College-Admissions Fraud; Color Me Unsurprised.

So the completely unsurprising scandal of celebrities buying their stupid offspring into elite so-called universities for credentialing purposes continues. In truth, nothing could be less surprising. Heather MacDonald in City Journal writes:

The celebrity college-admissions cheating scandal has two clear takeaways:  an elite college degree has taken on wildly inflated importance in American society, and the sports-industrial complex enjoys wildly inflated power within universities. Thirty-three moguls and TV stars allegedly paid admissions fixer William Singer a total of $25 million from 2011 to 2018 to doctor their children’s high school resumes—sending students to private SAT and ACT testing sites through false disability claims, for example, where bought-off proctors would raise the students’ scores. Singer forged athletic records, complete with altered photos showing the student playing sports in which he or she had little experience or competence. Corrupt sports directors would then recommend the student for admission, all the while knowing that they had no intention of playing on the school’s team.

None of this could have happened if higher education had not itself become a corrupt institution, featuring low classroom demands, no core knowledge acquisition, low grading standards, fashionable (but society-destroying) left-wing activism, luxury-hotel amenities, endless partying, and huge expense. Students often learn virtually nothing during their college years, as University of California, Irvine, education school dean Richard Arum writes in Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. They may even lose that pittance of knowledge with which they entered college. Seniors at Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Duke, and Berkeley scored lower in an undemanding test of American history than they did as freshmen, according to a 2007 study commissioned by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. College is only desultorily about knowledge acquisition, at least outside of the STEM fields (and even those fields are under assault from identity politics).

Yep, pretty much covers it, for me at least.

What the pay-to-play admissions scam does not demonstrate, however, is that “legacy” admissions are somehow more corrupt than race-based affirmative-action admission policies—which seems to be the primary lesson that left-wing commentators and politicians are taking from the scandal—or that meritocracy is a “myth” that has now been debunked. Racial preferences are a far more significant deviation from academic meritocracy than legacy preferences, which are not even implicated in the current scandal. An underreported but salient detail in the Singer scam is that he “falsified students’ ethnicities,” according to the New York Times, because “some families and students perceive their racial backgrounds can hurt or aid their chances of getting in to schools that consider race in their admissions decisions.” This is not a mere perception; it is the truth. […]

To be sure, legacy preferences and racial preferences should both be eliminated.

Colleges should adopt a transparent, purely merit-based admissions system based on quantified tests of academic preparedness. Such a system would guarantee that entering freshmen were all equally prepared to compete academically, and would have the additional benefit of putting most college admissions officers out of a job. These self-important bureaucrats view themselves as artistes, using their exquisite insights into character to curate a utopian community of “diverse” individuals. The Harvard racial-preferences trial put such airs on nauseating display. In fact, admissions officers are simply allocating a scarce resource based on their own prejudices and inclinations.

Yes, anything else is smoke and mirrors, or in good flyover country English: Bullshit. If you are going to college, and fewer than half of our kids have anything to gain from it. I personally found two years in that I didn’t. Luckily Purdue was a land grant University so I wasn’t saddled with huge debts for my trouble, and I learned quite a lot, and like most alumni, love the place (as you know). But not finishing has not hurt my career, which has been pretty satisfying and paid the bills, as well.

The real losers here though, are the kids who thought they were getting an education but instead have found out their parents were buying them credentials, but without the skills that must go with those credentials to be useful in the real world.

Until the ‘elite’ schools once again teach how to think instead of indoctrinating leftists, I, as a business type person would simply shitcan any resume with a degree other than engineering, or other stem fields. And yes, Purdue would be favored, I’m a bit corrupt, as well, I prefer excellence over mediocrity.

1972 Redux?

Yesterday, I read articles by Victor Davis Hanson on American Greatness, Dr. Tom Borelli on Conservative Review, David Catron on The American Spectator and Clarice Feldman on American Thinker. They al;l said much the same thing. That was yesterday, I have seen many others in the last fortnight or so, and in fact, they are saying what I am saying here today. I’m going to mostly quote VDH here, but any of them will do, and it’s self-evident to your own eyes anyway.

