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June 25, 2012


In support of this topic: At a recent dental convention, one of the lead dental researchers who travels internationally, told us how, on average, American dentistry & dentists are far behind Europe & Japan (and possibly others). All of the dentists in those countries use superior technologies and techniques(other than ortho in England).

We, Americans, need to hear the truth about how great other countries are and how we could improve, because we can.

someone... my wife just got back from the dentist, so we're curious what some of those technologies/techniques are. Are they things our FDA hasn't approved yet? Seems like the the FDA often is unduly cautious about medical/health care available in Europe but not here.

If there are new techniques not in general use in the US, it is almost certainly because it would cost money to start using them. If the techniques that exist hurt more but do the job, for instance, then only the highest-class dentists that serve the wealthiest are going to go to the expense and effort required to learn how to use them and then adopt them. In the entire western world, but in the US especially, the only real problem that exists is money. Greed is what causes just about all the problems that are listed in the great speech up here too, and it is no doubt what is causing the dentists to be slow on the uptake of new tech.

The more money is revered, the bigger the damage is that it does - and nobody is more in love with the notion of money and combat over it, be it actual combat or just mental battling, than America. I have little doubt that the rampant militarism is also a cultivated effect, the military industrial complex is the recipient of much of the yearly trillion dollars the taxpayers pump into killing people abroad so there is an obvious upside in telling Americans they had it coming in order to keep the gravy train rolling.

I'm absolutely going to be watching The Newsroom after this. Aaron Sorkin is awesome.

There are an awful lot of illegal aliens in the United States - why do you suppose they come here? And most of them would tell you - if you could understand the language that they speak - that they would much prefer to be in their native land.

The United States of America is just another place to be - no better and no worse than many other places. It's just that there are more opportunities for enrichment here than anywhere else on the planet. And, if you just cannot become successful, you can be a failure quite comfortably.

It's a great speech, but he gets one thing terribly, desperately wrong.

A young woman who is a member of either Generation X or the Millennials is a member of the "Worst Generation Ever"? What bullshit. It wasn't my generation or the one after mine that got us into this mess.

It was the same generation who has been slagging mine from the time we started coming of age, all the while stealing from us the opportunities and resources that they enjoyed as young adults.

You want to talk about the WORST GENERATION EVER? Let's talk about the most selfish, self-centered, self-entitled generation in American history: the Baby Boomers. When he is talking about all the things that made America great, he is actually talking about the Greatest Generation.

Think about that before you cheer the speech of a man who looks down on the generations whose opportunities his generation ruined.

The first part of the speech was great. Honestly discussing the negatives of America instead of just rah-rahing along with mindless, blind patriotism. The second part, though, largely guts the first. "Ah, the good old days." "We used to stand up for what is right." "We used to go to the moon." Uh-huh. We used to have Jim Crow. We used deny women the vote. Etc., etc. We've lost some of what we used to have. But let's not pretend we haven't gained too. The false vision of modern America that Will McAvoy decries is no more false than the "good old days" McAvoy celebrates. The first part of the speech was awesome, the remainder didn't fulfill it's promise. Kind of like the show itself. After rightly telling us over and over how bad modern media is, The Newsroom caps the story of McAvoy's redemption with NOTHING that relates to "good old journalism." He lucked into some sources and scooped a story about the Gulf spill. A story we all know WAS ultimately told by the supposedly inept modern media. McAvoy got the story first because a near stranger happened to have some sketchy sources that he gambled on. Hardly the stuff of Murrow and Cronkite. Let's call it "the stuff of Sorkin."

I am from Canada, and will say that this speech is dead on accurate in regards to the USA and Canada. We have lost our ways. We started to believe too much in the people selling us the idealism rather than reading the label ourselves. We wanted to trust, and needed too.

As for Willie R. (posted June 26 at 9:34am) I believe you may have misunderstood his reference to your generation. As someone a bit older, I didn't take it as a negative directed at you, but rather directed at those that came before. I understood it to be saying that your generation has been placed in the worst possible situation because of what has preceded you.

Truth be told, we know that both our countries are failing on a global scale. We have known this for so long, and have opted to bury our heads in the sand because we are either too lazy or just believe we are too far behind everyone else. Where to begin? So we choose to not pay attention; football, hockey, Hollywood is now where we focus our efforts.

We have become resigned to the truths that in our democracies we no longer have a say. Yes we elect the politician, but then have no effect on their decisions. They will do as they wish and pay no heed to the common person, for we do not hold big enough purse strings. Remember no matter what you are told, always follow the money and that is where the honesty lies.

I loved this speech and posted it in my social science class. I full heartly agree with the writer of this speech!!! Way to go and thank you!!! I will be whatching this show!!!

I agree that the first part of the speech held a far greater amount of truth and harsh accuracy. I disagree however in the defense of "the worst generation ever", of which I am a member. It may not be entirely at the fault of our generation, but given any consideration to the numbers dictated by our generation (such as high school drop out rates, teen pregnancies, educational achievement, political/international understanding, or community involvement, just to name a few) we are certainly the worst generation ever. For any statistic each side could argue why it is not their fault. The reality of the situation however is that you can only blame your parents for so much...and while you do so, someone with a better understanding of how to accept their faults and achieve their goals, will once again surpass you. Unfortunately it seems that the vast majority of these understanding people's are found in countries outside of our own. Either that, or the ones in other countries are more apt to log off Facebook and take action.

I was enthralled by the "harsh reality" of the first part of the speech. I watched it about five times and it said so much that I wish I had written about the status of our country. The second part was a little bit of a cop out, although there is greatness in segments of our history. The attack on the college girl's generation was unfair--I blame the old goats in my generation(especially the mean spirited extreme right wingers-which seems to be all Republicans these days) for the polarization of political positions.

Teen pregnancies are at their lowest levels ever. Might want to exclude that in future critiques of the current generation.


In regards to our greatness, the space program might not seem relevant to many Americans. But as reliant on the health of so many other things as it is, it is the canary in the coal mine. From the political and social will to explore space, to the economic robustness required, to the availability of talented young scientists and engineers willing to serve - all these things scale the feasibility of an effective space program . Sure, other countries are developing their own space capabilities, and relative to their efforts, US dominance is diminished. But step back and look at the absolute magnitude of US efforts in space and ask yourself if the trajectory of exploration has been what we were led to expect by Disney, Von Braun, Kubrick, and Kennedy. I was born in 1960. For the starry-eyed kids of my generation, who grew up fully expecting to be one of the thousands of people living and working in space, and to thrive in a country so wealthy with knowledge and wisdom that space was a natural extension of the American Dream, it is clear: If America is not the best, it is because we are so far from what we could be.

@willie r: I think when he mentioned that you are part of the worst generation period ever period is because he thinks your generation is so misinformed and you will be leading the country in a few years with that misinformed mentality. It's like he is not only blaming the liars, but those who believed in those lies.

It is interesting that liberal Americans like to denegrate their own country. Sure, there are problems here like everywhere else but I don't see these people rushing to get out of this hellhole to whatever is a "greater" country. What country would that be?...France, Sweden, Denmark, Fiji, Brazil, Argentina,
Ecuador, China, Japan, Malaysia, Madagascar, Uruguay, Morrocco, Chad, Cuba? I know...Switzerland. That's it! Clean and tidy. Strong currency. Alps. Solvent. Sort of politically neutral. Medical coverage. A tad expensive and heavily taxed. But nobody's perfect. To Switzerland young progressive!

I like the USA because you still can succeed or fail as much as you want to based on your talents and initiative. The opportunity is there. That's what people who emmigrate to the USA appreciate. Not that you can't do that in other places.

What is exceptional about the US is the variety of spectacular country from beaches to deserts to mountains and there still is elbow room. If you want to get lost and never be found and live a life without rules there are places to do that. Like in the Canyonlands in Utah, the Kaiparowits Plateau, the Salmon River/Bitteroot wilderness in Idaho and of course Alaska.

I don't know if the USA is the greatest country. Italians may prefer Italy. But the USA has a lot going for it.

tucson, I love the USA also. My wife and I don't want to live in any other country. You're right: there's a lot to admire about our country.

However, one think we don't like is American "exceptionalism" -- the notion that we are #! in every way, and if anybody challenges that assumption, they're UNAMERICAN!

Not true. I believe other countries have a lot to learn from the United States, and the United States has a lot to learn from other countries. We do some things better than them, and some things worse than them.

My critique in this post was of the notion that "America is the greatest country." It's necessary to be specific: in which way.

As was noted in The Newsroom, our incarceration rates are horribly embarrassing, as is, increasingly, our K-12 education system. Our health care system leaves a lot to be desired. Our energy, transportation, and other infrastructures are crumbling, while other countries are investing much more than us and moving ahead.

A lot to like. A lot to dislike. That's the United States.

Brian, I agree with your comment above at 9:33pm.

USA geography is exceptional as is the Constitution. Most everything else needs a little or a lot of work.

I love this country, but there is something terribly wrong here and the Jeff Daniels character touches upon it. We have allowed the news, where we were informed, to be replaced by opinion and spin, yet we, as the whole of the viewing public, still continue to believe these opinion-peddlers to be giving us actual news and facts. It is a sad statement when one must read from at least 4 different sources to get the slightest hint on what any news story actually is.

All is not lost. Not remotely, because one consistent thing this country has done over their entire history is proceeding forward with the attitude of "we can do better," "we can improve," and "the status quo isn't good enough."

Why did we stop demanding the same standard of our elected officials and our journalists that we demand of ourselves?

America, we CAN do better.

Love this show.

Help! Where can I download a copy of Will's speech about what has been done in the "name of Christianity" This show is brilliant. Just too bad, as a barely making it senior woman, that it costs so much more money to have quality tv instead of the garbage on network tv. No wonder we are a stupid country.

You call that speech a "fact dump?"

It's a cherry-picked list of whines and it's not even a very good one at that. How exactly do you rank nations "in science?" What objective measure is used there? Certainly not academic papers, where America leads in citations globally. Certainly not original patents, where America leads globally.

And why doesn't he mention metrics in which America DOES lead? Why not mention that when taken in totality, America's pretty phenomenal in that it ranks fairly high in a plethora of categories and not just one or two. If one team of the same guys makes it to the playoffs in hockey, basketball, football, and baseball - wouldn't that be an incredible team even without winning any single sport? But that's not even the case, because there are a lot of first here.

Largest economy? America. Most Olympic medals? America. Highest rate of immigration (total number, not the idiotic net migration rate that depends on per capita that shoots Qatar to the top because 3 people moved there)? America.

And then you can set to work picking apart his backhanded criticisms. America leads in incarcerated citizens... yes. I'm sure the writer of that speech intends this as an indictment of American ethics. And he ignores the fact that the US leads the world in forensic science, information systems, investigative technique, and crime reporting. It has the money, technique, and expertise to pursue criminals. On top of that, it's a nation of laws. What's the murder rate in Chicago? Pretty high. What's the murder rate in Darfur? Pretty low, because they count that as a war even though it's warlords cutting up women and children with machetes.

All that speech means is there are a great number of sanctimonious pessimists indulging their adolescent angst tendencies well into adulthood. It takes 5 minutes of thought to see the holes in that "fact dump." But most people would rather spend the time 'sharing' it to Facebook so they can feel for one brief moment like a social intellectual.


I stopped reading your retort as soon as you mentioned that America leads globally in "original patents".

It is not scientific achievement when someone "invents" the wearable dog toilet. It's a person with an idea to tie a bag to a dogs ass.

America is the greatest country in the world because it is the world's only hope. The only thing keeping the terrorist regimes in check is America. Take America away, France and Spain won't do shit to save the world from the nut jobs in the Middle East or Russia or North Korea or the dozens of other rogue states which threaten global security. Screw America's rank on mathematics or science; without America it won't matter anyway.

To repond to George, we are the "world's only hope" becasue we have said to the entire world we will fight the fight any where any time (except in Africa becasue they have nothing we want). Maybe if we stand down every once in awhile the rest of the world would see a reason to stand up. Why the hell would France or Spain "do shit" if they know we will? Why would Israel ever have a reasonable dialogue or negotiate lasting peace with their neighbors knowing we stand behind them with our finger on the trigger?
At some point in time we have to improve ourselves beyond "might" and actually be the best and brightest again.

