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Links With Your Coffee - Wednesday

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Naomi Klein says over and over here that Obama doesn’t have a plan for ending the war in Iraq. Ignorance does not pass for fact. And again I find it sad that Norm apparently glosses over all the many links that offer evidence of Obama’s Iraq plan and finds someone who is ignorant of Obama’s plan to post. Google Obama’s plan to end the war in Iraq and you will find several cogent examples of his plan. Here’s a few for starters:

http://progressive-politics.blogspot.com/2008/07/obamas-plan-to-end-iraq-war.html http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/14/opinion/14obama.html?_r=1&oref=slogin http://origin.barackobama.com/issues/iraq/

Make sure to read PZ's whole commentary on the teacher NYT article, it's great. It's linked in the link.

Make sure to read PZ's whole commentary on the teacher NYT article, it's great. It's linked in the link.

I've been moving closer and closer, day by day, to not giving a shit, and Naomi Klein has finally convinced me that it's all a waste of time. Attempt to push forward the progessive policies, one loses some of the "independents" (whatever that means) and those who are right of center. Attempt to push forward more conservative policies, one loses the other "independents" (whatever that means) and those who are left of center.

I now agree with Superfrenchie. (It's official. I don't care!)http://superfrenchie.com/

Just about every female blogger that I have known hates Obama and refuses to vote for him. Most of the other bloggers that I am familiar with just marginally prefer Obama to McCain. I give up. I'm sick and tired of giving a shit. Hell, if most of the people who I know (progressives) feel that there's little difference between Obama and McCain, then why bother? It's an uphill battle, and a battle that I'm sick and tired and weary of waging.

I give up.

I officially don't care! anymore!

Procol Harum's "Boredom" fits the mood perfectly. http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=Bz_fipx87N4

Procol Harum Boredom lyrics:

Some say they will and some say they won’t

Some say they do and some >say they don’t

Some say they shall and some say they shan’t

And some say they can and some say they can’t

All in all it’s all the same

But call me if there’s any change

Some say there’s nothing and some say there’s lots

Some say they’ve started while some say they’ve stopped

Some say they’re going and some say they’ve been

Yes, some say they’re looking and some say they’ve seen

All in all it’s all the same

But call me if there’s any change

But call me if there's any change..

And as concerns giving a shit, I don't really give a damn whether or not someone believes in a god or not. Why the hell should this concern me or anyone else? As long as people don't legislate their morality, what difference does it make what someone else believes?

Live and live, damn it.

I've been moving closer and closer, day by day, to not giving a shit

this reminds me of xeno's famous paradox. that is, if every day you close the distance by half between where you are now and not giving a shit, then you'll never actually get there. :)

it also reminds me of the famous maxim "those who know, don't talk. those who talk, don't know."

that is, those who truly don't give a shit don't post on blogs...:)

just trying to cheer you up as always, JoAnn. can't you take comfort in the fact that, no matter what else happens, in 5 more months dubya is GONE? and that even if mccain wins, which i just can't see happening, he can't be worse than the shrub. mccain may be a putz, but george w. is evil. there's really no comparison.

and i still think mccain will keel over before the elections.

Stop trying to cheer me up Jonathan! Damn it. It's much easier to not give a damn. Xeno's pardox indeed.. :/ ... or is it Murphy's law?...

Damn them both! Fucking Xeno and Murphy.

I suppose that I'm just preparing for four years of McCain. Might as well get used to it, no?

I know, a defeatist attitude. But, hell, and... blah blah blah ...

Rambling now...

Anyway, thanks for the laughs.

Back to my valiant attempt to not giving a shit. I really admire those who don't care and those who really have that spirit that it will all work out in the end.

If only... oh forget it... rambling again..

And yeah, you're right... if I truly didn't care, I wouldn't be posting some comment here...

someday, some hour... maybe?

Xeno's paradox... kind of like that "horizon" instead of a time line... a nebulous concept that one can never arrive at, like a rainbow... blah blah blah.....

rambling again..

Ignorance does not pass for fact.

Thank you Jef, I think that's exactly right. I have no problem with Obama being criticized, and have done so myself on FISA, because that was for me well beyond the pail. And simply because it's a tight race, it does not follow that we should cease to articulate resistance to some of his less than perfect policies. But as is typically with Klein, particularly when she's talking about economics or foreign policy, she is given to fact-free utterance, ideological utterance on matters she does not really seem to understand or care to investigate. Naturally, she is happy to mention Rubin's, but she makes no mention of the national debt being transformed into a surplus during the Clinton years, and the enormous market-boom that improved quality of life for countless Americans (I could post a link on this that details Obama's economic policies in depth, but Norm, I think, will be posting it soon. But let me give my favorite quote from there in advance:

As anyone who has spent time with Obama knows, he likes experts, and his choice of advisers stems in part from his interest in empirical research. (James Heckman, a Nobel laureate who critiqued the campaign’s education plan at Goolsbee’s request, said, “I’ve never worked with a campaign that was more interested in what the research shows.”)

