Thursday, December 20, 2007

The University of Barabara Valley or Hippie Hollow Community College

Check out this site from MIT via onegoodmove via NYT call OpenCourseWare. You can watch/audit courses online.

I am middle-aged now and have this romance for the old days in college. Not so much the debauchery, as the getting to hang around and learn stuff. And here it is free and no papers to write or tests.

I am going to get me a degree in Dork.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On Lions, Christians and Dietary Choices


I am trying to read conservative blogs for 15 minutes daily. It is an exercise and an act of intellectual self-mutilation all in a couple of minutes. Read the following that I pasted from an archive article of the Powerline blog:

This irrational and virulent hatred radiates from elected officials to all those who elected them. I saw a T-shirt in a Palm Springs shop that said, "So many right-wing Christians, so few lions." Hilarious, n'est-ce pas? Nothing funnier than religious believers being ripped to shreds by wild animals in front of cheering pagans.


Here is how I translate it so it reads a little better:
“All people who elect politicians are Christians. All politicians have this t-shirt from Palm Spring that had some anti-christian theme. Therefore politicians hate people.” He throws in for a little spice to his arguement “pagans suck.”

While I do not advocate feeding Christian directly to lions (that is a bad dietary choice) I can agree with the distrust of politicians and distrust of the rich i.e. Palm Springs, but I have to disagree with denigrating cheering pagans. I am very fond of cheering pagans and I have never seen a pagan with a lion, so I think the Christians are safe from the hoards of pagans. Can’t say the inverse argument is true with any confidence though. Anyhow me and this conservative guy have a lot in common; we could work together with common ground like that.

He does need to work on that logic thing a bit, but just maybe he isn’t really interested in logic, maybe instead, as Colbert says, he is trying to make you "feel" his argument. I can feel his argument; politicians are corrupt and right wing christian are oppressed and continue to be martyred by the clothing choices of pagan. The outrage grows.

P.S. I couldn’t find the t-shirt online but there is a hat over at cafepress with the quote. It is a nice looking hat.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We Are Getting Nailed Again At TPM Muckraker


Senator Ted is doing the job we sent him to do and he is catching hell again. 

At the TPM Muckraker site they have had a hard-on for our congressional delegation. Really, they have done a much better job documenting our elected officials slime than any local media outlet. Sometime they go a little to far. 
Frequently, in reading TPM and the Anchorage Daily News, I get the feeling that the ADN is waiting for these guys or at least somebody to break the bad news so they can get cover and report the reporting. Maybe it is that TPM is a internet site and not afraid of running into Ted at a xmas party.
Hey $975,000 for berry research!!!??? Do you think the Tribe has some new jobs heading its way? I hope so. I want to go out with a caliper and measure those blueberries for $40 an hour.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Look at the Little Side Bar Thing I Linked Up



That is fun.

It is probably not fair to imply that that money is wasted or misspent in that War. We were going to have to fund a military in this country anyhow. And when you start thinking about the multiplier effect for our economy, even here in Alaska, that spending may be what is keeping the national economy out of the tank. Not even considering the dividends that are being paid out to share holders of all the military/industrial complex corps, but even the extra combat pay those soldiers at Ft. Rich are getting, they come home spend it and spread it around. I bet that it has reduced the number of military families on food stamps. Check out how they are raking it in.


If you spend a single qualifying day in the combat zone, your pay for the entire month is excluded from taxable income, and you receive $225 in combat pay for that month.
You get an extra $7.50 a day. No wonder we have had to subcontract so much of the military's activities out. That is expensive and as we know the private sector always does a better job delivering services. If you need further proof of this conservative maxim please read this Rolling Stone Article. Isn't it amazing that the stoner music mag has more balls reporting in this day and age than any of the traditional media.

Random Photos on the hard drive.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

If I Can't See the Meteors, It Is the Republicans Fault

Meteor Shower in progress. Today and tomorrow. If we can see the sky. I got this link from AmericaBlog.

