Happy Birthday, Educator – Ten Easy Lessons on How Not to be a Sucker

(first, don’t listen to almost Everyone)

It’s going to be a staccato and fractured riff here, so apologies ahead of time. For those who can hang in there with my buffeting and gale-force energy and attention span, well, you are heroes of the internet reading public. Thanks.

It’s all going to come back to shifting baselines and agnotology and this shot-through thing called the Fourth Estate, the masters of mendacity. Sort of perpetrators of the Great Dismal, so craftily articulated here, at DV – Read it: here.

At paradigm’s end, buffeted and shaken — yet held enthralled within the maelstrom — by the vast and sweeping scope of unsolvable governmental/cultural forces — we feel the pull of a gravity that feels akin to love. We yearn for some remedy, like lovers whose blazing love threatens to burn away all their moorings and upend all they know.

Thus, rejoice in this: There is rebirth, dwelling deep, in the irreparable problem we know as the world.

Find solace in the knowledge that poets (who should not be imagined as an elitist covenant of the elect — but those who have chosen to avail their hearts to the art of living in a poetic manner) are out there now: wounded by beauty; indentured to logos.

And even when exploring our current day wilderness of alienation, poets are laboring to limn a psychical map of its terrain of terror and beauty. All who live pass through this soul-plangent landscape.

Know this: It is an illusion that you have ever been alone, even within the nadascape comprising The Great Dismal of the current era.

This piece about to be unleashed has been brewing for a few days, punctuated by the great dismal of US media – whether it’s Fox, John Stewart, Rachel Maddow, NPR, WSJ, NYT, Newsweek. A “new” news speak has seeped up from the bodies of the sane thinkers lone gone.

Death of AM-PM Newspaper Warriors

News – once my lifeblood – is now delivered by fawning and bizarre folk like Steve Inskeep of NPR. Middle of the road stuff of the milquetoast Judeo-Christian variety. Absolutely insipid, lacking history, depth, guts and the ability to challenge the Powers that Be/Are/Will Be. The stuff being reported on is almost hands down, crud. Sanitized crap. All about marketers, the next big thing, the power couple, the big man on campus, the ever-self-promoting politician, the rich and famous and beautiful.

You hear someone like Inskeep, and, well, in my day, his style, delivery, journalism would be redlined and critiqued. A total necroscopy of what makes that guy tick … and all the others, from Cokie Roberts to David Greene, it’s just complete soppy middle of the road, pandering to some imagined liberal-Demo center-center.

Yet, news is controlled by just a few big and mini-monopolies, so we are supposed to bow to NPR and its listing center-right lean.

There is not one decent frame to consider the mainstream news. No juggling act. No smart devil’s advocate. Just the marching on of the dismal, the middling, the rot of “everything’s got to be sold.” No asymmetry.

It’s all about What’s the Matter with Education as in the great wrecking crew that has not only demolished average US citizen confidence in libraries, teachers, and the goddamned US postal service, no less! It’s turned Americans into fraidy cats, wimps, low sperm-count guys and Botox gals, everyone all shaved and tanned and one year away from his-her perfect reality show body.

What in hell is going on in J-schools, in these commercial eel traps called TV, radio, print, digital? We need more of the Reporters without Borders chutzpah –

These mainstream gals and guys just do not connect things, do not connect the dots, and then decide to feed us a daily stream of Top Ramen noodles and corn syrupy chicken nuggets. Nothing is connected. Nothing is deeply layered. No topics tie into other topics. Everything is siloed, compartmentalized, Balkanized.

I’m thinking about those stories yesterday, Feb.5, 2013. National Public (pesticide, petroleum, propaganda) Radio vis-à-vis OPB, Oregon’s feed and host of their own shows.

Random Topics Off the Top of My Head I Listened To – with no dots or connections or common sense tied to the realities of the world we live in.

Quickly, let’s look at the spin –

  1. Mexico’s bats dying off, so there goes the tequila (and mescal is the hot new millennial-Gen-X thing)
  2. University of California president (he’s job hopped in this role as president of several colleges) yammering about e-learning as the great salvation
  3. Story on Puerto Ricans and Florida – why so many are immigrating here (note, as those above, lack of connection, causal relationships of many things driving this trend)
  4. Idaho Falls lamenting the potential loss of their National Laboratory
  5. Boy Scouts and gay kids
  6. Department of Justice looking at S & P for mortgage backed security felonies
  7. coal trains coming to Washington State, and, well, polls bear out most citizens want a depot or two to export dirty coal to China for our dirty products
  8. those deregulated cell companies dropping signals galore during hurricane Sandy – people walking around like zombies trying to get a signal or some sign from the heavens
  9. oh, the deficit, and that sequester, putting maybe two million out of work
  10. oh, Obama’s and Holder’s green  light to kill any SOB they deem ready for terror … war is peace, lies are truth,  up is down …
  11.  some Rockefeller official working on what to do now that Hurricane Sandy did its deed and entered into the small memory folds of America – these storms will not be Black Swan events, but yearly … so, do we recover those barrier islands, move businesses and housing away, or do we play Whack the Mole over and over until we are bankrupted

Quickly, let’s look at the spin — And I’ll use bats and why we kill them as a microcosm of why humanity is cooked, and half-baked. Intended and unintended consequences. Obscene. Stupid.

1. Bats — Of course, a society or race of people – us – that can’t put a stop to killing bats – they eat so many millions of pounds of bugs a day, and, pollinate the famous agave – then who the hell are we? Hubris and self-deception and self-destruction.

Engaging Locals to Save Bats

In Mexico, Rodrigo Medellin has hit on something he thinks could be a winning argument.

“Our own Mexican identity’s very closely linked to tequila,” he says.

Tequila is made from the agave plant.

“We would not have tequila if it wasn’t because of the bats pollinating agaves for millions and millions of years,” he says, and contends that if Mexicans want tequila in the future, the country has to protect its bats.

Medellin has started a program to offer a special consumer label to tequila producers who farm their agave plants in a bat-friendly way.

Medellin is also working to save bats in more than a dozen other countries. He says in each place he has to modify his pitch so that it resonates with the local residents.

“If you want to do effective conservation, the leaders have to be the locals because they know the context, the culture, everything.”

Fledging New Researchers

Rodrigo Medellin, 55, says to save bats in the long run, there has to be a younger generation of conservationists ready to take on this fight. So he has been training a small army of researchers. He rarely enters a cave alone.

