Monday, November 16, 2015

War Without Strategy

Amongst the last several days of calls for war and calls for peace, comics and hashtags, it has been difficult to articulate where the country, or the West, is right now. Mark Steyn, however, puts it well:
I have not called for more bombing raids, more boots on the ground, more war. Because, I regret to say, it's not worth brave soldiers "fighting, killing & dying" for a home front as enervated as ours. As I said a few hours ago, war is merely the sharpest tool of national strategy, and so, if you have no national strategy, there's no point going to war.
Why would anyone would expect a president who campaigned on it being wrong to remove a brutal, terrorist-supporting dictator in Iraq to lead a war to remove brutal terrorists from Iraq and Syria? Luckily, perhaps, we do not demonize the French when they take the lead.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

When is it Acceptable to Compliment Terrorists?

Minnesota's Star Tribune reports:
A [Minnesota Democrat's] campaign for the state House abruptly ended Sunday morning within hours of him posting on social media that ISIS "isn’t necessarily evil" and is "made up of people doing what they think is best for their community."
Washington state's Patty Murray made similar comments about Osama bin Laden in 2002:
He's been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day-care facilities, building health-care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. He's made their lives better.
Murray did not resign. In fact, she subsequently chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and is currently the fifth-ranked Democrat in the US Senate.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Dirty Bomb Doesn't Have to be Very Dirty

War on the Rocks has a pair of competing pieces on the threat of dirty bombs (Don't Fear the Dirty Bomb vs. Why I Fear the Dirty Bomb and You Should Too), but the second one has the most realistic view of how people would react. Regardless of the actual, scientifically-measurable risk, people will still be terrified:
Think of it as if somebody sprayed asbestos in your apartment building. No one would die and you could go in and out, but nobody would for fear of exposing themselves to cancer-causing agents.
Read the whole thing here--and remember, people are already afraid of irradiated food.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Can a State Mandate Financial Literacy?

From KELO, according to the Center for Financial Literacy:
South Dakota schools are receving [sic] an "F" in teaching students personal finance in high school... South Dakota requires high school students to take a half-year course in either personal finance or economics but does not require students to choose personal finance or require schools to offer personal finance.
These ratings appear to be based entirely on whether or not a high school personal finance course is required by law. Based on more well-rounded methodology, South Dakota was recently rated the 6th best state for Money-Savviness.

For the Center for Financial Literacy, it doesn't seem to matter whether students retain any knowledge of personal finance or learn it at home or independently, only if they were required by law to slog through a course before most of them even have any financial responsibilities which they can relate the course to. The takeaway: if you don't learn it in a government class, you never will.

I come from another F-rated state, Washington. We covered personal finance as a small part of another course, but that doesn't count as "financial literacy" because it wasn't required by law. It also would have been a serious waste of time to extend it out to a full semester. Personal finance is just not that complicated. Do we want to tell students that they can't take another year of a foreign language or calculus because the state mandates a full semester on why you shouldn't buy an iPad if you can't pay your rent? (And do we really think it will change them if we do?)