Sure, first things first. The eaters of the daily news, the so-called deep, intellectual, thoughtful, Subaru-driving, Charter-school-loving, Obama-as-demigod consumers – those locavores, 100-mile diet-experimenting-loving, gay marriage-supporting, high tech fawning folk — are my trouble these days. The choir, so to speak, for which I have to whoop up some ass-kicking on. Maybe always did. I’m not worried about some redneck in Texas, or Dinosaurs and Adam and Eve Fly the Friendly Skies creationism wacko Christian. Not the great middling lower middle class on the slide, and not the poor-as-dirt poor seeing every sort of we-the-people contract/agreement/safety net/social service/public commons program or thing eviscerated by Corporate Fascists.
They’re okay, not the problem, not the folk propping up the One Percent, and the Five Percenters. The ones I worry about vote Democrat, defend Chuck Hagel, and vote Obama and Hillary and are part of the 29 Percent.
They support gay marriage and can’t muster a lick of criticism for Clinton-Obama style social malfeasance – the kind that supports jobs at Walmart, supports sacking the programs for the poor and working class, supports privatizers and Hollywood and High Tech weirdoes and just love anything that might have a pip or star on epaulets and a supersonic F-22 with sexy wings.
National Publicly Angst Radio – NPR as Litmus Test of Collapse
These people are schizophrenic, what Chris Hedges and a million others rightly call the zombies of the liberal class – they are dead, for sure. The Death of the Liberal class circa 1930.
“Imagine,” said a public school teacher in New York City, who asked that I not use his name, “going to work each day knowing a great deal of what you are doing is fraudulent, knowing in no way are you preparing your students for life in an ever more brutal world, knowing that if you don’t continue along your scripted test prep course and indeed get better at it you will be out of a job. Up until very recently, the principal of a school was something like the conductor of an orchestra: a person who had deep experience and knowledge of the part and place of every member and every instrument. In the past 10 years we’ve had the emergence of both [Mayor] Mike Bloomberg’s Leadership Academy and Eli Broad’s Superintendents Academy, both created exclusively to produce instant principals and superintendents who model themselves after CEOs. How is this kind of thing even legal? How are such ‘academies’ accredited? What quality of leader needs a ‘leadership academy’? What kind of society would allow such people to run their children’s schools? The high-stakes tests may be worthless as pedagogy but they are a brilliant mechanism for undermining the school systems, instilling fear and creating a rationale for corporate takeover. There is something grotesque about the fact the education reform is being led not by educators but by financers and speculators and billionaires.”
Teachers, under assault from every direction, are fleeing the profession. Even before the “reform” blitzkrieg we were losing half of all teachers within five years after they started work—and these were people who spent years in school and many thousands of dollars to become teachers. How does the country expect to retain dignified, trained professionals under the hostility of current conditions? I suspect that the hedge fund managers behind our charter schools system—whose primary concern is certainly not with education—are delighted to replace real teachers with nonunionized, poorly trained instructors. To truly teach is to instill the values and knowledge which promote the common good and protect a society from the folly of historical amnesia. The utilitarian, corporate ideology embraced by the system of standardized tests and leadership academies has no time for the nuances and moral ambiguities inherent in a liberal arts education. Corporatism is about the cult of the self. It is about personal enrichment and profit as the sole aim of human existence. And those who do not conform are pushed aside.
They are great eaters, kayakers, lovers of PBS, Bill Moyers and the Nature Channel. They love Maddow and Stewart, love those movies by Spielberg with the Brit Daniel Day Lewis playing Mr. Emancipation Proclamation, and love the latest culturally shallow thing that might include something quasi-high brow or infinitely tied to the latest in Wired, Scientific American or on the pages of the New York Times Review of Books.
They are the consumers of the trite, the little things, the highly technical things. Just listening to the barrage of meaningless but very impacting stories – since they represent the tides changing and the things to come – on NPR, I use that as a litmus test of the next Blue State-Blue City-Milquetoast Democrat “thing.”
