September 26, 2006
Some Euro backbone?
Posted by Jon Ham at 10:55 PM
German politicians are outraged that the Deutsche Opera in Berlin cancelled a production of Mozart's "Idomeneo" that depicted Mohammed's severed head:
German politicians denounced the opera house's move, deputy
parliamentary speaker Wolfgang Thierse saying it highlighted a
new threat to free artistic expression in Germany.
"Has it come so far that we must limit artistic
expression?" he told Reuters. "What will be next?"
Peter Ramsauer, head of the Bavarian Christian Social Union
(CSU) in parliament, said the move pointed to a "naked fear of
violence" and called it an act of "pure cowardice."
Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also criticized the
decision. "We tend to become crazy if we start to forbid Mozart
operas being played. We will not accept it," he told a news
conference during a visit to Washington.
Of course, the severed heads of Buddha and Christ were also
depicted, but that was of no concern. Only Mohammed counts these days.
But at least there has now been an act of defiance by political leaders
in what has for the past several years been mostly capitulation. Now if
only the opera director would get a clue.
UPDATE: German Chancellor Angela Merkel joins those who warn against knuckling under to Islamic radicals who hate Mozart operas.
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 9:17 PM
It's not until the fourth paragraph that the Washington Post story on the leaked but now declassified (pdf) terrorism National Intelligence Estimate gets to the second line of the NIE's two-line assessment of the Iraq War:
Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.
There you have it. If anything, the NIE bolsters President Bush's foreign policy objectives. It recognizes that Iraq has become a "cause celebre among jihadists" contrary to the original hope of most supporters, but the question for the last three years has not been about how we got there, but what we do next and the NIE makes clear that victory is the only answer -- not re-deployment or Iraqization, victory.
The rest of the key judgements agree that "real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations" will help to quell terrorist recruitment, but anti-American sentiment runs deep. That is why Hugo Chavez cites Noam Chomsky. But, as the bluster over the NIE itself demonstrates, exposure is the Achilles heel of this anti-Americanism.
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 8:32 PM
Robert J. Samuelson takes a closer look in Newsweek at the government's recent release on household income and poverty figures.
Some of his analysis will please left-leaners (since they always enjoy bad news), but he also bursts some bubbles:
- Living standads aren't stagnating.
- Hispanics account for almost the entire increase in families in poverty from 1995 to 2005.
And Samuelson shoots down some of the proposals offered for reducing income inequality:
[M]any familiar proposals would be mostly symbolic or hurtful. Raising the minimum wage might directly affect only about 5 percent of workers and might destroy some jobs. Protectionism might save a few well-paid jobs but would inflict higher prices on those least able to afford them.
Tar Heels will also notice his plug for a visit to Asheville's Biltmore Estate.
Re: Controlled landing
Posted by Andrew Cline at 7:17 PM
Hey, I know that blimp! It flies over Manchester all the time. In fact, I just saw it a couple of nights ago. It's never made me think of John Hood, though. Now, of course, it will every time I see it. Thanks a lot, guys.
Re: controlled landing
Posted by Jon Sanders at 4:55 PM
Oh, never mind. It was Drew Cline who had the zeppelin.
Re: controlled landing
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:51 PM
I wondered why you had loaned me that book on delivering pamphlets and newsletters through the air.
Should I cancel the order for 500,000 fliers that say, "Big government=bad, free markets=good"?
It was, at least, a “controlled landing”
Posted by John Hood at 4:42 PM
Curses! Foiled again!
Still, I will, one day, rule the world ... [maniacal laughter]
NCCU tops UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke
Posted by Shannon Blosser at 3:10 PM
In teaching students about history and civics according to a study released today by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. NCCU ranked No. 13 of 50 schools studied, while UNC-Chapel Hill was 28th and Duke was 46th.
Posted by Shannon Blosser at 2:57 PM
It's been quite obvious for awhile that the commission and Spellings would be looking at a national system or some form of No Child Left Behind on the higher education level. I believe Spellings and her speech writers added the comments about not wanting a national system of higher education to offset those who see the proposals for what they are - more government involvement in higher education.
If Spellings is concerned about need-based financial aid, then lets find private organizations and donors who share that same view and have them to pay for it, instead of pushing the bill on all taxpayers. I'm sure there are enough groups out there who believe need-based financial aid is important and would fund scholarships and financial aid program without federal government involvement. The same is true for merit-based scholarships as well.
The education establishment, including Spellings, is too quick to ask government (fund financial aid) to do what the private sector is more than able and willing to accomplish.
Posted by Daren Bakst at 2:27 PM
I didn't see your last post until after I sent
out my blog post. It is good to see that others recognize the
problems with a federal government-run system of higher education.
Big Government & Big Brother/Re: Spellings Speech
Posted by Daren Bakst at 2:21 PM
of her speech today and the requirements on higher education that are
being proposed are a prime example of more big government solutions by
the current Administration.
In a previous life, I was involved in discussions on the
database that will track all students. Like the states that have
databases to track students, the federal government will ultimately use
the data for data-matching purposes (data-mining) well beyond
graduation. There is no evidence that states that violate their
citizens' privacy rights have better higher educational outcomes as a
The Administration wants a No College Student Left Behind Act
for higher education. Spellings expresses "disappointment" about
the private colleges and their opposition to the database and other
burdensome requirements--maybe she should remember that higher
education in this country is successful because the government hasn't
dictated every possible issue for private colleges, although they've
come close. This is why some colleges, and certainly more soon,
will do their best to stop taking federal funds or accept students that
participate in the federal aid programs (it isn't that feasible though
if a school wants to compete).
There is a parallel to K-12 education--the Administration is
also undermining support for vouchers through their actions. As
my colleague Roy Cordato argued in his recent op-ed,
(I am paraphrasing) vouchers are a means by which the government can
start controlling private K-12 schools. Nobody has to look any
further to support this argument than the higher education system and
what Spellings is proposing.
I expect the National Center for
Education Statistics (NCES) and the Department of Education to try an
end-run around Congress on an issue like the database (the House passed
legislation expressly forbidding the database).
This isn't a
defense of colleges, but a defense of developing sensible policies that
don't micromanage the higher education system.
Spellings makes recommendations
Posted by Shannon Blosser at 1:40 PM
In a speech to the National Press Club, that just concluded a few minutes ago, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings laid out her vision for improving higher education. Many of the recommendations Spellings discussed were released in a report by the same commission that she entrusted to examine higher education's future. Among those that spellings discussed were increases in need-based financial aid, improving the financial aid process, hold high schools more accountable in preparing students for college, and creating a system to have information on student progress.
Even though Spellings said she did not "envision or want a national system of higher education," it's clear that some of these recommendations will do just that. Instead of reducing the federal government's role in higher education, the commission and Spellings have laid out a plan that will increase the grip the federal government has on higher education.
CATO's Neal McCluskey said it best today, saying:
"On the presumption that the federal government must do for higher education what it has done for elementary and secondary schooling, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings is calling for huge new federal intrusions into America's colleges and universities. Higher education doesn't need more federal control, it needs less, because American schools' ability to specialize and compete -- not to follow rules and regulations -- are what make them the envy of the world."
It will be interesting to see what Congress does with many of these recommendations. With the election a month away, Congress will likely not act on these changes until the start of the 110th Congress in January. That should give the public enough time to ask themselves an important question: "Do we really want more federal government involvement in higher education?"
I thought fuel prices were declining
Posted by Paul Chesser at 12:53 AM
Progress Energy gets the Utilities Commission to grant it a rate hike.
My latest: The Joke's on U.
Posted by Jon Sanders at 12:24 AMFrontPage magazine has published my article on hoax colleges and real ones, entitled "The Joke's on U." A couple of excepts:
In the new movie, "Accepted," a group of friends make up their own college after being rejected by real ones. It's a comedy, of course. But the real joke is, our protagonists don't dream up anything for their hoax college that you can't already find in American academe, even in some of the most reputable universities. ...
Gaines' students studied such topics as "Slacking 101," "How to Be a Rock Star," "Babe Watching," and "Men: The Weaker Sex." Actual universities carry courses focused on video games, movies, NASCAR, and TV shows such as "The Simpsons" and "SpongeBob SquarePants"; courses on rock & roll and hip-hop; classes in sexuality and pornography; and entire departments devoted to "Women's Studies."
And the beat goes on
Posted by Jon Ham at 10:42 AM
I just posted a column in Media Mangle that mentions my newsroom campaign in the 1990s to get our reporters and editors at The Herald-Sun
to label liberal groups liberal if they insisted on labeling
conservative groups conservative. As I finished that column I turned to
Newbusters and found this:
Salon.com is mentioned without any description of its ideology or
history: "Salon.com is an Internet magazine of news and opinion."
It's a post about The Washington Post's story
about Salon's recent quoting of one named and several unnamed former
UVa football teammates of Virginia Sen. George Allen Jr. saying that
Allen used racist language back then (1972-73). One would think that a
site so identified with the left would be described that way by
Spend and Tax Korea
Posted by Joseph Coletti at 10:00 AM
In Korea or Carolina, “spend and tax” is the rule of government.
Korean corporate bailouts have quadrupled national debt to 300 trillion won ($310 billion), one-third of GDP. President Roh now wants to expand social services spending and raise taxes to pay for them. As Ohio has already done, President Roh Moo-hyun is pitching the tax increase as “tax reform” that broadens the base.
Kim Woo-cheol of the Korea Institute of Public Finance, however, has a new report that finds “tax cuts raise national income 1.2 to 2.9 times more than bigger government spending,” according to the Korea Herald.
