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Today is…

Moving day!

I take possession of my apartment this afternoon.

This is going to have some ramifications on posting, as I think it might be a month or more before I have internet access in my apartment.  I’ll be able to do some light posting from work, but since I am launching a crackdown on internet abuse during working hours on Monday, I’ll have to keep that to a minimum.

Also, since I’m going to India from the 6th to the 11th, I won’t even be able to get the ball rolling on installation until I get back.  This week leading up to the trip will be full of other pressing tasks at work.

I’m going to take lots of pictures in India, they’ll be posted to my flickr account when I get back.

I’m really looking forward to moving into my own place.  I’m quite tired of my little guest room.  I’ve been here a month and the lack of privacy is getting to me.  The lack of a decent kitchen is really getting to me.  I can’t cook anything other than an egg or boil water for ramen type noodles.

Another one…

Put up with no other comment.

These candidates all need help.

A really nice article…

On Salman Khan and the Khan Academy.  Wired.  It is worth the time to read the whole thing.  This bit caught my eye:

The very concept of grade levels implies groups of students moving along together at an even pace. So what happens when, using Khan Academy, you wind up with a kid in fifth grade who has mastered high school trigonometry and physics—but is still functioning like a regular 10-year-old when it comes to writing, history, and social studies? Khan’s programmer, Ben Kamens, has heard from teachers who’ve seen Khan Academy presentations and loved the idea but wondered whether they could modify it “to stop students from becoming this advanced.”

That’s my bold.  It is attitudes such as this, on the part of the established education cartel, that convinces me that education needs to be taken away from the government and its syncophants.  We can’t have students making it hard for the teachers!  That is not the way it is supposed to work!

This holds in my household…

You should hear the withering commentary on Twilight from my 17 year old daughter.

HT: Ka-Ching!

You’ll never guess…

Who this is.

That is unless you waste time chasing the same links that I do.

I couldn’t believe it.  Oh well, we all grow old.

UPDATE: We have a winner!  The Good Witch is correct.

Here is Sinéad O’Connor from 1990:

As one of my coworkers said, “Man, that’s 20 years of whiskey and Pall Malls!”  I guess that’s what happened to me too!

This happens every spring…

We get kids from some liberal (leftist) group knocking on our door.

Tonight it was a homely gal trying to get me to sign a petition to force TV manufacturers pay for recycling of their products.

I listened to her babble on about the danger to the water supply.  I listened for about 30 seconds as she regurgitated her script full of fear mongering; a script designed to get the ill-informed to sign her petition.

I just gave it back to her and told her I wasn’t interested.

I didn’t want to bother with trying to educate her on the nonsense of her petition.  There are no television manufacturers left in the U.S., let alone Texas. (Curtis Mathes died an ignoble death 20 or 30 years ago.)  She told me TV’s have lead in them.  She said that old TV’s go in the land fills, “right next to our water supply!”  I didn’t have the energy to tell her that was probably, given the current state of landfill construction, the best place for old TV’s.  I didn’t have the energy to tell her that she was proposing raising the cost of televisions for herself and all the other poor people in the state (to walk around trying to get people to sign such petitions is incontrovertible evidence that you are either poor, and loving it in a hipster, or SWPL, sort of way, or stupid and living off an allowance from your parents.  I just could not be bothered by the whole thing.

I used to think I should keep a box of “The Road to Serfdom,” by Hayek; or “Our Enemy the State,” by Nock at the front door to hand out on such occasions.  But I decided I would just end up picking up copies of the books I handed out from the neighbor’s hedge.

We believers in Liberty have such a tough battle in front of us.  Every year colleges and universities must turn out 20 statists for every lover of liberty.  Over time we probably tilt the scales to 5 lovers of Liberty to every 20 statists.

After visits from parents and the death of friends, the Cursing Mommy has the cure…

It’s been awhile since I’ve gone and read her column.  Here she give instructions on making easy drinks.  Which is always a good way to fix what ails you.  She mentions the vodka gimlet (and I have mentioned this back in the early days of this blog).

Some day, I will have to tell the story of the vodka gimlets and the first time I encountered Pac Man.  That will age me.

She also mentions “Make Your Own Damn Dinner” night.  This is still a regular feature around my household.

Reynold’s Law…

Back in September of last year, Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, made the following observation regarding government interference in the market place:

The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.

For my 2 and 1/2 readers, this quote was shortened by philo of Alexandria into Reynold’s Law:

Subsidizing the markers of status doesn’t produce the character traits that result in that status; it undermines them.

People go off and study the weirdest things: here is a study that claims student financial aid is captured by the institutions and does not benefit students.  Thereby undermining the status of college educations

Of course this sort of study supports my priors.  It also confirmed by my personal experience. (Does my anecdotal evidence become data when I mention it in the same paragraph as a published study?)

Instapundit is not on my blog roll because I assume everybody reads him.

Maggie’s Farm…

Is one of my favorite group blogs.  I stop by there daily.  There are a handful of posters that are regularly putting up new posts daily.  Bird Dog puts up a round of links of interest to him; The Barrister, like me, seems to be interested in higher education right now; Dr. Bliss posts on psychiatry; Dr. Mercury on computers and nonsense; and, Bruce Kesler on Israel and world affairs.  There are others, and my leaving them off the list does not slight them in the least, they just don’t post as often.

Bird Dog put up a re-post yesterday on high school / college curriculum.  In particular what he thinks his children should be taking in college if they have not already been exposed to these courses in high school.  It is heavy on classical liberal arts education.  It is somewhat short on practical vocational course work.  There is a pretty lively comment section to the post, with the commenters mostly agreeing but pointing to where they might change the emphasis some.

The commenters at Maggie’s are good people.  They are not rude to each other and offer up a lot of good information and opinion.  It is part of the reason Maggie’s Farm is one of my favorite blogs.

Anyway, to make a short story long, I’m having one of my moments where I don’t communicate well with other people.  I was reading Bird Dog’s post and got hung up here: “for a lifetime of self-education and informed citizenship.”  In particular I got hung up on the “informed citizenship” phrase.

Instead of saying I won’t make my kids learn Greek, Latin, or any other language unless it’s something like C++, I couldn’t get past this informed citizenship idea.

That’s because somewhere along the way between the ratification of the constitution and today, we as a people gave up our rights as citizens.  There are several inflection points.  Pick your favorite.  There is the presidency of Lincoln.  If you think the civil war was over slavery you a sadly misinformed.  The civil was started over the South saying they had had enough of the union and voted themselves out.  Less than one hundred years after the ratification of the constitution by a vote, there is no doubt the people believed they could exit the Union.  Lincoln said no they could not leave the Union and the carnage of the civil war resulted (Note: there is no defense of slavery in this argument.  Also, if you think this notion is crazy, go read the Emancipation Proclamation.  Lincoln freed the slaves everywhere he had no power and nowhere where he did have power.).  Next up is Wilson, who presided over the institution of the income tax and the Federal  Reserve system.  Wilson is followed by the further curtailment of individual liberty by Hoover and Roosevelt through their ineffectual responses to the Great Depression.  We could also point to Johnson and his war on poverty and his Great Society.  Nixon enters my list with his price controls and EPA.  Reagan gets special mention as he is probably most responsible for cutting loose government from any concern over deficit spending.  I’ll blame Clinton for the bulk of expansion of Freddie, Fannie and Sallie (the total cost of these three programs is one of the great unknowns we “citizens” will have to deal with).  Bush for his crappy wars of no end.  And now we have Obama starting another crappy war.  Add on to the wars the deficit spending of  these last two socialists (there is no other way to describe someone who gives away prescription medicine and another who wants to give away all medicine).

Where in this long line of crappy statist politicians is one that was concerned for the welfare of the citizens?

That’s because we are no longer citizens, we are subjects.

I ask why my two kids should study to be an informed citizen when all around me the smart money guys are teaching their kids how to best game the system.  I should send them to Russia for what is likely the best place for lessons on how to become an apparatchik.  Why should my kids be informed citizens when the path to a upper middle class lifestyle goes through the forest of government subsidies (just ask a Wisconsin school teacher, they know how to milk the system to their advantage and certainly have no understanding of informed citizenship).  My kids don’t need to understand the philosophical underpinnings of republican democracy, they need to know how to align themselves with government protected industries and projects.  That’s what subjects do, they try to figure out where the most government largesse will fall out of the sky.  Corn fields in Iowa?  Wind farms in California?  High Tech in Texas?  Water for farms in Arizona?

Yes the path of least resistance for a life of conventional success lies in finding where they Eye of Sauron will look with favor.  That is what the good subjects of this nation will do.

I will actually walk myself back from the ledge now.  My kids, I hope, and work to achieve, will be free thinking, individuals beholden to no man.  They will deal with the world as they find it, and they will find their own way, as I won’t be forcing my will upon them much longer.

So as a comment to Bird Dog’s list of courses, I have this to say: While they are young, I want to tilt their education in a more practical direction.  Our conversations around the dinner table, with just the immediate family, range widely and cover lots of topics where we encourage additional reading.  Conversations with our extended family and our circle of friends reinforces this and demonstrates to the kids the need for being educated in our culture, broadly defined.

But yes, I really do think we are no longer citizens.  We are but mere subjects.  The government no longer trusts us to find our own way, to negotiate solutions to the problems facing us and our neighbors.  No, the government has to impose a uniform solution on each subject.  I give you as an example trash.  I am proscribed by law from setting my trash out on the curb too early.  If I set it out too early, I’ll be subject to a fine.  Really.

Here’s something you don’t see everyday…

Bears.  Real live bears!  Playing hockey!  On ice!  On skates!

I will make the bold claim that I can skate better than these bears.  Don’t think I’d like to play against them though.  I bet they get pissed when you score on them.