Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Morning Rant 144

As I typed the header for this post, there came a flash-back to those heady days of my post war youth—the late forties. Typical of kids in most any time period, we had an overworked expression which we thought clever. “That’s gross!” had a constant presence in our speech and was applied to almost anything which was even slightly out of line or disgusting. That word—gross—always comes to mind when the number “144” surfaces for whatever reason.

This is a perfect number for a conservative mind if you think about it. In the universe of numbers it is neat and tidy and functions well and evenly with numerous divisors (2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 16, 18, etc.) Even 48, the number of states in the union at that time was an exact division (3) and perfect for a display of stars on a field of rich blue.

It has long been a popular measure of commerce because of its convenient divisions. It stacks, shelves, and orders well and often offers substantial discounts when the quantity is offered. An early success in business is often achieved when one first orders any item in that exceptional quantity for resale or manufacture.

Even as a clueless teen I often wondered why a number of such perfection was assigned as a descriptor of disdain. Looking back, I have nearly abandoned the search for explanations of what triggers such a substitution. One can only pray that the reader does not assign that decades old expression to the posting which carries its venerable identity.

Propaganda in Texas Schools

Many thanks to Elissa Stautner at Pajama's Media for an article on a clear cut case of dispensing the party line in a Texas High School.

In a class hand-out, accompanying illustrations were used to identify our two great divisions in thoughts on government by using both angelic and demonic cartoons. In the instructors mind, the liberal case was presented using the angel and the conservative was assigned the devil. The hand out then proceeded to distort the truth of the difference in egregious detail to perpetuate the typical liberal bias. Don’t take my word for it; check it out and see the hand out for yourself.

The example presented in the article is overt, clumsy, and suggests foregone conclusions for the students. Fortunately, the piece came to the attention of one of the parents and he was not amused. Imagine, if you will, your personal reaction to a child bringing this piece of outright propaganda home from school. Would you be willing to “take up the cudgel” and insist on fairness in the classroom? Since I know many of our readers personally, I can assure you their outrage would match the alert father’s.

The Harvard “Brand”

As newlyweds, we took upstairs rooms in a home just off Mass’ Ave in Cambridge within walking distance of Harvard Square. She worked for the FBI and I went to school. No, it was not Harvard but the Army Security Agency school at Ft. Devens, near Ayer, Mass. It was a huge change from our previous experiences in Washington, DC.. The proximity of that Ivy League powerhouse had a negligible affect on our lives there—as I said, we were newlyweds.

We saw little of that institution other than the ivy-covered brick walls at the entrance gates. An excellent view of the school was pervasive in the community and they enjoyed a superior reputation academically with little of the usual “town and gown” problems which some universities suffer today. In the long interval between then and now, my opinion of the institution has changed, as has Harvard.

Modern progressive attitudes appear to be taking over with the additional result of diminished loyalties to the founding principals of both the school and the nation. It is rapidly becoming little more than a training academy for leftists to further the destruction of the nation. Currently, we find the dean of Harvard Law purposely at war with a student over the revelation of private emails with alleged racial overtones. The privileged correspondence was furnished by the recipient months after their sending and probably in spiteful response for some imagined grievance. As is often the case, no party in the matter has clean skirts in the affair and none does any credit to the university.

It has provoked much conversation and exchange in the blogosphere and particularly on blogs sponsored by those in the legal (Volokh, Althouse, Reynolds, etc.) community since it involved advanced law students and Dean Minow of Harvard Law. For those who follow these blogs you already know the details. A quick Google will easily bring you to the others and you won’t have to search much to find the stories.

As usual, the wisdom is exposed mainly in the comments on the various sites. This one, in particular caught my eye:

"Harvard is a broken brand. Most of the people responsible for the housing mess, the Iraq war, Enron, the S&L crisis and all sorts of other poor policy have been created by the highly "regarded" Harvard Education."

It is a timely observation and one which should evoke shame on the part of the administration of this once fine university. A ‘sheepskin” describes a hide lacking its wool. Obviously the missing wool has been pulled over our collective eyes.

And finally

Despite a couple of gloomy days, we did have a little rain here on the ridge and the leafy cover has fully returned. The four acres of grass is now trimmed with a new (?) Troy built mower which mercifully is self-propelled. It is much more comfortable to use now that the legs have become accustomed to chasing it. I’ll admit that training to use it was a trial but the results are dramatic. Riding the previous mower was fun but this new exercise opportunity is both more healthful and less wear and tear on the lawn.

With a dozen and a half species identified at the feeder, it suddenly dawned that we don’t have any sparrows. Are they allergic to store bought feed; embarrassed by their more colorful cousins or just not all that common to this neck of the woods? We have acquired a new visitor—a hummingbird—and as soon as he slows down enough to not just appear as a blur, we shall attempt a further more detailed identity.

In closing, we ask a few more penetrating question. Am I underestimating the severity of the New York City firecracker attack as reported (constantly) by Fox News? Have we heard anything else about the attack on Allee Bautsch or the suspects in New Orleans? Will Barack Obama now “own” the oil spill in the Gulf because he acted too slowly? Is there a crisis which we have overlooked? Answers: could be, no, probably, never.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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