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No, I do not feel like berning.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.21.21

Can we all link our favorite Bernie With Mittens? It's just the best.



 

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Finally.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.20.21

Finally.

In hindsight, the shift for me began in a significant way when the media companies all muzzled Trump, and I was no longer reading headlines about his tweets and rants. (And in fact:

Online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73 percent after several social media sites suspended President Trump and key allies last week, research firm Zignal Labs has found, underscoring the power of tech companies to limit the falsehoods poisoning public debate when they act aggressively.

so.) I like to imagine him squawking and ranting, miniaturized and trapped inside a heavy bell jar or snow globe. Red faced and alternately pounding the walls, his chest, and the ground, but nothing audible besides the faintest mouse taps. Let's put you up on this shelf, or in this trash can.



 

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Guest Post - Day One

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.19.21

CharleyCarp writes: So, what should Biden do on his first day? (In addition to a vaccine plan, and telling Congress to send him an aid bill). There's a ton of good stuff to do. I've read that he's going to cancel the Keystone pipeline. I'm sure there's a zilling things folks can think of. Let's have a bed of nails. Good nails.

I've been saying that it's smart to put the VP on cleaning out the stables. Looking at the list, though, I see that there are 12 district court vacancies in California. OK, this is patronage that belongs to her replacement, but I bet she could rattle off a dozen quality names with no more than 5 minutes thought. (None of them are N.D. which is kind of odd. Does Sen. F's reach not extend any further?)

Heebie's take: Let's have a bed of nails. Good nails.

Oh man, this is a dazzling premise. Flood the country with so many lefty progressive things that none of them can gather any outrage. The answer isn't to sell and market your ideas to the country - if you try to sell Obamacare, you wind up with the noise machine having a field day with death panels. But if you just straight up socialize healthcare, reform immigration, pass the Green New Deal, make college free, and pass a UBI all on Thursday, none of them will have enough oxygen to raise much of a squawk.

Those aren't serious answers to Charley's prompt, of course. I'm just noting that as a strategy, it hadn't occurred to me that "go for broke" generates a lot less outrage than "carefully explain and defend your well-researched thoughtful proposal and give everyone time to reflect."



 

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Check Ins, Reassurances, and Concerns, 1/21

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.18.21

This is intended to be our system for checking in on imaginary friends, so that we know whether or not to be concerned if you go offline for a while. There is no way it could function as that sentence implies, but it's still nice to have a thread.

Episode 63.



 

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Conversations about Race

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.18.21

The transcript of this episode of the podcast On Being has some good lines in it:


Claudia Rankine: I spend a lot of time thinking about, how can I say this so that we can stay in this car together, and yet explore the things that I want to explore with you?

Ms. Tippett: I just think that line --
Ms. Rankine: How can I say this so we can stay in this car together?
Ms. Tippett: That should be a national motto for us.

...

I was on a plane, and there was this white guy, and he was nice, and he asked me, "What kind of music do you like?" I said, "I like 'Night Shift' by The Commodores." And he's like, "I love 'Night Shift.'"
So -- you know that song? How does it go? Somebody, sing. [sings] "On the night shift...what you doin' now" -- anyway, it's a great song. We sang that song -- on the plane, two strangers -- we sang "Night Shift," even though I can't do it now. I had him to push me along, and so the words came back. And he's the kind of person who, had I met him in my real life, we probably would be friends. And then he said to me, "I don't see color." And it was like, whoa. [laughs]
But the amazing thing that happened was, somehow, I said -- I don't even know how I did it, but I said to him, "Ah, that's not such a good thing to say." And he said, "Why?" And I said, "Because I'm a black woman, and you're a white man. And I want you to see that. If you don't see color, you're not seeing me. And if you can't see me, you can't see racism. And I want you to be able to see those things." And he said -- and this is the moment that I loved. He said to me, "Did I say anything else?" And I said, "No, that was it."
[laughter]
Then we got back on our conversation, just like that.

I am nervous-curious to ask black friends or other not-white friends who I've known for a long time if I ever said some callous stuff that stuck with them and counted against me. Mostly I grew up being taught that mentioning race was taboo, so it's entirely possible I never said anything disruptive one way or another. Now I am so woke that it would knock your socks off. So get ready to not hear me say anything that will count against me.




 

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Guest Post - Wikipedia is 20!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 01.17.21

Mo Char writes: Key Takeaways [...] Wikipedia largely works: intentionally distorting Wikipedia is very difficult.
Lest we forget how vast a triumph, despite it all, the internet is.

Heebie's take: I definitely remember someone explaining to me what Wikipedia was and why it was so cool for the first time, I think in probably in fall of 2001.

To hear k-12 teachers tell it, wikipedia is the least acceptable place ever to dare learn about something, how dare you, clearly you need to have real sources. My conclusion is that we do a really bad job teaching students about good sources and bad sources, largely because the teachers are constrained by two things:

1. A hopelessly pure notion of what constitutes a good source: a thing purchased by the school, affiliated with a university or academia, or the government. (I suppose they count newspapers, too.) Let's all agree that K-12 students largely cannot read an academic paper, so the effect is that students are quickly constrained to things published by Pearson or whoever has the school contract in order to get something written at an age-appropriate level.

2. A desire to teach students about healthy skepticism of websites, without wading into politics and telling students that their parents are MAGA goobers. (Or possibly a MAGA teacher who doesn't want to tell students that their parents are NPR snowflakes.)

So Wikipedia is the scapegoat, the universal site they can all agree on to hammer home the message that you absolutely can't trust what you read on the web. (My colleagues at the university level seem to have a message of "Start with Wikipedia, then follow the sources at the bottom to get to your sources," which seems a little more nuanced.)

I honestly think k-12 teachers are just overwhelmed by the complexity of how to teach trustworthy sources in age-appropriate ways and the professional development on such things haven't been updated since, oh, fall 2001. (Or the professional development is run by Pearson.)



 

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