Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Thank you all for signing a MomsRising petition to Walmart asking the retailer — the No. 1 gun seller in the country — to stop selling assault rifles. Yesterday we joined Change.org, SumofUs.org and the Courage Campaign to deliver more than 290,000 signatures to a Walmart manager in Danbury, Connecticut — the closet Walmart to the Sandy Hook Elementary School. We were joined by 80 family members of shootings and other family advocates. Here is the USA TODAY write-up on it.

¡Mil gracias!

In related news, here is why some folks should not be allowed to have guns. A neighbor of the Sandy Hook Elementary School who comforted children who fled the school after their teacher was slain has received threatening e-mails and phone calls from gun enthusiasts claiming a “government conspiracy” behind the shootings and that he is a part of it. Sick.

I’ve written about Lily Eskelsen, the vice president of the National Education Association. It looks like she is up for the presidency of the organization this summer, which would make her the highest ranking Hispanic woman in a union. Check out this Voxxi story on her and her humble beginnings.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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About Elisa

I am a journalist and online organizer who is the co-publisher of this blog. When I am not online, I am shuttling around my two kids, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

80 thoughts on “Hump Day Open Thread

  1. Speaking of education, I have to say that I’m more frustrated with my work than ever. It seems like more and more people are shouting that the test-is-best system we have in place isn’t working and isn’t going to work, but it’s like we’re trapped in this cone of silence and no one in power is listening. On the microcosm (in individual schools and districts) and large scale (hello? Arne Duncan?) it’s like no one has any interest in listening to anyone beyond the big money Rhee-formers. I told DH last night that it would be nice to feel like I was making a difference because I seem to be working harder than ever before.

    Sorry- downer way to start the day. In other news:

    SNOW DAY!!!

    • Everyone is taking all of our snow! We’re setting records here for lack of it. One perk of it being bitterly cold, though, is that it’s been sunny for days and days and that is a welcome sight!

    • Our school system recently got an F from the Rheeformers (love that), and it made the front page of the local paper. The grade was encouraging, but I was disappointed that the paper gave these yahoos attention they don’t deserve. However it’s good to know our schools are doing at least something right in this era of perpetual budget crisis.

  2. facebook question – if you unfriend someone can they tell? There’s no notification or anything, right? I need to lose someone from work before I start a big fight (gun control etc.).

  3. House hunting drama continues. Monday afternoon at 3pm I got an auto email about a new listing and it was THE perfect house. Called our agent and got in to see it at 6pm. Wrote up the offer by midnight and had it in the sellers inbox, with a deadline for them to respond by 5pm. Well they strung us along, as they had other showings, and they got multiple offers. We are going to give them our final bid today and see if we get it. My emotions have been jerked around so much! As soon as I walked in I knew it was “our” house. But apparently so did everyone else! It really is a gem. But we are going as high as we feel comfortable. No regrets if we don’t get it, but I sure would love for this to be it.

      • Yes that does help. But there’s another offer with no contingencies who is willing to forgo the inspection!!! The sellers said an inspection was fine, they have nothing to hide. But if those dingbats match our number, obviously they’ll go with the no inspection offer. But I can’t compete with an offer like that and we are not going to. The house is priced low so I’m not taking any chances in case there’s something hidden. There was nothing alarming on the disclosure, but still…not committing to a house without an inspection. Duh!

        • You’re wise to not go into a deal without an inspection but keep in mind that the whole thing is a game. Their agent will lie to your agent and your agent will lie to you. These other offers may exist or they may not – lots of agents tell tales to try to get buyers to feel pressure and offer more. There’s always some mystery competitor waiting to scoop the house out from under you. It’s a racket. It’s part of why I was so painfully unsuccessful in real estate.

          Anyway. If it’s not this house it will be another one and it will all work out. If you lose it then be sure to tell yourself it was full of asbestos and wet basement issues anyway.

          • I know. It’s so ridiculous. It is a charade. But how can you know? In this case, I actually believe it because it is an amazing, charming house which is priced low in a nice neighborhood. And MY agent is not lying to me. She’s an old friend from church and I trust her. The other agent, however, could be lying his face off and how could we know? We’re going with our best offer and that’s that. I think the house is worth it, but not a penny more!

            We had “mystery” bidders run us up on another house. I still believe that was a lie. Luckily we got out of that one.

            On the upside, now I know what the “right” feeling is when I see the one I want!

