Thoughts on politics, religion, violence, inequality, social control, change, and random other things from an autonomous, analytical, adopted, abolitionist, anarchist who likes the letter A

Archive for May, 2013

Things You Might Have Missed

May 23, 2013 By: Mel Category: Misc

Anarchist PandaI did a bunch of blog reading last weekend, which means you are about to get link bombed. Sorry.

So pissed that the Ríos Montt verdict was thrown out. Silly me for having a little bit of hope for the injustice system.

You have probably been following the protests outside the DOJ. Best part – The foreclosed homeowners who got arrested gave bank execs names instead of their own.

I doubt you missed this, but Why isn’t New Orleans Mother’s Day parade shooting a ‘national tragedy’?

Does anyone really doubt that the government is spying on journalists more than we know? In related news, is suing the FBI.

Continuing the discussion on my post about gifted classes, this article about the connection between race and IQ is worth reading. I know, CATO. What can I say. Sometimes they are ok.

A Florida teen is being prosecuted for statutory rape. Her parents claim it is because she is a lesbian and the other girls parents are homophobic. Maybe. But can all the people sending this around in LGBTQI circles please remember that this shit happens all the time – often to teenage dudes whose girlfriend’s parents think their daughters should have a chastity belt. Shame that this girl and so many others will end up on a sex offender list, like this nine year old.

And if wrongfully convicted and later exonerated of some crime, good luck getting that record expunged and being able to get a job.

So much anarchist related news this last month. It seems that some of it was spurred by the Boston bombing. Maybe Boston PD are embarrassed that they spent their time spying on occupiers instead of investigating real shit.

Harry Reid was apparently given some congressional homework to learn all about the evils of anarchists. Sad that the American Conservative has the most reasonable story on anarchists I read this weekend.

What’s worse? condescending liberals who don’t know fuckall about about anarchism or support from Lou Dobbs?

Spanish anarchists were arrested for “praising terrorism.”

I’m going to bet that 50% of the fire setters were undercover cops and the other 50% grew up in a cushy suburb. Any takers.

All this horseshit around DGR and Derrick Jensen. Wow.

I don’t approve of sending explosives through the mail. But I do have to admire the creativity behind sending explosive sex toys to Catholic leaders.

Maybe all we anarchists really need are more mascots.

Can we please stop pretending that only privileged college kids were against the Vietnam war?

We will know the world is getting somewhere when people would rather have their kids be porn stars then bankers. Until then, we can only laugh at the irony of banks refusing to let sex workers have accounts with them on moral grounds.

And speaking of asshole bankers, how about foreclosing on someone for making their payments too early.

How do Finnish kids excel without rote learning and standardized testing? Hint – autonomy, collaboration, less-hierarchy…

I can’t believe Disney had the cojones to try and trademark Dia de los Muertos.

Liked this TED video about guerilla gardener Ron Finley.

Christ, Chris Matthews is an asshole. How do people watch news shows?

Creepy student films girl in shower. He gets away, but the police catch him by tracking his student ID card. I am equally creeped out by the second part. Cause let us imagine for a second that it is this cop who can track you like that.

Last week it was kitten sex. This week the cops are called for frog sex.

Things You Might Have Missed

May 15, 2013 By: Mel Category: Misc

This Christian kids video is …they are like children of the corn, but scary. I sincerely hope that some of these kids are someday horrified that they did this.

Great response to people who claim sex work entrenches gender inequality.

A pediatrician with a child porn collection. Ok. That’s creepy.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t actually want Central American journalists trained by the U.S. government.

Wounded Knee (aftermath of massacre pictured) is privately owned and the guy wants to sell it. He offered it to the Oglala Sioux, who did not come up with the $1 Million +++ he wanted. So this jackass says,

If they would just have taken $250,000 to 1 million, they could have bought that property and owned it today. But, for some reason, they cannot see economic development and they cannot see tourism and they cannot relate. They want everything for free is what it amounts to I guess.

Can you imagine them not coming up with that kind of money to buy the colonized land that their ancestors were murdered on?! The nerve, wanting “everything for free.” And how can they not see the giftshop possibilities?

If, like me, you are a Sherman Alexie fan, you might want to check out this interview on Bill Moyers.

One of the things Alexie talks about is the quality of communication on the internet. I agree that you are missing a lot when you aren’t face to face with someone. But I use the internet to keep in touch with people that I can’t be face to face with. And I have met in person a lot of people that I first came in contact with on here. Some guy decided to try living without the internet for a year. It didn’t go exactly as expected.

And finally – Kittens having sex! The horror! Better call the cops!

The Problem With Gifted

May 14, 2013 By: Mel Category: Core, Education, Stratification

I’ve been catching up on some of my blog reading and came across this report about how Latino children are underrepresented in New York City public school gifted programs.

Data obtained by The Wall Street Journal shows that Latino children are dramatically underrepresented in the program, making up just 12% of the city’s 14,266 gifted elementary school students this school year. Yet Latino children make up about 41% of the 489,911 elementary students.

This controversy, about the homogeneity of gifted programs, has been going on since I was a kid. I distinctly remember a report (60 minutes maybe) where parents tried to get their children of color tested and the school system would not even test them. I’m fairly certain it was this controversy that was responsible for me being put in the gifted program in my elementary school.

