“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, February 02, 2015

How important is a formal education in the preparation for arguably the most demanding job on the planet?

Can Scott Walker be president without a college degree?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has buzz. He has impressed conservative activists in Des Moines and is the front-runner for likely Republican Iowa caucus-goers, according to a Bloomberg Politics-Des Moines Register poll published this weekend.

Supporters say the 47-year-old has more diverse qualifications than the other Republicans: A non-Washington Republican who has won tough contests in a blue state, taken on labor unions and has appeal to the conservative faith community and the business constituency.

There is one credential that he doesn't have: a post-high school education. America hasn't elected a president without a college degree since Harry Truman.

Privately, some strategists in both parties suspect that this could increasingly become troublesome for voters, a little in the nominating process, more so in a general election, particularly in battleground upscale suburban areas. If this seems illogical -- it does -- try raising the issue at the next coffee klatch or cocktail party; you're likely to be surprised by the responses.

Americans celebrate higher education. More than 40 percent of voters have a college degree; only three countries, Canada, Israel and Japan have a more educated electorate. College graduates, on average, make in excess of 50 percent more in a lifetime in America than non-graduates.

All members of the Senate have higher degrees, as do all but 19 members of the House: 15 Republicans and four Democrats. Utah's Gary Herbert and Walker are the only two governors.

Walker attended Marquette University for more than three years. He dropped out to take a job. He's about a year short of a degree and has raised the possibility of completing it while governor.

Actually, there is one other major presidential candidate who doesn't have a college degree: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. He never completed his undergraduate degree at Baylor University but scored so high on his medical school entrance exams that he was admitted to the prestigious Duke University Medical School, where he completed his training as an ophthalmologist.

Some of the great American successes are men and women without college degrees: Microsoft's Bill Gates, Steve Jobs of Apple and Oracle's Larry Ellison. The same goes for leading entertainers such as Clint Eastwood, Julia Roberts and George Clooney. Add to the list of distinguished non-graduates the late Walter Cronkite and today's leading anchorman, Brian Williams.

Ted Turner, who revolutionized broadcast journalism when he started the Cable News Network, revels in telling how he was kicked out of Brown University for hosting a woman in his room. The university had the good sense to give him an honorary degree years later.

The question of Walker's missing diploma has arisen occasionally in Wisconsin. Opponents charged that there was something untoward about his dropping out of Marquette. He then authorized the university to release the records as proof there was no hidden story behind his departure. The governor has said that a college education isn't a "base requirement" for high office. The Walker camp had no comment for this column.

History might help Walker. There have been 12 presidents without college degrees, starting with George Washington and 10 others, including Abraham Lincoln, elected in the 19th century.

More than a century ago, a Princeton academic, Woodrow Wilson, who later became president, raised a question about the 16th president: "Would Lincoln have been a better instrument for the country's good if he had been put through the processes of one of our modern colleges?"
Historians have resoundingly rejected Wilson's point; Lincoln is widely considered the greatest American president. His predecessor, James Buchanan, had a college degree (rather rare in those days), but is considered one of the worst.

Albert R. Hunt is a Bloomberg columnist.


  1. I obviously think that Lincoln was one of the five least competent presidents.

  2. Here is a profile in Courage

    CAMBRIDGE, England -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday said the government needs to strike a "balance" between public health and parental choice in making decisions about vaccinating kids, even as an outbreak of measles is spreading among unvaccinated people in the United States.

    "We vaccinate ours [kids], and so, you know that's the best expression I can give you of my opinion," Christie said when asked if he would urge Americans to vaccinate their children. "You know it's much more important what you think as a parent than what you think as a public official. And that's what we do. But I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well, so that's the balance that the government has to decide."

    Christie is in the United Kingdom for a three-day trip that's officially billed as a trade mission for his state but largely viewed as a chance to build foreign policy credibility ahead of the 2016 presidential election. He made the comments standing outside MedImmune, a company with business ties to New Jersey that makes vaccines and biologic drugs.

    Pressed about whether he believes vaccines are dangerous, Christie responded: "I didn't say that - I said different disease types can be more lethal so that the concern would be measuring whatever the perceived danger is by a vaccine and we've had plenty of that over a period of time versus what the risk to public health is. And that's exactly what I mean by what I said."

    President Obama on Sunday told Americans, "get your kids vaccinated." He told NBC News' Savannah Guthrie, "The science is, you know, pretty indisputable."

    1. Hey, they are your kids and you can do to them what you want, right?

    2. Sure, if you are going to keep your unvaccinated kids out of school and pay for their healthcare when they have a $100,000 hospital stay because they took a pass on a $25 vaccination.

    3. There was a young native girl, here in Canada, who had Leukemia. Her parents didn't like the doctors chemo treatments so they stopped the treatments. The hospital/doctors took it to court saying they were endangering the child's life because the chemo had a high success rate and leukemia was deadly. The court ruled that the first nations family had a right to pursue their own treatment. The child died 6 months later.

      It is an interesting question as to what rights a child has and when a parent can violate those rights (i.e. corporal punishment)....

    4. With respect to the science on vaccination - the scientists say the science is pretty clear and they represent very little risk. Ironically the scientists also say the science is pretty clear that humans have much to do with global warming. Think we'll see our dear bob ranting against vaccination?

    5. .

      And above, Ash brings you an example of the illogical arguments often brought to the discussion on global warming.


    6. AshMon Feb 02, 01:01:00 PM EST
      With respect to the science on vaccination - the scientists say the science is pretty clear and they represent very little risk. Ironically the scientists also say the science is pretty clear that humans have much to do with global warming. Think we'll see our dear bob ranting against vaccination?

      So the scientists that are commenting on vaccinations are the SAME scientists that study Global Warming?


  4. With all the nitwittery taught in the Ashian Liberal Indoctrination Centers these days, I'll vote for the person with an on line degree from the Carnegie Institute of SuperSalesManship.

    The country won't get fleeced. Maybe even do some fleecing itself.

    It is after all a fleece or get fleeced world.

  5. .

    Americans celebrate higher education. More than 40 percent of voters have a college degree; only three countries, Canada, Israel and Japan have a more educated electorate.

    And look at what it has got us in past elections.


  6. Higher education is definitely not a vaccine against folly.

  7. .

    Obama proposes a $4 trillion budget.

    Says if the GOP doesn't like it, they can bring forth their own proposals. His only proviso is that 'the proposals must add up'.

    This is at least moderately ironic given that the president's own budget proposal results in a $474 billion budget deficit.


  8. Military Airstrikes Hit ISIL in Syria and Iraq

    From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release

    SOUTHWEST ASIA, Feb. 2, 2015 – U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria, using bomber, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct 10 airstrikes, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

    Separately, U.S. and coalition military forces conducted 17 airstrikes against ISIL terrorists in Iraq, using attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft, officials reported.

    Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

    Airstrikes in Syria

    -- Near Kobani, nine airstrikes struck three large ISIL tactical units, five ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL staging areas and an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Dayr as Zawr, an airstrike struck an ISIL checkpoint.

    Airstrikes in Iraq

    -- Near Al Asad, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL mortar position and one ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Huwayjah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Al Rutbah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Kirkuk, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL tactical vehicle, one ISIL bunker, and three ISIL earth movers.

    -- Near Bayji, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Sinjar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building.

    -- Near Tal Afar, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL weapons storage facility.

    -- Near Fallujah, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, one ISIL vehicle and destroyed eight ISIL vehicles.

    -- Near Haditha, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL fighting position and one ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Mosul, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL vehicle.

    All aircraft returned to base safely.

  9. 17 ISIL gunmen killed in coalition airstrike near Mosul

    International coalition aircraft on Thursday (January 29th) killed 17 "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) gunmen in a strike on their convoy in al-Khasfa, south of Mosul, officials said.

    "International coalition aircraft on Thursday morning launched an airstrike targeting an ISIL convoy comprising four vehicles and one large truck, killing 17 gunmen, including Yousef Dahhan, also known as Abul Fattoush, a prominent Arab ISIL leader, and destroying all their vehicles," said Mohammed al-Hayali, chairman of the Ninawa provincial council's security committee.

    The operation took place in al-Khasfa, 80 kilometres south of Mosul, he told Al-Shorfa.


