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Tiny Vacation, Day or Two.

Will be back by Thursday. Hopefully public education is fixed by then.

This One’s For All The Debate Watchers: Take It Away, Mr. Greenwood

How many great songs were inspired by Ronald Reagan? Here’s Lee Greenwood’s classic take on it all. It’s what the kids today might call “balla.” [click if you're reading this in RSS]

Where Should College Students Vote?

tracy flick for president!

Robert VerBruggen [who went to Northwestern] of Phi Beta Cons brings up a point relevant to the Campaigning-for-Credit discussion:

“This reminds me of a scheme I saw in college (not by the administration): Fliers encouraging students from swing states to register at home instead of in Illinois. Because of the way election laws work, students who live in one state (even just in summer) and go to school in another can vote in either, making it possible for them to direct their votes to where they count most, thus increasing the power of college students.”

Questions to readers: Is this sort of thing common where you work/go to school?”

I’ve devoted a few posts to Boston University’s Dean of Students’ Blog over the last few weeks. One of the Dean’s Blog gems was a guest post by Dr. Margaret Ross, also of BU, that encouraged college students to vote where they’d have the greatest impact, a place also known as Not Massachusetts:

“My hope is that students all over America will vote.  It usually will mean registering and often will require procuring an absentee ballot.  I also hope that students will register to vote in their home states.  In general, Massachusetts votes Democrat.  There is every reason to expect this will be the case in the 2008 election.  Therefore, the votes of the many students in school throughout Massachusetts will be more significant if they are cast in the states from which these many thousands of students have journeyed.”

There ya go, Mr. VerBruggen [emphasis mine].

I find the pick’n'choose approach to be distasteful and find Ross’s suggestion to be condescending. I have always considered myself a resident of New York State no matter where I’ve been – and it would take an awfully significant change in circumstances to see that transform in the future. I didn’t vote in Boston because I considered myself a visitor, not a resident. I vote in the state whose driver’s license I carry.

But the odd part of all this is that the same people who moan about privilege-this and discrimination-that have no problem with some taking advantage of the opportunities granted to them by wealth, talent, whatever – in this case, winding up at an institution of higher education, which for a host of reasons isn’t the norm – to make their vote count for more than another’s. A 19 year old bank teller, married with a kid and who never went to college, doesn’t have the opportunity to float their vote. Yet another reason

I’d argue that the teller contributes a bit more to society than a college student at, say, Manchester College, but the activists don’t see it that way. Let’s modify that old mantra of the higher education lefties and scream it from the Ivory tower:

Privilege for me but not for thee!

… because that’s exactly what the float-your-vote advocates believe in.

The College Credit for Obama Campaigning Scandal, UMass Amherst

Oh boy. This one’s getting coverage everywhere.

Mr. Malchow at the Dartblog wrote a fine summary:

“The college chaplain at U. Mass-Amherst is Kent Higgins. Like chaplains at many colleges, he is more than an administrator for campus faith organizations; call him a community organizer, bucking up the events, speakers, and causes which hew to his leftward bent, and attenuating those that do not. In this instance, it appears that Mr. Higgins laid intricate groundwork to secure for Obama canvassers academic credit “for the experience.” The scheme started to gain attention, and Mr. Higgins hastily put together the same package for McCain supporters. Really a rather funny story, which ends happily on account of—what else?—public embarrassment.”

The NAS’ Peter Wood has the play-by-play, then he follows it up with a piece at Phi Beta Cons.

University Diaries describes herself as an “enthusiastic Obama supporter” and still thinks it was a stupid idea.

I’m with HubeI don’t believe them, either.

Boston University Dean’s Blog: The Public is Ignorant

boston university terrier

pointy-headed, adj. slang, disparaging. Intellectual, esp. in a self-important or impractical way.

Alert: If you don’t have a graduate degree, please find a friend who does so they can help you read this post. Dean Kenn Elmore “bemoans” that the public, which likely includes you, is too dumb to proceed without a guiding light. That I wrote this post without a graduate degree is a modern miracle.

First, Boston University’s Dean of Students Kenn Elmore bent over backwards to get students to register to vote. That’s not an altogether terrible idea, it’s just a waste of time and resources not unlike the 1,001 other tiny boondoggles that drive tuition increases.

Then Elmore saw no problem passing along an intellectually dishonest fearmongering piece as a ‘guest post.’ That it seemed to predict another American Civil War, blamed Hurricane Gustav on global warming, pronounced the last few years as “horrendous,” and, finally, implored students not to vote in Massachusetts, didn’t bother him.

Well done, Dean Elmore. Let’s talk about what this election season says about you.

“Here’s my confession – often, I read W.E.B. Dubois’ 1956 piece, Why I Won’t Vote.  I know you think I’m a big cynic, but I [sic] this 1956 piece still makes me think about our country – especially during the election season.”

Read it, folks, if you haven’t come across it before. You’ll see a few things that Elmore neglects to mention: distress that a third party, the Socialists, are overshadowed by a corrupt two-party system; that the two parties aren’t different at all; the disenfranchised reality of the “Negro”; etc. Elmore does a disservice to these details – these issues, among others, that Dubois identified as driving his hopelessness – by comparing them to today’s issues. But for the pretentious pseudo-intellectual, confessing that you’ve read a piece of philosophy is usually enough.

“As I’ve said before, I struggle with American politics.  I, like many of you, bemoan apparent public ignorance about decisions that have consequences for the country;”

Yes, we know you struggle with American politics – you’ve made that clear over the last few weeks. I’ve got no issue with that.

What’s unacceptable is the pointy-headed, smug contempt that Elmore expresses for the public. We’re not all dumb, we’re not so uninformed that we make choices blindly, and, frankly, if we needed guidance, we wouldn’t go to Elmore.

It’s bad to be pointy-headed, and it’s even worse when you stink at it.

I sense that Elmore feels a little guilt here, as he should – that’s why he tries to groom readers ["like many of you"] early on. Demagogue, demagogue, demagogue.

“[I bemoan] the money that is used to support political campaigns; opportunities for candidates that do not declare themselves Democrats or Republicans; the involvement of young people in traditional civic institutions;”

Does Elmore “bemoan” the financing for the McCain campaign that comes from the Federal government? Does he “bemoan” the money contributed to the Obama campaign, which amounts to even more? Should both campaigns instead use that money to buy us Prince CDs so we can all listen to the same inspirational music before writing?

These are tough questions. What else does Elmore bemoan?

“… tactics and procedures that are used to makes us loose [sic] our motivation to vote.”

I’d respond to this, but I haven’t a clue what Elmore means.

After a couple paragraphs of blather, Elmore concludes:

“I ask a lot of questions.  We can be at our best during a conversation.  Great conversations are about joy and the celebration of our human-ness.  A wonderful conversation is thought-provoking, inspirational, and liberates my spirit.  I feel like a human when I talk to others.  Join me at this year’s first Coffee and Conversation session – Friday, September 12, in the Howard Thurman Center from 3 – 5 p.m. This upcoming election season drops a lot of clues about who we are.  So, let’s talk about the upcoming election for leader of the world and why you should or should not vote.  Please also check out this week’s post on your vote and geography.”

Elmore is exposing who he is – and, most notably, his limits and contempt for the non-intellectuals. The mix of irony and gall that Elmore stirs in each of these blog posts will likely go unnoticed by the public. After all, they’re just too dumb and ignorant …

… though hundreds of thousands have managed to scrape together the money for Boston University tuition over the last few decades. Must’ve been dumb luck.

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