Posts Tagged ‘Nobel Prize’
February 1st, 2010 at 7:02 pm
Nigerian Nobel Laureate: “England is a Cesspit”

Nobel laureate in literature – and Nigerian democracy advocate – Wole Soyinka is angry that his country was put on the terrorism watch list in the wake of his countryman’s attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day 2009.  The finger of blame, he argues, shouldn’t be pointed at Nigeria, but at England.

The man did not get radicalized in Nigeria. It happened in England, where he went to university.

“England is a cesspit. England is the breeding ground of fundamentalist Muslims. Its social logic is to allow all religions to preach openly. But this is illogic, because none of the other religions preach apocalyptic violence. And yet England allows it. Remember, that country was the breeding ground for communism, too. Karl Marx did all his work in libraries there.”

Why is Britain the way it is? “This is part of the character of Great Britain,” Mr. Soyinka declares. “Colonialism bred an innate arrogance, but when you undertake that sort of imperial adventure, that arrogance gives way to a feeling of accommodativeness. You take pride in your openness.” And so it is, he says, that Britain lets everyone preach whatever they want: It confirms a self-image of greatness.

Later on, Soyinka identifies the cause of the present religious war of all against all: the Ayatollah Khomeini.  Why?  Because the fatwa against Salman Rushdie escalated the range of acceptable physical aggression within certain spheres of the Muslim world.  That heightened acceptable aggression eventually trickled down to other radical Muslim groups, sanctioning terrorism and murder for groups like Al Qaeda.

Luckily, Soyinka thinks radical Islam won’t take root in America because Muslims have gone mainstream through the work of the Nation of Islam.  I guess it’s all relative.

H/T: Daily Beast

October 15th, 2009 at 11:26 am
Nobel Laureate Got Big Federal Bucks
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Last week, two Americans were awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics.  Thanks to our friend Paul Krugman, it was recently revealed that one of the winners, Elinor Ostrom, received a massive amount of federal funds during her career, in addition to her $167,018 salary at Indiana University.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), an organization tasked with promoting the progress of science, has given over $16.7 million in inflation-adjusted grants to Professor Ostrom.  This figure includes a hefty $9.8 million (inflation-adjusted) grant in 1971, when Professor Ostrom was just six years removed from her Ph.D.

Obviously, given her recognition and achievements in the fields of political science and economics, she put this $16.7 million to good use, but with that much money one could only imagine what else could have been achieved.

With lobbying heavyweights like the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, there are plenty of voices lobbying for more education funding.  Everyone is trying to get a piece of the $3.6 trillion federal pie, and these groups are effective at ensuring more federal dollars go toward education funding.

Senator Tom Coburn has seized on NSF funding and has recommended the elimination of political science grants.  With over $147.7 billion in endowment wealth for the top ten Universities alone, there is plenty of higher education money available.  If Harvard dedicated just 1% of its endowment to research funding, it could provide life-time grants to 22  “Elinor Ostrom’s” every year (over $365 million in total).

Senator Coburn often likes to make the point that you don’t practice charity through the federal government.  You practice politics and favoritism.  With so much private wealth already accumulated in the nation’s universities and other foundations dedicated to promoting education, has the market really failed to invest in education?  If universities are as esteemed as they are in this country, couldn’t they afford a small investment in research grants?

October 9th, 2009 at 12:45 pm
Obama’s Nobel Prize: DNC Says GOP Is Siding With Terrorists

In response to questions being raised about the justification for President Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, a Democratic National Committee official is accusing the GOP of siding with terrorists.

DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse earlier today told Politico:

The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists – the Taliban and Hamas this morning – in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize.”

Among those praising the surprise decision by the Nobel Committee?  CNN reports:

Praise came from … a senior official from Hamas — the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza.”

October 9th, 2009 at 12:33 pm
Nobel Oblige
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There’s already been plenty of criticism leveled at this morning’s announcement that the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize is going to President Obama — despite the fact that the nominating window closed 11 days into his presidency and he did not then (or for that matter now) have a single major foreign policy achievement under his belt.

What hasn’t received enough attention yet is the false humility of Obama’s Rose Garden remarks this morning on the prize.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize — men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

“But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build — a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it’s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action — a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.”

Good grief. So here we have the President essentially admitting that the award is a preemptive endorsement of the transformative nature of his time in office. This would be less bothersome if it were untrue. Unfortunately, the Nobel Committee (which has doled out prizes to the likes of Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, and Paul Krugman in recent years) has lost all trace of being a non-partisan organization.