Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Debate" as Circus

Perhaps in order to make use of free advertising as much as for any other reason, the republican candidates have allowed themselves to be manipulated into some sort of circus act, such as the “dancing bears,” under the euphemism “debates.” None of the campaign “debates” are actual “debates” but merely sideshows sated with sound-bites. A much better venue would be discussion-oriented sit-down sessions in which the candidates introduce their own subjects and then take the time to discuss their varying approaches to the nation’s problems.

Such an approach would be untenable now since there are too many candidates to allow for it; however, it could be pulled-off in groups of two or three and certainly should be the protocol for the actual “debates” once the field is winnowed down to two or three. This should also be the approach taken for the campaigns next year leading up to the election once the parties choose their respective candidates. Watching a two- or three-hour session between Obama and Gingrich or Romney could be enlightening rather than being bored to tears by an argumentative gaggle of moderators managing bells, whistles and lights and playing the gotcha game, with the candidates acting like schoolchildren.

Such sessions could be devoted to specific topics or, since one area of government impacts every other area, comprehensive discussions over an adequate period of time. I’ve watched little of the debates but enough to recognize that the self-appointed “stars” of the shows are the moderators, who seem far more interested in arguing their views rather than listening to those of the “debaters.” Their questions are longer than the answers – or at least seem that way – leaving the impression that they figure neither the candidate nor the public is up to speed and has to be educated before an answer can be understood. The networks, both traditional and cable, have their own agendas and seem anxious to advance them.

The media types classify themselves as journalists but often they are entertainers as well, such as when they do their “shows” on radio or TV. Scott Pelley of CBS, for instance, does “straight news” but probably considers himself more of a commentator. In the early days of the nightly news programs – the days of Huntley/Brinkley, for instance – fifteen minutes was all that was needed to report the world news of the day. Later, the time was increased to a half-hour (about 22 minutes of actual news), with longer programs such as CBS’s Sixty Minutes devoted to more comprehensive treatments of news events. In every case, the bias of the media entity could be engaged in an attempt to make the public think one way or another.

But the mother-lode of entertainment resides in the “debates.” News-people can take excerpts from these acts and use them in their supposed news programs. In this way, they can ridicule the candidates, taking nearly everything out of context if, indeed, there ever actually is a context. For instance, Rick Perry was ridiculed on one of the democrat-oriented networks the other day for noting the voting age as twenty-one, counter to Amendment XXVI of 1971. It was a simple mistake – the age had been 21 for scores of years until changed to 18 – but the gaffe was too good to let go. The same was true when he failed to remember one of the three cabinet departments he would eliminate if elected.

President Obama once indicated that there are 57 states in the Union. Perry would have done well to mention that. The president also referred to a military medical corpsman as a “corpse-man,” but Perry didn’t mention that. Brian Williams asked Perry about his sleep habits, implying that the governor surely could not sleep peacefully at night in light of the executions that take place in Texas prisons. Perry could have harpooned him for such a stupid and arrogant exhibition of sophomoric banality, but he didn’t. Herman Cain was ridiculed unmercifully for seeming not to know about Libya and the seven-month slaughter that Obama introduced to that benighted nation without so much as a fare-thee-well from the Congress.

The festive atmosphere attending the “debates” also makes them little more than circuses, with the attendees booing or applauding as the spirit moved them. These confrontations should never take place in front of an audience, since the principals could be expected to do more posturing for the cameras and mikes than disseminating information. In fact, they would be better done via radio, when complete attention could be given to what they say and not how they comport themselves before the cameras. One has only to remember that famous Nixon/Kennedy debate of 1960 to know this.

The stakes are too high to allow the frivolousness that accompanies the “debates.” Nor are the “debates” fair since the moderators give time to the candidates not on an equity basis but on their whims, those of the moderators, that is. Depending upon whom they want to ridicule the most or whom they want to help the most, they can configure these clambakes any way they please. By their willingness to be a part of these mismanaged affairs, the candidates become willing tools of people more interested in whatever turns them on than on speaking to the public good.

