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Posts Tagged ‘EDUCATION’

KARMA IS A REPUBLICAN BITCH

In Bureaucracy, History, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on March 24, 2020 at 12:05 am

Americans are living through extraordinary times. For many Republicans, who have fought to convince Americans that Coronavirus was simply a Democratic hoax, are now fighting for their lives.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is the first United Sates Senator to test positive for the virus. But other Republicans have also been forced to self-quarantine.

Among these:

  • Senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee (R-UT) announced on March 22 that they would self-quarantine because of their association with Paul.
  • On March 15, Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ) said that he would work from home “until otherwise told by doctors” after learning that “a member of our DC team” had tested positive.
  • Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) put out a statement on March 8 saying that he had been notified that during  his attendance of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in March, he was in contact with someone who had tested positive for Coronavirus. He said that he would “remain at my home in Arizona until the conclusion of the 14-day period following my interaction with this individual.”
  • On March 17, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that he had completed a period of self-quarantine.
  • On March 17, the office of Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced that he had decided to self-quarantine after meeting with a Colorado constituent who later tested positive for Coronavirus.
  • Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO) said in a statement on March 18 that she would self-quarantine after meeting with a member of Congress who had tested positive for Coronavirus.
  • On March 12, Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) said that he would self-quarantine after possibly mingling with a member of a Brazilian delegation at Mar-a-Lago who tested positive for Coronavirus.
  • On March 15, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced that he tested negative for Coronavirus.
  • Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) said on March 18 that he was going into self-quarantine after he held an “extended meeting” with Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) who has tested positive for Coronavirus.
  • On Mach 19, Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) announced that he would self-quarantine upon learning that Diaz-Balart had tested positive for Coronavirus.
  • Representative Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) announced on March 10 that his Coronavirus test results came back negative.
  • On March 9, Representative Doug Collins (R-GA) said that he would self-quarantine after CPAC organizers found of photo of him and the conference attendee who tested positive.
  • Representative Drew Ferguson (R-GA) said on March 18 on Twitter that he was going into self-quarantine after being in contact with a member of Congress who has tested positive for Coronavirus.

This is not to imply that only Republican members of Congress have gotten Coronavirus.

Democrats have, too—and will self-quarantine:

  • Representative Julia Brownley (CA) 
  • Representative Don Beyer (VA) 
  • Representative John Yarmuth (KY)
  • Representative Ben Ray Luján (NM)
  • Representative Gwen Moore (WI) 
  • Representative Jason Crow (CO)
  • Representative Matt Cartwright (PA) 
  • Representative Stephanie Murphy (FL) 
  • Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice (NY)
  • Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi (NY)
  • Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC)
  • Democratic Rep. David Price (NC) 
  • Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids (KS) 
  • Democratic Rep. Andy Kim (NJ) 
  • Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (TX) 

US Democratic Party Logo.svg

The difference between the two political parties: While Democrats overwhelmingly accept Coronavirus as a deadly reality, a far smaller portion of Republicans do. 

A Pew Research Center study released on March 18 found that 59% of Democrats called the virus a major threat to Americans’ health. But only 33% of Republicans agreed.

This despite the fact that medical experts and epidemiologists have warned that the virus could affect many millions of Americans, regardless of political party or state.

Twelve percent of Democrats believe President Donald Trump is doing a good job handling the crisis and 23% believe Vice President Mike Pence is doing a somewhat or very good job. But 82% of Republicans said Trump was doing a somewhat or very good job, and 78% said the same for Pence. 

Image result for Public domain images of Donald Trump

Donald Trump

No doubt much of this divide stems from Trump’s initial refusal to take the disease seriously. On February 28, at a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, Trump claimed: “Now the Democrats are politicizing the Coronavirus….This is their new hoax.”

Throughout his Presidency, Trump has used “hoax” to attack his opponents, such as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump’s collaboration with Russian Intelligence agents during the 2016 Presidential campaign.

And Republicans have utterly tied themselves to him since the 2018 mid-term elections, where many moderate Republicans lost their seats.

According to Toluse Olorunnipa, White House reporter for The Washington Post: “They have realized that if they’re going to keep their seats, if they’re going to be able to have any future in the party, they have to be completely tied to President Trump and really wait for his call in terms of what exactly they’re going to do.”

Another reason why Republicans—voters and politicians—refuse to take the Coronavirus outbreak seriously lies in their changed attitude toward higher education.

An August 2019 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 59% of Republicans say higher education has a negative effect on the country. Only 18% of Democrats agreed with that.

During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Trump infamously said: “I love the poorly educated!”

Now they have a champion in their contempt for education generally and science in particular.

IGNORANCE IS VOTES

In Bureaucracy, History, Politics, Social commentary on February 25, 2016 at 9:55 am

After winning the Republican Nevada primary with over 44% of the votes on February 23, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump gave the expected victory speech.  

But it came with an unexpected moment:  

“So we won the evangelicals.  We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated. We’re the smartest people, we’re the most loyal people.”  

Related image

Donald Trump

“I love the poorly educated.”  

As well he might: Polls have consistently shown that Trump relies on less-educated adults for his support. 

Among Republicans, 71 percent of non-college graduates view Trump favorably, while 46 percent of college graduates support him.

In fact, appealing to the ignorant and uneducated has become a commonplace for politicians on the Right. 

President John F. Kennedy speed-read several newspapers every morning. He nourished personal relationships with the press-–and not for altruistic reasons. 

These journalistic relationships gave Kennedy additional sources of information and perspective on national and international issues. 

But in 2012, Republican Presidential candidates celebrated their ignorance of both. 

Herman Cain by Gage Skidmore 4.jpg

Herman Cain

Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain famously said, “We need a leader, not a reader.” In doing so, he stole this line from the fictionalized “President Schwarzenegger” in The Simpsons Movie.

Thus he excused his ignorance of the reasons for President Barack Obama’s intervention in Libya. 

Then-Texas Governor Rick Perry showed similar pride in not knowing there are nine judges on the United States Supreme Court: 

“Well, obviously, I know there are nine Supreme Court judges. I don’t know how eight came out my mouth. But the, uh, the fact is, I can tell you–I don’t have memorized all of those Supreme Court judges. And, uh, ah– 

“Here’s what I do know. That when I put an individual on the Supreme Court, just like I done in Texas, ah, we got nine Supreme Court justices in Texas, ah, they will be strict constructionists….” 

In short, it’s the media’s fault if they ask you a question and your answer reveals your own ignorance, stupidity or criminality. 

Then there was Sarah Palin’s rewriting of history via “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”: 

He warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and, um, making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that, uh, we were going to be secure and we were going to be free.” 

In fact, Revere wasn’t warning the British about anything.  He was warning his fellow Americans about an impending British attack–as his celebrated catchphrase “The British are coming!” made clear. 

Republicans have attacked President Obama for his Harvard education and articulate use of language. Among their taunts: “Hitler also gave good speeches.” 

And they resent his having earned most of his income as a writer of two books: Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope. As if being a writer is somehow subversive. 

When President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, it was said that he left three great legacies to his country:

  • The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty;
  • The Apollo moon landing; and
  • The Vietnam War.  

But there was a fourth legacy–and perhaps the most important of all: The belief that mankind could overcome its greatest challenges through rationality and perseverance. 

White House painting of JFK

At American University on June 10, 1963, Kennedy called upon his fellow Americans to re-examine the events and attitudes that had led to the Cold War. And he declared that the search for peace was by no means absurd: 

“Our problems are man-made; therefore, they can be solved by man.  And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. 

“Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable, and we believe they can do it again.” 

Today, politicians from both parties cannot agree on solutions to even the most vital national problems. 

On November 21, 2011, the 12 members of the “Super-Committee” of Congress, tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in cuts in government spending, threw up their hands in defeat. 

During the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy spoke with aides about a book he had just finished: Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August, on the events leading to World War 1.

He said that the book’s most important revelation was how European leaders had blindly rushed into war, without thought to the possible consequences.

Kennedy told his aides he did not intend to make the same mistake-–that, having read his history, he was determined to learn from it. 

