Accusing Obama of trying to indoctrinate school children? That is rich. The Obama haters are on a war footing, and their target is the American mind. They want to create a climate of fear and paranoia in order to crowd out any possibility of rational dialogue.
It is time to wake up to the potential consequences of their indoctrination.
Glenn Beck has said that Obama has "a deep seated hatred for white people," and that the U.S. "is going to come out a fascist state."
Rush Limbaugh has said, "It's the most dangerous time in my life for freedom and liberty in this country...This is statism, totalitarianism versus freedom."
What are the consequences for over-the-top statements like these? Is it just ratings and elections and policies and taxes? Or does it go further?
Two weeks ago, a candidate for Idaho Governor, Rex Rammell, was speaking at a town hall, criticizing the sitting governor for not being more aggressive with wolf hunting tags. As reported on Talking Points Memo, someone in the audience yelled out a comment about "Obama tags" -- licenses to hunt Obama. Rammell responded: "Obama tags? We'd buy some of those."*
So, to recap: America is under grave threat from its leadership. Our very liberty is at stake. Our black president hates white people. His government is full of Communists (and Fascists). He's not even really American. He wants to kill old people in order to save money and finance government waste. He needs to be stopped at any cost. Any ideas?
These are not political statements. These are statements of fear and hatred.
The intensity of this [is] getting pretty scary...and dangerous? We are heading toward a cliff and the usual brakes of civil discourse are not working. Indeed, the Republicans have the pedal to the metal...I'm usually not one to panic or be overly worried about the state of our country...but I have a sinking feeling about where we're headed now. I hope I'm wrong.
We need to find a way out of this. We need to address the hate head-on. Tom Friedman's reasonable suggestion is "For people to stand up and say, 'That's flat-out stupid.'" But I think we should aim instead at the tone. I know this will sound naive, but how about something as simple as this: whenever we hear statements like the above, we refuse to take the bait. We simply respond: "Turn down the temperature. Talk about ideas, not about fears."
* Rammel's defense of the joke may be worse than the joke itself. On Twitter, he wrote: "Obama hunting tags was just a joke! Everyone knows Idaho has no jurisdiction to issue tags in Washington D.C." Rammel seems to not understand the seriousness of publicly indicating his sympathy with the idea of shooting the President of the United States. Photo Credit: Wikimedia commons
What do we actually know about the candidate’s health?
Cameras rolling, Manhattan gastroenterologist Harold Bornstein was confronted last week with a letter that carried his signature. In that letter, the writer “state[d] unequivocally” that Donald Trump “will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
Donald Trump would be the oldest individual ever elected to the presidency. He sleeps little and holds angry grudges. He purports to eat KFC and girthy slabs of red meat, and his physique doesn’t suggest any inconsistency in this. His health might be fine, but a claim to anything superlative feels off.
Bornstein might have jumped on that opportunity to get out of this mess—to say that Trump had dictated the letter, and Bornstein only signed it. Or that Trump had at least suggested phrases. Because it’s not just the facts of Trump’s life that don’t add up, but the linguistics of the letter.
Hillary Clinton champions a concept the Republican Party has embraced and Donald Trump has disavowed.
Hillary Clinton is making a case for American exceptionalism. “The United States is an exceptional nation,” she said on Wednesday at the American Legion’s national convention in Cincinnati. “It’s not just that we have the greatest military, or that our economy is larger than any on Earth, it’s also the strength of our values.” Clinton added: “Our power comes with a responsibility to lead.”
The Democratic presidential nominee believes talking up her commitment to American engagement abroad will help her secure the White House. Focusing on foreign policy allows Clinton to showcase her experience as a former secretary of state and emphasize how high the stakes are in the election. Elect Trump, her campaign argues, and America hands over its nuclear codes to a man with poor judgement and a history of erratic behavior. Yet what is most remarkable about Clinton’s embrace of American exceptionalism is how it highlights the inverted politics of foreign policy in the 2016 presidential race.
The San Francisco quarterback has been attacked for refusing to stand for the Star Spangled Banner—and for daring to criticize the system in which he thrived.
It was in early childhood when W.E.B. Du Bois––scholar, activist, and black radical––first noticed The Veil that separated him from his white classmates in the mostly white town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He and his classmates were exchanging “visiting cards,” invitations to visit one another’s homes, when a white girl refused his.
“Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows,” Du Bois wrote in his acclaimed essay collection, The Souls of Black Folk. “That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their stringy heads.”
Practices meant to protect marginalized communities can also ostracize those who disagree with them.
