Archive for October, 2006

No pride? then go ahead and take me off your wall.

Kim Priestap at Whizbang links to an Aussie singer’s video clip that is worth a careful listen. Australian singer Beccy Cole is no Dixie chick. “If, unlike me, you feel no pride at all, then go ahead and take me off your wall.”

My oh my. Is patriotism still alive?

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Political ambush, now politicians, then troops

Mona Charen described the Haditha mess but it seems the same tactic is called an October surprise when used before the election.

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Politics, science, and religion

Another pre-election Lancet ‘statistical study’ is published with an ackowledged US election influence attempt. Sen. James Inhofe is getting lambasted for have any skepticism about human caused global warming. And then there are the ever present complaints about how this particular administration is anti-science.

Where are the lines and the boundaries?

RealClearPolitics – Articles – Inhofe, the Apostate

Global warming is a religion, not science. That’s why acolytes in the media attack global-warming critics not with scientific arguments, but for their apostasy. Then they laud global-warming believers not for reducing greenhouse gases, but simply for believing global warming is a coming catastrophe caused by man. The important thing is to have faith in those who warn: The end is near.

Global warming even has a martyr, NASA scientist James Hansen, who told O’Brien in January that under the Bushies, “you’re not free to speak your own mind.” It’s amazing that a scientist can complain that he is being muzzled — while appearing on CNN and “60 Minutes.”

In some ways, it is a crass concern about money. Federal research is a cash cow for many in academia and the main art and science seems to be that of preparing grant and funding request proposals. If the government decides not to fund a particular area of research, or to fund it to a level that makes it easy to get grant money, then attacking the administration is both easy and avoids the appearance personal greed.

But that doesn’t explain a medical journal taking a jaunt into other fields in a manner that destroys its credibility. It doesn’t explain the outcries about censorship that couldn’t exist if there really were censorship. It doesn’t explain the lack of rigor, skepticism and intellectual integrity in pushing findings towards policy that occurs in many ‘green’ areas.

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Fight back, the lesson of the heroes of flight 93

What do you do when a mad gunman shows up? At Columbine the answer was to hide under the desk so you could be a convenient target. Some have decided that that is not a good answer. ENCToday.com has the story about a Burleson School in Texas that hired a British Army Major and instructor for Response Options. The new approach is one that was made visible by the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 (Wikipedia). Dave Kopel on School Violence on National Review Online discusses the situation and its implications. joannejacobs.com: Fighting back, Dr. Helen: Let’s Roll, SayUncle » That’s what I’ll teach my kids provide commentary worth perusing (ht Boorze).

This is advice that has a history, often relearned. Over the last twenty years or so, women have been advised about how to react to assault. The lesson learned is that you only go so far. That ‘so far’ is demarked by the line between property and life. If the attacker only wants property, the general advice is to submit and hand the problem over to the police (later). But if the assault threatens life or liberty, then submission is not considered a good plan.

The first option is always to try to get away from dangerous situations. Run away. A moving and receding target is harder to hit. But if you can’t get away, such as the passengers on Flight 93, then attack. This is what the Major was teaching the teachers and students at Burleson. If a gunman shows up in your classroom, go on the offensive. Throw anything you can at his head and upper torso. Mob the gunman. Make noise.

There are those who still advocate that you should emulate a target: A nice quiet, nonmoving, compliant target. They suggest the same tactic in regards to NoKo nuclear tests or Iranian violations of arms accords or any ‘response’ to terrorists. We have seen what that approach does. The alternative may be costly and messy but at least it is less costly and less messy and does end the threat promptly.

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Noonan hits a chord on free speech

The talk of the day seems to be the OpinionJournal – Peggy Noonan column The Sounds of Silencing: Why do Americans on the left think only they have the right to dissent?

She describes four incidents in the last couple of weeks where there has been intolerance of unpleasant viewpoints by those who seem most vocal about free speech and then asks

We all know this, at least in the abstract. Why are so many forgetting it in the particular?

Let us be more pointed. Students, stars, media movers, academics: They are always saying they want debate, but they don’t. They want their vision imposed. They want to win. And if the win doesn’t come quickly, they’ll rush the stage, curse you out, attempt to intimidate.

And they don’t always recognize themselves to be bullying. So full of their righteousness are they that they have lost the ability to judge themselves and their manner.

What is most missing from the left in America is an element of grace–of civic grace, democratic grace, the kind that assumes disagreements are part of the fabric, but we can make the fabric hold together.

Why did this column strike so many in the blogshpere as worthy of note? On the surface it may be the dig at the left. A bit deepeer and it may be an observation about hypocrisy. Even more important is a significant social concern about how we treat each other – the “element of grace” that we make to hold the fabric of our society together. It may be that these episodes of irrational behavior tickle the fear that much of what we have built and enjoy as a civiliation is being worn away. That is becoming a more visible worry and it is one worthy of concern.

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Economic vitality provides a good illustration

One of the more hopeful signs for reality is the notice that is being made about how economic issues are being reported. One such observation is Back Talk: Americans Hate their Fabulous Economy.

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Don’t get too down on education systems in the US

You may have noticed that this year’s crop of Nobel Prize awards are again dominated by Americans. With all of the moaning and gnashing of teeth about the public education system, this fact generates responses that show that creative rationalization is also not in short supply.

EDS’ Next Big Thing Blog : I Hear Rumors That Our Education Institutions Are In Trouble has another story with hope for the future.

We don’t have to worry about the future of education. Today’s youth will demand a superior local education system or they will go to any Internet institution that can satisfy their needs. All we have to do as the adults is make sure the local school systems and Internet institutions are capable of living up to our children’s expanding expectations.

This is an interesting view on market based education. There is so much experience within a child’s grasp that he or she will seek out the education they need to understand it and use it and extend it. Give them a chance, a bit of support, then stand back and watch out for the next batch of Nobel Prize winners.

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Wretchard’s The Belmont Club looks at the The shadow of our hand

But the greatest event of all of the past five years has been the slow hardening of the human heart, as each of us sets his face against the unknown, our household goods and gods sheltering pitifully behind; an event undetectable save for the slow, crepitating sound of walls setting solid across the expanse of our global and tribal world.

Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.
And with the pity, the hate. That was ever man’s tragedy: an angel, but a killer angel.

“Our tools have converged but our souls have diverged.”

Do we know what is important anymore?

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