Jun 122010

As a teacher, what words do you use to describe how to indoctrinate students rather than educate them? The task is made more difficult if you’ve received the remnants of a liberal education by which you’ve learned that your job is to educate rather than indoctrinate. So under those circumstances, how do you get students to parrot your ideology?

Teacher Elizabeth Collins found a way. She calls it “modeling a speech.”

Read about it in Best of the Web Today, in an article titled, “Those Who Can’t Teach, Blog

Jun 102010

It appears that there is an effort to defend President Obama’s “kick ass” remarks about the BP oil leak by pointing out that it was in response to an interviewer who asked if it wasn’t time to kick some butt.

What I haven’t seen so far is any discussion about how these remarks — both the question and the answer — reveal a deep and dangerous misunderstanding of the proper purpose of government.

It’s not the proper job of the President and Congress to kick ass. It’s the job of the President to enforce the laws and bring violators to justice. If the laws are serving us badly, then it’s time to work to improve the laws and/or the enforcement mechanism.

I suppose some might say the “kick ass” remark is just a way of saying the same thing. But even if it were, which is doubtful given the history of this administration, it’s a bad way to say it became it promotes the idea of vigilante justice, of working outside the law.

We see this bad attitude in newspaper articles that, instead of informing us about regulatory mechanisms being proposed for, say, the banking industry, instead talk about whether or not the new laws are “tough.” But the question of whether they are tough distracts attention from the question of whether they are effective, predictable, and enforceable in a fair, corruption-free manner.

Jun 052010

The cries for the Baseball Commissioner to award Armando Galarraga his perfect game remind me a bit of the outcry about Joe the Plumber: “But he isn’t a licensed plumber.”

Some people get too hung up on the official categories. Joe is a plumber, licensed or not, and Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game, whether or not it goes into the official record books that way.

Russ Roberts helped me understand by writing the following:

Galarraga threw a perfect game. The blown call wasn’t in the seventh. It was the last out of the game. The replay is incontrovertible. He got the guy. He threw a perfect game. Everybody knows it. The other team knows it. The ump admits it. He threw a perfect game.

In any discussion of perfect games over the next 20 years, Galarraga’s name will be mentioned. So essentially his achievement is a perfect game with an asterisk or an un-asterisk because presumably his name will not be on the list. But I could see that happening.

The other irony is that there have been no-hitters that were preserved by bad scoring that changed a hit to an error. Those were not “really” no hitters but they go into the pantheon of great pitching performances. Galarraga is in the pantheon in everyone’s mind other than the official list and box score of the game.