Before I head off to work on my transition to the recapitulation of “Milky Way,” I have a couple of rants. I’ve been clipping stuff from the paper, thinking I might comment on it, for a couple of weeks now, but today had two quotes that have moved me to the keyboard.
The first is from a story, “Park Service To Emphasize Conservation In New Rules.” Well, first of all, that’s a shocker in itself, because even as recently as one year ago, the Administration Currently In Office was once again allowing industry interests to write public policy, and the snowmobile folk were making sure that the National Park Service’s actually taking care of our public wilderness took a back seat to the next few seasons of recreational profit.
As the paper says, “In this respect, as in many others, including the emphasis on conservation, the final policy echoes the one in effect at the end of the Clinton administration.”
We are living in the end times, apparently. The former Interior Secretary, Gale Norton, was no friend of those pesky tree-huggers who worked for the NPS, but she’s gone now, wanting to spend more time with her family. (I will not repeat here the facts about Abramoff/Indian Affairs/her approval. No one has suggested her implication. At all.) Her successor, Dirk Kempthorne, has surprised many with the reversal of the focus of the rewritten regulations on park management.
Now here’s the deal: at the end of the article there is a quote from the president of Americans for Responsible Recreation Access, Larry E. Smith. In a July letter to the outgoing director of the Park Service, he wrote, “Trying to accommodate the existing generation of Americans should be as worthy a goal as is preserving our parks for future generations.”
Read that sentence again: Trying to accommodate the existing generation of Americans should be as worthy a goal as is preserving our parks for future generations.
Quick thought experiment: even without knowing that one of the main funders of ARRA is the Motorcycle Industry Council (oops, now you know), would you say that the holder of that sentiment is conservative or liberal? Pace, McInturff, you know that when I say conservative I mean Dick Cheney, not you.
Now why is that? Why do you think that the person who said this is more concerned with profit than with taking care of people or the planet? And why did you assume this person/organization contributes to one party rather than the other?
The thing that makes me scream about this and other issues (second rant coming up) these days is that I thought we liberals were the profligates: tax and spend, deficit budgets, free sex with all and sundry, and plenty of cheap drugs. Weren’t conservatives all about integrity and saving and scrimping and personal abnegation for future benefit? What happened to that? Is it all about corporate profit?
The other quote that got under my skin was from an article about how the top 100 liberal arts colleges are increasingly doing away with any SAT requirements. They’re smugly declaring that they can look closely enough at their applicants not to need a suspect standardized test to tell whether they’ll be a good match for the school.
Needless to say, the College Board is fit to be tied, especially with yesterday’s report that SAT scores plummeted with the new version. (In other news, the Washington Post, owned by the same company as the College Board, reported that report in hysterical terms. Other news sources were more sanguine.)
The president of the College Board, Gaston Caperton, had this to say: “At a time when the United States is vying internationally for excellence, it’s very contrary to any decision-making process, in business or education, not to use the data that’s available. If I were a parent, applying to a selective school, I would prefer them to use all the data they possibly can.”
And so they do, Mr. Caperton, just not yours. This Bushesque statement just begs for the eyes to be rolled and the brow to be furrowed. (“At no time did I say that failure to take the SAT puts the U.S. behind in the international economy.”) It is made even more grotesque by the recent announcement of new curriculum materials produced by the CB and Kaplan, designed to boost K-12 achievement. I will leave you to presume what kind of achievement these curriculum materials are designed to boost.
Profit, profit, it’s all profit, and it stinks to heaven.
Well, that was probably incoherent, but I have sixteen measures of music to write.