Last Week

The week proved to be more eventful than even I envisioned. One big takeaway for me, education is becoming a major battlefield. In Virginia, parents had a chance to see what and how teaching occurred in their schools during the pandemic. Many were shocked. Without in-person learning, parents had to jump in. They found teachers and administrators didn’t put their students first. The U.S. spends the most on education but lags behind our competitors. Parents want the best for their children, but the teacher’s unions and school administrators have very different interests. 

We could have endless trench warfare with the vested interests or put the power in the hands of the children’s best advocates -their parents. Now is the time to move to a voucher system. Educators competing with their best for the vouchers can foster innovation and better outcomes for our kids.

With so many of our children falling behind due to school closings, we can’t waste more time. Give parents the power to find the best solutions for their kids. Deregulate now with vouchers before we fall further behind. This problem is both a societal and national security crisis. Awareness is coming none too soon.

I sense the delicate hand of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel at work in the House passing the long-delayed Infrastructure Bill. Surprisingly, Republicans provided the winning margin. Senator Joe Manchin holds a deciding vote in a 50-50 Senate. Without his approval, the filibuster stays. Any further legislation such as the wildly expensive “Build Back Better” is dead or greatly diminished without him. He wanted the Infrastructure Bill, and Mitch wanted to keep the filibuster and no more social engineering bills. If “Build Back Better” is either scuttled or cut down to a shell, it’s probably a sign of a deal between the two wily old two Senators. Both get what they want, and some Republicans in toss-up areas get to show their bipartisanship. 

The Administration issued its rules for 100 million Americans to be vaccinated buy Jan. 4. Some states and others immediately sued. The 5th Circuit Court stopped the mandate dead in its tracks. This stay might save the Biden from making the worker shortage much worse. Already, the lack of workers is inflationary while making our lives a mess; the court action is a blessing. 

As I’ve pointed out, these harmful mandates probably aren’t necessary to control the pandemic. Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have been falling since Sept. 1. This week’s vaccine approval for the 5 to 11 group will add to the difficulty of disease spread. Two pills with the promise of drastically cutting Covid hospitalizations and deaths are coming online.

The U.K. this week approved Merck’s cheap and easy-to-use antiviral Covid medication, while Pfizer announced its highly effective pill. Both are awaiting FDA approval. All in all, by the first of the year, these destructive and divisive mandates will prove unnecessary—just another self-inflicted wound administered by the Biden administration.

We also saw another large meeting of the “Climate Doomsday Cult'” in Glasgow, Scotland. These periodic meetings follow a familiar pattern. Nations show their virtue by pledging to reduce carbon emissions by some amount to prevent an approaching doomsday. Nobody fully delivers.

This gathering was different, with the pledges failing to match the goals. The leader of the world’s greatest CO2 emitter, China, didn’t even show up. India’s plan didn’t even pretend to match the goals. 

After these meetings, the dignitaries congratulate themselves and then jump in their CO2 spewing jets and go home—many then do nothing. However, some take drastic action. They close non-emitting nuclear, along with coal-fired plants. Block finding and using less-polluting natural gas. They then depend cult favored but unreliable wind and solar.

These actions are bringing real pain to their people. Taking irrational steps has real-life consequences. I’ve pointed out sky-high energy prices in the U.K. and parts of Europe, causing genuine anguish.  

We all want cleaner fuel, but not if it makes us poorer. You’ll never convince developing nations to give up advancement by depending on wind and solar. Is it even ethical to ask?

Tapping into geothermal opportunities, natural gas, and nuclear power may be the more realistic ways to go until even better technologies appear. Nuclear’s actual costs are challenging to determine. Fear has made safety redundancy, and licensing has added materially to the expenses. This obstacle is an oddity in light of nuclear’s excellent safety record.

Maybe Bill Gates, who has a strong interest in nuclear power, can sit down with his philanthropic friend, Warren Buffet. Buffet’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, among other things, is a world-class insurer. If Gates and Buffet could agree on a competitive design underwritten at an equitable premium without government support, we would know how nuclear fits in the puzzle. This coordination could have worldwide implications. At least it’s a reasonable attempt at a solution. Maybe they’ll have something tangible to discuss when they jet off to the next cult conclave.

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