Baltimore and Police Brutality

Mark Puente of the Baltimore Sun was on NPR today discussing the case of Mr. Grey, who died in police custody after being seized for running after making eye contact with the officer. He has written previously on cases where the taxpayers paid lawsuit awards for some very bad instances. After the North Carolina case, I thought we had turned a corner, as for the first time, it seems, we had managed to hold executive officers accountable. Prior to North Carolina, charges might be brought, but grand Juries would not indict police, in something like 99% of cases. Meanwhile, non officers are indicted 99% of the time when a prosecutor asks a grand jury for an indictment.

When police abuse force, it becomes more difficult to use force when force really is necessary to protect the rights of citizens to property, life and liberty. Police need to consider this. Their cause is served by prosecuting their own for brutality, though they do not believe it. We too, when we fail to hold executive officers accountable for misconduct, by our slavishness and laziness as citizens, make our own lives less secure. Police brutality endangers everyone, including police. Similarly, the slightest deviation from the principles of Martin Luther King harms the cause of the protesters, though there will be some who take the opportunity to loot, etc. King’s protests went with rigorous training, for example, to take blows and not respond. What if they strike women, right in front of you? Nonviolent protest is not easy, but it is the only sort that works without a great deal of destruction, blood and sorrow.

I remain convinced that there is an inseparable connection to our recent willingness to set aside the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and the principle that police and government have no power or right to interfere with citizens unless a crime is at issue. Presently, we assume that even marketers have a right to trample our liberty and privacy to make money or send us coupons, so why would we worry about errors and sloppiness when government interferes? Read the essay “The Eight Reasons for the Fourth Amendment, here on the politics page, on the menu at the top of the screen.

Inventions for Nepal Earthquake Relief

On the Inventions page at, there are two that might be helpful in the present circumstance, where drinking water and shelter are scarce. There is a water distiller that fits a pot, and pots must now be brought in anyway. There is plenty of scrap wood for fuel. Second, we have suggested that for housing, “People Pods” might be manufactured on sight, out of interlocking panels, perhaps even through something like a 3D printer, to provide the most basic temporary shelter. I envision triangles, and want the roofs to collect rain water. We tried to have the water distiller ready, but have not yet convinced investors! People pods could be done by one of those new internet billionaires that want to do something with their lives. Dean Kamen’s water machine is recommended where there is electricity, and where there is not, a stem engine fueled by broken wood might generate electricity. Another fellow has a stove top water distiller that is expensive, but works, and is already produced, as indicated on an old inventions blog. Lets go! And be thankful for building codes.

Presently, I am working on the simple ways to collect rainwater. I have a clean tarp stretched on a frame, fastened well with wire from store-bought broccoli, a clean rock in the tarp for wind, and my 5 gallon Absopure bottle positioned under it, on bricks. I have added a coffee filter, and need a wider bucket to collect in the wind, when my rock doesn’t hold the point over the bottle opening. Collecting rain water is surprisingly difficult. I heard Home depot sells a collector-hose attachment. Good invention!

Rock Commentaries First Draft Finished!

Do You ever wonder about the meaning of songs? The last three Chapters of the Rock Commentaries were set here on WordPress today, and will be available free for a limited time. The list of Songs that are good to play at weddings should be helpful for DJ’s and those getting married, and the essay on Bloom should be helpful to philosophers. The articles on Aqualung, Quadrophenia, Ziggy Stardust and Creed I think are among the best things written on these, but writers always think that the day they print, till they get home and see all the errors! As said before, it’s because if we could think of anything better, we would include it! I expect to learn more soon from Sean Wilentz and Greil Marcus. But I still think I’m right about Sad Eyed Lady, and don’t want to hear that its about his wife instead, even from Dylan- ok, maybe both. Come visit!

Guns in Schools?

As an amature politician, I am especially stumped by the questions surrounding the second Amendment, but this one seems obvious in the particular. I want only an officer on duty and no one else to be carrying guns in schools and in most public places. And a very responsible officer, at that. And this only if it seems necessary, though in our current society, this may be so.

I am not sure how to explain this opinion, but am willing to try to defend it, as this has become a question in Michigan lately. Perhaps Jack Lessenberry has had something to say about it.

The problem with everyone carrying guns around is that the responsible people are outnumbered by the irresponsible by about ten to one. One wonders if, when this becomes a question, something about education is not over, irretrievably.

