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MD students miss school for union convention

unionThanks to a teachers’ union convention at the beach in Ocean City, students in 19 of Maryland’s 24 school districts will get a day off from school on October 21, 2016.

The only 5 districts whose students will attend school that day are Allegany, Charles, Garrett, Howard, and Montgomery counties.

Allegany lists the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) convention on their online calendar but it doesn’t appear to be a day off based on the rest of the days off on their calendar. Montgomery County students are attending school that day for the first time in recent history. Until this year, it was always a day off for both teachers and students.

Of the 19 school districts where students won’t attend that day, only 8 of them will have professional development days while 11 are closed completely. 7 of the 19 didn’t even disclose that the day off or the professional development day was related to the MSEA convention.

School board members, administrators, and even the MSEA have also opposed a recent policy enacted by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, and long championed by State Comptroller Peter Franchot, which would mandate that public schools being their academic calendar after Labor Day every year. A recent Goucher College poll showed that 67% of Marylanders support this policy.

One of the arguments against the Hogan plan was that there wouldn’t be enough time after Labor Day to fit all 180 days in the classroom in before the June 15 end date included in the new policy.

Districts also want the power to set their own schedules and the teachers’ union and other unions are involved in that process as well. The school board members all want the MSEA endorsement so they can add the Teacher Approved line to campaign literature and signs.

In other words, the union and school districts are complicit in taking children out of the classroom so MSEA members can head to the beach for their convention.

More on the Maryland teachers’ union convention

I took a look at the convention website with the agenda and the schedule of workshops.

One workshop of note:

Social Justice Teaching: Weaving Social Justice Themes into Curriculum and Empowering Students

This interactive workshop will show how one world language teacher weaves issues of social justice, human and civil rights, race relations, inequality, and social consciousness into traditional units of language study. The presenter will also discuss how she integrates language acquisition skills in authentic ways into social justice lessons and units while still addressing the demands of the obligatory curriculum. Participants will explore opportunities to weave social justice themes/lessons into their own content areas. They will also examine how to develop students’ social justice consciousness and empower them to take social action.  Room 203

Presenter: Erika Strauss Chavarria is a high school Spanish teacher and member of the NEA Discipline and School-to-Prison Pipeline and MSEA Human and Civil Rights committees. She is a board member of the Howard County Education Association (HCEA), chair of the HCEA Organizing Committee, and member of the  Minority Affairs, and Government Relations committees.

In 2014, Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland wrote about teachers receiving paid professional development days to attend the MSEA convention. He noted that year there was a workshop on union organizing ahead of that year’s election:

How Do We Get What We Want? Organize!

Join us for this special session on organizing successfully in your building and local, whether the issue is professional, political, or your principal. This highly interactive session will be led by NEA organizing guru Floyd Cox, and will begin Friday at 1 p.m. in the Bayfront Ballroom. You won’t want to miss it!

It’s a concern that students are missing classroom time so teachers, in some cases who are paid for the day, can attend a union convention.

Leo Dymowski runs for circuit judge

Leo DymowskiIn case you missed it, Leo Dymowski is running for Baltimore County Circuit Judge. Dymowski ran for Maryland Attorney General as a Libertarian in 2014. I endorsed him and voted for him in that race.

On October 5, Dymowski’s campaign will be hosting a campaign fundraiser at The Seasoned Mariner on Wise Avenue in Dundalk from 6-8 p.m.

His campaign website includes a section on “Rules for a judge to remember.”

The first rule relates to demeanor and notes that “Too many judges are arrogant and forget that they work for the people.”

The second rule discusses “Standing up to career politicians.”

Dymowski discusses the state’s judicial screening commissions that “have approved the son of senate president Mike Miller, the son of senator Norman Stone, the son of senator Walter Baker, the wife of our last governor, and now, the son of a convicted multi-million dollar lobbyist, Bruce Bereano!”

Rule three details “Sitting judges raising money.”

Dymowski talks about the legal profession giving money to judges who will hear cases involving lawyers donating the money. As he says, “Ordinarily, if you gave a judge thousands of dollars and he handled your case the next day it would be considered a bribe.”

Dymowski also points out in Maryland that’s just “business as usual.”

He closes by saying “this is why I am running against business as usual and the rigged system of big money influence in government.”

More on Leo Dymowski

Dymowski is a graduate of Archbishop Curley High School and served in the 82nd Airborne Division during his time in the U.S. Army. He graduated with a political science degree from UMBC. While working at the Housing Authority in Baltimore City he went to night school and received a Master’s in Urban Planning and Management along with his law degree. Dymowski spent 15 years in private legal practice  before becoming a Hearing Officer with the Maryland Parole Commission. He and his wife live in Dundalk, where he is active in animal rescue efforts.

 

Kennedy Class on Display

kennedyReaders probably heard the news that former President George H.W. Bush plans to vote for Hillary Clinton in the November election. Of course this unsubstantiated claim is just hearsay brought to us by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who couldn’t even beat Republican Bob Ehrlich in deep-blue Maryland in 2002.

