Archive for February, 2012

02/27/2012

Tech School Students Deserve Respect

While Sen. Santorum is absolutely wrong about a lot of things, including the tone he used while castigating President Obama for encouraging young people to graduate from four-year colleges, he did make a point, as Democrats have in fact drifted recently from the working class, (even though they should be the core of the party), by implicitly diminishing technical school training, though an almost exclusive emphasis on the virtues of four-year degrees.

For President Obama, who worked his way to the top by becoming Editor of the Harvard Law Review, the ticket to success from his perspective was the university system, and while high school students should be encouraged to reach for the stars, as he did, at some point, reality dictates not everyone can be accepted at scholarly universities, many will drop out, only a small number will go into the professions, and fewer still will earn Ivy League degrees.

The best advice for young people is to adopt a dual track as to education. While they should study topics that interest them, without regard to real world implications, they should simultaneously prepare for life, by gaining employment skills, in the event their dreams don’t come true. In other words, history, philosophy, or political science classes are just fine, as long as the student also studies disciplines like accounting, nursing, or engineering, which may more easily convert into real world jobs.

Politicians should recognize there are many jobs that do not, and should not, require four-year programs. We should acknowledge the value of technical schools, and those who attended them.

We need technical schools, so we have an ample supply of trained auto and airline mechanics, electricians, plumbers, cooks, barbers, beauticians, bookkeepers, first-responders, and practical nurses. We need repairmen of all kinds. Can you clean a laptop? Can you fix a furnace, refrigerator, lawn mower, or TV? The list goes on.

While Presidents Obama and Kennedy attended Harvard, and Bill Clinton went to Yale, other Democrats, who studied at public institutions, along with ordinary people, understood the working man a little better. Truman’s only diploma was from Independence High School. Johnson graduated from Southwest Texas State. Carter attended Georgia Southwestern State, and Georgia Tech, before finishing at the U.S. Naval Academy.

President Obama, who should be re-elected, needs to take a couple steps down from the Ivy League mountain top, and mingle a little more with blue collar workers, who should be supporting his re-election bid. The Democrats should never let Santorum, or any other Republican, hijack the issue or those who attended the tech schools.

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02/25/2012

Founders’ Colleges Were Not Sectarian

Right-wingers like to promote the mythology that everything our Founders did was extremely religious, but the truth is, the colleges they founded, in the 26 states east of the Mississippi, from the birth of Harvard in 1636, through the next 200 years, were largely secular, or public universities, and not faith-based colleges.

Many States had only Secular Schools:

MASSACHUSETTS: Harvard (1636), our oldest university, was founded without religious affiliation. Over the following 200 years, Massachusetts witnessed the opening of four more private colleges: Williams (1793), Amherst (1821), Wheaton (1834), and Mt. Holyoke (1836). The first religious-based school in the Bay State did not appear until 1843, when Holy Cross accepted students.

CONNECTICUT: Yale (1701), a secular Ivy League school, was Connecticut’s only university for 122 years. Trinity (1823) and Wesleyan (1831), both private, were the next to break ground, followed by Central Connecticut (1849), a state school.

NEW YORK: Early New Yorkers introduced Columbia University (1754) to the Ivy League, without religious ties. It was followed by private colleges at Hamilton (1793) and Union (1795). After the U.S. created a public Military Academy (1802) at West Point, four more secular schools appeared: Colgate (1819), Rensselaer Tech (1824), Rochester Tech (1829), and NYU (1831). Not until 79 years after Columbia was first opened, did St. Joseph’s (1833), a religious school, begin taking students.

RHODE ISLAND: Brown (1764), an Ivy League university, was not connected to any church. 90 years after their chartering, the state added a public school named Rhode Island College (1854).

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Dartmouth (1769), another Ivy League college, was not faith-based. It was the state’s only university, until Colby-Sawyer (1833), a private school, appeared 61 years later.

MAINE in the early years had two private schools, Bowdoin (1794) and Colby (1813), and they gained no other, until Bates (1855), a secular university, was added just before the Civil War.

Public Universities founded before Independence:

DELAWARE: Our Delaware forefathers chartered the University of Delaware (1743), as a public institution. It remained the state’s only school of higher education for 98 years, through 1841.

NEW JERSEY: After Princeton (1746) opened, as a private Ivy League institution, the New Jersey Founders started Rutgers (1766), as a state-run college. It would be 90 years before students would be accepted at Seton Hall (1856), a Catholic school.

GEORGIA: Shortly after the Revolution, the Georgian Founders broke ground at the University of Georgia (1785), a public college. 46 years later, Methodists launched a school named La Grange (1831), followed by Baptists at Mercer (1833), private interests at Oglethorpe (1835), and Methodists again at Emory (1836).

Public universities under President Washington:

NORTH CAROLINA: Although the first in North Carolina was a small Moravian women’s school named Salem (1772), during President Washington’s first term, the state created the University of North Carolina (1789), as a public school. Baptists followed with Wake Forest (1834), as the Society of Friends founded Guilford (1834), and the Presbyterians opened Davidson (1836).

VERMONT: As Washington was in his third year, the Founders of Vermont molded the University of Vermont (1791) into a public school. Following appearances by secular Middlebury (1800) and Norwich (1819), Johnson State (1828) was added.

TENNESSEE: During Washington’s second term, the Tennessee legislature appropriated funds for the University of Tennessee (1794), as a public institution. Tuculum (1794), a private school, also took students that year. Sectarian interests finally broke ground at religious-based schools, when the Presbyterians opened Maryville (1819), and the Baptists founded Union (1825).

Public universities under Adams and Jefferson:

KENTUCKY: After private parties opened Transylvania (1780), and Baptists created Georgetown, KY (1787), the Founders of Kentucky voted, during John Adams’ presidency, to start the University of Louisville (1798), as a public institution. Early Kentucky was rounded out with a Catholic school named Nazareth (1814), and a private one called Centre College (1819).

SOUTH CAROLINA started with the private Charleston College (1770) and funded the University of South Carolina (1801), early in Jefferson’s presidency. Baptists added Furman (1826).