            • Wow… mystery bidders! That is interesting, I never thought about the possibility that they could do that, but it seems like an easy thing to do.

        • It’s a good sign that waving the inspection didn’t influence them – that means the house really doesn’t have hidden flaws. But near the peak of the superheated bay area market we both bought and sold a house with a waived inspection contingency, on advice from our realtor who was a shark. She said that clean offers with waived contingencies almost always close quickly, so they’re attractive to sellers. But even if you waive the inspection you still have the right to inspect within a specific (short) time period and you can still back out without penalty if something significant and undisclosed is discovered, at least under california law. The clean offer mostly assures the seller that you’re not going to jerk them around and pile on demands.

          • Right. We considered waiving the inspection but getting one anyway, off the record. The problem world be we’d lose all of our hand money if we backed out. We did agree to no concessions from them based on the inspection. We actually met the homeowners and chatted them up. They are quite handy and did most of the restoration. He works at Lowes. They finished the basement so we are betting they checked out structural and water issues before doing so. And anything electrical or plumbing or general contracting stuff dh can easily do.

            Anyway, tick tock…

              • yes, i think that’s true here also, but you’d have to sue. and how can you really prove that someone knew there was water in the walls or foundational issues or something else hidden? it could be a long drawn out process and spend more in legal fees than the actual amount we lost. they didn’t list anything major on the disclosure. but going into a contract without an official inspection just isn’t something we are willing to do. this is an amazing house, but the market isn’t THAT hot here. we will find something else if this falls through.

                • I don’t think you need to prove that the sellers knew about it in CA. An issue that should have been on the disclosures is enough to allow you out; it doesn’t have to be fraud. I don’t know how long it takes to get the money back from escrow if the sellers challenge it, though.

  4. I’m to the point where I don’t want to see her stuff – she posted the shit about God not being allowed in schools so that’s why Newtown happened and now she’s reposting stuff from somewhere called Ted Nugent for President…such a thing exists, y’all. There are people who would say (even jokingly) that Ted Nugent should be president. Ted Effing Nugent.

    At work I can be in a different room from her at all times but her shit keeps turning up and it’s getting harder to ignore.

    • You work with this person? Oh I am so sorry. Hide her posts; I’m sure you hear enough of her ish at work as it is. You can’t change people’s minds who are like that.

    • The only issue with hiding is that, though you won’t see her stuff, she would normally see yours and could respond to yor posts. If you unfriend, she won’t get a notice. But if she wonders, “hmmm, I haven’t seen anything from her for awhile” and goes to your wall, she will see that she’s no longer your friend. There is a way to hide her and also to selectively block posts (like if you are going to post something political) that would prob take care of it.

      • I think I’m actually okay with her seeing that we’re not facebook friends anymore – if she wants to talk to me about it (if or when she finds out) then it would be between us and not me saying “no one is taking your stupid guns, dipshit” on the internet with the whole world to see the conflict.

    • I try not to friend people from work partly for this reason. Although now I work with no one I would disagree with politically. But in my last job I hate to think what some people might be putting up.

      • I had a rule about it – I was only using facebook to keep up with my old friends from Texas, university and high school. People I don’t see every day because why would I need to connect with people I see every day? But when I took this job they are all connected and they all started sending requests. They use it for social stuff that I do want to go to so it puts me in a bit of a pickle. I don’t request at all but I’ve accepted them.

        • In that case, you might want to create some lists. You make your own grouping and put people who fit in a certain category in it. Then, when you post, you can exclude or include people from that list if you want. This is how it worked 6 months ago, unless they have changed it all now since I last prepped my “facebook 101″ class.

              • “crazy people I with whom I work”

                “crazy people I to whom I am related”

                “crazy people from my high school”

                “crazy people from the internet”

                That sort of thing?

              • I think I might need one called the reverse. Isn’t it a list that you are specifically posting to?

                In other words, I would want to create a group where I knew they would be fine seeing my post on a political topic and post to just that subset. Is that how it works?

                • OK, I just created one.

                  The problem with the overlap of friends though is it does seem to possibly bring up a situation where I post something to a sub-list and then somebody from my list shares it and then a third party I didn’t include wonders why they didn’t see it in my feed. Oh well :)

                • If you go into custom settings, there’s both a “Share This With” and “Don’t Share This With” option. So I usually do “Share this with Friends, Don’t share this with No Politics.”

