Gotta Read It II

Speaking of world trade and competitiveness, and if you are not depressed enough by the news and images from Baghdad, try the December 2006 issue of Bloomberg Markets. (I command you to do so. Whoops, I am powerless.) The cover story, a variant on the life of a T-shirt is: "The Secret World of Modern Slavery: Steel used to build cars and appliances in the U.S. starts with forced labor in Brazil." The piece will turn your stomach—and, remember, Bloomberg Markets is not exactly home to left wing extremism.

When you get back from gagging in the bathroom, or if you survive shooting yourself, dive into a Bloomberg companion piece, "How Test Companies Fail Your Kids: The $2.8 billion industry hires $10-an-hour graders for exams that control U.S. schools." I'm far too old to lightly use a word like "unbelievable." But this stuff is ... unbelievable. Try "layed off" janitors who majored in "Phylosophy/Humanity" grading essays that determine our kids' life success and our teachers' employment prospects. This article would be hilarious were it not of such surpassing importance. Again, I underscore that this comes from Bloomberg, not the PR arm of our national teachers union.