Points & Punts

In a moment of inspired sensitivity, Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan had this to say about Hurricane Katrina’s long-term effects on New Orleans: “This is a tough thing to say, but let me be really honest.  I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina.  The education system was a disaster, and it took Hurricane Katrina to wake up the community to say that ‘We have to do better.’”

This not only reminded the Tory of the good-ol’ days when the Department of Education didn’t exist, but caused us to think of the silver lining in other destructive events:

  • General Sherman’s March to the Sea, despite leaving the city of Atlanta in ruins, happily inspired the classic book and seminal film Gone with the Wind.
  • The Johnstown Flood of 1889 remains the third greatest disaster in American history.  More than 2,000 people were killed, including 400 children.  But, according to Wikipedia, outrage over the failure of the dam led to progress in American tort law.  Hooray!
  • About 40 years later a lesser-known flood devastated the Pittsburgh area, killing several dozen.  But at least those damnable steel mills stopped spewing carbon-based emissions for a few days!
  • On February 17, 1981, Paris Hilton was born.  Actually, we can’t find a silver lining for that one.
  • Finally, in the most striking parallel, it is a little-known fact (and it was ignored in the film) that the system of secondary education among the Na’vi of Pandora was a shambles.  The destruction of Home Tree, despite being putatively genocidal, actually allowed reformers to break the inflexible teachers’ union – the Na’vi Education Association (NEA) – and inaugurate a new era in which no Na’vi is left behind.  Thank Eywa!

(after Arne Duncan point)

Speaking of Chicago politicians making stupid remarks, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is now accusing liberal Democrats who oppose the Obama administration’s health care plan of being “fucking retarded.” In the ensuing frenzy of demands for Emanuel to apologize for his insensitive remarks, no one has disputed his claim that liberal Democrats suffer from severe mental handicaps.

The Obama administration recently announced that it would not support NASA’s planned space mission to the moon. The Tory has mixed feelings about this; on one hand, we are saddened that the U.S. will not soon send another man to the moon. On the other hand, we agree that the moon is not a good target for NASA; instead, it should aim for Mars. Why, you might ask?  Well so the Soviets don’t get there first, of course!  We must do everything in our power to make sure the Red Planet does not end up in the hands of the Reds!  Indeed, with the right stuff (from Sherwin-Williams), NASA can turn Mars into the Red, White and Blue Planet.

Princeton students browsing goodcrush.com in hopes of finding a date need search no longer. Newly elected Senator Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) has announced to the world that his lovely young daughters are single. To which he added the important caveat: “unless you’re Levi Johnston.”

But if Brown’s greatest fault is his over-eagerness to play matchmaker for his children, that’s news to MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. The bombastic commentator recently referred to the Senator as an “irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees.” Wow. That’s a pretty strong indictment. The charges range from the accurate (Brown did, in fact, pose nude for Cosmo in his college days) to the wildly unsubstantiated (just about everything else). Considering that Brown is actually a fairly moderate Republican, one wonders what Olbermann might have to say about more conservative figures. Of course, if we wanted to find out, we could always watch his show, but we take a firm stance against torture. Besides, with his ratings in the tank, Olbermann is bound to be off the air soon anyway, and we wouldn’t want to delay the inevitable termination of his abominable program.

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