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Weaselology Entry for Today - "High Quality"

Crossposted over at themontanamaven.com
Might be a good idea to have a Weasology Handbook. To his credit yesterday Chris Hayes on his show "UP" signaled a problem with the words "high quality" as in "high quality charter schools" after one of his guests, Darrell Bradford of something called "Better Education For Kids" praised some charters in Chicago. Yeh, of course high quality charter schools are just great, Chris laughed. Who doesn't love "high quality" anything? So he was right to warn us about this phrase. But he let the phrase "high quality pre-school education" be defined by his guests without real analysis*. As defined by most of his guests this morning, high quality preschool education was about learning...get this..."persistence, "discipline" and my favorite, "finishing things." The professor (and to my chagrin a woman) also emphasized how spongy little brains are at 4 years old. Ugh.

My psychological type in Myers/Briggs Jungian land is an ENTP (extroverted intuitive thinking perceiver). Didn't discover this until I was around 42. Much to my relief, my type just doesn't finish things. Once we mostly master something, we move on. We are notorious for not completing things like degrees and we rarely put the degrees we do achieve up on the wall. We move from project to project. My former husband was quite kind but used to lament the many different piles of dirt and stones around our cabin of projects I had started and then grown bored with. I didn't finish my dissertation for my Ph.D in theater and film. Ran off to New York instead. My friend and I wrote a whole book about what it was like for two Hollywood New York movie agents to fly the coop; her moving to Italy and me moving to Montana. We got through many drafts and then both of us started other projects. What a relief to discover that it is just my nature to not always finish things. I do finish making dinner. I finish most books although I am simultaneously reading 5 books right now (four non-fiction and one fiction). I'm pretty loyal and probably should have finished one marriage sooner than I did. If I do finish, I often make a strong finish. But nobody really knows if I will finish or take a turn and jump over the fence and run away. Read below the fold...

"House of Cards": A Gumbo of the Obsequious and Salacious Goings on in D.C.

"House of Cards" with Kevin Spacey which started yesterday on Netflix is, from what I've seen so far, on the money, so to speak, regarding our corrupt crony capitalist system . It was a hit in the UK, so Netflix decided to gamble and produce it themselves. They got David Fincher and the guy that wrote the political thriller "Ides of March", Beau Willimon, to write the scripts. You can watch all 13 episodes at once too. Read below the fold...

Don't Feed the Animals. Why People Who Don't Vote Could Be the Smart Ones and the Real Rebels

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(cross posted at The Montana Maven )
Or so Dimitri Orlov would like us to ponder. It's not a new idea, but it is an idea that doesn't get much play in the media and in our discussions with neighbors. We are told over and over that voting is the patriotic thing to do. People died for the right to vote. We get little flag stickers to put on our coats like the purple fingers of Iraqi voters. That the conventional wisdom. So why do so many Americans sit the elections out? And at the same time, if Americans do participate why do we hear over and over from pundits and comments on the blogs that those folks in Kansas and other reddish places just don't get it. "Why do they vote against their own self interests? " progressives ask. The wags note that these voters are like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders. But on the other hand, vast numbers of people including women and minorities vote for the blue team and get nothing substantial out of that too. So what's up? And yes, why do they even vote at all?

Orlov is a linguist and an engineer who has a blog called Club Orlov. He has also written several books, one of which, "Reinventing Collapse", I am reading for advice on how to survive such a collapse besides our two month's supply of Nalley's Chili and two generators. He emigrated to the U.S. in the mid-Seventies and made several trips back to Russia during the Soviet rule and then after the Soviet collapse. He believes that there are many lessons we in the U.S. can learn from the collapse of the other late 20th century super power. That there are more similarities than differences between the two super powers, as Orlov describes them, gave me pause. It's always interesting to look at a common question through a different set of glasses.

Both the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. derived their identities from being either capitalist or communist and the "extreme adherence to one or the other" as opposed to healthier countries that mix it up is what Orlov believes led to the doom of one and the coming doom of the other. Ideologies are all well and good, he says, if they actually work. But when it becomes clear that the average working citizen is not doing so well, the legitimacy of the rigid system begins to unravel and finally collapse. He points out that Albert Camus made the observation that the two superpowers were more alike than not back in the 1950s. Camus said that a specific failure of both systems was their inability "to provide creative, meaningful work." This Orlov says leads to mass depression. Read below the fold...

