MALALA, MATTHEWS AND MADDOW: Rachel Maddow’s transfusion from Fox!


Part 4—Satya shortfalls: Our broken intellectual culture is badly in need of transfusions.

In part for that reason, we were thrilled when we watched the tape of the United Nations address Malala Yousafzai offered last July.

“I’m not against anyone,” this very unusual person said, and the emphasis was hers. She went on to define her spiritual/political lineage.

We were pleased and impressed by what we saw. Malala had just turned 16 as she defined this heritage:
MALALA (7/12/13): Dear sisters and brothers! I am not against anyone.

Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban, or any other terrorist group.

I am here to speak for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists.

I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there was a gun in my hand and he was standing in front of me, I would not shoot him.

This is the compassion I have learned from Mohamed, the prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha.

This is the legacy of change I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

This is the philosophy of nonviolence that I have learned from Gandhiji, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa.

And this is the forgiveness that I have learned from my father and from my mother.

We’ll buy all those basic ideas! On our cable “news channels,” of course, the values are often quite different.

On cable, the glory of being against someone is the basic product. Much as Hannity does on Fox, Rachel Maddow trains us in this stance every night of the week.

Maddow doesn’t proceed in the ranting manner of Lawrence of Dorchestia and Chris Matthews. That said, we were struck, this Monday night, by the unfortunate tone of her program.

With admiration, we had viewed that U.N. address a number of times this weekend. We returned to Maddow’s ocean of snark—and to her satya shortfall!

What is a satya shortfall? Wandering souls, let’s review:

Malala affirmed “the philosophy of nonviolence” she had learned from Gandhi. In Stride Toward Freedom, Dr. King describes the way he was led to Gandhi’s teachings when he was still a young man.

It’s commonly said that Gandhi promulgated “eleven vows.” Because we don’t know a great deal about Gandhi, we haven’t linked to any particular account of those “vows,” although they’re easily googled.

That said, one such vow was the vow of satya, commonly rendered as “truth.” We’d say that Maddow, not unlike Hannity, has a rather constant shortfall in this area. It seems designed to help us achieve a heightened state of being against.

Should our culture get back on Satya Road? The leading authority on Gandhi’s life has this to say about the general topic:
WIKIPEDIA: Gandhi dedicated his life to the wider purpose of discovering truth, or Satya. He tried to achieve this by learning from his own mistakes and conducting experiments on himself. He called his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth.


The essence of Satyagraha (a name Gandhi invented meaning "adherence to truth") is that it seeks to eliminate antagonisms without harming the antagonists themselves and seeks to transform or "purify" it to a higher level. A euphemism sometimes used for Satyagraha is that it is a "silent force" or a "soul force" (a term also used by Martin Luther King Jr. during his famous "I Have a Dream" speech). It arms the individual with moral power rather than physical power.
Say what? Dr. King referred to that old Satyagraha during his most famous speech?

For ourselves, we sometimes think we see the “moral power” draining from Maddow. The reasons include her endless snark and her frequent lack of satya.

The snark is constant on Maddow’s program; it’s always aimed at The Others. She loves to comment on flip-flops by Them while ignoring the flip-flops by Us.

We liberals tend to love her snark; it signals that we’re The Good People. On the down side, this tends to enhance those “antagonisms,” the ones Gandhi sought to eliminate.

Beyond that, the satya shortfalls are frequent on Maddow’s program. Last evening, her first five minutes was soaked in one such shortfall. On the brighter side, we got to hear constant references to the Confederate flag, and to dreams of secession being held by the very bad Other Tribe.

This made us feel like we’re the good people. Did viewers realize that Rachel’s satya may have been slipping a tad?

Good God, those shortfalls! Last week, we watched Maddow do her third complete report about the “voter purge” in Virginia. We wondered why we hadn’t seen much about this “purge” in the Washington Post, which has generally been pretty tough about efforts at voter suppression.

We searched the Post and sure enough! There had been a rather basic shortfall in Maddow’s reports, although this shortfall had of course served a good tribal cause.

That said, what does it mean to be “against” people in the way Malala rejected? To puzzle that out, consider Maddow’s brain-dead reports this week about Rand Paul’s “plagiarism.”

