Why Are The Dutch So Good At English? #ASMSG #edchat #bilingual

Ming Chen
Chief Culture Officer, EF Education First
Source: Huffington Post

They’re overwhelmingly tall. They ride their bikes everywhere (without helmets). They’ve conquered sea level. And now, they’re ranked #1 in English. In the most recent EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) ranking, the Netherlands came in 1st out of 72 countries in English skills. 90 percent of respondents in the Netherlands claim to know English. It can’t just be their astoundingly liberal policies about weed that put Dutch so high in the rankings. These results beg the question: Why are the Dutch so damn good at English?

Small country, big voice

This tiny country of 17 million people punches well above its weight with the 17th largest GDP in the world, and the 5th largest in the EU, according to the IMF. While South America or the Middle East can rely on a sizable Spanish-speaking or Arabic-speaking market to drive growth, there are 27 million Dutch speakers—and 2 billion English speakers. And so the Dutch have needed to learn English to enter the global market.

Brad Pitt and Fred Flintstone speak English

The Netherlands doesn’t dub foreign language TV and movies. As a result, Dutch children grow up hearing English in popular culture from a very early age. Countries with a large enough audience for dubbed TV programs and movies, like France or Germany, dub everything, and as a result, have much less success in integrating English into their cultural life. Dubbing seems to render people linguistically numb to foreign languages, a condition the Dutch have successfully avoided.

Where there’s business, there’s English

The Dutch have always been enterprising—the Dutch East India Company was established as the world’s first multinational company in 1602. That same year, the first modern stock exchange was set up in Amsterdam to facilitate international trade. The country’s business-friendly legacy lives on as many iconic multinational companies (Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, Heineken, and IKEA) are headquartered in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is in a self-perpetuating cycle where strong English leads to strong business, which in turn encourages the best English proficiency in the world.


The Flying Dutch

While the Flying Dutchman is the stuff of legends, make no mistake: the Dutch love to travel. The education giant, EF Education First, has witnessed steady growth in the Netherlands of students who travel abroad and take gap years since EF’s Amsterdam office opened in 1970. English opens doors not just economically, but also for the average Dutch tourist, and so it’s no wonder why there’s interest in this global language.

The Dutch advantage

Before any English test, the Dutch can thank their linguistic ancestors. Dutch is a Germanic language, just like English, and so they share many roots and characteristics. De? The. Bier? Beer. Wafel? Waffel. While many language families don’t talk at the dinner table, cross-language similarities give the Dutch something to say when it comes to learning English.

The Dutch have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to English skills —and benefit from it enormously. Anyone who remembers that New York was once New Amsterdam will know that the adventurous Dutch have always been a country with global ambitions.Countries a little further down the EF EPI’s English rankings ladder should pay attention. The Netherlands is a great example of how a country’s English proficiency can make it globally competitive and future-friendly. Adds a whole new meaning to the phrase “going Dutch,” doesn’t it?

[Full disclosure:The writer is married to a Dutch man who speaks excellent English.]


Ming ChenChief Culture Officer, EF Education First

Ming is Chief Culture Officer at EF Education First, the world’s largest privately-held international education company focused on language, travel, and cultural experiences. As EF’s Chief Culture Officer, Ming holds the ‘secret sauce’ recipe of EF’s extraordinary culture which has helped the company grow from a small entrepreneurial business based in Sweden to a multinational conglomerate that spans 53 countries and employs more than 43,000 staff and teachers in more than 500 schools and offices. She has been closely affiliated with the EF’s English Proficiency Index ( http://www.ef.com/epi ). Ming has helped to position the Hult International Business School (www.hult.edu) , a new kind of business school for the global generation.

Ming is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School.
In her spare time, Ming runs (58 marathons) writes children’s books (Sassparilla’s New Shoes and Ling Ling Looked in the Mirror) and is in awe of her children. She sits on the board of the Keswick Foundation, a philanthropic organization, the Hong Kong Forum, and is an ambassador for Sweaty Betty (www.sweatybetty.com) a terrific yoga and running gear brand.

Ming and her identical twin sister were tickled to discover that they appear as vampires in Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods’ series as Deming Chen, Angel of Mercy, and Dehua Chen, Angel of Immortality.

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An Open Letter To The #Electors Of The #ElectoralCollege From A Concerned #Citizen

Jewish & Nazi Shoah U-Boat Catchers: An Amazing Tale of Holocaust Betrayal in World War II by [Baker, Thomas Jerome]Jewish & Nazi Shoah U-Boat Catchers

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ~ Elie Wiesel

At first glance, my book seems to have no bearing on the matter at hand. I beg your indulgence. I wrote this book in January, 2016, a fictional story with a moral dilemma that stretches the limits of the imagination. I challenge the reader(s) to put themselves in the shoes of the protagonist, to take sides, to experience the choices taken. I ask the reader to feel what it is like to have to make a choice between unsatisfactory options, as we have recently done. This we share. It is our common ground.


No one faithful to our history can deny that the plan originally contemplated . . . that electors would be free agents, to exercise an independent and nonpartisan judgment as to the men best qualified for the Nation’s highest offices.”


RAY V. BLAIR, 343 U.S. 214, 232 (1952) (JACKSON, J., DISSENTING)

If you’re a conscientious Elector, and you’d like advice or support, send an email to ElectorsTrust@durietangri.com.


Dear Elector,

My name is Thomas Jerome Baker from El Cajón, CA.

Thank you for this unique opportunity to communicate directly with you.

Regarding Donald Trump, I am a concerned citizen, participating in the electoral process. I have read, and re-read, Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Papers No. 68. Titled: “The Mode Of Electing The President, published Wednesday, March 14, 1788. Author: Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton writes: “It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture…A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.” (end of quote)

Ladies and gentlemen of the electoral college, you are the chosen ones for this awesome responsibility of electing the next President of the United States of America. I greet you with pride, I salute you one and all.

After much careful reading and reflection, I sincerely believe that Hamilton’s intent was for Presidential Electors to be responsible for protecting our nation’s future and ensuring that the next President is the best person for the job.

It was Alexander Hamilton’s vision, that the Electoral College should, when necessary, act as a constitutional failsafe against those Lacking The Qualification from becoming President. Using Hamilton’s wise guidance, I ask three questions:

1. Is Donald Trump qualified to be President of the United States of America?

He is not only unqualified, he is unfit for the office of president. For example, he has never held any elected office in his life. The presidency of the United States will be his first elected office. In contrast, as a businessman, Donald Trump would not hire Candidate Trump to run one of his businesses. Reason: Lack of experience. We can not, we must not apply a lower standard to the office of president than we would apply for one of Mr. Trump’s businesses. No, we must not desecrate the office in this way.

Nonetheless, it is possible that Mr. Trump is a winner. Maybe he is a person who has acquired exceptional knowledge, skills, and abilities in an unconventional way. So, let us take a long, hard look at the life experience which Mr. Trump brings with him to the presidency, to the office of Most Powerful Man On The Planet:


2. Is Donald Trump a demagogue?

Yes. A demagogue is, “a person, especially an orator or political leader, who gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people.” (end of quote)


Again, yes. Donald Trump is a demagogue.

Further, his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again”, shows no awareness that America has never stopped being great! The USA is admired and respected all around the globe. America past, present, and future, is still the land of dreams, the American dream. It is still the land where the circumstances of your birth do not determine your destiny. My America, Your America, Our America has never stopped being great! We reject Trump’s demagoguery here and now.



3. Is Donald Trump under the influence of a foreign power?

Yes. Yes, Donald Trump is under the influence of a foreign power, Russia, and in particular, Vladimir Putin.

According to public documents, he owes tremendous sums of money to foreign banks. Further, he has business dealings in foreign countries. His tax return? He never made it public. Congress recently made public the extensive foreign interference in our recent election. Trump denies that the KGB, Putin, Wikileaks, all played a hand in the election. Again, public documents contradict Mr. Trump.

In sum, he owes a debt of gratitude to foreign powers. Moreover, his business dealings in foreign lands make him susceptible to the intrigues of foreign powers and his own personal self-interest. The American people will never know if Trump is acting in the interest of America or in the interest of Donald Trump.

This is a genuine disqualification for the presidency on constitutional grounds. On Day 1 of his presidency, he would be impeachable for the above reasons. Electors, reject him now, sooner, rather than later. If you wait until later, he will have to go to jail.

In sum:

I Accuse President-Elect Donald J. Trump of being constitutionally unelectable.

1. I Accuse President-Elect Donald J. Trump of being unqualified and unfit for office.

2. I Accuse President-Elect Donald J. Trump of being a demagogue.

3. I Accuse President-Elect Donald J. Trump of being under the influence of a foreign power.

His election is untenable, and a desecration to the ideals of democracy which the Founding Fathers carefully crafted so long ago. Electors, it is clearly your sacred duty to reject Donald J. Trump on constitutional grounds.

There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Donald J. Trump is the man who Alexander Hamilton has been waiting for all these years.

Trump is the man that Hamilton had in mind when he wrote the Federalist Papers No. 68. As an author, Hamilton’s wise voice comes to us all, to me, to you, to the Electors, gently whispering the words of wisdom that you must follow in order to save the USA from the future deeds and misdeeds and damage that a man like Donald Trump would surely inflict upon our great country.


