Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Daily Solution

A daily mantra for me:

"If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow."  ~James Nova

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Daily Solution

In all your relationships, construct a "disagreement safety zone." 

Allow for alternate opinions and viewpoints from the people you love.  Accept that they will not always see life through your eyes, as well. 

This practice builds character, patience and the ability to actively listen to others.

Don't fear what you don't understand. 

Even if you agree to disagree with someone, you can enjoy a mutually-meaningful fellowship with him/her.

When we commit to loving people who disagree with us, three very important things happen:  we learn, we cultivate healthier relationships, and we SOLVE PROBLEMS!

(NOTE: there is a huge difference between disagreement and abuse.  Never let another person or group of people disrespect you by verbally, emotionally, or physically abusing you.  Always practice self-love.)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tax the Churches

Because it's unconstitutional. It will be obvious to rational people that exempting religious organizations from paying any taxes is a clear case of government "respecting an establishment of religion." But throughout history we have seen many otherwise-lucid thinkers insist otherwise, including Supreme Court justices who uphold biblical views when their taxpayer-funded jobs explicitly require them to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.

Because religious organizations are not accountable to the citizens who subsidize them. If churches engage in charitable work that benefits the community, do all citizens have an interest in supporting such endeavors with, say, various tax exemptions? Of course. This is the sound basis for tax exemptions for non-profit organizations, whose activities and finances are subject to IRS audit and public scrutiny. In the case of religious organizations, however, the books are closed.

Non-church groups receiving tax exemptions must annually file a detailed 990 statement itemizing where the money has gone. The IRS automatically waives the 990 requirement for churches.

So what if churches do not engage in charitable work? Or do so far less efficiently, effectively - or charitably - than the many non-profits or government programs we do not subsidize in this way? Religious organizations can and do take great advantage of their tax-free status. Many amass great wealth and vast media empires - all of it off the tax rolls. The point is that religious organizations can and do espouse doctrines of intolerance and hatred, filter funds to foreign enemies, and cause far more harm than good in their communities. They are nevertheless entirely tax-exempt, their finances never scrutinized, because they qualify as "religious organizations."

Tax-exempt status is a privilege - not a right - and churches should be held to the same standards as other non-profits - if not higher standards.

Because it is easily and routinely abused. Consider the proliferation of phony churches as a tax dodge. An IRS attorney cites a brothel "church," where sisterly love is offered to male parishioners in exchange for donations. In Hardenburgh, New York several years ago, 235 of the 239 property owners in that town were granted religious tax exemption because the properties of the owners were made branches of the mail-order "Universal Life Church." In Wisconsin, hotels, pay parking lots, farms, and communion wafer bakeries are among the church holdings that are tax exempt. Overall, at least $4.2 billion in tax-exempt religious property now exists in that state alone. And the monumental moral corruption of the Catholic Church as evidenced by the many sexual abuse scandals is particularly galling when one contemplates the vast (and covert) wealth of that particular enterprise.

It's a racket, and it costs taxpayers even more money to monitor, uncover and fight the abuse it invites - none of which would be necessary if such unenforceable loopholes in our tax code never existed.

Because it costs you and me billions. We are not talking chump change here. Consider that for every tax dollar a religious organization does not pay, you and I pay it on its behalf. Many are among the wealthiest organizations in the world: by 1971, the amount of real and personal property owned by U.S. churches was approx. $110 billion. In New York City alone, the amount was $3 billion in 1989. A 1986 estimate showed religious income in that year of approx. $100 billion, or about five times the income of the five largest corporations in the U.S.  All tax free.

Because the founders got it right. These thoughtful men were conscentious students of history, many of them witnessing firsthand the bloody devastation wrought wherever religion entangled itself with government on foreign shores - and our own. The founders saw that without a strict separation between religion and government, the same tragedy would inevitably be replayed here.
"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries." -James Madison
Because it is fundamentally unjust. Not all religious organizations enjoys tax breaks, only those our government deems legitimate. Is government in the business of deciding what is or is not a legitimate religion? Doesn't every instance where government makes such a determination amount to "respecting an establishment of religion?" Should the taxes of non-religious citizens be higher to subsidize every church, synagogue, and mosque in town? Should working women pay taxes to subsidize clergy and other employees' paychecks, when such positions are overwhelmingly - and legally - restricted to men?

