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Monday links


  1. Bear
    Bear March 31, 2014 12:23 pm

    I lived in New Mexico back in the mid-’80s. What I remember of it was how civilized and friendly it was. Part of that was being in a small town, but that’s also balanced by the fact that it was a military town (Alamogordo; I was assigned to Holloman). But Albuquerque was a nice place, too. Times obviously changed. I’d be afraid of being shot now (bear in mind that I have spent time living in the boonies out of the back of a truck). I know one officer that was too nasty for New Hampshire (as best I could tell, he’d been fired by every department he’d ever worked for at that time, for such things as beating up kids who weren’t sufficiently subservient) has gotten a job with the Roswell PD, and I know they’re aware of his past.

    Damned shame. I liked NM.

  2. Roger
    Roger March 31, 2014 12:55 pm

    So the albuqueque police ansswer a protest about their violence with…….. more violence!
    As for churches into pubs in London that’s quite original, normally they turn them into mosques………

  3. Claire
    Claire March 31, 2014 12:57 pm

    Back in the late 90s/early 2000s I was looking at NM as a potential place to live. Had never been there but it sounded interesting. Had to drive through it to get to an event in Arizona, so took some extra time to look.

    First thing I saw after crossing the border was a roadsign warning of random checkpoints. (As I recall, they had some creepy eye-in-a-pyramid graphic, though I could be imagining that.) Seemed those signs were everywhere I turned. Finally arrived at one little town in the middle of nowhere that had sounded “on paper” like a great potential spot to live.

    Cute town! Great setting. Bought a local newspaper. Main story on the front page was about the new random checkpoints the local cops were starting up.

    Kept on moving on …

  4. Jim B.
    Jim B. March 31, 2014 2:37 pm

    Interesting now that the Albuquerque Mayor now “wants answers” due to the FBI “investigation”, as if they’re ever going to say “yes, they did wrong”. BS.

    I’ve heard early on in my knowledge of the Dog Whisperer had been an illegal immigrant. I believe he gotten immunity through one of the immunities drives, probably authorized by Bush, good that he was able to do good with his life.

    The Idaho cop probably smelled money, and before he stopped the guy. Obviously.

    Bootstomping Unquestioning Obedience. Like the syncronized walk of soldiers. I’ve never believed they wanted fully rounded educated human being. More like tax paying living flesh robots that don’t ask questions, don’t think is more like it.

  5. Jorge
    Jorge March 31, 2014 4:08 pm

    Articles like the one about making children sit still continue to flabbergast me. The answer is obvious at least for anyone who has not been indoctrinated by the “system”.

    Note that her solution is to find an institution which will somewhat cater to her child’s needs. As long as the what, when and how of those needs corresponds with those of the 20 or so other children of the same age in the room. Gah.

    Have one child reading and another building Legos at the same time? Goodness no!

    I am glad my children never went though that.

  6. NMC_EXP
    NMC_EXP March 31, 2014 5:05 pm

    re: The Prussian Method

    I suspect this will go against the grain here but….

    Learning the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic is mostly rote memorization. It is drudgery and cannot be made easier by having children work in groups or wander off and do their own thing. That is just the way it is.

    My son is 32 years old. I was amazed when I toured his grade school for parent teacher conferences and the like:

    (1) The classrooms did not have a square foot of wall, and in some cases, ceiling space that was not occupied by something colorful, with bold designs, and often moving like the dozen or so mobiles and the critters in terrariums and aquariums.

    (2) The desks were arranged in circles so the kids could engage in collaborative learning. Honestly, can one 6 year old teach another 6 year old better than a professional teacher can?

    Then the teachers complained about the fact it was hard to get the attention of the children.

    I’m 62 years old. The elementary classrooms I sat in were bare of ornamentation except for a George Washington print, a flag and a couple of wall maps. The desks were in neat rows that would make a Prussian proud. There was no ADHD epidemic and the kids were actually literate when they graduated high school.

    I’m not buying the argument that the command & control style of elementary school instruction is bad.

    What passes for elementary education for at least the last 25 years is a crime. I do not know how anyone can argue otherwise.

  7. Claire
    Claire March 31, 2014 5:19 pm

    NMC_EXP — You appear to make the mistake of thinking that the only choices are either the Prussian-style schooling of your childhood or the modified and dumbed-down (call it) “Progressive Prussian” of today. That’s a false dichotomy.

