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Boot the pseudo deciders aka "TROIKA" out

Vote for candidates -   

Elizabeth Furse for County Commission, District #4

elizabethfurse.com

Allen Amabisca for County Chair

allenamabisca.com

Re-Elect Greg Malinowki to County Commission

Greg Malinowski

- Intel tax abatements

- The Knight fix - Brother can you spare...

- INTEL, come clean!

- Leashing INTEL  

- Free to Be Hungry

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Facts not fiction on universal gun background checks

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Sneaker Politics

Kitzhaber and legislators got rolled by Nike. 

More

 


"Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere"

Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

Martin Luther King, Jr.


The GOP - Not One of US.

Wall Street, our new criminal class...       

   Business in the USA is sitting on $2 trillion dollars refusing to invest their own funds in expanding and hiring workers.  

   When one adds to this the reserves that banks, equity firms and hedge funds have - the picture is clear - "capitalism in the USA is on strike." 

   The engine of our economy - the spirit of entrepreneurship is not in evidence today.  So much for business being dynamic and risk taking. 

   They hire K- Street lobbyists and their ilk at the state level because they are averse to risk taking - pleading for tax breaks, tax credits and endless loopholes. 

   The "business of business" in America today is not about job creation, it's about wealth hoarding and redistribution from the middle class to the top 1%. 

   So for those who claim government doesn't create jobs, my response is that business doesn't either until given "corporate welfare" by government.  The fact is that the private and public sector are highly integrated, something the anti-tax, anti-government Tea Party types don't understand. 

   Job creation requires public/private partnerships but the benefits of such collaboration should go to the 99% not just the 1%.  


 

RAD'S

WEBSITE PICKS: 


 

  • A Middle East View      

Rami G. Khouri

  • RealClearPolitics:

Realclearpolitics

  • Jim Hightower:   

Jimhightower.com

  • Robert Reich:

Robert Reich

  • Thomas Friedman: 

Friedman Column

  • Nicholas Kristof: 

Kristof Column


Oregon's Motto: 

She flies with her own wings! 


Hard Times in Oregon: 

Hardtimes

The Oregon story - the rich get richer, the poor and middle class lose ground.  Check this front page Oregonian article out. 

Oregon wage gap widens

Homelessness in Oregon - a call to action

Chuck Currie The crisis of homelessness


  

      Oregon's coming 34th out of 41 states in the Obama "Race to the Top" illustrates the failure of leadership from Governor Kitzhaber and his predecessors as they have built an educational bridge to nowhere called high stakes testing.

   Instead of being in a race to the top we seem to be dumpster diving to the bottom despite doing education reform since 1991.  Insanity is termed doing the same thing over and over again.  When can we put a fork in this stupidity? 

   To confuse matters more the Oregonian's editorial board has pontificated that this was a lost opportunity to get federal funding for innovation.  How firing principals and teachers equals innovation is a mystery to me.   

   The way to reform schools is to reduce class sizes, to encourage teacher collaboration and to support their continued education.  High stakes testing and performance based assessment of teachers are NOT the answer!    

   If you want students to succeed you first have to resolve the issues they confront before they come to school.  Children who face poverty, hunger, homelessness, health care issues and family instability require wrap around services for them and their families, 24/7.   

   Every child needs a safe home of their own and parents who know how to be good parents.   

There is only one way to address this impending crisis.  Schools must have a stable source of funding. Until that happens - we will limp from crisis to crisis.   

 

Steve Duin Schools get the blame 

School Reform/slate.com 



    

    Why does the richest nation in the world have the moral blight of homeless people?

Invisible People

http://www.npr.org



ahomeoftheirown.com/  

    Connecting the dots between homelessness, hunger & health care disparities in Oregon and Washington County: 

Homelessness:  

•    The faces of the homeless are families with children, single men and women, vets, and many who are impaired. It is estimated that in Washington County up to 56% of homelessness occurs to families.

Hunger:

•    Hunger is highest among single mother households (10%) and poor families (15%) as well as renters, unemployed workers and minority households. 

Heath Care Disparities: 

•    Adults in Oregon without insurance represent 22.3% of the state’s population compared to 19.7% of the nation.  In Washington County approximately 


A RAD rhetorical question - Were Madison & Marx "Marxists"?  

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments."   

- James Madison

 

"Philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways. The point is, however, to change it. 

- Karl Marx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAD Lines

 

Boot the psuedo deciders aka "TROIKA" out

Vote for -

Elizabeth Furse for County Commission, District #4

elizabethfurse.com

Allen Amabisca for County Chair

allenamabisca.com

Re-Elect Greg Malinowki to County Commission

 Greg Malinowski

Miguel de Cervantes, from The Duke - "I accuse you of being an idealist, a bad poet and an honest man."  Cervantes' response - "Guilty as charged, I have never had the courage to believe in nothing."   from Man of La Mancha


Sign the online petition on Intel emissions in link below:  

Intel failed to report fluoride emissions for almost 30 years   

     Why do Intel employees who are house hunting in Hillsboro, Aloha or Beaverton refer to an area within a 5 mile radius of Intel plants as "the dead zone?"  