Politico first reported on Kennedy Townsend’s Facebook post that showed her shaking hands with the nonagenarian former president. She wrote the following as her caption: “The President told me he’s voting for Hillary!!”

Kennedy Townsend, eldest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, verified her version of events in a phone interview with Politico. A Bush spokesman responded: “The vote President Bush will cast as a private citizen in some 50 days will be just that: a private vote cast in some 50 days. He is not commenting on the presidential race in the interim.”

CNN reports that “sources” tell them Bush made the remarks Monday in a receiving line at a Points of Light event in Maine. They also report that others in the room heard his conversation with Kennedy Townsend and that approximately 40 people were there. Kennedy Townsend later deleted her Facebook post.

Patrick Svitek of Texas Tribune tweeted some other comments from a Bush spokesman:

All of the statements from a Bush spokesman match the way the man has comported himself his entire adult life. Whether you agree with him politically or not, he is the epitome of class. Unfortunately, Ms. Kennedy Townsend showed herself to be no better than a gossiping schoolgirl. Whether she told the truth or not, it was pretty classless of her to spread it all over Facebook and give interviews about it. She was either grasping for relevance or just being hyper-partisan.

It looks bad for her, not for Bush.

More on Kennedy Class

The last time I recall her being in the news, Kennedy Townsend was lecturing Marylanders on how government knows best. I don’t have to remind you of some of the things the Kennedy family is known for including her grandfather Joe, Uncle Ted, and other members of the family who achieved greater fame.

Slate covers Quinton Report story

slateWelcome Slate readers!

Be sure to read my original story referenced in the article.

Slate.com reported today on Marco Gutierrez.  If you will recall, Gutierrez is co-founder of Latinos for Trump who made the news last week for his comments about “taco trucks on every corner.”

A story at The Quinton Report last week revealed some of the details of Gutierrez’s past – including all of his bankruptcies and the revocation of his real estate license.

In addition to the details I provided last week, Slate reports on other information that has come to light in their article by Ben Mathis-Lilley:,”Shocker: The ‘Taco Trucks on Every Corner’ Trump Guy Is a Serial Scam Artist.”

Slate points to a Mercury News piece on Gutierrez as well:

The California Department of Real Estate revoked Gutierrez’ broker’s license in 2012 after accusing him of making two unauthorized charges to a client’s bank account—one to pay $800.36 to Sprint and the other to pay $821.57 to Comcast.

Under a settlement with state regulators, Gutierrez was allowed to get a restricted seller’s license, but he surrendered that in 2014 after being alerted that he was once again being investigated for real estate law violations.

Slate also discusses the 14 bankruptcy filings:

Meanwhile, the conservative blog Quinton Report has found a court filing in which it’s revealed that Gutierrez and his wife have filed for bankruptcy a combined 14 times. A woman involved in the case testified that the family seems to use the practice of filing and then not following through on bankruptcy proceedings as a delaying tactic…

Mathis-Lilley’s closing:

This is my favorite “Guy improbably supporting Trump turns out to be a clown” story since the Trump “University” “student” who defended Trump University to CNN turned out to also have gone bankrupt. Gee, what do you think it is about the Trump campaign that deadbeats find so appealing?

Not Just Slate

Over the long weekend, Cher tweeted my original story to her 3 million followers:

Two days later, Gutierrez responded:

Bacon fire shuts down interstate

baconOn Monday evening, I-68 in Cumberland, Maryland was shut down for six hours after a truckload of bacon and other pork products caught on fire.

According to the Cumberland Times-News, “the truck was loaded with a variety of pork products including ribs.”

The fire shut down eastbound I-68 from 6 p.m to midnight Monday.

One county employee outside the Allegany County 911 Center reported smelling the aroma of bacon burning while outside. Fire Department officials told the media that “a portion of fire hose was damaged beyond repair by bacon grease than [sic] fell onto it.”

More on Bacon

In 2014, I wrote about a lobbying group that bought space on billboards in Allentown, Pennsylvania trying to get the Allentown IronPigs from selling bacon at their concession stands.

In 2015, with the help of IJReview, Senator Ted Cruz made machine-gun bacon:

In 2013, HuffPo reported on a company making bullets using pork:

South Fork Industries, based in Dalton Gardens, Idaho, claims its ammunition, called Jihawg Ammo, is a “defensive deterrent to those who violently act in the name of Islam.”

The bullets are coated in pork-infused paint, which the company states makes the ammo “haram,” or unclean, and therefore will keep a Muslim who’s shot with one of the bullets from entering paradise.

“With Jihawg Ammo, you don’t just kill an Islamist terrorist, you also send him to hell. That should give would-be martyrs something to think about before they launch an attack. If it ever becomes necessary to defend yourself and those around you our ammo works on two levels,” the company said in a press release earlier this month.

The company’s website bills the bullets as “Peace Through Pork” and a “peaceful and natural deterrent to radical Islam.” There’s a related line of apparel that feature slogans like “Put Some Ham in MoHAMed” and a target poster that says “Give Em a Spankin with some Bacon.”

It was also reported earlier this year that a Texas group is training to stop a Muslim “uprising” using bullets dipped in bacon grease and pig’s blood.