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Sun May 10, 2015 at 08:12 AM PDT

My Mom passed away ... 6 weeks

by bkamr

and 3 days ago.  

She was almost born into a country where women weren't allowed to vote. The 19th Amendment was passed in 1920, and Mom was born in 1922.  Mama was more than my Mom. For me, she was my best girlfriend, my counselor, my confidante, my cheerleader, and my political mentor.  For others, she was a friend, a partner, a political activist, and a revolutionary.  

She was an early feminist who went through those messy, often painful times, raising her own and unwilling husbands' consciousness about the rigid patriarchy and ugly mysogyny that surrounded her and women -- not that long ago -- to open life and expand the world for women.  Like most pioneers, she received the sticks and stones while we who came after her got to walk into the promised land.

For her 3 daughters, she preached that the path to success was through the front door of the school house, because she wanted us to have careers, and more choices, and more economic power than she and her generation had.  All 3 of us went on to earn advanced degrees.  3 for 3, Momma.  Look at us, Momma! 3 for 3, Momma.  You did well.

And, in the fullness of the generosity of her love, she was proud and happy for us to have what she never had the opportunity to have for herself.  THAT and such is was the greatness of her Mother's Love for her 3 little girls.

When it was time to create her obituary, the funeral planner had a form he used to ask questions to create the newspaper notice. Religion? None.  Well, not really.  See, she felt the Catholic Church that she loved with all her heart as a girl rejected her as a woman.  And, that broke her heart.  So, she left religion, but I don't really know how she felt about God. She never spoke about it -- whether that was because of strong principles or unspeakable hurt, I never knew.  Better to skip that, I suppose. Schooling? High school graduate, and she was proud of that.  She was an unwavering supporter of education.  In lieu of flowers, people sent donations to the public school where I'm a teacher. Group Memberships? She was a lifelong member of the Democratic Party.

Yes, yes, begin the notice with that.  She was a lifelong member of the Democratic Party.

Early this morning, I placed an order for some robotics materials with money that was donated in her name.  Both girls and boys will get to learn about STEM, because of her, and I'll be their teacher, because of her.  

Now, I'm sitting here crying, trying to describe a woman who shaped my self, my soul, my worldview, and my world -- and I miss her more than all the words I could ever type in a lifetime.  What I wouldn't give to hand her a card, today, just one more time, and have her gush over the words I carefully chose and bought to try to tell her thank you, and I love you, Momma.  

Momma, I don't know where you are, or if you are anywhere, or if you can hear me.  I would like to believe in Heaven, but I guess my faith is too small, or my honesty is too big to believe in Heaven 100%.  But the internet is digital and it may go on forever and maybe the electrons hop in and out to different dimensions and maybe Momma you can hear the love in my broken heart crying out to you today ...  somehow.  I hope so.  I HOPE so.

I love you, Momma.  Thank you, Momma.  I miss you, Momma.  Happy Mother's Day, Momma.



Using rackateering charges, educators were taken to court to hold them accountable for the Atlanta Cheating Scandal.  The alleged ring leader, Superintendent Beverly Hall, was not among those tried and convicted since she passed away from breast cancer in March.  Today, those convicted were sentanced.  CNN Link

As a teacher, I was horrified by the systemic cheating even as I could see how the teachers involved became involved.  I like to think I would have been one of the good teachers who tried to blow the whistle and got fired for my principled stand.  

However, I also understand how the teachers could have felt completely frustrated by how the testing regime was being used to defund their schools and warp the educational environment in their school system.

I have to say that I'm stunned to think about teachers getting 7 years prison time.

I'd be interested in hearing others' thoughts and feelings about this scandal -- students, parents, teachers, and education administrators.



Chris Hayes just got Mo Brooks (R) AL to say yes to that he wanted to not only deport the children brought here through no fault of their own, but got him to OWN that he wants to deport all 8 million undocumented workers!

