Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lost Legends

One of my favorite lectures to give is our discussion on Roman legends and values. I use this as an introduction to Livy in my Greek and Roman History Class and as a discussion on Roman character in the World History Classes. I have several goals in mind. First to explain why Livy selected many of the events found in his 48 books of Roman history. A second would be to assess how little my students have been taught about their own Roman and particularly their American heritage, and finally to inspire them with the virtues of the great men whose stories make History valuable as a tool for building character and defending Western Values.

I always begin by asking them to tell me about Washington and the Cherry tree. Most students have no idea what I am talking about. There are always a handful, at least one, who will admit to knowing the story. I have this student recount the tale. There inevitably follows a condemnation of the story; the “it really didn’t happen” disclaimer. I usually retort with a, “well, I’m sure historians revising history for their unique agendas in the late 20th century knew more about it than Washington Irving.” I hope my sarcasm is not lost on them. I then ask them to explain the lessons of the Cherry Tree story.

“That great men are always honest,” is usually the answer we arrive at.

“And why is that an important lesson to teach and learn?” I ask.

“So we will be honest, and expect our leaders to be honest.”

At this point I tell the following story, strictly for comic relief;

A very upset father stumbles through the door of the one room shack he shares with his two sons. “Who pushed the outhouse off the cliff,” he demands. You see; to save them the trouble of re-digging the outhouse hole the old man built his master work on a strut out over a near by cliff. The two boys look at each other and responded they have no idea. Then their father tells them the story of George Washington and the Cherry Tree, ending with:

“And since George Washington told the truth his dad didn’t beat him. Now tell me, who pushed the outhouse off the cliff?” The boys look at each other and with a grin tell their dad:

“Okay, we did it.”

The father lit into them with a switch and beat them near to death, as the oldest brother goes down he cries out:

“But pa, when George Washington told the truth, his dad didn’t beat him!”

“Ya” says the old man, “and George Washington’s father wasn’t sitting in the cherry tree!!!”


I then ask if any knows the story of Abraham Lincoln and the pennies. Someone usually can recount the story of Lincoln’s journey to return a few pennies over charged to a customer, but most have gotten through ten years of American education without ever hearing the story.

Now comes the real tests. I ask if any of them have ever heard the story of John Paul Jones. None ever have. Here I launch into my indictment of the poor quality of their history lessons, and ask them how can they possibly learn what it is to be Americans if they don’t know our national legends. After telling the story of John Paul Jones, I ask them what the message is. They always know that it is that Americans never give up, that the tougher things get the harder we (Americans) fight. How painful that they have never been taught the stories that define their character, no wonder so many seem to have lost that attribute.

My final American example is always Nathan Hale. I almost never find a student that recognizes his name. Rarely, after I have told the story, someone will claim they have heard it; but even that fading link is growing rare. Once, Nathan Hale instructed a nation of young people on the “terminal value” of freedom, a treasure more valuable than life. I still get a bit emotional as I tell of his death. I find myself wondering how a generation of Americans who are growing up without their defining legends will survive.

We then go on to discuss some of the Roman legends that define Roman Character, attributes Americans once admired as they did the Republic built on the seven hills.

The stories include:

1. Romulus’ defense of Rome against any enemy, even his brother.

2. Brutus’ overthrow of the unjust king, Traquin, in response to the rape and death of Lucretia.

3. Horatius at the bridge, where one man saves his nation by courage and sacrifice.

4. The execution of Brutus’ sons, when the Council gives justice against those he loves the most in order to save his city.

5. Gaius Mucius who places his hand in the flames to show that torture can never move a Roman boy to betray his country.

6. Titus Manulus, who executes his own son for disobeying an order on the field of battle.

7. Cincinnatus who left his plow in the field to save his country from its foes and then returns to his humble farm, putting down the absolute authority of dictator, once he has served his country.

There are many other stories that craft the Roman and the American character, but more and more the stories students are taught belittle and villainise the great men of the past in order to fulfill modern political agendas. More and more the ideas that once bound Americans together are disregarded as our children are actually taught to be ashamed of American values and American accomplishments.

We are losing the common heritage that made us who we are and are losing the common values that made it possible for this nation to stand against its enemies. Consider this in the light of a statement from the film *Obsession – Radical Islam’s War against the West*:

Hussein Saad AL-Qassam, Brigades Commander in N. Gaza, December 2005 – from the Hamas Website -

“We succeeded, with Allah’s grace, to raise an ideological generation; that loves death like our enemies love life.”

This threat becomes particularly frightening when we consider that the present American generation is not being taught to love their country, their heritage, or their heroes. Instead they are being taught to be ashamed of the accomplishments that have brought freedom and prosperity to millions.

124 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm only ashamed to see someone I once thought of as an original thinker go into their old age as such a tired cliche.

Anonymous said...

America must stop bragging that it’s the greatest country on earth and start acting like it! Now, I know this is uncomfortable for the faith-over-facts crowd like the creator of this blog, but the greatness of a country can, to a large degree, be measured. Here are some numbers: Infant mortality rate, America ranks 48th in the world; overall health, 72nd; freedom of the press, 44; literacy, 55th. We are 20th on the list, behind nineteen other countries, for the least corruption according to Transparency International, an organization that monitors public corruption and of which we are one of the founding members. The idea that we are indisputably number one is a legend lost to fat-cat tax breaks, underfunding of public ed and neglect of the majority of people that did build this country. And let's not forget the disastrous foreign, civil rights and environmental policies of the last six years - the lasting effects of which we will still be struggling with in another six years.

Now, America has done many great things: making the New World democratic comes to mind, the Marshall Plan, curing polio, beating Hitler. But what have we done for us lately? We’re not the freest country. That would be Holland, where you can smoke hash in church, and Janet Jackson’s nipple is on their flag.

And, sadly, we’re no longer a country that can get things done, either. Not big things, like building a tunnel under Boston or running a war with competence. We had six years to fix the voting machines. Couldn’t get that done. The FBI is just now getting email! For the computers they were supposed to get in 1997, then again in 2000, then again after the creation of the DHS.

Prop 87 in California is about lessening our dependence on oil by using alternative fuels. In the issue advertising during the recent campaign Bill Clinton came on at the end and said, “If Brazil can do it, America can, too.” Excuse me, since when did America have to buck itself up by saying we could catch up to Brazil?! We invented the airplane and the lightbulb. They invented the bikini wax, and now they’re ahead?!

In most of the industrialized world, nearly everyone has health care. And hardly anyone doubts evolution. And, yes, having to live amid so many superstitious dimwits is also something that affects quality of life. It’s why America isn’t going to be the country that gets the inevitable patents in stem cell cures, because so many think that Jesus thinks it’s too close to cloning!

Oh, and did I mention we owe China a trillion dollars? We owe everybody money. America is a debtor nation to Mexico!

And this is why it bugs me that so many people talk like it’s 1955 and we’re still number one in everything. We’re not. And I take no glee in saying this, because I love my country, and I wish we were. But when you’re number 55 in this category and number 92 in that one, you look a little silly waving the big foam “Number One” finger.

As long as we believe being the greatest country in the world is a birthright, we’ll keep coasting on the achievements of earlier generations and we’ll keep losing the moral high ground.

You see, we also had a little thing called the Bill of Rights. A great nation doesn’t torture people or make them disappear without a trial. Bush keeps saying the terrorists hate us for our freedom. And he’s working damn hard to see that pretty soon that won’t be a problem.

Anonymous said...

teaspoon here,

I agree that America has a lot of things to improve on. But we should also remember that good and bad things happen because of individual choices. If individuals in America can improve themselves and become better people America will be closer to number one. The legends lysis wrote about try to serve that purpose--the molding and shaping of American citizens.

Three things will determine our future: integrity, bravery, and creativity.

If we as a people have integrity and choose like leaders we'll end thing like "tax breaks, underfunding...and neglect". At least we'd lift ourselves from 20th place in least corruption.

With bravery we can help the world. Is it easy to fight a war against terrorism? No. Has the right thing ever been easy?

Creativity, though, is what we need to be not just good but excellent. As a world leader America would need ideas. But America would also need people willing to work for them.

We need to reject the idea that we can celebrate "smok[ing] hash in church, and [having] Janet Jackson’s nipple on [our] flag" and still be successful. Let's have brainstorming and postulation, but let's not forget character.

Lysis said...

One can always count on the Anonomy to provide certain things;

1. To present misstated accusations without substantiation. Come on; what does this mean?

“{I'm only ashamed to see someone I once thought of as an original thinker go into their old age as such a tired cliche.”
Are you ashamed that you once thought the truth but now are mistaken? Are you ashamed that you disagree with a tired cliché? And just what is the tired cliché? Something you made up, no doubt. I don’t know if I’m supposed to feel insulted for your mention of my dotage or sorry for your shameful behavior. Please clarify.

2. To provide perfect examples of the very problem the “Post” seeks to present. One of the Anonomy demonstrates to perfection how miss-educated parrots mouth unsupported claims in an attempt to attack America. With you folks it’s always “whose is bigger than whose”. Even a third rate country like Holland could be proud of Heroes who fight on against the odds, or are willing to sacrifice their life for the freedom of their country. Why do you feel the need to go off on an unrelated attack against American? What have the historic accounts of our heroes got to do with flag nipples and free marijuana? Your anti-American screed is a perfect example of how our children have been taught to hate America and deprecate it without thought or challenge.

3. To make claims that are unreasonable and unsupported as they present a relativist view of the world based on their own imaginations. What is this supposed to mean?

“Here are some numbers: Infant mortality rate, America ranks 48th in the world; overall health, 72nd; freedom of the press, 44; literacy, 55th. We are 20th on the list, behind nineteen other countries, for the least corruption according to Transparency International, an organization that monitors public corruption and of which we are one of the founding members.”

What does it mean to rank 48th in infant mortality? Where do you get such a claim in the first place? And please put in some context. You could just as least have claimed that the US was first in Infant Mortality?

What does it mean to be 72nd in over all health? Does that refer to longevity, or quality of life? Medical care, vaccinations, diet, what? You give nothing but a spurious claim and since that is how you have always learned – someone pumps sunshine and you buy it if it agrees with your relative position – you imagine you can deal with us in the same way. How sad!


What does it mean to be 44th in freedom of press? It seems to me either you have a free press or you don’t. Who has a freer press than the U.S. and based on what criteria? Does printing child exploiting pornography equate to freedom to you?

Literacy statistics are woefully inaccurate world wide. What passes for literacy in most countries is not counted in the U.S. Again were did you get this number? What liars are reporting the statistics for other countries? I’ll bet you’ll find China way up the chart – a flat lie. A few minuets of actual research into the issue would reveal that the U.S. is the only nation which actually keeps accurate literacy statistics. By the way, are we nineteenth or 55th? Your own argument contradicts itself here. But that is the way of relativists.

You can indeed cherry pick problems that face America but there again you demonstrate the need to teach our children about John Paul Jones.

If America can’t get things done, some of the credit can go to those who, as Americans, set out to tear down their country for political or other inexplicable agendas.

As for debt – we owe money; we also have more money than the next five economies combined. Whose is bigger now? Many people owe money on the home they live in. Does that make them bad people? Just what is the problem with the U.S. barrowing money? We barrowed far more, proportionately, to win WWII and that only did good for our people and the world. What is the problem with the national debt? Are interest rates too high? Is it causing unemployment? Just what are you so angry about? You don’t even know!!!!!

Stem Cell research is perfectly legal in the U.S. even funded by the Federal Government. That you don’t know this proves you say what ever you hear that agrees with what you want to be with out any knowledge of the truth.

Neither President Bush nor the United States tortures anyone. This is a flat lie. No one has disappeared, and no one’s rights have been violated under the first ten amendments. These are just more lies to justify an anger against America that you feel obligated to maintain.

Now let’s go back to the purpose of this post. I claim that American students need to be taught about the events and people that made America the greatest nation that has ever existed, and encourage them to emulate that greatness. Such a hope should not threaten anyone. Unless of course the success of America is something one seeks to prevent.

Anonymous said...

Infant Death Mortality Rate:

*CBO (Congressional Budget Office) - 39th
*CDC (Center for Disease Control) - 33 (of 37)
*UNICEF State of the World's Mothers report - 2nd to last of world's industrialized nation (only Latvia is worse)
*WHO (World Health Organization) - 44
*World Atlas Geographic Encyclopedia - 36

Freedom of Press rankings:

*Reporters Without Borders - 53rd
*World Audit Press Association - 11th
*World Media Index - 33rd (at home but slips all the way to 135th - of 167 - when dealing with press freedom abroad, due in large part to manufactured and paid for news in areas of conflict such as Iraq.)

These rankings, all of which have shown a steady decline in America's freedom of press in the last 4 years, reflect no recognition of a journalists' right to keep sources confidential even when there is no link to terrorism or terrorist suspects. Among other things, they also reflect growing awarness of government surveillance of international and even domestic civilian communications - especially communications from press bureaus.

World Literacy Rate:

*C.I.A. Factbook - 33rd
*World Atlas Geographic Encyclopedia - 62nd
*Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development - 55th (9th in numbers of "highly literate" population)

Overall Health (measuring health care systems)
*WHO - 36th
*UN World Health Report - 39th

Factors such as cost, which affect accessability, were used in compiling this number: high costs of a multiple payer system and phenomenally high costs of prescription drugs in the U.S. The U.S. has the costliest health care system in the WHO survey - nearly twice as much as the next costliest system in Switzerland, which ranks 6th.

Overall Health (measuring population's health)

*Life Expectancy - 24th (from WHO, which noted in an article on their report, "Basically, you die earlier and spend more time disabled if you’re an average American rather than an average member of most other advanced countries.")
*Percentage of Uninsured - 88th (from WHO - 19% of population, from United Health Foundation.)

Adjusted life expectancy for people with disabilities is an excellent measure of a country's health care system and the U.S. ranks even lower in these numbers. Last in industrialized nations.

And finally, while I cannot speak for our Anonymous friend I suspect that the cliche he meant of you was: Grumpy Old Man. I will add "Lazy" to that for not looking into this information yourself.

Anonymous said...

Infant Death Mortality Rate:

*CBO (Congressional Budget Office) - 39th
*CDC (Center for Disease Control) - 33 (of 37)
*UNICEF State of the World's Mothers report - 2nd to last of world's industrialized nation (only Latvia is worse)
*WHO (World Health Organization) - 44
*World Atlas Geographic Encyclopedia - 36

Freedom of Press rankings:

*Reporters Without Borders - 53rd
*World Audit Press Association - 11th
*World Media Index - 33rd (at home but slips all the way to 135th - of 167 - when dealing with press freedom abroad, due in large part to manufactured and paid for news in areas of conflict such as Iraq.)

These rankings, all of which have shown a steady decline in America's freedom of press in the last 4 years, reflect no recognition of a journalists' right to keep sources confidential even when there is no link to terrorism or terrorist suspects. Among other things, they also reflect growing awarness of government surveillance of international and even domestic civilian communications - especially communications from press bureaus.

World Literacy Rate:

*C.I.A. Factbook - 33rd
*World Atlas Geographic Encyclopedia - 62nd
*Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development - 55th (9th in numbers of "highly literate" population)

Overall Health (measuring health care systems)
*WHO - 36th
*UN World Health Report - 39th

Factors such as cost, which affect accessability, were used in compiling this number: high costs of a multiple payer system and phenomenally high costs of prescription drugs in the U.S. The U.S. has the costliest health care system in the WHO survey - nearly twice as much as the next costliest system in Switzerland, which ranks 6th.

Overall Health (measuring population's health)

*Life Expectancy - 24th (from WHO, which noted in an article on their report, "Basically, you die earlier and spend more time disabled if you’re an average American rather than an average member of most other advanced countries.")
*Percentage of Uninsured - 88th (from WHO - 19% of population, from United Health Foundation.)

Adjusted life expectancy for people with disabilities is an excellent measure of a country's health care system and the U.S. ranks even lower in these numbers. Last in industrialized nations.

And finally, while I cannot speak for our Anonymous friend I suspect that the cliche he meant of you was: Grumpy Old Man. I will add "Lazy" to that for not looking into this information yourself.

Lysis said...

What is your point? Does any of this non-contextual ranting, this measuring of cherries, in anyway diminish the point made in the Post - “Lost Legends”? If anything it shows all the more reason young American should be taught to emulate the great men of the past in dealing with the problems of the present and future.

Your “looked up statistics” do not take into consideration any totality of the attributes that go into making a nation great. You have flatly failed to convince me that any of the nations, which you conveniently forgo mentioning, which may surpass the U.S. in this detail or that, are superior to it. But it doesn’t matter, that is not the issue I am presenting.

The problem is that there is a generation of Islamic fanatics taught that it is better to die destroying the West and particularly America than it is to live. While we in American, teach our children to fish up statistics to deprecate and devalue our nation so that no one will be willing to defend it.

Once again Anonymous, you prove my point by your brilliant absurdity.

truth to power said...

These rankings that you see from time to time ("Most Livable City", "Best Educated State", "Nation With Lowest Infant Mortality Rate") take many many factors and distill them down to one number. They're often promoted as revealing some deeply significant differences and huge problems to be solved. They're also usually created by groups with a political agenda to push.

Let's take "Best Educated State" for example. I've been watching this one for a few years, and I read the details of how the ranking is determined. One might guess they would use actual measures of education, such as graduation rates, test scores, percentage of adults with bachelor's or advanced degrees, etc. Well, in practice these things tend to be given less weight than such factors as average class size and per-pupil expenditures, which are more important to the activists involved than real educational outcomes.

Or how about one anonymous used: infant mortality rate? No explanation given as to how the number is calculated, nor why these numbers should be comparable from one nation to another. A quotation from Wikipedia illustrates the problem:

"But the method of calculating IMR often varies widely between countries based on the way they define a live birth. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a live birth as any born human being who demonstrates independent signs of life, including breathing, voluntary muscle movement, or heartbeat. Many countries, however, including certain European states and Japan, only count as live births cases where an infant breathes at birth, which makes their reported IMR numbers somewhat lower and raises their rates of perinatal mortality. The exclusion of any high-risk infants from the denominator or numerator in reported IMR's can be problematic for comparisons."

The other rankings anonymous mentioned: overall health, freedom of the press, literacy, and corruption, are all subject to the same sorts of political manipulation and misinterpretation.
Look at the explanation of "overall health"; it doesn't even talk about how healthy anybody is, for crying out loud! It's about money, and about how closely the "health care system" fits the preferred model of the people doing the measuring. But this comes from the UN; how could it possibly be biased?!

Anonymous claims, "the greatness of a country can, to a large degree, be measured." I'm not going to dismiss this claim out of hand, but either his examples are cherry-picked or they argue against the claim.

Anonymous said...

Or your own pig-headedness stops you from considering any premise that does begin with "The U.S.A. is number one," and probably includes "why can't everyone else in the world be just like us?"

Talking about lost legends, how about a mythic time when the President did not bald-faced lie to his own people! "Rumsfeld is here for the rest of my presidency." "Well, I lied so you wouldn't keep asking about it."

As far as common heritage between Romans and Americans: they both built themselves with slave labor and were both ruled by narrow minded allegiance to strange superstitions that led to the persecution of many, to say nothing of their penchant for Imperialism.

Thanks for the info Anonymous! Discussing such information will always make us better citizens at home and in the world community. Keep it up even if it scares and infuriates some. I know you will!

Anonymous said...

Great use of Wikipedia TTP! I also believe in a reality where, if enough people agree with a notion, it becomes the truth. Why bother with real numbers when we can just all agree they donn't tell the real story. In fact, let's sit around the campfire and make up our own story! We'll tell everyone it is the real "truth." What a genius idea. Do you work for the government? Because I think Wikipedia's numbers are good enough for government work too. "An invasion of Iraq will cost no more than $10 billion, require a committment of no longer than 18 months and definitely result in greater than - not less than - safety for America. (I read it on Wikipedia.)"

truth to power said...

It's hard to tell whether or not you're being ironic. Sarcastic, sure, but "if enough people agree with a notion, it becomes the truth" does seem to fit your use of numbers.

Lysis said...

Truth to Power;

You have struck to the heart of the Anonomy’s problem. They do not carry on coherent or reasoned arguments. Their very premises can contradict because their only goal is to support the claim of the moment.

They do not even have to challenge an opponent’s position. When they find a position unassailable;

Ex. – My claim: “the present American generation is not being taught to love their country, their heritage, or their heroes. Instead they are being taught to be ashamed of the accomplishments that have brought freedom and prosperity to millions.”

They invent a straw man position of their own and attempt to shoot it down.

Ex. - Their ?Response? – “As long as we believe being the greatest country in the world is a birthright, we’ll keep coasting on the achievements of earlier generations and we’ll keep losing the moral high ground.”

There is no connection between the response and the claim of the post, but that doesn’t matter, they can go on arguing with some imaginary foe until the cows come home, and do it with half baked claims, contradictory positions, irrelevant statistics, profanity, logical fallacies, and examples that shoot their own past arguments down. They do all this in a vain attempt to advance an agenda which they repeatedly feel obligated to disavow. That’s the neo-lib version of “Fair and Balanced”.

MindMechanic said...

Oh anon...are you backing the wrong horse...

I would LOVE to see how you determine your statistics. There is the old saying..."statistics dont lie...statisticians do." Examples...

Infant mortality-
We count ALL live birth in our statistics. Most of those developed nations with lower rates dont even count handicapped children, let alone birth weight, premature babies, etc. "First, it's shaky ground to compare U.S. infant mortality with reports from other countries. The United States counts all births as live if they show any sign of life, regardless of prematurity or size. This includes what many other countries report as stillbirths. In Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams (1 pound) to count as a live birth; in other parts of Europe, such as Switzerland, the fetus must be at least 30 centimeters (12 inches) long. In Belgium and France, births at less than 26 weeks of pregnancy are registered as lifeless. And some countries don't reliably register babies who die within the first 24 hours of birth. Thus, the United States is sure to report higher infant mortality rates."
http://www.factcheck.org/article330.html

Freedom of the press. I LOVE this arguement. Only in America will you have Kurt Vonnegut go to the University of Ohio football stadium, recieve a 6 figure speaking fee, rail against the country and president using the most profane hate filled rhetoric imagined...and then claim he has no freedom of the Speech. Again...LOVE to see the statistics on this. Anyone with a mint and the money can print ANYTHING they want. This argument is the Dixie Chick argument all over again. They want freedom of expression...well...they got it! Good for them. Now they complain because consumers are expressing themselves as well.

Literacy-
1-if you are using the Wikipedia site then you see the US definitely sitting at 55th place...with a reported 97% literacy. OK...still not too shabby and I'll be honest...I think that number is WAY too high. But look at a few of the others...the 99.9%ers...you bother to read how they get their statistics? Because education is compulsory from ages 6 to 15, it is ASSUMED they have a 99.9% literacy rate. Assumed.
Theres more...China, 80th on the list but with a supposed 90.6% literacy rate, teams with India to comprise 50% of ALL illiterate individuals in the world. All of the continent of Africa has less than half of its adults as literate. 27% of all adults worldwide are iliterate. Arent stats FUN?

Maybe we would do better statistically if we just assumed that since we too have compulsory education we too qualify for the 99.9% mark.

What we DO have is an education system that offers opportunites to learn. What people do with it...thats up to them.

Corruption? Well...another old saying goes "absolute power corrupts absolutely." I wonder...if it isnt illegal to recieve bribes and kickbacks does that still count? That might explain why we are 20th...in many countries corruption isnt corruption, it's expected as part of business. Still...in this country we DO have laws and where it is pointed out, those people are subject to law. Unless of course you are a democrat congressman from Louisiana. Then you just run for re-election.

But see...heres the thing...
YOUR source in 2003 shows the US as being number 18 (well...tied for number 18). However...it cites Iraq as coming in...oh...howsabout 113...right there with Uganda and Sierra Lione.

And YOU probably think thats just about right.

And I'll jump around a bit...

You mention Bill Clinton encouraging us TODAY to begin exploring alternative fuel sources. Fabulous. You know what the debate topic was in college in 1977? Alternative fuels and energy independence. See...its NOT a new idea, and since Bill is saying we can do it today...does anyone bother to point out that maybe he should have thought about it during his 8 years as president???

No...the US is not perfect and I dont think we are running around myopic. However...with all it's imperfections...greatest nation on the earth? Yeah. And apparently all those people risking life, limb, prison, family seperation, and everything else to get here think that at the very least it is hell and gone better than where they are running from.

Oh...hey...freedom is an interesting thing. Holland is your example? Well...
1-You CANT smoke hash just anywhere...you have to purchase it and use it in licensed and regulated shops.
2-Hard drugs are still illegal but no less a problem.
3-Homelessness isnt a problem in Holland. Once people come, get strung out, lose their money and way of life, the governemnt collects them and drops them off outside the border. Not their problem.
4-Child prostitution is soaring in Holland.
5-Abortion amongst 12-13 year olds has increased 400% in the last 10 years.
6-Child pornography is legal to own and distribute, just not to sell.
7-A recent court case in Holland involved a man and over 300 counts of child sexual abuse. He was convicted but the judge overturned the verdict because he really didnt see it being harmful to the children.
8-"From 1984 to 1996, marijuana use among 18-25 year olds in Holland increased twofold. Since legalization of marijuana, heroin addiction levels in Holland have tripled and perhaps even quadrupled by some estimates.

The increasing use of marijuana is responsible for more than increased crime. It has widespread social implications as well. The head of Holland’s best-known drug abuse rehabilitation center has described what the new drug culture has created: The strong form of marijuana that most of the young people smoke, he says, produces “a chronically passive individual—someone who is lazy, who doesn’t want to take initiatives, doesn’t want to be active—the kid who’d prefer to lie in bed with a joint in the morning rather than getting up and doing something.”

So...yeah...I had some time to kill while waiting for the contractor to give me estimates. I ramble on a bit here, but there is a lot of ground to cover. I reread this and wonder why even bother? Whats the point?

And I dont have an answer. In Anons eyes all the problems started 6 years ago. All the worlds problems are our fault. Well...not OUR fault, republicans fault and specifically, George Bush's fault. And nothing I say will change that. I guess thats OK though. I can refute every argument...it wont make a difference or a dent. I can point to his inconsistencies, especially his blindness in regard to history and the deomcrats lack of answers, resolutions, or even involvement.

Maybe if nothing else it just helps me.

No...its not perfect. Yes...it's ALWAYS been this way. No...we shouldnt rest on our laurels but should keep striving to make things better. Yes...I do believe we ARE working on things and making things better.

Last closing note...since anon brought up the torture...
Every democrat on the intelligence committee has been briefed at every step of the way. All of the democrat leaders were briefed regarding the wiretapping program. Democrats have been informed all along. They didnt stop it. When it was made public, they bemoaned the policy and ignored their involvement. SO has the media. So have all the liberals.

I think it comes down to this. As long as there ARE people willing to do whatever it takes, there will always be people that dont have to and will hide behind them and criticize them.

We have on numerous occasions asked the anon for their alternative to combating terror. We have asked how they would get information. What we have gotten from them is silence. Which pretty clearly illustrates the point. As long as someone else will, they dont have to.

It will be interesting to see how the democrats in congress now act.

Moon Knight said...

if we are talking about LOST LEGENDS, let us talk about Hulk Hogan verus Andre the Giant. those were good legends to remember, but are now lost within the past, but that is only one example, let us also talk about Babe Ruth when he pointed his finger left field when everyone laugh, he proved them wrong, let us also remember Muhammed Ali the boxer, you only talk about lost Historical figures, but what about lost sports legends!

Anonymous said...

Lysis simpleton approach misses the point and makes listening to his words irrelevant. If you want to understand the futility of America's current situation in Iraq, last week provided a vivid microcosm. On Thursday, just hours before a series of car bombs killed more than 200 people in the Shia stronghold of Sadr City, Sunni militants attacked the Ministry of Health, which is run by one of Moqtada al-Sadr's followers. Within a couple of hours, American units arrived at the scene and chased off the attackers. The next day, Sadr's men began reprisals against Sunnis, firing RPGs at several mosques. When U.S. forces tried to stop the carnage and restore order, goons from Sadr's Mahdi Army began firing on American helicopters. In other words, one day the U.S. Army was defending Sadr's militia and, the next day, was attacked by it. We're in the middle of a civil war and are being shot at by both sides.
There can be no more doubt that Iraq is in a civil war, in which leaders of both its main communities, Sunnis and Shiites, are fomenting violence. The assault on Sadr's Ministry of Health was likely retaliation for a recent mass kidnapping at the Ministry of Education, which still retains some Sunnis. The Ministry of the Interior houses the deadliest killers from the Badr Brigades, the other large Shiite militia. Badr's Bayan Jabr built the death squads when he ran the ministry; he's now Iraq's Finance minister, in charge of its resources. This is the Iraqi government we are protecting, funding and attempting to strengthen. To speak, as the White House deputy press secretary did last week, of "terrorists ... targeting innocents in a brazen effort to topple a democratically elected government" totally misses the reality of Iraq today.

The American Army has more than enough troops to confront the Mahdi Army. The problem is political, not military. U.S. forces have been repeatedly blocked from going after Mahdi leaders. This month they were forced by the Iraqi government to abandon raids into Sadr City in search of a kidnapped American soldier. They were not even allowed to stop traffic in the neighborhood. Will more troops change that? Unlikely. Will education about Roman values? Definitely not.

