Tag Archives: college

Do Not Get Mad: Focus!

i'm mad as hellEverywhere you look, the media is telling us how angry, disaffected and totally bummed out the American electorate is. We are not happy with anything. We are behaving like infants with colic. Why? Why are we so ridiculously upset?

Fox News and the rest of the conservative media have been telling us for the last eight years that Barack Obama is a failure. He has not only failed to move the country forward, but he is actively working to drive the country into the abyss. President Obama hates the military. His policies have hampered and crippled big business. Wall Street is a shadow of its former self because of the policies of Barack Obama. ObamaCare has ruined healthcare and killed jobs. Nothing is better. Everything is worse. Billionaire Donald Trump’s campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again,” which clearly implies that America is not great now.

Hogwash! If we roll the clock back to 2008/2009, we see the American economy careening down the hillside as if in a Road Runner cartoon. We were losing 600,000 jobs per month. We were going over the cliff and were going to crash land like Wiley Coyote on the desert floor. Splat! Barack Obama and the Democrats prevented certain disaster. There was the stimulus and multiple other measures instituted in spite of heavy Republican opposition and, for the most part, every single one of his measures worked. The economy turned around. 5.6 million Americans have found work over the last two years. The economy has had 70 months of positive private-sector job growth. This is great. This is nothing to be upset or pout about. If George W. Bush had accomplished this feat, we would never hear the end of how great he is.

In spite of all the bellyaching and whining, ObamaCare has pretty much done what it was supposed to do. Remember, as ObamaCare was being crafted, blue dog Democrats and Republicans worked hard behind the scenes to limit the scope and effectiveness of this legislation. Instead, ObamaCare was supposed to be a small safety net for middle-class Americans who could not afford healthcare. This health-care legislation would also help some lower-class or poor Americans who had full-time employment. Approximately 12 million Americans have gotten insurance through ObamaCare. One of the best things about ObamaCare is that it has eliminated crappy healthcare insurance (Remember that Americans paid for some healthcare insurance that really did not cover any hospital expenses.) Nonpartisan economic think tanks have found no evidence that ObamaCare has killed jobs, nor forced widespread cuts in workers’ hours, which was widely forecast by conservatives. This is another win!

Now, I am not saying that everything is wonderful and that we should all hold hands and sing Kumbaya as we walk into the sunset. Instead, I think it is important for us to focus on real problems and work for real solutions. Wage stagnation is a real problem. The average American is making the same or less than they were making five, 10, 15 years ago. The reason for this is multifactorial. This is not a new phenomenon under President Obama. This happened under George W. Bush. Manufacturing jobs have packed up and gone to Mexico, Malaysia and other Third World countries. The jobs that are left are in healthcare, which pays pretty well, and in the service sector, which pays fairly poorly. The other thing that we have to take into account is the fact that unions help put more money into the pockets of the average American. Over the last 20-30 years, unions have been crushed by big business and Republicans. So, if you want to be mad, this is something to be mad about. Americans are more productive than ever, yet we seem to be rewarded less and less for our productivity. The only people who are getting rewarded are those in the financial sector and the top 1%.

College tuition is another reason for Americans to be frustrated and angry. There was a time, not too long ago, when the government subsidized a good portion of college tuition. In the 1960s, 1970s and through the mid-1980s, state college was affordable to almost everybody. Suddenly, the government began to slash those generous subsidies. College tuition began to skyrocket. Students began to take out more and more loans and acquire more and more debt. When you graduate from school and owe $50,000 or $100,000 in debt, you will spend the next 15 or 20 years trying to pay off that debt. You really cannot afford a house. You really cannot afford a reliable car. You are simply drowning in debt. The fact that only a few politicians are seriously putting out plans to attack this huge American problem is pitiful. Without an education, it is hard to get out of poverty. Education is the key. If we are really the land of opportunity, then we have to tackle this education problem.

When you are mad, really mad, your judgment is clouded. You make epically poor decisions, like voting for someone who is known more for firing Americans than for hiring Americans. Once we settle down and take a deep breath, we find out that America is actually heading in the right direction. The economy is creating plenty of jobs. We just need to figure out how to get those jobs to pay more. We need education and housing to be affordable. We need our society to be more racially just. We can fix these problems. We need to learn how to compromise and work together. It is that simple.

NFL draft – craziness

Nowhere else do you see this type of unbridled craziness. You can only find it in the NFL. It is only in the NFL that you take a veteran quarterback like Peyton Manning and actually release him. The craziness of this particular move can only be understood if you’re both drunk and high or a delusional NFL football fan. Every year, for the last 10 or 15 years, right around draft time, people lose their minds. NFL fans, NFL owners, Scouts, everybody starts scrutinizing these young athletes. Everybody starts projecting their own hopes and wishes on these athletes.

The fact that the NFL combine is televised is simply crazy. It’s not just kind of crazy. It’s over-the-top nuts. Let’s just think about this for half a second. I’m supposed to spend some time sitting down watching these young athletes basically do calisthenics. Why? I don’t see how these “tests” translate into the ability to learn how to play in the NFL. If these tests were so good, if these tests were so accurate, why did Tom Brady fault of the sixth round of the NFL draft? Blaine Gabbert, how did he get drafted in the first round? Continue reading NFL draft – craziness

Electoral College; bye-bye

I don’t usually comment on local politics for a number of reasons including the fact that I just don’t follow it. But a recent Guest Commentary in the Asheville Citizen-Times is worth comment. The commentary is entitled Electoral College Part of Checks, Balances. The author, Dr. Joe Morgan, argues that the Electoral College is a “vital part of the checks and balances that have been written into the Constitution.” All I can say is that was exactly what I was taught in junior high school. Fortunately, I’ve grown up since then and found out the world is much more complicated than it was presented in junior high.

If we go back and look at the Electoral College, we find out something very interesting. We find an election system that was jerryrigged in order to please the South. The North clearly had a larger population of “voting” Americans. These southern states had a large population of “nonvoting” Americans — slaves. James Madison understood exactly what was going on when he said, “The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes.”

Without the Electoral College there would have been no America. The Framers had to balance liberty with reality. The reality was that Southern slave owners were not going to give up their slaves and they weren’t going to give their slaves the vote. This was the reality. Therefore, the Constitution was a balancing act between the slavery issue with the realities of the Southern slaveholders and the ideals of John Locke. Madison stated that the divisions between the states were not because of size “but by other circumstances; the most material of which resulted partly from climate, but principally from (the effects of) their having or not having slaves.”

With a little research, one can see that the Electoral College was developed in order to appease Southern states. I must question any system that was derived to appease slaveholders. As it turns out, the Electoral College system also discouraged Women’s Suffrage. There was no incentive for a state to give women the vote since more voters did not equal more Electoral College votes. The basic question is do we believe in a system of one man one vote? Do we, as Americans, truly believe in one man, one vote? If we do, then the Electoral College needs to be abolished.