Bad Principal Timing
Sometimes (not all of the time): Things can go from bad to worse if principals try to ‘downgrade’ incidents to protect their ‘data-image’.
You Principal need to know in these types of situations: What time it is!
“A Manhattan mom is suing the Department of Education for $2 million after administrators dismissed her fifth-grader’s complaints that a male student humped him while pinning him down at the playground.”–NY Post
As a superintendent I often warned principals, who will often ‘downgrade’ incidents to protect their data-image, you better know what time it is. In some situations you might as well take your lumps and deal ‘aggressively’ and decisively with the original bad misbehavior incident. Because for sure, the cover up revelation problem means that you will be penalized for both the ineffective handling of the original bad incident, as well as the badly orchestrated attempted cover-up! And finally: Follow-up, Follow-up, Follow-up; Communication, Communication, Communication; Closure, Closure, Closure!
Think carefully about this AP’s, Principals and Superintendents…
Think very carefully about this AP’s, Principals and Superintendents: How many ‘corrective action’ meetings have we had with school personnel; and now think about how some of those meetings went. Do we really want to arm K-12 school building employees? Let’s not let the school safety and security conversation be led by people who are ignorant, ill-informed, or who place a political agenda, and their subservience to the gun industry’s spokesperson the NRA, above the interest and well-being of our schools.
“UAB Highlands shooting: Longtime nursing supervisor killed by disgruntled worker”
Separate and unequal opportunity…
“Decades after Brown v. Board of Education, school segregation is still rendering the nation’s most diverse public school district its most divided, putting children on divergent paths to poverty and privilege virtually from birth…”
New York’s Separate and Unequal Schools
The nation’s most diverse public school district is also its most divided.
“A middle school teacher led a double life as a white nationalist podcaster”…
Not sure of the “double life” claim in the title. I suspect that she acted, taught and treated students in a manner reflective of, and consistent with, White Supremacy (Nationalist) principles.
Why did Adrienne Bailon stop singing?
When did we all stop singing?
And what would cause us to sing again!
Yes! Go for it! Failing is failing to express your gifts and talents. I don’t even watch this show; but I say that we should never judge the source of the message; just judge the quality and usefulness of the message only!
In The ‘War’ On Rats: We need more science, education; and more science education.
Ok NYC elected leaders, this has been growing for years, and so let me put on my science educator’s cap here. A city’s ‘rat problem’, is in actuality a human behavior and practices problem, the rats have just adapted to those human behaviors and practices. A city cannot ‘poison itself’ out of this problem because rat birthrates are meeting or exceeding the death by poison rates. What is needed is a strategic approach that involves: a robust sanitation plan-program (better/more containers and collection), local-community based sanitation cleaners-workers, real (monetary) recycling incentives, intervention by biological/animal scientists (to systematically through multiple birth control methods) to reduce rat birthrates, and human behavioral scientist to dissuade citizens from serving as rat enablers. An educational program working through the NYC public schools; as well as a professional (Madison Avenue like) communication and publicity campaign (Hand written signs, no matter how well-meaning won’t get it!) Urban rats are a human behavior dependent species; eliminating them completely may not be possible; but the numbers can be kept down such that their ‘foraging areas’ are reduced to the point that children can play safely outside.
Photo Essay: The War on Rats in Claremont Village:
Alabama just chose mud over mire, what more could possibly go wrong?
Please tell me, that a GOP Congressman did not say that Puerto Rico is not part of the USA. As our last legitimate POTUS Mr. Obama should issue an executive order requiring all educators to come out of retirement. Because when these GOP jokers get finished with “ignorantizing” this nation…
Forgive me for not necessarily getting overly excited to see/hear/read a Black or Brown person working in the news media. Too often, they ask the same questions as their White colleagues; and so:
The privilege disconnected question of the moment: Ok, for folks who are asking why so many unemployed or marginally employed poor people don’t have flood insurance; is the same as asking poor people who sit in jail for 6 months to a year waiting for a trial: “Why didn’t you just pay the bail? Well…If they had it they would have it. Part of being poor is that large parts of your life is one constant gamble to live and survive. Daily you choose which gamble you will make today; and most often you suffer but you and your family survive.
Racist Neo: Nazis-Confederates working in a public school near you?
