Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: ignorance

Deliberate Ignorance or Hidden Agenda: Which is Worse?

no ignorance, no cry.
No ignorance zone.

The Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, said something astounding stupid recently. In talking about Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), she praised them for being “pioneers when it comes to school choice”, which is a total perversion of how HBCU came to be. They were created to help black students who weren’t allowed to attend white institutions, and the fact that DeVos chose to ignore that fact in order to push her own agenda (she’s a BIG fan of charter schools and school ‘choice’) or that she didn’t know why they were created is horrifying. Which is worse? The latter would mean she’s too ignorant for her position, whereas the former would mean she’s too biased to do her job properly. It might be a combination of both, and any of these options are discouraging.

One of the the other statements DeVos made that bothered me isn’t getting as much play in the media. She was talking about a famous African American philanthropist, Mary McLeod Bethune, who founded Bethune-Cookman University (an HCBU) in 1904 and said, “In 1904, with nothing more than $1.50 in her pocket and a vision and determination in her soul, Mary built a school from scratch to serve African-American children.” In and of itself, the statement is innocuous, but DeVos was touting it in support of school choice, of which she is an aggressive pusher. Yes, it’s great that Bethune did that, but she shouldn’t have had to, which isn’t a point DeVos will acknowledge.

Despite my anger towards DeVos and the continued pushing of charter schools at the expense of public school, this post is more about the toxic mentality of business over public works that permeates this administration than strictly a post bashing charter schools. I will, say, however, that it’s difficult for me to understand why the debate about charter schools vs. public schools still exist.  Charter schools don’t have to play by the same rules as do public schools and can choose who they want to accept and who they don’t. That means that the playing field is already uneven, so any results are tainted.

It makes me angry and sad that so many people are pouring so much money into charter schools that may or may not be there in a year, whereas public schools are languishing. I remember having this argument with my brother decades ago, saying if we put as much money and care into public schools as we do into charter schools, all children would be better off. I can usually see many different sides to a story, but in this case, I am 100% pro-public schools.

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Ignorance, Lies, and Facepalms

who's manipulating my strings?
I see the resemblance….

If I were to tell you that this president knowingly hired someone as his national security adviser who was in secrets talks with Russia during the election, someone who promised quid pro quo with top Russian officials if Trump were elected, would you believe me? What if I told you the exact same scenario, but that the president did it unwittingly? Would you believe me? What if I told you he was warned that the perspective National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn might be susceptible to blackmail from the Russians by  the acting Attorney General Sally Yates, the same woman he later fired for insubordination because she refused to uphold his Muslim ban? Would you still believe me? What if I then told you that this president didn’t read the reports on this topic? Would you believe that?

I’m throwing all these ‘what ifs’ at you because the basic story is true, but no one knows exactly what this president did or didn’t know about it. He and his aides have changed the story as is their wont, and it’s easy to believe any of the aforementioned scenarios. That’s the most disturbing thing to me: this president is so corrupt, ignorant, inept, and venal, it’s hard to discern which of the negative explanations is the correct one. My opinion is that he was told about Flynn at the time, but he either didn’t care or didn’t retain the knowledge.

Side note: I want this president to take a reading test, and I want him to do it in public. I know it’s not going to happen, but more than one person I know has wondered if this president can actually read. My response is: He’s probably functionally literate, but just barely. More to the point, he evinces no interest in reading, which automatically makes him suspect to me. But again, it’s equally possible that he can read at a high level and just doesn’t care to do so. He’s proven that he’s incurious about the world around him and anything that doesn’t reflect what he already thinks. I seriously cannot see him picking up, say, Toni Morrison and giving her a serious read.

To my questions above, I think it’s equally possible that he knew exactly what was happening and didn’t care, and that he was given all the information but either didn’t read it or didn’t retain it because it didn’t interest him. My brother asked me if this president was a rightwinger. I said I didn’t think he was especially so. My brother followed it up with, “Then why has he chosen so many rightwingers?” I was stumped for a second, but I quickly rallied. My guess is that some of the names had been given to him by his aides or Republicans in Congress, some are friends of his, some are quid pro quo from his campaign, and some are sucker-uppers who flattered this president into giving them a plum position.

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Ignorance is Bliss–and Sometimes Necessary Escapism

relaxation is my game
Chillest cat ever.

Today, I woke up for the first time in two weeks not feeling an all-encompassing sense of dread. That’s not to say I don’t still think we’re fucked (I do), but I didn’t want to repeatedly bash my head against the wall for hours on end. It helped that we were supposed to get snow today, which we are now getting. Fat, fluffy flakes falling aimlessly to the ground. I hope it sticks. I love snow more than almost anything, and seeing it everywhere makes me happy.

I avoided most of the news today. Not because I don’t care, but because I was making myself sick reading about the new presidential team. I have very political friends, and they’ve been diligent about posting the latest news. I can appreciate that, and I think it’s necessary, but it can be overwhelming to see post after post about the horrors that is Trump. I’m still having difficulty accepting that this is the new reality, but glutting on the news isn’t the way to acceptance.

Wanna know what I did instead? I did my morning routine, which calmed me a bit. Then, I started a new Dark Souls (original) playthrough, this time as a tank. Those who have read my posts about Dark Souls know that I love the games* and play them pretty much exclusively now. I’ve tried other games, including Shrouded in Sanity, which is definitely Souls-inspired, but they all pale in comparison to the Souls games. Shrouded in Sanity tries so hard to be Souls, but with a few strange control changes. The heal button is Y instead of X, which is puzzling and too foreign for my brain to grasp. Plus, the camera is manual in a way it’s not in Souls, and there’s no shield. You get a sword and pistol, much like Bloodborne, which means you have to rely on parrying and dodging, rather than blocking. I am horrible at parrying. I’m too old, and my reflexes are too shitty for that. In addition, Shrouded in Sanity is a pale imitation of a Souls game, and the whole time I was playing, all I could think was, “I’d rather be playing Souls.”

When I’m a caster, I can stay a safe distance away from the enemy and keep backpedaling from them. When I’m playing melee, I use my shield to block and count on my high poise/endurance to tank the hits. This works very well except for a certain optional boss in Dark Souls 3 who shall not be named, mainly because he doesn’t have a name. No, seriously. He’s the Nameless King, and he’s my personal nemesis. I’ve soloed every boss in that game except him, and I am struggling mightily with him. Part of the problem is that I’m maining the Greataxe, which is very short. He flies around on a dragon, so a longer weapon would be more useful. I’ve tried other weapons, but nothing is as comfortable as my Greataxe, so I’m trying to make due with it. I don’t know why I’m being so stubborn about it, but it’s a point of pride at this point.

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