In the interim, see the analysis by the Tax Policy Center at the Brookings Institute comparing Obama and McCain's tax plans (PDF file. See especially the chart on p. 9 [of the PDF, p.7 by actual pagination] for a rapid fire summary of the big differences). Klein is free to haggle with what Clinton could have done better, but to simply ignore the tremendous gains he made, and just name drop people like Rubin rather than give an argument, strikes me as dishonest and disingenuous. Likewise, she seems to me to consistently conflate the question of whether it was advisable to launch the Iraq war at the outset, and the question of how--not whether--to get out. She feels free, for instance, simply to ignore crucial facts. Most importantly, just how precarious the security situation is there, that part of the reason for the violence being so low is that some groups are sitting out simply because we are paying them to do so, that Iran is sending in money and arms and exercises influence over the current government, that members of the Sunni Awakening who were instrumental in turning against foreign fighters and reducing violence are being bullied and disbanded by the Shitte dominated government, etc. etc.

I'm sorry Naomi, but these are issues responsible adults have to deal with in the imperfect world in which we live, and I would refuse to vote for Obama if he said anything remotely approaching anything you advocate because it is so deeply irresponsible and simply makes no sense. Name dropping, or stating the views of those names while not giving an argument against them, does not really indicate what Barack's views on the matter really are. But no, no, no, fighting to make a deeply complicated and imperfect world of competing interests slightly less imperfect is apparently not a fight worthy enough of liberal ideals. If we cannot immediately withdrawal from Iraq, then it's not worth trying to draw down and redeploy soldiers to the chaos that Afghanistan is quickly becoming. If we cannot simply ignore the current economic situation and institute extensive, government run social programs immediately, anything else is just half-measures and capitulation to the right-wing, apparently, no matter how many millions of struggling lower and lower-middle class workers it may help.

We can only imagine what would have happened if Gore were elected. Rather than the gains of the Clinton years being pissed away on an illegal, unproductive, and immoral war and tax-cuts for the upper 5% of income earners, we would have finally had some of the solid resources, back by a couple trillion in surplus, to begin investing extensively in social programs. Now we are stuck with a huge national debt--although one not nearly as big as when Clinton entered office--and many huge expenditures, both actual and projected (Iraq, Afghanistan, saving social security for when boomers start to retire, etc.), and diminishing social safety net.

I've been moving closer and closer, day by day, to not giving a shit, and Naomi Klein has finally convinced me that it's all a waste of time.

Here is a simply way of stating my whole argument. Obama may not institute all of the policies we want. But if McCain is elected, the energy situation will get worse, the cost of health care will sky-rocket putting it out of reach for even more people than now, who will not be helped by the measly tax incentives McCain promises; and as Greenwald persuasively argues, U.S. led military intervention will plausibly increase and extend our commitments abroad.

My argument in a nutshell is the further the U.S. is pushed in the direction of these disastrous policies, the further away we are from actual, workable solutions, and the harder it will be to fix problems, because the circumstances to which many of Obama's policy proposals are a response will have been profoundly exacerbated. So if full blooded progressive change seems far away now, just wait until after a McCain administration. Sometimes, as I think Bush's tenure plainly shows, you have to fight like hell just to maintain something slightly better than the status quote, not so things get imaginably better, but so that they do not get unimaginably worse. Maybe Obama will lose, probably I'm beginning to think--but that doesn't mean it's not worth a good fight.

just to maintain something slightly better than the status quote

sorry. Status quo but enough of my babbling!

Thank you, Adam. My head was kind of spinning from Naomi Klein's point-of-view. I have a lot of respect for Klein - I think she's a really smart woman - so I really give her credence but...c'mon. (Whether or not the right thing to do is withdraw from Iraq no matter what, etc.) halfway through she talks about the important thing really being ready with a plan for Obama AFTER he's elected. That's just great but what is our plan if he is NOT elected. The comfort I take in this is that, hopefully, she is hearing much better numbers than we are but, being from California, I'm particularly aware of the Bradley Effect which they talk about affecting elections even in this progressive state --- what about Middle America? That means he has to go into this with a HUGE lead....

This is not about the major points of her discussion but is MoveOn.org really considered an anti-war group? I never thought of them that way but I know about them from when I was in Silicon Valley and that's not what they started off. If that how others think of them?

Your babbling is beyond the pale. Damned homonyms! (heh heh)

Your babbling is beyond the pale. Damned homonyms! (heh heh)

Alas, what an embarrassing malapropism!

Re: philosophy in HS.

"What we've found looking at the final year exams of Queensland students is that those who have studied philosophy perform better across all subjects," Mr Ellerton said.

This is a result that is replicated at the level of post-secondary as well, < a href="http://www.iupui.edu/~philosop/gre.htm">with philosophy majors having the highest mean verbal and writing scores than any other group on the GRE, and among the very highest composite score (all areas).

I took a course like this in high school and loved it. As someone who is now getting a PhD in the subject and teaching it, I think it would be wonderful to make such courses more widely available in U.S. high schools. I can just imagine the slogans: Save our Schools, Teach Socrates and Schopenhauer! Or: Plato, not Programs like No-Child-Left Behind!

Adam,

I was going to needle you for using standardized GRE exam scores as a measure of the quality of philosophy students at the same time that you slam NCLB - which (inappropriately, in my view) makes standardized exam scores the measure of educational success. But then I looked at your link, and I see that

The only fields that score higher mean scores on the combined Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical sections of the GRE are (in rank order) Physics and Astronomy, Mathematical Sciences, Materials Engineering, and Chemical Engineering

and I thought, hmmmm.... , maybe there is something to this stuff. ;)

I was going to needle you for using standardized GRE exam scores as a measure of the quality of philosophy students at the same time that you slam NCLB - which (inappropriately, in my view) makes standardized exam scores the measure of educational success.

I see no inconsistency, since an effect of NCLB is to make test scores the almost exclusive measure of educational success, not merely one measure among others, and as a result teachers have to spend a lot of their time just preparing their students for the standardized tests, rather than teaching other subjects like humanities and art (or, for that matter, philosophy). Just because I don't think standardize test scores across the board are a good way to allocate educational resources does not necessarily imply that I think standardize tests at large, such as the SAT, GRE, MCAT, and LSAT, are a bad thing, although I do think they have their limits. If we can get better critical thinkers and better test takers, I'm happy. But shit, at this point, I'd just be happy if the basics of evolutionary theory were understood by the majority of high school educated students.

But yeah, it's not beyond the pale for your to say that chemical engineers and mathematicians are smarter than philosophers, I admit it! ;-P

JoAnn:

And as concerns giving a shit, I don't really give a damn whether or not someone believes in a god or not. Why the hell should this concern me or anyone else? As long as people don't legislate their morality, what difference does it make what someone else believes?

Because anyone (including us) will try to vote on legislation or a candidate guided by their moral principles, and 99% of theists do believe their god shapes their morality.

The difference can be easily seen in issues like gay marriage or stem cell research, or even the Plan B pill (which is NOT EVEN CLOSE to abortion whatsoever). Not one of these issues would be remotely controversial if not for those folks. The ONLY reasons to so vehemently oppose any of those issues is purely religious, and many opponents are otherwise sane people who don't try to impose their religion onto others, but this more-or-less indirect effect that comes from simply not calling bullshit on bullshit and tiptoeing around the root of the problem is very well present.

We will still try to vote morally, but how can you acquire a good moral compass when your views on reality are so screwed. Reality and morality should go hand-in-hand.

JoAnn:

Someone needs an e-hug. there you go

As Jon said:

can't you take comfort in the fact that, no matter what else happens, in 5 more months dubya is GONE?

RAmen to that, Mr. Becker.

Adam,

Beyond the teasing - I agree with you. The trick is to have some kinds of measures of educational progress that don't distort the process of education. Bush had a good slogan in Kevin Drum's "soft bigotry of low expectations", but when the phrase is mouthed by Bush - the poster child for low expectations - as a run up to his State of the Union endorsement of teaching to the test, I knew NCLB was going to be a fiasco. (For all the moralizing right wingnuts did about Clinton's moral failings serving as a bad example for children, it is remarkable how unconcerned half-witted tenth grader learns from the example of George Bush that education isn't important..)

Oops,

Got distracted by work and finished that up badly. It should have read:

... how unconcerned there were about the lesson that any half-witted tenth grader draws from the example of George Bush.

Ah, gee, thanks Zaphod. ;)

jeez! interesting thread. um, obama, 2008. i liked naomi klein's piece, i think she's got some good points. but we'd be nuts not to work to elect obama.

first stabilize the patient (our federal government). then improve diet and workout plan (as klein says, use your voice, don't let obama's corporate backers do all the talking). it's up to us, we should try and make the most of this situation. obama's a good man, mccain is a bad man. simplistic, yes? but fucking true.

Thanks all for nice, friendly, funny, insightful commentary.

As a person who has taught philosophy at an engineering college, I can tell you what a wonderful thing it is to get one of those minds interested in my topic--and it happens often. they generally love it. The point is not that philosophy causes improvement--clearly the people that go into it are not random enough to make that causal claim--but that everyone benefits from it if it is made widely available.

No one, though, has commented on the great Christianity cartoon. I announce here my plans to put that on a t-shirt. Surely no one will mind if I just make a few for friends, but if I try to market them, any one know if this is copyrighted?

Again, nice commentary here.

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