OHIO started with a private college named Marietta (1797). It was soon joined in Jefferson’s time, by the Ohio University (1804), a public school. When James Madison was inaugurated, Miami of Ohio (1809), another public college, was chartered. As James Monroe became President, the University of Cincinnati (1819) started as a municipal institution. Kenyon (1824) and Western Reserve (1826), both private, completed early Ohio.

MARYLAND: Two private schools, St. John’s (1696) and Washington (1706), were the first to open. 83 years later, the Catholics introduced Georgetown (1789) in Washington, DC, and St. Mary’s (1791) in Maryland. While Jefferson was still President, the state’s Founders launched the University of Maryland (1807), as a public school. Catholics soon followed with Mt. St. Mary’s (1808), and St. Joseph’s (1809), as other private interests broke ground at the George Washington University (1821), in the District of Columbia.

Public Universities under Madison and Monroe:

MICHIGAN: While James Madison was ending his second term, the University of Michigan (1817) appeared, as a public school. 16 years later, the Baptists first accepted students at Kalamazoo (1833), followed by the Methodists at Albion (1835).

VIRGINIA: A royal charter established William & Mary (1693), as a secular college. Washington & Lee (1749) followed, as a private institution. 83 years after William & Mary was first opened, the Presbyterians organized a religious-based school at Hampden-Sydney (1776). During James Monroe’s first term, Virginia appropriated funds for a ground-breaking at the University of Virginia (1819), a public school. Methodists next opened Randolph-Macon (1830), as Baptists gave birth to Richmond (1830).

ALABAMA: While James Monroe was still President, the Alabama legislature funded the University of Alabama (1820), as a public school. Northern Alabama (1830) followed, as Methodists launched colleges at Athens (1822) and Livingston (1835), and Catholics created one named Spring Hill (1830).

INDIANA: The Founders of Indiana organized the University of Indiana (1820) while James Monroe was still President. After Presbyterians introduced Hanover (1827), private interests started Wabash (1832), and Baptists accepted students at Franklin (1834).

Public universities under Van Buren, Tyler, Polk, and Fillmore:

WEST VIRGINIA remained a part of Virginia, until the Civil War. They had just two colleges before the split, namely Marshall (1837), and West Liberty (1837), both public institutions, which were chartered, while President Van Buren was in office.

MISSISSIPPI, a conservative place, started with Mississippi College (1826), a Baptist institution, before the state agreed in John Tyler’s time, to fund the University of Mississippi (1944).

WISCONSIN: Upon joining the union during the Presidency of James Polk, the Wisconsin Founders broke ground on a publicly-funded school named the University of Wisconsin (1848). Carroll College (1846), a Presbyterian school, also organized then, along with two private universities, Beloit (1846) and Lawrence (1847).

FLORIDA: The first universities in Florida, launched during the Presidency of Millard Fillmore, were Florida State (1851), and the University of Florida (1853), both public institutions.

Some had private and sectarian schools:

PENNSYLVANIA: The secular University of Pennsylvania (1740) appeared as a member of the Ivy League. Although a religious order founded Moravian (1742), the next four to break ground were private: Dickinson (1773), Washington & Jefferson (1782), Franklin & Marshall (1787), and the University of Pittsburgh (1787). Lyconing (1812), a Methodist college, was followed by three secular schools: Allegheny (1815), Pennsylvania Military (1821), and the Philadelphia Pharmacy College (1821). While the Presbyterians added Lafayette (1826), Lutherans opened Gettysburg (1832). Haverford (1833) became a private school. Public colleges were not chartered, until Cheney State (1837) and Bloomsburg State (1839) appeared.

ILLINOIS commenced with McKendree (1828), a Methodist school. They next added Illinois College (1829) and Knox (1837), both private. Four more secular colleges and six sectarian would follow, before Illinois St. (1857) would first break ground.

As the evidence clearly shows, the Founders supported secular colleges, and actually appropriated funds to create public non-sectarian universities. While some may have had religious beliefs, they were careful to separate church and state.

02/23/2012

Republican Debate in Arizona (2-22-12)

WAR: Paul correctly said a “pre-emptive war” is a “war of aggression.” We have been fighting offensive, not defensive wars. If we go to war against Iran, Paul said, it should be done properly, by first asking Congress for a Declaration of War. Gingrich foolishly said there are moments when you engage in pre-emptive war (also known as illegal aggression under international law).

DEFENSE: Paul predicted the Draft would be brought back, because we are in way over our heads. He said foreign aid ends up helping our enemies. Santorum thinks Defense Spending takes a smaller portion of the budget than in the past, and he would not cut it. Romney accused Obama of shrinking the Navy, Air Force, and active-duty personnel by 50,000 to 100,000. He would instead add ships, planes, and personnel by 100,000. He responded to Santorum’s problem with women in the military, saying they have the capacity to serve in responsible positions.

MIDEAST/SYRIA/PAKISTAN: Paul said Al Qaida is bankrupting us as they bogged us down in the Mideast, where we have spent 4 trillion in the last 10 years. We don’t have money for another war in Syria, he said. Santorum thinks Syria is a puppet of Iran. Romney said Syria shadows Lebanon, and threatens Israel. He wants the Alawites in Syria to abandon Assad. He is also concerned with Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

IRAN: Paul said we don’t know if Iran has a nuclear weapon, but they cannot possibly attack anyone, because we have 45 bases, plus submarines, all around their country. All we are doing is making them feel threatened, and encouraging them to get a bomb. Sanctions are already backfiring, he said, because they cause Iranians to rally behind their leaders. We don’t have money for another war in Iran, Paul said. Gingrich accused Ahmadinejad of being a dictator, of denying the Holocaust, of wanting to push the U.S. out of the Mideast, and eliminate Israel from the face of the map. Romney wants crippling sanctions against Iran. He actually believes if Iran obtains fissile material, they will give it to Hezbollah and Hamas, who will take it into Latin America, where they will “potentially” bring it across the U.S. border, and then detonate “dirty bombs.” He thinks Obama told Israel not to take any action.

LATIN AMERICA: Romney thinks Hezbollah is operating in Latin America. He noted Northern Mexico is a problem.

