Don on A Lively Experiment – Nov 22nd

Posted by donroach on December 06, 2013
Uncategorized / 1 Comment

Fun times on A Lively Experiment a couple of weeks ago. I get more comfortable with this every time. TV is pretty cool and it’s exciting to be talking with RI politicos just to see what they’re thinking about.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlDj6o3NZ0c

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Song of the day: Counting Stars

Posted by donroach on December 06, 2013
Song of the Day / No Comments

I’m a big OneRepublic fan. Enjoy.

Counting Stars

 

Goodbye Mr Mandela

Posted by donroach on December 06, 2013
World News / No Comments

We say goodbye to Nelson Mandela today. He was 95 years old and lived a long and quite eventful life. To be born into a world where you are oppressed, live in prison for nearly three decades, become the president of the country that kept your people under its thumb, and live to see all of this happen to you is quite something.

 

We immortalize our cultural icons. When we nostalgically reflect back, they have no faults, whatever errors are masked by time and our reverence for their actions. It is no different with Mandela, an imperfect man, born at the perfect time to move his country from apartheid to freedom.

 

For that the blacks of South Africa will be forever grateful he came into the world, and the world is left a greater place because Mandela’s light graced it for a moment.

 

Rest in peace, job well done.

The death of the Projo

Posted by donroach on December 06, 2013
Projo / 2 Comments

How depressing must life be as a writer, to pen an article talking about how your employer is being put up for sale. Such is life for a Projo writer these days, as Old Faithful aka The Providence Journal is up for sale. Back in the 90s when I was in college, I enjoyed reading the Projo. I liked the local section the best because it would provide me with information that was going on in my neighborhood.

That section of the Projo has been gone for years. Indeed, the soul of the newspaper has been withering away for well over a decade via a number of mind-boggling management decisions. The one that stands out the most is charging for reading the paper online. Yes, papers like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and others charge for their content, but their content is something that you won’t get elsewhere. They have a brand. The Projo decision to go online seemed to stem from a rush to grab as much cash as possible because readership was declining.

It was as if management said, “there’s this cool thing called the world wide web. People are using it and we need to not give away our stuff for free. We’re losing money hand over fist so let’s see if this works.” The strategy always seemed dubious to me and what’s more, indicative of management’s inability to understand 21st century news consumption patterns.

People go to blogs for news, they watch tv, they visit websites. The Projo needed to do a much better job of identifying news consumption patterns of the evolving Rhode Island populaces in the mid-late aughts to see where people were headed. They didn’t and just threw a revenue dart out there and whiffed. Whiffed big-time.

Another mistake was reducing content. Nothing says bad marketing strategy than reducing content and charging for what little remained. The staff reductions, loss of veritable reporters and columnists who jumped ship, and the focus on revenues and not content probably made the decision to sell the Projo easy for Belo. A new owner could do wonders at the Projo. Yes, I write for a competitor, but there’s nothing that says two large news teams can’t coexist in this market. What saddens me is the fact that the Sunday Projo is no longer required reading as it once was.

 

Responses to my educational crusade

Posted by donroach on September 14, 2013
RI Schools / 2 Comments

This week on GoLocalProv, I wrote about beginning an educational crusade. I asked people to e-mail me their suggestions and wow, did I get a number of responses.

Here’s a look at some of the things people wrote to me. All names are removed

Our doors at [insert charter school name here] are always open.  Speak to our staff, students and parents. I am in the middle of high school placement meetings and am amazed at the eloquent way the 8th graders talk to me about what they need to be successful.
I admire your determination to try to find out how we work together to build a system that leads to promising futures for ALL of our youth.

- Administrator of a local charter school

 

I hope this finds you well.  My “fix” for education is to ensure that every student has a curriculum that is preparing them for their future, not the cookie cutter approach we have today.  The idea that every child needs to be prepared to go to college is unrealistic.  Every child needs to be prepared to go live the life of their choosing and that does not always require a college degree.

We need a comprehensive VoTech system in this State.  Reality is that our present system, with 30+ school systems, needs to either pool their resources to build regional VoTech schools, or the State needs to do it.  Few school systems today can afford to have a VoTech program also.  Unions need to realize that VoTech students must still pass the basics, English, Math, etc… And that those that teach “Trades” are teachers also and will need representation (I can’t believe I just said that).

Much of what is wrong in our school’s today center around discipline.  What I know about kids is that they are much more likely to be a discipline problem if they are not engaged in their activity, whatever that may be.  You will not engage them unless they feel what they are doing has a purpose.

- Rhode Island Political official

 

As a retired Educator from [a Rhode Island] High School, I too am passionate about the failure to prepare the under-performing population for the life they face after high school…when I ask those graduates I see as post graduates I ask the question…”Would you, if you could rewind, do things differently?”  ..to a person the answer is YES..then I reply..”no you wouldn’t ..not like you think you might”….BECAUSE ..you are surrounded by your peers and during this time of hormonal upheaval, they are your primary focus..and “adults don’t understand”…and I say ..”how would you like to sit down in front of a high school audience and have this discussion…then maybe put together some school related projects that could link their studies and their talents with you to mentor their progress…
Now..my question for you..Do you think this idea is worth pursuing? and would you be willing to evaluate my proposal if I continue to commit? Because both my husband and I are retired, I’m finding it difficult to stay focused and I’m looking at a knee replacement in the winter..so I’m passing this idea into your arena to see if you think it worthwhile…

So, thanks for your dedication to education.

- Retired RI High School teacher

 

Children are not graduating because they cannot master the material required to pass NECAP or Park and the school systems are unwilling to provide the resources. Some school systems have eliminated all shop programs and now is preparing you for college. Not every child is going to college. Some want to be plumbers, electricians, carpenters and hair dressers. Children must go to Woonsocket Career and Technical School for a trade education and we know how bad Woonsocket is over money issues. But it is an overwhelmed school system with children that need services.

- Concerned parent

Everyone has an opinion on education. That’s great, but trying to find one, two, or even five critical solutions to the problem we’re facing is going to be a challenge because so many people have such divergent opinions about the source of the problem.

Some see funding as the issue. I’ll be investigating our funding but I don’t believe that’s the problem. I may disprove that theory, but how we spend our money is probably more critical than what we have to spend given my limited knowledge of our per pupil spend.

Perhaps what I will find is that a blended solution that addresses a core set of critical factors is the approach to take.

Whatever the answer is, I’m looking forward to speaking with parents, teachers, educators, students, and whoever else has an opinion on Rhode Island education.

 

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Song of the Day – One More Night

Posted by donroach on September 04, 2012
Song of the Day / 1 Comment

New Maroon 5 song. I like it.

 

 

Poker Adventures

Posted by donroach on July 30, 2012
Poker / No Comments

Hi folks. About three years ago I decided to try my hand at poker for money. I bought into Full Tilt Poker (FTP) for $10 and within four months I was all the way up to a cool $200. I felt like, “Wow maybe I can do this for a living?!”, and then I came crashing down and lost it all. Over the next couple of years, I’d buy in for about $30 and win and lose. In all, maybe I lost about $100, not a ton but I still had pipe dreams of making it big. I decided to switch my game to PLO, and found much more success than with NLHE.

I still play about 4-8 hours a week, still with hopes of becoming a poker star. If anything, I just want to play in the World Series of Poker Main Event once in my lifetime. For those that don’t know what that is, about 6,000 suckers players make their way to Las Vegas each summer and play in a 10,000 buy-in event. The winner gets millions but there are plenty of losers who walk away with nothing. I just want to try it one time, one time!

Wish me luck!

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Does Gingrich’s lovelife matter?

Posted by donroach on January 19, 2012
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Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, is not the ideal husband. Affairs litter his past and who would be surprised if new revelations appeared in the tabloids news? But does this invalidate Gingrich for the presidency?

From a purely objective standpoint, it does not. In my opinion, there have been many great leaders of men who were horrible husbands of wives. They were unable to correlate their leadership abilities with their marriage responsibilities. It’s a sad and unfortunate fact – an issue worthy of study to be sure. Yet, I do not believe personal mistakes or the lack thereof are predictors of presidential accomplishments.

