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Old 06-25-2010, 01:02 PM   #201
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Right? The distraction argument reminds me of the groups that say the holocaust never happened. Meaning the distraction argument is a distraction in and of itself.
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:04 PM   #202
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Has anyone heard about the weather system involved with the BP Oil Leak? I just shutter to think what is going to happen if a tropical storm hits any of the oil. This breaks my heart.
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:11 PM   #203
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Um, there IS disagreement over Afghanistan. There IS financial overhaul - though it's much less powerful and effective than it should be thanks to the Republicans (once again, if one can't tell the difference between the parties, one is not paying attention). And they DID eat a hamburger and discuss twitter. None of this is made up by the MSM, it really is happening!! There's really also an oil spill, and global warming, and all kinds of stuff. The MSM doesn't fabricate disasters and wars to generate advertising revenue.
Now, it may be that my son is ALSO part of the MSM (or maybe I am) but he sent me the following email after I had written him asking what he and his buddies thought about McChrystal being relieved of command:

"If we could find the guy from Rolling Stone we'd buy him all the beer he could drink! McChrystal was getting people killed and we're happy to see him gone. No one here can figure out why the guy was put in charge of this op in the first place. We'd much rather have Petraeus calling the shots than McChrystal. At least we know that Petraeus knows his ass from a hole in the ground."

There's more in the email but I won't bore you with our personal correspondence.

I don't consider an active war zone where my son is getting shot at to be a distraction.

I was wondering about the whole 'distraction' too. Okay, Obama and Medvedev having a burger and the latter visiting 'Twitters' is a shaggy dog story but it's not as if it was fabricated. A general getting fired is certainly dog bites man, not man bites dog. And the financial reform certainly shows that the Democrats still don't *quite* get it but it's better than what happened with the extension of unemployment benefits.

I would really, really like to know what is it we're supposed to be distracted from with all this talk of wars, oil spills, climate change, etc.

Cheers
Aj
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:13 PM   #204
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Has anyone heard about the weather system involved with the BP Oil Leak? I just shutter to think what is going to happen if a tropical storm hits any of the oil. This breaks my heart.
What weather system involved with the BP oil leak? I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Are you saying that there was a storm that was a (partial) cause of the oil leak or are you saying that the oil has created a weather system? I don't know exactly what you mean.
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:21 PM   #205
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There is a tropical storm in the Caribbean. It may make it to where the BP leak is at. I am not sure of who is running the show there now - The Coast Guard or BP or Fed. Gov't. What happens if a tropical storm hits it?
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:23 PM   #206
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What weather system involved with the BP oil leak? I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Are you saying that there was a storm that was a (partial) cause of the oil leak or are you saying that the oil has created a weather system? I don't know exactly what you mean.
Dread - I believe what Andrew is refering to is a tropical storm developing around Yucatan. The Weather Channel has been giving updates every hour for the last 2 days. The concern is if the depression develops into a tropical storm or upgrades to a hurricane it would be a devistating mess to the coastline due to the oil spillage.

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Old 06-25-2010, 01:25 PM   #207
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What weather system involved with the BP oil leak? I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Are you saying that there was a storm that was a (partial) cause of the oil leak or are you saying that the oil has created a weather system? I don't know exactly what you mean.
There's a storm developing south of Jamaica that could become a tropical depression or storm and then might move up in to the gulf. It's too early to tell what it will be or where it will go - north to the gulf or west to Mexico.
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:30 PM   #208
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There is a tropical storm in the Caribbean. It may make it to where the BP leak is at. I am not sure of who is running the show there now - The Coast Guard or BP or Fed. Gov't. What happens if a tropical storm hits it?
Andrew, the feds aren't running the show, BP has yet to cap the leak therefore any weather system that hits the area is going to make a total mess of the coast line and destroy even more of the eco system. They have 2 ships syphoning the oil, and they would have to leave the area if the storms were to hit. It's not up to the feds to clean it up it is BP's responsibility. The feds are there to make sure they do, but the feds don't have any technology to do this, i.e.: the Navy, or Coast Guard.
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:42 PM   #209
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Ahh! Thank you! I hadn't paid much attention to the weather in the last few days. I have a program called EarthDesk that shows you a map of the Earth (in whatever projection you like) as your desktop background with near-real-time satellite updates of cloud patterns so it's actually rather useful for tracking storms. I usually run it during hurricane season and had forgotten to turn it on. Thanks all for explaining and reminding me to run it so I can keep track of what this storm is doing.



