Are You Ready for Less Academics?

by Walter Brasch

           Fewer people know the names of the recent Nobel laureates than the starting quarterbacks for Division I college teams. To find out why, I went to Green Valley College where the regional chief accreditor, unable to find a tailgate party, was grilling the president.

           “How’s your football team doing this season?” was the first question.

           “Our football team?” asked the president.

           “Yes, your football team. The most important part of any major college.”

           “We’re 1-and-5 and very proud of our team,” said a beaming president, noting the players had the fewest penalties of any team in the conference.

           “You have a full allotment of NCAA scholarships and you’re still only 1 and 5?”

           “We diverted our athletic scholarships to academic scholarships.”

           “This is serious. I assume you’re planning to replace your coach.”

           “We hadn’t thought about it,” said the president, mystified by the inquiry. “Coach Samuels is one of the nation’s most respected environmental physicists, teaches a full load of courses, and then works out the team an hour or two in the evenings.”

           “An hour or two?” said the accreditor, mockingly. “No wonder your school has such a dismal record! Most colleges have twice-a-day drills for two or three hours at a time, and then spend the rest of the day in the weights room or watching game films. The students don’t even go to class in the Fall. Your coaching staff must be lazy not to work your athletes more.”

           “We only have two assistant coaches. One teaches sociology, the other is an anthropologist.”

           “Most colleges have a dozen coaches,” said the accreditor. “How can you not have assistant coaches for ends, backs, and nose guards?”

           “We have a good staff in our anatomy and physiology labs,” said the president, adding that with additional assistant directors in Music and Theatre, the college produces professional-class musical comedies.

           “Who cares? How many of your athletes went on to professional NFL careers?”      The president beamed, and excitedly told the accreditor about alumni who went into the creative arts, others who are leaders in social work and environmental science, and of graduates who are among the nation’s leaders in almost every field of scientific research.

           “Business!” roared the Chairman. “How many of your graduates are in high paying corporate jobs!”

           The president thought hard, but could think of only a half dozen of his recent graduates who went into corporate business, and then only because they couldn’t get any other job. “Of course,” said the president, “a few dozen of our graduates enter law and med school every year.”

           The accreditor’s face finally lit up. “Oh, so you do have wealthy alumni! Why didn’t you say so!”

           The president shook his head. “Most of our alumni lawyers are into consumer law, and our med school graduates usually become family physicians or work with the poor.”

           “Not a good sign. Not a good sign at all.” Also not a good sign was the social atmosphere on campus. “I didn’t see fraternity or sorority houses on campus. In fact, hardly anyone even knows where the nightly parties are.”

           “I guess that isn’t helping our cause for reaccreditation, is it?” asked the president. He didn’t have to ask since the accreditor was now writing furiously. “Your building fund? Any new recreation or student union buildings?”

           “We’re planning a new building to house our community service programs.” The accreditor hardly looked up he was so disgusted. “The average SAT of incoming freshmen is 1200,” blurted the sweating president. “We had two Rhodes Scholars and one Danforth fellowship last year! One of our profs just won a Pulitzer. Ninety percent of our faculty hold the doctorate!”

           “Any of them All-Americans?”

           “Our Intercollegiate Debate Team was national champion last year! The Student Social Welfare Club led the fight against conversion of apartments into condos!”

           “Redeem yourself with committees,” shouted the accreditor. “Do you have more committees than scholarships?”

           “We believe most committees are wastes of time that encourage their members to be arrogant and act irrationally.”

           The accreditor’s aide calmed him down long enough so he could ask a final question. “How much of your budget is spent on sending your administrators and faculty to phony academic conferences to schmooze and pat each other’s behinds?”

           “None,” wept the president, “our budget usually goes to improving instructional supplies to keep our students and faculty current in their fields.”

           The accreditor slammed his notebook shut and walked away. The president called after him, “When will we know whether we have been reaccredited?”

