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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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I am not usually prone to get choked up but yesterday

I was teaching a bunch of third graders. After The Pledge, they were singing along to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless The USA".

Now first, I'm not a kneejerk patriot and I'm an atheist. This song rubs me the wrong way on a lot of levels.

But I was scanning them singing along and I considered their innocence. And I thought of all the canvassing I've done for local and state candidates in order to flip our districts to democrat and for Phil Murphy (governor) in order to change the course of this country for their benefit. It's for them as much as it's for me that I resist and I campaign.

They may not be my children, but they are our children. They are our future.

My district is multicultural: white, African-American, Latino/Latina, documented, undocumented. I work hard to keep them up to speed on whatever they should be learning. To give them opportunity in the future.

Let them sing and be unaware of what's going on in the adult world to some extent. I hope the lyrics have a different resonance of hope instead of blind allegiance to an illusory democracy when it's their turn.

Fired today as a substitute teacher -- for doing my job correctly

Today, like a 12 year old, I was directed to the Vice Principal's office at the high school where I have primarily sub-taught.

He was nice enough. He expressed regret for having to do his job. But at the end of the day, I was fired.

What happened: I had a social studies class with 26 kids. And I did the near-impossible: they were ALL working on their classwork, independently, without talking.

I usually call out 30 minutes, 10 minutes, etc. to help them pace themselves. I looked up and saw that a previously occupied desk was empty and the backpack gone. He was there no more than two minutes before I saw he was gone. (There was 10-15 minutes left in the class.)

Protocol requires that I call the Main Office who will then call Security to find the AWOL student. Made sure I identified the right kid. I even wrote up an Incident Report.

I did everything correctly.

But I was let go because for two minutes (120 seconds), I didn't know he was gone. The schools are petrified by the prospect of liability and lawsuits. Makes no difference that the kid was not hurt, some other kid wasn't hurt when he left the classroom, or that he didn't leave the building. Two minutes. No second chance for me. It's not a transgression or violation. It's grounds for dismissal. The Vice Principal conceded that I did everything else correctly. (Ironically, if I had not reported the missing kid, I'd still be working tomorrow.)

With all the classes I've taught in the high school from Special Education to ESL to Math to Science, all at next to minimum wage, without incident and with gratitude from the regular teachers, all this work means nothing. Doesn't count.

Nobody aspires to be a substitute teacher. We are victims of circumstance. We don't pay tuition, study hard, get on the Dean's List, etc. to be substitute teachers. My compatriots were mostly retired teachers, looking for something to do and extra income.

I'm in transition right now and the money was welcome. I miss both the income lost and the recognition I garnered until today.

Wishing a good day to survivors of bad fathers

My father made a lot of mistakes with me and kept on going. When he died, he continued what he started by leaving me with a pile of debts and disinheriting me while leaving his neighbor $35,000.

My sister and brother received a variation of the same fatherly love, so we can't say there was favoritism.

Dad showed more affection for his dog than for us and taunted us with it.

He died two years ago because he was in a car accident that he caused and refused medical attention and hid the incident from me and my siblings. As a consequence he suffered a fatal heart attack a week later.

I don't miss him. I didn't cry when he died and I still don't feel like crying. I don't hate him but I don't miss him either.

And I don't feel like Fathers Day is something I could celebrate even posthumously.

To this day I don't understand why a father would want to hurt his child(ren) in any way (physically, emotionally, psychologically). My father only spanked me once when I was 2-1/2 and that was enough for me. I was never close to him after that. We merely lived together.

BTW, I returned to take care of him after Mom died, about a month before he died. He was desperately trying to push me out of the house while leaning on the ($35,000) neighbor for help. I don't know why.

I kind of hope this is a solitary writing and nobody has been through my experience. But in case you have, I offer you my solidarity.

Hormones, underage drinking, male posturing, and weapons.

What could possibly go wrong

I attended Sweet Briar College 1975-79.

The college was created from a true Virginian plantation in honor of a deceased child.

It employed a lot of local residents, most of whom were African-Americans. The cooks, the servers, the housekeeping staff, the gardeners.

99% of the students were white females from upper-middle and upper social strata, debutantes if you will.

I only saw respect from all of us toward the people who worked on behalf of the college. Some of us were lucky enough to become friends with them, calling each other by first names, giving long loving hugs upon our graduation. Having Carson give his big smile first thing in the morning and asking if I'd like some eggs was the best breakfast I could ask for. Chewing the fat with Nancy over the latest episode of All My Children.

Never ever did the N-word ever show up even in passing.

While the imagery of a plantation with many African-Americans working on it in a different capacity from the Antebellum South did make one pause, it was a new era. They were just as much a part of my college experience as the professors.

This was so "me", growing up as a teen.

My father was an authoritarian by nature and expecting my mother and my sibs to do whatever he said without thinking.

