Tails 3 keeps collapsing the Firefox bookmarks toolbar

November 27, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ok, this is another problem that I constantly asked about. In Tails 3 and beyond, the bookmark bar annoyingly disappears upon each reboot. The tails support maillist and tails subreddit didn’t have any answers, so I looked at it closer myself.

Ok, it seems that the config file is stored in ./.tor-browser/profile.default/xulstore.json

Exact contents here:

{“chrome://browser/content/browser.xul”:{“navigator-toolbox”:{“iconsize”:”small”},”main-window”:{“screenX”:”90″,”screenY”:”117″,”width”:”1000″,”height”:”571″,”sizemode”:”normal”},”PersonalToolbar”:{“collapsed”:”false”},”sidebar-box”:{“sidebarcommand”:””,”width”:””,”src”:””},”sidebar-title”:{“value”:””}}}

Basically, this is the file that stores your bookmark bar toolbar settings. Take a look at this line:

“PersonalToolbar”:{“collapsed”:”false”}

This should be set to “false”. The funny thing is is that I tried to put the xulstore.json in the “dotfiles” directory, so it remembers the settings. But for some reason, the file gets overwritten by tails on the first loading of tor-browser.

Don’t know how to fix this and the maillists/subreddit are not helping. If someone knows a good workaround/solution, please leave a comment in my blog and I will update this blog post, so other people can benefit.

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Electrum is stuck synchronizing

November 26, 2017 at 11:49 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I do some consulting for some clients from time to time and I notice that a lot of people have this problem. Anyway, this problem seems to be especially prevalent in electrum on tails, as it uses an older version of electrum.

Here’s the deal, older versions of electrum do not support a technology called “RBF” (Replace By Fee). RBF allows you to replace an already submitted 0-confirmation transaction with a replacement transaction that has a higher fee. This is useful if you need to speed up a slow transaction on the network. (Beware of RBF, the sender can double spend the transaction and rip you off!.)

But I digress. . .

Anyway, yeah. Tails 2.7.9 does NOT support RBF transactions, so it gets confused and doesn’t know what to do when it sees it and gets “stuck”. RBF transactions are common with bitcoin tumbling anonymizing service like bitblender. You basically have to upgrade electrum to a newer version that understands RBF.

Here are the steps:
1) Download the electrum binary from the official electrum site, https://www.electrum.org/ . MAKE SURE YOU ARE ON THE OFFICIAL SITE, THERE’S A LOT OF PHISHING SITES OUT THERE.
2) VERIFY THE BINARY. You want to do this just in case a hacker breaks into the site and puts an 0wned verison of the binary on there.
3) Backup the electrum key. in tails, this is under the /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/electrum directory. Either back it up in a separate directory, such as /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/Persistent/backups/electrum or back it up ona separate USB. Another alternative is to write down the seed on a separate piece of paper and keep that seed safe, away from prying eyes
4) Unpack the binary and put it in folder somewhere that is persistent. Example: /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/Electrum-3.0.2
5) Open your “terminal” window and load the binary /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/Electrum-3.0.2/electrum and it should run

You can create an icon on your desktop by putting a .desktop file in /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/dotfiles/Desktop/electrum.desktop

This is the desktop file that I use:

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Lightweight Bitcoin Client
Exec=/home/amnesia/Persistent/Electrum-3.0.2/electrum %u
GenericName[en_US]=Bitcoin Wallet
GenericName=Bitcoin Wallet
Icon=electrum
Name[en_US]=Electrum Bitcoin Wallet
Name=Electrum Bitcoin Wallet
Categories=Finance;Network;
StartupNotify=false
Terminal=false
Type=Application
MimeType=x-scheme-handler/bitcoin;

libgconf-2.so.4 error running electron in tails

October 11, 2017 at 10:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I am experimenting with electron to write some quick and dirty cross-platform apps (I am not a fan of this architecture, but I’ll save that for another blog post) . So I tried to run my electron client on tails, and it gave me this error:

Linux: ./electron: error while loading shared libraries:
libgconf-2.so.4: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory.

Hmmm. I looked into it further and it seems that libgconf is a needed
dependency on chrome these days. Upgrading from Tails 3.0 to 3.2 somehow
broke this dependency. The library is “there”, but electron is somehow
not seeing it.

Solution: create a symlink to
/lib/live/mount/rootfs/filesystem.squashfs/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libgconf-2.so.4
to my electron directory. Apparently, the electron binary looks for
shared libraries starting in it’s home directory. So if you symlink
libgconf-2.so.4 to the electron base directory, it will “find” it.

