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Thomas Friedman at Yale March 2, 2006

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Blogging, Education, Politics, Technology.

When Thomas Friedman made this speech, much was made of him referring to Lou Dobbs as a “blithering idiot.” Regardless of whether Friedman’s assessment of Dobbs is accurate or not, it is blatantly irresponsible to reduce a 90-minute Q&A session from a widely-read journalist to a 5 second sound bite (and one where he gives Dobbs his due for his opinions).

Friedman’s comments are thought-provoking, and run the gamut of social, political, and technological issues. He gives President Bush credit for making the right decision about going to war in Iraq, but qualifies that credit with a stinging critique of the prosecution of the war. He praises the “horizontal thinking” of the military (something most conservatives would claim a “liberal” would never do), but clarifies some of the reasons that the Administration’s tone and approach have distilled ill will toward America into full-blown hatred for President Bush.

He quotes a chinese leader as claiming “America will never ‘out-rote-learn’ China,” and then points to Georgia Tech changing admission policies to require sports and arts participation. Education is a recurring theme, as is the notion of collaboration and communication. I lost count of how many times he used the terms “blog,” “blogger,” or “blogging.”

My only annoyance about this talk is that it wasn’t available in audio-only form, or I’d download it in a heartbeat for re-listening later. This should be required viewing for high school political science classes to use as a discussion starter.


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