Oct 092013

Dear young people of America,

I’m sorry. You’re entering a world that has condemned you to slavery before you were even born. No, not the full-blown, work-in-the-fields slavery you learned about in school, but something that has most of the same effects but looks far better: they take half of your life and expect you to thank them for it.

There are actually several parts to your slavery. Today I am speaking of the part you may know best: inescapable student loans.

Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone calls student loan programs “a shameful and oppressive outrage that for years now has been systematically perpetrated against a generation of young adults.”

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Aug 142013

“Is it surprising that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, which all resemble prisons?” – Michel Foucault

Once upon a time in America, parents breathed a sigh of relief when their kids went back to school after a summer’s hiatus, content in the knowledge that for a good portion of the day their kids would be gainfully occupied, out of harm’s way and out of trouble. Those were the good old days, before school shootings became a part of our national lexicon and schools, aiming for greater security, transformed themselves into quasi-prisons, complete with surveillance cameras, metal detectors, police patrols, zero tolerance policies, lock downs, drug sniffing dogs and strip searches.

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Oct 182012

“[P]ublic school reform is now justified in the dehumanizing language of national security, which increasingly legitimates the transformation of schools into adjuncts of the surveillance and police state… students are increasingly subjected to disciplinary apparatuses which limit their capacity for critical thinking, mold them into consumers, test them into submission, strip them of any sense of social responsibility and convince large numbers of poor minority students that they are better off under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system than by being valued members of the public schools.”—Professor Henry Giroux

For those hoping to better understand how and why we arrived at this dismal point in our nation’s history, where individual freedoms, privacy and human dignity have been sacrificed to the gods of security, expediency and corpocracy, look no farther than America’s public schools.

Once looked to as the starting place for imparting principles of freedom and democracy to future generations, America’s classrooms are becoming little more than breeding grounds for compliant citizens. The moment young people walk into school, they increasingly find themselves under constant surveillance: they are photographed, fingerprinted, scanned, x-rayed, sniffed and snooped on. Between metal detectors at the entrances, drug-sniffing dogs in the hallways and surveillance cameras in the classrooms and elsewhere, many of America’s schools look more like prisons than learning facilities.

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May 032012

College Education! huh-yeah

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing


First lets start with Paul Krugman’s post at NYT April 29th 2012 – “Wasting Our Minds” .

In it he attacks Mitt Romney calling him a silver spoon born elitist, who doesn’t care about the struggles of the young people seeking higher education and just encourages them to borrow and risk money to get ahead…

Let’s start with some advice Mitt Romney gave to college students during an appearance last week. After denouncing President Obama’s “divisiveness,” the candidate told his audience, “Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business.”

The first thing you notice here is, of course, the Romney touch — the distinctive lack of empathy for those who weren’t born into affluent families, who can’t rely on the Bank of Mom and Dad to finance their ambitions. But the rest of the remark is just as bad in its own way.

I mean, “get the education”? And pay for it how? Tuition at public colleges and universities has soared, in part thanks to sharp reductions in state aid. Mr. Romney isn’t proposing anything that would fix that; he is, however, a strong supporter of the Ryan budget plan, which would drastically cut federal student aid, causing roughly a million students to lose their Pell grants.

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Jun 092010

Hundreds of thousands of college students all over the United States have just graduated and are getting ready for their first taste of the real world. Unfortunately for them, the real world is not always easy and it is not always fair. In fact, for large numbers of recent college graduates, the transition to a world of high unemployment, brutal student loan payments and lowered expectations can be extremely sobering. But the truth is that we have taught these young people to have a completely unrealistic view of the future. We have told them to take out gigantic student loans without worrying about how they are going to pay them back, we have told them that if they get good grades and do everything “right” that the system will reward them with secure, fulfilling careers, and we have made high school and college so “soft and cushy” that most of these young Americans find that they don’t have the discipline and the work ethic to make it when they actually do get out into society.

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Feb 042010

We live in an age rife with oppression. No group of Americans is better aware of this than our nation’s youth. Young people today will most likely become the first generation in US history not to surpass their parents’ living standards. Consider the increasing proportion of young adults who are choosing to either remain living with their parents, or move back in with them. Rather than seek new opportunities on their own, they are choosing the security of home and hearth at the expense of their future.