At the rate the Democrats are going, 2020 = 1972. I don’t know if you remember 1972, but the Democrats crashed and burned, losing 49 states to Nixon. But 2020 may be worse. Let VDH tell you.

[W]hat is strange about the new envisioned progressive agendas for 2020 is that no serious Democratic presidential candidate next year could ever run on them.

Instead, what we will see over the next few months are insidious efforts to ignore, disown, or recant endorsements of Democratic candidates for president. And if not, Democrats will be trapped by their own rhetoric and virtue signaling—and end up going the full McGovern in 2020.

Venom. The new progressive Democratic Party is prepared for existential war. Vice President Mike Pence cannot be said to be a “decent guy.” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is old and in the way. America is not much above “garbage.” Immigrants arrive crushed that the “propaganda” did not match the reality of a pathological America. Yesterday’s condemnations from Jeremiah Wright’s pulpit sound mild today. In such a race to the bottom, expect in the next 22 months that each current slur and smear will be seen as counterrevolutionary within 24 hours. Yet most Americans do not appreciate their country being trashed by those who apparently know little about it.

Green Deals. Much has been written about the “Green New Deal,” specifically its socialist redistribution schemes, and its notorious rapid phasing out of the internal combustion engine, which drew the polite ridicule from Feinstein and even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Sound like anything you’ve seen and heard (unendingly)? Me as well, continuing.

Anti-Semitism. The recent failure to condemn explicit anti-Semitism, as voiced by some new anti-Semitic, anti-Israel left-wing congresswomen, reveals that the Democratic Party is captive to an entirely new manifestation of a tired, old ideology. […]

Abortion. It was an unwritten rule that there were two sure ways to lose voters on the abortion issue. Again, ethics and morality aside, there were a few clearly understood no-go, political red lines.

On the pro-abortion side, the red line was usually defined roughly as infanticide, ostensibly killing the baby as it passed through the birth canal or in fact was already delivered. […]

Reparations. There is no national support for reparations for contemporary African-Americans, nearly 160 years after the Civil War.

The argument is neither coherent nor workable. Do immigrant blacks from Africa or the Caribbean qualify despite no American familial historical experience with slavery or Jim Crow?

Open borders and the end of ICE.

Cancellation of student debt.

And on and on and on it goes, where it stops nobody knows. But I’ll bet a fair amount of money that nobody campaigning on half of those points is going to win the election, especially against a candidate that actually fights for his (and our) vision of America. That’s one thing.

But there is another. As David Catron (link above) reminds us; in 1994, the Democrats lost the House majority they had held since Eisenhower. They didn’t get it back until 2006, and lost it again in 2012, regained it in 2018, and are on track to lose it in 2020. Why? Because they have become increasingly (and vocally) radical, all the things VDH discussed above. This is America, and they would be seen as fairly radical, even in Europe.

Indeed, in the UK, the main reason that Teresa May remains the Prime Minister is that Jeremy Corbin also propounds all the stuff above, as so, as horrific as many conservatives perceive her, she was the best least horrible on offer. Sad when the least bad choice wants to give your country’s sovereignty away and pay somebody with billions of tax money for the privilege. That’s how bad Corbyn is.

Forty years ago Margeret Thatcher explained it thusly, “The one thing about leftwing politicians is that they are always fanatical. They never let go. It’s their religion.” Nothing has changed.

It is going to be a very noisy couple of years, as the idiot stepchildren learn a few facts of life, but they will, or they’ll be forcibly retired and then we’ll get on with it. Or they won’t and we may well see another civil war. But I think the first much more likely, the average American voter may well be lazy, but he isn’t stupid, and when the screeching gets annoying, he’s been known to shut it down.

Probably will again.

Cabaret, Haffner, and Chicago

My friend Brandon Christensen over at Notes on Liberty each evening does a post with a few links, which are often interesting. The day before yesterday had one that struck me, so let’s take a look.

In an article entitled The Unromantic Truths of Weimar Germany, Marilyn Macron is essentially reviewing Blood Brothers by Ernst Haffer. The book was originally published in 1932 and banned a year later by the Nazis. Ms. Macron starts this way.

