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20 September 2013


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Who was asking those imbecilicly phrased, grammatically incoherent, questions?
Journalism embarrassment eh what?

Babak Makkinejad

I doubt that Iran faces social upheaval in the near future; the situation in Iran was much worse during the Iran-Iraq War.

The sanctions have been effective in moving ten million people below poverty line; the Iranian government can deal with it as the entire society is dependent on government largess.

Yes, time will tell but I am willing to go out on a limb and predict that this will amount to nothing.


I would not read too much into the leanings of 'milenial' voting patterns. The percentage voting for Obama declined from 2012 compared to 2008. Look at his opponents and his record.

You mention college. I think one very salient implicit point in current political and pundit speech is that if you have no college degree you have 'no' (or certainly less) value. That is a very bad idea. Metaphorically we are creating a separate but equal people - those with degrees and those without such 'credentials'. No titles of nobility here, just a degree (or two or three).

My old man had humorous definitions for some of those academic acronyms that he told me when I was about ten: B.S. = Bull S*&@, M.S = More of Same; PHD = Piled Hip Deep. Those definitions very sadly seem to apply quite succinctly to the depth of intellectual and moral integrity of the architects of the war in Iraq, the potential one in Syria, the financial melt down of 2008 and the complete lack of accountability of these noble degreed ones who created or cheer-leaded our nation into each mess.


Fred -- At the risk of making this thread too long, in case you happen to return:

- I couldn't agree more with you that we live in a society with too many degrees and too many credentials
- At least in my state, technical programs are underfunded
- A degree is no guarantee of sense, expertise, nor competence
- Nevertheless, it is an easy barrier for employers to insist on degrees, so many people feel pressure to obtain one

FWIW, I also think new resources like iTunes U and the Khan Academy are going to raise serious questions about the expense, time, and validity of conventional college programs - it's probably a challenging historical moment to be a college administrator.

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

Of course this is not one of Fisher's statements which can be regarded as accurate reporting, to put it mildly.

I would be extremely surprised if Rouhani had any confidence that the powers that be in the United States -- or indeed the United Kingdom -- had given up dreaming of 'regime change' in Iran.

That however does not diminish the significance both of what Rouhani wrote, and of Fisher's gloss on it.

It seems to me that Rouhani was gently intimating that, in terms of any rational ordering of priorities for the U.S., cooperation with the Islamic Republic might have more to offer than an attempt to destroy it.

As to Fisher's gloss, while it may be a misinterpretation, it indicates that a senior Washington Post journalist may actually be contemplating the possibility that Rouhani's suggestion is worth investigating.

Of course, even if my interpretations are right, this would not indicate that some new era of sweetness and light in relation between Washington and Tehran could be anticipated. But it might be a not entirely trivial step in the right direction.

David Habakkuk


I agree absolutely that the disintegration of a language which had become totally empty was a fundamental part of the story of the disintegration of the Soviet system. And I also agree that -- for reasons I do not understand -- many people in the West have come since 1989 to talk their own equivalent of what used to be called, in relation to the USSR, the 'language of wood'.

This is a fascinating area, about which there is a great deal more to be said.



I agree with most of of your points. As to iTunes and Khan Academy, I think that there are too many intangibles lost in that mix. Education is as much about the social development, maturation and to some extent enculturation of the students as it is the academics. The latest generations of graduates seem far to homogenized in outlook to me. I find the lack of intellectual diversity somewhat troubling. I think that we have an over abundance of college administrators who contribute to standardizing out look as must as they rely on standardized tests. It appears that the last thing colleges want now is individuality and creative thinking amongst the students.

The beaver

So the two presidents spoke by phone:


and the smartalec(s) at the Israeli Embassy look like fools or school yard bullies.


Reading the reports from Geneva are you still unconvinced that this Iranian driven policy is in fact the real thing? I have long believed the nuclear issue was consciously chosen as the vehicle via which Tehran and DC would breakout from their own respective domestic political restraints...this has been a very long chess game, each sides moves planned out long in advance.


Come now, Isreal just wants to distract attention from all the oil and gas development offshore of blockaded Gaza, because nobody could realize that is Palestinean territory:


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