Archive for November 2009

Spirit of Mao Lives at U. of MN

Posted: Monday, November 30, 2009 at 11:36 pm
By: RadioActive Chief
Comments Off | Trackback Bookmark and Share

At U, future teachers may be reeducated
They must denounce exclusionary biases and embrace the vision. (Or else.)

Sometimes the Chief has heard semi-laughing references from Minnesota friends about the “People’s Republic of Minnesota.

If this is any indication, maybe the laughter should be gone, leaving nothing but the “People’s Republic”…for real.

Do you believe in the American dream — the idea that in this country, hardworking people of every race, color and creed can get ahead on their own merits? If so, that belief may soon bar you from getting a license to teach in Minnesota public schools — at least if you plan to get your teaching degree at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus.

This is because of a series of “reforms” in the teacher education program being drafted and proposed for the U of M that forces compliance with a set of attitudes and procedures that are nearly exact reproductions of procedures implemented in ChiCom Chairman Mao Tse Tung’s disastrous “Cultural Revolution”.

In a report compiled last summer, the Race, Culture, Class and Gender Task Group at the U’s College of Education and Human Development recommended that aspiring teachers there must repudiate the notion of “the American Dream” in order to obtain the recommendation for licensure required by the Minnesota Board of Teaching. Instead, teacher candidates must embrace — and be prepared to teach our state’s kids — the task force’s own vision of America as an oppressive hellhole: racist, sexist and homophobic….

The report advocates making race, class and gender politics the “overarching framework” for all teaching courses at the U. It calls for evaluating future teachers in both coursework and practice teaching based on their willingness to fall into ideological lockstep.

The first step toward “cultural competence,” says the task group, is for future teachers to recognize — and confess — their own bigotry. Anyone familiar with the reeducation camps of China’s Cultural Revolution will recognize the modus operandi.

Wait, it gets worse:

The task group recommends, for example, that prospective teachers be required to prepare an “autoethnography” report. They must describe their own prejudices and stereotypes, question their “cultural” motives for wishing to become teachers, and take a “cultural intelligence” assessment designed to ferret out their latent racism, classism and other “isms.” They “earn points” for “demonstrating the ability to be self-critical.”…

The goal of these exercises, in the task group’s words, is to ensure that “future teachers will be able to discuss their own histories and current thinking drawing on notions of white privilege, hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity, and internalized oppression.”

Good grief, Charlie Brown!…and worse yet:

What if some aspiring teachers resist this effort at thought control and object to parroting back an ideological line as a condition of future employment? The task group has Orwellian plans for such rebels: The U, it says, must “develop clear steps and procedures for working with non-performing students, including a remediation plan.”

This is what Mao referred to as “re-education”…he built special “camps” to insure proper implementation of this program.

And what if students’ ideological purity is tainted once they begin to do practice teaching in the public schools? The task group frames the danger this way: “How can we be sure that teaching supervisors are themselves developed and equipped in cultural competence outcomes in order to supervise beginning teachers around issues of race, class, culture, and gender?”

Its answer? “Requir[e] training/workshop for all supervisors. Perhaps a training session disguised as a thank you/recognition ceremony/reception at the beginning of the year?”

When teacher training requires a “disguise,” you know something sinister is going on.

Hard to imagine Minnesota is only 20 miles away from the Chief’s outpost…and they can’t figure out why more people are interested in home-schooling.

DISCLOSURE:  The Chief is a semi-retired public school teacher with over a quarter-century of teaching H.S. sciences, as well as social studies, including U.S. history.

Taking back the country–all the way back to segregation, slavery, the crusades, and The Inquisition

Posted: Monday, November 30, 2009 at 12:29 pm
By: David Newquist
Comments Off | Trackback Bookmark and Share

This billboard appears at an automobile leasing and consignment business in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, owned by Phil Wolf.  The dealership, Interstate Sales and Leasing, is part of the Wolf Automotive Group.  Phil Wolf also owns Chrysler product dealerships in Jackson and Pinedale, Wyoming, and a Suzuki dealership in Bozeman, Montana.  He put up the sign.  He has been interviewed a number of  times as to why he put the sign up.

