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Off the Record (September 1, 2021)

MEMORIES OF JACK HIRSCHMAN

I am a veteran writer and activist. Last Sunday, 8-22-21 I was delivering copies of my book I Work the Tenderloin that afternoon at City Lights Book Store, and happened to be upstairs in the poetry room when my consignment person Josiah approached and told me that Jack Hirschman had died that morning. The way he'd heard it, Jack was about to begin a zoom poetry event when a heart attack hit and took him away at age 87.

Immediately memories began coursing through my addled brain. Jack was a notable North Beach literary figure for decades, and was often seen writing and holding court in cafes and other spots in the area.

But he was also a lifetime radical and activist, and that was how I first met him.

In 1992 I joined a group called Homes Not Jails, housing activists and homeless folks who took direct action to open up abandoned buildings in San Francisco to immediately house the homeless.

Jack was there in the beginning too. He took part in the actions and began to churn out and publish poems like "Song of the Boltcutters," which he also read at our actions.

Back in those early days, Jack and I and a good many others were arrested for reoccupying a building we called Red Balloon on Polk near California. This building had been an adult bookstore, part of a national chain, until it was busted for peddling kiddie porn. It was a federal bust, which enabled the feds to seize all its assets, including the building on Polk Street.

Then the site sat empty for quite a while.

Homes Not Jails determined that above the store at street level were two perfectly good apartments. We also knew that, according to a federal law, all surplus federal property should be made available for the homeless.

Using that pretext, we went inside and barricaded ourselves in. At the same time, we set up a negotiating team with the feds. The plan was to have a local nonprofit rehab the place with homeless folks doing swear equity labor and then have them live there.

The plan was working until the feds said that they'd have to run it by the Mayor's office. And as a courtesy, could you take down those unsightly barriers? HNJ agreed, but in no time at all the cops were at the site like lice on rice to kick everybody out on Polk.

At the time the SF mayor was Frank Jordan, whose previous experience was being the city's top cop. He'd set up the Matrix program, which set the cops after SF's thousands of homeless, then their most visible supporters, Food Not Bombs (free food), and Homes Not Jails (free housing).

It was in this context that we retook the Red Balloon. This time the SWAT team broke in, manhandled us, dragged us down the darkened stairs, then threw us in paddy wagons where they left us to sit for hours.

Eventually we ended up at the county jail, where we were charged with Felony Conspiracy To Trespass and kept us locked up there for three days. But our cases never went to court.

Some years later I wrote a book about all this and more that Jack and I and so many others shared. I cleverly called it Homes Not Jails! and it came out in 2002. What follows is an excerpt from the book which highlights what a special person Jack Hirschman was, even in holding cell of jail. In the story I call him Pete the Beat poet. 

One wall had glass and wire windows. On the other side was the booking room, next stop on the way to a Bonafide cell. I spotted a clock on its far wall. It was already after one a.m.

Pete the Beat wordsmith started doing a pantomime of Nolan Ryan (famous baseball pitcher) letting loose fireballs to pass the time and liven up the dead tank some.

A green meanie (sheriff) stuck his head in to tell him to knock it off because no violent gestures were allowed. "But it's the National Pastime!" Pete protested. "Besides, this whole process is the ritualization and institutionalization of state violence."

"Don't get smart. Just go sit down with the rest of them."

"You're telling me to get dumb? I've read with Ginsberg, Kerouac, Burroughs!" "I said sit down or I'll read you the riot act right now!"

Pete shrugged and sat down with a black guy who he engaged in conversation about the rottenness of the system and the epochal brilliance of Iceberg Slim. 

(Michael Steinberg)

BIDEN agreed with the tactical wizards at the Pentagon to stick with the withdrawal date despite intense pressure from NATO leaders and western allies to leave troops in place to avoid a humanitarian disaster. 

BRITISH Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were among the leaders who urged Biden to keep troops in-country until the evacuation was complete. They are clearly worried there is not enough time to evacuate everyone who wants out. 

BIDEN spoke for a whole seven minutes during the virtual meeting with foreign leaders, according to the White House, meaning his handlers were sitting beside him to keep him on-task and gaffe-free. 

MEANWHILE, president-in-waiting Kamala Harris was giggling her way through Southeast Asia, at one session in Singapore urging the audience to load up early on Christmas gifts.

INTERESTING that the old poets like Yeats in The Second Coming and Eliot in The Wasteland were so prescient about where it was all headed: These Eliot passages get the zeitgeist (vibe for you hippies) exactly:

I think we are in rats’ alley

Where the dead men lost their bones.

