Until Midterm Elections...

Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Random Ramblings as the Holidays Approach

As the holidays are upon us, and I probably won’t be writing again until after the new year, here are some random ramblings…

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I am again reminded of the constant battle between tradition and the Constitution as the Religious Right again hammers down on the fact that government institutions are not allowed to display manger scenes. Of course, these same people got all upset about the use of the Koran to swear in a member of Congress a few years ago. I guess Establishment is okay, so long as it yours.

By the way, I write this as I play Nat King Cole’s “A Christmas Song” for my students as they enter the classroom today.

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For all the Republicans that spent so much political capital opposing Justice Sotomayor, she just authored a unanimous opinion for the Court. Her questioning is aligned with Justice Breyer, whom she replaced. The battle between Originalism and Living Constitution interpretations is still alive on the Court, as it should be. After all, we’ve been debating it since Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton squared off at cabinet meetings.

However, this is still Justice Kennedy’s Court.

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They say we study history for learning about the past so that we don’t repeat past mistakes.

They say that history repeats itself.

Hmmmm…

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The St. Louis Rams might be embarking on the worst season in professional sports history. Sorry to the 1962 Mets and every Cubs team since 1908.

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Is it a problem that more Americans can name the Seven Dwarves than the nine justices on the United States Supreme Court?

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Funny how the conservatives in Congress are all about fiscal responsibility now. Seems it wasn’t too long ago they passed tax cuts then refused to adjust the cuts as they took the United States to war. I guess a deficit is okay when you are the one creating it.

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It seems as if we are always so focused on what is wrong in America. There is a lot still going right in the country. It is, after all, a wonderful place to live. Flaws and all.

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This is the only thing I will say on the blog about Tiger Woods – He is still the best golfer ever. Maybe not the best husband, but I never watched him for that.

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Okay, one more thing about Woods – Sean Hannity claimed that the Tiger Woods scandal is the greatest fall from grace ever in sports history. Seriously? Two names. Kobe Bryant and Mark McGwire. Bryant proves you can rehabilitate an image. McGwire proves you can be stupid and never accomplish that.

However, the list of athletes and their fall from grace is infinitely long. See Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, A-Rod, and many others.

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Have we entered an age where it is impossible for a President to be successful? Clinton, Bush and Obama have all tried to be successful Presidents during the first wave of the 24/7 news cycle. If any other President had been subject to the level of scrutiny the last three President have been subjected to, could they have been able to be successful? I am thinking mainly of Lincoln.

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They say we study history for learning about the past so that we don’t repeat past mistakes.

They say that history repeats itself.

Hmmmm…

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Many watchers of the Supreme Court wonder whether it is such a good idea for one man, Justice Kennedy, to carry so much weight with decisions. He has voted in the majority on every 5-4 case in the last three years. On a side note, it seems as if this Congress can be called Joe Lieberman’s Congress.

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The St. Louis Cardinals have named Mark McGwire their hitting coach. However, that was in the past and we must not talk about the past when we speak of Mr. McGwire.

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George Will wrote a recent column about a scientific study that showed the amount of money wasted during the Holiday season on gifts that have no value to the recipient. I have two words…Gift Cards!!! They have equal value for the recipient and the purchaser. An economic win-win.

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I can’t remember who said it, but a conservative commentator on Fox News was recently extolling the virtues of the various Christmas stories. One that he mentioned was “A Christmas Carol.” I guess they forgot Dickens was an anti-capitalist.

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They say we study history for learning about the past so that we don’t repeat past mistakes.

They say that history repeats itself.

Hmmmm…

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However, Americans are notorious for their lack of historical knowledge. The American Revolution Center just published a study where 83% of Americans who took a test about our Founding flunked. Of those who took the test, 89% believed they’d pass the test.

While I am often a critic of the sky-is-falling reports, this one speaks to the problems of America. We don’t care about the past. At times, it is a great strength. However, it is our greatest weakness as well.

Go to http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/120919.html for a full discussion of the study and how poorly Americans’ knowledge of our Founding actually is.

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By the way, watching the History Channel does not make you a critically-attuned expert on history. Reading about history does. A very important difference.

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To further beat up on American and their lack of historical knowledge. Last year, I was listening to a football (soccer) podcast out of the UK. One of the commentators referred to someone working behind the scenes at a club as a “Cardinal Richelieu.” Obviously, he was able to say this because he knew who the man was and he knew his audience understood the reference. How many Americans would? Granted, Richelieu was the First Minister to Louis XIV and knowledge of French History is necessary, which the British could have more reason that Americans to know it. However, if you were to call the St. Louis Rams the Henry Clay of American football, how many Americans would understand the reference?

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Does it make me a bad liberal because I am using a Visa gift card (an economic win-win) from Christmas to buy a pair of Oakley sunglasses that I will use when I play golf at a country club? Wait! I will also use them when I ride my bicycle. An activity dominated by liberals. Whew!!!

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Found out just in time for Christmas that I am now a National Board Certified Teacher. Of the 6.8 million K-12 teachers in public and private school, only 83,000 teachers (1.25%) have attained this certification. If it sounds like I am bragging, it is because I am.

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I would like to extend thanks to the regular readers of our blog.

Have a great Holiday Season and see you again in the new year.

3 comments:

  1. What was the court case of the majority opinion?

    As for the Rams... two words... Detroit Lions 0-16. Booyah!

    Tiger Woods suffered from the Obama Deception Problem (Or maybe we could say Obama suffers from the Tiger Woods Deception Problem). Both were the result of very carefully crafted imagery that cost A LOT of time and money because A LOT of money was riding on their public image.

    As for success as president, much depends on your definition. I think that Bush was very successful at defending the homeland from terrorism once our country got engaged. I think Obama will end up being very successful in remaking much of our country in a socialist image. The important thing is whether or not their successes were good or bad for the country.

    Do you think Americans terrible understanding of history might be a result of learning about such important subjects as Harriet Tubman, Squanto, the proper way of dressing a cucumber in latex, social promotions, cutting and pasting, man-made global warming, etc? US History is what, one year in highschool? And briefly touched on throughout elementary? US History ought to be at the forefront of our historical education throughout the k-12 curricula.

    Congrats on being so recognized for your teaching prowess. I know you deserve it. I really wish more folks did.

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  3. I'd like to say that, though I don't comment much, I definitely appreciate the discussion on this blog. So long as you guys are still up for it, please keep it up!

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