Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Sol Pais: Camouflaged for Suicide?


I've written on this subject before when it concerned the killing of Tamir Rice.  And the subject is the allegation that a suspect who has not yet committed a crime is dressed in camouflage clothing.

In the case of Sol Pais, the authorities alleged that she was dressed in camouflage.  Now this may seem like a minor point but the authorities in Colorado had evacuated schools based on the fact that a 5'6" 18 year old who was painfully thin had purchased a shotgun.  The shotgun purchase was wholly a legal transaction. And a shotgun, while a weapon that can kill in the hands of someone who was proficient enough to load, point, aim, and shoot it, is not an automatic, high capacity weapon.

Did I mention that she was a high school student in Florida unfamiliar with Colorado climate?

Sooo.

The question remains why the authorities who lost track (and we'll soon circle back to this rather dubious claim) of Pais - presumably for days after arriving in Colorado would claim she was dressed in camouflage when she was wearing a black heavy metal group T-shirt, black shoes and black designer camouflage pants at the airport.

Are we to believe this outfit would disguise her as something other than who she was - a short, slightly built eighteen year old? One would think that any teenager of this description would blend in at a high school regardless of what they were wearing.

Now, don't get me wrong, a teenager carrying a shotgun into school would be the giveaway, again - regardless of what they were wearing.

But Sol Pais was not traveling to Colorado to visit a high school. She was there to commit suicide.  You don't need ineffective, fashionista camouflage to do that.   And out in the snowy forest, how could that outfit camouflage her no matter what her motivations were.

No, the truth is that when authorities smear descriptions such as this on subjects they are ratcheting up the ante.  Police who might otherwise approach her calmly will approach her with apprehension and a reflexive trigger-finger.  Likewise its plausible deniability for every wannbe Batman or Wonder Woman to shoot first and ask questions later if they go bounty hunting.

I have yet to find an official autopsy or postmortem for this tragedy - it appears to be getting whitewashed.  That's too bad. There are lessons to be learned.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sol Pais: The Fabricated School Threats

The major search engines are no longer dependable repositories of objective information.  For the most cynical critics this observation is not new but in my experience there was a time when an individual could search the web and find all kinds of alternative interpretations of newsworthy information.

In researching Sol Pais's suicide and the events leading up to it, I've had to slog through an ocean of disinformation lucratively distributed by the Main Stream Media as its dictated by government officials who fabricate it for public consumption. The MSM reports this fiction seamlessly and without question.  And now Google and the mainstream search engines and social media sites comply as well.

The narrative that is almost ubiquitously coughed up when searching anything having to do with Sol Pais is that she threatened schools.

Dark as these times may be to compare various sources and opinions about information, there are always cracks in the cyber censorship model.

In this news report, information missing or obfuscated by the broader MSM is yet uncensored;

""Columbine and other schools tightened security the afternoon of April 16 and closed entirely on April 17 when authorities still had not located Pais. She never threatened a specific school, authorities said. 
Her body was found on April 17 in the foothills west of Denver. Authorities knew Pais was last seen in the area on April 15 but it was unclear when she killed herself until the coroner’s report Wednesday. 
“Based on the information we had at the time, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, in conjunction with school districts in the Denver Metro area, took the necessary steps to ensure our communities, and particularly our students, stayed safe until there was no longer a threat,” Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said in a statement. 
An FBI spokeswoman declined comment Wednesday."

In fact, Pais never threatened any school or individual.  This is precisely why FBI spokespeople refuse to speak.  It is far more advantageous to allow the innuendo that Pais threatened a school or schools to float around on social media than to truthfully admit that this was a precautionary, cover-your-worthless-government-ass speculation.

Later, the same article notes,
"An autopsy summary by the Clear Creek County coroner estimated that 18-year-old Sol Pais likely died on April 15 — the day authorities said she flew to Denver from Miami. The FBI’s Denver office said it learned of Pais’ travel the following morning. Agents also learned the day after she died that Pais had gone directly to a gun store from the airport and purchased a shotgun and ammunition. 
Pais was already dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound by the time agents began retracing her steps, according to the coroner’s initial autopsy findings. 
Chief Deputy Coroner Harriet Hamilton said Wednesday that the office is awaiting test results before producing a final autopsy report. 
The gun purchase and other warning signs, including Pais’ past conversations about the 1999 Columbine shooting, led the FBI and local law enforcement to consider the young woman a potential threat to schools and issue a public warning about her, authorities have said."

Had Sol Pais threatened a school in any way a voice recording of that threat would exist.  I have yet to encounter any such thing.  To be specific, such a recording would be, as we say in the legal vernacular, "empirical proof" - "evidence", "motive" - more than just plain old bullshit.

The so-called "threat" was an imagined threat to a community whose psychological well-being is in worse shape than its many cult tragedy tribes.  I'll delve into this subject in a later post.   The authorities and post-traumatically-stressed community figures project their fears into opportunities like this.  The recipe is simple - mention Columbine, visit the area, ask about or buy a gun legally and spark a conversation with a local.  Instant crisis.