The sign makes a number of claims that have been proven false, except in the minds of those who make up phony reasons for their hatred of President Obama.  The sign implies Obama is  Muslim.  In interviews, Wolf has stated that Obama is anti-Christian and anti-American.  The sign raises the phony claim about Obama’s citizenship and birth certificate.  It connects Obama to the shootings at Ft. Hood.

A former colleague of mine who is a social psychologist specializing in advertising, propaganda, and human resources, points out that this sign, along with those that have shown up at tea parties, and the tea party protests in  general, have made false claims.  He examines the fact that so many of the claims against Obama are apparently and provably without any foundation snd are total fabrications.    Why do people create them and believe in them?

Pure, simple, good old-fashioned racial hatred, is the answer.  And it is an answer that presumes a divide in the U.S. population that runs deeper and is more pernicious than most Americans would like to admit.

My psychologist friend says that people who supported and elected Obama assumed his election to the presidency marked a final surmounting of the history of racial prejudice, discrimination, and violence in the nation.  But, instead, it unleashed a new wave of racial hatred and resentment that expresses itself in the falsehoods circulated about Obama and his administration.


My colleague likens Obama’s presidency to the time when women and people of color began to move into important and influential jobs in the work place.  As the consultant for large corporations, he recalls the problems that the companies experienced when they started promoting minorities and women over other people.   He says at that time, people were at least more forthright about their resentment.  He recalled when a black man was promoted to vice president of labor relations at a large, successful corporation.  Another vice president asked for a meeting with the chief executive and the advisory staff, and blurted out, “Do you realize that you’ve just made me equal to a fucking nigger?”

My friend recalls the problems were worse when women started moving into executive positions.  A number of people quit rather than work for a female boss.  They said they would not submit to the indignity of being bossed by a woman.  Others did not quit but did everything they could to obstruct and undercut their female bosses.  My colleague says things have not really changed.  While people would not use such overtly demeaning terms as nigger, spick, or cunt to register their resentments, they do so in code by constantly finding other faults and making up false accusations about their bosses.  This is the tactic that the tea party protesters and some in Congress have used to assail Obama.  They are possessed of a seething resentment that a black man has risen to a position over them.  Except for the hardcore KKK types, people will not openly use the deprecation “nigger.”  So they challenge Obama’s citizenship, claim he is not Christian,  call him socialist, communist, fascist, jihadist and all the other pejoratives, except the one they really mean.  Crude pictures and false representations avoid the words, but do not hide their intention.

The media might be faulted for publicizing signs such as the one in Wheat Ridge.  However, slanderous and libelous expressions, while not subject to court challenge by public figures, is news.  It is not good news.  It is even worse news when the press allows the people who claim that  such defamations are merely an expression of policy disagreements to  remain unchallenged in their dissembling.  At minimum the press should be asking why people persist with such outright and obvious lies.  Attorney Gneral Eric Holder identified the probem when he said that people were cowards about the matters of race that remain a big factor in American life and politics.  Most Americans of the more tolerant sort want to be proud of their country, and , therefore, ignore its history of slavery, racial oppression, and genocide against the American Indians.  And they do not want to confront the racial and the political hatred that is finding expression in the tea parties, the town halls, and on the streets.  They think that as long as the protesters are not using the words “nigger,”  “spick,” and “cunt,” we are living in a more enlightened age.   A great, dark rage enveloped the country when Obama was elected.  And in trying to maintain postures of conciliation, the progressives are allowing that dark rage to  over the country with an insidious cloud.

As with that sign in Wheat Ridge, much of the political discussion on  talk radio, cable television, and the internet is sub-literate and incoherent.  Words are symbols of natural facts, but in the current forms of discussions, there is no attempt to connect words with actual facts.   A quick look at any aggregator of South Dakota blogs reveals a devastating record of sub-literacy and incoherence   The new media has the intellectual resemblance of the chatter of the dayroom in a home for the mentally disabled.

The quality of  thought and expression defines the quality of a country.  Popular culture is obsessed with the degradations and intellectual atrocities of the past.  And that is where the author of the sign in Wheat Ridge and his kind are taking us.

