LOS ANGELES STORY: Scolded for too many accurate statements!

FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 2018

Part 4—When rational animals attack:
Anthropologically speaking, it may seem like an unusual bit of behavior. In fairness, experts say the behavior in question is sometimes observed in the wild.

We refer to behavior in which Hominid A scolds Hominid B for making a statement on which the two hominids agree. Rather, for making the accurate statement too often, even though no one else will.

Yesterday, Hominid A attacked Hominid B in precisely this fashion. According to Hominid A, Hominid B has said it too often:
There's no way to erase our achievement gaps through some sort of "desegregation."
Let's be clear. Hominid A agrees with this rather obvious statement. Hominid A understands that there's no way to achieve this goal, or anything like it, though this proposed means.

Hominid A understands that this is true. It just annoys him when Hominid B keeps making this accurate statement!

Speaking as a source familiar with the thinking of Hominid B, we'll render one minor complaint. Hominid A failed to explain the reason why Hominid B keeps making this accurate statement!

In the current case, Hominid B raised this point because the New York Times, a well-known newspaper, keeps publishing news reports and opinion pieces which assert or suggest that "integration" or "desegregation" actually can solve our problems. In the course of this pursuit, Hominid B keeps asking a question which Hominid A tends to avoid:

What does it say about us when our tribal newspapers and magazines keep proposing this non-solution solution? Beyond that, what does it say about the alleged "rationality" of our alleged "human race?"

Why in the world does the New York Times keep proposing this non-solution? In line with an ancient dictum. Hominid A tends to avoid this part of the problem. That ancient dictum is this:
What occurs in the upper-end press corps stays in the upper-end press corps.
As a general matter, this dictum regulates a widespread code of silence. It very much helps explain how Donald J. Trump, our commander in chief, reached the Oval Office.

What occurs in the press corps stays in the press corps? To see this powerful dictum in action, consider today's insightful column by the New York Times' Paul Krugman.

Krugman's column concerns the long-running strategy known as "starve the beast." On its merits, the column should be quite important.

That said, you won't see the column, or the topic it discusses, discussed on your favorite "cable news" programs. On those programs, the children will be speculating about the latest emanations from the penumbra which constitutes The Chase.

(The other day, we mentioned the fact that corporate cable star John Heilemann is even beginning to dress like Shecky Greene. On today's Morning Joe, he opened with a deathless quip about the horror of subpoenas being delivered to peckers. As we've tried to tell you, this is who and what, and all, they are. We hope to be able to bring you the exact wording of this "Sheck attack" later.)

Krugman's column won't be discussed elsewhere in the press corps. On cable news, Krugman's topic is seen as boring and hard. The children prefer to gambol and play about entertaining fare.

That said, one part of Krugman's important column helps illustrate that ancient dictum. We refer, as we've done so many times, to the part of the column where Krugman, quite correctly, makes these observations:
KRUGMAN (8/24/18): Fifteen years ago I wrote a long piece titled “The Tax-Cut Con,” describing what was even then a time-honored scam; it reads almost word for word as a description of Republican strategy in 2017-18. Yet I keep reading news analyses expressing puzzlement that men who were strident deficit hawks in the Obama years so cheerfully signed on to a budget-busting tax cut under Trump. To say the obvious: These men were never deficit hawks; it was always a pose.

And the gullibility both of the news media and self-proclaimed centrists remains a remarkable story. Remember, Ryan, who was utterly orthodox in his determination to cut taxes on the rich while savaging programs for the poor and the middle class, even received an award for fiscal responsibility.
Fifteen years after he explained "starve the beast," Krugman "keeps reading news analyses expressing puzzlement" about the basic structure of the scam. He voices amazement about what he describes as "the gullibility of the news media"—though it may not be gullibility at all, it may be something else.

Having said that, how odd! Krugman links to his own 15-year-old piece, but he links to none of the gullible journalists concerning whom he complains. He names no name of any journalist. The reader to left to puzzle about who these gullible journalists are.

We've offered this complaint about Krugman many times by now. Why do we keep making this point? To answer that question, let's recall a previous time when Hominid A scolded us for repeating a point with which he himself agreed.

On that occasion, Hominid A scolded up for saying, more than once, that the mainstream press corps waged a war against Candidate Gore in the 2000 election. He seemed to agree that our observation was valid, but he'd heard us say it too many times, and it seemed to have made its way under his skin.

Why were we repeating our point? Skillfully, we explained. We had continued making this point because we couldn't get anyone else to make it! That said, it's a major part of Hard Pundit Law:

Members of the establishment press don't talk about the establishment press corps! If they do criticize the mainstream press, no actual names shall be named!

In that instance, you may know what happened. All the children kept their traps shut about the long-running press corps war directed at Clinton, Clinton and Gore. And sure enough:

When Candidate Clinton announced in 2014, this long-running mainstream war started up all over again. The children all averted their gaze, and Trump ended up in the White House!

In the current instance, why do we keep repeating our (accurate) claim about "desegregation?" Because our most foppish newspaper, the New York Times, keeps publishing news reports and opinion columns which seem to promote "desegregation" as the great solution!

We'd say it's obvious why this occurs. The poobahs of this famous newspaper neither know nor care about the kids who attend our urban schools. Meanwhile, their readers love the glorious feeling which comes with full-throated pseudo-affirmation of glorious "integration."

It makes us liberals feel smart and good. It's also inane behavior.

Hominid A didn't talk about that when he scolded us for being correct too often. The bullshit in question occurs within the establishment press, and that's where the bullshit will stay!

As he closed his piece, Hominid A asked a good question. Since it's obvious that "desegregation" won't be the answer, what will the answer be?

That question is hard to answer. In our view, reactions in Hominid A's comments illustrate how rarely we liberals ever think or talk about this.

In some ways, the answer lies within the home. In some ways, the answer lies within the community.

In some ways, the answer lies within the schools, and also within the preschools. In some ways, the answer lies within various public agencies.

But we'd start by saying this:

There will never be an answer until a serious discussion occurs. That said, it's obvious that we the liberals quit on this topic a long time ago, and that we don't have the slightest intention of returning to it, except to give voice to silly bromides designed to make us feel good.

The Times seems to know what readers want. With respect to our Los Angeles story, what do American kids really need?

That won't be discussed in the New York Times. Also, don't ask too often!

Basic question for the day: As we laugh and enjoy The Chase, how dangerous might Donald Trump be?

26 comments:

  1. "Having said that, how odd! Krugman links to his own 15-year-old piece, but he links to none of the gullible journalists concerning whom he complains. He names no name of any journalist. The reader to left to puzzle about who these gullible journalists are."

    This is said after an annoying and cumbersome introduction in which two hominids argue and neither is named. Hominid B is obviously Somerby and Hominid A is obviously Kevin Drum. It may be that Somerby doesn't wish to fight with an admired friend, or it may be that Somerby wishes to be ironic when he finally gets to his complaint -- that journalists never name each other, even when complaining about press coverage, which itself rarely happens.

    If Somerby doesn't wish to pick a fight with Drum, how is that any different than the many journalists who wish to continue their careers without alienating colleagues? Is it really necessary to know the names of people in order to consider the merits of the substantive arguments? Can't we discuss desegregation without naming names, for example?

    This discussion arose, this time around, because the NY Times was encouraging de Blasio's plan to desegregate a particular school in a specific neighborhood, where it seemed both possible and desirable to widen opportunities for minority kids. He wasn't proposing city-wide desegregation. Somerby broadened the plan to make it easier to attack, and included more cities. As I pointed out then, there are other benefits to desegregation than closing achievement gaps, social ones. Somerby doesn't appear to care about those.

    But I really cannot escape the feeling that Somerby doesn't care about Los Angeles beyond its utility in support of a larger argument about the futility of desegregation. It doesn't feel good to be a pawn in someone else's game.

    What happens if we consider the desegregation needs of the American Northwest, Idaho for example. Would it make sense to talk about integrating minorities there or should the schools be permitted to refuse entry to minority kids (if they were doing so)? Should futility of desegregation because there are too few minorities be permitted to derail inclusion of what minority kids happen to live there? This seems to be the same argument Somerby is making, except reversed. No need trying to include white kids, OK to let them self-segregate, because no matter what you do there won't be enough to create true desegregation.

    So, I'm not sure Somerby is right about this. More listening and less talking might help him deal with objections to his ideas. But Somerby doesn't read his comments section. And he doesn't seem to want to argue this with other hominids by name, so how is he any different than the journalists he derides?

    ReplyDelete
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  2. "There's no way to erase our achievement gaps through some sort of "desegregation.""

    Where is the evidence for this?

    This is Somerby's unscientific assertion. There are studies showing that there is some correlation between segregation and achievement gaps.

    Second, when Somerby quotes and critiques an op-ed like the one by Kaplan (http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/2018/08/los-angeles-story-meets-manhattan.html?m=1), his critique seems to be this statement: "the New York Times, a well-known newspaper, keeps publishing news reports and opinion pieces which assert or suggest that "integration" or "desegregation" actually can solve our problems.'

    (The term 'our problems' is ambiguous).

    But the author (Kaplan) is not implying anything about achievement gaps. She believes in integration as desirable for its own sake for reasons that aren't confined to test scores or gaps.

    You can say that integration isn't feasible in a place like LA. You can say that it's disruptive. You can say that erasing achievement gaps is a more important goal than integrating schools. You can even argue that segregation has zero impact on test scores. But you shouldn't pretend that the author believes that integration will erase achievement gaps when that isn't remotely what she claims. She is concerned with the social contract and what she calls justice.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Scolded for being too accurate? Not exactly.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "In some ways, the answer lies within the home. In some ways, the answer lies within the community.

    In some ways, the answer lies within the schools, and also within the preschools. In some ways, the answer lies within various public agencies. "

    Only a sage could come up with this level of deep thinking.

    But seriously, you want to talk about preschool? How about for starters discussing, hell, even mentioning, these articles, that tell us how preschool can improve achievement in school:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/30/us/preschool-academics-study.html

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/opinion/preschool-long-term-benefits.html

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/09/magazine/why-are-our-most-important-teachers-paid-the-least.html

    Get back with us, Bob, about how no one discusses this, won't you? It seems to be important to you to promote the idea that there is silence on this.

    ReplyDelete
  5. And as a reminder, here's the initiative of a somewhat well-known liberal concerning preschool:

    https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/obama-administration-investments-early-learning-have-led-thousands-more-children-enrolled-high-quality-preschool

    https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/13/fact-sheet-president-obama-s-plan-early-education-all-americans

    ReplyDelete
  6. So Mao is gone. Promoted to troll a more important blog? Fired for being such a lousy troll? Or just tired?

    Let's celebrate with Mozart:

    Serenade #10. The third movement, beginning at 18:15 was used very imaginatively in the film "Amadeus".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ES0Sc84RSw

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great stuff, thanks Caesar. I’ve never been to a concert like this. It’s on my bucket list. It's always good, to see people working in concert. Sometimes, even without a conductor.


      https://youtu.be/vB8F_X1HNTQ?t=186


      Cheers,
      Leroy

      Delete
    2. 24:00 minutes into your Mozart link now. Had to pause to say thanks again. Or rather, for the first time.

      Leroy

      Delete
    3. Yes, Mozart was great. I'm glad you enjoy his work. There are many fine performances free on Youtube.

      Delete
    4. Caesar, my main exposure to classical music was through bands like Yes, for example their piece that ripped off “The Big Country” theme, and bastardized Richie Havens when they covered both songs in one song, “No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed.” But it was still a good song.

      Hope you watched the link I posted. Though it seems to rip off early American (that is, immigrant) music, and transpose it to European forms, it has equal value to those classical forms. There is astounding virtuosity late in to that concert, and I literally wept when I got to the voice of Alison Krauss. Like humanity, music evolves, building on the foundations of previous generations. Check the link at 15:44

      I think Bob still speaks to that, despite his crankiness. I’m cranky too.

      Leroy

      Delete
    5. And I think hip-hop is bangin'.

      Leroy

      Delete
  7. Finally, to point out Somerby's logical flaw, he says this: "the New York Times, a well-known newspaper, keeps publishing news reports and opinion pieces which assert or suggest that "integration" or "desegregation" actually can solve our problems.'

    Again referring to Kaplan's op-Ed: That is not Kaplan's premise. She does not suggest or assert that integration can solve "our problems." Kaplan is saying that segregation is a problem that ought to be solved.

    ReplyDelete
  8. 11:47

    Ah, the plot thickens!

    “Hominid B is obviously Somerby and Hominid A is obviously Kevin Drum.”

    My theory is that Hominid A and Hominid B are actually Kevin Drum and Paul Krugman. Think about it! Isn’t it obvious? No, wait, that can’t be right…

    I have it! It could be one of Somerby’s analysts and Kevin Drum! No, that can’t be right…

    I have it! It was an analyst and Paul Krugman! No, wait…

    Bully! I have it now. It was an analyst talking to another analyst! Wait, that doesn’t make sense either… Back to the drawing board. Damn it!

    Wait… Maybe it could be one of Somerby’s analysts talking to Bob Somerby! That HAS to be it! Can’t you see it? We have Somerby now, at long last.

    Leroy


    ReplyDelete
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  10. Desegregation would still offer a host of other benefits. People would grow up a lot less ignorant about different nationalities. My religious private school had one chapter on every other religion including Taoism.

    When I went to a desgeregated public school it was really nice. People were happy. I got used to people with different names and styles.

    Imagine if the people who grow up to write for Atlantic and NY Times etc had that experience. Would they be as easy to panic?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lewis,

      You say that “[d]esegregation would still offer a host of other benefits.” This is an admirable tenet of faith, but It’s not necessarily true. You might check out the documentary “America to Me” about Oak Park and River Forest High School.

      TDH makes the point that in public school districts with near-uniform ethnic or racial populations, a “perfect” distribution of students would affect only a very small percent. With the large disparity in (NAEP) test scores, shouldn’t such school districts concentrate on closing the gaps that affect large numbers of students instead of making a small number nice and happy?

      Delete
    2. Rat:
      If you're this upset at the possibility of people being happy I think you have bigger problems than how to design a school system.

      Anyway, what Lewis was saying is empirically true. Students in integrated schools report they are happier than in segregated ones.

      Delete
    3. deadrat
      led

      "internal segregation" is when a school has a mix of Black and White students on paper but doesn't allow them to mix in classes, particularly honors classes.

      I believe you're referring to an internally segregated school.

      There are schools that have desegregated honors classes, you know, the types of students who go on to write for NY Times. That's what I'm referring to.

      Delete
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