Monday, January 31, 2011

A woman's rant about women (by anon)

Seriously, women get on about how gross men can be, how many disgusting habits men have, and how unfair men can be in general, when women can be just as bad. Living in a dorm is a nightmare because of the disgusting pigsty us college kids leave it in.

In the showers, girl’s leave their hair on the walls, on the floors, and even in the sink. Some girls even pee in the showers. It’s disgusting and unsanitary, and I can‘t believe I have to deal with it everyday. I’m not trying to diss the custodial staff, because I’m sure they clean it as best as they can, but when women pee on the toilet seat (something they yell at men for, mind you) it irritates me.

Women say men are sexist, when they are just as sexist in return. When a woman gets cut off on the highway, they instantly think a male cut them off. When a woman doesn’t get the promotion they wanted, they immediately believe a male was the one who got it instead of her.

I have lived with a sexist mother my whole life, and I see how blaming the opposite gender makes life easier, but it isn’t right. Women and men are, and should be seen as equal on both sides: they are equally as disgusting, equally as sexist, and equally as bad of drivers.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fiction, fact, or crap?

This is too juicy to be buried in comments.

Xavier writes in the comments of the previous post, "I said before that there is a link between Republicans, Christianity, and Fox News. Let me go one step further, and this delves more into the realm of stereotypes, but there are a string of descriptors that appear to go together for a particularly large demographic of the states. Here goes:

Fox News watcher
NASCAR lover
Skeptical about what higher ed teaches youth
Traditional views of men and women [CP - I read "sexist views" here.]
Rural and/or affluent community member
Pro-war, guns, hunting

I'm not saying that there is any necessary relationship here and many people can fit some of the descriptors without fitting the others, for instance, I am white but not Republican. Yet, something's going on. Coincidence? Just a particular effect of socialization?"

Thoughts?  An argument for or against this view?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Crusaders are here? Conspiracy theory anyone? (by Anon)

We are used to Alex Jones and Rense pushing the conspiratorial nature of the New World Order, but this is now coming from one of the most respected journalist in America.  If you recall, Hersch broke the stories on My Lai and torture in Iraq.  Has the US government being taken over by a group of Opus Dei and Knights of Malta wannabes?

The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh alleged in a speech in Qatar that key branches of the U.S. military are being led by Christian fundamentalist "crusaders" who are determined to "turn mosques into cathedrals."
Hersh was speaking at the Doha campus of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service earlier this week. He made the comments while discussing a forthcoming book he is writing. A writer for Foreign Policy magazine attended the event and reported his remarks.

"What I'm really talking about is how eight or nine neoconservative, radicals if you will, overthrew the American government. Took it over," Hersh said.
He said that the attitude that "pervades" a large portion of the Joint Special Operations Command, which is part of the military's special forces branch and which has carried out secret missions to kill American targets, is one that supports "[changing] mosques into cathedrals."

Hersh also said that Stanley McChrystal, who headed JSOC before his tenure as the top general in Afghanistan, as well as his successor and many other JSOC members, "are all members of, or at least supporters of, Knights of Malta." Blake Hounsell, the reporter for Foreign Policy, speculated that Hersh may have been referring to the Sovereign Order of Malta, a Catholic organization.

"Many of them are members of Opus Dei," Hersh said. "They do see what they're's a crusade, literally. They see themselves as the protectors of the Christians. They're protecting them from the Muslims [as in] the 13th century. And this is their function."
He also criticized President Obama, saying, "Just when we needed an angry black man, we didn't get one."  - Huffington Post

Wow! Overthrew the American government! Took it over! Strong words! Hersch does not have a history of making "wild" statements without solid evidence. After all, he is a special reporter for the New Yorker.

By the way, a few years ago Hersch spoke at Whitewater and Madison on US torture in Iraq. He was one of the first reporters to confirm that US government had authorized extensive torture in Abu Grab.

Can't wait to see the evidence!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Facebook (by Anon)

A website to connect friends, to allow people to know what you are doing at all times, and to allow everyone know how you are feeling;  Facebook.   First, many people use it as their own online diary.  People post things talking about how depressed they are, how upset they are, or how much better they are than everyone else.  It isn’t something people care about reading, yet people still do.  Next, children who are in elementary school have a Facebook.  They can hardly type, let alone be able to have a Facebook, which was meant for college students in the first place.  Then, some people add some of their friends to “creep.”  When I started to date my boyfriend, his ex-girlfriend and all of friends tried to add me.  I would message them and ask if I knew them, because I’m not the type of person to add people who I don’t know; especially if they are one if his ex-girlfriends’ friends.  Some of them did not respond, some just said no, and my favorite told me that she had math class with my boyfriend in junior year of high school.  Why would I add you?  I would not talk to you, let alone ever look at your page.  I know they all tried adding me so they could “creep” and see what I look like, or what I am doing.   Finally, there are pages now, for example: Milwaukee’s Uglys, Rate Wi, Positively Milwaukee, and Milwaukee Legits.  Some of the people who made these pages show who they are and some don’t.  I don’t know who gave these people the rights to say if someone is beautiful, ugly, or average.  Some of the sites are degrading, and some are supposed to make you feel better about yourself.  Either way, I think they are all unnecessary.  People just need to get over themselves and just use Facebook for what it was created for, to communicate to your friends and keep in touch with people.--Anonymous

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recession (by Loak)

