Thought for Today

From John Taylor Gatto’s, The Underground History of American Education,

I’ve yet to meet a parent in public school who ever stopped to calculate the heavy, sometimes lifelong price their children pay for the privilege of being rude and ill-mannered at school. I haven’t met a public school parent yet who was properly suspicious of the state’s endless forgiveness of bad behavior for which the future will be merciless.

I’ll just keep on posting these teasers every now and then until y’all start reading the book. *heh*

Hmmm, maybe I should do the same with this book

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What’s the matter with kids today?

From a wide array of socially destructive interests affecting youth today, one stands out as the 500-pound gorilla: prisons for kids, AKA public schools. While I have some arguments with some of his sub-points, John Taylor Gatto’s The Underground History of American Education is a book every American should read… those that are able to, that is. *sigh*

Why, in the face of readily, easily, available source information, free courseware (here and elsewhere, as well), tutorials, literature and direct interaction with Wise Men is the electorate of our democratic republic ever more stupidly uninformed (as can be inferred from the candidates it votes for)?

I think I can assuredly assert that at least a major part of the reason is our nation’s prisons for kids, AKA public schools.

As Gatto asserts,

Exactly what John Dewey heralded at the onset of the twentieth century has indeed happened. Our once highly individualized nation has evolved into a centrally managed village, an agora made up of huge special interests which regard individual voices as irrelevant. The masquerade is managed by having collective agencies speak through particular human beings. Dewey said this would mark a great advance in human affairs, but the net effect is to reduce men and women to the status of functions in whatever subsystem they are placed. Public opinion is turned on and off in laboratory fashion. All this in the name of social efficiency, one of the two main goals of forced schooling.

Gatto’s book, linked above, is available in full on the web. I’d like to reorganize his website to make it easier to read, but if you stick with it (and do open links on the TOC page in new tabs–that’ll help) and read the whole thing, you’ll soon be foirwarding the link to everyone you know… especially those in your addressbook who are teachers.

Don’t expect politicians to read the thing. They don’t have the time or inclination to read things that would tell ’em how to actually fix what they’ve broken (and the record shows they do not have to fear an electorate holding them accountable for the child abuse they encourage–and in cases outright dictate–in the classrooms across our country). You’ll have to read it, spread the word and build a grassroots groundswell of “take your damned hands off my kids!”


Trackposted to Nuke Gingrich, Faultline USA, Allie is Wired, Woman Honor Thyself, Shadowscope, Pirate’s Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Cao’s Blog, Leaning Straight Up, Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Worst Photo Ever :-)


Now, before you even ask, yes, there is a reason I blurred out my Wonder Woman’s face. And no, I’ll not tell you anything beyond one word: politics *spit*


It was a dark and stormy night… Really. Snowflakes as big around as a heifer’s eye were stampeding down on the Sunflower State when my Wonder Woman was striding across the stage (to her very common name’s mispronunciation by a cultural illiterate) to recieve her empty diploma case while having her “Academic Dean’s Honors” status (4.0 average) announced.

And so, 34 years after her BS, she added an MS (Ed Tech/MLS) to her curriculum vitae. One of a very few bright spots in an otherwise gloomy sitch for public education. Seriously. Sure, adding the masters degree was pretty much de rigeur once she left the classroom to start serving kids’ learning needs in the library (yes, bureaucrats are pushing for more ticket-punching there), but while I generally deride professional certification degrees–and especially in education–I saw some value in the courses and activities she was required to fulfill for this degree.

1. Few “education” classes. Yeh, there were education theory and practice classes included in the mix, each and every one filled to the brim with typical education school hokum. But given the emphasis of her degree, these were thankfully few and easily set aside after having those mini-tickets punched.

2. Most of the classes seriously addressed–and offered avenues for genuine creativity in–the need to make sure that using computers and the like in the library (and classroom–she still does classroom teaching, but now ALL the students are hers) are useful in learning, that measureable objectives in use of technology to aid learning are clear and that actual learning of useful information results, rather than kids just learning how to use computers; IOW, that kids learn how to use computers (and the like) to learn, to do independent research well, etc.

3. Oh, there was no neglect of the other, typical MLS topics, topics anyone who’s had to use a library for research appreciates when they have the aid of a librarian who has MLS training as opposed to someone who has not.

4. But of all the reasons I came–finally–to view this degree as a good thing for the schools here, one is a standout: having a lil more clout with the IT people to DEMAND (nicely, she’s always TOO nice, IMO) that the equipment be configured so that users can, well, USE it to do useful things (instead of just being configured for the convenience of IT folks, as has all too often been the case). *heh*

Now, that’s about all I’ll say here applying to her (new) degree except, “WTG, Wonder Woman!”

Other observations, lessons drawn from the ceremony/event may follow later. For now, enough to say, “Well done, Wonder Woman!”

