The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
I'm an adjunct professor at the school I work full time for. The classes I teach are all technology related, but span a great deal of topics. In my 101 course, I require papers to be written nearly every week. I grade quite harshly and I am merciless with regard to spelling, grammar (to the extent my personal knowledge allows), and formatting. Most papers contain the content I'm looking for but the paper itself is neigh unintelligible. Whole paragraphs with the green squiggly line, chatspeak, and grossly misspelled words (I'm somewhat forgiving on the technical jargon the spell checker doesn't know what to do with) riddle these papers and the students don't seem to understand the need to write clearly. I catch hell for these grades every single semester from the students. It isn't just the professors who have diminished their expectations, its the students as well who refuse to rise to any challenge claiming that since they paid tuition, they're entitled to an A. They submit papers I would never have considered letting an instructor see when I was an undergrad (a scant 10 years ago).
I know full well that I'm likely the exception rather than the rule. I'm not the best writer in the world, but I do know enough to effectively communicate via the written word. I demand the same capacity from my students.
With the utter uselessness of a high school diploma for anything more than minimum wage work (and many times not even that), college education has changed radically.
The biggest challenge I have as a teacher is to get my students to think in terms that are not 10 second sound bites. To actually reflect and contemplate something when the media that they are innundated with dumbs everything down to the point of stupdidity.
It's funny that you bring up Orwell. I think the Bushies have done an excellent job of employing doublespeak. The manipulate language so well and understand that much of our population, again thanks to the media, wants easy to swallow caplets of information. They only want this information distributed through the media, not a public education system, where they can control things more effectively.
Hence, the never ending slam on public education. While some of your claims are valid, Kevin, and you know I support radical change in the school system (and think that some teachers are lazy), you must realize that Bushies and some conservatives don't want a school system that turns out critical thinkers. They want a school system that, like Pat Robertson's university, turns out zombies who do what they're told. So, by not investing (and I don't mean financially) in the public school system, they undermine the efforts of any dissenting voice and are in further control of the message.
War is Peace. War is Freedom.
Mark, I've made the point repeatedly through the history of this blog (and before, on other forums) that it took both political parties to destroy the public education system, either by looking away or through active fiddling.
Bush has been President since 2000. There were 100 years of decay prior to his taking the oath of office. And if you'll do the research, I believe you will come to the same conclusion I did - the destruction of the public education system is the result of socialist "true believers" like Dewey and countless others after him who believed that in order to remake the world in their vision it would be first necessary to turn out in volume those mind-numbed zombies incapable of critical thinking.
The problem is, they forgot that mind-numbed zombies incapable of critical thinking can be led around by people with other political agendas just as easily. In fact, as I noted below, it seems that Al Gore's greatest complaint in his latest book is that those mind-numbed zombies simply won't follow him, and drown out the remaining population of people still capable of critical thinking.
That's why my family has opted for home school. I have fairly punctilious grammatical habits (moreso when writing than when speaking), and my 8-year-old frequently corrects me. All of my children correct television & radio commentary and signs.
Children will rise to meet almost any expectations you set for them, if you've instilled a habit of their meeting expectations early. It may be too late for the current crop in college.
How do we break the cycle?
Weetabix, You're already doing what's needed to break the cycle. I'm doing the same. We're not alone and our numbers are growing. It is that growth which may eventually allow the cycle to be broken.
"Bush lied, people died" is a perfect example of newspeak, specifically the word "lied". It has been redefined from "intentionally stating something known to be untrue" to synonymous with "mistaken." Though I would argue that we telegraphed our punch so far in advance that he didn't even have to be mistaken for us to find what we did in Iraq.
It's truly ironic that a redefinition of the word "lied" can be used to propagate a lie.
Kevin, first of all, I apologize for not following your directions on how to post...this time of year my mind usually turns to mush.
Second, Rather than complain about the school system or quit it all together, why don't all of you invest YOUR time in shaping your local schools, particularily if you have children in the schools. Much of what you describe here is simply untrue. Get involved and I think you will find out what is really going on.
I need to read Gore's book but the gist of what he is saying is essentially valid. There is no more reason in our culture. Take Ed's last post. He just won't see what Bush did as being wrong. He can't see our part...our responsibility in the horror we have created in Iraq. It is ingrained in many people to believe that anything a liberal says is a lie. All schools are filled with liberal liars who indoctrinating our children. There is no reason...only the comfort of a belief, which can never be changed.
And that's the problem, isn't it? You can change an idea but you can't change a belief. And any new idea is a cancer to your set system of beliefs. I don't see any new ideas out there at all, with a small exception here or there, from either party and that naseuates me.
I don't have time to delve into this as deeply as it deserves, but let me say this:
My sister is a teacher, math & science, currently teaching 8th graders. She's been a teacher for 27 years. My wife volunteers at the elementary school my grandchildren attend. I'm an electrical engineer, so the time I might have to "invest in shaping" my local schools is somewhat limited.
I've watched what 27 years in the education system has done to my sister. I listen to what my wife tells me when she comes home after her days volunteering in the classroom.
The system doesn't need to be re-shaped. It needs to be scrapped and rebuilt from scratch. The problems are too deeply ingrained in the system, in the mindset of those who run the system, and in the victims of the system two and three generations back who are now parents and grandparents and think this is the way it ought to be.
WRT Bush and Iraq, I still owe you a post. Don't expect it soon, though. My day job has precedence.
Well, I agree it needs to be scrapped, hence the article from the Christian Science Monitor I posted recently.
But at some point I would like you to clarify for me what you mean by "the mindset of those who run the system, and in the victims of the system two and three generations back who are now parents and grandparents and think this is the way it ought to be."
"It is ingrained in many people to believe that anything a liberal says is a lie."
Gee, now why would that be? Might it have something to do with the fact that what they say repeatedly and consistently does not line up with the facts?
Just for example, Speaker Nancy Pelosi bashed Republicans claiming that they formed the most corrupt congress ever. Yet in her first 100 days we learned that she steered large contracts to her husband's business. She appointed Alcee Hastings as the chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence even though he had been impeached, convicted and removed from the Federal Bench for bribery charges. She also appointed William "The Freezer" Jefferson to the Homeland Security Committee even though he was caught with $90,000 in bribe money in his freezer.
So where, oh where could I possibly have gotten the idea that liberals routinely lie? It couldn't possible have come from the liberal leadership could it?
Look Mark. No one told me I had to believe that liberals lie. All it takes is two things: Listening to what they say and comparing it to the facts.
Liberals are now saying that Saddam was never a threat, that he never had WMDs. Yet we have video of exactly the same people saying that he was a threat even when it wasn't popular to say so. That makes their current statements a big fat, in your face, grab you by the throat and shake you 'till your bones snap LIE!
Why should I accept their word that Bush "lied" when we can look back at videos and see that the Democrats are actually the ones brazenly lying to an unprecedented degree? Why should I accept anything you claim as "facts" when we have hard, rock solid evidence about who is actually lying staring you square in the face wearing blaze orange, blinking lights and waving its arms to get your attention, yet which you somehow simply cannot see?
That complete and utter disregard for evidence, truth, facts, logic and reason is at the root of what is wrong with our schools. I also think that our school system needs to be scrapped and rebuilt from scratch. And it is exactly people like you who need to be kept as far away from such rebuilding as humanly possible, like, say, Mars.
"The problem is, they forgot that mind-numbed zombies incapable of critical thinking can be lead around by people with other political agendas just as easily."
This is possibly a bit pedantic, but the word you want is "led" -- not "lead".
And in the post above: "... but you’ve been mislead." That should be "misled".
Normally, I just ignore such; but it seems to be on point for this post.
Be pedantic all you wish. You're right. That's one of my few grammatical weaknesses and I need to fix it.
Ed, since I am on an anti-Democrat kick this week, I can nothing but completely agree with you about them. I find their willingness to go along with the Bushies in 2003 completely and utterly reprehensible. Pelosi, Harry Reid (quite possibly worse than Tom Daschle which I didn't think was possible), Hillary Clinton...all of them are just as much to blame for all of this as President Bush himself.
Nothing somes up my feelings more about the Democrats (and the Bushies) than this video
Yep, that video pretty much sums up how I see your position too.
It was roughly 3 minutes of pure partisan Bush Bashing followed by roughly 10 seconds of bashing Democrats BECAUSE THEY AGREED WITH PRESIDENT BUSH and 40 seconds of bashing Carter for backing down when he was wrong. (Part at the beginning as a setup, the rest at the end.) There was not a single rational, logical argument in the whole thing. Just a bunch of ad hominem attacks with a few genetic fallacies thrown in.
You do know what logical fallacies are, don't you? They're arguments that look like they're logical, but they aren't. Their "logic" is invalid in the same way that this statement is invalid:
"A = B and C = D therefore A = D"
In other words, they're ILLOGICAL.
I'm a computer programmer by profession. If I accept logical fallacies in the software I write, the programs will not work. And if the errors are subtle enough, companies could even go out of business.
The world of politics is far more critical than mere software because the impact is much more far reaching than any single application. Therefore, I refuse to accept or use logical fallacies when debating something so critical.
If you want to use actual logic to debate me, then we have something to talk about. Until then, you're just wasting everyone's time.
Maybe you should take a course on formal logic, with an emphasis on logical fallacies, that is, if you can find one in our current postmodern, "If you believe it, it's true" screwed up educational system.
Sure, the video was an opinon piece but don't you think that it demonstrates, quite astutely, the reaction that people have when President Bush is criticized?
You want to be logical? Ok, here's some logic for you. Al Qaeda attack us on 9-11. They are based in Afghanistan. We attack them. We don't finish the job. (See Gary Berntsen's book Jawbreaker). Then we attack Iraq, who President Bush has stated repeatedly had nothing to do with the 9-11 attacks. Osama bin laden and Ayman Al Zawahari are still alive. The Taliban and Al Qaeda have rebuilt themselves in Pakistan and Afgahnistan. So, doesn't logic dictate that we actually go where the people that attacked us actually are?