With a billion-dollar structural deficit likely waiting for the General Assembly when it returns in January, expect big-spending politicians to take the argument that we need revenue-enhancing tax reform in North Carolina. Real tax reform sticks to some basic principles and practices.
Spellings gives glimpse into speech
Posted by Shannon Blosser at 10:00 AM
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings talked to the Chronicle of Higher Education in today's online edition about her speech this afternoon at the National Press Club in Washington. Spellings is scheduled to respond to the findings from her commission that had examined the future of higher education in the country. According to the article, Spellings will call for an increase in student aid, as well as for a national database to track the progress of students through college.
Activist: Bring VD to your university
Posted by Jon Sanders at 09:37 AM(Hey, if the batty feminists can shorten St. Valentine's Day to "V-Day" to stand for "Vagina" and "Violence," then I can shorten "V-Day" to VD.)
Eve Ensler's V-Day e-mail today urges VD supporters to "Make a difference in your community!" by bringing a production of The Vagina Monologues there. As usual, there is no doubt that the production will "stop violence against women and girls."
Two actors are quoted on the importance of the play in meeting this goal. "My life has not been the same since I was invited to share these stories with the world and to take a stand against these harsh injustices and I can only hope to change others lives and opinions with each performance," says a Jordan Long of Syracuse University. "Asking me why I want to participate in V-Day is like asking me why I ate breakfast this morning -- I do it not only because I want to, but because I HAVE to."
Well, you can't argue with that logic.
"Stopping violence against women is something that should be important to all people (especially women), no matter their politics, religion, age, or economic status," says a Freda Grant of Huntsville, Alabama. "I would love to see V-Day be an annual event that unites our community? [Sic.] I believe that if violence against women is truly to be stopped we have to get a majority of the population to understand the problem, promote awareness of the issue, and work to stop violence."
Apparently, these activist actors seem to think that staging a play will end violence against women. No doubt activist peanut-butter makers would think a special "Stop the Violence Spread" (extra nutty, natch) would end the violence.
From reading VD's frequent e-mail updates, I have gathered the operative "stop the violence" equation at VD:
1. Stage "The Vagina Monologues."
3. Violence against women ends.
The real reason Hugo Chavez should scare us
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:27 AM
Sure, he called our president the "devil" while standing on our soil.
But the following comment from Venezuela's chief cook and bottle washer should cause us real concern:
When I was released from prison [in 1994] and began my political life, I naively took as a reference point Tony Blair's proposal for a "third way" between capitalism and socialism--capitalism with a human face. Not anymore. After seeing the failure of Washington-backed capitalist reforms in Latin America, I no longer think a third way is possible. Capitalism is the way of the devil and exploitation, of the kind of misery and inequality that destroys social values. If you really look at things through the eyes of Jesus Christ--who I think was the first socialist--only socialism can really create a genuine society.
Beam me up to New York
Posted by Paul Chesser at 09:23 AM
Did Hood say he was going to be out of town next week?
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:23 AM
Michael Kinsley asks that question about newspapers in this week's TIME.
Interview with Professor Alison Wolf
Posted by George Leef at 09:06 AM
Alison Wolf's book Does Education Matter? should be required reading for anyone who has anything to do with educational policy. I quoted from it in my recent paper "The Overselling of Higher Education."
EducationNews.org has a good interview with Wolf here. Especially valuable is her debunking of the notion that governments can catalyze economic growth just by "investing" more in education.
The 'N' word
Posted by Paul Chesser at 08:42 AM
Dr. Ken Shelton, a radiologist who lives in North Carolina, is one of two men who allege that Virginia Sen. George Allen used racist epithets when he knew him in the 1970s. The New York Times reports:
Mr. Shelton...said that on a hunting trip Mr. Allen had sought out the home of an African-American and affixed the head of a dead deer to the mailbox. He also said Mr. Allen had called him Wizard, for Robert Shelton, who used the title as a leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
“He wanted to know if I was related,” Mr. Shelton recalled in an interview. “I said no.”
Allen denies the allegations.
Update 8:55 a.m.: Salon, which originally reported the allegations, says Shelton (who lives in Hendersonville) in the past has been registered to vote both as a Democrat and as an independent, and four years ago contributed $1,000 to Rep. Charles Taylor's opponent, Sam Neill.
New socialist man in New Orleans
Posted by George Leef at 08:19 AM
A remarkably perceptive student at Tulane writes here about the consequences of federal intervention in the lives of people in New Orleans.
Posted by George Leef at 08:16 AM
Another good example of a nation that's gone downhill due to government meddling is Argentina. A hundred years ago, Argentina was second only to the US in wealth in the western hemisphere. Instead of continuing to grow, Argentina stagnated under socialist policies throughout the 20th century.
Far north or far south, socialism always has the same depressing results.
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