The tails maillist doesn’t seem to be active anymore and there is no
good support for tails, so I thought I would post this up there just in
case some poor guy runs into the same problem I ran into.

Bitcoin market cap will easily be worth in the trillions of dollars

September 10, 2017 at 9:40 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I have been a big bitcoin proponent for quite some time. The current market cap of bitcoin is currently 70 billion dollars  – a lot of money to me and you but a pittance in terms of the world economy. I often wonder when this growth will slow down. I recently read an insightful post on reddit remarking on how far it can go. Was written by ZenoOnTheMoon, but re-posted here for convenience:

It’s quite easy to imagine a 2.6 trillion dollar market cap for bitcoin.

The current market value of Gold is 6.5 trillion dollars. The gold used in industry, jewelry and grills accounts for somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of the total supply, The rest of it’s value is essentially speculation on it’s ability to store value.

The perception of gold’s ability to store value, I would argue, is fundamentally based on 2 things. First, it’s relatively scarce, and second, it’s historical precedence as an accepted form of money.

To contrast this first point, scarcity, with bitcoin, I would argue that bitcoin’s scarcity is much more assured than gold’s. It’s assured digitally, in fact. Gold’s scarcity is assured only based on the fact that people think most of the easy-to-mine gold in the world has been found and mined.

To contrast the second point, historical precedence, with bitcoin, i would argue that historical precedence always gives way to technical advance. Unless there’s a mad-max scenario, the world is not going to go back to using precious metals as money. The conveniences brought about by the technological advance of bitcoin, in particular it’s uncounterfeitability, it’s perfect fungability, and it’s almost non-existent friction, are just too many.

So, the mad-max scenario aside, bitcoin could take a huge portion of that 6.5 trillion dollar gold market.

But bitcoin really goes beyond this. It’s a currency that has purposefully combined the most desirable properties of gold, and the most desirable properties of fiat (which i admit, there are not many!). Why on earth would it NOT dominate the currency market? Everything else being equal, exactly who would choose to save their money in a currency that not only could be slowly inflated into oblivion, but also had an undeniable historical precedence for being inflated into oblivion?

There are four trillion dollars changing hands every day in the forex markets. Hundreds of billions of which is just people speculating on which government is going to debase their currency fastest.

There’s at least 40 trillion dollars (USD equivalent) in government issued fiat currency, in the world, plus 7 trillion dollars worth of precious metals. Is it realistic that the greatest form of money the world has ever seen will have a 2.6 trillion dollar market cap? No, that figure is WAY TOO LOW.

It is going to crush the fiat currency markets and precious metals markets like the internal combustion engine crushed the horse and buggy, and talking about the dollar value of bitcoin will be as cute and antiquated as measuring how powerful a car’s engine is in terms of horses.

The Unabomber’s take on SJWs

September 5, 2017 at 9:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Every now and then I read something that completely encapsulates how I feel about a particular subject. The Unabomber just described SJW’s perfectly:

12. Those who are most sensitive about “politically incorrect” terminology are not the average black ghetto- dweller, Asian immigrant, abused woman or disabled person, but a minority of activists, many of whom do not even belong to any “oppressed” group but come from privileged strata of society. Political correctness has its stronghold among university professors, who have secure employment with comfortable salaries, and the majority of whom are heterosexual white males from middle- to upper-middle-class families.

13. Many leftists have an intense identification with the problems of groups that have an image of being weak (women), defeated (American Indians), repellent (homosexuals) or otherwise inferior. The leftists themselves feel that these groups are inferior. They would never admit to themselves that they have such feelings, but it is precisely because they do see these groups as inferior that they identify with their problems. (We do not mean to suggest that women, Indians, etc. ARE inferior; we are only making a point about leftist psychology.)

14. Feminists are desperately anxious to prove that women are as strong and as capable as men. Clearly they are nagged by a fear that women may NOT be as strong and as capable as men.

15. Leftists tend to hate anything that has an image of being strong, good and successful. They hate America, they hate Western civilization, they hate white males, they hate rationality. The reasons that leftists give for hating the West, etc. clearly do not correspond with their real motives. They SAY they hate the West because it is warlike, imperialistic, sexist, ethnocentric and so forth, but where these same faults appear in socialist countries or in primitive cultures, the leftist finds excuses for them, or at best he GRUDGINGLY admits that they exist; whereas he ENTHUSIASTICALLY points out (and often greatly exaggerates) these faults where they appear in Western civilization. Thus it is clear that these faults are not the leftist’s real motive for hating America and the West. He hates America and the West because they are strong and successful.

While I disagree with the unabomber on a some obvious key points, his manifesto does make for good reading.

“Getting Things Done” review

November 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Getting Things Done

Here’s a book I really, really liked. I read it three times, even. Called “Getting Things Done” by David Allen and it’s basically a workflow management book that bills itself as “stress free productivity”. One of the basic premises of the book is that giant to-do lists are ineffective and ends up being counter-productive over time. This is because the list gets unwieldy and intimidating with time and there is no easy way to harness the information in it. The book argues that one of the reasons people get stressed out so much is that really don’t have a good mental grasp on what is being worked on and, more importantly, what is knowingly NOT being worked on.

To sum it up, GTD is basically a collection/implementation system that organizes your to-do’s, events, and objects in your life in such a way where you can can have a better grasp on what is going on. This is done by having a good collection process, breaking up todo items into their own contexts (“at work”, “phone calls”, “out in the field”) and thinking in terms of the “next action level”, not the project level. The “next action” is basically defined as “the next little step to move this project forward”. While this may seems obvious to most, “next actions” are actually (and surprisingly) not done by most people in the real world. People tend to have no concrete notion of what the next step is, they tend to think in larger chunks. “Get oil change in car” is too amorphous. “Calling around and ask what the best deal” is something more concrete. Humans need to get into this habit.

GTD is a bottom-up system, rather than a top-down one. The results of your next action steps determine how you handle the enclosed project. And the results of your projects allow you to re-evaluate your “one level up” areas of responsibility. This creates a system that is adaptive to changing conditions so you can better go with the flow. It eschews formal “big design up-front” planning in favor of informal planning and adaptability.

A bird’s eye view of the process is as follows:

Workflow chart

This workflow system helps you understand a) what you have to do, b) what you NOT have to do at this point in time, and 3) how to view the system in a way where prioritizing is obvious. A regular review of the system is one of the key points in the system, and should be done on a weekly basis.

Personally, I use the emacs org-mode to manage and take care of the system. org-mode is excellent for viewing/managing lists in different context (check out org-mode and org-mode agenda!)

Finally, the thing I like about the book was written from a practitioner’s point-of-view, not an academic. It’s a real world system that has been refined over decades. The book is easy to read and avoids academic jargon with lots of insightful tidbits and practical advice. To an entrepreneur who has to wear many hats during the course of his workday, this book is a blessing.

Essay by a teacher in a black high school

September 24, 2014 at 12:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An educator brought this article to my attention which highlights attitudes by minority (mostly black) students towards education and life in general. I think this is rather sad. The essay is somewhat politically incorrect, but there aren’t any real good counter-points to it, at least none that I’ve heard. Craig’s list took this off it’s site, and it’s still somewhat hard to find on the internet, so I decided to post it on my blog so others can read. It’s written by an anonymous teacher in a south-eastern state:

The truth is usually a tough thing to accept, so I understand if this is flagged. It would be a cowardly thing to do, but I understand it. Some people just ignore unpleasant truths. However, if you think ignoring the problem, or trying to censor the truth, will help our black children improve, you’re dreaming. This is important, so I’m happy to repost – indefinitely if necessary. I find it interesting that NO ONE has had the intellect to refute anything in the essay. They can only attempt to censor it, as if doing so somehow makes it invalid. Weak minds, weak minds.

Until recently I taught at a predominantly black high school in a southeastern state.

The mainstream press gives a hint of what conditions are like in black schools, but only a hint. Expressions journalists use like “chaotic” or “poor learning environment” or “lack of discipline” do not capture what really happens. There is nothing like the day-to-day experience of teaching black children and that is what I will try to convey.

Most whites simply do not know what black people are like in large numbers, and the first encounter can be a shock.

One of the most immediately striking things about my students was that they were loud. They had little conception of ordinary decorum. It was not unusual for five blacks to be screaming at me at once. Instead of calming down and waiting for a lull in the din to make their point — something that occurs to even the dimmest white students — blacks just tried to yell over each other.

It did no good to try to quiet them, and white women were particularly inept at trying. I sat in on one woman’s class as she begged the children to pipe down. They just yelled louder so their voices would carry over hers.

Many of my black students would repeat themselves over and over again — just louder. It was as if they suffered from Tourette syndrome. They seemed to have no conception of waiting for an appropriate time to say something. They would get ideas in their heads and simply had to shout them out. I might be leading a discussion on government and suddenly be interrupted: “We gotta get more Democrats! Clinton, she good!” The student may seem content with that outburst but two minutes later, he would suddenly start yelling again: “Clinton good!”

Anyone who is around young blacks will probably get a constant diet of rap music. Blacks often make up their own jingles, and it was not uncommon for 15 black boys to swagger into a classroom, bouncing their shoulders and jiving back.

They were yelling back and forth, rapping 15 different sets of words in the same harsh, rasping dialect. The words were almost invariably a childish form of boasting: “Who got dem shine rim, who got dem shine shoe, who got dem shine grill (gold and silver dental caps)?” The amateur rapper usually ends with a claim–in the crudest terms imaginable — that all womankind is sexually devoted to him. For whatever reason, my students would often groan instead of saying a particular word, as in, “She suck dat aaahhhh (think of a long grinding groan), she f**k dat aaaahhhh, she lick dat aaaahhh.”

Black women love to dance — in a way white people might call gyrating. So many black girls dance in the hall, in the classroom, on the chairs, next to the chairs, under the chairs, everywhere. Once I took a call on my cell phone and had to step outside of class. I was away about two minutes but when I got back the black girls had lined up at the front of the classroom and were convulsing to the delight of the boys.

Many black people, especially black women, are enormously fat. Some are so fat I had to arrange special seating to accommodate their bulk. I am not saying there are no fat white students — there are — but it is a matter of numbers and attitudes. Many black girls simply do not care that they are fat. There are plenty of white anorexics, but I have never met or heard of a black anorexic.

“Black women be big Mr. Jackson,” my students would explain.

“Is it okay in the black community to be a little overweight?” I ask. Two obese black girls in front of my desk begin to dance, “You know dem boys lak juicy fruit, Mr. Jackson.” “Juicy” is a colorful black expression for the buttocks.

Blacks, on average, are the most directly critical people I have ever met: “Dat shirt stupid. Yo’ kid a bastard. Yo’ lips big.” Unlike whites, who tread gingerly around the subject of race, they can be brutally to the point. Once I needed to send a student to the office to deliver a message. I asked for volunteers, and suddenly you would think my classroom was a bastion of civic engagement. Thirty dark hands shot into the air. My students loved to leave the classroom and slack off, even if just for a few minutes, away from the eye of white authority. I picked a light-skinned boy to deliver the message. One very black student was indignant: “You pick da half-breed.” And immediately other blacks take up the cry, and half a dozen mouths are screaming, “He half-breed.”

For decades, the country has been lamenting the poor academic performance of blacks and there is much to lament. There is no question, however, that many blacks come to school with a serious handicap that is not their fault. At home they have learned a dialect that is almost a different language. Blacks not only mispronounce words; their grammar is often wrong. When a black wants to ask, “Where is the bathroom?” he may actually say “Whar da badroom be?” Grammatically, this is the equivalent of “Where the bathroom is?” And this is the way they speak in high school. Students write the way they speak, so this is the language that shows up in written assignments.

It is true that some whites face a similar handicap. They speak with what I would call a “country” accent that is hard to reproduce but results in sentences such as “I’m gonna gemme a Coke.” Some of these country whites had to learn correct pronunciation and usage. The difference is that most whites overcome this handicap and learn to speak correctly; many blacks do not.

Most of the blacks I taught simply had no interest in academic subjects. I taught history, and students would often say they didn’t want to do an assignment or they didn’t like history because it was all about white people. Of course, this was “diversity” history, in which every cowboy’s black cook got a special page on how he contributed to winning the West, but black children still found it inadequate. So I would throw up my hands and assign them a project on a real, historical black person. My favorite was Marcus Garvey. They had never heard of him, and I would tell them to research him, but they never did. They didn’t care and they didn’t want to do any work.

Anyone who teaches blacks soon learns that they have a completely different view of government from whites. Once I decided to fill 25 minutes by having students write about one thing the government should do to improve America. I gave this question to three classes totaling about 100 students, approximately 80 of whom were black. My few white students came back with generally “conservative” ideas. “We need to cut off people who don’t work,” was the most common suggestion. Nearly every black gave a variation on the theme of “We need more government services.”

