August 16, 2010

Home Skooling - Being Stung With Reality

This started innocently enough... I was looking for a picture of a caterpillar I found on my tomato plantand found the same one here at a site called "Write on Their Hearts". How cute. Here's the pic of the little devil:

Apparently this is a tobacco hornworm caterpillar. The white things attached to him are the cocoons of a particular kind of wasp - costesia congregata. The wasp is a parasite, laying its eggs inside the caterpillar which then has to eat for everyone -
hence the lack of tomato plant I just discovered in only one day - until the larvae hatch, fly away, and leave the caterpillar for dead. Nice huh. If the caterpillar is left to its own devices it could grow into this, a moth the manduca sexta - or Carolina Sphinx Moth - almost 4" inches across:

Now this person was extolling how this tomato/backyard event was a great example of homeschooling form - learning about nature right there. Fine.

But then I decided to read some of this person's other "blog" entries on homeschool. This is where homeschooling goes right down the toilet as utter lies and bullshit:

Our family has begun the journey into American history and has started with Christopher Columbus. Although Columbus day is still a month away, we are excited about learning who Christopher Columbus is, the impact that he had on America becoming who it is today, and how God used him to set His plans in motion. [...]

Um, yeah. Right. God directed Chris in his masterful plan and THAT's the important story here. Um, no. So I posted this response on the caterpillar page (since it's moderated you can bet it'll never make it there):

This is creepy, selectively edited, and painfully lacking in the reality of what propelled Columbus here. Hope you told your kids about
Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand and how they wanted to basically rape the New World of its resources? Oh, and did you include that little “show” she dreamt up, what was it called? Oh yeah THE SPANISH INQUISITION with its 45,000 cases and almost a thousand executions. Or did you leave that part out…. Home skuling iz gud fer kidz.

OK, so it's a little heavy handed but JEEZUH!. But why this creeps me out even more was because earlier today I was watching TV (and basic reduced cable affords less choice and certainly more density of religious crap channels, BTN, CBN etc.) and saw Pat Robertson's CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) and their "news" segment was on. Think FOX, but then add just about every evangelistic turn on it you could imagine and you have their 'news' segment. The anchor was just finishing a segment about the Islamic Faith Center being planned in Manhattan (
which is NO WHERE NEAR 'ground zero' you morons) touting that more than 70% of Americans don't want it there. First of all: tough shit (that goes for the Anti-Defamation League's misguided propaganda on this and anyone else who doesn't like it. The "they should be sensitive" is just a bullshit, anti-Muslim ruse. Period). When the piece was finished Robertson when on to say to his cohost (who nodded approvingly) that

"Well, you know, the President's second name IS _Hussein_ ... there is some "lineage" there",

HOLY SHIT. I mean, literally, holy, smoking, reeking pile of BULLSHIT.

then he went on to say (I am paraphrasing but this is damn close):

"Islam is a system not only of religion but also political and economic power!"

Right. And Christianity NEVER did anything in the name of Commerce. Yeah, how 'bout this gem from the American ENTERPRISE Institute: "
Religion and the American Future"

So back to our "Christopher Columbus was doing God's work home skooling mother in buttf**k nowhere, square state, U.S. of A."... Look, Pat Robertson and her are one in the same. They hock stories of saccharine sweet Christianity while eviscerating the reality of the damage its extracted along the way. N
eed I say two words: Pope + Children. Today Robertson blathered on about the mosque being built being a "Cordoba" symbolic of Muslim domination in Spain. And this "homeschooling" savant is saying Christopher Columbus was directed by God's purpose - which, under Queen Isabella meant expelling the Muslims from... guess where... Cordoba. These psychopaths are of the same ilk. And all the while they live in these imagined spaces in their heads about THEIR purpose in directing the lives of OTHERS.

And like Robertson, who bullshits about Christian tolerance while spewing hateful bigotry, my home skooler decided that the most effective way to "teach" her children was to leave the caterpillar in a sealed jar, allow the wasps to hatch, and watch it suffer. Maybe this was "God's Plan"? I don't think so. And she knew the caterpillar was in pain. She even filmed it and talks about its discomfort of being "bothered" by being encased in glass surrounded by all these wasps that just escaped their cocoons. I don't recall "God" putting mortal enemies into cages to watch them "bother" each other as part of "learning".

