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Monday, September 12, 2011



At 94, Ernest Borgnine is still reading scripts, still acting, still learning.

Critical Thinking

What is critical thinking?

In the late 1980s, the American Philosophical Association commissioned a study to better define the concept of critical thinking and how it can be recognized, taught, and assessed. Forty-six internationally recognized thinkers participated in the study through a two-year, qualitative research process known as the “Delphi method.” The panel, led by Dr. Peter Facione, published a report called “Critical Thinking: A Statement of Expert Consensus for Purposes of Educational Assessment and Instruction;” this is often referred to as “The Delphi Report.”

The following definition of critical thinking is quoted from the Executive Summary of that report (Facione, 1990):
We understand critical thinking to be purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based. CT is essential as a tool of inquiry. As such, CT is a liberating force in education and a powerful resource in one's personal and civic life. While not synonymous with good thinking, CT is a pervasive and self-rectifying human phenomenon. The ideal critical thinker is habitually inquisitive, well-informed, trustful of reason, open-minded, flexible, fair-minded in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent in seeking results which are as precise as the subject and the circumstances of inquiry permit. Thus, educating good critical thinkers means working toward this ideal. It combines developing CT skills with nurturing those dispositions which consistently yield useful insights and which are the basis of a rational and democratic society.


Facione, P. A. (1990). Executive summary: Critical thinking: A statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational assessment and instruction. Millbrae, CA: The California Academic Press. Electronic version retrieved May 1, 2009 from

Does Las Vegas have a future?

Las Vegas is the city of the new century  that tripped, fell and may not be able to get up for decades to come, according to BBC coverage of our city this past week. Spiraling housing cost against historic rapid growth and then a massive international recession may be close to a death blow, complicated by the expansion of gaming by the companies that "own" Las Vegas internationally, representing jobs overseas, on Native American reservations and in states with increasingly loose attitudes about gambling as a source of tax revenue. The BBC found Nevada to be a state where government, from governor on down, have been unwilling to take the deficit risk needed to keep the state from spiraling downward. For example: Education is being slashed at a time when it is should be a priority. Matching grants are unmet by the state, for everything from highway repair to extending unemployment, funding the flagship hotel school at UNLV to public arts needed to enrich and unify a community. An attitude in most of the state that Las Vegas is really East Los Angeles has created a political divide that has population versus history and identity, with most Las Vegans having no sense of community, history and state pride. From transients to speculators, locals fleeing for jobs or to get out from under a financial debt mountain, Las Vegans have shallow roots. The BBC noted how we seldom know our neighbors, particularly if we do not have young children. There are no real tie to the street, the neighborhood, the township, the city, the county or the state. As employees wear badges with their home state or country printed on the badge, any feeling of local pride, connection and roots is discouraged, as it could lead to the opinion that you are less qualified, less corporate loyal or less tied to the city's customer base. The BBC did note diversity of population, employment, education levels and cultural beliefs, but in a way that implied a less coherent and unified community. So the questions, will Las Vegas, will Nevada spend what is needed, tax enough to pay for it and find ways not only to attract visitors, but to expand upon what has begun with solar research, the Brain Center an other additions to the community over the past two decades? Is the political and personal will there? Investment in education alone puts serous doubt on that will see the world class city, or the New Chicago of the West, many saw us becoming....before the bust.

'The,' 'an' and 'a' Are Banned in iPod Age; Trying to 'Turn a Brand Into a Religion'


An Article of Faith for Marketers: Place No Faith in Articles

Sitting down to chat last year with Inc.'s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, television host Charlie Rose announced that the two would discuss "the Kindle," Amazon's e-reader. But throughout the interview, Mr. Bezos repeatedly dodged the word "the," saying how "Kindle is succeeding," that "Kindle is a companion to tablet computers" and touting how many e-books are "available for Kindle."
Dana Nollsch
Mignon Fogarty, who writes as 'Grammar Girl,' says she has given up being outraged by marketing grammar.
Mr. Bezos is part of a growing cadre of marketers who conscientiously object to using articles—the tiny English words "the," "a" and "an" that typically precede many nouns.
Nintendo Co.'s website shows gamers "what Wii is all about." As far back as 1984, AppleInc. said in a commercial that it would "introduce Macintosh." Today, an Apple video enthuses: "There's never been anything like iPad." Some companies make the drop official. Research In Motion Ltd.'s style guide specifies that "BlackBerry" should be used "as an adjective and not as a noun or verb." An unacceptable usage, it says: "the BlackBerry."

Preparation for presidential speech (comedy take on real event)

Learning to Think Critically

CNN's Cooper as daily talk host, ESPN spends big, Mel Gibson goes Biblical (again), Toronto provides first Oscar glimpse

Anderson's new gig. CNN's Anderson Cooper starts his new gig as a daytime TV host this week. Cooper, who always seems somewhat guarded on the cable news channel, will have to open his life up to viewers and learn to cater to a different audience from the small one that tunes into him on CNN. He has had some experience pinch hitting for Regis Philbin on "Regis and Kelly," but hosting your own show an hour every day is not as easy as it looks. He says it will not interfere with his job at CNN, however his days jet setting may be limited. A preview of Cooper's show from the New York Times.
Can't contain "Contagion." "The Help" was finally knocked out of the top spot at the box office as "Contagion," the ensemble thriller about an the spread of an epidemic scored $23.1 million in its debut weekend. "The Warrior," a family drama revolving around mixed martial arts which got decent reviews, was punished by consumers, taking in only $5.6 million. Still, that was a gold mine compared with "Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star," which took in only $1.5 million. Heck, I've seen garage sales draw better attendance. Box-office coverage from the Los Angeles Times and Variety
Too pricey! The grumbling from cable and satellite operators against ESPN for signing a new deal to hold on to the NFL at an average price tag of $1.9 billion a season is starting. The new deal, which most industry observers expect will lead to ESPN charging its distributors even more to carry the channel, got bashed by a trade association representing smaller cable operators. Of course, eventually those costs increases get passed on to us. Coverage from Broadcasting & Cable and the New York Post.
Change of heart. Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder (who also owns Dick Clark Productions) has dropped a defamation suit against the City Paper, an alternative paper in D.C. that ran a scathing (and hilarious) attack of Snyder last November. Although Snyder's vast resources would have made a fight very painful to the small City Paper, the odds of his wining seemed about as good as the Redskins making the Super Bowl this year. I'm a Skins fan so it hurt me to type that sentence. More on Snyder's decision from the Washington Post.

Oy. Mel Gibson and "Basic Instinct" screenwriter Joe Ezsterhas are teaming to develop a movie about Judah Maccabee, the warrior whose ancient victory is celebrated by Hanukkah. And really, what more can I say that you're not already thinking except I wonder if Warner Bros. really wants the tsuris(first time I've ever had to spell that word) that will come with releasing this. Coverage from the L.A. Times and Deadline Hollywood, along with some reactions from Jewish leaders in the Hollywood Reporter.
Hollywood heads north. The kickoff of the Toronto Film Festival, one of the industry's big three along with Sundance and Cannes, means plenty of previews, reviews, and coverage of early deals. Here are overviews from the L.A. Times and Variety. Here's a good-but-not-great review of perhaps the festival's highest-profile film, "Moneyball," from the Hollywood Reporter, and a look at its difficult history from the L.A. Times. And for announcements at the festival, look at basically every other post going up on Deadline Hollywood.
[Expletive] that non-disparagement clause. A day after being fired as CEO of Yahoo, Carol Bartz used some very unkind words about the company's board in an interview with Fortune. Soon after, an activist investor bought 5% of Yahoo's stock and called on chairman Roy Bostock to resign and for "sweeping changes" at the company, as the L.A. Times reports. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal's Martin Peers called on company co-founder Jerry Yang to resign from the board with the winning headline of the day, "Yahoo needs less Yang for its buck."
Inside the Los Angeles Times: No locks for Oscar nominations have emerged out of the Toronto Film Festival yet. The always under-appreciated Cliff Robertson died at the age of 88. A report from the Charlie Sheen roast.
-- Joe Flint
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From the Company Town Blog of the LA Times, click here for the latest news.

It could happen here.

Family comes first, as we take care of each other.

We are all family in one way or another, with the same emotions, needs and problems.

So why is it that one third of the country, who call themselves the majority, would take away the ability for their fellow citizens to have medical coverage (including protection against being dropped and pre-existing conditions), to have basic food and other needs met, to be able to be trained for jobs and livelihoods, to have even a basic education and to be a full part of our society?

Why fear immigrants, other races, other belief systems, or those who are not as prosperous as we are? Why hate those who do not agree with you on every little thing?

Why do they attack, using meaningless or self-defined slurs such as "socialist", "communist" and "anti-American" for those who believe in Christ's and Mohammed's teachings that we should, as a society, take care of the least of our brothers and sisters, putting their welfare ahead of our own. Was Christ a communist or socialist, or "anti-American"?

Why the name calling instead of discussion of issues, ideas, and how to meet the needs of the country, including the citizens of this nation?

Why attack instead of working together toward mutual goals and shared dreams?

What has happened to this country that there is so much hatred on the blogs, on talk radio, on taking head television, at rallies of like minded individuals who assume everyone is like them?

When did we become an elite exclusionary society, rejecting and even vilifying other groups or individuals ideas?

And why is it that these people keep on attacking, hating and passing on venomous poison ideas without doing any critical thinking, research and without even trying to at least understand other points of view, other visions of the world and other concepts? Besides, this type of communicate will not change or persuade other, or lead to solutions. It only serves to harden other's feeling, further misunderstanding, and is simply counterproductive. Perhaps it may provide a temporary ego boost, "we know better than them" feeling but it is hard to see how it can serve a good purpose, and certainly is not a good way to live. It is certainly not the pathway to "self-actualization".

What will become of our society if we continue in this direction?

Nazi Germany, Fascists, corrupt Communist leadership, mass murders in Africa and around the world, genocide, war, famine and the willful elimination of other people for their ideas, values, race, religion, tribe or language have been the result of such self-serving attacks and the continuous festering of one sided ideas and views.

It could happen here.

And those who do not tolerate the beliefs, ideas and politics of others are the ones who will make an unforgiving one sided dictatorship happen.

Freedom of speech, apparently, is only for those who agree with us and not those who read, think, research or dare to believe in something other than what some say is the truth. We need the marketplace of ideas and disagreement is desirable in a democracy.

Without the freedom to disagree and to work toward common goals...1984 will be a reality.

It could happen here.

First Published April 10, 2009

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