Monday, June 15, 2015

Anson Burlingame offers County Commissioners benefit of his wisdom

One of the first persons to apply for appointment to the Joplin R-8 Board of Education after it became apparent that the Jasper County Commission might appoint three members was blogger and frequent Joplin Globe guest columnist Anson Burlingame.

In a June 1 e-mail to Commission Darieus Adams labeled "CONFIDENTIALLY ONLY, NO FURTHER DISSEMINATION PLEASE," Anson, who in Shakespearean times might well have been called the Melancholy Pain battled his "reluctance" to join the Board of Education.

Following that e-mail, Burlingame sent another, withdrawing his candidacy, a third one offering sage advice to the commissioners, and a fourth, congratulating them on choosing Gary Nodler, Sallie Beard, and Ron Gatz.

The e-mail were obtained by the Turner Report as part of a Sunshine Law request and are printed below: In addition to Adams, Burlingame sent copies of two of his e-mails to Superintendent C. J. Huff, and R-8 board members Jeff Koch and Lynda Banwart.

The Reluctant Candidate

Commissioner Adams,

Never have I interacted, privately or publicly with the Jasper County Commission. You don't know me, nor I you, other than perhaps through the reading the Globe in both cases. But this is important to me, very mportant, so here we go! I send this ONLY to the CC addees to seek honest advice and counsel if they choose to do so, but only confidentially and to me only, one at a time to me or all address as well.

First, to debunk a terrible idea, that only educators know how to fix education, or even whether it needs fixing at all. I could not disagree more strongly with such a sentiment. In fact, bluntly written as I usually write, the mess we have seen for years in public education around America is that professional educators have failed miserably to fix public education. Does it need fixing? Of course, it does. And I have contributions to offer like them or not as well.

Since I left the professional race track, all associated with nuclear matters, submarines in the military and old nuclear weapons plants as a civilian, I led and taught and educated a whole range of people, from the mess cooks on a submarine to the highest executive ranks in the civilian and government nuclear organizations. And I, too, was a student of others in all those years as well. I know what worked for me and how my approach worked in term of "education' for others. Admiral Hyman Rickover trained me HARD.

But after leaving that race track as a professional, I became quickly involved, in the trenches so to speak, with public education, in two counties in Missouri, Henry and Jasper counties, for about 10 years as a substitute teacher, off and on for sure and not continuously. Since 2008, I have not been in classrooms, but have written volumes about public education. All added up, I claim 17 years of experience, as a layman, on that subject.

What I saw as a substitute, Mr. Adams, was shocking and a real debacle from the very beginning. The manner in which various schools operated in the classrooms was generally and simply terrible. Dr. Huff has heard my anecdotes for seven years in that regard and he LISTENED to them, not did he just assume I was a kook. We talked at length, and with no animosity for seven years. We did not always agree, but good or bad ideas were explored for sure as honestly as possible.

Try that with just about any professional educator and you will met the disdain seen in universities when a conservative students confronts a liberal professor. I get that all the time if I try to engage with most professional educators and certainly a lot of teachers that think they are such, which they are not. I would not let many of them set foot in any facility for which I was responsible to teach anything, from mess cooks on up, again bluntly written.

Not all of the ideas are right for sure. But many of them NEED to be injected into the governing process for lcoal education, BOEs if you will. I have done some injecting with all presidents of the BOEs and in columns in the Globe over time as well, but look at our current mess, an unneeded mess in both the schools and now the BOE sadly.

As to my views, whether or not they have any merit, I leave that the honest judgment of Dr. Huff. He knows them more than any other person in Joplin. But I would ask that he not address whether my views COULD BE implemented politically. Just ask him if they SHOULD be implemented, at least in part- I could give you a whole string of specifics but that would be far too long. You would have to read by seven-year running blog to get the gist of such, or more simply, talk to Dr. Huff.

I will offer this condensed version, a sound bite, if you will. Any BOE MUST provide a good education to every child in K-12, adding, whether those kids or their parents want it or not. I bet most thinking people would also agree with my definition of a good public education, the ability to read, write, and do arithmetic at every grade level throughout their K-12 years in education, simple and hard as that may be. Give me a kid that can honestly read, write, and do math at the 12th grade level and I can teach them to run a nuclear reactor as a real professional. But give me a "hoodlum" that could care less about their education through K-12 and I would never accept them in a program to even try to run a nuclear reactor or any other business I might run, thank you for applying but...

It is my own sense of the law that this situation will not yet come before you and your commission. But it could, in a matter of weeks. If it does, I ask your consideration for what I write further herein.

Very reluctantly, I MIGHT throw my hat into the ring to become a 10-month member of the BOE. GO scream all you like Jeff or Lynda, but I am thinking about it. I don't want to do it, nor does my wife, who currently is telling me an emphatic NO. I would not do so for the sake of my family or my own health, which is sound right now, but ....I would only do so to TRY to inject more reason and leadership to stop this political circus if I could do so. Whether I could succeed is up to anyone crazy enough to so appoint me. That is called judgment which any good elected official must exercise, popular or not. My appointment would, of course, raise unmitigated hell with the ranks of the underbelly of Joplin, which is driving the politics of this mess right now. But calling them that, I do NOT mean the poor or needy. I mean those crazy and anonymous jerks writing on social media and contributing greatly to Dr. Huff's "retirement." Fill your hands you SOBs has been by social media response to them of late. I am sick of reading it, but do so still to know my real enemies!!

You nor anyone else in Joplin, including my wife, knows exactly what I did or how I did it back then. It is ancient history, nor did I do it all right either. But I did it and I was a success, according to those actually sitting in professional judgment of my performance, people, good, and very "senior" people in and out of government, like two former Secretaries of Energy and a a few four star admirals from those old days. Even Admiral Rickover, if he was still alive, would grudgingly acknowledge that I was a good skipper on a nuclear submarine!!

I am certainly NOT a professional educator. At best, I could be considered a professional nuclear operator, but not engineer. I have "run" many nuclear facilities myself or as the guy in charge of supervising others in charge of such things instead. I have trained, educated, and cajoled others, including myself, to do so successfully. THAT leadership and experience in some really tough situations were a success in my view at least and that ability can be applied to local public education, again in my view.

The only doubt I have and many others will have for sure, is can I be a team player in doing so, work as a team and not just a tyrant in charge, so to speak. I can only say that when I was president of EG&G Rocky Flats in Colorado in 1994-1995, I was not a tyrant. But I expected people working for me to do that when needed for sure.

What will I do if appointed (I would never even try to be elected) to the current BOE is my best to inject reason and compromise in this mess. Jeff is trying but does not have the experience yet to do so. He might disagree, but the current situation is a mess under his leadership right now. He must acknowledge that, at least. Do I hold him accountable as such? Bet your ass I do. But I would also coach him as best as I can to help him improve. That I know I can do even with cray SS laws trying to get in the way. Lynda I would not try to do so for her. She already knows when to bend and when to break, in my view, in the current situation.I applaud her efforts and that is not a political statement.

Finally, Mr. Adams, I have quietly consulted with two outstanding men who have lived their lives in Joplin. This is extraordinarily private by the way, Henry Robertson and Leland Brown. Both believe I can and should step up to try to make a difference. They know full well I can be a lightning road. But in their judgment such is needed right now to try to get the current situation back on track.

Take this or leave it. Speak with Dr. Huff or the co-presidents of the BOE or the two men mentioned for further information if you like. But NO ONE else right now. As well as I am at your disposal for either a public or private interview, but publicly only if I decide to join this fray. I will expand on the above or give you more information.

Call this forming an "exploratory committee of one" if you like.


Anson Burlingame

Forget about it

(Burlingame sent this e-mail to only Darieus Adams on June 8.)

Commissioner Adams,

After giving the matter much thought, I have decided NOT to volunteer for or put my name before the County Commissioners as a candidate to fill any seats on the Joplin BOE.

If you bothered to read my e-mails, etc. I apologize for taking up your valuable time.

Anson Burlingame.

Darieus, this is how you should do it

(Burlingame sent Adams this e-mail June 10, also including Huff, Koch, and Banwart in the recipients.)


Some suggestions from me in your actions to appoint three members to the BOE.

1. Most important, the political sides are very clear. Don't pick anyone associated with either side, such as Kimbrough, me, or anyone writing publicly about R-8 issues. It will just create a furor again.

