Archive for the ‘Academia’ Category

Liar, Liar…
By Ramblin’ Rose

A children’s ditty begins with “Liar, liar, pants on fire…” Its origin dates to 1945 or 1841, depending on the sources. One version continues with “Nose as long as a telephone wire.” Hmmm, is that the nose of the Pinocchios awarded by the Washington Post Fact Checker?

And even that leftist resource has awarded this dubious honor to Biden comments…a real surprise.
A Biden tweet on September 9, 2020 was “You deserve a president who tells you the truth.” Yes, we do! But it is not Joe Biden!

The public recognizes that Biden has a long history of lying. Recent online headlines have sought to quantify them…the top 10 Biden lies / Biden’s 8 biggest lies. Frankly, I don’t think the exact number is known. How many are hidden in the historic files stored at the University of Delaware at the cost of $120 million annually through an appropriation in the state budget—taxpayer funding? Tara Reade? How many more? Where to start? Probably at the beginning of the decades-long political career of Joe Biden, or before.

In a current campaign ad, Biden lauds the full scholarship, honors, class rankings and the multiple degrees he earned in law school as he demeans a political reporter in 1987 as being inferior to him. The ad continues to explain the multiple falsehoods in just that one exchange. Biden did have a full scholarship, only a partial one. He was not named as “the outstanding student.” Nor did he finish at the top of his class—closer to the bottom would be more accurate, exactly 76 of 85. He earned one degree, not three. He also admitted to plagiarism during his first year at Syracuse University’s College of Law.

That was not Biden’s only time using other people’s words without attribution. He plagiarized statements by Bobby Kennedy, John F. Kennedy and Neil Kinnock, a British Labour Party leader, while a U.S. senator. As the presidential nominee of the Democrat party, did he plagiarize the Bernie Sanders platform as his own or did the two reach “a political understanding?” One would be the nominee and the other the idea-man?

In another current ad, Biden relates the tragic death of his wife and daughter in a car accident. However, he repeatedly placed the blame on a drunken tractor-trailer driver. Oops, that driver had the right of way; Mrs. Biden had a stop sign. In 2001, the then-Delaware prosecutor related the true facts. But, yet in 2007 at the University of Iowa, Biden repeated: “Let me tell you a little story. I got elected when I was 29, and I got elected November the 7th. And on Dec. 18 of that year, my wife and three kids were Christmas shopping for a Christmas tree. A tractor-trailer, a guy who allegedly — and I never pursued it — drank his lunch instead of eating his lunch, broadsided my family and killed my wife instantly, and killed my daughter instantly, and hospitalized my two sons, with what were thought to be at the time permanent, fundamental injuries.”

And he is repeating it in 2020 as he advocates for a single-payer health insurance plan. His nose continues to grow longer than a telephone wire.

Another car accident revealed another lie. In 1974, Bill Stevenson learned of a fender-bender that his then-wife Jill had had. Only the truth was that Joe Biden was the driver of his friend’s car. The “story” became that the Stevenson marriage was on the rocks, and Joe and Jill met on a blind date in 1975. Truth is that the Stevensons worked on Biden’s 1972 run for the US Senate. Jill also turned down an invitation by her then-husband Stevenson to meet Bruce Springsteen. She claimed she had to take care of Beau and Hunter Biden in 1974. Do not the 1972 and 1974 dates precede the 1975 blind date?

Biden’s stories about his experiences overseas and with foreign and domestic policy are more far-fetched than science fiction. On the Senate floor in 2006, Biden either had a very bad memory or fabricated a whale of a story.

“On Sept. 10, the day before the attacks on the towers, I made a speech to the National Press Club where I warned about a massive attack on the United States of America from terrorists; why I thought it would happen and why I thought our priorities were misplaced — the day before 9/ 11.”

He did speak on September 10, 2001, at the National Press Club, but his focus was on criticizing the Bush missile defense system and the threats of anthrax and biological terrorism. “The real threat comes to this country in the hold of a ship, the belly of a plane, or smuggled into a city in the middle of the night in a vial in a backpack,” Biden said.

Reality check: A very specific prediction was made about the probable attack in a book published in 2000, written by Donald J. Trump—The America We Deserve. He wrote: “I really am convinced we’re in danger of the sort of terrorist attacks that will make the bombing of the Trade Center look like kids playing with firecrackers. No sensible analyst rejects this possibility, and plenty of them like me, are not wondering if but when it will happen.”

Biden’s grandstanding is boundless. Even though he had been an athlete in school, he received five deferments from military service in Vietnam due to asthma. However, he recalls and repeats that he was arrested on the streets of Soweto while trying to visit Mandela on Robben Island. Others, who Biden claims to have also been present, deny the event. And, it would have been utterly implausible since Soweto is located nearly 900 miles northeast of Robben Island. He enhanced the story with a falsely claimed personal visit and thank-you from Mandela in Washington, D.C. for the alleged visit to Robben Island. Even the New York Times refuted Biden’s claim of participating in marches and sit-ins in the civil right movement.

At the Breakfast Club in May of this year, hosted by Charlamagne tha God, Biden boasted that the NAACP had endorsed him in every political campaign. They refuted: “We want to clarify that the NAACP is a non-partisan organization and does not endorse candidates for political office at any level.” They never endorse Biden for any office.

