I'll answer these in the order that he asked them. The other two interests are going to be rather short compared to the first, just so you know. :)
"Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don't need little changes. We need gigantic, monumental changes. Schools should be palaces. The competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be making six figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge to its citizens, just like national defense. That's my position. I just haven't figured out how to do it yet."
---Sam Seaborn, The West Wing
I agree with this. I've gone to public schools most of my life, and am embarrassed with how horrible they are. The teachers don't care, except for the (very) few who do. And they tend to burn out pushing against the wave of incompetence and ignorance and apathy of their co-workers, and need push even harder against the attitude of entitlement that those incompetent wastes of taxpayers money encourage in their students.
I despair for those who get left behind, even in this age of 'No Child Left Behind'. Those who, for whatever reason, can't understand, who can't learn the things that are encouraged at a given time. Every time that I hear about someone who is caught in the Lord of the Flies re-enactment of middle or high school and snaps, I'm filled with rage, not at them for how they destroyed those people who thought of them as their tormentors, but at their fellow students for not standing up and saying "That's enough." for their teachers for not punishing those who would harm these children. I'm not suggesting tighter security, or treating these kids like felons, unless they are (and that's a whole 'nother thing) I'm suggesting that they instill the concept of reasonable fucking social behavior in these kids.
When I hear about a fifth grade class setting look-outs so that a pair of their students could have sex, I want to curl up and cry for a society so steeped in sexuality, and so ashamed of it at the same time that parents can't sit and talk with their children about it, so that they can have fond memories of their sexual encounters, not rushed into it in a classroom, while the teacher is off doing something else besides tending her students.
..public school reform is something I feel strongly about, and I just wish that I was smarter and could figure a better way around it, or that those who agreed with me that they're broken would fight to fix them, as opposed to taking their kids to private schools. I think that one of the concepts that this country was founded on was that we're all equal. That we all have the same opportunities for success and failure as the next person in line. This is a load of crap in the real world, but I think that you should have the chance. And the best leveling field is education. For our children (our in a societal meaning, not a literal one) to have access to try and wrap their brains around the difficult questions, and have the smartest people available to help them along the way. I want our children to be able to learn what they want, as well as what will help them, and by helping them, help us. I want them to be able to learn to play the flute, or fix a car, or write a new operating system. I want them to learn to do all of those things, or to be exposed to them so that they can decide what it is that they enjoy. I want people to look back at their school years and say "I wish I had taken advantage of that" as opposed to "I wish I'd had that opportunity".
..wow, after that little rant, this is a little pointless. It was something that ardaniel came up with back when #DSM still existed that I thought was hilarious, considering that I hang out in some circles where adding "tactical" to the front of a noun is a way of saying "look! There's bling on the weapon that means that we can charge 50% more for it!"
I'm still trying to figure out what sort of bling you can put on a pair of panties that would make them tactical, but when I do, you can damn well bet that I'm buying a bunch for friends of mine.
...then I'm gonna go looking for tactical jockey shorts.
I like to bake, mostly breads and the like, hearty stuff. Although I've been known to make the occasional sweet.
If you want me to ask you about yours, or you want to ask me about others of mine, go ahead and ask in the comments. :)