Let us not lose sight of the fact that there is a good chance that some of those Neo: Nazi-Confederate Charlottesville Marchers, may very well be teaching, in a support staff role, or serving in a school leadership capacity in some public schools. And further, that the ideological and spiritual Kinfolk of these White Supremacists, but for various reasons, chose not to participate in the hate march. But they too could be working in schools (not just in the south) all over this nation. In the case of White children, what does this mean for the reproduction of the next generation of Neo: Nazis-Confederates? And, for parents of color, what does this mean for the children of color, whose educational destines are in the hands of avowed racist, bigots and White supremacist?… Oh, so the PA/PTA, parent/teacher conference meetings, all just got a little more interesting! Parents: Know what’s going on in your child’s school, and what is going on with your child’s education.
I found this Washington Post article interesting, as it caused me to wonder who is hiding and educating children in plain sight…
An assistant principal wrote a children’s book about alt-right mascot Pepe the frog. It cost him his job.
By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. August 15; Washington Post
Eric Hauser’s first book features some universal themes — pretty standard children’s story fare, really. It’s a tale of honesty and teamwork and friendship written by an assistant principal at a Texas middle school.
But his rosy description was at odds with the green-skinned protagonist who smiled at children from the book’s cover: Pepe the frog, a cartoon character that’s been adopted as a mascot of the alt-right movement and associated with white nationalism.
On Monday, the book, which Hauser self-published on Aug. 1 before it was picked up by a conservative-leaning publishing house, cost the assistant principal his position.
The book features allusions that may go over some children’s heads. The setting is a farm called Wishington. The antagonist is a bearded alligator named “Alkah.” Astute readers will recognize Covfefe cliff. But perhaps the most inflammatory aspect is the smiling cartoon frog, which NBC News has called a “popular white nationalist symbol.” “Pede,” the name of the cartoon centipede that also graces the book’s cover, is also a term members of a Donald Trump-themed Reddit board use to refer to each other.
Spoiler alerts ahead, but Pepe and his centipede sidekick Pede start the book ecstatic that the old farmer has left after eight years of oppression. But Alkah and his minions have entrenched themselves in a pond that very much resembles a swamp — and are threatening to spread throughout all of Wishington Farm. Pepe and Pede have one weapon to vanguish the gator: buds from the honesty tree.
Denton Independent School District officials say they removed Hauser as assistant principal at Rodriguez Middle School days after word of his book and its protagonist spread on social media. That happened at the same time that a Charlottesville rally of neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Ku Klux Klan members descended into violent chaos that left three dead. The school district said Hauser’s book had become “a distraction to the learning process.”
School starts Wednesday at the district, which educates about 28,000 students “from different ethnic, social and economic backgrounds,” a school district news release said.
“We pride ourselves on providing a welcoming and nurturing environment to all students. Our staff is reflective of the community we serve, where all individuals are respected,” Superintendent Jamie Wilson said in the release. “We encourage our staff and students to be free-thinking and express their ideas, however, when these ideas interrupt the ability to learn, work or create divisiveness each of us is held accountable.”
Hauser declined to be interviewed by The Washington Post, instead directing questions to his publisher, Post Hill Press. He released a statement via the school district:
“Due to the controversy surrounding the book I have published, I think it’s best that I not serve as assistant principal at Rodriguez,” Hauser said. His publisher said he’d be moved to a new role. “The students, the community, and the teachers are too important to me to subject them to all the negativity and disapproval resulting from this book. To my colleagues, I offer my deepest apologies if this has affected them or their families in any negative way.”
That was a change from Hauser’s earlier statements. He told Fort Worth NBC-affiliate KXAS that he was “using Pepe just as a lighthearted way of expressing maybe some conservative values.”
But, as The Washington Post’s Abby Ohlheiser wrote: “The frog is talked about as a green manifestation of the Internet’s dark fringes, a mascot whose popularity there rivals that of Trump’s. … A Pepe avatar on Twitter is now generally read as a sign of an alt-right affiliation.”
On Monday, Anthony Ziccardi, a spokesman for Post Hill Press, the conservative-leaning publishing house, defended the book, saying it espoused conservative values, but was not incendiary.
“There’s no hidden messages here,” Ziccardi said. “There’s no hidden agenda. He created this character and he didn’t realize all the backlash that was going to come from it — and quite frankly, neither did I. … Really, the ultimate theme is law and order. This is a feel-good story in support of good versus evil. And that’s what we should be embracing.”
According to his principal profile, Hauser started out teaching English and history at McMath Middle School in Denton, Tex. After seven years, he got a master’s degree in education administration and become assistant principal at Ryan High School, then was hired at Rodriguez.
