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Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:30 PM

How do we turn this place into a think tank?

Democratic Underground started in 2001. For many years it was the Internet's premier cat care forum.

In the last couple of years, we've become one of the best labor, civil rights, taxation and economics resources around...and it's starting to get noticed. There were many mentions of DU in the mainstream media during the election. They're noticing. We have the smartest people, the right side of the issues, and credibility. Pat yourself on the back.

Now we need to go all the way and form a public policy institute. Thinking out loud, we will need:

The first thing is to form research teams led by people with masters degrees in economics, public policy or business administration, or doctorates in things like medicine. Just to pick one name, Aristus is an MD and would be good to head a health policy team. Degrees confer legitimacy - important because many of us are self-educated in our fields of expertise. College doesn't necessarily make you smart; how many hundreds of people learned economics from Arthur Laffer? It does give a veneer of legitimacy.

We would need specific projects to work on.

We would need channels to get our work to the public; Rachel Maddow is one, maybe Joe Scarborough.

Are there any well-spoken, super smart, very beautiful DU women living in LA, New York, Atlanta, or the national capitol region? Like it or not, we have to contend with the reality of getting people on TV: great clothes, great hair and Fox Blonde makeup are now required to get you on.camera. You really think SE Cupp would be on television if she wasn't cute? DU women have so much more to offer, but it's got to be packaged properly. Basically, if you are a brainy head-turner and can get to a broadcast center within an hour let us know.

DU would need a folder to store downloadable position papers...we already have the equipment.

I will do the layouts on the papers we create.

We've got momentum. We have cred. And we're adventurers seeking a new adventure. Who's with me?

66 replies, 3675 views

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Arrow 66 replies Author Time Post
Reply How do we turn this place into a think tank? (Original post)
jmowreader Nov 2012 OP
rrneck Nov 2012 #1
jmowreader Nov 2012 #4
JHB Nov 2012 #2
Hutzpa Nov 2012 #7
JHB Nov 2012 #8
Ikonoklast Nov 2012 #22
sarcasmo Nov 2012 #11
LineLineLineReply .
Hutzpa Nov 2012 #49
Hutzpa Nov 2012 #3
Smarmie Doofus Nov 2012 #5
Chan790 Nov 2012 #6
RepublicansRZombies Nov 2012 #9
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #10
zappaman Nov 2012 #17
greytdemocrat Nov 2012 #52
zappaman Nov 2012 #56
Shankapotomus Nov 2012 #12
jmowreader Nov 2012 #18
Shankapotomus Nov 2012 #20
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #37
scarletlib Nov 2012 #39
Shankapotomus Nov 2012 #41
Springslips Nov 2012 #13
Renew Deal Nov 2012 #14
madinmaryland Nov 2012 #15
rug Nov 2012 #16
LAGC Nov 2012 #40
jody Dec 2012 #59
Cresent City Kid Nov 2012 #19
Ikonoklast Nov 2012 #21
tama Nov 2012 #28
libodem Nov 2012 #45
socialist_n_TN Nov 2012 #55
Rodger Nov 2012 #23
hrmjustin Nov 2012 #24
libodem Nov 2012 #25
tama Nov 2012 #26
JCMach1 Nov 2012 #42
jody Dec 2012 #60
JCMach1 Dec 2012 #63
jody Dec 2012 #64
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #27
jmowreader Nov 2012 #32
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #44
jberryhill Nov 2012 #29
jmowreader Nov 2012 #33
pinboy3niner Nov 2012 #34
elleng Nov 2012 #30
2naSalit Nov 2012 #31
obliviously Nov 2012 #54
2naSalit Nov 2012 #57
on point Nov 2012 #35
onethatcares Nov 2012 #36
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #38
JCMach1 Nov 2012 #43
datasuspect Nov 2012 #46
B2G Nov 2012 #47
KamaAina Nov 2012 #48
FarCenter Nov 2012 #50
tama Nov 2012 #51
obliviously Nov 2012 #53
lumberjack_jeff Nov 2012 #58
Taverner Dec 2012 #61
TheKentuckian Dec 2012 #62
oh reiki ur so fine Dec 2012 #65
Iggo Dec 2012 #66

Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:38 PM

1. How much will it pay? nt

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Response to rrneck (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:42 PM

4. Probably nothing to start

As we're proven right, we'll start to get contracts that will pay money to the researchers. Right now is not the time to think of personal compensation. That comes later.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:41 PM

2. Find a billionaire to fund it.

Or several, all giving what are to them pittances, but to mere mortals is the means to make a living.

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Response to JHB (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:47 PM

7. No thanks

Last edited Fri Nov 30, 2012, 12:43 AM - Edit history (1)

A Think Tank sponsored by billionaires is not a think tank, you will then be doing the bidding for them, aren't we suppose to be fighting against them, when I do think about it though, we sure can get some billionaires to sponsor DU on our terms though.

