Saturday, September 30, 2006

You've Done a Lame Job....Take the Rest of the Year Off

Ain't it nice to have a job in which you can spend millions--nay billions of stolen money every year, go to money's-no-object dinner parties paid for by others, make decisions involving the lives and deaths of millions? Ain't it nice to go through life with the ability to control the lives of a nation of people and no responsibility for mistakes?

These are the politicians we duly elect and entrust with our safety and our well-being.

They're taking the rest of the year off. They're taking the rest of the year off for the sole purpose of conducting a campaign to get re-elected. How many contractors (private individuals who work for finite terms and have to negotiate to renew or extend their contracts--or make entirely new contracts--get the luxury of stopping work and working on the new contract with full pay and benefits paid by the old contract?

Let's require these drones to eschew campaigning on our time and either continue the work they're supposed to do right up to the end of their term, or (better yet!) suspend their pay and benefits from the end of the Congress term until the new term begins. This, of course, to include the pay and benefits of all staffers, who are also working on the re-election campaign.

Some will suggest that while the Congressdrones are campaigning, at least they're not enacting new legislation that will further limit our freedom and our lives. That sentiment, with which I fully agree, really says a lot about their perceived value, doesn't it?

Why not just allow that their re-election is dependent 'pon their deeds while in office? Another idea: One term, and never again.

Some say they need more than one term to gain the experience to be effective in Washington. I'd rather they never gain that kind of experience.

We forget, and they make a point of forgetting, that their job is to erect and maintain a government whose sole task is to protect the rights of Americans, within the limits set by the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The federal government is so utterly overextended that Congress has no idea how to manage it anymore. No one knows where the money goes. No one knows how much money is coming in nor how much is being spent by whom. Each legislator has a number of pet projects that he attempts to fund (with money stolen from you and me) without consideration of prior projects that require ongoing maintainance.

No legislator is interested in limiting himself to his Constitutional role, even though every legislator swears an oath to protect and uphold the document. One wonders how many of them have actually read it.

I hate to seem pessimistic for the Republic, but it's hard to imagine how the wonderful idea that was America can ever be reconstructed.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tragedy of the Commons--Again

My car is suffering from brake problems, and I took it to a garage this morning. Rather than have Debbie pick me up, I elected to leave the car at the garage and walk the two-plus miles home. Sherman Oaks, a suburb that is within the city limits of El Pueblo de Los Angeles, is actually a very nice area in which to walk. Residents, whether they happen to own their houses or live in the many apartment buildings nearby, generally take care of their surroundings and keep their places up.

There are nicely groomed yards and plenty of shade trees along the somewhat narrow streets. Alternatively, I can walk along Van Nuys Boulevard, Ventura Boulevard or any other of the major streets in the area and peer in the windows of the many storefronts lining that street for miles in either direction.

Today, as I walked along Van Nuys Boulevard, I paid attention to the buildings which housed the businesses I passed. Most were pretty well maintained. Many were older, with the inevitable faded paint and sometimes grafitti on broader walls. All in all, though, it's a nicer commercial street than many I've seen--as is nearby Ventura Boulevard.

What stood out negatively is the area around the freeway. Where the on- and off-ramps open into the street, they've erected very aesthetically pleasant low masonry walls to contain the trash and rubble that might roll down the slopes from the freeway. Between the wall and the sidewalk, they've placed paving stones rather than vegetation.

Now, this is all very nice, and CalTrans is to be commended for designing an aesthetically pleasing , as well as very efficient freeway system.

But.....politicians love to set up plans and programs, preferably with their names attached. They love to spend millions of dollars they could never have earned, on projects that may or may not be economically logical. There's never any thought given to long term maintenance. These were my thoughts as I paused to look at the well-crafted masonry, and the inches-thick layer of leaves both behind and in front of the retaining wall; the piles of trash mixed therein, the fast food bags tossed out of car windows as they exited the freeway, some obviously having lain there for weeks.

Nobody cleans it up. It lies there until wind blows it onto private property, then the property owner cleas it up. The politicians who spend the millions didn't think of, or arrange funding for maintenance and clean-up. I could bring up the fact that, when there were merely 160 million Americans, and the vast majority of those 160 millions paid less than 10% of their income in taxes to government at all levels, the US was a much cleaner, shinier and better maintained--even government property, if you can believe it!