Why is this so? There are many hidden causes, all of which corrode the economic prospects of the up-and-coming generation, and enrich a privileged few. This is not an isolated phenomenon. All across the globe, governments have discarded fiscal responsibility in favor of short-term spending on war, welfare, and bailouts.

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Dec 282009

Like a lot of American corporations that made mind-boggling profits over the last few decades, the Microsoft, IBM and Cisco technology companies have abandoned their own citizen workforce to exploit foreign workers. But this isn’t happening in some far off sweat shop, this outsourcing is happening right on American soil.

In this case, corporate power, channeled through high-paid lobbyists and fat campaign contributions, strong-armed elected officials into passing laws that surreptitiously squash the labor rights of both US citizens and foreign workers alike.

How these IT companies got away with this begins with a US visa named the H-1b. The visa was created in the early 1990s so US companies could hire foreign nationals with college degrees for up to six years of service. Foreigners began to apply en masse, and now, nearly two decades later, 600,000 are working in the country via the H-1b.

According to Gene A. Nelson, who wrote An American Scam: How Special Interests Undermine National Security with Endless ‘Techie’ Gluts, it was Microsoft founder Bill Gates who pushed and paid Washington the greatest to pass the H-1b visa law. Gates accomplished this by perpetuating a myth that America was facing a looming shortage of IT pros, scientists and engineers. Gates’ myth, states Nelson, earned Microsoft an extra $73 billion in profits between 1991 to 2005. Nearly all Microsoft H-1bs are paid a salary that’s far below the prevailing wage for their position and skill. Some critics estimate that out of the 600,000 H-1bs in the US, a third are being used by IT companies for cheap labor.

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Nov 122009

So as I mentioned, over the weekend I spoke at a conference in Philadelphia hosted by Students for Liberty, the really impressive, rapidly growing national affiliation of libertarian-minded college students.

One of the other speakers was Bob Bowdon, the occasional “reporter” for the Onion News Network (where he goes by the character name Brian Scott) and host of a forthcoming talk show on PBS.

Bowdon was speaking to promote The Cartel, a serious documentary he produced exposing some jaw-dropping corruption in the New Jersey public school system. New Jersey spends more education dollars per pupil than any other state, which Bowdon says made the state ideal for a documentary showing how much of that money goes to waste—and how little it buys in terms of actual education.

Here’s a trailer:

A couple years ago, Reason published a dizzying illustrated flow chart showing how difficult it is to fire a public school teacher across the river in New York City. Have a look here.

Radley Balko — TheAgitator.com

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Oct 252009

There are some facts about colleges that deans of higher education would prefer that you not know.

In addition to the fact that half of all college students drop out before graduation, there’s the reality that most of the high-growth jobs of the future do not require a college degree.

This flies in the face of the common wisdom of the past 50 years that said you must have a college degree in order to get a decent job. That’s true in some career fields (who wants to be the patient of a neurosurgeon who hasn’t gone through college and medical school?) but it’s certainly not true for all fields.

The U.S. government makes projections about the growth (or lack of growth) in different career areas. You can find those numbers at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) website. Here’s the latest BLS projection of above average growth and above average wage occupations. It’s an interesting document. Note that the projected increases in job growth are for a ten-year period (2006-2016).

When reading it, keep in mind that a high percentage increase in a given career field doesn’t necessarily translate into a lot of jobs. Check the “Employment” column on the left side of the page for actual numbers (in the thousands).

For example, on the first page you’ll see that the rate of increase for “aircraft cargo handling supervisors” is a healthy 23.3%. But that only equals 1,000 new jobs over the next ten years. Not exactly a booming career field in a country of over 300 million people.

On the other hand, note that while the BLS projects there will only be 10.4% more truck drivers needed over the next ten years, that’s the equivalent of 193,000 new jobs.

Once you become familiar with the chart layout, note the “source of training” column on the right side of the page. Most of the jobs on the first few pages do not require a bachelor’s degree. As you go through the document, you’ll find more jobs that do require at least a four-year degree. There are quite a few.

However, only a few of them show the highest growth potential in both percentages and numbers. They include a variety of tech careers, social workers, jobs in education, and accountants. For those willing to earn more than just a bachelor’s degree, a career as a pharmacist, physician or surgeon would certainly be a growth area to consider.

Still, most of the above average growth jobs that require bachelor’s degrees don’t equal many jobs. For example, only 100 jobs per year nationwide are expected to open up for archivists, anthropologists and archaeologists, marine engineers and naval architects, and atmospheric and space scientists. So unless your child passionately desires to become one of those professionals, you might want to gently point him or her in another direction.

Since many of the degree-required careers have such low projected job numbers, today’s parents have to think seriously about whether a degree is even worth it, particularly if their children’s interests and abilities don’t necessarily fit with the jobs with the most openings and growth in the future.

Again, colleges and universities will not tell you that the degrees they offer do not necessarily translate into good jobs, especially in the working world of the 21st century. This is one area where parents and their teens really have to do the homework for themselves.

Barbara Frank off of Barbara Frank Online

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Jul 112009

Interesting piece by Walter E. Williams.

Vicious Academic Liberals

Ward Connerly, former University of California Regent, has an article, “Study, Study, Study — A Bad Career Move” in the June 2, 2009 edition of Minding the Campus (www.mindingthecampus.com) that should raise any decent American’s level of disgust for what’s routinely practiced at most of our universities. Mr. Connerly tells of a conversation he had with a high-ranking UC administrator about a proposal that the administrator was developing to increase campus diversity. Connerly asked the administrator why he considered it important to tinker with admissions instead of just letting the chips fall where they may. His response was that that unless the university took steps to “guide” admissions decisions, the University of California campuses would be dominated by Asians. When Connerly asked, “What would be wrong with that?”, the UC administrator told him that Asians are “too dull — they study, study, study.” Then he said to Connerly, “If you ever say I said this, I will have to deny it.” Connerly did not reveal the administrator’s name. It would not have done any good because it’s part of a diversity vision shared by most college administrators.

With the enactment of California’s Proposition 209 in 1996, outlawing racial discrimination in college admissions, Asian enrollment at UC campuses has skyrocketed. UC Berkeley student body is 42 percent Asian students; UC Irvine 55 percent; UC Riverside 43 percent; and UCLA 38 percent. Asian student enrollment on all nine UC campuses is over 40 percent. That’s in a state where the Asian population is about 13 percent. When there are policies that emphasize and reward academic achievement, Asians excel. College officials and others who are proponents of “diversity” and equal representation find that outcome offensive.

To deal with the Asian “menace,” the UC Regents have proposed, starting in 2010, that no longer will the top 12.5 percent of students based on statewide performance be automatically admitted. Students won’t have to take SAT subject matter tests. Grades and test scores will no longer weigh so heavily in admission decisions. This is simply gross racial discrimination against those “dull” Asian students who “study, study, study” in favor of “interesting” black, white and Hispanic students who don’t “study, study, study.”

This is truly evil and would be readily condemned as such if applied to other areas lacking in diversity. With blacks making up about 80 percent of professional basketball players, there is little or no diversity in professional basketball. Even at college-level basketball, it is not at all unusual to watch two teams playing and there not being a single white player on the court, much less a Chinese or Japanese player. I can think of several rule changes that might increase racial diversity in professional and college basketball. How about eliminating slam dunks and disallowing three-point shots? Restrict dribbling? Lower the basket’s height? These and other rule changes would take away the “unfair” advantage that black players appear to have and create greater basketball diversity. But wouldn’t diversity so achieved be despicable? If you answer yes, why would it be any less so when it’s used to fulfill somebody’s vision of college diversity?

Ward Connerly ends his article saying, “There is one truth that is universally applicable in the era of ‘diversity,’ especially in American universities: an absolute unwillingness to accept the verdict of colorblind policies.” Hypocrisy is part and parcel of the liberal academic elite. But the American people, who fund universities either as parents, donors or taxpayers, should not accept this evilness and there’s a good way to stop it — cut off the funding to racially discriminating colleges and universities.

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