Crowd Dynamics at the State of the Union

My favorite body language analyst covers the SOTU focusing on crowd dynamics. It’s an interesting aspect to the event that I haven’t seen others examine.

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Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve caught a cold and have been mainly staying home, drinking tea, reading a bit and resting.

I did read the selection for this month’s Great Books discussion at the library. We read and discussed Darwin’s Moral Sense of Man, rather a dry read in my opinion. I do accept Darwin’s ideas, which I think are pervasive nowadays, but I’m not all that interested in natural history, which he describes in detail. I did appreciate a woman who clarified the idea of Natural Selection. I mistakenly thought our choices in mates and behavior determined the survival of the fittest, but it’s all about how nature chooses. We’re just little pawns as far as that goes. Our group leader rambled a lot and as has become usual the discussion goes all over the place with tangents like robots and Trump getting mixed in. The Great Books Foundation aims to gather people to discuss an influential text and stick to analyzing it and not roaming all over the place, which is too easy to do.

I ran into a childhood friend’s mother at the library. Her daughter an I were great friends from first to third grade. In fourth grade I changed schools and later I moved so we lost touch. It was nice to hear a little bit about Laura and what she’s doing now. I do hope my old friend drops by one day.

There’s a new opening at my library and Wednesday I’ll interview for this position, which is a step up, but alas still part time. still my fingers are crossed. I haven’t heard from the other library yet about whom they’ve chosen. Skokie’s a well respected library so I know it’s quite competitive.

I’ve been quite disappointed with PBS NewsHour, which I count on as a sound news source, but they were in error twice last week. First they broadcast the Buzzfeed story that Cohen testified that President Trump told him to lie. The Mueller team soon stated that this was not the case. While the story was amended, I’d love to see an apology tonight and a statement that they should have investigated the veracity of Buzzfeed’s report, which was written by a known plagiarizer. Next there’s the mess with the boys from the Catholic school and a stand off involving a Native American man and the Black Hebrews. Originally, the boys were reported to mock the Native American and to be troublemakers. Later a more complete video was shared online and it became clear that the boys weren’t in the wrong. Again, the media, including PBS rushed to boradcast a story before they found out all the facts. It’s disgraceful because these errors impact people’s reputations or understanding of the  government.  With the boys, people have contacted the colleges they applied to and asked that these kids get rejected. They’ve discovered their contact information and have harassed and threatened them and their relatives. A mob mentality has been unleashed and it’s hard to contain it. Again, I hope to see PBS and other channels apologize and vow to adhere to a higher standard.

I got the Moone Boy series DVDs and finally saw the final series. I love this Irish sitcom, about pre-teen Martin Moone and his imaginary friend Sean. It’s not to be missed.

Executive Suite

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Executive Suite is as relevant today as it was when it was released in 1954. Directed by Robert Wise, Executive Suite begins with Avery Bullard, Tredway Co. president, whom we never see, calling a last minute meeting and then suddenly dropping dead on the street. From a skyscraper’s window one of the executives sees Bullard’s body on the street and immediately places a short sale on company stock that he doesn’t have the funds to pay for, planning to cash in.

Bullard was legendary, but had no succession plan. He turned the struggling furniture company around but has let it go stagnant recently. He’s been romancing the founder’s daughter, played by Barbara Stanwyck, but recently has been ignoring her. It seems he’s checked out are relied on prior charm and expertise and has been coasting.

As Bullard’s i.d. was missing it took a while to identify the body. Once they do, the executives now must vote for a new president. Shaw, the numbers man, wants the post and begins to persuade his colleagues to vote for him. Blackmail is not beyond him. Good guy, who’s in the design and development division, McDonald Walling is played by William Holden.

Also starring June Allyson, Frederick March, and Shelley Winters, Executive Suite addresses relevant concerns like corporate vision, responsibility to workers and the duty to create quality products at a fair price.

Standing Up for EFL Professionals

I ran across Association for Teachers of English in Korea (ATEK), an interesting professional association’s website this morning. My first guess was that some professionals in Korea were tired of KOTESOL’s lack of advocacy, much needed advocacy for teachers and they banded together to get some equity. Yet later as I read through the website, I saw that they state that advocacy isn’t their main mission. Evidently, the Korean government prohibits foreigners from engaging in local politics, even foreigners who have lived and will live in Korea for years and years.

Here’s a portion of a letter they wrote to the Korea Press Ethics Commission:

DATE: July 13, 2009

TO: Korean Press Ethics Commission

FROM: Association for Teachers of English in Korea

RE: Negative Representations of Native English Teachers in the Press

Recently, there has been an alarming increase in the number and severity of negative articles about foreign English teachers living in Korea. This is not only damaging to teachers, but also to the society as a whole because it weakens the social contract for everyone.

The Korean Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and the press as a basic right of citizens, with prior censorship banned, but qualifies free expression. Article 21(4) provides that “neither speech nor the press shall violate the honor or rights of other persons nor undermine public morals or social ethics. Should speech or the press violate the honor or rights of other persons, claims may be made for the damage resulting there from.” This association is not seeking damages; only fair treatment in the press.

It is the duty of a free and independent press to present the news as it happens, and to provide facts, context, and analysis. Professional news organizations, and indeed all mass media outlets, have a responsibility to adhere to the agreed upon journalistic standards of practice.

The current trend in reporting on foreign teachers does not meet the standards set in the Korean Code of Press Ethics.

[Click to read more]

Bravo! It’s good to see professionals taking the high road and holding people accountable.  Too often EFL teachers behave like they need to suffer any and hall hardship and disrespect just so they can take some breadcrumbs and scrape by. Sad to see college educated people do so, but it’s common. I’m not sure how successful ATEK is, but they fill a void. KOTESOL puts on a good conference and maybe should stick to that while other groups get teachers the rights they deserve for their hard work.