Sep 02

what if Iran is NOT the target?

http://www.dailykos….

i was going back and forth with ek over the outcome of a strike on Iran in clammyc’s diary. here’s what ek said:

given the current correlation of forces we can not win. Iran closes the Gulf.  We can’t prevent this. They cut off our forces in Iraq.  We can’t prevent that either.
Gas goes to $12 a gallon if you can find it.  Global depression.
Bleak enough for you yet?

BushCo must have looked at the same scenarios… they aren’t going in this to lose it or lose control of oil or this country. Unless they’re going for the rapture. And let’s just say Dick Cheney isn’t ready go to heaven just yet.

So if ek is right… if game theory is impeccable, then what is really happening here?

Maybe the target isn’t Iran at all. It’s a much bigger target: THE INTERNET.

It’s the Dan Rather play… give us everything we need and then, when BushCo is ready, they will kill us with it. They will say the internet violates our very security and if the USA ever wanted to attack a country, the internet would compromise any mission.

Because if we can’t win this war… if it isn’t for the rapture, then WTF?

I don’t know where else to go with this.

But I don’t think it’s good enough to accept any of what’s going on. It’s not good enough not to think it through. This is happening to us. We need to do something about it.

Maybe this theory is completely off base. This isn’t for more comments about outrage over Bush and Iran. I want to know what you THINK about their strategy and what their intent it.

And how do we convince what few people in Congress or the military may still be on the side of the Force to do something? And what do we do. Because here is what is at stake and please, read it and then read it again:

i’m kind of in a throwing up my hands and saying “fuck it all” sort of mood.

except i can’t, because part of the future of our country is sitting at my dining room table coloring pictures of rainbows that say “i love you mommy.”

Ming Vase from tonight’s clammyc’s diary

Sep 02

Your Favorite Thing You Ever Wrote

So, the anniversary of a particular occasion in my life is coming up yet again.  And, as it does every year, it reminds me of my favorite thing I ever wrote, which appears below the fold.

Yartzheit

A traditional Jewish coffin isn’t sealed shut.  Instead, the lid is held in place by two small pegs; one at the head, and one at the feet.  Tradition dictates that this is because we wish our loved ones to return to us.  Should they return to this waking life, or should the day come that God grants to those who have passed life anew on this earth, we wish to make certain they can do so with as much ease as possible.

At a traditional Jewish funeral, another custom exists.  After the service has concluded, attendees and mourners do not simply walk away.  A line is formed, and each person in his or her turn scoops up a handful of dirt, and pours it onto the coffin.  Each loved one and well-wisher becomes personally responsible for the burial.  This theme continues; when visiting a Jewish grave, it is customary to place rocks on top of the headstone or marker.  We who have endeavored to make it easier for our dead to return to us take the grave responsibility of trapping them underground very personally.  It makes sense; we wish for the physical return of those we miss, but their memories are best left trapped in the earth.

When I was twelve years old, I lost my house key.  To teach me my lesson, my parents wouldn’t give me another one for a month and a half.  Every day when I got home from school, I would have to go to the neighbors’ house, and patiently wait at their front door for Mrs. Travers to get me their spare key, and then I would have to run across the street, unlock my door, and run the key back.  I remember having a mortal fear that in the minute or so that our door was unlocked and I was returning the key, that someone would go into our house and rob us blind, and that it would be all my fault for being too stupid to manage not to lose my keys.  My parents’ lesson did its job though; I’ve never lost a key again.  In fact, I’ve managed to do a very good job of not losing pretty much anything since then.  Except for people.  I haven’t done a great job of not losing them.

It is a difficult thing.  One wishes to live, that is certain.  Any person, myself included, doesn’t live for the moment, or seize the day, no matter how many bumper stickers and t-shirts we buy that tell us to.  We spend years at jobs we loathe to make the money to pay the bills, we spend months taking classes we don’t enjoy to expand our knowledge, we spend weeks dating people we don’t love, and we spend hours doing laundry for future days we may never see.  No matter how we slice it, one thing is certain: most of the minutes of our lives will be squandered.  But we all wish to endure, truly many of us hope in our hearts to live well beyond our span of years.  We wish to do so because we have hopes and dreams, and we wish to allow ourselves the opportunity to fulfill them.  But that is a hard choice, even if we barely realize we have made it, because it is difficult to mourn.  It is hard to lose things one once had.  Think about all the people you truly care about.  Make a list.  Your parents, your siblings, your husbands and wives, your bosom friends.  Are you prepared to have to bury them all, to lose them, to miss them for the rest of your days?

