Posted by Jim Spence
© 2016 Jim Spence - Forty years ago I sat in a Western Civilization history class and listened to a liberal college professor. He would eventually become my father-in-law. He emphatically asserted that though he might not agree with something someone else said in America, he would fight to the death for that person’s right to say it. These were not empty words. This man spent time in Korea fighting totalitarian communists. Though the reasons for the Korean War are blurred now, the principle was simple. South Koreans live as they do today, instead of living like the poor oppressed North Koreans do today.
I also remember Neo-Nazis registering for and receiving permits to protest in Skokie, Illinois, a predominantly Jewish community. Young then and not so sure about the depth of reasons why the 1st Amendment was crucial to freedom, the explanation for why it was necessary was again provided by my pro-free speech, liberal, soon to be father-in-law. Paraphrased, he taught me that free speech is easy to allow when you agree with it. Nobody needs 1st Amendment rights to protect the kind of speeches they agree with. It is the objectionable viewpoints that require the tolerance assured by our 1st Amendment, even the views of those who are intolerant. His logic was quite sound and I got it.
Fast forward forty years. Here is the question. Did my fellow students and the succeeding generations, particularly those who went on to become college professors and administrators get it? The evidence is dismal. These days progressive Democrats govern college campuses all over the nation. The news is flooded with incidents when they routinely squelch freedom of expression.
Just this morning the Wall Street Journal reported that Ann Coulter’s speech at U.C. California at Berkeley was cancelled with this explanation:
“University officials said the school welcomes speakers of all political viewpoints, but had been taking its cues from the police department. Nicholas Dirks, the chancellor of U.C. Berkeley cited violent protests that led to the cancellation of an appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos in February and political clashes in the city in March and April as a reason for not protecting free speech. Dirks said, “The university’s commitment to free speech and security had to be balanced. We cannot wish away or pretend that these threats do not exist.”
Oh really Mr. Dirks? So let us all get this straight. If authorities encounter violent threats directed at free speech, the collective decision is to suspend the rights guaranteed to all Americans by the United States Constitution?
Dirks added this particularly twisted logic. “We must make every effort to hold events at a time and location that maximizes the chances that First Amendment rights can be successfully exercised and that community members can be protected.”
Sorry folks, it is pretty clear that higher education has morphed and become lower education. Free speech is not something that you trot out from time to time at a “location” that maximizes the chances for it being protected. Free speech is to be protected 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year.
There is deep meaning in this fundamental principle. If you are unsure, check out the graveyards at Normandy. The dead bodies buried there just happen to be in a “location” where the chances for free speech had been “minimized” via the threat of violence.
Understanding what happened at Berkeley this week is pretty simple. If a well-known big government socialist proponent like Dan Rather or Brian Williams had been invited to speak there, and there were objections and threats made by those who oppose socialism, local officials could be counted on to bring in the National Guard to protect constitutional rights. And that show of force would be completely appropriate.
Sadly there is simply no commitment in California to fight for the constitutional rights of those that the one party statists disagree with. In these instances cues are taken from police who surrender to people who call in "threats." Enforcing laws according to the U.S. Constitution now is subject to what local officials want to protect.
It should come as no surprise that Berkeley would make this choice. It is a place where military recruiters have been barred from the campuses.
Consider how current events reflect on America’s intellectual demise. Kim Jung Un threatens Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. while his people live under absolute totalitarian oppression. In America higher education institutions refuse to teach students what the Korean War was about, what WWII was about, or why freedom of speech is so important. This is an atrocity.The idea that a column must be written to point this out tells you how far over the cliff Democrats have taken America. And make no mistake.......Democrats are behind the threats to free speech and they are behind the unwillingness to embrace fundamental truths at places like Berkeley that are essential in free societies.
Posted by Jim Spence on Tuesday, April 25, 2017
© 2016 Jim Spence - Baseball season is back. I love baseball. It is a beautiful game. I went to Cincinnati last week to watch my hometown Baltimore Orioles play the Reds. My cousin and I met there on the Ohio River and also got in a couple of rounds of golf, plus a trip to Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky.