  10. Frenemies
    How Iran Is Making It Impossible for the US to Beat ISIS
    Washington needs to quit pretending it can work with Iran to defeat the Islamic State. Tehran’s real objective is to defeat Washington.

    It was August 2007, and General David Petraeus, the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, was angry. In his weekly report to then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Petraeus wrote: “I am considering telling the President that I believe Iran is, in fact, waging war on the U.S. in Iraq, with all of the U.S. public and governmental responses that could come from that revelation. … I do believe that Iran has gone beyond merely striving for influence in Iraq and could be creating proxies to actively fight us, thinking that they can keep us distracted while they try to build WMD and set up [the Mahdi Army] to act like Lebanese Hezbollah in Iraq.”

    There was no question there and then on the ground in Iraq that Iran was a very dangerous enemy. There should not be any question about that now, either. And the failure of the Obama administration to come to grips with that reality is making the task of defeating the so-called Islamic State more difficult—indeed, more likely to be impossible—every day.

    There are lessons to be learned from the experience of the last decade, and of the last fortnight, but what is far from clear is whether Washington, or the American public, is likely to accept them because they imply much greater American re-engagement in the theater of battle. As a result, what we’ve seen is behavior like the proverbial ostrich burying its head in the desert sand, pretending this disaster just isn’t happening. But at a minimum we should be clear about the basic facts. In Iraq and Syria, as we square off against ISIS, the enemy of our enemy is not our friend, he is our enemy, too.......

    1. .

      In Iraq and Syria, as we square off against ISIS, the enemy of our enemy is not our friend, he is our enemy, too.......

      True enough. However, quoting Petraeus from 2007 as an appeal to authority tends to diminish the argument rather than burnish it.



    2. Petraeus has betrayed the US.
      Leaked sensitive data to his mistress/reporter.

      His actions with regard to the "Surge", border on the criminally incompetent.
      Though he did provide US the opportunity to 'declare victory', before we left Iraq.

      Which is probably what he was told to do.

  11. Robert Gates: Destroying ISIL 'unrealistic' and 'unattainable'

    By Trevor Eischen

    2/1/15 12:09 PM EST

    President Barack Obama’s goal to destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is “unrealistic“ and “unattainable,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says.

    Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, the former Pentagon chief under both Obama and President George W. Bush said U.S. forces should should not focus entirely on eradicating the terrorist group but should create an operation that contains the spread of ISIL militants and “denies them the ability to hang onto territory.”

    “The president has set an ambitious and, I think under current circumstances, an unrealistic goal when he talks about our intent being to destroy ISIS,” Gates said. “With the means he has approved so far, I think that’s an unattainable objective.”

    And, he said, special forces will be needed in Iraq and Syria to assist with the airstrikes that are being conducted by the U.S. and its allies.

    A “re-invasion of Iraq with large ground forces is a false set of options,” Gates said, but “a few hundred troops” should be stationed in the region.

  12. Rose Colored Glasses

  13. 6,000 to Zero.

    Rose colored glasses your ass.

  14. Picture of Quirk, who, having fled modern 'life' in Detroit, reverts to laid back 10,000B.C., and poses with his weaponry -

    "It's much less stressful" says Quirk. "No bullets whizzing around all day long."

  15. Iceland to build first temple to Norse gods since Viking age

    A modern version of Norse paganism has been gaining popularity in recent years as followers see the stories as metaphors for life not worship of the gods
    High priest Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson and fellow members of the Asatru Association attend a ceremony at the Pingvellir National Park near Reykjavik.

    Reuters in Reykjavik

    Monday 2 February 2015 10.54 EST

    Icelanders will soon be able to publicly worship at a shrine to Thor, Odin and Frigg with construction starting this month on the island’s first major temple to the Norse gods since the Viking age.

    Worship of the gods in Scandinavia gave way to Christianity around 1,000 years ago but a modern version of Norse paganism has been gaining popularity in Iceland.

    (((((Björk, KUKL and Purrkur Pillnikk – the anarcho-punk roots of Iceland's music scene
    Read more)))))

    “I don’t believe anyone believes in a one-eyed man who is riding about on a horse with eight feet,” said Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson, high priest of Ásatrúarfélagið, an association that promotes faith in the Norse gods.

    “We see the stories as poetic metaphors and a manifestation of the forces of nature and human psychology.”..............