Rock Commentaries on Kickstarter

We have launched the project to publish the Rock Commentaries, in whatever form this will be allowed. The first half of the book is now free on the website Soon the second half may go up. I want to work more on Quadrophenia and Dylan. Yesterday I wrote on Sad Eyed Lady. Who is she, where the sad eyed prophets say that no man comes? His warehouse eyes? And should he leave them by her gate? Or rather, sad eyed lady, should he not just wait? For an anti-intellectual, are the images not about philosophy or even the spirit and the Church? That Bob.

Marijuana: The Federal Prohibition is Unconstitutional: D. C. and State Legalization Must Stand

For the anniversary and event tomorrow in Ann Arbor, watch for infiltration of the simple minded. May we assemble and speak without repercussions? If not, who will uphold our constitution?


Here is the argument that can trump the supremacy clause and win in the Supreme Court, if the States or Washington D. C. would challenge it properly. In a word, we never gave the federal government the power to prohibit Marijuana, and it has no such power.

The Federal law against marijuana is unconstitutional, and always has been. The Prohibition of alcohol required the amendment of the constitution. Regarding Marijuana, we just dispensed with this formality of amending the constitution, when congress passed the law in 1937. When no one else’s rights are being violated, the Declaration requires that liberty take precedence. When the states entered into the Union, they gave the federal government certain delegated powers. These are those explicitly enumerated, and it was thought by some that we did not even need a Bill of Rights, because the government was given no power, for example, to regulate religion. So,

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NPR is having a state education fest here in Michigan, and I havre been painfully suffering the discussion. There is a teacher shortage, but no one can imagine employing the advanced degrees rather than the B. A.’s with certification, again while the people with advanced degrees cannot, and the taxpayers then must, repay their student loans.

Most of all, I am beyond sick at the discussion of how to improve education. All the answers are devoid of content: Things like “better evaluation,” “teaching how to teach,” and especially, more “hands on experience.” We want “open doors,” and “high quality teachers.” These are like the cheer-leading answers politicians give, safe because the answers lack content, and very intentionally. We want teachers to be “motivated,” “highly educated,”and “evaluated.” We want “testing,” dang-it, tougher testing.

No one ever addresses the content of the test. We do not teach government, or the American Constitution, or the writings of Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton and Jay, the deeds of Washington, nor the history of America, in high school, but only a little in eighth grade.

In literature, we do novels. Philosophy, and probably psychology are thankfully beyond the scope of high school. But we do not want these in the teacher training programs! Imagine the principle, Vice Principal, Football coach, or Superintendent of any school in Michigan trying to spend time with Socrates, Shakespeare, Milton, Aristotle, Plutarch and Xenophon, to consider deeply the nature of the soul and the purpose of education. He would probably ruin everything when he threw the lobbyist for Ritalin out the front door!

The most important thing in the preparation of a teacher is mastery of the subject matter. These are the advanced degrees. There is no reason to think the Bachelors-degree-with-certification people know how to teach their lesser subject matter better by the learning of some art. Teaching is not wholly a technae, not entirely a technique or art, like the arts involved in the trades. It is admittedly another step to learn to communicate and cultivate the knowledge gained by the intense study of a subject to which one devotes ones life and soul. Those who have set aside the advanced degrees for the cushy teaching Job are from the start prevented from becoming true educators. And it is of course well known that if one attains the advanced degree before being hired, the districts will not hire you. The unions make them pay more, and the advantage in teaching ability is not seen by those who have never done this- namely the administrators, parents and school boards. To repeat, it has been well known for some time that the teachers unions work to exclude the advanced degrees, while the education departments and the administrators go along with this farce. The people do not notice, and would hit the roof if this were known. The teachers just accept that that is the way it is, and try first to gain a job before going for advanced degrees to improve their own pay.

Education II

Another day of NPR on teaching has gone by, and today was to be content day. I waited in great anticipation while they played the preview, about how we would not just send a pilot up in the sky with no training and say he would learn in the “school of hard knocks” Finally, they would compare teaching to an art, and show the study of the soul and cognition required to understand how souls that once did not know come to know! Surely someone would mention the teaching of Socrates in Plato’s Republic that compares the journey of education to the ascent of prisoners from a cave where they were shackled to viewing the shadows of artificial beings that are like the true beings and their reflections seen first reflected in what is like a pool outside.