And its the self-righteousness of both this woman and Pat Robertson that bind them together. They are both purveyors of lies while they prosthelytize that they are some how agents of the "good" God, of wholesome Christian goodness. But those wasps ARE going to escape. And when they do they will sting you idiots back into reality - a plague upon you all, you moralists, you selfish, self-centered and insular morons. Now that's some "schooling" I want to watch. In the meantime I'm letting my caterpillar eat all my plant, grow as strong as he can and perhaps he'll/she'll make it through the birth of the wasps, and they'll fly free. After all, isn't that the 'christian' (purposefully small 'c') thing to do?

September 04, 2008

I'd rather have a "Community Organizer" than a "Hockey Mom" Running the Country

I'm frankly DISGUSTED by the comments made by Sarah Palin last night in her speech at the GOP Convention in St. Paul. To belittle and degrade "community organizing" as not a competent form of experience was more than just "politics" as David Brooks suggested in interviews that followed it. It was a stinging attack that tried to frame Palin as somehow more "experienced" to lead. Specifically I wanted to wipe that smirk off her smug-ass face when she said:

"I guess -- I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities."

Sure Ms. Palin - except responsibilities means getting results. Responsibilities means improving the life lot of your residents - keeping them from harm, getting them jobs. So why have your "responsibilities" left your residents of Wasilla worse off than Baltimore in some important measures. Must be "tough going" out there - but wait isn't Wassila, AL "Everytown, USA"? No, it's a town with problems. Still. Still after her leadership on city council and as mayor.

In fact after the accusations that Palin wasn't experienced enough to be V.P. to McCain the Republican mantra-machinery trotted out the idea that she has more "executive experience" than Obama. OK, so she was Mayor of Wassila, Alaska (population about 9800, 2007). Whoopee fucking doo. While the picture everyone is painting is that Wassila is "small town America" is it? Sure it has a generally lower crime rate. But in this 75% white-person town (and that's not Everytown, USA, now is it? That's Republican-Wanna-Be-Land) it was interesting to discover the following:

Wassila, AL is more violent than Baltimore, MD:

From 2001-2005
violent assaults in Wassila, AL have CONSITENTLY ranked above the rate of assaults found in Baltimore, MD - a range of 950-1618/100,000 persons for Wassila, compared to 990-1350 assaults/100,000 persons in Baltimore, for the same period of 2001-2005. This includes time while Palin was Mayor. Nice work Mayor!

And Wassila has higher arson rates than Baltimore too!

In 2002, the last year Palin was Mayor of Wassila, arson in Everytown, USA was almost three times the rate of that found in Baltimore, that same year, and most years of Baltimore's rates. (124.6/100,000 vs. 51.3/100,000).

Assaults, by the way are important crime statistics. They are even more worrisome to police than murders because murders are assaults whose intent has been completed. Assault then generally those "murders" where the people never quite end up dead - they've been violently attack with the intent to maybe carry it further. That's why we measure them - they are a better indicator of ambient violence than just measuring murder - they are a measure of the proclivity of people to actually act on harming one another. So, while Baltimore's murder rate might be higher Sarah Palin's legacy to Wasilla's is a more violent life world than Baltimore, MD - who knew.

Wasilla City Hall - Home of Experienceville, USA - Sarah Palin's legacy to her town rates of arson and assault higher than those of Baltimore, MD. Nice work Mrs. Mayor! Now THAT's what I call "executive experience" and "responsibility"!

Now Baltimore is hardly "Pleasantville" but when the Republicans use Wassila, AL as the experience touch stone of a woman that is touted as having more "executive experience" than Barak Obama and that person, Sarah Palin, is unable to keep the town as safe as Baltimore....well then it gives me pause. At least here, in Murdaland I can be more secure someone won't assault me or burn my house down than if I lived under Sarah Palin's "better executive experience" and ability to keep me secure.

