Thursday, August 24, 2017

By request.. Satire Songs revisited..



by Tammy de Leeuw
Head "NOPE" dealer

People who don't have Facebook (the wise among us) have asked that from time to time I post some of my "classic" Facebook song parody lyrics.

So, every so often I will oblige. Here's one from 2016:


The Saudi Bunch (sung to the tune of the Brady Bunch)


Here's the story of some dudes from Saudi
Who had nothing much but oil and lots of sand
They wore bedsheets, and lots of gold bling
And they had super tans
Here's the story, of Abdulaziz
Who liked sports cars
But not camels and their fleas
He had 30 wives and 40 children
Yet he felt so alone
Till the one day when this despot bit the dust
And he had to give the Kingdom to his son
The son was Salman and he liked to blackmail
That's the way we all got underneath his thumb
The Saudi Bunch,
The Saudi Bunch,
That's the way the world is run
By the Saudi Bunch












Thursday, May 15, 2014

Emperor's New Core

 

by Tammy de Leeuw
Head Nope Dealer

Many years ago there was an Emperor  named Educratis.  Now Educratis was so exceedingly fond of shiny new things and fluffy, important-sounding words, that he spent all the taxpayer’s money on the very shiniest, most complicated gadgets and the longest, most intelligent words.

He cared nothing about educating the people, or about being careful with their money, or even about communicating with them at all except to show off all the impressive ways he had found to place roadblocks in their paths to success and make everything much harder than it needed to be.
Educratis loved rules, regulations, and tests. 

He made up a new test for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, "The Emperor is in council," here they always said. "The Emperor's reading a book that will help him change his testing paradigms.”

In the great city where he lived, life had been, in spite of Educratis’ rule, generally happy and parents tried to make only the best decisions for their children.  This bothered Educratis greatly because he worried that if the subjects began to think for themselves, they might reject his call for rigor, a fun word which he had only recently discovered.

 “Rigor, we need more rigor in the kingdom, by Jove!” he would rant to his minions.  “And progressive learning, qualitative evaluation, and enabling objectives as well.  Yes, yes, I need to change everything about the education system…right now.”

And so it came to pass that Educratis and his counselors of dubious wisdom put forth an invitation far and wide for someone to help them achieve these quantifiable goals in education reform and devise tests that would frustrate the most finely-tuned minds.  

For a long time, nothing much happened to make Educratis’ vision become reality.
But then one day, many strangers came to the town.  They were called “Pearsonites” and they let it be known that they were education reformers.  They met with the Emperor straight away and told him they could deliver exactly what he wanted- an extensive overhaul of the Empire’s education system that would provide rigor along with copious amounts of high-stakes testing.

“We can do this without alerting the people,” the reformers bragged.  “So stealthily shall we move that the people will not understand what has been foisted upon them until far too late,”  
“However, they continued, “Your majesty should know the cost is very high for such magnificent innovation.”


The Emperor was so excited at their words that he did not care about the cost.  Immediately, he called the treasurer to bring him all the gold and silver in the exchequer.  When he saw that was not enough to satisfy the Pearsonites, he instructed the mint to add tiny amounts of lead to all the coins being distributed throughout the Empire.  

“The people will never notice that a shilling isn’t exactly a shilling anymore, “he reasoned.  “And besides, I am doing all this for their sakes.”

The Pearsonites, along with members of the lesser nobility, began to work.  They wove and spun report after report and multiple peer-reviewed studies.  Each of these confirmed the Emperor’s worst suspicions: the ordinary people and their ordinary teachers were too smart to be safe.  Indeed they were possessed of much wisdom and common sense.  It made Educratis shudder that his control of the Empire might be in danger.

After many months, and after exhausting the funds of the treasury, the Pearsonites, led by Minister Duncan, went in to see the Emperor.

“Majesty, let us present to you the “Book of Common Core.”   This magical book, bound in dragon hide, written in ink made of the blood of unicorns, and decorated with rare jewels snatched from the belly of a live volcano, is the answer to controlling the currency of information in the Kingdom.  As you can clearly see, it is the grail that Your Majesty has sought and which we have gloriously delivered.”

But the Emperor did not see.  He strained and strained, but he could see nothing before him except an empty wooden stand.  
 

