Friday, February 13, 2009

The Second Battle of Yorktown

By Richard Vedder

My friend Dick Bishirjian, president of Yorktown University, is annoyed, and rightly so, but a proposal apparently making its way through the New Jersey legislature. A bill in that state would consider degrees from colleges not accredited by a regional accreditor to be invalid (illegal was the term used in the email to me). In other words, if a primarily internet based school is accredited by a national accreditor recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, that is not good enough for the State of New Jersey (if this legislation becomes law).

This is still another of numerous attempts by some in the higher education establishment to restrict competition, and give cartel status to the regional accrediting agencies. As the email to me indicated, a similar effort was foiled in Texas last year, where an attempt was made to accept as accredited graduates only those attending SACS-accredited institutions.

It would be interesting to prosecute states who enact such legislation for violating the Constitutional rights of individuals (the Commerce Clause of the Constitution), not to mention the Sherman and Clayton Anti-Trust acts. I hate excessive litigation, I even dislike the anti-trust laws, but sometimes you have to use the weapons at your disposal.

Proposals like this are simply awful. The regional accrediting agencies are controlled, typically, by boards made up of college presidents and other senior folks at the schools being regulated. They have never, ever, closed down a major institution for academic mediocrity. They are terrible at quality control, but are excellent at squandering resources, at restricting competition, at enhancing tuition fees, and, in short, ripping off consumers. To give these agencies monopoly status would be horrible.

I am not against the concept of certifying the level of quality of institutions, no more than I am against Consumer Reports evaluating which manufacturers make the best cars. But the current system needs big change. Moving to transparent evidence of student outcomes would greatly alleviate the need for organizations like SACS, North Central, etc. If the Obama Administration truly cares about college students and wants to make college more affordable, it will crack down on these efforts to restrict competition.


capeman said...

I'm not a Constitutional lawyer, but -- apart from the merits of Yorktown University -- it seems to me the Doc is being just a bit dismissive of states' rights here.

maxheadroom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
maxheadroom said...

According to "href="" target=_blank>,

Princeton was requested to put a 'restriction' on distribution of any copies of the thesis of Michelle Obama (a/k/a/ Michelle LaVaughn Robinson) saying it could not be made available until November 5, 2008. But when it was published on apolitical website they decided they would lift the restriction.

href="" target=_blank>

Subj: Thesis - Michele Obama aka Michelle LaVaughn Robinson


In her senior thesis at Princeton , Michele Obama, the wife of Barack Obama stated that America was a nation founded on 'crime and hatred'.

Moreover, she stated that whites in America were 'ineradicably racist'. The1985 thesis, titled 'Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community' was written under her maiden name, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson. Michelle Obama stated in her thesis that to 'Whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, she will always be Black first...' However, it was reported by a fellow black classmate, 'If those 'Whites at Princeton ' really saw Michelle as one who always would 'be Black first,' it seems that she gave them that impression'.

Most alarming is Michele Obama's use of the terms 'separationist' and 'integrationist' when describing the views of black people. Mrs. Obama clearly identifies herself with a 'separationist' view of race.’ By actually working with the Black lower class or within their communities as a result of their ideologies, a separationist may better understand the desperation of their situation and feel more hopeless about a resolution as opposed to an integrationist who is ignorant to their plight.’ Obama writes that the path she chose by attending Princeton would likely lead to her 'further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant.'

Michele Obama clearly has a chip on her shoulder. Not only does she see separate black and white societies in America, but she elevates black over white in her world.

Here is another passage that is uncomfortable and ominous in meaning: ‘There was no doubt in my mind that as a member of the black community, I am obligated to this community and will utilize all of my present and future resources to benefit the black community first and foremost.'

What is Michelle Obama planning to do with her future resources if she's first lady that will elevate black over white in America? The following passage appears to be a call to arms for affirmative action policies that could be the hallmark of an Obama administration.' Predominately white universities like Princeton are socially and academically designed to cater to the needs of the white students comprising the bulk of their enrollments.'

The conclusion of her thesis is alarming. Michelle Obama's poll of black alumni concludes that other black students at Princeton do not share her obsession with blackness. But rather than celebrate, she is horrified that black alumni identify with our common American culture more than they value the color of their skin. 'I hoped that these findings would help me conclude that despite the high degree of identification with whites as a result of the educational and occupational path that black Princeton alumni follow, the alumni would still maintain a certain level of identification with the black community. However, these findings do not support this possibility.’ Is it no wonder that most black alumni ignored her racist questionnaire? Only 89 students responded out of 400 who were asked for input. Michelle Obama does not look into a crowd of Obama supporters and see Americans. She sees black people and white people eternally conflicted with one another. The thesis provides a trove of Mrs. Obama's thoughts and world view seen through a race-based prism. This is a very divisive view for a potential first lady that would do untold damage to race relations in this country in a Barack Obama administration.

Michelle Obama's intellectually refined racism should give all Americans pause for deep concern. Now maybe she's changed, but she sure sounds like someone with an axe to grind with America. Will the press let Michelle get a free pass over her obviously racist comment about American whites? I am sure that it will.

PS: We paid for her scholarship.

maxheadroom said...

The Obamateur Hour

By Mark Steyn

Few pieces of political “wisdom” are more tediously recycled than a well-retailed bon mot of British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. Asked what he feared most in the months ahead, he gave an amused Edwardian response: “Events, dear boy, events.” In other words, you can plan all you want but next month, next year, some guy off the radar screen will launch a war, or there’ll be an earthquake, or something. Governments get thrown off course by “events.”