My students had only the vaguest notion of who pays for government services. For them, it was like a magical piggy bank that never goes empty. One black girl was exhorting the class on the need for more social services and I kept trying to explain that people, real live people, are taxed for the money to pay for those services. “Yeah, it come from whites,” she finally said. “They stingy anyway.”

“Many black people make over $50,000 dollars a year and you would also be taking away from your own people,” I said.

She had an answer to that: “Dey half breed.” The class agreed. I let the subject drop.

Many black girls are perfectly happy to be welfare queens. On career day, one girl explained to the class that she was going to have lots of children and get fat checks from the government. No one in the class seemed to have any objection to this career choice.

Surprising attitudes can come out in class discussion. We were talking about the crimes committed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and I brought up the rape of a young girl in the bathroom of the Superdome. A majority of my students believed this was a horrible crime but a few took it lightly. One black boy spoke up without raising his hand: “Dat no big deal. They thought they is gonna die so they figured they have some fun. Dey jus’ wanna have a fun time; you know what I’m sayin’?” A few black heads nodded in agreement.

My department head once asked all the teachers to get a response from all students to the following question: “Do you think it is okay to break the law if it will benefit you greatly?” By then, I had been teaching for a while and was not surprised by answers that left a young, liberal, white woman colleague aghast. “Yeah” was the favorite answer. As one student explained, “Get dat green.”

There is a level of conformity among blacks that whites would find hard to believe. They like one kind of music: rap. They will vote for one political party: Democrat. They dance one way, speak one way, are loud the same way, and fail their exams in the same way. Of course, there are exceptions but they are rare.

Whites are different. Some like country music, others heavy metal, some prefer pop, and still others, God forbid, enjoy rap music. They have different associations, groups, almost ideologies. There are jocks, nerds, preppies, and hunters. Blacks are all — well — black, and they are quick to let other blacks know when they deviate from the norm.

One might object that there are important group differences among blacks that a white man simply cannot detect. I have done my best to find them, but so far as I can tell, they dress the same, talk the same, think the same. Certainly, they form rival groups, but the groups are not different in any discernible way. There simply are no groups of blacks that are as distinctly different from each other as white “nerds,” “hunters,” or “Goths,” for example.

How the world looks to blacks: One point on which all blacks agree is that everything is “racis’.” This is one message of liberalism they have absorbed completely. Did you do your homework? “Na, homework racis’.” Why did you get an F on the test? “Test racis’.”

I was trying to teach a unit on British philosophers and the first thing the students noticed about Bentham, Hobbes, and Locke was “Dey all white! Where da black philosopher a’?” I tried to explain there were no blacks in eighteenth century Britain. You can probably guess what they said to that: “Dat racis’!” One student accused me of deliberately failing him on a test because I didn’t like black people.

“Do you think I really hate black people?”
“Yeah.”
“Have I done anything to make you feel this way? How do you know?”
“You just do.”
“Why do you say that?”

He just smirked, looked out the window, and sucked air through his teeth. Perhaps this was a regional thing, but the blacks often sucked air through their teeth as a wordless expression of disdain or hostility.

My students were sometimes unable to see the world except through the lens of their own blackness. I had a class that was host to a German exchange student. One day he put on a Power Point presentation with famous German landmarks as well as his school and family.

From time to time during the presentation, blacks would scream, “Where da black folk?!” The exasperated German tried several times to explain that there were no black people where he lived in Germany. The students did not believe him. I told them Germany is in Europe, where white people are from, and Africa is where black people are from. They insisted that the German student was racist, and deliberately refused to associate with blacks.

Blacks are keenly interested in their own racial characteristics. I have learned, for example, that some blacks have “good hair.” Good hair is black parlance for black-white hybrid hair. Apparently, it is less kinky, easier to style, and considered more attractive. Blacks are also proud of light skin. Imagine two black students shouting insults across the room. One is dark but slim; the other light and obese. The dark one begins the exchange: “You fat, Ridario!” Ridario smiles, doesn’t deign to look at his detractor, shakes his head like a wobbling top, and says, “You wish you light skinned.”

They could go on like this, repeating the same insults over and over.

My black students had nothing but contempt for Hispanic immigrants. They would vent their feelings so crudely that our department strongly advised us never to talk about immigration in class in case the principal or some outsider might overhear.

