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On The Size of the Porkapalooza

Friday, January 30, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

From David Harsanyi’s new Denver Post column:

Imagine that. The most expensive social experiment in American history -one that will cost taxpayers more than both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined -was allotted less than a single day of debate in Congress.

Read the whole thing.

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“Exhuming Nixon” and Reliving Carter

Friday, January 30, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Prayers for Wah –a young man’s blog– takes a look back at RN.

Reading it I am reminded that 40 years from now others who weren’t even born when President Obama began his term will be picking over his record, with the standard emphasis on “How did he start off?” I don’t think the first two weeks are going to impress between the “I won” signaling of the collapse of bipartisanship after 48 hours, the speech on Arab television that did nothing to encourage the democratic activists in the region, and the failure to garner even a single GOP vote in the House.

Mark Steyn (the transcript of yesterday’s interview is here) said of the president’s broadcast into the Middle East:

HH: [A] lot of people have missed the Obama appeal to Arabiya, and the fact that he didn’t bring up its gender apartheid, Christopher Hitchens calls it. It’s where gays are executed. And he made no rebuke to these societies. I found it astonishing, Mark Steyn. What did you think?

MS: Well, you don’t have to be gay, an oppressed homosexual about to be executed. You don’t have to be a woman who’s being sold to an arranged child marriage. You just have to be a moderate, centrist Arab intellectual in, say, Cairo or Amman, and you listen to Obama sucking up to these creeps, and there’s nothing for you in it. What he’s doing is he says, he’s saying to hell with the Bush freedom agenda. We just want to get back to schmoozing the feted Arab dictatorships and the mullahs in Tehran all over again. And so if you’re a gay or a woman, you’re out of there. And as I said, if you’re a moderate Arab who just would like to have a free society in Cairo or Amman or wherever, you’re out of it, too. You’re on the Obama horizon. It was a pathetic, disgraceful Jimmy Carter speech.

HH: I agree with this, and he did it on the day that the Iranians arrested those horrible criminals in Tehran who allowed the women soccer players to play with the men soccer players.

MS: Right.

HH: And this is, I guess it’s beyond his understanding yet that everything he does has many audiences. You know, George Bush once told a bunch of us in the Oval Office that everything he did had many audiences. The number most important to him was the American military abroad.

MS: Right.

HH: …but that these audiences, you’ve got to think through that. I don’t think he actually gets that yet.

MS: No, I don’t. I think in fact, on that al-Arabiya interview, he just sounded basically way out of his league. And I hope someone brings him up to speed soon, because going around giving those interviews, as I said, he was talking about getting us back to thirty years ago. Well, thirty years ago, they were taking Americans hostage in Tehran. Thirty years ago, Jimmy Carter was communicating weakness to the world, and the Ayatollah rightly concluded these Americans are pushovers. And Obama shouldn’t be doing that message all over again.

“Work Hard. Be Nice.” Part 2.

Thursday, January 29, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The transcript of Thursday’s interview with Jay Mathews is here. The podcast will be posted here later.

The reactions to the interview were overwhelmingly positive, because Jay is as good an interview as he is a writer, and because Americans are starved to hear good news about public education. “Work Hard. Be Nice: How Two Inspired Teachers Created The Most Promising Schools In America” will soar on bestseller lists if the people who order up book reviews for various outlets and the people who write them have any sense at all.

Hope that someone gives a copy to President Obama. Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America

“Work Hard. Be Nice.” The Best Book On Teaching In America

Thursday, January 29, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Jay Mathews is the education writer for the Washington Post, and an acquaintance and guest many times over the years. In the closing chapter of his captivating new book “Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America,” Mathews writes: “It has been my mission since [becoming an ed reporter] to find the schools and teachers who have done the most to overcome poverty, apathy, and racial and class bias and raise their students to new heights of achievement.” The new book continues that mission by telling the stories of Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg and the KIPP schools they created, which now number 66 across 19 states and the District of Columbia. Mathews has covered education for two decades, read all the books, visited all the innovative programs, attended all the debates. This is a book he clearly intends will convey the message that after all that time and effort, KIPP is the best model for inner city public education now available.

I will spend an hour with Jay on today’s show, but cannot hope to do more than hint at the compelling story of KIPP’s launch and growth. If you care about public education in America, especially about its future in the urban core of the country’s biggest cities, you really have to read this book.

Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America

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