Why is the United States suffering from a recession at this moment? The government creates all these bills, taxes, and laws that force us to pay out all of our hard earned money. Then they claim that we're too lazy to get up and earn money "the American way" by working a 9 - 5 job. Then when we finally decide to start working, they come with these made up taxes for medicare and osha and we don't even receive the benefits if we lose our jobs. My grandmother won the lottery (25,000) and they took 8,000 out as taxes for cashing the check! Then they create toll booths where you have to pay more and more the farther you go and they increase the prices of gas and food so they can add to their pockets. Can sodas are $1.00 now!  Who's to blame for the current recession: we the citizens or the government that controls us?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pull your pants up!! (posted by anon)

Several years ago the National Basketball Association implemented an extremely unpopular dress code, and you did not have to be a rocket scientist to know that the target was an African American basketball player. Understandably, school districts, given wide latitude by the courts, have also implemented more restrictive dress codes. Now it appears that communities across the country have decided to get in on the action by passing laws against wearing sagging pants in public. Young black males wear sagging pants style, although a few white males wear sagging pants. This style, popularized in the early 1990s by hip-hop artists, has become extremely popular across the United States. In Delcambre, Louisiana, a town of 80 miles southwest of Baton Rouge, wearing your pants in this manner carries a fine of as much as $500 or up to a six-month jail sentence.  Another town, Mansfield, fines offenders up to $150 and 15 days in the slammer. According to the esteemed mayor, “this new law will set a good civic image.” The success in passing these dress codes has inspired other communities to follow suit. Efforts to outlaw sagging in Virginia and statewide in Louisiana in 2004 failed, usually when opponents invoked a right to self-expression. But the latest legislative efforts have taken a different tack, drawing on indecency laws, and their success has inspired other lawmakers. With hip-hop under serious attack from the song lyric police, the time is ripe to make a frontal attack on sagging pants. Next, they may go after the over-sized t-shirts.
For example, in the West Ward of Trenton, New Jersey, Councilwoman Annette Lartigue is "drafting an ordinance to fine or enforce community service in response to what she sees as the problem of exposing private parts in public. 'It's a fad like hot pants; however, I think it crosses the line when a person shows their backside,' Lartigue said. 'You can't legislate how people dress, but you can legislate when people begin to become indecent by exposing their body parts.'" While she is being general here, you can bet that sagging pants will be included in this ordinance. From my perspective, sagging pants is nothing but a metaphor for the hip-hop lifestyle. Critics of this lifestyle view sagging pants as a badge of delinquency along with its distinctive thug walk and disrespect for authority, whatever this means. Sagging began in American prisons, where over-sized uniforms were issued without belts to prevent suicide and the use of belts as weapons. The style spread by way of rappers and music videos, from the ghetto to the suburbs and around the world. Sagging pants are an easy and convenient symbol of the supposed dereliction and menace of young blacks. While this issue is usually viewed in the context of racism against young African American males, blacks are also split over this issue. It was African American councilpersons in Shreveport, Mansfield and the other small towns who proposed the sagging pants laws. America’s most famous dad, Bill Cosby spoke for many blacks when he criticized sagging pants and other supposedly “ghetto” practices. While he later backed off much of his criticism, many blacks agreed with him.  Cosby and other older African Americans are over-reacting to the cultural significance of sagging pants. Clothing, body piercing, etc is nothing more than youthful rebellion. Most young people, except the Willie Nelson types, will eventually grow out of it, evidenced by the lack of sagging pants worn by African American male college students. My advice is to just roll with it. Like most fads, it will pass just like bell-bottom pants, hot pants, zoot suits, pointed toe shoes, platform shoes, and Mao jackets. Sagging laws are certainly not the answer.  Besides, these kinds of laws reinforce negative images of young African American males and will do more to swell the prison population than reduce it. These laws confirm for many that the problems of poor blacks are self-made and insoluble. Many employers admit that they won't hire young blacks because they believe they are lazier, more crime prone, and educationally deficient. Many politicians, even without the excuse of ballooning state and federal budget deficits and cutbacks, mightily resist efforts to increase spending on job, health, and education programs for the poor. Finally, sagging laws will expose these communities to expensive litigation. The American Civil Liberties Union has been steadfast in its opposition to dress restrictions. Debbie Seagraves, the executive director of the group in Georgia, said, "I don't see any way that something constitutional could be crafted when the intention is to single out and label one style of dress that originated with the black youth culture as an unacceptable form of expression." So leave it alone!

Wearing over sized (XXX shirts) can get you shot and killed, as cops, while apprehending g a young male, usually black, are not able to see the pockets clearly.  So, while there are no laws yet against wearing sagging pants in Wisconsin yet. We should dress appropriately! I am starting to see college students, even females, wearing sagging sweat pants. So whats with this?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gay Marriage and Equality (posted by Spike)

Here's an interesting question... when Dr. King spoke of freedom, was it just suppose to be seen as a solution for his problem or was it a way for the world to branch off and show that there is a lack of equality? In my eyes i believe everyone is equal. I know that we are all different and to me that makes me know that we are our own individual. It shouldn't matter what our age or race or sexual orientation is. we are nothing without each other. we need to come together as a whole and work towards seeing each other as equals. Right now i have seen how poorly people have treated gays. i know from experience how people view gays. i also know that many people are open minded and embrace gays with equality. i feel that gay marriage shouldn't be a topic to fight over. i feel that gay marriage is just like any other marriage. its a unity between two people, no matter what gender. if more people could see this they would see that fighting about it is pointless. we are all equals so why not actually work towards showing that we are equal instead of fighting over it?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Unreal email

I interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you an email I just received from a non-UWW person.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.  It makes me think that the world really is coming to an end with the delusional thinking it...  Oh, and yes, I did receive an entire book manuscript (with no solicitation for money or anything).