“What is that noise?”

. . . . . The wind under the door.

“What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?”

. . . . . . . .Nothing again nothing.

. . . . . . . . .“Do

You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember

Nothing?”

. . . I remember

. . . . . .Those are pearls that were his eyes.

“Are you alive, or not? Is there nothing in your head?”

. . . . . . But

O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag—

It’s so elegant

So intelligent

“What shall I do now? What shall I do?

I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street

With my hair down, so. What shall we do to-morrow?

What shall we ever do?”

. . . The hot water at ten.

And if it rains, a closed car at four.

And we shall play a game of chess,

Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door.

ONE AFTERNOON, not too awfully long ago, I pulled off Highway 20 at the ridgetop before the two-lane pavement drops down into Willits. As I gazed back west over the miles of rolling forest, I couldn't help notice what seemed to be hundreds of tiny silver canisters strewn over the entire pullout. Asking around I was told that young people snort the nitrous oxide these things contain. Their grandparents got their nitrous directly from hippie dentists, but unconnected Mendo teenagers have to get theirs in these mini-doses from liquor stores and smoke shops. “I'll have 500 nitros, please,” begging the question why these stores would sell such quantities to young people. Sniffing the stuff impairs judgement, but I guess that's the point. Sad, though, to see this double-damaging litter scattered over one of the most splendid outlooks, and my informants tell me the litter everywhere.

MARY DOUGHERTY WRITES: “The ‘Visit Mendocino’ advertising on Bay Area television was a shocker when I saw it. I am appalled at the Ukiah-centric tourism council, using mostly tax dollars has been so tone-deaf. I feel like a nearly dead animal being beaten for the purpose of making more money for the general fund.”

UKIAH AND THE UKIAH PD are being sued by a former officer, Isabel Siderakis, who alleges, basically, that she was sexually assaulted by disgraced former Ukiah Police officer Kevin Murray prior to his disgrace. Ms. Siderakis now works unmolested, presumably, for the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department.

YOU CAN READ the sordid allegations for your ownself in the suit linked here, and in Matt LeFever's fine account on the Redheaded Blackbelt, Kym Kemp's indispensable website outta HumCo.  

FROM RED AND FEVE: kymkemp.com/2021/08/25/court-documents-allege-sergeant-kevin-murray-fired-from-the-ukiah-police-department-sexually-assaulted-and-harassed-former-female-upd-officer/

IF THE ALLEGATIONS are true, and they certainly ring true, especially regarding Murray, whose sexual predations got him fired in the first place, they raise serious questions about the Ukiah Police Department’s command structure. How can they not have known they had a badged rapist in their ranks?

ONE EPISODE from Ms. Siderakis' suit depicts Murray, nude and erect, forcing the beleaguered detective to lock herself in her bathroom! Murray was then discovered the next day, still nude, asleep on her bed. She should have called the cops. Oh, they are the cops.

THE FASCISTI have been howling for months that the Capitol cop who shot dead Ashli Babbitt during the MAGA riot should be publicly named. NBC  named him last Thursday night when Lt. Michael Byrd was interviewed by Lester Holt. Black cop faced with a MAGA mob coming through the window? He could have justly plugged all of them until his ammo ran out.

FORT BRAGG STAGE 3 WATER EMERGENCY STATUS REPORT. The FB City Council declared a Stage 3 Water Emergency at its regularly scheduled meeting on August 9, 2021. A Stage 3 Water Emergency targets a 20-30% decrease in seasonal water use based on the most recent year in which water conservation measures were not required (2019 is our base year). A complete listing of Stage 3 Water Conservation Restrictions are available on the City’s website. 

On behalf of the City Council and City Administration, I would like to commend our residents, businesses and other public partners for their combined efforts in conserving water during this drought. If the current average daily production for August holds until the end of the month, August 2021 will be the lowest amount of water produced and consumed in August by the City’s water system for any year on record (note: we have production records back to 1980). We are on trend to use 18.7 million gallons of water this month, which would be 30.5% lower than August of 2019. This means we should exceed our 20-30% Stage 3 conservation target! The previous record low for August was 22.31 million gallons in August of 2016. 

August was a tough month for the City’s water supply. We had 15 days with tides at or higher than 6.0 ft. When the tides reach 6 ft during low flow periods on the Noyo, it interferes with the City’s ability to pull water from Noyo River because the salinity content is too high for our treatment process. In August, the City had to subsidize and dilute the Noyo water by pulling water from the Summers Lane Reservoir. We used 1.4 million gallons of stored water. Total water storage capacity is 22.6 million gallons. The good news is that we have 9 days between high tide cycles and should be able to restore water storage to 100% before September 3, when the next 17 day cycle of high tides starts. The Desalination-Reverse Osmosis Treatment System is now scheduled to be online the third week in September. The Groundwater Treatment Equipment to allow the City to use the Fort Bragg Unified School District’s irrigation well water for potable water should arrive toward the end of September. Mendocino County, the City of Ukiah and Fort Bragg anticipate that within a week or so, water hauling from Ukiah to Fort Bragg should allow Fort Bragg to restore water sales to the water haulers providing potable water to the Mendocino Coast. 

A hearty thank you to all the local efforts to conserve! 

Questions regarding this press release should be directed to Tabatha Miller, City Manager at (707) 961- 2829. 

 “WE WILL MAKE YOU PAY.” That's what Biden promised today in the wake of the latest disaster of his making in Afghanistan, and the kind of posturing likely to get more Afghans and Marines killed as the chaotic and bloody evacuation stumbles on. 

BIDEN should step down if, as he says, he “takes full responsibility.” But his successors would be a lateral move, and thus the catastrophes will continue to multiply. The annual billions spent on defense and the boys with the chests full of medals can't manage a tactical exit?

FROM the typically cryptic communiques out of the Mendo Supervisors and their den mother, it appears they've backed off the pointless beef they started with the Sheriff over his budget and control of his computer systems.

THE TRUMP WING of the national government, shameless as always, is positively gloating over the Afghan disaster which, of course, is the usual bi-partisan project. Biden or Trump, this disastrous outcome was inevitable.

WE'RE WARY of anything coming out of Point Arena management, and we wish we had the time and resources it would take to do the Point Arena parking lot story in the it deserves. (The ICO’s Bryan Cebulski is doing a credible job on the issue). 

I REMEMBER the old pier complex prior to the great tsunami. It was a rambling ramshackle area romantically reminiscent of Steinbeck's Cannery Row and every other doghole port up and down the California coast. The present incarnation is a lot touristy-slicker than the old, but I'm opposed to parking lots in principle! In principle, I tell you! To pay a lot of public money to shore up space for automobiles is not in the spirit of the place. I'm for leaving the Point Arena Pier area as is.

THE POINT ARENA City Council has since voted to “postpone” the unpopular Arena Cove parking lot project, a scheme devised by former part-time (at 50 grand a year) city manager, Richard Shoemaker, with back-up from Congressman Huffman. Shoemaker presently calls himself Point Arena's “Special Projects Manager.” (FEMA is putting up most of the money for this boondoggle.) So many “Stakeholders” are opposed they've had to be invited to a Tuesday damage control session at the Cove to discuss the proposed work, according to the ICO's account of the delays. 

PAUL ANDERSEN, the present PA city manager, was installed by the departing Shoemaker. According to the ICO's Cebulski, Andersen bristled at the suggestion that Shoemaker's interest in the project was the usual Shoemaker self-interest: “His (Shoemaker's) salary and wages are paid for by the general fund like all staff. This notion that somehow these grants are being developed to pay for people in the city is insane. It's not true and I'm tired of people besmirching us.”

HAR DE HAR, Andersen. Shoemaker allegedly retires but  immediately returns to rip off PA by installing himself — with, of course, the full approval of PA's supine city council — as the town's “Special Projects Manager,” a paid position and, you can be sure, a highly paid position.

THE BOONVILLE WEEKLY suggests that the PA “stakeholders” greet Shoemaker with....

I've talked to your mother and I've talked to your dad

They say they've tried but it's all in vain

I've begged and I've pleaded, I even got mad

Now we must face it, you give me a pain

How can I miss you when you won't go away?

Keep telling you day after day

But you won't listen, you always stay and stay

How can I miss you when you won't go away?

Your never ending presence really cramps my style

I dream that it won't always be the same

At first I was attracted but after a while

Have you ever heard of the hard-to-get game?

How can I miss you when you won't go away?

I keep telling you day after day

But you won't listen, you always stay and stay

How can I miss you when you won't go away?

And I mean it, too

Out of three billion people, why must it be me?

Oh, why, oh, why won't you cut me loose?

Just do me a favor and listen to my plea

I'm not the only chicken on the roost

How can I miss you when you won't go away?

