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nellie On January - 24 - 2010

From the responses to the first op ed article, I would like to reboot, and first of all, ask if any PlanetPOV members are interested in creating an op ed piece.

If so, please leave a comment below, and write briefly the topic you would like to write about. Then we can see about helping people with similar interests work together.

This seems to be a better way to start.

Categories: ProjectPOV, Take Action!

132 Responses so far.

Click here to leave a comment
  1. PatsyT says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I have had a few busy weeks and did not look here to see what has been going on.
    Education and Healthcare are big subjucts for me, let me know if
    I can help in any way.

    • nellie says:

      Patsy, ArtMan Kesmarn and I have formed an Education group. Would you like to join us?

      • PatsyT says:

        Education, I would love it.
        That is something I have direct experience with.
        I really do not want to see it put away
        while all these other issues are constantly
        jumping in front of the line.
        One of the things I like about Obama is that he
        is willing to take it all on with no apologies.
        I have three Girls in the CA System
        6th grader
        9th grader
        and a graduating senior.
        Let me how I can help.

  2. SueInCa says:

    Hello All

    And a big welcome to Kirk. My main interest is in the financial side of things or court decisions and rulings. I also like doing the research for most anything. While I want reform passed, I am not as well versed as say someone like Cher on the healthcare issue/bill. I am also interested in the criminal/fraud stories/issues. I also like doing research and reporting or writing op eds on the religious right. I find the things they have gotten away with to date and are still doing fascinating in that most people are concerned with the Masons, CFR, Bilderbergs and Illuminati stories rather than a not so well kept secret from the religious right and their Dominionist policies. Personally I find that far more agregious as I have seen the religious right in action personally.
    I will help wherever needed and I hope I have given you enough to make a decision. I have opportunities at anytime to write a piece here so actually penning the op-ed isn’t a high priority for me, unless of course, it is my idea.

  3. ArtMan says:

    Hello Group PPOV
    I tried to re-read all the comments under this OP-Ed piece to understand where the group would like to concentrate its efforts, and it sounds like HCR is what most of you want to work on, and I completely understand.

    With that in mind, I will slowly draft some outline info for educational reform, and just submit it when I can. I am good with that if no one objects to this line of reasoning.

    • nellie says:

      Hey ArtMan — My understanding was that you, Kesmarn, and I would work together on an education piece as a team. I’m at work right now, so I don’t have a lot of time to write, but give me a little time to put an email together.

      • ArtMan says:

        Nellie, yes by all means you and Kesmarn. I just got the feeling that minds had changed. Please, welcome abroad. I actually have to work for a living too. And I have spent my allotment of time here, but it has been awesome.

        This subject is enormous, and has so many tangents that need to be realized. I feel it alone is as complex as all the other issues combined.

        Anyway, please email me and we can share pieces of mind about how to get started.

  4. ArtMan says:

    Ok guys, it’s me “Kirk” this is my new nickname, no more Kirk.

    I believe I have fixed the email problem. It was so simple, you just un-subscribe to that posting. I guess I accidentally checked “Notify me of new comments to this post”

    Thanks again everyone.

  5. Kirk Wassell says:

    Ok guys a technical issue.

    I keep getting email for every entry that anyone posts. How do I turn this off. I have received over 100+ emails from the “Admin”

    Or maybe this is get the new guy stuff.

    Please help!

    • nellie says:

      A lot of people have had the same issue. There is a way to turn off the notifications. Let me see if I can find the instructions….

    • bitohistory says:

      Kirk go to the very top and you will see on the right”Contact Us”
      Email AdLib, and he should clear that up for you.
      Also, I suggest you post it in the help desk--Big Red Button above recent posts.

  6. Kirk Wassell says:

    To all PlanetPOV,

    If I have gotten off on the wrong footing, forgive.

    I am nothing if I am not passionate, maybe to a fault.

    I am listening, educate me.


