Friday, December 30, 2005

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

Do we "Invent the future that we want to face?"

I think New Year's Eve is a great time to look back and look forward, while we sit on the imaginary tipping point of time. This year, we even have an extra second of time to do that! This blog has been a very personal journey for me, and some of you have contributed some nice comments from time-to-time. What I'd like to do is to encourage you to speculate here about the future, or ruminate about the past. Maybe a year from now it would be interesting to look back at this.

The world that revolves directly around me
This last year has been one of the hardest in my life. Going back to school, where only one professor has been older than me, has been definitely a challenge. I can't pull all-nighter's like I could when I was younger, and the ideal of modern education seems to be some sort of all-in-one superhuman, who writes pulitzer-prize-winning lesson plans every day, connects meaningfully with about a dozen different types of students, and still has time left over to grade papers, get professional development, and still have some sort of life. Not very possible. I have basically had to settle for some sort of 'enforced mediocrity' that gets me by. I want to do better, and have to hope it will get easier with time. Which brings me to the present.

The SFSU semester has ended, but my key science-teaching class is incomplete, and I have a few papers hanging over my head. I return to teach my high school science classes on Tuesday, wrapping up their semester in a few weeks.

How does 2006 look from my selfish point-of-view? Provided I can survive student teaching this next semester, finish my SFSU classes, get my CPR certificate, pay the filing fees, etc., I would hope to be a full-time science teacher somewhere in the Fall.

Zooming out to the macro
We all exist in so many orbits, so I'm just going to zoom out to the big picture politically, and what I see in 2006. We have witnessed an ongoing coup these last few years, that most people still won't admit to themselves the extent to which we have been conquered, as if by aliens in some corny science fiction movie, or more like the Bizarro World out of Superman Comics. When I was growing up, the Jetsons promised us a world where humans would live in leisure, since robots would be doing so much work for us. This dream of a utopia has been turned upside down, and anyone who thinks this way is a discredited commie-pinko. Unless you're some kind of trust funder, anyone who expects to exist without working is some kind of welfare slacker, or worse, a Trekkie. Our public schools are under attack, Social Security is under threat of being pillaged, and our way of life depends on slave labor and undocumented alien labor. The people who are running our government, under ordinary scrutiny, would be in prison for treason, but instead are being handed medals. This all brings me to what I think the big, big story of 2006 will (or should) be.

The Congressional elections of 2006 could be an historic turning point in history. I hold out hope that people will see the Emporer hath no clothes, and give Congress back to the Democrats, who will stanch the bleeding, and, dare I hope this much, initiate impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush. But the forces of control will not give up without a fight, and will do their best to keep the web spun that distracts us all. Either way, I expect a major struggle. America is supposed to be about the positive aspects of pluralism, the defense of minority rights, and these are exactly the things the new American Taliban are attacking.

Fasten your seatbelts, 2006 is going to be a bumpy ride!

Please, consider sharing your predictions below.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Carlton William Gould (1923 - 1995)

It's been 10 years to the day my father passed on. I miss him a lot, but he remains somewhat of a mystery, as I imagine most parents do to their kids, and vice versa. I know he loved us deeply, but I don't know too much about his personal hopes and dreams, about the kinds of concerns and regrets a parent doesn't burden his children with. For example, Jesse and Grace are in Europe right now, and while I'd love to hear every juicy tidbit about their adventures, I'm sure I didn't share everything with my parents either! My dad was a quintessential 'nice guy,' which is probably where I get my high level of gullibility from, but I don't really mind. He was not overly cynical, and perhaps some of his co-workers didn't look on him as a major leader, but I remember when he died, I talked to Jack, who was his boss for a long time, and I remember Jack was really shook up, and was not just emoting for the sake of the survivors. My dad was, to use an over-used word, "authentic," and made real connections with people. I could do worse than want to grow up to be like my dad.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Impeachable Chutzpah

Georgie Holds CourtJust a short note about Bush's admission that he ordered domestic spying without a court order, and the reaction of John Dean and Barbara Boxer. How out of touch can Georgie be, that John Dean should remark that in his opinion, George W. Bush is the first president in history to publicly admit to an impeachable offense!

Then omigawd, Barbara Boxer has the temerity to ask four Constitutional scholars about impeachment. In a rational world, this would be a totally rational response. A person publicly admits to a crime, that would merit some inquiry. But, in one-party Washington, it will probably take at least until after the 2006 elections until Congress will do their duty and investigate.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The American Taliban

"I don't think that witchcraft is a religion. I wish the military would rethink this decision."*

"God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."

"Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

"This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while."

*Comment about Wiccans in the military

I think that when most people would read the title of an article called "The American Taliban," they would be thinking of John Walker Lindh. But what occurs to me now is just how far we've gone the way of Pogo: "I have met the enemy, and he is us!" The beauty of the Bill of Rights, and the checks and balances of the United States Constitution is in the way it protects the rights of the minorities. The word to use here is 'pluralism.'

I have come across a chilling collection of quotes by Americans, called Quotes from the American Taliban. These people know quite well the meaning of pluralism, and unashamedly want to kill it. Sure, there are quotes from a lot of well-known right-wing nutjobs, but plenty of the quotes are from people who have access to the highest levels of power in this country.

These people are just like the Taliban, and feel they know what God wants people to do. But most of the time in history, these people are just control freaks who use people's hunger for spiritual truth as a tool against their own freedom. Jesus would definitely not condone what these Americans say and do any more than Muhammed would approve of what the Taliban did in Afghanistan.

The idea of the American Taliban is so obvious, once you see it, a quick web search will turn up more articles along the same line. Here's another one.

I hope that the country will not be harmed too much before the 2006 Congressional elections, which I hope will return some balance of power to the people. But...I also fear that these wacko phony Christians know 2006 is coming too, and will try to do something traumatic to the country to turn people's attention away from the real issues. I am hopeful, but concerned.