Saturday, February 7, 2009

Speaking of Higher Education

We have discovered that even more chutzpah has been demonstrated by America’s Colleges and Universities. They have had the gall to request “stimulus” assistance from the congress in the most recent attempt at lading more pork into the package.

These folks have enjoyed some spectacular success over the last few years in the growth of their endowments. During the fiscal year 2005, their total endowments of the (then) 721 colleges and universities reported by the NACUBO (National Association of Colleges and University Business Offices) were a little over $440,000,000,000.00. Read that nearly a half a trillion dollars. Since that citation they enjoyed two years of average double digit growth in the total amount of their endowment.

Led by Harvard ($38 billion) and Yale ($28 billion) we find that 56 institutions enjoyed funds in excess of a billion each. 110 enjoyed a half billion or more and 334 had at least $100 million plus. The balance then diminishes on down until we come to the lowest on the list, Georgia Perimeter College which boasts a mere $440,000. In some cases, these individual endowments exceed the total Gross National Product of many of the world’s countries.

This is not to be confused with the normal operating income for the institutions which comes from tuition, federal state, and local taxes, fees, and other sources to keep the operation running on a daily basis. These are trust funds which are supplied by alumni, private companies, and dedicated estates which are a surplus to be distributed as the boards direct. Since they are invested they have made some spectacular gains. Any one who has roamed beside the ivy covered walls and made it to the stage to receive his sheepskin is all too familiar with the begging of alumni callers asking for funds for the endowment. It never stops and you are assured that any donation of cash, estate, stocks, convertible debentures or used cars will be accepted.

One wonders, since the accumulated funds in the endowments are roughly half of the most historic stimulus in history why they feel the need to ask for more. Possibly, if they truly were concerned about the country they might wish to pony up a few billion themselves rather than come, hat in hand, to join the rest of the supplicants.

It is possible that funds are needed in reserve to preserve the possibility of establishing new programs to finance the “angry” studies programs which have become so vogue on campus. Women’s Studies, African American Studies, Gay and Lesbian Studies, American Indian Studies, Defame Old White Men Studies, Che, Castro and Pol Pot Studies, Revolutionary Literature, Mexicans as Illegals Studies, Anything Which Diminishes America Studies, each with it’s own department head and biased faculty exists to poison the minds of kids and avoid the “Hard” sciences. You can even sign up for a course on how to make religious sculpture out of feces. Do you remember when “coach” taught biology to the “jocks” so they were assured an easy “A?” To their credit they all also had to take some courses to educate them for a real world.

As usual, we are embarrassed by our so called “educational” institutions and their lack of seriousness in their assigned roll. Please spare me the plea that our Bible colleges have fared much better. Some of them no longer teach the virgin birth or the resurrection. Lacking this, what is the point?

Meanwhile, I shall just placidly sit here and await a rescue from the endowments by the direction of the University Trustees. Pass the popcorn, please!

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Friday, February 6, 2009

Yet Another Travesty

I have come more in recent years to judge the merit of about any argument by the level of opposition the left mounts against it. If the left has their undies in a bundle over Rush Limbaugh, he must have accurately hit a nerve. If Sarah Palin raises an undue ire, she must have great ideas and a governing style which is feared by progressives. Generally, the more they fight, the nastier they get, the more competent the argument they are opposing becomes. It is a nearly infallible rule.

Their latest attack came in the form of opposition to a senate bill introduced by Jim Demint (R-SC). When he observed the aid in the latest “bail out” (read that pork) bill to colleges contained a ban on any participation by faith based organizations or individuals, he rose to introduce a bill in the Senate to ban such a blatantly unconstitutional practice. In the original, it would not support any part of a divinity college, or buildings which were shared on occasion by groups of believers, or even so far as to refuse funds to repair dormitories which housed any youngsters of faith.

This would effectively enjoin such groups as Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Campus Crusade for Christ, Catholic Student Ministries, Hillel, and other religious organizations from the use of campus buildings. The bill as offered was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 43-54. For a complete look at how your Senator voted you need to check here.

Senator DeMint has issued the following statement:

“This is a direct attack on students of faith, and I’m outraged Democrats are using an economic stimulus bill to promote discrimination,” said Senator DeMint. “Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for siding with the ACLU over millions of students of faith. These students simply want equal access to public facilities, which is their constitutional right. This hostility toward religion must end. Those who voted to for this discrimination are standing in the schoolhouse door to deny people of faith from entering any campus building renovated by this bill.

“This is now an ACLU stimulus designed to trigger lawsuits designed to intimidate religious organizations across the nation. This language is so vague, it’s not clear if students can even pray in a dorm room renovated with this funding since that is a form of ‘religious worship.

’ If this provision remains in the bill, it will have a chilling effect on students of faith in America.“It is in hard times that our society most needs faith. It provides the light that no darkness can overcome. This provision is an attempt to extinguish that light from college campuses, from the lives of our youth.“In the words of President Obama today, ‘Faith can promote a greater good for all of us.’ Our varied beliefs can bring us together and rebuild what is broken.. It lifts those who have fallen on hard times. Our culture cannot survive without faith and our nation cannot survive without freedom. This provision is an assault against both. It's un-American and it's unconstitutional.

Intolerant and it's intolerable. ”This funding restriction is unconstitutional. In the 2001 Good News Club v. Milford Central School Supreme Court decision, the court ruled that restricting religious speech within the context of public shared-use facilities (or schools) is unconstitutional.Pages 164-165 of the stimulus contain the following prohibitions on the use of $3.5 billion available for renovation of public or private college and university facilities. (2) PROHIBITED USES OF FUNDS.—No funds awarded under this section may be used for—(C) modernization, renovation, or repair of facilities—(i) used for sectarian instruction, religious worship, or a school or department of divinity; or(ii) in which a substantial portion of the functions of the facilities are subsumed in a religious mission; or construction of new facilities.”

Well said brother but it will not alter the outcome of the vote. That will become fodder for lawyers to argue and no doubt the right will prevail because of the presence of that over riding document, The Constitution of the United States. Meanwhile, it will result in a deprivation of services for those faithful young people who happen to be in colleges and universities who seek federal money from this latest bill.

While we are on the subject, we will have more tomorrow on those same institutions and their relationship to the finances of America.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, February 5, 2009

An 8th Grade Education

This has crossed my desk before but not one so well documented. It is the eighth-grade final exam for 1895 in Salina, Kansas. The original document is on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in that city and also reprinted by the Salina Journal.

Given the importance of children in a rural setting to help with the work, they often did not have the luxury of twelve years to learn the basics. According to my mother who did teach in a one-room school, the instructors rarely had more than a high school diploma. After you examine this test you will have an excellent idea, without formal grading, of how well you would do if you took it. I’ll wager you will be hard pressed to get 70% correct and complete. It will also not take you five hours to make that determination.

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS - 1895

Grammar (Time, one hour)

1 Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of 'lie,’ play,' and 'run.'
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6. What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time,1 hour 15 minutes)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. Deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. Wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. For tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5 Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. Coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. Long at $20 per metre?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour)
[Do we even know what this is??]

1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, sub vocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals.
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?)
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each. 7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis-mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude? 9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete.

Gives the saying 'he only had an 8th grade education' a whole new meaning, doesn't it?! Take a glance at the wall and figure out how many framed certificates of advanced education you have past high school and consider the time you spent acquiring your knowledge. Do you find it a little bit embarrassing? I did. One of the refreshing features of this “quiz” is that one is presumed to have a lot of general knowledge. They furnish scant information to figure the price of the farm so you must already know what is meant by 640 rods. One also needs to know the number of square rods in an acre (160). In question 5 in Arithmetic, you must have knowledge of the relationship between a pound and a ton.

I watch my Amish neighbor’s children at their simple frame building schools as they also only have facilities through grade eight. Since we live in the middle of the community, we have more than casual contact and can appreciate the immense learning which they are able to acquire in that brief period. They come to those tiny buildings, heated by wood stoves in winter, lugging book bags and, no doubt, hoping that they don’t have to use the outdoor privies close by. They have neither electric, nor indoor plumbing facilities. Watching their exuberance at play is uplifting. Some of their remarkable progress is no doubt attributable to having the girls in one building and the boys in the other. The teacher’s horse placidly munches grass near the parked buggy. Altogether it is a bucolic scene.

So there you have it; you may now feel inferior to a 114 plus year old Kansan. One does wonder how they would fare in today’s world of unimaginable technology.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jefferson Speaks

In 1962, John F. Kennedy invited 49 Nobel Laureates to the White House and observed: "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent and of human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House – with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone." He was absolutely right. The third president of the United States, its second vice president, and first Secretary of State also excelled in several other fields of enterprise and scholarship. His greatest triumph, in my opinion, was his contribution to authorship of our beloved Constitution.

