Newsweek (6/21/2010), and How to Help the Green Movement in Iran

Newsweek has some really good articles this week pertaining to the oil spill, charter schools, marriage and immigration laws.  I’ll bring them up and give my opinion on them as well:

Fareed Zakaria talks about how the media is too concerned about Obama’s lack of emotion during the oil spill crisis.  As the tagline puts it, “Obama needs to lead, not emote.”  It seems odd that we’re trying to find a solution to fix this leak, clean up the Gulf and restore the environment; yet we’re all so concerned about how the President is feeling.  As stated in the article:

The government can help protect and clean the coastline and coastal waters. And it has deployed people in force—17,500 National Guardsmen, plus 20,000 other people and 1,900 boats that are helping in the effort. It’s laid out 4.3 million feet of boom to protect the coastline, all of which adds up to the largest response to an environmental disaster in American history. What else should the government do?. . . . Conservatives who have long urged limits on the federal government are now suddenly discovering their inner FDRs.

The government has now become theater, something that we definitely don’t want.  We still have troubles with with the economic crisis, the Taliban are still around, we’re losing our Asian allies–ah but as long as he’s wearing casual clothes and wants to “kick some ass,” then all is good.

I agree with Zakaria.  I always thought it was weird how everyone is talking about the oil spill, but the concentration is toward the President’s emotion.  Why?  Let’s not create a red-herring diversion; let’s solve the problem and this will make things move quicker.  Saying that the President is lacking emotion does nothing to fix the leak.

Staying with the theme of the oil spill is an article by Ezra Klein.  He points out that our outrage isn’t consistent with our purchasing gas.  If we were truly mad about the oil spill, then why do we constantly buy oil?  There’s a cognitive dissonance about our purchasing gas yet feeling distraught about the environment and seeing the animals.

“Ahh”, you say, “but we need the gas to do our daily affairs such as work.”  Ok, then basically you AREN’T as outraged as you should be.  You care more about going to work than the environment.  You care more about doing your errands than the animals.  Thus, blaming it on oil isn’t enough because we’re still buying it.  There’s more to this article expanding on the economic portion, but that part really spoke out to me.

Moving to charter schools by by Evan Thomas and Pat Wingert, they suggest that charter schools may actually not be that great.  Quoting from the article: “a study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Educational Outcomes (CREDO) found that 37 percent of charter schools produce academic results that are worse than public schools, while only 17 percent perform significantly better.”

Charter schools doing better than public schools may actually not be a fact on average.  The problem, however, isn’t because of the fact that they are a charter school, but because these schools don’t have high standards, yet the parents don’t see that.  I guess the parents can’t see what the free market does to education if they’re not paying attention.  Other places like Washington DC have a really high standard and so they are doing quite well educationally.

An interesting article by Karl Rove which I somewhat agree with.  He shows that the federal law about immigrate has lower standards than Arizona’s and Rove makes the leap that Obama is doing this because his reelection is needed to defame Arizona.  First, yes Obama will take advantage of this in order to gain Hispanic votes, but second, this isn’t Obama’s main motivation.  His views on immigration aren’t strict and so this isn’t just “playing politics as usual,” but also if the federal standards are lower than Arizona’s then why couldn’t Obama be fine with federal standards but not Arizona’s?

One of the featured articles was about marriage and the reasons against it.  No, not gay marriage, just plain ol’ marriage.  The reasoning is because it makes no practical sense anymore.  All of the benefits that one can get by being married one can also have by being single.  Indeed, sometimes being single is cheaper (per tax breaks) than getting married.  You heard right: you will get a bigger tax break if you’re single than if you were married (unless the couple has wildly different incomes).  Yes, the authors are women, but read it correctly: this isn’t a feminist argument against marriage; it’s all about practicality.  Marriage has evolved over time and the idea of marriage from love has only been around for 200 years.

Finally, do you want to help the Green Movement in Iran?  Watch this, and don’t follow McCain’s advice.

About shaunmiller

I have just completed a visiting position as an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. My ideas are not associated with my employer; they are expressions of my own thoughts and ideas. Some of them are just musings while others could be serious discussions that could turn into a bigger project. Besides philosophy, I enjoy martial arts (Kuk Sool Won), playing my violin, enjoying coffee around town, and experimenting with new food.
This entry was posted in Environment, Experts, Fareed Zakaria, Government, Love, Politics, Relationships. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s