VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!
Early and often…
There He Goes Again…
Paul Krugman: “That standard response may help you understand how Mr. Bush retains a public image as a plain-spoken man, when in fact he is as slippery and evasive as any politician in memory. Did you notice his recent declaration that allowing Saddam Hussein to remain in power wouldn’t mean backing down on “regime change,” because if the Iraqi despot meets U.N. conditions, “that itself will signal that the regime has changed”?”
I still can’t believe this guy is president.
Liars, Cheats, Weasels
I try to keep my politics out of this space, but it’s really early on a rainy Friday morning and I’m pissed. The lambs of Congress have fallen into step with nary a whimper behind a couple of spoiled boys who want to show how tough they are. Want to know what drives me crazy?
“Public Enemy No. 1 today is a government that Mr. Cheney was in effect helping shore up just a couple of years ago.”
“What made the trick possible was Harken’s guardian angel, a powerful institution controlled by an oil man, Robert Stone, who was a strong political supporter of Mr. Bush’s father. This institution acquired a large stake in Harken as soon as Mr. Bush became a board member, and subsequently showed itself willing to do whatever it took to keep the hapless company afloat. This included taking much of the company’s debt off its books in return for assets of doubtful value, and giving Harken a share in their partnership almost twice as large as its contribution to the partnership’s capital.”
Can any semi-conscious person believe these guys are motivated by OUR best interests? Why do I have this sick feeling in my stomach that we are about to make a very, very big mistake?
Time? What's That
Can’t believe how full my plate is these days. Just hanging on by my fingernails. Got about 45 minutes to do some writing and some surfing today. One find: Kevin Brooks who is using weblogs in his English classes at North Dakota State. And there looks to be more inquiry into weblogs and education from Cindy Nichols, also at NDSU. Should be interesting to see what her students find. Another colleague of theirs is also weblogging with her students (Pop up warning!)
A year ago I sat with my Journalism students and watched in disbelief as our world and our lives changed forever. It was a news event of the grandest proportions, but any journalistic spark that I felt initially was quickly snuffed out by the magnitude of what we were seeing. We just sat, and watched, and tried to comprehend.
A year later, what has changed? Everything. Nothing. Personally, I’m more scared, more cynical, more hope-less about the world. I ache when I look at my daughter and my son, wondering if they will make it to middle age, wondering what it will be like to live their whole lives under an uncertain cloud. I hear an airplane jetting through the pink, early morning sky and wonder if it will make it to where it’s going. I cringe at wives of heroes making a buck on their husbands’ unselfish acts. I watch my leaders declare orange alerts, beat their chests for war yet run to “secure, undisclosed” locations, instill fears of even worse nightmares, and wonder if it’s not a convenient way to make us forget about all of the truly grevious ills in our society in time for the fall elections.
The signboard in front of my school, usually filled with car wash announcements and the current temperature, today reads simply “Never Forget, 9/11”. As I drove by it, the white lights of the words glimmering in a drape of pre-dawn darkness made for a mournful sight, and brought a tightness in my chest. But I wonder, exactly what is it that we should never forget? The event? The people that died? The effect on our collective psyche? Those are obvious. But there are other things even more important that we should always remember: that we are not the great benefactor of the world that we like to think we are; that all humans, American or not, deserve freedom and respect and civil rights; that the poorest of our citizens are rich to a vast majority of the world; that we know little about the global community; that we aren’t always given the straight scoop; that life is precious.
Yet, how can we forget what we have never truly known?
I hold no copyright on these thoughts. The fact that I share my fears, my frustrations, my lack of hope with so many others makes them a bit easier to live with. And I know they will abate, as 9/11 becomes more distant from today, until the next one occurs.
I will remember this: “The survivors will not be defined by the lives they have led until now but by the lives that they will lead from now on.” –Michael Berenbaum
And this: Let peace begin with me.
If at first you don't succeed…
A better day by a bit, but still the type of day where I had to thank my kids for their patience and for allowing me to use them to learn a lot about how to do all this. Their sites are up and running (I’ll provide links next week) but I will probably not do it the way I did it today ever again. (Comments always welcome on this process by the way…)
Twenty-four students making weblogs made our Frontier server very slooooooowwwwwww. Especially when I chose the route of giving them some creative control by not making a pre-configured template and instead let them choose their own and then taking them through the salient configs. Way too much to ask. Next time, the heck with choice. (It occurred to me much later that I probably could have done all the configs, saved it as a theme, then let them switch the themes to their own liking after…sometimes my brain doesn’t see the easiest route…especially during the first week of school.) Live and learn.
And that’s just what today was, a learning experience. On a student of weblogs level, I loved it…no way to do this without doing it. On another more teacherly level, I despised it. Nothing like dealing with the unknown when you’re standing in front of 24 kids. Humbling.
Pat felt my pain yesterday, and I really appreciate the words of support. I too wish for more of a local neighborhood, but it’s too early for most people to see the light here. My tech support is great, like Pat’s; more than willing to do whatever it takes, open to new ideas. But we’re taking something that wasn’t meant for the classroom and students and trying to tweak our way through it. I’m still hoping that someday soon someone will come to the classroom teachers among us and just help us build the real deal. Manila is great, don’t get me wrong. But it’s harder than it needs to be.
I’m really tired…the first week, even half week, is always the hardest…it’s like getting back into shape. And with doing all this new stuff, it’s even harder.
My Niece Makes it Big
Tucker Finally Gets His Due
Hello from Middlebury
Some brief observations on my great visit to Middlebury:
The CET setup is very cool, and the whole place has a lot of energy. They are doing some interesting things beyond mere old weblogs that really push the envelope of the new technologies. Sounded and felt like a very neat place to be right now.
I was really impressed by the commitment that the school is making to weblogs. Ten teachers will be using weblogs next year including Eric Davis, who is the Secretary of the College and a real weblog proponent. His weblog/course on September 11 is definitely a “Best Practice”. And Barbara seemed amazed by how the weblogs changed her Writing Across the Arts class. (BTW, I really liked the way she used the home page to reflect on her own experiences in the class.) And Hector shared a lot of his ideas about how to integrate and expand the role of weblogs. They and Sarah (who went above and beyond in arranging and organizing my time there) helped to really confirm what I’ve been thinking about all of this, and in a large way to validate the time and effort I’m spending. (I can’t wait for the day when I have some weblogging colleagues to share my enthusiasm with down here!)
At any rate, it was a great experience, and I think it’s time we start talking seriously about getting a “Blogvention” together somewhere. There is nothing like meeting and talking and sharing ideas (although weblogs come a close second!)
What a difference!
“Staggering to think how far my thinking has come about this package in just a few days.” More…
Done for Today
Whew…not only did I take a big leap today, I had to recreate the entire site. Yikes! Hopefully I won’t have to do that again. Tweaking the look is really not that hard; just have to know where to look. And the macros are pretty interesting…a lot of potential power. No doubt I want to set my kids up with departments and portfolio type links. My new quest is going to be to build the standard template. Just have to figure out what I want to have in it.
From Brian’s e-mail today, it seems much of it could be done in terms of the macros:
First, regarding your concern about getting a theme with the features that you want. I have really appreciated the customization that Manila offers. I think that you will see with the links featured below that Manila can be used for many different kinds of sites. Discussion is something that we have not wanted to spend time teaching our teachers how to use. We really want to be focused, first of all, on encouraging them to simply get content posted online. Even if I can get some to move to more of a “weblogging” method, Discussion may or may not be a part of that. Manila’s flexibility allows me to easily add or subtract that feature from any one site easily. I have removed the [Macro error: Can’t evaluate the expression because the name “discussLink” hasn’t been defined.]
macro from all of the themes that I have created. If a teacher gets interested in that feature, I will put it back in for that individual teacher. If I started getting a bunch of teachers wanting that and it became the norm, rather than the exception, I would create a theme that had that built into it and build sites using that theme instead. I’m very happy with the way that it works.
Another Question or Two or Three…
Working my way through this and I have to say I’m impressed with what I’m seeing. Some really good stuff, and some really quirky stuff, but overall, the potential here is huge. Now that I finally figured out the macros piece of it, it’s starting to come clear.
Now I need to know:
Can I save templates for easy use with teachers and students? Meaning can I configure all of the setup stuff and then just turn them loose? Can I set up “standard” departments for all to use and then add to as they wish?
If I want to move this page, now after I’ve spent so much time working on it, how do I do that?
How do I get the links to stay on the right hand side of the page all the way down?
More to come I’m sure.