Marion Witte

February 12, 2019

I’m Tired of the Lies from Politicians – and the Media

Filed under: Society — Marion Witte @ 9:35 pm

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February 8, 2019

It Starts With A Few Well-Placed Lies!

Filed under: Society — Marion Witte @ 1:21 pm

I think this election cycle is going to be particularly nasty, as some of the right-wing media outlets are already attempting to attack the availability of a safe and legal abortion.  Many of them are throwing out “red meat” comments about Roe v. Wade, the precedent law in place since 1973 that established the right to obtain a legal abortion. Most of their statements are inflammatory, caustic, blatant lies. I think it is important that we all be aware of this, so that we are not caught up in the fear, anger and intimidation that may result from listening to those falsehoods. Recent polls reflect that from 71% to 75% of the American public wants safe, legal abortion to remain in place in our society, as it is now provided for by Roe v. Wade.  While many citizens may choose to never use abortion services themselves, they also do not wish to deny this service to others who may.

The most vocal (but not all) of the resistant to society’s desires on this matter is coming from the Evangelical religious community on the far right of the political spectrum.  Ironically, the most vocal of these voices are coming from men.

To be perfectly clear (as I wrote about in a previous blog), I am an advocate for a woman’s right to be in charge of her body and her reproductive organs.

Things get more complicated for many women when you include the issue of abortion in the equation, and emotions often ride high when this topic is brought up. That is why I think we need to reframe the entire discussion about reproductive rights.

I also think it is vitally important that we adhere to the concept of the separation of church (religion) and state (the government) in our decision process.  The religious opinions of a vocal minority can not override the wishes of a society as a whole.

I developed two very simple guidelines about women’s reproductive rights, based on the principle of the separation of church (religion) and state (the government):

The Principal of Universal Reproductive Rights

  1. The choice of any women, who is philosophically or morally opposed to obtaining an abortion, shall be respected, as it is her absolute right to make that decision. If her religious practice governs what she can and not do with her body, she also has the right to follow that advice, for herself.  That belief shall not be imposed on any other individual.
  2. Any woman shall also have the right to exercise her choice to obtain legally sanctioned safe abortion services, if she is in a situation where choosing an abortion is the most appropriate, logical and viable course of action. No women shall be judged because of the choice she makes.

As I wrote down these ideas, I began to question, “Why it is so hard for all of us to apply the above principles and live our lives without the drama of fighting over abortion?”

And I soon came to realize that one of the reasons why we can’t seem to be able to reach a point of civility about this issue is because of the incendiary comments that have entered the media lately, such as “third trimester murder” and “killing live babies as they come out of vaginas” (and some even more egregious comments).

Those irresponsible declarations are nothing more that inflammatory statements made by some of the talking heads of the right wing, to engender shame and fear in the public. We have come too far in our journey in the fight for reproductive rights for women to allow these false and nonsensical comments to deter us.  Instead, we must let them become the impetus for us to fight even harder.

Because of the noise coming from the right-wing politicians, I know that there is concern on the part of some women that Roe v. Wade may be overturned by the Supreme Court.

Although this would be disappointing for those of us who marched for women’s issues in the 1970s, it would not be the end of the battle.  Although the changing of laws is always a possibility in our political climate, we need to be clear about what it would really mean. Even if the current law was overturned at the Federal level, the issue of legal abortions would be then be relegated back to each individual state to determine its legality in that jurisdiction.

In more free-thinking states like those on the West Coast and in New England (perhaps 28-30 in all) abortion would probably remain legal.

The sad realization is that abortion could become illegal in over 40% of the country (20-22 states).  Unfortunately, those states are some of the poorer, rural areas, where adequate health care is already problematic. The possibility of law changes includes many of the states in the South (Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, West Virginia), the center of the country (North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri) and the Western states of Arizona, Idaho and Utah.

On a brighter side of this story, even if these changes in the law happen (and I truly hope they don’t) those of us who believe in women’s rights, accessible health care for women, and treating women with dignity, will rise up and find a way to help our “sisters” in those less tolerant states.  We will work to find a facility in one of the more progressive states where they can obtain safe, legal abortion services.

So to those who want to impose their strident religious and political beliefs upon us, bring it on.

We will engage in a battle against you, wielding our feminine powers, our sense of justice and our compassion for all women.  And those qualities will prove much more powerful than the egos of those who are trying to impose their personal religious beliefs upon us.

And to the old, white men who are trying to take away our rights, please know we have a power you will never have.  A uterus!

We will not let The Handmaid’s Tale become a reality!


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February 6, 2019

Let the Fight Continue!

Filed under: Society — Marion Witte @ 2:49 pm

Hello to everyone who believes that women should be in charge of their bodies.

I think the issue of free choice is going to be a major campaign issue this election cycle, and I believe the trigger was pulled last night.

So, I guess it’s time for us old-timer advocates to get involved – again.  Shake the ash off of your burned bras and start to speak up!

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January 27, 2019

Let Me Introduce You to Jeffrey Epstein – and Friends!

Filed under: Society — Marion Witte @ 5:05 pm

This blog is about Jeffrey Epstein. In case you have never heard of this man, he is a billionaire hedge fund manager, a personal friend of Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Kevin Spacey – and a serial pedophile. He came onto my radar screen a few months back, and since the story being reported about him (on non-mainstream media outlets) was so horrific, I was confused as to the lack of reporting of on it by the conventional media networks and newspapers.

Then finally, The Miami Herald posted an amazing piece about Epstein on November 28, 2018.  Here is the Link to Their Story (you need to scroll down on their site to read the article).

I was incensed after reading the details included in the Herald’s investigative story, so I wrote to several mainstream journalists who I thought might follow up on the article.  I contacted Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Jeff Zuker (president of CNN,) Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes and other hosts at MSNBC. I also contacted Ronan Farrow at The New Yorker.  The silence was defining.  So, I was pleasantly surprised when Joe Scarborough covered it in some detail on the Morning Joe show on MSNBC on December 6, 2018.

For those of you who do not know who Jeffrey Epstein is, here is an introduction, in no real order of importance:

  1. He is a billionaire hedge fund manager
  2. He is a 66 year old pedophile
  3. He ran a child sex ring (and still may be doing so)
  4. His primary residence is on the private island he owns in the US Virgin Islands, called Little St. James (which he has nicknamed Little St. Jeff)
  5. He has a personal jet that he named the “Lolita Express,” and which he uses to transport young girls between various locations
  6. He has other residences in Manhattan, Palm Beach, Sante Fe and Paris
  7. His friend Bill Clinton has been on the Lolita Express at least 26 times
  8. His friend Donald Trump once stated that Jeffrey “likes them young,” and Jeffrey is a member at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Resort in Palm Beach, Florida
  9. His friend Keven Spacey was a frequent traveler on the Lolita Express
  10. He personal attorney is Alan Derschowitz
  11. He has powerful friends in both the media and entertainment (perhaps the reason that the mainstream media and the cable news outlets do not cover stories about him)
  12. He has influential allies on both sides of the political aisle
  13. He has powerful friends around the world, including Prince Andrew of England (the Prince is embroiled in his own controversy in England related to having sex with one of Epstein’s sex slaves)

With that background, here is what Jeffrey Epstein did and probably still does:

Between the years 1998 and 2007—and possibly even earlier—Epstein was involved in a sex ring that involved paying minor girls from $200-$300 each to perform sexual massages for him, nearly every day, and then he would have these same girls recruit even younger girls to do the same.  During these massages, girls as young as 13 told police they were instructed to get undressed, at which time Epstein would masturbate or penetrate them with his fingers, a vibrator or his penis.

By the time Epstein was arrested in 2008, police in Palm Beach County, Florida, had already spent months monitoring his movements and interviewing potential victims and witnesses. Police reported to prosecutors that they had gathered enough evidence to charge the money manager with several felonies, including lewd and lascivious molestation and unlawful sexual activity with minors.

So, Epstein did what the mega-rich do in these situations – he hired OJ Simpson attorney, Alan Derschowitz, who vigorously defended Epstein.  Derschowitz, also implicated in the Epstein sexual abuse activity, reportedly had witnesses followed and he discredited the alleged victims by using their social media pages as evidence of their supposed drug use and scandalous behavior.

The U. S. Attorney in Florida, Alex Acosta, the prosecutor on the case, wrote in an opinion that it was better to have a billionaire serve a short time in jail, register as a sex offender, and pay his victim restitution, rather than risk a trial with an unknown outcome.  This would appear, although I have no exact proof, to be white privilege and white justice at its finest.

So, after a decade of the alleged serial sexual abuse of an estimated 80-100 known victims (and an unknown number of other victims), the New York banker was offered a deal. He was charged in a 2008 conviction with a single count of soliciting a minor. He was sentenced to an 18-month stay in a Palm Beach county jail.  He served only 13 months of that sentence, in a special private wing of the jail, and he was allowed to return to his posh Palm Beach office for up to 16 hours a day under a work release agreement.

Anyone else convicted of the alleged crimes would have spent the rest of their life in a Federal prison.

I applaud the Miami Herald for their investigation and the subsequent reporting.  Another positive action is that Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska has recently called upon the Department of Justice for an investigation to determine why such a lenient treatment was given to Epstein for the alleged crimes committed.  Others have called for an investigation into international sex trafficking charges, since some of the young girls brought to Little St. James were from other countries.

There have been suggestions made by reporters that the “slap on the wrist” might be due, at least partially, to the “little black book” that Epstein allegedly kept, and the suggestion that video tapes exist that record the activities of the various rich and famous guests who arrived on the Lolita Express for a party on Little St. James Island.

For my part, I wonder why Donald Trump never brought up Bill Clinton’s personal association with Jeffrey Epstein during his campaign against Hillary Clinton. The details of the Epstein case were public information as early as 2008, and certainly, this is the type of material that the Trump campaign would have loved to use. Was it because Trump was also vulnerable?  Perhaps both parties entered into some back-room agreement to keep this all of this hidden, avoiding embarrassment to everyone.

To add to the intrigue, Alex Acosta, the U. S. Attorney who let Epstein off with an insignificant punishment in 2008, was appointed Secretary of the Labor Department by Donald Trump, the agency that is responsible for monitoring human sex trafficking.  Yup, just another “we only hire the best” selection.

Sadly, money and power rule in this country.  We can only hope that the truth will come out some day, and there will be some form of justice for these young girls, who are now young women.

If this blog post peaks your interest, there are several articles about Epstein on the internet, including a documentary titled Bringing Down Jeffrey Epstein.

For my part, I believe it is important to keep talking and writing about anyone who is involved in childhood sexual abuse. If we don’t do that, we run the risk of becoming numb to this behavior, normalizing pedophilia and having the perpetrators become nothing more than caricatures.

Our children deserve so much better.






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September 26, 2018

Thank you, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

Filed under: Society — Marion Witte @ 12:48 am

This post is to support and honor the courage of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

Christine Blasey

I spent the last few days deciding if I really wanted to write this post. After much soul-searching, I knew, with absolute certainty, that I needed to do just that. I find the reaction of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to the claim of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, to be both appalling and condescending. Let me be clear, I am not taking a side about the veracity of Dr. Ford’s allegations. What I am willing to do is confirm that the way she recalled and disclosed her attempted rape is quite normal, based on my very personal experience in this area.



When I was 16 years old, a neighbor who was ten years older than me attempted to rape me.

That was well over 50 years ago.

I obviously do not remember everything that happened to me during my teenage years, but I remember that event as though it was yesterday. I remember the look on his face. My terror. My anger. I remember the knife. And I remember hearing him say, if I ever said anything to anybody, he would kill my father, the most beloved person in my life. The hair on the back of my neck rises as I think about the Army pistol he aimed at me, as of proof of his intentions. I believed him, and so I said nothing to anyone at the time, and for many years thereafter.

37 years after my attack, my father passed away. I delivered what I hope was a loving, yet honest and authentic obituary at his funeral. As I exited the church to get into the funeral car to go to the cemetery, I noticed a man leaning on the hearse. It was my attacker. I gathered myself, as best I could under the circumstances, and I approached him. With a sarcastic grin, he said “Nice speech.” I quietly thanked him. He then preceded to ask me if I remembered what had happened between us. He went on to tell me, since I was now such an uppity woman, maybe he should tell everyone what I compelled him to do, so that people would know what kind of a girl I really was. I had to gather my thoughts, as my anger and grief were each fighting for my attention. It suddenly struck me that he could no longer do harm to my father, and at the same time I also realized that I had been holding on to that fear for years. So I channeled my dad’s energy, and said what I think he would have said. I told him, using my Big Girl Panties voice, “Say whatever you want to say, and then get the fuck out of my life.”

