Category Archives: Blogging

Oregon Coast

This photo in the mountains above the Oregon coast is cropped down from a very wide angle (8mm) shot. I like how the land, clouds, sea, and sky all blend together and disappear like it’s the edge of the world in the middle right side of the photo & I also like how the lines of waves along the beach draw your eye there slowly but surely.

Oregon Coastline
Oregon Coastline

Redbud Leaves

Redbud leaves have some weird property about them that causes water to bead up a bit more than it does on other leaves. This makes for some good photos.

redbud leaves
water drops on redbud leaves.

Far Right Common Core Opponents Know Little About it, But that Doesn’t Stop Them

As usual the Far right backlash against common core is fed by populist reactionary fear mired in fundamentalist ignorance. This means the usual anti-science theocrats who not only want to rewrite science classes according to the bible, but also rewrite history based on their narrow theocratic view of how things ought to be in this country are all very much against the standards. Lying about everything is the norm with them, and twisting everything is the point and purpose of the exercise, if one lie gets debunked another takes its place.

So the usual suspects from Phylis Schafly to Wall builders are trying to paint this as a Federal move, and have already branded Common Core as “Obamacore” and anti-states rights even though it was created by state bodies, not Federal, and Common Core does not come from President Obama. Truth doesn’t matter to them however because lying for Jesus is the game, and any change in the U.S. is what they blame.

The video at the link is typical – watch as the “concerned mom” ignorantly paints common core as everything it is not. Common core recognizes that children attack problems individually and through different mental tools and the program works with those abilities to teach children different methods of solving problems and the concepts behind the solutions. CC allows children to pick their own tools and the methods that work best for them. Behind her animus is someone who wants kids memorizing tables and events instead of being able to critically think their way to an answer for future problems, someone who fears that the schools will teach her kids to actually think for themselves.

A recent Gallup poll showed that 61 percent of parents know little or nothing about the Common Core. But the 19 percent who view the standards “very negatively,” particularly in red states, are the parents driving the debate and making Common Core a wedge issue in the upcoming election. Prominent Tea Party members have denounced “Obamacore” as the epitome of a federal takeover. Several Republican governors in the past few months–Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Mike Pence in Indiana, Mary Fallin in Oklahoma, and Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, who once supported the standards–have repealed Common Core in their states as a result, many say, of pressure from small groups of local activists.

Austin’s #CanISee conference –as in, “Can I see what my children are learning?”– is a who’s-who of the far-right movement that some peg as fringe, but nevertheless gets results. They’re the voters who vow to use Common Core as a litmus test come November. They’re also the activists who Core supporters say are fueling myths and misconceptions about the standards.

For the mostly female, mostly older, all-white crowd, Common Core is more than an attack on states’ rights; it’s an affront to Christian, conservative values. These mothers and grandmothers see a campaign against Common Core as an extension of protecting the nuclear family. Eagle Forum, anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly’s national organization, is a sponsor of the conference. In the foyer outside, booths proffer fliers about What You Need to Know About Marriage and How to Speak Up for Life.

More: Meet America’s Most Hardcore Anti-Common Core Moms – NBC

July 4th 2014

The weather in Kansas is great, and I think I’ve found a good spot for the fireworks tonight. Now I have to remember how to set up the DSLR for fireworks.

Fireworks over Niagara Falls

Political Polarization and Growing Ideological Consistency

What’s driving this? There are probably many things, but some of this divide is created by reactionaries – people who can’t deal with the rapid rate of accelerating change in the modern world. They exist in both parties, but the GOP reactionaries in the Tea Party are in the process of tearing down the basic structure of their political constituencies to fight modernity in my opinion. This is also why sovereign citizen groups and anti government militia forces are on the rise and why all of our basic institutions are under concerted attack.

Interactive graph: use header tabs and year drop downs to see the shifts as measured by affiliations and political activity, click the animate header to automatically page through years.

The phenomenon doesn’t just belong to the Tea Party however – if you look at the graphs at PEW you see that both sides have shifted into hardened stances further left and right than in the past. Maybe one side of the graph is in reaction to the other’s sudden shift (use the drop down to view these shifts,) but if we are to go forward we can’t continue to centrifuge ourselves apart very much longer.

The ideological consolidation nationwide has happened on both the left and the right of the political spectrum, but the long-term shift among Democrats stands out as particularly noteworthy. The share of Democrats who are liberal on all or most value dimensions has nearly doubled from just 30% in 1994 to 56% today. The share who are consistently liberal has quadrupled from just 5% to 23% over the past 20 years.

If you view the graph objectively without ideological blinders on, you can see that the whole country was moving the center leftwards with the right somewhat accommodating that shift all the way up until 2004 – then you get a fast reactionary bounce, and a hard one as Toomey’s Great RINO hunt started right after Bush II got elected to second term.

How do we get out of this condition? Well both sides have to stop being ideologically lazy. If you want to get the other side to shift, you have to convince them, not condemn them. You have to give them reasons to move, and the most convincing reasons are almost always fiscal. It’s time to put aside the fairy tales and come up with concrete policies that will help our diminishing middle and lower classes. IF you can do that then you gain the “Big Mo” like the left had up until 2004 — just dig in your heels more and you just get stuck — like we are now.

suggestion: compare animating “overall” “politically active” animation to “overall general population”.

Main PEW RESEARCH Article, more graphs and information at the link below:

A decade ago, the public was less ideologically consistent than it is today. In 2004, only about one-in-ten Americans were uniformly liberal or conservative across most values. Today, the share who are ideologically consistent has doubled: 21% express either consistently liberal or conservative opinions across a range of issues – the size and scope of government, the environment, foreign policy and many others.

The new survey finds that as ideological consistency has become more common, it has become increasingly aligned with partisanship. Looking at 10 political values questions tracked since 1994, more Democrats now give uniformly liberal responses, and more Republicans give uniformly conservative responses than at any point in the last 20 years

More: Political Polarization and Growing Ideological Consistency