Medellin treats his students as collaborators, and they often accompany him into the field.

Back at the Cueva del Diablo, Medellin is accompanied by Rubén Galicia, who is working on his master’s degree. He says he loves being around bats.

“I enter a cave and shut off my light,” he says. “Then it’s silent, except for the sound of the bats.”

Today, Medellin’s students have set up a net in front of the entrance to the cave. It is not long before they catch a bat. Medellin untangles it from the net.

“It’s a trade off,” said Steve Walker, executive director of Austin, Texas-based Bat Conservation International which helps sponsor the education programme and would rather not see any bats killed. “But when you look at the effect (of vampires) on other bat species, it’s worth it.”

Even the tequila industry wants to join the conservation effort, in part to make up for past sins. The link between tequila and bats is found in the endangered long-nosed bat, which is the main pollinator of cactus and agave along its migratory route to the US Southwest.

“Bats are intimately connected to the tequila industry,” said Ramon Gonzalez, director of Mexico’s tequila council.

In the face of the new-found popularity of the drink, however, farmers of agave are expanding acreage with plants the bats can’t eat.

The long-noses stop at flowering cactuses to eat nectar along their migration, thus spreading pollen from one plant to another, increasing their genetic diversity.

But to catch the distillable sugar that is the heart of tequila, producers have to harvest agaves just before they flower, thus reducing the bats’ food source. Instead of naturally pollinated plants, farmers use farm or laboratory-produced seedlings, descendants of just a few plants.

Bat advocates are pressing farmers to let just a few agaves flower in each field.

“We want to let the agave flower, but then you lose that plant. It has no commercial value,” Gonzalez said. “We would be quite willing to let some plants flower, but we need to know how many are needed to sustain the bats.”

2. University of California’s outgoing president, a college hopping president: No Loyalty to any alma mater:  He ran the University of Minnesota, the University of Texas, and since 2008, he’s been the President of the University of California – Mark Yudof. He’s just heading on out and will find yet another seven-figure (or super high six-figure one) somewhere else. He is a proponent of E-Learning. That’s another way to say – he is a proponent of reducing the number of teachers in the world. Stop those jobs. Those benefits. Those living, breathing moments. Get kids more wired in and tuned out.

 On whether public universities have figured out a way to survive tight state budgets:

Yudof — “I think they are feeling their way, but I don’t think they’ve figured it out yet. I think in the case of the University of California, in a few year, probably four, five, or six courses will be taken online on your way to an undergraduate degree. We’ll make more use of e-learning. It’s a progression. You know, what I like to say is we’re like a shoot of bamboo — we need to bend, but we don’t want to break. We’ve been around almost 150 years. I don’t want to give up the research, I don’t want to give up the access, I don’t want to give up the medical care, but we obviously have to change.”

On online learning versus traditional classroom learning:

Yudof — “You don’t want a camera in the back of the classroom with a professor droning on in his traditional lecture. You know, you want Pixar or someone like that to really fix it up. As for the MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Learning), I think we’re at the ground level on this. I mean, if you give me $20 million and I can offer a course for free and I have no degrees, no certificates, no assessments, and most of the students drop out before we complete it, I don’t consider that a triumph for higher education. It’s good that it’s available and it’s open, but we have to have a business model that works for real people and is self-sustaining.”

3.  So all these Puerto Ricans are immigrating. Why, NPR’s Morning Edition? We don’t really get under the layers at NPR. Because of a weak economy? More violence per capita than Mexico? Why is Puerto Rico going through this? Neoliberalism? Massive brain drain and massive exportation of wealth? Why oh why? Never a word from true Puerto Ricans fighting empire and colonialism. Nope.

4. These Red States like Idaho decry federal entitlement programs and a larger national government and services, but when it comes to their soil, their jobs, that National Lab is their cash cow. Idaho Falls will take anything, and fight for the lab to stay there. Take more nuclear waste, take more anything from the US taxpayer to keep that Idaho Falls flush in cash and all the multiplying effects of that feeding trough. Do we ever get NPR bringing in economists and sociologists and others who might have something to say about that algebra? How many other cities and townships in the USA would love to have that federal sort of program-project in their neighborhood? Idaho Falls – never looked a gift horse of a nuclear bomb or reactor in the mouth.

5. Are we going to go on and on about gays marrying and gays in the military and women in combat WITHOUT bringing in folk in those respective groupings who might have a different narrative? Like, if this is all the so-called liberals can muster up – cultural wars as their big moment on the hill? If so, then we are up shit creek. I have gay friends who think marriage is number 15 on their list of needs. I have many, many friends who think women in combat is absurd – why combat? Where? This is a growth industry, uh? Men in combat? Absurd. This is the big deal for Obama and Leon the Leaver?  Then, the Boy Scouts? Wow. We spin and spin when we kill-kill-kill other countries’ people and our own. But we got women doing great things in the US military. And the cub scouts and boy scouts, wow, now gay, trans, bi youth ready to join, and do what with that Judeo-Christian indoctrination?  Fighting for social justice, or is this just a consumer thing? We never hear the more radical voices out there, now do we?

6. Standard and Poor Investigation? Right. HSBC, Goldman Sachs. Come on. The entire Too Big To Fail financial institutions need to be taken over, and leaders shackled. They can go to their own privatized jails. Good riddance. You think Obama’s justice department is ready? Right.

7. So many folk in Washington State can’t connect the Powder River coal and the trains that will come through towns in WA on their way to a coal port – dirty stuff destined for China. Of course, this is off-shoring our own carbon footprint. Jobs over climate. (see #4 and #11) Anything for a job, damn it. Hence, Washingtonians risk polluted air, polluted roads, and shipping coal to be burned in order to help out that thaw, the big one, of permafrost everywhere.

8. We’ve deregulated so many public industries, like communications, like the telephone industry, that people hit with Hurricane Sandy paranoia couldn’t find a signal in downtown Manhattan. Why? Cuz those private cell phone companies gouging us all, getting all of our personal identities, all their graft and anti-labor union zeal, they don’t share cell towers with other providers. Nothing like good old American “help thy neighborhood” red-white-and-blue love.

9. We need to stop the lies about the so-called fiscal cliff, and we need jobs and good communities. Private industry off-shoring, monopolizing, pushing their economies of scale to the detriment of human dignity and community viability, and they collect the profits for the Judeo-Christian masters of the universe. NPR won’t help here. No context there. No Manfred Max-Neef. Richard Heinberg. Nope.