                • That’s my MT list! I have a list for friends, one for family, one for work (which is very limited) and one for MT. The MTers are by far the most active. The few conservative friends and family members I have are very respectful on FB and don’t post inflammatory stuff, so out of courtesy for them I don’t post political stuff (or I’ll hide it from them and just share with the MT list).

      • I’ve done that with a few conservative colleagues, but since they still see my stuff, they often comment on my political stuff (which are few, but it’s annoying).

  5. As long as we’re discussing annoying things about Facebook, why is it the mobile version only shows some random partial collection of posts? Why does FB think I don’t want to see my friend’s posts?

    In sporting news, it does not surprise me at all that Lance was doping, but I did actually read something that surprised me this morning. He successfully bribed the lab (this is the accredited lab that does the international cycling tests) $100,000 to cover up 3 failed tests. Really? Your entire job, pretty much, is to act as the honesty check on this whole business and you’ll roll for a hundred grand?

    I am actually not particularly shocked and horrified by the use of performance enhancing drugs (I like a nice cup of tea in the morning myself) but the willingness of the lab to go along with the whole thing surprised me.

    • Seriously. That’s really not a lot of money in the grand scheme.

      I just hope they don’t start investigating football. Surely they ALL dope, so it’s an even field. I guess I just don’t get what the big deal about doping in any sport is, I guess.

      • I agree. My DH is a huge baseball fan so we have had many discussions about this. One of his comments has been that if you look at the bodies of football players over time it has been a huge change, and while some of that has been due to different training and nutrition surely that can’t be all of it. Also, I know someone who used to date a pitcher for the Rockies maybe 15 years ago and she said he told her that the manager and owners pressured all the players to use steroids at that time to the point of threatening to kick them off the team if they didn’t. So even guys who didn’t want to were using them.

        While I don’t want it encouraged since I have a sporty kid myself and don’t want him thinking it’s a good idea, on the other hand I think it is probably unrealistic to pick out a few more-targeted and superior athletes like Bonds and Armstrong and be horrified that they were cheating. Probably just about everybody else was doing the same thing, and it doesn’t really detract from their really very impressive accomplishments anyway.

        • Maybe the solution is for our culture to stop elevating these “super” athletes to hero status, you know? How awesome would it be if being great at sports really wasn’t that important. But it all comes down to money.

          • i admit, i am one of those people who elevates athletes to hero status. i think it’s sort of a natural extension of being enthusiastic about a sport or team. i know what you are saying, but i don’t think it’s something that will change.

          • If you like the sport though, it is something you care about. Some people like sports. I don’t think it’s any different than movies, music, books, TV, politics or whatever, the people who are performing at the top of their particular field (particularly an entertainment related field that has broad interest from the public) are going to get a lot of attention from people who are interested in that topic.

        • yes that’s the dilemma. i don’t care what the pros do, really. they all are pressured to do it. but when it seeps into high school, which it does, then i care.

        • I don’t really care what stupid shit pro athletes do to their bodies. It’s destructive, but so is a lot of other things they do to survive in the sport. I understand that they have to squeeze most of their lifetime achievements and earnings into a few short peak years and I assume they know what the stakes and the tradeoffs are. I don’t think we should prohibit them from playing team sports. But I am not comfortable with the glorification of individuals whose achievements are based on drugs. Especially when our children dream of emulating them. If I ran the world, athletes who tested positive would be ineligible for individual awards – no medals, no hall of fame, new records don’t count, etc. So I guess that means no Lance Armstrong. Not practical, I’m sure.

          • I guess that’s the thing though … I’m not sure we know if their achievement was based on drugs or not. The evidence is pretty mixed about to what degree it actually helps, and a lot of the things that for example Bonds was able to do (such as be selective about pitches) isn’t related to steroids anyway, plus he was way out ahead of his cohort in HRs, stolen bases, batting average etc before anyone even thinks he was using. There is no parallel universe of course so we will never know what would have happened if everybody was clean.

            • So? Bonds clearly has extraordinary abilities unrelated to the drugs. He supplemented those abilities with drugs. I don’t think a doper belongs in the hall of fame, despite his superior abilities, and if he goes into a record book he needs an asterisk. Of course that record book might start to get a little bit illegible. But I like the idea of Hank Aaron’s record remaining unbroken.

