Crafty Blogs

340x_flowers-mason Yesterday, lmc sent me to an article on Jezebel about crafty blogs. The author describes her surprise at finding this section of the blogosphere. It's funny, because I stumbled upon that section of the blogosphere randomly a few months ago. Click. Click. Click. And suddenly I fell down Alice's hole to another world. I usually tromp around in the political and academic blogosphere with occasional forays into the mommyblogs. But there are huge communities of other blogs out there.

The blogger at Jezebel wonders if these websites are the new Martha Stewarts. They use their blogs to hype a certain lifestyle, but they are just a little too perfect.

Whatever. They're super pretty, and I'm sucker for the whole vintage, bohemian vibe. Some places that I found through the Jezebel post: The snail and the cyclops. Oooh, I just love Jadite. I have to take some pictures of my collection. Blushing Ambition Much Love Just Something I Made

Related: Women and Work, Chicks with Chicks, Spreadin' Love, Spreadin' Love

The Left and the Right in the Blogosphere

A new study by Benkler, Shaw, and Stodden finds that there are big differences in how the left and the right blogosphere. The Nation has a long article about the study and provides a .PDF of the study.  Previous studies found that conservative blogs were slightly more likely to link to blogs of the opposite political persuasion than liberal blogs. In contrast, these authors found that liberal blogs had bigger discussion sections, were more likely to mobilize their readers, and had higher tech websites.

Sites on the left adopt more participatory technical platforms; are
comprised of significantly fewer sole-authored sites; include user
blogs; maintain more fluid boundaries between secondary and primary
content; include longer narrative and discussion posts; and (among the
top half of the blogs in our sample) more often use blogs as platforms
for mobilization as well as discursive production.

Several years ago, my colleague, Antoinette Pole, and I did a study of political bloggers, which resulted in somewhat different findings. (Download McKennaPole) We surveyed a sample of 141 randomly chosen political blogs about their political ideology and their blogging practices.

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Spreadin’ Love 435

Kate Harding rants about Peter Beinart's call to put a mom on the Supreme Court.

Jillian Michaels, the trainer from The Biggest Loser, pissed off everyone by saying that she didn't want to wreck her body with pregnancy and that she wanted to adopt in order to rescue a kid. I can't believe that I just posted links to this. I so honestly don't give a shit what Jillian Michaels says, but it just keeps showing up in my Google Reader. Boobquake? Also, a hot topic. Also, don't give a shit.

Let's see if I find something link-worthy later today. I'm walking away from the crap storm that is the Internet.

Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit

Beans, beans, the magical fruit

The more you eat, the more you toot

The better you toot, the better you feel

So, let's eat beans for every meal!

My very mature daddy taught us that poem many years ago.

I've been cooking a lot with beans lately. I've been experimenting with bean soups and cold bean salads. The kids don't really eat them, but it's a great thing to have in the fridge for a no-brainer lunch or for my dinner. I'll feed the kids something cheesy and pasta-y, and then have some Brazilian black bean soup for myself. 

I've also been perfecting my lentil soup. I just typed up the recipe for a friend who started a foodie blog, but I thought I would share here, too.

Recipe below the fold:

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The Power of Fox News and Palin

Last Saturday was just beautiful. Sunny, warm, and with the promise of rain on Sunday, everybody on my block was out doing chores. Steve mowed the lawn. I directed where I wanted the new shrubs stuck in the ground. For a while, I scraped paint on the front porch and picked away at the rotting wood to assess the damage. (Looks like we need a new floor for the porch. Ugh. House = Money Pit.)

While I scraped, I watched Old Bill pound his front steps with a sledge hammer. Others came to watch him, but kept a respectful distance. Men don't interfere with another man's projects.

Sal: Whatcha doing there, Bill?

Old Bill: I got a quote on putting in new front steps and the guy wanted 2,000 bucks for it. I figure that I can do it myself.

Hank: You're going to do this on your own, Bill? You're going to end up hurting yourself.

Crazy Sue: That's what I told him, Hank. We're not poor. Get the guy to do it, Bill!

Sal: Yeah, you're going to end up in the hospital and with Obama Care. They're going to end up killing you.

There was much grumbling about Obama Care and death panels. Three of the four people grouped around the stairs were either on Veterans Insurance or Medicare. They already benefited from socialized medicine.

Now, I don't have any problem with a reasoned discussion about health care, but "death panels" don't qualify as reasoned discussion. It's sad that the lowest and dumbest conservative arguments have made the biggest impact on the public.

Some, like David Brooks, has argued that Palin and Fox News aren't going anywhere. They are the cream puffs of the conservative movement and don't have a chance to make any real changes.

Others are much more frightened of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. Andrew Sullivan writes another long rant about her. I was fascinated to learn that most Tea Party supporters got all their news from Fox News. John Quiggan despairs about having a reasoned discussion with the anti-intellectualism strand of the conservative movement.

Beating the Odds

26test_CA0-articleLarge After reading tons of articles and reports about the successes in charter schools, I was pleased to read about a regular public school in a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn that seems to be beating the odds.

A good friend of mine recently left her Wall Street job to teach math in a charter school in Newark. She's working her butt off. It's a seven day per week job. She's fueled by the commitment of the newly initiated and a devoted stay at home husband. There's no question that her school is making a difference in a poor neighborhood, but I always worry that her school could never be replicated beyond the walls of her school. It's not easy to find people who are willing to work eighty hours a week for teacher pay and with the zealotry of crusader.

The New York Times points to a school in Brooklyn that is making a difference within the bounds of a normal public school. Despite high poverty levels and high rates of learning disabilities, the kids are out performing middle class kids in nearby schools.

What is it doing differently? Well, reading between the lines in the article, the school benefits from having a smart principal who has a consistent philosophy about education. The kids are drilled on taking standardized tests. The teachers identify problems quickly and offer after school help. The got rid of ESL classes and immediately plopped non-English speakers in regular classrooms. 

These "best practices" could be replicated everywhere.