Saturday, March 11, 2006 

Diversion

Fun web games all morning. So, Pho mentioned me in his Diversion diary and now I will attempt to answer the questions.

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18 and find line 4.

The nearest book "Go Dog Go" only had 19 pages and page 18 didn't have 4 lines but this should be good enough
You're almost there!
Stop at that tree.
Climb that ladder to...a dog party!

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can, what do you find?

Heating vent

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
Survivor Exile Island (I really wanted the astronaut to stay and the freaky smoking twitching bugged eyed guy on the other team to go. Currently, I am rooting for either Cirie, Austin or Terry to win which means that the they won't and twitchy freaky guy will go all the way)

4. Without looking, guess what time it is.
5:45 am

5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?

6:37 am

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?

Birds singing

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
My daughter and I returned from the book store.

8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?

Phos blog, StumbleUpon and before that:

Constitution Society

Million For Marriage (HRC)

Axis of Justice (music+politics)

Cat Enema - Do not try this at home


9. What are you wearing?
Overalls, black hoodie and clogs (I used to hate overalls but regular maternity pants are just uncomfortable - they either fall down or bind)

10. Did you dream last night?
I don't know.

11. When did you last laugh?
This made me chuckle:



12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?

Photos from the Mediterranean, some Art from Cain Park and Family photos.


13. Seen anything weird lately?

Yeah

14. What do you think of this quiz?
Well, I have never done one of these before so it broke up the routine.

15. What is the last film you saw?
At the theatre: Brokeback Mountain (which really was a great movie)
At home: Ladder49 (which was the worst excuse for a movie ever, I like firefighters and all but this movie sucked)

16. If you turned into a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
Does paying off your school loans count? Other than that - maybe a republican congressman or two :-)

17. Tell me something about you that I don't know.
I am ENTJ on the meyers-brigg test.

18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt and politics, what would you do?
Pho's idea sounds good "Pump a gazillion dollars into international family planning programs"

19. Do you like to Dance?

Sure

(Skipping a few questions, my 2 year old is awake)

23. Would you ever consider living abroad?
I'd love to live abroad for a year or so.


24. What would you want God to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?

The buffet line starts on the right

25. 4 people who must also do this theme in their journal.


"Must do" is kind strong but let's see if Redhorse, AtheistMama, Lisa and the Dispassionate Liberal have some time this weekend.

 

Look what I found

I have been playing with this Firefox plugin almost nonstop since I found it. (thanks M!) Maybe you have heard of it -StumbleUpon.
StumbleUpon is an intelligent browsing tool for sharing and discovering great websites. As you click Stumble!, you'll get high-quality pages matched to your personal preferences. These pages have been explicitly recommended (rated I like it) by friends and other SU members with similar interests. Rating these sites shares them with your friends and peers – you will automatically 'stumble upon' each others favorites sites...

In effect, StumbleUpon's members collectively share the best sites on the web. You can share any site by simply clicking I like it. This passes the page on to friends and like-minded people – letting them "stumble upon" all the great sites you discover.


I have really had a lot of fun using this - the web content so far, has been very high. I have searched under the tags: humor, politics, buddhism, activism, liberties/rights and bizzare/oddities. While bizarre/oddities has turned out to be too gross for me - the rest have been very good. I have gotten a lot of laughs as well as some decent information. I look forward to investigating other tags.

It is easy to use (just a button in your toolbar) and has a community feature that allows for interaction amongst other "stumblers" who like similiar sites. You can also add sites to thier database. (Of course, I added many of my favorite Ohio bloggers! )

It is also very easy to install. If you browse with Firefox (which I also highly recommend) you should try it out.

Here is a link to my StumbleUpon homepage - I guess, this is just a center for the user to keep track of all of the pages they have rated favorably and share them with friends. I am not sure what "suggested groups" means or a few of the other features - (I haven't had time to play around that much since I have been too busy surfing all of the new sites) But it seems fairly interactive and I suspect the community aspect could be cool although I haven't tried it out.

