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Mapping a Restless River at the U.S.-Mexico Border - CityLab
"In El Paso, we call it the Rio Grande; our neighbors in Juárez know it as Río Bravo. It’s supposed to be a national border, but the river had its own ideas."
maps  mapping  border  borders  us  mexico  texas  immigration  change  naturalhistory  riogrande  ríobravo 
yesterday by robertogreco
The Fight Over Football’s Future Is Now a Battle for California’s Soul - The Ringer
"So what will happen next? It’s possible that flag football will eventually displace tackle football among youth, and the numbers will go back up as we come to terms with the risks involved for those in high school and beyond; in fact, the case for youth flag football is increasingly being made by coaches and NFL veterans like John Madden and Drew Brees, who has said he won’t allow his own children to play tackle football until middle school. But without knowing how science might advance, or whether equipment might evolve, it’s also possible to imagine football becoming an increasingly regional sport that’s centered even more in the Southeast and is slowly de-emphasized on the West Coast. Within the past three years, Georgia has nearly overtaken California as the third-largest college football recruiting state in the country.

It’s easy to imagine football being played primarily by wealthy private schools or well-subsidized public schools that can afford to invest in the most expensive safety measures (and weather the changes in the insurance market), or by athletes from underprivileged communities who are seeking a way out. A school like Lowell, for instance, doesn’t need football to survive.

On the practice field, Danny Chan tells me that one of his best players sat out most of the year while in concussion protocol, citing this as proof that things aren’t the same as they used to be when all those 1960s and ’70s-era NFL players—whose brains wound up at Boston University—were in their prime. When that parent of his star running back pulled her child from football in 2017, Chan questioned why she didn’t lobby the city’s public schools to ban the sport altogether. Or do you only care about your own kid? he asked her.

This is the crux of the philosophical disagreement, one that bleeds into our modern political debate about paternalistic government overreach and the perceived existence of the “nanny state.” During my conversation with Archie, she points to car seats for children as an example of how our safety standards have evolved over time. And during my conversation with Rafter, he brings up car seats as a way of pointing out that we’ve adapted to modern standards without outlawing driving altogether. So whose responsibility is it to mitigate that risk, and how far should we go in mandating these safety measures? And what do we lose in making these choices?

“Football, in particular, offers communities things of value,” Rafter says. “It’s hard to measure, except through stories and testimonials. I can’t put it in a medical or scientific document. Nobody’s allowing us to have that conversation. But that’s a piece that would be a huge loss, in the worst-case scenario, in the state of California.”

The question, then, is whether you believe that those stories and testimonials depend on the existence of football, or that you feel they’re merely an echo of the communities themselves. Maybe football will someday reinvent itself in a progressive manner, the way it did at the turn of the 20th century. Maybe our cultural and scientific progress as a society means that we should eventually leave it behind. All those years ago, when Stanford and Cal dropped football in favor of rugby, Roberta J. Park wrote that the school’s presidents presumed they were promoting a safer game. But Park also made another, more curious observation: The games we play don’t really influence our morality. They just reflect who we are."
california  sports  football  americanfootball  2019  children  youth  teens  brain  health  rugby  history  athletics  parenting  activism  sanfrancisco  georgia  texas  florida 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Diary: Octavio Solis, Saturdays in Juárez
"Playwright Octavio Solis grew up just a few miles from the Mexican border in El Paso, Texas. Join him as he remembers his Saturday visits with his family to neighboring Juárez."
border  borders  elpaso  texas  juárez  mexico  us  octaviosolis  memories  memory  2018 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Catapult | The Case Against Making a City “Beautiful” | Bryan Washington
"On finding beauty in Houston amidst the ugliness, and what the city stands to lose from increasing gentrification."



"A few years back, my buddy Sam called Houston one big strip mall. He’d flown in from Hong Kong to study at a local university, hoping to stay a few years longer for a gig in medicine. Sam never had a reliable ride, and Uber was out of his budget, so another friend of mine named Jon and I were always driving him around town. We’d made a point of showing him what we thought there was to see in the city, barreling our way out of the downtown plaza we worked at for the more open, absurdly crowded pastures constantly clogging Houston’s highways.

Sometimes, we found Indian food out in Sugarland, pausing for antacids at the CVS whenever the curried goat and Tsingtao overtook us. Once, we drank our way up and down Washington, just to end up sleeping in Jon’s car, in this drunken huddle, burrowed around a busted radiator while proggy ’80s rock crooned from the bar beside us. This time, we were driving down Bellaire Boulevard, taking note of strip mall after strip mall after strip mall. And Sam pointed out, in a still-elastic English, that Houston was actually pretty fucking ugly, wasn’t it?

I looked at Jon. Jon told me to look at the fucking road (which was fair: on the best of days, I’m not the smoothest driver). Sam stretched in the back seat, where he’d set up something like an impromptu photo studio—everywhere he went, he took photos, which he’d send to his folks back home. And this particular stretch of road in Chinatown was hardly noteworthy, hardly different from the avenues surrounding, hardly meriting a portrait worth painting for the Louvre.

But before I could start in on one of my usual rants—about how there is beauty in ugliness, how the city’s residents had made an oasis out of the bayou, blah blah—Sam laughed. He said it was nice. This was different. It worked.

Jon laughed, too. Sam kept taking pictures. The three of us kept driving. I thought then that it was funny how someone who’d only been in the city for a few months had gotten at the heart of the thing—he’d figured it out exactly, succinctly."
bryanwashinton  houston  ugliness  urbanplanning  urbanism  zoning  design  urban  2018  austin  texas  gentification  sripmalls 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Harvest of Empire – Harvest of Empire
[Available on YouTube, for now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyncOYTZfHE ]

[See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvest_of_Empire:_A_History_of_Latinos_in_America ]

"The Untold Story of Latinos in America

“We are all Americans of the New World, and our most dangerous enemies 
are not each other, but the great wall of ignorance between us.”
Juan González, Harvest of Empire

At a time of heated and divisive debate over immigration, Onyx Films is proud to present Harvest of Empire, a feature-length documentary that reveals the direct connection between the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration crisis we face today.

Based on the groundbreaking book by award-winning journalist and Democracy Now! Co-host Juan González, Harvest of Empire takes an unflinching look at the role that U.S. economic and military interests played in triggering an unprecedented wave of migration that is transforming our nation’s cultural and economic landscape.

From the wars for territorial expansion that gave the U.S. control of Puerto Rico, Cuba and more than half of Mexico, to the covert operations that imposed oppressive military regimes in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, Harvest of Empire unveils a moving human story that is largely unknown to the great majority of citizens in the U.S.

As Juan González says at the beginning of the film “They never teach us in school that the huge Latino presence here is a direct result of our own government’s actions in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America over many decades — actions that forced millions from that region to leave their homeland and journey north.”

Harvest of Empire provides a rare and powerful glimpse into the enormous sacrifices and rarely-noted triumphs of our nation’s growing Latino community. The film features present day immigrant stories, rarely seen archival material, as well as interviews with such respected figures as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchú, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz, Mexican historian Dr. Lorenzo Meyer, journalists María Hinojosa and Geraldo Rivera, Grammy award-winning singer Luis Enrique, and poet Martín Espada."
film  documentary  us  history  immigration  latinamerica  puertorico  mexico  guatemala  honduras  juangonzález  cuba  nicaragua  elsalvador  rigobertamenchú  jessejackson  anthonyromero  junotdíaz  lorenzomeyer  maríahinojosa  geraldorivera  2011  martínespada  luisenrique  dominicanrepublic  latinos  imperialism  politics  policy  foreignpolicy  braceros  wwii  ww2  civilrights  race  racism  migration  communism  redscare  centralamerica  caribbean  colonialism  socialism  capitalism  fidelcastro  rafaeltrujillo  spanish-americanwar  inequality  exploitation  sugar  cotton  revolution  resistance  fulgenciobatista  dictatorships  oppression  deportation  texas  california  newmexico  arizona  mexican-americanwar  nevada  colorado  florida  nyc  óscarromero  harrytruman  democracy  jacoboárbenz  unitedfruitcompany  eisenhower  cia  intervention  maya  ethniccleansing  land  ownership  civilwar  iran-contraaffair  ronaldreagan  sandinistas  contras  war  bayofpigs  refugees  marielboatlift  1980  jimmycarter  language  spanish  español  miami  joaquínbalaguer  hectortruji 
july 2018 by robertogreco
A new U.S.-Mexico border? At the Venice Biennale, imagining a binational region called MEXUS
"As part of their research into watersheds, Cruz and Forman have created an inventory of public lands in Los Laureles that can serve multiple purposes — as green space, environmental education center and natural buffers to mitigate flows of waste. And they are working to see how they can create a mechanism to invest in those spaces so that they might be preserved.

“Instead of the investing in the wall,” says Cruz, “can we invest to get the poor settlement to regulate the flow of waste? Can we get the poor residents to take care of the rich estuary?’

The subjects are tricky, but in these types of projects, Zeiger says she sees plenty of optimism.

“In architecture, if we don’t allow ourselves to visualize a condition that is different than the current condition, then we really cut off how we will impact the future,” she says.

For Forman, that consists of fomenting a new type of border culture.

“Citizenship,” she says, “is not an identity card. It’s about coexisting and building a city together.”"
teddycruz  fonnaforman  carolinamiranda  border  borders  us  california  mexico  sandiego  tijuana  texas  arizona  newmexico  2018  venicebiennale  architecture  citizenship  politicalequator  geography  geopolitics  mimizeiger  annlui  afrofuturism  architects  mexus  walls  nature  watersheds  land  maps  mapping  territory  ybca 
may 2018 by robertogreco
Maps | Kenneth D. Madsen
"U.S. Border Barriers

California .jpg .pdf
– Kelly San Diego waiver 8/2/17 .jpg .pdf
– Duke Calexico waiver 9/12/17 .jpg .pdf

Arizona .jpg .pdf

New Mexico & West Texas [coming soon]
– Nielsen Santa Teresa waiver 1/22/18 .jpg (map only) .pdf (w/ photos & waiver text) [updated 2/6/18]

Texas [coming soon]

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Waivers

Comparison of all eight legal waivers to-date .jpg .pdf [updated 2/8/18]

Note that mileage calculated from maps created prior to Dec. 2017 (i.e. CA & AZ maps above and summary handout below) over-estimate actual distances due to a projection error. Percentages are still largely correct, however. Corrected maps are forthcoming.

summary handout 8.5″ x 11″ .pdf"
kennethmadsen  borders  border  california  mexico  us  texas  arizona  newmexico  sandiego  calexico  geopolitics 
april 2018 by robertogreco
long-view micro school
"Imagine . . .

a school that speaks up and not down to the intellects of children. A school that communicates to students that understanding derives from activity -- making, doing, creating -- and encourages kids to think like producers, not consumers.

Imagine a school that doesn't close the doors after students enter but instead seeks to be open and networked, connecting students to their community and the world. A school that takes "the long view" by prioritizing construction of meaning, asking good questions, seeking connections, and considering multiple perspectives, over consumption of information, rote practice, and shallow skill coverage.

Education Re-Imagined.

For the Long-View."



"If you are a parent seeking an education focused on strong academics, you know the problem:
Your child is not challenged and there is a great deal of lost learning time. Additionally, the areas you may be most concerned about -- math and science -- are not taught very deeply or thoughtfully in elementary school.

At Long-View, all that changes.

We focus on long-term, transferable skills and they all add up to a love of learning.

Our curriculum is founded on deep learning. Our vision is to ensure we are looking ahead, and making sure we are keeping the long term, transferrable skills foremost in our curriculum. We have high expectations for our students, support them as they stretch and grow, and we don't waste our kids' time.

We seek to inculcate certain habits of mind that begin fundamentally with a love of learning for its own sake."



"We don't adhere to a rigid schedule of 45-minute subject increments at Long-View. And we don't have grade levels.

Our students learn in blocks of time that are typically 90 minutes to 2 hours long, as blocks promote deeper thinking and persistence with an idea or concept. Blocks help us learn "more seriously."

And we consistently push ahead, leaving the grade levels that so often restrict learning behind. Our kids are on an upwards trajectory and multi-age cohorts promote stronger learning.

