Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Pasadena Star-News - Dem stars rally on campus: "Kerry then told the students that if they were able to navigate the education system, they could get comfortable jobs - 'If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq,' he said to a mixture of laughter and gasps."


It doesn't show the audience reaction (which is what I was interested in).


Stephen said...

I would also like to give credit to the crowd of Democratic supporters who, rightly, gasped after what Kerry said. The reaction gives me hope.

Paul said...

He will spin this into, "I was trying to insult President Bush, not the troops."

Dane said...

I was going to say...What if we want to "get stuck" in Iraq?

I'm hoping to deploy right after college when I earn my commission.

Stephen said...

Being in my class has made you that dumb, I guess.

Stephen said...

I am joking, of course.

greg said...

On a somewhat related note, you should see the ads for prop 87 in California. The proposition has to do with taxing oil companies in order to raise some 4 billion to fund alternative energy research. Check this website and watch the Bill Clinton ad: http://www.yeson87.com/

It is unbelievable. "Think of the children with asthma." Unbelievable.

dcat said...

Right, but that's the point -- wasn't Kerry joking?

In any case, given that Bush has announced that if the Democrats win, America loses, and he was not joking, I'd say right now that the dems are still comfortably on the high road, even if I hear from the lips of politicians that all we want to do is raise taxes and concede to the terrorists.

I'll gladly play this game with anyone here.


Stephen said...

Kerry's joke was that our soldiers are only in Iraq because they were too dumb to get out of it. It is pretty insulting.

greg said...

And Bill Clinton says we hate our children if we don't vote for prop 87. Seriously, watch this commercial.

Paul said...

stunningly stupid rationization of Kerry's comment, DCAT. He's a bum, pure and simple.

BTW, what's worse. Limbaugh speculating that Fox is off his meds or Kerry calling our troops uneducated. Hmmmm...

Paul said...


paul said...

"It's all the Republicans' fault that I smeared the troops":


greg said...

I can't believe our political world has gotten to the point where a leading senator and almost president would post something on his website where he lowers himself to the level of using personal insults like "nut-job" "stuffed suit" and "doughy." He could have said what he said without all the playground talk.

And before anyone jumps me for not pointing out all the republicans that have done the same thing, save it. I know. Trust me I know, personally. I'm just saddened that this is the state of national politics and how people think political debate should happen.

dcat said...

Limbaugh belittled Fox's disease and in the process made fun of him and somehow asserted that Fox has no interest in stem cells. Kerry did not imply that troops are dumb. He did imply that for a huge number of our soldiers, being in the military was one of their few options.
let's not get too holier than thou on this -- there ain't a reader of Big Tent with Kerry's combat record, and in this case that is directly relevant -- Kerry was a soldier. The idea that he was smearing the military is insane and shows just how far the Republicans are willing to go in their desperation.

Of course maybe you have data that indicates that college educated people are equally represented in the military and in Iraq proportional to their representation in the rst of the US. If so, and thus if Kerry was wrong on the facts, I'll withdraw my remarks and concede defeat. So let's see it -- what we in the profession like to call "facts" and "evidence".

Otherwise, keep grasping at straws.


Paul said...

show me evidence that Limbaugh belittled Fox's disease.

Stop using Kerry's military service as a shield to protect him when he makes asinine comments. That service does not give him license to say what he said.

Academic Education
-- 49.2 percent of officers have advanced or professional degrees; 39.4 percent have master's degrees, 8.5 percent have professional degrees and 1.3 percent have doctorate degrees.

-- 22.8 percent of company grade officers have advanced degrees; 16.5 percent have master's degrees, 5.9 percent have professional degrees and 0.3 percent have doctorate degrees.

-- 85.4 percent of field grade officers have advanced degrees; 70.7 percent have master's degrees, 12.1 percent have professional degrees and 2.5 percent have doctorate degrees.

-- 99.9 percent of the enlisted force have at least a high school education; 73.3 percent have some semester hours toward a college degree; 16.2 percent have an associate's degree or equivalent semester hours; 4.7 percent have a bachelor's degree; 0.7 percent have a master's degree and .01 percent have a professional or doctorate degree."

That comes from http://www.af.mil/news/story_print.asp?storyID=123027385 (about a third of the way down).

paul said...

