RIP Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever; College Transcripts

RIP Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever

Last night, Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever passed away after an automobile accident. He will be missed.  For more details, check out this link:

College Records
and Other Thoughts
on the Upcoming
Presidential Debates

Just for the record, here’s what I think about college transcripts and their import to a presidential election. 
For both of our Presidential Candidates, college was a long time ago. We are talking 30 years or more. 
The question should never be what their grades were, but did they graduate? 
Now that’s an important question.
Yes, Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama graduated from their respective college programs.
Both candidates also went on to Harvard University, and, both of them excelled in their respective programs. Mr. Obama graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard, and Mr. Romney Summa Cum Laude. That means they were both excellent students, thirty or more years ago. If you are thirty years old, tell me what you can remember from when you were one year old.  When you do this you will get an idea of how remote the college histories of these men are to them. 
Regardless of their undergraduate records, both proved to be excellent students at the graduate level. Both also immediately went on to work in their fields, and both did well. 
Anyone in the HR field knows that as we get older, college experience is eclipsed by real life experience. The latter may be enhanced by the former, but it is not dependent on it. 
In your resume, you lead with the most recent experience. 
I hope neither one will waste any time on this issue, or any of the many other silly tit for tat mudslinging that we are all delighting in (admit it – come on. Its stupid, but its kind of fun.) during the upcoming Presidential Debates. 
Here are other things we’ve already asked and answered that shouldn’t be mentioned in the Presidential Debates: 
Where they get their shirts. 
Whether they smoked pot, and if so, whether they inhaled.
Whether they were missionaries, or just prefer the missionary position.
Whether some of their Mentors were lefties, or fringe right. 
Whether they go to church, and which one?
Whether their college friends remember them. 
Whether their wives are pretty.
Here are some questions that should be explored in the Presidential Debates:
The US budget, the deficit, how to improve our records on both.
Foreign Policy.
Practical job experience. (not disparaging comments about what they might have done – rather real, verifiable examples of their expertise, as it applies to politics.)
Which one will spend more money on the arts? (okay – that one’s just for me – better, perhaps, for a private fundraiser)
Points they agree on. I think this last one is the most important one. It would be beneficial for all concerned if both candidates were clear at the outset about what they agree on, without playing partisan politics. If neither one can find any common ground with the other, then neither is a viable candidate, and we should just elect Ron Paul by default.
 I’ve always thought that the adversarial aspects of Debates are counter productive. If, instead of working so hard to put each other down and “win” the debate, presenting a fixed position, these candidates were actually to put their heads together and talk frankly and clearly about the issues, using the apparent contrasts to clarify positions, not only for the audience, but for themselves, the only rules being simple civility and etiquette, that would do a much better job of teaching us who to vote for, and both candidates would come away richer for the experience.
We can all remember at least one Debate from high school where the winner was declared, not because of his or her command of the topic, but because they made a particularly funny remark about the color of their opponent’s tie.
A presidential debate should be devised in a way that allows us to both compare and contrast the candidates platforms. Just contrasting is not enough.
Better still: how about a pre-debate “therapeutic discussion” where each candidate is required to outline the things that they admire the most about their opponents. Not merely flattering stuff – but real, substantive issues of character, policy, background, etc. 
Just because I’d prefer Mr. Obama to remain in office, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things I like, or agree with in Mr. Romney’s platform. Nor does it mean that I like or agree with everything Mr. Obama does or says. 
Fun as it can be to throw stones, both men have traveled a long way to get where they are in this contest, and I have a lot of respect for that. 
So, as we reach the home stretch in this election, I’d like to congratulate both contenders.
Here are some quick thoughts about the debates:
Everyone makes mistakes in public speaking. George W. Bush is a case in point. He was a crappy speaker, also a crappy debater. 
Romney doesn’t fare well when he’s off script either. 
He does even worse when he doesn’t realize that the camera is on, and stays on script for his wealthy contributors. The Mother Jones videos are fine examples of that. Nearly an hour of meandering and pandering, glad handing and showing everyone what elitism is really all about. 