Here's a copy of the "public warning":


You will notice the No Probable Cause to Arrest heading. You will also notice "considered armed and dangerous" - again based on the infatuated with Columbine School shooting semantic tag that they assigned to her identity.

These kinds of public warnings expose the individual to potential vigilante justice while dog whistling to the authorities that the media by-product of such a warning will trigger a social encounter that will justify terminating the subject's life.

And given this kind of warning, what could  local officials conclude other than emptying the schools?  The confluence of the expectation of violence on the anniversary of the Columbine shootings, the mischaracterization of misguided souls such as Sol Pais, and the hair-trigger, over-reaction by the Columbine community toward even the faintest hint of local interest is a recipe for collateral damage every anniversary period.

The actual autopsy results are yet to be made public.  Nor has any official postmortem analysis of the event been publicized.






Thursday, April 25, 2019

I Got an Idea, Let's Split Up!

Audiences never groaned often enough toward the end of grade 'B' scare movies when the individuals who remained alive during the killing spree came to the conclusion that they should "split up".  We all knew how that would work out.

In recent years there have even been product promotions making fun of the meme. Just a little something to keep in mind...


Over the decades of mass shootings, American schools have been hardened to become fortresses that could thwart violent invasion by one or more lunatics.  There are cameras that can count the pimples on student's cheeks, secured entrances and exits, one-way glass, and so on.

Now, its true that the security officers in any given school may be nothing more than a retired lady or gentleman who isn't intimidating anyone.  Still, its more than nothing.

Furthermore, the entire staff at schools and many businesses are trained in survival techniques - hiding, sheltering, and much more.   The most critical advice involves the question of fight or flight.  This is not a decision that is to be taken lightly and a healthy feedback loop of information - one would think - will include the risk involved in taking a stand.  After all, the concept of "Can I win this fight" - "What are my chances of survival" - and other such considerations come in -cough- handy.

I think you can sense where I'm going with this line of reasoning.


I think its fair to say that the Sol Pais example richly illustrates how fucked up law enforcement has become in protecting citizens, in accurately identifying the problem, in covering up their compounded stupidity, and in, far too often, aggravating already bad situations into total cluster fucks of incompetence.

Let's peel the onion together.

Sol Pais was a 5'5" (65") tall high school student who bought a shotgun to kill herself with.  That information was telegraphed in plain english for any intelligent human being to see.  And we know the authorities saw it before the rest of us did.

She wasn't intending to attack a school or anyone other than harm herself.  She wasn't buying easily concealed automatic weapons or even heavy artillery long guns.  No.  I mean if she wanted to attack anywhere, she would have done *that*.  After all, she probably never shot a gun of any kind in her life - she spent her time in her room, depressed listening to death metal music, and she curated a website pretty much dedicated to it.  She certainly wasn't at the shooting range. And she certainly wasn't trying to sneak into a school with an obviously difficult-to-hide shotgun given her stature.

So when the authorities circulated a photo that made her look like a thirty year old crack addict, machine-gun momma they were not only wrong, they were causing a panic in Denver.  Furthermore, they claimed she was insane because her father (drinking the official kool-aid) said there must be something wrong with her.  The complete context of this exchange is yet to be pieced together.

So.  Circling back to our previous thoughts about fight or flight - people in the area had no reason to believe it was not riskier to fight than flee if it came to that.  It seems to me that the public should expect a more comprehensive profile than that.

By now the parents were crawling up the asses of the authorities to do *SOMETHING/ANYTHING*!  And so they did.  The authorities quietly panicked.  They not only dismissed Columbine but schools all over the area - because, hey, you can't be too careful.

Right?

Right??

Of course that meant instead of being locked down in a protected fortress students were sent home in unprotected school buses that clogged traffic lanes and neighborhood streets. Had an actual shooter or shooters been loose, these targets would have been easy pickings.  Or malls congested with congregating teenagers.

Genius.



First draft.




.




Monday, April 22, 2019

Sol Pais WAS NOT Obsessed by Columbine AT ALL

I spent this evening examining Sol Pais's journal on her website.

The journal consists of 61 pages curated by Sol to be discovered after her suicide attempt [keep in mind she might have been assassinated first]. The reference to potentially have been killed by someone other than her own hand will be dealt with in a separate blog entry.

There is not a single reference to Columbine in any of it. NOT A ONE.

There is not a single reference to killing anyone other than herself anywhere in the journal.

There is not a single drawing of anyone associated with Columbine or any other such event anywhere in the journal.

There is not even a temporal overlay to suggest she had any awareness of Columbine at all.  Columbine happened before she was born.  If she had been exposed to something that fascinated her, not a single link on her quite sophisticated website even hints an interest.  Any fair reading of her journal is compelling eveidence that she would not have been shy about it.

The authorities are demonizing and slandering this young woman's reputation.

She was never a threat to anyone.  She was gifted and brilliantly suicidal. She was not mentally ill in any criminal sense of the terminology.

