Thursday, October 15, 2009

The dangerous world we live in

China and Russia back Iran and oppose US sanctions:

Hidden landmine costs riddle the healthcare bill:
"When it was a vibrant garden of ideas, Europe gave the world more
good things than one can count. Then it discovered the pleasures of
the welfare state.

Old Europe now lives in a world of unpayable public pension
obligations, weak job creation for its youngest workers,
below-replacement birth rates, fat agricultural subsidies for farms
dating to the Middle Ages, high taxes to pay for the public high-life,
and history's most crucial proof of decay—the inability to finance
one's armies. Only five of the 28 nations in NATO (the U.K., France,
Turkey, Greece and Spain) achieve the minimum defense-spending
benchmark of 2% of GDP. "

VAT problems

Fixing natural gas pipeline leaks would be the equivalent of taking
half of America's coal fleet out of production... in an economic

Unions blocking important education reform
It's difficult to improve failing schools when you can't create
alternatives such as charter schools and can't remove inept or abusive
teachers. In New York City, for example, unions ordinarily prevent
teachers from being dismissed for incompetence — so the schools must
pay failed teachers their full salaries to sit year after year doing
nothing in centers called "rubber rooms."...
There are no silver bullets, but researchers are gaining a better
sense of what works in education for disadvantaged children: intensive
preschool, charter schools with long hours, fewer certification
requirements that limit entry to the teaching profession, higher
compensation to attract and retain good teachers, objective
measurement to see who is effective, more flexibility in removing
those who are ineffective.

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