31 October 2008

Trick lo-ove the kids

For some reason this morning I woke up really excited about this election. I still screamed at the bs being spewed on the radio by the conservatives in North Carolina and Joe (the plumber).

But, the call I got from my brother yesterday was kind of nice regarding some hope.

He works for a company that runs a program called College Summit. The program works with a lot of schools around the country to help get high school kids into college. One of the schools here in St. Louis, Wellston, which had 100% of its seniors accepted to college last spring. It has worked with other area high schools, as well. You can watch a video about them as they were featured on PBS, here. The video describes a bit of what they do.

Anyway. I am really proud that he is working for this type of company.

But the reason I got excited about it is because in Obama's infomercial the other day, he mentioned a success story of one of the schools his people work with. Basically giving accolades to them for their successes in getting more students accepted to college. Big ups to my bro and his people!!

The group is looking to spread to more areas and to get some legislation through Congress that would help track student enrollment in colleges from high schools.

There is hope for students. They will get help with learning how to get into college, and they will (if things go well Tuesday) have more ability to get into those colleges, too.

30 October 2008

How I have started my day

Woke up late. Had meeting pre-observation meeting with principal (which I had been ready for before I found out that the week-long essay I had planned for one of my preps had already been done by a few of the students last year - hurray for teachers who went to the same training I did; boo for messing up a week of my plans). Had to quickly change plans for teaching and then get them to the principal. Tried to put up some books on the wooden bookshelf , cut my knuckle all the way to the white meat on one of the racks. Went downstairs to the nurses' office to get some Neosporin and a not-quite-my-flesh-color band-aid. Crowded halls made me slip on a step and roll my ankle. Got to nurses. Met the two of them. Nice. They put the band-aid on, but it was not in a way that was conducive to my ease of movement. Got back to the room and was putting on another band-aid when the superintendent and the assistant super came into the room. Couldn't shake hand, but he likes me and she might like me now that she knows that I watch Lost. Chatted a bit since I was on my prep and they couldn't observe my teaching. I'm hungry and it's only 9:13. Still two hours till lunch. Have to improvise a bit on this next class since I am not going to be doing the essay. But I can make it work.

On a bright note, I received an awesome compliment this morning from a coach in the area. I was explaining in an email that I am at this new school and told him who at the old one he could send my stuff to. He congratulated me on the move, but said "I think". I replied about the apprehension I have about people here respecting me as a coach. He replied that "everyone who's anyone already knows what you did at [your old school] - and if [the new coach] doesn't continue your efforts it will really show!"

The little things can sometimes touch so deeply.

As can a stupid wooden bookshelf.

29 October 2008

Speechless Wednesday

I break from my usual Wordless Wednesday program to tell you of something that left me wordless this morning in the hallway.

I understand that many people do not know what type of bras they are supposed to wear. If they did, Tyra, Oprah, and What Not to Wear, and even Finola would not be in business. Many women wear bras that are too small, or they wear lace bras under thin shirts and you can see all their stuff. Or they wear super padded bras or bras with straps that are not thick enough so their shoulders are dug into by their straps.

But today... I saw the worst bra crime.

As students continue to have horrible diets, they continue to get larger and develop earlier and earlier (just say no to hormone-filled cow milk).

This chick was massive. Had to be a triple K bra. But she had on what was likely a cup that would fit me (a B). Needless to say, there was not much support. But that is not unusual for women. Most women don't wear bras that provide enough support for their girls.

This chick not only had a lack of support, but also a lack of coverage. The bra covered the underside of her fun bags, but left her nipples completely exposed. What?! Yes. It was like she was braless. I don't know how this could have been comfortable for her. I don't know who the chick was and only saw this momentarily, but I hope some of her friends have spoken with her. If I see her again, I will be forced to intervene. For the sake of humanity.

Happy Hump Day.

24 October 2008

Give money, listen, think

If you haven't given to KWMU for their fund drive -- hurry. I am so tired of them interrupting stuff I am listening to to beg people for money.

If you missed Morning Edition this morning on NPR, they did another part of the story on race and the election. It is really nice to hear someone else who recognizes that "Joe Six-Pack" is just a synonym / nice way of saying that you are talking about white, hardworking men (and women). And that it kind of implies that people of color are not ordinary nor do they work hard enough to fit into the society that some of the candidates believe is the right society for this nation.

Read. Listen. Pay attention to the words people say and what they really are trying to get across.

22 October 2008

Human Rights Art

Some things leave you speechless. The crazy human rights violations throughout the world (a lot of which are performed by the United States) are among those things that leave you questioning a lot of things.

Here are some of the Co-winners in the Human Rights Violations Brief :

Saeed Behdad, Iran - Human RightsJing Zhou, USA - We cannot fight terrorism using state terrorAngela Morelli, Italy - War will never be the seed of peaceMilan Kopasz, Hungary - I am not a terrorist
Cinzia Ferrara & Alexandra Dossi, Italy - Never ReadThomas Di Paolo, Germany - Victims of TerrorismMarlena Buczek-Smith, USA - Abolish TortureSongwei Chen, USA - Is this what we need?Alice Beniero, Italy - Dirty marksMarcin Dubiniec & Maksym Matuszewski, Poland - GunVesa Kuula, Finland - Gavel of terrorHeidi Gabrielsson, Finland - More (D)angerAlexandra Vydmanova, Russia - Stop

21 October 2008

Poverty, insurance, and fixing education and a washer

Not too much been going on with me. Hanging out with my man while he is in town has been taking up most of my time - definitely a good thing. As has school and reading about what is going on in our nation.

