Independence Doesn’t Spring From Ignorance

It’s no secret that many young Americans graduate from school with little more than the knowledge of where to find the cheat codes for the  Call of Duty electronic game. Only a small number know how to use a globe or know you have to pay interest on credit card debt. They expect to start jobs with $100,000 salaries…at McDonalds. And enough math skills to balance a checkbook? Fugetaboutit!

Every holiday a plethora of polls expose the latest statistics for American Dumbassness. This year it’s a July 4th Marist poll pointing out that only 26% percent of Americans (4o% of 18-29 year olds) don’t know which country we fought in the American revolution.

Clearly, we’ve done a bad job of educating our children and parenting them in such a way that they’re ready to learn basic skills. But then, it’s hard for a parent or teacher raised in a dysfunctional  href="">educational system to teach subjects for which they’re only moderately better prepared than their students. Think of a copy machine. As you make copies of copies of copies, each new copy progressively degrades more.

Of course, there are many reasons for the collapse and just as many ideas of how to put the wheels back on the school bus. The Every Child Left Behind Act, school voucher programs, the abandonment of tried and true teaching methods and curricula, and cataclysmic budget cuts all do their part. Members of the ignorati, like Rick Santorum, simply believe only liberals are responsible.

It’s appalling that kids don’t know who we bested (geography lesson: not England – they aren’t the same thing) at Yorktown (crib note: it’s in Virginia along the York River). It’s even more appalling that parents, teachers, and politicians trying to win seats in the very heart of American democracy know just as little as the kids they’ve helped intellectually cripple.

American education policy is in a shambles. It seems all we can do about it is spew dogma at each other. Since dogma is a “big word”, here’s a little vocabulary help. One definition of dogma is, “a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds“. Do you know how I know that definition? I learned how to use a dictionary.

Study up kids. You should know what your soon-to-be adult screeds mean before you end up being incapable of delivering them.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

The Darfur Conundrum: How will Obama respond?

In the days of the 2008 Presidential election, a seldom mentioned topic of the Sudanese genocide in Darfur peeked its head in on occasion.  Barack Obama, who had been known in his Congressional days to work across party lines to better humanitarian efforts in countries such as these, mentioned the Darfur genocide as a campaign effort.  As politifact's Obama-meter labels, Barack Obama made a campaign promise in this realm of foreign policy.

Pressure Sudan to end violence in Darfur

"As president, Obama will take immediate steps to end the genocide in Darfur by increasing pressure on the Sudanese and pressure the government to halt the killing and stop impeding the deployment of a robust international force." ... as well as a special envoy to send aid and peace talk relief efforts to the afflicted region of Sudan. 

Dark days have fallen over Darfur for a number of years, and its troubling to realize just how many people have no idea what Darfur even is.  I voted for Obama, among other reasons, with hopes that he would address this situation that was virtually neglected by the Bush Administration.

Currently this campaign promise is labelled as "In the works," meaning that Obama has begun the process of accomplishing the goal. It has not seen any action in a number of months.

Sudan is an incredibly politically corrupt nation, whose government will most of the time refuse to acknowledge the genocide.  Even they do acknowledge it, they completely misconstrue the numbers to play it off as not being as bad as it is.  The situation is dire.

In recent months, there was claimed to be a low point in violence.  Peace treaties, although mostly failing in the past, had seemed to have made some headway and a resolution to the genocide was thought to be in somewhat dim sight.  However, conflict in the region is yet again on the rise.  Parts of the country are seeking independence, more citizens are fleeing to an already over-encumbered Chad, and the Janjaweed are still terrorizing the land.

This isn't exactly the big-ticket agenda item, and The United States certainly has a vast amount of "large" problems to deal with itself.  However, some action taken by the Obama Administration would be nice, seeing as how thousands upon thousands are dying.

Awareness must be spread, because this conflict continues without many even knowing that it exists.




The Easiest Way to Cripple Our Economy: Let Politicians Run the Federal Reserve

By: Inoljt,

Several weeks ago, the House Financial Services Committee approved an amendment that would quite negatively impact our economy's future well-being. If passed, this change could hamper GDP growth for decades to come.

Offered by Congressman Ron Paul, the amendment vastly expands the Congressional Accounting Office's auditing powers over the Federal Reserve. Consequently, the Federal Reserve's cherished independence would be drastically curbed. Every unpopular action the Federal Reserve made could potentially be scrutinized by vote-seeking politicians. This would effectively intertwine politics into the serious business of running the economy - and if the Soviet Union taught us anything, that is a terrible, terrible idea.

Imagine, for example, if this policy had been in place three decades ago - during the 70s and 80s. The great economic challenge of those decades was stagflation, a ruinous combination of high inflation, high unemployment, and stagnant economic growth initiated by oil shocks. Presidents from Nixon to Carter attempted to combat the demon, instituting policies that ranged from price controls to handing out WIN (Whip Inflation Now) buttons.

The problem with stagflation, however, was that defeating it required extremely unpopular action - action no poll-reading politician was willing to take.

More below.

There's more...

Obama in Independence, MO: photos

Crossposted from Show Me Progress.

As I approached the press entrance to the Truman Memorial Building I stopped to take a photo of the media trucks. This very nice lady stopped and asked me, "Are you with the Kansas City Star?" I replied that I was not, I was a blogger. She then asked me, "Would you like to take my picture with my husband he's just around the corner?" I thought, "Why not?" and told her I would. As we walked back to the line of people around the corner I asked her if she had ever been to an event like this before. She replied, "No, never before. This is historic." We found her husband in line and I took this photo. They reminded me of my parents.

I waited my turn to go through security at the press entrance. The uniformed officer had me take out and start up all of my electronic equipment, including my camera. As he peered through the viewfinder he took this photo. He quipped to me, "If you publish this I should get credit." He's got it.

There's more...

Patriotism Defined

crossposted at daily kos

Today I volunteered for a political campaign for the first time in my life.  Just Wednesday, I decided on a whim to attend a voter registration training event with the Obama campaign and through that I had an opportunity to volunteer at Obama's speech on patriotism at the Truman Memorial Building in Independence, Missouri, today.  I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the speech.  Though it was open to the public, tickets to the event were gone in less than two hours.

While what I did at the event was not tremendously important in the grand scheme of things (I helped the to-dos of Kansas City and Jackson County politics find a seat), in attending this event I have renewed my commitment to turning Missouri blue this November and beyond.  I met some fantastic and inspiring people, made connections, and made commitments to attend other organizing and voter registration events in my communitiy.  I am truly impressed with Obama's ground game here in Missouri and I am thrilled to be a part of it.

There's more...


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