Saturday, October 23, 2010
Palin Makes Wrong Stand
In the wake of Juan Williams getting fired from National Public Radio for stating that seeing passengers in Moslem garb on his own plane raises his hackles, Sarah Palin and the GOP have suddenly become interested in defunding NPR.
Not especially to defend the GOP, but it has at least attempted to do this in the past and, arguably, has to start cutting government somewhere. But Palin unwittingly demonstrated why NPR should be defunded -- period -- with her unprincipled remarks:
NPR says its mission is "to create a more informed public," but by stifling debate on these issues, NPR is doing exactly the opposite. President Obama should make clear his commitment to free and honest discussion of the jihadist threat in our public debates -- and Congress should make clear that unless NPR provides that public service, not one more dime.In other words, it's okay with Palin for NPR to keep on receiving money looted from American citizens, so long as it abides by her idea of fostering a free debate. (Ironically, by this standard, she has no argument against Obama stating that he's satisfied with the "debate" and that NPR should continue receiving funds.)
Wouldn't privatization have made this problem impossible in the first place? And, if so, why not advocate defunding NPR regardless of its policies, once and for all, on principle? First, if NPR were not government-funded, it could hire and fire as it pleased (like any other private broadcaster), with such free-market responses to its subsequent reputation as audience share and listener boycotts ensuring that, if it wanted to be known as an impartial journalistic enterprise, it would act like one. Second, with the government not funding NPR, its decisions would not become de facto government positions on ideological matters -- which the government shouldn't be in the business of promoting, anyway. Of course, it's not the government's job to makes sure we have objective journalism, anyway, but if it did its job -- protecting individual rights -- the market would take care of that on its own.
"[John J.] Colby uses a tactic called 'psychologizing' to smear Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate John] Robitaille." -- Ellen Kenner in "Psychologizing and the Art of Smearing," Providence Journal
From the Vault
About this time in 2006, I asked the following question: "What makes the Dalai Lama a scientific collaborator?"
Defending the Drawl
I dislike hearing myself on tape, but the silver lining is that my southern drawl reminded me of an interesting thing I looked up some time ago: What does an American accent sound like to someone from England? I didn't save the discussion I found, but it's consistent with what I found as the first answer here: nasal and "Texan."
I guess that means I sound extra "American," at least to the English, then...
Mutilate Your Child's Mind
Qwertz takes a look at something I wondered about some time ago and concludes the following:
This ["science" textbook from Bob Jones "University" Press] appears to me to be deliberately disorganized so as to prevent students from making connections between the topics discussed. But I suppose it could also be a result of a profound misunderstanding of the empirical scientific method. It's scattershot.Agreed.
That such a book was ever used by any one to attempt to teach science to children is simply appalling.
10-25-10: (1) Added missing hyperlink to Kenner op-ed. (2) Format edit.