Trump pick for Secretary of State Petraeus 2 years probation

Petraeus sentenced to 2 years probation, fined $100,000© Getty Images

 

Trump pick for Secretary of State Petraeus sentenced to 2 years probation, fined $100,000 Former CIA Chief and Four Star General David Petraeus on President-Elect Trump’s short list for Secretary of State. What the hell everyone deserves a second chance, right? After all Marion Barry got reelected. I’m sure General Petraeus learned his lesson.

Think of this as a prison to job program for fallen high achieving white people. Maybe Trump can appoint Bernie Madoff to head the treasury. He’s good with numbers and deserves a second chance. Maybe Trump can set up a half-way house in Trump Towers and the White House.

Trump plans to use this appointment to highlight his plans to disrupt the business to prison pipeline.

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History Strikes Back – Seriously Rich Lowry?

President Barack Obama won’t explicitly say that Donald Trump is on the wrong side of history, but surely it is what he believes. The president basically thinks anyone who gets in his way is transgressing the larger forces of history with a capital H. During the 2008 campaign, he […]

History Strikes BackHistory Strikes Back? Seriously Rich Lowry? Here’s what he says, “The notion that History takes sides ultimately traces back to the philosopher G.W.F. Hegel and borrows heavily from the (genuine and very hard-won) moral capital of the abolitionists and the civil rights movement. “

This all by itself illustrates Lowery’s reductive point of view. First of all, it axiomatically devalues Obama’s and the “Left’s” agenda and “moral capital.” Secondly, he takes a literalist approach to a rhetorical device.

Obama and the “Left” are well aware history is not a conscious entity. It does not take sides. The “history will judge” phraseology speaks from educated guesses based on actual knowledge of history and human kind. It supposes how future people will view current times.

When we look back at past events today, there are precious few (if any) times when we we judge injuring or depriving a group’s rights moral or “right” or when we don’t look back with shame when our ancestors for failed to help people in need.

I find it ironic to see a Lowery try to slip into moral relativism to weasel out of a core Conservative principle: actions are either moral or immoral, right or wrong. Perhaps you or he would be kind enough to point out the moral framework in which it’s okay to hurt people because they peacefully live their lives differently from the “dominant” culture.

Then there’s the “spectacular failure of the left” He’s already trying to rewrite history. Hillary Clinton, perhaps the most unlikable candidate in American history, got 2m more votes than Trump. The electoral college, like the Red State/Blue State maps, describe a reality that does not exist.

There is no argument based in fact that supports the assertion of “spectacular failure.” What’s more, Lowery also assumes the “Left” will be inept in holding back the Red tide of retrograde thinking. Look up the word. It is properly used.

Lowery also ignores the absolute truth that Trump did not drain the swamp. This battle was between apex predators over who gets to eat the most prey.

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” Sadly the people got fooled again. At least under Clinton, the reactionary voters would have gotten lip service and a few crumbs for their votes. With Trump, they have aided and abetted in their own destruction.

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The John H. Sets Sail for New London at 1pm

For Lex Pelger and the Slow House on K Street

The “John H” just set sail beneath a fearless autumn sun.
A breeze strokes the water’s surface raising row upon row of goosebumps.
It’s harder than a caress softer than adolescent passion.
White bits of foam churn in the shoals around the Orient Point lighthouse
before giving way to the deep blue of the Sound
and the browns where the lands meets the horizon.
The day feels on the edge of a laconic Zen poem,
deeply breathed, with its energy burbling just north of Chi,
uncertain whether to rise or fall. Indeed,
as if on cue, the boat rolls starboard to port.
The pilot turns the ferry into the wind to smooth out the ride.
Inhale, “Clear, clear mind.
Exhale “Don’t know.”
Whether sun or no sun,
Wind or no wind,
Pitch or roll,
The “John H” sails upon the water
S/he will reach the other side around 2:30pm.

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Trump Solves Climate Change

minitrue2President-Elect Trump’s transition team announces they’ve solved the Climate Change problem. Mr. Trump directed the prospective EPA chief Myron Ebell to instruct The Ministry of Truth (Minitrue) to excise all references to climate change from our vocabulary and scientific literature.

Climate change will cease to exist upon completion of their work. According to Ebell,”Go outside right now. It’s cold. See!. Science is a liberal conspiracy funded by China and our enemies throughout the world to hobble our economy and take jobs away from hard working Americans.”