Today, with nearly twice as many people, most working individuals pay on the order of 50% of their income to all levels of government. Property that's controlled by government is mostly shabby, unkempt, unmaintained. Government employees are unresponsive and undisciplined. Their laziness rivals that of career welfare recipients. They can't be terminated.

Nothing gets done.

Anywhere one travels in the great USA, one finds that (in general) private property is clean and well-maintained, and government property is filthy and in rugged condition.

I've long been an advocate of the privatization of....well, everything. Not only will it be far more just, but it'll make our part of the world a cleaner place! Individuals care for what they own.

This just in: in today's news on radio here in the Stalag, a study (I'll try to find the story in print) concludes that streets and highways in El Pueblo de Los Angeles are in the worst shape in the state, with the exception of those in San Jose. Knock me over with a feather! I drive on these alleged streets and highways every day. I have a big car with a soft suspension. I can only imagine how truck drivers and Yugo drivers manage, bumping down these cobblestone-like roads.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Great Man Passes

Jeff Cooper, regular columnist and Editor-at-Large for Guns and Ammo magazine, passed away at home in Gunsite, Arizona, on the afternoon of September 25, 2006.

Off and on, over the past thirty-odd years, I've been reading and enjoying Col. Cooper's columns in Guns & Ammo magazine. I wrote to him once through the magazine, and have a wonderful personal reply from him, which I've saved.

I couldn't begin to list the number and nature of that which I've learned from his writings. He's made shooting sports more rewarding and more enjoyable for me in ways I can't begin to enumerate.

A gentleman's gentleman.

RIP, sir. You left the world a better place.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

America's Most Victimized (so far) Generation

I'm very proud, as many of you know, to be a huge fan and an acquaintance of Mr L Neil Smith. El Neil has written over twenty novels, every one of which I've read, most more than once. To me, he's second only to Ayn Rand, and a lot more fun.

Neil is still writing, and I eagerly await the publication of his next.

I've exchanged emails a few times with him, and have spoken to him on the phone a couple of times. A couple of years ago, I bumped into him at the Freedom Summit in Phoenix, and we had an hours-long conversation.

In spite of much of his fiery writing, such as that in the article I'm linking, He's an affable, mild-mannered fellow whom I'd be more than proud to call a friend. In fact, in spite of my very limited contact with him over the past several years, I will call him a friend!

I won't go into Neil's personal philosophy here, except to say that he's a libertarian's libertarian, and one of those current-day intellectuals who helps define the term.

Neil has just lost his mother, and has written a tribute to her, in his unique style, as well as to his previously deceased father and other members of their generation.

Please accept my deepest condolences for your loss, Neil.

My own limited ability to describe this essay compels me to merely link it, that you may judge for yourselves.

Death of a Generation, by L. Neil Smith

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Life's Strange and Winding Paths

Having read Philosophical Detective's tale of the unusual twist in an old friend's life-path, I'm reminded of a somewhat similar if maybe slightly more common situation in my own experience.

I have a friend (since we were ten) who, after several years married and two kids, came out several years ago. I learned this from another childhood friend, after I went to my 35th anniversary high school reunion in North Dakota. He told me that Chuck (NHRN) had been in town that weekend, but hadn't taken part in the reunion festivities.

Since Chuck was living in Winnipeg, and I had flown in from the Stalag, I was a mite miffed that he hadn't made his presence known. I'd, of course, spent time with several of my other high school friends, rehashing old times and bringing each other up to date, telling lies and promising to keep in touch, but Chuck was one of those I really would like to have seen.

I had visited Chuck once during my biker years, back in the '70's. I rode up to Grand Forks on a vacation and visited a couple of friends. I got Chuck's phone number and gave him a call. After getting his address, I rode on up to Winnipeg.

The dopey Canadian border people made me leave my pistol with them at the checkpoint, but I was able to retrieve it on my way back. I don't know what Canadians have against self defense, but I swear they have a sheepish quiver in their voices and that they grow their own personal wool against the winter cold.

Chuck had a moral objection to the draft, and moved up to Canada right out of high school--and stayed there. I had the same objection, but solved it by joining the Navy. Being anti-authoritarian in the extreme, I had a rugged time with military discipline, but had a good experience with my time in service all the same. One hitch, though, and both I and the Navy had had quite enough of each other.

Back to my tale, I had a nice visit with Chuck and his family in Winnipeg. I got the impression of a very staid, conservative family man, whereas I was anything but that. I might've seemed like a bit of a wild man, riding up on a clattering motorcycle packed to the gunwales with camping gear, souvenirs and not-too-clean clothing.

Since then, according to my other classmate, he got divorced, and came out--all while being a very successful executive in a medical profession. I don't know what happened to his family.

He doesn't seem to want to communicate with me now. I'm guessing he might think I won't accept his orientation. Well, it does seem strange, but this is Stalag California, home of the fruits and nuts, and one can't live here too long without making acquaintance with the odd gay man. I've come to terms with that circumstance many years ago.

It'd be nice to be in touch with Chuck, but I guess it's not to be.

We had a lot of good times, back in the days of twenty-five cent-a-gallon gas and nickel candy bars.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, September 15, 2006

Where There's Smoke There's Ire

In their seemingly never-ending crusade to make certain no one, anywhere can ever enjoy himself, we see yet another small portion of the surface of planet Earth 'pon which the smoking of tobacco will no longer be allowed by the smoking nazis. (The Orange County Register, Sept 14, 2006 print)

Orange County's beaches. Outdoors. Where the weather is generally relatively cool and breezy.

Now, I realize smokers are, in large measure, their own worst enemies. If I had a buck for every butt I've observed tossed out of a car or just dropped on the ground, I could've retired years ago. Some--in fact, maybe most--smokers are incredibly careless with their butts and their smoke.

One of the reasons for the thus-far proposed ban is a distaste by the public for cigarette butts in the beach sand--not to mention the possibility of one's stepping on a still-smouldering butt in the sand, with bare feet.

It might be speculated that there'd be a lot less anger at smokers by non-smokers were smokers more careful with their by-products.

When I was a younger man, I had the opportunity to spend some time 'pon the beaches of southern France, Italy and Greece. One of the things I recall especially is the fact that the beaches of Cannes and Nice are segmented by cute little fences and had controlled access. I don't know if they were privately-owned or merely leased by private operators, but there was an admission fee to enter the beach. Once inside, you selected a spot 'pon which there was a parasol provided. Waiters came around taking drink orders, or you could just lie in the sun and read, or swim, etc.

Part of what was paid for admission paid people to clean the beaches up, presumably, daily. I use the past tense because it's been many years since I observed all this, and it may not now be the same.

The point is, what we have here in the beaches of the Stalag is the tragedy of the commons. The beaches are public, they belong to all, which means they belong to no one. And that's exactly who takes care of them. What's the government's solution? The same as their solution for most things: heavy fines and lax enforcement.

What you bring to the beach, stays at the beach: your soda cans, cigarette butts, spare change that falls from your pockets, candy wrappers, tanning lotion bottles..... Who's going to pick them up? No one.

You don't think the lifeguards, the police, the parks & rec drones (civil welfare recipients, all) are going to, do you? The only reason the "public" beaches are as clean as they are is that many folks clean up after themselves. But many don't.

Other than the general hatred of many at seeing others enjoying a cigarette 'pon the beach, the biggest reason for wanting a law against smoking there is the cigarette butts--which no one will clean up. That's actually not a bad reason, but attend: there are never any cigerette butts laying around at Disneyland, nor at Knott's Berry Farm--even in the marked smoking areas. They are private property. Their customers pay to be there. The staff uses part of the admission fee to hire people to keep the place clean and free of litter.

We all expect that.

Throw down a paper napkin at Disneyland and step back and watch it. Within a very few minutes, there'll be a cleanly uniformed employee along to sweep it up.

The caretakers (?!) at the "public" beaches couldn't care less. They'd step on or over the napkin and walk on, and probably throw a hot dog wrapper on the sand alongside of it.

So, what am I saying? Well, I'm saying what I always say: Privatize. The foolish notion that the beaches will be better as "public" property is best tossed into the same trash can into which all thinking people have tossed the insane idea that farms and factories should be publicly owned. We, all of us who are civilized and rational, know it was a bad idea then and a bad idea now.

Who wouldn't pay a few bucks to have access to a clean, maintained beach with various amenities such as food and drink waiters and his own mini-cabana? With security against the well-known and often observed beach louts, thieves and drunks.

Why can't some of these private beaches allow smoking, and others not? Why can't some offer alcoholic beverages, and others not? Why can't some allow children, and others not? Pets? Volleyball? Surfing? Imagine the possibilities!


