Dream or Nightmare? Is Nothing Left of What’s Right on Left or Right?

7 11 2010

Maher went on to poke holes in Jon’s arguments, saying “Martin Luther King spoke on that Mall in the capital and he didn’t say, ‘Remember folks, those southern sheriffs with the fire hoses and the German shepherds, they have a point too.’

No, he said I have a dream, they have a nightmare…Liberals, like the ones on that field, must stand up and be counted and not pretend that we’re as mean, or greedy, or short-sighted or just plain bat-shit as they are.

And if that’s too polarizing for you, and you still wanna reach across the aisle…try church.”

Jeb Bush and Rick Perry Twins Separated at Birth?

5 11 2010

I saw Rick Perry interviewed on cable news this morning and was struck by how like Jeb Bush he is, in looks and attitudes and demeanor.

And it figures. Because after Tuesday, it looks like Florida is the new Texas.

How Stupid IS She, or Is She Smart Like a Pit-Grizzly-FOX?

27 10 2010

This is a scary fairy tale not for the children, made up by Sarah Palin to tell America about Marco Rubio.

Marco Rubio is no maverick and that’s simple fact. He’s the carefully groomed, obedient, adoring Jeb Bush pet pit-bully-pulpit carnival barker, raised from an attack puppy in the GOP dynasty to fleece the public and bring home their dead and broken dreams to lay at the feet of his shadowy bosses behind their cheesy tabloid facade, wagging and waiting for his pat on the head and a treat.

Sarah Palin either knew or should have known this, not even as highly paid “news” commentator much less former (beauty) half-queen or populist kingmaker remaking America forever, no, even just as a fully functioning human bei–oh wait. Okay, so that’s THREE possible explanations. . . .

“Super Rich Get Richer, Everyone Else Gets Poorer”

24 09 2010

UPDATE: See Edge dot org for its consensus document on “The New Science of Morality” complete with dissenters, all smart stuff. More on this later, I feel sure!

New today but not really news, is it?

“The Super Rich Get Richer, Everyone Else Gets Poorer, and the Democrats Punt”:

“For example, Charles and David Koch, the energy magnates who are pouring vast sums of money into Republican coffers and sponsoring tea partiers all over America, each gained $5.5 billion of wealth over the past year. Each is now worth $21.5 billion.

Wall Street continued to dominate the list; 109 of the richest 400 are in finance or investments.

From another survey we learn that the 25 top hedge-fund managers got an average of $1 billion each, but paid an average of 17 percent in taxes (because so much of their income is considered capital gains, taxed at 15 percent thanks to the Bush tax cuts).

The rest of America got poorer, of course. . .”

Remember homeschooling math whiz dad Rolfe Schmidt?

Just imagine the good jobs that would be created, the innovation we would see, the wealth that would be created if we actually funneled all these banker giveaways into science, the arts, and education.

But no, it is more important to preserve the status quo, preserve income inequality, and do what we can to make debt slaves out of our populace.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why Educate Our Kids? Part Four: Audience Behavior

13 06 2010

So today as Spunky started a new conversation about what it means for a child to be “well-educated” I noticed it afresh and thought I’d mention some of what it makes me wonder, about what’s being taught and learned and why to our kids out of school, not in.

The phone number is painted on the glass, too: want your child well-educated in mind, body and spirit all at the same time? Who needs School OR Church? Just call 8-WE-KICK. . .

Y’all know the way our kids are educated out of school and church. One big part of it is musical theatre:

Favorite Daughter at age 17 in her college honors history class, answered a bonus question for a perfect score on the final, that her professor couldn’t figure out how she knew, because it wasn’t in the text of the lecture notes: name all five of the members appointed to write the Declaration of Independence and the colonies each represented in the Congress. So he asked outright what her secret source was, and got a good laugh when she started singing, “But Mr. Adams” from the musical 1776.

See also There is Nothing Sexier Than a Baritone and “How can we learn about our present if we don’t educate people about what happened in our past?””

So when I saw commentary on Helen Thomas having tragically overstayed the audience’s support for her role on the public stage, it spoke to me about everything in America’s power of story:

Botchirng an exit cue in a stage production can result in dramatic disaster, says Sara Freeman, a professor of theater history at the University of Oregon. . . . staying onstage when you are supposed to exit is considered “very bad etiquette or an act of outright aggression or disrespect” in the theater world. . .”and upends planned narrative or visual effects. It distracts attention from what the focus is supposed to be in the story.”

