Archive for March, 2008

Listen to Neilt Turok’s TED talk http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/232


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So you heard that the Ksh 2.9 billion was going to be distributed to assist secondary schools deal with tuition. Some of the requirements are:

high student  enrolment (min 40 per class expected)

-new separate bank accounts for the schools

Now it appears that Nyanza ( you guessed it, that marginalized poor province ) suffers most:

show that 450 schools in Nyanza —more than half of the total of 891 in the province—have been denied funding”

The reason Karega Mutahi advances are that

“reasons why the schools were left out are low student enrolment and confusion arising from similarity of names and bank accounts—a problem affecting all provinces.”

It is hard not to believe those who always claim that Nyanza is being marginalized by the ‘once/still is” kikuyu administration. One might be tempted to argue that the 40+ rule was meant to cut out Nyanza.

Now, the question is:

– is the money being given on a school to school basis?

-if the money is being given on pupil to pupil basis, why does it matter that the class must be 40+?

-if indeed calculations showed that 40 is the threshhold for getting good returns on the money (show me the math formulas), then how do you expect the schools to “merge” overnight- as being suggested by Mutahi

– the aim of the fund was to assist the needy parents, so naturally, you would come up with a formula that benefits the known poor regions ( Nyanza, NEP ), so how comes the formula selected benefits the more prosperous regions ( Nairobi, Central ) and penalizes this needy region?

-is it the pupil’s mistake that his class size does not meet the magic number of 40 students?

-i thought NEP is sparsely populated. How did they manage such that “All the 41 schools  in North Eastern  qualified

My own thought on this matter is this:  someone at the Ministry of Education (which we are told is 99% Kikuyu run ) did some math, realized that the class density will benefit Central, Nairobi (with high pop density), and penalize Nyanza (those Luos making life hard for “us”) and Western Kenya.

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I generally do not comment on American politics, but i found this article in the Wall Street Journal very interesting.

WSJ carried a letter by Karl Rove, the supposedly once brilliant former Bush strategist.

In the letter, he advices McCain and Hillary Clinton how to deal with the loud black kid on the block:

So what must Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton do, especially in the seven weeks before Pennsylvania? Both need to focus on Mr. Obama’s biggest weaknesses.

(i) “One is the Illinois senator’s claim to be the new “post-partisan” leader to bring Republicans and Democrats together. ” … ” Mr. Obama has no real record of voting and working across party lines on high profile issues like judges, immigration, intelligence reform, troop funding and energy.”

(ii) “Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton also need to continue highlighting Mr. Obama’s lack of experience. Mrs. Clinton’s surrogates and ads effectively hammered him on this. But voters were also encouraged in a subtle way by Mr. Obama himself to take a second look. His inspiring, but nearly substance-free, rhetoric is now raising questions. Sure, his Web site has position papers drafted by academic geeks galore, but voters may ask: “What has he done?””

You may look at it that Karl is just giving good advice to his fellow Republican, Senator McCain. Perhaps. But what about the advice to Mrs. Clinton who is not a republican, and therefore by all means an “enemy”? Why would he advice the enemy to emerge victorious? Two possibilities:

( i) Clinton is a less harmful enemy ( perhaps because she is white)

(ii) If the Democrats pick Mrs. Clinton over Obama, she is an easier target for McCain to defeat than Obama.

Whatever the reason, this message is meant for the American public. If Rove needed to contact the two senators, why, he would just visit their faceBook profiles and leave a message on their walls! If the “internets” is slow or myspace is too too jammed up, why not just call a Bush ( Snr. or W. ) and ask him to recommend him (Rove) for the job?

There is one sure way of setting America against Obama: Play the fear of black card ( “inexplicable fear”, i must add: There may be historical reasons for black to fear white, but i am always at a loss why it is always the other way round. I have tried to understand this fear, without success. Perhaps it is because i am black, and the fear is a white thing.) . There are those who would oppose (e.g. by moving out ) a black buying a house in their neighborhoods, for fear of property values going “south”. I am sure there are many who feel the same about Obama occupying white house.

But, there is good news. The young and professional America seems mostly color blind, and resonate with Obama’s inspiring messages. It will be very interesting to see how middle America ( 50+ ) deals with the fear of Black.

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