Dewey quote

“The realization of a form of social life in which interests are mutually interpenetrating, and where progress, or readjustment, is an important consideration makes a democratic community more interested than other communities to have cause to be in deliberate and systematic education.”

1916 (p.87)

more later.

John Lewis quotes

These quotes illustrates that the practice of coded language so enjoyed by Republicans over the past forty years (see Dan Carter or the Edsalls for a thorough description) has proven to be a great shield from direct criticism. It offers a kind of plausible deniability for those without integrity.

“George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.”

“As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all,” Lewis said today. “They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better.”

To be printed and distributed

Old but another piece from Juan Cole worth reading again. If McCain was silly enough to speak in Philadelphia, I’d print it and pass it out to the crowd…

I want to say something about Barack Hussein Obama’s name. It is a name to be proud of. It is an American name. It is a blessed name. It is a heroic name, as heroic and American in its own way as the name of General Omar Nelson Bradley or the name of Benjamin Franklin. And denigrating that name is a form of racial and religious bigotry of the most vile and debased sort. It is a prejudice against names deriving from Semitic languages!

He continues:

Barack is a Semitic word meaning “to bless” as a verb or “blessing” as a noun. In its Hebrew form, barak, it is found all through the Bible. It first occurs in Genesis 1:22: “And God blessed (ḇāreḵə ) them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.”

Now let us take the name “Hussein.” It is from the Semitic word, hasan, meaning “good” or “handsome.” Husayn is the diminutive, affectionate form.

Live blogging: Palin-Biden debate

9:09 did she just say joe sixpack?

9:10 Joe Biden has been told exactly how to look at Sarah Palin while the camera pans to him.

I like that Joe Biden can talk about John McCain as an old friend/old comrade…can talk in very specific ways about his record, in a way that the other cannot.

9:11 No one said anything about tax increases? How did Palin get there?

9:12 Budget-procedural vote. Biden actually understands this stuff.

495 times John McCain voted this way…

9:13 I’m going to talk straight to the American people. (I’m not going to answer what you ask).

9:14 Is Gwen getting pissed?

Biden comes out with fairness theme.

I like this approach — “a different value set.”

9:15 Issue of redistribution (I have a problem with it.) Great code word usage by Palin

9:16 Good job of Palin making taxcodes very simple and utterly irrelevant.
great question by Ifill — (interested in defending McCain’s health care plan)

5000k credit to buy health care is nonsense ’cause it doesn’t address why health care is so expensive.

9:17 Biden — don’t lose your temper. Decent job explaining health care…
Bridge to nowhere comment !

9:20 Another great question by Ifill. What would you have to slow down?

9:21 Palin is not answering the question — what would your campaign have to slow down on. (But…her coaches must be happy, she’s doing a great job of moving off-topic in a smooth way.

Another great follow-up; an even better come-back from Palin (how long have I been at this, five weeks?)

9:23 Biden knew where she was going and maybe knew more about windfall taxes than she did.

9:25 took her fifteen seconds to flail about until getting to a pre-made statement.
I think she’s running out of gas. Take a deep breath.

9:26 Biden again shows that he knows this stuff really well. (Could Palin tell the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 — I certainly can’t.) Also, how much longer will the obvious difference between high content answers and the fluff answers

9:28 I think it’s important to come back to energy. Whoa! Let’s just pretend there are no questions being asked.

Biden needs to keep on answering questions in provocative, thoughtful ways; if he can manage this for another half hour.

9:29 Climate change
“positively affect the impacts” ???
What are climate change impacts?

9:33 Great, great answer from Biden — if you don’t understand the causes, you can’t come up with solutions.

9:33 Drill, baby, drill — people are clamoring for oil.
(McCain supports the all of the above approach)

9:36 Visitations, contracts — okay. But you can’t define marriage as anything as man and woman.

9:38 Exit strategy question. The surge works. (Again, David Petreaus, as Republican talisman. Once he’s mentioned, let’s see how many times it comes up.)
Will Biden make another procedural argument regarding the vote (yes)

9:40 Biden — I didn’t hear a plan. Ten billion dollars a month. Keep sayin’ it.

Fundamental difference — we will end this war.

9:41 your plan is to surrender.


9:44 Pakistan vs. Iran as threats
John — central front of terror is in Iraq
Barack — hills of Afghanistan and Pakistan

9:45 — Petraeus talisman invoked again.
Attack on Iranian leaders (and nice job pronouncing)
Castro brothers who? Invoking CUBA ? CUBA? As a threat?

9:47 hate america! (hate as trembling)
attack on Obama for wanting to talk.
Diplomacy (hard work by serious people)

9:49 McCain won’t sit down with Spain !

9:50 Third rail warning: Israel and Palestinian
“we will never allow a second Holocaust.” Whoa!


9:52 “we both love Israel”

completely dodging the question about Israel

9:54 Haven’t heard how McCain will be different from George Bush’s — stay with it, Biden — particularly when she refuses to answer questions in any kind of detailed way.

9:55 again, invoking Petraeus as republican talisman.

9:56 Facts matter. The surge principle will not work in Afghanistan.

9:58 Shifts to positive story Dick Lugar/Barack Obama

10:00 What’s McClellan’s first name and/or rank — I don’t know but it seems sort of important.