As the field is winnowed, the candidates left standing should insist to the networks that they intend to configure the “debates” in such a way that actual debating will take place, first among themselves, then with respect to the general election. To do otherwise is to allow themselves to be duped by the well-rehearsed moderator smoothies, who have complete control of what happens, the “stars,” in other words, and the establishments they represent. If the networks don’t like it, they can lump it, but that’s not likely to happen. The commercials are too important for that. Additionally, the “debates,” in the proper configuration, should be conducted only on the public television stations, with moderators (and commercials) a thing of the past as the candidates take over the management involving very high stakes.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Monday, November 28, 2011

Occupiers...Ignorant or What?

Ironically, the Occupy Wall Street activity of the last few months eventuated from a call to action by something called Adbusters Magazine, a Toronto publication. A column by the magazine’s editor in chief and senior editor, Kalle Lasn and Micah White, respectively, appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader of 27 November. Presumably, there’s no Wall Street in Toronto, so the hassle in the park in New York City and in areas of cities throughout the U.S. was precipitated in Canada but carried out in this country.

Lasn and White wrote this: “For two heady months, the amorphous encampment in Lower Manhattan’s Zucotti Park had been the symbolic heart of Occupy Wall Street, the birthplace of the greatest social justice movement to emerge in the United States since the Civil Rights era.” They also referred to Zucotti Park as the movement’s “spiritual home,” whatever that means.

The park occupiers were expelled by New York’s finest at the behest of NYC Mayor Bloomberg after they had turned the privately owned park into a pig sty, as had also been the case in other “encampments” throughout the country, marked by everything from rape to doping to living in squalor. This doesn’t mean that there were no good folks involved, only that the good folks, if they ever had a cause, soon lost it to the usual anarchists and freeloaders who are always on the make toward getting something for nothing.

The occupiers moved on Wall Street to get “social justice.” Social justice is what anyone says it is, ergo, social justice is without definition. In other words, social justice was the only thing amorphous about the whole shooting match, not the encampment, which had a definite form, both the site and the collection of warm bodies, which could be identified by the naked eye as hard, shaped objects, making them counter to the definition of amorphous, which is “having no definite form,” according to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate, 11th Edition.

The definition of justice is “the administration of law.” The definition of social is “of or relating to human society.” So…if there is a definition of social justice, it might be “the governing of society,” probably the last thing in which the occupiers had an interest, at least with respect to the police…or, maybe the occupiers’ position was that government should completely run everyone’s life, a definition of socialism, which seems to be the preference of the president, also, though he’s been wise enough to stay out of the occupier mess, not least because he’s entrenched in the “Wall Street Evil” himself.

Lasn and White compared – and quite favorably – their movement with the so-called “Arab Spring” dustups in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia earlier this year and carried off by young people. They wondered why Obama, who has spoken glowingly of the “Arab Spring,” didn’t acknowledge them and claimed their people to largely be the ones who elected him.

Perhaps they didn’t understand that Obama had fashioned the Libyan debacle, causing the killing of thousands of innocent people in the bombardments – his version of inculcating the “Arab Spring” that lasted for seven months, notwithstanding his claim that the butchering would be over in “days, not months.” His version of the “Arab Spring” was exponentially bloodier than Egypt’s in Tahrir Square. He should be the occupiers’ version of Genghis Khan, who created the largest empire in the world, at least until the British came along. His commands to “charge” in battle were conveyed by the banging of huge drums…reminiscent, of course, of Zucotti Park.

The occupiers are out to get the top one percent and make them pay their fair share of taxes. This is from the Tax Foundation on 29 July 2009: “Indeed, the IRS data shows that in 2007—the most recent data available—the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.4 percent of the total income taxes collected by the federal government. This is the highest percentage in modern history. … To put this in perspective, the top 1 percent is comprised of just 1.4 million taxpayers and they pay a larger share of the income tax burden now than the bottom 134 million taxpayers combined.” Nothing has changed materially since 2009.

What is the “fair share?” Presently, the top one percent pays the highest tax-rate of any group into the federal coffers – 35%. The lowest rate is 10%, but about 47% of households pay no taxes, so hardly more than half the population pays all the taxes. This means that nearly half the population has the power in the voting booth to tell the other half how its money will be confiscated and spent. When will the tipping-point come?

In 1945, the highest tax rate was 94% as World War II ended and most other brackets involved high percentages as well. The top rate stayed in the 90s until 1964, when it was lowered to 77%. All Citizens were paying off the unavoidable war costs (the costs also connected to the Korean War 1950-53) as well as financing the Marshall Plan that helped salvage Europe. In 1964, the lowest rate was at 16% but the government got its house in order. Nothing today is remotely comparable to these events. Since then and especially concerning the housing bubble that caused the current recession, the government has gotten its house out of order and needs to implement drastic austerity, not new giveaways or tax hikes.

Both democrats and republicans have advanced the notion that the government is the “sugar daddy” and entity of first resort in the matter of living the good life. Lasn and White referenced the civil rights enactments, apparently as great examples of “social justice.” What they didn’t mention was the fact that the entitlements have been the direct cause of the disintegration of the African-American family in creating a permanent underclass perpetuated generationally and with enormous costs paid by all taxpayers. If they think this outcome represented “social justice,” they have no sense of history.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Macho Entertainer or Humble Grunt?

The Thanksgiving weekend, on the basis of sheer volume of games alone, furnishes the penultimate look at the crudity and coarseness that virtually define the sport of football, especially on the professional level. The game has always been marked by a certain viciousness, but the current product has changed the way the viciousness is administered, the main difference between now and other years being with the intent to hurt the opposing player rather than simply neutralize his effectiveness. The use of steroids and other “performance enhancing” drugs has contributed to the mayhem as multitudes of players, “bulking up,” have sacrificed long-term health for short-term success and dollars.

The game has also changed drastically with regard to on-field behavior. Taunting the opposition and committing personal fouls are commonplace. Celebrating, especially in calling attention to oneself, has become irksome, especially since the notion of sportsmanship has been all but laughed to scorn. The ridiculous body contortions such as the beating of one’s chest (like the apes in the jungle) or the banging of bodies against those of teammates or the silly skipping or jumping into the stands to be congratulated by the spectators cheapens the sport, though not the athletes, who rake in millions. According to Bloomberg Business Week of 27 January 2011, the average yearly NFL player-salary is $1.9 million, with the average career lasting 3.5 years. A multitude of careers last much longer, increasing the salaries exponentially so that the player who uses good judgment can retire at a young age in exceedingly comfortable circumstances.

The National Football League teams entertain millions in the stands and tens of millions couch potatoes watching the games on TV. It’s a big business largely built on sensationalism (bone-breaking and concussions, for instance, or race-car wrecks) and supposedly separates the men from the boys, as claim other pro leagues. The real separation occurs elsewhere:

Macho Entertainer or Humble Grunt

On touchdown turf he struts his stuff,
As if to say, “I am enough
For folks to see an earthly god
On what I turn to sacred sod.”

He flashes tattoos, arm-long length,
Slam-dunks to show his super strength
And does a dance around his foe
To taunt and prove him just too slow.

He knocks it way beyond the fence,
He is the best – just common sense –
He pumps his arm while rounding third
And gives the pitcher…yeah…the bird.

He skates his man into the glass
And breaks his skull – ain’t that a gas –
And waves his stick to celebrate
The blood and gore…the fans elate.

He gently bumps the fender…so…
One-hundred-eighty miles to go –
Just one more fiery spinout bright,
One less to pass to racing’s height.

He does a header to the sphere
And then another at an ear
And trips the goalee, breaks his knee,
Waves to the crowd, “Just look at me!”

They put their millions in the bank,
With just themselves alone to thank
For derring-do to entertain…
Just playing games…and being vain.

And meanwhile, bivouacked in the sand
Are citizens whose noble stand
Means life or death throughout the world,
Where freedom’s flags are tightly furled.

They do not strut or taunt or tease
Or act like asses in wealth’s ease,
They grimly act when duty calls,
Face bullets, never soccer balls.

Or, they are camped in mountains steep
And know no ease…and poorly sleep…
And fight each minute of each day,
With no timeouts to get the play.

They do not strut or tease or taunt
Or flex their biceps thus to flaunt
How great they are, how great their wealth –
Oh no…their lives depend on stealth.

On touchdown turf he struts his stuff
And in his mind he is enough;
The G-I has it rough and tough,
And only he is quite enough.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Penn State...Just Normal?

The Penn State affair regarding the alleged pedophilia of a former football offensive coordinator has stirred the nation into spasms of discomfiture, just as the same subject has done with respect to the Catholic Church and its predatory priests. This indicates that there’s yet a modicum of decency in this country and an aversion to sexual perversions, at least regarding this particular manifestation.

This, however, presents a question about how deep into decency the public is. Many polls indicate – and in some states legislation has confirmed – that a large segment of the society approves of marriage between two men or two women. Indeed, President Obama, in a flip-flop from 2008 that could only accrue to inordinate campaign opportunism concerning the office, has indicated that he approves of two men walking the aisle in sacred ceremony. This is an actual placing of his imprimatur on homosexual behavior that is intolerably gross and filthy at best, and criminal at worst.

Those who argue the reverse may be quick to say that there’s a difference between consenting adults and put-upon children. Not so fast. The sanctioning of homosexual marriage is also the sanctioning of homosexual adoptions or the birthing of children by surrogates to be raised in homosexual households. This exposes them to weird sexual practices never meant by either nature or God, as manifested by the structure of the human body and mind, to say nothing of the scriptures, though the former alone (for the benefit of the atheists) is proof positive that homosexual behavior is unnatural and unseemly.

Being reared in such a household is bad for reasons of physical as well as mental health. An eminent physician, Dr. James Holsinger, was nominated by Bush 43 to be surgeon general a few years ago. He was not only deep-sixed by then-senator Ted Kennedy, before whose committee he had to appear (I watched the hearing), but also suffered condescension from the senator that was so hypocritical as to be laughable.

Dr. Holsinger had prepared a paper some time before that outlined the physical injuries to be experienced by homosexuals during what they, as well as the politically correct, call sexual intercourse of one kind or another. Actually, it was a clinical stating of the obvious, such as what happens during anal or oral sex-play. The senator considered that carefully researched and prepared paper a horrendous example of political un-correctness but, of course, had never demonstrated his disdain of his own church (Roman Catholic) for the same reason by just leaving it.

The point of the paper was, simply, that homosexual behavior is physically harmful. This doesn’t even take into account the proclivity for HIVAids accruing to homosexuals, who are probably known as much for their “promiscuity” as for anything else. They engage in orgies without discrimination, disregarding the effect their behavior might have on others. Apparently, the senator, whose private life read like an open sewer, was not impressed with merely observing the obvious.

One of the most sickening examples of moral turpitude occurred during the presidential campaign in 2008 and was foisted off on the public by the democrats in their primary-campaigns. It was that famous (or infamous) “debate” conducted by a LGBT (or something like that) group in which all but two of the many candidates, Biden and Dodd, participated. They had the good sense not to place their public stamp of approval on perversion, no matter how they felt in private. I watched some of it and was sickened by the fawning of folks like Hillary Clinton, transparently pandering to practitioners of perversion and thus awarding unnatural behavior their stamp of approval.

This “debate” was indicative of the acceptance by much of the public – in the name of recognizing diversity as god – of being fair to all. It’s reflected in the public schools, in which sexual activity of any kind by students is practically sanctioned as absolutely unavoidable to the point of being virtually encouraged, the philosophy being ascendant that “normal” people can’t and shouldn’t try to withstand the primitive urges one might observe in a zoo or stockyard. Their bottom line, after all, is simply that people are just animals under another name.

So the president thinks men should marry men if the urge so drives them. What, then, does he think about pedophilia between “consenting” participants, or what does he think about marriages among those who don’t like the restraint of its existing just for “pairs?” Why not marriages for groups? What does he think about incest, which, after all, is just a privacy matter – right?

Yes…the Penn State affair furnishes a venue for a thorough self-examination in this country with regard to what’s acceptable in an orderly society. Unfortunately, the nation is tilting toward perversion as normal, a certain predictor of a society rotting from the inside, not being overtaken by an outside force. After all, in changing his position, doesn’t the president feel that the nation is now more prurient-oriented than it was in 2008? He’s campaigning again, so it’s fair to assume that premise.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Penn State Affair

The recent scandal at Penn State regarding its former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is not in the league with the priest-pedophile peccadilloes and cover-ups that have virtually defined the Catholic Church for a decade or so, but it’s just as bad in terms of the harm done to individuals. The effort made by the administration of Penn State, i.e., the officials who should have taken immediate and drastic action, reflects that of the Church in keeping everything quiet and just moving the perpetrators from one assignment to another. This represented criminal activity by both the Church- and Penn State-officials.

The Grand Jury report concerning this matter outlines the harm done by Sandusky to a number of victims, all minors and victims of pedophilia/child molestation at his hands and graphically described in the report. There’s no way to know how many other children and teenagers he violated. Athletic director Tim Curley and university vice president Gary Schultz, who was in charge of university police, were indicted on charges of perjury in their grand jury testimony and for failure to report the incident to legal authorities. Both men stepped down after being indicted but the school’s trustees also fired Penn State president Graham Spanier and football coach Joe Paterno.

Strangely and while there have been firings, the eyewitness to the incident leading to the Grand Jury report, Mike McQueary, also an assistant coach, has only been placed on administrative leave. By his own account, he made no effort to stop the obscene machinations used by Sandusky on the boy, aged 10 or 11, in a shower facility. Instead, he left the scene and didn’t report the incident until the next day when he approached not the men responsible for the conduct of the university or the university police or the city police but the football coach, Joe Paterno, who reported the incident to Curley the next day. McQueary later changed his story but it has not been confirmed or corroborated by the officials he cited.

Sandusky retired in 1999 and had no connection to the football program or university, though he was still allowed to use Penn State facilities, such as the weight room and showers. This is not unusual on probably most campuses. One can only wonder at the possible number of civil suits against Sandusky, Penn State officials and the university as other men come forward in the coming days to level charges regarding their experiences with Sandusky when they were much younger.

The attempt at cover-up is not unusual with regard to the university, or most institutions, for that matter. One of Penn State’s professors, Dr. Michael Mann, was caught up in the “climate-gate” scandal a few years ago when it was discovered through the “outing” of e-mails that he and climate researchers in England had perpetrated a fraud with respect to any significant manmade global warming. They were high-profile operatives in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and their work precipitated the dire predictions about people virtually killing existence through pouring carbon dioxide into the air.

Actually, the earth as a whole has been cooling for a number of years, simply going through a climate cycle. A faculty committee at Penn State (no outsiders) reviewed Mann’s work last year to assure that it met proper academic standards. He was cleared of any wrongdoing, despite the e-mails and the findings of Mann’s peers. The integrity of the university was thus protected, never mind that leaders throughout the world still take the dire predictions seriously. Indeed, the U.S. House even passed a cap/trade bill designed to make energy costs skyrocket. The Senate hasn’t touched it.

The firestorm that’s ranged around Paterno is the puzzler. He fulfilled his chain-of-command responsibilities when he informed Curley, part of the school’s administration, of the matter but apparently did no follow-up with respect to actions taken…or not taken. Detractors seem to be saying that he was derelict in his duties, even though he was not a witness to anything. He has said himself that he wished he had done more. Did he mean follow-up or do the detractors believe he knew of Sandusky’s perfidies already and hadn’t stopped the man?

At age 84 and in his forty-sixth year as head coach, Paterno had already been under extreme local pressure to step aside from coaching even though his teams were doing well. He had given no indication that he would, so could the attack on him have been one of opportunism satisfied? That’s possible but it doesn’t account for the general public’s reaction. Linking him with the pedophilia, as if he had somehow given his imprimatur to Sandusky’s evil, seems far too big a stretch. In any case, stripping him as well as his teams of all recognition concerning the achievements they made is what some people want. The whole affair is messy but this seems a bit much.

Sandusky had already given evidence of unacceptable behavior with boys. People who knew of this and did nothing are culpable, including Paterno, although it’s hard to do much without either an accuser or an eyewitness. The eyewitness failed and the university failed. The jury is out on Paterno.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, November 11, 2011


The recent attempts in England, Spain, and other European countries, not to mention in Islamic-controlled countries throughout the world, by jihadist fanatics to kill innocent people in order to make some kind of point is just the latest example that tyranny-by-terrorism is the weapon of choice by the religious cowardly in its effort to control the world. The penultimate example in this country was experienced on 9/11

By contrast, when the colonists fought tyranny in order to gain independence, they fought against an army, not against women and children. That's the difference between civilized people and animals, notwithstanding any allusions to "Allah," the cult-figure of worship, along with Mohammed, around which Islam is configured. Hopefully, those with illusions that the Islamic cutthroats can be neutralized in any other way than military defeat will not ascend to high office in this country, since tyranny is a perennial threat to every generation and must be defeated in every generation.

Unfortunately and despite the fact that Libya has never posed a threat to this country, President Obama introduced terrorism as a weapon of choice last March when he ordered the decent members of the military of this country to commit violent acts against Libya that were certain to kill/maim innocent women and children. Joined later by NATO, to its eternal shame, Obama saw that this terrorism continued for some seven months (he said it would last “days”), with no accounting of civilian losses, certain to be many thousands. The result seems to be the introduction to Libyan society of Sharia Law, which is both anti-American and anti-women. It’s also the result of using terrorism, a shameful outcome. Tyranny, whether advanced by terrorism-by-air or boots-on-the-ground, is intolerable and must be fought. This is appropriate on Veterans Day 2011.

The muffled sound of drum and fife
And musketry in mortal strife
And voices raised in anger, pain,
Or mourning those among the slain
Are sensed when contemplating still
The carnage of a Bunker Hill,
When only battles - bloody, fierce -
The wall of tyranny could pierce.
Then comes to mind the gory scenes
From Queenston Heights to New Orleans
When tyranny again was banned
Upon the sea, upon the land;
And one can sense again the sound
When roaring cannons shook the ground
And mortal make men free...
Would enter immortality.
On Shiloh’s bloody ground that day
They died with valor in full sway,
Or Gettysburg...Chancellorsville,
Where brothers each might brother kill;
One hears the massive, tragic groan
As tens of thousands would atone
- With blood - for hated slavery...
The vilest form of tyranny.
When jaded beasts oppress the poor
And close to them sweet freedom’s door,
It falls upon the free...the strong
Throughout the world to right this wrong;
At Santiago, brave men fell,
And San Juan Hill became a hell,
But men who found eternity
Gained entry scourging tyranny.
Chateau-Thierry, Belleau Wood,
Where thousands died, but others stood
Their ground with blood and sweat and fears,
And buried comrades through their tears;
And one can sense the frightful sounds
Of tanks and planes emitting rounds
From lethal, modern weaponry
To end the threat of tyranny.
To end the threat of tyranny? - Normandy,
Or Iwo Jima, Anzio,
Where once again the blood must flow;
And one may close the eyes and see
And hear the mighty guns at sea
And wonder why it all must be...
But knows deep down...end tyranny.
So listen!...hear the muffled roar
Of new jet planes now bound for war,
Of new invasions from the sea,
The dying fighting tyranny;
And names like Inchon, Pork Chop Hill,
And Bloody Ridge - remembered still -
Assault the mind, yet augur peace,
In hope that tyranny will cease.
But hope, though strong, has little worth
As long as despots roam the earth,
As long as beasts whose prime resource
Is tyranny...forge brutal force;
So the jungle screams,
And those who die are shorn of dreams
At Pleiku, Khe Sanh, and Da Nang,
Where flags from coffins daily hang.
No…evil tyranny survives,
Each generation robbed of lives
Attempting to wipe out its curse,
Each war the next one to rehearse;
Recall the battle in the sand -
Exploding missiles as they land
On Persian Gulf, Kuwait, Iraq,
Mad tyranny again to block.
As in most centuries before,
The twenty-first begins with war
When evil men in Allah’s name
Torch innocents in jet-fuel flame;
Their leaders learn that they will pay
In Afghan mountains day by day,
Or in Iraqi towns and sand
An awesome price when good men stand.
In tranquil fields throughout the world,
Our dead are marked by flags unfurled,
Or marked by nature’s restless waves,
Beneath the seas in timeless graves;
Yes, thus it is, and thus will be...
Until God’s final, terse decree...
But until then, now strong and free,
The decent must kill tyranny.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Bialek...a Fraud?

Perhaps the most serious problem President Obama and the Democrat Party see currently with respect to the 2012 election is Herman Cain, not because he’s a republican but because he’s an African-American republican. If Cain should become the nominee, Obama and the democrats couldn’t possibly play the race card, which is their ace-in-the-hole in most every circumstance, whether political, moral or whatever. The democrats have always taken the black vote for granted (94% or so democrat-guaranteed), and black votes – with little or no payback – can swing elections. If even 30% of blacks voted for Cain, the antithesis of the Jesse-Jackson-gimme-philosophy, Obama could be in trouble.