I admit I was fading in and out, reading a book about Bob Dylan. But it was a good thing I had been watching Iggy videos earlier, trying to get the “Louie Louie” he did in Europe to come up. It’s good because, when the woman being interviewed came to the place where it was time to address the content or how to improve education, she arrived at the revelation, which is no doubt the first principle of the program at Eastern Michigan, and the main thing this discipline called “Education” has to say about the content of education:

Each has his own idea of how to improve education

I knew it! they would leave the content vacuous! See the benefit of education, in knowing which of the shadows are likely to be paraded by next!

Has it not occurred to them that that is what all the others, who have been indoctrinated in this “education” program, also say? They are, then, looking around to one another, who are also looking around to one another, because none have ever seriously considered the question of what education is.

Take this for my opinion, the saying of this one of the each, though what is here is the same thing that is said at many of the great liberal arts colleges, like Saint John’s. And this will be understood at Hillsdale, if not at Albion or anywhere else, not to mention Eastern Michigan:

The equivalent of a pilot’s certificate is the advanced degree, called masters, as in the trades, and PhD. As in the trades, a journeyman who also studies sensitivity, avoiding lawsuits and evaluation techniques is not necessarily better qualified than a master to teach those setting off to become masters, nor to teach who just need enough plumbing or carpentry to get by.

Second, we are failing to cultivate the liberal arts. In high school, as has been said, psychology and philosophy can only be studied in the most brief and introductory way, to prepare for college courses. But Drama can be done, as well as Music, Government, History, and certain books, Homer, Hesiod, Herodotus, Plutarch, Shakespeare in literature classes, and many other things, in addition to the Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Astronomy, Algebra, Geometry, trigonometry, Calculus, that we, with our emphasis on sciences, take most seriously.

Many students too should like to learn trades, and go to work. Some too might prepare to be soldiers. All should, of course, practice gadgets nowadays, and know how to run a business, even. But these are not liberal arts. Nor is trade school the same as education. Both our President and Governor have only been able to answer that the goal of education is to promote jobs and technology, and this has been the answer of our nation since Kennedy found out that in the quest for space we were losing ground to the Russians.

Liberal arts are practiced for their own sake and not for moneymaking, and so are different from the professions and the trades. If the liberal arts, the things worthy of study for their own sake, are set at the top of education, then the citizens will know what to do with their leisure time, and will not destroy their happiness with endless pursuits to fill the void in the human soul left by our modern world. They will know a good movie when they see one, and have a better chance at happy marriages.

And my students would not come out of gym class knowing kickball but not CPR, to save the lives of their fellow citizens.

And “we want more pay and prestige for teachers,” dang-it, and “when I’m at a party, I just do not get the prestige of those who answer ‘So, what do you do’ with “‘ am a lawyer; or ‘CEO.’ Surely that is a central thing to mention when considering how to improve education. Can you even tell when I am serious and when sarcastic?

Above all, what we do not want is to read books, great books, of great minds that can help cultivate our souls. This is the one thing no one will say, and why I revert to writing on music and watching Iggy when it comes to discussions of education. But it is by associating with the best that we ourselves become better. That is why we focus centrally on the twelve or so of the greatest minds, and others that point toward or help to understand these.

But reading books is out of fashion in education these days, having lost our to multicultural studies in the past two decades. The people I am addressing were educated in these ways. They are open to African and women’s studies, so long as these are not taught by a white male, because we understand equality so well that we do not even need to read the Constitution and Jefferson.

One wonders if a charter could be gained by a university to stock a high school with graduates of one of these great books education programs. The university would be set with philosophy, politics, literature and psychology/theology at its pinnacle, and maybe history and music, in four or five four year majors. Below this would be broader programs that aim at the trades: Law, medicine, education, and journalism. The professions are practical applications of the higher, human, sciences. Below this, in the high school, we would study the modern trivium and quadrivium. The seven studies used to be logic, grammar, rhetoric, and mathematics, geometry, astronomy, stereometry and music, or something like that. We would study grammar and rhetoric in English class, and maybe leave logic for the college kids. A beginning might also be made in Greek and Hebrew, and other elected languages, to be filled out upon reading the original texts in the graduate college.

