Monday, December 15, 2008

READER COMMENTS

CHILDREN'S BRAINS

And what will science do should
it discover that some of the functional differences may be present pre-birth, the cause of congenital happenstance? Or even, lord help us, in some cases at least, that these differences might be the result of heritable traits passed down over successive generations? What then? Do we, as a society, simply reconcile ourselves to the idea that poverty may well be genetic and conclude that the poor 'have it in their blood' so to speak, and thus will always be with us?

Regarding the UC Berkeley findings that children on the lower rungs of society have different brains than those children of the middle class: reading the article I felt as though ice water was running in my veins and down my spine. Reminds me of Nazi science and the findings regarding race. I imagine that we will be hearing in the next few months that we need to prevent poor people from reproducing.

You're assuming the findings were based on genetics. They were actually based on environmental conditions,

FLOTSAM & JETSAM: HOW CORRUPTION HAS CHANGED

Excellent post. I wish people would pay more attention to the incredibly corrupt Kennedy machine, which has dominated Boston and MA politics for a century now, and has even extended its tendrils into New York. Not surprising that Ted Kennedy would be trying to get his niece appointed as Senator. If people would take off their rose-colored glasses and investigate the Kennedy finances they'd find lots of dirt there. JFK appointing RFK as attorney general is the worst act of presidential nepotism and cronyism in history. But it goes way back. Did you know that their grandfather, Honey Fitz, had his election to Congress in 1917 invalidated because of voter fraud?

IN NEW ZEALAND YOUR VOTE COUNTS

Very informative, but a small error; it's not Liberal Party but Labour Party in NZ - GevN

BLAGOJEVICH AND OBAMA

Is anyone seriously claiming this is not a case of selective prosecution? Fitzgerald had Cheney dead to rights on the Plame case but backed off. Subsequently every U.S. District Attorney who didn't comply with selective politically motivated prosecution was fired, yet here we have the Pat Fitzgeralds and the Mary Beth Buchanans stinking up the Justice Dept. I'm not defending Blagojevich's ethics, but obviously this is selective prosecution intended to embarass and weaken Obama and the Dems.


I'm impressed (not favorably) about how carefully Obama is being protected. Why on Earth should we believe that Obama, who, as Sam has noted, was foisted on us by somebody, is clean?

DISMANTLE THE TSA

Only two things have actually changed to improve real airline security since 9/11, and neither has anything to do with TSA:

- passengers in fear of their collective lives will now die before ceding control to hijackers

- the door to the pilot's cabin has been reinforced and cannot be opened from outside

Everything else is what is known in the business as "security theater" - useless rituals that reassure an ignorant public. - Stephen P. Schaefer

EDUCATING FOR GREATNESS, NOT GRADES

Educational psychologists have long known that adults spend no time on learning that's not in the service of a goal. If they're not going to get something out of the process
that they want, little or no learning will take place.

Psychologists also know that the first stage of learning is to map the new material onto existing material. However imperfectly we do it, we must relate the new material to something we already understand (or think we do).

Is it really so surprising, then, to think that children, like other creatures, might
not be the simple, conveniently volitionless "meat mechanisms" that our economic system want nearly all of us to be? That even children might respond better if treated as human? - Mairead

EMANUEL REFUSES TO ANSWER REPORTERS' QUERIES

The pony at the bottom of this mess would be the possibility that Rahm ends up considered being too damaged goods to function of chief of staff, and thus, gets replaced. One can only dream.

EXPERTS BEGINNING TO QUESTION WHETHER RENEWABLE ENERGY IS ENOUGH

Fewer people, workplaces and schools in walking distance from homes, and work-from-home would immediately reduce energy needs. Slightly longer term real investment in insulation would cut peak energy demands during the hottest and coldest months.

Slowing down - allowing much more time for travel - would allow energy demand to be cut. Do cargo ships really have to move as fast as possible, or as efficiently as possible?

A slower, less hectic world could be much more pleasant to live in, without sacrificing anything in luxury.

FLOTSAM & JETSAM: THE CRASH OF AMERICAN IMAGINATION

It was actually Hoover's Administration that came up with the idea for large scale public works to boost the economy. FDR ran on two issues: Balance the budget and repeal prohibition. He only achieved the latter. He abandoned trying to balance the budget after about 8 months when the attempt was obviously making the economy worse; only then did he start enlisting advisors who put together the New Deal - essential continuing and expanding the measures Hoover had started. What FDR was best at was making FDR look good, and instilling confidence (really quite unfounded) in his presidency. He cleverly managed to make all his failures appear unavoidable consequences of fate, while taking credit for every success . . . even if he had opposed it.

It is true that Hoover's Reconstruction Finance Corporation was a forerunner of the Works Progress Administration. But your division is a bit exaggerated. The WPA was started two years after Roosevelt took office. And he liked the RFC enough to hire his top aide, Tommy Corcoran, from there. And how does your editor know this arcane fact? Because my own father worked with Corcoran at the RFC, then returned to private practice, only to get a call a couple of months into the New Deal from Corcoran urging him to come back, which he did.

