The Palace of Malice

On February 7, 2008 the Los Alamos County Council voted to destroy the physical symbol of the Independence of Los Alamos.

On December 21, 2010 5 Members of the Los Alamos County Council, 2 of whom voted in the affirmative in the above cited action, voted to destroy the liberties and rights of the citizens of Los Alamos and to vacate the Charter which was the codification of the Independence of Los Alamos.

The Palace of Malice, akin to Nero's Golden Palace and destined to become home to Ozymandius, will be built upon a foundation of legal chicanery, ruthless manipulation, self-aggrandizement, wanton destruction, and the wholesale abuse of Public Trust and authority --- but at what cost, and borne by whom?

Reality Check -- No community of any size can long survive the destruction of its heritage, the dissolution of its freedoms, and the permanent division of its citizens.

Friday, April 30, 2010

19) The Young Guns

My parents moved here in 1952 because Dad had a job offer from the Lab. Not that he expected to. Mom and Dad lived in D.C. and Dad had seen this ad in the local paper for a drafting position somewhere in New Mexico, so he had applied for the job sort of as a lark mostly because he had always wanted to see The West and he figured if the prospective employer wanted to talk to him, they'd pay for the trip. They did, and he got to see The West. But he didn't really figure he'd get the job. See, Dad was 21, Mom was 20, I was 1, and nobody had been to college. Mom and Dad only had high school degrees. But he got the gig as a design draftsman and Mom, an artist, got a job at the Lab as a technical artist.

Think of that: you could actually land a job at The Lab which would estalish a career, pay well, allow you to raise a family here -- with no more than a high school education.

We are beginning to hear the mantra "grow our own". That could be fine, depending on what you are trying to grow. But the question has to be asked, "grow our own what?".

When I was in LAPS, I knew a lot of kids who were un-scientific and certainly not hard-wired for math. Now, the emphasis on academics and Go To College has always been pretty heavy here, but there were several offerings in practical arts. I took woodshop and drafting in junior high. In high school I took metal shop and two years of graphic arts -- with real honest to goodness printing presses and line copy photography. Other kids took electronics, home ec, and auto shop. What I learned in my practical arts classes I still use today. I also took history, civics, Latin, speech, band, chem, bio, along with the requisite 3 years of English (high school back then was 10 - 12). The only thing I learned in my one algebra class that I still use is the pythagorean theorem and that only to help my wife figure out triangle sizes for her quilting projects.

I hear tell its a bit different these days. Few electives, little in practical arts, and 4 years of math including Physics. I would never have graduated. The truth is that if you aren't a science type then the commencement speech you get is, "We've taught you everything we can, now go away."

So let's see - of 316 professional/business activities the mortality plan is to emphasize 16 that we already have plenty of, and ignore the 238 possible professional/business activities from which we could be expanding our economy. We aren't going to recruit non-science/tech types -- we're just going to "grow our own" whiz kids as more fodder for the Lab and Science City. We are going to keep our demographics exactly as they are now -- overpaid, overeducated, overwhite -- shove the non-science kids out the door and keep the non-science types in the wider world from coming in the door and somehow this will solve all our problems.

Reality check: More of the Same, Piled Higher and Deeper will only get you more of the same social - economic problems --- piled higher and deeper.


  1. Nope. physics is science, not math. The science curriculum is physics, chemistry, and biology - from the most general to the most specific.

    Pythagorean theorem - geometry.

    However, you are right on about our high school curriculum which is influenced by the NM PED (Public education dept) as well as LANL. You've got to realize that the state has been drug into this hi tech business and is forcing kids into classes they are not ready for. This is happening statewide, not just in LA.

    There are lots of great kids at LAHS who do not need what is now required for graduation including 4 years of math (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and precalc/trig).

    Not all kids are the same, yet we spend more and more money trying pound the square peg through the round hole. I wish I could find a good plumber who does not know anything about algebra but can fix the leak under my duplex!

  2. Thank you for the correction on the curriculum. Someone had offered to send me the required curriculum but I'm still waiting on that. Obviously, when I was in school, some of this stuff -- a lot of this stuff -- was not required.

    And yes, there are lots of great kids at LAHS -- who are having their true talents denied for the sake of The Great Lie.

  3. Hi Richard, I've found your blog interesting, and I found this one related to school to be spot on. I, too, am an LAHS grad ('89), and basically did everything I could to avoid certain subjects (higher math, physics, etc.) although I was passionate for, and thus excelled in English, history, music, and art.

    I find the topic of schooling and school funding to be an onerous one, especially since we are a homeschooling family. My property taxes just increased substantially thanks to the school bond, which I did vote in favor of, yet, I receive no funding to help with the education of my own children. While it is our choice to not rely on the public education system, we are still connected to the system, and bear the expense.

    It is truly fascinating to know that your parents were able to move here so young, and obtain careers that they probably enjoyed, could raise their family here in this gorgeous place, which used to be a place full of most of the amenities of the time. Knowing they did that without college degrees is also telling. I believe the youth of today are being mislead. They are required to trudge through subjects they have no interest in because it will supposedly help them in college and careers. But do college and careers lead to happiness and whole life fulfillment? Not necessarily. I hope for more for my children, and thus will not force them to be brought up within the public school system. If they choose it in the future, that's fine, but at least they'll have a choice.

    Nice read...keep it up!

  4. Chrys.....

    Thank you :) A bit of follow-up. I have a degree in PoliSci/Econ. Which is why I'm a musician today :). Actually, the issues of Los Alamos are the first time I've had the opportunity to put my college degree to use -- and, of course, I'm not getting paid for it.

    Dad eventually was offered the job of assistant group leader, based solely on years of experience. After Dad died, Mom went on to be a space planner and eventually an architectural designer. Neither ever got the college degree.

    Public Education is America's first "social program" -- and, for all its faults, remains the one most effective. Jefferson wrote, "It is the natural propensity of the functionaries of every government to gather unto themselves the rights and property of their constituents...nor can these be protected without Education."

    Unfortunately, public education has suffered for any number of reasons all of which boil down to social engineering of one kind or another. I actually studied to be a teacher -- did all the course work and some student teaching, and I often think that what we require of our teachers is just simply unfair.

    Home schooling still meets Jefferson's standards and I have to admire the parent so dedicated as to engage in this.

    A broad education, particularly in the K-12 years, is, I believe, a very good thing. We are, after all, preparing children for a future that is not ours and that we may never see.

    And I'm still hoping that we can make the changes neccesary for people to come to Los Alamos with less than a bachelor's and find success here.