Commentary - May 2010 Newsletters
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H o w   w e   t a k e   b a c k   o u r   c h i l d r e n ' s    e d u c a t i o n :    o n e   p e r s o n ,  o n e   q u e s t i o n ,   o n e   s c h o o l   a t   a   t i m e  .     F o l l o w   t h e   m o n e y  ,  h o n e y !
Memorial Day - May 31, 2010

As we gather today to honor our courageous fallen American warriors, it's good to remember
why they died, especially those in World War II.
Rahmbo:  Rule One
The causes of liberty
and freedom are
precarious and hard-
won, tenuously held
at best. When White
House Chief of Staff
Rahm Emanuel
famously told The New York Times, "Rule one:  
Never allow a crisis to go to waste," in late 2008,
wondering now in light of subsequent post-election
crises whether Rahm was referencing Saul Alinsky
Learning from David and Goliath--still:  Bullies and
self-serving opportunists seeking to expand their power
and work out their neuroses at the expense of our freedom have ever been with us.  Encouragingly,
according to a
landmark 2005 study by Ivan Arreguín-Toft, although predictably Goliaths defeat
Davids 71.5% of the time, when Davids set aside Goliathan rules and defy convention, outnumbered
Davids win most battles.  

Question for us today
What ill-fitting helmet and suit of armor are we wearing that we can abandon in favor of which five
smooth stones?  
Brief history of Benito
Mussolini's legal rise to
power as a popular leader of

"Under Mussolini, the
effectiveness of the parliamentary
system was virtually abolished
even though its forms were
publicly preserved. Law codes
were rewritten. All teachers in
schools and universities had to
swear an oath to defend the
Fascist regime. Newspaper
editors were personally chosen by
Mussolini (a journalist before
entering political life) and only
those who possessed a certificate
of approval from the Fascist Party
could practice
Mussolini pleased
his financial backers by
transferring a number of
industries from public to
private ownership,
but by the
mid 1930s he had begun moving
back to strict governmental
control of industry."

Left, Adolf Hitler with mistress Eva Braun;
at right, Benito Mussolini with sons in 1935.
Handsome Hitler
Social studies has changed.  Although now
third-graders here in Texas are assigned one-sheets
on Sheryl Crow, when I studied World War II we
never learned about officials' private lives and were
certainly never taught that during their ascents
Mussolini and Hitler were popular leaders who
were considered
handsome (as was Hitler's home)
or that they had many
rich and famous US and

To understand some of the tenor of those times,
Americans including such household names as
Carnegie, Rockefeller, Kellogg and Gamble -- it's a
far, far cry from
Pygmalion and Cecil Beaton's sets
My Fair Lady.

By 1939 the Nazi flag flew over 11 countries and
ruled 70 million citizens, a fifth of whom they killed,
their efforts made more efficient by Hollerith punch
cards and technical help from
Tom Watson and IBM
watch an unvarnished George Bernard Shaw on  YouTube telling us what he really thinks; although
he tries to be diplomatic about his views on eugenics -- shared as they were by many prominent
British Homes & Gardens November 1938 "Hitler's
Mountain Home" spread -- which as they note he
decorated himself -- just 22 months before he began
his Blitz bombing of London; more below.
Regardless of whether the Nazis actually set the fire
themselves, Hitler was able to use the crisis to persuade
German president Hindenburg to issue a "Decree for the
Protection of People and State" the next day that
dissolved Germany's Weimar Republic and granted the
Nazi elite sweeping powers to deal with the so-called
emergency, cementing legal foundations for a police
or the Nazi playbook.  A few weeks after Hitler became prime minister of Germany onJanuary 30,
1933 he established an "
auxilliary" 50,000-member police force; five days later a mysterious fire
destroyed the
Reichstag, blamed by the Nazis on Communists.
An avid car buff, Hitler here visits the 1939
International Auto Exhibition in Berlin
How we came to have pictures now of Hitler's
handsome house as told by Simon Wildman
May 29, 2010
Simon Waldman
The Guardian
Monday 3 November 2003

One evening in May, my father-in-law proudly took out an old
magazine. It was a November 1938 edition of Homes and
Gardens, featuring a modernist bungalow built in Wraysbury,
on the banks of the Thames, designed by his father, Henry
Carr. The 65-year-old magazine was, and still is, one of his
proudest family heirlooms, but he had only ever looked at the
article on his father's house. I started to flick through it and
found something quite remarkable.

As a result of this casual browse through an old magazine, I
have struck up a friendship with an amateur historian in
Louisiana, been involved in a copyright tussle with the UK's
biggest magazine publisher, been branded a Nazi sympathiser,
been written about in the New York Times, International
Herald Tribune and the Jerusalem Post, and become the
subject of a petition from 60 Holocaust scholars as well as
protests from David Irving.

My discovery was an article headlined "Hitler's Mountain
Home" - a breathless, three-page Hello!-style tour around Haus
Wachenfeld, Hitler's chalet in the Bavarian Alps. In it, the
author, the improbably named Ignatius Phayre, tells us that "it
is over 12 years since Herr Hitler fixed on the site of his one
and only home. It had to be close to the Austrian border". It
was originally little more than a shed, but he was able to
develop it "as his famous book Mein Kampf became a
bestseller of astonishing power".

The great dictator, it seems, was quite the interiors wizard:
"The colour scheme throughout this bright, airy chalet is light
jade green. The Führer is his own decorator, designer and
furnisher, as well as architect... [Hitler] has a passion about
cut flowers in his home."  
 (continued here)
Dear Friends:  

Glorious blue-sky days here in the Hill Country.
Likely there were similar beautiful days in New
England in late May of 1776.  

Thirteen months previous Paul Revere, William
Dawes, Samuel Prescott and Wentworth Cheswell
had been willing to risk their lives to sound the
night alarm that the times had grown serious and
all possible hands were required on deck as the
few sought to preserve our freedom against the
many seeking to curtail it.
Texas State Board of Education
& social studies
What's all the fuss about? The liberal
progressives who have been in charge
of public education for the past century
are being challenged by conservatives
as part of the normal political process;
not being used to opposition, they're
acting like wronged parties and calling
for the Lege to make the State Board
appointed rather than elected. If state
senator Chuy Hinojosa (a self-described
lifelong "fighter for
ideals") gets his way, bye-bye ballot
box. More
here (May 2010 SBOE) and
here (March 2010 SBOE).  
American World War II cemetary in the Netherlands
Such David and Goliath turning points have always been with us:
300 Spartans at Thermopylae, Charles Martel's small army at the
Battle of Tours. It always comes as a surprise to learn that at
most only 20 -25% of American colonials actively supported our
Revolution; the same percentage actively supported King George,
and the rest, at least half the populace, wanted no part of either
war or politics. Who could blame them? Who in their right mind
would not prefer to spend this holiday in a hammock rather than
indoors at a laptop?
Pass at Thermopylae
Rahm Emanuel & Barack Obama
13 states in 1776, 13 states in 2010
In 1776, 13 states found the courage to declare their independence from
England's George III. As of today 13 states have similarly declined to go along
with the feds' Race to the Top (Phase II) scheme. In this new war against our
freedoms, the feds are laying the groundwork to use Title I and the Common
Core Standards to
consolidate our 13,900 local school districts into 70, all run
out of Washington, DC. Gov. Rick Perry stood up to the feds on the first phase
of RTTT and now for his trouble we have the EPA breathing down our necks.
(This may sound simplistic, but most of us me included on a day such as this
are not interested in much more right now than the nickel version of anything.)
Arne Duncan (L) shooting
hoops with Mr. Obama
  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming
13 states declining to enter
US DE's Race to the Top
(as of 05.30.10)
Is your state on the list at left?  

Encouraging update on David & Goliath
Bullies and self-serving opportunists seeking to expand their power
and work out their neuroses at the expense of our freedom have ever
been with us. Happily, according to a
2005 study by Ivan
Arreguín-Toft, although Goliaths defeat Davids 71.5% of the time,
when Davids set aside Goliathan rules and defy convention,
outnumbered Davids win most battles.
International Baccalaureate, Inc.
After a month-long search for information about salaries for top IB execs -- should public 501 IRS
charities be compensating their director general almost a half million a year -- we are now asked to
communicate with IB's unnamed "Global Head of Communications" in Europe.
Texas legislators waiting to cut in line ahead of waiting public.
Saul Alinsky's rules -- but which?
There are multiple versions, here and here, such as, “Clothe your arguments with moral garments”
which translates to, “We love, love, love our students almost as much as we love, love, love your tax

Dropouts: Texas audit, Father Greg
You name it in public ed, and somebody will figure out a way to game it; one scam here. Because one
of my long-term goals is to derail the school-to-prison pipelines that our major urbans have become,
here’s some welcome news from Texas Home School Coalition: TEA is going to audit Texas public
school withdrawal records. On another front in another state Father Greg Boyle offers jobs and training
at Homeboy Industries in LA; he's the only executive director I know with the moral courage to ride a
bicycle through a hail of gunfire in a gang fight in the projects as a means of stopping it. Compare and
contrast his $52K salary with Houston's Children at Risk‘s CEO, Bob Sanborn, who pays himself  
$142K annually.

MLK's ethics pledge cards for civil rights workers
Ever wonder how Martin Luther King kept his civil rights marchers in line during his lifetime, almost
impossible to achieve with so many people?  
Here’s how.  (Be sure to check out the ethics pledges for
trustees and other elected officials.)

Where does change start?
Wily Florentine patriot Niccolo Machiavelli tells to look no farther than our own bathroom mirror:
Blessings --

Peyton Wolcott
Publisher, Public Ed Commentary
Founder, National Grassroots Online School District Check Register Movement

P.S.   Will someone please explain to Texas state senator Chuy
Hinojosa -- along with Dana Perino, Mike Huckabee, George Bush,
Phil Kerpen and Burnt Orange Report -- why we're a constitutional
republic, not a democracy? The two systems are not the same; by
definition, a lynch mob is a democracy.  This
YouTube clearly
explains the difference; once you watch it, you'll never again
confuse the two.  
A return to first principles in a
republic is sometimes caused by the
simple virtues of one man. His good
example has such an influence that
the good men strive to imitate him,
and the wicked are ashamed to lead
a life so contrary to his example.
Global Head
Laura Stoddart
If you're in a YouTubing kind of mood, here are some folks
who've taken the time to share with us how they feel and
what they believe:
More about the difference between democracy, republic and
oligarchy - Greece's descent  into anarchy from their democracy

Third party / Constitution Party / Rule of Law

Utah man in the street asks bystanders what kind of government
we have here in America
Hitler (left( with Eva Braun