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June 25, 2014


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"He has done nothing to improve funding that is near the bottom nationally."

"Under Huppenthal the dollars actually reaching the classroom are at a new low."

You do realize that it is up to the State Legislature to fund public education, right?

The Superintendent of Public Instruction is more like a compliance officer to ensure that educational standards are met at K-12 schools.

Not defending Huppenthal's Internet actions, but his hands are tied in regards to education funding as his office can only deal with the budget that is given to them from the State.

When Laurie Roberts started her de-kook program a while back, I was hopeful for a few weeks.

I have friends in other states who boycott AZ because of our kooks. I told them recently, "just wait till you see the next batch to come in to replace brewer & co. The new batch of kooks is going to lower the bar even lower."

I am aware of that, Sanjeev. But the Superintendent of Public Instruction is one of the top statewide elective offices. The person who holds it is not a passive implementation officer for the Legislature.

He or she can recommend, lobby, work behind the scenes, use the bully pulpit and work independently for certain federal dollars. Carolyn Warner did all this. Even Lisa Graham Keegan did some.

Huppenthal has actively supported the Legislature's war on "government schools," just like his Kook predecessor, Tom Horne-y.


As long as our children can be turned into profit centers for the corporate overlords of the AZ Republican Party this will continue. Don't vote Kook.

A column from my friend Bill Richardson, a retired Mesa cop and an Republican that lives in Mesa.

The Rogue Columnist writes that “Huppenthal is not that bright in book learning — no successful Republican can be…” Aside from the fact that this is the sort of slur generalization that is only “politically correct” today if the subject of the slur is a conservative and the writer is a liberal, the remark doesn’t square with the facts.

The more “book learning” (e.g. a college degree) one achieves, the more likely one is to succeed financially, which—in turn—makes it more likely that one will vote Republican—or at least vote for someone who is fiscally sensible.

To be sure, being close to the bottom in education—assuming the metrics quoted are valid—is nothing to be proud of. Indeed, one could argue—for the reason given above—that a quality education system is one of the most fiscally conservative investments to be made. Further, a quality education system—together with other civic improvements such as rail transit most frequently touted by liberals—have the ultimate effect of making the state or community implementing these improvements more attractive to business and industry—reducing unemployment, increasing the percentage of upper management jobs, generally improving the quality of life, and—as often as not—making the state or community more “red”.

Perhaps, from the Rogue Columnist’s point of view, this qualifies as “be careful what you wish for.” Of course our Rogue Columnist friend—who took the easy way out of “escaping” the “hell” (his words) of Arizona and taking numerous pot-shots from afar—is much more likely convinced that Arizona will “never see the light” than are those of us brave enough to stick it out and work to improve our state. All states and areas have shortcomings, beating up on someone else's home town—even if it used to be one’s own—is a coward’s way out compared with working to make one’s own area better.

An interview with Prof. Christopher Parker of U'Dub:


RHB is right that the TP are not stupid but fiscally sensible? What's been fiscally sensible about Republicans for the last 34 years?

As RC keeps a residence here in hell he's hardly escaped and thru word and deed is firmly rooted in our hometown.

I began to worry about Arizona back in the 70's when the sun city crowd began to get vocal about "we paid our school taxes back "home" and we don't want to pay taxes for your kids here"

What? You want to use all of our infrastructure, water, land, police but you don't want to be part of the community?

I remember thinking what a selfish way to live.

Sorry to say, that attitude spread though out the valley and pretty soon, the Republican party adopted the attitude and it was off to the races. Or should I say racist?

Now, every selfish enclave of AZ wants to use all the resources, but doesn't want to pay for anyone different from them.

It's the Mormon way.

It's the Republican way.

It's the generational way. You racist, Midwestern bastards. Greatest generation, my ass.

And as if we needed more help going down the road to anti-community, racist, isolationist living, all the damn Californicators moved here.

It isn't just the parties people. It's the people.

The Democrats are just pissed that the Republicans adopted the attitude and ran with it.

Hupp is just a boil caused by the sickness that has taken over the state.

His tearful.speech struck me as being similar to Nixon's Checkers speech. I wonder what he planned to run for next? The sad part about the education debate is that the State's push against public education is that the corporations that the state is trying to attract do not want to come to AZ because the schools are becoming worse. Well paid employees are afraid of the cuts to the schools and how it will affect their children's education.

Poor Huppenthal. The guy has positioned himself with Common Core, but the Arizona tea party has issues with Common Core. They claim it is ‘Obama pushing globalism with the United Nations agenda 21, “sustainability policies and practices” (http://www.arizonansagainstcommoncore.com/UN_connection.html).

So - Huppenthal goes out and says some really racist and dumb things because he has to cover his tea party tail from Diane Douglas who is running against him in this election with Common Core issues.

A great column but this is the best line of the day: "He is an "intellectual" in the Espresso Pundit style."

Back a few hundred blogs ago I asked bloggers why they had to post under assumed names or “handles.” In my opinion no really good response came forth. I have great difficulty with this method of getting your message out there! No matter how good or smart or bad or dumb, foolish or silly I look I always post under my real name.
If you are a person in a government post you should be held to the highest standards by the community. If you have personal opinions maybe one should create a personal opinion or blog separate from the profession they are in. However the blog or column or editorial should always state you real name and that it is a personal philosophical writing. I realize that this might cause a “Pol” to lose an election but if you feel that strongly maybe you should skip running for office but at the very least you should identify who you are. Let us leave phony identities where they belong, in the criminal world and of course at the CIA.