Often times websurfing can get monotonous, this plug-in really made it a lot more interesting tonight. Hopefully, other tags will be just as fun as these.

Anyways - check it out if you have time.

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Friday, March 10, 2006 

Ohio Senate Updates

Certainly not bad news.

From The WP Politics Blog:
...What makes the 2006 cycle so troubling for the GOP is a combination of political atmospherics (Ohio, Missouri and Rhode Island), personal unpopularity (Montana) and a confluence of the two (Pennsylvania)...

4. Ohio: Democrats got a boost when Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett left the contest just before the filing deadline. While Hackett went out with a bang -- attacking national party leaders for allegedly showing favoritism toward Rep. Sherrod Brown -- the practical effect of his decision is that Brown can spend the next eight months talking about Sen. Mike DeWine (R) rather than worrying about a primary fight. Although national Democrats clearly got what they wanted by clearing the primary field for Brown, his long voting record in Congress is likely to be a major issue in the campaign. Republicans insist that Brown has taken a number of positions that place him far to the ideological left of the average voter in the state. If outgoing Gov. Bob Taft's (R) job approval numbers remain below 20 percent on Election Day, however, it may not matter.
And then from the NationalJournal:
Ohio moves up two notches since Dems avoided a primary. Sherrod Brown will save valuable resources, and that’s a plus (even if he is taking a beating in the free media with the help of ex-candidate Paul Hackett). DeWine’s problems are still less about him and more about the GOP brand in the state. Watching how DeWine distances himself from the state party will be fascinating. Because if he doesn’t, he might not win

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Morning Round Up of Ohio Progressive Blogs

The best Progressive Blog diaries this morning with a focus on Ohio State Liberal Blogs.

StubbornLiberal - Santorum scandal growing
LiberalCommonSense - Links to the 10 commandments of blogging(#1 Don't take yourself too seriously) another list here has #3 as do not engage in a blogwar. Sounds like good advice :-) Lisa also offers a little self perspective.
PeopleHaveThePower - Blackwell Stinks Sinks to New Low
DispassionateLiberal - UAE and Halliburton deal, Having Faith and Eliminating History
(taking Rumsfeld to task for making stuff up)Ohio2006 - Live Blogging the Candidates forum. Exciting! Details from Ohio2006 below:
I'm making arrangements to attend and live blog the Democratic candidates forum to be held at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University on Saturday, March 18...

At present, the participant list is Senate candidate Sherrod Brown, Secretary of State candidate Jennifer Brunner, Treasurer candidates Hugh Quill and Richard Cordray, and all four Supreme Court candidates - AJ Wagner, William O'Neill, Peter Sikora and Ben Espy.
I look forward to reading that. Thanks Ohio2006.

Pho - Commenting on Capri
TheChiefSource - Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Power: the book RogueNation by Clyde Prestowitz
The book is about red-white-and-blue hypocrisy since the end of the Cold War. What makes it so great is that it is not another partisan character attack (in fact W. is rarely mentioned). Instead, after a general introduction and some discussion of our dependence on foreign oil, it gives the reader a detailed, case by case analysis of foreign relations milestones.
More info at The Chief Source. I enjoy hearing about what other people are reading and this book sounds right up my alley. I'll check it out next time I'm at the store. Thanks Robert.

If I am missing your Ohio blog please feel free to email me at cindyREMOVE@urbancode.com. (Delete the word "remove" from the email address)

Thank you.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006 

Ohio loosens restrictions on concealed handguns

I tend to listen to the Ohio Highway Patrol - if they think it is going to be a problem, I bet it is.
But Mr. Taft continues to fight the removal of a requirement, which was sought by the Ohio Highway Patrol two years ago, that those who carry loaded guns in their cars must keep them in plain sight if not locked in the glove compartment...The highway patrol has insisted that a patrolman know immediately when approaching a vehicle during a traffic stop that there is a gun in the car.
What is so wrong with that? If it protects police officers than that seems good to me.

