Monthly Archives: November 2014

PGCPS Board Counsel’s office epicenter for Corruption and Maladministration.

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Abbey Hairston (pictured above) has been Spearheading Corruption through “No bid contracts” and spreading falsehood in a major way within PGCPS District for several years now through the Thatcher Law Firm based in Greenbelt Maryland. She continues to influence hiring of close friends in the most sensitive positions within the county in order to defeat justice. Above all, she is surrounded by free cash without proper checks and balances. …..Where is the moral outrage? 

Corruption, maladministration, distrust of outsiders who are not part of the clique that has led to nepotism and a thriving over billings of legal fees to the Board of Education for Prince George’s County (PGCPS) are adding to the chaos at the epicenter of the Prince George’s County Corruption epidemic in Maryland and challenging efforts to stop the malaise at its source.

“It would seem that there are those within the Rushern Baker III regime – a minority it would seem – determined to craft Prince George’s County  into a corrupt authoritarian state wrapped up in the county flag and all the rituals and propagandized narratives of virulent nationalism,” it seems.

These days in Prince George’s, Commercial and political interests have eroded media freedoms, making “Twitter a more reliable purveyor of truth than some traditional news outlets.”

In November 2014, Abbey Hairston engineered the hiring of Mr. Chuck Shultz an attorney currently in Thatcher Law Firm to be an Associate General Counsel (Risk Management) Office of the PGCPS Legal Services (See the Appointments here November 2014)

Previously Abbey Hairston steered the hiring of Mr. James Fisher a previous attorney in the same firm who doubles for the Thatcher Law Firm in the state and Federal courts as an Associate General Counsel. Jacking up the cost of hiring well connected friends into Prince George’s County Public schools which represents an attempt by the county officials to fatten the pockets of some of its administrators including Rushern Baker III for the rest of their lives at the expense of its citizenry.

Discriminatory practices include bias in hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, compensation, retaliation, and various types of harassment. The main body of employment discrimination laws consists of federal and state statutes of which the Thatcher Law Firm continues to violate willfully within the Prince George’s county.

Additionally, Thatcher Law Firm via Abbey Hairston and others are involved in hindering, delaying, or preventing proper administration of justice while mishandling several cases which touches on the law firm directly.

The nexus between organized crime and politics is a growing global concern that affects new as well as established democracies, as it erodes the very principles of democratic governance such as rule of law, equal exercise of citizenship rights, responsiveness, and transparency.

Political corruption is the preferred tool for illicit networks to advance their businesses as shown clearly in the Thatcher Law Firm fiasco. While the phenomenon is not exclusive to Prince George’s County, the region has been particularly vulnerable to these problems because of the presence of some of the most pervasive crime networks involving the previous county Executive.

The relations between organized crime and politicians are not always the result of explicit agreements. Rather, mutual benefits can result from a distant coexistence, or through the “good offices” of intermediaries or facilitators. In these instances, the role played by civil society organizations such as the Reform Sasscer Movement, NAACP, Parent coalition and oversight agencies is particularly important. Social rejection of these relations, as well as official monitoring of the behavior of politicians, has a substantial preventive effect.

Read more  Employment discrimination statute.

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POLITICAL CORRUPTION:

Corruption is the abuse of power by a public official for private gain or any organized, interdependent system in which part of the system is either not performing duties it was originally intended to, or performing them in an improper way, to the detriment of the system’s original purpose. The abuse of public offices for private gain is paradigmatic of corruption as seen within the Prince George’s County especially within the local state courts and the school system.

A common belief is that corruption is a judge taking bribes. The definition exceeds this theory. Corruption describes any organized, interdependent system in which part of the system is either not performing duties it was originally intended to, or performing them in an improper way, to the detriment of the system’s original purpose.

Corrupt judicial systems not only violate the basic right to equality before the law but deny procedural rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

While corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and mail fraud.; it is not restricted to these activities. In this country, corruption is so common that it is expected when ordinary businesses or citizens interact with government officials. The end-point of political corruption is akleptocracy, literally “rule by thieves”.

We are saddened in many ways that the traditional organizations including the church, have caught the flu that has caused them to lose their role as the voices of the poor, marginalized and downtrodden in society especially here in Prince George’s County.

