Thursday, November 29, 2007

How to Make the Big Leap Needed To Become An Effective Alternative Media?

I’ve been blogging a little at DaytonOS and yesterday I posted a blog entitled, “Our Democracy Must Be Revived -- If We Hope To Achieve The Dreams of Our Wisest and Best”

It seemed to take me all day to assemble my thoughts in this article. I’m trying to discipline myself to write something at least once a week -- to contribute to DaytonOS. Yesterday, I kept revising my thoughts.

My hope for DaytonOS is that it helps with the reviving of our democracy -- by developing itself as an alternative media source in the Dayton area -- and that it develops a core group of dedicated members sufficiently large to impact Dayton's political processes. An authentic alternative media site could have a huge impact on our politics, because it would be a force for genuine democracy. An effective alternative media would help voters become thoroughly informed about issues and candidates. An effective alternative media would help set in place reforms within our local political parties.

I’m thinking that to have any claim to being an effective alternative media for Dayton, we need to develop an internet community of at least 10,000 Dayton voters. Right now DaytonOS seems to have a core following, I’m guessing, of maybe 200 individuals. So, we need to make a very big leap. I’m trying to think through how we can make the big leap from where we are now to where we should be.

One help to making the big leap, I’m thinking about, is the production of original videos. Original short videos posted on a web-site could attract a lot of attention. I’m putting my thoughts together as to how to involve local high schools and colleges in the production of short educational videos -- videos that, in turn, would be posted on DaytonOS and would be the basis for community discussions on DaytonOS.

I think we could appeal to the whole Dayton area that the effective use of technology is consistent with Dayton’s reputation as a city of innovation. For our times, what it means to be a city of innovation is to use technology creatively and effectively. Creating an authentic learning community via the internet -- that unites the region in meaningful civic education and in meaningful discussion -- would be a great goal for any city, and for that reason, I’m thinking that, if DaytonOS can establish itself as a viable entity, it may receive unexpected support.

So, anyway that's what I've been thinking about lately. And I'm thinking, wow, I need to get into gear. I’m reminded of the phrase that starts, “If wishes were horses ...” At least I did my thoughtful best on that one article this week.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"You have to decide..."

Several times since the Republican misadventure in Iraq turned sour, I have been told by a few defenders of the decision to invade that "even Bill Clinton believed Saddam had WMD". These folks seem to think that means he also supported the invasion.

I have known that was not true. I am glad, now, to be able to give chapter and verse. A transcript of President Clinton's remarks of March 14, 2003 -- less than a week before the invasion -- has been posted at the Hillary Clinton website. Here are some excerpts:
"... you have to decide if it matters whether we bend over backwards to try to disarm him in a way that strengthens rather than divides the world community. If you don’t think it matters, then you’re with a lot of the people in the current administration...

[Saddam]'s finally destroying his missiles, so let’s give him a certain date in which, in this time, he has to destroy the missiles, reconcile the discrepancies in what we believe is the truth on chemical weapons, reconcile the discrepancies on biological weapons, reconcile the issue of the Drones, and offer up 150 scientists who can travel outside of Iraq with their families for interviews. ... I’m for regime change too, but there’s more than one way to do it. We don’t invade everybody whose regime we want to change..."
I, like President Clinton, believed President Bush was acting foolishly in the months leading up to March of 2003. I was quite vociferous about that, despite the ridicule of a whole gaggle of my Republican friends. I saw an administration hyping the case for preemptive war. They may have believed some of what they said about WMD, but they blatently hyped it. They knew Saddam was not an immediate threat to the US and they knew Saddam was unconnected to the terrorist attacks of 2001 (and never SAID he was, as they are quick to point out) but blatently lied about the first and actively promoted the second impression, and those misconceptions became majority assumptions in the US. The Machiavellian neo-cons viewed war as an exercise of the unique power of the world's only remaining superpower. It was an opportunity, the neo-cons seemed to think, that the US should not pass up. From slimy politics, to slippery slope, to free fall.

What a different and better world this would be today if the election of 2000 had not been compromised.

What a difference it will make for our country if in 2008 we can elect a statesman (or woman) to repair the tragic mistakes of the Republicans. I will be thrilled to support Edwards, Biden, Clinton, Obama, or Dodd.

Monday, November 26, 2007

PTSW: Mice!

I was reminded of this poem as I read Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson. Marly and her Mom find a drawer full of hairless baby mice as they clean the cabin that has stood long empty. Marly finds them charming and wants to keep them. Mom and Dad disagree.

In turn the poem reminds me of a favorite school story, Alien Invasion.


I think mice
are rather nice.

Their tails are long,
Their faces small,
They haven't any
Chins at all.
Their ears are pink,
Their teeth are white.
They run around
The house at night.
They nibble things
They shouldn't touch
And no one seems
To like them much.

But I think mice
are nice.
by Rose Fyleman


The series of posts, A Poem to Start the Week, is my little anthology of poetry, many of which I have used with my students in elementary schools during 27 years of teaching.

Previous Poems to Start the Week:
Mice • All In a WordThe SpiderThe Eagle

Some PeopleCustard the Dragon
Statistics 101The Spider and the Fly
Back to SchoolThe Inchcape RockOgden NashTrash
Hearts, Like DoorsCasey at the BatAlways a RoseHome at Last
Bag of ToolsCarpe DiemPoems About PoetryMan's Best Friend
Spelling is Tough Stough!Blue MarbleTacks, Splinters, Apples and Stars
Oh, Captain, My Captain!MetaphorIntroducion to Poetry
Loveliest of TreesFlax-Golden TalesThe Dinosaurs Are Not All Dead
Owl PelletsMummy Slept LateJust My Size
The Kindest Things I KnowMiles to GoLove that Brother
Oh, Frabjous Day!

Other Posts about Children's Literature:

The Lion's Paw top kid's OOP book!
Aslan is Dead!
Multiplying People, Rice, and Readers
A Teacher's Life

You can read some of my own efforts at poetry here.
And then there's Alien Invasion.

A weblog dedicated to Poetry for Children.
Watch Sonja Cole's reviews of children's books at
The PBS series Favorite Poem Project