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Manifest Destiny (Just a painting I liked from the Smithsonian Collection)

Manifest Destiny by Rockman

Introduction (via inDiginous) Let the Digital Natives Rise Up and Change the World!

This is a call for “digital natives” to stand up and start changing the world.

Yes, my thoughts as well.

James Pilant

I’m a college student, and as I’ve learned from taking one too many classes on digital media, I’m apparently also part of this new breed called “Digital Natives.” Rather than a silver spoons, we were raised with a silver mouse in our hands and access to millions of ideas and people online. Generally, before we even knew what that entailed. The Internet doesn’t make our lives easier – it is an integral part of our daily activity. And while we take … Read More

via inDiginous

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Heritage Foundation’s Report Lacks Real Information (via Colloquial Usage)

Differences in national income equality around...

Image via Wikipedia

I was appalled when I read the Heritage report. Apparently if your children have video games and you can afford a fridge, you really can’t be in that much economic distress? How weird are these guys? I appreciate this take down of their case that appliance ownership negates economic insecurity.

James Pilant

Heritage Foundation's Report Lacks Real Information What is Poverty? a new report by The Heritage Foundation, has been getting a lot of press this week, first from Fox News and then from The Colbert Report. In fact, a link to the report was the first item that came up this morning when I searched for the term “poor in America” on Google. According to the abstract, the report’s aim is to address the following problem: Exaggeration and misinformation about poverty obscure the nature, extent, and cau … Read More

via Colloquial Usage

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Is the Met copping the consequences? (via Integrity Talking Points)

Integrity Talking Points

Integrity Talking Points

Is the Met copping the consequences? (via Integrity Talking Points)

(When we speak of the Met, what is being referred to is the Metropolitan Police.)

One of the police officials who resigned on Monday had taken gifts and trips from the Murdoch holdings. Since the police are implicated in covering up the crimes of the News of the World and also implicated in providing the scandal sheets with information about crimes and victims, it is not surprising that in hind sight taking these gifts were a mistake.

From the essay – No official in the course of their job, should accept gifts, hospitality or other benefits of any value from anyone other than their employing agency without the explicit consent of their employer. In the vast majority of circumstances, the only reason anyone would give such benefits relates to the exercise of functions by that official – either before decisions are made or following the making of decisions. It is difficult to conceive of a gifting purpose unrelated to either “oiling the wheels” or to recognise the favourable way the wheels have turned for the person making the gift.

If a gift is to be accepted, that acceptance must be transparent. This involves open disclosure to a superior officer, the granting of approval, and formally recording the benefit in a publicly accessible register.

It would be difficult to say it better than this author in these paragraphs.

James Pilant

18 July 2011 The News of the World saga illustrates how any organisation can quickly lose public trust. A media spotlight on the Metropolitan Police over the next few weeks will inevitably have this effect. The resignation of the Commissioner may moderate criticism. The allegations made by the Sunday Telegraph about the Commissioner accepting gifts and hospitality related to the News of the World will challenge the commitment to the ethics polici … Read More

via Integrity Talking Points

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Typical academic consideration of police lying (via Allcoppedout’s Blog)

Typical academic consideration of police lying (via Allcoppedout’s Blog)

Here we discuss police lying and the legal fictions that figure so much in the language and practice of criminal justice. I like this paragraph –

My own belief is we are scared of transparency, partly because all our cupboards hide skeletons. When the ‘red witch’ placed at the heart of the hacking scandal admitted she knew her organization had paid police officers, this was seen as a blunder and admission of ‘criminality’. This is not the right approach and seems to be putting people we want to tell the truth in the same position as the police officer having to ‘game’ in the legal system.

I agree we do not value the truth so much as we value playing some strange kind of game designed to elude responsibility and honor.

James Pilant

Police lying is not best described as a “dirty little secret.”‘ For instance, police lying is no “dirtier” than the prosecutor’s encouragement or conscious use of tailored testimony2 or knowing suppression of Brady material;3 it is no more hypocritical than the wink and nod of judges who regularly pass on incredible police testimony4 and no more insincere than the demagogic politicians who decry criminality in our communities, but will not legisl … Read More

via Allcoppedout’s Blog

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Beijing consensus fails even in China (via Charles Rowley’s Blog)

Beijing consensus fails even in China (via Charles Rowley’s Blog)

Is the Beijing model something Americans should emulate?

No. China develops because the government allows its citizens more freedom and less top down control. It slows down when the government limits freedom by top down economic  control. When I speak of control I mean decisions about what resources are to be allocated, what industries encouraged and what should be made. These severely limit the power of a market economy.

James Pilant

My favorite paragraph –

More recently, China has reverted to the Beijing Consensus, with its leaders picking trade fights, for example by restricting the exports of rare earth minerals. It has back-tracked on banking reforms, forcing banks to engage in state-directed lending during the global crisis. It has crawled all over such elements of the rule of law as had emerged under Deng, cracking down on dissent, and jailing dissidents without any pretense of due process of law. Not coincidentally, this period of illiberalism has been accompanied by slowing growth rates and rampant inflation, traits that have fueled social instability and that now threaten a Chinese spring that is the worst fear of the central autocracy that cowers in the nation’s capital.

“In his speech last Friday marking the Chinese Communist Party’s 90th anniversary, Hu Jintao made one point clear above all: ‘Success in China hinges on the party.’  That view is to be expected from the party secretary.  Perhaps more surprising is the extent to which outside observers have come to believe it too.  These foreigners – academics and journalists prominent among them – look to the ‘Beijing model’ or the ‘Beijing consensus’ as a desira … Read More

via Charles Rowley’s Blog

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This Nebraska Nuclear Power Plant Is Surrounded by Floodwaters (via Jewish Nerd)

This Nebraska Nuclear Power Plant Is Surrounded by Floodwaters  (via Jewish Nerd)

There is something about a nuclear plant surrounded by flood waters that is more disturbing that a coal fired plant or any other kind of energy producing facility. What makes it more disturbing is that knowledge in the back of our skull that if things go wrong, the investors aren’t just out an investment, we all will pay a price for such a calamity.

May we live in a world where reason and knowledge are used to make energy decisions.

James Pilant

This Nebraska Nuclear Power Plant Is Surrounded by Floodwaters The good news: Nebraska’s Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station is staying dry despite being surrounded by tremendous Midwestern flooding. The bad news: Nebraska’s Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station is surrounded by tremendous Midwestern flooding, and a history of safety mistakes. Also unsettling, as Boing Boing’s Maggie Koerth-Baker points out, is the fact that all our information on the plant’s condition is coming from the plant’s owner. Very, ver … Read More

via Jewish Nerd

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Bank of America Forecloses on Santa Clara Woman After Telling Her to Miss Her Payments | | St. George News

008bBank of America Forecloses on Santa Clara Woman After Telling Her to Miss Her Payments | | St. George News

How many times do we have to read this same story? Telling someone that they have to stop paying to access a federal program, encouraging them to believe that they are going to get a loan modification, when your bank has already decided that no one is going to get this kind of deal, and then foreclosing on them when they fall for the bait – is this they way banks are supposed to make money?

What is the business ethics here? The bank should be telling its customers the truth, not a set of lies. I don’t think that requires much analysis.

Banks are a utility in the United States. That is, they have government protection in return for the bank following a set of rules. That’s why your accounts are insured and banks are supposed to be accountable. Because in a real sense a bank is public institution, it has privileges in the law to protect and profit it. How much less incentive should this kind of institution have than private companies from misleading and cheating its clients out of their homes?

Since, I wrote this article my own students have come forward with the same story of being told to miss payments by the bank and then being foreclosed on. There is great and calculated cruelty in these acts.

James Pilant

SANTA CLARA – Bank of America foreclosed on a Santa Clara woman’s home, despite her doing everything she was instructed to do in order to prevent it. Annette Lake resided in her house in Santa Clara from 1986 until May 24, 2011, when Bank of America foreclosed on her home. Just after her divorce from her husband was finalized in 2008, Lake was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was laid off from her job during chemotherapy treatments. She began ha … Read More


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In the Basement of the Ivory Tower. #College #Unschooling #Education (via uberlearner)

In the Basement of the Ivory Tower. #College #Unschooling #Education (via uberlearner)

The adjunct professor here tells us what happens when he flunks a majority of his students. –

What actually happens is that nothing happens. I feel no pressure from the colleges in either direction. My department chairpersons, on those rare occasions when I see them, are friendly, even warm. They don’t mention all those students who have failed my courses, and I don’t bring them up. There seems, as is often the case in colleges, to be a huge gulf between academia and reality. No one is thinking about the larger implications, let alone the morality, of admitting so many students to classes they cannot possibly pass. The colleges and the students and I are bobbing up and down in a great wave of societal forces—social optimism on a large scale, the sense of college as both a universal right and a need, financial necessity on the part of the colleges and the students alike, the desire to maintain high academic standards while admitting marginal students—that have coalesced into a mini-tsunami of difficulty. No one has drawn up the flowchart and seen that, although more-widespread college admission is a bonanza for the colleges and nice for the students and makes the entire United States of America feel rather pleased with itself, there is one point of irreconcilable conflict in the system, and that is the moment when the adjunct instructor, who by the nature of his job teaches the worst students, must ink the F on that first writing assignment.

I share some of these concerns. My persistent gripes about the “necessity” of policemen and firemen having to master college algebra is probably well known locally. A college education is appropriate in many fields but surely we can find a variety of mechanisms(of which a college education is a major choice but not the only choice) by which policemen and other municipal employees can be promoted.

James Pilant

In the Basement of the Ivory Tower. #College #Unschooling #Education The idea that a university education is for everyone is a destructive myth. An instructor at a “college of last resort” explains why.By Professor XJune 2008 Atlantic Magazine     I work part-time in the evenings as an adjunct instructor of English. I teach two courses, Introduction to College Writing (English 101) and Introduction to College Literature (English 102), at a small private college and at a community college. The … Read More

via uberlearner

From around the web –

From the web site, Higher Ed Marketing.


In College Unbound, Selingo is delivering a sales pitch of his own. He’s asking readers — ostensibly students and their families, but I know a lot of people in my shoes have also picked up the book — to think differently about the business of education.

“The colleges and universities enrolling most Americans will be radically different places in ten years,” Selingo writes. “Ultimately, it is the students of tomorrow who will drive colleges to reimagine the future of higher education.”

These future college students are tech-savvy and are growing up immersed in a digital, hyper-connected world. “They feel comfortable in a social world that lives online,” Selingo writes. In the classroom, however, “they remain largely uninterested in learning through traditional teaching methods.”

From the web site, Medicine from the Trenches.


One of the biggest myths in the medical school process is that once you get into medical school, it is relatively easy to STAY in medical school. Each year, approximately 5% of those who enter fail one or more courses or fail out of medical school entirely. Why does this happen after being subjected to a selection process that is very stringent?

The biggest reason for students failing a course or failing out of medical school is an inability to put in the study time that a very competitive medical school curriculum demands. A sizable proportion of freshman medical students may have been able to get through their undergraduate studies by the “last minute knowledge cram” method, only to find that they are in deep trouble fast.

Most of these students will adjust their time management skills and do well enough to pass their coursework but some are not able to make the transition from undergraduate to medical school. These folks find themselves behind their class very quickly and fail to catch up enough to pass. Courses like Gross Anatomy and Biochemistry quickly knock them out of the freshman class.

From the web site, Teachers Net Gazette.


(Go to the web site to read the first ten.)

11.   Mindsets: Students’ minds are functioning 100% of the time and their attention is focused on whatever is foremost in their minds. The mindset lens through which each student views incoming information will determine its meaning. Therefore, whatever has priority in the context of their minds—thoughts, interests, desires, plans, commitment, surroundings, etc. will be competing with classroom goals.  Telling or coercing kids into paying attention is futile.  Kids are motivated from inside, not outside. Unless and until a teacher can “connect” with a kid’s interest or show the relationship between course content and some part of kid’s personal life, the kid’s minds will be “somewhere else”, mentally.  Participation can be mandated, involvement cannot.

12.   Grades: Are an integral part of most students’ lives and most teachers’ control, discipline, and motivation techniques.  And, most have difficulty understanding students who do not respond to grades.  It is important that teachers remember that reality is a matter of personal perception.  Grades, marks, and report cards need to be seen through the eyes, feelings, and meaningfulness to the individual.  Empathy—crawling inside their skins is essential.  Once a student has a long-term failure identity, grades can begin to have the opposite effect that teachers normally expect or hope for.

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Offshoring has Destroyed the US Economy (via Suzie-Q's Truth and Justice Blog)

That this actually controversial is astonishing. Nevertheless, you there are countless web sites that argue that offshoring was good for everybody.

Despite it’s negative image in first world countries such as the U.S., offshoring has proven to be beneficial to both the business owner and the country where the services are culled.

I think that this issue is much more of a political issue than a job issue. Jobs exist in the United States. In many fields there are shortages of workers. The offshore resources are filling that shortage in some cases. In other cases companies are saving money by using cheaper resources. By saving money, they are making more which is profitable for their shareholders. Who are their shareholders? Probably each and every one of us. Remember your retirement account?

Then, on Feb. 9, the White House released its annual Economic Report of the President. Buried deep on Page 229 of the report was a paragraph noting the growth of offshore outsourcing by U.S. businesses and suggesting this was basically no different from other kinds of international trade:
“The basic economic forces behind the transactions are the same… . When a good or service is produced more cheaply abroad, it makes more sense to import it than to make or provide it domestically.”

I teach college, specifically business law. When my class began to fill up with former manufacturing workers desperate for some kind of work or work related opportunity, I couldn’t help but notice those were the kinds of jobs that made this community, the jobs that made America. It was those jobs that were leaving.

I’ll let the article make the rest of the argument.

James Pilant

Offshoring has Destroyed the US Economy Nobel Economist Michael Spence Says Globalism Is Costly For Americans Dr. Paul Craig Roberts | Global Research | May 31, 2011 These are discouraging times, but once in a blue moon a bit of hope appears. I am pleased to report on the bit of hope delivered in March of 2011 by Michael Spence, a Nobel prize-winning economist, assisted by Sandile Hlatshwayo, a researcher at New York University. The two economists have taken a careful empirical look at … Read More

via Suzie-Q’s Truth and Justice Blog

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