A sure measurement of classic thought has to be its timeliness in current condition and not application just at the time it was formed. To illustrate the point, I submit the following quotes on a variety of subjects which are much on the minds of US citizens today.

“When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe,we shall become as corrupt as Europe.” Thomas Jefferson

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from thosewho are willing to work and give to those who would not.” Thomas Jefferson

"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.” Thomas Jefferson

”I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent thegovernment from wasting the labors of the people under the pretenseof taking care of them.” Thomas Jefferson

”My reading of history convinces me that most bad government resultsfrom too much government.” Thomas Jefferson

”No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” Thomas Jefferson

”The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” Thomas Jefferson

”The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood ofpatriots and tyrants.” Thomas Jefferson

”To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” Thomas Jefferson

In light of the present financial crisis, it's interesting to read what Thomas Jefferson said in 1802: ”I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” Thomas Jefferson

I would not presume to comment further on President Jefferson’s observations other than to say “Amen!"

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


In a recent conversation over dinner at the church, we became embroiled in a discussion of the meaning of the word “scrip.” My brother used a meaning I was not familiar with and cited as an authority an individual I happen to have little faith in. Although my opinion of the individual has not changed, I must admit that the case made for his definition is very compelling.

The most familiar usage is in regard to instructions to the “seventy” in Luke 10 and the proscribed behavior they should practice. In verse 4 it states: “Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes; nor salute any man by the way.” Many have believed that “scrip” carried the most common modern definition of being used as a substitute for currency. Anyone who participated in an occupation force in a foreign country has familiarity with “scrip.” Actually, in that sense, it applies to any substitute for genuine currency or coinage: tokens, gift cards, credit vouchers, gift certificates, or just about anything of intrinsic exchangeable value other than the real thing in temporary use.

In a lesser circulated and understood definition is the usage derived from “ME, fr. ML scrippum a pilgrim’s knapsack.” This archaic application actually makes far more sense. The “purse” mentioned in the verse clearly indicates the presence of money and to apply the same meaning to “scrip” would be redundant. (I’m still uncertain about the “shoes.”) In scripture, we often find the same words repeated to underline significance, but not a duplication of words with similar meaning.

Actually the word “scrip” as applied as a substitute for money is a corruption of the Latin scriptum “thing written,” hence, its use in the pharmacy recognizing a note from the doctor regarding a prescription. Given the absence of the “t” in the Latin root words it is far more likely that the “knapsack” definition is the proper one. It just makes more sense.

This has been a learning experience at two distinct levels. First a reminder; the Bible is not a Tom Clancy novel to be read casually to follow a plot thread. It is an autobiography and highly detailed account of history. It is a vessel of knowledge of that which was, that which is, and that which is to come. Given that level of importance it needs to be studied, carefully examined and when in doubt, prayed over to seek discernment. Since the book has been written over the ages, it is often necessary to understand the use of some archaic terms and shun assigning their modern usage.

I should have realized that God does not waste words to reveal either His history or His will. Platitudes are the province of men.

The second level of learning is a realization that although I mistrust a man and his motives I should refrain from thinking him a fool and a charlatan. He is, after all, a child of God. It is inappropriate for me to enter a judgment since it is well beyond my pay grade. If I have a different opinion and set of values I should pursue him with less rancor and more love. For this, I apologize.

This road to perfection is sometimes a rocky one and nearly always uphill. I shall have to just keep on plodding. I have “miles to go before I sleep.”

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday Morning Rant 76

I had yet another joyous Sunday in Miami, OK. The Saints worshiped together with a fine sermon by Steve Kendall and then retired to the dining area to share a noon meal. I can not possibly express how much I enjoy their fellowship. Even with a late departure, I was able to arrive home before the long awaited Puppy Bowl.

A Tax Cheat

An interesting fact in the news in the last few days is the continuing difficulty of the new administration to find candidates for the cabinet who are not ducking charges of either tax evasion or illegal use of immigrant labor. Most prominent at the moment is good old Tom Daschle.

