In Today’s News, etc.

First up: a hypothetical:

Imagine that omnipotent space aliens from the planet Zyrglax land on Earth and take control of the United States. But these aliens are somewhat bizarre, and they change only one thing: they teleport all public school buildings into the sun, and prohibit the government from any action or law providing for public education, even ruling out school vouchers and the like. All school budgets are rebated back to the taxpayer. Failure to comply will result in America being blasted to dust from orbit.

What would happen?

My response: You mean, after America is blasted to dust? School embodies all that is dearest to certain right-thinking people, who, if everyone else in the country has to die so that they can stand up for their principles (and principals), that’s a sacrifice they’re willing to make – right after they all retire to Oslo for the duration.

The comments section is mostly depressing – we have so bought the idea that education means just exactly the kind of schools/daycare/interment camps pu pu platter now the only thing on the menu, it doesn’t even register that nobody anywhere here ever did it this way until about 150 years ago, and nowhere on earth until about 200 years ago.

Next up, the crass and wonderful Fred on Everything writes about education. Using the example currently in the news featuring the literary stylings of the students of Manhattan’s Murry Bergtraum HS for Business Careers as a benchmark for the level of ‘education’ in America, he tells his story of education back in the 50s and early 60s.  I don’t stack up – I’m less than a decade younger, and went to Catholic schools in Southern California, but we were not as well educated as Fred seems to have been. Math and English studies were much less demanding, for one thing.

My pet theory, which fits all the evidence but lacks any real backbone (sigh. If only I could spend all my time reading up on all this education history stuff) is that, once the one room schools had been extincted,  which happened mostly over the 30s and was effectively complete by 1940, there ceased to be a limit on just exactly how stupid public school could be in the service of their ideology: while the one room schools were still cranking out literate and numerate graduates, the public schools had to at least pretend to care about these things.  But then, they were killed off, and now all that was left was for their practices and successes to pass from living memory. Until then, the Freds of the world could still get a bit of a real education in a public school.

By the 1960s, that passing from living memory had effectively happened in most places, and by the 70s in almost all places – anyone questioning the idiocies of modern schooling – whole word, new math, no history, science or literature to speak of – was clearly an old fuddy-duddy. The curmudgeon’s accusations were no longer backed up by anyone else except a few other curmudgeons. (This is similar to how the reemergence of eugenics had to wait for the WWII generation to die off). And, anyway, the new factory education had produced virtually all the parents and ‘educators’ now in the schools – they would be accusing themselves of being stupid were they to point out the imperial nakedness of school’s claims.

Next, I suppose this qualifies as a local human interest story:

State Sen. Leland Yee indicted on arms trafficking, corruption charges

Venus on the Half ShellEven if 10% of this is true, it looks like a key figure in state Democratic circles has been caught being, not just a criminal, but a hypocritical criminal at that – championing gun control while gun running; calling for more open government while being the shadiest operator possible. But, as in the ‘honest corruption’ of Tammany Hall, does he get a pass because, apart from his intentions to criminally enrich himself, plunder public money, and break any law that is in his way while simultaneously positioning himself for future higher state office – I mean, other than that, his intentions were good: further the Democratic political agenda in California.

Hey, how about a trade? Thinking outside the box, taking a cue from Phillip Jose Farmer’s Venus on the Half Shell: every vice is a virtue somewhere in the universe – how about California trade Yee to Chicago? Maybe for a non-liberal judge they’re not using? Sorry, this is pure fantasy – there aren’t any non-liberal judges in Chicago! Silly me.  How about a straight up swap: Yee for a rookie Chicago Machine pol who is merely better at covering his tracks? It would lower their average level of corruption.

Finally, a thought that won’t go away: you don’t suppose that Congress’s inexplicable passivity to the Administration’s unprecedented assumption of congressional power – e.g., extending deadlines by presidential fiat that had been created as law in a piece of legislation passed by Congress – has anything to do with the NSA spying on Congress, do you? I mean, J. Edgar Hoover was rumored to have the goods on the Congressdroids of his day, such that the FBI skated unmolested until his death. That idea of having dirt on your political opponents (and nominal friends too, of course, just to play it safe) in order to intimidate them into going along with your wishes  – that wouldn’t occur to anyone nowadays, in these enlightened times?

That sort of thing just could never happen again, right?


Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

3 thoughts on “In Today’s News, etc.”

  1. Through the administration’s high-tech surveillance, Obama has learned the shocking truth: With few exceptions, Republican representatives are crooks who don’t care about conservative principles, won’t repeal Obamacare but instead use it to enrich their cronies, won’t balance the budget, and won’t reduce the size of the government. They better watch their step; wouldn’t want that to get out!

    1. Well, yea, there’s that. But I thought the political calculus would favor at least a vocal minority protesting the power grab in order to damage the enemy and look like they stand for something. Not expecting real principles in action, just Machiavellian scheming.

      I also think people are so inured to political corruption on the mere lying/pork-barrel level that such accusations would not do much damage. But pictures of Senators snorting cocaine or leaving a brothel or maybe saying unkind things about a politically off limits group or – well, what exactly does get voters riled?

      We’ve set the bar on the ground and started digging.

      1. Well, years ago my mother supported Richard Nixon, right up until she learned about his [expletive deleted] language.

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