Latest News and Comment from Education

Friday, April 26, 2024



Ah, the Gaza war protests of today. It's like déjà vu all over again, isn't it? I mean, it's like we're stuck in a time warp, with the same old protests, the same old chants, and the same old clashes with the authorities. It's like the 60's and 70's all over again, only with better Wi-Fi and more avocado toast.

Back in the day, protesting was an art form. People didn't just march and hold signs – they got creative. They staged sit-ins, love-ins, and be-ins. They wore tie-dye and bell-bottoms, and they let their freak flags fly. They didn't just want change – they wanted a revolution, man.

And now, here we are in the 21st century, and it's like we're living in a remix of the past. The Gaza war protests have the same energy, the same passion, and the same sense of righteous anger. It's like the 60's and 70's are back, only this time we have TikTok and vegan cheeseburgers.

But let's not forget the differences. Back in the day, protesters had to rely on word of mouth and underground newspapers to spread the word. Now, we have social media, where a single tweet can spark a movement. It's like the revolution will be live-streamed.

And then there's the music. In the 60's and 70's, protest music was everywhere – Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Marvin Gaye were the soundtrack of the resistance. Today, we have Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino speaking truth to power. The beat goes on.

Of course, there are some things that never change. The authorities still don't know how to handle a protest. Back in the day, they used tear gas and water cannons. Today, they use pepper spray and rubber bullets. It's like they're stuck in their own time warp, unable to learn from history.

But let's not forget the fashion. In the 60's and 70's, protesters dressed like they were going to Woodstock. Today, they dress like they're going to Coachella. It's all about flower crowns and vintage band t-shirts. The revolution will be Instagrammed.

And then there's the slogans. In the 60's and 70's, it was "Make love, not war" and "Power to the people." Today, it's "Black lives matter" and "No justice, no peace." The words may change, but the sentiment remains the same.

So here we are, stuck in this weird time loop where the past keeps repeating itself. The Gaza war protests of today are like a throwback to a bygone era, only with better technology and more inclusive language. It's like history is trying to tell us something, but we're too busy taking selfies at the barricades to listen.

But maybe that's the point. Maybe the Gaza war protests are a reminder that some things never change – that the fight for justice and equality is a timeless struggle. Maybe it's a wake-up call to remember that the spirit of the 60's and 70's is alive and well, and that we can still change the world if we just keep on keepin' on.

So let's raise our peace signs high and our voices even higher. Let's keep on marching, keep on singing, and keep on fighting for a better tomorrow. Because as long as there are wars to protest and injustices to right, we'll always have a little bit of the 60's and 70's in us. And that's something worth celebrating – with or without avocado toast.

Secret meetings, social chatter: How Columbia students sparked a nationwide revolt

Opinion | I’m a Columbia Professor. The Protests on My Campus Are Not Justice. - The New York Times

Columbia protesters say they’re at an impasse with administrators | AP News

Pro-Palestinian protests across US bring legal battles, maneuvers

Student protesters demand schools cease US funding of Israeli military via @YouTube 

Saturday, April 20, 2024

High Spirits and Hazy Histories: A Light-Hearted Ode to 420 Day

High Spirits and Hazy Histories: A Light-Hearted Ode to 420 Day

Let’s weave together the whimsy and wonder of 420 Day, where the air is thick with laughter and the history as hazy as the celebrations themselves. On this day, enthusiasts and the curious alike journey through a smog of myths and merriment, commemorating a holiday that takes nothing seriously, except perhaps the pursuit of a good time. Buckle up, for you’re about to ride through the smoke-filled origins and riotous celebrations that have fired up 420 Day into a global phenomenon of high spirits and hazy histories.

Our tale ignites in 1971, in the locale of San Rafael, California, with a group of high school chums known affectionately as 'The Waldos.' Not content with mere wall-leaning, these pioneers of puff set out on a quest guided by nothing but a hand-drawn map and a dream to find a legendary hidden cannabis crop. Their adventures, fuelled by determination and a fair share of the herb, didn’t lead them to the mythical crop but instead sowed the seeds of a worldwide celebration.

The term '420' itself, originally a secret code to kickstart their treasure hunt at 4:20 PM, transcended its beginnings to become synonymous with freedom, fun, and of course, cannabis. This humble number has since grown, collecting myths and exaggerations along its journey—like being the alleged police code for marijuana smoking in progress, or the number of active chemicals in marijuana, neither of which holds any water.