Link to video on Crooks and Liars

Morris Jackson "Mo" Brooks, Jr.[4] (born April 29, 1954) is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Alabama's 5th congressional district since 2011. He is a member of the Republican Party.
Yay, Chris!  

He didn't let him go and kept pressing for a yes or no on the Deferred Action Program.  He got that, and he didn't stop. Congressman Brooks was so hyped up and stymied with not being able to give talking points, he went on record wanting to deport 8 million people!

It was like the moment on a Few Good Men -- You can't stand the truth!!

And, that is the way you do it.

Short diary, but Chris and Rachael have to be whooping it up on this break for advertising.


When posters have sought to bring up, "Yeah BUT, what about MY pain in MY male life ..." points in the diaries where women were sharing experiences regarding misogyny, violence, and rape, I have encouraged posters to write their own diaries on those topice instead of trying to hijack discussions.

For example, I replied to someone:

Again, you are welcome to write diaries about: (2+ / 0-)

1.  Your thesis that divorce and custody laws are unfair to men.
2.  Your thesis that there aren't enough male role models in education (Though, I'd suggest if teacher pay were increased by oh, say 30% to make it a profession that paid commiserate with more male dominated fields, there would probably be more equal numbers of men and women in the profession, making this less a male rights issue and more a pay equity situation.)
3. Your thesis there is a trend on some college campuses to punish students accused of rape without allowing them basic standards of due process.

Do it!  If you can support your theses, you will find support at DK.

These are just NOT the point of this diary and conversation.  These are NOT the main points for the "Men's Rights" crew on the sites discussed in the diary, part of the killer's agenda, or the bojo'd commenter's hate site.

Please, stop hijacking, and please go write the diaries about the issues you care about.

Maybe I've missed them, but I haven't seen a bunch of diaries posted on the following topics:

- Custody Laws - How they are unfair
- On-Male Domestic Violence
- "Not all men are rapists"
- ______ are targets of violence, too.

I admit I may have missed diaries on these topic, since I've been off and on again the site as I've lived my life over the last few days.  If so, please alert me in the comments, and I will post the links to diaries on topics along these lines in this diary above the squiggle, so they can be highlighted once again for attention.

So, here's an open invitation for a time and place and space for debate, or once again, post your own diary.

More about the point that there is a time and a place below, and this is also a space open for debate about that, too.

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Fri May 09, 2014 at 08:39 PM PDT

Proof that white, male priviledge exists

by bkamr

We teach our students to support their points with evidence, preferably with quotes/ statistics.  We suggest having at least 3.  In just the last few weeks, we have been introduced to:

1. Loren Parks
2. Donald Sterling
3. Cliven Bundy.  

Thesis:  White, male privilege exists.


Regarding the thesis:

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Sun Nov 24, 2013 at 06:14 AM PST

Action: Plant Milkweed Seeds

by bkamr

There is a terrific FP pointing to the terrific NYT article about the loss of monarch butterflies and bees.  

Want to help? For about $15, you can make a difference:

Send SASE with $3 contribution

Plus, add nectar plants for food for about $10:

Nectar Plants

We have a school greenhouse, and I plan on having our 8th graders fill it with 2 types of milkweed seedlings and 4 different nectar flowers.  Come spring, hundreds of students will be planting them all over our district.  

Thanks Dkos for yet another worthwhile addition to my classroom!  

PS  I'm also making seed packets stocking stuffers and using them to decorate the outside of gifts, this year.

Hat tip to Dr.Ferbie  Another resource link. Monarch Watch


Short and to the point: If you want to do something for the country, today:

Call WH @ (202) 456-1111

Tell them:  "Heck no (or Hell no) on Larry Summers for Fed Chair."  and "Yes, for Yellen."

