Thursday, November 29, 2012


You've Got a Friend

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Modern Family

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"How did it hit you when you found out you were going to get sole custody?"

Elton Colbert talks to his father about being a single parent.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Joy Luck Club - Best Quality

This is a scene from the movie "The Joy Luck Club". This movie is a wonderful look at intercultural relationships in the same family. The mothers were born in China and the daughters were born in America. They have different cultures, but don't realize it. In this clip June and her mother reach an understanding.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Story Corps - Tough Mom

Theresa Nguyen (L) talks to her daughter, Stephanie (R), about balancing their Vietnamese heritage with raising a family in the United States.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens was a very popular singer-songwriter in the 1970's. When his career was at its peak, he stopped performing and converted to Islam. He changed his name to Yusuf Islam.

Here is one of my favorite songs from the 1970's. It is called Father and Son. It is about the difference between what parents and children want.

Here are the words to the song:

It's not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.
You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you have to know.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy.

I was once like you are now, and I know that it's not easy,
To be calm when you've found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you've got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again.
It's always been the same, same old story.
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen.
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

It's not time to make a change,
Just sit down, take it slowly.
You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you have to go through.
Find a girl, settle down,
if you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy.
(Son-- Away Away Away, I know I have to
Make this decision alone - no)

All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside,
It's hard, but it's harder to ignore it.
If they were right, I'd agree, but it's them They know not me.
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.
(Father-- Stay Stay Stay, Why must you go and
make this decision alone?)

Friday, September 14, 2012

California Prison Spending

One of the reasons that California is cutting how much money they spend on education is because they are spending more on prisons. What do you think about this?

Watch the video here.

California is spending 1,370 percent more money on prisons today compared to 1980 levels. NBC Bay Area got the first look at a report from Los Altos-based, non-partisan research group California Common Sense (CACS) published Thursday.

It’s the first time a group has looked at 30 years worth of data and crunched the numbers to show a long-term trend between state spending on prisons and on higher education, according to Director of Research Mike Polyakov.

California spent $592 million on corrections in 1980, Polyakov said. That spending has jumped to $9.2 billion in 2011.

Meanwhile, higher education spending has decreased. Researchers found that there is a trend to pay University of California and California State University faculty less money than in the past.

“What we found is faculty salaries have decreased about 10 percent since 1990,” Polyakov said.

At the same time, Polyakov said prison guard salaries reached a record high in 2006.

“The average salary we calculated was somewhere in area of $100,000," he said. "Today, it’s closer to $75,000.”

So even though the officers' pay has come down in the last few years, CACS researchers found that correctional officers are still making anywhere from 50 to 90 percent above market rate compared to the rest of the country.

California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) spokesperson Ryan Sherman said it’s an unfair comparison because the cost of living in California is so high.

“Buying a house in the Bay Area is extremely expensive. There’s a number of prisons in the Bay Area and so the officers need to be compensated appropriately in California. CHP officers are paid more than correctional officers and it’s the same standards, same hiring practices they go through so I don’t know that they’re paid too much. I think they actually deserve more," Sherman said.

"I think most public employees deserve more -- teachers, professors -- I think everybody has been biting the bullet the last few years.”

Sherman added that his members have recognized the state budget problems and are keeping up their share.

"As it pertains to benefits, salaries, things like that, our members are fairly compensated, although they haven’t had a raise in years. They’ve actually taken 15, up to 15 percent in pay cuts over the last couple years,” Sherman said. “We’re realistic. We know there’s no money available.”

The corrections department’s only source of income come from the general fund, according to Sherman.

“We’re kind of relying on the general fund unlike higher education and some other agencies that have special funds.”

Polyakov warns if this trend doesn’t reverse quickly and substantially enough, there could be major brain drain out of California because professors at public universities are getting paid too little.

"They’re behind market rates," Polyakov said. "If you can’t pay your faculty as much as the other universities, as a comparable university does, well eventually they’re going to go there.”

San Jose State University professor Jonathan Roth couldn’t agree more.

"I’ve taught at Ivy League schools, and the students are better, it’s more interesting, right?" he said. "The conditions are better, the pay is higher but it doesn’t make as much of a difference.”

Roth said he wanted to make that difference here, but that too many classes are being cut and leaving his students in tears.

“We’ve lost over the last two years, half of our lecture sessions - half.”

He’s worried about the students, who may have to stay longer because the courses they need for a specific degree are either full or not even offered.

"They lose motivation, they get frustrated, they leave - they lose their dreams,” said Roth. “And we’re often forgotten.”

The 20-year teaching veteran said morale at SJSU is at an all-time low among his professors.

“The problem here now is professors are making less than plumbers, less than air conditioning repairmen, less than corrections officers. Not that those jobs aren’t important, but I’m a much more difficult person to replace,” Roth said.

Gov. Jerry Brown was in office when the state spent five times more on higher education than on prisons.

NBC Bay Area caught up with him at a rally for Prop. 30, which would increase sales and income taxes to help fund higher education. Brown blamed the skyrocketing corrections spending on the prison-building boom.

“What happened in the intervening years is 23 prisons were built, and instead of getting three-percent of the general fund, it went as high as eleven-percent. We’re reversing that. Prisons are only going to get 7.5 percent, and that’s a real reduction in our prison system.”

Polyakov and CACS' point is that that may still not be enough. For example, the CCPOA is set to start salary increases again next year.

“In 10 to 20 years, these are going to be really important issues," Polyakov said. "Everything from the higher education funding. Are we going to have enough college prepared students 10 years down the line?”

Monday, September 10, 2012

Don't Stop Believing

Just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world She took the midnight train goin' anywhere Just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit He took the midnight train goin' anywhere A singer in a smokey room A smell of wine and cheap perfume For a smile they can share the night It goes on and on and on and on (Chorus) Strangers waiting, up and down the boulevard Their shadows searching in the night Streetlights people, living just to find emotion Hiding, somewhere in the night. Working hard to get my fill, Everybody wants a thrill Payin' anything to roll the dice, Just one more time Some will win, some will lose Some were born to sing the blues Oh, the movie never ends It goes on and on and on and on (Chorus) Don't stop believin' Hold on to the feelin' Streetlights people Don't stop believin' Hold on Streetlight people Don't stop believin' Hold on to the feelin' Streetlights people

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Kissing Case

This is a sad story from Story Corps. It is about a 9-year old boy who was accused of raping a white girl. Do you think this was fair?

Listen | StoryCorps

Here is an article about this story from NPR

In 1958, James Hanover Thompson (R) and his friend David Simpson — both African-American, both children — were accused of kissing a girl who was white. They were arrested, and taken to jail. Prosecutors sought a stiff penalty — living in reform school until they were 21.

"The Kissing Case," as it came to be known, drew international media attention to Monroe, N.C., at the time. But since then, it's been largely forgotten. Even the Thompson family rarely talked about it. Recently, James Hanover Thompson sat down with his younger brother, Dwight, and told him what happened.

"We were playing with some friends over in the white neighborhood, chasing spiders and wrestling and stuff like that," James says.

"One of the little kids suggested that one of the little white girls give us a kiss on the jaw," he says. "The little girl gave me a peck on the cheek, and then she kissed David on the cheek. So, we didn't think nothing of it. We were just little kids."

But the little girl mentioned the kiss back home, and her parents were furious; the police set out in search of the boys.

"The police car pulled up, and they said, 'We're taking y'all to jail,'" James says. "I didn't know what was going on. But when we got down to the police station, we understand that they said that we had raped a little white girl."

The two boys — James, 9, and David, 7 — were charged with molestation. And their punishment started immediately.

"They uh... took us down in the bottom of the police station to a cell. And they had us handcuffed — they started beating us," James says. "They was beating us to our body, you know? They didn't beat us to the face, where nobody could see it; they just punched us all in the stomach, and back and legs. We was hollering and screaming. We thought they was gonna kill us."

James says that he and David were held in jail for about six days before they were allowed to see their parents. And soon after, they were sent to reform school, with the possibility that they might be released before they turned 21.

News reports of the case spread far and wide — it became the "Kissing Case" in many headlines. Officials from the NAACP and Eleanor Roosevelt were among those who reportedly asked North Carolina Gov. Luther Hodges to show clemency in the case.

Eventually, the governor pardoned James and David, and they were released after spending three months in detention.

James' sister, Brenda Lee Graham, also spoke about those days with Dwight, who was born in 1961, and grew up not knowing much about the incident.

"Mom was a nervous wreck. She didn't sleep," Brenda tells Dwight. "She would be up walking the floors and praying."

Remembering what life was like for the rest of the family while the authorities were holding James, Brenda says, "I remember that at night, you could see them burning crosses..."

"Right there in the front yard?" Dwight asks.

"Right there in the front yard," Brenda says. "And my mom and them, they would go out in the morning, and sweep bullets off our front porch."

James says that each week during his detention, he was sent to a psychologist. "And he'd tell me, 'They should have castrated y'all.' I mean, it was just something," he says.

Brenda says that when James came back home, "it was like seeing somebody different, that you didn't even know. He never talked about what he went through there. But ever since then, his mind just hadn't been the same."

And, James says, while he and David were pardoned, they never got an apology, either.

"I still feel the hurt and the pain from it," he says. "And nobody never said, 'Hey, look, I'm sorry what happened to y'all. It was wrong.'"

He has spent most of his adult life in and out of prison for robbery.

"I always sit around and I wonder, if this hadn't happened to me, you know, what could I have turned out to be?" James says. "Could I have been a doctor? Could I have went off to some college, or some great school? It just destroyed our life."

Brenda says, "My brother and his friend had to suffer on account of that. And I mean, they suffered. From one kiss. I've thought about that. It all started with a kiss."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rent Tribute at the 2008 Tony Awards

This is a tribute to Rent at the Tony Awards. The Tony Awards are awards for live theater on Broadway. This performance features the songs La Vie Boheme and Seasons of Love. The original Broadway cast joins the cast who is performing on Broadway in 2008 for a wonderful performance.

Rent - Full Movie

I'll Cover You - Reprise

Here's another version live on Broadway with different actors.

Without You

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Take Me or Leave Me

I Should Tell You

La Vie Boheme

Friday, May 18, 2012

Over the Moon (Maureen's Protest)

I'll Cover You

Santa Fe

Sorry, the quality is not so good.

Will I?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Out Tonight and Another Day

Life Support

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Tango: Maureen

Today 4 U

Light My Candle

Monday, May 14, 2012

One Song - Glory

You'll See


Seasons of Love

rent seasons of love by avajra

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

International Day

On April 20, 2012, we celebrated International Day at Civic Center Campus. Students dressed in traditional clothes and made displays with information about their cultures. Also, they sold delicious food from their countries. It was so much fun traveling the world at 750 Eddy Street! Here are some photos from Diane Wallis. Click here.
Here are some more pictures from Venette Cook. Look here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Gestures are a part of non-verbal communication. Many cultures share the same gestures, but they don't always have the same meaning. Italians are famous for using their hands when they speak. Here is an interesting video about Italian hand gestures.

Body Language

Non-verbal communication makes up from 65%-95% of the way we communicate. A big part of non-verbal communication is body language. Rules may be different in different countries. For example, in some cultures, it is not polite to look someone in the eyes if he or she is in a higher position. In the United States, eye contact is very important. Watch this video to learn more about non-verbal communication. You can also learn how to tell how other people are feeling - are they bored, are they lying, do they like you???

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Speak English Like a San Franciscan

Do you have a hard time understanding San Franciscans? Here is a guide to speaking like a native San Franciscan.

Click on this link to read the article.

Here's a slideshow about being a "real" San Franciscan. I'm not a real San Franciscan, but I've never been to Alcatraz and I don't go to Fisherman's Wharf.

Click this link.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Beautiful Mess - Jason Mraz

You've got the best of both worlds
You're the kind of girl who can take down a man and lift him back up again
You are strong but you're needy
Humble but you're greedy
And based on your body language and shoddy cursive I've been reading
Your style is quite selective
Though your mind is rather reckless
Well I guess that suggests that this is just what happiness is

And what a beautiful mess this is
It's like we're picking up trash in dresses
Well it kind of hurts when the kind of words you write
Kind of turn themselves into knives
And, don't mind my nerve, you could call it fiction
But I like being submerged in your contradictions dear
'Cause here we are... here we are

Although you are biased I love your advice
Your comebacks they're quick and probably have to do with your insecurities
There's no shame in being crazy
Depending on how you take these words
I'm paraphrasing this relationship we are staging

What a beautiful mess this is
It's like we're picking up trash in dresses
Well, it kind of hurts when the kind of words you say
Kind of turn themselves into blades
Kind and courteous is a life I've heard
But it's so nice to say we've played in the dirt
Cause here, here we are
Here we are.....

Here we are, here we are, here we are......

Oh what a beautiful mess this is
It's like we're taking a guess when the only answer is "yes"

And through timeless words and priceless pictures
We will fly like birds not of this world not of this earth
Tides may turn and hearts disfigure
But that's no concern when we're wounded together
And we tore our dresses and we stained our shirts, but it's so nice today
Oh the wait was so worth it

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Freedom Riders

Watch Freedom Riders on PBS. See more from American Experience.

A group of Black and White Americans took buses into the South to challenge segregation. This is their incredible story.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lunch Counter Sit-In

In 1960, 4 students began a protest at a Woolworth's Lunch Counter. This was one of many protests to challenge racial segregation in the South.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jane Goodall

As a young woman, Jane Goodall went to Africa to study chimpanzees. She was not a scientist or a researcher, but through her observation the world learned many new things about chimpanzees. When the chimpanzees began to disappear, Jane left the jungle to teach the world about them and to save their habitat. This short video tells the story of Jane Goodall, an incredible woman.