Monday, February 28, 2011

Government & Labor Unions

The “Wisconsin Affair” centers around whether or not public-service employees should be availed of the collective bargaining process in the determining of their wages, perks, vacations, etc. The Wisconsin governor would have it that the unions should bargain on wages only, but wages have more to do with the cost of living than with the bargaining process. Actually then, at least in Wisconsin, it has to do with whether or not public-service employees should have the right to unionize.

Soon after President Reagan took office in the 1980s, the air-traffic-controllers called a strike and most workers walked off the job. Their leaders attempted to get them to return to work, most likely when they realized that the controllers had signed-on under the condition that they would not strike and that, whereas they’d probably been given some latitude before, such was not to be the case with Reagan, who simply said that if they didn’t return to work they had quit, not actually been fired.

Reagan made it stick, though the consensus seemed to be that the nation’s air-transportation system would grind to a halt or be damned by terrible accidents. Reagan demurred, insisting that new hires would take up the slack. Legally, he was correct and determined to see the law upheld, which was his sworn duty. The system returned to normal in a relatively short time and there were no serious accidents accruing to controller failure.

In another life, I was a member of a transportation union, a locomotive engineer. Should this put me on the side of the protesters in Wisconsin or on the side of the governor? The difference between me and the protesters is that I worked for a private company responsible to its shareholders, whereas the protesters work for state government. If I went on strike, other railroads took up the slack. If public-service workers strike, they shut down the state, including schools, law enforcement, fire protection, etc.

If all the railroaders in the nation go on strike the government simply puts a stop to it, just as Reagan did with the controllers, even though the railroaders work for private companies and the truckers could move stuff. In 1946 during a nationwide strike, President Truman (a labor-oriented democrat) appeared before Congress for permission to take-over the rails and run them using the army. At that point, the strike was settled.

The railroader or any other non-management worker has nothing but the union to stand between himself and his employer, which is mostly concerned with the bottom line and not the welfare of its workers, while in government employees are usually protected by everything from tenure to the merit systems to review boards. It’s extremely hard to fire a government worker without well-documented cause, and it’s hard even then. The media is filled almost daily with accounts of former government workers winning lawsuits against various governments…much of the time justifiably.

Wages and all perks in the private sector are negotiated by managements and labor unions. In government, such negotiations are conducted by the proper authorities and unions but are actually controlled by legislators who receive huge amounts of money from labor unions to do their bidding. In the private sector, unions have to understand that their companies must compete successfully with others in order to maintain jobs. In the government sector, there are deep pockets filled by the taxpayers and ripe for the picking. This is why employees in governments are now far ahead of their counterparts in the private sector with regard to both wages and benefits. Governments do not compete with anything for survival.

In Wisconsin, teaching salaries averaged $52,644 in 2009-10, according to the National Education Association, with most school districts offering benefits that range from health insurance to retirement plans. Median annual wages of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers nationwide ranged from $47,100 to $51,180 in May 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Labor. In Kentucky, a teacher can retire after 25 years, draw the life-long pension, get another job and work out another pension. Where else can that kind of boondoggle be found?

This is not a brief against unions, only the suggestion that government-employees should never work under collective-bargaining protocols. They should never have the power to shut down any part of government and they should never be overpaid vis-à-vis the private sector, no matter how much they contribute to lawmakers in either dollars or sweat-equity.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Civility...Political Correctness...NUTS!

The president has made much of civility lately, mostly in the area of speech. Even though he publicly sought “asses to kick” in the BP mess last summer and has affirmed that some policemen (in this case a white policeman, particularly) act stupidly, he has seen the need for other people, at least, to observe civility, defined as “civilized conduct.” Civilized is defined as “characterized by taste, refinement, or restraint.” Civility, then, is conduct characterized by taste, refinement, or restraint.

Speech, as affected by civility, would not involve remarks that are crude, racist, demeaning, vulgar, profane, etc., since such attributes, at least as judged by most folks, would not indicate civility, never mind the president’s description of the Pennsylvanians in 2008 as sort of gun-toting bible-thumpers on the lookout for illegal immigrants, and felt the need in Philadelphia to identify the “typical white person.” One waits with bated breath for him, in fairness to all, to identify the “typical black person” or the “typical person of any other color,” but so far he has demurred…civility, doncha know?

The president’s taste and refinement were exhibited recently during the Egyptian uprising when he phoned President Mubarak and simply told him to get out of Dodge and even sent a personal emissary over to tell him the same thing (not armed, of course, Wyatt Earp style). Said emissary went over, had the conversation, then told the world that Mubarak should stay the course, sort of fight it out at the OK Corral. The crowds won the fight and celebrated by raping the nearest typical white girl (CBS reporter), proving their taste and refinement to be beyond excellent since Prexy Bush had said he was with the people all the way.

Earlier, Obama was also with the Tunisian people all the way but probably didn’t phone up ben Ali, the Tunisian ruler, and tell him to take a hike…though there’s no way to know that. Ben Ali wound up in Saudi Arabia, where Obama did a spine-threatening 90-degree genuflection before the Saudi head honcho on his famous “apology tour” of 2009. Maybe he persuaded the Arabs to take in poor ben Ali, but in exhibiting restraint, civility-wise, the prez hasn’t requested, along with the “people,” that ben Ali be extradited back to the scene of his crimes…or has he? Who knows?

To his credit, Obama doesn’t seem to get into the Iranian affairs much, exhibiting the penultimate in civil grace and restraint, notwithstanding that he should be expected to be with the Iranian protesters all the way, especially since they die by the sword for just…well, protesting. Presumably, he hasn’t phoned Iranian President Ahmadinejad and advised him that the sands of Cancun are nice at this time of year and that there are plenty of mosques there…an exhibition of taste and refinement, sort of reaching out to maybe the “typical beheader.”

After all, Obama’s said he’s with the protesters of Wisconsin in their fight with their governor, though he hasn’t phoned the governor and suggested a new line of work that doesn’t involve capital gains taxes. During the campaign, he said he would march with the union folks but so far has probably had schedule conflicts…or maybe a game of HORSE with the guys. Anyway, who wants to march in Madison in the wintertime? Civility involves restraint, after all.

One would expect an uncouth, unrefined president to phone-up Qaddafi and tell him to either flee or the marines are coming to the Barbary Coast. In a dazzling display of civility, Obama has not meddled and suggested to that butcher that he avoid a “Little Big Horn,” where the “people,” with whom Obama identifies, are being slaughtered in the streets. Back in the day, President Reagan showed his civil restraint by bombing Qaddafi”s bedroom. Earlier in the 80s, Calypso Louie Farrakhan and his sidekick, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, had visited Qadaffi’s harems, so maybe that influenced Barack Hussein. Or, maybe it was the ghost of Jimmy Carter’s brother, Beer Barrel Billy, who visited Libya in the 70s and actually weaseled a loan from Qaddafi.

On the home front, Obama has shown his civility by completely reversing himself from campaign mode (called deceit by some un-civil folks, citing taste and refinement vis-à-vis lying) and reckoning that…yep…marriage is not just a “one-woman-one-man” thing after all, never mind the DOM Act of the 90s. Taste and refinement now condone two men or two women “getting it on” in strange ways, using their body parts for other than their intended uses for intake and exhaust, not to mention finagling governmental freebies. He claimed this to be his personal interpretation of the un-civil Constitution but has shied away since November from his post-inaugural comment regarding disagreements by saying, “We won.”

Some say the prez couldn’t pressure Qaddafi too much lest Americans be taken hostage but that didn’t seem to matter concerning Mubarak. This is what Qaddafi said in his famous (infamous) speech at the UN in 2009, “We are content and happy if Obama can stay forever as president of the United States.” That might apply to the present situation…or not but, thankfully, term limits are in place.

Note: President Obama finally got around to suggesting that Qaddafi, also, get out of Dodge. Neither he nor Mubarak has, of course, and probably won’t so look for fireworks, at least in Libya. The Muslim Brotherhood is advancing its cause in Egypt…so look out, world!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ahmadinejad, Mahdi & Dajjal

There’s been much in the media lately with regard to the 12th Imam or Mahdi, particularly since Iranian President Ahmadinejad has made it a focal point of his otherworldly responsibilities. The Mahdi is supposedly the reincarnation of a former descendent of Mohammad who was buried in a well or something as a child before having the opportunity to become the head Islamic honcho (12th imam) worldwide. There are a number of strains of Islam but the Sunnis and Shiites are the largest, though there are different strains even within them. They fight and kill each other as a matter of course, the internecine warfare having begun in 656 just 24 years after the death of Mohammad.

The Mahdi, according to at least Shiite eschatology (Ahmadinejad’s) will rule for an infinite time but only after there has been a cataclysmic and essentially worldwide war with much bloodshed. In this respect, the Mahdi is the Islamic counterpoint to Jesus Christ, who, according to the Holy Bible, will appear roughly toward the end of what is called the seven-year Great Tribulation, marked by 3.5 years apiece of relative peace and unmitigated chaos, respectively, during which the war known as the bloody Battle of Armageddon (probably in what is now Israel) will take place, at the end of which will begin a thousand-year rule of Christ.

There are other parallels vis-à-vis Islam and Christianity. According to the Shiite version, Mahdi will come only after the great war necessitating his return has been conducted by an evil character called the Dajjal, who will in turn be dispatched for his trouble by the Mahdi as he begins his infinite reign. According to the view held by most evangelical Christians, Armageddon will eventuate from the work of AntiChrist, a fearless and evil leader who will be dispatched by Jesus Christ leading an army of the heavenly host. Since Mohammed (early seventh century) co-opted scripture in creating the Koran, this parallel is easy to understand, actually just a form plagiarism.

Dajjal and AntiChrist have different origins. Dajjal will be a one-eyed man with a horrible scar on his forehead and his blind eye appearing as a swollen globule. He will arise more or less on his own, probably claim to be the Mahdi, raise his army and make war. AntiChrist will achieve notoriety in some way and will then be encouraged to form an army and wage war, presumably everyone else in the world against the Israelites. Some folks believe AntiChrist is already in existence and actually speculate about his identity.

Some Muslims believe the one-eyed business is merely symbolic of the decadent West as Dajjal (that one-eye on the back of a dollar bill), what with the virtual glorification of dancing, drunkenness, nudity, homosexuality, lewdness of every sort and their spread throughout the world. Some Christians may perceive of AntiChrist as a collection of nations (UN-sponsored, perhaps) that cooperate in fomenting Armageddon. Most folks in both groups are likely to believe in the personages, however, a more literal approach, and some Muslims believe them to be the same.

This explains why Ahmadinejad is so dangerous. He has already prepared the “throne” for the Mahdi, the Jamkaran mosque on the outskirts of Qom, a virtual Shiite holy city some 92 miles south of Tehran. What he desperately needs in order to bring on the Dajjal is, of course, a candidate for the job, and a setting in which the great conflagration can take place. He understands that the earliest Muslim operator (hopefully himself) to bring on the final destruction will get the prize, not of being Dajjal but of fulfilling his destiny as the enabler. One remembers that strange 2005 speech at the UN, in which he was somehow “transported” at its end, feeling, as he explained to a cleric, the hand of God (Allah) entrancing world leaders. He is, if anything, inordinately devout in his faith, sanguinary though it is.

Ironically, the only candidate currently might be Mullah Muhammad Omar, leader of the Taliban and former leader of Afghanistan, who is probably now hiding in the mountains on the Afghan-Pakistan border. Omar was a fearless leader in the war eventuating in the expulsion of Russia from Afghanistan in 1989, was wounded a number of times and in the process was blinded in one eye. He is said to also have a scar on his forehead. There are few pictures of the reclusive Omar, who never entered the capital of Kabul while he ruled the country from his home-base in Kandahar.

Omar has also been designated as the “Commander of the Faithful,” the first such in a thousand years, or the second caliph, or “Amirul Mu’mineen,” presumably the top Muslim in the world. Problem: Omar is a Sunni; therefore, probably not acceptable to Ahmadinejad, besides having no military base at the moment, instead, hiding out in caves.

The thing Ahmadinejad has going for him at present in the interest of fomenting the needed conflagration to bring on the Mahdi is the widespread Muslim chaos throughout the Middle East and Near-East North African countries. As the peoples rise up against their governments they kill each other but also vent their spleens upon the West and provide the atmosphere collectively conducive for attempting to wipe out Israel, the object of their greatest hate and the entity Ahmadinejad has sworn to “erase.” Such an action would plunge the entire world into war, Ahmadinejad’s greatest hope…thus the intro of the 12th imam at its bloody end. In the Mahdi’s reign, infidels (known as dhimmis – all non-Muslims) will pay the tax (be slaves) or die and all Jews will be annihilated.

Sound crazy? Of course! But Ahmadinejad and tens of millions of Muslims believe this, and they are probably far more fervent in their faith than most Christians are in theirs, at least in the West. He may believe in the symbolic Dajjal, in which case all he needs is the setting, now perhaps in place as much of his part of the world is aflame.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Unisex...An Unfair Advantage?

Just when one thinks the penultimate in public-school-education foolishness has been reached, such as distributing condoms to students while admitting they don’t always work and that abstinence is 100% effective but too old-fashioned even to consider, Iowa furnishes another example of why schools in this country are falling behind those in the rest of the world. Administrators appear to be idiots so why shouldn’t the products be…at least suspect?

Item: Girls are allowed to wrestle on what are essentially boys’ teams in Iowa. A potential champion (record of 35-4) recently defaulted on his way to an apparently excellent attempt at winning the crown in his weight division because he was being forced to wrestle a girl. He said it was a matter of conscience and faith, the former presumably because of the nature of things (men don’t purposefully hurt women or grab them in curious places, at least in public) and the latter because of his religious beliefs.

It’s doubtful that girls are allowed to play on high school football teams in Iowa for the obvious reason that they would be smashed. Strangely, the spectacle of a high school boy writhing with a high school girl (with their body parts massaging each other in strange places) on a mat in front of screaming thousands (wrestling is big in Iowa) seems so weird as to be unbelievable. Political correctness, the zany abstract that is damning America these days, is running amok. Aren’t there any girls’ wrestling teams in Iowa?

Unisex is the darling of the generations more or less pseudo-birthed by the “baby boomers” back in the hippy-dippy 60s. This concept is responsible for much if not most of the rape problem (real or imagined) in the military these days. Genders should not be mixed in situations devoid of privacy, especially in the ages-17-28 crowd. Anyone with walking-around-sense knows this but that sense is not available to the Congress or the current president…or in Iowa’s education establishment.

The young man’s decision is easy to understand and would likely be held by at least 99% of other young men in the same situation, although, of course, the girls presumably had to overcome other boys to get to the state finals. Is there something in the water in Iowa? The decision hardest to understand is that of the girl’s father, who apparently is willing to have his daughter mauled by a boy – or vice versa – in a public place. Or…what would any mother think of having her daughter appear in such a spectacle…or a son body-slam a girl?

Can one expect in this enlightened age that the genders in high school and college will soon be mixed in all sports? Probably not! The first girl to receive a concussion in football or a broken leg sliding into second or a beaning at the plate or a hard left-hook breaking a jaw in what has up to now been considered a guys’ game, with the understanding that girls have the same competitive opportunities (Title 9) in their own groups, may well decide the question. Without any doubt, girls will be far more vulnerable than the boys to injury.

Should boys be allowed to play on girls’ basketball or softball teams in Iowa, assuming there are such teams? Would that be any different from allowing girls to wrestle boys? Of course not! The drive to make everyone equal to everyone else in every area, including gender, is wearing thin for the simple reason that the incorrigible differences (inequalities) are unmistakably apparent to anyone with a grain of common sense.

Gender-integrated military boot camps have been tried at least twice for combat training, first in the 1970s (Carter administration) and later in the 1990s (Clinton administration). In both cases, they had to be discontinued because men and women are not usually equally capable of the physical and emotional grind necessary to preparation for breaking things and killing people. Simple!

Family values are supposed to be important in Iowa…but one wonders. Any father who would allow – yea, even encourage – his daughter to be slammed around by a boy as a matter of public entertainment or for any other reason is either sick or dumb…maybe both.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ky. Legislative Social Engineering

The Kentucky House of Representatives has been busy with measures dealing with social change. HB 58, passed 94-0, would mandate that a device be attached to a DUI offender’s vehicle that would disallow the car-engine to start if the driver failed a sobriety breath-test embedded in the device, assuming the driver to be still sober enough to find and activate the device.

Sound like a good idea? Of course…but only if the driver and not a less-drunk passenger (or a dog) activates the device! The DUI threshold for tolerance in Kentucky is .08. Question: At what setting would the breathalyzer on the device indicate as safe – .04, .02, or maybe .07? After all, a driver pulled over by an officer is not a DUI candidate if he checks in at .07. Logically and legally, then, the limit would be at .07, virtually the same as the feared DUI mark.

That’s not good enough, especially since people should never drive if they have imbibed any amount of alcohol. The difference between being legally drunk and not drunk (.01), besides being infinitely small, means nothing to a family whose loved one is killed by a driver checking in at .07, making him unsusceptible to a DUI murder/manslaughter charge that can be lodged against a driver checking in at .08.

The breathalyzer device would be susceptible to tampering that could render it totally useless. Would the offending driver be required to submit his car for testing once a month, once a week…or ever? Is this covered in the bill? Radar devices used by the police have to be tested and calibrated periodically, lest the results not stand up in Court, so one would assume the bill allows for this. If not, it’s useless.

A much better punishment for a DUI offense would be the impoundment of the car. The offender couldn’t tamper with this solution and, more importantly, he wouldn’t be on the road in it again if it were impounded…say, for six months and simply confiscated for a second offense. Such a law would have actual teeth. Only a few instances of its implementation would probably be needed to sharply curtail drunk-driving.

HB 35 has been passed, allowing anyone over 18 years of age to acquire a protective order against whomever he/she deems a threat. These orders are currently aimed at “domestic violence” victims, defined as married couples, shack-up couples and those who have a child together.

Those categories cover all the bases as a domestic matter but now any 18-year-old can apparently petition the court for protection, just naming the person to be protected against, with no domestic connection. Imagine the extra effort and expense required of law enforcement to monitor what could be an act of revenge by a high school senior girl against the guy who drops her for another “lovely.”

This is social engineering gone amok. Why set the age-limit at 18? Why not 14, an age when a possible victim is far more vulnerable, especially in the world of bullies? A person can vote at 18 and join the army, so maybe that’s the reason. Do minors lack equal rights?

HB 225 is out of both the Education and Appropriations/Revenue Committees and would raise the school-dropout-age from 16 to 18, at least eventually. This writer spent five years teaching mostly high-school math in another life, learning firsthand how dealing with the no-learners steals huge amounts of time from teaching both the slow-learners and the fast-learners.

Teachers shouldn’t be forced to face this problem. The students are the ones who suffer, denied the teacher’s time and thus the ultimate opportunity to excel or at least obtain a passing knowledge of any subject. The big news lately is that only 34% of high school grads in Kentucky are equipped for either college or careers – intolerable, especially considering the inordinately huge segment of state/local budgets dedicated to education.

Except in rare cases, a 17-year-old entering tenth instead of twelfth grade is too academically impaired to do more than take up space except, perhaps, in one area in which there is interest. It would be better to direct no-learner students into endeavors in which they can be successful but outside the school setting, in which they are uncomfortable or determined to be disruptive. Simply blaming teachers for lacking motivational skills is not the answer. Forcing them to handle uninterested, often disruptive and incorrigible non-learners exacerbates their problems.

None of these social-engineering efforts are worth much and may even be harmful, as in encouraging the boozer to periodically check his heap in the parking lot to keep his breathalyzer below the DUI threshold, thus encouraging drinking rather than discouraging it.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Military Rape

The latest news from the world of the military has to do with the problem of rape in the services. A lawsuit against the government and some officials has been instituted by 15 women and two men, current or former service-members who claim they were raped but that nothing significant was done about their complaints.

One of the complainants, Panayiota Bertzikis, is executive director of the Military Rape Crisis Center, which has a post-office address in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She claimed that while on a social hike (off duty) with a Coast Guard shipmate in 2006 her colleague raped her but when she reported it to her commanding officer the authorities did not take substantial steps to investigate the matter, instead, forcing her to live on the same floor with the accused rapist and that she had to tolerate being called “liar” and “whore” by others.

The rape might have occurred but it seems obvious enough that whatever happened was a “he said–she said” matter, and it’s a lead-pipe cinch there were no witnesses. Apparently she did not report the matter to the civil authorities (Burlington, Vt.), though rape is a crime in Vermont, not just in the Coast Guard if at all if off-duty and off-base. Her case is too insubstantial for validity, though it’s also a lead-pipe cinch that rapes do happen and that many if not most are not handled properly.

Most if not all the rapes – real, imagined, or simply accusatory – would not happen if the military had not been turned over to the social engineers years ago. For instance, the army tried gender-integrated boot camps in 1977 (Carter administration) but gave that up in 1982 (Reagan). The reason: The men, who would actually do the fighting in the future, were far too soft to be successful since the formerly stringent training-requirements had to be accommodated to what the women could stand. One can only wonder at the rape opportunities but the social engineers were too dumb to think of that…or didn’t care.

The Clinton administration (another democrat) brought the concept back in the 1990s, notwithstanding that the commanders were stuck again with the same problem, though the Marines had none of it. This is from the Heritage Foundation of 06 November 1997: “President Clinton's assistant secretary of the Navy, Barbara Pope, has averred that ‘We are in the process of weeding out the white male as the norm. We're about changing the culture.’” By his own admission, Clinton “loathed” the military, had no understanding of anything related to it and obviously didn’t care one way or another, rape notwithstanding.

Poor Pope was merely a nincompoop, just like the other social engineers. The system has been changed again so that combat troops in the army train in gender-segregated boot camps. Only two of the five army boot camps have coed elements, allowing for specialized training in such things as finance, personnel and maintenance.

Only the brain-power of an orangutan is required to see the problem of rape, as well as un-readiness, in the military. Mixing mostly older adolescents and early-20s in living/working arrangements essentially devoid of privacy is literally begging for trouble, whether concerning rape or anything else, not to mention with the actual preparedness needed to break things and kill people, the job of the soldier.

Though it’s politically incorrect to suggest it, there should be no mixture of the genders in the military. There should be no women on naval ships unless the entire crew is comprised of women…thus little chance for rape. The navy is preparing now to put women on submarines, a shocking development made more so by the fact that privacy on a sub is impossible. People practically live on top of each other, rape notwithstanding.

There should be no women in combat account the privacy problem but far more importantly because, as proven in the boot-camp experiments, they are and will not be battle-ready, except for the rare case occasionally. Soldiers will be more concerned with protecting their female colleagues than even themselves, not to mention concentrating on killing the enemy.