IMMIGRATION: Paul wants us to forget about the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and deal with our own. We need to reward legal immigration, he said. He thinks the welfare state causes immigrants to cross over for benefits. Romney enabled his state police to take them out by enforcing illegal immigration laws. He fought for English emersion classes in schools. He said since e-verify allows employers to know who is here legally, illegals have dropped by 14%. Santorum would create a loophole in e-verify, by not requiring homeowners to use it. Gingrich said the failure to control our border is a failure of will. He wants a President who works with governors, not sues them. He said the fence between San Diego and Tijuana worked, even though it is in a densely-populated area. The further the fence was extended, the fewer crossed into California. He would move half the Dept of Homeland Security to border states to get the fencing done. He voted for a employer-sanction law in 1986, signed by Reagan, which was to have solved the immigration problem. He said people who do business in Mexico, do not want the border closed.

ENERGY: Gingrich does not want American Presidents to have to bow to Saudi Kings over energy. He believes Iran is partly responsible for what is going on at the gas pump, as one of every five barrels of oil goes through the Straits of Hormuz. We should get into the position where we could say we do not care what the Mideast does. If we opened up federal lands and offshore areas for development, Gingrich said, and replaced the EPA, the government would realize 16 to 18 trillion in royalties, and gas prices would drop to $2.50 per gallon.

BANKS: Romney said: “I didn’t want to save Wall Street banks.” He was worried the entire currency system would go down.

AUTO: Paul said the government should not be in the business of supporting auto labor contracts. He reminded the audience Santorum opposed the auto bailout. Santorum said he helped the airline industry after 911, because the government shut them down. He said Romney is not principled, as he was for the Wall Street bailout, but against helping Detroit auto workers. Romney admitted he wanted the auto companies to go through a “managed” bankruptcy, like the airlines did, to shed excessive costs imposed by the UAW. He took a contradictory position however saying: “No way would we allow the auto industry in America to totally implode and disappear.” Gingrich agreed a managed bankruptcy would have been best for the auto industry.

HOUSING: Paul said the government should not bail out housing.

HEALTH: Gingrich said when the government becomes the central provider of services, they inevitably move towards tyranny, as they force people to do things. Santorum promised to target Medicare for budget cuts. He pledged to repeal Obamacare. He said he always opposed Title X funds, but pushed abstinence-based program spending under Title XX. He accused the Mass health law of being the model for Obamacare. Romney said states have the right under the 10th Amendment to do what he did in Mass. He would repeal Obamacare, because he doesn’t think the federal government should cut Medicare by 500 billion.

EDUCATION: Paul said the Constitution gives the federal government no power in education. He said Santorum is a fake, because he votes for No Child Left Behind, but now he wants to get rid of it. Santorum said he is a home schooling father of seven children. When he voted for No Child Left Behind, it was a mistake, and he now thinks the federal government should get out of education. Romney agreed children should be tested in math and English before they graduate. Gingrich would shrink the federal Dept of Education down to nothing but research. He thinks teachers unions only care about protecting bad teachers.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Santorum said we need to “deal with” Social Security. He said “all” the seniors in Pennsylvania rely on it, because the rich ones moved to Florida and Arizona.

WELFARE: Santorum said poverty in single-parent households is five times greater than two-parent homes. His solution is to go after food stamps (to make sure hungry people go without). Romney would block grant Medicare, housing vouchers, and food stamps to the states.

GOVERNMENT: Romney would link government pay to private sector pay. Gingrich would repeal 130-year-old civil service laws.

BUDGET/DEBT/TAXES: Santorum said he was rated most fiscally conservative in his 12 years in the Senate. He explained earmarking is abused, and would oppose their use as President. We cannot default on the Debt Ceiling, he added. He said Romney is now suggesting raising taxes on the top 1 percent. Romney said the earmark process is broken, and he would ban it, because it opens the door to excessive spending. He supports a line-item veto to deal with earmarks. He would ask if a program justifies borrowing from China to pay for it. He claimed he balanced his state budget all four years. Santorum said the only reason Romney balanced his budget was his state constitution required it. Gingrich wants a balanced budget. He would eliminate capital gains taxes on more than just those earning less than $200,000. Paul said he never voted for a budget deficit, or an increase the National Debt. He said we pay gas taxes into a trust fund, and should get our fair share, but they spend it overseas.

CONSTITUTION: Paul said he is the defender of the Constitution and liberty, and his platform is the road to peace and prosperity. The Constitution does not provide “women’s rights or men’s rights,” There are no group rights. He said we take an oath to our office, not to a political party to vote the way they want.

RELIGION: Romney alleged we have never seen attacks like these against religious conscience, freedom, and tolerance.

ABORTION/CONTRACEPTION: Paul said the government should not spend money on abstinence. Pills don’t cause immorality, people do. Romney alleged Obama was trying to require Catholics to provide birth control, sterilization, and morning-after pills. He said he stood on the side of life, when his legislature refused to define it as starting at conception. He vetoed a bill regarding embryo farming and cloning. He said liberals go crazy over teaching abstinence. He denied requiring Catholic hospitals to provide morning after pills. He said the Mass. health law did not require contraceptive coverage. He said Santorum opposed contraceptives, but voted for Title X. Gingrich claimed state senator Obama voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived abortions. He wants Planned Parenthood to get nothing. Santorum said, if elected, he would talk about the “dangers of contraception.” He illogically added we have a problem of children born out of wedlock. He said this doesn’t mean he wants a government program to fix it.

ADOPTION: Romney sided with Catholic adoption agencies regarding their preference for placement in homes with a man and a woman. He wanted the Catholic Church to stay in the adoption business, as they were responsible for half of them in Mass.

02/22/2012

Senegal: Support Term Limit Protests

We should support the protesters in Senegal who are objecting to the decision by President Abdoulaye Wade to run for a third term, since the Senegalese Constitution limits their leaders to no more than two terms in office.