10. Oh yeah, that NBC-obtained secret memo – Obama the killing machine thing. Terminator VII. Leaked memo saying US Prez can kill ANYONE, legally. Yeah, that story really gets NPR going – NOT. Do we hear from sane minds. Glenn Greenwald? Anyone doubting this. Daniel Ellsberg?

11. This tripe, again and again, about post NOL, post-Haiti, post-flood, post-hurricane here, cyclone there, tsunami over there chattering.  What sort of Jared Diamond story do you want – Collapse? Are we that impotent and that mired in dollar signs for brains that we can’t think beyond a football season? Rebuilding the boardwalks? Really? What planning for the future strategy is that? Put that roller coaster back up, right along the beachhead? NPR going to bring in James Howard Kunstler? Nope. Anyone outside their business as usual narrative? Right.

Okay, that wasn’t so fluid and so creative. Sorry, but I am trying to limit this birthday homage to 100 pages (kidding).

Family Living the Life of Reilly in Azores – A Whole Other Planet for a Kid

I’m thinking hard about 56 years on the planet. Feb 6, to be exact. The same day and month my direct opposite, Ronald Reagan, was born on USA soil. Luckily for me, though, I ended up born in LA and raised in the Azores. Military enlisted Air Force dad and mom who was a secretary for a colonel taking me and my sister, Robbie (Roberta) to one of America’s vast outposts of empire – Lajes Field – US Air Force Base. Their motto – “Fly, Fight, and Win.” Right.

I later taught community classes on Fort Bliss to do that satellite campus thing to assist military and dependents – sure, air defense motto there – “First to Fire.” They all have their mottos, now don’t those military welfare continuing criminal enterprises?

Obama, 2013 – “Never met a drone he didn’t love.”

My sister and I were raised in a small, mold-infested stucco Portuguese house with Maria Gloria de Sosa as the house-child care expert. It still seeps into my brain late at night, in dreamland. I love that place. Never been back, but, oh, I’ve been to the PIGS  – mainland Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain – places that felt like the Azores. Places in Chiapas felt like that island. Places in Guatemala. Hell, places all over, even Vietnam, they felt like the Azores. Even a few places in Northern Mexico, Jalapa, even New Mexico.

Daily earthquakes. Plenty of class divide, even with us – lower US middle class military brats of a tech sergeant,  but way above the local masses. Seeing kids flip over garbage can lids to fish through the crap we throw away. Everything from half-smoked cigarettes – plenty of kids as young as 6 puffing on American half-smoked cigs – to half worn shoes, and even half heads of cabbage or bruised peaches and mealy potatoes.

I broke my foot popping open one of those cans – the big rock cracked down hard when I was 4 years old because I wanted to be “one with the locals.”

Being One with Oneself … Being One With Them … Being the Other

“Being one with” has been both my blessing and my curse throughout the rest of my years. I’m thinking Spain later in our military lives (by this time, my old man went Army, as a Chief Warrant officer, and we were stationed in Paris, France). I’m thinking Greece. I’m thinking Mexico. I’m thinking Chicanos. I’m thinking Guatemalans. Yucatecans. I’m thinking Vietnamese. Somali. I’m thinking so many “others” I have “become one with.” Gang-banger students. I’m thinking muralists in El Paso. I’m thinking scientists in Central America. I’m thinking all those divers on Cozumel.

“Being one with …”

The incubation was that small group of islands – volcanic, representing some of the tallest mountains around, if you measure them up starting from the ocean floor. They are situated at a distance of 950 miles from mainland Portugal and around 2,400 miles from the coast of North America. Terceira is where Lajes is still humming with imperial might as a major refueling and logistics staging area for America’s and Nato’s ambitions of world dominance.

I ended up in the ER of the Air Force hospital many times – broken collar bone from a Superman fly off of a bunk bed on a dare; hot coffee percolator pulled over and partially spilling on my head; a little tuck and roll at 10 mph when I yanked open the 55 Ford handle while my old man was driving; a fall off a wall whacking my head on the ground.

The last time in the base hospital (cut my arm on a can of peanut brittle), I watched all these corpsmen and nurses rushing around with gurneys and small lumps of something. Blood on sheets. Screams outside the examining room where I was getting four stitches on the back of my noggin.

I was told later that an airman, despondent in that year of 1961, decided to end it all by walking into the spinning blades of a US military plane. All those hopes and dreams of a mid-western American squashed by despondency and the blades of  huge air force weather plane.

I also learned later that because of my frequent ER visits, both my parents were pulled aside by a colonel, separately, and were questioned about me – “Is anyone of you just getting a little angry and abusing your kid?”

Half Irish, Half German – What Is a Revolutionary to Do?

Sure, laughs later … back in Maryland. Then Christmas in Waterloo, Iowa. My grandfather – World War I naval pilot. You know, Iron Cross, bi-plane lieutenant, who had trained on one of those tall ships for 18 months in the Kaiser’s officer-training program before becoming an air soldier. He carried rocks to drop on enemy wings, made of shellacked paper. Had his own carbine he used to shoot enemy pilots.

He fought against the French, in air wars …  with the Red Baron just one squadron away. He ended up on the Rostock, in the Battle of Jutland. Almost 5 hours in the water after a British strike torpedoed it. Not many killed on his ship, but thousands all toiled for the Germans in that naval engagement. My grandfather with broken jaw holding up a fellow German in the sea. The largest naval battle of all time.

The white flag of truce came out, and the Germans and Brits came swooping in to collect the wounded, dead. The best place to watch the battle – the only significant one between British and Germans –  the British: 14 ships and over 6,000 lives;  the Germans: 9 ships and over 2,500 casualties.

Eyes Are Watching

Shoot, what’s this got to do with today’s column in School Yard Fights? Come on, readers, bare-bear with me – you know, young of heart, clear of mind, and a pretty decent guy on the play field, in a kayak, on a reef diving, and running through basalt canyons. Age 56, looking for a job, on a market that is “killer, baby, real killer” …  for someone overqualified but just not there as an IT whiz.  Only the young and sacrificing need apply. Only those with teary genuflections to the eyes of Dr. T.J., Eckleburg in Fitzgerald’s work (that is never read anymore). Come on, you know, the eyes on the billboard in the Great Gatsby. I’m not trying to shovel some literary mumbo-jumbo here. But, really, teaching that book as an adjunct teacher over the decades, it’s become more and more difficult to connect it to students.