Aidan and I were driving home the other evening around 6pm. It was dark, like it is most of the time this time of year. Suddenly low on the horizon a meteor lit up the sky. It took a full two seconds as it streaked towards the ground. It was remarkably slow moving and had a duller yellow light. Visually it seemed close. I stopped the truck thinking I would hear it hit. Didn't. Aidan said it was aliens. I hope they aren't moving into the hood here. HippieAliens.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I Attempt to Like the Kachemak Bay Tour Boat Project




I have been thinking about that Seldovia Native Association/Seldovia Village Tribe (SNA/SVT) ferry project again. I haven't kept up and I may not have all the facts exactly correct, but should that stop me from having an opinion! I think not. Anyhow, I am trying to like the newest incarnation of the project.

It is no longer the “fast-ferry" that provides transpostation infrastructure for the entire south side of Kachemak Bay. Now it is the one that only goes back and forth from SNA lands to Homer, only during the summer months, and is primarily transportation for tourists. It is a shift from the initial proposal, but as in life, to evolve and progress, we all need to be flexible. So I have to get over the issue that the project has changed; that is life.

So we are left with the prospect of people stopping by, wandering around town and spending their disposable income. No longer is daily transportation being offered for citizens on this side of the Bay to access medical care, merchandise and opportunty. But still, it sounds OK (remain flexible, evolve.)

Tourism is one industry we can grow here, it is a natural. Especially if we don’t have transportation infrastructure. This SNA tour boat development could stir some people to get all entrepreneurial, move to town, create a bit of a business. Primarily, I think the Tribe and Native Association will have to develop more businesses to entertain these tourists and we as the local color, might be able to get service sector jobs. (We will all be issued a nice green aprons and vests. Do we have to wash them?) Also, it has been promised that the boat, once in place, will be stationed here, with the crew and their families (it is a hoped.) We will get some infrastructure, with a new dock in town (sure the dock is being developed on SNA sovereign land so they don’t have to pay the city fees, get over it, it is business. They won that one. Note: this is why sovereignty has come up in other issues around town, it is important.) So it appears as a WIN-win situation.

Another item I have to remain flexible about is the idea that this will benefit everyone equally, or even benefit everyone. That isn’t the way things happen in this world. And the fact that it is federal money used for corporate profits, oh the horror!!! (If these things bother you and you have voted for the current AK congressional delegation and the Administration in the White House, you are a tool.) If some benefit more than others, such is life and SNA is doing the work. (See past post here.) And everyone is still benefiting. (It may be said that having a bunch of people gawking at us, walking in the middle of the street as you are trying to get to the airport and all those other unattractive tourist behaviors isn't a benefit. I say you have find ways of entertaining yourself with the tourists. I always try and get in their photos and when I take photos for the people who want to have everyone in the picture, I focus on their crotches. Too funny! I am just glad that they are all digital photos now and not wasting much mercury or whatever. Also who hasn't had a good time watching the wild turkeys of Seldovia chase some poor unsuspecting ass who was gobbling at them. CAUTION: them turkeys will fuck you up!)

The thing that has me worried about the tour boat project is not the income disparity part (This project isn't where the SNA will get rich; this one is) it is that I won’t have a say in the situation. I can’t vote on members of the Tribal Council or the Association’s Board of Directors. I am cast in a powerless situation. Power will be further concentrated in the hands of a few and away from me. Intergenerational payback is a bitch. Get over it.

Does it even matter if I support the project? No. They don't even have to show up to city council meetings. SNA has a load of cash and they have to spend it. Lets hope that they spend it someway that benefits Seldovia, but with all the pissing, moaning and egos involved it may go the way other economic development projects for Seldovia have gone, which is to Anchorage. We will continue along with a Main Street that has more and more crap parked in the front yards looking more and more like Nikiski (also known as the Oklahoma of Alaska. Personally, I am down to 2 dead cars in the yard!!!But I live out the road.) The project will change again I am sure. I just hope they get better looking aprons, in xtra-large, please. Thank you, I love you, can I stay, please? Amen.

Tracy's blog update.
Yesterday she just linked a video that everyone on earth has downloaded and viewed. It is funny, but not worth the effort.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tracy's Blog Gave Me VD; You Be Careful Now





My wife and I have a great relationship. I couldn't imagine living with anyone else. I could live alone though, without all those damn cats, but I would quickly, or more quickly, self-destruct and no one would know because I wouldn't have been to town in years.

