Thursday, April 25, 2013

bits of news

-- Teachers in Mexico are rioting over proposed reforms that seem to resonate here in the United States.
The reforms impose centralised teacher assessment and seek to end corrupt practices in the education system.
Those practices include the buying and selling of teaching positions.
But unions say the reforms could lead to big lay-offs, and critics also suggest they may be paving the way for the privatisation of Mexico's education system.
As stated, the argument seems to be that keeping your job relies on upholding a yardstick of mediocrity and corruption. Privatization, which is happening incrementally here in the United States and seems to threaten any guarantee of universal education, has been the subject of similar outcries, though no rioting as yet.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
-- The hospitalized suspect in last week's Boston Marathon bombing has been read his constitutional rights and has stopped answering interrogators' questions. I, for one, breathed a sigh of relief: There was some discussion about the possibility that his constitutional right to silence might be overridden in the anguished frenzy that followed the bombings ... that he would, as the American citizen he is, be one of the exceptions allowed under the statute; that something called "terrorism" and the visceral fear that is so carefully nurtured under its banner would be allowed to rule the roost ... and thus visit a more insidious terrorism on the rest of us.

-- In Dallas,  four former U.S. presidents and the current one are scheduled to gather to schmooze and delight in the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and current president Barack Obama will make nice with George W. Bush, the man who brought us the demolition of the World Trade Center towers, a war in Iraq and a war in Afghanistan. He may also have done much to enshrine the word "nucular" in the war lexicon of American English. At least Margaret Thatcher was graced by a command of the language.

-- The Roman Catholic pope, Francis, an Argentinian, has met with Argentine activists begging him to open Vatican archives as they search for information about loved ones who disappeared during the Dirty War.
The group's leader Estela de Carlotto said the Church must know where some of the children were taken.
She met the Pope during a general audience at the Vatican, and handed him a letter asking for the archives to be open.
"Every detail can help to identify those who were taken from our families," the letter read.
She said the Pope had told her: "You can count on me. You can count on us."
Vatican archives are generally not opened for many decades.
Maybe the pope was telling the truth. I don't know. But, based on the Vatican's batting average in the matter of priest sexual abuse, it is hard to imagine that the "holy father" will be instrumental in releasing information that would in any way suggest that the Vatican knew of such atrocities ... and by knowing, was implicitly or explicitly complicit. Transparency, if history is any guide, is rarely transparent.

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