Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at my Alma Mater

I wish I could have seen Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinajad at one of my Alma Maters last week, Columbia. President Bollinger introduced him, but in a way harsher than I thought fair for A. A world leader, B. An invited guest, and C. A controversial speaker who may have alienated himself from the audience but after such a straw-man set-up, looked pretty decent in comparison. Free speech is the very reason I blog here, and I think that the president’s confrontational introduction of the other president helped to reinforce the very self-righteousness that the Iranians commonly accuse Americans. Forget about some of the strange (and incorrect) claims that the Iranian president offered (can there really have not been a Jewish Holocaust in the 20th Century, or can there really not be a single homosexual in Iran right now?), I am just thinking here about the freedom of speech and the politeness that should be shown to an invited guest and (like him or not) a world leader who may have nuclear weapons.You be the judge:

For the videos of President Ahmadinejad himself, they can be found here.


Experimental cyber attack destroyed a generator

I read this story on CNN and it really made me pause and think about how vast the world of possible terrorist targets really is. In a nutshell:

Researchers who launched an experimental cyber attack caused a generator to self-destruct, alarming the federal government and electrical industry about what might happen if such an attack were carried out on a larger scale, CNN has learned.

I suppose it is better to learn this in a test so we know what our vulnerabilities are. Suffice it to say, that I wonder the value of knowing the vulnerabilities if there are neither plans nor funding to fix them?


Engagement vs. PowerPoint

We finished our presentation at the NYSNA, and the same responses we received from the original work were the same ones our presentation attendees appeared to have:

People learn best when they are engaged and work in groups


People are most distanced when they are lectured at and overwhelmed with PowerPoint slides

Strange  how that is a lesson so many educators are afraid to believe and try. I suppose lecturing is much safer, since everything goes as prepared; everything except learning, that is.


Integrating critical thinking and EBP

I am co-presenting a session at the New York State Nurses’ Association convention in Atlantic City today entitled Integrating Critical Thinking and EBP into Novice Nurse Practice.

I am passionate about critical thinking (thank you, Stephen Brookfield), and with my colleague Rona Levin, we are speaking about some of the work we have done where we bring critical thinking and evidence-based practice together. We have some really interesting things to discuss and share, and I am looking forward to any insights we get from the audience.


Six Arkansas nuns excommunicated for heresy

I read this article in CNN yesterday about six nuns who were excommunicated, which in Catholicism means they are no longer able to officially receive the sacraments and have been declared to be so far outside of Catholic teachings and beliefs that they have separated themselves from the faith (even though the process of excommunication means the Vatican or church officials formally throw them out). 

Ready to read about nuns who run guns to fight against oppressive regimes or nuns who lie down in front of meetings of bishops to confront them about the inability of women to be ordained, I was not ready to read about nuns who believe Mary, the mother of Jesus, speaks through one of them (and may in fact be Mary’s reincarnation).

Ahh, the wonders of organized religion never cease. This is a breadth of fresh air compaired to homosexuality, abortion, masturbation, divorce, and other Catholic no-no’s.


Where does the time go?

Amazing how fast time moves, even when we are not having fun. I realized I have not posted here for several days, not because I have been traveling or away, but because time just seems to fly by. Really fast.

It feels like yesterday I attended Simon and Cornel’s discussion, and while I brought my laptop with me to the event and liveblogged it, I could not connect to the wireless network so still have the entries in my laptop. It will be forthcoming.

I have a lot to talk and write and post about, and now I have to turn my attention to carving out the time to do it.


Cornel West #3

He said it is so rare for him to engage in dialogue, where somebody in the academy has a good tempure. Simon is a white, blues brother.

“What I bring to this dialogue is my baggage.” This is like a blues man in the life of the mind. Blues is catasrophe in the mind. Horrendous.

Wow, Cornel is engaging. The vocal changes. Preacher-esque. Very many references to literature. Kafka.

Little of philosophy of death in philosophy.

COurage to htink for oneself. We would rather evade this, and keep and domesticate the catastrophic. This is how we motivate ourselves in the light of our desires.  

I am having trouble typing, as he is melodioiusly carrying me through his message. But, his message is strong.

He comes from a history of African people who restle with social death, and the psychic death that comes from white fear and hatred, and the real jim Crow death, and spiritual death of nihilism. Blues and Jazz men and women use their craft

Think of the corpses of John Donne, as they wait for us.

He said that Simon is a metathinker, interested in metaphilosophy. What is philosophy. What is the role of philosophy. What is politics?

Failed transcendence. Obsessed with the german idealistic school. Wrestling with a pessimism. There is something positive about the quest, but there will never be closure.

“My brother, Simon.” Interesting refrain he keeps making.

Little about the enslavement of workers. Capitalism is so powerful that workers did not begin to organize until 100 years after Argentina, which is hardly known as being a steller example of social justice.

Cornel is like CHekhov, he does not have a Romantic trace, in him at all.

When dealing with the catastrophic in the everyday life, it is like a tragic comic, a steady ache of the tragic in our lives. Simon begins with a Romantic, and ends with disappointment. Cornel did not start as a ROmantic. From the very beginning, he does not have disappintment, as he never expected anything.

So, does philosophy begin with disappointment? It does if it begins with Romanticism. Think about the disappointment of Beckett, try again and fail again and try better.

Cornel is full of righteous indignation. He is here to help to promote Simon’s new book (which is why this is sponsored or at least has the presence of Verso books).

Get out of one’s narcissistic ego, and then move on. Self love is empowering and liberating. Marvin said Jesus is love. James Baldwin. Morrison and Beloved. None of them is an Americanized love, which is Holleywood, Romantic love. Thus, African American relate to the love of the Hebrews in the Old Testament. This love helps keep America alive, where American terrorism has 400 years of history for American blacks. 9/11 has a long history with Americans of African descent.

The role of what philosophy can contribute. He would join the army to fight the Nazis, but not sure about if he would join the early Americans at the time of the Revolution, as that would be hypocritical for African Americans. He hates imperialism.

He is a deep Democrat, which means he can pull from a number of traditions in order to understand it.

Really engaging, pulling references almost out of a hat, or rather a deep well of experience and education and reading and feeling. Not Romantic, of course. Can’t leave the two parties, as these are the only places to bring change. Find some nooks and crannies to find a home in them.

It is impossible to tell the story of white supremacy without getting crushed.

Keep fighting for deep Democarcy.

He finished. What a past 70 minutes between the two of them.

Time to turn off and stand up.