Thursday, March 31, 2011

dagSeoul's Tumblr feed

I've added my Tumblr feed to my blog. If you look above, you'll see a link to it. If you're on Tumblr, please follow me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How Education Reform is Really Tax Reform

I've claimed it for years: because the wealthy elite (well educated, by the way,) and business owners/investors are unwilling to pay (more) taxes, we have had to find reasons to cut public funding from well-established government programs. You justify the cuts in education by promoting a need for education reform. In other words, reforming public education is actually a complicated, well-funded and articulate cover for radical tax reform. In this article, the culprits are big business, big media and the Obama Administration. All three are only too happy to help spread the message of reform to a citizenry that doesn't really understand the issues.

This article, from Truthdig, can help us illustrate the ridiculous binary that education reformers use to alienate and abuse teachers. It's teachers vs students, where the teachers are greedy profiteers and the students stand-ins for abused consumers and/or rugged individuals who only need a fair shake to succeed.

Also discussed: value-added teacher evaluation, privatization of public schools, tax breaks for businesses, increased class size. Very concise and detailed analysis. Please share.

Rangers Fan Organizations Support Sectarianism

Love how Rangers fan organizations draw a false equivalency between rebel songs (Celtic fans sing) and sectarian songs (Rangers fans sing). The comparison shows how inconsiderate and disrespectful they are about people's right to sing songs about their history as opposed to permitting white, protestant fans to sing songs about hating non-whites, non-Protestants, non-citizens of the UK.

This article does a good job of illustrating why it is not sectarian to sing about the IRA. Even so, it's too legalistic for my tastes. The fact is that there are truly few pro-IRA "rebel" songs that are in spirit and fact sectarian. Very few. I think I can count them on my hand. And there's only one that Celtic fans ever sing. It's been banned and most fans honor it. The fact is that Rangers fans singing sectarian songs is *the* problem.

I had to post this note on my blog because some Rangers fans have complained to Facebook that it contains offensive material. See, for Rangers fans, having to face reality and clean up their act, which means ejecting the hateful bigots from their fan base is considered offensive. They are hypocrites. They support sectarianism.

Until the fan groups stand up to the bigots, eject them, publicly denounce them, and stop blaming Celtic fans and players for the problem, there is no responsible choice but to continue calling the Rangers organizations out for who they are.

Also see: Celtic Quick News

The Korean Quotidian: Office Routines

I'm sharing an office with one of those OCD guys every Korean office seems to have. He's very nice and constantly cleans. When he's not cleaning, he's teaching; when he's neither teaching nor cleaning, he's hiking. He's mopped our office floor five times in three days. I think he needs some help.

The mopping at my school involves the coldest water and a mop. Nothing becomes clean: doesn't look clean, doesn't smell clean, isn't clean.

Constant dirty pooled
Water and wet smell,
Dust and mop cotton.

Keywords: musky, dusky, dank, dirty.

Wet concrete, kept wet, only slightly visibly erodes leaving a fine and consistent gray dust on its surface. It's a sneaky erosion. It makes my obsessive and anxious office mate believe the floor is never quite clean enough to leave alone. He's expediting its erosion. A wonderful signifier for his state of mind.

His look betrays the kind of anxiety that quietly unsettles the daily order, gives the appearance of cohesion and adherence to a routine that is always unraveling. Where am I going to find enough time to clean this office before I have to teach. It suggests when he returns from the classroom, fifty minutes later, he'll have forgotten he worked so hard to get it right the first time. He'll clean again.

Tea Party Ethos: Eugenics, WASPs & You

Good Mother Jones note about what's up in The Tea Party Nation. I’d like to direct everyone to a chapter in Lillian Smith’s Killers of the Dream, “Two Men and a Bargain”.

It’s bad enough that white people fall for this hateful ideology and its social processes. That we have citizens who respect people who talk about the extinction of the white race is sad. But eugenics has a more nefarious purpose: to encourage racial anxiety within poor white communities. In Smith’s book a bargain is struck between “Mr Rich White” and “Mr Poor White”. See a very good description of the book and its arguments here: .

Friedrich Hayek, Zombie (Krugman)

I used to teach Hayek in my Business Ethics course. Hayek was wrong about so much, but it's his reasons for his predictions and economic beliefs that libertarians and conservatives love so much. Many of my conservative students ended up enjoying slogging through Hayekian theory about the liberal social order of our capitalist market. Truly zombie economics, undead ideas. The stuff will not go away, and it needs to.

And isn't this the problem with what Conservativism has become? It's a system based on ideals without any grasp of reality.

Anyway, Brad DeLong had written about this and Paul Krugman has now had a go. Good reading.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Recent Stanley Fish in the NYTimes

I'm a sucker for good writing. Fish's recent essays, especially on supporting teacher's unions and his latest on religion, have been wonderful. And I'm often not a fan of his rhetoric. Highly recommended.

