Great Ted Video featuring Michael Specter! The danger of #science denial

This is another great TED Talk on Denialism. It was given a few years ago but I highly recommend it!


I saw this posted on ‘2012 and all that’ blog, check them out!

Fantastic Ted Talk video on science denial. It applies equally to all denial and anti-science movements: climate denial, food conspiracy, Big Alterna and Big Organic, creationism, anti-vaccine cranks and many others. Please watch the video because not only does he do yet another necessary takedown, he also shows the intimidating actions used by some anti-science groups. Vaccine-autism claims, “Frankenfood” bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public’s growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress.

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David L. Kirp: “Teaching Is Not a Business”

This is a great article in The New York Times explaining why the business model of education does not work. He bases his critique on the importance of the “personal element” of teaching. I wish he had touched on some of the other problems with the business analogy, but he makes a good case against the business model nevertheless.

Quote: John F. Kennedy

“Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed–and no republic can survive.” JFK Presidential Library and Museum


This quote is from a speech Kennedy gave to the American Newspaper Publishers Association in response to the Bay of Pigs fiasco. This is wisdom that is sorely needed today. In some circles it has become popular to disparage anyone who criticizes certain actions undertaken by the US as un-American and un-patriotic. This idea is absurd and only serves to further divide our already divided nation. (see article: “The American Left: Friends of Our Country’s Enemies,” by Ron Radosh)

Is Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century just a rehash of Marx’s Das Kapital?

When Thomas Piketty’s book Capital hit U.S. markets this year the response was both surprising and predictable. Surprising because a 700 page tome on economics became a bestseller! On the other hand the responses were predictable. The book received adulation from the Left and disgust from the Right. The polarizing effect of this book is immediately evident if one glances at the ratings of the book on Out of 718 reviews 406 are 5 star reviews and 175 are 1 star reviews (viewed on June 26, 2014). Interestingly, the mean-spirted nature of the reviews was just as newsworthy as the book itself.

So I decided to take a look for myself. Like many comments on the internet, they were “nasty, brutish, and short,” to borrow Hobbes’ famous phrase. I only managed to make it about half way through the reviews, wishing that I had stopped sooner. The repetitive and spiteful nature of the reviews were making me nauseous. Here is just a sampling of some of the titles:

“Das Kapital Re-do”

“It’s Still Socialism/Communism/Facism[sic]”

“Don’t let this Marxist fool you.”

“Serious marx bull &&&&.”

“This book is nothing but re-hashed socialist BS”

“Das Kapital , by Karl Marx – has already been written , this is the same ideology !”

“Marxist propaganda”

“Piketty’s book would be better titled “The Communist Manifesto Lite”’

“Communist Propaganda at it finest”

“MARX Reincarnated”

“Karl Marx would love this book”

“Save your time and read Karl Marx’s Das Kapital instead”

“Communist Manifesto of the 20th century”

“Say Hello to the new Karl Marx”

“Karl Marx redux”

The content of these reviews didn’t add much to these titles (other than to flaunt the failures of socialism and demonize Piketty and liberals). The basic theme of these reviews was that Piketty’s book deserves a 1 star because it is pure Marxism.[1]

tea-party-rally socialism

Tea Party Rally

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A Beautiful Story from an Unexpected Place: Srebrenica

“Srebrenica is famous for the massacre. But it’s time to move on and make a beautiful, inspiring story.” Ismar Poric, the choirmaster of Suprar

With all the violence in the Middle East and Africa a story from Srebrenica is hopeful. Talk about irony!

A group of children from Srebrenica (both Bosnian Serbs and Bosniaks) created a song (Love People) to raise money for the recent flood victims. The choirmaster, Ismar Poric, sees this as more than an opportunity to help the flood victims but also as an opportunity to heal the past. “In one way, the country is poisoned by nationalism – but the children are not. Their parents were in the war and told them stories. But we try to bring them together – put different ethnic groups together so they can learn about each other.”

Read the entire story at the BBC (“Srebrenica children seek harmony in music” By Guy De Launey)

 Children's choir in Srebrenica raising money for flood victims

A Challenge: Read Articles that You Disagree with on the Dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The History News Network (HNN) posted a list of online articles on the bombing of Hiroshima in honor of the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9). This list is a great resource for anyone interested in this topic. It includes a variety of articles on both sides of debate, including the one I responded to in a previous post (see “The Bombing of Hiroshima”). I contemplated whether or not I should link to this list on my blog because I knew that most people would be tempted to only read the articles that support whatever position they already hold. But in the end, I decided it was worth posting anyway. However, I challenge anyone who decides to use this resource to read the articles that you disagree with. If the exercise is to be valuable you should also read them with an open mind. I believe that an honest assessment of the situation is much more valuable than the comfort you would receive from the satisfaction of confirming currently held beliefs that may be grounded in myth. And no matter what position you currently hold, I hope a review of these articles will at least show that the popular belief about the bombing (“The bomb was dropped to end the war quickly and save American lives”) is an oversimplification of the issue that obscures the complexities and leads to unjustified certainties.


The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman: Now Online!

This is a great video exposing the corporate agenda behind the school “choice” movement. This has been a long time goal of the Right. They have been very successful in the states through American Legislative Exchange Council ( (see But in recent years they have been even more successful through organizations like Bill Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation (, etc. Too many people are unaware of what is happening or why it’s happening.
Thanks for posting this video!

Grassroots Education Movement

Today, on the first anniversary of the premiere, GEM and Real Reform Studios are making the film available online at We invite everyone to hold screenings, download and burn copies of the movie. Please consider donating to our film so that we can continue promoting and sharing the film around the country.

The Grassroots Education Movement Response to “Waiting for Superman” now available online

 Date:  May 19, 2012


Lisa Donlan, Parent and President CEC1:  917-848-5873

Julie Cavanagh, Teacher PS 15, GEM/CAPE: 917-836-6465

Brian Jones, Teacher PS 30, GEM: 646-554-8592

Now online: The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting For “Superman”

One year ago, The Grassroots Education Movement premiered a new documentary, written and directed by New York City public school teachers and parents, created in response to Davis Guggenheim’s highly misleading film. Waiting for “Superman” would have audiences believe that free-market competition, standardized tests, destroying teacher unions, and the…

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