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Corporations as PINOS

Got to place hold this piece from Bookman of the AJC — he excerpted a Montana Judge’s critique of several notions regarding corporations — this paragraph attacks the idea that “Corporations are people too!”

Corporations are not persons. Human beings are persons, and it is an affront to the inviolable dignity of our species that courts have created a legal fiction which forces people — human beings — to share fundamental, natural rights with soulless creations of government. Worse still, while corporations and human beings share many of the same rights under the law, they clearly are not bound equally to the same codes of good conduct, decency, and morality, and they are not held equally accountable for their sins. Indeed, it is truly ironic that the death penalty and hell are reserved only to natural persons.”

Corporations are just “Persons-In-Name-Only” — otherwise, the Right-to-Life groups would be protesting the murder of 75% of PINOs prior to their third birthday!   We would see test court cases challenging the execution of PINOs on the grounds they owe taxes and must by liquidated to pay their debts!  The satire is endless — but the rude consequence is that real Persons must compete with PINOs for privileges of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Please, show me  where this is discussed as an “inalienable right”?  Does God have a special place for the Chamber of Commerce at the judgement seat?


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Internet Trends

Post article here – discussing the delivery of Kleiner Perkins “State of the Internet Report”

The slides are provocative – especially the “Re-imagination of…” series beginning at slide 28 and ending at 86

Slides 75 and 77 are learning and education

Did not see numbers for capital engaged in re-imagining education – but, given other reports – multiple billions being spent

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Online resources – journals

I recently find online access to journals fascinating.  For example, the debates of the Constitutional Convention, and, a journal of Henry David Thoreau, a favorite of mine.

Of course, I am merely procrastinating — averting the completion of my chapter describing the research model I will use to understand differences in cyber security policy among universities and colleges…

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“Character” the word for governing

Found 4 articles that are related by one word — character, and perhaps a second word – morals.

David Brooks penned an essay obit regarding Dr. James Q. Wilson — a social scientist extraordinaire:

When Wilson wrote about character and virtue, he didn’t mean anything high flown or theocratic. It was just the basics, befitting a man who grew up in the middle-class suburbs of Los Angeles in the 1940s: Behave in a balanced way. Think about the long-term consequences of your actions. Cooperate. Be decent.

He did not believe that virtue was inculcated by prayer in schools. It was habituated by practicing good manners, by being dependable, punctual and responsible day by day.

And, in Brook’s column, a link to a Wilson essay on Character promoting the importance of the “development of character in citizenry”.  In the 1985 essay, Wilson said “a variety of public problems can only be understood — and perhaps addressed — if they are seen as arising out of a defect in character formation.”   He refuted the notion that good behavior is best “incentivized”, (he says conservative and liberal policymakers cling to this idea).  “In the long run, the public interest depends on private virture.”

Character is demonstrated by this young man’s essay on how students must look to the “superman” within themselves and be accountable for their achievements.

  While PTAs and school boards can be great instruments in advocating for students, they often focus on the school administration, faculty, budgets, and long-winded policies. They overlook — or at least under-emphasize — the responsibilities of the student.

Lastly, this essay from WP notes 4 steps to demoralize an employee —

  1. Never allow pride of accomplishment
  2. Miss no opportunity to block progress on employees’ projects
  3. Give yourself some credit (for the contributions you make to bad morale)
  4. Kill the messengers

Citizens, legislators, board members — read this essay — teachers and other public employees shouldn’t have to work in demoralizing environs, should they?

If we are of sound moral character, then our government will be of sound moral character.

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Data, Knowledge, Transparency, Politics

Data contributes to knowledge.  Knowledge,when shared, contributes to transparency.  Politics dilutes transparency.  One can say politics abhors transparency.  How can one accumulate and wield power if your opponents know what you do?

IBM has a very interesting initiative, Smart Cities, that has applications across all levels of governing and across all sectors (private, public) of organizations.  Substitute your favorite vertical industry in place of city — and think of what can be had…


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To Reboot Hit Alt-Higher Ed, for legislators Ctrl-Alt-Higher Ed

Neat summary of the various “alt” discussions (Alt-text, Alt-HE, Alt-Career) taking place:

Many of the alt-career seekers are in the humanities, where traditional faculty jobs are the hardest to obtain. A grassroots movement has emerged to take a new and different approach—that is, an alternateapproach. Expect to see more of this in higher education, where opportunities for starting something new are riper than ever.

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Sir Topham Hatt is not pleased

Sir Topham Hatt routinely chastises his engines when they allow their selfish, and foolish, decisions to interfere with the proper running of the railroad.  He tells them, “You are causing confusion and delay!”

