Supremes Not Emulating Jesus and the Moneychangers

20 10 2010

Scalia and Thomas and Kochs, oh my

What’s in the Word Promise?

19 10 2010

UPDATE with video JJ just located:

Remember lawyer-former state governor Bill Clinton parsing the meaning of the word “is” under sworn testimony?

“Rick Scott’s straight talk gets fuzzy under oath”:

[Florida candidate for governor Rick] Scott, a former mergers-and-acquisitions attorney, stalled.

“I don’t know what the def — your definition or anybody’s definition of an `agreement’ is, or an `offer’ is, or `promise’ is,” he said in the Jan. 16, 1997, deposition.

These days, on the campaign trail, Scott showcases the word “`promise.’ He pledges to help turn the economy around and create jobs . . .

What was that Einstein quote again, that Roger Ebert used, oh yeah:
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with the important matters.”

Here’s his full two-hour deposition. Even in the first minutes, you can see he can’t or won’t answer the most straightforward factual questions about the very business he started and headed as CEO:

Update on Alaska as Reality Show Culture

18 10 2010

I’ve been known to wonder what the heck goes on in Minnesota as a political metaphor, and our own state of Florida is a literal carnival of crazy when it comes to public affairs.

[I]n Minnesota, home of Pharyngula-famed PZ Myers. . . PZ himself was blacklisted, police on high alert to enforce his, ahem, “expulsion” from this supposedly scientific, open-inquiry teaching of the controversy. Which they literally did, on threat of his arrest — wonder if such ideological use of police power will be decried or defended, by those who characterize as “free speech” what the anti-abortion party-crashers did at the Dr. Seuss movie premiere?

See also

Mark Drake, of the Republican party in Minnesota, said: “To compare the democratically elected leader of the United States of America to Hitler is an absolute moral outrage which trivialises the horrors of Nazi Germany.”

But today, on the heels of my mentioning Sarah Palin’s personal reality of Alaska as reality show, Alaska repeats as the state throwing me into a state of shocked disbelief:

When Hopfinger continued to try to ask questions, one of the guards put the reporter in an arm-bar and then handcuffed him [and isolated him out of all public view for nearly half an hour.]

Hopfinger was released after police arrived. [But were the guards then handcuffed, perhaps charged with false arrest/unlawful detention/kidnapping? ]

The reporter was on public property where a public event was being held at the time of the incident.

See the latest here if you’re interested in civil rights and constitutional principles as real rather than as scripted skits for world wide wrestling as reality-show entertainment.

The US Senate candidate’s private guards argue the reporter they handcuffed to stop him asking questions of their boss, was just a blogger (not a real reporter IOW) and that at the time, even that wasn’t known to them.

But here’s a contravening fact (you decide if it’s relevant): Read the rest of this entry »

What’s in the Word Miracle?

16 10 2010

As the Chilean mine rescue unfolded in real time, coverage in every language suggested we were witnessing a miracle.

So what’s in that word, miracle? Not intelligence and good will. Not good journalism either, not even good theology. So says a man often called a miracle himself:

Roman Catholic theology from the days of Aquinas has tried admirably to build on logical reasoning. . .Such theology is a help is clarifying what we’re really talking about. . .

That is why precision in language is useful. Einstein observed, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with the important matters.”

Good slogan for a real news organization or top-flight journalism college, if there remain any of either.

Immediately post-Watergate when I was an honors journalism undergrad and newspaper intern, the least consequential “fact error” led to the student’s sudden death: an automatic, unappealable zero on the assignment, no matter how well-executed otherwise. Einstein’s trust-the-truth principle was the reason hammered home to us.

(Is unappealable a real word? Hope you get my true meaning from it.)

Real news journalism for that brief and shining moment — a few decades at most? — meant lively, liberally educated minds pursuing and expressing truths with precise yet poetic language meant to convey knowledge in both small and important matters. . .you know, more what America’s Founding Fathers really said and did and meant, less what their words have decayed into.

How much better to describe the rescue as the result of the fortitude of the miners and the skill of the good-willed people on the surface who reached them in what was, after all, a very short time. How much better to say the outcome in Chile was the result of intelligence and good will.

But there seems to be a narrative in these matters that requires the citing of divinity. Newscasters, victims and their families alike praise the powers above. This reassures us — of what?

That everybody knows the script.

That’s below the radar of wrong-doing even. It seems just lazy, intellectually and morally, to settle for safe, well-worn ruts of yesterday’s meaning that can’t go where tomorrow’s thinking needs to be, today.

(What’s the commercial shipping slogan, when it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight? Better not just bank on a miracle!)

We can do better.

NPR is no miracle yet in my view it defines intelligent narrative, good will and trustworthy use of language. Today I saw a good f’rinstance: seeking new words to make room for naturally growing thought, instead of allowing the old tightly bound narratives to deform new understanding as Chinese foot-binding once deformed naturally growing girls. So let’s sing its praises! 😉

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet. My question is, does it work the other way around? Does a fuzzy name make fish smell less fishy? Read the rest of this entry »

JJ’s Vote: Musical Theatre as Very Model of Modern Meaning (in) General

16 10 2010

Toe-tapping cock of the snook to fellow “musical theatre as unschooling” mom Pam Sorooshian, for this:

New Storyline in Politics Is a Real Whopper

13 10 2010

Power of story IS the story, or ought to be, because it’s also the real power. It can cost a candidate everything to buy it and it can also cost a candidate everything not to buy it.

Across the fruited plain, the true power of story in American politics everywhere is money: who’s got enough to be whoever they may want to be next, while the rest of us worry about how we can continue to “be” at all. The prevailing power of story in homeschool politics used to be “follow the money” but that’s something I don’t hear anymore, not since Read the rest of this entry »

Jailhouse Exclusive: Shooter Credits His “Schoolteacher”

13 10 2010

. . .for preparing him to storm the literal battlefield of ideas with “the truth” (and guns and explosives) aimed at “starting a revolution.”

What sort of lessons did his televised schoolteacher use?

“I think you’re about to witness a country burning down to the ground.”

“You might as well start calling our government Crime Inc.”

“All it takes is one insane leader . . .”

“Grab a torch.”

“I’m comin’ for ya, oh, I’m comin’ for ya . . .”

“I’m gonna find these big progressives and to the day I die, I’m gonna be a Progressive Hunter.”

“Drive a STAKE through the heart of the bloodsuckers.”

I offer today a study in contrasts as my argument that public education — not necessarily public school but education of the public, by the public, for the public — matters more than ever to every single one of us as individuals, even those of us who don’t have kids in school or have no children at all.

Cock of the snook for above video to Lynn at BMTT.

UPDATE: See Glenn Beck Drawing on 1950s Extremism?

Beck, who has emerged as a unifying figure and intellectual guide for the Tea Party movement, finds fodder for his Fox News Channel and syndicated radio shows in the ideas espoused by the John Birch Society, an ultraconservative political group founded in 1958 that, Wilentz writes, “became synonymous with right-wing extremism.”

“It’s a version of history that demonizes Read the rest of this entry »