The power of incumbency is legendary and hard to thwart. This, coupled with the fact that the republican white candidates have elicited only tepid interest from the public, gives Obama a distinct edge. So…getting rid of Cain is the main objective of the democrats now. The quickest and surest way to neuter a candidate is to dig up dirt. Enter the still nameless women, at least one of whom accepted a bribe in the 1990s to keep quiet about an alleged incident involving Cain (though she has just favored talking if ALL the women with grievances will hold some kind of affair and concentrate their attacks on Cain), another who claimed to have officially complained back then and another who has simply said Cain did something.

All of this rigmarole comprises “he said, she said” stuff, hardly convincing though Cain might actually have offended these women, who, however, have claimed no physical impropriety by Cain. Now, enter a gal who says she wants to put a face on the problem with Cain. She does what any thinking gal would do and hires a lawyer. Why does she need a lawyer? Cain is a public figure so she could claim he stripped naked and spent a month with her in Timbuktu…and get away with it. Instead, she described a scene with Cain in an automobile, with no witnesses to corroborate anything and thus no story.

She needs a lawyer to steer her in the right direction regarding TV appearances, books – maybe even a Playboy centerfold, from all of which elements the lawyer will share the proceeds. The woman, Sharon Bialek, claimed she just wanted to set the record straight about the lecherous Cain and vindicate the women who remain anonymous by choice, having been terribly mistreated but unwilling to face the public. Anyone believing that is invited to buy the proverbial bridge for 99 cents.

Women are the smarter of the sexes and some have determined that in this chivalrous society they can publicly accuse any man of anything – real, imagined, or maliciously contrived – and be both automatically believed and protected from being identified. The man’s reputation is of no consequence whether or not he’s guilty of anything. The media loves this stuff and is complicit in whatever subterfuge or opportunism is involved. Accusations regarding sex never go away, whether true or not, so the man’s reputation is forever sullied, no matter his innocence.

With her background, Bialek might actually help Cain. She’s had nine jobs over the past 17 years and for living arrangements is shacked-up with her “fiance,” euphemism for current live-in-guy-or-gal. She filed for bankruptcy in both 1991 and 2001 and had a baby in 1999 that eventuated in a paternity lawsuit filed against her. As anyone can see, her background is impeccable. If she felt compelled to look out for the interests of other innocent women, she could have contacted any number of media outlets but apparently she felt that contacting a lawyer would be the proper thing to do.

According to the Associated Press, partly on the advice her then-boyfriend, a pediatrician, Bialek claims she set up a meeting with Cain in order to get his help in her job-search some 14 years ago but one has to wonder (perhaps along with Cain at the time) if she was just offering her services. As proof of Cain’s chicanery, she has offered the fact that she told at least two people about the matter at the time. When CNN’s Piers Morgan asked for their identification the other evening, her lawyer, Gloria Allred, informed him that their identities couldn’t be divulged, so the public is being asked to accept her word, as loony-tunes as that is. A simple phone call to Cain, whom she supposedly already knew, would have sufficed in the first place, so one wonders why she had to travel from Chicago to Washington for the tete-a-tete.

As of July 2009, Bialek also owed $5,100 in back taxes, according to the Associated Press, but that’s small potatoes compared to Treasury Secretary Geightner’s tax-cheating. With Allred in tow – or vice versa – Bialek has made the morning TV circuit, describing the sleaze, and had her CNN 15 minutes of fame with Morgan, the current Larry King clone, who would feel uncomfortable asking anything of substance. One remembers his recent attempt to put words in Harry Connick’s mouth. Connick was having none of it. Okay…that’s the most of Morgan’s clambake I’ve ever seen but it was enough.

Even though the Bialek affair is weird and totally devoid of credibility, it’s probable that the mainstream- media crowd will “find” other surprises, since it acts as Obama’s propaganda arm. “Finding” someone as unbelievable as this woman bespeaks desperation accruing to the need to deny a black republican the nomination. This is not to say that nothing happened with respect to the whole matter. It is to say that accusations without proof that can be connected to names are unacceptable, another way of saying that much of the media wallows in yellow journalism, as well.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Whither Now, Kentucky Schools?

Aaron Hughey, professor of counseling and student affairs at Western Kentucky University, posited some important principles and consequent suggestions in an article in the Lexington Herald-Leader of 03 November.