Constitutional Democracy in Honduras

Posted: Monday, November 30, 2009 at 9:04 am
By: Ken Blanchard
Comments Off | Trackback Bookmark and Share

Appears to have survived Chávezism, at least temporarily.  From the New York Times:

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Porfirio Lobo, a longtime conservative politician, appeared to have won on Sunday in the Honduran presidential election, which many hoped could help the country emerge from the crisis caused by last summer’s coup and end its isolation.

The Times, of course, distorts the story.  What happened last summer did not fit the definition of a coup.  A coup is when one government is overthrown by another.  In Honduras the military, acting at the request of the Supreme Court, blocked President Manuel Zelaya from conducting an illegal election.  The interim government that replaced Zelaya will be replaced in January by the winners of yesterday’s election.  Some coup.

Zelaya was seeking to become another Hugo Chávez, which is to say, another half-quart Castro.  Naturally, Venezuela backed Zelaya, as did the Organization of American States.  To date, only Panama and Costa Rica among regional states have agreed to recognize the elected government as legitimate.  The U.S. initially supported Zelaya, but the Obama Administration has come around to supporting the new government.

The Left in Latin America and the U.S. instinctive supported Zelaya.  The failure of Chávez-style socialism in Honduras is good for the interests of the United States and good for the future of Constitutional Democracy in the region.

Climategate Key Questions

Posted: Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 10:12 pm
By: RadioActive Chief
Comments Off | Trackback Bookmark and Share

Once again, the London Telegraph filling in details somehow overlooked in most of the virtually state-controlled MainStreamMedia.

Climate change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation

There are three threads in particular in the leaked documents which have sent a shock wave through informed observers across the world.

 

Firstly:

Perhaps the most obvious, as lucidly put together by Willis Eschenbach (see McIntyre’s blog Climate Audit and Anthony Watt’s blog Watts Up With That), is the highly disturbing series of emails which show how Dr Jones and his colleagues have for years been discussing the devious tactics whereby they could avoid releasing their data to outsiders under freedom of information laws.

They have come up with every possible excuse for concealing the background data on which their findings and temperature records were based.

This in itself has become a major scandal, not least Dr Jones’s refusal to release the basic data from which the CRU derives its hugely influential temperature record, which culminated last summer in his startling claim that much of the data from all over the world had simply got “lost”. Most incriminating of all are the emails in which scientists are advised to delete large chunks of data, which, when this is done after receipt of a freedom of information request, is a criminal offence.

UPDATE:  Too late!  The data is already “dumped” so (conveniently)  no pesky verification is possible.  So sorry!
Climate change data dumped
SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape — were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.

The question which inevitably arises from this systematic refusal to release their data is – what is it that these scientists seem so anxious to hide?

Secondly:

The second and most shocking revelation of the leaked documents is how they show the scientists trying to manipulate data through their tortuous computer programmes, always to point in only the one desired direction – to lower past temperatures and to “adjust” recent temperatures upwards, in order to convey the impression of an accelerated warming. This comes up so often (not least in the documents relating to computer data in the Harry Read Me file) that it becomes the most disturbing single element of the entire story. This is what Mr McIntyre caught Dr Hansen doing with his GISS temperature record last year (after which Hansen was forced to revise his record), and two further shocking examples have now come to light from Australia and New Zealand.

In each of these countries it has been possible for local scientists to compare the official temperature record with the original data on which it was supposedly based. In each case it is clear that the same trick has been played – to turn an essentially flat temperature chart into a graph which shows temperatures steadily rising. And in each case this manipulation was carried out under the influence of the CRU.

Thirdly:

The third shocking revelation of these documents is the ruthless way in which these academics have been determined to silence any expert questioning of the findings they have arrived at by such dubious methods – not just by refusing to disclose their basic data but by discrediting and freezing out any scientific journal which dares to publish their critics’ work. It seems they are prepared to stop at nothing to stifle scientific debate in this way, not least by ensuring that no dissenting research should find its way into the pages of IPCC reports.

So much for the scientific peer-review process.

