Friday, November 6

The Bloodshot Eye In The Rear-View Mirror

• We Don't Do Shorters David Brooks: "Did you know there were elections last Tuesday? And some Republicans won? You did? Well, here's the notes for the lecture I'd have delivered to a roomful of bored community college students only taking my stupid Sociology 101 class because it was supposed to be cake anyway".

• This is the only way I can think of to make the bullet line up:
I don’t think he’ll change—at twenty-one or twenty-two so many things appear solid and permanent and terrible which forty sees are nothing but disappearing miasma. Forty can’t tell twenty about this; that’s the pity of it!

Thus Booth Tarkington, in The Magnificent Ambersons. Similarly, Michelle Bachman is smarter than you! This would scare you into permanent mazed silence, if you weren't stupider than Michelle Bachman.

• I promise to stop typing and start writing some time soon, but as for now I was up in the middle of the night baking treats for the generous, if workplace-ordered, volunteers for Community Service Day who're planting trees at my Poor Wife's school. I'm not sure how it is that she wound up shepherding the thing, except that I know that school administrators are very, very, busy people. This is the exact same reason why she agreed to teach one more class than she's contractually obligated to do: because school administrators are very, very busy, even in summer, when you think they'd be taking the time to make sure student schedules aren't a freaking catastrophe for once.

And this is the attitude I take with me when approaching the continuing attempts by Mitch Daniels' Education Ramora, Dr. Tony "Not That One" Bennett, to find just the spot for one of those Force 10 From Navarone trickle bombs to destroy teacher's unions. He and his boss are currently on Plan B or C, which involves showing the Liberal Education Establishment what's what by requiring candidates for teaching degrees to "get" more "credit hours" in "the subjects they teach", and fewer taking education courses. This is the secret of the Republican party, by the way: making statements that appear to have some merit unless you actually think about them.

Now, perhaps you are a Concerned Parent, and think Little Carson or Rachille or Zachariah would be learning his or her times table that much faster if Teacher had just had an extra semester of M347, Transformational Non-Euclidian Geometries or something; I happen to think it's more likely he'd have said, "Fuck this, I'm taking six more math hours, earning a major, and finding a decent job". And Indiana already has one of the most stringent specialization requirements in the country for secondary teachers, though, under the typical political-football-dribbling of the past few decades there's now an out for licensed teachers to teach in areas they aren't licensed in while they seek one. My own opinion, born of long observation, is that prospective teachers would be much better prepared if they were required to minor in "Working for Officious Careerists With No Particular Qualifications". But, then, 1) wouldn't we all? and, 2) living in Indiana and observing what passes for governance ought to qualify you for a Life Credit.

• The Indianapolis Racist Beacon somehow managed to assign much of the credit for Tuesday's Wishard Hospital bond vote to Accidental Mayor Gomer F. Ballard, USMC, for "coming out in favor of it early". By which they must mean "at 4 AM on July 5th", because I sure missed the guy who ran as the Great Teabagging Hope urging Hoosiers to vote for increased tax liability.

• The week would not be complete without finally getting around to the latest George Eff Will think piece on Afghanistan, which bravely mentioned George W. Bush once, or precisely one more time than his celebrated call for Barack Obama to withdraw and take the blame a couple months back. And mentions him as the guy who introduced Karzai as the interim leader of Afghanistan in his 2002 State of the Union.
Interim no more, he has won -- or at least secured -- another five years in office.

Not a word about how he lost the "Interim" in 2004. Karzai is now Obama's creation, apparently.

If you suddenly See the Light on Afghanistan, doesn't it at least imply that you realize how we got there in the first place? And how the getting there is what keeps us there, over and beyond cheap political grandstanding?

• This, from Pierce:
Of all the shoddy reactions to last Tuesday's orgy of marginal significance, this (John Cornyn's declaration that the party won't spend money on contested primaries) this may be the most IMPORTANT. If you're keeping score at home, the national Republican party just sent a message to the nutters that, any time they can muster up a candidate from the Island Of Misfit TOYS, the party will take a pass on the race. Now, if you think Cornyn's a little smarter than I think he is --and I think he's pretty much a blockhead--you could argue that he's giving The Base just enough rope to hang itself. (The establishment candidates who get crisped as collateral damage--Hi there, Charlie Crist!--are just SOL, I guess.) However, if you are burdened with common sense, it's plain that the national GOP is scared right down to the tassels on its loafers by what's going on in the hinterlands, its trembling exacerbated this week when Congresswoman Batshit J. Crazee called for direct ACTION. They may learn to channel all this by 2012; the redoubtable Digby OPINES that the whole business is just the same old plutocratic weasels sub-contracting the job of rebuilding their movement. That may be, but, for now, and for whatever reason, one of the country's two major political parties has surrendered itself utterly to the monkeyhouse. While undoubtedly entertaining, this is in no way a good thing.

And look, I think Cornyn's dumber'n a Winona Forever tattoo; this (getting the foot soldiers to do the bleeding, and paying off the survivors in script) is institutional memory at work, and apparently nothing but the Grave will ever erase those golden months when feebs like Cornyn thought Reagan was gonna get them laid. Gorging the Base on cheap organ meats is a long-term losing proposition. You've been doing it for thirty years, and where's that Permanent Republican majority from any of your--how many was it, again--Revolutions?


Harl Delos said...

Warning: Objects appear larger in your mirror than they actually are.

Especially Michelle Bachman's intellect. If someone as dim as Chris Matthews can make you look like a damnable fool, you should have your doctor check you for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Congresswoman Batshit J. Crazee

I think I may have just ruptured something while laughing out loud.

Narya said...

It's "scrip," not "script."

ckc (not kc) said...

...would be learning his or her times table that much faster if Teacher had just had an extra semester of M347, Transformational Non-Euclidian Geometries or something...

Just look at some (many?) university professors (especially in their early years) if you want to see the relative value of "subject content" and "training in education" - teaching is a tough job at the best of times; going in with a belt full of ammo and nothing to deliver it is pretty foolish.

(PS is that "Ramona the remora"?)

StringonaStick said...

I had the good fortune to attend a 4 year school (many years ago of course) that had just been promoted from having been a 2 year college for decades. In order to keep their jobs, all the instructors had to earn a PhD within a certain span of time; note that it could be within their area of specialty, or it could have been an Educational Doctorate. This little college had by far the best teachers I have ever had the luck to have. The all specialty PhD's at the big state school I later went to? Absolutely sucked at the SKILL of teaching, but I'm sure they could research and publish their little hearts out.