She was a tortured soul who found solace in Death Metal music and lyrics.  Its often difficult to disambiguate her words against the fabric of lyrics from songs that express her feelings. The journal, taken as a whole, is an American Post-Modern mantra that gives the Tibetan Book of the Dead a run for its money.

Sol Pais, much like a terminal patient with something to leave behind, speaks privately what she cannot express in her day to day life.  The doctored photograph of her face covered is a classic metaphor for those who might bellow, "I have no mouth and I must scream!"

Sol Pais could not reconcile her existence.  Its a terrible self-knowledge she agonizes with on page after page.  She, like everyone who commits suicide, welcomes an end.  Its not something most of us can understand or accept but it is real.

The only indication she gives of why she feels an outsider is expressed on page 29, dated 6/29/18. She feels an outsider in an [oppressively] liberal high school.  Her rant could well be a meme for anyone who is intelligent and forced to witness the masses at work.




The agony of Sol Pais as a conservative student in a liberal school should serve as an important milestone for all of us.  The current political climate is adversely affecting generations of youth who may be as ready to check out of this world as engage it. 

We can't "woke" the dead.


Her suicide was planned and she would do it in the woods of Colorado.  She drew both the shotgun she would buy and a landscape that was her destination accurately looking like the woods of Colorado.  This illustration is on page 24 no date but sandwiched between 6/18/18 and 6/21/18.


The shotgun shows up on page 35 dated July 14, 2018.  I need to triangulate this to the correspondence about acquiring guns in Colorado by someone also using DissolvedGirl as an avatar.  Dissolved Girl is a sub-genre rock song that could be used by many fans of the music.









The journal pages are sequential and occasionally dated.  The illustrations circulated by authorities appear before page 5, dated May 27, 2018.
The illustration being sold as a Columbine shooter is in fact a man holding a large book.  We know that because Sol practiced drawing the book just to the left of the character who could be a priest, rabbi, speaker, or fantasy movie figure (see illustration).  Of course if what you are trying to sell is the Columbine myth, books are dangerous weapons.

It is on page 11, sandwiched between May 27, 2018 and June 17, 2018.






This is a second, updated, draft, I'm pressed for time but I'll flesh this out even more.


My warning falling on deaf ears and now obsolete but preserved for reference...

April 22, 2018 - New suspicious activity and assertions by the Cult of Columbine authorities is that Sol died wearing a guerrilla camouflage outfit.  This woman was committing suicide not honing her skills as a sniper using a shotgun.  There is a nasty cover-up being perpetrated here.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Social Media Fabric that Swallowed Sol Pais

Invitational disclaimer:  Years ago, I had much more free time to spend investigating topics of special interest The best I can do is offer educated speculation that I hope provokes and stimulates attention and goodwill discussion of the topics at hand.  I'm more than happy to be proved wrong.  That's a long way of saying the you're welcome to complement anything you read here with comments, criticism, or your own writing elsewhere.

As of this writing we are still debating the ebbing tide of concern about fake news. Fake news, for the most part, is information that is widely distributed to distort the reality of political events. Fake news isn't exclusive to politics but that's where it garners the most attention.

I became aware of the Sol Pais story on Thursday, April 18. When I started looking for information it seemed to have appeared whole cloth - Sol Pais was imitating the Columbine shooters, the FBI was looking for her, she was dead, and here's all the corroborating evidence she deserved to die. Boom.

The story didn't develop from one event to the other. Mostly, its over. back to Mueller and Russia, and Trump-hate news.

Burp.

I am blessed and cursed by sensing patterns. And nothing about the news reports, before or since, strike me as anything but empty echoes by law enforcement that rationalized their hunting down of Sol Pais.  The closer I look, the more I distrust everything being asserted about this teenager.

I first wrote about the subject of "swatting" back in 2014.

A more recent example involved gamers. 

There's not only a pattern emerging, but an escalation.

The Pais narrative smells like the next step.  The authorities, acting on a tip, somehow don't act fast enough to detain this girl for questioning long before she flies to Denver and [allegedly] buys a shotgun, and somehow is found dead after wandering around in the woods.

Take that in for a minute.  AND!  AND! they have a trove of [laughably preposterous] back story about her and her [imagined] destination and intentions.

The question for me, aside from the lack of any hard facts or objective analysis of the information at hand, was and continues to be - has the law enforcement community incorporated "swatting" as a tool in their arsenal of plausible deniability in exterminating suspects without the presumption of innocence, without warning, and without subsequent consequence.

When information is weaponized in this way, its not fake news - its more like propaganda on steroids - it pushes emotional response buttons in its intended audience.  This incites an agency in that public cohort to eliminate the discomfort.

When that cohort is an intolerant, vigilante organization then the response is the equivalent of throwing meat into a tank of hungry piranha.

The public is looking away from Sol Pais's death - believing the cover stories - secure in the knowledge that it was justified.  The tsunami of official terror porn has done its job.

But what if it wasn't an inside cover-up?

An even more disturbing is the distinct possibility, Pais was swatted by a zealot from a special interest group whose myopic interpretation of art, or interest, or objection to opinion or comment triggered outrage.  That outrage manifested in licensing a swat killing of the offending party.

