20 thoughts on “News/Politics 11-25-16

  1. Note: Residents of the Houston, Atlanta and other Southern metropolitan areas will need to substitute the names of appropriate suburbs.

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  2. Ricky, I don’t think that article (8:53) really gets to the heart of the matter, because what it assumes to be part of the solution is actually a big part of the problem: that young people should go to college because “graduated from thus and so” makes them more employable. That makes college not about education (what a student can learn) and not even about job training, but just about getting through the four years to get your card punched at the end. I’d like to see college be about education, and a more educated adult be also more employable in fields where knowledge is important . . . but level of education isn’t judged by surviving one’s college years, or even by getting A’s in one’s classes. And this idea of going straight from high school to college, and then straight to a master’s and sometimes a doctorate, with little to no real-world job experience, is simply ridiculous. A student who chooses that route should find himself employable at a minimum-wage job at McDonald’s when he graduates, not in the sort of job that demands a resume, because “my parents paid for me to get multiple years of college” is not a resume-worthy note.

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  3. I think I partially agree with you, Cheryl. It is not just the “degree from thus and so” that makes one employable. It is also the type of degree. Students who major in engineering, accounting, computer science and certain other subjects from good colleges have no trouble landing good jobs. Too often, I see students pay too much to attend marginal schools and others obtain degrees in fields such as gender studies where there is no demand for new employees. I think if the students (or their parents) were actually paying the tuition rather than relying on government handouts or government subsidized and controlled loans, they (assisted by their parents) might make wiser choices.

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  4. Cheryl, I also agree with you about the importance of real world experience. The people in my family generally start working before they can drive. My son bagged groceries, delivered pizzas, worked at a golf course and parked cars before college. When he was at Texas A&M, he worked part time at the most important job on campus: the maintenance of the school’s athletic facilities.

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  5. College used to be about teaching you how to apply your education and think logically with a background of history to frame the references and specialized techniques for those of you fortunate enough to be engineers.

    My degree in English Literature was viewed with disappointment by some family members. But I mastered the language, learned how to write through a question and get to an answer.

    In actuality, the most important things I learned at UCLA were while working at the newspaper. I grew up a little, learned to accept responsibility for a poor decision (did that ever hurt), how to ask questions respectfully and how to do research. I also learned how to look someone straight in the eye, shake their hand and really listen to them–even if I disagreed or thought they were wrong.

    I’m not afraid to call people up and ask respectful questions.

    Those were more important skills for me, personally, to learn while at college but how I ever would have supported a family always left me uneasy. For that reason among many others, I’m thankful I married an engineer and gave birth to four math/science kids who like to read, love music and can write well. The best of all worlds.

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  6. From a dear friend, a college education professor:

    The morning after the election I went to the high poverty school where my students and I work with six and seven year olds. An African American girl immediately said to me, “Can you sit with me?” She told me she was afraid of the new President Trump because “he doesn’t like Black people and I’m Black.” In the same school, Mexican American children were crying because they thought they would be “sent back” or separated from their parents. In the same school, last year, a 10 year old Muslim girl had to be transferred to another school because she was being bullied so badly.

    When I tell others these stories, one said, “It’s the parents. They shouldn’t be telling their children these things.” A Trump supporter said, “It’s Hillary’s fault. She hammered the country with negative ads that kept repeating these messages.” Whoever is at fault we are all in new territory now. The teachers I spoke with November 9th are hard-pressed. How to reassure these children who may have real reason to be afraid?

    My question mirrors the first one, what parent would feed such garbage into their child’s mind–and for what purpose?

    We were talking about 9-11 and I reminded my son I turned off the television when it was time to wake up my fourth grader. I sat down with her, told her something terrible had happened in New York and that she needed to know before she went to school. We then prayed together.

    I did NOT fill her mind with those terrible pictures–that all came later when she had time to process things. I don’t understand the blindness of many parents. 😦

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  7. It is good to know that some seventh grade Texas boys are still completely politically incorrect. A boy at our church told the following story:

    The day after the election, the school secretary came to his class and called an Indian (red dot, not scalping) girl to the office. As she exited, a boy at the back of the class said (at a decibel level where it could be heard by all of the students, but not the teacher): “It’s happening!” The boys erupted in loud laughter while the girls stifled giggles until the reacher was able to regain control of the classroom.

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  8. Well maybe your kid will get lucky and be a standout student athlete.

    Or not…….

    This doesn’t sound lucky at all. And a big part of what’s wrong with education is it’s focus on non-educational things, like sports. Our educational institutes, top to bottom, waste billions a year on it. Clearly given the graduates cranked out of our schools today, that money would be much better spent elsewhere, like actually useful job skills.

    http://thefederalist.com/2016/11/23/thank-god-kids-mediocre-athletes/

    “This Thanksgiving, you should thank God for numerous things. You should thank him for the gifts of clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home. You should thank him for giving you a good job and a loving spouse. In addition to thanking God for your wonderful children, you should also thank him that none of your kids is particularly great at any sport.

    Don’t get me wrong: being an exceptional athlete is a wonderful thing. Considering that the United States has the fifth highest childhood obesity rate in the world (admit it, you’re a little disappointed that we’re not number one), I highly encourage you to follow my example and frequently tell your kids, “Go outside and play.” (Whether you include my follow-up words “and leave me alone, you feral beasts, I’m trying to finish my Federalist article” is up to you.)

    “But in light of Brad Wolverton’s recent profile of a family that responded to their daughter’s aptitude for swimming by annually sacrificing all of their free time and disposable income at the altar of a potential NCAA scholarship, you should definitely thank God that your kids haven’t displayed the athletic prowess necessary to trick you into spending a fortune you don’t have for a dream that will almost certainly never materialize.

    It’s Basically Playing the Lottery
    “Nearly eight million kids played high-school sports last year, the highest number ever,” Wolverton states. “But just 170,000 athletes — about 2 percent of those who compete in high school — receive a sports scholarship, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Many colleges award millions of dollars in athletic aid, touting individual scholarships worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the vast majority of athletes get nowhere near that much.”

    In other words, spending a plethora of dollars to pursue an athletic scholarship for your child is an idiotic investment strategy, roughly equivalent to dumping truckloads of gold down Mount Vesuvius on the offhand chance that the Roman god of volcanoes both exists and will be persuaded to respond to your abundant offering with a modest 401 (k). Yet many parents still choose to spend $70,000 trying to nab a $7,000 scholarship to a school that’s 70 percent more expensive than the affordable state university their kid could otherwise attend. Why?

    Since most of us don’t know more than a few people who’ve received athletic scholarships, I don’t think the answer is ignorance of the odds as much as it is idolatry of the heart. When their children display notable athletic talent, some parents become so consumed with the idea of a potential scholarship that they begin pursing it in an almost cult-like fashion, refusing to doubt the Almighty Scholarship (read: calculate the odds of getting one), giving money and time they don’t really have to purse the Scholarship’s favor, and forsaking every rival activity, be it church, music lessons, or a calm and quiet family dinner, in order to keep the Scholarship front and center in their lives.”
    ————————-

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  9. Speaking as the relative of five college athletes–two of whom won NCAA championships and one of course is a professional soccer goalie–don’t waste your money.

    They feel they worked their way through college; their class choices (and thus majors) were limited and at least three have life-long physical issues, maybe even the fourth. The final one is still in school, rowing hard.

    I’m thankful we steered clear of all that.

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  10. Now that I think about it, both my volleyball playing brothers have joint issues–one has a new hip and one anticipates a new knee or two.

    I have none of these problems after marching in the band.

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  11. I was surprised that coaches start pressuring good athletes not to take advanced or “pre-AP” courses as early as the 7th grade. If a child is planning on going to college, he or she better be taking all advanced courses. Not only do they need the discipline and knowledge, but the atmosphere, behavior of students and quality of teaching in the “regular” courses is not good. Yet I was amazed to see parents of pretty average athletes pull kids back into regular classes upon the advice of football or basketball coaches.

    I also was amazed at the money spent by parents on sports. The first time I pulled together an “all Star” team to play in a DFW basketball league for 8th graders, I asked the coach of the other team, “Which of your players is your son?” He stunned me by telling me he wasn’t related to any of the players and was paid to coach the team. I was carrying our basketballs in a black garbage bag. Embarrassed, one of our mothers brought me a nice cloth bag for the balls before the next game.

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  12. Ricky,

    And the reason for that is?……..

    Because advanced courses are harder, so it’s harder to keep your gpa up, and maintain your ability to play on the present coaches team. It’s that simple, a coach’s only concern is making sure his best players are eligible and on the field/court. They aren’t concerned what happens once the kid arrives unprepared for college. Then it’s the next coaches problem.

    Sad.

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  13. AJ, You are right. However, most of those kids will never play a minute of college sports. Therefore, when the kid arrives unprepared for college it is his problem, and in many cases he is taking remedial courses at a junior college while his high school classmates who took the advanced high school courses place out of their freshman year at major colleges.

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  14. We certainly have issues in our educational system, however, that is not what drives our unemployment problem. Even if you get your education in STEM, you are still at risk of being displaced by foreign workers imported for the purpose of keeping wages artificially low. This was clearly demonstrated in congressional hearings earlier this year.

    …The hearing’s emotional high point came in the testimony of Leo Perrero, an information technology (IT) worker with 20 years of experience, more than 10 of them at Disney. In a voice choked with emotion, he told of being invited to a meeting with a company executive in 2014. Because of his previous excellent evaluations, Perrero said, he went in expecting a bonus or promotion. Instead, he abruptly learned that his job would end in 90 days and that, to receive severance pay, he would have to spend his remaining time with the company training his replacement. “[M]y team, along with hundreds of others, were displaced by a less-skilled foreign work force imported into our country using the H-1B visa program,” Perrero said….

    http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2016/03/displaced-american-stem-workers-spur-senate-hearing#comment-2559873380

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  15. Re: Nazis!

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/11/thoughts-from-the-ammo-line-143.php

    ________________________

    In May of 1970 I had helped organize a very large antiwar rally at the University of Minnesota to plan an even larger march to the State Capitol protesting the invasion of Cambodia and the killing of four Kent State students. Suddenly, a crazed-looking fellow rushed the stage and took over the microphone. Nobody on campus had ever seen him before. He might have been an agent provocateur, but he could just as easily have been an unhinged leftist. He said, (quoting from 46 year-old memory), “Wake up, people! Nixon is planning to cancel the elections! We have intelligence that ‘they’ are already constructing concentration camps in California! It’s Nazism, people!”

    A few students screamed and looked extremely anxious, but most probably were more worried about how they were going to get credit for Calculus when the exams were canceled during the student strike, or whether or not they were going to get a job a couple weeks later after graduation or whether there was any chance they might get laid that night. (I was already married, so heck, no worries for me on that score. Heh.)

    Nazis? Really? Way the heck in California? Fiddle-dee-dee. We’ll think about that tomorrow. Few activists really took that hyperbole seriously, but the Nazi word was flung about often. …

    … And now Donald J. Trump, who during the election was even called, ahem, a DEMOCRAT by some opponents (just because he voted for them, gave money to them, and partied with Hillary at weddings…), is now just another in a long line of Nazis. …
    _______________________________________

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  16. Ask any businessperson trying to operate a business for profit in America. A high school graduate who has taken “regular” courses has virtually no marketable skills. This is why the National Association of Manufacturers (the association for US manufacturers, who are primarily closely held businesses) says that 2,000,000 of the 3,000,000 plus manufacturing job openings that will open up in the next few years will go unfilled.

    Of course, a person can be productive with few skills if they have an outstanding work ethic. They can then acquire skills on the job. That is just what many immigrants do. It used to be what Americans did, but that was long ago.

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