Last week, the University of Chicago’s dean of students sent a welcome letter to freshmen decrying trigger warnings and safe spaces—ways for students to be warned about and opt out of exposure to potentially challenging material. While some supported the school’s actions, arguing that these practices threaten free speech and the purpose of higher education, the note also led to widespread outrage, and understandably so. Considered in isolation, trigger warnings may seem straightforwardly good. Basic human decency means professors like myself should be aware of students’ traumatic experiences, and give them a heads up about course content—photographs of dead bodies, extended accounts of abuse, disordered eating, self-harm—that might trigger an anxiety attack and foreclose intellectual engagement. Similarly, it may seem silly to object to the creation of safe spaces on campus, where members of marginalized groups can count on meeting supportive conversation partners who empathize with their life experiences, and where they feel free to be themselves without the threat of judgment or censure.
Dean of Students John Ellison gets an A for initiative, a B-minus for execution, and extra-credit for stoking a useful debate.
When I was a heretical student at a Catholic high school deciding where to apply to college, I thrilled at the prospect of an educational institution where free inquiry would reign supreme and forceful debate would never be hemmed in by dogma.
A letter like the one that University of Chicago Dean of Students John Ellison sent last week to incoming first-year students––reminding them of the school’s “commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression," and affirming that those admitted to it “are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn, without fear of censorship”––would have struck me as a glorious affirmation: that robust intellectual communities truly did exist; that I would finally be free to follow my brain; that college would be a crucible that tested the strength of all my beliefs.
The meeting between the president and the man who would be president will bring together two of the least popular men in Mexico.
A meeting in Mexico City on Wednesday will bring together two of the most unpopular men in Mexico.
On the one hand, there’s Donald Trump, widely reviled and frequently bashed in papier-mâché effigy over his derogatory comments about the country and its citizens—from the suggestion, in his campaign launch, that Mexicanimmigrants to the United States are by and large criminals and rapists, to his declaration that Mexico is an “enemy” of the United States.
On the other, there’s Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, a telegenic and glamorous politician who has nonetheless been plagued by scandals and tainted by alleged ties to organized crime, a plagiarism scandal, and deep unfavorable ratings among women. Perhaps the two men will have some things to talk about when they convene at Los Pinos, the Mexican executive residence.
The justices voted not to stay a lower court’s ruling that extended early voting and restored same-day registration in the swing state.
NEWS BRIEF The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to intervene in North Carolina’s election laws, meaning the crucial swing state will see 17 days of early voting in this fall’s election and that voters will not have to present photo IDs to vote.
On July 29, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state’s strict voting law, passed in 2013. The law, passed by Republicans in the General Assembly and signed by Governor Pat McCrory, shortened early voting by a week to 10 days, ended same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting, and stopped a pre-registration program for teenagers. A group of plaintiffs including the North Carolina NAACP and the U.S. Department of Justice challenged the law. Their challenge was rejected by a federal district judge, but a court of appeals reversed the decision, ruling the law deliberately discriminated against black voters.
Education experts offer their thoughts on how—if at all—schools should assign, grade, and use take-home assignments.
This is the third installment in our series about school in a perfect world. Read previous entries on calendars and content.
We asked prominent voices in education—from policy makers and teachers to activists and parents—to look beyond laws, politics, and funding and imagine a utopian system of learning. They went back to the drawing board—and the chalkboard—to build an educational Garden of Eden. We’re publishing their answers to one question each day this week. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Today’s assignment: The Homework. Will students have homework?
Rita Pin Ahrens, thedirector of education policy for the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
Homework is absolutely necessary for students to demonstrate that they are able to independently process and apply their learning. But who says homework has to be the same as it has been? Homework might include pre-reading in preparation for what will be covered in class that day, independent research on a student-chosen topic that complements the class curriculum, experiential learning through a volunteer activity or field trip, or visiting a website and accomplishing a task on it. The structure will be left to the teachers to determine, as best fits the learning objective, and should be graded—whether by the teacher or student. Students will be held accountable for their homework and understand that it is an integral part of the learning process.
People can get addicted to almost any product. Do manufacturers have a responsibility to stop them?
“A day doesn’t go by that I don’t see people come in with Q-tip-related injuries,” laments Jennifer Derebery, an inner-ear specialist in Los Angeles.
And yet there’s a scary warning on every box of Q-tips. It reads, “CAUTION: Do not enter ear canal. … Entering the ear canal could cause injury.” How is it that the one thing most people do with cotton swabs is also the thing manufacturers explicitly warn them not to do? It’s not just that people do damage to their ears, it’s that they keep doing damage.
Some even call it an addiction. On an online forum, Q-tip user associates ear swabbing with dependency: “How can I detox from my Q-tips addiction?” MADtv ran a classic sketch on a daughter having to hide Q-tip use from her parents like a junkie.