The trajectory of this kind of violence and rational to violence will not end with Pais.  If Americans are concerned about hackers participating in politics online, what happens when one of those hackers or political operatives decides to target a politician, or their family, or their sponsors? This is a slippery slope covered in blood.

These anonymous tips need to be vetted.  They need transparency, and they need to be evaluated by even tempered analysts. That is clearly not the case today.

The tools to unravel this sequence of alarm and violence is readily available.

We need an accurate timeline of events - actual classic news.  Who, what, Where, When...

And then it gets interesting.







Saturday, April 20, 2019

Ruminations on the Credible Innocence of Sol Pais

The bizarre story of the hunting and death of Sol Pais fit a pattern I've written about before and that continues to play out with predictable inevitability.  The pattern I'm speaking of is the use of sometimes over-eager or paralyzed by fear law enforcement officials to "swat" an unsuspecting victim.

The deadly game starts with an anonymous tip that someone/somewhere has or may have a weapon and the tipster is "just doing their duty" to report that maybe/just maybe they are a threat to the general public.  The consequence is almost always tragic for the unsuspecting target.

In this case, an eighteen year old honors student is dead. Based on the sketchy and preliminary information I can gather, I think this may be a case of wrongful death.

The fabric of our contemporary American civilization needs to be carefully reconsidered.  The preposterous "evidence" promoted by the authorities is little more than a thimble full of dross.  The subsequent social media dissemination of this nonsense serves as a cautionary tale that journalism is broken, social media search engines are corrupt, and our social media society is psychologically being programmed to kill, destroy, or maim by proxy.

I'll be writing about the details of these issues as I have time.  Yesterday, Good Friday, I spent some time privately discussing the possibility of raising the Julie Group from the ashes of a long hiatus.  The investigative work that needs to be done includes substantiating source of truth material. Virtually everything that has been publicized is either hearsay, innuendo, or a cover-up to justify a manhunt that could only end in tragedy.  If government officials have gone rogue, we are all in deep trouble.

An accurate timeline of events is critical. Confirming the veracity of Ms. Pais's notebook, website content, email correspondence, geo-location evidence and so on is critical.  There's more that must be discussed confidentially.

Law enforcement has not only sold the public on a de facto guilt of this young woman but are compounding that mistake by broadening their investigation into her friends and associates.

There are real problems with this myopic approach. If Ms. Pais was lured into some kind of entrapment scheme, her friends and associates may also be. If there are official bad actors involved, they need to be dismissed.  The FBI should have a strong incentive to assign an internal affairs investigation into what's going on.

My own investigative sense has raised a concern antithetical to my personal politics. The initial "tip" may have come from an anti-gun advocate or vigilante group. I'll attempt to examine these possibilities later in detail.

However, the possibility exists that Pais, upon legal purchase of a firearm in the vicinity of Columbine, provided all the personal identification required for a misguided local to call in a self-serving tip to Florida police.

Given the school-shooting tragedies in Florida and the subsequent gun reform mobilization, Pais may have run afoul of political correctness regarding these issues  prompting a retaliatory anonymous tip.

Another possibility is that her family, being from Argentina [based on MSM reports], may have been targeted by an anti-immigration group.

Or maybe the tip was legitimate.

It's important to establish the facts for obvious reasons.





Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Educational Fraud, You Need Not Look Far

Today, Valerie Strauss of  the Washington Post reports on a set of fraud cases that are but the tip of an iceberg in secondary education.

This has long been one of my special interests as the undeserving leap-frog the deserving systemically with open eyes and welcoming hospitality.

A few years ago, a fellow BOE member once whispered to me, "So what if her Dad gave her a helping hand, why not!"

Here's an excerpt from the Post,

"Following are excerpts from the explosive 204-page criminal complaint charging more than 30 wealthy people — including Hollywood actors and college coaches — in a years-long scheme to bribe and cheat to get their children into exclusive colleges and universities.
The Washington Post story on the complaint says:
The alleged crimes included cheating on entrance exams, as well as bribing college officials to say certain students were coming to compete on athletic teams when those students were not in fact athletes.
The criminal complaint paints an ugly picture of high-powered individuals committing crimes to get their children into selective schools. Among those charged are actresses Felicity Huffman, best known for her role on the television show “Desperate Housewives,” and Lori Loughlin, who appeared on “Full House,” according to court documents.
According to the criminal complaint, the schools targeted included Georgetown University, Stanford University, UCLA, the University of San Diego, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Austin, Wake Forest University and Yale University.
The complaint says that many of the children involved did not know what their parents had done to get them into school."
I think that list is short a school or two.

The system remains gamed to favor the sons and daughters of entitlement, privilege, wealth, and political pull.  Critics of educational reform usually have a vested stake in this game.  These occasional speed bumps will do little to change it.


