Corruption keeps us safe and warm

Smart Kids

The Secret to Raising Smart Kids

Our society worships talent, and many people assume that possessing superior intelligence or ability—along with confidence in that ability—is a recipe for success. In fact, however, more than 30 years of scientific investigation suggests that an overemphasis on intellect or talent leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unwilling to remedy their shortcomings.

The result plays out in children like Jonathan, who coast through the early grades under the dangerous notion that no-effort academic achievement defines them as smart or gifted. Such children hold an implicit belief that intelligence is innate and fixed, making striving to learn seem far less important than being (or looking) smart. This belief also makes them see challenges, mistakes and even the need to exert effort as threats to their ego rather than as opportunities to improve. And it causes them to lose confidence and motivation when the work is no longer easy for them.

As most visitors will not click over they don’t suggest that parents totally forgo praise. Only that parents might be better off teaching their children how to deal with making mistakes and dealing constructively with failure. If all you’ve ever been told is that you’re the smarest kid around, when you eventually fail at something as you inevitably will you’re more likely not to try and figure out why and work harder, but become less motivated because you had been lead to believe that smart people like you can handle anything.

The mastery-oriented children, on the other hand, think intelligence is malleable and can be developed through education and hard work. They want to learn above all else. After all, if you believe that you can expand your intellectual skills, you want to do just that. Because slipups stem from a lack of effort, not ability, they can be remedied by more effort. Challenges are energizing rather than intimidating; they offer opportunities to learn.

They found that children with this emotional outlook did do better in later grades in school.

Can the media become even more corporate cash cow. Can whatever integrity it has left as an institution become even more compromised. The answer always seems to be yes, All Eyes on Media Glutton Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch, the compulsive buyer of all things media, has a handshake deal with Tribune Co. to buy Newsday for a reported $580 million.

The potential purchase of the nation’s 10th-largest newspaper, located on Long Island, could happen even though The Wall Street Journal is still visible within the serpentine body of Murdoch’s News Corporation. The digestion should not last much longer. The same day the Newsday agreement hit the press, Marcus Brauchli, the holdover managing editor of the Journal, resigned.

The Newsday-to-News Corporation deal rightly has media reformers upset. The consternation need not stop there. The newspaper’s readers, advertisers and anybody concerned with the fragile health of our democracy should be worried. The deal whacks away at one of democracy’s pillars, that of an independent press.

Newsday has long been in the hands of large corporations. What makes this deal so unsavory is that it puts an enormous amount of power under the control of arguably the nation’s, if not the world’s, most powerful media company. Newsday’s sale to News Corporation not only cripples an important media market, it will further squeeze the American press into the grip of far too few corporations – corporations with a hunger for profits, not journalism.

While some analysts have pronounced this deal dead on arrival. One has a feeling those would be the same analysts that said the same thing about the Wall Street Journal.

Despite the internet and what survives of the newspaper industry television is still the most valuable soap box in the U.S. The room for pundits on that soap box is some of the most valuable around. Maybe because our lives are so hectic many Americans get their sound bite, carefully served up by a gross conflagration of right-winginess and the Beltway orthodoxy, Matthews vs. McNulty

A recent New York Times profile of Matthews describes a name-dropping dilettante floating between television studios and cocktail parties. The article documents the MSNBC host’s $5-million salary, three Mercedes and house in lavish Chevy Chase, Md. Yet Matthews said, “Am I part of the winner’s circle in American life? I don’t think so.”

[  ]…The Illinois senator said that when folks feel economically shafted, they get “bitter.” Matthews-ism spun the truism into a scandal.

The Washington Post labeled Obama’s statements “Bittergate.” Tim Russert invited affluent political consultants on “Meet the Press” to analyze the “controversy,” with millionaire James Carville saying, “I’m hardly bitter about things.” Hillary Clinton called Obama “elitist,” ignoring her mansions in Washington and Chappaqua, $109-million income, career as a Wal-Mart board member, and legacy pushing job-killing policies such as NAFTA.

