Category: New York City

Diane Ravitch Blasts Education Reform Star Michelle Rhee

I agree with Diane Ravitch that the recent allegations of widespread cheating on standardized tests is another blow to Michelle Rhee’s legacy in DC.  I’m still at a loss to see how opponents of Rhee and her ilk will win out in this debate. Testing simply sounds better and is easier to understand than anything opponents of this movement can conjure.  We may wax nostalgic about spirited conversations in English classes or trips to the local planetarium in science class, but there’s no one word to define these teaching methods.  But who among us doesn’t understand the purpose of a test?

via Michelle Rhee’s Cheating Scandal: Diane Ravitch Blasts Education Reform Star – The Daily Beast.

Women and Work: The Labors of Self-Fashioning

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to be invited by Christine Leiren Mower and Susanne Weil to participate in their Women and Work panel at Pacific Modern Language Association Conference.  After that presentation Christine and Susanne invited me to contribute to an anthology celebrating ten years of this panel at PMLA.  I’m happy to announce that this book has finally been published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Following this brief description is a link to learn more about Women and Work: The Labors of Self-Fashioning

The essays in Women and Work: The Labors of Self-Fashioning explore how nineteenth- and twentieth-century US and British writers represent the work of being women—where “work” is defined broadly to encompass not only paid labor inside and outside the home, but also the work of performing femininity and domesticity. How did nineteenth- and twentieth-century US and British writers revise then-contemporary social assumptions about who should be performing work, and for what purpose? How fully did these writers perceive the class implications of their arguments for taking jobs outside the home? How does work, both inside and outside the home, contribute to female identity and, conversely, how does it promote what legal theorist Kenji Yoshino terms the demands of “covering”—women’s strategic use of stereotypes of femininity and masculinity to succeed in the marketplace?

via Home – Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

A List is a List of Course

I am a sucker for an online list and this one is as interesting as any.  It’s not that twitter is only 5years old that makes me say this, but I couldn’t have ever thought of compiling such a list.  But then again, if the world were waiting on me for great ideas…we’d still be waiting.

Top 25 Most Influential Black Fiction Writers on Twitter (GALLERY) | The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog.

Standing With Haiti: One Year On Friday March 25th, National Black Theater

Standing With Haiti: One Year On Readings, Rhythm, & Reflection


Kent Annan of Haiti Partners & Author of “After Shock”

Panel Discussion Including:

MIDWIN CHARLES Esq. Founder, Midwin Charles & Associates LLC
VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, Journalist, CNN/ Anderson Cooper 360
FERENTZ LAFARGUE, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Literary Studies, Eugene Lang College, The New School


MARCH 25TH 2011
125th Street & 5th Avenue


What About the Other Stuff Jalen ‘n ’em Said?

As a person whose recollection of various members of the Fab Five dates back to when these men were in high school, I more than welcomed the opportunity to embark on the trip down memory lane proposed by ESPN via their airing of the Fab Five documentary on Sunday night. And as a scholar of African American studies it was fascinating to get a glimpse of how black culture in the 90s is going to be historicized moving forward. For example, even though the players referenced rappers such as Das Efx and EPMD, the only hip hop icons on camera were Ice Cube and Chuck D. Just like you can’t have a Civil Rights documentary without quotes by John Lewis, I fear Ice Cube and Chuck D may come to serve similar roles for hip hop history. Don’t get me wrong, neither of these men are bad choices, but they’re choices nonetheless.

But I digress….

Since its airing, which apparently was the highest rated in ESPN history, the documentary has come under fire for comments made by Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson and Juwan Howard (the only members of the Fab Five to appear in the film) about their rivals at Duke. Along with declaring that they considered the boys at Duke b*&%#@s, Rose in particular acknowledges that he considered Grant Hill an “Uncle Tom,” was jealous that Grant’s professional athlete father stuck around to raise him and that Duke never recruited players like him. Had he left his comments at b*&%#@s people might’ve easily written Rose’s comments off as standard male bravado, the stuff that any collegiate rival might say about another (for Chrissakes someone in Alabama just killed off a set of century old trees on Auburn’s campus). But his candid admission that he was jealous of Hill opened a pandora’s box that has led to Grant Hill publishing this op-ed for the NY Times. In the column Hill stands up for his upbringing and rails against being called an “Uncle Tom.” However, as noted in a number of the comments on Hill’s piece, he appears to have taken Rose’s comments out of context, and seemingly disregards a rather sensitive admission on Rose’s part that he essentially wished he had what Grant Hill had.

The fact that all this is playing out on two major news outlets, ESPN & NYT, is rather troubling. No, this is not about to turn into an “airing our dirty laundry in public” rant, because I don’t subscribe to that line of thought. Rather, what I find troubling is that all of this is playing out during the very week that ESPN and the NY Times kick off their NCAA tournament coverage.

What has garnered far less attention is the discontent felt by Michigan players when they realized they had become pawns in a Nike/University of Michigan marketing locomotive. Former Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom tells a story about walking in front of a store in Ann Arbor with Chris Webber that is selling Webber’s jersey for $70 while Webber doesn’t have two dimes in his pockets to rub together. Similarly Rose describes his awakening to his role in this machine during an exhibition tour of Europe where the Michigan team scrimmages against Euro-pro teams in front of a paying audience, yet the players are still amateurs and therefore ineligible to benefit from the proceeds from this game.

