Category Archives: The Wonderful World of Thinking

Critical Thinking and Educational Issues

Draft Dodging Donald & War Hawk Hillary

Here we are less than two months away from the presidentia election and Draft Dodging Donald is somehow exposed as the worse “human bean”– cuz he’s recorded saying apparent vulgarities such as “grabbing pussy” and “on it like a bitch”.

trump

It wasn’t his hateful accusations about Muslims, or indictments against Mexicans or how there are too many “Pigs, slobs and dogs”  aka unattractive bitches.   What really turned up the heat on the Trump campaign is his recorded disregard for women and disrespectful boastfulness that he likes to call “locker room talk”.   Are we really surprised?

Then there’s the newest installment of  Wikleaks highlighting even more disturbing details regarding unethical practices and a racist culture inside the Clinton Campaign.  Some will say, “no one is perfect” but holy crap the level of corruption Clinton’s Campaign apparently is well versed on bending the rules to play the game and win.

After watching tonight’s debate am I suppose to feel good about the direction our country is headed because I definitely don’t feel good.   160926-debate-start-5-feature

Neither candidate can provide the type of leadership our country deserves.  Trump and Hillary are both corporatists.  They’re loyal to corporations not to people.

The only future these two candidates are able to provide will be more wars, more financial corruption and more enslavement to low earning jobs which will exploit the working class brown people.

unknownI’m voting for Dr. Jill Stein.   I know there are people that say, “Voting third party is irresponsible and dangerous”.

My friend or amigo let me delicately state: You have been fully indoctrinated by corporate America. You have swallowed their propaganda and you continue to justify your anti third party argument believing Hillary Clinton is the only solution and Donald Trump will wreck our country.   You are –what I refer to as–a delusional pragmatist.  Hillary Clinton is not a leader.  She doesn’t defend or protect the working class as a matter of fact she is a war profiteer and has a pretty snug relationship with Wall Street.  Trump is no better  and just based on his temperament he is a certifiable “mental case”.

This Presidential Election we should come together and support Dr. Jill Stein.  If not now?  When?

Breaking News: Bernie!

President Obama just announced “I’m with Her” which comes as no surprise.

Sander’s conversation today with President Obama “was a friendly conversation…about our future” stated Press Secretary Josh Earnest.  He continued, “Sanders was able to inspire many people” and highlighted how can Obama and Sanders continue to work together to ensure Sander’s supporters will stay connected.  In other words: Will Bernie supporters be able to support Hillary?

Bernie has leverage right now!  He has the ear of the President and the Democratic leadership so what is Bernie’s next move?  He’s definitely going to the convention but will we ever hear him announce, “I’m with her”?  (Which “her”?) Only time will tell.

Senator Bernie Sanders is not a perfect candidate. He does indeed have his shortcomings but he has the vision that is most reflective of a progressive movement.   The dream is  America could be a nation that responds to the needs of the people rather than a country who serves the needs of corporate America.The Sander’s campaign has changed the course of our future.

I know this election is historic since Hillary Clinton is female but let us not forget Jill Stein is a lady woman too.  The race continues.

 

 

Lit Fest Pasadena

Saturday June 4th Lit Fest Pasadena will be on fire!  The authors and panels looLalo-Alcaraz-bookk fantastic! I will be moderating “Comedy in the Age of Trump” with Lalo Alcaraz the creator of the first nationally syndicated, politically themed Latino daily comic strip, La Cucaracha, seen in scores of newspapers including the Los Angeles Times. He has produced editorial cartoons for the LA Weekly since 1992 and also creates editorial cartoons in English and Spanish for Universal. He is on the faculty at Otis College of Art & Design and is the host of The Pocho Hour of Power on KPFK.

Jimmy-Dore-bookJimmy Dore is the star of several Comedy Central specials, author of the best seller Your Country Is Just Not That Into You, a writer performer for the Off-Broadway hit The Marijuana-Logues, the host of his own weekly radio show in Los Angeles, and on air host for The Young Turks, the largest online news show in the world. His latest effort Sentenced To Live is Jimmy’s most powerful Hour of Stand-Up comedy to date. He effortlessly skewers our corporate media and bought politicians as he holds a mirror up to American culture. Citizen Jimmy is the award-winning one-hour Comedy Central Special that was chosen Best Of 2008 by iTunes, and was named one the the top 5 comedy DVDs of the year by Punchline Magazine. Jimmy’s everyman style and razor-sharp material draws people in and has made him one of fastest rising stars in comedy today.

And maybe a special guest…or two.

http://litfestpasadena.org

The Bern for Real!

First off I have a long history of avoiding old men.  I know, I know, it sounds horrible but there are some people that are “chick magnets ” I’m an “old man magnet”.  It is as if I have a sign saying, “talk to me, please talk to me and tell me trite old jokes that make me wince with pain but often provoke a courteous chuckle.”  Exit stage left. So… I usually avoid contact with old men.  Yes I’m an agist but for good reasons.

And then in a flash my life changed forever.  It happened and it happened at 3pm on March 23rd: I met Senator Bernie Sanders!  Yes ladies and gentlemen dreams do come true.  The stars aligned and I heard myself saying, “Senator Bernie Sanders I’m an American Mexican and I love YOU!”

And then…

With secret service men all around “Bernie” put his arms out and open and poof in a flash  I was being hugged by Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders.  That’s right the Bernie Sanders.  You know the man I’ve been writing about.  What are the odds?

Stop. Rewind.  It is March 23rd and you would see me wearing a Bernie T-shirt saying,”Senator Bernie Sanders I’m an American Mexican and I love YOU!” And then he was swept away by the crowd on route to the Wiltern for his rally.

I can’t stop thinking about Bernie.  And I know it is just a matter of time until our paths cross again.

To be continued…

*California Presidential Primary scheduled for June 7th!

 

Giving Tuesday in Ms. Zamorano’s Classroom

 

After about four months of working together -mostly “them” against little o’me- my classes seem finally in sync with the level of  intellectual effort that they must demonstrate since the semester is almost over. (Only 12 more school days left.)  They weren’t perfect but they delivered today.  As a matter of fact they pleasantly surprised me by their current project which required them to do charity work for those less fortunate.

The reason I chose this particular assignment is so I don’t go insane surrounded by a bunch of self-involved teenagers.

Our journey began September 30th when each student needed to pick a charity that focused on helping other children.  Then they needed to make sure they completed their charity work by November 30th!  Today we began their presentations and my students gave my hope.  They worked at churches to help box gifts for boys and girls of various ages or they helped feed the less fortunate at a local soup kitchen.  Some students helped raise money for Operation Smile or even made blankets for Project Linus to give to children.  My students produced power points that were top notch and some kids even used their video editing skills that looked professionally produced.  I was thrilled by their charitable projects and that they were totally running the “show” so I could be an audience member during their class presentations…and just when I thought I knew my student’s abilities one group took my breath away.

Karly, Monica and Lily decided to do their charity work for an organization that does laundry for financially struggling people.  Monica shared how a family of four spends approximately $1,200 a year on laundry expenses.  Then Karly said, “we helped this woman but she only knew Spanish.  And since Lily is in Spanish level four she talked with her…and the woman told us how she is working to put her daughters through college.”

“Yeah, and she started to cry thanking us for being so nice to her but she said she just wanted her daughters to have a better life so she doesn’t mind working” Karly added.

Oh, god.  They had a real life moment that hit me hard.  How simple.  Karly, Monica and Lily stood in front of the class sharing their experience and I never had heard of this organization.  I was so proud of these girls.  They understood that this made a difference in another woman’s life.    Offering to pay to do someone’s laundry is a perfect form of charity for kids to see how just something as simple as doing laundry can make a difference.

A seemingly ordinary assignment of charity becomes an unforgettable experience for me.   I shall never look at laundry the same way.

 

 

 

 

GOP Practices Abstinence From Facts

Hey Ladies!  I just caught a glance of a few headlines on “Huff Po.” And I’m sure glad that this- hard hitting website- is not only able to inform the public about world events that effect all of us; but they take the time to also highlight the most HIDEOUS SPOUSES OF CELEBRITIES!

If they’re not examining “Who has the ugliest spouse?” I can always depend on being shocked by the newest photo of ill-fitting clothing on a beautiful woman that accentuates the reality of having an imperfect body. Gross! Or if I’m really lucky I can catch a glimpse of a woman able to nurse two kids at once! Genius!

We all can agree that conservatives continue to “Wage a War on Women’s Rights”… but now even our liberal news sites are far worse because of all of their salacious links that sexualize and demean women.  (War on Women? What fun.)

Not all women, just women who are ugly or once beautiful and now ugly or suffer from cellulite –all very news worthy items.

I guess it is hard to take women seriously when they’re fat, ugly and old.  On the bright side its 2015 and we’re still fighting to protect women’s rights!

Did you catch the circus on CSPAN this past week?  Oh, the conservative lunatics in Washington were foaming at the mouth and even their eyes were twitching cuz they knew that everybody was going to be talking about how very smart they are and how they really gave it to the blonde chick who runs Planned Parenthood.  The stand out lead actor in our play was my favorite actor in a mini series: Jason Chaffetz all the way from Utah.dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls

This past week, House Oversight chairman Jason “asswipe” Chaffetz (R Utah) interrogated Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards  which only solidified that conservatives really do practice abstinence…from facts. And Ms. Richards answered each question with poise and wasn’t ruffled by the transparent behavior of the white dominant culture that is super cool with Fascism.  She had facts and was very forthcoming no matter what type of question about the “Congo” they might mutter or about her income that she earns from killing babies.

During Jason Chaffetz’s cross examination of Cecille Richards she pretty much man handled him with her articulate manner and use of facts.  Cecile Richard’s use of logic left Jason Chaffetz with his “dick in his hand” and egg on his face! But it was an unfertilized egg on his face so that makes it okay.  Am I right ladies?

Torture vs Forsyte Saga?

Let’s all remember as my husband likes to say to strangers on Facebook, “Your pain is ordinary”.  Yikes.

I am soooo miserable and have been avoiding my misery that instead of writing about the tragic path our country is on I’ve decided to do what all of America is doing: watching as much inane online entertainment as possible!  Hoping this will help to drown out all those nasty truths about water boarding techniques endorsed by the United States of America.

There is a lot of pain in the world and even my little insignificant problems or life snafu’s are closing in on me.  Gulp.  I need to make some life changing decisions or be miserable for another ten years.

So my remedy for all the overwhelming feelings I’ve been experiencing I am BINGING on The Frosyte Saga!  And loving it.   Its from the early 2000s you know from the turn of the century.  It takes place during the 1920s in aristocratic England. (Ah the good ole days.)

I loved the filming, the production design and the “novella’esque” experience it provides.  I hate, loathe, and despise a despicable “Soames” played by DAMIAN LEWIS.  Each time he’s onscreen he grabs my attention because I cannot stand him and his villainy.

Sure our country admits to TORTURE, more innocent boys murdered by our militarized police force, Ferguson is on fire and lives are unraveling in real life due to the deeply embedded racism in our country.

But I can escape it all.  I can put my focus on a twisted aristocratic English family and all of their problems, like marrying your cousin and every one is cool with it cuz at least the money and name will stay intact.

I don’t have to go to bed thinking about the loss of morality in our nation.  I can lay my head down on the pillow hoping the Forsytes will overcome one more tragic “fictional”death.

My husband got sick during the middle of Season 2 which was great luck for me because I could sit beside him and occasionally rub his shoulders or his back to help him relax and fall asleep.  Wow what a wife.  He slept for hours last Saturday and Sunday which allowed me ample opportunity to complete two full seasons of pure cinematic entertainment.  Sheer bliss.

And then yesterday…It seems like a dream.  My husband is still on the mend from his illness.  As one character after one character unexpectedly dies from illnesses.  As my husband’s health begins to improve the Saga becomes my every waking thought.  I wonder if that one man is going to die before he tells her or if she dies will they ever know that boy is his and if the baby dies will that bring them together?

And then poof.  I wasn’t expecting it.  My own fault.  I wasn’t keeping track and it did say “Season Four” and I did note there were only four episodes… I was just in denial.  The season ended and I haven’t stopped crying.  What am I crying about?  Ficitional characters who loved and lost and never got it right like so many of us.  An I cry for regret.  I regret moments of my life and years of my life and my youth that I hold so tightly onto.  Because when we are young life looks sweeter and love burns brighter.

Ah regret.  I wonder if America will regret our sadistic behavior after 9/11?  (Ugh back to reality. )

California is HOT HOT HOT!