Blaming Neo-Con created quagmire, and all of its wide ranging attendant problems, on a lack of bed time story telling for America's youth is absurd. Saying that the way forward is to find our way back, to the way we used to be, (presumably not the way we used to be when we kept African-Americans in chains, denied full representation to women and segregated public places by race) is just as absurd. More than that, it can be terrorifying. It is what the Taliban did in Afghanistan and it is the very reason Al-Queda means "the foundation" in Arabic. Mullah Omar Lysis always did seem apros pos.

MindMechanic said...

Anon...

Count me as one of those that believe the mission was accomplished in 2003 and that our message to the Iraqi's then and now should have been that you have X amount of days to stand up for your selves and your freedom.

But I think your mistake is that you still want to make this about George Bush and the Iraqi terrorists while ignoring that the problem is NOT Iraq, but rather global muslim fanaticism.

I know you get tired of me grinding home the point with regard to muslim terrorists attrocities in Jordon, Chechnya, Tibet, Bali, Spain, Ethiopia, etc etc etc. However the fact remains...Muslim fanatics...extremists...are to blame for the deaths ongoing in Iraq. This is a battle for power and it extends far beyond today in Iraq. Iraq is simply the most visible battleground.

You want to call it a civil war...really? Has shiite decared war on sunni? has Kurd declared war on both? No. Extremist factions within (and without) the sunni and shiite ranks are murdering people attempting to bring about civil war. By what definition then do you call it a civil war?

From my perspective, it would be so much easier if there WHERE an actual civil war. Right now there is not and that forces all sides to walk this most delicate of tightropes.

Still...no one would suggest there isnt violence and bloodshed and no one would suggest it isnt an ugly occuring. So...

We know you dont like the current path. What would you see happen?

MindMechanic said...

Anon...do I correctly assume that you believe it is wrong to hold ethnic history months? just a question...

Anonymous said...

Ahem:
"Students need to be taught to love America".-Lysis

I do not find a strong causal link between teaching students pseudo historical mythology and them coming to love ANYTHING more than the release the bell will give after 90 minutes of that torment.

Student "LOVE" is a wonderful by-product of intellectual discourse and competent instruction BUT IT IS A CONTEMPTIBLE GOAL!!!!

All I really know of Lysis' instructional methodology is the bits he drags 'kicking and screaming' into the Agora and there is no sense of objectivity in that.

However, to suggest that America's ills can be solved by PREACHING the fictional leftovers of days gone by is to ROB students of the ANALYTIC skills that could SUSTAIN what is GOOD in America and ALSO creat solutions to the TERRIBLE PROBLEMS that Lysis would rather ignore!!!!

MindMechanic said...

By Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY
Mon Nov 27, 6:55 AM ET

College graduates are experiencing the best job market in four years as a stronger economy leads more employers to ramp up hiring.

Employers expect to hire 17.4% more new college graduates in 2006 and 2007 than in 2005 and 2006, according to a new survey by the Bethlehem, Pa.-based National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Signing bonuses range from $1,000 to $10,000, with the average at $3,568. And employers reported plans to boost their starting salary offers by 4.6% over last year, nearly a full percentage point higher than increases for the classes of 2006 and 2005.

"This is the fourth year in a row that employers have predicted an increase in hiring," says Andrea Koncz at NACE. "It really is because of the economy and more demand. Companies are growing."

MindMechanic said...

"All I really know of Lysis' instructional methodology is the bits he drags 'kicking and screaming' into the Agora"

Truer words were never spoken. That is clearly ALL you know.

Ive never been a student of Lysis so I know little to nothing of his teaching methodology. I think the decades of dedication shown by the many young men and women whose lives have been influenced by him stand as a far greater testimony to his instructional methodology than anything I could sabout him.I do know of the love, caring, and commitment he has shown to people close to me...people that didnt fit the typical model, your basic perfect round pegs in a square hole society...people that were given inspiration and support to succeed where so many of the traditional educators simply gave up on them.

I know nothing of YOUR personal interactions anon...I only hope that your influence allows you to be as richly fullfilled in life as I know Lysis to be.

MindMechanic said...

DANG IT!!!!

I feel so silly when I get tripped up like that. Here I spend all that time thinking I am replying to Anon...only to find out that the anon has posted someone elses rant.

I should have known...it had acutal figures and things that someone would have actually had to look up!

I am now not surprised that anon cant defend his writing...its not his.

Cameron said...

Bill Maher=Anonymous?

Cameron said...

"I'm only ashamed to see someone I once thought of as an original thinker go into their old age as such a tired cliche."

Which anon then follows up with a copy and paste job of someone else's writing.

Anonymous said...

teaspoon here,

I'm speaking as someone who's currently a high school student. The public schools in my area are unable to teach either love or reason because they are still busy teaching basic language and mathematics skills. At the private school I attend, the greatest emphasis is placed on the development of analytical thought. This is a good thing, but youth also need good information.

There will always be people with distorted statistics and subjective positions, and they will always thrust their views on the young and inexperienced. In order to overcome the negative tendencies good people need to present good principles. To ask anyone to reason good principle from bad information is like asking a man to build a sturdy house on sand.

Rumpole said...

Anonymy,

You provide so much material! I’ll try to be brief!

You post: “And finally, while I cannot speak for our Anonymous friend I suspect that the cliche he meant of you was: Grumpy Old Man. I will add "Lazy" to that for not looking into this information yourself.”

So the new debate tactic is to throw out some statistics and then call someone “lazy” when the veracity of those statistics comes into question? It’s a great idea! You never have to prove your credibility! You put out numbers with no need to defend them! What a novel approach!

MindMechanic,

Yours was an excellent refutation of bogus statistics. If I might add, it is not only important to consider the statistical data, it is also important to consider who gathered it.

For example, should we consider statistics gathered from the U.N. to be credible? Should we consider statistics gathered by the organization that is lead by Kofie “I’m on the take” Anon to be accurate and unbiased?

That would clearly be the definition of gullible.

Moon Knight,

I believe Lysis’ desire was to point out, as he posted, “people that made America the greatest nation that has ever existed.” Maybe there are athletes that fit that criteria. Muhammed Ali is certainly not one of them. The biggest sham of the Atlanta Olympics was Ali lighting the Olympic Torch. Ali is a coward and a draft dodger. He does not represent the best that America has to offer, and he certainly does not represent me.

I will even go further and point out that your example of Ali is another illustration of the failure of our public schools and also of the mainstream media. Ali is held as a hero and an icon; seldom is mention made of the fact that he ran from his duty. He thought it was beneath him. Tell that to every American soldier that did his duty; tell it to every American soldier that died for his country. Ali is on the same plane as “Hanoi Jane.” Yes, the same Jane Fonda that is also revered by our failing institutions.

You ought to search for a better example.

Anonymous,

You post: “However, to suggest that America's ills can be solved by PREACHING the fictional leftovers of days gone by is to ROB students of the ANALYTIC skills that could SUSTAIN what is GOOD in America and ALSO creat(e) solutions to the TERRIBLE PROBLEMS that Lysis would rather ignore!!!!

Do you suggest that there is no value in teaching history?

MindMechanic said...

Rumpole...

I dont mean to be Ali's defender...but I dont consider his actions cowardice. 1-He grew up in a land and time where blacks had only recently been afforded moderately equal status. 2-His statement "aint no yellow man never done me no harm" speaks volumes to his position...especially again in light of minorities status in America at the time. 3-He stood by his convictions. He gave up his title and allowed himself to be incarcerated for his principled position. Agree or disagree, he didnt run off to Zambia, Canada, or any other country. I dont know if that makes him a hero, but I dont see him as a villain.

I think I have mentioned this here before...I was not old enough to face the draft during VietNam, but my father and I had many discussions during that time and I dont know that I would have readily fought in VietNam. As a 20+ year vet of 4 armed conflicts, I understand Ali's position.

Thats just for what it is worth. I respect him far more than I do Fonda who gave aid and comfort to the enemy and even Kerry, who joined out of political expedience and then did everything he could to get out as soon as a Republican president was elected. How many liberals complained about "Nixon's" VietNam? When was the last time you ever heard of a liberal critical of Kennedy's VietNam or Johnsons VietNam?

Anonymous said...

Rump:
I think there is great value in TEACHING and LEARNING history -- I also think there is great deception and dishonesty in PREACHING history.

There is a difference, I hope you can see, between TEACHING history and PREACHING history.

When "history" is used as a MEANS to serve political or religious bias, I think CONTEMPT and not LOVE of history is engendered.

History is and should be an END -- the "story" part of history has much power to edify, as ALL great literature does; but should NOT be corrupted into an ATTACK animal serving disreputable men and purposes!!!!

MM

Let everyone at the Agora see YOUR list of AUTHENTIC and UNBIASED sources!!!! Meanwhile offer up an ANALYSIS of why the statistics that WERE offered should be rejected.

You know, Lysis made some FAR FETCHED generalizations about the woeful state of American Education, youth, and culture, and I didn't see even ONE statistic for anyone to see HIS "unbiased" sources.

Perhaps, you could help him out!!!!

MindMechanic said...

Ummmmm...I attached the factcheck.org site....maybe you missed that. Once there, do a search on ANY of those items...thats where you will find most of them. I also followed up on the Wikipedia source, going to the actual countries pages to find the more detailed info about how they determine their statistics. Its really pretty basic stuff.

I do put everything in quotes...but I'll make you a deal...you cite yours and I'll cite mine. Heck...I'd even be happy if you put your postings in quotation marks when they arent yours. heck...you REALLY want to do this right? Attacj sources to everything you cite. I have no problem with that...heck, 100+APA formated papers ...I'm used to it.
But...fair is fair. I'll go the extra mile if you will.

BTW...I dont doubt the veracity of your numbers...errr...I mean of Bill Mahers numbers. He sure he has people that he can quote...hence the saying "statistics dont lie, statisticians do." Your numbers (sorry...his numbers) regarding our placement were spot on...according to their source. I just dug in a little deeper to find the rest of the story.

maybe you remeber this old chestnut..."13 children a day in America die by gun violence." http://clinton2.nara.gov/WH/Work/071599.html Thats a figure Bill Clinton used to throw around, as did the liberal anti-gun crowd like Schumer, Hillary, Byrd, et all. The Brady group was fond of quoting it as well. You know how they got that number? they included ALL individuals from the age of 0-25 years of age. Guess which age group is the highest demographic for violence, crime, and murder...you guessed it...18-25 year olds. Remove that and the numbers shrink. Of course...every loss of life is tragic and I dont mean to minimize tragedy, but they have to be honest about their study or the entire study is flawed and suspect.

Look at the recent study done by the Lancet from Harvard. HARVARD for crying out loud...you KNOW they have to reputable...right? 600 thousand deaths right? Wrong. Even Iraq Death Watch, a VERY anti Bush site put the deaths somewhere around 60 thousand. So...how did the Lancet get 600 thousand deaths? Create statsitics my friend. Assume X and Y, allow for torance Z, get sum XZY and then announce it as fact.

And one more point...

Since Bill Clinton considers anyone aged 0-25 as a "child", that makes him (by his own reckoning) a child molester.

Again...aint stats fun?

MindMechanic said...

BTW...which statistics is it that Lysis made that needs to be challenged? I read several generalizations...which stats did I miss?

Something YOU have obviously missed...on MANY occasions different people here have questioned and challenged each others positions. I challenge you to support your mentality that everyone here gives Lysis or anyone else a free pass. People disagree with each other all the time here. Except you and the anon collective. You sprain your arms patting each other on the back...on EVERY issue.

Anonymous said...

What Harvard study Jackass?

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should check your inforamation again. All of it. And don't be afraid to provide the sources you boasted of. I've provided mine: Congressional Budget Office, Center for Disease Control, CIA World Fact Book - you make some vacuous claim about Wikipedia!? Get head screwed on tight and graduate to a level where we informed discussion does not count what you read on the side of a cereal box this morning while you procrastinated on work.

truth to power said...

I'll tell you why your so-called statistics should be rejected. It's because they have misleading names. They don't come close to measuring what they pretend to measure. I've said it before; maybe you need me to spell it out some more.

Comparing "infant mortality rate" among developed countries is meaningless. They don't even share a definition of "infant"; if a baby dies too small, too frail, or too early, certain countries don't count it. It's sort of amazing that here, in the home of the modern abortion tragedy, our medical professionals don't define away these tiny vulnerable people to pad our stats.

The WHO and UN rankings of "overall health" are just plain silly. They don't even try to hide the fact that they're just measuring how socialized a country's health care system is. It has absolutely nothing to do with anybody's health. You might as well measure "overall education" by the pay scale and racial diversity of teachers.

How about freedom of the press? I tried but failed to find your sources besides Reporters Without Borders. Here is their explanation of why the USA is down the list:

"The poor ranking of the United States (17th) is mainly because of the number of journalists arrested or imprisoned there. Arrests are often because they refuse to reveal their sources in court. Also, since the 11 September attacks, several journalists have been arrested for crossing security lines at some official buildings."

Okay, so Reporters Without Borders ranks the US down in press freedom because we don't have a federal law to let reporters keep sources secret, and because reporters get arrested when they trespass on government installations.

I know the self-important news media think they should get to conceal all sorts of evidence from the authorities and go where they please, but that's not what freedom of the press means. It means we all have the right to write and publish the words of our choice. The First Amendment doesn't create some special class of "supercitizens" above the law; it applies equally to everybody.

So here's what's wrong with your statistics. "Infant mortality", "overall health", "freedom of the press". Redefine terms and you can get whatever ranking you want. I guess it's the only option for the America haters.

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

Flaccid;

With you it’s always a word game. Teaching, preaching – your arbitrary terms, your concocted distinction.

What amasses me most is your disrespect and misunderstanding of students. You talk as if they were innate filing cabinets into which you place packages of information for storage but not for contemplation or action.

You pretend that ideas are inert. Perhaps in your hands they are, perhaps they lose life in your mouth. What a pitiful example of education you espouse, putting meaningless bits into mindless computers; storage only.

Students are filled with passions and burn with the light of reason. You cannot throw fuel on such fires without creating heat.

