Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Communications Nightmare - Vocal Fry


One of the oddities in my life as a recently-appointed school director is having to interview candidates for teaching positions. It's odd, because in all the years of teaching college, or running my own businesses, I never hired a single employee. Now I go through the process of interviewing and hiring all the time.

Most candidates who apply for teaching positions are women, and a lot of them are straight out of college, looking for their first teaching position. While interviewing these young women, nearly every one of them displays poor communication skills, characterized by vocal fry.

Here's an educational video about vocal fry:

Vocal fry signals a warning to potential employers that a candidate's communication skills are not in line with the needs of (in this case) the school and its students.
Can this annoying trend be stopped? Considering the Valley Girl speech patterns of the 1980s, it is possible that vocal fry is merely a fad and will stop after a year or two. However, as the mainstream media, especially movies, promote actresses who increasingly cannot communicate because they mumble or because of vocal fry, it seems more likely that the fad may turn into mainstream speech.
And, like many fads that have become mainstream, such as tattoos and piercings, these tend to reduce the likelihood of landing the job you wanted in favor of others who can communicate well or who can be good examples for students.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The American Association of Affirmative Action Abortionists, or, Abortion Ad Nauseum


I'm writing this after getting back to my office from a lunch meeting of the American Association of Affirmative Action Abortionists! (the AAAAA!). After a terrific Italian sushi meal, we were treated to a keynote address from Jennifer Troundly, vice-president of advertising for the AAAAA! I don't have an iPhone to record such meetings, but I took copious notes in order to bring you the latest in Women's Choice.

Ms. Troundly began her presentation, launching directly into the latest AAAAA! concern. Citing statistics from several recent studies, she shocked the attendees with this bombshell.
We are dismayed to find from many recent studies that black women have far more abortions than white women, somewhere at a rate of 5 to 1. We, at the AAAAA! find this an unacceptable disparity in abortions. As we know, blacks make up only about 13% of the total US population. Clearly abortions have become racially biased. This is unfair abortion practice. Despite the gains we've made in electing politicians who are almost universally pro-choice, and despite having the most pro-choice president ever elected, government is not doing its job to ensure equal opportunity abortions in the United States. It falls on the AAAAA! to push at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure racial equality for abortions.
Ms. Troundly went on to outline a multi-step plan of AAAAA! to promote abortion equality.
Clearly, we need to commend all black women, who are doing their part in exercising their reproductive rights. We should praise the virtue and determination these brave women show in preserving women's rights in America. 
However, the message of a woman's right to choose isn't getting out to other women, white women in particular, and we're afraid that freedom of choice is being stifled once again by hateful and tyrannic people such as Republicans, Catholics, Evangelicals, and other religious nuts.
The obvious plan points to our need to encourage more white women to exercise their right to choose in order to balance the racial gap.
Ms. Troundly then referred to a PowerPoint presentation.
We are working closely with government-funded agencies such as Planned Parenthood to bring abortions among white women up to statistical balance. This involves applying standard Affirmative Action methods to enable more white women to exercise their right to reproductive health by having more abortions. We include efforts to maximize the benefits of abortion diversity in all levels of society and to redress disadvantages due to overt, institutional, or involuntary discrimination against women. 
To help promote our cause, the SEIU has indicated a willingness to canvass at-risk neighborhoods in order to get the word out to white women to encourage them to exercise their reproductive rights. The SEIU will also sponsor grassroots campaigns in fifteen of the largest cities in the US.
In connection with teachers unions in all 57 states, we have developed an active K-12 in-school program to educate young, white girls about the pain and suffering of actually giving birth. We have contracted with Michael Moore to produce a documentary to be shown in every school in America, "Giving Birth: Is It Really Worth the Hassle?" Today's teens are not properly educated about how much pain and suffering a woman has to go through to actually carry a baby full term and then give birth. We'd like to ensure that every girl, from kindergarten through high school understands what a chore having a baby can be.
We are also petitioning the College Board, the company that creates standardized testing for Common Core, to include questions in its history, English, and biology exams to indicate the benefits of women's choice over the burden and hassle raising children can be. Since Common Core curriculum is driven by the standardized tests, it will only be a matter of a year or so before textbooks include materials to teach all school children the benefits of women's choice.
We have also contracted with Gobbler LLC, a national telemarketing firm to present creative offers to stimulate interest in abortion services for white women. For example, now at seventy-three selected abortion clinics across the United States, we offer a free box of Omaha steaks with every abortion. Women can have their abortion and then enjoy their choice of ten delicious prime rib or filet mignon steaks. 
This incentive program has worked well so far but doesn't always reach our target goals for white women. We are currently opening several abortion spas in upper-class neighborhoods in seven major US cities. Money for this project was kindly funded with discretionary funds from President Obama. We hope that these spas will attract upper class white women who, after their abortion, can spend the rest of a relaxing day receiving a massage and a pedicure. 
As a final measure, we will also closely track embryo sales to stem cell research firms in order to provide enough embryo donations for this important research. Also funded by discretionary spending, stem cell research facilities will be given grants to advertise to women who wish to sell embryos for research.
With these new systems, the racial inequities of abortion can erased. Remember, we're just trying to level the playing field and restore racial balance to a woman's right to choose.
I quickly finished the last bit of my Sushi Alfredo, then slipped out the back door. The attendees had all erupted into applause, loudly chanting "Right to Choose! Right to Choose! Right to Choose!" 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Common Core Indoctrination