Whites were “racis’,” of course, but they thought of us at least as Americans. Not the Mexicans. Blacks have a certain, not necessarily hostile understanding of white people. They know how whites act, and it is clear they believe whites are smart and are good at organizing things. At the same time, they probably suspect whites are just putting on an act when they talk about equality, as if it is all a sham that makes it easier for whites to control blacks. Blacks want a bigger piece of the American pie. I’m convinced that if it were up to them they would give whites a considerably smaller piece than whites get now, but they would give us something. They wouldn’t give Mexicans anything.

What about black boys and white girls? No one is supposed to notice this or talk about it but it is glaringly obvious: Black boys are obsessed with white girls. I’ve witnessed the following drama countless times. A black boy saunters up to a white girl. The cocky black dances around her, not really in a menacing way. It’s more a shuffle than a threat. As he bobs and shuffles he asks, “When you gonna go wit’ me?”

There are two kinds of reply. The more confident white girl gets annoyed, looks away from the black and shouts, “I don’t wanna go out with you!” The more demure girl will look at her feet and mumble a polite excuse but ultimately say no.

There is only one response from the black boy: “You racis’.” Many girls — all too many — actually feel guilty because they do not want to date blacks. Most white girls at my school stayed away from blacks, but a few, particularly the ones who were addicted to drugs, fell in with them.

There is something else that is striking about blacks. They seem to have no sense of romance, of falling in love. What brings men and women together is sex, pure and simple, and there is a crude openness about this. There are many degenerate whites, of course, but some of my white students were capable of real devotion and tenderness, emotions that seemed absent from blacks — especially the boys.

Black schools are violent and the few whites who are too poor to escape are caught in the storm. The violence is astonishing, not so much that it happens, but the atmosphere in which it happens. Blacks can be smiling, seemingly perfectly content with what they are doing, having a good time, and then, suddenly start fighting. It’s uncanny. Not long ago, I was walking through the halls and a group of black boys were walking in front of me. All of a sudden they started fighting with another group in the hallway.

Blacks are extraordinarily quick to take offense. Once I accidentally scuffed a black boy’s white sneaker with my shoe. He immediately rubbed his body up against mine and threatened to attack me. I stepped outside the class and had a security guard escort the student to the office. It was unusual for students to threaten teachers physically this way, but among themselves, they were quick to fight for similar reasons.

The real victims are the unfortunate whites caught in this. They are always in danger and their educations suffer. White weaklings are particularly susceptible, but mostly to petty violence. They may be slapped or get a couple of kicks when they are trying to open a bottom locker. Typically, blacks save the hard, serious violence for each other.

There was a lot of promiscuous sex among my students and this led to violence. Black girls were constantly fighting over black boys. It was not uncommon to see two girls literally ripping each other’s hair out with a police officer in the middle trying to break up the fight. The black boy they were fighting over would be standing by with a smile, enjoying the show he had created. For reasons I cannot explain, boys seldom fought over girls.

Pregnancy was common among the blacks, though many black girls were so fat I could not tell the difference. I don’t know how many girls got abortions, but when they had the baby they usually stayed in school and had their own parents look after the child. The school did not offer daycare.

Aside from the police officers constantly on patrol, a sure sign that you are in a black school is the coke cage: the chain-link fence that many majority-black schools use to protect vending machines. The cage surrounds the machine and even covers its top. Delivery employees have to unlock a gate on the front of the cage to service the machines. Companies would prefer not to build cages around vending machines. They are expensive, ugly, and a bother, but black students smashed the machines so many times it was cheaper to build a cage than repair the damage. Rumor had it that before the cages went up blacks would turn the machines upside down in the hope that the money would fall out.

Security guards are everywhere in black schools — we had one on every hall. They also sat in on unruly classes and escorted students to the office. They were unarmed, but worked closely with the three city police officers who were constantly on duty.

There was a lot of drug-dealing at my school. This was a good way to make a fair amount of money but it also gave boys power over girls who wanted drugs. An addicted girl — black or white — became the plaything of anyone who could get her drugs.

One of my students was a notorious drug dealer. Everyone knew it. He was 19 years old and in eleventh grade. Once he got a score of three out of 100 on a test. He had been locked up four times since he was 13.

One day, I asked him, “Why do you come to school?”

He wouldn’t answer. He just looked out the window, smiled, and sucked air through his teeth. His friend Yidarius ventured an explanation: “He get dat green and get dem females.”

“What is the green?” I asked. “Money or dope?” “Both,” said Yidarius with a smile.

