by baldilocks

Miamians "mourn" the death of Castro. Palm Beach Post
Miami responds to the news of Castro’s death. Palm Beach Post

Below Florida, that is. Michael Totten documents his visit to Castro’s Cuba:

I had to lie to get into the country. Customs and immigration officials at Havana’s tiny, dreary José Martí International Airport would have evicted me had they known I was a journalist. But not even a total-surveillance police state can keep track of everything and everyone all the time, so I slipped through. It felt like a victory. Havana, the capital, is clean and safe, but there’s nothing to buy. It feels less natural and organic than any city I’ve ever visited. Initially, I found Havana pleasant, partly because I wasn’t supposed to be there and partly because I felt as though I had journeyed backward in time. But the city wasn’t pleasant for long, and it certainly isn’t pleasant for the people living there. It hasn’t been so for decades.

Outside its small tourist sector, the rest of the city looks as though it suffered a catastrophe on the scale of Hurricane Katrina or the Indonesian tsunami. Roofs have collapsed. Walls are splitting apart. Window glass is missing. Paint has long vanished. It’s eerily dark at night, almost entirely free of automobile traffic. I walked for miles through an enormous swath of destruction without seeing a single tourist. Most foreigners don’t know that this other Havana exists, though it makes up most of the city—tourist buses avoid it, as do taxis arriving from the airport. It is filled with people struggling to eke out a life in the ruins.

It’s one of those “read the whole thing” kind of essays and now I feel whiny for complaining about my landlords.

After I finished Michael’s superlative travelogue, I got down on my knees and thanked God for the United States of America. Descriptions of totalitarian feces holes, especially one so near, tend to remind this first-generation American of her blessings.

Also, don’t forget this.

One more thing: pray for the people in Tennessee.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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baldilocks

When you think of higher education, you think of someone who is enlightened. That doesn’t mean someone looking through the world with tunnel vision so that everything but a narrow path to light is blocked off. Higher education leads students forward into a world where there are people of all races, all creeds, all nationalities, all ages and all political backgrounds. When studying for a higher education leadership degree, such as the one you can find here, you will learn how to be objective so that you can be a truly effective leader.

Personal Ideologies Have Infiltrated Our Classrooms for Far Too Long

Unfortunately, this is where so many universities have dropped the ball. For too long they have allowed professors to spout their own personal ideology which influences students to act and believe a certain way. Perhaps an online EDD program would be a better choice when it comes to seeking a doctorate in education because a student’s parameters of understanding will be defined by what they perceive to be true, not an articulation of what they have been taught in class.

What an Advanced Degree in Higher Education Should Be

As students studying in an online doctor of education in higher education leadership program, they should come out with tools to make them true leaders. Leaders don’t dictate what their teams should or shouldn’t do, but a truly great leader will empower their team to think for themselves. True, there is a core curriculum which must be studied but that doesn’t mean that students must think and act alike. It would be a boring world if this were the case. It would be a world of robots simply acting on command rather than through human responses based on how they, personally, feel about something.

What Higher Education Should Never Be – But Is!

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a student should never be a simple receptacle for knowledge a teacher deposits there. The student should be empowered to do his or her own critical thinking. Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator, calls this ‘banking education.’ It’s like making a deposit in a bank where you can draw out assets as they are needed. Isn’t this much like what the United States is seeing in the early post-election days? Many professors with their left wing liberal politics have deposited fear and hate directed towards the right and now that a Democrat didn’t win, that hate is being withdrawn from the depository (student) and is now being circulated among the masses.

Approach from Front and Center – Never from the Right or the Left

This is what higher education should never be. Whether from the right or the left in a political, religious or sociological issue, a student in higher education should be encouraged to think and act for themselves. That is what higher education should be but usually isn’t. Higher education should never be about programming our students but rather offering them the critical thinking tools necessary for them to draw their own conclusion.