According to the Virginian Pilot of 16 October 2007, “Navy officials encourage women to plan pregnancies to coincide with shore duty. If women become pregnant during sea duty, they are transferred at 20 weeks' gestation, and weight and physical fitness requirements temporarily are eased. In addition, women receive 40 days of maternity leave after delivering an infant.” They’re also awarded a year of shore duty after giving birth, according to the article, making their total out-of-pocket time about 21 months.

According to Military Times of 17 October 2009, “Some shore commands in the Norfolk, Va., area report that up to 34 percent of their billets are filled by pregnant sailors, and commanders are complaining about a ‘lack of proper manning to conduct their mission,’ according to a Naval Inspector General Report.” This has nothing directly to do with rape but simply indicates the problem connected to feminizing the military…social engineering gone amok.

The services are damned by a Congress so hopelessly blockheaded that rape is almost the natural result of its sheer incompetence/insensitivity in allowing defense chiefs or presidents to make the military into a mixture of whorehouse and gigolo-world. God help us all.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Prez/Athletic-Director/Trustees Cabal

Amid great fanfare accruing to his determination to turn the University of Kentucky into “top-20” status –Harvard on I-75 – Dr. Lee Todd became its president some ten years ago. The method: paying the “brightest brains in the land” to join the faculty/administration, even directly violating both the Kentucky Constitution and Kentucky statutes by conferring marriage-benefits to members of same-sex unions, whether homosexual or heterosexual, to bring it off.

UK has some strong colleges/departments and some not so strong, like most similar institutions. Buildings have been erected and the physical plant perhaps improved. Overall, UK has probably progressed over the ten years though no one can say to what extent but certainly to nowhere near the “top-20” mark.

A strange thing didn’t happen on the way to “top-20” status because it was already in place, namely, that UK perseveres as a “jock school.” The Athletic Department sits astride the university like an anteater on the prowl, ready to snap up any dollar within tongue-distance or claw anything threatening its existence.

Virtually since the beginning of his tenure, Todd has been obsessed with the commercial sports angle (Athletic Department), a smoke-&-mirrors part of the university, with the president as CEO and the athletic director as top-gofer serving at the pleasure of the boss within contractual bounds, including every conceivable loophole covering the derrieres of both operators.

Last year, Todd announced his leaving this June, stranding Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart until 2016 with a salary of only $475,000 annually plus gobs of “incentives” – two cars, club memberships, performance bonuses (mostly for just breathing consistently), payoffs when teams merely qualify for tournaments or go to bowl games, and appearing in the media, the latter worth $100,000 annually when Barnhart was hired in 2002, though it took six months for a Todd/Barnhart contract to be completed.

Counting everything except media stuff, Barnhart was good for a minimum of $605,000 in 2010…not near enough, so lame-duck Todd raised his salary recently to $600,000 (26% increase) and extended his contract through 2019. Add the sugar-sticks and Barnhart should be looking at maybe $800,000 this year (not counting media-participation).

One of Barnhart’s more notable achievements was the hiring and firing two years later of a basketball coach who sued successfully and collected $3 million from Barnhart’s bailiwick. He was “just not the right fit,” as Barnhart put it, strangely claiming the coach never signed a contract. After two years? A $125,000 raise for this incompetence?

Barnhart’s windfall just about equals the boondoggle the board of trustees (also called crony-crew) awarded Todd last September, a sort of going away present – $825,138 added to his base salary of $354,000 for the last two years, a total suck-up of $1,533,138, about a 100% raise. The faculty, with no significant raises for years, could “just eat cake.” In impolite circles, this is called highway-robbery, concerning the taxpayers.

Then-president of Vanderbilt, Gordon Gee tired of his giant anteater in 2003 and simply excised the Athletics Department and the athletics-director post, placing sports-activity in more appropriate areas of the university. He saw that athletes were essentially separated from anything other than sports, the antithesis of the term “student-athlete.”

According to, Vanderbilt, also in the highly competitive Southeastern Conference, is the 43rd best university in the world. Gee meant for the school to maintain “top-20” status and for “student athlete” to mean something. Rather than folding athletically, as many thought it would, Vandy has prospered, not that it wins the conference or has the greatest records, but it has turned out some fine athletes since 2003 and owns a phenomenal athlete-graduation rate.

Todd had the perfect opportunity to point UK in the Vandy direction and had a great shot at it when he came since the “brightest in the land” would have given their eye-teeth to teach here. He didn’t do it. He and Barnhart have gotten well financially but the chance to drive toward “top-20” status has been squandered.

The campus-segregated basketball team has a dormitory of its own, with a glitzy new replacement on the way…gotta keep those guys FOCUSED, the latest buzz-word in sports-world. Academics are so distracting…but money talks.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, February 11, 2011

Revolution in D.C.

A late-night bulletin from Egyptian Television, complete with graphics:

For two weeks now, up to four- or five-hundred-thousand protesters have camped on the mall and in much smaller numbers in Lafayette Park, most of them peacefully surrounding the White House, but some have already sprayed graffiti on the various memorials and a few have broken some windows and burned cars along streets leading to the gathering places. Their leaders, nameless by design apparently but reported to be members of the fanatic Southern Baptist Convention party, have distributed signs bearing the messages OBAMA MUST GO and LEAVE NOW.

The momentum for the protest has been gathering steam for especially the last few weeks as proponents have tweeted, blogged, and used FaceBook to whip up enthusiasm and angst. Leaders have sought out members of the foreign press to enunciate their grievances, and reporters from entities such as al Jazeera have sought out any Egyptian-speakers or Arab-speakers in general in order to convey these complaints to the Middle East countries, whose leaders/populations have long hated the United States and longed for its demise.

The protesters have come prepared to stay – as some have said – until that well-known hot place freezes over or the president is forced to resign and leave the country, whichever comes first, though California would also be acceptable as a foreign destination. Their main complaint is that he not only has not kept his campaign promises but has also, obviously by design, attempted to take the nation into socialism and even regulate salt-amounts in potato chips. Their leaders have appealed to the military for its support in a rather transparent effort to effect a palace coup.

