I agree with you. I think it's unfortunate that Cliff left. I also think that the "State Department Socialist" barb was out of line. 
I do not want to start a "Michael Balter" thread, but I again ask you, what is your objective in, e.g., continually dragging up the flaws of Cuba, etc., and assuming that most of us have opinions that need correcting? What would satisfy you that you had "won" the argument or made your point? 
I encourage others, including myself, to amplify the  "signal" in the discussion to drown out the ego-tripping "noise" , and Michael, I do see you as a source of much of this "noise".  In fairness, since you post so much on this list (and some of it is very helpful and thought-provoking), you might be entitled to some bandwidth to rant, but when it drives so many away and scares off newbies, it is a problem.
Don't leave. Just think about what Claudia, Larry, and others are trying to tell you.

Bob Ogden

--- On Mon, 5/16/11, Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Please take me off the list
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Monday, May 16, 2011, 10:07 PM

I think it's unfortunate that Cliff is leaving the list. But I think it's even more unfortunate that Cliff, with his extensive historical knowledge, has made so few contributions to this list in recent years. Nothing has stopped him from posting material, engaging in debates, or otherwise participating.

It's also unfortunate that Cliff, and several others on this list, resort to name-calling ("State Department socialist") rather than political discussion to deal with ideas that they don't agree with. It's as if some people here can't accept that this list is not a little club of like-minded individuals, but rather a discussion forum for a broad spectrum of left opinions related to science for the people.

Indeed, there are several list members whose main activity on this list consists of personally attacking one list member in particular. Some do it regularly, and some, like Cliff or Michael Butter, pop up only occasionally to do it. If the list has degenerated into nothing much more than responding to Michael Balter's posts, those who do so have no one to blame but themselves.


On Mon, May 16, 2011 at 4:39 PM, Cliff Conner <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

To the moderator:
Please remove me from the SftP list. I should have done this a few months ago, right after Phil Gasper dropped off of it. For quite some time, the only benefit I got from the list were his posts. Now it is completely dominated by the State Department socialist and is, accordingly, worthless. I regret its demise.

In parting, I will share with those of you who continue to take the State Department socialist's bait a few lines someone once wrote about Noam Chomsky. (I don't read the State Department socialist's posts, but while deleting them I wasn't able to avoid getting a whiff of their contents.) This is from something Norman Finklestein wrote about Christopher Hitchens:

"Conversion and zealotry, just like revelation and
apostasy, are flip sides of the same coin, the currency of a political culture
having more in common with religion than rational discourse.  A rite of
passage for apostates peculiar to U.S. political culture is bashing Noam Chomsky.  It's the political equivalent of a bar mitzvah, a ritual signaling that
one has 'grown up' -- i.e., grown out of one's 'childish' past.  It's hard to pick up an article or book by ex-radicals -- Gitlin's Letters
to a Young Activist, Paul Berman's Terror and Liberalism… -- that
doesn't include a hysterical attack on him.  Behind this venom there's
also a transparent psychological factor at play.  Chomsky mirrors their
idealistic past as well as sordid present, an obstinate reminder that they once
had principles but no longer do, that they sold out but he didn't.  Hating
to be reminded, they keep trying to shatter the glass.  He's the demon
from the past that, after recantation, no amount of incantation can exorcise."
Adios and good luck.

	Cliff Conner

Michael Balter

Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]


“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."                                                  --John Kenneth Galbraith