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There's a storm developing south of Jamaica that could become a tropical depression or storm and then might move up in to the gulf. It's too early to tell what it will be or where it will go - north to the gulf or west to Mexico.
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Dread - I believe what Andrew is refering to is a tropical storm developing around Yucatan. The Weather Channel has been giving updates every hour for the last 2 days. The concern is if the depression develops into a tropical storm or upgrades to a hurricane it would be a devistating mess to the coastline due to the oil spillage.

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There is a tropical storm in the Caribbean. It may make it to where the BP leak is at. I am not sure of who is running the show there now - The Coast Guard or BP or Fed. Gov't. What happens if a tropical storm hits it?
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:53 PM   #210
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Default Banks, Congress and 'Banking reform' critique done right

With all the talk of late of how the mainstream media just wants to distract us and my own criticism of just throwing flames of the 'all politicians are thugs throw 'em all to the wolves' I thought it might be helpful to post an example of critique of our political system that is useful. I'm not a Dylan Ratigan fan which, ironically, is why I chose this piece of his.

Here's the flames--right up front:

The same Washington spinsters who have driven our country into the ground seem to be out in full force this morning, claiming that their latest policy "victory" is the most "sweeping change" of our financial regulatory since the Great Depression.

Actually, it is nothing more than window dressing.


But he doesn't just call them spinsters and leave it at that.

Meanwhile, all involved in the facade try to pretend that this should be considered a success because, gosh, real financial reform is just too hard and those crafty banksters will just outsmart us anyhow. Many in the media are either too complicit, too confused or too lazy to contradict this spin, but the rest of us shouldn't buy that BS. Real and lasting financial reform is actually quite easy to implement -- and the last time we had a crisis of this magnitude, we kept the banksters in check for 70 years.

Here there's a least the hint of solutions. My problem isn't with critiques, my problem is with critiques that are reactionary, fact-free or fact-poor and don't even suggest that the problem might be solvable, even in principle.

Cheers
Aj
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:09 PM   #211
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I have to say that I want to copy that out and paste it in every time someone starts complaining about how all the politicians are corrupt. We may not have the government we want but increasingly I am coming to the conclusion that we have the government we deserve. We deserve it because we no longer think that there's any difference between information and rumour, fact or fiction. If you believe that a solar flare is going to turn the Earth upside down like in some summer blockbuster movie, it isn't really going to matter what any scientist says about it being physically impossible. It's not going to matter how much information they bring to bear on debunking the idea. The Earth is going to be turned upside down by a solar flare, killing off all but the very rich (for no good reason), and 'the government' is keeping it all from us. Full-stop, end of story.

That might sound funny but that's precisely where we find ourselves in this country today. A high ranking officer is insubordinate and gets cashiered (much to the delight of the troops under his command) and it's a distraction? No, not really. If firing McChrystal means that someone who is less likely to get my son killed will take command in the Afghani theatre then I'm all for it and I don't consider it a distraction at all. It IS news that McChrystal was fired. It's easy to say "it's a distraction" but I couldn't help but notice that it was never detailed *what* we were being distracted *from*. If I'm doing a "hey, look over there!" feint then I'm not doing it because it's Thursday and I can has cheeseburger, it's because I want your attention elsewhere while I do something. Well, what's that thing that we're being distracted from? Or is the MSM just distracting us because it's Friday and they can has cheeseburger?

You're spot on that so many citizens don't pay attention and don't filter things through a fine mesh of "is it reasonable to presume that the world works this way". That fine mesh alone makes it safe to get news from a variety of sources. (And for the record, TV news--including Rachel Maddow's program--is not real valuable to me as anything but entertainment with two exceptions--BBC America's news broadcast and PBS Newshour. I get my news mostly by reading because I'm antiquarian like that.)

Lastly, I can't help but notice that the prophets are long on declarations of how FUBARd things are and how anyone who doesn't see that in the exact same terms they do is nothing more than a foolish dupe of the powers-that-be and their media lapdogs. When it comes to solutions, however, nine times out of ten they are nowhere to be found because solutions aren't interesting, they aren't as emotionally satisfying and they have the added disadvantage of actually forcing one to deal with the complexities of a given problem. I used to think that the world was a pretty simple place but the more I tried to understand why the world didn't work the way a simple world should, the more I realized that part of what was wrong wasn't with the world but with my expectations of it. I was expecting a very complicated world to behave as a very simple system. The more I delve into a given subject, the more I have come to realize that the problems facing us are fiendishly difficult.

