Turns out the U.S. is ranked no. 20 in world literacy (and is among 30 countries ranked as such), with a 99% literacy rate.
We should be happy, but then I realized North Korea is also at 20, with Russia beating the U.S., Canada, Britain, Germany, and much of the "western" world. I suddenly wondered if a Cold War ought to be declared just to improve that ranking. Look what it did for other things.
Then again, almost every country is beating Afghanistan... And everyone is better than Mali, it appears. Take a look at the map. It's sadly revealing.
Goal for 2009: improve literacy and reading rates.