by baldilocks

On Twitter, many people call on others to “do something” about the destruction and mass killing of civilians in Aleppo, Syria. By “doing something,” they mean something other than posting about it on Social Media. Likely, these are the same people that bashed our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, short of taking up arms and hightailing over there to fight on one side or the other—an action which was which was criticized both in the current US administration and the one preceding—what exactly should be done?

One wonders whether the do-something people were the same ones who were eulogizing mass murderer Fidel Castro as a freedom fighter a few weeks back.

Aleppo is how most of the real world operates. A New York Times headline calls it an example of “humanity melting down”—as if no group of humans has ever murdered another group of humans until this week. (Maybe they still believe OG Fake Newser Walter Duranty’s report on Ukraine from the 1930s.)

What it is: an example of true, unconstrained human nature. That nature is thusly described: fallen. When individuals allow their nature to be unconstrained, we see murder, etc. When nations allow their policies to be unconstrained, we see genocides.

And on a biblical note, with Russia and Iran being the main actors in this violent play, I can’t help but think of the Isaiah and Ezekiel prophesies about war in Syria—and the roles that Russia and Iran play in that war and in other wars destined to occur in the Last Days.

Could we be observing a prequel—a staging of sorts? Probably.

Side note: on my old blog, I had a commenter who criticized me for “fear-mongering” when I talked about Bible prophecy. My response was that if she didn’t believe the Bible, then I could not monger fear in her; and if she did believe the Bible, then she should know that there is no reason to be afraid.

Side note #2: Read about the Great Revolt—the fall and sacking of Jerusalem by the Roman Empire, 66-70 A.D. People who don’t read much history and who live in the USA, Canada, etc. are always shocked at how Hobbesian the rest of the world is and always has been.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter.

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baldilocks

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A student loan bailout is a dreadful idea–one that would cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

An estimated 5.3 million people are enrolled in repayment plans, with about $353 billion in outstanding student loans, according to the General Accounting Office. The GAO estimates that $215 billion, or only 61 percent of the debt, will be paid in full. Another $108 billion will be forgiven altogether, with the remaining $29 billion discharged because of death or disability.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump said he would make it even easier for students to let their payments slide. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/10/13/trump-just-laid-out-a-pretty-radical-student-debt-plan/

As a college professor for more than 20 years, I understand that student debt is a serious issue. But it doesn’t make sense to let borrowers off the hook. Students and their parents signed a contract for a loan to get money. If they borrowed money to buy a car or a house, they would have to repay the loan.

As Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith put it: “Students who take out loans don’t tend to follow the strict rational decision-making process that economists often blithely assume. In other words, they fail to calculate carefully whether it’s worth it to take out the loans, and they don’t have a good idea of what it will take to pay off the debt. Students who take out loans don’t tend to follow the strict rational decision-making process that economists often blithely assume. In other words, they fail to calculate carefully whether it’s worth it to take out the loans, and they don’t have a good idea of what it will take to pay off the debt….That mistake is increasingly being encouraged, aided and abetted by the U.S. government.”

Individuals have an option if they cannot pay their loans: bankruptcy. That’s a difficult lesson, but it may get people to think twice about meeting their commitments in the future.

It is also important to look at the underlying causes of student debt, such as the government regulations that create bloated administrative staffs.  Since I started in higher education in 1994, I have seen the expansion of administrative personnel to meet, in part, state and federal guidelines. For example, there were three administrative jobs at the first school I worked at. The second one had seven. My current school has more than 30 administrative staff members, including a dean, a senior associate dean, an associate dean, four assistant deans, a senior vice dean, a compliance officer and myriad other positions. Throughout the university, I have seen the addition of hundreds of people to fill administrative posts. It seems as though everyone has an assistant who also has an assistant.

Trump and his new secretary of education. Betsy DeVos, need to tighten the requirements to get loans and cut the federal regulations that result in colleges and universities expanding their administrative staff. Both of these actions would go a long way to reducing the cost of higher education and make students responsible for their financial decisions.


Christopher Harper worked as a journalist for more than 20 years. He teaches media law.

Sheldon Cooper: Actually, I’m here to file a complaint. Someone has used sexual language that I found to be offensive.
Janine Davis: And who would that be?
Sheldon Cooper: You, you dirty birdy! I’ve been thinking about those things you said to me yesterday, and I’ve come to the conclusion that they’ve made me very uncomfortable. So be a dear and grab me one of those complaint forms.

The Big Bang Theory: The Egg Salad Equivalency 2013

Shortly after the Election Glenn Reynolds wrote about how post Trump college campus have become kindergarten:

The response to the shock has been to turn campuses into kindergarten. The University of Michigan Law School announced a ”post-election self-care” event with “food” and “play,” including “coloring sheets, play dough (sic), positive card-making, Legos and bubbles with your fellow law students.” (Embarrassed by the attention, UM Law scrubbed the announcement from its website, perhaps concerned that people would wonder whether its graduates would require Legos and bubbles in the event of stressful litigation.)

Stanford emailed its students and faculty that psychological counseling was available for those experiencing “uncertainty, anger, anxiety and/or fear” following the election. So did the University of Michigan’s Flint campus.

Meanwhile, even the Ivy League wasn’t immune, with the University of Pennsylvania (Trump’s alma mater) creating a post-election safe space with puppies and coloring books:

A few weeks later (Yesterday that is) Reynolds talked about how colleges are making things difficult for conservatives on campus:

Harvard student Emily Hall watched the election results at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and, as one of the minority of Trump supporters there, saw her pro-Hillary classmates literally sobbing as the results came in. “I felt bad for them,” she told The Boston Herald. “But I also recognize that people would not have felt bad for me if I had been the one crying.”

At least sometimes people are honest. When SUNY Buffalo’s law school held a forum on the election and its traumas, the Dean, Jim Gardner, remarked that if someone else had won, “we would not be here.” But he then went on to attribute Trump’s election to “profound democratic immaturity,” implying, I guess, that Trump supporters are immature. I’m sure that made the Trump supporters among his faculty and student body feel included.

People who study patterns of discrimination talk about behaviors like “othering,” about marginalization, and about microaggressions. But in my experience, these behaviors are prominent in the world of academia, and they’re often aimed at conservative or libertarian students and faculty who depart from whatever the current left-leaning orthodoxy is.

This has been going on long before the election but some people are fighting back:

Attorney Jeffrey Robbins wrote to Babson’s lawyers yesterday saying the college’s handling of the incident “badly defamed” his client, and that Babson is “liable to Parker for the tort of defamation and, it would appear, for violations of the Massachusetts Civil Rights statute under the common law, for the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.”

Robbins is calling for the college to retract statements its officials made impugning the pair, offer a public apology and withdraw internal charges of harassment and disorderly conduct.

And do you know what’s interesting about the various state and federal laws and campus regulations concerning defamation, emotional distress and unwelcome environments.  None of these laws have the words:  “These rules don’t apply if these acts are done against conservatives in general and Trump supporters in particular.”

So if you are a Trump supporter at a college who is doing this, or at a company like Kellogg’s and find yourself in a “hostile environment”  remember all of these laws and rules are there for the using and the best part about it is as our friends Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson have demonstrated, Large Corporations and Colleges with deep endowments are the perfect targets for these type of complaints.

The Moral of the story , this now famous tweet

applies just as well to schools and states that have weaponized laws and rules for three to four decades.

Punch back twice as hard.

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