“Nice guy Joe” claims roots among the blue-collar workers of Pennsylvania, claiming that this family were coal miners. That isn’t accurate. They were wealthy oil company owners. He attended a private school for which his parents paid tuition and fees. Remember, too, that this candidate is against fossil fuels from which his family gained.

Recently, Biden promised not to increase taxes on persons earning $400,000 a year because he had never earned more than that in a year. Pinocchio! In the first two years following the Obama-Biden administration, the Wall Street Journal reported that Biden had earned some $15.6 million dollars. And what about the special deals in China and the Ukraine?

Is it the failing memory or the pathological liar that now claims to have advocated for a travel ban prior to the one announced by President Trump?—yes, the reaction that Biden called “hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering.” How many times has Biden announced an innovative reaction to a problem related to the pandemic the day after such an initiative was announced by President Trump?

  1. Which administration built and first used cages to detain illegally entering juveniles along the Southern border?
  2. He voted for the Iraq war but claims he opposed it.
  3. Does he want a national mask-wearing mandate or not?
  4. Will he ban or allow fracking?
  5. Does he prefer NAFTA or the USAMCA trade deal?
  6. Will he have an agenda to move the country forward if he were (subjunctive, hypothetical…he must not) to win the election, or will he follow the 100+ page manifesto of Harris, Sanders, Warren, Pelosi, the Squad, the mobs, etc.?

While we may not be able to answer those questions, with certainty we can say that Biden will continue to lie. Yes, we deserve a president who does not lie—he is not Joe Biden!!

Perils of Going to School
By Ramblin’ Rose

Perils of Going to School
By Ramblin’ Rose

Experts, including pediatricians, and some politicians encourage the return to personal instruction for our nation’s youth in the classroom. Some politicians and many teachers demand that only distance learning occur. Many school districts have chosen one or the other, while other districts have created “hybrid” programs that appear to challenge even a professional scheduler.

It befuddles one to find the logic (other than fewer bodies in a building on any given day) of attending school one to four days per week but never five. How do working parents adjust to such schedules? How will students know when to go and what to have prepared? Schools (K-16) have tried A/B days, rotating schedules (morning vs. afternoon), six classes out of seven meeting every day on a rotational basis with less than desired results.

While parents, students, and administrators should employ caution in making the best decisions for the children and the community, there are news articles that are just as frightening as the virus. Teachers have actually published their fears that parents and community members may actually be able to observe the digital classes and learn of the indoctrination programs in contemporary curricula. Much of that propaganda has remained in the classroom when only the students attended classes.

Last spring, Harvard professor Elizabeth Bartholet called homeschooling “dangerous.” Her claim was “the lack of regulation on homeschooling poses a danger to children, because it risks depriving them of an adequate education….”

An adequate education? By whose standards?

While it is no surprise that others share her viewpoint, it is alarming that the leftists are not making any attempt to hide their disdain for families and family values and for their belief for secrecy and authoritarianism.

Matthew Key, an English instructor at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, bemoaned his loss of “what happens here stays here” ideology. He wrote:

“While conversation about race are in my wheelhouse, and remain a concern in this no-walls environment, I am most intrigued by the damage that ‘helicopter/snowplow’ parents can do in the host conversations about gender/sexuality. And while ‘conservative’ parents are my chief concern, I know that the damage can come from the left too. If we are engaged in the messy work of destabilizing a kid’s racism or homophobia or transphobia, how much do we want their classmates’ parents piling on?”

He is not alone in his fears. Across the country, teachers have marched with placards about not being able to teach from a grave; some have brought body bags to their “protests.” After this admonition from Mr. Key and some who responded to his posts, as well as the posts that educators have placed on Facebook, one wonders if their fear is for their personal well-being or for the discovery of their efforts to warp the minds of our young people. (Given the age of the anarchists in the streets destroying our cities this summer, one knows from their actions that the progressive agenda has been widely disseminated across postsecondary campuses with the desired results—hate for America and its freedoms.

President Trump is totally correct. The money should follow the child as the parents decide the place and type of education that they choose for their child/children. Unfortunately, federal funding accounts for only about 7%. State and local taxes provide the rest, and liberals will continue to fund and cry for increased funding for public schools. The teachers are already demanding “hazardous-duty pay” and “front-line workers.”

It is a dark time in the USA when public employees call parents “dangerous interlopers and intrusive outsiders.” We were warned that socialists/Marxists/communists would take over the country by brainwashing our children. We did not pay attention.

Don’t Repeat the Past; Can’t Predict the Future
By Ramblin’ Rose

Minnesotans like to talk about weather. One adage advises anyone who is dissatisfied to wait ten minutes, and conditions will change. Others point to the plethora of meteorologists on the news channels and suggest that one of them should get it right—each forecast is different. Pick the one you like.

While current anarchists are trying to eradicate visual symbols of our history and to demean the Founding Fathers as evil and vile, even demanding the elimination of history from the curriculum because it is based upon “white privilege” and racism, William Strauss and Neil Howe in 1997 wrote their second book (The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny) on the seasons of history and the four generations in each saeculum.

Their observations and predictions are eerie. But since they divide the cycles by seasons, let’s consider their hypotheses.

The authors selected the term “saeculum” to denote the span of humans, that is, eighty years. They further declare that major turning points occur every 80 years when the United States goes through a crisis.

