Category Archives: Education

Rule Five Chump Effect Friday

A while back City Journal, in an article I just stumbled across, documented something they are calling The Chump Effect.  I have some thoughts.  Excerpt:

Last January, a small but telling exchange took place at an Elizabeth Warren campaign event in Grimes, Iowa. At the time, Warren was attracting support from the Democratic Party’s left flank, with her bulging portfolio of progressive proposals. “Warren Has a Plan for That” read her campaign T-shirts. The biggest buzz surrounded her $1.25 trillion plan to pay off student-loan debt for most Americans.

A man approached Warren with a question. “My daughter is getting out of school. I’ve saved all my money [so that] she doesn’t have any student loans. Am I going to get my money back?”

“Of course not,” Warren replied.

“So you’re going to pay for people who didn’t save any money, and those of us who did the right thing get screwed?”

A video of the exchange went viral. It summed up the frustration many feel over the way progressive policies so often benefit select groups, while subtly undermining others. Saving money to send your children to college used to be considered a hallmark of middle-class responsibility. By subsidizing people who run up large debts, Warren’s policy would penalize those who took that responsibility seriously. “You’re laughing at me,” the man said, when Warren seemed to wave off his concerns. “That’s exactly what you’re doing. We did the right thing and we get screwed.”

Let us for the moment set aside the blatant and unapologetic arrogance of Liawatha Warren, who has never done an honest day’s work in her life, and her rude, dismissive reply to this man’s question.  Instead, let’s look at the concern he expressed:  He had done things the traditional way, the prudent way, the way working people with the ability of foresight do things – and now Fauxcohantas Warren told him to his face that he is, well, a chump:

That father was expressing an emotion growing more common these days: he felt like a chump. Feeling like a chump doesn’t just mean being upset that your taxes are rising or annoyed that you’re missing out on some windfall. It’s more visceral than that. People feel like chumps when they believe that they’ve played a game by the rules, only to discover that the game is rigged. Not only are they losing, they realize, but their good sportsmanship is being exploited. The players flouting the rules are the ones who get the trophy. Like that Iowa dad, the chumps of modern America feel that the life choices they’re most proud of—working hard, taking care of their families, being good citizens—aren’t just undervalued, but scorned.

The Chump Effect encompasses far more than this student loan issue, which is once again front-page news.

It encompasses business owners who worked long hours, went without things, saved and invested to build a small business, only to see it destroyed in a single night by a mob protesting “injustice.”

It encompasses girls on a high school swim team, whose chances at valuable scholarships are negated by a biological male teammate who suddenly claims to be a girl after years as a mediocre performer on the XY team.

It encompasses – in addition to parents – students who perhaps did a hitch in the military and worked part-time jobs to pay for their university education, and now will be stuck picking up the tab for their less responsible fellows.

To borrow an example from Dr. Sowell:  It encompasses a white coal miner in Appalachia, who is confronted with an article complaining how his “white privilege” somehow confers him benefits not available to a black graduate of Harvard Law School.

City Journal here is describing everyone who ever did everything the right way, the responsible way, only to find, as the article says, the game was rigged against them.  Read the whole thing.  Then think about the implications.  You may well find some chumpery in your own life – I did.

The article concludes:

In North Minneapolis, Tracey talked with Flora Westbrooks, a black woman who had owned a hair salon there for 34 years. The business helped her earn enough to buy a house and send her son to law school. On May 29, arsonists burned it down. “Sometimes I’m like, OK, I gotta go to work,” she told Tracey. But then she remembers: “I don’t own anything anymore. Everything’s burned to the ground. I have nothing no more. Everything I worked for.” The tragedy of the Chump Effect is in stories like these. People devote their lives to making things better for themselves, their children, and their communities. They follow the bourgeois norms so disdained by the Left. Then, when our society stops defending those norms, they’re the ones who suffer.

Yup.  In the eyes of the elites – and sometimes in our own eyes – we’re all chumps.

Animal’s Daily Student Loan News

Now this is pandering of the worst sort, and terrible policy.  Excerpt:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced his long-awaited plan to deliver on his campaign promise to provide $10,000 in debt cancellation for millions of Americans — and up to $10,000 more for those with the greatest financial need.

Borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year, or families earning less than $250,000, would be eligible for the $10,000 loan forgiveness, Biden announced in a tweet. For recipients of Pell Grants, which are reserved for undergraduates with the most significant financial need, the federal government would cancel up to an additional $10,000 in federal loan debt.

Biden is also extending a pause on federal student loan payments for what he called the “final time” through the end of 2022. He was set to deliver remarks Wednesday afternoon at the White House to unveil his proposal to the public.

It’s impossible to overstate how stupid this is.

See, here’s the thing:  Anyone who is agitating for student loan cancellation transfer to the taxpayers should be asked one question:

“Did you sign the loan agreement?”

If the answer is “yes,” as it always will be, the only acceptable response is “…then shut up and pay off your loans.”

I’d be very interested to know what degrees have the greatest amount of unpaid student debt.  I would bet money that the various “(X) Studies” degrees have the most trouble paying off their student loans, because they are crap degrees with no potential for employment at anything above the “do you want fries with that” level.

Here’s the onion:

Borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year, or families earning less than $250,000, would be eligible for the $10,000 loan forgiveness,

So, in this scenario, an Underwater Ethnic Dog-Polishing degree holder who holds some kind of government patronage job, earning $124,999 a year (presumably that’s taxable income, which is a whole different animal than gross income) will have $10,000 of their student loan debt assumed by the taxpayers, to include, say, an apprentice carpenter making $65,000 a year.

Does  that seem right to you?

There are worse implications.  This “forgiveness” is a stake in the heart of contract law in the United States.  These children signed loan agreements – contracts – that included terms for repayment.  Now, because of loud shouting by the “aggrieved” class of spoiled children who suddenly found out their degrees are worthless, and because of shameless pandering by the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration, those contracts are being tossed out the window.  What aspects of contract law will be next?  It’s anyone’s guess at this point; we’re entering an undiscovered country here.


Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

I’m thinking of bear hunting.

Specifically, I’m thinking of hunting a certain area about sixty miles north of here, where a walk-in-only trail system leads down to the brushy banks of the Chulitna River.  The problem is, it’s really brushy.  The few people I’ve talked to familiar with this particular area have said that both blacks and griz are abundant in the area, and that you may well smell them before you hear them.  So, I’m thinking the BullWhacker (Marlin 1895G, .45-70) is in order.  The BullWhacker has been customized with a large lever loop, ghost ring sights and a forward-mounted IER scope – colloquially known as a “Scout Scope.”  Seems like the appropriate piece for sneaking through dense brush after big, tough, toothy critters at short range.  Thoughts?

Now that I’ve placed that before you all…

On To the Links!

“We’ve really got him this time!”

City of Broken Windows.

Yes, nuclear is the key to our future.  I’ve been saying this for years.

What would you do?  Granted state lotteries are essentially a tax on stupidity for the most part, but there’s probably no  harm in spending a couple of bucks for the chance to fantasize about what you’d do if you got a few hundred million bucks dropped in your lap.

What could possibly go wrong?

“Please, B’rer Fox, don’t throw me in that there briar patch!”

They’ll want to tighten security on this find.  Contact Chief Inspector Clouseau immediately!

“Heterosexual men seeking to introduce themselves to women should be direct and maybe even a tad vulnerable, while heterosexual women approaching men can essentially say anything they want. “  No shit, Sherlock.

Nothing can fix Twitter.

DeBlasio already did that job for you, you Bronze Age assholes.

Tulsi Gabbard is a sane Democrat, which is like finding a unicorn these days.

When seconds count, the cops are only hours away.

Watch your taxes go up.

GEICO bails on California.

I love a  happy ending.

This Week’s Idiots:

NY Magazine’s Jonathan Chait (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Yes, you idiot, that means we’re in a recession.

USAToday‘s Jill Lawrence is an idiot.

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Michael Cohen is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Zeeshan Aleem (I’m sensing a pattern here) is an idiot.

