Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Change is challenging

video
The world's first tech support or, for community relations, bringing people into your transformation idea... (from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRBIVRwvUeE)



When I saw this video, I began to think, how do we get people to make changes? The old addage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" seems to be a working model for a lot of people with whom we may come in contact. For those of us who have been in the teaching profession for a while, we can remember a time when attendance and grades were always done by hand. (Possibly only the geeky math or computer teacher would do something using a spreadsheet...). Where you in the profession when the transition was made to electronic attendance and gradebooks? How much resistance was there? How many times did you hear the question, why do I have the change the way I am doing this? Or even better, I am retiring in 2 years, I am not going to change...


As I look at increasing community engagement, changing the public image of a district, or even incorporating technology into the classroom on a daily basis, there are some of the questions that I will have to address. It is funny that there are people out there that deny that evolution occurs and these are the same people who don't want to change with the times. Take a lesson from biology, species that fail to adapt to changing environments go extinct!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Getting back into the game...

My last blog post was on January 22nd of this year. At that point, I was trying to really get going with posting to the blog on a regular basis. Unfortunately, tragedy struck on Jan. 29 when my father passed away. After that happened, I just had some other things to deal with. While I miss Dad everyday, I have come to terms with the loss and think of him fondly.

One of the classes that I am taking for my Doctorate of Education is a seminar in Community Relations. Oddly enough, one of our weekly assignments is to post to the class blog on a topic of interest. This has got my blogging "juices" flowing again and I will be back in the swing of things.

If you read the blog, thank you to all 6 of you! Please pass it on and share. If you don't read the blog...this really doesn't apply to you then.

Friday, January 22, 2010

US Supreme Court kills Democracy

Everyone should mark this day on their calendars and make reference to this day in the upcoming years in their history classes and on the news with a moment of silence. In a Court decision reported on January 22, 2010, century old campaign finance reform laws were over-turned. Quoted from the Chicago Tribune: “The basics of the Supreme Court's landmark decision on campaign finance:

OVERTURNED

—A 63-year-old law, and two of its own decisions, that barred corporations and unions from spending money directly from their treasuries on ads that advocate electing or defeating candidates for president or Congress but are produced independently and not coordinated with the candidate's campaign.

—The prohibition in the McCain-Feingold Act that since 2002 had barred issue-oriented ads paid for by corporations or unions 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election.

LEFT IN PLACE

—The century-old ban on donations by corporations from their treasuries directly to candidates.

—The ability of corporations, unions or individuals to set up political action committees that can contribute directly to candidates but can only accept voluntary contributions from employees, members and others and cannot use money directly from corporate or union treasuries.

—The McCain-Feingold provision that anyone spending money on political ads must disclose the names of contributors.”
(http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-ap-us-campaign-finance-glance,0,7496875.story, accessed Jan. 22, 2010).

So what does this mean? Extrapolating the effects of this decision our a few years, we will no longer have red and blue states. We will now have red and blue corporations; stores will have political ads running for the candidate that their parent corporation supports. We will see political candidates wear suits that are no longer maid by Armani, but by the same company that manufactures that coveralls worn by NASCAR drivers. Just picture it, in the next presidential election it may not be a democratic candidate versus a republican, but a candidate sponsored by Target versus the candidate sponsored by Walmart. Can you picture the big emblems and patches on their new suits? What will this mean for news corporations? Why they have endorsed a candidate in the past, they certainly never placed a PSA that slung mud at the other candidate. Now, they can have the opportunity.



The new proper "Running Attire"
(http://www.sportscardforum.com/photoplog/images/21935/medium/1_Jimmy-Johnson-Lowes-Racing.jpg)

Even with McCain-Feingold (2002) still in place, the idea of stating who the ad is by at its end to “identify the bias” is like having something stricken from the record during a jury trial. Once the idea is out there and people have heard it, it becomes a little difficult to remove it from their memory. Having ads created by any corporation will not only put forth their interests into the political area, but will also serve as a source of more ad time.

It seems that the Cold War was about just this. Communist countries, while not big on the idea of letting all of the people have a say and being represented, did not want the people to be overrun by corporations and greed. Look at what just happened!

I see mock elections occurring for the next few cycles and then welcome to the plutocracy!

Now, while congressmen and other political figures have received endorsements before, there is a new wrinkle that gets added in…in Illinois, we elect judges. Now, the impartiality of the courts comes into question! “Your Honor, while I was speeding, please know that I spend over $30,000 a year at Target, which is a big supporter of yours, for various personal and corporate purchases. Do you really want to lose my vote?” How doe we get an anti-tobacco lawsuit now when big tobacco will be a major contributor to election campaigns? Which brand of cigarettes did the President quit? Did he just lose potentially a major contributor to his re-election fund?

With the influence of corporations now able to directly affect the outcomes of elections, democracy has just been killed. An individual no longer has a true voice in the country. Our representatives will now be jockeying for corporate sponsorships instead of talking the issues (which they barely do now). How can someone without the backing of a major corporation get equal exposure? How can the candidates represent our interests when they owe their seat to a big corporation? January 22, 2010 marks the death of our representative government, of the people, by the people, and for the people, and capitalism has clearly taken over.

On a positive note, clairvoyance has been proven to truly exist. Want to see the future? Look here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387808/ (Rent it, it is a good one, and eerily prophetic now)