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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reason to work for a cure for breast cancer

My friend Erma Stewart sent this one my way. It makes a serious point in a humorous fashion. I believe the term for this technique is "Dulce et Utile": Sweet and Useful.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tom Warns Us About Rush, Bill, Sean, and their fellow Fanatics

Thomas Jefferson
In the fevered state of our country, no good can ever result from any attempt to set one of these fiery zealots to rights, either in fact or principle. They are determined as to the facts they will believe, and the opinions on which they will act. Get by them, therefore, as you would by an angry bull; it is not for a man of sense to dispute the road with such an animal.

Friday, February 20, 2009

GOP Strategy Isn't Working So Far


The GOP strategy of trying to obstruct Obama's recovery program at every term, being "The Party of NO", doesn't seem to be gathering much favor with the American people. Here are the lastest Favorable/Unfavorable ratings with last week's ratings in parenthesis courtesy of The Daily Kos.

FAVORABLE UNFAVORABLE NET CHANGE
PRESIDENT OBAMA 69(68) 25(25) +1

PELOSI: 43(42) 39(39) +1
REID: 33(32) 41(42) +2
McCONNELL: 23(22) 51(50) +0
BOEHNER: 17(18) 54(55) +0

CONGRESS DEMS: 41(39) 53(53) +2
CONGRESS GOPS: 18(19) 70(69) -2

DEMOCRATIC PARTY: 57(56) 38(37) +0
REPUBLICAN PARTY: 31(31) 62(61) -1
Full Article Here

No, I think it's Murdock

Last Word in the Cartoon Controversy

Oklahoma County Democrats had a great Medallion Dinner


Once again we had another great Medallion Dinner. The Medallion is the biggest fundraiser the Oklahoma County Democratic Party has each year. This year we celebrated the victory of Barack Obama as president and former State Senator Angela Monson's victory in the Oklahoma City Public School school board chairman election. We do not know yet how much money was raised, but a great time was had by all.

Congratulations to our Medallion Award Winners: Linda James and Jack Farley of LL James Printing; Patti Bessen, Political Director for American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309; The Oklahoma County Stonewall Democrats; Change Oklahoma with Susan McCann, Jeremiah Elix, and Terry Thompson; and Victor Gorin, volunteer extraordinaire.

We also awarded our Male and Female Volunteers of the Year. The male was Carl Downing for a lifetime of service to the Democratic Party and Pam Paul for her work on the county web page and the listserv.

Paricular thanks needs to go to Ellen Stevens for her hard work to make this a great Medallion.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Will "President" Replace the N-Word?

I don't know how seriously to take this, but I wish it would catch on.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cartoons and the Politics of Violence

Controversial Cartoon from the NY Post
The New York Post and, particularly, one of their cartoonists, Sean Delonas, have stirred up much controversy over printing the above cartoon. Many feel that the cartoon uses a racist term to refer to Barack Obama since Obama has been the moving force behind the Stim Plan. The Post and Delonas refuse to apologize for the cartoon. Delonas claims that Obama is not the target of the cartoon which alludes to a chimpaneze shot in Conneticut though he seems to admit that one could infer that he is refering to Nancy Pelosi (as if this mitigates anything at all).

Defenders of the cartoon point out that several times Bush had direct images of him that made the former president look Simian.

However, I would like to point out that a possible racist image is not the sole problem with the cartoon. There is also the implication that violence is a viable poltical solution.

For example, imagine that this cartoon had appeared while Bush was still president and it had the following caption instead.
"Well, I guess Dick Cheney's now the president."
All of a sudden, it's not so funny. In fact, I would imagine that the cartoonist would have some 'splaining' to do the the Secret Service. Perhaps, the "Silent Service" should look in on Mr. Delonas.

Cold Number Two


Well, I managed, somehow, to get another cold. I thought it was only one per customer per season. The only difference I can tell between this cold and the one I got a few weeks ago is that this one seems to be mainly in my chest while the other was more in my sinuses.

Chest colds concern me more, particularly at my age, because of the danger of coming down with pneumonia. So I have been coughing liberally (how else would I cough?). And I've been watching for any signs in difficulty with breathing. So far so good, but I am thinking that I will take off another day from school just to be on the safe side.

There was a time when I toughed these things out, but I often made myself worse in doing so. There is also the danger of spreading my bugs to others. So I think erring on the side of caution works out best for all.

Thank the Lord for sick days in our contract.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Angela Monson and Gail Vines Sworn-In as School Board Members

Angela Monson takes the oath of office as the newly elected chair of the Oklahoma City Public School Board
Monday evening, former state senator Angela Monson was sworn in as the 3rd chairman for the Oklahoma City Public Schools, Board of Education in a ceremony at the school board auditorium before a large and enthusiastic crowd. Ms. Monson challenged those attending to "get involved" in the district. "This is just the beginning of our journey to create a school district that serves the needs of all our students," she told those present. Monson won her position in an election against incumbent school board chair, Kirk Humphries. She is the third person to hold the position of chairman since the office was created by a the Oklahoma legislature.
Gail Vines takes the oath of office for School Board District Two Representative
Also sworn in were Lynn Watson who is the newly elected representative for District One and Gail Vines who was unopposed in her bid for a second term in District Two.

Oklahoma County Judge Vicki Miles LaGrange administered the oath of office to all the officials.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Valentine's Poem for My Wife


I wrote a poem for my Valentine's Day gift to my wife. It's not very good, but I had a lot of fun writing it, and she enjoyed getting it.

Like a compass needle always points northward.
So do I always bend towards you,
My Love, my own True North.

Though roads may bend right, then left
As I travel my way through many obligations
And obstacles, I find my paths bending to you.

You are my ever fixed point that guides
My paths, the center providing the calm
From the storms that rise, then fall,
My anchor through the ebbs and swells.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Republicans LIKE "Activist Judges"????


from The Daily Kos
If you wanted more evidence at the skin-deep adherence to it's so-called "core values", watch the Minnesota Republican Party suddenly decide it wants activist judges, rather than strict constructionists.
[Norm] Coleman lawyer James Langdon said that the Franken team "would have you sit in a vacuum, strictly interpreting a statute," without taking into account the facts that have come into the court and shown just how complicated this all is. He also said that the circumstances of this case were "creating penumbras" around the written law.

"Penumbras"? The Supreme Court found a right to privacy in Grisswold v. Connecticut by findind that...
specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance

Of course, that sentence has been mocked and attacked by the Right (especially among the anti-abortion crowd) as judicial overreach. In fact, it's exhibit A in their attacks on "activist judges" who should instead strictly interpret the law, rather than create it. Yet here is a Republican leaning on that same language to try and get the court to rewrite state law. Call the Federalist Society, STAT!
full article from The Daily Kos

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Angela Monson upsets Kirk Humphries in OKC School Board Race

new OKC School Board Chairman Angela Monson
Angela Monson, who only decided to get into the race for Oklahoma City School Board Chairman on the last day of the filing deadline, defeated incumbent chairman Kirk Humphries 57% to 43% on Tuesday. Monson was a former member of the Oklahoma House and Senate. Oklahoman News Article on the race
This win is satisfying on many levels. First, Angela is not a part of the corporate power structure that has rule the district for many years now. She is a friend of working families and their children. She is also willing to listen to the teachers who have direct contact with the kids.
Congratulations, Angela.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Leonard Pitts Jr.: This 'stop snitching' culture? As weak and cowardly as it gets

Leonard Pitts
African-Americans have never been a weak and cowardly people. Weak and cowardly people do not risk their lives running to freedom. Weak and cowardly people do not stand against government and guns, dogs and fire, demanding freedom. Weak and cowardly people do not produce Harriet Tubmans, Henry Johnsons, Rosa Parkses, Martin Luther Kings or Barack Obamas.

But this right here, this so-called "stop-snitching" culture? It's as weak and cowardly as it gets.


I have been using this editorial in my classes to do analytical reading and to spark some discussion on its topic. I think Leonard Pitts is one of the best writers on topics pertinent to African-Americans. One of his collumns generated a neo-Nazi demonstration in his neighborhood.
Leonard Pitts editorial

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Professor Rob L. Staples

Dr. Rob L. Staples
I've been using "Facebook" as a means of making contact with people from my Long Ago and Far Away.

I was very pleased to make contact with Dr. Rob Staples who taught me in several religion and theology classes when I was a student at Southern Nazarenen University (then Bethany Nazarene College). Dr. Staples was always a very warm, open-minded person who didn't mind the fact that we "young pups" had a lot of questions about our "recieved theology" in those days when all institutions were being challenged by the young.

Though I chose not to go into the business of religion, I have never regretted the course of study I persued at SNU. I feel that having a grounding in theology has helped me to be a better teacher, a better citizen, and a better person.
As the philosopher George Berkeley once said,
"Whatever the world thinks, he who hath not much meditated upon God and the Summum Bonum (what's ultimately important), may possibly make a thriving earthworm, but will certainly make a sorry patriot and a sorry statesman."
George Berkeley
Besides, being able to quote scripture and theology when one is arguing social justice with conservatives is just so much fun!

Dr. Staples has a very good blog that can be accessed here.

Keith Olbermann's Special Commentary on Dick Cheney


"With damnable words you protect no American, you serve no American and you aid and abet those who would destroy this nation from within or without. "... Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"

Amen, Keith, from your lips to God's ears.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The Grumpy Old Party is threatening our nation's economy

New Symbol of the GOP
There is a report that the Senate is getting ready to approve the Economic Stimulus package that we need to avoid Great Depression II. Let us pray this is so.

The GOP's worn out ideologues cling to their discredited ideas that by making our economic policies more favorable to the wealthy, somehow, someway, we will manage to avert disaster.

First, can't they see that a stimulus package that provides funds to rebuild our nation's decrepit and antiquated infrastructure is sorely needed on it's own right? Have they completely forgotten the collapsing bridges and breached levees, the slag heap landslides and crumbling highways all across our nation?

And then there is the latest unemployment figures that show over half a million Americans are losing their job, their hopes, each month.

Is their desire to deny Pres. Obama a "victory" so dulled their hearing that they cannot hear the cries of those in need?

The Republican Party has truly grown too old to function.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

National Pun Day is March 4th!

Frank and Earnest by Thaves

National Pun Day is only a month away! Time to play with language and get punning!

Here is a pun from one of my favorite source for great puns!

Something I Wish Would Catch On

Candorville by Darrin Bell
I wish I could get my African-American students to sign-on to this.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Great Super Bowl


This Super Bowl lived up to the hype that surrounds it. The game was exciting. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band provided an outstanding half-time show. We had a good party over at our place with a group of our best friends.

On top of that Obama's team won, or at least the team he was rooting for, and they did it in come from behind fashion.

Very satisfying evening.
Fortunately, our guests were nothing like Ernie here.

Super Pun

The New Adventures of Queen Victoria by Pab Sungenis
As I often say, I love a good pun, and this one is very, very good. I will be rooting for the Steelers, however. Their owner and their coach campaigned for Obama.