    Now we are getting somewhere.

  16. When it was vital to be hung like a Norse ...

    Amelia Hill

    Sunday 10 October 2004 04.44 EDT

    They raped and pillaged their way across Europe. But Viking warriors were sexually insecure, consumed with performance angst and troubled by the thought that size really did matter.

    Being hung like a Norse was key to social hierarchy and being considered a real man in 10th-century Icelandic society, according to a new paper, 'Size Matters: Penile Problems in Sagas of Icelanders', to be presented to the International Medieval Congress in Leeds this week.

    The comprehensive cultural history of the penis in medieval Iceland was researched by Dr Carl Phelpstead from Cardiff University, who analysed contemporaneous accounts of otherwise brave Viking warriors being ridiculed by women and girls for their dainty manhood and sexual timidity. 'For Viking men who suffered impotence or erectile problems, it was not merely a medical problem or an unfortunate constraint on their sex lives, it profoundly affected their identity,' said Phelpstead.

    Society in medieval Iceland operated under a one-gender system in which people were categorised not as male or female but as physically adequate or inadequate, Phelpstead believes. 'The result is a distinction between men on the one hand and everyone else, including most women, children, slaves and otherwise disenfranchised men on the other,' he said.

    In the ancient stories, penis size determined a man's status in a society that distinguished able-bodied, virile men from all other people. In rare cases, some women were able to gain this position of social status. Phelpstead points to repeated imagery and metaphors in the stories that referred to a penis as a 'borer' and 'drill of the hill of the leg'.

    'These descriptions suggest that the penis not only marked social position but could be used to establish or reassert social standing through phallic aggression,' he said. 'A penile problem such as erectile dysfunction compromised the ability of a man to assert or maintain this dominant position.' ......................

    "That boy's hung like a Norse horse."

    1. .

      Those who where penisly challenged were banished and forced to head West across unknown waters to seek out the fabled Pencildickland and the ancient Swedish settlement of Idahovork.


    2. .

      Just an old Norse joke.

      Those guys were always bustin balls.


  17. Middle East News
    Islamic State Affiliate Takes Root Amid Libya’s Chaos
    Group Calling Itself Tripoli Province Claims Hotel Attack
    Matt Bradley and
    Benoît Faucon

    Islamic State’s affiliate in Libya has capitalized on the battlefield failures and disillusionment among better-established, more moderate Islamist groups in the country, following the same formula that brought the radical movement success in Syria and Iraq, Western counter terrorism officials said.............

    1. The King David Hotel bombing was a terrorist attack carried out on Monday July 22, by the militant Zionist underground organization, the Irgun. The Irgun taking advantage of the disillusionment amongst the more moderate Zionists.

    2. The Criminal rat crapper is posting as me again so I'll take my marbles and go home for awhile.......

      My last post is: BobMon Feb 02, 07:44:00 PM EST

      That was a hell of a good Super Bowl.

      Cheers !

    3. The King David Hotel was The British Military HQ.

      By all standards of war, it was a military target.

      And it was warned.

      England, was an Occupying Force.

  18. American media guru denies Republicans sent him to help Netanyahu re-election campaign

    Vincent Harris denied an Israeli Army Radio report that linked senators McConnell and Cruz and his employment with Likud.

    Army Radio political correspondent Ido Benbaji reported that the Likud employed Vincent Harris, who worked for Republican senators Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz. The report said the Likud complained about US president Barack Obama's former field director Jeremy Bird advising groups working to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even though they were using the same tactic.

    Harris told The Jerusalem Post that he started working for Likud more than six weeks ago, just like Republican strategist John McLauglin and just like other American strategists had worked for Netanyahu in other elections going back to 1996.

  19. In Defense of Darrell Bevell
    The Seahawks had the right look for the slant to work, but the interception that clinched Super Bowl 49 was more a function of their limited personnel. Plus, why it was Bill Belichick who made the biggest coaching gaffe, a peek at Tom Brady's note cards, and how the Pats took the option out of Seattle's read-option
    Andy Benoit
    · More from Andy·

    GLENDALE, ARIZ. — It’s easy to question the play-calling after a goal-line interception. But if Russell Wilson had completed the quick-slant to Ricardo Lockette, people would have lauded Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for having the guts to throw when everyone was expecting run.

