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A Varied Menu For You To Consider - 06-25-09
Notre Dame And Obama
Offer A Splendid Lesson - 05-21-09
Upsets Even Liberals - 03-26-09
‘Adults In Wonderland’
Need To Get Real - 01-15-09
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Me? A Grumpy Old Man?
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Top Athletes Should
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Obama ‘Stumbling’ To Victory? - 5-08-08
"‘Charisma’ Not Always a Good Thing" - 2-27-08
"Nosy Congress Makes
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"Right Decision Could
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"Stop Trying To Make God A Republican" - 10-6-07
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March 25, 2010
President Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and their fellow arm-twisters claim a great victory for the American people. This despite the fact that there is considerable evidence that a majority of the American people don't want the kind of medical care reform which would be imposed on them by the legislation which was pushed through the House of Representatives by a margin of four votes-or slightly less than 1%.
The lengths to which Obama et al went in what became an almost frantic effort, involving all manner of pressures on wavering members of the House, understandably raises a question as to how much of the campaign's intensity was designed to promote the public welfare and how much was designed to try to restore Obama's fading leadership image and also improve Democratic prospects in the November elections.
I'm reminded of the expression "a Pyrrhic victory." Roman historian Plutarch wrote that the expression originated with Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, referring to a dearly-bought victory over the Romans in 208 BC-a victory which is said to have prompted this comment from Pyrrhus: "Another such victory…and we are undone."
An apt description of the Obama/Pelosi victory, in terms of they and their allies having bought their narrow victory at a heavy price in terms of credibility and, in too many instances, simple honesty. Two examples of the length to which the Obama/Pelosi team went or seemed willing to go if necessary:
To win over a Democrat who had taken a firm position against the legislation, namely the well-known Representative Dennis Kacinich of Ohio, Obama flew Kacinich, in Air Force One, to a rally in Kucinich's district, a rally which included a phone call from a hospitalized woman who urged Kacinich to change his mind and vote for the president's bill, according to an MSNBC news report. Kacinich, who had been pressured by Obama in four telephone calls, changed his mind, or at least his vote.
Speaker of the House Pelosi indicated at one point that she would be willing to pull off a parliamentary maneuver which would allow House approval of the medical care legislation without members having to publicly take a stand for or against the bill.
This approach was not used, but the fact that Pelosi was considering it says something about the level of the campaign and the principles-or lack of them-which guided the campaigners.
Pelosi's tactics included calling a meeting with female members of the House. Had there been a meeting to which only male House members were invited, you would, of course, have run the risk of being accused of discriminating against women.
* * *
I long ago gave up the hope of seeing a return to precise language in connection with the use of the word "gay."
With the willing if not enthusiastic cooperation of the news media, the word "gay" quickly became either an adjective or a noun by which homosexuals referred to themselves. Not infrequently, it has been also used to refer to lesbians.
But accustomed as I have become to such debasing of the language (I simply don't think any group should be able to appropriate a word to their own use, nullifying that use for any other purpose), I was still surprised recently to see it used so many times in a single news story. It was a sympathetic report on a heterosexual Nebraska native's crusade to end the U.S. Army's policy of not accepting or discharging individuals openly known as homosexuals.
The story used the word "gay" or "gays" 15 times instead of the more precise and accurately descriptive word "homosexual."
* * *
Half a continent apart, two recent developments spelled bad news for the policy of using a "socio-economic diversity" label to describe (disguise?) what is basically the continuing effort to mix white students and students of color (blacks and Hispanics) in school classrooms.
In Omaha, a recent newspaper headline said: "With a third of the schools able to take no more than 10 outside students and some none at all, diversity goal is tough to meet."
Bad news for the officials of the new Douglas County/Sarpy County "learning community" who have set a goal of assuring that every classroom will include the district-wide percentage of students whose family income level qualifies their children for free school lunches. (That figure currently is 40%.)
Meanwhile, in Raleigh, North Carolina, the news was that the Wake County school board voted to abandon the practice of busing youngsters back and forth within the county in order to achieve what was described as "socio-economic diversity" in classrooms throughout the county.
That policy will be replaced by dividing the county into "community school zones," with the emphasis on allowing students to attend classes closer to home.
Wake County had received considerable national attention as a model for other school districts which were interested in offsetting the effect of a 2007 United States Supreme Court ruling limiting the use of race in assigning students. (Don't use race as the overt determining factor any more. Use "socio-economic diversity" and produce the same practical result.)
In Douglas and Sarpy Counties in Nebraska, the obvious primary objective of a "socio-economic diversity" policy is to create a racial mixture by busing large numbers of blacks and Hispanics and some children from low-income white families into classrooms in more affluent neighborhoods. (Or, an even more formidable task, busing a significant number of children from more affluent neighborhoods into lower-income neighborhood schools in East Omaha and South Omaha.)
A more realistic objective, also being pursued in Douglas and Sarpy Counties, is to encourage moving students to classrooms in magnet schools to pursue educational opportunities not available in their neighborhood schools.
Hopefully, this more sensible objective will prevail as against "socio-economic diversity" efforts.
One difference-and, fortunately, it is a very significant one-from the compulsory busing of white children and black children back and forth is that the current efforts at mixing white children and children of color in the same classroom involves voluntary transfer of students from their neighborhood schools.
I wonder if the demise of "socio-economic diversity" as a nationally-recognized model in Wake County, North Carolina will have any influence on that policy in Douglas and Sarpy Counties in Nebraska.
I hope it does.
* * *
"Minority births nearly majority," the headline read. It was followed by this subhead:
"Demographers say this may be the year that more babies are born to minority parents than to whites."
This fundamental change in the historic racial character of the United States citizenry is due in significant part, of course, to the influx of illegal Hispanic immigrants-immigrants who have more babies than white mothers and whose babies, who, although born to an illegal immigrant, become United States citizens because of the unanticipated result of wording in the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution adopted 142 years ago.
The Associated Press story said that the numbers of babies born to minorities outnumbers that of babies born to whites "because immigration to the U.S. has boosted the number of Hispanic women in their prime childbearing years. Minorities made up 48% of U.S. children born in 2008, the latest census estimates available, compared with 37% in 1990."
The AP story also reported that whites currently make up two-thirds of the total of the United States population but recent census estimates predict that minorities will overtake the number of whites by 2050.
It would be one thing for the whites/minority ratios to change because of the differing birth rates between racial groups among United States citizens. It is quite another thing, I believe, to see that ratio change accelerated because of the presence of 10 million or more Hispanic immigrants illegally residing in this country.
* * *
Some odds and ends which I thought worthy of brief comment:
--When will supposedly responsible public officials stop promoting a street car system in Omaha?
The question was raised by Mayor Jim Suttle's pitch in Washington for federal money to finance construction of a street car system in Omaha. The cost, Suttle said, would be $200 to $250 million but could mean $1 billion in development.
One billion in development? What kind of development? Such careless use of figures doesn't enhance the new mayor's credibility as he struggles with balancing the city budget.
--The careless handling of numbers continues to be a major shortcoming of the journalistic craft. For example: We read that Nebraska's "unemployment rate" edged up to 4.7% compared to 4.6% the month before.
But, as usual, we're not given the slightest idea of how anybody calculates such a precise "jobless rate." And what does it mean anyhow? There are a lot more than 4.7% of Nebraskans who don't have a job.
Does it mean the number of persons who have applied for unemployment compensation? It so, tell us so. And we must keep in mind that we hear repeated stories of persons who, losing their jobs, withdraw from the labor market for whatever reason and don't apply for unemployment compensation.
--We read that the Taliban are trying to create a kinder, gentler image, instructing that their terrorists try to avoid blowing up civilians as they attempt to kill NATO troops, including Americans, in a Muslim-style jihad or "holy war."
Among the instructions from a kinder, gentler Taliban leadership; Their Muslim followers should avoid blowing up schools or cutting off ears, lips and tongues.
Is that bizarre relaxation of religion-approved cruelty supposed to leave us with the impression that Muslim terrorists aren't such bad guys after all?
--New York Times columnist David Brooks recently discussed "the underlying tragedy" in Haiti. Incredibly, as I see it, among the extensive list of problems with which the Haitians must deal themselves, possibly with assistance from countries like America, Brooks did not include birth control.
Too touchy a subject for columnist Brooks? Whatever. It is a problem that must be addressed if we are to make real progress in a worldwide effort to reduce poverty.
* * *
To close on a lighter note:
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