Robert Reich is still a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

California is run by idiots.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Mrs. Animal and I have seen the Blue Man Group twice, once at their regular venue in Las Vegas, and once at their traveling show in Denver.  On that latter show they shared the stage with VenusHum, a ‘synth-pop’ band that saw some success in the early Aughts.

We saw this song on the traveling show; it was later released on the Blue Man Group’s 2003 album The Complex, and it’s probably the best cover of Donna Summer’s I Feel Love ever done; to tell the truth, I prefer it to the original.  Anyway, here; make up your own mind, and feel free to let us know in the comments.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

OK. Yeah. Why not. We’re out here in rural Alaska. Nearest law enforcement is over thirty miles away. By your own stated opinion, we’re defenseless. Come on out. Find out how defenseless we are. We live out here amongst 1500-pound moose and 700-pound bears. Come on out. Fuck around and find out. We’ll be waiting.

Honestly, how stupid are these people?  Excerpt:

The radical Christians are found in rural areas, right? “Their towns are defenseless,” he claims. He’s dead serious, too. Punish them. Punish their towns. You say that Black Lives Matter burned cities to the ground? “I say ‘let them see firsthand what it’s like what (sic) a community is truly burned to the ground.’”

So he’s calling for (likely unarmed) liberals from the cities to “show up 100 deep in every rural town in a 50-mile radius intent on revolution.”

You betcha.  Come on out, you pencil-necked soy-eating fuck.  Come on.  Pick a place.  Any small town, any little rural community, anywhere in the USA.  We all have guns, we have ammo and plenty of it.  I’m not even a Christian, but I’ll stand arm in arm with my neighbors who are.  Fuck around and find out.

With that out of the way…

On to The Links!

When I watch the video clip in this story, I’m picturing big 1966 Batman flashes of BOOM!  POW!  BIFF!

Not a fan of Twitter, but this is a pretty good string.

No shit, Sherlock.

All signs point to “no.”

Smith & Wesson hits back.

Turns out the Dobbs decision has little to no effect in Alaska.

America’s coming debt crisis.

Why Biden(‘s handlers) keep lying about energy.

Democrats – a serious threat to the Republic?  Read and decide.

No shit, Sherlock Part Deux.

Further proof that Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, First Of That Name, Dowager-Empress of Chappaqua, is a bitter, angry old harpy.

“I think you’re clear.”

This Week’s Idiots:

Vox’s Ian Millhiser is an idiot.

Maxine Waters (Dimwit-CA) (Repeat Offender Alert) is an unhinged, loony old bat, and an idiot.

Pramila Jayapal (Nitwit-WA) is full of more shit than a Christmas goose, and an idiot.

Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

AntiProfa continues to demonstrate that they are all idiots.

The Guardian’s Jill Filipovic is an idiot.

USAToday’s Carli Pierson is an idiot.

The Guardian’s David Daley is an idiot.

What bright spots?

The LA Times Harry Litman is an idiot.

Root’s Candace McDuffie is an idiot.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Boy, are things a lot different than they were two weeks ago today.  As we discussed Monday, two Supreme Court decisions have put a lot of folks off their feed, while delighting plenty of others.

So, a recent effort from America’s Songwriter seems appropriate here.  In 2000, Bob Dylan released a single, Things Have Changed, from the soundtrack of the film from that year, Wonder Boys, which starred a pre-Ant Man Michael Douglas, a pre-Spiderman Toby McGuire and a pre-Iron Man Robert Downey Jr.  – as a film it was only fair, but it did give us this song, which seems oddly appropriate now, twenty-two years later.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

One of the interesting summer visitors to the Great Land is the Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius), a relative of the more common American Robin who also hits up our area for summer feeding & breeding.

But while the robins sing loudly and melodiously from the tops of trees, and hunt insects and worms in our open yard, the Varied Thrush prefers to stay well back in the brush, away from the open areas.  It’s song isn’t much, just a metallic trill, repeated here and there in the undergrowth.  I haven’t been able to lay eyes on one yet, but we hear them every day.  Sooner or later I’ll have to wander into the mosquito-laden woods and find one.  Hearing them is good, but actually laying eyes on a bird is somehow more satisfying.

Now then…

On To the Links!

Well, here’s a rare bit of good news out of California.

