"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Republicans Would Lock Up the Children, Rather than the AR-15s

Thom Hartmann's piece yesterday caught my eye:  "Guns Don't Kill America: Republicans Do." Indeed, Republicans are intent to keep America's mass murderers the most well-armed mass murderers in the world, of both children and adults (WE'RE # 1).  There is no close second, even though the American prison solution for offenses committed by the poor continues to maintain our world ranking for total prison population and incarceration rates (WE'RE #1).

Oh yeah, the U.S. is #1, too, in gun suicide rates for both children and adults.

So what is the Republican "pro-life" solution to the child murder problem that they created with their fraudulent Second Amendment bullshit (see retired SCOTUS Chief Justice remarks here in 1991)?  Rather than banning weapons of war or requiring gun owners be licensed or even registered, asshats like Lindsey Graham would prefer to lock up the children, rather than the guns.  These hypocritical fools would put schools on a war footing, with more armed guards, bristling weaponry, more surveillance, more mass murder drills, more fear and anxiety.

Meanwhile, here's the dope, Andy Ogles (the tall stupid-looking one on the left), who now misrepresents, in the U.S. House of Representative, the people of Nashville where three adults and three 9-year old babies were murdered this week:


Andy's good at owning the libs--and killing the kids.

Friday, March 24, 2023

The DeSantitizing Agenda of the "Joke Mob"

In his masterpiece, The Authoritarian Personality, Theodore Adorno overlooked one unlikely possibility that has, indeed, emerged in our current political theater.  And that is, of course, that at least one current authoritarian aspirant to the White House demonstrates that one can display all the characteristics of authoritarianism without having any personality at all. Enter Ron DeSantis, stage right.  

What occupies Ron's psychic space where personality resides in real people is a closed circuit of  uncontrolled neuronal firings that consistently manifest as rage, hate, and socially-detached megalomania. Even the simple act of eating apparently does not escape the pattern.  As a DeSantis staffer told The Daily Beast, “He would sit in meetings and eat in front of people, always like a starving animal who has never eaten before… getting shit everywhere.”

But before this thin-crusted authoritarian bully gains his rightful place in history's permanent dustbin of American fascist fascinations, he is sure to do lots of damage, particularly in his home state of Florida. For even though the declared enemies of the "woke agenda" can't tell you what "woke" means, there remains, nonetheless, actionable connotations that allows and encourages terminally-ignorant followers of the corporate media hate channels to keep their torches lit and their pitchforks sharpened.  And vague connotations for a word that can't be defined leaves the field open for every fascist wannabe to choose his own favorite bigotry to advance by attacking any effort to reduce bigotry.

DeSantis knows that Fox and its spawn can be counted on to maintain a 24-hour IV drip of hate--enough to keep white economically-oppressed viewers focused on protecting, at all costs, the ideological cryptocurrency of white male protestant capitalist plutocracy (WMPCP). 

Rupert Murdoch and his oligarch pals have arrived at a foolproof formula to rake in billions of dollars for making the ignorant more ignorant, the angry angrier, and the hateful homicidal.  In short, Murdoch is responsible for creating and maintaining the basest of the Republican base, which gives cover for humorless despots like DeSantis to busy themselves dismantling democratic institutions and snuffing out democratic aspirations in order to undergird social and economic control by the WMPCP.

To create the dystopian fascist future that had remained only a John Bircher wet dream prior to the coming of T---- in 2016, DeSantis as T---- 2.0, along with his army of social DeSantitizers, e. g., Moms for Liberty, have chosen a censorial and abusive strategy to bulldoze democratic principles and practices, equality and equity goals and initiatives, institutional power sharing, and free thought and expression. 

Exhibiting the charm of a Florida gator and the subtlety of a bull shark, DeSantis's utterances ooze the rank musk of toxic masculine politics mixed with the smarmy chronic whining of a pampered bully brat. Repulsive, yes, but also effective. 

