Monday, September 19, 2005

Perception Is Everything - NOT!!!!

Last Friday I had the privilege of participating in my second “Late Start Day” of the school year. Our most excellent Principal arranged a very informative training for the first part of our extra two hours without students. This training culminated in a discussion on the fact that my school had failed the “No Child Left Behind” standards for last year. The presentation soon degenerated into a lot of excuses and complaints about the entire testing program. Finally one of my most respected colleagues, with a pointed stare in my direction, suggested that our only salvation was to elect a new President. At this point I put in my two bits worth. “What does it matter that we got a “No” on the level of success of our Hispanic students? Isn’t the purpose of the standard test to help us find students that need help? Perhaps we would be better off with a President who allow us to continue to sweep our failures under the rug – but wouldn’t it be much better if we were to work together to make these students more successful and quit worrying about whether we beat Davis High or not!!” At this point another dear friend and fellow teacher said loudly and pointedly, “Perception is everything!” Then my Principal intervened to explain that I was stealing his final remarks.

But I was deeply troubled at Mr. Brimhall’s comment. It is at the foundation of what I call Relativism. Reality does not matter – it is what one chooses to believe that matters.

Please consider these examples:

1) I spent many hours last week watching the “questioning” of Judge John Roberts. (Thank goodness for CSPAN) It soon became obvious that many of the questioners were far more interested in perception than in Judge Roberts. For those of you who have listened and watched, I am sure you are aware of a thousand examples, but the most blatant, to me, was Ted Kennedy EEOC attack. Toward the end of his second set of questions, the twenty minute round, Kennedy started reading a lengthy description of the EEOC and its great value to America and to the civil rights of all those who Kennedy pretends to champion. He then read one phrase from a memo that Roberts had written while advising President Reagan some twenty years ago. Kennedy read from Roberts’ memo: “. . . we should ignore the assertion that the “EEOC is un-American”, the truth of the matter not withstanding.” Kennedy’s hope was that the perception would be that Roberts was implying that it was true that the EEOC was un-American and that Reagan should just ignore that fact. Kennedy wanted to propagate the perception that Judge Roberts truly believed the EEOC to be un-American. When Kennedy pompously demanded an explanation of this abhorrent claim, Roberts promptly provided one – the TRUTH!!! He pointed out that Senator Kennedy was only reading the last half of a sentence. The first half of that sentence referred to a person who had written to President Reagan demanding that he fulfill an alleged campaign promise to abolish the EEOC. Roberts explained that he had been unable to prove or disprove that Reagan had made any such promise – but was advising the President to ignore such a claim – the truth of the matter of whether Reagan had made such a promise or not, “not withstanding”. It then became obvious that Roberts was defending the EEOC to Reagan not disparaging it. Kennedy was left gasping like a great fish out of water. He tried to obfuscate and to withhold the memo from the record and from Judge Roberts, but fortunately Chairman Specter provided the Judge a chance to prove the truth by providing him the memo and time to explain.

Now an observation, which I hope my many friends who were most successful policy debaters in high school and college, will not consider in any way a slight on the merits of that activity. In Kennedy’s folly I see all the trappings of the card quoting and brief building of certain high school debaters. What Kennedy had done was set loose his army of aids and interns to scour the 100,000 or so pages of documents provided from John Robert’s paper trail. One of these eager beavers had found this little treasure and wrote page after page of brief for Kennedy to read in the hearing. The entire purpose of the charade? – To try to create a pernicious perception. This CARD was to carry the day for the relativists and sully the reputation of a great man, because, to them, perception is all that matters. What Roberts’ brilliance and Specter’s fairness proved was that it is the TRUTH that matters!!!!

2) The endless yammering about the “failed” policy in Iraq. Now I hear that George McGovern and Bill Clinton have joined the chorus calling on America to desert democracy in Iraq.

3) The constantly inflated casualty numbers, the lies about dikes being blown up, the constantly casting of the “race card”, the endless blame game, of the hurricane disaster.

4) The endless griping about the costs for wars and disaster clean ups.

It would be nice to consider some facts for a change:

Consider the fact that both Iraq and Afghanistan have had more successful elections than Germany.

Realize the fact that leaving Saddam to grow in power and brashness would have inevitably brought upon the world far greater costs in lives and treasure. Saddam demonstrated his brashness and earned his destruction by ignoring multiple UN resolutions.

Understand that leaving Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama in ruins, will do this nation far more damage than spending enough money to revitalize and rebuild them. I would point out that the deficit spending of FDR together with the Marshal Plan and the rebuilding of Japan, at great expense to Americans; enunciated the second great economic boom of the twentieth century. By the way, the roaring fifties far surpassed the roaring twenties. I would add that Ronald Reagan’s deficit spending and tax cuts allow the US to spend the USSR out of existence without nuclear war, and lay the foundation for an economic prosperity that it took Bill Clinton seven years of mismanagement to deflate.

The truth is out there – but I fear it will have little effect on those to whom Perception Is Everything.

52 comments:

Reach Upward said...

You know that relativists despise absolutists' inability to "think outside of the box," as it were. But thank you for standing firm on the concept of absolute truth. I agree that it is to be had if one is willing to get it.

I appreciated Judge Roberts' assertion that a judge is analogous to an umpire. Both impartially make sure that the rules are followed, even if they are not personally pleased with the outcome. I wish more of our judiciary shared that line of thinking.

On deficit spending, I agree that proper use of debt can enhance productivity, and ultimately revenues. Businesses do this all of the time. However, there are also many examples of businesses and governments overextending themselves or using funds irresponsibly. I argue here that though we need to take care of Iraq and Katrina relief, we need some fiscal restraint.

You note the success of the Marshall plan. Let's also note that to implement that plan we drastically cut domestic spending, cutting even programs highly cherished by many politicians because they could envision the greater good that would be achieved. Today we are both increasing domestic spending at high rates while continuing our support of war and relief efforts. We should prioritize and spend wisely rather than chucking money out willy-nilly.

Lysis Verus said...

Lysis Verus here. I have registered, hopefully I'll show up as Lysis Verus instead of anonymous. A few comments: Lysis' colleague was insightful (though incorrect) with his comment that "Perception is everything" (Very 'Wittgenstein' sp? :)) actually he should have said "Perception is reality" That's how a Relativist thinks. Now I agree with Lysis that this is a very poor attitude and not reflective of one who seeks the truth. But we must ask how we arrived at this sorry condition, vis a vis public education, where such a relativist statement could hold any sway with anyone. I contend that much of the trouble stems from a fundamental violation of the Framer's vision of Federalism. The constitution makes NO MENTION of any federal role in education yet we have the No Child Left Behind Act and before that Goals 2000 and countless other Federal measures meddling with local issues. President Bush is no different from his predecessors in his desire to meddle with a State issue. Left or Right politics, it seems to me, are irrelevant to the fundamental point. NCLB (and to be fair, other federal initiatives) is unconstitutional and therefore should be scrapped. The Federal Government (especially domestically)is all about being 'perceived' as caring and 'showing' strength and etc. An overblown, overfed, overfunded, over-ambitious Federal Government *must* function on perception (as opposed to reality) because it can never deliver all that it promises . The Framers (brilliantly) set up a national government that was limited in size and powers, leaving most of the governing (and services like police, education, etc) to the states. What have we done with this precious legacy? Comments? (Please don't accuse me of Blaming Bush, he's just the *latest* in a long line of power-consolidators)

On Roberts: The Bush Administration made a good call. Finally a non-activist conservative judge! (I can dream can't I?) I watched too Lysis, Tubby Kennedy made a fool of himself. Poor MA should have elected Mitt Romney to the senate when it had the chance. It is sad to see the Kennedy legacy reduced to a bloated blowhard asking silly questions of an immently qualified and clearly superior (to Teddy) man. I've got to agree with 'Reach' on Roberts comments on judging, pehaps he can educate the rest of the Federal Judiciary.

Lysis, the blame game is part of politics. Especially when we have a FedGov that wishes to be all things to all people. I don't know for sure but I bet you've read Machiavelli. They're playing out of his playbook.

Guns and Butter: LBJ was wrong to try and fight Vietnam and do the Great Society too. (I contend LBJ should have done neither) Bush will find the same trouble. Lessons of history and all that.

Anonymous said...

Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!
(once again adhering to the four exclamation rule)

What a stroke of brilliance, to hoist Bush with the Lysis' "relativist" petard.