This analysis of the Heartland Institute’s campaign to “derail” the teaching of climate science is one which deserves Sir Hatt’s admonishment!

The documents, from a nonprofit organization in Chicago called theHeartland Institute, outline plans to promote a curriculum that would cast doubt on the scientific finding that fossil fuel emissions endanger the long-term welfare of the planet. “Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective,” one document said.

While the documents offer a rare glimpse of the internal thinking motivating the campaign against climate science, defenders of science education were preparing for battle even before the leak. Efforts to undermine climate-science instruction are beginning to spread across the country, they said, and they fear a long fight similar to that over the teaching of evolution in public schools.


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STEM lecture alternatives

WP : Colleges looking beyond the lecture

The lecture backlash signals an evolving vision of college as participatory exercise. Gone are the days when the professor could recite a textbook in class. The watchword of today is “active learning.” Students are working experiments, solving problems, answering questions — or at least registering an opinion on an interactive “smartboard” with an electronic clicker.

…If we want to get that whole human being out at the other end, we have to offer them a variety of experiences. And the lecture is part of it,” said Hartmut Doebel, a GWU biologist. “I don’t think we will ever get away from it completely.”


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Things to make you go “hmmmm”

James Lewis, Center for International Strategic Studies – spoke on CSPAN 10 Feb 2012 regarding security.  He does not hesitate to put his social security number on the web.  “If they want to get your stuff, they will get your stuff.”

Then there is this NYT story, Big Data’s Impact in the World, from which we get this quote:

Mr. Smolan is an enthusiast, saying that Big Data has the potential to be “humanity’s dashboard,” an intelligent tool that can help combat poverty, crime and pollution. Privacy advocates take a dim view, warning that Big Data is Big Brother, in corporate clothing.

Data measurement, Professor Brynjolfsson explains, is the modern equivalent of the microscope. Google searches, Facebook posts and Twitter messages, for example, make it possible to measure behavior and sentiment in fine detail and as it happens.

Now look at the conclusions from an analysis by NYT on the aggressiveness of government prosecution of leaks, and the reporters who wrote about them, under President Obama.  James Risen was subpoenaed :

“I was told in a rather cocky manner” by a national security representative, Ms. Dalglish recalled, that “the Risen subpoena is one of the last you’ll see.”

She continued, paraphrasing the official: “We don’t need to ask who you’re talking to. We know.

Then, remember the hacks from the newspapers in Britain?  Corporations showing no regard for individual liberties (such as a right to privacy) in pursuit of the quarterly profit.

Speaking of – NYT editorial on ALEC — funded by — large corporations — and its pervasive influence at the state level.

So, while there is much thrashing about over whether the second amendment is being respected, our first, and fourth amendment, rights are quickly deteriorating…

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Eating our own dogfood – alternatives to traditional txtbooks

Chronicle : Temple U. Project Ditches Textbooks for Homemade Digital Alternatives

The pilot project gave 11 faculty members $1,000 each to create a digital alternative to a traditional textbook. To enliven their students’ reading, the instructors pulled together primary-source documents and material culled from library archives. Steven J. Bell, the associate university librarian for research and instructional services at Temple, said the project tried to create new kinds of learning experiences while saving students money at the same time. The textbooks covered a variety of subjects, including biomechanics, writing, and marketing. The Temple program mirrors a similar effort announced at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in December.

Her students reacted “with glee” at the online book’s free price tag, she said.

UMASS Press Release

 UMass Amherst Provost’s Office and the University Libraries launched a program in the spring of 2011—the Open Education Initiative—that supports faculty interested in pursuing non-traditional educational resources as an alternative to the traditional commercial textbook.

Eight faculty members were awarded a total of 10 grants, $1,000 per course, to adopt a new curricular resource strategy using easily identified digital resources. Under the program, faculty developed a variety of alternatives, from creating an online open access lab manual to utilizing e-books and streaming media available through the Libraries’ numerous databases. In support of this initiative, librarians developed a comprehensive subject guide to open educational resources.

During the 2011-2012 academic year, it is estimated this $10,000 investment will save 700 students more than $72,000 – money that would have been spent on commercial textbooks for these courses.

For more on the UMASS Open Education Initiative – go here

OpenStax College is another alternative:

OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Our free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of your course. Through our partnerships with companies and foundations committed to reducing costs for students, OpenStax College is working to improve access to higher education for all. OpenStax College is an initiative of Rice University and is made possible through the generous support of several philanthropic foundations.

More info at Techdirt

Flat World Knowledge

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