The Rocky Mountain News is reporting that Denver Public Schools Chief Michael Bennet is going to be tapped as Ken Salazar’s replacement in the US Senate. I know little about Bennet, but my girlfriend key education sources say he has a good record on education policy, though obviously a Senator has much more wide-ranging responsibilities. When I was at Aspen for The Atlantic I saw him speak on this panel on the nominal subject of “is higher education for everyone?”
Bonus fact is that he’s the brother of The Atlantic‘s editor, James Bennet.
Intuitively, it strikes me as a bit odd to reach for the head of a city agency rather than, say, the mayor of the city in question. But I don’t know squat about Colorado politics so maybe there are angles here that I’m missing.
UPDATE: Bennet’s been the subject of a recent Kate Boo profile that I intend to read after hitting “save” on this update.
Yesterday, in response to EU pressure for a “humanitarian truce,” Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni said that “there is no humanitarian crisis in the Strip, and therefore there is no need for a humanitarian truce.” During today’s White House press conference, White House spokesperson Gordon Johndroe was asked by a reporter if the White House agreed with Livni’s claim.
Johndroe, while not immediately saying whether or not the Bush administration “agreed” with Livni, seemed to suggest that reports of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza are overblown:
Q: Recently, foreign minister Livni told the French foreign minister…that there is no humanitarian crisis. Is that a characterization the administration agrees with?
JOHNDROE: We want to make sure there is no humanitarian crisis. … The Israelis are reporting that Hamas hordes the humanitarian supplies and doesn’t allow them to reach the people of Gaza to create the idea of a humanitarian crisis. I can’t speak to the exact situation on the ground.
International Red Cross: “There is almost no electricity in Gaza city and cooking gas has run out. The water supply is extremely limited.”
OxFam: “The water authority has only a couple of days’ stock of fuel and chlorine. Water supplies are being restricted in many areas to a few hours a week. Food and fuel are also becoming ever more scarce.”
United Nations Relief and Works Agency: “How can one carry out proper relief work in these conditions of violence? The people of Gaza have already suffered the most stringent economic sanctions. … [A]s things stand now, we have only a few days supply left.”
Amnesty International: Israeli forces must bear in mind that there are no ‘safe’ places in Gaza for civilians to seek shelter. … Strikes are virtually sure to kill and injure civilians.
Human Rights Watch: “Israel’s severe limitations on the movement of non-military goods and people into and out of Gaza, including fuel and medical supplies, constitutes collective punishment, also in violation of the laws of war.”
The director of the World Food Programme operation in Gaza was “furious” when she learned that Livni was denying the humanitarian crisis, telling the Telegraph that the Programme’s “stocks in Gaza showed a 30 percent shortfall of dry goods such as flour and a much greater shortfall of ‘ready-to-eat’ goods.” A spokesperson for the United Nations said similarly, “When you look at the Israeli assertions about the humanitarian situation it is very hard to square this with the extraordinarily dire situation on the ground in Gaza.”
The two senior House Democrats with jurisdiction over energy and telecommunications policies could swap gavels in the 111th Congress, with potentially dramatic implications for the shape of climate change legislation expected next year.
Since 2007, Rick Boucher of Virginia, the Energy and Commerce Committee’s fourth-ranking Democrat, has led the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee, which has taken the lead role in crafting legislation to address global warming.
But Boucher said in an interview Tuesday that he expects Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, No. 3 among committee Democrats in seniority, to bid for the subcommittee chairmanship. Boucher said he would “respect that decision” and stake his own claim for chairmanship of Markey’s Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.
“I’m awaiting his decision,” Boucher said. Markey has not yet made up his mind, a spokesman said.
Ever since Barack Obama’s election, the very same conservative movement that had been castigating him for months as a harbinger of sharia socialism has spent an awful lot of time crowing about weird nonsense concepts like Obama’s cabinet coming from the “center-right” of the Democratic Party. It’s a bit annoying, I miss the classics. Fortunately, Victor Davis Hanson is willing to kick it old-school and explain that in 2008 “50 years’ worth of careful thinking and hard-won wisdom were erased, as the Reagan Revolution, the work of Milton Freidman, and the classical free-market ethos were suddenly Trotskyized.”
Trotsky! I like it. I wonder which kind of Friedman-style, free market thinking Hanson thinks was prevalent back in 1958. As I recall it, the 50s were a time of high taxes, high levels of unionization, and strict regulation in the economic sphere with conservatism generally prevailing on matters related to sex and gender relations.
Denver Public Schools superintendent Michael Bennet is expected to be named tomorrow by Gov. Bill Ritter (D) as the future replacement for Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO), who is President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Interior Department. Bennet “won national attention for reforming a pay-for-performance teaching plan to boost incoming teachers’ salaries and increase bonuses for teachers who take tough assignments. His changes increased teacher support for the plan.”
The idea of constructing an artificially cooled beach may sound a bit like an anachronistic excess in a world that is struggling to be more energy efficient. But a luxury hotel and condominium complex being constructed in Dubai by Gianni Versace, the Italian fashion house, will include a beach allowing guests to frolic on the sands — without becoming uncomfortably hot.
I had a joke all ready about how it would probably be easier to attract visitors by means of legalizing beachy cocktails, but of course the UAE has the Gulf’s most liberal alcohol laws already. But this is a reminder that a lot of our energy use in rich societies is a bit on the frivolous side. There’s nothing really wrong with that — a big part of the point of becoming a prosperous society is enable people to do frivolous (read: fun) stuff. But by the same token, this means that if we recognize the environmental imperative to start using energy in a less profligate way a lot of the reduction can come out of frivolous uses with consumers simply shifting their whimsies in less energy-intensive directions.
As President Lincoln said, you can fool some of the people all the time. Once again, the people running the Weblog Awards have been suckered into legitimizing anti-scientific denialism.
The finalist list is out for the 2008 Weblog awards “Best Science Blog,” and two of the ten finalists are anti-scientific websites primarily devoted to spreading disinformation (and noninformation) on global warming– just like 2007.
It would be ironic that the choice of best science blog was not made scientifically — except that the result was an anti-scientific website run by someone who isn’t even a scientist has for the past year posted on his website a “Best Science Blog” logo. That isn’t ironic. It is both tragic and farcical.
It would be like James Frey winning an award for Best Memoir — but not like Dick Cheney winning an award for being the best Vice President, since Cheney is actually a VP.
To quote Lincoln again:
How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.
And calling Climate Audit and Watts Up With That science blogs — or for that matter calling the Drudge Report and The Onion science blogs — doesn’t make them ones.
Via Kevin Carey, Jonathan Glazer exposes a really outrageous story for The New York Times about the covert relationships between colleges and credit card companies:
Bank of America’s relationship with the university extends well beyond marketing at sports events. The bank has an $8.4 million, seven-year contract with Michigan State giving it access to students’ names and addresses and use of the university’s logo. The more students who take the banks’ credit cards, the more money the university gets. Under certain circumstances, Michigan State even stands to receive more money if students carry a balance on these cards.
As you’ll see if you read the whole thing, Michigan State is far from the only school doing this. And it’s wildly inappropriate. Colleges and universities are supposed to be serving the interests of their students and the public and encouraging young people to take on credit card debt does neither. What’ll be next — university administrators forming joint partnerships with campus drug dealers? If they stick to pot, it might do less harm.
This week, George W. Bush spent what are expected to be his final days at his ranch in Crawford, Texas as president. Bush is on his 77th trip to the ranch, and according to one CBS reporter, he has spent nearly 500 days in Crawford during his presidency. Bush’s presence there over the last eight years had boosted the small Texas town’s tourism industry. But as one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history leaves office, the local souvenir shops “are starting to deeply discount” their Bush-related products:
Already a couple of souvenir shops in Crawford have closed as the Bush boom started to peter out over the past year and as the nation turned its attention on the new race for the White House. For the two remaining shops, things have slowed to a trickle.
There’s up to 30 per cent off prices at the Yellow Rose, a cavernous place on the corner of the main intersection in town. Mugs, T-shirts and beer coolers badged with a presidential seal and the words “western White House” are flanked by life-sized cardboard cutouts of the President.
This is good news. It means that real corporations, with real money at stake, think that Obama’s unity talk isn’t worth banking on. When push comes to shove, they really do think he’s going to drive a harder bargain than the Bush administration when it comes to dealing with charges of corruption, pollution, and overcharging.
Fair enough, but “not as bad as Bush” is a pretty low bar to cross. Meanwhile, Bush has done enormous harm to the country. One could be a decent president who mostly improves things and still leave us below where we were when Bush took over in the first place. There’s never been any doubt in my mind that Obama could improve on the Bush record. But mere improvement isn’t, to coin a phrase, the change we need.