In fairness, there is no doubt that some speech writer for Paul copied two passages from Wikipedia. In each case, the passage was nothing more than a summary of the plot of a well-known movie.

That’s a very dumb thing to do, but it’s thoroughly, screamingly insignificant. Unless you’re trying to teach cable viewers how to be against the other tribe, full satya be danged.

Hannity brings this destructive culture to Them; Maddow brings it to Us. All week long, she has obsessed on this utterly trivial point, training us to be “against” in the dumbest way possible.

Monday evening, we were struck by the difference in tone between Malala’s speech and Maddow’s program. Malala tracks her tone to Gandhi. Let’s hear a bit more from the leading authority on his beliefs and ideals:
WIKIPEDIA: Gandhi influenced important leaders and political movements. Leaders of the civil rights movement in the United States, including Martin Luther King, James Lawson, and James Bevel, drew from the writings of Gandhi in the development of their own theories about non-violence. King said, "Christ gave us the goals and Mahatma Gandhi the tactics."...

In his early years, the former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was a follower of the non-violent resistance philosophy of Gandhi. Bhana and Vahed commented on these events as "Gandhi inspired succeeding generations of South African activists seeking to end White rule. This legacy connects him to Nelson a sense Mandela completed what Gandhi started."

...In 1931, notable European physicist Albert Einstein exchanged written letters with Gandhi, and called him "a role model for the generations to come" in a later writing about him. Einstein said of Gandhi:

“Mahatma Gandhi's life achievement stands unique in political history. He has invented a completely new and humane means for the liberation war of an oppressed country, and practised it with greatest energy and devotion. The moral influence he had on the consciously thinking human being of the entire civilized world will probably be much more lasting than it seems in our time with its overestimation of brutal violent forces. Because lasting will only be the work of such statesmen who wake up and strengthen the moral power of their people through their example and educational works. We may all be happy and grateful that destiny gifted us with such an enlightened contemporary, a role model for the generations to come.

“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood.”
If anyone doubts that such a one as Maddow walks the earth, they can always change the channel and watch an hour of Hannity.

We know, we know—it’s not the same thing! It’s not the same because our tribe is moral, correct and good!

We’ll only say that our failing culture is badly in need for transfusion. Malala transfuses from the Great Souls.

Is Maddow transfusing from Fox?


  1. Part 4 in which we learn how horrible, awful Rachel Maddow is compared to Malala because Maddow is "against" so many people.

    Without, of course, uttering a single word "against" Rachel Maddow.

    Seriously, Bob. Get help.

    1. And this morning he probably championed freedom while approving of a compulsory income tax, and contemplated the benefits of jogging while standing under the shower.


    2. CM: you calling someone else a hypocrite - Priceless!

    3. Actually, his complaint against Maddow is lack of truth, not just being "against" with her snark. That is pretty bad in a journalist because they are supposed to be giving truthful information to people.

    4. Anon12:18, I wasn't calling anyone a hypocrite, I was parodying your argument.

    5. Actually, Anon12:20, Maddow does what Hannity does in being unable to resist casting aspersions on the opposition based on tenuous ground.

      Turning rank-file conservatives into Langoliers is the biggest MSNBC past-time. Hannity is less focused on doing that to the side's everyday folk, but this may because he doesn't have any of MSNBC's talking-head intellectual heft in pulling that off.

  2. I think it's about time to pass the collection plates.

    1. Frankly, I'm wondering why you guys aren't more concerned about Hannity.


    2. No, I actually do visit Hannity's Web site. It's also full of mindless, unquestioning followers such as yourself.

    3. Why would you bother? Aren't they doing honest and un-hypocritical polemics? The sort that you like and think is necessary?

    4. BTW, Anon12:40, I am a conservative. I don't care if Somerby knocks my ideological beliefs and heroes till the cows come home, that doesn't prohibit me from being thrilled with anyone who recognizes that our cultural elites have abandoned us for narcissism.

      On other hand, you can stomach a critique of Maddow.

      Whose the unquestioning follower?

    5. YOU are!

      And who's the typo prone commenter?


    6. Ummm Cecelia? Somerby hardly knocks your ideological beliefs. Quite the contrary. He has become a rather reliable purveyor of right-wing spin as he masquerades as a "liberal" pretending to lecture other "liberals" on how to behave properly.

      After all, Bob's got to find an audience somewhere. Might as well be the self-proclaimed "conservatives" such as yourself who just lap this up.

  3. As Bob lectures his congregation never to be "against" Bob himself models how not to be "against" with his following descriptions of Maddow and her work:

    "ocean of snark"

    "satya shortfall"

    "designed to help us achieve a heightened state of being against"

    "moral power draining from Maddow"

    "endless snark"

    "frequent lack of satya"


    "training us to be against"

    "the dumbest way possible"

    "a very dumb thing to do"

    1. Are you suggesting that during the time of King,mothers couldn't champion King and his philosophy to their children and point out that Bill, their next door neighbor, was wrong in his nonsupport?

      This woman couldn't say that Bill's arguments were specious and in bad faith without it being contradictory to King's philosophy?

      How long will you persist in such an idiotic and bad faith contrivance because you think the blogger should be paying more attention to spanking the true bad guys?

    2. Not even a nice try, Cecelia.

      The point that you continue to willfully ignore is that Somerby is guilty of the very practices he is quick to condemn in others.

      Take off the blinders, dear child, and take a good look. Is this really the guy you want to do your thinking for you?

      And I don't give a damn who he "spanks." We are now in the Part 4 of his holding up a wonderful young woman and her wonderful speech as examples for people whom Somerby himself is clearly "against."

      Once again, he doesn't give a tinker's damn about Malala or her words, or he would at least make some effort to model and even perhaps correct his own behavior.

    3. In other words, the only argument you have IS to suggest that it's contradictory to laud the philosophy of MLK and to point out its opposite.

      You must actually argue that it's hypocritical to contrast the way good cultural leaders then embraced an uplifting and uniting philosophy, with the way our cultural leaders act today.

      Somerby has used The Great Souls as a contrast to our current elite ideological mercenaries, and you've used them only to call him a hypocrite for that.

      In the process of arguing it you've turned the philosophy into an illogical insipid mishmash.

      How could that be worth it to you?

    4. Remember, children:

      You *can't* agree with Somerby, for if you do, you you are letting him "do your thinking for you."

      You must instead, thoughtfully, agree with the douchebag troll.

    5. Cecelia, even you have to see that Somerby does more than merely "point out its opposite."

      He does so with a venom and obsession that he claims to despise.

    6. Oh, and this is rich:

      "Somerby has used The Great Souls as a contrast to our current elite ideological mercenaries, and you've used them only to call him a hypocrite for that."

      No, dear child, I call Somerby a hypocrite for citing the "Great Souls" then writing a blog that drips daily with scorn, sarcasm and venom against a handful of selected targets with whom he is obsessed, and who tend to be younger, more successful, and more female than he.

      You see, I happen to be kinda funny this way. When my preacher preaches tolerance, I'd kinda like it if he practices it.

      You, of course, would never think to hold your guru to standards that he sets for others.

    7. Good to see you guys have wisely moved on from arguing that it's hypocrisy to urge "the children" toward the historical good by contrasting it with the currently bad, to focusing on matters of tone.

      What I wouldn't give to see Somerby oblige you by discussing tribalism and the moral pitfalls of our elites in the most delicate manner possible.

      I doubt you'd be much happier with that, and not for the obvious reason that such a piece would come off as the funniest and snarkiest snark parody imaginable.

    8. BTW, it's very possible that Hillary Clinton will be running for prez in 2016.

      Why have you whacked-out warriors written off such an able admirer and defender of the Clintons?

      Aren't you trading off a real asset for a standard of utter partisan purity?

      Is that a bit TOO zealotous for even you trolls?

    9. Bob's pox on all their houses has a point. Unlike the rubes who want to enable millionaires Maddow and Hannity who have no point, ever, aside from flattering and validating their dull, stupid viewers.

    10. Aren't you trading off a real asset for a standard of utter partisan purity?

      No, it's not about partisan purity. It's simply that they don't mind undermining a chance of a positive electoral outcome in favor of defending the really important thing, which is preserving their self-esteem by shielding from criticism idiots who shout "YOU'RE GOOD AND THEY'RE BAD" to them each night.