Senegal’s road to democracy is a long one. For roughly 500 years, the colonial Europeans denied black Africans self-rule. The Portuguese were the first to take Senegalese treasure from the coast, beginning in the 1440s. After the Netherlands built a port at Goree Island in 1588, the French constructed a trading post at St. Louis in 1659, and seized Goree from the Dutch. Following an 1825 conflict, the French moved inland in 1854, and by 1893, had suppressed all resistance. French West Africa ruled this part of the African continent from 1895, through independence in 1960.

The removal of French colonialism was a major step towards democracy. Unfortunately, the initial version of the Senegalese Constitution contained no term-limits, and as a result, their first president, Leopold Senghor, served for 20 years, through 1980, and their second, Abdou Diouf, ruled for 19 years through 2000, despite protests in the 1988 and 1993 campaigns.

The current president, Mr. Wade, was first elected in 1999. Shortly afterward, the Senegalese changed their constitution, by adopting a two-term limit in 2001. Although Wade was re-elected to a second term in 2007, he announced he would run again in 2012, sparking protests, because this would be a third term. Wade, 85, further aggravated pro-democracy protesters, by trying to create a family dynasty, by making his son Vice-President.

Wade took the issue before the Senegalese Supreme Court, where a friendly judiciary ruled his first election did not count, since the term-limit amendment was not implemented until 2001, which was after he had already started serving.

Wade may have won a technical argument in court, but he lost in the eyes of those who seek more, not less, democracy. No one told our first President George Washington to step down after two terms totaling eight years. He did it to set an example of how democratic power should be transferred. President Obama, Sec. of State Clinton, and the American public should now pressure Wade to do the right thing and simply step down. 12 years in office is long enough.

02/21/2012

Catholics: What Do They Believe?

The issue of Catholicism has again surfaced in American politics, thanks to former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, whose religious convictions have caused him to staunchly oppose abortion, birth control, and other social practices, to the point where he is now isolated, with just a handful of old bishops, who have alienated themselves from millions of practicing Catholics, and many more, who left the Church during the revolution of the 1960s.

Those who were never part of the Church, are sometimes confused as to what Catholics believe, because they listen to modern practitioners, but then see old stereotypes of the Church, in movies, and in broadcast news reports, which show the insides of medieval cathedrals, clips of outdated rituals, and interviews with cardinals, who are almost exclusively right-wingers.

To understand the Church, the best source is a former Catholic. Although I joined at a very young age (that would be the day I was born), I converted to Agnosticism, as soon as I was able to liberate myself on my 18th birthday, more than four decades ago.

To those who are “not now, nor have they ever been a Catholic,” let me explain the Church. Catholics are split into two major branches, the spiritual, and the practical. The spiritual spend their time praying for a better life, they hope to enjoy after death. The practical are not willing to wait to realize a good life. They want justice now, as their view of the purpose of the Church is to nurse the sick, school the illiterate, and aid the poor.

The politics of President John Kennedy and Sen. Rick Santorum personify the two schools. The Kennedy School downplays thoughts of the supernatural, and champions political programs for health, education, and welfare. The goal of the Santorum School is to convert religious beliefs into legislation, by opposing abortion, birth control, and other social practices, and by repealing all health, education, and welfare programs.

If you are now even more confused as to what Catholics believe, then we are making progress. The major split in the Catholic Church occurred during the American Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. As liberals prevailed in Rome at the 2nd Vatican Council, between 1962 and 1965, they implemented changes, which the conservative branch of the Church still bitterly refuses to accept.

The Mass was now conducted in English, instead of Latin. Nuns no longer dressed as they did in Mideast deserts, 2,000 years ago. Priests, who had turned their backs on parishioners during Mass, now faced the people. Catholics could now eat meat on Fridays. The Bible was no longer read literally, but only figuratively, as a tool for explaining morals. Catholics no longer confessed sins to priests in private confessionals, but were absolved as a whole, in the open. Jews were no longer to be blamed for crucifying Christ, as anti-Semitism officially ended. Interfaith marriages were permitted. The list went on.

In those days, nuns wore long black robes called habits, which covered most of their faces. I remember when ours walked into class dressed in a new outfit that allowed us to see her forehead and some hair on her head. Wow, I thought, there was actually a human being in there! The day before, as an Alter Boy, a priest chewed me out for not perfectly memorizing my Latin. Just like that, it was out the window. Cool! Why weren’t we using English all along? Although I liked fish, the “right to choose” a burger on a Friday night was a good change. (Did McDonalds lobby the Pope?)

Seriously, it was a revolution that opened the minds of millions to change. What was absolute infallible truth, just yesterday, was totally abandoned today. It led us to think: Was there anything beyond question? Was premarital sex wrong? Would drugs alter minds? Were Johnson and Nixon lying about Vietnam? Was there really a god? The Church let a Jeannie out of the bottle, and they totally lost control, as millions went out to seek their own truths.

While liberals now acknowledge the earth has existed for millions of years, not just 6,000, and accept the science of evolution, conservatives, like Santorum, still resist. As liberals question the story that the Virgin Mary had an Immaculate Conception, and believe Jesus merely slipped into a coma from a blood loss, before regaining consciousness, the right-wing clings to mythology. While liberals believe priests and nuns should marry, women should become priests, and old bishops should not dictate as to pre-marital sex, birth control, abortion, and divorce, Republicans, like Rick, want to impose their old dogmas through legislation.

While Santorum pushes for war in the Persian Gulf, Jesus said in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of god.” While the Senator opposes aid for the less fortunate, Jesus said at the Sermon on the Mount: “Do unto others, as you would have them to unto you.” Rick should just heed the word of the Apostle Paul: “It is better to give than to receive.”

Fortunately the U.S. Constitution states: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the U.S.” Hopefully the voters, including millions of liberal Catholics, will turn Santorum away, if he is on the ballot this year.

02/20/2012

Wisconsin College Names: Good & Bad

While researching Wisconsin universities, I looked at their names and asked: Do they matter in terms of attracting students or gaining national recognition?

Wisconsin has 40 public universities and technical schools, including, 13 four-year and 13 two-year University of Wisconsin campuses, as well as 14 two-year state-funded technical schools. Of the state’s 20 non-public institutions, Lawrence, Beloit, Ripon, and the Milwaukee School of Engineering, are well-known secular schools, while the other 16 have religious affiliations. [1]

Best Wisconsin College Names

MARQUETTE, in Milwaukee, has a good name, as it conjures up images of Father Jacques Marquette, the French missionary who canoed down the Fox and Wis. Rivers in 1673.