I noticed as I prepared to fly out of El Paso to Cincinnati a week ago that my flight was booked on United Airlines. Unfortunately for stockholders, United made the news recently and not in a good way. It seems United CEO Oscar Munoz has at least a couple of rules he really likes to follow. First, he prices all of the services provided by United at whatever he thinks the market will bear. In doing so, Munoz also takes into account the fact that United has sophisticated algorithms in place to predict the number of cancellations for any flight. United overbooks flights routinely, to increase load factors.
Unfortunately, like all programmers who try to predict human actions based on elaborate mathematics, sometimes their models fail. Overbooking is the risk United and other airlines run to try to keep their flights full of passengers. They earn many millions of dollars with this strategy. Good for them!
Here is the catch. When United sells more seats than they have, and nobody cancels their trip, United has to bump people off the flights.
Fair enough, overbooking is allowed by law. And typically what airlines do when they get caught short, is quickly start offering incentives for people to sell them back their seats. Seems reasonable to me. I love free markets. For the college kid with more time on his hands than money, these situations create mini-financial windfalls.
The problem with CEO Munoz at United, is he doesn’t embrace the same free market pricing model when United has to re-purchase seats. When United is selling seats, whatever the market will bear is a really cool concept that makes him look good as the guy running the airline. However, when United is buying seats back Munoz has decided the market-based pricing model is to be cast aside for an artificial cap that somehow United feels it can predetermine. Good luck with that Oscar. What a schmuck.
In Chicago a couple of weeks ago, a doctor was literally dragged off the plane against his will, because neither he, nor anybody else on that flight, was willing to accept the artificially capped price that United chose to offer for the gross inconvenience caused by their profit maximizing overbooking strategy. The video was all over the news.
Sorry folks. These are the kinds of incidents that progressive Democrats use, no matter how isolated, to turn citizens against ALL businesses.
United is a pariah that should be shunned by every business person in America until CEO Munoz is canned. United is bad for everyone out there competing in the business world who is trying to take care of their customers.
Oscar Munoz poured gas on the fire he lit, when he acted like this incident was a tough choice that had to be made between his employees, or this particular passenger. It wasn't what this was about at all. Instead, it was about his hypocritical attitude towards ticket pricing. Astonishingly, United actually used some of the seats to fly crew to Louisville to serve a flight leaving from there. Talk about skewed priorities.
The airline industry successfully lobbied Congress to make sure overbooking was legal long ago. The point here is simple. All reasonable people have no problems with overbooking per say, simply because it is a much more efficient way to run an airline. However, what is not OK.....is arbitrarily capping the amount your airline will pay to grossly inconvenience a customer who was counting on his or her seat when they booked the flight.
In this instance, $800 was not enough (in the free market for flights to Louisville at that time) to compensate a single passenger to sell his or her seat back to United. Here is what should have happened. The United officials should have said on the microphone, "Do I hear $900? How about $1,000? $1,200? How about two grand?" The process should have been to offer more and more money until United had a taker. Eventually they would have gotten one who was happy.
Oscar Munoz is not CEO timber. And nobody in their right mind should fly United again until he is fired. This man SOLD United’s reputation for fair play and integrity instead of paying fair market value for one lousy ticket.
I wouldn’t let Munoz clean my toilets, let alone run a multi-billion dollar company like United. Munoz is the kind of businessman that nobody wants or needs. The United board should have fired him immediately for lack of fundamental integrity. United should find themselves a decent CEO who understands that market-based pricing applies at all times……..especially when you get caught over-booking. Overbooking works for everyone when airlines buy their tickets back at fair market value. This is the only way that everyone can win with overbooking and Munoz knows it and so does the United board.
Bringing cops on to your airplane because it is legal to steal a ticket back from a customer below market value is barbaric. Oscar Munoz is a barbarian and the United board has embraced barbarism. Both United and Munoz need to get what they have coming.
Posted by News New Mexico on Sunday, April 23, 2017
© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Michelangelo
His full name was Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. He died at age 88, 453 years ago and left us wondrous art that we enjoy to this day. Two of his statements many years ago go directly to problems in our public education system today.
First, we Americans are not aiming high enough for our students and assuming this generation cannot do things. They can do what they think they can do. It is critical to awaken the curiosity and passion inside each student early in their education.