This sickening episode was topped off by ABC’s Charles Gibson, who only months ago humiliated himself by insinuating that typical middle-class families make $200,000 a year (95 percent make less). Last week, while moderating a debate, Gibson segued from the “bitter” comment into a tirade against rescinding capital gains tax breaks, implying the proposal would hurt most Americans. This, even though the tax cuts in question delivered the vast majority of their benefits to the richest 1 percent.

By downplaying inequality and couching royalism in middle-class arguments, the Beltway elite pretend there are not two Americas but only one: theirs.

Of course the beltway dupes, right-wing blogs and Republican shock jocks flogged the Bittergate story until the fight to get in the last word became bigger then the story itself. Whens the last time Charlie Gibson or Tim Russert seat down and had coffee with some guy that worked for fifteen years at the same company that paid a decent wage and had some kind of health plan then was laid off because his Mercedes driving boss figured he could make more money sending a hundred jobs to China. They don’t get bitter because they live in a bubble. The bubble boys and girls seat around in their fifteen hundred dollar suits wondering what problem Obama could possibly be talking about. Their bewilderment is not an act, they really do not have a glue.

Multi-millionaire Bill O’Reilly suffers from the most severe form of Beltway bubble disease. he not only doesn’t know about anything outside the bubble, he performs mental cartwheels to avoid knowing, Bill O’Reilly, Al Franken and George Clooney

Tom Arnold talked about his experiences entertaining the troops in Afghanistan objecting slightly to the suggestion that entertainers are too selfish to go. O’Reilly concluded that the USO needs to be more proactive about recruiting people and once again, Arnold offered a mild objection noting the scheduling issues involved in organizing a tour.

Somehow, O’Reilly thinks he can avoid mentioning (Al)Franken’s visits to Afghanistan in 2003 or 2006.

During Arnold’s brief defense of entertainers last night, he mentioned that some had even faced the danger of going to Darfur. The subject was ignored totally since O’Reilly might have been forced to congratulate George Clooney and Don Cheadle for receiving the prestigious 2007 Peace Summit Award for their work in Darfur.

Danny Dalton: Some trust fund prosecutor, got off-message at Yale, thinks he’s gonna run this up the flagpole, make a name for himself, maybe get elected some two-bit, congressman from nowhere, with the result that Russia or China can suddenly start having, at our expense, all the advantages we enjoy here. No, I tell you. No, sir. Corruption charges! Corruption? Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulations. That’s Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is why we win.  – from Syriana (2005)


Edward Hopper: Gas, Summertime, Hotel by a Railroad, Self Portrait, Nighthawks

Gas by Edward Hopper. 1940, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1940 gasoline was around 18 cents a gallon and the average new car cost $800.

Summertime by Hopper. Painted in 1943, currently in the Delaware Art Museum. I’m not sure how far one should carry the visual analogy here. 1943 was the year the war in Europe started to turn in the Allies favor with Hitler having made the Russian front a priority. A mistake that would come back to bite the German war machine. On the other hand there was a large race riot in Detroit in which 25 African Americans and five whites died.

Hotel by a Railroad by Hopper. 1952, currently at the Hirshhorn Museum. One of several of Hopper’s works that examine solitude. Some would say loneliness and isolation and those elements are there, but it says more about being with others and being somewhat comfortable yet still being detached. This particular painting also about how years of domesticcity takes wears away those youthful illusions of starry eyed romance.

Hopper’s Self-Portrait (1925-30). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. I find self portraits fascinating. Not so much because they give us some great insight into the artist, but because they tend to have, and this one of Hopper certainly, a utilitarian function. He seems to have looked at himself and said OK, so here I am. A ordinary man that is also an artist for those that are curious. Like his other subjects he isn’t just one adjective – sad, lonely, isolated, happy or serious. he’s all those things. Hopper once said and it matches his self portrait, ‘The man’s the work. Something doesn’t come out of nothing.’

Nighthawks (1942). Not as nice a print as I’d like to have, but since it is Hopper’s most well known painting I felt obligated to put it up. The diner was in Greenwich Village. Hopper started painting it after the attack on Pearl Harbor. In a subtle way the painting reflected the sober mood of the country after the attack. The original currently resides at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Edward Hopper Exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. Clean modern flash presentation of Hopper’s work with a timeline and the themes explored in his paintings and sketches.