10:00 Interventionism —
(multi-state solution in Iraq — isn’t this Biden’s idea?)
Stop this genocide

10:02 this strategy of declaring yourself as an outsider can’t work for the entire debate. Although what do I know, I suppose if you have enough charisma you can dodge questions with impunity…

10:04 (strategy for democrats — let’s link McCain to Cheney rather than Bush)

10:05 HOORAY…the first reference to McCain’s personal experiences.

10:07 Biden hyperbole

10:08 DID SHE JUST WINK? Disagreement from our couches.

10:11 Doggone it ! Let’s look ahead!
from the other couch — is this a joke ? Is this for real?

10:13 Um. The vice president breaks ties in the senate, right?

I do hope they get back to education?

10:14 “we will do what’s best for the American people.” But I think she’s missing the point of Ifill’s question regarding Cheney’s position, i.e., how did Cheney hide behind bizarre interpretations of the executive/legislative branch?

10:16 That’s a silly question — what’s your weakness? This calls for a silly answer, i.e., my weakness is helping old ladies across the street.

America is a nation of exceptionalism.

10:18 – 10:20 Biden losing it in a touching way.

10:21 consumate maverick


10:22 FINALLY — he’s not been a maverick on anything that affects people sitting around their table.

10:23 Single view that had changed over time; Ideology matters when considering judges. (interesting choice — matters what your judicial philosophy is)

10:24 We don’t need to change in Alaska because we compromise.

My battery cut off here. I closed the computer and after listening to pundits advocate for particular candidates rather even trying to explain what they heard…I turned off the television.

One last point — Geraldine Ferraro exclaimed that she wanted her grand-daughters to be proud of a woman debating on this stage. She continued to say that they would be.

Sigh. I guess I saw it differently.

The Forever War

Powerful book. I liked it a lot. Two things in particular:

I feel as though Filkins makes a great effort to explain the complicated impact of Saddam Hussein on Iraqi culture. When Bremer et al arrive, they seemed to view Iraq as a clean slate to be written upon. The Forever War, more than many of the books I’ve read, really drives home what it meant to live under a dictatorship and how the countless scores to be settled and long extant divisions in society re-emerged once Hussein was deposed. One source offers a vision of Hussein as a single force to be avoided versus the chaos of Americans, Al Qaida types, Sunni radicals, Shiite radicals, all as potentially dangerous forces.

As a former city school teacher in a tough building, I felt this passage in my bones:

People asked me about the war, of course. They asked me whether it was as bad as people said. “Oh, definitely,” I told them, and then, usually, I stopped. In the beginning I’d go on a little longer, tell them a story or two, and I could see their eyes go after a few sentences.

Wish I had cable

Once the Wire ended, my cable envy faded. But I hear about interviews like this and I do wish I had HBO.

During a game in Hagerstown, Md., Mays said he was taunted but felt he could not retaliate.

“The first night, I hit two home runs and a triple,” he said. “Next night, I hit two home runs and a double. On the loudspeaker, now, this was the loudspeaker, they say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we know you don’t like that kid playing center field, but please do not bother him again, because he’s killing us.’ But that was a way of getting back in my mind.”

McCain 2008/ Nixon 1972

Candidate John McCain, during last night’s debate:

This strategy has succeeded. And we are winning in Iraq. And we will come home with victory and with honor. And that withdrawal is the result of every counterinsurgency that succeeds.

Richard Nixon, near the end of the conflict in Vietnam:

Throughout the years of negotiations, we have insisted on peace with honor. In my addresses to the Nation from this room of January 25 and May 8, [1972] I set forth the goals that we considered essential for peace with honor.

Why honor? Why at the end? If a war begins without it (see Tonkin, Gulf of or any statement on W.M.D. during 2002), can it truly end in grace?

Simply invoking honor…is that really enough?

My only other thought during last night’s debate: have Republicans decided to run General David Petreaus in 2016, if not sooner? Everything I’ve read about the man indicates his extraordinary ambition. McCain seemed to mention his name as a talisman throughout the debate.

KIPP report

There’s a new report out on the KIPP schools, which at least according to the blurb I read at edweek, seems to finally address the question of sustainability. This model, premised upon lawyer-style work days for teachers, has always seen a great deal of turnover.

Edweek, quoting the report:

“Teacher turnover, a result of both ambitious young teachers’ moving on and the demanding nature of the job, poses challenges for Bay Area school leaders and may have implications for the sustainability of the model.”

As James Traub points out, almost eight years ago, ” any method that depends on a Jaime Escalante is no method at all.”

Any teacher can break themselves for a couple of years and have significant success. What can we do to take this success from classrooms to entire schools and then sustained building-wide? How can we address school culture rather than individual heroes?

The Conclusion of Marshall’s dissent in Milliken v Bradley

Desegregation is not and was never expected to be an easy task. Racial attitudes ingrained in our Nation’s childhood and adolescence are not quickly thrown aside in its middle years. But just as the inconvenience of some cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the rights of others, so public opposition, no matter how strident, cannot be permitted to divert this Court from the enforcement of the constitutional principles at issue in this case. Today’s holding, I fear, is more a reflection of a perceived public mood that we have gone far enough in enforcing the Constitution’s guarantee of equal justice than it is the product of neutral principles of law. In the short run, it may seem to be the easier course to allow our great metropolitan areas to be divided up each into two cities–one white, the other black–but it is a course, I predict, our people will ultimately regret. I dissent.