Thought 1. I offer a wild, even mad, speculation about the nature of the CIA program about which we have heard so much of late. The latest thinking is that its purpose was to kill Al Qaeda and other terrorist leaders and important agents in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere. I have a problem with this thinking. First, it has been no secret that the U.S. intended to seek out and capture or kill such leaders and agents. President Bush and Vice President Cheney said so many times. Second, it does not explain why the Vice President, with no actual authority to do so, ordered the program not be reported to Congress if this was its purpose and scope. My speculation: the purpose and scope of this CIA program was to assassinate suspected leaders and agents residing in this country—in short, a program to create and deploy “death squads” in America. If so, I can understand trying to keep it a secret.
Thought 2. The furor over cap-and-trade policy is reaching levels of dishonesty and hypocrisy which I have not known in most previous debates about a policy issue. (I do expect worse when it comes to national health insurance and to a consumer protection act. Consider yourself advised.) Critical is the idea that CO2, because it occurs in nature and supports flora, is not a pollutant and, thus, not a contributor to global warming. Ozone also occurs in nature, is benign in the ozone layer (it reduces UV radiation), is malign at the earth’s surfaces when it is concentrated, especially in heat inversions in urban areas. Location, concentration, and duration of exposure are everything. It is one thing for CO2 to occur as 3% of the atmosphere; it is another for it to reach 15% or more, as feared in the Apollo 13 mishap in space. Understandably, friends of fossil fuels use this bogus argument to advance their cause.
Thought 3. Obama’s idea that community colleges can help address the problems of the unemployed by retraining them for more skilled work and his budget to help those colleges deal with the needs of the unemployed will come a-cropper. I approve the effort, but I expect it to fail, even backfire. First, these colleges will offer the usual low-level of education for which they are known. Second, they will give easy work and award high grades—proof of their success, not that it will prove itself in actual assistance to the unemployed. Such is to be expected. But what will be learned and perhaps ill reported is that the education of no- or low-skilled workers has been so inadequate that they will lack sufficient skills to benefit from most instruction, good or bad. The fruits of anti-intellectualism, the disregard of public education, and, particularly, the Democratic Party refusal to deal with the unions which have refused reform may be recognized as primary causes of continued economic decline in America. Given the lead time of reform to take effect, even if it is undertaken and done right, the recognition required beforehand, if it occurs, will come too late for any amelioration for at least a quarter century. Tell your children and grandchildren to tighten their belts and open their books.