...NEWS, POLITICS, LIFE AND BROOKLYN.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

AN OLD GOOD FRIEND PASSES

Many of you never knew Dennis Hartz, because that wasn't his real name. When he was on the radio, he'd call himself Dennis. Mr. Hartz was actually Bruce Michael Windish. I met Bruce when I was volunteering at WRDV radio in Warminster,PA. I was the 20-year old news director and he was the 30-year old newbie, just trying his hand at radio. He worked for the phone company for many years, but always wanted to be on the radio. Bruce sounded good too and over the next few years, he worked at a number of radio stations in suburban Philadelphia. We talked a lot during those years. We shared a lot of laughs with each other over the years. We'd drink coffee at Denny's and get drunk at some neighborhood pubs.

I remember accepting a job in Denver, which for the first time in my life would mean, I'd have to move away from my family and friends and live on my own. I would miss Bruce the most and during a slow walk down Allentown's Hamilton mall, I cried. Bruce put his arm around me, like a big brother would do, and assured me it was the right move. I never looked back and periodically kept in touch with Bruce. When my friend John Gormley emailed me the news of Bruce's death, my first silent reaction was, "I didn't even know he was sick," which is the truth.

As time passes and you make new friends, in different places, you sometimes lose track of those you liked the most. It's funny, because when you're good friends, time doesn't really matter. It was like that with Bruce. I remember at the end of the film "Stand By Me," the narrator reflected, "You'll never have the kind of friends like you had when you were 12-years-old." But, that's not true. In life he was my friend...and now in death, he is, as well. I'll miss ya buddy.

WINDISH BRUCE MICHAEL on Jan. 24, 2009 age 57, passed away after a long illness, of Roslyn but a Floridian at heart. While in FL he was a DJ and an announcer for the TX Rangers during spring training. Survived by 3 children and 6 grandchildren. He is also survived by his parents Clarence & Theresa, 2 brothers and 5 sisters. Funeral Mass Wed. 10:30 AM, St. John of the Cross Church, Woodland & Thomson Rds., Roslyn. Relatives and friends are invited to the Visitation at the Church, Wed. after 10 AM. Int. Hillside Cem. In lieu of flowers donations to AMH Hospice, 2510 Maryland Rd., Suite 250, Willow Grove, PA 19090-0520 would be appreciated.

Friday, January 30, 2009

OCTUPLETS: A MIRACLE OR A MESS?



Even after having six children, a California woman decided to undergo fertility treatments to have even more children. She knew early on that at least seven babies were in the making, but even doctors at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center were shocked to learn that she was about to give birth to octuplets. Miraculously, all eight were born healthy, yet tiny. It's only the second live birth involving octuplets anywhere in the world.



Doctors are smiling. The family is smiling, but how long can that joy possibly last? The unnamed family now has an astounding 16 children. Mom doesn't work, but dad is a contractor, currently working in Iraq. I'm not sure what kind of contracting he does, but I can't imagine anyone being able to afford the cost of raising 14 children. The birth by cesarean section alone involved over 40 doctors and nurses. Imagine that bill!



My sister and brother-in-law have four children and they've raised them well. While it was no simple task, they make raising children look easy, because they're so good at it. I can't fathom my sister raising TEN more children.

Raising 14 children raises all sorts of questions. Will mom breast feed all eight newborns? If you're going to grandmas house, do you plop some of the kids in the trunk, get three mini-vans, buy a small bus? Will they ever get to go on a family vacation. If they're at a highway rest stop, how many kids will they accidentally leave behind? How many times? Do they fly? How big is there dinner table? What happens when the rest of the family comes over for a Christmas Dinner? As they grow older, how many bedrooms will they need? When they become teenagers, how will you afford to feed them? Christmas presents? Will they ALL go to college? Eight of them will be entering college the same year, costing the family $364,000 on average to enroll them all in a public school for four years. The cost skyrockets to $800,000 on average for a private university. But, don't forget the first six kids. When all is said and done, it will cost the family 1.4 million dollars to send ALL of the kids to private colleges, not including room, board and books.



The cost of raising 14 children is staggering and this is why I ask, "Is it worth it?" I mean, if you can't put food on the table, dress them and send them to college, how can you in good conscience raise 14 children? This may sound mean, but isn't this like your pet dog giving birth to puppies? Most families don't keep them all. They give a few away. Would they miss babies 12, 13 and 14. Will they even be able to remember all of their names. Maybe they do what my sister and brother-in-law did, give them all "J" biblical names. Maybe you name them each with the first 14 letters of the alphabet ranging from A-to-N. They had six boys and two girls. Andrew, Bobby, Carl, Dennis.....you get the idea.



I'm not sure how big of a house they have or how rich a couple they are, but don't you think these sort of things need to be considered in family planning? Maybe, before they get too attached to the kids, they should have a clearance sale. Unload a few of them. Start with the ugly ones first. Or perhaps another miracle will occur: Ty Pennington from ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" will pull up in that big bus and announce, they're all going to Disney World, getting a new 14-bedroom home and five nannies to take care of the kids. Now, that would be a real miracle.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

MY MOMMY'S AN EROTIC DANCER, NOT!



Sometimes kids will do the darnedest things! Like this little girl who was asked by her teacher to draw something that reflects what she'd like to be when she grows up.
Imagine the shock on the teachers face when she saw what the child had drawn. Yup, looks like mommy dances at a strip club. But, not really, as you can read in the following letter from the mother to the teacher.

Dear Mrs. Jones,

I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer.
I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.
From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.

Sincerely,
Mrs. Smith

Monday, January 26, 2009

TO CATCH A THIEF: HOW THE 76TH PRECINCT DOES IT



I've never been mugged, but I know several people who have been jumped, a few of them right here in Carroll Gardens. In most of the cases, the victims were teenagers. I describe these crimes as "snatch and grabs," where a kid comes running by, shoves the victim and swipes a phone or something else of value.

A few months ago, I wrote about how I helped a young woman try to track down the thug who snatched her Blackberry on Degraw street. The 76th precinct cops were great, driving us around and pointing out suspects they had detained. We never found the kid, but police may have very well caught him later.

Now, another case and an admission by several of New York's finest that this sort of thing appears to happens a lot. It was just last week, at Smith and Butler, when a group of teenagers ran past another boy, shoved him and made off with his cell phone. My buddy flagged down a cop who initiated a speedy search of the area. For the next hour, my friend rode around in a patrol car trying to identify suspects pulled aside by other officers. They caught two boys, a 17 and 15 year old, who were arrested a few blocks away.



Although the 76th precinct's new commander, Captain Ken Cory says robberies in Carroll Gardens dropped 25-percent in 2008, several cops have told me they've seen quite a few of these "snatch and grabs." Capt. Cory doesn't see this as an escalating problem. Those involved, police believe are kids from the projects South of Hoyt Street in Boerum Hill and the massive complex in Red Hook. In most cases, no assault occurs. The punks just grab what ever the person is holding. They target all ages, but teens appear to be their preferred victims.



Here's a snap shot of some of the attacks over a two week period:

* A pony-tailed hooligan mugged a 12-year-old boy near the corner of Henry Street and Fourth Place on Jan. 9. The boy was asked, “What do you have in your pockets?” The schoolboy gave up five bucks to the thug.

* A Food delivery man is beat up and and robbed on Van Brunt St.

* 3 teens mug a kid on his way to school on Smith St, steel is Ipod and cell phone

* A 19 year old woman is robbed of her cell phone on President St.

* A 17 year old is arrested for mugging a man of his Ipod and headphones.

* A woman's purse is grabbed from her on New Years Day.

* Teen comes up to another girl and says, "yo, what's the time." When she pulled out her cell phone to check, the teenager snatched it.



Over the past few years, patrols have been stepped up near local middle and high schools as classes let out. More cops are also keeping an eye on the bar and restaurant dotted Smith Street. Foot patrols are more common and cops appear more aggressive then ever to solve even the most minor cases. I'm not sure there's much more the police can do. But, YOU can do your part. Report these crimes, even if you consider them petty. Most importantly, follow-up! Help cops ID the punks and if need be, show up in court and testify.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: NEW YORK CITY'S BEST AND WORST SUBWAY LINES



Most of you are probably convinced that the subway train you ride on every day must be the worst, most delayed line of them all. We're convinced of that because it's our primary route to work, school or play. Most of us don't have much else to compare it to. For instance, I take the F every day and I think it's the slowest of them all. The few times I've taken the G, I thought the same way. So, which line is the worst? I sought to find out.

A few months back, I subscribed to a new MTA service, which emails you instant reports on delays, everything from sick customers to water conditions. So, over the past week, I logged all of these events and came up with a fascinating assessment of the best and worst.



New York City Transit operates 24 lines on over 842 miles of track in four of the five boroughs of New York City. Staten Island has its own light rail system. Of those 24 lines, 11 of them had problems that caused delays in the one week period. 13 Lines, the 6, 7, J, L, M, N, Q, R, S and W reported no delays.

So you wonder, what's the worst. According to the weekly statistics tracked by the Blog, the 2 & 3 trains top the list with a total of eight incidents, all but one of them signal and mechanical problems. There was one "sick customer."

In the number two spot was the E & C lines, which tied for six delaying incidents. The problems included mechanical, signal, water and rail issues with a police investigation and a sick customer thrown in for good measure.

The B train came in a close third with five incidents in one week. The list shakes out like this:


1) 2/3

2) E/C

3) B

4) 1,2,F

5) D

6) 4/5, A, V




So at a glance, you'd suspect the train line most likely to have delays would be the 2/3 line. However, that's not totally accurate. For instance, last Monday, after boarding my F train at the Carroll St. station, the train was 45-minutes late arriving at my destination, 34th street in Manhattan. The conductor explained track work and a backlog of trains in the stations was to blame. However, there was no mention of that on any of the MTA's email alerts. So, imagine how many other delaying incidents were not reported. The MTA takes a lot of heat for delays, overcrowding and rising fares, but when all is said and done, the New York City Subway system is a pretty inexpensive, efficient way of getting around town. Give'm a break, now and then.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

SNUBBED AGAIN....THE DACHSHUND!



Once again, Dachshunds have lost the popularity contest, defeated again by those pathetically adorable Labrador retrievers. In fact, Labs were so popular, The American Kennel Club says the lovable pups outnumbered the number two dog, the Yorkie, two-to-one.



The Kennel Club has released it's Top 10 list of most popular dogs in America. The Dachshund, of which I've owned two, was ranked #7 on the list.

However, in New York City, the Dachshund fairs much better, ranking #3 , beaten only by the Poodle and the Lab. New Yorkers ---squeezed for space---tend to prefer smaller and more exotic dogs.



For instance, at 6th place was the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, kind of an ugly dog actually. The Havanese and the Shi Tzu were also popular in the big apple.

The Dachshund is notoriously shunned. Not in the 133-year history of the Westminster Kennel Show has a Dachshund won Best of Show. Last year was close. A Beagle won. At least it was a hound dog! In the Hound Dog category, Dachshunds have won a half dozen times or so in the past century, most recently in 1998.














Here's the nationwide Top 10 List:

1) The Lab

2) Yorkshire Terrier

3) German Sheppard

4) Golden Retriever

5) Beagle

6) Boxer

7) Dachshund

8) Bulldog

9) Poodle

10) Shi Tzu

WHAT IF RADIO JUST WENT AWAY, WOULD ANYONE CARE?



Families no longer gather around the radio. They do that with televisions now. I'm not so sure, if radio was to become a thing of the past, whether anyone would really miss it. The issue was raised on Allan Sniffen's New York Radio Message Board in a thread about Clear Channel's decision to make $400-million in cuts, beginning next week. "How many of the company's 30,000 jobs would they cut?", one poster wondered. Another lamented, it would signal a sell-off of radio stations by the nations biggest broadcast owners. This, the poster, speculated could open the door for entrepreneurs to take over many of the stations and try to re-invent radio.



I'm in radio, but get this, I don't really listen to radio. Right now, in the background, I'm listening to the 70's channel on Time Warner Cable. I watch CNN, FOX and the local T.V affiliates mosts days . I still read a newspaper or two a day but, I get most of my news for the Internet sites of news organizations, like newspapers, T.V stations, networks and even a few blogs.

If radio, as we know it, ended tomorrow, I probably wouldn't notice until a few weeks later, when I decided to turn it on for one reason or another. You see, I don't have a car here in New York City, so I don't need it for traffic or even weather. It's right on my browser, so are headlines and sports scores.



I believe the days of Satellite radio, are also numbered. Sirius and XM have now merged. They've slashed costs and people. Howard Stern alone is under a $500-million dollar, five year contract. Sirius/XM owe a fortune to creditors.On the consumer side, people don't want to pay for something they can get for free and in this crappy economy, free is good.

Listen, I've made a career out of radio and a look forward going to work everyday. There's nothing like walking into the newsroom at ABC NEWS radio, sitting down at a desk, pounding out a newscast and walking into that booth to deliver the news. Millions of people are listening in towns,large and small. Sure, it's an ego boost but it's also an honor and privilege to be on the air. Having said that, our industry is slowly deteriorating. Every few days, another radio colleague emails me about their demise at some radio station.

Fact of the matter is, before computers, HDTV, cable, satellite and Internet-connected cell phones, people DEPENDED on radio. That dependence started ending in the early 80's. Cable surfaced, cell phones (although large and clunky) hit the market and Internet access for masses was just around the corner. Back then, and more so before, people needed radio for news and entertainment. People were always on the go and no technology, except radio, kept them in touch. Hell, now, you can have a T.V installed in your car or SUV. Satellite and the Internet, as well.



Great radio stations in the 60's, 70's and 80's were a dime a dozen. They were everywhere. Now, everything sounds the same because of corporate streamlining, driven by the recession. There are exceptions, but it's not the norm. Just another cookie cutter radio station in My Town, USA. Listen, I'll miss radio.....not listening to it, but being on it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: MANHATTAN'S NEW NUKE PROOF BUILDING



The federal government, it seems, is building a new United Nations structure in New York City that, some believe, could survive a September 11th type of attack or worse yet, a nuclear blast. Quietly, a 28-story tower is rising across the street from the U.N building on the East side of Manhattan.


The project has been going on for several years and here's why. Construction crews tell the blog that the cement and steel work in the building are over the top. The walls, ceilings and roofs of each floor are super fortified.



The cement is more than twice the thickness required on most buildings and contractors are using double and triple the amount of steel rebar need to secure the cement. As one guy told me, "you could run a plane into the building, and it wouldn't do a dent."


View Larger Map

Not only that, there are no windows on the first nine floors of the building and those on the upper stories are tall and narrow, presumably, one hard hat told me to withstand some sort of blast. In most buildings this size, I'm told, the cement work takes three to four months. They're still laying the cement and rebar, three years later and it has nothing to do with lazy or slow workers. The blueprints for the building are explicit and require nothing short of master craftsmanship. I'm thinking when the big one falls, I'm running here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MS 313, PRINCIPAL SUZANE JOSEPH AND A CALL TO ACTION......

After a series of stories on Suzane Joseph, the Principal at MS 313 in Brooklyn, several people have expressed concern that the woman continues to torment and run amok without consequence. To that end, please read the letter below which shows how you can get involved if you'd like.

"I have questions to anyone that reads this. "Where are the superiors that know this is a violation of the children’s rights?" The DOE has it written as a student's right that they have the right to sit and withhold saying The Pledge of Allegiance, so why was this forced singing of this song allowed? Who does Ms. Joseph know that allows this to be acceptable? Someone needs to contact Mr. James Machen concerning this problem and this principal. How and why does he allow this to happen in his district?"

Well this is the the info I found for all who needs it.. Please contact:

District 13
Superintendent James Machen
335 Park Place
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Phone: (718) 935-3234

THE LATEST SONG I CAN'T GET OUT OF MY HEAD....AND IT'S ABOUT CANNIBALISM



Back in 1971, as the Vietnam war raged on, an unknown group out of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania was approached by singer-songwriter Rupert Holmes to record a song that he had written. Holmes, just 20 years old at the time, needed money. His music career was struggling, so he wrote a song about three boys stuck in a mine. The only way they could survive, the song tells us, is by eating "Timothy." He figured controversy would bring recognition to the song. As I was laying in bed, floating in and out of REM, this song was playing on the 70's Cable T.V music channel.



"Timothy" was a one hit wonder and the Buoys never had any future success, but the controversy surrounding the cannibalism aspect of the song had teenagers flooding the request lines of radio stations. Holmes remembers:



"Scepter Records in the beginning did not even know it was on their label. The promotion men for Scepter Records, would say, 'We couldn't get it on that station, they went with this stupid song called Timothy.' Finally, someone said, 'You idiot, it's on our label.' Now they have a problem, because now they're getting up towards the top 20, and they know there are some big stations that are simply not going to play this record. WABC-AM, the biggest station at the time, they never played it. Scepter Records started a rumor that Timothy was a mule to try to get the taint of cannibalism out of the picture and try to make it a Top-10 record. Someone called me and said, 'Was Timothy a mule? You wrote it.' And I said 'No, what can I tell you, they ate him."

PICTURE OF THE WEEK: "WE OPEN SUNDAYS"



The grammar patrol spotted this one at an Asian-run Nail Salon on West 33rd St in Manhattan a few days ago. They just wanted you to know that "We open Sunday's."
Maybe we be there tomorrow. Maybe we be there next week. But, someday, I'm sure we be there.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: TELEMARKETERS ARE NOW TARGETING YOUR CELL PHONES



From 7 in the morning until 9 at night, my cell phone has been ringing off the hook. I didn't recognize a single one of the calls, but some of the area codes were familar. 402-593-7107 came out of Nebraska, 323-429-7564 was dialed from Los Angeles and 954-671-6946 originates in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. These weren't long lost friends, but telemarketers who have now started bombarding cell phones.

The National Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007 allows Americans to put their phone numbers on a list that forces marketers to leave you alone. This service from the FTC was designed for home phones, but you CAN register your cell phone number, as I did after getting this barrage of unwanted calls.



Computer World magazine reported last week that The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), asking the agency to investigate what the groups claimed were escalating privacy threats posed to consumers by advertisers targeting mobile users.

In a 52-page complaint, the two groups claimed that advertisers had begun to migrate to the mobile world many of the same consumer data collection, profiling and behavioral targeting techniques that have already raised privacy concerns for online users.

A few years, an urban myth was going around urging all Americans to register their cell phone numbers because telemarketers were about to launch a nationwide calling blitz. Many debunking sites, like the popular SNOPES.COM poo-poo'ed these alarming rumors declaring the myth, "FALSE."



" Despite dire warnings about the imminent release of cell phone numbers to telemarketers that continue to be circulated via email year after year," SNOPES reported "users do not have to register their cell phone numbers with the national Do Not Call Registry before a soon to pass deadline to head off an onslaught of telemarketing calls."

It does not appear as if the phone companies are handing over your private cell phone numbers to marketers, but they have somehow found them. Blog sites are full of horror stories. To this end, in September, Verizon Wireless filed lawsuits against two companies charging that the firms made illegal telemarketing calls to more than a million Verizon cell phone customers.

Lawsuits were filed against Intelligent Alternatives, a Sorrento Valley, California marketing company and Resort Marketing Trends of Coral Springs, Florida. In its pair of lawsuits, Verizon noted that unsolicited marketing calls to wireless phones are prohibited by California and federal laws. Verizon's Jenny Weaver said, "The cost to the customer may have been negligible," but it's the invasion of privacy that we're really protecting our customers against."



I've received telemarketing calls from at least eight phone numbers. If you answer the call, you pay for it, unlike a home phone. One of the most frequent calls comes from Active Periodicals of Deefield Beach, Florida. They pitch magazine subscriptions, but listen to the horror story that one woman described on a consumer fraud site:

"One of their staff called me yesterday. I started to ask one more time that they quit calling me. I got so far as, "I've asked before that you stop calling me and." Click. The person hung up on me in the middle of their sentence. I called again, asking to speak to a customer service supervisor. She looked up my account, and I told her what happened. She told me that those calls don't come from customer service, but from their sales department, and she could tell them to stop calling me, but as until I've made my last payment, they'd keep calling whenever they wanted. When I told her that if they called me again, I'd have my bank stop making payments to them, she told me to go right ahead, and that they'd turn me over for collection and sue me. A real piece of work."



Unlike that woman, I never bought a magazine over the phone, but I wanted the calls to stop. So, I dialed them up. Some are answered by a recorded voice immediately instructing people they can take their number off the list by pushing "1" on their cell phone keypad. This, in and of itself, is an indication that the telemarketer is well aware of the cell phone intrusion. At sites designed to trace the origins of these phone calls, customers complain that even after pushing "1", the calls don't stop. In a few cases, a live person answered my calls. Try asking them who they are and why they keep bothering you and they hang up!

I no longer answer unfamiliar calls on my cell. Instead, I look up the number online to determine its origin. Once, I've identified the call, I save the number in my phone and give it a name, JUNK. I now have eight JUNK's on my phone. Then, I go into options and set the ring tone for SILENT. This way, I'll never know the call arrived. By the way, they NEVER leave a message.

Friday, January 16, 2009

LISTEN TO GEORGE ON 850AM KOA IN DENVER



No, I'm not leaving NYC. I've been invited to fill-in this coming Sunday, January 19,2009 on Denver's 850-KOA via the high technology of radio. I'll be broadcasting from a studio in New York. You won't be able to hear the show in New York over the airwaves, but you can go to their website by clicking HERE. The show airs from 2-5PM on Sunday, Mountain Time. You can listen to it on the East Coast from 5-7pm, Eastern. Denver is my old stomping ground, having worked for several years at KOA, KTLK and KIMN radio there.

MS 313 UPDATE

The emails keep coming. Teachers and parents are speaking out. To read them, go to each of the several stories I've written on the subject, scrawl to the bottom of the story and click on comments. Comments have been left at the end of each piece.

These are personal accounts from those who work in the school or have children there. Some of you have also sent me memos from the Administration, notes and letters that have been exchanged. I appreciate all of the input you've made and only hope that the powers that be will take notice. Keep your heads high!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"DUDE, YOU'RE SUCH A GEORGE WEBER!"

Every once in a while, I'd encourage you to do a Google search of your name. Granted, since I'm in the media, my name pops up a lot, but today I got quite the surprise. Upon doing a simple search for "George Weber," I stumbled upon this little gem, a website called "The Urban Dictionary." This is where you'd find definitions for city slang like, "Whas up," "nigga," and "420" (that's slang for marijuana.)

But, now, it seems my name is urban slang. I can't say for sure if they're referring to me, or some other George Weber. I know there is a George Weber Chevrolet in St. Louis, a jazz musician in Denver and a Presidential candidate in Missouri who uses my name. In the film, "10," Dudley Moore plays the character, George Weber. So, it could be him. Anyhow, the entry is below:

1. George Weber

ugliest state you can ever be in
dude look at that kid he is such a George Weber


For a better look, you can check out the website HERE.

The definition in the Urban Dictionary for George Weber is "the ugliest state you can be in." Alright, I'm no Adonis, but for Gods sakes, I've never been described as ugly.



Well, there was that time when I had oral surgery and my face puffed up like a balloon. Maybe that was it. Several times I've been told I have a face for radio, but that doesn't count. Does it? Maybe I've been going around all my life, thinking I'm a good looking guy, only to realize now that quietly behind my back, people have been uttering nasty insults about my appearance.
Whatever!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

WHAT PARENTS & TEACHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE PRINCIPAL AT MS 313...In Their Own Words

Ever since I began writing about the hijinks of MS 313 Principal Suzane Joseph several weeks ago, teachers and parents alike have been flooding the blog with emails. They paint a very similar picture: Ms. Joseph is out of control and is an ineffective principal. Let's review some of the allegations:

*** AT LEAST 15 SCHOOL TEACHERS QUIT OR ARE FORCED TO LEAVE LAST YEAR

*** TEACHERS ARE VERBALLY INSULTED AND CRITICIZED IN FRONT OF STUDENTS

*** STUDENTS WERE SEARCHED AND ORDERED TO REMOVE JUNK FOOD FROM THEIR BACKPACKS.

*** A CHRISTIAN SONG HAS BECOME THE SCHOOL'S OFFICIAL SONG. STUDENTS ARE DISCIPLINED IF THEY DON'T SING ALONG.

*** A POPULAR AND SUCCESSFUL COACH IS REMOVED FOR NO APPARENT REASON AFTER BEING INJURED BREAKING UP A FIGHT.

*** A STUDENT IS YANKED OUT OF CLASS FOR AN ENTIRE DAY JUST BECAUSE HE FORGOT HIS UNIFORM TIE.

*** TEACHERS ARE OFTEN THREATENED WITH UNSATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE REPORTS, SUSPENSION AND DISMISSAL. SOME HAVE SUCCUMB TO THAT FATE.

*** BECAUSE OF THE HIGH TEACHER TURNOVER, QUESTIONS ARE RAISED OVER THE QUALIFICATION OF MANY RECENT HIRES.

Now, I present to you a series of letters from miffed teachers and parents. This represents a fraction of the emails that I have received. Although some have signed their names, I will continue to keep them anonymous, unless otherwise instructed.


THE LETTERS

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After working hard to get my certification, I was very excited to start teaching. But, beginning my school career at MS 313 would turn out to be a nightmare. I spent the year dealing with constant disrespect and unprofessionalism from Principal Joseph. She constantly yelled at me and other teachers in front of other students, causing students to in turn disrespect teachers. This made running a classroom intolerable.

The situation in the school was so bad that before the school year ended, a majority of the teaching staff left, all by choice. But there were consequences towards their evaluations. Joseph always threatened to give a teacher an unsatisfactory rating when things did not go her way. She also would ask teachers to resign without any valid reason, just because she didn't like their teaching methods.

How can someone who belittles children by yelling and disrespecting them, be a judge of someone else's teaching methods? I'm not surprised that the situation in the school is deteriorating on a daily basis. Discipline last year was minimal at best. The only people who made a difference in a majority of the students behavior were the staff members who left MS 313 last July. The people in charge of discipline cannot discipline students who are allowed to walk in the hallways, texting each other, and avoiding classes.

It is a shame that teachers and concerned parents have been afraid to speak out on the problems at the school, in fear of retaliation by Principal Joseph. I hope that one day soon, the students can be saved from the constant abuse and negativity

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I worked as an aide at MS313 during the last school year. I worked for a couple days in September 2008. I was fired by the maniac principal because I was close to the previous principal. I have news for you. The teachers were forced to change grades to make the school look good at the end of each marking period or else they were threatened with letters in their files for insubordination.Those employed at that school went through hell.

You have a dean disrespecting students. An AP yelling at the staff and most of all a so called principal with no regards for anyone, including teachers, students and parents. The UFT chapter leader works against the teachers and for the maniac principal.

Please get some help for the few sane ones living through that ordeal.
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I have had to call the Parent Advocate, Chancellors Office and eventually Councilwoman Letitia James’ office because Ms. Joseph and staff were violating my sons rights by taking him out of class for an entire day because he didn’t have on a tie. Yes it sounds absurd but it is true. They felt that if children were missing a part of the school uniform, that they were being disruptive so they would not be allowed in class. I even called the office one day to let them know that my sons pants no longer fit and asked could he be excused for the day(from the save room) and be allowed to go to class. I was told by the AP at the time to send my son to school with his pants open, and to let him wear his shirt on the outside so no one could see. At that point I begin to actually read the chancellors regulation booklet that was sent home and learned that this was indeed against the chancellors regulations.
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This blog was sent to me anonymously and at first I wasn't going to open it but I am glad that I did. Quite frankly I am concern about what I read because my child attends MS313.I am at a lost for words because some of the things that I have read are new to me. I attended a meeting and Ms. Joseph made it seem as if the change in staff was her idea for the betterment of the students, and not the result of her bullying. We have to find a way to get rid of her, because my child is in the 7th grade and I don't think changing schools at this time is best for her. My child is having a hard time in one particular class and the teacher happens to be new, now I'm left to wonder is he qualified to teach this class. Something has to be done because I only chose this school because of it's reputation. At the end of the day when I ask my child how was school I get the usual it was fine, or I hear about something that she thinks was funny. Once in a while I get to hear about the serious matters, but now I see that I will have to spend a little more time at the school. Thanks for the story it has opened my eyes to a lot of things.
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Dear George

I am an educator who works at MS313.I am waiting for the end of the school year to transfer out.Teacher morale is very low. Disrespect from the principal Suzanne Joseph and assistant principal Esperance is at the highest level. Disrespect from the students and educators from Suzanne is ongoing.The UFT chapter leader Mary Wade works against the staff and for the principal.She misleads the teachers. The only thing Suzanne Joseph will do at the end of the school year is to give me a U rating like she did with some of the fifteen hard working, dedicated, staff members who walked out on her at the end of the 2008 school year.

I love teaching but under these conditions I cannot think straight. Most of Suzanne's newly hired staff are very unqualified.Common branch teachers are teaching as specialized teachers.Most of the new staff teaches out of their license. Whatever is discussed with the Chapter leader goes back uncensored to the so called principal and she comes back lashing her tongue and yelling at the teacher in the hallway and inside of the classroom, in the presence of the students. Suzanne Joseph is lacking decorum. She needs to take a course in first of all etiquette, then grammar, so that when she writes those threatening letters to the teachers, her spelling and grammar will be as a professional and not as an incoming sixth grader.

I am so sad for these students and my coworkers. These students are coming from low income homes and at times have only the meals that's given at the school.Suzanne Joseph insults parents,teachers, and students,publicly.

Please help. I am willing to have an interview with anyone.I hope the Union President hears about this principal and her devil behavior, and steps in to save the neighborhood children, the hard working teachers,and select a new chapter leader.

HELP with crazy principal. Current Teacher
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I taught at MS 313 a few years ago, before Ms. Joseph came to the school, and while she was there as an AP. From the beginning, she was verbally abusive to students, while being an ineffective disciplinarian. Serious problems were not addressed - students who got into a physical fight in a classroom were taken to the office by security, only to be immediately returned to class. At the same time, Ms. Joseph would scream at and insult students in the hallways on their way to class (and insult their family members as well). I thought things were bad at MS 313 while I was there, but I understand that things have only gotten worse since Ms. Joseph became the principal - now the abuse is dished out to teachers as well as students. Students cannot learn much in an environment where they are being verbally abused on a daily basis. This is unacceptable... I only wish that it was a unique situation.
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I got the link to this page from another teacher in the building. I teach in the school downstairs but I am good friends with the teachers from MS 313. I wish I could add my name but unfortunately I am going to have to speak in the dark as the other teacher did.

Everything that was posted previously about Ms. Joseph is true and then some. Teachers up at MS 313 are treated with no respect. They are screamed at in front of the children, as well as their professional standing is discussed with the children present. She removed their very successful basketball coach simply because he went to the union after getting hurt in the school breaking up a fight back in September. From what I heard they never even spoke to him to find out how he was doing or if he was coming back. I was told that this was the second fight in as many days and there was no male security to break it up. The only security was a young lady who was heard saying she is nothing getting into between those big boys. After returning in late October he found out he had been replaced without explanation. I know he would never admit or say publicly, but on his behalf I say I know he was disappointed to get hurt protecting the children only to lose his coaching position. Ms. Joseph even went as far as introducing a new teacher in his place without even knowing the outcome of his case. It was passed on to me that Ms. Joseph tried to remove the coach because he and Ms. Joseph were friends, which could cause a problem with him talking to other teachers. I speak highly of the coach since I have seen what he has done with a few of my past students who have gone up stairs to attend MS 313. He has taken girls in the neighborhood and traveled as for as Massachusetts so they can see the Basketball Hall of Fame. He has brought stability to a program that use to get no respect in this neighborhood. It is shame that now there is no program for other young ladies and the young men’s team has yet to play a game.