What a cold and lifeless boredom your class must be, where the cold “facts” of your choosing, are poured out on to the dead coals of your “student’s” unconsciousness.

a quiet listener said...

i can't believe he actually ripped off some other guy's writing. i mean he even took out the parts that proved it wasn't him writing. i disagreed with his argument but i actually respected him a little for trying to post something he geniunely believed in.

to the subject at hand. blame it on the fact that i'm currently reading right where samuel the lamanite is preaching to nephites.... but i can't help but think that lysis is on the right track here. i think that we do need heroes to look up to and emulate. as such i think we have many too, the problem is that we are taught that america is doing only wrong. in my scripture reading it claims very often that this is a special land, a promised land which will be successful but only if we as the people living here are righteous. i beleive that to be true. i believe america will be successful until they are too wicked to warrant god's help. having true heroes helps us try and be like them. obviously there's nothing inherently better about someone born here than anywhere else. we'd like to think our successful war history, economy and technological advances come because we are somehow more creative, innovative or unique, well i hate to say it but i think if god didn't take us by the hand every step of the way we'd be no better off than anybody else. furthermore, i think that god does take our nation by the hand in many cases to achieve his goals, but he can only do so when we merit his help by righteous living. america's true test will be living with all the prosperity we've been given without turning out like the nephites.

back to true heroes though. when i took the gre i had to critique an essay section with a quote that said something like there can be no "true heroes" because no matter how great somebody is eventually the media exposes their flaws. i thought this was ridiculous. the very fact that normal people with common flaws and weaknesses overcome them to achieve amazing things makes them heroes. that's what makes us able to emulate them and try and be like them. i mean lance armstrong has done the impossible winning the tour de france what is it... like seven times now all while beating cancer? is he still human. yup. he's done a lot of stupid things not the dumbest of which was divorcing his wife to get married to sheryl crow but you know what. as a sports icon he still represents determination, stamina and persistance. so focus on that.

i think we have many examples of such in american history but we need to quit focusing on the negative aspects and try and follow people for the good they do. that's my two cents anyways.

MindMechanic said...

Anon...

"Get head screwed on tight and graduate to a level where we informed discussion does not count what you read"

generally...when you are making an attack on someones intelligence, it's a good idea to not write sentences that show you to be a moron.

MindMechanic said...

Anon...

A few points.

1-I ceded to you that the numbers you present are likely real and not made up. I guess you missed that. The point is not whether or not someone can present a study, the point is does the study pass the most important test...does it have validity?

A FEW examples...

You (copy someone elses work and present it as your own) cite where we come in 55th in education. Fine. You are right...the study you presented does indeed make that claim. It can be verified by any number of methods. The Wikipedia site was given and so that is where I looked. However...what is NOT presented is

1-We lag the number one countries 99.9% literacy to 97% literacy...2.9% points...both bloated IMO but still not bad.
2-The statistics gathered by the number one country (Australia) by THEIR OWN GOVERNMENTS RECKONING is ASSUMED...not verified.
3-I defy you to prove that in America we have 97% literacy rates, the number quoted in YOUR (sorry...Mr Maher's) study.

2-You (copy someone elses work and present it as your own) cite Americas high infant mortality rate. I AGREE...thats what the numbers SAY. Hoever...do you dispute the point that the US reports ALL statistics for live birth while the European countries do NOT report low birth weight, premature birth rates, etc?

3-You (copy someone elses work and present it as your own) cited governmental corruption. YOUR OWN SITE ranks the US as tied for 18th, while Iraq, Uganda, and Sierra Lionne come in at 113th.

The numbers are fine...its how those numbers are arrived at that are suspect.

MindMechanic said...

since we are talking literacy...

This article is especially pertinent considering some of the discussions here and my own experience w/ the CTI a few days ago...smething that may come to light...we'll see.

basically...the challenge remains...define literacy.

This is one of the reasons why I think ALL the stats are inflated.

Fresh out of college -- can he balance a checkbook?

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

WASHINGTON -- Nearing a diploma, most college students cannot handle many complex but common tasks, from understanding credit card offers to comparing the cost per ounce of food.

Those are the sobering findings of a study of literacy on college campuses, the first to target the skills of students as they approach the start of their careers.

More than 50 percent of students at four-year schools and more than 75 percent at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks.

That means they could not interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school.

The results cut across three types of literacy: analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding documents and having math skills needed for checkbooks or restaurant tips.

"It is kind of disturbing that a lot of folks are graduating with a degree and they're not going to be able to do those things," said Stephane Baldi, the study's director at the American Institutes for Research, a behavioral and social science research organization.

Seattle Central Community College student Shane Penland, 28, was skeptical of the study's results.

There's a "dumbing down" trend in society, Penland said, with people spending more time watching TV and surfing the Internet instead of reading books. But he added: "I don't know that we're so incapacitated that we're unable to balance checkbooks."

Most students at community colleges and four-year schools showed intermediate skills, meaning they could perform moderately challenging tasks. Examples include identifying a location on a map, calculating the cost of ordering office supplies or consulting a reference guide to figure out which foods contain a particular vitamin.


But overall, the average literacy of college students is significantly higher than that of adults across the nation. Study leaders said that was encouraging but not surprising, given that the spectrum of adults includes those with much less education.

Also, compared with all adults with similar levels of education, college students had superior skills in searching and using information from texts and documents.

"But do they do well enough for a highly educated population? For a knowledge-based economy? The answer is no," said Joni Finney, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, an independent and non-partisan group.

"This sends a message that we should be monitoring this as a nation, and we don't do it," Finney said. "States have no idea about the knowledge and skills of their college graduates."

The survey examined college and university students nearing the end of their degree programs. The students did the worst on matters involving math, according to the study.

Almost 20 percent of students pursuing four-year degrees had only basic quantitative skills. For example, the students could not estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the service station. About 30 percent of two-year students had only basic math skills.

Colby Payment, a University of Washington senior studying microbiology, said some of the subjects included in the study didn't deal with topics students encounter in a classroom.

"We get so focused on certain stuff in our majors that other stuff doesn't cross our minds," he said.

Jillian Buchan, a UW junior majoring in biology and art, admitted that she might not be able to understand credit card information or handle other financial matters; her parents pay for her tuition and handle most of her finances.

"I haven't really been forced to learn it yet," she said, while taking a break from studying bioscientific Latin and Greek. "Right now I'm focused on school and studies."

Baldi and Finney said the survey should be used as a tool. They hope state leaders, educators and university trustees will examine the rigor of courses required of all students.

The survey showed a strong relationship between analytic coursework and literacy. Students in two-year and four-year schools scored higher when they took classes that challenged them to apply theories to practical problems or weigh competing arguments.

The college survey used the same test as the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, the government's examination of English literacy among adults. The results of that study were released in December, showing about one in 20 adults is not literate in English.

On campus, the tests were given in 2003 to a representative sample of 1,827 students at public and private schools. The Pew Charitable Trusts funded the survey. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

A person's ability to balance a checkbook and accomplish other tasks isn't based on their education, said Seattle Central student Jennifer Chapton, 22.

"It's not about your book smarts," she said. "It's about your street smarts."

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/256408_literacy20.html

MindMechanic said...

Interesting (well...to me at least).

In light of the revelation regarding the posting of anothers works, the words in Lysis' response strikes me as entirely significant...

"Why do you feel the need to go off on an unrelated attack against American? What have the historic accounts of our heroes got to do with flag nipples and free marijuana? Your anti-American screed is a perfect example of how our children have been taught to hate America and deprecate it without thought or challenge."

Indeed. What we see is that it was not meant as a response against Lysis' initial post...it was meant entirely as an anti American rant by an elitist socialist leftist that readily admits he hates God, religion, and people of faith.

BUT...

What is even more significant is that the anon thought THIS WOULD be an appropriate response to Lysis inital musings.

That Bill Maher even wrote it says a lot about him. That the anon would steal it and use it here speaks VOLUMES about him.

Lysis said...

Mindmechanic;

Thanks for the great information.

Wasn’t it amazing how much of the media discussion of the “First” Thanksgiving over the past weekend centered on how the evil Pilgrims stole the land from the Indians? Notice no mention was ever made of the people the Indians stole the land from when it was there turn to migrate into Mass.

When our very founders are made out to be unique in their villainy, it is increasingly difficult to convince America’s youth that they live in a nation worth fighting for.

MindMechanic said...

Lysis...

One of my favorite classes recently was minority group relations. It was great, primary because it was an online class and the instructor insisted on openness and anonymity. It took a while to get out from under the PC shell...but after we did, it was a GREAT class for communicating.

The old saying "to the victor goes the spoils" shuld also be accompanied by another saying...to the victor goes the blame.

What is ALWAYS lost is that EVERY nation throughout time was organized and strengthened by conquest. This land is no different.

What...do people think the aborigines in what is now Canada ALWAYS spoke french? Do people think the remnants of the Incas and the Aztecs ALWAYS spoke spanish?

I wish more was taught about the ancient natives here. It must have been quite a sight to see two bands of natives gathering, enjoying a day of sports events, an evening of feasting, and then the next morning the great battles. It seldom gets mentioned what happens to the defeated tribes. I wonder why that is...

I think this where I came in to the agora, several months ago...studying history for the sake of learning history and not creating hysteria for the sake of judgement and blame.

My only regret is that ribeye steak was not promoted as the meat of choice for this holiday.

Anonymous said...

"Students are filled with passions and burn with the light of reason. You cannot throw fuel on such fires without creating heat."

versus

". . . the present American generation is not being taught to love their country, their heritage, or their heroes. Instead, they are being taught to be ASHAMED of the accomplishments that have brought freedom and prosperity to millions."

Now which students people Lysis' classroom?

The "innert" and oppressed "present American generation" who need to be TAUGHT about "heroes" to find their way to LYSIS VERSIONS of patriotism and "fighting for America."

or

The self actuated passionate American students who don't need motivation but need FREEDOM to think and discover ON THEIR OWN without a stilted curriculum of PREACHED "heroes" smothering their need and desire to BE heroes.

Start throwing fuel on the fires instead of dousing them with retardant!!!!

MindMechanic said...

Anon...

I'm not sure I see any inconsistencies in any of your stated examples. All are currently present in all levels of our education system from elementary to graduate level. Impassioned and inspired students (usually fostered by loving and supportive parents or role models), devoted and inspirational teachers, as well as students that have been doused and teachers that contribute to the dousing.

My youngest is a junior this year. All 4 of my kids have had stellar experiences as well as not so good experiences. They have had teachers that inspired and teachers that stole their paycheck.

I truly do not see your problem with teaching heroic values to youth. I dont see it suggested that we teach ONLY the heroic, nor do I see it suggested that wre teach it without regard to the other subjects.

To be totally honest...I think your biggest problem and motivator is that you have this in-bred kneejerk need to argue and disagree with anything that Lysis presents.

I have a 25 year background as a scout leader. I dont think scouting is the ONLY program that teaches values but I do think that the scouting program that teaches those values as found in the oath and law contributes to an understanding of and commitment to duty, honor, service, etc. When that teaching is reinforced by parents and leaders that set positive examples, it is a powerful and lasting program.

MindMechanic said...

It's interesting to see how this thread has gone. The inital post talked of a teacher in Greek and Roman History using the lessons of ancient greeks and romans to inspire students today, and of how those lessons can be applied with power today.

I dont see a conflict in that.

That same teacher discussed the problem he see's where today's society is taught to be ashamed of themselves, their heritage, and their country. If you dont believe that is happening you have never attended public school.

His last comment mentions the pertinence of that message, especially in this day and age where conflict and violence is becoming the global norm.

I ask again...where exactly is the problem with the original message?

Rumpole said...

MindMechanic,

You post: “I don’t consider (Ali’s) actions cowardice.”

Further, you post about Ali: “His statement "aint no yellow man never done me no harm" speaks volumes to his position” . . .

Would it be cowardice on my part to say “ain’t no terrorist never done me no harm”? Would it be cowardice on my part to imply through both speech and action that a people’s freedom from despotism (whether it be from Pot or Hussain) is of no concern to me?

Perhaps you are right. Perhaps it wasn’t cowardice. Selfishness might be more appropriate. I certainly respect your view. I have no respect, however, for Ali’s position.

Anonymy,

You post: “There is a difference, I hope you can see, between TEACHING history and PREACHING history.”

So that I can better understand your position, will you please explain the difference between teaching history and preaching history? Can history be successfully taught without, as you imply, turning it into “great literature?”

Is the only value in the study of history listing the time, date, place, and the event?

At that point, should the “self-actuated, passionate American student who (doesn’t) need motivation but need(s) freedom” be left on his own to, as you suggest, “think and discover ON THEIR OWN without a stilted curriculum of PREACHED "heroes" smothering their need and desire to BE heroes?”

How does the discussion of heros smother one’s need and desire to be a hero?

Lysis said...

Flaccid:

Many of my students are free heroes. I think the real question is what are yours?

Mindmechanic:

Thanks for “getting it!”

Rumpole;

I must admit that I have often admired Cassius Clay’s courage. There were many evils facing black people in America in the 60’s. Clay was openly defiant to the racial bigitory that dominated much of America. That took courage. He was a hero for that.

As for his choice concerning Viet Nam; his inability to distinguish between the “yellow men” who needed his help, and the “yellow men” that were seeking to murder them by the millions – perhaps we could blame some of that confusion on his teacher’s inability to help him grasp the differences between good and evil.

I cannot see how the discussion of heroes, weather they be Ancient Romans of twentieth century prize fighters, can do anything but inspire.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole...

Now THATS how you say "I respect your opinion even though you are totally nuts" ;-) So let me return the compliment. Please dont take this the wrong way.

I gather from your comments then that you DO think terrorism and terrorists represent a real threat. So...does that mean you have volunteered and committed to fight them based on the strength of your convictions...no draft necessary?

I dont consider his actions cowardice and doubt they were selfish. Maybe...I just doubt it.

A little perspective. I mean he DID live in an era where he wasnt even allowed to drink from the same water fountain as whites...now he was being told he WAS equal enough to go and fight for whites? And for what?

No leader has ever adequately explained why we went to war in VietNam. The French government sacrificed 60 thousand troops 2-5 thousand at a time for 15 years in their effort to maintain control of what was then called Indochina. So why then?

Freedom for the south? Please...they were farmers...they didnt know the difference between Ho Chi Minh and Pham Van Dong. To end violence and bloodshed? Not really...Ho's plan was to unite VietNam. And if it was to stop killing why didnt we act in Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur?

Nah...it was over an ideal...and it was a just cause. It is why we fought in Korea, VietNam, why we fought the cold war, why we supported Iran and then Iraq.

They just never did a very good job of explaining it.

Anonymous said...

High Country News
"SELF-STYLED CONSERVATIVES ARE THE CHEAPEST GENERATION . . . -By Russel Sadler

I was brought up to believe that we had a moral obligation to leave our corner of the world better off than we found it. In recent years, I am haunted by the notion that the people we have elected to represent us -- many of them self-style conservatives -- may be the the first in modern American history to fail to meet this obligation.

