Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Saudi Arabia Challenged by Iran, Yemen, and ISIS

  • National Review -- Charles Krauthammer The Emerging Iranian Empire

    “The Israelis can defeat any conventional attack. Not so the Gulf Arabs. To the north and west, they see Iran creating a satellite “Shiite Crescent” stretching to the Mediterranean and consisting of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. To their south and west, they see Iran gaining proxy control of Yemen. And they are caught in the pincer.”

  • CNN -- New Saudi King's big challenges: Yemen, Iran and ISIS

    To the south, Yemen is in chaos. To the north, the militant group ISIS is wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria. More broadly, Saudi Arabia remains locked in a regional cold war with Iran.

  • WP -- Saudi Arabia’s Coming Struggle

    “But the paradox of Saudi Arabia is that the Western-facing kingdom has depended for its legitimacy on a pact with conservative Muslim religious leaders.”

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Stagnant Lot of Middle Class Workers

  • Real Clear Politics -- Eugene Robinson What is the GOP Thinking?

    There they go again. Given control of Congress and the chance to frame an economic agenda for the middle class, the first thing Republicans do is tie themselves in knots over ... abortion and rape.

    “People, we are in an economic recovery whose fruits are not reaching the middle class. We have a crucial need to address U.S. infrastructure and competitiveness. We face myriad challenges abroad, including Islamic terrorism and global warming. If a renewal of the culture wars is your answer, Republicans, you totally misheard the question.”

  • LA Times -- Advice from Democratic advisors David Axelrod and James Carville

    “the overriding issue on voters' minds is the economy — specifically, the stagnant lot of middle class workers. The candidate with the most convincing remedy for that problem is likely to win.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Presidential Election 2016 Demographics

The Republicans can probably not win the 2016 presidential election without winning Florida and Ohio. If Republicans do win these two states, then Virginia becomes critical for the Democrats to win. (See the demographics) Watch for the Republican presidential and vice-presidential candidates to come from Florida and Ohio and the Democratic vice-presidential candidate to come from Virginia.

TheWeek -- Democrats ought to be terrified about losing these 3 critical swing states in 2016

“In three states that were critical to Obama's wins in 2008 and 2012 — Nevada, Colorado, and Virginia — Republicans showed remarkable resurgence and strength in 2014….Bankable wins here meant Democrats could forgo traditional battlegrounds like Florida and Ohio and still win an Electoral College majority.”

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Free Online Education

The basic materials for almost any educational topic are now free and available from world class universities and many other sources.

  • Washington Post -- Donor seeks to offer ‘freshman year for free’ through online college courses

    “Steven B. Klinsky’s idea is for students to take foundational courses through the online venture edX that would prepare them for College Board examinations in various subjects. Those who pass enough Advanced Placement or College-Level Examination Program tests conceivably would be able to enter college as sophomores. That would cut the price of a bachelor’s degree by a quarter.”
  • Washington Post -- Obama to unveil proposal for tuition-free community college

    “Obama will unveil the idea Friday in a trip to Knoxville, Tenn. There, he will call attention to an access program enacted last year under Gov. Bill Haslam (R). Using state lottery funds, the Tennessee Promise offers to cover whatever tuition bills at community colleges can’t be paid through other public grants.”
  • www.Top20education.com

    A curated (hand-selected), open access (free) internet directory of the top 20 websites for each of the education topics.
  • Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty

    For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Boko Haram in Nigeria

Small tyrannies if not confronted become larger tyrannies

The Telegraph -- Boko Haram is now a mini-Islamic State, with its own territory

“Boko Haram controls about 20,000 square miles of territory and is fast becoming a terrorist state razing villages and killing innocent victims.”

“The army may also lack the resolve. Last year, the federal government allocated 20 per cent of its budget to the armed forces - over £4 billion. Yet precious little trickled down to the soldiers in the frontline, who remain poorly armed and equipped. Instead, a large proportion of the military budget simply disappeared into the pockets of senior officers.”

Yahoo News -- Escape from Boko Haram: 'I kept stepping on dead bodies'

“Local officials this week said the attack forced at least 20,000 people from Baga and other settlements in and around Lake Chad to flee, many of them across the border.”

India Times -- Nigeria seeks support after 'deadliest' Boko Haram attack

Nigeria's military — west Africa's largest — has faced repeated criticism for failing to end the six-year Islamist insurgency, as well as allegations of human rights abuses.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Challenges for Jeb Bush

What the heck is Mitt Romney doing?

“What [Mitt Romney] sees -- and wants to stop -- is the momentum in the major donor community toward former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has been the most aggressive potential candidate in the 2016 field since the 2014 midterms ended. Bush, according to one report, has set a goal of raising $100 million over the first three months of 2015 in hopes of convincing lots of other candidates that making the race is a fool's errand.”

As Scott Walker readies for 2016, Jeb Bush should be worried

“...Bush would be wise not to take Walker so lightly. Right now, Walker is the candidate who can most realistically unite the base and the establishment wings of the party. One only needs to glance at conservative media to see that the Republican base has little time for Jeb Bush. (See Noah Rothman at Hot Air, for example.) Walker, by contrast, is a hero to the grassroots after winning multiple battles with Wisconsin Democrats and unions.”

Monday, January 5, 2015

Egypt’s Sisi: Islamic “Thinking” Is “Antagonizing the Entire World”

Egypt’s Sisi: Islamic “Thinking” Is “Antagonizing the Entire World”

The relevant excerpt from Sisi’s speech follows (translation by Michele Antaki):

I am referring here to the religious clerics. We have to think hard about what we are facing—and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before. It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entireumma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible!

That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. It’s antagonizing the entire world!

Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible!

I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.

All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.

I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.