Newt Gingrich wrote a great editorial in the Wall Street Journal recently that includes 7 “achievements” that he thinks should be offered as prizes similar to the X Prize Foundation’s prizes. Personally, I think the idea of prizes to drive innovation is great and wish that the government would do this on a regular basis. Newt’s list is a great first start and there are probably others but if we have too many it would dilute the importance of the targeted list.
I do question Mr. Gingrich’s 7th item. While certainly noble in intent, it doesn’t appear that it is measurable enough to warrant a big prize. Perhaps a prize for the public school system that gets 99% of their non-special needs kids to some extremely high level of attainment on a standardized test. If we use the SAT as an example, the school system that can get 99% of their kids to over 600 on the SAT test (the average is 515 out of a possible 700 and that was for college bound seniors – the challenge would be for ALL students in a public school organization).
I wrote about Iranian flogging almost a year ago. It still is disgusting although I guess it is getting slightly better. At least now they are “reviewing” the sentences of “death by stoning” and commuted some of the sentences.
According to the BBC, it is rare for someone to be stoned to death – they haven’t done it in a year. A YEAR?!?!? For a country the size of California, that seems like fairly recent behavior.
How do you stone someone “Iranian style”? Here is what the BBC reported:
The country’s penal code stipulates that before carrying out the punishment, men should be buried up to their waists and women up to their chests. The stones used must be large enough to cause the condemned pain, but not sufficient to kill immediately.
So if the stones don’t kill immediately that means it takes several strikes to do the deed.
I think most people miss the point (although Mr. Will probably comes the closest to getting it right, in my opinion). In most Parliamentary Government systems, the voters elect the Parliament and they, in turn, elect the Prime Minister (in the UK countries this is slightly different in that the Monarch actually appoints the PM but in modern history the Monarch appoints the choice of the Parliament). So in this government, the Prime Minister serves at the pleasure of the Parliament.
In my opinion the best way to quickly drop the price of crude oil is to announce that the US is going to build 30 nuclear reactors in the next decade.
This would send a strong message to the world community that we are serious about energy independence. One of the big perils with electric cars is the lack of availability of infrastructure to charge them.
We need to stabilize the world energy market and this would show everyone that we see serious about getting our house in order.
I know that John McCain has advocated a similar suggestion but I haven’t heard anything of this from Obama.
Obama will run the richest campaign ever for the office of the US President!
While I have a hard time saying that people can’t give money to their favorite candidate, I do have problems with massive amounts of money being used to “buy” the campaign. Never before has the disparity between candidates been so massive. John McCain will only have 84M from the government to spend on the election and Barack Obama will be able to spend as much as he can raise and estimates say that could be 300-400M!