Oct 092012

In the below quote I’ve italicized the best phrase in Joseph Epstein’s article from The Weekly Standard. It states a problem that applies not just to higher education, sad to secondary and elementary education as well. And it’s a problem not just in the teaching of history, but in the teaching of science, too – especially ecological and environmental science.

It is sometimes accompanied by talk about teaching young people to think critically.  But in practice, teaching them to think critically usually consists of indoctrination rather than education.  But if students are given lots to think about, they often WILL learn to think critically.  But they need to have in their heads facts about who did what to whom, and when, or information about natural histories of organisms.  If they have their heads stuffed full of facts, then they have some of the raw material necessary for critical thinking about higher-level interpretations of history and of ecological systems.

Another advantage of giving students detailed information to work with is that it’s interesting.  Broad generalizations about history or about ecological systems tend to be boring unless they are accompanied by detailed factual knowledge.

I just now realized that I didn’t practice what I’ve been preaching. I gave some broad generalizations without providing specific examples. I guess I’ll let it stand for now.  Make of it what you wish.

Soon, the guys in the next room, in their hunger for relevance and their penchant for self-indulgence, began teaching books for reasons external to their intrinsic beauty or importance, and attempted to explain history before discovering what actually happened.

via Who Killed the Liberal Arts? | The Weekly Standard.

Oct 062012

Like Karl Marx said, From each according to his ability to have money beat out of him by the IRS, to each one-percenter according to his need to live a grandiose lifestyle.

perhaps celebrities are merely emulating the well-heeled production companies that have just hit up California taxpayers for another $200 million. Is this what Hollywood liberals call social justice?

Governor Jerry Brown this week signed a two-year extension of a film and television tax credit that his Republican predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger supported in 2009. The credit is essentially a dolled-up subsidy. For every dollar that production companies spend on a project in the state, they get credited 20 to 25 cents against their state sales and income taxes. Nice deal if you can get it.

via Review & Outlook: Welfare for Hollywood – WSJ.com.

Oct 052012

Proof that President Obama is not a socialist: He is using advertising to sustain his health care program.  We have been taught since we were young that advertising is a hallmark of capitalism.

As Congress probes expensive public-relations contracts to market the unpopular Obamacare law to the American public, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced that it has inked a deal worth more than $3 million to promote Obamacare’s “exchanges.”

via HHS Awards Another Multi-Million-Dollar Obamacare PR Contract.

Oct 022012

You can’t have government funding without government control.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, the public school system in Fairfax County, Va., requires students to select a serving of fruit or vegetables for the reduced school-lunch price to apply.

via Gov’t Urges Parents to Use School Lunches As a Model for Family Dinner | CNSNews.com.

Oct 012012

This is of course  nonsense. No industry is going to object to each and every thing that would change the status quo.  If their income doubled, that would change the status quo, but they wouldn’t object.  If there were changes to the status quo that helped them do a better job for patients, and it happened to coincide with their own interests, they wouldn’t object to any such changes.

One becomes suspicious of people who instead of answering the objections trot out nonsense about people not wanting change.  It makes one wonder why they won’t respond to the objections.  One possible reason is they don’t have very good arguments.

“It’s modest, but it’s a start,” said Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. “Should we be surprised that industry is objecting? You would expect them to object to anything that changes the status quo.”

via News from The Associated Press.