In light of the latest revelations, it now seems even more evident that these men have been failing to uphold those principles which lie at the heart of genuine scientific enquiry and debate. Already one respected US climate scientist, Dr Eduardo Zorita, has called for Dr Mann and Dr Jones to be barred from any further participation in the IPCC. Even our own George Monbiot, horrified at finding how he has been betrayed by the supposed experts he has been revering and citing for so long, has called for Dr Jones to step down as head of the CRU.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Fire the lying professors for cause

Posted: Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 12:08 am
By: David Newquist
1 Comment | Trackback Bookmark and Share

There is one way to settle the question raised about the quality of science in climate change:

1.  Fire any professor who is proven to have fabricated, distorted, or otherwise manipulated data.

2.  Insure that any such firing be attended by the most meticulous academic due process.

Such due process would require that anyone making accusations of academic misconduct to come forth with the evidence  and to explain their reading and analysis of the evidence.  And such presentations and examination and rebuttal of the evidence would done before and decided upon by a jury of peers.  In this case, peers would be defined as disinterested professors of equal professional stature and qualifications to examine the data at issue.

I do not know exactly what are the rules are for the European and Asian scientists involved  in the charges against professors,  but I know well what rules apply to American professors–although most institutions of higher learning try to avoid the expense, embarrassment, and turmoil of such proceedings as rigorous applications of the rules involve.  I have sat on panels that consider evidence brought against professors and make assessments and recommendations, and I am familiar with many cases.  Many cases of misconduct involve matters of felonies, sexual involvements and sexual harassment, or gross negligence of duty.  Such cases are generally resolved by the professor resigning and quietly withdrawing.

Cases involving professors charged with academic misconduct in scholarship and teaching are less frequent.  The established reasons for firing or taking other disciplinary action against them include instances of:

  • Plagiarism;
  • Fabrication of data or manipulation of data to lead to a foregone conclusion;
  • Gross incompetence;
  • Gross negligence of defined duties;
  • Scholarly slovenliness;
  • General mendacity in the role of professor, whether on campus or in extra-mural settings.

The first two rules listed above are the most serious in their effect on scholarly integrity, and a professor proven to violate them will not be a professor any longer or ever again.

The  general public does not often hear of cases of professors being fired or disciplined for such misconduct because colleges and universities go to great lengths to suppress any hint that something is academically amiss on their campuses.  The cases with which I am familiar often involved a professor who was at odds with an administration, was dismissed, but claimed there was no reason of academic performance in the firing.  Some cases are upheld, but in those where no basis in academic performance is found, a quiet cash settlement is generally made.  The South Dakota Board of Regents made such a settlement with a professor whose dismissal from Northern State was found to be in violation of academic freedom.  In cases where the firings are upheld, the matters centered on plagiarism or the misrepresentation and misuse of data.


The most recent and familiar case of such dismissal was that of Professor Ward Churchill who was dismissed from the University of Colorado for falsifying and misrepresenting materials he cited from other scholars.  The matter probably would not have come up had Churchill not enraged a portion of the  public by publishing an essay in which he called the victims of 9/11 ‘little Eichmanns.”  Although complaints about his use of source materials had been registered, the Colorado regents and administration did not pursue them until the political furor over his “little Eichmann” comment called them into attention.  Churchill claimed that his dismissal was for making that comment and was a violation of his right to free speech and academic freedom.  The professors who reviewed the charges found that his misuse of scholarly materials was sufficient cause for his dismissal.


However, the case of the e-mails between scientists who developed the global warming theory rests upon a different basis.  Ironically, the invention used to expedite research and scholarly work is being used against them.  The World Wide Web was invented by scientists to permit them to have convenient access to information and to have a means for exchanging ideas and information about theories they are pursuing.  Part of its purpose was to allow them to exchange comments and criticisms over long distances as if they were working next to each other in their labs or offices.  They were looking for a way to exchange the casual comments and concerns that occur to them in the  early, pre-formative stages of analyzing data. In other words, they used e-mails and listserves to exchange what they call “lab chatter,” which is the scientists’ equivalent of the chatter and banter exchanged between all workmen as they go about the performance of their jobs.  Much of what is said is just venting, which may or may not be relevant to the tasks at hand.

