Sunday, March 28, 2010

Required Reading

Frank Rich on how all this anger is the sound of the GOP losing the majority in the silent majority.
The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Investors Wanted

Here's a new way to raise matching funds.
Our wedding band is doing a Monk album. Worth the investment!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Shop Locally: Syracuse Cultural Workers

I never heard of them before Ashley Judd touted them as she attended the Dome game as a KY fan, but here's a nice place to buy gifts. . . .

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Go Big Red

Basketball at the Dome tonight; hockey at Times Union Center tomorrow.

LATER: CU bball lost to KY 62-45. Couldn't get anything to drop past KY's big-boy defense.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No, Seriously, Nuts to You

Louise Slaughter targeted by assassins. Civil Rights hero John Lewis called "nigger" across from the US Capitol. Democrats forced to vote down amendments regarding Viagra and sex offenders just so their no votes can be used against them in election ads. We are living in the land of the loony, and there's just no end in sight.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Watching the Health Vote

The NYT offers this nice interactive chart that allows you to see in almost real time whether this ship will sail.

Friday, March 19, 2010

CU Scores

Paul's in Albany, where CU men's hockey just came down 3-0 against Brown, putting them into the ECAC finals tomorrow night. In Florida today, CU men's basketball, ranked 12th, beat no. 5,Temple, to move on in the NCAA tournament. And CU women's hockey has three women on the All-American teams.

Arcuri Says "No"

As C says, "He's dead to me." Paul notes that we need to scrub the house down, since he was here once. I don't see how he can ever set foot in this particular section of his district again.

Not to mention that he'll never get another thing from the party leadership. Cuz that's the way it works.

LATER: Working Families has asked Les Roberts to run against Arcuri. Funny; back when C and I were on his campaign (in 2006), they asked him to leave the race! But who knows what will happen.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Music in Our Schools

Paul took this picture of Olivia after the band concert last night in which she performed both in MS symphonic band and in HS wind ensemble. Dryden does a good job of integrating the bands--the HS band played a piece with the elementary band, and everyone did well. There was only one misspelling in the program, the auditorium was full, life was good, as you can see from the smile.

Ithaca is talking about cutting their elementary string and band programs. Let's hope it never comes to that here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Parks and Finances

It's fascinating that the issue that has brought more New Yorkers out of their hidey-holes than any other in this budget year is the closing of state parks. In our area, the swimming hole at Buttermilk may close, leading to rumbles of racism (it's the park closest to the city) and broad warnings of certain death (people will still swim, but now they'll drown for lack of lifeguards). I love Buttermilk and would be delighted if it remained open. However, something tells me we're looking at a number of far worse losses in 2010-2011.

NYCO has a good post on the parks' failing infrastructure, with a reminder about the good works of the CCC.

Required Reading

Krugman on how the Obama health care reform plan is a whole lot better than nothing. Fairly convincing.
It wouldn’t transform our health care system; in fact, Americans whose jobs come with health coverage would see little effect. But it would make a huge difference to the less fortunate among us, even as it would do more to control costs than anything we’ve done before.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nuts to You

Ex-Congressman Eric Massa's spectacular fall from grace is nothing that those who'd met him couldn't predict. Despite suspicions that he was a nutcase, people were thrilled when he beat the possibly-even-worse nutcase, Randy Kuhl, master of DUIs and pointing-a-shotgun-at-the-wife drama. Still, it's hard to imagine that the 29th will ever vote Democratic again. What are they putting in the water over there? Are there really no sane candidates?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Required Reading

It's long, but this story PZ sent me on research into what makes a good teacher good is just fascinating and worth the effort.
When researchers ran the numbers in dozens of different studies, every factor under a school’s control produced just a tiny impact, except for one: which teacher the student had been assigned to. Some teachers could regularly lift their students’ test scores above the average for children of the same race, class and ability level. Others’ students left with below-average results year after year. William Sanders, a statistician studying Tennessee teachers with a colleague, found that a student with a weak teacher for three straight years would score, on average, 50 percentile points behind a similar student with a strong teacher for those years. Teachers working in the same building, teaching the same grade, produced very different outcomes. And the gaps were huge.
We've known this for a while. What a few people are looking at now is how to teach teachers to close that gap. Turns out, it may not just be magic.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Required Reading

David Brooks on the Tea Partiers' co-optation of New Left tactics. It's been said before, but his is a pretty good roundup. And here is the article he cites from Salon, comparing Glenn Beck to Abbie Hoffman.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dropping Like Flies

The Guv. Charlie Rangel. And now Eric Massa won't be running again, leaving his Congressional seat potentially back in the sleazy hands of Randy Kuhl (although the GOP committee isn't encouraging him). And as Simon posts, Mike Arcuri is digging in on the health care bill, which bodes ill for him in our slice of the district. It's tough to be a Democrat this week. :P

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ravitch Backs Down

No, not our governor-in-waiting; rather, his ex-wife, arguably the most powerful voice in education over the past 30 years. She was an important advocate of school choice and testing; now, she's throwing out everything she's espoused for the last few decades and starting over.
Charter schools, she concluded, were proving to be no better on average than regular schools, but in many cities were bleeding resources from the public system. Testing had become not just a way to measure student learning, but an end in itself.
This is very good news, because people listen to her. And her new research focus on why schools in Japan and Finland work is a positive step.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Districts in Play

The NYT has published its useful interactive maps of districts in play for the primaries in September.

Shorter Days

You may think the days are getting longer as spring arrives. Turns out the Chilean earthquake may have shortened them.

Monday, March 1, 2010