Since the advent of the Fab Five and the Christian Laetner led Duke teams (both of which were reviled by many, albeit for different reasons) college basketball has become an even more lucrative enterprise. There’s more cable revenue, top coaches have lucrative sneaker contracts on top of whatever arrangement the university has with a particular brand, video games have provided another revenue stream, and the NCAA tournament remains one of the most bet on and watched sporting events in the country. The only people still not getting any revenue from this are the “amateur” athletes who will be suiting up for their various schools over the next weeks.

Hence, by responding to Rose’s comments Hill is not taking any grand-stand for affluent two-parent black families. What he’s done is rekindle a twenty-year old rivalry–that while it’s a formidable one–is no match for the real game that’s being played.

Jon Stewart Chimes in on Wisconsin Battle

Watching this clip you’d think that white people and/or rockers never appeared on Cribs. It’s eery the degree to which black people have become associated with hyper-materialism.

That said, the spoof still manages to hit the anti-teacher backlash on the nail.

Kim Ng leaves Los Angeles Dodgers

The McCourt divorce has turned the Dodgers into a hot mess.  They blew a chance to contend last year, and as the rest of the NL West regroups to challenge the Giants, it remains to be seen how long it will take the Dodgers to get their act together so they can make another run at the pennant.

Kim Ng had been passed over for GM jobs before the Dodgers executive offices turned into Guiding Light, so it would be unfair to complete blame the McCourts’ dysfunction for her not getting a promotion.  That said, all the chaos in LaLa these past few years did nothing to help her cause.

Dodgers’ management lost its identity.  Were they the smart front office building a title contender from within with home grown prospects like Matt Kemp.  Or were they a big-spending team a la the Yankees & Red Sox that chases after high salaried players like Manny Ramirez.  Not that you can’t be both, but clearly if you’re going to bring on a veteran superstar onto a young team you have to choose carefully & the Ramirez saga did nothing to help this team in the long run.

I hope that Ng gets a chance to become to become a GM in the majors, not because I want to see someone break the gender barrier, but because she deserves it.

Kim Ng leaves Los Angeles Dodgers for exec position with MLB – ESPN Los Angeles.

Will Kevin Love & Darko Make History?

Sorry I don’t have a nifty research department here, but I’m dying to figure out whether Kevin Love & Darko Millicic will make history this year. I don’t recall a team ever having the league’s leading rebounder, the third leading shot blocker, the 20th & 23rd ranked scorers and having such a bad record.

I sent a tweet to the ESPN”s Bill Simmons, but no reply yet from him.

Are the Wolves destined to become the worst statistically inclined team in league history?

Hofstra’s Charles Jenkins Stayed at Home and Stayed Focused –

[Hofstra’s Charles] Jenkins, a chiseled 6-foot-2 guard, is expected to be the first New York City public school graduate to be selected in the first round of the N.B.A. draft since Sebastian Telfair, who turned professional straight out of Lincoln in Brooklyn in 2004.

via Hofstra’s Charles Jenkins Stayed at Home and Stayed Focused –

As a person who grew up idolizing Kenny Anderson, and who’s about the same age as Stephon Marbury, it’s almost unfathomable that New York City could almost go a decade without producing a lottery caliber NBA point guard–let alone one worthy of getting drafted in the first round.  Yet, that’s precisely what was on the verge of happening until Charles Jenkins’ emergence.

Even if you’re not much for basketball, Pete Thamel’s profile on Jenkins in today’s Times is worth the read.

Is Kevin Love Overrated?

Recent reports indicate that the T-Wolves are slated to sign Kevin Love to a max-extension. While I find Love’s double-double streak impressive, and given the way money is doled out in the NBA believe he has a right to make as much money as Eddy Curry & Tyson Chandler, I wonder if Love is really the kind of player you build a team around.

Put another way, when was the last time a big man was so dominant and played on such a bad team? Andrew Bogut for example, who has less talent around him than Love, has less impressive individual numbers plays on a team with eight more wins than Love. And one can make an argument that if Brandon Jennings had not gotten hurt and/or the Bucks had kept Luke Ridnour, the Bucks would have twice as many wins as the T-Wolves.

As a person who watched a number of Wolves game early on this season, it was clear that they are a team capable of hanging with any team in the league for 3 1/4 or 3 1/2 quarters. Where they faltered a lot this season was late in the game, precisely the period where a team’s best player is slated to take control and either score the baskets or get the stops needed to close out the game. Late in games Love is often seen parading around the perimeter on offense, and not near the basket where he can either get a basket or a foul. Moreover, if the ball isn’t in Michael Beasley’s hands at the end of a Wolves game, it could look like a round of hot-potato.

Love clearly has a high basketball IQ and he’d be a great asset to any number of teams in the league (Jazz, Lakers, Magic, Spurs are four that immediately come to mind). With the exception of the Jazz, Love would be great on the teams because he’d be a complement to one of the league’s alpha dogs.

Someone has to get paid in this league, and as Chris Bosh can proudly tell you, you don’t need to be the best or even second best player on your team to get a max-contract. But as Bosh can also tell you, it’s a b^$@h making all that money and playing on a crappy team.