sepdet: (SephiroWTF)
The Texas GOP officially comes out against critical thinking. REALLY.

Here's a quote from of the platform they just adopted:

"We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."


Dear gods.
sepdet: (SephiroWTF)
Two bills will be up for a vote soon before the New York State Assembly requiring all content, including social media and messages, to be posted with an attached real name; otherwise website owners will be required to remove the comments/posts: 

The online anonymous speech ban 

I don't really need to tell you why this is a major threat to freedom of speech, to women, children, members of marginalized groups, etc, do I? 

Apparently a similar bill is up for a vote soon in Arizona.

THIS NEEDS TO BE STOPPED.

Gah. 

sepdet: Samhain worshipping the veggies. Oooommm. (Okay, yes, catnip was involved.) (Default)
Here's why SOPA wrecks the internet and most of the websites we use.  



They call it the Stop Online Piracy Act, but it's actually the Stop Online Publishing Act.

Think this video and I are being alarmists? Think again. Here's an open letter by 83 of the engineers who helped invent and build the internet begging Congress not to wreck the internet with SOPA.

Journalists are also deeply concerned about news sites being taken down by SOPA censorship.

WRITE TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVES. WRITE TO YOUR SENATORS.

They'll be voting on SOPA before year's end. Right now, they're only hearing from Wal-Mart, Disney, and other big corporations who want to make it easy to take out YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr and other pesky sites with user-generated content, such as Livejournal and Dreamwidth. 

I don't normally write to my reps -- I'm shamefully apathetic. But I've done it this time. Please, for love of teh interwebs, take some time out to track them down and tell them. Because, scarily enough, during the SOPA hearings, one rep after another used "I'm not a nerd" (translation: I don't understand how the web works) as an excuse before commenting on SOPA. They don't know ANYTHING. Hollywood's high-paid lobbyists are telling them how this law works, and misleading them about its impact. We HAVE to tell them! In little bitty words lie "Bypasses due process" "kills jobs" "stifles innovation" and "no burden of proof" that even they can understand!
sepdet: Samhain worshipping the veggies. Oooommm. (Okay, yes, catnip was involved.) (Default)
So I was reading about how the Philadelphia Free Library system is closing due to lack of state funding, and how this may well start happening in many cities, despite the fact that free libraries' computers are where many of the unemployed go for job hunting and info about federal assistance, and seniors go there for info about social security (much of this info only available online).

And I thought, "Well, at least we now have a president who cares about education, who may realize this is a problem and kick somebody with a view to doing something about it."
And then I thought, "Oh, I'm being unfair to W. His wife is a schoolteacher, after all!"
And then the little voice in my head said, "Yeah, but she looks like Dolores Umbridge."
And then I scolded myself for judging someone by looks, when she actually DOES care about education!
And then I went and did this anyway, because I couldn't resist:


Now, back to work...



sepdet: Samhain worshipping the veggies. Oooommm. (Okay, yes, catnip was involved.) (Flame Rose)
There's this rabblerouser iReporter on the CNN website who's been proselytizing from his living room throughout the election, some guy named David. I've enjoyed his musings and rants and had a few friendly comment exchanges with him.

He lives in DC, and he managed to get himself fairly close to the podium-- "with no ticket," as he says proudly.

This is David's recording of the ceremony, with a lot of heartfelt whooping and hollerin'...and some peanut gallery comments during the speech. :)


Feh, embed may not have worked. Oh well, here's the Link.
sepdet: Samhain worshipping the veggies. Oooommm. (Okay, yes, catnip was involved.) (hope)
'Twas the night before Inauguration
And all over the net
Insomniacs were hollering
"ARE WE THERE YET?"


Also, this...THING... which Findy posted earlier...



Yes.
Yes, that.

(The lettering is so faint I should really redo it -- this userpic has cum spiro, spero on it, "While I breathe, I hope.")

Hope.

Nov. 5th, 2008 01:58 am
sepdet: Samhain worshipping the veggies. Oooommm. (Okay, yes, catnip was involved.) (Yuna Serene)
I know a few friends reading my LJ are feeling anxious about what the future holds. Hugs to you. I know the guy I voted for won't be able to accomplish everything he's hoping to do -- which is both good and bad from your perspective, eh? -- but I hope that in the end the next few years will turn out better for you and for our country.

For folks who are celebrating like I am, here's one more for the road. I'm sure most of you have probably seen it, but ironically I only ran across it this weekend while revising my dissertation outline on the power of language. I played this video several times over the last few days to steady pre-election jitters.



When FiveThirtyEight called it and McCain started his concession speech (which was gracious-- there's the McCain I remembered admiring in 2000, le sigh) I realized I needed to get the heck out of my hermit cave and party somewhere. I scurried over to the Democratic field office set up across from UCI, where there was a delightful mix of folks young and old (mostly students and faculty) of many backgrounds, so we could cheer and cry and hug random people together during Obama's speech.

Final aside: I can't believe I had stopped thinking about what "sepdet" means, and who Sepdet with a capital S is. I think I'll say goodnight to her now and turn in. I guess she's somewhere out there with her little moon-smile and a twinkle in her eye: "told ya so!" She'd be 27 now... gah, where have the years gone!?
sepdet: Samhain worshipping the veggies. Oooommm. (Okay, yes, catnip was involved.) (Thinking Is Patriotic)
Okay, I'm afraid the Obama-love is starting to rub off on me, but I am charmed.

A month ago a second grade class wrote to various celebrities. Enclosed were "Flat Stanley" dolls. Remember Flat Stanley? He was the boy in a children's story who was flattened in a freak accident that modern children's books probably wouldn't dare include -- he was flattened by a heavy picture falling on his bed -- and after this, of course, being a millimeter thin, he had many adventures.

So anyway, off the Flat Stanleys went into the unknown.

Mark Spitz, Nancy Pelosi, Alex Rodrigez and John McCain have not written back.

Obama, however, wrote back. His letter is delightful. In spots it strikes me as tough going for a second grader, but of course the recipient shared it with his class, his teacher, and the whole school, and they're all talking about it. So I'm sure they've learned a lot. In the course of telling about how he took Stnaley around with him, Obama snuck in a whole mini-lesson on US government.

I keep forgetting Obama was a professor for a while.

Here's a PDF of the letter.

I love the part where Obama talks about how he gets "a little nervous" talking in front of crowds, so Flat Stanley gives him some helpful tips on public speaking!

I also love the subtle bit of office humor at the end:


sepdet: Samhain worshipping the veggies. Oooommm. (Okay, yes, catnip was involved.) (Thinking Is Patriotic)
With a little help from Google...

Why is John McCain's role in the Savings & Loan meltdown of the 1980s and the subsequent billion bailout not being discussed, when his actions then contributed to what's happening now?

To review: John McCain was one of the Keating Five, senators who received hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts from Charles Keating, chair of Lincoln Savings & Loan. On his behalf, they met with and pressured regulators of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board not to investigate and punish Lincoln for its risky practices in real estate and junk bonds, and its illegal concealment of losses. The bank then collapsed and was bailed out at taxpayers' expense for $2 billion. Charles Keating eventually served five years in jail for corruption.

McCain backed away from Keating after criminal proceedings against him began, but McCain had received over $100,000 from Charles Keating and his agents -- and that doesn't include Cindy McCain's $300,000 investments in Keating's properties.

Sources:
Wikipedia (for now) Arizona Republic Phoenix New Times

The problem was much bigger than Lincoln Savings & Loan. McCain and the other Keating Five had championed the deregulation of banking, removed regulations in place since the Depression, and lobbied on behalf of banks allowing them to make risky investments, especially in real estate and in the mortgage industry. This led to the collapse of 747 savings & loans banks, and the US government was forced to step in with a $125 billion dollar bailout of the banking industry. Sound familiar?

Despite getting burned, McCain continued to be an active proponent of deregulation on behalf of the banking industry, and had an active role in deregulation as Chairman of the Commerce Committee 1997-2001 and 2005-2007. In an article from earlier THIS MONTH, McCain not only praised banking deregulation, but wanted American health care to be modeled on the new, improved, deregulated Wall Street: "Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation." -- John McCain qtd in Huffington Post

So McCain did not learn his lesson during the Savings & Loan collapse -- even though he was investigated by the House Ethics Committee for his relationship with Charles Keating, and received a reprimand for bad judgment! For fifteen years McCain has continued to advocate deregulation and minimal government oversight, allowing banks to make the same sorts of risky investments that caused the 1980s collapse and government bailout of the banking industry.

