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Durham, NC
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g48: Thank you, that's very informative. It sounds like it's beyond my means at present to actually implement such a system, given some of the concerns you mention, but within the realm of possibility for the foreseeable future and worth continuing to discuss and develop on a low-priority basis. Some brainstorming along these lines: - -
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2011 on JOURNAL: Alternative Currencies at Global Guerrillas
I've been seriously considering the idea of issuing some form of currently (probably electronic, to start with) based on my stock of (durable) goods for my online store. The one non-technical obstacle which keeps me from pushing forward with to this idea is: are there any legal obstacles? One person I spoke with about this was of the opinion that the US government considers issuance of alternative currency to be illegal unless it is pegged to the dollar. Does anyone know if there is any truth to this? Arguably, this might be considered the equivalent of issuing business stock, and therefore fall under the purview of the Securities and Exchange Commission... ug.
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2011 on JOURNAL: Alternative Currencies at Global Guerrillas
That's one of the first questions I'd want to resolve in a strategic dialogue: what are the key strategic targets, and what is the order of priority? For example, is it more important to control the Presidential palace, or to control infrastructure -- like, say, the Internet kill-switch (assuming that is centralized in some way)? Does the Presidential palace itself have any strategic significance, or is it purely symbolic? How much effort should be spent on symbolic goals versus logistical ones? Another thought: if the "kill switch" is actually a small handful of ISPs complying with government orders, might there be sympathy within the ISPs for restoring Internet if there was some guarantee of protection? Assuming the Internet hasn't already been restored, getting that done could be powerful both symbolically *and* logistically.
hornetwing's suggestion is good. I was going to say something like: Don't think of yourselves primarily as insurgents, don't think of your main goal as taking down the old government. Think of yourselves as the legitimate government, leaderless and disorganized after a coup, trying to retake your city/country. You *are* the government. Start acting like one, if you haven't already. Your resources are limited, but you are on the side of the people who surround you -- and if they see you acting to help them and re-establish order, they will help you. They are your greatest resource. On the one side, you want to be building up what stability you can. Something like would seem like a good place to start. Find out what people are lacking for day-to-day existence and what they need most urgently, and what they have to offer. Use the latter to help with the former. On the other side, you need to maintain forward momentum reclaiming the ownership of your homeland. Find out who among you is best at strategizing, coming up with plans, seeing flaws in existing plans. Work out a roadmap: what is the ultimate goal? What are possible ways of getting there? Who is committed to being involved, and under what conditions (if any)? Another kind of resource audit, but looking in the other direction. I realize this is all a bit vague, but it's a starting point; it would have to be shaped by the actual situation in each case.
For what it's worth, not all integration shows up in the student body figures. Maureen Joy Charter (mostly black) is located on the edge of a very white neighborhood (Duke Forest), right next to a Jewish community center. I'm not sure how much interaction there is with the neighborhood or the community center, but at least there is the opportunity. (I'm pretty sure they have buses, too.) Meanwhile, Central Park -- with its tilt towards white -- is located just north of downtown, well outside the new high-rent area, near a block on Trinity Ave. that leans heavily Hispanic and black (if I understand right). Classes regularly go for walks in the area, and the school's annual Strawberry Festival draws in the local community to some degree. As someone pointed out, the disadvantaged populations in the immediate vicinity might be served far better if CPSC was allowed to favor applications from nearby blocks -- but they are not. Kestrel Heights, leaning slightly black, is out towards RTP, not really near any neighborhoods. I'm not sure if they offer transportation -- but if they don't, then they are somehow managing to achieve a good racial mix without it (and without being easy to walk to); if they do, then that shows that it can be done within the charter system (as also illustrated by Maureen Joy).
Natalie: parents shouldn't have to fight the system, or spend enormous amounts of time campaigning for reforms and improvements within one school, to get a good education for their kids. The system should provide a good education *without* all that extra work. Otherwise the disadvantaged kids who end up in schools without actively campaigning parents won't see any benefit -- and those parents can't be everywhere, nor should they have to be. It's not up to us to "just work harder" at this. The system needs to be fixed and improved. And please don't forget: the charter schools *are part of* DPS. We are not abandoning DPS by sending our kids there; we see this as a direction in which DPS should be moving -- a solution that *works*.
If the problem with Charters is reduced accessibility for underprivileged kids due to the lack of (1) transportation, (2) free/reduced lunches, (3) ESL, why not argue for a requirement that charter schools also provide these things, rather than arguing against charter schools in general? My take is that there should be more smaller schools in the DPS system, with more flexibility to set their own rules -- as opposed to the small number of increasingly gi-normous schools we have now. Charter schools are a step in that direction, so they seem to me like a good idea and I'd like to see DPS offloading more kids onto a larger number of charter schools. Are the accessibility problems really so insurmountable?
It has been suggested that charter schools don't have to provide special education services. We have a special needs child at Central Park. He was suspended from Kindergarten at Hope Valley because they got all authoritarian with him when what he needed was a little time-out and quiet space to sort his thoughts out and communicate his needs. Their too-large classrooms and regimented way of teaching were totally incompatible with his learning style. (I don't understand how any kid can learn productively in that kind of environment; it's a testament to the resiliency of children that, apparently, many of them do.) CPS's smaller class size and more flexible teaching methods made an immediate difference. At CPS, they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help him be a productive student and an active learner. Unlike the regular public schools, which always seemed to think of him as a "problem", CPS has always responded to his issues as challenges that it is their job to help him overcome so he can become a happy and productive member of society. I can't speak highly enough about them. We would have been in very bad shape otherwise.
Am I on the right page with this? -
GEORGE LATO -- (a) I don't see how Hitchens implicitly acknowledges any such thing. If I attack Hitler for killing Jews, does this mean I condone his killing of gays and gypsies, invading Poland, etc? This is a nonsense argument. (b) But let us presume for a moment that there is nothing objectionable in the other 6 commandments, and that Hitchens agrees with this. Just how does this weaken any of Hitchens's arguments? The Catholic Church is not the same as The Six Reasonable Commandments, even if they executed them faithfully (which, I think it has been demonstrated pretty clearly, they do not).
And a response to GEORGE LATO: Did you truly not notice that the parts Hitchens ridiculed were not the parts you are holding up as virtues? Or are you trying to say that if doctrine holds several things to be true, then I must reject *all* of those things if I reject any *one* of them? Your attack makes no sense either way.
"...but put them in a debate with Pope Benedict and they wouldn't last five seconds." I don't think it would take them much longer than that to demolish poor old Ratzinger; the man relies far too heavily on the reverence of his followers to be able to conduct a decent defense of himself or the organization he heads -- if such a defense is possible, which I doubt.