We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Obama wants to nationalize our public schools? That is utterly insane. My town would never surrender that to the people who run the Post Office. And his effete nuttiness about languages: French, maybe, to read Baudelaire; German for Goethe and Wagner; Spanish to read Don Quixote and to speak to the yard guys - but Mandarin for business and for the future. Maybe Cantonese.
This is all so sophomoric that it is embarassing. It's amateur hour in America. (The guy, by the way, speaks no foreign language.)
"Amateur hour in America." Yes, indeedy, it is. Television is dominated by "virtual reality" shows like "Survivor" which, we are supposed to believe, take place in extreme parts of the world, like desert islands, where the crew of amateurs are supposedly surviving by living off the land and eating slugs, etc. And this fools people, who choose not to realize that of course in real life they are accompanied by camera crews, directors, script people, wardrobe people, make-up people, etc., who are magically concealed from the credulous viewers by clever camera angles and their own willing disbelief in reality.
In reality, the NBC/CBS/ABC powers that be are trying to save money by not having an actual, well-written script, a believable plot, skilled and expensive actors, good directors, etc. That costs too much.
We just watched an excellent old movie, Bull Durham, which had a lot to say about life and baseball and being a grown-up. And it was all in English too. It made me think about this, because there are fewer and fewer programs on TV that are worth watching once, let alone twice, and the same goes for movies.
And as far as Obama's dissertation on the fact that we Americans should be ashamed of not speaking another language than our own, what I'm most ashamed of is that the multicultural, politically correct party has prevented us from passing legislation to make English the official language of the United States. Prevented it several times, in fact, the last time in the 1990s, when we were old enough, and presumably sophisticated enough, to know better.
How come we have so many permanent amateurs, and I include Obama in that group, in our Congress? Now there's a question for you.
off topic a little but the Barrister mentioned Baudelaire, I recently got Flowers of Evil in a lot of books but it doesn't seem very good, then I read what a wacko he was on Wikipedia. Am I missing something?
Why do European schoolchildren learn to speak multiple languages? Because they need to.
Why do American schoolchildren not learn to speak another language? Because they don't need to.
Until very recently, I was on the other side of this argument, believing that all American children should be fluent in another language besides English. I now think a second language is useful in the younger years simply to create more neurons and flexible brain structures, not for communication. After that, I no longer think it is worth the academic effort.
Assistant Village Idiot
We are living in a 'shrinking' world. The United States is no longer the World Superpower it once was, difficult as that may be to hear. In order to interact with the rest of the world, which is quickly rising to our level, even surpassing our dominance in many areas, we must do so decently, without arrogance.
Learning a second language, and studying it in as a young adult, helps citizens to learn about these other cultures and societies - something that is difficult to instill in younger children with unsophisticated worldviews.
It's silly that English is not the official language in our nation - it SHOULD be, and everyone who lives or visits here should learn to speak it, naturally. Though who Marianne refers to as the "multicultural" party, I am not sure. (The phrase "the yard guys," by the way, is blatantly racist, and I'm NOT being overly PC, and neither is Steve.)
I think this article, however, is quite a leap from the facts. Obama's pledge to "put the full resources of the federal government behind [his] plan" is not nationalization; it's federal support of the public schools. ANY help is wanted. Imagine what we could achieve if our schools were given US Military funds - resources that states just can't afford?
When Obama says "political will," the author is only GUESSING that he means "provoking the will of the people to give the federal government the authority to educate America's children." However, the author shamelessly implies that he has the authority to speak for the Senator and predict that the Senator's "Department of Education will manage one large, nationwide, public school district with a unified federal budget." That's mere speculation, and if it's based on anything the senator has said, it's certainly not based on words from "Our Kids, Our Future," in which Barack Obama said, "We must provide the funding we were promised, and give our STATES the resources they need."
yeah, that's all the schools need, more money and control from outside. The possibility exists that more money and control IS the problem. Where do you think the 'resources' HE wants to 'give' come from?
Us. The resources come from us. But we're already paying for a massive military budget. Might as well switch some of it over to education because, no, I don't think our schools suffer from "surplus of resources," and it's pretty ridiculous to think that. The military has done very well for itself, but where has it gotten us? We could be just as safe with a huge defense budget cut, and raise our children to be more competitive and capable, training them in technologically advanced fields, paying for alternative programs, such as projects to help 'at risk' kids and keep them in schools, or alternate education programs like Ombudsman, Connections, or other "minischool" options. These programs aren't expensive, but schools just don't have room in the budget for them. Alternative programs, I think, are becoming a necessity for America because, let's face it, children aren't best served by getting stamped out of a machine. It's hard for kids to grow up and "try my best to be just like I am" when the school system encourages them not to, because they don't have a budget for anything but "Algebra 2" and "U.S. Government."
It's so easy to dream up ways to spend other peoples money. It's even easier when such 'programs' are geared to special inetrests and accountability is nil. Look at the budget. What 'programs' outside 'the military' would you end? Which haven't worked? Piling 'programs' upon programs is foolish. What are the sound priorities of a national government within our federal system? What areas, if any, does it simply not belong?
Nah, just the military. It's not other people's money. It mine. It's OURS. It's being frivolously spent. Why not try a shift of power from arms to education? It's not complicated, and it's not going to cost us a single extra dime.