The current scheme is unfair and unnecessary. Churches can and should pay taxes, just like everybody else.

Because our country is not supposed to be a theocracy. It is not a new idea: tax exemption for religious organizations has been debated since the birth of our great nation. istorically, far from the accepted status quo, the subsidy of religious organizations via carte blanche tax exemptions has troubled patriots and conscientious religious citizens alike. Since our Consititution was written our nation has witnessed an overall upsurge in the deliberate mingling of government with religion, to the point that the two institutions at times have appeared nearly indistinguishable. Perhaps emboldened by the cowardice and arrogance displayed by our nation's highest court and the apathy of so many citizens, religious zealots now hold our highest offices and have infiltrated every single branch of government, upholding biblical views when their taxpayer-funded jobs explicitly require them to uphold the Constitution of the United States instead.

Because it makes no sense. To deny that tax exemption is a meaningful public subsidy is to put forth an absurd proposition: just consider what your personal financial picture would look like if you never paid any taxes. Yet it is exactly this type of ludicrous logic on which religious tax exemptions have been upheld time and again by our courts and congresses. See LAW for more.
"Unique among the nations, America recognized the source of our character as being godly and eternal, not being civic and temporal. We have no king but Jesus."
-Fmr. Attorney General John Ashcroft

"[I]ntentional governmental advancement of religion is sometimes required by the Free Exercise Clause."
-Supreme Court Justice Anton Scalia

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Douchebag Decree: Side Boobs and Fat Babies—Five Not-So-Subtle Magazine Covers | Bitch Media

Read entire article here.

"The Cover: From book covers to op-eds, Western media loves reducing the complex lives of Muslim women to two eyes staring out from a scary and oppressive head scarf. This imagery implies that sporting a niqab, chador, veil, hijab, burqa, etc. means you're oppressed, and that wearing it is something women are subjected to, never something they choose for themselves. This cover is no different, and the weird black body paint on a naked woman makes it even worse. As Sherene Seikaly and Maya Mikdashi put it, the cover "[invites us] to sexualize and rescue her at once," and the takeaway message is "The female body is to be consumed, not covered."

The Headline
: "Why Do They Hate Us?" Um, I guess you get some credit for not saying “Beyond the Veil,” right? Mona Eltahawy’s meditation on women in the Middle East has sparked controversy, but one thing’s clear: This cover and its accompanying images are not appropriate for an article about women in the Middle East. Oh, and thanks, Foreign Policy, for finally covering this topic—for your "sex" issue."

The Daily Solution (for new graduates)

My youngest son will graduate from high school next year.  So will his girlfriend. 

I want to offer them meaningful, real-life solutions for difficult situations they will undoubtedly encounter as they find their way in the world. 

This article (excerpted for brevity) was placed in my path this morning.  The author offers some great advice for young people.  The article is intended for a female audience, but is easily applicable to young men.

So, here is a whole list of solutions for today:

"Here's my best shot at dispensing words of wisdom that I wish someone had told me when I entered the workforce but I didn't know until later.

1. You're probably going to suck at first. That's how most things are until you master them. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours. It will feel like 100,000. That's normal.

2. Acquaintances are not the same as friends. It's rare to make genuine friendships at work, no matter what the sitcoms and movies suggest. You might have one or two, but you're not there to be popular, you're there to show off your skills. If you make friends, that's icing.

3. Ignore snide remarks. "I have sweaters older than you" = A real thing I heard on the job as a twenty-something. I cried, but not at my desk. I was kind! I was smart! I was important! Some of your co-workers will look at you and see their misspent youth. Not your problem.They're just mad because they can't stay up all night and work like a boss all day like you can. This is something that you will also lose the ability to do, so enjoy life while you can stay up past 10 without yawning.

4. People are not quite right in their twenties. There's this whole bridge to adulthood thing that makes life a little unbearable. It is normal to not know who you are or what your Purpose In Life is. You will find it or it will find you.