Just to take one--our dependency on fossil fuels. We need to get off oil and coal as soon as possible. Yet, getting off oil--particularly--isn't going to be easy. Sure, we could all trade in our ICE cars for hybrids or, better yet, electric cars. But I don't think that an electric 18-wheeler is practical and an electric jumbo jet is out of the question. The easy answer is "no more oil!". Nice, simple, fits on a bumper sticker and is emotionally satisfying. But spending time with the issue, trying to figure out how we still manage to have an economy while not using fossil fuels anymore than is absolutely necessary will make your head hurt. It doesn't fit on a bumper sticker. "No more oil! (Except for long haul transport, military applications and jet aircraft)" doesn't really fit on a bumper sticker very well.

I don't pretend to have answers for what ails us. I do hope that I think about these issues and give them the gravity and respect of depth that the problems deserve and require. I hope that when I get didactic here I am stimulating people to think about matters in a way that, perhaps, they didn't think about them before. This is our mess--not 'the government's mess' it's OUR mess. Like I said earlier, we may not have the government we want but we probably have the government we deserve.

Cheers
Aj
Yes, OUR mess! And well deserved at times! So tired of talking point, bumper sticker, Wiki blurb quick-click research and just thinking like your best friend political unconsciousness. Frankly, I would rather have less less uninformed voters voting. And most certainly less knee-jerk voters going to the polls. And don't even get me started on the lack of motivation to give a few hours a month to issues and causes effecting our everyday lives. I often think that most people in the US are just fine with the Congressional deadlock we have.. they would rather take pot shots than take responsibility for what our elected officials do.

I know I can always do more, read more, even care more and if things remain disfunctional, I better be willing to take some personal blame if I'm doing nothing but sitting on my ass, bitching. My stances may not be what ends up being adopted, but, I am part of a conscious effort to effect change.
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:38 PM   #212
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Vietnam wasn't about resources?

Herbert Hoover, later to become President of the United States did a study that showed that one of the world's largest oil fields ran along the coast of the South China Sea right off French Indo-China, now known as Vietnam.

We were in Vietnam to protect Standard Oil's assetsó McCarthy's notions did a very good job of distracting folks from that reality.
I would not call the reserves off the coast of Vietnam as one of the largest in the world. It's not even in the top 25. Lots of countries have much larger oil reserves. I don't buy that oil was the reason for Nam.

http://world.bymap.org/OilReserves.html

http://www.wired.com/special_multime...08/oilreserves

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/en...y-oil-reserves (this one ranks Nam as number 41)
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:42 PM   #213
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Default A Republic--if we can keep it

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Yes, OUR mess! And well deserved at times! So tired of talking point, bumper sticker, Wiki blurb quick-click research and just thinking like your best friend political unconsciousness. Frankly, I would rather have less less uninformed voters voting. And most certainly less knee-jerk voters going to the polls. And don't even get me started on the lack of motivation to give a few hours a month to issues and causes effecting our everyday lives. I often think that most people in the US are just fine with the Congressional deadlock we have.. they would rather take pot shots than take responsibility for what our elected officials do.

I know I can always do more, read more, even care more and if things remain disfunctional, I better be willing to take some personal blame if I'm doing nothing but sitting on my ass, bitching. My stances may not be what ends up being adopted, but, I am part of a conscious effort to effect change.
In Susan Jacoby's book "The Age of American Unreason" she relates an incident that I think is a poignant picture of who we once were in this country. I don't have the book with me at work so I cannot give you a verbatim quote but I'll relate it as best I can. FDR was going to give a fireside chat on the war, so this was probably early 1942 or so, and announced the week before that he would be talking about the Pacific Theatre of operations and urged people to go and buy maps. Across this country maps *sold out*. People then gathered around the radio, map spread out on the kitchen table or the living room floor and listened to FDR talk about what was happening in the Pacific.

Several things immediately leap to mind as to what we have lost. Firstly, an American President talked to the American people as if they could understand the complexities of the Pacific war. He wasn't talking specific tactics or actions planned. Just laying out the stakes. Secondly, the American people actually went out and bought maps so they could follow along and understand what was being said. Instead of deciding that it was too much work, or accusing Roosevelt of being just like Stalin, they went and bought maps and assumed that they too could understand what was happening. I'm not talking policy wonks, I'm talking people like my mother (18 in 1941) and my grandmother (35 with nothing more than a 4th grade education *maybe*). Farmers and mechanics, housewives, teachers and street sweepers assumed that they too could look on a map and evaluate what the President was saying. Their country was at war, the least they could do was know where and why.