Why?  From HuffPo, today:

[Janet] Yellen's ability to spot the problems on Wall Street, and Summers' failure to foresee the consequence of deregulation, both flow from the perspectives they have as economists. [Janet] Yellen looks first at what's known as the "real economy" -- unemployment, wage growth, housing, and other gauges of how real people are faring. Summers, for most of his career, has been oriented toward Wall Street. Faith that Wall Street could regulate itself led Summers to press for some of the most sweeping reforms of financial regulations, including the final repeal of Glass-Steagall, a Depression-era law that barred banks from gambling with federally backed dollars.

Or, from Sheila Blair in Fortune:

... she had a solid record as a bank regulator at the San Francisco Fed and was one of the few in the Fed system to sound the alarm on the risks of subprime mortgages in 2007.

So why isn't she a shoo-in? The "whispering" campaign against her among industry types has been deafening. "Doesn't understand markets." Translation: She may not bail us out if we get into trouble again. "Not assertive enough." Translation: She won't stand up for us against the populists who want more regulation. "Lacks gravitas." Translation: She doesn't show up very often in the financial media. (Rest assured that if she were more vocal, they would accuse her of not being a "team player.") Perhaps the silliest argument of the "not-Yellen" crowd is that this well-qualified woman can't be elevated because no other Fed Vice-Chair has ever been promoted to Chairman. It's simply not done. Come again?

Here's that number, again, if you don't already have it in contacts:  Call WH @ (202) 456-1111

Hello.  Anyone?  I need help and some trust from this community.

This is for ALL of our kids!  Please, listen.

I don't know HOW to get this out to anyone who will care or make a difference, but I got an early copy of the Middle School, grade level breakdown of the new National Science Standards and they are wrong -- grade level-wise.

Wrong how?  The standards are great!  They just made a small but HUGELY critical mistake, and it's giong to screw up years of our kids.

The mistake:  They put all the chemistry and physics standards at the 7th grade level ... with the "testing boundary" that the kids won't have to do any math when they get tested for the principles.  WTF?  They had to pull OUT testing them with "math" since the math Common Core doesn't match the grade level. The MATH is at the 8th grade level!

Soooo, the kids are only going to get chemistry and physics at the principle level ... BUT, 7th graders's BRAINS --- that year, that critical year -- are just going through moving from concrete to abstract reasoning!

AND, 8th grade, now has NO.  I repeat NO physics or chemistry!  Just when they will be getting the math and their BRAINS are ready for it --- nada.  

There is an EASY FIX!   If you have a kid or care about our country's science abilities come over the squiggle.

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Over the last few months, our son has been recovering from a severe concussion from a sports injury, and as a result, he's been restricted from doing just about anything.  So, when the doctor gave him permission to resume some mild exercise (e.g. taking walks) our son was thrilled.  

In fact, "thrilled" is much too mild a term. Ecstatic comes a bit closer to his emotions and mindset as he was putting on his shoes for his first walk, on his own, since the injury.  

The complete rest order had been akin to being under house arrest with nothing to do in the house but sit or lie down quietly in a darkened room, with combined TV and screen time being restricted to 2 hours a day.  Music could only be listened to at low volumes and even reading was off limits.  We'd had to take him out of school, and he was being home tutored.  When he was about to lose it, we'd take him out to restaurants, on off hours, to reduce sensory input.  For a formally active and social 16 yo, the convalescent months had been an awful and lonely experience.

So, it's difficult to capture and convey how filled with joy he was as he pulled on his shoes for his first walk in the sunshine, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, on his own, in months.  As he left the house with a big smile on his face, my eyes filled with grateful tears -- my boy was healing. He was going to be okay.

Less than an hour later, he was back -- breathing heavily, scared, and confused -- his face streaked with tears.

Mom, some crazy lady was following me in a Mercedes, so I decided to come back home, and then, a police car came down the street and he stopped me and questioned me. But I wasn't doing anything wrong, Mom, I swear it -- I was just walking.  Mamma, what's going on?  What's going on?
Shocked and worried, I tried to calm him down to learn more about what had occurred.
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Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 06:56 AM PDT

Orphaned Wild Baby Bunnies

by bkamr

Every spring, we gladly go through weeks of anxious nuturing and inturrupted sleep as we attempt to rescue, raise, and release the orphan wild bunny kits that are brought to us.  The picture is a particularly large group of wild babies from a couple of years, ago.  We currently have 2 babies, and they just started to play and practice their "moves," today.

Note: The white thing is a sock filled with dry rice that has been heated in the microwave -- it is not a giant mutant bunny. This gives them a cuddly heater.

For the past couple years, I've been reposting a diary about: What to do if you find bunny kits in your yard.  Having just received two bunnies this week, I'm taking some time between feedings to repost this informational diary once, again, just in case some of you might find it helpful or interesting.

Hop on over the squiggly, if you're interested.   =:+)

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We all keep calling for a responsible discussion and debate.  Well, I'm up for having one, and I'll be glad to lay out some common sense legislation as a straw act, from my perspective as one citizen to other citizens, for debate.

I keep hearing about "responsible gun owners" who legally bought their guns having a RIGHT to own and bear arms.  Unfortunately, our news is also full of gun deaths after people have irresponsibly owned their guns.  For example:

Chardon High School shooting suspect TJ Lane may have used grandfather's gun in attack

Carl Henderson, a 74-year-old friend and neighbor of Lane's grandparents, says the gun was kept in the barn and wasn't noticed missing until after Monday's deadly shootings.

Henderson, who's a former police officer and ex-Geauga County sheriff, says Lane's grandfather has told him he believes it is the same gun.  

Or, this one from a number of years ago was at a high school in our district where the boy fortunately didn't run into the English teacher he told others that he meant to kill and he ended up holding a class hostage before surrendering to police, instead.  But not before:
Shrout retrieved a loaded Colt .380 Mustang pistol that morning that his father kept in the Jeep. He emptied the gun to figure out how it worked, then reloaded it. He went to his parents' room where they were sleeping and shot them. "Two reasons why I shot my [2 younger] sisters," Shrout told Goins. "The first one was I didn't want them to have to live without their parents. And also my older sister (Kristin). She had enough intelligence to pick up the phone and call the police ... and I didn't want to be stopped."
Or, just Google child accidently shoots  for one terrible situation after another involving guns being found by children in a home and the tragedies that follow.

How about some sensible legislation about "responsible gun ownership" that could help eliminate THESE situations?

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Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 08:09 AM PST

What would you do, Mom?

by bkamr

My son is 16 going on 17, and he's very politically active ... into the news.  So, he's certainly been aware of the Friday horror.  

In fact, he met me at the door as I came home late on Friday evening from school -- I regularly stay late on Friday's for tutoring or anyone who needs a little extra help to finish off the week well. He met me as I began opening the door with a clinging hug, and I teared up when he pulled back and really looked me in the face, as if to finish off the reassurance he needed.  

Over my first cup of coffee this morning, my son asked me, "What would you do, Mom?"

I knew exactly what he was asking me.

Interestingly, I had a detailed answer to give him, because I have indeed repeatedly thought through "what I would do,"  and I actually quietly and surreptitiously practice "my plan" every single time we have a lockdown drill at our school. (BTW, We practice lockdown drills in our school 2 times every year.)

And, I am pretty damn sure that EVERY teacher in this country has done the same kind of detailed, private planning.

In the diary, This is Victoria Soto, She Gave Her Life to Save Her Students astral66 shared a picture of this 27 yo hero and what she did to save her students' lives:

This is Victoria Soto. Victoria was only 27. She was killed today after she hid her first graders in closets and cabinets and told the shooter they were in the gym. He killed her and not one of her children were harmed. God bless Victoria, her family and friends and all of those who were involved today in anyway. Victoria is a true hero!!
I seriously doubt Ms. Soto just came up with the idea to use her cabinets and closet in the seconds after the lockdown alert went out.  Did she get her kids to do this during drills?  Probably not, but I would bet everything I have, that she had "the plan" in mind to get her kids into those hiding spots long before she did so.

I would be for:

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