However, when scientists  formalize their theories and prepare them for publication, their work is taken out of the context of lab chatter and the petty politics that is the bane of academic organizations.  Their work is presented in formal papers which review all the literature pertinent to the subject they present, and they build a case for the theory being advanced through a careful and critical analysis of the data.  And because it is a theory, their conclusions will be open to the inclusion of new data and to criticisms and evluation by other scientists.


When the e-mails of the scientists were hacked into, which is in itself illegal, the hackers found statements that they construed to be evidence that the scientists were manipulating and falsifying data that conflicted with the theory of global warming.  The scientists claim that the e-mails were taken out of context and do not represent any substantive information about the global warming theory, and are largely matters of incidental lab chatter that does not bear on the theory itself.

An example is that one of the e-mails cautions scientists to be careful about any information that they copy to the science reporter for The New York Times.  Scholars are always careful about what information they give to reporters because reporters are not necessarily interested in the integrity or the precision of the science when they report on it.  Most scholars prefer to withhold information until they publish their own papers on their work.  Much of the press is interested in finding conflict and sensation and gossip than in reporting the actual science.   The New York Times has an informing overview of the e-mail hacking incident.



The biggest problem is that politics has become a part of this theory.  And so, the tactics of political propaganda have entered into its discussion.  At the outset, a favorite technique of the conservative movement is apparent in the propagandic use made of the e-mails.  The critics find an e-mail that they can construe as an admission that the scientists are not telling the truth to the public.  Then they launch an attack on the character of the scientist, rather than explain and substantiate their reading of the e-mails and the process by which they justify their condemnation on the character of the scientist.  They divert the discussion away from the scientific evidence and the facts at hand to a slandering and libeling of the scientists.  The scientists claim that the comments are deliberately misconstrued and have no bearing on the scientific evidence or the way they have arrived at their theory.



Some websites have called the scientists frauds and are calling for their exposure and dismissal.


If the academic world operates as it should, these critics should be allowed to make their case where it counts–in a proceeding where they can make their accusations and in which the professors accused have an opportunity to face them and require an accounting.


There is a huge difference in science and the rest of the academic work between having a different viewpoint based on the evidence or of being wrong and deliberately falsifying or manipulating the data.


Unfortunately,  the internet is a culprit in allowing the intrusion of politics into science.  In a medium where plagiarism, fabrication, and falsification has become a characteristic, some professors have abandoned the precepts of their disciplines in order to satisfy their political perversities.  On the local blogs, one professor blithely plagiarized a newspaper editorial, which also had misrepresented some data it cited. Plagiarism and falsification of data are considered fair and clever practices by some professors when they venture onto the internet.


The universities and agencies involved in the study of the global warming theory have a responsibility to insist that the charges of misconduct of the professors be prosecuted with substantive evidence and the e-mail hacking incident be given full examination.


The academic world needs to restore itself by getting rid of dishonest and incapable professors.  But first, it has to decide who they are.

SF Tea Party on Black Friday

Posted: Saturday, November 28, 2009 at 6:26 pm
By: RadioActive Chief
Comments Off | Trackback Bookmark and Share

Sioux Falls was full to the seams with “black Friday” shoppers, as anyone who had to negotiate traffic around 41st & Louise (for example) can testify. Not everyone was partaking of said holiday “cheer”(?).

A small but enthusiastic group of the local Tea Party group was out on a late notice event to show their colors along 57th street, just around the corner from Donkey Party Senator Tim’s Sioux Falls office.

Dscn0421_041

Dscn0422_042

Dscn0425_045

Dscn0423_043

Everything I Needed To Know I Learned On Facebook

Posted: Saturday, November 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm
By: Todd Epp
1 Comment | Trackback Bookmark and Share

Facebook Who needs the MSM (mainstream media) when I have Facebook?  I discover the important stuff I need there first.  So in a quick browsing of my Facebook page today, I learned the following:

So, in about a minute or less, for free, without commercials, I learned some interesting and important things about my nation, my state, my friends, and my relatives–all for free and with a high degree of credibility–on Facebook.

