Monday, June 27, 2011

Elizabeth Warren for President

Under no circumstances am I going to support President Barack Obama for re-election. A short list of broken promises, failed policies, and outright lies iterate the reasons:
The escalation of war in Afghanistan, and Libya, while tolerating the horrors of Syria and Bahrain for expediency.
Bank bailout while refusing to implement mortgage reform
Larry Summers, Rahm Emmanuel, William Daley
Cave in to health insurers and drug manufacturers
Support for ethanol
90 unfilled Judgeships, 50 of which haven't even been nominated
Re-up of the Patriot Act and extending FBI warrentless searches
Prosecution of medical marijuana
No support for same sex marriage
Little push back on Republican budget proposals
Acceptance of Bush Tax cuts
No push on Dream Act
Cave in on "for profit" college reform
No support for victims of Haiti, New Orleans, Joplin, Japan, Alabama, or recent flooding victims
Expansion of off-shore drilling
This is so depressing I'll stop here.

I will not be frightened by the prospect of whoever the Republican's nominate nor will I succumb to the argument that Obama is incrementally better than the alternative. In talking about this with others we always come up against the "who would you chose?" question coupled with the supposed impossibility of a third party movement. The last time we had this discussion the President was caving in on Elizabeth Warren and refusing to nominate her as his agency head for Financial Consumer Protection. has a fundraiser to support her while she fights for the implementation of the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

I say let's go all the way and push her, and Moveon to create an independent party that nominates her for President of the United States. (Rumors fly that she might try a senate run.) Read her resume here and visit her website here.
Mrs. Warren is from Oklahoma, and a champion of the middle class. I won't accept the opinion that those in the middle so outraged by the behavior of their government that they are in rebellion, will allow themselves to be co-opted by the cynical exploiters of their frustration. If they had a choice, an alternative, they could rally behind, a woman of Warren's character, what a coalition we could form.

I would go further and ask her to name her cabinet nominees as she ramps up her campaign. Sheila Baer for Sec of Treasury, Brooksley Born for Department of Commerce, Ralph Nadar, Dept of Labor, Bring back Colin Powell for Defense, and keep Chu at Energy. The point being that we would know what we were getting and not have persons like Summers thrown at us.

Jon Stewart expressed his disappointment with Obama on Fox the other day. He need look no further for an option than his guest from the Daily Show.

And in anticipation of the accusation that she lacks experience in foreign affairs; to the person, everyone on top of the subject knows that our most important foreign affair, is getting our economic house in order.

Monday, June 13, 2011


This June every student will participate in some form of graduation or more precisely gradation; to arrange in grades or gradations; establish gradation in. That's what our students have been doing for however many years they have joined in the process. They have allowed themselves to be gradated in carefully calibrated beakers. They have absorbed the most critical component of their respective curricula, they have come together and agreed to participate in the ranking game.
The curriculum itself has always been perceived as but a means to the end. The practice of the curriculum contained little of inherent value but was set up as a way and means of developing obedience and conformity. The fact that battles are fought over what constitutes a core curriculum reveals how arbitrary it really is. One side wins, gender studies or evolution theory is thrown out. Another side wins and Thackeray is exchanged for Naguib Mahfouz.
Students have moved through a nationally agreed upon process whereby it will be determined who amongst them will win the prizes that were held out as the values they have worked so hard for. Or not.

Some of those prizes are now being re-evaluated:
The next, more exclusive level of on-going formal education is being examined from a cost/benefit perspective.
At a post graduation, material level, a single family house for example, once considered to be the great storehouse of wealth (the estate) has lost its primacy in the hierarchy of "things". A broad portfolio of blue chip equities has taken a hit as has prospect of retirement in comfort. Some of the more mundane prizes, the gourmet meal, the high priced wine, the flashy car are like pins in the lane, about to be knocked off as their underlying value is challenged, or realized to be unsustainable, going the way of the lynx wrap.
At a corporate level (the employer of the winners), the ability to maintain advantage is being challenged by a whole new set of players. The prospects are not good that business as usual, the curriculum in practice, will sustain them.
At the governmental level, the power centers from which the corporation and the prize winning individuals are protected, the process of sustaining themselves seems to be cracking as the numbers of losers and their ability to coordinate swell.

Not surprisingly, given the ends are being questioned, the means are being scrutinized. It is being observed that students are being stressed out in the "Race To Nowhere" as the documentary film of that name points out. Don't expect too much from this effort. The "deal" that has been struck by the parents who screen and then discuss this film is that; I won't make the changes by myself. Only if we all agree to stop the resume inflation, cheating, achievement by any means possible, will I relent. I am not going to put my child at a competitive disadvantage by doing the right thing.

No one questions the lesson plans. More math, more science = better rocketry, more fire power, more stealth, better spying technology, these are the core elements we need to "win the future". No world language, no geo-political reality, no deep cultural studies of others, no family practice, no diet and nutrition. We can't afford art, and physical exercise is reserved for the combatants. No peace studies, no alternatives to violence, and no alternative to so-called free market economics.

Paul stopped by to check and tune up the furnace system he installed two years ago. He came up from the basement slightly ashen. "Have you been aware of a bang when the furnace cycled on?" he asked. Yes, we thought it was normal. "Well it isn't normal. What has happened is that there is a leak at the gas fitting and when the ignition comes on it burns off that excess gas. I have to replace the ignitor." What he didn't say and that I could surmise was left un-repaired the house and its contents were at risk. Paul doesn't have an advanced degree. Paul inherited the business from his dad. Paul's value to me and the society is immeasurable.