"A war in heaven has begun.  I am attaching a copy of a new manuscript of one man’s 40-year journey in which he learnt insights about God which do not exist in any otherbook on earth.  It shares stories of many wonderful healing miracles, and also documents several fantastic promises which have yet to be fulfilled.  Indeed, since the beginning of 2009, the God Family have roused themselves on my behalf and are attacking God the Father to release the financial anointing he owes me and worked on with me for over 20 years, and other paid-for promises. Since July 1st, God the Son and the Holy Spirit have realized that God the Father is committed to refusing to keep any of his promises; therefore, they are going to step in and take over control in order to restore righteousness to the name of GOD. (See the chapter, Justice is Required). The book reveals the real purpose of Christianity which has never openly been stated before.  It discusses some of the horrifying prophecies for the end of this age, and explains that it is possible to avert or modify them by contending with God. The angels, Jesus, and the anointed man at the end of the age all know that God’s intended slaughter of mankind at the close of this dispensation is based on evil motives - AND THEY ARE RELUCTANT TO CARRY IT OUT!!! There is no other book on earth like it. I hope it is received with the gravity it merits and stimulates much travailing prayer.
**someone's apparently real name**

And for whatever reason, I ultra-skimmed through this manuscript and it appears that what this guy writes "hardly needs emphasizing that these articles are absolutely true."  Yep.  Truth is just dripping off the pages.  Evidently God is a huge conceited jerk who is trying to cover up his jerkiness by blaming it all on Satan.  Alas, it doesn't matter because God the father is going to kill us all in the end anyway.  However, hooray!  Help is on the way.  This guy is single-handedly exposing this conspiracy with the help of the Holy Spirit and Jesus (who don't seem to have the guts to do it themselves).  And with some hard work and a little bit of luck, we might be able to stop our impending doom.  wtf?  I don't care if you are Christian or non-Christian.  That is just whack.

If this doesn't scream that our world needs to think better, I don't know what does.  Yes, that is only one person's ramblings, but think about the loud voices people are listening to now in our country.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Two-faced (by anonymous)

I feel that our society is so wrapped around the media and the people that are commonly involved in it. The people that are in the media (singers, athletes, etc) Are living living false lives and I don't think alot of people understand this. Alot of rappers or singers have something called alter egos. Those are basically split personalities portraying them to be someone that they're not. I think it gives off the assumption that you can't be successful if you be yourself and I don't think this is the image that we should be giving our youth.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Are your first two years of college worthless?

I received two posts on the same topic.  Here they are (with their scary conclusions)...


HEADLINE: First Two Years of College Show Small Gains (USA TODAY)

Yes, it is true.  The ugly reality is rearing its ugly head; college students are failing because faculty are failing.  This is the start of the article:

"Nearly half of the nation's undergraduates show almost no gains in learning in their first two years of college, in large part because colleges don't make academics a priority, a new report shows.  Instructors tend to be more focused on their own faculty research than teaching younger students, who in turn are more tuned in to their social lives, according to the report, based on a book titled Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. Findings are based on transcripts and surveys of more than 3,000 full-time traditional-age students on 29 campuses nationwide, along with their results on the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test that gauges students' critical thinking, analytic reasoning and writing skills.  After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.  Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago, the research shows."
My rant: this give strong support that everyone is fucking up college!  Do I need to give more of an argument than stating the above?  Students, what is wrong with us????  Faculty, what is wrong with you?????

A new book lays failure to learn on College's doorstep!  This review was written by David Glenn and appears on the Chronicle of Higher Education web site. How many of your classes require writing or extensive reading of difficult material, especially in large lecture halls. What happened to the classic term paper? Learning is repetition. You become a good writer by writing but if students are not assigned writing in their classes, then their writing will not improve. Conversely, a good writer is also a good reader, so if they are not assigned substantive reading material, then nothing happens.

"This book makes a damning indictment of the American higher-education system: For many students, it says, four years of undergraduate classes make little difference in their ability to synthesize knowledge and put complex ideas on paper.
The stark message from the authors of Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (University of Chicago Press) is that more than a third of American college seniors are no better at crucial types of writing and reasoning tasks than they were in their first semester of college (see excerpt). The book is already drawing its share of critics, who say the analysis falls short in its assessments of certain teaching and learning methods.