You know, the eyes on the aging billboard symbolizing the loss of spiritual values in America. The billboard is promoting the business of an optometrist in Queensborough. Sure, maybe a leap up, but many students see the eyes symbolizing the growing commercialism of America. Can you believe that, life in America back then – 1920s –  is all about making money, a lot of money as evidenced by the wealth of people like Tom Buchan?

It’s an old American value now on Lance Armstrong steroids and Howard Schultz caffeine – a man/woman’s success is measured in terms of how much money he or she is worth. For my community college students, they sort of get that. You know, the school of hard knocks, hard times, poverty, addiction. Sure, maybe it’s a broken morality, but the billboard, like the spiritual values of America, is neglected:

“But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.”

Sure, back then, we could parse these so-called old-fashioned values of America, which Nick Carraway attempts to return in order  to reconnect with in the mid-West. They  are completely absent from the East, and “god” seems to have abandoned America, leaving only Dr. T.J. Eckleburg behind to stare down with his empty eyes on people who have abandoned their spiritual values in the quest to achieve material wealth.

Cut My Teeth on Episodes of Murder, Inc.

Well, 56, and a proud atheist who has had a few bouts in lock-up with nuns, priests, a minister or two after protesting some of those warped American values at the end the Vietnam war (I was 16 when it officially ended in 1975) and during the Murder Incorporated work of Reagan in Central America. That’s right, Murder Inc.

And Mumia doesn’t compromise. In the film, Michael Parenti says it best: “There’s quite a number of eminent people on the left – I won’t mention names, some of them very, very prominent, maybe the very top people too – that go so far about certain things, and they’ve got to flash their anti-communism to maintain their bonafides. Mumia doesn’t do all that crap.” More than one person defined Mumia’s importance as a journalist in this spirit, although this answer by his biographer Terry Bisson was the most colorful statement: “Mumia has a built-in bullshit detector.”

I can’t say it any better than Dick Gregory: “Mumia is the voice of America”; or Angela Davis: “Mumia is the Frederick Douglass of the 21st Century”; or historian Manning Marable: “The voice of Black political journalism in the struggle for the liberation of African American people has always proved to be decisive throughout Black history. When you listen to Mumia you hear the echoes of David Walker, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, and the sisters and brothers who kept the faith with struggle, who kept the faith with resistance.”

Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal, a new film by Stephen Vittoria, fills that gap.

The film’s interviewees include such luminaries as Alice Walker and Cornel West alongside noted independent journalists Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, and Dave Zirin and a host of other cultural and political icons. Through a combination of meticulous research and heavy use of archival footage, Vittoria constructs a powerful narrative of Abu-Jamal’s life and career as a journalist and social critic.

Vittoria came to make Long Distance Revolutionary somewhat serendipitously. While working on a different documentary project called Murder Incorporated: Empire, Genocide and Manifest Destiny, he interviewed left-wing intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, and Abu-Jamal.

“We were going to attempt to tell the 500-year story of the march of empire,” Vittoria told IPS, “from the time Columbus set foot on Hispaniola to the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Mumia Abu-Jamal: Murder Incorporated.

Amy Goodman: Why that title?

Mumia Abu-Jamal: Well, it comes from LBJ, Lyndon Baines Johnson, who, upon the assassination of John F. Kennedy, when he acceded to the presidency and he began getting reports about what was happening in Central America, he was famously quoted as saying “My god! We’re running a goddamn Murder Incorporated down here.” And indeed they were.

How Does NPR, NBC, NYT, WSJ Do It? Selling Loads of P.T. Barnum Stuff Every Second of Every Day!

What are those Midwest values now, F. Scott and Zelda? Sure, 96 million acres of corn and soy, genetically modified and sprayed with millions of gallons of toxic chemicals. Sure, a new pipeline for tar sands. Sure, all those old ranchers sucking it up and loving the natural gas boom in Dakota land. Plenty of money, booze, Oxycontin and roustabouts injecting cash into those old farming communities.

We are oil eaters … gas breathers … methane expellers. NPR won’t tell you, but I will.

The water business is good for locals, too. Several dozen farmers and ranchers with access to water and $150,000 to spend have built water depots like this one — trailer-sized aluminum  pump-sheds with eight-inch pipes sticking out of the sides. These private water sellers pulled in $25 million to $30 million last year, according to Steve Mortenson, who heads the Independent Water Providers, a group that represents the industry in the state  capital. Several local towns have built depots to sell excess municipal water, pulling in another $10 million or so  last year, Mortenson estimates, a substantial sum given their average population of a few  thousand people.

The sales are raising uncomfortable questions in a region where fewer than 15 inches of rain  falls each year. In many places, the nearest water is 1,000 feet down in a large aquifer that flows freely to the surface in low-lying areas. But it recharges slowly, and the level at which it flows  without pumping is dropping more than a foot per year from overuse. Meanwhile, most of the fracking water comes from a series of smaller, shallower aquifers, some of which are  already stretched to meet drinking and irrigation needs. The Missouri River has begun to  provide some relief, though federal agencies are already tussling over the possible negative  effects of withdrawals. To make matters worse, the fracking water ends up contaminated and  must be injected thousands of feet underground, removing it from the hydrologic cycle.

*****

New technologies are riderless horses. They have a mind of their own and go where they want.

Someone invents the personal computer, and 40 years later you spend hours each day surfing the Internet. Travel agents disappear, software engineers are born. Outside Las Vegas, soldiers sit in darkened rooms piloting drones with joysticks, raining hellfire down on Taliban fighters a world away.

Disruptive technologies don’t care what you think or who you are. They’ll sweep you up and drag you along. That’s where we are right now with hydraulic fracking, horizontal drilling, downhole telemetry, 3D seismic and the host of related technologies that have unlocked shale gas and “tight” oil plays like North Dakota’s Bakken field, where more rigs are at work than in Saudi Arabia.

Recent history teaches that geology rocks and science rules. The sexy rocks in petroleum geology have always been porous sandstones and limestones, easy formations willing to surrender the goods. In contrast, black shales, the original wellspring of all petroleum wealth, have been overlooked even though geologists knew them to be everywhere. Yes, you could drill them, and a few did, but generally you were pouring sand down a rat hole.

Now, that world has been overthrown. If Prudhoe Bay’s startup in 1977 was the energy equivalent of a sugar-high sending 2 million barrels per day gushing south, the “shale gale” has been a hit on a crack pipe. Since 2000, the equivalent of 4 million barrels per day of new natural gas has hit the market. Two Prudhoes, and no one saw it coming.

They Think Fracking is a Game on Their Wii’s

So what’s fracking got to do with an out-of-work 56 year old contingent faculty-journalist-writer-activist’s birthday? With School Yard Fights?

Hmm, I think I could easily begin that book, the Life and Times of Precarious Paul-Paulo-Pablo … Or, Fist-Fighting on the Top of the Heart of the Monster …  Or, The Quasi-Quintessential Literary Lamentations Through the Eyes of a Precariat … Or,  Touching Stones: Unwinding a Journey in Twelve Acts.

We’ll get to that project in another School Yard Fights. Like I mentioned last time, several people have reached out to this writer and in this column space to tackle those fights of the 21st century in the belly of the beast called education.

One is from Ana M. Fores Tamayo out of Texas, who has been fighting for her job at TCCD – Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Hurst and Arlington. She’s given me her adjunct contract there, her statement on how she was treated as a teacher there, and Adjunct Faculty and FT Faculty salaries.

She’s also running a Change.org petition, close to reaching its 4,000-signature goal: Sign it.

Better Pay for Adjuncts: Stop their Exploitation

 By Ana Maria Fores Tamayo

To be delivered to: Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education and President Barack Obama

PETITION STATEMENT

Better your child’s education: demand better pay for the lowly paid adjunct!

Petition Background

Adjuncts teaching college students have more than doubled since 1970. Today, they teach well over 70% of classes nationwide, yet they are paid shamefully little in comparison to their tenure or tenure track counterparts. They have no chance for advancement, they have no continuity with their semester-to-semester schedule, and they have no say on anything pertaining to their university or college. Moreover, because they are compensated so unequally, they need to hold several teaching positions in order to support themselves, making their workload unfeasible. If you want a better education for your children, then you must demand better pay and status for the majority of the faculty teaching in today’s institutions of higher education across the country. Demand better salaries for the underpaid and undervalued adjuncts, the contingency labor force that teaches most of the imperative core classes your children need in order to succeed in today’s competitive academic climate.

We’ll get to her story and others next time. We’ll be putting up documents on blog sites, like this one from another School Yard Fights reader and fellow adjunct, Dahn Shaulis

 Paul

I think there is something significant we can do to fight for adjunct workers, and that is to struggle against the for-profit school system.  I am attaching a file called “Shooting Down the Phoenix” that provides a preliminary outline about University of Phoenix and its parent company, Apollo Group.  I believe that by using a strategic corporate strategy, we can potentially get University of Phoenix to change or die.  Phoenix is the model for all for-profit education, and by helping expose it to the public, we can go after the dozens of proprietary schools behind it.  Despite its great power, Apollo Group/University of Phoenix has huge vulnerabilities, especially as federal funds are under greater scrutiny.    Let me know what you think about joining in this project (and recruiting others in this cause).

and then this one, a follow-up:

 Paul,

I agree with you about the Phoenix and Walmart neoliberal/fascist models.  Part of the problem is that lots of people have bought into the model, including working class people just trying to find work (I’m not one of them, but it has crossed my mind).

I guess its the same immoral mentality that makes “lower middle class” people work for the military and in prisons (I’ve done that).

The higher ed problem also includes “middle class” retirees. Retirement program profits are in part the taking of surplus values (from other workers) and shifting corporate externalities elsewhere. I believe that Oregon had a lawsuit.

Oregon (lawsuit) about for-profit schools (retirement funds stock dropped)

http://www.opb.org/thinkoutloud/shows/college-profit/

I’ve put up a bunch of Dahn’s work on a blog site that is accessed through hitting the url here, at Instablogg:  here.

We’ll get a piece by yours truly on Ana’s fight in Texass – But read up on it here, in all its corporate-fascist glory – here:

Births and Deaths – To Die for a Cause, Penniless

Until then, I have to get on with celebrating my birth. My mom, Canadian, former journalist at the Vancouver Sun, and a person who went over to the dark side – got her green card and citizenship in the USA. She was wonderful, a real firebrand.

She was all for my fight – that is, individual fights galore. All of them. Never liked the angst and all the lone wolf status I ended up grabbing onto, or forced into by the purveyors of the rotting middle, but, that was how it went, and still goes.

But I do have a best friend and fiancé, Molly. What a gem teaching as a special education teacher in primary school. Wedding is full throttle July 27 – back in Spokanistan, Spokompton … Spoke-amphetamine. Nah, it’s still Spokane. All sorts of labor history, free speech stopped almost a hundred years ago, Spokane Tribe, Sherman Alexie, and poverty and persistence. Sound familiar?

I have a 16-year-old in Spokane. What a grand young woman. Getting the camera bug. Wanting to be her own drummer and her own boss in the photo business, photo creativity business that is. Dance that song, young woman.

One truck load of friends, and a trainload of people who have crossed my path, me theirs. Future books.

For now, the School Yard Fights are daily. Every single breathing money-bag excuse for a human being thwarting and sinking education. Homeless Adjuncts. PhDs on food stamps. Teachers leaving the profession like rats coming off that sinking US Frigate.

Prior restraint, no less, just hitting the School Yard Fights newsfeed:

Brooklyn College now being attacked for a panel on Palestine. The boycott movement:

“This controversy has nothing whatsoever to do with objecting to one-sided academic events sponsored by academic institutions. Such events occur constantly without anyone uttering a peep of protest,” wrote Glenn Greenwald. “This has to do with one thing and one thing only: trying to create specially oppressive rules that govern only critics of Israel and criticisms of that nation’s government.”

Imagine being elected to public office and then deciding to use your time and influence to interfere in the decisions of academics about the types of campus events they want to sponsor. Does anyone have trouble seeing how inappropriate it is — how dangerous it is — to have politicians demanding that professors only sponsor events that are politically palatable to those officials? If you decide to pursue political power, you have no business trying to use your authority to pressure, cajole or manipulate college professors regarding what speakers they can invite to speak on campus.

These elected officials are cynically wrapping themselves in the banner of “academic freedom” as they wage war on that same concept. They thus argue in their letter: “by excluding alternative positions from an event they are sponsoring, the Political Science Department has actually stifled free speech by preventing honest, open debate.” But if that term means anything, it means that academia is free of interference from the state when it comes to the ideas that are aired on campuses.

The danger posed by these politicians is manifest. Brooklyn College relies upon substantial grants and other forms of funding from the state. These politicians, by design, are making it mandatory for these college administrators to capitulate — to ensure that no campus events run afoul of the orthodoxies of state officials — because obtaining funding for Brooklyn College in the climate that has purposely been created is all but impossible.

Brooklyn College is at the center of a storm over censorship, academic freedom and the boycott movement targeting Israel. New York politicians, even progressive ones, are coming down hard on the college over its hosting of a panel this week on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Politicians are threatening the college’s funding from the city and the state and are pressuring the Political Science Department to rescind its co-sponsorship of the event.

Get a Job, Boy, Any Job, and Get off that Dole, Slacker

I’m thinking education as a job, education services as a for-profit model. I’m thinking as I turn 56 how this throw away, do nothing digitized society is cruising for a brusin’. I’m hoping for a pox on all their houses – you know who they are, right?

The oligarchs, monopolies. Selling junk, downsizing people, in the business of exploiting humanity.

Hey, look, this job market is death here in Portland-Vancouver. Literally a sham. You’ve read the realities here, before, by Alan Nasser

We are being afflicted with a new disease of which some readers may not yet have heard the name, but of which they will hear a great deal in the years to come – namely, technological unemployment. This means unemployment due to our discovery of means of economizing the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labor.

– John Maynard Keynes, “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” 1930

… Is there a structural (1) explanation of the disproportionate proliferation of low skill, low paying jobs? A key to an illuminating explanation is the remark, in the New York Times last summer that “The disappearance of midwage, midskill jobs is part of a longer-term trend that some refer to as a hollowing out of the work force…” (“Majority of Jobs Pay Low Wages”, Catherine Rampell, Aug. 30, 2012) A “hollowing out” implies a polarization, an emerging structure of inequality within the labor market. The job market is bifurcating into high skill, high paying, advanced-education jobs at one extreme, and low skill, low paying, low education jobs at the other. Disappearing are occupations in the middle of the skill and pay distribution. Much research in recent years (2) throws light on this phenomenon and implicitly calls into question common explanations, that this job shedding is due largely to offshoring and outsourcing, that it is concentrated in manufacturing and that is the result of a mismatch between skills required by employers and the skill-level of job seekers. The citation from Keynes at the head of this article is closer to the truth.

But the bottom line is, again, while I dutifully apply for all sorts of positions, put all sorts of energy and passion into answering questions, making philosophy statements, tailoring cover letters, going through this and that check, sending four transcripts, and even taking tests on demand, for jobs as educator, journalist, editor, writer, communications manager, organizer, what have you – for mostly non-profits or public service sector, but sure, some private companies — I do this with radio waves blasting.

Just listening to the giant sucking sound of the middle ground, the middling journalists delivering any number of news stories, but especially the warped economic news, the market reports, and what have you, I know that there are alternative universes out there that I have not put my gyroscope near.

Their up is my down, their peace is my war, their success is my failure. Freedom is not PRISON.

I get Black Agenda Report, Hard Knock Radio, Thom Hartmann, Grit TV, Real News TV, Democracy Now, KBOO from Portland, and, yes, OPB – the NPR affiliate.

That’s why I can say, once again, that we are in deep kimchi. The middling narrative up against the lowly alternative press narrative. Why? Because this fake liberal streaming news-public affairs-talk shows-cultural shows, analyses, etc. – coming from NPR and PRI and CPB, what have you —  it is a slippage back, a slippage into amnesia, into happy-go-lucky reporting. These folk, for the most part, miss a giant aspect of reporting – getting tension from other guests, outside their boxes, to push their talking heads, PR flaks, and shill-experts. Really. Get Ellsberg on to discuss indefinite detentions, or get Scahill on about Obama’s drone problem, or Naomi Klein on the economy of disaster profiteering, or David Suzuki on for those stories on the environment …. Get the goddamned people who have spent years not just as academics, but as our investigators, both scientific and what have you. Challenge this broken, pro-business, Zionist, neoliberal, whacky Christian-Republican, farted-up cultural narrative of the supersize order. Challenge your own thinking by bringing on someone who isn’t going to just haw-haw, hee-hee with the prevailing wrong-headed direction of almost everything NPR and NBC espouses as the great moderate, mediating, consensus-seeking, group think.

Where Can I Download Some References?

So, here I am, in Vancouver, spreading into the Portland, Oregon, market, trying to get a job. Really working hard. Trying to keep the human eaters at bay. You know, those folk that you piss off for your independence who end up being the last job you had, or one of the jobs you had, who might end up being contacted as a reference. Check this out, one of my last (not latest) teaching gigs:

It’s a bloody mess, at a community college with thugs as leaders, thugs as union reps, thugs as humans. Green River Community College in Auburn, an hour drive from where I was living in Seattle with my fiancé. Part-time but basically full-time. Slave wages at around $9999 for work from September to December. That’s before taxes. Before gasoline bills. Before parking decal. No insurance. No benefits. Maybe putting in 45 hours a week to teach, prep, grade, regrade, email, etc. That’s part-time work. Travel to and from not included (add 10 more hours there — 55).

This School Yard Fights is all about crossing that line in the sand. Crossing me. My lifeblood. My very existence in this consumer-wrapped society. A job is you defining destiny.

Here’s one job – the response back –

Thank you so much for submitting application materials for the Communications Associate position.  The response to this posting has numbered in the hundreds and is keeping us very busy reviewing resumes.  We will be contacting candidates that we would like to interview in a few weeks.

Also, due to the volume we will not be able to respond to email or phone questions at this point in the process.  There are just too many applicants for us to respond fairly.

Thanks again for your application.

Sincerely,Conner

Climate Solutions is committed to equal opportunity in employment and promotion for all qualified persons without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, military or veteran status, the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability, pregnancy and childbirth, family responsibilities, or any other basis protected by applicable laws, regulations, or guidelines relating to discrimination in employment.

And then, another –

Dear Paul:

Thank you for your interest in the Behind the Scenes Tour Specialist position at the Oregon Zoo. We appreciate your patience in waiting to hear from us.

The screening process has been completed, and unfortunately, you were not selected for an interview. We appreciate the time and energy reflected in your application for this position. We received 340 applications for this position, so it was a very competitive recruitment. We encourage you to apply for any future positions for which you feel qualified. The job line for Metro is (503) 797-1777, and our web site is www.oregonmetro.gov. Both the job line recording and the web site list all positions currently open and available to the public.

Best wishes in your career pursuits.

Metro Human Resources

Do you get it yet, Obama?  Timothy F. Geithner? Lew? Hilda Solis? Kathleen Sebelius? These people are so beyond humanity and caring and action, that, well, these vagaries of mine, then times  (X) 15 million or 60 million,  mean shit to them … unless one rare one ends up on Morning Edition. Or some such goof-ball show.

Look, I answered an advertisement for a writer-language arts teacher. Renaissance Learning. I was looking for temporary work, FT, and, yes, I am so-so skeptical of these private education organizations. I was giving RL the benefit of the doubt. The problem is that I did what they wanted, took a test, and then spent enough time waiting for word. Then sending professional emails out to find out, What the Heck Was Up?

I found out that the hiring team in Wisconsin (this outfit has an office in Vancouver, WA, and one in Hood River, OR) wasn’t finding that perfect fit with their finalists (me, being one) and so they are changing the playing field, shifting the needs, and rewriting the position (sounds like they already had someone in mind).

You betcha I sent them a follow up letter. After finding out that this outfit is stacked high with VPs and junior management making big bucks from an outfit that was just bought up by a European hedge fund, for $455 million. You know, hedge fund guys and gals here still get taxed at a lower rate on their earnings (sic) than the average Joe or Jane.

Hey, Jack Lynch, this is not encouraging news for talented, experienced and outside-the-box thinkers and educators AND writers and editors like myself. I can understand how I didn’t meet RL’s needs, but this protracted process of “evolving and rolling position requirements and descriptions” is inhumane anyway you look at it.

I understand that a giant equity fund from Europe buying RL for a cool $455 million two years ago establishes RL as a major private player in education and will definitely put peons like myself at even a more extreme disadvantage attempting to get hired on with your RL Vancouver officer. Or any RL office, for that matter.

Education — I’ve been a teacher since 1983 — is the business of working with humans, in all their glory, foibles, and odd idiosyncratic ways. People-people is who we are. That includes treating us with dignity and social standards. Having to harangue you all about a low paid job in Vancouver befits a much lower ranking type position in this place called the world of work, wouldn’t you say so? I deal with parents, fellow teachers, the public, AFTER I work with students. The entire project is connecting dots and making sure to be holistic, humane, and responsive. Having RL sort of request this and that of prospective candidates for jobs, and then to shift the playing field, well, without any notification or articulate discussion with someone like me, a huge resource in Vancouver, to be honest, that certainly is one microcosm into the potentially dysfunctional nature of RL’s MO and narrative. You do not treat teachers that way, and you don’t treat anyone you sell your products that way — or at least that should be your SOP. But you did with me, I believe.

RL needs some quick training on people skills and on communications. I am certainly at this point a dissatisfied customer so to speak, and that means my role as a journalist and educator and activist will probably kick in. I was after a job with dignity built in. I was interested in being part of your temporary team. Your interest, though, seems to be screening and re-screening since you are all positioned now in this rogue economy to be as picky as picky can be … to the detriment of RL.

Now, Jack, I know you are a professional working hard to make this educational outfit profitable at all costs. I’ve looked for a few minutes to try and find emails of the higher ups. Not so easy on your website. That too is telling, indeed. Can you pass this email onto HR, VP or higher up?

Disappointingly, Paul Haeder

This is a company feeding off the American taxpayer trough. You know, all these educational districts nationwide forced to buy into their “products.” I was trying to get in on working on language articulation, you know, the core curriculum and reading and writing. But you end up on their website, and this is the bunk you get:

BSG worked with Permira Advisors to recruit John (“Jack”) J. Lynch, Jr. to replace Glenn James, who by mutual agreement with the Company’s Board of Directors has left the company to pursue other opportunities. “As Renaissance Learning moves forward into its next phase of growth and development, we are thrilled to bring in Jack to lead the Company and its talented team of dedicated professionals,” said Brian Ruder, a member of the Renaissance Learning Board of Directors, and Permira partner. “Jack is a world-class executive with proven leadership skills, deep strategic and operational experience, and significant industry contacts and expertise. He shares our strategic vision for the future of the Company, and we believe that he is ideally suited to lead Renaissance Learning to the next level.”

Added Ralph Protsik of BSG Team Ventures, who worked with Permira in securing Mr. Lynch, “I know few executives in the K-12 industry with Jack’s leadership skills and market knowledge. He is that rare combination of tactician and strategist—both visionary and executor. Renaissance will thrive under his direction.”

Of course, I read up on Renaissance Learning’s AR

Accelerated Reader™ (AR) is a simple software concept that was at the right time (late 1980s) and right place (public schools during a transition from whole language to phonics instruction) that has simply grown into an educational monolith. From an economic standpoint, simple often is best and AR is a publisher’s dream come true. Renaissance Learning, Inc.(RLI) is publicly traded on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker symbol RLRN and makes a bit more than pocket change off of its flagship product, AR. As is the case with many monoliths, detractors trying to chip away at its monopolistic control of library collections, computer labs, and school budgets are many. Following are short summaries of the most common arguments made by researchers, teachers, parents, and students as to why using AR is counterproductive. Hence, The 18 Reasons Not to Use Accelerated Reader. But first, for the uninitiated, is a brief overview of the AR system.

#18. Although a plethora of research studies involving AR are cited on the Renaissance Learning website, the research base is questionable at best. Few of the AR studies meet the strict research criteria of the Institute of Education Services What Works Clearinghouse. Control groups are always the sticky point when evaluating reading programs. The AR program is no exception.

Stephen Krashen summarizes the research findings regarding AR as follows:

Accelerated Reader consists of four elements: (1) books, (2) reading time, (3) tests, and, usually, (4) prizes. Because there is clear evidence that factors (1) and (2) are effective in encouraging reading and promoting literacy development (Krashen, 1993), the obvious study that needs to be done is to compare the effects of all four factors with (1) and (2) only. After reviewing the research on Accelerated Reader, I have concluded that this has yet to be done: Accelerated Reader studies usually compare Accelerated Reader to doing nothing, and the few attempts to do the needed comparison have been flawed (Krashen, 2004) See www.sdkrashen.com for more analysis.

According to the United States Department of Education Institute for Educational Sciences (IES What Works Clearinghouse, August 2010), Accelerated Reader was found to have no discernible effects on reading fluency or comprehension for adolescent learners.

So, back to the woodpile, or the drawing board, or swamp. This is real work, in this grand old country’s disappearing jobs in the middle – you know, the kind that involve smarts, face-to-face confabs, where there is a relationship to the work and the vision of an organization-company-outfit that brings humanity — something other than more junk to buy.

It’s a strange place to be, indeed, at 56, competing with 26 year olds, I am sure of that. And, as those notes above point out, literally 340 or more for one lousy job.

Lowly paid in Portland some of them. Say $30K a year, and that’s not 40 hours a week either. Expect more, weekends, traveling, nights. In Portland, where the story last Friday on NPR via OPB was on how it’s almost impossible to get a rental home, apartment, efficiency in Portland without one arm, one leg and $5000 K down for a closet of an apartment.

Real strategic thinking, those chamber of commerce freaks … the politicians … the city and county administrators . . . even the planners (were once my brethren). Great planning for this creative, dynamic, diverse society. Portlandia. Cockroaches and 400 square feet, for $2000 a month.

There lies the disconnect. These jobs with 400 applicants. Shitty housing, or sleeping on a couch with seven others in the three-room apartment. You know, how the Occupiers of the Communities want it: big second (shadow) homes, big deals, big salaries, big time movers and shakers. Just lording over the rest of us. Smirks for sure. Unable to speak or be or see or hear outside their middling view. That empty fat lie of a middle or moderate place that doesn’t exist in my America, in 250 million other Americans’ America.

One rotten score for hyper-rich status — 10,000 employees out on their duffs with pink slips.

And then we keep on trying to not live or be the American Dream. Just to be, to have a job worthy of our skills and what we can give to community. Any age, really. Nickel and Dimed into obsolescence … line-by-line erased from the ledger … pushed to the disenfranchised edge … so many of us there … good but not with their set of compliant, wide-eyed, falsely enthused groveling characteristics.

Just as a final kicker, can you imagine this job? I just applied. Look at these basic qualifications (at the tail end of this posting). I’ve got all the qualifications and more. But when they start nesting these qualifications together, you have to wonder – 4 years writing in an academic (research is the same, more or less) environment? Then, 2 years writing about science for a variety of audiences, in a variety of media?

Wow. I have written about science and covered such things for years. But the added academic setting? Where is this perfect fit? In Portland? Somewhere across the states, this perfect ex National Geographic writer just waiting to come out to Portlandia? They want to stop their careers writing for an academic outfit for a job in Portland with a center for health research?

Again, this job, for which I spent six hours preparing and submitting the required materials, it’s a scam. They already have someone in the pipeline in mind for this job. REALLY.

And this is the tragedy, really, in the end. The infinite inhumanity of Human Resources Department heads and their minions. REALLY.  We can’t even meet the people who might be in charge of this position. We can’t send emails, make phone calls, or send our own portfolio. It’s all set up on-line, faceless and even pointless, since HR sets the rules and scares the crap out of bosses and employees who might dare deviate from their HR’s deviancy.

Wish me luck –  Adios, and I am celebrating 56 today in Portland, with fiancé on my arm, two loyal dogs crashed on the futon, and the mist and fog and drizzle of this Pacific Northwest a constant reminder that there is a sun somewhere  in that world. Some ray of energy and verve in some potential person who just might get it that it takes a lifetime to be a human being. Life. Skips. Jumps. Hard Knocks. Great Balls of Fire. Up and Downs. Standing Tall Against the Great Middling, the Great Pretenders.

Take this job and, well, give me a second look. Even with those other 500 candidates, some hungry, some afraid, some ready to give an arm and a leg for a job.

 “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime,” lyrics by Yip Harburg, music by Jay Gorney (1931)

They used to tell me I was building a dream, and so I followed the mob,
When there was earth to plow, or guns to bear, I was always there right on the job.
They used to tell me I was building a dream, with peace and glory ahead,
Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread?
Once I built a railroad,  I made it run, made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad; now it’s done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower, up to the sun, brick, and rivet, and lime;
Once I built a tower, now it’s done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!

Say, don’t you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Why don’t you remember, I’m your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?
Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!

Say, don’t  you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Say, don’t you remember, I’m your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Chutzpah, brother. Humanity. Guts.

His name might not be familiar to many, but his songs are sung by millions around the world. Today, a journey through the life and work of Yip Harburg, the Broadway lyricist who wrote such hits as “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” and who put the music into The Wizard of Oz. Born into poverty on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Yip always included a strong social and political component to his work, fighting racism and poverty. A lifelong socialist, Yip was blacklisted and hounded throughout much of his life.

*****

Basic Qualifications

• Minimum of 4 year’s experience writing about science in a research or academic environment
• Minimum of 2 year’s experience writing about science for a variety of audiences, in a variety of media
• Bachelor’s degree in English, writing, journalism, the humanities or related field

• Demonstrated ability to edit complex, scientific, academic writing so that it is clear

• Portfolio of work samples should demonstrate mastery of scientific editing and writing
• Strong writing skills; ability to write in a wide variety of formats and styles
• Strong editing skills; ability to edit scientific content
• Thorough knowledge of standard principles of writing (usage, grammar, and syntax) and conventions of copywriting and copyediting
• Proven project management skills for planning, organizing, managing time, and setting priorities
• Working knowledge of Microsoft Office software
• Ability to maintain high productivity amid competing priorities and tight deadlines
• Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment with top-notch editors

Preferred Qualifications

• 8 year’s experience writing about science in a research or academic environment;
• 4 year’s experience writing about science for a variety of audiences, in a variety of media
• Master’s degree in English, writing, journalism, the humanities or related field

Salary range: $53,420 – 70,580

Primary Location: Oregon-Portland-Center for Health Research 3800 N. Interstate Ave

Paul Haeder has been a journalist since 1977. He's covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/community journalism situations in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's been a part-time faculty since 1983, and as such has worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, as a private contractor-writing instructor for US military in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Washington, and with life long learners and gifted and talented high school students. Poetry and short fiction, the novel and creative non-fiction are also his stem cells. Check out his stuff at www.cirquejournal.com. He can be reached at: paul@dissidentvoice.org. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.