Witch’s Will For A Mourning In April
I will remain in “mourning” so long as Obama’s unworthy ass sits in the Oval Office.
Quote of the day:
All five living presidents will gather for the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library. President Obama says he hopes he can pick up some ideas for when he builds his. It’s going to be called the “Blame George W. Bush Presidential Library.” ~ Jay Leno
My Top 3 Stories:
How colleges scam the working class
Last week’s announcement that Cooper Union will no longer be tuition-free may not be the worst recent news for working-class students looking to go to college. It turns out the game is rigged against them in other ways.
Cooper Union students in need will still be able to get aid from the school as well as grants and loans from the federal government. Still, this is one less chance to graduate college with no debt, a tough blow when jobs are scarce and security is hard to find.
But even having college paid for is no guarantee of success for students from less privileged backgrounds. In their new book, “Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality,” professors Elizabeth Armstrong (U. Michigan) and Laura Hamilton (UC-Merced) present depressing results from a five-year study that tracked the women from one freshman dorm at a Midwestern flagship university: Not a single one of the working-class women they’d monitored had managed to graduate.
The problem’s hardly limited to top schools. Part of it is that colleges are regularly admitting students who aren’t ready for college-level work. In 2012, for instance,of the 250,000 who took the ACT (the main alternative to the SAT), only 52 percent scored as college-ready in reading, only a quarter as ready in reading, English, math and science. Yet many started school anyway.
Results? Well, the University of California reported a couple of years ago that fully half of its freshmen needed remedial work in either English or math.
You can blame the high schools that graduate 18-year-olds without teaching them what they need — but colleges that admit them are hardly innocent.
Higher education also fails working-class kids by not giving them the guidance they need. The one working-class girl who did graduate in the Armstrong-Hamilton study was a young women who was put into a special program where she received “comprehensive advising.”
The authors explained, “That’s crucial. Advising matters.” More affluent students have parents who can help them figure out how to get through college — what courses to take, and when; how to manage time, get help or mercy from professors, etc. They can also use connections to get the kids jobs regardless of academic performance.
But “intensive advising” is vanishingly rare in college today. Indeed, the whole college experience is designed around the idea that students already know what’s best for them. Schools just hand freshmen catalogs with hundreds of pages worth of seemingly unrelated courses, and the freedom to choose among them.
The results would be laughable if we weren’t paying so much.
The Twilight of Entitlement
by Robert Samuelson
WASHINGTON — We are passing through something more than a period of disappointing economic growth and increasing political polarization. What’s happening is more powerful: the collapse of “entitlement.” By this, I do not mean primarily cuts in specific government benefits, most prominently Social Security, but the demise of a broader mindset — attitudes and beliefs — that, in one form or another, has gripped Americans since the 1960s. The breakdown of these ideas has rattled us psychologically as well as politically and economically.
In my 1995 book, “The Good Life and Its Discontents,” I defined entitlement as our expectations “about the kind of nation we were creating and what that meant for all of us individually”:
We had a grand vision. We didn’t merely expect things to get better. We expected all social problems to be solved. We expected business cycles, economic insecurity, poverty, and racism to end. We expected almost limitless personal freedom and self-fulfillment. For those who couldn’t live life to its fullest (as a result of old age, disability, or bad luck), we expected a generous social safety net to guarantee decent lives. We blurred the distinction between progress and perfection.
Bill Clinton has a pithier formulation: “If you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll have the freedom and opportunity to pursue your own dreams.” That’s entitlement. “Responsible” Americans should be able to attain realistic ambitions.
No more. Millions of Americans who have “played by the rules” are in distress or fear that they might be. In a new Allstate/National Journal survey, 65 percent of respondents said today’s middle class has less “job and financial security” than their parents’ generation; 52 percent asserted there is less “opportunity to get ahead.” The middle class is “more anxious than aspirational,” concluded the poll’s sponsors.
Similarly, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that only 51 percent of workers are confident they’ll have enough money to retire comfortably, down from 70 percent in 2007.
Popular national goals remain elusive. Poverty is stubborn. Many schools seem inadequate. The “safety net,” private and public, is besieged. Our expansive notion of entitlement rested on optimistic and, ultimately, unrealistic assumptions:
The Elite Media Hates You
It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the far left, far right or somewhere in the middle, there is absolutely no denying the rise of the tea party has altered America’s political landscape. And the elite media is making clear, in no uncertain terms, they despise this type of change.
