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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 14, 2009 7:30am-8:00am EDT

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eating double rations and yet double ragsz are against the law in the german army, punishes, infractions very severely and how was the field cook convinced to give them double rations? i asked that question -- not a single person out of hundreds and hundreds of the best readers and finally i gave it as an open book and they still couldn't answer it and well, they got double rations because the other unit was going to eat there had been wiped out to a man, and when the cook denied them the extra sausage and potatoes, one sharp guy, the narrator in the book, says, yes, but the most severe infraction is wasting food, and when they come around and see that you wasted half the food, u-your neck will be in a noose, and the cook is caught in the dilemma and finally... well,
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any way, nobody could answer the question. because that is not the kind of question that is asked. your reading has been shaped by scoring well. the only anecdote is if your parents actually know how to read and they read for nuances. and for tiny detail and for connecting the dots, and instead of memorizing them. so, these results that emerge are frequently cooked in advance, this is an expression from chess puzzles. they are pre-destin ated, the answer and they can be made to see the results are falling one way because, obviously, these are superior people. over 30 years teaching, i absolutely know that if you took all of the a-students and put them in a class, and you had to
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pick a-students as a class, b-students, c, combined and d, the one class you would never select to get results were the a-students, unless what you wanted were clerks and order-takers. someone else. yes, sir? >> is there any way to like to become a doctor or a lawyer without having to go through school? because -- >> that is of course a wonderful question, isn't it? >> you can rig the game in advance by saying you must do so-and-so on sats, or you must do x, y and z or we won't let you on the professional track. are there other ways to beat that. i would guess the answer is yes.
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but i would hardly have -- but i would say, by all means, look. and ask your local doctor, you know. yes, sir? >> i have nef heard of you prior to this day and i'm happy you described your vision as open source education. i am wondering, and it might be a bit controversial, many of us are involved in the open source technology movement and obviously the open source technology movement i think in its most sear international way is fueled by the sick dellic experience and psychedelic drugs and for a lot of people, i rob the day in 2004 when i was sitting with a friend who was under the influence of lsd and the night that i began the thought process, that made me realize i didn't need government and by extension, made me have new thoughts about education and where do you see the psychedelic mind in the future paradigm of education? >> that is a question which of necessity i'm going to duck!
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[laughter]. >> next question. >> now, i was warned to be very slow turning from one side of the room to the other. i will be glad to discuss that with you. >> i was going to ask, i don't know who asked the previous question but i have a two part answer, i don't with respect to doctors but i sat next to a gal, one time, who was a lawyer, and she did not have an undergraduate degree and dropped out of law school and took the bar and passed it and practices law in california, currently and i am an airline pilot one of the other of the big three and i don't have a -- an accredited college diploma or a high school degree and you have the ability to do that. that is an answer to take with you. >> yes, thank you, yes. yes, ma'am. >> what is your advice for dealing and rage and grief that come when you realize how much of your own life has been
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squandered... [laughter] [applause]. >> what is your advice when you discover for your own life... i'm 75 and i'm still discovering indwelling curiosity cut offs to use ... can't remember. anyway, to borrow somebody's expression. and one flew over the cuckoo's nest, who is that guy? ken kesey. i cam discovering the cut offs that were planted long ago and ripping them out, just when i think i'm totally free i'll find another. and you start where you are and you don't have to do much work in this area before your life seems to be lighter, much better. even if you have a long way to
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go. you start where you are. for sure. and you don't despair, ever. for us jesuits that is the biggest thing. yes, ma'am. >> i have a question... how do you explain the way you feel about education to regular people, whereas -- [laughter]. >> you know, like your philosophy and i would say i was on board with your philosophy, a lot sooner than i read your books, because auto went to a vocational high school and had an unusual experience with education and in this state, now we have a recent law where students can't drop out of school and have to stay in school by law still this age of 18 and are unable to do alternative education in high school which i think is cruel, i think that is the only word i can come up with, because many kids shouldn't be there and how do you explain the fact that
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your ideas about alternative education are actually compassionate, because i lot of people think the only way to be compassionate to kids and their educational needs is to force them to stay in school until 18. >> i had the good fortune to grow up in the realest part of the united states i have ever seen. western pennsylvania, along the west virginia bored during the second world war during my growing-up time and people from all over the earth were there and the idiom of that zone of the country was absolute plain talk and the advice, if you got insulted was to strike back with maximum force, none of this graduated force, and as a consequence people from all over the earth, people with all kinds of economic differences, were
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polite and cordial to one another. because the alternative was to get into a fistfight right away. it was the only genuinely melted melting pot i have ever seen. and i learned there to talk straight, to be clear as i could be and not to put on airs with anybody. although i had dispositions in that direction, you never let them show. even the scotch-irish, only one of about 70 different, you know, cultures, that were assembled there, they had given the place its character originally. the quakers had thrown the scotch irish out of eastern pennsylvania because they were so war like and ready to fight, at the drop of a hat.
