The nation’s success hinges on the skills and knowledge of its people. Over the past century, the United States had advanced to the world’s leading nation – in terms of technology, finance, and in the broad accessibility to education. But in order to maintain its advantages in entrepreneurship, technological prowess and civic engagement, the nation must continue to invest in its future generations.
Obtaining water has always been of primary importance for animal life.
3000 years ago [700 BC] King Sennacherib, of Assyria, had his slaves and soldiers and workers build the first known stone aqueduct. This conduit allowed water to flow freely over a very gentle slope for roughly 20 miles – from the headwaters of the river Gomel down to his palace in Nineveh, not far from Mosul in Iraq. Apparently, some pieces of this stone channel are still visible.
In a recent commentary, I raised the question of whether the United States is losing its global competitiveness in the area of scientific research. And yet, despite the fact that major reductions have been made in our research infrastructure and productivity due to cuts arising from sequestration and over a decade of federal research budgets which have not exceeded inflation, I was startled to learn that “only 38% of Americans feel science [research] is getting too little funding” (reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education article, “Strapped,” February 28, 2014). Why isn’t the message getting out? Why do so few Americans see the risk in falling behind in areas of research critical to understanding disease processes, to addressing environmental issues, to developing alternative energy, and on and on?
L’affaire Sterling is nearing an end. Almost every sentient human being is aware of Don Sterling’s rancid racist comments. He has been banned from the NBA forever and he is being forced to sell his team, the Los Angeles Clippers. All of this is known. Adam Silver, Commissioner of the NBA, has been heralded for his quick, and “appropriate” action. The legendary Michael Jordan summarized the view of players and owners by noting: “As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views. As a fellow player, I am completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA – or anywhere else – for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed.”
I’ve visited this issue earlier; even quoted Teddy Roosevelt’s warning, that “…the one absolute certainty of bringing this nation to ruin, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.” I might have left the matter there, if the “This is a Christian nation!...” claque hadn’t decided to intensify their contention several decibels louder than before. What seems to have gotten them steamed up now, is a complaint from a Jewish person and an Atheist, both of whom took issue over having to sit through public prayer sessions before their Town Council’s meetings (the council being an all-Christian one) and pushed their complaint all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court, citing other instances of pre-meeting prayer by higher government units, allowed as how something similar, at the local level, wouldn’t be that bad to sit through and said so in writing, which emboldened the ‘pro-Christian-Nation choir’ to add heft to their chant.