LYSUS VERUS you have honored your name.

Lysis said...

Dear Reach, I posted some of this entry on your web page. I hope my thoughts there will provide some grist for your readers. For our discussion here in the Agora I present some thoughts. *Note – Reach Upward quotes a Steven Moore who makes some rather surprising statements about federal spending.

1. On the complaint that Bush is spending a lot of money – a 30% increase in five years. - Though it is, of course, impossible to prove, as thank God it didn’t happen; Bush’s “30%” spending increase is far less than the cost of the socialist situation that Gore and Kerry would have been pushing our nation into.

2. On complaints that Bush is spending money on things unneeded as well as ones we need. I would remind you that the “power of the purse” is in the hands of the Republican controlled Congress. Let’s place some blame and some demands on them!

3. Remember that much of the increased government spending under Bush has been cause by the necessary expenses of paying for 9/11, the war against terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, and else were, and now a devastation caused by nature. Some expenditures are necessary. Look at it this way: If my son came to me to demand thousands of dollars for an apartment in Salt Lake for him and his friends to “hang out in”. I would justly and deny his request on the grounds that I do not have funds for such a venture – on the other hand if the same son came to me to request thousands of dollars for emergency surgery to restore his health or save his life – I would gladly supply the funds, even taking extra work or selling some valuable possessions, to obtain the money. For indeed, my son’s (family’s) welfare is my whole purpose in earning money in the first place.

4. To Moore’s claim that we are giving $400,000 to each person in Louisiana (enough to by them a house anywhere) – Most of that expense will be to rebuild the infrastructure – infrastructure which you, Reach, have admitted is vital to our entire nation. Think rather that are giving each “victim” a home and a highway.

5. Finally – To Moore’s implication on the nature of those asking for assistance. The peoples of Iraq and our own gulf states are not grabby four year olds; they are our friends and fellows who are suffering greatly from events beyond their control. They deserve our help, not our scorn!

Lysis Verus – Welcome to the “big time”. I am glad to see you “registered” and hope you will continue to share your thoughts with us.

“Perception is Reality” ala Wittgenstein (I checked the spelling – you are spot on) is exactly why I hope to aid Relativists by helping them in perceiving the truth.

I am quite in agreement with you in that education and most other things; environmental regulation (pollution control, species protection, forest utilization) intra state commerce, communication, health care, ect. are primarily the concern of the states. But would you concede that education still falls within the “general welfare” concerns of the Constitution. Even before there was a Constitution the North West Ordinance, passed under the Articles of Confederation, sought to aid states in financing public education.

NCLB does not affect state or local financing of education. The strings are all attached to federal moneys. Failure only allows citizens to make individual family choices in education. That “We the People” use our own national finances to discover those in need and encourage their support does not seem to indicate to me a government that is overblown, over fed, over funded, or overly ambitious. Rather it seems to indicate a government that seeks to promote equality of opportunity. Whether NCLB is a successful or becomes any number of failures does not depend on perception but on measured proof that America’s students are learning.

LV – We concur on Kennedy and it seems Roberts as well.

I have read Machiavelli, and he also maintains that any ruler who fails to do his people actual(not perceived) good will fall. Even the tyrant must serve the people or die!

I hold that LBJ could have won the war in Vietnam and saved millions of lives if the nation would have know the truth and not been misled by perception. As for the great society – that was a contrived perception – a dream – to get him power.

Lysis said...

Dear Anonymous, could it be that Bush’s hoisting was really only your misperception?????

Reach Upward said...

Lysis,
-Please note that the 30% figure does not include spending for the War on Terror. It includes massive expansion of social programs among other things.
-I understand your apartment - surgery analogy, but if your son needed that surgery, surely you would have to cut spending elsewhere to make up for it. Our government should do no less.-
You have a point on the infrastructure matter, but the $400,000 figure does illustrate a point as well.
-The grabby four-year-olds referenced are not the people needing help. They are the people everywhere else that come out of the woodwork wanting a piece of that Katrina relief pie though they really have nothing to do with it.

Our recent energy and highway bills have been heavily laden with pork: projects that benefit local areas or pet interests and that have dubious value to the national interest – projects about which we must ask whether wealth redistribution is appropriate. I am not arguing that we gut essential spending. I am arguing that we need to delineate between essential and nonessential spending (through appropriate debate), and then work to eliminate the latter. Families and businesses have to do this all of the time or else face bankruptcy.

Apollo said...

Hello friends and greetings to my enemies. Not that we have enemies here because we are all friends. Ummm... I have not really been paying attention due to work, school, athletics, and a new girlfriend. As far as I understand, and correct me if I'm wrong, but we are debating two "truths". HA! TRUTH! Who is here among us that really knows the truth for no one can lie if they believe they are telling the truth. The only truth is that THERE IS NO SINGLE TRUTH!!! Only what we BELIEVE!!! Just as Yesterday was a new day then but is an old day Now. My point in that is that things are always changing. What was here a second ago is gone now and things that we thought never were turn out to have been. The point is that we truly never know and we never will wiht all the changing and opinions and I would like to repeat what I said before :
YOU CAN NOT LIE IF YOU BELIEVE YOU ARE TELLING THE TRUTH.

Reach Upward said...

Apollo, that is truly a Clintonian thought. I agree with Lysis that absolute truth does exist. Changing conditions do not destroy that fact. Lysis once pointed out to another relativist that relativism leaves participants with no basis for discussion.

Lysis Verus said...

Reach, I read your blog and found informative and from the heart.

Apollo, could you please clarify. Are you contending that a liar is not guilty of lying ifhe thinks is lie is the truth? As Julius Caesar said (and he should know about lying) "Men readily believe what they wish to believe." How convenient for tyrants in crowns and psychopaths in powersuits.

In an earlier thread Lysis and I sparred a bit about the American Empire. That America is an Empire is not in question. What he and I disagree about is what the Empire should do or be (BTW I am looking forward to further discussion). If there is no truth beyond opinion and nothing can be known, why aren't we all living in caves eating grubs and raw dead animals? Why have we built cities, farms, roads and other infrastructure? The TRUTH is that some (many, most) things can be known and the rest we can gain a pretty good idea about through science, reson and debate. Deal with it. Relativism like Focault's deconstructionism is a dead letter because it must invariably eat its own adherents, like you.

Some examples: You live in New Orleans and the flood is rising, the news says it will get worse and you are on your roof but you wish to believe you can wait it out, as the floodwaters lapp about your neck the 'reality' sets in that you must leave or drown. Reality is real, A is A, you can try to argue it away, rationalize but in the end you must deal with the consequences of reality.

You are a mighty nation who invades a much weaker nation on wishes, lies and faulty (unreal) information. Instead of being greeted as heroic liberators you are greeted as hostile occupying invaders, two years later you still occupy the country trying to establish a western style democracy in a region with no such tradition among a people who (religiously) prefer dictatorial rule (kings, caliphs and dictators) You have spent much blood and tresure to no measureable effect. Reality dictates that the waters are rising you must cut and run or drown in blood and debt. Reality is real, A is A, you can try to argue it away, rationalize but in the end you must deal with the consequences of reality. ~Lysis Verus

I know I'll be flamed for making such assertions about these scenarios but let's discuss anyway.

Anonymous said...

Title I was enacted in 1965 as part of the first ESEA. In the original hearings, testimony on ESEA was given by Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Title I has been around for a long time -- NCLB is the most recent incarnation, and the first to incorporate ideas put forth by RFK back in 1965. At the time, Republicans shouted down his calls for accountability as being anti-states' rights and anti-local control. Conservatives today blast NCLB for the same reason,(see Utah State legislature and a recent Lysis Verus' posting) and oddly, some Democrates do too -- even though one of the patron saints of their party called for it. Notice also, that TED KENNEDY (AKA to Lysis as "THE DEVIL") joined his brother on the Senate floor in *1965* to give speeches that supported the same mandates now in NCLB. You can access the testimony any time you want Lysis -- it shares much with sentiments you voiced about NCLB in your last posting!

I will need Lysis to make up one of those plastic credit card things for my wallet, just so I can tell the absolutists from the relativists.

Oh, that's right, relativists cannot think outside the box and absolutists copy their ideas -- yes, I think I,ve got it?????

*On the credit card thing, include a definition of absolutist and relativist.

A_Shadow said...

Ah, this one has been missed.

