Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Reality Bites Back

If you build the foundation of your house on a pile of sand, when the water rises it will fall with a great crash.

Wendell Phillips reminds us that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” That vigilance demands that we examine the proclamations, actions and behaviors of the people running for office. As free people endowed with the grace of liberty we must hold up the proclamations and representations of people seeking office to the light of truth. Every free person must scrupulously examine the candidates and the evidence they offer so as to confer our vote to those who most closely represent the ideals and aspirations we desire for our community and country.

When a candidate comes before us claiming to be one of the common folk and bases a good measure of their candidacy on proclaiming their commonness to appeal to popular sentiment it is fitting if we examine their conduct and actions to see if their claims ring true when held up to the light of truth.

Sarah Palin, the self proclaimed hockey mom is not as common as she would like American’s to believe. Ms. Palin is a skilled politician who knows how to trade on her political currency to advance her career. Ms. Palin’s selection as McCain’s running mate was a cynical attempt by a stagnating campaign to enlist a willing media to derail the electorates attention from the substantive issues painfully confronting this country.

More has been written and debated about the sexism of people who raised questions about Ms. Palin’s qualifications then elucidating a coherent and complete response to those questions. My belief is that the Republican Party could have surfaced a more competent and capable candidate to assume a role that is one heart beat away from the presidency of the United States.

More has been made of Ms. Palin’s opponents elitism and urban chauvinism then a thorough examination of her insistence that real American’s reside on the Main Streets of small town America. My belief is that this is divisive. It does not build national unity and is harmful to a necessary national consensus that democracies require in order to function. Ms. Palin’s demonization of opponents does great harm to our republic.

More has been spoken about Ms. Palin’s claim to be a leading proponent of Maverickanism. Americans would be well served to examine her program to determine the extent of its divergence from the current administration. My belief is that Ms. Palin advances a program that remains subservient to the interests of large oil companies and big business and is fully wedded to the continuation of the policies of the current administration. Does the slogan “drill baby drill” sound familiar? This country has been rudderless and bereft of any effective leadership under two successive republican administrations. We need a break from SOP. We need a transformational president. (AKA A Real Maverick)

We must also ask, “when is a hockey mom not really a hockey mom?” Do all hockey mom’s spend $150K on clothes? This nation’s hockey moms are rarely seen in fancy leather jackets and very slick dress suits replete with fine complimentary accessories. Today, the majority of hockey moms are hoping they can afford the fees and expensive equipment that participation in hockey leagues requires. Hockey mom’s hope they have the extra dosh to fill up the tank to drive their worry and work weary self and child to make it to the rink for a 6:00AM Saturday morning ice time. Your Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue suits might just be enough to get you kicked out of Hockey Moms United USA. It certainly will get you a membership into the uber elite Waldorf Des Rothschild’s Social Club.

The other recent pillar of the McCain campaign has been the emergence of Joe the Plumber. Joe the Plumber is not a licensed plumber. Joe the Plumber is a laborer who is on the lam from the Arizona DMV for skipping out on a bunch of parking tickets. Joe the Plumber is not in any position to buy his bosses business and it appears that his hope to make a $250K salary remains a very long longshot. But incredibly enough John McCain holds this guy up as a poster child for unfair taxation. McCain’s argument is that sometime in the future if Joe the Plumber buys a business and makes $250K he’ll have to suffer a 3% increase in taxes.

McCain’s incredibly incomprehensible and disingenuous campaign is dangerously crowned by the destructive robocalls that shout Obama is a socialist, a supporter terrorists and is eager to fleece the middle class of America and give their money to the people who don’t make money. I don’t know from what planet McCain has just arrived from but if he’s spent any time recently with the middle class of America he would well know that 8 years of unbridled republicanism has already fleeced the treasure of the middle class and is now in possession of the monied interests that the republican party slavishly serve.

Most dangerous and cynical of all is a McCain campaign flyer put out by the RNC insinuating Mr. Obama’s terrorist ties. It shows an airplane and a picture of Obama ostensively guiding a crew of terrorists to fly into a building to continue the rein of terror and bring down Babylon America.