2. Three people must be ready and able, from experience, to start with both feet on the ground. Thus EXPERIENCE of the finest sort in public office and/or education issues must be a first priority. Those three must be ready to immediately develop and approve an annual budget in the range of $70 million, appoint an interim superintendent and hire a new superintendent in the next 10 months. They must also be able to speak publicly with intelligence and good ideas to others will follow.

3. No one selected should be young and aggressive. Let those folks run for election. Wise and senior leadership is desperately needed on this BOE. You can appoint three people to provide just that who as well will have the time to devote considerable effort to this task of governing R-8.

4. All three appointees should have experience working with strong unions from the management side of any table in such relationships. The NEA will work hard to make its presence felt, which is expected. But that union must be met with equal "vigor" from the BOE side of the table.

Quiet wisdom in matters related to education, demonstrated leadership and a very strong "hide" ready and willing to stand before some really virulent people is required for anyone crazy enough to accept an appointment to the BOE at this point in time.

It is up to you now to pull a rabbit out of the hat and find three people in our area able who are willing to leap into this breach. You should be very private in your deliberations and surprise the living hell out of Joplin when you announce your choices. Both sides of the education politics should be asking, "Who the hell is HE or SHE!!

Anson Burlingame

A job well done

(This e-mail was sent to only Darieus Adams on June 11.)


Pass to all CC members if you like.

The CC has demonstrated decisive leadership by quickly choosing three members for the BOE. Well done. I await the acknowledgment of wise leadership after I see who was selected. I hope the hell they are truly ready to hit the ground running and know something about local public education other than just the politics of such.

But again, I am impressed. You guys took the bull by the horns and made a decision without dilly dallying around, bobbing and weaving before the public, trying to gain favor with everyone which you know is impossible.

Again, well done.

Anson Burlingame


Anonymous said...

Mr. Burlingame, since I am sure that you will be trolling these comments, let me add a thought or two of my own as I am a qualified and experienced teacher who has spent many years in the classroom. Having been a substitute teacher DOES NOT make you an expert in teaching and education. You DO NOT get a clear picture of what it is like to teach in the same classroom with the same students day-in and day-out for 175-185 days a year. As I have witnessed with some substitute teachers, I have a strong suspicion that you had no clue what you were doing in a classroom and the students picked up on that quickly. Students show no mercy for neither the inept and incompetent substitute teacher nor the pompous fool who thinks they have all of the answers to teaching just because they spent some seat time in a classroom themselves.

As for everyone else, the more I am subjected to this idiot's thoughts and words, the angrier I get. How much more smug and vainglorious can a person become?

Anonymous said...

Here's hoping the BoE appoints this blowhard the interim superintendent. He can whip the staff into shape and run the school like a nuclear sub. I can't wait to see how successful Joplin becomes when they start treating kids like adults working in a nuclear facility. His leadership will change public education on a national level. Bwahahahahahahahaha! Hilarious! This guy knows nothing about pedagogy and classroom management. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap! That smells worse than the barnyard.

Anonymous said...


Let me know how that turned out.

Anonymous said...

Will this fool ever get tired of his own voice? His vain glory is superseded only by that of his false idol, CJ Huff. His arrogance is unbelievable. He failed completely as a substitute, so all of this is because his feelings were hurt and he must seek retribution. Listen to your wife, Anson. No one wants to hear this superfluous crap anymore. You're making a total ass of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god, I didn't think it was possible for my opinion of him to get any worse. He really is a nut. I especially like the second letter where he's all, "never mind." My guess is that he never received a response to any of those emails, and he was pissy about it because he expected to get a reply about how wonderful it was that he was going to step in and save the day. It surprises me that Darius Adams was smart enough to recognize Anson for the blowhard that he is and ignore him, though.

Anonymous said...

It surprises me that Darius Adams was smart enough to recognize Anson for the blowhard that he is and ignore him, though.

More like the positions were filled before being posted. Anson wasn't on the CC for this.

Anonymous said...

What a moron! Aside from his nearly incomprehensible ramblings punctuated with profanities, the scariest thing I learned from Anson's emails is that he was somehow associated with nuclear devices. I'm certainly glad he's not in that field anymore. None of us would be safe.

Anonymous said...

Kind of looks like Foster Brooks to me. Any oldtimers recall him?