I met a man once, in a shitty townie bar about twenty minutes away from my college.  He was a touch loaded; well, more than a touch.  He started in about “You snotty college kids.”  I was in an egalitarian mood, I suppose, but I offered to buy him a bourbon as if I had to make up for it.  After two doubles, he asked me if I thought I had become a man yet.  With a nice lining of sour mash wrapped around my conscience, I figured he deserved some honest soul-searching, so I rummaged about down there and answered him, with all the truthfulness I could muster, “I don’t know.”  He looked right at me, stole one of my cigarettes from the pack I left on the bar, ripped off the filter, struck a match and looked right at me.  He said, “I became a man the day my dad first took me out to the tool shed.  Everything there is to know about being a man happened to me that day.  The look on his face when he took me to the shed, what happened there, and the way he looked at me when he led me back into his house.”

As I stood over Seth’s coffin, I thought back on what that man in the bar had told me.  I thought back, upon all the trials and errors, the fine moments and the sad ones, the blessings I had received and the good things snatched away from me far too soon.  And I thought about that little boy and his father.  I thought about the mixed look of anger and regret on the father’s face as his led his misbehaving son out through the yard to punish him; I thought about the regretful rage that possessed him as he whipped his boy; and I thought about the awkward way in which he tried to welcome his beloved son back into a loving home, the regret and guilt as he tried to atone for his own actions of just a moment before.  I bent over and picked up the shovel; it was my turn in the line, and as I bent down, I made certain to notice the way the sun sparkled off of miniscule particles of quartz or something that were mixed into the dirt.  I added my sad little scoop of dirt to the pile that was slowly covering the polished mahogany of the coffin, and wondered if the tool shed was the reason God had to fashion himself a heaven, and if that look would be on his face when he came forth to greet me, as he tries to find a way to welcome me back into his loving home.

Thanks for reading this.  If anyone feels like sharing their own favorite piece of writing, I’d be eager to see it.

Sep 01

docudharmaadmin [Update 2!]

(self promoting, as always – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Here’s your damn private forum.

Help!

In for a penny in for a pound.  If you want something done…

It’s called leadership.

Your free phpbb forum has been set up at the following address:

http:⁄⁄www.phpbbserver.com⁄docudharmaadmin⁄

So I set up this site and you mostly can’t post on it unless you register and I’m sorry pf8 but I’m going to delete the Test1 forum soon so while I’ll try and save your text I hope you have a copy off line.

So far melvin and NightProwlKitty have signed up.  melvin I’ve tried to grant Admin access but the power seems to have gone to his head and I can’t tell if he’s banning everybody or not.

This is based on the fact that he was first and has some experience with the Rescue Rangers Forum.

I’ve already set up 3 forums I think are essential.

* Money Dharma, About Money Duh
* Scheduling Dharma, Upcoming Posts
* The Pit of Pain, Discipline

If I can figure out the right controls to do it, I’d like to add another-

* Contact Us

If possible I’d like to leave access to this forum open to phpbb registered users while keeping the other ones private for Contributing Editors only.

After I post this I’ll get right back on it.

So to update

  melvin
  buhdy
  Turkana

have as many permissions as I can throw at them.

  LoE
  Nightprowlkitty
  pfiore8
  Robyn
  exmearden
  srkp23

are signed up and should be able to participate in the Admin forums.

And just so you know who’s who around here-

There are currently 53 registered users.

Guest Bloggers

  Jerome a Paris
  kestrel9000

Editors

  breathingstill
  Cronesense
  exmearden
  Jay Elias
  jillian
  ksh01
  LithiumCola
  Magnifico
  melvin
  Nightprowlkitty
  noweasels
  occams hatchet
  pfiore8
  pico
  pinche tejano
  pyrrho
  Robyn
  srkp23
  theevolutionarysieve
  Unitary Moonbat

Admins

  Armando
  buhdydharma
  DDadmin (On The Bus)
  ek hornbeck
  On The Bus
  OPOL
  soapblox
  Turkana

Sunday Morning Update

Sunday morning talking heads ARE ALL FUCKING DOPES!

Now that I have that out of my system.

I’ve added pico permissions to docudharmaadmin and done a little cleanup.  It turns out I was able to move pf8’s money discussion to the appropriate forum and it’s all still there I think.  Robyn your permissions have been updated and you should be able to see the whole site.

Have a great Sunday!

