Showing posts with label Carolyn Schuk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carolyn Schuk. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Social Munchausen at University of California

It seems like there’s an epidemic Social Munchausen* on University of California campuses. The latest case is that UC Berkeley professor Elizabeth Hoover, who after about 20 years of passing herself off as an indigenous American, and teaching ethnic studies under that guise, let on to the fact that she really wasn't.


She claimed she had Mohawk and Mi’kmaq ancestry; in introducing herself, researching her dissertation, and getting jobs grants Ford Foundation fellowships designated for people from underrepresented groups. She published books and papers and became a “mover and shaker,” according to the San José Mercury News, in the “food sovereignty” movement.


In May, she admitted she wasn't descended from either tribe and apologized, apologized for the harm she had caused. She had assumed it, apparently, because of “family lore” she heard growing up in upstate New York. Hoover explains her fraud by saying, “I'm human.” Has this woman never heard of


I, too, am human. And I, too, lived for many years in upstate New York, and in close proximity to the Onondaga Nation, without getting confused about my ethnic background (Polish, ethnic Albanian from Italy, and Scots Irish).


In fact, were you to mistake your identity based on the ethnic environment of upstate NY, you would be way more likely to mistakenly believe that you were Polish — or Russian, Irish, Slovak or Italian — than you would mistakenly believe that you were Native American.


Hoover offered the lame apology, “I didn't set out to hurt or exploit anyone.”


Actions, as they say, speak louder than words. And despite Hoover’s “apology,” she did, in fact, hurt and exploit other people.


Let's look at what Hoover’s little fantasy about herself cost other people. First of all, she turned people’s generosity into gullibility, and people resent being played. Likely, she’s made it harder for every Native American scholar that comes after her.


Then there are all of these grants that she got, grants that were meant for people who genuinely suffered from being cut out of the establishment.


They did not have the opportunities.

Hoover got those opportunities.


They did not get grants.

Hoover got the grants.


They did not publish their books. They did not get those jobs. They did not get those fellowships.


Her ‘pretendian’ Native American identity damaged many people. How many people who should have gotten those jobs and those grants would have been true inspirations to other young Native Americans? These young people would have seen that these opportunities were open to them, that their talents could be recognized. Hoover’s story will, instead, reinforce cynicism.


Then there’s woke racism evidenced by the universities who employ these people. Outed pretendian and ethnic studies professor Andrea Smith from UC Riverside was allowed to keep her job for another year, retire with an emerita title, benefits, a pension and being spared a formal investigation.


UC Berkeley is taking no action at this point, and doesn’t plan to remove Hoover, according to the Mercury’s report. “Speaking generally, I can tell you if and when any allegations of policy violations are brought into our attention,” college spokeswoman Janet Gilmore told the Mercury. “We review that concern and take appropriate action.”


Let’s consider what would happen if UC Berkeley discovered that a professor of physics had fraudulently claimed a PhD from MIT? How long do you think they’d still be working there? Not long I suspect; because after all, academic integrity is important in physics.


But the fact that when the academic integrity involved concerns ethnic studies, a little fraud seems to be OK. Which just illustrates that UC Berkeley’s perspective on ethnic studies is in a class with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ on African American history — namely, it's not a serious academic discipline.


*Social Munchausen is a psychiatric disorder/hoax in which people pretend to belong to persecuted and disadvantaged groups. The notorious fabulist Congressman George Santos is a preeminent example.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ro Khanna: Doing the People’s Business by Finding the Common Ground

By Carolyn Schuk

Many politicians can say little in a lot of words. But it’s a rare politician who can say a lot in a few words. Santa Clara's Congressman Ro Khanna (D-District 17) is one of them. Recently, he took some time from a jam-packed day to talk with the Weekly about what Congress Members do all day—contrary to popular opinion, it isn't talking to lobbyists—and what it takes to be effective for constituents when your party is in the minority.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Lighting Up the Darkness: Chanukah's Journey from Winter Dark to Hopeful Light

Imagine a world without light. In our modern setting we are surrounded by light. We flip a switch to repeat the miracle of “let there be light” — whenever and wherever we want it. We have to drive miles from our urban homes to experience the truly dark night sky.

But for most of human history people have lived in what the historian William Manchester described as “a world lit only by fire.”

For our ancestors who lived without modern electricity, the growing shortness of mid-winter days was of profound consequence. There is always the fear that maybe — just maybe — old Sol will continue to shrink into complete blackness. So it is not surprising that all cultures have midwinter festivals where light and dark figure as central symbols.

Christmas has the star of Bethlehem, Divali has its rows of lighted lamps, Kwanzaa its seven candles representing the seven principles. Northern Europeans celebrate St. Lucy’s Day on Dec. 12 with young St. Lucy Queens in candle-lit crowns.

The Chanukah Menorah certainly shares light and flame with these holidays, but Chanukah also brings a sense of movement and liberation to the mid-winter celebration that is unique.

