Wednesday, October 30, 2013

All I asked was "Who is Dan Rourke"

Who is Dan Rourke (part 2)

Who is Dan Rourke (part 3)

Who is Dan Rourke (part 4)

Who is Dan Routke (part 5)

Dan Rourke finished 4th in the primary, and yet I know very little about him as an informed voter. I asked a question on Facebook thinking I was just engaging in some water cooler talk for us political junkies in the city, I didn't realize I was opening up a can of worms less then one week before the election.

Left in Lowell, highlighted my question. I feel a little uncomfortable right know. I asked 'joe', why he was voting for Rourke and was a reiteration of his campaign that public safety is #1, crime prevention, and after school programs. No specific programs. I took issue with his response, so I looked up Dan Rourke. He doesn't have a website, and his twitter account doesn't do much but mention how he dropped off thousands of pieces of literature and 500 signs. Rourke had signs everywhere in Lowell, but despite considering herself locally politically knowledgeable I really never of heard of him. His bio, is OK but nothing exceptional.

I have nothing really bad to say about Dan Rourke or Tom Golden. I'm was simply trying to evaluate Dan as a candidate, that's all. Really innocent, it's a part of my civic duty to ask "Who is Dan Rourke?" I do it with all of the candidates. I'm deeply concerned that 'joe' told me not to pick a fight. I wasn't looking for a fight, just a discussion on "Who is Dan Rourke". In no way was I trying to single him out.

Now apart of Dan's literature drop, he is photographed with Tom Golden. To be honest, I didn't think much of it. What I take issue with is the complete lack of information about Dan on his campaign literature. So I Google'd looking for anything regarding Dan Rourke, again in a typical fashion looking for info on this very popular candidate.

Dan Rourke is a the Assistant Chief Probation Officer, Concord District Court (not Lowell). Rourke does not live in a Lowell neighborhood with a significant problem with gangs or crime, in fact he lives adjacent to the state forest. I do not know if his children go to public schools, or if he would place his own children in an after school program to reduce crime. Rourke doesn't 'live' with the routine crime, someone in the downtown does. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. OK.

My problem is that the Boston Globe has highlighted the financial contribution between Rourke and Tom Golden, NOT GOOD. Tom Golden's representation usually runs unopposed, we like him. So why has Dan Rourke given Tom Golden over $600 dollars in campaign contributions? I wouldn't think anything of this donation, if in fact there was a race.

The Boston Globe highlight Rourke's contributions back to a 2010 article on improper hiring practices within the probation department. Now the Globe only highlighted this, it did not say there was anything improper. The Globe simply flagged the donation as something to watch.

Update:Jack over at Left in Lowell mentioned they were cousins. That's fine and clarifies the campaign contribution. I still hold Dan Rourke to the same standard as any other candidate. We do not need a pilot after school program, when we already have several in the city from CTI, Girls Inc., and UTEC. I'm not voting for Rourke, because he doesn't offer anything substansively new. I searched his Facebook page, his Twitter feed, and Richard Howe's blog.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The truth comes out slowly on Erin Cox

I wrote a post over at Alexandria, in regards to the Erin Cox story in which the general public gave North Andover High School 'hell' over their decision to discipline Erin Cox. It seems her story doesn't hold water, and there are witnesses to the effect that she was drinking. Tom Duggan of the Valley Patriot researched the court records.

It’s a local story, that never should of went viral. The story of the friend who text her, doesn’t hold water. There are witnesses at the party and a failed restraining order against the school by Erin Cox’s mother. I was reading the angry posts on MADD’s Facebook page, just from random people across the country angry at them and their response to remind legal minors should of called a parent, instead of a friends. They will never know the facts behind the story, but they were never suppose to know about the story to begin with.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Toxic Teacher/ Student Relationships in Dracut

Update from Lowell Sun, still in arbitration. (October 2014)

