Showing posts from September, 2009

Arundhati Roy on Democracy Now

Arundhati Roy, world-renowned Indian author and global justice activist. Her first novel, The God of Small Things, won the Booker Prize in 1997. Since then she has written numerous essays on war, climate change and the dangers of free market development in India. Her new book, published today by Haymarket Books, is called Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. An adapted introduction to the book is also posted on

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AMY GOODMAN: We turn to a woman the New York Times calls India’s most impassioned critic of globalization and American influence, Arundhati Roy, world-renowned Indian author and global justice activist. Her first novel, The God of Small Things, won the Booker Prize in 1997. She has a new book; it’s called Fi…


=== - Daily Quote ===

Have you ever looked at fear?

Have you ever faced fear? Please listen to the question carefully. Have you ever looked at fear? Or in the moment of being aware of fear, are you already in a state of flight from the fact? I will go into it a little bit, and you will see what I mean.

We name, we give a term to our various feelings, don't we? In saying, 'I am angry', we have given a term, a name, a label to a particular feeling. Now, please watch your own minds very clearly. When you have a feeling, you name that feeling; you call it anger, lust, love, pleasure, don't you? And this naming of the feeling is a process of intellection which prevents you from looking at the fact, that is, at the feeling.

You know, when you see a bird and say to yourself that it is a parrot or a pigeon or a crow, you are not looking at the bird. You have already ceased to look at the fact because the word parrot or pigeon or crow has come between you and the …

Executive Functioning in preschoolers

NYT's magazine has an interesting article on the importance of executive functioning among preschoolers and how once this skill of waiting and organization is developed, it will lead to later academic success.

Come on, Abigail.”

“No, wait!” Abigail said. “I’m not finished!” She was bent low over her clipboard, a stubby pencil in her hand, slowly scratching out the letters in the book’s title, one by one: T H E. . . .

“Abigail, we’re waiting!” Jocelyn said, staring forcefully at her classmate. Henry, sitting next to her, sighed dramatically.

“I’m going as fast as I can!” Abigail said, looking harried. She brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes and plowed ahead: V E R Y. . . .

The three children were seated at their classroom’s listening center, where their assignment was to leaf through a book together while listening on headphones to a CD with the voice of a teacher reading it aloud. The book in question was lying on the table in front of Jocelyn, and every few seconds, Abigail woul…

Why I love Al- Jazeera

It is quite ironic that all the major news channels are using footage from Al-Jazeera including BBC world news.

Why I Love Al Jazeera
The Arab TV channel is visually stunning, exudes hustle, and covers the globe like no one else. Just beware of its insidious despotism.

Robert Kaplan in The Atlantic:

Has anyone watched the English-language version of Al Jazeera lately? The Qatar-based Arab TV channel’s eclectic internationalism—a feast of vivid, pathbreaking coverage from all continents—is a rebuke to the dire predictions about the end of foreign news as we know it. Indeed, if Al Jazeera were more widely available in the United States—on nationwide cable, for example, instead of only on the Web and several satellite stations and local cable channels—it would eat steadily into the viewership of The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer. Al Jazeera—not Lehrer—is what the internationally minded elite class really yearns for: a visually stunning, deeply reported description of developments in dozens upon d…

Ahmed Rashid

Ahmed Rashid has a great article in the NY Review of books on the current situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

To Live or to Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years in Pakistan
by Nicholas Schmidle
Henry Holt, 254 pp., $25.00

Seeds of Terror: How Heroin Is Bankrolling the Taliban and al Qaeda
by Gretchen Peters
Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's, 300 pp., $25.95

On August 5, Baitullah Mehsud, the all-powerful and utterly ruthless commander of the Pakistani Taliban, was killed in a US missile strike in South Waziristan. At the time of the strike, he was undergoing intravenous treatment for a kidney ailment, and was lying on the roof of his father-in-law's house with his young second wife. At about one o'clock that morning, a missile fired by an unmanned CIA drone tore through the house, splitting his body in two and killing his wife, her parents, and seven bodyguards.

His death marked the first major breakthrough in the war against extremist leaders in Pakistan since 2003, when several top a…

Private Schools outperform public schools in India.

Sepia Mutiny reports that public schools in India are performing poorly due to high teacher absentism, probably due to low salaries.