There are many signs that the legacy of the governing generation will be a world worse off. It is not limited to the bungled Iraq War and a destabilized Middle East, the looting of the public treasury by rampant cronyism, the pillaging of natural resources, the incompetence that led to the slow drowning of an American city, or the shameless legalization of torture after the fact. These are symptoms of a larger ill.

The fundamental problem with those in power is a lack of respect for the public patrimony created by the work and wealth of generations that came before us.

From the Bush regime's squandering of our reputation in the world, to cynical congressional efforts to destroy Social Security, to the neglect of national, state and local parks and to the refusal of state governments to adequately finance public colleges and universities, the governing generation is turning its back on the work of earlier Americans.

The source of this lack of respect for the public realm is specific. It is the narcissism of a selfish philosophy combined with the libertarian libel that there is no such thing as the "common good." The only legitimate interest is self-interest, and taxation to support the common good is theft. This ideology denies the fundamental reason that societies organize communities in the first place -- to rspond to needs people cannot meet individually.

Our present patrimony was created largely by "The Greatest Generation," as retired TV anchor Tom Brokaw named them. This was the generation that lived through the Great Depression or was raised in its shadow. It created Social Security, the single most successful program in the history of public government. Members of this generation fought and won World War II. They generously rebuilt Europe and Japan. They passed the GI bill offering a college education to those who interrupted their lives to serve their country.

They understood the "common good" because they had been deprived of it for nearly two decades. From 1927, when American agriculture went into depression, until 1946 when the war ended, this generation endured the privation of the Depression and the rationing and wage and price controls of the war. They passed legislation to assure that this would not happen to any future generation.

In the name of "conservative reform" most of those safeguards have bveen repealed or dismantled. They no longer exist.

Nowhere is this destruction of the public patrimony more flagrant than in the systematic destruction of public education. When I attended the University of Oregon in the mid-1960's my undergraduate tuition of about $1,000 for the school year reflected 25 percent of the per-student operating cost. Taxpayers paid the remaining 75 percent, which has since been returned to them in the form of higher income taxes I have paid over the last 40 years.

Today, undergraduate tuition at the University of Oregon reflects 75 percent of the per-student operating cost. Taxpayers are putting up only about 25 percent. And students are being encouraged to borrow money to pay their bills. Students are graduating owing between $18,000-$23,000, mired in debt before they even start their lives. The story is much the same at other Western state-supported universities.

We have destroyed the engine that was a major underpinnning of the prosperity the self-styled conservatives enjoyed but are UNWILLING TO GRANT TO THE NEXT GENERATION. It is ingratitude of criminal proportions.

I spent the last week of September manning a 30-foot trawler in the state of Washington's magnificent San Juan Islands. Friends on the boat included a mother and her 8-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter. As I watched the three of them napping in the forward berth after a sun-drenched day of whale-watching and exploring tidepools and the islands, I thought about the problems we are dumping on these innocents, and the silent tears just flowed from my eyes. What will they think of us when they find out what we've done?

Kids, this column's for you.

Russell Sadler is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News (hcn.org)

NOW THAT'S A REAL HISTORY LESSON ABOUT REAL HEROES!!!!

Anonymous said...

Well…not really a HISTORY lesson. A biased, slanted, liberal attack, sure, but then read more of Russell’s work and you will see that it is a common thread. That is ALL he writes about. Which is fine…seriously. Just don’t pretend it is an unbiased and ‘historical’ perspective.

Here’s the really cool part of all this…the states can do whatever they want. California offers tremendous state college programs. Of course…California also has some of the highest taxes in the country and their social spending drove the state to the brink of bankruptcy…but still…they can do what they want.

That’s not what the author wants though…the author (and you, apparently) wants the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT to pay for everything. Guess what…that still means you and me. And tell me…when was the last time creating MORE federal layers of bureaucracy was a GOOD thing…

Really what this comes down to is two ideologies…one, socialism, has proven time and time again to be a failure. The other, capitalism, has proven time and time again to stimulate the economy, create jobs, growth and unparalleled opportunity.

You obviously agree with the writer. No big shock…you would see the country taxed to the gills to provide more and more social spending. We’ve seen how THAT pattern fares as well. The sad tragic part is that liberal politicians know a good thing when they see it…increase social spending, increase dependency, and you create a nice little voting block to exploit.

I posted an article just above that shows the employment opportunities and wages are at unprecedented record levels. You would see us raise taxes, increase spending, which has ALWAYS proven to cost us jobs and to cause inflation.

Keep your version of history. The country can’t afford it.

Anonymous said...

What are MY MY MY students?

The prompt that proceeds the present blog is entitled,"Lost Legends". It is about LYSIS' "superior" curriculum pitted against the "inadequate" teaching of "other" unnamed teaches. From this LYSIS generalizes about the woeful education of ALL "present American students".

LYSIS then begins to characterize students in his OWN classes as being ignorant of the lessons and values HE thinks are far better taught by HIMSELF.

The whole bloody thing is about LYSIS' classes, LYSIS' "superior" curriculum, LYSIS' students and the irresponsibly inadequate instruction of other teachers within LYSIS' ken -- the whole thing culminates with LYSIS tacitly pinning the "hero" badge on HIMSELF and humbly taking his obligatory bow!!!!

I just think the whole thing is the typical dishonest self-aggrandizement that LYSIS seems to espress about teaches and students over and over at the Agora.


I have no problem with lessons on heroes -- but, if you've really been paying attention, that is NOT what Lysis' prompt is about!!!!

I choose not to use MY students as "fodder" at the Agora to elicit praise or blame!

Students are ENDS in themselves and should not be used by a teacher as a convenient MEANS to satisfy some pathetic issue in an argument!!!!

Anonymous said...

MM
You seem to want to make the facile claim that SOME historical claims and NOT biased -- which itself is a BIASED claim -- and that YOU traffic ONLY in UNBIASED historical claims and that EVERYONE with a different historical perspective is a dupe, because YOU know the TRUE history.

That is ignorant or dishonest or both!!!!

ALL, ALL, ALL historical claims have bias -- just like ALL great literature!!!!

Anonymous said...

MM
I would like to see you TRY to drive down a highway, fight a war in Iraq, or take a dump, WITHOUT the benefits of Socialism.

You live in this simplistic Either/Or world that commands either total Socialism or pure Captalism but NO COMPROMISES -- the country has been compromising from the beginning -- haven't you noticed????

Anonymous said...

PS
On reconsideration I DON'T want to "see" you "take a dump" under ANY circumstances!!!!

Anonymous said...

No anon...I'm sorry but you are just plain wrong.

Example-Event X occurs. Historians present event x without judgement. Pundits comment on event x from whichever side thir bias lies. Thats part of the problem we face...'teachers' arent teaching history they are swaying based on their personal bias.

Which again...is FINE...but dont present it as 'history.' I have no problem with reading positions from both sides...I do it all the time. Usually, when you look at the grey in both sides you find somewhere in there the basic facts.

The article you presented as valid 'history' is one you found and you liked and you presented because it satisfies YOUR bias.

Journalists are 'supposed' to present unbiased facts. Now...how many do you know of or see that dont present their version of facts based on their bias?

BTW...I agree with your position with regard to literature. Just not your position with regard to history.

Anonymous said...

Anon...apparently you havent been paying much attention to things I have written over the past several months.

I am a constitutionalist. I believe in the foundation of the country as intended by the framers of the constitution. I believe local, state, and fed governements all play a role. I think both parties, both mentalities have gotten totally out of whack when it comes to the constitution and responsibilities.

The position you promoted in the article you presented is a socialist ideal. It has proven to be a dismal failure. Capitalism has proven to be the ONLY successful economic model, not just here, but everywhere.

I am NOT opposed to social spending...just opposed to social spending at the federal level. Ive stated that here on numerous occasions...again....maybe you have missed that.

I think it is beyond assenine to believe you should tax individuals at the state level, send that money to the federal government, feed the federal beuracracy, then siphon small amounts of that magnaminously back to the states, all the while placing controls and restrictions on how the states spend the money the fed so generously gives back.

Heck...again...you missed it in the post...states can do whatever the heck they want...more power to them.

The author is from Oregon. If he and other residents of the state want to they can double their state taxes and make higher ed free of charge. So why dont they do it instead of turning to the fed to take care of them?

just so's you understand...

My positions on social spending would probably shock you. My positions on prison reform and drug sentencing would probably blow your mind. I am more liberal on many issue than most liberals I know. Its one of the reasons I had my 4 year daliance with the libertarians.

Where you DO have it right on is that I absolutely in NO WAY believe social spending should come from the Federal government. Socialism at the federal level has been a dismal failure. Social spending at the state level allows for direct control over income raised and it allows for the citizens to have a greater say in the affairs of their local and state governments.

Anonymous said...

"PS
On reconsideration I DON'T want to "see" you "take a dump" under ANY circumstances!!!!"

Phew...I was suddenly really worried about you...

Lysis said...

Flaccid;

Russell Sandler’s opinion piece is the biggest load of *budmashi* I’ve hear since *Fahrenheit 9/11*. It is nothing more than a codification of Democrat talking points passed off as observation. It would be a laugh if it wasn’t what actually passes for history in the world of the neo-libs.

Mindmechanic;

I second your assessment of Russell. Thank you for going to the trouble to debunk so much of his rant.

Flaccid 2;

Unfortunately all students are at issue. You are right, all lectures, books, and articles, ect. have a bias. I have a bias for Justice, Freedom, and Truth. I strive to inspire that bias in my students. As I contemplate your demonstrated bias I am naturally concerned for your students, along with many other who are being indoctrinated along the lines you espouse. All students are valuable to me, I will continue to do my best to instill a bias towards Justice, Freedom and Truth into as many as possible, whose ever class they happen to attend.

Cameron said...

Anon,

There's a section in the story you pasted that intrigues me:

...a destabilized Middle East...

This is a mantra that is repeated quite often. The US has "destabalized" the region. I understand why. Lebanon's terrorists attacking Israel, Iran flaunting its nuclear progression, Syria and Iran supplying arms to terrorists in Lebanon and Iraq and who knows where else, and of course the violence in Iraq itself.

But I ask, when has the Middle East been stable? When have Beirut and Iran and Syria not been problems?

Some folks would say that Iraq was better before we got there. They would say that the sectarian violence wasn't occuring. I would say that's false. I would say that sectarian violence is exactly what Saddam Hussein was doing for many years. He just happened to be the one with all the power, so there wasn't really room for any retaliation. Follow his trials, and you'll see what sort of sectarian violence permeated Iraqi life.

I think the major difference now is that in Iraq, at least, all sides are free to do what they want. Many have chosen death squads and militia organizations and are killing eachother. It seems that those that don't choose that are killed or leave the country.

However, I do think the outside influences on the Iraqi people and the makeup of the terrorists in the country should be noted. I don't think it would be fair to say that this is what the Iraqis have chosen. Scores of terrorists have come from other countries and brought weapons and propoganda. Those countries have to shoulder much of the blame. I mean, what has happened in Iraq is exactly what the terrorist leaders said they were working hard to do: pit the Iraqis against themselves.

It is interesting to note however, the third group of Iraqis that seem to have been forgotten. The Kurds. They were especially victimized by Saddam Hussein, as has been vividly described in his trials, yet they are not part of the current violence. They would seem to have just as much reason to hate Hussein's group as anyone else, but they don't. Why is that?

Anonymous said...

"And when they ask you who did this don't say that it was "Nobody." Tell them it was I, O'LYSIUS, that smote your vision so, Polyphemus!!!"

Anonymous said...

Cameron,

By total numbers. There are a lot to count. Just count how many terrorist attacks, death squads, people killed, countries attacking each other, and how strong Shia influence was before 2000 and how many occur today. That is what it means that the Middle East has been destablized. Opening a paper or turning on any news channel should be enough to explain this to you.

By policy, and the shift of power that has occured since the U.S. invasion. The growing realization is that it will get back to stability as Iran further consolidates its power. The greatest benefactor of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has been Iran. The growing Shia arc dreaded and somehow completely unseen by the numbskulls in the Whitehouse that lit the fuse on the whole thing is closer to reality than any of the corrupt Mullahs in Tehran could have hoped.

And as for the Kurds, don't worry, they are plenty busy with terrorist cells and death squads of their own. There are have numerous, increasing, and increasingly deadly bombings, kidnappings, riots and calls for armed independence in Turkey since George Bush's bull in the china shop style of "diplomacy" stormed into the region.

When was there stability? You don't have to go far back. How about 2002 when the Soudi King - then Prince - marshalled the Arab League to adopt a recognition of Israel and defined Palestinian state. The Bush administration turned the policy, telling the Saudis then that we were not inclined, still, to be involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They were to ready polishing their pistols, getting ready to make peace their own in Baghdad.

truth to power said...

So the Arab League's offer of "peace for land" meant the Middle East was stable? What are you smoking?

Lysis said...

Flaccid;

So I see that you have at least chosen your hero. But remember the taunt hurled by the liar Odysseus was only delivered after he had run away and thought himself out of danger. What Polyphemus reminded Odysseus of was the fact that God was watching. Thus Odysseus losses everything; his honor first, then his ship, his crew, and finally his soul. Good choice, Flaccid!

Anonymous said...

Try the state departments web site for the annual reports about the 'stability' in the middle east. Cant hardly blame their report on Bush either since from 93 to 2001 the reports are created by Clintons state dept.

If you need help with that...let me know.

Cameron said...

Anon,

By following Saddam Hussein's trials you will become highly aware of the fact that his country was not "stable". You will also see that hundreds of thousands of people were murdered by "death squads".

Any "stability" seen in the pre-2003 Middle East is a sham, just as stability in the USSR was a sham.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the edification, I'll take it for what it's worth. Do they make change for NO SENSE!? If you are trully incapable of understanding that regional security in the Middle East has detiorated significantly in the past four years than Utah is even more secluded from the outside world than I thought. Actually, Utah is not secluded from reality, it's just that most who post here are.

In addition, don't bother posing questions if your mind is already made up. Posing as open minded doesn't suit you nor any of the others with your lips sewn firmly the buttocks of this forum's keeper.

The comment of Odysseus' hubris was meant to evoke the same hubris you show here in each of your posts Lysis. It was not meant as affirmation of a hero. I am, apparently, too young to have any. (Now I show hubris.) Don't worry though, Odysseus never lost his soul and you won't lose yours either. His hubris, like your own, led him on a grand, fictional adventure and eventually home to the woman he loves. It is just as you get to do here every day, espousing a policy and a glory for a fate you have never signed up for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Lysis:
Beware of interlopers!!!!

Thomas Mann is a particular literary/historical hero of mine, NOT Odysseus. (I thought we had been through this before?)

I guess you could "dig some dirt" on Thomas Mann -- he had "four eyes" not one (in his dotage), but I figure that Adrian Leverkhun never did lose his soul, though he HAD sold it!!!!

Lysis said...

Anonymous:

My only experience with Thomas Mann, that I can remember, was a few times through his *Death in Venice* Unfortunately I lent the book to Tadzio and never got it back. There is a lesson there about loving youth too much.

As for Odysseus soul; he lost it the day he murdered the innocent and defenseless who had sought protection under his roof.
(Sounds kind of like liberating a people from a tyrant and then deserting them to murderers.)
What is most bitterly ironic; Odysseus deceitful horse may have brought down the walls of Troy, but his perfidy set the wheels of fate in motion, and brought the Trojans (Romans) to Ithaca. The lessons there: 1) The Justice of the God’s is dealt out on their time table, but justice will out. 2) Take the long view before you take the easy way out.

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

Anon...would you say North America was more stable prior to the revolutionary war?

I guess you could also say Germany was more stable under Hitlers rule...maybe we should have stayed out of that one as well.

Iraq...yes...Iraq was 'stable.' Hussein and his sons made sure of that. They murdered anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 million people in ensuring their stability...but it was certainly stable.

Saudi Arabi...thats what you call a delicate stability. The royals exert just enough force to keep them walking this very delicate line between kingdom and religous anarchy. That has ever been the way...ever since Saud joined with the bedouin leaders and reclaimed the land.

Turkey...the balance between muslims, Christians and the PKK has been delicate and violence there but continues today as it did prior to the election of Bush.

I could go on and on...I wont. Seriosuly...go to the state departments web site. research global terror. You'll see nothing much has changed in 40 years.

Iraq is certainly volatile...but are you surprised? Hussein used his army to establish minority control over the majority. He exterminated entire villages to take out a single enemy. He was a brutal and evil tyrant. Now that he is gone, true enough...things are more 'unstable' in iraq, but they have the possibility of something there they never had before. Democracy. Freedom. Peace.

Literally...it is up to the Iraqi's now to win it.

Anonymous said...

I guess the question then to the anon is this...

If you were an Iraqi, living under Hussein's rule, would you rather live (and have your children live) under his rule (and ultimately his sons rule...theres something to shudder about)?

Or would you rather have the opportunity to fight for freedom. Its an age old question. Do you sacrifice stability (life under tyranny) for freedom?

Rumpole said...

MindMechanic,

Lysis will concur that I excel at sarcasm. I’ve been trying to improve on maintaining civility without sarcasm while engaged in disagreement. As you can see, I’m not very good at it. I’ll keep trying.

I do consider terrorism to represent a real threat. I have not volunteered to fight. I am, however, a strong believer in the draft. Frankly, I don’t think the draft should have ever been discontinued. I think one of the mistakes we are making as Americans is that we do not require any sacrifice from our own citizens.

Freedoms that we take for granted become far more meaningful when we are required to sacrifice to maintain them. Unfortunately, my generation and the generation that has followed have not been required to give. While not the only reason, it is part of why I believe it is so easy for Americans like our own Anonymy at the Agora to do nothing but complain about America’s position in the world. They lack maturity and understanding by not being required to serve as you so willingly have.

Required sacrifice would do nothing but benefit America. As JFK said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

As for Clay’s attitude, I believe it was unjust. Even if we accept the premise, as Lysis suggests, that the white man treated Clay and his race blatantly unfairly, where else in the world could he have risen to the riches and celebrity that he obtained? That is where Lysis’ analysis falls short. Clay absolutely made his rise on his own, overcoming great odds; but in my view it was a rise that would not have been possible anywhere else in the world.

His response when called upon to serve? It ain’t my war? “Ain’t no yellow man never done me no harm?” At the very least his act was selfish and self-centered. I guess the population of “yellow m(e)n” that sought to avoid oppression (the same kind of oppression that you suggest Clay himself felt) from the balance of the “yellow m(e)n” wasn’t worth his time. I’m glad, and America is fortunate, that you didn’t feel the same way.

Anonymy,

I have asked “Can history be successfully taught without, as you imply, turning it into “great literature?”

You post: “ALL, ALL, ALL historical claims have bias -- just like ALL great literature!!!!"

At this point all I can do, then, is infer that your answer is no, history cannot be successfully taught without turning it into great literature.

Please explain to me, on that basis, how the “self-actuated, passionate American student who (doesn’t) need motivation but need(s) freedom” be left on his own to, as you suggest, to “think and discover ON THEIR OWN” any meaning through history.

It seems to me that your approach to history allows you to put forth only names, dates and events; students have no opportunity to ask “why”. I believe the “why” to be far more important than the name, date, or event.

Is it not reasonable that, if encouraged, students may ask difficult questions? Perhaps those questions may even challenge your own view of history. Wouldn’t you, as a professional, be pleased with such questions? Don’t such questions exhibit movement toward the true goal of education, the goal of teaching the individual not what to think, but rather teaching the individual how to think?

Please, put forth your idea of a “superior” curriculum that promotes the same type of progess.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole...

It's OK...I have a bit o the sarcasm in me as well. My wife always reminds me that it doesnt translate well in writing.

I think your position is inconsistent. Ali is 'selfish' because he refused to be ordered into a war he didnt believe in. You have a cause you DO believe in but dont fight it. Color me 'confused.'

I'm just using your example. I am not judging anyone for their position on service. All I am saying is that I understand and respect Ali's position...and yours.

BTW...I respect people like Susan Sarandon (even though I disagree with her). At least she is consistent in her opposition to war.

I dont mind the thought of some form of service but please...dont do us any favors in the military. The very LAST thing I want to see as an NCO is a bunch of forced conscripts...especially in this day and age. No military man I know of favors a return to the draft. There is a reason for that.

Anonymous said...

Everyone discovers MEANING through history the same way they discover MEANING through any other literary means -- history is NOT something different.

Historical "facts" are not scientific "facts", because the verifiability of those facts is lost in time.

Scientific facts become reliable and "true" relative to their experimental verifiability -- Einstein's relativity would be just an interesting notion without the Michelson/Morley verification.

However, the causes of the American Civil war are reduced to SUBJECTIVE speculations that can NEVER NEVER NEVER be verified or authenticated in the same way or to the same standard of authenticity. It is ALWAYS first person narrative even the data and statistics.

I do not believe in TRUE or FALSE history.

In Orwell's 1984 Winston Smith's job was to participate in a CONSTANT and ETERNAL rewriting of history to serve an all-powerful POLITICAL agenda. "Goldstein's book" is an example of HOW this DOES happen -- "every generation creates its OWN history" whether they "choose" to or not.

I like my history as I like my literature, not without bias, but without a heavy handed POLITIAL agenda -- it gets in the way of "a GOOD GOOD GOOD story"!!!!

Lysis said...

Anonymous;

I don’t know if History ever should pretend to be more than you assert. It is the truths that are found in history: that freedom is good, that service is the key to leadership, that evil must be confronted, that are what is important. It is the same with literature. Sadly it is Science that pretends to be more than it is. It is Science that claims unquestioned verification and then quietly ignores its discredited claims. Notice the fizzle of this year’s hurricane season. Where are all the Scientists who twelve months ago had proven that George Bush had brought about the end of the world through Global Warming spawned killer hurricanes? Today’s “scientific” verification may well prove to be tomorrows joke.

Anonymous said...

"I do not believe in TRUE or FALSE history."

At LAST! Common ground!

Using your example, a historian would report

-that the north was upset that the south was receiving unfair economic advantage and subsequently was able to produce goods at a lowered price and had a competitive edge. others in the north were altruistic. others had rweasons x, y, and z.

-that the south resented the north attempting to tell them what or how to do. Also reasons m, n, and o.

-following several conflicts, the south announced their intention to cecede. Lincoln announced he would not allow the cecession and the two sides went to war.

No judgement. No hysterical claims that the norths intentions were purely altruistic and the souths demands were evil and driven solely by a desire to posess slavery. Just the facts.

When both sides are presented fairly people have the ability to read, review, and make their own judgments.

History is never right nor wrong...it simply is.

Anonymous said...

Lysis...

I think science becomes flawed when they assume absolute authority with unknowns.

The whole global warming argument makes the point. The absolute fact of the matter is we have had warming and cooling of the planet with or without human beings. There is absolutely NO way to effectively judge the impact of human beings on the current warming trend, if in fact there is a current warming trend.

And of COURSE the arguments are all driven by politics and motivated by the quest for money. researchers want Uncle Sugar to fund their research and studies and they use scare tactics to get them.

You NEVER heard anyone in the Clinton administration talking how America and democrats were causing warming trends like El Nino and La Nina. clinton and Gore never pressed for passage by congress of the Kyoto Accord EVEN ONCE during their administration. Why? They knew it was a loser. So much for Gores conviction.

There are at least as many scientists and meteorologists that dispute Global Warming and/or mans input than there are that believe it. Yet we have scientists making absolute claims with absolutely zero knowledge of the facts...just assumptions.

Anonymous said...

Prognostication is within the nature of science and Inductive logic. However, the whole thing is based on PROBABILITTY -- NEVER ABSOLUTE knowledge.

Where many at the Agora find science to be recklessly "liberal" I find the evidence points to timid "conservativeness".

TRUE science and scientistst have been jerked around so many times by mother nature that its TRUE nature is understatement and not overstatement.

To claim more than the experimental data will warrant is the "kiss of death" to a scientist's career -- just ask Pons and Fleishman about their revolutionary "discoveries" of Cold Fusion!!!!
(Financed by the Utah State Legislature by the way)

Sure, the nature of American Capitalism and profits drive Scientific inquiery sometimes to "premature" conclusions, as well as the political climate can impede or exploit scienctists and science.

But all that cuts both ways politically and has little to do with the TRUE NATURE OF SCIENCE!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon...

All of what you just said could be resolved if scientists simply stated "research suggests that..."

Just this last week we have had scientists stating
1-We have until 2010 to act to stave of global warming or it will be too late
2-It is already too late
3-Global Warming is occuring at natural rates and nothing we do will change that.

So who is really at fault for all the false assumptions as fact? Scientists, teachers, or us?

Anonymous said...

MM

"There are at least as many scientists and meteorologists that dispute Global Warming and/or mans input than there are that believe it."

Wrong. Flatly wrong. Completely wrong. Categorically, emperically, absolutely wrong. More entirely unsubstantiated arm sure-cocked drivel from someone who is speaking without any knowledge on the subject.

The scientific consensus on global warming's occurence and its attribution to human climate intervention is so overwhelming as to be near unanimaty. (Please see the National Academy of Sciences conclusions: published in 2001; the World Meteorlogical Association reports; the United Nations Environmental Programme; as well as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports rather than the Rush Limbaugh/Lysis school of opining for actual scientific research.)

Of the extremely few scientists who do object, NONE dispute that the warming is occuring. Only a severe few object that human intervention is the MAIN cause. Only one member of the National Academy of Sciences continues to publicy express doubts that human intervention is the main cause of global warming. However, he still concedes that human behavior can have significant impact on climate change and that global warming IS occuring.

Again, you should recheck your facts MM. ALL OF THEM.

Rumpole said...

MindMechanic,

You post: “I think your position is inconsistent. Ali is 'selfish' because he refused to be ordered into a war he didnt believe in. You have a cause you DO believe in but dont fight it. Color me 'confused.'

Actually my position is very consistent. Clay was “ordered” to go to the war. He was drafted. Volunteering was never part of the discussion. As I said, I support the draft. In fact, I registered for the draft. In about 1979 (if memory serves), selective service registration was reinstated and required for men from 18-26. I remember vividly the post office employee screaming at me because very few had actually registered. I couldn’t understand why he was taking it out on me (because I was registering) as I handed him the form.

I do believe in the cause in Iraq. I support completely the actions of our President and our troops. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who have willingly volunteered to serve directly. I’m over the maximum age to volunteer myself. Though it may sound weak, and my contribution is greatly inferior to yours, I “fight” for the “cause” daily by giving my support at every turn.

Anonymy,

You post: “Historical "facts" are not scientific "facts", because the verifiability of those facts is lost in time.”

As with MindMechanic, we have found common ground. Where we depart is in our analysis of history. If I may . . .

Pearl Harbor was raided December 7, 1941. The bulk of the U.S. Pacific fleet was destroyed.

Is this where we should end? Why was Pearl Harbor raided? Certainly there are many “first person narratives” that may speculate as to the reasons. Many of those accounts may differ. As a professional, I would think you might invoke those differing accounts. Should you draw conclusions as to which account is accurate? Would it not be more than an exercise to perhaps allow the young minds before you an opportunity to draw their own conclusions as to why?

Additionally, why was the bulk of the Pacific fleet destroyed? Is there not value in determining cause, so that the same misfortune might be avoided, or even prevented?
Perhaps there is value in that kind of knowledge, subjective though it may be.

Then again, maybe not. It’s probably only worth being considered "a GOOD GOOD GOOD story"!!!!

Cameron said...

Anon,

I entered the global warming fray over the summer with another blogger. Here is my recap of the encounter and some of the information I uncovered. Basically, it seems that it's not quite so settled as you and others would make us believe. I find it actually quite unsettling that the Al Gore side of the discussion has turned to shouting that the debate is over, when clearly it is not.

Cameron said...

Anon,

I realize we're a bit past the destabalized discussion, but I feel a need to respond. You seem to think that my questions were without opinions. But the truth is I plainly spelled out my opinions for you:

...But I ask, when has the Middle East been stable? When have Beirut and Iran and Syria not been problems...

...Some folks would say that Iraq was better before we got there. They would say that the sectarian violence wasn't occuring. I would say that's false. I would say that sectarian violence is exactly what Saddam Hussein was doing for many years...


You responded to my opinions and my questions by insulting Utah. I apologize for not stating this earlier, but I live in Idaho.

Anonymous said...

Cameron,

Per your "discoveries" in the "global climate debate:"

Absolutely none, NONE of the signatory's claims for the Oregon Petition Project were verified. Their claim is only that "we represent what are thought to be 19,700 voices of concern in the scientific community." Less than 35% of the signatories CLAIMED to even hold a science degree - only 12% CLAIMED to have an advance degree, and those were not even verified. In addition, ALL of the signatures were collected previous to the conclusions of the seminole Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change's findings of 2001. You also mislead by saying the president of the NAS signed the petition as he was, even then, a past president of the Academy and no longer a member at the time of his signature. The NAS drew attention to this and categorically contradicted every claim of the petition: The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal. The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy."

Scientific American debunked the petition in 2005 with some basic investigation: looking at "a sample of 30 of the 1,400 signatories claiming to hold a Ph.D. in a climate-related science. Of the 26 we were able to identify in various databases, 11 said they still agreed with the petition —- one was an active climate researcher, two others had relevant expertise, and eight signed based on an informal evaluation. Six said they would not sign the petition today, three did not remember any such petition, one had died, and five did not answer repeated messages. Crudely extrapolating, the petition supporters include a core of about 200 climate researchers – a respectable number, though rather a small fraction of the climatological community."

The Hawaii reporter did better than that in debunking the petition, also in 2005: "In less than 10 minutes of casual scanning, I found duplicate names (Did two Joe R. Eaglemans and two David Tompkins sign the petition, or were some individuals counted twice?), single names without even an initial (Biolchini), corporate names (Graybeal & Sayre, Inc. How does a business sign a petition?), and an apparently phony single name (Redwine, Ph.D.). These examples underscore a major weakness of the list: there is no way to check the authenticity of the names. Names are given, but no identifying information (e.g., institutional affiliation) is provided."

As for you "letter from 60 scientists" disputing global warming you should be aware that again, the group is mostly made up of self described "scientists." Many of the signatories are non-scientists, or lack relevant scientific backgrounds. This was pointed out by non other than the recepient of the open letter, Rona Ambrose, Candadian Minister of the Environment who noted that one signature, David Wojick, was a conservative journalist - and barely one at that. (Here is his less than impressive online resume: bydesign.com/powervision/resume.html). Others, like Benny Peiser, were social anthropologists.

In addition, more than half the signatories to this letter were again citing past or emeritus positions as their main appointments. Only TWO actually indicated a current appointment in a university department or accredited research institute that was related to climate science. One of the signatories has RECANTED. One claimed that his signature was obtained through a misleading statement of the letter's intent.

Still, there are some - two at least - who deny human intervention as the main cause of current glabal warming. You must admit that is A VERY SMALL fraction compared today with the uncontradicted information that I provided. The National Academy of Sciences, the World Meteorlogical Association, the United Nations Environmental Programme; and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change represents the VAST majority of Western scientists and all of those organizations are unanimous that human intervention is a main cause in the current global warming trend.

It is a shame that you cannot accept that. Faith over facts is a dangerous position to be in.

As to your restated questions I will restate my answers:

By total numbers. There are a lot to count. Just count how many terrorist attacks, death squads, people killed, countries attacking each other, and how strong Shia influence was before 2000 and how many occur today. That is what it means that the Middle East has been destablized. Opening a paper or turning on any news channel should be enough to explain this to you.

By policy, and the shift of power that has occured since the U.S. invasion. The growing realization is that it will get back to stability as Iran further consolidates its power. The greatest benefactor of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has been Iran. The growing Shia arc dreaded and somehow completely unseen by the numbskulls in the Whitehouse that lit the fuse on the whole thing is closer to reality than any of the corrupt Mullahs in Tehran could have hoped.

And as for the Kurds, don't worry, they are plenty busy with terrorist cells and death squads of their own. There are have numerous, increasing, and increasingly deadly bombings, kidnappings, riots and calls for armed independence in Turkey since George Bush's bull in the china shop style of "diplomacy" stormed into the region.

If you are trully incapable of understanding that regional security in the Middle East has detiorated significantly in the past four years than Utah is even more secluded from the outside world than I thought. Actually, Utah is not secluded from reality, it's just that most who post here are. (How true your clarification of your geographical placement has made this last statement.)

You ask "when have Beirut, Iran and Syria not been problems." You must realize there are problems of varying degrees throughout the world. Western Samoa has incompetent leadership, it's a problem but not nearly the problem to the rest of the world as when just one department of the U.S. government has incompentent leadership. Iran and Syria have always had dictators and that has been a problem. However, not nearly the problem now that they are supporting full civil wars where U.S. soldiers are killed everyday, nuclear programs are pursued openly and Israel is threatened with the growing and real proposition of instant obliteration, the haven created and the emboldenment of terrorist cells, the passions of a generation across the globe enflamed in mortal hatred of the United States. There was a time, not long ago, when these forces were kept in check by regional rivalries, a robust U.S. military that could substantially respond, and foreign policy that was worked within an international, multi-lateral framework. There was a perception of a benevolant giant in the U.S. Because those things have been broken the Middle East region has been destabilized. U.S. power has been eroded. Goodwill to the U.S., essential to push U.S. priorities has declined significantly.

Today, the U.S. is seen throught the world in poll after poll as the greatest threat to international order. Only Iran is lower. This rests on the widely held belief that we are to blame for what is happening in the Middle East today. All of this adds to the difficulty in fixing the problems that we are a part of there now.

Anonymous said...

Anon...I'll play your silly game. YOU are Wrong. Flatly wrong.
Completely wrong. Categorically, emperically, absolutely wrong. More entirely unsubstantiated arm sure-cocked drivel from someone who is speaking without any knowledge on the subject.

Let me ask you Gods honest Gospel truth question anon...have you EVER...and I mean EVER treid to do some honest unbiased research?

When the first discussions on the Kyoto Accord rolled around in here the anon collective where so blindly stupefied that they had NO IDEA what was even IN the Kyoto accord or what it even WAS. You buy into these wonderful 3 line sound bites and YOU take them for gospel.

NO ONE has EVER come CLOSE to proving man has had an impact on the crrent global trend. Point of fact, you conVEEENiently ignore the fact that man wasnt even AROUND to impact the last few warming trends.

In MY post I stated as much as what you did. There ARE meteorologists and scientists who recognize there is SOME tendency to worming. There is NOT a consensus nor is there provable scientific data that defines mans role.

The point of my posting was that many scientists ASSUME and post as fact...just as YOU have done.

Take this quote from the Marshall Institute an organization that BELIEVES in your position...
"For about a decade, there has been an ongoing debate about the contribution of human activities to the global warming of the past century and how they may contribute to warming that may occur during the 21st century. Too often this debate has been contentious. International efforts to reach agreement on inferences about human influence on the climate system that can be drawn from science and policy prescriptions for addressing the climate change risk have been controversial as well."
http://www.marshall.org/index.php

You can always dig into a handful of these articles. http://www.ncpa.org/hotlines/global/gwhot1.html

But of course...the odds of you actually reading and (shudder) considering both sides to a position are of course slim and none, and slim is long gone.

This last sentence says it all...

"Scientific debate is being replaced by pressure to conform to a new orthodoxy, reinforced by the control of research funds by governmental agencies"

Lysis said...

Once again Anonymous provides the perfect example of the unscientific nature of his “science”.

He begins by these claims concerning those scientists who question the nature of global warming:

" Wrong. Flatly wrong. Completely wrong. Categorically, emperically, absolutely wrong. More entirely unsubstantiated arm sure-cocked drivel from someone who is speaking without any knowledge on the subject.

The scientific consensus on global warming's occurence and its attribution to human climate intervention is so overwhelming as to be near unanimaty.”

He then goes on to admit in the post above that there are close to 7000 scientists who disagree with the claim of the “get Gore elected” crew enough to go on record challenging it. Scientists that Cameron has presented and whom Anonymous then sets out to berate. This is the way neo-libs deal with everyone who contradicts them; as Cameron has said: “I find it actually quite unsettling that the Al Gore side of the discussion has turned to shouting that the debate is over, when clearly it is not.”

The vast majority of scientists once claimed the sun went around the earth and many did it for political reasons too. Sometimes history is very instructive about science.

Anonymous then goes on the same attack on the conduct of the War on Terror. He screams out unsubstantiated “statistics”, and ignores such historic facts as the 2 plus million killed in the Iran/Iraq war, war after war after war in the Middle East, terrorist bombings throughout the world; year after year during the Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, and Carter administrations, almost daily hijackings on airplanes and passenger ships, hundreds of Marines killed in Beirut. Over a year of hostage holding in Tehran, the ascension of the Anatolia to the “throne” of Persia; nuclear proliferation in India, Pakistan, and North Korea while Clinton fiddled, 9/11. We could surely go on and on, history does; but our point is made;. Anonymous’ “science” depends on our not knowing our history. What a pity. He screams the neo-lib talking points confident that no one will question or apply reason to his shenanigans.

Anonymous and his ilk have worked hard to blame all the problems in the world on the U. S. Now we have Bush responsible for terrorism and for global warming; how consistent; how “scientific”.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole...

"Clay was “ordered” to go to the war. He was drafted. Volunteering was never part of the discussion."

Convenient for YOU...for him...not so much. I guess maybe after a few decades of being told where he could eat, where he could sit, where he could drink, and what his status in life was, maybe he just wasnt real keen on the idea of being 'ordered' anymore.

Why the audacity!

Anonymous said...

"But numbers against Kyoto and the global warming theory don't impress me any more than numbers for them do. The vast majority of scientists used to believe the Sun revolved around the Earth; that didn't make it so. Nor did the Earth begin revolving around the Sun only after Copernicus convinced his colleagues to switch their votes at some Renaissance science symposium. Aristarchus, the Greek astronomer who first postulated in the Third Century BC that the Earth revolves around the Sun, wasn't wrong for nearly two millennia just because the main body of scientists mistakenly chose to believe Ptolemy's geocentric theory of the universe.

So I am not impressed, either, that 56 Alberta scientists have penned a letter to Premier Klein insisting "there is little disagreement in the scientific community on climate warming." For one thing, these are scientists who "work with climate change or its effects." Studying the effects of climate change is hardly the same as understanding the mechanisms that may or may not be triggering it - effect is not the same thing as cause. So scientists who are expert on how mites or bark beetles are adapting to changing temperatures and moisture (effects) are not necessarily any more expert than you or I on what's behind these changes (cause).

Many such effects - scientists simply assume greenhouse warming is causing the climate change they think they are seeing because other scientists say so, or because greenhouse warming fits neatly into their worldview that profit-driven industrialization is evil, and therefore can be blamed for all manner of bad things.

Nearly half the letter's signatories are biologists, not climate scientists at all. Three are federal government forest scientists, seven are geographers, one a mathematician, and three are renewable resource experts, whose discipline may be just a tad biased against fossil fuels. Only 10 are earth scientists. Of the total, at least nine also have strong links to environmental lobbies such as Ecotrust, Friends of the Environment, Global Forest Watch and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

But we're back to a numbers game again."

Anonymous said...

Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many, is a surprising assessment: “Gore’s circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention.”

Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change. “Climate experts” is the operative term here. Why? Because what Gore’s “majority of scientists” think is immaterial when only a very small fraction of them actually work in the climate field.

Even among that fraction, many focus their studies on the impacts of climate change; biologists, for example, who study everything from insects to polar bears to poison ivy. “While many are highly skilled researchers, they generally do not have special knowledge about the causes of global climate change,” explains former University of Winnipeg climatology professor Dr. Tim Ball. “They usually can tell us only about the effects of changes in the local environment where they conduct their studies.”

This is highly valuable knowledge, but doesn’t make them climate change cause experts, only climate impact experts.

Among experts who actually examine the causes of change on a global scale, many concentrate their research on designing and enhancing computer models of hypothetical futures. “These models have been consistently wrong in all their scenarios,” asserts Ball. “Since modelers concede computer outputs are not “predictions” but are in fact merely scenarios, they are negligent in letting policy-makers and the public think they are actually making forecasts.”

We should listen most to scientists who use real data to try to understand what nature is actually telling us about the causes and extent of global climate change. In this relatively small community, there is no consensus, despite what Gore and others would suggest.

Anonymous said...

Here is a small sample of the side of the debate we almost never hear:

Appearing before the Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development last year, Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson testified, “There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth’s temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years.” Patterson asked the committee, “On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century’s modest warming?”

Patterson concluded his testimony by explaining what his research and “hundreds of other studies” reveal: on all time scales, there is very good correlation between Earth’s temperature and natural celestial phenomena such changes in the brightness of the Sun.

Dr. Boris Winterhalter, former marine researcher at the Geological Survey of Finland and professor in marine geology, University of Helsinki, takes apart Gore’s dramatic display of Antarctic glaciers collapsing into the sea. “The breaking glacier wall is a normally occurring phenomenon which is due to the normal advance of a glacier,” says Winterhalter.

But Karlén clarifies that the ‘mass balance’ of Antarctica is positive - more snow is accumulating than melting off. As a result, Ball explains, there is an increase in the ‘calving’ of icebergs as the ice dome of Antarctica is growing and flowing to the oceans. The Antarctic has survived warm and cold events over millions of years. A meltdown is simply not a realistic scenario in the foreseeable future.

Karlén explains that a paper published in 2003 by University of Alaska professor Igor Polyakov shows that, the region of the Arctic where rising temperature is supposedly endangering polar bears showed fluctuations since 1940 but no overall temperature rise. “For several published records it is a decrease for the last 50 years,” says Karlén

Carter does not pull his punches about Gore’s activism, “The man is an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science.”

The vast amounts of energy in our natural systems greatly outweigh our puny attempts to control nature.

We are not responsible for climate change, there has been a net cooling tend over the last 8000 years, and we’re not all going to drown. So rather than blindly following a failed politician’s delusional catastrophism, why don’t we all start concerning ourselves with the issues that we can control, such as pollution, energy supply, and limited resources?

Rumpole said...

MindMechanic,

You apparently now see the consistency of my position. Whether or not you consider it "convenient" is irrelavant. It is fact.

Additionally, I have already addressed the conditions that surrounded Clay. I don't disagree that the treatment of that time was deplorable. Nevertheless, my view that Clay's opportunities in America, while not without hurdles, existed no where else in the world has not changed.

Clay had a duty that he walked away from. He would be far more deserving of respect if he had accepted that responsibility.

Anonymous said...

A sample of experts' comments about the science of "An Inconvenient Truth"
By Tom Harris, Natural Resources Stewardship Project

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Dr. Chris de Freitas, climate scientist, associate professor, University of Auckland, New Zealand: ”I can assure Mr. Gore that no one from the South Pacific islands have fled to New Zealand because of rising seas. In fact, if Gore consults the data, he will see it shows sea level falling in some parts of the Pacific.”

Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner, emeritus professor of paleogeophysics & geodynamics, Stockholm University, Sweden: “We find no alarming sea level rise going on, in the Maldives, Tovalu, Venice, the Persian Gulf and even satellite altimetry if applied properly.”

Dr. Paul Reiter, Professor - Institut Pasteur, Unit of Insects and Infectious Diseases, Paris, France, comments on Gore’s belief that Nairobi and Harare were founded just above the mosquito line to avoid malaria and how the mosquitoes are now moving to higher altitudes: “Gore is completely wrong here - malaria has been documented at an altitude 2500 m - Nairobi and Harare are at altitudes of about 1500 m. The new altitudes of malaria are lower than those recorded 100 years ago. None of the “30 so called new diseases” Gore references are attributable to global warming, none.”

See also:
Scientists respond to Gore's warnings of climate catastrophe
The gods must be laughing
Dr. Mitchell Taylor, Manager, Wildlife Research Section, Department of Environment, Igloolik, Nunavut, Canada: “Our information is that 7 of 13 populations of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (more than half the world’s estimated total) are either stable, or increasing …. Of the three that appear to be declining, only one has been shown to be affected by climate change. No one can say with certainty that climate change has not affected these other populations, but it is also true that we have no information to suggest that it has.”

Dr. Petr Chylek, adjunct professor, Dept. of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada: “Mr. Gore suggests that Greenland melt area increased considerably between 1992 and 2005. But 1992 was exceptionally cold in Greenland and the melt area of ice sheet was exceptionally low due to the cooling caused by volcanic dust emitted from Mt. Pinatubo. If, instead of 1992, Gore had chosen for comparison the year 1991, one in which the melt area was 1% higher than in 2005, he would have to conclude that the ice sheet melt area is shrinking and that perhaps a new ice age is just around the corner.”

Dr. Gary D. Sharp, Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study, Salinas, California: “The oceans are now heading into one of their periodic phases of cooling. … Modest changes in temperature are not about to wipe them [coral] out. Neither will increased carbon dioxide, which is a fundamental chemical building block that allows coral reefs to exist at all.”

Dr. R. M. Carter, professor, Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia: “Both the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps are thickening. The temperature at the South Pole has declined by more than 1 degree C since 1950. And the area of sea-ice around the continent has increased over the last 20 years.”

Dr./Cdr. M. R. Morgan, FRMS, formerly advisor to the World Meteorological Organization/climatology research scientist at University of Exeter, U.K.: “From data published by the Canadian Ice Service there has been no precipitous drop off in the amount or thickness of the ice cap since 1970 when reliable over-all coverage became available for the Canadian Arctic.”

Rob Scagel, M.Sc., forest microclimate specialist, Pacific Phytometric Consultants, Surrey, British Colombia, Canada comments on Gore’s belief that the Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) is an “invasive exotic species” that has become a plague due to fewer days of frost: “The MPB is a species native to this part of North America and is always present. The MPB epidemic started as comparatively small outbreaks and through forest management inaction got completely out of hand.”

Anonymous said...

OK...so I am getting a little bored with this, but I can go on...I only have about another 116 thousand sites or so to go with scientists...real live honest to by gosh scientists that dont walk lock step with the Gore/Anon mindset...

Look...make this easy...

Tell me why Gore didnt press congress to vote for the Kyoto accord while he was vice president. tell me why it was not even important enough for a national vote during his administration, but is today his cause celebre.

I wonder if you can answer the question honestly (as in "because he is nothing more than a political whore using this cause to seek a spotlight").

Anonymous said...

The gods must be laughing

Al Gore’s ‘truth’ has little to do with science, yet his influence continues to grow - we need to more closely assess what he is actually saying

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Albert Einstein once said, “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."

While the gods must consider “An Inconvenient Truth” the ultimate comedy, real climate scientists have been crying over Al Gore’s global warming film, now to be released on DVD November 21st. This is not just because the ex-Vice President committed numerous basic science mistakes; they are also concerned that, as a movie that has grossed over $20 million dollars (making it the 4th highest grossing documentary ever), many in the media and public have put great faith in the veracity of the film even though much of it amounts to little more than science fiction.

See also:
Scientists respond to Gore's warnings of climate catastrophe
Yet Gore’s influence on the public debate continues to increase. Between late September 2006 to January 2007, he, and some of the educators and scientists who support him, plan to train “more than 1,000 individuals to give a version of his presentation on the effects of - and solutions for - global warming, to community groups throughout the U.S.”, according to his Web site, www.climatecrisis.org. All this has obviously impressed the British government as Gore has just been appointed international adviser on climate change to Gordon Brown, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer and most likely the next Prime Minister.

Given Gore’s increasing profile, it is worthwhile to more closely examine the science of his film.

Gore’s credibility is damaged early in the movie when he tells the audience that, by simply looking at Antarctic ice cores with the naked eye, one can see when the American Clean Air Act was passed. Dr. Ian Clark, Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Ottawa, Canada, responds, “This is pure fantasy unless the reporter is able to detect parts per billion changes to chemicals in ice.” Air over the US doesn’t even circulate to the Antarctic before mixing with most of the northern, then the southern hemisphere air and this process takes decades. Clark explains that even far more significant events, such as the settling of dust arising from the scouring of continental shelves at the end of ice ages, are undetectable in ice cores by an untrained eye.

Gore repeatedly labels carbon dioxide (CO2) as “global warming pollution” when, in reality, it is no more pollution than is oxygen. CO2 is plant food, an ingredient essential for photosynthesis without which Earth would be a lifeless, frozen ice ball. The hypothesis that human release of CO2 is a major contributor to global warming is just that – an unproven hypothesis, against which evidence is increasingly mounting.

In fact, the supposedly convincing cause and effect relationship between CO2 and temperature that Gore speaks about so confidently is simply non-existent over all meaningful time scales. University of Ottawa climate researcher, Professor Jan Veizer demonstrated that, over geologic time, the two are not linked at all. Over the intermediate time scales Gore focuses on, the ice cores show that CO2 increases don’t precede, and therefore don’t cause, warming. Rather they follow temperature rise - by as much as 800 years. Even in the past century, the correlation is poor – the planet actually cooled between 1940 and 1980 when human emissions of CO2 were rising at the fastest rate in our history.

Similarly, the fact that water vapour constitutes 95% of greenhouse gases by volume is conveniently ignored by Gore. While humanity’s 3 billions tonnes (gigatonnes, or GT) per year net contribution to the atmosphere’s CO2 load appears large on a human scale, it is actually less than half of 1% of the atmosphere’s total CO2 content (750-830 GT). The CO2 emissions of our civilization are also dwarfed by the 210 GT/year emissions of the gas from Earth’s oceans and land. Perhaps even more significant is the fact that the uncertainty in the measurement of atmospheric CO2 content is 80 GT – making 3 GT seem hardly worth mentioning.

But Gore persists, labeling future CO2 rise as “deeply unethical” and lectures the audience that “Each one of us is a cause of global warming.” Not satisfied with simply warning of human-induced killer heat waves - events in Europe this past year were “like a nature hike through the Book of Revelations”, he says – he then uses high tech special effects to show how human-caused climate changes are causing more hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, infectious diseases, insect plagues, glacial retreats, coral die-outs, and the flooding of small island nations due to sea level rise caused by the melting of the polar caps. One is left wondering if Gore thinks nature is responsible for anything.

Scientists who actually work in these fields flatly contradict Gore. Take his allegations that extreme weather (EW) events will increase in frequency and severity as the world warms and that this is already happening. Former professor of climatology at the University of Winnipeg (Canada) and now Chairman of the newly launched Natural Resources Stewardship Project, Dr. Timothy Ball, notes, “The theories that Gore supports indicate the greatest warming will be in Polar Regions. Therefore the temperature contrast with warmer regions - the driver of extreme weather - will lessen and, with it, storm potential will lessen.”

This is exactly what Former Environment Canada research scientist and EW specialist Dr. Madhav Khandekar found. His studies show that there has been no increase in EW events in Canada in the last 25 years. Furthermore, he sees no indication that such events will increase over the next 25 years. “In fact some EW events such as winter blizzards have definitely declined”, say Khandekar. “Prairie droughts have been occurring for hundreds of years. The 13th and 16th century saw some of the severest and longest droughts ever on Canadian/American Prairies.” Like many other researchers, Khandekar is convinced that EW is not increasing globally either.

On hurricanes, Gore implies that new records are being set as a result of human greenhouse gas emissions. Besides clumsy errors in the presentation of the facts (Katrina did not get “stronger and stronger and stronger” as it came over the Gulf of Mexico; rather, it was category 5 over the ocean and was downgraded to category 3 when it made a landfall), Gore fails to note that the only region to show an increase in hurricanes in recent years is the North Atlantic. Hurricane specialist Dr. Tad Murty, former senior research scientist, Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and now adjunct professor of Earth Sciences at University of Ottawa, points out, “In all other six ocean basins, where tropical cyclones occur, there is either a flat or a downward trend.” Murty lists 1900, 1926 and 1935 as the years in which the most intense hurricanes were recorded in the US. In fact, Dr. Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami has stated that global warming has nothing to do with the recent increase in hurricane frequency in the North Atlantic. Murty concludes, “The feeling among many meteorologists is that it has to do with the North Atlantic Oscillation, which is now in the positive phase and will continue for another decade or so.”

In their open letter to the Canadian Prime Minister in April, 61 of the world’s leading experts modestly expressed their understanding of the science: “The study of global climate change is an "emerging science," one that is perhaps the most complex ever tackled. It may be many years yet before we properly understand the Earth's climate system.” It seems that liberal arts graduate Al Gore, political champion of the Kyoto Protocol, thinks he knows better.

Institut Pasteur (Paris) Professor Paul Reiter seemed to sum up the sentiments of many experts when he labeled the film “pure, mind-bending propaganda.” Such reactions should certainly cause viewers to wonder if Nobel Prize winning French novelist Andre Gide had a point when he advised, "Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it."

Anonymous said...

OK...enough...for now at least.

The point to all this...there IS NO CONSENSUS...

Is the globe warming. Possibly. Has it happened before? Sure...warmed, cooled...its a really cool planet. Cool in a good way.

This tangent began as a commentary on scientists making assumptions and stating them as fact.

Tell you what anon...throw out all your movie stars and politicians and I will match you, source for source, quote for quote, SCIENTIST FOR SCIENTIST, people that have findings that counter your position that man is causing global warming.

Cameron said...

Anon,

What you have done with my global warming "consensus" essay is exactly what my blogger friends did last summer. That is, they abandoned the consensus argument and devolved into a "my scientist is bigger than your scientist" neener neener third grade argument. I will ask you what I asked them months ago. If it is all so settled, why can't anyone clearly and concisely prove it? When I ask a question based on information from climatologists, why is the questioner impuned rather than just answering the question?

Cameron said...

Anon,

I will restate my answer to your restated answer to my question:

By following Saddam Hussein's trials you will become highly aware of the fact that his country was not "stable". You will also see that hundreds of thousands of people were murdered by "death squads".

Any "stability" seen in the pre-2003 Middle East is a sham, just as stability in the USSR was a sham.


I realize this answer unsettled you, and forced you to express your regret at having to reside in Utah. Please feel free to deride Idaho if it makes you feel better.

My point is that Saddam Hussein has been convicted and sentenced to death for murdering his own citizens. His trials will continue as the hundreds of thousands of victims of his own brand of "sectarian violence" are remembered in a court of law.

There was no stability in Iraq under Saddam Hussein's rule.

Do you dispute that?

Cameron said...

MindMechanic quoted Petr Chylek and so I thought I would link to an article written by him titled "A Long Term Perspective on Climate Change"

Lysis said...

Cameron, Mindmechanic, and other; the references you have provided will prove most valuable, and Anonymous, your comments will provide a most revealing “example” for my students to contemplate.

I have found this discussion most instructive. What a pleasant clash and interaction! From Nathan Hale to Cassius Clay; from Cincinnatus to Saddam; from ancient Rome to modern Iraq to global warming; from American’s greatness to La La land; from "science" to truth, and stirred in everywhere the theme of teaching and learning. Thank you all. This is why I come to the Agora.

Anonymous said...

I think a SCIENTIST is something more than someone who calls himself one -- however, we are ALL "scientists" by some measure.

Also, factor in the incredible exploding diversity of different areas of scientific expertise and experimentation.

Next, consider the scope of the question "global warming" and the inconceivable number of POTENTIALLY "relevent" issues and data sources that should, could, may, might, help formulate a "SCIENTIFIC" account.

Those who make generalizations about what "science" or "scientists" BELIEVE or CONCUR are NOT scientists; THEY are something else.

A straw poll among "scientists" and their "wannabes" proves NOTHING.

How much did the almost absolute agreement among scientists about Newtonian Physics deter Einstein's development of Relativity????

Cameron said...

Anon,

Exactly. So why then are so many folks bleating that the "straw poll" among scientists is unanimous?

Anonymous said...

For the same reason that there are so many folks bleating that the "straw poll" among scientists IS NOT unanimous, or is less than unanimous, or concludes anything at all from such polls -- political opportunism, NOT SCIENCE!!!!

Like I said, it cuts BOTH ways.

Cameron said...

What are we left with then, Anon? As you say, both sides are riddled with politics and agendas, both sides seem to only want to call into question each other's credentials.

truth to power said...

The "global warming" that is so much mentioned in the popular press is not science. It is politics. This is not some statement on my part about actual physical facts. The subject of global warming as we who are not climatologists deal with it consists of such issues as higher taxes, stricter environmental regulations, globalization, and the guilt we selfish Americans should feel.

When most people argue about whether the earth is getting hotter and why, they're really telling you their positions on things like fuel efficiency laws and environmentally-influenced tax policy. Because that's what it means to you and me. We don't have the education, experience, or judgment to evaluate the actual climate data. We don't even have access to that data.

That's why Al Gore is leading the charge on this. Do you think he knows the science? Please! He knows the politics. But that's what this really is.

Anonymous said...

What????
You want answers to social problems from SCIENCE?

Science with the ultimate objectivity -- values free with no harmful additives. The science that provided the atomic and hydogen bombs so that we could love our neighbors????

Scientists mostly do science -- creating a socio/politico agenda is NOT part of the "scientific method."

Nor do I think that society should start proclaiming "stop the science I want to get off." when it is faced with some of the "Brave New world" scenarios that "Science" portends.

What to believe? -- I am conservative by nature -- if there is a sign in the road that says 'trouble ahead', most of the time, I'll slow down.

Also, I try to resist the compulsion to respond, "Define trouble"!!!!

Anonymous said...

"Like I said, it cuts BOTH ways."

Heck anon...if I had seen this instead of the unananimous concensus comment we wouldnt have disagreed at all!

I would never suggest that the side that believes we are causing it are ALL envirowackos, just as I would not suggest that the scientists that disagree are all in the pocket of big business. At the same time, I would certainly suggest that some ARE envirowhackos and some ARE funded by big business.

Anonymous said...

I have not posted about global warming previous to today -- I think another anon made the comments you refer to.

However, always proud to disagree!!!!

Anonymous said...

OK...that makes sense...

Sorry...guilt by association.

Moon Knight said...

There is no guilt by association.
There is only guilt by yourself.

And of all the Lost Legends, the one I believe we should remember the most is Achilles, Though he could have lived his life by leisure, he CHOSE mind you CHOSE to die. That is a hero, to live for something more than what is expected of you, and thats what makes Achilles a hero

Anonymous said...

Moon/Loon:
Look up the word non sequitur. Memorize and apply the definition!!!!

Silver Lining said...

A little young for your students, but I thought you might appreciate the sentiment all the same.

http://www.superherohistorians.com/

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