Since September MS 313 has lost two teachers and Ms. Joseph is trying to run out a third. There is a math teacher who since they couldn’t get rid of her, brought in a replacement while she is still in the building. This has caused a problem with the children’s morale. Since they don’t understand why she was removed from teaching them. However after hearing what happen to the other teachers they feel they are powerless to effect change.

This past week on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 I was told, during a poor attempt at a pep rally the children in the school were forced to sing the school song a second time after signing lack luster the first. Now here is the problem, the song is gospel song. The chancellors regulations states a child has the right to sit or not speak is they choose. The children’s rights were taken away with the threat of suspension as they sung. Ms. Joseph walked up and down the aisle looking for any student who was not singing. I was disgusted upon listening. To see children of color forced to do anything is lower than low. My own people have a history of abuse like the African Americans and I grew ill as it was explained to me.

The song is "I Can Do Anything by Antwaun Stanley".She tried to down play it when a student said are we supposed to be singing a church song in school. Ms. Joseph made the comment that she was happy that students are making the connection to the song but it’s not a church song. Well here is the singers own words from Amazon.com review,"Antwaun Stanley says about his debut record: "It is a young style of music that genuinely ministers to the heart of listeners, and allows a one-to-one connection with God. If you've had experiences like mine or face different challenges in your life, I want people to know that with hope and faith, there is nothing you can't conquer." I am sorry that is religion based.

The parents are misinformed, teachers are fearful and the children are unhappy. I have been around both of these schools for a few years. This neighborhood may not be the best but; MS 313 has a great history that has been tarnished. Teachers have been sent packing by a woman who is ruling under a cast iron fist. I can say this to anyone reading’ Come in interview the students, talk to the teachers off the record and then ask the Iron Maiden why have all these teachers left and all the changes needed if the scores went up last year??

I truly wish I could leave my name; I don’t want this woman coming downstairs in our affairs at PS 307 when our school is on the up swing. Ms. Joseph takes advantage of parents in the neighborhood not being as connected to the school itself as in other places. I hope my friend gets out like she is planning. I would love to see her come down here since I know she is a great teacher who is also hurting for the kids and looking to leave.
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I am a veteran teacher, and taught at MS313 many years before Suzanne Joseph was sent in the middle of the school year as AP to the school. She made it known to the educators that she was in control. She started her yelling and disrespectfullness to the staff and students from then on.

Suzanne Joseph was given the Principals post the next year. By then she had no respect for her students and staff as well. She walked the hallway,classrooms, and offices discussing the teachers she cannot stand and her plans to get rid of them at the end of the school year. I found that to be very disrespectful.New teachers were never given the support they needed.Instead they were ridiculed anytime anyplace.

I hope the DOE will really reconsider those who are qualified in all ways for positions, instead of taking an unqualified person and giving them a post. It hurts everyone.

I have seen parents in tears, after they were yelled at and disrespected by Suzanne Joseph.Students were cutting classes to get away from Suzanne Joseph.

Whenever an incident took place in the school and teachers wrote up reports to the DOE and UFT they were reprimanded.

Suzanne Joseph has turned what used to be one of the best middle schools in Brooklyn to one of the worst schools.You must teach to the test.Nothing else was important.

During my last year of teaching at MS313, Suzanne Joseph said that she could not wait to get rid of me at the end of the school year. She even went on to say that I was teaching without a license for all of my teaching career. When I asked her to sign the loan forgiveness application, Suzanne Joseph kept it for three weeks. During the fourth week she sent it via the school aide. I was surprised out of my wits when I read the note that accompanied my application.The note stated that I was under qualified and she could not sign the application. I am state certified and teach in a shortage area,which is part of the requirement.

During the school year Suzanne Joseph sent the staff letters reminding them to go to open market-the DOE hiring system. More than 15 of the 24 educators who were hired at MS313 in 2008 left the school at the end of the last school year. They including myself are all very happy at this time on new jobs. However I feel very sad for my friends who remained behind and are undergoing the type of treatment that caused fifteen staff members to walk out at the end of the last school year.

I hope Suzanne Joseph gets the help she needs. Also at the end of the school year, when it is time for ratings, your staff members who made most of the level three and four to keep your school in good standing,and were never absent should never get a"U" along with being terminated from teaching in district 13.So you educators be good or find another school district.

I hope everyone including that excellent PE teacher who was hurt and who used to be Suzanne Joseph's best friend, and all of my friends for many years, long before the "Devil Principal" arrived at that institution have the best teaching year. As for Suzanne Joseph, only time will tell. Look at the end of the rainbow.
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Thank You for bringing light to this... As a teacher in the school there isn't much we can say with something negative happening or being written up. We are threaten and verbally abused often and in front of the students. Our children are very unhappy and so is the staff.
The children of this community deserve better. I have heard children say often they hate school because they are yelled at everyday and forced to write simply because of the upcoming test. When the writing isn't completed they are removed from class to complete the assignments. Even though it’s against the chancellor's regulations children are mistreated verbally. Many complain yet it still happens.
My message to all outside MS 313, the real story is what goes on in the day to day happenings. Interview the children after school and they will tell you the truth. Anyone reading this "SEND HELP!!!!"

Us, teachers are even being forced to update a website that we believe is being monitored everyday by Ms. Joseph.

My last question is this. If our test scores went up last year, and they did, why did more then 10 teachers of a 21 staffed school leave, only to teach together at other schools??? HMMMM???

Please keep reporting the news and please do a follow up. Please pass this on to others.

Signed
“SO SAD I CHOSE TO START MY CAREER HERE!!!!”

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This principal, Ms. Joseph should be ashamed of herself and perhaps take a job at your local detention center. She has clearly forgotten what an educator is and who they are working for. These are the children of tomorrow. Yes, they may be a challenge, yes out of control, yes disrespectful. However if you cannot treat your teachers with dignity and respect. The children will suffer. Remember even though you aren't always teaching, children are always learning.Children should be handled as unshaped clay that needs to be molded, from the way this monster is running that school, this mound of clay will only harden.

Ms. Joseph, do us all a favor and leave your profession. You are despicable!

Monday, January 12, 2009

George Weber's Essay "The Happy To Be Here Club" Appears In National Magazine

The January 9, 2009 issue of Radio and Records magazine just hit newsstands and mailboxes today, including my very own. In it, on page 19, is the trade publications first ever "On-Air Talent" column which features an essay I wrote called, "The Happy To Be Here Club." It's a look at the changing face of radio in a recession from a personal perspective. A copy of the article is below. Enjoy!



