Systematic Failure: Too many children left behind ….

I have to cringe when I hear or read right-leaning politicians and commentators wax poetic about how the U.S. has the “greatest” system in the world – the best health care, the best education, the best government, etc, etc, etc. It’s not that I don’t support the effort for the U.S. to be the best it can, but to categorize things as the “greatest” or “best” implies that these accolades represent achievements perfected and maintained to a level we need no longer worry our pretty little heads about it.

All one has to do is take a walk down the street – pretty much any street in the country with the exception of perhaps Rodeo Drive – to see that we are a long way away from the best we could be.

Continue reading Systematic Failure: Too many children left behind ….

Signs everywhere ….

The sight of someone holding a hastily scribbled plea for assistance has become a depressingly normal occurrence in the Tampa area. You see them at intersections, outside restaurants and in local parks.

Most of the signs are neither noteworthy nor particularly memorable – a few words like “Hungry,” “Out of Work,” or “Vet in need of help” on a small piece of cardboard. (Some people spare a second and some change to help.)

But this past week there were two attention-grabbing and completely opposite signs worthy of mention.

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World’s economic woes no cause for celebration

I guess Rick Newman’s article on the state of global economies was intended to give Americans something to feel good about as the U.S. economy continues to stumble along on crutches. But the idea that we should be elated to learn that the International Monetary Fund now predicts at least 11 major economies will fair worse than ours in 2010 is naïve at best.

Rejoice, Newman writes, for “when times are tough, one thing that tends to raise the spirit is knowing that somebody else has it worse.”

The reality is that economic distress brews a nasty stew of undesirable societal ills – extremism, militancy, xenophobia, jealousy, crime, authoritarian leadership and violence.

Continue reading World’s economic woes no cause for celebration