From the OECD:
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. To date, students representing more than 70 economies have participated in the assessment.
From Graeme Patton at The Telegraph:
British schoolchildren are lagging dramatically behind their peers in the Far East despite a multi-billion pound rise in education spending under the last government, a major international study has found…
The study said: “Top performers, notably in Asia, place great emphasis on selecting and training teachers, encourage them to work together and prioritise investment in teacher quality not classroom sizes. They also set clear targets and give teachers autonomy in the classroom.
“Children whose parents have higher expectations perform better.”
From Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at The Telegraph:
Britain’s poor scores in the Pisa education league are of course shameful. We should be doing as well as the Netherlands, our close cultural kin.
But before we all flagellate ourselves – let alone think of copying the Shanghai success formula – just remember one thing. There is a body of scholarship showing that the collapse of the fertility rate to dangerously low levels across east Asia is the direct consequence of school cramming and “education fever”.
There’s a sad article going around Facebook about how Millennials are the victims of helicopter parenting and therefore have trouble growing up and fending for themselves.
Like most Boomers, my parents used the teachings of Benjamin Spock as a guide. Later, as a latch-key kid, I’d mastered the art of accountability which enabled me to spend massive amounts of time having fun. I played trumpet, guitar, sports and engaged in student politics.
Fortunately, my parents were interested and had high expectations. Given what I am seeing now, I realize how fortunate I have been.
And I never made the mistake of having children.
From Nouriel Roubini at Project Syndicate:
In China and India, savings are going into home purchases, because financial repression leaves households with few other assets that provide a good hedge against inflation. Rapid urbanization in many emerging markets has also driven up home prices, as demand outstrips supply…
[M]any banking systems have bigger capital buffers than in the past, enabling them to absorb losses from a correction in home prices; and, in most countries, households’ equity in their homes is greater than it was in the US subprime mortgage bubble. But the higher home prices rise, the further they will fall – and the greater the collateral economic and financial damage will be – when the bubble deflates.
From Yves Smith at the NYT:
Market trading has been driven by anticipation of Fed action rather than economic fundamentals. Perversely, good economic news often leads to a flat or weaker stock market, since that means the central bank might withdraw support sooner…
U.S. recovery is more technical than real, with headline unemployment failing fully to capture the dire state of labor conditions. Estimates that include underemployment give near-Depression levels in the upper teens…
The housing recovery has stalled with the Fed’s talk of tapering quantitative easing, revealing how dependent it was on cheap money…
S&P index has risen sharply over the last six quarters, when operating margins have been flat to down.
Check out the ads of available products from Variety Wholesalers.
Here are the nearby Maxway stores.
Here are the Roses stores.
There’s a Value Mart on Bessemer.
They have everything the parents of children in poverty need, or at least can afford.
Charles Dickens would be proud and so should those of you who voted for these modern day Scrooges in the NC legislature.
Merry fucking Christmas.
From Taylor Batten at the Charlotte Obseerver:
Moderate voters in Charlotte and across the state are kicking themselves for supporting consensus-building “Mayor Pat” only to find that Gov. Pat McCrory can be quite different. But my interview with him last week and a breakfast with him a couple weeks earlier make clear he hasn’t changed a bit in one respect: This is a man obsessed with his image and how he’s portrayed. It’s clear he doesn’t go a day without being deeply frustrated by what he sees as unfair attacks on his good name.
Here we have more evidence that the Jamestown native and eleven term Charlotte mayor is an utter fucking moron:
“Y’all have been pretty tough” on Wos, he added. “And the editorial cartoons and everything. She’s brilliant, and it’s kinda sad public servants get …. I hate that she’s got hit probably harder than I have and she doesn’t deserve it.”
It’s worse than that. The North Carolina Governor may be delusional:
“What are the other eight things I said wrong by the way? You had an editorial where ‘McCrory’s misstatements. Eight misstatements.’ I forget how many.” I tell him I don’t know what he’s talking about, and an adviser points out that he’s thinking of a news story written by a (Raleigh) News & Observer reporter. “No,” McCrory says. “That was their editorial. Or was that a repeat? Maybe, I don’t know which ones I’m reading.”…
He said the media uses a “new technique” in which they accuse him of something by asking a question, such as, “Does McCrory have a conflict of interest?” “I have to prove a negative. I’m seeing more and more of that in journalism now.”
And we are seeing evidence of paranoia.
I wish I could find the anecdote I read recently about McCrory arriving in Raleigh with no agenda. He appears to be an empty suit accustomed to being led by powerful supporters. That Art Pope inhabited his office points to a weak governor, not unlike our current president.
The Facebook fiasco didn’t help his fragile psyche.
There are indications he ain’t real bright:
Other mistakes seem innocuous, such as his inability to master names and his propensity to say “Charlotte” when he means Raleigh.
But then how bright does an empty suit need to be?
From Rob Christensen at the Charlotte Observer in July:
McCrory has lacked what his two GOP predecessors had – a professional SOB. Gov. Jim Martin had Brad Hayes, and Gov. Jim Holshouser had Gene Anderson, two political pros who acted as enforcers. McCrory badly needs someone who will go toe-to-toe with lawmakers to explain who was elected statewide and who wasn’t – and who controls roads, jobs and judgeships. This is the way politics has always worked and will always will work.
The truth may be that McCrory ain’t such a bad dude. However, the terrible things done in his name assure him a place of infamy in North Carolina history.
From Cynthia McCormick at the Cape Cod Times:
With the first plume of water carrying radionuclides from Fukushima due to hit the U.S. West Coast any day now, Buesseler’s latest project is to convince the federal government to monitor radiation levels in the sea water.
“We don’t have a U.S. agency responsible for radiation in the ocean,” Buesseler said. “It’s really bizarre.”
He predicts the radiation will be so diluted after the long journey across the Pacific that it will pose no threat to American fisheries or recreational activities.
“It’s very much a coastal Japan contaminant problem,” Buesseler said.
But he knows that’s not enough to reassure the public.
Given what’s happened at Fukushima, Buesseler asked, “Wouldn’t you want to have some measurement?”…
In the meantime, the Japanese are not able to locate three molten reactor cores. There is ongoing discussion of whether the cores have undergone a meltdown or a melt-through of the containment vessels, Buesseler said.
“You can’t send humans in there. It takes decades to come up with a plan,” he said. “It’s bad. It’s definitely not over yet.”
What is it called when the China Syndrome happens over there?
From the NYT:
The story of how the administration confronted one of the most perilous moments in Mr. Obama’s presidency — drawn from documents and from interviews with dozens of administration officials, lawmakers, insurance executives and tech experts working inside the HealthCare.gov “war room” — reveals an insular White House that did not initially appreciate the magnitude of its self-inflicted wounds, and sought help from trusted insiders as it scrambled to protect Mr. Obama’s image.
From Yves Smith at NC:
[T]he most damaging part of the piece isn’t what it says or neglects to say about the Obamacare tsuris. It’s that it reveals Obama to have been recklessly indifferent about the execution of what was billed as his signature policy initiative. One can only imagine how inattentive he is to other matters you’d expect him to take seriously.
I had been skeptical of Ron Suskind’s portrayal in his book Confidence Men of Obama as being not responsible for banking-related policy, that Geithner had quietly assumed control and Obama was therefore not really to blame. I don’t buy the effort to exculpate Obama. The president is ultimately responsible unless his troops made a deliberate effort, contrary to normal policy and/or instructions, to conceal what they were up to. But in light of Obama’s at best lack of curiosity about how the Obamacare launch was going, it’s not hard to believe Geithner was able to run financial services policy with little oversight or interference. Rather than taking ground, he may simply have been filling a vacuum.
After having read Suskind‘s three previous books, two of which which set the standard for what we know went on in W‘s administration regarding the War on Terror, I have been reluctant to read Confidence Men because I was simply not prepared to believe what the author contended about Bush’s successor. However, perhaps it is time a lot of us read it. The healthcare.gov fiasco is a huge red light exposing the ineptitude of the current president. The jidahists who hit Benghazi knew it, Putin knew it in Syria and now we all know it.
The struggle as I see it for the next three years is to illustrate the actual faults in the Obama admin, rather than fall for the lies and myths from D’Souza et al. A visceral hatred for the POTUS already exists among the Teatards as well as those who value personal freedom. Add to that his culpability in allowing the Fed to run free as apparently documented by Suskind, and we’re in for a really rough few years.
On that note, this couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Dems. The GOP has wiped the floor with them by using wedge issues to get elected and then summarily dismantling the safety net erected by FDR and those who came after. Given that Obama is actually a center right politician, a lot of that work, such as his support of the Fix the Debt austerity program, is getting done with the last electable Dem POTUS in the foreseeable future.
Of course, the world now sees clearly a weak president assailed by a growing list of committed domestic opponents. As a country, we are seen as weak by our enemies and payback for generations of Imperialism is surely coming.
The socons contend that Obama actively plots to bring down this country. The reality appears to be that he doesn’t plot at all, but is having the same result. History may judge that America could not weather the terrible effects of two incompetent re-elected presidents in succession.