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Sell OFF Part of Puerto Rico? Hell Nah. Returning My Voice to My Island Today. Hands Off Vieques !!


I am a Viequenese.

Puerto Rican. Yo soy boricua.

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Boricua. 100.

My family is from the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico.

 

My grandmother, with my young father in tow,

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was kicked off that land that she and my father were born on,

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with less than 24 hours notice.

Way back in the 1940’s, she was forced to leave.

And, although she was already a US citizen with full constitutional rights, her rights were violated and her property was stripped.

They were kicked off, the houses were bulldozed by our US government, and the US Military moved in.

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For over half a century, the people of Vieques fought to get their land back. They won.

Now, a politician from Utah wants to sell it off for a profit.

Not today, Sir.

Not today.

We are all watching. And, we are ready. You won’t take that land today, Sir. Not without a fight. Here is a message directly from Vieques. Heed wisely:

“On the grounds of Vieques referred to in the draft bill to create the board of control federal prosecutor for Puerto Rico:
Recently came out in the press of the country that the borrdor of law to create the board of control federal prosecutor on Puerto Rico includes the idea of selling to private interests 3 thousand strings in the western part of Vieques currently under the control of the Service of fish and wildlife of the department of the interior.
Pedro Pierluisi, resident commissioner of Puerto Rico in Washington and a congressman in Utah, apparently, are the authors of this suggestion that is consistent with the neo-Liberal thoughts of the privatization of everything.


My thoughts:
All the land that the navy can’t even imagine us in Vieques must return to the people of Vieques under a trust of land, with the aim of ensuring the control and community use of that heritage.


Fish and wildlife (Doi) was imposed in Vieques for the Congress of the US, as a way of punishing people for having taken your marina. Here as in many other places in the us, pvs / doi come into control of contaminated land by the armed forces or other federal agencies as a strategy to minimize the level of responsibility of cleaning.


The people of Vieques, with the support of large sections of the Puerto Rican nation and with enormous sacrifices, put an end to the military use of approximately 23 thousand strings in the island baby. Those sacrifices were part of a historic struggle of decades of fishermen, workers, religious leaders, academics, women and young people to rescue their island and undertake a project of healthy development for the next generations.
Any attempt to sell the land to the vultures speculators and so-called “developmental” will face a united people with a new wave of militancy and civil disobedience to the 1999-2003.
It’s urgent a serious conversation between the sectors in Vieques and the caring people of the rest of the Puerto Rican nation – here and in the diaspora – to create the necessary strategies to ensure the return of every inch of Vieques territory to the people. Key part of this process will be the establishment of mechanisms – as a community land trust – to ensure the appropriate use of these resources for the benefit of the people of Vieques, now and in the future.


R. Rabin, Vieques, 7 April 2016

Director Museo Vieques at Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña and Director atArchivo Histórico de Vieques/Museo de la Memoria Histórica de Vieques

Translation:

Sobre los terrenos de Vieques mencionados en el borrador proyecto de ley para crear la Junta de Control Fiscal Federal para Puerto Rico:

Hace poco salió a relucir en la prensa del país que el borrdor de ley para crear la Junta de Control Fiscal Federal sobre Puerto Rico incluye la idea de vender a intereses privados 3 mil cuerdas en la zona oeste de Vieques actualmente bajo el control del Servicio de Pesca y Vida Silvestre del Departamento del Interior.

Pedro Pierluisi, comisionado residente de Puerto Rico en Washington y un congresista en Utah, aparentemente, son los autores de esta sugerencia que concuerda con los pensamientos neoliberales de la privatización de todo.

Mis pensamientos:

Todos los terrenos que la Marina de Guerra de EU expropio en Vieques deben regresar al pueblo de Vieques bajo un Fideicomiso de Terrenos, con el fin de asegurar el control y uso comunitario de ese patrimonio.

Pesca y Vida Silvestre (DOI) fue impuesto en Vieques por el congreso de los EU, como manera de castigar al pueblo por haber sacado a su Marina. Aquí como en muchos otros lugares en EU, PVS/DOI entran en control de terrenos contaminados por las fuerzas armadas u otras agencias federales como estrategia para minimizar el nivel de responsabilidad de limpieza.

El pueblo viequense, con el apoyo de amplios sectores de la nación puertorriqueña y con enormes sacrificios, puso fin al uso militar de aproximadamente 23 mil cuerdas en la Isla Nena. Esos sacrificios fueron parte de una lucha histórica de décadas de pescadores, trabajadores, lideres religiosos, universitarios, mujeres y jóvenes para rescatar su isla y emprender un proyecto de desarrollo saludable para las próximas generaciones.

Cualquier intento de vender esos terrenos a los buitres especuladores y mal llamados “desarrollistas” se enfrentará a un pueblo unido con una nueva oleada de militancia y desobediencia civil a la 1999-2003.

Es urgente una conversación seria entre los sectores viequenses y la gente solidaria del resto de la nación puertorriqueña – aquí y en la diáspora – para crear las estrategias necesarias para lograr la devolución de cada pulgada de territorio viequense al pueblo. Parte clave de este proceso será la creación de mecanismos – como un Fideicomiso Comunitario de Tierras – para garantizar el uso apropiado de estos recursos en beneficio del pueblo viequense ahora y en el futuro.

R. Rabin, Vieques 7 de abril de 2016

Director Museo Vieques at Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña and Director atArchivo Histórico de Vieques/Museo de la Memoria Histórica de Vieques

Mi abuelita never made it back to her island of Vieques. She tried many times, right until the end of her life. My father never made it either.

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Vieques was liberated and the US Military was kicked out, after many decades, but not before they passed.

If they were here today, they would be standing with Mr. Rabin, fighting, fists high, hearts strong.

Please speak up against the privatization of Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Speak up today… before it is too late … again. #HeedWisely

 

 

 

 

 

thorn

Shunned. The Shame of My Teachers Union – A Good Friday Reflection


Day 1 of Spring Break. I am up bright and early on this beautiful Good Friday morning.

The sun is shining over my little piece of Florida. We say tomorrow will always be a better day. Today, it came true.

I am thankful to be the mom of two wonderful daughters, raised among a family that stretches far and wide. I am thankful for my hardworking husband who never fails to be there for us. I am thankful to live in a caring, compassionate community of citizens.

Good Friday is a good day to remember what we are thankful for. After all, Jesus is a good ol’ hero of mine. He fought for what was right. He was persecuted. He would not be held down…

I’m with him.

I’ve been shunned by my teachers union, all the way to the top.

Make no mistake. Once, they loved me. I joined, I rallied, I organized, I affected change. But, then I witnessed, and then I whistled …

I blew the whistle. Hard.

I blew the whistle on election violations. I blew the whistle on unfounded, unvetted, early endorsements. I blew the whistle on backdoor deals. I did what you are never supposed to do – I blew the whistle on union leadership.

I blew hard. And, they buried me.

I am the shame of my union.

I am ashamed of my union.

I’m not with leadership. I’m not with Hillary.

I’m not with her. .

In my classroom, I have a saying written across the top of my board:

“Tomorrow is Always a Better Day.”

It is a daily reminder to keep on keeping on. It is a reminder to keep up the fight and to keep up the faith. I will do just that.

Will you?

I’m with you.

 

thorn

 

cats

Teacher Sings Testing Parody to the Tune of “MaCavity” from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Musical “Cats”


It is amazing how creative a teacher can be while passing time giving standardized tests. All that standing in silence, hour after hour, day after day, in a classroom full of testing teens, can really get the creative juices flowing. After all, during state testing, teachers are locked down right along with the kids.

Here is the product of one teacher’s enraged captivity.

She writes: “Today as we took a prep test for ISTEP, I wrote a little song…to the tune of “MaCavity” from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical “Cats”. It’s called ACUITY….”

Acuity’s a test we take
In middle school times three
The data’s used for lesson plans
But scores don’t affect me.
(restart melody)

It takes a week from teaching kids
The kids, they bitch and moan
Technology won’t work today
And reading is a groan
Who makes this test,
Are they insane?
Do they have half a brain?
The public wonders why our youth
Is going down the drain!
It doesn’t matter what they know
Assessing no one’s brain.
Preparing them for life, it don’t,
All testing is so lame!

Acuity’s a pointless test
It’s called the suck of time.
It takes too long, we lose a week;
This should be called a crime!

The reading’s long, can’t find their pins
Excruciating days

Computers froze, long-winded prose
It don’t affect my raise

They Christmas tree , disrupt and plea
And drive me quite crazy

And when you think it’s time to end,
They add the writing phase!

Acuity, Acuity,
no matter how I whine,
The state don’t know, the state don’t care
We’re squandering our time.
The clock it ticks
Severely slow
I swear the hand is stuck.
The Grapes of wrath
For eight grade math?
That takes a lot of pluck.
The kids don’t try
I ain’t gone lie
I wish I gave a duck.
And though we know it won’t be used
The state won’t give it up!
Acuity…Acuity…Acuity…

 

effie

The Testing Games : Part 2 – Starring Hillary Clinton as Effie Trinket #WhatTheEff?


Do your students look at you, like we look at Effie Trinket, and wonder, “What the Eff?”

Listen to GrassRoots Mom’s latest podcast:  The Testing Games, Part 2, Starring Hillary Clinton as Effie Trinket! #WhatTheEff?

Available also on You Tube:

For more GatorBonBC Snark, check out my  GrassRootsMom Podcast!

 

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Hypocrisy of My Teachers Union: If It Looks Like A Duck & Quacks Like A Duck, It’s Duck, Baby


Can I take a quick break from the Testing Games to point out a quick example of hypocrisy?

Specifically, I’d like to note the hypocrisy of our Florida FEA union suing our state for the Best & Brightest scholarship, based on it being a form of age discrimination against older teachers, when our own local union bargained to give huge raises to young teachers and nothing to old fogies like me. Really? Really?

Old fogies unite.

Here is my point:

On Monday, the Florida Education Association put some heft behind the words, filing a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Florida Commission on Human Relations. The complaint states:

 

“The exemption of first-year teachers from the requirement that they provide evidence of being rated “highly effective” under the respondent employers’ performance evaluation system further discriminates against and has a disparate impact on teachers older than 40 years old. First-year teachers are overwhelmingly younger than 40 years of age.

OK. Makes sense. They filed a lawsuit.

But, now this. Our local Lee County union, TALC, just released it’s proposed contract changes, bargained for local Lee county teachers. Turns out, older teachers won’t see a penny of increase in their pay.

Not a penny.

But, younger, newer teachers are getting a hefty chunk. Very hefty.

How is that not age discrimination?

Why would our union sue against age discrimination and then commit the act themselves?

Hypocrisy. Call that duck what it is …

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Wake Up. Our unions. Our contracts. Our choice. Our vote.

ps. I would provide a copy/link of our local union contract changes proposal but, even though we must vote in just a few days, the official document has not been sent out to members by our local union. So, instead, I will borrow the comment of a wonderful Lee County teacher who posted this online:

“I know you all work hard for us, but I, too, am very disappointed. If you look at how much I have made in the last 10 years, it hasn’t changed very much. I am working towards my retirement and I’m disheartened by how people who have given so much to our district are constantly left out.

 

The idea to increase the beginning teacher’s salaries is to bring in more people on an annual contract and to appease those who are thinking of looking elsewhere for employment. Just like the Best and the Brightest “Scholarship” helps Teach For America and it’s corporate and political backers, this just helps some.

 

When I first started teaching I would get so excited to see the possibility of what I would be getting at my retirement when the forms came in the mail. I didn’t realize that they were figuring in 6% raise each year in their predictions. As it is now, I would make a little more than half of what I make now, and for each year I work, my future cost of living increase goes down. It was definitely bait and switch.

 

New teachers, realize that you will be me someday. Do you want to be left out after you have put so many years into the system? Do you want the book, computer, and test companies taking money from our families’ lives? We ALL deserve more!”

Bravo. I could not have said it better. Do the right thing, Lee. Expect better.

#JustVoteNo

walmart

The Hypocrisy of OUR Teacher Union Leadership Bragging about Hillary Clinton in Nevada


So, I see our president,  Randi Weingarten, president of our 1.6-million member American Federation of Teachers union,  bragging that they helped Hillary Clinton win Nevada.

Ha. Really?

Listen. Teacher unions have a few mantras. If you have ever been involved in one, you know. Fight charter schools. Fight against tying test scores to contracts. Fight against privatization.

Who are they fighting? Big corporations, like, um … Walmart.

Oh yea. Walmart and unions … not friends.

But …

Who is our teacher union leadership  running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to get elected to President of the United States?

Yup. You guessed it. Poster child for Walmart, herself…

Hillary Clinton.

Seriously. You can’t make this stuff up.

Ward Harkavy, Village Voice, 2000 – Twice in three days last week, Hillary Rodham Clinton basked in the adulation of cheering unions . . . They would have dropped their forks if they had heard that Hillary served for six years on the board of the dreaded Wal-Mart, a union-busting behemoth. If they had learned the details of her friendship with Wal-Mart, they might have lost their lunches. . . 


