Friday, July 31, 2009

Is It Time To Stop Drinking Coke? *

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New World Notes News
Volume 2, Number 30 -- August 4, 2009


All photos: click to enlarge

This week in New World Notes, radio program #75, August 4 & 7:

It's a Capitalist's dream come true! Get rid of those pesky union organizers with your own death squad! Coca-Cola's bottlers in Colombia have been doing this for years. Eat your heart out, Wal-Mart!

Here's the story in prose (by The Guardian's Julian Borger) and song (by David Rovics).


If you'd rather die more slowly, try drinking a whole lot of Diet Coke--or consuming any other food sweetened with aspartame (NutraSweet). James Corbett explains why this chemical is the worst food additive since DDT--and how it managed to get approved by the FDA.

Fun Fact:

Q: What do the introduction of aspartame and the invasion of Iraq have in common?
A: Donald Rumsfeld! (Hear the show to learn how.)


Song played: David Rovics, "Drink of the Death Squads"

Coming soon (dates of WWUH Tuesday broadcast shown):

  • August 11 & 18 --The Thinking (Wo)Man's Guide to 9-11 (2 parts)

Catch New World Notes (all times Eastern):

For more commentary by James Corbett, see http://www.corbettreport.com/


* Coke and Coca-Cola are registered trademarks of The Coca-Cola Company .

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Education Becomes Social Control (J.T. Gatto, pt. 2)

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New World Notes News
Volume 2, Number 30 -- July 28, 2009


This week in New World Notes, radio program #74, July 28 & 31:

New York City's (three-time) and New York State's "Teacher of the Year" continues his explanation of why U.S. public schools intentionally "dumb down" and infantilize students (Answer: To mold young people into obedient workers, obedient citizens, & manipulable consumers), and who benefits ( = Big Business, Big Finance, & centralized government). And Gatto has the documents to prove it! -- or at least to make a very strong case.

For John Taylor Gatto, America's public schools are not "failing." Rather, they're succeeding all-too-well in doing exactly what they were designed to do. That includes--in addition to training all their children in docility, childishness, and obedience--dispensing only the education necessary for each student's anticipated place in the social and economic order.

American schools have always stressed critical analysis of U.S. foreign
policy. Well, maybe at Groton and Andover. Public schools tend more
towards inculcating "patriotism." The standard form of salute has varied
through time, as this 1899 photo shows. All photos: Click to enlarge.

Gatto doesn't say the following explicity: this is my application of his theses to the world as I've seen it. The previous paragraph explains why many suburban schools are good academically, and far too many urban public school systems produce about equal numbers of (a) dropouts and (b) young adults far less equipped to succeed than their suburban peers. And it explains why urban schools will not be allowed to improve anytime soon:

Now that America's economic "leaders" have closed down most of the factories and family farms in the country--and replaced jobs with machines everywhere possible--America has more adult citizens than The System needs. Several times, Gatto quotes Lee Iacocca's remarks that educating people beyond their likely station in The System is just asking for trouble . . . just inviting "rebellion." At the moment, the ruling elite needs poor persons of color mainly as consumers, hamburger-flippers, cannon-fodder, raw materials for the prison-industrial complex, and handy targets for working-class White rage.

Obviously, little education is required for these roles; and teaching such people to think critically, understand history, and appreciate Dostoevsky and Thomas Paine would only be helping them to fight back more effectively!

Gatto's talk is fascinating, brilliant, and laced with an engaging dry wit.

Homeschooling propaganda.
(But could they have a point?)

Program notes:

This installment begins with a good summary of Gatto's main points in Part One (NWN #72). If you missed Part One, you could still start here at Part Two.

Gatto has written a short, profusely illustrated article that nicely summarizes his overall main ideas & main arguments--the "American Education History Tour." www.johntaylorgatto.com/historytour/history1.htm

Song played: James McMurtry, "Just Us Kids"

Coming soon (dates of WWUH Tuesday broadcast shown):

  • August 4--Is It Time To Stop Drinking Coke?
  • August 11--The Thinking (Wo)Man's Guide to 9-11

Catch New World Notes (all times Eastern):


Monday, July 20, 2009

The Art of the Rant (Part 1)

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This week in New World Notes, Program #73, July 21 & 24:


  • I'll never see--I know I shan't--
    A poem as lovely as a rant.
    A weapon mighty, for the weaker:
    It helps both listener and speaker!
    Rants never die, and every fall,
    I re-read Pope and Juvenal.
    The Psalms give peace, which some require,
    But I prefer ol' Jeremiah!
    Men's shirts are made by Arrow and Gant,
    but only God can make a rant!

    --Joyce Killmore Time (pseud.), from "Rants"

Like sodomy, arson, absinthe, and golf, composing rants is despised by millions; and its strange, exquisite delights are appreciated only by a small and declining coterie of cognoscenti.

. . . With the partial exception of sodomy, of course, especially hetero-, which has not been declining but in fact has been having quite a renaissance in our high schools--ever since abstinence-only sex education (AOSE, pronounced oasis) was introduced to the American proletariat, about 8 years ago.

Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty) explains Globalization to TV newsman
Howard Beale (1976). All photos: Click to enlarge.

Many liberals claim that AOSE has been as ignominious a failure as Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No"-based drug-addiction rehabilitation system (JSNBDARS, pronounced jasmine-bearers).

However, many of us farther to the Left politically--and farther Up There chronologically--have a choice phrase we apply to these 16-year-old dudes who have dozens of hook-up partners--young ladies who think of fellatio as a sanitary alternative to a good-night kiss . . . and who think that anal intercourse is an acquired taste but well worth the effort if it keeps your virginity intact.

True facts! "Science-based" researchers have found that--in school districts in which AOSE has been introduced and pushed--genital intercourse is down, among students; "loss" [you should pardon the expression] of genital virginity is postponed by 18 months, average; cunnilingus is holding steady; fellatio is up; anal intercourse is 'way up; and--get this--condom use is down.

Toto, something tells me we're not in Kansas anymore! In fact, something tells me we're not even in Cloudcuckooland any more. If I'm not mistaken, we're now somewhere 'way over the rainbow!

Peter Finch as Howard Beale, from Network (1976).
Top: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
Bottom: "Turn off your TV sets! Turn them off!"

Yes, we aging SDS-veteran wannabees have a choice phrase to describe those teenaged male idiots with their slouch and their baggy trousers and the baseball cap with brim pointing anywhere but forwards . . . and a dozen casual sex partners whose inhibitions seem to be declining faster than the water table. We call these guys "lucky bastards."

Well, before my discourse was so rudely interrupted by somebody's essay on Sex Ed--Palin style, I was discussing rants.

Top: No mere ranter, George Carlin was a ranteur. Here he
explains why "war is just a big d--k waving contest."
Bottom: One of these mustachioed gentlemen was a sociopathic
goon employed for 50 years by the CIA . . . until he decided to change
petrodollars (Mr. Beale!) into Petroeuros. Oops! Wrong call! The
other is British MP George Galloway. Can you tell which is which?

In this installment, New World Notes first attempts to define the genre. Then it offers 6 inspiring examples of rants from the past third-of-a-century. Some of these rants are widely celebrated (" . . . PETRO-dollars, . . . ELECTRO-dollars, Mr. Beale!"). Some are familiar to afficionados -- I've been trying hard not to use congoscenti twice in the same week -- such as our passages from George Carlin and George Galloway, MP. And some are almost as obscure as New World Notes.

Now that we've gotten rid of all the executives in the audience . . . by going hundreds of words without once using the word situation--as in, "a condom use avoidance situation" . . . let's pull out (no pun intended) the Executive Summary:

Executive Summary: A rant can be both therapeutic and wise. A rant is a composition of words that is (1) impolite, (2) angry, (3) of public significance, (4) true, or at least mostly true, and (5) that connects items, events, and abstract ideas that the listener would rather leave unconnected. We present a potpourri of great rants of the past 33 years ... by Paddy Chayevsky (3 from Network, 1976), George Carlin (ca. 1992), George Galloway (2006), & TeneBROUST (2009). Introduction & afterword by K.D.

Video bonus:

To watch an extended version of Network's "Mad as Hell" scene, click here.

Help wanted: Near the end of this video clip, the network News Division president (William Holden), watching Beal on television at his apartment, moves from his desk to the window. For a half second, we glimpse a framed 5"x7" photo portrait on the desktop. Director Sidney Lumet must have teased us with this for a reason. But what?

Can anyone identify the person pictured? My own hypothesis is that he is former FCC Chairman Newton ("Commercial TV is a vast wasteland!") Minnow, but I really can't tell. (Reply to kdowst at hotmail period com.)

Catch New World Notes (all times Eastern):

Coming soon (dates of WWUH Tuesday broadcast shown):

  • July 28--Education Becomes Social Control (J.T. Gatto, Part 2)
  • August 4--Is It Time To Stop Drinking Coke?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Are Our Schools Bad On Purpose? (J.T. Gatto, part 1)

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New World Notes News
Volume 2, Number 28 -- July 14, 2009

This week in New World Notes, radio program #72, July 14 & 17:

Executive Summary: In educating students, U.S. public schools range from mediocre down to soul-destroying, John Taylor Gatto suggests. Other scholars and critics of public education--such as Jonathan Kozol, George Carlin, and Aldous Huxley--have argued the same. But Gatto gives a detailed account of WHY things are as they are.

Why? The ruling elite wanted a nation of obedient factory workers and easily-manipulated, childlike consumers, Gatto argues. The public education system of Prussia (now a region of Germany) provided a working model to imitate. There, public schools molded students to fit the current needs of the state. What the Prussian state usually needed was loyal, obedient soldiers.

John Taylor Gatto

The American elite had the inspired idea of molding children instead to fit the needs of business and manufacturing.

Compulsory public schooling has done this well for nearly a century, Gatto argues. The real founders of our public secondary schools were not reformers such as Horace Mann and John Dewey. They were Captains of Industry and of Finance--Robber Barons--including John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and J.P. Morgan, all ably assisted by powerful educational theorists such as James Bryant Conant, of Harvard.

In this recording, Gatto delivers a powerful, brilliant, well-researched, and very witty speech (originally presented in October 2003); and I'm delighted to be able to make his work a little better known. Today's program presents my condensation of roughly the first third of this long speech.

Two of the books by Gatto

But who is this guy?

No crackpot Lefty idealist, Gatto was a master high-school teacher with three "Teacher of the Year" awards from New York City and one from New York State. Since quitting the profession, he has written books and given lectures, attempting to show Americans that their system of compulsory public schooling is designed to produce social control, not education.

Gatto's web site is http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/. In it you'll find a short, profusely illustrated article that nicely summarizes his overall main ideas and main arguments--the "American Education History Tour." Here's a link to it: www.johntaylorgatto.com/historytour/history1.htm.

Song: The Foremen, California Couldn't Pay Our Education

"School Sucks" by Liese Lotta

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Palast & Pilger on Neocolonialism & Democracy

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This week in New World Notes, radio program #71, July 7 & 10:


Axis of evil or champion neocolonialism-busters? (L to R:) Hugo
Chavez (Venezuela), Fidel Castro (Cuba), Evo Morales (Bolivia).
All other photos: Click to enlarge.

Palast & Pilger on
Neocolonialism & Democracy


Or: Andes, Schmandes, Let's Have Some in Muncie, Indiandes!

Two dispatches from South America show progress from (1) colonialism to (2) neocolonialism to (3) neocolonialism disguised as democracy to (4) democracy. Greg Palast reports from Ecuador (Stage 3), ruthlessly exploited by & practically a colony of the World Bank and global financial institutions. John Pilger reports from Bolivia, which has recently and tentatively arrived at Stage 4. The US should be so fortunate!

Top: American writer & BBC reporter Greg Palast.
Bottom: Australian filmmaker, essayist, & correspondent John Pilger.

Credit where due:

We play selections (on Bolivia) from John Pilger's film, War on Democracy, adapted to radio by Lyn Gerry for the Unwelcome Guests Collective (www.unwelcomeguests.org). Many thanks thereunto. KD reads passages on Ecuador from Greg Palast's recent book, Armed Madhouse.

New World Notes is produced by Kenneth Dowst for WWUH-FM, "Public Alternative Radio," at The University of Hartford. Feedback to kdowst at hotmail dot com.

Songs--

  • Chumbawamba, "The Bad Squire"
  • Sam Cooke, "A Change Is Gonna Come" (Pilger film theme-song)

Coming soon (dates of WWUH Tuesday broadcast shown):

  • July 14--Are Our Schools Bad on Purpose? (John Taylor Gatto, Part 1)
  • July 21--The Art of the Rant, Part 1

Catch New World Notes (all times Eastern):


Dr. Seuss (Theodore Seuss Geisel), 1904-1991

The Art of Poetry--Lessons 1 & 1.5:

Happy birthday to me!
I'm 59, not 43.
I look like a mon-key,
And I don't watch TV!

[Segue:]

God . . . bless Vi-ag-ar-a!
Pill . . . that is good!
Stand beside it . . . and guide it . . .
[insert some words here] . . . whole neighborhood!
From [more words needed]
To . . . "
To Norwegians, white as foam!
God bless Vi-ag-ar-a!
Where-e're you roam!
God bless Vi-ag-ar-a!
[Last line needed. Suggestions?]

Astrodome? weighty tome? ev'ry home? Kookie, lend me your comb?, fertile loam?, genome? metronome? to frosty Nome? this here poem? old-age home? when in Rome? microtome? from her womb [sight-rhyme]? rhizome? Hillary, then you too would moan?

. . . Blue-dress Spot:
It may never come out, Monica, it may not! (???)

Aw, the hell with it--and apologies to Connecticut's own T.S. Geisel ("Dr. Seuss")--one of the few people I've heard of who died after having made the world a better place--along with another former neighbor of mine, the Rev. Fred Rogers, of Pittsburgh--whom I never had the courtesy to thank. And yes, I am a little old to be having another Midlife Crisis, but my first one didn't go well!

Happy Independence Day!

Ken


"Fredosaurus Rex", on the grounds of public TV station
WQED, in Pittsburgh, honors Fred Rogers.