Monday, June 19, 2017

Who Do College Speakers Need Protection From?

During the past few months several prominent authors and columnists have been invited to speak on college campuses... then dis-invited them, citing security concerns. So, why can't the schools provide adequate security? Just who is threatening violence? What is their justification?

From my perspective in the mountains of Utah, it looks like the schools are kowtowing to radicals among their students and faculty. On various occasions the administrators have told area law enforcement to stay away, to let the barbarians break windows and burn things.

What most of us don't know is how many times this has happened at colleges and universities throughout history. It didn't begin with the election of Donald J Trump. It didn't start with the Vietnam War. One of the earliest occurrences in the US happened at Thomas Jefferson's pride and joy, the University of Virginia.

According to an article by Carlos Santos in the Virginia Magazine, in 1825 "Jefferson, a scant seven months after the school had opened, had called the students to the Rotunda to chastise them for their egregious behavior, which he termed 'vicious irregularities,' after the hooliganism had escalated into the school's first riot. The students were hostile. His professors were threatening to quit. Jefferson's enemies, and they were legion, were ready to pounce and shutter the school they considered a godless playground of the rich."

See http://uvamagazine.org/articles/bad_boys for more details and accounts both of this event and of riots at Yale and Harvard. Then there was the time a University of Virginia professor was murdered...

So, my points are these:

  • Colleges and universities have a long history of failing to demand and get civilized behavior from their students.
  • This has resulted in students taking over buildings and assaulting people with no consequences. 
  • Many of their faculty members, once radical students themselves, side with the young hooligans "on principle."
  • These attitudes have led to many dysfunctional approaches to problems in academia, including pampered students who face no punishment or notoriety for their criminal behavior.
None of this will end until and unless those who reflexively contribute to their various alma maters decide to quit feeding the beast. Money talks, and the lack of money talks even louder!

Correction Time

Mea Culpa!

I am guilty of sloppiness concerning two senators with the same last name. They were:

Joseph McCarthy 
According to Wikipedia, he was born in 1908 in Grand Chute, Wisconsin. He is the infamous one, whose name has become attached to "reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents." He started his political career as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican Party in 1944. He died young, at age 48, in 1957 of acute hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, possibly caused by alcohol abuse.

Eugene McCarthy
According to Wikipedia, he was born in 1916 in Watkins, Minnesota. He is the more admired one, having supported many liberal Democratic causes. He was a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, which was affiliated nationally with the Democratic Party. He lived much longer, dying of complications from Parkinson's disease at the age of 89 on December 10, 2005.

They both served as US Senators from their respective states. Neither was a saint or a devil,  but history has been far kinder to the latter since the press has been far kinder to liberal Democrats for several decades now. For details as to their successes and failings, I suggest you look them up yourself.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Swinging Pendulum of Russophobia

When I was born in the 1950s, our nation was in its second "Red Scare" with such people as Senator Eugene McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) looking for subversives, especially communists in government and elsewhere in our society. This second "Red Scare" had originated with a Democrat, President Harry S Truman, whose Executive Order 9835 of March 21, 1947, required that all federal civil service employees be screened for "loyalty." Of course McCarthy was a Democrat, as were the leading members of the HUAC. 

So was most of Congress during that time. In fact, except for brief lapses in 1947-49 and 1953-55, both houses were controlled by Democrats until 1981. Yet today if you question people about the eras of the Red Scares, they'll tell you it was probably conservative Republicans who were engaged in the "witch hunts" which compelled private citizens (screen writers, actors, etc.) to bear witness against everyone around them.

By the time I became an adult in the 1970s the debate over the Viet Nam War had changed the narrative of things dramatically. By that time it was Democrats who conveniently overlooked the fact that Presidents Kennedy and Johnson had started the mess; Nixon and his party were the "hawks" that were guilty of warmongering and enriching the evil "military-industrial complex" which President Eisenhower had warned us about. 

It was also about that time that people began "remembering" the history of the Civil Rights Act as being a Democratic Party cause, forgetting that it was southern Democrats who had filibustered against it and Republicans who had rallied to pass it.

When President Reagan came into office with his goals of destroying "the Evil Empire" of the Soviet Union, suddenly Republicans were being castigated as warmongers and Democrats were proclaiming that communism wasn't really that bad. Warren Beatty wrote, directed, and starred in "Reds," a movie in which an American journalist journeys to Russia to document the Bolshevik Revolution and returns a revolutionary, seeking to change America.  In 1989, many liberal Democrats seemed sickened by the demise of the Soviet Union.

In short, history was being rewritten before our eyes, and no one really noticed.

Fast forward to today: Russia, in the past few years, has gone from a country to build alliances with (anyone remember the heroics of Boris Yeltsin?) to one to "reset" relations with (Putin was too scary?), to one that's now suspected of hacking into everything and controlling our presidential election (Putin is too scary!). 

Attorney General Sessions has been forced to recuse himself because he had contact with a Russian ambassador during the campaign. General Flynn was forced to withdraw himself from consideration as the National Security Advisor because he talked to the Russian ambassador after Trump's election.

Have Democrats met with that ambassador? YES!

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2017/03/03/heres-a-list-of-democrats-who-also-met-with-the-russian-ambassador-n2293775 

Until last month only one group has stayed absolutely convinced that Communism is a good thing, that we need to all become Socialists, and that capitalism is the scourge of mankind: college professors! Yet today even they are chiming in that Russia stole the election from Hillary. 😕

Oh well, that pendulum does swing!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Am I Who?

This is not glurge, a syrupy bit of fiction designed to make the reader feel good. It happened, tonight, to me.

Tonight when leaving a restaurant with my wife, I noticed a homeless man sitting just inside the door with all his belongings in a black garbage bag. The temperature outside was 9° and it's supposed to go below zero tonight. The manager approached him and asked if he wanted anything. He said, "I just want a cup of coffee and to get warm." She said "Yes, it is a cold night."

On an impulse I then did something I have never done before. I pulled a $10 bill from my wallet and gave it to the manager and said, "See to it that he gets a full meal."

As I turned to leave, the man asked me, "Are you Jesus Christ?"

All I could say was "I try to follow him."

If anyone ever reads this, I'd like to know how you would answer that question.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hardest or Easiest Job in the World?

Now that the election's over, I'd like to call your attention to the job of the president, or POTUS as some insist on calling the occupant of the office. Given the ages of the various presidents when they entered office, it's no real surprise that they continued to age... but some aged more than others, presumably from the stress of the job:

http://www.boredpanda.com/before-and-after-term-us-presidents/

So, just how stressful is the job? Take a good look at each one and consider how they went about doing their jobs.

To my eyes, the one who was affected most in the shortest time was Abraham Lincoln. He truly served in an extremely stressful time. I can't imagine anyone else doing as well as he did with such a difficult task as leading the nation through a Civil War.

The one who I think was affected least was Dwight Eisenhower. After successfully managing the European theater of World War II, fighting with Congress didn't affect him so much. The bullets they shot at him were all verbal! He quietly did what he thought was best and ignored his critics. And he had impressive results. His behavior in office was that of a man comfortable in his skin, his grandfatherly smile reassured most Americans that he was doing the right thing because he cared for them. It was reflected in his extremely high approval rating during office.

So, how hard is it to be a peace-time president? Eisenhower made it look easy. Is it? No matter your politics, there will be those seeking your destruction. There will be people striving to use your power and prestige to enrich or empower themselves and their friends. You'll feel like you have a bulls eye painted on your back as the press snipes at you for every little thing you might do wrong... and even when you've done things right, they'll twist your words and invent errors you've never made.

What will Trump face compared to what he's seen so far in his life? Will he masterfully appoint and hire the right people to get things done? Or will he try to micromanage his way through as so many others have done? Will he pick fights with Congress or will he challenge them to write legislation the way the Constitution requires of them?

I believe a great leader inspires others to do great things. I hope Donald Trump will do just that.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Whew!

The great news is now that I've worked with my replacement in my church position (see prior post) I understand now why she seemed so foreboding to me and others who had gossiped about her. (Yes, it was gossip, and I'm sorry I listened). And, I find that I've much more in common with her than I would ever had guessed.

This lady has survived a traumatic traffic accident that broke her neck in two places. The doctors fused the vertebrae and she has healed—physically. Being a Texan, she has continued on with her life on sheer guts and willpower. She has put her energies into teaching people to excel at singing. She's even making a living at it!

What she hasn't done as nearly well is deal with her PTSD. It's affected her personality—she comes across as very brusque and insensitive—and is very hard to befriend. Here's a challenge I can look forward to! After all, I've tangled with that particular burden myself...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Waiting for a shoe to drop...

I’ve no idea how many people have ever read this blog. Perhaps I’m just writing for my own entertainment. One thing I do know is that I’ve mostly written about what I think about things and very little about what I feel about them.

Part of being a member of my church is the idea that we are “called to serve” in various positions by an inspired leader. The length of that service can vary by quite a few years. Eventually, we are “released” and someone else is called to serve. That release can come about by moving away, dying, or just because it’s someone else’s turn to serve in that position. Most of us muddle through new callings, gain in our skills, learn how to do things right, then we’re called to yet other positions.

Right now I’m in the most difficult part of that process. After being for a few years in a position I loved, someone else has grudgingly accepted a call to that position. She seems to not care too much for it and is talking about scaling it all back to suit her existing calendar. I’m finding it hard to keep my mouth shut and am wondering how long it will take for her to destroy what I (and my predecessors) built up.


I hope I get called to something else soon! Not having a position is bad enough without this drama.