Also...
The bill includes a so-called "safe harbor" provision that allows someone who is intoxicated and getting a ride home with someone else to hand his gun over to the sober driver.
That is crazy. I suppose it is a "good" idea but is that really going to happen? I don't even want to think about drunks in cars with guns, regardless of whether they turn over the gun to the supposedly sober driver or not. Drunks in cars scared me enough before I even thought of the whole concealed gun aspect! Yikes. I also suspect that this loophole will be abused.

More info at the Toldeo Blade.

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Bruce Willis wants US to spread freedom to Columbia

Okay, so not the most serious post, but - the stars have aligned and my Hollywood Gossip blogs and my Political Blogs have crossed. I wonder how tired Bruce was when he said this crap...
“The United States and everyone who cares about protecting the freedoms that the largest part of the free world now has should do whatever it takes to end terrorism in the world. And not just in the Middle East,” Willis said, according to one transcript of the conferences. “I’m talking also about going to Colombia and doing whatever it takes to end the cocaine trade. It’s killing this country. It’s killing all the countries that coke goes into.”
Thats the problem with "spreading freedom" where does it end? and terrorism is so loosely defined - is drug abuse terrorism? How about over-eating? I hate drugs and I have seen them take out some good people but I don't think we need to invade Columbia. I suspect someone he knows is being hurt by chemical dependency (hopefully not one of his children).

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Morning Round Up of Ohio Progressive Blogs

The best Progressive Blog diaries this morning with a focus on Ohio State Liberal Blogs. If you can only read one - I would go with AndrewWarner or AtheistMama. (they are both memorable) and the nationals look good today too.

TheChiefSource - People don't vote because people like Tom Delay always get re-elected. Gerrymandering and the advantage it gives incumbents.
WorkingWithWords - Taking Pride in our Minority Status (short and sweet)
DailySpeech - Merrill Keiser "Neanderthal for US Senate" (disturbing graphic)
AtheistMama - A very brave and moving diary about her abortion. (You are such a strong woman, thank you for the diary.)
GrandpaBoy - Praising Ohio Democrats (Thanks for adding me to your blogroll)
Pho - Always the voice of reason (you know - he should get into politics :-) Anyways he weighs in on the LawDork brush-up. Although, I think he missed the point of the original LD posting a little - He's right - It just doesn't matter.
UAPA - Blackwell scrubbing blog posts about meeting with ultra-right group story grows online.
Openers - No Luck for Noe
PeanutButterKnife - Blog Against Sexism Day or why American Apparel is not waht it seems (AA is moving to Coventry Rd. soon, too)
ClevelandHomeless - Artists to perform at 2100 Lakeside shelter.
Ohio13 - Weak attacks on Capri Cafaro
Ohio2006 - Another Congressman disavows Schmidt
AndrewWarner - This joke and how it relates to the Bloodiest wars in history (The Congo War)
I saw president Bush sitting with Colin Powell in a coffee shop so I went up and asked them about the war effort: How's the war going Mr. President?

Bush replied: Well, we have to kill 40,000 Iraqis and one blonde.

I was perplexed. I quickly followed his statement with a series of questions: What? Why do you have to kill a blonde?

At this point President Bush turned to Colin Powell and said: I told you no one would care about the Iraqis.

This is a thought provoking diary that gives you a laugh and a little history too. (plus it is short!)
ClevelandAFL-CIO - GOP votes to cut injured workers benefits while still deep in the Workers Comp fund scandal.
LawDork - More on Merrill Keiser, who says gays should get the death penalty.
StubbornLiberal - Real People vs Trent Lott

NATIONAL:
DailyKos - The Club for Growth and more on fighting for the underdog candidates
AmericaBlog - Is the NYT running hit pieces on liberal blogs?
HuffPost - Republican Mutiny in Congress

I haven't been feeling well (I had pregnancy induced insomnia most of the night last night - Yuck, I am getting too large!) so don't be surprised if I do not post as consistently. (Especially over the weekend) Some days are good others are not so good, I'll try to keep up with the morning round up best I can. Only 2 more months before baby Konrad arrives! (and then it will be no sleep every night!)


