Thursday, April 07, 2005

MISCELLANEOUS ROUND-UP OF ALL THAT'S ON MY MIND

In no order of significance, here's what I've been reading/watching/thinking about lately:
  • The death of John Paul II occupied a great deal of the last week. Like many people, I had the TV playing in the background for the last days of his life, and over the weekend. One of the best things to come out of that was the opportunity to watch the documentary "Witness to Hope".



    I've been reading the book - it's VERY WEIGHTY AND DENSE READING. I'm in no hurry to finish it (I know how it ends), so I generally read for 15-30 minutes just before bed. I'm enjoying it very much. Most of the reading I do is either technical stuff or fluff mysteries, so it's been a refreshing change.

  • I've been mulling over a new post-in-progress at my Technology in Teaching blog. I've been considering "What is the Purpose of Education?" If you have any thoughts on that subject, I'd love to hear them.

    As part of the process of writing that post, I've been looking at the mission statements of various educational organizations. Surprisingly, (at least to me), none of them focus on educational OUTCOMES, just on the inputs.

  • In the aftermath of my mother-in-law's death the week before Easter, I've been setting up a family website to post pictures. That requires time to scan them, correct color and crop, and organize them in folders. I've been playing around with Picasa + Hello software, and I think it's a winner. Although not totally intuitive, it's still a good way to handle pictures you want to share, and there's a BloggerBot feature that allows you to post directly to a blog.

  • I've been clearing out the house of old stuff - not technically Spring Cleaning, but more like Spring Organizing. One change I've made is that I'm not buying anything unless I also throw out something - which you might call my Law of Conservation of Junk. Slowly, I'm seeing progress.

  • I've been following the Gregoire election scandal in Washington. The challenge is proceeding to trial in a few weeks. I can't say that I hold out any serious hope that the proceedings will be unbiased or fair, or that the outcome will lead to Gregoire being tossed out on her a$$, although she should be.

    My best hope is that it will lead to legislation that tightens up the rules for running an election.

    Why are there so many stories this time about electoral fraud? Not just in Washington, but in Ohio, Illinois, Florida, and other states. My best guess is that, because of the antics of rabid True Believers, like the MoveOn folks.

    You see, they honestly believed that the 2000 election was stolen. That the Republican racists in FL blocked black votes from being cast or counted. I'm not kidding - they really do believe the conspiracy theories.

    Therefore, any questionable activity was justified, because they KNEW, without a doubt, that they weren't cheating, they were just padding their side with votes that would off-set the padded votes of the other side. Sort of like playing with a tennis player who always calls balls on the line in his favor. In defense, the other side starts doing the same.

    OK, but electoral fraud has always been a factor in American elections. For example, in Chicago - they haven't had an honest election since before I was born (THAT long ago?).

    What's different is that there are so many newbies in voting. Unlike political junkies like us, they walk in expecting that all votes will count equally. When that expectation proves false, they are horrified. And angry. So, they turn to the courts to exact a just solution.

    Lots of luck. The newbies are about to find out that the impartial judiciary are, in fact, part of the same political machine. The judges know which side of their bread is buttered, and by whom.

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