But 420 Day isn’t just woven from tales of mythical cannabis crops and misadventures. It's celebrated with a tapestry of inventiveness and boundless humor, from giggle-inducing strain names to worldwide festivals where plumes of smoke rise in unity. This day has blossomed into an exuberant celebration marked by camaraderie, laughter, and a shared appreciation for the green herb. Every April 20th now sees peaceful gatherings and festivals, a testament to the infectious spirit of 420 that has permeated cultures around the globe.

So, as the origins of 420 may forever be locked in a cloud of smoke, its essence remains crystal clear—a day where the ordinary is sidelined for a celebration drenched in joy, unity, and unabashed silliness. Whether it started with the Waldo’s high jinks or a serendipitous congregation of numbers, 420 Day stands as a beacon for those seeking a reprieve from the mundane, a reminder that sometimes the best treasures are found not in the pursuit, but in the journey and the joys shared along the way.

See how 4/20 grew from humble roots to marijuana's high holiday | AP News

420 weed day: Meaning, how April 20 became associated with marijuana

How pot holiday 4/20 came to be | PBS NewsHour  

Thursday, April 4, 2024





From the frenzied chants at rallies to the unsettling silence of a stunned nation on January 6, 2021, few can deny the seismic shift in political discourse brought about by Donald Trump and his MAGA movement. With a flair for the dramatic and an unparalleled talent for tapping into the darkest corners of American politics, Trump has not just polarized the nation; he has galvanized a faction of the populace into a force that, at times, sits on the precarious edge between fanatic loyalty and volatile aggression.

Such was the consequence of a leadership style that arguably encouraged, if not outright incited, acts of political violence. This encouragement wasn't through veiled suggestions or covert nudges but through explicit calls to action and a kind of validation for those willing to take matters into their own hands. The impact was most horrifyingly realized in the Capitol's attack, marking a day of infamy that underscored the dangerous intersections of loyalty, belief, and violence in the context of American democracy.

Trump’s Influence and the January 6 Insurrection

Looming large over Trump’s presidency was his unorthodox approach to leadership, which often flirted with the fringe elements of American society. His tenure saw a notable uptick in political violence, peaking with the January 6 insurrection, an event that has since been etched into the collective memory of the nation. Trump’s rhetoric was not just inflammatory; it was a call to arms for those on the extreme right, emboldening groups that had previously lurked in the shadows of the political spectrum.

Trump’s endorsement of violent acts and groups was not done in hushed tones but was rather trumpeted with pride. Whether it was his refusal to unequivocally condemn white supremacist groups, implying support through ambiguity, or his outright calls for supporters to "stand back and stand by," Trump's messages were interpreted by many as endorsements of violence. This dangerous liaison between high political office and extremist ideologies culminated in a disastrous breach of the Capitol, laying bare the vulnerability of democratic institutions to the whims of manipulated mobs and demonstrating the grim reality of political incitement's power.

The MAGA Republicans' Stance on Violence

At the heart of the MAGA movement lies a stark departure from traditional Republican values, pivoting instead towards a form of nationalism that often crosses into the realm of extremism. The MAGA Republicans, a subset of the broader party, have shown a peculiar readiness to endorse, and in some cases, engage in political violence. This departure is not just ideological but manifestly practical, with a significant portion of the group viewing violence as a legitimate means to achieve political ends.

Studies comparing MAGA Republicans with other factions within the GOP reveal a worrying trend: a much higher inclination towards violence and a propensity to believe, and spread, delusional narratives. This contrast sharply delineates the MAGA group from their fellow Republicans, highlighting the dangerous fault lines within the party. Their beliefs, steeped in a mix of conspiracy theories and a messianic faith in Trump, create a fertile ground for political violence, further exacerbating divisions within American society and threatening the very fabric of democracy.

Cultural Violence within the Republican Party

Within the corridors of power where Republicans walk, a sinister hum of violence has begun to resonate, growing louder with each passing day. This culture of violence, while not entirely new, has been significantly fueled and amplified by the MAGA movement. The spectacle around the speaker of the House competition, marked by threats and intimidation against Republican lawmakers, serves as a stark example of the deteriorating internal dynamics within the party.

The normalization of such threats in political discourse, especially those influenced and encouraged by Trump's behavior, poses a dire threat to the foundational principles of political dialogue and governance. These instances are not anomalies but rather symptomatic of a broader trend that has seen the MAGA movement's beliefs seep into the party’s core, transforming it into a hotbed for extremism and violence. This alarming shift calls for a critical evaluation and a concerted effort to steer the Republican Party away from the brink, ensuring that accountability and dialogue trump violence and intimidation.

