“You often hear it said, of some political or other opportunist, that he would sell his own grandmother if it would suit his interests. But you seldom, if ever, see this notorious transaction actually being performed, which is why I am slightly surprised that Obama got away with it so easily. (Yet why do I say I am surprised? He still gets away with absolutely everything.)”

Read the entire Slate.com essay, Blind Faith, by Christopher Hitchens.


C-Span broadcast a brilliant panel discussion about Martin Luther King Jr., politics and activism. it is well worth you spending the time watching and learning about King’s life, work and influence on today’s state of affairs.

You may watch the video here

President Bush’s National Math Advisory Panel has released its final report and several Pulse Contributing Editors discuss the merits of the effort while none if surprised by the panel’s focus on "core math skills."

• Roger Schank, Ph.D. challenges many of the assumptions underlying the report.

• David Thornburg, Ph.D. takes issue with the panel chair’s comments about constructivism.

• Marvin Minsky, Ph.D. (via an external blog) explores why math is hard to learn.

• Gary Stager, Ph.D. discusses the likely harm caused by the report’s inauthentic recommendations.

• Math teacher, Michael Paul Goldenberg, wonders if anything is new.

Please share these articles with your friends and colleagues!


Last night during his hard-hitting hour of asking random people why Elliot Spitzer’s wife stood by the disgraced Governor’s side, daredevil journalist Anderson Cooper announced that he was “liveblogging throughout the show.”

Besides the extraordinary multi-tasking ability required to speak with countless remote experts making things up while liveblogging, I feel compelled to point out that the only way Anderson Cooper 360 could become more shallow or superficial is by reducing its cartoon version of the news to a liveblogged summary of its cartoon version of the news.

Here is a gem from yesterday’s AC 360 blog. Please someone alert the Pulitzer Committee stat!

Standing in front of Ms. Dupré’s apartment last night, I got that awful feeling that I was contributing to the glamorization of prostitution. A fancy address, a doorman, young fashionable people walking in and out, with the implicit message: “all this could be yours if you enter the world of so-called high end hookers”.

Having seen my share of women who are suddenly famous because of the people they “service”, I can say Ashley Dupré is in for a rough ride.

Read between the lines of her MySpace story and I see a young girl, confused and simply used by so many in her life. She even told the NYTimes she doesn’t know how she can pay for her apartment since a man she was living with walked out.

All of it tragically sad, and sadly glamorous in a spotlight that I feel will leave Ms. Dupré in a dark shadow once we in the media focus our lights elsewhere.

- Drew Griffin, CNN Special Investigations Unit Correspondent

CNN said it shouldn’t have used a former U.S. attorney who quit his job after allegedly biting a stripper as an analyst about New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s prostitution scandal.

Read the entire article.

Oprah Mails Out Mass Mea Culpa

From The Huffington Post

Last week, Oprah’s attempt at a live webcast with book club author Eckhart Tolle was a debacle — the servers crashed due to overwhelming demand and the event was a flop. Now, Oprah’s giving it a second try, but not without a mass apology for what went wrong.

Further analysis here…

From: ASG
To: Gary Stager
CC:

Date: Sunday, March 09, 2008 1:14:54 PM
Subject: Charter flights to Iraq

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Popular Web 2.0 enthusiast, Will Richardson, live-blogged about a recent conference presentation by Deborah Meier and Dr. Diane Ravitch. Several people, including myself felt compelled to explain who Meier and Ravitch are to Will’s readers.

In fact, I contributed the following…

You owe it to yourselves to read Meier’s seminal works, “The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons for America from a Small School in Harlem” (1995) and “In Schools We Trust: Creating Communities of Learning in an Era of Testing and Standardization.” In most countries it would be assumed that every teacher has read a Macarthur Genius like Deborah Meier.

Dr. Ravitch worked for President Bush 41 as Assistant Secretary of Education and works for the Hoover and Brookings Institutes. Despite her right-wing background, she is rational and thoughtful. She has been smeared and attacked repeatedly by the Bloomberg/Klein junta. Dr. Ravtich has demonstrated courage, integrity and an admirable capacity for growth. Her book, “The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn,” is a great read.

Those two women are the type of speakers every confrence should feature. Their expertise is awesome, accomplishments great and ideas are timeless.

I have long admired Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch and have recommended their books to my magazine readership, graduate students and friends.

I wrote about Ravitch’s book in a 2003 article, “The End of Textbooks.”

My interview with Deborah Meier was published in 2002 and may be read here, “The Power of Her Ideas.”

The more I think about it, the more I believe the point I made about American educators’ awareness (or lack thereof) of powerful ideas is important. Why hasn’t every American educator read Meier, Kohl, Dewey, Holt, Papert, Sizer, etc?

Until the recent adoption of the Euro, Italy’s currency featured educator Maria Montessori. Can you imagine if our nation afforded great educators that level of respect and admiration?


Although she was my 5th or 6th choice at the start of the Presidential Primary season, I now support Senator Clinton over Senator Obama. However, the first Obama decision that impressed me was selecting Samantha Power as a foreign policy advisor. Power is a brilliant and courageous expert, scholar and journalist who speaks truth to power. (See her blog with video of recent television appearances)

Power’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, is fantastic and holds accountable the United States Congress and the Clinton administration for its inaction and deadly impact on the Rwandan Genocide. Power did some research about Senator Obama and offered to quit her Harvard job and do anything, including answering phones to help him. Isn’t this the sort of democratic idealism on which our system is based?

Appointing someone of Power’s stature to his campaign team offered me with hope about Obama’s leadership ability and revealed Power’s desire to work to make the world a better place.
But then IT happened!

In an off-the-record interview, promoting her new book, with the Scotsman newspaper in Scotland. Professor Power referred to Hillary Clinton as – wait for it – “a monster.”

Monster… Should such a petty slur force a leading advisor to resign and apologize? Worst of all, Obama failed the leadership test by throwing his friend and advisor, Ms. Power, under the bus and refusing to defend or protect her. This is akin to when Bill Clinton abandoned his long-time friend Lani Guinier as the nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, despite her remarkable talents and accomplishments, because his enemies called her a radical.

Don’t parents refer routinely to their toddlers as monsters? Isn’t this the sort of harmless barb (or term of endearment) six year-olds exchange? When did we become such pathetic babies?

I suspect the truth is that members of Congress called for Power’s dismissal because is an articulate fearless critic of their deadly effect of their policies overseas, not for her Clinton comment.

Politics ain’t beanbag. NPR recently presented a story in which foreign correspondents covering our Primary elections were startled by the civility and post-debate hugging demonstrated between Obama and Clinton. After all, in many countries you murder your opponents and their supporters. Is calling someone a monster, off-the-record, a death-penalty offense? Should Billy Shaheen have been forced out of the Clinton campaign for saying that the Republicans will ask Barack Obama about his past drug-use, especially since Obama wrote about the issue in his own autobiography?

Loyalty toward friends and advisors is one of the character traits I look for in a political candidate.

Why are we so juvenile and thin-skinned? Can someone please dial down the fake outrage machine? The world is a dangerous place. I’d hate to think that we’d attack another country because its leader called our President “funny face.”