Oct 26

Privacy and the Internet

You know, with Citibank’s latest commercials about anti-identity theft commercials, you’d think that Citigroup would be all for stronger privacy laws. (What… you mean that a company might use advertising to mislead the public as to their actual politics? Shocked… shocked I am to find gambling in this establishment!)

Well, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights wanted to make a point to Citigroup about the need for strong privacy laws, so they skywrote Citigroup CEO’s social security number directly over the Citigroup building in Manhattan yesterday.

According to the head of the FTCR, the group was able to buy Prince’s SSN over the net for $26. They also claim to have Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft’s SSNs too, but they are afraid to post those numbers for fear of prosecution under the Patriot Act.

I’m really not sure how I feel about the actions of the FTCR. Their actions seem extreme and borderline illegal, but at the same time, I’m all for making CEOs deal with the consequences of their actions.

Oct 26

The Ethics of Care

Nel Noddings’ ethic of care really resonates with me. I admit, I’ve read Noddings before, and for me, she was someone who was very important in the development of what I see as my decision to prioritize kindness as the most important way human action. I’ve seen so many bright people who could just logic and ethical language to justify behavior that, in the end, was just not kind. It did nothing to better the condition of those around the actor. In the end, my ethical beliefs boil down to a very simple statement – try to leave the world a slightly better place because you happened to live in it. And for me, and ethic of kindness and care has the chance to do that.

Oct 26

Ethics in the Real World

[So... I'm doing a far amount of writing in my grad school class on ethics... and since I'm not finding time to post here, I'm going to post some of my logs here. Besides, it's as relevant as anything else I put up here... This was a log based on a case-study, should a principal resign when the Board of Education in her town makes her change her 'second-chance' school in ways she disagrees with or should she make the best of it?]

I think I was somewhat taken aback by the degree to which so many people thought it was ethical for Sandra Jones to resign. Granted, there’s no question that, by retiring, she does not have to compromise her principles and either a) water down her school or b) mislead her bosses. However, the problem is that her kids live in a real world, and by resigning, she consigns her students to a leader, board-appointed, who will follow the mandate. And while it’s good to feel that you’ve not had to make the “least bad” decision, I believe both the utilitarian and liberal egalitarian ethics systems would argue that Ms. Jones must stay and continue to serve her students as best she can.

Oct 22

Lack of Postings

Sorry to the four or five folks out there who regularly read this blog for the lack of postings of late. We’re in a rather hectic time of year, as I wrote last week. I’ve got to get through next Wednesday, when my midterm paper for Prof. Sobol is due, and then I will get a little bit of breathing room, although not a ton.

More and more, this year is seeming to be just a little too breakneck of a pace for me. Afternoon catnaps are becoming a little too frequent just to make the day managable. I define that as officially not good.

Oct 16

Game Seven

Did anyone doubt that the Yankees / Red Sox game would go to Game Seven? If the Red Sox win, they get to say they beat the Yankees in Game Seven — in Yankee Stadium no less. If the Yankees win, then it is the latest and greatest installment of the pure pain that is the Red Sox existence — to say nothing of stoking the fires of Boston’s hatred of NYC.

And, of course, it’s Clemens v. Pedro.

This one couldn’t have been scripted better in Hollywood. And I, of course, have class tomorrow night.

Oct 15

Life Out of Balance

Monday — theoretically a day off: Grade for much of the day. Do grad school research much of the day.

Tuesday — 6:30 am practice with the Ultimate boys. 8:20 English class. Work on open house and other cabinet issues all day. 6:00 pm Beacon Open House for prospective students. 9:30 Get home, spend an hour with Kat. 10:30 Try to get some work done. 11:00 pm – Watch Playmakers for one hour to decompress. 12:00 — Write a Sobol Log. 12:45 am try to start grading. 2:30 am — wake up on the couch having graded next to nothing.

Wednesday — 6:30 am, wake up having slept through alarm. Shower and speed down to school for… 7:00 am running practice with the girls. 8:20 – English class. Teach three classes, go to John Jay College and P.S. 191 to deal with practice courts. 3:45 – grab slice of pizza. 4:00 — nap at Beacon for a short time. 5:00 — try to catch up on some grad class reading in preparation for 7:20 class. Cups of coffee today? Probably five or six.

And Thursday night is another Open House followed by grad class. Friday, we’re entertaining Kat’s staff. Saturday, we’re off to Philly for some fun, Sunday is observing Villanova’s bball practice, followed by coming home and grading all night. Monday night is writing anecdotals all night long. Tuesday and Wednesday is getting anecdotals ready for conferences. Thursday and Friday are Parent-Teacher conferences. Saturday is the Philly Juniors Ultimate tournament, Sunday is sleep. Monday following is the first ball-practice for basketball.

This is not a healthy lifestyle right now.

Oct 13

Coaches Clinic

I spent today at a coaches clinic at Kean University with Jess Radin, Beacon’s JV Girls coach. For those folks who have never been, a coaches clinic consists of a bunch of very successful coaches talking about pieces of their success to other coaches. This clinic was hosted by the Kean Women’s Basketball program, where my friend Corey is now the assistant coach, and it was a really well-run day.

There was a powerful group of talent there — Fran Fraschilla, Bob Hurley Sr., Bobby Gonzalez, Harry Perretta and others — and the lectures were all quite good. After eight hours, both Jess and I had our fill of chalk talk, and we missed Dereck Whittenburg’s talk on the full court press, but I think we both were at a point where we wouldn’t have heard a word of what he was saying.

More than the X’s and O’s of these events, there’s something powerful about sitting in a gym with a hundred other coaches listening, interacting, writing and just thinking about basketball. Both Jess and I walked out really excited for the start of our season, and we also did walk away with five or six things that we are looking to integrate into Beacon basketball — everything from seeing a motion offense broken down into a teaching method, to a few plays to use to free up Toya for open shots, to some cool defensive and fast break drills. But also, it was great to listen to coaches talk.

I love coach talk. I loved listening to the coach of Rider talk about how to talk to kids and parents to have a winning season. I loved listening to Fraschilla talk about the six things that make a successful coach. I love the cliches that really have a lot of truth to them. There’s a lack of cyncism that is necessary to the huddle, to practice, to the court that is just awesome. And some of these coaches, of course, are the most cynical, competative, least progressive people you’ll meet.

But in the moment when they talk about their O and D or their hopes for their team or what makes a successful coach, player, team, program… they believe in the most fervent, passionate way. In the end, who cares whether a 1-2-2 defense is better than man-to-man or if a spread motion offense is better "pure" basketball that a set-play O, except that to see the coaches talk about them as if this decision was the most critical one you can make… to see that level of belief… that’s just cool.

At the end, for everything that can be wrong with sports, it’s powerful to see people that care, especially because — with luck and hope — these coaches then take that care and invest it in the kids in their charge.

And that’s just cool.