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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gov Mark Sanford and Values.

Just a note I find the whole Gov. Sanford affair disgusting. But then I always knew Washington , DC and most state capitals –I have seen such blackguards in action- are the very sink of obliquity. There is a total lack or restraint and almost comlete inability to distinguish between right and wrong.

In such an atmosphere if hedonism and moral relativism it is no wonder there are so many outbreaks of sexual license and immorality. As I have said before I often wonder if we are living under the volcano (that these are the Last Days of Pompeii).
President Obama –it seems- at least seems to have a decent moral character and appears to be a good husband and father. But of course I do not know how many cigarettes he really smokes nor what his personal life is like at all. I DO NOT EVEN KNOW IF HE WROTE HIS BOOKS and I DO NOT KNOW HIS SAT scores or his college grades or what courses he studied. I continue to be very unimpressed by him. Ole W. at least was a man of honor and courage and I agree with Ralph Peters that he will be rated higher than most presidents –far higher than Johnson, or Clinton or Carter- Peters would rank him higher than JFK- and on part with near great presidents such as Eisenhower. But back the Adulterer in Chief of the Carolinas.

Here are some quotes from Sandford the fraud and whoremaster. We now know he had FREQUENT sexual rendezvous with his Latin bombshell (some while both HE AND SHE were MARRIED!!!!! So they both are FORNICATORS and ADULTERERS.) It wouldn’t be so bad if he had a devil may care attitude and made no pretence of respecting traditional marriage and traditional Judeo-Christian values. His defense of traditional marriage seems laughable and pathetic today. There is no question he is politically kaput anyway. I personally was never impressed by him a single big. Palin and Bobby JIndal at least seem honest go-getters. But the field is narrowing for 2012 and 2016.

GOV . SANDFORD: His relationship with Chapur (his Latina paramour): "I will be able to die knowing that I had met my soul mate. But it was one of those things, I knew the cost."
MUNRO EVERYONE HAS TEMPTATIONS; you just tell the TRUTH and DON’T CROSS the line. For example, when I meet people I NEVER SAY I am single. I have had plenty of chances –particularly when I was younger- to meet attractive single women. I still meet attractive single young women frequently. But I made it clear from the first moments how old I am and that I am married with children that I sought nothing but friendship. Between my church and my school activities and my hobbies I have no time, inclination or left over surplus cash to entertain. When I do have some money I prefer to invest it in music or books. Nonetheless, I was not afraid to have a friendship with these with some of my top former students within limits. But aside from writing letters of recommendation and giving advice the extent of my social life with them is attending their weddings and the baptism of their children. I am like an old uncle to them; I wish them well in THEIR LIVES and hope that they FIND THEIR PAIR AND THEIR MATCH. If I did anything else I would be harming them and of course harming myself and harming my marriage. My personal happiness and marriage is too precious to me for me ever to through it away for a relationship which could not possibly go anywhere. But platonic friendship is possible of course, especially long distance. Most of my friendships with women are intellectual and artistic friendships. It is a matter of honor INTEGRITY, OF TRUTH TELLING and COMMITMENT TO MARRIAGE.
And I must say I have been rewarded by the love and friendship of many wonderful women precisely because I do not cross the line. I love of course and I love passionately –this I do not deny-but a man of honor reserves the totality of the four loves for the sacrament of marriage. THERE IS WHERE YOU FIND SOUL MATES. My wife is my SOUL MATE; I have other friends, other kindred spirits who are very dear –my cousin Buntie (Helen Munro)- in a way we are SOUL MATES. I was a soul mate in away with my mother and her love for me was probably the greatest love in my life in a way. I am very glad she knew my wife and children and that they all loved her.
But love and friendship are more valuable than a few moments of rutting like an animal. Erotic love without friendship , trust and affection is a cheap and hollow thing.
I suppose part of me wishes as has always wished I could turn back the clock and live among Gaels but though I have deep cianalas (that feeling of joy and sorrow and distance much strong than nostalgia) and I remember the past and enjoy my heritage I face firmly towards the future.
Never at any time did I consider going back except in song. Really there is no place to go back to; our communities like the Jewish shetels were completely destroyed by emigration, neglect, economic, social and political forces in the years 1890-1920.
You can’t go home again. I never considered returning to Scotland (or the Highlands in particular ) and dating or marrying people of Scottish descent though that surprises people. I only dated people of faith and character and neither nationality nor race had anything to do with it. I never had any serious flings –even when I was a young man. The young women wanted flings but I resisted. I felt that if I fell to that temptation it would distract me from my true path and my pledge to my Auld Pop and parents that I would marry and have children and raise them up to be upstanding persons of character and faith.
SANFORD_ On his relationship with Chapur: "This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, that it's a love story ... a forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day."
MUNRO: Wrong again. This is a tale of excess, adultery and lust. WHY DOESN’T HE JUST SAY IT. I am sure he had some feelings for this woman because at least unlike Gov Spitzer’s paid babe – Chapur was a woman of intelligence and some education. This was not a momentary lapse or fling but serious serial adultery. But Sanford had a very attractive wife and an accomplished one who had born him FOUR CHILDREN. The ingratitude of Sanford and selfishness is almost beyond ken for me. The man obviously has about as much character as Clinton. Just another political witchdoctor and whoremaster. Away with him! He is a blackguard, a liar and a villain. I absolutely hate his guts.
“Our sad decay in church and state is all past my describin’
These blackguards are like a frost in June and we hae done wi’ thrivin.”
_SANDFORD: On trying to deal with his feelings for her: "It's about incredibly deep conflicts, between one's heart and one's value system, and an 8 1/2 year wrestling match on that front."
What VALUE SYSTEM???? 8 ½ year wrestling match is right! A wrestling match of lust and adultery.
An expense of spirit –dud in the mud sterile sex-in a waist of shame.
Mrs Sanford , on the other hand, has behaved honorably all the way. She tried to keep the marriage together and told him he had to stop seeing the other woman (she found out about it about five months ago).