Perception is man's reality. I really hate that the rest of the absolutests of us can't see it.

To define absolutists, as I often do with my friends that don't understand where the terminology is derived from, an "absolutist" believes that the truth is absolute, that no two truths will ever exist AND be mutually exclusive. Thus if science or religion come to prove the other wrong (something I personally feel is impossible) the disproven one will no longer be considered as anything but fiction.

So, perception IS everything. The best way to look at this and maintain the fact that reality does not change is to assume the position that reality beats out any and all perceptions. Uncertanties are painted by your perceptions.

To use the example above: Perception, the waters are in the streets, rain falls in sheets and you percieve that you are safe and can sandbag your house to limit the damages of flooding. You opt to stay.

Reality: You stayed percieving you were in no danger, an unanticipated event happens, the levy breaks and the reality becomes clear, your fate is sealed.

In ambiguity, you will choose what you percieve, regardless of what reality is because reality can not be assured.

One further example from a movie I just watched (who cares if it is fiction, we are talking hypotheticals): You are the captain of a jumbo jet and are 40,00 ft. in the air. A frantic mother approaches you saying that she can't find her child anywhere, a child that NO ONE has seen get on the plane, and who by all legal records and accounts (crew manifest, state records and plane tickets) DOES NOT EXIST. So, do you let the mother's obvious histeria continue while you "know" that the child is dead? Or do you look for the child because the mother "knows" that she brought that child on board with her own two hands?

The reality? The child was on the plane, but had been hidden. Which choice would you make? What did "reality" say to you versus the actual reality?

You have to make decisions on the information that you have available. If I were a judge and had a witness that "knew" that they had seen a particular suspect kill someone, and the evidence at hand pointed towards the same conclusion, I would pronounce him guilty. Reality can be very different, but the things that we have, the evidence aboce, becomes our reality until something udisputable is made available.

That is the power of perception. The power of manipulation. That's how that works.

Yes, reality is the real power, but if you can hide the reality and manipulate the "facts" then you will craft your own. But beware, that is as fragile as the lies that you built it upon.

And that is the same as with the issue of Robert's quote that Lysis put out there. The trick was simple, as he said even a novice debater would use that, and only a novice would fall for it. Pulling things out of context is the easiest way to manipulate the truth and put your own spin on it. If Roberts had not responded to it as he did, then our reality would have been that the point would have gone for his opposition. That would have been the reality, regardless of what Robert's had really said.

A_Shadow said...

Now I'll respond to the self-proclaimed true seperation:

"Apollo, could you please clarify. Are you contending that a liar is not guilty of lying ifhe thinks is lie is the truth? As Julius Caesar said (and he should know about lying) "Men readily believe what they wish to believe." How convenient for tyrants in crowns and psychopaths in powersuits."

It's always been a bit morally ambiguous here. Obviously some things are going to be evil no matter how they are looked at: torture comes to mind. But if an action is truly percieved to be the best, why should they be held responsible? We aren't talking about self-created perceptions. We are talking that they believe completely, and varifiably by any source. Can you convict someone of lying about something, even if you pass them through such intensive means as a lie detector or sodium penthal, for lying if you KNOW the truth and they KNOW that they aren't lying?

"In an earlier thread Lysis and I sparred a bit about the American Empire. That America is an Empire is not in question. What he and I disagree about is what the Empire should do or be (BTW I am looking forward to further discussion). If there is no truth beyond opinion and nothing can be known, why aren't we all living in caves eating grubs and raw dead animals? Why have we built cities, farms, roads and other infrastructure? The TRUTH is that some (many, most) things can be known and the rest we can gain a pretty good idea about through science, reson and debate. Deal with it. Relativism like Focault's deconstructionism is a dead letter because it must invariably eat its own adherents, like you. "

The TRUTH is that many things CAN be known. The TRUTH is that many things aren't KNOWN. I'm talking the sort of "knowing" that you would always put money on in vegas because you'd always be right. No one has ever claimed a level of certainty about ANYTHING that is 100%. Our society just gets an "adequate" understanding and claim that they "know" it. Anyone who has taken statistics realizes that any event has some level of uncertainty. If there's a .000-1 (the dash signifying as many zeros as you'd like) percent chance of something happening other than what is predicted, the likely hood is that eventually that something else will happen. And we're no where close to having ANYTHING narrowed down to that sort of precision.

I also fail to see what your comment about grub eating cave dwellers has to do with anything.

And furthermore, I still strive against the outlook that we are an empire. I'd still like to see where the government of America has given you the evidence to support that. But don't worry, I'm patient, you can keep ignoring me until you just can't stand it.

"Some examples: You live in New Orleans and the flood is rising, the news says it will get worse and you are on your roof but you wish to believe you can wait it out, as the floodwaters lapp about your neck the 'reality' sets in that you must leave or drown. Reality is real, A is A, you can try to argue it away, rationalize but in the end you must deal with the consequences of reality. "

And deal you will, but your choice was made. I explained this in my above comment, so I would be loathe to repeat myself. No one is questioning that you will deal with your consequences, but if you were that person who "knew" that the levy would not break and "knew" that they were safe, would you still have left?

"You are a mighty nation who invades a much weaker nation on wishes, lies and faulty (unreal) information. Instead of being greeted as heroic liberators you are greeted as hostile occupying invaders, two years later you still occupy the country trying to establish a western style democracy in a region with no such tradition among a people who (religiously) prefer dictatorial rule (kings, caliphs and dictators) You have spent much blood and tresure to no measureable effect. Reality dictates that the waters are rising you must cut and run or drown in blood and debt. Reality is real, A is A, you can try to argue it away, rationalize but in the end you must deal with the consequences of reality. ~Lysis Verus

I know I'll be flamed for making such assertions about these scenarios but let's discuss anyway."

And flamed you should be, but I'll try not to sink to a level on par with yourself.

"You are a mighty nation", is that to assume that you aren't an American? I don't know, and am curious. With a comment like that you are being rather derogatory (when taken in context) and trying to make a seperation from the nation. So does that mean that you are Canadian, from the UK, or somewhere else?

What wishes did we enter into Iraq with? What wishes for our own good, that is. We still get no more oil from them then ever. I have, or had, charts to prove it. We have only EVER gotten 144K barrels of oil from them per day (year?). That persisted a year after the war, I haven't seen any super current, today, numbers. That was current up to March, I believe. We wished to free an oppressed nation, we wished to remove the fear of a world populace, and we wished to disarm (legally through multi-national law and resolution) a madman. What goals of our own were we enforcing there, again?

You are operating under the same conclusions that were rampant in the Vietnamese War. It's a shame that our enemies don't equate human loss (in combatants alone) as defeat as much as we do. I feel that we would have crushed them in the Vietnemese War, Korean War and this War far sooner if they "cut and run" becuase they have lost soldiers.

We are at no tactical disadvantages in Iraq asides from being on their home turf and they are guerilla fighters. We have the upper hand in every other way.

Where in the Qu'ran does it tell Muslims to elect dictatorial leaders that will enslave them and torture them? I know I didn't read much of the book myself, but it just seems a little odd that I missed such a big piece of that picture.

And one last reminder: We were definately greeted as liberators. (sarcasm warning) I definately didn't see Marines standing side by side with Iraqis as they tore down the statues of their beloved leader. Definately sounds like something that an entire nation who feels that we are invaders would do. Running out to greet us, playing soccer with us, helping us to help them. There's never been a single shred of evidence of that, has there? It's a pity that their entire nation loathes us.

As you are fond of saying "Deal with it". American Liberators were greated as such in the streets with celebration. Just because we have insurgent fighters attacking us (and more so, the Iraqis) daily doesn't make them all hate us. What the hell kind of thought process is that? The insurgents obviously hate their own peoples as dictators and conquerors, they blow up their own people even more so than "occupying" marines.

Now who's hiding in half truths and forged realities?

Lysis said...

So much good stuff, so little time.

To LV and Shadow – I maintain that America is an empire (like Rome) because it now stretches not only from sea to shining sea but from the Virgin Islands to Guam. Check out who owns most of the Islands of the Pacific some time. It’s all our empire. Our ancestors – for better or worse – conquered, destroyed, or concentrated the native inhabitants of most of North America and imposed on them and the land they once occupied, American Political, Legal, and Cultural aspects. Just because Americans were so good at spreading their empire – so good a populating it with our own, so magnificent at converting even our conquered foes to our way of thinking, speaking, worshiping, trading, and acting, does not mean we did not impose these things on them. Realize Shadow that 150 years ago anything that could be called the United States was stuck out beyond the Rockies – now it is found on the farthest edge of the Pacific and well beyond the Artic Circle. I would argue that this empire is a good thing – a land of security, prosperity, freedom, and justice, but it is still wholly made by an irrepressible expansion of the United States into places were it had not been before – and were some times, at first at least, it was not welcome. And a mighty empire of American ideas now presses past the borders of Africa and Asia. The would cries out to join us in freedom, prosperity, and justice. We should not be ashamed of this empire – we should rejoice in the gratitude of the 300 + million who benefit in its expansion and the 6 billion who long to share in its blessings.

To Anonymous – A “card” on absolutism is provided at the mast head of this web log. Although Shadow did a good job in laying the background; I will simply state that an absolutists recognizes that this is a world were absolute truth exits but cannot be know (not in perfect certainty) but where one must live by reason and faith. As for the definition of Relativist; I turn to Ted Kennedy, my colleague, Dave Brimhall, and most exactly Lysis Verus, it is someone who accepts that “perception is reality.” You will have to craft the carrying card yourself.

I never called Ted Kennedy a devil – my accurate description of his actions led you to that understanding all on your own!!!

As for NCLB I support it no matter who first introduced it, because it is good for the students of America. That is what an absolutist can do. See past the partisanship and evaluate the merit.

Anonymous said...

"NCLB . . . is good for the students of America."

English and Math are tested by the State of Utah as a part of NCLB accountability -- 2005/06 is the first year that graduation will be linked to passing both parts of the test.

I am curious -- why just English and Math? Why is History and Social Studies exempt?

I know English and Math teachers, at the direction of the principal, who have been ordered this year to abandon their normal curriculum to "teach the damn test and forget about all that other fluff!"

Drill and test have become the rigour throughout the country, principally because of NCLB.

But not for EVERY curriculum. There ARE those who get to teach "non NCLB vital 'fluffy'"
classes who get to languish in non-accountability and never worry about testing. They get to teach a *Great Books* or Art History class and never have to worry about someone looking over THEIR shoulder with some arbitrary standards of accountability.

For someone in Public Education to be so oblivious to the corrupting influences of testing accountability because of partisan loyalties is one thing -- but to put himself outside of those same influences and sanction the bullying and cajoling of those unlucky enough to be subject to them is academic arrogance and disloyalty of the worst kind.

That's what Mr. Brimhall SHOULD have said in faculty meeting! Ya, the principal probably would not have cheered.

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

Anonymous – What energy!

I agree with you that all disciplines should have to measure up to standards. I have no idea why History is exempt from standardized testing. Perhaps it is the difficulty of constructing meaningful standards of measurement. We all ought to demand that someone come up with them. History is a vast expanse, and not easily divided into levels where progress can be measured. American History is really not any advance on World History. Be that as it may, there is a lot of room for improvement in history classes. I hope someone is working on it.

I appreciate the English teachers who teach students the skills they need to study History. I think many English teachers realize that history study is a great place to put the valuable skills English teachers teach into practice. Perhaps we should work on seeing each others successes as our own, and work together to improve our students learning. That seems to be the goal my Principal has laid out for our school; a goal toward which many are working.

As for Math teachers; I was actually offered a job as a Math teacher at Star Valley Jr. High. I said no! Teaching Math is too much like work. I would much rather teach History. To be honest, I have always believed that all teachers would teach history if they could.

Anonymous, are you angry with me because I get to do what I want to do all day, every day? I think I work very hard at it. I might teach differently if I had a test to teach to, in my A.P. class I do, but I would try to make it as “fluffy” as possible.

I have actually had students tell me that Great Books class was of value to them. That was my intent in developing the class. I didn’t do it just to have a fluffy time.

There are flaws in NCLB. But that some courses are tested and others are not tested - hardly seems a significant one to me. I promise you that I have never looked at another teachers “NCLB performance” nor judged another teacher by their students test scores. I have judged them on other accounts – but that is for another time.

To lecture me on academic arrogance because others are being held academically accountable, while claiming that I am not being held accountable, sounds rather arrogant to me. But then strongly stating ones opinions may sound arrogant to someone who holds another opinion.

Just let me end by saying I have no fear of being held accountable. I hope my students hold me accountable every day. Bring on the tests and the “over shoulder watchers”. I will continue to do my best and not waist my energy bemoaning unfairness in an unfair world. Maybe this is a perspective one could develop form studying history, or teaching it.

A_Shadow said...

As a student of the AP corriculum (and I feel that I can say that having graduated as an "AP Scholar" recognized by the Board of Education and having taken 9 of the bloody tests) I don't see what the issue is with learning from the test. It's actually an interesting thing. You spend most of the year learning about the test, what will be covered and needs to be, but then you have two months (in some classes, mostly depending on the year and the teacher) of "unstructured" learning. I find that best because the AP classes prepare you for the daily uses of what you will be learning and then you can explore the theory and the unknowns (again, depending on the class) when the testing is over. At least this is how my Physics class was especially. We had an entire "extra-corricular" study month on the theories surrounding Relativity, which had been taken off of the test some years prior.

I don't see why learning for a test is a bad thing, or did I miss your point? I would definately say it's a poor choice if the tests are poorly made. I wouldn't be found promoting the teaching of a class on the SAT (the standard one taken yearly, not the college entrance exam) because I find it sub-standard as a test. But then we know that I've taken harder and better ones as stated above.

If the test is well written, is well structured, the class will easily follow suit. You learn plenty, I guarantee that.

And Lysis, I have to take issue on your judgement of Essays in History and English. They are the same umbrella term, but they are two different animals:

History you are writing an argumentative paper on the facts. There are some areas where you can take dissenting viewpoints, but there are many facts that need be included.

English Essays involve a great deal of judgement. You write based off of the imagery, the style or the intent. You are writing in response to someone elses' writing. Generally, anyways.

And for a bit of a low blow. I have never been docked points on an English Essay for it being "too" long.

I still disagree with you on that one, but it's in the past.

Darin Linder (7th period troublemaker) said...

Hey Mr. Conner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love your blog.........it's just like class

see ya tuesday

Lysis Verus said...

On EMPIRE & the IRAQ War:
Empire:
Since obvious reality must be pointed out sometimes, here goes: Websters says and empire is a 'major political unit having a territory of great extent or a number of territories or people under a single sovereign authority' Right, now look a a map of US Territorial Expansion, read the map, re-read Lysis comments on the subject, we are an empire. BTW I am an American, both sides of my family have been here since before the Revolution. I love this country very much and care a great deal about its future. My comments about 'a mighty nation' were intended to distance the emotional content of this discussion, to allow a bit of reasonable dispationate analysis. Clearly I failed on that account.
Iraq War:
The American People were told by President Bush that we *had to* invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein was developing (and probably already had!) Weapons of Mass Destruction (Eg Nuclear, Chemical or Biological). We attacked without provocation (eg Saddam never used his weapons on us, and those he had used in the past [chemical] were supplied by the US when he was 'our SOB') Therefore we really crossed the Rubicon on that one (eg we had never done such a thing before).
As it turns out Saddam didn't have weapons and it is possible that the 'intelligence' was exeggarated or even fabricated (yellow cake and all that). Now the war has cost us blood (1800+ US lives, 10,000+ US wounded/ not to mention 100,000+ dead Iraqis) and treasure ($300+ Bn in deficit spending with no forseeable pullout timetable). The underlying question, it seems to me, is whether the USA is responsible for spreading our form of governemnt all around the world, since that's the *real* 'reasoning' now from the Administration. But why Iraq and not N. Korea? Iran? Syria? China? (Oops can't do China because they make all our Wal-Mart stuff AND finance much of our annual deficits) Or does one think we should invade those too?! But please, I was never one of those 'no blood for oil' types. I most cases its cheaper just to buy off the puppet dictators and 'democracies' than it is to actually invade and pacify foreign lands. President Bush could have learned that from Clinton, Daddy, Reagan, other Presidents, any thoughtful history book (if only he would read). So why did we do it? Was he misguided? A bad trait in any leader. Was he incompetent? Also a bad trait. Did he deliberately mislead the American people on a pet foreign adventure? Tough to say but the 'absolutists' should be able to find out the truth from their man. No? Yes? ~Lysis Verus

Anonymous said...

_" . . . Bring on the tests!" -Lysis

I could not ignore the "Bring 'em on" GWB *arrogance* of the comment -- machismo goeth before a fall! (as we sadly have found out because we have accepted perception over reality) Or should I offer as advice, another well known, oft ignored maxim -- "Be Prepared".

"He who controls the test controls the curriculum. -Anonymous

Would the *Great Books* be so satisfying to teach if you were locked into a state mandated curriculm? Hypothetically, because of time restraints, Plato might have to be eliminated for the greater relevance of Aristotle. Therefore, all the questions on the test would be concerning Aristotle. Any teacher who valued his job and wanted to be a "success" would have to "teach to the test".

This is what I mean by the CORRUPTING influences of accountability testing, which you choose to ignore. (By the way you ignored the "teaching to the test" issues in my last posting, also.) Let's go back to the flow-sheet and find the crucial dropped argument!

I think many History teachers should realize that English study is a great place to put the valuable skills that History teachers teach into practice.

Skills teaching is EQUALLY important in BOTH disciplins. You know, I could THINK in the English language before I ever understood its grammar or mechanics.

Lysis said...

Lysis Verus and Anonymous – Thank you so much for your posts. They have stirred thoughts in me that I have long wanted to articulate. My only fear is that I am too tired – or to dull – to properly present them.

First to Lysis Verus' attacks against the justice of the Iraq War. As to Weapons of Mass Destruction; they were never my primary motivation for supporting the removal of Saddam and the liberation of Iraq. I quote President Bush’s great words, “We will bring the Iraqi people freedom.” A free Iraq will not harbor terrorists and will not develop and share weapons with those terrorists. More importantly, a free Iraq will not be a state maintained by murder – operating in full disregard to the laws of nations and the express will of the United Nations. [The UN can express its will, it is just to impotent to enforce it. See Yugoslavia,] Saddam had violated the treaties under which he was granted a reprieve at the end of GWI. He continued to murder his own people, pay for the murder of others, rob and starve the citizens of Iraq, bribe the leaders of France and Russia into decadence, and plot the conquest of his neighbors. His goal, to reestablishment a blood soaked Babylonian Empire with him as its Nebuchadnezzar.

What if there was a mission shift? The war to prevent the secession of the South became a war to end slavery; the war to punish Japan for its attack on Hawaii became a war to stop the mass murder of Jews and Russians and the enslavement of mankind. If the war to stop Saddam from developing atomic, biological, and chemical weapons became a war to end the murder of Iraqis, a war to bring freedom to 25 million of our brothers and sisters, a war to surround and face down fanatic Islam in Iran and else where; so much the better.

Your figure of 100,000 Iraqi dead in the war is totally concocted. You have no more evidence for that number than those who claimed that 25,000 blacks were drowned by Katrina. The fact is that the people killing Iraqis today are terrorists given hope for success by antiwar activists, not the American or Iraqi heroes who risk all to free and protect the people of that nation.

Your arguments are the same tired, false, and misguided ones that drove our troops prematurely from Vietnam and left 3,000,000 innocents to die at the hands of the Communists. Communists who were blood thirsty, power-grabbing terrorists with red stars, who sought to push the “wonders of Marx” on people who dreamed of and died fighting for their freedom. The blatant racism of the “anti-war” movement that dulled American efforts in Vietnam sickened me at that time. Kerry and his ilk loudly proclaim that the lives and freedom of Vietnamese were not worth one drop of American blood. This showed how easily they can draw lines between peoples for convenience sake. The hands and lying lips of the antiwar crowd that destroyed American resolve to fight and win in South East Asia drip with the blood of millions. The racism of the present antiwar crowd, who demand the withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq; as if the lives of those “brown people” were not worthy of sacrifice, oozes blood and will turn the stomach of history.


Now to Anonymous – How typical of one without an argument to characterize manly courage as a pejorative. My willingness to deal with tests is not bravado. I test my students constantly. I set goals for them and measure their success, and mine, every day. I am prepared to test my students and I do every time we talk; every time we work together. I am not afraid of finding interesting and worth while things to teach my students even in the works of Aristotle. An ideal way to study him might be to contrast Aristotle's ideas with the ideas set forth by Plato – in fact I am quite sure that would be the way I would do it. If those who are afraid of being tested would spend their energy in developing meaningful ways to teach the materials being tested instead of trying to dodge the requirements by hiding behind a wall of indignation, they might find more pleasure in their days and more success in the testing.

You are quick enough to allude to the failings of Aristotle. I am curious as to which items being tested in English and Math you find such a waist of your and your student’s time. Enlighten us all by listing the tested “skills’ or materials that you find such a colossal waist of effort. What is not being tested that should be? What is being tested that you do not think your students should be helped to learn? Failure to answer these questions will indicate your motives relate more to political bias or academic laziness than to a just frustration with federal interference in your “sacred right” to choose what to teach. These are conditions which I find even more troubling than arrogance.

By the way, Anonymous – I agree with you that we should all teach all students all skills that they need to succeed. I believe that this is the purpose of NCLB. If the program is not reaching that goal, perhaps you might suggest some way to improve it beyond making sure that other people have to be tested “just like you”.

Lysis Verus said...

Lysis, WMD may never have been *your* motive for supporting the Iraq War, but that *is* the primary argument the Bush Administration used in the build-up, remember the 'Mushroom cloud over a US city' comment? Remember Colin Powell at the UN? You can't use your Wilsonian goals and dreams as Bush's justification. Also: If Iraq is now free, why is it swarming with Al-Queda and local home-grown terrortists? And you never answered my question about all the other nations with dangerous dictators who opress their people. What about it Lysis? Should we invade all the others to bring them freedom? Iran, Syria, N. Korea, but there are other brutal dictatorships with CONFIRMED WMD like Pakistan! OH OOPS they are our ALLY in the "War on Terror"!!! Please. By the time we finished that project the US we'd be an addtional trillion in the whole and have heaven only knows how many dead US boys and girls. Where does it stop Lysis? 'Mission Shift' is a slippery relativist smoke-screen for failure or dishonesty on the part of the powerful. We as a nation cannot save the world! There's reality! And I resent globaists like you trying to drag my country (Yep, !shock! its mine just as much as it is yours) around the world playing good-cop/bad-cop (Bush) or Santa Claus (Clinton) or whatever it is this year. And who pays? You, me, my kids, your kids, grandkids, etc. Did they get a say in you man's Iraq Adventure? No, but they'll pay for it. How *just* is that? BTW Calling your opponent's arguments 'tired, false and misguided' do not dismiss or disprove them. Its like say 'nuh-uh'!

My number for dead Iraqis comes from a Johns-Hopkins study published in the UK medical journal Lancet. The study came out in November 2004 and the Pentagon didn't dispute it. Oh, and how dare you conflate me with racists who don't care about the 'brown people' when I included them in my 'butcher's bill'? And if you are so racially unbiased and magnanamous why aren't we invading the Darfour region of Sudan? Why didn't we invade Rwanda? Should we? Better get going right now cause that's two more wars. Oh no, what about the Chechens in Russia? They're an oppressed ethinic minority. Should I go on?

And so I'm like the Vietnam protesters? That's a pretty broad brush but I would have opposed that war as well (If I wasn't an infant at the time). Despite your outrageous polemic, I oppose the Iraq War for the same reasons now as I did when Bush hoodwinked the country and bypassed the UN (Turn the stomach of history indeed!). And don't give me the UN fol-de-rol about their support. If they *really* did support us, then why didn't they approve of the US resolution to invade?

Quick and semi-related question for Lysis (and all others who care to answer). Which superhero do you prefer: Batman or Superman? I think the answer is telling.

Lysis Verus

Anonymous said...

