Doyle McManus on China's 'Green' Economy Although the rising superpower has pledged a new "green" agenda, those promises ring hollow as the nation becomes one of the world's major polluters and its cities turn "gray," explains Doyle McManus at The Los Angeles Times. China has "amazingly" inefficient energy use, consuming 20 percent of the world's energy, while producing 8 percent of the world's economic product. "Air pollution is getting steadily worse, and water pollution is a major crisis as well. China burns more coal (by far) and emits more greenhouse gases than any other country," reports McManus. While it's nice that the country is now at least making overtures to becoming more "green," it would " be even nicer if China delivers."
Matt Miller on What Obamanomics Lacks The president should use the departure of Larry Summers to add some new blood to his economic policy team, argues the Washington Post columnist. Right now America's economy is caught up in a "race between innovation and calcification--between the power of new ideas to lower costs and boost quality, and the power of entrenched interests to protect their habits and incomes." It helps, Millers says, to see "America as a set of 'industrial complexes'"--including the "K-12 Industrial Complex, which leaves us spending more than other wealthy nations, even as we're stuck in the middle (or worse) on international tests." To "break this fatal interest-group stranglehold," we need to "promote entrepreneurial innovation and harness capitalism's bottomless capacity for finding new ways to deliver more for less." Instead, Obama has been "sprinkl[ing] a few more Pell grants," which colleges simply "transform ... into higher tuition."
Bret Stephens on Breakfast With Ahmadinejad The Wall Street Journal columnist writes that the Iranian president had the media going in circles during a recent breakfast in Manhattan. From the breakfast fare (bagels and lox) to his "flawlessly delivered lies" in response to softball questions, Stephens writes Ahmadinejad seemed intent on testing the limits of the media's obsequiousness. He also delivers an interesting obervation:
Perhaps I haven't achieved the appropriate degree of jadedness, but my own impression of Ahmadinejad was that he was easily the smartest guy in the room. He mocked us in a way we scarcely had the wit to recognize. We belittle him at our peril.
Katrina Trinko on Why Early Education Fails to Deliver California may become the next state to launch a pre-kindergarten early-education curriculum for students, and while the idea seems "harmless enough," it will mostly likely fail to deliver any long-term educational benefits, figures The National Review's Katrina Trinko. "If Californians introduce transitional kindergarten, they might provide a great free day care for parents, but they're kidding themselves if they expect any higher test scores in the future," she contends. And once the education initiative is in place (which costs about $700 million a year in dollars that would have been returned to the general fund), it's very hard to cut such programs. Oklahoma and Georgia have similar pre-k education systems and they have failed to discontinue them even after they have displayed little tangible benefits to student's long-term growth.
Parvez Sharma on the Hypocrisy of Bollywood Elite The Guardian columnist glances at a series of tweets by "Bollywood's biggest star" Amitabh Bachchan and doesn't like what he sees. Apparently Bachchan was at a birthday party for another prominent Indian and tweeted about a "birthday cake designed as a slum" (picture here). This type of cavalier attitude toward the Indian poor was more than "appalling" to Sharma. He argues: "I wonder if the irony was lost on most of the Bollywood elite, who dutifully showed up and no doubt ate big chunks from the makeshift huts and open sewage drains. I wonder, if they are aware of India's latest poverty statistics. I am sure the cake, like the rest of the food on offer, was delicious." Another irony: "Some of these very same elites had been up in arms against what many activists called the 'poverty porn' of Danny Boyle's film, Slumdog Millionaire."