Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Connecticut's Top Public High Schools

LOTS of reaction to the "Top High Schools" feature in Connecticut Magazine. Anger from inner-city teachers and administrators who feel demographics need to be factored in; dismay from some suburban precincts who feel they didn't finish high enough; joy from those who feel the results perfectly illustrate the disparity between schools in rich and poor areas of the state. Our intention was simply to put the numbers out there to be used however they might. The fact is, these are the "top" schools in terms of the factors we used and they do a great job of preparing the kids they have. Whatever else it says is all in the eyes of the beholder. The results are now available here.

Why Obama Saved Lieberman

It seems to me that if those who voted for Obama were serious about the changes they want to see in Washington, they will just have to suck it up and live with Joe Lieberman's slap on the wrist. I was disgusted with our senator's behavior during the campaign and I'll never forget how low he was willing to go as a supporter of John McCain. But the bigger picture must prevail here. The malignant strain of partisan politics, fathered by Lee Atwater, nurtured by Carl Rove and infecting both sides of the aisle, must be eradicated. My guess is that Obama sees Lieberman as a potentially mollifying figure in that effort--someone unloved by both sides who nonetheless can be useful in bringing them together. The American people really want to see a new mood in Washington, and the energy and excitement associated with an Obama presidency just might be able to move in that direction. Oddly enough, Joe Lieberman might have a role in that effort, either symbolically or in real politics. If we want to see a new Washington, it's time for us to move on and get to the job at hand.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why the Economic Scare Tactics at the Courant?

The Connecticut Center of Economic Analysis released a report yesterday that could well have been greeted as good news for Connecticut. It said the state had been in a recession for about a year, had seen "only modest job losses" during the period, projected 40,000 more job losses ahead before improvement begins and "anticipates the recession will not be a deep one for the state." The Hartford Courant treated the report with the headline "UConn Economists Latest to Predict Sizable Job Losses" and a lede saying the report was projecting "massive job losses." The 40,000 figure looks very bad, of course, but it represents only 1.8 percent of the state's workforce, so the newspaper's use of "sizable" was probably okay, but "massive" is a real stretch. The news in the report, however, is the prediction that the recession here will not be a deep one. Whether this projection turns out to be wrong or right is unknown at this point, but the reporter missed the story. What is the point of taking a mildly optimistic report and trying to make it as scary as possible for readers?