Sunday, January 21, 2007

We Earn The Title Of “Stupid American” Each And Every Day

Hat-tip to my father in law for sending me this YouTube video.  Next time I find myself dumbfounded as to how this man has remained our President for so long, I will go back and watch this video.  Jesus we need to fix our educational system in this country!  All I can say is, I hope these people aren’t registered to vote, but we’re probably not that damn lucky.


Anonymous david said...

It is this kind of lowest common denominator that the 'swiftboat' smears are aimed at.

I've been reading about the Fox hoax about Barack "The Enemy Within" Obama. He's painted as a Muslim fundamentalist trained in a Madrassa in Jakarta. (Madrassa is simply the word for school.)

These 'swiftboat' lies take one truth, add a couple of half truths, and then a string of little lies. The payoff is the Big Lie. Which is so stupid as to be unbelievable --that is, until you see the type of Americans they are pandering to.

These neo-cons are so frightened of Obama's Audacity of Hope that they'll embrace the Mendacity of Hate.

Swiftboating is an ancient tradition. They swiftboated John the Baptist --served his head up on a silver platter. They swiftboated Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the other apostles. Nero was a champion swiftboater.

Swiftboaters tried to tell the stupid that JFK would be taking orders from the Pope. Lincoln,who was assassinated by a swiftboater, warned us that some people can be fooled all of the time. Those people now form the Republican base.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Wow. That was humbling. And I used to wonder how it could be that less than half of our countrymen believe in evolution. That movie makes me wonder if maybe we aren’t evolving. Not in this country anyway.

It also made me think about some of what little history of the Roman Empire that I know. How during the decay of the empire the people were kept docile. As long as the people had their “bread and circuses” the ruling elite were able to plunder at will and the empire rotted from the inside.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous kindlingman said...

Fix education? Are you advocating a competitive school system, i.e. public vs private OR are you satisfied with more pay for better teachers (blah, blah , blah).
I once was opposed to a voucher system but I think that a competitive school system structure (competing with public schools) is the only thing that will save our youth.
The video is a reminder that pass/fail grades, and a public school monopoly on education is dumbing down America. It's not the teachers, it's the content and the expectation to perform that is absent. It is the tolerance of underachieving that must come under attack by all of us.
With so much focus on protecting fragile egos, our education system has abandoned those who could perform better but who are no longer expected to.
Homeschooling in this area is very popular and the choices are many. Check the internet and you will be surprised by the help parents can receive to help them homeschool their children.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Yeah, what David said.

So, I'm watch the clip and Bruce Springsteen is playing in the background and he's talking about growing up in the sixties and having war on the TV every night and directed this comment to the younger people in his audience , "In 1985 blind faith in your leaders will get you killed." Smart guy.

Most of the time I’m able to trick myself into thinking that I live in the America of Springsteen, Steve Jobs and Spike Lee and the sorts of folks in this video live somewhere else. To some degree this is actually true: I don’t watch TV, eat fast food or know who any of the people on the covers of the magazines at the grocery checkout stand are. Their world is really quite alien to me.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous david said...

Sorry, kindlingman, but a voucher system won't do anything to 'fix' education. It's a profession. Treat it with respect. Finance schools properly. Bumper stickers say "Support the Troops", but the Pentagon still shortchanges them. Schools suffer from the same underfunding. Competitive schools makes about as much sense as competitive combat units.

N.B.: Every child is unique. No child is a widget. This year's grade six class cannot be compared to last year's grade six class. Schools are not an assembly line.

As for dumb Yanks, well, there has to be a change in American society. I knew kids who sat through great history lessons but paid absolutely no attention and treated the information the way a waiter does an order: when the bell rang, it simply was forgotten.

American culture glorifies the dumb jerk. The guy who "Don't Know Much About History". There has been an anti-intellectual streak in America ever since the Mayflower landed at Plymouth rock. Nerds are fools, jocks are cool. White trash feels the world owes them a living.

And this attitude, which you won't find in China, Japan, France or Germany, explains why American culture is obsessed with 'get rich quick' schemes, treasure hunting, bank heists, Las Vegas, poker games, and pyramid selling. Bush is the patron of White Trash careerism: he's rewarding all his good buddies with bags of cash for doing nothing but helping him win the White House. And we can't even call the cops because he is the cop.

5:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David -

I like movies/documentaries on bank heists, the town we call Vegas, and the game of poker.

I agree with what you are saying but would rather characterize the glorification-of-the-dumb-jerk ill as the outcome of a society based on consumerism.

Education and thinking for yourself, forming opinions based on personal principles based on facts, complicate the process of buying things in general.

I don't know what are the primary causes of this phenomenon.

If you are not concerned with other people, places outside this country, the future, and larger issues that do not manifest in your daily life, then it's sure a lot easier to be preoccupied with buying things.

8:31 AM  
Anonymous kindlingman said...

David wrote: "Sorry, kindlingman, but a voucher system won't do anything to 'fix' education. It's a profession. Treat it with respect. Finance schools properly. Bumper stickers say "Support the Troops", but the Pentagon still shortchanges them. Schools suffer from the same underfunding. Competitive schools makes about as much sense as competitive combat units."

david, my friend, it is not the money. It is the system. Change the system and change the results.

Remember this bromide: the people who created the problem are not the ones to get you out.

Systemic problems are a combination of people, process, and product. One must be prepared to address all three items to solve systemic problems.

If it were only money, it would have been solved a long freakin' time ago.

A pro-choice education system permits all three pertinent areas to be addressed.

How can a liberal be opposed to pro-choice?

8:37 PM  
Anonymous drm said...

Simple question David, how much money is enough for schools. Put a figure on it. Do yourself a favor and look at federal spending on education from 1992 to today. After you see that figure how can you claim "we need more money for education". Keep in mind that federal spending represents a small slice of the total spending on education.

Please give me the figure on what is the amount that should be spent on education.

9:51 PM  
Anonymous drm said...

Vouchers are not the solution, but school choice is. School choice takes many forms, from public charter schools, to public vocational and/or magnet schools, to open enrollment policies, to the ability of parents to "CHOOSE" what school they feel is best for their child... There is that word that liberals love so much.

To me it is quite simple to formulate an education policy. The US is committed to provide for a k-12 education funded by government that is of the highest quality possible. To me it matters not if 100% of students are educated in private schools, 100% in public schools or some combination in between. There is no perfect school but many, many that do tremendous jobs. I have no problem with education funding going to the schools that do a great job, private, parochial, public, charter, magnet, vocational school it does not matter.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous kindlingman said...

Not vouchers? I am open to other ideas.
What is the mechanism that would move money from local and state public school systems to competitive private systems if not a local allowance for school age children?

As far as federal government involvement in local schools, this likely needs to be eliminated, yet, federal leadership to encourage alternative educational opportunities is needed.
However, the real problem is that the states themselves are failing to step up to the plate and make effective change. Why is that? Which state will take the lead and embrace a change in the education process?

4:43 AM  
Anonymous david said...

The problem kindlingman and drm is that you've already assigned blame as to what is the problem. And declared it is somehow systemic.

I'm sorry. You don't find these "systemic" problems at the public schools in wealthy white neighbourhoods. The problems are about underfunding. And it's not a question of how much is spent, but about how much is spent per capita at the school level. And that has been chronically underfunded for decades.

Of course administrators always want more money. Managers always do. But once a per capita budget has been set the money must be spent as close to the students and teachers as possible and not eaten up by bureaucrats. Which is really what has happened with Bush's reforms.

Schools need to be more like cooperatives run by the teachers and parents. And I'd recommend Alfie Kohn and Tony Wagner as writers or critics of the system we have now.

But if you don't think the system is underfunded, you haven't been in a classroom lately. If money has been appropriated for schools, it sure isn't reaching the classroom. So where is it?

2:24 PM  
Anonymous kindlingman said...

david, I am at a loss for words. But I should not expect a good liberal to think in any other terms than throwing money at a problem that has multiple causes.
One size fits all for you, doesn't it?
Expectations of performance, focused educational objectives, teacher competence, student attitude, actions have consequences,etc. etc. none of these matter as long as more money is given to the people who have been givng us poor education for years. Its not their fault is it? If only they had more money they could have solved this problem. tsk tsk. America, the richest country in the world, does not spend enough money on education.

8:14 PM  

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