Sep 01

The best energy source you’ve never heard of

(Now this, this is content not meta – promoted by ek hornbeck)

re-posted from DailyKos

There is an energy source that is abundant, clean, renewable, and locally available.  It’s also almost entirely untapped, even though the technology to tap a lot of it already exists.  It’s enhanced geothermal, which involves tapping the Earth’s heat with deep mines (miles deep).  A panel at MIT wrote about it, and I’m impressed.  The full report (400 pages) is at this site this site

More below

Geothermal energy, generally, means any use of the Earth as an energy source, mostly by utilizing heat differentials between parts of the Earth.  A lot of this is already used.  But this diary is about a particular type of geothermal which is largely unused. Namely, drilling very deep mines (miles deep) and using the heat differential to generate electricity. 

Here’s what the panel of experts said:

  1.  EGS is one of the few renewable sources that isn’t intermittent.

  2.  EGS is available nearly everywhere in the USA

  3.  EGS has virtually no environmental impact (including CO2 release)

  4.  The technology exists to utilize it to generate huge amounts of electricity (on the order of 100 GWe, within a generation

  5.  This could be cost competitive for electricity and heat, given an outlay  on the order of $1 billion over the next 15 years

On to the details (note that these details are based on the executive summary of the report…..if questions come up, I will try to find the answers in the main part of the report)

Part 1: Motivation and scope
The report covered three areas:
  a) Magnitude and distribution of the EGS resource
  b) Status and remaining requirements of EGS technology for commercially feasible development
  c) Economic impact of EGS on the US energy supply to 2050.

The magnitude is huge – possibly sufficient to meet all of the needs for the USA for electricity.  The distribution is widespread, EGS is available virtually everywhere in the USA. 

Further technology is needed for EGS to be fully feasible, but none of this is insurmountable or radically new.

The economic impact could be very substantial, easily able to reach 100,000 MW by 2050 (which they state is 10% of total need).

Part 2: Definitions
Geothermal energy means the thermal energy stored in the Earth’s crust. 

  It is distributed between the constituent host rock and the natural fluid that is contained in fractures and pores at temperatures above ambient levels

.  Taken this broadly, geothermal energy has been in use for a long time, but in restricted areas or for restricted uses.  These uses generate about 110,000 MW of energy (10,000 MW of electricity and 100,000 MW of direct-use).

However, enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) involve engineered reservoirs created to extract heat from low permeability and/or porosity geothermal resources.  This explicitly includes the drilling of deep wells (10,000 to 30,000 feet) through which water can be circulated and heated by contact with the rocks, and then returned to the surface in a closed loop. 

Part 3: US geothermal resource base
The total amount of geothermal energy available in the USA to a depth of 10 km (about 6 miles) is stunningly large – more than 130,000 times the total energy use in the USA in 2005 (that is not a typo).  Not all of this is economically extractable.  However, a large amount of it is so extractable, and more will become so as technology develops.  (The report gives a wide range of estimates, from 2% to 40%).
Further, although this resource is more abundant in the western states, it is available throughout the country.

For generating electricity, one must drill down to temperatures of at least 150 or 200 degrees (C); for some other uses (e.g. heating) temperatures of 100 to 150 degrees are adequate.  These latter temperatures are (in most of the country) reached at between 3.5 km (in some areas of the Rocky Mountains) to 6.5 km (in much of the country).  The higher temperatures appear to be at depths of 6.5 to 10 km.

Part 4 Cost
There are two broad areas to consider with regard to cost: Initial investment and continuing costs. 

The cost of drilling a well depends on many factors, but principally on depth.  The report estimates that a 3.5 km well would cost roughly $4 million, a 6.5 km well roughly $10 million, and a 10 km well about $20 million. 

Ongoing costs are covered below.

Part 5 Environmental impact The report summarizes that the total environmental impact of EGS is much lower than fossil-fuels, and quite possibly lower than solar, biomass, or wind.  Mostly, this is because nearly all of the work takes place underground, the surface equipment is quite compact, the general availability of EGS limits transportation costs, minimal discharges of nitrogen, sulfur oxides, and other particulate matter.  The  main environmental problem with EGS is groundwater use and contamination, possible seismic impact from drilling, and noise, safety, and land use effects of drilling. These are described, however, as manageable. 

Part 6 Economic feasibility
The break even cost for EGS depends on many factors, as well, but the best projections are that it would start at about 10 cents per kilowatt hour, and drop to about half that in 15 years, before beginning to climb again.