  7. Kirk Wassell says:

    Ok fellow Planeteers, I feel it is important to know who you are crawling under the pages with. So I am going to provide you with a glimpse of me ole mindset. Here goes:

    Greetings to my new found friends.

    I think that if we are to work together to bring about change, then it is important for you to know a bit more about me, and what makes me tick. I have found that any successful relationship depends upon knowing with whom you are working. My purpose here is not to educate you but to let you see how I see things.

    First and foremost, I believe that things happen for a reason. Generally, I do not believe things happen to us, I believe they happen because of us, primarily because of the choices we make. Additionally, I do not believe in victims, I believe this is a divisive state of mind which we have fallen prey. I do not believe in labels. I believe labels are divisive and divide us, as opposed to bringing us closer together. Labeling in biology was necessary to understand the organism that you are studying. In the human community, labels have often been used as devices that keep us fearful and distant from one another. Yet, the labeling of humanity, ethnicities and culture has been a missing ingredient in our educational system. The lack of understanding this creates, has provided a ripe medium from which fear and hatred grow, needing only disinformation to ignite peoples around divisive causes. For the above reasoning, I believe the focus on educational reform to be of primary importance in bringing about any lasting evolutionary change in our world. However, this change cannot wait for the right time, it must happen now, for this change effects everything we do, and hope to do.

    With that said, I do not believe that making things wrong is a successful method for changing minds. I do believe in empowering the individual to make informed decisions, inspiring them to want to learn more, thereby seeking to expand their understanding of their

    • Chernynkaya says:

      ArtMan, welcome to the Planet! And I mean that sincerely even though I reject your ideas about how we create our own reality. I am sorry to disagree with you right off the bat, but you put it out for discussion I assume.

      When you replied about how we as a group can create earthquakes though our intentions(?), thought’s(?) (I don’t want to put word in your mouth)or through whatever means, I have to say, it sounds an awful lot like Pat Robertson to me. He also believes that our collective actions create reality-- only in his view, we inspire the wrath of god. I don’t think that’s what you mean, but it is too close to that idea for my comfort.

    • Kirk Wassell says:

      I guess my openness here is being questioned, and that is OK with me. I need input, as to whether I should delete this post. If you who are veterans of this world of blogging feel it should be, then by all means remove it, please. I completely understand, and shall learn from this experience.

      Thanks Kirk

      • nellie says:

        Kirk — the only thing you did was spark a discussion, and that’s a good thing.

        We have a lot of disagreements here — the difference is that they are respectful disagreements. We can’t all be expected to see the world the same way, and life would be pretty boring if we did.

      • escribacat says:

        I see no reason to delete your post, Kirk. It’s got a lot of interesting topics in it!

    • escribacat says:

      Hi Kirk, I find the issue of “victim” interesting and worthy of debate. I agree there are “victim types,” or professional victims but I also think you can take the “there are no victims” idea too far.

      Take, for example, someone who has cancer. Some folks believe that cancer victims brought it on themselves because of a personality flaw. There is an excellent book about this by Susan Sontag called “Illness as Metaphor.” She talks about the “tubercular personality” (John Keats, the tormented poet whose tuberculosis fit his angst-ridden personality) and the “cancer personality” whose neurotic thought patterns grew into cancer. Sontag (who had cancer) deeply resented this stereotype — and I don’t blame her. I think cancer happened to her. She didn’t do anything or think in any particular way to bring it on herself. It just happened.

      So, although I do agree that some people do bring their misfortunes upon themselves by making bad choices, there are many, many cases where they are just plain victims. I can think of two friends of mine: One woman is a smart, independent editor of an arts magazine. A year ago she started limping. Today, she can’t walk because of a muscular atrophy disease. Another friend was a smart financial investor. She bought a duplex in Boulder, Colo years ago for next to nothing and sold it for a million bucks a couple years before the bubble burst. Unfortunately, she invested all that money into two partnerships that purchased a couple shopping malls. The company running the partnerships turned out to be a Madoff-style ponzi scheme and last I heard she had lost almost all that money. She did all the right things but got screwed anyway. I don’t see how her actions or beliefs brought this down upon her. Maybe she could have taken more action, hired a detective to investigate this firm. But I still see her as a victim.

