A couple of newsy items caught my eye over the past few days. One, which may have an affect on them climate change deniers like the ever intelligent Jim Inhofe the senator from the great state of Oklahoma. And that was the news from an inquiry panel from downtown Holland. A Dutch inquiry into the UN's climate science panel has found "no errors that would undermine the main conclusions" on probable impacts of climate change. I don't know if this will change Inhofe's mind, probably not, but it was interesting to note that the news made it to the crawl on Fox News. This gave me hope. Maybe, just maybe the anti-intellectual, anti-science folks are starting to get the message. Or…maybe not… Who knows for sure, huh? I'm sure the atmosphere in the Los Angeles basin was always cuttable with a knife even back in Junipero Serra's time, you know all those donkey farts. Let's hope that whomever reads Inhofe the news doesn't skip that part.
Speaking of Franciscans, the other newsy item was Siena College's (of Loudonville, NY) survey of 238 participating presidential scholars ranked the presidents. They were probably a bunch of liberal, left-leaning socialists who joined in. I guess when the college feels neglected by the media they go and do one of these polls to get the name out there in the public arena. Long story short short, FDR ranked first in all five polls since they were started in 1982. In the number 2 spot over the years are Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. This year in the top 5 are FDR (Democratic Party), TR (Republican Party), Lincoln (Republican, National Union Party), Washington (No party) and Jefferson (Democratic-Republican Party). The small school poll which doesn't seem to have a regular cycle caused a stir over at Fox and on right-wing radio stations. I'm glad you asked "why?" Well one of the icons of Republicanism is Ronald Reagan slipped in his ranking. He ranked 18th behind….drum roll please…Barack Hussein Obama who ranked 15th after less than 2 years in office. As Sulu sez on that new commercial for flat screen TVs "Oh, my!" (GWB fell from 23rd to the bottom 5).
But Reagan is the glaring error. Aren't people's myths supposed to grow rather than wane? I dunno. I read an article yesterday (on the Fox website) that touted Reagan as the President who "won the cold war, just ask Gorbachev." While I agree that Reagan's stance on the "evil empire" had something to do with the fall of communism, I also believe that the work of John Paul II had a more profound impact on the iron curtain than the former spokesman for GE Theater. Reagan was very lucky. More of the myths surrounding the Reagan years need to be debunked as the weeks move forward such as the fact that much of the present financial catastrophe can be laid at the feet of his trickle-down economics.
Much of his hyperbole can be blamed on the media, yet again. During crises and other shared public experiences, the news media often stops worrying about their mission to tell the truth. Instead, they take on the role of national rabbi or shaman, fostering a collective sense of good feeling by recounting stories and myths we wish to hear. Since Ronald Reagan's death, the media have chosen mostly to do just that, sugar-coating his life and career rather than grappling with his difficult legacy.
So today in the Siena poll he is ranked 18th. As the mist of good feelings clear I am sure the 18th spot will be taken by someone else and RR will slip down more slots and shake hands with GWB.
...and so it goes...