Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

Journal Review -

I believe I mentioned I have set myself the task of going through my journals of the past.  They take up a great deal of room and mainly have meaning only for me, so I am culling what might have meaning to my family and tossing the rest.

I come across these little tidbits though that give a hint of what is to come in our society.

This is from March, 1992, sixteen years ago.


Jeff points out that the paper today seems to consider these two headlines of equal importance.  The NFL throws out the instant replay and South Africa ends Apartheid. 

Lowering salmon spawning counts along the west coast may close the salmon season and yet John Seymour pushes his water bill which gives water to Central Valley growers and ignores the fish and wildlife requirements. 

200 miles south of Las Vegas is a toxic waste dump created when the government gerrymandered the lines so that there was no one in that area to vote against it because no one lived there.  Then, scientists moved in and voted for it. 


3-20-92 - I am reading:

From Jessica Mitford’s Kind and Unusual Punishment, The Prison Business – 1973 – (I check on Amazon and this book is currently unavailable.  I wonder why.)

            43 men die in Attica to get two instead of one shower a week and toilet paper as requested. 

            The increased money allotment went for “the latest things for mob control.”

            Reagan is given unlimited money for corrections in CA.  It costs as much to send a man to San Quentin as Harvard. 

            Reagan changed accounting procedure from “line item” to “program budgeting” so no accountability. 

            Unions approved allowing prisoners to work under Roosevelt. 

            The Federal Prisons Industries is extremely profitable.  The profits in 1970 were 17%.  At the time, the mining industry profits were 11%, and the average 4.5%.  

            In June 68, Ohio penitentiary exploded when guards dashed the brains out of cats including 6, 4-day old kittens, that the prisoners had befriended.  Cat lovers were appalled. 


Eugene Debs – While there is a soul in prison, I am not free.


Clarence Darrow in 1902 – There should be no jails.  They do not accomplish what they pretend to accomplish.



Teaching as a Subversive Activity by Postman and Weingartner - 1971 – Children think they don’t want to write poetry yet if you ask questions beginning with the senses, they produce something beautiful, memorable, new.


Illiterate AmericaJonathan Kozol – 1985 –

President Reagan asked that federal funds for education be reduced by 25% in 1981.

Federal funds are spent mainly on “target populations” so the cut affected mainly low-income and inner city children. 

Literacy is shared knowledge.

$120 billion is spent on keeping military people in W. Europe. Imagine if 1/10 of that were spent on illiteracy.

Literacy (or lack of) levels in the military are frightening.  


“The soldier is “trained.”  It is explicit.  This is war preparedness.  It is not ethics or aesthetics.  Soldiers are not burdened with the histories of Tacitus, the fears of Madison, the eloquence of Erik Erikson, of Emerson, Thoreau, or William James.  Nor are they confronted with the metaphors of Melville, Robert Lowell, Thomas Mann or C.D. Snow.  Neither a love of life nor the respect for beauty that a civilized and life-affirming social order can bestir is part of the curricular endowment that a military officer is hired to impart.”


Reagan advocated returning to “the good, old-fashioned discipline.”  Beat children so they obey.  This is also the beginning of an emphasis on facilitators rather than teachers. 

Oakland – 90 schools – 91 administrators outside the schools, each earning in excess of $40,000, a great deal at the time.  Principals earn $3000 less and teachers $12,000 less for the highest paid teacher.  1/3 of the Oakland school budget is spent on people who do not work in a school. 


C.P. Snow – “I can’t help thinking of the Venetian Republic in their last half-century. Like us, they had once been fabulously lucky.  They have become rich, as we did, by accident.  They had acquired immense political skill, just as we have.  A good many of them were tough-minded, realistic, patriotic men. They knew, just as clearly as we know, that the current of history had begun to flow against them. Many of them gave their minds to working out ways to keep going.  It would have meant breaking the pattern into which they had crystallized.  They were fond of the pattern, just as we are fond of ours.  They never found the will to break it.”     From Illiterate America – Kozol – 1985 -


I find it interesting to read these words of the past, now!


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