Eddie Izzard: Grade the lies. Hitler saying, “We’re not killing the Jews” when there’s six million dead is a different thing than… lying about double-parking. There are different levels of lies. Christine O’Donnell: But you know what, a lie, whether it be a lie or an exaggeration, is disrespect to whoever you’re exaggerating or lying to. It’s not respecting reality. Eddie Izzard: What if Hitler comes to you in the middle of the Second World War, and says, “Do you have any Jewish people in your house?” and you do have, would you lie to him? That would be a lie. That would be disrespectful to Hitler. Christine O’Donnell: I believe that if I were in that situation, God would provide a way to do the right thing— Bill Maher: Oh, shut up. Come on. Christine O’Donnell: I believe that! Bill Maher: God is not there! Hitler’s there and you’re there. Christine O’Donnell: You never have to practise deception!
For the next time someone tells you race doesn’t matter in education.
You really should click through, because the stats are dismaying in some of the ways you expect. But it’s also worth wondering in what proportion the disparities are racial or class-based or gender-based; I went to majority-minority public schools that drew from middle- and lower-class neighborhoods and acquitted themselves nicely on Florida’s FCAT, and I did very well at those schools, because there were programs for gifted and accelerated learners, because there were teachers who cared about me, because my parents cared about me, because I was generally independently motivated to do well, and because my parents could afford to care about me. I know why I succeeded. I know far less about why others fail.
But I wonder about the proportion of black families who have one parent, or two working parents, because educational opportunities were not available or not adequate or not seized, and the ratios of those population to the population of different ethnic groups in those same categories. I wonder if test score disparities are a matter of race causing the hundred-plus-year head start European immigrants had on virtually all other ethnic minorities, or unconscious racial and class biases from test writers that lead to words like “yacht” showing up on SATs, wonder whether a black first grade teacher in a majority black school would better connect with students and inspire in them an independent desire to learn. I wonder how we can fix this problem every politician seems to acknowledge but scant few seem to understand on even a cursory level. (I think more politicians “get” health care than “get” education, at least beyond typical “TEACHERS’ UNIONS ARE GARBAGE” or “VOUCHERS WOULD KILL PUBLIC EDUCATION” talking points.)
I think education is our biggest challenge as a nation, as a planet, as a species, because my generation’s grandchildren are going to need the tools and wherewithal to learn from and improve upon the choices ours makes. Short of a rogue comet or a nuclear holocaust, I think the biggest threat to that is an atrophied education system.
And I wonder if things haven’t already passed the point of no return.
All I can do after looking at this is sigh deeply.
The only word I can think of to encapsulate the night is "clusterfuck."
So, in case you haven’t heard, a motherfucking tornado and a severe-ass thunderstorm hit New York City this evening (technically, the National Weather Service is still figuring out whether a tornado actually touched down, but, well…you tell me). Luckily, the storm had mostly died down by the time it made its way east toward us in Long Island — I got out of class at Hofstra at about 6:15 PM, and it was raining lightly. (Of course, as I walked toward the bus stop, the rain got heavier, and I didn’t have an umbrella with me, and I had to wait for more than 20 minutes for a bus…go fucking figure.) Still, there was nothing like the carnage in Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens — and little did I know, I’d get to witness it firsthand later in the night.
First, a little background: My dad works in Yonkers, and my brother works in midtown Manhattan; every evening, my dad leaves from work and takes the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge to FDR Drive to Manhattan’s East Side. He picks up my brother when he gets out of work at 6:30, and they drive home from there. Usually, they’re here (in Garden City, Long Island) by 7:30.