Arizona: Land of Stupid.

The good news is that the reputation of Land of Stupid Arizona hasn't been harmed. Its reputation for intolerance and ignorance is already well established. The perennial laughing stock of the country.

Arizona, showcase for Red Republican states. You are in good company Arizona along Mississippi and other backward, ignorant RED southern states.

Lucky Rogue, he got a gig in a prosperous, Blue metropolitan area, escaping the daily onslaught of right wing stupidity suffered by those less fortunate and unable to leave. There is no sense in standing your ground in Arizona to make it a better place, only the white extreme right are allowed into the tent.

I don't want to die in Arizona.

Drifter die in the desert. Arizona is just a bunch of line drawn in the sand by a lying bunch of Pols. I think I can get get you close to where ED Abbey is hanging out.

Robert H. Bohannan | June 26, 2014 at 11:25 AM
Would you mind backing up your statement with some reasonable statistics.
“that a quality education system is one of the most fiscally conservative investments to be made. Further, a quality education system—together with other civic improvements such as rail transit most frequently touted by liberals—have the ultimate effect of making the state or community implementing these improvements more attractive to business and industry—reducing unemployment, increasing the percentage of upper management jobs, generally improving the quality of life, and—as often as not—making the state or community more “red”. that a quality education system is one of the most fiscally conservative investments to be made. Further, a quality education system—together with other civic improvements such as rail transit most frequently touted by liberals—have the ultimate effect of making the state or community implementing these improvements more attractive to business and industry—reducing unemployment, increasing the percentage of upper management jobs, generally improving the quality of life, and—as often as not—making the state or community more “red.”

Bob I am still here in the desert and I am still a registered Republican. So here is a list of stuff I would like you to work on that would make me happy. Add another 10 to 15 percent of Arizona to a road less wilderness. A special project would be to close the road from the bridge at Sedona to the rim. Buy out all the private property and let the creek restore itself. Find a way to shut down the coal burning power plants in Northern Arizona. And shut down those noisy Helicopter flights over the Grand Canyon. Give strong consideration to the fact that the State Capitol and Paradise Valley are downwind from the Palo Verde Nuclear power plant. With regard to more jobs, OK but do we need more people? In Arizona put on hold all building permits, residential, commercial, and even religious construction so that a constructive plan for any future development can be carefully evaluated for the good of the people and not a few developers.
Speaking of developers, one of the reasons Talton left Phoenix is the developers and real estate community’s incessant calls to the Arizona Republic to fire Talton that pushed him to find a friendlier place to live. He, like Ruben that posts here have at least four generations that were here before most of us knew there was a place called Arizona. Given Rubens rhetorical comments I suspect he has ancestry linked to the Seri.
Hope all is well for you Bob out there in PV, Reminds me of the days when I helped Leona Helmsley work out Harry in their therapy lap pool.

Two quibbles.

First: M Sanger was very much an advocate of sterilization of the “genetically unfit.” I’m assuming this is the link to the “Nazi” connection. I’m afraid I don’t have Emil’s bulldogedness when it comes to running down sources.

Second: “apartheid suburbia”. According to Wiki: Gilbert is 81% white, 15% Hispanic and Chandler is 73% white and 22% Hispanic. In the rest of the country that would be termed “diverse”.

When things calm down, I’d like to discuss the charter school “racket”.

Urbanophile has an interesting two-parter on Dallas. He usually writes about Midwestern cities (Cincy, Indy, Chicago, Columbus, St. Louis, etc.). He was in Dallas for a conference and I guess has some free time.


Phoenix and Dallas have a lot of problems in common. At least Dallas seems to making some progress on rectifying them. Still has a long way to go.

The comments are good.


One thing your diverse stats don't show are the walls.

While most of the US has neighborhoods with no fences, at most maybe a low chain link fence, hedge or low picket fence; in Phoenix our walls have walls within walled communities. There are cases where people have lived next door to someone for a decade and have never met face to face.

As I'm sure you know, stats rarely tell the full story.

Ruben, code names are WALLS. Thats why I try and have get togethers where I can see the whites of your eyes.

wkg I am calm. Charter Schools are like walls and borders.
They are places one can hide fron their fears of the real world. Like scary public schools.
Like Iraq we keep breaking apart. Soon there will be four countries in what we now call the USA.

aka the snowman

@Ruben: I’ve never understood the gated thing – at least in neighborhoods with minimal crime. In my neighborhood, 95% of the houses are in un-gated neighborhoods. Yet up the street is a new development with very up-scale houses; and it’s gated. Is that silly-ass gate (it’s the unattended kind with a number pad entry) really providing any security? In my opinion it is nothing more than a status display.

A lot of my traveling these days is electronically via Google street view. One of the things I am quite sensitive to is the presence of bungler bars on windows and doors. Yes, a nice un-gated neighborhood where each house is a fortress.

My original point is still: Chandler and Gilbert may be awful in a lot of different ways, but racial segregation is not one of them.

wkg stats being indicaters are OK but
I think if you lived in Gilbert you would quickly note the heavy presence of LDS whiteness.
Chandler not near as much.

I am changing my handle to SNOWJOB.

@Cal: In response to your comments above regarding “handles”, etc. I’m coming clean.