And here's the real kicker.

McCain's campaign co-chair, Sen. Phil Gramm, has been THE "premier lobbyist" on behalf of Wall Street banking firms, who as recently as Dec 2007 successfully lobbied to prevent Congress from bailing out homeowners caught by the mortgage crisis. Phil Gramm is rumored to be McCain's pick for Secretary of Treasury.

Meanwhile, the banking bailout bill being pushed on Congress by the Bush Administration will give UNPRECEDENTED powers to the Secretary of Treasury -- without oversight -- to dispose of the banking bailout dollars -- our $700 billion, and probably more than that by the time this is all over -- as he sees fit.

Are you worried yet?
I am.

Boggle.

Aug. 30th, 2008 05:31 pm
sepdet: Samhain worshipping the veggies. Oooommm. (Okay, yes, catnip was involved.) (Default)
Sarah Palin can't talk about being VP until someone explains to her what the VP does.



Wow.

Just...

wow.

And it's not like this is an old interview. It's from last month.

My gods.

Aug. 28th, 2008 08:06 pm
sepdet: Samhain worshipping the veggies. Oooommm. (Okay, yes, catnip was involved.) (Thinking Is Patriotic)
That speech. Obama's speech. I wasn't going to tune in, but some posts elsewhere convinced me not to miss it.

I understand the political and oratorical moves Obama had to make, but beyond those... so much MEAT and CONTENT.

Mainly the one that's been driving me nuts all this time, that Al Quaeda is a network spread across 80 countries, and we're bogged down in Iraq so we CAN'T deal with terrorism in the way that's needed-- finish the job in Afghanistan, take out Bin Ladin once and for all, start cracking on terrorism networks around the globe, and prepare our military to be ready for threats ahead. Including Russia, if Putin gets weird.

And then he spent a lot of time talking about economic and domestic issues. A lot of which was more nuanced and specific, but McCain can no longer keep spinning it that somehow Obama wants to raise taxes:

"I will -- listen now -- I will cut taxes -- cut taxes -- for 95 percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class."

Here's Patrick Buchanan gushing over Obama's speech. Did I just miss the Apocalypse?



For those who still somehow can't grok that this guy is Christian (despite his speaking style coming straight from a church pulpit), he ended the speech with a rousing "God bless you... God bless the United States of America." He quoted some apt scripture in a few places as well.

On an irrelevant but sweet note, I loved it when the Obama and Biden girls up on the stage at the end got bored and started chasing confetti and each other around and just... PLAYING. 45 years ago today was the "I have a dream" speech, and there-- at last-- MLK, was that what you had in mind?

And on the other side of all this, I fully expect Obama to be assassinated because I don't believe anyone can get up and speak so many sensible things so well without someone shooting him to silence him.


I hate politics. SO BADLY. I hate posting about politics. I hate arguing with people about politics. I hate disagreeing with friends about politics. But... wow.
sepdet: Samhain worshipping the veggies. Oooommm. (Okay, yes, catnip was involved.) (Sarupeep)
I don't WANT us in Iraq, but I still love my local radio station's commentator, Chris Ames.

Check out today's edition of "As I Was Saying" (audio file).


ETA:

Poor guy. I emailed him a thank you. (Shared gallows humor between baseball fans.)

His response:
No, thank YOU. I get a lot of heat when I do progressive stories like this... so it's a cool drink of water to get positive feedback. In a world I think has gone so mad that it's all over there... and I'm by myself here... you helped convince me I'm not alone. A couple more like us, we may even have a better chance than the Dodgers do.
Again, much appreciation.
Chris



Sounds like he's having a ball, eh?
sepdet: Samhain worshipping the veggies. Oooommm. (Okay, yes, catnip was involved.) (Lulu)
I guess there's probably other resources out there but for doing a quick survey this is really helpful in figuring out which government leaders are pushing what issues on what side. I was looking to see which way my representatives voted on the gay marraige ban and found the info here first:

On the Issues.

E.G. A quick rundown of everyone's opinions and quotes culled from their speeches addressing various Civil Rights.

Heh. Both of my state senators are rated 0% by the Christian Coalition. Good going, Diane and Barbara!

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sepdet: Samhain worshipping the veggies. Oooommm. (Okay, yes, catnip was involved.) (Default)
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