Tonight, we weren’t able to get in touch with them until close to 9 PM, when my dad told my mom that he and my brother were in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Queens Boulevard, trying to get home; they didn’t expect to be back for at least another hour or two. With the Long Island Rail Road not running, and downed trees everywhere, the roads were a mess. (That’s the understatement of the millennium, but I’m getting there…)
My brother called at around 11 PM with even worse news: my dad’s car, a 2001 Nissan Altima, had broken down on Woodhaven Boulevard and 63rd Drive (this is in Middle Village, Queens, a neighborhood that was hit particularly hard by the storm, and which is not very far from where they’d called us two hours prior). So I had to take my mom’s car to go and get them. I left the house shortly before 11:30, and didn’t encounter any traffic; I got to them at midnight. But the fun was just getting started!
With traffic backed up on Woodhaven all the way to Metropolitan Avenue (thanks to multiple downed trees), I couldn’t go back the way I came. So I followed traffic to Queens Blvd., which was still a veritable parking lot; I turned off onto a side street, trying to make my way back toward Metropolitan and the Jackie Robinson Parkway. It took us nearly forty minutes to do so, because seemingly every other block on the inside streets had an uprooted tree lying in the middle of the road, repeatedly forcing me to turn off the street I was on. Not having ever lived in, say, Kansas, I had literally never sen anything remotely close to the damage dealt by tonight’s storm. I mean, sure, I’d seen branches in the street and downed power lines after a thunderstorm before, but this was different. At every corner, I had to advance into the intersection a little bit, just so I could look down the cross street to see if there was a tree blocking the way — and much of the time, there was. Without my Droid and its GPS to keep us on track toward Metropolitan, I think we’d probably still be stuck in Middle Village.
Once we made it to Metropolitan, it was relatively smooth sailing to the Jackie Robinson, and from there, the highways were empty. We got home shortly after 1 AM, but remember — my dad and brother had left my brother’s office six and a half hours earlier. They hadn’t eaten dinner, and as if the stop-and-go traffic weren’t enough, their car stopped working. I think I would’ve gone insane four hours in — hell, I got pretty pissed off just standing there, getting soaked while waiting for the damn bus.
It’s amazing how much nature can cripple a city, you know?
For some photos of the aftermath from Bushwick, Brooklyn, click here.
“What did I think about the decision to construct a “mosque” this close to ground zero? I thought it was a no-brainer. Of course it should be built there. I sometimes wonder if those people fighting so passionately against Park51 can fathom the diversity of those who died at ground zero. Do we think no Muslims died in the towers? My husband, Eddie Torres, killed on his second day of work at Cantor Fitzgerald while I was pregnant with our first child, was a dark-skinned Latino, often mistaken for Pakistani, who came here illegally from Colombia. How did “9/11 victim” become sloppy shorthand for “white Christian”?”—9/11 widow: The media duped us - Life stories - Salon.com (via greaterthanlapsed)
“In May, two academics researching the display of social information looked at the ten most popular hashtags on Twitter and discovered that most were used almost exclusively by either black or white authors. The hashtag “#cookout” was almost entirely black; the hashtag “#oilspill” almost entirely white.”—The internet was supposed to transcend colour, social identity and national borders. But research suggests that the internet is not so radical. People are online what they are offline: divided, and slow to build bridges. (via theeconomist)
My Twitter "race" fascinates me. Because I'm silly.
If you check out my Twitter profile right now (it’s just before 2 AM EDT), you’ll see that I’m very close to two “milestones.” I currently have 1,994 followers, and I’ve tweeted 19,974 times since creating an account on July 5, 2008.
Which mark will I hit first: 2,000 followers, or 20,000 tweets? I don’t really care either way — and if I keep wondering aloud about it on Twitter, it’ll be the latter — I’m just curious, y’know? I hope this doesn’t sound masturbatory or anything. I just like nice, round numbers.
P.S. This post is what I would term a “mere musing.”
“Look back over the past decade. How many films have approached the moral complexity and sociological density of “The Sopranos” or “The Wire”? Engaged recent American history with the verve and insight of “Mad Men”? Turned indeterminacy and ambiguity into high entertainment with the conviction of “Lost”? Addressed modern families with the sharp humor and sly warmth of “Modern Family”?”—A.O. Scott: Are Films Bad? Or Is TV Just Better? (via indieandyy)