I had some great teachers in the past, that I would defend. But this is not a good teacher, no matter how much his students may have liked him. A good teacher would of realized he crossed the line in his/her professionalism, taken the seven day suspension and kept it between him and his employers and kept detail plan of his classroom activities. It's not about the profanity, but rather using the classroom as his personal audience for his personal work. He was misusing the student's time.
From the Lowell Sun October 17, 2013
On the surface, Manley's main issue with Moulton is the teacher's refusal to fill out a detailed, weekly lesson plan showing what he will cover in class. Moulton said the clampdown by Manley came this fall as a consequence of an occurrence in Moulton's classroom in April when he read aloud from, "Song To Bob," a profanity-laden short story which the Bob Dylan-obsessed teacher authored. Moulton served a seven-day suspension for reading the short story before returning to work in May.
The students that adore him are protesting, with the encouragement of the now fired teacher.
The students are being played, as students they deserve a teacher who can offer a planned and structured curriculum. The classroom is not a place for the teacher to do whatever he chooses under the 1st Amendment, he has an obligation to you and he failed. So why are you supporting this man? Yes, You all really like him. Liking your teacher isn't the goal of a good education.
As an analogy, let's say I ran a non-profit. I'm the CEO, and Mr Moulton is a supervisor, and the students are employees. You may like Mr. Moulton, but if he is not holding up to the non-profits goals and using time in the office for his OWN PERSONAL use, as the CEO I have to step in and take administrative action even if the employees under him are not happy about it.
Students are not employees, in fact they are the
'customers'clients. Mr Moulton is not serving the goal of public education, he is serving his own interests during classroom time.
Some teachers are private tutors or hold private workshops/classes outside of school in their specialty. I have a child that takes art class, even though art is offered at school. My question is would parents (or students themselves) pay upwards to 20 dollars a class after school, so Mr Moulton could recite his personal works?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Being positive does not generate web traffic.

Friday's Seven Quick Takes had very low page views, I specifically made seven positive comments. I liked the post. I wish I could write more posts like that, but being positive doesn't generate page views.

I've been following the drama surrounding Gerry Nutter. I made my comments over at Richard Howe's and at Left in Lowell.

Not sure what to make out of this mess. It's a mess. It's true, Gerry Nutter accepts receiving it as much as he gives it out with his choice of words. That's the problem. Yes, he is free to express himself as much as he wants. But 'dishing it out' with over the top responses, leads to this crap and turns people away from having conversations. Instead we indirectly defend the bad behavior to defend others connected to the mess, and accusing the others of wrongdoing for acknowledging bad behavior.

For those who choose to be politically engaged, and want to increase the number of people to be politically engaged (like being on an Election Commission) this type of language does not encourage civic/civil participation. But maybe it does, because everyone loves a train wreck. Train wrecks increases web traffic. Destructive ranting gets attention, constructive discussion does not.

A city council candidate knocked on my door this afternoon. The candidate asked if I could encourage more people to vote (not specifically that candidate), because we have low voter participation. I informed the candidate, that I could not do such a thing due to recent events. Maybe in two weeks, but not right now.

We had a nice conversation. I'm going to vote for that person. I'm not going to name the candidate, because it was so positive and this post is about being negative. If you want positive. I can be positive.

so how is it that gerry nutter can spew the foulest of insults against over half the electorate, that quite clearly call into question his ability to discern and respect the importance of those citizens relative to others, and the only thing we're debating is whether he can play nice with the partisan politicos? -Kad barma

Friday, October 18, 2013

7QT I'm Grateful

More 7QT at Jen's Conversion Diary I'm usually take a serious tone of concern with my 7QTs, so I'm making an attempt to be more positive.

1. It's Fall!

2. Senator Elizabeth Warren responded to my email regarding responsible fatherhood.

"Dear Renee, Thank you for contacting me regarding programs to support responsible fatherhood. Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, secure, and nurturing environment. To create these environments, many parents need educational resources and support. Promoting responsible fatherhood can help support fathers, strengthen families, and give children a fair shot at success. The federal government supports a number of initiatives that help fathers and promote responsible parenting. Unfortunately, many of the government agencies that support children and families saw their budgets slashed as a result of the across-the-board sequestration cuts that went into place this spring. I believe that we must find a way to reverse the sequester, replace it with a balanced deficit reduction plan, and step up our investments in our children. I appreciate your reaching out to me on this important matter, and I will keep your thoughts in mind as I work to make sure that every child is given a real opportunity to succeed. Sincerely, Elizabeth Warren"
Yes, It's a standard form letter. The fact is that her office is responded. Everyone should try it.

3. Cardinal O'Malley had breakfast with 60 state legislators to let them know what the Archdiocese of Boston does.

""We are in 144 cities and towns in Massachusetts, represented by a lot of good men and women in the legislature, and they deserve to know what the Church is doing," Donilon added. According to an invitation sent to legislators who represent districts within the Boston Archdiocese, the lawmakers will hear from representatives of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Office, Catholic Charities and related organizations.

