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Neal Herrick is author of the award-wining After Patrick Henry (2009). His most recent book is (2014) Reversing America’s Decline. He is a former sailor, soldier, auto worker, railroad worker, assistant college football coach, door-to-door salesman, bureaucrat, reporter and peace activist. He received his BS from the University of New Hampshire and his PhD from the Union Graduate School. He retired from the University of Michigan as a visiting professor
The real problem with college sports - Part 3 of 3 parts
In his excellent Aug.17, 2015 article in The Nation, "The absurd, cowardly and morally bankrupt NLRB decision against the Northwestern football union", Dave Zirin points out many of the reasons the NLRB decision is irrational, partial and unjust. This article focuses on the negative implications of the decision to the integrity and quality of higher education in the US.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
The real problem with college sports -- Part 2 of 3 parts
Commercialized college sports encourage hypocrisy, corrupt behavior and cynicism. The Oxford Dictionary defines "hypocrisy" as "the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform." Most university presidents, chancellors and boards of regents are hypocritical.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
The real problem with college sports - Part 1 of 3 parts
Div. I and II college sports lose money that could be used to reduce tuitions. But that isn't the real problem. Coaches and NCAA officials become incredibly wealthy at the expense of "student athletes." But that isn't the real problem either. The real problem is that Div. I and II commercialized sports are undermining the values upon which our system of higher education is based. We have lived with this problem for a long time
Thursday, June 4, 2015(1 comments)
The Tragedies in the Middle East and Ukraine: Caging the Lynx
Our plutocracy is, like the lynx, both dangerous and difficult to cage. There is only one band of "hunters" with the power to cage our lynx. This band consists of our seven thousand or so state legislators. Article V of our Constitution assigns the supreme power of our federal government solely to our state legislatures.  If something is to be done to reverse our country's decline, our state legislators must do it. .
Saturday, May 23, 2015
How our State Legislatures Might Help Prevent Tragedies
Our state legislatures cannot interfere with specific decisions implementing US domestic or foreign policies. However, Article V does give them the exclusive power to rearrange our federal powers and to lay down guidelines for the exercise of these powers. This rearrangement and lying down of guidelines could increase our control over our government and decrease the control of our plutocrats.
The tragedies of the Middle East and Ukraine: What do state legislatures have to do with them?
The state legislatures (collectively) could (and should) have a great deal to do with both foreign and domestic policy. This is because they have the final say on constitutional amendments. Since our Constitution establishes how our federal government organizes and carries out all its powers, the state legislatures have the power to affect all aspects of government. However, they have not yet chosen to use this power.
Friday, April 24, 2015(2 comments)
The tragedies in the Middle East and Ukraine:" Who can de-claw the cat?
Deena Stryker commented on my recent article sub-titled 'Canaries in a coal mine.' She wrote, "I agree with the premise of this article, but wonder what the next step will be when journalists have named the culprit as being our plutocracy." This is, indeed, a question well worth wondering about. It is easy to fantasize about how we would like to see the cat de-clawed, but extremely difficult to conceive of a strategy for doing
Sunday, April 12, 2015(2 comments)
The Tragedies in the Middle East and Ukraine: Who will bell the cat?
As Marge Baker wrote recently, "Until we fix our democracy, it is hard to fix any problem." At present, our efforts to "fix our democracy" seem to be failing. Some of the tragic consequences of this failure are afflicting both us at home and ordinary people in small countries far from home.
Monday, March 30, 2015(3 comments)
The tragedy in the Middle East and Ukraine: canaries in a coal mine
A canary is sensitive to coal dust. When it dies, the miners realize that they must take action or die themselves. The Middle East and Ukraine are our canaries. We must take action or the same coal dust that is killing our fellow human beings in those countries will kill us as well.
The tragedy in Ukraine and James Madison
James Madison wrote, in Federalist 49, that "the people" should have a "road" to use in making decisions during "great and extraordinary" situations. Two days before the 1787 convention ended, he suggested such a "road." This article comments on our present great and extraordinary situation. Then it discusses the "road" Madison left us to use in dealing with such situations.