    Keep in mind, Bevell has limited resources. None of Seattle’s wide receivers can consistently separate from man coverage, and their quarterback, great as he is on extended plays, can’t make many throws from the pocket. That makes things tough on an offensive coordinator.

    New England’s suffocating man coverage exposed Seattle’s offense. But Bevell & Co. had the brilliant idea to play unknown 25-year-old journeyman Chris Matthews in extra-receiver packages. In the limited sample we’ve seen of Matthews, it appears he’s another Hawks receiver who can’t separate. But being 6-foot-5 and lanky, he doesn’t have to. He’ll always be open three feet above his head, which is where Russell Wilson placed the ball on Matthews’s 44-and 45-yard receptions. Cornerback Kyle Arrington had good position on both those plays; Arrington’s problem was that he’s only 5-10.

    After the 45-yarder, which came three plays into the second half, Brandon Browner went to safeties coach Brian Flores and asked to cover Matthews. Browner, at 6-4 and 220 pounds, has the size and innate physicality to negate big receivers. Flores went to cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer. “The corners coach didn’t want to do it,” Browner said. “We begged for it: Please let me get the big guy.” Boyer signed off on the move. According to Browner, neither Bill Belichick nor defensive coordinator Matt Patricia had input on this personnel switch, which ultimately decided the outcome of Super Bowl XLIX. “[Belichick and Patricia] do a good job of letting the corners coach and safeties coach do their job,” said Browner.

    Matthews was blanked by Browner, who defeated him with jams off the line of scrimmage.

    1. Along with switching Browner to Matthews, the Patriots brought in Malcolm Butler, an undrafted rookie who flashed in a handful of appearances during the regular this season. Which brings us back to the interception that wasn’t Bevell’s fault.

      “If I was an offensive guy, that’s the play I want drawn up,” said Browner.

      “It’s man-to-man, you stack receivers like this,” he said, putting one fist in front of the other. “And boom!, you try to pick the guy. They had a good play, but we knew them, we watched them for two weeks.”

      Butler had seen the stacked-receiver look in practice, where he’d been beaten on the play by Josh Boyce. “I didn’t let it happen again,” he said.

      So what tipped Butler off on a quick slant in a situation where everyone was expecting run?

      “They called goal-line three receivers; goal-line usually has two receivers,” he said. “You still could pass either way, but three receivers? That’s kind of letting you know something. I’m a pass defender first, and I just jumped the route.

      “I don’t even remember who I was on. 83? I just knew it was stack and I jumped the route and that was the ball game.”

      Go Fourth!

      Uncharacteristically cool and calm, Tom Brady overcame a 10-point deficit against the NFL's best defense to lead the Patriots to a fourth Super Bowl title.
      The interception was not Butler’s only contribution. He was sensational in several iso-man-to-man situations. Besides the passes that he prevented from even being attempted, Butler had a breakup against Kearse on the Seahawks’ staple slot wheel route that we highlighted earlier this week, and he broke up a pass intended for Kearse on first-and-10 early on the final drive.

      But it was his interception that will be remembered, which is good news for Belichick. The interception overshadowed what was actually the biggest coaching blunder of the night: Belichick’s decision to not call timeout prior to second down on the 1-yard-line. Immediately after Jermaine Kearse’s improbable—and really, flat-out lucky—33-yard catch down to the 5-yard-line, the Seahawks called timeout. They wanted to gather themselves, but that timeout actually helped New England, as it ensured well over a minute remaining for another Tom Brady drive in the event that Seattle scored on the next play.

      Belichick said after the game that he would have called timeout had the interception play been a run stop. But that’s exactly what he should have done after the previous play, a Marshawn Lynch four-yard run. Instead he let 40 seconds tick off the clock. Had the Seahawks scored on the pass to Lockette, the Patriots would have had 0:26 to come back, rather than 1:06.

      But unfortunately, because hindsight is everyone’s favorite perspective, it’s Bevell being cited for a coaching blunder.


      Not buying the call.

      Bevell should be fired.

      Interesting though - the whole situation.

      Beats bowling or golf.

    3. Makes one wonder though what Coach Carrol actually does other than chew gum.