Monday, April 26, 2010


It's another Monday and the end of the semester is near. I made a significant dent in the grading last week - which is definitely a good feeling in light of the dynamics of everything else going on right now. Today is the last time I meet the teaching methods course. One of the students chose to eliminate himself last week. He thought having to work more than an hour and a half a day was a good excuse to get an extension on a class project he's known about for 6 weeks but hasn't started working on. How do you tell a student that it's not unreasonable for a family to expect a senior in college to work more than 1 1/2 hours a day - especially when they are taking more than four years to get their degree?

I'm learning to push back a bit, although I'm getting different reactions from people who don't expect it, it is a better feeling than sinking in to even deeper feelings of being overwhelmed.

Most significantly, I received confirmation that my gut was right that the uninvited guest that arrived less than 24 hours after Mom died from over 2,000 miles away did indeed have an agenda that was not actually meant to help anyone but herself. Mom was right again.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Ambrose and the Real Record

Richard Rayner's article on what archivist Tim Rives discovered in the documents at the Eisenhower Library. A good read.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Ride Continues

The roller coaster ride continues.

Dad is no longer mayor and is off on a fishing trip with "the guys". That will be good for him. He's also letting people know he doesn't have a schedule and he's not going to make one.

I am gradually catching up at work but not as fast as I'd like. I just don't seem to be able to concentrate enough to grade. But, a month from now, grades will be submitted and it will all be done no matter what.

I feel stuck in suspended animation but keep trying to take small steps forward.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's Tax Season

From the New York Times:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Roller Coaster

Last week showed me up close and personal that the grieving process is a roller coaster ride. I was hoping it was a steady climb up after spending more than a month at the bottom but, once again, I was proven wrong. My mother kept the family glued together in ways I discovered I couldn't even imagine and it's much harder than I realized. And I was knocked to the ground in a way I didn't expect last week and am still processing. I can attest to family members taking their grief out one another no matter how much they love each other. And personality characteristics you are aware of mentally are no less difficult to deal with emotionally when they actually manifest themselves.

Dad just lost a friend after a 3-month battle with cancer. Attending a funeral at the same church with the same children's choir and the same songs was very hard on him but also a part of his grieving process - that first is out of the way.

Work is still more difficult than I imagined but I am taking it step by step. That's the only thing I know to do - especially when it is more often than I like steps backward rather than forward. The end of the semester cannot come soon enough.

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Tea Party Analysis

This is one of the first reasoned pieces of analysis I've seen from "less than right" sources about the Tea Party movement. There are extremists in any group but failing to realize what a large percentage of the population is cheering the Tea Party on is a mistake.

Elite understanding of the Tea Party movement is a great deal like elite understanding of political movements throughout American history. This doesn't mean that the Tea Party itself is comparable to those other movements. But it does mean that the perception of the tenured and gerrymandered class (and their co-religionists in a consistently mediocre news media) regarding the mass protest of ordinary people continues to be unmistakably lazy, condescending, and reductive.
 More here.

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Rest of the World

Tightly Wound says it best:

So I haven’t been prolific lately, blogwise.  Not because I don’t have thoughts or fodder, but because lately the entire blogosphere has been ramped up to 11, and most likely I wouldn’t be able to get my volume up enough to be heard.

Oh, wait, there’s one way:  RACISM!!!!ELEVEN!!!

There, that should do it.

Seriously.  This is just ridiculous.  For those of you following along at home, perhaps you’ve noticed the inevitable devolving argument that is fast becoming the predominant narrative:  if you oppose a policy, any policy, from the current administration, you’re obviously an ignorant racist.  Insert bizarre sexual slur here to make your point.

Or, if you aren’t racist, you’re ignorant and SKEERID OF CHANGE!

Insert concern trolling about our “increasingly uncivil discourse” and “ungovernable America” here.

Sigh.  There is a third option, you know, but it doesn’t generate breathless media headlines about how the skinheads are coming for us and how a bunch of middle-aged middle-class protesters standing around the desert are obviously a proto-Kristallnacht writ large for 2010.

. . .

Here’s the thing – it is possible to believe that health care should be reformed, and yet oppose the bill that just passed without being a terrified racist.  It is possible to do this because as a person who lives in the real world you may be a bit skeptical over claims that a bill which increases an entitlement by billions will somehow reduce a deficit, and you’re wondering where, exactly, this money is going to come from seeing as how we’re kind of BROKE and things are just a wee bit unsettled right now, economy-wise.

You may also be skeptical over the whole “We’ll pay for it by taxing people who aren’t YOU, no really, we promise,” line of speaking, partly because the promises kept track record from this administration isn’t all that great, and partly because hearing that makes you hearken back to another president saying, “Read my lips – no new taxes,” and you remember just how well THAT went.

You may also oppose the bill because you’re a bit put off by the manner in which it was written and passed, and you may, in the aftermath of the entire stupid process, feel that the factions in our “ruling class” are so caught up in putting a “W” on the scoreboard that they’ll pass a resolution requiring all males over the age of twelve to get scrotal piercings if they can then cry “VICTORY!” on all the cable news shows.

I could go on, but the larger point I’m making here is that fiscal concern and opposition to mandated scrotal piercings do not make a person a crazy frightened racist.

And as to the “uncivil discourse, ungovernable America” trope, until people start caning each other on the floor of Congress I think we can relax.  We managed to survive plays that called for the assassination of the last President, anarchist raids on every city that hosted a G8 summit, “don’t taze me bro!” stupidity at universities, and people flinging pies, eggs, shoes, and a live freaking GRENADE (it was a dud) at elected officials–and that was during the LAST eight years.  I think we’ll survive the local chapter of the AARP chanting “Kill the Bill.”  And no, pearl clutchers, they aren’t referring to Bill Clinton, our OTHER black president.

All this hysteria makes me wonder who the scared racists really may be, you know?
But that could just be a result of all those Psych courses in college and spending too much time reading about projection.

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