You say they are in Iraq yet every source that I have ever read, including two generals that served there, says that Al Qaeda represents less than 5 percent of the fighters in Iraq. The rest are all trying to kill each other in a civil war that we helped to start.
Ed, what do you say to General Paul Eaton, father of the Iraqi Army, who says that the Republican Party under George Bush is the WORST thing that has ever happened to the military? What do you say to MG John Batiste, commander of the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, who says that President Bush's actions have "placed our nation in peril."
Are these men also accepting logical fallacies?
Mark, you have just demonstrated your tenuous grasp on logic.
You say yourself that the President has asserted no direct link between Saddam and 9/11. Yet you insinuate that the readers here believe that we attacked Saddam because of 9/11, simply by saying that there was no link between him and 9/11.
Perhaps you could consider that the readers here have a more carefully-considered view of the situation than you give them credit for. (I myself have been hoping for Saddam to be taken out ever since we abandoned the Kurds and Shia to him in 1991. I believe it to be a moral duty, and repentence for Bush I's sin.)
I am speaking more of the general struggle against people who use terrorism as a tactic. I think if you made a laundry list of "things to do" to prevent future terror attacks, overthrowing Saddam Hussein would've ranked much lower compared other areas we should be and aren't pursuing.
The president, even though he said that, is still insinuatiing that if we leave Iraq, the terrorists will follow us home. This makes no sense to me as leaving Iraq simply means focusing our attention elsewhere in the Middle East where it is sorely needed. They won't follow us home if we stop them in the places in the world (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Sudan, Somalia) where they actually are operating.
"What do you say to..."
Right from one logical fallacy to another...
This one is called a faulty appeal to authority.
A. What special qualifications do these men have to make such judgements over and above other men who appear at least as qualified who say that we need to finish the job in Iraq?
B. Links to their comments in context would be a minimum requirement to support that they were actually saying what you claim they've said. This is especially true since I've caught you misusing quotes taken out of context in the past. Remember your claims that General Petraeus had said we can't win the war in Iraq, but when we examined his full comments, we discovered that he actually said the exact opposite?!?
Ed, read the full transcript here of General Patraeus' testimony.
Page 2, the first four paragraphs. What I am taking out of context? My oringal point was that this conflict can't be won exclusively by military means. Isn't that exactly what he is saying?
What exactly am I taking out of context here? Seems pretty straight forward to me...
"if we stop them in the places in the world (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Sudan, Somalia)"
So, you're recommending we invade Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Sudan AND Somalia (again)? I thought OBL hated us for having troops in Saudi Arabia? Why not just stay in Iraq and act as flypaper for terrorists there? Why spread the IEDs, VBIEDs, and chlorine-gas truck IEDs to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Sudan and Somalia?
I don't think I understand your concept of foreign policy.
Here is an example..
This is how we should be using our military...limited strikes backed up by good intelligence.
Afghanistan...should have never been given over to NATO and we should have more of our troops there instead of Iraq, eliminatiing Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Pakistan...we are currently paying Musharaf 1 billion dollars a year to do nothing. I realize that we would rather have him than an Islamic radical but we need a new policy here. This country IS a breeding ground for terrorism, much much worse than Iraq. I would say this is number one baddie central right now, with number two being Saudi Arabia. The CIA struck a suspected hideout of Zawahari here a while back and everyone in our government supported it, dems and repubs. So did I. I think we need to put the screws to Musharaf
Saudi Arabia, have always been a problem. They are a corrupt regime that allows fundementalists, in a sick twisted relationship, to control the masses. Hmm...sound sorta familiar doesn't it? Supposedly, they root out militants all the time but I don't believe anything out of their mouths? Would you? I mean this is a country that forces little girls to stay in burning buildings so the boys can get out first. And you wonder why When I see President Bush holding hands with Prince Bandahr...well, y'know I just don't trust him when he says he is acting to protect this country
UAE, um, why is Haliburton moving there? Why are they our ally when two of the 9-11 hijackers came from there?
Sudan, another place that could use some limited military strikes like in Somalia but wait...why aren't we doing anything...what is the word I am thinking of....oh, that's right...China. And, since someone spent all the money in the world cutting Paris Hilton's taxes and not catching Osama bin Laden, we really can't ruffle China's feathers because if they pull out of the bond market, then we, as a country, are done.
I hope this makes things a little clearer..if not, let me know.
See, Mark? This is debate.
Cool. Hey, I wanted to add something on to the post above about Pakistan. All of you HAVE to read this. I was completely blown away by this article.
Being the big music fan I am, I have to say that what this guy, as well as the guy who runs a women's crisis center (!), is doing takes a lot of cahones.
Maybe he could be the first Muslim to embrace the philosophy of this blog?
"I'm not scared" said Ansar Naeeem.
Neither are we, dude.