"what we in the profession like to call "facts" and "evidence"."

'we in the profession', please. Do you realize that you sound just as conceited as Kerry? Maybe that's why you are defending him.

"He did imply that for a huge number of our soldiers, being in the military was one of their few options."

Don't give me that crap about people having nowhere to go and no opportunities so they have to enlist. I'm not buying that bulls**t. I can't believe any educated person would.

paul said...

facts? evidence?

dcat said...

Paul --
What a bizarre and misleading use of evidence. What percentage of soldiers in Iraq are officers? yes, officers are educated -- no one denied that. But since you'd rather obfuscate than deal honestly with the question, I'll rephrase it: Is the percentage of soldiers with college degrees comparable to the percantage of the American public with college degrees? If the answer to that is no then my point holds. For a large number of Americans, the military provides opportunities that they would not otherwise get. Sometimes that leads them into wars they may not prefer to fight.

Kerrys serviuce is absolutely germane to this inasmuch as you are saying that Kerry does not respect soldiers. In the course of his service, almost every man who served with him, regardless of party, has nothing but good things to say about him as a soldier, as a peer, and as an officer. So this idea that he does not respect soldiers is absurd, and anyone who claims that this stupid statement on his part means more than his service record cannot be taken seriously.

It took Paul how many posts to make an ad hominem attack on me? And a rather dullarly one at that. Fine, I'm conceited. Which has nothing to do with anything.

Oh, and when you write "facts? eviudence?" as if you are about to post something spectacularly probitive, it probably ought to actually link to something.

According to the air force, 3.7% of their enlisted force has a BA degree or higher. According to your statistics, 4.7% of enlistees have a BA or higher. In the general population that number is 28%, which is about 6times higher. Further, the income totals for people with and without degres is substantial, and that in and of itself would fuel whether someone would be inclined to enter the military.

I don't care what "bulls**t" you'll buy Paul. The reality is that there is a percentage of people who enter the military because they are not going to go to college and it is their best option. This is not bs. It is the truth.

You're serious that you don't see how Limbaugh was making fun of Fox? You mean other than the video showing him doing the imitation of Fox? (Oh, and saying that Fox was duped?) Limbaugh is scum.


Jeff said...

I agree with Derek. To say that many soldiers enter the military b/c they lack other options is supported by the facts. Should Kerry have phrased what he said differently--yes? But to get all up in arms about something so relatively trivial strikes me as odd.

Tom said...

Derek and Jeff (and Senator Kerry):

Respectfully, you are wrong:



"The percentage of recruits from the poorest American neighborhoods (with one-fifth of the U.S. population) declined from 18 percent in 1999 to 14.6 percent in 2003, 14.1 percent in 2004, and 13.7 percent in 2005."

"By assigning each recruit the median 1999 household income for his hometown ZIP code as deter­mined from Census 2000, the mean income for 2004 recruits was $43,122 (in 1999 dollars). For 2005 recruits, it was $43,238 (in 1999 dol­lars). These are increases over the mean incomes for the 1999 cohort ($41,141) and 2003 cohort ($42,822). The national median published in Cen­sus 2000 was $41,994. This indicates that, on aver­age, the 2004 and 2005 recruit populations come from even wealthier areas than their peers who enlisted in 1999 and 2003.

When comparing these wartime recruits (2003– 2005) to the resident population ages 18–24 (as recorded in Census 2000), areas with median household income levels between $35,000 and $79,999 were overrepresented, along with income categories between $85,000 and $94,999."

"The previous study noted the significant differ­ence between the national recruit high school grad­uation rate of 98 percent and the national youth graduation rate of 75 percent."

"Many enlisted personnel are drawn to the benefits offered by the armed forces that allow them to obtain funding for college. In recent years, incentives to join the military have increased, providing more of the enlisted recruits with additional resources to finance their education. Although only about 7 percent of recruits for 2003–2005 entered the military with some college experi­ence, over 11 percent of the 2004 active component enlisted force had some college experience."

"Additionally, in the most recent edition of Population Representation in the Military Services, the Department of Defense reported that the mean reading level of 2004 recruits is a full grade level higher than that of the comparable youth population."