    Indeed, the basics of reading and math can be learned by rote — and learned in about 100 hours by the average child, so I’ve heard. It doesn’t require years of rigid “command & control.” It requires hours of curiosity coupled with a little memorization. Once a child learns those basics — and is encouraged to think, reason, do, and explore (with some wise adult guidance) … the sky’s the limit on the types of education that might be effective.

  8. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal March 31, 2014 6:10 pm

    The New Mexico “Checkpoints everywhere” signs have a silhouette of a bat. I like bats, but they manage to make them seem creepy by association. They also love to put up billboards threatening “Going out tonight? So are we” with pictures of a wall of badgethugs staring at you. I hate to go across the state line after dark due to the gauntlet of tax addicts waiting to molest travelers. (And, living here, you don’t go much of anywhere unless it is across the state line…)

    And, as for Prussian imprisonucation- Kids don’t need to be forced to learn to read. They are learning machines who will learn to read unless some authoritarian monster kills their desire. Rote memorization is the worst possible way to “teach” anything worth learning.

  9. Shel
    Shel March 31, 2014 6:24 pm

    While I certainly believe what happened to the homeless man was murder and that seems like a lot of police shootings, I have to wonder how many of the demonstrators are illegals.

    In the converted churches, there will be respect for the place for a while, then the patrons will be looking up to the wrong kinds of spirits.

    I was blessed in that my parents and I lived, until I was 6, with my great aunt who had a kindergarten in her home. She will always be an angel to me. Afterwards I transitioned to a local government school. I’ve been told, but mercifully don’t remember, that my first grade teacher tied me down in my seat with jump rope to keep me in it. Years later my mother informed me the teacher had admitted to her that she hadn’t taught me anything.

    A young man I know, now about 30+, used to get in trouble early in school when the teacher would tell the class they could all go play when everyone finished the assignment. He would finish and then get up to go help the other kids so he could play. He got so disgusted with his high school that he quit going. After some negotiation, they agreed to graduate him if he could pass some exams. He was out in three weeks. He became so disillusioned with formal education he never went to college and now works as a mechanic. I would never criticize a good mechanic, but he’s working way below his potential. It doesn’t seem to bother him, so I guess it’s a personal problem if it bothers me.

    Another excellent book on the subject is Pavlov’s Children I talked to the author once on the phone and she seemed like a very nice lady, although I doubt she is still alive.

  10. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal March 31, 2014 7:21 pm

    No such thing as an “illegal” person. Period.

  11. NMC_EXP
    NMC_EXP March 31, 2014 7:32 pm

    My remarks are the result of my personal experience, observations and do represent a dichotomy. Are there other alternatives? Of course there are. Perhaps someone can give me a syllabus for grades one through six using the “Third Way”.

    Learning to read, write and do arithmetic in 100 hours (each I assume) sounds very optimistic assuming we are talking about a public school. A situation likely to have one teacher to twenty students.

    Kent M: How does a person learn the multiplication tables other than rote memorization? All branches of the sciences have their own technical terms/jargon. A person cannot do the science without memorizing the terminology. How does a person learn grammar and punctuation without memorization? The list goes on.

    I do agree that once the “3R” basic tools are learned, the most important component of education is imparting the ability to reason and use critical thinking. At this point, the system should be flexible. But the basics must be learned the hard way.

  12. Claire
    Claire March 31, 2014 8:57 pm

    “Learning to read, write and do arithmetic in 100 hours (each I assume) sounds very optimistic assuming we are talking about a public school.”

    Why assume a government school? I’m just assuming the learning capacity of an eager child.

    (My mother taught me to read — informally and painlessly — long before I got into school. I didn’t even have any idea it was “work.” And that wasn’t unusual.)

  13. Hanza
    Hanza March 31, 2014 9:45 pm

    My parents were avid readers, and had a large library.

    I learned to read and tell time before I started the 1st grade.

    Back in the late ’40s starting when I was 6, my parents used to let me go 10 miles into Portland, Oregon by myself to go to the movies. Had to take 2 busses to get there.

  14. Roger
    Roger April 1, 2014 12:31 am

    One of the great errors in education is that there is only one way to teach children. Children are each unique and learn in different ways and different speeds. We speak from experience, my wife home schooled all our sons, all went on to good universities. At mo time did we use anything like the prussian model.

  15. Betsey
    Betsey April 1, 2014 6:16 am

    As a teacher, I insisted that my students used manners. I would have as many as 35 kids in a class and was expected to teach writing!
    I found, however, that if my students were actively engaged in a subject and I used lots of different activities and humor, sitting still wasn’t a problem. It is the quality of teaching that counts. My students were not automatons; if they could make a coherent argument even if I totally disagreed, they reeceived full credit.
    I know the answer lies somewhere in the middle; students need to be taught how to behave in a classroom setting, and teachers need to know not only their subjects but also good teaching methods. Sadly, we are getting many second rate young teachers. Discipline is necessary.

  16. water lily
    water lily April 1, 2014 6:18 am

    I think Cesar Millan doesn’t know a thing about dogs. JMO.

  17. Claire
    Claire April 1, 2014 6:22 am

    WL — I know a lot of dog people agree with you on that, saying his methods are both out of date and dangerous. I’ve only seen Millan once or twice so don’t have much of an opinion. In the shows I saw he did appear to do remarkable things with some tough cases. But he also got bit.

  18. Shel
    Shel April 1, 2014 6:55 am

    I think Millan’s shows come with a “don’t try this at home” caveat, as well they should. While he certainly pushes his luck, he does at least continue to emphasize that the human has to be the boss, which a lot of owners never seem to fathom. Perhaps because of how he got here, though, he is a big Obama supporter. Grrr.

    I remember hearing a radio interview where a lady was touting her learning to read method. She had two young sons; she taught the oldest to read at a very early age. Subsequently she was reading to her youngest, who began saying the next words in the text. He insisted he could read, so she turned to a different part of the book and told him to read starting there, which he did to her amazement. He explained that his older brother had taught him. That, I think, puts in perspective how pitiful our school system has become. The three “R’s” can’t be skipped, as we all know. Now they don’t even teach cursive writing, insuring that future generations will record almost every detail of their lives in a way that can be traced. The next crucial step, critical thinking, seems to be absent, making for very malleable minds incapable of maintaining a free society.

  19. Matt, another
    Matt, another April 1, 2014 8:23 am

    I left the first grad, over 40 years ago, barely able to read, definitely below grade level. Classroom was the prussian square, but with items to engage the mind. I left second grade reading at a 4th grade level. The special reading group I was placed in, multiple grades together, on hour a week was led by the principal. She took us to the library and introduced us to books that were much more fascinating than the standard curriculum stuff. Pictures and words that made you want to read more! I used some of those books to introduce my kids to reading.

    So, kids, adults etc can be taught to read in the prussian square, can also be taught to read in very small group with all ages and can be taught to read, write and cipher at home. I prefer the multiple learning options being available.

  20. Jim B.
    Jim B. April 1, 2014 8:43 am

    What many people don’t seem to realize that learning to read is based on being exposed to the language spoken by the people already. When you’ve been exposed to how people talk, then learning to read become easier in order for that 100 hours to read that many people expects. Research and find out how the Deaf do with reading English. It often takes waay longer.

  21. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau April 1, 2014 9:02 am

    [Honestly, can one 6 year old teach another 6 year old better than a professional teacher can?]

    Kids teaching kids is commonplace in homeschooling families. The professional teacher, even one who is competent and has his heart in the right place, is constrained by the system he is working in. Read of Gatto’s experience here:
    Indeed, almost all the “patron saints” of homeschooling are former government school teachers who gave up on the Prussian system in disgust, because it harmed children.

    “Illegals” is a bit of government propaganda. Think about the words you use, and about whose aims you serve when you use them.

    Claire, speaking of Washington license plates, were you around for the last Oregon-Washington war? Used to be that Oregonians could get a 2-year renewal of their car registration for $32. Washingtonians on the other hand, had an extremely expensive auto registration, up in the hundreds of dollars. So, Washingtonians started registering their cars in Oregon. The Washington ruling class didn’t like losing that stolen loot so they had the state cops pulling cars with OR tags over on I-5 for “driving while Oregonian”. It got pretty hot for a while. Then some angel in Washington got an initiative on the ballot to knock the registration fees down to Oregonian levels, and it passed, despite all the blubbering from the ruling class. That ended the war.

