Every Day is the Start of a New Year

2,307 days–from 8-Sep-06 to 1-Jan-13. Six years, three months, 24 days. 1,163 published posts–one post every two days (actually 1.98 days, or 47.52 hours). When I wrote that first post I had no idea how often I would post or how long I would stay with it. I planned to integrate A Foolish Consistency into my courses, without a clear vision of how that might happen. I imagined blog posts and comments extending spirited discussions outside the classroom, but I did not require students to read A Foolish Consistency. Compelled participation is low-quality participation. A few lively discussions ensued, some students used blog comments as a proxy for classroom participation (with my blessing), and some students continued to read and comment on my posts long after they left my courses.  As an extension of the classroom I give A Foolish Consistency a C grade–a 73. Just above C-.

If extending the classroom had been my only reason to write A Foolish Consistency I would have abandoned it long ago. Writing the blog helped me think through issues, indulge my sense of humor, advise prospective law students, and voice my views of matters large and small. Providing content was a chore from time to time, but every fallow period ended with a satisfying burst of posts. As a vehicle for self-expression the blog gets a solid A-. 91.

However–(you knew that was coming)–my production tailed off this fall. Teaching sixteen credits spread across six courses with five preps left little time non-course activities. I posted less often, and thought less often of posting. I was not driven to write. I was sanguine about failing to maintain my pace. I felt no expectation-driven pressure.

I’ve decided to change my relationship to A Foolish Consistency. How, I don’t know, but I want to move beyond self-imposed constraints on my voice. Knowing that students comprised most of my audience I held back, keeping distance between my posts and my self. I will no longer present this blog as an extension of the classroom. The aspect of A Foolish Consistency that I graded C- will exist no more. I don’t know what will replace it. Don’t expect an outpouring of my most private self. I’m changing the blog, but I’m not changing. I have no expectations about how often I’ll post or what voice I’ll use. But why not change? Announcing this on New Year’s Day is heavy-handed, but that’s mostly a matter of timing. Today’s the first day I’ve had time to write what I’ve been thinking about for weeks. As one of the smartest and most interesting people I met this semester wrote to me today, who says the new year is a time for resolutions anyway?  I can resolve to changing old ways whenever I want!

Happy New Year.

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Ch-Ch-Changes

Regular readers of this blog will notice ongoing changes in the site’s appearance and functionality.  It starts with the new Twenty Ten WordPress theme, which still requires tweaks to ensure proper display of all existing content and images.  The biggest changes will be in the blog’s companion site, AFC Legal Resources, the home for all of my course materials.  I’m switching from Drupal to a different CMS platform, Concrete5.  I’ve used Drupal successfully for over three years but I’m always at the limits of comprehending how to manage it.  It’s been everything I’ve wanted except easy to use.  Concrete5 describes itself as “CMS for Marketing but built for Geeks.” Any pretensions I might have to geekiness melt within 30 seconds of trying to fathom explanations like this:

This command can strip data out of a database dump which generally shouldn’t be migrated when moving a Drupal database from one site to another.

sed -E -e “/^INSERT INTO \`(cache|watchdog|sessions)/d” < /path/to/dump.sql > /path/to/dump-stripped.sql

You will need to tweak the regular expression a bit if your database uses a table prefix.

Clear as glass if you speak the language.  I don’t, and I have no patience for climbing the required learning curve.  Like Drupal Concrete5 is free and open source, but after playing with it for an hour I see it is much easier to create content, edit pages, and administer.  I am sure to create bumps along the way, but if I can make this happen without blowing up the site–I’ve done so before, course materials site’s appearance and functionality should be more friendly.

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Two Years

A Foolish Consistency’s first post–about net neutrality–appeared on September 8, 2006.  This post, two years later, is the 402nd I’ve published on A Foolish Consistency, slightly more than one post every other day.  Not prolific output but not bad either, given the number of blogs that come and go and the ease with which I can be distracted.

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It’s Back

A Foolish Consistency and all related pages crashed Wednesday from code gremlins and my game attempts to save it as it sank. It’s back as it existed on January 4, which means it is missing a few posts and all of the course documents I uploaded this week. I’ll restore everything over the weekend. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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Cops Drop Cartoon Caper Charges

Prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens, the two Boston men arrested in connection with last winter’s guerrilla marketing stunt gone awry. (See Cartoon Consequences, Bomb Scare Settlement, and Collateral Damage for prior AFC posts.) As part of a plea agreement the two have performed community service and yesterday apologized in open court. Since I ripped Berdovsky and Stevens for their idiotic behavior at the press conference after their arraignment (Dumb Clients) I’ll note that their apologies, which are printed in today’s Boston Globe on page B4 but do not appear with the story on the Globe’s website (why is the Boston Globe’s website so crappy?), are excellent. If anyone wants a model public apology these, especially Berdovsky’s, are well-done. The Globe story ends with a satisfying grace note about the terrible critical and commercial reception for the movie the stunt promoted: “[a] critic for the Orlando Sentinel wrote this about the film: ‘To think we laughed at Boston. Then. They knew a bomb when they saw one.'”

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Lydia Cacho

Ali, an AFC reader, posted this as a comment to Worldwide Press Freedom Index article. It deserves more attention so I’m posting it here:

This month’s Glamour magazine presents a revealing article about the lack of press freedom in Mexico. In focuses on Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho (Glamour Magazine, pg. 224). This courageous woman writes about the toughest criminals of Mexico: the established pedophile rings in Cancun, the poverty of Cancun’s local residents who were forced to move outside the attractive tourist area, the HIV epidemic, domestic violence, and government corruption. Writing about these topics takes a great amount of courage because of the lack of journalistic freedom in Mexico; Cacho experiences constant threats on her life. In the past, she has been brutally beaten, raped, and sued for libel for her exposes. Last year, a Mexican governor was caught allegedly plotting to have her arrested and killed. The means taken to put restrictions on freedom of the press are atrocious.

Mexico ranks number 132 on the Worldwide Press and Freedom Index. Brave journalists such as Cacho deserve to be admired for their hard work and the selfless risks they take every day to create awareness about their countries’ crises that would otherwise lurk in the dark.

The Glamour article is here: http://www.glamour.com/news/feature/articles/2006/10/30/globaldiarymexico06dec. It is worth reading.

Thanks Ali.

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