"We didn't know what to expect when we began this study," said Richard Arum, a professor of sociology at New York University who is one of the book's two authors. "We didn't walk into this with any axes to grind. But now that we've seen the data, we're very concerned about American higher education and the extent to which undergraduate learning seems to have been neglected." In the new book, Mr. Arum and his co-author—Josipa Roksa, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia—report on a study that has tracked a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 students who entered 24 four-year colleges in the fall of 2005. The scholars do not name those 24 institutions, but they say they are geographically and institutionally representative of the full range of American higher education. The sample includes large public flagship institutions, highly selective liberal-arts colleges, and historically black and Hispanic-serving colleges and universities. Three times in their college careers—in the fall of 2005, the spring of 2007, and the spring of 2009—the students were asked to take the Collegiate Learning Assessment, or CLA, a widely-used essay test that measures reasoning and writing skills. Thirty-six percent of the students saw no statistically significant gains in their CLA scores between their freshman and senior years. (The book itself covers the students only through their sophomore year. The full four-year data are described in a separate report released today by the Social Science Research Council.) And that is just the beginning of the book's bad news. The scholars also found that students devote only slightly more than 12 hours per week to studying, on average. That might be in part because their courses simply aren't that demanding: Most students take few courses that demand intensive writing (defined here as 20 or more pages across the semester) or intensive reading (40 or more pages per week). Mr. Arum and Ms. Roksa's finding was based on students' self-reports, but a new analysis of Texas syllabi by The Chronicle offers additional evidence of the same point: Business and education majors at public four-year colleges in Texas are typically required to take only a small number of writing-intensive courses. "What concerns us is not just the levels of student performance," Mr. Arum said, "but that students are reporting that they make such meager investments in studying, and that they have such meager demands placed on them in their courses in terms of reading and writing." Another finding of the book is that racial and ethnic gaps in CLA scores persist—and even widen, in the case of African-American students—over the course of four years of college. That appears to be partly because African-American students are more likely to attend less-selective colleges with less-intense academic environments, the authors write."

This is a wide spread problem across all colleges, from the selective to the less selective. According to the authors. students are simply not learning much, that is if you accept the author's conclusions. The majority of classes taught in colleges today are by lowly paid adjuncts or part time teachers, and it is in their interest to do less, not more. Are the authors right?  Check out your own classes. How many of them require at least 20 pages of writing or a substantial amount of reading?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hello PEOPLE, time to WAKE UP! (posted by <~-._TRUTH_.-~>)

On and on others and I have come to notice this great nation created by the PEOPLE, for the PEOPLE, and of the PEOPLE is no longer serving the needs of the PEOPLE.  After each day I can not help but see that though we grow in the now we are becoming weaker in the long haul.  We no longer are standing for what it is that we as the PEOPLE truly want and believe.  Recent times have led us to become paranoid.  We have passed into law, unconstitutional laws and have agreed to give the higher powers of our nation, the government as a whole, free passing into our lives.  We buy into their suggestions blindly and uncontested.  It scares me to say this but I do believe, as does others, that if they really wanted they could simply ask for all of us to put cameras in all of our rooms.  And we would do it!  Under the promise that it would be safer! 

There are many Americans who have read George Orwell's 1984.  Many saw this novel as a prophecy and to be completely honest, everything George prophesied has, for the most part, come true in America.  Of course, some interpretation is needed to see this.  Such interpretation takes mind power and time.  To simply be active.  Americans are known as the lazy country and the kids of today are referred to as the lazy generation.  To ask an American to be active seems almost intangible. 

It seems that a time has come or is soon to come that we all must take a step back from our egocentric views on OUR lives and view our nation and this world in a third person.  We need to be global in our views and see the world as ALL OF OUR lives.  How our lives exist and can coexist.

Freewill.  Though this is a gift, it also seems to be the downfall of man.  It seems that because our minds are the most powerful weapons in the universe and can create literally anything; we have given ourselves an overwhelming number of options in our lives.  Our minds have created religion, government, cures, toys, the list goes on and on. 

When our constitution was written we were given 10 amendments known as The Bill of Rights.  These rights were intended to be absolute throughout the existence of our nation.  Among these rights were were given the right to bear arms.  Our ancestors used this privilege to protect not only their lives but their loved ones lives, their beliefs, and their way of being.  This sort of protection was not looked down upon in this time.  In fact, history has shown us that this sort of behaviour has actually been glorified through common speak and through Hollywood.  It is what the PEOPLE want and it is still viewed as illegal in most cases to stand up and fight for your life, your loved ones lives, and your way of being.  That is if you do not inform greater powers of your plans and intentions.  Why is this?  We have freewill;  the higher powers cannot see to every problem we have in our lives; so it seems irrational that we have to wait upon their call in order to act.  We should have control of at least our lives.  When it comes down to it. We don't!

The distance from us is relevant when they use their numbers and statistics in order to make decisions and changing actions for the neighborhoods of the United States.  It is like Dr. Steven Greer said, “If we are passive, we are enabling the controllers and therefore we must rise up... With one voice, without fear.  If the people will lead, The leaders will follow!”  It makes sense!  If we the PEOPLE rise up and lead each other then the leaders will have no power over us.  We will finally taste freedom.  With freedom we will no longer have a pursuit of happiness we will be given the right to happiness.  We will have taken the largest step to waking up from the American Dream since 1776.  “It's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it!” -George Carlin.

So brothers and sisters that create the PEOPLE, Can we all wake up?!  It all makes sense and is the truth.  If you still are questioning the possibility then think about these possibilities critically!  Get Critically Pissed and find the truth through research not through what you are spoon fed from cradle to grave!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Mommy Wars (contributor post)

Are American families too permissive?  Asian students out perform American students, especially in math and science. They study in groups and rarely complain and whine about writing papers and taking tests. Amy Chua, a professor at Yale, decided to raise her two daughters the Chinese way.  Sam has read Chua's previous two books, but this one is completely different. In it she discusses her parenting techniques and the wing nuts are out in full force. God help us all! 

Here is a short exert on the Daily Beast"

Amy Chua has become America’s most controversial mom for her draconian child-rearing techniques. She tells Lisa Miller about death threats, her parenting regrets, and why her kids love her.

