Links, 2/28/10

Working on German. Modern, short poetry in German requested – I’m going to attempt translating one short poem a day for the next two weeks or so (we’ll see how this goes).

  • “Hamas U.” in the Boston Globe – a portrait of a truly radicalized University, which should provoke thought about education, radicals and society at large. From the article: In any field – including math, engineering, and medicine – scholars are expected to consult the Koran, or Islamic jurists, as well as academic texts. In the natural sciences, the results don’t look all that different from scholarship in the West, such as a recent research study that assessed the value of a particular protein for diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis. But in the social sciences, the imperative of hard-line Sunni Islam has yielded a body of work with a nearly Soviet ideological rigidity and predictability. One paper in the Series of Islamic Studies “proves” that a country’s social development increases in proportion to the number of people who memorize the Koran. Another considers and dismisses Shia Muslim conceptions of the attributes of God for “contradicting the Koran” and other canonical Islamic texts.
  • Megan McArdle, “Thoughts on the Health Care Summit” – words of wisdom from the article: Well, like the rest of the press, I think it was a phenomenal waste of time, if you thought we were maybe going to make some kind of policy progress.  What did we learn from the summit?  Hold onto your seats folks:  Democrats want to do comprehensive health care reform . . . but Republicans don’t!
  • Tom Coburn, “Congress’ Real Problem? A Lack of Restraint on Spending” – Some good points, but I don’t agree with all of it. As has been pointed out, all of the pork and foreign aid is nothing compared to Social Security and Medicare, which are threatening to dwarf even defense. The comment about “angry mobs” being a good thing is worse than useless – Senator Coburn, like a good many people, would be well-served to read this blog.
  • One person in the Obama administration that I’m not disappointed with at all (besides Bob Gates) is Education Secretary Arne Duncan. No, I am not angry about the massive federal budget for schools. He’s doing excellent work in standing up to teachers’ unions and championing real reform. Moreover, there are two ways in my mind to fix education: cut a lot of spending (i.e. why give federal dollars to universities who are sitting on enormous endowments anyway?), or increase funding for the right priorities. I can work with either idea, for this reason: when people aren’t educated, you cannot underestimate how absurd things get in a hurry (h/t I also know that federal standards for what kids should know are a very good thing; the increasing radicalism and kookery in American life has taken over school boards, and ones that do the right thing – no matter how painful – are harder to find.
  • Hopefully this will be the end of Ron Paul’s career. It is tragic CPAC set this country back God knows how many years by giving this idiot any legitimacy.

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