Links, 3/3/10

  • “Obama angers union officials with remarks in support of R.I. teacher firings” (wapo) – from the President’s remarks: “If a school continues to fail its students year after year after year, if it doesn’t show signs of improvement, then there’s got to be a sense of accountability,” he said. “And that’s what happened in Rhode Island last week at a chronically troubled school, when just 7 percent of 11th-graders passed state math tests — 7 percent.”
  • Jonah Goldberg, “Big business is, simply, vampiric” – from the op-ed: It’s worth remembering that Obama was the preferred candidate of Wall Street, and the industry gave to Democrats by a 2-1 margin at the beginning of last year. The top business donor to Democrats in 2008 was Goldman Sachs, and nearly 75 cents out of every dollar of Goldman’s political donations from 2006 to 2008 went to Democrats. Few can gainsay the investment, given how well Goldman Sachs has done under the Obama administration. It’s not just Wall Street. Obama led in fundraising from most big business sectors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Aside from the desire to back the winner, and the cultural liberalness of East and West Coast plutocrats, why did Obama get so much support from precisely the constituency he demonizes? Because it was good business. A host of big corporations bet that the much-vaunted Obama era would materialize. For instance, nearly 30 major corporations and environmental groups invested in Obama’s promise to force the American economy into a new cap-and-trade system via the United States Climate Action Partnership (CAP).
  • Britain Grapples with Debt of Greek Proportions (nytimes, h/t Josh) – from the article: Consider Sheridan King, a sales manager who is struggling to pay off his £32,000 ($47,075) in nonmortgage debt. Far from thinking about going shopping, his first priority is keeping clear of his creditors. And even though his variable mortgage of about £100,000 carries a very low rate, interest costs are already chewing up a substantial portion of his pay, and he is deeply worried about the future.
  • Joshua Foust, “The Next Battles for Marjah” (h/t Josh) – from the op-ed: Marja’s agricultural base relies primarily on opium, and any new counternarcotics policies will wreak havoc; arresting or killing the drug traffickers will ultimately be the same as attacking local farmers. The timing of the offensive could not be more damaging: opium is planted in the winter and harvested in the spring, which means those who planted last year cannot recoup their investment. In Helmand, opium is the only way farmers can acquire credit: they take out small loans, called salaam, from narcotics smugglers or Taliban officials, often in units of poppy seed, and pay back that loan in opium paste after harvest. If they cannot harvest their opium, they are in danger of defaulting on their loan — a very dangerous proposition.
  • Ario has a poem up that I’m still scratching my head over. Take a look: “Mystery”

1 Comment

  1. I read about the school in Rhode Island several days ago and, wow. I am generally very supportive of teachers. It is sometimes hard to imagine how difficult it is to teach effectively.

    But it is utter absurdity to underperform to that level. My high school graduation test in math didn’t cover anything beyond 8th grade. Yeah, lots of kids failed, lots of parents were pissed, and my school was maybe not the best. But by “lots” I mean maybe 10% failed. Not only 7% PASSED.

    Obama said something to this effect: it may be that this school has shown a little improvement in other areas, but this is these children’s one chance at an education. It’s extremely important that it’s done right.

    He’s definitely right on that point.

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