Monday, 18 June 2007

Merit Pay

Should teachers’ pay be based on merit? That is, should good teachers earn more than bad teachers? This isn’t as simple a question as it sounds. Many people support merit pay in principle, but oppose it in practice. They believe that the process by which merit is ascertained is corrupt. See here for some interesting letters. This one (#57) is my favorite.

From the Mailbag

It is only a matter of time before governors are mandated on our air conditioners and furnaces by environmentalists gone batty. No one deserves to cool below 78 degrees in the summer or heat above 68 degrees in the winter. Our carbon footprints are just too big for the U.N. types. It is rich America against the world with global redistribution of wealth in the offing. “For every excess degree of cooling or heating thousands starve or are forced to live in poverty.” The linchpin? Guilt. You wait.

Note from KBJ: I’d be in trouble. Although I keep my thermostat at 60º in the winter, I keep it at 76º in the summer.


Here is a scene from today’s stage of the Tour of Switzerland, won by Italian Alessandro Proni.

The New Authoritarian Science

How many times have you heard it said that there is “consensus” among scientists that the globe is warming? Since when does consensus count for anything in science? Science has been successful precisely because it challenges consensus. See here.


John Edwards—he of the $400 haircuts—is running to the left of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. See here. That may get him the moonbat vote, but it’s not likely to get him the Democrat nomination, and it’s certainly not going to get him the presidency. How intelligent can the man be if he doesn’t see this?


Here is a New York Times op-ed column about judicial clerkships.

Best of the Web Today

Here. (Still no mention of immigration. James Taranto is a profile in cowardice.)


Do you care what the federal government does with your money? If so, then you will find this site interesting. I will add a link to the blogroll.


Here is Peggy Noonan’s latest column. Here is Peg Kaplan’s latest post.


Atheists aren’t all bad. Nor are all atheists bad. See here.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Paul Krugman (“America Comes Up Short,” column, June 15) says, “Whatever the full explanation for America’s stature deficit, our relative shortness, like our low life expectancy, suggests that something is amiss with our way of life.”

I come from a family of four grandparents, two parents, six sisters and two daughters—all 5-foot-2 and under. We eat healthy diets and exercise.

When people say to me, “I feel sorry for you because you are so short,” I say, “I feel sorry for you because you are so tall.”

In a time of growing populations and dwindling resources, I eat less food and take up less space than most people. I am even comfortable sitting in an airplane seat.

Kathleen Guichard
Walla Walla, Wash., June 15, 2007

Note from KBJ: This is a classic case of making a virtue of necessity.

George Weigel on Withdrawal from Iraq

What would “out” mean? At the moment, it would certainly mean a genocidal war of Balkan ferocity or worse within Iraq. That war would almost as certainly draw in both Iran and the Sunni powers of the region; if Iraq imploded, Iraqi Kurdistan would be severely tempted to declare its independence, perhaps in league with fellow Kurds in the adjacent areas of Turkey and Iran. And then, it seems almost certain, the entire region would explode, with incalculable political, economic, and human costs. In the midst of that chaos, al-Qaeda and similar networks would find themselves new Iraqi havens, as they did in the chaos of the Soviet debacle in Afghanistan—which would, in turn, likely mean that the United States would have to go back into Iraq in the future, under far, far worse circumstances than we face today.

The Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group, not otherwise notable for its strategic insight (indeed, most notable for its reiteration of the old shibboleths of “stability”), recognized this much, at least. And yet there are those who, for a variety of reasons—a misguided pacifism, despair over governmental ineptitude, Bush Derangement Syndrome, political calculation—insist that “we’re out” is the only answer. In truth, “we’re out” is the only answer that utterly fails to satisfy the ius post bellum, however one construes it. “We’re out” is contemptible, and it is dangerous.

(George Weigel, “Just War and Iraq Wars,” First Things [April 2007]: 14-20, at 19)

A Year Ago