Example: public schools are telling young students that they simply must go to college. What about our society’s artists, artisans and trades people? We need electricians and woodworkers. But the Educational Industrial Complex needs students to go to college to keep those educational dollars up.
The second statement is central to the dysfunction in our public schools. Michelangelo wrote: Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. The educational leadership task is to reveal what is inside of each student as to their curiosity and passion to learn.
Instead, the Factory Model of Education believes the public schools should mold the students into something useful for the society, not necessarily useful for the students. Public schools are not looking at the wondrous statue inside of the child, rather, they are only focused on their own self-perpetuation.
Example: in 2009 Sir Ken Robinson gave a talk about creativity. He found a music teacher in Liverpool, England who at one time had both George Harrison and Paul McCartney in his class. He had half of the future band, The Beatles but he noticed nothing creative about them.
How many truly exceptional people are languishing in public school because the factory model is not looking for exceptionalism or creativity, it only rewards compliance with rules and learning to take tests well.
The huge problem is that public schools are run by distant autocratic administrators who rarely see the little blocks of marble. Certainly, the administration does not see anything but test scores. How sad.
The teachers can get a glimpse of greatness in students but are threatened with being fired if they do anything with the students other than what the administrators command. Why even have teachers, eh?
The leaders of our educational systems must support the students rather than the adults working in the system. Superintendents of Public Schools must see that the students develop according to their curiosity and passion, not just to be a widget in society.
That is an awesome responsibility that these leaders have. Can they be true to the students? We must watch for the student’s sake. Forget all the testing administrators. Our society needs more public school teachers who understand curiosity and passion in their students.
Posted by News New Mexico on Sunday, April 16, 2017
Graduation from high school was May 1968. In technological terms that was at a time when everyone put hay in one end of their personal transportation. Then had just as many frustrations every day despite the notion of a kinder and gentler time in America.
Speaking of personal frustration: I didn’t have a car so I could go anywhere if I had enough time to walk. In the verbiage of the day, “What a drag.” But I survived that frustration.
Back then I had three technological wonders: a ball-point ink pen, a Timex wrist-watch that “takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” And, I had use of my grandmother’s 1930 Underwood manual typewriter.
My first newspaper column was written in 1969 on that manual typewriter with carbon paper for a copy. It was nothing like the ease of writing this column using a computer. But I am frustrated today, almost to the level of using a manual typewriter.
Going to college in the 1960s meant that if you had communication technology it was a phone tied to the wall with a three-foot cord. And a clock radio with only the AM band. I lived a mile off campus with a relative so spent lots of time walking back and forth through mostly sunshine. But there was dust, rain, gloom of night and blisters.
My expectation those years was that I would survive and get a college degree followed by a good paying job to replace the small paying jobs that kept me going in college. That did happen. So why am I so frustrated?
Over the last twenty years of having a cellphone, I have enjoyed them except when having to get getting a new one. And, the technological frustration making the new one work. That why I am frustrated. I’d rather have a beating than change cellphones.
But the new ads for the Samsung Galaxy S8 seemed wonderful though my S5 still worked. In a moment of weakness instead of taking a nap I called my Cell Company. In a long conversation, I was persuaded that the S7 was better than the new S8. I know: buyer beware.
The short of it is that the unit would not activate but the Cell Company was able to deactivate my phone as I was talking to Tech Support. I have dubbed them: Tech Non-Support. In nine hours of calls and calls the new unit could not be activated which is the uncertainty I was trying to avoid in the new Samsung but got in an older model.
Yes, I spoke to them nine hours over two days trying to make this technological wonder work. As of now it has little chance to come to life. It is a good thing that I experienced all that frustration earlier in my life so I take this setback well. Other than sarcasm which has flourished.
I’m frustrated because somehow I was expecting it to work.
Posted by Jim Spence on Saturday, April 15, 2017
Posted by Jim Spence on Wednesday, April 12, 2017
© 2016 Jim Spence - You have to shake your head too often these days. Memories of the Obama administration dancing with Russia’s Putin and Medvedev linger, as do the Clinton’s shady financial dealings with Russian companies. Both Hillary and the Russian business people used the power of the State Department to pad their pockets.
