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Sunday, March 13, 2011

This I Believe: Full Disclosure

I am a unionist going back four generations.


I am split on issues, but for the most part a Democrat. I admit to some liberal stands but also have moderate and conservative stands on other issues.


I do stand up for the little guy, which is why I am a teacher (and the vast majority of teachers do not make the big bucks that those who are anti-union or in favor of whole sale cuts seem to think).


I was raised blue collar.


I respect history, and the differing views on its interpretation.


I read, but also enjoy documentaries and films.


I do not watch "reality" TV because it is not real.


I believe in education, fair medical care (I have preexisting conditions and am insured through my wife's job due to my conditions), and a basic standard of living for all Americans.


I believe that critical thinking, listening skills and an understanding of communication are needed for a free and democratic society.


I believe everyone is entitled to their views, provided they research and take the time to be well reasoned in their beliefs. I will disagree, but it is all in the name of discourse and understanding.


I love acting, theater, teaching, writing and helping other reach their potential.


I never let political or any other difference impact grading or helping students to achieve the grade or goals of their choice. It's a tool, not a goal, and who knows, you may be right and I may be wrong!


-Art Lynch


("This I believe" was a long time radio commentary series on CBS radio and NPR).


Update on CSN Budget Crisis, Henderson may remain open

The latest on the CSN budget situation:

Boulder City and satellite closing centers 

Tuition increases of 13 percent each year.

Reduction of programs

Fewer sections  of required courses and electives.

Increase in class size where possible

Reduction of support staff.

Every effort will be made to keep the Henderson campus open.

Fall 2011 will remain in tact if at all possible, with cuts starting in January 2012.

All this is subject to decisions by the governor, legislature and regents.

Student pressure, protest and contact with legislators is highly encourages, along with extended family and friends. Keep up the pressure.



Letter from one of the Wisconsin 14


Friday's email from Wisconsin Senator Chris Larson:

This is Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson -- and today, I'm heading home to Wisconsin to join the fight in person.

The last three weeks have shown what progressive strength and worker solidarity look like.

My fellow senators and I know that thousands of PCCC members in Wisconsin and across the nation have been fighting right alongside us -- attending rallies, making phone calls, donating to some great TV ads, and telling your friends about the Republican war on workers.

I want to say thank you. I also want to let you know that the fight's not over.

Republicans need to learn what accountability feels like. It's time for Republican senators to be recalled from office.

Wisconsin Republicans brazenly stampeded over the will of the people as they engaged in their right-wing attack on workers.

They shut down the public hearings, they shut down the legislative hotline, they shut down debate in the Assembly in the middle of the night, and they tried to lock citizens out of the Capitol. And on Wednesday night, when they had their last chance at redemption, Republican senators chose to bend the rules and join Governor Walker's war on working families.

The citizens of Wisconsin are rising up and engaging in the democratic process like never before. Recalls of the Republicans are kicking into high gear as clipboards begin to replace protest signs in neighborhoods across the state.
Governor Walker and Republican senators refused to listen to the public -- but now the people will be heard all across the state at the ballot box.

Thanks again for standing with us in solidarity.
-- Senator Chris Larson, Wisconsin's 7th District (Twitter.com/ChrisJLarson)

Cuts in Education Funding serve only the past at the price of a lost future, for students and those who care about their education


It is interesting that the Review Journal and other conservative publications continue to say that 
those in education, including students, are lacking in critical thinking skills. Why? Because they   
do not take into account how hard teachers work, how dedicated they are, how low the pay for 
hours spent and the cost of continuing education, and the added stress of larger class sizes as students 
are increasingly not motivated not to learn, but to be “cool” and “fit in” by the larger marking supported 
social culture. These conservative voices also miss the point that an education that does not leave you 
highly in debt to the company store (Federal  student  loans owed after attending private institutions) 
is to the advantage of future growth not only in American income but in our ever so important consumer 
spending and other ways we, as individuals, drive the overall economy. 

Maybe those writing criticism should be less academic and walk in the shoes of the academics 
they criticize, gaining a closer to the ground real world perspective.

Walk in my shoes. Mine as a part time college teacher  who has gone without benefits for the rewards 
of helping others work toward their potential, with expanding bills and declined property value, living 
as I did when I was in my 20’s, pay source to pay source, check to check. Walk in the shoes of the 
students, who are seeking to reach the education level of their parents or to excel beyond the potential 
of their parents and grandparents. Walk in the shoes of those who want a better life for themselves, 
their families or who seek to help others through professions that require training and an educational 
degree, instead of making cold hard judgments based on your position as a “have” in relation to 
recession generated budget shortages, all theoretical to you but not to struggling students and those 
who believe in them.

Why is the have’s, an increasingly large percentage of those who are not struggling or who have struggles 
related to retirement or issues that do not involve education and a future for themselves, turn their backs 
on the youth , minorities and workers who seek to grow and advance themselves.

With impending crippling budget cuts, that will cause a loss of qualified employees in a wide range of 
professional and service areas, too many Americans are finding easy to make excuses and justify not 
raising their taxes or those of the wealthy individuals or industries that they once held on a pedestal as 
Great American institutions. The key question not being asked is why are you against the future of 
those who will lose if there are deep cuts in education, at any level?

