Lenore Skenazy brings up a very important and so far overlooked aspect of the calls for universal pre-K. As a parent, I can appreciate the desire to have this. The costs of private day care does impose a major burden for the middle class, but at least we get to choose the day care.
Very few people are talking about the kind of education that would be offered — other than declaring it should be “high quality.” And that phrase is often interpreted to mean “high intensity”: an accelerated version of skills-based teaching that most early-childhood experts regard as terrible. Poor children, as usual, tend to get the worst of this.
The Philadelphia Inquirer kindly dropped a complementary copy of the “improved” Sunday paper in our driveway. Not having subscribed to the paper in over three years, I wonder what they improved.
The size is a quarter smaller than our last issue (a third smaller than our first), the print quality is so-so, and the comics page has probably half the comics it once had — and the remainder barely merit inclusion. Reading Parade Magazine for the first time in probably two years took less time that brewing a cup of coffee with our Keurig.
That all said, I still miss my paper. Reading on the tablet really isn’t the same. In some ways better, but the experience hardly warrants lounging lazily on a Sunday morning.
As an early pioneer of the blogging landscape — blogging before anyone even called it blogging — I had developed rules about what constitutes a good one. Update daily. Say something intelligent. Engage with your readers. If you have nothing to say, to paraphrase Chrissie Hynde, seal your lips.
I read a lot of technology blogs thanks to my work — possibly too many. Years ago, when I began to eschew printed tech journals for various online sources, I had set up a series of book marks in a single folder that, for me, sampled all the relevant topics for my job as a Macintosh-based designer. For the most part, these blogs contained original content with occasional links to recommended sources.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen the advance of the blog that pretty much does little more than quote something else, and if we’re “lucky”, the author will wedge in a pithy quip somewhere. I will admit, I’ve taken to that practice of late, but I have John Gruber to thank for it. For those who don’t know, Gruber has become one of the leading bloggers on all-things-Apple, and for the most part his DaringFireball.net blog does exactly what I’ve described above. Quote, quip. Quote, quip. Quote, quip. And this practice for whatever reason has attracted enough viewers to make blogging his full time job.
Gruber has his detractors, but most of them cite him as an apologist for Apple. I like Apple as well, but I do think his comments, when he makes them, spring from an objective point of view. Typically, I agree that Apple gets a bad rap from its critics, most of whom are geeks who fondly remember the bad old days when technology was incomprehensible and unmarketable to the general public. If Apple has done anything, it has brought extremely powerful tech to the mainstream. Geeks hate that.
But having followed Daring Fireball for a few years now, I’ve concluded that there’s no there there. Occasionally, he writes a lengthy review of Apple’s latest product (sent to him by Apple), or reporting on an Apple event he went to (invited by Apple), but mostly we get quote, quip, quote, quip, and the quips can really grate. The too-cool-for-school attitude wears thin quickly, especially when sprinkled with his love for the Yankees and his muddled political views. (Shut up and play your guitar, John).
The emperor has no clothes and I have too many other choices for my info. I don’t need Gruber to edit my feed.
Last night, I finished watching all 18 episodes of “Freaks and Geeks,” leaving me that all-too-familiar sense of loss when a series as good as this ends, never knowing what becomes of a great bunch of characters. I can only hope that Lindsey comes to her senses, realizing that the following The Dead does not a productive life make. That may be the 52-year-old me speaking, but I’m pretty sure the 18-year-old me would have said the same thing. I never got the attraction of the Dead’s music, though I do understand the attraction of the community that rose up around it.
According to various sources, NBC canceled the show in 2000 after airing twelve of the eighteen episodes originally ordered. Though it had attracted a devoted cult following and the accolades of critics, it never garnered the ratings to justify its slot in the schedule. Reportedly, producers Paul Feig and Judd Apatow were devastated and devoted the rest of their careers casting the original actors in many of their subsequent projects.
To me, though, the reasons for the show’s poor ratings were all-too-obvious. “Freaks and Geeks” depicted marginalized kids navigating the most painful and difficult periods of their lives. The fact that it did it so well only made matters worse. Who wants to relive that? “My So Called Life” did much the same thing and suffered much the same fate. Why relive that agony, despite the moments of pure hilarity?
The show’s characters aren’t the popular kids — the jocks or cheerleaders — but the AV nerds and the burnouts, showing them with real lives and concerns. As someone tangentially associated with both groups in those years and similarly marginalized, it strikes home. Yet, the show didn’t stereotype. The characters all ring true to my experience.
Incidentally, the show also features some surprising appearances. Ben Stiller, Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex, Mean Girls), Joel Hodgson, and others round out a great cast. I especially loved Lindsey’s mom, because she didn’t seem like she was acting at all. We all know that mom. Most of us wish we had her as one. Joe Flaherty is great as always. If you loved him in SCTV, you’ll love him here.
Maybe it’s best that a second season never happened. I don’t think they actually established who was in what grade, but I assumed Lindsey and the Geek squad were seniors, although there was no graduation. Also, at the end of the school year, people were still walking around in their winter jackets, and I know that Michigan, where the show is set, gets as hot as New England in May/June.