      • Kirk Wassell says:

        Wow, my intention was not to offend any beliefs, but to engage ideas. Since I did not personally know the individuals who you are siting here, I cannot comment on their relevance to this point. But this issue is far more complicated than who is a good or bad person. Whether we get cancer or not is not irrelevant, but I believe it does mean that we are vulnerable for some reason. At least it does for me. For years I thought things happened to me, until one day I stopped becoming the victim, hopefully that makes sense. I chose to be what I was, no one forced me, and that reality has empowered me.

        • KevenSeven says:

          Would an earthquake happen because of things internal to an individual?

          You have an excellent concept, overall. But many concepts can be stretched past a breaking point.

          • ArtMan says:

            If your question is a serious inquiry, then the answer is yes, but it would take many individuals. It would take thousands of individuals meditating with a single intent to bring about a change of that magnitude, and those types of phenomenon are now scientific fact.

            But the real point is, who would want to create an earthquake. Instead, how about world peace.

            And yes, any concept can be taken to a point at which it becomes meaningless, or absurd, but then you have ask, whats the point.

        • bitohistory says:

          Speaking to an oncologist in a research clinic we were discussing about the question of a person having six(6) billion switches of DNA in their bodies. Ah, the quiz: how many and which ones turn off/on that give a person a cancer (or any other disease). What, when and where a certain environmental factor enters into the equation. There was no mention of rich, poor, good or bad. Even if we could all live in little pristine bubble, there are people that a certain number of those switches won

          • Kirk Wassell says:

            Yes Bito back to education, but!

            For another time, all those switches are effected by something, and is it something outside of us maybe not. Science has explored many schools of thought lately trying to connect the dots, and the dots they connect put a lot more emphasis upon our thoughts and intentions than most of us are aware of. The new marriage of Science and Religion called Quantum Physics. While it is empowering it is also speaking to our responsibility to the world around us. i.e “What the Bleep, Down the Rabbit Hole”

            • bitohistory says:

              Kirk the dots and what does and does not connect and causes and non causes and Gods and quarks and string theory….This is not just some academic little chit chat for me.
              The statement I posted is very real to me.
              You see I have incurable lymphoma and I am in a clinical study doing research on why/how people get these types of cancers.

              meanwhile, EDUCATION and what needs to be done

            • escribacat says:

              Kirk — I had a feeling you had seen “What the Bleep Do We Know?” I have seen it many, many times (I bought it). After reading my other post about victims, you may be surprised to learn that I was enthralled by that movie and the ideas in it. I went through a period where I practiced the “create your day” thing. Now, this is going to sound stupid, perhaps, but during that period, my “heart dog” (a greyhound named Betty) died horribly of no apparent cause and I was utterly devastated by it and concluded “screw that create your day crap.” Kind of pathetic, I realize, but that’s what happened.

            • Kirk Wassell says:

              Yes Escrib, I do find great strength in ideas brought forth by Quantum Physics, but would not try and judge your devastating experience. Sorry for you loss.

        • escribacat says:

          You must be misinterpreting my post. I’m not offended at all. Just stating my ideas on the subject--engaging ideas, as you say.

  8. KQuark says:

    I’ve spent most of the weekend off line regarding political issues because I just needed a break.

    I’ve have been thinking about these ProjectPOV allot though. First I agree with WTS that probably on some of the main issues nellie is the best point person to write some op-eds herself, especially campaign finance after the recent SCOTUS debacle. I also don’t see where everyone has exactly the same POV so individuals on the Planet can write their own op-eds if they wish.

    I think we should have an approach with as much individual choice as possible. We should have small groups do the work if that’s what some folks want and others who like to work individually should work on their own. The more letters and articles that come from these efforts the better. The power we can put behind this effort is to use the blog’s name behind it and our individual names on a voluntary basis. If you, nellie are willing we can submit things through you to get help sending them to the right people. I know this will test the egalitarian boundaries of the Planet but I think it fits both our sense of community while maintaining our individual expression as well.

    I know with healthcare for example I may have different objectives than some because I’m of the pass the bill opinion while others want to push for more. I want write and op-ed on healthcare in that vane if anyone wants to sign off on it it’s fine with me. Not because I’m the best writer but because I want to express my POV.

    • kesmarn says:

      KQ, I’m with e’cat. Your use of logic in your comments, and your analytical powers really helped shape my thoughts and opinions on HCR. For I while, when compromise after compromise seemed to be the order of the day, I wondered if the “scrap it all and go back to the drawing board” approach was the right one. You and b’ito convinced me otherwise. You have a lot to contribute to the healthcare debate.

    • escribacat says:

      KQ — I hope you will write an op-ed on health care reform. You could actually put something together using posts you’ve made already. There have been many instances over the past couple months when a post or comment of yours has eloquently and precisely stated my exact feelings on the subject (I hope the house passes the senate bill) and has even clarified things for me. I will sign anything you write!

    • nellie says:

      I’m very flattered that my writing inspires such confidence, but I have to say that everyone’s writing on this site is of the highest quality. And I say that as an editor who has worked with a lot of writers. Everyone should feel very confident in their own skills. I’m serious about that.

      I’d love to read anything you write about health care reform, K. You always put your heart into your articles, and they’re always very thought provoking.

      • KQuark says:

        nellie you know how much I greatly appreciate your skills and POV.

        I only bring up different op-eds because I think particularly on HCR we seem to have two camps on the Planet. One wants Dems to pull back and make a more progressive bill to try and ram through and second wants Dems to pass what they have and work on changes later. I’m in the second camp because I believe the legislative calendar is just too short for Dems to start all over again. I see these are the two ways most Democrats are divided on the issue as well. So I will write an op-ed with my POV but like I said I will run it by you.

  9. bitohistory says:

    Let the collaboration begin ❗


    ( there is the authors corner everyone can use)

    • kesmarn says:

      Vrrooooooom. Vrooooooom.

      (Went to college about two miles from the Indianapolis 500 track. All through May, we could hear the engines roaring around the track getting ready for the big Memorial Day race.)

  10. boomer1949 says:

    kesmarn -- for sure you can play :smile: wouldn’t have it any other way.

  11. nellie says:

    So it looks like we have at least one team wanting to work on education. I’m going to sign up w Kirk. Anyone who wants to join that team, just post under this comment. And we can figure out how to get started.

    • Kirk Wassell says:

      I work out of the house. I am agreeable to a phone conversation to kick this off if that would help.

      EDITED — Kirk, I will contact you. We don’t want to post your info on the net. --nellie

      • AdLib says:

        Kirk, a big welcome to The Planet! And thank you so much for your enthusiasm and drive in moving forward with drafting a letter or petition on education.

        As you and Kesmarn mentioned below, all members should use the asset of this community to pursue the issues that matter most to them.

        For there to be thriving activism here on any and all issues that matter to members here, would be a huge success for The Planet and I hope very gratifying for the members here who want to make a difference.

        All letters or petitions created by one or more members can be posted in the Take Action! and, if desired, can be presented so folks can sign it online.

        If you care about an issue, pursue it here.

        Lastly, I’m happy to assist in exchanging contact info between “consenting” members who wish to collaborate on a project here. Otherwise, as many thoughtful members here posted, best not to publicly post personal information here since its available to everyone on the internet.

        Again, glad to have you on The Planet!