Within that framework, they have four generational (a generation represents the span of approximately 20 years) archetypes:

  • Heroes: work to achieve success
  • Prophets: seek wisdom to solve the next crisis
  • Artists: pursue personal fulfillment that helps undo society
  • Nomads: grow up in a crisis and search for the means to hold society together

Similarly, history is divided into four seasons:

  • Spring: the high
  • Summer: the awakening
  • Fall: the unraveling
  • Winter: the crisis, known as the “fourth turning”

Tyler O’Neill, PJMedia writer, summarizes the interaction of the events and the players with these words:

In a “fourth turning,” America faces a crisis, and the hero generation looks to the elderly prophet generation to give orders, while the nomad generation between them holds society together. After victory is achieved, America experiences a high, a period of societal stability, as the nomad generation holds the social order together, rewards the heroes, and inspires a rising generation of artists….”

This schema differs greatly from the standard belief that life occurs linearly.

Strauss and Howe examined the cycles in the timeline of the United States. They observed that some 80 years after the American Revolution (1776-1783) came the American Civil War (1860-1865), followed by the Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945). That leads to the prediction of another crisis…NOW.

They set the onset to start in 2006 (Remember the Great Recession of 2008?) and spiral to 2020 and lead to resolution in 2026. In the generational season of crisis, Americans are capable of tearing society apart. Consider the current hot-button issues related to civil rights addressed by the Supreme Court rather than through the legislative process, the rioters who seek to redistribute wealth and demolish symbols of “white supremacy.” (And they are of voting age.)

Unfortunately, things will presumably get worse before the crisis reaches a point that will cause Americans to again unite to restore national/societal cohesion. One prediction points to a “race war” between BLM and Antifa against patriotic Americans. The pandemic is another; both health and the economy are fractured. On a global scale, Europe and Asia, as US allies in WWII, are on the same cycles now and identify, with the US, that Communist China is a mutual foe. What will bring unity? We do not know.

While there is a sense of foreboding at this point in the generational paradigm, the “fourth turning” also presents opportunities for problem solving, economic growth and societal consensus.

This provides additional evidence that the election on November 3 will determine the direction of this nation. Will the Baby Boomers lead the Generation X and the Millennials to a united national vision, or will America lose? Citizens can aspire to renewed civic spirit to lead to another “high period” of harmony, unity, and victory.

Since we are not to know the future, we need to ground ourselves in God’s Word. Even so, many try to decipher the meaning behind all the symbolism of Revelation. They are unsuccessful. While it is difficult, we are to walk by Faith.

No matter how humans try to explain history and make their forecasts, God is in control. We learn from the past, live in the present, and believe in the future.

Finally, the CDC has spoken definitively about reopening schools. According to Paul Peterson and Scott Atlas, it’s long overdue. In their Hill op-ed, they wrote “At long last, and maybe too late, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a statement on ‘The Importance of Reopening Americans Schools this Fall.’ After issuing warnings about potential risks to children all spring and early summer, the CDC acknowledged what has been known throughout the world for months, that ‘COVID-19 poses relatively low risks to school aged children. … So far in this pandemic, deaths of children are less than in each of the last five flu seasons.'”

Next, they wrote “That couples with the CDC’s observation that ‘for children (0-17 years), cumulative COVID-19 hospitalization rates are lower than cumulative influenza hospitalization rates during recent influenza seasons.’ Moreover, ‘the rate of infection … from students to teachers has been low.'” In other words, the things that Nancy Pelosi recently said about protecting children was Democrat fear mongering. She should be ridiculed in public endlessly.

The best way to punish Pelosi is by defeating Democrat House members this November and installing a GOP majority in the House.

Despite the CDC’s declaration, DC government schools will begin the year virtually. Democrats admit having failed the students:

Students who do not have Internet access or a computer at home will be provided with the necessary technology, the mayor’s office said. Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said D.C. had been collecting data from more than 13,000 respondents and found 44 percent of students do not have access to a device at home.

How can half of DC’s students succeed without having a device capable of connecting to the internet? That’s like saying DC has schools that don’t have running water. But I digress.

We know from research and simple common sense that these measures will seriously degrade the children’s educational experience. For one, masked teachers can hardly be effective: They will be hard to hear, difficult to understand and challenging to interpret when their facial expressions cannot be seen. For students, masks are hot, stuffy and uncomfortable, the very circumstances that compromise learning. Masking will likely adversely affect the quality of the teaching force, the people who are crucial for a child’s education.

Then there’s this:

Gov. Newsom says the damage from closed schools can be curtailed by online instruction. Virtual learning is better than no education at all, certainly. But several studies have found that students who attend virtual schools perform worse than students in brick-and-mortar schools. One study comparing the achievement of charter school students found that the consequences of attending a virtual school were “uniformly and profoundly negative.”

It’s time for politicians to stop interfering with the scientists. Scientists are trying to tell parents that opening schools is safe.

It’s apparent that St. Paul and Minneapolis teachers don’t want to return to traditional classrooms this fall. If that’s what they prefer, they should be fired. This article reports that “Twin Cities educators on Friday called on Gov. Tim Walz to delay a return to in-person instruction in the fall, saying the risks of reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic are too great.”