I keep telling you day after day

But you won't listen, you always stay and stay

How can I miss you when you won't go away?

(Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks)

UKIAH has just suffered through three years of a grant-driven project aimed at making its downtown more..... uh, more hospitable. For these years of inconvenience suffered by everyone living or visiting our county seat, nevermind the cost of the thing, I don't see much in the way of upgrade — upgrade for Ukiah would require this project the length of State Street, not a few blocks. And why bother given that Ukiah's government hopes to move its downtown economic anchor, the County Courthouse, three long blocks east down Perkins Street? 

THE GRANT GRABBERS always make it seem like grant money is magic money, but projects like Ukiah and Point Arena are paid for out of public money, not money bestowed by some private civic benefactor.

LAKE MENDO DROPS TO NEW LOW

Level to be below Oct. 1 water storage goal this week

Reservoir fell below 20,000 acre-feet on Thursday

by Justine Frederiksen

The amount of water stored in Lake Mendocino dropped below 20,000 acre-feet this week, but a local water official said meeting that benchmark early does not mean it is time to panic even more.

“Yes, we met that mark sooner than was hoped, but that does not mean terrible things are going to happen,” said Elizabeth Salomone, manager of the Russian River Flood Control & Water Conservation Improvement District.

Salomone said that the operators of the reservoir, Sonoma County Water Agency, hoped to have 20,000 acre-feet in the lake by Oct. 1 in order to “maintain adequate downstream flows for fisheries and human health and safety needs for municipal users.”

According to the water agency, “a minimum storage goal of 20,000 AF by Oct. 1, 2021, was recommended by Sonoma Water in the hopes of providing an adequate carry-over water supply entering the 2021-22 fall-winter rainy season. The reservoir’s storage level dropped below 20,000 AF on Thursday, Aug. 26, signaling a worsening of the historic drought in the Russian River watershed.”

Salomone said that not meeting the storage goal does not mean that more curtailments are coming, but that “we need to keep doing what we’re doing, and conserve water.”

The good news, she said, is that “the agricultural season is almost over, the harvest is underway, and usage will taper down pretty quickly in the next three to four weeks,” so the amount of water being taken from the river will be reduced significantly.

“But I know my customers have already cut back usage, and then cut back even more,” she said of the farmers the RRFC & CID serves. “They are treating every drop as precious.”

She also pointed out that water losses from the river and lake are not all due to allowed uses, because water is also being diverted to illegal marijuana farms or other unauthorized agricultural uses.

“But also there is loss to evaporation, and the land is dry, the air is dry, and the trees are soaking up water,” she said, describing just about everything as needing water right now.

Earlier this month, the State of California curtailed water rights for hundreds of water rights holders in the upper and lower Russian River regions. Salomone said that in the past two weeks, state water representatives have been doing field inspections along the Russian River in Mendocino County to make sure that water users have the proper measuring equipment, and are complying with the curtailments.

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

FROM THE FACEBOOK PAGE of the Corners of the Mouth Market, Mendocino: “SAD NEWS! Our dear friend and coworker Dan Bergeson passed away on August 16th. According to the coroner’s report “Cause of death is congestive heart failure due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease”. Please refute rumors that he died of COVID or the COVID vaccine. Dan was a beloved and integral part of Corners and our community. He will be sorely missed.”

SUPERVISOR MULHEREN POSTED THE FOLLOWING DECLARATION on her facebook page last week: “All agenda items will have a fiscal detail that outlines whether an item is in budget or what the expected recovery is if it’s not.” And last week’s special meeting agenda did have such information. 

BUT NEXT WEEK’S AGENDA has nothing about “fiscal detail” or whether any of the items are budgeted etc. Will she complain? (Mark Scaramella)

THE INCIDENCE of major catastrophes seems to be accelerating, what with the bloody evacuation from Afghanistan, the major NorCal fires raging unchecked, the most powerful hurricane in modern times bearing down on Louisiana, and a revived plague carrying off the unvaxxed in greater numbers than ever. Oh, and the historic drought here in the west.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING. “CLICKBAIT” is a new dramatic series on Netflix pegged to the sinister use of cyber-tools, as International Feebdom lives out their estranged, shut-in lives on their telephones. The narrative revolves around an on-line Romeo whose crimes against the women he serially seduces on dating websites catch up with him. Or do they? “Clickbait” is also the woke-est movie I've ever seen, but woke without becoming either self-parodying or interfering with the storyline because the acting is so good the PC visuals aren't intrusive. Or oppressive. I thought Zoe Kazan as the sexual psychopath's sister was beyond good. And Abraham Lim as an unscrupulous reporter (apologies for the redundancy) is also very good.

MORE EVIDENCE that the Pentagon is incapable of efficiently doing its job as the armed wing of U.S. imperialism. Introducing Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller. Scheller was relieved of his duty for saying senior leaders need to take responsibility for the botched, fatal Afghanistan evacuation and has since resigned from the Corps. “The reason people are so upset on social media right now is not because the Marine on the battlefield let someone down,” Scheller said in a nearly five-minute video posted on Facebook and LinkedIn. “People are upset because their senior leaders let them down. And none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, ‘We messed this up’.” Scheller was relieved of his duties a few hours after posting his right-on message. The Marines, speaking anonymously, explained Scheller's suspension: “This is obviously an emotional time for a lot of Marines, and we encourage anyone struggling right now to seek counseling or talk to a fellow Marine. There is a forum in which Marine leaders can address their disagreements with the chain of command, but it's not social media.” Scheller knew he was risking his17-year career by posting the video. “I have been fighting for 17 years. I am willing to throw it all away to say to my senior leaders, ‘I demand accountability’.”

A READER WRITES: “I got my ballot yesterday, and even though I am voting no on the recall, I realized I still wanted to vote for my favorite candidate, just in case the recall passes. So I had to somehow paw through the 46 hopefuls, and here's how I did it:

1) first, I threw out all candidates that identified as Republican or Democrat (utterly corrupt, failed parties).

2) then I culled the obvious nuts, and reactionaries who hold views diametrically opposed to mine.

3) which left only a handful of candidates, where I was then able to read their responses to some decent Q&As posted at the LA Times and San Diego Union-Tribune.

4) which led me to my favored candidate Dennis Richter (who I would greatly prefer over Newsom):”

HEADS UP, MENDO. NBC News, San Francisco, will be attending the Gurr-Borges restraining order hearing on the 8th in the County Courthouse. The Courthouse fraidy cats have put all kinds of conditions on the media to discourage them from attending, but we understand NBC has their lawyers looking into the legality of those conditions. NBC San Francisco has been given approval from New York to go for it. Rumors wafting over the hill from Ukiah say that NBC will be interviewing former Mendo Ag Commissioner Diane Curry, a woman who knows where whole cemeteries of County bodies are buried. If you came in late, here's the rest of the story: theava.com/archives/132106

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] I am recalling my childhood years. I was born in Nov 1940 so for the first 10 years or so there wasn’t even television. Thus there was no Sesame Street to teach me the alphabet, numbers, colors, animals, days of the week, months of the year (30 days has September, April June and November etc.) and the unintuitive analog clock face. Why does the “day” begin in the black of night? Why at 12 and not at 1?Why isn’t Monday the first day of the week? Kids want to know. And when TV did arrive in the average home about 1950 there was only Howdy Doody.

So it wasn’t till around age 5 or 6 that I began to get some formal education. Grades K thru 3 happened at Stoy School which was just down the road from Crystal Lake Pool where I caught polio in the summer of 1949, or so my mother firmly believed. From what I’ve read about the polio virus and its causes and sources, Crystal Lake was a likely culprit. Actually, after a week or two in Kindergarten they pushed me ahead into 1st grade. 

It was one of those deals where because of my birth month I would always be one of the oldest kids in my class or, if pushed ahead into 1st grade, I would forever be among the youngest kids in my class.

I think what the school authorities did was to observe a kid for awhile to see if he/she/it was socially advanced enough and “played well in sandbox” to fit in with children who were nominally one year older. Thus, as time rolled forward, I entered college at the tender age of 17 when nearly all my classmates were 18 or even 19. If I had it to do over I’d prefer being older than my typical classmate. One year means a lot when it comprises almost 6% of your life to date.

If memory serves, each classroom in grades 1 thru 3 had the letters of the alphabet displayed horizontally above the blackboard with uppercase letters above the corresponding lowercase letters. The teacher would write on the blackboard with white chalk and clear away “her” writing with an “eraser.” (Note: never had a male teacher until 8th grade.) By day’s end the erasers were loaded with chalk powder and needed to be taken outside and “clapped.” This chore would be done by very willing child volunteers known as brown nosers. Today, I’d guess, blackboards and chalk have totally given way to whiteboards and marking pens.

