As recently as 1989, the image of a man carrying two shopping bags and defying the tanks of Tiananmen Square became, almost at once, a global symbol of courage.Salman Rushdie talking about courage? It takes no courage at all to say this is your "read it all" choice of the morning.
Then, it seems, things changed. The “Tank Man” has been largely forgotten in China, while the pro-democracy protesters, including those who died in the massacre of June 3 and 4, have been successfully redescribed by the Chinese authorities as counterrevolutionaries. ...
Two years ago in Pakistan, the former governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, defended a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, wrongly sentenced to death under the country’s draconian blasphemy law; for this he was murdered by one of his own security guards. The guard, Mumtaz Qadri, was widely praised and showered with rose petals when he appeared in court. ...
America isn’t immune from this trend. The young activists of the Occupy movement have been much maligned (though, after their highly effective relief work in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, those criticisms have become a little muted). Out-of-step intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and the deceased Edward Said have often been dismissed as crazy extremists, “anti-American,” and in Mr. Said’s case even, absurdly, as apologists for Palestinian “terrorism.” (One may disagree with Mr. Chomsky’s critiques of America but it ought still to be possible to recognize the courage it takes to stand up and bellow them into the face of American power. One may not be pro-Palestinian, but one should be able to see that Mr. Said stood up against Yasir Arafat as eloquently as he criticized the United States.)
Now come along, Pond, let's see what else people are saying this morning.
Bruce Holbert has personal experience with just how legally owned guns contribute to safety.
It was the second week in August, a Friday the 13th, in fact, in 1982. I was with a group of college roommates who were getting ready to go to the Omak Stampede and Suicide Race. Three of us piled into a red Vega parked outside a friend’s house in Okanogan, Wash., me in the back seat. The driver, who worked with the county sheriff’s department, offered me his service revolver to examine. I turned the weapon onto its side, pointed it toward the door. The barrel, however, slipped when I shifted my grip to pull the hammer back, to make certain the chamber was empty, and turned the gun toward the driver’s seat. When I let the hammer fall, the cylinder must have rotated without my knowing. When I pulled the hammer back a second time it fired a live round.Sean Reardon looks at the best indicator of student performance: the color of their...money.
My friend, Doug, slumped in the driver’s seat, dying, and another friend, who was sitting in the passenger seat, raced into the house for the phone.
Here’s a fact that may not surprise you: the children of the rich perform better in school, on average, than children from middle-class or poor families. Students growing up in richer families have better grades and higher standardized test scores, on average, than poorer students; they also have higher rates of participation in extracurricular activities and school leadership positions, higher graduation rates and higher rates of college enrollment and completion.Ruth Marcus rolls her eyes at the way congress is dealing with the sequester.
What is news is that in the United States over the last few decades these differences in educational success between high- and lower-income students have grown substantially.
When the so-called sequester was triggered, the Obama administration was accused of exaggerating its impact. This week wasn’t sky-is-falling rhetoric, it was the-skies-aren’t-moving reality.Chris Paine looks for the truth behind the myths about electric cars.
So it’s no wonder that Congress responded to the mess by, as The Post put it in a magnificently Latinate phrase, circumventing sequestration. When constituents howl, Washington listens — at least when the constituents are well-connected.
You might point out, and you’d be right, that lawmakers have not been nearly as responsive to other victims of the sequester’s mindlessness: kids who lost Head Start slots, criminal defendants whose public defenders have been furloughed, unemployed workers with benefits curtailed, Indian reservations unable to hire teachers.
4. Electric cars aren’t any better for the environment.Doyle McManus checks in on one of our less violent wars on inanimate things.
Electric cars have clear environmental benefits: They don’t require gasoline, they don’t pollute from tailpipes, and they operate at 80 percent efficiency (vs. about 20 percent for internal-combustion engines).
Skeptics will cite a 2012 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists as evidence that electric cars aren’t as green as some people make them out to be. That study correctly notes that autos powered by coal-generated electricity are little better for the environment than small gas-powered cars. But the same report concludes that “consumers should feel confident that driving an electric vehicle yields lower global warming emissions than the average new compact gasoline-powered vehicle.” That’s because only 39 percent of U.S. electricity comes from coal. With the retirement of old power plants and the addition of cleaner energy sources, electric cars will have even greater advantages for the environment.
Here are three things the Obama administration has done that you probably didn't know about:Tom Zoellner and Sam Kleiner explain the simple steps that would make it easier to track explosives.
Ever struggle with those accordion-style rubber sleeves on nozzles at the gas station? The sleeve — technically a "vapor recovery nozzle" — was required by the Environmental Protection Agency to keep gasoline vapors from leaking into the air. But most cars and trucks now have technology that does the job better, so last year the EPA abolished the nozzle requirement. Because each sleeve-equipped nozzle can cost as much as $300, the change will save gas stations thousands of dollars.
Ever apply for financial aid for a child heading for college? Until 2010, the application form — the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA — was a parents' nightmare. (I write from personal experience here.) It required digging up information from multiple sources, and the complexity of the task discouraged thousands of families from applying for aid. So the Department of Education got to work and simplified the form. Some applicants can now complete much of it automatically, importing online data from their tax returns.
The Tsarnaev brothers were identified because of surveillance videotape, but the FBI might have been able to do it faster if tiny plastic markers had been part of the small-arms propellant packed into the pressure-cooker bombs. These little chips, called "taggants," have been around for close to 40 years, and their crime-solving capability is impressive. But they're not used today because of one formidable opponent: the National Rifle Assn.This is one of those mornings where much of the regular crew is not exactly absent, but concerned with things that don't necessarily translate. So some new voices this morning.
The idea behind taggants is both benign and ingenious, and it can be credited to a chemistry professor and former 3M employee named Richard Livesay, who had been angered over the 1970 leftist bombing at the University of Wisconsin that killed a graduate student. Explosions always create residue, and Livesay figured out that gunpowder could be seeded with bits of melamine plastic, which cannot be destroyed or melted. Each particle is about a tenth of a millimeter across and contains a layering of eight to 10 colors. They look like pepper flakes, and the specific color signature can be read with an infrared scanner, telling an investigator where that batch of explosive was produced and perhaps even the retail store where it was purchased.