Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 17th, 2016

Applying procedures For A Schengen Visa By Lebanese

The EU and England making a mockery of Lebanese passport?

Even though it started the biometric standards.

Listomania on Aug 16, 2016

By Mira Mawla. Beirut.com

Only 200 more forms to gather!

beirut.com
1. Too Many Confusion.

2. I have a degree-this shouldn’t be so difficult.

3. Wait, so I apply on this website, but the application form is on another one? And I have to go somewhere other than the embassy for the interview?

4. Yeah I’m never going to see Europe this link is impossible to find.

5. YES FOUND IT IM BASICALLY DONE.

*starts googling places Lebanese people can go without a visa*

6. Okay there’s no way they need all this info.

7. Purpose of travel…Business? I wish. Tourism? Mmmm yes, maybe a couple of free museums (see #8) but mostly I’m coming to sample your hipster bars and cafes. Oops can’t put that in ran out of characters. Tourism it is.

8. Income: N/A?

9. How the hell am I supposed to know how much my household spend on groceries and shit?

10. Oh, they need like an official bank statement.

11. Oops. Guess my parents are “sponsoring” my trip.

12. Maybe I’ll just go to the Seychelles.

13. The next appointment is WHEN?

14. Ah I’ll just pay a little extra for priority! What is it 10 euros more? Psh.

15. Euh, never mind I’d rather miss the flight.

16. Why has this center changed its address 400 times in the past year? Everyone I ask tells me something different.

17. Malaysia. Malaysia’s nice this time of year.

18. Ugh and this shit needs to be translated too? Sworn translation? I’ve seen a million signs for that and now I know I’ll never find one.

*finally at the center* Now what could this interview possibly be?

19. Wait you’re not going to read my employment letter? I waited a whole week for that shit!

20. 9 AM my ass there’s 10 other people here who were given the same time!

21. Oh, how nice of you to call my name an HOUR later.

22. Yes I’m sure you’ll let me know when my application is revised. A week after my friends leave.

23. Screw this hassle I’m walking to Turkey.

An unrepentant capitalist: Wake up fellow plutocrats

Nick Hanauer is a rich guy, an unrepentant capitalist — and he has something to say

Growing inequality is about to push our societies into conditions resembling pre-revolutionary France. Why a dramatic increase in minimum wage could grow the middle class, deliver economic prosperity … and prevent a revolution.

Nick Hanauer. Venture capitalist, author. A voice in the raging debate on inequality — and his provocative argument is aimed at his fellow plutocrats. Full bio
Speech filmed on Feb. 2014

I am one of those .01 percenters that you hear about and read about, and I am by any reasonable definition a plutocrat.

And tonight, what I would like to do is speak directly to other plutocrats, to my people, because it feels like it’s time for us all to have a chat.

Like most plutocrats, I too am a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, cofounded or funded over 30 companies across a range of industries. I was the first non-family investor in Amazon.com.

I cofounded a company called aQuantive that we sold to Microsoft for 6.4 billion dollars. My friends and I, we own a bank.

1:03 I tell you this to show that my life is like most plutocrats. I have a broad perspective on capitalism and business, and I have been rewarded obscenely for that with a life that most of you all can’t even imagine: multiple homes, a yacht, my own plane, etc.

But let’s be honest: I am not the smartest person you’ve ever met. I am certainly not the hardest working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all. I can’t write a word of code.

Truly, my success is the consequence of spectacular luck, of birth, of circumstance and of timing.

But I am actually pretty good at a couple of things.

One, I have an unusually high tolerance for risk, and

Two,  I have a good sense, a good intuition about what will happen in the future, and I think that that intuition about the future is the essence of good entrepreneurship.

what do I see in our future today, you ask? I see pitchforks, as in angry mobs with pitchforks, because while people like us plutocrats are living beyond the dreams of avarice, the other 99 percent of our fellow citizens are falling farther and farther behind.

In 1980, the top one percent of Americans shared about eight percent of national [income], while the bottom 50 percent of Americans shared 18 percent.

Thirty years later, today, the top one percent shares over 20 percent of national [income], while the bottom 50 percent of Americans share 12 or 13.

If the trend continues, the top one percent will share over 30 percent of national [income] in another 30 years, while the bottom 50 percent of Americans will share just 6.

the problem isn’t that we have some inequality.

Some inequality is necessary for a high-functioning capitalist democracy.

The problem is that inequality is at historic highs today and it’s getting worse every day. And if wealth, power, and income continue to concentrate at the very tippy top, our society will change from a capitalist democracy to a neo-feudalist rentier society like 18th-century France.

That was France before the revolution and the mobs with the pitchforks.

I have a message for my fellow plutocrats and zillionaires and for anyone who lives in a gated bubble world: Wake up. Wake up. It cannot last.

Because if we do not do something to fix the glaring economic inequities in our society, the pitchforks will come for us, for no free and open society can long sustain this kind of rising economic inequality.

It has never happened. There are no examples. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state or an uprising. The pitchforks will come for us if we do not address this. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when.

And it will be terrible when they come for everyone, but particularly for people like us plutocrats.

I must sound like some liberal do-gooder. I’m not. I’m not making a moral argument that economic inequality is wrong. What I am arguing is that rising economic inequality is stupid and ultimately self-defeating.

Rising inequality doesn’t just increase our risks from pitchforks, but it’s also terrible for business too.

the model for us rich guys should be Henry Ford. When Ford famously introduced the $5 day, which was twice the prevailing wage at the time, he didn’t just increase the productivity of his factories, he converted exploited autoworkers who were poor into a thriving middle class who could now afford to buy the products that they made.

Ford intuited what we now know is true, that an economy is best understood as an ecosystem and characterized by the same kinds of feedback loops you find in a natural ecosystem, a feedback loop between customers and businesses.

Raising wages increases demand, which increases hiring, which in turn increases wages and demand and profits, and that virtuous cycle of increasing prosperity is precisely what is missing from today’s economic recovery.

this is why we need to put behind us the trickle-down policies that so dominate both political parties and embrace something I call middle-out economics.

Middle-out economics rejects the neoclassical economic idea that economies are efficient, linear, mechanistic, that they tend towards equilibrium and fairness, and instead embraces the 21st-century idea that economies are complex, adaptive, ecosystemic, that they tend away from equilibrium and toward inequality, that they’re not efficient at all but are effective if well managed.

This 21st-century perspective allows you to clearly see that capitalism does not work by [efficiently] allocating existing resources. It works by [efficiently] creating new solutions to human problems.

The genius of capitalism is that it is an evolutionary solution-finding system. It rewards people for solving other people’s problems. The difference between a poor society and a rich society, obviously, is the degree to which that society has generated solutions in the form of products for its citizens.

The sum of the solutions that we have in our society really is our prosperity, and this explains why companies like Google and Amazon and Microsoft and Apple and the entrepreneurs who created those companies have contributed so much to our nation’s prosperity.

This 21st-century perspective also makes clear that what we think of as economic growth is best understood as the rate at which we solve problems.

But that rate is totally dependent upon how many problem solvers — diverse, able problem solvers — we have, and thus how many of our fellow citizens actively participate, both as entrepreneurs who can offer solutions, and as customers who consume them.

this maximizing participation thing doesn’t happen by accident. It doesn’t happen by itself. It requires effort and investment, which is why all highly prosperous capitalist democracies are characterized by massive investments in the middle class and the infrastructure that they depend on.

We plutocrats need to get this trickle-down economics thing behind us, this idea that the better we do, the better everyone else will do. It’s not true. How could it be? I earn 1,000 times the median wage, but I do not buy 1,000 times as much stuff, do I?

I actually bought two pairs of these pants, what my partner Mike calls my manager pants. I could have bought 2,000 pairs, but what would I do with them? (Laughter) How many haircuts can I get? How often can I go out to dinner?

No matter how wealthy a few plutocrats get, we can never drive a great national economy. Only a thriving middle class can do that.

There’s nothing to be done, my plutocrat friends might say. Henry Ford was in a different time. Maybe we can’t do some things.

June 19, 2013, Bloomberg published an article I wrote called “The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage.” The good people at Forbes magazine, among my biggest admirers, called it “Nick Hanauer’s near-insane proposal.”

And yet, just 350 days after that article was published, Seattle’s Mayor Ed Murray signed into law an ordinance raising the minimum wage in Seattle to 15 dollars an hour, more than double what the prevailing federal $7.25 rate is.

How did this happen, reasonable people might ask. It happened because a group of us reminded the middle class that they are the source of growth and prosperity in capitalist economies.

We reminded them that when workers have more money, businesses have more customers, and need more employees. We reminded them that when businesses pay workers a living wage, taxpayers are relieved of the burden of funding the poverty programs like food stamps and medical assistance and rent assistance that those workers need.

We reminded them that low-wage workers make terrible taxpayers, and that when you raise the minimum wage for all businesses, all businesses benefit yet all can compete.

the orthodox reaction, of course, is raising the minimum wage costs jobs. Right? Your politician’s always echoing that trickle-down idea by saying things like, “Well, if you raise the price of employment, guess what happens? You get less of it.”  Are you sure?

Because there’s some contravening evidence.

Since 1980, the wages of CEOs in our country have gone from about 30 times the median wage to 500 times. That’s raising the price of employment. And yet, to my knowledge, I have never seen a company outsource its CEO’s job, automate their job, export the job to China.

In fact, we appear to be employing more CEOs and senior managers than ever before. So too for technology workers and financial services workers, who earn multiples of the median wage and yet we employ more and more of them, so clearly you can raise the price of employment and get more of it.

I know that most people think that the $15 minimum wage is this insane, risky economic experiment. We disagree. We believe that the $15 minimum wage in Seattle is actually the continuation of a logical economic policy.

It is allowing our city to kick your city’s ass. Because, you see, Washington state already has the highest minimum wage of any state in the nation. We pay all workers $9.32, which is almost 30 percent more than the federal minimum of 7.25, but crucially, 427 percent more than the federal tipped minimum of 2.13.

If trickle-down thinkers were right, then Washington state should have massive unemployment. Seattle should be sliding into the ocean. And yet, Seattle is the fastest-growing big city in the country. Washington state is generating small business jobs at a higher rate than any other major state in the nation.

The restaurant business in Seattle? Booming. Why? Because the fundamental law of capitalism is, when workers have more money, businesses have more customers and need more workers. When restaurants pay restaurant workers enough so that even they can afford to eat in restaurants, that’s not bad for the restaurant business. That’s good for it, despite what some restaurateurs may tell you.

Is it more complicated than I’m making out? Of course it is. There are a lot of dynamics at play. But can we please stop insisting that if low-wage workers earn a little bit more, unemployment will skyrocket and the economy will collapse? There is no evidence for it.

The most insidious thing about trickle-down economics is not the claim that if the rich get richer, everyone is better off. It is the claim made by those who oppose any increase in the minimum wage that if the poor get richer, that will be bad for the economy. This is nonsense.

So can we please dispense with this rhetoric that says that rich guys like me and my plutocrat friends made our country? We plutocrats know, even if we don’t like to admit it in public, that if we had been born somewhere else, not here in the United States, we might very well be just some dude standing barefoot by the side of a dirt road selling fruit.

It’s not that they don’t have good entrepreneurs in other places, even very, very poor places. It’s just that that’s all that those entrepreneurs’ customers can afford.

here’s an idea for a new kind of economics, a new kind of politics that I call new capitalism. Let’s acknowledge that capitalism beats the alternatives, but also that the more people we include, both as entrepreneurs and as customers, the better it works.

Let’s by all means shrink the size of government, but not by slashing the poverty programs, but by ensuring that workers are paid enough so that they actually don’t need those programs.

Let’s invest enough in the middle class to make our economy fairer and more inclusive, and by fairer, more truly competitive, and by more truly competitive, more able to generate the solutions to human problems that are the true drivers of growth and prosperity.

Capitalism is the greatest social technology ever invented for creating prosperity in human societies, if it is well managed, but capitalism, because of the fundamental multiplicative dynamics of complex systems, tends towards, inexorably, inequality, concentration and collapse.

The work of democracies is to maximize the inclusion of the many in order to create prosperity, not to enable the few to accumulate money. Government does create prosperity and growth, by creating the conditions that allow both entrepreneurs and their customers to thrive.

Balancing the power of capitalists like me and workers isn’t bad for capitalism. It’s essential to it. Programs like a reasonable minimum wage, affordable healthcare, paid sick leave, and the progressive taxation necessary to pay for the important infrastructure necessary for the middle class like education, R and D, these are indispensable tools shrewd capitalists should embrace to drive growth, because no one benefits from it like us.

Many economists would have you believe that their field is an objective science. I disagree, and I think that it is equally a tool that humans use to enforce and encode our social and moral preferences and prejudices about status and power, which is why plutocrats like me have always needed to find persuasive stories to tell everyone else about why our relative positions are morally righteous and good for everyone: like, we are indispensable, the job creators, and you are not; like, tax cuts for us create growth, but investments in you will balloon our debt and bankrupt our great country; that we matter; that you don’t.

For thousands of years, these stories were called divine right. Today, we have trickle-down economics. How obviously, transparently self-serving all of this is.

We plutocrats need to see that the United States of America made us, not the other way around; that a thriving middle class is the source of prosperity in capitalist economies, not a consequence of it. And we should never forget that even the best of us in the worst of circumstances are barefoot by the side of a dirt road selling fruit.

Fellow plutocrats, I think it may be time for us to recommit to our country, to commit to a new kind of capitalism which is both more inclusive and more effective, a capitalism that will ensure that America’s economy remains the most dynamic and prosperous in the world.

Let’s secure the future for ourselves, our children and their children. Or alternatively, we could do nothing, hide in our gated communities and private schools, enjoy our planes and yachts — they’re fun — and wait for the pitchforks.

Give rooms for kids to learn from their mistakes?

Diana Laufenberg. Educator shares three things she has learned about teaching

For over 15 years Diana has been a secondary social studies teacher in Wisconsin, Kansas, Arizona and Pennsylvania. Full bio
Filmed in Nov. 2010

I have been teaching for a long time, and in doing so have acquired a body of knowledge about kids and learning that I really wish more people would understand about the potential of students.

In 1931, my grandmother — bottom left for you guys over here — graduated from the eighth grade. She went to school to get the information because that’s where the information lived. It was in the books; it was inside the teacher’s head; and she needed to go there to get the information, because that’s how you learned.

Fast-forward a generation: this is the one-room schoolhouse, Oak Grove, where my father went to a one-room schoolhouse. And he again had to travel to the school to get the information from the teacher, stored it in the only portable memory he has, which is inside his own head, and take it with him, because that is how information was being transported from teacher to student and then used in the world.

When I was a kid, we had a set of encyclopedias at my house. It was purchased the year I was born, and it was extraordinary, because I did not have to wait to go to the library to get to the information.

The information was inside my house and it was awesome. This was different than either generation had experienced before, and it changed the way I interacted with information even at just a small level. But the information was closer to me. I could get access to it.

1:34 In the time that passes between when I was a kid in high school and when I started teaching, we really see the advent of the Internet.

Right about the time that the Internet gets going as an educational tool, I take off from Wisconsin and move to Kansas, small town Kansas, where I had an opportunity to teach in a lovely, small-town, rural Kansas school district, where I was teaching my favorite subject, American government.

My first year — super gung-ho — going to teach American government, loved the political system. Kids in the 12th grade: not exactly all that enthusiastic about the American government system.

Year two: learned a few things — had to change my tactic. And I put in front of them an authentic experience that allowed them to learn for themselves. I didn’t tell them what to do or how to do it. I posed a problem in front of them, which was to put on an election forum for their own community.

They produced flyers. They called offices. They checked schedules. They were meeting with secretaries. They produced an election forum booklet for the entire town to learn more about their candidates. They invited everyone into the school for an evening of conversation about government and politics and whether or not the streets were done well, and really had this robust experiential learning.

The older teachers — more experienced — looked at me and went, “Oh, there she is. That’s so cute. She’s trying to get that done.” (Laughter) “She doesn’t know what she’s in for.”

But I knew that the kids would show up, and I believed it, and I told them every week what I expected out of them.

And that night, all 90 kids — dressed appropriately, doing their job, owning it. I had to just sit and watch. It was theirs. It was experiential. It was authentic. It meant something to them. And they will step up.

TED

“You have to be comfortable with allowing kids to fail as part of the learning process.”

ted.com|By Diana Laufenberg

From Kansas, I moved on to lovely Arizona, where I taught in Flagstaff for a number of years, this time with middle school students.

Luckily, I didn’t have to teach them American government. Could teach them the more exciting topic of geography. Again, “thrilled” to learn.

But what was interesting about this position I found myself in in Arizona, was I had this really extraordinarily eclectic group of kids to work with in a truly public school, and we got to have these moments where we would get these opportunities.

And one opportunity was we got to go and meet Paul Rusesabagina, which is the gentleman that the movie “Hotel Rwanda” is based after. And he was going to speak at the high school next door to us. We could walk there. We didn’t even have to pay for the buses. There was no expense cost. Perfect field trip.

The problem then becomes how do you take seventh- and eighth-graders to a talk about genocide and deal with the subject in a way that is responsible and respectful, and they know what to do with it.

And so we chose to look at Paul Rusesabagina as an example of a gentleman who singularly used his life to do something positive. I then challenged the kids to identify someone in their own life, or in their own story, or in their own world, that they could identify that had done a similar thing.

I asked them to produce a little movie about it.

It’s the first time we’d done this. Nobody really knew how to make these little movies on the computer, but they were into it.

And I asked them to put their own voice over it.

It was the most awesome moment of revelation that when you ask kids to use their own voice and ask them to speak for themselves, what they’re willing to share.

The last question of the assignment is: how do you plan to use your life to positively impact other people? The things that kids will say when you ask them and take the time to listen is extraordinary.

Fast-forward to Pennsylvania, where I find myself today.

I teach at the Science Leadership Academy, which is a partnership school between the Franklin Institute and the school district of Philadelphia. We are a nine through 12 public school, but we do school quite differently.

I moved there primarily to be part of a learning environment that validated the way that I knew that kids learned, and that really wanted to investigate what was possible when you are willing to let go of some of the paradigms of the past, of information scarcity when my grandmother was in school and when my father was in school and even when I was in school, and to a moment when we have information surplus.

So what do you do when the information is all around you? Why do you have kids come to school if they no longer have to come there to get the information?

In Philadelphia we have a one-to-one laptop program, so the kids are bringing in laptops with them everyday, taking them home, getting access to information. And here’s the thing that you need to get comfortable with when you’ve given the tool to acquire information to students, is that you have to be comfortable with this idea of allowing kids to fail as part of the learning process.

We deal right now in the educational landscape with an infatuation with the culture of one right answer that can be properly bubbled on the average multiple choice test, and I am here to share with you: it is not learning.

That is the absolute wrong thing to ask, to tell kids to never be wrong.

To ask them to always have the right answer doesn’t allow them to learn. So we did this project, and this is one of the artifacts of the project. I almost never show them off because of the issue of the idea of failure.

My students produced these info-graphics as a result of a unit that we decided to do at the end of the year responding to the oil spill.

I asked them to take the examples that we were seeing of the info-graphics that existed in a lot of mass media, and take a look at what were the interesting components of it, and produce one for themselves of a different man-made disaster from American history. And they had certain criteria to do it.

They were a little uncomfortable with it, because we’d never done this before, and they didn’t know exactly how to do it. They can talk — they’re very smooth, and they can write very well, but asking them to communicate ideas in a different way was a little uncomfortable for them.

But I gave them the room to just do the thing. Go create. Go figure it out. Let’s see what we can do. And the student that persistently turns out the best visual product did not disappoint. This was done in like two or three days. And this is the work of the student that consistently did it.

And when I sat the students down, I said, “Who’s got the best one?” And they immediately went, “There it is.” Didn’t read anything.

“There it is.” And I said, “Well what makes it great?” And they’re like, “Oh, the design’s good, and he’s using good color. And there’s some … ” And they went through all that we processed out loud. And I said, “Go read it.” And they’re like, “Oh, that one wasn’t so awesome.”

And then we went to another one — it didn’t have great visuals, but it had great information — and spent an hour talking about the learning process, because it wasn’t about whether or not it was perfect, or whether or not it was what I could create.

It asked them to create for themselves, and it allowed them to fail, process, learn from. And when we do another round of this in my class this year, they will do better this time, because learning has to include an amount of failure, because failure is instructional in the process.

There are a million pictures that I could click through here, and had to choose carefully — this is one of my favorites — of students learning, of what learning can look like in a landscape where we let go of the idea that kids have to come to school to get the information, but instead, ask them what they can do with it.

Ask them really interesting questions. They will not disappoint.

Ask them to go to places, to see things for themselves, to actually experience the learning, to play, to inquire. This is one of my favorite photos, because this was taken on Tuesday, when I asked the students to go to the polls. This is Robbie, and this was his first day of voting, and he wanted to share that with everybody and do that. But this is learning too, because we asked them to go out into real spaces.

The main point is that, if we continue to look at education as if it’s about coming to school to get the information and not about experiential learning, empowering student voice and embracing failure, we’re missing the mark.

And everything that everybody is talking about today isn’t possible if we keep having an educational system that does not value these qualities, because we won’t get there with a standardized test, and we won’t get there with a culture of one right answer.

We know how to do this better, and it’s time to do better.


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