If anyone were to go back through the records of the various therapists I talked to over the years, you would find a discussion about the attempted rape in many of their notes. You would also read an abbreviated version of the event in my memoir published in 2010.

The attack I describe lasted less than thirty minutes, yet it has affected me my entire life, in ways both big and small. I am writing about this now, not as a victim, yet as an attestation that the type of events Dr. Ford outlined, and the related remembrances, do indeed happen, and we owe it to females everywhere to be HEARD.

And so, I ask that any members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who have experience with the subject of sexual assault, or who are sympathetic to the difficult situation of the accuser, please take that into account and show compassion to Dr. Ford’s very complicated and sensitive situation.

And to the members of that same Committee, those who appear to have no interest in pursuing any form of truth, or showing any form of compassion to those who may have been subjected to such a vile experience, I say, with all due respect:

“Please, shut the fuck up!”

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July 22, 2018

Monsanto, Halliburton – And a Bunch of Dead Indians

Filed under: Society — Marion Witte @ 5:10 pm

I was born and raised on the prairies of North Dakota, so let me give you a little history lesson about my state.  The information I am relaying in this blog was not taught to me in the elementary school, high school or university that I attended.  I discovered it myself after doing research on my own as an adult. The reader is free to do the same.

During 1873-1883 the United States government, in coordination with commercial hide-hunting companies, promoted the slaughter of the American buffalo, including those in the Dakota Territory.  The bison was a primary source of sustenance for the Great Plains Indian tribes.

The decimation of the buffalo was part of a deliberate, and successful, effort to starve the Plains Indians into submission. Many high-ranking U.S. officials were explicit about their intentions. In 1873, Secretary of the Interior Columbus Delano declared “The civilization of the Indian is impossible while the buffalo remains upon the plains.”  Two years later, General Philip Sheridan told a joint session of Congress that buffalo hunters had done more to settle what he called “the vexed Indian question” than the entire U.S. army. Sheridan urged the politicians to continue to support the hunters.  “For the sake of lasting peace,” he said, “let them kill, skin and sell until the buffaloes are exterminated.”

By 1884, the bison population in the United States was basically extinct.  Although the exact extent of the carnage cannot be determined, it has been estimated that the population of 30 to 50 million buffalo was reduced to less than 1,000. This is one of the worst, and perhaps the most under-reported, animal slaughters by humans ever undertaken on our planet.

And, as planned, the systemic annihilation of the Native Americans of the Plains was almost complete.

Mission accomplished.

As this dark past has come to be revealed, shame has been brought on to my home state, and on to our country.  My hope is that we can atone for our past actions, or our complacency about it, by agreeing to do better in the future.  A recent trip back “home” after being away for years has made me question whether we have kept that promise. Only time will tell.

North Dakota is in the midst of an economic boom.  Shale-based oil is being drilled in Williston using the process of fracking, which is drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to reach the oil reserves. The state is now the second largest producer of a non-renewable energy source in the United States.  Corn is one of the primary commodities raised, and the agricultural community is recording record-high profits.  This activity has generated surpluses for the State’s coffers, and reduced the unemployment rate to one of the lowest in the country.

On the reverse side, there always seems to be consequences to any type of economic windfall.  These are some of the observations I made during my recent visit:

– Large quantities of the most fertile farmland in the United States have been sold to non-farming investors, with the concurrent elimination of many of the family-run farming operations in the state.

– Corn is now a major commodity crop, due to the profitability it affords the farmers.  There is a growing demand for corn by the food industry, as high-fructose corn syrup is used in many of our food products.

– Monsanto Corporation, a biotechnology giant, has created a monopoly in the agricultural seed industry by using tactics to drive small farmers out of business, and to force growers to use its genetically modified seeds. Corn grown using Monsanto Corporation seeds is now labeled as a “genetically modified plant.”  (Note: This corporation has been banned from doing business in a growing number of countries around the world).

– The state’s oil resources have been turned over to out-of-state oil producers, drilling contractors and engineering firms, including corporations such as Halliburton (who is at least partly responsible for the Gulf Coast oil spill).

– There is a potential for the pollution of the environment and the poisoning of our water supply because of the chemical leakage that happens during the process of fracking.

The activities in this list are no different than those happening in other farming and oil-shale fields around this country, and probably around the world.

