“They grow good people in the smart cities . . .”

26 10 2008

Frisky cock of the snook to Dr. Daryl Cobranchi (smart and home-educating in North Carolina):

These are vibrant, prosperous places where a knowledge economy and cool things to do after hours attract people from all over the country. Among the top 10, only two of those metro areas — Raleigh, N.C., and Lexington, Ky. — voted Republican in the 2004 presidential election.

This year, all 10 are likely to go Democratic. What’s more, with Colorado, New Hampshire and Virginia now trending blue, Republicans stand to lose the nation’s 10 best-educated states as well.

It would be easy to say these places are not the real America, in the peculiar us-and-them parlance of Sarah Palin. It’s easy to say because Republicans have been insinuating for years now that some of the brightest, most productive communities in the United States are fake American — a tactic that dates to Newt Gingrich’s reign in the capitol.

Brainy cities have low divorce rates, low crime, high job creation, ethnic diversity and creative capitalism. They’re places like Pittsburgh, with its top-notch universities; Albuquerque, with its surging Latino middle class; and Denver, with its outdoor-loving young people. They grow good people in the smart cities.

But in the politically suicidal greenhouse that Republicans have constructed for themselves, these cities are not welcome. They are disparaged as nests of latte-sipping weenies, alt-lifestyle types and “other” Americans, somehow inauthentic.

If that’s what Republicans want, they are doomed to be the party of yesterday. . .

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26 responses

26 10 2008
JJ

She’s killin’ em all right — WaPo column today by conservative think-tank author David Frum:

Gov. Sarah Palin connected with neither independents nor women. She did, however, ignite the Republican base, which has come to support her passionately. And so, in this last month, the McCain campaign has Palinized itself to make the most of its last asset. To fire up the Republican base, the McCain team has hit at Barack Obama as an alien, a radical and a socialist.

Sure enough, the base has responded. After months and months of wan enthusiasm among Republicans, these last weeks have at last energized the core of the party. But there’s a downside: The very same campaign strategy that has belatedly mobilized the Republican core has alienated and offended the great national middle, which was the only place where the 2008 election could have been won.

I could pile up the poll numbers here, but frankly . . . it’s too depressing. You have to go back to the Watergate era to see numbers quite so horrible for the GOP.

McCain’s awful campaign is having awful consequences down the ballot. I spoke a little while ago to a senior Republican House member. “There is not a safe Republican seat in the country,” he warned. “I don’t mean that we’re going to lose all of them. But we could lose any of them.”

In the Senate, things look, if possible, even worse.

The themes and messages that are galvanizing the crowds for Palin are bleeding Sens. John Sununu in New Hampshire, Gordon Smith in Oregon, Norm Coleman in Minnesota and Susan Collins in Maine. The Palin approach might have been expected to work better in more traditionally conservative states such as Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia, but they have not worked well enough to compensate for the weak Republican economic message at a moment of global financial crisis. Result: the certain loss of John Warner’s Senate seat in Virginia, the probable loss of Elizabeth Dole’s in North Carolina, an unexpectedly tough fight for Saxby Chambliss’s in Georgia — and an apparent GOP surrender in Colorado, where it looks as if the National Republican Senatorial Committee has already pulled its ads from the air.

The fundraising challenge only makes things worse. The Republican senatorial and congressional committees have badly underperformed compared with their Democratic counterparts — and the Republican National Committee, which has done well, is directing its money toward the presidential campaign, rather than to local races. (It was RNC funds, not McCain ’08 money, that paid the now-famous $150,000 for Palin’s campaign wardrobe, for example.) This is a huge mistake.

In these last days before the vote, Republicans need to face some strategic realities. Our resources are limited, and our message is failing. We cannot fight on all fronts. We are cannibalizing races that we must win and probably can win in order to help a national campaign that is almost certainly lost. In these final 10 days, our goal should be: senators first.

A beaten party needs a base from which to recover.

26 10 2008
COD

The Anchorage Newspaper endorsed Obama today.

27 10 2008
Crimson Wife

All that list goes to show is how America’s colleges have become tools of political indoctrination for the Left over the past four decades. Pretty much the only ones who come out of these schools with a conservative (or even moderate) political orientation are those who have strong personal religious faith that empowers them to be “countercultural”.

27 10 2008
JJ

CW, Can’t you see how self-destructive your confirmation bias is? — what does stubbornly believing that truth is on your side and politics are on the other, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, get you or your homeschooling kids in terms of a better life (autonomy, opportunity, education, liberties, peace and prosperity, clean air and water, abundant energy etc) in real America and the real world?

Seriously.

From Michael Ruse, professor at my local university (FSU) comes the 2006 book Darwinism and Its Discontents and this 2007 Skeptical Inquirer piece, “Fighting the Fundamentalists”:

. . .No greater foolishness could happen than the castration of modern science in the name of evangelical Christianity. . .
Yet at the moment, those of us against creationism live in a house divided. One group is made up of the ardent, complete atheists. They want no truck with the enemy, which they are inclined to define as any person of religious inclination—from literalist (like a Southern Baptist) to deist (like a Unitarian)—and they think that anyone who thinks otherwise is foolish, wrong, and immoral. . .

The second group is made of two subgroups. . . liberal Christians who think that evolution is God’s way of creating [and] those who have no religious belief but who think that one should collaborate with liberal Christians against a shared enemy, and who are inclined to think that science and religion are compatible.

The rhetoric is strong and nasty. . .

The Salon article linked above explains the good professor this way:

If he thinks evolutionists should learn to respect the creationists’ faith and develop a deeper understanding of their arguments, that’s largely because, as evangelists already know, you have to speak the language before you can convert the heathen.

See where you fit in this community and explain in the comments, if you want — I probably fit in the “run what you brung” camp, for science-religion as well as home education and culture-commuity generally.

So I see more power in integrating diversity somehow to transcend differences, than in fighting to define subgroups out as mutually exclusive and using so much energy to enforce the rules, parse the plot points, and patrol those walled-off borders.

27 10 2008
JJ

CW, can’t you see how self-destructive your confirmation bias is? — what does stubbornly believing that truth is on your side and politics are on the other, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, get you or your homeschooling kids in terms of a better life (autonomy, opportunity, education, liberties, peace and prosperity, clean air and water, abundant energy etc) in real America and the real world?

Seriously.

From Michael Ruse, professor at my local university (FSU) comes the 2006 book Darwinism and Its Discontents and this 2007 Skeptical Inquirer piece, “Fighting the Fundamentalists”:

. . .No greater foolishness could happen than the castration of modern science in the name of evangelical Christianity. . .
Yet at the moment, those of us against creationism live in a house divided. One group is made up of the ardent, complete atheists. They want no truck with the enemy, which they are inclined to define as any person of religious inclination—from literalist (like a Southern Baptist) to deist (like a Unitarian)—and they think that anyone who thinks otherwise is foolish, wrong, and immoral. . .

The second group is made of two subgroups. . . liberal Christians who think that evolution is God’s way of creating [and] those who have no religious belief but who think that one should collaborate with liberal Christians against a shared enemy, and who are inclined to think that science and religion are compatible.

The rhetoric is strong and nasty. . .

The Salon article linked above explains the good professor this way:

If he thinks evolutionists should learn to respect the creationists’ faith and develop a deeper understanding of their arguments, that’s largely because, as evangelists already know, you have to speak the language before you can convert the heathen.

See where you fit in this community and explain in the comments, if you want — I probably fit in the “run what you brung” camp, for science-religion as well as home education and culture-community generally.

So I see more power in integrating diversity somehow to transcend differences, than in fighting to define subgroups out as mutually exclusive and using so much energy to enforce the rules, parse the plot points, and patrol those walled-off borders.

27 10 2008
Crimson Wife

How about empowering parents to choose whatever type of schooling they feel is best for their own children? I want my kids to learn real science (which can neither prove nor disprove any involvement by a supernatural Creator since that falls under the completely different domain of theology) but if some Evangelical wants his/her child to be taught from a “Young Earth” creationist viewpoint that’s his/her own business. Government funding of K-12 education should function like the Pell Grant program, which can be used at whatever college the student desires- public, private, OR religious-affiliated. That would go a LONG way in defusing the push to bring Creationism into government-run schools.

Many other industrialized countries (the U.K., Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, etc.) allow government funding of religious schools and they don’t have anywhere REMOTELY near the controversy over science education that we do here in the U.S.

27 10 2008
JJ

That’s mostly because other countries aren’t nearly as “Christian” in population bent, isn’t it? — but the idea of a college education for every student who is ready to contribute to the national good is Obama’s and one I support.
What surprises me is that you do! Not socialist or Marxist then?