5. Find a mentor or two. They don't have to be women, and they don't have to be alive. I have several mentors that have kept me sane and from being utterly broken by life on dozens of occasions. In my free time, when I'm not walking my dog or gardening, I hunt for mentors. They've been down the road you want to walk, they have a wealth of experience. In Annie Leibovitz' book, At Work, she writes about photography: "You learn as you work, and you certainly can ask for advice." That's true for everything.

6. Don't date in the office. What? I know. Hot. Right there. Where you spend all your waking hours. Down GIRL! (And by date, I mean whatever it is you think I mean by date.) Certainly, there are all kinds of excuses you can make to say why this is wrongheaded. I know a lot of couples who met at the office. Don't crap where you sleep. It rarely ends well.

7. Ask for what you want. Asking for a raise or a promotion is something that you should totally do. Lois Frankel gives great advice about this, as does Austin-based career coach Ann Daly. It's scary, but scared money don't make none. In other words, the worst that could happen is that your boss will say no to whatever you're asking for.

8. Try to forget 'What I Thought I'd Be Doing' and enjoy the ride. Aim to enjoy where you are. Everyone has to start somewhere.

9. Save Money. I used to have a really silly relationship with money, shaped by growing up without much. Interviewing wise people over the years has underscored for me the importance of having a stash saved in the event that I need to leave a toxic or untenable situation and regroup.

10. Win. I used to hate attention and I would unconsciously sabotage myself, thinking that if I won all the time, people would hate me for it. Specifically, "boys club" women and intimidated men. It turns out winning is sexy. It also makes you happy and confident, which gives your skin a healthy glow. Go for it."


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Message to Girls About Religious Men Who Fear You

Dear Girls,

You are powerful beyond words, because you threaten to unravel the control of corrupt men who abuse their authority.

In the United States last week there were people who wouldn't let boys play a baseball championship final because a girl was on the opposing team. She'd already had to sit out two games because of their demands.

Why? Did she, a competitive athlete and a member of her team, chose to? Was she being good and respectful when she acceded to their demands? Why were they not asked to forfeit their games? What messages were sent to her and her teammates? This is not complicated. It sent the wrong messages. Confusing messages. Incoherent messages. You need to know that she should have been allowed to play and not have had to sit out two games. These people, and others like them, all over the world, led exclusively by religious men, are scared of you and will not let you be. You worry them constantly.

If you were not powerful, they would not take you so seriously and they take you very, very seriously. You should, too. You can set the world on fire.

It doesn't feel this way, I know. If that were true, you think, I would not have to sit out baseball games out of respect for religious beliefs that require my subservience and call it a gift. I would not be turned away from serving God with my brothers. I would not be taught that I'm an evil temptress or the virtue keeper of boys. I would not have virginity wielded as a weapon against me and my worth determined by my womb. I would not be spat on and called a whore by men when I am eight because my arms are bare. I would not be poisoned for going to school. I would not be forced, at the age of 9, to carry twins borne of child torture. I would not have to kill myself to avoid marrying my rapist. If this were true, they would pursue my rapists instead of stoning me for their crimes. I, and thousands others, would not be killed for "honor."

Girls, these things happen because there are men with power who fear you and want to control you. I know that I have equated relatively benign baseball games with deadly, honor killings but, whereas one is a type of daily, seemingly harmless micro-aggression and the other is a lethal macro-aggression they share the same roots. The basis of both, and escalating actions in between, is the same: To teach you, and all girls subject to these men and their authority, a lesson: "Know your place." I also know that there are places where girls are marginalized and hurt that are not religious. But all over the world these hypocritical, pious men, in their shamefully obvious wrongness, represent the sharp-edged tip of an iceberg, the visible surface of a deep and vast harm. They employ the full range of their earthly and divine influence to make sure, as early as possible, that you and the boys around you understand what they want your relative roles to be. Where there are patriarchal religions girls, in dramatically varying and extreme degrees, disproportionately suffer. Understand these men for what they are: bullies. Do not internalize what they would have you believe.

