Archive for Family

Bernie vs. Hillary — Family Tale Podcast

HillhugWho said, “A house divided against itself cannot have a peaceful dinner?” No one. Then, how about, Proverbs 17:1 — “Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.”

My family did not quite rise to disowning and blows, but we were riven. Mot were strongly Bernie Sanders supporters versus one very strong Hillary Clinton proponent.

I talked about our difficulties as a microcosm of the leftist struggle this election. No family members were hospitalized in this house.

I mused on the likelihood of Sanders-to-Clinton voting, both for us and for the nation. Even with young voters heavily favoring Sanders, he did not mobilize them or add new ones as well as Barack Obama in ’08. The phrase of note for November 8th will surely be GOTV.

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Perils of Impatience Podcast

Consider this a sort of break from pure politics and a follow-up to the multitasking rant earlier this month. If you’re not too impatient to do a bit of reading, check out the Pew Report Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives.

I tee off on this report, observations and other readings. Then I posit a bifurcation. The instant gratifiers who are constantly connected invariably push themselves into short attention spans. They feel, feel, feel. They feel they are worthy of the fastest net connections, fastest phone connections, and zero waits for page loads. These extreme first-world issues can seem amusing, but they are also crippling.

Those who habituate themselves to snippets like tweets quickly lose the ability to and have no interest in analysis, much less reading. That can seem very trendy, yet at what cost. As Pew’s work points out, it means stress and dissatisfaction, and a serious loss of mental skills.

I go to hold that there will be a great bifurcation. The Millennials and close groups will break down into those who can analyze and assimilate information and those who only parrot snatches of this and that and the other. Employers and customer, even acquaintances, will see the distinctions among those who live by impulse and thinkers. Whoa to the instant gratification types.

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Globe Paywall Decision Podcast

In a personal show, I discuss what lead to stopping delivery of the local paper…after 30 years. Boston Globe owners are right in there with cable providers in jacking up prices and seeing how much subscribers will tolerate.

They passed my chokepoint at last. That was hard to do, getting a former reporter and lifelong newspaper reader to drop them.

For a bit of background, we had a paywall show in 2009, with newspaper publisher Martin Langeveld, available here.

The economics of cash-rich, low-inventory newspapers are unlike most businesses. They also need customers to justify their real source of income, advertising. Driving customers away by attempting to profiteer off them, treating them as a profit center, seems foolish, but is the new norm.

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Connolly on 1 student at a time

It’s both fair and unfair that John Connolly will always be known as Boston’s almost Mayor. He came very close in the last election (disclaimer: I endorsed him).

Yet over a year later, he’s immersed in his real passion — education. He joined Left Ahead today to talk about his 1647 pilot program to make public school work, one student at a time.

If you want the background, you can keep checking he 1647 website, but it now is nude, with only contact info. You can get the basics of Connolly’s role in a Boston Globe article here. To see the organization that showed Connolly how to do home visits and other family engagement, replete with numerous research documents, check the Flamboyen Foundation here. Flamboyen ran with the home-visit process and perfected it in Puerto Rico and D.C.

After the mayoral race, Connolly wasn’t up for practicing law or running for public office again. Instead, he settled into Chris Gabrieli’s National Center on Time & Learning in Boston in a small space. He’s launched the 1647 pilot program, with a single paid staffer. He’s been working with teachers in a school in Salem as proof of concept locally. They’ll expand there, then on to another gateway city, and eventually to Boston.

Listen in as he speaks of the concept, at once commonsensical and idealistic. At its rawest, it means a teacher arranging with one or both parents to visit the home to find out how the student studies and learn best. Parents are understandably wary at first, thinking the call is because the kid is in trouble. The next reaction is incredulity; no teacher has ever wanted to know how my child learns.

Of course, done well, this process almost invariably leads to such advances as higher grades, better attendance, and parents knowing what to do to help their kids. The investment up front by teachers is big, with bigger benefits.

I asked the obvious, such as do you have to compensate the teachers (yes), are parents, teachers and students suspicious (yes), and does it make much difference if the home has books, internet, educated parents and other resources (not really as that’s not the point of the home-visit process). Instead, listen in as Connolly speaks about the key factor in the per-student relationship, trust.

He gave an example of the adversarial relationship parents typically had with school before the home visits and how that changed. The teachers did have to put out, but the payback was substantial.


icon for podpress  John Connolly 1647 [33:32m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Tweaking Boston Schools One Kid at a Time

John Connolly1647, when Boston opened its first public school, and now 1647 is a nascent organization to change education here. He was the education City Councilor and didn’t give up on it after he lost his race for Mayor. He comes on to explain his theories, methods, aims and results.

If you can listen live, click here on Tuesday, February 24th at 2:30 PM Eastern. You can catch his show anytime afterward at that link, back here at Left Ahead, or on our iTunes page.


My Hand to Your Mouth

Mike BallIn homage to Thanksgiving, Mike shifted from the usual politics to food. This was a show about his upbringing, family gardens, Boomer lack of choices, his grandparents, shopping open-air markets, and stocking a pantry and a spice cabinet.

His WV grandparents grew and made the food. He learned by doing from elementary school by cooking for his working mother. He loves all aspects of food, from farming to selecting to preserving to prep to cooking to eating.

There is special emphasis on open-air markets, like Boston’s Haymarket. Walk through once to scope out the choices, quality and prices, then a second time to buy. That lets you plan the week’s menu based on the treasures you have in your bags.

Likewise, he advises stocking your pantry and spice racks well. Your ideal should be to have at hand what you need to work out of your fridge and pantry to make a whole meal.

Otherwise, next week may be a bye. We have lots of guests for our big meal and our ensuing battle of the pies. Then it’s back to politics.

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