Long-View doesn't look like your ordinary school. Our classrooms are radically different than most, so it is hard for us to even use the word "classroom."

What's different? Everything moves. There are no chairs. And we write on the walls (among other things). The "classroom" belongs to the kids and it is flexible, creative, and transparent."



"Long-View's schedule is more balanced.
Our 4-day schedule means Fridays are a time for families, for sports or music lessons, for trips to the museum with friends, for projects based on a kid's passions, or some needed free time playing outside on a pretty day.

From 9:00 - 2:30, Mondays-Thursdays, we are working hard at Long-View. Unlike many schools, we don't waste time or spend our academic minutes on busy work. Kids are working hard, thinking hard. Homework is minimal and focused on daily independent reading or finishing up a research quest.

Long-View's focus is on math, reading, writing, science, and computer science. The focused academic footprint means parents have the opportunity to customize the rest of their child's education. There's time for a specialized art class, a violin lesson, a favorite sport, or parkour. You know your child and his or her passions. With academics taken care of by Long-View, you can add in the right art, music, theater, or sports experiences in the afternoons and on Fridays and keep your child's week more balanced."



"The micro school opportunity lies in the fact that we have:
Small Learning Communities
Multi-Age Cohorts
Lower Operation Complexity
Personal Connections
Rapid Idea Iteration
Teacher Empowerment
Unique Curriculum

Perhaps the best way to think of us is to compare us to the restaurant industry. Think of a big, standardized, chain restaurant with a menu as big as an encyclopedia. Now think of your favorite neighborhood, farm-to-table restaurant that serves a few spectacular dishes made from the best ingredients.

We are Farm-to-Table for schools.

One of the opportunities of the micro-school model lies in controlling costs and ensuring tuition doesn't become accessible only to a minority of families.

With a focused academic footprint (i.e. Long-View does not strive to deliver on breadth and instead focuses on quality), simple facilities, and low operation complexity, we can deliver high-quality academics at a price point that is accessible to a larger range of families.

Additionally, because we are a small school community and because our facilities are not major drivers in our tuition model, Long-View families enjoy a more stable annual tuition over years."
schools  microschools  sfsh  lcproject  openstudioproject  education  children  learning  austin  texas  math  mathematics 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Why a key research finding is ruining teaching in Texas - The Washington Post
"Three Texas researchers spent a year watching and then recording Hispanic first-graders from low-income families as they experienced an unusual approach to learning. They were encouraged to initiate projects, ask questions without raising their hands, give feedback to one another, and decide where and with whom to work.

This method has proved effective in Montessori classrooms worldwide for more than a century. It is still relatively uncommon in the United States, but it worked in the Texas school. The students eventually scored 30 percentile points above similar children in ordinary classes.

So the researchers were stunned at the negative reaction when they showed the video to first-graders who had not been taught that way. What they found casts troubling light on one of the most influential educational research findings ever.

The first-graders shown the video “seemed to think the learning was terrible,” said researchers Jennifer Keys Adair, Kiyomi Sánchez-Suzuki Colegrove and Molly E. McManus in the fall issue of the Harvard Educational Review. They all agreed that “the children in the film should be less noisy, more still and much more obedient to have any chance of being good learners.”

One boy said the right way to learn was to “keep your mouth zipped, eyes watching . . . and ears listening!”

Their teachers told the researchers they liked the new approach but stuck with traditional methods because they didn’t think bilingual children from low-income backgrounds could handle it.

Why? They didn’t have enough vocabulary, the teachers said. “In school after school, we heard educators repeat that parents did not talk to their children enough or give them the vocabulary they needed to be successful in school.”

The researchers, who work at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University, knew where that idea came from. Few studies have been reported as widely as the 1995 work of University of Kansas psychologists Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley. Working with 1,318 observations of just 42 children, Hart and Risley concluded that in their first four years, impoverished children heard 13 million words on average, compared with 45 million heard by children of affluent parents. The early advantage in word exposure correlated strongly with better language and literacy skills five or six years later.

In a 2003 article, Hart and Risley said “the risk to our nation and its children” made anti-poverty efforts to change children’s lives “more urgent than ever.”

For 35 years, I have covered educators trying to raise achievement for low-income children. They told me the Hart-Risley findings meant children’s language experiences had to be enriched as early as possible, essentially from birth, and at every grade after that. Apparently, many people in education didn’t get that message. Much more research and outreach is necessary.

I had no idea educators were misinterpreting the Hart-Risley conclusions as a warning against ambitious methods such as those in the video. The Texas researchers have so far found this misunderstanding in only the five schools they have studied, but it is deep and consistent enough to suggest that the problem is widespread.

Risley died in 2007, Hart in 2012. University of Kansas researcher Dale Walker, their close associate, told me they would be “extremely disheartened that their research was being misinterpreted and misrepresented for what appears to be an excuse to not provide young students with the educational content they need to be successful.”

The Texas researchers critique how the Hart-Risley study was conducted as well as how it has been interpreted. But their most compelling finding is the need to help teachers adopt the student-led learning they found worked so well. The classroom dialogue and sharing in their video are essential for building vocabulary, but “when classrooms are too rigid, controlled and task driven, students cannot initiate and continue conversations with their peers,” they said.

It is hard to think of anything more disheartening than denying 6-year-olds a chance to be enriched by a stimulating program for fear their vocabularies aren’t good enough. I have never encountered educational research so distorted, to such ill effect."

[via: "Wow. They can literally torture the data to justify stifling life-sucking instruction no matter what it is."
https://twitter.com/cblack__/status/924444303719415808 ]
education  progressive  schools  texas  jaymathews  2017  polict  data  research  sfsh  montessori  control  dalewalker  bettyhart  toddrisley 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Why Texas Is No Longer Feeling Miraculous - The New York Times
"The tale of the Texas Miracle was a big fat lie: Plentiful oil, low regulation and even lower taxes are not a panacea. Sure, they don’t hurt. But they don’t help, not without consistent, well-considered state policy to attract and build businesses."
texas  politics  policy  2017  longview  richardparker  taxes 
september 2017 by robertogreco
America’s Love of Sprawl Starts Right at the Border - CityLab
"Every day, students living in Juarez cross the border to go to school in El Paso. Travelers flying into the Tijuana airport can walk over to San Diego on a pedestrian bridge. Folks living in Mexico work on the American side of the border every day to earn a living in dollars. Around 350 million such people cross the border every year, many through ports of entry designed to welcome rather than ward off. Among other reasons, that’s because the U.S.-Mexico border is a boundary separating several sister cities that are, essentially, one urban and economic unit.

But while these border cities have grown together in recent decades, that growth has manifested differently for a variety of economic and cultural reasons. The difference in their urban footprints is evident in a new map, created by cartography enthusiast Sasha Trubetskoy.

Using land use data, Trubetskoy, who’s studying statistics at the University of Chicago, has arranged 14 border cities (each pair with at least 15,000 residents) side-by-side:

[image]

What’s immediately apparent is that, by and large, the Mexican cities seem more densely urbanized. In an accompanying table, Trubetskoy also notes that these cities are generally more populous, and calls this clustering of folks on the dense, Mexican side of the border the “urban pileup effect.” On the American side, the cities tend to sprawl.

Among the 14 urban areas he maps, San Diego is an exception with more people (around 3.2 million) than its Mexican counterpart (1.9 million). That said, its residents occupy a larger area*:

[image]"
us  mexico  tijuana  sandiego  texas  california  cities  density  urban  urbanism 
january 2017 by robertogreco
The Devil Is Loose. — The California Sunday Magazine
"Drownings, shootings, high-speed accidents, immigrants in labor — the life of a border paramedic"
border  borders  us  mexico  photography  abestreep  michellundgren  susanmeiselas  texas  laredo  riogrande  riobravo  immigration  migration  drugs 
august 2016 by robertogreco
All the Greedy Young Abigail Fishers and Me 
"Years ago, I helped Abigail Fishers get into college in Texas. That was my job: I “tutored” entitled teenagers through the application process. Specifically, and ominously for my later life, I taught them to write a convincing personal essay—a task that generally requires identifying some insight, usually gained over some period of growth. And growth often depends on hardship, a thing that none of these 18-year-olds had experienced in a structural sense over the course of their white young lives. Because of the significant disconnect involved in this premise, I always ended up rewriting their essays in the end.

My students were white, and without exception. Their parents were paying me $450 per session, and this was Houston; of course they were white. The means were the essays, and the end was the assurance that the benefits of whiteness would continue to vest themselves even as Texas demographics and UT admissions practices began to put their lovely families in a bind.

Texas parents—as ability permits, and like parents throughout the country—pay good money to live in good school zones. These schools are “good” in a double and mutually reinforcing sense: they are academically vibrant, supportive, and competitive; they also draw from a wealthy population, which means most of the students are white. As Abigail Fisher’s case, a.k.a. Becky With the Bad Grades v. UT Austin, reminded us: the top 7 percent (formerly 10 percent) at all Texas high schools get admitted to UT’s flagship campus automatically. This means that a second-rate student at a first-rate school, a.k.a. an Abigail Fisher, does not automatically get in. This means that a portion of white kids don’t get the educational success those property taxes were supposed to pay for. The 10 percent policy is implicit discrimination against “good schools,” the party line goes.

Most of the UT student body gets in through the Top 10 rule. The rest—approximately 8 percent, the year Fisher applied—are admitted through a holistic evaluation process, which takes into account things like extracurriculars, leadership, personal essays (thus the $450), and race. This is the part of UT admissions policy that Fisher’s case was challenging. Note that it was easier for her (or the anti-affirmative-action zealot who bankrolled her) to take a margin of UT admissions to the Supreme Court than to envision a version of justice in which she had, along with 92 percent of admitted students, straight-up earned her way in.

Because UT Austin is a terrific place—the rare kind of school that radiates both capaciousness and prestige—it is the top choice for many Texas high school students, and its unique admissions policy carries a lot of weight. It is discussed ad nauseam during application season; however, the reasoning behind this policy—behind the 10 percent rule, behind affirmative action—is not. I figured that part out only after I left the state and saw how much about my previous surroundings had been determined by the fact that rich white people can still game the system simply by living—that they are still reaping the benefits of centuries of preferential access to everything that sets a person up for success.

Today, certain measures have been enacted to level the playing field. But, as the Abigails among us can’t seem to admit, the mere existence of these measures does not mean that the need for them has expired. White people remain uniquely able, in a monetary sense, to game the system. For a summer, at $150 an hour, I was paid to help.

And I did. The kids were sweet, and I knew how to elicit and identify whatever topic would make their voice speed up when they talked about it. We wrote about canoes capsizing at summer camp, about football injuries, about girlfriends freezing us out at youth group. For the most part, they got in where they wanted, and I worked a leisurely three hours a day, helping them cheat.

I’ve had a lot of relatively demeaning jobs in my life. I never thought I deserved better than any of them—first because I didn’t, and second, because a sense of entitlement means nothing without capital to back it up. I’ve waitressed in short shorts and cowboy boots. I’ve street-canvassed for recycling. When I was 16, I was paid minimum wage to participate in a reality TV show in Puerto Rico that included challenges like eating mayonnaise on camera with my hands tied behind my back.

This job—writing college essays for Abigail Fishers—was the only job I have ever been truly ashamed of, and I am so ashamed of it now that it hurts. I did it, too, for a particularly embarrassing reason: because it paid so well that I could keep my earning hours to a minimum, and for four months spend most of my time writing fiction so I could get into an MFA program. Once I did get in, my boyfriend started looking at me reproachfully when he came home from work and saw me sending invoices. “Stop doing this,” he said flatly, in the late afternoon one day."



"It took me until some time later to realize what is so obvious to me now, why my boyfriend hated my job so much, which was that I was the one letting the Abigails get away with everything. That I was feeding and affirming and making possible the entitlement of mediocre white high schoolers, many of whom believed themselves to be facing structural discrimination, and needed to hire a ghostwriter to stay on top. Luckily, they could afford to. Luckily, I liked them when they weren’t talking about affirmative action. Luckily, we all made out just fine in the end.

