Friday, July 23, 2010

Social media revolution

I posted here an interview I saw on Democracy Now!, broadcasted from Las Vegas, covering a conference on social media being held there. This interview highlights the role social networking can play in democratizing the media, taking the news away from the corporate deceivers of CNN, FOX, MSNBC, the New York Times, Washington Post....   

Saturday, July 17, 2010

What does a "failing school" look like?

This NPR interview exposes the lie of what it means to be a "failing school," both under Bush's No Child Left Behind and Obama's Race to the Top.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Internal crises of capitalism animated

While the discussion here is somewhat abbreviated, and there are competing Marxists theories of the exact nature of capitalist contradictions, I thought this animated talk was a nice introduction to the discussion (and it's fun to watch!).

Thursday, July 08, 2010

FĂștbol fever, is it contagious?

I watched this game, Spain vs. Paraguay, with a friend from Spain. He was excited when Spain scored the game-winning goal, but he didn't quite match this level of excitement.

BNCPJ Educational on Community Organizing

Bloomginton-Normal Citizens for Peace and Justice is having an educational on community organizing. We will be showing Bill Moyer's last PBS production, his profile of the community organization Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, which is very similar to our own Illinois People's Action here in Bloomington. You can find event details by downloading the flyer here.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

My union leadership, all bluster?

I didn't go this year to the National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly, but having gone twice, I have a sense of the results by looking at the new business items passed by the delegates. I was particularly interested in how the NEA would respond to the increased attacks against teachers and our unions, specifically with Obama's Race to the Top and his horrible plans for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (titled NCLB under Bush).

With the attacks suffered by our teacher unions this year, there is no better time than now to start fighting back.

In his keynote address, NEA head Dennis Van Roekel thundered, "We must not allow another bad ESEA. Because if they take the old NCLB, fancy it up and call it the new ESEA, I think we ought to just call it TNT and blow the whole damn thing up!”

But a look at the passed business items suggests that the NEA leadership does not intend on leading a grassroots mobilization, but rather plans on continuing with their ineffective support of Democratic Party politicians and lobbying efforts.

Van Roekel does call for state affiliates to organize a Day of Action against Obama's plan for ESEA, which in my opinion is even worse than Bush's NCLB. But such devolution of organizing to state bodies insures a mediocre effort. The New Business Item that would have committed the NEA to a national mobilization in the streets failed, undoubtedly due to the leadership's opposition to it.

More tellingly, New Business Item 95, passed late in the proceedings by the delegates, assists state affiliates in attracting Race-to-the-Top grant money, apparently contradicting the NEA position laid out in NBI A. NBI A commits the NEA to opposing "federal educational funding through competitive grant models" like that of Race-to-the-Top.

What we need is a national leadership willing to lead by mobilizing the ranks. Instead, once again, I suspect that we are getting fiery rhetoric with no substance. That said, we need to nevertheless influence our state affiliates to organize a Day of Action against Obama's ESEA. But it should be a real Day of Action by marching in the street, not worthless texting or call-ins.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Dale Watson in Chicago

This past weekend, 4th of July weekend, we visited Chicago with our friends and saw Dale Watson at Martyr's. I have to say, it's a little different to see a performer drink himself under the table while on stage! We did our share of carousing around town, eating at a number of different establishments - burgers and beer at BadDog's, sushi at Tank, and Italian at Topo Gigio's.

Walking and driving around town, I also ran into some interesting bookstores that I will review on my Indie Bookstore Travelogue. The best one I happened upon is Tres Americas, which specializes in books in Spanish, the best I've seen in the country.