LAWRENCE, a private university, has a nice ring to it. It’s named after philanthropist Amos Lawrence, an Episcopalian, who along with two Methodist ministers, established the college in Appleton in 1847, in what was then the Wisconsin territory.

BELOIT is a strong name. It is easy to locate, as it is in the city bearing the same name. When founded in 1946, it was linked to the Congregationalists. Those ties were cut to become secular.

RIPON, founded in 1851, was originally affiliated with the Presbyterian and Congregational churches. They became a secular private college in 1868.

The MILWAUKEE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, founded in 1903, has a good name, as it clearly indicates where the college is located, and what studies they emphasize.

EDGEWOOD, a small Catholic college in Madison, has a pleasant sound. SILVER LAKE, just west of Manitowoc, on a water body bearing the same name, also has a title worth keeping.

CARROLL, founded in 1846, is a Presbyterian university, named after Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

CARTHAGE, a Lutheran college that opened in Hillsboro, Illinois, adopted their current name in 1870, when they moved to Carthage, Illinois. They relocated to Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1962.

CONCORDIA, in Mequon, Wisconsin, has an acceptable small college title, as it is named after a branch of the Lutheran Church.

NORTHLAND COLLEGE, up in the north woods at Ashland, with only 700 students, might be better off as Ashland College, so people could find it, but Northland sounds rugged and refreshing.

LAKELAND COLLEGE, in rural Plymouth, WI, just west of Sheboygan, should take a more specific label, like Sheboygan College, to make it easier to locate, but anything with lake is fine.

UW COLLEGES AND TECH SCHOOLS WITH CITY NAMES: Eleven 4-year, [2] and eight 2-year [3] campuses of the University of Wisconsin system, did it right, when they inserted their city names in their titles. Three state-funded tech schools also made the smart move by incorporating city names on their banners. [4]

Colleges that need Name Changes

MARANATHA, a very small Baptist bible college in Watertown, wins the award for the absolute worst Wisconsin college name. Doesn’t it look like it’s misspelled? Change it now, please.

MT. MARY, a small Catholic college in Milwaukee, should change their name. It’s like Martinez in Mexico, or Chin in China. Too many schools have the word “Mary” in their titles. Mary is not unique, and will never stand out. Catholics in the U.S. have: six St. Mary’s Colleges, three called Mount St. Mary’s, one labeled the U. of Mary, and another known as St. Mary Magdalen. The parade continues with: Marymount, Marywood, Maryhurst, Marygrove and Maryhurst. Let’s not forget Mary Manse. If you don’t like English, there’s always Maria, Ava Maria and Villa Maria. Mt. Mary should come up with an entirely new name, for themselves, Cardinal Stritch, and Alverno, all in Milwaukee.

CARDINAL STRITCH, a Catholic college in Milwaukee, has a very unattractive title, as it conjures up images of an old crusty man, dressed like a bishop, certain not draw persons of other faiths to the school. Mt. Mary, Alverno and Cardinal Stritch, all in Milwaukee need to consolidate, under an entirely new name.

ALVERNO, a small Catholic college in Milwaukee, started out as St. Joseph’s in 1887, and made the error of changing to Alverno Teacher’s College in 1936. While “Alverno” is a mountain in Italy, Milwaukee’s South Side, where the college is located, is predominantly Polish-American, and it has no hills, let alone mountains. A better name would be South Milwaukee College.

VITERBO, a small Catholic university in La Crosse, started out in St. Rose’s in 1890, and was renamed Viterbo in 1937, in honor of an Italian province near Rome. Viterbo is simply not a good fit for Western Wisconsin, where there are no Italian-Americans. Nobody out there has a name ending in O, except Domino’s Pizza. Change the name to La Crosse-Viterbo College, and after five years, drop Viterbo altogether, to make it La Crosse College.

MARIAN, another small Catholic college in Fond du Lac, should change their name, as it is derived from the word “Mary,” which as we know, should never be used. See Mt. Mary, above. Fond du Lac University would be more unique.

ST. NORBERT was founded in 1898 by a Norbertine priest in West de Pere, outside Green Bay. It’s named after Norbert of Xanten, born in Germany in 1080. It would have made more sense to name it after Jean Nicolet, the first French settler in 1634, but since the college has used the name for 114 years, maybe all we can do now is drop the word “Saint,” as it must surely depress non-Catholic enrollment. Let’s just call it Norbert College.

UW-PARKSIDE is in Kenosha, but I had to look it up to be sure. It was named Parkside to please the City of Racine, to the north, and Kenosha, to the south. Since it’s technically in the City of Kenosha, get over it Racine, and just rename it UW-Kenosha.

UW-STOUT, originally a private college in Menomonie, is named after James Stout, the man who founded it in 1891. It became a state college when Stout died in 1911. Who would object if the school was now renamed UW-Menomonie?

Two-year campuses in the Fox and Chippewa River valleys also need relabeling, as their titles make their locations too vague. UW-FOX VALLEY should become UW-Menasha, FOX VALLEY TECH should be Appleton Tech, and CHIPPEWA VALLEY TECH should be relabeled Eau Claire Tech.

The 2-year campuses in the UW system named after counties, should also adopt city names. UW-BARRON COUNTY should become UW-Rice Lake, UW-MARATHON COUNTY should be UW-Wausau, UW-ROCK COUNTY should be UW-Janesville, and UW-WASHINGTON COUNTY should be UW-West Bend.

The name LAKESHORE TECH is too vague, as it doesn’t specify a body of water. When I looked it up, I found it exactly halfway between Manitowoc and Sheboygan, in Cleveland, Wisconsin, a tiny place, selected to appease both cities. While it would be too confusing to rename it Cleveland Tech, it could become Manitowoc Tech, in recognition of the County where it is located.

Six technical schools should abandon their regional Wisconsin labels, and adopt city names: WESTERN TECH should become La Crosse Tech, MID-STATE TECH should be Wis. Rapids Tech, SOUTHWEST TECH should be Fennimore Tech, NORTH-CENTRAL TECH should be Wausau Tech, GATEWAY TECH should be Kenosha Tech, and MORAINE PARK TECH should be renamed Fond du Lac Tech. Two technical schools, BLACKHAWK TECH, named after a Native American tribe, should become Janesville Tech, and INDIANHEAD TECH should be renamed Rice Lake Tech.


[1] Carroll College (Presbyterian), Lakeland and Northland (both United Church of Christ), Maranatha (Baptist), Carthage, Concordia, and Wisconsin Lutheran (all Lutheran). Marquette University, Edgewood, Silver Lake, Marian, St. Norbert, Viterbo, Mt. Mary, Cardinal Stritch, and Alverno (all Catholic).

[2] UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Platteville, UW-Green Bay, UW-River Falls, UW-Superior, and UW-Whitewater.

[3] UW-Baraboo, UW-Marshfield, UW-Richland Center, UW-Fond du Lac, UW-Manitowoc, UW-Marinette, UW-Sheboygan, and UW-Waukesha.

[4] Milwaukee Area Technical College, Madison Technical College, and Waukesha Technical College.

02/18/2012

Republican Rebirth at Ripon–Part IV

Under my Republican “Rebirth at Ripon” plan, conservatives would be required to take the following SENIOR YEAR classes:

Fourth Year—First Semester

PS: 403:  FREE SPEECH: Never advocate censorship of content, but use the “commerce clause” to regulate cable TV monopolies. Implement regulations to protect consumers from cell phone company abuse. Understand the preference for more speech, not less. Never advocate, as Romney did, the elimination of the Public Broadcasting Corporation. It’s our only objective TV source.

PS: 420: WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION: Study the history of the GATT. How is the WTO organized? Why do tariffs, import quotas, and other trade barriers violate WTO rules? What trade cases may be brought before the WTO Dispute Settlement Body? Don’t pander to voters who seek protectionism. Explain the WTO.

EC: 460: ECON: ANTITRUST: What are the logical extremes of unregulated capitalism? What happens to prices when one, or a few companies, control of the market? Even Republicans should be willing to stop one company from taking over an entire market. Accept the need to break up monopolies with antitrust laws.

EC: 410: ECON OF PUBLIC BUDGET: Learn the history of our National Debt and annual budget deficits. Why did Republicans shift from taxation to borrow-and-spend policies? How much did the National Debt increase since Reagan implemented supply-side economics? How much has the “interest on the debt” portion of the budget grown? Does an increase in the Debt Ceiling cause additional spending, or simply allow more borrowing to pay for funds already spent? Would a Balanced Budget Amendment pass? Would it do any good? What wasteful spending could be saved by cutting corporate welfare and military operations overseas?

LAW: 450: INTERNATIONAL LAWS OF WAR: Study the Hague and Geneva Conventions, containing the ban on torture, and rights of non-combatants to be heard in civilian courts. Learn what rights prisoners-of-war have under the Geneva Conventions. When can military commissions and tribunals be used, instead of civilian courts? Close Guantanamo Bay; it’s a major embarrassment. Have respect for international law.

Fourth Year—Second Semester

PS: 450: FOREIGN POLICY AND DEFENSE: Learn to oppose dictators, tyrants, and absolute monarchs. Don’t befriend them for strategic reasons. Support democracy and free elections. Focus on our U.S. national security interests, not those of Israel. When is military use justified? What rebellions should we support? Who should receive foreign aid, and why?

EC: 490: ECON: HOUSING: What caused the mortgage foreclosure crisis? To what extent did “adjustable rate mortgages” contribute to the problem? What are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? What is the purpose of the Community Development Act? How should mortgage-backed securities be regulated? How are jobs created in the construction industry? To what extent do “supply and demand” set housing prices? What effect do low interest rates normally have on housing starts?

EC: 430: ECON OF TAX POLICY: The 16th Amendment was ratified to tax the incomes of the very rich. Would it be fair to tax those who receive unearned incomes from interest, dividends, and capital gains, at the same rates as those paid ordinary income from regular employment? Since corporations are treated like persons when it comes to rights, like their ability to contribute to political campaigns, shouldn’t they pay income taxes just like everyone else? Should the cap on payroll taxes, which protects higher income persons, be eliminated? Understand why the sales tax is regressive and would hurt the poor the most. Should the federal estate tax be applied to estates of less than one million dollars?

EC: 490: ECON OF THE UNDERGROUND ECONOMY: Study the success and failures of the so-called war on drugs, and its affect on supply, demand, pricing, and our relations with Mexico.

LAW: 460: ISRAEL AND INTERNATIONAL LAW: Stop pandering to Israel, and at least understand the Palestinian view. Read the countless number of UN resolutions critical of Israel for their occupation of Palestine. Understand that every UN member, except the U.S., has voted against Israel, and the only reason the U.S. stands alone with them, despite their ongoing violations of international law, is the Israeli Lobby controls the U.S. Congress and our foreign policy. Be an honest broker and learn both sides.

02/17/2012

Republican Rebirth at Ripon–Part III

Under my Republican “Rebirth at Ripon” plan, conservatives would be required to take the following JUNIOR YEAR classes:

Third Year—First Semester

HIS: 330: WWII AND ITS ORIGINS: Learn what caused the German aggression in Poland, and the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. Know the WWII battles and the price each nation paid. Study the Soviet experience on the Eastern Front, which caused their postwar fear of another invasion, in the subsequent Cold War. As the war ended, how did the UN change world order?

PS: 310: UNITED NATIONS: Learn the organizational structure of the UN and the content of Assembly and Security Council resolutions. Understand every nation on earth, except Israel and the U.S., support statehood for Palestine. Accept the UN as a valuable organization. Don’t threaten to defund it. Work with it.