4. 8 Thumbs up! Well, I got 18 thumbs down and my comment became hidden. It was Freak-o-nomics thread about hidden homophobia. I mentioned all my life I never equated the obligation created within marriage with homophobia, in fact real homophobia is now hidden. We recognize and fight against unjust forms of discrimination, and still defend marriage. It's just they are two different things. One can't displace the other.

5. I had my second quarterly meeting with the city's Animal Advisory Council. I was appointed last June, in the 'non-dog' owner seat. If you want to get involved in non-partisan public policy, check out opportunities in your own community. Washington may be dysfunctional, but your town doesn't have to be.

6. Over at Alexandria Ginny posts on a father's connection with his autistic son.

7. All of my children came home with really good progress reports. I have no idea why they are complaining about their satisfactory progress. Es are great, but Ss are fine. Seriously. If one of my kids were tanking in their academics we would let them know. Every parent wants As, but Bs they earned on their own means they understand the material. That's good.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Assuming good intent of a conversation in disagreeing on anything.

Recently I began to follow NOM on Twitter, immediately I began to be followed by Twitter accounts that very publicly to spread the message that I (and others) are full of hate. This is not how you share the positive and valid points you may have. Those accounts are trying to suppress a conversation, in which on many points there is mutual agreement.

Marriage really does matter (at least the idea if we have to rename), as one man and one woman for the purposes of raising their children as a family unit. We see it in the hurdles that children have to overcome when one parent is not available, specifically fatherless but this can apply if the mother can not commit to the best of her ability of parent.

The argument isn't about disliking someone on their orientation, that argument is about obligation to those who are completely dependent on others.


Now this doesn't mean I can't be critical of NOM, recently they showed a study comparing both biological parents raising children to same-sex couples. The study showed the outcomes of children, but I felt it was unfair. For instance you would compare step-families to step-families, adoption to adoption, and foster to foster in the outcomes of children. Nothing really can compare to an individual being raised by both their biological mother and father.

That's not disliking you and anyone.

Do you realize I routinely place children with relatives, no matter their sexual orientation?

Do you realize I routinely help foster care youth find homes, no matter their sexual orientation that are best fit for them?

Do you realize that if an older child requests specifically a form of family constellation, we meet that request.

Do you realize there are children who desire a mom and dad, there are children who have no preference, there are children who want no dad, and there was a case in which an older child requested two dads because the child had difficulty in the past with females?

If you are going to call me names, I'm going to defend myself. Yet I understand you're in pain from unjust discrimination, that pain is being misdirecting towards marriage and me. No doubt marriage has been crippled well before this debate. But with so many children facing the fact they will not have a relationship and benefit from living with their mother and father, public policy has to address it one way or another.

Renee Aste, Lowell Massachusetts

P.S. Thanks Mara Dolan who actually inspired this post, even though she would disagree me with on the subject.

Friday, October 4, 2013

7QT Normal ex-Disney Stars & Pope Francis on 'Tomorrow People'

7QT Over at Jen's Conversion Diary

1. Former Disney Star so normal, he goes to college and has a part-time job. (Hint Zach & Cody

2. City without Fathers over at Aleksandria

3. What happens when we split over siblings to make adults happy over at Aleksandria

4. Flavor Flav on Family-

""You took a gift away from that child because the best gift you could give the child is to have that child have both of his parents."

5. Pope Francis-

"The old need care and companionship; the young need work and hope but have neither one nor the other, and the problem is they don't even look for them any more. They have been crushed by the present. You tell me: Can you live crushed under the weight of the present, without a memory of the past and without the desire to look ahead to the future by building something, a future, a family?"

6. Tomorrow People by Ziggy Markey-

Tomorrow people, where is your past? Tomorrow people, how long will you last? Tell me now Tomorrow people, where is your past? No where Tomorrow people, how long will you last? Ten years! Stop tellin' me the same story Today you say you deyah Tomorrow you say you're gone and you're not coming back If there is no love in your heart oh now There will never be hope for you

7. I'm trying to read 'The Idiot' by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Splitting up siblings

The judge wouldn’t do this, if the half-siblings were adopted. Two men hire a surrogate, fraternal twins share a bio-mother but each are fathered by the other dad. Dads split up and the split up the children in the custody agreement.