Tag Archives: news

Jim Lehrer v Margaret Spellings

I caught a pretty interesting segment on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Peep it here. Aside from the satisfaction I glean from actually watching a news program without all the requisite bells and whistles (i.e., text scrolling in three directions, four simultaneous video panes, and a screaming Bill O’Reilly), Lehrer’s correspondents can always find something uplifting that would otherwise fall between the cracks.

This particularly gossamer piece of reporting depicts two schools in San Diego who recently went Charter to remedy their failed attempts at standardized achievement. It took quite a fight for the schools’ teachers, parents, and administrators to make the break from the San Diego school district. But they did. Their collective efforts have shown a remarkable shift in student discipline and test scores.

After years of churning out disenchanted students and turning over new faculty members every year, the schools seem to have found a niche. And, consequently, the district suffers, because parents and students want to attend these seemingly new schools. What a tangled web we weave.

a great black wave in the middle of the sea

So here I am, feeling down and hoping to exorcise some emotional/intellectual demons on my slice of Blogistan.
This week has been one of the ugliest weeks of news I can remember. In one week we have had several horrible events and I just want it to be known that I am paying attention. For those who haven’t had the time, energy, or impetus, here’s the news since Monday:

  1. A disaffected student unleashed his frustration with anonymity on the campus of Virginia Tech University. 33 are dead. Millions are mourning. And, to add insult to martyrdom, the student sent a YouTube-style package to NBC to tell us all why we’re wrong. I know I’m wrong. I didn’t need a pathological individual to prove it to me.
  2. This has been one of the bloodiest weeks in the 4-year “conflict” in Iraq. Close to 200 people died in 24 hours of bombings and, according to The Great Decider, more will die before Iraq embraces Christianity, Democracy, and the pursuit of opulence.
  3. In a 5-4 decision, supreme court justices denounced years of progress toward upholding a woman’s right to choose, thus imparting an religio-ethical decision on human rights. It was a major victory for the current commander in chief. Hopefully those victories will be fewer and farther in between for the last 500 or so days of his iron grip on the world.

This is an utterly selfish post for I have hoped that writing it all down might make me feel better. I’m not sure it has worked. I guess I’ll go back to watching this video showcasing a musical act, Arcade Fire (to whom I credit the title of this post), repeatedly. It seems they are trying to use theater to show us all how to get up and move in the right direction.

Waxing politic

Last night I caught a glimpse of an email from a friend of Tammy’s. The email was primarily a response to a question Tammy posed about Barack Obama’s qualifications and potential as a presidential candidate.

Her insightful compatriot offered a sound diatribe on the dangers of democrats backing a possibly un-electable candidate. Most interestingly, the friend offered these words about the democrats’ collective inability to support a centrist candidate like John Kerry:

“So we ended up with Kerry: tepid water, milk toast, vanilla, Republican-lite.”

Longstoryshort, the statement got me thinking. First, about the poetics of the line, then about the blinding truth it represents.

I can’t come up with any witty snippets of knowledge to expound upon this line of political poetry. All I can come up with are questions:

Is there a possibility for true progressivism in our modern landscape?
Are we chained to our adopted consumptive collective mindset?
Is there a foreseeable alternative?