Witness the latest "joke mob" success in Tallahassee, FL, where a tiny band of vigilante parents on the hunt for any potential threat to theocratic fascism have succeeded in having a charter school principal fired for allowing Michelangelo's David to be viewed in a middle school classroom.  

From the NY Post:

While Tallahassee Classical is reportedly required to teach about Renaissance art in the 6th grade, three parents spoke up about the lesson’s contents and claimed it upset their children.

Two parents said they wanted to be notified about the lesson before it took place and another parent slammed it as pornographic, [Principal] Carrasquilla said.

She told HuffPost one parent was “point-blank upset” and “felt her child should not be viewing those pieces.”

So now with the DeSantitizers in charge of school curriculums across Florida, even the Hillsdale College curriculum, permission must be granted by every parent, apparently, for any element of curriculum to be offered.  This episode exposes the ramifications of this kind of anarchistic upside down form of authoritarianism now made operative at the institutional level.  

The clip below is from a Slate interview with Tallahassee Classical Board Chair, Barney Bishop, which quickly went off the rails when Alice in Wonderland logic of this approach was made clear by the interviewer:

Just to be clear, last year you sent a notice to parents warning them that students were going to see Michelangelo’s David?

Yes. This year, we made an egregious mistake. We didn’t send that notice. Look, we’re not a public school. We’re a public charter. Parents, after they saw all the crap that’s being taught in public schools during COVID, decided of their own that they didn’t want their children to be taught that. Here we teach the Hillsdale Curriculum, focusing on civic and moral values. We teach a traditional, Western civilization, liberal classical education. And if there’s controversial topics or subjects, we tell parents in advance. We’re going to be sensitive to everybody at the school.

I tend to think of a classical education as being the mode in the 17th, 18th century, where you study the Greeks and Romans, and Western civilization is central. A tutor or teacher is the expert, and that teacher drives the curriculum. You’re describing something where it seems the parents drive the curriculum. How does your classical education differ from the classical education as I think of it?

What kind of question is that, Dan? I don’t know how they taught in the 17th, 18th century, and neither do you. You live in New York?


You’ve got a 212 number. That’s New York.

I lived in New York when I got the cellphone, many years ago. Now I live in Virginia.

Well, we’re Florida, OK? Parents will decide. Parents are the ones who are going to drive the education system here in Florida. The governor said that, and we’re with the governor. Parents don’t decide what is taught. But parents know what that curriculum is. And parents are entitled to know anytime their child is being taught a controversial topic and picture.

Parents choose this school because they want a certain kind of education. We’re not gonna have courses from the College Board. We’re not gonna teach 1619 or CRT crap. I know they do all that up in Virginia. The rights of parents, that trumps the rights of kids. Teachers are the experts? Teachers have all the knowledge? Are you kidding me? I know lots of teachers that are very good, but to suggest they are the authorities, you’re on better drugs than me. . . .

Saturday, March 04, 2023

Guns Kill More Children Each Year than Cancer or Car Accidents, But . . .

Take 9 minutes to see up close how Jon Stewart exposes the oozing hypocrisy espoused by the callous tools (Nathan Dahm (R-OK) of the gun industry to protect profit over people. 

Facts: gun deaths, car accidents, and cancer.


Thursday, March 02, 2023

Teachers: Pay the Rent or Bring Home the Bacon?

Across the country teachers struggle to manage many challenges, from rabid christian nationalists out to supplant education with fascistic propaganda to the more mundane, yet urgent, challenges to afford living while teaching.  

The Guardian has a very informative piece on the housing crisis teachers face in California and beyond.  A clip:

In California and across the country, teachers are navigating a difficult terrain: making enough money to afford living in the districts where they serve. Research by the Economic Policy Institute’s Sylvia Allegretto found that public school teachers nationally make nearly 24% less in weekly earnings than similarly credentialed college graduates in other fields. When benefits such as healthcare were taken into account, the total compensation penalty was 14%, the widest gap since 1979.