A look back at some news items, columns, blog posts and articles that caught our eye this past week or so.
Another U.S. education system success story:
Fewer than a quarter of American 12th-graders knew China was North Korea's ally during the Korean War, and only 35% of fourth-graders knew the purpose of the Declaration of Independence, according to national history-test scores released Tuesday.
The results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress revealed that U.S. schoolchildren have made little progress since 2006 in their understanding of key historical themes, including the basic principles of democracy and America's role in the world.
Article questions whether No Child Left Behind's math and science testing requirements come at the expense of history, art and other subjects. One would think that spending 5-6 hours of classroom time a day for 9 months a year might yield a degree of proficiency in all the aforementioned subjects. Guess we're mistaken.
Another Obamanomics success story:
American Electric Power on Thursday announced it plans to shut down several coal-fired power plants, convert or retrofit others, and cut as many as 600 jobs in the next few years to comply with regulations proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.But let's give the President some credit for carrying through on at least one specific campaign promise: When he said he was going to ruin the coal industry, he meant it.
Based on the proposed regulations, AEP will have to retire nearly 6,000 megawatts of coalfueled power generation; upgrade or install new advanced emissions reduction equipment on another 10,100 megawatts; refuel 1,070 megawatts of coal generation as 932 megawatts of natural gas capacity; and build 1,220 megawatts of natural gas-fueled generation.
The cost of AEP’s compliance plan could range from $6 billion to $8 billion in capital investment through the end of the decade. The company said high demand for labor and materials due to a constrained compliance time frame could drive actual costs higher than these estimates.
Rich Lowry on Misplaced Bailout Pride
Ultimately, the moral stature of capitalism depends on a structure of rules that applies to firms large and small, politically connected and not. By this standard, the auto bailouts fail miserably, and so perfectly distill Obamanomics.
In the article, Lowry uses the term "corporatism" which was bandied about quite a bit by Bush's critics to describe his alleged cozy relationship with Big Oil. Funny, we don't hear that term which we equate with crony capitalism and economic fascism too much anymore so it stands to reason that is just isn't happening, right?
Wall St. Journal on Pursuing Palin:
But the buildup to their release was treated like the prelude to the release of the Pentagon Papers. David Corn of Mother Jones salivated at the prospect of what might be in the 24,199 pages being released. "I have a reporter in Juneau who will grab our set of documents and scan the docs for us in the DC bureau," he wrote. "I and the eight reporters in my bureau will then pore over these pages. Mother Jones, msnbc.com, and ProPublica will be putting up a searchable online database—very quickly —which will allow everybody (other reporters, readers, and GOP opposition researchers) to join in."Simply put, the language above is that of raw, visceral, irrational hatred and madness. Good to know that the 4th estate is all over this rather than boring ol' stuff like the deplorable state of the economy and our illegal war in Libya.
Other media outlets joined in. Ryan Kellett of the Washington Post asked the paper's readers to help out. "Join The Post in digging through them," he wrote. "We are looking for 100 organized and diligent readers who will work alongside Post reporters to analyze, contextualize, and research the e-mails. Think of it as spending some time in our newsroom.
"Our hope is that working together, we can efficiently find interesting information and extract new stories that will lead to further investigation. We don't know what we'll find, but we want you to be ready and open for the challenge."
Oh, Goody: L.A.'s limousine liberals get to see photos of Che' at the Getty museum.
But the photo of the revolutionary leader that best encapsulates the show's themes and conveys the tensions of the country in its crosshairs isn't a picture of Che exactly. It's Virginia Beahan's 2004 image of a shoe store in the central Cuban city of Camagüey. A portrait of Guevara dominates the shop's window display, but there isn't a single pair of zapatos in sight.(italics, ours)
Viewers are invited to contemplate whether the United States' ferociously effective, decades-long economic embargo, the Cuban government's misbegotten socialist policies, or some combination is to blame for turning the store, and countless others like it into a ghostly shell. Similar questions and Cuba's many contradictions — physical beauty and stark impoverishment, political ideals and Cold War debacles, tragic failure and boundless potential — arise repeatedly in the exhibition, whose works span the early 1930s to the present.
Let's credit the Times, here. "Misbegotten socialist policies" is about as strong a criticism of Cuba's economics as we have read in a straight news story. We'll take these small victories when and where we can get them.
And speaking of L.A., good news for all the hipsters living there: Pabst is relocating their headquarters.
This summer, the hipster beer mothership, Pabst Brewing Co., will move operations of her silver cans from Woodridge, IL, a Chicago suburb, to the bosom of Southern California. The decision to relocate headquarters to Los Angeles comes following the company's purchase last year by billionaire investor C. Dean Metropoulos for for about $250 million. There was no immediate word on speculation that tax incentives may have prompted the move, or how many local jobs might be created.Silver Lake and Los Feliz rejoice!
Via Michelle Malkin: Unbiased Headline of the Day.
Because demanding a degree of fiscal discipline is like so extreme or something.
It's still OK to hate on LeBron James and after his performance in the presser on Sunday night after the Miami Heat got their asses kicked in Game 6 at home by the Dallas Mavericks, there may be something wrong with you if you don't.
If you missed last night's schaudenfreudegasm with LeBron and the Heat getting lane-raped by J.J. Barea for 48 minutes, oh how you missed out. There hasn't been a more gratifying moment for sports haters since the Saints beat Favre and Manning back-to-back in the NFC title game and Super Bowl. It was glorious, delirious, WONDERFUL moment in hating. And the best part is that, come next year, we get to do it all over again!
Drew Magary of Deadspin has more on the matter, here. (Language warning)
Quickly. What's LeBron's signature go-to move? And putting his head down and making like a freight train while going to the rim doesn't count. Here he is, 8 years into his career and we cannot detect any discernable aspect of his offensive game that has improved appreciably since he entered the league. The jump shot has improved to a degree but it disappears mysteriously for long stretches.
The greats: Magic, Bird, Jordan, Kobe and now Dwayne Wade and Dirk spent countless hours in the gym during the off-season improving aspects of their game that needed it. We don't see the same level of fanaticism from LeBron as we have with the aforementinoned. We suppose that when you are a freak of nature, the Wilt Chamberlain of your era possessed of physical gifts that are unrivaled by every single player in the league, that level of urgency is perhaps not quite where it needs to be.
B-Daddy on the Republican/Democrat duopoly, the tea party and craft/micro brewers and the relationship between the three, here.
Eventually I look out the front window and see one of the guys running around in the front yard screaming and acting like some kind of neanderthal. I cannot believe how this game transforms these young men into raging bulls. The guy that is really good, (because he plays every chance he gets between finals) is resented, even though loved like a brother at any other time.Tiger Lily on the phenomena that is Super Smash Brothers, here.
That's a wrap. Hope everyone is enjoying Father's Day. We'll be back tomorrow morning.