Saturday, 30 August 2008

Senator O Partly Right on Education, Partly Wrong on Energy

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American — if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.
Editor's Note: Teaching more English, writing, math, history and science and less social engineering; removing computers from classrooms and teaching through the use of books, pens and pencils, and making sure that each teacher can spell and use proper grammar, will upgrade the quality and lower the price of education. Teachers are too often there for the life-style, and other less-than-salutary personal reasons. Money is not the answer; discipline and standards are. Japan spends half as much as the U.S. does on education, yet their system yields much higher results than ours. Parents in Japan take an active interest in their children's learning and intellectual development. Japanese culture says that knowledge is cool, whereas American culture says that imitating a pop or rap star is. Before there can be improvement in the educational system, the culture must right itself, and its participants must become more seriously engaged in the process. Cynicism and sloth have crept into a system that used to build character and brains. Reliance upon computers must be minimized during a child's years in public education, because in the event of power-outages, classical tools and skills must be put to work. Just as there are teachers who promote their personal opinions and lifestyles in the classroom, the internet provides a lot of distracting, inaccurate information. Reliable sources are difficult to isolate among all the web-based rubbish. A total simplification of the system, together with a renewed focus on manners and civility, will breed young people who have the tools to get along in the technical, professional, and social worlds. After all, peace begins with self-respect, and succeeds with an old-fashioned respect for others. Cynicism and pop-culture dogma have degraded the educational system more than any lack of funding has ever done.
As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies retool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy; wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.
Editor's Note: Drilling for oil is not a "stop-gap measure", as Senator O characterizes it. Tapping our natural gas reserves is. They are reserved for extreme national emergencies, and are for the use of our military should we be attacked. It is irresponsible to suggest that, just because oil and gas are priced higher now (more commensurate with what the Europeans have been paying for many years), we ought to deplete a source that was established for a particular purpose. And, it takes fifty gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol. I've long been an advocate of wind-power, even back when the environmentalists claimed that it ruined their views of the landscape. We shall still need some oil in future times, and it is utterly short-sighted to say that we need to stop drilling it, and to resist doing so because it won't "help" in the short-term. We visited Alaska in 2005, and the consensus among all the Alaskan people we spoke with was that they wanted more oil drilling, especially in that infinitesimal section on the edge of the vast ANWR. Why? It's good for the economy.