aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, February 28, 2008
The Talk of the Green Iguana
The rumors about Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and the Green Iguana just wouldn’t go away.
The story goes that the Florida governor frequented the Green Iguana, a bar in Tampa, back in the early 1990s when he was just starting his political career. He was less careful back then, people say, and during his partying at the Green Iguana, he was openly gay.
When I got Rick Calderoni, the bar’s well-known owner, on the phone, I expected him to stonewall me about it.
Calderoni, who is gay, confirmed that Crist came into his bar quite often and that the two of them became friends.
Getting to the point, I asked him if he knew Crist to be gay.
“Yes,” he answered bluntly. “I just wish he would come out and admit it. That would be a great thing if he did.”
Via Wonkette, who has more:
- One rumored ex-boyfriend of Crist’s served as regional director for Kitty Harris’ delusional, delightful U.S. Senate campaign.
- Another rumored ex-boyfriend is also an ex-felon.
- Crist is linked to a “wealthy socialite from the Hamptons” named Jennifer Faga.
- If John McCain asks Charlie Crist to be his running mate, nobody will care about any of this completely pointless, stupid, sleazy, and wrongheaded speculation.
Jack is Back - with no flag
You may remember that last weekend Jack quoted an internet email hoax that Barack Obama refused to say the pledge of allegiance to the American flag.
Clearly he thinks this schtick is working for him. I don’t understand why. The guy’s got to be living in some safely Republican past. The way I read the numbers, I’d lay off of the gratuitous attacks.
Our reddest of the red red states cast a total of only 963,541 Republican votes on February 5. Democrats cast 1,060,851 with the lion’s share, 704,247, going to Obama. Jack’s District, Georgia’s 1st, is still Republican but if the primary is any indication, only barely so. It cast a measly 787 more Republican votes.
If I were Jack I wouldn’t go questioning Obama’s patriotism now. Barack’s shown an ability to push back and he’s got him some big mo’ on his side!
What is intelligence?
You’ll remember that in a brilliant piece in a December New Yorker, What I.Q. doesn’t tell you about race, Malcolm Gladwell looks at the work of James R. Flynn, a social scientist at the University of Otago in New Zealand, to convincingly refute the arguments of the “I.Q. fundamentalists.”
James Flynn spoke at the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (RSA) on December 18, 2007. That speech was posted to UChannel last week:
The ‘Flynn Effect’ refers to the massive increase in IQ test scores over the course of the twentieth century and the term was coined to recognize Professor Flynn’s central role in measuring and analysing these gains.
Flynn’s work addresses a fundamental question regarding the IQ gains observed. Do they suggest that that previous generations had serious learning difficulties and that the human race is becoming more intelligent? Flynn argues that this is the wrong interpretation, and that while these IQ scores are real, they should be attributed to the fact that the way we think has changed.
His new book investigates what it is about our minds that differ from those of our ancestors a century ago. He also discusses how we can enhance our knowledge of intelligence, how we can increase our intelligence, and what must be done to build on IQ gains, so as to develop the wisdom needed to deal with the problems of the 21st century.
The speech is amazing! I just finished and I highly recommend it.
Flynn believes the brain is a muscle and the way to improve it is to exercise it. There’s no tricking it; no fooling kids into loving ideas if we don’t love them ourselves; they’ll see through us.
Here’s one quick quote completely out of context:
The lesson is interventions are important but there’s no quick fix. If you want a more intelligent population you’ve got to improve the schools, improve the universities and encourage people to fall in love with ideas.
RELATED: Gladwell also discussed his article in an appearance on The Colbert Report.
On cellphones in schools
Around here yesteday there was lots’o’buzz about Abilene Christian University giving out iPhones/iPod Touches to all incoming freshmen.
May I be among the first to chime in and agree with virtually all the commenters on this promotional video that the “initiative” reeks of corporate welfare gussied up as as education.
Such thin gruel—“I can check my email, I can watch YouTube...Internet on my phone, I’m pumped!” says one student. “I already downloaded the new Wilco album,” says another—does a disservice to those real initiatives that are out there trying to effectively use technology as a means to motivate and enable learning.
As it happens, on the very same day up in New York City Dr. Roland G. Fryer, the Harvard economist who is working as chief equality officer for the Education Department, was launching the “Million” Motivation Campaign, an experimental program distributing cellphones to about 2,500 students in seven middle schools there.
Privately funded, the point is to motivate and reward students; they get the phone, called the “Million,” with opportunities to earn minutes and other rewards if they achieve academic goals set by their principals.
Giving Apple iPhones to middle class kids in Texas vs. generic anyphones to disadvantaged kids in NYC. Which side do I come down on? Well, the NYC phones are Samsung phones. So generic anyphones remain a Tim Wu Freedom Fighter future we should all work toward. Still, handing out phones not tied to specific educational goals reeks of corporate welfare and makes no educational sense to me. At least in New York the phone is a motivational device tied to ongoing rewards!
There’s been plenty of criticism of the New York program (not least that cellphones are banned in schools) but most of it echoes the same old argument around whether or not paying for grades really works.
It could be my liberal bias showing but I’m seeing some hidden bias myself: giving iPods to kids in Abilene Christian—GOOD! Giving cellphones to poor kids in NYC schools tied to motivational goals, BAD! I say Bloomberg should give Klein and Fryer all the support they need to see if their idea can work. As for Abilene Christian, it looks too much like Apple hype.