A test should REFLECT the curriculum that has been taught; it should never BE the curriculum that IS taught. -Anonymous

NCLB proclaims that its tests do measure ACCOUNTABILITY and COMPETENCE and also that test results can be used to measure the COMPETENCE of teachers, administrators and schools (By the way, that's REALLY what concerns Lysis' principal)-- false perceptions and corruption are the REAL result. Sycophantic politicos and administrators, driven by monitary incentives, have to merely learn how to "cook the books" and coerce teachers into putting ALL of their energies and resources into this pitifully inadequate little basket called NCLB (remember, "Just teach the test and cut the fluff"?). Then proclaim their "Manly" heroism to all!
Well, yes, these test scores CAN be raised; but the real human academic tragedy of the cost in REAL learning hasn't been measured at all!
Lysis' willingness to "deal with tests" in his Great Books class, or any other class, HAS NEVER BEEN QUESTIONED. Lysis curriculia HAS NEVER BEEN QUESTIONED -- the Great Books class at Layton High is legendary and above reproach! Stop acting like anything different has been claimed.
The Aristotle/Plato illustration was a HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE -- the point was:(that was missed one more time) that an excellent teacher with an excellent curriculae would/should vigorously oppose outside (state/government)influences on what was taught OR tested. If it ain't broke don't fix it, even to satisfy whimsical perceptions. An outside, non-Lysis, test could never REFLECT nor be used to represent the qualities of the class. Nor should such a test indicate Lysis' teaching competence (bravado asside)-- a government test is not needed for that!!!!

Lysis -- you owe your teaching peers as much credibility and respect as you've ALWAYS demand for yourself.


I am a little surprised that Lysis would use "Manly Courage" as a description of himself -- that surely is self-aggrandizing and not an argument!
How typical of one without an argument to be seduced by bravado. Though, I do not, never have, questioned Lysis' courage.

But, as a description of GWB when he made his infamous "Bring 'em on!"? I think there was a more appropriate time in his life for the comment, that would have evinced REAL manly courage. Bush could have signed the form and volunteered for *Vietnam *and THEN proclaimed "Bring 'em on!"
But, he declined, deciding rather that his "service" to the country would be better expressed by "hanging" with business and politcal cronies.
That's not "Manly courage", that's "girly" manly.

Why not fix what's wrong with NCLB?
What's wrong with NCLB is its design flaws. It's designed to be a big political stick in the "blame game". It sacrifices student and teacher morale and professionalism and most importantly, the great art of teaching, for a few bumps on a meaningless test.

Anonymous said...

I cannot help but get into the game...althought lots to do and little time to do it! AHHH I'm going crazy!

Anonymous here is what I hear you saying:

1. Educators should be allowed to teach what they want, when they want, how they want.

2. There should be no accountablility except that which I measure for myself...because I am a professional who will take my job seriously.

3. The government does not have the right to interfer with the way I teach and test, regardless of the amount of money gieven to the state for education.

You must be a member of the Teachers Union!!

What world do you live in? When did employers stop requiring accountability from their employees. Why are you so afraid of being held accountable?

I think it is great that accountability standards have been put into place. Quite frankly, I wish the districts could do more to make teachers accountable. I am tired of teachers who skate by, who do not put any emphasis into what they do, who do not take pride in their lessons and spend all their time at the computer (responding to blogs...oops, that means me) or showing videos. I am also tired of a teachers union that will not allow districts put into place steps to eliminate teachers who are lazy and unqualified.

Accountability is the law of life and has always been and will always be controlled by those who control the purse strings.

Anonymous--What do you offer as an alternative?

Lysis said...

Lysis Verus - Excellent arguments – well worth dealing with. Answering them will greatly strengthen my position; failure to do so should justly moving my beliefs in your direction.

As to WMDs - I would first say that it was the mainstream media’s primary argument for war. It has become the Left’s rallying cry, but Bush and Powell, Blair and a host of others advanced a full spate of reasons for action. These included: Saddam’s misuse of Oil for Food moneys, remilitarization, defiance of no fly zones, the harboring of terrorists, the financing of terrorist activities and training, the harboring of Al Queda operatives and PLANS to develop WMDs as soon as they could bully the UN into dropping sanctions and inspections. [After all, it had worked before. During the Clinton administration; Saddam had only to hold out until he got another anti-war type in the White House] There was also the continued murder of thousands, the torture for entertainment, the stolen medicine and money. It was Saddam that misled and mystified the UN inspectors and refused to provide evidence of compliance. Bush took UN resolutions seriously – the UN did not. If Bush and Powell intentionally misled about WMDs (which they did not) they were joined in it by Putin, Clinton, Kerry and Daschal, all the Democrats and Republicans in government stood together in their condemnation of Saddam. The Senate had the same intelligence as the White House. Where was Hillary’s stand then? – And where is it now? Saddam could have cleared the air if he were really innocent. He did not – go figure! The justification for the removal of Saddam did and does not hinge on WMDs. The anti-Bush crowd wish it did – they keep saying it does – by the justice of the War in Iraq is based on the broader behavior and intents of Saddam and his cronies. Even in this country, conspiracy is a crime.

To condemn Bush’s determination, and my support for his policy, as appealing to Wilsonian goals, is a Megoverian copout. It does not diminish the justice of those goals. The anti-Bush left has constructed their own standard of justification and condemns Bush for not reaching their goals. Talk about making up the rules of a debate as you go along!

You ask me why Iraq is swarming with Al Queda. I believe it is because they see the subjection of freedom in Iraq as their last, go for broke, chance. Their only hope is to drum up enough fear and support among the American Left that they can drive us out by default. As terrorists, their only weapon is to scare. They seem to be succeeding in some cases. Neville Chamberlain was a coward too – a lot of good he did the world.

To answer your questions about “other dangerous dictators” who threaten their people: The brilliance of Bush’s foreign policy is that it is not a “one size” fits all strategy. He can see that there are many ways to deal with monsters. Iran, Syria, and N. Korea will reform in time. If they move in the direction Saddam took they should meet his fate. If they can be moved by other forces, then thank God we have a President who can judge. Pakistan too is moving. A free Afghanistan and US support are seemingly enough for now. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan only succumbed to military force; Soviet Communism collapsed to cold war pressure and the march of freedom. We needed Roosevelt and Reagan to win those wars. The fight for world freedom stops where it needs to; not where the terrorists choose to intimidate us to. Mission shift is a fact – no smoke screen. I gave you some examples, deal with them and cut the “nuh-uh”!

“We as a nation can’t save the world.” LV. Well, we’ve done it before, thank God, and it’s my world too, and yours, LV, if it goes down a lot of mother’s sons are going to die. “Lacet’s” figures are no more convincing than yours. There is no way of knowing, and quoting what was said doesn’t make it so.

As for my daring to conflate you with racists. If you’re not a racist I didn’t call you one. I said that the anti-war crowd who values American lives above Iraqi ones are as racist as the anti-warriors of the 60’s who valued American lives above Vietnamese ones. If you hold those views you are self-condemned. Counting “them” on the “butchers bill” means nothing if you are not willing to stop their slaughter.

As for Darfur? Why aren’t we invading? Ask the UN. They are supposedly there to stop the killing and fix that mess. Compare Iraq to Darfur; the deaths in Iraq are fractional by comparison. This is an excellent example of the difference between US and UN action. The Iraqis have a new democratic constitution; the Sudanese – anarchy, tyranny, and thousands a day starving to death. “Go UN go!!!!” I don’t know why we didn’t invade Rwanda. Probably because Clinton was both a fool and a coward. There is a sea of blood on his anti-war hands as well.

Are the Chechens an oppressed minority? Blame Stalin. Is their land in desolation? Blame Islamic fanaticism. If you have other examples please go on. I feel confident I can deal with them all.

As for the UN’s refusal to support the liberation of Iraq; Saddam owned Koffii Anan, Putin and that French guy. Now that Saddam is gone these people’s jealousy of America keeps them from supporting peace that would improve the world. The UN can’t even agree to feed the starving or fight disease. As one would with any broken tool – the US should use the UN when we can and put it aside when we must.

Well, on reflection – I feel pretty good about my President and my positions. Please give my conversion another shot. I would love to deal with your best arguments.

Since you asked. I am a Superman fan. Vigilantly injustice, ala Bat Man, never appealed to me!

Lysis said...

To the new Anonymouses above. Thank you for posting and for your thoughts.

First - Please forgive me if I in any way indicated that I had manly or any other kind of courage. I in no way intended to describe myself in such terms; I was simply commenting on Anonymous’ use of Machismo as a pejorative.

I also agree with the anonymous above: I do owe my teaching peers as much (I say more) credibility and respect as [I] always demand for [myself]. Any example of disrespect I have demonstrated toward my fellow teachers would be instructive. Just because one disagrees does not mean one disrespects!

Miximus said...