So let's see Palin served two terms on the Wasilla, Alaska, city council from 1992 to 1996, then won two terms as mayor of Wasilla from 1996 to 2002. And her legacy is a town with assault and arson rates higher than Baltimore and an unemployment rate above the average of other Alaska towns. So just what is this "executive experience" thing that Republicans are trotting out now, saying she has more than Obama, more than a "community organizer", and how has it served these residents so well I have to wonder.

Me, well I'm biased. I've worked as a community organizer as well. Hell if we want to compare "executive experience" I have as much as Sarah Palin - Better Waverly, the area I live in in Baltimore is comprised of about 1300 households - with about 5 persons per household let's say or a population of about 6500 people. And the challenges I've worked on, the grants and finances and planning we've done are hella more complicated and challenging then running some podunk white town. So for my part I admire "experience" that is grounded in REALITY - not some cut-off sliver. That doesn't diminish Wassila as a place, nor its people. But it does say that it cannot be held up as an example that the experiences there will necessarily translate into efficacy in other, larger, more complicated, more challenging realms. And the same goes for the Governorship "executive experience". Alaskan experience isn't simply going to cut it on the large stage - there are more voices, issues, politics and problems to deal with. It's not just a matter of scaling up the work.

And so for me I want a community organizer, not some "hockey mom" to run the country. I want a person who is experienced as an international diplomat. Not some "mini van driving" townie. And puhleeeze... the Palins are hardly "the usual folk". The "usual folk" right now can't figure out where they are going to get the money to fill the mini-van with gas. Sheila Dixon, here in Baltimore, has subscribed to some of the same kind of misplaced rhetoric as Palin here in Baltimore - saying she wants to first "be everybodies friend". Her role, and the same for Palin, is not to be a "mom" or a "friend" - it's to get shit done. It's to engage in constructive conflict (conflict is not all bad remember).

Chumming up to families is not getting stuff done. It's kissing their asses... and in the case of Palin this is while she lets others burn their houses down and let them get jumped in the alley outside some Wassila bar. Who knew I would think I would be safer in Baltimore?

September 02, 2008

Apparently It's Not the Same When a Republican's Kid is Pregnant Out of Wedlock

OK. Let's get real for a moment shall we. It DOES matter that Bristol Palin daughter of Sarah Paling the newly minted V.P. Nominee for the Republican Party, has a bun in the oven, is pregnant, and out of wedlock. To try to pretend otherwise just shows this party as the two-faced bullshit artists they've always been. They made this issue a cornerstone of vitriolic anti-black propaganda and social control (anti-anyone not white, more correctly) for decades. But along comes Bristol Palin, daughter of Sarah Palin, and some how it's different! La dee da! Flowers and fields and pregnant teenage mothers running together! Feeling strong... all "womany" and stuff. What the fuck...

Jon Stewart shows the two-faces assholes of the Conservative media and the GOP for what they are; picking them one by one he shows clips of when they said one thing that supported their candidate and then turned around and said EXACTLY the opposite thing, under the same subject about the Democrats. Including teen pregancy, playing the gender card and "Sarah Palin's" experience issue. It's a bit of a digression here to cover so much but check the clip - it's all there. One by one Karl Rove, Bill O'Reilly, Dick Morris, and Nancy Pfotenhauer are shown to be truly collosal idiots who will say anything - the will LIE through their teeth - to get elected. For example, Karl Phat Fuck Rove is showsn saying that Sarah Palin is a experienced for being mayor and governor - of a town of 9000 people. Then in a clip just weeks earlier he is shown calling the possible choice of Tim Kaine as V.P. on Obama's ticket would be "an intensely political choice," noting that Richmond, VA, with its population of 190,000 is America's 105th largest city: "It's not a big town" Rove says. Of course Kaine, can hardly hold a candle to Governor Palin's 48th most populated state in the country vs. his 12th most populated state... Being Governor of a state barely larger than the population of Washington D.C. must be excruciatingly difficult. Phew!

So then what are the rest of Republicans saying about their Teenage Unwed Pregnant Family Member?

"It makes her (Sarah Palin) just like other people"
Just like "other people" huh? Funny, I thought "other people" weren't having babies out of wedlock? That's not what "they" do. And keep in mind, in this double-speak mentality, "they" or "other" means "other Republicans" - Republicans are never going to be those other "Other People", you know.