Having said that, Gingrich is in a slightly different situation. He was the one who led the charge against former President Bill Clinton and talked ad nauseum about family values. In instances where a politician stands for X publicly and seems to do Y privately, that definitely matters. It matters because it speaks to the honesty of the man running for president and how honest they will be with the American people. Are they able to rally the family values troops all the while conducting an illicit affair? That’s different than having the same affair while asking North Korea to halt their nuclear weapons program.

Catch the difference?

So as Gingrich’s ex-wife talks about his indiscretions, Gingrich needs to take care in his response. Because in this case his lovelife does matter.

Broncos busted

Posted by donroach on January 16, 2012
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As I said the other, I like Tom Brady. And yesterday he showed why. With a steel and coolness he & the Patriots destroyed Tim Tebow and the Broncos. I can hear some folks today saying, “where was Tim’s God in that game?” and  “I guess God likes Tom Terrific better than the Mile High Messiah”.

I’ve also heard things like ‘God doesn’t care about a football game.’ I’ve been intrigued by comments such as this as they show a different understanding of God than the one I have. I see God as a parent, one who has allowed us to build this world as we see fit. It’s like being a parent of a teenager and you give them the keys to your car to go out on their first date. You give them directions but when rubber meets road they are the ones making the decisions.

God as parent is interesting in everything that happens to us, in my opinion. That ranges from the mundane decisions all the way to major ones that affect alter the course of our lives. There’s only one reason: love. When you love someone or something they interest you and you take time to get to know them. I tend to think that with God He’s very much interested in all things human and seeing what new and interesting ideas we come up with.

So what’s His position on sports? Does God love Brady more than Tebow? Hardly, instead people need to remember how much freedom God has given us to determine our own future. We often blame God for the bad and forget about Him when things go well. And, in my opinion, we often eschew responsibility in either case. I believe it was Paul who said, “I give thanks to God in all things” – good or bad. Paul understood that good and bad times were temporary, the only constant was the goodness of God.

I believe Tebow understands that winning/losing isn’t the important thing but that how he conducts himself after a win or loss is. So while Brady’s Patriots move on to the AFC Championship, Tebow’s relationship with God is unaltered. And that’s the way it should be.

Go Ravens!

Tebow exposes bias

Posted by donroach on January 14, 2012
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Count me among those considered Tom Brady fans. Don’t get it twisted though, I grew up in South Jersey and am a die hard Eagles fan through and through. But outside of that, I love players who are counted out and who show the resolve to come through in the clutch. What I love most about sports is that moment, the moment when it’s all on the player to make or not make a play. And in many of those moments throughout his career, Tom Brady has come through. I respect that and I like to watch it.

I recall back in 2001 when Brady took over the Pats starting job and he looked pedestrian, a game manager. I remember many people calling into talk shows saying the Patriots couldn’t win long term with Brady and the return of Bledsoe couldn’t come soon enough. Yet, as the wins mounted the tune of those same fans began to change.

11 years later we’re witnessing this decade’s Tom Brady. This one has the same drive, confidence, and competitive spirit. The difference. Tim Tebow praises God publicly and uses every opportunity do so. With Cranston’s prayer banner controversy in the background, it’s interesting to see how Tebow is showing the anti-Christian bias that exists amongst some media members. 11 years ago, Brady didn’t get panned for being a young 24 year old who believed in his skills and abilities. I didn’t see Charles Barkley calling him a ‘nightmare’. No, Brady’s worst critics said he couldn’t throw the long ball and that he was slow of foot.

It was about football.

Yet with Tebow it’s often not about football but about his Constitutional right to exercise his religion as he sees fit. I doubt if Tebow was an atheist the media would place such a focus on his religious beliefs or lack thereof. He’d simply be a football player – we’d judge him by wins & losses, by his skill set or lack thereof.

But, it’s always something else when someone professes a religion in a way that is outside the mainstream. I’ve often heard the phrase – keep your religion in your back pocket. What i hope Tebow is illustrating is that for some of us, our religion is what defines us. To secularize it and make it provocative, being a christian is like being gay for some – a key part of who we are. Perhaps seen in that light people may start to understand Tebow, but unlikely. I suspect he’ll continue to be a polarizing figure.

And if he keeps winning, a polarizing and well paid figure.