Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Clash of the Harvard "Titans" for D.C.

....for control of the U.S. and the "Free World". Mitt Romney,
Harvard  MBA and JD, Barack H. Obama, JD. Two lawyers
looking for love,  affirmation, and imposing their own definitions
of "The American Way"  on you, me, and the rest of this hapless
planet...help! Harvard, she hain't  quite whut she usta be, with silly,
surprising policies like letting approximately  125 undergrads
complete their finals as TAKE-HOME EXAMS, according to the
Chicago Sun-Times, August 31st, 2012, Page 22, the middle top
squib. Were Harvard's standards slipping  already, ~20-30
years ago, when Mr. O and the Mittster obtained their prized
degrees? (I'm waiting to hear back from Harvard for
independent verification of such a practice.)

That might explain why both of these Ivory Tower products
have uttered nonsense subsequently (and rightly) pilloried. The
proud possessor of the MBA, though, by daily count, seems to
have outstripped the incumbent by numbers of gaffes/stumbles.
The  Business School itself may have played a role, the subject
of a 1980s best seller, What They Don't Teach You at The Harvard
Business School  by Mark McCormack. I read it back then, only
remember it as a contrast between accepted, elite business
theory vs. what happens on the streets and in the suites, to
steal a phrase from Ralph Nader.

Still, if you wish to vote for someone who isn't THAT far
removed from many Americans' experience, pick Mr. O.
He definitely didn't grow up in a privileged household
with comforting, stable, long-standing roots. But he has,
with encouragement nonetheless, certainly made it in
politics, publishing and the history books...all of which
makes him able to relate, more or less, to just about
anyone, high, low, or in between.

Contrast that with Mitt Romney, who grew up in
Michigan Governor George's moderate republican
home, who has become so wealthy he has only Oligarchy
for a frame of reference. --Clash of the Harvard "Titans":
may the more well-rounded man win.

Monday, September 17, 2012

So Many Errors, So Little Time

....left to straighten this weary, wary, worried world
out, that is. But as ever, I venture to mention:

***The Current Events' Egregious Error List:***

(1) Riots are exploding around Islam due to a demented
Israeli/Californian's wish to stir the pot of public feeling and
achieve aggrandizement rather than heal any religious rifts.
Free speech is not a free pass to inflame, particularly
when one has previously been legally enjoined to
stay away from the web, as Nakoula B. Nakoula
had been.

(2) Why not let God decide? Whoever believes in
a First Cause, wherever he/she lives, instead of
wanton waste, destruction and death, let God order
the proper punishment. Mere man meting out chaos--
is that likely what Allah would want, would it even
be sufficient, despite all the drama on TV and real
life? Reading the mind of God is an impossibility;
better to act less on "God's behalf".

(3) The U.S. mess in its educational institutions is
accelerating, as a Chicago Sun-Times (08/31/'12)
news item indicated: Dozens of Harvard undergrads
are being investigated, as "...possible cheating was
discovered in roughly [~125] HALF THE TAKE-HOME
[final] EXAMS. Who authorizes take-home finals anywhere?
Hello, Harvard? Have you lost your mind?

(4) The Chicago Teachers' Strike, week two, is a complicated
mess with incompetent and irrelevant behavior all around.
Now an apparent stumbling block is time needed to "peruse"
the 23 page contract working summary. --Peruse, my foot.
We ask older children to read and report on 250-page books,
teachers, so study these 23 pages. Those who HAVE actually
read the proposed contract summary, in contrast to the House
of Delegates, seem to be more willing to deal with the CPS
(Chicago Public Schools) latest offer. Cautionary note: there are
TWO summary versions, one from CTU, the other from CPS.
Contrast and compare here too.

The Rahmster is on shaky legal ground with his injunction
against the CTU (Chicago Teachers' Union).
The City of Chicago AND the CPS have SERIOUSLY ERRED
for decades by:
(a) Allocating 30+ students per classroom. Not enough per
student teaching attention is possible with that many.
(b) Not buying the latest textbooks, not supplying the
classrooms adequately. Teachers have been spending
THEIR OWN MONEY to assist the kids and their own
performance. What IS that??
(c) As others frequently point out, HVAC is deplorable
in many of the schools in poorer areas. Class warfare,
everywhere, always. The "better" areas boast
more physically comfortable sites for learning.

President Jimmy Carter was right on the money, but
few were/are brave enough to realize it and agree: there
is a malaise in our society; if we don't snap out of it,
America's decline will be more abrupt than gradual.