I have to admit I feel lost in this world. It is hard to be proud of America surrounded by hypocrites and nihilists

Of course I have no illusions. Britain is far worse and Spain is almost entirely a den of iniquity. There is no escape really from the worst of the modern world.

The 60’s have come to Spain Careers, Contraception and the Cult of Childlessness.

I count myself lucky that I got there before the contagion spread. My wife was the last harvest of the true beauty and honor of Spain.

As the Highland saying goings (I will translate). “Modesty ‘tis the true beauty of womanhood.”

( Is I ‘’n alleantaeachd maise nam ban.)

We do the best we can with our daughters but worry terribly about the character of the young men they meet. I almost (not quite) wish for arranged marriages. Perhaps that custom will come back out of necessity. Who knows?

Are values taught or caught? I think it is an interaction of both. But one must teach by example.

Even in my relationships with my sisters –sometimes conflictive- there is love and forgiveness because I PUT FAMILY FIRST and I do not want to give a bad example for my own children. I certainly am not going to sue anyone over some piece of furniture etc. It just is not that important. Things are not important as compared to memories, love, family and friendship.

There are deep bonds of loyalty and love there that can withstand anything.

Vanity and greed should not intrude and are little match for the love and affection of over 50 years or in the case of my wife now over 36 years. She and I have been friends for over 36 years and I am a close friend to her sister and aunt and mother!!!! If I lost my wife I would still have her family and its love and I would still have my children our children as well.

Real love – the love a LEAL MON- is deep and wide and unshakeable . It bends not with the remover to removed. Love’s not time’s fool. It is an ever fixed mark.

Castles are sacked in war, Eileen aroon,
Chieftains are scattered far,
But TRUTH ‘tis a fix-ed star EILEEN AROON.

Oh yes EILEEN AROON (Eibhlin arun- my innermost love!)

Sunday, June 28, 2009


A classic love story this, again from the pen of Robert Burns. He knew Highland manhood well. Leal men and true who would die for the colors but not for an extra two bob a day. And as my Auld Pop used to say "If this wadna bring tears tae yer e'en ye nae are a hielander."


Islay St.Clair made a very moving recording.

When wild war's deadly blast was blawn and gentle peace returning
Wi' mony a sweet babe faitherless and mony a widow mourning
I left the lines and tented field where lang I'd been a lodger
My humble knapsack all my wealth, a poor and honest soldier

A leal licht heart was in my breast, my hand unstained wi’ plunder
And for fair Scotia hame again I cheery on did wander
I thocht upon the banks o' Coil, I thocht upon my Nancy
And aye I minded the witching smile that caught my youthful fancy

At length I reached the bonnie glen where early life I sported
I passed the mill and trysting thorn where Nancy oft I courted
Wha spied I but my ain dear maid down by her mother's dwelling
And turned me round to hide the flood that in my een was swelling

She gazed, she redden'd like a rose syne pale like ony lily
She sank within my arms and cried "Art thou my ain dear Willie?"
"By him who made yon sun and sky, by whom true love's regarded,
I am the man and thus may still true lovers be rewarded."

"The wars are owre and I've come hame and find thee still true hearted
Tho poor in gear we're rich in love and mair we'se ne'er be parted."
Quoth she "My grandsire left me gowd a mailin plenished fairly
And come my faithfu' sodger lad, you're welcome tae it dearly."

the first tune is the SOLDIER'S RETURN the SCOTLAND THE BRAVE

I don't have a video of the above song but here are some others


Grand Auld Hymn the AULD RUGGED CROSS

This is a translation of THE OLD WOODEN CROSS by the Rev. John MacLeod, Church of Scotland Minister in Oban for many years. The translation is close to the English version. The melody is the same as that used in English. It can be found in the hymn book SEINNIBH DHAN TIGHEARNA.

‘S ann air cnoc fada thall thog iad Iosa air Crann,
A fulang gach cruadail is nàir .
Thug E bheatha gu saor air son peacaich an t-saogh'il
Ach an creideadh na h-uile na ghràdh.

An seann Chrann ud tha maillaicht gun bhàidh
Rinneadh glòrmhor tre cheusadh Mac Dhè;
‘S tha sinn riaraicht is sona gach là
‘S crùn oirdheirc gar feitheamh air Nèamh.

An Crann searbh ud làn tàir ann an saoghal làn gràin
Tha gam tharraing le cuireadh tha fial;
Thàinig Iosa bho Ghlòir is fuil phrìseil gun d dhòirt -
B e siud adhbhar a thurais bho Dhia.

Tha n Crann brùideil ‘s e dearg le fuil naomhachd gun chealg
Gam thàladh le mhaise ‘s le ghlòir;
Is Iosa nam àit a giùlan masladh tre ghràdh,
Gam chur saor bho gach cionta is leòn.

An Crann-ceusaidh goirt fuar ni mi moladh is uaill,
‘S cha bhi eagal ro uaigh no bàs,
‘S thig E Fhèin air mo thòir gam thoirt dhachaigh gu Glòir,
Far ‘m bi sonas is càirdean is gàdh.

E. leis an Urr. lain MacLeòid
Faclan is Fonn le Seòras Bennar

THE SOUND OF MULL Recorded a wonderful version circa 1974 and it is available on CD.

The best I can do on short notice is JIM NABORS. He is nae sae bad.

Great old hymn; my granny who loved Billy Graham, Guideposts and the Bible used to love to sing this hymn .

I am ashamed to say I never sang it for her no expressed my appreciation for introducing me to this song while she lived. ‘S truth , lassie, aye.

But then I was a sinful young man only beginning to come out of the dark.
I wasna the worst grandson but I was far from the best. I did not show her the honor due her. She was Free Church and we were not and that was part of it. Still I came to understand her more as I grew older. I hope God will forgive me for my many selfish and foolish moments. I have tried to atone for my many sins of omission and comission.

She suffered terribly. She left her native island as a young woman of 17 and her beloved husband Eric Anderson was killed August 8, 1918. She was a widow for almost 70 years. My mother was an only child.

We name our daughter ERICA after him and her name of course spells his name ERIC A.

And also (and this was not planned …was it God’s will?) there are five of in our family.





Gilbert Highet (1906-1978), coined the charming phrase ‘the small, flat world of the chessboard’. I believe it indubitable that it was first used or popularized by Highet in his radio talks and then republished in 1957 (Oxford University Press)/

The quote is also referred to an old book I read as a boy the piece The Joys of Chess by Fred Reinfeld (New York, 1961). Page 13 mentions that the article, entitled “Chess Men”, was originally a radio talk and of course this is true because Highet’s essays are based on his radio scripts for WQXR in New York..

If one listens to some of the radio scripts as I have one will notice that Highet ad libs from time to time and of course laughs. So there is a slight difference betweek the published essays and the radio talks. But the radio talks were broadcast first so if one wanted to one could date the first date the talk was aired. The radio talks are charming and informative and still worth listening to. I often listen to them while swimming as a change of pace and as a form of relaxation. My father made reel to reel recordings of some of his talks which I first heard in the early ‘60’s –they ended in 1959 but some of there are available on CD format.

Another reference to chess by Highet occurred on page 92 of Highet’s splendid book Man’s Unconquerable Mind (New York, 1954):

“After Stalin had won his struggle for power against Trotsky, Trotsky’s work in building up the Red army was expunged from Communist history books and is now virtually forgotten inside the USSR. Such distortions are extended to quite small details. Thus, the most distinguished of modern chess masters was a Russian, Alekhine; since he repudiated the Bolshevik revolution, his name is not mentioned in Russian histories of chess.”

There is also, as I recall at least one reference to chess in Highet’s great book The Classical Tradition.

I have only a passing interest in chess per se though as a young man I played it often particularly when I lived in Spain but I have a great interest in Gilbert Highet who is one of my favorite authors. At my present age (53) I much prefer literature, languages and music to games such as baseball, football (soccer) and chess though I can be enticed by my wife to see USA beat Spain or Brazil! But I would characterize myself now, at last, as a very casual fan. Modern sports has become so commercialized that it they have ruined the fun for me. And in addition I admit I am probably influenced by the anti-intellectualism and unpleasantness of high school jocks. They are very tiresome and make it hard for me to root for them. I detest athletes and coaches asking me to change the grade of a jock slacker! Absolutely detest it. But it happens regularly. But I hold firm. Mind you I would tutor any athlete who cared about improving his grade. But when the tell me ‘they can’t miss practice” and they “don’t have the time” I tell them that they made their choice and so have to suffer the consequences.

I believe Highet.was one of the greatest teachers and writers of the 20th century. His prose is the equal or superior to George Orwell whose work I have read almost completely. Highet is simply worth reading for his style and clarity. He was the Scottish-American Cicero. Russell Kirk agreed with me as his widow Annette Kirk once told me. Kirk had all of Highet’s books in his library at Mecosta.



Saturday, June 27, 2009

RE: Ralph Peters - Political Mannerism - Wishful Thinking and Indecisive Wars

“”Third, ending the draft resulted in a superb military, but an unknowing, detached population. The higher you go in our social caste system, the less grasp you find of the military’s complexity and the greater the expectation that, when employed, our armed forces should be able to fix things promptly and politely.”


I am a veteran myself (I volunteered) and I teach among youth of a lower socioeconomic group; some middle class but mostly lower middle class or poor. I have known hundreds of military recruits and have been visited by many dozens. In one AP class five of my student enlisted in the Marines and came back at the same time to speak to our classes (by the way the administrations –under pressure from families –particularly upper middle class families- DOES NO ALLOW recruiters to speak to classes during class team even as a guest speaker. The local Catholic High School does not allow recruiters on campus which I think is a disgrace). Recruiters are allowed to call students at home and make appointments at school. The are allowed to administer the ASVAB test.


“the privileged among us have lost the sense of grit in daily life. We grow up believing that safety from harm is a right that others are bound to respect as we do. Our rising generation of political leaders assumes that, if anyone wishes to do us harm, it must be the result of a misunderstanding that can be resolved by that lethal narcotic of the chattering classes, dialogue.


This is probably true in upper middle class suburbs but it is not true in rough and tumble Kern County where people hunt and shoot and play masculine sports with abandon. But I am sure it is true of the effete pansy metrosexuals but not –just look –among the NYPD.


“Last, but not least, history is no longer taught as a serious subject in America’s schools. As a result, politicians lack perspective; journalists lack meaningful touchstones; and the average person’s sense of warfare has been redefined by media entertainments in which misery, if introduced, is brief. “

MUNRO: this may be true but it not only the sense of history many Americans lack. It is the sense of race (in the meaning of race and line -descent). It is a sense of religion and tradition and the gratitude and continuity this gives.

Religion and tradition still have a pulse in America but are much diminished . Except in the military. I have never been in a college –even a Catholic college- were religion was taken as seriously and studied as seriously as when I served in the Marines (along with the Navy of course). Perhaps it is true there are (few or) no atheists in fox holes or in the fleet.