Minister Duncan, coughing, said “I am sure that your Majesty knows well that a book of such power as this cannot be seen by any save the wisest, most intelligent in the kingdom.  

Sensing the Emperor’s hesitation, Lord Duncan continued.

“Why, the peasants cannot appreciate something of such great worth and value.  However, when you present this to them, they will all bow before you and give many thanks for giving them this holy tome.  Except, perhaps, those pale wenches on the outskirts of town who drive oxen carts and take their children to archery practice.  Those women will surely fret over this.  But I would not worry Majesty, they will have no choice but to accept your wise decision.”

Slowly, the Emperor looked down and to his amazement, he began to see the glory of the Book of Common Core, its' shiny dragon leather glistening, the rare jewels flashing sparks of raw energy and power.  

It…was…the most incredibly beautiful thing upon which he had ever laid his eyes.

“Yes... oh yes, I see it now.  It truly is a thing of preposterous beauty.  Let us command the people to assemble in the square so that they may bask in the reflected glory of the Core.”

The Emperor’s counselors, although they could also see no book, purposed in their hearts to pretend in order to satisfy Educratis.  They feared  admitting the truth would be risking their public servant perks and pensions and exposing themselves to the Emperor’s wrath.  

“ We cannot prove ourselves unfit to be the bureaucrats.  It would never do to let on that we see nothing.”

So, the counselors silently moved the wooden stand into the courtyard before the crowds of people

assembled there.

"Don't hesitate to tell us what you think of it," said Lord Gates, who had consorted with the  Pearsonites and was quite devoted to them.

"Oh, it's splendid, just splendid,” said the Chief Counselor.  "Such intricate patterns and colorful jewels.  I'll be sure to tell the Emperor how delighted I am with it."

In the square, the people, who had been trained since childhood to regard their Emperor as flawless and infallible, were chatting excitedly about the splendor of the new Core, although inwardly they struggled with the fact that the book seemed invisible.

“What rigor! Such awesomely shifted paradigms!  This is indeed the work of a blessedly talented Reformer!”  they cried.

The Emperor’s retinue hoisted the stand onto a large wagon and began to parade it through the entire town and the outlying areas of the Empire.  The Emperor rode alongside on horseback and proclaimed the glory of the book to all.

"This Book of Common Core is remarkable, is it not?  He cried.

So off went the Emperor in procession with his splendid book  Everyone in the streets and the windows said,

"Oh, how fine is our new Common Core.  Will this not lift our children to perfection and ensure college readiness?   

Nobody would confess that he or she couldn't see anything on the stand for that would prove him either unfit,  a fool , or a pale wench.  No reform the Emperor had attempted before had been such a confusing success.
 

"But, there is nothing there," a little child said. “The stand is totally empty!”

"Did you ever hear such nonsense?" said one of the ministers. Why should you listen to one silly child whose entire life will be impacted by this reform?

But the crowd began to murmur about what the child had said. "There isn’t anything on the wooden stand,” they whispered.

The Emperor was filled with self-loathing, for he suspected they were right.

But he thought, " I have already spent all the empire’s money so this procession has got to go on."
So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the book that wasn't there at all.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

You might be a Common Core Wreck Part 2





















1. It's Monday night and you are once again subjecting yourself to another tortuous Common Core
    "slideshow."

2. Your middle-schooler gets detention for passing out opt-out forms on school grounds.

3. You've been to so many school board meetings that they had your name engraved on a chair.

4. Kinko's asks you "More opt-out forms for you today?" the minute you walk in the door.

5. Your kindergarten child is overheard telling a classmate that she is "unilaterally opposed to high stakes testing."

6. The people in your school's office refuse to make eye contact anymore and take your form without saying a word.

7.  The district curriculum developer refers to you as "that woman."

8. Your high school kid unfriends you on Facebook because you keep posting the link to United Opt-Out.

9. You keep your hand up at meetings and they NEVER call on you

10. Teachers tell you stories off the record and make you promise never to tell ANYONE ever...


Friday, April 11, 2014

Dear"Big" Data- I'm Going to Have to Cut You Loose

re: I've lost that loving feeling...




Dear Data:

It's time to say goodbye to you and that bunch of arrogant jackasses you call friends, I'm talking about "Assessment," "Evaluation," "Quantification,"  "Categorization, "  and "Testing."

All they ever do is sit around drinking beer and talking smack about me and my kid and my kid's teachers.

Last week, one of those acronym-loving losers spilled salsa on my new couch . Instead of admitting it, he just flipped the couch cushion over and pretended it never happened.  When I brought up the situation I got a major dose of stink eye and was told to  "take it up with CBEDS or CALPADS.
 

Blowing you off via blog seems rather impersonal, I realize.  But, as I have come to understand, impersonal is exactly the way you like things- cold, shallow, and "one size fits all."   You talk about "the big picture" when what you really mean is that you can't stand the thought of anyone marching in other than a straight line.   I've never met anyone so afraid of divergence and creativity  Children who have a love of learning make you shiver in disgust.

It's true that at first, I thought you were cool.  I'll admit that much.  Those halcyon days saw us earnestly examining issues that seemed important and worthwhile.    You never pried and you were content to know the basics about me- name, address, emergency contact number, etc.    I felt pretty safe with you back then. Like my opinions mattered to you.  That I counted as an individual. That I could trust you to keep our discussions close to the vest.

You really hooked me when you showed an interest in my kid, too.  You pretended that everything you did was with my child in mind. You offered to help with homework, pick her up from school.  You even sat in the classroom a few times, observing the teachers and offering helpful insights.

Then, suddenly.  Things began to change.

You and your "friends with no benefits " started hanging out more and more.  Once, I came into  the basement and caught you all watching "Common Core" movies on Youtube.   Of course you denied it and said you were watching fly fishing videos.  I knew better...

I checked your account later and saw titles like "Debbie Does Dallas School District,"" and Behind the Green Core."

I was concerned.  But boys will be boys, so I let it slide.  That was a big mistake.

Emboldened that you had gotten one over on me, you went into high gear, gorging yourself on personal information, Doritos, and cheap lager.

You replaced your beloved "Dogs Playing Poker," poster with a photo of Arne Duncan shaking hands with Bill Gates.  Arne had on a leather dog collar and Bill was in a latex costume, leading him around with a whip and a chain.    I was horrified.

Before you changed, you had always said "Size doesn't matter."  Now, though, you started demanding  that I and others refer to you as "Big" Data, and you bragged about how large your database was and how well you used it. 

You demanded more and more information from me, wanting to know my religious preferences, political affiliations, how many times I exercised per week, and how "green," I was.    You forced my kid to take test after test after test just so you could wave the results in front of your friends and laugh at her. 

You recorded everything I said and did, claiming you were building a profile to assist my family in getting the most from their educational experience.

That was a lie.  The reality was that you sold me out, and allowed your friends, even your business associates to access my information whenever they wanted to, for any reason.
When I questioned you, you told me to shut up, that you didn't need my permission to share.

I threatened to quit you and you laughed in my face.

"Baby, you'll never leave me.  You need my big data machine to dominate you; to help you make all your decisions.  You can't live without my input, " you said with an arrogant smirk.

But you are wrong, Data.  I don't need you or your big database to feel satisfied.  I'm a thinking, feeling parent who trusts my gut when it comes to my child and her education.    I trust her teachers to act in her best interest  when they are allowed to do so. 

I don't need you stealing my information and selling it to big corporations so they can figure out new ways to empty my threadbare pockets.

I don't need you at all.  And more importantly, I don't want you.

So, Data pack your bags and hit the road and take those miscreants you call friends with you.

Love,
Tammy

PS: If you are worried about a place to stay, call Arne.  I'm sure he'll let you sleep on his couch for a few days.










 



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thumbody's lying...The high cost of care and the power of nope...

re: why medical care costs so much and how saying "nope" can help



by Tammy de Leeuw
Head Nope Dealer


Politics aside , Obamacare's biggest Achilles' heel, in my opinion, is its' failure to answer the very real question: "Why the heck does medical care cost so much in the United States?"

Recently, I discovered perhaps a few small reasons why medical treatment in the USA can cost more than the entire GDP of some countries. (hint: it isn't because our technology is sooooooooooo superior)

In a rush to get my kid off to school, I nearly cut my thumb off on a can lid and wound up in the hospital emergency room with a towel wrapped around my hand.

I couldn't even remember the last time I was at a hospital other than to visit friends, so the process for getting treated was a bit mystifying to me.