Your student isn’t a bank where you can deposit all of your biases to be drawn out at such times as to suit your purposes. Plant seeds yes, but let your students devise the fertilizer of their choosing. That’s higher education and anything less is doing them a grave injustice. Read this question on Quora.com and you will see that students, themselves, are tired of biased education. It’s time for a change.

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Amid talk of vouchers and charter schools, the Trump administration should consider significant tax breaks for homeschoolers.

The reasons for homeschooling vary. Some parents want to emphasize a religious education for their children. Others want to avoid the left-leaning indoctrination of public schools. Still others face inadequate or unsafe schools.

According to the National Home Education Research Institute, more than two million students in K-12 are schooled at home. One study found that more than 30 percent of these students are Black, Hispanic or Asian. Moreover, the students and their parents save taxpayers more than $20 billion a year based on an estimated cost of more than $11,000 a year per child for a public school education.

But homeschoolers receive no significant tax breaks for teaching their children.

Homeschools in most states cannot be run as a business or even as a non-profit as parents cannot charge their children for their education. Moreover, homeschoolers cannot deduct donations to their own school. Also, the IRS usually does not allow homeschooling to be considered a hobby, which could reap some limited tax benefits.

Here are some possibilities to make homeschooling more affordable:

–Allow tax breaks for tuition and books purchased from homeschooling businesses.

–Provide deductions for individuals who are the primary teacher.

–Give tax incentives for tutoring in specific subjects, such as math, science and technology.

–Provide a mechanism to receive a reduction in local property taxes, which often are paid to local schools, for individuals who homeschool.

“Open the schoolhouse doors and let parents choose the best school for their children,” Donald Trump says. “Education reformers call this school choice, charter schools, vouchers, even opportunity scholarships. I call it competition-the American way.”

That competition should include incentives and benefits for homeschoolers and their children to allow them to choose an option other than charters and vouchers.


Christopher Harper is a recovering journalist who worked for The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times and teaches media law.

edwards-money pj mediaFor years whenever conservatives referred to the Clinton Foundation as a money mill we were derided by both Clinton’s defenders and the press that assured us that regardless of the number of flights, five star hotels, expensive meals and booze that the Clinton Foundation covered for Bill, Hillary & Company, it was all about good works and that’s all there is too it.

That being the case I find this news from Australia rather odd:

AUSTRALIA has finally ceased pouring millions of dollars into accounts linked to Hillary Clinton’s charities.

What that can’t be right

The federal government confirmed to news.com.au it has not renewed any of its partnerships with the scandal-plagued Clinton Foundation, effectively ending 10 years of taxpayer-funded contributions worth more than $88 million.

But this doesn’t make any sense. We were assured that the Clinton Foundation was doing good works all over the world, are we to believe that the good works that Australia believed was worth an 88 Million dollar investment just ceased or that Australia has decided that their works are good enough any more?

Why anyone would think that the contributions from Australia over the last 10 years were all about currying favor with a Sitting Senator, Sitting Secretary of State, Democrat Nominee and expected president rather than helping others.

Anyone want to bet me a five spot that the Australians won’t be the last big donor to decide to without the greens that the Clinton cash Cow lived on for years?

Update: That didn’t take long:

As the Norwegian newspaper Hegnar points out, Norway is expected to slash their contributions to the Clinton Foundation by 87% now that Hillary has lost the presidency. After contributing roughly $5mm per year to the Clinton Foundation between 2007 – 2013, the Norwegian government decided to boost their donations to ~$15mm and ~$21mm in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Ironically, that boost in contributions corresponded with Hillary’s decision to run for President in 2016…but we’re sure it’s just a coincidence. That said, it is fairly interesting that, since Hillary’s loss, Norway has decided to scale back their contributions by 87% in 2017…hmmm.

I guess that’s better than Australia which went to zero but I’m wondering what Norway’s explanation is? Does the Clinton Foundation do 87% less good than it did before?