Since her historic defeat, there have been many stories written about the Trump victory over Hillary Clinton. Many have been built around the theme of how shocking her loss was to the average Democrat. If you think her loss was shocking to the average Democrat, we should consider how shocked the elitist Democrats were. In the aftermath of their stunning defeat, there was a wide range of responses by Dems. The Dem’s best responses went back to the primary season. If Bernie Sanders did one thing besides call on voters to transform the U.S. economic system into one that performs more like Venezuela, he also exposed how corrupt and dislikable Hillary Clinton was. Bernie, along with Wikileaks, demonstrated just how UN-democratic the Democrat Party was when it came to rigging their primary system with super delegates and faux debates. Accordingly, many Democrats privately conceded that Hillary was an awful candidate who only inspired a tiny sliver of the population, those bent on getting a female, any female, into the Oval Office. The unions understood how disinterested Hillary was in their jobs. They voted Trump. More important, white women loathed the way Hillary threw them under the bus with her contrived racial game plan that necessarily had to make all whites accept guilt for things done by other white human beings seven or eight generations ago. Some Dems tried to blame resistance to Hillary on anti-women sentiment even when she could not carry a majority of votes in her own identity group……white women. It is the no pun intended, elephant in the room.
As November of 2016 fades, it has been truly astonishing to see Dems cling to the, “Trump colluded with the Russians” narrative. It has also been a costly blunder. Former Obama and Clinton stooge Susan Rice, the woman who went on the media circuit to cover for the bungled Benghazi situation that led to three American deaths, inserted herself into the Russian narrative in a way that made it pretty clear she was on the point of the Trump surveillance and felonious leaks to the press. Her day of reckoning is coming. Rice figures to be taking the 5th amendment soon.
Last week the entire Russian collusion narrative came crashing down when Trump fired tomahawk missiles into Syria and also accused the Russians of participating in the gas attack that slaughtered innocent people there. The cozy relationship between Putin and Medvedev and Hillary and Obama now stands in stark contrast to the heightened military tensions between Trump and our Russian adversaries.
It all makes you wonder about who is formulating strategy at the top of the Democratic Party. Perhaps the asinine decision to go with the Russian ruse is a sign that there is not a scrap on intellectual honesty left in the party, only a stack of worn out "ism" accusations to trot out to try to make people feel guilty enough to vote Democrat. Yes, trite charges of sexism and racism have worn so thin even the Democrats decided they need to re-invent themselves as anti-Russian. This too comes with a price tag as do all ruses. The Russian ruse has made it difficult for most Democrats to question a highly questionable decision by Trump to fire tomahawks into Syria.
Strange consequences indeed.
Posted by Jim Spence on Tuesday, April 11, 2017
© 2016 Jim Spence - Since the Trump presidency began, his efforts to clean up America have been somewhat heartening. He has rolled back asinine Obama regulations on businesses and people. Many were examples of government hypocrisy.
Not all of Trump’s efforts have been satisfying. Unfortunately, when Paul Ryan was unable to deliver what he repeatedly promised that the House would do (repeal Obamacare), Trump blamed the GOP members who demanded a real repeal instead of those trying to feed us a pile of Obamacare lite. Spare us the lectures Donald.
And now, there is this Syria situation.
Some people think the Syria situation is complex. It isn’t. I recall getting a call from a member of Steve Pearce’s staff a few years ago. The staffer indicated that the congressman was trying to formulate his own view in the Syrian situation and the staffer was asked to gather input from various people. I offered a cold dose of reality that I am sure did not get far.
What I am about to say about rational Syria policy would never be adopted by any elected American official. Sometimes correct conclusions just “feel” a bit too harsh. Unfortunately, this is the problem with politics. Politics is the only profession where people get rewarded for NOT facing the harshness of reality.
Consider what a child's life is like in most Middle Eastern nations except Israel. In the overwhelming majority of Middle Eastern schools, children are taught to hate America. The conditioning is relentless. Basic values are assaulted starting with freedom of speech and religion. These fundamental principles are ridiculed as a matter of routine.
America, including Donald Trump seems to forget what we are facing in the Middle East. Back in the days when many news magazine programs were informative instead of sham propaganda efforts, the atrocious anti-American brain-washing of Palestinian children was exposed. And of course brainwashing does not only go on in Palestine, it goes on all over the Middle East. Accordingly, there should be no mystery whatsoever why literally tens of thousands of new bloodthirsty terrorists are manufactured in that area of the world every year. It is a place where children are taught that killing innocent people is a way of life and justified by the faith. When some of these children become adults, they slaughter innocents, and most of the rest are at best ambivalent about the loss of life. You saw this on 9-11.
The reason why it makes no sense whatsoever to accept even a single refugee from Syria is because of what we already know about how all men, women, and children from Syria are taught to despise America. All over that part of the world Christians are to be slaughtered, just as they were in their church in Egypt two days ago.
What are we to “do” about this Syrian situation? We Americans, both Democrat, Republican, and independent, recoiled with horror when we discovered that Assad gassed his own people including women and children. It seems that Trump recoiled too. In response, Trump decided to enforce a red line drawn by Obama. Set aside the absurdity that Obama would draw a red line and then do nothing when it was crossed. That is just part of the bigger story of the astonishing incompetence of Obama. The question remains: Should Trump have fired 59 tomahawk missiles into Syria over this situation?
Let's reason with one another here. We have a situation where a nation, Syria, which is actually part of a group of nations, has been poisoning the minds of their people for several generations. Syria has had a system in place that insures millions of people will grow up to hate America. Syria is involved in a civil war where one segment of the population that hates America, is killing another segment of the population that also has been indoctrinated to hate America. Sadly, this includes virtually all men, all women, and all children in both areas. My question is this. With all of the implications of this reality, is the fact that these American hating populations are killing one another, one of the biggest problem on our plate?Admittedly the situation in Syria is very sad. However, all around the world there are many things that are sad. In Nigeria a few years ago two hundred young school girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram, a group that also hates America. It was and still is horrific to think about. It is right to be sad. But it is wrong to be stupid because you are sad.
In America, we have solvable problems that are going unsolved while we are taking unnecessary risks to save people who hate America from other people who hate America. It makes no sense.
Posted by News New Mexico on Sunday, April 9, 2017
© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. Talk show host Dennis Prager was asked: What’s the biggest danger to America? He said, “We have not passed on what it means to be an American to this generation.”
Our country was founded because British leaders acted oppressively. The English King and his Parliament changed the course of history for the entire world by planting the seeds of rebellion in a society strong enough to resist and wise enough to construct a lasting representative republic. There were no free countries when Americans revolted.
The King and his advisors were arrogant and ignorant, two traits that infest oppressive governments. A reasonable British government would not have inspired rebellion and I would be drinking tea while writing my columns instead of coffee.
Americans hold three American ideas: the presumptions of innocence, commerce and freedom. But these presumptions are under attack in our country and not taught in schools as often as they were when I was young. They are some of the reasons that America is the shining light of liberty. Or was.
As to innocence, we are supposed to assume those accused of a crime are innocent unless convicted in a court of law. The media has lead an assault on that presumption. There really is no longer this presumption.
As to commerce, except where the government has made winners, our rich have gotten so by public free exchange where both parties walked away happy. Steve Jobs became rich by anticipating what we wanted, not because the government poured money into his pocket.
Our country became a great example for all of the world because of our principle that a willing buyer and a willing seller, both happy with the outcome are the cornerstones of our nation. Little by little over the last one hundred years the government has intruded and we no longer have free markets.
Finally, American freedom is the ability of citizens to not have to do what they do not want to do so long as it does not harm someone else. However, our government lives to impose its will upon Americans. I pray we retain enough freedom to teach our children what freedom means along with the other two presumptions.
The great question for us geezers and geezerettes is how to teach something to the young people that isn’t prominently on display in our country. It is tough to do but must be done. It isn’t just restoring Civics to the public-school classrooms, we must change some of the narratives. One is the country is basically unfair.
While the founding of this country involved men who kept slaves we are long past that and we should not reject the good with the bad. The men who put their lives, their possessions and their sacred honor on the line so we could be free were magnificent
And the Constitution is unique to our nation even though it has been under assault for a hundred years. We must teach these uniquely American ideas to our young people.
Posted by Jim Spence on Saturday, April 8, 2017
© 2016 Jim Spence - Susana Martinez was once again faced with the prospect of washing every dirty dish after the latest party held by Democrats in the most recent legislative session. Martinez is treated like a wayward cleaning woman by leaders of the New Mexico legislature. The Democrats once again partied hard and then pointed at Martinez the cleaning lady the next morning when people asked them why there was such a budgetary mess.
Forget about what you read in most of the major newspapers of the state. Here is what is going on. With Democrats unwilling to curb ANY of the excesses of the most out of control state budgeting process in the southwest, Martinez, the only grownup in the room, vetoed their budget yesterday. The Martinez vetoes insure a special legislative session before June 30, the end of the budget year.
The problems for New Mexico stem from one primary difficulty. Democrats love to spend the money that workers and businesses produce, particularly the oil and gas businesses in the northwest and southeast corners of our state. But Democrats are so disdainful of the state's breadwinners they constantly and remorselessly throw barriers in their way. With the precipitous drop in the price of oil over the last two years causing state coffers to run thin, Democrats still believe they can continue to spend like drunken sailors and simply lay off the burdens they create, with additional taxes, on all workers and businesses in our state. Sadly, Democrats have done this for sixty years, driving living standards in New Mexico way below that of every single neighboring state. Still, no matter how high taxes go in New Mexico, the depletion of the state’s cash reserves along with the state falling farther and farther behind in terms of living standards, continues. Democrats don't care. They just shift blame and continue their losing ways.
The blame rests on the shoulders of several leading Democrats in New Mexico beginning with the state’s Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, who hails from the only place in our state that benefits from the recklessness of his ways.......Santa Fe.
Cynically Wirth said, “We’re in uncharted waters,” of the Martinez vetoes. It is as if he does not understand why the people elected her governor. “You have three branches of government, and you have one branch using her authority to eliminate another branch. I would think the courts would take a look at that,” he said. Take a look at a governor who wants the state to stop being stupid? What is next Pete? a dictatorship of the proletariat? This is lawyer talk.
The other Democrat who shoulders a major portion of the blame is the sly and cunning Brian Egolf. Also from you guessed it, Santa Fe, Egolf is Speaker of the House. Egolf pulled the oldest trick in the book yesterday to mask his penchant for reckless spending and taxing the workers and businesses of the state into the stone age. He hid behind government employees. “Her vetoes of all funding for every higher education institution in the state and the entire legislative branch of government are unconstitutional and have provoked a constitutional crisis,” said Egolf. This absurd statement, that only a lawyer from Santa Fe could come up with, is cover so that Egolf doesn’t have to manage a tighter budgeting process. Her vetoes are unconstitutional eh? What constitution is that?
The truth is the two lawyers from Santa Fe (Egolf and Wirth) did not do any of the hard work required in the most recent session. They spent hours allowing debates on cheeseburgers while scheming behind the scenes on ways to stick it to the workers, families, and businesses. The idea of reigning in the state’s $6.1 billion budget was the farthest thing from their minds. Egolf and Wirth figured they could diddle away millions of dollars on this meeting and that meeting in Santa Fe, and then slap a bunch of new taxes and fees on all the little people around the state before sending everyone home.
In the final hours of the session, and with little fanfare, Wirth and Egolf rammed through more than $300 million in new taxes and fees to pay for their lethargy and sloth. Haplessly they offered “options” for Martinez. She could increase truck permit fees on New Mexico transportation companies etc., or she could raise gasoline taxes for everyone, or she could expand taxes on retail sales and internet purchases on everyone. Tax somebody to pay for our party was the idea and conveniently Martinez would take the blame when she would be the one who HAD TO CHOOSE which taxes to raise. They'd have the fun and Martinez would deliver the punishment.
Pathetically, Egolf lied about what happened to his buddies at the Santa Fe New Mexican yesterday. “We spent the legislative session working with her and her staff to craft a budget and revenue package we thought would meet her approval,” Egolf said. That is a preposterous lie and Egolf knew he was lying when he said it.
Peter Wirth joined the mix when he was quoted yesterday as saying, “This is no way to run a government.”
There is plenty of agreement here. Wirth and Egolf, both Santa Fe lawyers, are deception artists who love to play games with the truth and other people's money. They need to go. Martinez is a sharp cookie. She did not do their dirty dishes. The cleaning woman called them back to another "special" session to do some real work.