"USA geography is exceptional"

Clearly many of you have never traveled.

Canada, Brasil, Argentina, South Africa, China, Russia and Australia are just a few of the massive countries with elbow room and spectacular, exceptional geography.

The USA is just one of many nation states that have a lot to offer. It's not 1960 anymore, most of the world is either developed or developing.

I stop reading your retort once you mentioned that the United States leads global "original patent".
It is not a scientific achievement when someone "invention" wearable dog toilet. This is a man and one idea will be a bag to the dog's ass.

The baby boomers sold us all out. They elected Reagan. They had to have just one more thing. Always. Never happy. Never enough. Them. Them. Them. They grew up spoiled - the Greatest Generation's callow spawn. Whether we can undo what they've done is doubtful. They had all the promise of a better future in their hands and traded it in for a bigger car, a bigger TV (to raise their children) and a bigger pool. And the Millenials are worthless milksops. Sorry. But it's true. Gen X at least had the sense to disbelieve, and the patience to maybe read a book or two. So, yeah, we're so fucked.

The old enemy still lives. The darkness that lives in our souls.

Hi, as a Brit, I pose the question: is there such a thing as the greatest country - in fact, has there ever been? Possibly the only ones to qualify, I would suggest, would be those in such as Indonesia, who knew how to live peaceably, content with such minimal resources as were available to them. Some countries have achieved worthwhile things, yes, but often they have been related to so called advances in science, enginering and medical science - despite the latter producing costly, even out of reach products for so many - and let's not overlook the resources to be warfaring nations. Ford mass produced cars, but what percentage of the population actually actually owned one? In 1953 my parents - father a teacher and mother a secretary - did not own a car, nor even a TV on which to view Queen Elizabeth's coronation, in fact we didn't have the latter until three years later, and never did have a family car. Did we actually win the war?? That question is still posed over here, you know. What was really great about Britain?? Let's consider that. We had one conflict after another during our history, mostly on our own shores, cruelty and poverty went hand in hand, young chidren working in mills, or down coal mines, or up chimneys owned by the aristocracy and middle classes. Can it have been great to have lived in poverty, hanged for stealing a handkerchief? Today people extol London as possibly the greatest city in the world - it has the most toxic atmosphere anywhere from traffic.Great? Eastern Europeans, allowed by membership of the EU, come here freely now and set up brothels and trade young girls. This month 6 Asians were imprisoned for 'grooming' young girls for their own sexual gratification - the same people who still circumcise girls, here in Great Britain. Some areas of London are now 'no go' districts - Asian youths and women tell local whites to get out - they don't belong there. We're out of control. We simply don't have immigration or police officers in sufficient numbers. And, of course, politicans, as hypocritical as ever, remain quite liberal, with future elections in mind. It may be argued that we had Shakespeare - hands up all those who really enjoy tragey - but one person doesn't make a country great. We had the Magna Carta - centuries later we still have inequality and children living in poverty. In a nutshell, as with the USA, there is simply not enough to go round. What may that lead to? Well, anarchy comes to mind. The difference over here is that we, the voters, aren't permitted to own guns - except shotguns for hunting - so the populace would be on a hiding to nothing if the people decided it was time to enforce their will and take back what is rightfully theirs. Having said that, it may just be that the armed forces and police might join ranks. At the end of the day they're the same as us, aren't they??
If anyone is not taking me seriously, just take time to listen to our national anthem - it's all about one person - not the people, nor the country! Am I digressing?! Maybe, but one last suggestion - let's scrap the Olympic Games - apart from being too costly, they engender the wrong kind of fervour. They also create cheats. 'Nuff said methinks.

I like the show and Aaron Sorkin deserves all the praise for it but this speech reminds me a lot of Bill Maher's monologue a couple of years ago: http://youtu.be/T8UqdPKbpWM

July 4th 2014
I just found this speech, since we don't watch TV. (20 years already) We are recovered Repukes, and call ourselves Political Atheists. We say if you still vote, you're addicted to "hope-ium". The US is a mere shadow of its' former self.

My husband is an unemployed STEM guy, and now I'm out of work. Our time of being an industrial powerhouse is behind us. Both the country and the middle class.

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