But there you have it: How I would improve education. The college would provide teachers for the High school, the graduate school for the undergrad. The High school and professional schools would provide a broad base of financial support for the theoretical studies. The studies could be extended into elementary school, so that when Socrates gives a brilliant teaching, as that about a breeze bringing in fine things from fine places far away, in Book 3 or 4 of the Republic, the teaching would be able to filter all the way to those that select the curriculum for the Kindergartners.

Philosophy would not be of the modern sort, dominated by the attempts to imitate the physical sciences, as this has proven a dangerous failure. Pre-Nazi Germany was one of the “best educated” of all societies, in anatomy, sociology and nihilistic sciences that lead to tyranny. Our education would be governed with Socrates as philosopher king, and we would be hard pressed to finish the human studies in the works of Plato and Aristotle, though we would follow the course of the history of thought in each of these disciplines. Shakespeare would govern Literature, with Homer and others; Jefferson and Lincoln in politics, Jung in psychology, and so on for the disciplines. Teachers and students alike might compete to have essays among the secondary sources and to contribute their legacy to the university.

Hillsdale does have a charter school, and one suggestion would be for the Governor to look to this program in considering how to improve public education. But I am afraid he has no ground other than the “Education,” programs which for the most part lack content, and have informed the NPR discussion of education, leaving everyone looking to everyone else for the content of the answer to how to improve education.

Campaign Finance: A Constitutional Amendment

NPR had two guests on tonight, first former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Bell Cobb, and then Billie Corriher of the Center for American Progress. Suddenly it became clear that there is a common cause at the root of some of our systematic injustices, such as property seizures, Prescription Drug Abuse, and perhaps the system of Judicial fees as well. In my blog on the Pharmaceutical industry, I did not even get around to addressing the problem with the insurance system (because the recipient of services is not the one paying), and lawsuits, which in combination with the insurance companies, impel doctors to order tests to cover themselves in case of lawsuits. But these two together contribute to making a system of national health care un-affordable. I had only addressed the direct kickbacks and other incentives from the Pharmaceutical companies to the doctors and the hospitals. This is contrary to the Hippocratic oath, and need to stop.

Back to the courts. Chief Justice Cobb addressed the problem of elected judges, which ios that they must raise campaign funds into the millions, and then try cases before those they know have contributed, and secret P. A. C. money is untraceable publicly. The suggestion would seem to be appointed judges, though this may introduce other problems, and might only remove the problem to a different location. Mr. Corriher suggested stronger rules for judges regarding conflict of interest, and a more definite line of limits regarding campaign contributions, though the problem of secret contributions would remain.

Here is an obvious suggestion: forbid all campaigning, at least by judges. Let there be an official publication, a forum, like the League of Women’s Voter’s newspaper that allows each candidate to officially state their case. Then let the press come get their news, and eliminate the T. V. adds and laminated cow stuff that comes in the mail, with their opponent’s worst face right before the election. Unconstitutional? perhaps we are ready for a precisely worded amendment.

When new laws are made, or new constitutional arrangements made, there is always a new set of problems, usually unforeseen, that the legislators should try to foresee. Welfare and food stamps lead to category-diving and fraud. Every attempt to improve a circumstance with legislative measures leads, as if by its very artificiality, to a whole new set of problem. If the press and the official position forum were the locust of campaigns, all those corrupt would simply transfer their lobbying efforts to the press- which may be the least corrupt of the four branches of our government at present. This could be foreseen, though, and the press protected. America could replace the embarrassment of our campaigns and the slavishness of political office, which prevents the noble, (such as William Bennett seems to me), from wanting to take part in such a life, depriving America of her best source of talent and dedication.

Such an idea, of a public forum, trading post stove-type discussions around the table at the general store, is admittedly a bit like the flat tax-abolish the IRS idea. While it may not work literally, in just that simple a way, it is the right idea, which must then be adjusted in detail, admittedly toward the system we have now. But is it not time on some of these issues to wipe the slate clean and start over, before it is too late?

So here it is, the rough draft for Amendment XXVIII to the U. S. Constitution:

Freedom of Speech shall not be construed to allow campaign contributions indistinguishable from bribery. Henceforth, Congress may limit campaigning by the candidates for all elective offices of the United States to public forums provided for by non-partisan contributions, with entry to those forums subject to reasonable primary procedures. Such forums, as public speeches and debates, may be attended freely by the people and the press, but no money may be exchanged for the access of either the candidates, the people or the press.