Is Anybody Listening? | A Testament by Village Academy High School Students…….

Who is not listening?

The “best and brightest” on Wall Street and in the Treasury Department.  Again, from Matt Taibbi’s article:

The following February, when AIG posted $11.5 billion in annual losses, it announced the resignation of Cassano as head of AIGFP, saying an auditor had found a “material weakness” in the CDS portfolio. But amazingly, the company not only allowed Cassano to keep $34 million in bonuses, it kept him on as a consultant for $1 million a month. In fact, Cassano remained on the payroll and kept collecting his monthly million through the end of September 2008, even after taxpayers had been forced to hand AIG $85 billion to patch up his fuck-ups. When asked in October why the company still retained Cassano at his $1 million-a-month rate despite his role in the probable downfall of Western civilization, CEO Martin Sullivan told Congress with a straight face that AIG wanted to “retain the 20-year knowledge that Mr. Cassano had.” (Cassano, who is apparently hiding out in his lavish town house near Harrods in London, could not be reached for comment.)

Net Geners…….


I am so done with all of the old ideas of the last eight years which, by the way, have lead to the multiple disasters we are now facing on so many fronts.

You know, little things like our continually shrinking global economy and the over heating atmosphere, just to name a few.

That’s why I’m absolutely giddy over the rise of the net geners.  Not only do these digital natives befuddle the boomers still in power, but this new generation also shares my impatience for rapid innovation and change.

The Economist has a great article on The Net Generation. This is where the engine of change will get its juice.

Mr Tapscott identifies eight norms that define Net Geners, which he believes everyone should take on board to avoid being swept away by the sort of generational tsunami that helped Barack Obama beat John McCain. Net Geners value freedom and choice in everything they do. They love to customise and personalise. They scrutinise everything. They demand integrity and openness, including when deciding what to buy and where to work. They want entertainment and play in their work and education, as well as their social life. They love to collaborate. They expect everything to happen fast. And they expect constant innovation.


Speed Matters, A Lot…….

You would think this would be a no brainer, even for the non-digital natives in Congress.

Faster internet for everyone is good for education, the economy, and the environment.  In fact, according to

Every $5 billion increase in broadband investment creates 100,000 new jobs, according to the CWA. This two-pronged broadband stimulus program that focuses both on increasing deployment in unserved areas and improving service in underserved areas will create the most jobs in the short-term, and help build a globally competitive communications infrastructure available to all Americans.

Click here to tell the Senate to keep broadband investment in the stimulus package.

Fifty Herbert Hoovers | Paul Krugman…….

Paul Krugman once again calls out the idiocy of the short sighted fiscal conservatives who worship at the alter of a balanced budget, no matter the true cost to the economy or the social safety net.

No modern American president would repeat the fiscal mistake of 1932, in which the federal government tried to balance its budget in the face of a severe recession. The Obama administration will put deficit concerns on hold while it fights the economic crisis.

But even as Washington tries to rescue the economy, the nation will be reeling from the actions of 50 Herbert Hoovers — state governors who are slashing spending in a time of recession, often at the expense both of their most vulnerable constituents and of the nation’s economic future.

Sadly, Governor Gregoire, after all of her enlightened talk on the campaign trail, has cowardly decided to embrace her inner Herbert Hoover in order to please her political opponents, who, no doubt, will reward her with more smears and personal attacks.

Here are some of the highlights of Gregoire’s atrocious budget from the P-I:

HIGHER EDUCATION: Gov. Chris Gregoire proposes a $300 million reduction in higher education, including a 13 percent reduction for the state’s research and regional institutions. Raises for faculty and staff are suspended.

K-12 EDUCATION: Suspends nearly a quarter of the money from the voter-approved initiative to ensure smaller class sizes, and suspends the entirety of another initiative for cost-of-living raises for teachers.

PUBLIC SAFETY: Gregoire proposes eliminating the requirement to supervise misdemeanor criminals and low-risk felony offenders once they are released from prison, saving nearly $70 million. Sex offenders and violent criminals would still fall under supervision. She also proposes early release for elderly and ill criminals, and deporting noncitizens who have committed property or drug offenses.

HUMAN SERVICES: Gregoire suggests saving $160 million by eliminating grants to people in the General Assistance- Unemployable program. About 21,000 people, as well as 6,500 people in a program for alcoholism and drug addiction, would stop receiving assistance.

HEALTH CARE: Gregoire wants to continue providing access to health care for low-income residents, but is calling for a $252 million reduction in the state basic health plan, a 42 percent reduction. Medical coverage would also be eliminated for those in the General Assistance- Unemployable program, and the state would no longer buy vaccines for children not covered by Medicaid.

PUGET SOUND: Gregoire is seeking more than $284 million for Puget Sound recovery projects, including hatchery production and toxic prevention and cleanup. But she suggests closing 13 state parks.

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The Great Sunflower Project…….

We all know the bees are in trouble right now, but the question becomes—what can you and I do about it?

Here is one way to help.  Gretchen LeBuhn, an associate professor of biology at San Francisco State University, has created a citizen science project which is looking for volunteer bee watchers.

This is how it works.  After registering at The Great Sunflower Project website, you will receive a packet of sunflower seeds, a growing guide, and a bee identification kit.

Once your planted sunflowers bloom, your bee watching duties will begin.  Twice a month, for about 30 minutes each session, you will document how many, of which type of bees, are visiting your sunflowers.

After your data is recorded, you will submitted this information back to the study through the Great Sunflower Project website.  Couldn’t be simpler, right?

So, join me and other citizen scientists around the country this summer to do something for the bees.  After all, bees are responsible for every third bite of food.  It seems like the least we can do.

The Power (and Peril) of Praise | New York Magazine…….

When adults praise effort, rather than intelligence, children are given control over their academic success. This approach encourages kids to persist when faced with difficult questions, take risks during problem solving, and–over time, develop personal autonomy. All of which, are key characteristics for a competitive, 21st century work force.

In follow-up interviews, Dweck discovered that those who think that innate intelligence is the key to success begin to discount the importance of effort. I am smart, the kids’ reasoning goes; I don’t need to put out effort. Expending effort becomes stigmatized—it’s public proof that you can’t cut it on your natural gifts.

Repeating her experiments, Dweck found this effect of praise on performance held true for students of every socioeconomic class. It hit both boys and girls—the very brightest girls especially (they collapsed the most following failure). Even preschoolers weren’t immune to the inverse power of praise.

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