Recently, I reviewed several high school textbooks. Every single text on history, geography, and even biology contained entire chapters devoted to indoctrinating high school students to the dogmas of leftist politics. Every. Single. One.

For example, stuck in the middle of a biology textbook, right between a chapter on the energy transfer of cells - from photosynthesis to cellular respiration - and a chapter on DNA, was a chapter on the "changing earth." Basically, the chapter complained of the myriad ways environmentalists feel that humans are destroying the earth. It covered global climate change (or global warming, the authors couldn't make up their mind which was the current term). It blasted the idea of using fossil fuels. It complained about acid rain (including a lab). It extolled the virtues of renewable sources of energy. It decried the cutting of the rainforest (intimating that all life on earth would die if such cutting continued). It opined about the ozone (yet had to admit that the ozone seemed to be growing back). Above all, it never indicated any hint of an argument contrary to the leftist views it espoused.

All that in one chapter! 

Despite what many of you may think, I'm not ignorant of the dangers of pollution, burning fossil fuels, or even cutting down the rain forest. What I do find alarming, however, is that all of these textbooks teach high school students to be ignorant. In none of them did I find a hint of a dissenting voice about what are, essentially, political topics. None of them whispered so much as a contrary idea from the approved dogma of the Most Holy Church of the Sacred Environmentalist, quoting from the Prophet-of-the-Revelation Al Gore himself. Not only were the arguments politically charged, and biased, but they never once allowed the student any choice but to come to the same conclusions as the authors.

Here's just one example from the biology book:
What are the effects of climate change?...

Due to climate change, often called global warming, [the] ice caps are beginning to melt. It’s estimated that the ice caps are melting by 9% a decade. This means that the area around the North Pole, the Arctic, could be ice-free in the summer by the end of the 21st century. Your children could see this happen!

What effects will this melting ice have on Earth?
These "facts" accompanied a photo of a polar bear floating alone on a small iceberg. What's wrong with this argument? Basically, it says something like: "Climate change will melt all of the North Pole's ice. It will kill all the polar bears. All our fresh water will disappear. It will destroy the earth. Why do you think climate change is bad?"

I am going a bit overboard here, but the argument does beg the question - it proposes the conclusion in the argument itself. Not only that, it keeps students from asking real questions by arguing with invalid premises. It disallows dissent because it never teaches students how to think - only what to think. It is indoctrination of the worst kind.

The result of such indoctrination has led to an ignorant society. Time and again we see leftists, environmentalists, feminists, and others of the indoctrinated elite deny any argument against their position for the simple fact that they have never learned any premises which didn't already contain a self-contained conclusion. All of their conclusions are foregone since all of their premises are rigged.

Textbooks at the university level are even worse when "arguing" a point.


We must spread a word of warning to parents and teachers alike. Textbooks which only tell students what to think will one day backfire. Democracy cannot long endure when citizens are willfully kept ignorant of the thinking process. Of course, there are those who would like to see the citizens of the US turn away from democracy to come under the broad wing of the welfare state. There is no better way to kill democracy than by teaching ignorance at all levels of school. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Welfare State Versus Free Will: A History Lesson

Alexis de Tocqueville - a 19th Century observer of US democracy.

Those of us who have lived long enough to see the changes in society over the course of time have a unique perspective of comparison from decade to decade. Having grown up during a time when most people took responsibility for their own actions and where the concept of equal opportunity did not mean equal outcomes, I’ve come to appreciate the liberty of thought and action we used to enjoy. Such liberty has been chipped away, restrained, by the enlarged and ever-growing welfare state we’ve allowed our government to assume. By welfare state, I mean those socialist ideals which are based on the principles of taxation to produce equal outcomes, distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for private concerns, such as providing health insurance or running a corporation.

The difference of the past 80 years is also evident in the statist attitudes and reduced will of Americans. By will, I mean the human will to self-determination. We’ve lost, as Americans, over the course of the years a steady amount of self-will. Instead of retaining our free will, we’ve allowed government to assume the responsibility over much of our lives. Instead of exercising free will, collectively, we’ve allowed the ideals of the welfare state, Marxist doctrine, and social engineering to rob us of our human nature and suppress our free will in order to conform to the social and political pressure of such a state.

The welfare state, as it has grown up since the Great Depression, has not only increased the numbers of people it purports to help, but also has grown to become part of the national psyche – the status quo of the purpose and function of government. The welfare state took a large leap in size during the Johnson administration, with his ideal of the war on poverty. Subsequently, government entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, assistance to low-income families, and most recently Obamacare, all have multiplied and grown to make up a substantive percentage of the national budget.

The reason for the growth stems from the seductive nature of the welfare state. Expressing and maintaining free will takes energy, education, dedication to principles maintained in a free state, and the participation of all of the citizens. The welfare state, on the other hand, promises a certain quality of life without the pains of an unfair world. The welfare state seduces its participants into lethargy, dulling the mind and the will with promises that we will be taken care of with or without effort on our part. Under such a system, effort is not rewarded. Only perceived oppression is rewarded.

The 18th Century historian and political philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville recognized the problem some 170 years ago. In his book Democracy in America, he notes the following about the dangers of despotism to democracy. I’ll make the connection here with our current trend toward the despotism of the welfare state:
After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
I have always thought that servitude of the regular, quiet, and gentle kind which I have just described might be combined more easily than is commonly believed with some of the outward forms of freedom, and that it might even establish itself under the wing of the sovereignty of the people.1
What the welfare state does, based on the bankrupt principles of Marxism and other versions of socialism, is alter the character of the American people. Such alteration doesn’t take place overnight, it is a gradual process, taking decades to suppress action until government can step in to fill the perceived voids of injustice. The state extends welfare as an act of compassion, owing to the great compassion of the American people. However, the welfare state creates an imperfect compassion, unequally applied, yet expecting final results of equal outcome.

Little by little, year after year, Americans get used to the idea of the welfare state, accept it, and allow the government greater leeway to collect taxes to fund entitlements. Americans eventually come to expect the government to assume total control, to “fix” all the problems of the world with a snap of its fingers.

In effect, we give up our own will to struggle with the problems of the world, expecting that government will take care of us and protect us from the worst abuses of an unfair world. Where inequities exists, government will step in and make them equal. Where suffering occurs, the government will create a new program to alleviate it.

The danger lies in two areas: First, in order for American democracy to function, its people must be free to exercise their free will and take control over their own lives. Second, the government trend toward the welfare state creates a real possibility of eventually becoming a totalitarian state.

1) The democratic principle demands that people exercise free will. When a government gets in the way of free will, even through subtle coercion, such as politicizing school curriculum or by supporting contrary ideologies over the principles of liberal democracy, the liberty of its people is in danger. The counter to this problem is self-determination and education.

John Stuart Mill (considered a gradual socialist himself) put it this way:
Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.2
This area of the democratic principle deserves a deeper and more complete treatment than I give it here. It is enough to note, however, that the welfare state suppresses human will to the point where the government “practices a social tyranny” on Americans, urging us to conform to the social mandates of such a society while alienating those who don’t conform.

2) History teaches us that when people turn to the state for absolute safety, government takes liberty away from its people.

F. A. Hayek, in his book The Road to Serfdom bases his thesis on this principle. As he says:
The unforeseen but inevitable consequences of social planning create a state of affairs in which, if the policy is to be pursued, totalitarian forces will get the upper hand.3
The point here is the recognition of the deleterious effects on human character and free will under the growing American welfare state. Giving such power to government chips away at our own ability toward self-determination and places us at risk to create a totalitarian state.

Notes:


  1. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, (New York; Alfred A. Knopf, 1945), vol. 2, book 4, chapter 6, p. 319.
  2. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, (Indianapolis: Library of Liberal Arts).
  3.  F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007), p. 50. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

It's Time We Admit That Modern Liberalism Has Failed America


Americans, especially those who lean left, are in denial about the dangers we face with our current government. After more than 50 years of progressive government, dating back to Johnson's failed "Great Society," and with a brief interlude during the 1980s, we can get a pretty good picture of the lack of success with social welfare programs and with the inculcation of progressive dogmas.

Sure, we've made great strides in civil rights, despite the best efforts of liberals to maintain race, gender, and class warfare. But civil rights has gained general acceptance in the US based on the constitutional values of free speech and equal protection, not on the liberal ideal of protected classes.

The ever louder and ever shriller voices that decry racists, misogynists, and homophobes only underline the desperate attempts to maintain the progressive status quo. (Which is to say that progressivism needs an enemy to blame in order to survive.)

Despite progressive dogmas, not because of them, Americans still enjoy unprecedented freedoms and opportunities.

Looking at the freedom and liberty guaranteed by the Constitution, it's time we admit that modern liberalism has failed the people of our country.

It's time we admit that President Obama has failed America on too many levels. His foreign policy has awakened a resurgence of Islamic terrorism and has driven away our allies. His domestic policy has succeeded in the Marxist immiseration of the masses. His border policy has all but destroyed the rule of law, and has allowed terrorists back into the US. His golf policy, however, is spot on.

It's time we admit that progressive social programs are nearly universal failures. The destruction of Detroit can be placed squarely on the shoulders of unions and social programs, not on the auto industry which ran away seeking better places to operate, free from socialist constraints. The crime and murder rates of Chicago rest on the failed policies of years and years of corrupt liberal government.

It's time we admit that modern liberalism can only exist by maintaining duplicitous officials in public office. Joe Biden can say the most outrageously racist remarks, and still be considered a champion of civil rights. Wendy Davis can extoll the virtues of women's choice and ignore a child's right to life. The media can excoriate Sarah Palin with the most offensive and ugly language imaginable, then turn around and declare conservatives are waging a "war on women."

It's time we admit that modern liberalism creates dangerous government control. Because of liberalism, we have an IRS, a CIA, and an NSA all monitoring "dangerous" conservatives as potential terrorists. The costs of social programs, such as Obamacare, Social Security, and Medicare have spun out of control and threaten the very economic foundations of the country. The US Attorney General refuses to enforce laws, then encourages racial tensions that lead to anarchy and rioting.

It's time we admit that the educational system is broken. We've raised a generation who now think that getting good test scores is the end-all of education. After billions spent and standardized testing taken to the limits of scientific study, all indicators show that test scores remain flat. All common sense indicators show that our children are more ignorant than ever.

It's time we admit that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are idiots. Dangerous, dangerous idiots.

It's time we admit that government regulations and increased oversight and interference into private businesses stifles the economy, rather than building it. We've suffered through nearly seven years of either a recession or a sluggish economy, all because of the enormous problems and programs inflicted on the US by the Nancy Pelosi/Harry Reid Congress starting back in 2006. Because Harry Reid still maintains dangerous control over the Senate, Congress has been unable to move for nearly four years since the Pelosi/Reid disaster.

It's time we admit that President Obama is truly disconnected from reality. Seriously, 192 rounds of golf? What other American, besides a PGA golfer and my dentist, has that kind of time?

It's time we admit that attacks on free speech, on religion, on gun rights, all undermine the best and most fundamental protections guaranteed by the Constitution.

It's time we admit that liberal accusations against conservatives is not based on reality, but filtered through the dogmas of liberalism. Modern liberalism has so inculcated thinking in its postmodernism, nihilism, and oppression theology that few Americans can even grasp the foundations of the establishment of the US and the reasons that we should distrust government.

It's time we admit that morality is fundamental to maintaining a democracy. Morality based on Western Civilization and Christianity have generally produced the best system of government and the freest people in all of history. To deny our moral responsibility in democracy is to undermine democracy itself.

It's time we admit that we're fed up with modern liberalism and progressive dogmas.