Swickard: The five rights we need to do

Bill Richardson horsing around
© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  We are living in angry times. Anger drives much of what we do. With the New Mexico Legislature in session there is more anger than normal. The political animals realize they only have a small amount of time to get what they want. So they spew anger to get their way.
            It makes me think of what Aristotle observed: "Anybody can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way... that is not within everybody's power and is not easy."
            There are big things driving anger in this Legislature like the impasse caused by driver licenses. Some want a driver's license for those who are in our country legally and another license for those without legal status.
            The anger has ratcheted up in the dialog so that thinking people want nothing to do with the debate since the flamers will scorch everyone who does not conform. That fight involves the political bases of both parties.
            Another flash point for anger is the desire of political animals to have their way regardless of the rules and regardless of any promises made earlier. Example: When Spaceport America was first proposed the idea was to get the construction paid by Dona Ana and Sierra County taxpayers. Those taxpayers stood to gain the most from an active and vibrant Spaceport.
            And I supported the idea of a Spaceport since, at the time many years ago, this was going to be the first one and the promises were rosy to say the least. Governor Bill Richardson, who was putting together a presidential bid, was looking for high profile projects and this fit the bill, er, the Bill.
            About the same time presidential candidate Bill Richardson unveiled the Richardson for President Rail Runner Express Transit system from Belen to Santa Fe which proclaimed Richardson's stature nationally that he understood mass transit.
            The enabling legislation never mentioned a rail project; it was aimed at New Mexico highways. That seemed a good idea and then the political animals dashed in and sprung the Rail Runner on New Mexico taxpayers without the taxpayers having any way to avoid the financial consequences which are huge.
            What do the Rail Runner and Spaceport America have in common? Both started with a political push and both are now mired in controversy about their financing. The Rail Runner is a deep hole in the Earth into which New Mexico taxpayers must pour money.
            I am not sure about the ultimate fate of Spaceport America. But the leaders of the project are doing things that anger New Mexico taxpayers and that is not good. The Spaceport is clearly not going as we expected when it started and putting lipstick on the project with cheerful press releases has not helped.
            State Senator Lee Cotter (District 36) who represents Dona Ana County has Senate Bill 157 to stop Spaceport America from paying salaries and other expenses with tax dollars intended to pay off the facility debt.
            Cotter has sponsored this bill previously. The proponents of hijacking the dollars say they need the money. But they don't want to come to the Legislature for those funds because they are afraid the legislature will say no.
            Senator Cotter said, "Dona Ana and Sierra County taxpayers are hurt when their taxes are diverted and do not go towards paying down the debt faster." Exactly. He points out that it is all borrowed money. If New Mexico had the money to begin with that would be one thing but both Rail Runner and Spaceport are with borrowed money.
            With the Rail Runner there is a day coming when many millions of dollars will be due. And it can only come from the taxpayers. We always need to do these projects with the five rights: the right people, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way.
            Hey, since the Iowa Caucus is now done, can New Mexico lose the Ethanol mandate. Why give that money to the Iowa farmers and take it away from New Mexicans? Why indeed.


The zeal of Woodward and Berstein....may it rest in peace

We live in an era when most people have cell phones and not land lines. But polls are treated as gospel while being done via land lines. Not to worry. We are about to find out if the polls we have heard about for months are accurate. The people are about to start voting instead of only those with land lines who occasionally want to take a call and talk with a pollster. People will vote first in Iowa, then New Hampshire, then South Carolina etc. And the man the American news media loves to hate…..Donald Trump has looked great in the preseason. We will see if he does well when people who only have cell phones have a say.

On the other side of the political ledger, things have gone from bizarre to surreal. We have a conspiracy of silence in the Democrat-run mainstream media. Hillary Clinton’s lies go unmentioned. While her deceptions place her on par with Richard Nixon, the media gives her a pass. It seems that no media outlet cares to report what she did or did not do with highly classified information. All of this is simply amazing considering that her lies are so egregious, so outrageous, and so criminal, that if ANYONE else did what she did and said what she has said, they would be handcuffed and jailed. If they were fortunate enough to be allowed to post bail, they would be looking at dozens and dozens of years of jail time.