Amy Chua’s email inbox has become the latest front in the mommy wars. Ever since an excerpt of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, her new book on parenting, ran in The Wall Street Journal under the headline “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” she has been under attack. “Oh. My. Gosh,” she says, when asked to estimate the number of messages she gets each day. “I don’t know. 300? 600?” Many of them are notes of praise and thanks, she claims. But many others are vicious. “There are death threats. And, ‘Go back to China, you abusive monster.’ It’s much more overwhelming than I thought it would be.”

Make up your own mind. Are American parents, mostly baby boomers, too permissive, and let their little crumb snatchers get away with murder?  Parents should read Chua, turn off that damn play station and make those brats read more. 


Friday, January 14, 2011

Grades gotta go! (contributor post)

Grades gotta go!  Grades suck and serve no purpose.  I spend all my time worrying about not getting a bad grade that I never remember what I was supposed to learn after the class is done.  I forget what I was supposed to learn after the exam is done. wtf

I get graded on my writing by some profs who don’t write that well themselves.  I have to cram for exams to puke information that doesn’t mean anything.  I get points for attending class.  What’s that all about?  How does getting points for attendance actually measure how well I am doing in school?

I’d love a class where I didn’t have to worry about grades at all.  I’d probably learn a lot more.  Grades are unreliable and they count against my learning.  That’s my rant.  Grades gotta go!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Is Dr. King Off Limits? (contributor post)

The following piece appeared in Black Voices:

Born Michael King Jr., the man known to the world as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has continued to be an enigma. Both revered and reviled, he has been a force to be reckoned since he led the historic march in Selma, Ala., in 1965 and continues to be so even in death." Sexual degenerate" and "communist" are not terms often associated with this revered nonviolent leader who spearheaded the civil rights movement. Yet, Brett Reese, a member of the Greeley-Evans School District 6 Board of Education, is broadcasting just such an attack on Dr. King through his 104.7 FM pirate radio show. "Just a sexual degenerate, an America-hating communist and a criminal betrayer of even the interest of his own people," Reese reads during his radio broadcast. The attack was prompted by a letter from a listener, but Reese quickly jumped on the bandwagon. When asked if this was appropriate behavior for a school board member, Reese responds:

"It's ... you know what? That's a good question."

Reese says despite calls for his resignation, he will continue broadcasting the commentary every day up to the MLK holiday on Jan. 17. While parents are in an uproar over the insulting letter, the fact remains that it is the opinion of a listener and has every right to be publicized. Dr. King was not perfect, and I believe it diminishes his legacy to attempt to paint him as such. In 1989, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, a close friend of Dr. King's, published 'And the Walls Came Tumbling Down,' an autobiography in which he alleges plagiarism and womanizing on the part of the civil rights icon. Abernathy's assertions -- and other accounts of King's less-than-charitable views toward women -- are hotly disputed. Regardless of Dr. King's shortcomings his impact on racial relations and standards of racial equality cannot be dismantled by one person's opinion or even thousands. The world is different and better because of the visionary teachings of Dr. King. We have a tendency to elevate our leaders to hero status and usually are disappointed when they fall from that pedestal. Countless people have been called to  service because of the transformative message of Dr. King, and that cannot be denied. Even while I oppose many of his views, he taught me that regardless of ideology, we should all be able to agree to disagree, and that is a message as effective in our homes as it is in our government. He gave us the tools to create our future in this country. What we have done, and continue to do with them, is our responsibility. He HeHE

A man doesn't have to be perfect to make a difference. So as Jan. 17 draws near, let us honor the man who forever changed the course of the United States. Let us honor the man who told us we didn't have to sit at the back of the bus,inspired a generation of people to rebuke racism and encouraged us to judge people on the "content of their character and not the content of their skin."

Dr. King's legacy is too vast to be placed in jeopardy by one listener's ignorant rant.

Sam read about Dr. King's "indiscretions" years ago in Taylor Branch's excellent three volume history of America during the King years, so Reese is digging up old news, There is a new book out written by Jay Adams on Gandhi's sex life and his unusual personal practices (which included, alongside his famed chastity, sleeping naked next to nubile, naked women to test his restraint)?  Much of this material, according to Adams, was known during his lifetime, but was distorted or suppressed after his death during the process of elevating Gandhi into the "Father of the Nation" Was the Mahatma, in fact, as the pre-independence prime minister of the Indian state of Travancore called him, "a most dangerous, semi-repressed sex maniac"?  Sam is just throwing it out there. After all, the King holiday is Monday!

Sam assumes that most of you do not have a problem with King having a jump off or with Gandhi sleeping with naked young girls.  Do you have a problem with professors dating students? After all, they are adults!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's causing the hordes of animals to die? (contributor post)

I'd like you to post this to find out what people think of this.  I don't mean to be rude but there's got to be a better explanation than this.

Do people really believe this?  What is causing the birds and fish and crabs to die off so weirdly?


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Am I missing something here, or is conservative America really scary? (contributor post)

Bear with me…let me do a little philosophy here to set up what I want to say.  So this one feminist writer talks of the “birdcage.”  When we look at single instances of apparent wrongs against women (e.g., lower pay, lower status jobs, terrible representation in science/computer/engineering fields, etc) and consider each individually, each can be easily explained away, it is said, with a host of non-sexist economic and cultural factors.  But once we start looking at all these instances together, it is as if a pattern emerges and we begin to realize that maybe they are all connected and forming something ugly.  Where we before only saw the “spokes of the cage” and didn’t think they were amounting to anything substantial on their own, we now see the “birdcage” they are forming and realize that women are actually within a cage, the cage of sexism.  The thought is that once one sees the pattern of sexism these instances form, simple explanations cannot dissolve away the reality of the sexism.