When knowledge and literacy are attacked as “highfalutin’” arrogance, and ignorance and incoherence are embraced as sincerity, national decline and collapse lie just around the corner.

PROBLEM STUDENTS: U.S. AND MEXICO

In Politics, Social commentary on February 20, 2012 at 12:24 pm

A two-time “Teacher of the Year” in Arlington, Texas, is now fighting to keep her job.

Her crime: Telling a disruptive Hispanic student: “Go back to Mexico.”

Shirley Bunn has spent 24 years as a teacher.  But her career as a math instructor at Barnett Junior High School could end with what she called a moment of frustration.

On September 30, she was distributing Title 1 forms to her eighth-grade students.

That was when a student who had a history of being disruptive repeatedly demanded a form printed in Spanish: “I’m Mexican, I’m Mexican.”

Bunn tried to tell him that he could get the forms in the office.

Instead, he continued arguing with her and loudly repeaing, “I’m Mexican.”

“Then go back to Mexico,” replied Bunn.

The school board placed Bunn on paid leave, until an independent hearing examiner could review the case.

“It was a very, very hard week, the end of six weeks,” Bunn, 63, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  “It was late in the day. It was a Friday.

“We were on the third day of the first curriculum assessment and I knew it wasn’t going well. It was just an extremely bad day,” Bunn said.

Bunn had previously had problems with a disruptive group of Mexican boys in her class.

An independent hearing examiner recommended that the district reinstate Bunn.  He cited her student approval, two “Teacher of the Year” awards, excellent appraisals and volunteer efforts with a Hispanic heritage organization.

The school board is expected to decide Bunn’s fate before March.

Could this have happened in Mexico?  Hardly.

First, let’s consider the matter of nationality.

Is this student an American citizen?  If he isn’t, then he shouldn’t even be in the United States.

Because if he was an American citizen living illegally in Mexico, the Mexicans wouldn’t hesitate to kick him out.

Mexico has a tough, streamlined law that ensures that foreign visitors and immigrants are:

• in the country legally;
• have the means to sustain themselves economically;
• not destined to be burdens on society;
• of economic and social benefit to society;
• of good character and have no criminal records; and
• contributors to the general well-being of the nation.

The law also ensures that:

• immigration authorities have a record of each foreign visitor;
• foreign visitors do not violate their visa status;
• foreign visitors are banned from interfering in the country’s internal politics;
• foreign visitors who enter under false pretenses are imprisoned or deported;
• foreign visitors violating the terms of their entry are imprisoned or deported;
• those who aid in illegal immigration will be sent to prison.

Next, let’s look at the student’s demand for a Spanish-printed form.

Again, in Mexico, that simply wouldn’t happen.  In fact, it couldn’t happen.

Because Mexico has only one officially recognized language–and that’s Spanish.  And the country doesn’t print out forms in any other language.

As the Mexican Government sees it: If you can’t hack it in Spanish, then go back to where you can speak the language.

But, in the United States, there’s a different standard–of catering to the demands of every uninvited visitor.  And even of those visitors who deliberately, systematically vi0late our immigration laws.

Third, let’s look at the student’s known history as disruptive.

Why should one trouble-making student be allowed to disrupt the lives of those students who come to school to actually learn?  Why should a teacher–or, more likely, many teachers–be expected to put up with a mouthy teen punk?

Certainly, in Mexico, such misbehavior would not be tolerated:

  • In Mexican schools, parents do not question the role of the teacher and school in giving their children a fundamental education. 
  • The teacher stands and teaches; students sit and learn.
  • Calling your teacher by his or her first name–as is common in American schools–is unthinkable.
  • Students are addressed as Joven (Youth), followed by their name.  This gives them a title–and denotes their inexperience, which puts the onus on them to gain experience.
  • How a student acts reflects not only upon him but his family.
  • Teachers don’t hesitate to make students aware of what is expected of them–and what is not expected.

A favorite way ot doing this is to call a student before the class and ask his fellow pupils, “What is wrong with this picture?”

Typical student answers:

“He doesn’t wash his hair.”

“He doesn’t study enough.”

“She cheated on a test last week.”

It’s embarrassing to have your peers air out your dirty laundry.  But it’s also highly effective.

In deciding the fate of two-time “Teacher of the Year” Shirley Bunn, the school board can do more than reinstate her.

It can demand that its students–including the Mexican ones–show respect for their teachers and fellow students.

The way they’re required to in Mexico.

WHAT DIED IN DALLAS

In History, Politics on December 13, 2011 at 10:38 am

Forty-eight years ago, two bullets slammed into the neck and head of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Many writers have noted that more than the President died that day.  With him died his wit, intelligence,  charisma and ability to arouse the hearts of the young and idealistic.

But something more died with Kennedy on November 22, 1963: Americans’ belief that mankind could overcome its greatest challenges through rationality and perseverence.

At American University on June 10, 1963, he called upon his fellow Americans to re-examine the events and attitudes that had led to the Cold War.

And he declared that the search for peace was by no means absurd:

“Our problems are man-made; therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.

“Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable, and we believe they can do it again.”

Today, politicians from both parties cannot agree on solutions to even the most important national problems.

On November 21, the 12 members of the “Super-Committee” of Congress, tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in cuts in government spending, threw up their hands in defeat.

President Kennedy, a speed-reader, scanned several newspapers every morning.  He cultivated relationships with members of the press–and not for entirely altruistic reasons.

These journalistic relationships gave Kennedy additional sources of information–and perspectives–on national and international issues.

Today even Republican Presidential candidates take pride in their ignorance of both.

Herman Cain famously said, “We need a leader, not a reader.”  Thus he excused his ignorance of the reasons for President Obama’s intervention in Libya.

Texas Governor Rick Perry showed similar pride in not knowing there are nine judges on the United States Supreme Court:

“Obviously, I know there are nine Supreme Court judges. I don’t know how eight came out my mouth. But the, uh, the fact is, I can tell you — I don’t have memorized all of those Supreme Ccourt judges. And, uh, ah —

“Here’s what I do know. That when I put an individual on, just like I done in Texas, ah, we got nine Supreme Court justices in Texas, ah, they will be strict constructionists….

“That’s what Americans care about. Uh, they’re not  looking for a robot that can, uh, spit out, uh, the name of every Supreme Court  justice, or, ah, the the someone that’s gonna be perfect in, in, in every way.”

And Sarah Palin, rushing to the defense of Newt Gingrich last May, blamed the media for “tricking” him into revealing his opposition to Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan.

“There’s got to be the preparation on all the candidates’ parts for those gotchas,” she said. “That’s what the lamestream media’s known for now a days, it’s the gotcha trip up questions and you just have to be prepared for it and overcome it.”

In short, it’s the media’s fault if they ask you a question and your answer reveals your own ignorance, stupidity or criminality.

During the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy spoke with aides about a book he had just finished: Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August, on the events leading to World War 1.

He said that the book’s most important revelation was how European leaders had blindly rushed into war, without thought to the possible consequences.

Kennedy told his aides he did not intend to make the same mistake–that, having read his history, he was determined to learn from it.

What a complete contrast that is from today’s woeful historical ignorance among Republican Presidential candidates–and those who aspire to be.

Consider Palin’s rewriting of history via “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”:

“He warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and, um, making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that, uh, we were going to be secure and we were going to be free.”

In fact, Revere wasn’t warning the British about anything. Instead, he was warning the Americans about an impending British attack — as his celebrated catchphrase “The British are coming!” made clear.

Republicans have attacked President Obama for his Harvard education and articulate use of language.  Among their taunts: “Hitler also gave good speeches.”

And they resent his having earned most of his income as a writer of two books: Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope.  As if being a writer is somehow subversive.

When knowledge and literacy are attacked as “highfalutin'” arrogance, and ignorance and incoherence are embraced as sincerity, national decline lies just around the corner.

In retrospect, the funeral for President Kennedy marked the death of more than a rational and optimistic approach to American politics.  It marked the death of Americans’ pride in choosing reasoned and educated citizens for their leaders.

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