No shit, Sherlock.

Hint:  Democrats.

It’s the economy, stupid.

I love a happy ending.

I love a happy ending II.

Yeah, he’s probably toast.

This is known as belaboring the obvious.

We can hope.

The redpilling of Bill Maher continues.

There are still a few honest liberals around.

Entropy hits Disney.

It’s all part of the plan.

Your dollar is now worth less than it was a month ago.

The Germans do have a reputation for building good tanks.

This Week’s Idiots:

Watch this idiot prevaricate.

The Philly Enquirer’s editorial board are all idiots.

MSNBC’s Charlie Sykes is an idiot.

Fat, flatulent blowpig Michael Moore can fuck right off.

The daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont is still an idiot.

Maureen Dowd is an idiot.

The Hill’s Bill Schneider is an idiot.

The question these idiots can’t answer is “at what cost?”

Are these idiots threatening an insurrection?  Imagine the reaction from the legacy media if these were Republican congresscritters.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

Up until the early Seventies, America’s Songwriter, Bob Dylan, was mostly known as an acoustic folk artist.  But in 1975 and 1976, he put on the Rolling Thunder Revue, set in a variety of small venues around the country.  One of those shows was televised, that being the May 23, 1976 show in Fort Collins, Colorado.  That recording later became the live album Hard Rain, and that concert also presented my favorite version of what I consider one of Dylan’s finest songs, Shelter From the Storm. 

This performance settled any doubts that the folk artist Dylan could also do rock & roll.  Here, then, is that piece from that show.  Enjoy.

Rule Five Higher Education Friday

This is an interesting take:  What Are College Students Paying For?  Well, they should be paying for an institution that will make them into young adults with marketable skills, but all too often, they are failing miserably.  Excerpts, with my comments, follow.

But deep discussions and dialogue in college classes can be rare. So what else are college students paying for? Some colleges have tried to make the campus experience itself the attraction. For example, in College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education, Ryan Craig illustrates how, in addition to climbing walls and gourmet dining facilities, many campuses have developed water parks: “The New York Times [in 2014] reported [that] Auburn has developed a $52 million water park, including a 45-student paw-print-shaped hot tub and a 20-foot wet climbing wall … Auburn raised its student activity fee from $7.50 to $200 to fund its water park.” The University of Missouri “has a lazy river, waterfall, indoor beach club, and a grotto modeled after the one at the Playboy Mansion. Not to be outdone, Missouri State has put in a waterpark complete with zipline and lazy river, but insists on calling the lazy river a ‘current river’ because ‘Missouri State students are not lazy.’” So, the answer to “What else are students paying for?” includes college campuses as vacation destinations.

What the actual fuck?  Why the hell do college kids need indoor beach clubs and climbing walls?  People are constantly nattering on about the costs of higher education, and then the universities are paying for this horseshit?

In the 1960s and 1970s, proliferating colleges, with their swelling enrollments, needed more teachers. And it so happened that this era of college expansion coincided with the civil rights era, an era of protest. Many radical leftists, socialists, progressives, and Marxists saw an opportunity to use teaching to preach and promote their causes. Thus it was that during this time, the idea of using—or, rather, abusing—education as a platform to promote ideologies and activism began to spread. The fruits of this phenomenon still poison classrooms today.

Yeah, and then some – while simultaneously doing nothing at all to instill marketable skills in these young skulls full of mush.

And this begs the question of what the purpose of college is, anyway. Is it to be like Plato’s Academy, a safe haven from the constraints of public opinion where students can engage in dialogue exploring Goodness, Truth, and Beauty? Or should college essentially be about social mobility, giving students marketable job skills? Indeed, when one sees some students balancing accounting equations and others wrestling with existential philosophical questions, it is logical to ask if these subjects belong on the same grounds or are better kept separate.

I’m in favor of the latter option, especially if we are to continue the current lunacy of government-subsidized education.  Universities should – nay, must – be like any other business; they should produce a product, that product being young people with marketable skills.

Perhaps we are on the cusp of a backlash that will pare away more of the useless majors, ideologies, gimmicks, and excesses and re-center the college experience around real dialogue and learning. The Stephen Curry Effect will continue to expose the meaninglessness of college rankings, contrived diversity, and hollow exclusivity. And the Internet will continue to undermine the monopoly on rare books and expertise that colleges once held.

I’m skeptical about that backlash.  I just don’t see much sign that the current trend of horseshit Ethnic Underwater Dog-Polishing degrees abating any time soon, at least not as long as the Imperial City keeps subsidizing this crap and pols keep pandering to young morons with zero marketable skills who keep shrieking that the taxpayers should assume their six figures of college debt.

I have, for some years now, proposed a solution.  Remove any government subsidy for higher education.  All of it.  If a young would-be student needs to borrow money for their education, let them approach a private financial institution and make their case.  Student A, with a 3.9 grade point average from a school specializing in prepping STEM students, who intends to pursue a degree in Software Engineering, would be a pretty good risk.  Student B, with a 2.6 grade point average from the MoonBattery Squish Academy for the Politically Correct, who intends to pursue a degree in Eastern European Queer History, would certainly be sent packing.

Eliminate the problems of horseshit, useless degrees, overwhelming student debt, and crap like climbing walls on campus at a stroke, and move education to what it ought to be.  It’s a good idea, which is reason enough alone that the Imperial City won’t touch it.

We could also start some kind of re-discovery of the trades.  The country needs carpenters, plumbers, welders and electricians, too.  Those are honest, respectable trades with the potential for really good income.  But that’s probably a topic for another day.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Boy howdy, has mosquito season ever started up here in the Great Land.

The picture is in Alaska. These may or may not be real Alaska mosquitoes, though.

Honestly, I’ve been places where the mosquitoes were worse (I’m looking at you, Ft. Benning) than they are here in our Susitna Valley home.  And the buggy season isn’t all that long, either, running from the first week in June until mid-late July.  Add to that the fact that it’s been a dry spring this year, and, well, it could be a lot worse.  But we still have good numbers of the little bloodsuckers.  Some measures can help, though.  Planting marigolds, lavender and mint around the house can help repel them.  So can citronella.

But the best thing we’ve done to help us sleep at night without whining, bloodsucking pests (I mean mosquitoes, not Congressmen) buzzing around was to get all the old windows replaced with new, tight-fitting units with good screens.  It cost a fair bit, but it’s worth it, and the new windows are also better-installed and better-insulated than the old, which will help in winter, too.

Keeping up a place never stops; there’s always something that needs fixed or replaced.  And a country place, even more so.

Also:  I’ve been and remain a little salty this week, language-wise.  Sorry, but there’s been a lot of crap that irritates me this week, and unusually, not all of it came out of the Imperial City.  And so…

On To the Links!

Haw haw haw!

When Americans vote with their feet, the real winner is freedom.

Molon labe, asshole.

Time can fuck right off.

The different kinds of bullshit.

I love a happy ending.

Johnny Depp is now the poster child for Guy Rule #1:  “Never Stick Your Dick in Crazy.”

No shit, Sherlock.


Hopefully not the last.

(H/T to the Glibertarian’s Sloopyinca)There will be food. Food. People will eat the food. Food. Some may give speeches. Speeches with words. Words the people will hear. And food. The dinner will be about food. And people. But food.

Shocker:  Japan and America aren’t very much alike.

RIP Dan Seals, of Seals & Crofts.  Damn, he was eighty?

This Week’s Idiots:

The LA Times‘ Robin Abcarian is an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert) remains a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

Idiots appointing idiots.

Kookoo for Cocoa Puffs.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

Eleanor Clift can fuck right off.

USAToday’s Rex Huppke is an idiot.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (Shit-for-Brains, RI) is an idiot.

The Nation’s Laura Flanders is an idiot, and so is the subject of her interview and Repeat Offender Ibram Kendi.

Yes.  And don’t let the screen door hit your ass on the way out.

Idiots in their own words.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

When I was a young fellow mooching around northeast Iowa, all of us had a few tunes we referred to as “make-out music.”  This sorta-genre was as widely varied as tastes in music in general, and throughout those heady days of rock & roll in the late Seventies we still had a fair amount of smooth smoochin’ tunes to rely on.