The one irritating aspect about our relationship is we have this kinda competitive streak with each other. We, particularly her, have to have everything equal or we have to win. She gets sooooooo upset if she thinks I am shorting her food, beverages, attention or whatever. She is still upset I am faster on a bike and she won't play trivial pursuit, ever again. I think she threw it away.

I am sorry to bring you all in on this, but please don't read her blog anymore, at least for a little while. She is kicking my ass on the number of hits on her page. And she makes fun of me because of it. It is just like that South Park Episode "Quest for Ratings" when the boys are putting on a news show on the school closed circuit TV. They get bumped off the air by Graig's show. He is getting more viewers than the boys news show and it just videos of animals close-up with a wide-angle lens, but everybody loves it.

All Tracy does on her blog, and in a large part of her life, is just talk about cats and yarn. Her blog is pictures of cats, talking about sheep hair, the occasional pot-shot at me and pictures her falling down.

Come on, I will tell you on this blog, which of these things she is ranting about and as a bonus I will put more photos on. And if you need anything, just let me know. OK?!!! So is what you are missing; her leading me along into buying her what she wants for Xmas and she is stunned our 10 year old knows that Santa is fake. I would be more disturbed if he didn't.

I just have to beat her for a while and then I will disable her stat counter that I set up for her. She will never be able to re-establish her account and I will be victorious. Then to make nice I will let her win at scrabble.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

What if Nothing is There?

Recently, I glibly wrote we should be asking public officials about how good is their memory. I tire of all the testimony where these individuals who are amongst the most powerful people on the planet can't remember crap . St. Reagan started it all and made it OK. BUT he had Al's Hammer; he had a disease. I will wait for the post mortem on former Attorney General Gonzales, but there has to be something biological. During his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee used a version of the phrase "I don't remember" 71 times. His second Kyle Sampson, 122 times. Obviously compromised in some fashion. (Why didn't Clinton just say "I was really busy at the time, a bunch of sex going on, and I just can't remember if I had sex with that woman.")

It is obvious that Tucker Carlson is reading this blog. (I can't control who reads this.) From Crooks and Liars, check out this interview he did regarding having candidate's brains scanned prior to taking office.
video
Once I get past the issue that Tucker is a TOTAL CHODE, ("we are fine now") I don't think brain scans for people are a good idea. But I think the question should asked by the voters and the expectations should be established. "How's that candidate's brain seem to you?" Listening to Senator Ted's latest rants as outlined on progressivealaska.blogspot.com, it maybe a good question. We know about candidates prostates and now we have the opportunity to learn about the condition of candidate's cervix . Progress! But the most important organ is left off the table. Maybe we care more about people genitals than their brains. Probably.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Gaydar Test and a Clip of Summer At The End If You Read This Post

A couple of things have been sticking in my head recently that I couldn’t shake. One is the freaky Amy Winehouse. She is so lucky. I really wish us hicks/hippies community (Hickies. That is my tribe!) had a spokesmodel like her. We just don’t have any representation in the media. I think we could recruit someone.

Next
The next thing that is sticking in the mire in my head is when I was hearing on the radio that freaking Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Not Gay) (Not that there is anything wrong with being not gay, but come on. As an aside, I have to say that Republicans have the absolute worst Gaydar Systems. It never dawns on them that some guy might be gay until they have a dick in their mouth. Barney needs to give them some lessons. Either way.) Lindsey was talking about the Supreme Court taking a case regarding the military tribunals being set up to deal with or dispose of the “enemy combatants” down in Git-mo.(Isn’t that redundant, enemy combatant, maybe not redundant, but it lets everyone that they are really bad guys.) I was sort of listening to the blather, but then he lets go of the zinger "I believe this is a war without end." WOW! They finally said it. He does not foresee an end to this war on terror. We are going to keep ramping this thing up until, what?