That’s BS according to Dr. Scott Atlas, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Dr. Atlas had “an I-told-you-so-moment” recently during this interview:

During that “I-told-you-so-moment”, Dr. Atlas said “the children have an extremely low risk to this disease, far less than seasonal flu. Number 2, there are massive harms closing schools to the children and those are extremely important, of course, because every policy we do, we must understand the consequences of the policy itself are.”

Later, Dr. Atlas said this:

They have acknowledged that long-distance learning is a failure, that children learn much more in person, from social gatherings, dealing with conflict resolutions, working with groups, that schools provide nutrition…

These teachers just showed their true colors. The risk isn’t “too great.” The younger the student, the less the risk is that they’re a super spreader and the less risk that they’ll get the virus. That’s a verified fact. These teachers are lying. Period. Full stop.

If Gov. Walz caves to Education Minnesota, which is definitely possible, he should be thrown out of office after one term. Putting EdMinn’s wishes ahead of these students’ needs is unforgiveable. It’s quite possible because EdMinn is a subsidiary of the DFL.

This is dishonesty at its most disgusting:

The St. Paul and Minneapolis teachers unions organized a march from J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School to the governor’s residence. Walking alongside parents and students, some carried signs that read “I can’t teach from a grave” and “Exactly how many dead kids is acceptable?”

Thus far, 1 child has died in Minnesota of COVID. As for the “I can’t teach from a grave” sign, I’ll just say that the students might be better off if they didn’t have these teachers. Minnesota, in my estimation, would be far better off without Gov. Walz and the DFL majority in the House.

Rules for Retrogrades
a book by Timothy and David Gordon
Review By John W. Palmer, Ph.D.

Michael Voris of Church Militant, a Catholic media organization, in his June 8th Vortex commentary highlights what Black Lives Matter stands for. He also calls attention to a victim of intolerance. In his article, Voris wrote “Popular Catholic commentator Tim Gordon was on social media last week talking about these very facts when BLM supporters struck and began doxxing him on social media platforms, calling for him to lose his job at the Catholic high school where he taught. We say taught, past tense, because within hours after the BLM campaign against him began, the diocese of Fresno, under the leadership of Bishop. Joseph Brennan dumped Gordon on the spot and told him not to come back. Anyone that thinks they are going to remain safe as the great Marxist steamroller plows through society still does not realize the reality. If you don’t stand and ?ght now, even in the face of persecution, what comes after this is going to be far worse.”

I share this information as an introduction to an important book for people who wish to defend what is right and true. Tim Gordon and his brother David have recently launched a Youtube channel, named after their book Rules for Retrogrades: Forty Tactics to Defeat the Radical Left. The Gordons have penned a worthy response to Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

What is a retrograde? (from the promo page at Tim’s website) A retrograde calculates, night and day, how to return the world to:

  1. the Old Order of moral and sexual decency,
  2. classical masculinity,
  3. national sovereignty and national borders,
  4. faith, hope and charity,
  5. goodness, beauty and truth,
  6. Christian civic liberty,
  7. and most importantly, the social kingship of Christ.

In the words of Shakespeare, a retrograde is one of God’s spies. The retrograde has the unique capacity for understanding the stark chasm between the degenerate, socialist-in?ltrated world of decay on one side and the well-meaning, good-hearted, but clueless Christian world on the other. In a time of such profound decay, being one of God’s spies is a last resort and a pure necessity: it involves not “deep cover,”—i.e., acting like the enemy—but rather “half cover”: acting as a “contra” in the secular arena, a crypto-Christian counterinsurgent willing to ?ght like a Navy Seal and to think like a counterintelligence of?cer. Retrogrades . . . to the streets: our aim is to reverse the deliberate, deuced machinations of “radicals” like Saul Alinsky who, by penning the rulebook of radicalism, threw down a challenge that has, until now, gone unanswered.

Rules for Retrogrades is the handbook men of good will need to win the culture war! Patrick Cof?n, a well respected Catholic commentator, writes this about Rules for Retrogrades: “If you take your prose pugnacious, your meat red, and your politics incorrect, then you might be ready for Rules for Retrogrades. This isn’t a book so much as a crowbar. The Brothers Gordon have marshaled 40 tactics that are guaranteed to provoke not only pony-tailed boomers but also cautious mod-cons, dour trans, and unsuspecting boomers.”

Rule 11 has special meaning to me since my experience with a variety of media hit attacks directed at me when I spoke out with the truth regarding the refugee resettlement program. Rule 11 Never Trust a Man Who is Unwilling to Have Enemies. Here are a few more examples of rules for retrogrades. Rule 6 Never Compromise with Radicals on their Initiatives resonates with recent events impacting our nation. Rule 5 Risus bellum est (translation at the end) supporting narrative begins with this sentence: The only possible response by a sane man to an insane claim is laughter and ridicule. Rule 26 The memory of the Western public is exceedingly short, pathetically undisciplined, and never to be feared. Rule 33 Stop heralding unwelcome news of progressive victories by wishfully proclaiming that radicals have “awaked a sleeping giant.”