My name is Wayne Gambel. I live in Vestavia Hills (sort of, I’m in unincorporated Jefferson County), an inner ring suburb of Birmingham. I’ve recently retired. I was an electrical engineer for Southern Company for 41 years. Not continuously. I quit once and took a job as a consulting engineer.

As Soleri said, every post reveals an aspect of yourself. I’ve never tried to be anything but straight up.

Glad to meet you Wayne. It would be good if you could make our next coffee, eye to eye session. Thank you for your forthrightness.

I'd like an eye-to-eye also. But it's not going to happen. It would require getting on a plane - something I just can't bear to do.

To those who live in Phoenix: take a "tape recoreder" and sit down with Cal and do a sort of Studs Turkle boook on him.

@ Robert H. Bohannan: You called out Mr. Talton for making a "slur generalization" against Republicans, but then you offered a generalization yourself when you wrote: "The more 'book learning' (e.g. a college degree) one achieves, the more likely one is to succeed financially, which—in turn—makes it more likely that one will vote Republican—or at least vote for someone who is fiscally sensible.'"
Well, OK then. I am colleged educated -- I hold dual degrees in journalism and political science from Northern Arizona University. I am a voracious reader of all kinds of literary works, especially news. I worked as a professional journalist (news and business) from 2000-2009, before switching careers and becoming a firefighter/EMT. I am now pursuing my paramedic certification. Ask Jon how difficult this is. I am not rich, but I do earn over $70,000 a year. Oh, and one more thing: I am a hardcore liberal. I nearly voted for the Green Party candidate for President in 2010 because I was disgusted (and still am) with the broken promises that Pres. Obama has given us.
Pot, meet Kettle.

Wkg - you fell for it. Pity, that.

WKG, jump in your new Telsa and come to the desert. Maybe we can get Terry Dudas to come and you can hold his hand as he seems to think you made a mistake in being a real person.
Maybe his real name is Drudge?

Regardless of your thoughts on the Robert H. Bohannan post at least he had the juevos to put down his real name.

@Cal: my drive is a 10 year old Miata. It's a great drive but will beat you to death if you try to put some serious miles on it. Atlanta and back in the same day (not a long drive) requires several days of recovery.

This is some great shit, especially Dudas' latest contribution.

But no, seriously, all of it.

Cal - you ARE getting old. I am a woman, and I am your age. No news there; I've said it several times. But, I'll hold WKG's hand if he wants me to - I've held hands with lots of dudes, some of them were liberals I found out later..

Terry now that U reminded me I do recall you are female. I am old Terry. And I am unloading my books (the collector stuff to my grandkids)
I have some first edition Ayn Rand stuff I was going to give to Petro but you might make better use of them. And if you come to our next coffee klatch, I would like to caress your palm with enough silver to pay for your coffee.

@Chris: You are a victim. “Higher Ed” is basically a scam. Pending on how the following discussion on “The Charter School Racket” goes, I’d like to come back to this.

@All: Let me preface all that follows with the following. My neighborhood has unusually good public schools. I can’t say as good as it gets; but almost. I had a neighbor who was real up-and-comer with the company; 30-something woman in the financial area. She got an offer too good to refuse to move to corporate in Atlanta. She made very good money. Her sole criteria for a place to relocate to in the Atlanta area was the quality of the public schools in that area (she has two children). She was unable to find a single system in the Atlanta area (a metro of 5,000,000 + people) that matched the Vestavia Hills system; she ending up sending her kids to very expensive private schools. I might add that Vestavia Hills is not the best in Birmingham; Mountain Brook is even better. There are two private schools (Altamont and Indian Springs) that probably as good – maybe better. There a couple of pretty decent church schools (John Carroll and Briarwood Christian). Alabama schools are basically at the county level. However cities are allowed to form municipal systems. In Jefferson County where I live there is the county system plus minis (Birmingham, Bessemer, Fairfield, Hoover, Vestavia Hills, Homewood, Mountain Brook and Trussville). With my colleges the only real debate about schooling was public versus home schooling. It’s off topic, but I am a gigantic supporter of home schooling.

This is my understanding of how the Charter School program works. The school board contracts with an entity to form and operate a PUBLIC school. There is no agitation to pursue the charter option where the public schools are doing a pretty good job; As a result, most of the time the student body is selected by lottery. The logic being that no matter how bad the charter might or might not turn out to be – it has to be better than the existing public system. I don’t think anyone would argue that the charters are offering a real quality product – just something that’s a lot better than what’s there now. I think the charter option is only used when a system finally admits that its system is broken and can’t be fixed.

In fact, according to Pew, college graduates in 2012 were more likely to be Democrat than Republican by 32 percent to 29 percent. D's lead R's in graduate degrees 39 percent to 25 percent.

The data show the GOP is an overwhelmingly white and heavily male party. Republicans have a 4 percentage point advantage among college graduate males. Democrats have a 19 point advantage among college graduate females.


Today the prisons and the schools
tomorrow the water and the air.
agent for the Robber Barons

WKG, there are folks on this blog that can respond to this much more intelligently than I can. How the rich and powerful are culling out the trash. And making a profit at the same time. Taking away tax money intended for public schools is "all bullshit and its bad for" WE the people.

The gated walls will not stop the people with pitchforks per a Billionaire.


