October 16, 2004

I Smell a Bush. I Smell a Cheney.

While George Bush rants about the Almighty's hopes for freedom around the world, you all can play the home game by following the oil money.

It's not a front-page story. They hardly ever are.

I stopped by Jenna's former school yesterday to pick up yet another copy of the microbiologist's report on the findings of the mold testing. I've added it to my copy of the summary report, and the interim report. All reports confirm dangerous levels of (name your type of) mold in the school. Although remediation work has been completed to the board's satisfaction, upon my visit yesterday I was stunned to see how little had been done considering the rampant mold infestation and damage throughout the school.

A ceiling tile here, a piece of carpet there, a portion of wall here, all topped with some fresh paint. Mostly, everything looked and smelled the same--two days before the kids were scheduled to arrive back at the school.

I explained to the Principal and to some mothers why were pulling Jenna out--that her doctors have advised us not to let her back into that building. That one of the more potent molds found, Stachybotrys , is difficult to effectively remediate. And yet these same mothers are oblivious as to why they should be concerned. Or why I'm concerned.

It's not the oblivion that bothers me--it's the blind obedience. It's the Bush era mentality. Be a good little American soldier, do your duty, and ask no questions.

Two days ago, a note was sent home asking parents to come by this weekend and help clean up the debris scattered around the school from the remediation work. The note said the school could save $2,000 by having the parents do this work. Understand, the testing results post-mediation have not come back yet. Essentially, parents have been asked to come into the building before it's certified by the microbiologist and 1) sand walls, 2) help tear up the remaining water/mold soaked carpet and 3) haul away shingles and molding and other assorted contaminated items so that the school can save a couple of thou.

The building is not even OSHA-certified for the staff who works there.

The building still smells acrid--I had to use my inhaler when I got home.

But there they were. I saw four mothers with sanding blocks and an electric sander one of them brought from home sanding walls in the hallway. No gloves, no masks, nothing. And they were complaining about the parents who weren't there helping.

Now that we know the seriousness of the issues with this decades-old leaky building, I wonder--why haven't the sanding mothers asked the questions of their children's doctors that I have? Why haven't they dared to question the administration? Why aren't they furious with the landlord? Why do they look at anyone who decides not to jump in stride with the "You're either for us or again' us" attitude as the "problem"?

This is a privatized public school. This school is ultimately run by a corporation. This school started the year $250,000 in debt before the building problems surfaced. Promises were made that have been broken.

And yet, to question why these things have happened -- in this day of bushian black-and-white thinking -- makes me an anomaly, a trouble maker, a non-contributor. Ultimately, I'm a terrorist.

Yet WE were the ones dealing with the stress and accusations about Jenna's health the last two years--why she was missing so many days from sinus infection and strep. The teacher and administration could tease and belittle. But when it turned out to be a situation affected at least in part--possibly in its entirety--by their laziness and inaptitude, WELL I'm just supposed to suck it up -- offer it up for the team. After all, there's nothing that can undo the situation now. Might as well look at the positive and move on.

And what about the incidence of cancer and other health problems among the staff? What about those? What side are you going to err on--chalking it up to bad genes, or wondering if mycotoxin exposure over time in large amounts might have/could have? Don't you want to KNOW? Aren't any of you fucking OUTRAGED?

No they don't. They want it simple. The draft doesn't need to be reinstated. We've already been drafted. All of us. And if you don't step in line, your dodging.

Put your suspicions away. Stuff your brain in your pocket. Really, you don't want to have to think at all.

Well, when it comes to my kid, I am not erring on the side of mind-numbing, blind obedience to any institution--especially a corporation in public education's clothing.

Once we lose our critical thinking ability -- our drive to question, to wonder, to know -- we lose everything.

You want black and white thinking? I'm choosing black.

You want for us or against us? I'm choosing against.

March on lambs of Bush.

But march without me.

Write Your Own Caption

Mmmmmmmm. I'd like to get these two dollies to the Caribbean.

October 15, 2004

Shelleypedia and Hell's Kitchen, Or Something

While I was away last week, Shelley came up with one of her very cool ideas for a project called IT Kitchen, the genesis of which was good thinking like this:

The purpose behind the IT Kitchen was to provide an overview of weblogging, the nuances and the ins and outs and that sort of thing. Sort of like many of the handbooks about weblogging that have been published online by various people (see Rebecca Blood’s). However, instead of just providing static content, there’s an interactive element to it, a community participation, which allows people to ask questions as the material is published, or even provide their own material in support of a topic.

