Saturday, January 31, 2009

Poor Little Think Tank

When he's not muscling the government bureaucracy for being bad for us, or extolling the virtues of a free-market idealism that made the American economy what it is today, it turns out that the Bluegrass Institute’s David Adams has a softer side.

Writing at Kentucky Progress, Adams seemed to be sad about a lone anonymous commenter on the new PrichBlog. "Anonymous" hoped that the new Prichard Committee blog would be “a welcome alternative to the Bluegrass Institute.”

Obviously hurt by this, Adams took the single comment and exprapolated a conspiracy theory claiming,
protectors of the status quo have, instead of making a case for the efficacy of their programs, made a habit of taking potshots at The Bluegrass Institute and anyone else who dares to threaten their base of power.
Poor Bluegrass institute. I had no idea it was so tough being in a think tank.

Adams apparently thought he would open a meaningful conversation with the Prichard folks. As is his wont and right, he started with a little name-calling,
The Bluegrass Institute has tried for years to engage KDE sychophants like Prichard Committee in a meaningful debate.
Sychophants?! Adams followed by describing the Prichard Committee as
“the chief protector of failed bureaucratic education policies that have held Kentucky back for decades.”
One wonders how the conversation with the Prichard Committee is working out.

Adams defends his name-calling with this:

I consider calling someone who uses my own money against me a name or two well within my rights as a taxpayer.
The problem is the Prichard Committee is not a government agency. They don't spend anybody's tax dollars. ...for or against anyone. And if the taxpayer bill of rights includes a name-calling provision, I missed it.

So I fear Adams may have hampered his own effort to engage the Prichard Committee in meaningful debate by choosing an opening gambit that was both disrespectful and off-the-mark; regrettably, an increasingly disappointing Bluegrass Institute trait.

I remain confounded by the Bluegrass Institute's apparent lack of concern over its own credibility. But as David puts it,

I'm not too concerned about my credibility with those who refuse to hear well-documented complaints about the KDE.

In fact, some of BIPPS's complaints are better documented than others. And some of BIPPS's arguments are known to be exaggerations, but remain unacknowledged by BIPPS - further undermining its cerdibility.

Adams's persistent loyalty to BIPPS's principles is unflinching no matter the documentation, or lack thereof. He serves the BIPPS leadership, apparently takes his cues from other BIPPS analysts and, promotes them and their ideas; and has, by that means, advanced personally. I don’t believe I’d be calling anyone a sycophant if I were him.

But the blogosphere would be less fun without Adams's occasionally prescient insights. Take this one for example:

No one in Kentucky is going to freeze to death living indoors this winter. We are going to have to get past the point of these feel-good appropriations should times really get
hard in America.
Oh wait. That wasn't prescient at all, was it?

But it was surely a public service when Adams offered advice to the non-rich on how to be poor while facing problems of college affordability.

And he does produce funny headlines from time to time.

By contrast, BIPPS education analyst Richard Innes reached out the left hand of welcome to Prichard by pimping one of his own blog posts, and inferring that Prichard had arrived late to the party.

Then on January 21, 2009 4:14 PM he wrote the funniest thing of all.

“Note that I linked back to the Prichard Blog, as we really do want to engage in productive conversation.”

What some think of as following copyright law, Innes offers as an olive branch.

I predict that the Prichard Committee will tire of the BIPPS good-cop/bad-cop routine fairly quickly.

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