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In Praise of the Admissions Dean

By 3.20.15

We are entering that anxious time of year once again for high school seniors who are college applicants: the announcement of admissions decisions. Will it be the fat envelope (packed with details on admission to their #1 choice, “Welcome to the class of 2018…”), or the skinny one with the one page rejection letter (“Thank you for your interest in us and best wishes for every success in your future studies”)?

This also marks the culmination of the work of college/university deans of admissions and their staffs over the past year reviewing the amazing credentials of stellar applicants from around the country and the world.

Their job is an enormously difficult one.

In addition to all the razor thin distinctions among superb candidates in the applicant pool, they confront complex legal issues as a result of the Supreme Court’s sharply divided decisions on “affirmative admissions policies.” The lack of definitive guidance from the Court on this issue leaves many admissions deans walking a legal high wire without a net.

The Obama Watch

Obama’s Mandatory Voters

By 3.20.15

On Wednesday afternoon, speaking at the City Club of Cleveland, President Barack Obama suggested mandatory voting in the United States as an alternative to campaign finance reform — also known as restricting the free political speech of Americans.

It’s not surprising that Obama would support such a policy: He recognizes that he and his party have done poorly during midterm elections when turnout, particularly among minority and young voters, drops off substantially from presidential elections.

He is also a bully at heart, unhesitatingly compelling Americans to bend to his will, whether in buying only those health insurance plans which he deems adequate, accepting federal regulation of the Internet, or paying more for electricity because he hates, hates, hates coal and oil.

The Oregon Trial

Kitz of Death

By 3.19.15

At his first public appearance since his forced resignation, former Oregon governor John Kitzhaber said Sunday he plans to “get my name cleared” and then “reengage in the things I have always been passionate about: education, healthcare.” The man who Oregonians elected four times told the Gresham Outlook proudly, “I’ve got runway ahead and gas in the tank.”

The occasion for his reemergence was an event at Mt. Hood Community College honoring Junki and Linda Yoshida. The college was renaming a gym to honor the founder of Yoshida Foods International after the couple’s cool $1 million donation. Kitzhaber described the Yoshidas as his old friends. They are also his financial supporters, having given, for instance, $35,000 toward last year’s successful but disastrous reelection effort.

It was a success because Kitzhaber won. He beat Republican opponent Dennis Richardson by almost 6 percentage points. He didn’t quite get a majority because of third party candidates but Democrats could shrug that off with the excuse that it was such a heavily Republican year, nationally.

Another Perspective

Who’s ‘Near Tears’ Now? It’s Not Bibi

By 3.19.15

Back when political polls were reporting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was likely to lose power in Tuesday’s election, I figured that Bibi must have overplayed his hand when he spoke before Congress at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner and against the wishes of President Obama. I assumed he had miscalculated, and that the gambit would backfire with Israeli voters.

As it turns out, the polls were wrong. (What are the chances of that?) The conservative Likud Party won at least 29 seats, a healthy boost over the center-left Zionist Union’s 24.

The big loser then is not the blustery PM but our pouty president. Before the March 3 speech, the White House had every right to telegraph its displeasure at Netanyahu’s address — which the White House did not approve because it was too close to Israel’s March 17 election. Obamaland could have dismissed the speech as a stunt, a pesky molehill. Instead, it turned it into a mountain of controversy.

Media Matters

National Geographic, Supermarket Tabloid?

By 3.19.15

Move over National Enquirer, here comes the National Geographic to supermarket checkouts. At least that’s the way it looks judging from the cover of its March issue.

A big headline proclaims, “The War on Science,” over of a photo of a workman constructing a setting for a Moonwalk. All this is accompanied by a list of five things, ranging from one about which there is much serious skepticism (“Climate Change”) to the very far-fetched (“The Moon Landing Was Fake”). It appears the NG left out those favorites that Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld delivered the explosives that brought down the World Trade Center towers and that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

Another clue that the venerable Geographic may be planning to go head-to-head with the National Enquirer is that the story behind the sensational headline is a nothing burger, like such supermarket tabloid favorites as “Octogenarian Queen Pregnant” and “Film Star Charges, ‘My Father-in-Law Sired My Child.’” It turns out there is nothing to those stories either.


Trump Makes a Move

By 3.19.15

He fired himself. And he’s looking for a new job.

Donald Trump has announced he is departing from NBC’s The Apprentice — the show that entered “You’re fired” into the American popular lexicon — and he’s headed for New Hampshire. His goal: to fire the Obama agenda…with an eye to becoming the Republican nominee himself.

The announcement of “The Donald J. Trump Presidential Exploratory Committee” came yesterday. Said Mr. Trump: 

The Nation's Pulse

Racism and Lies in Ferguson

By 3.19.15

When I was involved in the original and only true civil rights movement a lifetime ago, I never dreamed that black and white liberal leaders would still be playing the race card today, half a century later. Call me a naïve idealist but I actually believed that by now racism would be buried in America along with bell-bottom trousers and high-button shoes. 

I voted for presidential candidate Barack Obama (once) mainly because I believed that he would be the force that would push the country into that post-racial happy era, when we would all be living calmly together like good brothers and sisters totally ignoring skin color — and considering only the character of our multicolored neighbors.

Another Perspective

Obama’s 1930s: We’re at 1937

By 3.19.15

Many pundits have drawn parallels between the last decade and the 1930s. Though the precise sequence of events eight decades ago is not being repeated, the kinds of events that transpired in the years 1933 to 1937 have been repeated in broad brushstroke during the Obama years. And events of 1938 to 1941 appear on the horizon as increasingly likely to recur. Our most leftist president ever is following the course predicted by Marx’s aphorism, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.”

1933. On January 30, capping a year of complex intra-party intrigues, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler Chancellor. In March 5 the Nazis won a near majority in the German parliamentary elections. They first formed a coalition with the socialist German National People’s Party to gain a near super majority in the Reichstag. Then they brought the radical Catholic Center Party into the alliance. This gave the coalition 73 percent, more than the 67 percent supermajority needed to revise Germany’s Basic Law.

Special Report

Christianity and Nukes

By 3.19.15

Do Christian teaching and humanity demand the abolition of nuclear weapons?

Yes, according to a Religion News Service column by Jacob Lupfer (a thoughtful writer and personal friend). He echoes what some church bodies have long or at least more recently urged.

Virtually pacifist agencies of declining Mainline Protestantism have demanded full nuclear disarmament for decades, especially by the United States. During the Cold War’s decisive final years, they ardently aligned with the nuclear freeze movement, whose chief purpose was to intimidate Western Europe and the United States from responding to the growing Soviet nuclear arsenal.

Fortunately, neither the Reagan Administration nor its chief allies, such as Britain’s Thatcher and West Germany’s Kohl, lost their nerve. The placement of U.S. intermediate range missiles in Europe were central to defeating the Soviet Union and facilitating unprecedented nuclear arms reductions by the U.S. and Russians.


An Activist to the End

By 3.18.15

Eric Holder approached his time in the attorney general’s office not as a sober upholder of the law but as a straightforward liberal activist. He was appointed by President Obama not to enforce the law but to change and twist it according to liberal preferences. As he ends his tenure, he is taking a victory lap for his contributions to the cause.

That this work meant thwarting the will of the America people doesn’t bother him in the least. Referring to gay marriage, he wrote recently, “I am proud to have had the opportunity not only to watch this great national pivot, but to take part in it.” By “national pivot,” he means the legal elite’s disregard for existing law in favor of their ideology.