Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lots of Liars

  It has been that kind of week. I tried to get my lottery tickets and the machine was broken, but I didn’t find out until the 3 people in front of me decided what kind of cigarettes they wanted and then each one wrote a check for the purchase. 2 cars have cut me off on my way to work, and the Yankees have blown 3 late inning leads (luckily only losing 2 of the games). It’s a good thing I can get a laugh by reading the news.

  Indiana congressman Mark Souder has kept his job for 16 years by adhering to a ‘family values’ platform. He resigned his seat this week after his affair with a staffer (who was making 10 to 20,000 a year since 2004 with no office or job title) was made being made public. (
Story here) He said, “"I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff." Good thing it was a mutual relationship, since otherwise he could be charged with rape. He blamed his decision to resign on the "poisonous environment of Washington”, so I imagine the whole ‘personal responsibility’ thing doesn’t count for Congressmen until they are caught in the act. Souder said at a abstinence-only education hearing in 2008 that young people could protect themselves from pregnancy and STDs by "abstaining from sex until in a committed, faithful relationship.”, Maybe he thought his affair was OK since he was in a committed relationship and he was faithfully seeing his staffer. I’m wondering if his position on gay marriage will change since his views on conventional marriage has been exposed.

  Connecticut Senate hopeful Richard Blumenthal is under fire for misrepresenting his military service in the Vietnam era as actually serving in Vietnam (
Story here ). Blumenthal said at a damage control rally, "On a few occasions, I have misspoken about my service and I regret that. And I take full responsibility. But I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country.” But at a veterans event in Shelton, Conn, he said, "When we returned from Vietnam, I remember the taunts, the verbal and even physical abuse we encountered," (according to a 2008 Connecticut Post story). Sounds more like a misplaced memory that a misplaced word or 2. The Boy Scouts and Catholic Church better add to their defense fund in case this guy comes up with some repressed memories for a future lawsuit. I’m not even sure why he would have to embellish his service record. He got 5 deferments in the 1960’s to attend college and served in the Marine Reserve for 5 years in the 70’s. That is a better Vietnam-era record that the 2 previous presidents. Clinton got deferments and smoked (but didn’t inhale) pot in England in the 1960’s and still beat 2 World War II veterans in presidential elections. George W Bush avoided Vietnam by enlisting in the Air Force reserves and he beat 2 Vietnam veterans in his presidential elections.

  In business news, the Princeton Review company has stopped claiming that SAT scores can be boosted by 255 points by purchasing their $1200 ‘Ultimate Classroom SAT preparation’ course. The announcement was made by the Better Business Bureau, which was investigating a complaint made by competing prep course company Kaplan (
Story here). Scott Kirkpatrick, president of the test-preparation services division of The Princeton Review, said that the company had been planning to shift away from an emphasis on score improvement independently of the Better Business Bureaus case, and that it is changing its focus to offer a more personalized approach to helping students improve in all areas. "Score improvement is not our core mission," he said. "I don't want us to be a test-prep company. We need to be an education company." It’s too bad the Princeton was not planning on getting caught. Then they could have shifted their message before being publicly embarrassed. I wonder how parents treat their kids after shelling out $1200 for this course and not getting the expected results. I see this a lot with baseball and chess lessons. After a while the coach has to blame the kid’s effort because after all, it can’t be the coaches fault, can it?

  But my favorite story of the week is Adam Wheeler, who was caught lying by Harvard after getting $45,000 in scholarships and academic aid and expelled just a few months before graduation. (
Story here). Wheeler’s application to Harvard claimed a perfect 1600 SAT score, glowing recommendations from professors from MIT and unblemished straight A’s at the exclusive Phillips Academy. He went to a public school in Delaware and had a 1200 SAT score. No MIT or Phillips. He is being held on $5,000 bail and is ordered to stay away from Harvard even if he makes bail. I predict a great future for this kid. I wouldn’t be surprised if were to be a congressman from Indiana or Senator from Connecticut someday. And if I was the president of the Princeton Review, I’d be watching my back.