Class clowns, beauty queens, personal privacy & dead relatives

Good Monday Moanin’ – Sept. 28, 2015

Class clowns, beauty queens, personal privacy & dead relatives

By Jeff Salisbury

First off, being a child once… and a class clown,  I speak from experience.  Plus I was in therapy for several years.

Let me just say this: All children act… they act OUT… or they act IN.

Only a handful just ride the waves of their households and experiences in their families-of-origin day in and day out with no response at all.

Unless of course they are being medicated.

Life is just not that copacetic.

That said… this was an interesting read:

Class Clowns: Discover What’s Behind the Behavior

By Richard M Cash, Ed.D

Just about every classroom has one: the class clown. During middle school and high school, I was that dreaded jokester. In one of my classes, I convinced my classmates to follow my actions during instruction. At 10 a.m. I dropped my pencil—so did everyone else. At 10:05 a.m. I “sneezed”—so did everyone else. At 10:10 a.m. I yawned—so did everyone else. You get the picture. Every five minutes I performed some sort of “stunt,” and my classmates followed along. It didn’t take long for the teacher to catch on and remove me from class. I got what I wanted—a pass out of class!

Class clowns can be acting out for several different reasons. It’s important to learn where the behavior is coming from and try to negotiate with the student to either allow time for or eliminate the behavior. In my case, I didn’t want to be in class. The biggest reason was I didn’t like the subject and felt the teacher wasn’t making it engaging. Below, I’ve defined four types of class clowns with ideas for dealing with the behavior.

Read more here –

Oh the headlines the headlines the headlines…

The View mocks Miss Colorado and her monologue

The View Co-Hosts Facing Backlash After Mocking Miss America Nurse Monologue

Nurses defend Miss Colorado

I forced myself and went online… found and watched the candidate’s monologue… then I watched that portion of The View chat-fest which apparently opens each program … maybe it’s a female thing because I thought the choice of a “monologue” as a “talent” was highly unusual too and worthy of some female to female “ribbing” especially since Miss Colorado is a trained pianist. That was puzzling to suddenly switch talents in the middle of the whole contest. As for Behar she is known for and always uses sarcasm in her own comedic “monologues” – she’s a female Don Rickles. Only one of the other women had even seen the pageant – one, Raven Simone says she never watches pageants and consider anyone woman who participates demeans all women. Another said she rarely watches because having women “strut around a stage with skimpy bathing suits and their hoo-hahs hanging out” disgusts her. Clearly some nurses found it disgusting that the young woman who just graduated from nursing school as valedictorian of her class was being a bit mocked. She does hold a nursing degree and has volunteered in a nursing home and did have an encounter with an Alzheimer’s patient which was the basis for the monologue. That much is true.

What’s the phrase from Shakespeare? “Much ado about nothing.” Or as I noted, maybe it’s a female thing.

If you care to… here’s the link to read the “Open Letter to Joy Behar”

This is happening all over the country…

And parents must speak up… your child’s and your family’s personal data is being sold to the highest bidder.
Opt out of high-stakes tests! And it’s not just high stakes tests… it’s even tracking of apps your children are using on school district issued iPads and laptops and PCs —

Privacy Concerns Don’t Curb Use of Classroom Apps

Parents and lawmakers want more safeguards to prevent exposure of student data.

Laptops, tablets and smartphones each year play a more prominent role in schools, despite lingering concerns that private companies and government agencies are using such devices to collect massive amounts of data that can be used to profile students.

While chalkboards and paper flashcards were once mainstays for teachers in kindergarten through high school, education software has quickly changed the way children learn. Smartphone-carrying kids download mobile apps featuring learning assistants or project programs that can interact with a white board screen at the front of a classroom. At least half of kindergarten through high school teachers use a mobile app, website or digital game to teach in their classrooms, according to a report from the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt education firm.

But that convenience comes with a risk. Education apps and programs track students’ ​​​​​every response, developing profiles based on the answers they got right and the subjects with which they’re uncomfortable. Activists say this fact is not as widely known as it should be, and they want more accountability for the makers of education software, ​given that many apps for the general public sell data to third-party “data brokers” for unspecified uses.

“Any online app that a teacher signs up for a kid will collect their personal information, and depending on the state you live in that data can be shared from one company to another in an endless chain,” says Rachael Stickland, co-chairwoman of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy. “We don’t know how it’s being used, but the enforcement and transparency mechanisms of these apps are insufficient.” Read more here –

Now this IS crazy!