Poor players, strutting and fretting their hours upon the stage…

The Stupid Party needs to get some schooling in Texas Holdem, cos the Demoncraps are taking their shirts:

“Game Theory and Media Bias” by Todd Manzi:

It used to be that the press would report the happenings of politics. Somewhere along the line, the process became perverted, and politicians began playing to the press and engaging in behavior that was motivated solely because of the prospect of media coverage. The tail wagged the dog, and politicians learned they could manipulate the press. Today, the message of politics is delivered through a liberally biased prism. Not only do Reid and the Democrats make moves designed to get media coverage, they take full advantage of the premise that the people reporting the news are predisposed to liberal ideology.

And infusion of testosterone and an ability to call the Dem’s bluffs every now and then might make a difference in how the game is played in Washington…

Simple Rice Delight

I’ve not submitted anything to the Carnival of Recipes for a while, so I thought I’d ease back in with a really simple, simply delightful dish.

Growing up, I always knew if Mother made rice for a Sunday Dinner, we could expect one of my favorite desserts. Here’s how I make it today. Note again that I’m back to a “no amounts given” recipe. Vary at Will. (He won’t mind.)


Rice, white or brown, doesn’t matter, as long as it is well-cooked and warm. Put some in a bowl. You choose the amount. Add grated nutmeg, butter or margarine, sugar and milk. Eat.

Simply delightful!

My only real variation is that I no longer use pre-ground nutmeg, if at all possible. Buy the nuts. Grate them with a fine-meshed hand grater. You can use a coffee mill to “grate” the nutmeg, but it’s easier to control amounts and avoid a “burned” flavor if you grate it by hand. Do stir the nutmet/sugar/butter well into the rice (letting the butter melt) before adding milk.

My last bowl of this came from a pot of rice that had been used for dinner, but still had some rice stuck to the bottom and sides. A few minutes’ soak with warm water and the rice–about a cupsworth–was free of the pan, and this tightwad was NOT going to throw it out when a zap in the microwave would turn it into Simple Rice Delight!


Mixed Review

Disclaimer: I don’t generally like or in any way appreciate didacticism. Especially not in novels, but generally not anywhere. I also don’t appreciate being preached to most of the time. (Mainly because most of the “preachers”-both from secular and “sacred” realms are usually so bad at it that any valid points they may have are obscured by all the rubbish they lade on top.)

That said, imagine my ambivalence when I picked up Michael Crichton’s State of Fear. The thing’s just one long polemic against the stupidity marketed as “global warming” and “climate change”. Yeh, I know I deliberately loaded that comment, but I’ll stand behind it.

But about the book. After dispensing with the suspension of disbelief deal breaker in the plot (a bunch of unlikely-totally implausible-Scooby-dos save the world from eco-feak wack jobs and ecology industry conspirators. OK, the last part isn’t so far-fetched, but the Scoooby-dos are), the stick-figure characterizations, sometimes wooden dialog and all the other lame plot elements, I was left with a run-of-the-mill adventure story well suited to Hollyweird (save for its perspective on global warming/whatever the latest lame catchphrase might be) and… some moderately interesting, though hardly new to me, citations of actual-GASP!-scientific research into climate change.

And frankly, for those who have been brainwashed by Hollyweird, the Mass Media Podpeople’s Army, Cracked Ivory Tower Academia Nuts, and the whole melange of Loony Left Moonbats, eco-freaks, eco-nazis and their ilk about climate, this book (and hopefully others like it but better-written) may hold out some slim hope of sanity.

Yes, the novel does exaggerate some things and postulate a semi-plausible conspiracy to manipulate people by inducing a “state of fear”, but the basic info about the non-scientific, UNREASONING and unreasonable nature of global warming posturers is spot on, and worth injecting into the public consciousness.

I’d suggest that those who don’t particularly appreciate Crichton’s fiction style (count me as one, although he seems to have his moments of good writing in every book of his I’ve read) nevertheless read the book’s appendices and check out the bibliography. Some good reading in the biblio, much of it-or abstracts of some-available on the internet. You will have to do your own searches for the material, though, unless you have dead tree copies in your own library (like the Rachel Carson cover-to-cover lie, Silent Spring I have buried in a box) or a decent public or university library available… and there’s always interlibrary loan, you know.

Frankly, most folks won’t be bothered too much by the massive implausibilities in the plot and would enjoy the read… although most will also-sadly, cos they are surprisingly good; the best parts of the book, in fact-skip over the lil sermonettes on science vs. eco-voodoo.

Crichton does make the common mistake of many accolytes of materialistic positivism in believing scientific knowledge is the only real knowledge, but I can forgive him that blind spot for the service he does in describing in vernacular some of the differences between the voodoo that’s presented as scientific knowledge by the media, politicians *spit* and dumbasses in academia who are either just playing pseudo-scientific politics or regularly speak with assurance about things they know nothing about.

BTW, I missed noting Rachel Carson, arguably the biggest mass murderer in history via the influence of her lies, in my roundup of “Worst Americans” and only realized my faux pas when I saw her on someone else’s list. Can’t get ’em all…

Review reviewed at Stuck on Stupid, TMH’s Bacon Bits

Ten Good Ones… times 2

Boudicca picked up a non-meme-ish suggestion and passed it on in Top 10 Good People of 2005. Not necessarily “big names” but folks who’ve been a strong positive influence, personally or in wider society.

At least, that’s how I’m choosing to interpret this. 🙂 Bou’s post was a lil vague (she was still heavily medicated from her surgery), and GuyK’s post at Charming, Just Charming (whence Bou picked this up) is pretty open-ended.

So, maybe not ten. Maybe not the TOP ten. But quite a few.

Let me begin with my fav top ten bloggers who have had a positive influence on me this year. Keep in mind: I am NOT listing them in any order other than maybe alphabetically, ‘K? Having pared it down to only ten, I feel badly because another list just as long belongs with this one. So, as wrong as this list is, here are ten OF the top good folks who have positively influenced my life this last year:

Kris at Anywhere But Here
Christine of BTW and Morning Coffee & Afternoon Tea
Bou (heal quickly!) at Boudicca’s Voice
My Blogmom, Carol Platt Liebau 🙂
Kathryn at Cathouse Chat
Diane of, well, Diane’s Stuff
Rich at The English Guy
Kat from Keep The Coffee Coming
TMH (secretive booger that he is) of TMH’s Bacon Bits
Woody of the eponymous Woody’s News & Views

Please keep in mind that I’ve left off many who have been just as good to me, had influence just as positive as the folks on this list, but I’m trying to keep this portion at ten. The rest of you who belong on this list also know you do, but you’re the kinda folks who will take it in the right spirit. Good on you one and all.

In “real life” I’d have to list my Wonder Woman, Lovely Daughter and Bubba at the top. No matter what (even when I’m not at my best or irked with one of them or whatever), they are the most positive influences in my life. Period. They KNOW the real curmudgeonly me, and still lend me their light.

I miss my neighbor. Yeh. The one neighbor, really. Always ready to help with anything. Nobody’s perfect, but he was a thoughtful, generous guy.

A couple of my siblings definitely qualify as strong influences for good-older sister and younger brother. Pretty constant contact with these two, and they are always uplifting. Heck, I’d have to say my youngest nephew has been a strong positive influence! (Just keeping up with his academic progress has thrown me back at some classics in my reading.) Great kid.

Guy at the local grocery who has fun playing my silly people/word games. Heck, the checkers there are neat, too. Aww… even the owner’s a really nice guy (though he’d not necessarily want ya to know it–likes to play curmudgeon. heh).

And two clients who have done medical transcription for years (you know who you are-and since you read this blog, I’ll let this be your “Have a great new year!” OK? :-). Thanks, ladies, for your continual positive outlook and influence on me. Oh, and thank the bread baker, too.

NOTE: this list is not exhaustive, either. Just a quick runback through a few contacts in the last lil bit who have been constant positive influences over the past year.

And that’s my of ten of the top Good People of 2005 for the “real world”-how about yours?

Is it still Christmas in Cambodia?/OP

I figure I’d better hold this post open for trackbacks in case anyone knows when Jean Fraud sKerry’s gonna get back from his Christmas in Cambodia… Maybe that’ll be around the time he finally keeps his word on such matters as, gosh, I dunno, releasing his records?

(BTW, I’ve actually got that release date. Inside information. 12th of Never.)

Meanwhile, If you don’t understand what a trackback is go here for a good explanation. If your blog software doesn’t generate trackbacks use this form or this one.

Short shrift again today. A few links up later. DO hit the “Treatment Time Open Trackbacks” over at The Uncooperative Blogger. Note other linkfests in my left sidebar, too, ‘K?

Cya at Choose Life! (Just wanted to link to a blog! with! an! exclamation! point! 🙂

UPDATE: The MaryHunter noted in comments that DL’s trackback from Teddy Lied, Mary Jo Died failed. A shame, really. Otherwise, how are y’all ever going to find the piece? Oh. OK. And TMH’s trackback of Realizing UN/NGO Tsunami Aid… Someday disappeared into the aether as well, apparently. And do note his commentary on the hubris of modern genetic tinkerers.

Still short shrift. Will update later… possibly.

The Gift

Trees and lights and bells and carols;
Bright-wrapped packages, piled high;
Winter’s sharp blow joins the heralds:
“Christmas-time is nigh!”

Mailmen hurry; shoppers scurry;
Time is fleeing – Oh! So fast!
Parties gather, loud and merry,
Grander than in Christmas’ past.

Pause a moment to remember
That a Savior’s simple birth
Still stirs angel wings in susur’ –
“Peace to men; good will on earth!”

Now the Father’s hands that molded
The first Adam in the clay,
Gently ’round a manger folded,
Cradle a Baby in the hay.

So the Greatest Gift extended,
Gift of love and peace to all,
“God’s great love to man descended”
Calls us to a manger stall.

©1990 David Needham

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Submitted to Adam’s Carnival of Christmas

This is a piece (already posted at Whistling in the Light) that I’ve used in several different ways over the years. I had planned a much more elaborate Christmas post—including a quasi-pod-cast-y sorta “report from the fields near Bethlehem” thing— but instead, I think I’ll take bits and pieces and post them throughout Advent, up through Christmas.

NOTE: bumped to Christmas Eve and updated with the Carnival of Christmas URL