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Wednesday, March 08, 2006 

Conservatives Bashing Bush

I really don't have much against true conservatives. (I consider myself fiscally conservative/socially progressive) Unfortunately, there just aren't too many true conservatives left (none in Congress, really).

Here is some hope from the Cato Institute
If the ancient political wisdom is correct that a charge unanswered is a charge agreed to, the Bush White House pleaded guilty yesterday at the Cato Institute to some extraordinary allegations....

...Former Reagan aide Bruce Bartlett. Author of the new book "Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy," Bartlett called the administration "unconscionable," "irresponsible," "vindictive" and "inept."

...conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan. Author of the forthcoming "The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It; How to Get It Back," Sullivan called Bush "reckless" and "a socialist," and accused him of betraying "almost every principle conservatism has ever stood for."

...Nor was moderator Boaz a voice of moderation. He blamed Bush for "a 48 percent increase in spending in just six years," a "federalization of public schools" and "the biggest entitlement since LBJ."

Republicans - the party of big government run ineptly.

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Sherrod Brown on Joe Finan Show tomorrow (1350am)

I was listening to Joe Finan on 1350 am today on my way to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (which is a great place to visit during the off season, active animals -zero crowds - warm shuttles). Anyways, Sherrod Brown will be on his show tomorrow around 11:30.

Joe said he'd like to ask him about the Hackett withdrawal, his time as a teacher and whether having a background in education will help him improve our educational system. (or something close to that - I was driving with a 2 year old in the van) . Regardless, it sounds like it should be an interesting interview, as Joe Finan and his callers always seem to have a unique point of view.

Although, my favorite progressive radio show host is still Stephanie Miller - Joe Finan is certainly growing on me. I like how many of his callers seem to be seniors and have a unique understanding of history and politics as well as having a connection to our city/area (which the national sydicates don't have).


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Law Dork hits the nail on the head

Via Law Dork:
When someone dares to question Russo or his actions, the result is that he calls the post "bizarre[]" and claims to "have no idea what the hell [the post's author] is talking about." Two posts on Buckeye State Blog later, however, he seems to understand completely what concerns look like when a group once known for its unabashed independence begins to appear to overestimate and overstate its importance with each move it makes and bully those who disagree with them.
So, what are you still doing here? Go read Law Dork today, the comedic responses from the Cleveland MTB clique is worth it alone.

 

Morning Round Up

The best Progressive Blog diaries this morning with a focus on Ohio State Liberal Blogs. (Some must reads at LawDork and PeanutButterknife.)

Openers - Boehner is not really into ethics reform and just wishes the UAE port thing would "go away", Influential Congressman tells Jean Schmidt to stop saying I endorsed you!
LiberalCommonSense - South Dakotas quest to overturn Roe.
WorkingWithWords - John wants you to check out the new PublicPolicyBlog (one time home to Eric Fingerhut and Mrs. Mike White) He also ponders wether GW Bush is losing it.
OhioCitizenAction - Clean Air Meeting tomorrow in Marietta
TheChiefSource - Republicans: strongly in support of criminals, (Tom Delay wins primary) and pondering if "Duke" Cunningham could get reelected from prison. SD is protecting the paternal rights of rapist.
DemocraticVeteran - Taking sides in a civil war plus those lying bastard republican stripping away our civil rights, pissing on the constitution, fellating the beloved leader and still finding time for a cold frosty one.