EVEN HALF A CENTURY ON, Cabaret heavily informs perceptions of Weimar Germany. The popular, Oscar-winning 1972 musical features garter-clad Liza Minnelli and elegant Joel Grey slinking their way through a decadent Berlin underworld of sex and style, and it all seems so glamorous. The reality for most Germans at the time was, of course, colder, duller, and much more miserable.

But no one wants anything to do with misery. It’s not the kind of thing viewers and readers pay money to experience. If you dress up misery with tuxedos and boas, though, and hide the accompanying desperation under makeup and sequins, you get decadence, and decadence sells. German writer Alfred Döblin filtered this aesthetic into his classic 1929 novel Berlin Alexanderplatz. Christopher Isherwood was similarly taken in — his 1937 novella Sally Bowles, later collected in The Berlin Stories(1945), was the basis for Cabaret.

They wrote of Berliners who knew how to commodify decadence. Of aristocratic gangsters who wouldn’t do a job without top hat and tails. Of Apache dancers, Brylcreemed villains, and two-mark whores with fire-red curls. There were discreet champagne lounges in basements, secret entrances, and trapdoors. The observer of this falsified and superficial milieu would find Berlin’s actual criminal underworld deathly dull. Nothing of interest there at all. Except, perhaps, real people with real needs, and few ways to get those needs met.

She’s right though, that undertone that runs through Cabaret does give you a feel for what is coming. A newer version, set in the US, with much the same feel of desperation about it is Chicago, another fine effort, this time about what might have been instead of what was.

Haffner’s writing is of the short-lived Neue Sachlichkeit, or New Objectivity, movement that rejected romanticism and expressionism in favor of realism. His collage of the exploits and exploitation of these boys shows them fully responsible for their actions but also indicts German society as a whole. In this, his prose pairs well with the vitriolic caricatures of Dada/New Objectivist artist George Grosz, a contemporary of Haffner’s who left for the United States in 1933.

Grosz’s works were mainly done in pen and ink to emphasize the starkness of his subject matter. Of his claustrophobic collage A Funeral: Tribute to Oskar Panizza, he sought to portray, he said, “[A] gin alley of grotesque dead bodies and madmen […] A teeming throng of possessed human animals […] think that wherever you step, there’s the smell of shit.” A Funeral is an artistic analogue of Blood Brothers, in which Haffner writes, “And the big beer joints with their lively oom-pa-pah music from early morning on, they are just waiting rooms for armies of pimps, unemployed and casual criminals.”

All very interesting, and I wonder if it has implications for our time. For aren’t we seeing the same things, decadence, missing fathers, self-harming or more or less defeated mothers leading to feral young people, surviving however they can? How different is Haffner’s Berlin to present-day London, or Chicago? I don’t know and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know. But what I really don’t want is to find out they are the same. Neither the United States nor Weimar Germany survived the thirties as they were before. Neither did the world.

The book is now on my wish list. And do read the linked review.

As for Haffner himself, Macron tells us…

Beyond being a creative risk, Haffner’s humane depiction of the gang members turned out to be a grave political error: the Nazis banned and burned Blood Brothers within a year of its publication, during the notorious May 1933 Bebelplatz book burning. Sometime after, the writers’ union affiliated with the Third Reich, the Reichsschrifttumskammer, summoned him to appear. It is believed that he did.

Haffner was never seen again.

There is a lesson in that, as well.

The Eagle and the Dragon

David Runciman wants you to know that the 21st Century will be China’s just as the 20th was America’s. Isn’t that special! Maybe, but frankly, I doubt it. So does Steven W. Mosher, who writes about that in American Greatness.

Let’s take a look.

America’s best days are behind it, says David Runciman, in his book, How Democracy Ends.

