Sigh! Back to the “Student Protests” Everything Old Is New Again…

Thomas Sowell, a man of great intellectual insight recently wrote of a modern day college student takeover of a university, in this case Pennsylvania’s  Swarthmore College, where students recently demanded,  well all sorts of things.

Lets see if I can categorize the, I am tempted to call them nut-jobs, but it is more complicated than that: The protesting students have a vastly exaggerated impression that the world gives a damn about what they think. In some ways they are like the old-time Symbionese Liberation Army of the mid-70s, who believed they were the Point Men leading a massive uprising that would overthrow the national political establishment.

It was literally a mouse with rape on its mind, approaching an elephant.  There is something devoutly annoying about people who have learned little, traveled less, and theorize about belonging to People For a Perfect World.

Anyway, the Swarthmore students, were led by something called the Mountain Justice movement Google them who oppose not just open mine coal extraction, but natural gas alternatives, and, oh yes, lest I forget, the support of indigenous people. The Swarthmore students had not just that agenda (the world is not sufficiently large to hold their “ideas”), but more gay and lesbian professors, academic support for people of color who are not performing sufficiently well to graduate in four years, disinvestment in fossil fuel portfolios, rape counseling, more scholarships for illegal immigrants

Have I forgotten anything?


Aside from the lunacy of listening to people who have lived their entire lives in familial socialism on Daddys dime, have produced absolutely nothing of value to anyone, and will get their degrees in Womens Studies and live in their parents basements, there is not much reason to even entertain thinking about them and their various causes, except that I once witnessed the proper way to handle student protests.

I was in the dining room of the University of Notre Dame in 1969, having lunch with Father Hessburgh — president of Notre Dame, when there a “student riot” or what was a Notre Dame version.

(I was there with Cdr. “Pete” Bucher, Commanding Officer of the USS Pueblo, who had delivered the first speech after his return from capture, imprisonment and torture by the North Koreans. Pete had spoken to the Chicago chapter of the Notre Dame Alumni Association, and delivered a speech I had written for him. I traveled with him to many places thereafter as his speechwriter and bodyguard, but the dining room of Notre Dame University was the first stop.)

We were on a slightly raised Dias in the dining room when a student approached and announced that the students had a set of demands.

Father Hessburgh put down his fork and said, “Young man, as you can see, I am having lunch with guests. Go away, and take your “demands” to my office.”

The student said (sheepishly), “Thank you, Father. I will do so.”

And the student withdrew.

This was at a time of massive campus riots and sit-ins that occupied college president’s offices. The episode demonstrated “respect” (for the student, for the president, and for the institution) — and impressed the hell out of this non-religious person. Notre Dame, like Swarthmore, has more applicants than spots on their roster, and can well afford to replace those who bring chaos to the campus.

However, it takes a brand of leadership that is in short supply in academic circles.

“the police are just minutes away”

I find it interesting how different people react to the same set of facts.

CBS News in Seattle reports that budget cuts permitted a woman to be kidnapped, choked and raped by a former boyfriend.

The news report says that the 911 operator told the frightened woman, as she begged for help, that budget cuts meant there would be no help — and there wasn’t.

“Uh, I don’t have anybody to send out there,” the 911 dispatcher told the woman. “You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away? Do you know if he’s intoxicated or anything?”

The message I get is not the message CBS intends to send. I remember that cliché, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

They always are.

Think about it. If a home invasion person or group was putting their shoulder to your front door, how long would it be before the police arrived assuming you immediately dialed 911?

To put it another way, if you had a cell phone and a pistol side by side, which would you reach for?

Police do not provide protection, they provide retribution. The boyfriend mentioned above was caught, tried, and convicted — none of which stopped him from kidnapping and choking the girl.

(Do you think after she survived the assault, she just might have bought a gun?)

Holder! Get Under the Bus!

It is now out in the open — Eric Holder personally signed on to the search warrant that targeted James Rosen of FOX News that described Rosen as a “co-conspirator” because he sought to be a journalist.

It is the job of the government to protect secret information, and it is the job of journalists to get information. Responsible journalists then must filter the secrets they do discover out of dissemination and those who don’t and cause demonstrable damage should be criminally charged.

Every journalism organization is justifiably outraged by the overreaching activity of the Justice Department, first by the AP disclosure and then by the Rosen discovery.

Holder is toast, and will be the Sacrificial Lamb of the administration, because someone HIGH must be sacrificed to act as a firewall for the president. There will be other people sacked, of course, although probably not as many as should be sacked. (Remember Fast and Furious? Not one person fired!)

Holder has been a great lightening rod for the administration. He has stalled investigation, impeded, slowed, and in the case of he new Black Panthers actually excused criminal behavior. No one can argue that Holder has not served his master well, only that he did not serve well was his ultimate boss, the American people.

Here Is a Solution To GITMO

The president wants to close GITMO.

Here is a suggestion that I think will work: Since the president has total control of the US Military as Commander-in-Chief, the president can order the military at GITMO to gather all prisoners, load them on a military plane, fly them to Washington International and deliver them to the White House, over which he also has control.

The president could invite executive members of Code Pink to witness this historic event.

The president needs no Congressional authority or appropriations to do this.

The president can then order the military to withdraw from the White House, and direct his personal staff to prepare the prisoners a banquet meal, perhaps even with Hollywood and Rap stars to be enjoyed with Code Pink. This will have the additional advantage of ending the current prisoner hunger strike.

As an engineer I just love solving problems.

Union Candidate Won and Lost

The Los Angeles Mayoral race went to a union backed candidate, but he was a private-union backed candidate.

The public-union backed candidate lost.

Big time. By eight percentage points.

Interestingly, the losing candidate made her reputation in politics by being a budget-hawk, but decided in this race to seek, indeed beg for public union money and backing.

She sold her soul to the Devil, and as an observer, community activist and city hall critic Jack Humphreyville said, “The good news is they gave her a pot of money,” Humphreville said. “The bad news is it trashed her reputation.”

It will make little difference one way or another. Los Angeles is in a financial death spiral from which it probably cannot recover. Public unions were the problem, and the voters correctly determined that public unions were not the solution.

Obama is a “God!”

Obama is a “God!”

Stay with me here…

Obama is not being held responsible for ANY of the current problems. The Washington Post says that Obama’s poll numbers are virtually unchanged after Fast and Furious; the Justice Department chilling, criminalizing of newsmen; Benghazi; and the IRS selective harassing of conservative groups.

That is the “God Effect.”

“God” in every culture and religion, gets credit when the crops come in heavily, or someone is rescued from harm, but never takes any blame for storms, hurricanes, failed crops, or those who die in disasters.

That phenomenon has always impressed me about human nature, and it is true across cultures and religions.

Dan Balz, writing in the Washington Post, notes ” It is never good for an administration when a front-page newspaper article about an ongoing controversy begins as follows: The White House offered a new account Monday of how and when it learned ...

Perhaps the constant drip, drip, drip of scandal will eventually impact the impervious aura that surrounds this president, who is an iconic figure and can withstand scandals that would politically doom lesser figures.

President Schultz

Led by a modern day Sgt. Schultz (“I know nothing!”) liberals within the administration need no direct instructions on rewarding supporters and punishing opponents.

In WWII, Adm. “Bull” Halsey, angered by the attack on Pearl Harbor, said, “Kill Japs, Kill Japs, then kill more Japs”

With that leadership, subordinates did not need instruction on what to do or how to do it, and felt no need to inform higher command when they did follow instructions.

So the president can deny that he knew what his subordinates were doing — it is called “plausible deniability” and it works, unless the president is stupid enough to wiretap himself, or write things down. He isnt.

All of the activity to find and charge those who leak information — and it is much stronger than in past administration, should remember that only a “Deep Throat” blew the whistle on the Nixon administration. I suspect that all of this activity to discover and punish those who leak is designed to intimidate any who might be the administration’s “John Dean” from admitting that which we suspect.