I am living in a heat wave and can’t believe anyone can survive this kind of weather in sunny southern California without air conditioning.

Years ago my family and I planned a trip to France during the summer.  “Hey, did you know France is experiencing their worst heat wave in history?” That meant nothing to me when my friend Mike warned me about gay Paris because I live in California and know what hot is all about.  I know HOT!

And then the part about France I didn’t know about  is that many buildings don’t have air conditioning and since we were doing a home exchange our Paris apartment was quaint without any a.c. The days were long and the nights were unbearable.  The air stood still as the heat pounded down.  I couldn’t even get a cool refreshing drink.   You probably are already familiar with what “a cup of ice” usually means at a cafe.  Answer:  It means maybe a few teeny tiny cubes of ice pellets that melt upon arrival.  There was no escape from the heat.

And here I sit trapped inside my home today.  Another heat wave.  It is awful.  L. A. City Hall and boy is it HOT!Not to mention how unmotivated to do anything I am now feeling.  I am no match for the heat.  I give.  It is way too hot to even take my dog Brownie for a walk until later tonight.

Every step I take outside in the heat makes parts of my body stick together that don’t usually stay stuck.  Yuck.

Excuse me  while I go and pray to the god of rain.

Out of Touch Bureaucracy

Congress is still on their summer break and I am concluding my second week of teaching ninth and tenth grade students.

“I have one hundred and seventy-two student“, the Spanish teacher shares but in English.

“Oh, wow that must be nice,” the AP English teacher chuckles, “I have a hundred and ninety students.”

I sit and say nothing.  I did the math.  I figured things out.  Right now I am around one hundred and sixty-five students.  That is fifteen students less than last school year.  Fifteen less student is a dream come true.

Our school district’s Superintendent visited our classrooms, you know so he can keep in touch with the commoners.  The principal escorted him from one classroom to another.  Stopping to see if students are learning.

“Oh when he came into my room I told him that my classes are way too  big and that I had over thirty-eight kids in most of my classes.  And guess what he said next…

Oh I hope he said, “we will cap your classes at thirty just give us one week to balance the numbers and if necessary hire more teachers.”

But instead he said, “Well thats great for me.”  Meaning our school district gets money for each new student.

“But you don’t get more money.  These students are not new to our district. ”  The exchange was exasperating .

It is obvious our school district’s well paid superintendent is clearly OUT OF TOUCH and obviously has a limited personality.  He equates large class size as “great”.  But who actually benefits from large classes?  The students?  The community?  The instructor?  Who?  Who can thrive –while learning new skills– when there are literally not enough desks or space in the classroom?

Now excuse me as I attempt to memorize 168 student names.  Yikes!

Dreading Back to School

It happened. I went “Back to School” this past Monday.  That’s right I said, “Back to School” and to be more specific my first day was on August 11th with all my new students.  And yes we were promised smaller class sizes and no that hasn’t happened.  Surprise.

Good grief it is August and we are making kids return to school.  We are  sucking the fun out of summer and no one has given me a good answer why. Just when Congress goes out on their “Summer Vacation” public schools in the state of California returned to over crowded classrooms and new technological programs to make their life easier…that is of course if the internet is working.

The main challenge is to create an environment that is truly engaging and enriching.  This is not easy since there are over a 180 students that come daily to my classroom with their own set of problems or not; but lets face it being a teenager can be difficult.

It is day number three and I already had two students tell me they suffer from high anxiety and cannot participate in class presentations.  Another student who shared with me she needs to sit near the board because she is deaf in one ear.  I said, “huh?” I had another student (who looks like she’s 25 ) constantly waving her hand in class to ask a questions.

“Um, I have two questions…”

“Oh, ask me your second question first,” I say.  The class laughs together and suddenly I realize that I am enjoying myself. Its August, I’m teaching, in a classroom filled with teenagers and I am really having a meaningful experience even though I do feel overwhelmed by the logistics of it all.  You know like memorizing 180 names.  I don’t know how much room is left in my brain.  Ultimately, I want to challenge these kids and help them grow intellectually as well as become strong critical thinkers that care about other people.

Day #4 Today after school one young freshmen confided in me, “You’re my favorite teacher.  You’re the only one that smiles.”  Hm.

To be continued…