I've mulled it over in my mind for several minutes now, and I still don't get it. June Atkinson, state superintendent of public instruction, compared comprehensive sex education with communism at a press conference in early February.
Or did she?
Lawmakers were announcing the introduction of a new sex-ed bill that would allow parents to choose between contraception-based and abstinence-until-marriage sex-ed.
"It is important to have information. Just because you teach children communism does not mean children will become communists.
If Atkinson meant that reading about communism in a history textbook doesn't turn kids into communists automatically, that makes sense. But how does that compare to comprehensive sex-ed, where teachers give an assortment of how-tos? Last time I checked, the main purpose of comprehensive sex-ed curricula isn't an overview of the family planning movement.
I encourage everyone to watch the video of last night’s debate between Dr. John Christy, noted climate scientist and Alabama State Climatologist, and Dr. William Schlesinger, President of the Cary Institute of Ecosystems Studies and former dean of Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment. What I thought was particularly interesting is that right after making a few opening remarks about how nearly "all scientists agree" and that it's time to stop discussion and get on with making dramatic changes to curtail CO2 emissions and change our lifestyles, Schlesinger said that he was not going to discuss the science. He then went directly to rattling off scary scenarios about the future. So about two thirds of his talk was scare mongering with no actual defense of the hypothesis that human induced catastrophic global warming is in the process of occurring. What is interesting is that in "skipping over the science" he flipped through a number of slides that he had prepared to use including the now infamous and discredited “hockey stick” graph showing 900 years of no climate change and the last 100 years of dramatic warming. If he really believed in the story the graph told it would have been very important for him to use it in this context. Furthermore he had a perfect opportunity to pull it up during his rebuttal to Christy. In his presentation Christy noted that the mid-evil warming period occurred naturally and was warmer than it is today. The logical thing for Schlesinger to do would have been to call up the hockey stick to counter Christy’s claim. He did not. It was quite clear that he was ready to use the graph, and does in his usual schtick to sycophants, but was not about to bring it up when he faced knowledgeable opposition.
When Christy came to the podium he carefully went through data---temperature records, sea level rise, melting ice caps---all the important stuff. What was interesting is that Schlesinger rebutted none of it. And he had plenty of time to do so.
I also want to note that the crowd was great. There were well over 250 people in attendance and they clearly seemed to get a lot out of the program. Over a hundred questions were turned in on cards for the Q&A; unfortunately we only had time to get to about 10 of them.
We also want to thank that Reese Institute for the Conservation of Resources at Lenoir-Rhyne University for co-sponsoring the event. They did a great job on the ground in Hickory.
Thomas Sowell has a long essay on writing on his website www.tsowell.com. This section on book reviews that he terms the non-reviewing review caught my eye.
The non-reviewing review seems to be considered chic these days. The first
four or five paragraphs don’t even mention the book that is the ostensible reason
for the review. Instead, the reviewer puts the whole subject “in context” with
lofty generalities and pre-emptive assertions. Then the book’s title puts in
a cameo appearance, followed by an analysis of what the author was “really”
trying to do and the reviewer’s comments on its appropriateness, originality,
and consonance with his own ideological predispositions....
In the broadcast version of the non-reviewing review, the talk-show host conceals
his non-reading of the book by keeping the author on the defensive with a steady
stream of cutting accusations, based on the author’s general reputation or previous
writings. The writer may be accused of anything from political bias to personal
dishonesty, or any other charge that will lead to a heated, time-filling discussion.
The natural tendency to defend yourself against a low blow is what gets authors
sucked into this game....
Only after several talk-show hosts had played this game on me did I finally
realize what was happening, and why. I counter-attacked on one of those long,
night-time radio talk shows, when it became obvious that neither the host nor
the critic on with me had read the book. At the end of the first hour, I announced
to the listeners that we had now been on the air for one hour—and that neither
of my questioners had yet mentioned a single thing that was actually in the
book. Moreover, I predicted that neither of them would say anything in the second
hour that would refer to anything in the book, because it was apparent that
neither of them had read it.
And this is the way Sowell handles "60 Minutes."
Not only can the host lift what you said out of context; he can also splice
in what your enemies have said about you, without your having an opportunity
to reply. Television’s “Sixty Minutes” is a master of this technique, among
others. Once Mike Wallace asked me to be a guest on the show, pointing out what
a wonderful opportunity it would be for me to get my message out to a huge audience.
I replied that I would be delighted to go one-on-one with him anytime, provided
that everything we said was broadcast just as we said it. He looked so pained
at my distrust that I almost believed him.
It is no surprise that you don't see him on "60 Minutes."
Thomas Sowell has some great quotations on his website. Here is one that is especially relevant to the political situation today at the federal, state and local levels.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans,2002), p. 292.
It is extremely telling that at Obama's first press conference, the questioners were pre-selected. The way to read that decision is that the president and his handlers don't want any more "Joe the Plumber" blunders. For all his vaunted intellectuality, Obama is not good at handling challenging questions. (When has he ever had to?) By carefully controlling press conferences, they want to avoid awkward stammering in the face of questions that he doesn't know how to answer.
Picking up on that, columnist Larry Elder here poses seven questions he'd like to have the president answer.
I'll add one of my own: What actions is the administration taking to prevent the recurrence of damaging economic bubbles in the future?
Or how about this? Most economists foresee rapidly increasing inflation in the years to come; how will your administration deal with that? Price controls?
My thoughts on HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program in today's American Spectator.
By the way, I accessed the mammoth "stimulus" bill yesterday. When I tried to generate a print preview to see how many pages it is, it crashed my computer. Perhaps a foretaste of what it will do to the country.
Economist Morgan O. Reynolds examines his career here and doesn't see anything to inspire confidence that he understands the economic problems that years of interventionist policies have brought about.
The honor code requires folks from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to respond to this News & Observer editorial. in the concluding paragraph, N&O editors toss a fireball their way,
Pockets of excellence amid swaths of mediocrity -- that seems to be what the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools have bargained for. Wake County aspires to better than that, and clearly has a strategy for attaining it.
Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features David Bass' report about a former state air quality official who worked on state taxpayers' time to recruit groups for an outside entity called the Climate Registry.
John Hood's Daily Journal suggests accepting some ideas from both Democrats and Republicans to improve North Carolina's criminal justice system.
Two leading voices from opposing camps in the climate change debate squared off last night in Hickory.
William Schlesinger of the Cary Institute, a former dean of Duke's environment school, argues that we ignore the changing climate at our peril. John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, Alabama's state climatologist, counters that cold, hard facts contradict the most outrageous claims about impending doom.
Click play below to view both scientists response to the debate's final question.
Click play below to view the entire 1:15:15 event.
You'll find other John Locke Foundation video presentations here.