President Mubarak of Egypt, the most important of the Arab nations and despite its longstanding friendship with and support of the U.S., made it clear at the outset, both officially through himself and his prime minister, as well as through its largely government-controlled press that Obama should resign immediately and not bother with any constitutional requirements but simply let the people choose a new leader, hopefully with as little bloodshed as possible. However, the Egyptian position has changed on a daily basis, so no one knows exactly what it is, though Vice President Biden has reported that it’s just a three-letter word: GO.

What is commonly known as the mainstream media in the U.S. has virtually no presence in the protest-area, but some members of the Egyptian press have been roughed up by presumably the D.C. police and many have been detained for interrogation. The administration has attempted to blackout all TV newscasts of the event but has been unsuccessful. Protesters are still arriving in droves.

There are many groups of protesters with many different grievances. Some are incensed because Obama has not closed Guantanamo as he promised he would by January of 2010. Others are mad because instead of getting Americans out of Afghanistan by this summer the president has poured in more troops to fight the Taliban and al Qaeda until 2014.

Others are gravely disappointed that the president has lied inasmuch as he has added 30 million people and no doctors to healthcare protection while claiming to lower the deficit, an impossibility, not to mention the breakdown of the finest health effort in the world. Older people are incensed over the “death panels” incorporated in the legislation as well as because nearly 800 entities (translated big givers and cronies) have been exempted from the requirements of the law, not to mention that hip-replacement victims will have to wait up to two years for cheap plastic bones.

Still others are calling for his resignation because he has attempted to make good on a campaign promise everyone thought was a joke, namely that he would make electricity costs skyrocket, not least by disallowing the drilling for oil that would make the country oil-independent from nations that hate the U.S., and shutting down manufacturing via enormous cap-and-trade taxes, thus throwing millions out of work, with the actual unemployment rate at 22%, making it a third-world nation largely owned by the Chinese.

There’s great unrest among the protesters account Obama’s worldwide apologies for the very existence of this nation as well as his surrounding himself with financiers and czars, forming a sort of oligarchy, the public be damned. Some protesters, waving dirty socks, are calling for him to leave because he hasn’t withdrawn all troops from Iraq. However, the word has been all day that he’s about to step down and the people are jubilant and throwing parties in the WWII Memorial.

Barbed wire has been placed around the Capitol and the White House. Top military brass is at the Pentagon across the river, the rumor being that decisions are having to be made as to whether or not the military will side with the president, who has just said in a midnight speech he has no intention of leaving before 2012 and perhaps not then and that his position will not be dictated by foreign powers.

In the meantime, Mubarak has demanded that an orderly process of transfer of power and timeline be instituted tonight and has declared that the parties known as the SBC Convention, New Black Panthers and Weather Underground, inordinately beneficent groups, will not hijack the movement, never mind their history of extreme doctrine and/or violence.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Monday, February 07, 2011

L’Affaire Egyptioan

The “Egyptian Affaire” has ended, leaving everyone with a sigh of relief and a lot of folks with egg on their respective faces. Two-thirds of the mainstream media considered this event so important that it dispatched its Olympian “anchors,” Brian Williams (NBC) and Katie Couric (CBS), to the action in Cairo, never mind that the networks already had the ground crawling with their representatives/spin-meisters. Couric became too tweeter-happy and so mistakenly tweeted that Mubarak had resigned, forcing an apology. Mubarak hasn’t resigned to date and most likely will not any time soon, if at all before the September elections.

Egyptian Vice President Suleiman made it a point to mention his belief that the newsy folks had conspired with elements on the ground to cause the upheaval. This is easy to believe since the Americans treated it much like they did affairs vis-à-vis Katrina, blaming the U.S. government then for allowing that disaster to become a calamity, notwithstanding that later investigation proved the stark ineptitude of New Orleans Mayor Nagin and Louisiana Governor Blanco to be the actual and damning reason for much if not all the suffering.

There was no doubt that NBC, CBS, ABC and their affiliates sided with the protestors and against the government, notwithstanding the grief the whole thing caused. Fox’s Shepard Smith had his usual hysterics, too (as he did in the Katrina thing), not least because a couple of Fox news-people were manhandled, not surprising since Suleiman, whether right or wrong, must have concluded that the reporter/commentators (no such animal as reporters anymore) were attempting to turn the whole world against the Egyptian government, never realizing the enormity of the stakes involved. After a tumultuous week, the Friday demonstrations in Cairo were peaceful. The reason: The news people from all over the world, especially from the U.S., were invited out, often in very harsh ways.

Venezuela’s Chavez announced that if the Suez were to be closed oil would rise to $200 per barrel. With the army on his side, Mubarak, who has kept the Suez open, stays until the army is not on his side. He’s no beauty but at least Egypt is only 90% Sunni Muslim instead of 99%, as in Algeria, about the same as most other countries in that area. Mubarak and Yemen’s President Saleh (also a 30-year + guy) are the only U.S. allies in fighting the terrorists, so there’s a natural trade-off vis-à-vis the respective populaces. Anyhow, the U.S. Congress is routinely dominated (and corrupted) by operatives with well over 30 years of service, so what else is new?

It’s impolitic and politically incorrect to do so, but the Muslim countries can be compared to the countries of Latin America, which were colonized largely by nations in which Roman Catholicism was perhaps the main player. The Catholic missionaries discouraged individual study of the scriptures, preferring indoctrination to understanding. This was another way of discouraging meaningful education concerning everything else. South America, if anything, is blessed with more natural resources than North America, with Brazil alone almost as large as the lower 48. Look at the difference between North and South America not only economically but governmentally, with South American governments largely fashioned at the point of the gun. North America was colonized by people accustomed to thinking for themselves, spiritually and otherwise. Education was a main difference.

The Muslim countries have little industry other than tourism. The power rests almost entirely with the ayatollahs, imams, etc., who operate under the Koran and therefore bloodthirstily. Compare that to the Inquisition-operated Dark Ages and the Catholicism of the colonial era that played upon ignorance, to see some answers. Ignorance is actually glorified in Islam, as evidenced, for instance, in the “honor killings” of girls, with no similar treatment for men, not that either would be right. The literacy rate in Afghanistan is 28%; Yemen, 58.9%; Egypt, 72%. An Afghan army officer complained the other day that only one of ten Afghan men could read or drive a vehicle.

Granted that much of the topography of the Middle East is hostile to development, people with freedom from religious fanaticism and consequent ignorance can be expected to take care of themselves. Corruption by both the religionists and the government is a factor, such as in Egypt, but there’s enough corruption in Washington and state capitals to make that fact almost moot. We survive that corruption because we have the tools, especially mentally, although the bent toward federal authoritarianism in this country is scary. For instance, the “salt” laws are in the works, government telling people what they may eat. Or, there are 777 exemptions now from the Healthcare law just passed for entities such as labor unions and favored businesses, with no accountability to anyone. Presumably, Sunstein, the main regulator, makes these decisions, entirely political in nature…but, who knows?

The supreme irony lies in the fact that Obama is attempting to gather all power to the “Beltway,” especially to the White House, with its many czars accountable to no one but the president, while at the same time inveighing against Mubarak and caterwauling about the Egyptian masses unfairly treated by their central government.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Obama's Foot/Mouth Problem

It would be hard to find a more profound exercise in complete ineptitude than in the conduct of President Obama and State Secretary Clinton during the “Egyptian Affair.” Clinton had just acclaimed Egypt as stable and Veep Biden had just asserted that Mubarak was not considered a dictator. Then, when the protests started (perhaps somewhat because of those statements), complete with looting and the destruction of property, Obama came out swinging and made it plain that Mubarak had to get out immediately. He didn’t do this in private; rather, he did it purposefully facing the TV cameras for the whole world to see his public debasement of Mubarak, a royal back-stabbing to a friend and friendly nation.

That didn’t happen, of course, even though Obama sent an envoy to tell Mubarak the same thing in private. Ironically, as reported by the BBC on 05 February, the special envoy, Frank Wisner, a former ambassador in Egypt, has publicly declared that Mubarak should stay in place. This leaves Obama twisting in the wind unless he had some ulterior motive in the whole mess. Actually, he just doesn’t understand what a transition entails. It’s not like the one between a U.S. presidential election and inauguration.

In an interview with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour on 03 February, Egyptian Vice President Suleiman said this: "No, Egypt will not be anything like Tunisia. This is different. You know that our president is a fighter. He lived on this soil and he will die on this soil." Suleiman has also blamed the foreign press, presumably acting in concert with dissidents, for the disorder and is obviously not amused by Obama’s tactics or that of the U.S. press. Like Mubarak, he is personified by the military and the two men have long been together in the trenches, especially fighting off the murderous Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in Egypt.

Obama virtually boasted of his two conversations with Mubarak, one right after Mubarak had explained publicly that he was stepping down in September but would remain as president until then to keep order. Obviously and strangely on the side of the protesters, Obama never got it. Finally, in a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Harper, he said emphatically that Egyptians, not Americans or anyone else, must decide their fate – all this after he had publicly inserted not the Egyptians but himself into the equation, along with Clinton, who was merely pathetic. He then talked of Mubarak protecting his legacy and made it plain that he meant for Mubarak to get out of the way. Amazing!

Strangely a couple years ago when Ahmadinejad and the ayatollah cold-bloodedly murdered protesters, who needed help from any direction in an entirely similar incident in Iran, Obama had little or nothing to say, even though Iran is a sworn enemy of this country. Egypt, by contrast, has been the only Arabic/Muslim friend to this country for decades but Obama tried his best not to referee the upheaval, electing instead to call the game, so naïve or obviously disingenuous or both that he lost all credibility everywhere.

More recently, Clinton put out the word about an assassination-attempt on Suleiman, with a couple of guards killed, but apparently had made little or no effort to see if it actually happened, thus adding to the turmoil. It appears now that it didn’t happen, but who knows? Why didn’t she check?

In January, 36,000 jobs were added in this country while 90,000 people entered the work force. Result: The administration lowered the unemployment rate to 9% – cooking the books, obviously – and expected the public to believe that. It merely dropped the folks who had given up looking for work, pushing the actual unemployment rate beyond 20% certainly and most likely much higher. Imagine those hundreds of thousands of people out of work jamming the mall outside the White House in protest. After all, Obama has been leading the country steadily into bankruptcy, meaning that they don’t have a prayer. They would have a cause, certainly, the same as the folks in Egypt, who are suffering from low wages and high food prices, as well as unemployment, a global problem.

As the protesters demonstrated and got out of hand with looting and violence, Obama, knowing the D.C. police couldn’t or wouldn’t handle the problem, thus protecting him, his family and the government, would naturally call out the army, though that would be unconstitutional. This is precisely what happened in Egypt but would Obama not think that what’s good for Egypt would be good when his own backside needs protecting, not to mention the nation itself and law and order.

That may be extreme, but it serves to remark the inability of the administration to do other than go lurching off in all directions without any understanding of the need for just shutting-up for a while and letting the Egyptians get a handle on the problem. Obama appears as a poodle snapping at the legs of a huge but tolerant Pit Bull, a whippersnapper attempting to order around an 83-year-old 30-year president, who has to handle in a day more serious problems than Obama faces in a week…and most likely without a teleprompter.

The latest: Obama is now castigating the intelligence agencies for not informing him in advance of everything that was about to happen so he just maybe wouldn’t shoot-off his mouth before he thinks, as if anyone can figure what will happen from one day to the next in Arab country. But it shifts the blame, and isn’t that the name of the game in Washington these days?