One popular singer when one was “closing the deal” was Rod Stewart, and one of the best of his song to have loaded in your car’s eight-track player or on your turntable was his 1976 tune Tonight’s the Night.  Here is the official video for that great make-out tune.  Enjoy.

Animal’s Daily College Debt News

Before we start, check out my latest over at Glibertarians – and thanks to our pals at The Daley Gator for the hat tip!

Now then:  Get a load of this nitwit, decrying her six figures of student debt.  Excerpt:

If it weren’t for compounding interest, Cheryl — who requested her last name be withheld for privacy concerns — thinks President Joe Biden’s plans to forgive $10,000 in student debt for federal borrowers might have made a difference for her.

But with $303,000 in federal student debt — and an additional $20,000 in private student loans — the president’s plan just isn’t enough.

“It is not even a drop in the bucket,” Cheryl, 53, told Insider. “If you wanted to make a real difference, you could do away with half the interest we’ve accrued, but for now I’ll never be able to cover the payments.”

As a teacher in Massachusetts, Cheryl had to take out student loans for her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in education. While she said she has no problem paying back the debt she borrowed, the problem is the interest that accrued while she was in school and her loans were in forbearance. At her current modest income level, it’s been nearly impossible for her to make a dent in her principal balance, which has swelled to more than $300,000 thanks to all the interest.

To “Cheryl” I can only say this:  “Did you read the loan agreements?  Did you sign them?  Yes?  Then shut the fuck up.”

Cheryl is asking the Imperial government to commit theft on her behalf.  She is asking for taxpayer dollars, taken by force (yes, by force; try not paying your taxes for a while and see how long it takes for the government to send men with guns out after you) from productive people to pay off her student loans.

She’s not the only one asking for this, of course.  And every damn one of them is asking the Imperial government to commit theft on their behalf.  They signed loan agreements – contracts – with the loan terms spelled out in detail.  And now they are asking for the Imperial government to cancel those agreements and meet the obligations these assholes agreed to, with taxpayer dollars.

The only proper response to people like this is “shut up and pay your own debts.”  The answer to this sort of thing, policy-wise, is to get government completely out of the business of education, and especially out of the business of financing education.

Rule Five Eighth Annual Commencement Speech Friday

It’s that time of year again, when high school and college graduates all over the country are trying on caps and gowns and making post-graduation plans. Today, for the eighth year, I will present here my own carefully prepared commencement speech to those grads – presented here because there’s damn little chance of my being asked to deliver it in person to a group of impressionable yutes.

So, here it is. Enjoy.

“Graduates of the Class of 2021, let me be the first to extend to you my congratulations on this, your day of entry into reality.

For the last four years you have been working towards this goal, towards this day. That’s a good thing. One of the most important skills you will ever need, one of the most important ways to achieve success in the world into which you are about to enter, is the ability to formulate goals, to plan how to achieve those goals, and to see things through until you reach those goals. Today you’ve shown you can do that. Congratulations and good job.

Now, before you go out to enjoy the rest of this day, before you go out to celebrate this goal you have achieved, let me tell you a few harsh truths about the world you’re entering. I’m not going to give you any trigger warnings; if you can’t handle what I’m about to say, there’s damn little future for you out there in the real world, so cowboy up. Moments ago I congratulated you on your day of entry into reality, so to get you started off right, here is a hefty dose of reality for you.

In spite of what you may have been told during all your years of education, nobody owes you anything, and you aren’t special. Any perceived ‘need’ you may have does not entitle you to anything – most especially, not to one red cent of the product of anyone else’s effort. If any of your professors have told you that, then they are economic illiterates, moral frauds or outright charlatans.

Our wonderful Constitution, which has stood for well over two hundred years as the founding document of our Republic, guarantees you the opportunity to your pursuit of happiness. It does not require anyone to provide you the means to your happiness at their expense. You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You have no moral claim on anyone else’s productivity. Accept that fact and you are already one step ahead of most of your peers.

