A guy can dream, can’t he?

The Republican Party is increasingly dominated by an increasingly insane right wing. It would be nice if just occasionally a journalist asked a national Republican to either avow or disown particular pieces of madness, such as the Texas school textbook standards.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

19 thoughts on “A guy can dream, can’t he?”

  1. I have not seen much evidence that the Democrats are really challenging their GOP opponents on the madness of the far right; Obama seems to be trying to get people already likely to vote for Dems to the polls in November. Hell, I don’t even think they are even going to challenge the likes of Rand Paul with proposals to allow the free coinage of silver. “Get out the vote” is no substitute for “confront the lunatics on their lunacy,” but that appears to be the strategy of this timid White House.

  2. Oh, come on. As I understand it, the Democrats are committed to the view that the credit crisis in Europe is the result of Phil Gramm, and not only have journalists not called them on it, they've actually adopted the madness as their own.

  3. I would quite like to see large blue states tell book publishers that the "Texas Imprimatur" is basically the kiss of death for the textbooks. States should ban these textbooks from the list of approved purchases.

    I heard years ago that with Texas comprising such a large share of the market, that the state could command the publishers to accept the judgment of the Texas editors, and that by virtue of the school textbook market, these books would end up everywhere. This is an unacceptable.

    We pay tax dollars to educate children, not to produce a generation of the misinformed!

    As someone who attended Parochial schools, where there were 100 kids in my first grade class, and 101 in the 1st grade class next door, textbooks were vital to learning once having learned to read. I never had fewer than 60 students in the classroom until 8th grade!

    We shouldn't allow the textbooks to become generational repositories of misinformation.

  4. "the Republican Party is increasingly dominated by an increasingly insane right wing". Ha, that's kind of funny and ironic that you would make that statement. It just serves to reinforce and remind me that much in life is just a matter of perspective. You do realize that the other half of the country is running around saying that the Democratic Party is increasingly dominated by an increasingly insane left wing?? I guess this is what blogs are for- opinions; but I thought this blog was trying to deal with facts since "everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts". Oh well, you know what they say about opinions, rear ends, and everyone having one. I just wish there was more "reality" in the reality-based community.

  5. Bux, have you read up on the ideological cleansing of the textbooks happening in Texas? It's precisely a case of people feeling entitled to their own facts – and trying to ensure that schoolchildren are exposed only to their facts. Meanwhile, in your comment you dismissively imply that the liberals are swallowing their own tail in the same manner as the Republicans, but you seem not to have cited any actual examples.

  6. Hello Warren. Earth to Warren. What planet do you live on? You ask for evidence of an increasingly insane left wing democratic party. Look no further than our current president. I think the Democratic party is pretty radical when it puts in place a president who has a history of hanging out with domestic terrorists and racist bigots. I guess this is the kind of moral character that Mark referred to a while ago.

    All I see from liberals is this disgusting sense of entitlement to their own "facts" and attempts to discriminate against or silence anyone who wants to provide opposing facts, whether the issue be man-made global warming or the origin of species. How come liberals don't want to talk about climate-gate? A little too embarassing? Hell, even the folks over at freakonomics (hardly conservatives) are providing counter-research bringing into question the so-called "facts" of global warming.

    But nothing I say is gonna matter to you Warren because you're a fundamentalist.

  7. Liberals are perfectly happy to talk about "climate-gate". Indeed, liberals are seemingly the only people willing to talk about the actual existing "climate-gate", instead of the weird imaginary "climate-gate" existing in the minds of conservatives. You see, here on planet Earth people have gone through the stolen emails, and they found … nothing much. Some people emailed their friends and colleagues saying things more bluntly, more colorfully, and less carefully than they'd ever speak in public. There was no evidence that data was falsified or suppressed, no evidence of any wrongdoing – other than the theft of the emails, of course.

    And while it's possible to debate the origins of life, and it's impossible to disprove the existence of a supreme being who might be doing anything, including shaping life, there are no opposing facts regarding the "origin of species", because the evidence in favor of evolution is simply overwhelming. You are free to ignore the evidence, or to say that the evidence of evolution merely reflects God's handiwork, either the mechanisms God chose to use or an extraordinarily carefully prepared false trail God laid to test our faith, but only fools and charlatans pretend there's a factual debate about evolution.

    And as for hanging out with terrorists, that's in the finest traditions of our Presidency. Have you read about what happened to many loyalists during the Revolution? About the what Andrew Jackson did, illegally and in open defiance of the Supreme court? About the cheerleaders for John Brown who surrounded Abraham Lincoln? About Presidents in office consorting with Nicaraguan Contras and anti-Castro Cubans who supported bombings in Cuba and the blowing up of a Cuban airliner? The only terrorist that I know of with whom Obama ever "hung out" is a professor of education with whom Obama associated as a fellow member of the board of a major Chicago charitable foundation. Mind you, in my opinion from reading of his actions and hearing him interviewed Bill Ayers shouldn't be a member of polite society – but when Obama met Ayers it was in Ayers's capacity as a civic leader in Chicago, not when Ayers was a terrorist on the fringes of society. And from the evidence of his own words and especially his actions, the very notion that Obama is a radical simply doesn't pass the laugh test.

  8. Wrong again on all accounts Warren. There IS evidence that data was falsified in climate-gate. First, here is a great link documenting the history of the emails that were "nothing much" in Warren's words: http://assassinationscience.com/climategate/ . Check this out for some interesting reading on "nothing much". Liberals like Warren would have you focus attention on these emails as the crux of climate-gate though. Here is the real crux of climate-gate, the computer code behind the model used to generate the research findings: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/04/climategate… . Clear evidence of deception here. What a scam and embarrassment.

    As far as the supposed facts of evolution (I suppose you mean macro-evolution), where is the evidence Warren? I can't wait to poke a million holes in anything you send me because the evidence is most certainly not overwhelming. If it's overwhelming to you then obviously you are easily overwhelmed, which would tie back into how you were so easily duped on climate change "science". Please, please, please show me this overwhelming evidence that just can't be ignored. I hear this ridiculous mantra repeated all of the time.

    Arguing that Obama isn't a radical because other presidents were radical is not a logically valid argument at all. Thanks for the history lesson though.

  9. Bux,

    I doubt you are really interested in a source of facts, but for climate change facts try http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11462 and http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610. For evolution http://www.talkorigins.org/ is a good place to start. But all one really needs to do is step back and consider that for evolution to be false requires a global conspiracy of tens of thousands of scientists from all nations and many religions, continuing for over 100 years, all conspiring to fabricate converging lines of evidence from many scientific disciplines consisting of hundreds of thousands of mutually-supporting peer-reviewed publications. Also consider that the leading anti-evolution experts consist primarily of lawyers, economists and a vanishingly small number of people with relevant scientific credentials, effectively all of whom accepted creationist religious belief before discovering their opposition to evolution. The situation with global warming is not as extreme, but is essentially the same. Doesn't that make you wonder why, after all this time, no one has 'fessed up to the scam?

  10. Geez, forgot to add what I was originally going to say before being sidetracked by Bux. What is needed to keep textbooks within the range of rationality is for independent universities to announce they will not accept credits granted for classes taught using books written in accordance with the new Texas standards.

  11. Don't feed the trolls (Bux). http://www.gametrailers.com/user-movie/how-to-beh

    I don't think the "right-wing" is any crazier than before, though. Remember when the focus was on abstinence-only education and then "intelligent design"? This kind of… unfortunate thinking always existed: "The secular humanists may argue that we are a secular nation. But we are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles. The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan–he needs to get credit for saving the world from communism and for the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes."

    I graduated high school in 2005, and while I don't remember focusing on the hero that was Ronald Reagen, I do remember the complete absence of mention of things/people like the labor movement, Cesar Chavez, American Imperialism, etc. So. Things have always been pretty fucked up for American school children. We can get mad at ignorant Texans, blame the crazies on the right, or do something about it by ensuring our schools have enough funding for a broader set of textbooks.

  12. Tom- I must agree with all of your points but the last is spot on. The institutions of higher education must step up to the plate on this garbage. This dumbing down of text books has progressed from bad to worse and it seems universities and colleges are the only institutions in a position to move things in a positive direction.

    Of course the hugh and cry will go up about the 'elitist librul intelektuls' interfering with peoples God given right to be stoopid. It is time to make a stand in the cultural war, past time. We can't keep waiting for the creatans to get tired and go away.

  13. Ed–correct me on this if I have it wrong, I confess I don't understand the liberal mind anymore, but I think the chain works like this: Gramm was responsible for GLB and also the "deregulation" (to use the word in the liberal fashion) of derivatives, which led directly to the subprime mess, which itself is responsible for all other ills in the economy, including, I suppose, the current Euro debt crisis. It's absurd at every link, and the final one I'm sure must be difficult for any liberal still capable of thought, but I don't know one brave enough to reconsider the earlier links, so I'm guessing they'll ignore the difficulty and press on. All for the party. If any were brighter, I'd be sad for what's been lost.

  14. Folks,

    Has anybody questioned a basic assumption about this whole issue of school books and "Texas Approval?" Is printing and publishing technology still stuck in a rut that makes it too expensive to print different versions of the same textbook? With the Internet, "print on demand" and Kindles, the whole concept of textbooks and their distribution is due for a big shakeup. At the very least, other states and their school boards don't have to swallow the constricted world view of Texan social reactionaries. Control over the information that our school children have access to has shifted to the kids; they just don't know it yet. When they do, education in America changes from indoctrination to liberation.

  15. But Thomas, problems with the CDO / derivatives / bank merger world did contribute to the housing bubble, and to the collapse of many large banks, which did necessitate TARP, and did contribute to the recession.

    You set up the strawman by claiming Liberals put ALL the blame on Gramm; that see no other causes, and that it's all 'directly led'.

    Then you insult by saying folks who don't reconsider other links are not brave enough. Jeeze.

  16. Thomas: thie Greek crisis is clearly part of the same financial meltdown.

    1. Europe has been thrown into recession, worsening all public finances.

    2. Investors are very nervous and respond more sharply to new evidence of riskiness, real (Greece) or imaginary (Spain). Of course, it also needed the Greek government to run unsustainable pre-crisis deficits (because Greeks won't pay taxes) and also lie about them to Eurostat.

  17. I would quite like to see large blue states tell book publishers that the "Texas Imprimatur" is basically the kiss of death for the textbooks. States should ban these textbooks from the list of approved purchases.

    I heard years ago that with Texas comprising such a large share of the market, that the state could command the publishers to accept the judgment of the Texas editors, and that by virtue of the school textbook market, these books would end up everywhere. This is an unacceptable.

    We pay tax dollars to educate children, not to produce a generation of the misinformed!

    As someone who attended Parochial schools, where there were 100 kids in my first grade class, and 101 in the 1st grade class next door, textbooks were vital to learning once having learned to read. I never had fewer than 60 students in the classroom until 8th grade!

    We shouldn't allow the textbooks to become generational repositories of misinformation.

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