FORMER CHAIR OF NASDAQ ARRESTED IN ALLEGED SCAM

Note that in cases involving less influential persons the feds generally seize the defendant's assets, alleging assets were criminally obtained, making hiring adequate legal representation impossible.

FOXES IN THE CHICKEN COOP: OBAMA NAMES PRO NUKE HEAD OF ENERGY

People don't seem to realize that, while nukes have a limited future because of their nature -there's only so much mineable radioactive material available - we don't currently have another source of energy that has its potential yield and doesn't contribute to the climate disaster. We need to focus on high-yield, high-safety installations -- and crank up research into replacement technologies. Or we need to stop being a technological society.

We haven't overcome the basic level of entropic limits: we don't yet (maybe never will) know how to get a lot of energy without giving up something important for it. Personally, I don't think creating massive visual and noise pollution is a good tradeoff to avoid the risk of a nuke accident. Pollution kills, too - and it does it all the time, with certainty. A cataclysm only kills if it happens.

GOING NUTS OVER NUTS

Let's not forget to add avian flu to the hysterical mix. That, too, is once again starting to make its rounds. Folks are already starting to look cross-eyed at my humble flock of chickens. I've already been asked if I feel safe having them in my yard. Let me state here and now to those so concerned, it's not the chickens that give me pause. What's more, I feel perfectly safe with the four varieties of nut trees and bushes surrounding my yard. My only problem seems to be nuts of the two legged variety.

Don't forget the contribution made by insurance companies and lawyers to this nonsense.

The incredible levels of hysteria that have been generated over this non-threat by parents (usually moms in the affluent 'hipster/yuppie' demographic, I've frequently noticed) just tend to reinforce my personal belief that breeding truly does cause degeneration of brain cells.

Well obviously we need to curb this menace. Fell all nut trees, pecans, walnuts. Let's cut down hickories and oaks too, then burn them all in some giant tribute to ignorance and self-loathing. I mean the earth is dirty and dangerous. I think much of D.H. Lawrence's brilliant work centers around human creation of an environment unsuitable for their entire evolution. Every once in a while I think of the scene from Srike Pay wherein the striking miners have received their weekly pittance and make straight for the taverns, They pass a fence where the mine's draft ponies are staring forlornly at a day of idle freedom . Instead of freedom the ponies and the miners see confusion and emptiness. Lawrence thought western civilization was neurotic and wrongheaded.

Lest a anyone rush out and harm a tree to curb this menace, remember that peanuts (a legume) grow underground on a vine. - Lorax

GREAT MOMENTS IN SCIENCE

Ah, yes. Pharmaceutical LSD-25 from Sandoz Laboratories. Profound mystical experience from a tiny tablet. Those were the days. - marc

HARVARD BUDDIES HEAVY ON OBAMA TEAM

It would be well worth the time and effort to locate a copy of
The Best And The Brightest, David Halberstam's chronicle of that previous Harvard dominated era. The parallels are already striking.

WAITING TO VOTE

The wait times to vote given by ABC/MIT seem a bit short. Everyone I know in Florida waited 45 minutes to 3 hours to vote.

OBAMA OWES CARTER AN APOLOGY

Isolating Palestinians in enclaves whose only egress is blocked by IDF is not apartheid? Then I guess carpet bombing Lebanon was self defense? Torturing teenagers is entertainment? To most Americans, Carter is the only lucid president we've had in decades.

OBAMA'S MANY VIEWS ON MARIJUANA

Marijuana should be legal or at least decriminalized. The only lives I've seen ruined by pot are the lives of the people that got caught. DUI is a lesser offense than possession of marijuana in many states. How many people do you know that were killed by a marijuana smoker?

OBAMALAND

Democratic Party partisans look exactly like Republican Party partisans -- or fundamentalists of any creed. Strip away the identifying information and it's not possible to tell them apart. Same tactics, same intolerance for "deviationism", same demands for lockstep obedience and purity. Partisan politics is a religion, and we're the worse for it.

RUBIN NAMED IN SUIT ALLEGING CITIGROUP PONZI SCHEME

I can't possibly guess why the Bush Justice Dept. didn't investigate and prosecute this case. I guess the FBI was too busy knocking down doors and terrorizing innocent families of low level fugitive drug dealers. Asking the Feds to oversee finance and protect investors would be like expecting a madam to warn her clients that one of her whores had an STD.

3 Comments:

At December 15, 2008 8:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DailyKos is already looking like FreeRepublic, circa 2002.

 
At December 16, 2008 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out DU - populated by obliviously-Ochsian "Love Me I'm A Liberal"s. Filled with condemnation of the left, witch hunts, silencings, loyalty oaths, triumphalism,....

It's not a pretty sight. Or site.

 
At December 18, 2008 4:57 AM, Anonymous Mairead said...

Apropos Caroline Kennedy as senator...it's certainly true that she would be a dynastic choice, which is ipso facto disgusting.

But she's not unqualified, compared to what we see in office today. She's a lawyer and, encouragingly, she and her law partner wrote a very eye-opening book on personal privacy. It's almost a given that she'd do a better-for-us job than either Hilary or Schumer, and she might actually do a MUCH better job. Stranger things have happened.

 

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