Thursday, November 30, 2006
Okay,I think I've got a new hobby. I did not know you could roast your own beans so easily. I am so very in love with dark roasted coffee. As a girl who grew up Mormon; coffee is not only good but better than that, it's actually a sin! So roasting my own beans is really on a par with moonshine. And speaking of illicit drugs; Happy Meth Day! Yes, today is, in fact, National Meth Day! I'm not sure how to celebrate that, though,maybe it's a good day to start a new diet.
Roast Your Own
America's most finicky coffee drinkers tout their caffeine connoisseurship in many, often contradictory, ways. They spend a bundle at Starbucks, or refuse to patronize big chains. They only drink espresso, or decline any cup of joe they didn't brew themselves.
Then there are people like Chris Becker of Arlington, whose coffee worship involves a ritual that places him at the outer edge of the country's java culture.
Becker roasts coffee beans at home.
''Even my less-than-good batches are fresher than any (beans) I'd buy in a store,'' said Becker, a 30-year-old government employee who uses a gas grill to transform flavorless green coffee beans into savory dark-brown kernels that he then grinds and brews within a few days, if not hours.
It doesn't require a lot of time, money or equipment to roast coffee beans at home — less than 10 minutes in an air popcorn popper does the trick — but enthusiasts devote plenty of each to the craft.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Here is a Wikipedia quote on the film;
Among the main characters are Freud himself and his nephew Edward Bernays, who was the first to use psychological techniques in advertising. He is often seen as the "father of the public relations industry". Freud's daughter Anna Freud, a pioneer of child psychology, is mentioned in the second part, as well as Wilhelm Reich, the main opponent of Freud's theories.
Along these general themes, The Century of the Self asks deeper questions about the roots and methods of modern consumerism, representative democracy and its implications. It also questions the modern way we see ourselves, the attitude to fashion and superficiality.
By FIONA MACRAE
It is something one half of the population has long suspected - and
the other half always vocally denied. Women really do talk more than men.
In fact, women talk almost three times as much as men, with the average woman chalking up 20,000 words in a day - 13,000 more than the average man.
Women also speak more quickly, devote more brainpower to chit-chat - and actually get a buzz out of hearing their own voices, a new book suggests.
The book - written by a female psychiatrist - says that inherent differences between the male and female brain explain why women are naturally more talkative than men. More Here
I'll just stay quiet on this one.
Tasha Rhodes libertarian Girl breastfeeding blog
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
This is the story of the midwife attended, homebirth of our fourth baby, Liberty Sage.
My first three were also born at home, with the assistance of midwives.
My first child (who is now nine) was born after six to seven hours of labor and was “caught” by a close friend of ours, who is probably the most well known and experienced (and most wonderful) midwife in southern Nevada.
Our second baby was born two years later in a state where midwifery (with the exception of CNMs) is, basically, illegal. So our wonderful friend flew up to play catch again. This time we were quite lucky to have a midwife across the hall instead of across town because from first mild contraction to nursing baby was just at an hour. This birth was somewhat less than straightforward as our baby was not breathing right away and her cord broke in half as she was coming out. But because of our friend’s extensive experience these things really went by without a hitch.
For the birth our now 3 ½ year old, our very wonderful and very well traveled (thanks to us) friend flew yet again, this time to Connecticut (my hubby was in law school there) but this time the baby was just not ready yet. So we called on our local back up midwife, who was still an apprentice, and asked her to attend the birth. The baby was posterior and the pushing was difficult. I think a more experienced midwife would have had me move around and try to get the baby to turn anterior but she was new and still learning. And after five hours of labor we had a happy new baby.
I did, however, suffer a mildly prolapsed bladder from pushing so hard. And while it was mild, I found it very frightening because it really feels like everything is falling out even when it’s just a slight bulge.
(You know all those stories you overhear as a kid-“Aunt Bertha’s uterus fell right into the toilet,”
“You don’t say!”
“Yes, just like cousin so and so’s did”)
Because of this, I decided three babies was enough. Although, the problem was solved by becoming Keagle obsessed.
Fate, of course, had other ideas.
With baby four on the way, our very wonderful and very well traveled friend was also very busy with babies and more babies and a phone that kept ringing. So we opted to find a local midwife. This was easy to do, with the very uptight law school in Connecticut behind us, where almost all the midwives are being threatened with prosecution for giving pitocin to hemorrhaging women, and the D.C/Virginia rat race where homebirth is basically illegal also behind us, we were now living in a “normal” place (Montana) where you can actual have a baby without a surgical team on hand.
We found a fabulous, knowledgeable, and experienced midwife whose apprentice was also very fabulous and knowledgeable and experienced. They’re also hopeless coffee addicts, so while I couldn’t drink the stuff at least I could take in the aroma at appointments.
My due date of May 8th came and went and so did the days after it without much of anything going on. My other babies had been with a day or to of “the date” But I tried not to get impatient. More time to clean the house, I could always use that.
By the 11th I started having some contractions, three or four of them, but then they stopped. Then I lost a little mucus had a few more contractions and then they stopped. I made red raspberry tea and mixed it with ginger tea. It didn’t bring on contractions but it did taste good. On mother’s day, the 14th, came the calls. “Happy Mother’s day” and, of course, “Have you had that baby yet?” This did not bother me as this was baby four and all I had to do was think of all those poor women, three weeks overdue with their first baby and the phone just ringing off the hook. I did think it was funny, though, that people really do call and say that same thing, again and again just like I always read about.
I lost a little more mucus and a little more blood and thought, ”Hooray” and then wondered why I would think that, I mean we are talking about childbirth here.
That Sunday night my husband had tons and tons of work and stayed up all night typing away while I slept. I woke up with a few contractions and by about four in the morning I noticed they were every twenty minutes or so and I had to breathe a little with them. At about 6AM I had to get a little vocal and that’s when I told my hubby to stay home from work. He had to drop off the work he had done that night at the office. I told him, no problem, as these contractions were like twenty to thirty minutes apart. As soon as he left, the contractions stopped. It took him an hour and a half to get back and I had not a single contraction the whole time. When he got back, I started feeling crampy. And when he asked what he could do, I said sleep as much as possible
(he had been up the whole
night). He wanted me to sleep too because he said he felt guilty sleeping while I was cleaning like a maniac. Our other three kids were still in bed. They are homeschooled and we had taken the week off.
After hubby fell asleep I snuck out of bed to clean, of course. Like the baby or the midwives care if my towels are folded. And the contractions went the same, some cramping, some contractions that were mild, and then every hour or so a whopper. I was calling our midwife periodically to update her. She is an hour away and was a little worried because of the speed of my other labors.
At about 3pm I lost my mucus plug and thought, “Here it comes, baby tonight, for sure”.
But still, the pattern stayed the same. My “real” contractions (the whoppers) were still an hour apart. Soon, though, they started coming every thirty minutes. This is when hubby woke up. And by 6:30pm they were every ten minutes. This is when I told hubby to call the midwife. He had had the phone in his hand for some time now-“Can I call her now? How ‘bout now? I really think we should call. If you think it’s too early, I can just tell her to bring a book.”
By 7pm I got worried (a word of thanks to hubby here for not saying, ”I told you so.”) I could tell I was headed for transition and that this labor was starting to feel very much like my second baby, with the one-hour labor. Contractions on top of contractions, no breaks at all, and double, triple peaks with each one. I started to feel like I had to go to the bathroom and I thought.”Oh no, not yet.” But happily when I did try to go, it was my water breaking and not a baby coming out.
By 7:20 the midwife flew into our driveway. I knew I was in full transition when she got there. She checked baby and me. Baby was good and my cervix was like butter, with just a lip. I started pushing a little. And soon, I started to feel that burn.
I was standing at this point. I had been pacing until I decided to push. I was facing the window and just clutching the curtains. When I felt that burn, I thought,” I can get this baby out. And I don’t need to wait for any contractions.” So I squatted down. And just pushed and pushed and pushed. I had not even felt the first pushing urge yet. I just thought if I pushed and pushed, as long as I could feel that baby moving, I could avoid, at least, experiencing five maybe six contractions. So I pushed on contractions and between contractions. And the whole time that burning was just overwhelming. But I took it as reassurance that I had done enough pelvic floor exercises and my bladder was not going to fly out across the room like it did in my nightmares. During this time, I was screaming and screaming and screaming until my voice quit, and then I was screaming in a whisper. And at this, I was glad, because I wanted to hear any instructions the midwife might have as the baby crowned. I heard her asked me to go on all fours and I thought, “Almost there.” Then I heard her say blow, so I knew the head was out or almost out. Then I pushed again, and she was out. She was born at 7:52pm; the midwife had been there thirty minutes. My kids were all in the room. And it was wonderful.
I realize the word empowering is sooooooooo overused but nothing else fits as well.I carry my homebirths with me always and when faced with running an extra mile (literally or figuratively) I looked to them to push me on. This birth was really the icing on the cake for me and I know will inspire me on through any obstacle in the future.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
In an amazing story, that was passed over as if completely by-the-by, it was revealed over the weekend that London police and councils are considering monitoring our conversations in the street using high-powered microphones attached to CCTV cameras.
The microphones, which are already in use in the Netherlands, can pick up "aggressive tones" on the basis of 12 factors, including decibel level, pitch and the speed at which words are spoken. They are so advanced that background noise is filtered out, enabling the camera to focus on specific conversations in public places. More here
I'm telling you what-I can't tell if the UK is turning into TeleTubbie Land or if it's more like something out of V for Vendetta.
I only know I don't want to follow that example,but of course, once they do it in the UK, it will be seen as reasonable to the powers that be here in the States.
Where is that Guy Fawkes when you need him most?
Tasha Rhodes libertarian Girl Libertarian Blog
Monday, November 27, 2006
The whole week in Las Vegas was an emotional roller coaster going from funeral at my mom's to Thanksgiving at my mom-in-law's and trying to visit with everyone as much as possible in the time we had.
While with my hubby's family we went to this cute Christmas village put on every year by Opportunity Village in Las Vegas.
Every time I look out my window here in Montana and see the evergreens, thick and heavy with snow until each branch is bent straight down, I think of the plastic, snow painted trees at the Christmas Village-no kidding. Until we moved here it was my only memory of such a sight, in fact, I didn't know there were places that actually looked like that until my first winter here.(I was born in Las Vegas)
Anyway, while everyone was in line to watch the kids on the carousal, I found a somewhat quiet bench to feed my little nursing but it was very crowed and people were literally walking over my feet as I sat, so not very private. Just a few minutes after I sat down came a young mom with a beautiful five day old baby. She recognized the blanket over the head deal right away. She said she'd been looking for a place to nurse and finally asked at the information desk if there was a place she could nurse her baby.
Ya-you guessed it, they suggested the port-a-potty!
Tasha Rhodes Breastfeeding blog nursing Las Vegas Magical Forest
by Scott Horton
With MySpace.com bulletins and a handful of homemade flyers, two teens have struck a blow against the American Warfare State, Lindale, Georgia Division.
On a Friday afternoon the 17th of November, 17-year-old high school seniors Robert Day and Samuel Parker decided to act after Day overheard some teachers at Pepperell High School saying that first thing Monday morning the school's juniors would be made to take the ASVAB military aptitude test.
Often administered under the guise of a career aptitude test, the ASVAB's purpose is to better equip the State to prey on young people tricked or pressured into taking the test. According to Debbie Hopper of Mothers Against the Draft, it is often given under the pretext of being a "career placement" test. (In some cases it has in fact been used that way, no doubt in an attempt to legitimize what many Americans regard as not legitimate: the use of government schools as military recruiting grounds.)
Group mentality gone wild!-I love the way the principal (firstname.lastname@example.org)takes part by claiming the test is mandatory and also the threat from the military thugs of all your peers hating you if you tear up the stupid test. But good for Robert Day and Samuel Parker for standing up against unimaginable brainwashing!
Tasha Rhodes, libertarian girl; homeschooling blogger; libertarian blog
KEARNY - A Kearny High School student has accused a history teacher of crossing the line between teaching and preaching - and he's got the tapes to prove it.