Chanukah celebrates the victory in 176 BCE by an army of Jewish rebels, the Maccabees, over the tyrannical king of the Selucid-Greek empire, Antiochus IV (also known as "Epimane" – "madman") who drove the Syrians out of Judea. 

Upon their victory, the Macabees returned to the temple in Jerusalem to rededicate it and relight the Menorah. They could find only one small flask of oil, enough to light the Menorah for just a single day.

But miraculously the oil did not run out and the lamps shone brightly for eight days. The following year, the festival of Chanukah was officially proclaimed as an eight-day celebration, some say symbolizing the victory over persecution. One candle of the Menorah is lit each night of the celebration.

And that is where Chanukah brings movement to the mid-winter. Chanukah begins in the dark with the lighting of one candle. By the eighth day, all eight candles burn in a domestic world daily growing brighter. And the larger world will soon grow brighter as we pass the longest night and day begins its journey to overtake night.

During the ancient Romans' winter solstice celebration, the Saturnalia, the freeman’s hat was worn by freemen and slaves alike. On the first day of the seven-day festival the bonds that tied the feet of Saturn’s statue were removed to symbolize the god’s liberation from his underworld domain. The New Year was called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti – day of the unconquerable sun.

Victories over modern oppressors begin with lighting a single candle. And that goes well beyond any single tradition or religion.

Right now the world seems darker that it has for decades. Democide – a word coined by political scientist Rudolph Rummel in the 1970s – is the best descriptive of the unspeakable catastrophe that has overtaken the Middle East. Vladimir Putin has reintroduced Pan-Slavist ideology to the world. Americans may be facing an object lesson of Plato's theory of the stages of government from oligarchy to populism to ultimate tyranny.

Yet, in our lifetime we have also seen events like the fall of Berlin Wall that tell us that no tyranny is forever. Not Vladimir Putin's. Not ISIS'. Not even one that many fear Donald Trump may bring to the U.S. on January 20. 

An old gospel hymn says, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” Asking readers' pardon in advance for so freely mixing religious metaphors: As it happened more than 2,100 years ago in Jerusalem, and as the Gospel of John philosophically expressed the victory of an eternal light, "The light shines the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it."

A version of this essay first appeared in the Santa Clara WEEKLY in Dec. 2004.

We all value Wikipedia as a source for background information on almost every subject. Please consider donating to the Wikipedia Foundation to keep this light shining. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Contentious School Board Meetings Yield Higher Attendance, Plus a Vocabulary Lesson

Every cloud has a silver lining. Even the contentiousness that has characterized Santa Clara Unified School District Board meetings since the new board was seated in December -- although that may be hard to believe for those unfortunate enough to have endured those marathon meetings. 

The upside is that that many more people are attending board meetings and actively participating. And that, after all is what democracy is all about.

Another upside is that the community is getting to know some people, who are clearly articulate and informed about education, and, refreshingly, aren't connected with the usual suspects in Santa Clara politics. 

Let's hope that some of them come forward to run for Santa Clara Unified school board in 2014. Who knows, we may even see a new face from the South of Forest neighborhood if that area is successful in its fight to rationalize* district boundaries in this town. 

*Per Merriam-Webster, there are several meanings for the verb 'rationalize' besides "providing plausible but untrue reasons for conduct." These include: 
  • To bring into accord with reason 
  • To apply the principles of scientific management for a desired result
  • To substitute a natural for a supernatural explanation
  • To free from irrational parts (mathematical)
It seems to me that all of these apply to California's crazy quilt of school districts. They defy reason, are extremely costly and inefficient, are zealously defended by the High Priests of the Status Quo as divine directives, and need to be purged of irrelevant baggage that obstructs proper decision-making. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Conspiracy Con 2011 - The Live Blog - True Otts and Conspiracy Gaming

My first stop is to catch the tail end of Len Horowitz and Sherri Kane who are ranting about…well, I'm not sure what. Something about "True Ott" and the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. "Now that we know that truth about this…we had to ask Brian Hall for extra security. We're not going to stay around for obvious reasons."

Horowitz is a dentist who found he could make a lot more money selling new age cures to the gullible than doing root canals. Unlike most of the people here, he's tan and fit and looks more likely to be shilling for Thigh Master than Rebirthing Ourselves in the Creator's Image.

I'm not even going to try to understand what's going on. So I duck out and stop by Steve Jackson Games where, in my now-softened frame of mind, I part with 40 devalued fiat federal reserve "dollars" for "Illuminati: The Game of Conspiracy."

The card deck features eight illuminati cards – The Bavarian Illuminati, The Gnomes of Zurich, etc. – 83 "group" cards – fast food chains, the FBI, etc. – 15 "special" cards – market manipulation, murphy's law – two black dice (with white dots), and a 16-page instruction book. The object of the game is to control the world. That's about as far as I get.

The more interesting part of the conversation is with a young man named Christopher Gordon, who looks like the host of an MTV music video countdown but who is in real life a mortician. His take on his profession is anything but grim.

Indeed, we're all going to die and Gordon sees his role as supplying a more natural and affordable way to go than the American Way of Death. Before I leave he presses a handful of DVDs on me in hopes that he can persuade me to see the light. One is titled "Henrick Palmgren interviews Michael Tsarion, David Icke PLUS 67 OTHER INTERVIEWS IN 8 DAYS OF AUDIO ON MP3'S."

If nothing else, this cabal promotes a degree of multi-partisanship unseen anywhere else in the political spectrum. I ask: Where else can you find Phyllis Schlafley's Eagle Forum cheek-by-jowl with Democrats Against UN Agenda 21, the MUFON Symposium, and the Green Party?

The next stop is Douglas Dietrich, where I take 2,000 words of notes and wonder about the origins of psychosis. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

AeONsafe Brews Free, Secure WiFi at Bellano Coffee

These days, free wireless hotspots are commodities, not competitive advantages, for cafes. But one Santa Clara cafe has upped the ante.

Bellano Coffee on Stevens Creek Blvd. offers free, secure WiFi from AeONsafe. Aeon does it with a unique key it automatically creates for each user's communications. Read more about in this article from the Santa Clara Weekly.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

900 Kiely Developer NOT the company in bankruptcy -- who knew?

The Fairfield Residential business division developing 900 Kiely (the former Kaiser hospital site) was not part of the business that filed for bankruptcy last year, according to company representative Ed McCoy at tonight's City Council meeting.

In that case, one might ask why McCoy didn't offer this information -- or return the Weekly's calls -- last year when I was reporting on the story. Inquiring minds do wonder.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Carolyn's Conspiracy Cocktails

As I prepped myself for the upcoming Conspiracy Con, I thought it would be appropriate to have some conspiracy cocktails.

As I thought about it, I developed a few rules. Conspiracy cocktails:

  • They should use as many ingredients as possible
  • Absinthe must be an ingredient
  • Obscure, arcane ingredients are preferred
  • Color should be black or unnatural
  • Conflicting and negating flavors aren't a problem. If you don't like the taste, keep adding ingredients until you do.

So herewith: Carolyn's Conspiracy Cocktails (CCC -- which if you squint could look like 666). The preparation for all except the Conspiracy Coffee is the same: Shake with ice and serve on the rocks or straight up with a splash of soda.


2 parts tequila
1/2 part each:

  • Midori
  • absinthe
  • blackberry brandy or crème de cassis
  • blue curacao
  • chocolate liqueur
  • lime juice
  • orange juice

Orange or lime twist


1 oz Gin
1 oz Dry vermouth
1 oz Rose's lime juice
Dash absinthe
Dash crème de violette
Dash orange bitters
Orange or lime twist

Conspiracy Con

1 oz white rum
1/2 oz Midori
½ oz fresh lime juice
dash of absinthe
dash of crème de violette or St. Germain
dash blue curacao
lime twist

Black Ops

1/2 oz Blue Curacao liqueur
1/2 oz dark rum
½ oz absinthe or pernod
fresh lime juice
Dash bitters
Lime twist

Conspiracy coffee

Mix in an Irish coffee glass:

  • 1 oz Irish cream liquor
  • Dash absinthe
  • Dash chocolate or coffee liqueur

Stir as you add hot coffee. Or mix it cold for a Conspiracy Alexander

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Illuminati Beware: Preeminent Gathering of Conspiracy Theorists Celebrates its 10th Year in Santa Clara

The annual conspiracist mind meld, Conspiracy Con, celebrates its 10th birthday – and 10th year in Santa Clara – on June 5 and 6 at the Santa Clara Marriott.

Conference organizer Brian Hall, describes the event as "a forum for… the most controversial speakers in the world," on "Mind Control, Secret Societies, Shadow Government, The Federal Reserve, 9-11, Occult Technologies, Suppressed Knowledge, New World Order, etc."

Even including, Hall continues ominously, "the manipulation of humanity by non-human intelligences...alien, inter-dimensional, demonic, satanic... operating on (and in) this planet, that looks upon humankind as sheep and cattle to be herded and slaughtered at will."

This jeremiad seems surprising coming from the preppy 30-something Hall, a Livermore resident who looks more like a Young Republican than the eminence grise of contemporary American conspiracy theory.

Indeed, Conspiracy Con's success is likely due more to Hall's talent for business administration – and friends in the event-planning business "who held my hand" – than his knowledge of secret cabals. Hall chose Santa Clara for Conspiracy Con for many of the same reasons the 49ers give for wanting to build a stadium here.

"The cost is less and right along there is hotel row," he ticks off methodically. "There are great convention services. It's much closer for me [than San Francisco] and it's much easier to get to. It's very close to the airport."