On the profile, he talked about being grateful for the opportunity to open the district’s newest middle school.
“Together, we will build a foundation of trust, tradition, and high expectations that will continue to inspire and support our current and future stakeholders for years to come,” he wrote. “I am honored and excited to be a part of this growing development, and I look forward to the lasting relationships we will build together.”
Abby Ohlheiser contributed.
A New Beatitude Attitude…
Blessed are those who suffer, and choose not to transfer their suffering onto the vulnerable and defenseless innocents.
The complete human test is what we do, how generous and loving we are to the “other” in difficult times. After all, there are optimum soil conditions (“hard times”, fear of lost, racial superiority nostalgia, etc.); combined with a cynical and talented fecal fertilizer (Hitler, Trump, Marine Le Pen etc.); that is needed for nourishing the growth of fascism. When I mentioned on Facebook that Trumpism would give birth and nourishment to the kind of neo-Nazi marches-movements we witnessed on 8/11/17 in Charlottesville, Va.; one of my “liberal white” friends accused me of overstating the danger, and scaring people unnecessarily. I wonder what he thinks now.
The one piece of good news from this US fascist 8/11 march is the proper linkage of neo-fascism and the neo-confederacy (protecting the flag and monuments movement). The Germans got it right a long time ago, these heritage and pride revival movements (German Nazism & the US confederacy) never were, and never will be about “history, regional pride and heritage”; they are in fact about the nostalgic and hopeful restoration of a horrific and hateful era. And besides, what nations in the world honors its traitors?
But then on a positive note, I imagine that those White Americans who are perhaps unemployed, underemployed, and poor; those who saw their coal mines shut down, their manufacturing plants close and move to nations where exploitive wages and working conditions exist. For those White Americans in this group, who did not and will not support Trump, as well as the same acting but “slicker” and polished presentation of Trumpism by the Republicans at large; they who don’t want to build walls to exclude people; and who believe that every life matters… These individuals must be some of the best people in the world; and I would love to meet them so that I might experience and learn from the power of their moral spirituality. But also because I am always on a never ending search for the best in humanity.
Blessed are those who suffer, and choose not to transfer their suffering onto the vulnerable and defenseless innocents.
“Contentious Memo Strikes Nerve Inside Google and Out”— NY Times
“His 10-page memo, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” argued that “personality differences” between men and women — like a woman having a lower tolerance for stress — help explain why there were fewer women in engineering and leadership roles at the company. He said efforts by the company to reach equal representation of women in technology and leadership were “unfair, divisive, and bad for business.”…”
“In a short email exchange on Monday after his firing, Mr. Damore, who was a senior software engineer in Google’s search division, said he had not expected this type of reaction when he shared his missive last week.”
Well, I don’t think he should have been fired for the memo; but he should have been fired for practicing bad science!
I read Mr. Demore’s memo; and I guess having lived through the Civil Rights era I am not clear what is new here. He seems to score all of the greatest hits utilized by those Americans who represented the resistance to changes in the existing racial power structure. He effectively restates the words of the philosophical ancestors of the present “angry white male voters”; who voted to see the nation “great”, meaning white and males in power, again. This “theory” that anatomy (or ethnicity) is destiny, is a dangerous unscientific idea. And it conveniently dismisses history, and the importance of who, and who did not wheel political power, and with that power, the ability to define and designate roles. As a science teacher, and later a principal, I can guarantee that STEM interest and participation has everything to do with external (to the female body) factors, and nothing to do with gender. In a most insidious and subtle way, our society discourages girls from pursuing their STEM interests; even when they take and excel in high level science and math courses. Since the boys in my school turned STEM clubs and teams into “fraternities”, I had to take (dare I say) affirmative action. I actively recruited girls for the Robotics and Cyber Forensic teams; and once the girls were on those teams they excelled and loved it. Trust me, put a girl on a STEM dragon, and watch what she can do!
Here is the original NY Times Article:
Playing the race card when you are holding a bad hand can be dangerous…
“Teachers union president calls charter schools ‘polite cousin of segregation’…”
Not a charter school advocate but: Sometimes it is a matter of the wrong messenger, and not the message. There is nothing in my NYC professional memory as a principal or superintendent, that suggest to me that Ms. Weingarten and the AFT/UFT have the slightest interest in the educational well-being of Black children. Perhaps Ms. Weingarten should stick to the: “They (charter schools) won’t unionize” line; and avoid any hypocritical references to educational racial justice.
