Saturday, March 21, 2015

Pernicious Professorial Pontificating

University of Kentucky professor emeritus John Stempel in an op-ed in the Lexington Herald-Leader of 20 March vented his spleen on the 47 senators who sent the letter to Iranian Ayatollah Khameini to the effect that any deal promulgated by the Obama administration could be nullified with a stroke of the pen after the next election, explaining that under the U.S. Constitution presidents may not make deals, secret or otherwise, on their own, even though Obama has assumed that monarchical position domestically with respect to a number of things such as constantly changing—violating—Obamacare on the basis of politics alone.

Stempel said, “This unprecedented break with prudent practice has created a furor that places the U.S. government in a difficult position... .” UNPRECEDENTED? Either Stempel is uninformed or he's just pushing the usual democrat boilerplate, probably the latter. Coincidentally, in a recent issue of the Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes pointed out a number of examples that give the lie to Stempel's assertion. One of the most notable involved then-senators Kerry and Harkin and a group of House democrats led by majority leader Jim Wright (later the speaker who was forced to resign account numerous personal perfidies) who wrote—yep, a letter—to Nicaraguan communist dictator Daniel Ortega in April 1985 to at least feign undercutting President Reagan. Remember Iran-Contra?

This is what Wright and his House conspirators wrote: “We regret the fact that better relations do not exist between the United States and your country. We have been, and remain, opposed to U.S. support for military action directed against the people or government of Nicaragua. We want to commend you and your government for taking steps to open up the political process in your country.” Did/does anyone believe Reagan ever had any intention of invading Nicaragua? I'm still laughing. The congressmen perpetrated a publicity stunt in 1985, while the 47 senators meant business in their letter to the world's head-butcher.

As a follow-up on Wright's letter, Kerry and Harkin traveled to Nicaragua for a tete-a-tete with Ortega, Kerry identifying themselves as Vietnam vets “alarmed that the Reagan administration is repeating the mistakes we made in Vietnam.” He didn't mention that democrat President Johnson was the perpetrator of the alleged Vietnam mistakes or that he (Kerry) while still a Naval officer traveled to Paris around 1970 to “parley” with both North and South Vietnamese pooh-bahs in behalf of peace, trying to undercut President Nixon. The Vietnamese historians are probably still laughing about that.

This is what Kerry said to a Senate committee in 1971: “So what I am saying is that yes, there will be some recrimination but far, far less than the 200,000 a year who are murdered [in Vietnam] by the United States of America …”. Kerry’s comrades/nation had murdered [his word] 1.6 million Vietnamese 1964-71 (or almost 4 percent of the population for 1970), mostly civilians – women, children, and old men. He’s never offered a scintilla of proof for that wacky accusation so, naturally, he has the prevarication bona fides to be secretary of state for Obama. Kerry also said this about American GIs: “They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads.” In a Meet the Press interview, he said his language was sometimes “excessive.” EXCESSIVE! Egad!

Hayes noted that in 2007 House Speaker Pelosi went to Syria for a tete-a-tete with dictator Bashar Assad at the same time Bush 43 was seeking to isolate Assad account his support for Iraqis who were killing American GIs. The administration had asked her to forgo the trip but she went and seemed to be quite taken with Assad, announcing later that he was eager to be a constructive player and wanted peace with Israel. She was trying to undercut Bush and one wonders if Stempel thinks what she did was UNPRECEDENTED.

Even curiouser is the Obama-Kerry effort concerning Iran currently. Obama said this in his Iranian New Year speech: “Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khameini has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons [ending it], and President Rouhani has said that Iran would never develop a nuclear weapon.” At the same time, State Secretary Kerry is making some sort of deal with Iranian representatives that will stop them from doing what Obama said the ayatollah said they weren't doing, in the first place. Go figure. Someone's either lying or totally ignorant. Would that be “UNPRECEDENTED?” Stempel knows.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, March 20, 2015

Presbyterians & Perversion

The foolishness of political correctness, with its primary emphasis placed on diversity (whatever that actually means), has done considerable damage to the society, leading to loony-tunes social engineering in everything from the military to other government agencies/bureaus to sports to education to crime. It virtually nullifies both freedom of speech and just plain common sense.

For instance, murder is a crime. In 45 states it's just a crime or a (gasp) hate-crime but what difference does that make? The victim is dead either way, political correctness notwithstanding and with motive (if it can actually be determined) not a factor. The n-word can be used by blacks whether in jest or in rage but not by whites even in jest because for them it, ipso facto, connotes hate. This is not to say the n-word should ever be used; rather, to show how silly the emphasis on diversity is.

