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Brian G. Fay
Lives in Syracuse, NY
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Brian G. Fay

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The members of the +National Rifle Association​might as well be accessories to these murders. Certainly the leadership of the NRA is. 
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Brian G. Fay

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I am a twenty year veteran public school teacher and recommend that young people stay away from the profession as they will be undervalued and abused by the current system. Until policy changes, it is foolish to become a teacher and irresponsible to encourage others to join the profession.
 
From the Washington Post Answer Sheet: The real reasons behind the U.S. teacher shortage. #TheRealEducationCrisis
'How ironic it would be if the reforms based on the belief that three great teachers in a row are the key to student success, result in students not having certified teachers at all.'
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This looks interesting. I have a Logitech bluetooth adapter but have shelved it because the sound quality is pretty dismal, the range is terrible, and I can't find a way to stop my phone from pairing with it when I want to use another bluetooth device (a portable speaker). 

I think that I'll wait to see what the finished product is like since I haven't always had the greatest luck with Kickstarter projects. 

Anyone have any experience with such things? 
Auris, Inc. is raising funds for auris bluMe: True Hi-Fi Bluetooth Music Receiver on Kickstarter! Stream the highest-quality audio wirelessly from your smart device to any sound system. Enjoy ultimate freedom with the longest range.
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Brian G. Fay

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Seems far from surprising. Most Americans disapprove of those who are against the perceived natural way to do things. That is, the status quo. The Common Core and its standardized testing have been well sold to the public. Education policy is at least as complicated as US foreign policy and equally misunderstood. The prevailing lines are that these are just tests like everyone took when they were kids and that public schooling is falling apart because kids don't try hard enough, teachers are lazy, and parents coddle children. These, like the ed policy have been sold very well. 

The truths of the matter are much more difficult to understand and harder to swallow. Schools suffer from segregation unseen since the early sixties, poverty, and an epic hatred of teachers and unions. Opt-Out (or, better said, Refusal) parents and students are pushing back against the narrative and that leaves John and Joan Public feeling uncomfortable and having to confront the possibility that something nefarious is going on. Rather than do that unpleasant reflection, many choose to condemn those who are going against the current. 

I give it two more years before the tide turns on this one. It will require that the numbers move from 20% refusal (in NY State, for example) to about 50%. It would help if the NY Times editorial board and others could get the facts straight, but we can't wait for that. 

My kids refused the test and will continue to do so. I'll encourage everyone I know to do the same. The hell with what other people "think" about it.
 
Timeout for Opt-Outs? http://trib.al/4olBd4U
A new poll suggests that a majority of adults think annual standardized testing is a good thing. They’re not as fond of the opt-out movement.
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Thanks for this, Brian! I agree with your comments 100%.
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Hmm. Hadn't thought of these two reasons.
 
Even if you find the whole thing too weird for words, it's still pretty exciting.
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Hadn't even thought about the weight of the charging cable.
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Brian G. Fay

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Taking this to the courts is the way to finally expose it for what it is: Stack Ranking (and a sham). 
If you don't know Sheri Lederman's name, you should. She's the New York teacher who, with her lawyer husband, dragged VAM into a courtroom this week and gave it the beatdown it so richly deserved. Lederman's story is, at this...
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Brian G. Fay

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Good review of an odd album on its anniversary. Got me listening to the old gem again. 
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Probably my favorite album of theirs. Never thought about this year being an anniversary...good grief.
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This is the best analysis of Trump, his popularity, and the dangers inherent in his ideology that I have read anywhere on the web. +Yonatan Zunger has carefully thought this through. Read the whole thing. Now. Please. 
 
This article interests me most for what it misses. 

The body of this article -- which is well-written and worth reading, if you care about the subject -- is about how it's suddenly become evident that Trump's loudly touted and not particularly covert brand of racism, isolationism, and xenophobia isn't just harmless and funny, after two of his followers beat a homeless man into the hospital for being Latino and then praised Trump's speeches while they were being arrested. 

But the interesting thing they miss is hidden in plain sight, right in the headline. For Trump to have stopped being funny, he had to have been funny in the first place. And that joke only ever worked for people with a certain kind of privilege.

Donald Trump has never been subtle about his views. While his hair and his general egomania may be clownish, he was always showing these things off while preaching about how we need to crack down on Latinos, Blacks, immigrants, the Chinese, whoever he's on about on any particular day. He was doing this while calling for mass deportations of tens of millions of people, closing borders, engaging in ludicrously heavy-handed "negotiations" with other countries, and so on. And this has been working: Trump's popularity is because there are people who wonder, "well, why not?" and there is someone out there advocating solutions which sound (a) simple, (b) brutal, and (c) based on beating up people whom they don't see as part of their own society, from whom they can simply "take back" their power. (Although, as these other groups never actually had any such power, what's really meant here is "take")

It is only possible to see that as a joke if you have never had a reason to fear ethnic violence. But the US has just as long and bloody a history of ethnic violence as it has a history. Nothing Trump is suggesting is new; you could have heard it 150 years ago from the Know-Nothing Party, or 100 years ago from the more political branches of the Klan, or 50 years ago from the John Birch Society, each with their own variants.

Nor is it a coincidence that Trump is having these successes in the midst of Black Lives Matter, or in the aftermath of GamerGate; there are powerful movements afoot in our society where groups that were previously excluded are demanding their fair share of the floor, and powerful counter-movements of people who suddenly feel that the one thing they had of their own -- complete dominance of some spaces -- is suddenly being taken away. Trump is a natural mouthpiece for these groups, and he's quite good at it.

(There's some question about whether Trump came out openly in support of GamerGate a few weeks ago, or whether this was just a rogue autoresponder that he let stand, but I would by no means be surprised if he were to say something about it at some point; the complaints of GamerGate align surprisingly well with his rhetoric)

And anyone who watches these issues knows that there is profound violence immediately on deck in all of them. GamerGate was awash in death threats, and a few actual attempts. Black Lives Matter was born in the wake of shootings, and the rate of violence by whites (and especially police) against black youth in this country has hardly decreased. 

You can see another version of this in the part of the Republican press which is highly anti-Trump, not least because Trump is completely disconnected from the party's main political organs. Consider this article by Ben Domenech from The Federalist, which is quite far to the right but unconnected with Trump: http://thefederalist.com/2015/08/21/are-republicans-for-freedom-or-white-identity-politics/ The essential meat of the article is that the party has underestimated Trump's appeal, and in order to curb his lunatic candidacy, the Republican Party should find a better way to express his ideas and so pull his followers back into the mainstream.

And what are these ideas? "White identity politics." Note that the article does not fear that these become part of the Republican platform; it fears that they will become such a large part that they overwhelm the rest of the platform, and so these need to be addressed in a careful way. But there's nothing wrong with pulling them in, Domenech says: "'Identity politics for white people' is not the same thing as 'racism,' nor are the people who advocate for it necessarily racist."

Pro tip: "identity politics based on racial categories" is actually the dictionary definition of racism, and "identity politics for white people" is the prototype example of the category. Domenech's article isn't about rejecting Trump's racism: it's about finding more socially acceptable ways to express it, so that it can be folded into the party mainstream without taking it over.

For those wondering about Trump from the outside, I can give a simple explanation of his politics: Trump is a classical European far-right party leader. This is why he seems a bit exotic by recent American standards: especially since the 1980's, the American far right has been dominated by the "theological" far right, a very distinctly American political movement which focuses on making the country explicitly into a Fundamentalist Christian country. Trump, although he speaks to a similar (and overlapping) group of people, isn't talking about religion at all; instead, you'll find his politics very similar to that of European far-right politicians, of the sort who like to put "National" in their party names.

On the European spectrum, Trump falls somewhat to the right of Jean-Marie le Pen, perhaps a shade left of the Golden Dawn, and somewhat more populist than Jobbik. If we were running in a parliamentary, rather than presidential, system, he would currently be at the head of a far-right party that was polling in the high teens, and press coverage would be worried about how many seats he would get and whether he would be able to force a coalition to join him. In the US system, he's instead at the head of a far-right wing of a party, and the question is whether he will be able to force the party to adopt his policies wholesale to avoid electoral defeat next year.