How astonishing are Hillary’s lies? Even the State Department now admits that some of the emails she sent illegally are so sensitive they can’t simply redact the secret contents and release the remainder. Apparently these emails are so important to national security the State Dept. simply has to withhold the entire content, despite the fact there is a court order to release them.

The recent admission of Hillary's conduct by the Obama State Department is a smoking gun. It is all prosecutors need to convict Hillary and throw her in jail just as has been the case with so many before her who did what she did. Will the FBI prosecute her? Or is Hillary above the law? 

The buzz around Washington is the FBI is FURIOUS that the Obama administration is openly and blatantly interfering with their duty to enforce the law. Rather than hold her accountable, Mr. Obama wants to protect the Democrat’s presidential nominee. What is not much of a secret is that Obama henchmen are pressuring officials not to pursue charges against Clinton that would be matter of routine with any other employee.

Clearly Mr. Obama is engaged in Watergate-like obstruction of justice right out in the open. And in the meantime, the legacy of the zeal and persistence of Woodward and Bernstein at the Washington Post has given way. In fact, you can lump the entire mainstream media (ex-Fox) under the same mission statement. ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post etc. are little more than an extended ministry of propaganda for perpetual power of the Democrats. 

Over the weekend we learned that Mr. Obama himself actually emailed Clinton on her unsecured server. He did so at least eighteen times. Obama has previously denied doing so. The contents of these communications from the president to his Secretary of State will not be released by the White House. Predictably, the White House is using the old Nixon dodge, "Executive Privilege," as their reason for not obeying the court order to release the emails. Can anyone say Rosemary Woods? ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post can't. 

Amazingly, nobody (ex-Fox) in the media cares as these lies pile up. And no Democrat seems at all troubled by all of this. One has to wonder if Obama and Hillary were caught on film in the Oval Office tossing a couple of hundred dead babies they just killed into a pile with pitchforks, if any media outlet but Fox would even report it. But I digress. More on Planned Parenthood in a future column.

Swickard: To deal with today's boy behavior

With glasses and a punch
© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  I was born a small boy. Yes, small. And yes a boy. Both were a problem in public school. The first because it attracted larger boys who exercised boy behavior at my expense and the second because I accepted that is how boys are supposed to act. And so I had to adapt to being smaller than other boys.
            Sometimes I even admired how larger boys pushed me around since I thought at some point I would grow to be as big as my father. I didn't get a growth spurt until ninth grade. Previously I was one of the smallest in each class.
            But I have always been a boy and therefore I had plenty of boy behavior hardwired into my very being. If I was punched my automatic response was to hit back. No, I didn't go tattle to adults; I tried to land a blow on the tip of the offender's nose where it would start a nose-bleed.
            Public schools tried to extinguish all boy behavior when I was in public school since it was loud, chaotic and irritating to adults. We boys were treated as if we were dysfunctional girls. We were treated as if we had not thought of what would be acceptable behavior.
             "What were you thinking?" was a frequent question. Truth: wasn't thinking, just reacting as a boy.
            Public schools then and now try to make all children act like girls. Pay attention, don't take cuts in line and don't ever punch another boy. The expected behavior of schools is modeled after girls who act like girls.
            In the 1980s when my daughter was in third grade she was pushed around by a boy. I taught her something my Uncle Ralph taught me when I was young. It is a punch called the Hook. I didn't talk to the school about the boy behavior that is always at public schools, I gave her a way to deal with it. We practiced it.
            Young kids throw straight lefts and rights which are easily blocked. The hook comes out of left field and knocks the offender down. Her mother and the school weren't pleased with her knocking the boy down but he never pushed her again. Nor did any boy at that school. After her lecture was over, she came and high fived me.
            That is what Uncle Ralph's lesson did for me. I was much smaller but packed a punch. My father was in the Air Force and we moved eight times in my public school time. Each new school had a bully or a couple bullies that picked on new smaller kids. But not me more than once.
            My mother and the schools were exasperated with me hitting back. But I was usually left alone afterwards. And I learned to rely upon my own self instead of thinking I had to be protected by adults. They were never there when the flan hit the fan.
            It is in the public dialog that bullying in public schools is rampant and out of control. There are many new procedures. The newest ones command the kids to not fight back when attacked. Rather, to take their assault and make a report to an adult. The schools are ramping up anti-bullying administrators, hiring more and more adults to take over the fight rather than teach children to be their own advocate. That is pure crap!
            No I'm not saying the way to end all bullying is protective headgear and eight ounce gloves. But one thing is for sure. Throughout our children's lives they will be pushed around. Thinking that the only way to deal with abuse is to get a government higher authority to attend to it is lunacy.
            Yes, the government must deal with cases of physical abuse beyond a certain level. And often a restraining order only works when the person also has a pistol and is willing to use it. We need to teach our children to take responsibility for themselves as much as possible.
            Often it is just boy behavior anyway and should not trigger having a SWAT team parachute into the school. Let boys be boys and teach everyone how to cope.


Martin Luther King Day has been ruined

Let’s make this short and sweet. Martin Luther King’s dreams have been killed…..killed by the self-appointed leaders of the black community in America. 

Why do I say this on Martin Luther King Day? It is because long gone are the days when we heard totally legitimate cries for complete “racial integration.”

It would seem the captains of the race baiting industry (that is diversity if you are PC) have decided that integration is no longer the preferred way to um…..secure unearned preferences.

What is a preference? That would be a policy or law that discriminates against whites in favor of blacks and “other minorities.” Of course the entire race baiting industry (that is diversity industry if you are PC) has quietly shunned the entire Asian American community for working too hard and actually achieving on school tests etc. that were um….supposed to be cynically designed to favor whites only.

There is more. Take various places in Portland, Oregon where black community leaders openly lament the fact that “white people” now choose to live in their communities. According to these incoherent shrills, having whites around in predominantly black areas is now “bad,” simply because it somehow messes up their culture. And efforts by retailer Trader Joes to locate in Portland have been thwarted by campaigns organized by the “leadership” of the black community. The problem with Trader Joes according to black leaders in Portland? Trader Joes is an....um.....white company.

In the end it is clear now that it really does not matter what government, or even the army of naïve bleeding heart leftist fools do for the self-appointed leaders in the black community. There is no satisfying this self-appointed leadership of a grievance group in America today and the hacks like Hillary Clinton who patronize them for political purposes.

Empowered by the racial paranoia by their most popular cultural icon (Barack Hussein Obama), blacks like Spike Lee even reject how Americans have embraced Lee’s total lack of talent. As such, Lee announced today, on Martin Luther King’s birthday, that he is boycotting the Oscar’s. Why? Because get this…… how "white" this year’s Oscar nominees are. 

Nobody but Spike Lee, who has never produced anything of artistic merit or value, could think he was discriminated against in a country that has bent over backwards to enable him to kid himself into thinking he is important. This is true despite the fact that he is completely devoid of talent and skill.

I boycott the Oscars every year. Hollywood is an industry that sells films featuring violent gun-toting themes 24-7-52 weeks a year....while giving money to Obama who laments a culture of gun violence. Hypocrites one and all. Spike Lee usurps them all. A hypocrite on multiple levels.

All of this goes on and on as Martin Luther King twists in his grave. Poor Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, and many others who are my heroes; what embarrassment it is to watch this absurdity unfold. 

They deserve better.