    11. "aside from flattering and validating their dull, stupid viewers."

      Yes, and aren't we ever so glad that we, Bob's loyal readers, are nothing like those "dull, stupid viewers."

    12. Yes, Cecelia. It is simply awful to be "focusing on matters of tone."

      So what do you make of this above passage from Somerby:

      "Monday evening, we were struck by the difference in tone between Malala’s speech and Maddow’s program."

      Remember, not struck what either one actually said. Just "the difference in tone."

    13. I didn't say a focus on tone was "awful", l pointed out that you have moved your goalpost because the other was too far a stretch.

      Frankly, the examples that were quoted as being nothing short of venomous are a pretty far piece away too.

      You've changed from arguing that it's hypocritical to point out how our elites contrast now with The Great Souls, to suggesting that pointing out snark is...wait for it...snark.
      ocean of snark"

      "satya shortfall"

      "designed to help us achieve a heightened state of being against"

      "moral power draining from Maddow"

      "endless snark"

      "frequent lack of satya"


      "training us to be against"

      "the dumbest way possible"

      "a very dumb thing to do"

      Oh, the humanity!

      I see a lot playfulness and humor here, along with some sharp sarcasm, and a lot of trenchant observations.

      Venom, no.

      For that you Truth Seeker blog-beaters must look into your own souls.

    14. Well, hell, are they THAT insecure, Anon4:27pm?

      Hey, Trolls, you don't need ole Lawrence and Rachel's pricey reassurance that you're the only smart and truly moral people in the country.

      You'll always have Hollywood for that!

    15. "I see a lot playfulness and humor here, along with some sharp sarcasm, and a lot of trenchant observations."

      Oh really? Now suppose I told you that I also see a lot of "playfullness and humor" in Maddow as well?

      Obviously, that can't be! After all, Somerby has proclaimed it "an ocean of snark" and that's all it can ever be!

      Day after day after day, Somerby launches attacks AGAINST Maddow. And Dowd. And Ripley. And Collins. And O'Donnell. And Matthews. Always in the most condescending, personal terms.

      And now he lectures us to be more like Malala and never be "against" anyone.

      Cecelia, you are either incredibly stupid not to see the hypocrisy before your very eyes, or you are willfully ignoring it.

      I'll be kind like Malala and King and Gandhi before he, give you the benefit of the doubt and call it willfull ignorance.

    16. Oh, and Cecelia? Please don't be dishonest and say that the above is any sort of defense of Maddow, Dowd, et al.

      But be forewarned. Even for me, the sport of picking Somerby's low-hanging fruits of his hypocrisy and watching his devoted followers go into all sorts of conniptions will one day lose its novelty and appeal in this vast, wonderful world yet to be explored.

      Then you'll be here all by yourself, still trying feverishly to get Somerby's attention and getting no replies at all.

      Except, perhaps, from Bob's newest fan, Lionel.

    17. Anon6:25pm, with your logic Jesus' condemnation of the Pharisees would have been a contradiction with loving your neighbor.

      The lunch counter protests a hypocritical intrusion upon the rights of an individual you averred to love.

      Malala's use of the word terrorist as a term for some taliban opponents, would be personally motivated slam.

      You are sorely in need of both logic and perspective.

      Anon6:31pm, Somerby has given no indication whatsoever that he has anything but a Yankee (in the sense of Easterner) suspicion of compliments and wordy support.

      It's far more liberating to know that he doesn't read the comment section. And if he does, that he does not respond.

      However, I do appreciate your living up to #1 on my list of what trolls do.

      That is that trolls INVARIABLY think that they are the creative adorable little lights in the dark world of their target blogs.

      Number #2 is that they will positively throw their backs and knees out in making sure that you understand who they are and that you're being trolled.

      Trolls always consider their own dishonorable perfidy to be a gigging of everyone else.

      That's why they are people who become trolls.

  4. People are stretching the concept of plagiarism a bit far, wikipedia is not copyrighted, is it? Of course, Paul Rand (or his speech writer) should have given credit, however. It is all part of a bigger pattern of villainous dishonesty.

    Excerpt: Rand Paul was talking with University of Louisville medical students when one of them tossed him a softball. "The majority of med students here today have a comprehensive exam tomorrow. I'm just wondering if you have any last-minute advice."(Steve Brodner)

    "Actually, I do," said the ophthalmologist-turned-senator, who stays sharp (and keeps his license) by doing pro bono eye surgeries during congressional breaks. "I never, ever cheated. I don't condone cheating. But I would sometimes spread misinformation. This is a great tactic. Misinformation can be very important."

    He went on to describe studying for a pathology test with friends in the library. "We spread the rumor that we knew what was on the test and it was definitely going to be all about the liver," he said. "We tried to trick all of our competing students into over-studying for the liver" and not studying much else.

    "So, that's my advice," he concluded. "Misinformation works."

    1. There is a distinction between plagiarism and copyright infringement. A copyright isn't necessary for a work to be plagiarized.

      That Bob, a former teacher, would tolerate a practice from a U.S. Senator as "trivial" that he would flunk any of his former students over in a heartbeat speaks to Bob's priorities, which is to find yet another club with which to beat Maddow.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. An important part of plagiarism is that you claim the work as your own. I hardly see how anyone is claiming those summaries as their own work, intentionally misleading others. It is trivial, and your attempt at accusing Bob of hypocrisy here, like just about every other time, fails.

    4. Yes, ask Joe Biden how trivial lifting entire passages in his speeches could be. It ended his last, best bid for president in 1988.

      As for the Rand Paul case, at least Biden's speechwriter did some research and found passages in speeches from a Labour Party figure in Great Britain.

      Paul's speechwriter merely cut and pasted from Wikipedia. How hard would it have been to reword it? Obviously too hard for his speechwriter, assuming it was someone else.

      Now Paul could have handled this easily with, "I didn't realize it was taken verbatim from Wikipedia" and stopped doing it.

      Instead, he decided to use it as a weapon to rally his base against the hated, loathed Rachel Maddow, a fight that Maddow surely welcomes.

      And a fight that Somerby now has joined. On Rand Paul's behalf.

      Trivial? Inconsequential? Sure, at one point. Until Paul got really stupid about it.

      But what's a little satya among friends, right? After all, I'm sure he's got the anti-Maddow fund-raising letter in the mail.

  5. I suppose we all need to draw inspiration from others to support us in our struggles, but this business of canonizing saints bothers me. I don't see Malala, Anne Frank, Gandhi, MLK, or Mandela as perfect because they each have done things I wouldn't consider admirable (yes, even the children). Choosing to admire and take strength from the admirable acts and qualities of these people is fine, but becoming blind to their faults leads us to think that if someone is flawed there cannot be anything admirable about them, then they are not worth following in any respect, and they should just sit in a corner with a cloth over their heads. That is what I hear in this ceaseless railing at Somerby for his supposed hypocrisy -- taking the criticism at face value and not as a campaign to run him off the internet or alienate his audience before his messages sink in.

    I am mistrustful of hero worship because heros are always flawed people. You don't have to be a hero to do more good than evil in the world, to strive toward your better self, as best you perceive it. I think the message of forgiveness is important, including self-forgiveness, and I would add Hillary and Bill Clinton to Bob's list because they are able to transcend anger at the way they've been treated because they have adopted compassion toward those who have opposed them.

    Some people here want to withhold compassion from conservatives and supposed evil-doers (such as Zimmerman, Hannity, Rush, Rand) but that results in a corrosive anger that is damaging to oneself, to the soul and that saps strength to continue a long-term struggle. Maddow is wrong because she does not understand that and does nothing to communicate it to her audience. I doubt she has a firm commitment to change and I think she places highest priority on her personal success and her private life, not on social justice and change. That is certainly her right, but she then has to pretend to a stance she does not hold and I think she comes across as snarky and phony because she is adopting a facade of anger she thinks her audience wants or resonates to, not showing any leadership in a shared struggle. That makes her an entertainer, not a leader. Should we be expecting folks like her to be our leaders or does leadership need to come from outside the media, from people like Bob and those in organizations separate from other purposes?

    1. So why can't you extend this same compassion and understanding to Maddow, rather than accuse her of the lowest, basest possible motives?

    2. You can feel compassion for someone and still be critical of them.

    3. Then I feel compassion for Bob Somerby.

  6. 34 replies so far and 11 from Cecelia.

    Bob is certainly happy your recovering is going well.

    1. Maybe she gets paid per reply, like hits on a website.

    2. I'm thinking of setting up my own Paypal, Irishguy.

  7. Bob frequently accuses liberals of not really caring about how well minority children are educated. This post and comments exemplify his point. Rand Paul cited the movie Stand and Deliver when he was discussing how to make education more effective for certain minority groups. Does anyone care whether his approach better serve these children? After all we elect representatives whose primary job to make the government function well. Rachel Maddow and her loyal supporters evidently don't care about minority education. They're interested only in finding a way to criticize a conservative.

    1. Does Rand Paul think that many Hispanic aerospace engineers are going to quit their jobs to become high school math teachers in inner city schools, the way Jaime Escalante did? That solution doesn't scale.

    2. And the sad fact that Paul's description of the movie came straight from Wikipedia would leave a thinking person to wonder if Paul ever saw "Stand and Deliver."

      But then again, does Rand Paul ever really know anything about what he is babbling about?

    3. "After all we elect representatives whose primary job to make the government function well."

      That's funny, Rand Paul's position on education is to abolish the Dept. of Education and he doesn't have much use for public schools either.

    4. His concern is with how well the students get educated. He believes the Dept. of Education makes education worse and vouchers would make education better.

    5. You may be surprised that all the money spent by the Dept. of Education could actually make education worse. This result could have been predicted from Gammon's Law.

      Gammon’s Law” originated with a study of Britain’s National Health Service done by Dr. Max Gammon...

      In a bureaucratic system, increases in expenditure are paralleled by a corresponding decrease in production.

      Translated from the economist-ese, that means in a bureaucratic system, the more you spend on something, the less you get of it.

    6. Except, of course and as TDH notes, US students' test scores have been rising over the years that the DoEd has been spending that money.

      Go figure.

    7. deadrat -- See

    8. "His concern is with how well the students get educated."

      Horseshit. Just like all these republicans in congress are concerned that the ACA website isn't working perfectly. As a matter of principle, he doesn't believe the federal government should be in the education business. Your perfect modern day Cro-Magnon republican. I think Charles Pierce said it best, "Beware when Republicans say they care"

      So when you wrote, "we elect representatives whose primary job (is) to make the government function..." I had to laugh. No, we elect Democrats to make the government function, you elect Teahadists to remove as many functions from government as possible. Senator Ayn Rand Paul wishes to abolish the Department of Education and leave education to states and local governments. Good plan for the 21st century. Let us go backwards.

    9. Bwahahahahahaha! Yeah, that's true correlation does not imply causation. But that's not my point, which is to ridicule your argument (blindly following Rand) that correlation implies lack of causation. In this case, the DoEd spends money, scores go up, but that's evidence for getting rid of the spending.

      In fairness to Rand, that's not something he'd argue. He's against federal spending on education because he's against federal spending, period. This is a matter of (benighted) principle with him and is uncorrelated (if you will) with any appeals to actual evidence.

      I expect you're not willing to go that far, so you claim that the DoEd makes "education worse." You have no evidence for that, you don't even try to marshal any, and the scores don't support your case. But what's evidence when you can quote Gammon's Law?

      Is it any surprise that you've misunderstood Gammon's Law and merely parroted something you've read? Gammon's law states that increased funding to a bureaucracy decreases the bureaucracy's output. The output of the DoEd consists of grants to students, teachers, and schools. If Gammon's law were operating, you'd be able to show that increased spending on the DoEd resulted in fewer dollars spent on these grants, with the "missing' money spent on the bureaucratic functions and functionaries. For all I know, that could be true, but that's not your claim. Your claim is that the spending makes education worse, i.e., that the more we spend the dumber the students turn out to be. That's a more difficult proposition to show, especially since the measure we have, test scores, show otherwise.

    10. mm -- I don't know what your experience is, but my experience is that organizations run best when decisions and responsibility and accountability are as close as possible to what's being dealt with. So, a local school and a local teacher generally do better by their students than an enormous bureaucracy in Washington. A woman and her doctor make a better decision regarding abortion than some Washington bureaucracy. IMHO, mm, the centralized approach you favor produces a worse educational result. Now, I accept your good faith. I believe that you do want the best possible education for students. I just think you're mistaken. I wish you and people like you would accept the good faith of people who also want what's best for our students, but simply disagree with you about what approach will produce the desired result.

      deadrat -- the evidence that lower government spending is better for people can be found by comparing pairs of states or pairs of countries with similar cultures, but different governmental philosophies. e.g., Hong Kong vs. Singapore. Taiwan vs. Peoples Republic of China. East Germany vs. West Germany. California vs. Texas. In each case, people live much better lives in the one with smaller government.

    11. This article from USA Today makes the case better than I did.

      Scott, a Yale professor and no right-winger, produced a lengthy catalog of centrally planned disasters: Everything from compulsory villagization in Tanzania, to the collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union, to the "Authoritarian High Modernism" that led to immense, unlivable housing projects and the destruction of urban life in cities around the world. The book (James Scott's Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes To Improve The Human Condition Have Failed) stands as a warning to hubristic technocrats: You may think you understand how things work, and how people will respond to your carefully (or, often, not-so-carefully) laid plans, but you are likely to be wrong, and the result is likely to be somewhere between tragedy and farce. The world is more complicated than planners are capable of grasping -- and so, for that matter, are the people who inhabit it.

    12. DinC: We don't have a centralized approach to education in this country. I wish we did. Maybe then we wouldn't have to endure these religious fanatics in Texas tirelessly working to insert creationism in high school biology text books. In fact, unlike most other countries, education in the US is highly de-centralized.

      No, Rand is opposed to the department of education because he doesn't think it is constitutional and because he resents his tax dollars going to those undeserving poor people. It's really that simple. Embrace him. He speaks for you.

      The mission of the Education Department:

      1. To establish policies relating to financial aid for education, to administer distribution for these funds, and to monitor their use.

      2. To collect data and oversee research on America's schools and disseminate this information to the public.

      3. To identify major issues and problems in education and to focus atttention to these problems.

      4. To enforce federal statutes prohibiting discrimination in programs and activities receiving federal funds and to ensure equal access to education. (ED FACTS, p.1)

    13. DAinCA,

      Let me say at the outset that I accept your good faith. I think you actually believe what you say. Unfortunately, you're a deluded, gullible ignoramus. Pretty much like your hero Rand Paul, who's a self-deluded gullible ignoramus. Facts don't matter to either of you as much as pre-conceived ideology. You've proved over and over again that you don't check your sources to question the claims they feed you.

      You and RP simply believe that smaller government is always better. As with all faith, evidence is not required. I challenged you to show that Gammon's Law applies to the Department of Education, as you firmly believe. It's certainly possible that it does. To know that we'd have to determine that as the funding for the Department goes up, the money delivered in grants to individuals and institutions decreases. Has that happened? I don't know, but it's not my claim. It's yours and thus your business to know, but I think you're mystified by the question. In fact, I think you're mystified that I would find it necessary to even ask the question.

      Instead of attempting to answer a question you find superfluous, you retreat to the claim that local schools and teachers "do better by … students" than a Washington bureaucracy. But how can we measure this? Local schools teach students. Washington bureaucracies don't. It gets even worse. You think that the former West Germany was a better place to live than the former East Germany because the second had more public employees than the first. Do you suppose that the fact that one was a democracy and the other a totalitarian police state might have had something to do with it?

      (By the way, there is no "Washington bureaucracy" that makes decisions about abortions. Plenty of state bureaucracies though.)

      Do Texans live "much better lives" than Californians? Maybe that's true for those that survive infancy. Infant mortality rate in Texas, 6.17; in California, 5.11. Shall we count the number of explosive fertilizer plants in each state that are within a quarter mile of public schools? How about the number of public employees per 1000 residents? In California, the figure is about .9; in Texas, it's 1.3. Shall we use the unemployment rate? In California, it's 8.9%; in Texas, it's 6.4%. But about half the jobs created in Texas during the current depression have been in the public sector. How about FY13 budget deficit: California 16%, Texas 24%.

      It's not that you're acting in bad faith. It's not that you're stupid. You're just an ideologue.