I also spent my time Saturday celebrating that I was not taking part in my old school's Renaissance Fair. Apparently the turn out was not as good as they thought it would be. They say that it was due to the Obama rally in downtown Saint Louis. I guess if that rally hadn't gone on, there would have been 100,000 people at the fair instead of supporting that candidate.

I have really not been as shocked as other people seem to be that there are so many people in society that do not know much about the politics of their nation, or about who is in office representing them. People don't care about that stuff. People only care about Madonna's divorce and when the sequel to Sex and the City will be out.

It all really goes to explain why so many people are willing to vote for people without actual facts.

Sarahlynn, wrote a good blog post about the insurance proposals of the candidates. Interesting read. Good information about who will be helped and hurt with the plan of my friend McCain. (Why does he insist on calling me that? I do not like him. He is not my friend. Him saying that does not lead me to like him more.)

John Dolan wrote an excellent article about the economic struggles he went through and gives some advice to the rest of us who are ever closer to such status as he faced. I don't think people realize just how close they are to poverty. Most people are two pay checks away. I am about there, so I can't imagine the people that are on two salaries being that close. Well... I guess I can since they are all looking to live like the Jones and the Bumquishas that are around them. Have to buy more than the neighbors. Have to drive a new car. Have to buy a ton of new clothes for the new season. Have to buy a ton of stocks that are now suffering.

Been avoiding NPR a bit lately. They messed up and started their seasonal fund drive the day after the debates last week. Sucked because I was really trying to hear what they had to say about it. Really does not make my commutes run well when they are coming on every five minutes to tell me to give money. I gave. Hopefully they stop and get back to the regularly scheduled programming.

Today I had to take a personal day to address the washer that has still not been fixed after 5 trips from the Sears people. Got to listen to Diane Rehm's show. Today just happened to be on education and the candidates plans to address that little issue. Some of the things that McCain is planning really just don't make sense. Let's continue to underfund the early childhood education programs. Let's get more unqualified teachers into the classrooms with his troops to teachers plan (among others). Let's allow vouchers instead of improving the schools that people may want to leave. Let's not address the discrepancies in property taxes that exist in the areas that have poor schools. Instead let's make it easier for people to move out of those areas and build houses far from those problems instead of fixing the schools, funding them, providing more programs and motivation for the students to perform better.

I really didn't want to watch the last debate. I actually watched the Project Runway season finale instead. But once that show was over, I flipped to the debate in time to hear the bull shit about education from the candidates. I'm not saying that Obama's plans are perfect. But they make more sense about how to fix the system so that we are not lower than so many other nations when it comes to education.

I'm off to research this washer and find out if more people are having the same troubles that I am. Then I can get to planning more for upcoming classes, and catching up on Lost. I was rushing to watch all the past seasons until I found out that the new season does not start until early 2009. What?! At least I have time to catch up since I just started watching it in the middle of last season.

I leave you with this from Kansas City. A man was given back a receipt with the racial slur "Dumb Nigger" on it to identify who the customer was. What?! Yes. Read up.

15 October 2008

Amir Sulaiman "She Said I Prefer A Broken Neck"

Some one else's words on this Wordless Wednesday.

Amir Sulaiman on Def Poetry reciting his poem "She Said I Prefer A Broken Neck".

11 October 2008

Section 60 and some unanswerable questions

Right now the body count of US service men and women from the war in Iraq is 4,180+; in Afghanistan it is 610+. There have been 32,000+ wounded in the two regions.

A new documentary will show on HBO called Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery. That is the section of the military cemetery set aside for military deaths of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The directors were on Democracy Now Friday.

It is really ridiculous that we are still fighting over there.

Big questions that I have, and some of which a student of mine asked the other day are: How does it end? How do we know when a war like this is over? How can there be an end to a war that is being fought over an idea? And how can we win wars over people who are not going to stop what they are doing (Taliban)? How can we say that it is getting better when so many of the local population (and our men women) are being wounded, killed, or displaced?

Check this song

08 October 2008

Words on Wordless Wednesday

Today no pictures. Just a couple thoughts that left me wordless.

A woman on a show on NPR said that she is afraid of Obama and what he would do for the nation. Afraid of him. Afraid of him? As opposed to the man who talks about war like it is going to dinner. As opposed to the man who is part of a party that eagerly helped lead to the deregulation that has us in the situation we are in now.

Another woman on NPR said that she fears that Obama would focus on African-Americans at the expense of poor white people like herself. "It's just the fact that I think that he will represent them, and what they want, and what they need. ... They're his people, his race."

Since when has he even mentioned the brown folks? And what could he possibly do that would ONLY help black people? What would that look like? He tells Congress to lower taxes for people only if they can check the box that says they are of African decent? Get out of here. She must be one of these people that the media is finally admitting exist. (Though I know, and you should know, that they are everywhere.)