As far as the difference in college degrees from the general population, most enlisted men and women, who as we have seen are from the middle class, choose to enter the military right out of high school. They get college degrees later, and I would guess at a higher percentage than the general population, but I do not have the figures. It is not the failures and those with no options who enter the military. Kerry was wrong.

Dane said...

Well, see, I'm the one in the back, nice air -conditioned trailer providing support for those guys on the ground, so not what you might think. Yay for the Air Force.

Update: http://articles.news.aol.com/news/_a/white-house-accuses-kerry-of-troop/20061031130009990004?ncid=NWS00010000000001

dcat said...

That's a lot of verbiage for something that does not actually contradict anything I have written. To wit: That college graduates are underrepresented among listees. That this is the precise group to whom kerry was speaking. And that college graduates earn on average $10,000 more than the median figures you cite for enlistees. So we may be arguing different things, but everything I have said is accursta eand for all of those words you posted, few actually contradict me or Kerry. That recruits (and are we really referring to their parents income? In which case, how germane is that?) are marginally (within the range of inflation?) more affluent than they once were is really of no moment. So what? And that they are not the absolute poorest Americans is also irrelevant -- who said they were?
This is much ado about nothing from a GOP absolutely desperate to distract us from their awful performance. It's nice to see that they have decided in a losing battle to rely on something that has nothing to do with the problems we face. noise over substance -- you stay classy, Republican Party.


Robert C. said...

Hey people.

I hate to get into this kind of war. I do think it's clear that Kerry meant to say "You get us stuck in Iraq" -- i.e., if you're like President Bush and don't study and try to be smart, then you'll make these kinds of mistakes.

I don't know if he dropped a word and botched the joke that way, or if the implication that Bush is the one stuck in Iraq isn't obvious enough, but I think that interpretation of the "joke" is pretty solid.

Which is not to say that Kerry isn't a tone-deaf buffoon/jackass. I like this quote from CNN:

"He has already cost us one election. The guy just needs to keep his mouth shut until after the election," a top Democratic strategist said Tuesday.

Paul said...

Don't whine about ad hominem attacks when you post on your site the words 'pus bag' in reference to Limbaugh and link an article that uses 4 in the first paragraph: clown, gas bag, big fat idiot, and supernut. Citing the fact that you sound conceited was not an ad hominem. Calling you scum would be.

Also, which way did Kerry vote on the Iraq war? Oh, okay, so those uneducated servicemen are over there partly because of him.

Tom said...

No, college graduates are not underrepresented among enlistees who become enlisted men and women, because the overwhelming majority of those people are 18-21. Almost no one in that age range is a college graduate, so they are exactly proportionate to the general population. But in that age range, roughly 75% of the general population are high school grads, while 98-99% of those in the military have high school diplomas--meaning they are on average smarter and better educated than the general population.

Let me go out on a limb here with a guess that the rate of former enlisted who get college degrees is at least as high as the proportion of the general population, and probably higher. If you add in the officers, who virtually all have college degrees, then in fact the military and veterans blow away the general population on education.

And the evidence provided indicates that the average enlistees are more educated than the general population and do not enlist because they are stricken by poverty and have no other choice. So when Kerry implies that you have to fail in college to get stuck in the military, he is dead wrong, and so is anyone who defends the point.

Tom said...

Oh, and if we give Kerry the benefit of the doubt and say that he was taking a dig at President Bush's education and intelligence, he's dead wrong on that account, too. Last time I checked, the president has a BA and an MBA from two Ivy League schools, and I do believe his academic performance outstripped the junior senator from Massachusetts.

So let's review: 1) If you don't study and get a college education you'll get stuck in Iraq in the military. False. 2) If you don't study and get a college education you'll get the United States stuck in Iraq. False.

Bad joke, bad day, for Senator Kerry.

paul said...

something probitive:


GoodLiberal said...

What was Kerry's position on Iraq, paul asks? well he voted for the President to have the power to use force so that the President could use that threat of force to get the inspectors back in. They went back in. Bush invaded anyway, and now we are witnessing the biggest foreign policy screw-up since Vietnam.
I don't know about you, but when a Republican President, House and Senate preside of the biggest foreign policy disaster in my lifetime, I would tend to vote for the opposition.

