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Posts Tagged ‘dick morris’

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Besides quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous banality, “There are no second acts in American lives,” let me, as the current political season ends, rework an equally apt quote — from Freddy Fender, a Tejano country crooner who overcame a Marine Corps court-martial and a nearly three-year stint at the Angola prison farm to have lots of second acts — including, playing for two U.S. Presidents; earning multiple Halls of Fame and becoming a hugely successful Grammy Award winning musician.

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4141/4914288037_0389d6a169_n.jpgAlthough Freddy’s “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” is a heartsick love song, I think it also describes politicians and hackneyed personages who stick around past their sell-by date. They hang around like lovesick dopes hoping that next time, you’re really gonna want them “before the next tear drop tortilla falls.” 
                                                                                                                                                                               And besides, I like Freddy’s music — so this pretext is as good as any to give him another listen. Besides, why not an old country chestnut 5 days before Election Day?

Not only are we anxious for the political advertising blitzkrieg to stop but just about now most of us are either crying over or hating both political parties with equal venom. “A plague on both your houses.” See, for example, four-year old Abigael Evans who’s also had enough.

Tortillas and ticks don’t mind bad weather.

photoBut also pardon me please for my silly reach — from tortillas to ticks. The former are on my mind because good tortillas like good Mexican food remain hard to find here — despite a Phoenix population more than 30 percent Hispanic. They must all be eating at home, passing instead on the area’s passel of deep-fried chimichanga consuming Gringo-Mex culinary nastiness — proof that God said you can deep fry anything and make it edible. But would a lawyer’s old pair of worn-out, deep-fried Allen-Edmonds taste any good?

And as for arachnids, I’ve said before the human animal can have the tenacity of a ‘tick on a coon hound.’  And politicians and washed-up public personages are most like them — hard to burn, to bite or to bear. Consummate survivors, they even don’t mind cold weather.

Second acts.

As for second acts, they abound. For one, take toe-sucking Dick Morris who survived his fling with call girl Sherry Rowland to afterward successfully triangulate from Democrat and conniving Clinton confidant to best-selling Republican hack and far-right Fox News talking head. (The scandal-plagued frequently feel Fox News’ love.)

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File:Michael D. Brown, official FEMA photo portrait, 2003.jpg

Ex-FEMA Fumbler Michael Brown, Esq.

So with that as perspective, in the midst of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, ex-FEMA head, lawyer [no surprise] and current media talking head Michael Brown continues relishing his own second limelight to criticize President Obama for reacting too quickly in mobilizing relief for Frankenstorm‘ Sandy.

That’s rich coming from Brown since, as most of us remember, he ignominiously did the opposite during Hurricane Katrina — something President George W. came to rue after damning himself by extolling the incompetent Brownie with premature praise.

Email boot-lickin,’ brown-nosin,’ butt-kissin’ boogies.

My other favorite Michael Brown quote, however, remains the gag-inducing sycophantic email exchange between the self-described “I am a fashion god” Brown and his fawning public affairs flack Cindy Taylor over his “lovely FEMA attire.” She told him, “You look fabulous.” And he replied, “I got it at Nordstroms. … Are you proud of me?”

File:Tom Horne by Gage Skidmore.jpg

“First and foremost … our Attorney General is much better looking.”

Coincidentally, though, Arizona takes a back seat to nobody when it comes to political toadyism. Earlier this month, as part of a campaign financing irregularity inquiry into Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, e-mails were turned up from another brown-nosing and clearly eyesight-challenged underling who praised Horne’s looks; called him “rock star” and stated how “Arizona is blessed to have you as a leader.”

When it rains, it really pours even in dry, dusty and hot Arizona. Horne was further embarrassed in the press this week with FBI revelations about his alleged involvement in a hit-and-run while the chunky alleged Lothario* was carrying on an affair with a deputy assistant attorney. Also see “Tom Horne’s office withholds public information to protect … Tom Horne.”

About now, I’m also betting Horne’s glad he doesn’t work for someone like “W” who had a penchant for pet names, particularly diminutive surnames like “Brownie.” Stating the obvious, a diminutive of “Horne” doesn’t work out as well given the current context.

File:Falstaff and Mistress Quickly Francis Philip Stephanoff.jpeg

But notwithstanding the small Schadenfreude he’s enduring, Horne can take comfort from Arizona’s excellent tradition of scandal. Indeed, by comparison, the allegations against him are small potatoes. Plus, he’d need not fear continuing a career, no matter how things turn out. With history and all those scandal and incompetency plagued predecessors who yet flourish today, before the next teardrop or tortilla ever falls, he’ll have had not only his second but more likely, his third act.

______________________________________________________________

*“This battered hulk of thine, ‘spite wind and weather, Still yields some joy to thee, For all the women, old and young together, Are mad with love for me! Good body mine, the which I amply nourish, Long may’st thou flourish!” – From Falstaff, a lyrical comedy in three acts, by Giuseppe Verdi, Arrigo Boito

Photo Credits:”Tortilla Face,” by Tom Hilton at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution;  “We {heart} Tortilla Chips,” by TheDeliciousLife at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution;”Michael D. Brown, former director of FEMA,” via Wikipedia Commons. Work of a Federal Emergency Management Agency employee, taken or made during the course of an employee’s official duties. As the works of the U.S. federal government, all FEMA images are in the public domain;”NJ National Guard operations during Hurricane Sandy [Image 2 of 8],” by DVIDSHUB at Flickr via Creative Commons-licensed content requiring attribution; “Tom Horne,” by Gage Skidmore at Wikipedia Commons licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license; “Falstaff and Mistress Quickly”   Philip Stephanoff via Wikipedia Commons, United States public domain.

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A couple of college professors recently challenged colleges and college students to toss out old assumptions, modify their thinking, and their curricula to allow graduation from undergraduate school in 3 instead of 4 years. Writing in the NY Times, in A Degree in Three, the 2 professors, Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and Gerald Kauvar of George Washington University, believe “There is simply no reason undergraduate degrees can’t be finished in three years, and many reasons they should be. Switching from four to three years would be simple; it would mostly be a matter of altering calendars and adding a few more faculty members and staff.”
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The arguments they make for cramming a supposed 4 year college degree into 3 years emanate from greater efficiencies from the fuller utilization of facilities, of faculty time and of student time. The 2 professors even see benefits from graduates entering the work force a year sooner.

What are they thinking?

Academia’s Ivory Tower is well-known for intellectually disconnecting itself from the real world. I’m glad to see nothing’s changed since I was an undergraduate. The argument the 2 academics make is the latest case in point. Oliver Wendell Holmes is supposed to have said, “Nothing is so rewarding as a stubborn examination of the obvious.” See Bill Husted, The Denver Post.

But what’s obvious to some, merely intrigues others, particularly those who’re disconnected from what’s really going on in the world.

First, like typical bureaucrats, any problem can be solved by adding more bodies to the fray, i.e., adding a few more faculty members and staff.” And then, of course, college faculty would have to work harder. But this begs the question, “Do faculty have any interest or desire in working harder?”

teacherCurrently, teachers in Postsecondary education usually have to be in class only 12 to 16 years per week. The rest of the time, faculty are supposed to be serving on committees, meeting with students, writing, reading, conducting research or just generally, pontificating.

However, their time is largely unregulated. That’s the way they like it, especially if they’re tenured and secure. In those instances they’re particularly left to their own devices.

Most professors claim they already work long hours, well beyond the standard 40 hour work week. But in those rare instances when attempts are made to add a bit of substance to such claims, such as actually requiring a 40-Hour Rule, i.e., a punch-clock to punch in and out of the Ivory Tower, the weeping, wailing and teeth-gnashing are enough to elicit crocodile tears from the average working stiffs.

It’s hardly new criticism of erudite Ivory Tower dwellers. Indeed, in a New York Times blog last year, Why is College So Expensive?’ Dick Morris gave voice to my own long-held beliefs dating back to my college days when the political pundit said colleges “coddle their faculty letting them off with work weeks that we would find laughable.” Besides reducing their out-of-control spending, Morris contends college costs could be cut in half “if colleges required their faculty to work harder (approximating the work week the rest of us find normal).”

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And then there’s the other point the Professors Trachtenberg and Kauvar make about the ‘advantage’ of early admission to the workforce. It all sounds good but there’s that small detail that’s delusionally glossed over about graduates entering the workplace “that much faster.” The detail is called unemployment. Memo to professors: There’s a recession going on. And even if we believe the plane is going to pull up before it hits the mountain, the recovery so far appears to be a jobless-one.Young adults are presently facing the worst unemployment since 1948. See “The Kids Aren’t Alright: A Labor Market Analysis of Young Workers.”


In fact the job market is so bad, that graduates who aren’t already ill-using their high-priced degrees in non-degree related servile service work, are opting to hide out in that most traditional of hiding places —– law school. In for a nickel, why not go all in for the rest?

Insanely, some college graduates think they defer reality by dog-piling on additional six figure tuition debt, this time courtesy of law school! Thus, they assure a lifetime’s worth of indentured servitude to pay off undergraduate and graduate school loans. See Getting Into Graduate School Made Tougher by the Recession.

6 years to graduate.

Crosslegged man drinking mug of coffeeIt used to be it took 4 years to graduate from college. But that’s become a thing of the past. Indeed, a recent USATODAY story reveals that 4-year colleges graduate 53% of students in 6 years.

Again, the 2 counterintuitive professors’ suspend reality. But when it comes to skipping their reality-check, they’re no different from those over-indulgent Baby Boomer parents who with a straight-face tell you, “Yeah, my kid’s a 7 year senior but it’s because he couldn’t get all his classes.”

So notwithstanding that cost, student motivation, academic inertia, and higher education’s structural lassitude all contribute to longer and longer stays in college without graduation, the 2 professors blithely prescribe otherwise.

Making sense.

man sleeping at deskWhat the professors write in their Op-Ed only makes sense if faculty members agree to longer work weeks and students agree to leave college sooner. And oh, yeah, colleges will agree to stop charging ridiculous tuition, too.

Yeah, I’m just kidding on that last bit about college tuition. I’d have to live in an Ivory Tower to believe that one.

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