Public charter schools board in Ohio hires a for-profit management company and authorizes the company to use public tax dollars (per pupil allowance) to purchase school equipment and other property. You know… things like books, desks, tables, chairs, computers, copy machines, phones and so on. At some point the boards of 10 charter schools decided they wanted to go a different route – change management companies. The company “White Hat” (nice name eh?) tells the boards, “That’s fine. But we own everything.” The 10 charter schools had to close but not before their boards sued White Hat. It didn’t go well.

Ohio: Charter School Equipment Belongs to Private Manager, Not the Public

Dr. Diane Ravitch writes: The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that property purchased by the for-profit charter management corporation White Hat using public funds belongs to White Hat, not the public. I’m no lawyer, but this decision says to me that the schools’ stuff does not belong to the public, but to a private entrepreneur. I take that to be an acknowledgement that White Hat privatized the assets of the school. More evidence that charter schools are not public schools. If they were, their stuff purchased with public funds would belong to the public.

Read more here:

And here too:

Think that cannot happen in Michigan?

Think again. Former member of the Michigan House and now an attorney in private practice John C. Stewart confirmed with me it can. “People are just starting to realize this,” said Stewart who intends himself to run for the State Board of Education in 2016. He agrees that a Michigan charter-school authorizer and local board could easily find itself in similar if not identical circumstances. Annually, Michigan tax payers send at least a billion… yes… billion with a b… dollars into charter school coffers across the state. And POOF… the money is gone and all that equipment stays in the hands of the school management companies.

What a racket the for-profit charter school management companies have going don’t you think?

We already KNOW what works in our schools… happy, healthy and well-prepared students who come from happy, healthy and well-adjusted (preferably) two-parent households where education is highly valued. And then those happy and healthy students show up daily fully prepared and motivated to learn the lessons provided by happy, healthy and well-prepared​ school employees from bus drivers to cooks and custodians and classroom teachers and aides and building administrators who all work in modern, up-to-date schools stocked with the best textbooks, electronic devices and other equipment. And when they graduate they are ready to confidently face any and all challenges they might face regardless of how the world looked 13 years previous.

On a lighter not… my hobby is searching for dead relatives…

And thanks to the work of a cousin of mine, I happened upon an interesting “presidential”  family tree research discovery…
27th President of the United States and 10th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court William Howard Taft (1857 – 1930) is my 3rd cousin 4x removed
Louisa Maria Torrey (1827 – 1907) mother of William Howard Taft
Susan Trask Holman (1784- 1849) mother of Louisa Maria Torrey
Jonathan Holman (1732 – 1814) father of Susan Trask Holman
Soloman Holman (1697 – 1785) father of Jonathan Holman
Lydia Holman (1745 – 1771) daughter of Soloman Holman
John W. Harwood III (1763 – ) son of Lydia Holman
Rufus Harwood (1790 – 1872) son of John W. Harwood III
Rufus Holman Wilforth Harwood (1828 – 1905) son of Rufus Harwood
Holman Rufus Harwood (1863 – 1940) son of Rufus Holman Wilforth Harwood
Harry George Harwood (1892 – 1962) son of Holman Rufus Harwood
Ardith Elaine “Ardy” Harwood (1925 – 2014) daughter of Harry George Harwood
Jeffrey Louis “Jeff” Salisbury son of Ardy.


Saving for college or retirement? What parents need to know

Good Monday Moanin’ – Sept. 21, 2015


Parents of Present or Future College Students

What You Need To Know About Money and Finances

By Jeff Salisbury

Dear Parents,

Stop worrying about funding your kids’ college education. You need to fund your own retirement. Pay off your house and shed all long term debt.

Contribute to your tax-deferred retirement savings plan. Then give your adult kids the best gift ever:

Move yourselves into a life care CCRC (go ahead and look up what that means) as soon as your age permits you to do so.

Your paid-off house will fund the entrance fee; your SS and retirement savings should handle the monthly costs, which include almost everything you need to live.

Sadly, most parents will not listen to this advice but they should.

Sadder still, their adult kids will regret it, when they become full time caregivers for aged parents, have to take away car keys, argue about health care power of attorney, squabble over selling the house and disposing of a lifetime of your stuff.

“But I’m different, I won’t have these problems.”

Except that you’re not different and you will absolutely create these problems–because as you age, the more you’ll cling to familiar things, the more you’ll just want to stay in your little safe sclerotic zones.

So while your kids are in high school do this…

  1. Tell your kids to crack the books, get grants and scholarships and part time jobs and pay their own way through college if they want college.
  2. Then go fund your retirement, and your kids will thank you when they’re parents themselves.

FOOTNOTE:  SOME parents – but not ALL parents MIGHT try these strategies to balance college costs and retirement preparations. But keep in mind, Ifind these suggestions are primarily best-suited for upper-income parents only.

  1. Examine your priorities.
  2. Get a 401(k) match.
  3. Consider a 529 plan.
  4. Fund your retirement accounts.
  5. Compare loan interest rates to your investment returns.
  6. Consider your child’s financial aid package.

For more information about how best to Prioritize Retirement Versus College Savings – at this link:


‘New American Way of Life’ just another hoax

new american way of life

Good Monday Moanin’ – Sept. 14, 2015

‘New American Way of Life’ just another hoax

By Jeff Salisbury

Meme… email… truth… fiction… urban legend…

Hope you’ve seen or read the chain email or Internet meme called either “How to get $75k in benefits for you and your girlfriend” – or – “New American Way of Life”… I really hope so because if not, this “moan” likely won’t make a bit of sense.

Check out the meme.

Then read on.

Here’s the chain email…

Follow these proven steps.

Don’t get married to her.

Use your mom’s address to get mail sent to.

The guy buys a house.

Guy rents out house to his girl girlfriend who has 2 of his kids.

Section 8 will pay 900 a month for a 3 bedroom home.

Girlfriend signs up for Obamacare so guy doesn’t have to pay out the butt for family insurance.

Girlfriend gets to go to college for free being a single mother

Girlfriend gets 600 a month for food stamps

Girlfriend gets free cell phone

Girlfriend get free utilities.

Guy moves into home but uses moms house to get mail sent to.

Girlfriend claims one kid and guy claims one kid on taxes. Now you both get to claim head of house hold at $1800 credit.

Girlfriend gets disability for being “crazy” or having a “bad back” at    $1800 a month and never has to work again.

This plan is perfectly legal and is being executed now by millions of people.

A married couple with a stay at home mom yields $0 dollars.

An unmarried couple with stay at home mom nets.

21600 disability +

10800 free housing +

6000 free obamacare +

6000 free food +

4800 free utilities +

6000 pell grant money to spend +

12000 a year in college tuition free from pell grant +

8800 tax benefit for being a single mother =


75,000 a year in benefits

I am going to commingle my reply to the meme and chain email… so here goes.

“The guy” who owns the home has to register the rental with a local housing agency in his area and have it inspected and approved. The maximum housing assistance is generally the lesser of the payment standard (in that rental market) minus 30% of the family’s monthly adjusted income or the gross rent for the unit minus 30% of monthly adjusted income. So I don’t know where this writer came up with the $900 figure. Yes if she has some income, “the girl” could purchase health insurance on the marketplace and likely would qualify for a subsidy to defray some of the premium cost. It’s also true that the income-based Pell Grant program could provide “the girl” with just under $6000 a year to cover tuition, fees and books.

To be eligible for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI), “the girl” would have to earn less than a certain amount of money each month (or she’d be considered able to do substantial gainful activity) and she’d have to have paid FICA taxes for a certain number of years to the Social Security Administration (generally at least five to ten years), and fulfill certain citizenship or lawful residency requirements. The writer’s income numbers are gross exaggerations of benefits. In 2013, the average SNAP client received a monthly benefit of $133.07, and the average household received $274.98 monthly. $278.98 per month does not = $6000 in FREE food yearly. SNAP benefits are limited to a 3-month period, at which point the recipient will have to submit a renewal application. Most households under the SNAP program receive benefits for a 6-month period before requiring renewal.

Benefit periods can range from 1 month to 3 years. Finally, the writer is flat out wrong when he tries to make a connection between the national debt and these various programs. SSDI is funded by Social Security payroll taxes – the PELL Grant program is operated by the Dept. of Education and is subject to Congressional approval and reauthorization – and there isn’t even a guarantee that prospective students regardless of their income or lack of will even qualify. Inferring that HALF the population (50% of 318.9 million) is “sitting around letting the other half pay their way” is so ridiculous it’s absurd. Perhaps as many as 15% of the population is over the age of 65 and on SS and about 23% of the is under 18.

