“This will be a HUGE problem for us”: the No Child Left Behind scam

Readers know my feelings about standardized testing: a racket, intended to hobble public education. For a few years now Florida’s testing standards have failed to meet even the flimsiest of rubrics. Now look what we’ve learned: Former Indiana and current Florida schools chief Tony Bennett built his national star by promising to hold “failing” schoolsContinue reading ““This will be a HUGE problem for us”: the No Child Left Behind scam”

Ain’t gonna cop to that: Blurred Lines

I’ve heard it more than once: Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines is the album that Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience should have been. But I question the premise. Should any artist make an album like Blurred Lines in 2013 — a “good” 20/20 Experience? Thicke, for years the creator of blue-eyed R&B who occasionally choked onContinue reading “Ain’t gonna cop to that: Blurred Lines”

Henry Jaglom on Welles: “I always acted as if everything was going to go great for him”

Orson Welles may have been right: cinema is dead, it can only reconstruct its antecedents. From reading My Lunches With Orson, I can make a case for Welles for being the most frightening dilettante of the twentieth century: a man so bewitched by the great novels and poetry he’s read and the scenarios he’s unwoundContinue reading “Henry Jaglom on Welles: “I always acted as if everything was going to go great for him””

Pull up your pants, don’t use the n-word, don’t litter, and other advice

CNN anchor Don Lemon, who has been outspoken on the issues confronting black Americans, particularly since the verdict of the Zimmerman trial, surprised some viewers this weekend by endorsing Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly’s recent commentary on black culture — and saying the commentary “doesn’t go far enough.” On Saturday, Lemon said it was time forContinue reading “Pull up your pants, don’t use the n-word, don’t litter, and other advice”

Dishwater: Ginger and Rosa

A pokey melodrama about two schoolgirls (Ellie Fanning and Alice Englert) maturing sexually at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ginger, the worrier of the two, shows an interest in poetry and politics, nurtured by a radical father (Alessandro Nivola). Writer-director Sally Potter is best when capturing moments of tension, most of which happenContinue reading “Dishwater: Ginger and Rosa”

I’m about to lose control and I think I like it: Pedro Almodovar’s I’m So Excited

Crude, juvenile, and stupid, I’m So Excited is unlike any other Pedro Almodovar film since the late eighties, and one of his best. This is a film in which a Pointer Sisters routine performed by three gay flight attendants and cum on the side of the mouth are foisted on an audience used to respectableContinue reading “I’m about to lose control and I think I like it: Pedro Almodovar’s I’m So Excited”

Miami: city with the worst drivers

On my way to grocery shop this morning, I saw a driver decelerate, turn on her emergency blinkers, and stop her car on a busy avenue so that she could say a few words to someone she knew standing at a bus stop. Ten minutes later, a driver made a right turn from the leftmostContinue reading “Miami: city with the worst drivers”

Ruth Bader Ginsberg: “I didn’t want to be right, but sadly I am.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “The notion that because the Voting Rights Act had been so tremendously effective we had to stop it didn’t make any sense to me,” Ginsburg said in a wide-ranging interview late Wednesday in her office at the court. “And one really could have predicted what was going to happen.” The 80-year-old justiceContinue reading “Ruth Bader Ginsberg: “I didn’t want to be right, but sadly I am.””

Singles 7/26

You’ll be hearing about songwriter Brandy Clark often this year. Her album, available piecemeal on Soundcloud until recently, is pretty good and maybe better. “Stripes” is one of the rote offerings but in this mediocre company it’s a cold gin and tonic. Click on links for full reviews. Brandy Clark – Stripes (7) Lim KimContinue reading “Singles 7/26”

“I believe that how you treat people matters”: Ta-Nehisi Coates on Weiner, Clinton

New York is a blue state. It will remain blue for a long time. Therefore I don’t worry about a paucity of candidates qualified enough to supplant Anthony Weiner. His peccadilloes are his own affair — and his wife’s. He committed no felonies. About the worst thing he did was acquiesce to another abject apologyContinue reading ““I believe that how you treat people matters”: Ta-Nehisi Coates on Weiner, Clinton”

I may not always love you

Chris Randle reviews every Pet Shop Boys single from “West End Girls” to “Vocal.” I especially like what he says about what is to me one of their least distinguished singles, one of two okay tracks on the otherwise relentless Very: “Liberation” is not a song you’ll ever hear blasting from any Pride floats. ItsContinue reading “I may not always love you”