           The accreditor stopped a moment, turned around, and shouted, “When you become a real educational institution.”

           [Dr. Brasch, who admits to having once been an athlete, is a former college professor and now a sedentary journalist. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania.]


Romney Lied About Bain Tenure

SEC reports filed by Bain Capital prove Mitt Romney remained as CEO until 2001.  He claims to have left Bain in 1999 and thus cannot be blamed for tthe vulture capitalism exercised by his company after that time.  It is a felony to falsify SEC reports so which is Mitt guilty of:  lying to us or lying to the SEC?

The Boston Globe says he lied to us.

Romney has said he left Bain in 1999 to lead the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ending his role in the company. But public Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed later by Bain Capital state he remained the firm’s “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president.”

As the presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has lied repeatedly to voters.  He lies so frequently fact checkers find it difficult to keep up with his prevarications.  Now he has been caught in the biggest lie of all:  when he severed ties to Bain.  As sole stockholder, Chairman of the Board and CEO Mitt was responsible for the hundreds of American jobs Bain shipped overseas or destroyed by wrecking companies for profit.  

He says he’s  a job creator based on his experience at Bain but facts say otherwise making this a key issue.  It is also a key issue because of what this says about his character.  If Romney will lie about this what won’t he lie about?  How can we, as American citizens, believe anything he would say as President?  How would the leader of any other nation?

Romney has refused to release tax returns covering the period and later which would provide voters with a better sense of his financial dealings, possible tax avoidance and complicity in the violations of U.S. laws.  If he insists he left Bain in 1999 then he violated federal laws in all of those SEC filings.  Each one would constitute a felony.

What’s more credible, that Romney would commit felonies by making false reports to the SEC or that candidate Romney would lie to avoid personal responsibility for his actions at the time?

Kanjorski, Garrett Agree With SEC on Madoff Questions

From Congressman Kanjorski:

Agreement Comes after SEC Representatives’ Inability to Respond to Questions during a Subcommittee Hearing on Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme

WASHINGTON – Last week, Congressmen Paul E. Kanjorski (D-PA) and Scott Garrett (R-NJ), the Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, met with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Mary Schapiro.  At the meeting, they agreed to an open, cooperative dialogue between the Subcommittee and the SEC, particularly regarding the Subcommittee’s examination of Bernard Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme and the SEC’s actions regarding the case.  The meeting was prompted by a Subcommittee hearing on February 4 entitled “Assessing the Madoff Ponzi Scheme and Regulatory Failures,” at which SEC representatives were unable to discuss the specifics of the Madoff case.

“Chairman Schapiro clearly understands the importance of maintaining an open door and communicating with Congress, so that Congress can conduct appropriate oversight,” said Chairman Kanjorski.  “We are using the Madoff fraud as a case study to guide the work of the Capital Markets Subcommittee in rewriting the laws that protect investors and govern the securities industry.  At our meeting, Chairman Schapiro agreed to assist us in these efforts, and we look forward to receiving the testimony of the SEC at future hearings on these matters.”

“I thank Chairman Schapiro for taking the time to discuss how Congress and the SEC can further promote a productive relationship,” said Ranking Member Garrett.  “I look forward to the opportunity to work closely with her in a collaborative fashion as our Subcommittee examines ways to tackle deficiencies in SEC oversight and structure.”

After the Subcommittee hearing on February 4, Chairman Schapiro sent a letter to Chairman Kanjorski and Ranking Member Garrett expressing regret for the SEC representatives’ inability to more fully respond to questions during the hearing, and requesting a meeting with the two Members.

In the letter, Chairman Schapiro stated, “Today’s hearing before your Subcommittee cannot have been satisfactory for you.  The Commission’s staff and I understand that you must have adequate information to fulfill your oversight responsibilities.  There needs to be a full accounting, both of Mr. Madoff’s activities and why we did not detect the fraud, which we truly regret.”