As she was leaving the dais, she ignored a reporter’s question about Wal-Mart, and she ignored it again when she strode by reporters in the hotel lobby.

But there are questions. In 1986, when Hillary was first lady of Arkansas, she was put on the board of Wal-Mart. Officials at the time said she wasn’t filling a vacancy. In May 1992, as Hubby’s presidential campaign heated up, she resigned from the board of Wal-Mart. Company officials said at the time that they weren’t going to fill her vacancy.

So what the hell was she doing on the Wal-Mart board? According to press accounts at the time, she was a show horse at the company’s annual meetings when founder Sam Walton bused in cheering throngs to celebrate his non-union empire, which is headquartered in Arkansas, one of the country’s poorest states. According to published reports, she was placed in charge of the company’s “green” program to protect the environment.

But nobody got greener than Sam Walton and his family. For several years in the ’80s, he was judged the richest man in America by Forbes magazine; his fortune zoomed into the billions until he split it up among relatives. It’s no surprise that Hillary is a strong supporter of free trade with China. Wal-Mart, despite its “Buy American” advertising campaign, is the single largest U.S. importer, and half of its imports come from China.

Was Hillary the voice of conscience on the board for American and foreign workers? Contemporary accounts make no mention of that. They do describe her as a “corporate litigator” in those days, and they mention, speaking of environmental matters, that she also served on the board of Lafarge, a company that, according to a press account, once burned hazardous fuels to run its cement plants. . .
And the Clintons depended on Wal-Mart’s largesse not only for Hillary’s regular payments as a board member but for travel expenses on Wal-Mart planes and for heavy campaign contributions to Bill’s campaigns there and nationally. . .

Lisa Featherstone, Nation 2005– Unlike so many horrible things, Wal-Mart cannot be blamed on George W. Bush. The Arkansas-based company prospered under the state’s native son Bill Clinton when he was governor and President. Sam Walton and his wife, Helen, were close to the Clintons, and for several years Hillary Clinton, whose law firm represented Wal-Mart, served on the company’s board of directors. Bill Clinton’s “welfare reform” has provided Wal-Mart with a ready workforce of women who have no choice but to accept its poverty wages and discriminatory policies.

Just read this from today’s edition of USA Today and ask yourself … why did our union leadership jump to endorse Hillary Clinton ?

First, some background. Clinton was a director at Wal-Mart from 1986-1992, a time of rapid growth for the company. From 1986-1991, Wal-Mart created 230,000 jobs, more than any other firm in the country. The company grew quickly because it was wildly profitable and it was wildly profitable because it obsessively managed expenses. Cost management was vital to Walmart because, like most retailers, its profit margin — the amount of profit a business makes on each dollar in sales— is notoriously thin. For every dollar in sales Walmart makes, the company pockets just about three cents in profit.

Of course, then, as now, Walmart’s biggest cost was labor. And to keep labor costs in check, Wal-Mart took pains to make sure its workers didn’t unionize. During Clinton’s tenure, the company’s strategy for dealing with organized labor was directed by fellow board member, John Tate. Mr. Tate famously summed up his philosophy at a 2004 managers meeting: “Labor unions are nothing but blood-sucking parasites living off the productive labor of people who work for a living.”

According to former board members, Clinton did not denounce the ‘anti-union’ efforts Tate spearheaded, nor rail for increased employee wages. Donald G. Soderquist, the board’s then vice chairman, has said that not only was Clinton “not a dissenter,” but that “she was a part of those decisions.” Wal-Mart’s stock rose by more than 500%during her tenure and Clinton’s shares were worth nearly $100,000 by 1992.

Clinton’s Wal-Mart tenure not only not only raises the issue of hypocrisy, but it makes one question whether she even believes in her own policy prescriptions.

Whose interests are our teacher union leaders representing?

Not ours.

Maybe they should have polled more than 2% of members before endorsing. #JustSaying

Wake. Up. Members. Wake. Up. Voters. #WithAQuickness

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ps. Really, Randi?

Ms. Weingarten suggested that some of the blame for confusion about the level of labor support for Mrs. Clinton resided with the A.F.L.-C.I.O

Pitting us against AFL- CIO?

Choosing Hillary over solidarity? That’s low…

The reason folks doubt support your endorsement of Hillary is

because you endorsed without even asking.

Big mistake.

#Huge.