Sunday, April 24, 2011

To those on Rogers Cable: how to watch the election results early

On election night in 2008, I switched my channel on Rogers Cable to one of the Newfoundland stations before Rogers had a chance to black-out the signal.  When the election coverage started in Newfoundland, the TV image became multiple freeze-frames with crappy audio.  However, I was able to get a visual of what was happening in Newfoundland & Labrador and the Maritimes.  At 15 minutes before the polls closed in Ontario, I changed the channel, and changed back to the Newfoundland station.  The Rogers Cable block had worked.

If you are on Rogers Cable, turn to a Newfoundland or Atlantic Canada station first before the election night coverage starts.  The video and audio will freeze.  However, the freeze-frames will change every few seconds.  You may see the results if you are lucky.  Just do not change the channel, or that station will be blacked-out if you do return to it.

Ottawa Citizen: Elections Canada to muzzle Twitter

Fascists 3
Visitors 3
Commies 3
Traitors 1
Ewoks 0
Hermits 0

Will the Fascists be wiped out in Port Edward, New Bear, New Scotland, and Newfreeland?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rise up videos. Ah, the memories.


Video (Obligatory 15 second ad first):

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Faux News North starts tomorrow (Monday 6 a.m. EDT)

It looks like the old Sun TV comedy/drama programs are disappearing, and the new Faux News North is starting at 6 a.m. Monday.  Since, this is an over the air station in Toronto, Rogers customers will have no way to avoid Faux News North.

Channel 15 on Rogers in Toronto.

Toronto Sun: Facebook ban is social nutworking (Rachel Sa)

Toronto Sun's Rachel Sa writes:

In a shortsighted move, the Ontario College of Teachers has instructed its members to refrain from connecting with students through social networks.

Word went out in an advisory issued to the college’s 230,000 members this past week. The order is non-binding, but it will still be influential.

Ms. Sa also writes:

In addition to connecting with students on their own turf, and using Facebook as part of the educational process, teachers can also use Facebook to monitor situations that could develop into cyberbullying. And to get information on other potential problems outside the classroom.

First, I will write about the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT).  The OCT is not a teachers' organization; it is a public organization that includes teachers as elected and appointed members.  Teachers do hold 23 of the 37 elected positions.  Of those 23 positions, 18 are elected by teachers; the other four are elected by principal/vice principals, supervisory officers, private school staff members, and those who work in faculties of education.  The other 14 positions are appointed by the provincial government.  People who complain that the OCT is union controlled must understand that unionized teachers have a bare majority of one on the OCT council.

Next, the role of the Ontario College of Teachers is to set the professional standards and practices of all teachers, and to investigate if a teacher may fail to meet those standards and practices.  Teachers as professionals must meet the standards and practices 24 hours per day--not just the seven hours teachers are with students each school day.  That means that teachers cannot go a restaurant with his/her secondary school students, and order a beer for him/herself.  Secondary school teachers may not have sexual relationships with students who are at least 18 years old even though those particular students are legally adults.  Thankfully, women-teachers are now allowed to go into saloons.  They were not allowed in the 19th century.  Within the classroom, teachers must use the best teaching practices using the resources that are available within their schools.

Rachel Sa writes that teachers and students should be able to communicate with their students using different social media instruments.  I understand that new technological tools make it easier for students and teachers to communicate with each other outside school.  That does not mean it is better.  As a teacher, I do not give students my phone number, email, or make them my Facebook friend.  Even though the students are adorable (sometimes), I do not have a personal relationship with them.  I must maintain my professionalism with them all the time.  With respect to technological tools, school boards provide teachers and students with programs such as Moodle that allow both to communicate with each other about curriculum content.

Outside school, I do not need to spy on my students through their Facebook sites.  I do not need to go to just to find out that I rate highly because I am a kool teacher, or rate poorly because I am a jerk who gave a student a failing grade on his/her report card.

Yes, students do sometimes bully each other outside of school.  However, my job is not to solve students' problems, but to work with students at school by teaching them the curriculum, having them learn it, and to facilitate in issues that they may present to me or that I observe.  When I mean facilitate, I mean that I do not solve the students' issues, but help them to solve their own problems.  If I must discipline a student, it is not because he/she has bullied someone.  It is because he/she has broken a school or classroom rule such as "no hitting" or "no teasing anyone."  The issue of bullying can be dealt with during a period of discipline such as detention or loss of privileges.  I may deal with the prevention of bullying through story-telling and having students role-play in the classroom.   However, I do not spy on the students on Facebook; I do not follow them as they go home at the end of the school day.  Teachers have a lot of work to prepare for the next day.  Teachers have lives of their own outside of school.

I need to go have some cactus-juice. (Cue to 15:47.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My dad and politics

I just finished having a conversation on Skype with my dad.  He and my mother live in Helena Guergis's riding.  My dad mentioned that he will be voting for the Liberal candidate.  He does have a beef with Michael Ignatieff which is that Mr. Ignatieff is not going after Harper's poor economic record hard enough.  My dad talked about the Mulroney years when the deficit and debt went up.  He talked about the Chr├ętien/Martin years when the deficit was eliminated, and the debt started to decline.  He mentioned how the deficit and debt started back on their inclines once Harper got into power.  Ignatieff needs to vigorously attack Harper on his poor economic record.

My dad is a fairly small-c conservative guy.  He would likely vote Conservative if that party could manage the country fairly well.  He won't voting for Harper's Conservatives this time.  As a small-c conservative guy, today was the first time that I heard my dad call Harper "a dictator."  It's one thing when a middle-aged guy like me calls Harper "a dictator."  It's another when my dad does the same.  My dad feels that if Harper gets his majority, we Canadians will be on the road to losing our democracy.  His opinions are of his own making, and not of my influence.

How will I vote?  As some of you know already, I will probably not be voting unless one of the major opposition party leaders advocates for some form of proportional representation.  I know that the NDP has voting reform in its platform.  However, I have not heard Jack Layton mention anything about proportional representation.  I want to know that Jack Layton and the NDP are serious about voting reform.  So far, I don`t sense it.  In my riding, I don`t have the fear that the Conservative candidate will win.  The local Liberal candidate will likely be re-elected.  If the NDP or another major party wants its $2.00 vote subsidy from me, then that party needs to advocate proudly for voting reform.

Fortunately for the Liberals, my dad will be voting for the local Liberal candidate in his riding.