Swickard: The lost world of human capital

© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. "Achieving the highest possible return on human capital must be every manager's goal." 
     Brian Tracy  People in business know the value of human capital, but do we citizens? Brian Tracy writes about the value of good employees. I was thinking about the human capital of our citizens, as a whole, in our country. Some of that valuable human capital is being lost. And we are not attending to our losses.
            We spend lots of money educating all children. Billions of dollars are being used in public education and colleges. We get doctors, lawyers and engineers along with people in the trades who keep our country functioning. We, as a country, are only as good as all of our citizens.
            However, a third of all children drop out of a free education and often end up in jail. America loses when people who could have invented something useful or who would have raised children well are put in prison for non-violent crimes. America needs those Americans, but our leaders have a political need to ruin lives.
            The New Mexico Legislature leaders are talking for this session about getting tougher on crime. As if this country has not being doing that for decades. That sounds nice in political speeches but our country is either a Police State right now or very close to it.
            I do realize that violent crimes must be dealt with harshly. No, I am talking about non-violent crimes that have filled our prisons to capacity and more. We have allowed police units to become a military of their own.
            Everywhere I go I am under the watchful eye and firearm of the police. Every action I take is monitored by a government agency. Not just me, every American. Yes, the NSA said they were going to stop spying on Americans. They are such liars.
            Here's the problem: progressives from both parties over the last one hundred years have used any excuse to make government bigger and bigger. The War on Drugs for the last seventy years has just been an excuse to turn our country into a de facto Police State. Sadly, drugs are just as plentiful today as when they started.
            America's incarceration rates are far beyond any other free country and now the New Mexico Legislature wants to toughen up the laws, which means incarcerate more New Mexicans. These are just numbers to the politicians and leaders. But they are flesh and blood humans.
            And we are losing their potentials. When we incarcerate them then all of their talents are lost and often lost forever. Some convicts do come out of prison and restart their lives. And that is the lesson. We really lose when we keep people incarcerated their entire lives.
            In the last year I have gotten to know someone who five years ago was in prison. I think his violations were drug related. When he got out all he could get was a janitor's job. But amazingly he was the best janitor that company had ever seen. He is naturally clever without any college.
            Over a couple of years he first became assistant manager and then a store manager. I am being vague because I do not have permission to identify this person. I have owned several businesses and run others. This person's store reflects his great managerial skills. So do his employees. Even when he is not in his store I see him in every one of his employees.
            He is changing lives by leadership. Years ago he was in prison and only by the fortune of a company taking a chance on him do we see the potential of his human capital. How much value are we losing when we send so many to prison?
            Becoming a Police State benefits politicians and unions by having many more people employed in police departments, courts and prisons. It is a vast ever-growing industrial complex that knows no bounds. New Mexico is getting tougher on crime for more political benefits. And we all lose the human capital from our society.
            America thought their way to the moon. Can we readjust our legal system so as to not lose all of this human capital? Perhaps.


