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I enjoy music made by downtrodden people the world over

Posted by Ben
on 01.24.09

I have only listened to some of this playlist (indeed, only part of the second page), but so far it's great.

Bonus Miserlou with a mysterious opening fifteen seconds!


 

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Barack needs to wear more garish sweaters.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.23.09

You hear a lot about how electing Obama proves to all the little minority street urchins that they too can kick off the knickers and pageboy caps and be president someday, and I'm sure a lot of us always think, "Uh, there's still a lot of institutionalized problems that prevent social mobility, that we shouldn't gloss over just because the stars aligned to produce this fantastically well-groomed candidate."

"While much has been written about the historic nature of having a black President, there has been less attention to the impact having a fully functional, highly educated, loving, black family in the news all the time for the next four years."

I think this is what will have the biggest impact - that having the spotlight on the First Family will do more to challenge people's unconscious racial stereotypes than anything else. It just widens one's perception about normalcy. The difference between holding Obama up as an individual example, versus holding up the whole family's example, is that becoming president is not normal; being part of a loving, functional, educated minority family is.


 

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SOL

Posted by Becks
on 01.22.09

Ethics test of the day: imagine you accidentally paid the wrong amount in taxes for four years and were informed of that fact by the IRS. And imagine that by the time this mistake was discovered, the statute of limitations had run out for two of those tax years so that you were no longer legally liable for back taxes or penalties for them. Would you pay the back taxes for them anyway? How strong is your ethical duty to do so, if at all?


 

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True Fact: Released On Fontana Records

Posted by Becks
on 01.21.09

Yglesias gets it right about the people who have been whining that the crowds booing Bush yesterday and singing "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" ruined their inaugural good feelings:

Wow. Well, my inaugural good feelings were definitely spoiled a bit by the realization that George W. Bush was heading off to live out his life in a lavish home as a multi-millionaire retiree rather than going to stand trial in the Hague. But hopefully Americans can put our differences aside and work together for a better future or something.

I was down at the Mall yesterday but I didn't boo Bush or sing a snarky song. I was annoyed at those who did, knowing this is how it would play out. The reason I didn't boo Bush wasn't because I thought he deserved more respect; I felt our nation did.

Booing is what you do to the quarterback on the rival football team. "Sha Na Na" is a song sung when someone is kicked off a game show. This isn't a game. Booing Bush is so far from the punishment and ostracism that he deserves for what he's done that to consider booing him to be an appropriate consequence for his actions is an insult to America.


 

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Xeni failed to make a joke correctly

Posted by Ben
on 01.21.09

See? "Bush^H^H^H Obama" would result in "B Obama", not "Obama". The correct way to make this joke is "Bush^H^H^H^HObama".


 

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Feelings, nothing more than feelings.

Posted by Stanley
on 01.21.09

Not to harsh the buzz, but: meanwhile, back at the financial crisis to end all financial crises. Am I the only one annoyed at people who make statements like, "Well, you should at least feel grateful/thankful/lucky to have a job at this point"?

I don't feel any of those things. I feel, as indicated, annoyed. I feel angry that those who caused this shit-show aren't the ones getting canned. I feel depressed that choices made at a far-removed level and without my consultation are now limiting my own choices.

But grateful? Thankful? Lucky? No. I don't feel that way at all.


 

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Dioramas

Posted by LizardBreath
on 01.20.09

Sally was assigned a diorama due today; it had to represent the water cycle (evaporation, precipitation, runoff, and so on). With some noodging and technical assistance ("If you're going to make a mountain out of papier-mache, you need to do it today or it won't dry in time"; "If you want to make trees, you could use Sculpey"; "We don't have any brown paint? Red and green and some black should make a nice brown.") she did a very nice job. And I don't think I was overinvolved, given that she basically did all the design and execution herself.

Boy, though, that's a brutal assignment for a nine-year-old kid who doesn't have attentive parents buying art supplies, giving advice, and keeping on top of deadlines for them. I suppose it's okay -- learning how to communicate information through visual displays is useful -- if teachers don't use it to evaluate the kids, given that the degree of parental involvement is going to very largely determine how the results turn out. It seems unlikely, though, that teachers can really completely disregard that kind of thing.

So many academic things are like that, at the grade school level; the difference between 'good' and 'bad' students is so strongly influenced by home support. This really bothers me; it seems so calculated to widen, rather than narrow, pre-existing class divisions. I'd really like to see some attention to consciously designing curricula that actively avoid reliance on home support. Particularly, I'd like to see anything a kid is getting evaluated on to be something they did in school, with the same materials and resources all the other kids had.

The importance of home support, educationally, is a commonplace, and is used to explain different outcomes for kids from different classes. I haven't seen much discussion of how to minimize the necessity of that support, or to develop a school system that maximizes good outcomes for kids without it.


 

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Inauguration thread

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.20.09

As per request. I myself have to go teach, which seems supremely unfair. But when I'm done, there'll be a new president!


 

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Milestones Big And Small

Posted by Becks
on 01.19.09

Hard to believe that in 2008, the year our country elected its first black president, some places were only getting around to integrating their prom.


 

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Drum major instinct

Posted by Ben
on 01.19.09

Still pretty great!

This is fairly sweet as well.


 

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