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they cents them to western pennsylvania and then they denied western pennsylvania -- these are the quakers for you, denied western pennsylvania any money for frontier defense, so the only large scale indian up rising in america -- there are a lot of little ones and the only big one was the indians swept the field for hundreds of miles, was through the alleghenies, and they marched on philadelphia, and then the quakers seemed to have begged the scotch irish to send their militias to defend philadelphia. i have no argument with the quakers. i rather like them, but, the character, the community i grew up in, communicated to me that essentially, anybody can do anything. that you don't stand on degrees or titles, performance is the
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only sane way to measure anybody. so, you ought to teach your a-students to cough -- can they do anything that somebody else would say, wow! that is meritorious? or we need you, come help us. we're drowning in a-students right now, that are -- don't have any idea what to do. [laughter]. >> because they listen to orders and no one -- [applause]. >> no one is available to give any orders, that make any sense. >> one more question. only time for one more. >> [inaudible]. >> [laughter]. >> short answer. >> i must say, that when i got interdo you haved to the world of libertarians, that was practically the first question i
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was asked, and oddly enough, i had read the found head, which i thought was a pretty good story. although it was a bad movie made from it. there -- the fountain head -- but i wasn't thinking about the philosophy imbedded in it. certainly enough people i respect, admire ms. rand. there must be something there. to say there is a -- an aesthetic disconnect between us, but that doesn't mean that i don't think there is something there. do i draw philosophic strengths from writing? absolutely. that is one of the things we disconnected kids from, in school. if any of you in school had ever read them, pick three books out of random -- at random, julius
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keys czar's gall -- gaelic wars, you would have understood, as long as the school helped you, a little, not much, you would understand how a small force can take a larger, more potent force and divide it against itself, and win the battle because the stronger force is busy arguing among themselves and that is what you would have learned from caesar's gaelic wars and if you ever read marcus are real yous's meditation which we were compelled to read in 7th grade, i'm grateful for, during the second world war before the schools really went down the toilet, and what aurelius shows you is the single wealthiest man on the whole planet and this single most powerful man on the whole planet says, flatly, that nothing you can buy with money or order with power is worth
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having. now i can hug him for that. and finally, thomas hobbs, in the middle of the 17th century, spelled out how a monarch can keep a leviathan state together and leviathan state, an easy book to read and you still see things sophisticated people are unable to understand, what hobbs said is wherever power seems to be it is never there. not -- seldom there, it is never there. where power seems to be, is the front or the mouth piece, the flak catcher for the real power, i'll tell you it is a mighty, potent idea to roll around in your test and test against the george bushes of the world -- or anyone else.
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really. so, books should produce -- and people spend years distilling one in sight. but schools don't teach books that away. a good story, a bad story, here's the details to memorize, you pass the test. >> no more, we're done. i'm sorry. [applause]. >> i'm sorry! [applause]. >> would you like to move into the dining room. >> let me pack up so i don't go crazy. >> for more information on john taylor gatto go to
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>> i'm the congressman for the 11th congressional district of virginia. and i'm here to talk about books. i, myself am a very avenue did reader and i read on average, at least a book a week, sometimes two. and most of my consumption is history, and biography. i have a stack of books on one side of the bed i've read in the last year and i've got another stack on the other side of the bed that is to be read in the coming year. and i particularly am fondled with american history. and have read a number of biographies the last year, read a wonderful book, by joseph whelan, the last crusade on john quincy adams career here in the house of representatives and many ways, historians, very few have ever written about that period, exclusively.
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in john quincy adams a career and he spent 17 years here in the house of representatives after having served as president and had a very distinguished career and was an out spoken opponent of slavery. and, many ways, was somebody who foresaw the disunion that was going to occur over that great subject and he was just a stalwart on the subject and was a fierce defender of the constitution and american rights, and, of course, defended the black slaves who had been on the famous incident of the amistad, and john quincy adams actually took the case to the supreme court and prevailed in an era when nobody thought he could, and it is a fascinating story of john quincy adams and his time, post presidential and i think it is one of the few
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books written about that period of time in his life and i book i finished reading when i got to the house, is the house historian's book, robert remini's book "the house" which is a short history, of the house of representatives itself. which is a great institution, and had lots of interesting characters and of course, great history swirling around this place. and, wonderful read for those of us who have come to congress this last year. i went through a bout of reading about ancient rome and i read anthony effort's two books, cicero and augustus, two incredible characters in ancient rome and the adrian goldsmith on the biography of julius caesar, i went to carson mccullough's novel on julius caesar, and bob harris's book, imperium, and i
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couldn't get enough of ancient rome and read every novel and short story steven saylor has done and created the fictional character but the history behind it is accurate, and it is just a mystery detective in ancient rome during the time period, especially during the time of julius caesar and augustus. so, i have had a lot of fun reading about history, and even going to fiction, to further inform me about that great time period in terms of ancient rome. i think in the -- this time of barack obama, one must read for everybody, doris kearns good win's book, i team of rives, the great story of how abraham lincoln not only bested his rivals but had the intestinal fortitude to bring all of them into his cabinet, each of whom thought he was smarter than
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lincoln and each of whom thought he should be in that swivel chair and not abraham link son and it is a great story and really illuminates a lot about american history. and another book i read this last year or so, is a book, i read a number of military histories, david halberstam's book, the coldest winter, a wonderful story, published posthumously by a great writer on the korean war. not a lot of single volumes on that period of american history and really well, well done. and rick atkinson is working on a trilogy and published the first two books on the second world war, and specifically, the first volume on the american involvement in north africa and this second on the italian campaign, which was a bloody, bloody affair and doesn't get a lot of attention in at thises and obviously deserves a lot more. and rick atkinson, a journalist with the "washington post" is
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just a luminescent writer, wolf, wonderful piece of history, and great, great writing. but a book i would recommend for people who want to understand what went wrong in iraq is a book called fiasco, tom ricks and he has written a sequel which is called "the gamble" and i haven't read that, but it is really a great book in terms of peeling away what happened in iraq. and, you know, essentially, the united states made some very critical mistakes we are paying a heavy price for even now. the first was, the inadequacy of the troops that went into iraq. which meant that while we could tom the regime we could not restore law and order and so, a mass looting occurred, and american troops all too often found themselves frankly standing on the sidelines having to watch it because it wasn't their mission and we didn't have enough troops to do much about
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it. it is significantly -- significantly eroded iraqi public confidence in who we were and what we were about. and secondly, paul bremer then sort of the guy in charge, put in charge by both rumsfeld and bush, overturned some decisions the american military had been trying to make in order to restore law and order, and, to essentially try to rebuild some kind of structure. the first was, his decision to disband the iraqi military, which had been add odds with what our own military was trying to do and by doing that, of course, he essentially created a couple of hundred thousand unemployed families whose main source of income was an armed military, trained military man. and, thus fueling sympathy for the insurgency and, frankly, providing a source of weapons.
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and the third great mistake was, the decision that to ban all members of the baathist party which had been the dominant party in iraq, since the time of saddam hussein, from serving in the new government. well, it might be understandable that you wanted the senior members of the baathist party precluded. but to go down toed low-level bureaucrats who had no real choice, if they wanted to advance they had to be members of the baathist party and to ban them, too, just created hundreds of thousands of unemployed folks who now also were very hostile to the united states and were sympathetic to the insurgency. those three big problems, bad decisions, on the part of the previous administration, and specifically paul bremer, really made -- really helped shape what was then going to happen, and of
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course now we're in the longest military engagement in our history. and although things have finally started to show some improvement on the ground, when you read this book, fiasco, you realize that if we had made different decisions, frankly, the outcomes might have been much more positive, and we might not have lost as many american lives, i think might not have lo as many iraqi lives in the ensuing 7 or 8 years. >> edith gelles, at the michelle art claman institute for gender research recounts the 54 year marriage of abigail and john
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adams. book passage bookstore in california, hosted the event. and it's an hour. [applause]. >> well, thank you for coming out on this beautiful day. history lovers. you know, driving up here i live in pal tow alto and my husband and i were driving up here and i thought, you know, we are the most fortunate people on the planet in all of history to live in california. it is just gorgeous up here. palo alto and the south bay is beautiful. and it changes character, the terrain, the entire environment, changes character after -- go over that wolf golden gate bridge, and here we are in beautiful corda m madiera.
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you can't hear me, is this better? i'll speak up, also. i'll start by talking about how i happened to write this book and we have to go back into history, all of three years when, if you recall, three years ago, it seemed certain that a woman was going to be the democratic candidate for president of the united states. and then win this election. things changed a lot and very quickly but there was, three years ago, no competition on the horizon. and so as i thought about this woman, who was about to become our first woman president, of the united states, i realized, she had been a first lady, and i had worked on a first lady for 30 years of my career. and i had worked on the political relationship of a very famous first family. the adamses.
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and it seemed appropriate, then, to write a book about the adams es, and there has been no prior biography of abigail and john and there were wonderful biographies about john and nice ones about abigail and none about the marriage so i decided to write about the two of them in tandem. and my interest in abigail goes back 30 years to the beginning of the women's movement. and at that time, i am trained as a colonial historian. i did pure tans and the entire 17th and 18th century and then, i -- this women's movement came along, and i was teaching in southern california, and i didn't know how to do women's history. there were very few books, if you went to a bookstore, 30 years ago, and looked for a shelf on women's books there
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were very few of them. the only way i could think to do women's history was to writes a biography of a woman and i looked through the -- who were the possible well-known women in that era, there was ann brad street but she was a poet and i don't do poetry. there was merciodis warren, who wrote the first history of the american revolution but i didn't -- she left very few papers as well. and there was ann hutchinson, of course, but there is no paper, there are no archives left by ann hutchinson in her own words. everything that we know about her has been written by men. and then, there was abigail adams, and she left letters, and as i started reading her letters, it was love at first letter. and i realized, i could work on
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abigail adams and there were at the time very few biographies of her. that had been written in recent tim times. there had been biographies around world war ii but no contemporary biographies of abigail adams and i started out writing a biography of abigail adams and this was a good 30 years ago and finished it and it was a chronological history of her life from birth to death and just about the time i was ready to publish, a couple of biographies did come out about her and a realized that my biography was not different than the other biographies, that came about. came out about her and the salient thing about all of them was that all of her biographies had as its protagonist, main character, its hero, john adams. and the reason was that john was


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