Your very existence makes them anxious. And their anxiety is particularly high because you have something no generation of girls has had before -- globally connected communities of men and women who support your equality and freedom. Like guns, germs and steel, this transformative technology, which enables me to write to you here, alters geography, changes societies and dismantles systems of control -- it makes the world a smaller place and it creates, even if slowly in some places, positive change for girls like you. You see, until now, these men could count on, indeed they could ensure, that you and the women around you were house-bound and isolated. Many of you still are. But now, there are millions and millions and millions people who are thinking about you and challenging these men every single day. You have the speed of light on your side and unless someone permanently turns the lights out, those days are gone. So, although you might feel like you are alone, you are not.

How do you threaten them? A girl, alone? By being able, strong, confident and yes, shameless. You may not "naturally" be interested in domesticity, piety, purity and submission, and they rely on your commitment to those things to order their worlds. Their actions, from one end of the spectrum to the other, are designed to fill you with self-doubt and, ultimately, fear -- either bodily or spiritual -- because otherwise you, and the young boys around you, will be fully aware of your strength and potential.

of this, they single-mindedly focus their attention on you, your body, your clothes, your hair, your abilities, your physical freedom. When their "manners" and "morals" are not universally applicable, but different for boys and girls, you can be sure that this is why. They seek to teach you, subtly, through small slights and gendered expectations, that you are "different," weak, unworthy, incapable. The sadness is that, in their perception, if you are none of these things, then they are not strong, worthy and capable. This is not an excuse, but an explanation. It's why they find infinite "benevolent" ways to undermine and disparage you, all in the name of "God's word." When that fails, they resort to violence. All over the world, their anxiety is manifest in a spectrum of actions ranging from mild paternalism, respectful of "proper boundaries," to deadly enforcement of their rules.

Fear is why these men "officially" investigate Girl Scouts while perversely shielding child rapists. It's why they obsess over your "purity." It's why they segregate you in public and private spaces. It's why they instruct girls and boys that girls' bodies are either shameful and dirty or sacred and belonging to men. Fear motivates them to teach that you pollute others by your very nature. It makes them intent on making sure you stay home and not be fully engaged in the world. It leads them to sanction marriages of 8-year-olds to old men. It convinces them that rape and its consequences are a "gift from God." It's why they empower others to stone you to death and disfigure you with acid.

Even "beating the gay" out of children, especially boys who are "more like" you, is aimed at you. Because if boys are "more like girls," something these men believe is fundamentally inferior, then you can be "more like boys." That causes ambiguity and destroys their carefully defined hierarchies and that is intolerable to them.

Fear is why they insist there is something fundamentally wrong with you
. Don't believe them. Fear is why they want you to cover your body. There is nothing wrong with your body, and your body is not to blame. Whether you chose to expose your body or to cover it up, consider the degree to which either choice is defined by a reduction of your character to narrow sexuality by a culture that refuses to hold men accountable for their actions and requires you to either radically display ourself for men's pleasure or withdraw from the world and be held in reserve. Either way, ask who is defining your worth and by what measure. Fear is why they tell you you are so different from boys. You, and the boys you know, understand that your bodies are different, but that you are far more alike than dissimilar. Threatened, insecure, adult men say otherwise. Don't give in. Even if you're quiet. The differences these religious authorities exaggerate are simply pillars of oppression used to teach boys and girls that women's subjugation is "natural" and "divine." Reject them and their ideas.

This is hard to do.
It requires that you, individually, be brave, strong, determined, fearless and confident. It requires that you demand that the adults around you pay attention and change their behavior. This is even harder.

First, and perhaps the most difficult to understand as a girl, is that women who love you and care for you often enable these men.
This is what people say, "It's not JUST men!" And they are right, women support them, individually and in groups, in ways that have private, public, political and societal consequences. But, make no mistake -- although women are the enforcers of rules, they have no real, systemic authority in conservative religious hierarchies, and they know this. Yes, without their support these men could not continue, but until these women are truly free -- bodily, economically, physically, politically -- and their practical and spiritual salvation is no longer mediated by these very men, they will continue to support them.  Enforcing the rules is a rational choice that enables them to survive, the world over, in unjust environments. You scare them too, because you call in to question their own complicity and cause conflict within.

