Returning of land to pre-1967 borders as President Obama suggests is baffling to the whole world. Baffling, because a precondition just gets you to the table, but this precondition must mean to the Israelis a declaration of war. How could anyone who has even casually observed the mid-east since 1948, make this outrageous proposal ? The State Dept. owes the American people an explanation.
State legislators in upper east Tennessee have taken the unusual step of injecting advise into the governing affairs at East Tennessee State University. Over the decades there has been occasions and opportunities to make opinion contributions to many key decisions affecting the university, but the state legislators where nowhere to be found. Now, they want, unanimously, to have Dick Manahan to be the next president of the school.
Manahan has been around ETSU for a long time and has many personal qualities. While he has been employed at ETSU there has been notable achievements to be sure. You can make a long list. But ETSU has significant deficiencies, and the school has not achieved academic distinctions that may be found in comparison to other schools. I am not comparing ETSU to Princeton. So, it has been a mix while Manahan has been employed in a high position at the university.
Extracurricular activities for under grads and the community has tanked. Intercollegiate sports competes among the lowest level conference for their division. I understand society over-assesses the value of competitive sports, but it does provide under grads an outlet. And, for that reason alone it is important. Most all the schools that ETSU used to be on par with in intercollegiate sports have exceeded them in that area. Some, like Middle Tennessee and most Southern Conference schools, such as Appalachian State have greatly exceeded ETSU. Again, I am ranking ETSU in the variety of benefits of intercollegiate competition to the under grad. I am not comparing swimming tournament trophies The social and economic changes and transitions are phenomenal nowadays. Higher education must keep up. A big problem for all education. And, its not so much a money matter as a knowledge matter. ETSU needs a vision. We cannot tolerate a good ole boy network. Is Manahan prepared to replace old friends of years ? Does he have the contacts with the nation and even world education community to keep ETSU on its feet in the “knowledge” fast track ? Does Manahan know the people that can direct the school to provide the work and livelihood for the next half-century. All changing, rapidly ! How will ETSU provide east Tennessee the guidance in a limited fossil world ? What is the plan ?
Status quo is the enemy. Is Manahan prepared for the enemy ? In many ways ETSU is stagnant. It needs energy and must have vision.
Manahan has served on the Johnson City School Board for many years. While his heart may have been right on some matters in that troubled system, his effectiveness has been suspect. For decades, the JC school system, must be among the most mismanaged and insensitive systems in the state, if not the South. The most notable abuses are in class configuration and capital expenditures. And, many of these abuses occurred during Manahan’s tenure. As an example the Johnson City School System has the numbers for approximately three high school systems. Two for sure and the third at the doorstep. What they have is a monolithic high school that smothers the emotional well-being of students and violates most academic studies available on high school population. The “one high school” concept has become an albatross. Even, some of the most ardent supporters of one high school in yesteryear now recognize it as a mistake. The reasoning has been that once you invest so much capital into a concept it makes economic sense to continue to feed it, as correction would cost even more. So much for faulty reasoning. I don’t remember Manahan lifting a hand or raising a voice to arouse the public to this accumulated madness. Is this what we are to expect as ETSU president ? Will he effectively act on his convictions, or will he roll over ?
The education establishment at ETSU, as the nature of political establishments, need someone they can depend on to not disturb the standard procedures. Many, could well need protection at the very personal level. If Manahan achieves consensus support we can almost know for sure he is the wrong man for the job.
ETSU needs the comfortable to experience discomfort, from their next president.
We may well have one or maybe two more national holidays than we need. But, federal elections should command a national holiday. Early voting should be prohibited, except legitimate absentee voting.
States should write statues to ensure that all state and local elections are to be held in the fall, preferably November. Again, there should be no early voting.
Early voting is expensive in more ways than one, and it cheapens the process. It leaves the voters with incomplete information as measured against the election day voter. It is time to recognize it as a terrible idea and repeal !
Return honor to election day.
The media has had such fun with the preacher and the may 21st Rapture date. Making fun of Christianity is a major sport for some. Biblical illiteracy, among the main line media, must be approaching 100% nowadays.
This week, both senators from Tennessee voted to keep the tax breaks in place for oil. Oil is the least likely candidate for tax expenditures. Petroleum supplies is an oligarchy, dominated by 5 companies. Big oil is turning record profits. Exxon profits were 10.7 billion in the first quarter, up from 6,3 billion in the first quarter last year. Shell reported 6.3 billion and Conoco 3 billion. Who could accuse these Tennessee senators of being serious about balancing a budget ?
Some claim these tax expenditures are for exploration. All these high financial risks that the Five Sistors are taking to supply the rest of us with cheap gasoline. Seriously ! The oil companies know how much oil is left. They have known for decades. They know where the oil is located. They know how hard it is to remove, transport, and refine. America has 2% of known world reserves, yet we use 25% of worldwide petroleum.
What the oil business is good at is buying their way with lawmakers. Exxon budgets 63 billion on lobbying. They are much more successful at political skills than extracting oil from a stubborn and harsh terrain.
There will probably be another “cover” vote from the Republicans this week or soon that will be sold as relief on the oil price and gasoline at the pump. Another oil industry “sweetener” that will fail. Just another “nothing ” vote. What a mess !
This week the findings of a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Survey, was reported in the local east Tennessee news. It appears that a Tennessee city, Johnson City, received the low honor of being the most mentally-depressed city in the United States. According to the survey, and samplling of 1million over 3 years, revealed 27.5% of Johnson City was mentally depressed.
If actually true; it’s understandable.
Johnson City, for decades, has been ruled by a “ruling gentry”, which roughly owns the whole political process. Occasionally, an outsider will get elected to something, but if he doesn’t behave he will be quickly politioned as an outsider. This “ruling gentry” has pursued a policy of getting a drink in as many hands as possible. Therefore, Johnson CIty is like a military town, inundated with bars, honk-tonks, and various watering holes. Notwithstanding, Johnson City is a college town and has a Veterans Center with a VA hospital. People from surrounding communities travel to Johnson City to party. Other than pure bars there are numerous chain resturants, bar-resturants, and accomodating hotels. These amenties exceed any local community and are similiar in number and quality to what you might find in a much larger populated city.
The “ruling gentry” has permitted the bars to be located on the doorstep of East Tennessee State University. On a strip I call “Bourbon Street” the bars, at one time, were dotted along this street that led right into the university. That strip may be a little tamer now than in it’s hey-day of a few years ago. All the crimes you can think of have happened over the past many years in that broad area. Killings, stabbings; you name it.
Being a party town has it’s own refuse to go with it’s name and reputation. So, there is a homeless and street population that must rank in numbers per capita right up there with the mental depression survey. Drive through the town and you will see them sitting on the curbs, ill-clad and always the sad countenance. Street people can be found most anywhere. If there were a survey of alcoholics per capita I feel confident Johnson City would again achieve low honors. I suspect, that if you went into the homes and abodes you would find even more tragic stories. A party town exacts a price.
The “ruling gentry” might will accept a good-paying industry, which there has been scant evidence of recently, if one presented itself. But, it’s been the bars and honky-tonks that really turn-on the “ruling gentry”. Just a new place to drink. A few years ago it was reported the gentry were sitting up bars or drinking accommodations in the public library. There is nothing more dangerous and volatile than mixing booze and books.
The town has festivals and music shows from time to time that bring people in form other communities to enjoy a night of drinking and revelry. Sometimes, the arrest figures are published for those events and the high numbers and character of the crimes should be depressing by any one’s standards.
I have not read the survey, but the reported results makes sense.
Libertarians are just plain scary. Rep. Ron Paul, according to reports, was over in South Carolina calling for repeal of laws against prostitution, heroin, etc. That might be good contrarian talk, but Mr. Paul don’t want to experience the kind of freedom he talks up. I’m going to wait for the Millennium to be a libertarian.
This week Sen. John McCain made a speech in the Senate about the use of torture to extract valuable information from prisoners of war. McCain was opposed to the practice because he said, in effect, it was Un-American. Such practice violates a universal human ethic that should be a hallmark for higher cultures.
It also could be said , that there is serious questions about the quality of information taken under stressful conditions. But, I like McCain’s reasons best !
As the big water churns toward the Gulf news reporters where shown at casino’s that would have to close because of the high water. The network reporters said that lay-offs and lost revenue would be the result. The state of Mississippi would be the poorer due to this “lost revenue” There was similiar reporting when Katrina washed away casino’s in the Gulf.
The reports got me to thinking about the economics of the flood as it pertained to casino’s only. In gambling if the “house” or casino lose revenue; someone else will gain revenue. Gambling just moves money around, usually from various soci-economic classes of “poor” people to the parasitical elements of society. The “house” don’t provide food, shelter, products, or even much entertainment for their collected revenue. They just take the money from the ignorant and vulnerable.
It was a sad day for Mississippi when they opened up the state to gambling. It was also uncharacteristic because Mississippi is a better state than a so-called gambling state. It is a shame the flood waters are not discriminate, and could focus on the casino’s only ! Then “revenues ” could be better directed to more beneficial areas of the economy. With the added revenue in circulation the casino employees could find better paying jobs in more productive areas.
Of course, there is a moral issue to legalized ambling that transcends the economic reasons to abolish gambling. The surest badge of societal degeneracy is state permitted gambling or quasi-government sponsored gambling. Maybe Mississippi will wake up to see the advantages of not having gambling, even if disrupted for only a few months.