"This is different because she won't be using foodstamps and welfare"
You people are fucking idiots: While the proportion of black children being raised in single-headed family households is higher than whites the sheer number of single-parented households by whites is far higher when taking account their proportionate volume of the population (roughly 60% whites vs. 20% blacks). Go and get your (our, I'm white, btw) tubes tied and shut the fuck up about blacks and hispanics. Maybe if we didn't make their lives a living hell and put 2/3 of their fathers in jail (more than whites for the same crimes, so don't pull that "They did the crime" shit on me here either) then they'd have dads now wouldn't they...

She's keeping the child and "I'm blessed by her decision she "Chose Life" said one male Republican at the convention.
Two words for you: Fuck-off. OK, more than two - "It's not your body" and "Fuck Off".

"I think this makes us stronger."
Bullshit. Stronger my fucking ass. Read this you dimwits: This is from YOUR own Republican Party Platform speech, given June 11, 2004, by YOUR president, George W. Bush where he outlines unwed births as a health issue to be ended:
"Each year more than three million American teenagers contract sexually transmitted diseases, causing emotional harm and serious health consequences, even death. We support efforts to educate teens and parents about the health risks associated with early sexual activity and provide the tools needed to help teens make healthy choices. Abstinence from sexual activity is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against out-of-wedlock pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including sexually transmitted HIV/AIDS. Therefore, we support doubling abstinence education funding. We oppose school-based clinics that provide referrals, counseling, and related services for contraception and abortion."(p 81)
Just in time to keep sex ed from Bristol I guess huh? And "makes us stronger" huh? That's why THE REPUBLICAN PARTY put it into their platform speech of 2004 to get rid of it? That's why Ms. Sarah Palin, supporter of "abstinence based sex education" had her daughter go off and get pregnant - so they would be stronger? Guess all those teenage girls oughta put on their low rise jeans and go "get stronger" huh? (This just in... Oh, wait it was "just in" a year ago - I guess Ms. Palin never got the memo: Abstinence-based sex education programs do not delay sexual activity. And while the administration has no plans of accepting the findings of the study - they rather have more car-crash family fuck-ups like the Palins instead I thought I'd share it here again. Just thought maybe she'd like to have this for her other daughter maybe...

But back to the point - The point being played out here is that somehow it doesn't matter when some smary, white, Republican gets knocked up all 'Juno' like. But for decades it has mattered for Republicans. And not withstanding the difficult time Ms. Bristol Palin has ahead, and in no ways am I demonizing here, it is absolutely hypocritical of the Republican Party to try to spin this as some kind of "fortunate accident" of salvation.

And while Obama was careful and I think noble in his comments when asked and he said "Look my mother had me when I was 18... this is a family matter" what he didn't get to say Tavis Smiley did later on while talking with Newt Gingrich this evening. Tavis asked Gingrich "So how do you think this whole political thing is playing out" (I'm paraphrasing) and Newt said... Blah, Blah, Blah... it won't be playing in three days etc. But Smiley came back and laid him out: "I can show you year after year, tape after tape, of Republicans going after Black unwed mothers." Gingrich hedged it again.... But then again, it's different if your a Republican unwed mother, daughter to the V.P. nominee for the party though isn't it....

(BTW, this doesn't change the 'problem' - it's a problem given the particularly inflexible social structure of our times - of single-parented households. And particularly is difficult on Black folk. Listen, learn, hear more on NPR on Out of Wedlock Births in the Black Community. Then go form your own EDUCATED position on the topic. Not some bullshit soundbite that's going to get someone an office on Pennsylvania Avenue. Oh, and this was the best comment of the whole night, from a female teen, interviewed on the street:
Wow.. I mean, if she (Sarah Palin) can't control her own kids I can't see how she's going to control a country. I mean, I just don't see it happening.
'nuf said. This isn't some disenchanted 'Hillary Supporter'. This is a person that sees something for what it is. A sham of trying to spin something back in the other direction after you've spent years trying to tar people with the issue. How's it feel now the brush is in the others' hands? Obama took the high road ... I wouldn't be so sure I wouldn't WAP! you one with that brush...