(This is invariably disappointing to those who expect the city to be a vortex of cosmic power, or the Illuminati's home away from home. Although -- hat tip to blogger Adam Gorightly -- I bet if you plotted it on a map, you'd find that the Santa Clara Marriott sits at the mystical center of secret Kabbalistic geography connecting the Rosicrucian Museum, Winchester Mystery House, Santa Cruz Mystery Spot, proposed 49ers stadium, and the CERN super-collider in Geneva.)

Anyway, Hall's business acumen paid off. The conference draws hundreds every year and features a veritable who's who of the contemporary conspiracy scene.

Past guests include George Noory, host of the popular all-things-conspiracy radio talk show Coast to Coast a.m.; 9-11 Truther movement founding father Richard Gage; and memory-recovering, MK-ULTRA sex slave Cathy O'Brien. This year's lineup includes host of the syndicated late night cult film TV show Cinema Insomnia, Mr. Lobo (

Hall is vague about what exactly he did before starting Conspiracy Con – "not a heck of a lot." More to the point is what he calls his "waking up journey," which began 15 years ago and culminated in launching Conspiracy Con.

"Some friends showed me some materials that went against everything I had been told. It made its point well enough to [make me] look further.

"There are things going on here right under our noses that are much more serious," he continues. "What is commonly known as the global elite. Are they connected? Is there a conspiracy? No one was putting on a conference on the research, to generate awareness."

ince then, Hall has been a man with a mission. "I see a great imbalance on this planet that gets greater every year. From Kennedy [assassination] to 9-11 and beyond, it will lead to the same people: the people that have manipulated human events for eons." Getting the message out, Hall says, "is the most important thing I can do."

Conspiracism's All-American Pedigree
Conspiracism is as American as the proverbial apple pie, according to Professor Jeff Pasley who teaches Conspiracy Theories and Conspiracies in U.S. History and Culture at the University of Missouri.

"For example, one thing that was widely believed [before the American revolution] was that the British were going to force Americans to become Catholics, based on Quebec's act tolerating Catholicism," Pasley explains. "[This was seen] as the first step in the plan to Catholicize America."
Conspiracy beliefs also use the language of enlightenment, "exposing truth by gathering proof," Pasley explains, while neglecting the rest of the scientific method – experimentation, data collection, analysis, peer review, and retesting.

The age of mass media adds fuel to the conspiracy fires, says Pasley. People have access to a lot more data, but their powers of analysis haven't grown to match it. "Most people's idea of weighing evidence is, 'It's hot today so it must be global warming,'" he says.

The flaw here isn't in the conclusions. Human beings do, in fact, engage in conspiracies; for example, Watergate. The flaws in our global warming conclusion are classic reasoning fallacies: questionable correlation and unsupported assumption. A further problem with conspiracism is un-testability: Contrary evidence is just evidence of a cover-up. For example, the reason you don't agree with me about the reality of global warming is that you're manufacturing the evidence to discredit me, you're just revealing yourself as a tool of the puppet-masters, etc.

Of course, conspiracy theorists have no monopoly on fallacious rhetoric. Politics inspires it in spades. Consider for example: "Dolores Carr: Supported by law enforcement. Jeff Rosen: Supported by bail bondsmen." (Questionable correlation, unsupported assumption, loaded words, impugning motives).
This ad doesn't tell me anything about Rosen, but it does tell me one thing about Carr. Namely, that she's a lawyer, judge and District Attorney who's willing to put her name on this mean-spirited propaganda. It's enough to make me vote for Jeff Rosen, but that would be another questionable correlation: Because Carr runs an ad that I find ethically questionable, therefore Rosen would be a good DA.

Where was I?

Oh yes. In the final analysis conspiracy theories don't stand up to pragmatic test that the best 
explanation is usually the one requiring the fewest unsupported assumptions. In other words, if you hear hoof beats, it's probably horses, not zebras.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mission City Opera's Christmas Show Preview Offers Taste of Michael Taylor's New Opera

If you had been among the audience in the Santa Clara Central Library's Redwood Room on November 17, you would have been among the luck few to hear first-ever performances of music from Truce of Carols, a new opera by Mission City Opera Associate Conductor Michael Taylor. "We're getting to see the birth of this new work," is how one member of the audience put it.

The one-act Truce of Carols tells the touching story of the spontaneous 1914 WWI Christmas ceasefire that began with a German soldier crossing no-man's-land with a lighted Christmas tree for the British. In addition to a recording of Truce of Carols' soaring, melodic overture, Soprano Erin Lamb, who sings the role of Constance, performed two appealing arias from the opera, Writing Home and the work's signature piece, I'll bring you Lavender and Peonies.

