Saturday, February 28, 2009

Feeling a Little March Madness?

See how over the edge you really are in a few short minutes. Here are my frighteningly accurate results. This matches almost verbatim a fancy and expensive one I took several years ago.

Moderately willful. lol

Eysenck's Test Results
Extraversion (82%) high which suggests you are overly talkative, outgoing, sociable and interacting at the expense too often of developing your own individual interests and internally based identity.
Neuroticism (54%) medium which suggests you are moderately worrying, insecure, emotional, and anxious.
Psychoticism (50%) medium medium which suggests you are moderately self interested, willful, and difficult, while still respecting the well being of others.
Take Eysenck Personality Test (similar to EPQ-R)
personality tests by

Be sure to just jump into the test. Do NOT click on the "take the test" box. You are already in the test when you click the above link.

Also, if you read the explanations, a little psychoticism is actually not a bad thing. Really.

[edited for tact: 1000; only a card carrying extrovert would put this on the Intertubes in the first place. Hah!]

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lincoln Academy Group to Head to Greece

Sounds like a news story, yes? Well, I do not know when; I do not who whom, other than my former department head Patti Sims, is going; and I can only presume why they are going. I can tell you that LA is in Newcastle, Maine, is a "private school in the public interest" and has vigorous foreign language and educational travel programs. Off the top of my head I can think of teachers taking students on regular trips to Costa Rica, France and Spain.

Patti just e-mailed me for some help making the Greek trip's fund-raising dinner more fun. She wants participants to learn some Greek dances, so I went online to see if I could brush up my folk dance repertoire.

Misirlou--actually an Americanized Greek dance--in the wisdom of the Oracle Google, was the first thing to pop up with a YouTube video of the Surfaris playing their version of the tune. It long ago became a cliche surfer soundtrack. Did I mention I love all things surf-ish?

I could not resist posting it for other wannabe surfer-types.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Home State Lives to Fight Another Day

Well, nearly.

California's Assembly passed a budget after 45.5 hours of wrangling. The cost to the tax payer: open primaries. If you thought the governor's race was wild...

Did Reagan cast a spell on my fellow Native Suns? The tax-phobic--and I mean phobic in the sense that despite all rational arguments to the contrary, these people have never seen a tax they could tolerate--have sold the seventh largest economy in the world down the river ever since 1978 and Prop. 13.

My father was a teacher in the California school system for nearly 20 years, and my sister and I are beneficiaries of university and community college system. Schools there have not been the same since the early 80s. The selfishness makes me want to scream.

I wish Governor Baldacci had taken a trip or two to California before he tried to balance Maine's budget on the schools' backs.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wonkette : Plunging Stock Markets Now Officially Terrifying

Wonkette's Ken Layne goes doomsday on us and manages to be funny at the same time. Visit Wonkette and laugh and cry with me. How does a 50 percent drop sound? Hang on to your flannel shirts.

Posted using ShareThis

More on the One Percenters

Turns out the doc execs at HBO are annoyed about 33 percent of our nation's wealth in the hands of one percent of Americans.

Jamie Johnson, heir to the Johnson and Johnson fortune, directed "Born Rich" for HBO. He recently finished "The One Percent." It premiers Saturday, 21.Feb.

[Update: According to the interview on HBO's website, Johnson has aimed the film at the "vastly rich" in an effort to help them understand why maintaining and increasing the gap between them and the rest of the country is a bad idea. Why do I think his argument will fall on deaf ears?]

Monday, February 16, 2009

Embracing the Shrill

Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald takes apart David Brooks in a terrific explication of Brooks' dewy eyed view of Washington journalists and lobbyists. Greenwald calls on a conversation he had with Bill Moyers and NYU Journalism ProfessorJay Rosen to clarify his thoughts.

Brooks got his start at the Washington Times, otherwise known as the NeoCon Newsletter--a paper that has never once turned a profit and is supported solely by Korean "businessman" Sun Myung Moon. This alone should disqualify Brooks from being taken seriously, ever. But this is America where a Know-Nothing like Rush Limbaugh has millions of devoted listeners who engage in an electronic form of voluntary brainwashing every time they tune into his show. He makes Brooks' blatherings seem like grocery store aisle small talk.

One part of Greenwald's discussion of Brooks that interests me is a few paragraphs devoted to the term "shrillness" when applied to journalism. You might guess that my interest stems from my own awareness of my own shrill tone at times, hence the name of this blog. (It is not meant ironically. Ask anyone.)

Greewald does a good job explaining why occasionally a little shrill is just the right thing:

In the context of discussing torture, renditions and the State Secrets controversy, The New York Times' Tobin Harshaw expressly accuses me today of "shrillness" (after having implied it several times in the past):

Greenwald, whose shrillness is usually balanced by ideological consistency and a willingness to hold Barack Obama to the same standards to which he held the previous White House resident . . . .

That, of course, is the same accusation that was continuously launched against Paul Krugman circa 2002 for irresponsibly suggesting that there might be something more than just a little bit wrong with the Bush administration.

One is guilty of the sin of "shrillness" if one: (a) argues that there is something fundamentally -- rather than marginally -- wrong with our political and media establishment and/or (b) fails to use suitably restrained, muted and respectful language when expressing those critiques. Thus, one is "shrill" if one says that George Bush committed felonies by spying on Americans without warrants and torturing people and should be treated like any other accused criminal (rather than saying: "Bush might have circumvented some legal constraints and gone a little too far in trying to keep us safe"). One is "shrill" if one says that establishment journalism, at its core and by design, is principally devoted to serving the interests and amplifying the claims of the Washington establishment (rather than saying: "Journalists could do a better job of reporting some stories"), etc. etc.

"Shrillness" – the first cousin of "Unseriousness" – is the conceptual instrument used to deter and (when that fails) demonize those who view the political and media establishment as corrupt at its core. It's a way of demanding that everyone just calm down, avoid impetuous and inflammatory language, and stop acting as though there's anything seriously wrong with our political and media elites:

Sure, they've made some mistakes; nobody's perfect. But it's not as though there's anything to get excited or angry about. And fine: there are some narrow disagreements among people of good faith and some small problems here and there that require some modifications -- little things like torture, chronic high-level lawbreaking, immunity for the political class (juxtaposed with the sprawling prison industry for ordinary Americans), rampant domestic spying, sky-high walls of government secrecy, full-scale economic meltdown, massive and growing inequities in wealth, endless wars, sleaze and corruption oozing from every Beltway pore, complete media complicity with all of it -- but there's no reason to get all indignant or agitated by it or act as though crimes are being committed or radical changes are needed or anything.

By definition, only people who are "shrill" would do that.

Can I get an A-men?

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Word About Abe Lincoln, Sort Of

Here we are two days from the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

As I take a moment while the juniors (mostly) finish their U.S. history quiz, I am thinking about the connections that make history fascinating and that seem to elude too many teenagers. I like to file things like this under There Are Only Eleven People In The World.

For instance, some argue that John Brown's radicalism lit the fuse for the Civil War. In 1859, he and a small band of men, thinking their act would inspire slaves to join their cause and rise up against the scourge of slavery, tried unsuccessfully to commandeer the arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia. He failed miserably and was hanged for his trouble.

John Brown

What I wish Maine students knew is that it was the murder of an abolitionist, a small publisher originally from Albion, Maine named Elijah Lovejoy, that radicalized Brown and inspired him to "consecrate [himself] against slavery."

In the small world department, it was (then) U.S. General Robert E. Lee who finally removed Brown from his hiding place at the Harpers Ferry armory. Also, Lincoln's eventual murderer, actor John Wilkes Booth, was already so galvanized against Brown and the abolitionists that he borrowed a friend's uniform so as to attend John Brown's military-attendees-only hanging. Imagine his state of mind by athe time the Civil War ended.

John Wilkes Booth

There is much more to say about Maine's connections to slavery, from the rum running, coastal barrel industry, dried cod factories and the economic plunge after the import of slaves was halted in 1808, to the 1820 Missouri Compromise that split Maine from Massachusetts, to Uncle Tom's Cabin written by Brunswick's Harriet Beecher Stowe. Slave-based commerce built much of the New England coast, yet few students in this school, let alone this state, could tell you that.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Next Time I Hear...

The next time I hear a Republican Senator, Congressman or RNC Chairman say, "The government has never created a job," I am going to ask, "Then what the hell are we paying you for?"

I am at the end of my rope with the self-fulfilling prophecy of lousy elected officials and policy-makers talking about how horrid government is and then proceeding to make it horrider.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The One Percenters

It is 11:13 p.m. on Friday, 6.Feb.09. The U.S. Senate has supposedly agreed on an Economic Stimulus Package. From everything I have read, our very own Reasonable Republicans, Senators Snowe and Collins, have all but handed the Radical Right Wing the keys to the kingdom.

When they could have made the right choice, a la Rachel Maddow's wonderful dissertation today about facts (not up yet, I'll link it when it is) and moved away from the economic policies that put us firmly in the loser column, they clung to the bad old Reagan-Gingrich illogic. Tax cuts, not spending, carried the day, and it was our own Susan Collins who thought it a dandy idea to do away with state aid to education. As a teacher working as a teachers' aid seeking full time work in an environment of nearly panicked administrators, I can say that this was the wrong move.

And now, as I write, they are voting on an amendment to "bar any stimulus money from going to ACORN," the non-profit working to register voters that became a media mash-up during the campaign. Amazingly it failed, 45 to 51. It makes me wonder, however, whether the Republicans are going to offer amendments to keep the Stimulus Package from funding, one by one, every organization the Radical Right opposes. It could be a long and petty process.

Seems to me there is a perfectly good reason for the GOP to be so studiously clueless about economics. The people their tax cutting panaceas will help the most are the One Percenters, the one percent of Americans holding 33 percent of the wealth. These are the people who line their pockets, whether as part of their campaigns or later in private dealings. They are the ones with access.

A note for the over 40 among us. Most of my life, the obscenely wealthy held no more than 20 percent of our country's wealth. That was bad enough. However, only in the last eight years, thanks to Dubya's tax cuts, did that figure swell to 33 percent.

When I think of how far we suddenly are from President Obama's promise to undo those tax cuts, I want to cry. Then I want to get out my pitchfork and get on the Metroliner.