There you go!
All the above is a summary of a summary.  Mistakes are almost certainly mine 🙂

I should make it clearer that I am NOT an expert.  I’m a statistician, not a geologist.  I saw this mentioned and pursued it. Others here know more than I. 

Also  I thought I made this clear, but EGS is new stuff, no one is really doing it.  There are OTHER kinds of geothermal, but this one is new

Sep 01

Four at Four

Four at Four is an afternoon briefing of four (yes only four) important or interesting stories in the news. Please look for it Monday through Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern.

  1. According to the Washington Post, George W. Bush apologized to Roberta Stewart, “the widow of a Wiccan soldier, after she was excluded from a Nevada meeting this week that the president held with the families of soldiers killed in combat.” Stewart lost her husband, Patrick, in Afghanistan in 2005. Bush called Stewart for a five minute conversation and “expressed regret over her exclusion.”

  2. There is a hopeful article about green energy in the Washington Post, Beyond Wind and Solar, a New Generation of Clean Energy. Some of the alternatives investigated include buoys”to harness ocean waves off the coast of Oregon to produce electricity” and geothermal power plants that “pump naturally heated water from underground, run it through turbines to generate electricity and re-inject it into the earth”. The article notes that, “this push for lesser-known renewables — which also includes geothermal, solar thermal and tidal energy — may someday help ease the country’s transition to a society less reliant on carbon-based fuels. But many of these technologies are in their infancy, and it remains to be seen whether they can move to the marketplace and come close to meeting the country’s total energy needs.” Let’s hope the engineers and scientists succeed and let’s push the politicians to make it possible.

  3. The Sydney Morning Herald gives an update on the Voyager I and II space probes in Thirty years tracking faint whispers from space. “When NASA’s Voyager probes set sail they were the most sophisticated spacecraft ever built. But that was 30 years ago.” Now, the Tidbinbilla space tracking station, outside Canberra, Australia has to maintain “heritage equipment to talk to them… because the ageing probes can only chat at a sluggish 32 bits a second, far too slow for modern computers.” Some of the engineers maintaining the equipment are younger than the hardware.

  4. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Jason Ur, an archaeologist at Harvard University has a new theory about how ancient cities came to be. “Excavations at a 6,000-year-old archeological mound in northeastern Syria called Tell Brak are providing an alternative explanation for how the first cities may have grown. ¶ Archeologists have thought cities generally began in a single small area and grew outward — but evidence indicates that the urban area at Tell Brak was a ring of small villages that grew inward to become a city.”

So, what else is happening?

Sep 01

The Money Post

I have gone back and forth on how to say this….this is a highly edited version of several no published attempts. But it is important to get it out of the way…or out where we can talk about it.

Money.

This IS a for profit blog.

Initially for my profit, since I am stony broke and (whine) disabled and have no real source of income.

There will soon be a PayPal box up…and we will be taking ads, IF anyone offers them. Gogle ads for sure. I sincerely hope that we don’t have offensive ads , like Chevron, but it seems the best way to generate income is through the blog ad network, the same thing that Markos uses…so it seems likely we will get the same ads.

  (Hopefully, since we are smaller, no big corps. will want us, yet.)

But here is the difference. Once we get to the level of income that can minimally support my very simple lifestyle, we will are PLANNING to begin profit sharing. Among the principals and FP’rs AND at a much smaller (because of sheer numbers) rate…the Contributing Editors who are actively involved.

It would be silly to post details or specifics, legally speaking, since we do not know them!

It would also be silly legally speaking to say this is cast in concrete…so…this is an IDEA…and a PLAN…and is not in any way legally binding, lol.

As the details emerge, we will share them as much as seem wise considering our litigious society.

Til then….discuss!

I have to run but I hope to be back fairly soon.

Sep 01

Work with Republicans? NO. Work AGAINST them

(re-posted from Daily Kos)

It is time to unite the country.  Time and past time to do, if you ask me.  But *how* shall we unite the country?  Shall we attempt to reach out to the -more moderate- less crazy Republicans? If so, *how* should we do it?

Major polls show most of the head to head presidential races tight.  Yes, folks, a lot of people say they would vote for Giuliani against Clinton, Obama, or Edwards.  Latest polls show all three winning, but not by much.

So, what should we do?

more below the fold

Should we compromise ourselves? Should we keep on being doormats for the Republican machine?  Give in here, give in there, and keep our powder dry?

NO!