How we have to rebuild our infrastructure to accommodate those Google-smart self-driving cars. Right, we can’t get grandma a new wheelchair via Health Care for All (which will never exist in the US of Corporations), but we can spend countless tax dollars and put in countless more effort into, say, the Pot-repreneurs (marijuana entrepreneurs) getting a corner on Nationwide Chain Marijuana Dispensaries (it’s happening in WA state – NPR does the story on some twisted brained former Microsoft someone who now is the new guy on town wanting to go extreme and franchise the selling of pot).
NPR’s there, with the long story on the most insignificant thing we could even be thinking about in today’s fiscal cliff, dead as a door nail American political system that is for the corporation, by the corporation and of the corporation.
Anti-Education, Blue State Style
These folk at NPR are the anti-educators, the ones laying out these splayed stories, sort of deconstructed, emotionless when they need emotions, overly wonky when they are calling for clear and precise Studs Terkel like clarity; or some overly upper middle class focused story on some Ivy League school that has the latest thing in how to go about interrogating foreigners the right way, via torture (Yale, see *) , or the next new thing in composting toilets for everyone’s summer cabin on the lake. NPR does those stories daily, frequently, to the detriment of thinking, the real issues of the day, and against what we in old school journalism know is the necessity of depth, framing, context, history, and passion .
It’s as if this bastion of banality and manufactured interest is a litmus test for what’s wrong with thinking at the highest level.
It’s the NPR-loving great heavy middle of nothing spare tire democrats that are my enemy. Most of them, that is. Not all, but enough to make that giant sucking sound that Ross Perot fooled with right before NAFTA passed the sound of Americans’ brains leaking away, their DNA slithering closer and closer to genetically altered bar codes.
They are the enemy of the state of, well, of well being. Enemies of the limits of growth. Enemies of good homes for all. Haters of single health care system for all. They are the ones taking Poverty Tours into Slum Dog Millionaire-ville, or Eco-Tours to pat manatees. They are the ones paying 30 bucks a pound just to try civet-pissed-out coffee.
Each and every G added to that Smart Phone, these NPR middling types go ga-ga over. They think solar voltaic will propel the Nike plants of the future, the Cloud Islands of their fantasies, and their every electrical outlet for the ever expanding story of stuff, story of nothingness in their wildest dreams.
American Dream Redux
These folk are the knowledge workers, the professional class, the ones with inherited wealth galore (white folk, of course). These folk just listen to the Soma of NPR. The Stepford-izing stories on hot yoga, truffle hunting, and Internet orgasms via virtual dating.
Each and every one of these folk believe in technology as miracle, that peak oil isn’t peak everything, and that garbage is a commodity and that times change, so why shouldn’t everything change.
They believe in investing in Wall Street, in the American way, in Empire-lite, and seemingly now still many have that white man’s burden 2.0 disease in between being soccer mom and double tanning bed queen.
They truly believe that with enough Ivy-league hubris, that anything goes. Let’s map all those asteroids and mine them for, what, gold, palladium, iridium. Let’s try the next new thing – Massively Open On-line Courses, the new thing in university life. You know, get 20,000 to sign up for a poetry class with this or that Ivy-league caliber poet running the show – videos, on-line workshops, tests, Skype sessions. That’s it – digital, virtual education. No need for schools, playgrounds, teachers, groundskeepers, community nodes. It’s all virtual, man. Anything goes.
If the universities and community colleges need fixing – you know, providing free tuition for the majority, chucking one of every 1.5 administrators, eviscerating football programs, building true community connections, maintaining small classes, creating and teaching real courses that push youth to know history, know baselines, know how to fight the wrecking crew of the One Percent, militarists, and the techno-crats — THAT’s what should be done.
You think even a hint of that gets played on NPR-PBS?
Sure, not all of those on the other side of Patagonia-wearing thirty-somethings, you know, the working class, are the sharpest pencils in the box. You know the Ted Nugent types, all those folk that vote against EVERYTHING they need cuz that Bush-boy is sitting just like us in his F-150, man. Vote for the hater of all people of color and all people of poverty or in need. Vote for him when you pull in $25 K a year. Bush is Our Boy. He ain’t no beer hater, not that closeted “recovered” coke head, multimillionaire, assisted-cheating benefactor of Yale, that AWOL yellow belly war dodger, Christian war monger that the lib-rail TV says he is.
