Posts Tagged ‘education

25
Jan
14

1.25.14 … pilgrimages and naked yoga …

I am having very strange FB conversations tonight … naked yoga and pilgrimages to Iona … some things just do not fit in the same “space.”

pilgrimages, Iona, sacred spaces, thin places:

I have been pondering pilgrimages … Iona is one of several that intrigue me. Your thoughts?  And some fun conversations … Wow, a

church youth group to Iona next summer. It sounds like a fabulous experience …  And I am very interested to know if the youth group “gets it”, i.e., does it open them up to a “thin place” type experience or is it merely a wonderful time together in a foreign country. My children gained much insight on mission trips regarding world poverty and Christian mission, but I never felt it stimulated “spiritual awakening.” But I did not think my children were ready for that either.

 

Your Invitation to Iona: a sacred place, in time and space.

So I assumed there would be a labyrinth … It is lovely …

It isn’t advertised on a map or in tourist brochures. Our guides knew about this labyrinth constructed in recent years.  Getting there was a walking pilgrimage of sorts. Over an hour each way across the island through lanes, fields and even part of a small golf course.

It is constructed of stones and the grass walkway is full of tiny daisies.  You can’t see it well in the photo, but if you look closely towards the sea, there is another smaller labyrinth.

This is the beach where Columba, the famous Catholic priest and missionary self-exiled himself from Ireland and founded a monastery that flourished during the dark ages and where many people from all over Europe were sent to study. All of this can be easily researched on the internet if you want to learn more.

I can talk about the feeling.  The location is on the southwest part of the island – cliffs on one side and to the right of this photo is the landing place of Columba and his twelve companions.  Pilgrims over many years have brought stones to leave on that portion of the beach, several mounds.  On this day the weather was overcast and there was a slight breeze.  It is a sheltered area and very inviting and unpretentious.  The builders of this labyrinth took great care in the location and also the variety of stones marking the labyrinth could be a book in itself – probably a poetry book as they convey imagery and metaphor.

It is a huge contrast to the Chartres labyrinth, but equally splendid.  I started humming a little tune walking the labyrinth at Chartres and found myself humming it again at Iona.

I first walked the smaller and newer one. In the middle I was inspired to do the movement pattern for the elements I recently learned while at Findhorn. Then I went and explored the beach. There was activity on the next door beach with the mounds of stones and we found out later that Neil Oliver who did the BBC Scotland Series (find it if you can) was filming a piece about coast lines.

Never mind. When I walked the larger labyrinth the experience was one of integration. There is the current pilgrimage, but also family and friends came to mind and locations that have meaning in my life. I thought about the elements and the creatures. I also felt a strong connection with the new Eagle Nest Labyrinth in Surrey.

Then thoughts related to relationship, lineage, life story came to mind. Three threads emerged – one is the ancestry of my family history, one is my current relationships and  story and the third is that other story line, the archetypal one where I might imagine or remember  living in other times and cultures other than those into which I was born.

All three threads are resources worthy of exploration. Perhaps there are more threads I will find along the way.

via Labyrinth Isle of Iona | ON THE MOVE.

coed naked yoga studio, NYC, News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com:  Interesting is one way to describe it!!

If you were offended by the transparency of the yoga pants Lululemon recalled last March, stay away from Bold & Naked, the first coed naked yoga studio in New York City.

Owners, Joschi Schwarz and Monika Werner believe that naked yoga allows participants to find a deeper connection with the world around them. When the popularity of Schwarz’s all-male naked yoga classes in Le Male Yoga in Chelsea rose, he opened Bold & Naked with Werner.

The studio offers various combinations of clothed, naked, same sex, and coed classes. And regarding the naked sessions and Tantric Yogassage offered: “If you are looking for an orgasm, you are in the wrong place,” the Bold & Naked website states.

“By shedding their clothes and practicing yoga in the nude, students literally drop the masks and labels they hide behind all day,” the website says. \”Practicing yoga naked frees you from negative feelings about your body and allows you to be more accepting of your physical imperfections.”

via Coed Naked Yoga Studio Opens in NYC | News from the Field | OutsideOnline.com.