Runciman sounds for all the world like a big “D” Democrat—a member of the political party that, at least since the time of Jimmy Carter, has specialized in “malaise.” The Democrat “two-step” goes like this. First, they cause “malaise” by hamstringing the economy, then they highlight it as an excuse to enact government programs that make even more people dependent upon the welfare state they control.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, specializes in “robust good health.” His booming optimism is reminiscent of Teddy Roosevelt’s. You can almost imagine him charging up San Juan Hill. How invigorating and refreshing to see energy, rather than excuses, in the Oval Office.

Like Roosevelt and Reagan, Trump believes that America’s best days are ahead of it.

Mosher goes on to note that it is China that has started to decline since the American people decided to turn our back on despair and dependency by electing Trump. He says, and I agree, it might have been true if we had elected Clinton.

But we didn’t. We elected Trump, a proven fighter who fights to win and is already doing so, as we see China and the EU start to slip into recession. Mind you, trade is not a strictly a win-lose game. Done properly it is a win-win thing. But the US has been playing a sucker’s bet since 1945, first intended to help the world to recover, and then out of habit until it was starting to really hurt America. To every thing, there is a time, wrote the Teacher, and the time to hurt ourselves to help others is no more.

While the Brits may not have caught on to the fact that America’s best days are ahead of it, the Democrats have. Witness the increasingly panicky calls for impeachment.

When their chief initiative is to carry out a political coup to remove their political opponent from office they are truly out of ideas.

Read his article (linked above) for his observations on China. I agree, from what I see. But he’s an expert, I’m not, but I do have eyes.

Business Insider is also reporting on troubles in China.

According to a paper published in January by Hurun Report, a Shanghai-based research firm, just over one-third of the superrich Chinese citizens in a survey described themselves as “very confident” about the future of the Chinese economy.

On the surface, that seems like a solid number, but it is startling when compared with the same survey two years ago, which showed that nearly two-thirds were very confident in China’s economic future. It is also the lowest number in the 15 years the survey has been produced, Hurun said.

The same survey from Hurun also found that the number of wealthy Chinese who had “no confidence at all” in China’s economic future had doubled from last year’s survey to 14%.

Hurun’s survey of 465 superrich Chinese citizens also found that almost half were considering emigrating or had already made moves to emigrate from China.

Heh! Funny how that happens when you feel you know better than your people. Here it is, more people saying the US will win again.

Why?

You know why!

Because Hillary will never be President.

Always amazing what freedom, politically, and in markets can do.

Green New Dream and Brexit: the Musical

Well, I think we’ll do a few more videos today.

The Clear Energy Alliance has a series of videos up explaining just how incredibly stupid Occasional Cortex’s (or AOC, if you insist) Green New Deal is.

I’ll post a couple of the series, but more at the link.

and

They are completely right, of course. This whole plan is substandard for college freshmen over a football weekend. But that is fairly standard for Congress.

Or Parliament for that matter, Brexit the Musical is available. It’s not quite up to the standard of Hamilton, but if the F bomb in a posh British accent doesn’t overly bother you, it’s pretty good. But perhaps a bit NSFW

Hat tip to PowerLine for both.

CPAC 2019

So, the annual post of the CPAC videos, the ones I liked best anyway, for various reasons. We showed you the President’s the other day, you can find it here, well worth watching again. Enjoy

So let’s get started with Nigel Farage

Perhaps Candace Owens has something to teach us.

Common sense from the young ones, what’s not to like love.

Mark Levin put it together faster than any of us. He tells us about it.

So does Senator Cruz

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is pretty good, as well

And here is Charlie Kirk. Yes, I love these kids from Turning Point USA, and the fact that more than half of CPAC attendees that are of their generation. They mean that whatever we’ve screwed up, and it’s a lot, the message of freedom still rings across the land.

Michelle Malkin, who is one of my heroes, brings it and brings it hot and unvarnished. And she is spot on correct.

Here is one of the ways that they will try to impose totalitarianism on us. From Wayne LaPierre of the NRA.

Then there is, of course, my fellow Hoosier, the Vice President, Mike Pence.

There’s quite a few more, and you can find them on the internet. None are bad, these are just my favorites.

And you know, this has become one of those festivals of freedom that celebrate America and all we have done for the world, not to mention keeping us on track. And showing the world how, as well.

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