One parents interviewed said that the Church’s credibility was seriously dented by taking political sides when they accepted a trophy by some of the oppressors led by Chairman Segun Eubanks recently.

“Cynics argue much of their energy is expended on investing in the real estate sector,” he concluded.

If injustice does not outrage us, what should? If the deception and manipulation of trusting supporters is not an outrage, what is? And likewise with the wanton trampling on our best democratic traditions and the rule of law.

Board of Education for Prince George’s County counsel Abbey Hairston well documented misconduct should make it a lot easier for the Board to take the steps necessary to show her the door. Or she could do the right thing and resign immediately.

>>> Read more The Rot that is PGCPS Sasscer.

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Equality before the law, like universal suffrage, holds a privileged place in our political system, and to deny equality before the law delegitimizes that system. . . . when these rights are denied, the expectation that the affronted parties should continue to respect the political system . . . that they should continue to treat it as a legitimate political system–has no basis.

 —David Luban, Lawyers and Justice: An Ethical Study, 251, 264-66 n.12 (Princeton Univ. Press, 1988)

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This is a call for action. Call your elected officials now, the unions and the media. A proper investigation will tell us who is responsible for this calamity and, therefore, who should lose their jobs. While talking to your elected officials, request Mr. Rushern Baker III resign and to take responsibility for this mess. Demand an end to this fraud and the madness!

The People of Prince George’s county deserve better.

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James Fisher

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Mr. Rushern Baker III– Current County Executive for Prince George’s County is known not to be a man of his word according to Prince George’s County NAACP Chapter. He makes promises he cannot keep and is deeply involved in the scandal comprising Dr. kevin Maxwell. (Read more Major scandal Developing in Upper Marlboro). On this note, Mr. Baker needs to take responsibility and resign!

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Do You Know the Richest Woman in Your State?

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(*An asterisk indicates totals that are estimated based on a family or couple’s combined wealth.)

This is a pictorial graphic that shows the richest woman in every state.

Do you know any of them?

The Network for Public Education is looking for an angel who will help us fight corporate reform. We are trying to defend public schools, teachers, and children from predatory takeovers by powerful special interests all over the world including by Mr. Rushern Baker regime here in Prince George’s County.

We would love to find a billionaire who loves public schools.

We would actually be happy to have the help of the second or third or tenth richest person, woman or man.

Until we find that person, we will continue to count on your help with whatever you can afford.

We are not especially well-funded (we are not well funded at all), yet we are beating back the billionaires. Why? Because we have the strength of our numbers, including you. We speak for 5 million teachers and for the families of about 45 million students, give or take a few million. With all their billions (of dollars), they can’t beat our millions (of people).

And we are winning because we care about principle, not profit. We believe that right makes might, that failing “reforms” will be exposed as frauds and scams, and that in a democracy, the truth eventually prevails

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Myra Blackmon: Our Children Are Not Bill Gates’ Guinea Pigs!

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According to Myra Blackmon, who writes for the Athens (Georgia) Banner, poses a question. What if Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world, came up with an idea for a drug? Would we skip clinical trials and the FDA? Would we just dispense because he said so?

That’s what Bill Gates is doing to our children, she writes, and we shouldn’t stand for it.

But that is exactly what Bill Gates, another mega billionaire, has done with education. Gates is rich, he has purchased his bully pulpit and we are swallowing his “brilliance” hook, line and sinker.
Just because he has made a lot of money. Just because he is smart. Gates is suddenly the education expert, advising the president and secretary of education on what is “best” for America’s children. He funds the development and promotion of his idea of “good” education practice.

He has never taught nor studied education. His own children went to private schools that wouldn’t touch his ideas with a 10-foot pole. But he is Bill Gates and we let him get away with it.

Gates decided, for example, that the Common Core State Standards are a great idea. And he proceeded to pour mountains of money into bringing it to market with little or no research, no clinical trials and absolutely no evidence of efficacy. He gives organizations big money to push the Common Core, which was developed in virtual secrecy, with almost no input from real teachers.

Gates also espouses “data-driven” education, in which numbers and data analysis take precedence over what teachers and parents believe is best for individual children. Their scores on high-stakes tests trump any firsthand knowledge or special circumstances that might determine the educational course for any given child.
There is no evidence that Gates’ big ideas work. We are allowing him to experiment on our children, absent even the simplest protections we would expect for a new medication or a new infant formula. We believe that because he is smart and rich, he knows what is best for our children.

Where is the moral outrage? Why on earth do we accept what Bill Gates says and deny the research that tells us not only that data-driven, test-based education doesn’t work, but tells us what can best help our children learn?

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Funeral for Maryland Hero doctor held in Prince George’s County.

– Landover Hills – Maryland.

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The funeral procession for Dr. Martin Salia, the Sierra Leone-born physician who died of Ebola, arrives at Faith Community of St. Mary Church, in Landover Hills, Maryland, November 29, 2014. Salia’s wife, Isatu, carries the urn with his cremated ashes along with sons, Mada Martin (L) and Hinwaii Sakatty Salia (R) (MIKE THEILER, Reuters)

Dr. Martin Salia didn’t get into the medical profession to get rich, and even though he was a permanent U.S. resident, he chose to work in his native Sierra Leone because the need for surgeons there was so great.

Although his medical colleagues were worried when he returned there to treat Ebola patients, they said the decision was consistent with his character.

The 44-year-old surgeon was remembered Saturday at his funeral Mass as a tireless, selfless and heroic advocate for medical care for the less fortunate. Salia died of Ebola on Nov. 17 after being flown to a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, in the advanced stages of the deadly virus. He became the second person to die in the United States after contracting Ebola in West Africa, where it has killed more than 5,000 people.

Ron Klain, the White House Ebola response coordinator, read a personal note of condolence from President Barack Obama to Salia’s family.

“The greatest heroes are people who choose to face danger, who voluntarily put themselves at risk to help others,” Klain said. “Martin Salia was such a man.”

The 90-minute Mass at the home parish of Salia’s family in Maryland drew a crowd that swelled to the hundreds. Relatives, friends, colleagues and dignitaries from both the U.S. and Sierra Leone were in attendance, along with Sierra Leonean immigrants from around the country, some of whom said they didn’t know Salia personally.

Salia’s wife, Isatu Salia, wept as she carried a small black box containing her husband’s cremated remains into the church, flanked by the couple’s sons, 20-year-old Maada and 14-year-old Hinwaii.

Bockari Stevens, the Sierra Leonean ambassador to the United States, called Salia a national hero who abandoned “the luxuries of the United States” to aid his homeland.

“It is a loss not only to your family. It is a loss to our country,” Stevens said.

Stevens called for the United States to do more to “ensure that this scourge is blighted” in Sierra Leone and the other West African nations stricken by Ebola. Klain pledged that more aid was on the way.

“The world’s response has been too late, but now, help is coming,” he said to applause.

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Read more >>> Wjla >>> Baltimore Sun >>> Sacramento Bee

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 FILE – In this April 2014, file photo, provided by the United Methodist News Service, Dr. Martin Salia poses for a photo at the United Methodist Church’s Kissy Hospital outside Freetown, Sierra Leone. Salia, who died of Ebola after treating patients in his native Sierra Leone, will be remembered in the suburbs of Washington, where his family lives. Forty-four-year-old Salia died earlier this month at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. His body was cremated. A funeral Mass will be held Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014.
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PGCPS Board of Education member wants external audit of special ed

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Audit of special Education is critical in light of political interference.

This story was first reported by Prince George’s County Sentinel. We covered it here and made our own opinion. According to Washington Post, Prince George’s County school board member Edward Burroughs III (District 8) wants to overhaul the school district’s Special Education Department and has proposed that the school system conduct an external audit to identify areas in need of improvement.

Burroughs said the proposal is partly in response to three meetings he and board members Verjeana M. Jacobs (District 5) and Peggy Higgins (District 2) recently hosted to hear from parents about their experience with special education.

Burroughs said he has identified areas of improvement for the department, which last year provided services to more than 14,000 students — a little more than 11 percent of the 125,000-student body.

He said that parents during the meetings complained that some children’s Individualized Education Programs, written plans that describe the services a child with a disability needs to be successful, are not being implemented properly. They criticized the school district, accusing it of shutting them out of the special-education process and forcing them to pay for expert witnesses to attest to the need for services.

Burroughs said he wants to shift the current burden of proof from the parents to the school about services that children receive.

“My fear is that the parents that cannot afford [to go to doctors and attorneys] are not getting the services needed for their child,” he said. “That is unacceptable.”

The department has made strides in recent years, but parents and advocates say it continues to fall short. Burroughs offered his proposal for an audit during a recent policy committee meeting.

“I believe it’s clear that our special-education department is not serving the needs of the students,” said Burroughs, noting the pleas for help from parents who attended the meetings. “Our special-needs students are the most vulnerable, and it is clear there are systemic issues with that department. I believe it is important to not hide from it but to actually fix the problem. To me, it makes a lot of sense for us to pull together experts in the special-education field to do a comprehensive and systemic audit, a top-to-bottom audit of the department.”

Max Pugh, a spokesman for the school system, said in an e-mail that neither the board nor the administration has made any decisions regarding an audit.

>>> Read more Washington Post

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OPINION

Once again, and as highlighted on the 26th, November 2014,  our position remains the same. After analyzing the whole situation carefully, What surprises most of us is that, now Monica Goldson, the queen of questionable activities, ethnics, and back door deals who also lacks the skills to do anything successful in the system, continues to be the Chief operating Officer (COO). She works closely with  Deputy Superintendent of Schools Dr. Monique Whittington Davis who manages millions of dollars geared for Special Education students in Prince George’s County public Schools (PGCPS). Dr. Monique Whittington Davis who is part of the epicenter of corruption is married to Delegate Dereck Eugene Davis who is a close friend and confidant to Mr. Rushern Baker III (County Executive).  The Chair of the Board of Education Dr. Segun Eubanks reports to Mr. Rushern Baker III who is his the brother in law. Lately, all of them appear to be running to the banks for whatever reasons.

Dr. Monique Whittington Davis reports to her husband a delegate who represents district 25 for Maryland in the general assembly. She also reports to CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell who in turn reports to Rushern Baker III and Dr. Segun Eubanks engaged in the same practice in various ways including the unions.  Surely, something does not smell right in the special education department within PGCPS and the county in general. What ever happened to common decency? Are manners no longer part of US culture?

One of the issues we brought to the attention of the current regime when they took over power within the system was the role of Ms. Monica Goldson. See our top priorities here points numbers 5 and 21 F. If that’s not the fox guarding the hen house together with the Rushern Baker III regime. We don’t know what it is.

Way to go Mr. Rushern Baker! It just gets better with you at the helm. Maxwell has brought a whole new element of banditry with him and we pray they will all be exposed one day by others.

Many of us are wondering if there is a cloud over Dr. Kevin Maxwell and his Administration! Above all, We better watch his Deputy too a politically connected friend through her husband to Mr. Rushern Baker!  Recently, previous CFO Colby White and his wife filed a claim about a stupid diamond ring. To think they were so dishonest and liars to have filed that “same” claim earlier. What people will do for money? How can these people be brought to PGCPS and expect Students to be honest and to pass the exams.

Now look at how quickly both of them were placed on Administrative Leave for fraud with “pay“. Is that looking out for the public? What happened to Simpson-Marcus and Principal Dwayne Jones? The last time we checked She was still walking around Largo High while Staff, Students, Parents, and the Community are looking at how well protected and bold she has become. Given, the fact that she has declined to step down, or even sought to transfer to another school District together with ASASP President Mr. Dwayne Jones, tells us that, they are all failures as educators and as leaders, and that they cares far more for themselves and their career than for the children in their charge. Monica Goldson, Simpson-Marcus, Dr. Monique Whittington Davis, Dr. Kevin Maxwell  and others involved in this questionable activity are not the type of leaders we would want to see influencing our children in the critical high school years.

It’s amazing how much money these public officials are making at the expense of the county citizenry. Yet, the Teachers who make the Schools look good barely get a decent salary or even enough material for the classrooms. You will be surprised how many PGCPS Teachers have to work a second job or other jobs just to make ends meet.

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Fox guarding the hen house in PGCPS while poor students suffer.

Read more >>>>Call your Elected Officials now and the Media.

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Segun Eubanks  - Laughing all the way to the Bank.