So that's the secret thing which this headline hides: Trump was only ever funny if you had never had a reason to be aware of, or to fear, ethnic or sexual violence tacitly supported by the state. 

If you've ever had to be aware of that before, Trump was never a joke.

h/t to +Lauren Weinstein for pointing out the Federalist article.
Win or lose, Trump's campaign threatens to unleash the Great American Stupid
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Brian G. Fay

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Just listening to this song over and over again today. Just fits the mood exactly. Love the old Bruce stuff. The news stuff too, but oh, that old stuff. 
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That's a nice ride.

Fury 325 http://nyti.ms/1TOOs0M
Fury 325 at Carowinds is the newest addition to the giga coaster family, and is the tallest of the group. It traverses the North Carolina-South Carolina state line.
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Brian G. Fay

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Anti-Opt-Out Pushback
With the news that last year's Giant Wall of Big Standardized Testing in New York was shot full of holes thanks to a huge number of opt-outs, the anti-opt-folks started throwing a sackful of old baloney at the wall hoping that something would stick well eno...
With the news that last year's Giant Wall of Big Standardized Testing in New York was shot full of holes thanks to a huge number of opt-outs, the anti-opt-folks started throwing a sackful of old baloney at the wall hoping tha...
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Brian G. Fay

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The Times (like my local newspaper) seems offended by the populist movement to draw attention to the problems with the Common Core and its accompanying testing regime. I know that most of the people I read here on G+ are interested in technology, so I'll note that the best way to understand how the testing system and teacher evaluation system work is to read about Stack Ranking especially as it was done at Microsoft under Ballmer. There's a great article about it here: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer and we should all be glad that MS killed the system acknowledging that it doesn't do any good at all and in fact does tremendous harm.

It is doing incredible harm to public education as well. +The New York Times is full of it on this. 
An ill-conceived boycott could damage educational reform and undermine the Common Core standards.
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Work
Occupation
English Teacher and Writer
Skills
Writing, Teaching, Running slowly...
Basic Information
Gender
Male
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bgfay
Story
Tagline
Writing, changing, running, becoming, teaching and wondering.
Introduction
I'm trying to figure out what my writing, running, technology, teaching, and reading have in common. I'll let you know soon as I figure it out. 
Bragging rights
I'm a published poet!
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Syracuse, NY
Previously
Radford, Virginia - Pawtucket, Rhode Island - Upton, Massachusetts - Troy, NY - Oswego, NY - Manlius, NY - Fayetteville, NY - Potsdam, NY
Brian G. Fay's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Six Good Reasons for Parents in NY State to Support the Opt Out Movement
withabrooklynaccent.blogspot.com

1.Testing in the state has reached abusive proportions. Third graders in NY take six days of tests that are more time consuming than the LSA

VAM on Trial in NY
curmudgucation.blogspot.com

If you don't know Sheri Lederman's name, you should. She's the New York teacher who, with her lawyer husband, dragged VAM into a courtroom t

The Deal With the Hyperloop | Wait But Why
waitbutwhy.com

The path to a Hyperloop future just launched.

Why Elon Musk Doesn't Mind That His Rocket Crashed Into His Robot Boat |...
www.wired.com

All things considered, for the first try, the Falcon could’ve done worse. Technically, Falcon did hit its target—just at the wrong angle, an

The Difficult Route
dirtyrunning.blogspot.com

My youngest recently asked my wife where dreams come from and my wife told her that dreams are all the thoughts and feelings that we push do

Fixers
bgfay750.blogspot.com

My oldest daughter likes electronic toys. She may have been the first kid in her class with a smartphone, in part because her father likes e

Grand Avenue by Ron Koertge | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor
writersalmanac.publicradio.org

'Grand Avenue' by Ron Koertge, and the literary and historical notes for Sunday, October 19, 2014.

For Jessica, My Daughter by Mark Strand | The Writer's Almanac with Garr...
writersalmanac.publicradio.org

'For Jessica, My Daughter' by Mark Strand, and the literary and historical notes for Wednesday, October 1, 2014.

