Thailand’s struggle for democracy–the message is?

It may not be international news for most Americans, but with reports of over 100,000 tourists stranded in Thailand due to protests at Bangkok’s international airport, the point is being made that Thais are tired of corruption at the national level to the international community.

Unfortunately for the protesters, it seems like their message is not getting out in a cohesive way.  Lots of issues are at stake in these protests (which have actually been going on since August)–country versus city dwellers, rich versus poor, corrupt autocracy versus fractured democracy versus benevolent rule.  Actually, these are not all mutually exclusive (i.e. “versus”) but are trying to be rectified by a peaceful revolution by the people.

So what is the message?  Who are the leaders to speak with inside the PAD?  Symbolism is in the yellow shirts, to represent the benevolence of and loyalty to the King who has done only good for the country but has not directly intervened in the day-to-day politics of running the country.  In place has been the ruling-class political populism of former PM Thaksin whose ouster has led to his brother-in-law to become the current PM.  Unfortunately, the middle-class in Thailand is so diminished that, without it, this may become a class war between the poor who are supported by the current corrupt government and the middle and upper classes who have different power centers and ideas of democratic rule.

Loertscher strikes again!

With his new book, The New Learning Commons: Where Learners Win, David Loertscher strikes yet another 21st Century Learner note: learners need to participate in the common spaces libraries provide to become better learners.
     In the new School Library Journal article, Loertscher compares the “old” model of libraries to what is currently happening to the Microsoft model–it is primarily driven by customer feedback delivered to a central agency that then retools its product and sells it back as what the customer wants.  He states that the Google model, with the user at the center of managing what, how, and when the product (information) is managed by the end user with the tools handed over to them for use in how they see fit. 
     What I love most about Loertscher’s work is that it dreams big.  School is an active, engaging place filled with learners who feel empowered by an active, collaborative instructional staff which feeds-back the energy to students and thereby strengthens and builds a greater learning community of empowered and focused minds.  And theory is truly what keeps the eye on the prize for those working in schools and acts to inspire us to go beyond what we see in front of us.
     Fortunately, he’s go a WordPress blog to keep up with how these ideas are developing.

Secret readers

Remember when reading comics was considered uncouth by the literati.  Well, I do and I know that it wasn’t that long ago, and that it took Maus and Batman: the Dark Knight to bring the light of day to the rest of the world on comics as art that is now upon us.

a comic-strip biography

Louis Riel: a comic-strip biography

I bring this up after re-visiting Chester Brown‘s biography, Louis Riel, which absolutely blew me away a few years ago.  I was already a fan of I Never Liked You from years back (having discovered him via Drawn & Quarterly‘s Julie DoucetLouis Riel, the graphic novel, is actually a reprint of work he did back in the early 90’s, which makes it all the more impressive.  Thoroughly researched, deftly edited, and drawn with the sparse clarity of Japanese manga and condensed dialogue, Brown makes quick work of a folk hero from what is now Canada who is both lauded and unsung (and easily mentionable to any Canadian as a quick ‘in’ if you drop his name).

To bring this up, however, at a children’s book store with adults brought an unexpected surprise: we all shared in a love of graphic novels, secretly.  We’d never truly own it out loud (except via a blog, right?), but we all loved to talk about what really made us fans.  Was it the artwork of the incomparable Steve Ditko who inspired us to think in other dimensions about the reasons behind good and evil?  The mastermind of marketing of Stan Lee in our early years?  Or our affinity for the bleak altruism of Frank Miller?  An affinity for the sparse, beautiful ennui in Adrian Tomine’s youthful protagonists?  We loved them all under the “Graphic Novel” display one evening and wondered if anyone else in the room knew we’d found each other.

New face of journalism

While I’m not a believer that news corps will go the way of the stone tablet, smaller, more nimble sites have become actual players in the news media landscape, as reported in the Times today.  I’m a big fan of the cheaper, semi-pro work being done, but am still looking for a local SF replacement for sfpolitics.com, which used to be my go-to alternative site to the SFBG.  Now it seems like mostly just blogs, as opposed to an operation like VoiceOfSanDiego.

Best quote?:

“Information is now a public service as much as it’s a commodity,” {local businessman Buzz Woolley}
said. “It should be thought of the same way as education, health care.
It’s one of the things you need to operate a civil society, and the
market isn’t doing it very well.”