Not Too Much Debate with that NPR Story on the Economy
So, sure, I have all these huge debates even with pretty cool working class folk who hands down believe that football in college makes money and that Bush was bad but Reagan was the greatest.
But most of these folk who even think, that are middle of the road folk, fearful of the extreme right and the righteous and right left, they believe that everything in life is balance. That nature is all about balance. That the best people are in the middle. So they stay on the fence, stay in the middle, and see false dichotomies as a true expression of critical thinking.
We call that false balance in the J-profession.
There are even middle of the road Republican professional types who never owned a gun in their lives who are going out purchasing AR-15s by the pair after Fox News announced they will be banned after those kids got all shot up by some madman.
The guys I have issue with are even union-supporting (though, not in unions) folk who are true REI-Patagonia types wanting nothing more in life than to be happy, and fit, and full of that 127 Hours thrill — up close, personal, and one with the surf, BASE jump, extreme ultra triathlons.
Because of these middlings, these Seattle blue bloods archetypes (we find them in Portland, LA, SF, Boston, Boulder, Tucson), our states can get away with murdering us, murdering futures, and calling in the reinforcements to take out any gray panther-loving activist rooting for more for the poor and old, not less, of those younger souls who just might want to stand up and resist foreclosure, a tree from being felled, wage slavery, Walmartization of the mind, and schools closing. Read the prisoner’s words that came out on the real alternative radio news. Mumia, man, you think NPR and their ilk would dare have him on? See his radio broadcast cut and pasted below!
We are Enemy – Homo Economus
We and they are all guilty. Tim DeChristopher, Daniel and Philip Berrigan, Code Pink, PETA, Pussy Riot, Daniel Ellsberg, the president of Ecuador, natives fighting for land, gals who torch SUVs, folk fighting foreclosures, resisters, thinkers, anyone who might dare posit that consumer laissez-faire capitalism ain’t working. Wiki-leaks or Bradley Manning. We who dare question their authority, their economic theories, their corner on the exceptional-ist market, who dare believe that maybe consumerism and hyper-buying and hyper-wanting is a form of mental and spiritual consumption (think, cultural tuberculosis), we are all enemies and prisoners of their narrative.
The new American will be a scanable blob of not just Homo Economus looking for the next e-Bay deal, but more so the Homo Consumus. Impotent, sterile, broken, weighted down. Pre-engineered in vitro to come out as one of several archetypes for a Brave New World of Consumption, Inaction, Global Digital War Games.
Brought to us in living color. All those Obama-drones? You betcha we will be seeing 24/7 video after video captured on each new generation of probing, scanning, surveilling, shooting, spraying, zapping, bombing, raiding Un-Manned Airplane humankind is bound to experiment with and eventually market.
You think the picket fence, 2,000 square foot home, two cars and 2.2 kids and a dog and cat is the dream?
Think differently. Dreams come true – three thousand square foot home, in the suburbs, two cars, a truck, a boat, three-car garage filled with eight years worth of garage sale stuff, maybe 1.9 kids, four dogs, three cats, exotic birds, snappy iguana, two motorcycles-snow mobiles-ATVs and, drum roll please, his and hers drones.
We eat news, eat culture, eat ourselves the same way we eat those double-cheese-and-sausage- stuffed-crust 22-inch deep-pan ten-pound pizzas and 64-ounce Mountain Dews.
NPR, CPB, PBS – Healthy Version of Bad-bad News?
You think NPR is sort of the healthy version? The low fat, sodium, sugar variety? Brain food.
Nah. Consistently now the reporters, radio talking heads, the great prognosticators, the analysts, the entire lot of them, old and gnarly or up-and-coming Tweeters and Tumblr-ers are all cut from the same cloth. Same DNA and synoptically-wired thinking about culture, art, entertainment, business, and the world theater.
They almost always get it dead wrong, or they botch something big in what could have been a good story for the average Socially Responsible Investing Obama-voter to maybe gain some brain muscle.
It’s not just how they cover or don’t cover news. Or who they are in fact as human beings — demographics so far from us, that even the average iPad-using greenie — seems normal compared to NPR reporters, these product display models you might find at a Las Vegas a high-tech trade show.
