The day before President Obama spoke in Madison, Wisconsin, about the pressing need to improve America's teachers, a report was released on the same topic at a conference in Washington's swanky Capitol Hilton. The task force that wrote the report was chaired by Minnesota Governor (and rumored 2012 presidential candidate) Tim Pawlenty and included such education policy heavyweights as New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
Americans are used to presidential candidates promising to get tough on China only to turn tail once they are in office. Could the same be true of German Chancellor’s promises to get tough with Russia? The Financial Times has an extraordinary report on “The New Ostpolitik,” between Germany and Russia. When German Chancellor Angela Merkel first ran four years ago, she was highly critical of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s warm relationship with the Russians. Indeed, after leaving office, Schroeder became the chairman of Nord Stream, which is owned by the Russian firm, Gazprom, and is deve
Reading this Wall Street Journal piece about how France and Germany are emerging from their recessions at least a quarter before the U.S., it might be tempting to conclude that fiscal stimulus is just a waste of money. After all, amid calls for Germany to spend more in the run-up to the G-20 meeting in March, German chancellor Angela Merkel took a famously hard line against additional stimulus. But, in fact, Merkel soon reversed course and acceded to more spending.
In this commencement season, I myself gave the commencement address for a bunch of high school dropouts. Mind you, the school was Bard College at Simon's Rock, where students enter after tenth grade instead of twelfth, immediately beginning college work and never looking back. It would be a good thing for America if these students' experience was more ordinary--except that it would also be a good thing if there were many, many fewer college students at all. The President has called for more people to go to college (for at least some time), which makes sense--but only because of the fact that a
Madame Chancellor, Mr. President, Nearly 20 years ago, we enthusiastically witnessed the most extraordinary event of the end of the 20th century: the fall of the Berlin Wall. A reunified Germany opened the way to the resurrection of the European continent. Then a wave of "velvet revolutions" brought down the communist dictatorships, one by one. We who have been unrelenting opponents of these iniquitous regimes since the long-ago days of the "New Philosophy," were thrilled by this magnificent celebration of freedom.
“Did you see the gas vans?” Claude Lanzmann asks Mrs. Michelsohn, an old German woman, in his film Shoah. Mrs. Michelsohn lived in Chelmno, 50 yards from the spot where Jews were loaded onto the vans at the Nazi extermination center. “No,” she answers at first, with a look of annoyance. Then her face registers the recognition that Lanzmann and his movie cameras will not be deflected. “Yes,” she acknowledges, she saw the vans, “from the outside. They shuttled back and forth. I never looked inside; I didn’t see the Jews in them.