LawDork - calling out the Meet the Bloggers group for thier own hypocrisies
I particularly enjoy this (a diary concerning "off the record" discussions) coming from one of the group of people who have pounded the Ohio Democratic Party for more openness and transparency in the past months. Politics is, at base, about power -- who controls the reins of our government. Meet the Bloggers has been telling everyone who will listen that the power in politics is about information. They've been asking -- rightly -- why the ODP isn't more open with its communications. They've questioned the motives of The Plain Dealer in its coverage of the Senate race.

Yet now, already, they've begun stratifying and exclusifying their project. Off-the-record conversations between journalists and politicians can be invaluable to ongoing coverage of a race or a political issue. But I thought Meet the Bloggers was about bringing the information -- directly and unfiltered -- from the candidates to the people...

...Either way, I think a consistency/accountability question is raised when the "information for all" MTBers begin engaging in off-the-record discussions with the political candidates whose on-the-record speeches they are transcribing for all to see.
PsychobillyDemocrat - Sulzer uses the internet and blogs well, with analysis and tips for other campaign
StubbornLiberal - Will Bob Neys name be on Abramoffs list?
PeanutButterKnife - American netroots organizers have much to learn from their Korean counterparts. Very interesting diary!
DispassionateLiberal - The censoring of progressive websites to the troops

NATIONAL BLOGS:
DailyKos - The Imaginary Conception ( a science diary by DarkSyde)
AmericaBlog - Bumper crop of heroin in Afganistan
HuffPost - Chris Matthews "Joseph McCarthy was right"

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006 

Bad News for DeWine

Apparently, the county GOP groups don't think that highly of our current senator. Why should they? He hasn't done much for Ohio.
"Two county GOP organizations have voted not to formally endorse the senator, and another has agreed his unknown opponent is equally qualified for the job."
Via Openers

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Chomsky "Nuclear Exchange Inevitable"

There are dire consequences to the current direction of the U.S. foreign policy, said Noam Chomsky in a speech Saturday at Binghamton University. Among those consequences, he said, is a nuclear Armageddon.

"Under the current U.S. policies, a nuclear exchange is inevitable," the 77-year-old MIT professor said in his presentation, "Imminent Crises: Paths Toward Solutions." He spoke to an over-capacity crowd in BU's Osterhout Concert Theater.

Chomsky cited nuclear proliferation and environmental collapse as the two greatest crises that "literally threaten survival."

...All of this is under our control if we're not willing to observe passively and obediently," he said. "Take democracy seriously."

...John Hamilton, who drove from Ithaca to see Chomsky, stood up to ask a question during the question-and-answer period following Chomsky's speech. "My question is, what do you find hopeful?" Hamilton said.

"I think one should be very optimistic for the reasons I just mentioned," Chomsky said. "The large majority of the population already agrees with the things activists are committed to. All we have to do is organize people who are convinced."


Read the entire story at CommonDreams.

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Morning Round Up

The best Progressive Blog diaries this morning with a focus on Ohio State Liberal Blogs. (Some very good diaries today, great reading!)

Ohio Blogs:
PeopleHaveThePower - Headlines tell the story: Petro and Blackwell tear each other apart in a nasty primary race while Strickland works on Turnaround Ohio his workforce development plan.
From TedStrickland.com:

Turnaround Ohio is the Strickland/Fisher strategy to make sure we start that cycle of success here in Ohio, and here are its key components:

1. Provide every child a fair start through access to high-quality early care and education.

2. Create schools that work for every child by giving teachers the tools and technology they need to stimulate creative, problem-solving students to power Ohio's 21st century economy.

3. Dramatically increase the number of students in Ohio's colleges and universities by broadening access and ensuring that those who attend succeed and graduate with a degree that counts.

4. Focus on Ohio's strengths by building on Ohio's regional economies and globally competitive industries, spurring small and mid-size business growth, supporting emerging entrepreneurs in our cities, fostering innovation and unleashing the potential of Ohio's great universities and investing in next generation energy as a job source as well as a resource.

5. Provide all Ohioans the opportunities to attain skills for high-quality jobs.

6. Stabilize health costs for government and businesses alike and advance the health of our citizens by increasing the number of Ohioans who have access to affordable, high-quality healthcare, preventing illnesses and injury and focusing on community-based services for children, families, older adults and persons with disabilities.

7. Retain, create and attract jobs worthy of Ohio workers by focusing on industry sectors in which Ohio companies are growing, and which will spur our economy to generate wealth and prosperity for the future.

LiberalCommonSense - Tells Redfern "I want to hear what these candidates are actually going to do, not just idealistic plans but real plans with how they are not only going to do them but pay for them."
DispassionateLiberal - Academy Awards wrap up: Best, Bust and Quit yer whining.
OhioCitizenAction - Ohioans have the right to clean air.
PsychobillyDemocrat - Tales from the Wingnut Playbook: SD abortion ban and Christianity as the official religion of Missouri. (interesting read)
Cleveland AFL-CIO - Ohio Labor adds mobilization power
GrandpaBoy - Donate books to the New Orleans Library
The New Orleans Public Library is asking for any and all hardcover and paperback books for people of all ages in an effort to restock the shelves after Katrina. The staff will assess which titles will be designated for its collections. The rest will be distributed to destitute families or sold for library fundraising. Please send your books to:

New Orleans Public Library
219 Loyola Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112
I know someone who has way to many books - maybe this will be a good home for all of those books he has "saved" :-)

StubbornLiberal - If you are in Iraq the truth is not available. The censoring of liberal blogs by the military.
ClevelandHomeless - Frank Jackson tours shelters this week and the Homeless Grapevine Blog covers Sharon Reed.
Openers - StripBar fights back, New Diebold exec trying not to play politics
Blogesque - Only 3 more months until Hurricane Season '06

National Blogs:
DailyKos - A blogger runs for office in CA -Denise Rushing (I always enjoy these "i'm going for it" diaries)
AmericaBlog - GOP panicked over port security
HuffPost - US intel boss spends 3 hours a day getting massages and smoking cigars

If I am missing your Ohio blog please feel free to email me at cindyREMOVE@urbancode.com. (Delete the word "remove" from the email address)

Thank you.

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Monday, March 06, 2006 

An Energy Pearl Harbor?

Our dependence on oil as seen through the eyes of terrorism...
"We call our brothers in the battlefields to direct some of their great efforts towards the oil wells and pipelines. . . . The killing of 10 American soldiers is nothing compared to the impact of the rise in oil prices on America and the disruption that it causes in the international economy." -- A jihadist Web site
More info via the Washington Post.

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Morning Round Up

The best Progressive Blog diaries this morning with a focus on Ohio State Liberal Blogs.

LOCAL:
Cleveland AFL-CIO -
88% of Americans ripped -off
Liberal Common Sense - Confusing Educational News, Musical Condoms
The Chief Source - Clooney agrees liberal are out of touch, Strickland and Chickens, Sherrod and Canaries
Stubborn Liberal -Reflections on being an Ohio Democrat
Ohio 2006 - Ackerman (D21st) calls for ban on state funding of charter schoools (OH has spent $444mil on charter schools)
"As your state representative, one of my first actions will be to introduce a bill to ban state funding of charter schools in the state of Ohio.” Ackerman continued, “Taxpayers in Ohio should not have to foot this enormous bill any longer. We are already funding public schools. Why do we have to pay for schools that operate for profit as well? Funding charter schools using public funds has recently been found by the courts in Florida to be wrong. Public funds must go to public education and only to public education.”

Cleveland Homeless-
LawDork - More info on the "wrongful birth" tort and the Blackberry settlement
Dispassionate Liberal -A fun collection of thoughts today including: Updates in the Toledo Terror case, Battlestar Galatica, "NuKe-Quew-Lar" weapons, Kos wears a pocket protector, and stop using all CAPS in diaries :-)
Openers - Judge Sikora in Clermont County:
About Coingate, Tom Noe and $13.5 million in missing state money: "We have investments in rare coins. Some are seemingly so rare they don't even exist."

About GOP claims to make government efficient: "Republicans have told us for years they wanted to run government like big business. Who would have guessed they would have modeled it after Enron and Halliburton?
"
Pho - Underwhelmed by new Capri Cafaro ad
Psychobilly Dem - Very excited about March Madness


NATIONAL:

DailyKos -The real cost of Electricity (Jerome), Bush at 37% in Indiana, Are we losing sight of childhood?
AmericaBlog - Homeland Security not so secure.
HuffPost - The only people who want us in Iraq is Iran, Al Qaeda and China


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Sunday, March 05, 2006 

Why Schools Don't Educate

I am a big fan of the Natural Child Project. It is a great resource for parents wiht lots of interesting essays on topics the mainstream sites and magazines never touch on - but should. Anyways, I think this is one of the better essays and it applies to all of us - not just those who are parents. The author was the NYC teacher of the year in 1990. (I excerpted some of the more interesting passages but hope you will be inspired to go read the whole thing here.

Why Schools Don't Educate
by John Taylor Gatto

We live in a time of great school crisis. Our children rank at the bottom of nineteen industrial nations in reading, writing and arithmetic. At the very bottom. The world's narcotic economy is based upon our own consumption of the commodity, if we didn't buy so many powdered dreams the business would collapse - and schools are an important sales outlet. Our teenage suicide rate is the highest in the world and suicidal kids are rich kids for the most part, not the poor. In Manhattan fifty per cent of all new marriages last less than five years. So something is wrong for sure...

I've noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my twenty-five years of teaching - that schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don't really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers do care and do work very hard, the institution is psychopathic - it has no conscience...

Our form of compulsory schooling is an invention of the state of Massachusetts around 1850. It was resisted - sometimes with guns - by an estimated eighty per cent of the Massachusetts population, the last outpost in Barnstable on Cape Cod not surrendering its children until the 1880's when the area was seized by militia and children marched to school under guard.

Now here is a curious idea to ponder. Senator Ted Kennedy's office released a paper not too long ago claiming that prior to compulsory education the state literacy rate was 98% and after it the figure never again reached above 91% where it stands in 1990. I hope that interests you...

"How will they learn to read?" you say and my answer is "Remember the lessons of Massachusetts." When children are given whole lives instead of age-graded ones in cellblocks they learn to read, write, and do arithmetic with ease if those things make sense in the kind of life that unfolds around them.

But keep in mind that in the United States almost nobody who reads, writes or does arithmetic gets much respect. We are a land of talkers, we pay talkers the most and admire talkers the most, and so our children talk constantly, following the public models of television and schoolteachers. It is very difficult to teach the "basics" anymore because they really aren't basic to the society we've made.

Two institutions at present control our children's lives - television and schooling, in that order. Both of these reduce the real world of wisdom, fortitude, temperance, and justice to a never-ending, non-stopping abstraction. In centuries past the time of a child and adolescent would be occupied in real work, real charity, real adventures, and the realistic search for mentors who might teach what you really wanted to learn. A great deal of time was spent in community pursuits, practicing affection, meeting and studying every level of the community, learning how to make a home, and dozens of other tasks necessary to become a whole man or woman.

But here is the calculus of time the children I teach must deal with:

Out of the 168 hours in each week, my children sleep 56. That leaves them 112 hours a week out of which to fashion a self.

My children watch 55 hours of television a week according to recent reports. That leaves them 57 hours a week in which to grow up.

My children attend school 30 hours a week, use about 6 hours getting ready, going and coming home, and spend an average of 7 hours a week in homework - a total of 45 hours. During that time, they are under constant surveillance, have no private time or private space, and are disciplined if they try to assert individuality in the use of time or space. That leaves 12 hours a week out of which to create a unique consciousness. Of course, my kids eat, and that takes some time - not much, because they've lost the tradition of family dining, but if we allot 3 hours a week to evening meals, we arrive at a net amount of private time for each child of 9 hours.