We were all lucky, weren’t we? In 2005, I applied to college—not in the Philippines or Canada, where my parents had gone, but in America. I was salutatorian at my high school; I had perfect SATs. I was a cheerleader, the editor of our yearbook, cast in every musical, an officer in every club. And still, when I got into colleges, I felt lucky. I never felt like I’d simply gotten what I deserved.

In fact I still don’t know what it would be like to feel automatically deserving of something, to have enough of a claim on advantage to give a fuck about giving it up. I have never had a case for any sort of admission, not even when I was a selfish high schooler, not even when it came to the 10 percent rule, because even when I opened my Texas acceptance letter I knew some Abigail Fisher would think that if anyone was coasting on race here, it was me. How the legacy of inequity took hold of me internally even as I clawed through it with a sunny disposition was not obvious to me then, or in college, or after I graduated, on a hot summer where I needed money and I couldn’t ask my parents and I felt lucky—lucky—to be helping Abigail Fishers cheat."
texas  colleges  universities  admissions  gamingthesystem  privilege  jiatolentino  univeristyoftexas  ut  abigailfisher  utaustin  prestige  inequality  affirmativeaction  race  2016  highered  highereducation 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Why the Economic Fates of America’s Cities Diverged - The Atlantic
"What accounts for these anomalous and unpredicted trends? The first explanation many people cite is the decline of the Rust Belt, and certainly that played a role."



"Another conventional explanation is that the decline of Heartland cities reflects the growing importance of high-end services and rarified consumption."



"Another explanation for the increase in regional inequality is that it reflects the growing demand for “innovation.” A prominent example of this line of thinking comes from the Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti, whose 2012 book, The New Geography of Jobs, explains the increase in regional inequality as the result of two new supposed mega-trends: markets offering far higher rewards to “innovation,” and innovative people increasingly needing and preferring each other’s company."



"What, then, is the missing piece? A major factor that has not received sufficient attention is the role of public policy. Throughout most of the country’s history, American government at all levels has pursued policies designed to preserve local control of businesses and to check the tendency of a few dominant cities to monopolize power over the rest of the country. These efforts moved to the federal level beginning in the late 19th century and reached a climax of enforcement in the 1960s and ’70s. Yet starting shortly thereafter, each of these policy levers were flipped, one after the other, in the opposite direction, usually in the guise of “deregulation.” Understanding this history, largely forgotten today, is essential to turning the problem of inequality around.

Starting with the country’s founding, government policy worked to ensure that specific towns, cities, and regions would not gain an unwarranted competitive advantage. The very structure of the U.S. Senate reflects a compromise among the Founders meant to balance the power of densely and sparsely populated states. Similarly, the Founders, understanding that private enterprise would not by itself provide broadly distributed postal service (because of the high cost of delivering mail to smaller towns and far-flung cities), wrote into the Constitution that a government monopoly would take on the challenge of providing the necessary cross-subsidization.

Throughout most of the 19th century and much of the 20th, generations of Americans similarly struggled with how to keep railroads from engaging in price discrimination against specific areas or otherwise favoring one town or region over another. Many states set up their own bureaucracies to regulate railroad fares—“to the end,” as the head of the Texas Railroad Commission put it, “that our producers, manufacturers, and merchants may be placed on an equal footing with their rivals in other states.” In 1887, the federal government took over the task of regulating railroad rates with the creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Railroads came to be regulated much as telegraph, telephone, and power companies would be—as natural monopolies that were allowed to remain in private hands and earn a profit, but only if they did not engage in pricing or service patterns that would add significantly to the competitive advantage of some regions over others.

Passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890 was another watershed moment in the use of public policy to limit regional inequality. The antitrust movement that sprung up during the Populist and Progressive era was very much about checking regional concentrations of wealth and power. Across the Midwest, hard-pressed farmers formed the “Granger” movement and demanded protection from eastern monopolists controlling railroads, wholesale-grain distribution, and the country’s manufacturing base. The South in this era was also, in the words of the historian C. Vann Woodward, in a “revolt against the East” and its attempts to impose a “colonial economy.”"



"By the 1960s, antitrust enforcement grew to proportions never seen before, while at the same time the broad middle class grew and prospered, overall levels of inequality fell dramatically, and midsize metro areas across the South, the Midwest, and the West Coast achieved a standard of living that converged with that of America’s historically richest cites in the East. Of course, antitrust was not the only cause of the increase in regional equality, but it played a much larger role than most people realize today.

To get a flavor of how thoroughly the federal government managed competition throughout the economy in the 1960s, consider the case of Brown Shoe Co., Inc. v. United States, in which the Supreme Court blocked a merger that would have given a single distributor a mere 2 percent share of the national shoe market.

Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren explained that the Court was following a clear and long-established desire by Congress to keep many forms of business small and local: “We cannot fail to recognize Congress’ desire to promote competition through the protection of viable, small, locally owned business. Congress appreciated that occasional higher costs and prices might result from the maintenance of fragmented industries and markets. It resolved these competing considerations in favor of decentralization. We must give effect to that decision.”

In 1964, the historian and public intellectual Richard Hofstadter would observe that an “antitrust movement” no longer existed, but only because regulators were managing competition with such effectiveness that monopoly no longer appeared to be a realistic threat. “Today, anybody who knows anything about the conduct of American business,” Hofstadter observed, “knows that the managers of the large corporations do their business with one eye constantly cast over their shoulders at the antitrust division.”

In 1966, the Supreme Court blocked a merger of two supermarket chains in Los Angeles that, had they been allowed to combine, would have controlled just 7.5 percent of the local market. (Today, by contrast there are nearly 40 metro areas in the U.S where Walmart controls half or more of all grocery sales.) Writing for the majority, Justice Harry Blackmun noted the long opposition of Congress and the Court to business combinations that restrained competition “by driving out of business the small dealers and worthy men.”

During this era, other policy levers, large and small, were also pulled in the same direction—such as bank regulation, for example. Since the Great Recession, America has relearned the history of how New Deal legislation such as the Glass-Steagall Act served to contain the risks of financial contagion. Less well remembered is how New Deal-era and subsequent banking regulation long served to contain the growth of banks that were “too big to fail” by pushing power in the banking system out to the hinterland. Into the early 1990s, federal laws severely limited banks headquartered in one state from setting up branches in any other state. State and federal law fostered a dense web of small-scale community banks and locally operated thrifts and credit unions.

Meanwhile, bank mergers, along with mergers of all kinds, faced tough regulatory barriers that included close scrutiny of their effects on the social fabric and political economy of local communities. Lawmakers realized that levels of civic engagement and community trust tended to decline in towns that came under the control of outside ownership, and they resolved not to let that happen in their time.

In other realms, too, federal policy during the New Deal and for several decades afterward pushed strongly to spread regional equality. For example, New Deal programs such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Bonneville Power Administration, and the Rural Electrification Administration dramatically improved the infrastructure of the South and West. During and after World War II, federal spending on the military and the space program also tilted heavily in the Sunbelt’s favor.

The government’s role in regulating prices and levels of service in transportation was also a huge factor in promoting regional equality. In 1952, the Interstate Commerce Commission ordered a 10-percent reduction in railroad freight rates for southern shippers, a political decision that played a substantial role in enabling the South’s economic ascent after the war. The ICC and state governments also ordered railroads to run money-losing long-distance and commuter passenger trains to ensure that far-flung towns and villages remained connected to the national economy.

Into the 1970s, the ICC also closely regulated trucking routes and prices so they did not tilt in favor of any one region. Similarly, the Civil Aeronautics Board made sure that passengers flying to and from small and midsize cities paid roughly the same price per mile as those flying to and from the largest cities. It also required airlines to offer service to less populous areas even when such routes were unprofitable.

Meanwhile, massive public investments in the interstate-highway system and other arterial roads added enormously to regional equality. First, it vastly increased the connectivity of rural areas to major population centers. Second, it facilitated the growth of reasonably priced suburban housing around high-wage metro areas such as New York and Los Angeles, thus making it much more possible than it is now for working-class people to move to or remain in those areas.

Beginning in the late 1970s, however, nearly all the policy levers that had been used to push for greater regional income equality suddenly reversed direction. The first major changes came during Jimmy Carter’s administration. Fearful of inflation, and under the spell of policy entrepreneurs such as Alfred Kahn, Carter signed the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978. This abolished the Civil Aeronautics Board, which had worked to offer rough regional parity in airfares and levels of service since 1938… [more]
us  cities  policy  economics  history  inequality  via:robinsonmeyer  2016  philliplongman  regulation  deregulation  capitalism  trusts  antitrustlaw  mergers  competition  markets  banks  finance  ronaldreagan  corporatization  intellectualproperty  patents  law  legal  equality  politics  government  rentseeking  innovation  acquisitions  antitrustenforcement  income  detroit  nyc  siliconvalley  technology  banking  peterganong  danielshoag  1950s  1960s  1970s  1980s  1990s  greatdepression  horacegreely  chicago  denver  cleveland  seattle  atlanta  houston  saltlakecity  stlouis  enricomoretti  shermanantitrustact  1890  cvannwoodward  woodrowwilson  1912  claytonantitrustact  louisbrandeis  federalreserve  minneapolis  kansascity  robinson-patmanact  1920s  1930s  miller-tydingsact  fdr  celler-kefauveract  emanuelceller  huberhumphrey  earlwarren  richardhofstadter  harryblackmun  newdeal  interstatecommercecommission  jimmycarter  alfredkahn  airlinederegulationact  1978  memphis  cincinnati  losangeles  airlines  transportation  rail  railroads  1980  texas  florida  1976  amazon  walmart  r 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Relics of the Space Age - The New York Times
"Nearly three decades ago, Roland Miller, a photographer, received a phone call asking for help in disposing of photography chemicals from an old office building at Cape Canaveral in Florida. When he went there, he was enchanted by the hulking masses of abandoned launch pads. Mr. Miller persuaded NASA and the Air Force to let him take pictures.

Later, he traveled the country to photograph other relics like the catacomb-like passages, above, of the stands that held the Saturn 5 engines during test firings at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The photographs have now been collected in a book, “Abandoned in Place,” published this month by the University of New Mexico Press.

“It’s really the only way for a lot of people to see this stuff,” Mr. Miller said."
kennethchang  spaceexploration  spaceage  ruins  2016  photography  spacearchaeology  us  florida  virginia  houston  texas  capecanaveral  newmexico  whitesands 
march 2016 by robertogreco
La Frontera on Vimeo
"La Frontera is a short, animated, documentary tracing a select history of personal and public land use along the El Paso/Juarez border. Barriers of all kinds are erected, layered and sometimes fused together, often resulting in a distorted and obscured view of what exists beyond the edges of the border. Like most bodies of water, the Rio Grande frequently changing course and fluctuates in level, thus resulting in an unreliable border.

The animation consists of drawings based on personal and collective memories of the Rio Grande, the security fence, an art project executed in Juarez that can only be seen from El Paso, a parking structure erected in front of The University of Texas at El Paso, and other examples of land use in close proximity."
border  borders  us  mexico  texas  elpaso  2012  history  landscape  geography  geopolitics  riogrande  landuse  via:debcha  utep 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Refusing to Forget
"The state-sanctioned racial violence on the Mexico-Texas border from 1910 through 1920 prompted a struggle for justice and civil rights that continues to shape relationships in Texas today.

This collaborative project is intended to memorialize and reckon with this period of violence. These efforts will help to recover the contributions of early civil rights activists and reshape common understandings of Texas history. This period of anti-Mexican violence strained and divided generations of Texans.

A public dialogue on this period of violence is timely and necessary to appropriately reflect on the lasting consequences of this period."
border  borders  violence  mexico  texas  us  history  race  racism  via:publichistorian 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Grading Teachers by the Test - NYTimes.com
"In 2004, the Chinese government decided there were too many accidental deaths. China’s safety record, it decreed, should be brought in line with those of other middle-income countries. The State Council set a target: a decline in accidental deaths of 2.5 percent per year.

Provincial authorities kicked into gear. Eventually, 20 out of a total of 31 provinces adopted “no safety, no promotion” policies, hitching bureaucrats’ fate to whether they met the death ceiling. The results rolled in: by 2012 recorded accidental deaths had almost halved.

It wasn’t, however, all about increased safety. For instance, officials could reduce traffic deaths by keeping victims of severe accidents alive for eight days. They counted as accidental deaths only if the victims died within seven.

