Governor’s class opens academic doors

By Ned Cantwell: Guest Columnist

Gov. Bill Richardson again steps into the role of pacesetter. He is going to teach a class at the University of New Mexico next semester. The class will attempt to teach students how state government works.
Good luck. People who have been observing New Mexico state government for decades are still trying to figure out how it works. Misguided students who think they can yawn their way through might consider advanced trigonometry instead.
The guv has not yet nailed down syllabus details, but one thing seems certain. John Dendahl will not be invited as a guest lecturer.
What is important here is that a man of Richardson’s status will take time from his busy schedule to teach a college class. And you have to wonder what would happen if other people in the news followed the governor’s example.
Martha Stewart: Making Do With Small Spaces. Course will be limited to students who had been on their way to advanced degrees but were caught cheating. Class monitors will be armed.
Britney Spears: The Sanctity of Marriage. Ms. Spears will detail her romantic escapades, including a 55-hour marriage to an old boyfriend because, “wow, like, you know, he goes, let’s get married and I’m like, wow, cool.” Because of the intense nature of course material, students will be required to have at least completed third grade.
Bobby Knight and Ron Artest: Anger Management. The Texas Tech coach and Indiana Pacers star team up to teach students healthy outlets for their frustrations. Course dress requirements include helmets, facemasks, and body armor. Syllabus will trace evolution of game of basketball with developments in American culture.
Osama Bin Laden: Oh, Yes You CAN Run, And Oh, Yes You CAN Hide. Dorky dude in dirty robe explains how he has managed to outwit world’s richest and most powerful nation for more than three years. Course materials: Each student must come to class protected by at least 100 crazed, fanatic bodyguards. Minimum enrollment requirement: Must have successfully completed Martha Stewart course.
Sen. Pete Domenici: The Political Balancing Act. Once fierce defender of balanced budgets will explain the art of benign pre-election silence as administration programs plunge the country deeper and deeper into debt. Pork barrel champ will lead students to reawakened commitment to restrained spending. Students who took Bill Richardson course need not apply.
Rick Homans: How to Build a State Economy Without Gambling. The secretary of the New Mexico Economic Development Department will host a single session over a buffet luncheon at the new Hobbs casino. Class will then immediately disband and go play the slots.
President George Bush: English as a Second Language. Course will cover vocabulary, syntax, parts of speech like pronouns and propositions, and, you know, stuff like that. By mid-term, students will be expected to have mastered simple Bushisms such as, “The Legislature’s job is to write law. It’s the executive branch’s job to interpret law.”
Final test will demand more complicated structures, such as: “I am mindful of the difference between the executive branch and the legislative branch. I assured all four of these leaders that I know the difference, and that difference is they pass the laws and I execute them.”
Class dismissed.

Ned Cantwell is a New Mexico syndicated columnist who would step up in class if he only could. Contact him at: