Herewith, a Krazy Kwilt of Kurrent Events, kurtesy of the print media:
I've already had my say re: the status of public education, whether at the secondary level or the college level. Both are controlled by the government, and both are committed to mediocrity and hooked on failure. But Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hasn't given up yet, and he's starting to sound like a voice crying in the wilderness. The latest of the almost daily data dumps on the topic has to do with readiness for careers in science and technology – you know, that field of endeavor that used to be considered important for our nation's defense, going all the way back to Sputnik. Of course, one might question exactly what percentage of students have to be competent in science and technology in order to, in Duncan's words, “maintain the nation's role as an international leader in the sciences”. No one seems willing to come up with a figure. What I suspect is that if we maintain a certain small percentage of “geeks” in the population, we can afford to have the rest remain knuckle-draggers. I mean, does anyone seriously believe that the Soviet Union was a nation glutted with scientists and engineers during the Cold War? Or Germany before and during World War II? No – I don't think even Israel could make that claim. All it takes is a certain percentage, and I'm not even convinced that percentage is growing. For one thing, although it make take a credentialed scientist or engineer to turn out new technology, we've gotten to the point where everybody uses technology, even the most modestly-endowed. And this trend will, undoubtedly, continue. Walk into any retail establishment, office, or manufacturing firm in the nation – you'll find barely-literate and minimally-trained people using computers with more computing power than the old main frames. This is, of course, an intentional and planned development, and there's not a thing wrong with it. To say that anyone who uses a computer has to be a “techie” is like saying that anyone who drives a car has to be a mechanic. That might have been true back in 1901, but things have changed considerably – and for the better, I might add. The best kind of technology is markedly democratic in nature, which means that it quickly becomes available to the ordinary person. There's a lot of stuff out there that can only be used by the trained elite, no doubt; I mean, you don't just turn Homer Simpson loose with a cyclotron. But let's face it – we have technology across the board now. I can walk into the funkiest, grungiest, back-alley garage in Pittsburgh and the hairy ape under the hood of the car is poking away at some high-tech gadget. What I'm saying is that the future is here already, no matter how bad a job the schools are doing. Maybe the education mavens need to relax a bit.
Bill & Melinda Get Fooled Again
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the only charitable organization I know of that has, written right into its charter, “Will seek out the world's biggest ratholes and pour money into them.” We've already seen how much they've, um, “invested” in various United Nations and public school boondoggles – so the latest folly is just, well, the latest. It is an organization called the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (and also, I suspect, homophobia, sexism, racism, and “hate”) -- and B & M have blessed it with $150 million per year, presumably in perpetuity. Trouble is, the Fund “sees as much as two-thirds of some grants eaten up by corruption”, according to the AP. “Much of the money is accounted for with forged documents or improper bookkeeping, indicating it was pocketed.” The article doesn't give a lot of detail as to specific programs or who did the pocketing, but one can get a general idea by the fact that among the target countries were Mauritania, Mali, and Djibouti. I mean... say those words aloud. Let them roll off your tongue. Don't they just scream corruption and thievery? Don't they just sound like places where the king, or dictator, or whatever, confiscates everything of value, turns it into hard cash, and deposits it in a Swiss bank? Oh, and BTW, other donors include financial geniuses like Bono, Kofi Annan, and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Sounds like an organization made to order for the fleecing of liberal idiot globalists. But hey – I'm sure whoever wound up with the cash is making at least as good use of it as the donors would have if they'd kept it. Call it a “trickle-over” effect.
Quote of the Week
“The estate tax isn't a tax on trust fund babies and the idle rich. The idle rich can afford legions of tax accountants and lawyers to shelter their wealth from the estate tax. In fact, the estate tax is a tax on family-owned businesses, and it's killing thousands every year.” (Anthony Davies, Associate Professor of Economics and Duquesne University and a senior scholar at George Mason University) As intended, I might add.
Stupid Quote of the Week
“William Daley, the White House chief of staff... said... that his past experience as a businessman tells him that government investments in private enterprise, along with spending cuts, are the best way to spark the economy.” Hmmm. Well, I guess we know why he's not in business any longer. Let's see – the government is supposed to “invest” in private enterprise and cut spending at the same time? So I guess “investment” is not the same as “spending”, even though they come out of the same budget. And what is a government “investment” in private enterprise but a handout or subsidy or tax break – AKA “choosing winners”? And how does an enterprise remain “private” once it's “invested” in by government? And BTW, does the government ever get a “return” on “investments” of this sort? Not that I'm aware. But I guess if Daley called it a “giveaway” it would ruin the point he's trying to make.
Shrink or Die
Now it's the IMF reading the U.S. the riot act when it comes to deficit spending. I mean... China was one thing, but the IMF? I mean, that's our own organization, isn't it? We created it! We own it! Well... maybe not totally, but you see what I mean. All of a sudden they're pretending that they're an independent entity, rather than a wholly-owned subsidiarity of the American Empire. The nerve. And apparently someone in either the Bush or Obama administration made a promise – late at night, in a drunken stupor, in a sleazy bar on South Capitol Street – to halve the U.S. Budget deficit by 2013. What foolishness! I mean... how unlike the reality, which is driven by the globalist agenda. Not to mention which, the IMF has been one of the more chronic sucking chest wounds in the U.S. budget for decades. So really, they've got no complaint – and I suspect that they know it, but they have to put on a show once in a while just to placate the people who aren't in on the scam.
Tea Party in a Teacup
The Senate Tea Party Caucus met for the first time last Thursday... and the total membership could have fit into a booth at Friendly's. Four in all – Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Jerry Moran, and Jim DeMint -- proclaimed that the Tea Party already has made its presence felt on Capitol Hill and in the White House. Well... to the extent that Congressmen and Obama staffers believe what they read in the mainstream media, this is probably true. The Tea Party has been represented as some kind of combination of killer bees, Lassa fever, and flesh-eating bacteria. It's been used to scare people -- especially liberals and Democrats. You know the drill -- "They'e going to turn grandma into dog food" and all that. But anyone who is truly in the know knows that the Tea Party is a mere irritant, if that. After all, haven't the tea partiers expressed almost unanimous support for Obama's foreign policy (I mean the one he inherited from Bush), particularly the twin wars? And is that not the heart and soul of the American Empire? And isn't that, in turn, the biggest threat to our long-term economic survival? And here we have Secretary of Defense Gates rending his garments because “while the Defense Department's budget would continue to grow [over the next 5 years], it would do so at a much slower pace and would barely exceed inflation by 2016." Imagine! Barely exceeding inflation! Oh, the humanity. But don't expect any protests from the tea partiers about any of this; for them, “defense” (which means “war”) is the ne plus ultra of America. Why, without war, what would even be the point to our continued existence? It doesn't matter whether they literally think this way; what counts is that can be relied on to act this way every time.
Manatees in an Iced Tea Pot
It seems that manatees in Florida are endangered by... cold weather! Yes, that's right – despite the "unarguable reality, and accepted science, of global warming”, for some mysterious reason the waters of Florida have cooled to the point where manatees are dying of “cold stress”. Now... is there any chance that we could get the people who are reporting this together with the people who are in a panic about drowning polar bears, and let them fight it out in order to settle the matter? I mean... if global warming is melting all the polar ice, why is it slacking off when it comes to Florida waterways? Oh, the inscrutable processes of nature... and the even more inscrutable processes of liberals pretending to be scientists.