By the way, Chion Wolf is pretty awesome too.
Blankenhorn described his switch in a New York Times Op-Ed, but if you have time, I’d encourage you to check out the full WNPR interview.
There’s something in his voice that doesn’t translate in print.
Some relevant cuts:
We’ve been fighting about gay marriage for 10 or 15 years now? Is there any evidence that fighting gay marriage is contributing to a greater appreciation among the broad society of the marital institution? Is there any evidence that the re-institutionalization of marriage is happening as the result of opposing gay marriage? The best answer I can give to that is no. It is not. If anything, the opposite is happening.
I used to get mad when people would come up to me after talks and they would always wanna say — these gay and lesbian advocates– come up to me and show me pictures of their family, saying “I want to tell you that were just like ordinary people. You must think we have horns, but here’s a picture of my daughter.” That really used to bother me, because I felt like saying, “Do you want to see pictures of my children? Do you want me to tell you that I’m a good person?” How am I supposed to respond to this? But now, in retrospect, I can kind of get the point a little bit. It’s the difference between knowing something and really knowing it. I just don’t think I knew everything about it on the basis of personal relationships. This is the danger for intellectuals in general – they view the issue through the prism of words on a page by prominent people who’ve gotten book contracts and who are professors at universities so it’s this kind of crystalline, kind of ideologically coherent argumentation. But you walk out the street, you bump into somebody – you don’t get ideologically coherent argumentation, you just get people trying to make their way through life …
Oppenheimer: Is there anyone on either side you owe apologies to?
Blankenhorn: I don’t think so …because I feel I’ve done my best to act in a way that I can live with. I don’t feel that I need to apologize to anyone for that … We’re just fragile people. We’re all lost about half the time. We’re just struggling. We’re half blind all the time. All of us. There’s never purity, or perfection, or everything’s just great, you know…noodle salad at the beach. But, can I live with myself in trying to feel satisfied that I’ve tried to have integrity as a leader on this issue? I do … I basically do not feel that I need to apologize for that.
Note: Dan Savage re-tweeted a link to the page and it kind of blew up the WNPR website. If you can’t access the audio there, listen at The Public Radio Exchange.
I never went to my prom. As a high school sophomore, I attended to a “semi-formal” dance and had a great time. I experienced (and later lost) all the awkward photos, donned the fancy outfits and bumbled my way through the presentation of a corsage to my lovely date.
It was a fun conversation exploring the evolution of prom night in America that got spiced up by some wonderful callers sharing their heartwarming (and horrifying) prom stories.
All of it left me wondering, by skipping the prom, what memories did I miss?
Before Alie Garry could enroll at Tunxis Community College, in Farmington, Conn., the 18-year old Simsbury resident had to take a required standardized test called, ominously, the “Accuplacer.” It told her what she might not have wanted to hear – that she needed remedial classes in math and English. But now, three years later, she is grateful for the Accuplacer.
“If I hadn’t done that, I don’t know where I would be right now,” said Ms. Garry, who is president of the school newspaper and hopes to attend a four-year college in the fall. “If I had gone right into composition, there’s no way I would have passed.”
On Friday, the House of Representatives approved a bill supporters say will radically alter Connecticut’s model for remedial education. Tests like the Accuplacer would have less of an impact on determining student placement, and non-credit remedial coursework would be largely eliminated. The legislation, which passed 127 to 12 in the House, was approved by the Senate last month. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has not indicated whether he plans to sign it.
Under current law, the standardized Accuplacer determines whether a student applying to community college needs remediation. Score below a certain benchmark, and a student must enroll in remedial math or English courses before they can progress toward a degree. The courses cost money and carry no college credits.
The new legislation cuts out most of these non-credit developmental courses and instead enrolls students with severe deficiencies in math or English in an “intensive college readiness program” before their semester begins.
Upon completion, a student would have open access to entry-level college courses, receive credits toward a degree and, if necessary, receive “embedded remedial support” within the classes.
While Garry’s developmental courses helped prepare her for college level work, she said many of her classmates were unhappy about having to spend student loan dollars on remedial courses with no credit.
“The idea of having to pay the extra money was definitely a sore spot,” Garry said.
State policy caps the number of times a developmental course can be taken at three, but from 2006 to 2011, roughly 20 percent of all remedial math students at Tunxis took a non-credit developmental course at least twice.
Sen Beth Bye, D-Connecticut, a co-sponsor of the bill, said spending money on courses that don’t progress students toward a degree is one of many factors contributing to the high drop out rate among remedial students in state community colleges.
“Students are going into a system right now that is not progressing the vast majority of students toward a degree,” Bye said. “Right now in Connecticut, once students are referred to remediation, 87 percent do not graduate.”
Bye said she hopes embedded support structures within credit-based classes will present less of a psychological and financial barrier to students. But she noted the legislation remained purposefully vague about how to best provide that classroom help.
“We’re trying to leave that up to the campuses. To use their strengths to determine what’s the way to deliver side-by-side support,” Bye said.
Cathryn Addy, president of Tunxis Community College in Farmington, said about 70 percent of her students have to take one or more developmental courses in reading or writing. But she isn’t sure legislative mandates are the the best way to increase graduation rates, especially since the bill would require schools to figure out how to restructure their remedial systems by 2014.
“I don’t necessarily disagree with the idea that something needs to be done to help us get students to be more successful and achieve their goals,” she said. “I think there are a number of models that need to be examined.”
Addy said other models include smaller class sizes, one-on-one tutoring and more individualized help. But the biggest changes, she said, need to be made at the K through 12 level.
“We can only work with the students that come in through our door, and if the K to 12 system doesn’t step up, how can they expect us to magically transform these kids?”
Michael Meotti, executive vice president of the Board of Regents, said the bill was no’t a perfect fix, but it was a step in the right direction.
“It’s challenging the model of remedial education and identification in the state and that’s the first step,” he said, noting Connecticut spends roughly $8 million annually on remedial education classes for students who, by-in-large, never graduate.
Should the Governor sign the new legislation, some of this money would be freed up and directed toward intensive readiness programs and embedded classroom support. But Addy said she is not sure it will be enough.
“I don’t know if it will work. I think we have to assume it will,” Addy said. “While embedded support is very, very good, it is not free. And given the budget situation being what it is, we are concerned about how we are going to pay for this.”
Alie Garry plans to graduate this year with an associate’s degree in liberal arts and sciences. She says she is still waiting to hear back from Cornell, where she hopes to study new media and communications.
Garry said she is unsure whether the new legislation will be effective. But she acknowledges, like everyone else, that changes need to be made to the state’s remedial education system.
“It’s one of those subjects that I’m kind of on the fence on,” Garry said. “I took developmental courses. I know all the teachers who teach those courses and I know so many success stories coming out of there. It’s going to depend on the student. It’s going to depend on the school. And we can’t see if it’s going to work until it’s actually implemented.”
Was it okay that the Pulitzer board snubbed fiction writers this year?
In 2010, Harding won a Pulitzer for his novel, Tinkers. He spoke about the Pulitzer Prize and its cloaked selection process.
The Pulitzer Board per se, proper – remains pretty obscure to me. I really don’t know people from the Pulitzer board. I don’t know what their criteria is and I think they just kind of play it close to their vest. I think they’re kind of proprietary. It’s their prerogative to run their prize the way they want to. So once you get past the jury for your particular category I think it’s kind of behind closed doors.
Having won the prize, what does that mean to an author?
Having won it, I felt very sort of self conscious about it. Because that day when my name popped up on the screen, it could have been one of dozens of other names. None of which I would have thought twice about. I would have just thought, ‘Oh it’s great, she won a Pulitzer,’ you know? In 2010 I did not write the best novel in America. And there are plenty of people who will happily and heartily agree with that. [The award] recognizes a book that aspires to, and achieves, to some extent, the quality of serious art.
Did he regret the lack of a prize for fiction in 2011?
The author in me does think there’s something regrettable in it. And I think it goes back to something [Mark Oppenheimer] was saying earlier. We need all the prizes we can get. Because I think that prizes are great for the art and they’re great for our culture and they generate all sorts of discussion and they make people aware of art. So, you know, the author in me thinks it was a missed opportunity.
Protip: The award is pronounced (PULL it sir), as if you’re making the request, “Pull it, sir!”
A profile of the soft spoken and superhuman archer, Butch Johnson.
Magnus Carlsen might be the latest ‘Mozart of Chess’, but this 60 Minutes piece hints that the 21-year-old chess prodigy is almost too put together.
Where’s the mercurial craziness?
On tomorrow’s show, we’ll talk about when and why chess goes mainstream in popular culture and ask Dylan McClain from the New York Times whether or not Carlsen will be the newest chess wunderkind to penetrate mainstream consciousness.
We’ll also check in with American grandmaster Robert Hess (currently a freshman at Yale) and talk a little bit about the future of chess as an Olympic sport.
In the meantime, who wants to play a little chess boxing?
Update: Here’s the show we did.
Earlier this week, I spoke with Peter Sokolowski, lexicographer (and prominent Tweeter) who is editor at large for Mirriam Webster. Peter is a super nice guy and very passionate about words. He’s even travelling in a few weeks to serve as a “pronouncer” for a spelling bee in Korea.
In advance of our show, I often pre-interview guests. When I called Peter Tuesday afternoon, a funny thing happened. He answered his phone very quietly and whispered, “Hey. I need to run into another room. Is that okay?” I said sure and he tenderly set down the phone, popping back up on the line a few seconds later in a loud, peppy voice. Curious, I asked about the instantaneous volume shift. He laughed. Lexicographers kind of work like monks, he later told me. Their work environment is open (kind of like a newsroom), but there’s virtually no talking whatsoever. Mirriam-Webster (which operates out of Springfield) used to even have a formalized no talking rule, rendering sticky notes (and e-mail) the sole medium of communication among lexicographers. Today, Peter says that’s relaxed a bit. Folks talk. But still not very much. Most lexicographers are silent, studious people. They love reading and charting how people use words.
And that’s basically how a word gets into a dictionary. Lexicographers read a lot and track every new word they encounter. The process is involved, and can include thousands of citations of words and the context and publication in which the word appeared. Once a word attains a critical mass (enough citations among a wide-enough array of sources), it gets added into the dictionary. There’s no academy. No committees. There’s absolutely no lobbying.
Peter explains the process on the M-W site.
If you have time, check out the show. Peter was really great. We also spoke with Erin McKean from Wornik and Jonathon Keats, an artist/columnist for Wired (and one of my favorite recurring CMS guests.)
Also, to my friends in retail. Be sure to look up a word before plastering it all over your store, okay?
I decided to re-post my “apartment wanted” Craiglist ad using the Patrick “Stay Ill” persona. (updated 08/20/12)
Located within walking distance of West Hartford Center and Blueback Square. Head down, go clubbin’ or sign up for some intense yoga and master the pincha mayurasana. (Fcuk yea fitness!!1)
What’s the house got? We got so much #$%^&^% stuff. We got a porch. BOOM. And another porch. DOUBLE BOOM. (Two porches omg!!1) We got that hardwood flooring and a mother $%$^&*! dishwasher. (say whaaat?!) We also got a garage and a working fireplace (romantic as fcuk!!!1) Pets? Word. Up. I accept and love all creatures (platonic love only lol!!1)
Like to smoke a fatty? Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. Just keep that @#&! outta my house because I am a non-smoker and I’m looking for other non-smokers.
Shh!!! Don’t yell! Diz hood is sublimely quiet and safe. Wanna call your ex-girlfriend at 1 a.m. and blubber about how she needs to take you back? YOU A CHUMP. But make the call outside becuz on deez late-night streets, you ain’t gonna get got.
Here’s THE DEAL: My ideal roommate is quiet, courteous, relatively neat and pays bills on time. You gotta be employed full-time and/or gettin’ yo learn on as a full-time student. Even though our rent is CHEAP I ain’t taking no freeloaders, son.
Yea. I sed the rent is cheap. Like reeeal mutha$#%^&* cheap …
$650 per month + utilities/heat/cable/Internet (omg!11 whaaaaaaat!!!!!)
Our landlord is chill as fcuk, but he keeps it on DA REAL and requires a security deposit and the first month’s rent up front. (You a BALLA … so that ain’t no thang.)
Wuut?!?! U wanna move in RIGHT NOW?! I’m flattered. But hold up, son. This sparkling room aint’t available until Sept. 1 (Earlier is negotiable.*)
- Smelling a freshly sharpened pencil.
- Walking a dog, alone with a thought.
- Brushing teeth.
- Waiting for corn dogs to cook in the microwave.
- Picking up a child’s toys.
- Sitting in a board room, tapping a pencil and waiting for late arrivals.
- Listening to music on the subway.
- Holding hands and feeling loved.
- Drinking from a water fountain.
- Scraping ice from a windshield.