And now some conversation excerpts …

“what? Ok this is just crazy”

“So many bad thoughts and visuals come to mind–all I can say is NO.”

“coed no less …”

“…downward dog (eeeeeewwwwwww)”

“Just the thought of this is horrifying….”

“Woah!”

“I really doubt that it would free me of negative thoughts of my body image. On the contrary. I already find some coed yoga classes less than desirable.”

“This is just wrong! Yoga is supposed to be relaxing, not gross me out”

” I hope the woman in the picture consented to its internet distribution!”

“She must have or else her “child’s pose” would not have been so modestly contained!”

” I love Outside magazine’s postings … but I must admit this one threw me. I am still laughing at the thought.

“Pretty amazing that’s even legal!”

And the studio is called … Bold & Naked … LOL. I wonder if they have anybody horribly out of shape who \”boldly\” ventures in … At least the name warns folks!”

“you can check it out next time you’re here. I think the first class is free. Guessing it’s hot naked bodies with whips, but who knows!”

“Why don’t you go CW and tell me about it first!!”

“Don’t be so judgmental!”

“spiked dog collar optional”

“And it would be impossible for everything to “blade the side wall” during a side plank sorry–it’s the bad visual thing again).”

“you could come incognito and write an amazing article! We could wear those sheer outfits that J-Lo and Beyonce wear that look like you’re naked but you’re actually covered head-to-toe, and wear wigs and fake tattoos, and take on a discreet unpresuming attitude. Ha ha!”

“There is presbyterian minister in our midst. Oh, no … He’s been to Iona recently, maybe his next spiritual awakening will be at B&N. LOL”

” I want to come too. I could have air-brushed abs on my faux-naked outfit.”

“And you could wear your beard and pink wig!!”

“you would be the über cool one,  you might get  a cover story with that hot model look.”

“LOL … I am not sure what do do with this conversation … Add it to my clipping service? I might get bounced.”

” You asked for it–posting a naked yoga story!”

” I actually thought twice before I hit post.”

” Well, they do refer to Iona as “a thin place”! Don’t misunderstand me… I’m not necessarily advocating B&N Yoga…I just recognize that it may be okay for some people…if not me.”

“glad you hit “post”–this has been entertaining!”

“It will disappear …

USIS Fraud Charges, Edward Snowden, TopDailyInfo.com:

The DOJ said that between March 2008 and September 2012, USIS filed at least 665,000 flawed background checks, which was about 40 percent of the total submissions.

“USIS management devised and executed a scheme to deliberately circumvent contractually required quality reviews of completed background investigations in order to increase the company’s revenues and profits,” DOJ said in its filing.

The payments to the firm ranged $95 to $2,500, depending on the type of background investigation. The lawsuit requested for a jury trial and seeks to recover treble damages and penalties.

Through a software known as “Blue Zone,” USIS was able to quickly make an electronic “Review Complete” notation without fully going through the mandated review process, DOJ said.

“By using Blue Zone, USIS was able to substantially increase the number of background investigations that could be dumped in a short time period,” according to the filing.

via USIS Fraud Charges: U.S. Brings Fraud Charges Against Firm That Vetted Edward Snowden | TopDailyInfo.com.

Leo Tolstoy, quotes:

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”-Leo Tolstoy

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,  Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech:

Therefore, I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle; to a movement which has not won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize.

After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time — the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.

Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood.

I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land.

“And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.”

via DrMartinLutherKingJr.com – Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech: Audio, Text And Photographs.

CEO Brian Moynahan, WEF, Davos:

Why do bank CEOs come to Davos?

We come to learn.

Its a chance for all the CEOs of all the institutions across the world to sit across the table …  and have a dialogue.

We come because our clients are here.

via Moynihan Says BofA Trading Consistent Amid Taper: Video – Bloomberg.

“Jerusalem”, cookbooks, NYTimes.com:  A friend is posting recipes from this cookbook.  I’m intrigued.

The first symptoms of “Jerusalem” fever appeared on New Year’s Eve: a friend rushed over at a party, breathless, her eyes bright.

“We have to do an all-‘Jerusalem’ dinner!” she panted, then immediately called dibs on making the chicken with clementines and arak.

“Jerusalem: A Cookbook” was written by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, chefs who grew up on opposite sides of the divided city, Mr. Tamimi in the Arab East, Mr. Ottolenghi in the Jewish West. Both left Israel decades ago, live in London and are hardly celebrity chefs, although Mr. Ottolenghi’s last book, “Plenty,” was admired here among the vegetarian set.

The book’s recipes are traditional in Jerusalem, or loosely inspired by the city, gathering influences from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish cooks who live there, with flavors from almost everywhere else: Iran, Poland, Syria, Italy. Many of them have long lists of ingredients, including spices like sumac and za’atar, and are based on vegetables and grains. Chickpeas, lamb, eggplant and eggs turn up over and over again.

via ‘Jerusalem’ Has All the Right Ingredients – NYTimes.com.

global warming,  Forgotten WWI Battle, Peio’s war museum, Motherboard:

The local community has been laboring for years now to reveal the remains of this largely forgotten war. In 2004, Maurizio Vicenzi, a local mountain guide and head of the Peio’s war museum, discovered the bodies of three soldiers hanging upside down from an ice wall at an altitude of 12,000 feet—victims of one the highest front lines in history. Multiple findings followed. In one rare find, a team discovered a hidden ice tunnel, that, after being melted open with huge ventilators, turned out to house an enormous wooden structure used as a transportation station for ammunition and supplies.

All bodies that have since emerged pass through the office of Daniel Gaudio, a forensic anthropologist tasked to trace the identities of the war victims. Despite the fact that in most cases he’s able to extract the DNA from the corpses, he rarely succeeds. They’re missing contextual information, he says, that is necessary to determine the possible whereabouts of the families of the war victims.

To date, more than 80 bodies have appeared from the depths of the glacier. And more will surely follow. On the Italian side alone more than 750,000 soldiers died in battle, according to historian Mark Thompson, author of The White War. Next summer, archeological teams will continue their search for more remains of icy melee. And the bodies are certain to keep on coming—climate change looks certain to continue, even accelerate, the thaw.

For now, it’s winter. Not far from the place where the soldiers were first discovered lies Peio, a ski resort where Italians, Austrians, Germans and Russians are once again sharing the same mountain. They do so more peacefully now.

via Global Warming Is Thawing Out the Frozen Corpses of a Forgotten WWI Battle | Motherboard.

education, teaching, American History, WickedLocal.com, race v. diversity, civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

Unfortunately, the alternative may be that students never learn anything about Bob Moses at all, or about America’s founding contradiction.  “Race has always been at the heart of American History,” Branch said, and a glance at the headlines or the balkanized cafeterias of today’s high schools demonstrates that race – or it’s modernized, diluted form, “diversity,” are as relevant today as ever.  But if we knock U.S. history out of the curriculum and reduce the civil rights struggle to a non-threatening, non-controversial “MLK was a great man who had a dream”  cartoon, how will our children and grandchildren come to understand their country?

via Not teaching history – – WickedLocal.com.

James Cone,  Taylor Branch,  MLK’s Fight for Economic Equality,  YouTube: 

via ▶ James Cone and Taylor Branch on MLK’s Fight for Economic Equality – YouTube.

Theologian James Cone and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch join Bill to discuss Dr. Martin Luther King\’s vision of economic justice in addition to racial equality, and why so little has changed for America\’s most oppressed.

via ▶ James Cone and Taylor Branch on MLK’s Fight for Economic Equality – YouTube.

Sue Grafton’s Kentucky Garden, Garden and Gun, Lincliff, Louisville KY:

Crime novelist and her husband transform the gardens of their 100-year-old Louisville home.

Kinsey Millhone, the spunky protagonist of Sue Grafton’s alphabet mysteries, wouldn’t be caught dead spading compost onto a perennial bed. “I hate nature. I really do,” the fictional detective proclaims in F Is for Fugitive. Grafton, who has called Millhone her “alter ego,” admits she once shared those sentiments. How, then, to account for the garden transformation taking place at Grafton’s 1912 estate, Lincliff? Perched above the Ohio River eight miles east of downtown Louisville, the grounds were a vine-tangled mess when Grafton and her husband, Steve Humphrey, bought the place in 2000. Today, the once-crumbling fountain trickles and shimmers, boxwood parterres have been trimmed in-to shape, and a handful of spectacular new features, including an intricate knot garden, grace the property.