Freeman says she has a million stories of actors who missed their entrance cues, “but missed exits are rarer because they usually have to be chosen. It’s far harder to not exit by accident.”

The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth:

I believe we’re in an age where a view of humanity as dark and “herd-like” should not govern . . . I believe we must take the high road by simply telling people the truth about the products, services and issues we represent. That presupposes that we can in good conscience represent nondeceptive, truthful clients. . .

My own view is that manipulating the darker forces of human nature is inappropriate. . . . Here are my Ten Commandments . . . Read the rest of this entry »

Why Educate Our Kids? Part Three: Their Enemy Is Us

11 06 2010

Teach your parents well,
Their father’s hell will slowly go by.
You who are on the road,
Must have a code that you can live by. . .
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a goodbye.

[C]ults – whether they are political, religious, psychotherapeutic, commercial, or educational – seek to make people dependent and obedient.

. . .When we get serious about thwarting cult recruiters we will expose those techniques of persuasion and prepare our young people with the tools to combat cultism. . . take it upon ourselves, in our homes, schools and even places of worship, to address and expose cultism and give our children, parents and teachers the tools to combat it.

“Despite what opponents of this legislation say, this bill does not hinder a woman’s ability to have an abortion,” [GOP lt. governor Jeff] Kottkamp wrote. “However, it most certainly provides the opportunity to change their hearts — and open their eyes.”

A Thinking Student might use analogies to help analyze whether this is actually an argument for free education or authoritarian exploitation, of individually sovereign girls and women.

For examples, we’re all about education freedom here, and we’ve been debating vaccine freedom as a civil rights issue. Both education choice and antivax arguments assert the individual family’s ultimate right to be left alone by society, to have nothing forced on it physically or mentally.

An educated student might notice the overlap is extensive in arguments for individual rights up to and including homeschool mom brinksmanship about public education standards as not merely “an opportunity . . .to change their hearts and open their eyes” — until we come to anti-abortion activists, making Kottkamp’s argument that government should intrude right into the examining room and force an emotionally exploitative mandate by government fiat upon the individual, expressly designed as public interference with the individual’s right to make her private decision regardless of the rest of society.

Would Kottkamp support a similar bill to mandate that at any well-baby checkup involving a vaccine delayer/refuser, the child would be held by a social worker in another room while the mom was forced to view (and PAY FOR!) sophisticated video simulations of her own child suffering all manner of ravage from childhood diseases, ending with an image of the mom herself weeping over a grave . . .?

The antivax/antiabortion argument about individual rights is wrong to demand for moms the right to be left alone by government in one case, but not the other.

Rules, Authority, Control: It’s the Power, Stupid

29 07 2009

If the insurance industry wins on health care reform by beating Obama soundly on bigger, more transformative change, it will strengthen and embolden every other big special interest. The energy companies on climate change, the big banks on financial reform, and every other special interest lobbyist Obama has said he would tame, will be laughing at the failure of bigger health reform, secure in their knowledge that nothing has changed in Washington, D.C.

No Legal Overstep Left Behind:

“Most of our politics in America is about the disappointment of not meeting the high goals we set for ourselves.”
–Senator Lamar Alexander, a former U.S. secretary of education trying to explain the legally codified rhetoric of No Child Left Behind.

Plus ca change. . .

Do you experience the conservative homeschooling meme as principled belief in personal freedom and limited government, fueling politics meant to secure and protect equal opportunities for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for all kinds of Americans as autonomous individuals?

Or do you see conservative homeschooling as centered on religious rules and authority trumping secular authority, politics meant to impose fundamentalist social controls that supplant individual freedom (despite “libertarian” arguments and rhetoric)?

See also:
Thinking About the New Bonfire of the Vanities

Public or Private, Groups Still Govern Our Lives

Sarah Palin “Freeing” Herself From Public Office

And Now The Label “Married” Is In for Further Moral Meddling Read the rest of this entry »

Pre-born Liberals and Conservatives?

20 03 2009

From former senator Gary Hart (he’s authored a book, ““Restoration of the Republic: The Jeffersonian Ideal in 21st-Century America”) in the NYT:

One mystery remains. Why are there always liberals and conservatives and what makes us so?

After all the sociologizing about family tradition, geography, religion, economic status, blue and red states, and clan influence, perhaps Gilbert and Sullivan came closest:

“I often think it’s comical / How Nature always does contrive / That every boy and every gal / That’s born into the world alive / Is either a little Liberal / Or else a little ­Conservative!”

Once inside the ideological matrix, however, things do get interesting.
. . .Ideas matter, and ideas synthesized into political ideologies have enormous consequences. . . As theorems and conjectures are to mathematics and quantum mechanics is to physics, so ideas and the principles of governance are to politics.

. . .The mutant strain of present-day conservatism has not wanted to reverse the New Deal; it has wanted to reverse the Enlightenment.

Intelligent Design? Obama Epitomizes It

10 02 2009

Words matter and statistics don’t lie, says the managing editor of Political Base. 🙂

Then I ran Word’s readability tool.

Guess what?

Bush’s answers were spoken at 7th grade level. Obama’s at a 10th grade level.

He’s got charts too, go see! This seems to bear out in cold hard numbers what the new president often articulates: that what we need now isn’t bigger OR smaller government, but smarter government.

Remember this? We Thinking Parents had a blog reading level meme making the rounds, based on the same general analytics:

And did you ever see the headache Sarah Palin’s gibberish gave a Slate wordsmith trying to formally diagram her sentences (as having any coherent meaning at any level, much less as “actual responsibility” for intelligent government.)
Are you ready yet, to matriculate from junior high to high school government, or will you give up, drop out and grumble about eggheads and how “street smarts” and bootstraps outweigh liberal education, and the bible is the only book that matters anyway?

If the latter, will you serve your children’s best educational interests or in fact stunt them with your own ignorance by Read the rest of this entry »

Is R-E-S-P-E-C-T in Dress or Success?

1 02 2009

The importance of wearing a uniform played into this week’s “Burn Notice” but the tv show plot point was effecting intimidation, not showing respect. (And both sides were criminals trying to psych each other out in their audaciously illegal semitropical enterprises.)

That dress for success uniform was an open-collared white shirt, no tie, black slacks and black jacket. And shades. Like this:

Barack Obama May 2008 by Doug Mills, New York Times

Barack Obama May 2008 by Doug Mills, New York Times

I was thinking about conservatives and how they love dress codes, even at school which they usually DON’T love, and even in Christian homeschooling which they do, while reading this —

. . .The other thing to consider here is exactly how one “respects” the presidency. For Card and others who served with Bush, it’s about choice of clothing. For those who serve with Obama, it’s about honoring institutional limits and the rule of law.

. . . Did George W. Bush always wear a coat and tie? Sure. Good for him. But while he was wearing nice clothes and demanding that his staff do the same, he also oversaw a scandal-plagued White House that trashed constitutional norms and routinely ignored the laws that the president twice swore to faithfully execute.

One respects the office by honoring its place in a constitutional system, not by wearing a suit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Most Laughable Politics of 2008 — Video Galore!

28 12 2008

Don’t miss this as you prepare for the New Year.

(Daniel Kurtzman edits the Political Humor page of About.com, part of The New York Times Company. He is author of the books “How to Win a Fight With a Conservative” and “How to Win a Fight With a Liberal.”)

Conservatives Worth Reclaiming?

5 11 2008

Over the years and right up through yesterday, I’ve made concentrated good faith efforts to really engage conservatives. I often conclude that it’s hopeless, that they cannot be reclaimed for the good of real America — not for our mutual peace, freedom, education, progress, science, community, civil rights, not even for home education advocacy.

The main problem seems to be that they fight every overture of diversity and appeal to informed reason as if it were a deadly enemy attack, and swarm like antibodies to expel it (me.)

Then today I got my hair cut. On the way home in the car, I tuned into a very thoughtful and wise interview.

The Future Of The Conservative Movement
[Audio for this story available at approx. 3:00 p.m. ET]
FRESH AIR November 5, 2008 –
Former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards argues that the conservative movement has strayed from its founding principles. His book, Reclaiming Conservatism, offers a critique of the movement’s current incarnation — and a blueprint for its future success.

Edwards is a lecturer at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a founding trustee of the Heritage Foundation.

This is really, really good, y’all. Calls ’em like he sees ’em. Real America and colorblind to red and blue. I’d love to discuss it.

Oh, and here’s an extra treat for our homeschooling Christian liberal friend Betty Malone — one of her personal favorites is interviewed in the same program, about the historical significance of changes in his own 72 years (same age as John McCain, right?) Yes, Betty, it’s [ta-da!] Bill Moyers!