First, I waited two hours to get called in.  Then, I went to triage, had my blood pressure and weight checked.

A doctor looked at my thumb for about 30 seconds as I explained to him exactly how I had managed to cut it.

"Yep, you really cut it deeply." he advised me. (gee-what gave it away?  The blood-soaked towel?  The red spots on my shirt?)  

I am sure this lengthy exam set the insurance provider back at least $500.

After the doctor's "examination," I was sent out to the waiting room once more, with no explanation.

About an hour later, a white-coated woman came up and told me to follow her.  I had no clue what this next phase of treatment entailed and was more than a little baffled when we entered a room labeled "X-Ray."

"What are we doing here?, " I asked.  

"The doctor ordered an X-ray," intoned the tech, not looking up from her clipboard.

"What? Why?  I told him I cut my thumb on a can of ravioli.  What in the heck would an x-ray show you about a that kind of laceration?"

The tech looked at me as if I had just questioned the law of gravity or something.  "Well, the DOCTOR ordered it," she said gravely, as if my very life depended on blind acceptance of this statement.

I closed my eyes briefly and drew upon the power of NOPE as I told her, nicely but firmly that I did not want the x-ray and I didn't want the insurance provider billed for it either.

You could have heard a dust mite passing gas.

It must have been the first "nope" this tech had heard, because she scurried out of the room to inform the person in charge the patient wasn't down with being unnecessarily exposed to deadly radiation.

She returned, led me quietly out of the room and back into the waiting area, where I entered my fourth hour of waiting with my towel wrapped thumb held above my head.

After 4.25 hours total wait, I finally got to see a nurse, who rolled up a table with a needle on it.

"What's that?" I asked.

"Your tetanus shot," she said cheerfully rubbing a prep pad across my arm.

"Uh... I don't want one of those, " I responded. 

A shocked look similar to that of the tech crossed the nurse's face.  

"B-but.  You said it's been more than ten years since your last tetanus shot.  You need this.  It's part of standard protocol," explained the nurse, a nervous tremor in her voice.

"No thanks," I said.  "Do you know how many people got tetanus in the entire United States last year, I asked.

"No, no I don't but..."

"Fewer than 100.  Out of 300 plus million people.  More people choked to death while eating Taco Bell than got tetanus," I replied. ( I seriously didn't know if that was true, but I wanted to make a point.)

"Also, are you aware what's in that shot?  They still use mercury in the adult version and there is "bovine extract."  What the heck is cow extract?  And you want to put this into my body... for no good reason?"

The nurse was flustered and ran to get the PA, who seemed a little suspicious of me.  For a moment, it looked as if they were going to refuse to stitch me up.  So, I added , "Besides, I have really, really awful allergic reactions," I said.   This wasn't true exactly but after nearly 5 hours in a smelly, noisy hospital, I just wanted out.

"Oh, why didn't you say so?" said the PA.  She entered "allergic to tetanus shot" into the computer and proceeded to stitch me up without further comment.

All of this made me wonder how many times a day this same scenario plays out all across the United States. 

What if EVERY visit to the ER comes with at least one unnecessary procedure that costs an extra $500?     What if hospitals are secretly padding their bills to make up for budget shortfalls?  Or they are getting "incentives" from drug companies to push their vaccines and medicines?   What if they do it only because patients are too conditioned to trust the doctor and never ask questions?

In a way, we are all responsible for the high cost of medicine in America.  Until we start questioning treatment courses, the safety and necessity of drug protocols; until we start saying "Nope," to CYA procedures and bill padding, costs will remain high.

Be a better informed patient and flex your NOPE muscle.  Doctors aren't gods and they make mistakes.  It's up to you to control your own healthcare and to not believe everything you are told.










Friday, January 10, 2014

Rethinking Public School: How the State Kidnaps Your Child's Mind

re: the best website about public education on the internet
















by Tammy de Leeuw
Professional Nope Dealer


Finally, there is a website out there which doesn't ask the usual "what can we do to improve public education?" but rather the less-obvious question: "Why should we even bother?"

Check out this video based on the writings of John Taylor Gatto:



Monday, December 9, 2013

Sad, and hopeful at the same time

re: from the kids (you know, the ones who really have to pay the price)