Tag Archives: election

Looking for light on the longest night

candles

Photo by L.C. Notaasen, published under Creative Commons license

At this year’s winter solstice, the darkness seems worse, deeper, more threatening. The Seasonal Affective Disorder, in which lack of light brings on depression, can’t hold a candle to this year’s Systemic American Dysfunction.

Light marks solstice, from pagan fires on British hilltops to Scandinavian Yule logs to Hanukkah candles and Christmas trees. Like lighting candles against the long winter night, I’m offering stories of hope to shine through the post-election darkness. Continue reading

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Mainstream media FAIL: He said, she said and the biggest liar contest

pants-on-fire

PolitiFact is a fact-checking website run by the Tampa Bay Times that focuses on political actors and statements. Politifact classifies statements as True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False, and Pants on Fire.

The Star Tribune published a commentary piece October 28 featuring “The Top 10 whoppers of both leading presidential candidates” as identified by Politifact.com. What’s wrong with that? Plenty.

The clear implication is that both candidates are equally liars. That’s wrong. Even worse, the “everybody is a liar” meme increases cynicism not only about the candidates but about the political system, voting, and the possibility of meaningful choice. Continue reading

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Satire beyond The Onion

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Fact, fiction, or satire?

Does Hilary Clinton wear the bullet that killed Osama bin Laden on a chain around her neck? Did marijuana overdoses kill 37 people in Colorado on the first day of legalization? Was a Black Lives Matter group sued for being racist, not allowing white members? Did a vacationing President Obama really dedicate an 18th hole birdie to Louisiana flood victims? Did Trump really put Ben Carson and Sarah Palin on his foreign policy advisory team? Or is Michele Bachmann going to be his foreign policy adviser?

In this election more, even more than in previous campaign seasons, it can be hard to tell truth from satire. Continue reading

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St. Paul school board candidates off and running

Steve Marchese and Zuki Ellis are two of the candidates in a field of nine. Others: Jon Schumacher, Mary Vanderwert, Keith Hardy, Scott Raskiewicz, Aaron Benner, Greg Copeland and Linda Freeman.

Steve Marchese and Zuki Ellis are two of the candidates in a field of nine. Others: Jon Schumacher, Mary Vanderwert, Keith Hardy, Scott Raskiewicz, Aaron Benner, Greg Copeland and Linda Freeman.

With filing now closed, St. Paul school board candidates include one who eschews social media and another inspired by “The Untouchables.” The five most serious candidates are DFL-endorsed Zuki Ellis, Jon Schumacher, Steve Marchese, and Mary Vanderwert, all of whom identify with the teachers-union-backed Caucus for Change, and school board incumbent Keith Hardy, who is running without endorsement. The four who are elected in November will deal continuing problems, including student achievement, discipline and budgets, as well as middle school students leaving the district.

Zuki Ellis has deep connections to St. Paul Public Schools, as an alum of Webster Elementary and Highland Park Senior High School, and the mother of three SPPS students. Her web page lists detailed and thoughtful positions on key issues from the botched mainstreaming initiative rolled out a couple of years ago to iPads in classrooms and corporate talk in the district office. On mainstreaming:

“For both Special Education and ELL students, the word ‘mainstreaming’ has been used to disguise blatant neglect for individual student progress, and I cannot support the way it has been carried out.

“By cutting entire programs for the sake of ‘mainstreaming’ students, without any regard for the needs of individual students, the district has shown a total disregard for those students’ potential to succeed.  (They’re called Individual Education Plans for a reason.) “By providing additional support staff in the classroom, we can make steps toward making sure students are still getting the individual attention they need and deserve, and that our teachers are able to fully address the needs of all students.”

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