01 January 2008

Random Thoughts at the End of 2007

Just when Iraq was dark (as so of our own creating) and all was deemed already lost, a change in strategy changed the landscape, the attitude and quite possibly the outcome. It makes one wonder why the cries of the naysayers were given so much weight earlier in the year, especially as the scene was already changing. (Oh yeah, that’s the mass media.)

I watched what I thought a pretty unapologetic movie, The Kingdom, on Sunday. I thought it was a decent watch, until the end, that is. I cursed out loud as the movie’s writers and producers made a sickening pitch at moral equivalence between an FBI agent and a Saudi bomb-maker. “We’ll kill them all” statements, with no differentiation between killing criminals and killing the religious “other” is intellectual laziness at the very least.

No Child Left Behind is one of those things that sounds good but works poorly. It raises the bottom by sacrificing the top and the middle. It, along with the Department of Education, should be abandoned; control of schools should be returned to local governments, and state governments should spend more time and effort monitoring where money goes within schools than dictating curriculum. Better yet, all schools should be privatized. I’d be more than willing as a teacher to compete for students. Perhaps parents would have a greater interest in education if they really had to choose who to pay to teach their children.

The Dallas Morning News’ choice for “Texan of the Year” – the illegal immigrant – is wrong on one fundamental level. As pointed out in the comments section of the DMN article, by giving the nod to a group in Texas illegally, the paper implicitly recognizes them as Texans, and thus, citizens. Surely that isn’t what the DMN wanted to do…right?

I managed to read more than a book a month, on average, this past year. I hope that I can keep it up in 2008, though I have to admit that I’ll be “loading” my reading during the summer months.

The uncomfortable truth about a world that lacks clear definitions of right and wrong, where anything goes (as long as it is “culture based”) is that either standards of behavior must be lowered to the lowest possible level or cultures with significant differences must be separated.

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