              • Well, I don’t hold the majority opinion on this. Hall of Fames are arguably silly but I think if you’re going to have one, the people who were the greatest performers deserve to be in them. And, there were people from previous decades who are already in the Hall of Fame who took amphetamines and whatever else was available to them at the time that we’d have to take out if we want to drop everybody who took any kind of drugs. (Not to mention nobody’s complaining about the musicians in the Rock ‘n’ Roll HoF taking drugs…) But the sportswriters will do what they will do.

                • I don’t give a sausage about the players or what they deserve. I care only about the kids who idolize them. Players who play clean deserve respect; players who do not get none from me.

        • And my DH has an interesting take….if LA recovered from cancer to come back and win the freakin Tour de France, maybe we SHOULD know what he was taking, because clearly it works. Not that we want to encourage taking drugs that have negative effects….just the opposite. Lets bring it all above ground so we can study the impacts (positive and negative) and maybe figure out some stuff the rest of us can use.

      • Truth is, in theory, I don’t really care what these adults do to their bodies. But, I do care that it sets a bad example for HS athletes who think that is the standard they should be meeting.

  6. Obama’s speech: rocked. but i was a little concerned about this part:

    “We will help schools hire more resource officers if they want them and develop emergency preparedness plans”

    does that mean he supports armed officers in schools? seemed a little vague but that is something i’m very against.

    • SRO’s here are police officers. One or two from the town are specifically assigned to the school. So they’re familiar, have relationships with the kids, and are a presence when needed – like the wanna be gangers try to go at each other. This I like. Volunteers, especially rotating, not so much.

      • yes, ds’s preschool had an “officer friendly” program and officers were in the schools all the time. his head start was in a very violent neighborhood and the biggest problem was people being afraid to snitch, so they were working very hard on getting the kids to trust the police and see them as helpers.

        a very big task, considering that a few years ago in that neighborhood an unarmed honors high school student was beaten by 3 officers for WWB (walking while black) at 1am. they were not punished.

        anyway, i am all for programs like that, and an unarmed police presence in schools. but if there are armed guards, i am pulling my kids out. i wasn’t sure what the president meant. i was wondering if he was trying to appease the gun crowd with that since so many are calling for it.

        • Our middle and high schools have cops, and we don’t live in a dangerous part of our community. It’s really common around here for secondary schools to have cops already. Is that not common in other places?

          None at our local elementary though. I think they are probably in secondary schools to help deal with kids who are bigger than many of the teachers. Fights, drugs, etc. It’s not as if they are walking around with rifles at the ready.

          • That’s the way it is here. Some of those kids are scary.

            True story – DD1 once got a whiff of some kind of tear gas/mace substance that was released in the course of a huge cafeteria fight. She felt pretty tough for a bit there.

            And now that I’ve completely scared all the parents of little kids. . .

          • We don’t have police officers but we do have security – unarmed. I don’t even think the inner city schools have armed security – just a presence of people around to keep the peace. Again, it’s to keep the peace between the kids and not due to some outside threat.

            • I would be very surprised if Rochester city schools didn’t have resource officers in the middle and high schools. It is very commonplace. Syracuse City has had them for years and many of our large suburban districts that are quite nice have them too. The smaller suburban schools are just starting to acquire them. Ours has talked about it but I don’t think that the program has started. I have no idea if the SROs carry weapons. I wouldn’t be surprised but I think it varies. And you’re right, their function is to police things within the school community, not outside threats so much.

              • They definitely have people working security in the city schools – but they’re not armed. Just really big. But they’re part of the school community – know the kids by name and help as well as secure. Nothing wrong with that. Back in the day the vice principals at my high school walked the halls – same idea. As long as there’s a presence of grown ups around trouble is less likely.

          • We had a police officer at my high school when I was in HS 20 years ago (everybody called him “Robocop”). We didn’t live in a particularly high-crime area, either–it was a decent midwestern suburban school with a couple thousand kids. I don’t know if he was armed (never had much to do with the guy myself). I’m pretty sure he was assigned exclusively to the school (he was also married to one of the English teachers). I think the fact that I grew up with this makes me sort of blase about the idea of police officers in high schools, although I still sort of cringe at elementary schools.

    • I didn’t hear all of the president’s remarks yesterday, but the part I did hear, was terrific. I thought the administration did a masterful job communicating the need to protect ALL of our rights, including the right to assemble peaceably and worship freely. The frame = well played.

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