Prince George’s County school board chairman Segun Eubanks (Brother in Law to Rushern Baker III involved in mega-corruption involving PGCPS) listens to parents and staff speak. He has been laughing all the way to the Bank recently while poor students and staff suffer… What ever happened to common decency? Are manners no longer part of US culture?

Rushern Baker - Appears to be driving corruption to new heights

Rushern Baker III Current County Executive for Prince George’s county – Appears to be driving corruption to new heights.

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Prince George’s schools under fire after private employee data leaked

More than 10,000 worker’s names, Social Security numbers and birth dates were compromised.

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The Prince George’s County School System is investigating how the personal information of thousands of its employees ended up in a report that was forwarded to personal e-mail addresses outside the school system this month.

Max Pugh, a schools spokesman, said the district has begun an investigation into how more than 10,000 employees’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and employee identification numbers were compromised.

Deputy Superintendent Monique W. Davis sent an e-mail to nearly half of the school district’s 23,785-person workforce last week alerting the employees that their personal data was “potentially exposed” to others when the school district sent an e-mail that inadvertently included the private information.

The school system apologized for the inconvenience and said it was working to ensure that it does not happen again.

“We have initiated an internal investigation to determine why the report included the information,” Pugh said. He said there was a delay in notification — of about a week — because the school system had to determine the scale of the leak before reaching out to employees.

The system’s Human Resources Division contacted the teachers and principals unions’ leadership on Nov. 17 to tell them about the Nov. 14 leak, and an e-mail to employees who were affected was sent on Nov. 21.

The leak has angered employees, who have questioned the length of time it took to notify them that they might be at risk of identity theft. They also said it is unclear to them how many people received their personal information or what might happen to it.

Darla Heinz, a teacher at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, said she is concerned about long-range ramifications, including someone holding onto the information for years and potentially creating havoc at a later date.

“It’s all very troubling,” Heinz said.

The president of the teachers union, Kenneth Haines, who has been a victim of identity theft, said in a letter to his members that mistakes happen.

“Unfortunately, to err is an irrevocable part of the human condition,” he wrote. “Shock and anger are the natural first reactions to such events, but it is now time to ensure that as little damage as possible arises from this breach.”

The school system’s Human Resources Division posted “Frequently Asked Questions” regarding the incident on its Web page Monday, but it was quickly removed. According to the posting, Human Resources generated a “routine” report on Nov. 14 that inadvertently included the personal data. After school system officials realized that the sensitive information was in the report, the district suspended the e-mail accounts of all recipients in order to delete the file.

“As part of this process, PGCPS discovered that some recipients forwarded the report outside of the PGCPS e-mail domain,” the posting said.

In Davis’s e-mail notifying employees, she said the original ­e-mail was sent to a “select group of principals.”

A spokeswoman for the system said that the outside addresses to which the material was sent were the personal addresses of school staff members. Recipients have been contacted, said the spokeswoman, Lynn McCawley.

>>> Read more Washington Post.

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Opinion

Teachers in Prince George’s County needs to seriously consider unseating the current union president who appears to be in bed with Dr. Maxwell and the Rushern Baker regime via Mr. Christian Rhodes who is being used by the unions within the county to advance mega misconduct involving public funds. It’s amazing how the PGCEA President seems to be so accommodating to the incompetence that is so obvious with  evidence presented. Unions who work on behalf of the employees, should stop being a lap dog and get some teeth for the employees they work for. Or “do the Unions like rolling over so they can gain political favor later and presently have their bellies rubbed?” One citizenry stated in the blogs. One wonders… Why would the administrators need to  Forward the email with priviate data to their personal email account when they all have access to their work email account from virtually everywhere.

We are convinced, President Kenneth Haines works on behalf of himself not the employees of PGCPS. Everyone in the county who has been following this knows that…except for the union employees. This same Haines used to work together years ago with Dr. Maxwell at Northwestern High school and are close friends. Mr. Haines also used to work closely with Mr. Christian Rhones in the same PGCEA. PGCEA is absolutely worthless and in bed with the admin of PGCPS. They basically steal money from the teachers in the form of dues and provide nothing positive other than negotiating the employee contract while harassing employees. The negotiating of contract is too, is highly suspect. If any teacher or other professional ever need major help from PGCEA for whatever reason, you will have a wake up call then. PGCEA is part of MSEA and NEA and the current Board chair Segun Eubanks works for NEA which creates a conflict of interest on several levels!  The union corruption within the county is in full swing with high salaries to cover up wrong doing at the expense of teachers and other professionals.  In the meantime, the children of Prince Gorge’s County are not doing well academically. Looking at its educational leaders we can see why the students are failing. This is what we have been saying all along while calling for reforms, innovation and transformations in PGCPS.

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SECURITY LEAK

Each organization has its own secrets to keep, and most, if not all of them, are not the romantic hacker dreams of corporate shady affairs.

The real secrets of a business are the sale reports, projects still under development or future mergers and in general any other nuggets of information that can be speculated by the competition. Putting the deliberate ones aside like what happened in PGCPS with Principals forwarding information in private emails for personal use, most security breaches are accidents, unintentional “slips of the tongue” or fatigue induced human errors.

Sometimes employees feel the need to bring work home with them. This may be due to a fast approaching deadline, a need to catch up on lost work hours or simply because they are greatly engaged by the project; some people do enjoy their work! The ideal case for this situation would be to bring the work laptop along, a device which is secured by the company’s software.

However, in most cases, one is forced to bring home just the data itself via a USB stick or some similar mobile data storage device. This is where an accidental information security breach can occur. The home computer does not benefit from the company’s security systems and once sensitive information is uploaded on to it, it’s pretty much the same as making it public.

The files could be accessed by a random network intruder that recognizes their value and decides to make a profit out of it. Or the USB stick can be borrowed by a family member and your marketing plans could end up being shared on the campus network all over the world. It will be many years to find out the damage caused by the current breach in PGCPS.

One simple way to prevent such incidents is to keep a close eye on your employees and grant them permission, based on each individual scenario, to take the information out of the organization. However, this task quickly becomes insurmountable in a large business. This is where an automated system comes in handy, one that can track any inbound or outbound devices and data activity, control and block it if necessary.

The market is aware of this problem, and solutions are available, but most of them are very expensive and too rigid. These act as a small part of a much larger package, one that seeks to replace your entire security system.

A module-based alternative that allows you to pick the solution for your particular problem is the cost-efficient way to go.

With such a system, you can simply hand-pick the modules that cover any gaps or quirks of your current security without the elaborate and cluttered process of reinstalling an entire suite of security protocols.

In the above situation concerning private information of PGCPS employees data being shared widely by the administration without their consent, the top leadership which forwarded the data for private purposes without permission must pay the price. We are watching! Call your leaders and demand action.

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fox_hen_doorFox guarding the hen house in PGCPS while poor students suffer.

Read more >>>>Call your Elected Officials now and the Media.

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Segun Eubanks  - Laughing all the way to the Bank.

Prince George’s County school board chairman Segun Eubanks (Brother in Law to Rushern Baker III involved in mega-corruption involving PGCPS) listens to parents and staff speak. He has been laughing all the way to the Bank recently while poor students and staff suffer… What ever happened to common decency? Are manners no longer part of US culture?

Rushern Baker - Appears to be driving corruption to new heightsRushern Baker III Current County Executive for Prince George’s county – Appears to be driving corruption to new heights.

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Wild Turkey -Meleagris gallopavo

image imageIn light of Thanksgiving, We just wanted to pass on good wishes to everyone along with some information on the bird that was almost our national bird, the Wild Turkey. This is the bird that President Benjamin Franklin wanted as our national bird. It is indeed a beautiful bird, especially if you see it in flight as shown in some of the pictures below. In flight they can reach a speed of 50 miles per hour!

The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is native to North America and is the heaviest member of the diverse Galliformes. It is the same species as the domestic turkey, which was originally derived from a southern Mexican subspecies of wild turkey (not the related ocellated turkey). Although native to North America, the turkey probably got its name from the domesticated variety being imported to Britain in ships coming from the Levant via Spain. The British at the time therefore, associated the wild turkey with the country Turkey and the name stuck. >>> Read more Wild Turkey

The Wild Turkey is the largest game bird native to North America. The male (approximately 18 pounds) is substantially larger than the female (approximately 8 pounds). They average 3 1/2 feet in length with a wingspan of 4 3/4 feet.

The male bird has an iridescent body of red, purple, green, copper, bronze and gold and typically has a beard averaging 9 inches long. His flight feathers are barred with white, he has red waddles and his bare skinned head is blue and pink. Female feathers are duller overall, in shades of brown and gray.

Although turkeys often feed in woods, for mating they move to areas that provide visibility such as open woods, fields, pastures and shrubby growth using their excellent eyesight to spot danger. Open areas near woods or brush give displaying males and the females they attract a quick means of escape.

Hens nest on the ground at the base of a tree or shrub or in tall grass. At night they roost in trees. Wild Turkeys are omnivorous, foraging mostly on the ground. They prefer eating acorns and nuts of various trees, including hazelnuts, chestnuts, hickory and pinyon pine. They also eat various seeds and berries such as juniper and bear berries as well as insects. They also eat a wide variety of grasses which make up around 80% of their diet.

The Wild Turkey doesn’t look or act much like the domestic bird we usually consume for our Thanksgiving dinner these days. They are much smarter and quicker than the farmyard birds. The range and numbers of the Wild Turkey had decreased at the beginning of the 20th century due to hunting and loss of habitat. Attempts to use game farm turkeys for reintroduction programs failed, however in the 1940’s, wild birds were caught and transported to new areas, where they quickly became established and flourished. These birds now inhabit 49 states and several Canadian provinces.

As Washington Post and NPR  reported on Thanksgiving this year, after being nearly wiped out in the 1900s, there has been an incredible wild turkey rebound in the United States. More than 7 million wild turkeys now roam the country, the result of an extraordinary conservation effort. They have started to make a major come back.

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“European explorers took Wild Turkeys to Europe from Mexico in the early 1500s. They were so successfully domesticated in Europe that English colonists brought them back with them when they settled on the Atlantic Coast. The domestic form has retained the white tail tip of the original Mexican subspecies, and that character can be used to distinguish wandering barnyard birds from wild turkeys which have chestnut-brown tail tips.” (http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Wild_Turkey/lifehistory) So does this one have a brown or white tip? I think brown, but can’t be sure…image

“Male wild turkeys display for females by puffing out their feathers, spreading out their tails and dragging their wings as shown above. This behavior is most commonly referred to as strutting. Their heads and necks are colored brilliantly with red, blue and white. The color can change with the turkey’s mood, with a solid white head and neck being the most excited. They use gobbling, drumming/booming and spitting as signs of social dominance, and to attract females. Courtship begins during the months of March and April, which is when turkeys are still flocked together in winter areas.”imageWild_Turkey-27527-1

“Wild turkeys are omnivorous, foraging on the ground or climbing shrubs and small trees to feed. They will eat foods such as acorns, nuts and seeds, as well as berries such as juniper, roots and insects. Turkeys also occasionally consume amphibians and small reptiles such as lizards and snakes.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Turkey#Foraging)imageDSC_7926DSC_7943

“Predators of eggs and nestlings include Raccoons, Virginia Opossums, Striped Skunks, Gray foxes,birds of prey and Groundhogs. Predators of both adults and young include Coyotes, Bobcats, Cougars, Golden Eagles, Great Horned Owls, Dogs, and red foxes. Humans are now the leading predator of adult turkeys.”DSC_7933DSC_7933 (1)

“The male Wild Turkey provides no parental care. When the eggs hatch, the chicks follow the female. She feeds them for a few days, but they quickly learn to feed themselves. Several hens and their broods may join up into bands of more than 30 birds. Winter groups have been seen to exceed 200.”

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“Turkey nests have been found in a variety of habitats. Sites are selected for their undergrowth characteristics. Nests are often found at the base of trees or against fallen logs. Hens will often select a nest site near a trail or open area. This allows for access to the nest and the trail or open area may be used for a feeding area during incubation. The nests are a shallow depression formed mostly by scratching, squatting, and laying eggs. Most hens lay one egg a day, and have a clutch of 10 to 12 eggs.”      (http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/wildlife/Articles/turkeynest.htm)

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The Distribution of the Wild Turkey

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