Archive for March, 2011

where you stand is based on where you sit

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Times and perspectives change

“Now, let me be clear – I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein,” said Obama in his speech. “He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied U.N. resolutions, thwarted U.N. inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.”

“… After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this administration’s pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again,” said Obama. “I don’t oppose all wars.  … What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.”

Categories: Uncategorized

the next knee-jerk reaction

March 25, 2011 1 comment

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

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now i suppose there is a good reason why Obama, who has been silent in public on his reasoning and authority to committ the US to another war in the Middle East, has now decided, in the face of pressure to address the nation.

The most obvious reason, ie the latest tap on the knee, is the simple and powerful essay by Peggy Noonan, whose insights are no more earthshattering than usual, but simply  recounts the historical precedent that in a democratic republic the President MUST explain himself to the people (even if he has sidestepped their Congress)

In other words, here is the administration charting the next leg of its drunked dailor walk thru policy based on a knee-jerk reaction to public opinion

How many untapped knees yet remain?!

  1. he didnt act at first in Libya, except to mouth platitudes, until forced to do so by shame
  2. he finally acted, but without explaining it to anyone
  3. he didnt own the situation, but hoped it would just blow over
  4. he came home early from the ineffectual party in Rio
  5. he would rather be watching the ballgame
  6. he wants to be President but not Presidential

Knee-jerk meets policy

March 25, 2011 1 comment

this is the very definition of a knee-jerk reaction. What does our Libyan policy havein common with a knee-jerk?

  1. it’s autonomic: without conscious thought or reasoning
  2. it’s an uncontrolled spasm
  3. it could trigger an uncontrolled, uncontrollable series of equally uncomcious responses
  4. it’s unconnected to a strategy, a plan, a vision of the future
  5. it’s a response to outside unplanned stimuli
  6. it’s entirely predictable
  7. it will happen again in the same way if there is no change to the central nervous system

what exactly is our policy and position on Libya?

March 24, 2011 2 comments

NATO Response Force

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take your pick:

  • we either will or wont insert ground troops
  • the fighting will be over in either days weeks or months
  • NATO will or wont lead the coalition
  • the US will or wont lead

thanks for clearing that up

the predictable consequences of failure to lead

March 23, 2011 2 comments

Enjoy the spectacle of the dissolution of the West, a political, military, economic, cultural alliance that was held to gether through constant attention and nurtured/cared for by professionals.  How fraghile was it?  Fragile enough that a couple years of Berkeley inspired radicals with no business being entrusted with the keys to the car have brought it crumbling down.

This is what you elected: Rio beachwalkers and amateurs

  • Tensions with Britain as Gates rebukes UK government over suggestion Gaddafi could be assassinated
  • French propose a new political ‘committee’ to oversee operations
  • Germany pulls equipment out of NATO coalition over disagreement over campaign’s direction
  • Italians accuse French of backing NATO in exchange for oil contracts
  • No-fly zone called into question after first wave of strikes ‘neutralises’ Libyan military machine
  • U.K. ministers say war could last ’30 years’
  • Italy to ‘take back control’ of bases used by allies unless NATO leadership put in charge of the mission
  • Russians tell U.S. to stop bombing in order to protect civilians – calls bombing a ‘crusade’

Deep divisions between allied forces currently bombing Libya worsened today as the German military announced it was pulling forces out of NATO over continued disagreement on who will lead the campaign.


A German military spokesman said it was recalling two frigates and AWACS surveillance plane crews from the Mediterranean, after fears they would be drawn into the conflict if NATO takes over control from the U.S.

The infighting comes as a heated meeting of NATO ambassadors yesterday failed to resolve whether the 28-nation alliance should run the operation to enforce a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone, diplomats said.

Yesterday a war of words erupted between the U.S. and Britain after the U.K. government claimed Muammar Gaddafi is a legitimate target for assassination.

U.K. government officials said killing the Libyan leader would be legal if it prevented civilian deaths as laid out in a U.N. resolution.

But U.S. defence secretary Robert Gates hit back at the suggestion, saying it would be ‘unwise’ to target the Libyan leader adding cryptically that the bombing campaign should stick to the ‘U.N. mandate’.

Read more:

the amatuer hour continues

March 22, 2011 Leave a comment

undeclared war against Libya, without seeking Congressional approval, while having enough time to seek UN approval:  check

encouraging Brazil to develop their off shore oil drilling economy with US loans, so we can buy their oil, while our energy industry is under a moratorium: check

at least there are Democrats that are objecting to the usurpation of power, for which I commend them. Would like to see more honest leadership like that from Republicans when they have the White House

Categories: education, politics

the high frontier of graduate education

March 16, 2011 1 comment

Bertrand Russell's views on philosophy

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my take on the internal/external elements of AQAL as it connects to our role in higher education, is that we have an obligation to be a critical mirror for our students

we engage with them to mutually learn critical thinking skills, and we give them feedback from deep in our own experience and research.

at its best this is a discourse, a real dialogue that can be dangerous because it is unscripted and open, an act of creation

if you believe your students are whole people with depth and breadth, and who’s full life is yet to be written, waiting to be discovered, then the act of mutual education cannot be reduced to s simple formula and neat maps; there is some element of wildness and chaos that will not be penned it. its the wild west at the frontier of knowledge;

otherwise we are just painting by the numbers

at times you find undergrads who have glimpses of this high country of the mind and its an exciting moment to come across an authentic thinker, who is capable of great and surprising things, who is willing to risk a free exchange of ideas