You are entitled to what you have earned through your own efforts, and not:





If you are accepting a degree today in LGBT Studies, or Women’s Studies, or any of the other assorted bullshit Underwater Dog Polishing degrees our universities crank out today, then you have my sympathies. You are the victim of a fraud perpetrated by our university system, a vicious and cynical fraud that has resulted in you spending a lot of money for no gain. But more importantly, you are the victim of your own poor judgement. You decided to pursue a useless degree, and now you’re stuck. Here is another harsh reality: You are responsible for your own situation. It’s not anybody else’s fault. Nobody else is responsible. You are.

Your university experience had one goal – producing a young adult with marketable skills, someone who can provide value to an employer and to the economy. In this your university has failed, and in choosing this degree, so did you. You have relegated yourself to uselessness in the workplace, and when a few years from now you are working as a barista or checkout clerk and crying over your six figures of student debt, remember what I said a few moments ago: You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You made a decision; now you get to deal with the consequences of that decision. Pull yourself up, look around at the other opportunities around you, and figure a way out of this mess your youthful indiscretion has landed you in.

But you still have one thing going for you. You have shown that you can set yourself a goal and achieve it. Do so now.

So, where do you go from here?

Because nobody owes you anything, including a living, one of the tasks ahead of you now is finding gainful employment. If you’re going to find employment, it will only be because you can demonstrate to the employer that you can provide value to him or her in excess of your costs of employment. Employment is an economic transaction. In any free market transaction, both parties have to realize a perceived gain in value or the transaction won’t happen. If a prospective employer doesn’t think you’re able to provide value to his/her business in excess of your cost of employment, which includes not only your salary but all the extra taxes, fees and other various government extortion that you never see in your pay stub – then they won’t hire you. So be able to present yourself as someone who can provide value, in whatever field you have been studying these last few years.

Once you have gained that employment, once you are in the workplace, remember these three rules for success:

Show up a little earlier than the other guy,
Work a little harder than the other guy,
Never pass up a chance to learn something new.

Words that should never pass your lips include such things as “that’s not my job,” and “I don’t have time for that.” Your reputation in the workplace should be, to put it bluntly, the one who can get shit done. Results matter. Be the one that the boss can count on. Be the one who brings things in on time. Be the one who finishes the job. Be the one that produces value and you will never have to worry about where your next meal is coming from.

Bear in mind also that you are entering the workforce as a tablua rasa as far as potential employers are concerned. You’re not going to leave these halls and be CEO of General Motors. You will be working in an entry level job, probably not making a lot of money, probably doing work your longer-term co-workers don’t want to do. Suck it up. There are no lousy jobs, only lousy people. Any work that produces value is worth doing. How do you know if your work is producing value? The answer to that is trivially easy: If someone is willing to pay you to do the work, then you are producing value. Bear in mind also that the job belongs to the employer, not to you, and if you don’t meet the employer’s expectations, someone else will.

How do you meet those expectations? Better yet, how do you exceed them? When you are doing that job, keep these things in mind:

Be known for your integrity. Don’t say anything you don’t believe and don’t make promises you can’t deliver on. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who means what you say and who delivers on your promises.

Be known for your reliability. Show up on time, every day, for every event. Show up on time for meetings. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who will always be there when you’re needed.

Be known for your responsibility. If you take on a task, finish it. If you commit to a timeline, meet it. If you accept responsibility for something, own it. It’s yours. Don’t expect anyone else to take care of it for you. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who, when put in charge, takes charge.

Be known for your dependability. Plan your tasks to bring them in on schedule. If that means long hours, work them. If that means working a Saturday, work it. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who can get the job done.

Success isn’t a mysterious thing. It’s not that elusive and it’s not even all that hard. I did it, and you can too, but it does involve one four-letter word:


Thomas Edison once said “people often fail to recognize opportunity when it knocks, because it usually shows up in overalls and looks like work.” At these commencement events it’s common to be told to follow your dreams, and that’s nice, flowery stuff, but in most cases nobody is going to pay you to follow your dreams. They will pay you to produce value, and that means work. Follow your dreams on your own time.

