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Getting Higher Education Wrong

May 24, 2018

On Sunday, May 13,  a Left-wing “Attack Team” at The New York Times wished  the Trump Administration’s Betsy DeVos “Happy Mother’s Day.” Unfortunately, even the U.S. Department of Education is missing what ails American higher education. In this essay titled “The Left’s Attack on For-Profit Education,” I argue that both The New York Times and Trump’s people at the Department have not addressed the real problem: a college education costs too much.

Mea Culpa

May 23, 2018

Brenda Lee in 1960, and some others, have sung songs about being sorry and the Catholic mass recites a “mea culpa” in English, “through my fault.”

You tell me mistakes
Are part of being young
But that don’t right
The wrong that’s been done
(I’m sorry) I’m sorry
(So sorry) So sorry

It’s a little less interesting when Starbucks, Uber and Wells Fargo say they are sorry, too.

All three screwed up.

Wells Fargo is so vast an enterprise that top management didn’t know that agents were rigging the numbers of new credit card accounts. Uber has hired some bad drivers and the founder is alleged to have stolen some driverless car technology. Starbuck’s is closing one day to give diversity training to all employees at a cost of an estimated $14 million.

The cost for Wells Fargo’s “mistake” was a fine of $185 million and the resignation of that horse drawn outfit’s President and CEO.

At least one of Uber’s driverless vehicles killed someone, so that will cost big bucks. Starbuck’s mistake is imposing diversity training on employees. Forget that Lberal nonsense.

Saying sorry is just not enough when the person saying sorry is a corporation. Surely, there were ways to avoid big mistakes?

Wells Fargo grew too big and should have been broken up into three independent banks year ago and as for Uber, those fellas should have grown more slowly and spent more time vetting their drivers. There’s nothing you can do with the Liberal idiot at Starbucks except buy your coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. If he’s human, he probably doesn’t believe in diversity, just money.

 

 

A Future GOP Leader

May 22, 2018

Loss of the Presidential election in 2008 to Barack Obama spelled the end of the GOP as an effective force in Presidential politics.  Even in 2016, GOP regulars could not secure the GOP nomination for one of their own.

Though President Trump hasn’t a clue about how to administer the office of President of the United States, he’s doing a good job distracting the general public from his eccentricities and side-line business interests.

All this will catch up with him eventually and, if not Impeached, the President will be challenged for the GOP nomination in 2019.

Despite every sign that the Congressional GOP is brain-dead, the announcement that 20 GOP congressmen have requested that a second Special Counsel be appointed to investigate the Department of Justice and the FBI, identifies some that may not be afflicted with a terminal disease.

Here are their names:

McCarthy of California and Scalise of Louisiana, Zeldin of New York,  Jim Jordan of Ohio, Francis Rooney of Florida, Ted Budd of North Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Claudia Tenney of New York, Jody Hice of Georgia, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Harris of Maryland, Dave Brat of Virginia, and Paul Gosar of Arizona.

The U.S. House of Representatives is a training ground for future U.S. Senators, which raises the question, “Which of these men will aspire to lead the GOP after his election to the U.S. Senate?”

After Parkland and Santa Fe

May 21, 2018

The average salaries in Florida of public school teachers are improved, $46,598, but Florida’s population grew from 5 million in 1960 to 20 million in 2015.

That has led to attempts to limit class size:

As of the 2010-2011 school year, the maximum number of students in each core class was 25 students in grades 9 through 12.

In Texas the average salary is $48,891 and the population of Texas in 2017 increased to 28.3 million, up from 25.1 in 2010.  What has not changed is the “industry”-style organization of Florida and Texas public schools.

Parkland, Florida’s high school today services 3,000 students. Santa Fe’s student enrollment is 1,460.  In both schools, one student exhibited violent behavior. In the case of Parkland, the student responsible was expelled, “treated’ with mood altering drugs and “lost” to health services, his former high school and the local police. The student at Santa Fe exhibited bizarre behaviors in dress, but his demeanor did not require interventions.

In a smaller school of 500 students, both students might have been identified much earlier–but not in a school with 3,000 students or three times 500.

I know how schools like that try to cope. I graduated from North Miami high school in North Miami, Florida when North Miami was a Mecca for employment in Florida’s tourism industry and attracted tens of thousands of persons from northern states and rural areas of Florida. Teachers did their best, even using new technologies to teach basic courses, but were overwhelmed by sheer numbers of students. My high school graduating class had more than 1,000 graduates!

In any high school of gargantuan size some students will be “lost,” drop out, or be forced to leave. Some gifted students will find their calling.

Jeff Zucker, president of NBC, is a North Miami graduate. The founder of Planet Hollywood, Keith Barish, was my classmate, as was Stanley Ringler, later a Rabbi and executive with B’nai Brith. I went on to earn a Ph.D. Public speaking and debate programs at North Miami brought Barrish, Ringler and dozens of other students together and ameliorated the “mass education” we were compelled to endure.

I’m appalled, but not surprised, however, that my former high school’s current enrollment is 2,578 schools, and that the Parkland and Santa Fee high schools also  “house” so many students.

A solution is to tear down those education “warehouses” and build neighborhood-centric schools of no more than 500 students. And, possibly, reserve one to serve as a Charter School for 500 students. That school will probably begin to attract applications from the remaining public high schools. If that happens, the other schools should be permitted to change their status.

But, will even that enable us to identify “problem” students?

The greater problem is American popular culture that demonstrates the attractiveness of violence in the form of video games, television programming  and extreme activities. All these are having an impact on “pre-Millennial” Americans.

Older “Millennials” are attracted to prescription drugs and a variety of opioids whose misuse is shattering families and killed 64,000 in 2017. Will some from this age cohort, whose behaviors do not lead to death, be attracted, later in life, to violence against fellow workers, elected officials or persons in authority?

In an earlier era, families, churches, religious colleges, and the general culture directed the actions of young Americans to socially constructive lives. No such social “controls” are effective today and the civic responsibilities of citizens were removed from higher education in the campus disruptions of 1968-1973. For forty-five years, college students have not been taught what their responsibilities are to one another.

 

After Trump

May 20, 2018

Conservative Republicans have mixed feelings about President Donald Trump, especially if they served in the Administration of Ronald Reagan. Tens of thousands of young conservatives came of age during the campus riots of 1968 and 1973. Those who chose graduate school were philosophically inclined and gravitated to the  University of Chicago, Cornell, the New School and the University of Notre Dame. Some of them even sought out Michael Oakeshott at the London School of Economics.

Or, if they wanted a career in the Law, legal studies at Columbia, Yale or Chicago were the places to go.

Ronald Reagan’s Administration was an “old Man’s” government, however, and harkened back to the good old days of battles with Labor Unions, battles with Nazis and Fascists and especially, “D-Day.”  The World War II generation were not children-oriented and once, having come into their own, did not promote conservative young Republicans who came of age in the 1960s.

We who worked on the Goldwater campaign saw that close up. Lip service was given to “Youth for Goldwater,” but Barry Goldwater’s “conservatism” was skin-deep. His campaign was not based in Burkean conservative ideas championed by Russell Kirk, but was attracted to weaponized Enlightenment ideas like “natural rights.”  Even his wife, Peggy, supported Planned Parenthood in Arizona.

Despite the age differences between young and old Republicans, anti-Communism united us all–except internationalists like Nelson Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger and Nixon-era appointees who saw a world where Communists and Capitalists divided the world into  respective spheres of influence and ditched all ambitions to nuke one another.

Ronald Reagan, to his credit, argued that we must win the intellectual and political battle with the Soviet Union and developed policies best described as “Peace through strength.”

That era is gone, and Reagan’s own inattention to life beyond 1980 placed a representative of East Coast internationalism, G. H. W. Bush, in the position of Vice President. Personally charming, but clueless about economics (even though he studied that subject at Yale), G. H. W. Bush lacked a strategic cast of mind, lacked even the slightest understanding of what Russell Kirk called “the Conservative Mind,” and was loved by career government executives wherever he served—especially at the CIA.  As Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Bush missed entirely the strategic idea of Richard Nixon’s “China Card” and sought to establish good relations with that totalitarian state.

Of course, G. H. W. Bush was not alone.

Liberal Internationalists sought accommodation with Soviet and Maoist regimes, not policies whose end was removal of this virus from the bloodstream of Western intellectual culture.