He came to the Senate from South Dakota as a man of very modest means. By the time he was finally ousted by John Thune we found he had become a millionaire. We also found him in arrears on his taxes by the sum of $128,203 plus interest (no penalty?) of an additional $11,964. It appears he accepted the donation of a limo and driver from a constituent and failed to report the value on his taxes. This error (or evasion) from 2005, 06, and 07 was cleared up in the nick of time to appear before the Senate investigating committee. Just about every tax payer knows that “value in kind” constitutes income. I can tell you from personal experience that when you win goods or services on a quiz show you are presented with the appropriate form detailing the cash value of the prizes for tax purposes.

Mr. Daschle shares a joint checking account with his wife, Linda, who has been a lobbyist for many years. He claimed that she did not lobby the senate, but only the house in her time in Washington. During that period, the couple acquired considerable wealth but we are led to believe that the wife of a US Senator never discussed any of the lobbying efforts with her husband. No mention was made of conversations they had about the “tooth fairy”, “the Easter bunny,” and “Santa Claus.”

One of the problems with re-cycling the left-overs from the Clinton administration is the comfort level these people have with defrauding the US Treasury. Surely there must be someone clean enough to pass muster and take these jobs. Maybe the president could flip through his Rolodex and find someone from Chicago who—never mind!

A Lynching in Springfield

Those of us who try to keep up on the news and then write about it are grateful to the Illinois Senate for returning a bill of impeachment for Governor Rod Blagojevich. I hope he decides to retire quietly and no longer be an item because I am just plain sick and tired of trying to spell his name. I did actually even learn how to pronounce it. What a waste of hair.

As I watched the proceedings, I was stricken with the matter of his fellow Illinois pols submitting accusations but not offer him the opportunity for rebuttal of witnesses, facing his accusers, or mounting a defense. I am aware that toward the end he had the opportunity to speak but that, in itself, does not answer the other questionable practices. I don’t care who you are or how serious the crimes with which you are accused, every citizen should have the complete right to a defense. I guess I’ll never ever understand politics in Illinois. The final tally was 97-0—I guess they wanted rid of him.

A National Tragedy

The consensus among many of the financial writers that I have read recently points to what I had suspected all along. The nation, in its resilience and ambition, would have probably righted itself and found a recovery on its own; minus several irresponsible banks and large manufacturing firms. As previously pointed out, we have lost huge corporations before and we shall again if the government would only get out of the way. As it is we have legislated away the public purse by throwing money at things which will do little to bring immediate relief. Even the long term value is questionable.

I found this entry by Dan Riehl which says it far better than I, so I shall repeat it here for your consideration:

“Eight hours of debate in the HR to pass a bill spending $820 billion, or roughly $102 billion per hour of debate.
Only ten per cent of the “stimulus” is to be spent on 2009.

Close to half goes to entities that sponsor or employ or both members of the Service Employees International Union, federal, state, and municipal employee unions, or other Democrat-controlled unions.

This bill is sent to Congress after Obama has been in office for seven days. It is 680 pages long. According to my calculations, not one member of Congress read the entire bill before this vote. Obviously, it would have been impossible, given his schedule, for President Obama to have read the entire bill.

For the amount spent we could have given every unemployed person in the United States roughly $75,000.
We could give every person who had lost a job and is now passing through long-term unemployment of six months or longer roughly $300,000.

There has been pork barrel politics since there has been politics. The scale of this pork is beyond what had ever been imagined before — and no one can be sure it will actually do much stimulation.

Wall Street didn’t have Obama’s chutzpah. And it didn’t do nearly the damage to the nation that this bill will do.”
Dan brought up some things which we all need to consider. Someone needs to remind the president and the Democrat congress that 57 million people did not vote for him. He has no clear mandate even though he acts like it. As his supporters are soon to find out, presenting speeches from a teleprompter is not governance. One is frivolous: the other vital.

And finally

I have been home a week now and I’m sure you can tell the difference. Although I thoroughly enjoyed being with the grandkids, I did miss the opportunity to visit with you through the blog. You all have become an extremely important component in my life. Everyone should have a sounding board to address to avoid the frustrations of watching the world fall apart around him alone.

We dodged the bullet on the latest ice storm and were only inconvenienced with very, very, slick roads for a couple of days along with some low temperatures. The snow and ice cover is now about 98% gone and only present where Jan and I step. I learned this last night as she raised her pant leg to show me the abraded areas from a fall. Dr. Moon has pronounced that she will live. Others, east and north of us, were not so lucky and will require all our prayers. We know from experience that it’s rough to lose your power—especially in a rural area.

To each of you, I extend hearty thanks for you patience and loyalty while I was off gallivanting.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon