Ron Schiller, Tellin’ It Like It Is.

Good stuff that punk’d interview with (former) NPR fund-raising exec, Ron Schiller. As an admitted fan of guerrilla tactics that flood light on otherwise discreet activities — like lobbying, government-to-business palm-greasing and anything else relevant to impoverishing the common culture and the pocketbooks of the unwitting — I can not criticize this latest “attack” on a vaunted liberal institution. Other than to say I wish the institution, NPR, was actually as dangerous an advocate for liberal causes as the punksters believe, or that what Schiller said over that two-hour lunch wasn’t all but completely defensible. (His worst moment is not saying anything when the two fake Muslims go off on a Jewish/Zionist/media control bender. But come on, Schiller’s a professional fund-raiser who I’m sure has trained himself to listen to all sorts of crackpot things from potential donors.)

The heavily-edited 11-minute video making the YouTube rounds emphasizes the familiar, primary arguments of public broadcasting’s detractors. The full two-hour video provides a bit more context, but since NPR and Schiller have already folded on this one, (with NPR CEO Vivian Schiller — no relation — announcing her resignation this morning), there’s no point getting into a heavily finessed argument over what Schiller was really saying. He said what he said, and I agree with practically all of it.

The crown jewel of the punk is Schiller asserting that NPR, and by extension, public broadcasting, would be better off without federal money. He’s absolutely right. The relative pittance in taxpayer money that goes to all public broadcasting, equivalent last time I looked to about $1.21 for every man, woman and child in America, reaps a blowback in constant, raging, irrational, uninformed invective far beyond that modest number. (You have to wonder how much CPB/NPR/PBS staff time is taken up every year schmoozing gutless politicians to retain that staggering windfall of socialized loot.)

On the video Schiller points out, correctly, that big market public stations — like MPR here in Minnesota — would get along pretty much fine, but that smaller stations, like those in northern Wisconsin and other rural areas could possibly go dark. (More likely those smaller stations would get folded in to large regional networks … like MPR … and become less local.) But his underlying point is that NPR’s service has a unique value. Namely, in bringing a much greater diversity and depth of story selection (science, arts, etc.) and reporting to markets where 90 seconds to three minutes of headlines at the top of the hour, before returning to Classic Rock, Hot Country and 30 minutes of commercials is pretty much the norm. (Good God, try picking up any useful information from Sioux Falls to Denver sometime if you can’t find a public radio station. You’d be convinced that Charlie Sheen and the NFL draft really were  the lead stories of the day.)

Schiller, who again was NPR’s exec for fund-raising and had been invited to a lunch by two men offering a $5 million contribution, (NPR declined), agrees that weaning NPR completely from the public teat would give it more independence when reporting on federal government issues, (not something I’d call NPR’s greatest weakness), and would lessen confusion in the minds of some “philanthropists” who mistakenly think the network gets most of its funding from the Feds, not just 10% . I’m skeptical that any savvy philanthropist is all that confused about the percentages involved. Schiller’s better argument is that committed philanthropists, of which public radio at least has many, would probably give more if NPR said adieu to taxpayer cash.

The punksters are of course the same crowd that concocted the notorious, heavily-edited, fundamentally dishonest but in the end politically effective hit on ACORN, every gormless Teabagger’s spoon-fed idea of a radical, transformative force in American politics. But when it comes to punking, ethics are never really the critical question. Again, I only complain that more of this sort of thing isn’t aimed at defense contractors sucking literally hundreds of billions out of taxpayer coffers, or self-righteous, religion-wrapped politicians exchanging hot intern phone numbers over prayer breakfasts. But, whatever.

Where Schiller of course has it exactly right is when he gets into describing the current state of the Republican party and its association with anti-intellectualism. I eagerly wait a convincing argument that the Tea Party, which the Republicans and Republicans only pander to and enable in the most preposterous misconceptions, is anything other than anti-intellectual. Or for that matter that the Tea Party is not primarily white, rife with weirdly obsessed “gun-toters” and seriously racist — which includes a hysterical suspicion of  Muslims and not just tough-looking black dudes in sagging jeans. (What I’ll get instead are the usual trolls outraged over “liberal elitism”, which is another way of saying, “How dare you call stupid people stupid!”)

The implicit connection between Schiller’s view of modern Republicans and NPR is that the latter provides a vital counter-balance to anti-science, anti-teacher, anti-liberal arts, anti-intellectualism. Which it clearly does … without question.

What he doesn’t get in to is that rejecting taxpayer cash might mean more inflow from philanthropists, but it would also have Schiller’s replacement out whoring for more corporate cash, which is a problem for public broadcasting far beyond taking government money.  There are all sorts of inside-government stories I’d like to see NPR do, or do better, but the far more suspicious omissions of coverage invariably involve major business organizations.

Point being that Republican anti-intellectualism is not only threatened by the deeper, broader reporting of NPR, but it wants NPR driven down to the thoroughly bought-off, professionally-compromised and irrelevant levels of your average FoxNews Newsbreak.

Try getting all intellectual-ly and elite-y with a straight diet of that.

 

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52 Responses

  1. Because President Obama was billed as the smarter-than-the-average president, peoples expectations were that he would have really kept the lion’s share of his campaign promises, but the record shows that he has had trouble fulfilling most of them.

    But he was humbled by the November 2010 election shellacking because he under delivered on the big promise of his wonderful gray matter. Looking back, he looked and spoke like an ordinary, partisan politician; not as bright as expected; unable to snap out of the Washington spin machine, and void of the intellectual acumen to build a bridge between the the two parties.

    So being one of the smartest guys in the room isn’t always cracked up to what it’s suppose to be. Hopefully, the president has learned this lesson.

    In general, people don’t have a problem if the messages they receive are a little dummied down (consumable chunks) so long as the message sender doesn’t create the impression that these people are stupid to begin with. In that case, there will be problems for the sender. That’s the problem when writers post posts like this one, Brian.

    Plus, it’s irritating when the intellectual elite speak about how people are fooled by dummied down messages. (Here, repeat after me: What’s wrong with you people!) This phrase sounds like the result of a stuck needle a broken record. Most common folks want to switch to an other tune. That’s the problem the liberals are having now.

    I have walked into too many meetings when someone has asked for a five-minute high-level presentation rather than an hour dissertation. (That’s a definition of dummied down.)

    When progressives want to get all intellectual-ly and elite-y on me, it’s the same thing as eight hours of Death by PowerPoint. And at the start of the first minute of the ninth hour, I remain as smart as I ever was before the first slide was revealed.

    • They usually don’t put the sex scenes in the trailer, Gary. You have to watch the whole movie.

      • True . But movie theaters are prone to give their customers refunds on their tickets if the customers find the sex scenes lame, boring and uninspiring.

        The last thing anyone wants in the lobby is a sexual elitist shouting, “What’s wrong with you people, don’t you understand that the sex scenes did absolutely nothing for me?”

        On the other hand, if a customer reacts overly positive to the sex scenes and is swooning over the performances, that person is either escorted from the premises or arrested.

    • To say Obama “has had trouble” opens a guy to a nuanc-y argument.

      http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/

      But stand on it if you want.

      • During a recent look at PolitiFact.com, my observation was that the Website was about as structured as a Ragstock store, When it comes to an accessible view of details and information, most ordinary folks like me, not interested in fishnet stockings or musty-smelling used jackets, are more comfortable with a Macy’s-like presentation.

        So let’s upscale our browsing of “promise” facts and take a look at The Promise Audit from the NationalJournal.com. http://promises.nationaljournal.com/

        The audit tracks more than 200 of the president’s promises and to date only 28 of them have been kept. Like PolitiFact.com, this audit attempts to quantify various levels of progress, but considering the president as of April 1st will have 21 months left in his term, this attempt to measure progress is like betting on a horse to show, not win.

        In the last 21 months, there might be wars, disasters and more economic trouble, plus the president has a re-election campaign to conduct. The president is going to have to come up from behind and make an effort to keep more promises even with a Republican majority in the House.