Sixteen-year-old junior Matthew LaClair says he was shocked when history teacher David Paszkiewicz, who is also a Baptist preacher in town, spent the first week lecturing students more about Heaven and Hell than the colonies and Constitution.
"I would never have suspected something like this went on in a public school," LaClair said yesterday.
He said Paszkiewicz told students that if they didn't accept Jesus, "you belong in Hell." He also dismissed as unscientific the theories of evolution and the "Big Bang."
This is my favorite quote from the article;
"I would never have suspected something like this went on in a public school," LaClair said yesterday.
Why wouldn't you expect that? When someone holds authority over you, they''ll do whatever they can get away with.
It doesn't mean this teacher is a bad person, I'm sure he feels that he's literally on a mission to save souls and if he risks his job then, so be it, the children's souls come first.
The longer I homeschool the more absurd it seems to send your kids off to a group of strangers to learn what they know and what a committee has approved (if all goes well).
Actually, this teacher/preacher is doing more to prepare the students for college and the tirades of professors by espousing his thoughts as hard facts than if he were to keep his opinions to himself.
Of course, by the time you get to college, you've already been to enough pyramid scheme meetings to learn that just because someone pounds their fist on a podium and deems every word to be the only truth doesn't mean they have even read passed the cliff notes. High school students still suffer under the delusion that the person at the front of the room always knows more than they.
Until the day they discover about half of their history lectures are listed on Snopes.(the story linked there is one I was actually tested on)
Tasha Rhodes homeschooling blog libertarian girl blogger
Monday, November 20, 2006
Update; I learned some things about my dad I did not know. One is that he was not fourteen when he went in as family lore told, but the ripe old age of fifteen.
He joined the Marine Corp on December 10, 1941.Three days after Pearl Harbor he and his school buddies all lined up. He served his four years, which included his part in the sixth wave at Iwo Jima (something I never knew, even amid his endless stories) and was back in civilian life at nineteen.
We are awaiting a copy of his records and I'll post more, as I know more.
I'm taking off from blogging for a few days. My dad passed away from colon cancer yesterday.
It was not a long illness; he did not know he was sick until a month ago. He was in his mid eighties and a veteran of WWII (marine). He joined up at fourteen years of age.
He was master of story telling. He told stories of his school as a boy-how back in the Ozarks, all boys were required to carry a knife to school but they weren't allowed to have any feathers on them (you could be expelled for that). If they had a gun they were suppose to bring that too, but with the action open.
He told stories of the South Pacific. When asked how many Japanese soldiers fell in sights-he just said, too many.
He told stories we all knew weren't true but we loved anyway.
Whenever we drove passed Zzyzx Road on the route from Vegas to L.A., he always told the story of how the proper pronunciation was Zachery Road (named for Zachery Taylor). It's just that the two ol' boys who discovered that road and spring didn't know how to spell Zachery. They came up with all kinds of other spellings but they all read something else or when one thought he found a good 'un the other didn't like it.
I had heard that story so many times that when I drove it alone at eighteen years old, it felt strangely quiet in that car, so I turned off the radio and told the story to myself.
Tasha Rhodes John William Adams
I think this school (reach them here) is about to feel the wrath of homeschoolers nationwide. This story is making the rounds in a big way, through the national media (like Warnetdaily). I'm thinking they've got all their office phones off the hook as I type this.
Obviously, they just hate homeschoolers. The kid probably could have gone to the dance if he'd had the girlfriend buy the tickets and just showed up. But since he is used to being straight forward and upright and all that, they were suspicious of him.
Well, not to worry, what started out as some sneaky, conniving anti-homeschooling, public servant (reach said public servants here) rubbing his hands together and laughing at how no homeschooler is going to show him up, will turn out to be some sniveling principle(here and here) looking like an idiot, making a public apology, through gritted teeth to the national media.
By EDDY RAMIREZ
Published November 19, 2006
INVERNESS - Steven Goforth says he spent $140 in clothes and tickets to the homecoming dance. His friend, Samantha Kelley, a freshman at Citrus High School, had invited him to come along.
The dance, held in the school's cafeteria on Oct. 13, was supposed to be a semiformal event. The theme was "Disco Like a Hurricane."
Steven bought new boots and a pair of blue jeans. He couldn't make up his mind on a dress shirt so he bought two. He filled the gas tank on his Buick. Everything was set and ready to go.
But the night before the dance, Samantha's mom, Theresa, got a call from the school.
Her daughter was not allowed to take Steven to the dance because he was not a student at Citrus High. Steven, who is 16, is homeschooled. More here
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Whooo-hoo! Now this is a happy news story. More news on the benevolence of red wine. I'm gonna live forever! Oh, and I am going to put a homeschooling label on this post because you really need a drink by Friday after the work is done (preferably at 3:01P.M.)
A drug already shown to reverse the effects of obesity in mice and make them live longer has now been shown to increase their endurance as well.
Experts say the finding may open up a new field of research on similar drugs that may be relevant to the prevention of diabetes and other diseases.An ordinary laboratory mouse will run one kilometer on a treadmill before collapsing from exhaustion. But mice given resveratrol, a minor component of red wine and other foods, run twice as far. They also have energy-charged muscles and a reduced heart rate, just as trained athletes do, More here
Tasha Rhodes That Girl Tasha Libertarian blogger libertarian girl
Missouri exec gives money to needy, reveals ID to pass mission to othersFrank Peterson, 93, left, shakes the hand of Kansas City's “Secret Santa” after receiving $1,000 from him in 2004 in Arcadia, Fla. Larry Stewart, who has become known as Secret Santa for handing out Christmas cash to the needy, is allowing his name to be publicized after 26 years.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The answer to one of the happiest mysteries in the Kansas City area is being revealed this year.
A man who has given away millions of dollars and become known as Secret Santa for handing out Christmas cash to the needy is allowing his name to be publicized after 26 years.
But the reason for the revelation is an unhappy one. Secret Santa has cancer. He wants to start speaking to community groups about his belief in random acts of kindness, More here
This one will make you tear up.