Shelley has germinated and grown the idea into a really really really good idea -- one in which the nucleus of defining blogging in a living way -- of keeping good blogging alive by putting historic threads or posts somewhere where we can REFERENCE them as we all write into the future, age and die off (sorry, no time for tact) -- and to keep this ongoing discussion in a Wikipedia setting -- well that's just really smart.

I'm so excited that I'm afraid to think straight.

But I have a confession to make:

I have never written on a WIKI. I don't know how.

I know. That's hard to believe.

I have stayed away from them on purpose because I knew that the minute I jumped into the wonderful world of WIKI, I would never come out.

Gonzo Engaged, way back in 2001, would have been born on a WIKI if WIKI had been WIKI back then. We barely had team blogging, so we did our best.

But the idea of a hierarchically flat, fluid, idea-evolving tablet for our good thinking and writing blew my mind when I first heard about WIKIs.

I ran far away fearing I'd disappear inside of them for a year.

But it appears I will be learning because I want to help with IT Kitchen, and because it's time to step through the door to WIKI.

If you don't see me for a week, send a search party.

Da Momma Blog...

Da Momma Blog - Already worth the price of admission for Blog Explosion.

The sun is setting the wind is chilling. The grey is spreading. It's getting harder to see the road. Zaman hits a small bump that puts air between my butt and the seat. I ride sidesaddle in true Pakistani fashion for women, so it's a bit of a jolt. I ride watching the traffic till my mind starts blogging again.

Dysentery Blogsmosis

So, you've heard about this "Blog Explosion" thing? What I don't like: Blathering on abotu "traffic" and the categorization of blogs which by their very nature are often many things at once. Thank goodness.

What I do like: Since categorization is inevitible, I do like being able to pick my own classification. Add more please.

If anyone knows what category I should be in, please let me know. I picked "Internet".

What the heck. Reminds me of something RB was talking about like four years ago.

Why I Had to Wait to Post Until the Debates Were Over

Because if I started to write about them in detail, I was quite certain my head would explode.

I came close to seizing when I could find no one, not even Kerry, questioning Bush's take on his faith when he roped the Almighty into his plot to take over the world (ooops--I mean "spread freedom").

The leader of the free world admited in a public forum that he truly believes the Almighty wants him to bring democracy to all the world (through war when that's the most expedient way) and no one is outraged?

AKMA? Anyone?

Well, I shouldn't say no one. The Christian Science Monitor did. They touched on it saying:

"One very interesting moment was the question about religion. Bush is often quite eloquent on this subject - and he was again Wednesday night, talking in simple language about how he prays. But he also edged into territory that might make some Americans uncomfortable - linking his religion explicitly to his foreign policy, saying he believes God wants everyone to be free. I thought another good moment was the question at the end..."

Might make "some" Americans uncomfortable?


I thought another good moment?

Might make every human outside of the U.S. uncomfortable, how about.

Look, I consider myself a Christian and I nearly fell off the bed.

Okay, that's the end of my debate blogging.

My favorite candidate is Elizabeth Edwards.

I lose.

The Three Javelinas

Ironic, isn't it, that my next post comes a half hour before we go watch Jenna's performance as the narrator in her class play, the Three Little Javelinas? In case you didn't know, like me, javelina is the name of some fairly unattractive desert pig. In this case, he his one of three little heros in the javelina adaptation of The Three Little Pigs.

Pigs. Can't live with 'em, Can't shoo... Oh wait. You can live with em if you're my backyard neighbor!

He's fashioned a leanto for pig, I guess for the coming winter months. I know I have to call code enforcement. But it's been so darn busy around here.

Allow me to update you.

First, the toxic mold school Jenna has attended will be returning to their half-assedly remediated building next week, but Jenna won't. We're switching schools on the advice of her doctors. Here health has been much much better these last three weeks.

Except, of course, for her broken arm. Yes. There's that. She broke her radius jumping on a trampoline at her little friend's house. I got the call about 6 last thursday. "They had a great time. One thing though--she seems okay but she hurt her wrist on the trampoline..."

When I picked her up, she didn't seem that bad off. I still hear my words: "Jenna, you're fine. Really. We don't break bones in this family."

Neither George nor I ever broke a bone so I figured she was immune to such nonsense. How many horses had I fallen off? How many bikes up trees?

So didn't I feel like Bad Mom when I took her to the doctor 24 hours later because it was still bothering her.

Good news, not bad at all. A buckle fracture. She has a beautiful pink cast that all her friends are signing. Now she'll have two schools worth of signatures.

Our poor little sweetie. Turning 7's been rough.

There's more to update you on--but we're off to watch that age-old classic, the Three Little Javelinas now.

Be well.