        If not, during the 2012 election, it will be easy to paint the president as someone who met America, took it home, spent the night, and wrote down a phone number in the morning to call later. As these things go, the big promise to call back was never kept. Ouch!

      • Gary:

        Seriously, it’s your logic that, after facing down an avowedly, overtly and exclusively obstructionist far-right Republican Congress, Americans would conclude that the way to achieve their subverted hopes is to replace Obama with one of the Lilliputians now toeing the presidential waters from very end of the party that worked single-mindedly to thwart the change on these issues they’d so hoped to see more gains on from Obama?

        That’s a worse indictment of their intellectual powers than anything Lambert wrote.

      • Jim, I am eager to share my new invention with you. It’s called Rose-Colored Blinders, an assembly made of eye-glass parts and a skull cap. There’s a switch on the left-hand side near the frame front, similar to the switch on a View-Master, which allows a person to look at the world with excessive optimism, when an explanation of his or her world view is asked for, and then within a second, a switch can be made to block the more honest and reasonable view of one’s surroundings.

        Let me tell you more: The Rose-Colored Blinders make the ideal headgear for folks on the extreme left when, for example, after the shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the sight from the rose lenses tells of a world where there is great potential for consistent civil debate no matter how hot the topic, and where people in their heart of hearts know that violence is not an acceptable response to respond to people who strongly disagree with them.

        Then, in light of the threats of violence and strong uncivil tone from the folks with whom the wearer agrees, as witnessed in Madison, Wisconsin, flick-olla, the blinder function can be activated. This shuts off the wearer from seeing the world for what it really is and discounts any empathy for his or her political opponents whose safety and lives are being threatened. (Optional ear-plugs available to support the blinder function.)

        And yes, there’s more: I have created a halfway point between the Rose-Colored function and the blinder function that provides the ability to make honest interpretations of what he or she sees. For instance, if you fancy yourself a Gulliver, you can see that among the Lilliputians, there are both good and bad Lilliputians. This feature prevents the wearer from making broad-brush statements about specific types of people, no matter how small they appear to be to the biased eye.

        To order your first set, call 1-800-WISEASS. Okay, I had a hard time fitting any form of “Intellectual elite” into seven characters, but I think the general population will understand the meaning of this condensed version.

      • Gary:

        If Obama has so obviously failed to deliver, why are there serious opponents in the Republican party lining up to take him on in 2012? Why is it that not a single Republican has even declared themselves a candidate so far? And why is it that the most serious (presumed) candidates so far are Mitt Romney (he who invented ObamaCare before he opposed it) and Tim Pawlenty (charisma challenged and mullet-less though he might be)?

        Really, if the guy is as out of touch as you imply, why the dearth of viable opponents?

      • Sorry, should be “where are…”, not “why are”

      • Gary:

        This is how you communicate in sales? This is your pithy communications style that blows ‘em away at meetings?

        Sorry, I couldn’t wade through the cornball rose-colored glasses conceit to ever get to a point.

      • JIm,

        I remember someone reading in the Crowd comments that someone once had an editor that said something like”If your mother tells you she loves you,” double check the facts. I hope that you apply this standard to yourself because you made a Big Fact Claim about what you think my occupation is, but you don’t have a clue about how I earn my living (not a sales professional).

        You have no understanding of why I go to meetings and what must be accomplished during them.

        Your ability to read between the lines is woefully lacking.

        A higher bar must be set for accuracy when you attempt to delve into people’s personal lives without ever talking to them personally. This will prevent the spewing out of incorrect statements.

        On my end, I can say with certainty that there is no seductress nearby you, nibbling in your ear, tugging off your scratchy University of St. Thomas sweatshirt, and promising unimaginable pleasures as a reward for reading my cornball writing. My point is, if you are a little put off by my cornball writing, do us both a favor and don’t put yourself through the misery of reading it: the lacking overt point will drive you batty.

      • Gary:

        All I know about you is the advice you dish out about how to communicate in meetings, etc. The condescending and insulting dispatch derogating my capacity to accurately perceive reality didn’t meet your own expressed standards.

  2. Gary: What do you mean, referring to the Lambo’s leftie rants as a broken needle on a stuck record?

    He’s in the new, techno gadget age.

    His “racist……….blah,blah,blah……gun-toting….blah,blah,blah” rants are more like a severely dinged CD…..##@@@!!!!&^(Notice I didn’t put $ signs in there because Lambo hates money).

    Oh, wait. My mistake. I guess CDs are going the way of 8 tracks. Well, you know what I mean.

  3. Brian: “Schiller, who again was NPR’s exec for fund-raising and had been invited to a lunch by two men offering a $5 million contribution …”

    Clarification on Brian’s minor omission:

    The two men offering $5 million to NPR represented themselves as officials with the Council of American-Islamic Relations.

    Leave no doubt that NPR gladly would have enjoyed a free lunch by benefactors with the Man-Boy Love Association too.

    They’re whores of the lowest kind.

  4. It was a vain attempt by Mr Schiller to blend truthfulness into this misleading situation, being stung by semi-pro cons with a hidden agenda and hidden camera makes it impossible, he was doomed to fail somehow. All he was trying to do was his job which in this case involves attempting to obtain funding support while being misled at every turn.

    Of course it is only coincident that this con took place as the GOP is right now crippling political funding of NPR.

    But I think the understated issue here is ‘where is the USA funding for public news and discussion?’

    Virtually every nation has public broadcasting, why is it even a question here? Our financial leaders in Britain have the BBC, why can’t we have PBS?

    Then equally puzzling is since there is no question our GOP-led government is determined to defund NPR…and we are all free to step up and do so directly…why is fundraising such a problem?
    –Is this implicit proof the top 2% of americans are not intellectuals?
    –Or that intellectuals are so much in their head as to forget to act upon this implied need for NPR?
    –Is this implicit proof the intellectuals are not engaging with NPR programming?

    Well, I say it is none of that.

    Here is more in line with my thought on this–it is all politics, the politics of the TV business. Intellect has been drugged and locked away, cast aside for infotainment news, horserace politics, the sex comedy beer sports celebrity lowest common distractionfest of the TV generation.

    It went on a 3 hour cruise, lost its beef, fallen and can’t get up. But mostly, it has been going on so long that no one remains with the courage to fund a true national access TV station even remotely commited to intellectual discourse…and sadly, even if someone did, it probably wouldn’t get the support needed to survive long-term.

    Viva la internet.

    • I disagree that all Mr. Schiller was doing “was his job.” For the benefit of The Crowd Community, I’d like to offer some tips on how to behave during a luncheon meeting when you represent your employer.

      1) Smile as much as possible but try to say the least amount of words as possible.

      2) Return conversation to the business matters at hand even when your luncheon guest wants to interject into the table discussion topics related to sex, religion or politics.

      3) Never say things like “I am taking off my company hat” and start saying really stupid stuff that can and will be used against you later. (RE: “What I am about to say is off of the record.”)

      4) When pressed to make a hasty decision, say,” regardless of our talks today, we are both committed to due diligence, and we can start conducting it once we mutually agree upon our next steps. (Use the repeating dinged CD method if needed.)

      5) Resist all forms of temptation that can appear to be harmless but underneath the covers lies influence peddling. For instance, say “no” to the offer of the Caribbean Cruise to find and return intellectualism to its home port. You’re smart enough to know that wise thinking and excellent quality personal judgement calls have been docked the whole time.

      6) If you are with a co-worker during this luncheon and this person starts saying really stupid stuff, kick him or her in the shins and quickly go into “stare down” mode with this person. Later, tell you superiors that you were doing your best to make the best of a situation that was rapidly going south before your eyes.

      Follow these tips and you can be assured that you will not be let go of your job even before you have a chance to start it.

      • Excellent advice. Now what happens when they advice conflicts with what your boss said as they sent you out the door to the meeting?

        Because in the real world of sales…seems to me I’ve seen a few people drinking copious bottles of wine. Seems to me I’ve seen business meeting end up somehow in strip bars. Seems to me I’ve seen expense reports that involved dinners for 4 with 4 digit totals.

        Tell me Gary…were your business deaings with church groups, maybe librarians?

      • Well, since I cannot confirm with the utmost in certainty that you earn your living in the real world of sales, let me respond to your questions this way:

        If your boss asks you to act like a buffoon when you are out in public representing the company and you don’t have a lick of buffoon in you, you can fake it until you make it, or you can get the dust off of your resume and start interviewing.

        A good salesperson must be able to sell his or her boss on the idea that buffoonery is not one of the top tactics applied to find and close business deals unless you’re in the business of selling whoopee cushions.

        If you think that plying alcohol and introducing the pleasures of pole dancers are the effective means through which business relationships can be created, it’s time to get rid of that stable of skin-tight disco pants and leisure suits, and update your professional wardrobe.

        Times of have changed significantly since you paid cash for your modest bling from Penny’s , which nests among your chest hairs revealed by several open buttons on your smooth-to-the-touch polyester shirt.

        Odds are that at least 50 percent of your business contacts are women who have a general dislike for good old boy antics and put a high value on their professional reputation. Many of the men you encounter when conducting business might report to women managers.

        Happy hour and an upscale gentlemen’s club? You’re a man amongst men (or a buffoon) if you can offer that sort of invitation when you are dealing with your women business contacts.

        But who am I to tell you how to be successful? No problem here if you change your handle from The Other Mike to Mike Likes Strippers. I’d be happy to join you for a couple bottles of wine, courtesy of your expense account (wink, wink). And then whoopee!

      • Well, the unemployment lines are filled with people like Ms. Meyers who make bone headed decisions. It’s clear that she was not in attendance at the Hollywood nightclub; her sin was that she simply approved the expenses.

        There is no evidence pre-approval on the part of Ms. Meyers or the Republican National Committee. Are there people in both parties capable of making unwise decisions that can generate headlines? Heavens yes!

        My point was that taking customers or influencers drinking and then to frolicking with Faith, Hope and Charity is risky and ineffective as a means to conduct business and win friends and influence people.

        It’s rare that a prospective customer will want to continue seeing you when your face is a reminder of the night he was throwing up on the sidewalk and receiving hell from his wife when he arrived home with lipstick on his collar.

        So, Festus, in your job, do you play it fast and loose with the rules, risking the wrath from the higher ups or do you play it safe and hide in a cube?

        Or, are you a people pleaser like Ms. Meyers who got in trouble when she should have said no when she said yes?

  5. BL: I agree. I think that the tea party folks are fools. They are not the only fools in the room, but they may well be the biggest.

    • The teabaggers with their theism, fetus worship, and climate denial represent a virulent anti-intellectualism. I think we all agree. The real question is, are liberals bold enough to make that point going to continue to be marginalized like the proverbial feral step child? It’s like a new McCarthy-ism that smart people keep having their careers sacrificed as a sop to some artificial congeniality.

      • Ah yes, Peterson is plagued with the knowledge that he is smarter than most Americans. Why can’t they see the folly of their ways, he wonders. He professes belief in science, but forgets science hasn’t disproved the existence of a deity. As he sits back in his recliner wearing a silk robe and ascot, smoking a pipe and reading Proust, Peterson is tormented by the thought of all those wretched, ignorant working people that populate fly-over country. He wishes he lived in Boston or Berkley where at least there are intellectual peers that could relate to him. Damn this cruel world, he thinks to himself as he nods off.

      • It’s always hard to tell with conservatives, Newt, but I think Erik was being sarcastic. You, of course, defy parody.

      • Newt might defy parody, but we can still laugh at him

    • PM: As I say, a defense of the Tea Party’s intellectual depth has yet to appear on the horizon. Is it politic for a public radio fund-raiser to point it out? No. Is it accurate by all objective measures? Yes. The thing that amuses me most here is the issue of “predictability”. As in, what is more predictable: A. Another demonstration of the new conservative movement’s anti-intellectual bent? B. Some “elitist” liberal noting it and reacting to it? Or, C. The new conservative/Tea Party apologists expressing outrage that someone has the bad judgment, bad manners and temerity to point it out, publicly?

      • Speaking of predictability….

        When i get frustrated at the stupidity of the tea baggers, I go back and revisit Hofstadters Anti-intellectualism in American Life (1962). He laid it all out back then….

        There was a time when conservatives were proud to be intellectuals. And there still are a few, but they have become cynics now, because their continued existence in their role as leaders requires that they manipulate the stupidity of their followers. They have to placate people like Rush and Hannity and Beck, lest they get swallowed up and spat out….

        Oh, for the days of people like Buckley and Lasch….instead we suffer from people like Andy Schlafly.

      • Did someone say Andy Schlafly?

        http://www.conservapedia.com/User:Aschlafly

        One of his essays

        http://www.conservapedia.com/Essay:Liberal_Intellectualism

        Here’s a sample:
        “The liberal believes they are superior to others. Not in a physical sense but mentally, they have their high ground and nobody dare challenge. If you challenge Liberal Intellectualism thinking and beliefs, you risk being ridiculed. A good example is the classic Democrats versus Democratics statement. Liberal Intellectualism will say that it is not proper to use the sentence with the word Democrats, it must be proper, so it must be Democratics. However, ‘Democrats’ will suffice rather well and the reader understands regardless. There are many instances where Democratic politicians use the word Democrats. Howard Dean says “Democrats have a lot of work to do among seniors.” The nation’s liberal newspapers use the word Democrats. Google’s spellcheck prefers Democrats. The website for congress is addressed ‘democrats.senate.gov’ Excuses for insisting are endless and a part of Liberal Intellectualism thinking. “

      • And to reiterate another of my favorite points … I’ll never understand the unwillingness of the apologists for anti-intellectual … stupidity … to simply disavow it. How tough is that? I mean when we’re talking questioning evolution, denying climate change, yabbering about “death panels” and on and on? I get the appeal of the “victim card”, where “elitists” like me are rude for saying such nasty un-Minnesotan like things. And I understand why the most ill-informed prefer to hang back and rely on bumper sticker rhetoric. But what kind of psychological worm has burrowed in so deep they can’t bring themselves to say — looking at the examples I just mentioned — “Yeah, that stuff is moronic?” What and why are they protecting?

      • Ya know, there are probably real elitists of actual credentials. But there’s also some lesser minds out there mistaking their own misanthropy, atheism, and prosody for high intelligence.

        That’s what this is, and its a feedback loop.

      • Further intellectual proof to support Lambert’s position of the rich have way too much money so let’s tax the hell out of them.

        Every great cause needs an anthem around which the troops can be rallied. This wonderful song is anthem-worthy.

  6. Here we go again. “You people are so stupid………you just don’t get it.”

    If you can’t stick to your “intellectual” proof, you just resort to name calling.

    Why, how logical. What a great way to win the day. I happen to believe most extremists are usually wrong on almost everything but stupid? Ok. We are all stupid on some things.

    But make your points. You talk about the Right and its angry rhetoric. Sure there is that element. But calling people racist, stupid, etc. etc. is pure anger and frustration.

    You also run the danger of alienating people. I’m conservative, but I’ve never watched Beck and I don’t know who Andy Schlafly is.

    Only 20 percent identify themselves as “liberal” and I think the trend is heading down. Is it any wonder?

  7. I’m not a huge fan of the Tea Party, and don’t agree with many of their social stances, but the most positive aspect of them is their relentless focus on fiscal issues and the deficit. Neither the Ds or Rs were going to hold themselves accountable.

    At least now most politicians realize there is one loud group that will scream about any of their proposals that add to the deficit.

    If the Tea Party would just stick to being a fiscal watchdog I’d like them more.

  8. How do we curb liberal extremism and civility in political debate? Perhaps we need to involve the good folks from the ‘National Institute for Civil Discourse’.

    Capitol Chaos: Lawmakers Get Death Threats
    By Jon Byman

    Story Created: Mar 10, 2011

    Story Updated: Mar 10, 2011

    MADISON – The State Department of Justice confirms that it is investigating several death threats against a number of lawmakers in response to the legislature’s move to strip employees of many collective bargaining rights.

    Among the threats the Justice Department is investigationg is one that was emailed to Republican Senators Wednesday night. Newsradio 620 WTMJ has obtained that email.

  9. I’m here for the irony basically…but insofar as it’s relevant the tea party and death panels anecdote is indicative of who lives in the reality based world.

    ‘Death panels’ is inflammatory, but it is in fact a short hand colloquialism for an argument about rationing, that being a legitimate argument. It’s easy to grasp, and everyone should be able to understand that.

    But in order to use the Death Panels anecdote as evidence that Palin and the Tea Party are stupid, a world has to be created in which Palin for example really thinks the gurneys are rolled before the panel where up and down votes are taken. That’s BL’s world, where he chooses to argue. Because otherwise he has to acknowledge the rationing argument, which he’s going to lose on facts.

    Now it’s either obtuse or disingenuous. I give the benefit of the doubt and go with obtuse, because I know prosodic, atheistic misanthropes give a lot of thought to squaring off their philosophy. To do that you need to achieve moral superiority in the absence of religiosity. That tends to obviate naked disingenuousness, but it remains obtuse.

    • Erik, we “ration” health care already, albeit irrationally, on the basis of where one works or how old one manages to become. Kids are the ones whose health care is declining in America, not old people.

      In Oregon they actually do ration health care. But it’s not the cartoonish scenario that the users of the phrase “death panel” deliberately seeks to limn for, yes, stupidly credulous people. It is inflammatory agitprop language, and deliberately so. So you’re being no less obtuse and disingenuous to paint it as language meant merely to spark a rational discussion of health care rationing.

      As for your earlier quip about science failing to disprove the existence of a deity: In order to disprove something it first needs to be proven. Belief in a, or many, deity is strictly a matter of faith and falls within the bailiwick of theologians and cosmologists, not scientists. They merely seek to explains how the universe functions, not why. Now, to borrow a great southern Catholic writer’s title, “All That Rises Must Converge,” and physics and theology do seem to begin to converge the closer we get to the holy grail of a unified field theory, all well beyond my limited ken.

      But science is not in the business of debunking people’s faith-based beliefs, as long as those do not attempt to foist them on innocent school children as science and useful basis for a rational understandings of the directly or indirectly observable workings of the physical universe we live in.

      If you want t make a case for how your religious beliefs inform your ethical framework for living, great.

      • I stand on my assertion about the nature of BL’s strawman argumentation. Particularly in the absence of refutation. It’s obtuse, and that’s being gracious.

        My quip is more related to smug atheism and smug liberalism rather than the larger questions you have described.

  10. @Gary…my point above is not that I endorse any of these ‘sales’ activities, simply that there are numerous situations that occur in the name of sales/fundraising that cause the best of intentions to be compromised.

    I actually agree with most of your advice listing, I do consider it an excellent bible, but what I’m asking for is tolerance in understanding people’s weaknesses that lead to bad decisions. I mention bible intentionally, because if everyone who every sinned was cast out of their church…no church would ever exist.

    These O’Keefe people were paid explicited to entrap these NPR employees, they planned this out and created an environment over the course of 2 hours intended specifically to cause problems for Mr Schiller…and they succeeded in your black and white world. I’m more forgiving.

  11. Come on, you’re all missing the funniest aspect of Schiller’s last lunch, his cartoonishly out-of-touch rhapsodizing about his discovery of madeira wine to men representing themselves as strict followers of Sharia law.

    He’s a worse cartoon of a “liberal elite” than the pencil-necked, James O’Keefe was a “pimp daddy.” He makes Michael Cera look like Brock Lessner. But I digress…Schiller was being his authentic self. At least O’Keefe was burlesquing a cultural stereotype. And anyone stupid enough, yes, stupid, to fall for such an over-the-top bit of street theatre as O’Keefe’s act, well, perhaps they needed to be let go.

    Anyway, The Daily Show, happily, nails Schiller’s effete insularity:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-march-9-2011/moveon-aww—npr-executive-resigns

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