Can you imagine an American President--ANY American President--asking the American people to go and buy maps or download the CIA World Factbook (and if you don't already have it bookmarked then do so--it's a great resource for anything you want to know about a country that is quantifiable and/or empirical)? Can you imagine the hew and cry that would be raised? Can you imagine what would happen if the President were to give a radio or TV address where he asked people to listen with their map at hand? I can hear it right now. All over FOX the President would be accused of elitism, of being out of touch with ordinary Americans, of having his nose stuck in the air(provided the POTUS was a Democrat). How many people do you know who would go to Google, download Google Earth (free) or go to the CIA and download the Factbook (free and takes up about 150 MB unzipped)? How many would actually bother to listen and follow along?

I don't know what happened to us but once upon a time, in my parents (and for most of you reading this your grandparent's) time we really *were* these people. We actually behaved this way. Now, we could say that we lost it because we became a more diverse society but I don't buy that. We could blame TV--but again, I don't really buy that one although it's a little more plausible. Ultimately, I think we just became a culture that is lazy and in becoming so lazy we lost confidence in ourselves. Not the 'USA! USA!' confidence which isn't confidence but is braggadocio. Rather, I mean the confidence that it took to say "well, I'm not a college graduate but I can read a map, I have ears and eyes and I can follow this". THAT kind of confidence.

There is a story, possibly apocryphal, from the Revolutionary period. After the Constitutional Convention, Franklin was asked what kind of government they had created. He responded "A Republic, if you can keep it". Notice that he didn't say "if the government can keep it" or "if the media can keep it" but if YOU--a citizen--can keep it. He was speaking to a man of his own time but he was also speaking to us in our time. This Republic does not belong to JP Morgan Chase or Goldman-Sachs. It doesn't belong to Rupert Murdoch or Roger Aisles. It belongs to you, to me, to all 300 million of us each individually.

Yes, the Founders were all heterosexual, white men about half of whom were slaveholders and almost all of whom had very unflattering things to say about blacks and women and others. So what? They are dead and their bones are dust so it doesn't really matter. Yes, the Constitution was flawed and is still less than perfect. Find me one thing that humans have built that was perfect. This is our country, OUR Republic. The Founders bet that an educated and informed populace could keep a Republic going. I see no reason to doubt that this is true. The problem we face is that our public is no longer educated or informed and many do not want to be, preferring the quick fix of emotionally satisfying jingoism or pseudo-cynicism (which is really high idealism masquerading as cynicism).

This is our mess. If any bums need to be thrown out, it's us. We let it come to this.

Cheers
Aj
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:48 PM   #214
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I would not call the reserves off the coast of Vietnam as one of the largest in the world. It's not even in the top 25. Lots of countries have much larger oil reserves. I don't buy that oil was the reason for Nam.

http://world.bymap.org/OilReserves.html

http://www.wired.com/special_multime...08/oilreserves

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/en...y-oil-reserves (this one ranks Nam as number 41)
I can't buy it either, Toughy. Remember, at the time that the Vietnam war was going on the United States was in the Top 10 producers of oil in the world. We had large fields in California, Texas and Pennsylvania. I believe--if memory serves--that until just about the end of the Vietnam war we were a net *exporter* of oil. So I can't see any reason why we would go to war in Vietnam over oil. It would be akin to Saudi Arabia, the number one exporter of oil, going to war against Denmark over oil. Is that something that Saudi Arabia was likely to do? No. I'm not even sure that the French knew that there was oil off the coast of Vietnam--although I might be mistaken there.

Cheers
Aj
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:06 PM   #215
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That little weather system in the Caribbean could actually make things better on the coastlines, depending on the direction it takes. It also could make it worse.

It's just too early to tell where it's going or what it's going to do or how strong it might become.
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:01 PM   #216
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Earlier today I posted about an anecdote in Susan Jacoby's book "The Age of American Unreason" regarding FDR and one of his fireside chats. I got one or two facts wrong and Jacoby's telling is far more poignant than my writing skills can convey. So here it is, if you sit and think about this, really think about it, you'll start to see what we've lost and how we've let our country--that is to say ourselves--down.

Roosevelt's first fireside chat after Pearl Harbor came in February 1942, and he had asked Americans to spread out a map during his radio address so that they could follow and comprehend the geography of battle. The New York Times quoted one E. O. Schmidt, sales manager of a Manhattan bookstore, about the public response to the president's request. Schmidt had rounded up 2,000 copies of a new atlas to meet the demand, and, by the the night of the fireside chat, every map had been sold. Roosevelt told his listeners--who included 80 percent of all American adults--that he had asked them to use maps so that they might better understand a war being waged, unlike previous wars, on "every continent, every island, every sea, every airline in the world." In explaining the strategic situation to the public, Roosevelt was able to draw on his own extensive knowledge of geography, acquired early in life through his well-known hobby of stamp collecting. He had told his speechwriters that he was certain if Americans understood the immensity of the distances over which supplies must travel to the armed forces, "if they understand the problem and what we are driving at, I am sure they can take any kind of bad news right on the chin."

This is a portrait not only of a different presidency and president but of different Americans, without access to satellite-enhanced Google maps but with a much greater receptivity to learning than today's public.

(Susan Jacoby--The Age of American Unreason)

But it's more poignant even than that. In 1940, only about a quarter of all American men and women had even graduated high school. The numbers for college graduates were both under 10%. That means that around 70% of all Americans had less than a high school diploma and still they behaved like this. We're not talking a population of intellectuals. Now, the overwhelming majority of Americans graduate high school and about a third of all Americans have a college degree. And yet, more than half of us couldn't tell you which coast of the continent borders the Pacific ocean and which borders the Atlantic. A nation of people who hadn't graduated high school thought it important to know where Germany, Japan and Italy were. A nation of high school graduates could care less to know and would look down their nose and call elitist--or worse--any person who did care to know.

That's what we've lost. I was raised by people who grew up in that America, who remembered what it was like. They taught me that as a black woman in America it was my *job* to be informed and to think deeply on the issues of the day, if for no better reason than so I could vote well and explain things to my children. I don't want America to turn into a bunch of policy wonks (okay, I wouldn't shed any tears if we did but I don't expect it to happen). I would like for America to get whatever it was we had in 1942 that we don't have now back. If we can't get it back (and who knows if we can but I doubt it) then at least let us know what it is we let go.

Those Americans--who did not protect the voting rights of blacks in all the states and the women in the population had only been voting for two decades--demanded a president who solved problems and talked to them like they were grown ups. They demanded it and they got it because they *deserved* it and would settle for nothing less. We want a president who--I don't even know if WE know what we want but whatever it is, talking to us like we're grown ups and assuming that we could take bad news certainly aren't high on the list of they are present at all. They got the government they deserved in 1942. We have, I suspect, the government that we deserve--not the one we need--in 2010.

Cheers
Aj


Cheers
Aj
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Old 06-26-2010, 01:00 PM   #217
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Originally Posted by dreadgeek View Post

This is a portrait not only of a different presidency and president but of different Americans, without access to satellite-enhanced Google maps but with a much greater receptivity to learning than today's public.[/I]
(Susan Jacoby--The Age of American Unreason)

But it's more poignant even than that. In 1940, only about a quarter of all American men and women had even graduated high school. The numbers for college graduates were both under 10%. That means that around 70% of all Americans had less than a high school diploma and still they behaved like this. We're not talking a population of intellectuals. Now, the overwhelming majority of Americans graduate high school and about a third of all Americans have a college degree. And yet, more than half of us couldn't tell you which coast of the continent borders the Pacific ocean and which borders the Atlantic. A nation of people who hadn't graduated high school thought it important to know where Germany, Japan and Italy were. A nation of high school graduates could care less to know and would look down their nose and call elitist--or worse--any person who did care to know.

That's what we've lost. I was raised by people who grew up in that America, who remembered what it was like. They taught me that as a black woman in America it was my *job* to be informed and to think deeply on the issues of the day, if for no better reason than so I could vote well and explain things to my children. I don't want America to turn into a bunch of policy wonks (okay, I wouldn't shed any tears if we did but I don't expect it to happen). I would like for America to get whatever it was we had in 1942 that we don't have now back. If we can't get it back (and who knows if we can but I doubt it) then at least let us know what it is we let go.

Those Americans--who did not protect the voting rights of blacks in all the states and the women in the population had only been voting for two decades--demanded a president who solved problems and talked to them like they were grown ups. They demanded it and they got it because they *deserved* it and would settle for nothing less. We want a president who--I don't even know if WE know what we want but whatever it is, talking to us like we're grown ups and assuming that we could take bad news certainly aren't high on the list of they are present at all. They got the government they deserved in 1942. We have, I suspect, the government that we deserve--not the one we need--in 2010.

Cheers
Aj


Cheers
Aj
Strikes deep chords for me as well. Very deep.
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Old 06-26-2010, 01:35 PM   #218
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Can you imagine an American President--ANY American President--asking the American people to go and buy maps or download the CIA World Factbook (and if you don't already have it bookmarked then do so--it's a great resource for anything you want to know about a country that is quantifiable and/or empirical)? Can you imagine the hew and cry that would be raised? Can you imagine what would happen if the President were to give a radio or TV address where he asked people to listen with their map at hand? I can hear it right now. All over FOX the President would be accused of elitism, of being out of touch with ordinary Americans, of having his nose stuck in the air(provided the POTUS was a Democrat). How many people do you know who would go to Google, download Google Earth (free) or go to the CIA and download the Factbook (free and takes up about 150 MB unzipped)? How many would actually bother to listen and follow along?

Aj

Actually, I think a lot of us would welcome that. I think that you are assuming a lot of Americans would not bother. I think a lot would bother.

I think you are underestimaing the American population. I think more Americans are tuned in, aware, and concerned than you could imagine. Google Earth is a famous and well used tool. The CIA factbook is no secret. It is well used website and research tool.

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Old 06-26-2010, 02:54 PM   #219
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I think you are underestimaing the American population. I think more Americans are tuned in, aware, and concerned than you could imagine.
Let's just pick two really basic things:

41% don't believe global warming is happening
25% don't believe in evolution, another 36% have no opinion

These are both basic science stuff - no degrees required.

Then there are folks who take Palin seriously, folks who think that deficit spending is not good for the economy right now, folks who don't think BP should pay for their mess, folks who don't understand that our economy would implode if every immigrant worker left tomorrow, etc.

We're in two wars. How many folks still think Saddam Hussein was involved with the NY attack? How many can find Afghanistan on a map? For that matter, how many can even name all 50 states? You'd be shocked at the number of folks who think New Mexico is in another country.

I try to console myself by thinking that it's the same group of people that are out of touch on all of the above issues. Sadly, it appears that they vote, since they have representatives in Congress who believe all of the above, too.
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Old 06-26-2010, 03:31 PM   #220
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Let's just pick two really basic things:

41% don't believe global warming is happening
25% don't believe in evolution, another 36% have no opinion

These are both basic science stuff - no degrees required.

Then there are folks who take Palin seriously, folks who think that deficit spending is not good for the economy right now, folks who don't think BP should pay for their mess, folks who don't understand that our economy would implode if every immigrant worker left tomorrow, etc.

We're in two wars. How many folks still think Saddam Hussein was involved with the NY attack? How many can find Afghanistan on a map? For that matter, how many can even name all 50 states? You'd be shocked at the number of folks who think New Mexico is in another country.

I try to console myself by thinking that it's the same group of people that are out of touch on all of the above issues. Sadly, it appears that they vote, since they have representatives in Congress who believe all of the above, too.


Not all scientists can agree if global warming is happening. Not all scientists can agree that if it is happening whether it is caused by human actions or is a natural occurence. The evolution debate is also linked to religion. Just because someone has religious beliefs that don't coincide with another person's belief in evolution does not mean they are uninformed or uneducated, it just means they have different beliefs. I'm not a fan of Palin, but some people think it is wonky thinking to take Obama seriously or Clinton seriously.

The points you are making above have to do with opinion not how informed someone is on issues or how willing they are to learn about issues. Otherwise you are saying that anyone that does not agree with you is uninformed. Surely you are not saying that?

Perhaps someone's belief that Saddam was involved in 9/11 is due to being influenced by media stories and hype. Part of the issue is that most of us don't know what to believe because most of what we read is biased and skewed, lacking facts, or poorly written. So perhaps if the President did say take out your map, here are the facts, maybe many of us would. We spend our days sorting through so much misinformation that most of us no longer know which side is up.

My larger point is not to point fingers at the masses or people who disagree with you, but to point out the problems with sources of information.

I would also add that I think most of the problem is not to do with lack of knowledge of facts and info bites, but lack of critical thinkihg and analysis. Teaching people how to think is more important than teaching them what to think.

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