Problem: I thought and I knew I couldn't trust his judgment. I transferred that distrust to other authority figures as teachers and principals. And I went through the hallways without a pass because the rules were meant for others who needed the rules, not me. Talked back to teachers. Argued logic and reason (unsuccessfully) with my parents any chance I could.

My father wanted me to have "intensive psychological therapy" which could have meant electroshock therapy, who knows? He mistook my rejection of his authority as arbitrary, (probably hormonal) and more toward Oppositional Defiant Disorder. He didn't listen to me and I seemed to make him extraordinarily angry.

You remember the scene in the producers room in "Tootsie" when Dustin Hoffman went off script and they all murmured "Uh oh"? That was my family when my father tried to order me around without thinking and I objected. Collective inhalation of breath and "Uh oh". My brother and sister begged me not to argue with him, but I had to address being told to do something that wasn't in my best interest, had to be followed without thinking, and usually was meant to keep me in place.

It didn't help that I was female as my father had this idea that women (in the Seventies) didn't argue back unless they were shrews or harridans or both. He really saw me as a threat to social order and dedicated himself to quashing me.

We were in a psychological death spiral until I went to college. He did resurrect the worst proclivities on the night before my graduation when he told me I couldn't move to D.C. to start a new life, being obnoxious in front of my friends.

My father's not a "bad guy" but like I said, he's authoritarian and he makes the rules. If anything, I learned to walk away from employers who remind me of him.

Consequences of "home schooling".

I've been the legal representative of a mother. All her children were removed three years ago by Child Welfare. One of the allegations is educational neglect. She may lose her parental rights and the kids adopted by the foster parents. We're in trial right now.

Because she kept her three eldest children out of public or private schools. The eldest couldn't go beyond "J" in his ABC's at age 8. Fortunately once the kids were in enrolled in school by social services, they not only caught up in months, but have continued to excel in their grades.

It's debatable how much culpability can be attributed my client as she lived under the thumb of her husband-abuser and was a victim of domestic violence. Whatever her husband said or wanted became the law. The kids watched television (including educational television) most of the time and she read them books. She wanted the kids to go to school and there were options. Although client and her husband withheld vaccinations on "religious grounds", the public school would have accepted the kids and they were poor enough to qualify for financial hardship scholarships at the local Catholic School. The father/husband/abuser just wanted to control the kids. (More likely he didn't want the kids in school to reveal the abuse going on in his house.)

Does my client regret her role in keeping the kids out of school? Sure, she does. The kids have been remediated and she'd put them in school if they are returned.

BTW, my client moved to another state 18 months after the children were removed, to escape her husband and go into hiding from him. She's gone to counseling, therapy for the DV. She's completed school herself and has received two certifications, one advanced, as an EKG technician. She was top of her class gradewise. And she's days away from getting a final divorce judgment from her estranged husband.

I'm not defending her per se as much as explaining what happened.

Dying Rutherford man throws a party to say goodbye

Alan “Big Al” Note couldn’t have asked for a better last day on Earth.

'Big Al' Note died hours after this photo was taken at a party he planned to celebrate his life. With him were his niece Jackie and her husband, Woody. There he was at the Rutherford Elks Lodge on a Sunday afternoon, surrounded by 130 people dear to him.

His two brothers and sister-in-law. Nieces and nephews. Old friends. Those in Rutherford who shared his zeal for civic involvement. His Ramsey High School teaching colleagues and former students.

All had been invited by Note himself, and all heard him announce what most already knew: that Note, a non-smoker, was dying of lung cancer.


He was my history teacher in high school. He's one reason why I'm here on DU.


I scored a big enamel turkey roaster pan with cover at Macys today.

Original price: $29.99
Reduced to $14.99 and 40% off that price.
Used my Macy's sale card for another 15% off.
Final price: $7.64
Saved nearly $24 (nearly 75% off original price)

Martha Stewart surplus, you can't beat it.
Posted by no_hypocrisy | Sat Mar 3, 2012, 07:25 PM (3 replies)

Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill

In my career as a psychologist, I have talked with hundreds of people previously diagnosed by other professionals with oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety disorder and other psychiatric illnesses, and I am struck by (1) how many of those diagnosed are essentially anti-authoritarians, and (2) how those professionals who have diagnosed them are not.

Anti-authoritarians question whether an authority is a legitimate one before taking that authority seriously. Evaluating the legitimacy of authorities includes assessing whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and care about those people who are respecting their authority. And when anti-authoritarians assess an authority to be illegitimate, they challenge and resist that authority—sometimes aggressively and sometimes passive-aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not.

Some activists lament how few anti-authoritarians there appear to be in the United States. One reason could be that many natural anti-authoritarians are now psychopathologized and medicated before they achieve political consciousness of society’s most oppressive authorities


Many people with severe anxiety and/or depression are also anti-authoritarians. Often a major pain of their lives that fuels their anxiety and/or depression is fear that their contempt for illegitimate authorities will cause them to be financially and socially marginalized; but they fear that compliance with such illegitimate authorities will cause them existential death.


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