Sunday, December 06, 2009

Common Ground

Needless to say I'm done with the partisan approach to settling our problems. It is truly hard to find voices on either side that can keep their cool long enough to thoughtfully present their own arguments. So I would like to find a new center for dialog that includes both views that can be appreciated from both sides. I'm not talking about the wimpy center of independents who are more political weather vanes than independent thinkers but voices of reason and tolerance.

So I offer some voices to include in this new pantheon. On the right (I am obviously on the left so I'm on shaky ground here) I would offer David Brooks. I disagree with some of his conservative stands but see him as a man of reason who can support good solutions on either side of the partisan divide. On the left I suggest Tom Hartman from Portland. He is an Air America DJ and I think presents a fair and receptive argument. I would love to see these two lead the new dialog of the center.

This new dialog should not consider any of the loony comments from the extremes. I can list a lot of those I think are loony rights but I'll have to listen to the new center voices who the loony left is that we should exclude (they all seem reasonable to me). I hope others will suggest voices for this new common center ground. If we can amplify their dialog maybe we can get somewhere.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

The new "Orchestra"

Recently, on a cruise of the Caribbean I asked a fellow passenger what we should expect from the entertainment when those my generation and younger dominated the passenger list. His response? -- This music is timeless and will always be a part of sophisticated entertainment. I was listening to tired old standards played by musicians who did not love them.

Well, I just went to the Trans Siberian Ochestra concert. It was loud with massive lighting effects and video screens everywhere.

Yes, this is the new Orchestra. They played Beethoven with special lightening, video and fireworks.- massive visuals.

In ten years, the orchestra as we know it will require a rhythm section, full sound, and lighting. I find it exciting. I sat behind a white hair that was 15 years my senior. She was totally in it. There were over 10K+ in attendance at the concert. We can't get 75 people to attend our orchestra concerts at the college. There is some writing on the wall here.

There were hundreds of programmable lights. I could not get the college where I once taught to think owning one was of any importance.



Such fun to see guitarists with long hair in tuxedos with the low hung phalic guitars. Perfect blond Barbies dancing in lacy black outfits. Violinists running and dancing around the stage while playing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wow! The new two party system

Can you believe the partisan conflict on almost all issues? The war(s), health care reform (not insurance reform), who should have money and who does not deserve to have money, etc. Don't tax me but give me government services (example: MediCare, clean streets, fire departments, police, etc).

Wow! what confusion.

I asked one of my conservative friends why they are so angry.

He responded "us -- angry?" because liberals are so angry.

"Really?" I questioned. "Why?"

"Because liberals only want what they want. They are selfish."

I was shocked. When liberals want services for those who have nothing does not meet this mantra.

It is obvious that both sides see the other side as angry. Where did this come from? I thought that a "liberal arts" education was to insure that tolerance was a necessary component in conflict resolution. I have not held a sign since college but none of them had demeaning symbols or pictures with name calling.

Shouldn't we discount the extremes and concentrate on the middle left and middle right? I think that the Blue Dog Democrates should now be the new right and the center of the Democratic party is the new left. Let's just ignore the far right and even the far left (however, that is where I live most of the time.)

So the new two party system should be this new alignment because they are not so reactionary and do not exhibit the anger the cable channels love to display.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Public education is not easy

This was a response to an article about the need for merit pay and Charter Schools.

Really !

Who will teach the unteachable? The criminals? I had them in my class. How do you measure success? Good grades? Good citizens? I would love to see what the religious (Charter Schools) would do with an atheist. Should they deny funding rather than accepting an atheist?
How about the unmotivated?

Can a great teacher motivate students in the gang infested urban schools? If you think so, you have watched too many movies.

It is easy to be a great teacher -- only teach those who need good grades to move on -- don't work in a school where students (or their parents) do not think that graduating is important. Don't teach in a school that requires more than 20 students in a class. Teach in a school where the parents are willing to pay for more attention to students.

Students and parents who have will always have greater education -- even from teachers who are not stellar.

Those who do not have will always need to share the attention of any teacher -- good or bad. However. the business model will measure success on a short term time-line.

Education for the masses is a very very long term venture. No bottom line measured each year is meaningful. Success comes one student at a time over a very long time.

A Charter school is a great way to separate those who will succeed anyway from those who need to be educated.

My $.02