P.S. My take on Kerry is that he is a bufoon, but a well-meaning bufoon. He was trying to insult the commander-in-chief for being the worst president since Hoover and wound up saying something of ambiguous meaning. The fact that he himself served- unlike the President- with great distinction, is surely enough to give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to interpretation. He also made this administration's cuts in veterans' benefits a focal point of his campaign.

Paul said...

biggest foreign policy screw-up since Vietnam.
biggest foreign policy disaster in my lifetime
worst president since Hoover

Olbermann, is that you??

dcat said...

Paul --
Is it not the worst foreign policy screw up since Vietnam? And if the person was born after Vietnam one sort of follows the other.
I'd argue that Bush might be worse than Hoover, who was in no way responsible for the very thing that damned his administration.
You are right, I have called people like Limbaugh a pus bag, and so fair enough. One might assume that ad hominems directly aspoken to someone with whom you have interactions are a bit different from those made other contexts, but I've come not to expect fine differentiations from you because (and here comes my rejoinder to what was, protestations to the contrary, an ad hominem) I don't think you're all that smart. C'est la vie.
As for Tom's assertions, I'll need evidence that shows that more than 28% of military vets end up with college degrees. I would have to assume that not to be true until I see evidence. If you've got it, show it, if not, then the evidence as it stands sits in my favor on this one.
Spend all the time you want defending Bush's intelligence. Seems like a red herring to me. I'm not sure how you measure one person being smarter than the other, but if you really respect Bush's intellect more than Kerry's, more power to you.
The fact is, whatever this quotation was, surely it falls into the line of botched joke or misdelivered line, which simply ought not to rise to the level of

dcat said...

According to America's Military Today, 15% of military veterans end up getting a bachelor's degree. Half the rate of the population as a whole.


Tom said...

Derek, You might want to check those stats again, and give us more detail the actual numbers and on the source.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2005, 25.3% of veterans 25 years and older have at least a bachelor's degree, as opposed to 27.2% of the general population.

Over 33% of veterans over 25 have some college or associate degrees, while 26.6% of the general population does.

And the number of veterans enrolled in programs towards college degrees is increasing.

I'm sorry I can't parse the statistics anymore to give details on enlisted men and officers and how many individuals still in the military have degrees. So I was wrong, if veterans plus active duty military have higher rates of college education than the general population, it is only marginally higher. Sorry.

However, even accounting for no other factors like career choice, the proportion of veterans with at least bachelor's degrees is almost exactly the same as the proportion of the general population. So in no way are college graduates underrepresented in our military, many of them have just put off their education until later. Oh, and veterans make a median income of $33,973 a year, a full $10,000 more than the average nonveteran.

Paul said...

Hoover made the depression worse with his policies, so, yes, he was responsible for the thing that damned his administration.

And who deemed your assertion that the Iraq war is a foreign policy screw-up to be the right one? Seems irresponsible to declare something a screw-up when it isn't quite finished yet. Have there been any terrorist attacks on American soil since 9-11? Seems like successful policies to me.

"One (who is 'one?' I've never heard of him) might assume that ad hominems directly aspoken to someone with whom you have interactions are a bit different from those made other contexts,"

Ad hominems are ad hominems. No matter who they are directed at. I'll take the insult that I'm not that smart if it means that I don't have to practice twisted logic and differentiate between ad hominems directed at different people.

Robert C. said...

oh SNAP!

(I just thought this thread could use some of that.)


So I think we're all in agreement that John Kerry is a moron. The senator is a consensus-builder in that regard: everyone ends up hating him.

This week, I'm realizing for the first time that it really wasn't Karl Rove or the Republican spin or the Swift Boat Vets that turned the 2004 election. The Swift Boat Vets helped. But this Kerry fellow, he is an imbecile. I mean, I've known he was dumb and incompetent, but it never occurred to me that it really was, oh, 90% his fault that he lost.

If there's one upside to this idiotic joke, it's that the dems won't have to waste any time convincing Kerry not to run in 2008. (Not that he'll get the message.)

dcat said...

Paul --
I am deeming the Iraq war a failure, as are lots of other people. Can we ultimately gain some modicum of success there? I hope so. And I argue for remaining there but with better policies. It is not irresponsible to call somethinga failure in the middle of it -- that is sometimes exactly when we discover that something is a failure.
No, there have been no more attacks on American soil -- causality? To imply that there is a connection between the dearth of attacks and the Iraq war is to imply that one has something to do with the other. That is, at best, bizarre logic. It also brings about the converse -- will you then say, if there is an attack on US soil, that all Bush policies have failed? there have been no attacks on US soil since the Patriots started winning Super Bowls either, after all, but I would not be so dumb as to say that the patriots success is the reason for the lack of attacks.
And yes, people interact with one another differently than they do when not together. Or are you telling me that if you were in a room with John Kerry you'd tell him "you'e a bum, pure and simple"? So there is nothing illogical, based on your own behavior anyway, about saying that in a conversation one acts differently than one does when taking a platform whether in the form of a blog post or comment or op-ed piece or anything else. To acknowledge that there are different audiences for different media and that we take different approaches for how we interact based on those media is not illogical or twisted, as your own behavior here has amply displayed.
As for the use of the pronoun "one," if you do not understand its usage, you really probably ought to nevr try to write or, worse yet, grade someone's writing. You may be able to criticize me in a lot of areas. Let us not for one second suppose that you are in a position to cast aspersions on my writing.
Finally, which historians assert that Hoover made the Depression worse? My reading of the historiography does not lend credence to that argument. Certainly not my reading of Hoff, and not my reading of Brinkley and not my reading of Badger and not my reading of McElvaine. Hoover certainly did little to make things better, but to blame him in any concrete way with makinmg things worse would require at least something of an argument and not merely an assertion.

Tom -- if Paul is correct that almost all officers have at least BA's, the simple math is such that it is clear that enlistees fall short of the general public in terms of BA's. My source is not as strong as yours, at least in terms of pure data, but it is here: http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/20_04/prom204.shtml

But here is what is amazing -- people here have yet to explain exactly why what Kerry said is so awful. It may have been dumb (I've hung out with a lot of you people -- I don't think any of us want a microphone on us for twelve hours a day) but I have areally hard time any of you honestly believe that kerry intended his comments as a slur against soldiers -- and if you do, then in that particular case it is fully fair to use Kerry's record as a soldier and the support he has of those who served with him when he was.

As for me, if this kills all talk of Kerry 2008, I'll be pleased, and if it makes Kerry a nonviable candidate but a possible attack dog, all the better.

Just as caricaturing Bush in the myriad ways that his critics have is absurd, so too is caricaturing Kerry. he has served his country well and nobly. He has been a respected US senator for several terms. He was a terrible campaigner and still was competitive in 2004. To argue that he is merely a bum, or to make the absurd stand that he is dumb, incompetent, or a moron is just as inane.


Stephen said...

I am hesitant to wade back into this discussion since I will be busy for the next day or so, but I wanted to chime in on one thing. Hoover did make the depression worse (or exist, since it might have been a recession, who knows?) by trying to hold the line on wages instead of letting them fall to their natural level. There is something to the fact that there was some rottenness in the system that had to be purged. Certainly a mild recovery could have started towards the end of his term if he had been a little less of a "forgotten progressive." I've heard Vedder make that case. I think most conservatives (myself included) believe that Hoover managed a double-whammy of doing too much while appearing to do nothing.

Robert C. said...

Stephen, when you say "Vedder" are you talking about Eddie Vedder? I haven't heard his comments on Hoover, but my understanding is that his concern was that we should not "call [him] daughter." An understandable request, in my opinion.

paul said...

I would call Kerry a bum if I met him; especially in light of the fact that he slimed the troops fighting in Vietnam (my father was one of them). It would probably be hard not to call him something worse.

As for the pronoun 'one', it's empty. Who is 'one?' Me? You? Someone in the audience? A great Metallica song? Which one is it?

Killing terrorists in Iraq is ONE of the reasons there haven't been any attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11.

And yes I do grade students'writing. SCARY that 'one' as dumb as me has that kind of power.

Oh, and your responses are sounding more and more conceited. I know that's dullarly, but that's all my puny brain could come up with.

Stephen said...

Vedder is Richard (beloved OU professor) not Eddie.