Hughey: “Customization is more important than conformity.” Customization is possible regarding private schools and to some extent public universities. In terms of public education, customization is rarely an option since it nearly always means not a one-on-one student/teacher ratio but at least much smaller classes in which a student is availed of more of the teacher’s time and energy.

Since a public-school math teacher may have five classes of about 27 or more students each (my personal experience), he has to conform his approach to a pattern designed to reach learners on different levels of ability, attempting to help everyone but absolutely bringing the brightest to their potential. He uses the materials made available by the system (conformity) but attempts customization on a per student basis rather than an institutional one. “Tracking” is a dirty word in the education establishment driven now by political correctness, so the teacher is left to carry it out in the classroom.

Hughey: “Relationships are more important than rules.” I believe the opposite. Hughey explained that “some” degree of order and uniformity are essential but that the teacher-pupil relationship (whatever that means) is more important. Ask any Marine “boot” if he likes his drill sergeant. Most boots will scream NO, but they will also admit that the sarge teaches them how to save the lives of themselves and their comrades while doing their jobs. There’s no substitute for discipline, defined as “training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character,” and even less of a substitute for “some” discipline.

This will sound like nit-picking but the dress of teachers today is a tipoff on how they regard education. As a teacher, I wore a tie and coat every day to school, making me different from the students in a very formal way. Nowadays, male teachers are shown on TV in T-shirts and jeans (with or without holes in the knees) and female teachers in just about every costume imaginable, with the most unattractive ones (and those with plenty of cleavage) seeming to be the most popular.

I addressed each student as Mr. or Miss plus last name, never by the first name. But I had a ball and lots of laughter in class, especially when the most salient points were being made. Friendliness is fine. Fraternization, as in the military between officers and enlisted men, is loony tunes. It was always understood when frivolity was in and out of order, and that he/she who decides is the teacher. Math is a demanding academic discipline (so are many others) and should be approached as a “no excuses/nonsense” matter. Students should be held at arms-length and should understand who’s in charge.

Hughey: “People are more important than policies.” Students have nothing – or should have nothing – to do with policies, while policies have everything to do with students, meaning that policies are more important than students. Can anyone imagine a school-board or university board of trustees made up of students as policy-makers? When asked by a TV interviewer recently in New York City what the purpose of the current Occupy Wall Street circus is, a young lady (lots of students in this effort) indicated that it was to force the government to set all wages, thus eliminating the wealthy. Imagine that lunacy as a government policy!

Hughey indicated that the status quo must go. This is what the Kentucky Legislature thought in 1990 and damned the state with the Kentucky Education Reform Act, most of which has been rescinded in increments but not until damage was done to a whole generation or more of students, not to mention making frauds/cheats out of whole school systems/teachers/administrators who ill-used tests and bribed students. The major thrust of the act was to enhance student self-esteem, apparently whether deserved or not. Result: Disaster in virtually every measured (and over-measured) academic area, especially reading, math, and science. The status quo was eminently superior to KERA, though wise systemic change is inevitable.

Hughey: “Individuals are more important than institutions.” Similar to the above, schools impact students but students do not impact schools; otherwise, there would be five study halls, recess, lunch and phys ed. during a normal day. Hughey is right in decrying the forcing of everyone into the same mold; however, public education is forced to deal with reality, not wishful thinking. The key involves strong discipline, able teachers and strong family support, the lack of the latter a major problem now.

In a recent year, 40% of the education-department graduates at Kentucky State could not pass the test required of potential teachers in order to teach but had the opportunity to just keep taking the test. This was unconscionable. In other years, they would have been hired anyway and allowed to un-educate young people. Mediocrity begets mediocrity.

Brought into existence by KERA, school-based councils, made up of three teachers, two parents and a principal or administrator had about 95% control of everything, including curriculum and even the hiring of principals. Within systems, especially large ones, this meant students passed from elementary-school through middle- and high-schools while possessing no standard backgrounds at any level. Result: Only 43% of schools in Kentucky met all the federal requirements of “No Child Left Behind,” as the result of testing earlier this year. Only 42% of high school grads last May were ready for college or career. Only 29% at one Lexington High School were ready.

The old ways may be thought too anachronistic to matter today but the proof is in the pudding.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark