Friday, April 20, 2007

Learning Under Fire

It is small comfort, but as we mourn the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre, remember that things can always be worse. The vast majority of students -- elementary, secondary and collegiate -- attend classes in peace, unlike in some parts of the world.

READING, WRITING, AND RAMPAGES. In Iraq, shooting up colleges is almost part of the curriculum.

From IraqSlogger:
On Monday, the same day as the Virginia Tech mass shooting, two separate shooting incidents struck Mosul University, one killing Dr. Talal Younis al-Jelili, the dean of the college of Political Science as he walked through the university gate, and another killing Dr. Jaafar Hassan Sadeq, a professor from the Faculty of Arts at the school, who was targeted in front of his home in the al-Kifaat area, according to Aswat al-Iraq.
The numbers get your attention:
Earlier this month, the Dr. Qais Jawad al-Azzawi, head of the Geneva-based Committee International Committee of Solidarity with Iraqi Professors said that 232 university professors were killed and 56 were reported missing in Iraq, while more than 3,000 others had left the country after the 2003 invasion.
Baghdad University's attendance has slipped to six percent, according to the 'Slogger.

Your editors will not offer a caustic punchline -- just a reflection on the numbers. Not only are lives in danger, but livelihoods. How can Iraq move forward towards stability when higher education is a dangerous undertaking?

THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING! The empire formerly known as the Soviet Union plans to tunnel under the Bering Strait to Alaska. On the way: oil, gas, and electricity from Siberia. A mixture of Russian government agencies and private companies will fund the $12 billion project. As always, skeptics raise questions.

From Reuters:
"The project is a monster,'' Yevgeny Nadorshin, chief economist with Trust Investment Bank in Moscow, said in an interview. "The Chinese are crying out for our commodities and willing to finance the transport links, and we're sending oil to Alaska. What, Alaska doesn't have oil?''
If the environmentalists won't let you drill for it, no.

BURNING FAT. In the battle to save hefty lives, ambulances got bigger. Now crematory furnaces are expanding, too.

From the London Daily Mail:
No funeral has yet been halted by an embarrassing blockage after the curtains swing back, thanks to the vigilance of funeral companies and their checks on what will fit into crematoria. But the Local Government Association, the umbrella body for local councils, said some funerals were having to be switched to venues miles from the home of the family of the deceased in order to find a crematorium that could cope.
We wonder, might a pre-crematory liposuction help?

PRIME CUT. John Edwards' campaign reveals he paid $400 for a haircut in California and $248 for salon services in Dubuque, Iowa. Barbers in the Quad City area agree the Democratic presidential hopeful got stiffed.

From the Quad-City Times:
Jay Ledford, who runs Cut Rite, Moline, with his dad, Jay Sr., insists that a number of years ago, President Clinton had his hair cut in Davenport. “I can’t remember the barber, but he only charged him $150,” Ledford said.
First Democrats were tarred as the party of "tax and spend." Then it became "cut and run." Could it now be "cut and spend?"

DRESSED TO ILL. Your Lightning Round has heard many fables of horrid bridesmaid dresses. So we weren't surprised to see a few brides in ghastly gowns. Where are the fashion police when you need them?

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