 

Saturday, February 09, 2019

The Tech in Schools Debate

"In a recent NPR report, writer Anya Kamenetz notes that clinicians are debating whether technology overuse is best categorized as a bad habit, a symptom of other mental struggles (such as depression or anxiety), or as an addiction."
From:  https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-02-07-former-google-design-ethicist-relying-on-big-tech-in-schools-is-a-race-to-the-bottom

Unschooling American Education

When I was in college, I became a fan of the de-schooling authors and followed their work enthusiastically.  John Holt, Ivan Illich, Paulo Friere, and others found a warm place on my bookshelf.

Some 50 years later, those concepts have evolved.

see: http://reason.com/reasontv/2019/01/24/these-unschoolers-say-children-dont-need

Monday, December 24, 2018

Goodbye 2018

Since letting go of the School Board position I've turned my attention elsewhere.  I just noticed I had no new posts for the year and that didn't seem right.

This year I've discovered that inexpensive online learning is very good stuff.  I took a Udemy course for $10 and it was worth every penny.   

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Beware the Entitled and Entitling Parents

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/24/opinion/rich-parents-hurt-schools-economic-segregation.html

Sunday, June 17, 2018

SKAM

This should be of interest to everyone:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/06/18/skam-the-radical-teen-drama-that-unfolds-one-post-at-a-time

Friday, November 17, 2017

Twelve Years, So Much Time, So Little Progress - A Postmortem

After twelve years on the Board I decided not to run again.  With the recent election I'm no longer a Region 19 Board member but I've been offered the opportunity to continue participating on the EO Smith High School Building Committee as a citizen participant. Having attended all of the previous architectural studies and proposals for the school is some institutional knowledge that I'd like to keep alive for at least the short term.

I also plan on keeping the blog alive. I haven't written much lately but when I get the urge, I get the urge.

For twelve years I spent my energies in advocating for the students, the taxpayers, and the soul of the institution. And not blindly.  *Everyone* associated with public education has an agenda. To the degree that I could contribute to good things that were accomplished, it was to the credit of a coalition of the willing and they know who they are.

The establishment of the Reynolds, Big Picture inspired satellite program, the realization of an artificial turf sports field (I had advocated for all the fields to been renovated), the establishment of "Bring Your Own Device" internet access, and a few more Board stretch goals were largely the work of Bruce Silva, Lou DeLoreto, and a handful of Board members who rolled up their sleeves.

I mention these things because two of the three mentioned are NOT the way the system typically works.  In fact the system is hardwired to self-insulate itself from anything innovative or different.

This bears some explanation because most of the critical rhetoric of public schools will condemn the institution for being dysfunctional.   In my experience that simply isn't true. Public education is a highly evolved set of self-serving ecosystems that complement each other's comfort zone so as to eliminate every and all outside disruptive influence. Rather than being dysfunctional, these ecosystems are highly refined and ruthlessly efficient.

Obvious and self-evident as it sounds, schools should prepare students for a life of learning, constant change and reexamination of the status quo. And public school teachers and administrators exercise a vernacular of words and phrases that sound exactly as if this is what they do. But the fact of the matter is that they cannot do for students what they cannot do for themselves.  One of the last things an administrator said to me at my last meeting was, "This place isn't built for change."

The teacher's Unions, the administrative unions, the local Boards of Education, the State Board of Education, the commercial education interests, the lobbyists, the status quo parents of college track students, and the armies of sub-professional employees all act in the interest of the system. The system being a paper mill that certifies public school seat time. The system prefers being a monopoly.

Is there anyone out there who would not roll their eyes when someone mentions that "a fox should not be allowed to guard the henhouse"? Yet in education, most School Boards are populated by former teachers, teachers from a district away, vested interests, government unionists, and  so on. School Boards negotiate personnel contracts, curriculum, and much more.  Board members who don't fit that profile are considered incompetent outsiders. You're expected to be a fox to know a fox.

These days I think that public school alternatives may be the only thing that can save humanity.  The public schools need competition.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Congratulations Betsy DeVos

Now do something about this stuff: http://region19.blogspot.com/2010/06/random-stuff.html

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Miracle at the Connecticut State Education Department - Somebody Woke Up!

This news was unreported and buried by Connecticut's MSM. CT News Junkie seems to be a sole source.  This is the kind of news the State government wants to keep buried. Business as usual. Hide the racism.  Hide the incompetence.Let's all be polite because that's what its all about.

I've been watching Connecticut do everything in its power to ignore, slow, and kill any attempt at closing a racial and class divide that keeps generations of children and young adults on a treadmill to early death, povrty subsistence, or a life in prison. We don't call it that.  We call it an education gap.  the gap being that the poor and urban populations of color must understand that there's nothing here for them - no college track, no snowflake, entitlement  treatment - no future except that their children will rinse and repeat this same cycle.

