Employment Program

◦ A community service and work-based job training program for older Americans, including training for low-income, unemployed seniors.

Bureau of International
Labor Affairs grant program

◦ Provides funding for research initiatives and projects in over 94 countries to combat child labor and forced labor.

Occupational Safety and Health
Administration training grants

◦ Provides grants for training and education programs for employers and workers on the prevention of safety and health hazards in the workplace.

Health and Human Services

Fogarty International Center

◦ Supports global health research initiatives, including infectious disease research in developing countries.

Low Income Home Energy
Assistance Program

◦ Provides assistance to low income families to help pay for their home’s energy bills and some energy-related maintenance.

Community Services Block Grant

◦ Funds projects aimed at reducing poverty in communities, including projects focused on education, nutrition, employment and housing.

Transportation

Federal support for Amtrak’s
long distance train services

◦ Subsidizes the cost of traveling on Amtrak’s long-distance routes.

Essential Air Service

◦ Subsidizes airlines for regular flights to and from small and midsize regional airports.

TIGER discretionary grant program

◦ Provides transportation infrastructure grants to state, local and tribal governments.

Small Business Administration

PRIME technical assistance grants

◦ Provides training and technical assistance to organizations that help disadvantaged entrepreneurs.

Regional Innovation Clusters

◦ Supports public-private partnerships concentrated in regional groups to strengthen small businesses.

Growth Accelerators

◦ Funds startups that support underserved communities and areas with less access to venture capital.

Treasury

Community Development
Financial Institutions Fund grants

◦ Provides grants and support to local community-based financial institutions.

Homeland Security

NFIP Flood Hazard Mapping’s
discretionary appropriation

◦ Provides states and local entities with data about flood risks in their area.

Justice

State Criminal Alien Assistance Program

◦ Gives funding to states and local governments for correctional officer salary costs associated with incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens.

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* What is the Mission Statement of the IRTA? – The Illinois Retired Teachers Association is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization of retired educators. The Association serves the needs and interests of its members through advocacy, education, cooperation and socialization in a flexible organizational structure.

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Cuts Meals on Wheels and subsidized school lunches after bragging about paying no taxes.

Don’t feed kids in Head Start or subsidized school lunch programs. Cut Meals on Wheels for the elderly and handicapped.

Why?

The White House’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, states. ““I think it’s probably one of the most compassionate things we can do.”

“They’re supposed to be educational programs, right? I mean, that’s what they’re supposed to do. They’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home get fed so they do better in school. Guess what? There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually doing that. There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually helping results, helping kids do better in school.”
– Mick Mulvaney

To prove this as propaganda and a lie, google “benefits of subsidized school lunches.

Donald Trump brags about not paying taxes. (Watch and listen.) Why doesn’t he pay taxes according to his own words? “That makes me smart.” 

For decades I taught high school students a short unit on propaganda to show the power of language. Fifteen year olds learned how to recognize several forms of propaganda and to recognize the dangers of propaganda.

This particular propaganda produces suffering and pain.

Alternative facts are not facts. Alternative facts are lies.

Trump brags about not paying taxes, and then he and his spokesmen say there isn’t enough tax money to feed children, the elderly and the handicapped who are presently being fed.

Spread the word. Resist. Join local resistance groups to fight this insanity.

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It’s not just public schools that are being defunded to death.

It’s not just public schools that are being defunded to death. Betsy DeVos is the tip of merely one crumbling iceberg. Dismantling America’s essential social services is highly profitable for an oligarchy of corporate billionaires and their political cronies. Shock and Awe methods assure that multiple targets are hit fast and hard to keep people divided, to avoid mass resistance for a single cause. Ask Naomi Klein how this works.

For 24 million American men, women and children, a death panel looks like President Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan – with the smiling approval of the majority of Congress. “Healthcare” that condemns 24 million Americans to slow and painful premature deaths is NOT healthcare. If a third world country’s leaders did this while dismantling public education, America would invade it and overthrow its corrupt governing officials.

To view this from another perspective, image that Civil War to the death has been declared against fifteen states. Imagine if all of the men, women and children of Vermont, Alabama, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Idaho, West Virginia, Nebraska, New Mexico, Kansas, and Wyoming COMBINED were condemned to slow and painful deaths as a cost saving measure for billionaire tax payers who donate to specific political candidates who want this to happen.

There is no need to imagine this except in regard to naming specific states.

(As a cold blooded statistic, this slaughter of the innocents might possibly assure that public schools would be more adequately funded with “saved” tax dollars. Never mind. Corporate billionaires will get their unfair share before that could ever happen.)

What can we do about this?

Resist. Organize. Take to the streets. Find or begin resistance groups in your own areas. Corporatist funded legislative and presidential attacks must be stopped. Refuse to be willing victims. We must save each other or become the next batch of 24 million to be under attack. Greed and inhumane behavior does not stop at 24 million lives.

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Albert Camus, President Trump, Betsy DeVos, U.S. legislators – and our task

President Trump’s successful appointment of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was the sole nomination opposed by all Democrats.

camus-prevent-world-from-destroying-itself-004

All of the other nominees received approval votes from some Democratic legislators. Therefore all supportive Republican legislators and those Democratic legislators who voted with them are to blame for the life endangering appointees who threaten us with the dismantling of public education, the dangers of fracking, and the lack of necessary regulations regarding everything from healthcare and climate change to economic safeguards against the predators on Wall Street.

What does that mean to those of us who are attempting to resist the entire corporate attack that makes a mockery of the declaration articulated in the preamble of the U.S. Constitution to “promote the general welfare” of all Americans?

It means that we must RESIST and remember our duty to defend ourselves “against all enemies” who seek to take away our Constitutional guarantees.

“Each generation doubtless feels called upon to reform the world. Mine knows that it will not reform it, but its task is perhaps even greater. It consists in preventing the world from destroying itself.”
– Albert Camus

With that clear, we must do what we can to actually prevent our country from destroying itself and all of us.

RESIST. 

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“Tonight’s award goes to BETSY DeVOS.”

“And the award goes to BETSY DeVOS, the U.S. Secretary of Education, who is also a billionaire heiress and a proud self-proclaimed Super-Christian who wants to use America’s schools to, as she puts it, ‘advance God’s kingdom.

DeVos is awarded for her CHRISTIAN HYPOCRISY. Recently she smilingly joked at a conservative conference that she wished to tell a progressive liberal politician that, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”

This statement, of course, is a direct rebuttal of Jesus Christ’s own proclamation to feed the hungry.

devos-academy-award-012

This diatribe by the U.S. Secretary of Education reveals the Christian Hypocrisy endorsed by Betsy DeVos who should know that 21.5 million children rely on free or subsidized lunches in schools across America.

Now, THAT’S Hypocrisy! (Pause for audience applause.)

Betsy, please step forward and say a few words.”

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This particular blog post is, of course, a satire.
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#FAKEPRESIDENTSDAY 2017

#FAKEPRESIDENTSDAY 2017

 

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