1. Super busy. It’s one of those occasional times when I am called on to earn the money they pay me. While an annoyance, it does beat the alternatives. November is going to be a low number of posts month.
2. Rational Argument. Let’s review: a respectful and intelligent person answers another’s argument by acknowledging the argument and responding to the points made. One does not need to be as formal as St Thomas (although that’s always nice to see), but it’s really simple humanity, not to mention basic logic (to attack positions your opponent hasn’t taken is irrational if the intention is to answer your opponent).
The nasty, inhuman and rude thing to do, the Hegelian, Marxist and Freudian thing to do, is to launch a personal attack against any and all critics: you are just the kind of evil person who would, for example, call the President a liar! You must be a corporate stooge or something! The question of fact: did the President lie? is never addressed except by way of excusing the lie in such a way as to, again, casts the person who raised the question as somehow beneath contempt. Today, we have Arne Duncan saying that criticism of Common Core is coming from white suburban moms worried that their kids aren’t a brilliant as they thought they were – or something, coherence is not necessary, as long as the character assassination bullet finds its mark. Now, anyone who criticizes Common Core will be expected to explain how it is that they are not white suburban moms.
P.S. wonder if it has occurred to Arne or, especially, his boss, if perhaps they are the ones not as smart as they think they are. Nah, never happen – college has immunized them against such thoughts. But then, I’m the sort of bad person who would have such thoughts.
3. This beautiful graphic illustrates, perhaps, that quote from Einstein: “It is the theory that decides what can be observed”. In various reports on this map, some authors saw it as evidence that things were getting better – annual Brazilian rain forest losses are falling to a level where, even if they don’t continue to fall, the forests would last thousands of years; other see nothing but gloom and doom. (Don’t have timeto track down the links, sorry!)