So yeah, a miracle of sorts happened. A State of Connecticut Board member aroused from a bureacratically induced coma;

State Board of Education member Malia K. Sieve listened for close to an hour Wednesday as her fellow board members and professionals in the field discussed Connecticut’s disappointing results on a well-known nationwide science test.She listened to speakers and watched slide-after-slide on an overhead projector of other states surpassing Connecticut in the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress science assessment.< She listened as some said the “good news’’ was that the achievement gap between minority and white students has shrunk since the last testing period in the state.
When she finally spoke up, her words captured the full attention of her fellow board members.“I’m so fired up, not in a good way,” Sieve said. Sieve is a director at HCM Strategies where her full-time job is to work with institutional leaders on education policy. “I’m tired of us all talking so politely,” Sieve said. What the test results clearly indicate, Sieve said, “is we do a better job with one population. We’re doing a whole lot better by our white kids.”Apologizing for getting emotional, Sieve went on to say that, “We act like if we talk politely — it will all be fine.”But by doing that it means “we have not decided that we have to do anything differently yet,” Sieve said. Sieve’s passionate words came after a presentation about nationwide science tests taken by fourth and eighth graders in 2015 that showed Connecticut is falling behind other states, though Education Department Chief Performance Officer Ajit Gopalakrishnan and Renee Savoie, an education consultant, termed the state’s performance as “stagnant.’’

Yeah, "stagnant" is one way of putting it. Maliciously racist might be another. we've been engaged in this dance of irresponsibility for many, many decades.  The State Board of Education has been as worthless a bureacratic body as any in government. Hickups such as this one are a rarity and as you an see, you'll never hear about them unless you look hard.

Truth is that the high stakes testing is a lousy metric for evaluating our schools.  CT is mired in the Orwellian double-speak OF No Child Left Behind and all its draconian successors. All these programs dumb-down educational experiences for kids, Even by this poor metric iyt becomes obvious that CT schoolchildren can be reduced to incompetent parrots when subjegated to generations of comformity indicing brainwashing.

"Stagnant". Brain-dead is closer to the truth.  Malooy needs to flatten these organizations and repeal all the idiotic legislation that has so poisoned the system that we no longer recognise it. making it all go away is the best remedy for this nonsense.

Renditioning Teenagers

In a recent article in the Vice digital  magazine entitled "The Legal Industry for Kidnapping Teens" by Serena Solomon we are given a tour of one of the more controversial aspects of the never-ending "tough-love" industry.

The recipe for finding consumers for this business is simple.

"A critical aspect of the whole operation is gaining parental permission through an affidavit or power of attorney agreement. These agreements temporarily transfer parental rights to the youth transport company, giving workers permissions that include authorizing medical attention or restraining the young person. 
"In general, parents have enormously wide discretion with respect to decisions regarding their children. They can decide to leave their children with people and give them parental rights and no one can interfere," Philip Elberg, an attorney who has worked on cases involving the troubled teen industry, told me.
Elberg added that the large number of abuse complaints triggered by the troubled teen industry isn't matched by the small number of lawsuits because, among other reasons, unless there is a serious physical incident such as injury, sexual abuse, or death of a young person, there isn't much legal ground to stand on after authority has been handed over by the parent."Parents are often the victim," said Bush. "They are desperate to help their child and someone who is supposed to be a professional tells them that this is what they are supposed to do.""
So what happens to the teenager when their parents sign over parental rights?

The troubled teen or "tough love" industry is made up mostly of for-profit companies that promise to fix drug addiction, mental illness, and attitude problems. At the center of this industry are the behavioral programs, some accused of abusive practices and even causing the death of teen clients. If the behavioral program is the entrĂ©e, then the transportation service is the appetizer, often setting the tone for the treatment the young person will endure for the months or years to come. 
"They can be abducted against their will and this meets all the criteria of trauma," Dr. Nicole Bush, an associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, told me. Bush helped found the Alliance for the Safe, Therapeutic, and Appropriate Use of Residential Treatment (A START) to help protect young people from negligent residential programs and youth transport services.
Several of her teen clients who attended residential programs attribute their post-traumatic stress disorder to the youth transport services that picked them up. One client said she was taken when an SUV pulled up next to the family car. Another described two large men escorting her from a restaurant where she was eating with friends."They talk about nightmares, not being able to sleep alone, or needing a night light," Bush told me. "These are people are in their 20s and 30s, more than a decade after the event."
Bush is quick to point out that not all youth transport services are equal. A 2015 article in the Child and Youth Care Forum found after surveying 350 young people who attended a wilderness program (where nature expeditions are used as a type of therapy) that whether young people were transported or dropped off by a parent had little impact on the treatment outcome.
As far as I can see, "tough love" sure looks a lot more like "rough love" than anyone cares to admit.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Compromising National Security Through Public Schools

One of the most pernicious and successful ways in which cybernetic systems can be compromised is through the act of social engineering.  In other words, a human who has secure access to a system or systems is duped or is compromised by misplaced trust in a third party to granting access to the otherwise secure system.

In recent weeks, at least two public announcements have given me grave concern that the EO Smith School systems may have been compromised  in the recent past.

Most recently, the FBI issued the following;

"Targeting Activity Against State Board of Election Systems Summary 
The FBI received information of an additional IP address, 5.149.249.172, which was detected in the July 2016 compromise of a state’s Board of Election Web site. Additionally, in August 2016 attempted intrusion activities into another state’s Board of Election system identified the IP address, 185.104.9.39 used in the aforementioned compromise.
Technical Details The following information was released by the MS-ISAC on 1 August 2016, which was derived through the course of the investigation. In late June 2016, an unknown actor scanned a state's Board of Election website for vulnerabilities using Acunetix, and after identifying a Structured Query Language (SQL) injection (SQLi) vulnerability, used SQLmap to target the state website. The majority of the data exfiltration occurred in mid-July. There were 7 suspicious IPs and penetration testing tools Acunetix, SQLMap, and DirBuster used by the actor, detailed in the indicators section below. "
The document goes into further detail of system contagion;

"Conduct vulnerability scans on local government and law enforcement websites and promptly remediate any vulnerabilities (or contact your hosting provider to do so on your behalf). Particular attention should be paid to SQLi vulnerabilities. Website hosting providers should also pay attention to vulnerabilities on other websites on the same server, which may provide a back-door into the local government's website."

Earlier ARSTechnica reported the existence of a previously unknown attack vehicle;

 ""Once installed, the main Project Sauron modules start working as 'sleeper cells,' displaying no activity of their own and waiting for 'wake-up' commands in the incoming network traffic," Kaspersky researchers wrote in a separate blog post. "This method of operation ensures Project Sauron’s extended persistence on the servers of targeted organizations."
Kaspersky researchers said they discovered the malware last September after a customer at an unidentified government organization hired them to investigate anomalous network traffic. They eventually unearthed a "strange" executable program library that was loaded into the memory of one of the customer's domain controller servers. The library was masquerading as a Windows password filter, which is something administrators typically use to ensure passwords match specific requirements for length and complexity. The module started every time a network or local user logged in or changed a password, and it was able to view passcodes in plaintext.
The main purpose of the malware platform was to obtain passwords, cryptographic keys, configuration files, and IP addresses of the key servers related to any encryption software that was in use. Infected groups include government agencies, scientific research centers, military organizations, telecommunication providers, and financial institutions in Russia, Iran, Rwanda, China, Sweden, Belgium, and possibly in Italian-speaking countries."
A number of years ago, some EO Smith students claim to have installed software (thought to be a for-credit school project) onto EO Smith, Town of Mansfield, CT and Mansfield Public Schools. Recent events have disclosed that the software was not written by the students but was outsourced to an eastern block country's software development firm paid for and sponsored by the student's parents in one form or another.

An internet search reveals numerous claims by the students about the scope and effectiveness of the software that appear to have no basis in fact. School officials claim the software was never allowed to co-exist with legitimate school systems.

Further discussion of this issue will be conducted at the September 20th curriculum meeting.

The revelations introduce disturbing questions about the academic veracity of the school's program, the ethical veracity of the claims of the students, and serves as a wake-up call to all public schools when it comes to their system relationship to broader government systems.



Friday, September 09, 2016

The Winds of Change

I received an email from CABE, the Ct Association of Boards of Education, a few days ago. It contained some surprising news in a deja vu kind of way.

"Over the course of 3 hours, Judge Moukawsher read his decision in the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell case. While the Judge did not see it as the role of the court to order specific additional state funding, he issued a series of orders requiring the state to come back within 180 days with plans to revise many aspects of Connecticut’s education system. 
The state must submit proposed reforms consistent with this opinion on the following subjects:
  •  the relationship between the state and local government in education.
  •  an educational aid and school construction formula that is rational, substantial and verifiable
  •  a definition of elementary and secondary education, including an objective and mandatory statewide graduation standard
  •  standards for hiring, firing, evaluating, and paying education professionals;
  •  funding, identification, and educational services standards for special education.
 
Once the state submits its proposed remedies, the plaintiffs will have 60 days to comment on them and propose alternatives. 
A hearing will then be scheduled."
At face value and assuming we haven't done this dance a few times before, this looks promising.  Then again, considering the principals involved, it can become a cluster-muck of frightening and expensive special interest featherbedding.

Whatever good comes of this will likely manifest itself as one or more unintended consequences of the measures adopted.




Thursday, September 08, 2016

Unethical Uses of Psychological Expertise

I'm becoming increasingly interested in the ethics of psychology specifically when it concerns digital media.

A particularly interesting debate has been sparked by the post-911 torture and abuse controversy.

"For Dr. Bradley Olson, who is past president of APA Division 48, which studies peace, conflict, and violence, using one’s training to assist in a mission like JTRIG’s, which involves the deception and manipulation of unsuspecting targets, is inherently problematic. Using one’s “expertise, research, or consultation to guide deceptive statements, even the statements of others, when the deceptive intentions are clearly documented … that is against psychological ethics,” according to Olson, who has collaborated with Soldz, including as a co-founder of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology. “This is a terrible, terrible violation of psychological ethics” and a violation of the APA’s ethical standards, he added."