Diversity is a noun connoting the differences among people, so it's a divisive element that provokes antipathies and animosities. Yet, it has captured the society to the point that people are wary of saying or doing anything lest they be accused of racism, hate, discrimination, prejudice, superiority or anything anyone else cares to signify as politically incorrect. This flies in the face of nature because words like diversity don't change people. They are who/what they are.

Perhaps the saddest takeover of a culture by political correctness is occurring vis-a-vis religion. This has mainly to do with the so-called mainline denominations. The so-called evangelical groups and at least to some extent the Catholic Church have not yet succumbed, though the pressure of political-correctness advocates in their ranks is always operative.

When a religious group buys-in to PC it actually “buys-out” to the scriptures, liturgies, creeds, statements of faith and operations. PC becomes the new religion. The latest-mentioned denomination to bow out of the faith and into PC is the Presbyterian Church (USA), the largest Presbyterian group in the country, with 1.8 million members and some 10,000 congregations. PCUSA has just sanctioned same-sex marriage and given permission for same-sex weddings to be conducted in every congregation.

This is political-correctness carried to the nth degree since scripture as well as tradition, not to mention common sense, absolutely condemn this aberration. It represents the final casket-nail for the denomination, which has been drying on the vine for years anyway, as the “social gospel” has become a substitute for the biblical gospel, which, while emphasizing the doing of good works, condemns forthrightly and often the filthiness connected to homosexual behavior, as well as other unacceptable behaviors such as adultery, fornication, lying, murder and stealing.

In 2011, the PCUSA authorized ordination of homosexuals, so exiting the denomination during 2011-13 were 428 churches (nearly 5%) that do not worship PC. In 2013, the membership was still at 2.7 million, so one-third of the membership since then was lost primarily over the buildup to this same-sex decision concerning marriage. The handwriting had been on the wall for a number of years. In 1960, the membership stood at 4.1 million in a vibrant denomination. Since then, the church has lost 56% of its membership (33% in just the last two years) while the U.S. population has grown by 75%.

Gene Robinson, a practicing homosexual, was the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire 2003-13, though he had been married at one time and had two children. He and his “partner,” also known as the husband of their sordid “marriage” (civil union in 2008), are now “divorced,” as if they were ever actually married. The Episcopal Church (another “mainline” denomination) lost 41% of its membership 1960-2013. Churches that succumb to PC dry up on the vine as they become more like social clubs.

By contrast, the largest evangelical denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention (about 16 million members), gained in membership 1960-2013 by 65% though it lost about a million members between 2007 and 2013 and is now sort of plateaued. This says much about religion and the twenty-first century, to wit, that the nation is impacted less and less by the religious community as it becomes more attuned to political correctness instead of the scriptures.

The “main-liners” have just about completely surrendered to PC, while all denominations are held in much less respect today than probably ever before in this country, which was founded primarily by people holding faith in God and surrender to scriptures as key to both fulfillment spiritually and success materially and militarily. It's sad to watch evil win over rectitude, especially religiously, a deplorable commentary on the nation's mores.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Military Social Engineering a BUST

Given President Obama's latest military brainchild, to wit, that the time has come for women to join the crack Navy Seals teams, I was surprised at the segment on the CBS Sixty Minutes program on 15 March having to do with the initial 86-day training-period required of Marine lieutenants who aspire to be qualified as Infantry Lieutenants. CBS is a virtual propaganda arm of the president, as are both NBC and ABC, and would hardly be expected to air something as obviously adverse to the president's decision-making and/or his actual understanding of anything military other than how to get on and off Air Force One.

David Martin was the main CBS reporter in the segment and was allowed to see just some – actually very little – of what the aspirants have to endure in order to continue. In the group of Marine lieutenants beginning the ordeal were five women, one of whom allowed herself to be interviewed and filmed during part of the first day, which involves a grueling combination of exercises featuring everything from actual bare-knuckled fights among the aspirants themselves to an obstacle course to a grueling 16-mile hike carrying extremely heavy equipment. The first day is designed to make or break as far as effort is concerned, while others may fall out along the way. None of the five women made it past the first day.

By day 70, there were 59 Marines left out of the 85 that began the three months of torture designed to tax to the limit both the physical and the mental capacities of the aspirants, no quarter given to either gender. On this day, the aspirants began cliff-climbing and -descending in the Mojave Desert...temperature 110 degrees. The packs they carried weighed 115 lbs, and there were no paths or directions. It was every man for himself and it was not a one-day affair. The general in charge of the training mentioned that the packs in some situations weight up to 130 lbs.

Martin interviewed the candidate who was at the top of the class at that point, asking his weight. The young man, who stood 6-2, weighed 170 lbs. and had begun the course at a weight of 200 lbs. Losing 30 pounds in 70 days has much to say about what's involved in becoming an infantry officer, and he still had two weeks to go. The general explained that in fighting conditions the enlisted men had to have faith in their leader, thus the rigorous training and weeding out of less worthy men, not on the basis of desire or mentality but on the basis of leadership skills and strength honed by the most demanding training possible.

There is also an infantry course for enlisted personnel, though nowhere near as demanding as that of the officers. One-third of the women who try make it through this course. Martin interviewed one of the women who passed this course but her remarks were surprising. She said, even though she completed the training, that the infantry was not the place for women. Two of her reasons were that the weight that had to be carried was too heavy (women might have been allowed the rope-climb without packs, but I'm not certain) and that women's hips were not built for that strenuous requirement, translated as the idea of unisex being loony-tunes.

The Navy Seal training is even more comprehensive and demanding than that of the infantry officers not least because much of it is in and below water and involves precision parachuting over all kinds of seas or terrain. No mention was made of these things vis-a-vis the Marine Infantry Officer training, done on the land.

Field officers made known unmistakably their unease with the admittance of practicing homosexuals into the military when Obama instigated that foolishness and doubtless are as distressed with yet another effort to weaken the entire military establishment with respect to actual combat. The inevitable result of attempting to combine men and women militarily was proven years ago just in boot camps, namely, the gradual easing of rigorous training eventuating in a soft cadre of fighting men. This arrangement was stopped.

Social engineering usually destroys everything it touches. So far, the Marines are holding out and, hopefully, will continue to actually train men to break things and kill people until the ruinous Obama presidency is history.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Freedom of SPEECH at OU?

Fox News liberal analyst Juan Williams surprised me the other day when he said about the recent Oklahoma University SAE Frat scandal that OU president Boren had made a mistake in summarily throwing the fraternity off the campus and ordering the SAE residence vacated immediately, forcing all the students to get all their stuff out and find somewhere else to live. Apparently, Boren took that action over a nine-minute video showing SAE members singing a song he considered offensive to African Americans. The song was offensive and even included the n-word.

It was predictable from the start that legal action was in the offing, especially since the parents of fraternity members are usually well-heeled and often can wield a very big stick without having to walk softly. Williams was right, not because the video was not offensive but because the guys who sang the song had the right of freedom of speech just as the rappers, probably 99% black, have the right to call very publicly for the murder of white cops and the rape of any female available. And this is just some of their milder stuff.

Apparently, Boren made the sad mistake of acting impulsively without thinking things through and without enough actionable information to warrant doing anything. This is the same mistake Obama and Holder made with regard to the Ferguson matter last summer and the Trayvon Martin thing in Sanford, Florida, a while back. It's the same mistake Obama made in 2009 when without any information he said the police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, acted stupidly. He was dead wrong.

I saw on CNN on 13 March a press conference held by an attorney (represented Timothy McVeigh in 1995) who has been engaged by the local SAE organization at OU. He, of course, mentioned the obvious, that no sort of hearing was held to get the facts straight. For instance, the bus on which the video was made was only one of five in the entourage furnishing transportation connected to the event in question. Should Boren have made the effort to see just who and/or how many people were involved in the offensive behavior?

It was reported that two students had been expelled. The attorney indicated that both students withdrew before Boren got into the matter. It was reported that other actions might be taken by the university, meaning Boren, of course, who served as both governor of Oklahoma in the 70s and as a U.S. senator 1979-94. He should have known better than to act summarily and by now probably has discovered that certain hoops have to be negotiated before action as drastic as his can be undertaken.

Remember the Lacrosse Affair at Duke University in 2006. Three players were accused by an African American woman of rape at a party in which she was hired as a stripper...admittedly, nothing pretty about that. For some strange reason, the team's inordinately successful coach, Mike Pressler, was forced to resign even though he had just been given a new 3-year contract and graduated 100% of his players over 16 years.

The rest of the season was suspended, a large faculty-group was up in arms and the university assumed that the players were guilty. The president of Duke acted just as Boren did, though maybe he wouldn't have if the affair had concerned the basketball team. The players were innocent. The woman had plenty of DNA proof but not from the guys charged or, apparently, any other Duke lacrosse player. It would be fun just to go through the lawsuit material in that fiasco, something Boren might be facing.

Freedom of speech is just that—freedom to speak, or sing. Political correctness freaks scream for something chargeable and called “hate speech,” which is just what anyone says it is...in this case, Boren. If a black group or a rapper had sung something about whiteys in connection with the f-word, they might have been admonished to be nice, certainly not suspended or thrown off the campus. That's the way political correctness works, and Boren would probably agree...at this point.

The 9-second ditty was offensive but so were both Obama (Jimmy Kimmel show) and Holder in their agreement that the Ferguson protests (protesters) were justified. Protesters burned down part of Ferguson twice and two white police officers have been shot. For them and Obama and Holder that's freedom of speech—burn and shoot—and all their disclaimers contrariwise amount to naught.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Monday, March 09, 2015

Selma/Ferguson/Obama

The president's speech at Selma was inspiring and well delivered. He covered all the usual points of reference such as historical events, the Bible and the poet. He also mentioned the hot-button issues (a number of mentions of Ferguson) that have to do with race, just as he has throughout his six years in office, along with Attorney General Holder, who famously said recently that Americans are too cowardly to talk about race.

Americans are not too cowardly to talk about race...they are simply sick and tired of both talking about and hearing constantly about race. There's racism in the country. “Okay! We get that,” is the response of the average white guy, who knows that racism is here to stay no matter how much it's discussed. Since Selma and all the civil rights legislation of the 60s, it's been drummed into the minds of especially young blacks that they are the victims and will always be the victims of racism.

Race was the theme of Obama's autobiography of 1995, Dreams from My Father, and has remained his focus throughout his career, even though he, barely out of diapers at the time of Selma, is the prime example that racism does not drive the society, governmental or otherwise. The black community responded so negatively to all the legislation, with results being relatively inconsequential, that, absent admitting the obvious reason for so-called inequality, it screams racism.

Ferguson is the prime example. Whites make up only 29% of Ferguson's population, meaning that black voters outnumber whites far more than two-to-one, yet the mayor and five of six City Council members are white, as are 50 of the 53 policemen. This situation could be completely turned around in just ONE election cycle, with blacks taking over the town lock-stock-and-barrel and making whites so miserable that they would have to sell out and leave.

Nor does it make much sense to talk about inordinate black arrest numbers or mistreatment received. Sixty-seven percent of the population is black, so it would be expected that such an overpowering black-to-white ratio vis-a-vis lawbreaking would be expected. Until he gained further information about Brown's just committed theft, Officer Wilson merely asked Michael Brown to walk on the sidewalk instead of in the middle of a busy street.

He didn't pull a gun and threaten Brown and his friend. He merely asked them to do something both lawful and sensible, as well as reasonable concerning the drivers who had to swerve in order to miss hitting them, possible especially since Brown was high on marijuana and could conceivably wobble all over the place. Even Holder admitted that Wilson was guilty of no crime in the killing, and the grand jury deliberations, not the usual case, were published on the Internet or printed in their entirety to evince total transparency.

There's no question that prejudice—even hate—existed on the part of some Ferguson policemen. A couple have resigned. This is true in any police force in any town of any size throughout the nation and is not confined to just white officers. Holder didn't mention the number, if any, of black applicants for the police force or what, if any, disposition was made of those applications. Whose fault is it that a mere 6% of the police force is black while 67% of the population is black?

The president would have been well-served not to mention Ferguson, where no crime was committed except the crimes by blacks burning down much of the town TWICE, thus running people out of business TWICE. The report months-long in the making by Holder's DOJ excoriating the police did not include excoriating blacks who, bent on some strange notion of revenge instead of justice, burned their own. It would be interesting to know how many have been brought to justice.

In Obama's inner circle as well documented is the highest profile black crook, Al Sharpton, who has made an industry out of violent protests in order to eradicate racism. He's worth $5 million and owes the government $4 million in unpaid taxes but is a White House guest never bothered by Eric Holder or the IRS, which the administration has used to its political advantage in abusing white organizations. This is the message the president sends to young blacks...and it stinks.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Academia 2015

In Academia two-o-one-five
The most important thing to thrive and jive
Is basketball or football one-o-one,
The most sought-for degree – game to be won;
The “student” athlete is B-M-O-C,
For him attending class a novelty,
Since he flies to and fro across the land
For weeks in transit to some new grandstand.

The coach is now a multimillionaire,
The profs – with luck – afford some underwear,
The “student” athlete is okay to play
If he can spell his name the same each day;
Next to the coach, the A-D's deal is best,
His bonuses alone he can invest
In hedge-funds run by cronies all well-heeled...
The president envies and is...gasp...thrilled.

Assistant coaches struggle mightily
–Six-hundred-thou a puny salary–
But, after all, on some days there is rain
So on the practice-field must risk a sprain;
Assistant profs pay rent but get a lift
Moonlighting, flipping burgers on night-shift,
The renovated stadia can now
Accommodate more fat cats—sports cash-cow.

Yeah...education is the best deal found
When TV-folks spread billions all around,
The straight-A students work the fast-food store
While scholarships abound for any score
Above D-minus for one who runs fast
Or puts a quarterback in six-week cast –
Corruption is the campus-game throughout,
Take that right to the bank and never doubt.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, February 28, 2015

KERA's Curse – School-based Councils

In the largest pork-barrel legislation in the state's history at the time, the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) of 1991 was the worst assault imaginable on two generations vis-a-vis their primary and secondary education possibilities, although the gradual disintegration of nearly all the act has lessened the effect in more recent years. The legislature is now in the process, at least hopefully, of dissolving the worst aspect of KERA, the school-based council consisting of the principle, two parents and three teachers. These councils rendered the elected school-boards virtually powerless.

These councils have had a stranglehold on the process, completely controlling curriculum, textbooks, and personnel, even to the hiring of their own principles. The state Supreme Court made it plain years ago that superintendents cannot overrule these councils in something as important as the hiring of a principle, ergo, just about everything else as well. The process has meant that grade-school students enter middle schools without any collective background and that middle-schoolers enter high schools the same way. The predictable result was the downward spiral of achievement across the board. Standardization has its place.

Additional KERA requirements: (1) Grades 1-3 combined; (2) Some reasonable method of testing; (3) Monetary awards to teachers, administrators and schools for simply doing their jobs; (4) Youth Service Centers; (5) Family Resource Centers; (6) Regional Service Centers. Busing (social engineering) had been such a colossal failure by 1991 that it played no part, thankfully, in KERA.

So, what happened? (1) Teachers simply ignored this foolishness and it was legislated out eventually. Strangely, part of KERA required that no more than two grades be mixed in grades 4-6, when by that time the 1-3 lunacy would have condemned the 4-6 gang even worse. (2) The worst messes imaginable accrued to testing, with tens of thousands paid to various private groups that were probably less able to perform than the locals. Some tests were even lost in the mail, not that it mattered a whit. One could read or listen to the media accounts and just laugh at the ineptness and waste.

Number (3) comprised a fiasco of enormous proportions. Predictably, some schools and staff were never to be eligible just because of the demographics so teachers and administrators did the necessary—they cheated on scores or whatever else and took the money. A $34 million trust fund was set up to assure the rewards. Students were bribed, even excused from school for doing their very best on tests which they were told meant nothing to their grades. They were even taken to amusements parks. The students didn't care about doing well on the tests since there was no grade-reward. This was stopped not long after it was begun but it reflected the mindset of the legislator—throw money at every problem.

There may have been some sense to (4) if it included actual tutoring. The major effect of (5) was probably that it provided baby-sitting (pre- and post-school-hours) for parents, although there may have been some social benefits. (6) The eight regional service centers were discontinued in July 2003, with the reason given that there was not enough money to support them. That reason was laughable since they were supposed to save the worst schools, obviously no matter the cost.

The system was called “outcomes-based education” and the major emphasis, unbelievably, was on enhancing self-esteem. More unbelievably, there was even serious consideration given to there being no winners/losers in sports, lest someone be offended. Because so many teachers retired when it was passed, KERA was dubbed the Kentucky Education Retirement Act or something like that. Harlan Representative Roger Noe sort of shepherded the bill through the legislature, if memory serves, and, ironically, was not returned to the legislature in 1993 after having served since the late 70s.

In an in interview with Eric Moyen (University of Kentucky) in March 2004, Noe, a college professor then and now, seemed to have second thoughts about KERA, or at least some of it, and expressed doubt that the legislature should ever enact pedagogy. He said he thought more of the old traditional philosophy and mentioned John Dewey, claiming “those folks may have been what we needed to stay with.” He was right. The solons were in way over their heads...but the pork can guarantee a legislative career...except for Noe, apparently.

And so it goes
Jim Clark