Saturday, April 26, 2014
Thursday, April 24, 2014
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro. In front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do. And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom." - Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who is the current hero of the Tea Party for refusing to pay federal grazing fees.
Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Sean Hannity, and Todd Starnes have all hailed Bundy for refusing to recognize federal authority over the land where his cattle have grazed for decades. Media Matters writes about Starnes' defense of Bundy:
During an appearance today on the radio program of Republican strategist Alice Stewart, Fox's Todd Starnes championed Bundy as an example of Americans "saying enough is enough" with the federal government. "We do know that the feds returned some of the cattle that they had taken from the Bundy Ranch. What I find interesting, though, Alice, is don't they still have laws on the books about cattle rustling out in Nevada?" Starnes said. "Back in the day, they used to string folks up for stealing cattle." Starnes later claimed that the Bundy incident shows that "Americans have really reached a boiling point here" and Americans have finally said, 'You know what? We're not going to stand by and let the Constitution be tramped.'" He also took the opportunity to link the situation to the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, stating: "Look at all the government firepower that was out there at that ranch. They had more guns there than they did at the consulate in Benghazi ... if only Ambassador [Christopher] Stevens had been a protected tortoise."UPDATE: The backpedaling has begun. Sen. Rand Paul: "His remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him." Spokesman for Sen. Dan Heller: "Senator Heller completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way."
Labels: feds, Nevada, racism, Rand Paul, Sean Hannity, Tea Party, teabaggers, Ted Cruz, Todd Starnes
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
From The New Yorker, Tuesday, April 22, 2014.See
ARE COLLEGE CAMPUSES OBSOLETE?
By Michael Guerriero
On one recent night, the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate series put forth a motion on Columbia University's campus: "More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall Is Obsolete." This is heavily contested territory, as both the setting and the style of the debate reflected. Columbia itself is the owner of quite a few nice-looking bricks, but, only last month, the university signalled its intention to start producing online courses. The Intelligence Squared events are inspired by traditional Oxford debates, decided by the votes of the audience, but they're judged electronically. The points and counterpoints were streamed and tweeted live, but in tone the evening still evoked the charm of a winsome classroom professor: percussive jazz-fusion tracks piped in before, friendly anecdotes during, and a reception, in lieu of office hours, after.
The four debaters, each one an expert and three of them professors, knew their arguments well-this battle has had many skirmishes. Anant Agarwal, the C.E.O. of edX, an online education platform, opened for the clicks. He conceded that fewer than five per cent of the students in his online course had successfully passed it, but pointed out that so many people had signed up for the course that those five per cent were still more than he could teach at M.I.T. in forty years. Columbia's own entrant, Jonathan Cole, the John Mitchell Mason Professor of the university, parried, citing a lack of evidence for any of online education's "messianic" claims and professing faith in the established model. "People learn from each other when they eat together, read together, converse together, sleep together. If nothing else, sex will reinforce bricks over clicks on the campus," he said.
The Associated Press has polled Americans about their scientific beliefs:
Just 4 percent doubt that smoking causes cancer, 6 percent question whether mental illness is a medical condition that affects the brain and 8 percent are skeptical there's a genetic code inside our cells. More — 15 percent — have doubts about the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccines. About 4 in 10 say they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases, that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old or that life on Earth evolved through a process of natural selection, though most were at least somewhat confident in each of those concepts. But a narrow majority — 51 percent — questions the Big Bang theory. Those results depress and upset some of America's top scientists, including several Nobel Prize winners, who vouched for the science in the statements tested, calling them settled scientific facts.Unsurprisingly, Republicans were more likely to doubt science.
Monday, April 21, 2014
Via the Atlantic:Reposted from Joe Jervis
"There are plenty of visualizations based on population data, but nothing quite like what designer Nik Freeman has created: a map of where no one lives. Using data from the 2010 U.S. census, Freeman shades green the nearly 5 million census blocks with zero population. The resulting map highlights the 47 percent of the U.S. that remains unoccupied."Most of the uninhabited areas are mountainous regions, deserts, and national parks.