This is the next big thing. This talking point has been elevated to the top. The big hitters are now saying World War Forever, WW∞. The yapping chihuahuas of rightwing dog yard have been howling it for 4 years. We are softened up now and able to accept the message. If these people are anywhere near the reigns of power after 08’, it is over. The Idiocracy will have begun. These ass-hats will have their wish of WW∞. Anyone who uses that term without defining how we can win the war should not be elected.

If this keeps goinf I will never vote again, never look at a newspaper or blog, (maybe a few, non-political), goodbye NPR, PBS. I will move to woods in Alaska, survive off homebrew, homegrown, heat myself with wood, ramble around in old broken-down trucks and cut myself off from the world. Ha!! That will hurt'em.

Next One
That was the big one but this one registered. I refer back to the post about the Saudi woman punished for being raped. The press asked Bush if he had brought this case up during the recent visit with the King. (We are negotating with a King, too funny.)He side-stepped and said he couldn’t remember and sounded like a fucking idiot. Bullshit. He can’t say it, but he doesn’t care. Just say “no, I didn’t talk about it” or let it hang out there “if I call my friends on that issue, they might ramp down oil production and gas will go to $6.” Or “if I don’t keep kissing their asses we might have to buy more energy efficient fridges. I hate you and this stupid job, fuck off. ” That would be refreshing.

Hence forth, I want every candidate for public office and appointed official cabinet or whatever to swear about the veracity of their memory. A simple question, “How would describe your mental acuity in regards to your memory?” If they can’t attest to their ability to remember, then we don’t have to hire them or at least don’t let them write memoirs when they leave office. That should be a law.

Finally
Lastly, locals, I read and commented on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School Districts “Long Range Plan.” You can too!!! Right here. (Doesn't Donna kinda look like some mid 70's hair band guitarist? She's hot in a BYU kinda way.)

I think the purpose of these plans is just to have people articulate a larger vision of what a school district should be doing. It is vague but I think that is the plan of articulating a plan. The meta-plan. But in defense of the process, I did have to think while reading it.

I am posting my comments below amongst the plan. Mostly I found the plan focused on centralizing power and makes it more hierarchical. I believe it is all being driven by the NCLB Act. NCLB may have a few positive attributes, but has begun the dismantling of public education. I believe I is talking to myself down this far in a blog but I have to finish this. If you actually read the following and can find any grammatical errors, you receive a cookie!!!! :> (I have never done one of those stupid things before and I think that was the last!)

Goal #1 – Organizational Competence:
KPBSD will adequately provide services to students in order to prepare them to thrive in a 21st century global economy and society.

The District will do this through:
Step A: Assuring all students a safe, respectful, student-centered and welcoming environment in which to learn
Step B: Teaching student well with:
* non-negotiable goals for achievement and instruction (i.e. all students performing at grade level or have a plan and supports in place to attain proficiency)
* comprehensive, integrated, creative curriculum
* high quality, energized staff
* varied and diverse instructional methodologies
* continuous progress monitoring and adjustments for learning


(The red font is funny for the teachers)

Under Step B the use of term “non-negotiable goals” I think is inappropriate. The supporting example sited of “having all student performing at grade level or having a plan and supports in place to attain proficiency” attempts to mollify the initial statement and might be a more tenable. But the rigidity implied by having “non-negotiable goals” ends any discussion or dialectic that may better serve a situation, student or instructor. This standard only half serves everyone and to me feels incongruent with many of the Guiding Principles set forth by the document.


I believe that a rigid set of goals doesn’t serve individuals, but instead makes for easier measurement of our children. I can see the benefit of using testing and the data produced to inform the instruction, but I also sense, through my limited research and watching my own child, that this reliance may exclude teaching of the more esoteric and interesting knowledge that has value outside of a testing situation.

As a long term guide for our district, I feel that “non-negotiable” should be changed to more reflect the power of individual needs and goal setting that is stated in Goal #3 Step E “Providing individualized learning plans and flexible accommodations for students to reach their highest personal potential.”

