Saturday, July 15, 2006

Fair Fight

The Bush administration agrees to abide by Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Ramirez sums it up:

Rating the President

What would you consider to be the top five most important issues facing this nation today and what grade would you give the Bush administration in the handling of these issues?

Viewpoint lists the top five issues as follows:

  1. The global war on terror (including the war in Iraq and Afghanistan)
  2. The composition of the Supreme Court
  3. Stopping the flow of illegal aliens
  4. The economy (including reducing the deficit and spending)
  5. Conserving natural spaces

Perhaps your list would be different and, if so, I'd like to hear your suggestions. Meanwhile, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being absolutely miserable and 10 being excellent, here's how we rate the current administration on each of the above five at this point in time (President Clinton's score on these specific issues is shown in parentheses):

1. The global war on terror (including the war in Iraq and Afghanistan) ---- 8.5 (1.0)
The Bushies get high marks for having prevented a follow-up to 9/11. The job of finishing the conflicts in the Middle-East is excruciatingly difficult and overall the Bush team has done well, but they should have had more troops available after the initial invasion of Iraq and they should have clamped down hard on the insurgency when it was still in its infancy. This, however, is second guessing, and I'm willing to concede that there may have been good reasons why we didn't do these things. I just don't have any idea what they are.

2. The composition of the Supreme Court ---- 10 (1.0)
Roberts and Alito are superior picks. We're hoping Bush gets at least one more shot at an appointment.

3. Stopping the flow of illegal aliens ---- 2 (1.0)
Unfortunately, G.W. just doesn't seem to get it. We have a disaster brewing in this country. Build the fence!

4. The economy (including reducing the deficit and spending) ---- 7.5 (7.0)
The economy is doing well and deficits are coming down due to increased revenue resulting from the Bush tax cuts. Even so, they're still too high and Bush has been spending as if money grows like grass.

5. Conserving natural spaces ---- 6 (9.0)
Bush gets credit for setting aside the vast stretch of ocean near Hawaii as a national monument. Unfortunately, there has been little done that we're aware of in the continental U.S. to increase the amount of natural land that is safe from the depradations of developers. We say staff the department of the Interior with personnel from The Nature Conservancy.

Overall rating: 6.8 (3.8)

Making the Most of College

Gideon Strauss continues the series at Comment on the theme of making the most of college. He writes:

College is a time for falling in love, reading great books, and asking big questions. It is a time for adventure and exploration, discovery and delight-for "tensed leisure," as Calvin Seerveld sometimes calls it. While our deepest loves may take root in childhood, it is in our young adult years that we are most likely to begin to articulate the implications of what we love for how we hope to live. For those of us privileged to spend time at college, the provocations offered by books and movies, paintings and songs, teachers and friends encountered during these years bring us to question the answers we have inherited from our parents.

Sometimes we appropriate those answers for ourselves with deepened conviction, and sometimes-wrenchingly-we reach for other more convincing and more coherent answers. It is a time in which we can try out different ideas, ways of life, kinds of work, with a little more wiggle-room in the face of destiny, and a little more tolerance from others for backing out of options we find to be cul-de-sacs.

Strauss goes on to address seven basic questions about life to which all students should seek answers while they're in college:

  • What do I love?
  • What do I believe?
  • Where do I belong?
  • Who am I?
  • What hurt needs healing in the world?
  • What potential waits to be realized?
  • What is to be done?

Each of these questions receives elaboration on the post. It's a good read for students and parents of students.