A very fat black interrupted from across the room: “We get dat lunch,” Mr. Jackson. “We gotta get dat lunch and brickfuss.” He means the free breakfast and lunch poor students get every day. “Nigga, we know’d you be lovin’ brickfuss!” shouts another student.

Some readers may believe that I have drawn a cruel caricature of black students. After all, according to official figures some 85 percent of them graduate. It would be instructive to know how many of those scraped by with barely a C- record. They go from grade to grade and they finally get their diplomas because there is so much pressure on teachers to push them through. It saves money to move them along, the school looks good, and the teachers look good.

Many of these children should have been failed, but the system would crack under their weight if they were all held back.

How did my experiences make me feel about blacks? Ultimately, I lost sympathy for them. In so many ways they seem to make their own beds. There they were in an integrationist’s fantasy–in the same classroom with white students, eating the same lunch, using the same bathrooms, listening to the same teachers–and yet the blacks fail while the whites pass.

One tragic outcome among whites who have been teaching for too long is that it can engender something close to hatred. One teacher I knew gave up fast food–not for health reasons but because where he lived most fast-food workers were black. He had enough of blacks on the job. This was an extreme example but years of frustration can take their toll. Many of my white colleagues with any experience were well on their way to that state of mind.

There is an unutterable secret among teachers: Almost all realize that blacks do not respond to traditional white instruction. Does that put the lie to environmentalism? Not at all. It is what brings about endless, pointless innovation that is supposed to bring blacks up to the white level. The solution is more diversity–or put more generally, the solution is change. Change is an almost holy word in education, and you can fail a million times as long as you keep changing. That is why liberals keep revamping the curriculum and the way it is taught. For example, teachers are told that blacks need hands-on instruction and more group work.

Teachers are told that blacks are more vocal and do not learn through reading and lectures. The implication is that they have certain traits that lend themselves to a different kind of teaching.

Whites have learned a certain way for centuries but it just doesn’t work with blacks. Of course, this implies racial differences but if pressed, most liberal teachers would say different racial learning styles come from some indefinable cultural characteristic unique to blacks. Therefore, schools must change, America must change. But into what? How do you turn quantum physics into hands-on instruction or group work? No one knows, but we must keep changing until we find something that works.

Public school has certainly changed since anyone reading this was a student. I have a friend who teaches elementary school, and she tells me that every week the students get a new diversity lesson, shipped in fresh from some bureaucrat’s office in Washington or the state capital. She showed me the materials for one week: a large poster, about the size of a forty-two inch flat-screen television. It shows an utterly diverse group — I mean diverse: handicapped, Muslim, Jewish, effeminate, poor, rich, brown, slightly brown, yellow, etc.–sitting at a table, smiling gaily, accomplishing some undefined task. The poster comes with a sheet of questions the teacher is supposed to ask. One might be: “These kids sure look different, but they look happy. Can you tell me which one in the picture is an American?”

Some eight-year-old, mired in ignorance, will point to a white child like himself. “That one.”

The teacher reads from the answer, conveniently printed along with the question. “No, Billy, all these children are Americans. They are just as American as you.”

The children get a snack, and the poster goes up on the wall until another one comes a week later. This is what happens at predominately white, middle-class, elementary schools everywhere. Elementary school teachers love All of the Colors of the Race, by award-winning children’s poet Arnold Adoff.

These are some of the lines they read to the children: “Mama is chocolate . . . Daddy is vanilla . . . Me (sic) is better . . . It is a new color. It is a new flavor. For love. Sometimes blackness seems too black for me, and whiteness is too sickly pale; and I wish every one were golden. Remember: long ago before people moved and migrated, and mixed and matched . . . there was one people: one color, one race. The colors are flowing from what was before me to what will be after. All the colors.”

Teaching as a career: It may come as a surprise after what I have written, but my experiences have given me a deep appreciation for teaching as a career. It offers a stable, middle-class life but comes with the capacity to make real differences in the lives of children. In our modern, atomized world children often have very little communication with adults — especially, or even, with their parents — so there is potential for a real transaction between pupil and teacher, disciple and master.

A rewarding relationship can grow up between an exceptional, interested student and his teacher. I have stayed in my classroom with a group of students discussing ideas and playing chess until the janitor kicked us out. I was the old gentleman, imparting my history, culture, personal loves and triumphs, defeats and failures to young kinsman. Sometimes I fancied myself Tyrtaeus, the Spartan poet, who counseled the youth to honor and loyalty. I never had this kind intimacy with a black student, and I know of no other white teacher who did.

