Friday, February 06, 2004
Drinks of Mass Destruction-related Program ActivitiesFrom the nerdiest city on the planet:
• Wild Wild Wes (Chivas Royal Salute and clove orange) — Gen. Wesley ClarkHill link courtesy of Wonkette.
We need celebrities, stat.
posted by kriston at 1:45 PM........
WhoaCourtesy of Catherine, check the lineup for the Coachella Valley Music Festival in California: Wilco, the Flaming Lips, Radiohead, the fucking Pixies, Kraftwerk, Prefuse 73, the International Noise Conspiracy, Atmosphere, LCD Soundsystem, !!!, the Cure, Air, Eyedea & Abilities, fucking Little Richard, Fugazi, Ben Harper, Felix da Housecat, Amon Tobin, the Rapture, the White Stripes, Interpol, Thievery Corporation, Ladytron, the Donnas, the Mars Volta, Talib Kweli, the Beastie Boys, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny fucking Marr, the Black-eyed Peas, Gomez, Tortoise, and about a thousand other bands plus as-yet unconfirmed artists. That's a three fuckings lineup.
My entire iTunes library is playing a festival.
CORRECTION: Former Floridian-bandmate and commenter David tells me that my link action is screwy. Turns out that I linked to last year's lineup. This year's Coachella is on May 1st and 2nd, and were I being paid to be all correct and what-not, I'd scratch out some of those bands I listed (really just RHCP and the Beastie Boys, it seems) and add Belle and Sebastian, FSoL, Hieroglyphics, Death Cab for Cutie, Phantom Planet, Broken Social Scene, and the amazing Juana Molina as reasons why you still wish your sorry ass was California-based.
MORE: Count the "art installations" as reasons to stay where you are. It must be institutionally impossible for big festivals to attract artists that don't produce hippy crap. You're better off in Austin with the Supplemen+ kids if the art is "your thing."
This coast blows.
posted by kriston at 11:53 AM........
Each Child Left Behind II: VouchersSince the barn's still on fire over public/private education, and since I own this farm, I'm going to interject myself into the debate between Rob McEwen and Noreen, and maybe open it up to people who didn't catch it the first time around.
In the comments debate, Rob McEwen writes that private school enrollment represents "a choice made which creates a sense of ownership, responsibility, and 'want to.'" Undeniable, but one of my main quibbles with voucher programs is that they hail private school success as a priori success that would extend to any student body make-up. Competition contributes to successful private schools, but they undoubtedly benefit more from their largely affluent clientele than from resourcefully addressing the problems facing public schools. It's apples and oranges. Noreen's made this point, but where private schools "want to," public schools "have to": disruptive students, ESL students, special education students, etc. In moving eggs from the public to the private basket, and especially under-resourced or poorly performing eggs, that private basket will change.
Mostly I think that competition could prove beneficial even here—though nothing about voucher programs ensures that they will attempt to address those needs. But that generalization can't be made across the nation: For example, NCLB provisions that offer to relocate students from repeatedly failing schools to better ones (which is kind of a voucher program in itself) cannot be implemented in rural areas, because schools are about 30 miles apart. What do voucher programs have to offer in flyover country? You could argue that it would open a market for new private schools, but there aren't communities there large enough to support them.
These are all concerns, but shouldn't be prohibitive to conducting some voucher experiments. But on the other hand, the lack of accountability in private schools has me raising my eyebrows quite high. I want to know that private school teachers are responsibly adjusting to having to play jail warden when not-affluent children enter the mix. If private schools are funded even partly by tax-created vouchers, are they held accountable to NCLB provisions? (The free market shudders at the thought!) NCLB puts the entire burden of accountability on teachers and administrators—making for late, late hours and planning periods spent barely catching up and sometimes even teaching, which may not be an optimal solution, but it's another public education bug that might infect the pristine private system.
Even all that doesn't leave me opposed to vouchers—my sole, inflexible point of opposition to voucher programs is that private schools do not have to negotiate with teachers' unions. I'll relax if voucher-funded schools are required to pay union-scale salaries and not until. It's only fair: With a bit of public money comes a bit of public oversight.
Now, if all of that happens, I'd wager that tomorrow's private schools would resemble today's public schools, and rich kids would just migrate to really private schools. It's apples and oranges and mixing them is going to leave us with fruit slush, but if that's what everybody wants, OK.
Alternate title: Each Child Left Behind II: Each Child Left Behind Harder
posted by kriston at 9:53 AM........
AM MayhemPart of your fair and balanced breakfast:
I eat an english muffin with marmalade for breakfast. Every once in a while: A bowl of Raisin Bran.
posted by kriston at 7:16 AM........
Thursday, February 05, 2004
Plots & ThickeningGeorge the Incurious, Act IV, Scene 1:
Scene opens on LORD TENET at the University. In his monologue he defends himself from the tongue-lashing of THE CONSERVATIVES, while BARON RUMSFELD lurks nearby. Confronting concerns that his court advisors cherrypicked tales of the wicked Saracen threat to spur him on to war, GEORGE THE INCURIOUS announces he will cherrypick the members of the inquisitiorial convention. THE CHORUS decries THE COURT as "In turn, a fetishist, two fops, and last / A gross conspirator." Meanwhile, revolutionaries SIR CLARK and DUKE EDWARDS prepare to make their move on the crown from the south, while DUKE KERRY pledges the people an open duel with GEORGE THE INCURIOUS. THE FOOL imparts hidden wisdom on the machinations of the revolutionaries. Elsewhere, ANDREW THE SULLEN, torn between the wisdom of THE COURT and his love for GEORGE THE INCURIOUS, stumbles further into self-deception and madness. (COUNT DEAN is absent from this act.)Ah, the theatah.
By the end, of course, everyone will be either married or dead. Anticipate Democratic cross-dressing shenanigans in Scene 3.
posted by kriston at 9:43 AM........
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
RecommendationCheers to the New Yorker—I really think that David Remnick's administration as editor has really done the journal well. I remember a couple years back when I read that I thought that typically about a third of an issue was substantively rewarding reading; now, three weeks into a subscription, I have yet to be dissatisfied. The arts coverage has been especially tight: A big piece on gallerist Marian Goodman last week, and this week an article about crappy political art at the MoMA and the unbreakableness that is Bruce Nauman, my favorite artist. All that plus a photograph by Richard Avedon, so they're not steering anyone wrong.
Not to mention Seymour Hersh's coup de grâce on WH intelligence failures in Iraq. I keep going back to that one because I think the background on the OSP is going to be crucial as the entire Republican Party tries to pass the buck to George Tenet. Good of the NY to publish it.
"Sy Hersh is the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist." - Richard Perle
posted by kriston at 9:02 AM........
The District Sleeps Alone TonightDistrict Mayor Anthony Williams ought to have spent last night speeding his way through his State of the District speech so that he could get to Ben's Chili Bowl in a hurry. He instead spent the evening at Ballou High School, where 17-year-old James Richardson was shot and killed; a capacity crowd of parents, students, teachers, and administrators took turns screaming at Williams, at the police, and at fate. Meanwhile, Southeast police were processing suspects, including one 14-year-old boy who was found driving about with both a .380 semiautomatic handgun a Mac-10 submachine gun, and an 18-year-old man who has confessed to killing Richardson.
Though the WaPo does Williams an injustice by clipping his response to the angry school crowd—I watched it on public access—even taken in context, the mayor's comments were arrogant and defensive: "I cannot wave a magic wand and solve every problem in this city." He said more but didn't stray far from that approach. (Note also how the WaPo edges tenderly around "gangs" with the euphimistic "neighborhood rivalries," which I believe belies the fact that drug/criminal schema are not the organizing principles in these turf battles.)
Have to hope that DC, after proving itself with its seventh budget surplus in as many years, can take its bid for fiscal independence, successful in the Senate, through the House. If money is what needs to be thrown at SE, I'd hope that District officials in charge of the District pursestrings could find something in the "nearly $254 million, about seven percent of the city's operating budget" earmarked for "congressionally-mandated cash reserves in case of dire emergencies." Pretty terrifically sad all around.
Especially sad to watch young high school girls crying to the mayor for leadership.
posted by kriston at 7:49 AM........
Monday, February 02, 2004
2003 in ReviewThe Art Newspaper has released figures for the best-attended shows among museums worldwide. With Thomas Struth and Richard Avedon picking up top slots, photography cleaned up the contemporary conference. The polls catalogue some shocks: For the massive media blitzkrieg that the Guggenheim launched on behalf of Matthew Barney, the exhibit appears to have disappointed. In just three months, Struth's photography exhibit at the Met garnered nearly twice the daily viewers and almost as many viewers overall as Barney's nine-month affair. (A longer run arguably distills the daily average, and the Met and the Guggenheim are apples and oranges, but still, the G has to be reeling. A better contrast might be the G's Picasso to Pollock exhibition, which ran two months shorter within the same timespan and lapped Barney in ticket sales, though surveys tend to hold up well in general.)
You could and probably ought to consider strength of schedule—otherwise there's no accounting for the relatively weak showings at Gerhard Richter's multiple, critically exalted 2003 exhibitions. His San Francisco and DC numbers seem anemic next to London's and New York's offerings, but the problem might be with the cities' blood.
Predictions for 2004: More Bill Viola (groan), who also nearly managed Barney's daily numbers over a far greater run; Avedon repeats a flawless season; UT beats OU, as this isn't football; Matthew Ritchie replaces Matthew Barney as the cerebrocrat's preferred Matthew; no one mentions arte povera once; Jeff Wall manages that long-anticipated comeback?
High attendance—not bad for the unwashed masses.
posted by kriston at 10:17 AM........
Sex Slaves: The New Electroclash?Not that I don't have great sympathy for humans who have been trafficked, it's just that the disproportionate ratio of articles to incidents only serves to highlight other glaring problems that, while less fashionable (and by fashionable I mean scandalous and evocative), affect many, many more people. Shark attacks, SARS, sex slavery—these are terrible things that start with S and affect a miniscule sliver of the population. The state of the working poor is a more worrying epidemic.
Doesn't start with that crucial S, though.
posted by kriston at 9:56 AM........
Not Even Worth the Effort of a Time-wasting PostSetting aside for a moment that intelligence on the USSR was nearly entirely wrong throughout the Cold War, William Safire manages to condemn today's intelligence services by praising efforts in the past that he witnessed. But he takes that Safire plunge we've come to know and expect: Without noting that he was a speechwriter in the Nixon administration, he employs the royal we and includes himself as an agent that took down the Soviets. Admitting that his relationship to the players he notes was limited to office proximity, Safire does his thing:
In our complex disinformation scheme, deliberately flawed designs for stealth technology and space defense sent Russian scientists down paths that wasted time and money.How William Safire Won the Cold War or What Bush Needs is an Experienced Intelligence Agency—Namely, Me. You'd think a language maven would know better.
Let's hope that the Capitol Hill kids don't jump on this trend.
posted by kriston at 9:43 AM........
Can You Feel It Intensify?Dana Milbank in today's WaPo:
Bush will announce this week that he is creating, by executive order, a bipartisan independent panel of at least nine members that will make a report in 2005, the White House confirmed yesterday. But those close to the president say he is doing so while continuing to avoid any explicit public acknowledgment that the intelligence was wrong. Why the reluctance to state what appears increasingly obvious as Kay spent the past 10 days dashing prospects that significant weapons stockpiles would be found in Iraq? Although the tactic may appear to be obtuse, there is a real strategy behind the Bush response -- and one that has been used before, to great effect.From May of last year, Seymour Hearsh's required-reading New Yorker piece:
A Pentagon official who works for [Office of Special Plans director and Under-Secretary of Defense William] Luti told me, “I did a job when the intelligence community wasn’t doing theirs. We recognized the fact that they hadn’t done the analysis. We were providing information to Wolfowitz that he hadn’t seen before. The intelligence community is still looking for a mission like they had in the Cold War, when they spoon-fed the policymakers.”You don't have to be paying attention to see that on the right, the tide is turning against the CIA. There are grievous intelligence failures at play here, but the VP and his chowderheads have already taken credit for convincing Bush to use WMD as his leverage against Iraq. Bush needed a reason, and Cheney gave it to him.
How can hawks go after the CIA? From what I've read I gather that George Tenet is protective of his legacy there, and I find it hard to believe that even if he weren't he'd willingly accept the fall for presiding over the most precipitous intelligence blunder in US history. Paul O'Neil, a cabinet one-timer and a perhaps dubious economist— importantly, an economic adviser, not exactly the stuff of legends—thought to squeal, with no genuine interest in doing so. You'd think that Bush would want to protect Tenet.
But how can he? unless he starts rooting his gutters.
posted by kriston at 9:15 AM........