Questions: Schedule a meeting at MiniLuv with O’Brien.

Sadly this isn’t exactly a joke. According to Scientific American, Trump plans to appoint climate change denier in chief Myron Ebel to head the EPA.

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We are not okay

wearenotokayWe are not okay. For the first time in my life, I am truly embarrassed to be an American. Voters who have nothing in common with me and whose values I do not, nor will I ever, share gave into their baser instincts and embraced fear and loathing. We are not okay because the Democratic National Committee’s cheating forced a losing candidate on America. We are not okay because the corporate media blacked out the one candidate who actually would have helped people. We are not okay because Hillary Clinton put her ambition ahead of the good of the people. We are not okay because the FBI interfered in the election. Evidently more suffering is required. Finally, call me a sore loser but I’m not interested in debate today. This is a moment for compassion. It’s a moment for all you Trump supporters to prove you are not like the devil you just put in office.

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Clinton’s email scandal is a political dirty trick

Somebody PLEASE explain to me how Clinton’s email scandal is not a political dirty trick. Here are some facts to consider:
 
  • Her server has been public knowledge since March 2015.
  • National Archives and Records Administration officials flagged her private server as a potential problem as early as 2009.
  • Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a FOIA request in 2012
  • It seems beyond comprehension that our major security organs weren’t aware of Clinton’s server and weren’t monitoring the situation. If something were amiss, surely they would have acted.
  • Do the research. Many government entities had full knowledge of the situation. Yet nobody said boo until Clinton ran for president.
  • Why didn’t the FBI investigate when they found out? Like back in 2009? Why didn’t they move swiftly in 2015? Surely this could have been put to bed by the FBI before the Primaries began.
  • Why did they wait until until July 2016, the middle of the primary season to issue findings?

It surely seems like there were no problems with her server until the GOP got a hold of the issue during the Benghazi witch hunt and tried to use it to sling mud at Clinton. Comey is trying to play spoiler in the election. Am I the only person concerned that our top law enforcement agency has played politics? If she broke the law, they should have dealt with the problem before she ran for president. I can only conclude that Comey did not believe she broke the law and jumped on the bandwagon to influence the outcome of the election. Shame on him.

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Leave those kids alone

It’s time to leave those kids alone. This is an excerpt from a post that just came across my Facebook feed. It’s a common complaint I see coming from the 50+ crowd,

“We don’t need yet another generation of entitled brats who think everything’s about them because their obsessive parents gave them awards just for showing up.”

I often wonder if these cranky old bastards have children in school now or if they actually associate with young people. Those “participation trophies” stop after maybe the second grade and give way to years of tyranny at the hands of teachers frightened to lose their jobs, and volunteer coaches, and high pressure after school activities, high pressure “projects,” which the parents end up doing, and even worse, which the school teachers reward. And when the kids are not busying solving for “x” in the second grade, their teachers are cramming geometry down their throats.

By the time kids reach high school they’ve been tested, sorted, and most thrown on the heap of mediocrity, which in today’s world is the loser pile. There’s a rather crass joke about Asian people that goes something like “Do you know what an A- is to a tiger parent? An “F.” There are tiger parents in every culture and you know what, the kids don’t need their tiger parents to tell them they are “losers” when struggle to get “C”s or “B”s. Message received.

And when they get to college, a few “C”s on an otherwise outstanding transcript puts them out of the running for the better grad schools, which in turn puts them at a disadvantage when competing for jobs. And if you think that doesn’t matter, ask any recent graduate of a third or fourth tier law school. Mostly report they cannot get work as lawyers or if they do, the firm expects them to work for free in exchange for a desk and conference space and a share their profits. And that’s all while paying back hundreds of thousands of dollars in school loans. All while trying to get along in an anti-union, “gig economy” that does no longer provides health insurance or fixed benefit pensions.

So yeah, they have iPhones and Air Jordans, and yeah the lucky ones have parents who can afford to enroll them in after school activities and advocate for them while wending their way through the obscene obstacle course of high stakes tests and pressure filled sports, and extra curricular activities, which if they don’t do they won’t get into decent schools, and yeah they are often not required to do chores around the house but that’s because they spend all of their time in a pressure cooker competing with all the other kids for the choice spots in everything.

