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Tag: talking heads

Don’t Worry, No One’s Getting Laid Off

On Meet The Press this morning, a collection of talking heads were arguing about the economy and specifically about what the government should be doing (or not doing) to help.

As I’ve said before in this space, I don’t know enough about economics to make a rational judgement on any of the proposals, although I’m pretty sure something needs to be done now.

However, I certainly know crap when I hear it and what I heard from one Senator on the panel is exactly that.

But the other thing, to get back to what Congressman Frank said, is that, you know, we’re going to be laying off teachers and firefighters. You know, that’s just fearmongering. We’re not going to be doing that in any of the states.

The states have grown, in their budgets, faster than population growth, faster than inflation for the last several year–actually, probably about the last 15 years. Their budgets are bloated, the federal government’s budget is bloated. What we should be doing is cutting back. Instead of just spending money, we should eliminate wasteful Washington spending and also require the states to have some fiscal discipline.

Well, Senator, in our little corner of the country, we certainly WILL be laying off teachers along with emergency workers of all kinds and, according to statistics from a variety of sources, we are not alone.

Ok, so maybe this guy and his friends in Congress are right that state and local government budgets are “bloated” and they need to cut back on a lot of wasteful spending for unnecessary services.

You could craft an argument in this debate that government would be better off by reducing or eliminating those services and getting by with fewer teachers, police, social workers, and other employees.

But this Senator and his colleagues need to make that case instead of just flat out lying (or demonstrating their ignorance) about the situation.

A Very Low Summit

I’ve been invited to a summit!

Specifically a group called EDin08, whose stated goal is to generate some discussion about education issues among candidates for office (and push other agendas), has asked me to attend their Education Blogger Summit.

During this meeting, the email says, I will “have an opportunity to meet and network with fellow education bloggers, participate in panels, attend workshops, and help tackle tough questions on the state of education in America”.

Disregarding such a compelling invitation and the fact that the summit site is just a short Metro ride away, I’m going to pass on this “opportunity”.

One reason is the speakers list, which includes a long roster of representatives from education policy think tanks and journalists who write about education for a living.

And only one working educator who “guest blogs” for the New York Times.

Sorry, but I have this small bias that you can’t seriously discuss education reform without involving teachers and students.

The agenda also shows very little time to “meet and network” but plenty of time to sit and listen: speaker, panel, speaker, panel, speaker… awards ceremony?

I’m developing a low tolerance for this kind of “conference”.

Another little annoyance, you would think an important session like this would be web cast, but it’s not. Also, the program says nothing about wifi being available in the meeting rooms to allow live blogging.

But the final straw was the fact that I’d have to listen to Newt Gingrich while trying to eat lunch.

In the end, this sounds more like just one more political meeting in DC rather than any kind of “blogger summit”.

[Doug got an invitation. Anyone else?]

Expertise (aka Propaganda)

Anyone who believes that military experts constantly popping up on the talking heads channels are providing “expert” information needs to read this article from today’s New York Times.

Analysts have been wooed in hundreds of private briefings with senior military leaders, including officials with significant influence over contracting and budget matters, records show. They have been taken on tours of Iraq and given access to classified intelligence. They have been briefed by officials from the White House, State Department and Justice Department, including Mr. Cheney, Alberto R. Gonzales and Stephen J. Hadley.

In turn, members of this group have echoed administration talking points, sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or inflated. Some analysts acknowledge they suppressed doubts because they feared jeopardizing their access.

A few expressed regret for participating in what they regarded as an effort to dupe the American public with propaganda dressed as independent military analysis.

“It was them saying, ‘We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you,’ ” Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and former Fox News analyst, said.

It seems that many of the retired generals are also working for companies that sell equipment and services to the military, something that the networks don’t bother to tell the viewer.

But why should these guys be different from most of the other heads that present themselves as “experts” while actually selling themselves and/or their employers.

It’s a long article but worth the time.

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