The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » Education » math-teach

Notice: We are no longer accepting new posts, but the forums will continue to be readable.

Topic: An Open Letter to Arne Duncan
Replies: 10   Last Post: Mar 25, 2010 8:56 PM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
GS Chandy

Posts: 8,307
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: An Open Letter to Arne Duncan
Posted: Mar 25, 2010 8:51 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Kirby Urner posted Mar 26, 2010 12:52 AM:
> > Maybe I'm being unfair to him, but I don't think GW
> > Bush ever expressed a desire to close Gitmo.

> Yes, he did actually, several times. Here's a NYT
> citation to back my point:
> s.html

Possibly you are correct. Let me re-examine. (Though it will be very difficult indeed to do without GWB as a figure who wanted to be Hitler but failed).
> The USA public self-indulges itself in imagining the
> "leader of the free world" is this really powerful
> job, forgetting all these DC people come out of the
> woodwork, speaking anonymously yet officially (much of
> the time) on behalf of the president, steering pretty
> much without regard for any "commander in chief"
> rhetoric.

This we know - isn't that always the case? That was indeed the case for the Germans under Hitler too.
> So what GWB wanted it closed? He was a media
> creation, a figurehead, said so himself.

He also said (doubtless at another time when he'd forgotten the figurehead admission): "I am the President. I am the decider..." (words to that effect).
> On the brink of the invasion, he told the Iraqi
> people not to destroy oil wells. To me, that was a
> clear bone to those saying it was about oil, who quoted
> it with glee. He was giving legitimacy to their point
> of view, his job as the president.
> Per 'Marching Towards Hell', the rest of the world,
> not just Islamic segments, are eager to engage USAers in
> real debate as to what they might be up to, what their
> plan is, but that's hard to accomplish given the
> hunkered down know-nothing attitude, leaving it to
> leaders to maybe handle the problems, ready to whine and
> complain if things don't come up roses.
> What's called "being cynical" is this childish
> projection of some Great Father image on the presidency,
> a self-infantilization encouraged by the "imperial
> president" pomp and circumstance, which really
> started getting out of hand right after Eisenhower.

You're right here, i believe: the Vietnam war, for instance, actually started (probably) when Jack Kennedy ordered 'advisors' into Vietnam (or possibly even earlier?)
> An imperial presidency is what Eisenhower's military-
> industrial complex needed, to project that
> "superpower" image, which the American people bought
> into, hook, line and sinker (still do, most of 'em).
> Also to GWB's credit, he tried his best to stage a
> 'Mission Accomplished' event that might, in a
> parallel universe, have signaled it was time to come
> home.

That foray of his (onto the USS "Abraham Lincoln", was it?), all dressed up in his pilot fancy dress, with cod-piece and all, to me signals GWB's inner man just about most accurately. As I say, I may be mistaken - but I do take your point that US citizens are simultaneously victim to and promoters of this image of the 'imperial presidency'.
> His administration had promised a short war, a kind of
> blitz, and this was getting towards the point where now
> was the time to tie it off, were those promises to be
> kept.
> But the "cynics" were all about how he looked like a
> strutting dweeb with a cod piece, plus he'd been like
> a draft dodger re the craziness of Vietnam etc., hiding
> out in the Guard. Strange to hear the political left
> getting into celebrating Vietnam war heroes, making more
> of Kerry in a swift boat than Kerry in a tent on the
> Mall, protesting the same war. How to have it both
> ways?
> If you go back in the archive here, I've always
> defended GWB's not rushing off to Vietnam. Charlie
> Clemens, combat pilot, reached the same decision (to not
> fly combat missions, having seen what was really going
> down under Nixon) only to end up in an Air Force mental
> hospital, whereas George got to be prez.

I believe you're giving GW Bush too much credit here, likening him to Charlie Clemens (of whom I believe I had read some very good things).
> Clemens eventually got an MD, became a doctor.
> You maybe saw the movie 'Why We Fight'?

Not yet, but I shall try to get hold of it.
> This one
> starts with Eisenhower on national TV warning the people
> they were in danger of entering a long dark tunnel under
> the rule of this so-called military-industrial complex
> (a psychological complex as much as anything, a
> pathology), and sure enough, we now have a population
> that basically has no clue why it fights, and yet it
> does so, draining its resources, destroying its
> international credit rating, squandering its children,
> obliterating its future.

And obliterating the future - if any - of the rest of the world at the same time. But I observe that we in India too - and probably the people in most nations - have very similar notions. An adequate education into reality is what's needed everywhere - and nowhere do we see that need being satisfied, alas!

> Lots of books already on the shelves, chronicling
> this sad and tragic chapter.
> The world is hoping the pathetic beast will wake up
> from this nightmare, thought the election of Obama was a
> good sign, but the blundering forward still continues,
> pretty much without justification or rationale. I don't
> blame the White House though.

I have the nightmare vision that nothing can stop this nightmare rush towards the abyss - not for the US alone, but for humankind as a whole.
> Lets go back to those math teachers, denying students
> their American heritage. Their geometry books are
> just pathetic drivel at this point. Where's the
> geography?
> Where's the latitude / longitude stuff? Where's the
> spatial geometry beyond a few silly volume formulas
> and no mention of tetrahedral accounting?
> How could anyone govern a people this willfully dumb,
> this unwilling to reflect? Obama gets my respect and
> admiration for even trying.

Except that, in my view, 'trying' is simply not good enough. (As is evident from his 1-year history as POTUS).

How to get to convincing people at large that it is they themselves - NOT their 'leaders', by any stretch of imagination!! - that have got to set things right. This they possibly could do (if it's not too late already - some claim that 1960-70 was the last historical period when it was not too late, and sometimes I feel these doomsayers may well be right). Anyway, whatever point of our time-line we on now, it has to be people themselves at large who have to set things right - by asking themselves appropriate questions, constructing an adequately real picture of the world. I've got to the OPMS thus far, which, adequately developed, could help them do some part at least of that job (I feel).


Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2018. All Rights Reserved.