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In the World of the Unarmed, the Armed Maniac is King

At first, I said to myself: "Wait, this is Montreal! Canada! They don't have guns in Canada!

Stupid as it seems, there aren't supposed to be any guns among the beer-and-donut crowd in the Great White North. Something about their having descended from British Tories and French socialists, I'd guess.

So, you understand why I was skeptical about the veracity of this story, early on. A hockey stick-swinging incident would be more likely, I thought, except that it's a little early in the year for that kind of thing.

Seems someone, using what the uneducated call an "automatic rifle," shot up the Dawson College campus in Montreal. According to this story on, as reprinted from the Montreal Gazette. This deranged young man, dressed to look like the Columbine killers, made his way to the campus' second floor cafeteria, then started shooting indiscriminately at the students crowded therein. He shot twenty people, six were injured critically. Sadly, one of the six later died at the hospital.

Early reports indicated that the deranged individual then took his own life, but later it came out that he was killed by police. I sincerely hope that the officer is not prosecuted.

After I reiterate that Canada has outlawed personal firearms for almost all individuals, I'm certainly going to point out that such laws place the law abiding individual at a severe disadvantage.

Since it's now apparent that the killer was shot by a police officer, one might ask how long it took for the police to arrive, and how many might not've been shot had the officers arrived sooner. Those kinds of questions come up at every shooting in memory: where were the police? Why didn't they get there sooner?

I'll go a (big) step farther. How many might not've been shot if a number of those in the cafeteria had been armed, and had trained themselves in the use of their weapons? How many of these kinds of incidents would just never happen because the prospective killer would have to expect armed resistance and would probably be killed before he got very far?

I recall, many years ago, a man entered a McDonald's in San Ysidro, Stalag California, with a semi-automatic rifle and started shooting people indiscriminately, including several children. I remember thinking: how little these parents must think of their children, to be so completely unable to protect them. Had even as few as one or two of these parents been armed and competent with his weapon, several lives would very likely have been saved.

The 9/11 highjackers would've failed miserably to take over the aircraft had a number of the passengers been armed. What a load of trouble that would've saved us! I'm very suspicious that government enacts all the anti-self-defense laws specifically so that there'll be victims, thereby reinforcing their psychotic fantasies that they are needed by us.

But, when we actually do need help, are they there? Not unless you happen to be near a donut shop or a strip club.

For that very reason, one of the things muggers, robbers, burglars and killers count on is unarmed victims.

For that very reason, we all owe it to ourselves and our families to be armed and capable of handling our weapons.

They've killed freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Conspiracies and Lies

Every time there's a major catastrophy, and sometimes a minor one, we hear accusations of conspiracy. They're usually directed at the President, high-ranking members of a governmental agency, or at times, a powerful individual or group outside of government.

I've read viable theories claiming that the GWB administration 1) started the war in Iraq to continue his father's plans, 2) knew about the WTC and Pentagon attacks in advance and did nothing, 3) actually had the buildings packed with explosives to cause an implosion collapse, 4) is deliberately fighting the war not to win, but to make it last for years and, no doubt, more.

President Clinton (I still hate putting those two words together) is accused of having conducted his entire foreign policy to cover up his White House peccadilloes. The Clintons were thought by some to have been involved in the death of Vince Foster, and even that of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. There was also the mysteries of the FBI files, the firings of the White House Travel Office. There was Mrs Clinton's foolish health care plan and her mysterious "earnings" in commodities speculation, both of which remain mysteries to this day.

Without getting bogged down in what would be a never-ending list--the illegal and knowingly unConstitutional acts by government officials are being committed much faster than I could even type them, even If I could keep track of them all!

There is a solution to all this. In fact, it's a solution to much that's wrong with government. It was first suggested to me in L Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise, in an article entitled "The Boys Who Cried 'Terrorist.'" There ought to be a law, applicable only to government "—making it an offense punishable by public hanging for any government employee, at any level, to lie to any individual for any reason."

We often forget that government employees and elected and appointed officials are our servants--not the other way around. They work for us. There is never a valid reason to allow an employee to lie to his employer.

Remember, too, that these are not special people. Any one of us, within certain Constitutional limits, could become a Representative, a Senator, or yes, even President. Believe me, if a bumpkin like Jimmy Carter can become President, anyone can!