What we can do is become a think tank for solid democrats running for offices in the country (local or nation wide) for a sponsoring fee of course.

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Response to Hutzpa (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:03 PM

8. Wait, you want a tank that actually thinks?

Has that a tally been done?

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Response to JHB (Reply #8)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 12:20 AM

22. Yes.

?v=8CE70FDFAF1B540

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Response to JHB (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 06:37 PM

11. Pitch it to Cuban on Shark Tank.

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Response to sarcasmo (Reply #11)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 05:53 PM

49. .

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:42 PM

3. "For many years it was the Internet's premier cat care forum."

True, this place gave birth to a lot of online forums, blogs etc some are more prominent than others while some died before they could even start.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:45 PM

5. I don't see potential as a "think tank" as much as a political club.

We could endorse candidates.... by membership vote, of course. And pass resolutions concerning public policy.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:46 PM

6. FYI: Aristus is a Physicians' Assistant and not a Doctor. n/t

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:57 PM

9. great idea!

 

!

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 06:00 PM

10. Masters and Phd in history also matter

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #10)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 10:12 PM

17. You have a PHD?

Astounding!
I nominate you to lead us!!!

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Response to zappaman (Reply #17)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:51 PM

52. Are you kidding???

It's probably a super duper one too.

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Response to greytdemocrat (Reply #52)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 08:34 PM

56. Don't you mean "sooper dooper"? n/t

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 07:05 PM

12. I propose an additional idea

Last edited Fri Nov 30, 2012, 08:37 AM - Edit history (1)

You have a great idea and I agree that DU members should pool their powers into some kind of media activism. I would further like to suggest that we don't start out by alienating others by favoring only those who have deferred to the academic capitalist system (in other words, pay-per-play education) or those who do not conform to the culture's idea of physical attractiveness. This stands for everything most DUers are against. There are many well read and intelligent DUers without degrees, in fact there can be a case made for those who were smart enough to avoid the debt prisons many of the formally educated now find themselves in...As for physical attractiveness, I'm not sure it's as much as a factor when you hear someone intelligent and well-spoken bringing truth to power.

Instead, of alienating certain segments of DU in a nod to materialistic capitalist ideals, why not make it more democratic and have options and opportunities for EVERYONE to participate and everyone to benefit? If certain segments of DU know more, why not cultivate and encourage others lagging behind and lift them up with us? If we're are going to go as far as you are suggesting, why not a mini DU Media University of sorts that cram schools proponents of democratic ideals capable of representing all of us in any interview in all fields, economic, social, political, etc?

Two men came to a hole in the sky.
One asked the other to lift him up...
But so beautiful was it in heaven that
the man who looked in over the edge
forgot everything, forgot his companion
whom he had promised to help up
and simply ran off into all the
splendor of heaven.
(from an Igluik Inuit prose poem)


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Response to Shankapotomus (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 10:42 PM

18. Here is what I was thinking

Assume we have a tax project in which we'll detail the damage tax cuts do to employment - very simple project to start, just lay a chart of tax rates next to a chart of unemployment rates. A LOT of us are very good on tax issues, but if we pick twelve people without finance degrees the reaction will be "what do twelve stupid liberals know?" Eleven of us plus one MBA gives us a much more credible report. In the world of today, sheepskins trump skin in the game, or education trumps experience.

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #18)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 12:11 AM

20. Well, I would certainly support this idea

either way. And I'm sure there would be roles to play for everyone from full on public reps to background support. Perhaps we could pool the best ideas and solutions from among all duers through a process of critical debate and those with the degrees could present them to the public.

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Response to Shankapotomus (Reply #12)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:11 AM

37. Thank you.

You beat me to it and said it much more eloquently than I could have.

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Response to Shankapotomus (Reply #12)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:48 AM

39. I like this idea.

Personally DU is my most important go to place on the Internet. I read news and opinion here everyday and value the comments, observations and opinions of all my fellow DUers.

I think we are just as good or better than HuffPost, Politico etc.

Maybe a mini DU within the larger one that does what you suggested to get our ideas out into the mainstream.



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Response to scarletlib (Reply #39)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 08:36 AM

41. Something like a Khan Academy

that provides a free grounding in political analysis and formal presentation of ideas for those who need it via recorded video classes. That way this idea of jmowreader's stays democratic instead leaning toward elitism. A free education will not be recognized beyond DU but one that other formally educated DUers can respect as at least a proper grounding for presentation by anyone. That way, no one can not say they are being unfairly excluded if the education is being provided freely but they choose not to take advantage of it.

Then, once free access to the basic education has been provided, DU could have a section for a formal presentation of one's analysis or theory for "peer review" and formal adoption by voting. However, majority adoption as a position does not mean all other ideas will not be explored. It just means the idea that gets adopted will be "tried" and "tested" first, with secondary approaches, equally as valid, waiting in the queue to be bumped up should preceding approaches prove lacking. That way people will be more willing to let ideas and approaches they disagree with at least be tried as long as those ideas will be monitored for success and replaced by alternate trials of ideas if need be.

My guess is we will all basically have the same goal, just different approaches to getting there. Knowing that everything will be on a trial basis I think would alleviate much of the expected infighting over different approaches.




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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 07:17 PM

13. I may not have the post count to be well known here....

But I am willing to volunteer.

I have a degree in Journalism and a minor in Poli-Sci and an associates in accounting. I can take the info from the experts, clean it up, and make it accessible to the general public. I can also help with linguistic framing--coming up with names and phrasing that effects the emotions--a skill the Dems have lacked relative to the GOP. I don't have to have my name on anything, I can work behind the scenes.

I think this is a great idea.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 07:28 PM

14. If it works, it has to work within the structure of DU

What makes DU great is it's open rowdiness. DU is still mostly short form analysis, not long form research like traditional think tanks. Also, coming to consensus on DU is complicated. Do we have one point of view on any topic? Who is the final decision maker?

DU can work as a research platform, bit not necessarily as a policy institute.

DU does need some media presence either way. There are outlets for thinkers coming from DU, but the personalities need to be developed. So far the only one on TV I know about is Steve Leser.

It's an interesting idea. I've thought about it before too. But it needs a lot of work and dedication.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:35 PM

15. Huh? I think it has been one of the most interesting think tanks since it began. Go back

and look at some of the articles and discussions from the early years.

Oh, and we will always be one of the best places for cat pictures!!


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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:44 PM

16. Close the Gungeon.

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Response to rug (Reply #16)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:54 AM

40. Nice try.

Gun control is still a topic of hot debate amongst Democrats, nothing is set in stone.

Besides, it keeps the debate from spilling out into the main forums, where delicate sensitivities might be offended.

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Response to rug (Reply #16)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 02:07 PM

59. What are your reasons for closing that group? nt

 

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 12:08 AM

19. I like the idea

There's a lot of diversity here, including the people inclined to do such a thing. The old Truthout was kind of like that, mostly original long form content with a lot of thought put into the posts and responses. DU took a little getting used to, it seemed at first more of a link tank than a think tank (which was tough on dial up), but I found what I was looking for here.

Maybe we could request a special forum for it as a start to get organized and gather the people who are interested, then move forward with the more ambitious goals you describe. I'm all for it.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 12:16 AM

21. What do you have against cats?

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Response to Ikonoklast (Reply #21)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 01:46 AM

28. Sabotage cats?

 

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Response to tama (Reply #28)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 12:11 PM

45. Wild cat strike

Wow wee.

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Response to tama (Reply #28)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 08:28 PM

55. I have no problem with cats in general..........

and ESPECIALLY not that cat!

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 12:57 AM

23. Re: How do we turn this place into a think tank?

I hope this'll help us rational, less ideological types build unity within the Democratic party... But on some major issues we already know the situation and basically what we need to do--like campaign financing and global warming. So I'm gonna focus on that.

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Response to Rodger (Reply #23)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 01:01 AM

24. Glad to hear it, and we welcome you to DU.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 01:30 AM

25. keep thinking

And writing. Maybe you could use an established group or start a new one.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 01:44 AM

26. Puhleeze

 

"masters degrees in economics,"

Those are degrees of indoctrination into very harmful lunacy.

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Response to tama (Reply #26)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 08:51 AM

42. +1, I have an MA in English, Ph.D. in Education and have also

done a lot of interdisciplinary work in History and Political Science. I can remember helping a (romantic) friend of mine at the time to get through abstracting Economics Articles.

The shite that served as scholarship made me want to bang my head on the floor. The level of writing (don't even get me started)...

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Response to JCMach1 (Reply #42)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 02:10 PM

60. Do you have a Ph.D. in Education or some other degree, e.g. Ed.D? nt

 

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Response to jody (Reply #60)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 09:37 PM

63. Ph.D. in Education

From University of Nairobi

MA is from Univ. of North Florida

I a also ABD from a Ph.D. in English from Oklahoma State... life at that time just got in the way of completing a dissertation... So work wise, I did almost all the work for two doctorates.

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Response to JCMach1 (Reply #63)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 09:45 PM

64. Thanks nt

 

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 01:45 AM

27. Are you talking about a real think tank like ITIF or a partisan front group like Heritage? n/t

 

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #27)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 03:44 AM

32. A real one, of course

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #32)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 11:41 AM

44. In that case, I'm looking forward to learning more of the details. n/t

 

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 01:46 AM

29. We only need two things

Some thinking.