      • PepeLepew says:

        Thank you, Kirk! You had me freaking out, there. :)

      • Kalima says:

        Thanks nellie, I was just going to move the comment.

      • Kalima says:

        Kirk, are you sure that you want to do this, remember, anyone can access your number. Please press your edit button and remove it, put a disposable email in your comment instead please or we can move your comment until you decide.

      • Khirad says:

        Dude, edit that and please consider taking your # down. We can always e-mail and exchange info that way.

        I worry for you -- not from us -- but from the “others” that stalk these places.

      • PepeLepew says:

        Oh, seriously. Don’t put your phone number out there.

        Not a good idea!

      • kesmarn says:

        Kirk, you are a courageous and trusting fellow to put your real info out there! I totally trust the Planeteers, but “there be trolls out there, cap’n! πŸ˜†

        Regardless, I’m glad to see we’re getting fired up.

        Ironically, on that note, I may have to sign off because it’s nearly 11:00 p.m. in these parts and I am losing altitude fast!

        Till tomorrow, friends!

        • Kirk Wassell says:


          Looking forward to future flights.

          Yes, I guess I am a little to trusting, but after all these years it hard to change.

          Sleep well.

          • boomer1949 says:


            If you want to get in touch with any of us, just filter it through our honorable and esteemed leader and Admin. — AdLib. Nothing personal, but it saves all (including yours) of our behinds and eliminates a plethora of headaches. We’re tight knit, we tend to be over protective of one another, keeping a watchful eye.

            As kes said none of us are Weebles, but our dear AdLib ensures none of us fall down.

            Right Sheriff?


      • KevenSeven says:


        Welcome aboard!

        I am not sure that I would put so much personal information into a blog.

        I have hosted the Secret Service based on an off-handed remark that I left at Huff, and I have had hostile and threatening mail arrive by regular post. And I had not revealed half as much as you just did.

        Create a pseudonym, and run with it.

      • boomer1949 says:

        Jeeze, you PST folks and those West of the Mississippi — are killin’ those of us on EST. πŸ˜†

        “I’m in, but don’t work from home. 8am-5pm M-F. Hate to be a party pooper, but because of the time difference, Friday nights (conflicts with Vox Populi) , Saturdays anytime, and Sundays during the day work for me. However, I will go with the majority. :smile:

    • kesmarn says:

      I’d love to do whatever I can on the education subject. It’s a strong area of interest for me.

  12. kesmarn says:

    nellie, now that I look at AdLib’s comment, the question comes to mind: were you thinking in terms of a particular time frame for this piece? I mean, I can see the point AdLib raises of addressing critical and maybe somewhat shorter-term goals before the November election. Education reform is crucial but maybe a longer-term goal. What are your thoughts? And every else’s?

    • Kirk Wassell says:


      If I may. I think that parallel activities should be split among those with the greatest ability to interact with the pieces, whether it be current issues or educational reform.

    • nellie says:

      I remember some conversation on the site about people wanting to collaborate on some work to send out. So that’s what this is trying to address. This is asking the community — do you want to collaborate on something, and what would you like to work on.

      If Kirk is interested in education — I’d love to work on that w him.

      If someone else wants to work on more pressing issues — that would be another team.

  13. AdLib says:

    Nellie, I’m just offering these suggestions as a member. My priorities are:

    a. Bold action by Congress and Obama in legislation, accomplish more Progressive agenda issues and don’t move to the middle, forget about bipartisanship and eliminate the Filibuster.

    b. Continue HCR, break out the consumer protections from expanding Medicare, pass the former with 60 votes then pass the latter with 51 votes via Reconciliation.

    c. Immediate Congressional action to regulate corporations, especially any who have received TARP, subsidy money or government contracts (taxpayer money in any way) from campaign spending.

    My feeling is that there are some enormous issues that if not addressed before the election in November, may be lost for a long time if not forever and will imperil a wide variety of pro-citizen issues.

