September 2003 Archives
September 30, 2003
There is a solution to our problem in education and it's called choice. The only thing preventing it from happening is a single, well-organized, powerful lobby, the teacher's unions, that put their special interest over the rights of kids. The biggest scandal in America. Read George Will: School choice is a civil right.
September 29, 2003
Here's why I'm voting for Arnold and why I think he'll do better than many believe. Though this is a challenge I don't envy and frankly many of CA's problems aren't solvable by a governor alone, certianly not in an abbreviated term, Arnold has some serious and experienced advisors who can guide him and who I believe he will listen to and learn from.
By the way, if you haven't read "Free to Choose" I highly recommend it. Buy it here.
September 26, 2003
From CounterPunch, check out "Meet the Real Gen. Clark." Excerpt:
Anyone seeking to understand the bloody fiasco of the Serbian war need hardly look further than the person of the beribboned Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley K. Clark. Politicians and journalists are generally according him a respectful hearing as he discourses on the "schedule" for the destruction of Serbia, tellingly embracing phrases favored by military bureaucrats such as "systematic" and "methodical".
The reaction from former army subordinates is very different. "The poster child for everything that is wrong with the GO (general officer) corps," exclaims one colonel, who has had occasion to observe Clark in action, citing, among other examples, his command of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood from 1992 to 1994.
September 24, 2003
Think everything is going wrong in Iraq? Lost in unending barage of negativity from the media, politicians who want Bush's job, and many who opposed the war and are looking for any justification to crow "I told you so," is a different reality. Iraq is a nation in transition and while the future is uncertain, it's hard to imagine that the prospects for a better future are not greater now than they were a year ago. There is much idle chatter about the immorality of unilateral action, hyping the threat that Iraq posed, and poor planning--the Ted Kennedy position seems to be that if we only had the Franch agree with us everything would be different--but in my view these need to be balanced by the benefits of the endeavor and it would be immoral to abandon the cause. This is why it's important to get some perspective. Iraq is in route to being a free, modern, liberal, democracy--focusing on the negatives may serves various self-interests, but it doesn't serve humanity.
The politicians, including some Democrats, are beginning to grasp this. See Glenn Reynolds: "Iraq Media Backlash?", The Hill: Press slants Iraq news, and NewsMax.com's coverage of Democratic Congressman Jim Marchall's editorial in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution which makes the case well.
As news consumers we must all remember that virtually no news is "fair and balanced" because most news covers the drama, death and destruction--the scandals and the horror that will capture our attention--and what we don't see are the normal everyday stories of hope and success, hard work and progress that comprise the hidden side of reality. Story selection is the news media's most powerful, most dangerous, and least understood tool.
This from Congressman Marshall via NewsMax.com:
I'm afraid the news media are hurting our chances. They are dwelling upon the mistakes, the ambushes, the soldiers killed, the wounded, the Blumbergs. Fair enough. But it is not balancing this bad news with 'the rest of the story,' the progress made daily, the good news. The falsely bleak picture weakens our national resolve, discourages Iraqi cooperation and emboldens our enemy. ...
Throughout Iraq, American soldiers with their typical 'can do' attitude and ingenuity are engaging in thousands upon thousands of small reconstruction projects, working with Iraqi contractors and citizens. Through decentralized decision-making by unit commanders, the 101st Airborne Division alone has spent nearly $23 million in just the past few months. This sum goes a very long way in Iraq. Hundreds upon hundreds of schools are being renovated, repainted, replumbed and reroofed. Imagine the effect that has on children and their parents.
September 9, 2003
A clear example of regulatory mission creep--instead of applauding new technologies that will help consumers by providing choice, the regulators move in quickly to stifle a new medium. See BW Online | September 8, 2003 | Time to Rewrite the Rules of Telecom. Excerpt:
In the next few days, the Minnesota State Public Utility Commission plans to hand down an order mandating that Vonage be held to the same standards, taxes, and requirements as more traditional telecom operations. In Minnesota's view, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it's a duck.
THE REAL PROBLEM. More like a sitting duck, say Vonage and a chorus of VOIP evangelists. They argue that the convoluted, often irrational, web of telecom regulations that have evolved over the last century threaten to kill a vibrant new technology and stifle greater efficiency and sorely needed investment in the ailing sector. "To single out VOIP as a telephone service is a terrible misunderstanding of the Internet industry. I would submit that, someday, the phrase Internet telephony will sound as archaic as 'horseless carriage' sounds today," says Vint Cerf, one of the designers of the Internet protocol and vice-president for technology and Internet architecture at MCI (MCWEQ ).
The rush to lump VOIP in with phone services obscures the larger problem: The 100-year-old regulatory structure for telephones is no longer adequate for today's advanced telecom services. These rules were written in a time when each technology delivered one type of service: Voice traveled over copper wires. Broadcast radio and TV signals flew through the air. Multichannel video journeyed across a coaxial cable.
September 5, 2003
Are you concerned about a consolidation of media ownership? Are you concerned about a consolidation of softare ownership? Are you concerned about a consolidation of any particularly vital industry?
If you said yes, then I'd venture a guess that you are a liberal (or perhaps someone trying to compete with Microsoft) and that therefore you are NOT concerned with the biggest monopoly in what is perhaps the most important industry in the nation: education.
Why is this? Personally, I don't worry so much about industry consolidation because I know that if a company fails to satisfy it's customers, it will go out of business and someone else will step in to do a better job. However, the state has owned and operated our education system for decades now and by all accounts is failing miserably (on the whole) and yet I hear scarce criticism about this from those who will yell their lungs out at the prospect of Fox News owning another local affiliate.
Folks, this is maddness. Look at what single, monoplistic control of education has done to our textbooks. We seem to care so much about how we learn about Scott Peterson and Coby Bryant but not a wit about how our kids are learning about history, math, and science in school. Our school text books are garbage because the states of California and Texas buy their text books in bulk, prompting text book publishers to water down and distort facts in order to cater to special, radical, irrational interests on the left and right.
There will always be a multitude of ways to find out what's going on in the world--we should be more concerned about what's going on in our schools. Concerned about monopolies? Be concerned that the bigest monopoly of them all is in charge of our children.