Lysis,

Response to your views that North Korea will reform with time is already showing. I recently read (I believe from the U.S. News) that negotaitions have progressed with North Korea to which they are abandoning their nuclear research in diplomatic agreement for economic aid. I found it particularly amusing that a country like North Korea can instill fear into the left so easily, but at the same time it is falling apart. It draws parallels to the fall of the USSR, does it not? (As I recall, a certain prior history teacher of mine takes so much pride in the illusion of a powerful country and it's fall).

Reach Upward said...

I can't believe we're falling for North Korea's economic aid for nonproliferation ploy -- again. We already did this back in the 90s with former Pres. Jimmy Carter leading the charge at the behest of the Clinton Administration. North Korea took our stuff, but never stopped their nuclear program. The current effort will be more of the same. I guess it worked so well for them last time they decided to do it again. How stupid can we be?

Silver Lining said...

Reach Upward,

I too am sceptical about North Korea and their ability or desire to stick to any agreement. However, President Bush did stick to six party talks vs. two party talks (which is what occured and failed in the 1990's and what John Kerry wanted to try). It may not amount to much in the end, but I believe it is the only thing that got North Korea to even attempt bargaining, and I believe it creates more diplomatic pressure for the North Koreans. It is a step in dealing with that issue.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (also)
With reference to the 1 . . .2 . . . and 3 of your last posting:
That might be what you "heard" me say, but nothing of the kind have you ever READ in ANY of my postings!

I think what you "heard" was a Hannity/Limbaugh (Lysis?) "far right" diatribe against teachers, and you wanted to say something!--turn down the earphones and quit attacking ABSURD statements that were never made!

If you can dispose of the mis-characterizations, I would like to know what you REALLY think about relationships between testing, learning and competence. Ever taken a test that had nothing to do with what went on in class? Ever get an A you didn't deserve; ie, high tests, no learning? What does an A mean? Do high test scores and high grades guarantee competence? What is a more reliable indicator of competence, high test scores or high grades? Neither? If you had a class that taught primarily test questions and the answers, and you didn't miss any on the final test, would you be satisfied with how much learning you had achieved?

If you cannot respond honestly to these questions, I believe Hannity will be on at 1:00 PM with some "feel-good" panaceas and more ruthless attacks on "straw men" arguments that you can use in your next posting!

Lysis said...

Anonymous above: Couldn’t a test be designed that measured things that one wanted and needed to know? Wouldn’t passing that test be a great success to those who mastered that material? The bar exam is really just a standardized test – but preparing for it and suceeding at it, [As I understand Dannyboy – a sometimes poster on this web log - has done] must bring a great sense of accomplishment and demonstrate considerable knowledge.

What I wish my colleagues who despise the NCLB test would do is show me what in the test is so useless and suggest what needs to be added to the test to make studying for it worth while and success on it a source of real self esteem to the students.

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

To interject myself into the discussion between Reach and Silver Lining; the difference with N. Korean negotiation this time is two fold. First Bush will not allow the N. Koreans to cheat; as Clinton and Carter did. [Carter was/is the biggest Appearance Is Everything President in History. His endless efforts to look good while doing nothing allowed Communism to spread and gave hope and impetus to terrorism.] Secondly, Bush has wisely included four other powerful nations in the mix. (As Silver Lining has pointed out) This will increase the eyes and the pressure on N. Korea.

Lysis said...

one two three

lysis_verus said...

So Lysis, the US has *saved* the world? You really *DO* think we are the saviors of mankind. Right along with Neitzche (!) perhaps you hold to the notion that the State is God on earth. I realize that the US has accomplished great things, but this brand of braying arrogant Nationalism is embarrassing, expensive and potentially harmful. 'All Hail Bush, Maximum Leader!" BTW I heard Demos 'All Hail Clinton' TOO. Nitwittery, this silly slavish devotion to demogogues. I think the Founders would be ashamed.

On the 'invade the world question' you have simply listed your perception (oh no!) of the causes of oppression in my example countries, but you haven't answered why we're not invading them or why Iraq instead of Iran or N. Korea. Hold up on Darfur, we invaded Iraq WITHOUT UN sanction!!! Really noe the UN is a straw man and a joke, just like you said Lysis, Politicos use it for cover when they can and slam it when they can't how Relativist and Machiavellian of then, but Bush would NEVER do that right? Oh wat he does! Or at least you endorese that strategy. Absolutes? Please, spare me Your Honor!

But now on to Darfur, you think we need thier blessing, pish tosh Lysis. Your relativism is making my head spin. The N. Korea thing is a hoot too, you blame and criticize Clinton for doing what Bush is doing now!? Har Har! Anon was busting out the Hannity comparasions, while I think you are much better spoken and written than Hannity, your Neo-Con lens/filter is thick indeed.

I have to tell you and the rest of the posters here that I thank (insert Diety of your choice here) I was able to shed the weighty shackle of party affiliation. Being a Dem or Rep carries a lot of silly mental baggage that clouds one's thinking and shoves one into political boxes.

Iraq War: Just to focus our disagreement let me simply stipulate ALL of your reasons for going to war with Iraq. Now. Iraq has never attacked the US, therefore we went to war pre-emtively. We crossed the Rubicon and you cannot deny it. We have never been (even technically) the Agressor in our wars to that date and Iraq was a true turning point.
Mission Shift IS fancy way of saying Mission Change. But since the Iraq War was and is immoral from the standpoint of every administration before Bush II, let's just let that go. (Even though I have counters to you Civil War and World War II exapmles)

The 'brilliance' ,as you put it, of the Bush doctrine is that it has no functioning core principles. That is what you are actually praising, Lysis. It is a relativist position front to back, left to right and all Globalist. Try this: "We do whatever we want to whomever we like or dislike as the case may be and call it the 'War of Terra' and the 'March of Freedom'! Wow! Do you Neo-Con-Men have any idea how Orwellian you sound? Try to look at your man Bush objectively for just a few thoughts. No? Yes?

Lysis, I'm not trying to convert you to anything. I hold no brief for the Demos nor the Reps. The only political goal I have is to, in my own very humble way as a citizen, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States (If I may borrow from that fine document). My point in writing here is that this is a conversation unlike what happens on Hannity/Limbaugh OR Air America. The give and take might lead to some enlightenment, maybe, possibly.

Can't resist:
NCLB is a violation of Federalism, get real about it being anything else, funding or no. "Education" is not mentioned in the Constitutiuon and your previous weak-tea arguments for its implication out-Clinton Clinton (Though I do realize that other Presidents have sought to centralize under the same cover, How you would've HOWLED if CLinton were doing this, Lysis!!!). Please, 'General Welfare' and the Northwest Ordinance (BTW That was just a land grant not a testing and regulation scheme enfored by extortion). So your debate with Anon (1&2)is moot from a constitutional perspective. All of you }:) BOOM!

On a lighter note:
I am a Batman fan. Go figure. He's a mere mortal human. He is independent, possesses no 'magical' powers. He uses his physical (self-developed/god-given) strength, mental abilities and family fortune to fight against injustice on a private individual level. He may be a bit dark and sarcastic but he is the real deal not some refugee illegal alien freak from out-space :) Might I add, his public persona Bruce Wayne is much cooler than dorky reporter Clark Kent.

Em pace~
Lysis Verus

lysis_verus said...

To All~
I just re-read my dahsed-off post with all its typos. In all seriousness I do apologize to *everyone* for them. I hope they're not too distracting. Mea Culpa ~ Lysis Verus

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

Lysis Verus: Thanks for the conversation. I had a wise friend who used to talk to me like this but he got busy in the video technology world. It’s been lonely!

As for the US saving the world: I just gave facts here. I count stopping Hitler and the Comusnist World Wide Revolution as salvation. Maybe you have a different view of Genocide and Slavery than I do. You should not be embarrassed by the good deeds of your forefathers.

I did answer your question; listen again – We do not treat all nations alike because “one size” of foreign policy does not fit all situations. Remember – war for Hitler, diplomacy for Moscow.

I did explain to you the fact – not the perception - of Saddam’s influence on the UN and the attitudes of it members. As for using the UN when it works – it’s a tool. If a tool works use it, if it doesn’t, don’t. That is an absolute, nothing relativist about it.

I don’t think the US needs UN sanctions to rescue Darfur. Let’s go for it! You write your congressman, I’ll write mine! I’d support Bush in that - I would have supported Clinton in rescuing Rwanda. Would you?

Like you LV, I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I support issues not parties. If I slip into the us/them when speaking of right and left, it is a flaw in my speaking I seek to avoid.

