Friday, July 31, 2009

Now, THIS Is News

Cortland's all a-flutter as the Jets move into their training camp.

News or Not

Remember when the NYT published the Pentagon Papers? Now this:
The four drank out of beer mugs. Mr. Obama had a Bud Lite, Sergeant Crowley had Blue Moon, Professor Gates drank Sam Adams Light and Mr. Biden, who does not drink, had a Buckler nonalcoholic beer. (Mr. Biden put a lime slice in his beer. Sergeant Crowley, for his part, kept with Blue Moon tradition and had a slice of orange in his drink.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Session at 54th

Once in a while Youtube coughs up something memorable, such as this session with Robin Holcomb, Bill Frisell, and others, which took place some six years after I left NYC (and may have taken place in Seattle, come to think of it):

Exotic Chicks

Posting that head will garner hits from all over Eastern Europe. Oddly enough, most of these chicks are Polish. Can you spot the pheasant?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Assads' Syria

Soon available at a high school library near you. They mistakenly shipped my sample copies to DZ.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mike's Website

Dave made a new website for Mike's county campaign, and it's up and running! Check it out!

The Way It Is

Frank Rich, as is often the case, is right on the money in his assessment of the importance of Walter Cronkite.
If he was the most trusted man in America, it wasn’t because he was a nice guy with an authoritative voice and a lived-in face. It wasn’t because he “loved a good story” or that he removed his glasses when a president died. It was because at a time of epic corruption in the most powerful precincts in Washington, Cronkite was not at the salons and not in the tank.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Paul and I had dinner at the Statler with NYS's AG and about 40 Dems from the Southern Tier. A lot of the discussion was about his consolidation legislation, which makes it easier for citizens to call for the dissolution of municipalities via referendum. Although I firmly believe that NYS doesn't need 10,000+ governments, our experience in Dryden leads me to suspect that this is a losing effort. We couldn't even close two primary schools with populations (then) under 100 apiece. History, possessiveness, identity, and inertia are serious barriers to this kind of change. I could see steam rising from various city, town, and village representatives around the room. But the chocolate cake was delicious.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


McGraw-Hill, a major client and home to my pal Chuck, has reorganized and cut another 340 positions. It's not yet clear how this affects my current projects, which may or may not fall into that college and career readiness area.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Nice Day in July

There have been so few. . . We had the neighbors and some others over for burgers 'n' beer. I like these two shots of the gang going over the hill to the beaver pond at dusk--and returning.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Now It's All About Race

And parties really don't matter. You can be president pro-tem in one and majority leader in the other. You can be under indictment but still scramble to the top of the heap (god knows Bruno did it for years). If there is anything creepier than this gang of creeps, I don't want to know about it.

What's really troubling are the numbers of people crowing about the stalemate because they point out that while the senators weren't making decisions, the state wasn't spending money, so we all came out ahead.

Nebraska (home of the nonpartisan, unicameral legislature) is looking better and better to me.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Good Teachers Trump Small Schools

Having determined in a previous study that good teachers trump small classes, the Gates Foundation turned its attention to small high schools. This was risky for them, because they'd given billions assuming that smaller high schools would mean better graduation rates and test scores. However, their findings proved otherwise.
[P]utting a great teacher in a low-income school helped students advance a grade and a half in one year. An ineffective teacher in a high-income school held student achievement back to about half a grade of progress in a year.
The Gates Foundation will now put its billions toward improving teaching, which is probably where that money should have gone all along.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Required Reading

Often Ms. Dowd is merely shrill, but today she captures the voice of would-be President Palin quite well, I think.
I can abandon Alaska and ambition myself for the presidency. I can get bored with my job and fight apathy. I can take the easy path out to work hard on a path for fruitfulness. I can move on selfishly and call it altruistically.

Monday, July 6, 2009

R.I.P., S.O.B.

"A lot of people think I'm an S.O.B.," said Robert McNamara to an interviewer. He was one of the Best and the Brightest who escalated the Cold War, from the Cuban Missile Crisis to Vietnam. Afterward, he spent years atoning. People in Africa have recently challenged his World Bank activities in the interest of reducing poverty, but they were certainly well-meaning. I prefer the good works of his late wife, who founded Reading Is Fundamental. On the whole, a complicated guy, now dead at the age of 93.

Best Kids' Books

Nicholas Kristof posted his list of the best children's books ever, which led to the most responses ever for one of his NYT columns, including one from DZ. I could not believe he listed Lad, a Dog, which I could have sworn I was the only child of my generation to read. And Freddy the Pig!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

If Your Job Were Like a NYS Legislator's

1) You could stroll through the conference room for a snack and be counted as having attended the meeting!
2) You could show up, sign in, and go home for the day but still get paid!
3) You could call the CEO a coke-sniffing staff-banger and not get fired!

Feel free to add more.