Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Do We Admire Lies?

I think we can all agree that politicians tell outright lies. Sadly, the consequences for lying to us are minimal to none. Recently the Plain Dealer reported that corrections of misinformation frequently fail to change people's minds and sometimes makes things worse. There are many fact-checker organizations and the PD has one called Politifact.

The Ohio Republican state treasurer and aspiring US Senator, Josh Mandel, has received three of the Politifact Ohio's seven most recent "Pants on Fire"rulings. Of his 14 statements evaluated on the Truth-O-Meter since 2010, six have been deemed "mostly false", False, or "Pants-on-fire". But no one seems to care as he travels quickly up the political ladder.

Politicians of all parties have been lying since the beginning of the republic. My question is - Why do we believe them? The PD article said that "most people don't base their opinions on the accumulation of factual material...instead, people will weigh their own values and discussions with others when formulating opinions."

A commercial playing frequently in the area is of the perfect Pat Boone. He states that an in pendent payment advisory board created by the health care law "can ration care and deny certain Medicare treatments." It's a complete "Pants-on-Fire", a completely made-up lie - but still it plays daily to people who want a reason to be angry and fearful of their future.

The truth is that people believe what they want to believe and from the number of ridiculous emails that float around it's clear that very few people check their facts.

To me, it's like the person on the witness stand who says something, and even though the judge overrules the objection - the jury already heard it.

Too bad people who are supposed to represent us don't have the decency to tell the truth or stand on their own merits.

But yeah, I know - that's in my dream world, isn't it?

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Sun, Wind and Tide

We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy - sun, wind and tide ... I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.

Thomas Edison

Thursday, March 22, 2012


In deep nights I dig for you
like treasure.
For all I have seen
that clutters the surface
of my world
is a poor and paltry substitute
for the beauty of you
that has not happened yet.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, March 18, 2012


In the wake of the awful Limbaugh debacle and listening to so much uncivil discourse in the political realm I was glad to read a couple articles in this week's Sunday paper about civility and integrity.
James Calvin David, a professor and author says,
Wouldn't it be nice if we could talk about these issues with some civility? Civility means the exercise of patience, integrity, humility and mutual respect in conversation, even (and especially) with those with whom we disagree.

Civility does not require us to retreat from our convictions, but it does ask us to engage people who disagree with us and truly listen to what they have to say. It asks us to consider modestly the ways our own perspectives might be shortsighted, misinformed or hurtful. Above all, it demands that we express our convictions without demonizing those who hold other views.

American politics is now almost devoid of civility, and many of us think the vitriol is hurting our national community.

David also points out that those who are (rudely) calling for Christian values might remember that the virtues of civility are the same as the New Testament's Fruits of the Spirit - patience, integrity, humility, respect for example.

Right under this article was one on Ronald Reagan, still considered a hero and icon of the Republican party. The author, Mike Collins, states:

Problem is, those who most fervently claim to adhere to Ronald Reagan's principles don't seem to understand Reagan's greatest principle: decency.

As a man, Ronald Reagan had a sunny optimism and faith in the goodness of his fellow Americans. While his political opponents disagreed with him over policy, he did not consider them his enemies. He viewed them as his fellow citizens, and right or wrong, he valued them. He was a true gentleman.

If some Americans now are so intent on trying to force us all back into the way things used to be - maybe they should be intent on emulating the decency, civility, good will and patriotism that was Ronald Reagan.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Did You Know???

I just spent two days at a training for my school building to become an accredited International Baccalaureate (IB)school. IB is a worldwide movement that promotes global learning and student learning from their own inquiry and discoveries. It's very involved, but to me it looks like it may put some joy back in the learning process after over a decade of making learning (and teaching) only preparing to take tests. We still have to give tests, but IB concepts have spread throughout the world for the past several decades and is now spreading through the US.

The following is text from a video you can view on You Tube if you'd prefer. It closely relates to this way of learning. Either way it's worth knowing.

If you're 1 in a million in China there are 1300 people just like you.

China will soon become the #1 English speaking country in the world.

The 25% of India's population with the highest IQs is greater than the total population of the US - translated - India has more honors kids than the US has kids.

The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004.

We are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist, using technologies that haven't been in invented in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet.

The US Department of Labor estimates that today's learners will have 10-14 jobs by the age 38.

1 in 4 workers has been with their current employers for less than a year. One in two have been there less than 5 years.

1 out of 8 married couples married in the US last year met online.

The #1 ranked country in Broadband Internet Penetration is Bermuda. US is #19, Japan #22.


There are 31 billion searches on Google every month. In 2006 this number was 2.7 billion.

The first commercial text message was sent on December 1992. Today the number of text messages sent and received everyday exceeds the total population of the planet.

Years it took to reach a market audience of 50 million:
Radio - 38 years.
TV - 13 years
Internet - 4 years
Ipod - 3 years
Facebook - 2 years

There are about 540,000 words in the English language - about 5X as many as during Shakespeare's time.

It is estimated that a week's worth of the New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime on the 18th century.

The amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years.

For students starting a 4 year technical degree this mean that half of what they learning their first year will be outdated by their 3rd year.

By 2013 a supercomputer will be built that exceeds the computational capabilities of the human brain.

While reading this 67 babies were born in the US. 274 babies were born in China. 395 were born in India ----and 694,000 songs were downloaded illegally.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

If Only.....

The epic novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude" (1967) is one of my favorite books. It is lovely and magical and beautifully written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He also wrote "Love in the Time of Cholera"(1985).

I recently read this quote by Marquez and, as a wanna-be writer, just said "Ahhhhh... if only."

People spend a lifetime thinking about how they would really like to live. I wish my life could have been like the years when I was writing "Love in the Time of Cholera". I would get up at 5:30 or 6 in the morning. I need only six hours of sleep. Then I quickly listened to the news. I would read from 6 to 8 because if I don't read at that time I won't get around to it anymore. I lose my rhythm. Someone would arrive at the house with fresh dish or lobster or shrimp caught nearby. Then I would write from 8 til 1. By midday, Mercedes would go to the beach and wait for me with my friends. I never quite knew who to expect;there were always people coming and going. After lunch I had a little siesta. And when the sun started going down I would go out on the street to look for places where my characters would go, to talk to people and pick up language and atmosphere. So the next morning I would have fresh material I had brought from the streets.

Ahhhhh.... if only, right?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Haikus by Diane

Slashes of scarlet
birds in a mass of gray twigs
at rest in the cold

Amidst the purple
clouds like spilled ink in the sky
then peach-pink of dawn

Deer huddle in snow
silhouetted in stark white
just head and ears now.

This shell, this vessel
can succeed or disappoint
fighting fat daily

Many years gone by
I believe much more in that
which I cannot see

In my creation
a solitary journey
to heights unknown

Brought to each new day
fellowship in mere living
survival of love