Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

When the wealth of a few jeopardizes the security of the many…

January 29, 2014

Raspberry & Mandarin cheesecakeThe President is making his State of the union address tonight. We have been told to look forward to a speech dominated by issue of “income inequality”.   A divisive issue – most certainly, but timely and long overdue as the centerpiece of  domestic policy.

In a recent column in the New York Times (The Inequality Problem)  David Brooks  indicated that targeting the obscene wealth of the top 1% might be a moot point since the wealth at the top, though massively higher than it was in the past, is not making the rest of the world poorer.  To that assumption, the most polite thing I can think to say is “horse hockey!”

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Learning On-Line: The good, the bad, and the ugly

September 1, 2013

Continuing with Barack Obama’s theme of making access to college more affordable for more Americans, I decided to explore the issue of taking classes online. What’s good, what’s bad and what is downright unacceptable. My knee-jerk reaction had been that this type of vehicle is fine for some forms of CE and for “light learning” of the sort that I have done on Lynda.com.

Speaking as someone who has had to reinvent myself more than once, I have found on-line learning to be a mixed bag. Sometimes an online tutorial on a site like Lynda.com was all that I needed to move forward in an area where I was stuck.

Although Lynda.com is hardly a substitute for a university level course, its the only online training that I have any personal frame of reference with in the capacity of a student. Nevertheless, from that experience, I learned several things:

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When publish or perish bumps up against pedagogy – Part II:

August 30, 2013

Part II: Academia’s other mission: the race to publish or perish

In Part I of this series, I outlined why skyrocketing tuition costs didn’t seem to square with the cost of actually educating students.   The second part of this series deals with “other” mission of academia and how this side of the equation may account in good part for the increased costs.

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When publish or perish bumps up against pedagogy – Part I

August 29, 2013

Part I:  Has the cost of pedagogy really risen beyond core inflation?

We have all heard the headlines.  College tuition is skyrocketing.  The trajectory is indeed unsustainable.  And for good or ill, it was undoubtedly a key motivating force behind Barack Obama’s recent push to control rising costs by incentivizing a mean and lean model that produces measurable results.  Ok, so once again we are trying to “incorporate” academia using the Walmart plan.  To that end Obama has also encouraged colleges and universities to step up the online coursework opportunities.

In truth, the speech seemed more like warmed-over pablum than thoughtfully conceived policy.  This is mostly because it failed to address the underlying issues that contribute to exponential cost increases while simply attempting to squeeze out more “product” for less money in an already plundered pedagogical system.

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The minimum wage – what’s that got to do with STEM?

February 18, 2013

President Obama’s fifth State Of the Union  address featured several plans to stimulate the economy.  But none of them were so direct and so essential as the proposal to raise the minimum wage from $7.25/hr to $9/hr.

So now my readers are scratching their heads and asking “What on earth does that have to do with STEM fields.”  To that I would say “plenty”.

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But can he SELL it?

September 9, 2011

Obama has to close the deal…

As  of this writing Obama has presented his plan before the American people and a joint session of Congress – A Congress that graciously begrudgingly gave him a time slot at their convenience.

The republicans are probably somewhat chastened by a brutal August among their constituents.  I know for our part –  New Yorkers gave Nan Hayworth little peace.  The heckling started the minute she returned home and she was shadowed by  angry constituents every day of her recess.  One even stripped off her shirt (she was wearing a bathing suit) saying that she was losing her shirt to tea party policies.  Ironic, since she was a “job creator”  with her own (now outsourced) business.  But I digress.   It appears to have been a similar period of purgatory in other districts throughout the county. Sooooooo – doing nothing is probably not an option.  But giving Obama a victory is also NOT an option.

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Hostage Politics: A Primer from the Tea Party…

August 3, 2011

Seldom  in our history has so much been given to those who already have so much.  And this past week we seemed to give away the store.   Welcome to Hostage Politics – and  the future of the American political system if we are not careful.  This is a perfect example of how a small but united faction can force their political will on Congress and the President by extortion.

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Draft Elizabeth Warren for President in 2012…..

July 28, 2011
From - http://www.flickr.com/photos/speakerpelosi/

From - http://www.flickr.com/photos/speakerpelosi/

I have long been an Obama apologist  – after all we have an entrenched “tea party”  of freshman congressmen along with massively corrupt DC infrastructure thanks to unlimited campaign funds from  big business.   Obama entered office at the worst possible time.  There is a  common saying which is actually a curse: “May you live in interesting times.”  A worse curse might will be “May you win high office in interesting times.”   Politics – after all – is the art of the possible.  Those who dig in and won’t budge – in the end won’t last.

However, the president’s performance this week tells me that he may not have what it takes to govern in this environment.  He is first and foremost a constitutional lawyer and a scholar.  Nothing wrong with that.  I would rather have a scholar than a cowboy like Bush as POTUS in such a challenging environment.

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Elizabeth Warren’s Cautionary Tale: The trials and tribulations of CFPB

May 11, 2011

The audacity of advocating for Main Street  America…

Elizabeth Warren – Barack Obama’s special adviser to the CFPB (the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)  was on Jon Stewart a couple of weeks ago discussing the trials and tribulations facing the nascent bureau.  It’s not as though other newly formed government agencies don’t have their problems or issues.  But this particular bureau has the nerve to actually want to protect the average American.  God forbid that should ever happen.  Jon Stewart of The Daily Show drove home the point. “It’s a bureau looking to protect consumers from corporate malfeasance. Obviously there is massive Congressional resistance to it.”

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The Anti-Obama Campaign….

April 8, 2011

The republicans have basically branded themselves  as the anti-Obama.  They aren’t for very much except  low taxes low taxes on the wealthy and corporations.   So they have to frame their rhetoric around what they are not.  Bill Maher in his “New Rules” segment has decided that only solution to this hypocrisy is for the republicans to own their rhetoric lock stock and barrel and have as their presidential nominee a true anti-Obama   Karab  Amabo is Bill Maher’s choice for the Republican nomination. After all, even the name is Barack Obama spelled backward.

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