The Brian Gongol Show can be heard on WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa on 1040 AM or streaming online at WHORadio.com. The show airs from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm Central Time on Saturday afternoons. Podcasts of show highlights are also available.
The late-season snow that fell today would've normally been enough to depress normal people, but how can a guy be down in the dumps the day Cyndi Lauper -- yes, THE Cyndi Lauper -- follows him on Twitter? That's a pretty serious dose of 80's joy.
The debacle at the Statehouse this past week over the proposal to eliminate the deduction on Iowa state income taxes for the Federal income taxes paid ended up making both sides look bad. Opponents of the proposal, who are probably on the right side of the issue, looked bad by treating the Statehouse as a shouting gallery. (If you want raucous debate, take it to the South Korean Parliament.)
But the majority leaders in the Iowa House looked like thugs when they tossed taxpayers out of the meeting, using state troopers to do the dirty work. In the end, we need to have a serious debate, like adults, about how to fix the state's budgetary problems. The leaders in charge have been recklessly breaking the bank, and it's no surprise that the opposition is angry. But when your opposition comes out in boos and catcalls, it's not likely that you're going to persuade the people in the middle.
Here's a peculiarity, bordering on a paradox: Google is hugely dominant in search-engine service in the US, but it's a distant second in China. And China recently became the world's biggest Internet market. So, as contrary as it might seem on the surface, the future of what we see from Google will probably be driven in large part by their efforts to cater to customers living in a Communist country, where they're the underdog. How strange.
We resumed some of our conversation from last week about the need to re-think how we do education. A few highlights:
- In addition to the classic subjects like math, English, and history, high schools should deliver mandatory classes in subjects like money (including personal finance and economics), health (which accounts for about 20 cents of every dollar spent in this country), and technology.
- When we talk about technology as a subject, it should be a distinct topic from science -- not an afterthought. Science is mostly about raw knowledge, while technology is about the application of that knowledge. And as technology changes at an accelerating rate, well-rounded people need to know how to put those changes into context.
- Science classrooms should throw out their textbooks and replace them with short, concise, up-to-the-minute miniature books, no more than 50 pages long. As we learn more all the time about everything from DNA to what's under the oceans, yesterday's textbooks are often not only badly out of date, they're generally too boring to make an impression. (See the video of Robert Ballard's talk at the 2008 TED conference for a good perspective on this problem.)
Keywords in this show: budgets • China • Communism • competition • DNA • economics • education • Federal deductibility • Google • health • income taxes • Internet • Iowa Legislature • Lauper, Cyndi • legislatures • markets • oceanography • schools • science • taxes • technology • TED Conference • Twitter