Maybe in the south east moats with alligators would help

I’m going to posit Wayne’s law of school system size (an actually the best size for a city to be for many reasons). The system should be sized for one high rated high school (that is sport category the school is assigned – In Alabama that would be 6A). This would correspond to one or two middle (Or junior) high schools and two or three elementary schools.

At least for the demographic profile of Alabama that would be 20,000 to 35,000 people. (Population of Vestavia Hills = 34,000, Homewood = 25,000 Mountain Brook = 21,000).

I might add that the three munis cited have very professional police, fire and public works departments.

“I don’t think anyone would argue that the charters are offering a real quality product – just something that’s a lot better than what’s there now.”
I say, that is nonsense.
In Arizona some charters are the best in the nation, but most are neither better than, nor as good as public schools.

There are 500+ charters in Arizona that have no established minimum standards for quality or performance. They have been deregulated, in that charters can hire non-accredited teaching staff, books can be purchased from a family owned publishing house, etc, etc ...
This is why:
“Because insiders [Arizona’s Republican legislators] rejected the bureaucratic accountability dimension of efficiency, they reasoned that the conflict between economic efficiency and choice was eliminated. The logic of free market theory was strongly embedded into the consciousness of policy makers in Arizona, and market mechanisms were employed in a way that capitalized upon choice and efficiency, the dominant values in Arizona's political culture. “ http://cie.asu.edu/volume3/number7/#conclusion
And, Arizona continues to drop in our overall education ranking, we are now 44th in the nation.

Basis schools - look at them and compare to others in the state.

@ Suzanne: the last paragraph is mostly gibberish. Can to decode for dumb-ass like me.

@Suanne: “There are 500+ charters in Arizona that have no established minimum standards for quality or performance.” I, sure they’re not. Poor contract writing. But same applies to “public” schools. All need accountability. Severe accountability.

As of 2012, 390 "operators" were running 515 charter schools in Arizona. They are not held to rigorous standards. Transparency is lacking. Big questions exist about the connection between these "operators" and the GOP political class, as well as them picking the best students and leaving the rest to the public schools whose funds are lowered to profit the privatized charters.

I remember two charters in central Phoenix that was in a forlorn office corner; lunch came via a roach coach; there was no place to play, and the library was the public library. This was not at all an aberration.

Sure, under the right regulations charters can succeed individually. But overall, there's no free lunch. Education costs money, for quality teachers and smaller class size. If this is only the privilege of the better off, we're in trouble as a country.

Right on, Suzanne.

Here's where the rubber meets the road.

My daughter and her circle of friends attended a charter school in central Phx. (Against my wishes).

My daughter and her friends are currently uneducated, non-functioning members of society.

Their level of ignorance concerning math, finance and existing in our world is astounding.

I am heartbroken and ashamed. My family history is centered around higher education and high achievement.

Regardless of what I have achieved, this failure of preparing the next generation is on me and the charter schools. Shame on us. It will take generations to fix.

Terry Dudas: OK I looked at Basis schools.
Impressive line up of corporate attorneys, Republicans and Goldwater Institute charter members. I would rather my kids go to the "Black Board Jungle" public school. A school of hard knocks and survival skills. When the next generation attacks, these corporate elitist's will be the first heads to roll.

@all: you’re painting a painful picture of the state of education of kids in Phoenix. It almost seems a deliberate program. But then I see the same thing in the city of Birmingham – so I just don’t know what to do on a macro level.

Home schooling seeming to be better and better all the time. Used to be religious wackos who did this. Now becoming very main stream due to the willful badness of much of the public system.

@Ruben: I don’t want to inquire into your personal circumstances. But you are Dad. Sometimes you have to execute veto power on things. Sometimes it means being a real prick.

I’m astonished also by the vast ignorance of most people under 30 years old – up to and including alleged college graduates. We’re already paying the price. The pitiful thing is the amount of money spent to produce this result.

As I stated earlier, I’m not a fan of charters. The really bad ones should be fired. Same with public schools. People need to be held to standards. If you’re not meeting those standards you need to be fired. That would mean the entire staff (of say an elementary school) from the janitors to the principal being fired on the spot. Fat chance of that happening. We’ve created a system where no one is responsible for anything.

I’m sorry. I come from a very pass/fail world – engineering. We don’t get paid to hope something works.

Cal,The Board of Governors for Basis School possesses the usual suspects who have run other parts of Arizona state and local government into the ground. Interesting to note there are no basis schools in West or South Phoenix. East valley Mormon country is Basis School central. No doubt in Basis school Joseph Smith and Book of Mormon will be well covered in social studies and American history classes.

Maybe the Catholic Diocese in Arizona could separate its religion classes from the rest of the curriculum and hold religion classes off campus using a separate non-profit. They can then apply for Arizona taxpayer funding by obtaining a contract as charter schools.

HMLS, You are correct HMLS. I noted the concentrated clusters on the chart provided.
I thought about tossing the LDS thing in my post but I pick on organized religion so often that I left it out in my post, lest folks think I harbored some kind of grudge. Well back to June issue of Adbusters.

WKG, on the positive side I do know of a Charter school near downtown Phoenix that specializes in education with an emphasis on Music and the Arts and does not seem to be interested in selling god. The adults that send their kids there range from conservative to extremely liberal. The middle ground of these parents appears to be liberal intellectuals. The kids I have met that attend are extremely talented very smart and have great manners and interact well with adults. However my impression is they would find public school challenging.

Later today I journey to Changing Hands book store with my 20 percent off coupon to pickup a copy of LDS history as I am an rabid fan of religious history. If you all would care to learn how Joe and his brother ended up I recommend the following book.


Note: My following of LDS is partly fueled by a commonality:


and my relatives that are LDS


I'm against any book-burning and I know that the thought horrifies you, too. That said, you will do humanity no disservice if you recycle-bin those Rand books, as the paper is infinitely more valuable than the prose.

(I read Fountainhead & Anthem as a child, and was forced to deconstruct Atlas Shrugged for my co-ed fiancee in the '70's before she went too far down the rabbit-hole. So, I know whereof I speak.)

Sadly, I know the "core values" of Rand will eternally be attractive to naive libertarian-inclined young people for generations to come. It exhausts me to think of it.

Cal - following your read on LDS history, take a trip to Nauvoo, IL. It's close to St. Louis, MO, if you don't want to drive the Midwest prairie in summer. A fascinating field-study awaits you there.

Cal, thanks for the article on the womens' march on Versailles. I did not know that.

wkg, I agree that the first sentence in the last paragraph is awkward. if you read a few paragraphs above the 'conclusion' in the link I provided, you will get a better idea of the context.

@Cal: Sometime when a tread has gone dry I’d like to get some instruction on the LDS. My direct contact amounts to exactly two guys: a fraternity brother in college and my best friend in the Navy. Southern Baptists can be annoying. But they’re good family people, neighbors – I’m happy to live among them.

@all: it seems that there are bad charter schools. And there are good ones. I think the most important thing is for the school board to establish standards – for all their schools. Monitoring and enforcement should be ruthless. But this applies to all schools – any public school found not meeting standards needs to be utterly shut down; with termination of all employees.

Some of the charters seem to have a religious aspect. I went to a catholic school for grades 1-6 and have no real issue with this. I would argue that catholic schools are vastly better than their public counterparts. But that’s a tangential issue that I don’t want to get into.

The only aspect of the charter system of education is the aspect of choice. With a monolithic public system what you see is what you get.

Here's the Charter School Racket at work in North Carolina:


@Rogue: I’m going to agree with you. Charter Schools are “a racket”. They exist to advance their own self-interest. This brings up the question of the status of public education. I’m going to posit that it is a bigger racket.

As you have pointed out, some of the charters are really awful. Yet there they are. Apparently as bad as they are, they are better that the public alternative.

I think almost all of the “education establishment” is a big racket. I’ve said any number of times that home schooling is the best alternative. But it is a gigantic investment in your kids. Hard for most people to do.

A racket is a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a problem, such as for a problem that does not actually exist, will not be affected, or would not otherwise exist. Conducting a racket is racketeering.[1] Particularly, the potential problem may be caused by the same party that offers to solve it, although that fact may be concealed, with the specific intent to engender continual patronage for this party.
a fraud schemes is A.R.S. 13-2310. In states:

Fraudlent schemes
A. Any person who, pursuant to a scheme or artifice to defraud, knowingly obtains any benefit by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises or material omissions is guilty of a class 2 felony.

WKG I think Fraudulent Schemes and Devices fits better than “racket”. This is my opinion from putting attorneys and others in prison during my years of assignment to the Phoenix Organized Crime Bureau. (OCB).
I have some difficulty in determining that public school administrators and teachers have come together to conspire sufficiently to be in violation of A.R.S 13-2310. (However I did see something similar in the grade cheating Scandals in Atlanta Georgia and other public schools)

However as some have pointed out many Charters have been put together in a conspiratorial manner to benefit a small group of conspirators at the expense of young children and the public in general.

With regard to home schooling I know a number of young people that have benefited from such, particularly those with some learning difficulties that resources are not available for in public schools (due to a lack of funding). Most of these home schooled young people I know, many now adults are very timid, shy and somewhat reclusive individuals.

Terry Dudas, I appreciate your advice. I am familiar with Nauvoo, however I have little interest in the edifices built by religion to house their faithful. I recently was updated by relatives on restorations.
My mother insisted for 84 years one could find god in a building. I could never get her to join me atop Mingus Mountain in a lighting storm. A place where you could feel the almighty.
I am familiar with Mormon history. Particularly FLDS history and current events. Among other readings, I enjoyed Prophets of Prey by Sam Brower whom I have met.
I find my gods in the wilderness. Particularly I like the god of silence, the voice de nada. And then there is Thor and his mighty roar accompanied by fascinating lightning bolts. And I usually find time each day to salute the mighty Sajuaro.

WKG: I must say that many years ago I researched the older version of Summerhill in England and I liked it.

and about the same time I read the biography of Maria Montessori and have always been impressed with that education system. The current Google owners are products of Maria's methods as are a number of the new rich kids on the block.

@Cal: You’re right. It’s easy to over shelter a kid (a real disservice).
In my own experience high-school jobs and the Navy thought me the “ropes” if you will about normal graft and coercion and just getting along.

Then there’s the other kind crap: the
social kind. Much more vicious than the other kind. I’m still learning about it.

PS: where is Soleri. Does anyone know him? Is he OK?

If you recall WKg, they had a nude bike ride in Portland recently. With soleri being new to the area he might have used the wrong type of bicycle seat or there may have been a bicycle chain "incident" with his family jewels. He should be OK shortly.

WKG: I am not right or wrong, just opinionated.

@Cal: Summerhill looks like an interesting place. Generally agree with their mthods. Still think certain things need to be learned weather you like it or not (e.g. basic math, geometry)

@Ruben: Soleri is roughly my age. As a matter of aesthics, I go about pretty covered up.

WKG: To help your evolution I suggest you make it to a place and event where no one will care about your philosophical apparel aesthetics.

@all: is it safe to say the “charter school racket” has been exhausted? I’d like to get into a related issue: “the higher education scam”. I don’t want to do a thread-jacking. With your permission I’d like to go there. But if you think “no we’re done with the charter racket at all!” please advise.

WKg, Petro and I have had several discussions about the deliberate dismantling of our education system. Petro, would you direct WKg to the videos and sites addressing the issue. I don't have access to the info at the moment.

In my view, the problem isn't that Huppenthal the conservative holds benighted views about public assistance programs, views which begin with intangible and unmeasurable psychological attributes, then proceeding to the construction of insupportable generalizations about the attitudes of heterogeneous groups.

After all, we all know that conservatives get their views from the stereotypes fed to them in old episodes of Starsky & Hutch absorbed during their formative years, leading to lurid, wholly imaginary hypothetical scenarios in which lazy minorities and their radical white liberal abettors have their lines fed to them by the imaginer; followed by talk-radio hosts who, mistaking these voices in their heads for the essence of truth, take liberties in presenting either their own imaginings or the unexamined inventions or exaggerations of others as factual, true-life anecdotes, and then drawing broad conclusions about entire classes of people; and finally from their listeners, whose own biases are thus confirmed and inflamed, and who pass these stories on, with embellishments added at each stage in the manner of grapevine gossips, until they reach the ears of yet another conservative demagogue (politician or media celebrity), sitting in a chair in a barber
shop or on a stool in a sports bar or perhaps the leather chair of a cigar store smoking room, where they are received as gospel, internalized, and passed on yet again, in a self-reinforcing circle of delusion.

No, the real problem is that Huppenthal the State Superintendent of Public Schools is so appallingly pig-ignorant about simple historical timetables that he is able to assert that Franklin D. Roosevelt "was almost completely responsible for the Great Depression" even though it began with a stock-market crash in 1929 when Roosevelt was still governor of New York; and that Roosevelt's economic policies "directly led to the rise of a no-name hack named Adolph (sic) Hitler who was going nowhere", even though Hitler became chancellor of Germany two months before Roosevelt was inaugurated as president.


As for Huppenthal's choice of Thucydides as an online alias, I'm reminded of an old Stephen Leacock gag. Leacock was old enough to live at a time when educated people were still expected to be classicists, and young enough (at heart) to recognize humbug. Writing of a politician who told him that every night before bed he reads a page of Thucydides (in the original Greek), he wrote: "I don't object to his talking freely of the classics, but he ought to keep it for the voters. My own opinion is that before he goes to bed he takes whisky; why call it Thucydides?"

I myself am old enough (at heart) to realize the potential of classical authors (by which I mean Greek and Roman writers of antiquity), recognizing that so many "modern" trends and ills are perennial and that some of these old birds had remarkable insights and the power to express them well (though, as with modern writers, it's a question of separating the grain from the chaff).

Generally these were either wealthy themselves or else had wealthy patrons. Wealth bought leisure, and leisure (properly spent) provided the time, education, books, and surroundings congenial to the acquisition of knowledge and to independent consideration of the true character and meaning of both traditional wisdom and contemporary observation; leisure not available to someone whose days were spent in the fields picking turnips and whose nights were spent drinking themselves into a stupor with cheap hooch to numb themselves for the next day's labor. But wealth also brought class interests and the biases that accompany them.

I'm no expert on Thucydides, but I'll tentatively accept the views of Paul Woodruff, Professor of Philosophy and Classics at the University of Texas at Austin. In his book of selections from Thucydides' The History of the Peloponnesian War, he writes:

"Many themes are sounded in the History as its author explores both sides of complex issues. The most insistent of these is the necessity that falls on those who try to manage an empire: empires cannot remain stagnant, they must grow, and the managers of empire must pursue growth and keep order with a businesslike disregard for the moral principles they would otherwise hold dear."

Also: "Democracy was felt to be oppressive by many die-hard conservatives, who longed for traditional upper-class privileges. Thucydides and most of our sources for the period belonged to this group."

And in writing of the (for the period) broad-based democracy of the Athenian Empire, which Thucydides suggests was unpopular while inadvertently providing contrary evidence, Woodruff writes: "Thucydides is not deliberately trying to deceive us, however. The empire had never been popular with the rich and well born of the subject cities, and these were the people who mattered most to him."

So, superficially, "Thucydides" may not have been an altogether inappropriate online alias for John Huppenthal. At the same time, it should be recognized that the historical Thucydides was much more complex and sophisticated than the one-note Huppenthal version. Woodruff writes:

"Much of the History consists of paired speeches, and these recall the sophists who taught men to argue both sides of a question."

And if "this comparison applies only to form, for while the sophists do not seem to care in their fictional examples which side is right, Thucydides is deeply engaged in his real ones", at least it can be said that there is a degree of complexity, sophistication, and shading not in evidence in the Huppenthal version, which is the merest caricature.

