"I've never been intimidated by anyone," John Silber once told me. "I don't know the meaning of the word." I never doubted it. Twice I worked for the former Boston University president, who died Thursday at 86. (Snip) Several years later, with both law school and my exceedingly brief legal career behind me, I returned for a full-time job with the exalted title of Assistant to the President. However lofty the title, reality was something else. Having John Silber as a boss, I quickly learned, was an ongoing adventure in being put in one's place.
Comments: This piece has some wonderful stories about Silber. He was in the news a lot in the 1980s and 1990s but I haven't heard anything about him since then. He was a good guy.
I went to Boston University in the late 70's when he was president and turning the school around in amazing fashion. He was hated by the hippies and the professors. He wanted excellence from his professors, fired them if they weren't, and we can't have that. He did not knuckle under to political correctness. Ever.
I spent a good part of a day, one-on-one, with this remarkable man in the late 1980s. He had come to my office regarding BU's program for the military in Europe. He was business-like and cordial. We took the Metro to the Pentagon for a face-to-face with a (my)three-star general. The result was not what he had wanted, but he remained very polite to me on the return to my office, sharing with me a bit of his younger years in Texas. Had he possedd two "good" arms, Silber's career might well have been military....in which case he could well have been the four-star boss of my three-star general.
I lived in MA most of my life, and remember John Silber well. He ran for governor as a Democrat, but didn't win partly due to his George S. Patton style of dealing with everything. He lost to Willaim "Pink Floyd" Weld, who wasn't really all that bad a governor in a Democrat controlled state like MA, but was a little bit on the odd side. Silber didn't pull any punches whatsoever, and couldn't have cared less who he offended in the process. He took BU from an also ran to one of the largest and most successful universitys in the area. He was a good guy, and I doubt that you'll ever see another one like him.
Marty the Magician performed magic tricks for kids, including the traditional rabbit-out-of-a-hat. Then one day: "I was signing autographs and taking pictures with children and their parents," he told me. "Suddenly, a badge was thrown into the mix, and an inspector said, ´Let me see your license.´" (Snip) Now in the USA, government regulates stage magicians -- one of the countless ways it makes life harder for the little guy. Marty´s torment didn´t end with a demand for his license. "She said, from now on, you cannot use your rabbit until you fill out paperwork, pay the $40 license fee. We´ll have
Among my more annoying personal traits is my habit of remembering people’s predictions. (Snip) One of the most accurate political predictors I know is former Democrat pollster Pat Caddell. The lovably irascible Caddell has such disdain for the low intelligence of politicians, voters, strategists and the human race in general that he usually knows exactly which way they’re going to break. Which is why his message at the Restoration Weekend hosted by the David Horowitz Freedom Center struck me as important. Caddell is warning conservatives that a change is coming, a big change. Voter dissatisfaction with our broken government is reaching
The promotion of diversity has been a well-known feature of the legal profession for many years. Surprisingly less well-known is the imposition of racial quotas on law firms by the actual courts themselves. So-called “diversity orders” have been issued for years by federal judges in class-action proceedings to mandate that plaintiffs’ counsel be diverse enough to “effectively represent’” their class member-clients. The underlying assumption apparently being that proper representation can only be provided when counsel and class racially concord. Recently, the constitutionality of diversity orders was made the subject of a Supreme Court petition. The case, Martin v Blessing, was an important
Modern-day America is civilized in that, while we conduct plenty of witch hunts, we do at least stop right before the burning-at-the-stake part. That’s progress! But it’s not much consolation for Mark Regnerus, whose scholarly research questioning same-sex parenting has drawn a seemingly unprecedented level of ire from left-wing activists and their academic allies. The Washington Times reported last week that Regnerus’s foes are still at it, having acquired the university e-mails of his editor in order to conduct a fishing expedition. This all started with what should have been considered normal academic discourse: A scholar sees problems with the past literature
In the two and four-year institutions of higher learning where I teach, they have "purchased access [so instructors can] attend a live online seminar on "helping Unprepared Students Succeed in the College Classroom." With "more and more students arriving on campus without the tools they need to succeed," they invariably drop out or fail their classes. This seminar promises to be a panacea for all these difficulties. The seminar aims to introduce strategies that will "promote student engagement" in addition to getting "students to buy in to [the] course and its requirements." Ultimately the instructors will be able to "guide students
Annapolis Alderman Ross Arnett has been fielding angry calls from as far as California since Sunday, when it was reported that the Democrat would move to sharply curtail the power of the mayor, days after the city elected the first Republican to the job in 16 years. "I am getting hate calls from all over the country on this. … I can´t believe it. They´re calling me a fascist," said Arnett, backing off statements that he wants to shift to a form of government that would reduce the mayor to little more than a ceremonial role. Arnett said he has supported changing
