Quick hits (part I)

1) The James Fallows essay on “The Tragedy of the American Military” that is the cover of this month’s Atlantic was just fantastic.  It was also endorsed by a colleague of mine who is an expert in national security.  You should read it.

2) There’s a new education policy thinktank in NC.  That’s great.  Among their first pieces is a article about the perverseties of salary structure where many principals are paid less than the teachers they are leading.  I could not believe (I guess I should not have been surprised) how woefully underpaid principals here in NC are.

3) Among the many features of Finnish schools that are superior to American ones is that in Finland they recognize that children should not just sit at desks all day.

4) Dana Goldstein on the teenager brain of the Boston bomber and how that may factor into his trial.

5) A while back I complained that NC was instituting a 10 point grading scale (it’s currently) 7 next year, but that only starting with rising 9th graders.  Current 9th graders like my son would have the old grading scale for the rest of their days.  Very much to their credit, the State Department of Public Instruction actually listened to all the criticism and reversed their decision.  More A’s (I sure hope!) for David next year.

6) Seth Masket on the important and under-appreciated role of staff in state legislatures.

7) The Onion’s take on the 2016 Republican candidates.  I love that Hans Noel said that this makes about as much sense as any of the current pundit pronouncements.

8) Pope Francis making it clear that caring for poor people is not communism (and it if is, call me a commie).

9) To the surprise of many the KKK was once quite popular in NC.

10) Due to a number of strong reviews and endorsements, I recently read the first of the “Southern Reach” trilogy.  Boring!  Would have never finished if not for it being short.  I nonetheless wish I had stopped.  Yes, it is weird as hell (as this New Yorker post discusses), but that’s sure not enough for me.  I prefer books where things actually happen.

11) But, hey, as long as I’m mentioning books, I’m half-way through Phil Klay’s National Book Award winninng story collection about the Iraq War, Redeployment.  I never read story collections, but this is simply brilliant.  I decided I had to read it after Klay was on Fresh Air.

12) In case you needed research to know that reading to your kids is a good thing.

13) Lessons from Ruth Bader Ginsburg on balancing career and parenting.

14) Vox is wonderfully thorough on the issue of police wearing body cameras.  (Yes, they should).

15) Maryland police messed with the wrong family for letting their kids walk home alone from the playground.

16) Nice NYT Op-Ed on why pharmaceutical drugs cost so much (because unlike every other advanced nation, we refuse to place price controls and use the bargaining power of the government).

17) I’ve been meaning for a long time to do a post on this great NPR story on how poor people are regularly punished by losing their driver’s license for offenses that have nothing to do with driving (and it gets way harder to pay things off when you don’t have a car to drive to jobs).  I’ve failed long enough.  This is so wrong.

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