Monday, March 28, 2011

American Thought Police (Krugman)

Paul Krugman's piece in the times is a good one.

David Brooks was on Real Time with Bill Maher last weekend defending Conservativism from the right wing antics of the Republican Party. I often hear from my Conservative friends that I shouldn't confuse Conservatives with Republicans. It's a bit self-righteous and precious, and hides a more complex truth. The claim is an implicit refusal to do anything at all to change the popular Conservative movement and its tactics, which are managed by the Republican Party and a growing, strong far-right-wing movement. So while conservative intellectuals, like Brooks, explicitly denounce the members of the Conservative movement who behave improperly and hurt civic discourse, they nevertheless politely refuse, hesitate is to kind, to act against it.

I think the damage to discourse has been done. The Conservative movement has been working since the 80s to control educational and market institutions via legislation and local activism. Academics and researchers are already forced to be quiet for fear that local conservative groups, at the service of the national movement, will smear them and their work. Even I experienced conservative plants in my classrooms at Metropolitan State College of Denver, of all places, during the Academic Rights nonsense pushed by David Horowitz in the early 2000s.

We've been forced by centrist culture to accept conservative binarism into intellectual discourse, to acknowledge paradox-denying common sense into our pragmatism, to permit ridiculous religious dogma into our educational discourse, et al. And while we all seem to agree that the minority who insists we continue moving to the right is, in fact, bad for our culture, our nation, we continue to do nothing about it.

I don't know if there's much we can do about it except by putting our careers at stake and telling the truth in spite of the potential smear campaigns. I promise to continue to do so.

White Power 101: Apologetics

Two things about this clip from the Chris Matthews show.

The first thing I'm quite accustomed to; we all are, in fact. The privileged white man who has a checkered past is given another chance to lead, to succeed, to be all that he can be; he's given a pass for all past indiscretions. He is mindlessly afforded this pass because he is privileged. In the US, this kind of privileged is tied to race and bolstered by wealth.

The second thing is much more mundane, but more troubling. It enables the white power structure that privileged white racists Haley Barbour rely on to remain powerful, healthy and wealthy. To not be able to see beyond the white power structure itself; to refuse to recognize privilege; to destabilize critical thinking in the face of racism. In fact, Chris Matthew's panel permits Haley Barbour "to do it". What can he do? He can run, as Barbour has said, as "The Anti-Obama." Not one person on the panel said, "You know, we can permit him to run, but we shouldn't. He's a bigot. He's bad for our nation, our kids, our culture, our credibility."

And I'll add a bonus thing. The third thing is that, once again, the media presents Obama's problem as his intelligence and success. Apparently, it's still suspicious to be black and smart in the United States. Fortunately, we have stupid racist hicks who have enough money to run for President to counter black intelligence. (See Real Time with Bill Maher's hilarious video about The Anti-Obama, Amabo.)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Labor History: Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

March 25, 1911. Good post about it, the mindset that caused it. You know, the mindset that persists. It's called "libertarianism," and it's dangerous to your health and our national well-being.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lists: Sociology of Space

Working through a reading list

Hovering above it all: Hegel

Lefebvre's Production of Space. that Imagination is involved in producing space, effects the rhythm of space, marked by time, etc has gotten me off course with what appears to be Lefebvre's most well-read book.  Must return to it.

Where does Simmel fit here?  Thinking of his discussion about time and counting, how it changes the basic structure of our minds--imagination, thinking, thus space...

Martina Low--ordering of things in space--discourse.

This all effects Poetics, certainly, our ability to describe something within a line, in so far as versifying is a turning of language we can assume that the ordering of things (concrete and abstract) in space determines, more or less (to what extent?), what we can put down and how it will be read by others?  as opposed to the more common, and trite, notion that what we write shapes the present shape of things to come...

Maximus, then. Williams' Spring and All and Paterson.  Creeley decrying young poets in letters to Olson, complaining they do not understand form.  Makes more sense.  I agree and believe it's an institutional, foundational, linguistic problem.  How can we approach form when, say, our poetry is everyday further removed from everyday life. Must keep it formally anchored.  Innovations may release writers from stale formal constraints but also permits a resistance to understand what permits innovation in the form itself.

See: poets complaining about the lack of a marketplace for their ideas. This is a lack of readers.  More importantly, it's a lack of space.  We've mistaken publication, being published, for being read, reading together, doing the work of poetry.

Can't be disobedient when you're unaware of the space you inhabit. Its contours. As if the page were a replacement for a place.  Imagine a space--it's already shaped by your perceptions of similar spaces.  This isn't a discourse thing, it's a concrete limitation, a prohibition that has everything to do with the market as it does with knowing how to compose a line of prose or verse.

Look at Alice James.  Invalid.  Space.

Trying to find more about Marx's concept of a concrete abstraction.

Hegelian Triads

Re-reading Hegel and digging around online for articles and such. Found this. Remember when hypertext was going to be the next big thing. Still, it's kind of helpful. And the Library is a great resource.