Daily Office:


Matins: Any lingering doubt that No Child Left Behind was a screw put to public education by arrogant Bushies whose only acquaintance with public schools is via their servants’ children will be quashed by Sam Dillon’s report.

Tierce: The news from Thailand is weirdly familiar: city-dwellers — and not just the people of Bangkok — feel that rural voters are uneducated and ill-informed. They go further, proposing that rural votes be seriously diluted by interest-group appointments to Parliament — something that looks like the old Catholic idea of corporatism. Aside from that, however, it all sounds just like the American polarization of “flyover” areas — the Continental heartland — and the passengers flying from one Coast to the other. Seth Mydans reports.

Nones: Jolly good news: Paul Krugman has won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. An economist whose Times columns are models of lucidity! Even better: the guy from the University of Chicago, Eugene Fama, didn’t win.


LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATOR: McDonald’s UK Introduces the McQueen.


§ Matins. I’m a big believer in federalizing public schools. The idea of funding education with local property taxes is, very simply, obscene. That’s precisely what the interference of No Child Left Behind sets out to avoid — by cutting off the schools at the knees as unworthy of federal assistance. The law, which leaves a great deal of discretion to the states, actually favors unambitious school districts. So your local school fails either by design or by disqualification.

I’m also a believer in private schools, for those who are willing to pay for them. That makes me an opponent of de facto private schools that masquerade as public schools in pricey school districts — such as the one I grew up in. Trust me, though: Bronxville School was nowhere near as tough as Blair Academy, as I found out when I flunked the first paper that I handed in.

§ Tierce. Not to mention the persistent idea that France consists of Paris on the one hand and everywhere else on the other. Mr Mydans says as much:

Thailand is sometimes described as two nations: Bangkok and everything else. About 10 percent of the population of 65 million lives in Bangkok, the capital, a number that expands by several million when migrant workers are counted.

It’s familiar, but when did it really begin? Today’s highly articulate cities — no longer the mere heaped agglutination of people heaped in slums — haven’t been around for very long; neither has democracy, which among other innovations dragged rural populations into the political discussion. When sociologists study the phenomenon of this divide, what do they call it?

§ Nones. Here is the gist of Mr Fama’s work:

Fama developed the efficient market hypothesis, which argued that all traded assets – from bonds to mortgage-backed securities – are already accurately valued based on the information available to investors.

Ha ha ha! Sounds like Gilbert & Sullivan to me. Here is Mr Krugman on the Paulson Treasury Department (from yesterday’s Times:

It’s hard to avoid the sense that Mr. Paulson’s initial response was distorted by ideology. Remember, he works for an administration whose philosophy of government can be summed up as “private good, public bad,” which must have made it hard to face up to the need for partial government ownership of the financial sector.

I also wonder how much the Femafication of government under President Bush contributed to Mr. Paulson’s fumble. All across the executive branch, knowledgeable professionals have been driven out; there may not have been anyone left at Treasury with the stature and background to tell Mr. Paulson that he wasn’t making sense.

2 Responses to “Daily Office:

  1. Fossil Darling says:

    Yeah Paul Krugman!!!!! Nobel no less…..

  2. Nom de Plume says:

    Femafication. Makes me want to break someone’s fema.