Teachers union president calls charter schools ‘polite cousin of segregation’— NY Post
“These Americans Hated the Health Law. Until the Idea of Repeal Sank In.”–NY Times 7/21/2017
Ok, my takeaway: We will sacrifice personal self-interest, health, financial well being, and our lives, to the cause of racial, religious and cultural aggression and denunciation… Hmm, sounds like a page from the suicide bombers handbook to me.
July 8, 2017
“When the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally”
July 7, 2017
My NYT editors picked “letter to the editor” response:
A very well written column; but like so many “Trump suicide voters” explainers-whisperers, it carefully avoids the importance of US racism and bigotry in the rise of Trumpism. “Make America Great Again” does not mean a mythical return to a never existed time when large numbers of White Americans did not take advantage of “entitlements” (i.e. GI Bill, food stamps, Medicaid and section 8 housing, etc.); rather it is a nostalgic dream for an era and time when women, Blacks, LGBT and Latinos knew their places and were legally (and violently) obligated to remain in them. Trump also provides a promise of a time (pre-1950’s?) when ugly words and behavior could be inflicted on the societal “others”; and there were no courts or news media outlets to challenge those words and behaviors. No amount of excuse making is going to make the rise of Trump normal, decent and civil; and the people who champion and support his actions are not noble human beings, in any stretch definition of the word. Mr. Brooks often talks (actually his best work) about virtues. He is less successful in trying to artificially sanitize the callous indifference of the GOP to suffering and the poor. Virtuous behavior (according to the past writings of Mr. Brooks) matters; and so let’s not make the error of inauthentically raising voter ignorance to a level of a virtue. This nation could, and should do better than Trump.
July 6, 2017
My goodness, no matter how angry you are with that other person, should not the fact that they are the mother or father of your child encourage (inner courage) some restraint?… Couple mediate, don’t social mediate your concerns.
June 24, 2017
Genesis 2:18 “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.””
But my question is:
Is it “not good for man to be alone”; or, “not good for man to be lonely”?
Searching for hope in the era of Trump series:
Science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) may be badly damaged over the next four years, but I don’t believe that they will be destroyed. Because as in all creative human endeavors (unlike political works) the creative works of STEAM are irreversible…
Science will progress and go on…
Invention and innovation will go on…
And the creative and performing arts will continue to perform their magic, and never stop creating healing opportunities for humanity’s sake…
There is no viable counterrevolution to the march of modernity and progress revolution; there is only anger and a retreat into rabid nativism…
Ignorance as an affirmative defense:
It is this strange idea of asserting the “right” to be ignorant and backwards. And then legitimizing it by associating this false right with the rights of free speech individual and group independence, and some kind of territorial sovereignty. And finally the position of last desperate and silly resort… Religion! However I am not sure that ignorance is a right or a defensible state of being.
The South did not just lose the Civil War, but in fact there have been a series of “lost wars”; the Loving decision, the repeated statutes and decisions that strike down segregation and discrimination, the declining capability to impose pre-1950s white entitlement rights; have left the racially nostalgic with only a few remaining options. The politics of bitterness, and the false lynch mob sloganeering of witless political candidates; who promise (with no hope of delivering), to make their lives “great again”! Or they can just get on juries involving police murders and make themselves and their fellow bigoted Americans feel good by condoning the murder and brutalization of their fellow citizens of color. In the mind of many white American jurors in this nation; every black person who is killed are brutalized by police officer is in essence standing in for Barack Obama, and every other person and or subject that reminds them of the ever diminishing illegitimate authority. And so of course that offending officer is absolutely “innocent”, because both police officer and juror are absolutely doing their duty…
The poor people of Alabama, both black and white should take their inhumane prison system case against the state to the United Nations. And the only way for Alabama to win the argument, is that they offer a counter narrative-case, that the prisons of North Korea are worse, and in fact actually set the international standard for a form of incarceration guided by crimes against humanity; and therefore the state of Alabama is innocent because they have not yet reached (or descended to) North Korea’s standards. The “we are not the worst in the world” defense strategy…
Somehow I always find myself marching in the opposite direction of the “parade”!
The 2017 NYC Puerto Rican Parade…
This is one of those moments when I really admire the principled spirit of a Nelson Mandela; who always said (and lived); that the struggle was always bigger than himself; bigger then any one person…
I really wish that the focus and purpose of this years parade could have addressed the desperate, and long term dangerous (to the children and Island’s future) plight of public schools in Puerto Rico; and the terrible unimpressive educational outcomes for Puerto Rican children who attend NYC public schools… Now that’s a revolutionary idea that no progressive-liberal is even interested in addressing, let alone championing; and that is because educational progress and success for children of color represents real, concrete, and not nostalgic-symbolic change!
Something to cheer about…
“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” ― William Shakespeare, The Tempest
He was after all, from the beginning never really their President. At some point “repeal” became a pathological obsession (Is racism a form of psychopathology?) It was as if he had achieved the presidency in an illegitimate manner, through something like the combined powerful and evil efforts of the FBI and Russia. But I digress… The exuberant cheer that went up from the GOP Representatives and their spiritual leader D. Trump, was not due to the defeat of the ACA (“Obamacare”), as a Democratic health bill; nor was it due to the fact that the Republican’s have once again mislead their pre 1950’s America hungry-seeking white constituents, that inflicting a wound on the “other than us” is worth it, even if it means that at the same time they are inflicting a wound upon themselves. No, the cheering was for the defeat and erasure of an act of a Black POTUS; an attempt to remove his name and his color from history. The celebration was the symbolic putting of Mr. Obama into “his place” (How dare he act like a white POTUS!); to put all who look like him into our collective places; to make America great and safe for Black dismissal and denial, again… But history is rich with the names of those whose pride led them to cheer prematurely; the “over the top” celebration at the triumph and power of evil intentions; and where is the “glorious” Nazi Third Reich now? Central to the DNA of evil acts, are the elements of its own undoing; Biblically defined as “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall…” And no one, no matter how powerful can gather enough votes to repeal the future.
Ok, what part of “Great” and “Again” am I not understanding?
1) Your coal mine is not reopening, not as you were told because of Pres. Obama, but because the companies who own the mines can no longer squeeze enough profit out of your lungs or the mines to make opening them worthwhile.
2) That manufacturing company that left your town is not returning from overseas because they can pay their new workers a fraction of what they paid you, and then the company can pocket the difference.
3) You are about to lose your healthcare insurance you voted for politicians to repeal because the author was the Black president, who both you and your GOP representatives resented (Remember those man/woman in the street interviews where you said that you: “love the ACA but hated Obamacare!”)
4) And now your mama/grandma is about to lose the wonderful anti-hunger, nutrition and health booster, “check up on seniors” program: “Meals on Wheels”.
Is this the “great” you wanted again?
I guess some people find the pain and suffering Trump is inflicting amusing…
I don’t find anything funny about Trump (except in a Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah and Langton Hughes kind of way….) And watching the journalist laugh and joke with Sean Spicer I realize that I live in the other America; the one inhabited by nervous and frightened US Muslims, and by the Latinos I suddenly no longer see selling pealed oranges at my local highway intersections. It is the America a former Republican president ignored as the hands of hurricane Katrina choked the life out of the lower 9th ward Black population. One callous and racially confused Trump cabinet member says that slaves were immigrants. The descendants of those “vacationing laborers” who made America great then, now see again that 3/5 of their voting rights are removed, 3/5 of their humanity unrecognized; we are permanent exiles in our own country; we are the official permanent “others”… #Iamtheother
The sad state of our nation…
The sad state of our nation: A sledgehammer wrapped in silk; The political theory of POTUS leadership low expectations…
Last night I listened to Mr. Trump’s speech to both houses of Congress. I can’t remember a more thoughtless, visionless and morally weak speech made by any previous POTUS, regardless of party affiliation. And of course you are elected to be the POTUS (why the need to constantly remind us?), It’s not like we were voting for or against you for the position of Chancellor of Germany! (Hmm, a frightening historical metaphor!)
The hopelessness of the message was only matched by its commitment to idealistic smallness. But I suspect that many members of the news media (MSNBC was careful not to let Joy-Ann Reid anywhere near a microphone last night!), and professional cable news “talking heads” class will like the speech (Karine Jean-Pierre on PBS, was a brave and courageous non-drinker of the kindler and gentler Trump false narrative kool-Aid!) After all, there was no frothing and foaming at the mouth; there was no: “beat them up, get them out of here!”; and it is now clear that it will be American taxpayers and not the Mexican government who will be responsible for: “paying for that wall! I guess for those who are much kinder than I am, this no openly “ugly talk”, the “wall payment” admission, represents a kind of progress.
He could however, not (help himself) resist for old campaign times sake, to urge on the hate-seeking mob, by slandering all of Islam, but this time the campaign mob was the elected Republicans who now stood, and cheered on a national leader they help to create through the exploitation, manipulation and misguidance of white America’s nostalgic disappointments.