Last week, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) voted against the Schumer-Toomey gun bill because her constituents were opposed to the bill. On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, former lawmaker Joe Scarborough and his sidekick Mika Brzezinski lit into her:
MIKA: She is defending her vote saying her office was flooded with calls from constituents who opposed background checks by a 7-1 ratio.
JOE: You can’t handle that?
The implication is that Heitkamp, who is not conservative, is supposed to ignore the citizens of her state because the elite media in New York City say the “overwhelming majority of people want to go the other way.”
In fact, a Pew Research-Washington Post poll found 47 percent of those closely following the gun debate were “happy” or “relieved” the bill failed. It would be logical to conclude folks in North Dakota, the state with the 8th highest gun ownership in the country, were even more relieved.
The cascade of righteous indignation continued, though:
JOE: Heidi Heitkamp wants to be a United States Senator but she is not tough enough to handle 4% of her constituents calling into her office a lot. She’s not even taking the phone calls!
MIKA: That’s what they do.
JOE: … This is one of the saddest most pathetic votes I think I’ve ever seen in Washington, DC. What Heidi Heitkamp has done. Cowarding [sic] in the corner because 4% maybe 5% of the people in her state were making phone calls that her staff had to answer.
MIKA: What about her own opinion? Does she have one?
The coastal elites regularly dismiss people in fly over country. The difference with this tantrum is that the elites are dismissing a fundamental constitutional right. The 1st Amendment guarantees citizens the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
If it seems as though they’re advocating for a callous disregard of their constituents, you’re right:
JOE: They are really vocal. Oh, my gosh. When she has to walk past her staff and saying a lot people are calling. I’ve done that. They are calling! I said, “that’s great. I’ll be back.”
Imagine a Senator paying attention to what the people in her state, who elected her want rather than what Joe and Mika want? How can this be?
A new report found that the worst job in the U.S. is being a newspaper reporter. They say it’s better for writers to just focus on fiction and become a CNN reporter. ~ Jimmy Fallon
Worth a Read:
George Will: “This President Has An Inordinate Faith In The Power Of His Rhetoric”
Barbara Bush on Jeb WH run: ‘We’ve had enough Bushes’
Look at me agreeing with Barbara Bush. As Jenna said, surprise!
Are there more abortion doctors like Kermit Gosnell? And do we want to know?
Democrats blink first on aviation cuts
To Punch a Liberal
Why Read Old Books?
by Victor Davis Hanson
We all know the usual reasons why we are prodded to read the classics — moving characters, seminal ideas, blueprints of our culture, and paradigms of sterling prose and poetry. Then we nod and snooze.
But there are practical reasons as well that might better appeal to the iPhone generation that is minute-by-minute wired into a collective hive of celebrity titillation, the cool, cooler, and coolest recent rapper, or the grunting of “ya know,” “dah,” and “like.” After all, no one can quite be happy with all that.
Classics are more than books of virtues. Homer and Sophocles certainly remind us of the value of courage, without which Aristotle lectures us there can be no other great qualities. Instead, the Greeks and Romans might better remind this generation of the ironic truths, the paradoxes of human behavior and groupthink. Let me give but three examples of old and ironic wisdom.
I. The Race Goes Not to the Swift.
The problem with Homer’s Achilles or Sophocles’ Ajax was not that they were found wanting in heroic virtue. Rather they were too good at what they did, and so made the fatal mistake of assuming that there must be some correlation between great deeds and great rewards.
How many times has the natural hitter on the bench sulked at the novelty that the cousin of the coach is batting cleanup? How often has the talented poet suddenly turned to drink because the toast of the salon got rich with his drivel? He should read his Homer: the self-destructive Achilles should have enjoyed more influence among the dense Achaeans than did the university president Agamemnon. By any just heroic standard, Ajax, not Odysseus, the Solyndra lobbyist, should have won the armor of the dead Achilles.
In the tragic world, thousands of personal agendas, governed by predictable human nature, ensure that things do not always quite work the way they should. We can learn from classics that most of us are more likely to resent superiority than to reward it, to distrust talent than to develop it. With classical training, our impatient youth might at least gain some perspective that the world is one where the better man is often passed over — precisely because he is the better man. Classics remind us that our disappointments are not unique to our modern selves. While we do not passively have to accept that unfairness (indeed Achilles and Ajax implode over it), we must struggle against it with the acceptance that the odds are against us.