“”One of the many disheartening results of our willful ignorance has been well-intentioned, inane claims to the effect that “war doesn’t change anything” and that “war isn’t the answer,” that we all need to “give peace a chance.” Who among us would not love to live in such a splendid world? Unfortunately, the world in which we do live remains one in which war is the primary means of resolving humanity’s grandest disagreements, as well as supplying the answer to plenty of questions. As for giving peace a chance, the sentiment is nice, but it does not work when your self-appointed enemy wants to kill you. Gandhi’s campaign of non-violence (often quite violent in its reality) only worked because his opponent was willing to play along. Gandhi would not have survived very long in Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s (or today’s) China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, or Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Effective non-violence is contractual. Where the contract does not exist, Gandhi dies.

MUNRO: This is true of course and George Orwell made exactly the same point many years ago..Gandhi was lucky to know about the Magna Carta and that, ultimately, as in Ireland or Scotland and in the 13 Colonies, the British were not willing to rule as ruthless tyrants and exterminate their enemies.

“The problem is religion. Our Islamist enemies are inspired by it, while we are terrified even to talk about it. We are in the unique position of denying that our enemies know what they themselves are up to. They insist, publicly, that their goal is our destruction (or, in their mildest moods, our conversion) in their god’s name. We contort ourselves to insist that their religious rhetoric is all a sham, that they are merely cynics exploiting the superstitions of the masses. Setting aside the point that a devout believer can behave cynically in his mundane actions, our phony, one-dimensional analysis of al-Qaeda and its ilk has precious little to do with the nature of our enemies—which we are desperate to deny—and everything to do with us. “

MUNRO: Peters is exactly right. The elites believe religion is an illusion. But this illusion like the monsters from the Id is rushing to destroy and kill. It is no illusion. Bin Laden doesn’t know much but he knows one big thing:God is Great. That is the source of his terrible almost unbeatable power. He has faith that in the long run he and the believers will outlast the unbelievers and achieve a Manzikert and thus wipe out the legions of the Great Satan.

“A paralyzing problem “inside the Beltway” is that our ruling class has been educated out of religious fervor. Even officials and bureaucrats who attend a church or synagogue each week no longer comprehend the life-shaking power of revelation, the transformative ecstasy of glimpsing the divine, or the exonerating communalism of living faith. Emotional displays of belief make the functional agnostic or social atheist nervous; he or she reacts with elitist disdain. Thus we insist, for our own comfort, that our enemies do not really mean what they profess, that they are as devoid of a transcendental sense of the universe as we are. “

MUNRO: I think Peters is right in this. In my experience the many liberal arts university elite look at religion with horror and disdain and (in my view) deep prejudice. Many schools of (Teacher) Education have become schools of Deweyite Socialism , Secularism and Atheism. Marx and other Marxists are quoted incessantly as authorities but Cicero? Jesus? Lao Tzo? Augustine? Aristotle? How about Barzun or Highet? That Great Tradition is just cast aside but the New. I am very aware of what we are facing; I find it incredible that our elites do not know. But few of our elites were raised by a Regimental Sergeant Major who fought the Turks and who visited Hagia Sophia in 1919 and told me about it –it was a Mosque then now it is a museum but the important thing it is no longer a Cathedral of the Christian faith. He had fought and lived among the Believers and he did not like or trust them. But he said they had a burning, fanatical, undying faith. Give those devils dynamite, rifles, automatic weapons and a million rounds of ammunition and , he said, they would cause a lot of trouble. The only thing they understood (he did not say ‘they’) was a bayonet to the throat.


Behind all its entertaining bravado, Islam is fighting for its life, for validation.

Islam, in other words, is on the ropes, despite no end of nonsense heralding “Eurabia” or other Muslim demographic conquests…. If demography were all there was to it, China and India long since would have divided the world between them.

MUNRO: I disagree with Peters here. The problem with the West is DEMOGRAPHIC COLLAPSE combined with MASSIVE IMMIGRATION FROM THE third world. In Europe most of these are non-Christians. But he is right that Islam is fighting for its life and terrified that its youth will join the rock culture.

PETERS: The resultant rage is immeasurable; jealousy may be the greatest unacknowledged strategic factor in the world today.

MUNRO: Ah the one of the seven deadly sins! Of course jealousy is very important. It is the primary reason that Arabs , particularly Palestinians hate Jews. Jews are successful, victorious and rich. Palestinians are complaining failures. Peters is certainly right that we must be prepared for all kinds of war even a general war against China. Personally, I think war with China is inevitable or surrender that will yield to them South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
Many writers assume that if the West fights Islamic fundamentalism then Islamic fundamentalism will lose.

But one must wonder. As a man of faith I see Islam as a culture of great staying power; the only sub-cultures in the West that can equal it as far as I can see are the Mormon Church and the Observant(Orthodox Jews). Christian Orthodox and Roman Catholic cultures still have some strength but are much weakened. They do not have the strength to confront Islam; ironically many secular European children today may intermarry with Muslims eventually or be converted to that tenacious faith. Nature and Faith abhor a vacuum. Spain in the year 1000 was about 60-75% Muslim and many of El Cid’s soldiers were Muslim or of Muslim or Mozarabe (Arabic-speaking) backgrounds. But the career of El Cid and the Reconquista arrested the Islamization of Spain until modern times. But Islam is making a come back in Spain and France and is arguably as strong today as it was in those countries in the beginning of the 8th century. Many Spanish names like Guadalupe, Fatima and Medina are of course Arabic; it would be ironic if Spain became Islamic after all over one thousand years after the death of El Cid (1099).