Second, it is confusing that these men say they do what they do for your own good
. They talk about respecting you and your dignity. You want to believe them; they have power and authority over you, your parents, your community and your access to God. They are often kind and benevolent and they love you. So, they must be right. But they are not. They demonstrate their own hypocrisy over and over and over again. They say they know what is best. They do not. You do. Don't believe them when they teach you in hundreds of ways, through sacred text, careful words, cherished traditions, hidden threats and frightening examples, that you are inherently more sinful, base and corrupt, less worthy and in need of constant male guidance. Reject them.

The adults around you may not appear to support you when you take your humanity to its logical religious conclusions. Do not let them off the hook. Do not let them use "tradition" as an excuse or say it "really doesn't matter." Do not allow them to get away with asking you to "sit out games," "be a good girl," "don't make a fuss," and "put something on." These are micro-aggressions that result in macro-aggressions. Adults often don't think these things through. Sometimes it's scary to them, too.

You can say: "There is nothing wrong with me. There is something wrong with you and your world."

Otherwise, when you get older, these same men, the ones who fear and hate you, will continue to undermine you. They will seek to control your body, keep you out of the public sphere, subjugate you in the name of a narrowly defined "family," create impediments to your equality, shame you at every turn and justify your continued oppression in convoluted ways that defy reason and morality. They will investigate you for being strong, violate you, stone you to death, charge you with witchcraft, punish you in every conceivable way to set an example for ... your children.

So, know that you are strong and powerful. Use your reason. Trust your instincts. Seek out those that would support you and, yes, know your place: on the field, in the street, on the bus (in the front), in school, at work and in public office.

You are not alone and you are brighter than the sun.


The Daily Solution

Today's solution is:  do your best to abide by the "Golden Rule."

The Golden Rule is: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

There is a prayer on the Golden Rule, attributed to Eusebius of Caesarea, that would be worth saying once a day.

It includes the following lines, among others:

“May I gain no victory that harms me or my opponent.
May I reconcile friends who are mad at each other.
May I, insofar as I can, give all necessary help to my friends and to all who are in need.
May I never fail a friend in trouble.”


Sunday, May 20, 2012

LA Republicans want to abolish our First Amendment rights

Intimidation Attempt to Public
May 20, 2012 12:10 pm

Rep. Abramson’s Failure
 by CB Forgotston
Rep. Neil Abramson, an otherwise intelligent attorney, has proposed a House Rule allegedly to prevent intimidation of leges. See HR 46 here.

What Abramson proposes is really an effort to intimidate the public and overrule our First Amendment Rights.

Here’s the abstract from the proposed rule:

Provides procedures for the House of Representatives to censure or discipline
nonmembers for behavior which constitutes an attempt by the nonmember to compel,
coerce, or intimidate the member with the intent to influence the member’s conduct in relation to his position or duty.

No rule needed
There are already laws on the books to deal with intimidation of public officials. See R.S. 14:122.2.

No definitions

There is no definition in Abramson’s proposed rule as to what constitutes “compelling”, “coercion” or “intimidation”. There’s a fine line between what a lege may consider compelling, coercion, intimidation and what others of us consider grass-roots lobbying.

It could easily be argued that any citizen, grass-roots lobbying group, blogger, talk radio host and certainly every paid lobbyists could be charged with trying to influence a member’s conduct. Even a newspaper editorial writer, columnist or reporter could be charged with trying to influence a lege.

Upon a written complaint by a lege, a citizen can be hauled before a lege committee, put under oath, questioned, and judged.  If the citizen is found guilty by the leges, they can be prevented from appearing before the lege.

Guilty as charged

I hereby plead guilty of attempting to influence the leges by compelling them to vote against HR 46.  -C.B.

The Daily Solution

Don't be the one negative person in a group. 

Nobody likes that person, and the group will be better served if you keep your mouth shut.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Daily Solution

Today's solution is:


Stop talking. 

Just listen. 

Listening changes everything.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Daily Solution

Today's solution:  live within your means.

"There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no one independence quite so important, as living within your means." ~Calvin Coolidge

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Daily Solution

"Beer. Now there's a temporary solution."  ~Dan Castellaneta

Photo:  DBE

My thoughts on equality...

Equal rights are equal rights, and everybody deserves them - regardless of what the POTUS or talking head du jour says.

The politicians who promote pro-hate legislation are the very same guys who claim to be freedom-loving, neighbor-protecting, Christian values-having "Jesus freaks." There's your hypocrisy.

Creating laws that oppress the freedom of others has always been the historical bane of our country's existence...and the ultimate irony of our codified American stance on liberty & freedom.

We would all be better served by focusing our energies on important issues that are keeping us unemployed, poor, uneducated and dying. ~DBE

Photo:  DBE

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Daily Solution

What do problem-solvers think

Following are some thoughts from some great Solution-Masters:

Theodore Roosevelt:  "Have you got a problem? Do what you can where you are with what you've got."

James Thurber:  "It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."

Harlan Cleveland:  "Leaders are problem solvers by talent and temperament, and by choice."

Voltaire:  "No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking."

Felix Adler:  "To care for anyone else enough to make their problems one's own, is ever the beginning of one's real ethical development."

Betty Williams:  "There's no use talking about the problem unless you talk about the solution."

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Daily Solution

Sometimes, solutions are simple...even obvious.

Today's "Daily Solution" is dedicated to all students who are cramming for finals, and can't wait for summer break.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Daily Solution

Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher, mathematician, historian, and social critic.  He remains one of the most intellectually diverse and influential thinkers in modern history.

From the third volume of The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell: 1944-1969 comes this remarkable micro-manifesto – a vision for responsibilities of a teacher (or any leader, for that matter), in which Russell touches on a number of recurring themes from pickings past – the purpose of education, the value of uncertainty, the importance of critical thinking, the gift of intelligent criticism, and more.

His "10 Commandments of Teaching" originally appeared in the December 16, 1951, issue of The New York Times Magazine.

Perhaps the essence of the Liberal outlook could be summed up in a new decalogue, not intended to replace the old one but only to supplement it. The Ten Commandments that, as a teacher, I should wish to promulgate, might be set forth as follows:
1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your (sp0use) or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool's paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Daily Solution


How can I be a more cooperative, respected, and effective leader? 

How can I best utilize the strengths of those around me to achieve success for all of us?

Open, flat or servant leadership styles are proven options to traditional, self-defeating hierarchical leadership.

Note the differences above in the "Open Leadership" model.

More to come on flat and servant leadership soon!

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Daily Solution

Photo: DBE

Give up your computer (or your TV, or your office, or your plans) for 24 hours.

Notice that the world doesn't end.

The 99% Spring is upon your homework!

  • n+1 is a print & online magazine of politics, literature, and culture founded in 2004 and published three times yearly. The website is updated with new, usually web-only content several times each week.
  • Adbusters is a global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society.
  •  99% Spring Online Training will prepare you for non-violent direct action. Join together to reclaim our country through action, one neighborhood at a time.
    This training takes less than 1 hour to complete - and you don't have to finish it all at once. You’ll tell the story of how you’ve been impacted by the 1% economy, learn how we got here, and get the tools you need to plan an action in your own community this spring.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Daily Solution

Today's daily solution has three steps:  

1.  Choose one person.

2.  Send them a written "thank-you" note.

3.  Watch what happens. 

American Press: Leave LA school districts alone

Rep. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, and Sen. Bodi White, R-Baton Rouge, are sponsoring legislation that would drastically change the Legislature’s authority to “create parish school boards...”

The bills would delete the word “parish” and replace it with “create local public schools...."

Desegregation changed the face of education in Louisiana and in the rest of the country, and that is one of the reasons cities and parts of some parishes want to form their own school districts.

"What we are doing with this legislation is appeasing 15 percent to the peril of the remaining 85 percent," (Domoine Rutledge, general counsel for the EBR school system) said.

Opponents of the bill said the new district would siphon funds away from some of the neediest, most at-risk public schools.

Bernard Taylor, the incoming superintendent for the EBR system, said, “You’ve got to look at the whole. When you start leaving children behind and start creating education safety zones, what happens when you don’t live in the most attractive neighborhoods?”

The Louisiana education establishment has had enough reform for the time being. Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Legislature have created student vouchers to help pay tuition at non-public schools, made it easier to create charter schools, diminished the power of local school boards, drastically overhauled the teacher tenure program, given rebates to individuals and corporations that donate funds for scholarships and established a new teacher evaluation system.

Read the entire article here:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

L.E.A.R.N. Protests Gov. Jindal's Privatization of Public Education in LA

See photos from the protest here.

"I grew up in the public education system in Louisiana and I got a fantastic education. It pulled me out of a family that had lived in poverty forever. My son will be graduating next year and going to a state school, and every child in the state of Louisiana should have the same opportunities that he does," says member of the movement and parent, Debbie Engle."

Read entire story here:

Visit the L.E.A.R.N. website for news and updates.

"Teacher Mike Myers said the future of Louisiana's education will no longer be in the hands of community members who hope to better the areas in which they grew up, but instead will be corporate start-up charters looking to make a profit off of Louisiana's $8 billion-a-year education system.

'These carpetbagger schools are going to come in solely to get their hands on public money,' he said. 'They have no interest in bettering local education.'

Debbie Engle, a parent of a junior at C.E. Byrd High School, said her son is a successful student garnering excellent grades and acing standardized tests. However, she wishes more students had the same opportunities as her son and the state was working more to help teachers and classroom instruction.

'Public education is under attack, and it's about money and political favor,' she said."

Read the entire story by Times reporter Mary Nash-Wood here:  Grass-roots organization assembles ed reform protest

The Daily Solution

What if college courses were available FREE to anybody with an internet connection?

How many world problems could be solved by millions of well-educated people?

What if professors selflessly volunteered to educate people outside their university walls - people who could never afford to attend a class at MIT or Harvard?

Here's your daily solution, friends:

MIT and Harvard are each pouring $30 million into a nonprofit partnership edX, which they hope will make the top-notch faculties and courses of their schools available for free to millions of people around the world -- free for anyone with an Internet connection."

"At the core of this program is a belief that the excellence of the education available at MIT and Harvard should be available -- in an online format -- to anyone who has the commitment and desire to make it through an online course.

It's a reminder that these schools aren't just institutions with long, venerable 
histories, but also collections of living people -- people whose values and ideas shape how these universities exist in the world today."

Read entire article here:  'The Single Biggest Change in Education Since the Printing Press' - The Atlantic

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Daily Solution

We are all different. 

There is a reason why: we each have a specific purpose to fulfill, and each of us posseses the exact qualifications to accomplish that mission.

That said, sometimes it's a struggle to be yourself.  People may not like you.  They may bully you, or say awful things about you when you are simply being yourself.

This is not a new problem.  How do you become part of the solution?

Here is some advice that might help:
  •  All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was.  I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory.  I was na├»ve.  I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer.  It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with:  that I am nobody but myself.  ~Ralph Ellison, "Battle Royal"
  • The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant duplicity.  Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike, and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune.  ~Boris Pasternak
  • It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.  ~e.e. cummings
  •  The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere.  ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • Be what you are.  This is the first step toward becoming better than you are.  ~Julius Charles Hare
  • It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not.  ~Andre Gide

Louisiana Ranked #1 Most Violent State in US

Photo: DE/AD
Violent crimes (excl. murder) per 100,000: 537.8 (8th most)

Murders per 100,000: 11.2 (the most)

Incarceration rate per 100,000: 867 (the most)

Police per 100,000: 542.8 (the most)

Basic access: 79.2 (5th lowest)

Total cost of violence: $9.82 billion

Of the five metrics used to generate the Peace Index, Louisiana received the absolute worst score in all but two of them.

The state has the eighth-worst violent crime rate and the fourth-worst rate of gun suicides.

The state has the highest levels of both police per capita incarceration.

The state’s 867 prisoners per 100,000 people is well more than the next-worst state, Mississippi, which has 686 prisoners per 100,000.

The state’s murder rate is what truly sets it apart as the least peaceful in the country.

Louisiana’s homicide rate in 2010 was 11.2 per 100,000 residents.

The next-worst state, Maryland, had 7.4 murders per 100,000 people.

Louisiana was also among the worst 10 states for each of the 10 categories shown to have a high level of correlation with violence.


...and our noble politicians are taking action by privatizing and slashing funding to education. That should keep our privatized prisons in business for quite a while.  ~DBE