Monthly Archives: September 2009

HEADLINES FROM THE WORLD PRESS

Each day we offer a sample of headlines that appeared in the world press along with our comments.

Kuwait, Kuwait Times: “NEw Species Found”
It is a Republican who can actually articulate an intelligent idea without shouting, “no.”

Australia, Sydney Morning Herald: “Stay Home, Save The Economy”
I have a hunch going out to shop will do more.

USA, NY Daily News: “Cop Has Sex With Cows”
There is nothing moo about this case.

Canada, Toronto Star: “19.2 pound Baby Born In Indonesia”
Me thinks this is a four breast baby.

UK, Guardian: “Swine Flu Vaccine Approved For UK”
Sorry, Frenchmen, no flu for you.

Sweden, The Local: “We Are All Immigrants”
Tell that to Lou Dobbs and the Tea Party idiots.

Denmark, Copenhagen Post: “Adam Returns”
I think he left Eve at the alter.

New Zealand, New Zealand Herald: “Church Free To Abuse Families”
Are these Christians or the Anti-Christ?

Australia, Brisbane Times: “Prison Officer Escapes Jail After Stealing Cash”
He was apprehended by inmates.

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT

I never underestimate the power of the presidency from distancing its occupant from reality.

Youth today has been educated to believe a test measures knowledge.

I never get upset if someone fails showing for a meeting. There is always tomorrow.

The Jewish holidays have arrived and I don’t feel religious this year. Maybe next.

A man sat in a chair smoking a cigarette gazing at the parking lot. Another mystery of life.

My eyes follow a blond haired woman more frequently than a dark haired one.

When alone in a restaurant I struggle for the words that would allow me to talk with a stranger.

I am emotionally unable to envision myself physically handicapped due to age.

Over 40 million Americans lack medical insurance and the crazies worry about some illegal immigrants getting treated for a disease.

I suspect fast food places are trying to discover an inexpensive food that allows people to lose weight.

I am furious when St. Louis people fail to fold a newspaper the correct New York style.

I love watching hand movements as people talk.

In the US Army we were taught to respect the uniform. Why can’t Joe Wilson understand that basic concept?

How To Define Success In Afghanistan?

At a recent talk before the National Press Club, General David Petraeus, said it was impossible to define “victory” on the basis of how many of the enemy was killed in a fight. He argued the fight against the Taliban was going ‘mildly positive” but refused to be pinned down on whether there is need for more troops in Afghanistan. A major issue raised at this discussion was how to deal with troops who are on multiple deployment and are fatigued, but at the same time, they must be alert and ready to fight despite exhaustion.

It is legitimate to ask how does one define “victory in Afghanistan? We just sent 20,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan but no one cane readily define when we know if this thing called “victory” has ever happened. Is there something wrong with this approach?

Spain Prevents Israel Scientists To Work

The Spanish government has decided to expel a group of Israeli scientists from a state-funded competition because they were based in occupied areas of the West Bank. The Israel team had been selected as one of the 20 finalists in a competition to design solar-powered housing that is part-sponsored by the US energy department. A Spanish spokesperson said: “The EU does not recognize the occupation of the West Bank which is where this university is.”

This decision is in line with numerous complaints from European academics about boycotting Israel university professors and scientists. One can ask if Spain will expel Chinese scientists who work in a nation with a notorious human rights record, Russian scientists whose government has done nothing to prevent the death of human rights activists, east European scientists many of whom live in countries with blatantly anti-Roma laws and violence, etc…

Evaluate the scientist, not his/her nation. Now, if we want to discuss human rights violations, Iran, Saudia Arabia, Egypt, etcc.

The Ghosts Of Bigotry

The position of albino children and adults in many east African nations lends itself to perpetuation of unspeakable behaviors towards these innocent people. A prevailing belief in East Africa is that Albino bones can be used to ward off evil spirits and restore health, if not sexuality, to individuals. Three men finally were found guilty of murdering an Albino boy which human rights activists hope will restore some semblance of dignity for the rights of these oppressed people. There are about 17,000 albinos in Tanzania which most probably is the source of the genetic defect that leads to white colored skin.

At least 53 murders of Albinos have been recorded since 2007 in Tanzania and the government essentially has remained uninterested in these killings. Finally court of law has taken action. Hopefully, it will lead to some protection for the albinos.

Racism In South Africa?

During the past twenty-five years the people of South Africa have moved from a society in which those of white skin possessed power, wealth and important jobs. The end of Apartheid has ended that era, but questions still remain concerning the nature of black white relations in the country. Julius Malema, president of the African National Congress Youth League, wondered publicly why there is not a single black face holding an important economic policy position in the Cabinet of President Zuma. A spokesperson for the president dismissed the question as dealing with a “marginal issue.”

Perhaps, it is “marginal,” but it raises a fascinating issue as to the absence of black skinned economists in leading government positions. All this blogger can do is wonder, but the government of South Africa should offer more than merely dismissing the question.

Gulf States Get Tough With Iran

The Gulf States lie in proximity to Iran and are the most concerned regarding attempts to that nation to develop nuclear weapons which could be used to intimidate other countries. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have decided to use the threat of oil contracts, work visas, and other possibilities to persuade China and Russia to agree on tougher sanctions against Iran unless it ceases developing nuclear weapons.

Russian President Medvedev argues, “sanctions are seldom productive, but they are sometimes inevitable. It is a matter of choice.” Medvedev is right, sanctions ordinarily do not work, but there are times when the threat of sanctions can compel nations to alter their actions.

Sweden Set For Stricter Teacher Credentials

The Swedish government is developing plans to revamp its teacher education program and have a new teaching credential. The goal is to prevent “unqualified teachers” from securing full time positions in schools. Minister for Education Jan Bjorkiund argued, “it’s wrong to hire unqualified teachers full-time and I want to put a stop to it. With certain exceptions for teachers in particular occupational subjects.” The new law will state who is qualified and who is not. He also announced Swedish teachers will have the opportunity to study abroad on 80% base pay.

The issue is what is meant by “qualified..” In America that most frequently is equated to taking teacher education courses on the assumption those who take such courses become better teachers. We need more creative ideas on what constitutes a qualified teacher that does not equate college courses with being a better teacher.

Sweden has a great idea to allow teachers to study abroad and be paid. Kudos for the idea!

HEADLINES FROM THE WORLD PRESS

Each day we offer a sample of headlines that appeared in the world press along with our comments.

Sweden, The Local: “Trucker Masturbates While Driving”
He is the first man to come while driving 80 miles per hour.

Australia, Brisbane Times; “How Many People Have You Slept With”
Sleeping is one thing, making out if another.

Canada, Toronto Star: “Gadhafi Ridicules The UN”
Wow, what praise for the UN!

South Korea, South Korea Herald: “Police Probe Draft Dodging”
I would be happier if they probed money dodging with the savings of people.

UAE, Khaleej Times; “Scientists Make Paralyzed Rats Run”
Unfortunately, the Wall Street rats were never paralyzed by their graft and stealing.

Indonesia, Jakarta Post: “Birth Defect No One Talks About”
The greatest birth defect in America is an inability to empathize with poverty and oppression of the poor.

Hungary, Budapest Times: ‘War Over Words”
Just drop into a session of Congress in order to observe a war of words which is much ado about nothing.

South Africa, Mail & Guardian: “Sex, Lies, Funny Money”
I can take the sex and lies, but when they take away our money, then I get angry.

UK, The Independent: “Why Women Need Drink Before Sex”
Imagine having sex with Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck– a gallon might do it.

Obama Gets Grade F On Education!

Those who voted for Barack Obama expected significant changes from the failed policies of George Bush so imagine our surprise when on many occasions Barack turns out to be Bush light. Educators and parents and students hoped Obama’s election would end the tyranny of testing initiated by Bush in his infamous No Child Left Behind law. So, what happens? We get Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education who wants MORE TESTING INCLUDING TESTING OF TEACHERS!!

Any educator believes in accountability of performance, but the issue also is exactly how one judges “success” or “failure” in teaching. The current curriculum in schools derives from 19th century ideas of education and it is these which Bush wanted to compel students to learn and teachers to teach. We have a boring irrelevant curriculum in place which has no connection to life in the 21st century. Along comes Arne Duncan(basketball playing buddy of Obama) who wants to evaluate teachers on the test scores of children!

Anyone who has taught children for several years (Mr. Duncan’s experience consists of tutoring) knows there are simply too many variables at play in linking teachers to student scores. UNLESS, TEACHERS SPEND THE ENTIRE TERM TRAINING CHILDREN TO PASS TESTS! Duncan has bought into Bush Light with its focus on testing for a boring curriculum which lacks exciting education for life in the 21st century.

We propose:

1. Ask Billy Gates to form a task force whose goals will be to identify what constitutes education for 21st century life.
2. The task force could also identify what are the basic skills necessary for success in 21st century living.
3. The task force should explore the best settings for students and teachers in a modern learning center. This means re-examining the role and function of schools.

Unless the above are known, how can students and teachers be “tested?”

It might help to accomplish these goals if the President would appoint someone to head education who ACTUALLY HAS TAUGHT CHILDREN!!
I await Barack Obama appointing a basketball playing teacher as his Secretary of Commerce. After all, they play basketball.