You are Only Entitled to What You can Argue For

I think this should be included as the official disclaimer on this site….

Secondly, I say something like this: “I’m sure you’ve heard the expression ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion.’ Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself, maybe to head off an argument or bring one to a close. Well, as soon as you walk into this room, it’s no longer true. You are not entitled to your opinion. You are only entitled to what you can argue for.”

A bit harsh? Perhaps, but philosophy teachers owe it to our students to teach them how to construct and defend an argument – and to recognize when a belief has become indefensible.

The problem with “I’m entitled to my opinion” is that, all too often, it’s used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned. It becomes shorthand for “I can say or think whatever I like” – and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And this attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse.

Yea, I can be a bit harsh, perhaps, but it is with this purpose in mind.

Every year, I try to do at least two things with my students at least once. First, I make a point of addressing them as “philosophers” – a bit cheesy, but hopefully it encourages active learning. Secondly…
THECONVERSATION.COM|BY PATRICK STOKES
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Romney Passes on 2016

He passed the establishment torch to Jeb.

Good move on his part. It was going to be *really hard* for the GOP to attack Hillary as being “too old” when Mitt was older than she is.

Anyway, I think Jim Webb is going to get the Dem nod (if I had to pick one today) and it’s going to be a figurative slaughter.

By not pursuing a third White House bid, Mitt Romney frees up scores of donors and operatives who had been awaiting his decision, and creates space for center-right…
NYTI.MS|BY JONATHAN MARTIN

Jeb Bush Ends Presidential Bid for 2016 by picking his brother’s Least Popular Policy (for the GOP)

“We have a history of allowing people to come in legally to embrace our values and pursue their dreams in a way that creates prosperity for all of us,” Bush said. “We need to find a path to legalized status for those who have come here and have languished in the shadows.”

This is as out of touch with the GOP base as when his brother, Idiot, tried to do it.*

“They’re basically Maytag repairmen,” he said. “Nothing gets done.”
THINKPROGRESS.ORG
* it was in 2006, after W started to ignore Cheney and start to ask rational.  This was seen as betrayal by the GOP and everyone but the Bush family and friends and people who depended on them for income turned against W…leaving him about 29% popularity at the end.

Senator Inhofe Lies to the World, Takes Over Senate Environmental Committee

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted 98-1 to approve a resolution stating that “it is the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax.” Then, about 15 minutes later, the Senate rejected a second resolution that said climate change is real and caused by humans.

The first resolution was approved — and co-sponsored — by one of the most outspoken climate deniers in the Senate, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), a man who literally wrote a book about how climate change is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated.” The only Senator to vote against the resolution was Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).

Sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because it is. At the last minute, right before a vote was taken, Inhofe took the floor to state that he would be co-sponsoring and approving the amendment on the grounds that yes, climate change is real, but human-caused climate change is not. “Man cannot change climate,” Inhofe said. “The hoax is that there are some people that are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful that they can change climate.”

“Gaawwwwhd has deeclared he is the OOOOONNNLY ONE who may destroy the Earth,” continued the animated corpse from Oklahoma.

I’m actually not joking…this is why many in this country don’t think it is *possible* for humans to do something as big and powerful and “godlike” as changing our own climate.

As I’ve done before, I’d advise anyone who thinks this way to try this little experiment. Instead of billions of people and hundreds of millions of cars, and thousands of cubic miles of atmosphere, take one person, one car, and one garage. Put the person in the car, put the car in the garage, and start the car and close the garage.

Come back in a day and tell me again how humans can’t use our technology to change our atmosphere (and we already know that changing the atmosphere can change the climate).

This is the stuff of Idiocracy, I shit you not.

Sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because it is.
THINKPROGRESS.ORG

Both Sides are Same (Idiot Ignorant Edition)

Obama wants Net Neutrality, the GOP tries to pass legislation to forbid it.

Obama thinks local municipalities should be able to build their own broadband, Big Telecom disagrees, so does the GOP, so the GOP drafts legislation to make it illegal.

Anyone who claims both sides are the same is just ignorant or an idiot.

Bill takes away FCC powers on the books since 1934 and 1996.
ARSTECHNICA.COM|BY JON BRODKIN

The GOP Takes Over the Jim Crow Congress, Immediately Rewrites History, and some 2015 Predictions

So…if you, like I….were wondering how the Jim Crow Congress was going to acknowledge how the quarter before they took over showed the highest GDP growth in over a decade (despite their constant assertions it was about to end in disaster), here’s your answer…

In a speech announcing the new Senate, which is now controlled by Republicans, [Turtle Man] said, “After so many years of sluggish growth, we’re finally starting to see some economic data that can provide a glimmer of hope; the uptick appears to coincide with the biggest political change of the Obama Administration’s long tenure in Washington: the expectation of a new Republican Congress.”

I haven’t given my year predictions yet, so today is the day.  Have to look up last year, but I was pretty dang close in the economic arena. I’m not sure yet exactly how much the GOP is going to try and screw over the economy any more, now that they can’t hide behind the slim D Senate majority, which makes the prospects really good for nothing happening in Washington.  Growth could push 4%, if we’re lucky and the crazies don’t do their thing.

However, the idiots are likely to try and extort the President for the money they have ordered him to spend (i.e. the “debt ceiling”) and the strategy they take in that arena will have impacts in the 1-1.5% area like they did in 2013.   So that 4% is pretty sloppy until I see some strategy discussion.

Oil is the big thing now. Texas is going to get crushed, as are folks who overspent. From what I’ve read, there’s about 1-2,000,000 extra barrels of oil on the world market. Until people “burn that up” as they say, prices will stay low, which (as noted and noted again) is good for most folks and bad for others.

Prices aren’t going to go up soon, so enjoy. Pleas don’t be stupid and buy a big car though, because a few years down the road, things might change. If we had sane leaders, we’d use the savings from gas/oil and invest even more in the solar/wind arena. Energy is life for an economy, and lower gas prices make for easier to move goods, which is cheaper good in today’s global economy, Buy those airline stocks with that oil stock money.

The U.S. does seem poised to reap continued benefits from China’s pollution and Europe’s…intransigence. Putin is a wild card, as per. Obama’s cool has been great against his (to us) aggression. Cuba is going to be fun to watch. A couple of full tourist seasons and their per capita will triple. How the commies deal with the wealth can be interesting. Trustafarians on a country-wide level.

So let’s get it on, shall we?

The Panderific Rand “Pander” Paul Gears up for 2016

January 6, 2015   Rand Paul is working hard to polish his pro-Israel credentials.

Hours before meeting on Tuesday with some of the nation’s most influential and well-heeled Jewish GOP donors—including billionaire Sheldon Adelson—Paul introduced his second bill in as many years to cut off American foreign aid to the Palestinian government.

The “Defend Israel by Defunding Palestinian Foreign Aid Act of 2015” would cut off funding for the Palestinian government so long as it seeks recognition in the International Criminal Court, according to a Paul aide. The measure comes in addition to Paul’s “Stand with Israel Act,” introduced last year, which would end U.S. aid until the Palestinian Authority agreed to a cease-fire and recognized the state of Israel.

via Rand Paul Offers Another Pro-Israel Bill to Cut Palestinian Aid – NationalJournal.com.

It would be harder to find a more disingenuous  politicians than Rand Paul. Not only has he been busted for plagiarizing, he’s been busted for pandering before too.

His dad was crazy and had ideas that had already been tried and failed spectacularly, but at least he had some integrity (well, outside the whole denying the newsletters with his name and signature on them).  Hrrm…on second thought, he is a fitting son.

I don’t think he’ll do much in the 2016 primaries, there are faaar too many issues where he panders the wrong way for the Teahadi base.   As a matter of fact, I kind of wonder why he’s even mentioned in the Presidential discussions.   I guess it’s a holdover from his dad running for like 20 years.

Presidents and the Economy

So is the president responsible for the accelerating recovery? No. Can we nonetheless say that we’re doing better than we would be if the other party held the White House? Yes. Do those who were blaming Mr. Obama for all our economic ills now look like knaves and fools? Yes, they do. And that’s because they are.

via Presidents and the Economy – NYTimes.com.

Nice summation of a basic rant re: Obama.  Now that Obama has achieved all of the economic goals of the Republicans in the 2012 election one would think there would be a chastised tone coming from the folks who were so terribly wrong.

However, because our media system does a fantastically horrible job of educating the populace about reality, the GOP has actually gained seats based on the results their constituents *believe* Obama has gotten, which have very little in common with the actual results.

Anyway, it’s a fun dynamic to watch, although a tad bit frustrating from the rational actor viewpoint.

The Jeb Bush Train Commences

Yea, this sums up the Jeb train…

This is what voters will be subjected to for the next 22 months: A candidate desperate to please and to be understood, taking up the people’s time to get his message out over and over again, in different forms until someone applauds it.

Jeb Bush is like a corporate-created product that’s in the middle of a consumer focus group, looking for some sign of “like.”

I mean, when you are working from the assumption that you are better brother to be President than the last one, it’s just a matter of trying that key until it fits, because if Georgie could do it….

But anyway, as to Jeb’s comments, here is the crux of his argument.

“I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue – including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.”

The problem here is that “respect” is not shown to one side in this debate. We could have a situation where all marriages are respected, but one side doesn’t want that. Instead we have this kind of “you must to be tolerant of my intolerance!!” rhetorical jujitsu that makes up the core of modern conservative thought.   (It should also be noted, this statement was released in part because Bush’s previous stance of not being a bigot didn’t fly with the Tea Derpers).

This isn’t an issue where “agree to disagree” works, as one sides wants to *literally* take rights away from the other and that other side *literally* just wants to be treated equally. It’s not apples and oranges, it’s Assholes and Americans.