Showing posts from January, 2019

Review: Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It

Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It by Richard V. Reeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reeves addresses something that I've seen for a while but had trouble naming. He shows in many ways how the upper-middle class is essentially pulling up the ladder of opportunity in our culture just as much as the elites are in the ways they make personal choices--often canceling out or undermining the opportunities that they were afforded to get to their current economic status. Reeve explores how the tearing down of policies within education, finance, and public policy had been stalwarts to help grow the upper middle class, but that such policies are often being replaced with policy that benefits the upper-middle class in lieu of lower classes. Some of those policies include tax benefits around home-ownership, capital gains, college education, and the like. Reeves contends that every time there is an a…

Day 1, Semester 9: The Final Friday Countdown

Here we are.  Our 9th semester with some 16 courses completed (48 credits) and we arrive for the first of our Fridays for the final cohort course.  There are some more courses after this--a few more electives, but this begins the final countdown of Friday courses and you can bet your damn ass that I'm counting down every one of them!

The nervousness of the QP has mostly passed; though I'm concerned about the amount of revisions I need to do.  Once I get past that, then deadlines are self-selected and at least a year off--that being the dissertation proposal.    

I get to class and settled in so that I can set up Zoom for a cohort member that can't physically join us.  As our cohort trickles in, we exchange hugs of congratulations and support.  We get settled in and start the final cohort class.  It's somewhat fitting that we are ending with one of the same instructors that we started with our first June session.   We get to work unpacking our experiences with the QP and …

Review: Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education

Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education by Noliwe Rooks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book, in many ways, does the critical work for K-12 education that Michelle Alexander does for the criminal justice system. Rooks traces the history of "school choice" to its origins in the rise of segregation and shows how the United States has a consistent history of taking public dollars away from educational spaces where marginalized folks could benefit to spend on public schools of white students or in the case of school-choice, into the pockets of private entities. Some of her best work is illustrating the depths to which African Americans were denied public education throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, to the point that despite often having little wealth, African American communities would be the economic base to fund the creation of schools. In that way, Rooks' work reminds the reader of the long history of investment and determination in …

Oh Damn! It Got Accepted

I had just got to work and unpacked my stuff.  I opened my computer and saw that on my own email there happened to be a message from the program chair.  I feel an immediate pit in my stomach.  I take out my headphones and stop my audiobook.  I look around and because I am "he who arrives with the dawn" at work, there is no one else around.  I take a deep breath and click on the email.  There's that pit in the stomach as I see the email from the program chair.  No information given in the email besides the feedback is attached and I should talk to my advisor.   Honestly, this is all the email says:

What the hell is that?  My mind races to its ambiguity and it makes me wonder.  Do I need to talk to my advisor because I'm in trouble?  My QP was evaluated but that sounds ominous without further indication.  "Hope you are well!"  Do I need to be well?  Just what the hell am I about to open?    So, I click the attached document and take a deep breath.

I let my brea…

Review: Edenborn

Edenborn by Nick Sagan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note: This review was originally written in the early 2000s and published for a no longer running website: AudiobookCafe. This review is focused on both the book and audiobook. Sequels can be downright tricky, but Nick Sagan rises to the occasion with his sequel “Edenborn.” Transpiring some eighteen years after the events of “idlewild,” this audiobook manages to enhance the plot and give on a better appreciation of its predecessor.

Prior to the destruction of humankind from the plague, “Black Ep,” geneticists managed to create a human species that were not susceptible to the disease but would grow up in a desolate world. As they came of age, these children clones were released from a virtual world into reality to rebuild Earth.

Each child dealt with it differently. Halloween, the hero of “idlewild” chose a life of solitary and banned anyone from bothering him. Champagne and Vashti live in Germany creating “waterbabies”—genetically altered and…

Review: The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data

The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data by Kevin D. Mitnick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Want to find out just how easily your life can go down the drain as a result of digital espionage? Well, just open this book and get punched in the face a few hundred times. Ok, that might be a bit much, but Mitnick is relentless in showing all the ways in which your personal information can be compromised. He delves into the technical matters that may be well above the common reader. But he does take efforts to explain the technical issues with useful analogies and simple explanations. So the book is useful and informative for giving readers a sense of how easily compromised they can be, every time they use digitial devices of all sorts. However, in his attempt to show ways of addressing the problems he identifies, it becomes quickly overwhelming as he talks about owning numerous devices and computers with different ru…

The Qualifying Paper: Learning By Doing

Since hindsight is 20/20, I figured I'd lay out some advice on things to think about as you're rounding you're going into your third year and starting the qualifying paper process.  Things that I wish I realized and leanedmore on or used to better effect when I was going through the qualifying paper process.

Figure out your approachThe first is just recognizing and learning about myself that I am definitely Camp Accordion.  What is  Camp Accordion, you ask?  Why, yes I'm happy to explain!  A cohort member invoked a quote (she didn't recall it exactly but I was familiar with it) to which the basic premise is that the shorter something needs to be, the longer amount of time I need.  The full concept of the quote is explained here.  This is especially true for my writing.  I can write, sure, but it takes time to write concisely and the Qualifying Paper needs to be concise.  With this in mind, I realized that I need to say ALL THE THINGS before I can really figure out w…

2019 Reading Challenge - Who's With Me?

Obviously, I like to read and I tend to read a lot and I write a lot about what I read.  In fact, if you're reading this blog, I'm going to guess you already know this and appreciate that (some have commented that they look to this blog for reading recommendations), you are a fellow reader who enjoys seeing what I come up with here, or you're someone I know who is mildly entertained by how much I talk about books.  And I've discussed how I come across books in a previous post but I haven't really talked about deciding upon what books to read.  Mostly because it hasn't been a conscious strategy in so much as a grab-what's-in-front-of-me kind of strategy.

But since it's the new year and I've been thinking about my new reading goal, I realized I had an opportunity to do something different this year with my reading.  I've been thinking about what I read and why and the different gaps it fills or inspiration I encounter.  It's all great but I won…

December's Bookshelf

And we close out the year with another great selection of readings that I'm hoping some of you will get the opportunity to read.  I'll be doing a 2018 year in books post shortly so I won't go much into the "year-end" retrospective, but I certainly did end with a mad flurry of reading, once my semester ended (Between December 19th and December 31, I read/listened to 12 books).  So let's take a look at the ones that grabbed my fancy enough to talk about.  
Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism by Derrick A. Bell
Bell uses allegoric storytelling to explore the legal, cultural, and philosophical racial underpinnings of American white culture and its impact on black identity and methods of surviving in this hostile racialize structure. His approach in many ways reminds me of the philosophical dialogues that we see in the works of Plato and the like. They are sometimes clear and simple settings and other times fantastical, but with each, the story…