Saturday, February 5, 2011

HG's Saturday Night Gazette

Saturday Even Post 1949

Egypt in turmoil, 2011

Years ago, a famous magazine was the Saturday Evening Post which was a staple in millions of American homes offering up short stories and serials on pre-television evenings. The Post eventually faded from the coffee tables to now re-appear six times a year and  now on line. The blogs have taken over from the post and even the Main Stream Media in being source for stories and information. Keeping with the tradition started first by Benjamin Franklin when he ran the fore-runner of the post the Pennsylvania Gazette, this blog offers up reads of the week or for a Saturday evening.

Egypt continues to dominant the attention of most of the world less China where fear of similar protests has brought censorship of non-official new about Egypt.

As the popular uprising ends it's second week, attention already begins to turn to ask how the signals were missed. The New York Times reports that President Obama is already faulting our spy agencies for not reading the tea leaves.
Obama Said to Fault Spy Agencies

This post from Small Wars Journal points to information first published in 2004 that posed that question.

With the recent turmoil in North Africa and unrest in the Middle East, we decided to dust off and revisit several previously published articles by friends of Small Wars Journal. The intent is two-fold: 1. To determine if some of these events were predictable given open source research and analysis and 2. To better understand the causal factors leading towards small wars. In the Middle East, some of these factors are self-evident: oppressive regimes, lack of personal and religious freedoms, lack of jobs, and lack of hope in the future; however, scarcity of resources remains an understudied area.

Read more:
Revolt in North Africa, Was it Predicted?

This article seems to mirror much of what geo-strategist Thomas Barnett has been writing about since publication of the best selling The Pentagon's New Map that growing discontent in places like North Africa would occur as the youth bulge, begins to fray against the suppression of decades of suppressive didictatorship's. The past few weeks has seen Barnett on top of the developments as he share his experience in a series of posts and video links. Barnett called the root of the recent uprisings an outgrowth of the Big Bang theory.

For an up to date source of news about Egypt and other political boils, blisters and scrapes worldwide, I recommend Small Wars Journal's Roundup where major news stories are cataloged and linked at one source.

Finally, if watching the events in Egypt unfold didn't make you feel like a cast member of Sanctum , then read this next and final piece.

Gerry Garibaldi worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter and executive before becoming a high school teacher at an inner city high school. His story in City  is depressing, and a mirror held up to society that reveals the bounty of a over indulgent society.
In my short time as a teacher in Connecticut, I have muddled through President Bush’s No Child Left Behind act, which tied federal funding of schools to various reforms, and through President Obama’s Race to the Top initiative, which does much the same thing, though with different benchmarks. Thanks to the feds, urban schools like mine—already entitled to substantial federal largesse under Title I, which provides funds to public schools with large low-income populations—are swimming in money. At my school, we pay five teachers to tutor kids after school and on Saturdays. They sit in classrooms waiting for kids who never show up. We don’t want for books—or for any of the cutting-edge gizmos that non–Title I schools can’t afford: computerized whiteboards, Elmo projectors, the works. Our facility is state-of-the-art, thanks to a recent $40 million face-lift, with gleaming new hallways and bathrooms and a fully computerized library.

Read on as the article drills into the reason that after all the above effort, it appears to be for naught.
Here’s my prediction: the money, the reforms, the gleaming porcelain, the hopeful rhetoric about saving our children—all of it will have a limited impact, at best, on most city schoolchildren. Urban teachers face an intractable problem, one that we cannot spend or even teach our way out of: teen pregnancy. This year, all of my favorite girls are pregnant, four in all, future unwed mothers every one. There will be no innovation in this quarter, no race to the top. Personal moral accountability is the electrified rail that no politician wants to touch.

Garibaldi pulls no punches in describing why this has become such a problem.
Within my lifetime, single parenthood has been transformed from shame to saintliness. In our society, perversely, we celebrate the unwed mother as a heroic figure, like a fireman or a police officer. During the last presidential election, much was made of Obama’s mother, who was a single parent. Movie stars and pop singers flaunt their daddy-less babies like fishing trophies.
Read on:
From the FBI: 63 percent of all suicides are individuals from single-parent households. From the Centers for Disease Control: 75 percent of adolescents in chemical-dependency hospitals come from single-parent households. From the Children’s Defense Fund: more than half of all youths incarcerated for criminal acts come from single-parent households. And so on.
And now if you have not run out of breath, read the whole story.
“Nobody Gets Married Any More, Mister”

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