The alphabet letters were all in some common font as might be used in a child’s book such as “See Spot Run.” Slowly but surely we children learned to “print” on lined paper where “capitals” (another name for uppercase) took up two line spaces and the lowercase “small” letters took up one space. One of the skills that kids were graded on was “penmanship” which, to tell the truth, was generally pretty dismal until maybe 3rd grade. 

At some point they began to teach writing in “cursive” which in those days was called “longhand.” The alphabet letters displayed above the blackboard were now in perfectly formed longhand. Some of the more obsessive compulsive pedants like me would practice their writing diligently. By the time my own kids came along there was less and less emphasis on what some called “writtin’ writin’ and so, by my standards, their penmanship was and still is pretty awful. Conversely, my mother’s hand writing is amazingly perfect. Born in 1911, she grew up in a very different era. It’s my understanding that many schools have done away entirely with teaching cursive.

Simultaneous with learning the formation of upper and lower case letters, both printed and longhand, we were made aware of when “capitals” should be used, such as the first letter of the first word of a sentence or the title of a book or a headline in a newspaper. The only capitalization rule that seems universal and inviolable is the first letter of a sentence although there might possibly be some obscure exception. The motto of the NYT which appears in the upper left corner of the front page reads “All the News That’s Fit to Print”. I have no idea why ‘the’ and ‘to’ do not begin with capitals.

Along about 30 years ago when computers and email had become ubiquitous a fad developed where a writer of an email would completely do away with capitals, even for the first word of a sentence. This has always annoyed the shit out of me. The higher the rank of the writer in an organization the more prevalent was the adoption of this fad. As lower ranking employees began to notice this THEY began to start sentences with lower case letters as well.

I have a theory as to what drives this no-caps fad. Email which, by the way, was spelled e-mail in its early years of existence, became a great burden particularly to executives who were drowning in a tsunami of the shit. Just reading all of it much less replying to it became a nightmare. A high-ranking engineer I used to carpool with went to an off site class to learn how to deal with the flood of email. Rule number one was to ignore email you recognized as having come from low-ranking nobodies.

So, some higher ranked employees started to write entirely in lower case. The message in doing this was “I am a very very busy man!! Who’s got the fucking time to depress the goddam shift key to make capitals!?” Before you knew it emails from “joe” in the maintenance dept contained no caps…a poor man’s grasp for greater stature. This forum had a number of no-caps commenters over the years, but I can happily report that this fad has largely petered out except for a few remaining die-hard assholes.

[2] One of the largest examples of human futility is the constant “need” to characterize God. It is a waste of time. Especially the desire to humanize Him. 

One thing, if God created the star field, the universe I see at night, He is so beyond omnipotent it is incredible. People try to humanize Him with Jesus. He can do anything He wants, the limits humans try to attach to Him make me laugh. If He wanted to put on a Jesus suit to directly interface with humanity, non issue. If He wants to create another universe, a mirror one, non issue. If His reason for the Messiah was to show He was more powerful than human death, He succeeded. If the sacrifice of His Son, so to speak, was, in Jewish terms, to demonstrate atonement for sins and to give grace to all people of faith, it worked.

People with egos that prevent them from acknowledging there are things much bigger than themselves are missing a very basic part of their spirituality. Atheists are people that believe that humanity is the biggest item in the universe. When I lay back and reflect on the star field, I just laugh at these people.

Trouble is, they are growing in number, just as predicted long ago.

[3] Interesting take on the future of education and the rise of homeschools. After other “careers”, I got a teaching certificate. During student teaching, I had to observe other teachers. While there are many, many excellent teachers out there, I was shocked to see that even when an “outsider” was sitting in their classrooms, Two out of three teachers achieved almost NOTHING during the hour I observed. One (ironically, a teacher I had in school) literally read the paper during the entire class with me sitting the back taking notes. Can’t say I entirely blame him….at the time, many years ago, things were already going south and I can’t imagine his clientele were interested in biology.

Even in good schools/classrooms there is much wasted time but let’s face it how many homeschools will do better? How many parents are able to provide adequate instruction in science or math beyond fourth grade? There is a skill to teaching and even folks with the knowledge can’t always explain it in an understandable way.

I do believe you’re right that there will be new models of home schooling and the network idea will fill in some holes like the science/math thing.

There are no easy answers but it’s clear to me that we’ve got to do something to improve education for all or we’re going to keep losing ground on almost every front. Democracy will thrive only among an enlightened populace.

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