Dan Margalit: They brought the catastrophe upon themselves
Israel could have used the concept of the Nakba to instill a balanced view among Arab youth.
FP: Yes, it should have, but I doubt it would have been effective, because the underlying hostility does not have sheer nationalistic roots, it is more profound and exacerbated by the honor-shame Arab society.
International Atomic Energy Agency circumspect about talks with Iran but says "a good exchange of views" is taking place • Neither side elaborates on substance of talks, but speak to reporters together, an indication of common ground.
FP: I smelled a cave-in rat before the talks even started.
Western diplomats say new centrifuges not yet enriching uranium, supply of 20 percent uranium appears constant; halt of higher-grade enrichment a priority for West.
See what I mean?
Liel Leibovitz: TED Balks
The high-profile conglomerate of conferences dedicated to bite-sized “ideas worth spreading” was a smashing enterprise when it began, back in the early 1990s, as a platform for innovators to discuss technology, entertainment, and design. It was fine as it slowly turned into a ludicrously pricey playdate—tickets are $6,000 a pop—for the world’s wealthy and easily amused. It was tolerable as its seemingly infinite stream of videos flooded the Internet, shooting up from 50 million views in 2009 to 500 million just two years later. But TED’s recent announcement introducing a new series of short animated lectures intended for college professors and their students should raise eyebrows, concerns, and voices in opposition. Entertaining as they may be, TED talks have no place in the classroom.
“I’ve been looking across time,” Gilbert says in her talk, “and I’ve been trying to find other societies to see if they might have had better and saner ideas than we have about how to help creative people sort of manage the inherent emotional risks of creativity. And that search has led me to ancient Greece and ancient Rome. People did not happen to believe that creativity came from human beings back then. People believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source for distant and unknowable reasons. The Greeks famously called these divine attendant spirits of creativity daimons.”
Gilbert’s TED bio informs us that she’s “thought long and hard about some large topics”; the philosophy of ancient Greece, it seems, wasn’t among them. A modicum of learning would have surely introduced the author of Eat, Pray, Love to the formidable Heraclitus, who quipped that “character is for man his daimon.” You needn’t be a classicist to discern that Heraclitus’ statement means, more or less, just the opposite of what Gilbert’s does.
Sad as it may be, however, none of this is Gilbert’s fault. The real blame for such over-simplified and frequently erroneous drivel lies with TED. Its central premise is wrong: No idea worth spreading can be condensed to 20 minutes or less, and there are far more meaningful ways of spreading ideas than viral videos on the Internet.
For better models of cutting-edge education, we may want to look not to the future but to the past. Socrates—him again—leaves us with a solid idea of how to make a classroom brim with meaningful discussion. If we learn anything from him, it’s probably that it’s a better idea to invest in innovative teachers rather than in innovative teaching technologies. And if we’re interested in educational technology, we should think less TED and more Talmud: By reading a daf yomi, a page a day of the great book, Jews are encouraged to take their time, relish the text, and engage with its every line. We’ve been doing it for a while now, and, taken as an educational experiment, it’s been rather successful.
Granted, spending an entire day on one page of one book isn’t as entertaining as hearing a master storyteller talking about swimming with the world’s most dangerous jellyfish, but it develops the kind of mind that seeks more than mere entertainment. We may not have to be so doggedly committed to our textbooks to achieve similar intellectual results, but, at the very least, we should think long and hard before signing up for the cult of TED.
FP: Both teachers and students do no longer appreciate education—acquiring foundational knowledge and the ability to reason and think critically and independently. Preparing somebody for (obedient) employment—which is what employers and students want—and indoctrinating them with leftist propaganda—which suits Democratic recruitment just fine—means that everything must be trivialized, or nobody will pay attention to or digest it.
Bill Katz: MAKING OUT LIKE A BANDIT
Whatever happened to the struggling Obama family? You'd think, from the way Obama sometimes talks, that he was at poverty's door during most of his life, the guys on the bread lines just waiting for him.
Well, no more. News stories circulating this morning report that the Obamas may be worth as much as ten million dollars:
Apparent from President Obama's annual financial disclosure statement, released today:
He is a wealthy man, with assets of as much as $10 million.
He has a hefty stake in JPMorgan Chase, the megabank that just made a bad $2 billion bet. Obama has an account worth between $500,000 and $1 million.
Despite the nation's $15.6 trillion debt, he is a believer in government paper. More than half of his assets are in Treasury bills and notes.
The disclosure statement lists assets and liabilities in dollar ranges, so pinpointing the president's net worth is difficult. His assets appear to tally between $2.6 million and $9.9 million. He holds a mortgage on his Chicago home of $500,000 to $1 million.
COMMENT: Aside from the gossip factor, this is an important political story. One of the arguments Obama hopes to use against Romney is that he's a rich man out of touch with the country. Now we see that Obama is a rich man, and he hasn't exactly shown much in common with the guy next door. That Indonesian childhood doesn't help much, either, unless you yearn for a president who can read street signs in Jakarta.
I think this financial report robbed Obama of an emotional issue. He can't afford to lose many more.
FP: We already know how he acquired his house. Now, how did somebody who was most of his life in government make this kind of money? And look who his political allies are: The Soros Summit: Inside the secret Miami meeting of George Soros’s liberal conspiracy. More evidence that there are no real differences between the parties and their policies. Now do you understand why Wall Street gets away with highway robbery regardless of who is in power?
And this is not all:
It was probably to be expected from a monstrous political ego that considers himself among the top two presidents of the 21st century.
But faced with the apparently frightening possibility of losing his reelection bid, Barack Obama has inserted himself into the online White House bios of almost every president in the last nine decades. To somehow share and compare their achievements. At one point Obama even draws his wife into the biographical additions.
It would be funny if it wasn't so hilarious. Remember the grandiose but short-lived little party hats that Richard Nixon designed for his special presidential guard unit?
Imagine the emotional insecurities of a grown man who would have henchman find and gratuitously insert even the faintest link between this 44th president and almost every president back to Calvin Coolidge --"On Feb. 22, 1924 Calvin Coolidge became the first president to make a public radio address to the American people.....President Obama became the first president to hold virtual gatherings and town halls."
FP: That that’s who Obama is should hardly surprise; what is shocking is the ignorance and gullibility of the electorate that elected him. And even more shocking will be the effectiveness of this pathetic nonsense to re-elect him.
Al-Dubya-mockracy (emphasis on the “mock” part) is a deadly failure. But its brainless creator still doesn’t get it–that he did the jihadists’ work for them.
George W. Bush drove out the only Sunni obstacle to the Middle East’s Shi’ite Crescent and Shi’ite Revolution, sending American boys to die in the name of Islamic “democracy” in Iraq that put in place Hezbollah-supporting, Iran-backed Shi’ites and drove the Christians and many Sunnis out. He’s the father of the Arab Spring because he insisted on free elections in Gaza, then–after spending gazillions in your tax money to campaign for Fatah/PLO terrorists, he and Condi Clueless were shocked–shocked!–when HAMAS was elected. He also pushed Hezbollah into power in Lebanon, insisting on more liberalized elections there, too.
So, the “Arab Spring” now is his doing, something I warned against during his administration, but no one listened. And now we have the fruits of his idiocy. And, yet, despite all evidence to the contrary, Bush insists his Islamic democracy experiment worked . . . the claim only a moron or a liar–or both–could make. Funny, though, that Bush doesn’t insist on democracy and free elections in Saudi Arabia or any of the Gulf States. But, then, if his Sheikh and Royal friends were driven out of these places, who would pay for his–and Bill Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s–Presidential Library or many hundred-thousand dollar speeches? Interesting how that push for democracy in the Muslim world works, isn’t it?
FP: Schlussel is not the only one who foresaw the Islamist takeover of the Arab world—it was plain to foresee for anybody with minimal knowledge of ME reality. American foreign policy, however, is characterized by arrogant ignorance, wishful thinking, absence of cunning, projection and failure to learn from mistakes. Bush in particular suffered from all this and Obama even more. How bad is the problem? Check out this:
Pennsylvania Republican Joe Pitts attributes gaffe to bureaucratic mistake in his office • Pitts' press secretary says "an older letter was not properly updated to deal with the present situation."
OK, but didn’t anybody review the letter and, if they did, didn’t they know Arafat was in paradise? Or didn’t they care enough? Here’s good advice regarding Western pushing in general:
Yoram Ettinger: The obstacle of world opinion
Succumbing to global pressure would have doomed the Jewish people to oblivion.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai declares he would give infiltrators a "deportation grant" before sending them home • Remarks follow a spate of violent crimes suspected to have been perpetrated by African migrant workers.
FP: Readers of this blog ought to know that I warned about the existential dangers of letting the infiltrators’ problem increasing rather than wholly terminated asap.
Lisa Miller: “I Want to Be Like Jesus.”