Can success be measured through IQ tests, vocabulary quizzes, the SATs?

‘Is Our Children Learning?’

December 7, 2012 • 5539
Why do our children seem not to learn? Why do some children do better than others? How do some children break the cycle of poverty? In “How Children Succeed,” freelance journalist Paul Tough addresses all these questions.
Sarah Palin looks surprised. What's the matter, gurl?

Game Change –> Game Over

November 9, 2012 • 0
By 11:30, it was over. All the major networks had announced that Barack Obama was going to be the winner. Shortly thereafter, his rival conceded in an awkward if apparently sincere statement. The election that had seemed like it would go on forever was finally at an end. Fast-forward four years. By 11:30, it was »
J.K., I've a feeling we're not in Hogwarts anymore!

Rowling gets real

October 12, 2012 • 38
Apparently, J. K. Rowling thinks a lot about sex. Genitalia, masturbation, pedophilia, incest, rape, teen pregnancy — these are all peccadillos that delight her fancy. Now, after decades of writing magical children’s stories, her pent-up prurience can finally break free; the reader is treated to such phrases as “pink labia pulled wide to show dark »
Uncategorized

“Passing” for love and politics

September 28, 2012 • 0
It is a grainy video clip, shot with a shaky camera. A reporter offscreen asks ominously, “Is there anything else that’s going to come out about you that we don’t already know?” The woman laughs nervously, “You know, I don’t think so, but who knows?” It’s clear that she was kidding, but in the context »
Uncategorized

“Gone Girl” twists, shocks, surprises

September 14, 2012 • 0
“Gone Girl” was awesome, but I can’t tell you why. Gillian Flynn’s new novel was darkly comic, deliciously entertaining, ridiculously addictive and downright messed-up, but I can’t tell you why. Seriously. To give away the shocking plot twists and titillating psychological thrills would just be criminal. It looked like Nick and Amy Dunne had it »
Uncategorized

Sex and God (and pretentiousness) at Yale

August 31, 2012 • 764
Let’s get a few things out of the way. First, I was predisposed to hate “Sex and God at Yale” by Nathan Harden. I did. (More on that later.) Second, it was engaging, funny and, at times, well-written. I’ll admit that much. Finally, it amounted to little more than a pretentious argument against pornography and »
prison

‘The New Jim Crow’: An absolute must-read

April 13, 2012 • 0
“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander is an important book. Don’t believe me? Just ask the Baltimore Sun, which called it an “important book.” Still not convinced? Well, the Birmingham News called it “Undoubtedly the most important book published this century about the U.S.” In my opinion, »
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2011

Greenhouse’s Very Short Introduction is Very Short — And Very Good

March 23, 2012 • 1
When “The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction” arrived in the mail, I initially thought I had ordered incorrectly. It looked too short, too cute — maybe only nine inches tall with barely 100 bite-sized pages. Yet after a moment’s pause, I realized that this was what the title had promised: a very short, »
Object of love or death wish?
Uncategorized

Taking on the Hunger Games

January 27, 2012 • 0
“A few hours later, the stampede of feet shakes me from slumber. I look around in bewilderment. It’s not yet dawn, but my stinging eyes can see it. It would be hard to miss the wall of fire descending on me.” I mean, you have to admit it’s engaging. Captivating, really. This is a line »
Uncategorized

Grisham’s old devices still in great condition

November 11, 2011 • 0
A lawyer walks into a bar. Wait, wait, I’ve already heard this one. You probably have, too, as it’s one of the first scenes in the latest John Grisham novel, “The Litigators,” and one of the most frequent criticisms of Grisham is that all of his books are the same. We’ll get to that later. »