The focused insults were dumped on Americans who can’t broadcast their oppositional despair and resistance, because they don’t have ownership of print and electronic news media outlets. The “other” American’s were wielded a dismissive blow through “sugar coated”, but poisoned messaging. Besides, since the election, the news media has been on an endless and hopeless search for some inkling of decent and composed “presidential behavior”. And like that drunk and unruly family member who manages to somehow limit his embarrassing behavior by falling asleep during a family gathering, the news media is happy for any type of behavior that comes close to dignity; even if the underlying themes are hate, bigotry and division…
The problem, and always the problem with tyrannical movements, is that the moment the news media fails to provide the “adulation high” produced by ignoring the emperor’s nakedness, the deal will be off, and they will go back to being the “enemy”. The motivation for the inclination of continually creating enemies list, is that a narcissistic personality has no understanding or awareness of fairness, objectivity and a middle ground.
I also suspect that the calls for a foreign-domestic economic policy of selfish nationalism will unfortunately “play well” among those who are the least educated about the modern realities of industrial manufacturing cost. These poor people are not aware that it is corporate greed, the lack of a national educational “retooling and reeducating” plan, and not “Mexicans”, that has made their jobs/employment opportunities stifle and disappear… Forever!
And speaking of education, the speech offered no hope of a strategy as to how the vast majority of American students who attend public schools by the way, can ever hope for a better academic achievement outcome then what they presently are experiencing. It is the tired GOP idea that commercializing the critical and necessary societal commitments like health care and education is going to improve them; when it is the very culture of commercialization (i.e. The “real drug dealers”: The cruel and vulgar overcharging pharmaceutical companies,The profits first, patients second health insurance companies, the private prison industry depending on Black and Latino student academic failure) that created and benefited from their exploitable dysfunction.
This is the new political philosophy of leadership low expectations: “At least his delivery approached normal behavior”… This sadly, is The true State of the Nation!
“On Turning 36”–Javacia Harris Bowser… http://b-metro.com/on-turning-36/31971/
66 re-turning to 36
Dear Ms. Javacia Harris Bowser,
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article, and if I were still in the “grade awarding business” (which I have not been in over 36+ years), I would give it an A+! It was most interesting because it got me to thinking about what the heck was I thinking about when I was 36! I am not sure if it is the kind compassion of the loss of bed memories, or the absence of anything exciting happening at that age; or maybe these life events tend to condense and collapse upon themselves over time; but for some strange reason, everything between ages 30 – 42 was just a blur for me; and definitely there was no significant anything I could attach to age 36 in particular.
I remember 42 because that was the year I became a NYC high school principal, and I remember that number because a lot of people commented on the fact that I was at the time (1990’s) one of the youngest principals in the school system. But between teaching in my late 20’s and becoming a principal in my 40’s, no one birthdate seems to jump or stick out.
Perhaps it’s my own personal disinterest in my “marking” my own birthday celebrations; even as I am sensitive and responsive to the importance that other people place on these significant dates. I always worked through my birthdays, and despite a great deal of effort, I often failed to discourage my staff, family and friends from creating some kind of celebratory event (so much for your birthday celebration being about what you want!) I always saw any of my birthdays, as just another day.
I seem inclined to mark my life journey by way of important events, major transformational moves, things loss, things gained, lessons learned, lessons missed, lessons relearned, reinventions and redemptions, etc.; the problem is that these events show very little inclination to occur on a birthday; and when they did, I remember everything about the event, and nothing about the particular birth day.
But this I do know, I hold no reverence or wishful thinking for ages: 26, 36, 46 or 56 I have found that both “false memories” (alternative memories?) and regret are perhaps the two great wasters of human time. Given what I knew, and what I had available to me at the time, I always felt I made the best decisions possible.
And doing 36-66 all over again would be in my view a curse and not a blessing; I actually want to move forward to 67, 77, 87…
The memories I think about (able or choose to remember) and cherish as “time markers”, are not my birthdates; they are many of the same things you spoke of in your article moments of great: service, creativity, professional accomplishment, friendship, family; and most important love, which should be celebrated every day of our lives.
Thank you for your creative contribution,
Michael A. Johnson
February 26, 2017
Always starting something, at the start of something…
The enormous possibility that on this day, we could possibly be a great expression of a compassionate spiritualism; that potential promise alone is a singular motivational factor to get up and move…
The idea is to wake up any place in the world, and feel at home inside of yourself… I am getting there!
There is “useless” and being “used less”; the former is the attachment to a meaningless world; the latter is the resistance to a meaningful calling…
Faith Circle: Without faith there can be no realization and recognition of a calling; there is no calling without a designated mission; there is no mission without a meaningful destination; there is no meaningful destination without a difficult journey; and no difficult journey can be survived without faith…
Creative Contradictions: Draw nearer to the human family through contemplative separation; shut down the noise of the world so that you can hear what the world is not saying; and then you can speak and be heard…
Doing less may actually mean that more is being done; but in appearances the “less” will seem to show up as “less more”.
We are given free will as a gift from God; but it is also true that it is soaked and cloaked in responsibility.
The NewsHour’s insincere and incomplete “profile” of Steve Bannon last night:
I guess the viewers are being asked to forget or ignore that Mr. Bannon was/is a leading force in promoting white racist supremacy-nationalism!
The daily news fear report is depressing, as we are being taught by the “agents of reporting” to accept a brutal ruthlessness as “normal politics”. But how many evil powers over the years have been granted (“duly elected”) full political control and power of the nation-state apparatus (Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Tojo, Pol Pot, etc.) Where are they now, where is their power?
The irony is that people like Steve Bannon crave nothing but complete capitulation; and so even this “powder puff” piece presented by PBS won’t stop him and his boss from wanting to cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; any news, no matter how much effort is invested in pretending to be “balanced” won’t be enough; any news reporting that is not a total praise-full untruth, a mendacious adulation, is unacceptable to them. And to borrow from a former British rock ‘n roll band: Money can’t buy you love from these folks!
The canine art of catching fleas…
“In the most startling shift, the White House issued an unexpected statement appealing to the Israeli government not to expand the construction of Jewish settlements beyond their current borders in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Such expansion, it said, “may not be helpful in achieving” the goal of peace.”–NY Times
Very interesting, PM Netanyahu did everything but cut a campaign commercial for this guy. But he and his Likud collogues are about to run into the same ugly reality as those voters who won’t see their coal mines reopen, or their manufacturing jobs return from Viet-Nam (Where $15/day, not hour, would put you in the ranks of the wealthy upper-class). Mr. Bannon’s White-Christian nationalism (proto-fascist and pro-nazi) movement; that has aligned themselves with right-wing Christian evangelicals; have failed to share one important part of their theology with Mr. Netanyahu: That the “2nd coming of Christ”, requires a great war and the destruction of the State of Israel; with the ultimate ending of everyone accepting and converting to Christianity!
A Theology Malpracticed works, at least for now…
The prince of alternative truth is their patron saint…
Anti the lives of children once they are born; “suffer the children unto suffering”, they say…
The bad Samaritan kicks the sick citizen without healthcare insurance, and the wounded, easy to hate immigrant…
Causing hate-blindness, by placing a mixture of spit and venom into the eyes of their self-harming followers; they have turned an election into a national lynch mob; eventually to lynch the lynch mob members themselves (isn’t that how it always turns out?)…
Condemn and contain the unentitled “other”: Black, Latino, Women, Asians, Native Americans, (“colored”) immigrants, Arabs, the disabled, Muslims, LBGT, the poor… Until all of the “others” cease to assert and affirm their humanity.
They mostly believe in the power of their non-belief, not anti-theism, but rather an adversarial-theism. (mostly) Men of “action” who rely solely on the visible and concrete, (Hitler, Stalin, and their philosophical father: Nietzsche). There are, according to them only two real choices in life: One is either inflicting or receiving pain. They understand that to build the world they want, they must ignore God; or at the very least, act as if God is unconcerned about human matters…
Atlas must shrug off any sense of compassion, responsibility and concern for their fellow human beings… (Atlas Shrugged a novel by Ayn Rand.)
All of the facts of life, “alternative” and real, can be found in fictional literature. The Grand Inquisitors (Dostoyevsky’s: The Brothers Karamazov) Playbook: The evil strength and power of “conservative christians” aka “right-wing evangelicals”, is that they behave like lions; while “progressive Christians” on the other hand, try to act like Christians; with the predictable outcome…
Democrats have a political self-esteem problem…
No “team of rivals”, no morally compromised “political Triangulation” theory; not trying to find a way to work with the other side, to be well… patriotic. Trump can at the very least teach the principles deficient DNC how to govern when you are in power; it’s simple, appoint people who think like you! But maybe that (appointing people who think like them) is what Democrats have been doing all of the time; and perhaps it is us, their loyal congregants who just haven’t noticed!