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Rahm, Ayers & the Rev.

It's mid-afternoon in a room over the Anything Goes Bar on a busy street in South Chicago. In attendance are university professors William Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, former White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel, and the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, hereinafter referenced as A, D, E, and W, respectively, if not respectfully.

~E: We all know why we’re here so…
~W: Actually I’m not sure, Rahm, unless you’ve got somethin’ else I can use to damn America. Our friend Barry listened to me damn America for 20 years…so…I suspect he’s all for gettin’ it done. Reckon he might suggest Kandahar as the current Hiroshima…or maybe poppin’ HIV on all the Shiites, like Reagan and Bush’s old man did to black folk?
~E: Of course not, Rev! He just sent about 30,000 of our guys over there last year to break things and kill people. You outta your *&^%$*^ gourd? Of course, he’s put out a reward for the guy who fires his %#$@*^^ gun the least times and kills the fewest people.
~D: Maybe he has an assassination in mind (giggles) or somebody to waste…somebody like that mean Mitch McConnell…maybe a poison-tipped umbrella to the thigh…oh…hahahahaha…
~A: Shut up, Berhardine! Cut her some slack, guys. She dreamed of her new hero, Jared Loughner, again last night and threw darts at the dog this morning…you know…that PTSD thing…had to call off her classes at the university today…couldn’t take a chance on her threatening the dean again.
~E: Actually, I’m checking to see if that organization is still in place for all ^%^**(%# political emergencies…
~W: Oh, you mean the Universalism to Negate Demeaning of Erudite Realists, Theologians and Honest Educators Basic to the United States. It’s called by its acronym thingy on the South Side…you know…Under the Bus! I’m the head honcho right now and Jesse and Daschle are helpin’ me with fund-raisin’ for the convention in Cancun this month.
~A: Cancun! You outta your mind, Jeremiah? That’s not even in the *&^%$# U-S-of-A!
~W: Yeah…but you won’t see no snow there in February…hoo hah…
~D: Maybe you’ll run into some of the drug-runners and get some action…better take a few grenades and some AK-47s…blood flying everywhere, better than blowing up a measly Brinks truck.
~E: Stuff it, Bernadine. I’ve called this little meeting for two #@%$^%* reasons. Maybe I should say two elections.
~A: Let me guess, Rahm…Chicago mayor and U.S. president 2012.
~D: Whoopee! Bring back the Untouchables and rearm ACORN and Van Jones’ outfit, STORM. Revolutionize everything in sight. Death to the infidels!
~A: Shut up Bernardine! This is not 1968…those glorious days are gone forever (starts singing Blowin’ In the Wind, We Shall Overcome).
~E: A-r-g-g-h-h-a-a-R-R-G-G-H-H!!! Shut the *&^%**^% up, Bill. You’re way off key anyway. And, Bernardine, this is not prayer time for the Muslims, even if Bill does sound like one of those muezzins screaming out of one of those towers. (turns to Ayers) You’re right, Bill. Got a twofer in the works.
~W: Why do I smell somethin’ like the West Wing movin’ on over to Chicago now? You gonna run for mayor and run the Chicago White House Campaign, too, Rahm? Barry’s settin’ up campaign headquarters where everybody votes twice and the dead maybe three times…hoo hah…I love it. By the way, Rahm, did you actually send ol’ Howard Dean a dead fish in the mail back when he got the DNC job, threw you under the bus, and won big in 2008?
~E: Never mind, Jeremiah. I’m not the ^%&*%# typical white person. I’m more like you…hahahaha…I don’t have scruples…
~W: He don’t have conscience and dem dat has ’em is soon forgotten (duet with Rahm – Ol’ Man River tune).
~A: Sheesh…is this the South Side loony bin?
~D: (looking in handbag): I’m bound to have something to put them out of their misery (pulls out letter-opener and lunges toward Wright).
~A: That does it, Bernardine! You’d better leave and don’t run over anyone on some sidewalk on the way home. (D leaves)
~E: Sorry about that, Bill…got carried away. It’s a form of that ^*%$# PTSD…still sweating out that #^%&*@# judge that said I haven’t lived here since 2009 and can’t be elected to rule Chicago with an iron fist. The trauma’s about got me. Anyway, now that I know the Under The Bus is still in business, we can make plans for my mayor-run and Barry’s gig in 2012.
~W: Word to the wise there, Rahm, namely, don’t put no horse’s head in the judge’s bed…not even a dead fish in the mail. You may not be Italian but you got the “godfather mentality,” though I don’t actually believe you bit off your little finger.
~A: So what’s the strategy, Rahm? You got the machine in your corner here, bought and paid for when Barry appointed the mayor’s brother to your old job. You got the union guys, with old Andy Stern the emeritus and probably still head of the SEIU having unlimited access to the White House, as you know. The little old ladies with blue hair think you’re a hunk and money’s no problem, with George Soros worth a few million in the extreme case that some votes have to be bought.
~E: Well, I’m still on the ballot but the thing is still in the #%$&^*^ courts so…
~A: Little arm-twisting, huh, Rahm? Maybe even worse, huh, like a threat to the judge’s family…a sort of contract. The Weather Underground has a special manual on that stuff. Just say the word and…
~W: Whoa! I didn’t sign up for no part o’ that, Bill. You and Bernardine mighta got away with that stuff back in the 60s but that ain’t now. The feds are probably watchin’ us right now, meanin’ ME, and I got a bunch o’ sermons lined up, with all those LOVE offerings. That may be Chicago politics but look what ol’ Fitzgerald did to Blago. Hunh-uh…none o’ that stuff. I’m outta here…and I never was here…and I won’t be here again. (leaves)
~A: That old man just has no guts, does he, Rahm? Rahm? Rahm? Rahm?

And so it goes.
Jim Clark