EC: 350: ECON: HEALTH CARE: Admit the U.S. has a health care crisis. How would the single-payer Canadian system work? Why do European systems, like the one in the Netherlands based on private insurance, work so much better than ours? Why are insurance premiums so high in the U.S.? Can we actually decide on the amount of an affordable premium? How much profit is taken from premiums by the insurance industry? How can we control health care costs? What’s wrong with fee-for-service billing? How much in profits do health care providers take from each bill? Can we at least agree on Medicare facts? Who would lose under Ryan’s voucher plan? Since workers comp and auto insurances are required, can health insurance also be mandated? What phys. ed. and nutrition classes should be taught in schools?

EC: 340: ECON: SOCIAL SECURITY: Learn the history of Social Security retirement. How do European systems work? What would be the economic risks of privatizing retirement in the market? What if the elderly lost all their savings in the market?

LAW: 315: ADMINISTRATIVE LAW: Accept the constitutional authority of Congress to regulate business, by delegating the authority to write rules to various administrative agencies. Stop trying to close agencies and departments. Make them more efficient.

Third Year—Second Semester

HIS: 320: MODERN MIDEAST HISTORY: All aspiring politicians must learn Mideast history, from the end of WWI, when the Ottoman Empire dissolved, through the present. What was the “Balfour Declaration”? What happened after Britain received a League of Nations mandate to govern Palestine? What Arab-Israeli conflicts subsequently erupted in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and Golan Heights? Understand the Palestinian view regarding the 1967 borders. Don’t just pander to Israel.

PS: 320: EUROPEAN UNION: Learn the history and structure of the European Union, and the EU Monetary Union, as to the Euro crisis. Should Britain adopt the Euro? Understand how the EU Monetary Union constrains national monetary and fiscal policies. Don’t just say the Greek debt crisis is their problem, as the U.S. is now part of a global economy. We simply cannot ignore Europe.

EC: 330: LABOR ECONOMICS: Know the U.S. government would have been overthrown in the 1930s if the right to organize unions, right to strike, and right to bargain collectively had not been allowed. Learn what causes recession and unemployment. Study fiscal and monetary tools for controlling downturns. Stop saying we would be better off without minimum wage laws– it’s embarrassing. Know the workplace is much safer now thanks to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Stop trying to dismantle the National Labor Relations Board. Just work with it.

EC: 350: ECON: INTERNATIONAL TRADE: What are the economics of free trade and protectionism? Do tariffs lead to retaliatory tariffs and overall reductions in trade? What was the effect of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Act? What about politically based economic sanctions? Learn the attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941 was caused by a U.S. trade embargo; that sanctions against the white racist South African regime helped bring them down; and the 50-year U.S. trade embargo against Cuba failed, because the world refused to join. Study trade; don’t just use it to pander.

LAW: 325: PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW: Learn the U.S. is not the master of the world. 193 nations belong to the UN. Treaties are the principle way in which international law is written and the U.S. is not above it–we have an obligation to obey it. Stop acting like a Texas cowboy in foreign affairs.

02/16/2012

Republican Rebirth at Ripon–Part II

Under my Republican “Rebirth at Ripon” plan, conservatives would be required to take the following sophomore year classes:

Second Year—First Semester

HIS: 240: ASIAN COLONIAL HISTORY: Study Portuguese, Dutch, French, and British colonial history in Asia. Learn the U.S. joined the European club, when we seized the Philippines. Understand what caused the Chinese Boxer Rebellion (1900), the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor (1941), the Korean War (1950), and Vietnam’s struggle against French and American white rule.

PS: 270: LEGISLATIVE POLITICS: What role do lobbyists play in law-making? How can their influence be reduced? What problems arise when people like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich accept money from Fannie and Freddie to lobby Congress?

EC: 240: ECON: AGRICULTURE: Why did the capitalist free market fail in the Great Depression? Why does the U.S. subsidize farm products? What benefits are gained from a controlled farm economy? What would happen to the rural economy, if subsides were eliminated? If politicians abolish foods stamps, and totally ignore poverty and hunger, would there be a revolution?

EC: 250: ECON OF MANUFACTURING: Learn the economics of manufacturing and the challenges associated with international trade. Was it good to save the auto industry from bankruptcy? If they had shut down, what ripple effects would have occurred?

LAW: 260: CON LAW: PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT: Learn the Declaration of Independence (1776), often quoted by Gingrich, is not law, and the Constitution, first adopted in 1788, is our fundamental law. What is the line between states’ rights and federal power? Know what the “separation of powers” means, and don’t threaten to subpoena judges, like Gingrich did. Learn from Ron Paul the need to actually declare war, before getting into one. Know what powers belong to the Commander-in-Chief, and what he can do through Executive Orders. What does the power to “provide for the general welfare” allow Congress to do? Is there any limit to the Congressional power to regulate commerce?

Second Year—Second Semester

HIS: 250: AFRICAN COLONIAL HISTORY: What is the history of British, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese colonialism in Africa? Accept and applaud the guerilla tactics used against white rule in Kenya and elsewhere in black Africa.

PS: 280: JUDICIAL POLITICS: Learn there is no objective truth when it comes to legal interpretation. Law is necessarily made by both conservative and liberal judges. Scalia, Thomas, and other right-wingers, are just as active in law-making as liberals.

EC: 260: ECON: TRANSPORTATION: Accept the reality motor vehicles are inefficient in the aggregate. Return to conservative principles, by promoting the efficiencies of mass transportation. What economic benefits would high-speed rail lines provide? Stop turning down federal funds for mass transit.

EC: 270: ECON: EDUCATION: Understand all of society benefits through universal public education. What economic gains can be made by making tuition affordable at public universities? What benefits flowed after WWII from the GI Bill for veterans? Stop promising to close down the Dept. of Education.

LAW: 270: CON LAW: INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS: Develop respect for liberty and individual rights. Learn the difference between scientific fact and religious belief. Be willing to separate church and state, so Santorum types stop promoting religion. Learn it is unconstitutional to require Christian prayers in public schools. Know what is wrong with pepper-spraying students, who have done nothing but peaceably assemble to protest tuition hikes. Read the 2nd Amendment, as it says the right to bear arms only applies to those serving in a well-regulated militia. Learn rights are not enjoyed by “criminals,” but instead by “the accused.” Ron Paul raised good points as to the danger of using profiling to round up suspects. Learn the value of “due process” and jury trials. Compare our system to foreign states where jailed persons sometimes just disappear. What is cruel and unusual punishment? When should the death penalty be used? Does the privatization of prison violate the Constitution? Understand women have a constitutional right to “liberty” to control their own bodies. Accept their right to an abortion, as long as the fetus cannot live outside the womb. Understand why it’s ok for public universities to admit minority students on factors other than GPA and standardized test scores. Actually read case law before speaking.

02/15/2012

Republicans Need A Rebirth At Ripon

The Republican Party, born in a Ripon, Wisconsin on March 20, 1854, has this year fielded candidates so conservative on social, economic, and foreign policy issues, the only chance they have of winning this fall, is if they could somehow move the election date back about 158 years, into the 19th Century.

This year, the GOP introduced Donald, “the carnival barker,” Trump, whose elixir cabinet had a cure for everything. They subjected us to the insufferable Gingrich, a virtual barking dog, whose racist tones would have angered Abe Lincoln. They presented Santorum, the Catholic Crusader, whose efforts to turn America into a Christian Nation, would have offended Thomas Jefferson. They gave us Ron Paul, a man whose absolutist lassie fair economics are so radical, the great Wisconsin Progressive, Sen. Robert La Follette, would have turned in his Republican grave. Finally, we watched Mitt Romney change his position so often, his head surely must be ready to spin off his body, like what happened to the creepy doll in the Exorcist movie.

The Republicans are dying, along with the old schoolhouse in Ripon, where their anti-slavery plank was first adopted in 1854. If America wants to preserve the two-party system, the Republican Party must be reborn. They should save the millions they will spend this year on negative advertising, and instead build a new platform. To put it in words Rick Santorum might understand, they need a “second coming.” They need a rebirth at Ripon.

Ripon College, 75 miles northeast of Madison, and 87 northwest of Milwaukee, should become the birthplace for the “second coming,” that is, after they first open a branch campus in Waukesha County, between Milwaukee and Madison, where most of the state’s wealthy Republicans live. From this new suburban venue, Ripon’s campus of 1,036 students, should launch a moderate Republican curriculum, and bring the party back to life.

Every Republican politician should just stop campaigning right now, and for the next four years, study 40 courses worth 3 credits each, before being allowed in 2016 to return to the campaign trail. The courses the Republicans would be required to take at the “new Ripon,” will be posted on my site over the next 4 days, beginning with the first installment of 10 classes for freshman:

First Year–First Semester

SOC: 101: POPULATION GROWTH: Learn the theory espoused by Thomas Malthus that unrestrained population growth leads to greater food demands, inadequate supplies, and either starvation or war. Can we rationally debate China’s one-child policy, and the problems caused by large families? Can we accept contraception for birth control? Course required for religious fundamentalists.

BIO 110: ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT: Learn the dangers to the environment from coal, gas, oil, and nuclear energy, and the value of alternate sources like wind or solar. Study climate change evidence. Consider the problems that would arise if Republicans actually could abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.

HIS: 150: HISTORY OF U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTION: Learn how America made a wrong turn at the end of the 19th Century under Republican William McKinley’s foreign policy. Study 20th Century U.S. interventions in the Caribbean, Central America, Asia, and elsewhere. Understand we were not always the good guy portrayed in John Wayne films. Know that we took Guantanamo Bay from Cuba. At least understand why Cuba wants it back. Set Puerto Rico free. See the world from their view.

PS: 160: CAMPAIGN FINANCE & ELECTION REFORM: Solve the persistent problem of gerrymandering. Adopt a comprehensive primary election plan. Promote campaign debates instead of TV commercials. Push a constitutional amendment to remove money from campaigns so elections become democratic. Repeal voter photo ID laws implemented to suppress turnout. Where voting machines are used, require a paper trail for recount purposes. Consider adopting term limits for the House and Senate. When should “recall elections” be held?

EC: 170: BANKING AND FEDERAL RESERVE: Should the Wall Street financial district have been bailed out? Should the big banks now be busted up under antitrust laws? Should consumers be protected against abusive bank charges? Why was the gold standard abandoned and replaced with Federal Reserve Notes? What is monetary policy, and how is it used to combat recession?

First Year—Second Semester

SOC: 110: CIVILITY IN SOCIETY: Politicians must learn to be civil, particularly with persons of other races. Why accuse a President of being from Kenya, when no facts support the claim? Why shout “you lie” at the President at a formal State of the Union? Why accuse Obama of being Muslim, when he is not?

PHIL: 120: PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION: Learn the number of centuries between the time of Christ and the era when the New Testament gospels were first written. Understand the Bible is not a reliable literal historical source. Know the difference between religious beliefs and scientific knowledge. Be able to accept as probable the absence of a supernatural being. Is there really anything out there? Avoid pandering to religious groups.

HIS: 160: HISTORY OF EQUAL RIGHTS: Understand the constitutional amendments passed after the American Civil War. What Southern laws were imposed on blacks between Reconstruction and WWII, to effectively extend slavery by another name? What led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Do you really believe the issue of racial injustice has been solved? What unique challenges do women face in the workplace? How should sexual harassment, like the cases against Herman Cain be resolved? Should gays move beyond civil unions into marriage? Learn to be Abe Lincoln Republicans.

PS: 170: IMMIGRATION POLICY: Learn the long history of immigration law. What should our policy be? Know the meaning of citizenship by birth. Don’t pander to Mexicans and other Latin Americans. Just say it is good public policy for all immigrants to speak English. Employers should be forced to subsidize English language classes. Be open about the fact employers pay cash under the table to avoid SS taxes, unemployment, and workers comp premiums. Just fix the naturalization process already.

EC: 190: ECON: CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM: Learn the words “capitalism” and “free market” are no where to be found in the U.S. Constitution. Stop calling Obama a socialist; it makes Republicans sound stupid. Stop referring to the U.S. as a capitalist country, as the Founders never said that. We have a democratic system in which we can choose more or less capitalism or socialism. Study capitalist and socialist principles. Understand that it was an unregulated capitalist system that led to the Great Depression.