No doubt, you’ve heard this fairy tale from prominent politicians and business leaders who incessantly insist that our economic troubles do not emanate from neoliberals’ corporate-coddling trade, tax and deregulatory policies, but instead from an education system that is supposedly no longer graduating enough STEM experts. Indeed, this was the message of this week’s New York Times story about corporate leaders saying America isn’t producing “enough workers with the cutting-edge skills coveted by tech firms.”
As usual, it sounds vaguely logical. Except, the lore relies on the assumptions that 1) American schools aren’t generating enough STEM supply to meet employer demand, 2) the education system — not neoliberalism — is driving this alleged STEM drought and 3) if America came up with more of such specialists, they would find jobs.
To know these suppositions are preposterous is to consider a recent study by Rutgers and Georgetown University that found colleges “in the United States actually graduate many more STEM students than are hired each year.”
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Imagine that. There was a Muslim prayer room, right in the World Trade Center, even after the first bombing. I guess people didn’t have Fox News and Glenn Beck to tell them they should be outraged yet:
Given the vitriolic opposition now to the proposal to build a Muslim community center two blocks from ground zero, one might say something else has been destroyed: the realization that Muslim people and the Muslim religion were part of the life of the World Trade Center.
Opponents of the Park51 project say the presence of a Muslim center dishonors the victims of the Islamic extremists who flew two jets into the towers. Yet not only were Muslims peacefully worshiping in the twin towers long before the attacks, but even after the 1993 bombing of one tower by a Muslim radical, Ramzi Yousef, their religious observance generated no opposition.
“We weren’t aliens,” Mr. Abdus-Salaam, 60, said in a telephone interview from Florida, where he moved in retirement. “We had a foothold there. You’d walk into the elevator in the morning and say, ‘Salaam aleikum,’ to one construction worker and five more guys in suits would answer, ‘Aleikum salaam.’ ”
One of those men in suits could have been Zafar Sareshwala, a financial executive for the Parsoli Corporation, who went to the prayer room while on business trips from his London office. He was introduced to it, he recently recalled, by a Manhattan investment banker who happened to be Jewish.
“It was so freeing and so calm,” Mr. Sareshwala, 47, said in a phone conversation from Mumbai, where he is now based. “It had the feel of a real mosque. And the best part is that you are in the epicenter of capitalism — New York City, the World Trade Center — and you had this island of spiritualism. I don’t think you could have that combination anywhere in the world.”
How, when and by whom the prayer room was begun remains unclear. Interviews this week with historians and building executives of the trade center came up empty. Many of the Port Authority’s leasing records were destroyed in the towers’ collapse. The imams of several Manhattan mosques whose members sometimes went to the prayer room knew nothing of its origins.
Chamber of Commerce accused of tax fraud. Let’s see what happens with this one.
Audio’s not so hot, but I just love this song. Kelly Willis with Paul Kelly, who wrote the tune:
This lullaby goes out for all the readers with insomnia (and yes, there’s a lot of you). Bette Midler with the song from “Dumbo”:
Got My Mind Set On You, George Harrison. One of the few times he admitted wanting anything but Krishna!
Battle of Who Could Care Less, Ben Folds Five. I still laugh every time I hear it…Fine pewter portaits of General Apathy and Major Boredom…
Just Like a Woman, Bob Dylan.
You Can Have Me Anytime. Boz Scaggs. Girls, isn’t this song dreamy?
Faithless Love, J.D. Souther. I like his own version as much as Linda Ronstadt’s.
This is really an Arthur Alexander song, but it was made famous by the Beatles. Rickie Lee Jones: