May 7th, 2008

Hoffa-Livingston, Message Hat

A Wiz Of A Substitute Teacher

Teacher Accused Of Wizardry

LAND O' LAKES -- A Florida substitute teacher said his job disappeared after he did a magic trick in front of his students.

Substitute teacher Jim Piculas made a toothpick disappear, then reappear, in front of a classroom at Rushe Middle School in Land O'Lakes.

The Pasco County School District said the trick is just one of the reasons Piculas was let go.

"I get a call the middle of the day from head of supervisor of substitute teachers. He says, 'Jim, we have a huge issue. You can't take any more assignments. You need to come in right away.' I said, 'Well Pat, can you explain this to me?' 'You've been accused of wizardry.' Wizardry?" Piculas said.

Piculas says the parent of a traumatized student complained after he performed the toothpick trick.

The assistant superintendent said Piculas had other issues, such as not following lesson plans and allowing students to play on computers that were not approved....

Reading between the lines, my guess is that what happened is:

1. The substitute teacher was goofing around with the class a bit, either out of laziness or in an attempt to establish a rapport.

2. One of the parents complained about the act of "wizardry" that had "traumatized" (did they actually say that, or is this something that got interjected by the article writer?) their kid.

3. The superintendant took the path of least resistance and let the teacher go.

4. After the story got out and the ridicule started to come in, the superintendant raised point #1 (which normally would have been ignored as nothing ususual) as the real justification for the dismissal.
Respect The Law

It's The Coverup That Gets You...

Federal Agents Raid Office of Special Counsel

Nearly two dozen federal agents yesterday raided the Washington headquarters of the agency that protects government whistle-blowers, as part of an intensifying criminal investigation of its leader, who is fighting allegations of improper political bias and obstruction of justice.

Agents fanned out yesterday morning in the agency's building on M Street, where they sequestered Office of Special Counsel chief Scott J. Bloch for questioning, served grand-jury subpoenas on 17 employees and shut down access to computer networks in a search lasting more than five hours.....

Essentially, the news item is a dismayingly familiar tale of (alleged) malfeasance of office and abuse of power. The part that grabbed my attention, in a pointing-and-laughing sort of way, is:

...During the probe, Bloch hired the technology service Geeks on Call to erase his computer hard drive and those of two aides, giving rise to new allegations that he was obstructing justice....

I have a mental image of a petty crook confident that he can't possibly be caught because he saw some clever trick on TeeVee.