The news media today: What is it good for?


By Max R. Weller

After all of the buildup in the news media, you might have thought that President Obama was going to come up with a brilliant new unilateral approach on immigration policy. Instead, it’s the same ol’ delay leaving millions of people in limbo; it remains unlikely that any permanent resolution will be forthcoming in the Obama vs. Boehner pissing contest.

And why is the media hanging around in Ferguson, MO for weeks and months on end? Could it be to instigate violent confrontation between “protesters” — many of whom have no ties to Ferguson, and come from other states — and the authorities? Is it really all about ratings? See the recent Gallup Poll: Trust in Mass Media Returns to All-Time Low. My own distrust centers around the appalling ignorance of most reporters and commentators.

Seems to me the American people are being poorly served by politicians in both parties and by the news media.

On the local scene: I realize this is an editorial from the Longmont Times-Call, but newspapers in the same corporate family are fungible, so what I say also applies to the Boulder Daily Camera.

Recently, there have been some encouraging signs of change at the DC: more moderate voices in the editorial capacity, for example. This is good, if it continues as a long-term trend.

Reportage at the DC? Not so good; the newspaper continues to accept and to parrot the PLAN-Boulder County line, as put forth by the elected representatives of this cabal of less than one percent of Boulder’s citizens. And Heaven forbid that the DC should critically examine what’s really going on at Boulder Housing Partners, Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, and Bridge House (the Big Three players in our local homeless shelter/services industry). I might have a heart attack if I ever read a story in which the reporter/writer asked probing questions of Betsey Martens, Greg Harms, and Isabel McDevitt! It ain’t happening now, ain’t never happened in the past, so why should we expect it to happen in the future? $200,000 apartments for only 31 active alcoholics at 1175 Lee Hill, while hundreds more homeless single adults are still on the streets, isn’t even on the DC’s radar screen. Municipalization shenanigans? The DC doesn’t seem to care about being the people’s watchdog with that issue, either.

A Free Press exists in theory, here in the Boulder Bubble, but in practice it falls far short of the ideal.

Where is Clark Kent when we need him?

George Reeves and Jack Larson (as Jimmy Olsen)

The information we need is out there, but finding the truth requires sorting through piles of garbage, and is not for the faint of heart.

Max’s Journal 11/20/2014


By Max R. Weller

I have NO respect for cowards who either hide behind masks or use screen names on websites for the sole purpose of hiding their identities, as they spew lies and slanders against others:

Anonymous_mask-5The ubiquitous Guy Fawkes mask

Those who enable or give “moral” support to these individuals aren’t much better than the spineless jellyfish themselves.

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker has this to offer: Obama’s royal flip-flop on using executive action on illegal immigration. I think it’s a good thing, sometimes, to change your mind about issues like immigration; but, it’s never wise to lie about such flip-flops if you’re the POTUS and people are paying attention. BTW, I AGREE with President Obama’s previous position. It’s true, Republican presidents in the past have used executive orders in dealing with immigration. However, considering how the issue has gotten more troublesome over the course of the past decades, it ought to be obvious to everyone that the POTUS can’t solve the issue on his own.

48% of those surveyed in this NBC-WSJ poll are opposed to President Obama’s proposed executive action on immigration, 38% favor it, and 14% are undecided. What’s interesting is that at least 57% favor finding a way for undocumented immigrants to become citizens. Include me in this latter group. After all, when my paternal ancestors from Germany arrived here in the 1700s, and likewise my maternal ancestors in the 1840s, there were no rules and no bureaucracy to impede their dreams of a better life in America.

Obama is clueless, once again, by picking a fight with Congress when he could work with them, instead, and enjoy the support of a majority of Americans. The Obamabots will probably label everyone against an executive order in this case as a “xenophobe” — which is untrue. It’s apparently all the Dems know how to do.

I daresay the Obamabots will NOT be bothered by their hero’s flip-flop on immigration, or anything else for that matter. They seem to have acquiesced in the Bush/Obama Great Recession, as well as endless wars overseas. To them, it’s all about Obama the man — issues of the day are irrelevant, and a distraction to worship of their idol.

The rest of us try to think for ourselves.

Have you seen panhandlers “flying a sign” like the one below?

No hay dinero para los borrachos, por favor.

No hay dinero para los borrachos, por favor.*

That’s all for now, folks. (*No money for drunks, please.)

Seattle City Council goes overboard, and more


By Max R. Weller

Read the story from the KOMO website: Seattle City Council wants to fund internet in homeless camps.

I’m sorry, do-gooders everywhere, bit this is just about the most counterproductive proposal in re homelessness I’ve ever heard — not as bad as Housing First for active alcoholics without any requirement that they sober up either now or in the future, but certainly enabling the entitlement mentality which is a disservice to everyone.

As much as I use the Internet, if I couldn’t manage to haul my sorry butt to public access computers at a local library or use one at my friends’ home, I sure as hell wouldn’t expect the nanny state to bring taxpayer-funded Internet service to my homeless campsite.

BTW, I’ve never signed up for an Obama Phone, because you also have to be receiving other government asssistance to qualify. (I promise you, this is NOT an article from the Onion.) See how they want to make you more dependent on the social services system?

Barack Obama on Phone

Isn’t that a landline the POTUS is using in this pic? FREE landlines are available at almost all homeless shelter/services providers, including Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and Bridge House in Boulder, CO.

The chronically homeless are the most vulnerable among us, many of them suffering from mental illness/developmental disabilities or physical disabilities or addictions (or any combination of the three), and billions of taxpayer dollars are being spent, yet most of them are still on the streets! Our priorities are FUBAR.

I submit to you, Gentle Reader, that things like free cell phones and Internet access are less important than food, clothing, emergency shelter leading to stable housing, education, employment (even $10 per hour at Walmart), quality health care, good hygiene, dignity, self-respect, and a purpose in life beyond standing in line for more giveaways. The facts are that it’s impossible to obtain all of these as a slave to the current unholy alliance of private nonprofits and government agencies — whose creed is MORE HOMELESS PEOPLE = MORE MONEY. The do-gooders have no incentive to help the homeless, either single adults or families, to achieve true independence; they’d be missing not only a paycheck in some cases, but the chance to FEEL GOOD about themselves in every case.

Nobody possessed of both an IQ in the average range and a conscience can condone the current state of affairs . . .

And that’s my rant for today, as I’m fortunate enough to be indoors due to the kindness of friends.

‘The myth of too much school testing’

Commentary by Alicia Caldwell from the Denver Post copied below in its entirety:

There is a direct relationship, I have noticed, between the complexity of a topic and the potential for nonsense to surround it.

That is exactly what is happening with the too-much-state-testing student walkout business.

The cold, hard facts are that state-required standardized testing in first through 12th grades takes 1.4 percent of a kid’s annual school time at most.

How about those hundreds of seniors in Boulder, Cherry Creek and Dougco who recently refused to take tests?

They’re being asked to spend a maximum of 0.6 percent of their school year on social studies and science assessments. Those numbers were compiled by the state Department of Education.

And the reason they’re even being tested as seniors is due to a collaboratively made decision to avoid overloading juniors.

Maybe those seniors would rather be doing other things, but another fact is that the science test is required by the feds as well as the state.

Seniors from Boulder’s Fairview High School protest Colorado CMAS school tests last Thursday. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

Seniors from Boulder’s Fairview High School protest Colorado CMAS school tests last Thursday. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post) 

As for the social studies test, a broad group of educators and others put the standards now being tested into place in 2009 with the goal of preparing students for college and careers.

And know this about the overlords who created the social studies standards: At least eight educators from Cherry Creek and Boulder Valley school districts were on the committee. That undercuts the argument that there was no local input.

It’s important to take a step back and understand why some of these standards came to be in the first place. It’s because Colorado students were having to take too many remedial classes when they got to college.

“By the way, you need to pay for those and you don’t get credit for them,” said Joyce Zurkowski, the state’s executive director of assessment, said of college remedial classes. “That’s not OK.”

What’s really going on here, in my opinion, is twofold. Local districts are layering their own assessments on top of those required by the state, adding to the total test time. That’s certainly their prerogative, but it adds up.

And there is a convenient convergence of political purpose between the far left, which would prefer no standardized testing — especially none tied to teachers’ evaluations — and the far right, which looks askance at state “intrusion” even while taking state education money.

It’s not radical for Coloradans to expect children to “understand (how) globalization changed the availability of human capital.” That is a competency expected of high school students in economics.

And it’s appropriate for high school students to be able to “use different types of maps and geographic tools to analyze features on Earth to investigate and solve geographic questions.”

Let’s have an honest conversation about what is going on with concern over testing and talk about reasonable solutions.

First, any attempt to use consternation over social studies and science tests to raise objections to Common Core ought to be seen as the political opportunism that it is. They are not part of Common Core, which involves language arts and math.

And make no mistake, that is coming. Do not be the slightest bit surprised to see an abolish-Common-Core bill emerge in the state legislature. Such an effort ought to be snuffed out.

Second, maybe there are ways to better structure and schedule assessments so they pose fewer conflicts with local tests and college boards. Perhaps some state tests can be pared down. Those are options.

One last thing: Those kids who say they haven’t been taught the material that is on those tests they’re protesting might consider asking themselves why and whose fault that is. I think they might find the answer is as close as their local board of education.

Now there’s something to get worked up about.

E-mail Alicia Caldwell at or follow her on Twitter: @AliciaMCaldwell  

BOHO now open nightly, tiny houses, and more


By Max R. Weller

Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow will now be open EVERY NIGHT from November 15th, 2014 through March 15th, 2015. Check with them on Facebook daily for the location of each night’s emergency warming center, or better yet write down the weekly rotation among churches and a synagogue and keep that with you.

