July 16, 2005

This Weekend’s Unanswered Questions (071605)

Filed under: Business Moves,General,Taxes & Government,TWUQs — Tom @ 3:50 am

Another installment in a nearly-regular series of mysteries and pseudo-mysteries (usually 3-4) this inquiring mind would like to have answers for (some links included may require free registration):

QUESTION 1: How much attention will this report on educational improvement receive?

  • What’s new: America’s elementary school students made solid gains in both reading and mathematics in the first years of this decade, while middle school students made less progress and older teenagers hardly any, according to federal test results released Thursday.
  • Big gains: Nine-year-old minority students made the most gains. In particular, young black students significantly narrowed the longtime gap between their math and reading scores and those of higher-achieving white students, who also made strong gains. Older minority teenagers did poorly.
  • The reading test: The average score of 9-year-old black students increased by 14 points on a 500-point scale, from 186 in 1999 to 200 in 2004. Reading scores of 9-year-old white students rose by 5 points, from 221 to 226. As a result, the gap between black and white 9-year-old students narrowed from 35 to 26 points over five years. The gap was 44 in 1971.

Could the much-maligned and litigated No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) be at least partially responsible for the improvements in younger kids? I would think that NCLB has a better chance of being a contributor than the National Education Association, given their priorities (NEA Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin).

UPDATE: Kaus supports the pro-NCLB argument, and notes that the NEA (/surprise) objects.

QUESTION 2: Will the people at The United Nations please stop talking about taking over the Internet and clean house from top to bottom?

The UN wants to get its hands on the Internet but thankfully (and typically) can’t agree on how to do it.

That’s just as well. Pamela at Trey Jackson has a bit of a problem with UN control (with the links to back it up if you go to the post):

I cannot imagine we would let these thugs, rapists, extortionists, antisemites aka the UN have any say over the last truly free arena in the world. We are talking about the very same guys that perpetrated the largest heist in world history (oil for food), calls Israelis Nazis, rapes children in the Congo and then moves those rapists to other parts of the world.

Flashback: “US Retains Control of Internet Directory: AP Has Hissy Fit”

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin notices.

QUESTION 3: Why is there snow in Brussels all year long?

There may be an answer to this perplexing question. The BBC can’t call a terrorist a terrorist, but they seem to be allowed to note that things go better with coke, as in cocaine, even at their beloved European Parliament (HT Little Green Footballs):

Cocaine traces have been found at the European Parliament in an inquiry by one of Germany’s main broadcasters.

The Sat-1 channel sent reporters to take 46 swabs from toilets and other public areas of the Brussels buildings. Nearly all tested positive for cocaine.

A European Parliament spokeswoman said cocaine abuse was not a problem among staff working at the buildings.

A professor who analysed the samples said the amounts found were too great to have been carried in on clothing.

“It simply reflects the fact that cocaine was brought in there,” Professor Fritz Sorgel of the Institute for Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Research in Nuremberg (IBMP) told the BBC News website.

“The amount was too high and found in too many spots. It shows it was brought in deliberately.”

However, he said the results were not so surprising given the widespread use of cocaine in society at large.

As the buildings are cleaned regularly, it appeared that cocaine had been used recently in the places where the traces were found, Mr Sorgel said.

A total of 41 of the reporters’ swabs tested positive for cocaine.


TYING QUESTIONS 2 AND 3 TOGETHER: So, how many coke habits did the Oil For Food program support?


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