Monthly Archives: July 2014

Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

I decided not to teach Adobe Illustrator to Bernie, because of the comments at the end of this article.

AlGoresComputerFetishI have been intensively involved with computers, sometimes for a reason. I have a lot to say.

I read all the posts—unlike most of the ephemeral attention the information tsunami receives. All your comments changed my  mind—I was planning on teaching my 7-year-old granddaughter to use Adobe Illustrator to channel her constant drawing. Now I realize the mistake I was making. I’ll keep her as far as possible away from computers.


Children as young as four are becoming so addicted to smartphones and iPads that they require psychological treatment.

Are smartphones making our children mentally ill?

Leading child psychotherapist Julie Lynn Evans believes easy and constant access to the internet is harming youngsters


The Association of Teachers and Lecturers warn that rising numbers of children are unable to perform simple tasks such as using building blocks because of overexposure to iPads.


Cellphones and other devices emit the “blue light” that works against the sleep process by interfering with melatonin, the chemical in our bodies that promotes sleepiness.

Anecdote: When I was in the 10th grade in 1970, I shared a science-fiction short story I had read with my friends: Like the kids in Hunger Games, rural, disadvantaged kids lacking access to specialized calculating equipment were able to beat elite urban kids in math competition by using traditional paper-based cyphering techniques.

Life imitates art, as a recent news article shows: “FINNS BEAT U.S. WITH LOW-TECH TAKE ON SCHOOL”, Politico 5/27/14 .

“At the start of morning assembly in the state-of-the-art Viikki School in Helsinki, students’ smartphones disappear. In math class, the teacher shuts off the Smartboard and begins drafting perfect circles on a chalkboard. The students — some of the highest-achieving in the world — cut up graphing paper while solving equations using their clunky plastic calculators.” (Read More… )

I trace a lot of this confusion to the indubitable Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize winner. As Vice-President, he had enormous influence promoting the idea that the mere possession of computers automatically confers educational excellence. (Image: Al Gore as a traditional medicine man dancing with a little computer rattle. )

I’m very happy at Kim from Far Rockaway’s comments, contradicting what I am saying here. I would love it if every teacher were sufficiently conscientious and skilled to be able to ensure her students’ excellence. But I suspect that Kim would succeed with her students under any circumstances.

Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Hechinger Report

By Jill Barshay : The Hechinger Report

Inside Hoboken’s combined junior-senior high school is a storage closet. Behind the locked door, some mothballed laptop computers are strewn among brown cardboard boxes. Others are stacked one atop another. Dozens more are stored on mobile computer carts, many of them on their last legs.

That’s all that remains from a failed experiment to assign every student a laptop at Hoboken Junior Senior High School. It began five years ago with an unexpected windfall of stimulus money from Washington, D.C., and good intentions to help the district’s students, the majority of whom are under or near the poverty line, keep up with their wealthier peers. But Hoboken faced problem after problem and is abandoning the laptops entirely this summer.

“We had the money to buy them, but maybe not the best implementation,” said Mark Toback, the current superintendent of Hoboken School District. “It became unsustainable.”

None of the school administrators who initiated Hoboken’s one-to-one laptop program still work there. Toback agreed to share Hoboken’s experiences so that other schools can learn from it. Continue reading

Pot seen as reason for rise in Denver homeless

DENVER (AP) — Officials at some Denver homeless shelters say the legalization of marijuana has contributed to an increase in the number of younger people living on the city’s streets.

One organization dealing with the increase is Urban Peak, which provides food, shelter and other services to homeless people aged 15 to 24 in Denver and Colorado Springs.

“Of the new kids we’re seeing, the majority are saying they’re here because of the weed,” deputy director Kendall Rames told The Denver Post ( ). “They’re traveling through. It is very unfortunate.”

The Salvation Army’s single men’s shelter in Denver has been serving more homeless this summer, and officials have noted an increase in the number of 18- to 25-year-olds there.

The shelter housed an average of 225 each night last summer, but this summer it’s averaging 300 people per night. No breakdown was available by age, but an informal survey found that about a quarter of the increase was related to marijuana, including people who moved hoping to find work in the marijuana industry, said Murray Flagg, divisional social services secretary for the Salvation Army’s Intermountain Division.

Some of the homeless have felony backgrounds that prevent them from working in pot shops and grow houses, which are regulated by the state, Flagg said. He also thinks others may find work but don’t earn enough to pay rent in Denver’s expensive housing market.

At the St. Francis Center, a daytime homeless shelter, pot is the second most frequently volunteered reason for being in Colorado, after looking for work.

St. Francis executive director Tom Leuhrs also sees an economic reason for the increase of the number of homeless young people. They’re having difficulty moving from high school and college to the workforce, Leuhrs said.

“The economy is not supporting them. There are not enough jobs,” he said.

Edward Madewell said he was on his way back home to Missouri when he decided to head to Colorado so he could keep smoking the marijuana he uses to control seizures. “I’m not going to stop using something organic. I don’t like the pills,” he said.

Dusty Taylor, 20, said he moved back to Colorado, where he grew up, to avoid legal problems. “I don’t want to catch a felony for smoking,” he said.

