by Max Brantley
So much for crisp temps. What do you have to say for yourself tonight? Some evening notes:
* GOP'S LIBERAL IN TOWN: I had a little sport today with the Arkansas GOP Twitter feed, which was touting a contest for a couple of free tickets to a coming fund-raiser featuring Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. What's second prize, I asked? Four tickets? But I hope somebody in the crowd will commend her for vetoing a birther bill requiring proof of citizenship by presidential candidates. Also her veto of a bill to allow guns on college campuses. She's out of step with Arkansas Republicans, sounds like. Only here would she seem moderate.
* SOUND FAMILIAR?: This month's Atlantic is full of good stuff. I mentioned earlier Taylor Branch's massive takedown of the NCAA and high-dollar college sports, which use and abuse athletes under the fiction that they are students not poorly paid gladiators. Today, I got around to a good article full of pros and cons about whether the government can spur high-tech business development through government subsidized business parks. No, they're not writing about Little Rock, but Moscow. It would seem in Russia — as elsewhere in the U.S. — some front-end major investment from private business is viewed as a critical element of success. Here in Little Rock, the government welfare is presumed to be enough.
* CHARTER SCHOOL RESEARCH: The Billionaire Boys Club wants you to believe if a school has charter as part of its name, it must be better than a plain old conventional public school. Some of them, indeed, do fine things. But some of them do it with the benefit of high student disappearance rates (driving off poor students), an edge in ability level of students entering the schools and a decided edge in parental commitment. The movement depends, too, on a general lack of awareness of studies that have yet to find significant educational advantages to charter schools as measured by the standardized tests the Billionaires worship almost as much as their dollars. Here's a narrow, but interesting look at the "disappearance rate" of a highly touted charter school in Texas.