Monthly Archives: June 2012
As Dave Barry used to say, I swear I am not making this up. You could certainly be forgiven if you assumed I was making it up, because such a statement sounds so obviously ridiculous that no one – not even the Texas GOP – could possibly say it and mean it. Alas, you’d be wrong. Page 13 (or, in Texas GOP-numeration, “page 12″ – go figure) states the following (pdf):
We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs…
Why? Why would even such a revanchist entity as the Texas GOP oppose what they call “HOTS” (but you may be familiar with as TAG or the gifted program), as well as critical thinking, period? Because it has…
…the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.
No, really. Go read it for yourself. Then go and wonder no more why America’s academic achievement continues to slip relative to other countries.
The men and women (though, in truth, it’s nearly exclusively men) at Zero Hedge seem always very concerned with being right, especially if/when they perceive others as being wrong. Their output as observers of the financial scene is comparatively quite prodigious – and I know this because I monitor a fair number of econ/trading sites: Zero Hedge consistently produces far more posts-per-day than other such sites. And they can usually be counted to be among the first, if not THE first, with any new financial news. I’ve learned of many new developments on Zero Hedge’s site before other sites had them. I obviously don’t know for sure, but I’d bet the principals of ZH all have Bloomberg terminals in their offices (perhaps even in their bedrooms, for all I know, judging from the time-stamp of some of the posts they write). And they certainly don’t suffer from an overabundance of respect for the financial elites of this country – or this world. Sometimes, you can find cogent, Cassandra-like financial analysis at Zero Hedge that’s difficult if not impossible to find anywhere else. All of that can be quite worthwhile.
Unfortunately, even more frequently, what you find at Zero Hedge is a chronic – bordering on terminal – sort of wisecracking insider’s myopia. The same willingness to offend the world’s fiscal and political elites with fearless criticism begins, after a while, to more closely resemble not fearless truth-telling, but a sort of Blackboard Jungle-delinquent’s need to offend. And that’s what makes so much of Zero Hedge’s analysis suspect and tinny sounding: it’s not the reflexive Ron Paul fixation (though lord knows, there’s more than enough of that on display at ZH), it’s not the glassy-eyed goldbug zealotry (though, again, there’s plenty of that). It’s pieces like this one from today, in which the authors, in their seemingly reflexive need to be the coolest/savviest guys in the room, subtly (or, often, not-so-subtly) attempt to pretend reality is different than what it is so they can once again slam their usual suspects list of perceived bad actors on the economic stage. Continue reading
Normally, I’ve titled posts like these in the past something on the order of “why is it always my state,” but in truth, this time, Georgia is hardly alone in diverting funds from the foreclosure fraud settlement into areas other than their intended target (distressed mortgage-holders). Still, it’s cold comfort to know that the Republican governors of quite a few states are using these funds as a sort of sub-rosa, backdoor stimulus to prop up their state budgets or “rainy day funds” so that the effects of the brutal, anti-government “austerity” they favor won’t be as apparent to the average voter/citizen who just glances at the state’s balance sheet.