Plus, Giuliani Unhinged and Undone: We've been reminded that Christmas will be observed on Christmas Day this year.
If Donald J. Trump is re-elected, we're reliably told that the holiday will be moved into the spring, where it will be conjoined with a new Robert E. Lee / Jackson Day. But at least for this year, the famous holiday will be observed next week, near the end of December.
With that in mind, operations have started to wind down on our sprawling campus. Concerning this week's discussion of the Naep, several questions must still be explored:
We need to explain the problems involved in making year-to-year, decade-to-decade comparisons involving the Grade 12 Naep. Beyond that, we need to explore a basic question:
Is there any possibility that Mississippi's surprising Grade 4 scores could be statistically bogus?
Also, one last point needs to be nailed down. That would concern the level of technical competence with which data from the Naep, the Pisa and the Timss are typically interpreted on the highest journalistic levels. This last topic will tell us a lot about "who we are" (in the anthropological sense) as we sit here, on the beach, awaiting Mister Trump's War.
Concerning the aforementioned Mister Trump, we note a description of the commander from Andrew Sullivan's most recent post. The description strikes us as apt:
SULLIVAN (12/20/19): The impeachment was inevitable because this president is so profoundly and uniquely unfit for the office he holds, so contemptuous of the constitutional democracy he took an oath to defend, and so corrupt in his core character that a crisis in the conflict between him and the rule of law was simply a matter of time. When you add to this a clear psychological deformation that can produce the astonishing, deluded letter he released this week in his own defense or the manic performance at his Michigan rally Wednesday night, it is staggering that it has taken this long. The man is clinically unwell, preternaturally corrupt, and instinctively hostile to the rule of law. In any other position, in any other field of life, he would have been fired years ago and urged to seek medical attention with respect to his mental health.We'll disagree with Sullivan on one point. In our view, if a person is "clinically unwell" to the degree described in that passage, we'd say that trumps the additional claim that the person is also "corrupt."
We'd say that such a person is clinically unwell, full stop. At some point, a person who is mentally ill isn't responsible for his actions in the way the rest of us are.
That said, consider what Sullivan says in that passage. He says the reigning commander in chief is subject to "a psychological deformation" which leads him to produce "astonishing, deluded" claims and to engage in "manic performances."
He says the commander is "clinically unwell" to such an extent that, in any other field of endeavor, "he would have been fired years ago and urged to seek medical attention with respect to his mental health."
We can't call that wrong! Amazingly, though, the upper-end press corps still agrees, as it has done every step of the way, that it mustn't discuss this powerful person's apparent lack of mental health and his possible cognitive impairment.
Kevin Drum has asked this week if any human society has ever been able to come to terms with an oncoming environmental catastrophe. In its explicit refusal to discuss Donald J. Trump's psychological and cognitive health, the upper-end press corps has shown us that our species is strongly disinclined to confront at least one other type of visible disorder.
Rather plainly, the press corps plans to maintain this group silence right to the end of the game. Meanwhile, along came Giuliani this week, exhibiting his own craziest conduct to date.
Giuliani's performance was simply astounding. But this apparent craziness has been smoothed on cable too. Our multimillionaire TV stars simply aren't willing to go there. They've been told they mustn't discuss such matters, and their obedience skills are vast.
Future Anthropologists Huddled in Caves tell us this is simply the way our limited species was wired. They've discussed our species in the past tense, as they despondently do.
We'll finish our Naep reveries at some point next week. We'll also call your attention to two different ways Elizabeth Warren's ancestry issues were summarized yesterday—on the one hand, in the Washington Post, then too in the New York Times.
If Donald J. Trump is re-elected, will we eventually celebrate Christmas / Jackson / Lee Day? That's what we've been reliably told, though we can't swear the prediction is accurate.
At any rate, you can watch Giuliani's crazy behavior at this, the link we provided above. Most grotesquely, he's making his deeply crazy remarks in front of a bunch of students.
Is Giuliani crazy too? Well-mannered, obedient TV stars have been told that they must never ask.