Criminal Cases Linked to Trump

In a disconcerting reflection of the impact of rhetoric on real-world actions, 54 criminal cases have been identified where President Trump's name was invoked in connection with violent acts, threats, or assaults. This chilling statistic transcends political discourse, entering the realm of criminal behavior where individuals felt emboldened by Trump's words to commit heinous acts.

The cases range from assaults on marginalized groups to explicit threats of violence against political adversaries, painting a stark picture of the dangerous escalation from rhetoric to action. In many instances, perpetrators cited Trump directly, attributing their motivations and actions to his incendiary language. This linkage not only underscores the direct impact of political rhetoric on societal behavior but also highlights a troubling reliance on violent means to express political discontent or allegiance, setting a precedent that threatens the fabric of civil discourse.

Another Take on Trump, MAGA, and Political Mayhem

 A Guide for Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z

A Misadventure in Modern Politics

Gather 'round, generations X through Z, for a tale that meanders through the surreal and dips its toes in the absurd. It's a story where our intrepid hero, former President Donald Trump, rides the dark steed of political discourse, leaving behind a trail of chaos, confetti, and an occasional tweet storm.

In a world where 'alternative facts' hold the same weight as 'actual facts,' our protagonist has led his cavalry of MAGA minions to the precipice of political pandemonium. With a rallying cry that might have once inspired a cringe-induced facepalm, Trump has displayed an uncanny ability to turn political rallies into rage-fueled fiestas, and government into a reality TV-level spectacle. The crescendo of this script? None other than January 6, 2021 - a date that will live in infamy or on commemorative plates, depending on where you shop.

So, as we navigate this narrative of not-so-veiled calls to action and encourage 'standing back and standing by' (a phrase that's sure to baffle historians and English teachers alike), let's delve into our collective memory palace - if only to understand how 'Make America Great Again' became less of a political slogan and more of a dystopian war cry.

The Art of Incitement and Insurrection

Once upon a not-so-peaceful presidency, Donald Trump played the role of the Pied Piper of Political Polarization, charming not rats, but something far more dangerous - an army of extremists with his siren song of discord. His tenure, a veritable master class in how-not-to-be-presidential, was especially notable for turning the high-stakes game of politics into a WWE smackdown, complete with villains, heroes, and a bewildering amount of flag-waving.

The climax of this political soap opera? The Capitol riot. A day when the echoes of 'stop the steal' became less about alleged election fraud and more about securing a VIP pass to historical infamy. Here, Trump's knack for inciting the masses turned what could have been a peaceful protest into a rioter's free-for-all, laying siege to what should be the fortress of American democracy. Historians and late-night comedians will debate whether it was more tragedy or farce, but one thing is clear: the incitement trophy goes to Mr. Trump, hands down.

MAGA Republicans: The Family’s Edgy Cousins

Ah, the MAGA Republicans. Imagine a group so fiercely loyal to Trump that they regard ‘The Art of the Deal’ as a sacred text, second only to their Twitter feed. This faction within the GOP dances to a different tune—think less ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ and more ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica. They're the sort who view political rallies not just as gatherings but as venues for the revival of the American spirit (or, at least, the spirit of American outrage).

Their belief system? A mixtape of conspiracy theories with titles like ‘The Great Election Heist’ and ‘5G Towers: The Real Mind Control.’ For them, violence isn’t just on the table—it’s the centerpiece, garnished with a sprig of paranoia. Compared to their party peers, MAGA Republicans are ready to throw hands over hashtags, making them the edgy cousins at the GOP family reunion. The difference in attitude towards violence and delusional beliefs is as stark as comparing a Marvel movie to its DC counterpart—one’s all about hope and heroics, the other, well, it’s complicated.

Far-right violence a growing threat and law enforcement’s top domestic terrorism concern | PBS NewsHour 

MAGA's Push for Political Violence | Indivisible

MAGA Republicans’ views of American democracy and society and support for political violence in the United States: Findings from a nationwide population-representative survey - PMC

The Republican Party’s culture of violence - The Atlantic  

'No Blame?' ABC News finds 54 cases invoking 'Trump' in connection with violence, threats, alleged assaults.

Opinion | MAGA’s Violent Threats Are Warping Life in America - The New York Times

What NIJ Research Tells Us About Domestic Terrorism | National Institute of Justice