Tea & Crackers, or Tea-Partying as Crackers

29 09 2010

. . .not to mention unchristian and unconstitutional.

Rolling Stone Magazine
October 15, 2010

Tea & Crackers:
How corporate interests and Republican insiders built the Tea Party monster

by Matt Taibbi
(Pinky-crooked cock of the snook to Rolfe Schmidt for the link.)

The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them. In fact, their lack of embarrassment when it comes to collecting government largesse is key to understanding what this movement is all about . . .

So how does a group of billionaire businessmen and corporations get a bunch of broke Middle American white people to lobby for lower taxes for the rich and deregulation of Wall Street? That turns out to be easy.

. . . A loose definition of the Tea Party might be millions of pissed-off white people sent chasing after Mexicans on Medicaid by the handful of banks and investment firms who advertise on Fox and CNBC.

Belief in gods isn’t being served up for tea, but isn’t that the real issue as always? I’m a American southerner raised on the Christian Bible and church suppers rather than tea and crackers, and I remember a verse that explains both the economic crisis and our crisis of faith that America can overcome it:
Timothy 6:10.

Three out of 10 children in the nation’s capital were living in poverty last year, with the number of poor African American children rising at a breathtaking rate, according to census statistics released Tuesday.

Is there anything in anybody’s holy book condemning willful ignorance and useful idiocy? If there isn’t, there oughtta be.

Tea Partiers expound at awesome length upon their cultural victimhood, surrounded as they are by America-haters like you and me or, in the case of foreign-born president Barack Obama, people who are literally not Americans in the way they are. . . they’re shockingly willing to believe . . .white people in the age of Obama are some kind of oppressed minority. That may not be racism, but it is incredibly, earth-shatteringly stupid.

. . .You look into the eyes of these people when you talk to them and they genuinely don’t see what the problem is. It’s no use explaining. . .

But if public education hasn’t COMPLETELY failed our nation, not this dramatically and dangerously at least, then surely even the earth-shatteringly stupid can grasp and employ the ecumenical ethic of “do unto others?” And if not, well, we Americans of any religion and no religion, of much and little intelligence, we’re all still okay as a people, yes? — we’re united by the unbreakable bonds of Read the rest of this entry »





EDUCATION NATION Tuesday: Different Memes for Different Dreams

28 09 2010

Gen. Colin Powell and his wife Alma are the morning’s featured guests. Part of it really is inspiring, how education begins the moment a child connects the sound of his/her mother’s voice to the face, about the big answers to our education crisis being commitment and caring and whole communities helping to “keep each child in play” — good power of story.

Powell power of story. 😉

They head up America’s Promise Alliance. He says it’s not all schools but about 2,000 schools are drop-out factories, mainly in “doughnut holes” where a community got left out of everything, and that in only one more American generation when minorities become the majority, we’d better have already changed those school settings and educated those future adults, so they can step up and lead the nation. She says that high school dropouts aren’t just economically locked in but are most likely literally headed for prison. They are saying too many kids from the schools they’re working to change, can’t even get into the military.

So it’s both a moral imperative but also practical self-interest in our own defense.

Here’s the downside of what I heard: their prescriptions for relentless parent pushing and militaristic boot camp examples — teachers breaking teens down to build them back up as a well-trained credit to the uniform, parents teaching unquestioned obedience and “minding the adults” even before kindergarten Read the rest of this entry »





Driving Out of Hell

27 09 2010

Three people came to Snook today, searching with that phrase. I give up — couldn’t find anything here Googling that.





Education Nation Thinking: School is a Social Network

27 09 2010

UPDATE: “Governing requires a humanism that we find largely absent in the business world of today. It calls for skills that the business world often overlooks or shuns. Governing requires the ability not to follow spreadsheets and marketing advice but to weigh all of the relevant information and decide what is best for all . . .”
******************
School is a social network but that’s not on the menu for this week’s Education Nation. I didn’t hear the phrase “liberal education” this morning either — but could that ideal be what we lost first, that led to America losing everything else?

What if, after a couple of generations of not really educating in the public schools, too busy exploiting them as captive consumers for our competing political causes and business opportunities instead, there’s no longer a critical mass of leaders and citizenry well-enough educated themselves to think productively about how to educate the next generation any better?

We’ve all heard the phrase “liberal education” and those of us of a certain (ahem) age, probably got a passably broad one somewhere along the way to this dystopic ruin of the House Our Liberally Educated Founders Built for us.

Folks with a liberal education, for example, are supposed to understand that “liberal” in this sense isn’t necessarily the opposite of conservative but it is the opposite of narrow, literal, training-and-conditioning-focused schooling, education drilled in to spec at the local mass-production public factory. Certainly liberal education is the opposite of for-profit Big Business and the cutthroat corporate mindset. Liberal education fosters intelligent, higher-order problem-solving and complex moral thought, humanist politics. And it’s not merely technical, not even at the MIT and NASA level. Math and science alone can’t put the liberal in a liberal education.