This is not Watergate because this administration learned not to tape themselves, and to intimidate whistleblowers, but in truth, a president who says things like “revenge” and: “If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, Were gonna punish our enemies and were gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us, if they dont see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think its gonna be harder and thats why I think its so important that people focus on voting on November 2.

When, then, subordinates interpret those comments unwisely or over the top, and the stuff hits the fan, the president can simply go play a round of golf and say I know nothing.

Given the choice of venality or incompetence, he will pick incompetence. It wont hurt him a bit wont deduct a single dime from his post-presidency speaking honorarium.

Unions Simply Don’r Want Teacher Evaluations

Personally I don’t care about the methodology of teacher evaluation — process is not important as performance, and so long as the bottom 10% are fired each year the process is not particularly important. I have the distinct impression from Mr. Freeman that NO evaluation methodology will ever get his acceptance.

The US Military has developed as good a method as any, and it produces the best military in the world. Teachers like to think that, like the children of Lake Woebegone, they are all above average — but the SEALS flunk out many, as do Annapolis and West Point, and the Astronaut Corps. Alone among those who believe themselves above average, teachers think they are so unique that their performance cannot be judged.

Can you imagine more than 3,500,000 K-12 teachers, more than twice the combined population of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, and every one of the 3,500,000 teachers is so perfect that their performance cannot be judged?

No, I don’t believe that either. Mr. Freeman writes; ” There are many factors within and outside of the school walls that impact student learning. ” I remember the first time I saw the Obstacle Course at the Naval Academy, and can only imagine my exclaiming “but, some of us are non-athletes, some from urban schools, some are scholars…there are many factors outside these walls…”

The Marine Captain would have simply said, “Everyone must complete the course in the designated time. Do it, or go home.”

Set the performance standards, reward the top 10% and fire the bottom 10%. Personally, I would let administration rank all teachers on a ladder, and weight their ranking 50%: let their peers rank other peers, and let that count 40%. Students ranking counts 10%. EVERYONE knows the good and bad teachers, even the janitorial staff and the parents.

This is not rocket science, Those that say it is complicated simply want to delay teacher evaluation.

Time to Think “Small Ball”

I have generally not piled on in the latest scandals, for exactly as  Real Clear Politics, Ben Domenech writes:

“Heres the hard thing Republicans have to do if they dont want this crisis to go to waste: they have to ignore their id, the temptation of the sugar high of partisan point-scoring. They must willfully set aside Obamas presence in the fray, leaving the short term personalized attacks on the table, and go after the much bigger prize. Obama isnt running for office again. Liberalism is. Making this about him is a short term boost to the pleasure center of the conservative brain. Making this about the inherent falsehood of the progressive project will help conservatism win.”

Absolutely true. Tarnishing the halo of Barack Obama is a cheap thrill, but  is just mental masturbation. It is the Progressive brand that must be tarnished, and some have started doing just that by questioning if we really want the IRS enforcing Obamacare.

Obama is Teflon coated, and nothing — not even the famous being found in bed with a dead girl or a live boy — is going to change that. The chances of attaching any of these scandals to the Oval Office is slim, because ain’t nobody gonna’ use recordings again!

So give it up! Already the White House is accepting incompetence rather than admitting to venality, and the compliant press will likely dig no further.

Piling on scandals alone will blemish the Obama halo, and stopping Obamacare will lower his historical significance, but nothing, absolutely nothing will diminish his adoring liberal drawing power or highly paid honorariums after he retires. He is going to rule the speaking circuit for many decades, and he is not going to do something stupid like running for Mayor of Chicago or Detroit.

Obamacare is the signature accomplishment of this administration, so defeat that using the IRS scandal and that is about as good as we can expect — and that is plenty.

Swinging for the fences has its place, but unless someone develops a nexus inside the Oval Office, this is a good time for small ball.

Toilet Paper Shortage?

Have you read the news reports that the Socialist Venezuelan government has announced that the country has run short of toilet paper and will import more.

It reminds me of the great Milton Friedman quote:

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.” Milton Friedman