And a tank.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #29)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 03:47 AM

33. One tank won't do it

A tank company is ten of them. Fortunately for us, old T-55s are cheap these days.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #29)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 03:55 AM

34. Okay






That wasn't so hard.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 02:07 AM

30. Nice idea,

but then look at this thread, DUers gone 'wild' over a highly incomplete story:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014320390

Doesn't sound very think-tanky to me.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 02:38 AM

31. Hmmmm... interesting idea

I wonder how it will work with this site structure and the free-fer-all kind of input in response to some rather serious attempts at serious discussion would take place. Humorous input is a good thing on many posts but to try and get a serious thread on something as complex as policy can be a bit daunting considering that some will have difficulty agreeing to be serious.

I would be willing to participate, I have a masters in public admin (policy analysis), a BA in cultural anthropology, a lot of life (non academic) experience, and have a thing for politics and history. Some even think I'm a skilled writer and speaker... but I wonder about those skills sometimes. I have a thing for thinking outside the box and am not fond of capitalism, am quite passionate about the environment and the legacy of our public lands (the Commons) and have a number of remedial ideas for a path forward with regard to transforming our methods of powering our country and a number of human interest situations that could be fixed if only we could get people to agree to work together to make them happen.

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Response to 2naSalit (Reply #31)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 08:17 PM

54. I might actually take that seriously

If you didn't have Groucho for an avatar.

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Response to obliviously (Reply #54)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 08:39 PM

57. Ha!

I was being serious...

I did have that Jack Nicholson avatar (from The Shining) but I felt somewhat gruesome after a few days. I liked Groucho, I remember him when he was alive. And he was a very serious businessman off-screen. Yes, I know he lost his ass in the crash of '29 but he seemed to have recovered over time.



So what would you suggest for an avatar?

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 04:09 AM

35. Turn off the censorship and suppression of things not in agreement with the Dem party line

Last edited Fri Nov 30, 2012, 05:20 AM - Edit history (1)

The country needs new ideas and the people have an agenda wildly different than the leadership of either party. One problem is that DU suppresses comments and lines of thought not in agreement with the Dem party line. That has to stop otherwise you have no think tank. You just have an echo chamber or a talking shop of how to tactically implement the existing polices of the Dem party.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 05:47 AM

36. You guys do the thinking and

I'll volunteer to do the typing. OK?

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:15 AM

38. I like DU just the way it is --

without the elitism. I particularly like the part where you have to be attractive enough.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 08:56 AM

43. This idea, and forming a PAC crop-up every so often

on DU.

DU is something else entirely... It's a new animal: something like a political social network of opinion leaders. Our brains would be better served trying to wrap our brains around how to leverage that new technology.

Think tanks as they currently exist are 20th century dinosaurs.

Did I miss something? I have seen important research and activism happening on this site from almost the very beginning.

But hey, I also have what this thread really needs...


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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 12:13 PM

46. rod out the septic tank?

 

oh, you said "think" instead of "stink."

my bad.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 12:24 PM

47. Tolerating diverse opinions would be a good start

I read a thread in Meta the other day about how disagreement of the AGA position should be a violation of TOS. I was astounded by the number of folks agreeing.

Think tanks don't kick people out over disagreements. Just sayin...

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 12:25 PM

48. B.A. from Yale '85, cum laude.

Never could figure out what field to do grad school in, let alone round up funding. (The field I would now consider, disability studies, did not exist at the time.)

So you're just gonna leave me out in the cold? Or make me get coffee for the Ph.Ds?

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:14 PM

50. There are a lot of "Topics" where serious discussions could take place -- but nobody goes there?

Most topics get very little traffic. There are probably way too many. And some, like science or sports, are probably not suitable for the site (although science policy or science funding or professional sports subsidies might be appropriate topics for a political site).

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:24 PM

51. Seriously

 

It is my impression and opinion, that the best "think tanks" in contemporary America are Occupy General Assemblies.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:39 PM

53. Why don't we try something easier first.

Like teaching a pig to fly.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 08:44 PM

58. See that silver handle up there? Pull it real hard.

That flushing sound is the beginning of a new experiment where we, the current contents of this think tank, are replaced with a new batch.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 04:13 PM

61. Aaaaaaaand, we need some cats

 

Gotta have cats

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 05:47 PM

62. Put the Turd Way twits into a corner somewhere.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 11:56 PM

65. You're kidding me, right?

 

What does having a Master's have to do with being brilliant? I dropped out of an MA program because it was all about reading research and parroting what other people were saying. Research is worthless. There are always outliers. So basically you want hacks.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:39 AM

66. Think tank? Really? Have you seen Meta?

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