Unfortunately, I suspect that a fair portion of at least the first debate will be Mr. Romney trying to explain himself. Unlike most of Mr. Obama’s gaffes, this entire speech was a gaffe – he didn’t stutter, and he states his points very clearly. This was not misspeaking. So: is he lying when he talks to us – the unwashed, untaxed, mooching masses, or is he lying when he tells his rich supporters that we, the un washed, untaxed, mooching masses are of no interest to him? 
I’m still wondering who he thinks of as the untaxed 47%. Anyone in the US (with the possible exception of New Hampshire – Perhaps one other state that has no sales tax) is taxed every time we by something, pay for a service, pay a fine, pay a road toll, renew a driver’s license, buy a lottery ticket, pay rent, make a payment on a mortgage, and so on, and so forth. Income tax is just a small portion of how taxes are assessed from us. Of course, we can’t include Social Security or Medicare in that, those aren’t taxes, that is a benefits program that we pay into, one which guarantees us an income, however small, after retirement, and and a medical cost subsidy to take a bit of the sting out of late life medical fees. Bernie Madoff made off with retirement packages that people paid into – Romney and Ryan’s plan to privatize is not far from that. 
Oh and “kicking the ball down the field” with respect to the Palestinian issue. That might take some explaining. Or the notion that Iran must be stopped in their pursuit of Nuclear power because they might send out “Fissile Material” to a terrorist group who might then plant it in a dirty bomb somewhere in Chicago and use it to blackmail our government. (It would be far easier for the terrorists to steal the material waste from a hospital. Why go to all the trouble of building a reactor? Not fissile, by the way, fissile material is only necessary for a nuclear explosion. Any kind of radioactive waste will do for a dirty bomb.) 
I’ll think of some other fun stuff later. 
But no, I don’t expect Obama to do poorly during the debates. In fact, although he has been derided by the Right for making so many unscripted appearances on talk shows, he has actually used that platform to improve his ability as an extemporaneous speaker. Look up clips of Obama from Letterman, Leno and Fallon, and you will see what I mean. He’s unscripted there, and he handles himself quite nicely, thank you. 
Romney said he expects Obama to lie during the debate. Well heck, I expect him to lie too – its in the nature of debating.We learned during our high school days that alls fair in love and debate – and football. I remember studying both sides of the issue very closely, just in case I had to play the Devil’s advocate. So of course I expect Romney to lie with equal vigor. 
I also know that both of these contenders are even now practicing their positions and variations. By debate time they will be so fluent, in fact, that they will appear glib, possibly even arrogant in their presentation of their positions. 
If Bush suffered from anything in such situations, the worst of it was probably in his lack of preparation. He thought God was telling him what to do, so of course he went by his “gut” in public speaking and debate venues. That hurt him – a lot. Didn’t stop him from winning the presidency though, did it? 
And unfortunately, because of the nature of debates, we won’t really learn anything new about either of these men, unless one of them just suddenly loses it and starts spouting snatches of Jabberwocky, or urinates on one of the podia, perhaps in an attempt to channel Jim Morrison. 
Both men will make one mistake – in that they will speak primarily to their constituents. I think that neither side fully understands just how powerful a move it would be to open up and start offering positions and options that might actually appeal to everyone, focusing not on what their party wants, but what Americans really want – you know, all the good things we can agree with, like peace on earth, fair prices for everything, an ethical business climate so we don’t need to have Government Regulation,
Making sense of whats going on in the rest of the world and getting a real perspective on what it means to us and our country, and what our role there really ought to be.
Here is one thing that I know we will see in the debates:  Mitt Romney will talk about his success in the business world, and Obama will be critical of the kind of business practices were responsible for his successes, including outsourcing (and to use Mr. Romney’s own terminology, offshoring jobs, liquidating businesses for quick profit, rather than investing in the long haul.  Obama could, and possibly will, and correctly so, compair Mr. Romney’s business ethic to that of Gordon Gecko in “Wall Street”.
Then Mr. Obama will talk about his own accomplishments, not in the business world, but in the White House.  And of course, Mr. Romney will vilify him for anything that is in opposition to the GOP’s agenda, and try to deflect attention from the things that he knows Obama has gotten right – for both sides of the government.
Here’s what bugs me about debate: both will be correct in doing it.  But as far as being decent human beings, they should both be ashamed to have to do it.
I hope to live to see some candidates get together, not to put each other down, but to find the middle ground, and start rebuilding our nation from there.  Thats where we need to be right now, and we are nowhere close to that ideal.
And as long as elections are driven by emotion, religion, partisan politics, alienation, voter discouragement, misinformation and personality cults, we will continue to do nothing more than tread water.
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