I don’t think I wanted to see them go off to college. The story arcs completely change in that environment, so we might have ended up with a Glee-like conundrum of replacing great characters with sloppy seconds. Thankfully, we didn’t get to see the show jump the shark. Where else could they go with this?
Watch the show if you can, especially if you have kids on the cusp of their high school years. Like your actual high school years, it isn’t all painful. Believe it or not, some good things happened as well.
One wonders if Warren et al. ever bother to look at the facts, particularly the passage of Glass-Steagall and what, if any, role the repeal actually played in the crisis. Since they never say anything specific, it’s hard to know if this is anything more than an incantation designed to blame the “free [sic] market” and to bolster their case for bureaucratic management of our lives which they call “the economy”. It takes Herculean ignorance or dishonesty to claim that America had free banking before 2010. Hence, this is a classic confirmation of my observation that no matter how much the government controls the economic system, any problem will be blamed on whatever small zone of freedom remains.
With her inability to grasp simple facts, I would hope not.
What if a GOP dominated congress finally managed to ban abortions and the Dems decided not to fund the military unless the abortion law was overturned? Wonder how that would play out. Something tells me the left would not brand that as holding the government hostage but as a noble cause.
And if you think this hypothetical tells you where I stand on these issues, you’d likely be wrong.
Another New York Times piece explains how this latest DC trainwreck came about:
Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.
It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.
I don’t doubt that the Tea Party and their ilk have had nefarious plans in this regard for months, if not years. That’s not my point, nor is it my concern, because there’s nothing to be done about it. These tactics are as inevitable as the sunrise in politics.
If you prefer to think that one side is better at keeping the country’s best interests in mind, then you’re either a Pollyanna or you have a very short memory in terms of American history. The truth is both sides have done a fabulous job with underhanded political brinksmanship over the past hundred years or longer. This is merely the latest flavor of it.
This country is falling apart because of politics on both sides. We are seeing the fruits of this activity finally. This was largely an inevitable result of the Pandora’s box being opened government was allowed to confer favors upon their particular favorites and transfer huge amounts of wealth from one interest to another.
We have faction going after faction. Washington has become a sort of Middle East where neither side will even talk to each other because each one of them knows that they both have something to lose. This is the political process that results when government is allowed too much control over the economy and our daily lives in general.
Calling one side less blameless is just utter nonsense. They both made this bed. But if at the end of the day, this circus means less government, then I’ll just shrug my shoulders and hope for the best. It can’t be worse than what government has done “for” us.
You don’t think politics is a dirty game? Do you really think the Left plays by the rules and does nothing underhanded? That it relies upon winning intellectual arguments and not knee-jerk emotional responses? You dont think that Democrats wont resort to bullshit to insure their positions?
Those who call this a “coup” is a pathetic attempt at baiting. I won’t fall for that. History shows that between 1933 and 1981, the Democrats largely got their way with just about every government policy that created not just programs and agencies for good or ill, but constituencies that would never allow cuts, whether it ended in failure or success. This mindset even went so far as to affect the GOP, which is why during the Reagan and Bush(x2) administrations, we saw huge government growth. Thus, there is effectively no difference between the parties. It all comes down to who better manages all that largesse for their constituents.
Its a sad but true fact that no one ever got elected by appealing to people’s sense of reason. This is why all political campaigns are largely marketing efforts where politicians are sold like soap or tires. “If you care about your baby, you’ll buy Michelin.” Is a Michelin that cost 30% more than a Bridgestone 30% safer? Probably not, but fear sells almost as well as sex.
Truth be told, the ACA is a terrible law especially if you measure it by how much it expands the role of government in our economy. It should be replaced with something better. My main problem with the GOP and the Tea Party have nothing to replace it. The health care system has become unmoored from market forces and is run by oligopolies. I see nothing in this law that ultimately changes that.
Today’s New York Times actually published a rather perceptive piece about what’s happening in Washington.
But as America becomes more diverse, another population has come more clearly into view: the alienated and disenchanted. These people have embraced a libertarian and anti-government outlook and have little use for what they see as the compromised, impure “big government” conservatism of the Reagan and Bush years.
A four trillion dollar government is simply too large, especially when it’s only taking in three trillion. Level headed people may have problems with the tactics (as I do), but the opposition is merely taking the opportunity to force their larger point. Past “compromises” on the growth of government have merely curtailed the rate of spending growth, not actually cutting it back. We are trillions of dollars in debt, and people are rightly concerned. If it takes extreme measures to get the attention of the electorate on this subject, then so be it.
These guys have a kickstarter campaign going to make something called PicoBrew, a computerized home-brewing machine. So much for the art of “craft” brewing.
The machine is sort of an odd meeting ground between the act of homesteading and using science and commercial techniques on a consumer level. The founders cite the amount of work and hands-on time home-brewing requires, although that’s part of the charm for some enthusiasts. At $1,300, it’s not really for the casual home-brewer.
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