We should unite this country by informing the country, enlightening the country, making sure that everyone knows that Bush and the Republicans and the entire Conservative movement is *un*American, *un*Christian (also *un*Jewish and *un*Moslem), and just plain wrong.

How shall we do this?

By playing to our strengths, everywhere.

Where in the Bible does it say that we should bomb people?  What happened to THOU SHALT NOT KILL?  I’m not a Biblical scholar (talk about your understatement!) but a growing number of born-again Christians are (hold on) Democrats!  That’s right folks, not everyone who’s born again is a Rethug.  Let’s reach out and, when someone grasps our hand, pull them in and give them a hug.  *Not* by pretending to be what we are not: I am an atheist.  But you *can* be an evangelical Christian and care more about the planet than your neighbor’s womb.  So, here’s motto 1:

The Republicans: Destroying God’s creation.

There are some people who think the budget should be balanced.  I am not of strong mind on this one.  I don’t know enough to know how bad it is for it to be imbalanced.  Others here can weigh in if they like.  But who has the biggest deficits?  Republican administrations!  Here is a table of debt (as percent of GDP) by Presidential term.  The biggest percentage increases were under GHW Bush (13.1%), Reagan 1st term (11.3%), GWBush 1st term (8/3%) and GWBush 2nd term (estimate of 4.3%).  The biggest decrease?  Roosevelt/Truman (-24.3%), Truman (-21.9%), Eisenhower (-10.8%), Johnson (-8.3%) and Clinton (-8.2%). So motto two:

The Democrats: The party of fiscal responsibility

A lot of people who sometimes vote Republican think that government should butt out of people’s lives.  But the Republicans disagree.  They want to tell you that you can’t have an abortion; they want to keep the dead alive (Terri Schiavo); they want to spy on you and yours.  Make a phone call? To a foreigner?  well… that’s sneaky.  So, motto three:

The Democrats: Keeping government where it belongs

So, let’s not compromise, let’s advertise! 
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you a Democrat!

Sep 01

Why Are the Democrats Falling for It This Time?

This is an off-the-cuff essay, but it’s an easy question.  Why are the Democrats falling for it this time?

We can run a side-by-side comparison: April 2007, and now.  We can compare the weeks preceding the funding requests in May 2007 and September 2007.  The Republican propoganda is unsurpisingly identical in each case.  Each time, the Republicans ran a EVERYTHING IS GETTING BETTER YOU BETTER FUND THE OCCUPATION!!!! campaign against the public and the Democrats. 

Last time, in April, it was a bit ridiculous.  McCain humiliating himself on 60 Minutes.  Mike Spense and his Indiana marketplace. 

This time it’s a bit more dignified.  “Violence is Down in Baghdad”.  But relative levels of decorum aside, there is nothing complicated about this comparison.  It’s apples to apples.

In the Spring, the Democrats didn’t fall for it.  They caved on funding, but in terms of the propoganda war, they stood pretty firm.  Remember?

Sen. Reid Says Bush Is in ‘Denial’ of Iraq Situation

Bush Rejects Democrats’ ‘Artificial Timetable’ for Withdrawing U.S. Forces

By William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 23, 2007; 1:32 PM

— snip —

Reid did not repeat his assertion last week that “this war is lost,” a comment that drew sharp criticism from Republicans, who branded the Senate majority leader as defeatist. But he mixed sharp criticism of Bush with praise for Congress’s efforts to end the conflict and appeals to antiwar voters to be patient.

But this time, with a remarkably identical scam being pulled (though this time with a less theater-of-the-absurd quality to it) we get Clinton saying the new tactic is “working” (though admitedly she wasn’t making a blanket statement), and Levin saying,

We have seen indications that the surge of additional brigades to Baghdad and its immediate vicinity and the revitalized counter-insurgency strategy being employed have produced tangible results in making several areas of the capital more secure. We are also encouraged by continuing positive results – in al-Anbar Province, from the recent decisions of some of the Sunni tribes to turn against Al Qaeda and cooperate with coalition force efforts to kill or capture its adherents,” the two said in a statement issued after leaving the country.

Are they fucking crazy?

Now, you might think the difference is a difference of messengers.  Last time around, it was just a bunch of demonstrably damnfool Republican congresscritters talking about unarmored humvees and rugs, while this time, and much more intimidatingly, it’s General Petraeus himself.

But that’s not true.  General Petraeus was a willing stooge last time, as well.

THE IRAQ SURGE: WHY IT’S WORKING …

By GORDON CUCULLU

March 20, 2007 — ‘I WALKED down the streets of Ramadi a few days ago, in a soft cap eating an ice cream with the mayor on one side of me and the police chief on the other, having a conversation.” This simple act, Gen. David Petraeus told me, would have been “unthinkable” just a few months ago. “And nobody shot at us,” he added.

The pattern is identical.

And, of course, it’s going to remain identical.  The situation in Iraq is going to be said to be “improving” during exactly those weeks when a funding bill is pending.  Then, once the bill is passed, we will be told that nothing is really improving at all.

Just like last time.

Bush Warns that U.S. Casualties May Spike This Summer

JIM RUTENBERG / New York Times 25may2007

WASHINGTON, May 24 – President Bush warned Thursday that casualties in Iraq could increase over the summer as the United States completes its troop buildup there.

On a day when he expressed satisfaction with a deal in Congress that would finance American operations in Iraq and Afghanistan without the schedules for withdrawal from Iraq that Democrats had sought, Mr. Bush nonetheless said: “We’re going to expect heavy fighting in the weeks and months. We can expect more American and Iraqi casualties.” He added, “It could be a bloody – it could be a very difficult August.”

Well no shit.

At the time, though, it seemed Democrats understood that this was all just pro-forma.  May 26, 2007 Independent:

“I feel a direction change in the air,” said John Murtha, the influential anti-war Democrat who chairs the House panel overseeing military funding. “This debate will go on,” vowed Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker, who opposed the fund-ing Bill. The underlying dilemma facing Mr Bush was starkly illustrated yesterday, both in opinion at home and by grim new statistics from the battlefront in Iraq.

A poll by the New York Times found opposition to the war at unprecedented levels. Six out of 10 Americans now believe the US should have never gone into Iraq in the first place, and three-quarters believe the war is going badly – 47 per cent say “very badly”.

So, setting these two seasons of bullshit side-by-side, I have a question:

Why are the Democrats falling for it this time?

Sep 01

Defective Products?

I have the schedule from Hell.  I suppose it could be worse, but any sane people would see a worse schedule and stop the insanity.  I’m on the cusp of instanity, so it slid through.

I have classes MW 6-7:45 and TTH 10-11:45, 4-5:45 and 6-7:45.  Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2pm is when faculty meetings take place…every week.  So I have just about enough time open on those days to eat lunch.

Anyway, that’s not my topic.  I met my classes this past week and tried to impress them with how much fun they can have if they want to do so…and how much it would please their instructor if they adopted such an attitude.  Only time will tell me if I was successful in that.

Before and after my Java class one of my students expressed fear.  She’s taking the class again because she got a C- the first time.  And that’s where my topic has it’s roots.  My student expressed her feelings about having failed to learn a sufficient amount in order to be prepared for Java II.

I spent some time…I hope enough time, but probably not (we shall probably have to do this again)…trying to assure her that she was doing the best thing by deciding to retake Java I rather than continue into Java II, that she had made a wise decision and was displaying maturity in understanding that was what she needed to do.  I explained to her that we do not all learn at the same speed and that some of us need to go through the material more times than others and that there is nothing wrong with that.  The point, after all, is that she develop the skill set that she will need, not that she do them on a prescribed schedule.

She looked at me dubiously.  I have to admit that I was dubious about what I said as well.  Because the truth is that our system is not set up to accomplish what I listed above.  In her entire educational life, all her learning has been scheduled and if she gets behind schedule, she will be labeled a failure.

Why?

Why must education be such an assembly line process?  Why must we reject those who can’t fit on that conveyer belt like so many defecting cogs and perhaps damage them psychologically and/or socially for the rest of their lives?  Why can’t treat our students as individuals?

I’ve traveled down this mental path before in my 31 years of teaching…many times.  I’ve tried to battle against the process.  I’ve normally been beaten back and sometimes my frustration level has risen to the level where I have considered leaving the profession.  That I don’t do so is because I realize that being a teacher is the best means I have available to institute positive change in this reality through my efforts.  But I’ve got to wonder why I’ve spent these many years trying to push forward when the conveyer belt is headed in the other direction.

Am I really making a difference?  I don’t know.  But I will continue to tilt at this windmill as long as I am able.

Meanwhile I have some students I need to teach.  Ands I shall remember that they are individuals and what is important is that they learn…eventually.

Available at Daily Kos.

Sep 01

Closed Thread

You are NOT allowed to post on this thread!!!