We are Americans. We are not waiting, we have not been waiting, we will never be waiting, for one man, a demagogue like Donald J. Trump, to “Make America Great Again.”

The Founding Fathers already made it great. The blood, tears, and sacrifice of patriots have kept America Great across the centuries. We reject Donald J. Trump’s claim. America Is Great, Today, Yesterday, and All the Days to Come!

Electors, ladies and gentlemen, heed the words of Alexander Hamilton, himself an immigrant to America. I wonder and ponder a simple question: Would Alexander Hamilton, the immigrant from the Caribbean island of Nevis, would he even have a place in Mr. Trump’s America?

No, sad, but true. The evidence from the Trump campaign suggests that Alexander Hamilton, the man with his picture on the $10 dollar bill, he would be lucky just to get a travel visa to the USA in Mr. Trump’s, “America.”

Electors, have the courage to do what must be done. The fate of the republic is in your hands.

Democrats and Republicans, Electors, Patriots, put aside your party and put America first!

Electors have already come forward calling upon other Electors from “red states” and “blue states” to unite behind a Responsible Republican candidate for the good of the nation.

A MAJORITY of voters, 54%, voted AGAINST Mr. TRUMP in the recent election.


I repeat: 54% of the voters who went to the polls voted AGAINST Donald John Trump. Mr. Trump represents a minority of the voters, a significant minority. Trump, the “winner”, got 2.84 MILLION fewer votes than the second place candidate, Secretary Clinton. Donald Trump has No Mandate!

Let me repeat: Mr. Trump has NO MANDATE from the American people. It is absurd to think otherwise.

Electors, have the courage to do your constitutional duty!

Unite behind a responsible, Republican candidate.

If you do this, a thousand years from now it will be written that what truly makes America Great is the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, always present in the Constitution, which has guided this great country across the centuries of our existence.

Electors, I beseech you, I implore you, I beg you: Do Your Sacred Duty!

The eyes of the world are upon you, and should you fail, history will judge you harshly.

Do your constitutional duty, and history will record your names for all posterity in the hearts and minds and souls of the American people.

Ladies and gentlemen, “Do. Your. Sacred. Duty!

May God Bless You One And All.

Thank you kindly for your time and consideration.

I appreciate and respect the role you serve in our electoral process.

Thomas Jerome Baker




Pennsylvania Loses 22k Votes Prior to Jill Stein Recount Effort
#CroweNation Explains What Happened

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Connectivism: A Theory of Learning for a Digital Age

Oxford University Press

Collectivism word cloudIn this guest post, Thomas Baker, a teacher and teacher trainer in Chile, and President of TESOL Chile, introduces the concept of digital connectivism and the impact it has on teachers and students of the English language.

[Image courtesy of wlonline, via Flickr]

Connectivism has been called, “A Learning Theory for the Digital Age” (Siemens, 2005).  I aim to share what I have learned about connectivism,  and what it means for English Language Teaching.

What I share comes from a Massive Open On-line Course (MOOC) called, Connectivism and Connected Knowledge 2011 (CCK11).  The course facilitators are George Siemens and Stephen Downes.  Siemens first wrote about connectivism in 2005.  Since then, he and Downes have worked together to develop the theory and practice of connectivism.  The CCK11 course is where I enter the picture, as a learner and EFL teacher.

In this post, I will do three things:

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How To #Teach Literature: The Role of Close #Reading In Teaching English Language Learners To Read Complex Texts

How To Teach Literature: The Role of Close Reading In Teaching English Language Learners To Read Complex Texts by [Baker, Thomas Jerome] How To Teach Literature:

What Is Literature?

If what we read entertains us, speaks to us, or makes us aware of the human condition, then it is literature.

How to best teach literature?

I share my knowledge about teaching literature, gained from 15 years teaching experience.

This book is intended for students of English Language and Literature Teaching.

New and experienced teachers will find it a useful resource also. Informed by theory and practice, it explores current approaches of teaching close reading of complex texts.

It is applicable to instructional settings from middle school to university. It promotes integrated teaching of the four skills. Critical literacy is promoted for engaging with and interpreting literary and informational texts. Readers will have opportunities to engage with poetry, fiction, and informational texts.

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Conflicted Elector in a Corrupt College

#ElectoralCollege Elector Says: “My Conscience Will Not Allow Me To Vote For #Trump” #Hillary Won #PopularVote By LARGEST Margin In US History – More Than 2 Million Votes

The Blessed Path

When running for the Presidential Elector Nominee some six months ago, I had no idea the conflict that would ensue both from without and within. To say that it has been an “educating experience” would be an understatement. I embarked on this journey with a basic understanding of the difference between a republic and a pure democracy. I knew the Constitutional Fathers[1]  set up our government as the former and not the latter[2]. They had wisdom we lack. In my speech before the convention, I mentioned that nothing exemplified the difference between these two forms of the government more than the Electoral College. I admit, at the time, I was ignorant how deeply that held true.

Republic vs Democracy

The essence of a republic is that the authority rests in elected representatives, not in the people directly.  Noah Webster defined a republic as,

“A commonwealth; a state…

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#ASMSG Why Bob Dylan’s Songs Are Literature

How has Bob Dylan redefined the way we look at literature? His win is certainly the culmination of a lifetime of writing. No doubt, we are invited to expand our definition of literature. Further, we could begin to see a renewed interest in literary forms within the lyrics of songs.

But songs?

Can songs be literature?

In my book, How To Teach Literature, and in the view of the Nobel Prize Committee, the answer to that question is: Yes.

Songs can be literature. Yes, a song is literature.

It only took the Nobel Committee 20 years of deliberation to reach that conclusion.

In the following article, author and editor Craig Morgan Teicher addresses what is no longer a debatable issue, namely: Why Bob Dylan’s Songs Are Literature.

by Craig Morgan Teicher | October 14, 2016 | New Republic

Yesterday, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the writers I know were either horrified or overjoyed. I am in the latter group, a tremendous Dylan fan, though I came to his music not as a teenager but later in life, around the time I had my first child.

But everyone who loves Dylan loves him for his or her own reasons, and enumerating those reasons seems beside the point. After all, Dylan doesn’t need the Nobel to prove his lasting cultural importance. What’s interesting about this Nobel pick is the question it raises: Can music be literature?

My favorite comment about Dylan’s Nobel win came from the poet Matthew Zapruder, who, in response to people complaining that Dylan is not a poet, wrote on Facebook, “Ok, I agree it’s not poetry, but it’s NOT THE NOBEL PRIZE IN POETRY.”

Is Bob Dylan a poet?

No, I don’t think so. But is his work literature? Yes, absolutely, and literature is what the Nobel Prize is for.

His body of work adds up to some of the central literature of our time. And that must include the music that accompanied his lyrics, since lyrics by themselves are not poetry.

There is a common sense that poetry exists in a world of pure language, but a poem is, in fact, both the music and the words. Poetry’s sonic aspects—such as syllable sounds, rhyme, rhythm, assonance, dissonance, and meter—are meant to “accompany” the content, to set the mood, to refer to and elicit a sensory experience related to the emotions and images of the poem. They also refer back to the long history of language, echoing sounds and rhythms of the past, placing the poem in history, linking it to a timeless tradition. Dylan’s lyrics alone don’t compare to a poem, but a complete song—words, music, arrangement, instrumentation, all of it taken together—does.

(Now, this thesis introduces some complications: Does “song” mean a particular performance, a recording of a song, or even musical notation—the abstract idea of the song performed? For now, let’s presume we’re speaking of song recordings, which like books sit on the shelf and are more or less fixed in time.)

Dylan’s lyrics use more poetic techniques than practically anyone’s (Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell are his only peers in the American songwriting canon), but they are not poems, because, without the music to back them up, they don’t have that depth of reference and history that qualifies them as literature.

But if Dylan’s lyrics aren’t quite poems, they’re pretty damn close. Take the first verse of “Desolation Row,” a song that is really a catalog of literary allusions:

Cinderella, she seems so easy.
“It takes one to know one,” she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets
Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo, he’s moaning
“You Belong to Me I Believe”
And someone says, “You’re in the wrong place my friend
You better leave”
And the only sound that’s left
After the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up
On Desolation Row

This is a song written in what the poet Lucie Brock-Broido would call “long-haired couplets”: long lines that rhyme in groups of twos. (Except Dylan prints each line broken in half, presumably because that’s how they’re stretched over the melody of the song. Poetry is also about how form relates to content.)

This verse is obviously rife with allusion (Cinderella and Romeo meet up here, and Ophelia, Robin Hood, and a host of other famous characters come up later in the song).

As in the best contemporary poetry, Dylan mixes ancient and modern (Cinderella, meet Bette Davis), the quotidian (“back pockets,” “ambulances”), the elevated (Romeo), and the kind of memorable one-liners that lyrics need to be instantly apprehended (“You better leave”).

But Dylan’s got more than allusions and a sense of how words register. In his late masterpiece “Not Dark Yet,” a song about facing mortality, Dylan writes,

“[I] Feel like my soul has turned into steel / I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal.”

A steel soul is a powerful metaphor for the deadness that comes with age and loss. And if we want to get more technical about it, “steel” here is an objective correlative, T.S. Eliot’s fancy term for an object that signifies an emotion. The cold, unreflecting, inflexible metal, if you conjure it in your mind, makes you feel lonely and tired. That’s the stuff of poetry.

His music is equally literary. Dylan’s sources for the forms, styles, melodies, and even chord changes of his songs are hundreds, if not thousands, of years old—he’s always been an unparalleled interpreter of traditional songs, even as he’s deeply innovated song form. Perhaps his greatest technical innovation comes in lengthy tirades like “Desolation Row” and “Idiot Wind,” parades of repeated verse-chorus-verse structures that remind me of nothing so much as the epic poems of Homer.

Those poems were cast in rhyming stanzas so they could be transmitted orally over generations before they were written down.

Dylan saw a new use for that old form, soldering it to folk- and blues-based music. Homer catalogued the heroes and villains of ancient battles; Dylan does the same with the tropes and myths of his changing times.

Leadbelly with Accordeon.jpgIf Seamus Heaney, himself a Nobel laureate, sourced his voices and rhythms to predecessors like Keats and Yeats and Wordsworth, then Dylan finds his in Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie, as well as the writings of his contemporaries, the Beats (who were influenced by Blake and Baudelaire and Whitman), and the jazz musicians of the 1950s and 60s.

And, of course, just as Dylan was inspired by the writers of his youth, so have most of the writers of the last half-century been inspired by Dylan; his fingerprint is everywhere in literature.

Dylan is like Homer in another significant way. His anonymous sources in the deep history of folk and blues mirror the influences of the ancient poet, who may or may not have been one writer, but who doubtlessly drew together the Greek myths to form The Iliad and The Odyssey.

No, Dylan isn’t a writer of literary books. But perhaps no living artist has shaped the American soul, or plumbed its depths, as profoundly as Bob Dylan. And what’s literature for if not that?

Source: The New Republic

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#BobDylan Wins The #Nobel #Prize For #Literature: “Art is a river that we drink from but do not own”

How To Teach Literature: The Role of Close Reading In Teaching English Language Learners To Read Complex Texts by [Baker, Thomas Jerome]

Press Release

13 October 2016 – The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016: The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016 is awarded to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, and I may be one of the few people on Earth who was not surprised, not shocked, not astonished by the news. Really. I wrote about Bob Dylan in Chapter 2 of this book. I noted that if he didn’t win in 2016, then he would win in 2017. If not 2017, then 2020 would be all right.

Bob Dylan winning the Noble Prize for Literature was clearly inevitable. In his case, it’s sooner rather than later. Wait. It’s later rather than sooner. Did you know that Bob Dylan was nominated for the Nobel every year since 1996? It took the Nobel Prize Committee 20 years to have the courage to recognize that Bob Dylan had redefined the notion of what literature is.

What is literature?

In my book, How To Teach Literature, I answer that question:

If what we read entertains us, speaks to us, or makes us aware of the human condition, then it is literature. With Bob Dylan finally winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, my definition is not even debatable. As Dylan has written, “The Times They Are A’Changing.” Teachers of literature need to change with the times and broaden our horizons on what we consider to be, “literature.”

How to best teach literature? That’s what my book is about. Specifically, I share my knowledge about teaching literature, gained from 15 years teaching experience. This book is intended for students of English Language and Literature Teaching. New and experienced teachers will find it a useful resource also.

Informed by theory and practice, it explores current approaches of teaching close reading of complex texts. It is applicable to instructional settings from middle school to university. It promotes integrated teaching of the four skills. Critical literacy is promoted for engaging with and interpreting literary and informational texts. Readers will have opportunities to engage with poetry, fiction, and informational texts.

What if you disagree with Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature? What if you disagree with my definition of literature? Then, in that case, both Bob Dylan and myself would hope that you treat us kind.

In the words of Bob Dylan, “I can write you poems, make a strong man lose his mind / I’m no pig without a wig, I hope you treat me kind.”

High Water (For Charley Patton)

High water risin’ – risin’ night and day
all the gold and silver are being stolen away
big joe turner lookin’ east and west

from the dark room of his mind
he made it to kansas city
twelfth street and vine
nothing standing there
high water everywhere
High water risin’, the shacks are slidin’ down
folks lose their possessions – folks are leaving town
bertha mason shook it – broke it
then she hung it on a wall
says, “you’re dancin’ with whom they tell you to
or you don’t dance at all.”
it’s tough out there
high water everywhere
I got a cravin’ love for blazing speed
got a hopped up mustang ford
jump into the wagon, love, throw your panties overboard
i can write you poems, make a strong man lose his mind
i’m no pig without a wig
i hope you treat me kind
things are breakin’ up out there
high water everywhere
High water risin’, six inches ‘bove my head
coffins droppin’ in the street
like balloons made out of lead
water pourin’ into vicksburg, don’t know what i’m going to do
“don’t reach out for me,” she said
“can’t you see i’m drownin’ too?”
it’s rough out there
high water everywhere
Well, george lewis told the englishman, the italian and the jew
“you can’t open your mind, boys
to every conceivable point of view.”
they got charles darwin trapped out there on highway five
judge says to the high sheriff,
“i want him dead or alive
either one, i don’t care.”
high water everywhere
The cuckoo is a pretty bird, she warbles as she flies
i’m preachin’ the word of god
i’m puttin’ out your eyes
i asked fat nancy for something to eat, she said, “take it off the shelf –
as great as you are a man,
you’ll never be greater than yourself.”
i told her i didn’t really care
high water everywhere
I’m getting’ up in the morning – i believe i’ll dust my broom
keeping away from the women
i’m givin’ ’em lots of room
thunder rolling over clarksdale, everything is looking blue
i just can’t be happy, love
unless you’re happy too
it’s bad out there
high water everywhere
Writer(s): Bob Dylan

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#IAmWithHer: Why I’m Voting For #HillaryClinton2016


Hillary’s Accomplishments In 30 Years of Public Service

Thirty years is a long time to be a public servant. According to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton hasn’t done anything in 30 years. According to “the Donald”, he thinks he can use Hillary’s husband, President Bill Clinton, to attack Hillary Clinton. I beg to differ.

Donald, I disagree, respectfully, with everything you say, and everything you do.

Donald Trump’s attack on a woman who is running for President of the United States, by referring to her husband’s conduct, is unacceptable to me. In fact, it is reprehensible, and an outrage. I hasten to add, inadmisible, at least for a “real man.”

If “the Donald” were a real man, if “the Donald” truly has an issue with President Bill Clinton, isn’t it the manly thing to do for Donald Trump to take up the issue with Bill Clinton, rather than Bill Clinton’s wife?

Let’s put the shoe on the other foot.

How would “the Donald” feel if President Bill Clinton decided to take up your conduct, with your wife? Melania isn’t running for President of the USA. You are. The Republican Party #GOP candidate is Donald J. Trump.

“The Donald”, you are the one who was caught on camera bragging about kissing women without their consent, and grabbing a woman’s genitals. Let us not forget you were 59 years old at the time, and your wife was pregnant at the time you were bragging to Billy Bush about sexual assault on women.

In the second debate, in St. Louis, you lied about it Donald. First you tried to apologize, but clearly you did not mean the apology (you are never wrong, so you never apologize). You weren’t contrite, you were defiant. You said your bragging was just “locker room talk.” You said it was just “words.”

You said you were just telling a lie, building yourself up by telling a macho story to Billy Bush. Well, words matter. Donald, your words got Billy Bush fired. Now he needs a job. Got any openings Billy can fill?

Words matter Donald. Nancy O’Dell, the woman you objectified with your “locker room talk”, said:

Politics aside, I’m saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all,” she wrote. “When I heard the comments yesterday, it was disappointing to hear such objectification of women. The conversation needs to change because no female, no person, should be the subject of such crass comments, whether or not cameras are rolling. Everyone deserves respect no matter the setting or gender. As a woman who has worked very hard to establish her career, and as a mom, I feel I must speak out with the hope that as a society we will always strive to be better.” (end of quote)

In my experience, athletes don’t talk like that in the locker room. Men don’t talk like that. Not even inexperienced, immature high school boys talk like that.

I don’t know what kind of locker rooms you have been in, but as an athlete who played on football teams, basketball teams, and baseball teams, nobody talked about grabbing a woman’s genitals or kissing women without their consent. Nobody. Not even our “star” players.

Donald, you do know that grabbing a woman’s genitals is a crime, sexual assault? For that kind of behaviour, you can go to jail. Even you, Donald Trump. You could be locked up for a long time. So in that second debate in St. Louis, you were wise to deny that your words were true. It would have gotten you locked up in St. Louis if you had confirmed your words. But of course, it was only “locker room talk.”

Donald Trump, I read somewhere that Mark Cuban, owner of NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, offered you ten $10 million dollars for a 4-hour interview about your policies. He said he would give the money to a charity of your choice, or, he would write the check to you if you need the money. Donald, you could talk with Mark Cuban about your “locker room” policy on how you talk about women. Let me quote Mark Cuban:

“$10mm to the charity of YOUR choice if you let ME interview you for 4 hrs on YOUR policies and their substance,” Cuban wrote.

Groundrules are that you can’t mention the Clintons or discuss anything other than the details and facts of [your] plans and no one else is in the room to help,” he continued. “Just me, you and a broadcast crew. Deal?”

Donald, it is certain that there is more damaging audio and videos out there that are yet to be brought to the light of day, so going to jail for sexual assault is still a reality for you. But wait.

Just because somebody accuses you of wrongdoing, it doesn’t mean you are guilty, does it? Of course not, especially if there is”absolutely no merit to the allegations, and the matter was ultimately settled without any finding of liability and without any admission of wrongdoing whatsoever.” Wouldn’t you agree?

Then why does it not work the same way for President Bill Clinton?

Why does it not work the same way for the Central Park Five?

Donald, does the law work one way for you, and another way for other people?

You got a trial. President Bill Clinton got a trial. The Central Park Five got a trial.

Donald, are any Black people still hounding you about the outcome of your trial? There was no merit to the allegations, you settled that case with no admission of wrongdoing. And Black people are not hounding you accusing you of a crime. You answered your accusers in court. You defended yourself.

Isn’t that what happened to President Bill Clinton?

Isn’t that what happened to the Central Park Five? Wait, that isn’t what happened to the Central Park Five. They were wrongfully convicted of a murder they did not commit.  The Central Park Five sued the city for their wrongful prosecution and received a $40 million settlement in 2014, $1 million for every year of their lives wrongfully spent behind bars. Shortly after the news of the settlement broke, Donald Trump published an op-ed in the New York Daily News calling it “a disgrace.”

What is it with you Donald, when you don’t like the way the law works?

Just like you refused to accept the law in the Central Park Five case, you also refused to accept President Obama’s birth certificate, and you also refused to accept the law in President Bill Clinton’s case. In what reality do you live in?

When the law speaks, Donald Trump, whether you like it or no, you have to let people move on with their life. People should not have to publically embarrass you, like President Obama did, before you will accept reality. Sometimes Donald, you lose, and that’s real. That’s the reality people live with.

Of course, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. You would have the opportunity to defend yourself. A defense lawyer would present the evidence that supported your claim of innocence. You could even make a deal, a settlement, a financial arrangement Donald.

You have done that so many times in the past, haven’t you?

According to an analysis by USA Today published in June 2016, over the previous three decades, “Trump and his businesses have been involved in 3,500 legal cases in U.S. federal courts and state court, an unprecedented number for a U.S. presidential candidate“. (source: Wikipedia)

Let’s pivot off of your attack on President Bill Clinton.We both know, he’s been out of office for 17 years now. He’s not running for President. His wife, Hillary Clinton, she is running for President.

You claimed, (quote) “Hillary hadn’t done anything in 30 years.” (end of quote)

So, at the presidential debate in St. Louis that she won (and you lost) I was happy when Secretary Hillary Clinton took the opportunity to clarify her record of public service, in terms of her accomplishments, so clear that even you understood. You called her a fighter, a woman who fights for what she believes in, a woman who never gives up. For once in your life, Donald, you told the truth, fully and completely.

Secretary Hillary Clinton is special. She is all of what you said about her, a fighter, and much more.

When Secretary Hillary Clinton spoke about her accomplishments, it was a moment that made me realize how much she has done for other people in the past 30 years. You lied about her Donald. You tried to paint her as incompetent.

The truth is, Donald Trump, you have done so little, while she has done so much (quote):

Hillary Clinton: “Look, he has now said [about me] repeatedly “30 years this, and 30 years that.” So let me talk about my 30 years in public service. I’m very glad to do so.

  • Eight million kids, every year, have health insurance because when I was First Lady, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to create the children’s health insurance program.
  • Hundreds of thousands of kids now have a chance to be adopted because I worked to change our adoption and foster care system.
  • After 9/11, I went to work with Republican mayor, governor and president to rebuild New York and to get health care for our first responders who were suffering because they had run toward danger and gotten sickened by it.
  • Hundreds of thousands of National Guard and reserve members have health care because of work that I did.
  • And children have safer medicines because I was able to pass a law that required the dosing to be more carefully done.
  • When I was secretary of state, I went around the world advocating for our country, but also advocating for women’s rights to make sure that women had a decent chance to have a better life.
  • And negotiated a treaty with Russia to lower nuclear weapons. 400 pieces of legislation have my name on it as a sponsor or cosponsor when I was a senator for eight years.
  • I worked very hard and was very proud to be re-elected in new York by an even bigger margin than I had been elected the first time.
  • And as president, I will take that work, that bipartisan work, that finding common ground because you have to be able to get along with people to get things done in Washington. I’ve proven that I can and for 30 years, I’ve produced results.”
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#FelizLunes How To Teach Literature: The Role of Close Reading In Teaching English Language Learners To Read Complex Texts #mondaymotivation #HappyMonday #Mondayblogs

How To Teach Literature: The Role of Close Reading In Teaching English Language Learners To Read Complex Texts by [Baker, Thomas Jerome]



If what we read entertains us, speaks to us, or makes us aware of the human condition, then it is literature. How to best teach literature?


I share my knowledge about teaching literature, gained from 15 years teaching experience. This book is intended for students of English Language and Literature Teaching.


How To Teach Literature


New and experienced teachers will find it a useful resource also. Informed by theory and practice, it explores current approaches of teaching close reading of complex texts.

It is applicable to instructional settings from middle school to university. It promotes integrated teaching of the four skills. Critical literacy is promoted for engaging with and interpreting literary and informational texts. Readers will have opportunities to engage with poetry, fiction, and informational texts.


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#LeBron James: Why I’m endorsing #HillaryClinton

LeBron James kids children LeBron James Family Foundation

“Register to vote, Show up to the polls, and Vote For Hillary Clinton.”                         LeBron James endorses Hillary Clinton for president. “We need a president who understands our community and will build on the legacy of President Obama.                                         (LeBron James Family Foundation)

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James is endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. Below is the op-ed he has written about his decision, which he has exclusively provided to Business Insider. The op-ed will also be published in the print edition of the Akron Beacon Journal on Monday.

Two years ago, I told you I was coming home to Northeast Ohio — where I was born and raised. When I came back, I had two missions.

In June, thanks to my teammates and all your support, I accomplished my on-the-court mission. We came back from being down 3-1 in the NBA Finals to finally grab what we’ve waited 52 long years for: a championship in Northeast Ohio.

Holding that trophy was beyond words. It still hasn’t hit me. But for me, coming home was never just about basketball.

As a kid, I didn’t have much money. It was just my mom and me, and things were rough at times. But I had basketball. That gave me a family, a community, and an education. That’s more than a lot of children in Akron can say. There are a lot of people who want to tell kids who grew up like me and looked like me that they just don’t have anything to look forward to.

That’s dead wrong. And that’s why I came back to Cleveland to continue my second mission. I am determined to make sure my kids in Akron have what they need to become their best selves. Opportunities, a support system, and a safety net for kids in poverty or kids in single-parent households shouldn’t be limited to those lucky enough to be blessed with athletic talent.

When I entered the league, I founded the LeBron James Family Foundation. I didn’t know it at the time, but my mission has become clear. We give kids in Akron the resources and opportunities they need to stay in school and reach their dreams through education.

I don’t want to see any of them fall through the cracks. That easily could have happened to me.

But I was fortunate enough to have support and mentors around me who kept me on the right path. That’s what we’re giving these kids through my foundation. And when someone believes in you, that changes everything.

I’m so proud of the more than 1,100 students in my Wheels for Education and Akron I PROMISE Network programs. We’re working on year six now, and my kids have big plans for their futures.

A lot of them didn’t think college was for them, but now I hear they want to become things like doctors and business owners. We even have a future astrophysicist. I can’t wait to see how far these kids can go.

I also tell all my kids how important it is that they give back to the community. Because if basketball has taught me anything, it’s that no one achieves greatness alone. And it takes everyone working together to create real change.

When I look at this year’s presidential race, it’s clear which candidate believes the same thing. Only one person running truly understands the struggles of an Akron child born into poverty. And when I think about the kinds of policies and ideas the kids in my foundation need from our government, the choice is clear.

That candidate is Hillary Clinton.

Barack Obama Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention.Alex Wong/Getty Images

I support Hillary because she will build on the legacy of my good friend, President Barack Obama. I believe in what President Obama has done for our country and support her commitment to continuing that legacy.

Like my foundation, Hillary has always been a champion for children and their futures. For over 40 years, she’s been working to improve public schools, expand access to health care, support children’s hospitals, and so much more.

She wants to make sure kids have access to a good education, no matter what zip code they live in. She’ll rebuild schools that are falling apart and put more money into computer science. She’ll make sure teachers are paid what they deserve so they can give everything to their students.

She also has plans to make college a reality for more people in America, especially for those who can’t afford it. My kids in Akron are proof of the hope and motivation that come from knowing college can be in their future, no matter what obstacles they might be facing.

Finally, we must address the violence, of every kind, the African-American community is experiencing in our streets and seeing on our TVs. I believe rebuilding our communities by focusing on at-risk children is a significant part of the solution. However, I am not a politician, I don’t know everything it will take finally to end the violence. But I do know we need a president who brings us together and keeps us unified. Policies and ideas that divide us more are not the solution. We must all stand together — no matter where we are from or the color of our skin. And Hillary is running on the message of hope and unity that we need.

There’s still a lot of work to be done in Akron, Northeast Ohio, and all across our great country. We need a president who understands our community and will build on the legacy of President Obama. So let’s register to vote, show up to the polls, and vote for Hillary Clinton.

This is an editorial. The opinions and conclusions expressed above are those of the author.

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