      Do they know something we don't?  QuestionIntel.com  We couldn't trust banks "too big to fail," so why should we trust Intel?

Rediscovering Government

Is the US #1? 

 

Professor Kingfield, from the Paper Chase

   "I'm not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead – ahead of myself as well as you." 

- George Bernard Shaw

 

 

BLOGS:

From the Left Wing:

Paul Krugman 

krugmanonline.com 

 

Democracy Now
democracynow.org

The Daily Kos

dailykos.com

Blue Oregon

blueoregon.com

 

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." 

- Emilie Buchwald 

 

    "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law." 

- Justice John Paul Stevens, Bush v. Gore, 2001


    The state of our union - check out the map, it's a reality check for those who can't figure out why people are so ticked off... 

americanobserver

    Here's Garrison Keillor's rap on the rightwingnuts:   

GarrisonKeillor

 

   Garrison Keillor - "...The Founding Fathers intended the Senate to be a fount of wisdom... but when you consider...  moon-faced Mitch McConnell, your faith in democracy is challenged severely. Any legislative body in which 41 senators from rural states that together represent 10 percent of the population can filibuster you to death is going to be flat-footed, on the verge of paralysis, no matter what. Any time 10 percent of the people can stop 90 percent, it's like driving a bus with a brake pedal for each passenger. That's why Congress has a public approval rating of [11] percent...." 



"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war"

- John Adams

 

"Loyalty to country always.  Loyalty to government when it deserves it."  

- Mark Twain  

 

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  

- George Santayana 

 

"The love of one's country is a natural thing.  But why should love stop at the border?" 

- Pablo Casals

 

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." 

- William Butler Yeats  

 

"You see things; and you say, 'Why?'

But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?" 

- George Bernard Shaw, "Back to Methuselah" (1921)

 

"...the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society...  The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government..."

- James Madison, Federalist Papers #11


"Why … should we have government? Why not each individual take to himself the whole fruit of his labor, without having any of it taxed away?”  

The legitimate object of government, is to do for the people whatever they need to have done, but which they can not do, at all, or can not do, so well, for themselves – in their separate and individual capacities … There are many such things … roads, bridges and the like; providing for the helpless young and afflicted; common schools … the criminal and civil [justice] departments."

- Abraham Lincoln

 

Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society

- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

 

"Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates, but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole..."

- Edmund Burke 

 

“It is a maxim among these lawyers that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again, and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind.  These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions.”

- Jonathan Swift

 

" Every satirist who drew breath has flung pots of ink at this parade of tooting lummoxes and here it is come round again, marching down Main Street, rallying to the cause of William McKinley, hail, hail, the gang’s all here, ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay."

- Garrison Keillor

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

  

 


  

 

Tuesday
May302006

DEATH VALLEY BLOOMS

    While Portland Public Schools are being reorganized into larger K-8 magnet elementary schools, PBS ran a story this morning (Monday) on a one room school in Death Valley California which seems to belie the educational gibberish about how to help students succeed.  It's not based on teaching to the test, having specialists up the kazoo or turning kids into computer geeks.  It's about one on one individualized teaching and making learning a collaborative process teacher to students and students to students.
    From: PBS, Morning Edition, May 30, 2006, America's One-Room Schools series, "Students Blossom in the Desert", by Neenah Ellis 
bus_students200.jpgSmall is beautiful:  
    "The one-room schools still left in America are mostly found in isolated places, where the natural world is the major factor in peoples' lives, like Death Valley, Calif. It's the hottest, driest and lowest place in America, a two-hour drive west from Las Vegas through a searing hot desert. In the summer, temperatures on the valley floor can reach 120 degrees and a flat tire on an open stretch of road can get you in trouble fast.
    In the spring, tourists come from all over the world to see the natural wonders: crystalline salt popping out of the ground, sand dunes surrounded by mountains, vibrantly colored, unearthly-looking rock formations and, if there's been enough rain, blooming wildflowers.
    Most of the 500 people who live in Death Valley year round are connected in one way or another to Death Valley National Park and its major concessionaire, a company called Xanterra. Without the jobs they provide, few people could live here, and there certainly would be no one-room school.
    Down the road from the park visitor center at Furnace Creek is Death Valley Elementary school, a flat-roofed building beside a dry streambed, which blends easily into the gray-brown landscape. This year there are 11 students, from kindergarten through fourth grade, one full-time teacher and one teaching aide."
No education bureaucrats required: 
    "One of the students is 5-year-old Taylor Alford, who started kindergarten last fall unable to speak. Her mother was worried. She said Taylor just kept to herself at home, wouldn't interact with anyone. She didn't know why. The teacher, Leslie Rowan, remembers that Taylor only pointed and grunted and often seemed confused.
    Three specialists had evaluated Taylor. They said she had speech and language delays and auditory processing problems. She was three to four years behind where she should be and might never catch up. At the very least, they said, she needed speech therapy.
    But Rowan says she could tell by the "sparkle" in Taylor's eye that there was more there and she was eager to teach Taylor.
    Now, seven months later, Taylor is beginning to read and does first-grade math." 
Everyone can learn: 
    "How did this happen? Because her school is so small, Rowan had the time and flexibility to work with Taylor. She devised a curriculum for her that involved a lot of one-on-one work in all subjects. She brought in a volunteer, a former pre-school teacher named Olivia Dotson Reynolds, who tutored Taylor.
    Taylor's classmates helped, too, by encouraging her, working with her and especially by including her. "No one is excluded in my school," says Leslie Rowan.
    Studies have shown that students who come from poorer communities like Death Valley have a lot to gain from attending a small school. In fact, a small school can make up for the factors that often stifle student achievement. Of the 11 students here, four speak Spanish at home, five are being raised by single mothers and all of them qualify for a free or reduced lunch. Still, nine of them are "high achieving," working above grade level in some subjects."
No tests required: 
    "It's hard to know whether Taylor would have made such dramatic progress in a larger school. It's likely, Rowan says, that there would have been more professional services available. But she's convinced that it was the small size of the school -- where lives are intertwined and it's hard to fall through the cracks -- that made the difference."
    PS:  The keys to success in school are caring teachers, supportive parents and personal attention.  Teaching to the tests turns kids into educational robots; pressures teachers into being drill sargents; and turns the classroom into a war room where reports of success are based on lies, damn lies and statistics.   

Monday
May292006

"IT WAS JUST LOSS"

amex-twodays-dogtags.jpg    The PBS series The American Experience ran a program tonight on "Two Days in October."
    Based on a book They Marched Into Sunlight by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Maraniss, Two Days in October tells the story of two turbulent days in October 1967. 
    "...In Vietnam, a U.S. battalion unwittingly marched into a Viet Cong trap. Sixty-one young men were killed and as many wounded. The ambush prompted some in power to wonder whether the war might be unwinnable.
    Half a world away, concerned students at the University of Wisconsin protested the presence of Dow Chemical recruiters on campus. When Madison police showed up, the demonstration spiraled out of control, marking the first time that a student protest had turned violent.
    Told entirely by the people who took part in the harrowing events of those two days -- American soldiers, police officers, relatives of men killed in battle, protesting students, university administrators and Viet Cong fighters -- the film offers a window onto a moment that divided a nation and a war that continues to haunt us..."
    It seems fitting that a flashback to the Vietnam War era on Memorial Day 2006 would be aired as the nation is again engulfed in a war which more and more Americans have increasing doubts about - its strategic efficacy, its morality and its constitutionality.
    But what is far more important is that this flashback reminds one of how senseless war as a tool of national policy is.  Americans at home and abroad become unwitting tools of those in power making decision behind closed doors - decisions decades later which we discover were based on a misreading of history, self- deception and lies. 
    In the meantime, Americans and home and abroad along with Vietnamese then, now Iraqi and Afghan citizens are caught in a vortex of death and destruction which makes a mockery of the sacrifices of those who pay the ultimate price in the name loyalty to nation or religion.
    One of the persons interviewed concludes the program on the tragic note that - "It was just a loss."  A vet ends by arguing that he's not ready to give up on Vietnam, even now because the "deaths of my buddies must be worth something."
    What's personally saddest to me is that if we are to stop the "loss" or make meaning of "death" is only possible if we learn the lessons of history: that war as an institution is never heroic, it is wrapped in lies (on both sides) and in virtually all cases it could have been prevented.
    The most ironic line is delivered by a Vietnamese combatant, now farmer who lives on and works the fields where the ambush of American soldiers took place on that fateful day in 1967.  He is often asked by his neighbors do you mind working and living with "the ghosts of all the dead Americans?"
    A decade or two from now, questions like these will be asked about the current war on terrorism!  We'll find out whether another American generation has learned anything from the past.  Sadly, the current generation of Americans seem to echo Richard Nixon's rendition of history - "the silent majority."
    Memorial Day should not only be a day of remembrance but also a day of affirming the human spirit, the zest for life and a commitment to a Constitution for which the free and the brave have offered the ultimate sacrifice.  Is it still a living breathing document? 
    As long as the cretins in the West Wing, their minions in the NSA/CIA and the war planners in the Pentagon have their way - those sacrifices are for naught!  To steal a phrase from Jesse Jackson, we must figure out how to "keep hope alive."  But tonight, Memorial eve night 2006 - RAD is not hopeful.
    The hubris of Pax Americana, the arrogance of power and the futility of war are too clear.  As Peter, Paul and Mary used to sing - "when will they ever learn?"  When will the silent majority rise up declaring the emperor has no clothes?  When will we vote the military-industrial-complex out of power in DC? 
filmmore_index.jpg    PS:  The PBS liner notes suggesting that the U of W students became violent is a lie.  The students following the mantra of the Civil Rights movement engaged in a classic non-violent sit-in. 
    What the film clearly shows is that the Madison police, like the Chicago police a year later during the DNC, engaged in a police riot.  If one watched the video tonight, one saw middle class (college students) facing off with the working class (city police) of the same generation.
    As with their counterparts across the nation, they were remarkably clean shaven, middle class and until these events not especially radical.  The anti-war movement was populated by the sons and daughters of the American middle class, often from small town and suburban white America. 
    Stereotypes of long hairs, hippies or bomb throwing radicals are just that stereotypes.  Yes, there were those prone to verbal hyperbole and some to violence.  But they were always on the fringes of The Movement.  And one should not confuse the counter-culture with the anti-war or the civil rights movements.  The latter dropped out, the former engaged - in civil disobedience not drugs. 
    In April 1970 Kent State and Jackson State would repeat the scenario of two days in October 1967.  And here again the sons of the working class, this time in National Guard uniforms, would kill or maim middle class college students in America's heartland.  Nixon subsequently de-Americanized the war and ended the draft. 
    What Americans then and today don't like to acknowledge is that economic class divisions run deep in the USA contrary to the mythology of the Horatio Alger story. Times of political crisis bring these realities out of the closet and into the street. 
    Ask yourself tonight - what class is recruited for the volunteer military today?   What class goes to college?  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  As long as we hold fast to the myth about the USA being a classless society we deny the reality of everyday life in the USA.
    Remember Katrina? 
 