This means YOU!

Oh and new rule…..NO subject lines are allowed to start with ….heh!

Sep 01

The Dance

Now that word of our existence is starting to trickle out, I thought it would be a good time to post another sort of mission statement. Of course, absolutely none of this should be taken as absolute.

We are taking a very different approach, with this site. We are pursuing a discussion that is based more on issues and ideology, which means we happily invite people who would, on other sites, be considered purity trolls. Some of us may stretch our purity wings, and some of us may argue against such, but I believe that the overall goal of all of us, and of most who will find here an online home or vacation home, is to push the political center of this country to the left. Much to the left! To some of us, that will mean, primarily, trying to help destroy the current extremist version of the Republican Party. To some, it will mean trying to destroy the current capitulating Democratic Party. To some, it will mean trying to save the Democratic Party by remaking it. But it will also mean much much more than any of that.

Some of us are more of the ranter type, and some are more intensely cerebral. Most of us are a mix of the two. But we won’t be spending as much time on horse-race politics. Not that most of us have anything against such, but Daily Kos serves that function very ably. Those of us who continue to participate in Daily Kos do so because we appreciate it for what it is. But, again, we will be more focused on issues and ideology. And as the name of the site suggests, we will also be trying to reawaken a non-denominational, areligious and irreligious spiritual core, that may, at times, involve aspects of different religions, and often won’t. Liberal idealism is, by its very nature, spiritual. Even those who consider themselves atheists, agnostics, and/or secular humanists do so with a great deal of spiritual idealism and passion. We want to touch on all of that. We want to explore the arts as well as the sciences. We want to discuss philosophy and literary criticism. We want to discuss how to help our species evolve in such a way that a more principled and just society evolves with it. If there are still, in the world, Thomas Paines and Walt Whitmans, we hope to lure some of them in here.

We are open to almost anyone. Most people will arrive here with clean slates. We want to hear ideas, and we want to discuss and argue them on their merits. Old personal baggage from other sites is not welcome here. Habitual bitching about other sites, their administrators, or those who blog on them is also not welcome. Too many smart people waste way too much time and energy on such garbage, and too many sites have been derailed or destroyed by it. We are here to make each other think and feel, to challenge each other, and to teach and learn from each other. It won’t always work the way we want it to, and we who administrate this site will not always do the right things or make the right decisions. We will, however, always, and in good faith, try. We ask that you do the same.

It will not be easy for people to get banned from this site, but it will, no doubt, sometimes happen. We simply ask for a degree of comity. If you’re in the mood to be an asshole, or to vent about the mean people on other sites, take it elsewhere, or nowhere. Just don’t bring it here. We want this site to be fun and smart and rambunctious and a great place to hang out. We hope that you will find something, every day, that makes you want to come back.

Some of the people writing on our Front Page will be people you already know. Some will be people who have largely flown under the blogoshere’s radar. We think you will find here exactly what you love from our better known writers and artists, and we also think you will be discovering here some people you hadn’t noticed, but who will completely astonish you. We have some exceptionally gifted people. They’re going to be showing off. We also very much look forward to discovering new, talented people, and to rediscovering old ones; and we look forward to having fun with old friends, in a new place, that has a different purpose and atmosphere.

Welcome. Have fun. The great work begins.

Sep 01

Friday Night at 8

Eastern Standard Time, that is.  I'm live from New York.  (Well, woulda been 8 pm EST, but I screwed up the formatting on the time.  Sorry 'bout that!)

I had all sorts of ideas on what I wanted my weekly essay to be about.  Fuck it.  I couldn't be consistent if you put a gun to my head.

But today's essay will be about diversity.

To tell the truth, I don't like the word “diversity.”  Sounds institutional and boring.

Yearly Kos got ripped by a lot of folks because of its lack of diversity.  The “big blogs,” i.e., Daily Koss, MyDD, Atrios, etc. did not respond in a very compelling fashion.

One of the big problems in the “response” to the charge of “whitosphere” was who was featured as doing the accusing, a white woman from the traditional media.  So all the usual bloggy retorts came out, basically “nyah, so are you but what am I?”

Had the big blogs bothered (hey, nice alliteration there!) to look at some of the more compelling accusations from other blogs, perhaps there could have been some real dialogue.  It was a missed opportunity.

I will feature one blog in my essay tonight, not because there aren't many which give difficult and compelling arguments not so easy to answer as the foolish ones by the traditional media, but because these are blogs that I believe deserve the respect of being dealt with individually, not as some homogenous group.  The blog I am featuring tonight is The Unapologetic Mexican, a great site hosted by Nezua Limon Xolagrafik-Jonez.  I have linked to Part 5 of his series on Yearly Kos — I highly recommend reading all of them, as well as his many and varied other posts on issues of the day.

I discovered Nezua's blog through a diary Kid Oakland wrote about the “Chicago 17,” bloggers from around the country who were invited to participate at Yearly Kos.  The Unapologetic Mexican is now on my favorites list and not a day goes by that I don't read what's happening with Nezua.

He definitely has a way with words:

It was all a bit strange, as I said. This whole idea of coming to Ykos to bring “Diversity.” Making my way through these chocolate streets to bring some “Diversity” to the McCormick center. I wonder what the cabbies would have said if I told them. Shit. They probably would have looked at me like I was crazy. It felt a little crazy at moments. I think I felt it a bit as I met Bernita. Maybe it was just me, but it was odd. “Hello, fellow curiosity,” I said in my mind. Or something like that. Here we are. Two of the special cases. Coming to bring some brown salvation to the Mainstream.

How can anyone say it wasn't odd that the diversity in a city like Chicago was not reflected at Yearly Kos?  Because it is odd.

Nezua goes on to say:

I know now that the money has been laid out and I have brought my Diversity Beans to the Great White Potpourri, there are certain expectations as to how I'll mash it up and spoon it out. It is understandable, really. And all well-intentioned. But por favor, squash that.

I just had to throw that in because I dig the “Diversity Beans” riff.

But here's a real argument, one that the Big Bloggers should have dealt with rather than the tame and nonsensical pap from the traditional media:

One more word in this installment (and yes, you have to wait to get inside the convention with me simply because I don't want to BLOW YOUR MIND by giving you too much goodness at once, but don't worry, I think this series (at least as written) is longer at the front than at the end). I read some junk online that there were not more bloggers of color at YearlyKos because we…what was that dumbass racist and typically Republican bullshit they spewed? That we are not educated enough? Or solvent (got paper stacks)? WTF was it? I hate to bust anyone's bubble, but I don't see myself as being uneducated. And I think if I can manage to be President of both the Creative Writing club as well as the Science Club (concurrently, thx), get straight As, Phi Betta Kappa, President's list and National Merit Scholar while pulling 24 credits (that's DOUBLE TIME, check it) at my community college, and then go right on to pull off High Honors with my NYU degree while at the same time managing a live-in relationship and a part time job (and a stint of homelessness WHILE still in school) in New York City, I can handle a convention of bloggers!

Please. You elitist schmucks kid yourself. Anyway…I think now that Bush the Moron has come out and helped destroy the world, Ivy League schools (you know who I'm talking to) are, shall we say… depreciated, in the world's eyes? So perhaps we should yank the frame and get it down in the virtual historia books that the reason some big bloggers draw such faulty conclusions about the diverse world around them is because they are…too “educated” by that system to be blind in certain ways. Sad, really.

Psst: Mainstream White Sites: The reason you are bleeding hits and losing readers is because you are right about something, and yet, you are very wrong about something else. You are right that people want change. You are wrong that you are leading the way on that change. You are right that people see through the bullshit of the Bush administration. But you are wrong that you have the antidote. You are right that the Republicans are poison. You are wrong in that the Democrats are currently the cure. You are right in that there is great harm being done by the ignorant and powerful to the righteous and the less powerful. You are wrong in imagining that you are aligned with the less powerful.

And some people are catching on. That's all.

I look at the fix we're in today, politically.  What has changed?  The Iraq War is still raging.  We're now hearing folks like Harry Reid and Dick Durbin say they want to play ball with the Republicans.  We hear John Conyers backing off on impeachment for some mythical success in legislation that we all know Bush will veto.

Could it be that we don't have all the answers?  Could it be that there are viewpoints we aren't taking into consideration which are stifling our own efforts to change what must be changed if we are not to completely lose the idea that is America?

I think diversity is not some academic term, nor is it merely an indicator of one's ethnic heritage.  It is a point of view that when encountered openly and without fear, allows us to change our minds, add to our own view and see things in a larger, more panoramic scope.  And just maybe give us ideas to solve problems that we don't have solutions for now.

But hell.  Even if you don't give a damn about politics. Nezua's blog is sheer joy to read.  The man is an awesome writer.  As we would say at Daily Kos, “Highly Recommended.”

Load more