Swickard: The wealth effect in politics

© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  It's no secret money and power flows to and from politics. Lots of it. This has been the modus operandi of our political system for much of our country's history. Countering those politicians and money waving influencers are supposed to be the mainstream media.
            They're supposed to watch for bad behavior in politicians and take the side of the citizens. But now they are taking sides for themselves in the political fights. They are vicious against the politicians they oppose while absent from the watchdog role with the politicians they support.
            In the last twenty years the Internet has blossomed in a watchdog role despite taking no vows to be accurate. With all of these eyes watching politicians you would think scummy behavior by elected officials would be as dead as television rabbit ears.
            However, scummy behavior in politicians seems more rampant than ever. With the next session of the New Mexico Legislature set to start shortly there are many initiatives looking to reign in the influence of money in politics. Transparency watchdogs are pushing for tougher reporting of campaign donations.
            What it shows is that few people really understand the scummy side of politics. Paper shufflers and those who look at the paperwork only get a tiny look at scummy behavior. Filed paperwork only shows mistakes made in reporting but not the real intent.
            The real players when major money is given and taken do not intend for it to be seen. When a willing bribe giver and a willing bribe takers exchange there is not any paperwork filed. If both parties are happy no one will talk about it. The same is true for those politicians who sell out for sexual rewards or jobs for relatives.
            To see the real effect of money on politics you must look at a measured effect of the money. Not the decisions elected officials make because there are always explanations. If someone is on the take, their net worth goes up. But the watchdogs are not looking at net wealth increases.
            If watchdogs don't look at the wealth effect, they will not see it. What needs to be done by the investigative reporters is very mundane and labor intensive: chart every year of service as to the net worth of the person serving. Start with the year before elected and keep a running tab on how their wealth changes.
            There are ways to hide wealth with spouses and children and other relatives. But wealth sticks out in our society because to have wealth is to use it. Just piling up numbers in an account doesn't do anyone any good. To have money is to spend money.
            So when looking at a public servant on the take there will always be evidence of unbridled increase in wealth. This is especially so when you compare them to colleagues. Some people in politics will have a similar wealth before, during and after their years in service. Others hit the jackpot and pile up wealth.
            Of course there will always be explanations such as: I started a new way of investing. It is returning a thousand percent per month... Can we see your market report? Ah no.
            It is important to treat each wealth inquiry fairly and not with partisan zeal so that some slip through and others are caught. For this to be useful we must catch everyone who spins up their wealth briskly while in office.
            Questions of fantastic increases in wealth are not proof of taking bribes, but it certainly opens the door to looking very carefully. But if this inquiry is automatic to all who are elected it will discourage bribes because when caught politicians turn on the bribe givers. There is no one thing to clean up politics but this will help.
            Most importantly, it is unfair to the honest servants of the people to look at them like they are a chicken killing dog. The effect of the time served on honest politicians shows they give citizens a great gift of their time and effort while not taking any advantage of their position.
            We owe them this inquiry to catch scummy politicians. We are left with honest and faithful servants.


Swickard: The real statehood day in New Mexico

Bottom right, William Gallacher
© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  Today I am thinking of New Mexico Statehood Day, January 6th, 1912. Also I'm thinking of William Gallacher, the last surviving member from the New Mexico State University Class of 1908. He died at age ninety-eight a few years ago. He was living in New Mexico on statehood day so I asked him about it.
            From living in White Oaks, N.M. before the turn of the twentieth century and before the railroads came; he lived to see the landing of the space shuttle sixty miles from his ranch. He was thirty-five miles away from the first atomic explosion at Trinity Site, July 16, 1945.
            He was also one of the few who could look up in the sky and say, "Halley’s Comet, what do you know, there it is again."
            I drove out to his ranch in 1978 to ask him about the day New Mexico became a state. January 6, 1912 was the day that President Taft signed the official paperwork.
            Since Bill was four years out of college by then he would be a perfect person to ask. I pictured writing a story about people firing guns in the air, firecrackers going off, dogs barking, people toasting statehood at the local bar and speeches being made about, "Our date with destiny and our place in the sun."
            New Mexico spent sixty years trying to become a state with one thing or another stalling our chances. In 1912 we made it. Gallacher’s neighbor, William McDonald was New Mexico’s first elected governor, and owner of the famous Bar W ranch north of Carrizozo.
            Bill greeted me warmly and we sat over coffee at the kitchen table. He was the kind of person to always look right at you when he spoke. You knew right away what he thought. We started off by discussing the happenings of the day. Bill was like that, more interested in today than yesterday.
            After a while we had run through all of the available topics so I told him my perception that there must have been a big celebration in Lincoln County since the first elected governor was a local rancher.
            He thought a moment and then leaned closer, as a school master would a student who was a slow learner, "Celebrations?" He remembered back all of those years and did not smile.
            "On the day we became a state I got up about an hour before dawn, had a little breakfast and at first light went out to tend to sick animals, kill coyotes and do all of the chores that used up an entire day. About an hour after sunset I came back in and had a little supper then went to bed.
            "I was cold, tired and hungry. I would not have gone into town for any celebration. We hardly noticed statehood the first few years. Most of us were too busy just trying to stay alive, to feed ourselves and to carve out a place that would become our home to notice any politicians, not even a fine cattleman like McDonald.
            "Every day I got up early and worked late. I had no other energy and did not come in off of the range sometimes for months at a time."
            He noticed my lack of comprehension so continued, "Politicians and celebrations were a luxury most of us then could not afford. For thirty years on this land I worked with all of my energy. It was not a forty hours a week job, it was dawn to dark seven days a week or we would not have made it. Only after the ranch was on solid footing did I notice the government. I served on the Lincoln County Commission and the school board."
            I was thankful that Bill brought me back to reality before I wrote something silly about the celebrations the citizens all had when New Mexico became a state. It was a hard time back then, more so than most of us can even realize. And January 6, 1912 was, for most of the citizens of New Mexico, just one more working day.
            The way to celebrate the anniversary correctly is by going to work early and working late.


To hell with hard work

Betsy McCaughey wrote an incredible article for Investor's Business Daily near year end. It serves as the inspiration for this column.

Have you ever observed American teenagers and wondered if they are somehow different than we were when we were teenagers? Well they are.

Simply watch street interviews on one of many news shows when a random sample of today’s teens are asked basic questions. You will find an incredibly ignorant lot. In fact, American teens rank just 28th in the world these days in math and science knowledge. Countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan produce bright adults. The American education system, which is not much more than a Democratic Party indoctrination machine that is teaching things that are simply irrelevant, produces millions of rubes. Many work the system for handouts after their student loan cash flow runs out.

U.S. scores on the main test for elementary and middle school education, (NAEP) are plunging and SAT scores for college-bound students are atrocious.

What is happening? Obama was going to transform America. He funneled hundreds of billions of dollars into public education. He was going to bridge the racial and income gaps in our country through government "investments" in government monopoly education. He was going to help lift the nation out of the abyss caused by George W. Bush and No Child Left Behind.

Yea, sure he was.

Instead of real reforms what Obama has done is orchestrate the most elaborate con ever played on America. The Obama political drumbeat goes something like this. Educational bureaucrats need more money because too many Americans cling to their bibles and their guns. The biggest problem we have (besides it being too warm in Chicago in the winter) is there is racism everywhere even in the schools. This racism explains all of the gun violence. And not enough people care about the education of minorities. Oh yes and we Americans are pretty racist towards poor immigrants. We are holding them down. And all of this Obama says, explains all of the poverty.

Sure it does.

Does anyone want to talk all the races that make up our  immigrant population? Let's talk about Asian-American children.....the sons and daughters of recent immigrants. These children dominate academically in America. And of course many Asian-American recent immigrant students come from "poor" families. However, these children distance themselves from all other students groups by large margins when it comes to academic achievement. This is true, regardless of how you measure achievement. And this lead just keeps widening.

How does this happen with all the anti-immigrant sentiment in a still hopelessly racist America that Obama laments regularly? In Asian-American households the parents tend to supervise their children's homework and Asian parents hold their kids strictly accountable for grades. More than any other group they demand hard work every single day. Of course nothing, except more laziness prevents all the other ethnic groups Obama holds dear from doing the same.

What is the Democrat response to the academic excellence of Asian-Americans? What do they think of achievement that is propelled by solid parents doing their jobs keeping their kids motivated? Democrats want to change the system and water down the results of the Asian’s hard work and commitment to excellence. You want some proof? Look no farther than New York City where Asian-Americans make up only 13% of overall students. In New York, Asian-Americans win more than 50% of all of the spots at the city's eight highly selective public high schools. Of course there is no difference in IQ in the Asian-American population. What you will find however, is a huge difference in parenting efforts. While the parents of whites, blacks, and Hispanic do comparatively little in the way of parental oversight of academics, Asian-American parents are hands on all of the time.

Sorry Democrats, there is no racial bias. Lousy parents of all races produce lousy kids. To combat the cause-effect process of disengaged parents many charter schools require parents to sign a contract that they will supervise their children's homework and demand work ethic. It is no wonder Democrats hate charter schools. Charter schools are under direct attack by many Democratic Party politicians. In New York City, Clinton clone Mayor Bill De Blasio has joined hands with the NAACP to kill academic excellence in the Asian-American community. He wants to eliminate the "competitive exam" for the city's eight selective high schools. Essentially, De Blasio wants to control admissions and limit the number of Asian students in New York City's best schools. This Democrat is just fine with cheating poor, mostly immigrant and first-generation Asian kids out of their steadfast efforts to obtain a world-class education.