I have been a catechist for over 20 years and have travelled what used to be called Christendom. Areas that were truthfully 99% Christian only 80 years ago or 40 years ago are now mostly Christian in name only. Most of the youth are highly secularized and embrace abortion (as a form of birth control) as well as pre-marital sex and artificial birth control. Most have positive views of Planned Parenthood as a ‘good’ organization. It may be good but it is inherently an anti-family and anti-Catholic organization. Some would say anti-Western as well. I live in a conservative community and yes Catholics still have demographic strength as compared to mainline Protestants but I would say no more than 10% or 20% of the youth are serious, believing and enthusiastic Catholics. That’s enough to keep the old edifice going for a few generations particularly since this small minority may produce 30 to 50% of Catholic Children. It is as if there are two Catholic churches today; the Catholic Church of divorced childless Sotomayor and the Church of the faithful. The Gov. Sanford affair was disheartening to me, particularly, because his wife was a very well-educated Irish Catholic and had borne him four children which is unusual for a college educated American woman (Sara Palin is even more unusual in this respect) I wonder what impact Sanford’s infidelities will have on the faith of his wife and children.

If the West does not have the strength, politically and demographically and the will to defend itself within its own borders how can it possibly defeat fundamentalist Islam beyond its borders?

The shadow of Dhimmitude and Islamization is upon us all. Gibbon’s vision of Minarets at Oxford has come to pass already! Gibbon, if he were alive today would be shocked and frightened for the future of England and the West.

Praise the Lord say I –and pass the ammunition. We are going to need plenty of both if we are to survive as a society and as a culture.


DIANE RAVITCH :Charter Schools, Urban Schools and JROTC Charter schools

Charter boosters Andrew Rotherham of Education Sector and Richard Whitmire, former editor of USA Today, wrote in response to Raymond’s report that it is time to close down low-performing charters. They noted that there are about 4,600 charters operating currently, but only 300 of them are part of a high-performing charter network. Undoubtedly there are some others, beyond the 300, that are successful, but by Raymond’s analysis, more than a third of current charters are worse than their neighboring public school and most are no better.
MUNRO: AMAZING but then there are Chicano Ed Charter Schools in LA etc which are all political indoctrination and have little to do with education. There are others too.
Yet because of the constant hype in the media by charter promoters, most of us have been sold a bill of goods. That includes President Obama. He has called for states to lift their caps on charters so that we can have thousands more of them. This would allow poor kids to escape their “bad” public school to attend an even worse charter school.
MUNRO: Mr. Obama what does he know ABOUT ANYTHING? His own kids go to elite private schools (as he did and as Biden did) and Chicago Public schools are dreadful. But Obama doesn’t dare oppose the teacher’s unions.
DIANE RAVITCH :If the charter sector doesn’t clean up its act, and if the federal government doesn’t take a strong stand on behalf of quality, we will be inundated with even worse schools than we have now. The only difference is that they will be managed by private entrepreneurs collecting public dollars.
ABSOLUTELY, right my dear. Of course, personally and professionally I have no interest in Charter schools. My dream for school reform is to try something entirely different and radical. In every county there should be a federally supported JROTC academy under the command of former Naval, Army, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard Officers and NCO”s. Of course we already have this in some schools (in Utah) and the Kern HS District has a very strong JROTC program representing all of the branches of the military except for the Coast Guard. My own high school (West High School ) has a strong JNROTC program and my former high school has a strong Army ROTC program.
In rural and semi-rural areas like Kern Country the big thing is high school sports. Even parents who home school their children k-8 usually send them to high school There is almost zero interest in academic academies that do not have strong sports programs. They tried to establish an academic academy in Tehachapi but it is now defunct. Parents said “who cares about Vergil and Latin ? We want a competitive football team.”
But of course in urban areas it is a different story. Most schools are murder machines of culture, education and discipline and are held hostage by the students themselves who know that they CAN’T ALL BE EXPELLED and that the SCHOOL IS REQUIRED TO HOUSE THEM. So schools become engines of retention with almost zero standards for civility and academics. The goals” of saying “everyone should graduate” and “no child left behind” are worse than stupid: they are insane. There will always be children left behind. If there are not it means THERE ARE NO AP PROGRAMS AND NO ACADEMIC ELITES AT ALL. I have two kinds of students this summer
1) those who attend every day (in summer school you drop with an F after the third absence.)
2) those whose can’t be bothered to get remediation in the summer

Personal choice has a lot to do with educational success. And education begins at home.
As long as we have 70% or more of children born out of wedlock (and a high percentage born to drop outs) our educational and cultural situation will only grow worse, in my humble opinion.
he only hope for students in urban schools is to get out as fast as possible OR go to a self selecting private school that can toss out the incorrigibles. The key to academic success is discipline and the ability to throw out incorrigibles.
I was briefly a Marine D.I. so I know that the way to stop misbehavior and anti-social behavior is NOT TO TOLERATE IT. If student persist in disrupting the educational process and disrespecting their teacher they will hear from me and I will make their lives MISERABLE. And like a Marine Bull Dog I will not let go. And as you know I am fearless. Neither parents nor thugs can intimidate me. I will document, document and document. I will call the parents, write letters home and ENCOURAGE (privately) students who are unhappy or harassed to GET HELP and HAVE THEIR PARENTS complain to the administration. You get the class behind you and tell the evil doers to get with the program or get out. Above all you keep the pressure up. Where is your book? Why aren’t you on time? Homework check. Come to the front of the class and teach us what you know. And no academic free rides. An A or B MEANS SOMETHING GOOD so does a C. Pressure D-Daredevils.
Nothing gets me more angry than an administrator or coach who tells me I HAVE TO PASS MORE STUDENTS or GIVE MORE A’S. I tell them: “Talk to the students. Talk to their parents. Don’t talk to me. I am available for my students for tutoring. They can re-do essays and re-take tests. They have plenty of chances to boost their grades and do extra credit. The students need to TAKE CHARGE OF THEIR LIVES and THEIR STUDIES. It’s up to them. I’m pitchin’ but they have to hit ‘em. But many of them sit back with their bat on their shoulders taking strike three. Let me amend that they aren’t even at bat. They are forfeiting their education by not being prepared, not concentrating, not persevering and not completing their assignments. You want more A’s? I will be glad to have the students cut them out with a stencil and construction paper and mail them to you. Fake grades and hollow academic credits do not an education make. When students get A’s with me THEY ARE PROUD. When students of mine GO TO COLLEGE they are prepared. When my students sign up for AP they go 100%. So far I have two Gates Millennium scholars; give me time and I will get a few more.

Urban Public School districts are New Mamelukes and Political Spoil systems. They have very little to do with education.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Runrig sings "An Ubhal as airde " THE HIGHEST APPLE

THIS IS THE POWERFUL CHORUS repeated in pslamic fashion.

Seididh gaoth is dearrsaidh grian (THE WIND WILL BLOW AND THE SUN SHINE
Ach thig an la is thig an t-am BUT THE DAY AND THE HOUR WILL SURELY COME
Airson an ubhal as airde TO TAKE THE HIGHEST APPLE
Air a' chraobh a bhuain FROM THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE


Words and music by: Calum MacDonald

Comhla rium
A tha thu an drasd
Mo shuilean duinte, mo chuimhne dan
Nam sheasamh a' coimhead
Gach cnoc is gach traigh
Is an siol a dh'fhag thu ann a 'fas

Tha an garradh lan
Le craobhan treun
Le meas a' fas dhuinn ann ri bhuain
Ubhlan abaich
Milis geur
Ach tha aon ubhal nach ruig sinn idir air

Is co 'nar measg
A mhaireas la
Seachad air am is air oidhche fhein
A liuthad uair
A shreap mi suas
Airson an ubhal as airde chur gu beul

Seididh gaoth is dearrsaidh grian
Tro mheas nan craobhan lin gu lin
Ach thig an la is thig an t-am
Airson an ubhal as airde
Air a' chraobh a bhuain

At present
All you were is with me
My eyes closed, my memory confident
Standing here watching
Each hill and shoreline
With the seed you left still growing

The garden is well stocked
With mighty trees
With fruit growing for the whole world
Ripe, sweet
And bitter apples
And the one apple that is beyond reach

Who amongst us
Can exist a single day
Beyond our own time and our own limits
Countless and futile
Are times I've climbed
To reach and taste the forbidden fruit

The winds will blow and the sun will shine
From generation to generation
Through the trees of the garden
But the day and the hour will surely come
To take the highest apple
From the knowledge tree


Thursday, June 18, 2009



"Wi a hundred Pipers"

KEEP RIGHT ON TO THE END OF THE Harry Lauder. A great song inspired by the Argylls and the Jocks of WWI. Sir Harry's only son was killed in action serving as an Argyll.

McKellar always sang some Irish songs for us at Kearney




Twa recruiting sergeants came frae the Black Watch
Tae markets and fairs, some recruits for tae catch.
But a' that they 'listed was forty and twa:
Enlist my bonnie laddie an' come awa.
And it's over the mountain and over the Main,
Through Gibralter, to France and Spain.
Pit a feather tae your bonnet, and a kilt aboon your knee,
Enlist my bonnie laddie and come awa with me.
Oh laddie ye dinna ken the danger that yer in.
If yer horses was to fleg, and yer owsen was to rin,
This greedy ole farmer, he wouldna pay yer fee.
Sae list my bonnie laddie and come awa wi' me
O laddie
O laddie if ye've got a sweetheart an' a bairn,
Ye'll easily get rid o' that ill-spun yarn.
Twa rattles o' the drum, aye and that'll pay it a'.
Sae list my bonnie laddie and come awa.

MARY DUFF: When You and I were Young Maggie



"When You and I Were Young, Maggie"
19th century son by Canadian George Washington Johnson first published in 1864,

When You and I Were Young, Maggie is a famous folk song, popular song and standard. Its lyrics were written as a poem by the Canadian school teacher George Washington Johnson. Margaret "Maggie" Clark was his pupil. They fell in love and during a period of illness, George walked to a nearby hill, overlooking a mill, and composed the poem. The general tone is perhaps one of melancholy and consolation over lost youth rather than mere sentimentality or a fear of ageing. It was published in 1864 in a collection of his poems entitled Maple Leaves. They were married in 1864 but Maggie's health deteriorated and she died on May 12, 1865. James Butterfield set the poem to music and it became popular all over the world. George Washington Johnson died in 1917.

This song has been adopted as an Irish song though at best it could be considered Irish or Scots Canadian. John McCormack made this song very famous and often sang it in his concerts. Since then it has been incorporated to many Irish performers such as James Galway, the Chieftains and Mary Duff. It is a great song and I used to play it on the piano with my mother and we would sing it together. She had an especial love of songs which were beloved by her father -of whom she had no memory for he was killed August 8, 1918- and she often said singing his favortie songs brought his spirt close to her. On Dec 31 2000 we heard Frank Paterson sing this song and she spoke of her father's record collection with me for the last time. The last songs we sang together were, in this order:
1) Maggie
and at Mass the following day


THE SUMMONS (Kelvin Grove)


She collapsed Jan 2 and was rushed to the hospital where she lingered for a coupled of days having just enought time to say goodbye to me and her grandchildren and daughter in law and her husband of 59 1/2 years.

This was the recording I heard as a boy (JOHN MCCORMACK)
McCormack's mother was a Scottish protestant by the way and his father was born in Scotland as well (of Irish parents).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009



A time for us INSTRUMENTAL...magisterial

The Londonderry Air AKA the Derry Air AKA Danny Boy:

The little Gem from La Clochette


Mother Teresa and the Roman Catholic religious order she established, the Missionaries of Charity, begin each day by reciting this PRAYER OF St. FRANCIS. It is attributed to St. Francis but did not appear in print until 1912 when it was published in a French magazine called La Clochette (The Little Bell); it was translated to English circa 1936 and popularized by Cardinal Francis Spellman and Sen. Hawkes during WWII when millions of copies were sent to servicemen and women all over the world.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
St. Francis was born at Assisi, Italy in 1182. After a care free youth, he turned his back on inherited wealth and committed himself to God. Like many early saints, he lived a very simple life of poverty, and in so doing, gained a reputation of being the friend of animals. He is said to have begun the practice of nativity scenes with live animals. He established the rule of St Francis, which exists today as the Order of St. Francis, or the Franciscans. He died in 1226, aged 44.

Sullivan Ballou Killed at age 32; his wife was 24 and remained a widow until her death 56 years later

NOTE: the original letter has been lost and there are, in fact, several versions, most of which seem edited to leave out personal references. There seems no question the letter existed at one time and is an authentic document of the Civil War. (MUNRO)

July 14, 1861
Camp Clark, Washington

My very dear Sarah:
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days—perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more . . .

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt . . .

Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me—perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness . . .

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights . . . always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again . . .


Sullivan Ballou was killed a week later at the first Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861.

Born March 28, 1829 in Smithfield, R.I., Ballou was educated at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass.; Brown University in Providence, R.I. and the National Law School in Ballston, N.Y. He was admitted to the Rhode Island Bar in 1853. He was descended from French Huguenot and Irish immigrants.

Ballou devoted his brief life to public service. He was elected in 1854 as clerk of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, later serving as its speaker.
He married Sarah Hart Shumway on October 15, 1855, and the following year saw the birth of their first child, Edgar. A second son, William, was born in 1859.
Ballou immediately entered the military in 1861 after the war broke out. He became judge advocate of the Rhode Island militia and was 32 at the time of his death at the first Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861.

When he died, his wife was 24. She later moved to New Jersey to live out her life with her son, William, and never re-married. She died at age 80 in 1917.
Sullivan and Sarah Ballou are buried next to each other at Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, RI. There are no known living descendants.

Ironically, Sullivan Ballou’s letter was never mailed. Although Sarah would receive other, decidedly more upbeat letters, dated after the now-famous letter from the battlefield, the letter in question would be found among Sullivan Ballou’s effects when Gov. William Sprague of Rhode Island traveled to Virginia to retrieve the remains of his state’s sons who had fallen in battle.

Spanish is the loving Tongue


Originally published in Charles Badger Clark, Sun and Saddle Leather, Boston, 1915; later included in N. Howard Thorp, Songs of the Cowboys, Boston, 1921. Music: unknown composer; most commonly used melody from the singing of Richard Dyer-Bennett (learned from Sam Eskin), transcribed in The People's Songs Bulletin (Vol. 3, No. 11). I have read that is is an ancient Irish Gaelic air.


Spanish is the loving tongue,
Soft as music, light as spray:
'Twas a girl I learned it from,
Living down Sonora way.
I don't look much like a lover,
Yet I say her love words over,
Often when I'm all alone --
"Mi amor, mi corazón."
Nights when she knew where I'd ride
She would listen for my spurs,
Fling the big door open wide,
Raise them laughin' eyes of hers;
And my heart would nigh stop beating
When I heard her tender greeting,
Whispered soft for me alone --
"Mi amor, mi corazón."

Moonlight in the patio,
Old Senora nodding near,
Me and Juana talking low
So the Madre couldn't hear;
How those hours would go a-flyin'!
And too soon I'd hear her sighin'
In her little sorry tone --
"Adios, mi corazón!"

But one time I had to fly
For a foolish gamblin' fight,
And we said a swift goodbye
In that black unlucky night.
When I'd loosed her arms from clingin'
With her words the hoofs kept ringin'
As I galloped north alone --
"Adios, mi corazón!"

Never seen her since that night --
I can't cross the Line, you know.
She was "Mex" and I was white;
Like as not it's better so.
Yet I've always sort of missed her
Since that last wild night I kissed her;
Left her heart and lost my own --
"Adios, mi corazón!"

Monday, June 1, 2009

Is Spanish a threat to education and National Unity? Not necessarily “What Will America Stand For in 2050?” By Lawrence Harrison.

Very interesting but the problem is not is Spanish per se as a language!

The problem is the low educational level of native born Americans and immigrants of all varieties but particularly Hispanics.

This is why, I as a bilingual educator have always favored a mostly English medium education for all the children as in Prop 227 (“English for the Children”), which my wife and I strongly and very publically supported.

But neither she nor I are English-only advocates. We are not English and, I am not ashamed to say, English is an acquired language for both of us. We love English; English is the language of our true liberation. But we love our other languages as well and always will.

Spanish should be taught of course –it is a very popular AP subject material- as a foreign language or in special classes for native speakers because it is the most important language in the Americas –after English of course. But English competency, not Spanish competency, should be one of the major goals of any decent school in the USA.

Spanish is merely another arrow for your quiver but English is the bow. English is as my grandfather used to say, “the language of the banks and the long-range guns.” And also, I add the language of Milton, Shakespeare, Churchill, Washington, Lincoln and the Constitution.

Any freedom loving person should want to learn English, in my opinion.

I agree when the author says “Language is the conduit of culture.” This is certainly true. “As the tongue is so goes the heart,” is an old proverb. Another proverb says “A land without a language is a land without a soul.”

This is why I have dedicated my adult life to teaching immigrants English and Spanish to others, including all of my children (We speak both Spanish and English at home). We read to them in Spanish and English since they were small as well as introduced them to other culture languages as well.

I will add, however, that my wife and I resisted enrolling our children –all native speakers of Spanish- into bilingual programs of any kind.

We taught them Spanish at home and enrolled them in advanced Spanish when they got to high school where they studied AP Spanish and AP Spanish literature.

Knowing Spanish did not keep my children back; they were all AP Scholars in history, math and English. I believe our children’s true bilingualism helped them develop their minds and their control of English with its multitudinous Latin and Romance roots.

We wanted our children to have a well-rounded English-medium education for their core curriculum.

A strong high school and junior high curriculum will include some study of Latin as well as important foreign languages such as Chinese, Japanese, German, Italian, Arabic, Spanish or French.

I oppose, forcing anyone to study Spanish. I oppose any language equal co-official status with English in the USA (but I support the co-official status of other languages with English in the UN.)

English is our national language; but there is room for other languages as well according to the region and private desires of citizens.

One could argue that the right to read, write and speak one’s native language –Hebrew for example- is an essential part of the free exercise of religion and essential freedom of one’s private life.

Laurence Harrison says:

“Consider: There is no word in Spanish for "compromise" (compromiso means "commitment") “. It is true compromiso is a false cognate and is a much stronger word than the weaker “compromise”. But Spanish can express the concept of “compromise” (acuerdo mutuo o arreglo ) very clearly. So I beg to differ.

Laurence Harrison says. (there is no Spanish)

…. for "accountability," but that is not true. The translation of “accountability “ would be “responsable” or al director se le imputó la responsabilidad del accidente.” (the manager was held accountable for the accident).

Laurence Harrison also says that Spanish is weaker in verbs and so cannot express itself as clearly as English and its problem is

….” compounded by a verb structure that converts "I dropped (broke, forgot) something" into "it got dropped" ("broken," "forgotten").

This, is simply not so.

Spanish has a different grammar than English and fewer verbs but its verbs are much more highly inflected than in English and in combination with adverbs or prepositional phrases can express anything that English (or French) can.

I won’t argue that Spanish is more precise than English but Spanish by itself is not a problem for immigrants.

It is ridiculous for anyone to assert that dissent cannot be expressed in Spanish; the problem is , in Nicaragua Marxist-Leninists do not allow dissent.

No permiten desacuerdos o desconformidad o disenso (They do not permit dissent!).

The Spanish inquisition has nothing to do with it!

The Spanish Inquisition was abolished in 1834 and was virtually moribund by the 18th century. Read Henry Kamen’s Spanish Inquisition (1965).

The problem. dear brutos, is not in Spanish itself, the language of Cervantes, De la Cierva, Unamuno and Borges.

Spanish is an advanced, vital and cultivated language. The Spanish publishing industry translates more books every year –from all the major culture languages- than Arabic has in its entirely for the last one thousand years. Spanish is, I assure you’re a very effective medium of advanced modern and democratic communication. English is a great and wonderful language but it has no monopoly as an instrument of advanced communication.

The problem is many immigrants are poorly educated and semi-literate in Spanish as well as English and many speak a debased patois which is ni chica ni limonada as they say in Spanish (neither one thing nor the other or to use an English idiom neither fish nor fowl.).

The old model was ‘bilingual education” or NENLI (non-English native language instruction) so that students could become literate and educated in their “native languages”.

Of course, orthodox Bilingual Educational theory a la Krashen and co. was a utopian goal for two reasons:

1) The US could not possibly provide the teachers to give a good Spanish medium or bilingual education for all its immigrant students. Only a few students were taught consistently by highly qualified teachers certified in Spanish, English and in their subject area. We are obviously better equipped to teach structured English immersion for most schools and classes.

2) The students themselves, many of whom were born in the USA and lived surrounded by popular American culture (in English) tended to lose competency in Spanish year by year. Some grew up in native-speaking environments but many did not. Many were marginal heritage speakers who could understand elementary Spanish but who could not respond themselves. Many second generation Hispanics have little enthusiasm for improving their Spanish literacy. Some say “Chicano Spanish” is a new renaissance but I say it is the death shroud of both education and Spanish.

I support voluntarily and optional education in Spanish as a foreign language or in exceptional and voluntary circumstances in elite dual immersion schools (open to native English speakers as well as Spanish speakers or speakers of any language).

I agree entirely with Mr. Harrison when he says:

“And we should provide immigrants with easy-to-access educational services that facilitate acculturation, including English language, citizenship, and American values.”

But I disagree strongly when he says: “we should limit citizenship to the offspring of citizens.”

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution defines citizenship in the USA as follows: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” Anyone born in any of the 50 states, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (ELA) is a natural-born citizen. I think it would most unwise to create a permanent class of non-citizen helots in the USA who would then be unable to assimilate or Americanize or even serve in our nation’s armed services. It would be as fatal mistake as the Penal Laws were in Ireland. There political, linguistic and religious oppression created a vicious circle of hatred, unrest, deep resentment, alienation, rebellion and violence which was almost uncontrollable. Only by allowing equal education, freedom of religion, suffrage and rights to citizenship have they (the British and Irish) been able –after 700 years- to achieve a peaceful coexistence.

What we need to do in the USA is

1) Encourage the formation and stability of strong families –education begins at home.

2) Give immigrants, of all ages, every possible incentive and opportunity to learn English, the history of the USA, the principles of democracy and our Constitution.

3) Do all we can to educate, socialize and assimilate immigrant children to American society so that they can compete. Part of their ability to compete will be competence in languages other than English.

With all due respect,

RICHARD K. MUNRO, MA Spanish Literature

Richard ("Ricardo") MUNRO

Teacher of English, history and Spanish

Bilingual Certificate of Competence (BCLAD)

Adjunct Faculty (AP Reader) ETS

West High School (Kern HS District)

Home of the Vikings

1200 New Stine Rd

Bakersfield, CA 93309

(661) 832-2822

fax (661) 831-5606


Sent: Monday, June 01, 2009 1:13

The following article by my colleague, Lawrence Harrison at Tufts, merits reading and reflection.

What will America stand for in 2050? |