With the metaphor of the birdcage in mind, I now turn to politics.  And as I am fucking pissed at what happened yesterday to Representative Gabrielle Giffords, here is my argument, or rather a list of what could be seen as unrelated events.

1. Gabrielle Giffords (Democrat) was targeted and shot point blank by a 22-yr old crazy guy who had radically conservative ideas (view his last YouTube posts).

2. Westboro Baptist Church is going to protest the funerals of the six dead from the Giffords’ shooting.  They also protested Elizabeth Edwards’ funeral as well as many of our fallen soldiers.

3. Eight abortion clinic workers have been killed since 1993, the latest being George Tiller in 2009. Also “since 1977 in the United States and Canada, property crimes committed against abortion providers have included 41 bombings, 173 arsons, 91 attempted bombings or arsons, 619 bomb threats, 1630 incidents of trespassing, 1264 incidents of vandalism, and 100 attacks with stink bombs…also 17 attempted murders, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, and 3 kidnappings committed against abortion providers.”

4.  Greater than 20 Democrat offices and homes have been threatened with violence (or had minor violence done) since health care reform was passed on March 21, 2010.

5.  Oklahoma City bombing.

6.  Michigan Militia.

7.  Sarah Palin (need I say more?) using inciting remarks and imagery against individual Democrats.  For instance, she has a graphic of the US and gun crosshairs over the districts of Democrats she is targeting.

8.  Glenn Beck (need I say more?) frequently uses inflammatory rhetoric, such as last August he said, “If we do not put God at the center of our own personal lives and the center of our country, we will not survive.  The country will be washed with blood and then someone will have to start over, and God only knows how long that takes.”

9.  Michelle Bachmann (need I really say more?) has a litany of interesting quotes.  I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.”  She frequently calls on Americans to take up arms to defend what is right and to take back our country.

10.  The Tea Party rhetoric and signs.  Oh, just take a brief look at their signs – such a sight to behold.

Alright, let’s just stick with those.  Now one might argue that if we take any one of these incidents or people in isolation from the rest, we shouldn’t think twice about any pernicious movement or nefarious undercurrent.  But, but, but! when you start considering them all together, I cannot help but see an evil birdcage forming around me, around our country.  These events/people are related!  They are related by an insidious form of conservativism that has been slowly growing and now appears to be blooming!  Republican politicians do not have to be fearful of violence; the Democrats do!  The sheer bulk of harm, intended harm, and vitriolic words are aimed at Democrats.

Conservatives have become really scary.  I am genuinely scared now.  I might start going to church and register as a Republican just to survive.  If there is a God, “God help us all.”

Friday, January 7, 2011

Are there some words your white professor just cannot say?

We seem to have a thing about words going here.  Let's roll with it.  In a comment on the previous post, Sam writes that he " feels that people are too sensitive over the "N" word. While Sam refrains from using it, he does not get bent out of shape when it is used by various hip hop artists. Regarding Huck Finn, leave Jim alone!"

Are people too sensitive about the N-word?  That people are sensitive about it are clear.  Sam notes Ebert's run-in with the word, and last August, Dr. Laura made a pretty big deal on one show about how it shouldn't bother anyone if she says the N-word because it is said on some HBO show quite frequently.  She then said the N-word over and over.  She ended her show shortly after.

The moral from the public is pretty clear: white people shouldn't say the N-word.  Period.

Now let me float this by you.  What if you are sitting in your class and your "white" professor says the N-word multiple times.  Let's assume your prof is saying the word to talk about Huck Finn, the rhetoric of a particular HBO show or hip hop artist, the way people have used the word for hate in the past and present, or the way some people use it today to counteract its traditional use.  Would you feel comfortable that your prof is saying that word?  Is it no big deal, some kind of deal, or a big deal?

But even more general, are there just some things your professors cannot say in class without sending up major red flags?  Or better yet, what have your profs said where you thought, "Damn, that's just wrong!"? (and maybe you even did something about it...)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Video Games as Art— a case study on the effects of lazy communication and "word worship." (contributor post)

Language is fucked up.  Everyone has their own little idea of what this word means, or this phrase represents, and so on and so forth.  And this isn't some philosophical, "sensation is subjective and differs from person to person, isn't this a cute little way of looking at things?" brain teaser, either— we're actually using this shit to communicate.  When I say that I took all of our shoes and threw them in the fire, did I include "boots" in that statement?  That's a big fucking deal, and that's just the first crazy, stupid, childish example that happened to enter my retarded head.  

Maybe it started out with a simple discussion— everyone agreed that there were way too many shoes and/or boots in the house.  Getting all up in the cabinets and cluttering up the basement and shit.  So Bob says "fuck it, Carol, we need to get rid of these fucking shoes.  Like what is our fucking problem?  How does someone even let something like this happen, this is fucking nuts!"  And Carol is like "Wow Bob, you've got major mental health issues.  Those shoes are our God damned life, and you're telling me to just throw it all away?  Say something that stupid again and I'll burn you with an iron."  This is intense, borderline sociopathic behavior, but it's rendered completely meaningless when we find out that Carol only actually cares about the boots.  The tennis shoes, Crocs and high heels can go to hell for all she cares— it's the boots that need protecting.  Meanwhile, Bob never planned to dispose of any boots in the first place. That's because his definition of the word "shoes" excludes "boots," while Carol's obviously doesn't.  But instead of actively communicating their ideas with precise language, these emotional wrecks decided it would be fun to just assume that their definition was somehow universal.  Have fun in therapy, assholes.

Don't laugh.  This same situation has happened to every single one of you, probably recently.  You've argued over something stupid like televised nudity, realizing only after thirty minutes of fervent, mildly erotic "logical" debate that there are some deep-seated semantic issues that need to be sorted out before any "actual argument" can take place.  And then, surprise!  There is no "actual argument," it's just two people failing to correctly interpret each other's perfectly legitimate (if ineffectively articulated) point of view.  And it's so crazy, because those same two people will probably find some other ridiculous shit to argue about at some point in the future, and what will they do?  They'll run into the exact same problem, of course.   Treating their inane little definitions as the axiomatic words of a shimmering Norse deity. Perfectly comfortable to believe that the normally-reasonable person before them has somehow transformed into a frothing, brain-dead caveman before their very eyes— I mean, since when do your arguments devolve into simple misunderstandings, right?  The other guy's just gone temporarily crazy or something, right?  You've gone to college!  You read Critically Pissed!  You're too good to allow your personal biases invade every single shitty word that comes out of your shitty mouth, right?  Right?  

Let's take a look at a real life example of this embarrassing travesty.  Enter: Roger Ebert versus the video game industry at large, when Ebert boldly asserts that games can never be art (please read the following article, or, if not, go to hell and click out of whatever horrible browser you use:  The absolutely pants-shittingly mindblowing thing about this "debate" is that Ebert is totally aware of the multiple possible definitions of Art.  "I mean give me a fucking break," says Ebert.  "There are so many fucking definitions of art, and like every single one of them has some subjective flaw to it.  This argument is bullshit!"  "Ahhh," I breathe, relieved.  "So anyway, by my definition, games can't be art.  So, yeah, argument done!" laughs Ebert, burning an image of his mocking, cancer-ridden face into my mind forever.  This motherfucker just pointed out the exact argumentative pitfall I've been expounding on for two paragraphs and then walked right into it.  As if he suddenly made that okay!  This left the game industry, along with millions of fanboys, to fly into a rage, failing to properly address any of his video game-related qualms because frankly, his qualms were almost elegantly vague.  In fact, he never even managed to articulate his particular definition of art— it was just some "thing" that evokes certain feelings in him that he doesn't think he would get from games.  What could possibly explain this caliber of bold-faced lunacy?  The answer is "word worship."

"Word worship" is a horrible but easy-to-swallow term that I just made up to make the title of this article slightly more accessible.  It's when people get the absolutely ludicrous idea that words exist for any reason other than "useful communication."  It's also the most infuriating bullshit that has ever existed, and the bane of all intelligent discussion.  By "useful communication," I mean just that— (1) communicating ideas (2) to other people (3) practically.  Why do we call lip balm "lip balm"?  Why not just lump it in with "lipstick"?  If you're jotting down two parallel lists of "characteristics of lipstick" and "characteristics of lip balm," please feel free to credit me for the next punch to the back of your head, moron.  The truth is that there is nothing inherent to anything that implicitly encourages us to semantically distinguish it from anything else.  Do you know how many fucking differences there are between a human being and a bucket of shitty tree sap?  Now go ahead and separate the differences that actually "matter" (the ones that, by the very nature of their existence, logically demand that we refer to a human and a bucket of shitty tree sap differently) from the ones that don't.  Go on, let's see it.  In fact, go ahead and post it in the comments so I can print it out, crumple it up and dramatically throw it into my electric fucking fireplace because it's worthless.  The real reason we differentiate between humans and buckets of shitty tree sap is that there are about a trillion practical scenarios in which it is useful for us to refer to those things differently.  "I coat my skin in the extract of shitty tree sap before I go to bed" is a potentially upsetting statement in a world where both shitty tree sap and humans are referred to as "shitty tree sap."  Likewise, referring to lipstick and lip balm differently has nothing to do with their physical and chemical makeup (pun flex), but with the perceived practical differences that exist between the two.  There would literally be no reason to refer to them differently if, every time we asked someone where the lip balm was, we were completely apathetic as to whether we wanted lip balm or lipstick.  They would then cease being referred to differently because referring to them differently wouldn't make any fucking sense whatsoever.  

Except to word worshippers.  To these people (who also just so happen to include most of you), lip balm and lipstick would be separate concepts even if there were no longer any relevant difference between the two, just because they happened to remember a time where their differences mattered.  They may even try to invent practical differences, because they are so attached to language that they find it more reasonable to alter the material that words represent than the words themselves.  They are so fucking insane that they'll have entire arguments over whether something of self-evident worth does or doesn't fit under a particular category filled with other things of self-evident worth.  This is exactly what Roger Ebert has done (so too has his opposition).  Do the differences between video games and other, traditional forms of "art" render a distinction between the two useful (though this is different than the balm/stick problem, since it is not a matter of an identical label but an identical category)?  Maybe, but that isn't what the argument is about.  Instead, "art" is treated as a status, some higher form of existence which is arbitrarily out of game design's reach.  If video games were as widely-considered "art" as, say, film, Ebert wouldn't give a shit.  He would keep excluding it from his definition because, for some reason, he feels that the word "art," and the word "art"'s history, are more important than proper communication.  In reality, they are meaningless constructs in every possible interpretation of the term.  There would literally be no reason for him to define art at the exclusion of video games except to sooth his own impressively demented psyche, or appease anyone else who happens to share his crazy inability to utilize language as it was designed to be utilized.  His opposition is just as bad— as he even explains, why the fuck are they trying so hard to get games to be considered "art" in the first place?  Why are they so desperate to be recognized, when the inherent merits of their work will automatically dictate the usefulness of whichever label is ultimately ascribed to it, whether that be "art," "sport," or just "games" (oh, the inhumanity)?  To be fair, if it weren't for people like Ebert espousing the illusory notion that "art" is some sort of "classy," "respectable," and all-around desirable label to be associated with, the poor little trodden-upon, geeky personalities populating the games industry wouldn't get so riled up.  

Either way, all parties involved need to understand that language is just a tool for useful communication.  And so do you.  If you've ever argued about the "sanctity of marriage," whether or not bowling is a sport, or whether Batman: The Animated Series can technically be referred to as an "anime," take a look at yourself and start to pay attention to the stupid shit you argue about from now on.  Stop using language as a standalone entity and start communicating with ideas at the forefront.

- girl

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Our high schools are failing us! (contributor post)

I’ve been teaching for quite some time now, and I have always harped on my students’ writing.  I’m a teacher, that’s my job.  Many of the mistakes students make are understandable.  We are witnessing the death of the apostrophe because of texting – possessives are getting mangled these days.  If I had a dime for every “ones book” I read instead of “one’s book,” I’d be rich.  I should also mention the split infinitive – “to greatly appreciate” instead of the correct “to appreciate greatly.”  And there will always be the slips of these pairs: their/there, their/they’re, than/then, and/an, one/on, are/our and lead/led.

But what really gets my goad is the lack of gender/racial inclusive writing.  For some shitty reason, high school English and writing teachers are either not teaching or are teaching inadequately that our current state of writing involves a huge bias esteeming the white male.  HUGE!  Students seem to be unaware that their current writing and speaking habits are reinforcing bad stereotypes.

The white male is considered the standard.  People feel compelled to point out a person’s race, ethnicity, or gender when the person is not a white European male.  Why?  Because the white European male is the assumed default norm.

Concerning gender alone, male pronouns are for some reason generic.  Students use “mankind” and “man” to refer to everyone.  “He” is used as the default pronoun.  But HELLO!  That just makes women invisible.  Replace all “mankind” with “humankind.”  It’s really an easy fix.  Replace all instances of “man” (where it is supposed to be generic) with either “people” or “humans.”  Replace “he” with “she” sometimes, or just move to the plural.  It’s so easy I could cry.  So wtf is up with high school teachers!  Why are they not teaching these things!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe it’s nostalgia.  Neil Armstrong famously said, “One small step for man; one giant step for mankind.”  Everyone loves the quote, everyone finds it SOOO inspirational.  Yeah, Neil needed an English lesson to not poo-poo women.  First, Neil should have included the indefinite article before “man” – “a man” – that would have made the first half clearer.  But the second half!  Come on!  HUMANKIND.  I know, I know.  Someone is bound to say that those changes, especially the second, loses the poetics of the saying, thus, sacrificing its power.  Well, suck it up.  I don’t care.  Neil could have figured something else out.  He had somewhere around a million English words to concoct something.  But my guess is that English and writing teachers love these kinds of quotes just the way they are.  They themselves are unaware of their linguistic biases, or they just don’t find anything wrong with them because that’s just the way things are.

Alas, these high school teachers need a swift kick to their asses.  Our students shouldn’t be leaving high school without learning gender/racial inclusive writing.

That’s my rant.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Should faculty be compensated for student success?? (contributer post)

Speaking of the Lord!

Sam, showing a little city and state pride, kicked back last night, grabbed a beer, sat with his big Husky dog, and watched the Rose Bowl. Maybe the Lord was with Texas Christian U, as this little rinky dink bible belt college in don't mess withTexas slew big bad Madison in the Rose Bowl. Now this has to be a first. Instead of saying hi mom like most jocks, the winning quarterback, during his nationally televised interview after the game, peered into the camera, smiled and quoted scripture. TCU has about 9,000 students, Madison has 35,000. Madison's endowment is 1.5 billion, TCU's is 158 million. TCU is private, Madison is public. I guess the lesson here is that hard work and dedication pays off in life, classes, and along with a little divine intervention or inspiration, even wins bowl games. Here is the question. Madison football brought in over 90 million this year. Given this success, should the UW Madison coach, already paid a cool 2 million annually, be given an additional 1 million dollar bonus? If you answer affirmatively, do you think that it would be also appropriate to reward faculty members for student success in their classes? 

Before answering, consider the benefits. By increasing student success in classes, the institution could save resources and be able to re-direct them elsewhere to meet other pressing campus needs. For example, reducing the failure rate in gateway courses like math could potentially save a huge amount of resources. Math 141 has one of the highest failure rates of any course on campus, around 30 - 40 percent. The failure rate is so high that the department created a second more easier course for mathematically challenged students. Next, Whitewater has a 56 percent graduation rate, Madison is around 80 percent, while elite institutions are over 90 percent. The bottom line is just about 1 out of 2 students who enter Whitewater do not finish, and just about 4 out of every ten student have repeat a math class. This is a huge waste of resources! However, to end on a positive note, Whitewater is doing much better than area community colleges. You do not want to know the numbers!

My question again - should we pay faculty members for student success? They have been given merit awards for their own individual success, namely scholarship.