Devoutly Catholic William F. Buckley for example, had an extraordinarily liberal education as the debate-dominating wind in his arch-conservative sails. OTOH the Governor of Texas and his education makes one weep for education: Texas Governor Treats Colleges Like Businesses [as]
Regents promote his agenda, to faculty members’ chagrin

But Americans now get little education of any kind, much less a true liberal education. It’s all schooling and all to factory specs: tough, increasingly nationalized standards, radically mind-numbing regulations, authoritarian rewards and punishments for knowledge workers (both teachers and students) meted out by principal overseers in all school systems? More of that is hardly a new education idea nor a liberal one.

Anthony Seldon, Wellington College:

“good education should be the opportunity for each child to discover who they are, how they should relate to others, and what they love about life.”

Engaged liberal education vs. “Mass-Production Factories
of the Mind”
:

I’ve been anxiously following the news about the new National Governors Association initiative, Complete to Compete,  and the recent announcements about states competing for Race to the Top funding, and I continue to worry about reductionist models of education driving our reform agendas.  I think that many of our policy makers and government officials at both the state and federal levels actually do believe in the full promise of liberal education, but somehow forget what that really means in educational practice when they get down to developing actual policy proposals.

Here are my notes typed in as I watched all Monday morning. They’re in Maimi-Dade with Arne Duncan and student questions this afternoon. I’ll keep listening and thinking and be pulling from these notes for blogging later:

NBC Universal
EDUCATION NATION

Morning Joe and Today Show

Public survey on who’s to blame for what’s failing in schools, top two get more than half the public blaming them:
elected officials
parents

Then the very bottom group, teachers, gets only one-third of the public blaming them:
teacher unions
principals/admin
teachers

LA Unified Sch District has about one-third of all kids suffering from PTSD, biggest identified problem is violence

NJ Republican Gov Christie says it’s all about breaking the unions, forcing them to admit they’ve created the problem by making everything about their money and not caring about kids. Reward and punishment is his Read the rest of this entry »





Living in Hope That Deafness Is Reversible

25 09 2010

Friendly, fearless cock of the snook for this to veteran homeschool mom, military wife and NHEN board member Sue Patterson, who linked it on her FaceBook page from an indeterminable creator who doesn’t seem to be marketing it:

See also “Amplifying our differences as schlocky political theatre.” Maybe I was brilliantly prescient nearly five years ago? — or just out of step as usual. 😉

“The musical has creatively adapted to amplification. But in doing so the art form has diminished, or at least become something different.”

Education too, is more conducive to smaller theaters where words really matter. Public policy debate too, is distorted when pitched beyond human reason and scale, playing to huge faceless audiences fighting just to get inside, never mind down front.

Our civic art forms and collective wisdom have been distorted and diminished, and those of us old enough to remember a time when civil discourse fell not on deaf ears, seldom go out to the theatre any more.

I could have designed this poster myself. Remember my six-word reason to vote for hope and change last time around:

Because
I’m
Tired
of Being
Afraid





“Super Rich Get Richer, Everyone Else Gets Poorer”

24 09 2010

UPDATE: See Edge dot org for its consensus document on “The New Science of Morality” complete with dissenters, all smart stuff. More on this later, I feel sure!
*********************

New today but not really news, is it?

“The Super Rich Get Richer, Everyone Else Gets Poorer, and the Democrats Punt”:

“For example, Charles and David Koch, the energy magnates who are pouring vast sums of money into Republican coffers and sponsoring tea partiers all over America, each gained $5.5 billion of wealth over the past year. Each is now worth $21.5 billion.

Wall Street continued to dominate the list; 109 of the richest 400 are in finance or investments.

From another survey we learn that the 25 top hedge-fund managers got an average of $1 billion each, but paid an average of 17 percent in taxes (because so much of their income is considered capital gains, taxed at 15 percent thanks to the Bush tax cuts).

The rest of America got poorer, of course. . .”

Remember homeschooling math whiz dad Rolfe Schmidt?

Just imagine the good jobs that would be created, the innovation we would see, the wealth that would be created if we actually funneled all these banker giveaways into science, the arts, and education.

But no, it is more important to preserve the status quo, preserve income inequality, and do what we can to make debt slaves out of our populace.

Read the rest of this entry »





What’s in the Name Lucifer — Nothing Good

23 09 2010

I learned something interesting today. I don’t worship Lucifer! Whew.

Nance doesn’t either btw, however much she may enjoy pretending or however often she’s accused of same. (Wanna know how I know? Glad you asked!)

Jerome Corsi wants the President of the United States to renounce Lucifer. So I went a-reading in Google Scholar.

This Baptist reverend doctor’s pdf on Lucifer for the UK Bible Society persuades me that Nance and I and the President too, renounce Lucifer every time we manage to do good for someone else rather than merely doing well for ourselves.

The good reverend doctor describes “Lucifer” as nothing more supernaturally evil than the absence of good:

Humans are now imprisoned within a power of darkness of their own making, but beyond their control. It takes actual form in a variety of unpredictable ways: in distortions of people’s mental and spiritual health, in the fracturing of their inner selves, in their imprisonment within addictions and compulsions, in the breakdown of wholesome relations, in institutional systems of power and domination, in the inequities between nations, in dehumanising ideologies and false religion.

The symptoms don’t fit the President. Corsi and his distorted, fractured, dehumanizing and falsely religious ilk OTOH, really might need to be asked whether they’re willing to renounce “the absence of good” in their own lives . . .

I once beat around Lucifer’s bush burning on John McCain’s porch: Read the rest of this entry »