In a study of China’s declining deadly accidents, Raymond Fisman of Columbia University and Yongxiang Wang of the University of Southern California concluded that “manipulation played a dominant role.” Bureaucrats — no surprise — cheated.

This is hardly unusual. It is certainly not exclusive to China. These days, in fact, it has acquired particular importance in the debate over how to improve American education.

The question is, what will happen when teachers are systematically rewarded, or punished, based to some extent on standardized tests? If we really want our children to learn more, the design of any system must be carefully thought through, to avoid sending incentives astray.

“When you put a lot of weight on one measure, people will try to do well on that measure,” Jonah Rockoff of Columbia said. “Some things they do will be good, in line with the objectives. Others will amount to cheating or gaming the system.”

The phenomenon is best known as Goodhart’s Law, after the British economist Charles Goodhart. Luis Garicano at the London School of Economics calls it the Heisenberg Principle of incentive design, after the defining uncertainty of quantum physics: A performance metric is only useful as a performance metric as long as it isn’t used as a performance metric.

It shows up all over the place. Some hospitals in the United States, for example, will often do whatever it takes to keep patients alive at least 31 days after an operation, to beat Medicare’s 30-day survival yardstick. Last year, Chicago magazine uncovered how the Chicago Police Department achieved declining crime rates, simply by reclassifying incidents as noncriminal.

“We don’t know how big a deal this is,” said Jesse Rothstein, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who has criticized evaluation metrics based on test scores. “It is one of the main concerns.”"



"Critics have questioned the Harvard scholars’ findings. Teachers argue there is no way they could isolate the impact of teaching itself from other factors affecting children’s learning, particularly such things as the family background of the students, the impact of poverty, racial segregation, even class size.

Professor Rothstein at Berkeley suggested that sorting plays a big role in their results: better-ranked teachers got better students. Other studies found teachers’ scores jump around a lot from year to year, putting their value into question. Professors Rockoff, Chetty and Friedman have defended their results.

In this heated debate, however, it is important not to lose sight of Goodhart’s Law. Most of these studies measured the impact of test scores when tests carried little weight for teachers’ future careers. But what happens when tests determine whether a teacher gets a bonus or keeps his or her job?

From Atlanta to El Paso, school officials have been accused of cheating to improve their standing on test scores.

Fraud is not the only concern. In one study, schools forced to improve grades by the No Child Left Behind law were found to have focused on helping children who were at the cusp of proficiency. They had no incentive to address those comfortably above the cut or those with little hope of gaining enough in the short term.

A survey of teachers at a school district in the Southwest that awarded bonuses based on test scores found that many tried to avoid both gifted students and those not yet proficient in English whose grades were tough to improve. Others employed “drill and kill” strategies to ensure their students nailed the tests.

Education reformers acknowledge the challenge but argue that should not stand in the way of rigorous assessments.

“Anytime you perform an evaluation you must worry about unintended side effects,” said Joel Klein, former chancellor of New York City schools, who famously battled the teachers’ union. “But the absence of evaluation is totally unacceptable.”

High-stakes tests can encourage bad behavior. But they encourage good behavior, too. A study of public schools in Florida found that schools did focus on low-performing students, lengthened the time devoted to teaching, gave teachers more resources and tried to improve the learning environment."
nclb  assessment  testing  standardizedtesting  teaching  education  schools  goodhart'slaw  2015  cheating  china  measurement  metrics  hesserothstein  atlanta  florida  elpaso  texas  policy  howweteach 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Animales/Animals : Dolores Dorantes And Jen Hofer : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation
"Animales
El Paso, Texas. Enero 9, 2014.1

No entiendo mi vida. No sé quién soy. Se, más o menos quién no quise ser. Como estudiante no quise alimentar el sometimiento de la academia en México. Como escritora no quise contribuir al sistema cultural machista y corrupto que predomina en mi país. Como periodista decidí hablarle a un presente. Y aquí estoy. Perdida. Esa es una buena señal, supongo. Estar perdida y hablar sola.2 Aunque en este país creo que no es bien visto. En California tampoco es mal visto. En Texas es el infierno: eso de estar perdida y hablar sola. Es increíble cómo es que han cambiado los tabúes en nuestros tiempos ¿no te parece? No es que no existan los tabúes, sólo cambian de forma. Por ejemplo, cruzar el semáforo del peatón cuando está en rojo, aquí, ya es un tabú. Me encuentro a las personas paraditas en la esquina esperando a que el semáforo cambie, con la calle desierta. Es increíble cómo lo urbano cambia nuestro transcurso ¿verdad? Pareciera que las señales son los ojos del amo. El amo. El maestro.3 ¿Quién es? ¿Dónde está? Creo que el amo está donde está la víctima. El amo reina dentro del dolor. Se ha infiltrado hasta las estructuras que quisieran cambiar el mundo uniéndose a las luchas. El amo está en la producción. Esa palabra: producir un proyecto, producir una idea, producir sociedades libres, producir comunidades que luchan por su identidad.

El amo depende de nuestra identidad. No puede hacer nada ante un mismo y repetido rostro. Por eso yo soy de color y tú eres judía, y otros más son indígenas.4 Yo no voy a dar eso. Estoy perdida. El amo depende de nuestra identidad. No puede hacer nada ante un mismo y repetido rostro. Por eso yo soy de color y tú eres judía, y otros más son indígenas. Yo no voy a dar eso. Estoy perdida. Sin dirección, no voy a ninguna parte. No quiero tener un rostro. Ya no tengo país. Pero sí, me identifico como un animal, sí. Como una mujer animal. Porque ¿acaso no soy también una contradicción? Amo, maestro, lo que no se nos dice es también una contradicción. ¿Acaso tengo que ser una sola, de color determinado, de escolaridad definida porque si no estoy muerta? Somos muchas y no, no estamos muertas. Avanzamos, sin identidad, hacia ninguna parte.

* * *

Animals
El Paso, Texas. January 9, 2014.5

I don’t understand my life. I don’t know who I am. I know, more or less, who I didn’t want to be. As a student I didn’t want to feed into the subjugation of the academy in Mexico. As a writer I didn’t want to contribute to the corrupt machista cultural system so predominant in my country. As a journalist I decided to speak directly toward a present. And here I am. Lost. That’s a good sign, I guess. To be lost and talk to myself.6 Though in this country I don’t think that goes over so well. Yet in California it’s not especially looked down on. In Texas it’s hell: to be lost and talk to oneself. It’s incredible how the taboos in our times have changed, don’t you think? It’s not that taboos don’t exist, it’s just that they’ve changed form. For example, crossing the street against the light is now taboo here. I come upon people stopped at the corner waiting for the light to change, with the street totally deserted. It’s incredible how urban space shifts our trajectory, right? It would seem as if the streetlights were the eyes of our owner. Our owner. Our master.7 Who is the master? Where is the master?8 I think the owner is where the victim is. The owner rules within pain, has infiltrated even the structures that would seek to change the world by uniting together in struggle. The owner is in production. That word: to produce a project, to produce an idea, to produce free societies, to produce communities that struggle for their identity.

The owner depends on our identity. The owner can’t do anything in the face of a face that’s always the same and repeating. That’s why I’m a person of color and you’re Jewish, and others are indigenous.9 I’m not going to to give that. I’m lost. Without direction, I go nowhere. I don’t want to have a face. I no longer have a country. But yes, I do identify as an animal, yes. As an animal woman. Because aren’t I also a contradiction? Owner, master, what is said to us is also a contradiction. Do I really have to be one single entity, of a particular color and a specific level of education because if not I’m dead? We are many and no, we’re not dead. We’re moving forward, without identity, toward nowhere."

[See also the footnotes. For example:]

"2. La escritura, me parece, es el hablar sola y el hablar en/hacia una colectividad. O varias colectividades. Es hablar al yo fuera del yo que somos (que también es el yo que somos) y es participar en una conversación a través del tiempo, la geografía, la corporalidad, extendernos hacia más allá de lo que podemos saber o entender. Creo que el estar perdida es el estar abierta. ¿Encontrarte es una manera de cerrarte? Definición."

"6. Writing, it seems to me, is talking to ourselves and talking in/toward a collectivity. Or various collectivities. It’s talking to the I outside the I we are (which is also the I we are) and it’s participating in a conversation across time, geography, corporeality, extending ourselves beyond what we can know or understand. I think that being lost is being open. To find yourself is a way of closing yourself? Definition."

[via: https://twitter.com/felipsiswoof/status/571340666707378177 ]
via:felipemartinez  2014  poetry  doloresdorantes  jenhofer  identity  animals  taboos  ownership  california  texas  culture  patriarchy  journalism  subjugation  lost  self-knowledge  collectivism  openness 
february 2015 by robertogreco
What Reclaimed Wood Meant — Kate Losse
"But if I went to the desert for space, when I got there I discovered another element that is abundant in desert architecture that was visually startling to me in its newness after the hard, gray-green industrial tones of the Bunker. This "new" material-- wood-- seemed so interesting to me that in 2011 I made a Facebook album called Reclaimed Wood to chart the material and its aesthetic progress to popularity, of which I was already certain. The first photos I took were of the ceiling in an old Ice Locker that Donald Judd, the original gentrifier, had purchased in Marfa. Built in the early 1900s, the locker had heavy white stucco and iron walls but the most beautiful, heavy, old, vintage wooden railroad beams in its ceiling; the effect of the wood was to soften what would be a hard industrial space into a pleasing, welcoming, artisanal atmosphere, and this is why Judd bought the building and converted it into an artist workshop and studio space. Judd, in a sense, predicted Reclaimed Wood forty years before everyone else caught on. All of the buildings he purchased in Marfa are masterful, original, unstudied versions of what has now become a national craze: the American industrial building with a soft, artistic and artisanal side. In Marfa these buildings were built for the railroad and then abandoned, decayed, and converted to art functions later. Thus their combined hardness/softness has had decades to develop.

After some months in Texas, I returned to the city and noticed that wood was steadily appearing everywhere and spreading. It began in small coffee shops like Four Barrel coffee shop (along with its textile counterpart, nautical rope, which often accompanies wood as a nod to wood's ship-ly connotations of pirates and sailors) and spread to restaurants and finally, back to the same tech company offices that I had left in pursuit of space and more organic forms. That's to say that the irony of all of this is that no environments have been more committed to retrofitting themselves with reclaimed wood than the very spaces that drive the technology that drives people to seek refuge from technology in more open, organic spaces. As technology filled our lives, so did our lives become increasingly filled with soft wooden beams and forms, a kind of reverse de-industrialization of the technical space using organic materials. We now plant these warm-colored, gnarled wooden objects like talismans amid our screens, a reminder of organic shapes, something to touch that, reassuringly, can't be swiped on.

It is thus that we have reached Peak Reclaimed Wood, where some restaurants and coffee shops are so plastered in vintage wooden planks and beams that there is no room for a single new plank of wood (in these spaces, the wood becomes less an accent than an attempt to create the illusion of living in a cabin, which is a related desire to reclaimed wood, but not identical. The desire to live in a coffee-house-as-cabin-- or to import actual cabins into your tech cafeteria, as Twitter did-- is something like a desire to live in the country or the past, without actually living there). And so, because aesthetics have to shift when they become saturated, what is next?

In my next post I will address what comes after Reclaimed Wood and why I think the next turn will be to 80s Hilton-esque business hotel stylings and what that means about us and what we need now."

[via: https://twitter.com/tealtan/status/549965313295781888 ]

[See also (referenced within: "Facebook IRL: A Short History of Facebook's Design Aesthetic"
http://www.katelosse.tv/latest/2014/2/4/facebook-irl-a-short-history-of-facebooks-design-aesthetic
katelosse  wood  texas  marfa  technology  materials  software  2014  aesthetics  donaldjudd  design  trends 
december 2014 by robertogreco
The California Sunday Magazine
"Although Richard Misrach has been photographing the American desert for more than 40 years, it wasn’t until 2009 that he decided to turn his full attention to the 1,969-mile border between the United States and Mexico. The multibillion-dollar barrier under construction , with long sections made out of Corten steel, was radically reconfiguring the landscape. It was, he says, an eye-opener — he saw the border as a place where politics and culture collided against each other with unexpected, and often tragic, implications. Misrach has always been interested in what he calls “traces of the future,” objects whose meanings are not clear when he photographs them but that emerge over time, signaling a new historic moment. The building of the border wall was one such moment. Ever since, he has traveled from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico six times a year looking for the future.

