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August 09, 2004
What Do We Have Here?

Public schools seek private partners

States look for alternatives to fund improvements

Kojo McCallum's fourth-grade classroom has been infested by mice and the window panes have deteriorated to a cloudy, opaque tint.

Outside the Charles Carroll Barrister Elementary School in Baltimore, graffiti colors the walls and drug needles have popped up on the grounds.

Told you so. Billions for bombs, pennies for education? This is what you get.

I'm not saying our school system couldn't have worse problems but that doesn't make this situation any less of a national disgrace.

(Private schools are not the answer.)

To no one's surprise, the Chalabis are officially in trouble.

Iraqi prisoner abuse: It's not just for coalition troops any more, although the support of UsofA military leadership is certainly useful.

If you've been following the story about Darfur, you might be interested in this blog entry.

Are the western powers--US, UK, Germany, France--losing the war for public opinion over Darfur and Sudan?

And a review of the Arabic press seems to indicate that that might be true, although not universally.

(Actually, The Passion of the Present is just a good blog to read about the area.)

I missed this Washington Post article about the situation when it came out last week, so I'm linking to it now.

I guess it depends what's important, doesn't it? I mean, is it good if air marshals have a dress code that they think makes it easier for terrorists to spot them? Will that maybe scare terrorists away from airports?

Or is there no deterrent to the visual presence of armed guards? Should we be worried that air marshals think they're so easy to disarm that they're a walking invitation to potential terrorists? ("Don't need to bring a gun, we'll just pick up a few from the guys on duty.")

Should they be allowed to dress just any old how so neither we nor anyone else know who is carrying a gun? Will we someday find ourselves faced with having to take the word of some wild-eyed man that it's okay if he's waving a gun at us, because he's one of the good guys?

I'm not sure I approve of "outing" gay celebrities whether they will or no.

Not even politicians. (Though I have little sympathy for someone who poses for a "risqué" photo spread and later pretends he didn't "out" himself.)

I mean, obviously I disapprove of people having to hide their sexual orientation in the first place, but that's not really a practical response in this situation.

Outing has always been a unsettling tactic and Mr Aravosis has some qualms about naming people, but President Bush's declaration convinced him it was time to "stop being nice to the enemy within". It was Mr Aravosis who was behind a recent ad in the gay weekly Washington Blade, which declared the new zero tolerance. The ad ran: "For years our silence has protected you. Today that protection ends."

It goes farther than the gay marriage thing. Someone can be gay and still not support gay marriage, I guess. I mean, I can't imagine why but people hold a lot of weird beliefs I don't understand.

I guess I disapprove of "outing" people whose sexual orientation has nothing to do with their job but maybe I don't disapprove of it if they're in a public position and working against gay rights?

Stay Calm Everyone, There's Prozac in the Drinking Water The UK has a problem.

And here's a call for intelligent intelligence reform. I don't necessarily support what it has to say, but the basic point is that we need to think before we act, and I do support that. Here's another perspective that has me scratching my head. True, gathering data is only half the battle. Translation and analysis are equally important.

We need to fight that narrowness by creating more competition for ideas in the intelligence assessment world. The competition among ideas is improved when different organizations reporting to different bosses compete for better insights and perspectives. Bringing together the entire intelligence community under a single boss who exercises budget and personnel control would further constrain the constructive competition we need within the intelligence community.

Would "competitive analysis" produce better intelligence?

President Bush chose a different path. His plan would create a relatively weak DNI, whose power would come from managing a set of interagency processes and supervising a set of ill-defined new centers. Unfortunately, if unintentionally, this approach also diminishes the bureaucratic standing of the CIA.

To be honest, I don't think the Bush Administration has a lot of interest in creating a really good, definitively reliable intelligence source. The fuzzier the analysis, the more you can cook the results.

My opinion? Electronic voting machines aren't ready for prime-time. Personally, I'll never accept them until there are ten times the safeguards built into them.

But Rubin says he is not accusing Diebold of rigging elections. "I'm just saying that they could do it and that we shouldn't allow our elections to be under control of vendors when there are ways of designing voting machines such that the vendors don't have the control of them."

Precisely. It's very nice that the decisively partisan head of the company has decided to "get out of politics" but does anyone really think his fervent support of the Bush Administration is the real point?

Keep watching Florida. Yes, a lot of minorities and a lot of Democrats were disenfranchised but there were Republican votes lost as well. A bad system hurts everyone.

As do bad decisions by appointed officials. In case labor didn't know this already, the Bush Administration is not your friend.

You're always reading about the value of gifts given to Bush or other UsofA presidents, but where are the reports of gifts going the other way?

And here is today's giggle. The man Yale wouldn't have touched with a bargepole without his family's history at the university is speaking out against "legacy admissions" at colleges. Not that he seems destined himself to add much luster to the university's educational reputation.

It's nice to have a day off. There's so much I want to read and I have another book review or two to finish up.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:41 AM