SocraticGadfly: 5/3/09 - 5/10/09

May 09, 2009

Death of the Iraqi ‘Awakening’?

If not dead, it might at least be comatose, The Nation reports. And, just in time for Obama dithering on pulling troops out of Mosul.

May 08, 2009

The ‘future of liberalism’?

The Nation reviews two new books on the subject. Shorter reviews? Alan Wolfe stereotype-bashes New Atheists in “The Future of Liberalism”; I’ll pass. Jeremiah Purdy, in “A Tolerable Anarchy,” has what the reviewer calls a wistful and poetic take on the subject.

May 07, 2009

Bacevich: Get beyond ‘American exceptionalism’

At The Nation, Andrew Bacevich says that, until we get past American exceptionalism, our foreign policy will largely be more of the same, no matter which half of the two-party duopoly is in the saddle.

That would starts, he said, by junking the mythic patina of American exceptionalism that’s accumulated in the telling of the noble American non-imperial empire for the last 60 years.

Read the whole essay.

May 06, 2009

Beam my cell phone up, Scotty?

A Windows-based cell phone with an add-on that will let it work at least a little bit like Spock's or Bones' tricorder? Yes, Philip Radford worries he’ll pretend to walk fast say it is so, James Tiberius Kirk.

No Child Left Behind failing on minority gap

That’s one big problem with NCLB, but not the only one.

The biggest, IMO, is that the federal government didn’t use NCLB to force states to adopt a longer school year, closer to other developed nations.

May 05, 2009

Buffett - Don't buy that newspaper

Multibillionaire Warren Buffett said not only are newspapers not a good business now, bt

So do many others, they won't be in the future, either.

A no-duh statement, perhaps. But, by being made for the future as well as today, it's going to be chilling for the future of my profession.

Debate over Flores hobbits continues

I’m definitely not an evolutionary biologist or paleontologist, but it seems to me, the claim that the Flores hobbit fossils of Indonesia are a new species is, at the least, sounding more reasonable than before. With both teeth and wrist structure representing a lineage that did not come from Homo sapiens, it would seem, and dwarfism from island isolation looking less likely, it seems the “anti-species” side has more water to carry.

May 04, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor to replace Souter? Maybe

I think Sotomayor, as a woman and potentially the first Hispanic, is the odds-on favorite to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court.

So do many others, like the New York Daily News.

But, at the New Republic, Jeffrey Rosen says that, other than making a female and Hispanic quota, she doesn't have a lot to recommend herself.

Obama status quo with military, empire

Andrew Bacevich says that is highly unlikely the challenge “the Sacred Trinity of global power projection, global military presence, and global activism.” It’s called “presidentialism,” as Bacevich and other writers have recently reminded.

May 03, 2009

Cedar Hill councilman nearer to DalCo judge run?

Cedar Hill (Texas) City Councilman Wade Emmert told me recently he’s getting closer to making a decision on whether or not to run in the Republican primary for Dallas County Judge next year.

He added that, while State Rep. Helen Giddings would be a formidable general election opponent should she enter the Democratic primary and get the nomination, that wouldn’t sway his decision.