I have a dream that one day all of Boulder, CO’s homeless people — men, women, and children — will be housed. BUT, how in blazes can any rational person claim that Housing First works in Boulder, with hundreds of homeless left out in the cold? It seems obvious to me that it’s a farce — unless you are one of the lucky 31 chosen for the new HF apartment project. We must drastically cut housing costs UP FRONT, or any alleged savings to taxpayers on emergency services are an illusion (“illusion” spelled l-i-e). We can’t house everybody in a $200,000 apartment, like those at 1175 Lee Hill. “Tiny houses” are the workable, cost-effective solution: Building communities one tiny house at a time

BTW, many homeless adults could build their own tiny houses from recycled materials, with minimal help from skilled volunteers, and pay a modest monthly rent for a space to put them (perhaps a few acres carved out of Boulder’s 70 square miles of Open Space, for the hundreds of tiny houses which would be required). I see this as a local solution for Boulder County’s own homeless people, with transients/travelers being encouraged to move on. It’s more than enough of a challenge to provide housing for our own; let other cities like Denver do likewise, and stop using our city as an overflow destination for their homeless folks.

Tiny house by OM Build in Madison, WI

Of course, tiny houses are NOT suitable for homeless families. With cost savings realized by abandoning grandiose projects for a relatively few homeless people, however, we could house every homeless family in a single family HOME — using the scattered site model throughout Boulder, rather than the ghetto project approach that was discredited 50 years ago.

To me, another huge advantage would be the accompanying reduction in expensive social services which do little or nothing to improve most homeless people’s lives. Caveat: those homeless people with severe mental illness or developmental disabilities need 24/7 supervision in group homes, by staff with the proper training; this is another matter altogether (read Fifty Years of Failing America’s Mentally Ill from the Wall Street Journal online).

There will continue to be a role for emergency overnight shelters, especially in the winter, because we can’t allow anyone to freeze to death on the streets without making the effort to shelter them from their own folly. An expanded detox facility has been needed for a long time in Boulder, CO; homeless shelters, hospitals, and jails are poor substitutes.

The biggest roadblock to making this dream shared by many come true — housing all of Boulder, CO’s homeless people — is the current narrow-minded leadership of the private nonprofits and government bureaucracies with their self-serving focus on $$$, a perpetual hunger for funding which doesn’t seem to help nearly as many homeless folks as it should.

Today at my hideout: eating, napping, and playing online chess. Many thanks to my friends, who are willing to tolerate my visits longer than they should.


Views and top posts all-time


By Max R. Weller

Views and visitors by month:

Screenshot from 2014-11-15 13:55:53Click on image to enlarge

Top posts all-time:

Screenshot from 2014-11-15 13:57:39Click on image to enlarge

Once in a while, I like to look at some of the stats from this blog, to remind myself of how unimportant the critics in Boulder, CO really are in the overall scheme of things.

Views by country all-time:

Screenshot from 2014-11-15 14:09:18Click on image to enlarge

This last screenshot is, of course, my favorite . . . LOL!

‘A Reminiscence of War Time’ by Nicholas Haerle in 1910

Lafayette_County_Courthouse,_Lexington,_MissouriLafayette County (MO) Courthouse

“It was in 1861. I was the manager of the German Turner Hall at Lexington, Missouri. The sentiments for and against the Union clashed bitterly in the border states. Lexington was at fever-heat. On the 3d of May 1861, a pro-Union meeting at the court house had been called. With others, I went to attend the same, and soon the hall was crowded. Several speakers had made their appearance to address those present. As soon as the first orator began to speak, he was interrupted by noise and hisses, and suddenly all the lights were extinguished. Pandemonium reigned. A mob thronged to the rostrum and seized the Union flag which had been placed there. Quickly I rushed between the men and took the flag from them. I tore it from the staff and hid it under my vestcoat. During the melee I was shot in the leg and beaten over the head. While I was being taken to my home two old citizens knocked me again over the head with their canes. The next morning, six men, heavily armed, came to my residence and ordered me, in the name of Jefferson Davis and the Southern Confederacy, to leave town at once. My faithful wife told them that my condition did not allow my leaving home. The men answered that I would be hung on the nearest tree, if I should be found in town the next morning. What could be done? Early the next day friends brought me across the Missouri river, and, accompanied by Captain Fred Nest, I took a train of the Hannibal & St. Joe for St. Louis. Here I found a good position in the war relief office. In 1865 I returned to Lexington where I have lived ever since, for the last twenty-five years retired from business. By-gones are by-gones. I always was a peaceable citizen, and I bear no hatred or grudge against my enemies of those days. They now count among my best friends. I have forgiven. The little flag — we do not see the like today, the stripes sewn together and the stars fastened upon the cloth — is still in my possession. A battered and torn little flag, of no value to others, but priceless to me. I have saved its honor; it shall be with me as long as I live, and it shall lie with me after I am dead.”

Posted on the Facebook page I remember when . . . Lexington, MO by Bill Sellers. Many thanks to him for bringing us this great story in Nicholas Haerle’s own words.