Now, I think we can forgive 48% percent (half?) of the population given those to categories for either “sitting around” because they worked their whole lives or for “sitting around” in either strollers, baby carriages, high chairs or school classrooms! Go volunteer in a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter or stop by your nearest United Way offices to sign up to volunteer elsewhere in your community instead or ranting about things you’ve clearly no real experience or knowledge because it does nothing but push people to be as much of an old mister grumpy pants like you!

Oh my goodness! Where do folks come up with these legends? Tax law recognizes that businesses may be owned by non-Americans who are not permanent residents. These people are referred to as nonresident aliens, and because they’re not living in the U.S., they’re not considered immigrants. Nevertheless, income they earn from U.S. sources is subject to U.S. tax law — the same laws that apply to citizens and resident aliens. No one who earns income in the U.S. is exempt from tax responsibility because of citizenship or immigration status.

You might be thinking of the MI Bridges “emergency assistance” program run by the MI Dept of Human Services. DHS does operate county offices. I am not sure how those offices are funded but in any case they only provide temporary services. DHS also receives federal funding to operate the SNAP program. SNAP benefits (the old Food Stamps program) can be used to purchase any approved food item for human consumption and seeds and plants that produce food. Clients receive their benefits via an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system that works like a debit card to transfer their benefits to the food retailer. The benefit amounts, to my knowledge, are set at the federal level, are income based not on geographic location however.

is a federal food assistance program administered by each state and not by the individual counties in the state.

I’ve been on the Internet regularly since at least 1995 and I cannot believe how rumors like this persist. It doesn’t matter sometimes how often they are debunked they somehow, sometimes have a life all their own.

Don’t take my word for any of this of you don’t want… try…


Is college a good investment? Banks think so!

Good Monday Moanin’ – Sept. 7, 2015

 Is college a good investment? Banks thinks so!

By Jeff Salisbury

 Michigan high school juniors, like my grandson Auston, will be the first to take the SAT college admission standardized test next spring instead of the ACT. The switch, announced by the State in January, lowers testing costs for the state, although it might increase anxiety levels of students, their families and local school officials, who could worry that the switch might negatively impact test scores since often those scores are used in four-year college and university admissions and/or enrollment.

Reporter Ron French in Bridge magazine recently examines four basic questions for students and parents.

Is the ACT prep Michigan students have completed worthless now?

Will Michigan students perform worse on the 2016 SAT than they would have on the ACT because they aren’t as familiar with it?

If I want to go to college outside of Michigan, will I be at a disadvantage compared with students from elsewhere accustomed to the SAT?

If the SAT given in March is new, is there any way to prepare for it?

For the answers, he consulted several sources including Tim Parros, founder of Parros College Planning in Ann Arbor; Randy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network; and Patrick O’Connor, associate dean of college counseling at the prestigious and private Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills and past president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

You can read for yourself their thoughts at this link –

What a wicked web… I won’t touch on Parros or O’Connor. They are likely well-informed, well-meaning educators and most likely very good at their jobs and I will presume provide support for parents and students.

But let’s look at this group that calls itself the Michigan College Access Network…their stated goal? “60% college attainment by 2025” — think about that for a moment –  recent statistics show that about 60 percent of high school students (some high schools it’s higher and some it’s lower of course) attend college after high school – the census figures tell us that about 25 percent of adults (in and out of the workforce) in Michigan have college degrees… that includes people whose degree qualified them for their current employment, as well as people for whom their degree is meaningless or unnecessary and those persons who are retired and no longer in the workforce. So, think about what “60% college attainment by 2025” REALLY means.

FOLLOW THE MONEY… MCAN is funded by a group called the Lumina Foundation… which has “invested assets” in excess of $1 billion,” making Lumina among the nation’s top 40 private US foundations…. and with ties to ALEC… plus note that Lumina is funded by SALLIE MAE (SLM Corporation), the largest education finance company in the U.S. with over $21 billion in student and parent loans… dwarfing the next three Citibank, Wachovia and Wells Fargo (combined) with about $5 billion EACH. Sallie Mae is the parent company of Nellie Mae, which also funds student loans. Just to give you an idea how profitable the student loan busienss is, in 2006, Sallie Mae revenue was $9.1 billion with profits of $1.1 billion.
No, parents and students… this is not about ACT or SAT test scores – not at all – it’s about “college for all” – “60% college attainment by 2025” – and more students in college means more tuition dollars into the coffers of Michigan colleges and universities who continue to do nothing but raise tuition and fees year after year after year, which means more student loans which means more interest and which means more profits for SALLIE MAE and NELLIE MAE and Citibank, Wachovia and Wells Fargo and on and on.

