SMOKING KILLS AGAIN

On September 5, my cousin, Korin, died of lung cancer at the age of 57.  Far too early.  Her father died at the same age of emphysema .  They were both heavy smokers.  She leaves two grown sons, both great guys, her mother, two sisters and two brothers.

My parents and my sister both smoked.  They stopped when my uncle, my mother’s brother, died.  Unfortunately, my father and sister started again many years later, and I think it contributed to ther deaths as well, my father at 67 and my sister at 60.

DO YOU REALLY THINK SMOKING IS COOL?
IT’S NOT!

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I often have issues with the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, but one of the things I support is his work to ban smoking in most public spaces,including restaurants, theaters and, most recently, city owned parks and beaches.

We ban narcotics without question because they are addictive and can often lead to death.  Yet smoking which not only endangers the smoker, but harms anyone who is in the same space as the smoker is allowed.

Inhaling hot smoke is poisonous.  It leads to lung diseases such as cancer and COPD.  It causes heart and artery diseases and can often lead to kidney failure.  There is nothing good about smoking.  It is not cool.

Tobacco manufacturers load their products with nicotine, a highly addictive substance.  Some believe it is nearly as addictive as heroin or cocaine.  Yet, because the tobacco industry is politically strong, contributing huge donations to politicians of every persuasion, and because tobacco sales generate huge tax revenues, our legislatures do not do anything to take this  poison off the market.  The fact that the cost in lives and public health far exceed the combination of  those tax revenues and donations seems to have little, if any, effect on these supposed legislative  leaders.  Some argue that if tobacco is banned, it will just become an underground product like hard drugs and marijuana.  Perhaps that is true.  However, if that happens, at least the smokers will have to indulge in their disgusting habit under cover and not blow their noxious fumes in the faces of others.  At least it will protect me and others from having to breathe in their smoke when we are sitting in outdoor cafes or just simply taking a walk in the street.

WHY START SMOKING WHEN YOU KNOW IT WILL KILL YOU?

In my generation, teens often took up smoking.  We did not know of its dangers because the  research was just starting.  We probably should have figured it out by just seeing how most people who indulged had a smokers’ cough, something that shouldn’t have developed from doing something healthy.  Tobacco companies back then often advertised their product as having beneficial effects, and they got away with their lies.  Many of my generation thought it was cool to walk around with a cigarette hanging out of their mouths, thinking and acting like this made them cool.  I didn’t.

Today, however, everyone knows that cigarettes kill.  There is no reason that anyone should start smoking.  There is no reason that this poison should be allowed to remain on the market.  It kills.  It killed my cousin and my uncle.  It must be banned.  It’s too late for my cousin, but it’s not too late for my kids, your kids and all of our grandchildren.

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BEDS NOT BIKES

Curiosity on Maris – great.  I’m more curious about how the greatest city in the world has 17,619 homeless children living in shelters.  That’s not counting those living 3 in a bed at relatives’ houses or some that may live in a car or a truck.

IS THIS HOW WE SHOULD BE RAISING OUR KIDS?

Priorities?  In a national budget – yes.  In a municipal budget – absolutely.  Mayor Bloomberg, it’s beds before bikes (On the Upper West Side where I live, the street bike lanes are barely used.)  Maybe every co-op or condo that sells for over 2 illion dollars should have homeless child tax.

MILLIONS SPENT ON BIKE LANES FOR VERY FEW BIKES. MONEY THAT COULD HAVE PROVIDED HOMES FOR KIDS

The mayor is concerned about our health, and so he wants to limit the size of sugary drinks we buy in restaurants.  I know that we all pay for people who develop diabetes and other weight related health problems.  But, Mike, have you crunched the numbers on what a homeless child costs us – more years of food related health problems, lack of academic skills, maybe drug use.

We focus on our greatest at the Olympics.  While NBC/Universal has tried to force us to watch by eliminating all other programs and showing reruns on its cable stations, let’s pay attention to those who face a challenge every day of their lives.  Each child who survives being homeless deserves a gold medal.

 

 

 

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BLOOMBERG – HE’S MADDER THAN THE MAD HATTER

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is so anxious to find a quick fix for failing schools that he is like the Mad Hatter, running around saying “I’m late! I’m late for a very important date! No time to say Hello! Goodbye! I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!” Of course, he’s late. You can’t shut schools down in June, replace half the staff and re-open in September with a new program. The only thing you can do in that time is change the name. Even that could be problematic – this is New

You Can’t Switch Schools As Easily As You Can Switch Hats, Mike

York City, and everyone has an opinion.

He doesn’t need to bring in outside resources like Elizabeth Rose Consulting to design new schools. New York City has one of the most creative, driven, populations in the world. Get real educators – NYC teachers, principals, aides and parents together to fix what is not working.

Banana Kelly Business School, a previous turnaround school, is being shut down. Yes, the graduation rate is below 60%. But a new name , 50% new teachers and a new principal probably won’t change that.

I believe in the importance of cultures and names. How’s this – The B K Revlon School of Business? Corporations and individuals are slapping their names on stadiums and theaters everywhere (The David A Koch State Theater at Lincoln Center and Citi Field). With an influx of talent, financial and other support from a major corporation, the bath and body lotion business that B K students use to learn could be phenomenal.

In order to improve their academic skills, Banana Kelly students need more individual teaching. You can also try a 9 to 5 day, senior internships at corporate offices, a school that looks more corporate and “Dress For Success” coaching. Hey, Mike, if you need any more suggestions to add to this very partial list for B K or to develop other schools, contact me. I’m sure I’m a lot cheaper than Elizabeth Rose consulting.

Make this a place where students and teachers will work their hardest to get in and stay at, The B K (fill in the blank) School of Business.

 

 

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CHANCELLOR WALCOTT, THE TIGERS ARE ROARING!

Watching the news reports about the Jerry Sandusky trial has made me nauseous. It has created a new definition for the term, “Tiger Mom.” Abuse our children, and we will be fierce. So, I can understand how New York City Schools’ Chancellor Dennis Walcott is so angry over allegations that United Federation of Teachers employees have been sexually abusing children. What I can’t understand is how such an intelligent man can ignore the rule of law (Walcott took over the District Superintendency of NYC School District 5 in Harlem when I was teaching there.) Chancellor Walcott has been at war with the UFT since assuming his position. Walcott is seeking new ways to fire teachers and administrators by denying them due process and even overriding the decisions of arbitrators.

Certainly, I am not in favor of having teachers who were found guilty of these horrendous acts remain in the classroom. In his quest to become the Sheriff or Department of Education, Walcott seems to be playing fast and loose with the rules which govern our country. Chancellor Walcott appears to believe that if a teacher, administrator or teacher’s aide is acquitted by a jury of his or her peers or not indicted by a grand jury, the Department of Education still has the right to bring that person before an arbitrator

Remember, Chancellor Walcott, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” That means that once a person has been found innocent of a criminal act, they cannot be retried for the same crime, as is done sometimes over and over in some countries until the desired verdict is achieved. Walcott, however, wants to take this position one step further. In his world, he believes that if the arbitrator has ruled in favor of the teacher, and the Chancellor disagrees with the ruling, he can override the arbitrator and fire the teacher.

Apparently, Mr. Walcott believes that it is perfectly acceptable to try teachers twice for the same crime and then do what he wants if he disagrees with the findings in the second case. You would think that the leader of one of the largest educations systems in the country would not have missed reading an important part of the Bill of Rights. Then again, city residents know that his boss, Mayor Bloomberg, is well known for creating Interpretations of the law that should never pass the muster of the court system.

In a time when there seems to be a daily report of perverse sexual activities by teachers in the media, and when Jerry Sandusky’s face is ever present on TV, I can understand the public’s desire to see sexual predators locked up, and the key thrown away. I wish that the law allowed for that, and it does when there is a trial and conviction. But when that does not happen, it is an
abuse of our legal system to seek the additional remedies the Chancellor wants. It goes against everything for which this country stands. Winston Churchill was right when he said “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Perhaps another quote from Churchill, “Dictators ride to and fro on tigers from which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry,” should be brought to their attention before they try to continue their efforts to destroy the teachers’ union. I hear the tigers roaring.

 

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