Ahh, the trilling voices of National Propaganda News. All the other media outlets, those platforms for advertisement — Mini-vans, Viagra, Extra Tangy Nuclear Doritos, beer, endless gut and migraine drugs, more insipid premieres of the next torture-cop-office funny show.
Oh where or where has any of the education gone? J-school? Nope, just teach the youth to make it look slick, short, all the bells and whistles on line, search engine optimizers, home movie digitized creative class wizards.
Lead story on NPR is either about getting it wrong with the Dorner story – you know, largest manhunt in LA history, shoot-to-kill policy, tear-gas-suspect-to-burn-him-alive policing. Endless middle or slight right of middle commentary, perspectives, just plain unobjective news that is sold as balanced, deep, the long count, but in reality, NPR and the rest just have the narrative neutered. No other sides, no deep thinking, no voices of the truly articulate-repressed-disenfranchised-mistreated-abused-refused-defused-revolutionary.
This double-amputee steroid-eating Olympic-competing guy with some record of outrage and rage in South Africa ends up shooting up his “model” girlfriend in his gated South African fancy home as he sat in his bathroom like a cowering sheep with wasting disease. That is headline and repeating news? Really?
Yep, NPR and 20 minutes later. Entire features and side news shows on that guy.
It’s Zimmerman except this guy made the pages of Time, Outside and Sports Illustrated with no assist from a dead hoodie-wearing teenager.
Pistorius Says He Feared For His Life; Prosecutor Says Shooting Was Premeditated – pure rot and wasted space. The space in our minds, like that space NPR and others jiggered to infect us with what’s-his-name Tour de France Texan who cheated, lied and made a cool 20 million. Yep, NPR covering “the Oprah” covering the crocodile tears coming from some multi-millionaire smug and mean ass Texas bicyclist? News? The valuable space eater — do Americans need more of that story?
We are not talking short clip of this guy’s violence and gun spraying at the end of some great hour of really culturally-relevant and globally wise and left of center right news. We’re not talking a short murder piece shunted aside after the story covering millions upon millions suffering the abuses of governments worldwide – you know, Syria, Bahrain, Greece, Detroit, you name it. It doesn’t happen THAT way at NPR.
Nope, his story leads off. Then story after story about the “markets,” about the Homo Economus heroes of our time. Three-D printing. Five minutes on that story. The newest consumer product. 3-D scanning cameras turning the NPR reporter into a female plastic superhero doll.
You can’t make this stuff up in an Ursula Le Guin novel. It’s this age of, what that title above at the beginning of this screed is announcing.
Age of Atrophy! You know those sins of Gandhi? Limits of Growth.
Wealth Without Work
Pleasure Without Conscience
Knowledge Without Character
Commerce (Business) Without Morality (Ethics)
Science Without Humanity
Religion Without Sacrifice
Politics Without Principle
The joke’s on the Mahatma, man. Hell, what’s the eighth sin, dude?
Oh, we want to know?
Arun Gandhi added an eighth blunder, rights without responsibilities.
Here is what Donella Meadows – look her up – states about those sins, or “blunders” – And we can keep adding to them: Justice without mercy. Order without freedom. Talking without listening. Individuality without community. Stability without change. Private interest without public interest. Liberty without equality.
“Gandhi’s Seven Blunders — and then Some”
A few weeks before he was assassinated, Gandhi the Mahatma had a conversation with his grandson Arun. He handed Arun a talisman upon which were engraved “Seven Blunders,” out of which, said Gandhi, grows the violence that plagues the world. The blunders were:
Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience.
Knowledge without character.
Commerce without morality.
Science without humanity.
Worship without sacrifice.
Politics without principles.
Gandhi called these disbalances “passive violence,” which fuels the active violence of crime, rebellion, and war. He said, “We could work ’til doomsday to achieve peace and would get nowhere as long as we ignore passive violence in our world.”
To his grandfather’s list of seven blunders Arun later added an eighth: Rights without responsibilities.
Gandhi gave the list to Arun in 1947. Almost fifty years later the blunders have been institutionalized, built into our corporations, our governments, our very culture. Not only are we no longer embarrassed by them; we actively practice them. In some of them we even take pride.
From Wall Street to state lotteries, we entice ourselves with the promise of wealth without work. Whole sectors of the economy offer pleasure without conscience.
