Let’s be honest – it was a great season right?

Hey, don’t get down folks. Who thought we could have made it this far earlier in the season? Last night the team beat itself. That’s what makes it so damn sad. One thing that gets me is how bad the press – everybody – called this game. No one predicted the outcome. Last year the Rams were the better team. Plain and simple. This time – nah – no way. The Bucs are gonna get stomped by the Raiders. It’s going to be ugly.

Introduction to Text Indexing with Apache Jakarta Lucene

Check it out over at OnJava. Going to review this later tonight.

Activism alive and kicking

WashingtonPost: 100,000 Expected To Protest Iraq War via Booknotes. Good. What will the story of the day be after the protests are over? Will any leaders with inspirational speaches and vision make themselves known?

Looks like the protest movement is starting to go mainstream.

In related news, Oliver Willis continues his call for a tougher Democratic party. Stop the whining and stand up Dems! Hey – isn’t that what they say about us Gen-Xers?

Axle of Evil

Another review of “High and Mighty: SUVs–The World’s Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way”, this time in The New Republic Online. Great quote: “What does it say about the United States that there are now millions of people who want to drive an anti-social automobile?”

PBS covering Weblogging

A new project at PBS, mediamatters, is covering some mover and shakers in the blogosphere. Oliver Willis describes why he blogs – and he’s an awful lot more honest then you’ll typically hear. Quote: “Everybody in America wants to be famous.” Check it out.

Rediscovering the reason for participation

Denise Larrabee, for the Philadelphia Inquirer, writes:

As a writer with two young children who works at home, I realize it’s far too easy for me to become isolated from the real world and its problems, which can seem overwhelming and complex by the end of my hectic day. Once a person is overwhelmed, apathy and cynicism can all too easily gain a foothold, and that can be dangerous.

Read the rest of this timely piece at The Philadelphia Inquirer. Very timely considering our conversation.

Where are the fathers?

In this Inquirer editorial Jane Eisner writes

How state officials charged with protecting the lives of endangered children could lose track of Williams’ three boys – and, it turns out, 277 others – is mind-boggling. Gov. McGreevey’s pledge to address his government’s many failures in these cases can’t be realized a moment too soon.

But to blame this tragedy only on overworked caseworkers and bureaucratic ineptitude misses the fundamental problem. And that’s why, despite my revulsion, I had to write this column.

Because somebody’s got to ask: Where are the fathers?

It’s unfashionable (has been for ten years or so) to ask that question. But giving your kids drugs is the new hip thing! Especially amongst the poor – who of course are less likely to have a father involved. Should take care of the problem nicely.

A turnaround plan for Philly schools

Great interview with Paul Vallas, chief of the Philadelphia school system, posted at CSMonitor.

“It’s not that the schools got bad,” argues Vallas. “It’s that things changed around them. We’re preparing children for the economy of the future in the schools of yesterday.”

Politicians and education policy planners simply haven’t kept up, he says.

“You’ve got pregnant teens, more kids in foster care, more latchkey kids, less support at home, kids being exposed to far more violent images than 25 to 30 years ago, and more ready access to firearms.”

Add to that a changing economy that in recent decades has lured many women and minorities out of the classroom and into better-paying jobs.

The result, Vallas says, is a need to invest time, effort, and creativity into rethinking the way schools operate and how they hire teachers.

He also believes firmly in character education as a means of compensating for less parental support at home.

I like the plan to eliminate Philly’s middle schools. He’s made me a believer.