Sunday, January 24th, 2010
Pravda is sounding like it’s old commie self. Or a campus newspaper.
President Barack Obama does not have a magic wand. Yet he is expected to be some kind of magician. President Barack Obama inherited one of the worst economic scenarios in the history of the planet. Yet he is expected to be some kind of guru. Do any of those attacking him with such venom in reputable international media outlets realise that an ideal political cycle (for implementation of policy) takes seven years, and not just one?
President Barack Obama inherited a hot potato. Not only was the United States of America’s image ruined abroad after war crimes in Serbia, the imperialistic Kosovo debacle, war crimes in the illegal war in Iraq and the decision to back the murderous war criminal Saakashvili in Georgia after 2,000 Russian civilians were murdered in the most blatant cowardly act of treachery…its economic infrastructure was at breaking point after eight years of the Bush regime and the banking and economic sectors were in free-fall.
So President Barack Obama inherited a broken nation, with a deplorable record abroad, with a need to rebuild bridges which had been systematically dynamited for eight long years with the arrogance and insolence of Messrs. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Ms. Rice. President Barack Obama inherited an internal situation bordering on a nightmare, with thrift (mortgage) institutions bankrupt, millions of people unable to repay loans, companies closing, record levels of bankruptcies.
And people expected what? A circus act? A magician? A fairy godmother?
No, a messiah. In his own words about himself:
“..generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.”
Evolution, by its very nature, is a dynamic process. But just as fluid are humankind’s efforts to understand, describe, and conceptualize that process. Out went Lamarck, in came Darwin. Mendel’s insights set the rules for genetic inheritance, then certain exceptions to Mendel’s rules materialized. So forth and so on.
The most recent, broadly recognized codification of evolutionary theory is known as the Modern Synthesis. After nearly 3 decades of theorizing, experimentation, and writing by paragons of evolutionary thought—Ronald Fisher, J.B.S. Haldane, and Sewall Wright, to name but a few—British biologist Julian Huxley cemented the term in 1942 with the publication of his book Evolution: The Modern Synthesis. The theoretical framework brought Darwin’s ideas into the 20th century and married them to the gene’s-eye-view of biology that was emerging at the start of the century, with the rediscovery of Gregor Mendel’s inheritance research.
According to the Modern Synthesis, populations containing some level of genetic variation evolve via changes in gene frequency induced mostly by natural selection. Phenotypic changes are gradual, and speciation and diversification into higher taxonomic levels come about over long periods of change. These ideas have remained largely unchallenged for more than a half-century.
But since the 1940s, science’s concept of evolutionary dynamics has, well, evolved. Indeed, these days, calling the Modern Synthesis “modern” might be a stretch.
Some evolutionary biologists say that the body of knowledge concerning evolutionary processes has simply outgrown the confines of the Modern Synthesis, which was crafted before science had a strong grasp of genomics, molecular biology, developmental biology, and other, more recently derived disciplines, such as systems biology.
When Obama looks in the mirror and asks, “Who loves you, Babe?” he can confidently answer Ellie Light.
The mysterious woman has written — at last count — at least 47 letters to the editor praising Obama to various publications. Sample:
Today, the president is being attacked as if he’d promised that our problems would wash off in the morning. He never did. It’s time for Americans to realize that governing is hard work, and that a president can’t just wave a magic wand and fix everything.
And, boy, does she ever get around. Hot Air notes:
Ms. Light always claims to be a local in these letters. Her real estate holdings are apparently prodigious, as she has claimed residences in Philadelphia, PA; Daly City, California; Mansfield, Ohio; Waynesboro, Virginia; Algoma, Wisconsin; Bangor, Maine; and dozens of other places. Who said Obama supporters were all downtrodden?
Patterico helps us wipe the smile off our faces.
Cass Sunstein has long been one of Barack Obama’s closest confidants. Often mentioned as a likely Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, Sunstein is currently Obama’s head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where, among other things, he is responsible for “overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs.” In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites — as well as other activist groups — which advocate views that Sunstein deems “false conspiracy theories” about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper’s abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.
Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.” He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). This program would target those advocating false “conspiracy theories,” which they define to mean: “an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.” Sunstein’s 2008 paper was flagged by this blogger, and then amplified in an excellent report by Raw Story’s Daniel Tencer.