1/27/2017: It’s like waking up each morning and reviewing the previous day’s casualty report…
My new Clemson attitude: Embrace the put down; or, if everybody says you’re going to lose, then what do you have to lose?
Hmm… The Bernie or bust folks are quiet now that we see what “bust” looks like!
There is the WestWorld, and then there is the rest of the world…
Every week WestWorld provides me with a lesson on the state of Black public education:
“They (Host-Robots) cannot see the things that will hurt them. I’ve spared them that…” –Dr. Ford
“Host (robots) are programmed not to see the house, and other things they aren’t supposed to see…” — Bernard
Says it all!
The state of Black appointed/ “anointed” leadership on the “broken in need of fixing” approach to Black student education:
US: “what’s behind this door? (Theresa)
Them: “What door?” (Bernard)
The false myth of manufactured concern and political sharecropping:
Black folks and the “new and improved” Democratic party.Will it be the same old DNC (particularly with matters relating to education); after our memories of past pain and betrayal are wiped clean like the “memories” of WestWorld’s robot-host?… _____________________________________________________________________
For the people who repeat that racially/gender offensive statement that ignores and marginalizes all working people except White men: “She should have made more effort to ‘go after’ white working class male voters.”
There is the WestWorld, and then there is the rest of the world, flipping the idea of our otherness…
This 2016 election campaign results has definitely raised the question of the “American other”. One candidate essentially made the: “them vs. us”, the core of his campaign theme. And we have seen this poisonous and divisive concept (even seeping into schools and classrooms), has “awaken” and brought to the surface, not created, that which already existed in the heart and soul of this nation.
It is not economic displacement; rather it is a displacement of time; a yearning for a 1950’s (and before) period of entitlement and the power to treat the “other” badly; and not be bothered by the language, practice or behavior of political correctness (Translation: respect).
It was no mistake that as the election reports were declaring his candidate the presidential winner, Rudy Giuliani announced this as a “(Andrew) Jacksonian” moment; a former slave-owning president who waged brutal wars against native Americans in Florida. Again, it is the power to engage freely in the dehumanization of the other that represents the core of this national nostalgia.
But where there are forces of nullification; there will also be forces of cultural resistance and affirmation. And art is one of the primary battle grounds; and that is why I thought the TED talk video presentation by Ms. Thandie Newton, fit so nicely with many books I have read in the past. English teachers are right to encourage us to “compare and contrast” works of different types of art, to works of literature; and works of both fiction and non-fiction to each other. And so all of these works came to mind as I listened to her presentation:
Invisible Man: Ralph Ellison
The Outsider: Richard Wright
Nobody Knows My Name: James Baldwin
Beloved: Toni Morrison
In the Castle of My Skin: George Lamming
Krik? Krak!: Edwidge Danticat
Native Son: Richard Wright
Their Eyes Were Watching God: Zora Neale Hurston
Souls of Black Folk: W.E.B. Du Bois
They all fit nicely next to this wonderful talk where the concept of “otherness” is turned on its head:
“Embracing otherness. When I first heard this theme, I thought, well, embracing otherness is embracing myself…”–Ms. Thandie Newton
All of the profit-making off of Black suffering ain’t just White folks!
(In my Martin “Payne” Lawrence voice) Wait, wait, hold up, hold up! Messrs. Killer Mike and Cornell West are now concerned about the deleterious effects of a 4 year Trump presidency on the Black community. Were they not the ones who advised Black folks to vote him in, by not voting for Hillary Clinton? I guess this is the opening show of the lucrative: “Audacity of Hypocrisy Book and Tour!”
Wow, not sure if I remember congratulatory speeches to a U.S. president-elect ever sounding like this. We are in interesting times indeed:
“During the campaign, I found so many of President-elect Trump’s comments to be deeply abhorrent, and I never want to be — I am not ever prepared to be — a politician who maintains a diplomatic silence in the face of attitudes of racism, sexism, misogyny or intolerance of any kind. We hope that President-elect Trump turns out to be a president who is very different from the kind of candidate that he was and that he reaches out to those who felt vilified by his campaign.”–First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon
“Germany and America are connected by values of democracy, freedom and respect for the law and the dignity of man, independent of origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views. I offer the next President of the United States close cooperation on the basis of these values.” — Chancellor Angela Merkel