Book Summary – That Used to Be Us – By Thomas L Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum

Thomas Friedman is a NY Times bestselling author. He wrote The World is Flat and Hot, Flat and Crowded which are excellent books. This book is a must read for anybody who cares about our country. It outlines the problems and discusses the methods for getting us back on track as a world leading innovative nation.

Why is this important to me? I ask this question as if I am sitting in your shoes. This book in my humble opinion is a must read. The lackadaisical nature of the masses along with the political gridlock is paralyzing the nation and that affects all of us. It makes no sense for China to have better rail systems than us, and Singapore having better airports than us. And we just learned that China now has the fastest supercomputer on Earth – that used to be us. President Obama – 11/3/2010 Thomas and Michael outline the significant problems and some of the positive energy that still existing in the U.S. For the sake of time, I will summarize each of the 5 parts. The big four challenges we face in the U.S. are: how to adapt to Globalization, how to adjust to the IT revolution, how to cope with huge budget deficits because of growing government and how to manage in a world of rising energy demands and climate change.

1. The Diagnosis – If you see something, say something. Humans have a unique way of adapting to the environment. Unfortunately, we adapt to bad things and start to accept them as normal. The authors profile a story where it has taken over 6 months to fix two escalators with 21 steps on each in the New York Subway station. The politics, red tape and bureaucracy have basically killed the project. Yet in China, they can build a world class convention center in 32 weeks. The scary part of all of this is that – “People have gotten used to it.” Pretty soon we get numb to really stupid things and start accepting the red tape provided by people who get paid regardless. This is a very scary habit to fall into because the gap between the U.S. and the rest of the world is widening and we are falling farther behind. The infrastructure of the country is falling apart. A personal example – our building is located in Southfield Michigan and we pay $50K a year in property taxes. The street in front of our building will destroy the front end of your car if you go faster than 20 miles per hour because the road is so screwed up.

2. The Education Challenge – This is no secret. We are funding education with investment dollars and it is not effective. We can fist fight all day on who is responsible but the point is that the family has to take a proactive approach to education or kids will die on the vine. The key learning requirements are critical thinking, collaboration and …

Social Efficiency versus Democratic Equality

Larabee describes social efficiency as an educational framework in which the school sees its role as that of preparing the students to become workers. Curriculum responds to society’s needs in a pragmatic manner; hence, it is seen as a public good designed to meet collective needs. Society depends on the school to meet its human capital needs in all phases of economic life. In this model, schools must necessarily adapt to existing socioeconomic and social structures. While maintaining the status quo, they realize their full educational, political, and cultural impact.

Society has the responsibility of enhancing productivity in all phases of life. This means that schools must seriously prepare students of all levels, for all levels. However, some very interesting assumptions are taken for granted. It is implicit that all societal positions are not equitable. The objective of social efficiency is not to elevate or demote people socioeconomically, or socially. It is the overall, collective benefit of the public that is being served. Hence, schools are induced to replicate, with unerring accuracy, society’s hierarchical form and complete structure. Tasks in the society need to be done by everyone. So it is everybody’s place to contribute and do what needs to be done for the public good.

To get this model to work, certain institutions had to be artificially contrived. Tracking, on the basis of perceived abilities and preferences, vocationalism, ability testing, educational standards, and other forms of stratification were all instituted with one aim. They separated students into different groups to fill different societal roles. Many of the roles were based on society’s historical perceptions of which groups of people should be performing what tasks, or on actual abilities and talents the students possess. Hence, the question came down to whose children should be educated for what roles in society. People upholding the social efficiency ideology can be perceived as blocking chances for social mobility and political equality.

As said earlier, social efficiency is not designed to alter the status quo of society members. In other words, children of the elite will not be trained to fill societal roles not already consistent with their status. Nor will children of people working in menial positions be expected to be trained for those held by the elite. These would be taught vocational skills for different array of jobs, and would be channeled directly into these jobs. In this sense, education can be seen as a duplication of what already exists. The education is designed to predict working class job roles for working students and to prepare them so precisely as to render all other options impossible. Some would see this as not being unfair since it does not rob those who already have nothing. What specific groups had previously is what they continue to have. Society’s needs are met, and things continue to run as they always have.

But not so, some say. Democratic equality must prevail. It must be interpreted to mean equal access to all students for all possible positions. …

5 Most Influential Law Enforcement People in History

Narrowing down the list of famous law enforcement leaders to the 5 most influential people in law enforcement history is difficult. Many people have influenced law enforcement around the world since the ancient Egyptian and Greek societies. The following men, however, may be 5 of the most recognizably influential people from the recent law enforcement history of the United States:

Eugene Biscailuz: As the 27th Sherriff of Los Angeles County in 1932, Biscailuz was instrumental in a variety of revolutionary changes in California law enforcement that were influential around the nation. He founded the California Highway Patrol among other things.

Bill Bratton: This former New York City Police Commissioner oversaw huge reductions in crime rates in New York City in the 1990s, which many people say Rudi Giuliani took credit for before firing him. Bratton, also a former Boston Police Commissioner, went on to serve as the chief of police for the Los Angeles County Police Department before retiring in 2009.

Daryl Gates: As the Chief of the Los Angeles County Police Department from 1978 to 1992 he was instrumental in a number of important changes such as the founding of DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics). He also oversaw the LAPD during a tumultuous time for race relations, especially following the Rodney King incident of 1991.

Theodore Roosevelt: Although most famous as the 26th president of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt was also the president of the New York City Police Commissioners from 1895 to 1897. He turned around a corrupt police force by establishing new disciplinary rules, creating a bicycle squad to tackle traffic problems, standardizing officers’ pistol use, implementing firearm inspections and physical exams and hiring 1,600 new recruits based solely on physical and mental qualifications.

August Vollmer: Known as a leading figure in the development of the United States criminal justice field, Vollmer got his start as the first chief of police of Berkeley, California. After a long career he was appointed president of the International Association of Police Chiefs in 1921…