Anonymous said...

From my experience, children can sniff out a phony immediately. If the shoe fits...
More frightening is the fact this guy was in charge of anything nuclear.

Asshat Boilingname said...

What all these little bastards need is a swift kick in the ass. It is time to pull mommy's teet out and get to work! Especially these little kindergarten cop outs! Why in my day we walked fifty miles to school in ten feet of snow, up hill, both ways! That was after working a full fifteen hours on the farm. Back in those days men were men! We didn't coddle children. We beat some sense into 'em. Everyone knew their place. Women stayed in the kitchen, people stayed with their own kind, and children were seen and not heard. Those are the kind of values we need nowadays. CJ and the other outstanding leaders of this community know this. We are all sick and tired of dope smokin, tree hugging, pinko commie liberals brainwashing our young'ins. If I decide to run the R8 district, you will all see perfect rows of desks filled with disciplined students who toe the line!

Anonymous said...

I've got a boy crush,
Hate to

Anonymous said...


I'm sure someone will be thrilled!

Anonymous said...

That's okay. The time he mistakenly pushed the LAUNCH button to order his midday meal, an educated officer initiated the override protocals.

Asshat Boilingname said...

I forgot to say virulent

Anonymous said...

This guy would've been a great Seinfeld character--sort of a cross between Newman and the library cop. Seriously though, hiring a proofreader might be wise if he's going to write any more "private" soliloquies. Most of his sermon was hard to follow.

Anonymous said...

Ok that was hilarious!

Anonymous said...

I see lots and lots of meds in this bat crap crazies future. Next he will say he's black and a woman.

Anonymous said...

I just saw this on the internet!


Elections don't matter. Neither do voters who don't know how to vote for the right side.

Especially not when the voters turf all our Friends and Family and the smart people! Uppity fools thinking their votes count! I found a quote "Smash the gang of four" but here it should be "Smash the gang of three." I'm still looking for a gang of wreckers quote.

There should be no doubt that we are all on the same page. Strong means are necessary! The ends justify the means. Firm action must be taken to strike down the infidels! There ought to be a codename for this operation. It needs to be concealed from Turner and all seven of his readers. Turner can be sneaky about finding things out. Could he have some moles burrowed in deep?

"Our Little Putsch"... That will show them who really runs things- and also that the reason we are the real HMFICs is because we are smarter than the average voter and taxpayer.

Except that Putsch has some bad connotations associated with it. It's too accurate a label to use. Could we call it something like "Our Little Thing?" Doesn't that sound nice? We could get even some t-shirts made to wear to Board meetings to show our support for the new regime.

Why do we even allow everyone to vote? Wouldn't it make sense to check that they will vote correctly BEFORE allowing them to vote? Seems like that would simplify things a little and get us back to unanimous decisions. Nip the dissent in the bud. "NIP THE DISSENT IN THE BUD!" I like the sound of that! Another EXCELLENT t-shirt idea."

This does sound like something that Asshat Boilingname would write!

Ron said...

This made my day. Well done, Randy.

Dusty Roads said...

Yes he does have the drunk and disheveled Foster Brooks look.

Anonymous said...

Does Mr. Burlingame even have children in the Joplin School District? I am a parent AND a taxpayer. I know what my motivation is...getting a good education for my child. What is Mr. Burlingame's motivation? Does he even have a dog in this fight?

Anonymous said...

Apparently C.J. explained everything he knows about the Sunshine Law to Burlingame.

Kenen Martinez said...

Jeez, this guy needs medicated. Does the Joplin Globe not screen or read their guest columnist articles. He writes to the commission offering counsel that was not sought or wanted. He truly believes he's a counselor to the powerful.

Maybe so much time around radiation has caused him to lose his damn mind.

In any rate, I refuse to read his articles in the globe and with their very public stance in wading into this fight that should have been reported on and remained on the sidelines. Kind of sad to see the death of a venerable paper turned into a propaganda rag.

jack off all trades master of none said...

"It's the plutonium, stupid!"

Anonymous said...

After reading his rant about his experience in the nuclear field, I understand who was used as the basis for the Homer Simpson character. DOH!!

Anonymous said...

People should be able to contact elected officials about what is happening but that was really something.

