Nothing wrong with bad mornings if the nights are all good… unless you gotta serve a breakfast. 


Lauren Peralta is clearly not a morning person.

Part of a series of photos documenting the Lauren Peralta that most people don’t see. The messy, weird, compulsive, unattractive stressed out, tired me. Enjoy.

For all my girl-crushes… likin’ what you see? ;D

Ok, I’ll do the Godwin thing, but it really is called for…

Back in the late 1920s, a nutty German fringe group teeming over with separatists, racists, economic cranks and violent thugs was given a platform to address the nation by Hugenberg, the largest media proprietor. He gave the groups vast slabs of his papers and airtime because he knew that this movement could attract people to a conservative movement that was otherwise discredited by its failed military adventures and indifference to poverty. The combination would not have achieved much, however, if the ruling centre-left social-democrats had not sacrificed the pensions of the people in the name of austerity.

Oh yeah, they also labelled all their enemies “secret jews”. These guys are dangerous. But they won’t be stopped as long as the democrats fail to harness the anger that is out there. I think the only chance the democrats have is if they come after the Koch brothers and their teabagger pets with all guns blazing, and force the republicans to ally openly with the cretins or disavow them entirely. “Taking their concerns on board”, like Obama did re the mosque controversy, only encourages them, and drives the polity ever further right.

HumanResource –

Dear Oprah,

I teach. Given, I teach at university level, but I’ve been teaching for several years — about 20, to be exact. And I’ve seen the changes that No Child Left Behind — and your beloved testing — have made in my students. None of the changes are good: students want to be spoon-fed (they are in testing environments); students want to do only what will get them high grades. The list is long and sad.

I also direct a non-profit federally funded professional development grant for teachers, pre-k to university, the Oklahoma State University Writing Project. It’s the local site of the National Writing Project, an amazing partnership among research universities, classroom teachers, and schools. Not to mention the inclusion of parents and students. All of these voices are absent in the current national conversation.

Oprah, let me tell you about Oklahoma teachers and their classrooms. Many of my friends and colleagues at the high school level have more than 170-200 students in their classrooms. Do you think a student is worth 10 minutes a week from his/ her teacher? Outside of the classroom? Do you think a “good” teacher should spend that much time on weekly grading — 10 minutes a student? Please do the math: that would mean another 83+ hours weekly, Oprah — outside of classroom. IF each student receives 10 minutes of attention on his or her work outside the classroom.

“Don’t they have plan periods?” I hear people ask. No, many don’t. “Plan periods” went the way of smaller classrooms — there are too many school duties: hall monitors, cafeteria duty, mandated professional development that has nothing to do with the school’s demographics. And even if they did, that’s less than five hours weekly…

And yes, good teachers work a lot of outside hours. Unfortunately, in Oklahoma (where our average teacher salary ranks 47th in the country), many teachers need to take part-time jobs. Does this impact their teaching? Certainly. It also impacts the ability for a single mother of two or three children to put food on the table and pay the rent. Do you want teachers to spend more time on students? Lower classroom size — hire more teachers. And pay them competitive salaries — competitive with other career paths requiring a minimum of a bachelor?s degree. Even nurses (another under-rated career) make more than teachers do.

You don’t want teachers to have tenure? Then figure out a way that a principal in a small town (like, say, Skiatook, Okla.) will be unable to fire teachers s/he doesn’t like. Not because the teacher is ‘bad,’ but because the teacher attends the wrong church. Or maybe doesn’t attend church at all. Small towns — and big ones, as well — have politics, Oprah. And surprise: they affect every decision in a school, even to the detriment of teachers.

Tenure doesn’t keep bad teachers in the system — there are ways, as others have noted, to fire teachers. Your guest, Michele Rhee, notes that she fired hundreds. Many had tenure. And many probably weren’t bad teachers, unfortunately. Ms. Rhee, who once thought it was okay to tape students’ mouths shut?? She’s now in charge of evaluating schools? Let me tell you, Oprah, I teach pre-service teachers, in addition to my job directing a NWP site. Not ONE of my students would think that’s okay.

You can’t fire a doctor without just cause, Oprah — there’s a system. Is that ‘tenure’? Or trying to be sure that in this ostensible democracy, we have the right to confront our ‘accuser,’ and hear what is being said about us. Each year in Tulsa, Okla., new teachers don’t make the grade. Even in the third year of teaching, we let teachers who don’t work out go. Unfortunately, we lose an enormous number of teachers — good ones — who can’t deal with the incredibly complicated paperwork, the overtime demands, the lack of time to do what they went to school for: teach.

I wish someone who knew even a little bit about real classrooms, the heart-breaking challenges teachers face daily (teachers spend an average of $400 annually, out of their own meager salaries, to equip their rooms), had a national forum. I wish one of your guests was a real teacher. John Legend? Really? Come on, Oprah, I don’t try to tell John Legend how to make music; he’s going to tell me about teaching? Or perhaps you’re stereotyping? Instead of John Legend, why don’t you have Pedro Noguera, who wrote a stunning book discussing the problems black males face in the system (The Trouble with Black Boys)? Or Mike Rose, who’s worked for decades with working class, side-lined students and schools of America? Or Diane Ravitch, who recanted her support of NCLB because it not only doesn’t work, it harms students?? And Race to the Top is simply an Obama-ised NCLB, I’m sorry to say.

Why don’t you, with your great forum for change, invite real classroom teachers to talk about what it’s like to teach homeless students with no resources (students or teachers)? Why don’t you ask my son, who recently graduated with a Master’s of Arts in teaching, what it’s like to teach students living in foster homes for drug abuse, rape — both victims and perpetrators — violence, assault? Why don’t you ask him how he struggles to be a “good” teacher? And wonders — daily — what that even means in the context where he finds himself?

If you want to change education, Oprah, don’t make the mistake everyone else has. Ask teachers. Would you have a conversation about the national state of medicine and health care without asking for the input of doctors, nurses and patients? And yet we have left parents, teachers and students completely out of this critical talk.

If you want real change, invite real teachers to your show, Oprah. The irony is that the conversation seems to valourise teachers, saying that “good” teachers can change things for kids. So can smaller classrooms, food, adequate resources, the freedom to teach according to a child’s needs. But then, that’s not what the “experts” are saying, is it? Unfortunately, the “experts” have no real experience with students. Or teaching. Or classrooms. They only know how to tell the teachers in the trenches what to do?

Wondering how in the world education came to this pass,

Britton Gildersleeve

Britton Gildersleeve

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-09-26

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Above and beyond the class warfare pointed out by others – the irony of Wal-Mart discussing food stamps and welfare is almost too much for me to handle.

We might not be so bad off if Wal-Mart didn’t pay the bare minimum wage, lock people into part time hours to avoid paying benefits and they weren’t actively fighting unionization every single inch of the way – all while exporting the vast majority of their production and manufacturing to China, or pushing domestic suppliers so hard they go bankrupt trying to meet Wal-Mart’s demands. ! person in 120 directly works for Wal-Mart in the US. ! in 3 shops there. If it was a nation it’d be the 21st largest economy. Talk about your fuckin’ cyberpunk fiction burbclaves – it has more political and financial power then more then half of the countries in the UN. People actually live in Wal-Mart parking lots in RVs while cruising from Wal-Mart lot to Wal-Mart lot. They just need to set up some coffin hotels or HUD-sponsored low income housing and they can close the loop.

I can’t help but read this as “Well, food stamps are money, too. Let’s wring ‘em for everything they’ve got.” I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if I learned they withheld from operating or starting sale prices long after the 1st of the month to maximize every penny.

On a side note – waiting around Wal-Mart for your foodstamps or welfare benefits to kick in at midnight sounds insanely depressing. I’ve been there – not at a Wal-Mart – but I’ve been there. What really sucks is when they don’t drop when they’re supposed to or there’s an error or other delay. Think about it. You’re broke. You’re hungry. Maybe you have hungry, noisy kids with you up way past their bedtime. You just spent an hour carefully shopping for the best balance of the cheapest, most decent food you can find. You’re trying to do math and compare notes in your head and make important choices while hungry and shaky and then you go to check out and… “Wha… what do you mean my card is declined?”



Formula ain’t cheap.

That’s on the retail end. It doesn’t cost very much to make, and it’s so regulated that the cheapest brand is nearly chemically identical to the most expensive.

Know what? It’s bullshit that people are gathered at midnight on Check Day to buy it. If there’s one thing that the government should be able to provide, it’s baby formula. Free formula to everyone who needs it. Take two drops out of the bucket of defense spending and give a generous supply of formula to every month to every child that needs it.

Who the hell could be against the government feeding babies? Oh right, Nestle. And they have money to buy congressmen and poor babies don’t.

Mayor Curley