First, The Pain

Sarah Palin recently went on The Tonight Show and performed a stand-up routine. It may be the most painful thing I’ve watched since The Office on the BBC. “Enjoy!”

Positive Pedagogy & Politics

Okay, quick — let’s get to some good things to counteract that evil. I was very pleased recently to hear on NPR this story about former No Child Left Behind shill Diane Ravitch, who has written a new book slamming that stupid piece of legislation.

“The basic strategy is measuring and punishing,” she said. “And it turns out as a result of putting so much emphasis on the test scores, there’s a lot of cheating going on, there’s a lot of gaming the system. Instead of raising standards it’s actually lowered standards because many states have ‘dumbed down’ their tests or changed the scoring of their tests to say that more kids are passing than actually are.”

Gee, I seem to remember quoting Audrey Amrein and David Berliner on this exact same point seven years ago. Why doesn’t NPR do an interview with me? (Or with teachers who have been saying this same stuff for five years.)

Ravitch has been doing good work lately, so I can’t be upset. She even points out that Obama’s education chief Arne Duncan has designed a really dumb “Race to the Top” plan that mostly benefits education software companies like the one run by George W. Bush’s white-collar-criminal* brother Neil.

* He was never indicted on criminal charges for his role in the apocalyptic failure of an S&L in Denver, but he did settle a civil action out of court with the FDIC by forking over $50,000.

Okay, Break It Up

Speaking of generally conservative people making refreshing policy arguments, check out Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, calling for banks that are “too big to fail” to get all broken up:

“Big banks and many of their creditors assume the Fed and other government agencies will cushion the fall and assume the damages even if their troubles stem from negligence or trickery,” he said.

“They have only to look at recent experience to confirm that assumption. My preference is for a more prophylactic approach, an international accord to break up these institutions into ones of more manage-able size.

Amen, brother.

You Ever Been In A Turkish Prison?

And finally: JFK tower allowed kids to direct air traffic.

“JetBlue 171 cleared for takeoff,” the boy says in his first call. […] In his last call, the youngster signs off, “Adios, amigo.” The pilot responds in kind.

Joey, do you like to hang around the gymnasium?


You suck, McBain!

Today I’m listening to: Phantogram!

2 comments to First, The Pain

  • Anonymous

    Well I have to say, her act was very well written and preformed…..NAH who am I kidding? It was obviously not written by her, she didn’t have any of the words on her hand, and it seemed like she was just trying to promote herself half the time. I understand why she would poke jokes at the democratic majority currently in control of congress and the struggle we’re facing with health care reform, but it’s public television! If she wants to make jokes about democrats she should go somewhere where no one would believe what she’s saying, like Fox News

  • This is one of my favorite political cartoons