College Loans are BIG BUSINESS… A July 2012 report, Private Student Loans, released jointly by the U.S. Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFIB), found that private loans account for more than $150 billion dollars of the massive 1 trillion dollars in outstanding student debt. This is the first government report on private student loans. Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt as the number one source of unsecured debt in the country.

Key Findings

  • American borrowers currently owe more than $150 billion in private student loans
  • More than $8 billion in private loans are in default
  • In 2009, the unemployment for private student loan borrowers who started school in the 2003-2004 academic year was 16%.
  • Ten percent of recent graduates of four-year colleges have monthly payments for all education loans in excess of 25% of their income
  • Fueled by investor appetite for asset-backed securities, the private student loan market grew from less than 5 billion in 2001 to over 20 billion in 2008 to less than 6 billion in 2011
  • Banks between 2005 – 2007 were marketing loans directly to students, reducing the involvement of the schools in the process and reducing the certification of need from the school.
  • Some students who had not reached their limit on federal loans took out private loans simply because they did not understand the process
  • More than 90 percent of the dollar amount of private students loans originated in 2011 were co-signed

Political contributions & Lobbying
Sallie Mae gave $572,000 to federal candidates in the 2006 election through its political action committee – 52% to Democrats and 48% to Republicans. [4]
Sallie Mae (SLM Corporation) spent $2,758,700 for lobbying in the first half of 2007

Unless you’re a bank, maybe college isn’t such a good investment after all

In a recent article in the New Yorker magazine (online) Writer/author/critic John Cassidy asks, “What’s the real value of higher education?” Many students and their families he says extend themselves to pay for a college education out of fear of falling into the low-wage economy. But how sound an investment is it? Promoters of higher education have long emphasized its role in meeting civic needs. The Puritans who established Harvard were concerned about a shortage of clergy; during the Progressive Era, John Dewey insisted that a proper education would make people better citizens, with enlarged moral imaginations. Recently, as wage stagnation and rising inequality have emerged as serious problems, the economic arguments for higher education have come to the fore. ‘Earning a post-secondary degree or credential is no longer just a pathway to opportunity for a talented few,” the White House Web site states. “Rather, it is a prerequisite for the growing jobs of the new economy.’ Commentators and academic economists have claimed that college doesn’t merely help individuals get higher-paying jobs; it raises wages throughout the economy and helps ameliorate rising inequality.”

After you read the article… see if you still think college is a good investment?


Dear Gov. Kasich,

Re: Denali – formerly known as Mt. McKinley

Now, I know you are aware that in 1896, gold prospector William A. Dickey named the mountain for William McKinley of Ohio, who had been nominated for the President, but had not yet been elected. McKinley, actually entered the White House the following year (1897), never visited Alaska, and was assassinated at the start of his second term in office. When asked why he chose to name the mountain after then-presidential nominee McKinley, Dickey reportedly cited McKinley’s support of the gold standard.

Your state takes its name from the Ohio River. The name originated from the Iroquois word ohi-yo’, meaning “great river” or “large creek”. Your state, was originally partitioned from the Northwest Territory and admitted to the Union as the 17th state (and the first under the Northwest Ordinance) on March 1, 1803.

You may recall the Northwest Ordinance from your high school American history studies. It is the “ordinance” by which ALL Native North
American Indian land titles were extinguished, and turned into counties and townships. Kind of ironical isn’t that your state (like mine) has a name derived from a Native language.

Finally Governor, I believe you’ve said that Dickey and/or other American explorers were the first persons to see the mountain which of course seems to ignore the fact that Native Alaskans most likely were pretty much aware of the mountain’s existence hundreds if not thousands of years before 1896. I mean, after all, its peak is some 20,000 feet high so it would be pretty hard to miss. Turns out in fact that Denali means “Great One” in Abathascan the Native language of the area.

Yours truly,

Jeff Salisbury, Michigan State University 1980
Go Spartans on November 21st!