Finally, I will leave you all with some unsolicited advice:

All through your life, people will promise you things. Most of them won’t deliver. Many of those people will be people seeking political office, and many more of them will be people pushing some sort of supposed business opportunity. Some years ago the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein observed a fundamental law of the universe, which law is represented by the acronym TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Remember that; if someone offers you something for nothing, they are lying. If someone is offering you something at someone else’s expense, they are offering to commit theft on your behalf. The only moral answer to such offers is outright refusal.

There are only three types of economic transactions and only one of those – a free, unfettered, voluntary exchange of value – is morally acceptable. If a transaction is done by force, that is theft. If a transaction is done by deceit, that is fraud. Have no interaction with anyone who advocates either.

Accept responsibility for your own successes. Accept responsibility for your own failures. Learn from both. Rely on yourself. Rely on your own skills, your own abilities. Many other people will let you down, but you can always rely on yourself.

In her epic novel Atlas Shrugged, author Ayn Rand presents the protagonist, John Galt, describing his decision to solve society’s troubles by an epic act of creative destruction. He describes the ultimate moment of his decision process with two sentences, two sentences which I have found more inspiring than any long-winded ethical or political monologue ever delivered since the times of Plato and Aristotle. These words are the very essence of the self-directed man of achievement:

‘I saw what had to be done. I went out to do it.’

Those are good words to live by. Now, today, you graduates see what has to be done.

Go out and do it.

Thank you and good luck.”

If anyone was offended by anything contained in this hypothetical speech, too damn bad.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

As I’ve noted (only yesterday in fact), spring comes late to the Great Land.  But we share a  harbinger of spring with most of the upper tier of the Forty-Eight, that being the return of our robins (Turdus migratorius).

Our robins have only been back for a week or so, and they’ll depart in mid-September, if last year was any gauge.  They’re mostly ground-feeders and depart about the time snow starts to fall.  We had them in our old digs in Colorado, too, but there they were year-round residents.

Here, they are again the sign of spring that they were in the northeast Iowa hills of my youth.  There’s one singing in the top of one of our big birch trees as I write this, and it’s nice to hear him; they have a cheery, pleasant song, and it’s a promise of warm, sunny days ahead.

Now then…

On To the Links!

I live in a free speech zone.  It’s called the United States of America.  Still, good for Georgia.

Maybe.  Maybe not.  The GOP hasn’t exactly been on fire about pursuing corruption.

WH Tacitly Endorses Intimidation of Supreme Court Justices.  I can’t add anything to that.

Biden speaks, a nation groans.  Yeah, with embarrassment.

Well, this wouldn’t be good.

This wouldn’t be good either.

Get woke, go broke.

Oh, rats!

Eleven corrupt speed-trap towns.  What assholes!

Dammit, Bill Maher, stop  making me agree with you!

Human brains were bigger 3,000 years ago.  No television, I’m guessing.

On de-extinction.  Good, I want to go mammoth hunting!

Phrases you never heard before:  “Mouse sperm hook.”

Mob secrets coming to light.

Groomer breakfast cereal?

This Week’s Idiots:

The Nation’s Elie Mystal (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

The Nation’s Sasha Abramsky is an idiot. 

The Nation’s Joan Walsh (I’m sensing a pattern here) is an idiot.

Vox’s Ian Millhiser is an idiot.

Robert Reich (Repeat Offender Alert)  remains a sawed-off runt, and an idiot.

New York Magazine’s David Klion is an idiot.

USA Today’s Richard Wolf is an idiot.

Vox’s Rebecca Leber (I’m sensing another pattern here) is an idiot.

USA Today’s Jill Lawrence is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Hayes Brown (Repeat Offender Alert) is an idiot.

MSNBC’s Ja’han Jones (I’m sensing yet another pattern here) is an idiot.

Salon’s Chris Hedges is an idiot.

OK, that’s all I can take this week.  I actually do read these, you know.

This Week’s Cultural Edification:

In his eponymous 1980 album, Peter Gabriel had a number of good tunes, but one I’ve always found interesting is the song Games Without Frontiers. 

While this song is often described as an ‘anti-war’ song, and it is that, it seems to me to spend more verses poking fun at the whole world of international relations, not only war but also our attempts at diplomacy.

It’s an interesting listen, and the video – well, the video is very Eighties.  Here, check it out: