Thursday, October 18, 2012

Random thoughts

• Candy Crowley. Should I say “I told you so?” Although it would have been written and reported that Romney was peevish, don’t you wish Mitt had said “Candy, if you are going to continue to interrupt me and fact check (erroneously) for the president, why don’t you go stand next to him.” Crowley’s open partisan behavior especially in interjecting that the president said at the outset that Libya was a terrorist attack when she had previously admonished David Axelrod that it was not, is the stuff that used to get people fired. Anyone taking bets that Crowley will stay on the job? • What about those anti-capitalist Nationwide Insurance ads that say “We don’t have shareholders so we make our policyholders first”? I expect Obama to show up saying “I endorse this message.” Well studies comparing mutual savings and loans to stock savings and loans show that the mutual organizations are less efficient and more wasteful than stock organizations. The mutual executives have significantly higher perks than those who run firms with stockholders. The stockholders (the market) provide oversight that lessens waste. So in reality the absence of stockholders is a bad thing, not a good one. • Have you noticed that the polls are suddenly showing Romney strongly in the lead? How could he possibly have gained 11 points in Wisconsin seemingly overnight? How could all of a sudden he be even with women nationwide? How come all of a sudden his national lead is 6 points? The answer is that as I have pointed out before, the polls have all been rigged with an oversampling of democrats. Again for those polls to be correct then the voters would have to show up on voting day in the same proportion as they are represented in the polls. Not likely especially given the stark drop in democrat registration. • I voted yesterday. I arrived at the polls 15 minutes early and the line was already out the door. One of the poll workers said that she had never seen anything like it. After I voted, the line was in the parking lot. I was told that the same was true all over east Tennessee. As a friend of mine said "I have been waiting for four years for this day!" Wonder who she voted for?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The coming election: Why am I so uneasy?

With the election coming I have a deep uneasy feeling that I have kept to myself. It is that whoever wins, the other side will actively try to tear this country apart. Consider all the invective on the left regarding the Tea Party, republicans and Mitt Romney. Need I say that the smear campaigns against each is actually a hate campaign. The left has yelled over and over that the right hates women - I guess even right wing women are supposed to hate women (who said it was remotely rational?), hates blacks, hates hispanics, hates gays, hates working class Americans and only favors corporate greed. I have even had people say this to my face. Even though blacks are becoming increasingly marginalized in this country, they still remain a powerful force. Defeat of Obama could galvanize many blacks to take to the streets. Joining them will be the anarchists, the Occupy Wall Street crowd, and the radicals on the left. On the other hand, the right has lambasted the "progressives" and Obama as socialists - if not communists - hell bent on the destruction of the country. An Obama victory could spur the skinheads, the states rights groups, the state secessionists, and the kook fringe on the right to take to the streets. Whoever that takes to the streets will likely be met with force from the opposing camps. The left thinks that the right tramples freedom and wants to institute a police state while ironically the right thinks the same about the left. While the right conjures up visions of Stalin on the left, the left throws Hitler back in the face of the right - even though Hitler was a socialist. Yes I know that four more years of Obama would be a continuing disaster on all fronts - domestic and foreign. Yes I know that Romney has the expertise to right the ship - but I am not certain if he has the guts to do it. But what I am not certain of is the reaction of the left if Obama loses or the reaction of the right if Obama wins. I have the feeling that we are in for some interesting times.

Monday, October 15, 2012

So who taught you how to read?

One of the most laughable bumper stickers out there is the one that says “If you can read this, thank a teacher”. Are teachers really responsible for kids learning to read? If so then teachers are also responsible for kids not being able to read. Both my brother and I could read before we stepped inside a school. The same is true for my kids and my brother’s kids. However, even a teacher would be able to teach our children to read. I am reminded of my brother who was a math major at Purdue saying that he did so well because he could not understand a word spoken by any of his professors. Nevertheless, bad teachers don’t teach kids to read and the inability of teachers to teach is blamed on the kids. Consider that the head of the Chicago teachers union said that the increased accountability demanded by the city administration over the dismal performance of the school system was “unfair” because “poor kids can’t learn”! ( Of course this is nonsense. Consider that virtually all these students can recite every word to the most complicated rap after only three listenings. Indeed, if Lil Wayne rapped War and Peace, these kids would know Tolstoy in a week. If I were a parent in Chicago I would be on the warpath. The problem is that in the education system only the students do not have an advocate. Lack of achievement is always laid at the feet of the students when the real culprit is the method of instruction. The teachers are taught methods that have demonstrated failure. Sure there are high achievers but studies show that these students excel regardless of the method employed. The colleges of education have an invested interest in their traditional methods and will defend them to the detriment of the children taught. Yet nontraditional methods such as Direct Instruction have been shown to produce proficiency rates in at-risk students that are equal to and even higher than those for students in high income districts. Its high time that we quit excusing the teachers and blaming the kids. As I have said before, if we want kids to achieve then we should privatize the school system, collect the taxes and turn it over to the Catholics.

Early voting = fraud?

Early voting in Tennessee starts on Thursday. I know that some on the right are contending that early voting equates to fraud. But the logic escapes me. I have yet to find any confirming evidence. Those that argue fraud also argue that if voters cast their ballots before election day, that there is no chance that opinions that might change at the last minute will be reflected. This, of course, has nothing to do with fraud. I for one always vote early. I live in a district with high voter participation. On election day, the lines are long throughout the day and the wait is long. To avoid this inconvenience, I vote early. It is my impression that most of us early voters will not be swayed one way or the other by later breaking news - the fabled October surprise. We are not the undecided and I am puzzled how one could be undecided in this particular election. Yet I heard an interview with an undecided voter who said that he was faced with two unsavory choices: between "more government and less freedom". Excuse me? Naturally in the tradition of today's news interviewers, there was no follow up to explore this bizarre notion. Now it has occurred to me that the argument regarding voter fraud does not relate to early voting where the voters go to the polls early but to absentee ballots. There the potential for fraud exists. The case usually cited is in the Minnesota senate race where the republican Norm Coleman lost to the idiot Al Franken because an unlikely 60 percent of the absentee ballots went to the democrat. It would be interesting to see if in states where the election commission is dominated by democrats, that their candidates get the most absentee votes and in states where the republicans dominate, their candidates get the most. Then there might be an argument that absentee voting is likely to be fraudulent. But to include early voting at the polls as fraudulent is a bit of a stretch.