Sunday
May282006

EDUCATIONAL TRIAGE

    As Oregonians join their fellow Americans this Memorial Day weekend in acknowledging the sacrifices of those who have served the nation in the military, we also need to focus on the current generation while we remember the sacrifices of sons and daughters of generations past. But of course such a commitment of walking the talk would not come cheap like easy rhetoric done once a year about our fallen heroes. It's easy to memorialize the past, less so to invest in the future! 
    David Sarasohn's column in today's [Sunday's] Oregonian notes the silence in the just ended gubernatorial primary campaign about higher education.  While the candidates had clear positions on immigration, K-12 funding, human resources and public safety nary a word was said about the miserable state of higher ed funding in Oregon.  While our neighbor to the north continues to invest mega millions in the Washington state system of higher education, Oregon has fallen to 46 in the nation in state spending per student in higher ed. 
    As President of OSU Ed Ray said I'm asking the faculty "...to do less with less..." As a professor emeritus of a private university, I'm used to so-called "spring surprises".  But in the public sector system - they seem to be prone to fall, winter, spring and summer surprises depending on the political climate in the state.  If education from K-12 to higher ed is the engine of economic growth, continued disinvestment can only spell long term disaster for Oregon.  Former superintendent of Portland Public Schools, Jack Bierwirth who had the bad fortune to arrive here months after Measure 5 passed said it well...
    As the Sunday Oregonian noted in an update on Bierwirth [C2] - in a City Club speech delivered before he left Oregon " " 'he lashed out at Oregonians saying they deluded themselves, tolerated sham leaders and dithered at finding solutions while the state's children suffered.  He accused the state's citizens of "negligence on an embarrassingly gross scale.' "  We'll find out in November whether Bierwirth's caustic observations are still true.  Will Oregonians re-elect a failed incumbent who promises much but delivers little?  Will we turn to a GOP nominee who helped run Portland Public Schools into the ground between 1997-2001?  Or will we vote for an independent voice willing to think outside the box?  
 

Saturday
May272006

RANDOM THOUGHTS

    On the war in Iraq:  In a  column "The past catches up to the neocon vision" by Harold Meyerson in Friday's Oregonian, the author concludes that "...The war, and the failure to establish order that led to the barbarism that's driving [professional middle class Iraqis] away, can't be laid soley on the neocon doorstep of course.  These second-generation neos needed the trio of arrogant onetime CEOs - Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld - to actualize their vision [RAD:  one might call this actualization process the Enron Syndrome].  But actualize it they did, and the ideologues whose forebears once argued that the drugged-out Bronx was a monument to liberal folly have now made a blood-drenched and depopulating Baghdad the monument to their own necon obsessions..." 
    Decision in Houston:  Why did it take a federal jury only 5 days to convict former Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay and CEO Jeffrey Skilling, whereas it's taken the American people more than 5 years to figure out the West Wing is being mismanaged by a trio of former CEOs with ties to major league baseball, big oil and the defense industry?  The Enron duo cost many employees of Enron corp their retirement earnings; while the gruesome threesome of the West Wing have cost the lives of several thousand American soldiers, countless more soldiers and civilians maimed for life, the total devastation of Iraq and $7 billion per month of American taxpayer dollars. Beware of Texans and their minions bringing us their neo-con ideological gifts.
    Africa - a metaphor for the current era:  From Darfur to the Republic of The Congo, from Liberia to Nigeria, from Somalia to Zimbabwe the tragic combination of failed nation-states, drought induced famine, tribal civil war and ethnic genocide cause one to rethink the words of the 18th century economist Thomas Malthus:  "...The positive checks to population are extremely various, and include every cause, whether arising from vice or misery, which in any degree contributes to shorten the natural duration of human life. Under this head, therefore, may be enumerated all unwholesome occupations, severe labour and exposure to the seasons, extreme poverty, bad nursing of children, great towns, excesses of all kinds, the whole train of common diseases and epidemics, wars, plague, and famine..." 
   RAD editorial comment:  Putting all three of these examples together makes one wonder why the beginning of the 21st century, theoretically the century of post-modern man, looks so much like the beginning of the just past 20th century, @ 1900-1918.  The culture of corruption in DC seems like a retrogression to the era of Coolidge, Harding and Hoover; the age of Enron seems like a replay of the roaring '20s which ended in the Crash of '29; and the misery of much of the third world - victims of mother nature's or human malevolent hands - seems a replay of Victorian age colonialism.  While the major powers and international bodies like the UN sit on their hands watching the misery index go up and up, the plundering of Africa's et al natural resources by corporate capitalists from New York to London, from Paris to Brussels, from Tokyo to Moscow goes on and on!
 

Thursday
May252006

BEING GOOD SPORTS

    A RAD Prelude:  We live in a time when moderation is out and excess is in.  In politics negative ads litter the political landscape; in the media stories have to “bleed to lead” and in sports – all too many athletes have “an attitude”.  It’s like Karl Rove’s scorched earth politics has invaded all aspects of American culture.  
    Perhaps we’ve taken Bobby Kennedy’s adage about the political arena, what he called the sport of adults, far too seriously – “don’t get mad, get even.” But then again, in the quietude of the ‘50s when life seemed simpler and choices appeared more black and white – Leo Durocher offered the famous advice ”that nice guys finish last.”  
    If sports provide metaphors for everyday life – perhaps the problem is that we’ve taken the idea of winner take all too far. Was Vince Lombardi really correct when he said “Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing?”  Is this why in America’s hyperbolic domestic and global quest for hegemony – the enemy at home is the loyal opposition and the one abroad – the ‘evil doers’.  
    Having lost any sense of checks and balances in a society when the Congress is craven in the face of an imperial presidency which reserves the right to spy on, detain and/or torture anyone deemed to be ‘the enemy’ it should not be surprising that moderation is a casualty.  
    And when our sports heroes (?) like Barry Bonds are able to pursue historic records while clearly under an ethical cloud of drug enhanced play, it shouldn’t be surprising that Americans are reduced to cynicism when elections are stolen, as in 2000 or remain indifferent to the muscular politics used by the House GOP beginning with the Gingrich revolution in ’94.  
    But then, didn’t Bill Clinton start us on that slippery slope of separating personal ethics from public life when the politics of personal self-destruction was ignored as long as the economy was on a roll throughout the ‘90s?  Didn’t we all look the other way, saying heck all politics is crooked anyway?  It all depends "what 'is' is."  Don't ask, don't tell. 
    Sadly politics and sports have always had their dark side reflective of the American dilemma – a nation which holds tight to competing if not contradictory values – the accumulation of wealth and/or power [rugged individualism] and a perverse version of moral Puritanism as the home of the “free” and the “brave” [the affirmation of community].
    The imagery of Martin Luther King's "beloved community" is trumped (pun intended) by the get rich quick mentality of Tom DeLay or Enron.  
    So when you read this excellent article about sports etiquette by my journalist son – ask yourself by what rules will today’s soccer players be governed when they leave the playing field and enter the adult world of the professions, family and civic life?  As Shakespeare suggests rhetorically through Hamlet “something is rotten in the state of Denmark?”  If so, what is it and what is the solution?  

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!
And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!
Senator Barry Goldwater,
GOP Acceptance Speech, 1964


Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
the blood-dimmed tide is loosed,
and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned;
the best lack all conviction,
while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
William Butler Yeats
 
We didn't lose the game, we just ran out of time.
Al Gore or Vince Lombardi? 


"Seeing red: Boys soccer leads state in ejections." by
Tony Dondero, Enterprise writer, Friday, April 21, 2006

WIAA wants schools to take ejections more seriously
126524-347967-thumbnail.jpg
A yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct
    When Shorecrest forward Spencer Schrote was ejected, his coach, Teddy Mitalas, saw red.
    During a state semifinal playoff game last year Schrote, then a junior forward, received his second yellow card of the game for delay of game while setting up a corner kick.
    Mitalas, Shorecrest's veteran coach at the time, felt the punishment was too severe. He used an expletive to voice his displeasure with the call, which had led to Schrote's red card and ejection. He was promptly given the heave-ho along with Schrote.
    High numbers of ejections, especially in boys soccer, are a problem that executives at the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association want to see schools deal with more effectively.
    Shorecrest won that controversial game against Mount Rainier, but Mitalas and Schrote had to serve one-game suspensions and couldn't be inside Sumner's Sunset Chev Stadium for the championship game. Shorecrest could have lodged a protest on the spot, but in the chaos, the coaches failed to do so and the opportunity for an appeal passed. Schrote and Mitalas watched from a bench across the street. Fortunately, for the Scots, they hung on to win the title over Ferndale 1-0.
    With three Western Conference boys soccer teams, Snohomish, Lake Stevens and Shorecrest, ranked in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Adidas national top 20 this spring, it's apparent that high-quality high school soccer is played here.
    Something else is apparent: referees give out a steady flow of red cards each season to players and coaches during high school boys soccer matches here and across the state.
    In the 2004-05 season, 209 players and coaches statewide, mostly in varsity games, were given red cards and ejected from boys soccer games, according to Washington Interscholastic Activities Association records.
    So far this season, ejections in boys soccer are occurring at "the same rate or more than" last year, said Jim Meyerhoff, who oversees boys soccer for the WIAA.
    There were 258 boys soccer programs in the state last season and the 209 ejections were five fewer than in 2003-04 -- but still too many, Meyerhoff said. One in three of the 625 total ejections of athletes and coaches last year occurred in a boys soccer match. Baseball was second with 120 ejections.
    The overall trend of ejections has been steady over the past 10 years. The low, 537, came in 1995-1996, the first year the WIAA started tracking ejections, to a high of 667 in 2002-2003.
    Last year, in boys soccer, about 32 percent of ejections statewide were for abusive language, 24 percent were the result of two yellow cards and 24 percent because of violent conduct.
    The Northwest District had 67 ejections last school year with 25 coming in boys soccer. (The district includes high schools from the Western Conference North and South divisions, the Northwest League, the Cascade Conference, the Whatcom County League and Northwest A/B and Northwest B leagues).
    Of those 25 soccer ejections, 13 red cards were issued for violent offenses such as serious foul play, violent conduct, kicking an opponent, malicious conduct and retaliation. Seven ejections were for two yellow cards while five were for language. Twenty of the 25 ejections were from the Western Conference, which has 19 schools.
    So why are there so many ejections and what is being done to reduce them? And what does it say about how student-athletes view competition?
Sportsmanship plans
    Schools with five or more ejections in all sports during a school year are required to submit a sportsmanship plan to the WIAA. Three schools from the Northwest District, Cascade, Everett and Mariner, had to do so this year. Shorecrest had five ejections in 2002-2003 and had to submit a plan.
    As part of those plans, the schools and their league, the Western Conference, implemented a new rule for the winter sports season. It mandated a two-game suspension for any coach or player who is ejected, an increase from a one-game suspension. The second game of the suspension is appealable.
    If a player or coach racks up two ejections, they are done for the season in that sport under WIAA rules. However, last year a Sedro-Woolley girls soccer player who was ejected from two games for two yellow cards was reinstated after successfully appealing to WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese. Colbrese is the only person who can waive a season suspension.
    In 2004, a Blaine boys soccer coach, Kai Edwards, received a second ejection in a playoff game, the final game the team played that year. Three Blaine players also were ejected in that game. Suspensions don't carry over into another sports season and sometimes seniors with nothing to lose can cause problems at the end of the year, referee Clyde Jelinek said.
    Last school year, Everett had six ejections (three in boys soccer, two in baseball, one in girls basketball), Mariner had six (two in boys soccer, two in baseball and two in boys basketball) and Cascade had five (four in boys soccer and one in girls soccer).
    Seventeen high schools in the state had five or more athletes and coaches ejected during the 2004-05 school year. All the schools were west of the Cascades.
Reasons for ejections
    Swearing and abusive language, as well violent conduct, are common reasons for ejections in all sports.
    "We're seeing half or more of our ejections due to language," Meyerhoff, of the WIAA, said. "These are things that can be controlled by the coaches and the school."
    In soccer, some players believe that some referees are too quick to give cards for fouls or language. Players say they are often being penalized for language uttered at themselves out of frustration over their own mistake.
    However, the language described in most referees’ reports would result in an ejection in any sport, Meyerhoff said.
    "We're not talking about things that the player says to himself," Meyerhoff said. "We're talking about stuff directed at other players and the officials.
    "They would be suspended from school if they used that toward a teacher."
    Referees usually first warn a player over foul language, but when an expletive is said loud enough that people in the stands can hear it, they may be compelled to issue a card.
    "We've been accused of being thin-skinned on the field as referees," said Betty Schmeck, the state referee administrator for soccer. "Our training says when there's foul and abusive language, it has to be dealt with. We have to give a send-off."
    In soccer, a player can also receive an automatic red card for actions that range from using his hand to stop the ball from going into the goal to spitting at an opponent. A soft red, given when a player accumulates two cautions or yellow cards, also results in an ejection, although the team doesn't have to play short in that case. Yellow cards are often given for unsportsmanlike actions; dangerous play, such as slide tackling from behind; or foul language.
    Some of the cards are a byproduct of the fast pace and physical nature of the game, coaches and players said.
    "Any time it gets physical and someone gets knocked to the ground that's when the talking starts," Everett head boys coach Pat Pawlak said.
    Also, differences in skill levels can result in fouls and cards. A less-skilled player might kick a player instead of stripping the ball cleanly during a slide tackle attempt, for example.
The role of the referee
    Some players complain that the level of refereeing in high school goes way down compared to what they are used to in club soccer where more give-and-take is allowed.
    "You can't have a conversation with these (high school) refs. You ask them questions and they just tell you to leave. They won't hear it at all," said Shorecrest senior co-captain Kurtis Wong, a midfielder who plays Premier 1 soccer, the highest level of club play. "There's respect between the refs and the players both ways (in club games)."
    Inexperienced referees are often less tolerant and more likely to punish behavior than to take a player aside to discuss play, state referee administrator Schmeck said. However, successful referees communicate with coaches and players about what is being done right – and wrong – on the field.
    "You have to work with kids during the match," said Jelinek, who has refereed in Snohomish County for more than three years and is treasurer of the North Chapter Soccer Referee Association.
    Referees need to tell a coach if a player is causing a problem and sometimes coaches will take the player out, Jelinek said.
    Carding players for "trifling fouls" sets a bad precedent, said Jelinek, who on average issues two cards a game. "You have to be consistent with them."
    "If you're not prepared, things will get out of control here really fast. The cards have to mean something to the players," Jelinek said. "If you give a card and no one responds, it doesn't serve a purpose."
    In a close game, where competition is fierce and emotions run high, a couple yellow cards can be expected, but Jelinek said he doesn't understand why some players on teams leading by several goals put themselves in a position to be carded.
    University of Washington goalkeeper and Shorecrest graduate Rylan Hawkins, the Class 3A Most Valuable Player last year, said responsibility for reducing ejections lies with both the referees and players.
    "The players need to realize that the refs are doing their job and they need to control themselves as well," he said. "Refs need to realize the spirit of the game and this competitiveness. I think if this sort of passion for the game is let loose, more creativity in it will allow the game to grow. I think that conflict (between the refs and players) is a problem, it's sort of ruining the game."
    In Washington, the number of referees who are registered with the United States Soccer Federation has doubled in the last three years, Schmeck said, although on average, a third of the pool is lost annually.
    Schmeck said it's not too difficult to cover games, but the turnover makes it difficult to supply experienced referees for games.
    Some referees get in over their heads and games get out of control when numerous cards are handed out, said Seattle Christian athletic director Dave Peterson, a former boys soccer coach.
    Still, it's up to parents and coaches to be role models and teach student-athletes what behavior is acceptable, especially when it comes to language.
    "Coaches cannot put up with that kind of (foul) language," he said. "It starts at practice. If kids use foul language at practice and get away with it, they're going to in a game."
    Behavior on the field is a result of what is allowed at home, Schmeck said.
    "I want to put it squarely on the parents," she said. "They should deal with this so we don't have to deal with it on the field."
Changing behavior

    The Cascade boys soccer team, which had four ejections last year, the most of any soccer team in the Western Conference, already has three this season in separate games under second-year head coach Daghan Kesim, who was an assistant for the Meadowdale girls team last fall. A volunteer coach and a player himself, Kesim was red-carded during a game in October for negative comments.
    Kesim, 26, keeps a running commentary during games, but said he's worked to control his emotions on the sidelines this season. He conceded that as a young coach, he earned a bad reputation among some referees. That has resulted in a shorter leash from the refs, for him and his team.
    "Sometimes you suffer for things you've done in your past," he said.
    Kesim played semi-pro soccer in Europe and professionally in Turkey before coming the United States in 1999. In professional soccer overseas, players learned to "hate the referees," so he's had to adjust to the differences in the game here, he said.
    "The way college players and professional players model and act, their behavior is many times not acceptable at the high school level," Doug Kloke, athletic director at Cascade said.
    Kloke talked to Kesim and the boy’s soccer players before the season about sportsmanship and citizenship and said the dialogue is ongoing. When a coach or player is ejected, that person meets with Kloke to review what happened and develop an action plan to prevent it from happening in the future.
    Everett has had two ejections this season, one a soft red for physical play and one an automatic red for running into the goalkeeper, Everett coach Pawlak said.
    This spring, Mike Moore, the athletic director at Mariner, met with the Marauders' boy’s soccer team, which had two ejections last year to discuss sportsmanship expectations. So far, Mariner has had three ejections this school year, but none in boy’s soccer.
    Shorecrest had three ejections last soccer season. So far this season, they've had two ejections, both soft reds, of Wong and Schrote. Schrote picked up his red in an April 7 game against Shorewood. The referee who gave it to him also happened to be the linesman that lobbied for the delay of game call that garnered the red in the state semifinals, Schrote said.
    During the season, referees discuss sportsmanship expectations with coaches and captains during the pregame coin flip. Coaches are also required to attend a WIAA-sponsored rules clinic before each season where sportsmanship is discussed
    "I'm competitive as the next guy, I hate to lose, but I still think there's a place for sportsmanship in the game," Seattle Christian's Peterson said. "I don't think that's being taught at the level it needs to be."
    But Mitalas, who has been involved in soccer at the Olympic, professional and youth levels as a player and coach, questions the notion of sportsmanship above winning.
    "Athletics is not about sportsmanship," said Mitalas, who has coached the Shorecrest boys and girls teams to more than 200 victories each and recently became head coach of the Shorewood girl’s team. "It's about the win or lose or draw."
    Mitalas said he does teach his players to not mouth off to the referees and to not injure other players. But referees sometimes make calls that are wrong or unfair, he said.
    "Why is the referee always right?" Mitalas said. "Coaches make mistakes, players mistakes, refs do, too. When you're on the field, you're competing; you're going for the win. Things happen."
    Terri McMahan, athletic director of the Edmonds School District, said officials are hired to monitor a game.
    "We have to live with their decision whether we agree with it or not," McMahan said. "I tell coaches all the time that behavior is paramount. If they're behaving in a way that receives an ejection, it's very difficult. It's difficult to know (that) the person you're paying to teach young people how to behave is getting ejected."
    Also, playing high school sports is a privilege, not a right, McMahan said. Edmonds School District athletes are required to sign eligibility codes that require them to uphold standards of behavior.
    The focus on competition in the context of sportsmanship is "what separates us from the clubs and everything else," the WIAA's Meyerhoff said.
Looking for solutions
    Peterson, who won three boys titles at Seattle Christian in 15 years and won four boys state titles in nine years at Mount Rainier, is trying to organize a statewide high school soccer coaches association. Sports such as football, basketball and wrestling have statewide associations and having one for soccer would provide an avenue for coaches to be more proactive in addressing problems such as ejections, Peterson said.
    "We need to do something," Peterson said. "We need to cut down on ejections. We should not be as high in ejections as we are."
    Still, boy’s soccer might not be as much of problem as the WIAA believes when it comes to ejections, he said.
    "To compare soccer to other sports, it's apples to oranges," Peterson said. Two yellow cards result in an ejection in soccer which doesn't happen in other sports, he said. A basketball player fouls out after five fouls and is disqualified but that is not considered an ejection, unless it's two technicals or two flagrant fouls. A football player is not necessarily ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct or a late hit. Soccer is a physical game played without pads and fouls happen.
    "It's one thing to get it with physical play in the flow of the game," Everett's Pawlak said. "It's quite another to get one for intent to injure or fighting."
    Still, a yellow card is a warning, Meyerhoff said. "If you push the envelope, you're going to pay the price for it."
    Ejections can be eliminated, Meyerhoff believes, if building administrators are clear about expectations and are at games enforcing policies.
    "If somebody's going through the motions, it's not effective," Meyerhoff said. "They can control this."
Noting good behavior
    The Wesco sportsmanship plans recommend positive displays of sportsmanship be acknowledged at the moment they happen and administrators said that sometimes happens informally.
    Sports at the high school level can teach many things, educators believe. How to learn to be part of a team, witnessing hard work pay off, how to be a good sport. Many high school gyms sport the ubiquitous saying, "winning is for a day, sportsmanship is for a lifetime."
    Kloke recalled a game Cascade played against Arlington earlier this season won by the Bruins 6-0. Players were helping each other up off the ground and the sportsmanship displayed in the game made for an enjoyable evening, he said.
    "In my mind that's what high school sports should be about," Kloke said. "You treat your opponent with respect. You're not out there to hurt them."
    "Winning and losing is important but not the most important thing," Kloke said. "If we teach students to be good citizens it's going to help them the rest of their lives. It's nice to win championships. It's how you win championships."