Monday, September 24, 2007


I'm remembering what it's like to be a Saints fan. Three losses, no wins? Ouch. That hasn't happened since Ditka.

A fellow fanatic, only inclined toward the Bears of the Windy City, warned me that if Reggie Bush or Drew Brees went down, season over. While that's true, it wasn't the biggest cause for alarm -- the Saints secondary was. Our defense makes good quarterbacks better and Peyton Manning look legendary. Vince Young, after the game where the Titans beat the Saints 31-14, said he wanted to be known as a passing QB. Sorry, VY. Not gonna happen until you throw TDs against legit Ds.

As for the Saints, I see the biggest problem as the O-line. The five Js were pushing Ds around last year, letting Brees take his time and do what he does best. In three games, Brees has thrown 7 picks -- all of them under pressure.

I'll always love the Saints. It's just hard sometimes.

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A few random bits:

~ I've been interested in "The Tirade," an outburst by Oklahoma State University coach Mike Gundy against Oklahoman sports columnist Jenni Carlson. She wrote a column that upset Gundy, leading him to launch a missive against her during a press conference. Gundy said that 75 percent of Carlson's column was wrong, but won't say what. ESPN's Monday night coverage: All they showed was the tirade. None of the aftermath -- or before-math.

~ President Bush and I agree on something! My father would be so proud. I did a story on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking at Columbia University, and local students' reactions. My personal view: What better way to show a Holocaust-denier what America is all about than to let him speak? Bush agreed with me. His quote to the Associated Press: His appearance "speaks volumes about really the greatness of America."

~ I wish I could receive KSPR-TV, based out of Springfield. After seeing a few Internet videos of their newscast renovation, I'm mighty impressed. Heck, I'm just glad to see Joe Daues back behind the desk and out of Hammons Field. At the new gig, Daues comes across as more relaxed and authoritative than he ever did at KOLR-10 -- and he was pretty good for that station, too. But I'm most impressed with the diversity of stories the news staff is getting. They are probing deeper, asking tougher questions, and producing solid reports. I hope Joplin TV stations are paying attention.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I found an interesting post on the Missouri State Teachers Association blog about end-of-course exams, and the Blunt administration's blunt attempt to force privately-determined findings into public policy.

Angie Hull, school policy specialist with MSTA, expressed frustration at a team of METS members (Blunt's Math Engineering Technology and Science initiative) earlier this month. According to Hull, the team asked the State Board of Education to allow them to develop grade-level expectations based on their work of "uncovering instructional best practices," one day before the board hired a testing company.

Hull's response: "Where has this group been?! This has been a transparent policy process for years. There were multiple opportunities to participate and comment on GLE's. Moreover, does the METS coalition realize the inherent contradiction in the idea that businesspeople would present their versions of classroom best practices, when the very people who ARE and DO "best practices" are the educators who set the GLE's in the first place?"

Blunt has been touring the state, publicizing the funding of eMINTS classrooms. The state board recently selected Riverside Publising to develop end-of-course exams that would replace MAP tests for high school students.

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