But the point is, there is no reason for government to keep secrets from Americans, nor to lie to them. The reason--the only reason--government employees lie to Americans is that they're doing something they ought not be doing: something unConstitutional or otherwise illegal.

I'd make it a capital offense.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, September 04, 2006

Laurel or Hardy

I'm reading a Breitbart story I found on Drudge. The story claims that girls as young as the age of five are concerned about weight, and that they might become overweight. The story details many of the problems girls and women have that can be attributed to overweight. Many corresponding , but not quite similar problems invade the lives of boys and men because of overweight, as well.

MyWay also has a story on Drudge that calls American obesity a pandemic. first, let me say that I wrote what I think about "pandemics" here. It's become a news media buzzword designed specifically to increase the state of fear in American society.

The MyWay story seems to be written specifically to alarm the non-svelt. Like myself.

Well, I ain't buying it.

The chief reason why we're, many of us, packing on the poundage is very simple: Food these days is just so damn plentiful, inexpensive and, well, delicious. It's been only for the past couple of centuries or so that most of the industrialized world has had enough good food to eat. It's only been for about this past century that food has been good, plentiful and inexpensive.

I'm thinking it's the same people that are trying to turn Americans against technology, against science and against wealth in general, are trying to force and propagandize us away from the kinds of food we like to eat. People who hate life and for whatever reason, want to inflict their psychosis on the rest of us.

Meanwhile, those same miserable psychotics rail against those who have managed to keep their slender, sometimes athletic bodies by condemning dieting and corrective surgeries.

The real difficulty we all face is, in the face of an unprecedented plenty, learning to moderate and partake all these wonderful foods and drinks in reasonable quantities. Since there are a number of level-headed thinkers studying these and other problems that bother those of us who have difficulty living in a land of plenty, I'm sure the solutions will be there soon, if not already.

I regard our plight far easier to live with than that of our ancestors.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Settling In

I never mowed lawns as a youth in my neighborhood; I was a newsie. 'Twas many years before I learned the joy of mowing. I've lived in apartments most of my life, and generally, my life has been lived more outside home than in it.

I did buy a house in Costa Mesa many years ago, but I was young, a biker and had spending money. I spent most of my non-working time riding up and down the length of California, and going to libertarian meetings, such as the many-years-defunct Libertarian Alternative, where a couple of dozen or so libertarians got together monthly to plot, plan and execute getting libertarian ideas into print and on the air.

The Libertarian Alternative was the brainchild of Charlie Barr, who moderated the proceedings and kept the group of very disparate individuals, who had only the then-somewhat-nebulous notion of libertarianism in common, on mission. Herding cats, as it were. No easy task, but Charlie handled it well. I hear he's escaped the Stalag and is now living in Las Vegas. Libertarian Alternative has been turned by party member Mark Selzer, into a publicity seeking arm of the California Libertarian Party. He produces a tv series for public access tv in several markets.

Back to the message, I spent a lot of my time in the kind of pastimes that kept me away from home , and regarded home as "a box in which to keep my stuff" (thanks for the line, George).

Debbie and I bought this house in 1993. We moved in, at the time, with Debbie's mom Maxine, having decided that this was a good place to live in the LA area. 'Twas more Debbie's decision than mine, but I soon decided it was a good one, for reasons I mentioned here.

We left in 1994, because of the quake, while awaiting repairs to the place. We decided we also liked Orange County (and, I was working there at the time) so we stayed and placed this house on the rental market. It worked out well.

A few weeks ago, when our not-so-conscientious property manager told us that our tenant was bailing, we made the decision to move back. Because of the evil tax code, it seems we're required to occupy the place for two years (to legally change the property from an income property back into a private residence) to avoid the theft of a goodly portion of the proceeds from the eventual sale of the house, by the despicable drones of the feral government.

So, we're here. Death, where is thy sting? (thanks, Bill).

In spite of the oppressive heat of this part of the year, I'm enjoying being here. I'd partially forgotten the charms, and the negatives. The streets are more crowded than OC, they seem narrower and buildings in commercial areas are smaller and closer together. Parking lots are smaller, when they exist at all. The parking enforcement cops (meter maids) are neither lovely, nor compassionate.

Yet, in many ways, the Valley has many of the positives of New York City. Wonderful restaurants, including some near-New York quality delis. Little theaters. Funky shops along Ventura Boulevard. I could, at the risk of boring y'all to tears, go on.

I've been helping Debbie tear out the atrocious landscaping left (against the rules laid out in the lease) by our most recent tenant. Debbie's been finding stuff in boxes and setting up the kitchen and the bathrooms, etc, and I've been unpacking my books and VHS/DVD collection, and setting up my library/office.

Back when we originally bought the place, I acquired a reel mower, being more familiar with that kind than any other, and not desiring to deal with temperamental power mowers. Besides, being a poster child for the government's unreasonably intrusive, futile and stupid anti-obesity campaign, I can use the exercise.

I mowed the lawn several times with the mower, back in those days, and found it agreeable, and so I decided that I'd continue the method, now that we're back.

What better day to get out there and mow the lawn with a reel push mower than Labor Day! I got out there at about 8AM (to beat the heat) and got the job done in a little over an hour, including a short break to give a few peanuts to neighborhood tree squirrels.

It's good to be back!


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, September 01, 2006

Tomorrow's Engineers, Today

When I first arrived in wonderful California in 1965, as a mere lad, I was stunned by all that seemed possible here. There were clean, pleasant cities with wonderfully bizarre-looking buildings and wide, well-maintained streets and freeways, good-paying jobs and the widest variety of types of terrain/scenery one could imagine. There were beaches, mountains, deserts, rivers and lakes, all close enough for a weekend outing, at most.

Cities were similar, yet different, and all jammed together so that it was hard to tell exactly what city I was in at any given moment, while driving. There was also air I could sink my teeth into--that would sometimes burn my eyes and catch in my throat.

A price worth paying, I thought at the time.

I found a job quickly: there were many jobs available. After the first year, I'd left the first job for a higher paying one. Finally, after a little over a year, I got the job I'd been after: a surveyor-apprentice with what was then known as the California Division of Highways. I was involved in building freeways!

One thing I've remembered for all these years: every one of my employment interviewers commented that I had an incredible advantage, having gotten my schooling outside of California. Even back then!

The photo with this entry comes from The Orange County Register, September 1, 2006. It leads a story about California's government children's prisons. The headline: "More Schools Meet Federal Goals," and is a mostly self-congratulatory story apparently written, or at least coached, by a member of the state's Dept of Education, about the improved scores "achieved" by Orange County's children's prisons. Seems they've generally improved a bit over last year.

Pardon me while I hawk up an expression of doubt.

Since the mid-seventies, I've had the opportunity on numerous occasions to interview prospective employees and make hiring decisions regarding these individuals. Though I have no formal schooling in personnel matters, I think I'm a better than middling judge of character. I'm generally happy with the decisions I've made. The one common thread I was able to observe, though, was that high school graduates seem incredibly under-educated to me. On the other hand, the two college grads I had a hand in hiring seemed far better. They were graduate geologists that worked in my lab for a couple of years, then moved on to jobs that made better use of their education and talents.

The high school grads I dealt with, while intelligent lads all (or I wouldn't have hired them), seemed to be deficient in the knowledge of stuff that ought to be taught them in school.

Which brings me back to this newspaper article. The photo shows a quite atrocious construct that looks to me to be a kindergartener's work. I guess it's supposed to be a bridge. In the photo, it's falling over under a load. Good thing the photo's caption tells me this, or I'd never have guessed.

These are sixth graders!!

When I was in seventh grade, lo! these many years ago, we had a science fair at Valley Junior High School in Grand Forks, North Dakota. No science maven, I, so I had no entry in the science fair. A girl for whom I felt fondness at the time was, however, so I attended the science fair.

The recollection that has relevance here, is the fact that one of the thirteen-year-old exhibitors at the Valley Jr science fair built a bridge out of popsickle sticks, string and Elmer's glue that not only looked like a real bridge, but was able to support the weight of the HO-scale cars, trucks and miniature people figurines which he placed 'pon the bridge.

Today's kids aren't stupid--I know some of them. But, they're being horribly shortchanged by the children's prison administrators and teachers.

And here, in spite of the criminally poor job they're doing, they have the gall to congratulate themselves on having improved minutely over the period of a year. They ought to be ashamed!

Why aren't these sixth-graders reading Aristotle? America's Founding Documents? Ayn Rand?

Why aren't they working in algebra? Geometry? Trig?

Why can't they diagram sentences? Why, for cryin' out loud, can't they, any of them, spell?

Why can't they make change? Write a check? Balance a checkbook?

I fear for the Republic.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California