We paid a price for that type of “Republican” with defeat of Gerald Ford by Jimmy Carter, the defeat of G. H. W. Bush by Bill Clinton, the losses of John McCain and Mitt Romney to Barack Obama. After eight years of a Marxist educated President from Illinois, the American voter was ready for radical change.

The takeover of the GOP by a celebrity, former Democrat, anti-immigration Populist, proponent of tariffs over free trade, and Big Spender, former television personality Donald Trump delivered a rebuke to Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio–and the list goes on.

We must now ask, “What will happen in 2020?” Will it be a coronation of Mike Pence? Or will we experience a reprise of 1964 when the GOP was wiped from power and influence and a Democrat politician–dominated by his sexual libido–assumed office and expanded a land war in Asia, introduced welfare programs that Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan demonstrated were destructive of fundamental virtues and created a system of welfare dependency, blew the federal deficit into the stratosphere, and fostered a “New Class” devoted to growing, administering, and becoming wealthy on the administrative state.

The Presidential election of 2020 has the potential to bring democracy in America to collapse and give generations of college “educated” Americans who have been denied a civic education since 1973 an opportunity to try something else besides democracy. Even Donald Trump has suggested that elections may have proven to be dated, instruments of an earlier age, and not necessary, at least not as frequent as every two, four, or six years.

All conservatives, for or against Trump, need to ask, “What’s next?”

A Royal Wedding & Celebrities

May 19, 2018

The late British journalist, Christopher Hitchens, had a biting wit, often directed against Lady Diana, backed up by keen analysis of his times.

In this video about the funeral of Lady Diana, Hitchens’s comments on Celebrity Culture can assist us in understanding the royal wedding of Prince Harry and the American Meghan Markle and infantile celebrity culture in America.

Prince Harry is a nice chap who served honorably in the British army and has endured loss of his mother, the marriage of his father, Prince Phillip, to his mistress, and the wedding of his brother, Prince William, and heir to the throne.

Let’s face it, Americans lost something when the Framers of the Constitution of the United States in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 prohibits the federal government from granting titles of nobility. So, instead of honoring home-grown Counts, Dukes, Duchesses, Kings and Queens, we vicariously participate in the lives of “Celebrities” known for their “knowness” and honor ourselves with boutique license plates on our automobiles, diplomas of academic degrees that we place on our walls, and the thousands of forms of much sought after “accreditation” for hair styling, pet grooming, dentistry, colleges, universities and degree programs.

Today’s wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is a Celebrity event, incidental to a formal Anglican marriage ceremony, featuring the King’s Guards and marching and mounted troops.  Our celebrity President, Donald Trump, desires to hold  a similar Grand March of American military, costing $13 million, to be held in Washington, DC–after the November elections.

My God save the United States of America from our celebrities.

I Can Do Anything Better than You!

May 17, 2018

A delightful Broadway hit of 1946 “Annie Get Your Gun,” featured a song by Irving Berlin, “I can do anything better than you.” That production reached a larger audience in 1950 when made into a feature film starring Betty Hutton as Annie Oakley.

Growing up, I recall seeing a “Light Opera” production of that play and I recently watched a replay on Hulu.

That we can do anything, if we put to our mind to it, is a first principle of the American Dream. And, in many ways, the idea is true even today in our over-regulated country.

But, some fields require knowledge, training, skill and practice.  Brain surgery, dentistry, flying an airplane require knowledge, training, skill and practice.

So does the role of President of the United States, or even high appointment to a Cabinet office. An example is Scott Pruitt the Trump Administration’s EPA Secretary. That fella can step in doo doo faster than cows can make cow pies.

The same applies to President Donald Trump.

The Administration of the Office of President of the United States deals with very difficult problems and there are few hands available to offer support. Most of President Trump’s appointees have no previous government experience, and the former Generals, Admirals and military officers to whom he’s given top appointments are not politically experienced.

For that reason, they can make mistakes of judgment—and do.

In government, the notion that “I can do anything better than you” simply isn’t true.  You need to have served in government, studied American government and history, economics, foreign policy and national security.

I hope the American people remember that in the Congressional elections of 2018 and the General Election for President in 2020.