In his libretto, Taylor drew on Stanley Weintraub's 2001 book, Silent Night – The Story of the Christmas Truce to create a rich tableau that spans the poignant – the Germans and English together burying their fallen comrades – to the light-hearted – the soldiers' Scots vs. Saxons soccer game – to the [profound] – singing a traditional carol, first in German, then English, then together. "The humanity of Christmas brought them together," Mission City Opera founder Sharon Kaye told the audience.

Kaye also shared the story of how the opera came to be written. "Michael Taylor came to me last February with this idea. First he wrote the beautiful aria, I'll bring you Lavender and Peonies. The whole opera evolved out of it. All the roles were written specifically for each singer. And Mission City Opera was the company that brought this to life."

Santa Clara is unusual for a city of its size in having a profession opera company, and founder Kaye gives the City kudos for its support. "Santa Clara provides us with our beautiful facilities for rehearsals and performances – for free," Kaye told the audience. "That's what makes it possible for us to be in business. Tickets pay for only a third of the cost of putting on an opera."

Performances of Truce of Carols and Amahl and the Night Visitors are Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 6, 2009 at 3:00 p.m., at Mission City Center for Performing Arts, 3250 Monroe St. (at Calabazas, next to Wilcox High School) in Santa Clara. Tickets are $16 for children under 12, and $26 to $46 for adults. For tickets or information, visit, call (408) 749.7607, or email, or

Supernumeraries are needed for the Christmas show. If you're interested, call (408) 749-7607 or email Like to sing? Mission City Opera's all-volunteer chorus welcomes new members for its February 2010 production of Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme. Contact the company for more information.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

School District Boundaries Update

Update on last night's back-to-back special Santa Clara Unified School District board meeting and County Office of Education, Committee on School District Organization public hearing:

The skinny: By a unanimous vote, SCUSD board of trustees gave a qualified nod to Santa Clara south-of-Pruneridge residents' request to move the neighborhood from the Campbell Union school districts to Santa Clara Unified. The question now is in the hands of the county Committee on School District Organization, which then heard from neighborhood residents.

SCUSD's qualifier is that, because Santa Clara schools are already over capacity, the district needs time to find additional space for roughly 150 new students – almost all of them currently in elementary and middle school. However, new residential development in city – both planned and currently under construction – means that the district will need additional capacity in any case.

The county Committee on School District Organization was primarily there to listen – which they did very generously, allowing speakers to make their points even when they ran over the two-minute limit.

The Campbell districts' case is that they will be hard hit financially without the tax revenue from that neighborhood. In K-8 grades (Campbell Union school district), Santa Clara residents represent 2 percent of the students and 4 percent of the revenue. In 9-12 grades (Campbell Union high school district) Santa Clara residents, 15 to 20 students, represent $600,000 in district revenue.

Campbell's status as "basic aid" funded district hangs by a thread at 0.1 percent over the cutoff. The proposed change would return the district to "revenue limit" status. (Basic aid districts are less vulnerable to state funding cuts and benefit more in a rising real estate market. However, they are more vulnerable to declines in local tax revenue).

Despite these favorable imbalances in cost and revenue – a "goldmine" is how county School District Organization Committee member Phil Nelsen characterized it – the Campbell districts closed all three schools near Santa Clara, sending students to Lynhaven elementary, Monroe middle and Del Mar high schools. Residents also pointed out that inter-district transfers – suggested as an alternative by district administrators – are approved about as often as the Bay Area has a blizzard.

The unedited "feed:"

SCUSD special board meeting:

Facilities are the critical factor. Schools overcrowded already, some are already over-capacity. "We're portable-ed to death," was how Trustee Pat Flot put it.

"Regardless of financing, it's a foregone conclusion that we're going to have to open new schools so we might have to do this sooner," said Trustee Albert Gonzalez. "As I see it the financials are positive." The change would increase SCUSD's per-student funding by about $170.

"The numbers indicate that it would be favorable to us," said Trustee Andy Ratermann. "The [construction bond] debt we have out there is new, mostly amortized, so I don't see an issue there. I think if we get enough time we can do this, but if we don't it's going to be a great strain. All of that about [Campbell districts' assertion that petitioners' objective is] improving property values, I don't find at all compelling."

After voting against the staff recommendation to deny the request, Trustee Andy Ratermann put forward a motion that the SCUSD board was "favorable" to the change, "but concerned about timing and ability to provide adequate facilities." That passed unanimously.

SCC Committee on School District Organization hearing:

"I've lived there [Santa Clara] 44 years," said resident Richard Harrison. "We thought we were in SCUSD [when they bought their house]. But didn't matter because [CUSD's] Parkway elementary school was there [on the corner of Saratoga and San Tomas]. Then they closed that and moved everything to Lynhaven. Then they closed Cypress middle school [Cypress and Stevens Creek] and moved everyone to Monroe. Then they closed Blackford high school [Moorpark and Boynton] and moved everyone to Del Mar.

"We have been disenfranchised as far as academic facilities," he concluded. "This school [Santa Clara HS] is closer than for kids than Prospect."

Santa Clara native Ann Leno pointed out that a growing number of young Santa Clarans "have made a conscious decision to stay in Santa Clara."

In today's world where two incomes are necessity, not a choice, having a school within walking or public transit distance versus a school that you have to ride a school bus to, spells "huge differences in students' ability to participate meaningfully in after-school programs. Most of us work in the opposite direction," she said. "We take our kids to school and then have to head the opposite direction to 101, Central Expressway."

CUSD Superintendent Joanna VanderMolen and Deputy Superintendent Jim Crawford took a different view in representing CUSD board's vote against the transfer.

VanderMolen laid out the financials. This year Campbell became a "basic aid" funded district, topping the cutoff point by 0.1 percent. "The district receives 4 percent funding and gets 2 percent of students [from Santa Clara] so the neighborhood is providing a 2 percent subsidy from these students. Plus our district has charter schools. So this would mean $1.5 million in cuts. It would just wipe the district out at this point."

The funding advantages of a basic aid district enable a better education for students, VanderMolen said. "I'm here really being the advocate for the 7300 kids who want that better education If we lose these properties we will step back out of basic aid just as we stepped in. the impact of losing these children at this point in time and going back to revenue limit would cause further cuts."

Campbell Union High School district would take a "$600,000 hit for this transfer of property out," said Pat Gaffney, deputy Superintendent CSUHSD. "Proximity is a big issue here. I went to Google and took the distance between Mike O'Halloran's [lead petitioner on the request to the county OOE] house and Del Mar. The distance is shorter to Del Mar than to this high school.

"There's so much technology these days we can take the opportunity to use communications technology to [reduce the impact of distance]," Gaffney continued. "I wasn't able to find anything on SCUSD's site on any of these programs [referred to by residents]. We can certainly make folks aware of the opportunities in Santa Clara."

"Forty minutes ago SCUSD board voted not to deny this request," said SCUSD Superintendent Steve Stavis. "The question of facilities currently remains an issue. [The change would represent] $170 per student more than we're currently getting. The biggest impact would be on facilities and reopening a school to the cost of about $11 million."

"As educators we have to put children's best interest at the highest priority," said former Montague teacher Joann [name]. "As my sister said, "adults need to get out of the way and do what's best for kids."

"Why do we – 131 students – have to bear the brunt of this school budget crisis?" said Megan [name].

Several speakers spoke about requesting inter-district transfers and being told that no transfers were given.

"When I ask how do our kids get to school and they looked at me and said "I don't know" and they weren't going to help me find a safe way to get to school," said Santa Clara resident Barbara Drummer.

"I'm really concerned with the sense of community and being part of a community," said Santa Clara resident Joseph Goschy. "It's really about the kids and what's right for the kids, what's right for the community and our future. There's a lot of spreadsheets and discussion. If we had one kid with a safety issue, I think we'd be rethinking all this. We understand that it's not an overnight change. We're open to some long-term cooperation to work together to resolve this."

"I'm a 45 year resident of Santa Clara," said Kay Harrison. "I'd like to see the little kids growing up in our neighborhood be part of Santa Clara schools."

"I sympathize with the petition," said county School District Organization committee member Nick Gervase. "There's no question there's more identity with Santa Clara. However, we have to speak to some reality. We are faced with a requirement on how and what to vote on. There are nine criteria you have to meet. We have to vote on all those criteria."

Of those nine criteria, three are potential showstoppers, Gervase said:

  • No significant disruption of educational programs: Campbell is going to say that their educational program is going to be affected
  • No significant additional costs for housing students
  • No substantial negative effect on fiscal status of district

Committee representative Phil Nielsen concluded the meeting with this observation. "This area is paying a lot on a per-student basis – more than their fair share. You're [Campbell] basic aid by 0.1%. It seems to me you've lost it already. You get 4 percent of funding for 2 percent of students – it's a goldmine. In high school you're getting $600,000 for 15 students – another goldmine."

"For Campbell it's all about the money," one person leaving the meeting was heard to remark. "I've been in budgeting and layoff meetings in corporate American that were more humane."

For more information about the School District Organization committee, visit the committee's website or contact Suzanne Carrig in the Center for Educational Planning at (408) 453-6869 or

Friday, July 17, 2009

Conspiracy Con9 - The Live Blog: Decent Into the Maelstrom

Dateline: Santa Clara, CA
June 6, 2009 7:53:39 P.M

"It took less than a single day to change these hairs from a jetty black to white, to weaken my limbs, and to unstring my nerves, so that I tremble at the least exertion, and am frightened at a shadow." – Edgar Allen Poe, "Descent Into the Maelstrom."

