Friday, March 20, 2015

The Lattanzi Ten - 3/20/15

We're back with the Ten today...happy First Day of Spring, with Snow and 30-35 degree temperatures. Hopefully your day will be a little warmer as it moves along. Now we go on to the news and the views of the past 48 hours. -- J.L.

1. March Madness Might Make Me Mad

This is my bracket, playing along with my students...It. Is. Ass...Behold:

At least I didn't pick Harvard to make it to the Sweet 16...

Stephen A. Smith is much like Bill Maher: wrong an overwhelming amount of times, but on occasion will nail things on the head so hard it renders the subject unconscious. Politics and sports actually trend close together in certain tactics used to gain voters and fans in their respective areas.

The "base" in politics (or the die-hards in sports) is taken for granted as a vote, and as such you begin to see pandering to others who aren't a natural constituency to the party. In sports, the constant pandering is to the so-called "casual fan," who is the equivalent of the so-called "moderate" in politics. In reality, "casual fans" and "moderates" are a moving target that don't actually exist except as a way of making it appear that the party/sport isn't solely throwing fresh meat to the base/die-hards.

Smith's plan would have to be exercised over an entire four-year voting cycle to be effective: two presidential elections, a mid-term, and various local elections (including gubernatorial). The reason is that one single election can be written off as a fluke; a second one becomes a possible trend, and a third almost makes it habitual. Like I said, it will never happen, but would make for an interesting civics project.

I really like Dr. Carson. He's a self-made man, and has accomplished more than most of us can ever dream of, but listening to the interview with Hewitt just made me cringe. It reminded me of when a lot of scientists (Stephen Hawking, et al) try to become philosophers...they sound like complete and total morons. They ought to stick to their field of expertise. Ben Carson ought to be named the Surgeon General or even the head of the HHS in a possible future administration. To be at the top of the ticket would be horrendous as many in the media would not cover up flubs such as "57 states" if Carson made them. It's sad, but it's also true.

As Mrs. Bill Clinton's hopes keep fading with every new revelation and FOIA request being re-opened, the door keeps cracking open wider and wider for Martin O'Malley. Iowa is the next stop, although I really do with there'd be a bi-partisan effort to downgrade Iowa's standing as "first in the nation." It's nothing but a bunch of corn stalks and special interests dominating the caucuses. This is change behind which all Americans can get!

Or, the Curious Case of Kaus. God forbid someone be critical of Fox News! Now, I don't mean critical like Media Matters or The Daily Kos is critical of them, but an honest assessment of where they stand. To make a (modest) defense of the network, it isn't their job to "wage a feisty campaign" against amnesty. Tucker Carlson is an idiot for spiking the column as a sop to his (other) employer, but then again, we already knew he was an idiot.

The IRS has more power than any other agency. And that's a problem, especially since it isn't simply about revenue collection. They are also the commerce police and the speech police.

I have serious moral reservations about in-vitro fertilization (or IVF, if you prefer) due to the (nearly endless) possibilities of manipulating the conception process as well as the wanton destruction and discarding of the "undesirables." The (unspoken) premise of IVF is that children are a commodity to be molded in the image and likeness of his parents, whether a traditional couple or a same-sex couple. In other words, environment is no longer enough to be a standard of raising someone; heredity (and thus, ego) become a determining factor as well.

Anyone who had paid any attention to all the events in Ferguson for the past 7+ months knew the whole "hands up, don't shoot" mantra never happened. But the nature of demagoguery demands that we not let facts get in the way of the narrative. Thank God the Washington Post finally came around on this, whatever would we do without their "fact-checking"? The whole fact-checking business is a notorious example of Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (i.e. who watches the watchers) and has become a substitute for lazy journalism.

The answer is thusly:
The problem is simple. None of these campus leaders singles out the content of the humanities as the focus. Only President Reilly mentions a name, George Bernard Shaw, and he rightly ridicules the infusion of “contemporary popular culture” in the Western canon. But as his final quotation shows, that emphasis gives way to what the other three presidents highlight: the cognitive benefits of humanistic study.
We have fetishized "critical thinking" as an end unto itself, rather than the means it is meant to be in discerning the meaning, truth, and beauty of what we call "the humanities": history, art, literature, philosophy, and theology. If the humanities are nothing but a training tool in "critical thinking," then there are sure more cost-effective ways to instill analytical mindsets into people. No one is going to spend $200,000 getting a college degree in women's/gender/white privilege studies if the only goal is to talk about how to think critically. In fact, those aforementioned "studies" do more to formulate a hive mind than anything else. If you doubt me, look at how well "received" feminists like Christina Hoff Summers and Camille Paglia are among those who teach these humanities in most universities.

The university demands conformity, and the humanities are about diversity...of thought, which is the diversity that ought to matter in an institution of learning and thinking.

Mrs. Bill Clinton is talking about "Fun deficits" now, whatever the hell that means. It's pretty pathetic that it even has to be couched in cold bureaucratic terms. All I can think of with this sort of thing is "mandatory fun" I had to partake of when my youth group would go to the beach every June. "Mandatory fun" is one of those delightful oxymorons like "civil war" and "working vacation."

No, thank you.

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