  22. Scott
    Scott April 1, 2014 9:59 am

    I was taught to read by both parents at four years old-because I wanted to know what Iron Man was saying ! My Mom taught me from those little Golden books, my Dad taught me from road signs and the names(model name, dealer stickers, bumper stickers, and so on) on cars.
    My Dad taught me to read a map at six( a gas station freebie) because I was curious about it. My Dad taught me what scale speed was( because the Hot Wheel package said the toy car travelled at 200 mph “scale speed”). Add to that, how to tell time, basic math skills, and countless little things of everyday life. All before entering public school. My parents had the knack of making learning fun, and the patience to do it.
    Maybe you should take that left turn before you get to Albakoiky…what is it with the Abuquerque police? They sound like the Poppers on “Cool World”. The cops here(Kentucky) seem pretty decent, based on what little dealings I’ve had with them.

  23. Karen
    Karen April 1, 2014 10:46 am

    Scott Says:
    “My parents had the knack of making learning fun, and the patience to do it.”
    And that, IMO, is a critical element of any educational system, sadly lacking in the general population today. Parents watch AI and Survivor and don’t read themselves. And, as Betsey mentioned, discipline, also scarce these days.

    I had to go to town today and the radio had a discussion of the frequency with which local(Denver, not really local) restaurants and bars were allowing patrons to bring their dogs in with them. The show host was horrified, but a majority of the callers said they’d rather have dogs in these places than unruly ill mannered children. So I truly believe that the dismal record of today’s education system says as much about the parents as it does about the system.

  24. Shel
    Shel April 1, 2014 2:58 pm

    The issue of “illegals” has come up before; I believe it’s worth discussing. I’ll try to describe my thinking as best I can.

    Reagan said a country that can not protect its borders is no longer a country, and I have to agree. With billions of people in the world, if we allow entry to anyone who wants to come, the country that our forefathers fought and died for will become unrecognizable except for geography. The question then becomes a policy issue of how many immigrants we should accept. We were supposed to have a government of laws, not men. If people who come across the border in violation of our laws face no consequences, then that principle has been abandoned, with serious repercussions sure to follow. So at this point, strictly speaking, I believe the term illegals is relevant and accurate.

  25. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau April 1, 2014 2:59 pm

    [So I truly believe that the dismal record of today’s education system says as much about the parents as it does about the system.]

    Well, I believe it is hard for the average Joe, particularly the indoctrinated average Joe, to think outside the box, outside the lines of “proper” discourse drawn by the gatekeepers of information. There is a lot of pressure keeping him tied up. Although, the Internet has recently relieved a lot of that.

    Gatto was not even inclined to blame the schemers in the play. To him the system produced the same outcome no matter how good the persons involved were:
    “Don’t get me wrong, American schooling has been replete with chicanery from its very beginnings.*

    Indeed, it isn’t difficult to find various conspirators boasting in public about what they pulled off. But if you take that tack you’ll miss the real horror of what I’m trying to describe, that what has happened to our schools was inherent in the original design for a planned economy and a planned society laid down so proudly at the end of the nineteenth century. I think what happened would have happened anyway—without the legions of venal, half-mad men and women who schemed so hard to make it as it is. If I’m correct, we’re in a much worse position than we would be if we were merely victims of an evil genius or two.

    If you obsess about conspiracy, what you’ll fail to see is that we are held fast by a form of highly abstract thinking fully concretized in human institutions which has grown beyond the power of the managers of these institutions to control. If there is a way out of the trap we’re in, it won’t be by removing some bad guys and replacing them with good guys.”

  26. A.G.
    A.G. April 1, 2014 3:09 pm

    For the life of me I cannot figure out why patrol officers even have semiautomatic rifles. Yes, I know about that one bank shootout, and how in the right hands their are superior for dealing with those rare hostage situations. Still, even our state’s premier LEO org (respected nationwide) doesn’t train it’s officers to basic military standards. That being the case, the liability for every round fired and likely to either miss or overpenetrate….(!!!)

  27. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal April 1, 2014 8:23 pm

    “Illegal” people and “borders” is something I have thought about a lot and many times over the years. And it keeps coming up as bogus in my mind, no matter who supports that idea. I recently wrote about “borders” again: A href=>Looking at “borders” more closely

  28. Matt, another
    Matt, another April 2, 2014 7:49 am

    I do not consider people illegal. It is what they do that is legal or illegal, not who they are. Civil rights apply to all as well, even pedophiles and politicians. Borders are an interesting subject. Our world has for the most part had borders of some kind or another from the dawn of time. Some were more formal than others, but defining regions occupied by like peoples is not a new occurance. Some cultures honored borders (until a neighbor found something worth taking, at least) other cultures honored them in the breech (mongol hoards, european invaders etc.) Even native americans understood the general concpet and had homelands hunting grounds etc. Anybody not of them entering or crossing was generally not welcome. The exception I believ was traders.

    I don’t see borders as moral or immoral. In our current world they delineate much more than territory and should be used to warn travelers that customs and laws have probably just changed, often not in their favor. What would a world look like without borders? I don’t know, don’t even have a worthy guess.

  29. Pat
    Pat April 2, 2014 11:50 am

    “What would a world look like without borders?”

    How about freedom? How about tolerance and understanding? How about free trade? How about no wars and their attendant (and endless) excuses for taxation?

    I’m not a communist and couldn’t even think of living in a commune, but there are times when I wish I did, because it often seems to me that “borders” ― yes, and property, too ― launched the concepts of jealousy, acquisition, and elitism.

  30. Matt, another
    Matt, another April 2, 2014 12:46 pm

    History would indicate that mankind is not that tolerant or understaning of others that look or sound different, regardless of where lines on paper were drawn. Borders do not creat jealousy, covetnous, greed etc. That lies in the hearts of men. Often borders are erected to keep bad people away from the good.

  31. Pat
    Pat April 2, 2014 2:20 pm

    Matt, another – No, borders do not _create_ human attributes (and not just human by the way; jealousy, e.g. can be found in animals as well), but I’m not so sure borders were set up to keep bad people away from the good. It may be they were set up BY the bad people to establish areas over which they could rule, pass judgment, and maintain their particular influence. Which was the point I had in mind when I spoke up. Without borders, it would be much harder to maintain control over any particular group.

    If we can believe that agriculturalists (farmers) were the first to succumb to blackmail and “government control” in order to protect and maintain their fields from theft and destruction ― whether that’s true or not, I’m not sure ― then it may be that the “bad people” were the first to divvy up geography and establish “borders” or areas over which they held sway.

    In any case, because “it’s always been done it that way” throughout history is no reason to continue.

  32. Shel
    Shel April 2, 2014 2:45 pm

    Thanks, Kent. I wasn’t able to make that link work, but by simply going to I was able to find it, since it’s a recent post. I certainly agree with your Zero Aggression Principle (ZAP) as applied on an individual level. My dog, in fact, does a better job of it than I do. But every time I end up looking back at the Founding Fathers, I see things I believe they got right. They certainly had a fear of too much government, Washington said simply that government is power. As I understand it, he turned down the chance to be king, to the consternation of Europeans. I think the Founding Fathers’ plan was to have just enough government to be sure to prevent anarchy (later the Whiskey Rebellion came; that’s another story of course). One of the few things our government was to do was provide for the common defense.

    While on an individual level in a stable society, one is likely able to protect one’s property, ranchers on our southern border have, at a minimum, dozens of people walking northward across their property every night. There’s no way as individuals they can stop this without turning their property into a war zone. It’s our government’s job to prevent this; obviously the plan is to make things worse.

    The 1950’s TV show “You Asked for It” had an episode (I can’t find it on YouTube) where they took two different ant colonies, one considerably larger than the other, and placed them in separate boxes. They put small drops of paint on the ants in one of the colonies. Then they placed a couple of walking bridges between the boxes. After a while, some ants went across the bridges and fighting started near there. As one would expect, the weight of numbers told and the fighting spread further and further from the bridges until the smaller colony was wiped out. While people will likely stop before that point, if for no other reason than slaves are useful, still I believe the scenario to be instructive.

    Being territorial, on whatever scale, is just natural. Animals do it. Tribes of chimps fight each other to the death. While I still think “Signs” is a great song, I believe it condemns what are simply natural instincts. John Lennon later said that he was struck by how naive he had been when he wrote “Imagine.”

    In his book Kim, Kipling has a scene occurring well after Kim had successfully thwarted some Russian agents in the north of India. When he was told more were back, he expressed surprise and said he thought that was over. The response was “When everyone is dead, the Great Game is finished. Not before.” As Merle Haggard, one of my favorites, put it in “Rainbow Stew”

    When the world wide war is over and done
    And the dream of peace comes through,
    We’ll all be drinking that free bubble-up
    And eating that rainbow stew.

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