For most of his career, Misrach has worked alone, but two years ago, he began to collaborate with the composer Guillermo Galindo. Galindo’s music, written for instruments made from objects found along the border, will interact with Misrach’s photographs in an exhibition that the San Jose Museum of Art is mounting in the spring of 2016. The exhibition will tour the country through 2018, and Aperture will publish a book documenting the collaboration. These photographs appear here for the first time."
border  borders  us  mexico  california  richardmisrach  photography  2014  texas  guillermogalindo 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Is This Working? | This American Life
"Stories of schools struggling with what to do with misbehaving kids. There's no general agreement about what teachers should do to discipline kids. And there's evidence that some of the most popular punishments actually may harm kids."

PROLOGUE: When it comes to disciplining young people, teachers are winging it. We ask middle school teachers all over the country to walk us through how they get a kid to take his hat off. The book Ira mentions is called Building a Better Teacher by reporter Elizabeth Green; it’s eye-opening in a number of ways.

ACT ONE: We start out exploration of discipline and schools at the very beginning … in preschool. Tunette Powell is a writer in Omaha and mother to JJ and Joah.

ACT TWO: About 20 years ago, a group of educators launched one of the biggest recent experiments in American education when they started creating charter schools designed for poor, minority kids. The idea was to create classrooms that are rigorous and strict. We talk with a student named Rousseau Mieze, who grew up in a school like that and then became a teacher.

ACT THREE: We spend a semester in a public school in New York City called Lyons Community School. Lyons is trying to avoid suspensions, detentions and basically all other forms of traditional punishment."

[Also here: https://soundcloud.com/this-american-life/538-is-this-working ]
thisamericanlife  education  psychology  discipline  schooltoprisonpipeline  statistics  schooling  schools  discrimination  suspension  2014  texas  teaching  howweteach  socialjustice  justice  injustice  restorativejustice 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Rite of Passage | Orion Magazine
"And at this moment, I wonder yet again why I brought Sasha to this wilderness place. Part of the answer is simple. I’ve traveled the world—the Amazon, the Serengeti, the Alps—and for me this is the most haunting and beautiful landscape on earth. We are in absolute backcountry: the Chihuahuan Desert canyons of “Big Bend Country,” literally that giant bend of the Rio Grande that separates west Texas from northern Mexico. The same sun washing over Sasha’s closed eyes is rousing the cliff swallows into song two hundred feet away. Around us, a million desert flowers go all electric in late-March bloom—red ocotillo, purple verbena, the magenta blossoms of cholla cacti. In the riverbank shallows, a longnose gar sloshes though the willow grass, hunting frogs.

Quietly, I slip out of the tent and catch a glimpse of a desert hawk winging hundreds of feet overhead, above the canyon. From up there, that hawk can see the nearby Chisos Mountains to the northwest, towering to nearly eight thousand feet with the deep-green cover of alpine woodlands. Below the peaks, that hawk can see the vast expanse of desert floor, all cactus and scrub, spreading north, south, east, west. And arching through it all is the pale green ribbon of the Rio Grande. But what that hawk doesn’t see are very many human beings.

I discovered the place fourteen years ago by accident. A newspaper editor asked me to visit Big Bend National Park, the twelve-hundred-square-mile jewel on the Texas side. The editor’s question: Why do so few Americans visit this most lovely of places? The reporter’s answer: It’s at the end of the earth, not on the way to anywhere, and surrounded on three sides by harsh and hostile Mexican desert.

But it’s beautiful. Shockingly so. And therein lies the problem in bringing my son—still-sleeping Sasha—to this place. It seems almost cruel. So many of the living things we’re here to celebrate, all across this landscape, are stressed out, dying, or migrating away from here. Like politics, all global warming is local. By roasting our common atmosphere with greenhouse gases, we bring chaotic change to regional ecosystems like the Big Bend region. Here scientists and fifth-generation ranchers and native people all tell the same story: unimaginable recent heat waves, freakish cold snaps and, above all, drought.

Just since I was last here—when Sasha was in diapers back home in Maryland—the place has changed. The pinyon pines in the Chisos range had not yet experienced “mass mortality” due to chronic lack of water. And the lechuguilla, a signature species of the desert, had not yet been flash frozen in huge numbers during the unheard-of cold spell of 2012. When Sasha is my age, fifty-one, this ecosystem will almost certainly be a distant memory, barring some global clean-energy miracle in the next few years, a rescue that seems less likely with each passing month of international inaction and domestic denial. So I struggle: Is this healthy? Is it right what I’m doing here, bringing Sasha to this place?"



"We finally land in El Paso, along the northern edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, and head southeast by car. Tiny ranch towns soon give way to nothing but creosote bush and towering yucca, dust devils and lost burros. When the two-lane state roads finally run out five hours later, we enter Big Bend National Park. And it’s everything I remember.

“Did I exaggerate? Did I exaggerate?” I ask my son. He’s too busy shooting photos to talk much. The camera spoke softly, click after click, as giant agave plants float into view in golden, brittle poses. Then come the arroyos, violently beautiful in the distance, carved by a million flash floods. Then the Chisos Mountains, phantomlike, forested, painted in shadows. Click. Click. Click. And then swaths of red-blooming Indian paintbrush, punctuated with javelina tracks and the den doors of a strange desert rat that miraculously never, ever, drinks water. “You did not exaggerate,” Sasha says.

The camera’s clicking is a memory cue for me, reminding me of a speech Bill McKibben gave in 2005, addressing a group of climate activists gathered at Middlebury College. “Fight like hell,” Bill told us. “But be a witness, too. Go see the whales, the rainforests. There’s no guarantee we’ll save them all. Memorize this great world, the one we were born into. Tell others in the future. Their mistakes might be fewer if they know the greatness we once saw.” This had always been a central if unspoken part of this trip to Texas, of course. And it explained most of the trips to the woods during Sasha’s childhood. Be a witness, my child. Don’t forget these things."



"SASHA IS A WONDERFUL son: honor student, junior varsity baseball pitcher, Eagle Scout. Best of all, right now, he’s totally into this intense and adventurous trip west with his dad. But he’s still a teenager. Ten months earlier, right before turning fifteen, he told his mom and me not to bother getting him a birthday present if it wasn’t an iPhone. If we loved him, he said, we’d get him one. So we got him an iPhone.

After sunset, lying on our backs below a brilliant desert night sky, billions of stars above, the hallelujahs fill my ears as if from a choir. Sasha and I are side by side, stunned into silence by the celestial display. And his phone has no signal. None. Blessedly. For the entire week. Same with mine.

So we are able to float, undisturbed, into the infinity of outer space. That’s what it feels like on a moonless night in west Texas. It’s not stargazing here. A dense curtain of brilliant dots is pulled from horizon to horizon, each dot saying, “Touch me. Touch me.” At night, lying here on your back, you are in outer space. We spy a blinking satellite. We find Saturn, Orion’s belt, and Cancer. Ursa Major leads us to Polaris, the North Star. “Whoa!” I say, pointing to another impossibly long shooting star.

It’s midway through our journey, and this has always been part of the plan: to show Sasha the best star display in America and perhaps the world. It’s a counterweight—timeless, cosmic—to the earthbound challenges and intermittent sadness of this one desert expanse on a tiny planet in a lonely solar system. I can feel the cool sand against my back. “Is it bad,” Sasha asks, “that I wish I were watching March Madness basketball right now?” He pulls out his phone. “Don’t you wish we could know the scores?”"



"THE WEEK, too soon, roams to a close as we head back toward El Paso, our dusty tent and backpacks stuffed in the trunk. I feel a restlessness lift from me. I’ve finally done it. I’ve taken my son to this place. And now I’ll never come back here again. I know it. Not me. I have my memories. I love those memories. Why risk them with another return?

“What?!” Sasha exclaims when I tell him this. He’s appalled. “You’re crazy not to come back. I’m coming back. And I’m staying longer. As soon as I can.” From the passenger seat, he’s shooting some final desert photos.

And then I see it in his face. He has the same bug I’ve had for a decade and a half, but in a different way. He just finished touring a beautifully imperfect place. A place in transition. But he’s not sad. He’s not bummed out, perhaps despite my best efforts. He has a different starting point than I do. Born in 1997, all he’s known is a fast-changing, impermanent earth. So the world seems less fragile to him, I think. More elemental. Rock, sky, sand, life. It will all be here whenever he returns. And, if pressed, I think he would call that hope."
climatechange  parenting  time  nature  bigbend  2014  miketidwell  transition  westtexas  texas  nightsky  dark  night  billmckibben 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Courthouse News Service
"A Texas school district is illegally using small "calm or blue rooms" to discipline and isolate disabled students - possibly to the point of neglect or abuse, Disability Rights Texas claims in Federal Court.

Disability Rights Texas sued the Mansfield Independent School District and Superintendent Jim Vaszauskas on Aug. 28.

The group says it is Texas's officially designated protection and advocacy group, under the federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act.

It claims it was alerted in April by several news sources and social media of isolation rooms at Annette Perry Elementary for students in the SUCCESS program - students who require "specialized social and behavioral instruction."

The school has two such rooms - one is 80 square feet, the other 58.5 square feet, according to the lawsuit.

Disability Rights Texas claims that the program guidelines indicate that "most" SUCCESS students will have "a disability of an emotional disturbance."

"The calm/blue rooms are used when APE [Annette Perry elementary] staff determine that a student's behavior warrants removing them from the SUCCESS classroom, " the complaint states.

"There is no limit to the amount of time a student is to be placed in the calm/blue room, and after placing a student in the room, APE teachers hold the door shut so the students cannot get out, thus turning the calm/blue room into seclusion." Program guidelines require a student to be locked in the room for the rest of the day if they have already been removed two or more times, the advocate says.

It claims that students who "engage in physical aggression" are put in isolation for the rest of the day or the next day.

Disability Rights Texas says that disabled students may be subjected to abuse or neglect by the use of the rooms. It asked Vaszauskas on June 5 to turn over the identities of SUCCESS parents to conduct a full investigation under its federal Protection and Advocacy System authority.

Five days later, the district declined, saying the information is confidential and not subject to release under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The district rejected a second request, saying it would not release the information "absent parent consent, subpoena or a court order." So Disability Rights Texas seeks a court order.

District officials said they could not comment on pending litigation.

Disability Rights Texas seeks declaratory and injunctive relief for violations of the Development Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, the Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights Act and the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act.

It is represented by Colleen Elbe in Lubbock and Elise Mitchell in Dallas. "
texas  calmingrooms  via:subtopes  education  schools  discipline  disability  neglect  abuse  2014  behavior  disabilities 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Beyond the border: the US's deadly immigration crisis | World | The Guardian
"Texas has become the deadliest state in the US for undocumented immigrants. In 2012, 271 migrants died while crossing through Texas, surpassing Arizona as the nation's most dangerous entry point. The majority of those deaths didn't occur at the Texas-Mexico border but in rural Brooks County, 70 miles north of the Rio Grande, where the US Border Patrol has a checkpoint. To circumvent the checkpoint, migrants must leave the highway and hike through the rugged ranchlands. Hundreds die each year on the trek, most from heat stroke. This four-part series looks at the lives impacted by the humanitarian crisis."
border  borders  us  mexico  texas  centralamerica  death  2014  via:vruba  riogrande  riobravo  brookscounty 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Land Arts of the American West
"Land Arts of the American West at Texas Tech is a transdisciplinary field program investigating the intersection of geomorphology and human construction. It is a semester abroad in our own back yard. Each fall students venture across the American southwest camping for a two months while traveling six-thousand miles overland to explore natural and human forces that shape contemporary landscapes—ranging from geology and weather to cigarette butts and hydroelectric dams. Sites visited include Chaco Canyon, Roden Crater, the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Double Negative, Sun Tunnels, Spiral Jetty, the Wendover Complex of the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Bingham Canyon Mine, Lake Powell, Jackpile Mine at Laguna Pueblo, Chiricahua Mountains, Cabinetlandia, Marfa, the Very Large Array and The Lightning Field.

Land Arts situates our work within a continuous tradition of land-based operations that is thousands of years old. Analysis of sites visited provides a basis for dialog and invention. Issues of spatial and material vocabulary, constructional logics, and inhabitation serve as the foundation for an investigation through making. Students construct, detail, and document a series of site-base interventions in a context that places emphasis on processes of making, experiential forms of knowing, and transdisciplinary modes of practice. The immersive nature of how we experience the landscape triggers an amalgamated body of inquiry where students have the opportunity of time and space to develop authority in their work through direct action and reflection. Land Arts hinges on the primacy of first person experience and the realization that human-land relationships are rarely singular.

Land Arts was founded in 2000 at the University of New Mexico by Bill Gilbert with the assistance of John Wenger. From 2001 to 2007 the program developed as a collaboration co-directed by Bill Gilbert and Chris Taylor, then at the University of Texas at Austin. In the fall of 2008 Taylor moved to Lubbock and now Gilbert and Taylor operate the program autonomously at the College of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico and College of Architecture at the Texas Tech University. For information about the program at UNM see http://landarts.unm.edu/. In January of 2009 the Nevada Museum of Art announced the creation of the new Center for Art + Environment and the acquisition of the archive of Land Arts of the American West.

Operational and curricular material about Land Arts at Texas Tech is located on the College of Architecture website. This site is regularly updated to include current information and hopefully will be widely updated to provide greater access to the program archive. Please contact Chris Taylor for any additional information."



"Land Arts of the American West is a field program investigating the intersection of geomorphology and human construction. Land art or earthworks begin with the land and extend through the complex social and ecological processes that create landscape. Encompassing constructions that range from petroglyphs to roads, dwellings, monuments and traces of those actions, earthworks show us who we are. Examining gestures small and grand, Land Arts directs our attention from potsherd, cigarette butt, and track in the sand, to human settlements, monumental artworks, and military-industrial installations. Land Arts is a semester abroad in our own back yard investigating the American landscape through immersion, action and reflection.

Land Arts 2013 field season at Texas Tech was made possible with generous operational support from Andrea Nasher and student support from the James Family Foundation. The 2013 Texas Tech field crew was composed of a sculptor, designer, architect, art historian, musician/painter, and performance artist. Future years will continue to broaden the interdisciplinary involvement from students across the Texas Tech community and participants from outside the university."
art  classes  education  landart  texastech  landscape  west  americanwest  texas  centerforlanduseinterpretation  cfluirodencrater  spiraljetty  robertsmithson  marfa  billgilbert  johnwenger  christaylor 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Hoping for Asylum, Migrants Strain U.S. Border - NYTimes.com
"After six years of steep declines across the Southwest, illegal crossings have soared in South Texas while remaining low elsewhere. The Border Patrol made more than 90,700 apprehensions in the Rio Grande Valley in the past six months, a 69 percent increase over last year.

The migrants are no longer primarily Mexican laborers. Instead they are Central Americans, including many families with small children and youngsters without their parents, who risk a danger-filled journey across Mexico. Driven out by deepening poverty but also by rampant gang violence, increasing numbers of migrants caught here seek asylum, setting off lengthy legal procedures to determine whether they qualify.

The new migrant flow, largely from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, is straining resources and confounding Obama administration security strategies that work effectively in other regions. It is further complicating President Obama’s uphill push on immigration, fueling Republican arguments for more border security before any overhaul."
us  border  borders  mexico  immigration  migration  2014  asylum  texas 
april 2014 by robertogreco
BORDERLAND : NPR
"We Took A 2,428-Mile Road Trip Along The Mexico Border: Here's What We Saw"



"For now the party was bound for a Border Patrol station, though it was held up while agents awaited the arrival of a child’s car seat. That seat represented the ironies we found along the whole length of the border: how a child could make a perilous journey, possibly thousands of miles, finally to be held up for want of safety equipment. How the Border Patrol would carefully watch the safety of children before sending them back to some desperate situation."

[See also: Special Series: Borderland: Dispatches from the US-Mexico Boundary:
http://www.npr.org/series/291397809/borderland-dispatches-from-the-u-s-mexico-boundary ]
mexico  npr  journalism  storytelling  us  border  borders  photography  california  sandiego  tijuana  texas  newmexico  arizona  ethiopia  migration  immigration  immigrants  politics  geopolitics  food  culture  families  language  anthropology  law  tostilocos  spanish  español  english  spanglish 
april 2014 by robertogreco
n+1: El Paso
"El Paso was clean and suburban and boring, while over in Juarez, things were grimy and noisy and wonderful. The streets teemed. There were Indians in rainbow skirts, and Mennonite wives in bonnets speaking a curious German, selling homemade cheese produced on their nearby farms. Finches in wooden cages told your fortune for a peso. Native men beckoned in broken English to tourist men, something about women and shows and donkeys [...]

Because of its proximity to Juarez, thousands of Mexicans shopped near the placita every day, including Sunday. Little stores blanketed its periphery. They sold things monied people have no interest in: tube socks from China, bras from China, fake Nikes from who knows where, push-up-butt panties from China, and second-hand clothing for 50 cents a pound (including, if you plowed deep through the piles, Diane Von Furstenberg, Adrienne Vittadini and other gently used designer items from the Goodwills of New York, making a final stop before continuing in bales to the Third World) [...]

young, self-styled progressives ran their own campaigns, and soon they were heading the local government. They were a new breed who had gone to great colleges and universities out of town. The sheepskins of El Paso’s elite formerly came from the Texas College of Mines, Southern Methodist University, and Baylor. The upstarts sported diplomas from Princeton, NYU, Stanford, Emory, Columbia. They’d absorbed the rhetoric of immigration and rights—as well as a painful understanding of how the Reagan era had withdrawn federal money from the cities of America, leaving them as desperate and pathetic as the women scrubbing windows with crumpled newspapers, the illegal lime sellers, the freight-train amputees on the international bridge.

Back in their new elected jobs on the border, these young people came to understand what almost every politician in the nation knew: that to get anything done, they would need to placate big business.

The big business community in El Paso was developing its own new breed. Instead of stashing art collections in their houses, they were donating money to museums to purchase paintings for the public to enjoy. They were forming economic-development think tanks that stressed that public corruption discouraged corporate investment; corruption should be rooted from El Paso and punished."
elpaso  remakes  texas  2013  borders  us  mexico  border  juarez  cities  via:Taryn  juárez  ciudadjuárez 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Alberto Mendoza Day Care Center - Christian Ervin
"The central issue for the Alberto Mendoza Day Care Center is the perilous relationship between institution and community in an area whose future is uncertain. This low-density, low-income, largely Hispanic neighborhood in Houston’s Second Ward is soon to be destroyed and replaced with extensive parkland as part of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s master plan. The typical role of any institution-even one as small as a day care facility-is to provide a stable place for public activities. However, in this case, stability would be inconsistent with the future needs of the community. With this condition in mind, this proposal accepts that the flexibility of a nomadic architecture is necessary for the survival of a nomadic people.

The three programmatic requirements for the building--a caretaker’s house, administrative offices, and a general playroom area--are divided into three potentially transient objects. These programmatic plugs are clustered together on a given site within a site-specific armature containing the utility infrastructure for the building to form the institution, essentially from a kit-of-parts. The sizes of the volumes are designed such that they may be easily transported to a new site, rearranged, and plugged-in. The plugs are not generic; they are specific to this program but not intrinsically specific to site.

In the instance of the Neagle Street lot, the configuration of the programmatic plugs and the surface that cradles them are both carefully calibrated to local siting conditions. The caretaker’s residence is placed in the opposite corner of the site from the day care facility to allow for some privacy, but ensures the required level of safety and vision in its watchtower-like form. Indeed, as a three storey structure, it is the only plug that rises above the site-specific surface."
christianervin  2006  design  architecture  nomadism  mobility  transience  ephemerality  portability  popupschools  schools  education  schooldesign  houston  texas  ephemeral  nomads 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Flaco Jimenez: Tiny Desk Concert : NPR
"Jimenez is part of a musical continuum that reaches from 19th-century Mexico all the way to The Rolling Stones. And he does it by playing waltzes on a button accordion."
flacojimenez  2012  tinydeskconcerts  tinydesk  accordion  texas  mexico  music 
august 2013 by robertogreco
The Battle Over Border Security | Here & Now
"Bloomberg News is reporting that when House lawmakers leave Washington this week for a five week break they’ll be buttonholed at public events — even hounded at the grocery store — by advocates for and against immigration reform.

Beefing up border security is one flashpoint.

The Senate has passed a $46 billion plan to double the number of agents on the U.S.-Mexico border, and add more cameras, sensors, drones and fencing.

But there’s new border security plan that’s coming to light that politicians and border town residents are seizing on. It was was quietly and unanimously approved by the House Homeland Security Committee back in May.

The plan simply instructs Homeland Security to write a border security plan that ensures that 90 percent of the illegal border crossers in high-traffic areas are caught within 33 months, and across the entire southern border within five years."
border  borders  us  mexico  2013  policy  politics  security  economics  arizona  nogales  elpaso  texas 
july 2013 by robertogreco
PaperCity | Arts | Art + Social Consciousness = A Couple Called de Menil
"Imagine a contest held to anoint the most influential art couple of all time. Surely the top vote-getters would be Houston’s John and Dominique de Menil, catalytic philanthropists whose lives intersected — and impacted — not only modern art, but architecture, film, human rights and politics in ways that positively, profoundly and humanistically altered 20th-century and 21st-century history in Texas and beyond. (The Dia Art Foundation was established by Menil progeny, for example.) Now a volume arrives that chronicles their legacy: Art and Activism: Projects of John and Dominique de Menil."
johndemenil  dominiquedemenil  art  history  houston  2010  texas  demenil  books 
july 2013 by robertogreco
A+ Unlimited Potential - Museum District | Houston A+ Challenge
"A+UP is a tuition-free, open application middle school scheduled to open in Houston’s Museum District in Fall 2013. We are now accepting applications to join our first class of 40 sixth graders. We will add a new class of sixth graders each year, and by 2015 our school will serve students in grades 6-8.

A+UP offers families a unique alternative to traditional school models. Our teachers are known as Learning Coaches, because they design technology-rich curriculum to fit each student’s unique needs. The school itself serves as a safe, supportive place for young adults to access the many high-quality academic resources now available online.

Classes are held ON-SITE at a broad range of Houston’s finest learning institutions, including:

• The Health Museum
• The Museum of Natural Science
• The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
• The Houston Zoo
• The Children's Museum, and
• The Holocaust Museum Houston.

This “mobile” setting allows students to utilize these collections and resources for in-depth, hands-on learning projects, while reinforcing the school’s core principle: that 21st century learning transcends time and space."

[via: http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/memorial/data/new-middle-school-set-to-open-in-museum-district-this/article_7c1fe151-04b9-543d-adc5-ad7036b3b8b5.html ]

[See also: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/A-mobile-middle-school-for-Museum-District-4590318.php ]
cityasclassroom  museums  schools  a+up  houston  texas  education  mobileclassroom  mobile  nomadicclassroom  2013  tcsnmy  ncmideas  teaching  learning  openstudioproject  lcproject  cicelybenoit  jennifermascheck  scottvanbeck  paulcastro 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Seven Bad Things That Will Happen After a “Border Surge” | Washington Office on Latin America
"1. It will cost a lot of money.
2. People will keep trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
3. Of those who attempt to cross, more will die on U.S. soil.
4. For Border Patrol, very rapid growth spells trouble.
5. Abuses of migrants could multiply.
6. Large amounts of drugs will still be smuggled through ports of entry.
7. Border Patrol agents may find themselves with little to do."
border  borders  security  bordersurge  2013  california  arizona  texas  borderpatrol  mexico  us  policy 
june 2013 by robertogreco
On the Border - In Focus - The Atlantic
"The border between the United States and Mexico stretches 3,169 kilometers (1,969 miles), crossing deserts, rivers, towns, and cities from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico. Every year, an estimated 350 million people legally cross the border, with another 500,000 entering into the United States illegally. No single barrier stretches across the entire border, instead, it is lined with a patchwork of steel and concrete fences, infrared cameras, sensors, drones, and nearly 20,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents. As immigrants from Mexico and other Central and South American countries continue to try to find their way into the U.S., Congress is now considering an immigration reform bill called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. The bill proposes solutions to current border enforcement problems and paths to citizenship for the estimated 11 million existing illegal immigrants in the U.S. Gathered here are images of the US-Mexico border from the past few years."
sandiego  tijuana  tecate  nogales  ciudadjuarez  elpaso  arizona  california  us  mexico  border  borders  drones  fences  immigration  texas  droneproject 
may 2013 by robertogreco
The Journey to Border Monument Number 140 | San Diego | Artbound | KCET
"In 2007, I began photographing the monuments that mark the border between Mexico and the United States. My intent was to document each of the 276 obelisks installed by the International Boundary Commission following the Mexican/American War. The monuments locate the land-boundary as it extends west, from El Paso/Juarez to Tijuana/San Diego, through highly populated urban areas and some of the most remote expanses of Chihuahuan and Sonoran desert. The contemporary survey became reflective of a survey conducted by the photographer D.R. Payne between 1891 and 1895 under the auspices of the Boundary Commission. It also functions as a geographic cross-section of a border in the midst of change. Responses to immigration, narcotrafficking and the imperatives of a post-9/11 security climate prompted more change along the border in the early 2000's than had occurred since the boundary was established. Thus, the completed project exists as a typology, with the incongruous obelisks acting as witness to a shifting national identity as expressed through an altered physical terrain."
obelisks  us  mexico  border  borders  photography  sandiego  tijuana  2013  2007  texas  davidtaylor  elpaso  juarez  monuments  juárez  ciudadjuárez 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Low Design Office
"This house weaves green building and contemporary design into the context of its Austin, Texas neighborhood -- on a budget."
lowdesignoffice  architecture  texas  austin  design  houses  homes 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Low Design Office [LOWDO]
"…is an architecture studio that realizes high design through low cost, low energy technologies and solutions.

Our goal is more with less: Achieve high impact results with low environmental impact, low carbon/material footprints, and low maintenance energetics. We contend that meaningful aesthetics and design innovation emerge from bottom-up responses to low supply: In the search for new socioeconomic and environmental equilibria in society today, low is the new minimalism. We believe that humans and ecologies perform best at low stress levels, and that by optimizing efficiency we can both maximize the transformational power of built environments and inspire reflection on the contemporary world and our roles within it. As a low design office we work to construct buildings and create places that amplify opportunities for all people, regardless of class and culture.

PROCESS

Our process is design/build. Because we understand both construction and design sides of making buildings…"
environment  sustainability  lowenergy  lowcost  ghana  texas  austin  design  architecture 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Video: Marfa: The Light and the Land | Watch Arts in Context Online | KLRU Video
"Explore the remote Texas city of Marfa which attracts visitors including those interested in literary pursuits, fine arts and the metaphysical. Known for its mysterious lights, colorful characters, ranching roots and tourism, Marfa is fast becoming a thriving and eclectic creative community."
art  video  pbs  2011  chinatifoundation  texas  marfa 
december 2012 by robertogreco
W. Tucker
"I am inspired by those things in our environment that have become worn or distressed by nature or human intervention - such as the billboard that has been partially stripped away, a wall that is peeling away layers, or a metal utility phone box plastered with paper. These visual encounters remind me of the nature, beauty and simplicity of the process of aging, the process of change.

In a subtle way, my work mirrors these steps – building and stripping away – engaging in and allowing a process of change to be a part of the work.

I am not conscious of representing a specific story or idea as I work. The exact meaning of a piece in many instances eludes me. In the end I am more often struck by an emotional response to what I paint and draw."
texas  austin  artists  art  wtucker  via:lizettegreco 
november 2012 by robertogreco
I wonder, sometimes: if the south seceded now,... - Fresser.
Kevin Slavin on the idea of Texas and secession:

"I wonder, sometimes: if the south seceded now, would the United States fight to keep it?

To answer the question rationally (which is not how it would be answered) you’d need to know what economic power certain states contribute to the US, as opposed to what they draw down. I have no expertise in this, but I’ll bet it doesn’t look like it did in 1861.

But for the record, Texas — as contemptible as its politics might be — is still the 2nd highest GSP, and has more farmland, cattle, oil and tech than you might want it to.

So let’s keep Texas. The problem might just be the Texans.
Even there, keep in mind that Texas was a Democratic stronghold until very recent history. And since it’s one of a few (welcome) “Majority Minority” states — and we know how they play out politically — I don’t think anyone has to hate on Texas. They just have to wait."
us  minorities  change  patience  politics  time  2012  texas 
november 2012 by robertogreco
Half an Hour: The Robot Teachers
"There is an ongoing and incessant campaign afoot to privatize education. In the United States, education is almost the last bastion of public expenditure. In Canada, both health care and education face the forces of privatization and commercialization.

The results are wholly predictable. In all cases, the result will be a system that favours a small moneyed elite and leaves the rest of the population struggling to obtain whatever health and education they can obtain with their meagre holdings. As more wealth accumulates in the hands of the corporations and the wealthy, the worse health and education outcomes become for the less well-off in society.

(Indeed, from my perspective, one of the greatest scams perpetrated by the wealthy about the education system is that it has a liberal bias. …)"

But here's where the challenge arises for the education and university system: it was designed to support income inequality and designed to favour the wealthy."
via:tealtan  economics  policy  politics  schooling  oligarchy  wealth  wealthy  sorting  tonybates  liberalbias  criticalthinking  higherorderskills  texas  california  corporations  corporatism  bias  corruption  influence  wealthdistribution  poverty  inequity  disparity  capitalism  adaptivelearningsystems  mitx  udemy  coursera  learninganalytics  programmedlearning  universalhealthcare  healthcare  deschooling  publiceducation  onlinelearning  canon  cv  technology  scriptedlearning  robotteachers  democracy  highereducation  highered  moocs  pedagogy  hierarchies  hierarchy  inequality  schools  education  privatization  privilege  us  canad  2012  stephendownes  mooc 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Abandoned Walmart Transformed Into A Functioning Library - PSFK
Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle’s design of the McAllen Pubilc Library in Texas is a case study of creative reuse.
2012  texas  mcakken  design  adaptivereuse  walmart  library  libraries  architecture 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Journey to the transnational narcopolitical city - Op-Ed - Domus
"Model of "Texanomic" success or a shadowy narcotics-fueled node? Either way El Paso is the model of the 21st-century transnational pivot point"

"I can just see myself peering at the big empty skies, probably finding nothing, wondering: Does Joel Kotkin, or anyone, for that matter, understand this city better than the drone does? As a spectre of a violent and militaristic narcourbanism, this desert apparition can be endlessly admired, traversed, measured, and quantified. One gets more and more absorbed by its ever-multiplying abstractions, while whatever it is that the cartel bosses and the politicians do simply continues, unabated."
elpaso  texas  ciudadjuarez  javierarbona  2011  cities  economics  drugs  narcotraficantes  narco  borders  mexico  us  neoliberalism  fraud  crime  moneylaundering 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Austin Bat Cave
"Austin Bat Cave is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides children and teenagers (ages 6-18) with opportunities to develop their creative and expository writing skills. We connect a diverse population of young writers and learners with a vibrant community of adult volunteers in Austin. All of our programs are free.

At ABC, we understand that public school teachers are the hardest-working people in town. With all our programs, we strive to be a resource, mobilizing volunteers to help teachers accomplish what they might not be able to accomplish on their own."
writing  reading  kids  826  nonprofit  austin  texas  lcproject  austinbatcave  teaching  learning  mentoring  nonprofits 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Very Deep in America by Lorrie Moore | The New York Review of Books
"“Rooting is in our blood,” Janet Malcolm has written, and when traveling around this country one would be hard-pressed not to notice that sports stadiums have become to the United States what opera houses are to Germany. Every community has one, even ones without much money. Friday Night Lights, whose final season has just come to a close, is a weekly hour-long dramatic series (forty-three minutes without commercials) whose focus is a high school football team and its place in a particular Texas town by the fictional name of Dillon—inspired by the real-life town of Odessa."
tv  fridaynightlights  lorriemore  television  2011  books  film  texas  sports  americanfootball  football  us  culture 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Suspension is an adult choice with disastrous consequences « Generation YES Blog
"This study is staggering, and not just for its documentation of the “prison pipeline” that suspension policies create. Not even for the finding that when students are suspended or expelled, the likelihood that they will repeat a grade, not graduate, and/or become involved in the juvenile justice system increases significantly. Or even that African-American students and children with particular educational disabilities who qualify for special education were suspended and expelled at especially high rates.

All those sobering facts pale in comparison to the finding that as the Washington Post story says, “Here’s one myth of school debunked: Harsh discipline is not always a reflection of the students in a particular school. It can be driven by those in charge. In a study of nearly a million Texas children described as an unprecedented look at discipline, **researchers found that nearly identical schools suspended and expelled students at very different rates.**“"
prisonpipeline  suspension  discipline  texas  race  learningdisabilities  sylviamartinez  delinquency  2011  justice  juvenilejustice 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Austin Center for Design | An educational institution in Austin, Texas, teaching Interaction Design and Social Entrepreneurship
"Austin Center for Design exists to transform society through design and design education. This transformation occurs through the development of design knowledge directed towards all forms of social and humanitarian problems.

AC4D offers a one year program - held on site (on nights and weekends) in Austin, Texas - emphasizing creative problem solving related to human behavior, through the use of advanced technology and novel approaches to business strategy.

The program is ideal for designers, artists, business professionals and technologists with 2-5 years experience doing professional work, or for more seasoned professionals looking to change the trajectory of their careers.

Our curriculum includes instruction in ethnography, prototyping, service design, theory, usability testing, and financial company structures."
education  design  teaching  schools  highereducation  alternative  highered  jonkolko  austin  texas  lcproject  incubator  designthinking  human  behavior  business  technology  humanitarian  humanitariandesign  socialentrepreneurship  entrepreneurship  prototyping  servicedesign 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Guernica / Forgotten but Not Gone
"There was at least one place, I would discover, where that “instant” of Borges persisted, a land where Borges lived on as both Borges and “I,” legend and life. That place is Texas. Starting in 1961, Borges made five visits to the state—first, to teach for a semester in Austin as a visiting professor; then to lecture on Cervantes and Whitman as a literary celebrity. When Borges died on June 14, 1986, the University of Texas’s main campus lowered its flags to half-mast, a rare tribute for a writer and a perplexing honor for one without deep Texas roots. Why had Texas so embraced Borges? And why had Borges continued to return there throughout the final twenty-five years of his life?

In early January, I began to investigate what seemed a long-forgotten romance."
borges  texas  history  ut  literature  childhood  reading  writing  aging  age  meaning  2011  kafka  kierkegaard  blindness  utaustin  carterwheelcock  ercibenson  argentina  waltwhitman  cervantes  ficciones 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Print - Walking the Border - Esquire
"There is only one way to understand the 1,933-mile line that divides our country from Mexico. Start at the beach and walk east until you hit the Gulf."
mexico  immigration  us  borders  sandiego  california  arizona  newmexico  walking  lukedittrich  maps  geography  migration  texas  photography  2011 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Southwest by South - Ta-Nehisi Coates - Personal - The Atlantic
"My friend schooled me on the best running path. And we talked about architecture, Austin, and the horror and beauty of the South. (Everything is a problem.) In large measure, I'm missing out on the whole festival. I did a panel on distraction and the internet. I went to a party where Diplodocus was spinning (I decline to abbreviate, because "Diplodocus" is too awesome of a word. I insist on taking every opportunity to employ it.) But there's a gang-bang element here, one you tend to find at all festivals, but one I generally dislike all the same. So I revel in the small moments, margherita pizza and red wine. A chance to greet a fellow Commie."
introverts  ta-nehisicoates  sxsw  texas  slavery  2011  austin  janeausten  diplodocus  parenthood  distraction  attention  relationships 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Rethinking Everything: An international conference for freedom loving families
"Founded 17 years ago as the Rethinking Education conference and officially morphing in 2009 to Rethinking Everything…

At the heart of  Rethinking Everything is the awareness that the most important way we can effect positive, enlightened change in the world is by entirely rethinking the nature of childhood and the environments we create to support the   THRIVING of children and their families.

RE supports the belief that children are supremely and fundamentally capable of absorbing and using knowledge from our complex world. There is no need for arbitrary structure in parenting or education; the use of coercion, rewards or other behavior modification techniques as motivation are always counterproductive. With freedom, respect and nurturing support, children have a powerful drive to self-direct their own learning; the result being children who direct their own education…indeed, their own futures."
unschooling  learning  education  parenting  sustainability  progressive  glvo  dallas  texas  conferences  deschooling 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Not Even Past | "The past is never dead. It's not even past." - William Faulkner
"…provides dynamic, accessible, short articles on every field of History. Founded in 2010 & developed by the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin, Not Even Past speaks to everyone interested in the past & in the ways the past lives on in the present.

History leaves no life untouched & the story of every life deserves to be told. Not Even Past is, first & foremost, a home for these stories. It is also a place for all who are interested in history to meet one another & share their viewpoints, to learn what books & films historians are reading and watching, and to gather perspectives on national, international, & Texas events of contemporary interest.

The title of the website reflects our professional and ethical commitment to understanding history as a public conversation about the importance of the past for our actions, values, and beliefs in the present and for the decisions we make today that will affect our lives—and those who come after us—tomorrow"
history  teaching  texas  socialstudies  memory  classideas  past  notevenpast 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Bruce Sterling: The Complete Interview « 40kBooks
"Contemporary writing is loaded with strange little details of erudition that used to be expensive and difficult to research. For instance, let's consider an obscure, dusty figure like, say, Massimo d'Azeglio. Or rather, [bunch of facts about him]… No American should properly know anything about this man. It took me 57 seconds to research that on Google, and that included cutting and pasting the text here.

The peril comes in thinking, as a modern writer, that you can truly understand something about Massimo Taparelli in just 57 seconds. No, you can't. To access facts is not to understand them. The Marquis d'Azeglio was an intelligent, creative and cultivated 19th century aristocrat. He was deep and broad and subtle and human, and very alien to us moderns. Modern writers may fail to understand him in this sudden electronic blizzard of bland facts about him. We may know less of him because we seem to know more of him."
scifi  writing  brucesterling  search  spimes  technology  sciencefiction  texas  travel  culture  interviews  research  understanding 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Amexica: on the frontline of the Mexican drugs trade | book extract | World news | The Observer
"Nuevo Laredo: the border town on the frontline of the drugs trade

The US-Mexico border runs for nearly 2,000 miles. Last year Observer writer Ed Vulliamy travelled its entire length. In this extract from his new book, Amexica, he tells the incredible story of the town that doubles as the world's largest transport hub for narcotics"
us  mexico  borders  drugs  narcotraficantes  edvulliamy  laredo  nuevolaredo  texas  amexica  via:regine 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Those Awful Texas Social Studies Standards
"all this Texas bashing implies that standards everywhere else are good and fair and true. In fact, other states’ social studies standards have their own conservative biases (and occasional silliness) and deserve the same critical scrutiny that Texas’ new standards are receiving. Other states may not celebrate Jefferson Davis, but neither do they encourage teachers to equip students with the historical background and analytical tools that they’ll need to understand and address today’s social and environmental crises. …

Social studies should help students grasp knowledge and tools of analysis so as to make the world a better place. Social studies should help students name and explain obstacles to justice, peace, equality, and sustainability. Instead, social studies standards like Oregon’s are simply about covering material."
standards  us  history  curriculum  bias  2010  texas  oregon  california  breadth  teaching  schools  billbigelow  socialstudies  tcsnmy 
august 2010 by robertogreco
We are respectable negroes: What Would U.S. History Look Like If It Were Written By Texas and Arizona?
Just a taste:

"1929–Great Depression begins. Tens of millions unemployed because of FDR’s failed economic policies. His New Deal introduces the nanny state, prolongs America’s economic collapse, and weakens the economy until Ronald Reagan renews America.

1941–Patriotic Japanese Americans volunteer to place themselves in gated communities so that America will be safe from Imperial Japan.

1941-1945–America enters and wins World War 2 singlehandedly because the French are cowards. Out of necessity, the United States drops atomic bombs on Japan.

1945-1965–A high point in U.S. history, as freedom and prosperity reign over all Americans.

1950–Senator Joseph McCarthy fearlessly highlights how America is infiltrated by communists from Russia and China. Big Hollywood and the liberal establishment are brought to their knees by his brave efforts."
arizona  capitalism  education  history  news  racism  satire  texas  us  classideas 
june 2010 by robertogreco
“We Pretend We Are Christians” - Freakonomics Blog - NYTimes.com
"We are agnostics living deep in the heart of Texas and our family fakes Christianity for social reasons. It’s not so much for the sake of my husband or myself but for our young children. We found by experience that if we were truthful about not being regular church attenders, the play dates suddenly ended. Thus started the faking of the religious funk.

It seemed silly but it’s all very serious business down here. We don’t go to church or teach or children one belief is “right” over another. We expose them to every kind of belief and trust that they will one day settle in to their very own spirituality. However, for the sake of friends and neighbors, we pretend we are Christians. We try not to lie but rather not to disclose unnecessary information. As the children are getting older, this isn’t so easy for them and an outing is probably eminent."

[via: http://kottke.org/10/02/pretend-christians ]
texas  religion  culture  christianity  economics  teaching  honesty 
february 2010 by robertogreco
How Christian Were the Founders? - NYTimes.com
"This is how history is made — or rather, how the hue and cry of the present and near past gets lodged into the long-term cultural memory or else is allowed to quietly fade into an inaudible whisper. Public education has always been a battleground between cultural forces; one reason that Texas’ school-board members find themselves at the very center of the battlefield is, not surprisingly, money. The state’s $22 billion education fund is among the largest educational endowments in the country. Texas uses some of that money to buy or distribute a staggering 48 million textbooks annually — which rather strongly inclines educational publishers to tailor their products to fit the standards dictated by the Lone Star State. California is the largest textbook market, but besides being bankrupt, it tends to be so specific about what kinds of information its students should learn that few other states follow its lead."

[see also: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com//features/2010/1001.blake.html ]
history  government  religion  2010  controversy  conservatism  christianity  education  politics  science  debate  creationism  textbooks  tcsnmy  texas  california  us  commentary 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: RI, the South, and the Chance for Success Index [Funny that this appears just after discussing California's constitutional and economic crises, Prop 13, high taxes in New Jersey, the state of public schools, and the such with the old man...]
[...When I mentioned that NJ taxes have bought some of the best public schools in the country, he scoffed.] "One thing that's funny is that the next day there was a post on Flypaper about the sad state of New Jersey's schools, which rank #2 on the unmodified CFSI score and #1 on the adjusted CSFI.

Beyond that, there is precious little movement in the top states based on this analysis: some middling states go down to low and some low go up to middling, but the top states, all in the northeast, mid-Atlantic, midwest or Virginia, are consistent.

Whatever this analysis is worth (and it may not be much), it is the kind of thing that makes me scratch my head about the steadily increasing Southern influence on education policy in Rhode Island and Providence. We keep pulling in more Southerners, who seem to have had some success in pulling their states from terrible to OK, but if we were just up to the level of our New England or Mid-Atlantic peers, we'd be way above Florida, Texas, etc."
policy  education  leaders  money  taxes  politics  us  national  tomhoffman  states  newjersey  california  texas  newengland  florida  experts 
january 2010 by robertogreco
The Big-Spending, High-Taxing, Lousy-Services Paradigm by William Voegeli, City Journal Autumn 2009
"California taxpayers don’t get much bang for their bucks. ... For California’s governmental-industrial complex, a new liberal administration and Congress in Washington offer plausible hope for a happy Hollywood ending. Federal aid will replace the dollars that California’s taxpayers, fed up with the state’s lousy benefits and high taxes, refuse to provide. Americans will continue to vote with their feet, either by leaving California or disdaining relocation there, but their votes won’t matter, at least in the short term. Under the coming bailout, the new 49ers—Americans in the other 49 states, that is—will be extended the privilege of paying California’s taxes. At least they won’t have to put up with its public services."
california  government  economics  politics  education  texas  taxes  libertarian  democrats  socialism  liberalism  spending  federalism 
november 2009 by robertogreco
The El Paso Miracle: How can a comparatively poor, high-immigration town that sits across the border from super-violent Ciudad Juarez be one of the safest big cities in America? - Reason Magazine
"So how has this city of poor immigrants become such an anomaly? Actually, it may not be an anomaly at all. Many criminologists say El Paso isn't safe despite its high proportion of immigrants, it's safe because of them.

"If you want to find a safe city, first determine the size of the immigrant population," says Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Massachusetts. "If the immigrant community represents a large proportion of the population, you're likely in one of the country's safer cities. San Diego, Laredo, El Paso—these cities are teeming with immigrants, and they're some of the safest places in the country.""
elpaso  sandiego  happiness  crime  immigration  society  cities  safety  guns  texas  statistics  poverty  mexico  borders  us 
july 2009 by robertogreco
California v Texas: America's future | The Economist
"The truth is that both states could learn from each other. Texas still lacks California’s great universities and lags in terms of culture. California could adopt not just Texas’s leaner state, but also its more bipartisan approach to politics and its more welcoming attitude towards Mexico. There is no perfect model of government: it is America’s genius to have 50 public-policy laboratories competing to find out what works best—just as it is the relentless competition of clever new firms from Portland to Pittsburgh that will pull the country out of its current gloom. But, to give Texas some credit and serve as a warning to Mr Schwarzenegger’s heir, at this moment America’s two most futuristic states look a lot more like equals than ever before."
via:cityofsound  california  texas  government  policy  budget  politics  energy  mexico  innovation  economics  recession  2009  culture  us  arnoldschwarzenegger  crisis 
july 2009 by robertogreco
BBC NEWS | Americas | US uses songs to deter immigrants
"They are the new secret weapon of the US Border Patrol: toe-tapping ballads with Spanish lyrics that tell of the risks of trying to cross illegally into the US from Mexico."

[via: http://archinect.com/news/article.php?id=85680_0_24_0_C ]
migration  mexico  us  politics  immigration  music  borders  texas 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Marginal Revolution: How to travel in the U.S.
A reader asks: "I was wondering whether you have similar advice for traveling in the US? If someone who has never previously visited the US asked you for five places they should visit in the US, what would be your advice? Or perhaps more generally, what should they look for in their destinations? Assume they're driving, and budget isn't an issue, and that it's not a requirement to see the most popular tourist spots. What's the best advice to properly see and experience the US, in all its diversity?" Tyler Cowen responds: "Most of all, drive as much as possible and do not shy away from a few days in the "boring" (yet wondrous) suburbs. After that, here is my list of five: 1. Manhattan 2. Detroit and the Ford Rouge plant in Dearborn 3. Memphis and the Mississippi Delta 4. San Francisco 5. Grand Canyon and southern Utah"

[... follows with discussion of possible swaps & top ten cities. I'm guessing Kottke will point to this/ask on his own blog, comments will get even more interesting.]
us  travel  tylercowen  advice  foreuropeans  nyc  manhattan  detroit  memphis  texas  sanfrancisco  boston  miami  neworleans  chicago  nola 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Salvage Love: The Story - Dwell Blog - dwell.com
"With family and friends, I wasn’t that short on hands. I knew there was never a problem that didn’t have a fix. But my pockets were pretty shallow. I had a small construction loan and a couple of credit cards to work with. I knew I wanted the house to be modern and exciting, but I also wanted it to rely on recycled materials to help it feel warm and familiar. I didn’t want my grandma to feel like an astronaut when she visits. I used building materials that could feel at home, and probably had even called home, in a house in the 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s. All of the doors were bought cheap at a local Habitat for Humanity ReStore or reused from the old house, much of the flooring was made by milling what had been the old roof decking, old framing lumber was salvaged and reused where possible, ebay was a resource, light fixtures were often made and not bought. In the end, construction costs were around $45 a sqft."
homes  design  architecture  diy  glvo  housing  austin  texas  salvage  recycling  make 
august 2008 by robertogreco
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