    • KevenSeven says:

      I kinda gotta say, I like that b. thing….

    • nellie says:

      I think that’s a very sensible agenda. What do you think is the best way for PPOV to contribute?

      Op ed?
      Blog posts?
      Blog articles?

      Do you think it’s best worked on by individuals or teams?

      How should we start?

      • AdLib says:

        The whole concept behind an activist aspect of The Planet is to add to the impact of posts and comments.

        I think the most impact we can have as a community is through strength in numbers.

        IMO, strong letters or petitions that bear the names of numerous people and a website will have more impact than a letter with a single name signed on it.

        However, creating a Letter To The Editor that all members can sign their own name to and submit to their local papers is another way to make a coordinated impact.

        There is no reason that we need to look at sending a petition or letter individually to local newspapers and our specific congresspeople as a separate choice, I think it is something we should do with all letters and petitions we create.

        Depending on whether there are general issues being discussed or specific actions, the former would be more appropriate to a letter and the latter would be more appropriate to a petition.

        So, with regards to the issues I suggested, here is what I would plan to draft for each item:

        a: A letter to be endorsed by PlanetPOV and signed by all members who would be interested, mailed to President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and mailed by members independently to their Congresspeople. Also, sent by members to their local papers as a Letter to the Editor.

        b. A petition endorsed by PlanetPOV and signed by all members who would be interested, a link to the petition could be placed at HuffPo, DailyKos, etc. for others to come here and add their names if interested. Members would be encouraged to email the people they know who might also want to add their names. It would then be mailed to Congress (Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and by members to their congresspeople).

        c. Same as “b.”

        In all cases, the letters and petitions would be posted here under Take Action! for more people to sign subsequent copies that would be sent. Also, on issues involving Congress, I would suggest hard copies mailed and emails following up with the text of the item and a link to it at the site.

  14. kesmarn says:

    nellie, I must say I’m very intrigued by Kirk’s suggestion of putting something together on education. And, to Kirk: I’m wondering if you’ve read John Taylor Gatto’s “Dumbing Us Down” and what you think about it.

    Even though education may seem to be a sort of tangential subject re: all the other stuff that Obama and Libs in general have on their plates, I think it’s much more of a core issue than might appear at first glance.

    Citizens who had been better educated in history and critical thinking skills would, I think, have been much less likely to: a.) be impressed by someone like Sarah Palin, b.) join the Tea Party movement, c.) vote the way the citizens of Massachusetts just did, and d.) take the recent SCOTUS decision lightly—-and that’s just to name a few!

    I have a feeling we are fast approaching a time when the citizens of this nation will not be capable at all of mature participation in a democracy--if we don’t do something with our system of education. Then it really will be the beginning of the end. We can weather financial problems and/or natural disasters--even attacks like 9/11--but when we lose the brain power of our citizens we’re sitting ducks for some sort of dictatorship--corporate, religious or political.

    • nellie says:

      kesmarn, education reform is another big item on the president’s agenda, so I think it’s a very strong topic for us to tackle. We can work up an op ed, or a letter to the president, or a white paper, as Kirk suggests.

      I’m really excited to do this. So we’ll have to figure out how to get organized and work together.

      • Kirk Wassell says:

        Yes Nellie, I agree, and if I may add, the process of getting started correctly is definitely the most important aspect of any project. I believe that carefully communicating each step will insure effective participation, thereby eliminating as much frustration from the process as possible. Less frustration means more viable input and output. Sorry if I sound overly clinical, just my personal experience of writing with someone was a real learning moment, all good if you can transcend your ego. Maybe read some Sartre to unwind, he he.

        • nellie says:

          I agree with everything you’ve said. Deciding how to organize and collaborate is critical. I’m glad you’re interested in this topic. I really enjoy writing with other people — it keeps me motivated.

    • Kirk Wassell says:


      I am not familiar with John Taylor Gatto’s work, but will look it up, thanks. Boy keeping up with the direction and energy of these posts, is a great mental workout.

      I also agree that education may seem less important with regards to critical issues that we are presently facing, but I for one, feel that the task is so large and complicated that it needs to have been started years ago, and given the vast number of intelligent people who should have already protested the debauchery of our pedagogy, begs one to question, what the hells been going on. So I really feel we must act now to address education even in light of all the other fires.

      • kesmarn says:

        Kirk, I think you’ll really enjoy Gatto. He taught in New York for about 30 years and was very effective, including winning the New York State Teacher of the Year award. But the longer he taught, the more disillusioned he became. He was discerning enough to see the transformation--over the years--of education from a vocation to a business. And--as you noted--he saw children being viewed more as future labor resources than as creative, curious, eternally growing individuals. They were conditioned to be unquestioning drones, knowing just enough to follow orders with reasonable efficiency and to respond like automatons to the bells that signalled the time to switch from one task to the next. Well, I won’t re-cap the whole book. Gatto says it all much better. But he had a lot of wonderful ideas for educational reform.

        • Kirk Wassell says:

          Kesmarn, Sounds wonderful as a footnote to reform, sounds tragic to think that is reality.

          It sounds like Gatto mirrors much of what I have experienced out here in California, as eduction had been morphed by the bean-counters who know nothing of education, except how to account for the money etc.. as if that had anything to do with measuring a students understanding of the world around him. Boy is this a hot topic.

          • kesmarn says:

            There’s going to be plenty to talk about on this subject!

            (I keep promising myself I’m going to bed, and then there’s another interesting comment and I look up at the clock and another 20 minutes have gone by!)

            You may find this place is addicting>

    • Khirad says:

      It really should be self-evident. The fact that it isn’t speaks to the fundamental problem. I’m not that well versed on the subject, except for coming from a family of educators, though.

      One book really ‘spelled’ it out for me -- how education has evolved with the age (classical/agragrian/industrial), and how the interests that be are more interested in producing subservient, pliant employees. Educated enough to be competent in their performance, but not to question critically.

      It was Bowles’ Schooling in Capitalist America. I read it during my Trotsky phase in my late teens or early twenties, and I guess it must have left an impression on me.

      • kesmarn says:

        Coming from a family of educators makes your thoughts even more valuable, Khirad! I think if we were to attempt a collaborative writing project here at the Planet, this topic might get quite a bit of interest.

    • nellie says:

      Couldn’t agree more, kesmarn.

      Just watching the health care reform process, I’ve been really shocked at how little people understand how our system of government works. I’ve heard people ask “Why doesn’t the president make congress sign the bill” and all kinds of statements showing they have no clue. I think this is the first time a lot of people have followed any legislation.

      We should all be learning about this in school.

      • bitohistory says:

        nellie, k’es, Khirad, everyone here! Raise your voice if you weren’t required to take civics and at least 2 years of history/ geography in school! Anyone know what they teach now?

        • PepeLepew says:

          OK, what’s the capital of Mauritania?

          No Wikipedia!!!!

        • Khirad says:

          At least two years of American History. Well, actually, 5th, 8th, 10th or something. Plus a semester of state history. I took government as an elective, though. A semester of geography/cursory world history would be invaluable IMO at the least!!!

        • nellie says:

          I had to take history every single year in high school.

          The thing about our government — it’s a brilliant system, but it’s complicated. And someone really needs to explain it to us before we’re 18 and we’re voting.

          We should have a few courses on the media by then, too.

          • Khirad says:

            Every single year? Wow, actually you’re lucky.

            Of course, I had some electives that weren’t ‘electives’ to me and I might’ve taken more of these types classes if not for arts and music filling up my schedule.

            Those I also believe strongly are not things to be cut at a whim (and always before the sports team).

          • bitohistory says:

            nellie, I took history and geography all through grade school an high school. In Indiana it was in the state constitution that you had to take the history of the state in grade school (man, I loved that!Indian trading routes, right outside my back door!)
            In high school, a requirement, were both Government&civics and one on finance. Don’t pass those--don’t graduate!

            I don’t know, it may be I didn’t mind because I liked school and those subjects were my favs.

            • Khirad says:

              Indian trade routes? I grew up on the Lewis and Clark trail, practically.

            • Khirad says:

              There were so many markings on the Lewis and Clark Highway I swear to god I wouldn’t have been surprised by one saying: next turnout -- see where they answered the call of nature.

            • PepeLepew says:

              Hey, the Lewis and Clark trail virtually goes through my property!

              I’m only exaggerating *slightly*

            • kesmarn says:

              b’ito, you had to take a course on finance? Wow. That was far-sighted of the school system! I remember being taught how to write a check in school and a few basics about budgeting, but I had absolutely no idea how--say--the stock market worked until after high school. (You can tell my parents were not wealthy financiers who gave me Standard Oil stock for my birthday every year.)

            • kesmarn says:

              I know where I’m going to be spending a lot of time…right after I retire. Which will happen when the hospital comes through with that GIGANTIC buy out option. You know…the one where they offer you free health care for life and a lump sum of $750,000 to turn in your orthopedic shoes are let the new generation take over?
              Gosh these meds are wonderful…

            • bitohistory says:

              k’es, It was only 1 semester, and it was pretty rudimentary but helpful. Your parent’s didn’t buy you shares? I got 20 shares of Coca- Cola every year since I was born, chased them in to buy my house in the islands and one in France πŸ˜†

        • kesmarn says:

          b’ito, my voice would not be raised because I was required to take those courses! And when we studied history we covered issues like civil disobedience during the civil rights movement, and sit-down strikes during the labor unrest in the 1930s. It wasn’t considered “communist” to present defiant marchers against segregation, and bloodied union leaders on the front lines as HEROES. Fancy that!

          I don’t know the precise syllabus or text used in our local high schools, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it’s been “sanitized.”

          • bitohistory says:

            K’es, I don’t know, perhaps that was more of a rhetorical question for the Planet. I would tend to think that most of us here HAD to multiple courses in the “social sciences.”
            I would like to see what the course requirements are now in schools. All I have are rumors.
            I may not be all that edumatated but I shore do like me some larning.

            I need to find a link I had about the Texas school books. That PO’s me off to no end.

            PS: you doing ok? My muffins were disappointing. (good enough for Bill πŸ˜† )

            • kesmarn says:

              b’ito, I realized, after I posted, that the way I answered was extremely confusing--a double negative. You mentioned about raising our hands if we had NOT been required to take those courses, and, in my inept way, I was agreeing with you and nellie that, yes, I WAS required to take ’em. (That doesn’t make much more sense, does it? Kirk’s going to reconsider me as a collaborator pretty soon!)

              Saw a brief thing on TV earlier about Texas schoolbooks and it looked like the inmates were trying to run the asylum again down there. God help Libs in TX!

              I’m battling a migraine at the moment, so if I’m even less coherent than usual, bear with me. Also sent a couple emails from my Yahoo account, which I’m not entirely sure is actually working. So if people think that I’m failing to respond to their emails, I’m really not! Those long letters are out there somewhere in la-la land!

              PS. I’m sure Bill loved your muffins, and especially enjoyed the coffee that accompanied them…served by styrofoamites!

      • kesmarn says:

        Exactly, nellie.
        When I hear people say things like: “Keep the government out of Medicare.” Or “All unions are corrupt. They just take your money and do nothing for you. They never have.” Or when they don’t know what the terms “right” and “left” mean in a political sense. Or when they declare that Hitler was a Socialist because the word was in “National Socialist Party” in Germany. All that shows exactly what you observed: some very basic information is not being taught.

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