APPR Side Effects
www.spozedtobe.com

Included in the APPR rating system for teachers in New York is the requirement that we upload artifacts demonstrating the teaching standards

Superintendents Speak Up
curmudgucation.blogspot.com

On the first day of school, my wife's superintendent got choked up. He was delivering the usual kick-off speech, and she said he started to

A Great Labor Day Story
curmudgucation.blogspot.com

If you live in New England, or were paying attention to supermarket labor news this summer, you already know this story. Almost a hundred ye

The School Year Begins Tomorrow
bgfay750.blogspot.com

The goal of my teaching year is to be open and curious. I have not been in love with my public school teaching job for some time. The last t

The Truth About Hello Kitty - The New Yorker
www.newyorker.com

Mickey Mouse is not a mouse. If you look very closely at him, you can see that he wears gloves.

First Song by Joseph Stroud | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor
writersalmanac.publicradio.org

'First Song' by Joseph Stroud, and the literary and historical notes for Wednesday, August 20, 2014.

Comcast Confessions: when every call is a sales call
www.theverge.com

When AOL executive and Comcast customer Ryan Block recently tried to cancel his internet service, he ended up in a near-yelling match with a

Some People Think by James Laughlin | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison...
writersalmanac.publicradio.org

'Some People Think' by James Laughlin, and the literary and historical notes for Monday, July 21, 2014.

Change Password
bgfay750.blogspot.com

Thinking again about ways to be healthy. I've just finished week one of the Seven Valleys Writing Project Summer Institute. We meet 8:30 to

Truth and Occurrences
bgfay750.blogspot.com

Just picked up a book from the library, Mark Sundeen's The Man Who Quit Money. The cover says, "In 2000, Daniel Suelo gave away his life sav

Disjointed But Okay
bgfay750.blogspot.com

I spent the afternoon telling people to relax about an assignment. Just do it, I said. I've done this particular assignment twenty times. La

Jazz and the Prose Poem
bgfay750.blogspot.com

The prose poem is a bastard child that appeals to me. Billy Collins says, "poetry is bird, prose is a potato." The prose poem is a potato po

I got an Americano and it was made quickly. Taste was good rather than great. Nice staff.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Good location, nice staff, loud hallways. It's about what you would expect from a chain hotel. That said, the staff has been above par, very good really and the location is very convenient. Deep pool, but the whirlpool was closed during our stay. Bistro is nice for breakfast and serves Starbucks.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Lovely. We ordered tea for four and received sandwiches, pastries, scones, and tea that was enough to leave us happily stuffed. Not a lot of seating, but had a funky good feel.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
We've been going to the Monday half-price night. My family and I like the conveyor belt and sit at the bar. When we first went, there seemed to be an endless selection coming round, but lately we have been struggling to find things to eat. Monotony. The service is alright, but it's difficult to get the check sometimes. It's a good place, but it could easily slip into being less. I hope they will strive for more.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
15 reviews
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Map
Map
Good food, nice staff. Nothing to write home about. We wanted soup, coffee, and light fare. That's exactly what we got. They made a good, rich Americano.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Tremendously likable people serving really good food. The crepes were good but the Gelato was even better. My kids loved it!
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
While I am impressed with the technology they bring to bear, it was like being in a used car shop with a salesperson who just has to make the quota. I went in for simple cleaning and care, was diagnosed with TMJ so severe that I would need a treatment plan that began at $2000 and went from there. Foolishly, I went along with the first installment and they took molds of my mouth for several hundred dollars. I kept saying that I can't afford thousands of dollars and my insurance doesn't cover any of it, but they kept pushing and pushing and pushing. My fillings needed replacement, I needed braces, I would have to purchase and wear an appliance in my mouth for years. No matter what I said, I couldn't get them to simply keep my teeth clean and baby them along. I'm nearly forty-five and won't ever wear braces. No other dentist has worried about the TMJ. And I've never paid so much money so fast to a dentist aside when I had my wisdom teeth out (and that wasn't a dentist so much as an oral surgeon). My main complaint is that they wouldn't listen to me when I said that I couldn't afford what they were selling. It was like going to the dealership for a Corolla and having the salesperson constantly pitching the Lexus while refusing to sell me the Corolla. Not Berry good at all.
• • •
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago