With the Al Gore cover story in the new issue of Wired, the other shoe has dropped.
Republicans used to be conservative in the sense of wanting small
Federal government, not only in taxation but more notably in power.
Republicans used to be for States' rights. Now the Republican agenda
includes a heavy alliance with religious mores that intrude into
Democrats used to be focused on administrative or regulatory solutions to many issues.
Moderates used to unite over the idea that it's better to concede
some issues to business in order to create "economic opportunity,"
while generally wanting to avoid having to support the infrastructure,
changed to "neo-con," which seemed to be about global security but
instead seems to be more about The Christian Mission? Has "Democrat"
changed to "neo-Green," as Wired asserts, which integrates economic
development with producing in harmony with the public good (a la
Corporate Social Responsibility)?
Beinin, a 58-year-old Jewish professor [at Stanford] who supports Palestinian rights,
knows he has enemies. Secure in his tenured position at an elite
university, he routinely criticizes U.S. leaders for failing to
understand why Americans are hated in the Arab world. He decries the
humanitarian costs of the Palestinian occupation.
The Ivy League-educated Beinin, former president of the prestigious
Middle East Studies Association, favors peaceful coexistence of
Palestinians and Israelis, and seeks a solution to the conflict based
on the principles of human rights and international law. His work has
triggered death threats; one caller said, ``You know what happened to
Daniel Pearl. . . . The people who are sympathetic are the first ones
Crazy American - favoring Human Rights! What precedent is their in our legal system for the idea that people have inalienable rights and that governmental systems should support that?
But without irony: If thought leaders in research institutions can't explore all aspects of human endeavor in an environment that's safe, and if people studying at the top academic institutions in our country aren't intellectually skeptical enough to be able to judge their faculty's teaching with a critical eye, then the United States has truly lost any hope at intellectual leadership.
Here's an old blog entry in Informed Comment that discusses the people in question. Note the persistence of the persecutory activities of this group led by Pipes and Horowitz, and the enormous funding from a single donor for the purposes of harassing individuals.
As a liberal Jew from Los Angeles, I appreciate Juan Cole's exhortation that moderate or liberal Jews need to be as careful that their religious charity supports the secular vision they have as any moderate or liberal of any religion.
(By the way, I'd like to explicitly mention Sourcewatch.)
From Andy Carvin's Waste of Bandwidth, a news report that scientific publishers are leery of McCain-Lieberman's bill to open up research reports, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (PDF)
The bill applies to the peer-reviewed version of the author's
manuscript, not to the published version, which may include extensive
copy editing and mark-up. The bill's mandate applies to grantees or
authors, not to publishers. Publishers are not forced to release
anything, merely to coexist with free copies of different versions of a
subset of the articles they publish.
While Andy points out that this means it's not regulating publishers, just grant recipients, I have an entirely different concern: if you were, say the Department of Defense, and you knew that your research would be open to the public, wouldn't one of the things that could now be "soft money" would be a corporation discussing say the need for basic research in a certain area, and providing the grant money?
Someone I met at a DonorsChoose fundraiser when they were up for the Amazon award recently began blogging. She's a 3rd grade teacher in an East Oakland (read: extremely challenging environment) elementary school. She was raised a white suburbanite.
I posted the existence to a blog where someone with whom I've butted heads about "market forces" and their use in the educational context before. He responded positively about the use of technology to facilitate transparency - definitely a point of agreement for us. How else do you help people who have managed to create a relatively safe and positive life for themselves and their families to gainfully -- because it affects us all -- immerse themselves in the often unsafe and traumatic lives of East Oakland 8 year olds?
But it got me thinking: clearly there's a human need when the problems are bigger than I, as a single person, can manage, to look to a higher power, whether that's God, market forces, individualism, communism, equity, or something else. Looking for a -- hopefully single -- overriding force that, once restrictions are removed, will realign the world and make things somehow solve whatever the problem is.
I think that's now the project at hand, Finance 2.0 or whatever it's called: what are the forces that act on the world. How do they interact; what are their components? And how to we parameterize, measure, track, and experiment with them?
It took years for physicists to realize that electricity was related to magnetism, and that vision was related to both; or to understand that classical mechanics was only relevant at a particular scale (much bigger than an atom) and rate (much slower than the speed of light). Now long past that, physics has become math, and the intention is to unify the conceptualization of fundmental forces.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this, other than to note that a force is something that was originally observed, and then in the physical world what became relevant was how the force was mediated. Is financial economics mediated by money? Is value creation mediated by man-hours of labor? Is knowledge mediated by hours in the classroom?
To the extent that physical forces are "potential wells" (think of a ball rolling downhill to the bottom of a depression) are people potential wells in need-space? Needspace would of course be comprised of physical, emotional, social, intellectual and possibly other needs. What mediates those needs (well, money certainly; but obviously less concrete things as well)? Then the next question is what acts on needspace (i.e. cultural expectations, historical need-fulfillment, etc.)
Is this analogy useful? Does it break down too quickly?