Don’t tell me the legacy media is not in trouble.

Where the Public Option is the Only Option

Posted: Friday, November 27, 2009 at 11:49 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
Comments Off | Trackback Bookmark and Share

One of the curious things about the healthcare debate in America is how little attention has been paid to healthcare systems in other countries. You might have thought we would be hearing about how public healthcare functions in Canada and Europe. That, after all, is what we will be moving toward if the Democrats get their way. In fact, such attention is scrupulously absent from the debate, at least on the Democratic side. Conservatives have tried to bring it up, mostly without success.

Maybe that’s because the story of healthcare in Europe is a very mixed bag. In the Mother Country, it’s a scandal. From the London Times:

An immediate investigation to uncover the true extent of death rates across the NHS has been ordered by the Health Secretary after scandals at two hospital trusts.

Amid claims that patients are dying due to poor care in at least 27 hospitals around the country, Andy Burnham said that patient safety was paramount and must take precedence above all else.

His comments come after the head of a foundation trust in Colchester, Essex, was sacked over concerns about high death rates, leadership and waiting times.

Failings in patient care had previously been linked to the deaths of between 70 and 400 patients at Basildon and Thurrock NHS Foundation Trust, also in Essex.

Simon Heffer, writing in the Telegraph, is brutally clever about the NHS’s brutality:

One of Labour’s great triumphs with the National Health Service is that people now go into hospital to die rather than to be cured. It seems to render the whole debate about assisted suicide utterly pointless. Who needs a Dignitas clinic when you can check into a hospital in Basildon and be relatively certain to be taken out in a box?

It is a further achievement of our monitoring, regulating culture that even the monitors and the regulators don’t seem to have a clue how bad things are – or they certainly didn’t in Basildon. This exposes one of the great pretences of the NHS: that it is there first and foremost for the benefit of patients. It isn’t. It exists these days mostly for the benefit of various trade unionists who are fully paid-up members of the Brown clientele, and who earn good money as petty bureaucrats trying to “manage” things that, if they need to be managed at all, could be far better done by fewer people in much more efficient systems.

It’s not just the English government, let alone the English people, who might want to know how bad the NHS really is. Our Congress seems determined to turn the entire American healthcare system over to the HHS. Is Health and Human Services really prepared to control a sixth of the U.S. economy? Will HHS be more attentive to patients and less solicitous of public employee unions than Britain’s NHS?

One thing we know about the House and Senate healthcare bills: protecting lawyers and health worker unions comes first. That might matter if, ten years of so down the road, you find yourself in a hospital bed.

Something I am Thankful For

Posted: Friday, November 27, 2009 at 1:32 am
By: Ken Blanchard
Comments Off | Trackback Bookmark and Share

“Freedom of Speech” by Norman Rockwell

Freedom-of-Speech-8x6

Hat tip to Powerline

Uncle Al Trippto-Fann Stops By For Thanksgiving Again

Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 11:59 am
By: Todd Epp
Comments Off | Trackback Bookmark and Share

Uncle Al Trippto-Fann came to visit us today after our Thanksgiving dinner.

He comes every year without fail.

Being around Al makes me sleepy and lethargic.  He also makes me fall asleep while watching the annual Detroit Lions NFL football game.

Al’s a nice guy but kind of a bore.

Of course I jest.  I’m talking about the amino acid l-tryptophan, found in turkey.

According to Drugs.com, it isn’t just the l-ltryptophan that makes you sleepy today, but also all the carbohydrates you ate (potatoes, dressing, yams, etc), the amount of food you ate (thirds? fourths?) and alcohol (a whole bottle of wine?)

Which leads me to a question.  If turkeys are full of l-tryptophan, why aren’t they constantly sleeping?

While you’re pondering that conundrum, have a happy Thanksgiving!

*With a hat tip to the most enlightened non-woman blogger in South Dakota, this is a “green” post, recycled from 2008.  Happy Thanksgiving, fellow babies!  Don’t be a turkey!

Now, go read my other stuff, ok?