Unlike my cranky-ass peers, I put off starting a family until later in life. My son is still in high school. Just this past summer he applied for a counselor-in-training job at the  summer camp for gifted kids which he attended from the fourth to eighth grade.  There were literally only 12 positions available. He competed with a pool of several hundred “gifted kids” to get the job. There was a waiting list of 50 kids who were only less qualified by the equivalent of hundredths of a second. Even though he is working for the camp, as opposed to taking the courses, we still have to pay the full amount. We made the last tuition payment a day late and they assessed a $25 late fee. When we questioned it, the camp operator said fork it over in two days or he loses the spot.

I’m pretty sure every 14 to 18 year old I know would love to have the adolescence I had. The only standardized test I took were the Regents and the SATs. The former was optional and outside of NY had no real effect on your life. I shot hoops with my friends after school, had a part time job, played every sport with a ball, figured out how to get in and out of trouble, went cruising in my parent’s cars on .50 a gallon gas, did marginally well in high school, stumbled in my first few years of college but still gradated from one of the top colleges in the US with a decent GPA and still landed a full ride at the number 16 graduate school for my discipline. And I started my post college life owing just $2500–and that’s because my father died in my senior year.

How about we look in the mirror. It is us 50+ adults who think we are entitled. It is we who created the world as it is. We’re the ones who fucked the banking system, killed the unions, wrote the laws that made it more profitable to send our businesses off shore, who allowed the credit card companies to become legalized loan sharks, who changed the bankruptcy laws so that it is now essentially impossible to recover from a financial misstep, unless of course you’re a rich asshole like Donald Trump. We’re the ones who hired lawyers to sue everyone for everything, and so on and so on.

Want to “straighten out” the kids? Let’s do what we can to right the ship before we die instead of leaving it to our kids with holes in the hull and a broken bilge pump.

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Teaching English Language Arts

Teaching English Language Arts is about incrementally mastering the use of language in developmentally appropriate chunks so students can learn to order the chaos of their busy minds and share their thoughts with others. Few will study literature and language in college and even fewer will be come writers. Yet, the ability to read thoughtfully and communicate effectively is every bit as necessary as science, technology, and mathematics—and, arguably more necessary.

Without writers who can put the concepts into plain English, few people would understand the Grand Unifying Theory, which is expressed in mathematics, or the engineering behind moving a packet of data from our home computer to some one else’s device.

How do we get there? How do we help our students achieve mastery? We use the curriculum frameworks like music teachers use scales, arpeggios, and etudes which is to say the scaffolding of mastery without effort, not the true purpose.

What’s  purpose? To give shape to thoughts and ideas and feelings. To convey information and manifest experiences for our readers.

When I write, I feel like a fully integrated human being. Time slows, I hear every sound. I feel the world around me,. And, (for brief moments) synchronize with the heartbeat of the universe. I am able to

Writing facilitates intimate contact without ever touching physically. Like magic spells it allows me to alter reality by focusing energy from my mind through a keyboard, to the electronic page, and on to a final destination.New neural connections open, mental associations as heavily laden as icebergs bob on the surface of my consciousness. Intention and random thought jostle and weave in and out of a seemingly unconnected narrative until thoughts transform into sounds and letters, which become words and sentences and paragraphs and blend into a final shape for readers, who in their turn to decode and deconstruct to create their own meaning.

Writing when approached this way, transforms every day chores like this short answer questions for job applications into opportunities to spelunk my mind and return with the elements I imagine will touch decisions makers.I have many companions as I wriggle my way through the long forgotten passages of my mind. Fear and doubt thrive in that darkness and crawl ahead of and behind invention and completion.

For many years, angst over that struggle occupied much of my mind as I wrote answers and essays and papers for teachers, articles for magazines and newspapers, copy for client’s web sites, cover letters, and the early drafts of the novel sitting on my desk. I have learned that worry about and fighting with fear and doubt undermines the process.

Fear and doubt are are not enemies. They are protectors of my sense of self and my teachers. Now I share control and listen attentively to their messages and in so doing have learned to open my mind to see the self and the world as it is, not as my mental models would have.

When the truth emerges from the background noise, the words come; each inner voice learns to fulfill its purpose, and thoughts flow from my mind to others.

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Autocorrect: A direct connection to the subconscious?

Sometimes I think auto correct has a direct connection to my subconscious. A few minutes ago the phrase student teaching came out as student teetering. Anyone who has ever done a teaching practicum knows what I mean. All the parties involved seem dedicated to keeping you off balance.

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Anti-intellectualism, declining public debate, 2016 election

The Dumbing of AmericaAnti-intellectualism, declining public debate, 2016 election, all three are starting to come up as topics of discussion among my Facebook feed.  A good friend of mine who is either a Gen-Y’er or a Millennial, I’m not sure about the cutoff, practices the Internet phenomenon of curating the news on social media to stimulate discussion (and maybe to show off how much he reads, which is an admirably considerable quantity). The post in question came from a roundtable discussion held in New York City and sponsored by Basic Books about “The Future of the public intellectual.”

He prefaces the quote about our culture’s predilection toward anti-intellectualism and the newer phenomenon the “declining complexity of public debate” by saying, “This is just stuck in my mind for some reason. I don’t even recall reading the original forum discussion [from the piece in The Nation],” (Jp Pagán, Facebook):

“I’m struck by what one wag called the herd of independent minds; by the fact that what too often passes for intellectual discussion is a process of trying to suit up everybody in a team jersey so we know just who should be cheered and who booed…,”

When we’re looking around for who should get the blame for the declining complexity of public debate… [one is the] celebration of a self that views the world solely through the prism of the self, and much of the time a pretty “icky” self at that. It’s a quivering sentimental self that gets uncomfortable very quickly, because this self has to feel good about itself all the time. Such selves do not make arguments, they validate one another.”
From: http://www.thenation.com/a…/future-public-intellectual-forum#

That got me thinking about how my generation–the baby boomers– has contributed to the current state of affairs and how those things will affect the 2016 election, as well as our chances of meaningful change.

I should warn you ahead of time, being a baby boomer, I didn’t read the original article in The Nation because, being a baby boomer, everything is about me and my considerable hoard of knowledge and learning and my quest for enlightenment–yours not mine. I’m already there, deal with it.  (Now you know why I love Jacques Derrida and deconstructionism).

Having lived through most of the baby boom journey, I’m of the opinion that selfishness and entitlement are the defining characteristics of my generation. And that it, more than anything else, has added to the U.S.’s love affair with anti-intellectualism and contributed mightily to the declining public debate about which my friend Jp was talking.

We turned on and tuned out when we were young because it felt good–that and it was also fun to tell our parents fuck you. As we turned off and tuned in, we pretended we never did drugs, forgot all the kumbaya, said greed was good, and searched in vain for our inner-children.

In the process we bankrupted the S&L industry. Crashed the stock market twice. Created junk bonds and derivatives. Deregulated the banking industry to codify usurious lending practices bad enough to make the Mafia jealous. Face it, loan sharks can only break your bones or kill you. The government can go after your heirs. We spent more than we earned. Took corporate welfare to the heights. And when it all fell apart, turnselfiesed to the government to fix the problem. Oh and let’s not forget, we started two pointless wars which cost countless billions and thousands of lives. Disengaged from our civic duties we treat the government like a provider of services rather than our responsibility. And we hire lawyers for everything to prove nothing is our fault.

So I agree that it’s impossible to have fruitful discussions when our vision is focused on our selfies as opposed to pointing the lens outward and seeing the world as it is.

Buddhists have this notion of big “I” and little “I”. Both exist and require attention but when we see our big “I”, we know our job is to act compassionately and for the benefit of others.

If only things were different. I wish we held onto the best of the ideals of the sixties and early seventies. But the whole counter-culture revolution was all about me, as in . . . I’ll take whatever drugs I want because they make ME feel good.  I’ll sleep with whom I please for the same reason. I deserve to live better than my parents so I’ll treat the equity in my home like an ATM and cry when I get nothing after the final sale.

It appears to be too late for us baby boomers. It seems we cast aside the ideals of our youth and cast the standard of social justice on the field of battle.

My message to people like my friend Jp: Your generation is next in line to run the show. The question to ask yourselves as a cohort is whether you want to follow the path laid out by us or whether you have the courage and wherewithal to do better.

fantastic4

With guys like Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and that douche bag Chris Christie on once side of the aisle and the narcissistic would be queen Hillary running for president–the Fantastic 4, I wonder whether the Gen-X and Y’ers and the Millennials can withstand the gravity from the black hole we created.

You guys are on the event horizon. Whatcha gonna do?

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