Next President’s Dream Team – Foreign Policy Magazine

27 10 2008

“The Dream Team”
November/December 2008

The next American president will confront a host of potential cataclysms: from a virulent financial crisis to a vicious terrorist enemy, nuclear proliferation to climate change. He’ll need his country’s brightest minds—not his party’s usual suspects. So, we asked 10 of the world’s top thinkers to name the unlikely team that can best guide No. 44 through the turbulent years ahead. . .

REAL Domestic Terrorism (otherwise, shut up about it)

27 10 2008

ATF foils plot to assassinate Obama
Associated Press
Posted: October 27, 2008 (31 minutes ago)

WASHINGTON — Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, ATF officials said today.

In court records unsealed today, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. Agents said the skinheads did not identify the school by name.

Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the two men planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.

The men also sought to go on a national killing spree, with Obama as its final target, Cavanaugh told The Associated Press.

“They said that would be their last, final act — that they would attempt to kill Sen. Obama,” Cavanaugh said. “They didn’t believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying.”

Singing for Life, Liberty, Health and Happiness

27 10 2008

This is an article about singing. It’s about you singing. I’m writing this because I want to encourage you to sing. . .
If I were asked to redesign the educational system, I’d insist group singing be part of the daily routine.”

— Brian Eno, ODE Magazine

Learning and Thinking As We Age: Yet Another Strike Against Republican Ticket

27 10 2008

How learning and reason decline — painful truths we’d rather deny (and some good news too, so read to the end!) from the former editor of Psychology Today:

The American public is predictably divided on this issue. Obama appears to many to be short on experience and too young to assume such high office, even though John F. Kennedy was 43 when he became president. McCain is considered by others to be too old. After all, Ronald Reagan showed signs of Alzheimer’s disease during his second term in office, when he was in his late seventies. Barely three years out of office, his cognitive impairment had become severe. But could it be that Obama, at 46, is also declining? When are we at our cognitive peak?

At 55, having been a research psychologist for 30 years, I decided to take a dispassionate look at these issues. The process proved to be painful in some respects, but when it comes to cognitive decline, knowing might also be the best defence . . .

Fascinating truths about different types of intelligence and the age cohort at which they typically peak, and also this:

Although not central to the cognition issue, I would be remiss in failing to point out that most of our perceptual and motor capabilities also fit this disturbing pattern: our visual acuity, overall hearing ability, ability to discriminate speech sounds (important during delicate meetings of state), touch sensitivity, and so on. Elderly people sometimes, ahem, face odor challenges because–according to a study conducted in the 1980s — they lose much of their sense of smell in their 70s and 80s. More to the point, reaction time — our ability to respond swiftly to sudden events, which is undoubtedly an important competency for leaders — also follows this pattern.

Especially in our education and home education communities, seems to me we should use this science to inform our politics. So share this article with everyone you know who still believes Obama is the riskier choice and believes their view to be based on facts and truths and objective analysis. Then their new learning can help us all — if they’re not already too far gone cognitively themselves. 🙂