It's not enough. It's not enough, is it? The richer the kid, or course, the less television he watches but the rich kid's time is just as narrowly proscribed by a somewhat broader catalog of commercial entertainments and his inevitable assignment to a series of private lessons in areas seldom of his actual choice...

And these things are oddly enough just a more cosmetic way to create dependent human beings, unable to fill their own hours, unable to initiate lines of meaning to give substance and pleasure to their existence. It's a national disease, this dependency and aimlessness, and I think schooling and television and lessons - the entire Chautauqua idea - has a lot to do with it.

Think of the things that are killing us as a nation - narcotic drugs, brainless competition, recreational sex, the pornography of violence, gambling, alcohol, and the worst pornography of all - lives devoted to buying things, accumulation as a philosophy - all of them are addictions of dependent personalities, and that is what our brand of schooling must inevitably produce.

I want to tell you what the effect is on children of taking all their time from them - time they need to grow up - and forcing them to spend it on abstractions. You need to hear this, because no reform that doesn't attack these specific pathologies will be anything more than a facade.

1. The children I teach are indifferent to the adult world. This defies the experience of thousands of years. A close study of what big people were up to was always the most exciting occupation of youth, but nobody wants to grow up these days and who can blame them? Toys are us.

2. The children I teach have almost no curiosity and what they do have is transitory; they cannot concentrate for very long, even on things they choose to do. Can you see a connection between the bells ringing again and again to change classes and this phenomenon of evanescent attention?

3. The children I teach have a poor sense of the future, of how tomorrow is inextricably linked to today. As I said before, they have a continuous present, the exact moment they are at is the boundary of their consciousness.

4. The children I teach are ahistorical, they have no sense of how past has predestined their own present, limiting their choices, shaping their values and lives.

5. The children I teach are cruel to each other, they lack compassion for misfortune, they laugh at weakness, and they have contempt for people whose need for help shows too plainly.

6. The children I teach are uneasy with intimacy or candor. My guess is that they are like many adopted people I've known in this respect - they cannot deal with genuine intimacy because of a lifelong habit of preserving a secret inner self inside a larger outer personality made up of artificial bits and pieces of behavior borrowed from television or acquired to manipulate teachers. Because they are not who they represent themselves to be the disguise wears thin in the presence of intimacy so intimate relationships have to be avoided.

7. The children I teach are materialistic, following the lead of schoolteachers who materialistically "grade" everything - and television mentors who offer everything in the world for free.

8. The children I teach are dependent, passive, and timid in the presence of new challenges. This is frequently masked by surface bravado, or by anger or aggressiveness but underneath is a vacuum without fortitude.

I could name a few other conditions that school reform would have to tackle if our national decline is to be arrested, but by now you will have grasped my thesis, whether you agree with it or not. Either schools have caused these pathologies, or television, or both. It's a simple matter [of] arithmetic, between schooling and television all the time the children have is eaten away. That's what has destroyed the American family, it is no longer a factor in the education of its own children. Television and schooling, in those things the fault must lie.

What can be done?...

Please visit the Natural Child Project website to read the second half of this essay and the first half in it's entirity. It is worth the click. Thanks.


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Why the Left is Right - Liberal Quotes

Poverty is the worst form of violence.
-- Mahatma Gandhi

In the developed world . . . we speak of nature as if we are not
part of it.
-- James Carroll

There is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be
easier to catch terrorists. . . . But that probably would not be a
country in which we would want to live. And that would not be a
country for which we could, in good conscience, ask our young people
to fight and die. In short, that would not be America.
-- Russ Feingold, the only senator to vote against the original
U.S.A. Patriot Act.



From the book The Best Liberal Quotes Ever - Why the Left is Right.


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