McCain has been flying this flag for months. I would ask McCain if he and his campaign have evidence concerning Mr. Obama’s support of terrorist activities to bring it to law enforcement officials so American citizens can be protected from the devises of this pernicious subversion. Thats what true patriots are called to do Mr. McCain. Mr. McCain’s fear mongering, character assassination and attempts to question people and groups love of country and patriotism is a sick pandemic that the real enemies of this republic encourage. And like the Hockey Mom Sarah Palin and Joe the Not Yet Plumber, Mr. Obama the terrorist is a well crafted fiction in the senile mind of sedentary campaign bordering on political dementia.

I welcome the conclusion to McCain’s ugly campaign. Built on sand, existing as a fictive sand castle in Mr. McCain’s mind it is hoped the election will wash away this nonsense in a tide of an affirmative mandate for real transformation.

Music Video: Temptations, Just My Imagination

Music Video: Windmills of Your Mind

Risk: truth, voter distrust, political ambivalence’s, electoral alienation

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October 23, 2008 Posted by | culture, elections, McCain, Palin, politics, RnB, soundtrack | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Knowledge is Good

The state college and university system is confronted with mounting challenges as state and federal funding sources continue to trim budget allocations to these vital institutions. State funded college education is a critical social service and support institution that provides higher education opportunities to our lower and middle class citizens. The availability of affordable and accessible public education is critical to maintain an efficiently functioning democratic society. Education offers economically disadvantaged people the hope of social advancement, cultural assimilation and a chance to realize the greater aspirations of America’s promise.

As state funding for higher education decreases, consumers will have to pay more. Colleges will need to scale back offerings and will be required to become more of a market driven enterprise. They will also need to rely more on the largess of alumni and corporate support to remain economically viable.

Cutting state colleges loose to navigate the ebbs and flows of the market economy threatens institutional independence and moves state education services one step closer to privatization. On the positive side this will encourage and inform institutional development and program initiatives that address the needs of the diverse communities’ state colleges serve. This will tend to temper the “ivory tower” criticism of academic institutions; but they must not lose sight of state college’s principal mission to enlighten citizens, serve cultural needs, enhance economic advancement potential and advance the political liberties of citizens.

State colleges are not vocational schools. Nor are they pools of labor and intellectual capital created to support these requirements of capitalist enterprises. As state colleges become more dependent on private sources of funding, it risks that its institutional culture will assume characteristics and political biases to support and advance the interests of its funding sources. This is another dangerous example of how privatization is assuming control of functions previously considered the domain of the state. The privatization of certain military functions, administration of elections and leasing highway toll road administration to private interests signals the growing pervasiveness state capitalism and commercial control over social and governmental institutions.

A free society requires educational institutions to be free from the control of special interests. Partnerships between corporations and public education institutions are critical to the success and growth of both parties. Academic freedom and the protection of the marketplace of ideas must never be compromised for the want of funding and must be guarded at all costs.

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” Wendell Phillips, the abolitionist wrote. Extra vigilance is required to assure that state education continues to be well funded and that the source of funds does not inhibit academic freedom and the ultimate liberty and freedom of expression of our citizens.

The challenge to maintain a standard of excellence, secure funding, maintain costs and create brand differentiation of the state college curriculum and service offering are keys to its survival. Like all market driven enterprises, state colleges need to create and market a unique value proposition. State colleges must balance course curriculum, services and institutional experience to equally serve its social constituents and commercial interests of its funding sources.

The experience of “No Child Left Behind” is a good example of a well intentioned policy that has harmed the primary education experience. NCLB’s places an emphasis on student’s ability to pass standardized tests. Test results are used as a metric to score the schools effectiveness and as a yardstick to reward good performance with additional funding. This program compromises the schools core education mission of instilling a love of learning to better prepare students to be productive members of society. NCLB more closely resembles a grant application process for capital funding that places the protection of the institution ahead of its mission to teach students.

Democracy requires citizens to possess an ability to question, reason and understand how dissimilar issues, events and disciplines intersect and connect in an increasingly complex world. State funded colleges are communities where these types of skills can be developed, nurtured and shared equally and dispersed widely to all members of the society.

That is what the original Lyceum was all about.

We close with a fight song from one of our great public universities, Hail to the Victors!

Risk: public education, civil liberties, informed electorate, participatory democracy, institutional bias, reputation risk, market risk

June 25, 2008 Posted by | education, government, pop, private equity, taxation | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment