Chaos Manor View, Monday, September 5, 2016
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.
If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.
Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983
Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
We have dial tone. This is the second time I have written this. I wrote about a thousand words but as I was completing my account of how my dial tone was restored, I managed to hit the alt key and the spacebar simultaneously, then some more keys – I was typing rapidly – and Word closed without saving. I do not know what combination of keys produces that result. I don’t care. I am now looking for alternatives to Word. No text editor ought to have a combination of keystrokes that will close it without saving.
I thought I had a work-around: I would save as a work file whatever I was working on, and this would automatically save every few seconds. It does not. Word Help does not have any response to “save Word file automatically”. So far as I can see the response is the same to any search that has save and Word in it. Microsoft, you bloody ought to be ashamed of yourselves, and I wonder if a handicap organization does not have a valid case under some obscure provision of the Americans with Disabilities act. Worse, if there’s a setting to do automatic saving I can’t find it. Help as usual is not much help. I suppose it doesn’t matter. I once had the habit of saving early and often because computers were not reliable. I gradually lost the habit – not entirely, but I did trust more to the electronics I guess – and today I lost a thousand words. Gone. They weren’t crucial, and I know what I said, but I am irked. Annoyed. And it’s Microsoft’s fault. There should be no way to simply close Word without saving.
Back to my story. Dial tone. Early this morning, Roberta called AT&T again, got a human, and Lo! They already had a record of our problem and said a technician would be here before Six. He showed up an hour later. Armando had been with The Phone Company for 42 years, and oozed competence. He cut the cable tie off the outside box in back, and said something to the effect of “You only have one line?” I told him that at one time we had had six active lines, but that was long ago.
I then conducted him back into the house to the hall phone, where we have a simple phone that needs no house power and connects directly to the outside. He unplugged it and plugged in a small signal generator, and went out to the outside box again. I went to my office and lifted the Panasonic wireless phone – one of several we have around the house, and heard warbling. Since the Panasonic station is attached to a jack on the same line as the hall phone where the signal was coming from, it was pretty clear that the problem wasn’t in the archaic wiring of Chaos Manor.
The technician said he had to go up the pole on Cantura, a street about half a mile away. A few minutes later we had dial tone, and his cell phone number in case we had other problems. And now we have dial tone, the plumbing is working again, when I am writing fiction I use the ASUS laptop upstairs where I don’t hit alt-spacebar and I do save early and often as I am doing now, and things are back the mild but chronic state of chaos normal at Chaos Manor.
The War Drums are beating. Russia could not govern the Ukraine even if the Ukrainians overwhelmingly asked them to; the economies are too bare. Russia is beginning to rise from the depths, but Putin is no fool: he sees what reviving East Germany did to the Germans. They know what rebuilding the Crimea is costing. There is a great effort underway to get the United States into hostilities with Russia. Trump opposes that.
For more, see
Hillary, Trump, and War with Russia: The Goddamdest Stupid Idea I Have Ever Heard, and I Have Lived in Washington
It is Labor Day, and we have guests. I’ll let Fred talk on this one. Fred and I don’t agree on everything, but I don’t think I can find much to argue with here.
If you’re planning on submitting to There Will Be War, Volume 11, this is the month to do it. We should have it put together by October, which means my introductions need to be done, which means I have to have all the stories and articles we’re going to include since I tend to use them to generate a theme.
The school systems
In your blog a reader signing in as ‘B-‘ provided an account that started like this:
“Maybe that will teach me.”
The problem described is not confined to the educational system. It is rampant throughout ALL government bureaucracies.
When I worked for the federal government there were two absolute career killers for budding managers:
1. Being tagged with a ‘diversity problem’. ANY diversity problem.
2. Failing to spend your budget—all of it—PRIOR TO the end of the fiscal year.
Spending several million dollars on a program (ideally, a multi-year effort) that produced absolutely nothing of use or relevance was specifically NOT a career killer. Quite the contrary. Proving your expertise in program management by running a multi-million dollar program for a couple of years that ultimately produced nothing, then moving on to the next hot (higher budget) project before the first one cratered was the path to career glory, whether the programs produced anything useful or not. The key was to get in while the programs were hot, then bail upwards before the crash.
Of course not ALL programs were useless. But a large number of the folks who gravitated to the top did so by ‘managing’ a succession of those which were.
The Constitution gives no powers over education to the Congress or any other part of the Federal government, meaning that was supposed to be left to the states; which meant competing educational systems, some better, some worse, some very good, some awful. The important thing was some were very good.
Then came Sputnik (The Soviet launched first Earth satellite) and there came a drum beat for Federal Aid to Education, since we clearly needed a national education system and we had the experts to provide it. That generated a Federal Department of Education. Teachers’ Unions, who wanted tenure and credentialism, instantly jumped aboard the bandwagon they had helped build, and fewer than a dozen years later the National Commission on Excellence in Education concluded that
If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightly consider it an act of war.
The schools have deteriorated greatly since that accurate system. Prior to Federal Aid to Education, the United States boasted some of the best schools in the world, the envy of every other country. They encouraged the growth of excellence, and imposed the learning of as much competence as possible on everyone. We had a few school systems considered awful, several in the South, but note that in Tennessee I received, in Capleville with two grades to the room and more than 20 pupils to the grade, a very good grammar school education. I wasn’t made to work as hard as I should have been, but I still learned more in eight grades than nearly any present day public school student learns in twelve. There wasn’t a single student in Capleville school who didn’t learn to read, and I include the girl who was 15 in the fifth grade. She didn’t understand much, but she could read.
(Parenthetically, she did right well. Her parents were Italian truck gardeners. An Italian prisoner of war was assigned to be a farmhand at her place, and he and she were married within a year, thus keeping her from spinsterhood, her husband from being repatriated at the end of the war, and her parents from not having grandchildren. Sometimes stories do end well.)
And it remains true, “If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightly consider it an act of war.”
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.