The Obama Plan...Where Icarus Flies, Episode 10, trying to educate the masses…

WhereIF Episode 10 Contents

Blog Post Note: It has now been over two months since I last posted a podcast. This podcast was recorded on March 18th, it is not April 28th. Man am I a lame-ass! I just listened to this episode again and wow, my voice was still thrashed due to my bout with H1N1. I sound MUCH better now!!! — Bill

By not posing a podcast in over a month, Where Icarus Flies is in danger of becoming irrelevant. Well, that assumes that we were relevant to begin with. 😉 A lot has happened since Joey and I were last on the air. I joined the 40 club, we went on a trip to Massachusetts, the Vancouver Olympics came and went, I contracted H1N1 and battled the Swine Flu for two weeks, President Obama declared he was not a friend of teachers and Little League Baseball season started. Those are just the major items on the list!

The good news: we are back! My “weekly” podcast may end up becoming a bi-weekly podcast, but I’ll do my best! It is amazing how much life gets in the way! Hey, at least my podcast wasn’t off the air as long as Adam Curry’s!

So, what does WhereIF have in store for you this week? Let’s take a look…

Where Icarus Flies Jambalaya!

Jambalaya is a wonderful Cajun dish of rice with shrimps, chicken, and vegetables. The word Jambalaya most likely comes from the Provençal word  jambalaia, meaning a mish mash. That is what the WhereIF Jambalaya segment is. A mish mash of topics that can sometimes boarder on the spicy! This week I talk about a potential National ID Card, Zurich’s “Fish Lawyer,” and Google vs. the little guy.

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Digital Rights Management, or DRM for short, is a broad term to indicate one of many possible techniques for restricting the free use and transfer of digital content. The digital content is most commonly a movie, song, game, document (mainly PDFs), audio book or more. The case for DRM is that without a strong system in place to ensure only paying customers can access media, piracy will run rampant and cut drastically into profits for content producers and its distributors. On paper or sitting around a conference room table, this sounds quite reasonable.

In practice DRM does very little to curb piracy and mainly gets in the way of a consumer’s right to enjoy their legally purchased digital content in ways that comply with reasonable fair use guidelines. Although the public face of DRM would have you believe that its sole purpose is to protect the poor copyright holder’s intellectual property, it does little to do so. At they same time DRM proponents argue that the rights of the consumer are paramount. DRM is mainly about use (or more accurately non-use) of the digital content, not about the rights of the consumer.

This week, I spend tome time talking about DRM. Can you guess which side of the debate I am on?

America’s Public Education Fail

I have talked about this before, Public Education in the United States at the K-12 level is an embarrassment. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is a sick joke and President Obama does not have an adequate plan to fix our education woes. Everything about President Obama’s education plan smacks of public pandering. Oh, there are parts that sound good to the general public, but that is only because the general public does not know anything about education. Tying teacher pay and performance rating to test scores is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Especially since the test that are being used are inadequate and our current education standards are not reasonable.

On top of that, President Obama created what can be best described as a secret society to dole out needed money to states in need. The bogus Race to the Top program is a farce. California did not get needed government money because most of the School Districts and Teacher’s Unions in the state would not agree to the out-of-touch, nonsensical mandates of President Obama’s plan. Most everyone remotely knowledgeable about Education will tell you that using standardized tests to identify good vs. bad teachers, is not just a bad idea, it is idiotic!

President Obama and Education Secretary Duncan had no problem showing their true colors when they both supported the firing of all 93 teachers and administrators at a failing Rhode Island School. Proponents of the firing like to paint the picture of an impoverished and helpless student body under the thumb of an evil teacher’s union and a brave and visionary superintendent of schools who would not take it any more. Throwing the fantasy away, we see a school that has a student body that has been below level for a long, long time. A fairly new superintendent who is trying to make a name for herself and and teachers who are shackled down by NCLB and do not know what else to do. Okay, maybe I am painting the picture in reverse, but that is how I see it. The mass firing had nothing to do with helping the kids. It was a hardball negotiation tactic used by the superintendent that now has the teacher’s union back at the table cowering. Oh and the nuclear option of fireing all of the teachers come in spite of a state report written last April that focused on the high school’s reading and writing proficiency, which have gone up 22 percent and 14 percent respectively over the past two years.

Due to President Obama and Secretary Duncan’s support of this draconian move, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers both lambasted the pair. Firing the entire faculty of a school is not a recipe for turning around a struggling school. That plan relies on a magical pool of excellent teachers to spring forth and replace the old teachers. It is a plan that is naïve at best and desperately misguided.

Hoover Report

Joey is in the studio and itching to be back on the air. He takes on sports, pop culture and the St. Patrick’s Day staple: corned beef and cabbage!

Masterworks Theatre

A special Masterwork’s Theatre this week that ties in to my battle with the Swine Flu!

Podcast File Info – Episode 10

I have gone back to making the enhanced version of the podcast (.m4a) the default version in my RSS Feed and on iTunes. If you have any problems with it, let me know (although if you use iTunes, .m4a is not a problem). I have received feedback that some mobile devices have trouble with the enhanced version (yes, that is you Blackberry). You can still get the .mp3 version from the website.

  • Running time: 63 minutes
  • MP3 file size: 61MB
  • M4A file size: 63MB

All show ideas, comments and questions can be sent to feedback@whereicarusflies.com

Bill

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