New York City
Michael Bloomberg said of the aborted terrorist strike in New York City, "We are very lucky." Lucky, sure. But very lucky? The last two attempted mass-casualty terror attacks failed largely because the terrorists were incompetent. The New York City terrorist, among other things, seems to have used non-explosive fertilizer for his bomb. Obviously terrorism remains a danger, and we can be fairly sure that various levels of counter-terrorism have spared us from numerous attacks. That said, I think Americans have a general tendency to overstate the capabilities of terrorists.
They say victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan. Somebody should tell that to al Qaeda: A top Pakistani Taliban commander took credit for yesterday's failed car bomb attack in New York City. Qari Hussain Mehsud, the top bomb maker for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, said he takes "fully responsibility for the recent attack in the USA." Qari Hussain made the claim on an audiotape accompanied by images that was released on a YouTube website that calls itself the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel. Rushing to take credit for a bungled attack is fairly pathetic.
The labor movement is losing a great innovator (and a powerful, unsung underrated force behind health care reform.) Brad Plumer memorably profiled Stern in 2008: With our interview winding down, Andy Stern leaps out of his chair to show me something. On the far wall of his Washington, D.C., office, the leader of the 1.9-million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) keeps a little museum.
The Will of the People: How Public Opinion Has Influenced the Supreme Court and Shaped the Meaning of the Constitution By Barry Friedman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 614 pp., $35) In 1952, as the Supreme Court contemplated the set of cases that would eventually become known as Brown v. Board of Education, a law clerk named William H.
For the better part of an hour, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been kicked back in the front cabin of Coast Guard One, the small but handsomely appointed plane on which she travels, chatting easily about the challenges of running the third-largest Cabinet department. En route back to Washington after three days of nonstop meetings in Mexico City--a whirlwind visit made more challenging by the fact that Napolitano broke her right ankle playing tennis last month and is still hobbling around on crutches--the secretary is in wind-down mode.
From: Kevin Carey To: Diane Ravitch, Ben Wildavsky, Richard Rothstein, and Andrew Rotherham Subject: School improvement has to happen now, not at some magic moment when the conditions are just right. Also, surely we can find common ground on charter schools. Richard, I sometimes wonder why you bother to write about public schools. You seem to have very little interest in the practice of education itself.
From: Diane Ravitch To: Andrew Rotherham Subject: We need to improve our education system—not tinker with models that affect tiny numbers of kids and can’t be replicated. You complain that, in my new book and in this symposium, I fail to provide the way forward or at least a few silver bullets. You say that I do not show the way forward. So let me give it a try. First, the punitive approach embedded in NCLB, in my judgment, has poisoned the atmosphere. Teachers feel fearful, beleaguered, and disrespected. A few months ago, a national survey found that 40 percent of U.S.
From: Kevin Carey To: Diane Ravitch, Richard Rothstein, and Ben Wildavsky Subject: Looking for answers to the problems plaguing education? Diane Ravitch doesn't offer them. Apostates always make a good story. So it's been no surprise to see Diane's high-profile repudiation of her ideological fellow travelers, chronicled in The Death and Life of a Great American School System, featured prominently in The New York Times and The Washington Post. The book is selling briskly.
In my new book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, I argue that the current movement to fix schools will not improve American education. In fact, it may very well harm it. Today’s reformers--few of whom are educators--say that changes in incentives and sanctions and in the governance of schooling will lead to improved achievement. They believe that a stronger emphasis on testing and accountability and an expansion of privately managed charter schools will raise student performance.
Say what you want about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but “he knows how to work a room.” So claims Flynt Leverett, the contrarian Iran analyst who, with his wife Hillary Mann Leverett, paid a visit to the Iranian president in New York City last fall. During the sit-down at Manhattan’s InterContinental Barclay hotel with a group of invited academics, foreign policy professionals, and other Iranophiles, the Leveretts marveled at Ahmadinejad’s attention to detail as the Iranian took copious notes and strove to pronounce their unfamiliar names correctly. “He addresses every person by name.