Many scientists believe their greatest strength is their ability to separate their knowledge from their character and their science from their souls.
Advocate serious morality in a commercial context (away from the PR department) and you will be laughed out of a job. Morality? It might be nice to take the high road, but our competitors won’t. So forget it!
Insiders in Washington and other capitals speak openly of their ability to cut political deals in a world totally without principle. That’s how it works in this town, they say, and they’re not apologizing or regretting; they’re boasting.
Religious movements calling themselves Christian have somehow been derailed into picking and choosing among the gospels, grasping at Biblical snippets that seem to support possessiveness and self-righteousness, never noticing the passages that urge sacrifice, sharing, compassion, humility, forgiveness.
Conservatives raise high some of Gandhi’s blunders (pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character) to bash over the heads of liberals. Liberals hit back with their own select list (wealth without work, commerce without morality). Everyone scrambles for rights without responsibility.
Somehow our public discussion has become dominated by either-or simplicities. If you complain about commerce without morality, you are accused of being against commerce. Suggest bringing humanity back into science, and you’re anti-scientific. Say there’s something wrong with wealth without work, and you’re class-jealous, a hater of rich people, an underminer of capitalism. Murmur that worship might require sacrifice, that faith might entail service to the unfortunate, and you are suddenly an enemy of religion.
This simplistic thinking seems incapable of embracing the idea of BALANCE, which was Gandhi’s central point. He wasn’t calling for work without wealth or humanity without science, he was calling for work AND wealth. Science AND humanity. Commerce AND morality. Pleasure AND conscience.
A latter-day Gandhian, E.F. Schumacher, made a careful distinction between two kinds of problems, solvable and unsolvable. Solvable problems — like measuring the distance from the earth to the moon, or figuring out how to make a two-wheeled, human-powered means of transportation — depend on understanding the physical laws of the universe. Those laws are stable. Solutions to that kind of problem endure. Once you have an answer, it will remain valid. You can give it to others and it will work for them too.
Unsolvable problems occur in the realm not of physics but of morality. They often take the form of reconciling opposites, each of which is profound and necessary. “How shall we raise our children, with freedom or with discipline?” is an example Schumacher gives. The answer has got to be not freedom without discipline, not discipline without freedom, but both, in a shifting balance, dynamic, not engraveable in stone, not the same for every parent, every child, or even the same child over time.
Life is bigger than logic, says Schumacher. There is no Final Solution to child-raising, except that “You must LOVE the little horrors…. Love, empathy, understanding, compassion — these are faculties of a higher order than those required for the implementation of any policy of discipline or of freedom.”
Life is full of unsolvable problems. Pretending to have solved them by choosing just one or another of profound opposites can generate even more blunders than the ones Gandhi listed. Justice without mercy. Order without freedom. Talking without listening. Individuality without community. Stability without change. Private interest without public interest. Liberty without equality. Or, in every case, vice versa.
Listen to our public debates about health care, crime, taxation, regulation. You will hear the Gandhian blunders, the frantic search for a permanent simplicity, the passive violence that leads to active violence. There’s no point in taking sides in these debates. There’s only an opportunity to point out that balance, discovered through love, is what we should be seeking — and what we will always have to be seeking.
(Donella H. Meadows is an adjunct professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College.)
Technological Unemployment, Thank you very much, sirs, ma’ams
Well, of course NPR will not look at the Limits of Growth when tied to every rotten thing NPR reports with its convoluted faux balance, manufactured consent, equivocation, concision; it’s sing-songy happy-go-lucky spin on everything that might be the next big consumer thing – whether it’s consumption for the belly, brain, heart, or reproductive system.
What are the limits of technology? What about those private space station tourist things? Or the constant attention to more and more computerization for more and more, what? No cause and effect in our house should be the song of US media par excellence.
You think they can juxtapose the F-22 $9 billion no-bid contract just given to Lockheed Martin/Boeing with, oh, I don’t know, school closures, or 1 trillion dollars in student debt, or the rise of homeless and near-houseless? Or, you think that whopping story last week about Stanford raising over a billion bucks last year in funds from corporate bribers is really going to cut to the 99 Percent chase?
Think hard – what is Stanford, and who would give them money? Think.
Now get where that school gets its faux corporate backbone. Remember the story that NPR did on Stanford’s study on why organics are not anything better than pesticide-drenched, fungicide-laced, fertilizer-bred GMO crops?
You won’t be getting much out of NPR lambasting the corporate influence on schools like Stanford and the other top 100. You will get the new stud for NASCAR, NPR, six minutes of it.
Okay, Prisoner Talks Truth to Educator-killing Big Wigs
So, just to give this column a big 10-minute break so I can pull it back to the theme of the column space – School – Yard – Fights: EDUCATION.
EDUCATION: The Reclamation Project [col. writ. 2/2/13] © ’13 Mumia Abu-Jamal
If we examine today’s public school systems, especially those in Black and Latino communities, it is hard to envision a system that could be worse, or more dysfunctional.
We have, in fact, a mis-education system, one designed to do more harm than good.
Many cities are experiencing a 50% dropout rate. In cities like Baltimore, these dropout rates soar to over 70%.
In the richest nation on earth, this is nothing short of scandalous.
Why is this so?
Because political elites, in service to business elites, are intent on selling off society’s educational assets to the privatization industries.
In a word, it’s about money, pure and simple.
It’s a certain kind of politics that literally sells out children’s educational inheritance.
This is a politics where business interests reign supreme even over the most fundamental function of the state – teaching its young.
How do we begin to address this long train of failure?
During the heyday of the Movement, groups across the country erected their own schools called Freedom Schools.
They taught lessons based on the real world, real life, about history, politics, social change, and the like. And they gave kids a hook into where they stood in life.
As today’s Baby Boomers age, they present a great opportunity to utilize a valuable educational resource to rebuild Freedom Schools, to staff them and teach in them.
By so doing, two social groupings help each other, with Boomers helping children, and children providing a great opportunity for older people to volunteer and serve the children.
Our public school system is largely nonfunctional, for the political system has corrupted its basic role in society.
People, in community, in a social movement, can rescue this failing institution, by re-tasking it to serve the needs of children.
By so doing, we learn valuable lessons from the past, to draft it into the future, to knit two generations together, and make the whole stronger.
Thanks innocent Mumia. So, we’ll end this by going out with the biggest fight going on in education and in the world – precarity or precarious work. Part-timers, adjuncts, and contingents. Check it out, finally – now we get even more insights into how screwed up France is, almost as much as the USA.
They come in the autumn, when the grapes lie heavy on the vines. They leave in late spring, after the cherries are off the trees in the Pyrenees and the hops harvested in Alsace. Under French law they are considered “saisonniers,” or seasonal workers. But instead of spending their days picking apples, they toil in the university classrooms of Paris, teaching French language and literature, art history and political science.
The use of adjuncts — part-time faculty who have little possibility of tenure or permanent employment — is increasingly common in U.S. colleges and universities. But European law gives workers more rights, and French workers are among the most protected in Europe — unless, it seems, if they work for an American university.
Nadia Malinovich came to Paris 10 years ago. The author of a book on French and Jewish identity, she has a doctorate from the University of Michigan. Yet like many American academics in Paris, she found herself moving through a series of temporary jobs without full benefits or security, and where she was paid only for the hours she actually spent in the classroom.
She has taught at a University of California program in Paris and New York University’s Paris center.
“It was clear to me right away that this was not going to lead to a real job,” she said of the U.S. programs. “There’s no security, no benefits. I only managed because my husband had a regular job.”
That’s where we are at now – pure part-time work. I’m on the job hunt, as you all know from previous columns. It’s worse than most of you might imagine. Try me out for size. I dare you. Give me your horror story around looking for work.
In the end, though, precarious work and all the precarious stories reported on by main-line/main-stream/main-piss media is a product of the superficiality of our time. Infantalism. The clash of ages. The class of classes. The haves not and the haves in some pathetic battle that will always favor Goliath – the One Percent and 20 Percent Clean Up Squad — versus David-the-70-Percent.
Math-dysfunction anyone. Hmm, One Percent controlling 82 percent of all wealth? Hmm, One Percent v. the 70 Percent (screw the 29-Percenters for this proposition). You’d think that David would see that majority rules, or could, or should, against, Goliath – who is only “big” in terms of the trillions locked away in those off-shore accounts, in terms of the lies spewing daily from their PR mouths, big on in terms of the One Percent’s hubris and libertarian dog-eat-dog-loving ethos.
Real Schooling Out, Climate Change Accelerated – Age of Anthropocene
What do we do as educators on the outs, or educators for hire, or educators on the edge? We have so many learning curves to assist society with, so many distractions to fight, so many guys and gals living on the edge of functional literary and cultural and historical illiteracy, that, well, we sure look and sound and appear to be dinosaurs, broken records, wonks, schoolmarms.
In the end, as education burns (let’s get that graphic novel written collectively), so does the planet. We are the weather makers, the ones who now can lay claim to putting geologic time back into our court – the age of the Anthropocene.
In 2009, the International Commission on Stratigraphy, the body charged with formally designating geological time periods, decided the Anthropocene concept “has some merit.” To investigate further they formed the Anthropocene Working Group, which published their initial findings this past February in a special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. The group reported a wide range of human impacts that could leave a stratigraphically significant mark on the planet’s geological record. There is no doubt that humans have changed the world we live in, but has the change been significant enough to declare a whole new epoch? The Anthropocene debate is continuing this week at the 2011 Geological Society of America conference.
First, how have the actions of humans altered the course of Earth’s deep history? The answers boil down to the unprecedented rise in human numbers since the early nineteenth century—from under a billion then to over six billion now, set to be nine billion or more by midcentury. This population growth is intimately linked with massive expansion in the use of fossil fuels, which powered the Industrial Revolution, and allowed the mechanization of agriculture that enabled those additional billions to be fed.
Well-well-well. How in hell are we going to get out of that pickle with fewer and fewer face-to-face classes, fewer and fewer jobs in education protected, fewer and fewer NPR types to even plumb the world around them to at least question the status quo, to least help us — the enemy (leftists, socialist, communist, Marxist) — push against the great middling, the great center-right rah-rah Judeo-Christian-dominating narrative of the everyday American college and PK12 teacher?
A mainstay of the libertarian argument is Homo Economus. Homo Economus is the idea that every person will always pick the best option when purchasing things. Homo Economus is the prerequisite that makes a liberal democratic society (aka capitalism) work. However, in order for Homo Economus to function properly, he must be perfectly knowledgeable and perfectly in control. It is assumed that when you buy something, you will do background research and pick the best product or service. It also assumes that you won’t give in to advertising or impulse purchasing.
Bye-Bye U of Phoenix, Hello Google Glasses U
Like I said, it’s going to be a 17-part series. And this is part-one, which means, really, it’s already been written a decade-century-millennium ago. Thanks to this part-timer for keeping us up to date on the University of Phoenix crash and burn and ashes to ashes, maybe?
Apollo Group, parent company of University of Phoenix, is now nearing a 5-year low in its stock price (with Marketwatchers mostly Bearish). My attachment includes several updates.
Latest entries to the Shooting Down the Phoenix Project include:
This site has a large amount on UoP’s problems, including lawsuits, up to 2010. Not all the information has been verified, however.
You can watch University of Phoenix campuses implode in real time. University of Phoenix employees and former employees continue to comment at
In solidarity, Dahn
Again, Chris Hedges –
Not only have the reformers removed poverty as a factor, they’ve removed students’ aptitude and motivation as factors,” said this teacher, who is in a teachers union. “They seem to believe that students are something like plants where you just add water and place them in the sun of your teaching and everything blooms. This is a fantasy that insults both student and teacher. The reformers have come up with a variety of insidious schemes pushed as steps to professionalize the profession of teaching. As they are all businessmen who know nothing of the field, it goes without saying that you do not do this by giving teachers autonomy and respect. They use merit pay in which teachers whose students do well on bubble tests will receive more money and teachers whose students do not do so well on bubble tests will receive less money. Of course, the only way this could conceivably be fair is to have an identical group of students in each class—an impossibility. The real purposes of merit pay are to divide teachers against themselves as they scramble for the brighter and more motivated students and to further institutionalize the idiot notion of standardized tests. There is a certain diabolical intelligence at work in both of these.