Goal #2 – Organizational Improvement
KPBSD will continuously and thoughtfully enhance the value and quality of its personnel and services utilizing data and input.
The District will do this through:
Step A: Having outside entities audit, provide recommendations for improvement, and have the District adopt necessary changes in specific areas such as:
* communications
* building utilization (right sizing of buildings for infrastructure, yet providing for shared community and school spaces)
* energy/efficiency
* work classifications (job responsibility review)
* data warehousing and use

Step B: Developing and adopting a long term comprehensive model for professional development
* focusing on student achievement
* aligned, effective, relevant, engaging curriculum and instruction using research based “beat practices” and “high yield strategies”
* building on past training while meeting future needs
* utilizing multiple delivery models
* assuring training is embedded, sustainable, and addresses changing personnel
* emphasizing collaboration
* implementing changes with fidelity, intensity, and consistency

Step C: Building a system that accepts responsibility for the continual progress of all students, making sure all students’ needs are met at every level

I am wondering about the need for an outside audit. Is this not the role of the administration with oversight from the Board? The wording in Step C, modified to address the issues in Step A, would be a long-term goal. This would build structures that will lead to empowering students, employees and communities to identify ways too achieve these goals in conjunction with the district.

Goal #3 – Organizational Agility
KPBSD will be a responsive organization able to move quickly and easily as new information and changing circumstances dictate.
The District will do this through:
Step A: Providing maximum, quality choices in classes, programs and schools
Step B: Continuing and expanding work with local providers assuring “safety nets” for all students
Step C: Nurturing and expanding partnerships in the community and state to provide additional opportunities for students, particularly in areas of critical need
Step D: Continuing ubiquitous technology integration and implementation as well as exploring and adopting appropriate emerging technologies to improve student performance and prepare students for their future world
Step E: Providing individualized learning plans and flexible accommodations for students to reach their highest personal potential.
The individualized plans will:
*Be developed by a team of student, parents, school professionals
* Engage students in their own learning and provides a clear path to success
* Expect differentiation in classrooms
* Provide menus/choices in delivery systems
* Include interventions that work
* Supply individual coaching focused on marketable and life skills
No comments.





Goal #4 – Organizational Sustainability

KPBSD will be a viable, vibrant organization focused on students and plans regardless of changes in leadership and personnel.

The District will do this through:
Step A: Securing sufficient monetary resources for meeting the needs of students now and in the future
Step B: Being efficient as an organization, ensuring the greatest portion of resources possible used to impact student learning directly
Step C: Providing extensive leadership development throughout multiple levels of the organization
Step D: Using the district’s strengths (unique geographic location, technology infrastructure, and collaborative team structure) as tools for attracting and retaining quality personnel as well as developing a sense of self, sense of place, and sense of community for students.

Step D: The geographic location can also be a challenge. I feel that the changes in Seldovia housing market will necessitate some sort of accommodation that is present in Tyonek, Port Graham and Nanwalek.
We should also make a commitment to pay our teachers at a rate comparable to the other highest paying districts in the state.

The following is the results of my Gaydar test. I am pretty good for living in Seldovia for so long!
Try Again
You impressively scored
80%

Try Again



"Definitely time to get tested."



You personally got 16 of the 20 people correct and were better at recognizing guys than girls. Overall, you guessed better than 87% of all test takers.

Think You Can Do Better?



video

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Small Town Fun

So Fred was giving me and the wife the stink eye in the Bar last night. Then he left. It was a good thing he did.

Two weeks ago this same guy confronted my wife in the Linwood after I had left for a minute to take Micky home. Micky was too drunk to drive his bike home. He accused her of being a hypocrite because she was the "alcohol counselor" and that she testified against him at some trial. Thing is she was never a alcohol counselor but was worked for the women's services as a domestic violence counselor. And he is a big abusive violent ass.

So now I am confronted with the task of how to deal with this guy. It is so small town. I think I may have to fight him!!! Ha!!! The last fight I was in was with Scott Braden in 8th grade. (The photo is Scott now. He is a total geek.) We got in a tussle over who got to sit in the front seat of the car on the ride home from school. I made Scott cry after I knocked his M&Ms to the pavement. I kicked his ass!


So watch out, Fred, the next time I see you with M&Ms in your hand, I am going knock them to the pavement. That will teach you.