Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

The material I post on this blog represents my views and mine alone. The material you post on this blog represents your views and yours alone.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Final Four Financial Foundation

Here's the NCAA Final Four lineup in terms of how much each school ponies up in order to put each athlete (total expenditures for all sports divided by number of athletes) on the field, the court, the diamond, etc, etc..

Match the team with what it costs each school. (All figures are from the Knight Foundation database--complete and accurate in its methodology. 

Go Here   for database

Which school spends:

$ 99,577 per athlete
$116,487 per almost a student
$143,996 per I sweat a lot
$202,900 per library attendee-- Huh? What's that? Show me to the weight room.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Women's History Month and the Disappeared Community Builders

My letter to the TH Trib Star was published today.

March 27, 2014

Readers' Forum: March 28, 2014

TERRE HAUTE — Do you know our founding mothers?

This is in response to the piece titled “25 years later, ‘influentials’ assess long road of progress for women,” published on March 22, 2014, and written by Mark Bennett.

It was a great story about a great group of contemporary women leaders. Thanks.

Taking nothing away from this group of women, local communities have always been filled with women who are what the great historians Mary Beard and Gerda Lerner called community builders.

Study the history of local progress in city after city going back into the 19th century and you will find hospitals, charitable organizations, artistic institutions and much more being originated in theory and being created in practice by women and women’s groups.

Womens’ volunteer work did not begin and end with selling home-baked cakes for local charities. They put their heads together and identified the needs of their communities that were not being met by the powers that be, the  male-controlled political and economic power structure. After the hospitals, libraries, theaters and countless other necessary centers of civilization and human progress were put in place, thanks to the initiatives and drive of women, these centers were turned over to the administration of men.

And the women and women’s groups behind these first giant steps into better, kinder, more informed communities? They too often disappeared, never to be read about in the history books or honored on commemorative sites, such as, for example, Terre Haute’s Walk of Fame.

It’s Women’s History Month. Do you know who your founding mothers were? Why not?

— Gary W. Daily

Friday, March 21, 2014

$3.25 goes into sweat for every $1 spent on academics at ISU

Athletics costs out of balance

Here is a new take on a familiar spring ritual.

A March 5, 2014, Readers’ Forum letter (“Great work by TV sports staff”) passed along this information:

“On Feb. 19, six senior athletes, their coaches and their families gathered at Terre Haute North High School to sign letters of intent to attend colleges and universities for fall 2014.”

Local TV cameras and other media attend and highlight this sacred ceremony each year.  Chests swell. Involuntary tears roll. Fists of victory wave in the air. Coaches and school administrators stand by looking gratified, smug and vindicated — all at once. I hope the kids enjoy the spectacle. They paid for it.

I’m not certain how much taxpayers paid for the athletic success of each of these six hard-working kids. A clear statement on this never makes it into the non-transparent, arcane budget issued each year.

It’s safe to guess that the amount spent on these six athletic success stories far exceed the amount spent on six, average, non-athletic students in our local schools.

We do know, thanks to the recently released database of the Knight Foundation, the amounts spent on athletics vs. academics at the university level. These amounts vary widely. Their report shows, for example, that “In 2011, Georgia spent more than $25 on every scholarship football player for every dollar it spent on a full-time equivalent student, according to the database.” That’s a peach of a pot of gold for the coaches and the relatively few kids they goad, groom and grind into winners (or losers) each season … season after season.

Closer to home, at Indiana State University, academic spending for each student in 2011 was $11,298. Amount spent for each athlete came to $37,027.

The TV cameras, print media, coaches, trustees, administrators and faculty don’t gather around and swell with pride over these figures. And now, thanks to the Knight Commission, there’s no excuse for not knowing that approximately $3.25 goes into sweat for every $1 spent on academics at ISU.

Students taking on education debt and the parents and grandparents footing the college bills never hear these disconcerting facts. They should.

Letter to the Editor TH Trib Star  (published 3-18-2014)

And how is your school doing?  Try this database.  It's easy, it's accurate. 

Website of Knight Foundation  database on athletic v. academic spending


Sunday, March 09, 2014

Thinking About Slavery

Given the 2014 Academy Award for "12 Years a Slave," it’s a good time to build up the knowledge of the history of slavery in the America's.

"Scholars say the scale of the slave trade here was staggering. Brazil received about 4.9 million slaves through the Atlantic trade, while mainland North America imported about 389,000 during the same period, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, a project at Emory University."

The total population in the United States in 1860  included 3,953,761 slaves, representing 12.7% of the total population.  The natural increase in the U. S. slave population (the overseas slave trade ended in 1808) has been an important fact in the fruitful research and arguments among historians of slavery
for over fifty years.  Do these numbers mean slaves in the U. S. were treated "better" than those in Latin America?


Rio’s Race to Future Intersects Slave Past

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” This Yogi-ism can be about tragedies far surpassing the collapse of the Chicago Cubs in 1969. 

Today the NYT reports that the Department of Defense has identified 2,300 American service members who have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations. The Times dutifully reports The Names of the Dead in a boxed item whenever the DOD releases this information. Does your local newspaper or TV news outlet do this? Why not? A common phrase during WWII (The “good” war!) was “Don’t you know there’s a war going on?” For most of the general public, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been about concealing, clouding over, forgetting the costs of these wars of arrogance. We bury the realities of the deadly Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld fantasy while a few families and friends are left to bury their fallen loved ones.

Two names appeared in Names of the Dead box today–a 20 year old from Minnesota and a 52 year old from New Hampshire. I thank these two for their service and their courage. Ten long years ago I was writing about this. Yeah, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”