A few months back, I pointed mutineers at a new book - The Beautiful Tree - which documented the surprising success of very low cost, unchartered, private schools in India. Although some charged as little as $1-$2 per child, per month and they solidly outperformed their government counterparts -

It ain't pretty but it works...

The results from Delhi were typical. In mathematics, mean scores of children in government schools were 24.5 percent, whereas they were 42.1 percent in private unrecognized schools and 43.9 percent in private recognized. That is, children in unrecognized private schools scored nearly 18 percentage points more in math than children in government schools (a 72 percent advantage!), while children in recognized private schools scored over 19 percentage points more than children in government schools (a 79 percent advantage).

In a blog…

Tomie dePaola

Babble has an interview with Italian Children's book writer and illustrator, Tomie dePaola.

For forty years, Tomie dePaola has been writing and illustrating — providing generations of children with more than 250 classics, among them Newberry Honor and Caldecott winners. But it's his wise Italian grandmother with a penchant for pasta who has bewitched books off the shelves. With a new story, Strega Nona's Harvest, simmering in the pot and hitting shelves this September, dePaola sat down with Babble. The author cast a spell on us with his stories of being banned from learning Italian as a boy, his early years as an illustrator and the real origin of Strega Nona — all interspersed with plenty of laughter. — Jeanne Sager

How does it feel knowing that Strega Nona is being read by kids of people who read it as kids?

That's a little scary. (Laughs/) It's when the grandkids of kids who read it are reading it that I'll know I've been around too long!

But Strega Nona&#…

thought for today for someone who is having a BAD day

For your heart to remain happy keep it always filled with gratefulness.
Gratefulness is the secret way to the Divine.

- The Mother [p-98, White Roses, Sixth Edition, 1999]

quote for today~

Quote of the Day - Horace Walpole - "Life is a comedy for those who think... and a tragedy for those who feel."

Tejpreet S. Chopra

This is from Outlook. A dynamic human being and well liked by many.
future leaders
Lo-Cal, Hi-Protein
Building capacities and nurturing talent is the need of the hour
Tejpreet S. Chopra
India’s steady growth amid the global recession has been a subject of wide
discussion. There’s been much debate on whether this is misplaced euphoria or the sign of a nation that has managed to insulate itself from one of the worst financial crises of recent times on the strength of its consistent growth. What is fundamentally clear in the given environment is that the country has its unique opportunities and challenges. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach does not work for global companies, more so in the context of human resource management, and in nurturing future organisational leaders.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a leader is not where she/he stands in moments of comfort, but where she/he stands at times of challenge and controversy”. The last year was a challenge tha…

Naseeruddin Shah

Wonderful interview with Naseruddin Shah, posted on Sepia Mutiny.

by Beena Sarwar, on Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan

My recent article on the ‘blasphemy’ laws, slightly edited version published in Dawn, Aug 29, op-ed as ‘A misguided mindset. Also up on my blog Journeys to democracy

Karachi, Aug 26

Stopping the rot

Beena Sarwar

The introspection, debate and outrage generated a month ago by the attacks on two villages in Gojra on July 31 and Aug 1 may be out of public sight, as happened all too often in the past, but the nine people murdered and the homes and churches gutted are not out of mind. Neither is Najeeb Zafar, the young factory owner in Sheikhupura, Punjab, killed on August 4 for allegedly desecrating Quranic verses when he removed a calendar from a wall. The following day, police in Sanghar, Sindh, saved a similarly accused 60-year old woman, Akhtari Malkani by taking her in protective custody.

On the surface, these incidents were motivated by passions aroused by allegations of blasphemy or disrespect to the holy Quran. These criminal charges can be punishable by death – but this is a punishmen…

Multisensory structured language programs

Multisensory Structured Language Programs: Content and Principles of Instruction

What is taught
Phonology and phonological awareness
Phonology is the study of sounds and how they work within their environment. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a given language that can be recognized as being distinct from other sounds in the language. Phonological awareness is the understanding of the internal linguistic structure of words. An important aspect of phonological awareness is phonemic awareness or the ability to segment words into their component sounds.

Sound-symbol association
This is the knowledge of the various sounds in the English language and their correspondence to the letters and combinations of letters which represent those sounds. Sound-symbol association must be taught (and mastered) in two directions: visual to auditory and auditory to visual. Additionally, students must master the blending of sounds and letters into words as well as the segmenting of whole words i…