Archive for November, 2006

Higher Education Tomorrow (November 27, 2006)

Posted in Education on November 27, 2006 by

The high school students who work in Somali soup kitchens during the summer get into Ivy League universities and go into I (investment) banking.  The high school students who work in local soup kitchens get into public universities and go into IT (information technology).  The high school students who work during their school years in the kitchen of a local fast food establishment get into a community college and go back into the restaurant business.  Kitchens, Colleges and Careers.  Generalizations?  Sure.  Insights?  Some.

The average cost of tuition at a private university hit $30,000.00 at the same time that the population of the United States hit 300,000,000.00.  How will the country afford to educate the populace in the future?

Eighteen-year olds may be old enough to go to war, but they are not old enough to go to college.  Particularly boys.  The country should establish a two-year period of national service that can be served in a myriad of ways.  An internship in life.  The government could provide a subsistence stipend during the internship and then provide college tuition, room, board, pizza and beer money for two years.  The kids would go to college much more mature and disciplined and more involved with the adult world.  A core college curriculum could be presented in a more focused two-year program.  Students then could take an additional two years of specialized work if they show an aptitude and interest in an area.

There are too many colleges in America subsidized directly by governments and indirectly via favorable tax policy.  Buchanan & Harding College, renown for its government department and lacrosse team, should merge with Wordsworth & Longfellow, renown for its health sciences departments.  The schools could be consolidated in one town and supported by a lease of the other school’s facilities.  One institution could be converted into a ready-made community that is likely already part of another community.  Town and gown would become town and town.  The merged institution, Buchanan + Wordsworth (home of the Feckless Poets), could lease the excess dorm rooms as condominiums and provide ready-made libraries, cafeterias, and other community infrastructure for the tenants.

More of the courses should be offered on-line.  As the economy moves from bricks and mortar to the Internet, colleges must move from bricks and mortar and ivy to the Internet.  The intimacy of the 500-person lecture hall must give way to a more personal approach delivered directly to the student via computer. 

[See the article entitled “The Organization Kid” by David Brooks in the April, 2001 issue of “The Atlantic Monthly”].

Bumper stickers of the week:

Never let schooling get in the way of your education.

My honor student beat up your bully. 

China, The 800(0) Lb. Panda (November 20, 2006)

Posted in China on November 20, 2006 by

As a consequence of WW II, Germany and Japan learned that it is easier to take by investment than by invasion.  China is learning that it is easy to take by investment.  China also is preparing for but may never need to mount an invasion.  China may elect to foreclose on its investment when the United States is unable or unwilling to challenge an invasion.

The United States refights its past wars (Vietnam, WW II).  Other countries learn from them.

[Milton Friedman passed away on November 16.  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke observed:  “Among economic scholars, Milton Friedman had no peer.  The direct and indirect influences of his thinking on contemporary monetary economics would be difficult to overstate.  Just as important, in his humane and engaging way, Milton conveyed to millions an understanding of the economic benefits of free, competitive markets, as well as the close connection that economic freedoms bear to other types of liberty.  He will be sorely missed.”] 

Hope Triumphs (November 13, 2006)

Posted in Elections on November 13, 2006 by

God bless the American voters.  Enough voters last Tuesday said that enough is more than enough.

The public witnessed looting in Baghdad and looting in Washington.  The Republicans emphasized national security and the Democrats focused on the failed war in Iraq.  Exit polls indicate that the public elected to challenge “corruption” among those in Washington who got America involved in Iraq and enmeshed in other scandals domestic.

Fear almost always triumphs over hope.  On Tuesday, the fear of Bush triumphed over the fear pandered by Bush.  Bush could not even muster the image of the devil incarnate, Osama bin Laden, to triumph over the public’s fears of him and his failed policies.  Bush was not even able to muster fear by raising the specter of the antichrist, a granny named Nancy Pelosi, assuming a position of power.  Hope triumphed.

The good people of Minnesota’s Fifth District made an election heard ’round the world.  Endorsing Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, is a compelling statement to the world of America’s fundamental decency and inclusiveness.

Harold Ford, Jr. and Tammy Duckworth, stay in the fray.  You are still needed.

After the thumpin’, the most incompetent Commander-in-Chief in American history relieved the most incompetent Secretary of Defense in American history of his mismanagement of the worst foreign policy blunder in American history.  Progress happens.

Bridges should not be burned; bridges to nowhere should not be built.  The Democrats are reaching out and building bridges to the Republicans.  The Republic will benefit from that political infrastructure.

The Supreme Court may be safe.

The Democrats now have an opportunity to fail or flourish.  Time will tell.

Bumper sticker of the week:

A woman’s place is in the House
. . . and in the Senate

Vote (November 6, 2006)

Posted in Elections on November 6, 2006 by

George Carlin, the comedian and political philosopher, refuses to vote.  Samuel Beckett, the dramatist, novelist and playwright, rarely if ever voted.  Anthony Downs, the political theorist and economist, suggested that it may not be rational for an individual to vote. 

Is voting a joke, absurd or irrational?  Some recent elections have been rigged.  One of the vote counters–Diebold, the manufacturer of the voting machines–is run by a Bush supporter.  Support efforts to unrig elections.  And vote so that the only way to steal an election from the populace is to steal it.  Stealing all elections is much harder to accomplish than stealing a few.

Many VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) posts observe that “Freedom Is Not Free.”  Thomas Jefferson, the guy on the two dollar bill, observed that the “price of freedom is constant vigilance.”  Voting is vigilance.  Pay the price to be free.  Vote. 

Election Day should be a holiday.  Vote.  And vote to celebrate Veterans Day every even-numbered year on Election Day to celebrate the veterans who made and make it possible to vote.  As the Canadian philosopher Wayne Gretzky once observed:  “You miss 100 % of the shots you don’t take.”

Bumper stickers of the week:

My vote cancels your vote

Don’t blame me, I voted for __________