Thank you for your “kind” comparison between Shaun Hannity and me. You’ve got Colmes beat. Too bad we can’t get on T.V!

On to the Iraq War – You say Iraq never attacked the US; I say we never attacked Iraq. We no more invaded Iraq than D Day was an invasion of France. Our rescue of that people from Saddam and his thugs was no more an attack than a fireman’s rescue is a breaking and entry. Sending our troops to Darfur would be equally as just; as was sending them to Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. We are not aggressors, we are liberators.

As to your paragraph on Bush’s foreign policy: I site your own plea for help for Darfur. There are reasons to fight; there are rights and wrongs involved.

I wish you could convert me; it would be so easy to live in a world were one’s only concerns were ones personal relationship to the constitution.

On NCLB – It may well be a violation of Federalism; so are affirmative action and the integration of public schools and Woolworth stores! What is your point?

As to your last post LV. You never need to worry about my faulting your spelling etc. Any regular here will tell you I can't spell at all. Your efforts seem fine to me.

Silver Lining said...

How is NCLB etc. a violation of Federalism? Federalism is a type or structure of government which divides central(federal) from local governments. It does not within itself designate how much authority and such each governmental body should have nor does it dictate how they work together. This is how I have viewed it. Please feel free to educate. Perhaps you mean a violation of federalism as the viewpoints of the Federalists?

lysis_verus said...

Lysis, thanks for the kind words. Debates such as ours would be edifying to the TV viewing public.

SL~ Perhaps I could have more accurately said that NCLB is a violation of the spirit of Federalism. And it actually is set forth by the 10th Amendment. Re-read the amendment and tell me what you think it means vis a vis Education. ~Lysis Verus

Reach Upward said...

On the North Korea deal, I concede that insisting on 6-party talks make a significant difference between this agreement and the Carter agreement. Much will come down to how much leverage China (NK's main support) is willing to consistently and actually apply. I don't have a high level of trust in this, but perhaps it's the best we can get at the moment.

I have very much enjoyed the repartee on the NCLB and Iraq issues. I have been very much instructed.

Anonymous said...

. . . "I say we never attacked Iraq" -Lysis

. . . and the United States never attacked Germany, either -- we just saved the Germans from the Nazis. . . . and the United States never attacked Japan -- we just saved the Japanese from Imperialistic warlords. . . . and the United States was NOT attacked by the Japanese at Peal Harbor. Pearl Harbor was not then mainland USA! . . . and, etc. etc. etc. reductio ad absurdum.

What history testbook has Lysis been smoking?

Strap yourself in bloggers, this isn't Kansas anymore -- welcome to Oz and meet the wizzard!

Anonymous said...

"Couldn't a test be designed that measured things that one wanted and needed to know?" -Lysis

Well, urine, AIDS, TB, blood sugar and Emergency Broadcast System tests asside; my experience has been with the kind of tests that endeavor to reflect a measurable degree of learning from a given curriculum. What kind of test would measure what a person wanted or needed to know? -- sounds like a good counselor armed with a psychological profile might be what's needed.

I can't get from the question that was asked to the Bar exam -- and what does that all have to do with NCLB? I do not want to seem difficult and obtuse here, but I need more explanation Lysis.

Lysis said...

Anonymous the first just above:

What did we do to Germany after we “attacked” them? What did we do to Japan after we “attacked” them? Answer – we rebuilt their nations and brought them freedom.

What did Germany do to Poland and Russia after they attacked those nations?? What did Japan do to China after they attacked it? – Answer – they committed genocide and atrocities that had to be seen to be imagined.

What would either Germany or Japan have done to the US had they conquered American? Think about that my friend and you should see a difference between US actions in WWII and theirs? If you can’t you can stay in OZ!

To Anonymous the second to post:

My reference to the Bar exam – it could have been the “skills test for the cooking merit badge” – was simply to demonstrate that people (the bar association) (the merit badge councilor) can construct tests which studying for help students grow, and which participating in give students real knowledge and self esteem. Tests are great hands on learning experiences. Now let’s decide what we should be teaching our students, design a test that will recognize them for learning that material, and then teach to the test.

You’re not in OZ are you?

Silver Lining said...

A teacher should always "teach to the test" so to speak. A test (and there are many various forms) is a means (the chief means most times) of assessing whether the goal of the lesson plan has been met. You set a goal, you make a plan to achieve it and then you test to see if it was achieved. You then procede accordingly. A test, being a tool of assessment, contains within it the goals or paramaters of the actual learning. Not all tests accurately assess the goals of the learning, but that is another issue entirely.

Regarding NCLB and Federalism. I am well aware of the tenth amendment and wondered if that is perhaps what you meant. You are simply arguing that NCLB is in violation of the spirit of the tenth amendment am I right? Or, are you arguing that because there is no specific prevision within articles 1 or 2 to give the legislature or executive branch any role in education, that NCLB is entirely unconstitutional? To the later I would say that Congress has used their constitutional powers of the purse to pursue this in the tradition of block grants. So, that takes us back to the spirit of the tenth amendment right?

Finally, my husband is a sometimes poster on this blog but has been really really busy on his current TAD assignment. He mentioned, along the original topic of Lysis' post, how with the indictment of Tom Delay and the troubles of Bill Frist how perception is what matters to their enemies. There is little patience to wait for the whole innocent until proven guilty. Instead, there is now a "culture of corruption" throughout the Republican Party. It is another case of taking advantage of the adage of perception is everything. Again, I look back to the original post and say is it though? My husband would have been much more thoughtful and eloquent. He didn't ask me to post, but I couldn't help throwing that out there.

Anonymous said...

Let's try to get this straight -- first comes attacking! -- then comes defeating! ONLY then can come(possibly) any rebuilding!

Lysis' argument, as it now stands, is that the United States DID NOT attack Iraq, because it has since participated in an (ongoing) "rebuilding/liberation of Iraq .
And now has extended his argument to World War II examples, claiming that the United States participated in a "rebuilding/liberation of both Germany and Japan and consequently DID NOT attack these countries because,"we rebuilt their nation and brought them feedom."

Sooooo, there really was no attacking of Germany or Japan by the United States (residents of Dresden and Hiroshima/Nagasaki might disagree) because of the Marshal plan?? -- The Marshal plan made all the attacking and defeating go away?

VE Day and the Missouri had to happen BEFORE the Marshal plan could be put into affect! That means A LOT of ATTACKING and DEFEATING Lysis!

Now! CLICK, CLICK, CLICK , and repeat, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home!"

Lysis said...

Anonymous:

Let us go back to our original point. D Day was not an invasion or an attack on France; the actions of a fireman in saving the people in a burning house are not breaking and entering. Did the fire man break in? Technically yes, but his motive justifies his action and makes it different than the intrusion of a murderer. We did not attack Germany in order to murder its people, but to stop their rouge government from murdering others. Once we had stopped the evil we proved the justice of our cause by serving the people of Germany in ways that far surpassed the best efforts of the Nazis. I claim here that attacking, invading, is an aggressive act done for ones own “good” to the determent of those one attacks. (Don’t give me circular argument trash – that all semantics!) If an attack is by definition an aggressive assault – we did not attack Germany, Japan, nor Iraq. If a police officer must kick down the door of a home to save the people within from abuse or death – you cannot reasonable call that policeman an attacker, no matter how forceful his entry had to be.

In OZ they put on green glasses to color the truth to see as they wished to. We chose to use reason to shine the light of truth. Take off the glasses Anonymous; see the light

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lysis:
The "technically yes" part was all that I was ever seeking -- all of the other ruminations and justifications I really don't have a problem with at all. I thought you were overgeneralizing for effect and you have (in your way) admitted it. I appreciate the honesty!

Who is the greater Super hero -- Superman? Batman? The Cowardly Lion? The Tin Woodsman? Or the Scarecrow?

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Help me Dude, I think I'm lost..... I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw him in a car lot yesterday, which is really strange because the last time I saw him was in the supermarket. No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender". He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a San Diego cosmetic surgery doctor ,to fit into those blue suede shoes of yours. But Elvis said in the Ghetto nobody can afford a San Diego plastic surgery doctor. Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger. Then I'm gonna go round and see Michael Jackson and we're gonna watch a waaaay cool make-over show featuring some Tijuana dentists on the TV in the back of my Hummer. And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . . "You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on " Strange day or what? :-)

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