Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Reading (LINKS)

There's not a lot going on right now locally, but here are my thoughts on some items that caught my attention:

As members of the Howard County Board of Education consider whether they will seek reelection in 2014, it's worth mentioning that this may be the most functional, collegial, cooperative, and forward-looking Board that we've seen in some time.  As someone who gets more grief for giving praise than criticism, I don't say those words lightly.  They have not done anything ground-shaking, but as I've written before, that may be just what is necessary for the overseers of a top-flight education system.  There are still blind spots and much more work to be done to close the achievement gap, but those problems are on their radar.  For that, I think these Board members deserve our appreciation.

I know my post from yesterday on Syria read a bit like a mood ring, but I think Matt Yglesias captures my outlook on the conflict.  I also think our collective willingness to enter armed conflict and kill people in other countries is premised on the distance between our civilian population and those who serve in uniform.  Can we ever simulate the feeling of watching the news, seeing the United States prepare for war, and knowing that our loved one will be put in harms way as a result?  Moreover, the "what's happens after that" questions for intervention are endless.  Many I've spoken with who support intervention readily acknowledge that this conflict will escalate, but that's ok because it is that important that we make retribution for the use of chemical weapons.  Meanwhile, the people that we presumably will be fighting for, peaceful neutral Syrian civilians, have very little say in what happens from here.  That is a heavy measure of arrogance that I'm not quite ready to accept.

It is much harder to watch a contending baseball team than it is a perennial loser.

The new Executive Director of the Howard County Historical Society Shawn Gladden is doing some really cool things that you should pay attention to.  Last night, the HCHS hosted reggae singer Scott Paynter at the Howard County Historical Society Museum.  1) I was embarrassed that this was my first time inside the museum, 2) It is worth a trip, 3) I couldn't believe we essentially had a private show of a truly talented artist.  Here is a sample of his music:

You can check out the schedule for future "Music at the Museum" shows here.

That's all for today.  Have a great Friday doing what you love AND a great Labor Day weekend.  It's impossible not to.