Do you care enough to gird yourselves as if for war?
In other words, strive for less "fun", aim for more
serious and substantive involvement in the polity?
So many errors, so little time....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ugly Americans Tax my Patience

Lizzie Velasquez, a young woman suffering from an extremely
rare disease affecting her appearance, is overcoming adversity.
Born with no fat, blind in one eye, severely underweight, she has
been cruelly harassed on YouTube, called "the world's ugliest
woman" and a "monster". But she is wise beyond her years and
her circumstances--she's finishing college in Texas, has written
two books, and is a motivational speaker...wow! Ms. Velasquez is
a wonder, a true inspiration.

--So who's the monster and who's ugly? The posters of that
vicious video attacking such a seemingly vulnerable person
are amoral monsters of insensitivity and cowardice, period.
They even urged her to commit suicide! They are pathetic
bullies without an ounce of kindness in their souls--that is,
if they HAVE souls, a doubtful proposition at best.

Moral disorder is spreading. The Romney campaign, with
its heavy support from Ayn Randites, still spews that tired
old line about how low taxes will spur job creation resulting in
consumer demand--utter nonsense! Banks and many businesses
are sitting on piles of cash RIGHT NOW. The Bush II tax cuts,
in place for over ten years, haven't produced the jobs the super
right claimed they would. Lowering taxes has nothing to do with
what we've been seeing since 2007; taxes have been relatively
low for decades. The 5% want a free hand: Laissez Faire
economics, that's what they hunger for, the rest of us,
serfs serving as their footmen while they ride.

Now an agitator/video maker from California has inflamed
the Muslim world all over again, much like that European
cartoonist who visually lampooned the Prophet. Why would
anyone want to create riots across Islam? Personally, I don't
think Allah countenances such wanton waste, death and
destruction, but free speech is not a free pass
to insult and disparage anyone or their beliefs.

Across the pond economist Niall Ferguson (employed in the U.S.)
yearns for the Raj, the huge empire that was once Great Britain.
(Shouldn't they rename their now tiny island nation simply,
Britain?) I see the world entering another Age of Darkness,
coming to pass while I and my loved ones are still here, despite
the Herculean efforts of some. It is very hard to watch....

Meanwhile, Ugly Americans, stop taxing my patience.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Promise Me No More: No More Slogans, Guarantees or "Dreams"

....Because it simply isn't in your power to keep any promise,
when you alone can't control any outcomes. The U.S.
President, the House and the Senate must act in concert
to enact or repeal legislation, excepting Executive Orders.
I haven't checked yet, but bet limitations exist there too,
otherwise far more than 200 such orders in a president's four
year term would be common, and they are not.

Candidates, I implore you: Just tell me what concerns you,
inspires you, what areas you most want to work on, what
approach you'd like to take--and you better BE SPECIFIC,
as Illinois' Forrest Claypool said so memorably so many times
on the Cook County Board. Be done with high-flown phrases
reminiscent of the snake oil salesmen of yore. Even if you
believe, as I'm often tempted to, that the polity wants to
be gulled, don't do it! Betray an understanding of what ails
the nation, such as our collapsing infrastructure, beyond the
oft-quoted 8.+ % unemployment rate.

America, stop looking for a mother or a father figure--instead,
act in an adult, informed, and yes, even courageous fashion.
All of us over 18 have played a partial role in this sorry
spectacle. Try viewing political speeches from decades back,
they might surprise you. Accept that fixing the country, if it isn't
too late, will take a concerted, enormous effort.

Are you able do to all this, actually what's required? Anything
else is just the same old smoke, wishing or whining I've heard
for decades, can reproduce most of it verbatim....

So much for promises, broken or unspoken. Let's act our
age and get to work.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pollster Neil Newhouse for Romney: We Can Lie

OK, that was just to get your attention, but he IS asserting
an intention to lie by saying "We're not going to let our
campaign be dictated to by factcheckers." (Hey, I hope they
continue to just say anything, because many will be watching
and parsing the "campaign's" statements, to the Republicans'
detriment.) The First Amendment is silent regarding truth
telling, sadly, except in provable cases of libel/slander.

But I can see what supports the radical right's thinking and
behavior; take the very word "campaign". It was used in
conducting action in warfare long before it made its way into
political lexicon. So this is war, pure and simple, nothing noble
about it, a merely moneyed, well-publicized drive for power,

Let's not have any further blather about "Democracy".
This nation is legally a Republic, not a particularly caring
one, at that, despite some of the kind and caring groups and
individuals who live here, help and contribute. Compassionate
Conservatism? Oh, PLEASE! Please. Most Americans don't
care about strangers, despite all the public propaganda about
our generosity, etc. The proof is in our poorly performing public
schools, our too few police, libraries' shorter schedules, hospital
closings, more.

Meanwhile, Wild West Politics, the current era, rolls on. Let's
all try to keep up to avoid putting into power even more of
those who simply want no bounds on their behavior while
stealing from the public purse. Remember....

They've always known they can lie.