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't think he even has a dog period. Well....he DID at one time. But after years of Anson's companionship, the dog couldn't take it any longer and it threw itself in front of a mail truck.

The Postman said...

2:00 am

That goes way over the line. I was the driver of that mail truck. If you could have seen the look of agony and desperation as Huffy dashed in front of me and the subsequent expression of sweet relief when he knew impact was imminent. ...well it just breaks your heart. My therapist says I have been getting better. Suicide By Mail Truck is no laughing matter!

An Asston supporter who thinks The Postman and his dead dog joke isnt funny said...

Wait, oh yes wait a minute mister postman

Wait, wait mister postman

Asshat Boilingname said...

Dear Commissioners,

I write to you herein since you have failed to understand the concept of confidenshialitee.
Why don't you love me? I have played ball with all of the right people in this town. Perhaps you don't know who I am. Just ask Carol Stank or CJ Puff. There is noone who cares more about this community or edukashun than me do. Why I was a nukular teknishun for Pete's sake! I know how to lead men. Real men. Young, well built brave men. The kind of men that you would be proud to take home to mom. That's all I want for this district, We can send the little ladies home to learn cooking and cleaning. It is a shame to waste tax dollars on something the mom's should already be teachng them. I understand that you might have been given the wrong picture of me by the scourge of Joplin..,The villainous blogger that writes the Burner Report invites lies and virulent gossip about me and other civic minded leaders. He claims to have facts. But I ask you see these so called facts in the REAL local media? NO! You would have to dig into government files and such. And you know we can't trust the government! Lying bastards! All of 'em. Anyway, I herein gve you the opportunity to reconsider my appointment as chancellor of Joplin Schools with sole authority to make the needed changes. I will immediately declare marshal law, imprison the unholy triumvirate of usurpers, and restore sanity and order to my beloved schools. For the children, If you allow me this high honor, you will be doing the community a great service. If not, go screw yourself, unless you were going to, in which case
Thank you,

Asshat Boilingname

PS Don't let anyone read this if you are stupid enough to reject me again.

The Postman said...

Laugh all you want at other's tragedies.
Just remember. ..I always ring twice.

Anonymous said...

For you simple-minded folks who have nothing to say except to criticize a person's appearance, I say, "Grow up." For all of you "teachers" and "educators" who believe that putting in hours in the classroom qualifies you as an expert, I say this: I can use all of the fingers on both hands and beyond with Joplin High School graduates who should never have received diplomas. They can't read beyond a third grade level, not even the directions on a prescription bottle. They can't do simple math, even to double a recipe. They can't follow a map or count back change. Some of them don't even know how to address an envelope, for God's sake! Until we (collectively) stop passing students who have not achieved the goals for the grade that they are in, there will be no improvement in education. Until there is more concern for students learning than just filling a seat so that the tax dollars are received, nothing will change. At least the people the Commission selected are well-know city leaders with experience dealing with many different situations and types of personalities. The only reason that people are crying and whining for Kimbrough is because he's on the Koch-Martucci bandwagon and is more pro-teacher than pro-student.

Anonymous said...

So how do city leaders know what is good for education? Have they worked in a school district before or are they only wanting access to the perceived pot of gold for their own business interests? Do they have children currently in the school district? Why are the people the Commission picked better than any the voters have picked? Why do the Commissioners get to control what should be a voter controlled decision? This has never really been about the education of children, it's about who controls the money, plain and simple. And until the right people for the right reasons take back the school district and make it about the education of children this will never end.

Anonymous said...

You are ranting at the wrong people. The problems with our district are not rooted in the movie version of apathetic teachers. It is the ridiculous purchasing of the latest flavor of the month off the shelf wonder systems, top heavy/ heavy handed administration, and over testing that has damaged real learning, C Huff insisted on graduation rates over performance. Not teachers. I assure you it is not a problem with classroom educators. It is poor management. The three we voted in know this. The Commisars evidently do not.

Anonymous said...

My condolences. But he's in a much better place.

Anonymous said...

Well said 9:42.

Anonymous said...

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”
― George Carlin

Anonymous said...

Just one more reason to drop my subscription to the Globe. It's been crap since Ed Simpson started as editor. Though inconceivable, today's leadership there is even worse.

Anonymous said...

He was a true genius, stand up philosopher, and teacher.