Monthly Archives: February 2013

Time for more cable companies to sign on and fight back against the big media companies… 1

Time for more cable companies to sign on and fight back against the big media companies for forced bundling

Cablevision sues Viacom for forcing it to pay for channels no one wants
Cablevision today filed a federal lawsuit against Viacom, claiming that the media company has forced it to pay for “14 lesser-watched ancillary networks its customers do not want” in order to keep…

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Any contract lawyers in the crowd? 1

Here's a brief synopsis of what has been happening in Ypsilanti, MI. The adjacent Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts have been in financial difficulty for years because of falling enrollment and reduced funding from the Republican-controlled state legislature. Last November, voters in the two districts approved a merger that should help save a lot of money. A new transitional school board was appointed by the Washtenaw Intermediate School District (county-wide authority) and they had to hire a new superintendent for the consolidated district.

Rather than show some leadership and hire someone new, board president David Bates wanted to retain both of the existing superintendents from the now defunct districts. The main rationale given besides the fact that they were familiar with the schools and staffs, the board would have to pay both of them the remainder of their contracts for up to 3 more years anyway.

However, at the same time the contracts of all the staff unions including teachers and support staff have been cancelled because districts that negotiated them will no longer exist at the end of the current school year. Apparently there is nothing in the superintendent contracts that explicitly says they must be paid if the district no longer exists. 

So why would the new consolidated district be able to cancel union contracts but not administrators? For financially struggling school districts, paying administrators $200,000 a year, this is a big chunk of money when everyone else is being forced to sacrifice at the same time.

Ypsilanti’s new school district retains 2 superintendents and hires WISD for leadership
Ypsilanti resident Maria Cotera urges the joint Board of Education to select one superintendent Monday night during a public comment session prior to the board …

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The Ypsilanti Community School Board Perpetrated a Sham This Evening

Dedrick Martin and Laura Lisiski should both tender their immediate resignations.

Ypsilanti Community Schools board president David Bates and the rest of the board pulled a fast one on the community this evening. After a rambling explanation of the plan to ask the Washtenaw Intermediate School District to provide an interim superintendent while the two current district bosses stay on for the remainder of their contracts, Bates led what he described as deliberation.

There was no actual deliberation among the members of the board, just a reiteration of the plan. The selection sub-committee had worked out the entire proposal falling last week’s meeting where they failed to make a decision. This meeting was nothing more than a rubber stamp of that plan.

One of the primary rationales for keeping Ypsilanti superintendent Dedrick Martin and Willow Run’s Laura Lisiski was that they would have to pay them anyway for the remainder of their contracts. Given that the all of the existing union contracts are being abrogated by the fact that the districts the contracts were made with will cease to exist at the end of the school year, to argue that the superintendents should be treated any differently is utterly asinine.

Nonetheless, if Martin and Lisiski actually cared about what was best for the district and its students, they would both resign and walk away, allowing the board to move forward with fresh blood in the leadership position without a massive payout that it cannot afford or a protracted legal battle.

Unfortunately, the cowardly actions of Mr. Bates and this board have left the new consolidated district in a very poor position to start this new era.

The +Kelley Blue Book team takes to the road in the +Tesla Motors Model S for a… 1

The +Kelley Blue Book team takes to the road in the +Tesla Motors Model S for a road trip to Vegas

While the KBB crew didn't need a flat-bed to finish the trip they demonstrated once again that the electric driving range is all about the 3 Ts, temperature, terrain and technique. Even with a 1,000+ pound 85 kWh battery (that's equivalent to about 2.5 gallons of gasoline) they barely made it from the charging station in Barstow California to Vegas once the mountainous terrain and the mid-30 degree nighttime desert temperatures took their toll. Heading back west required setting the cruise control at 58 mph. 

The Model S is a fantastic piece of engineering, but even with it's maximum battery, it's still probably not the best choice for a road trip. If you can afford $60-100K for a car, you should probably just consider renting something that runs on liquid fuel for trips that take you farther afield.

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Religious extremists of all brands whether they be christian, muslim, jew or any…

Religious extremists of all brands whether they be christian, muslim, jew or any other are the most dangerous thing that can happen to humanity. NO ONE should have dominion over any other, EVER!

How the Religious Right Is Helping De-Educate America’s Youth
The bogus “school reform” movement isn’t just about union-busting.

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