"A Decent Life" or It's the Respect, Stupid

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"Necessitous men [women] are not free men [women]," said FDR in his 2nd Bill of Rights speech. This phrase is said to come from a English property law case in 1762.

This morning in the second hour of "UP" with Chris Hayes, Chris had on Greg Fletcher of Our Walmart, Raymond Castillo of Warehouse Workers United, Heather McGee of Demos, and David Frum of free market vampirism. I watch this show to get a bead on what the Democrats are up to and occasionally something really good slips in like hearing real workers talking economics. Read below the fold...

It's a Set Up - It's not about Obama or Romney

I don't watch the Sunday morning political talk shows. Haven't for a couple years now. The only one I allow myself to watch sometimes is "Up" with Chris Hayes since ever once in awhile some actual alternative voice pops up like the wonderful Occupy the SEC woman whose name I can't remember. Read below the fold...

Last Night I was Called a Purist

I've never supported Obama and my friends know that. They also know I am out of electoral politics and gone independently left libertarian. Last night I tried to stay out of a political discussion at a small get together of friends. But I did say that I thought it was unacceptable when Obama said he "suspected" that his position on SS was similar to Romney's. Although, I added, it was the most truthful thing he said all night. And then added that IMHO, he looked uncomfortable because he had to pretend he had a different economic philosophy than Romney and that was tiring for him.

Then my friend said, "What does it get you to be a purist?"
I said I'd rather drop the subject especially when labels got attached. Read below the fold...

"Them People"

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Conversation at the bar:

“Did you see those mass demonstrations in Madrid? And the cops were brutal. But the people kept coming. ” says the Anarchist Rancher Gal.

“Them people ought to accept austerity,” says Neighbor Guy.

“What is austerity?” ARG says.

Deer in headlights.

“Let me help you out. You work in the county clerk's office. It means telling you that you can’t retire, they are reducing your salary, and when you do retire, there will be no pension money for you. Meanwhile the wealthy (in this case, the Spanish wealthy) have enough money to pay back all the debt. They think the people in those Madrid streets are turds. (pause) Them people are you. “ Read below the fold...

Pulling Up Stakes: Secession? Seriously.

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Secession is often derided by liberals as some kind of cock-a-mammy right wing nut idea from Texas. But the idea of being free to leave an organization or union or union of states should not be dismissed out of hand. In modern times, thoughtful people have come up with pretty solid theories to support this kind of freedom that both right and left should think about. Read below the fold...

"On Wisconsin"

Is Occupy Just an Event?

and not a movement? This is the question that Matthew Noah Smith makes in an essay titled "Living Politically" on the site to which Lambert recently directed us that had the essay "Occupy Philosophy".

He believes that Occupy was an important "event" in that it captured our imaginations more than other important protests such as the one that shut down the state government in Wisconsin. And the "why" of how it did that is important. Read below the fold...

We Must Hang Together - "Year of Strife"

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Affinis didn't have time this morning to write a blog post on the ongoing actions at Pacific Coast seaports by the ILWU (International Longshore Workers Union or is it International Longshore and Warehouse Union?) Local 21 at Longview, WA. So I'll attempt to do one in the meantime. Read below the fold...

Post Empire Survival Guide by Sam Smith

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Sam Smith is one of my favorite thinkers and commentators. He has been editing the Progressive Review since 1964. Every Monday he is on the Mark Thompson radio show on Sirius Left. Each Monday he comes up with original ways of looking at the week's events and has a generous and positive way of criticizing the Democrats as well as Republicans. He can put down Obama with such grace and sweetness that he does not get the blow back that Glen Ford gets when he does the same thing on Wednesdays. (Glen is another favorite of mine and speaks truth in a powerful voice.) Read below the fold...

Chores

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(Cross posted at The Montana Maven )
Newt Gingrich suggested that perhaps a good idea for poor highschoolers would be to work as the janitors in their high school in their off hours which would "be a way to instill a work ethic while also saving money". A lot of liberals jumped on him for this screaming, "That's an awful idea. That is child labor and it's racist to boot."

Well, it sounds racist. But most of all it sounds stupid and way out of touch with the lives of regular Americans. So it's not only racist, but it's elitist. Read below the fold...

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