G.K. Chesterton’s Prophetic Look at National Health Care

ChestertonCommonSense101Dale Ahlquist | 2-20-2012 | American Chesterton Society Blog

G.K. Chesterton considered himself a member of the Liberal Party until 1912. As he would later say, he did not leave the Liberal Party. It left him. He believed in something called liberty, the idea that people should be able to make most decisions for themselves, especially the most basic and most important decisions, and not have such decisions made for them by anyone else, especially by the government. He believed, as a liberal, that the State’s role was to preserve liberty, not take it away.

What happened in 1912? The Liberal Party, which held power in Parliament, passed The Health Insurance Act. Every working man was required to have part of his wages withheld to pay for a national health insurance. The funding was to be further supplemented by a tax on every employer. Sound familiar?

Chesterton’s objections to the Insurance Act were threefold. First, it was anti-democratic in practice. The vast majority of the English population was against it. It was being passed against their will, but—so the argument went—for their own good. Second, it was anti-democratic in principle. It divided the populace into two permanent castes: those who labor, and those who pay for the labor. Chesterton called this what it is: slavery. Third, Chesterton saw the Act as paving the way to the State seizing more power, more influence, more interference in everyone’s daily lives. Sound familiar?

About a century later, here in America, we are looking at essentially the same thing that Chesterton was looking at. We watched as a National Health Care program was passed in utter defiance of public support, rammed through the legislative process by one party rather than by any sort of consensus. We have also watched the reinforcement of a system comprised of employers and employees, of wage-earners rather than independent, self-sufficient and truly “self-employed” citizens. And we have also watched the unimaginable growth of government as it has insinuated itself into every aspect of our lives.

One of Chesterton’s strongest objections to the Insurance Act was the increase in taxes to those who could scarcely afford to have any of their income taken from them, even if it was to be used for something specific like health care. The tax prevented a man from paying for other needs he had that might be just as important as medical care. He was being forced to pay for medical care that he might not need. What other things that he did not need would the State decide he must also pay for?

Chesterton pointed out that a compulsory Health Insurance Act was first passed in Germany. It followed another compulsory act that was also first passed in Germany: compulsory education. Chesterton was a vocal opponent of state-sponsored compulsory education, for the same reasons he was against a national health insurance. It was an attack on freedom. It gave the government too much power, and it took away a basic freedom from the citizen. The liberal argument was that the State was providing a valuable service. Chesterton’s counter-argument was that though the State was providing education, it was the State’s education. Though it was providing medicine, it was a forced medicine. With a compulsory insurance, he argued, people were being forced to pay to be protected against themselves. People are often willing to trade freedom for security. But the problem is that it is usually someone else trading our freedom for our security.

Although Chesterton found himself allied with the conservatives on the issue of health care, he might point out now that one of the reasons we have gotten into the present mess was that health care became an industry, controlled by large corporations rather than independent practitioners, and every industry tends to grow till it forms an alliance with big government. When health care started becoming too expensive, the solution was supposed to be health insurance. But insurance quickly made health care even more expensive. On the one hand, the medical industry stopped worrying about being affordable; on the other, a new layer of private bureaucracy and overhead was added that also needed to be paid for. Is there a solution? Yes. There is one drastic solution.

But sometimes issues of health require drastic measures. The health care system needs radical surgery. The honest thing to do is do away with health insurance. Doctors and hospitals and clinics should start selling a product that people can afford, and that they should not have to buy unless they actually need the product. It should not cost a thousand dollars to treat an ingrown toenail. But it does. It should not cost $30,000 to set a broken arm. But it does. Ours is a system that cannot be sustained. That is why the government feels justified to step in.

Chesterton prophesied this very scenario. He warns that the State cannot become a Universal Provider without becoming just another big shop. The one thing we’ve seen about big shops is that they collapse. We can avoid the big collapse if we start getting small again. We might even get healthy again.

GilbertMagazine—Dale Ahlquist for the editorial board of Gilbert Magazine

*This editorial appeared in the April/May 2010 issue of Gilbert Magazine, which you can read in its entirety right here.

Most Dissonant Ending


“Cadence” is something we all recognized in harmony, a kind of “Amen” that signifies completion and finality at the end of a musical phrase. This movie, 1936’s “Rose Marie” with Nelson Eddy and Jeannette MacDonald, has a completely dissonant, unresolved cadence.


Our First Fourth of July After Our Freedom is Over

shackledFlagWhat will our first Fourth of July be like, once we have completely lost our freedom?

It won’t matter which pet cause of the Disinformational Elites is then-currently mandatory.

Gay Marriage won’t have any special favor over the long run.

As soon as the Elites have determined that our population is waning too much, they could just as easily forbid any sterile sexual relations, where now fruitful sexual relations are severely sanctioned.

Or as soon as the Elites have completely broken the spirit of the people by disintegrating their national identity, they may decide that unregulated immigration is forbidden. American Government immigration policy may become so severe that it makes Mexico’s look liberal.

P.S. To: CodeToad

Re: “The right to abortions is guaranteed by law.”

That could only be, if Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton (1973) had been passed by Legistlators.

Lawmakers make laws. Judges litigate on the basis of laws passed by Lawmakers.

Roe and Doe may be the litigation of the land, but, as opposed to Left-Coast States like California & New York, which actually BOTHERED to pass laws allowing for abortion, Congress never passed any law, nor did two-thirds of the States ratify any Amendments to The Constitution mandating universal abortion.

How the Court Became Supreme by judicial scholar Robert Lowry Clinton in First Things, January 1999