Archive for category political

Les MisBarak

Posted by on Friday, 12 September, 2008

The national campaign office for Barak Obama has just won the ENTIRE FUCKING INTERNET.

If I wasn’t already voting for him, I would vote for him based on this awesome AWESOME piece of awesomeness.

This makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER, and brought a smile to my face while I was dealing with the seething rage that occurred after I learned that Sarah Palin allowed rape victims to be charged for the cost of their rape kit.

*seethes*

Honestly, that’s what did it. I have stated that I really dislike her stances, her beliefs, and her policies, but that one little fact just sends me around the bend. I cant even EXPRESS how angry I am. I might sound calm right now, but trust me, I am not. That is the most disgusting, most VILE thing I have ever heard. To take a woman who has been brutalized, who then has to relive the entire thing verbally AND experience another type of violation in order for the rape kit to be completed, to then be HANDED A BILL for the rape kit? Completely, horrifically unacceptable. Violation on top of violation piled on top of pure utter shit.

I will not be voting for you, Sarah Palin. I will not be voting for you, John McCain.

Your policies overall go against every shred of decency I possess.

Yes, we fucking can.

Standards

Posted by on Thursday, 10 April, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, we had school wide standardized testing. During which I got to administer four separate tests to six different kids, all of whom got accomodations or modifications. Three got the whole test read to them. Four got calculators. All got extra time.

And Im sitting there, listening to the principal remind me us how go about administering and invalidating a test if necessary, and I remember why No Child Left Behind is killing our schools.

No Child Left Behind, by itself, isnt the problem. It’s a nice idea. One hundred percent of our high school kids will graduate high school.

Great.

But, how they’re going about it – the endless standardized testing – is killing kids and schools and teachers.

Teachers are finding their jobs on the line – a school in Chicago has already fired all of their teachers for next year. Fired. ALL OF THEM. The principal wants to start over fresh, with a new group of teachers.

It wont happen.

What will happen is that school will get ever closer to starting, and the school will panic because they dont have the teachers. They’ll rehire whoever will come back, and plug the holes as well as they can. To me, that means teachers who arent qualified, teachers who have little experience in the area they are hired for, teachers who are bitter over their treatment, and who arent going to put effort into it.

Now, dont get me wrong, im hardly a model teacher. Im a slacker who hates paperwork, and currently the special ed secretary has been leaving me death threats because of it. But, Im decent at my job. I am well trained. I work with kids, and I work hard.

Did you know that the very first recommendation from the government for schools who dont make AYP is to fire your current teachers?

AYP is Average Yearly Progress – fail making it too many times, and they shut you down. Failing/Passing AYP is determined by standardized test scores. A certain percentage of all of a schools’ students – including bilingual, including special ed, including new transfers – have to score “Proficient” or higher on the standardized tests.

My school – a school in the middle of the Alaskan bush, where most kids come into kindergarten not knowing their alphabet or how to spell their names, a school where 90% of the kids are considered English Language Learners – my school has never passed AYP. Most of the schools out here dont.

Part of the reason is that the teacher turnover is very high. Teachers spend a year, two years, three years, and then they leave. Tell me, then, if getting a new staff is so helpful, why arent we passing? Why havent we hit AYP?

Those are the easy problems. The problems that can be seen with No Child Left Behind without having to look hard. The other problems are a little more subtle.

Let’s say that a certain percentage of students (I believe it’s 80% of kids) have to measure as “Proficient” on the tests.

Great! You say. Let’s get those test scores up! So, you turn your focus to the lower scoring kids. The kids who try so hard, but don’t have a clue.

No, wait. That isn’t right. You don’t turn your attention to THOSE kids. If you do – I mean, sure you might help them learn something, and their scores might go up, but they won’t go up enough to actually PASS. Don’t focus on those kids.

Focus on the kids in the middle. The kids right on the edge.

The kids who passed are fine, they dont need any help. The kids who failed spectacularly, well, there’s no help for them. It’s these kids, these golden kids right here, that make or break this school.

In theory, it doesnt sound too bad. The kids on the border need help. You help them. The school passes!

But, what about the other kids? What about the kids who dont understand enough of the test to pass it – whether that’s because they have a learning disability, have anxiety about tests, or don’t speak enough English to understand what the questions are asking? What about them? Do they matter?

Most of my kids fall into that lower range. I give them every accommodation I am capable of and everything legally allowed to be given.

Most of them don’t even try, anymore. They already know they’re going to fail. They look around at the other kids – the border kids – the ones who get to come after school and play math and word games on the computers. They look around at the kids who get ice cream for coming to school on test days and awards for passing as “Proficient,” but no one pays a damn bit of attention to the fact this kid went from “Far Below” all the way up to “Below Proficient.”

What do these kids see? What are we teaching our kids? What are we teaching our schools? Our schools are learning how to cheat the system, how to pass kids at any cost, how to invalidate test scores, how to refuse a new student’s entry to school until after the test window.

Is this what we want?

Ashley X

Posted by on Sunday, 7 January, 2007

For those of you who missed the story of Ashley X and her “revolutionary” new treatment to make her disabled life better, Ill give you a quick run down.

Ashley is a nine year old girl, whose parents decided to remove her uterus and breast buds, as well as giving her extreme hormone therapy to keep her small and portable.

No, really. That isnt a joke.

The parents’ site is here, and goes into much more detail of their rationalizations and the whats and whys.

Their main argument, and really, I cant fault their reasoning, is that these procedures will make Ashley’s quality of life better – by keeping her small, she can be more easily moved and can therefore stay at home and participate in family activities. I can see that the family just wants what is best for her. I can. Truely, I can.

But I find this whole idea horrific.

Removal of the uterus was done to prevent her from having a period, which would be difficult to keep her clean during.

Ok, I can see that. Ive worked with severely disabled teenage girls, and, trust me, them having their period was no picnic.

Removal of the breast buds was done to make her more comfortable, as the family is prone to large breasts. Breasts would make the chest straps on her bathing chair and her stroller much more difficult to fasten, and would rub uncomfortably on Ashley. The other reason is to reduce her sexual appeal, so her caregivers wont sexually abuse her.

Ok, sure. I can get that. All of it.

But, then, there come all of the other thoughts. On one hand, as a SpEd teacher, I know how difficult it is sometimes to work and care for kids OR adults with severe/profound issues. One the other hand, WHAT THE FUCK?!

My main, main concern is this whole mess is choice.

Supposedly, Ashley has the mentality of a 3 month old, and cannot roll over, walk, talk, or hold a toy.

Prove it.

Not the lack of physical ability, but show me that she is mentally three months old.

You know what? You cant.

Why?

Because Ashley is completely nonverbal, and has no way to communicate. Without the ability to comminicate, how can we have any idea what her level of cognitive processing is? How do you evaluate it?

As far as I know (and I know there is much I dont know), you cant.

Ashley might have a lot more going on upstairs then we know about. If you look at the pictures of her on her parents’ site, she smiles, she makes some eye contact, she interacts. Her parents say she loves music and has a favorite musician. She likes watching tv.

My other issues have alot to do with the extremes gone to by the parents/doctors in the “Ashley Treatment.”

Removal of the uterus to prevent menustration?

Arent there medications that can do that? Maybe the implanted birth control? If its a birth control concern (and it might be, there is an article I cant find about a woman being sexually assaulted while in a coma/vegitative state, and her family being denied an abortion. Will look for it. ETA: Found it, check bottom of post) Why such an invasive procedure?

Why full removal of her breasts? Wouldnt the addition of all those hormones slow her breast growth anyway?

Why the extreme hormones? Do we even know what effect that might have on her later in life? Her parents state that they chose the hormones as they have been used since the 1970′s to prevent very tall girls from topping 6feet and limiting their marriage prospects, so they knew it was safe. Um..Im not even sure which direction to approach that one from.

Mostly though, they desire to keep Ashley a child (and yes, that is exactly what they are doing) is because:

Furthermore, given Ashley’s mental age a nine and a half year old body is more appropriate and more dignified than a fully grown female body.

Why is it more dignified? Why is it more “right” for her to be 40 and the size and shape of a child, than it is for her to be a 40 year old in the body of a woman?

Other people have said things much better than I can, and with much more perspective than i. Have some links. I encourage you to check them out.

Disability/Sexuality and Ashley

Did I miss something?, on medical ethics and disabilities

WIMN’s Voices examines the problem of disability and choice

Gender and disability brings up some very good points, including whether this would have been acceptable to the medical community (or even thought of by the parents) if Ashley had been male.

There are many more links that I am still working my way through, so if you come across more, pass them my way.

Any thoughts on this are also welcome.

Side note: For an interesting look at autism and someone who was misdiagnosed as severely retarded, check out Autism is a World. Its controversial, but very interesting.

ETA: The article I was looking for, about the disabled woman being denied an abortion is here. I was wrong, she wasnt in a coma, but she does have seizures, CP and autism. Oh, and the mental abilities of a one year old. Thanks, Jeb Bush!

Has anyone heard of a resolution on this one?

Damn It South Dakota

Posted by on Saturday, 18 March, 2006

Seriously, the stupidity is spreading.

So, it started with South Dakota, banning any and all abortions.

We wont discuss the one “exception” that was offered, because it makes me so angry i could spit.

But now, lets all go read the bill that Georgia offers to ban abortion.

now, abortion is a highly controversial topic, and if you dont agree with me, thats fine.

but, jeeze, READ the stupidity in this bill!

Abortion results in increased tobacco smoking…Abortion exploits women, treating them and their children as mere property, and abortion is contrary to feminist values…

*grimace*

I just…gah.

I love how numbers from studies are quoted, but the studies arent named or made available. and its “one study says,” not, “repeated studies show.” as far as im concerned, in all my fun years of research papers, one study doesnt prove a damn thing.

look, i might not ever get an abortion, never even really think about it, for ME. but thats ME and i wont make decisions for the rest of the world.

write your reps and your senators, like im about to do. i dont care that i live in colorado now. i grew up in Georgia, and i cant just let this time pass. i didnt say anything about South Dakota, and i wish i had. obviously, it started a trend.

Sandra Dee

Posted by on Sunday, 3 July, 2005

Ive been avoiding thinking too hard about Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement, because i feel a little queasy when i think about it too hard.

reading this post helped give me some perspective.

Bush has held up Thomas and Scalia as model judges, and their track records are, well, troublesome at best. Thomas, for instance, feels that the Establishment Clause (… ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’) is not to separate church and state, but to protect the right of the state to declare a state religion and form a state-wide theocratic government. (Elk Grove Unified School Dist vs. Newdow, concurring opinion.)

Ive made it no secret that i DO NOT like Bush or his policies. I dont like that we are involved in a war that we have no justification for. i dont like that he thought about writing prejudice into the constitution. and thats just the tip of the iceburg.

but, god, who are we going to have step up into O’Connor’s place?

im terrified that we are going to start going BACKWARD.

but what steps can we take to help here? i refuse to believe there is nothing we can do about it. Meghan supports writing your reps, which is a good start, but then what?

Anyone?

Bueller?

Pardon the Politics

Posted by on Monday, 31 January, 2005

i really need to stop writing about politics, as this is a personal, and not a political blog. that, and politics gives me hives.

but.

i dont know how to feel just yet about the Iraq elections. ive heard odd things, like people’s food rations were to be cut if you didnt vote; and good things, like a large percentage of the population voting. all the newspapers are very “yay democracy!” and i just dont know..

i cant remember at this point how the guys running were picked. did we pick them? because that does not equal democracy. did we let the people pick? was it based on money, as it seems our elections are? (guy running has to have the moola to run the election, i mean, not that they are buying their way in).

im just..confused. and im concerned about what will happen now. i dont support the war, i never have. because i think our soldiers have no need to die for something that WASNT EVER THERE.

but, i did find a link to a State of the Union drinking game, which looks like fun. sadly, i do not drink of the alcohol, so i will be playing with dr pepper. which takes much of the fun out.

Humane Kindness

Posted by on Wednesday, 27 October, 2004

Terrorists Groups Do Not Qualify for the Geneva Conventions

*sputter*

what?

i was under the (obviously mistaken) impression that the Geneva Conventions were created to protect all people from inhumane acts..such as being raped, beaten, tortured, forced to strip naked and taken pictures of and mocked. you know, to treat all people like people.

obviously, i was wrong. the US does not see terrorists, or anyone who might be a terrorist, as a human.

my mistake.

Blind Leading the Blind

Posted by on Monday, 25 October, 2004

In today’s paper, while I was getting irritable with the amount of coverage the president’s visit to Greality is getting, i read something that made me stop and say, “the hell?”

this year will be the very first year that people who are blind can vote without needing a sighted friend to help them.

do what?

I can get books on tape, most computers can EASILY be adapted to fit the needs of the blind (large screen for vision loss, scanning equipment that reads pages out loud, ebook readers that read information orally, programs like dragon that require speaking and not typing, to give a few), but we have never been able to adapt voting equipment to give blind people the option to vote easily as they should be able to?

and its usually not a friend or neighbor who had to help either, it was a poll worker. there is a nice article here about trust issues and how this will affect things.
Now, the candidates and the issues are on audio tape, with some kind of push button select system. it also has a way of skipping all the additional info on an issue, much like most voters skip the insanely long legalese discriptions in writing.

this really shouldnt surprise me, i guess.

people with disabilities are about 20 percent less likely to vote than those without disabilities because of various barriers at the polling place. Had those barriers been removed, there might have been as many as 4.6 million additional voters in 1998.

so i just spent half an hour discussing the importance of voting with my students. all of whom, interestingly enough, are disabled. i think i scared them a little.

what are the laws concerning voters with disabilities? can they be prevented from voting if they dont have a high enough IQ? or if they cant talk?

i have one student who, to look at her, you would think she would be severely cognatively impacted by her disabilities. Using her DynaVox, she can write her own sentences, and using the scanning option and a switch, can write with her vox, and her knee.

one of my students insisted she could not vote, because she was too severely disabled.

do you know the laws concerning disabilities in your community? I encourage you to check them out. Some of them are pretty interesting.

Presidential Reality

Posted by on Monday, 25 October, 2004

So, the president is in my town today.

Now, for people who live in large cities – Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, New York – this might be a common occurance.

But i live in CowTown, Colorado. and an acting president has not been through here in over 75 years.

Naturally, this has lead to some interesting things. Lots of arguements, for one. Lots of rolled eyes, from me. and a student attempting to bribe me into voting for Bush, with a “what do you have against him, anyway?”

oh, let me think. im sure i can come up with something.

but, i had heard that he was coming through to help influence the undecideds. Really? The Undecideds? then why wont you let them into the rally, huh?

This guy is an undecided, and not only did he have trouble with getting tickets, but he comments on three UNC students who were seriously hasseled about getting tickets.

the article i wanted isnt online yet, but its NOT a letter to an editor, but does talk about UNC students getting hasseled about tickets. in it, when a kid is asked if he supports Bush, and he replies negatively, the woman behind the counter, “gets very upset” and can not give him tickets.

Why does it sound like Bush and Co is fighting against UNC students? Especially the undecideds. Has Bush discovered that hostility to young people either A) scares them out of voting or B) causes them to vote for him later?

i was asked why I wasnt down at Island Grove today. As a UNC student, a non-Bush supporter, I think it would be pretty clear that I wouldnt be able to get tickets. And as much fun as it could have been to go down and protest, I had a meeting early this morning, so i couldnt call in sick.

and besides, I didnt want to have to make the infamous, “Hi Dad. I’m in jail” call that it seems protesters get to make.

I really dont get it.

Ive heard Bush speak before, believe it or not. Both Bush and Gore came and did rallies at my college campus during the 2000 elections. Which was also weird, because it was Bumble, South Carolina. No tickets were needed, and no one was asked what party you supported in order to get in.

I find it very interesting that, with Bush, you have to be a commited Bush supporter to get into the rallies. With Kerry, you have to give your zip code.

And that, Mr President, kid who cant believe i would vote against Bush, is one of the reasons why you dont have my vote.

One Handbasket, Please

Posted by on Friday, 22 October, 2004

*snickers*

im going to hell for this. but go look anyway!

its not mine, but havent you always wanted to know what the Sims get up to when left on their own?

lets take this one step further…if you forced Kerry and Bush to live together, what would happen?

The Sims will tell you all.

be afraid.

Six Years

Posted by on Tuesday, 12 October, 2004


THE ULTIMATE SILENCE
October 12, 1998

Six years ago today, Matthew Shepard was murdered for being homosexual.

What will you do to end the silence?

Click here to post this on your own page or weblog

Click This

Posted by on Monday, 11 October, 2004

Go here and practice using the new electronic ballets. This one takes come practice.

but it made me laugh out loud after an absolutly miserable day, so give it a shot.