Wednesday, December 24, 2008

America, it's time we got something straight

2 great reads ...

This morning Thomas Friedman wrote an excellent piece for The Paper of Record; outlining what this country really needs, 'a reboot.'  Friedman couldn't have said what I've been thinking in any better way - granted he is a world-renowned author and columnist, so it is only fitting that he is able to put words together better than I am.  He wonders why we have let ourselves fall so far behind in innovation and infrastructure - while the rest of the world chugs ahead.  

Though I think Friedman's most important point was all this money that is being spent - being borrowed from our futures, and our grandchildren's futures ... we need to make sure it is spent wisely.  We need to avoid letting this money going to its usual places - being spent on pet projects around certain people's districts, or small improvements that really won't make the difference.

As I have said time and time again, education is where we desperately need money - we need money to poured into education.  Somehow we had the greatest educational system in the world in the 1950s and just let it slip away.  We still have the best colleges and universities, but our k12 education is lacking - to the point where it is disgraceful.  If we start investing now, we will start seeing changes in the next five or ten years, and another decade or two down the line - we will finally start seeing the products of our change coming out of these schools.  

So let's join Friedman in saying no to this bailout - and getting ready for a reboot of this country.

Friedman ends with "John Kennedy led us on a journey to discover the moon. Obama needs to lead us on a journey to rediscover, rebuild and reinvent our own backyard," and you should read the article here.

Also on the same page in The Paper of Record, was an amazing Op-Ed by Oliver Morton.  You can read that piece here, and I really suggest that you do so.  It is another thought provoking look at our lives - through our planet, Earth.  Mr. Morton looks at the Earth from the picture Earthrise, taken from the Apollo 8 spacecraft while circling around the moon (I have copied the picture below).  It is especially poignant because it shows Earth so small - such a little part of this whole thing we know as 'space' - and yet it means so much to us.

Morton ends the piece discussing the power of the sun - the power that made the picture possible, the power that makes our everyday lives possible - and what that power holds for us.  As we try to rid ourselves of fossil-fuel dependency we have found options in wind power, water power, and solar power -- the latter of which still seems to be one of the most expensive and least pervasive.  Yes, you can put solar panels on your house, and every little bit helps ... but what we really need are fields of solar platforms out in the desert - powering our planet.

Whether you agree that the Earth is warming or not is not important to me, we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels regardless.  Anywhere is a good place to start, but Mr. Morton points out that Solar probably holds the most long term power for us - and we has been the most elusive in terms of our maximizing its energy.  As he points out, we were able to get a man on the moon - this should be easy.

Earthrise, image courtesy of NASA.

1 comment:

GWCharlie said...

I concur, the Friedman article was right on.

I totes agree with more money in education ... more science research, more innovation, more challenge in the classroom. Get those math scores up, get rid of tenure, and for god's sake - fix the greatest class divide since the civil rights movement, suburban vs. inner-city education.