Alternative Paths

Last night, I went to a presentation at school for parents about post high school plans that aren’t necessarily four-year colleges. It was a packed room. The speakers hadn’t expected so many people and had to run out to make more hand-outs for the parents.

Like most middle class parents, I know how to get my kid on the right road to middle class, if not upper middle class, life. I know what colleges are the best. I know how to help a kid construct an amusing, thoughtful college essay. I know how many times a kid should take the SATs to get the best score. I know which majors are best to choose at these schools that funnel kids into careers that will provide them with the means to afford a comfortable lifestyle.

I have no idea what kids, who can’t handle college, should do. What’s the difference between a vocational school and a community college? What careers are possible? Do any of these careers lead to a real job with benefits? How successful are vocational college in preparing kids for jobs that still exist today?

I’m embarrassed to say that I know very few people who did not attend a four-year college. I have no role models. There seems to be very few books on the topic.

While Ian is very gifted at music and computers, a liberal arts college would make him miserable. He would hate campus life. He would hate classwork that was outside his strengths. He would hate the lack of structure. He just wants to sit in front of a computer or a keyboard for fifteen hours a day and just do his stuff.

So, I’m figuring it out and relying, as always, on MY strengths, which are research and networking. I’m actually having a lot of fun, because it’s terra incognita. Exploration is exciting.

That packed room of parents was fascinating. I wonder if there is growing acceptance in parents like myself to look beyond college for options for their kids. I wonder if they are hearing stories about kids who are forced to go to college, because everybody does it, but then end up back in the parents’ house after a year of F’s. Lots of food for thought.


SL 738

“I Was a Promiscuous Teen.

The racial divide in Charlottesville.

I’m following the Asian-American/Harvard discrimination case. “White applicants tend to receive better letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselors than do Asian-American applicants.” But if colleges know this, why don’t they compensate for this problem in the admissions process?

Are you making sheet-pan meals? I am. I made chicken thighs and acorn squash last week and it was awesome.

What’s Going to Happen with White, Suburban Women in the Midterm Elections?

Will white suburban women, angered over the Kavanaugh confirmation, vote with the Democrats this November? Nate Silver has been talking about it. It was a subject of the podcast, The Daily, this week. Dan Drezner wrote about it. Well, this blogger is about as white and suburban and female as it comes, so how about I answer this question?

So, I was completely engrossed in the drama around the Kavanaugh hearing. CNN was on all day long. I was on twitter all day long. And so were all my writer/academic/political friends. Typically, I tweet sparingly and get about 50K impressions per month. In that two-week period, I got over 500K impressions.

During the hearings, I would periodically put my hair up in a messy ponytail and leave the house. I would turn to a local friend and say “CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT’S GOING ON?!!!” and she would be like, “what are you talking about? Let’s talk about the kids’ prom.” Seriously, this made very little dent outside the world of super crazy political people like myself.

And among the handful of local friends who were engaged in the discussion, there were some who were very upset at Kavanaugh and were sure that he was a drunken rapist. And there were some that looked at Christine Ford and thought she was batshit crazy. Seriously. Some made that determination because she has “the skin of an alcoholic”, as one said; others were a couple degrees away from her former high school friends and heard stories.

Sexual assault was a common topic. Pretty much everyone I spoke with said that they had been assaulted when they were in their 20s. These assaults, they said, weren’t nearly-raped-level of assault; it was exposure, grabbing without consent, kissing without consent, gross comments, and minor fooling around when totally loaded and impossible to give consent. Even the Kavanaugh supporters said that this happened to them constantly when they were young and that they were worried about their daughters and nieces, but they also said that they got over those assaults really quickly. It was just a way of life back then, and it certainly didn’t cause anyone to put two front doors on their house. Way worse things happened to them as they got older, like the death of a parent and cancer.

This morning, as I was watching the Today Show and waiting for Ian’s school bus, the ads for local elections were all about taxes. The only reference to women and #MeToo in those came from the Republican opponent to Senator Bob Menendez, because he has a hooker and corruption problem. Sigh. I’m still voting for him anyway, but I’m not happy about it.