Each of the 40 rules are accompanied by explanatory narratives which help the reader understand the rule and the need for the rule. At 160 pages, about 4 pages for each rule, you will ?nd this book an easy but insightful read. Rules for Retrogrades is a book you will want to keep close at hand after your ?rst reading as you engage in the culture war between the progressives and radicals and the conservatives and retrogrades. As we have seen the events unfold over the past weeks and days we do not need our imagination to see what losing the struggle with radicalism means. Our country is on the brink of a dark abyss and we retrogrades need to be both informed and supported with sound tactics and steely resolve. I do hope you will take time to explore Rules for Retrogrades and visit Tim Gordon’s website, your time will be well spent. ———— Rule 5 (English) Laughter is war.

Each year, it’s easier to make the case that the Democrat Party is aligned with hate-filled organization. What’s worst is that the most hate-filled people are academics at elite universities. I wish it was surprising to know that Ivy League schools hate diversity of opinions. Unfortunately, it isn’t surprising whatsoever.

Jonathan Turley’s post highlights how disgusting the censorship movement has come. Though he didn’t say it in his post, it must break a constitutional law professor’s heart to see this type of censorship happening on college campuses.

At one point, Prof. Turley highlighted the fact that “What is most striking for me is the inclusion of Professors Mark H. Jackson and Cortelyou Kenney, who teach in the Cornell First Amendment Clinic. They are in fact the Director and Associate Director of the First Amendment Clinic, which is presumably committed to the value of free speech even at private institutions. So these professors teach free speech and just signed a letter that people who question the BLM movement or denounce the looting are per se or at least presumptive racists.”

I’ve written here multiple times that the First Amendment still protects hate speech. The First Amendment isn’t needed to protect popular or noncontroversial speech. The First Amendment is essential if you want controversial speech protected. While I don’t like hate speech or the burning of the American flag, I’ll defend to the death the right of people to say controversial or hate-filled things.

Congratulations to Professor Jacobson for eloquently defending himself in this interview:

Democrats only like free speech when the people speaking are saying things that they agree with. That isn’t free speech. That’s approved speech, which means someone is approving what’s getting said. That’s what happens in fascist countries. It isn’t what happens in the United States.

What are We Learning in a Pandemic?
By Ramblin’ Rose

Public school teachers are patting themselves on the back, at least on social media, for having met the challenge to deliver distance learning to some 56 million students. On April 15, 2020 in an opinion piece in the St. Cloud Times, Aaron Sinclair, the superintendent of the Sauk Rapids-Rice school district, lauded the efforts of all to quickly transition from the classroom to virtual learning. He acknowledged a few difficulties and then proceeded to thank all who made the rapid change and continued the learning. That was “happy talk.” That does not match the reality of the fiasco.

Admittedly, within a couple of weeks, teachers did have materials available online for students. But how many 20-minute videos can elementary students view every day? How many worksheets can be completed after each video? Children cannot just sit all day. They need to move. They have been forced to become passive receptors of the talking heads on screens. What if they have questions? Parents may have the answers but many won’t. Very few will have the content information that the teachers do.

One assumes that middle school and high school students are also assigned similar scenarios. Even good students become mesmerized and bored on a chair in front of a screen EVERY day.

Does the pre-recorded, hollow statement “Good job, class” really motivate learners to stay on task and try to do even more?

What about the parents? Were they prepared to supervise their children’s lessons? Did they want the job? How can they handle the job if they are also working from home? Parents who try to help only one child reportedly cry at the end of the day—and some during the day—out of frustration with trying to understand the required work so that they might help their child. Now imagine a parent with more than one learner at home. And how many families have opted out completely?

Parents have been forced into homeschooling and must teach lessons that have been imposed on them and their children. The results for the children and families do not reflect those listed by Mr. Sinclair.

  1. How many schools have changed many of the classes to “optional?”
  2. How many districts have already suspended the rest of the academic year—even distance learning?
  3. How many learners have abandoned their work—even the gifted ones?
  4. If the talented learners have given up, how long ago did the challenged learners quit trying?

Could not the districts empower the families to embrace learning and provide some more practical activities? Could not some of the assignments be “optional” or “supplementary” resources from which the students and parents could choose when they want some guidance from the professionals?

Why not have younger children read to their parents and parents to their children? Reading is fun and instructional. The books are chosen by children based on interest. If they have questions, the parents likely are prepared to answer them. And it’s snuggle time. During this pandemic, the bonding with family and the security found in the togetherness are essential.

Why not teach math following recipes in the kitchen or a carpentry project in the garage? Both options involve measuring, fractions, addition, subtraction, etc. in a real-world context. Again, parents and children are working together in a mutually selected activity. It’s fun; it’s less stressful than assignments that, at times, challenge even the most devoted parents. What happens when the child and parent do not agree with the answer given by the teacher? (I saw that happen. The child shrugs her shoulders; the parent shakes her head.) What was the lesson learned? Who owns the confusion?

Those younger learners could still have Zoom time—see their classmates and friends, sharing stories of the fun things they learned in the last week. Teachers could guide the conversations and relate their learning to more academic themes, if appropriate. During the week, the teacher could chat with each student alone, even quizzing them on math problems or spelling words, as well as being there to support and encourage them with real words of praise, as appropriate. The child could read to the teacher to validate continuing academic progress. The teacher would still be a person and not just a bobbing head on a screen.

For older students, could they not become Socrates, pose a question of personal interest related to the course, research it and do a virtual conference with the teacher and explain what they learned and submit a short summary about the project—the reason for it, the process followed to complete it, and share the final answer to the Socratic question? It would still involve screen time, but the control would be with the learner. Undoubtedly, more learning would occur on a self-directed project than on another video lesson followed by more worksheets. The teacher would be a mentor throughout the project and would provide academic feedback upon completion of the assignment.

During the first week of distance learning, there was an abundance of jokes about distraught parents locking their kids outside for a fire drill or in the basement for a tornado drill while they sang the praises of the public school teachers. Those jokes are almost non-existent currently; they are not humorous. They accurately reveal the frustrations that many families are experiencing with “homeschooling.”

Some public educators also expressed concern about “homeschooling” but for very different reasons. Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Bartholet and other educators expressed their fear about having parents in charge of teaching their own children. In their words, it is “important that children grow up exposed to community values, social values, democratic values, ideas about nondiscrimination and tolerance of other people’s viewpoints.” Bartholet called parents too authoritarian. She also challenged their preparedness to teach their own children.

Parents want what is best for their children…and hopefully, the majority of public school teachers do too. Due to the pandemic, parents have restructured their professional lives in order to teach their children as mandated by state governments. And, sadly, there is an entire cult, like Bartholet, that believes that government should have control “from the womb to the tomb.”

What will PreK-12 education look like next fall? Will schools reopen? Will distance learning continue? Will more parents opt to homeschool with a curriculum that they select and truly become their children’s teacher? Will they happily return their children to classroom teachers? Do public schools fear a loss of students to homeschoolers?

And another question, right before the start of the pandemic, did not the experts plead with parents to reduce the amount of time that young children, especially, spend with devices? With the advent of whole scale distance learning, those experts are mute.

On to higher education…

On April 18th, the results of a Axios and College Reactions poll reported “… 77 percent of college students say that “distance learning is worse or much worse than in-person classes,” while 13 percent say “they would take time off from college if distance learning continues next year.”

That contradicts the push of many university administrators for classes and even entire programs to be delivered electronically. Many faculty and students have objected to those initiatives but gone unheard. Let’s hope that this poll has reached the administrators.

While the pandemic has forced the closure of schools and campuses, institutions of higher learning had already suffered great declines in enrollment numbers. How much could be related to the delivery programs, as well as the debt levels that have resulted from degrees that did not and do not lead to gainful employment?

While there is nothing wrong with “self-fulfillment/self-realization,” should not an education allow one to earn a living? For example, one student asked taxpayers to pay off her college debt–$226,000 for a degree in Greek mythology. Did she really expect to earn a living with that particular degree? For many, that interest falls more into the category of a hobby than a career.

Well, maybe that student is not alone in considering a special interest legitimate. Castleton University in Vermont, with electronically mediated instruction as the norm, is offering credit for learning to play a computer game–Dungeons and Dragons. The justification for the course is the need for people to build community. Seriously? College credit?

The Strada Education Network poll has found that 28 million students plan to abandon their postsecondary education due to the Wuhan virus. The majority of those who indicated an intention to pursue training within the next six months will not be pursuing a degree program.

The American Council on Education projects a 15% decline in postsecondary enrollment in the fall and a $45 billion decline in revenue. Numerous administrators find those projections too rosy.

Precipitous declines are also on the horizon for the Minnesota State universities this fall. For those institutions, here’s their anticipated enrollment declines by university for this fall:

  1. Bemidji – 949 FYE
  2. Mankato – 2,870 FYE
  3. Metro – 747 FYE
  4. Moorhead – 1,335 FYE
  5. Southwest– 628 FYE
  6. SCSU – 1,496 FYE
  7. Winona – 2,350 FYE

FYE is the concept of a full-year equivalent, not the number of bodies on campus rolls. This concept is used in budgeting and reflects only courses that award credits or satisfy requirements in an academic or vocational program. The FYE is determined by dividing the total student credit hours by the credit hours of a full load (30 credit hours for undergraduate and professional courses and 20 for graduate courses).

As a point of comparison, ten years ago, SCSU touted 15,096 FYE. That’s a precipitous decline. But the decline has been occurring throughout the decade. The academic year just concluded had already fallen to 9016 FYE. The projected numbers for Fall 2020 are horrific.

Who will be enrolling in the fall? Will students return if there are only online classes? Will parents opt for cheaper public institutions rather than the costly private ones? Will the lack of athletic programs discourage certain students to attend? Since students were not able to take the ACT and SAT entrance exams and schools have waived those scores, will the entering students be academically prepared for the expected rigors of higher education?

The pandemic has caused many types of losses. Will the American educational system be another victim? Or, could an enhanced model that focuses on the students be on the horizon?

Why the Concern for Death Now But Not When Death Rates began to Increase?
By John W. Palmer

A month ago I expressed concern regarding the extra-ordinary treatment the nuevo corona virus, that reportedly came from Wuhan China was receiving by writing an essay tittle “Ordinary Death v. Extra Ordinary Death”. In concluding that essay I made a plea for a change in reporting death. Here are the concluding sentences from the essay:

Hopefully, a positive side effect of COVID-19 can be renewed interest in primary prevention of the leading causes of death. We can’t eliminate death but we can take actions to delay its appearance. Perhaps, if in addition to the daily posting of COVID-19 cases and death, everyone will start to post the ongoing count for the ordinary deaths.

My plea went unheeded. Now there is widespread reporting of the negative impact of the mitigations being demand by government of?cials. That negative impact came close to home late last week when I received a prayer request for a friend. Here is that request:

Dear Recites and Prayer Warriors, I am having an emergency ablation for uncontrollable a?b of my heart tomorrow morning @ 7:00 a.m. @ the VA in Minneapolis. I am praying for success because of Coronus 19. The procedure was to have been done earlier but got set back and now has gotten out of hand.

Fortunately my friend survived and is now recuperating. Unfortunately, not everyone has been so fortunate. The Daily Beast reported that “Amid social distancing, authorities nationwide are reporting a surge in fatal opioid overdoses. Addiction and recovery advocates say the U.S. is now battling two epidemics at once. In Franklin County, Ohio, for example, the coroner is warning residents of a continued spike in drug deaths, including six on April 24. One week before, the coroner announced that ?ve people died in a span of 12 hours. In February, overdoses were so prevalent the coroner said she might need a temporary morgue to handle the deluge. Montgomery County, Ohio— which is home to Dayton and was considered the country’s overdose capital in 2017 – is reporting a 50 percent jump in overdoses over last year. Indeed, authorities in counties across Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and New York are also reporting rises in overdoses during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Then, in this recent Wall Street Journal article, this was reported:

Mental-health crisis hotlines are reporting spikes in calls. According to Express Scripts, anti-anxiety prescriptions increased by a third between mid-February and mid-March. Many in despair will probably turn to alcohol or narcotics. CVS executives warned this week that delayed care could lead to a surge of non-coronavirus related health problems.

Next is this from Fox News:

Things have gotten so bad that the American Heart Association joined seven other medical groups to remind people to call 911 and go to the hospital if they fear they’ve had a heart attack or stroke. Interruptions of medical care are taking their toll on patients. Some doctors have postponed surgeries aimed at addressing early-stage cancer. The longer these “elective” surgeries are postponed, the more people suffer. Patients in need of treatment aren’t the only ones at risk. The COVID-19 lockdown could lead to 22 million canceled or delayed tests for ?ve common cancers by June, according to a new report by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. This reduction in testing could lead to 80,000 missed cancer diagnoses.

The same report found that colonoscopies dropped 90 percent between February and April; mammograms dropped 87 percent. New visits for cancer patients declined nearly 40 percent over the same period, while cancellations and no-shows nearly doubled.

In her opinion column, Liz Peek in her opinion column cited information documenting statistics on the lock down’s impact on mental health:

Deaths by suicide and because of alcoholism or drug abuse sparked by the isolation measures are no longer matters of speculation; in March and April EMT calls for drug overdoses and suicides in Milwaukee, for instance, rose 54 percent and 80 percent, respectively, compared with the year before.

Finally, Reed Abelson writing in the New York Times on May 5, 2020 in an article titled “Doctors Without Patients: ‘Our Waiting Rooms Are Like Ghost Towns’ another view on the lockdowns impact:

Some doctors estimate that the closure of hospitals to non-coronavirus cases and the reluctance of patients to burden 911 have increased mortality as much as the virus. The global depression will devastate life expectancies in the less-developed world. Overdose deaths and suicides brought on by joblessness and loss of hope will rise, as more and more businesses fold permanently.

With no change in how death is being reported, with the myopic focus on that new virus and with the emerging concerns that the treatment might be worse than the disease I decided to examine historic death rates and annual deaths in Minnesota. At this writing about 663 COVID-19 related deaths have been recorded in Minnesota. That means with a little over a month left in the reporting year COVID-19 related deaths look like they may move into the top ten causes of death in Minnesota. The 10th leading cause of death in Minnesota is suicide. In the most recent year for which data are available (2018) suicides accounted for 737 deaths.

In order to examine COVID-19 related death in the big picture of death in Minnesota the following data from the Minnesota Department of Health’s “Summary of Death 2018”. Table 1 reports the total number of deaths and the death rate per 1000 persons by year from 2005-2018 and for 1950-2004 deaths and death rate per 1000 are reported every ?ve years. No death rate per 1000 was reported for 1985.

The total number of deaths per year have increased from 1950 to 2018. The rate of increase in the total number of deaths has been accelerating since 2006 reaching the highest recorded number on record (44,730) in 2018. From 1950-2018, the lowest number of deaths in a year occurred in 1950 (27,897)( see Table 1 and the graph titled Deaths by Year).

From 1950 to 2018, the total number of deaths in Minnesota increased by 60%. However, using simple counts for examining changes in an event over time can be very deceiving. It is clear that the number of deaths in a year is related to the population at risk to die in that year needs to be accounted for. To control for variation in the population at risk, a comparison of death rate per 1000 persons is preferred over simple counts since rates can be compared in an apples to apples approach.

The scatterplot titled Death Rate by Year illustrates the trend in death rate in Minnesota from 1950 to 2018. The highest (9.4) death rate per 1000 Minnesotans occurred in 1950. Death rates declined consistently from 1950 to 2007 when the lowest (7.1 per 1000) death rate was recorded. The 57 year decline is a 24% reduction in the death rate. That meant the chance of dying in a given year was 24% lower in 2007 than in 1950.

The downward trend ended in 2008 when the death rate per 1000 went from 7.1 to 7.4. Annual death rates have consistently increased from the low of 7.1 recorded in 2007 to the contemporary high of 8.0. This was a 12.6% in eleven years. If that rate of increase continues the death rate per 1000 Minnesota’s could reach 8.2 per 1000 this year. Independent of the Covid-19 outbreak the rate of death has been increasing.

With all the interest in preventing death the COVID-19 outbreak is generating why has the accelerating and troubling trend toward higher and higher death rates been ignored? Clearly the trend has nothing to do with the COVID virus since the rate increase predates COVID-19 by over a decade. Perhaps it’s a case of ordinary events not being news?

With it becoming increasingly obvious that death related to the virus is not going to signi?cantly increase death in Minnesota and probably the death rate this year in Minnesota and the state and nation opening for business one good outcome from the outbreak might be a new found concern for increasing death rates in Minnesota and the USA.

For the good outcome to be realized people are going to need to be presented with the facts concerning why deaths and the death rate are increasing. Then they need to be given direction on speci?c behaviors with high potential to prevent deaths. If attention shifts away from death and reporting on death returns to relying on obituaries not linked to the cause of death nothing will change and the death rate will continue to climb higher and more and more deaths will occur each year in Minnesota.

You have heard it said: Don’t let a crisis be wasted. No matter the cause or true magnitude of the most recent viral outbreak let’s hope we all wake up to the need to manage risks and engage in behaviors that reduce the probability of death. Ignoring the upward trend in both the number of deaths and the death rate until the next epidemic caused by some novel disease wastes an opportunity to enhance life for many Minnesotans. It is past time to include consideration of ordinary death whenever the new cause of death is discussed. Improving people’s behavior with regard to the leading causes of death in Minnesota probably has a greater chance of reducing both the number and rate of death in Minnesota.

With over 18,000 deaths per year caused by cancer and heart disease a 5% reduction in these two causes of death will save more lives than all of the cover death this year. With the ten leading causes of death in Minnesota accounting for over 30,000 deaths per year it would only take a 3% reduction in these causes to save as many lives as lost to COVID this year.

Finally, if behavior changes cut the number of COVID-related deaths along with a new focus on the other contributors to death in Minnesota many more people’s lives will be save than continuing a myopic view of death in Minnesota. I hope Minnesotans will make the behavior changes needed to reduce death from all causes and stop focusing almost exclusively on the new kid on the block.

Author’s note: As this essay was nearly complete this important commentary was published by the Wall Street Journal: Medical Lockdown Will Cause a Disease Surge Patients who are sick with conditions other than Covid-19 aren’t seeking screening and treatment. By Jeff LeBenger and Mike Meyer May 11, 2020 6:12 pm ET.

John W. Palmer, Ph.D. is a retired professor of health and safety. He can be reached via email at palmertss@cloudnet.com

Dr. Irwin Redlener “directs the National Center for Disaster Preparedness and is a pediatrician, a professor at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and president emeritus of Children’s Health Fund. He is a member of the Biden Campaign’s Public Health Advisory Committee.” In this CNN op-ed, Dr. Redlener wrote “even if we assume that sometime this summer, maybe June, perhaps as late as August, the first wave of Covid-19 will have tapered down, the world will likely see a second wave of the deadly virus in the fall or winter, perhaps extending into the early months of 2021.”

That’s fearmongering of the worst kind. I don’t care what alphabet he has behind his name. I wouldn’t trust this jackass if my life depended on it. First, COVID-19 is deadly if you’re in difficult health or living in a nursing home. Here in Minnesota, that’s literally where 90% of Minnesota’s deaths have come from. Healthy people 60-years-old and younger have had little difficulty with COVID-19. Calling COVID-19 deadly is technically accurate but it’s a little misleading.

Next, we know from Dr. Fauci’s briefings that we’ll be in much better shape if a second wave hits. Here’s what Dr. Fauci said about a week ago on this subject:

Third, waiting until August to start reopening the US economy is stupid. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has announced that he’ll start reopening Ohio’s economy on May 1. Dr. Redlener didn’t pay attention to the fact that some states are already in far better shape than the hotspot states. Treating Nebraska the same way you treat NYC is downright foolish. That’s like treating nuclear waste the same way as you treat recyclables.

We may well see a significant drop in hospitalizations and fatalities by sometime in May or June. But we cannot let up on the only effective tools we have to fight Covid-19: First, we must continue to shut down the venues where we used to gather, including schools, nonessential workplaces, sporting events, theaters and business meetings. And second, we must remain sheltered in our homes, using social distancing and face masks when we do venture out to buy groceries or essential medications.

According to the plan put together by Drs. Fauci, Birx, Adams and Redfield, everything is conditions- and data-driven. Saying that “we must remain sheltered in our homes” is an absolute order. There are tons of activities that people can safely engage in. While it’s foolish to think that we can start baseball season to packed stadiums, it isn’t foolish to think that it’s possible to start with televised games without fans. While it’s foolish to open stores without practicing good mitigation practices, it’s perfectly fine to open lots of businesses where contact with other humans is infrequent.

Finally, if we wait until the virus has disappeared, there won’t be an economy to return to. Let doctors deal with the medical issues. Let economists consult with doctors in putting together a plan for reopening the economy safely.