Roundup Before the Break

I’ll be away for a bit, celebrating the Sacred Day of Turkey. Here’s some random tidbits:

•a tragicomic article on how we screwed up in Iraq early on, and why we should have listened to Garner, not Rumsfeld

•two evolution-related points: First, while the numbers supporting evolution are low, according to an NSF survey, only 25% of respondents thought that the earth revolves around the sun. Second, if instead of asking questions about “Evolution”, pollsters asked, “Do you think life has existed for millions of years and that it has changed over time”, I think you would get far more people responding in the affirmative.

more analysis of the whole red-state problem for Democrats here

•in the New York Times, Tierney sets up a false dichotomy between coddling and competition (I love it when conservatives introduce Social Darwinism through the backdoor). He misses the point, at least regarding education, which is not to beat someone–after all, this has nothing to do with whether you actually learned anything, all you did is “be better than”-but to accomplish something. Lost in the both the coddling and competition perspectives is the notion of accomplishment. To put it another way, if I’m teaching a class and I have set reasonable educational standards, if everyone excels at those standards, then A’s all around. On the other hand, if no one meets those standard, then C’s and D’s all around.

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