Sadly, as of today, no governmental agency or environmental organization has been able to assess the long-term effects of the 600 chemicals used in the fracking process, and their introduction into the ground water supply.  Even proponents of the fracking process are unable to provide complete assurance that we are engaging in safe practices, and that the health of future generations will not be detrimentally affected.

And although there is major controversy and a growing concern among the public about the use of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), these products continue to be included in our food source.

We do not know how all of the actions we are engaging in today will affect our children, our grand-children and even our great-grandchildren.  If we find out twenty (or even a hundred) years from now that we made some “bad” decisions today, the effects of the killing of the buffalo in the 1880’s may seem like child’s play in comparison.

What is occurring in North Dakota is not exclusive to that state.  It is a cautionary tale for all of us in this country, and around the world.


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November 3, 2014

Marion Witte Appointed as Ventura County Special Advocate

Filed under: Society — Marion Witte @ 5:41 pm


On November 3, 2014, Marion Witte of Ventura, California was inducted as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for the County of Ventura by Judge Bruce A. Young.  CASA is a unique non profit organization which recruits, screens and trains community volunteers to become the voices of children who find themselves in court through no fault of their own.

Ventura County CASA has existed since 1985, when a group of concerned judges, attorneys and community members felt that objective, caring support for these children was necessary during court proceedings and during out of home placement. The CASA advocate, as an officer of the court, is the eyes and ears of the court, reporting the child’s progress and needs to the judge and the attorneys.


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August 15, 2013

The New Gang Culture – This is Not “West Side Story”

Filed under: Society — Marion Witte @ 1:44 pm

Say No to GangsOddly, I have been exposed to what seems like more than my fair share of gang violence.

I recently sat through eight days of the jury selection process pertaining to the trial of a known member of the largest Hispanic gang in Oxnard, California.  He allegedly robbed and killed a local businessman in cold blood as he exited a bank in Oxnard.  The victim was carrying a satchel of cash that he was transporting to his check-cashing facility.  I was glad I was not chosen for the panel, although I am sure I would have been dismissed had I been called up for questioning and relayed the following information.

When I lived in the Coachella Valley in California, two of my closest friends were robbed at gun point by members of a Hispanic gang in Indio, California.  My friends were brothers, and they were exiting their check-cashing facility, located in their meat and produce store, with $100,000 in cash that they were transporting to another of their stores.  The thieves were lying in wait in the parking lot.  After turning over the satchel to the robbers, one of my friends was shot repeatedly in the chest, and his younger brother was shot in the back as he attempted to flee.  The gang community closed ranks around its members, and provided alibis for the shooters.  Ironically, both of my friends were also Hispanic.

Five years after the horrific trauma my friends endured, I was mugged and robbed  by four gang members in Palm Desert, California, in the parking lot of a Michael’s store.  One of the robbers was lying in wait under my car, and he attacked me as I approached my vehicle.  The police said I was lucky I did not resist, as they knew which gang was responsible for the crime, and they informed me that the members were armed and violent. None of the perpetrators in either of these events were ever apprehended or prosecuted.

When I moved to California’s Coachella Valley in 1985, gangs had little presence in that community. Today, three of the eight cities in the valley have gang injunctions imposed within their city limits – Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City and Indio.  These are similar to the gang injunction granted to the city of Oxnard, California in 2004, and to several other cities in the State of California.

Unless you have had some direct or indirect experiences with gang violence, many people believe it is an “internal problem” that affects only certain areas or certain communities. To the contrary, gang violence affects all of us.

This information was compiled by the National Gang Intelligence Center of the FBI:

1. Approximately 1.4 million gang members were criminally active in the United States as of April 2011.  The number of identified gangs in the U.S. is over 33,000.

2. The numbers compiled in 2011 represents a 40% increase from two years prior (2009) when the gang population was estimated at 1.0 million members

3. Gangs are responsible for an average of 48% of the violent crimes in the United States, and up to 90% of such crimes in several large cities.

4. Gangs are increasingly engaging in human trafficking, prostitution, counterfeiting, identity theft and mortgage fraud, in addition to their core activities of drug trafficking, robbery and violent assaults.

5. The best estimates of the ethnic breakdown of these gangs is approximately 49% Hispanic/Latino, 34% African American, 10% Caucasian, 6% Asian and 1% other ethnicities.

This rise of the gang population in this country is nothing less than an epidemic.  The illegal activities of these gangs are not confined solely to the neighborhoods in which they live, since they engage in violence and crimes far beyond the walls of their communities.

Evil prevails when good men and women do nothing, and nothing changes unless we accept that there is a problem.  An honest, open and frank national dialogue is long overdue about what we can do to address the threat that gangs pose to the societal, emotional and spiritual health of our country.

Pierce Morgan of CNN has become the self-appointed voice for the gun-control debate in this country.  Perhaps he would consider taking on the topic of the effects of the gang activity in this country.  The sheer magnitude of the destruction inflicted upon our society by gang activities makes the issue of gun control seems like child’s play.

Sadly, gangs are an issue we must contend with in our changing world – and lest we get confused about what gangs are involved with and what they look like, the current gang culture bears no resemblance to that portrayed in West Side Story!

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April 4, 2013

Are You Smarter Than an Eighth Grader – From 1895?

Filed under: Society — Marion Witte @ 12:32 am


I remember my father telling me, with some embarrassment, that he had completed only eight years of elementary school. In the Midwest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was actually the exception for students to go on to high school after completing elementary school, as teenagers needed to be available to work full time on the family farm. Completing elementary school was therefore the culmination of the formal education for many students. Recently, I ran across some fascinating information, and it totally changed my perception of what it meant to have an eighth grade education over one hundred years ago.

This is the eighth grade final examination from 1895 in Salina, Kansas. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

April 13, 1895

J.W. Armstrong, County Superintendent.

Examinations at Salina, New Cambria, Gypsum City, Assaria, Falun, Bavaria, and District No. 74 (in Glendale Twp.)

Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.
4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of do, lie, lay and run.
5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.
6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.
7-10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50 cts. per bu, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $.20 per inch?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865?

Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic orthography, etymology, syllabication?
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
4. Give four substitutes for caret ‘u’.
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final ‘e’. Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: Bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, super.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: Card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences, Cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of N.A.
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give inclination of the earth.

Health (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Where are the saliva, gastric juice, and bile secreted? What is the use of each in digestion?
2. How does nutrition reach the circulation?
3. What is the function of the liver? Of the kidneys?
4. How would you stop the flow of blood from an artery in the case of laceration?
5. Give some general directions that you think would be beneficial to preserve the human body in a state of health.

There are “myth-busters” who believe the exam questions were much too difficult for an eighth grader, and that it must have been written for older students. In spite of this, the existence of the examination has been proven, and the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library of Salina stands behind the records in its files.

Whatever the exact details are of this matter, I offer this posting as something for us all to ponder, as we think about what students were expected to comprehend about their world so long ago, and what we expect of them today.

In the interest of full disclosure – I would have failed this exam miserably!


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January 2, 2012

Take a Stance – Take a Chance

Filed under: Society — Marion Witte @ 10:19 pm

In the mid-1990s I had the honor to meet Billy Mills, the second Native American to ever win an Olympic Gold medal and the subject of the 1984 film Running Brave. This United States Marine told of us his struggle to achieve his goals, and the types of prejudice he encountered along the way. His story affected me so much that I choose to honor him in a way that others thought was a radical decision. Actually, it did not seem at all outrageous to me  it made perfect sense.

Billy Mills

Billy Mills

One of the projects Billy Mills was involved in was the removal of offensive Native American mascots from the athletic departments of universities in the United States. His plea deeply touched me. The mascot of the university where I graduated was a caricature of a member of an Indian tribe, including a politically insensitive tag-line. Many Native Americans found this offensive, and they had waged battles against the school to have the mascot retired. They always lost.

When I returned to my office after Billy’s presentation, I wrote to the President of the school I graduated from and asked to have my name taken off of any school records. I advised him that I would reinstate my name after the mascot was changed.

I saw Billy again that week, and I told him what I had done. I still cherish the autographed copy of “Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding that he gave me that day, and I will never forget the tears that welled up in his eyes as he signed his book.

I got a nice letter back from my university, stating that they were sorry I felt the way I did, but that the name was steeped in tradition and it was going to be retained. I am under no false illusions that my actions had any impact on my school’s position. On the other hand, it was important for me to take a stance about an issue of which I felt strongly.

I would hope that each of us would do that at least once in our life.

To Makata Taka Hela – one of my heroes!

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