It suggests a perverse kind of genius that the 44th president did not wait for a single “event” to throw him off course. Instead he threw himself off: “Is Obama tanking already?” (Congressional Quarterly); “Has Barack Obama’s presidency already failed?” (The Financial Times). Whether or not it’s “already” failed or tanked, the monthly magazines still gazing out from their newsstands with their glossy inaugural covers of a smiling Barack and Michelle waltzing on the audacity of hope seem like musty historical artifacts from a lost age. The ship didn’t need to hit an iceberg; it stalled halfway down the slipway. This is still the phase before “events” come into play, when an incoming president has nothing to get in the way of his judgment and executive competence. President Obama chose to nominate Tim “Indispensable” Geithner and Tom “Home, James!” Daschle, men whose enthusiasm for the size of the federal budget is in inverse proportion to their urge to contribute to it. He chose to nominate as commerce secretary first the scandal-afflicted Bill Richardson and then the freakishly scandal-free Judd Gregg, and wound up losing both.

To be sure, the present state of the economy is an “event,” and has blown many governments around the world off course. But again: The hideous drooling blob of toxic pustules dignified as “stimulus” is something the incoming Obama had months to prepare for, with oodles of bipartisan goodwill and fawning press coverage to waft him along. Instead he chose to outsource it to Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, and the rest of the congressional pork barons. So that too is not an “event” but merely, like his cabinet picks, a matter of judgment and executive competence.

Not to matter. When the going gets tough, the tough go campaigning. So, almost as if he were still running for office rather than actually running an office, the president arranges a photo-op or a town-hall meeting, where, for the moment, the hopeychangey shtick still plays. “I have an urgent need,” a freeborn citizen of the republic (I use the term loosely) beseeched the president in Ft. Myers this week. “We need a home, our own kitchen, our own bathroom.”

As Michelle Malkin commented of the urgent needer: “If she had more time, she probably would have remembered to ask Obama to fill up her gas tank, too.” Obama took her name—Henrietta Hughes—and ordered his staff to meet with her. Hopefully, he won’t insult her by dispatching some no-name deputy assistant associate secretary of whatever instead of flying in one of the big-time tax-avoiding cabinet honchos to nationalize a Florida bank and convert one of its branches into a desirable family residence, with a swing set hanging where the drive-thru ATM used to be.

Still, the audience loved it. “Yes!” they yelped, and “Amen!”—and even “Gracious God, thank you so much!” In the words of Bob Hope: “Leave your name with the girl, and we may get to you for some crowd scenes.” Ah, but eventually the hosannas fade, and the community-organizer-in-chief has to return to Washington to attend to the drearier chores of being president. The “buy American” provisions in the “stimulus” will invite certain retaliation around the world, wrote Jagdish Bhagwati, the Columbia economics prof[essor], in the New York Times. This is presumably the same Jagdish Bhagwati who reassured a Toronto audience last year that he was endorsing Obama despite the senator’s anti-NAFTA, anti-free-trade rhetoric because he didn’t think Obama really believed it. Today it’s even less clear what, if anything, Obama believes—and, even more critically, whether he has the wit or authority to impose those beliefs on a Congress whose operating procedure for the new era seems to be business as usual with three extra zeroes on the end.

Someday soon this inaugural Obamateur Hour (as one of my correspondents, John Gross, calls it) will end and the “events” phase will begin. Back last spring, some gloomy reflections of mine on multiculturalism prompted a reader to advise me to lighten up: “We’re rich enough that we can afford to be stupid.” A mere nine months later, the first part of that equation no longer seems quite so obvious. The market value of the U.S. banking sector is worth barely a quarter of what it was two years ago—from just north of $1.4 trillion in February 2007 to under $400 billion at the beginning of this month, and that due only to the “bailout.” The so-called Wall Street fat cats are, in fact, emaciated cadavers in the late stages of that feline version of HIV. On the other hand, U.S. mortgage debt has more than quadrupled since 1990, from $2.5 trillion to over $10 trillion. On the other hand—you may be running out of fingers by now—the IMF has increased its calculation of potential losses on U.S.-originated credit assets from $1.4 trillion last October to $2.2 trillion today, and that’s at the lowball end of estimates (others figure closer to $4 trillion). If you stick the community-organizer-in-chief in a room with Henrietta Hughes, he can play Bob Barker and tell her to “come on down!” But it’s not obvious that that technique will be quite so effective back in the Oval Office, poring over the smoldering ledgers.

2008: We’re rich enough that we can afford to be stupid.

2009: We’re not so rich so let’s be even more stupid.

The Obama narrative as packaged by the American media (another all-but-bankrupt industry, not coincidentally) is very appealing. Wouldn’t it be so much nicer if a benign paternalist sovereign could take care of all the beastly grown-up stuff like mortgages and health care, like he’s gonna do for Henrietta Hughes, while simultaneously blowing gazillions on “green” initiatives and other touchy-feely things?

America has a choice: It can reacquaint itself with socioeconomic reality, or it can buckle its mandatory seatbelt for the same decline most of the rest of the West embraced a couple of generations back. In 1897, troops from the greatest empire the world had ever seen marched down London’s mall for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. Seventy years later, Britain had government health care, a government-owned car industry, massive government housing, and it was a shriveled high-unemployment socialist basket-case living off the dwindling cultural capital of its glorious past. In 1945, America emerged from the Second World War as the preeminent power on earth. Seventy years later…

Let’s not go there.