Three national news reports caught my attention this week. Granted, they are unrelated in any form or fashion but they all either have or will impact your life and mine somewhere down the road. And thus, they generated my interest.
First, hurrah for the Supreme Court. The highest court - with two new members now - has agreed to decide if race can be used to decide school assignment. What they are really saying is that the court will examine the impact of affirmative action programs, which is yet another name for racial quotas.
Several schools across the land have used race as a factor in deciding which students go where. The schools use these "diversity plans" to better balance the racial make-up of schools and to keep the federal government off their backs. But as there are "winners" in these race-based programs, there are also "losers". And one of those "losers" was a white student who was denied admission in favor of a minority student with lesser qualifications.
Past Supreme Courts have decided to stay out of this fight but the current court has accepted two cases and could make history with their affirmative action ruling. I hope the court rules that merit and merit alone should be the compelling factor in school admissions and end the quota system forever. Time will tell.
The second national tidbit involved the vote this week to spend $21.3 billion on foreign aid next year. That's $21.3 billion of your tax dollars going to foreign countries sometimes for questionable purposes and sometimes to questionable countries.
My blood boils when I see money that could greatly improve the lives of Americans instead being funneled to foreign countries. For example, why send $962 million to Afghanistan to support drug eradication when there is no evidence the program is slowing the flow of heroin to this country. And though Israel is important to our position in the Mideast, should we send them $2.3 billion for military assistance? But there is some good news. At least lawmakers cut a million bucks in aid to Mexico to fight the flow of illegal drugs across its borders. That money was a joke and at long last, Washington got the punch line.
And finally, world-famous astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, described as perhaps the smartest man alive, says we humans need to move to the moon and Mars within the next 40 years because the earth will be destroyed. Now this is no kook who gazes into a crystal ball. Hawking is brilliant and, when he speaks, it's worth your while to listen.
Hawking says that some disaster like global warming, nuclear war, genetically engineered virus or some other danger may well doom earth in the not-so-
distant future. But he says we could have a permanent life base on the moon within 20 years and on Mars within 40 years. He says the survival of the species will depend on this. And he adds, on the outside, humanity will kill itself within 100 years.
So there you have it. And wouldn't you know - just when we finally got a handle on affirmative action and foreign aid, we find out we're not going to be around long enough to reap the benefits. Darned the luck!