Author Dennis Saffran explains all of this in his epic work, "The Plot Against Merit." Instead of rewarding great parenting, Democrats want to punish their efforts so our system continues to mass produce the same sort of morons we see wandering around the nation these days without a clue about math or science let alone American history.

The reason why Democrats sweep Asian-American immigrant achievements under the racial discussion rug is simple. There is no “victim” to be served by big government in the Asian community model of great parenting. And bigger government is the sole aim of the Democratic Party. Good parenting might put some government program at risk.

God help us if Hillary Clinton is empowered to continue this process. She will.

Swickard: Half of all Americans are below average

Surprise for my high school teachers 
© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  "For the first time ever, overweight people outnumber average people in America. Doesn't that make overweight the average then?" Jay Leno
            I salute the wisdom of Jay Leno. My high school nickname was "Slim" since I swam competitively in high school. Today when someone says, "Hey Slim," I know they are just trying to get a rise out of me. But I'm now average.
            Since the Clemson - Alabama game is a couple days away I was thinking of William "The Fridge" Perry who in 1981 played on the National Championship Clemson team and then on the Super Bowl Chicago Bears team. Coach Ryan gave him the nickname of "Biscuit." The coach said, "The Fridge is only one biscuit away from 350 pounds."
            And perhaps we could say I am just one bowl of green chile and beef away from having to buy new clothes. Hence this week is the start of the 2016 annual diet week where I do gerbil like activity until I get distracted from all of that exercise. However, this year I have a Fitbit activity tracking band that counts my steps so perhaps I will turn over a new leaf. Perhaps indeed.
            Americans try to understand average. I can safely mention this since we just got by the Thanksgiving Christmas and New Year's juggernaut of extra calories. After a successful holiday season, I resemble the average American.
            We swim in a sea of statistics with very few people understanding what they suggest. When I say that half of all Americans are below average the average American wants to do something about it. We can't have all of those Americans being below average, or can we?
            This notion has been humorously dealt with by Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion where in the segment News from Lake Wobegon he says, "... (Lake Wobegon) where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."
            In 1987, John Cannell, a Virginia physician, noticed at that time every state claimed their students were above average. Further, the student scores were found to be uniformly above average in all states. This syndrome was then labeled the “Lake Wobegon Effect.”
            In a recent poll 95% of all drivers rated themselves above average drivers. Go figure. I admit it sounds bad to be below average if we care about whatever we are being judged upon. In public school I was a statistical average student consistently getting the grade of C. Teachers in exasperation would say, "You could get a B or an A if you tried."
            They didn't understand my philosophy: if you turn homework in, they will expect it every time. So the non-existent dog ate my homework. And I cultivated a persona of not being academically inclined. Truth be known I was just not tuned to their radio station as the saying goes.
            Should we rate my teachers down because I was not interested in high school except for the things that I found interesting? In a conversation about my lack of achievement since I had just over a two point zero grade point average my mother mentioned to the counselor that I owned a couple thousand books.
            Yep, I read all of the time when I wasn't doing sports. But I didn't find what they wanted me to know interesting. As far as students going to go to college I was very much below average. But they just did not understand me since I achieved a Ph.D. when I decided that it was what I wanted.
            The great failing of our public schools is that they are focused on the adults, not the kids. Some kids are more compliant than others. All of the measures of public schools are actually only measuring how compliant the kids are in today's schools. Most are just not compliant.
            Me, I would purposely get every answer wrong on the accountability tests if I was forced to take it. I know myself and how I dealt with public school fifty years ago. And I would be labeled below average. So? What the accountability would measure with me is my engagement with their agenda. I am not.