Skip the news today(it's Saturday!).Read this and forget the troubles of the world for a while.
How cool would it be to hand a thousand bucks to someone whose car just stalled?
Of course, you'll now expect a rant on the virtures of private charities and such;no such solilaque today-I'll let the man handing out the hundred dollar bills say it for me.
Tasha Rhodes Libertarian blogger That girl tasha blog unschool blog
Friday, November 17, 2006
Sometimes it's good to just reread things like this-the things that inspired you to homeschool in the first place. It's nice to be reminded that you really are doing the best thing. I mean, intellectually, we all know that it doesn’t get better than homeschooling or unschooling, the facts are there, our kids are just light years ahead of their public school peers. But during day in and out struggles we sometimes forget.One of my kids struggles a little in math and when he gets frustrated, I question myself. And then I remember, this is just how he learns. He doesn’t learn the exact same way some text book says all children are suppose to learn. He learns in leaps and bounds. He tends to get a little behind the curve, then after struggling a bit, he puts it all away for a week or two, then he suddenly flies ahead. Actually, I think most children (maybe adults too) learn this way, as I've heard this same story again and again. But this learning style is not convenient for the masses. You can't prescribe when a leap or bound will occur. It just happens.And it really is a beautiful thing when it does- even more so because you are there to share in it.
-Tasha Rhodes Tasha Adams Rhodes
The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher
Call me Mr. Gatto, please. Twenty-six years ago, having nothing better to do at the time, I tried my hand at schoolteaching. The license I hold certifies that I am an instructor of English language and English literature, but that isn't what I do at all. I don't teach English, I teach school -- and I win awards doing it.
Teaching means different things in different places, but seven lessons are universally taught from Harlem to Hollywood Hills. They constitute a national curriculum you pay for in more ways than you can imagine, so you might as well know what it is. You are at liberty, of course, to regard these lessons any way you like, but believe me when I say I intend no irony in this presentation. These are the things I teach, these are the things you pay me to teach. Make of them what you will.
A lady named Kathy wrote this to me from Dubois, Indiana the other day:
"What big ideas are important to little kids? Well, the biggest idea I think they need is that what they are learning isn't idiosyncratic -- that there is some system to it all and it's not just raining down on them as they helplessly absorb. That's the task, to
understand, to make coherent."
Kathy has it wrong. The first lesson I teach is confusion. Everything I teach is out of context. I teach the un-relating of everything. I teach disconnections. I teach too much: the orbiting of planets, the law of large numbers, slavery, adjectives, architectural drawing, dance, gymnasium, choral singing, assemblies, surprise guests, fire drills, computer languages, parents' nights, staff-development days, pull-out programs, guidance with strangers my students may never see again, standardized tests, age-segregation unlike anything seen in the outside world....What do any of these things have to do with each other?
Even in the best schools a close examination of curriculum and its sequences turns up a lack of coherence, full of internal contradictions. Fortunately the children have no words to define the panic and anger they feel at constant violations of natural order and sequence fobbed off on them as quality in education. The logic of the school-mind is that it is better to leave school with a tool kit of superficial jargon derived from economics, sociology, natural science and so on than to leave with one genuine enthusiasm. But quality in education entails learning about something in depth. Confusion is thrust upon kids by too many strange adults, each working alone with only the thinnest relationship with each other, pretending for the most part, to an expertise they do not possess.
Meaning, not disconnected facts, is what sane human beings seek, and education is a set of codes for processing raw facts into meaning. Behind the patchwork quilt of school sequences and the school obsession with facts and theories, the age-old human search lies well concealed. This is harder to see in elementary school where the hierarchy of school experience seems to make better sense because the good-natured simple relationship of "let's do this" and "let's do that" is just assumed to mean something and the clientele has not yet consciously discerned how little substance is behind the play and pretense.
Think of the great natural sequences like learning to walk and learning to talk; following the progression of light from sunrise to sunset; witnessing the ancient procedures of a farmer, a smithy, or a shoemaker; watching your mother prepare a Thanksgiving feast -- all of the parts are in perfect harmony with each other, each action justifies itself and illuminates the past and the future. School sequences aren't like that, not inside a single class and not among the total menu of daily classes. School sequences are crazy. There is no particular reason for any of them, nothing that bears close scrutiny. Few teachers would dare to teach the tools whereby dogmas of a school or a teacher could be criticized since everything must be accepted. School subjects are learned, if they can be learned, like children learn the catechism or memorize the Thirty-nine Articles of Anglicanism.
I teach the un-relating of everything, an infinite fragmentation the opposite of cohesion; what I do is more related to television programming than to making a scheme of order. In a world where home is only a ghost, because both parents work, or because too many moves or too many job changes or too much ambition, or because something else has left everybody too confused to maintain a family relation, I teach you how to accept confusion as your destiny. That's the first lesson I teach.
2. CLASS POSITION
The second lesson I teach is class position. I teach that students must stay in the class where they belong. I don't know who decides my kids belong there but that's not my business. The children are numbered so that if any get away they can be returned to the right class. Over the years the variety of ways children are numbered by schools has increased dramatically, until it is hard to see the human beings plainly under the weight of numbers they carry. Numbering children is a big and very profitable undertaking, though what the strategy is designed to accomplish is elusive. I don't even know why parents would, without a fight, allow it to be done to their kids.
In any case, again, that's not my business. My job is to make them like it, being locked in together with children who bear numbers like their own. Or at the least to endure it like good sports. If I do my job well, the kids can't even imagine themselves somewhere else, because I've shown them how to envy and fear the better classes and how to have contempt for the dumb classes. Under this efficient discipline the class mostly polices itself into good marching order.
That's the real lesson of any rigged competition like school. You come to know your place.
In spite of the overall class blueprint, which assumes that ninety-nine percent of the kids are in their class to stay, I nevertheless make a public effort to exhort children to higher levels of test success, hinting at eventual transfer from the lower class as a reward. I frequently insinuate that the day will come when an employer will hire them on the basis of test scores and grades, even though my own experience is that employers are rightly indifferent to such things. I never lie outright, but I've come to see that truth and schoolteaching are, at bottom, incompatible just as Socrates said they were thousands of years ago. The lesson of numbered classes is that everyone has a proper place in the pyramid and that there is no way out of your class except by number magic. Failing that, you must stay where you are put.
The third lesson I teach kids is indifference. I teach children not to care about anything too much, even though they want to make it appear that they do. How I do this is very subtle. I do it by demanding that they become totally involved in my lessons, jumping up and down in their seats with anticipation, competing vigorously with each other for my favor. It's heartwarming when they do that; it impresses everyone, even me. When I'm at my best I plan lessons very
carefully in order to produce this show of enthusiasm. But when the bell rings I insist that they stop whatever it is that we've been working on and proceed quickly to the next work station. They must turn on and off like a light switch. Nothing important is ever finished in my class, nor in any other class I know of. Students never have a complete experience except on the installment plan.
Indeed, the lesson of the bells is that no work is worth finishing, so why care too deeply about anything? Years of bells will condition all but the strongest to a world that can no longer offer important work to do. Bells are the secret logic of schooltime; their logic is inexorable. Bells destroy the past and future, converting every interval into a sameness, as the abstraction of a map renders every living mountain and river the same, even though they are not. Bells inoculate each undertaking with indifference.
4. EMOTIONAL DEPENDENCY
The fourth lesson I teach is emotional dependency. By stars and red checks, smiles and frowns, prizes, honors and disgraces I teach kids to surrender their will to the predestined chain of command. Rights may be granted or withheld by any authority without appeal, because rights do not exist inside a school -- not even the right of free speech, as the Supreme Court has ruled -- unless school authorities say they do. As a schoolteacher, I intervene in many personal decisions, issuing a pass for those I deem legitimate, or initiating a disciplinary confrontation for behavior that threatens my control. Individuality is constantly trying to assert itself among children and teenagers, so my judgments come thick and fast. Individuality is a contradiction of class theory, a curse to all systems of classification.
Here are some common ways it shows up: children sneak away for a private moment in the toilet on the pretext of moving their bowels, or they steal a private instant in the hallway on the grounds they need water. I know they don't, but I allow them to deceive me because this conditions them to depend on my favors. Sometimes free will appears right in front of me in children angry, depressed or happy about things outside my ken; rights in such matters cannot be recognized by schoolteachers, only privileges that can be withdrawn, hostages to good behavior.
5. INTELLECTUAL DEPENDENCY
The fifth lesson I teach is intellectual dependency. Good people wait for a teacher to tell them what to do. It is the most important lesson, that we must wait for other people, better trained than ourselves, to make the meanings of our lives. The expert makes all the important choices; only I, the teacher, can determine what you must study, or rather, only the people who pay me can make those decisions which I then enforce. If I'm told that evolution is a fact instead of a theory, I
transmit that as ordered, punishing deviants who resist what I have been told to tell them to think. This power to control what children will think lets me separate successful students from failures very easily.
Successful children do the thinking I appoint them with a minimum of resistance and a decent show of enthusiasm. Of the millions of things of value to study, I decide what few we have time for, or actually it is decided by my faceless employers. The choices are theirs, why should I argue? Curiosity has no important place in my work, only conformity.
Bad kids fight this, of course, even though they lack the concepts to know what they are fighting, struggling to make decisions for themselves about what they will learn and when they will learn it. How can we allow that and survive as schoolteachers? Fortunately there are procedures to break the will of those who resist; it is more difficult, naturally, if the kid has respectable parents who come to his aid, but that happens less and less in spite of the bad reputation of schools. No middle-class parents I have ever met actually believe that their kid's school is one of the bad ones. Not one single parent in twenty-six years of teaching. That's amazing and probably the best testimony to what happens to families when mother and father have been well-schooled themselves, learning the seven lessons.
Good people wait for an expert to tell them what to do. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that
our entire economy depends upon this lesson being learned. Think of what would fall apart if kids weren't trained to be dependent: the social-service businesses could hardly survive; they would vanish, I think, into the recent historical limbo out of which they arose. Counselors and therapists would look on in horror as the supply of psychic invalids vanished. Commercial entertainment of all sorts, including television , would wither as people learned again how to make their own fun. Restaurants, prepared-food and a whole host of other assorted food services would be drastically down-sized if people returned to making their own meals rather than depending on strangers to plant, pick, chop, and cook for them. Much of modern law, medicine, and engineering would go too, the clothing business and schoolteaching as well, unless a guaranteed supply of helpless people continued to pour out of our schools each year.
Don't be too quick to vote for radical school reform if you want to continue getting a paycheck. We've built a way of life that depends on people doing what they are told because they don't know how to tell themselves what to do. It's one of the biggest lessons I teach.
6. PROVISIONAL SELF-ESTEEM
The sixth lesson I teach is provisional self-esteem. If you've ever tried to wrestle a kid into line whose parents have convinced him to believe they'll love him in spite of anything, you know how impossible it is to make self-confident spirits conform. Our world wouldn't survive a flood of confident people very long, so I teach that your self-respect should depend on expert opinion. My kids are constantly evaluated and judged.
A monthly report, impressive in its provision, is sent into students' homes to signal approval or to mark exactly, down to a single percentage point, how dissatisfied with their children parents should be. The ecology of "good" schooling depends upon perpetuating dissatisfaction just as much as the commercial economy depends on the same fertilizer. Although some people might be surprised how little time or reflection goes into making up these mathematical records, the cumulative weight of the objective-seeming documents establishes a profile that compels children to arrive at certain decisions about themselves and their futures based on the casual judgment of strangers. Self-evaluation, the staple of every major philosophical system that ever appeared on the planet, is never considered a factor. The lesson of report cards, grades, and tests is that children should not trust themselves or their parents but should instead rely on the evaluation of certified officials. People need to be told what they are worth.
The seventh lesson I teach is that one can't hide. I teach children they are always watched, that each is under constant surveillance by myself and my colleagues. There are no private spaces for children, there is no private time. Class change lasts three hundred seconds to keep promiscuous fraternization at low levels. Students are encouraged to tattle on each other or even to tattle on their own parents. Of course, I encourage parents to file their own child's waywardness too. A family trained to snitch on itself isn't likely to conceal any dangerous secrets.
I assign a type of extended schooling called "homework," so that the effect of surveillance,
if not that surveillance itself, travels into private households, where students might otherwise use free time to learn something unauthorized from a father or mother, by exploration, or by apprenticing to some wise person in the neighborhood. Disloyalty to the idea of schooling is a Devil always ready to find work for idle hands.
The meaning of constant surveillance and denial of privacy is that no one can be trusted, that privacy is not legitimate. Surveillance is an ancient imperative, espoused by certain influential thinkers, a central prescription set down in The Republic, in The City of God , in the Institutes of the Christian Religion, in New Atlantis , in Leviathan , and in a host of other places. All these childless men who wrote these books discovered the same thing: children must be closely watched if you want to keep a society under tight central control. Children will follow a private drummer if you can't get them into a uniformed marching band.
It is the great triumph of compulsory government monopoly mass-schooling that among even the best of my fellow teachers, and among the best of my students' parents, only a small number can imagine a different way to do things. "The kids have to know how to read and write, don't they?" "They have to know how to add and subtract, don't they?" "They have to learn to follow orders if they ever expect to keep a job."
Only a few lifetimes ago things were very different in the United States. Originality and variety were common currency; our freedom from regimentation made us the miracle of the world; social-class boundaries were relatively easy to cross; our citizenry was marvelously confident, inventive, and able to do much for themselves independently, and to think for themselves. We were something special, we Americans, all by ourselves, without government sticking its nose into our lives, without institutions and social agencies telling us how to think and feel. We were something special, as individuals, as Americans.
But we've had a society essentially under central control in the United States since just before the Civil War, and such a society requires compulsory schooling, government monopoly schooling, to maintain itself. Before this development schooling wasn't very important anywhere. We had it, but not too much of it, and only as much as an individual wanted. People learned to read, write, and do arithmetic just fine anyway; there are some studies that suggest literacy at the time of the American Revolution, at least for non-slaves on the Eastern seaboard, was close to total.Thomas Pane's Common Sense sold 600,000 copies to a population of 3,000,000, twenty percent of whom were slaves, and fifty percent indentured servants.
Were the colonists geniuses? No, the truth is that reading, writing, and arithmetic only take about one hundred hours to transmit as long as the audience is eager and willing to learn. The trick is to wait until someone asks and then move fast while the mood is on. Millions of people teach themselves these things, it really isn't very hard. Pick up a fifth-grade math or rhetoric textbook from 1850 and you'll see that the texts were pitched then on what would today be considered college level. The continuing cry for "basic skills" practice is a smoke screen behind which schools preempt the time of children for twelve years and teach them the seven lessons I've just described to you.
The society that has become increasingly under central control since just before the Civil War shows itself in the lives we lead, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and the green highway signs we drive by from coast to coast, all of which are the products of this control. So, too, I think, are the epidemics of drugs, suicide, divorce, violence, cruelty, and the hardening of class into caste in the United States products of the dehumanization of our lives, the lessening of individual, family, and community importance, a diminishment that proceeds from central control. The character of large compulsory institutions is inevitable; they want more and more until there isn't any more to give. School takes our children away from any possibility of an active role in community life -- in fact it destroys communities by relegating the training of children to the hands of certified experts -- and by doing so it ensures our children cannot grow up fully human.Aristotle taught that without a fully active role in community life one could not hope to become a healthy human being. Surely he was right. Look around you the next time you are near a school or an old people's reservation if you wish a demonstration.
School as it was built is an essential support system for a vision of social engineering that condemns most people to be subordinate stones in a pyramid that narrows as it ascends to a terminal of control. School is an artifice which makes such a pyramidical social order seem inevitable, although such a premise is a fundamental betrayal of the American Revolution. From colonial days through the period of the Republic we had no schools to speak of -- read Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography for an example of a man who had no time to waste in school -- and yet the promise of Democracy was beginning to be realized. We turned our backs on this promise by bringing to life the ancient pharaonic dream of Egypt: compulsory subordination for all. That was the secret Plato reluctantly transmitted in The Republic when Glaucon and Adeimantus exhorted from Socrates the plan for total state control of human life, a plan necessary to maintain a society where some people take more than their share. "I will show you," says Socrates, "how to bring about such a feverish city, but you will not like what I am going to say." And so the blueprint of the seven-lesson school was first sketched.
The current debate about whether we should have a national curriculum is phony. We already have a national curriculum locked up in the seven lessons I have just outlined. Such a curriculum produces physical, moral, and intellectual paralysis, and no curriculum of content will be sufficient to reverse its hideous effects. What is currently under discussion in our national school hysteria about failing academic performance misses the point. Schools teach exactly what they are intended to teach and they do it well: how to be a good Egyptian and remain in your place in the pyramid.
None of this is inevitable. None of it is impossible to overthrow. We do have choices in how we bring up young people; there is no one right way. If we broke through the power of the pyramidical illusion we would see that. There is no life-and-death international competition threatening our national existence, difficult as that idea is even to think about, let alone believe, in the face of a continual media barrage of myth to the contrary. In every important material respect our nation is self-sufficient, including in energy. I realize that idea runs counter to the most fashionable thinking of political economists, but the "profound transformation" of our economy these people talk about is neither inevitable nor irreversible. Global economics does not speak to the public need for meaningful work, affordable housing, fulfilling education, adequate medical care, a clean environment, honest and accountable government, social and cultural renewal, or simple justice. All global ambitions are based on a definition of productivity and the good life so alienated from common human reality I am convinced it is wrong and that most people would agree with me if they could perceive an alternative. We might be able to see that if we regained a hold on a philosophy that locates meaning where meaning is genuinely to be found -- in families, in friends, in the passage of seasons, in nature, in simple ceremonies and rituals, in curiosity, generosity, compassion, and service to others, in a decent independence and privacy, in all the free and inexpensive things out of which real families, real friends and real communities are built -- then we would be so self-sufficient we would not even need the material "sufficiency" which our global "experts" are so insistent we be concerned about.
How did these awful places, these "schools", come about? Well, casual schooling has always been with us in a variety of forms, a mildly useful adjunct to growing up. But "modern schooling" as we know it is a by-product of the two "Red Scares" of 1848 and 1919, when powerful interests feared a revolution among our own industrial poor. Partly, too, total schooling came about because old-line American families were appauled by the native cultures of Celtic, Slavic, and Latin immigrants of the 1840s and felt repugnance towards the Catholic religion they brought with them. Certainly a third contributing factor in creating a jail for children called school must have been the consternation with which these same "Americans" regarded the movement of African-Americans through the society in the wake of the Civil War.
Look again at the seven lessons of schoolteaching: confusion, class position, indifference, emotional and intellectual dependency, conditional self-esteem, surveillance -- all of these things are prime training for permanent underclasses, people deprived forever of finding the center of their own special genius. And over time this training has shaken loose from its own original logic: to regulate the poor. For since the 1920s the growth of the school bureaucracy, and the less visible growth of a horde of industries that profit from schooling exactly as it is, has enlarged this institution's original grasp to the point that it now seizes the sons and daughters of the middle classes as well.
Is it any wonder Socrates was outraged at the accusation that he took money to teach? Even then, philosophers saw clearly the inevitable direction the professionalization of teaching would take, preempting the teaching function, which belongs to everyone in a healthy community.
With lessons like the ones I teach day after day it should be little wonder we have a real national crisis, the nature of which is very different from that proclaimed by the national media . Young people are indifferent to the adult world and to the future, indifferent to almost everything except the diversion of toys and violence. Rich or poor, schoolchildren who face the twenty-first century cannot concentrate on anything for very long; they have a poor sense of time past and time to come. They are mistrustful of intimacy like the children of divorce they really are (for we have divorced them from significant parental attention); they hate solitude, are cruel, materialistic, dependent, passive, violent, timid in the face of the unexpected, addicted to distraction.
All the peripheral tendencies of childhood are nourished and magnified to a grotesque extent by schooling, which, through its hidden curriculum, prevents effective personality development. Indeed, without exploiting the fearfulness, selfishness, and inexperience of children, our schools could not survive at all, nor could I as a certified schoolteacher. No common school that actually dared to teach the use of critical thinking tools -- like the dialectic, the heuristic, or other devices that free minds should employ -- would last very long before being torn to pieces. School has become the replacement for church in our secular society, and like church it requires that its teachings must be taken on faith.
It is time that we squarely face the fact that institutional schoolteaching is destructive to children. Nobody survives the seven-lesson curriculum completely unscathed, not even the instructors. The method is deeply and profoundly anti-educational. No tinkering will fix it. In one of the great ironies of human affairs, the massive rethinking the schools require would cost so much less than we are spending now that powerful interests cannot afford to let it happen. You must understand that first and foremost the business I am in is a jobs project and an agency for letting contracts. We cannot afford to save money by reducing the scope of our operation or by diversifying the product we offer, even to help children grow up right. That is the iron law of institutional schooling -- it is a business, subject neither to normal accounting procedures nor to the rational scalpel of competition.
Some form of free-market system in public schooling is the likeliest place to look for answers, a free market where family schools and small entrepreneurial schools and religious schools and crafts schools and farm schools exist in profusion to compete with government education. I'm trying to describe a free market in schooling just exactly like the one the country had until the Civil War, one in which students volunteer for the kind of education that suits them, even if that means self-education; it didn't hurt Benjamin Franklin that I can see. These options exist now in miniature, wonderful survivals of a strong and vigorous past, but they are available only to the resourceful, the courageous, the lucky, or the rich. The near impossibility of one of these better roads opening for the shattered families of the poor or for the bewildered host camped on the fringes of the urban middle class suggests that the disaster of seven-lesson schools is going to grow unless we do something bold and decisive with the mess of government monopoly schooling.
After an adult lifetime spent teaching school, I believe the method of mass-schooling is its only real content. Don't be fooled into thinking that good curriculum or good equipment or good teachers are the critical determinants of your son's or daughter's education. All the pathologies we've considered come about in large measure because the lessons of school prevent children from keeping important appointments with themselves and with their families to learn lessons in self-motivation, perseverance, self-reliance, courage, dignity, and love -- and lessons in service to others, too, which are among the key lessons of home and community life.
Thirty years ago [in the early 60s] these things could still be learned in the time left after school. But television has eaten up most of that time, and a combination of television and the stresses peculiar to two-income or single-parent families have swallowed up most of what used to be family time as well. Our kids have no time left to grow up fully human and only thin-soil wastelands to do it in.
A future is rushing down upon our culture which will insist all of us learn the wisdom of non-material experience; a future which will demand as the price of survival that we follow a path of natural life economical in material cost . These lessons cannot be learned in schools as they are. School is a twelve-year jail sentence where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned. I teach school and win awards doing it. I should know.Tasha Rhodes Libertarian Girl homeschool blog
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Nobel winner Milton Friedman dies at 94
By Jonathan Peterson
Times Staff Writer
Published November 16, 2006, 1:57 PM CST
SAN FRANCISCO -- Milton Friedman, a brilliant champion of free-market economics and individual freedom who almost single-handedly altered the boundaries of public debate on an array of national issues, died today in San Francisco. He was 94.
The circumstances of his death were not immediately available.more here
It was 10:00 at night when, after a three-hour delay, Emily Gillette and her family gratefully boarded flight 6160 from Burlington, Vermont to New York's La Guardia. Heading to the city to rendezvous with relatives from abroad, Emily took her window seat in the eighth row of a nine-row plane, next to her husband. She began to discreetly breastfeed her baby before takeoff, aware that nursing helps babies regulate air travel's pressure changes. Within moments, she was asked by the sole flight attendant to cover up with a blanket. Citing her right to nurse, Gillette calmly and politely declined. The flight attendant then told Gillette, "You are offending me," and proceeded to have a ticket agent board the aircraft to remove Emily and her family. The Gillettes quietly gathered their belongings and left, after unsuccessfully appealing to the pilot and co-pilot for help.
