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Proving Stephen Bloom wrong

By David Hotle | Jan 04, 2012

Tonight is the night we people of Iowa get to prove University of Iowa professor and certified pseudo-intellectual snob Stephen Bloom wrong.

Over the weekend I had the chance to see the 1985 movie “Back to School” again. I hadn’t seen it in years. The scene that jumped out at me was the one where star Rodney Dangerfield attends his first Business 101 class. In the film the stereotypical ‘80s academic stuffed-shirt professor teaching the class outlines what is needed to begin a business. Dangerfield’s character, a self-made millionaire with plenty of experience in the business world doing exactly what is being simulated, tries to explain the flaws in the plan being presented. The professor, who obviously only worked in the academic world, refuses to hear any arguments to the contrary of what he was teaching.

Recently, for those who don’t know, Bloom wrote a scathing indictment of the State of Iowa for the national newsletter “The Atlantic.” He argued that the people of Iowa aren’t fit to hold the first caucus on the presidential race. For those who haven’t read it, the article seems like a work of fiction. In any event, I’ve never met any of the kinds of people Bloom describes in the article. He spins a yarn of how Iowa is infested with the exact kinds of people who snobby academic types wouldn’t want to choose a president. He describes rural agricultural people who obviously have never taken Political Science 101. Reality check — I can’t begin to count the number of farmers I’ve met who have advanced degrees in such things as agricultural business.

I grant you, Iowa doesn’t have many of the problems other areas of the country do. A high crime rate and a high unemployment level jump to mind. While these are snidely commented on in Bloom’s story, I think these are good things. (I know – how dare we not have to send our children through metal detectors to go to school or have to do drive-by shooting drills in classrooms.) Apparently we are doing something right. I would think that if I wanted to choose a presidential candidate to fix these problems, I’d want the people who know how to avoid these problems to choose that candidate.

Despite all the workings of Bloom, tonight is the night that we of Iowa will pick who we feel should be the candidates for the presidential race. Iowa has a long history of giving a winning presidential candidate a good kick-start for the rest of their campaign. This includes our current president.

One of the things I love about Iowans is that they tend to make decisions based on reality and the facts rather than political rhetoric that talking heads just love to go over ad nausium. Tonight it is time to do that again. It is the Iowa caucuses and hopefully we will have a strong turnout to send a message to the rest of the nation who we feel would be best qualified to be the leader of the free world. This is a tremendous responsibility that we don’t take lightly.

I would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to get involved in the caucuses tonight, but I’ve been to caucuses before. There will be plenty of people there to help our nation decide who will be the best candidate to send to the Oval Office. In Iowa, we know this is our duty to go and to be informed. This is one thing Bloom forgot to criticize in his column – Iowa has one of the highest turnouts of people for caucuses and elections in the nation.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jan 07, 2012 18:01

I was there. I did not stand up and fight back. I would now. I was a scared kid from Iowa then. Two 16 year old boys, the Robinson brothers, from Morningside Garden apartment projects near the Columbia University campus in New York, stabbed Dr. Wolfgang Friedmann for his watch. He had survived German prison camps and had been a judge at the Nirenberg Trials. He fought all his life for civil rights. What an irony. I had just finished a class with Dr. Friedmann. I was walking back to my apartment in Harlem at about 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon and was across the street from where the stabbing took place. I later testified at the trial and received my 15 minutes of fame from the angry residents of Harlem.
"Bystander Effect Partially Traced to Desensitivity to Violence"
By Const. Bill Kim 

"New York has as many murders every 10 days as all England suffers in a year, and mugging has become an ever-present problem--over 78,000 such crimes in 1972, which actually represents an improvement over previous years. That year, in a case chillingly reminiscent of the murder of Kitty Genovese 8 years earlier, Dr. Wolfgang Friedmann, a distinguished professor of international law, was murdered in broad daylight, 3 blocks away from Columbia University, where he had just finished a day's teaching. As he lay bleeding to death on the sidewalk, passers-by ignored his cries for help, and for some time no one even thought of calling the police. "The jungle could not be more unfeeling towards its creatures," said The New York Times in a bitter editorial on the killing--a comment which led to a vehement reply from a local resident, who pointed out that the area was so noisy no one farther than 10' away could possibly have heard a strangled cry for help. Later that same year there was a spate of armed holdups of teachers in their classrooms before the very eyes of their pupils. "Walk behind your desk and sit down," one holdup man had said. "There are a lot of children in your class. If you move, I'll blow your brains out."

Every week the city tows away 2,000 illegally parked cars from Manhattan alone, and its traffic jams can be so bad its traffic commissioner once remarked, "to get to the West Side, you have to be born there."

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