Humphrey, a philosophy of physics professor raised in south-central Los Angeles, is an equally unlikely suspect. “We had a tiny yard,” he says. “My father made the kids get up early on Sunday morning and hedge and weed. I never liked yard work, especially when forced to do it at gunpoint.”

The turnaround appears to be the work of professionals, but the couple swears no landscape designers played a part. So whodunit?

Upon further questioning, the truth emerges. “Something clicked when I met Sue,” Humphrey explains. “We rented a house when I was a graduate student at Ohio State, and I planted a vegetable garden. When we bought a house in Santa Barbara, I got into roses. I realized I love creating gardens.”

Grafton has a confession of her own: She’s becoming a garden lover, too. “Steve has taught me a lot about the virtues and benefits of a well-cared-for property,” she says.

Grafton grew up in Louisville but as a young woman, rebellious and burning with ambition, moved to California to become a writer. “When I left the state of Kentucky, it was ‘Thank you, Lord Jesus, I’m out of here!’” Grafton says. Decades later, after penning dozens of best sellers, she felt the pull of home. “I’ve been to a lot of places in the world. Coming back here, I realized Kentucky is quite beautiful. I’m proud to be a resident of this state.”

The couple’s original plan to build a house changed when Humphrey, touring a riverfront lot, scaled a hill and glimpsed Lincliff, a long-abandoned stuccoed Georgian Revival mansion. Their real estate agent told them the property was slated to be divided and sold off in small parcels. Smitten, they bought it all.

via Sue Grafton’s Kentucky Garden | Garden and Gun.

emotional intelligence, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , Hitler, Atlantic Mobile:

Some of the greatest moments in human history were fueled by emotional intelligence. When Martin Luther King, Jr. presented his dream, he chose language that would stir the hearts of his audience. “Instead of honoring this sacred obligation” to liberty, King thundered, “America has given the Negro people a bad check.” He promised that a land “sweltering with the heat of oppression” could be “transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice,” and envisioned a future in which “on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

Delivering this electrifying message required emotional intelligence—the ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions. Dr. King demonstrated remarkable skill in managing his own emotions and in sparking emotions that moved his audience to action. As his speechwriter Clarence Jones reflected, King delivered “a perfectly balanced outcry of reason and emotion, of anger and hope. His tone of pained indignation matched that note for note.”

Recognizing the power of emotions, another one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century spent years studying the emotional effects of his body language. Practicing his hand gestures and analyzing images of his movements allowed him to become “an absolutely spellbinding public speaker,” says the historian Roger Moorhouse—“it was something he worked very hard on.” His name was Adolf Hitler.

via The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence – Atlantic Mobile.

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Fitbit Flex , training, WSJ.com:  I have one.

We gave a Fitbit Flex to three Team USA hopefuls: Eliassen, speed skater Brian Hansen and mogul skier Heather McPhie. All agreed to wear the device for a week in November and share their data, as well as details of their ascetic diets. Three reporters decidedly less active than the would-be Olympians also wore Fitbits for a week.

The results say a lot about what it takes to try to become a Winter Olympian, and plenty more about the effectiveness of those increasingly ubiquitous personal-fitness trackers.

Still, with a workout routine that involved mostly skating and cycling, Hansen started to get the same concerns about his workout that McPhie did. His left wrist, which wore the Fitbit, rests on his back as he circles the skating oval, and it doesn\’t move when he bikes. And yet, even with the manually-entered calories from an hour of cycling, or 40 laps around the 400-meter skating oval, his calorie count never surpassed 3,960. He averaged 3,518 through six training days in Milwaukee.

Hansen is hardly a slacker. That’s about 30% more than the reporters who wore the Fitbit for a week, even on days when they took more than 17,000 steps. But his output isn’t too far beyond the reach of a hard-core weekend warrior.

Eliassen, on the other hand, worked on an entirely different plane. Twice during her week training in Breckenridge, Colo., Eliassen cleared 7,000 calories, including the calories the gadget might have missed while she was on an exercise bicycle, doing calisthenics, weightlifting, skiing for as long as five hours, doing 90 minutes of push-ups and sit-ups, 30 minutes of yoga or running. It was all part of her plan to win the first Olympic gold medal in slopestyle skiing. Even without adding calories that might not have been picked up from arm-swinging, Eliassen burned on average more than 4,400 on her hardest training days.

via Sochi Olympics: Measuring Every Step of Training – WSJ.com.

Classic Sermon Index – Online Sermons by Famous Historic Preachers: Interesting! From a Davidson Classmate …

This is a great resource. 46,000 sermons from 100 AD to today indexed by scripture verse and author. Amazing. Pick a verse and read a sermon by Augustine or Chrysostom or Luther or Wesley or Barth. Many hundreds of ministers and thousands of sermons. This has been compiled by a patient and friend of mine over the past 20 + years. (He doesn’t sleep much. The product of his insomnia is now available to all of us!) He is talking to a number of seminaries about utilizing this resource. Please pass around to ministers, academics, theologians, Christians, students of the Word, and the intellectually curious. Check out this amazing resource.

46,000+ HISTORIC SERMONS

Indexed by primary Biblical Text for simple Searching

via Classic Sermon Index – Online Sermons by Famous Historic Preachers.

man’s best friend, cats, me: This is so my house … two 12-year old bassets v. one 10-year-old black cat. Cat wins every time!!

via ▶ You Shall Not Pass, Dog – YouTube.

Lucky Charms, Pentatonix, tv ads, commercial,  iconic brands, new technology, YouTube, kith/kin, Atlanta:  And to close … I have been a lifelong fan of the kid cereal Lucky Charms (yes, it is a fact).  So, I was excited to see them using Pentatonix.  But unfortunately, the ad posted is a fail.  It does not do them justice and does not showcase their skill.  The Evolution of Lucky Charms (the second clip) is better. Well, I am glad they are making some money, but the ad really doesn’t showcase their talent.  An an aside, an Atlanta friend is working with Pentatonix on the campaign. He noted, “I think that it is an iconic brand that is looking for new ways to reimagine their advertising through new technology.”  Good point. I think I ‘ll go buy a box of Lucky Charms …

via ▶ Lucky Charms Pentatonix commercial – YouTube.

via

▶ Evolution of Lucky Charms (feat. Pentatonix) – YouTube.

10
Jul
13

7.10.13 … Stanford’s the Art of Living: “We cannot make you happy. The item for sale is not happiness, but the possibility of happiness. That requires an art for living.” …

Stanford University, The Art of Living, free, Open Culture: Watching the first installment of 17 …

 

What is a liberal education? And how can it help you live a more authentic and purposeful life? They are timely and timeless questions that get answered by The Art of Living, a team-taught course presented to Stanford freshmen. The first lecture (above) addresses these questions head on. And the remainder of the course (17 videos) puts the initial thinking into practice, using great works of literature and philosophy to explore what it means to live a well-lived life. Socrates, Plato, Shakespeare, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Toni Morrison all guide the way. Taught by Lanier Anderson, Kenneth Taylor and Joshua Landy, the Stanford course puts you in a position to address “fundamental and enduring questions about what it means to be human.” Whether you work in business, science or the arts, you will get something big out of the class.

via The Art of Living: A Free Stanford Course Explores Timeless Questions | Open Culture.

Professor Lanier Andersen asks:

“What is actually for sale at this university? What are you paying all that money to purchase? Liberal education is about freedom not just in the negative sense of freedom from work. It’s about a positive freedom, which allows a person to do something, be something, become a certain person – it’s about what W.E.B DuBois called ‘the soul’s freedom for expansion and self-expression’. Liberal training is not about learning a trade. It’s about learning to live in the first place. DuBois said: ‘The riddle of existence is the college curriculum…The true college will ever have but one goal: not to earn meat but to know the end and aim of that life which meat nourishes.”…’We cannot make you happy. The item for sale is not happiness, but the possibility of happiness. That requires an art for living.’

The second speaker, Professor Kenneth Taylor, is hilarious. ‘I’d like to welcome you to the ownership of your life.’ Awesome.

via Stanford’s course in the Art of Living – Philosophy for Life – official website of author Jules Evans.

Philosophy Talk celebrates the value of the examined life. Each week, our two host philosophers invite you to join them in conversation on a wide variety of issues ranging from popular culture to our most deeply-held beliefs about science, morality, and the human condition. Philosophy Talk challenges listeners to identify and question their assumptions and to think about things in new ways. We are dedicated to reasoned conversation driven by human curiosity. Philosophy Talk is accessible, intellectually stimulating, and most of all, fun!

Philosophy Talk is produced by Ben Manilla Productions, Inc. on behalf of Stanford University, as part of its Humanities Outreach Initiative.

via About Us | Philosophy Talk.

 

02
Jul
13

7.2.13 … Laura Bush: “Women are the ones who … “

Laura Bush, Africa, Michelle Obama, women’s issues, education, Mike Allen – POLITICO.com:  I loved the  working together of the FLOTUS and former FLOTUS, and their perspective on their role and projects.  I really do believe that education  girls is the key to change …

Laura Bush said in her introduction: “Women are the ones who care for their family’s health, who see to it that their children are educated, and in many cases provide vital economic support for their family. Educated girls are less likely to marry early. They are more likely to be understand how to protect their own health and bear healthy children, and are better equipped to contribute to the economy with good jobs.”

via Michelle Obama dishes to Laura Bush in Africa – Mike Allen – POLITICO.com.

27
Jun
13

6.27.13 … humanities: ” I find a vivid, pressing sense of how much they need the skill they didn’t acquire earlier in life. They don’t call that skill the humanities. They don’t call it literature. They call it writing — the ability to distribute their thinking in the kinds of sentences that have a merit, even a literary merit, of their own.”

education, college, humanities, writing, worth reading:  I’m going to quote this article again … It’s worth reading.

There is a certain literal-mindedness in the recent shift away from the humanities. It suggests a number of things. One, the rush to make education pay off presupposes that only the most immediately applicable skills are worth acquiring though that doesn’t explain the current popularity of political science. Two, the humanities often do a bad job of explaining why the humanities matter. And three, the humanities often do a bad job of teaching the humanities. You don’t have to choose only one of these explanations. All three apply.

What many undergraduates do not know — and what so many of their professors have been unable to tell them — is how valuable the most fundamental gift of the humanities will turn out to be. That gift is clear thinking, clear writing and a lifelong engagement with literature.

Maybe it takes some living to find out this truth. Whenever I teach older students, whether they’re undergraduates, graduate students or junior faculty, I find a vivid, pressing sense of how much they need the skill they didn’t acquire earlier in life. They don’t call that skill the humanities. They don’t call it literature. They call it writing — the ability to distribute their thinking in the kinds of sentences that have a merit, even a literary merit, of their own.

via The Decline and Fall of the English Major – NYTimes.com.

24
Jun
13

6.24.13 … Legal Equality: The waiting is almost over … “But a tension runs through the cases, one based on different conceptions of equality. Some justices are committed to formal equality. Others say the Constitution requires a more dynamic kind of equality, one that takes account of the weight of history and of modern disparities.” …

Supreme Court, California’s Proposition 8,  same-sex marriage, Defense of Marriage Act, legal equality, marriage, education, voting,  affirmative action,  Voting Rights Act of 1965: 

The waiting is almost over.

Sometime in the next week or so, the Supreme Court will announce the outcomes in cases on California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

via Supreme Court has range of options on gay marriage.

 

Within days, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a series of decisions that could transform three fundamental social institutions: marriage, education and voting.

Abigail Fisher is challenging affirmative action, saying the University of Texas should not classify people on the basis of race.

Edith Windsor is challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

The extraordinary run of blockbuster rulings due in the space of a single week will also reshape the meaning of legal equality and help define for decades to come one of the Constitution’s grandest commands: “the equal protection of the laws.”

If those words require only equal treatment from the government, the rulings are likely to be a mixed bag that will delight and disappoint liberals and conservatives in equal measure. Under that approach, same-sex couples who want to marry would be better off at the end of the term, while blacks and Hispanics could find it harder to get into college and to vote.

But a tension runs through the cases, one based on different conceptions of equality. Some justices are committed to formal equality. Others say the Constitution requires a more dynamic kind of equality, one that takes account of the weight of history and of modern disparities.

The four major cases yet to be decided concern same-sex marriage, affirmative action in higher education and the fate of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which places special burdens on states with a history of racial discrimination.

via Supreme Court Weighs Cases Redefining Legal Equality – NYTimes.com.

23
Jun
13

6.23.13 … Writing well: “It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you.” …

education, humanities, writing, English majors:

In the past few years, I’ve taught nonfiction writing to undergraduates and graduate students at Harvard, Yale, Bard, Pomona, Sarah Lawrence and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. Each semester I hope, and fear, that I will have nothing to teach my students because they already know how to write. And each semester I discover, again, that they don’t.

They can assemble strings of jargon and generate clots of ventriloquistic syntax. They can meta-metastasize any thematic or ideological notion they happen upon. And they get good grades for doing just that. But as for writing clearly, simply, with attention and openness to their own thoughts and emotions and the world around them — no.

That kind of writing — clear, direct, humane — and the reading on which it is based are the very root of the humanities, a set of disciplines that is ultimately an attempt to examine and comprehend the cultural, social and historical activity of our species through the medium of language.

The teaching of the humanities has fallen on hard times. So says a new report on the state of the humanities by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and so says the experience of nearly everyone who teaches at a college or university. Undergraduates will tell you that they’re under pressure — from their parents, from the burden of debt they incur, from society at large — to choose majors they believe will lead as directly as possible to good jobs. Too often, that means skipping the humanities.

Writing well used to be a fundamental principle of the humanities, as essential as the knowledge of mathematics and statistics in the sciences. But writing well isn’t merely a utilitarian skill. It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you.

No one has found a way to put a dollar sign on this kind of literacy, and I doubt anyone ever will. But everyone who possesses it — no matter how or when it was acquired — knows that it is a rare and precious inheritance.

via The Decline and Fall of the English Major – NYTimes.com.

23
Jun
13

6.23.13 … The Humanist Vocation: “The job of the humanities was to cultivate the human core, the part of a person we might call the spirit, the soul” …

humanities:  Great essay on the value of humanities!  Love this … “Teachers like that were zealous for the humanities. A few years in that company leaves a lifelong mark.”

Back when the humanities were thriving, the leading figures had a clear definition of their mission and a fervent passion for it. The job of the humanities was to cultivate the human core, the part of a person we might call the spirit, the soul, or, in D.H. Lawrence’s phrase, “the dark vast forest.”

One of the great history teachers in those days was a University of Chicago professor named Karl Weintraub. He poured his soul into transforming his students’ lives, but, even then, he sometimes wondered if they were really listening. Late in life, he wrote a note to my classmate Carol Quillen, who now helps carry on this legacy as president of Davidson College.

Teaching Western Civ, Weintraub wrote, “seems to confront me all too often with moments when I feel like screaming suddenly: ‘Oh, God, my dear student, why CANNOT you see that this matter is a real, real matter, often a matter of the very being, for the person, for the historical men and women you are looking at — or are supposed to be looking at!’

“I hear these answers and statements that sound like mere words, mere verbal formulations to me, but that do not have the sense of pain or joy or accomplishment or worry about them that they ought to have if they were TRULY informed by the live problems and situations of the human beings back there for whom these matters were real. The way these disembodied words come forth can make me cry, and the failure of the speaker to probe for the open wounds and such behind the text makes me increasingly furious.

“If I do not come to feel any of the love which Pericles feels for his city, how can I understand the Funeral Oration? If I cannot fathom anything of the power of the drive derived from thinking that he has a special mission, what can I understand of Socrates? … How can one grasp anything about the problem of the Galatian community without sensing in one’s bones the problem of worrying about God’s acceptance?

“Sometimes when I have spent an hour or more, pouring all my enthusiasm and sensitivities into an effort to tell these stories in the fullness in which I see and experience them, I feel drained and exhausted. I think it works on the student, but I do not really know.”

Teachers like that were zealous for the humanities. A few years in that company leaves a lifelong mark.

via The Humanist Vocation – NYTimes.com.




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