The last speaker on the Conspiracy Con 9 agenda is Anthony Hilder, cinematic auteur of conspiracism whose oeuvre includes the shock-u-mentaries "Reichstag '95: An American Holocaust," "IllumiNazi 911," and "Alien 51: Amerika's SSecret" (you have to imagine the Nazi SS runes here), a comprehensive survey of "Alien Implants, Human Cloning, Missing Children, Anti-Gravity Spacecraft, Reverse Engineering, Operation Paperclip, Biological Weapons, Extraterrestrials, IllumiNazi Agenda, New World Order."

Despite my two-day immersion in all things conspiranoid, nothing prepares me for Hilder. In an interesting example of how sensitive we homo sapiens are to the power of suggestion and "groupthink," I observe that: First, Hilder's initials are 'A.H.' Second, by switching the position of the 'd' in Hilder's name, and replacing 'd' with 't,' you come up with:


My thought processes now match those of everyone else in the room. And without an RF transmitter planted in my brain. Given Hilder's affection for Nazi imagery, it's not a big leap to entertain the idea of Anthony Hilder as a reincarnation of Adolph Hitler. The only differences are that Hitler liked military uniforms and did not, as far as I know, believe in extraterrestrial Lizard People – he probably would have, had he thought of it.

Hitler's -- excuse me, Hilder's -- Free World Film Works website tells visitors that, "Anthony J. Hilder's ever-present goal is to insight a Revelation to avoid a Revolution & form an Alliance of Independent Tribal, Linguistic, Religious, Political, Ethnic and Racial Nation States in opposition to the United Nations. Hilder is fully cognizant that the world must have an option to the U.N. and the chaos & killing that is being deliberately directed by this Brotherhood of Death to bring about our control."

In the next hour Hilder elaborates on his idée fixe: reptiles……the reptilian attack that's going on Mars. The god of Christianity is the God of the evil Reptilians. This is just a lead-in, however, to Hilder's second leitmotif, the big lizard himself, the Templars' apocryphal idol Baphomet, a.k.a. Lucifer. 

There are tens of thousands of Luciferian sacrifices going on in the world today…. Uncle Sam is the satanic goat of bathema. When you fold a $20 bill you'll see the north tower on one side and the south tower on the second side. And on the bottom you'll see s-t-n. Satan… I realized communism, from its inception, has been financed in the U.S. Marx was a Satanist.

And who are these "luciferian" reptiles' terrestrial agents? "Bankers" of course.

These banking bastards are bloodsuckers. Who the hell wants to save General Motors. Let them crash. We must reach out with a giant stake and stick it in their heart, and show no mercy. Hilder emphasizes those last three words.

Franken-Fed – the monster among us. In this picture we see pictures of the Georgia Guidestone, America's Stonehenge. And their suggestion is the reduction of the world's population to one and a half billion. What happens to the other five and a half billion of us? Hilder pauses for effect here, before continuing: That's why they have plastic coffins in Georgia.

If you haven't guessed already, Hilder is on course for that irresistible geography of the dangerous and deranged: Anti-Semitism:

Zionism runs the U.S. congress…One family, the Rothschilds, that owns all the money and calls all the shots, and that family has Reptilian roots. Israel is just a Rothschild front organization.

Hilder turns up the volume, stoking his own adrenalin-fueled rage.

We can end the problem. There is no problem except for those who believe a problem exists. There is no problem. The eye. Is this thing a Luciferian conspiracy? And Uncle Sam is bringing over the mother of Pat Tillman. Whose eyes had just opened…and somebody said, Kill that guy.

I don't want to see public education. I want to see public education destroyed. Why would you give your money to them for the second plank of the Communist Manifesto? Margaret Sanger, she was a close advisor of Adolph Hitler. They created a genetically created disease. AIDS. That's why babies are starving in the first place, because they modified the weather. I've lived in Africa and I've seen what liberation theology has brought….men castrated and their wives forced to eat their testicles...

Take a look at your church. The National Council of Churches. When you put your money into their plates and they take and buy guns for the terrorists. I'm talking about the guys who go into the towns and kill the children and rape the women…"

Instead of testicle-eating, however, I'm thinking of Richard Hofstadter's observation about the sexual preoccupations of conspiracists: "…the sexual freedom often attributed to the enemy, his lack of moral inhibition, his possession of especially effective techniques for fulfilling his desires, give exponents of the paranoid style an opportunity to project and express un-acknowledgeable aspects of their own psychological concerns…Very often the fantasies of true believers reveal strong sadomasochistic outlets, vividly expressed, for example, in the delight of anti-Masons with the cruelty of Masonic punishments."

Hilder winds up to the climax of his rhetorical masturbation with a call for action:

We are united. And I say yes, get your guns, and yes, get your food, and I say get out of…the dollar…The birth certificates your children have say on the bottom: Department of Commerce. That's because they own them.

But don't rush to get out of Dodge just yet. Before we put on our traveling shoes, Hilder wants to help us get out of the dollar, so to speak, by unloading that worthless fiat money on him: We've got to get "$10 a Barrel" finished. Maybe some of you will help us help you. 

Indeed. As the faithful take out their checkbooks, I bolt. Outside, as my head clears in the chilly evening, I think of the closing exchange of "Alice in Wonderland:"

"'Wake up, Alice dear!' said her sister; 'Why, what a long sleep you've had!'

"'Oh, I've had such a curious dream!' said Alice..."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

California's Governator Turns Ballot Initiatives to Bullet Initatives

I can only wish!

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Conspiracy Con 9 - The Live Blog: Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound

Dateline: Santa Clara, CA
June 6, 2009 7:53:39 2 P.M.

By the time I check back with Conspiracy Central on Sunday it's 3:30 -- half an hour is spent locating my badge because I figure that saying that I lost my badge will finger me as a New World Order plant or worse. I start in the exhibit where I buy a fascinatingly configurable magnetic jewelry "rope" from Denise Wells of Santa Clara and a 1950s Betty Boop alarm clock from Prudence, who sells antiques and amber jewelry and is clearly a fish out of water here.

The folks from Evergreen Spirulina press on me a sample of "Coffee King – the most nutritious coffee in the world, enriched with "spirulina and ganoderma." The taste is of instant coffee, sugar, Cremora and…rotten garbage. My spontaneous review is clearly unwelcome.

While I'm trying to get a "local color" photo, a tall woman with long white hair who will only give her name as "C," confronts me.

"You're taking pictures," she says, leaning in. Explaining that I just want a photo for the local weekly paper, she quizzes me. "But will your boss and your bosses' owners and their owners' owners allow this story to be published?" I explain that my "boss" owns the newspaper and publishes whatever he damn well pleases.

"An independent newspaper?" She advances cautiously. This seems promising. "So you're going to put this in a good light?" she asks. I explain that I call it "reporting" and as such it's not cast in any "light."

What she's really asking is if I'm going to lampoon it. I attempt to explain that the Weekly simply wants a local color story and that there's no percentage for us in ridiculing people who are bringing thousands of dollars – devalued, worthless Federal Reserve notes though they are – into our town. Although I don't tell her, I'm having my own doubts there's any way to honestly report on the conference that wouldn't shine an unflattering light.

She starts in with a phrase that's become familiar in the last 24 hours: "Do you know about –." I answer no, and further, that that's not really my interest. Her face wrinkles up in disgust. "You need to talk to this man," she says, leading me to Dr. Stan Montieth.

Montieth is a retired orthopedic surgeon who operates Radio Liberty. I ask him why, nearly 50 years ago, he came to the conclusion that "there are very powerful forces," the "Brotherhood of Darkness," that control the U.S. government.

"A friend suggested to me that," he begins, but is interrupted by a question. He picks up the story again in a different place. "A man named Benbella was taking over Algiers. I found the same article would be in the Sacramento paper [as] 'Benbella marched into Algiers to cheers of the throng.' Another story would say, 'Benbella marched into Algiers at the head of his communist-equipped troops.'

"Two words change the meaning of the article," he continues. "Of course somebody covered up the communist influence…I suddenly realized that everything I thought I knew, everything I learned about history was wrong and I'd been lied to. I went back and read the Declaration and the Constitution."

Mentally, I cover another square on my metaphorical Bingo card of the conspiracy experience: the friend who asks you to read a book, review some "material," watch a video, meet someone, or talk to someone. Now, if someone was pestering me to "read some materials" or "meet a very special man I know," I'd assume it was either Amway or Scientology and put their phone number on the "block" list. But conspiracy hunters aren't cynics, and a cigar is never just a cigar.

It's the ages old pattern of conversion: Saul at the Damascus gate. First comes the baptism – the hour of first belief. The meeting, conversation, reading – whatever – is the Call of Irresistible Grace in the form of a revealed connection between seemingly unrelated information:

A newswire story is edited differently in two different papers. A child is kidnapped and murdered on the West Coast and a Washington D.C. highflier is arrested for running a prostitution ring. John Kennedy Jr. dies in plane crash at the age of 39, 36 years after his father's assassination, and 3+9+3+6 = 21, as in UN Agenda 21, the New World Order's plan for depopulating the world.
The revelation, this stepping through the doors of perception, is the charism by which believers become certain of divine election and experience release from the prison of ignorance. Then comes initiation and full participation in the community's sacraments. Which is what this weekend is all about: communal worship.
Just as you don't go to a revival meeting to learn about 12th century Christian Eucharistic doctrines, you don't go to Conspiracy Con to examine evidence of Humanoid-Reptiloid war that's raging on Mars as we speak. (Why doesn't the Mars Rover see it? Simple. The Mars Rover is actually tooling around a secret Hollywood set and everyone involved in setting it up has been killed). The talks are the revival meeting and the speakers are visiting evangelists and prophets.
Where there is light, there must also be darkness. And the next chapter of my journey takes me upriver to the mind-bending depravities of the Luciferian Masters of Darkness: Descent into the Maelstrom