The excuses and arguments are reaching grand and ivory tower levels of arrogance.

So I ask...

What about those who lose their jobs in education and the students who will go without access? 
What future are you imposing on them so you can keep your few extra pennies and protect those who are at the top, earning over a quarter a million dollars a year, or industries that are under taxed while they rape the state of valuable assets?
Just asking.

Sunday Morning News and Views


The triple disaster in Japan dominates the news this morning, as two nuclear plants may be
experiencing potential “China Syndrome” melt downs, the death toll from the Tsunami could
exceed 10,000 and over 900 bodies have been recovered. The fear is additional quakes, with
an aftershock of over 7.2, may hit in the near future unleashing another Tsunami.

Under cover of disaster, with the world watching Japan, Libyan dictator Gadafi is accelerating the
slaughter of his opposition at the hands of his trained and mostly mercenary military. The Arab League
has asked the UN to impose a “no fly zone” but Russia and China remain certain to veto it.
Texting, e-mail, aps and talking are what people use their phones for, in that order. Studies now
show that we are talking less and touching our screens more. Apple’s iTunes dominate the Ap market,
while Android now dominates phones. Apple is proprietary and runs only on Apple products,
while Android is open source. Already Android has been susceptible to conflicts, hacking and freezing,
while Apple pre-approves and shares in the revenue of each ap.  Online gaming is now dominated
by applications, generating far more revenue than all other forms of games sales combined.

Rupert Murdock’s Newcorp has “The Daily”, the first multi-media application only news source,
available exclusively on the iPad. It is already turning a profit.

Happy Birthday Pluto! March 13, 1781 English Astronomer William Hershel discovered the planet
Uranus. In 1846 Neptune, after the God of the Sea, was discovered.  On March 13, 1930, 81 years
ago today Pluto was discovered (named after the God of the Underworld). It led to the Disney dog
Pluto, and the element Plutonium, both named after the “planet.” In 2006 Pluto was declared a
“planetoid”, and  later a “plutoid”. The state of Illinois five years ago, declared this date,
March 13, Pluto Day.

Harry Potter on Broadway? Well not Harry Potter, but its star Daniel Radcliffe, who is singing
and dancing (with an American accent) in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

Eight senators who might have counted on re-election in 2012 have chosen to retire instead.
They include three Republicans who might have been rising to chair committees or top positions
in leadership. Four Democrats and independent Joe Lieberman (who caucus’s with Democrats)
have also announced their “retirement”. The youngest to leave will be 57, the oldest 82, but most
will be what was always the prime of power and knowledge for Senators, going back to the
Ancient Rome, in their early 60’s. Why so young? Most say the loss of civility; the shift toward
a polarized almost parliamentary patrician atmosphere has made governing difficult to almost
impossible. Most say they do not want to put their families through what will be heated and
highly toxic campaigns, including Nevada Senator John Ensign. In Nevada Congressman
Dean Heller is assumed to be the “anointed one” to become the next US Senator, possibly facing Democratic Congresswoman Shelly Berkley in a statewide race where Republicans hold the edge.


Can you believe what you see or hear...the NPR "Sting" Tapes.

On ethics and communication, from Acorn to NPR, one man has led "stings" where out of context
or altered video and audio toppled the opposition and ruined careers (justified or not).

Turn a quote into a statement by removing the attribution. Take away the nature of sarcastic response to statements made by others and the sarcasm disappears, replaced by the inference of agreement.

Several news outlets including Glenn Beck's web site, The Blaze, have called into question the editing and production methods used by James O'Keefe III to produce his NPR sting video. O'Keefe and his
associates secretly filmed NPR's top fund raising executive making critical remarks about the Tea Party
and stating that NPR would be better off without federal funding.

From NPR.Org:


When conservative political activist James O'Keefe released the 11-minute edited version of his secretly recorded video of then-NPR chief fundraiser Ron Schiller slamming conservatives, O'Keefe also posted what he says is the entire two hours' worth of video his undercover team collected.
"Judge for yourself" whether he produced a fair and balanced 11-minute version, O'Keefe said last Tuesday when his tapes hit the Web.
As NPR's David Folkenflik says on Weekend Edition Sunday, conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck's website The Blaze has done some judging and concluded that O'Keefe did make some misleading edits.
The Blaze wrote Thursday that some things O'Keefe did were "editing tactics that seem designed to intentionally lie or mislead about the material being presented." For instance, The Blaze says that in the edited tape "NPR exec Ron Schiller does describe Tea Party members as 'xenophobic ... seriously racist people.' " But, it notes:
"The clip in the edited video implies Schiller is giving simply his own analysis of the Tea Party. He does do that in part, but the raw video reveals that he is largely recounting the views expressed to him by two top Republicans, one a former ambassador, who admitted to him that they voted for Obama.
"At the end, he signals his agreement. The larger context does not excuse his comments, or his judgment in sharing the account, but would a full context edit have been more fair?"
Meanwhile O'Keefe says that "the tape is very honest" because in his opinion it "cuts to the core of who these people are."
The Blaze has also put together a medley of "What You Didn't See" in the edited tape that might add context

Go to Weekend Edition Sunday at NPR to hear the sections of the tape, view video and read more on how the "evidence" so readily believed on the Internet and in the media, was doctored. (click here).