28 10 2008
Crimson Wife

I don’t have a problem with fully funding the Pell Grant program- nobody should be denied a college education simply because he/she comes from a low-income family.

However, financial costs are not the real issue with college access. The major barrier is that so few students are academically ready for college-level work. 1/3 of students drop out before graduating high school, and only a minority of those who do manage to graduate are prepared for success in college.

Until we fix K-12 education, it’ll be a waste of taxpayer money to enroll more kids in college since they won’t have the tools they need to benefit from it. How much money are we already spending on subsidizing a semester or two in college for woefully unprepared individuals who just wind up flunking out? When something isn’t working, the answer is not to throw more money at it but to find a different solution.

28 10 2008
JJ

“When something isn’t working, the answer is not to throw more money at it but to find a different solution.”

Right. Actual ideas and smart problem-solving rather than failed rituals of belief and denial. The Obama pie story! 🙂

At that level it’s not about the kid’s personal reward but social good, because as a people we all benefit when the next generation is well-educated. I trust all our “good people in smart cities” to collaboratively solve complex problems rather than deny or neglect them, rely on corruption, brute force or voodoo, or push any failed ideology to our mutual detriment.

Since Spunky has been arguing about Obama’s socialism and how he might socialize all us home-educating families into some scary government — something or other, this is as good a time as any to observe that the American public allows unregulated home education so that it can work to the social good, not just so we can grow little skinhead assassins or talk radio demagogues or book-banning tax revolters. The idea is that such freedom on balance will be good for more freedom, not less. If and when they conclude we’re not a solution but a problem, they will find a different solution and rightly so.

And we may be losing their confidence imo. When political power plays built on ignorant fears, like anti-science curriculum movements and inflammatory xenophobia politics and 21st century witch-burning and god’s plan for attacking other nations make us seem to ourselves and the world like a bunch of uneducated, overprivileged savages spoiling for a fight, we become an ideology that isn’t working in need of a different social solution.

28 10 2008
JJ

Where I see lack of real education having hurt us most, is that we as the general citizenry seem unable to examine important problems thoughtfully anymore, with intellectual integrity and successful solutions. Look at the mess we’re in right now! None of us did it to ourselves and yet, as the self-governing people we are, we all did it to ourselves, with our collective culture and focus and beliefs and choices and demands and self-interest, and our squandering of what knowledge humankind has thusfar obtained.

28 10 2008
JJ

A seemingly smart and politically conservative hsing dad who Betty knows in Indiana, has sponsored an “alternative education discourse” elist that I’ve been part of for several years.

It’s inactive but this morning, a new post showed up from someone named “Max” with links to some site called the American Nightmare, all with the captial letters KKK in them. (I’m not clicking on them, see how smart I am?)

It claimed we’re all doomed because the economic collapse and many worse horrors were prophesied all along, etc, and then asks, “Are we listening yet?”

28 10 2008
Debby

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that CW is clamoring for improving K-12 education and also wants people to be able to cripple their kids by teaching BS (dinos on the ark is not science) Religious schools in the countries named teach evolution, not intelligent design or creationism.

Spunky has totally gone off the deep end…used to enjoy reading her stuff but now she’s being intellectually dishonest at the very least. The whole, “I never called Obama a babykiller” thing was just obnoxious.

28 10 2008
JJ

That’s a good way to think of education — intellectual honesty.

The more we have of that among the people, the better off we all are.

For me, it probably comes out as respecting uncertainty (if not chaos!)

29 10 2008
Betty Malone

I do think there is a lot of extreme fear coming from both political camps..if we really listen and are perhaps as intellectually honest as we can strive to be with our own beliefs.

I know I can admit..that I am afraid and yes, even angry, about the possibility that the McCain camp is getting closer and might even -God forbid!- win this election. So I have to ask myself..What am I afraid of? This is a man who has been a sitting capable even at times, thoughtful US Senator, who I have admired and respected in the past. Not so much for his old war wounds-however noble those might be, but more for his past “maverick” -when it really was mavericky!!
Especially in areas like climate protection and immigration reform. But now..he says drill baby drill in the very off shore climates that he once swore to protect and he has aligned himself with a subgroup of Americans that I find to be intellectually dishonest and corrupt with power, along with holding such an extreme worldview that I can’t imagine any thinking person capable of holding such an alliance as the Republican party built with them. No, I don’t believe in witch hunts like Sarah Palin, or her absurd definition of socialism that I just heard her discuss on CNN. I don’t believe in hunting polar bears, I believe in protecting them, I don’t believe in so many things she has espoused, but most importantly, I think I’m most scared of the Supreme Court that their administration could pick. If you look at the layout of the current court, however we might disagree with some of their rulings, at least it’s somewhat balanced between our country’s red and blue sides.and any pick that Obama might make would just continue that balance, because it’s the liberal side that will be replaced, with Stephens, Bryer and Ginsburg..But McCan, Palin would most definitely by their own admission replace those more moderate and liberal judges with…you know what! And then we would have the possibility for real actual change from the Supreme Court and not change that I, as a thinking American, want for the future of my country. Again, the story teller in me, thinks The Handmaiden’s Tale come to fruition!

So, yes I’m afraid of McCain Palin, and their camp is afraid of Obama/terrorist/islamist/most liberal/intellectual elitist/socialist/spread the wealth/spend and tax fiend/ and of course…black man/ and on and on.

So, whose fear is larger..which side claims the biggest share of fear and after the election..where does their fear and our fear go?

To me, that’s almost the bigger question?

29 10 2008
Betty Malone

And then logically, which candidate can calm the fears better, bring the two enemy camps to a common table..and for me..that person is most definitely Obama with …his community organizing abilities that we have seen so brilliantly and cohesively pull together in his campaign, bringing to his working table..

Blacks, whites-especially those white working men and women, Hispanics, Move On Liberals, and intellectual conservatives. Hmm..it appears to me that we already have the proof of who is the stronger more capable leader..Barack Obama with his united Democratic organization of disparate subgroups all working together in unity, with no disparaging comments coming from their camp, even have Bill Clinton in tow and working hard for Obama or we choose the McCain team..if there will be any left, from what I hear, it’s fracturing fast!

29 10 2008
JJ

Something I read yesterday said that McCain and Palin have (inadvertently but nevertheless) inflamed some real terror among a certain type of their base, almost like the Orson Welles War of the World aliens-have-landed-in-America radio broadcast. People get deeply frightened and then they go crazy, and hurt themselves and others.

(Apparently this week is the 70th anniversary.)
Panic, was the word used. Omigod, the communists have infiltrated and they might be about to finally win, to take down the country I love and make us all slaves . . .PANIC!

Scholars have devoted written tomes in an effort to figure out how and why the public was so readily duped. Some hypothesized that the hysteria was the result of a US public already put on edge by the drumbeat of war elsewhere in the world.

. . .”The prospect of a hostile encounter with the unknown was all too real for the American people in any number of ways. . .
“It unleashed a wave of panic, but also seemed to crystallize the fears of the era, coming as it did with the United States poised to take up arms in World War II” . . .

29 10 2008
JJ

Betty, if the fears are on both sides, they still aren’t equal. I’d argue there’s a devil we know and a devil we don’t then.

The old white neocon repressive, divisive, bombastic, court stacking, constitution twisting, lying, government-secrecy, corrupt and pandering, female-reducing,theocratic, moralizing, anti-science, anti-intellectual, xenophobic populist elites are the devil we’ve known. No thanks. Not again.

(Wanna know how I REALLY feel?) 😉

I hoped for “post-partisan” this election cycle, Unity 08 and all that. Now I don’t think Barack Obama will go there himself or that the nation is quite ready for “post-partisan” yet, at least not the way I’ve always advocated it to happen. But there could be other paths, he’s full of possibilities! And I do think he’s a great if not historic move in that direction, because of the way he thinks about progress and how he approaches changes. It’s not just hitting the target but how you do it. Someone defending Palin from inside the campaign said that she screwed up all those times because they were “process” questions and she’s not good at process. Really? What a damning indictment for someone who wants to change the whole country at a time of crisis — no good at process??

To me the process is the power of the story. A good plot is unreadable unless it’s put together artfully and with complete integrity. (Not that I think they have a good plot either.)

29 10 2008
JJ

Just saw this, Betty (and here’s new video of McCain rally to illustrate the level of panic):

The panic whipped up by the McCain campaign in PA sounds horrific because of the ugliness and hate that it pours into the election, but the real threat it poses is to our ability to get things done. If John McCain were to win the election by kicking up enough anti-Muslim, anti-African-American, anti-Liberal, conspiracy theory rage–he would have transformed the country into utter chaos in the process.

Such a campaign–if victorious–would push our civic culture beyond the point where it was able to recover and function. And under such conditions, McCain would ultimately preside over a nation capable of little more than pitchforks and torches.

More and more it seems that John McCain has bet the farm on winning Pennsylvania by turning the race as ugly as possible, which means abandoning all pretense of healthy civic exchange. The results are disquieting.

In recent days, a Republican group circulated an email claiming that a vote for Obama was tantamount to enabling the rise of Hitler and would lead to a ‘second Holocaust.’ Can it get worse than that? Apparently, it can. At a rally in Pottsville, McCain supporters gather in a threatening mob shouting ‘Terrorist!’ ‘Communist!’ ‘Child Killer!’ and openly call for the death of Sen. McCain’s opponent.

As high profile Republicans endorse Obama and reject the politics of bigotry and violence, McCain continues to stoke the rage in Pennsylvania in some vain hope that the destruction of democratic culture in one state will win him the chance to lead the country.

. . .Imagine what it would mean for the United States and the world if the mob politics of McCain’s campaign were to dominate the next 8 years. It would ruin this country–destroy it every level.

A victory for McCain delivered by an enraged campaign mob would shatter any and all possibility for deliberative democracy. Democratic government based on conversation would give way to rule by mobilizing panic. If victory comes at the hands of rage and panic, governing by the same is quick to follow.

What a world it would be. A world completely devoid of solutions to any of the problems we face. A world without healthcare. A world without retirement security. A world without effective education. A world without renewable energy. A world not fueled by optimism and American pragmatism, but by constant, never ending alarm.

The McCain campaign panic Americans see in Pennsylvania is more than just a window onto an ugly side of American life. It is a warning.

29 10 2008
Crimson Wife

Except in a handful of fields, it doesn’t matter in the slightest how old someone believes the universe is or whether the human body evolved over time from a common ancestor with other primates. One can be a very productive member of society and still believe a literal reading of Genesis when it comes to the origins controversy. You and I might roll our eyes at that belief, but for 99% of the jobs out there it is simply irrelevant.

What DOES matter is basic literacy and numeracy. THAT’S what is holding back so many people in the U.S., not a “Young Earth” Creationist viewpoint.

29 10 2008
JJ

We just disagree, CW. Job One in the third millennium is being a Thinking American citizen capable of productive civic engagement and we’ve neglected that, for culture wars about what Jesus would do, back to basics in school, and to support bean-counting and bank balance competition and rampant consumerism everywhere else (Big Business rather than Real Education) for far too long.

29 10 2008
JJ

Meanwhile, our self-governance principles are corrupted by all manner of dangerous dominion justified by third-world tribal beliefs in the supernatural, easy to sustain once science is made suspect. Not productive. Not harmless. Not insignificant.

29 10 2008
Crimson Wife

How can someone who’s functionally illiterate and/or innumerate possibly be an active and engaged citizen? I’ve got a 143 page densely written official voter information guide sitting on my desk. It’s full of very complicated analysis of the 12 different initiatives on the CA ballot this year. A voter without the skills to comprehend this guide is likely going to wind up basing his/her decision on some 30 second sound bite from a TV ad paid for by a wealthy special interest group. Is that really healthy for democracy in our country?

29 10 2008
Crimson Wife

And only a tiny fraction of “Young Earth” Creationists are part of the Christian Reconstruction movement- thank goodness!

30 10 2008
JJ

Not to be confused with the old discredited voter suppression tactic of literacy tests though, right?

30 10 2008
JJ

I’m arguing for the better educated electorate, remember, not rampant illiteracy and innumeracy. (Much less anti-science mysticism and witch-burning, or preparing Alaska for the End Times.)

But if the CA voter guide and ballot combo is purposely that bad, it sounds like we might need to get the voter suppression investigators on the case. . .

30 10 2008
JJ

Frank Schaeffer is the author of CRAZY FOR GOD: How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back.

He just posted his “analysis” essay of this election sea change:
“Most Americans do not want to live in a country perpetually at war with the world, nor in a nation whose policies are driven by literalistic Biblical interpretation or insane imperial ambition.”

Sounds plenty smart to me . . .

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