Monday, January 26, 2015(1 comments)
The New Penn State Tragedy
The new tragedy at Penn State lies in the refusal of the fans, students and faculty of PSU to recognize commercialized college sports as the cause of their initial tragedy. Instead, they continue to worship the memory of the essentially decent, but flawed, man who was led by the glories of commercialization to betray them. They obstinately call for the "hair of the dog that bit them."
Saturday, January 24, 2015
The Greensboro Four
On February 1, 1960, four students from North Carolina A&T College ignited the "sit in" movement (and reenergized the civil-rights movement itself). Fifty-five years ago, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair, Joe McNeil and David Richmond took their seats at a Greensboro, NC, Woolworth's lunch counter.
Thursday, November 6, 2014(3 comments)
Part II of Democracy, oligarchy, a convention of states and the Michigan application -- (Part II)
This is the second of two articles commenting on the Michigan application for a constitutional convention. The first article dealt with the nature of the Michigan application in particular and with "the people's" right to call conventions in general. This article discusses questions about (1) the fear of a runaway convention and (2) the roles of NGO'S, state legislatures and "the people" in calling a convention.
Rank-and-file Republicans and Democrats should stop complaining and take action
It is useless for us ordinary Americans to complain to our oligarchic government about our oligarchic government. Instead of taking action, however, this is how we occupy our time and energy. We complain about its invasions, torturing, fracking etc. Please, we add, overturn Citizens United (fat chance) and raise the minimum wage.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Government reform, the quality of life and the Convention of States (COS)
The 4th of 4 articles on factors that correlate positively with quality of life. Factors are chosen by the availability of relevant data concerning them and because of their sensitivity to public policy. They are, in the order of correlation: governmental honesty, democracy, union density and competitiveness. We comment on policy implications of the data and relevance of the mostly Republican Convention of States(COS) project.
Sunday, September 7, 2014(2 comments)
. Robert Parry should be read by all
Ordinary Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike, learnedthe truth about our war in Nicaragua by visiting the the towns and villages of that oppressed country -- and by reading Robert Parry and a fewother truth-telling journalists. Now we cannot visit
Tuesday, August 26, 2014(3 comments)
Oligarchic corruption and the quality of life are mortal enemies
Honest government shows remarkably strong correlations with the quality of life. Democracy is a close second. These correlations suggest ways and means of joining with our natural allies (rank-and-file Republicans) to defeat our common enemy (our oligarchy) and reform the corrupt government that serves it.
Democracy and Quality of Life Go Hand-in-Hand
This article presents tables showing the associations of international "quality of life" rankings with democracy -- as defined by the Economist Intelligence Unit's democracy Index. The tables show strong correlations between the democracy rankings and the causes and indicators of the quality of life.
Friday, July 18, 2014
What we have (not) learned from the Penn State tragedy
We (and the NCAA) have apparently learned nothing from the tragic sexual abuse in the Athletic Department at Penn State University. The NCAA's "slap-on-the-wrist," in effect, condoned the commercialization of college sports.
Saturday, June 28, 2014(2 comments)
Unions and the quality of life go hand-in-hand
Contrary to the opinions of Republicans and other conservatives, high levels of unionization go hand-in-hand with high rankings in the quality of life. Table 1 shows that the most unionized OECD nations are far more democratic, honest, competitive and pro
Wednesday, June 18, 2014(2 comments)
A golden opportunity for progressives
We need to end our oligarchy and make our government responsive to ordinary Americans. Our government, of course, will not be a party to reforming itself. An Article V convention is necessary and the Republicans have set the stage for one. Let's not loo
Three Immigration Myths
This article explains why there is no necessity for an immigration “wall.” It proposes enforcing the hiring prohibitions of the Immigration and Naturalization Act as a virtually cost-free alternative. It also argues that our bi-lingual policy prevents