After losing my job at New York's WABC Radio last February, friends and colleagues often ask me, "how are you doing?" I tell them I'm in the "Happy to be Here Club." That's the place where many broadcasters find themselves these days. I'm happy to be working in a business I love, despite lower salaries in a glum economy. Shortly after Citadel cut mid-day talk show host John Gambling and myself in what was described in the industry as Black Friday, I was picked up as a news anchor at ABC News Radio. I'm not working full-time, nor I am I making that nice six-figure salary I was getting doing mornings on WABC for 12 years, but the network has been generous in the hours that they've allotted me.

A recent survey found that more than ever, Americans are in the category of "very insecure" with their current jobs. The Boston Consulting group found that 30 percent of Americans feel financially insecure, up from 28 percent in 2007. Five percent say they're now in financial distress. 39 percent say they feel they lack job security for the next year, up from 31 percent a year ago. The economy has forced cutbacks across the board. Radio has taken a huge hit. Almost every major broadcaster has cut jobs or streamlined. Holiday parties are gone. Expense accounts have been slashed. Hiring and pay freezes are common. The jobs of radio broadcasters are dependent on the sale of commercial time. But,advertising is a luxury and those sort of things are the first to go in client budgets.



The squeeze is on. When I started in radio just out of high school, you could find work at a small or medium market radio station, get your experience and move up the career ladder. It took me from Doylestown, PA to Allentown, to Denver, to San Francisco, Los Angeles and then New York. Radio stations in the larger markets paid pretty well. You could pretty much get what you asked for within reason. Stations hosted lavish parties for clients and staff. In Denver at the legendary KIMN radio, I remember being sent to a breaking news story at a ski resort. I was told to go to the business office, where they would set me up with a credit card to pay for all of my expenses. The lady pulled out a file stuffed with plastic. I was handed an American Express card and sent on my way. Because, I had little money and was caught with no winter clothes to cover an avalanche, I bought an entire ski outfit. I hired a guy with a snow cat to take me to the top of the mountain and was able to file reports from near the peak.

Now that I'm working in the largest market in the country, if I cover a story, I have to pay for it myself and expense it later. Frugal broadcasters continue to slash. For the first time in my career, I've come to the conclusion the days of big salaried on-air positions are over. Program Directors and News Directors who have often claimed the talent pool is top heavy with talentless applicants now say they're being inundated with experienced broadcasters who have found themselves downsized. Those that are currently employed are staying put, worried what the next job will bring. Two things are at play here: There's no farm club for young broadcasters to learn and grow and the talented, experienced big market voices are too expensive.



I often joke with colleagues at ABC Radio News, that some day, there will only be two news anchors, a man and a woman. They'll go into a studio and record a series of sentences, words, phrases and letters of the alphabet. A newsroom writer will put the script into a computer, which will then automatically time and record what the employee had just written. The end result will be a generic, computer generated voice delivering the news to the nation. I just hope I'm that voice! Sound crazy?

If you were to ask me five or ten years ago, if I thought that would be possible, I'd say, "Come on, it hasn't gotten that bad." But, it has. Radio's also losing its local personality, as broadcasters fire high priced local personalities in favor of low-cost syndication.

The responsibility of broadcasters in this recession is to be able to make cutbacks without destroying the sound of good radio. I can't tell you how many friends who aren't in the business have come up to me asking why certain radio stations, in markets, large and small, have taken the local out of "local radio." There are exceptions of course and many of them are small, family owned facilities that are fixtures in their communities. They may be the last hold outs of a worsening economy. I just hope that they will continue to set an example for the big guys who are pulling the strings on thousands of remaining radio stations around the country.

PATOIS, A CARROLL GARDENS TRAILBLAZER SHUTDOWN!



Patois paved the way for a treasure trove of young restaurateurs and barkeeps along Smith Street in Carroll Gardens. But, now after 11-years the trailblazing restaurant has closed. The doors swung shut last night (Sunday). Owner Alan Harding told the Brooklyn Paper that he couldn't afford the big rent increase demanded by the owners. In 1997, when Harding opened Patois on Smith Street between Douglas and Degraw Streets the rent was just $900 a month. Now, rent on the bar and restaurant lined strip has soared into the thousands. The building's owner insists the reason Harding and his partners are out is because they failed to pay back rent. Harding denies that.



Patois was the first non-ethnic, gourmet restaurant to open along Smith Street. It paved the way for dozens of new places, including highly rated eateries like Grocery, Saul, Po and Chestnut. There are many more. Before Patois, many of the Smith street storefronts were boarded up or even used as street level apartments. It was not uncommon to see dinner and brunch lines outside the French bistro. I have to admit, I haven't eaten at Patois in several years. But, it has nothing to do with the food or the service. It's just that so many other great places have opened up on the strip...and besides, a cook a lot. Patois, you will be missed.

RECESSION UPDATE II : GUNS FOR CASH



I've always had a problem with gun buy back programs. They take guns out of the hands of good people and not the bad guys. But, now that the economy is sucking wind, I think even the bad guys are unloading their weapons for hard, cold cash.
So these programs may not be so bad, at least not now. People have all sorts of reasons to turn in their guns, but given the success of the NYPD's buyback program in Staten Island, I'm convinced the economy might have played a role.



Per-capita, the police department says, Staten Island residents turned in the most weapons. They included a bright pink rifle, two sawed off shotguns and an AK-47 assault rifle. The city paid out over $70,000 to those who dropped off the 352 guns at a pair of Staten Island churches. In exchange, they got $200 bank cards.



If you're not a criminal, why would you have a sawed-off shotgun? Maybe a collector had the AK-47. Not sure about that bright pink rifle, though. A majority of the guns were handguns, rifles and regular shotguns, the sort of weapons everyday citizens have in their homes. I've often said a program designed to get guns out of the hands of criminals would work better, if you exchanged something they could use like crack cocaine. Turn in a gun, get a rock of crack! But, this is a good sign. I'm encouraged that the sort of guns criminals like to tote around are now coming off the streets. That's one positive effect of the ailing economy, I suppose.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

......AND EVEN MORE ON MS 313

By now word has spread that I've been writing about this whacked out Principal (I even have problems capitalizing it!). As many of you well know, I'm a news anchor at ABC NEWS radio, however, this is much too local of a story for me to tackle at a national level. This is the sort of story I'd dive right into and talk about on my former WABC local radio show. However, having said that, I will be forwarding these essays (not your emails) to the powers that be at the Board of Education, the Mayors office, etc, in order to affect change. It is obvious that many of you, dozens really, who have emailed me are fearful of your jobs at MS 313 and that is sad. Do me this, email me your stories, any correspondence you have received (including copies of memos) from this principal and PLEASE leave me an email address to respond. I will assure you, I NEVER reveal sources in such a sensitive story and I will only use your emails to correspond and delve a little deeper into your concerns. You can reach me at george@georgeweber.net Hang in there, Ok.

MANIAC PRINCIPAL AT MS 313 ADOPTS A GOSPEL TUNE AS THE SCHOOL SONG


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The blog has learned that children at Brooklyn's MS 313 are now being forced to sing a gospel tune as their official school song. Several sources have told me that this week, during a pep rally, the students sang such a lackluster version of Antwaun Stanley's "I Can Do Anything," they were ordered to sing it a second time, but with feeling. One teacher explained how Principal Suzane Joseph, " walked up and down the aisle looking for any student who was not singing." Says the source, " I was disgusted upon listening."



When confronted by a student about introducing religion in New York City public schools, Ms. Joseph reportedly told the student, it's not a church song. Try telling that to the artist himself, a talented college freshman from Flint, Michigan, who's all the rage in the Christian music scene.

"It is a young style of music that genuinely ministers to the heart of listeners, and allows a one-to-one connection with God. If you've had experiences like mine or face different challenges in your life, I want people to know that with hope and faith, there is nothing you can't conquer," Anthony said during an interview.



Stanley's recording company describes him this way: "Antwaun Stanley is the newest Christian music singer poised to breakout onto the faith based music scene. Antwaun Stanleys mantra, which has carried throughout his life, has been I Can Do Anything. While maintaining a rigorous college curriculum, he is busily scheduling church and youth concerts, photo shoots and recording his first Christian Music CD."

Now, don't get me wrong. Not only is Stanley a talented singer, but he preaches a solid message. You can listen to the song yourself and while there is no direct mention of God in the lyrics, the song is clearly a prayer to God to allow him to "Do anything." To listen, simply double-click on "I Can Do Anthing" at the bottom of the box of five songs.


I Can Do Anything

Not only is it illegal to mix church with state (state being the public school system), the Chancellors regulations are quite clear. They state children have a right not to sing or even sit out such a performance. But, sources say those who refused to sing-a-long were threatened with suspension, a common practice of Ms. Joseph.



But, the allegations against Ms. Joseph don't stop there. Says one teacher, "Teachers up at MS 313 are treated with no respect. They are screamed at in front of the children, as well as their professional standing is discussed with the children present."

Even before she became principal and as an Assistant Principal, another teacher writes, "From the beginning, she was verbally abusive to students, while being an ineffective disciplinarian." The learning environment, this former teacher explains, was compromised by the way she treated students, "At the same time, Ms. Joseph would scream at and insult students in the hallways on their way to class (and insult their family members as well)."

There's even controversy surrounding a popular coach whose only crime was to break up a school yard fight and report the incident to his union. "It was passed on to me that Ms. Joseph tried to remove the coach because he and Ms. Joseph were friends, which could cause a problem with him talking to other teachers." The teacher continues, "He has brought stability to a program that use to get no respect in this neighborhood. It is shame that now there is no program for other young ladies and the young men’s team has yet to play a game."



It's about time, the chief schools investigator takes a look at how Ms. Joseph runs MS 313. I believe children need discipline, but they also need respect and unfortunately for the children, teachers and parents, Ms. Joseph is not up to the challenge. I encourage you to pass this blog entry on to anyone who cares. Email it to the Board of Education. Point it out to parents and students. Understand, I am not on a witch hunt here. When numerous people tell me these stories, in person and via email and representing different interests, the story gains credibility. Our children deserve better. They NEED better.

Friday, January 9, 2009

RADIO TRADE PUBLICATION FEATURES GEORGE WEBER



Radio and Records (R&R), the industry's premiere trade publication will feature an essay by yours truly. The first issue of the year, out today (Friday) should arrive in mailboxes by Monday. Entitled, "The Happy To Be Here Club: The Changing Face of Radio," the article is expected to come out in the January 9, 2009 edition.

If you're not a subscriber to R&R, which I presume most of you are not, I'll post the essay here on the blog in the next few days. Thanks to the folks at R&R including Cyndee Maxwell, the magazine's Editorial Director and Associate Publisher and Mike Stern, R&R's News, Talk and Sports editor.

TELEVISION: A PRIVILEGE OR A LUXURY



Does every American deserve free television? That's what Congress and more so, President Elect Barack Obama believe. Congress has mandated that the broadcasting industry has the right to convert all of their transmissions from analog to digital, meaning if you don't have cable, satellite or a special converter box, you probably won't be receiving local television broadcasts. Congress has already spent 1.3 billion dollars to reimburse millions of Americans for the $40.00 cost of getting one of these boxes.



Congress seems to believe that every American MUST have television. The President Elect has gone a step further. He's now proposing that Congress delay the February 17, 2009 deadline so that more people have an opportunity to get those boxes. Essentially what that means is that Congress would have to spend even more money to compensate poor Americans who didn't grab up one of those converter redemption cards before the money ran out. The government has been spending millions of dollars to promote the end of analog T.V and the advent of digital.



I think every American deserves washers and dryers. Mine isn't working very well, so I believe the government should send me a check to get a new one. I mean, come on, how would we survive if we couldn't wash our clothes in the comfort of our own homes.
In fact, I've been thinking about getting satellite radio, but it's kind of expensive. Will Uncle Sam send me a check. What about all of those people who don't have stoves. The folks in the Mississippi delta should be compensated as well, many of whom, don't even have running water or electricity. Shouldn't they come first.



Why in the world does some couch potato in Anywhere, USA deserve television?
I've been reviewing the "Bill of Rights" and I'm not seeing anything there that REQUIRES Congress to provide me with T.V. service. "Thou shall not prevent people from watching T.V." is not in the Ten Commandments.

Listen, my bills are stacking up, there are improvements I'd like to make in my house, but you know what, I can't afford to do it right now. Many things I consider a luxury. For many, television is one of them. I know plenty of people who by choice don't have T.V sets. Some prefer radio, the transistor type. Others don't have a radio at all.



I actually think the world would be a better place, if Congress passed a law instituting a new T.V tax. Maybe $40.00 a year! It would encourage people to turn off the T.V and spend more time with their families and would raise money to pay for Barack Obama's massive ONE TRILLION dollar economic rescue plan.