I’m not sure that many people are going to switch parties, because of Kavanaugh and other accumulated issues. It might increase voting turnout, but it will even out. Democrats and Republicans were equally fired up over the hearings. Sorry, it’s a bummer of a prediction, but there it is.

Warren in Our Archives

We’re talked a lot about Elizabeth Warren over the years. Here are some links from the archives:



Elizabeth Warren’s Roots

Since a spontaneous discussion has sprung up about Elizabeth Warren’s announcement that she’s part Cherokee, I thought I would give the discussion its own post.

Steve’s the genealogist in our family. My family really quickly goes back to Ireland and Italy. Between shabby record keeping, small villages where everybody has the same last name, and foreign language issues, I very quickly got a dead-end on my research. Steve  has family on both sides that goes back before the Revolutionary War, so he has easier access to records. He’s probably related to some of you.

Now, let’s talk about Warren. So, her announcement is surely a sign that she’s going to run in 2020. One of my friends on Facebook linked to an article with a headline, “Warren is 1% Cherokee, and 100% Running for President in 2020.” I think she hoped to galvanize the left behind her, as she attacked Trump for his Pocahontas comments, but I’m seeing a lot of “meh” on Twitter. I think it was a misstep.

Alright, let’s talk genealogy. Who has mapped out their families? Any famous relatives? Anybody do the DNA kits? Those kits are apparently a sham, but I got one for Steve for his birthday. My Italian aunt did it and it said that she was 99 percent Italian with 1 percent Eastern European. Steve said that there were supposedly Trojans that when to Italy after the Trojan War, so that might be true.



Well, I’m back. Sort of. I took a little time off from blogging, because we were in the midst of a national meltdown, and I was fearful that one of our little debates was going to get misused by someone with an ax to grind.

I’ve turned back to education policy, which has all of the sudden gotten very crowded with new writers. Good for schools, bad for me. I have about seven different topics that I’m working on right now, but nothing solid yet, which is making me feel very unsettled. After I lock down my next article, I’ll be back.

Our Political Circus

Yesterday, I spent ten hours sitting on a sofa in the family room watching the entire Senate confirmation hearing with Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. It will rank up there with other momentous political and social events that have happened in my life – the space shuttle destruction, 9/11, the election of Donald Trump. It was traumatic and horrific and personally scarring.

It should have never happened like that. That inquiry should have happened behind closed doors and been buttressed by an independent investigation. Instead, two individuals, and their families, were publicly destroyed and humiliated.

And everybody has their own experiences that sway their interpretation of events. As a woman who grew up in the 1980s, I had bad experiences with the popular, sporty boys, as well as my own stories of beer filled parties. And a guy tweeted me his own story about how he was falsely accused of a crime when he was in college. Also, I’ve talked with a lot of women who aren’t sympathetic with Blasey Ford. They tell me that guys did this stuff all the time back then and it never stuck with them.

But those experiences cannot sway our interpretation of events.  Everybody has their own stories, and it’s coloring our views of events, which is why none of us should have been involved.

There’s a lot at stake beyond these people. There’s the flagging public trust in our institutions. There’s the ability of a government to function effectively separately from partisanship. There’s the hope — a slim hope admittedly — that the justices of our supreme court can make decisions based on an impartiality examination of the constitution, wisdom, and compassion. All that was trashed along with the reputations of the individuals at the center of this circus.

We could have done better. We should have done better.

And this isn’t over. Republicans are now galvanized behind Lindsay Graham and will show up to vote in November, when they were, maybe, going to stay home. And the Democrats are going to never be quiet about Kavanaugh’s questionable past. When they win in 2020, they will vote to increase the number of justices on the court. Instead, they should put term limits on the justices. This lifetime appointment thing should be over.

This was terrible.

That said, I think that Kavanaugh should step down. It’s impossible to believe that he will be an impartial judge after this experience.