Again, think of the great Westerns that so carefully emulated ancient epic: what exactly does Shane win (other than a wound and a ride off into the sunset)? Or Tom Doniphon (other than a burned-down shack)? Or the laconic Chris of The Magnificent Seven (“The old man was right. Only the farmers won. We lost. We always lose.”)? Did he even collect his $20?
Or what about Will Kane (yes, I know, but a buckboard ride with young Grace Kelly to where exactly?)? Or Ethan Edwards (a walk to where after going through that swinging cabin door?)? Medals, money, badges? The lasting admiration of Hadleyville? Hidden gold from the Mexican peasant village? The mayorship of Shinbone? An hour with Jean Arthur?
Society is as in need of better men as it is suspicious of them when it no longer needs them. Most of Sophocles’ plays are about those too noble to change — Antigone or Philoctetes — who cannot fit in a lesser society not of their own making. Read E. B. Sledge’s With the Old Breed and cry over the great Marines who were ground up in the Pacific. So often they were like Lieutenant Hillbilly Jones and Captain Haldane who saved the U.S. and are now all but forgotten. In today’s collective history, they are simply the anonymous cardboard cut-out race and class villains who needlessly decimated the Japanese out of racially driven animus and thereby bequeathed to us the abundance that we take for granted and that allows us such self-indulgent second thoughts.
Thucydides’ Pericles warned us that orators had to be careful when speaking of the dead lest they so emphasize the gifts of the deceased that such praise invoke envy in the listeners, who in anger realize that their own lives fall short of the fallen.
Cockroach Of The Day:
Billionaire Tom Steyer — the ‘Liberal Analogue of the Koch Brothers’ — Is the Latest Bloomberg or Buffett
The newest celebrity in the liberal universe is billionaire Tom Steyer. In a story headlined “The Wrath of a Green Billionaire,” Bloomberg Businesweek reporter Joshua Green explained he’s hailed as “a liberal analogue of the conservative Koch brothers, the billionaire owners of Koch Industries, whose lavish support of free-market causes and political ruthlessness loom large in the liberal imagination.’‘
Steyer’s obsession is stopping global warming. “If you look at the 2012 campaign, climate change was like incest—something you couldn’t talk about in polite company,” he says. Naturally, this swagger reminds the Bloomberg-owned magazine of…well, Bloomberg:
So Steyer, 55, a major Democratic contributor, quit Farallon [Capital] to devote his time and much of his money to changing this reality. In doing so, he’s joined an emerging class of billionaires — including this magazine’s owner, Michael Bloomberg and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg-who have forsaken the traditional approach of working through the political parties and instead jumped directly into the fray, putting their reputations and fortunes behind a cause.
When people ask about his occupation, Steyer says, “I actually tell them ‘professional pain in the ass.’ Before, I was only an amateur.”
After liberals couldn’t get a cap-and-trade bill through a Democrat-controlled Senate before the 2010 midterms, Green wrote “Steyer and many other Democrats preoccupied with climate change are convinced that only a smash-mouth, confrontational style of politics can save the planet. He subscribes to the analysis offered in a recent paper by Harvard sociologist Theda Skocpol that the loss derived from Democrats’ naive faith that their best chance at climate legislation was cooperating with polluters on a grand bargain negotiated by Washington power brokers. The strategy failed to account for Republicans’ radicalization and use of the filibuster. And because environmental groups had neglected to organize, no grassroots pressure materialized when the legislation stalled.”
Notice that the radical environmentalists who hate the gasoline engine are somehow unlabeled as the story introduced the Republicans as radicalized.
The story underlines how leftists who hate billionaires intervening in politics grow mellow when they join their side.
“I’m not happy about big money playing such an important role in political campaigns,” says Henry Waxman. “But I want to see a pushback, and we can’t unilaterally disarm. I’m glad someone like Tom is willing to spend.”
Green says the problem for liberals on climate change hasn’t been their funding. “What was missing was any conviction among voters that global warming is an urgent concern.” Reporters don’t usually say that out loud. They just quietly ignore the issue until their liberal friends push it into the spotlight, and then they ignore it again.
Steyer appeared on “The Daily Rundown” on MSNBC on April 23, and declared
“I think that I’m very different from the Koch brothers in the sense that I have absolutely no personal interest in what happens except as a citizen of the United States. So whereas they’re representing points of view that are in their personal monetary interests, I’m actually representing the citizens of the whole country in terms of their diffuse interests against concentrated economic interests that the Koch brothers represent.”
Well ain’t he just the self-rightious little prick? Mr. Moneybags to save the world cause other rich folk just care about themselves. What an asshole!