Sunday, April 29, 2007

Semi Independent Politicians

Durbin is no Kucinich, but the White House boat is sinking and everybody is jumping ship.

Sen. Durbin Drops Bombshells on the Senate Floor

Saying that he knew about the lies the Bush Administration was telling

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Independent Politicians

How does Dennis Kucinich calls for the impeachment of Vice President Cheney?

He runs without economic support from the owning class of the United States of America.

This is how the major media does not mention the war in Somalia and Ethiopia today. The owning class of the United States does not wish these media outlets to touch the issue.

The issue then is independence, Kucinich is an independent politician, the major news organization are not independent from the powerful forces that run the United States. I do not mean to say that there is no freedom in the US, only that if it was my decision, I will make it public that the world is warming and the African people in Kenya, Somalia, and Somalia are feeling the heat in more than one way. I expect millions to die in that part of the world in the near future and we should all be alarmed. But then again, who am I to direct what the owners of the US should do.

As a Mexican-American I can say that the owners of the US do not want Mexican families, they only want Mexican workers. Next May 1st immigrants are going to demonstrate against all the injustices committed against immigrants right now. This march can happen because the owners of the country do not have to pay for it.

The how is more important than the why.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ralph E. Gomory

Dr. Gomory published a book a few years ago, Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests. He presents there the uncomfortable economic model that points out to an apparent fundamental contradiction between free trade and the national interests of the countries involved. Recently William Greider wrote in The Nation a thoughtful article on Gomory's ideas.

What concerns me here is the unexpected development predicted by the model that the national interests of countries may contradict the interests of companies practicing free trade around the World. This is not consistent with the dogma of free trade that affirms that all parties benefit from free trade. If Dr. Gomory is right, as time passes, we will see new versions of the treaties that have been signed for the past tens of years. Maybe we will see something that could be described as a new protectionism.

There is a "divergence of interests" between the companies and the countries. To me it sounds like either political forces, different than capitalist enterprises, take over governments, or the transnational companies will. We may have a future of sovereign companies as opposed to sovereign nations.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

American Students Academic Tests

Today the juniors are having a standardized test at my school. In my state it is the PSAE test.

The school has not performed at the same level as other schools in the State. It is like my friend Alan Boss and I. We were office mates at the University of California at Santa Barbara, now I am a high school teacher looking for a job, and he is a world expert on planetary science.

What does it mean?

To me it means that my students have to do better, and I have to do better.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mexico City Lawmakers Pass Abortion Bill

Nationally, Mexico allows abortion only in cases of rape, severe birth defects or if the woman's life is at risk. Doctors sometimes refuse to perform the procedure even under those circumstances.

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Don't Fire González (by Greg Palast)

Before President Bush fired his sorry ass, US Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico, in a last sad attempt to suck up to his Republican padrones, allowed his chief mouthpiece, Norm Cairns, to speak with me. He shouldn’t have.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Alternatives to Established Institutions

Several years ago American parents disatisfied with public schools started the alternative school system. When we immigrated to the US in 1994 we took advantage of the laws of the state of Illinois to homeschool our daughter. She had a good time, maybe she did not learn much, she has not finished college yet; but there are some works of art she did, that I am very proud of, and I believe she did that because she felt free. She did go to established schools, all the way to the university level. My son also went through a homeschool period and now is doing well in the public high school near our house.

On the other hand, I have some students now in the public high school where I teach that act as if in jail.

I do not have a set opinion. I do not believe that public schools are doomed to fail and that the way out are charter or home schools. But by the same token alternative schools should not be dismissed out of hand.

Now that I am looking for a new place to work, because the school administration did not rehire me, and the referendum to increase taxes did not pass, I am again considering alternatives. The immigrant community of this neighborhood can take the future in their own hands. They are already doing that with private-public transportation and some family businesses. Maybe is time that I take the plunge. If the old system cannot digest me, I have to find a way to contribute to my community.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I Think, Therefore I Am

The old cartesian thought is as good a place to start today's meditation as any. I am trying to make sense of my situation and the needed steps to go forward. The saying allows me to start from scratch. I am in front of my keyboard after reading the news from The NYT, Newsweek, Time, and the Mexico City, La Jornada. Today's is Earth Day, I was reminded of my responsibility as a citizen of the Earth.

I am short of cash and without a job offer for next fall.

I see some opportunities based on the following developments. On May 1st, there will be a second immigrant march in all of the US. Last year hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in the streets and succeeded in calling attention to a grave problem. The illegal status of millions of people in this country. The recent announcement by the IPCC on the state of the Earth calls all of us to action. In consequence there are some tasks ahead of us. I can be doing next year some work for both causes. Save the planet and help migration. Both are intimately related.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

School District Referendum

Our school lost the referendum to increase taxes.

It is difficult to teach children that do not have money. Now I have to find another job.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Life and Death

There is individual death and collective death. Millennialism poses that the world will end. After 2000, some people expected a big debacle. There was this incident on 9/11. After that, some things do not seem to work. James Lovelock expects collective death by global warming. But then again Thomas L. Friedman, from the NYT, expects great opportunities to save ourselves and enter into the new millennium with a lot of promise. Who is right?

There are more public figures on each side of this dichotomy, of course. Utopia or Oblivion, like Buckminster Fuller put it many years ago.

I know enough not to say the last word on this, I write here my current take on the matter.

I believe that when the end approaches, all of us will know. Therefore we need a realistic and hopeful alternative to doomsday. Maybe Michael Albert, has the solution, with participatory economics.

In issues of life and death, no stone should be left unturned.

And then there is Cho Seung-Hui.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Yesterday I saw Walkout by Edward James Olmos. This drama of 1968, reminded me of our '68 in Mexico. It was similar, the "granaderos" there hitting kids and teachers, and here the LAPD hitting only kids. I guess this country is more civilized.

Only through struggle can poor people get what we deserve. Now I teach kids, very similar to those in the movie, somehow I feel relieved I did not have to follow Sal Castro, the teacher in the movie, through the same steps. Come September, I won't be teaching in this school anymore.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lev Cantoral

My brother found my father yesterday looking for my son. Now to fill this gap here is a picture of my son.

Here he is having a good time for a movie he did at school.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Ramiro Humberto Cajas Cantoral (1918-1980)

This is my father's given name. I made a Google search and nothing came out on him. I am adding this note to the noosphere to remedy that oversight.

My father was a great man.

His untimely death at the age of sixty two years, put an end to what could have been a good life.

He left his country, Guatemala, at age eighteen. He felt he had to go. He entered Mexico illegally, and made a life there. During War World II he came to the United States through the "bracero" program. At some point he went back to Mexico to get married with my mother and planned to bring us all here. That was not to happen. I am the only one that made it here.

He was a poet and a dreamer, and a man of high moral standing. At a young age he decided that he was not going to believe in angels walking on clouds. He used to tell us kids that humans had gone out of the atmosphere and to the Moon, and no heaven was found. He had to see objective proof of religious beliefs before he jumped into the bandwagon.

Well now, as far as I know, this is the only note on my father on the noosphere.

November 29, 1918 - December 7, 1980.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I have applied for jobs during my life. Now I am doing it again. Just as a guide I write here ideas that go around my head because of this. I can also make my own occupation, I have done that before but without permanent success.

In any case I need a network of acquaintances and friends. I have lived in two countries and that opens possibilities for bi-national enterprises, but I have never done this before. I try to get here a very high level view of my situation.

I have a friend from Nepal that asked a friend from India about a job in Illinois for me. I met my friend more than thirty years ago, when we both were students; actually we were roommates for a little while. This may lead somewhere, at this point I don't know.

My record shows that I can do technical work. Maybe not a great innovator, but I am competent in technical matters.

I have also taught for more than thirty years now. I feel more comfortable with mature students that spend time in their studies. My publication record limits the higher education institutions I can approach.

Finally there is that feeling since I was younger that I can do something that nobody can do. The jury is still out on that one.


* Be cautious about allowing soldiers and marines to fraternize with local children. Homesick troops want to drop their guard with kids. But insurgents are watching. They notice any friendships between troops and children. They may either harm the children as punishment or use them as agents.

I read this in an article by Robert Fisk. This is one recommendation from a military document.

It saddens me that poor children cannot be completely friendly with outsiders without risking getting hurt, or hurting others.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Are There Enough Troops?

Right now the US military presence in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, it seems to me, makes it hard for troops to be sent to Iran and North Korea. Of course there may be enough unemployed Americans, or illegal immigrants that may join the armed forces.

I do not see how America could disengage itself from the present and future hot spots I see opening up all over the world, even in places as close as Louisiana, and California.

An ever growing desert in the Sahara, and the Southeast US can only produce more trouble to the people trying to eke out a living there.

Even in Iraq it is getting harder to eke out a living, as you can read here.

My answer to the question posed here is that there are not enough troops now, but they will be there when it becomes obvious to more people, what already seems obvious to me. We are in a new world crisis with no visible end in the near future.


As you may remember I am looking for a job. Starting in September I will not teach in the same high school as now.

I found a site with many links to free books for Unix. I learned this operating system when I worked at Lucent, now Alcatel-Lucent, several years ago. This is good to have to refresh and improve my skills.

You can find the link in the post below.

MASSIVE Archive of FREE linux/programming books

Hundreds of free books online covering a wide range of topics.

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