Sunday, June 28, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
A true innovator, Jackson took the music video from its infancy to an art form. His video Thriller exploded onto the music scene, and music videos have never been the same since then, practically creating the MTV network. For all of his controversy...for all of the drama, when it came to composing music, singing, dancing and entertaining, Michael Jackson was without peer.
His career started at a very early age (5), arguably robbing him of his entire childhood, which undoubtedly resulted in his fascination with carnival rides and all things childlike. He sought love and lost, he sought friends and found predators, he sought privacy and a sense of normalcy, and his immense talent precluded that possibility.
Sadly, he attempted to rebound after experiencing a tumultuous decade before his death; he died as lonely as he was financially challenged in relative terms for an iconic international recording star. They say bad news travels in threes. Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett, and now the stunning news of the death of Michael Jackson, at the age of 50.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Who is he? He is Congressman Coburn, the "roomie" of John Ensign, who sat quietly bye on his high horse while his roommate and colleague had an adulterous affair with the wife of his top staffer. He is the man who knew about Ensign’s affair for 16 months and maintained his silence so it would not become public.
“Our culture that too often glorifies promiscuous sex without consequences should not be surprised by this scandal,” Congressman Coburn declared at the height of impeachment proceedings targeting President Bill Clinton for lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. “The tragic consequences of the president's behavior should prompt us to reassert the high moral standards that form the foundation of our freedom.”
In October 2007, when Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) announced he would finish his term after pleading guilty to soliciting sex with an undercover cop in a bathroom stall, Coburn joined Ensign and a number of other Republican senators in calling for Craig’s immediate resignation. “He ought to keep his word,” Coburn rumbled. Now, with Ensign is at the center of an embarrassing sex scandal, Coburn has affected an unusually tolerant tone. His transformation from anti-sex crusader to adultery enabler has been overnight.
Coburn: "If you look at it in the light of everybody makes errors, at least he fessed up and resolved the problem with his family, so I think it speaks well of his corrective force." Trouble was his "corrective forces" did not come into play until he heard that the husband of the woman he had an affair with was speaking with various news sources about the affair, and was about to explode onto the national media scene. Their are unconfirmed reports Mr. Hampton was asking for money from the Senator as well.
Ensign spokesman Tory Mazzola claimed that Doug Hampton, the husband of the woman Ensign had an affair with last year, tried to demand money from the senator before Ensign revealed the affair earlier this week. In a statement obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Mazzola wrote "Within the past month, Doug Hampton's legal counsel made exorbitant demands for cash and other financial benefits on behalf of his client." Mazzola went on to say the "outrageous demand was referred to Senator Ensign's legal counsel."
The woman with whom Ensign had the affair is Cindy Hampton, 46, a campaign treasurer for two committees connected to the senator. Her husband, Doug Hampton served as an administrative assistant on Ensign's Senate staff. Neither have worked for Ensign since May 2008. The senator acknowledged the affair continued until August 2008.
After leaving his post, Hampton, 47, quickly landed jobs with companies associated with the senator. He worked briefly for a consulting firm founded by Ensign's closest adviser, Mike Slanker. His biggest client was a Las Vegas-based airline whose executives have contributed generously to Ensign over the years.
Allegiant Air chief executive Maurice Gallagher and his wife have contributed more than $86,000 to Ensign's campaign and political action committees, federal records show. Hampton later joined Allegiant Air in August 2008 and is currently vice president of government affairs, a company spokeswoman said. Mazzola said Thursday that the senator made calls recommending Hampton for work after he left the Senate office.
Interesting timing. He calls off the affair in August, the same time Mr. Hampton gets a high paying cushy job with one of the Senators top financial supporters. So much for conservative values, and high moral standards they so vehemently demand of others. I am so sick of the political deviates speaking one thing, and doing another, I could puke. Bill O'Reilly and his deviate phone calls. Rush Limbaugh and his drug addiction. Larry Craig and his gay BS in a public bathroom stall (denied to this very day "I am not gay...I have never been gay"). Now these two eggheads and their freaky-dicky apartment o'sin.
Isn't it time these public figures come down from their high horses and soften their stances a mite? Just once I would like someone to come clean to the public and tell them it is none of their business. I think the perfect opportunity would have been with President Clinton, who opted out, preferring to lie under oath about the Lewinsky affair (outstanding choice, Mr. Prez). At least I can take solace in the fact that Clinton never would have dared to claim he was of high moral character like these two jarheads. And so it goes......
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Added to these issues, North Korea is openly threatening its emerging nuclear capabilities, along with actively staging test launching, much to the worlds chagrin. Worse yet, they have imprisoned two American journalists, leaving little doubt of their defiance for the United States super-powerdom.
What had hoped to be an improvement in overseas perceptions to the United States standing in the world with the election of Barack Obama has been marginally effective at best. Obama addressed these issues with a speech in Cairo targeted towards the Muslim world, which was favorably received. He mixed apologies for our nations actions with strong words to the Muslim world, in an unprecedented address which quoted from the Bible, the Talmud and the Quran.
Despite initial attempts by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, the world continues to be a very unstable place. The Times photo above depicts violent protests from Iranians over a clearly staged, unfair election which delivered another election victory for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Clearly, it is too soon to expect any real change in the world with the election (and detente) of Obama. But, was is it naive to believe that he can make any substantive headway at all? Was it naive of us to think that his "Obama effect," engaging people with dignity, respect, candor and a basic understanding that our fates are fundamentally intertwined and linked, could make a dent in centuries old perceptions and hatreds? Perhaps.
But many believe, including myself, that he may be our best chance...indeed our only chance at correcting the damage of the previous administration. There is little doubt that because of Obama, we began the year living in an era of unprecedented optimism, one where we hoped it was not unreasonable for us to expect that he would take his strategy of strength, integrity, and candid engagement to, at the very least, begin to open discussions with all foreign leaders and regimes to affect positive change.
But this period of optimism, this hope for our futures, this post election Obama effect will indeed be short-lived each additional day we cannot separate the Obama administrations actions, from the previous administrations. The nation, and the world is waiting for rhetoric to morph into action. So far, all we have gotten for our troubles is "just words."
And that is the world....the "World According to Kimba." Thanks for reading.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
This is the question raised....the real world question being tried by the Equity Project (link). Let's start with their mission statement...
How? First, all TEP teachers earn a $125,000 salary, plus an annual bonus of up to $25,000.
A bold initiative, to be sure. But this is not theory. This is going to be tried and evaluated, poked and prodded in their first initiative, a 480 student middle school in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City that will open in September 2009.
Will they receive a line of applicants around the block? Of course they will. But not just any teacher will be eligible, they have set a rigorous set of qualifications necessary in order to be considered for hire; expert subject-area knowledge, teaching expertise and experience, strong curriculum development ability, and finally, outstanding verbal ability.
How will the applicants demonstrate their abilities in these areas? By submitting two of the following: (1) an unedited video clip of a lesson, accompanied by a written narrative that analyzes and reflects upon the teaching and learning that occurs in the lesson, (2) a portfolio of student work that demonstrates the progress of 2 specific students, accompanied by a written narrative that analyzes the progress that each student demonstrates, or (3) assessment data for at least one entire class of students accompanied by a written narrative that provides background on the assessments and analyzes the data.
Stringent requirements you say? There's more....the submission of one additional piece of evidence of any form demonstrating student learning, an essay describing personal pedagogical beliefs and approach, and a day-long teaching audition (either in the candidate’s classroom or in a TEP classroom).
Whether or not it fully succeeds, the Equity Project school is a truly groundbreaking experiment that will help children nationally as school systems struggle for ways to draw the best teachers to the toughest teaching environments. The Equity Project's basic paradigm is that excellent teachers are more valuable to society than smaller classes or new classroom technologies and therefore should be highly compensated. Implementation of that concept is long overdue.
Innovative? Try this on for size. The principal will actually make less money than the teachers, with a principal position making $90,000.00 per year. Do I think it will succeed? I hope so. With a little innovation, a little public support and the best educators money can buy, I think this idea has the potential to take the educational system by storm. Only time will tell.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Several nuclear experts argued that any dangers from the disclosure were minimal, given that the general outlines of the most sensitive information were already known publicly.