Teaching can be fun. For a certain kind of person it is exhilarating to map out battles on chalkboards, and teach heroism. It is rewarding to challenge liberal prejudices, to leave my mark on these children, but what I aimed for with my white students I could never achieve with the blacks.

There is a kind of child whose look can melt your heart: some working-class castaway, in and out of foster homes, often abused, who is nevertheless almost an angel. Your heart melts for these children, this refuse of the modern world.

Many white students possess a certain innocence; their cheeks still blush. Try as I might, I could not get the blacks to care one bit about Beethoven or Sherman’s march to the sea, or Tyrtaeus, or Oswald Spengler, or even liberals like John Rawls, or their own history. They cared about nothing I tried to teach them. When this goes on year after year it chokes the soul out of a teacher, destroys his pathos, and sends him guiltily searching for The Bell Curve on the Internet.

Blacks break down the intimacy that can be achieved in the classroom, and leave you convinced that that intimacy is really a form of kinship. Without intending to, they destroy what is most beautiful–whether it be your belief in human equality, your daughter’s innocence, or even the state of the hallway.

Just last year I read on the bathroom stall the words “F**k Whitey.” Not two feet away, on the same stall, was a small swastika.

The National Council for the Social Studies, the leading authority on social science education in the United States, urges teachers to inculcate such values as equality of opportunity, individual property rights, and a democratic form of government. Even if teachers could inculcate this milquetoast ideology into whites, liberalism is doomed because so many non-whites are not receptive to education of any kind beyond the merest basics.

It is impossible to get them to care about such abstractions as property rights or democratic citizenship. They do not see much further than the fact that you live in a big house and “we in da pro-jek.” Of course, there are a few loutish whites who will never think past their next meal and a few sensitive blacks for whom anything is possible, but no society takes on the characteristics of its exceptions.

Once I asked my students, “What do you think of the Constitution?” “It white,” one slouching black rang out. The class began to laugh. And I caught myself laughing along with them, laughing while Pompeii’s volcano simmers, while the barbarians swell around the Palatine, while the country I love, and the job I love, and the community I love become dimmer by the day.

I read a book by an expatriate Rhodesian who visited Zimbabwe not too many years ago. Traveling with a companion, she stopped at a store along the highway. A black man materialized next to her car window. “Job, boss, (I) work good, boss,” he pleaded. “You give job.”

“What happened to your old job?” the expatriate white asked. The black man replied in the straightforward manner of his race: “We drove out the whites. No more jobs. You give job.”

At some level, my students understand the same thing. One day I asked the bored, black faces staring back at me. “What would happen if all the white people in America disappeared tomorrow?”

“We screwed,” a young, pitch-black boy screamed back. The rest of the blacks laughed.

I have had children tell me to my face as they struggled with an assignment. “I cain’t do dis,” Mr. Jackson. “I black.”

The point is that human beings are not always rational. It is in the black man’s interest to have whites in Zimbabwe but he drives them out and starves. Most whites do not think black Americans could ever do anything so irrational. They see blacks on television smiling, fighting evil whites, embodying white values. But the real black is not on television, and you pull your purse closer when you see him, and you lock the car doors when he swaggers by with his pants hanging down almost to his knees.

For those of you with children, better a smaller house in a white district than a fancy one near a black school.

I have been in parent-teacher conferences that broke my heart: the child pleading with his parents to take him out of school; the parents convinced their child’s fears are groundless. If you love your child, show her you care — not by giving her fancy vacations or a car, but making her innocent years safe and happy. Give her the gift of a not-heavily black school.

Soulja boy

September 21, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why Soulja boy is broke today

Atlas Shrugged

May 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A dumb person’s idea of what a smart book is

 

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Obamacare

March 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You know something I like a whole lot better than Obamacare? Mexico. Reasons:

1) There is no FDA telling what drugs I can and cannot use. My body, my choice, I don’t want some beurocratic agency telling me what I can or cannot put in my own body
2) There are no Stafford loans in the Mexican school system (which unintentionally raised the tuition price for students to insane levels).
3) It is in a place where it’s hard to sue so malpractice insurance rates are way lower. Much of the cost is passed off to the patient.
4) The barriers to entry to become a doctor in mexico is way lower. So the supply is much higher (which translates to more competition and lower prices)

Don’t like that system? Fine. Don’t use it! While it can’t cover 100% of what you need, for most of the simple shit like a broken bone or a tooth drilling or whatever, it’s fine, believe me.

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