Quick Roundup 304

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Intellectual Activism

Jim May left a comment on the Obama plagiarism kerfuffle that made me laugh this morning:

What a comment it is on our times that people should notice the re-use of some words, while failing to notice his ongoing re-use of the same old ideas.
I imagined this coming up in a debate and Obama shooting back, "It's called 'recycling'!" If the Democrats actually had problems with stealing anymore, I'd worry that this would carry the day....

But for those of us who, unlike The Houston Chronicle, are less concerned with pretending that the youth vote can make a difference in this election than with seeing to it that we all get some real choices in the future, the activity of intellectual activism -- of getting a hearing in the public debate for good ideas -- is vital.

The Houston Chronicle inadvertently illustrates the depth(s) of its election coverage.

Along those lines, there is some good news on the blogging front. First, Diana Hsieh is starting a new mailing list devoted entirely to intellectual activism. Second, The Undercurrent now has an active blog. (The sidebar link here now takes you there, rather than to its main page.) Third, since the webmaster of the new Intellectual Activism blog has asked for my thoughts on blogging, I'll be cross-posting those here and there tomorrow morning. I am not primarily focused, as a blogger, on intellectual activism, but I hope that what I have learned in my three-plus years of experience can be useful. Failing that, I hope to learn something from the feedback I get!

News Flash: Threat from a New Technology Sensationalized

To read this article, one would believe that parents who left their children at the mall for several hours were putting their children at greater risk for sexual predation than those who let them roam the Internet for a similar amount of time!
"There's been some overreaction to the new technology, especially when it comes to the danger that strangers represent," said Janis Wolak, a sociologist at the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

"Actually, Internet-related sex crimes are a pretty small proportion of sex crimes that adolescents suffer," Wolak added, based on three nationwide surveys conducted by the center.
Having said that, I note that the article does offer some useful advice that parents might want to heed regarding how their children interact with strangers on the Internet.

Why Tamper with Just Election Results?

The Democrats, not content with making the United States look like a banana republic in 2000, are set to have a particularly ugly national convention this time around:
Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign intends to go after delegates whom Barack Obama has already won in the caucuses and primaries if she needs them to win the nomination.

This strategy was confirmed to me by a high-ranking Clinton official on Monday. ...

Pledged delegates are not really pledged at all, not even on the first ballot. This has been an open secret in the party for years, but it has never really mattered because there has almost always been a clear victor by the time the convention convened.

But not this time. This time, one candidate may enter the convention leading by just a few pledged delegates, and those delegates may find themselves being promised the sun, moon and stars to switch sides. [Just like the Democrats promise these things to voters every election cycle. --ed]


On Sunday, Doug Wilder, the mayor of Richmond and a former governor of Virginia, went even further, predicting riots in the streets if the Clinton campaign were to overturn an Obama lead through the use of superdelegates.

"There will be chaos at the convention," Wilder told Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation."

"If you think 1968 was bad, you watch: In 2008, it will be worse." [bold added]
John McCain's chances, I am sad to say, have never looked better.

Left-Wing Creationism

A California lawmaker wants to force the "science" of "climate change" down your child's throat via the state-run education monopoly:
The measure, by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, also would mandate that future science textbooks approved for California public schools include climate change.

"You can't have a science curriculum that is relevant and current if it doesn't deal with the science behind climate change," Simitian said. "This is a phenomenon of global importance and our kids ought to understand the science behind that phenomenon."

The state Senate approved the bill, SB 908, Jan. 30 by a 26-13 vote. It heads now to the state Assembly. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken numerous actions to reduce global warming, but he has yet to weigh in on Simitian's bill. Other Republicans in the Capitol, however, are not happy about the proposal.

Some say the science on global warming isn't clear, while others worry the bill would inject environmental propaganda into classrooms. [bold added]
Global warming hysterics package-deal the scientific questions of whether there is global warming and whether it is caused by human activity with the political question of whether the government should do anything about it. Since they do this and treat the answer to the first question as a foregone "Yes!" and take that to logically mean the answer to the second is also "Yes!", the fears of "some" and "others" will be realized if this foolishness comes to pass.


Reader Adrian Hester informs me of a curious CD available at Amazon: Black Sabbath songs translated into Latin and re-cast into medieval arrangements. Sez he: "The most unusual thing about it though is that the damn thing actually works."

-- CAV


Jenn Casey said...

My husband and I were trying to figure out what/who these "superdelegates" are. I have never heard the term (although I freely confess to be allergic to modern politics). Is "superdelegate" just a term for delegates who are permitted to switch sides at the last minute?

Sounds a lot like buying off a jury to me. Yuck. And it's only February!

Gus Van Horn said...

Superdelegates aren't pledged to anyone (even in the Clintonian sense of "pledged" that applies to the "non-super" delegates). There's more than you'd ever want to know about them over at Wikipedia....

johnnycwest said...

Regarding global warming Gus - the questions you raise are vital. There is also the question as to whether global warming, if it is happening at all, is bad in the aggregate. Warm periods have been times of greater human productivity and prosperity. There will be winners and losers for sure, but how do we know what the balance will be? I think that the solution for each country and the world as a whole is obvious - get as productive and as rich as possible as fast as possible. More capitalism is the obvious solution to this and most big problems.

I like to quote Flip Wilson: "Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you a car so that you can drive around and look for it." You can be happy without capitalism and you can be a capitalist without being happy, but they sure help each other.

Gus Van Horn said...

"There is also the question as to whether global warming, if it is happening at all, is bad in the aggregate."

Excellent point.

Only capitalism will allow everyone to react to such a phenomenon in accordance with their own best interests and desires.

Anonymous said...

Left fist, Right fist, same mugger; another demonstration of the logical synergy between the two "sides" as they play off each other in moving us towards the same end.

Each side looks at the other and reasons, "well, government education is a given, so if those guys are going to use it to indoctrinate children in their poppycock, we'll have to inject ours to keep up. Can't let the "enemy" have that racket all to themselves, now, can we?"

Gus Van Horn said...

I couldn't have put that better myself, Jim. Until we have a significant number of people who want NO government rackets, the screws will keep tightening.