March 31, 2008
Josh Patashnik's recent article, "Reform School" (March 26), is disappointingly inaccurate. He misquotes my interview in the Concord Monitor, in which I distinguished Obama's innovative teacher compensation proposal from the kind of old-style merit-pay plans that have failed in the past. Also, Patashnik worries that Obama is insufficiently bold on education reform without, apparently, having read Obama's education plan.
In my article, I wrote that Professor Darling-Hammond had "emphasized to the Concord Monitor that [Senator Obama's] teacher-compensation plan...wasn't really a performance-pay scheme." The Concord Monitor article shows that she was explicitly contrasting a performance-pay approach with Obama's: "Usually, merit pay meant some kind of bonuses for teachers at the end of the school year," she told the Monitor.
John Patrick Diggins, author of John Adams: The American Presidents Series, Steven Waldman, author of Founding Faith, and Kirk Ellis, writer and co-executive producer of the HBO miniseries "John Adams," are discussing the show on TNR.com. This is the sixth entry in their conversation. (Follow their complete dialogue here: Entries 1,2,3,4,5, 6, 7.) Click here to read the previous entry in the discussion. Dear Jack and Kirk, Thanks for joining us, Kirk.
The Islamic Republic of Harvard?
The symbolism could not be more striking: Harvard College, an institution founded for men by men has, for the first time in its history, banned men. For six hours every week, only women will be allowed in one of the university’s three major gyms--a new policy implemented in response to a request by female Muslim students, who were uncomfortable exercising around men.
John Patrick Diggins, author of John Adams: The American Presidents Series, Steven Waldman, author of Founding Faith, and Kirk Ellis, writer and co-executive producer of the HBO miniseries "John Adams," are discussing the show on TNR.com. This is the seventh entry in their conversation. (Follow their complete dialogue here: Entries 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.) Click here to read the previous entry in this discussion. Dear Steve and Kirk, I much appreciate your response, Kirk, to my response to your splendid series on Adams.
What Does John Edwards Want?
Following up on Noam's and Jon's speculation about what's going on with John Edwards's endorsement, here's one question I have: What does Edwards hope to gain from an endorsement? I remember when he dropped out, there was a lot of talk that he'd try to parlay his endorsement into the Attorney General's job or Labor Secretary or maybe even the number two spot on the ticket (again).
Delaware Über Alles
My esteemed colleague Jon Chait will be saddened to learn that Delaware scored a major victory in the Supreme Court today, prevailing over New Jersey in their border dispute stemming from a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal near the mouth of the Delaware River. Full text of the opinion here (pdf). The voting on the Court followed a pattern refreshingly different from the usual liberal–conservative split.
March 30, 2008
Frank Rich Overdoes It
I've heard all the arguments about why the Bosnia sniper-fire story is a huge problem for Hillary--it casts doubt on the idea that she has all this experience; it revives all the suspicions about the Clintons' honesty; etc.--culminating with this scathing Frank Rich column today. And they certainly could be right. I got an earful about the controversy from several people on the various call-in shows I did last week. Still, I just don't buy it on some gut level. It strikes me as an embarrassing gotcha moment for Hillary. And an amusing bit of YouTube footage for the rest of us.
March 28, 2008
The Long Fall of Robert G. Mugabe
Zimbabweans will head to the polls on Saturday to elect a new president and parliament. Even with the elections rigged to continue Robert Mugabe’s 28-year reign and keep his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party in power, his return to the State House in Harare may be more difficult now than ever, as the loyalty of his army and police is no longer certain.
A Heartening Development In India
Six years ago, in the Indian state of Gujarat, as many as 2000 people were killed in Hindu-Muslim violence. It all started when a train carrying hundreds of Hindus caught fire, probably by accident. But thanks to a nationalist government intent on stoking sectarian anger, riots began and--over the course of many months--Gujarati Muslims were raped and killed in huge numbers.