ArtAppraiser asked for my thoughts on a New York Times article about the relationships Indonesia is forging with the United States and China. I have to admit I haven't been paying that much attention to politics and economics over here. There isn't much in-depth analysis in the English-language press and my friends are mostly fellow teachers, so we talk more about grammar and culture than geopolitical manuevering. But, for what's it's worth, I do have some thoughts.
Instead of asking students to shoulder the burden of improving society themselves through the dubious project of finding meaningful work, we should see that overwhelming student debt burdens have left students with little room to maneuver. Our debt-based education system reflects the neoliberal belief that college exists so its graduates will earn more: College is an “investment,” a crude financial term, rather than enrichment. We tell students to study what they find interesting and not what will make the most money, but we don't believe it. We still rank colleges by how much their students earn and expect students to pay back thousands in student loans no matter what happens to them financially.
Former Iraqi military officers and Baathists exploit Jihad, and control ISIS across Iraq and Syria. The shadowy figures send foreign fighters out to die while they run the terrorist organization with utmost secrecy. The blanket exclusion of the Baath from power they were accustomed to by the US and Shiite government, and firing of the Army by order of Paul Bremer and GW Bush, led to the formation of ISIS.
Yesterday Calbuco Volcano erupted for the first time in about 50 years. During the night it sent off a second round of lava and ash. This article was the best one I could find that covers the event with detail, pictures and video. Calbuco is in Southern Chile and is part of the ring of fire. Chile has the largest amount of these volcanoes in this chain. The main worry is that the ash column will collapse and send a pyroclastic flow over the area for several hundred miles that could destroy everything. The volcano was covered with ice and snow before it erupted so there is a watch for flooding of ash and water in the streams.