When Samir Qamar practiced concierge medicine at Pebble Beach Resorts in Monterey, Calif., the hotel´s "A-list clientele" paid $550 to see him and as much as $30,000 a month to keep him on retainer. But last year, Dr. Qamar decided to abandon VIP medicine and pursue a no-frills version of his practice, charging just $59 for monthly membership to his MedLion clinics (16 locations in five states) and $10 a visit—and never billing insurance. Dr. Qamar is part of a new and growing generation of concierge doctors who, in this era of health reform, see more opportunity in the middle class
Dave Wilson, a conservative white Republican, figured he had little chance of winning a seat on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees. After all, his opponent was black, a 24-year incumbent named Bruce Austin. And the vast majority of voters were black Democrats. But the results from Tuesday´s election are now in -- and Wilson won. "I´d always said it was a long shot. No, I didn´t expect to win," he told Houston´s KHOU news channel. Wilson, an anti-gay activist and former fringe candidate for mayor, said he ran for the school board´s seat because he was upset with "all the
On Tuesday, Colorado voters wisely rejected Amendment 66, which would have pumped almost $1 billion in new taxes into the state’s wasteful and inefficient public-school system. The amendment had powerful supporters from all corners of the education establishment – the teacher’s unions, the governor, almost every elected Democrat, Michael Bloomberg, Arne Duncan, the Gates Foundation, and many others. Remarkably, nearly two-thirds of Colorado voters still rejected Amendment 66. It’s a gratifying demonstration that the political class, for all its wealth and influence, can still be defeated by ordinary citizens exercising the vote. But sometimes citizens don’t get any vote at all. A
BALTIMORE — Deadly diseases, once nearly wiped out, are making a frightening comeback in Maryland and across the country. Now — a warning that parents who don’t vaccinate their children are putting others at risk. Linh Bui explores an alarming and controversial trend. Measles, mumps, whooping cough — all deadly diseases. Until recently — virtually eliminated thanks to vaccines that prevent kids from getting sick. But now doctors see an alarming trend — more and more people are coming down with these diseases. “Kids die from measles on a regular basis. Kids are in hospitals and can die from whooping
When we contemplate public schools, two things are certain. Almost everyone agrees that the schools are not as good as they should be, given the huge effort and expenditure. Second, everyone has a theory. (Snip) College teachers casually mention these days that they have incoming students who don´t know what 6 x 7 is. How could such a thing happen? It all makes sense if you study Reform Math for even a few minutes. This curriculum -- actually, Reform Math consists of a dozen parallel curricula such as Chicago Math, Connected Math, Everyday Math, TERC, etc. -- explicitly discourages mastery of
The most alarming message for Democrats from Tuesday´s elections was the near obliteration of Terry McAuliffe´s lead over Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia. (Snip) Yet in Virginia´s 34th District, just outside Washington, a very conservative delegate was able to run between 8 and 18 points ahead of Cuccinelli and win. And that was a district that went for Tim Kaine for senator and Barack Obama just a year ago. Barbara Comstock is as conservative as any right-winger could desire -- pro-free enterprise, pro-life and pro-Second Amendment. Her opponent, Kathleen Murphy, a doctrinaire liberal, was supported by the unions, Michael Bloomberg, NARAL and Planned
In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington. The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated. And the Census Bureau, which does the unemployment survey, knew it. Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy. And a knowledgeable
The Times Of Israel is reporting that a team of negotiators led by White House adviser Valerie Jarrett has been conducting secret talks with Iran about it´s nuclear weapons program for the past year. The report states the deal submitted in Geneva earlier this month was a direct result of these secret year-long negotiations between teams headed by Jarrett and Iran´s Ali Akbar Salehi. That deal was ultimately rejected when France and Israel raised strong objections, and talks are expected to resume this Wednesday. The White House was very quick to issue a categorical denial of the report. According to
Barack Obama is the coolest president we’ve had since John F. Kennedy, at least according to conventional standards for such things. Obama has always been a brand as much as a politician, one that has been perceived as sleek, smart, and up to date. Then along came HealthCare.gov. Its failure to launch is a signal event in the long political battle over Obamacare and perhaps an inflection point in the president’s image. It’s hard to maintain a sense of truly being on the cutting edge of change when you can’t build a website. Obama’s cool was, in part, an artifact of world-class
Most women will tell you that other than the N-word, the C-word is the most vile in the English language never to be used. Cher apparently doesn´t hold such a belief, for she disturbingly took to Twitter Friday to call former Alaska governor Sarah Palin a "Dumb C Word": Cher ? @cher Follow Go to dictionary,& look up The “C"Word,....next 2 the definition...you’ll see a Pic of Sarah PALIN ! NO...WAIT ...SHES UNDER DUMB C WORD?? 12:11 PM - 15 Nov 2013 716 Retweets 834 favorites ReplyRetweetFavorite Three minutes later she put an exclamation point on it:
Carbohydrates are rotting our brains and contributing to devastating diseases such as Alzheimer’s, an American neurologist has warned. David Perlmutter, from Florida, believes that even ‘good’ carbs, such as grains, are severely affecting our brains. And the staples of our modern diet aren’t only increasing the risk of dementia, but contributing to depression, epilepsy and headaches, he believes. [Snip] The solution? Going back to the days when our diet was mainly fat--with this making up 75 percent of our diet, and carbs just 5 percent. Protein intake should stay the same as it is, at about 20 percent.
A downbeat President Barack Obama repeatedly asked his worried supporters Monday night to help resurrect his spirits, following weeks of political disasters and personal humiliations caused by the cascading collapse of Obamacare. The distracted president railed against opponents and at one point appeared to forget the number of people in the Obamacare system during the rambling quarter-hour address. “My main message is I’m going to need your help, your energy, your faith, your ability to reach out to neighbors, kids and friends [and] co-workers,” he told listeners to the Internet broadcast arranged by his grass-roots group, Organizing for Action. But his worried
WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama says she won’t wear shorts on Air Force One again because the one time she did, it created “a huge stink.”(snip)Mrs. Obama was asked about her biggest fashion regret. She said she’s always happy with her outfits but that, quote, “sometimes I forget I’m the first lady and I’m running around in shorts.” She recalled her family’s first White House vacation, to the Grand Canyon in August 2009. Mrs. Obama said her wearing shorts getting off the plane “created a huge stink because people were like, ‘she’s wearing shorts getting off of Air Force One.’” She said her thought
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama conceded that he will have to "remarket" and "rebrand" Obamacare as public confidence in him and the healthcare law he championed has plummeted. Speaking at the Wall Street Journal CEO Summit, Obama addressed the failures of the Obamacare rollout and said while he was confident that the healthcare model his administration built, which he claimed worked off of the "existing private insurance system," would succeed, the law would have to be rebranded. “We are going to have to obviously remarket and rebrand,” Obama said. “And that will be challenging in this political environment.” When he
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) says everyone should stop talking so much about the 2016 presidential race, because doing so hurts President Obama, who´s only a year into his second term. "In this sense, I feel badly for President Obama. He just won a year ago, and everybody´s like, ´So, who´s next?´" Christie said Monday night at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council. "There is work to be done in this country. And as we shove him out the door, we minimize his ability to be an effective executive. And we shouldn´t do that." Even as he urged people to focus
Former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan thinks Republicans need to take their limited-government message to voters who are “unfamiliar with hearing us."..."Go into inner cities, go into minority communities,” Ryan, who speaks in Iowa tonight, told The Des Moines Register in a telephone interview on Monday. “Go into communities that have not seen or heard from Republicans in a long time.
A day after his daughters´ spat over their disagreements on gay marriage spilled out messily into the public, former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, released a statement urging that there not be a "distortion" of Liz Cheney´s views on the subject. The statement came a day after Mary Cheney and her wife, Heather Poe, blasted Liz Cheney, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Wyoming for her opposition to gay marriage. Here is Dick and Lynne Cheney´s full statement on the issue: "This is an issue we have dealt with privately for many years, and we are pained to see it
President Obama irked some conservatives with his recitation of the Gettysburg Address, which he read aloud as part of a project celebrating the 150th anniversary of famous Lincoln speech. For the project, spearheaded by documentarian Ken Burns, a number of politicians and other high-profile people recorded themselves reading the Gettysburg Address. However, Mr. Obama´s recording seems to be the only one that leaves the phrase "under God" out of a certain line. Some conservatives took offense to the president´s reading. "Lincoln added ´Under God´ as he was looking out over battlefield. why would obama remove?" Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Twitter. Gettysburg