No universal history leads from savagery to humanitarianism, but there is one leading from the slingshot to the atomic bomb. —Theodor Adorno
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed tirelessly to be acting in the name of the Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust with Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. In truth, the actions of his regime and military these past few months has placed them much closer to the guards than the inmates at Hitler’s death camps during this dark period in human affairs.
In other words, and put more simply, when your response to genocide is more genocide, you become precisely that which you claim to be against. This is precisely where we are now after five months of the IDF’s murderous and wholly indiscriminate military campaign against the people of Gaza.
Throughout, and to its eternal shame, the West along with Arab governments in the region have stood by and offered nothing in the way of serious and meaningful intervention. Supine and tepid calls for humanitarian pauses, temporary cessations, ceasefires, the provision of humanitarian aid, all have dropped and evaporated like snowflakes on the ground, such has been their impotence.
The result is 13,000 Palestinian children being thus far sent to their deaths under the missiles and bombs of a 21st century military machine in the hands of a government comprised of men with 14th century minds.
Netanyahu and his supporters will not be happy until the history, culture and entire existence of the Palestinians are relegated to the museum. This is both evident and implicit in the mad slaughter they have and are currently engaged in.
A twisted conception of the world as being fashioned on the basis of might is right and racial hierarchy has throughout human history produced monsters. And in this respect, Benjamin Netanyahu is merely the latest in a long line. In this respect, too, he has inflicted a moral injury of every one of us still in possession of a beating hard and a conscience, not to mention consciousness.
In Washington there currently resides not the leader of the free world, but a man engaged in an exercise of trying to cover his own arse. Biden’s cognitive decrepitude is only matched by his moral turpitude; his lack of scruples only matched by his surplus of hypocrisy.
The most recent results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) highlight a concerning trend for U.S. students in the field of math.
In comparison to their counterparts in other industrialized nations, American students are falling behind. The rather sobering results revealed a 13-point decline for U.S. students when compared to the 2018 exam.
In stark contrast, 28 countries and economies managed to either maintain or improve their 2018 math scores, with countries such as Switzerland and Japan leading the way—and leaving the United States in the dust. These considerably more successful nations share a number of common characteristics, including, most notably of all, shorter school closures during the pandemic, as noted in the report.
Obviously concerned by the findings, the Defense Department has called for a new initiative to provide support for education in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). As The Hechinger Report reported, China, the United States’ biggest rival, has eight times the number of college graduates in these disciplines compared to the United States, while Russia, another major foe, has four times the number of engineers. This alarming disparity, noted the Hechinger Report piece, has prompted concerns beyond the realm of education. The United States’ mathematical failings pose a direct threat to its technological supremacy.
Other commentators have gone a step further. Falling math scores, they suggest, should be viewed as a national security threat. They’re right.
Mathematics plays a critical role in various fields such as the physical sciences, technology, business, financial services, and infrastructure. For instance, geometry, algebra, and trigonometry are fundamental parts of architectural design. Moreover, math plays a significant role in medicine, AI, and quantum computing. Math serves as the foundation for virtually all scientific and industrial research and development. Essentially, mathematics can be seen as the underlying operating system that makes the world go round.
Which begs the trillion-dollar question: What can be done?
The math problem is an education problem. To correct the problem, the manner in which math is taught must change—radically and rapidly.
Other countries have different approaches to comprehending, appreciating, and teaching math. Take the aforementioned Russia, for example.
Chris Dooly, a youth mentor and writer, has discussed the concept of “Russian Math.” Although it lacks a concrete definition, he writes, educators and historians generally agree that it revolves around the idea of developing proficiency in mathematics through an understanding of abstract mathematical concepts. Instead of just focusing on rote learning, this type of math is more holistic in nature, factoring in the overall mental development of students. Math instruction is used to enhance children’s intellect and character.
Claire's Observations: Unfortunately, many American teachers have no clue how to teach math in an organic way; the only way they know how to teach, is through rote learning, which bores the heck out of most kids, and makes it totally not fun. Looks to me like American public schools need some "math interventions" by teachers who can make it really connect for the kids. But looking at how many schools are unionized, many teachers are terrified that the non-union teachers are better able and better equipped this way, and won't even let them come up the school steps, let alone inside, because they are afraid of the competition. That has to change, and right the heck now.
The United States has vetoed another United Nations Security Council resolution on the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip, rejecting calls for an immediate cease-fire.
The U.S. has proposed its own draft, which it says would support delicate diplomacy toward releasing hostages taken in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel.
The draft resolution that Algeria proposed would have demanded an immediate humanitarian cease-fire.
The vote in the 15-member Security Council was 31 in favor and the United States against. The United Kingdom abstained.
The resolution came after more than four months of war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which rules Gaza and whose attack in Israel killed 1,200 people, according to Israel's government. Israel's military offensive since then has killed more than 29,000 Palestinians in Gaza, according to Gaza's Health Ministry.
Interest payments on this debt are now the fastest growing part of the federal budget, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
They jumped above Medicaid last year, and will rise above defense and Medicare later this year. The former is health coverage for people with limited income, and the latter is mostly for over-65s.
It means by the end of 2024, interest payments will be the second largest government expenditure. Only Social Security will be a bigger cost
Claire's Observations: this is fiscal insanity, writ large, folks; and it does not appear that the Dementocrats have anything approximating a "fix" in sight. I guess they are very comfortable with this being the case during an election year, but I will be darned if I can figure out why. And unfortunately, the Republicans are not coming up with much help either.