Another point of interest, selective publishing: 


"In psychology research, there is a particular problem with researchers who selectively publish some of their experiments to guarantee a positive result. "Let's say you have this theory that, when you play Mozart, people want to pay more for musical instruments," says Simonsohn. "So you do a study and you play Mozart (or not) and you ask people, 'How much would you pay for a piano or flute and five instruments?'"
If it turned out that only the price of a single type of instrument, violins, say, went up after people had listened to Mozart, it would be possible to publish a research paper that omitted the fact that the researchers had ever asked about any other instruments. This would not allow the reader to make a proper assessment of the strength of the effect that Mozart may (or may not) have on how much a person would pay for musical instruments.
Fanelli has examined this positive result bias. He looked at 4,600 studies across all disciplines between 1990 and 2007, and counted the number of papers that, after declaring an intent to test a particular hypothesis, reported a positive support for it. The overall frequency of positive supports had grown by more than 22% over this time period. In a separate study, Fanelli found that "the odds of reporting a positive result were around five times higher among papers in the disciplines of psychology and psychiatry and economics and business compared with space science"."

And, of course, there's money and entitlement that drive certain unethical behaviors;

Whether affluenza is real or imagined, money really does change everything, as the song goes — and those of high social class do tend to see themselves much differently than others. Wealth (and the pursuit of it) has been linked with immoral behavior — and not just in movies like The Wolf of Wall Street. Psychologists who study the impact of wealth and inequality on human behavior have found that money can powerfully influence our thoughts and actions in ways that we’re often not aware of, no matter our economic circumstances. Although wealth is certainly subjective, most of the current research measures wealth on scales of income, job status or measures of socioeconomic circumstances, like educational attainment and intergenerational wealth.

Hmmm. Some of this sounds all too familiar.


Edit: I located the UConn Ethics hotline for any of you out there who may have questions about any local activities that come to mind;

"You may use the University’s confidential reportline at 1-888-685-2637 to report any compliance concerns you may have. Individuals who report in good faith possible compliance issues will be afforded confidentiality and/or anonymity to the extent possible under the law. Also, you may file a complaint directly with the Office of State Ethics."




Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Return to American Free Speech

There's a tendency to believe that high school students graduate into the adult world but anyone who is a parent knows better.  Today the exposure to mass culture is saturating and a large part of that saturation is an exposure to the most exotic and raw aspects of human nature and behavior.

But the victim mentality has crept into every aspect of life and the easiest way to deny free speech these days is to claim that the speech of another is offensive to just one. And if the one happens to have the resources to threaten lawsuits the silence is absolute.

It is blissful to hear that the University of Chicago is making an attempt to steer America back to its cultural soul.

The University of Chicago recently made it clear to its crop of incoming students that academic freedom and inquiry remain pillars at the institution, and that the university does not support "so-called" trigger warnings or offer safe spaces that allow students "to retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own. Here is how the university welcomed its incoming class of 2020:
Welcome and congratulations on your acceptance to the college at the University of Chicago. Earning a place in our community of scholars is no small achievement and we are delighted that you selected Chicago to continue your intellectual journey.
Once here you will discover that one of the University of Chicago’s defining characteristics is our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression. … Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn, without fear of censorship. Civility and mutual respect are vital to all of us, and freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harass or threaten others. You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.
And then, the coup de grace:
Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.
You can read the entire letter below. (CLICK HERE to see how students and alumni responded.)

Love it!.



Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Republic of Mansfield (The Prequel)

On June 13, 2016, Cory Sipe a reporter for The Chronicle, a Willimantic, CT newspaper contacted me via email saying;
"Frank,  I would like to talk with you about a letter sent to the BOE referencing a story you wrote referencing a graduate on the Keep EO Smith Downtown Facebook page and other comments. I tried to call you at the number listed on the District 19 page but it just keeps ringing. I can be reached at 860-423-xxxx ext. 3339 or you can e-mail me back with a written response if you would like."
Later that day, I responded,
"Corey,

I am unaware of a letter referencing an EO Smith girl. The last thing I posted on a Mansfield site was a fiction piece that contained composite characters; two helicopter parents, a girl (e.g. Suzy Creamcheese), a boy (e.g Andy Ambitious), and a narrator. The setting is Mansfield, the kids graduates of EO Smith.

The garbage can manufacturer based on any number of CT start-up companies making a better mousetrap. There obviously is no space garbage can.

It was in response to a conversation with a fellow who didn't know who Salman Rushdie was to demonstrate that their constituency are more likely to take fiction seriously than factual documents.

Why?  What's going on?

regards,

Frank Krasicki"
My assumption was that Cory would circle back with more questions. My current contract is a profoundly time and energy-consuming R&D effort so when Cory did not get back in a timely manner I decided to annotate the story to clearly identify its allusions, metaphors, and so on to provide Cory and any other media or interested party a place to find the information without interrupting my work day or trying to contact me otherwise.  I do a 4-5 hour round-trip commute each day.

That annotated version was posted here and its purpose was simply to provide a public place to access the information.

Since then, the story has apparently taken on a life of its own. Like a scene from a Cheech and Chong comedy skit, numerous individuals claim that they know exactly who these fictional characters *ARE*.