I need to put a small caveat here. This is all my memory from more than 30 years ago. So I am not going to guarantee 100% detail.

When I was in first or second grade, and around the time our principal changed from a white dude to a black woman, the administration started asking teachers to submit students for gifted testing – particularly students who were not white boys. Because ALL of the students in the gifted program were white boys. That’s when I got IQ tested.

Here I could go into the controversies about IQ – the historic racism, the cultural bias…all that jazz. Perhaps someday I will. But even if you think that IQ measures more than privilege and socialization (I don’t), it doesn’t really impact my criticism of the gifted program.

I spent one day a week in gifted classes. While my other classmates were sitting in rows doing busy work, I was wandering around a trailer doing creative stuff. As a gifted student, I had access to the only two computers in my school. I got to make cool graphics using Apple computers that had pixels the size of your head. I made stop motion animated films and ceramic animals. There were plays and, if memory serves, a kooky report about the Bermuda Triangle.

In other words, I had the freedom to be creative and access to the tools that would let me do it. The gifted program was just a way to met out privileges to the already privileged.

As I got older, I dropped out of gifted and even honors classes. In part, I really wanted to coast through and smoke weed and be lazy. But I was also sick to death of seeing the same people in every class that I had. I went to a diverse middle and high school. But my classes were filled with the same disproportionately white, disproportionately Jewish, and disproportionately well-off people.

Once I started going to “regular” classes, the horrors of school really hit me. No matter how creative or curious you are. No matter how much potential you have. If you sit in a box doing mind-numbing worksheets while some babysitter socializes you to be a Walmart cashier, it is going to make you stupid. At least I felt like I got stupider every minute that I was in school.

My point, after all of that, is this. We do not need to make gifted classes more diverse. It does not, in the end, really help us to have a more gender balanced and multicolored group of privileged people. It is true that a person in a position of power may change the rules a little for a few people – like the new principal of my school. And it is true that there is value in diversity – particularly in having relationships that cross all the barriers of gender, race, class…

But in the end, all kids need the freedom and resources to pursue their interests and to do the kinds of creative and mind-expanding things that gifted kids are allowed to do. Asking for more Latinos in gifted is the same as asking for more Latino CEOs or black generals or women senators. We don’t need a more diverse hierarchy or a less obviously racist and sexist way to met out privileges. We need to get rid of the hierarchy and the privileges.

Things You Might Have Missed

May 08, 2013 By: Mel Category: Misc

Well, hello there. I took a lovely break from reading the news (see pic). But I suppose it is time to start figuring out what is going on in the world and whatnot. Feel free to share any interesting things in the comments.

Did you know that The World Is Marching Towards Anarchy? Of course, this guy thinks that is a horrible thing. He does, however, get quite a bit right – like democracy as we know it being domination.  I’m always amazed when people can be right and sooooooo wrong at the same time.

Oh. My. God. Some girls wore strapless dresses and tight pants and stuff that showed that they have…ummm…what are those called again….bodies. Will this ever stop?

While it is lovely that this shitbag is not going to get away with it, how often do judges get called out for anything that they do? Sorry, we don’t really mind you getting paid to lock up kids. You just got paid a little too much and a little too directly.

Let’s not forget that Guantánamo Is Not an Anomaly — Prisoners in the US Are Force-Fed Every Day

I haven’t read Graeber’s new book yet, but I enjoyed this excerpt on The Baffler.

And as long as we are on Graeber, not a horrible piece in The New Yorker (despite the snark).

Any of you planning on going to the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy this year?

In Memoriam to My Youth

May 02, 2013 By: Mel Category: Misc

Happy birthday to me.

As today I am forty years old. How the fuck did that happen? To distract myself from thinking about careening down that hill, I decided I should try to come up with a list of good things about being forty. Feel free to chime in with more – but only if you are over forty. I don’t want any bullshit from sprightly 25 year olds right now. Forty isn’t that old. So and so asshat celebrity is 43 and she looks great. Think of how much wiser you are…blah….blah….blah

Fuck you! When you are going through this shit, I am going to be 55 years old. The only way I’ll be getting carded then is for senior discounts.

Ah shit. This positive thing isn’t going well. Ok. Here goes.

1. I still have all my teeth
2. I have not yet broken a hip
3. My gray hairs appear to be growing in a streak like Bonnie Raitt or Cruellla De Vil
4. People have mostly stopped asking me about marriage and children
5. When I meet youngsters who like old school music, I get to say shit like “Yeah. I saw Nina at the Paramount before she died.” or “That Ramones show at the Cameo was great”
6. 80s music is back. So, when I go to the Depeche Mode dance party at Black Cat on Sat, I will not be surrounded by people who I look at and think – Hmmmm. Aren’t they a little old for this. And then realize they are my age.
7. I am now completely aware of the fact that I don’t know shit and I’m o.k. with it.
8. I pretty much get to do whatever the fuck I want – when I’m not working – I need to work on that one.
9. I’m posting this from an island in Belize, a luxury only my 40 year old credit brings me

That’s all I got so far. But that last one is leaving me feeling pretty good.