Well, I could come up with links addressing specific aspects of the failures of the American educational system(s), and there are just as many in the public sector as in the private (charter.) What is important is why these failures manifest.

To be brief, I'm going to jump past pedestrian failures (test scores, reading levels, etc.) and go straight for the jugular, as those are actual a welcome distraction from the real issue.

As with any essential human need (health care, food, water, education,) you introduce a demon when you allow wealth to create two-tiered access essential services. It's not only that some get better stuff than others, it's more like you punched a hole in the bucket because an entire class of persons (the wealthy) suddenly have no incentive in caring for the outcomes of the public sector services. Only when they, too, are forced to seat precious Buffy and Biff in the classroom with the great unwashed will you see education improve. Charter schools are a cynical feint where they, once again, trick the proletariat into thinking they, too, have "choices" like the rich.

Because there is indeed real, high-quality education given in the United States, in an archipelago of fine (and expensive) private schools starting from K all the way up to the highest tiers of University education. This affects more than the quality of the "three R's" - what's really scary is that our elite educates their children to become the elite as well. This means that they are actually taught how to think rather than memorize, they are engaged in philosophical and humanities dialogues that are shamefully absent in the schools where they prepare what they see as their subjects, their labor force, their consumers, their seconds..

This has been going on since the 19th century, when our educators discovered the Austrian educational system - which was cynically designed to program the citizenry to be willing, non-deserting soldiers.

With that, I will give you one link:


"The Underground History of American Education," by John Taylor Gatto.

Darnit, I forgot to close a tag again. :)

Sanger was a eugenicist but her views diverged from those of the Nazis.

She advocated forced sterilization or segregation of "the undeniably feeble-minded", and an exclusionary immigration policy which confuses cultural primitivism with genetic inferiority, calling Australian aboriginals "one step above chimpanzees". In these views she was probably no different than most ordinary citizens of the time.

Unlike the Nazis she was against euthenasia of "the unfit" and she opposed state control of marriages and procreation.

Interestingly, Sanger opposed abortions, not only because they were dangerous to women but also because she had moral objections to terminating pregnancy after conception. Hence her exclusive emphasis on forms of birth control that prevent pregnancy.

Petro, if you know how to close the italics tag, just post a comment with that in it. All subsequent comments will be in a normal font.

Well, I tried that in my lament above, but I'll try it one more time.

Nope. Jon has to do it. :)

Thank you for the comment and link Petro.

"forced sterilization or segregation of "the undeniably feeble-minded""...
That would be quite the make work program.

Emil, great posts.I was hoping you would get onto it and you did, loved the humor.

Ruben, Hope you got a huge fire break around the house?

I do. Remember, we burned in the rodeo fire. The current fire is 20 miles east of us.

wkg:For example, "religious liberty" and "free enterprise" were used to justify slavery, as well as Jim and Jane Crow. The move towards privatized schools, "urban academies", and publicly funded religiously based secondary and primary education are the direct heirs of the "freedom academies" that whites used as a means to resist integration and the Black Freedom Struggle in the South and elsewhere.


Free enterprise is every bit a ridiculous unworkable utopia as free love and a worker's paradise.

cal lash wrote:

"Later today I journey to Changing Hands book store with my 20 percent off coupon to pickup a copy of LDS history as I am an rabid fan of religious history."

I came across a book by Thomas W. Lippman recently called Understanding Islam. It was an earlier edition of the book written before 9/11, so in some ways it is incomplete; but at the same time, the very fact that it was written at a time when militant Islam had not quite become the terror that it is today, allowed the author perhaps greater scope for objective detachment.

I was struck by the parallels to Mormonism. That may sound like a joke, but the comparison is highly specific: both are piggyback religions which are built on the foundations of other established religions (specifically, Judaism and Christianity). Both are based on gross misinterpretations of the foundation religions; and both are hopelessly blind in regarding their foundational deviationism as being consistent with the religions which inspired them.

I was, frankly, astonished to learn that Islam, from the beginning, recognizes and nominally bases itself upon four books it considers to be holy and written by god-inspired prophets: The Pentateuch (also known as the Torah), Psalms, The Gospels, and of course, the Koran. It views Moses, David, Christ, and Mohammed as prophets of the SAME god. The idea is that Judaism and Christianity fell away from the true path prescribed by their prophets, and that the Koran, being a "final" and "complete" divine revelation supercedes them, even while recognizing their authenticity and building upon them.

That said, there are some remarkable differences, which appear to spring from the fact that Mohammed was illiterate and learned about Judaism orally and at second hand, from Jews living in Arabia and from Arab polytheists talking about Jewish beliefs; and he learned about Christianity from traders and from Christian Abyssinia (Ethiopia), which also invaded Arabia at about the same time.

There are some obvious differences. For example, the Jewish/Christian story of Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac, is transformed in the Islamic version into Ibrahim (the Arabic version of the name) being asked by God to sacrifice, not Isaac, but Ishmael, whose mother was not Sarah but Sarah's handmaiden, the slave-girl Hagar.

Mormonism is as startling for most Christians as Islam must have been for the Jews of the period living in Arabia. There is the whole Ancient Americans in Central America thing (and they don't mean indigenous dark-skinned Indian peoples, of course). There are the Golden Tablets, not brought down from the heights of Mt. Sinai by Moses in antiquity, but dug up in Manchester, New York by Mr. Joseph Smith in 1827; and angels whose names sound like an Italian dry-cleaner (Moroni). There are the sacred pajamas. There is baptism of the dead. But it just gets weirder from there.

As in Islam (and for that matter, Judaism), revealed knowledge in Mormonism comes in two grades; the holy books, and the lesser but still important sayings attributed to the prophet.

I have a Mormon essay pamphlet, written by an Elder of the church and a highly regarded commentator on such matters, and published under official imprimatur in 1922, which I picked up for a quarter at a yard sale in Moon Valley (a north-central Phoenix neighborhood), by Melvin J. Ballard called The Three Degrees of Glory. Mormons, in addition to hell for the intractably wicked, believe in three additional forms of afterlife, one of which (Terrestrial) sounds suspiciously like ordinary reincarnation.

"Why is it in this Church we do not grant the priesthood to the Negroes? It is alleged that the Prophet Joseph said -- and I have no reason to dispute it -- that it is because of some act committed by them before they came into this life. It is alleged that they were neutral, standing neither for Christ nor the devil. But, I am convinced it is because of some things they did before they came into this life that they have been denied the privilege. The races of today are very largely reaping the consequences of a previous life."

Ballard, citing supporting verses from Joseph Smith's book of Doctrine and Covenants, reveals an aspect of high Mormon doctrine which is seldom spoken of and usually denied in discussions of their religion with outsiders -- one that is likely not shared, these days, even with ordinary Mormons who have not progressed beyond a certain status within the church:

"We have frequently said that perhaps the grandest thought that has ever been brought forth to the children of men is the Mormon truism, namely: 'As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become'."

Ballard goes on to elucidate the meaning of this:

"So, it will be the glory of men and women that will make their glory like unto His...they will be in due time, as we have been, provided with an earth like this, wherein [their offspring] shall stand in [their] relationship to them as God, our Eternal Father, does to us..."

That is to say, in Mormonism, those who reach the very highest degree of glory, will be given an Earth upon which they shall rule over their spiritual children (clad in very human bodies!),as their God.

From "Quote of the Week" (The Arizona Republic):

"It's in Obamas book, Obama said he was born in Kenya!!!! If this were a Republican, you would be going nuts demanding those college records."

-- Falcon 9, aka Superintendent of Public Education John Huppenthal, in a 2012 Internet blog.

Incidentally, one way in which Islam differs from Christianity is the lack of variation in published versions of its holy book. Since Mohammed was illiterate, his revelation of the Koran existed only orally and on skins and bones where other, literate persons preserved bits and pieces of it.

The creation of the Koran as a written work was commissioned by the first Caliph (temporal successor to Mohammed); if I recall Lippman's book correctly, it was compiled fairly quickly, perhaps 20 years after his death, by the time of the third Caliph, who basically said "This is the one and only, eternal version of the Koran", and so it hasn't experienced the numerous versions and revisions that the Bible has. (The assembly of the Koran was performed by someone appointed by the first Caliph, who assembled a committee to perform the actual work; thus the Koran was literally written by committee.)

The Hadith, or sayings attributed to Mohammed, took hundreds of years to reach a fairly authoritative version (though there is more than one and they remain in some dispute).

This is really a fascinating issue for students of the history of religion: few adherents of the world's great religions (including most Christians), and fundamentalists in particular, stop to ask how, when, and by whom their supposedly infallible holy books were written.

Who decided, and when, what would be included, and what would be rejected? As noted above, in the case of Islam, it was a committee appointed by Caliphs. In Christianity, it was initially the central authority of the (Roman Catholic) church, with later variations.

The committee which wrote the Koran as we know it today, placed particular (though not exclusive) emphasis on individuals who had heard Mohammad speak. The idea, however, of writing a holy book by interviewing and cross-referencing supposed first-person listeners of an oral tradition, is astonishing.

There would be those who never heard Mohammed speak at all but who wished to impose their own views, either maliciously or from misguided good intentions. There would be those who did hear him speak, but misrepresented what he said, either from personal or tribal or political or religious motives; or else sincerely but mistakenly quoted him because of the vaguaries of memory.

Anyone with police experience interviewing witnesses about fresh events, much less about events of many years before, should have some idea of the problems inherent in this approach.

Even if the committee members who assembled an "authoritative" version of the Koran were wholly competent and not tempted by base motives to misrepresent Mohammed, the job of paring down the enormous mishmash of supposed sayings into accurate ones would have been a mare's nest.

The compiler of Hadith (sayings attributed to Mohammed but not part of the Koran) most highly regarded is al-Bukhari; but he accepted only a few thousand out of nearly half a million.

Then there is the fact that Mohammed himself was not particularly concerned with the exact form of his Koranic statements:

2:106: "If We abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten, We will replace it by a better one or one similar...."

Whole fields of scholarship have arisen to deal with the latter:


The doctrine of abrogation, that one Quranic passage is canceled by another, has always been controversial.

under the direction of God the Father, leads the church by revealing his will to its president, whom adherents regard as a modern-day "prophet, seer, and revelator".

These white dudes in the Quorum get to decide if they should get a revelation or not depending on whether the cavalry might becoming. Thus now based on a recent revaluation "Blacks" can be a mormon, but like women, a low class mormon.

Lots of really white dudes in white stiff shirts covering them special wet suits.


Religion is bad but religion theocracies are just plain evil.

"Intellectual in an Espresso Pundit style" is gonna leave a mark.

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