Delta ticket agents (including the agent that told the Gillettes they had to leave the airplane) then attempted to communicate with the crew to reverse the flight attendant's decision, to no avail. The co-pilot came off the plane and spoke with the family, apologizing for their removal but claiming that there was nothing he could do to change a flight attendant's decision made in the cabin of an aircraft. More here
I have to say I really really hate flying. I hate being treated like a terrorist. And when you’re in an airport there is no free speech.
How can anyone be offended at a baby being fed? With the sexual bombardment of the media and just society in general there are people who get offended by a nursing baby. And even when someone "lets it all hang out" while they breastfeed, which hardly anyone does, it doesn't show as much as a low cut blouse. So it has to be just the idea of a feeding baby that upsets them and not the sight of a little skin. It has to be some weird subconscious disgust at seeing something that they can't help viewing as sexual, combined with something maternal. Freaks! - Maybe these people have sex through a hole in a sheet too. But probably not-probably they watch MTV and get online and do all the same things the rest of us do, but they are so twisted in their thinking that maternal love and nurturing sicken them while unattached sexuality is perfectly acceptable just like something out of Brave New World, when the professor reads about ancient people- a mother nursing and cuddling her baby and some of the students throw up at the reading of it.
-Tasha Tasha Rhodes libertarian Girl
Thursday, November 16, 2006
The outgoing Republican chairman of a key U.S. Senate committee has made a last-minute attempt at giving the Bush administration what he calls the necessary "resources" for carrying out its phone call and Internet surveillance within the law, but critics remain unconvinced.
In remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday afternoon, Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter marketed his new 11-page proposal as "a significant advance in protecting civil liberties." Once one of the few Republicans to question openly the legality of the National Security Agency's warrantless terrorist surveillance program, the veteran Pennsylvanian politician drew criticism this summer for endorsing a bill that would allow--but not require--the Bush administration to submit the operations for court review. More Here
Figures-and I am not even going to comment on the whole nursary rhyme police thing going on in England right now. My hubby has posted something about it on his blog and I'm sure he'll wax eloquent on it later on this evening.I just can't even read about it without feeling sick. I really think the average person living in China has more personal freedom and privacy than someone living in England. At least the Chinese don't have people shouting instructions out of speakers like something out of Teletubbie land.
-Tasha Rhodes Libertarian Tasha Adams Rhodes
Children's Minister Beverley Hughes is a freak .Tasha Rhodes Libertarian Girl and Libertarian Blogger
I've always considered Neil Young to be a weenie, liberal punk-but in this upside down, bizarro world-I actually dig this video.
-Tasha Rhodes Libertarian Tasha Adams Rhodes
Tasha Rhodes Libertarian Girl Libertarian blog
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Has a Winner
The purpose of an international symbol for breastfeeding is to increase public awareness of breastfeeding, to provide an alternative to the use of a baby bottle image to designate baby friendly areas in public, and to mark breastfeeding friendly facilities.
Of course, breastfeeding does not require a special place and is appropriate—as the Canadian government's slogan says—"anytime, anywhere." The purpose of the symbol is not to segregate breastfeeding, but to help integrate it into society by better accommodating it in public. More here
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
UPDATED: White powder terrorist of Jon Stewart, Letterman, Pelosi...
Monday, November 13, 2006
Is a Coulter, Malkin, Ingraham fan(atic)...
Yes, it appears that Chad Conrad Castagana, the man "suspected of mailing more than a dozen threatening letters containing white powder to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Jon Stewart and other high-profile figures," was a conservative and a commenter on conservative blogs. Unless there are two Chad Castaganas:
Tasha Rhodes libertarian blogger libertarian Girl blog
- Florida Senator Mel Martinez to become RNC figurehead when Ken Mehlman steps down in January to spend more time with his leather pants. [ , NYT]
- Freshman lawmakers remarkably similar to freshman college students in giddy excitement, cluelessness. [WP, USAT] More here
- Tasha Rhodes libertarian girl blog libertarian blog
Monday, November 13, 2006
Cheney Next on the Chopping Block?
Monday, November 13, 2006
According to Washington insiders, there are moves afoot to dump Vice President Dick Cheney and replace him with either John McCain or Rudolph Giuliani prior to the 2008 presidential election. Whoever succeeds Cheney will be able to campaign for the presidency with the perks that come with being an incumbent Vice President.
Since the increasingly-besieged Cheney has signaled he has no intention of voluntarily stepping down, the strategy by the Bush camp may be to force him out by presenting evidence before Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald that it was Cheney who was responsible for the compromise of CIA non-proliferation covert officer Valerie Plame Wilson and her Brewster Jennings & Associates cover firm. More here
Tasha Rhodes libertarian Girl on Dick Cheney
Carl Levin — incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee — says we’re starting a “phased withdrawal” within six months. We’d have more details, but CNN decided not to show his press conference. Better to have a reporter pointlessly jabber over the video! More here
Tasha Rhodes Libertarian Girl on Carl Levin
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Speaking of liars, Rush Limbaugh has finally come clean after the elections and admitted he has been lying to his listeners for years by defending as "conservative" actions by Republicans that Rush himself knew were anything but:
I feel liberated, and I'm going to tell you as plainly as I can why. I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don't think deserve having their water carried. Now, you might say, 'Well, why have you been doing it?' Because the stakes are high. Even though the Republican Party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country's than the Democrat Party and liberalism does.….What a relief! Rush was just a water carrier! I was beginning to think Rush was actually a true believer, Jack-Booted, Big Government neocon.
There have been a bunch of things going on in Congress, some of this legislation coming out of there that I have just cringed at, and it has been difficult coming in here, trying to make the case for it when the people who are supposedly in favor of it can't even make the case themselves -- and to have to come in here and try to do their jobs. I'm a radio guy! I understand what this program has become in America and I understand the leadership position it has. I was doing what I thought best, ..."
This is an article my hubby wrote-read the rest here .
-Tasha Rhodes Libertarian
Tasha Rhodes Libertarian Blog
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