CARLSON (12/12/06): Have you seen the Gore movie?Good point, Carlson oddly said. But then, boys like this, all through our history, have bucked themselves up in this manner.
GEIST: No, I have not seen it.
CARLSON: I suspect its a shade, whats the word? Pedantic.
GEIST: Yes, I didnt see it because I had paint to watch dry that weekend, so I couldnt get to it. But Hollywood would like nothing more than to help propel him to the White House. So, dont be surprised if gets it.
CARLSON: Good point!
Yes, these lads have always been with us. Carlson didnt see the movie, but hes fairly sure that he knows what its like. And Geist turned loose his world-class wit, offering a tired old dry paint rejoinder and pretending that the film came and went in a flash. (The third-biggest documentary in history, it ran in New York for more than three months.). By the way: As others have noted, Carlson has made remarkably uninformed comments about climate change on his nightly program. (For one sad example, just click here.) No, our bright young lad hasnt seen the Gore film. And if youve watched Tucker, it shows.
But there they were, two fresh-faced lads, praising themselves for their self-imposed ignorance. Regarding Geist Junior, by the way, we do occasionally get the idea that hes watched a lot of paint dry in his time. Indeed, local jesters were out in force after his latest empty-boy musings. Some of that paint may have had some lead in it, one of our analysts brightly quipped.
CHRIS BUSTS A MOVE: Then theres Chris Matthews, thankfully back from a hospital stay—but, apparently, a bit too well-rested. You know how male cable pundits just luv to talk about Britney Spears desperate need for attention? On his first night back, Chris interviewed John Edwards and Elizabeth Edwards—and at one point, we got the feeling that the talker might have suffered from lack-of-attention deficit over the past few weeks himself. Elizabeth Edwards said that her husband—like John Kerry—isnt always that great telling jokes. Try to believe that Chris said it:
ELIZABETH EDWARDS (12/12/06): There are not that many politicians who are actually very good at jokes. John spoke one time and I said I wouldnt even go because it was—he was supposed to be funny and I didnt think he could carry it off.Sadly, he wanted to know if she busts his balls. I needed that, he then said of the crowds freakin hiss, sounding a bit like a flailing comic himself. Not to bust his b*lls, of course. But at THE HOWLER, we suspected he meant it.
MATTHEWS: I love it. Youre great. Behind every great man, there`s a woman trying to kill him.
ELIZABETH EDWARDS: He has great characteristics—
MATTHEWS: What is it? Does she do this? Does she bust your balls like this when you come home? When you get out of line, does she do that?
CROWD: (MIXED RESPONSE)
ELIZABETH. EDWARDS: My children are watching this!
MATTHEWS: Whats this with the equal marriages? Why do people marry their equals? It used to be different! What happened to the Stepford wives, the good old days? What happened?
MATTHEWS: Oh, how PC! How—why dont you hiss? Oh, thank you. Finally, the freakin hiss. I needed it. It was the hiss. I needed that.
ALGEBRA FOR ALL: What happens when high-minded state boards of ed decide to high-mindedly raise their standards? It always sounds like a wonderful thing, and high-minded pundits tend to applaud. But, in yesterdays Washington Post, Nelson Hernandez took a look at the way such actions sometimes work out. The state of Maryland now requires high schools graduates to pass an algebra test. Hernandez visited a high school in low-income, majority-minority Prince Georges County—a high school which is struggling to deal with this new state-wide plan.
Hernandez visited Wise High School in Upper Marlboro, where 11 sophomores were taking a 90-minute, twice-a-week after-school lesson. These students had already failed the Maryland algebra test—the test they must pass to get a diploma. Early on, Hernandez described a bit of the math being taught:
HERNANDEZ (12/12/06): The sophomores are tired and disgruntled. They're grinding through Question 40, which is meant to test their knowledge of the difference between a mean and a median. To calculate the mean, add the salary numbers together and divide by the number of people, [teacher Michelle] Guinn explains patiently. As she writes the long equation down on a white board, some students punch it into their calculators. Others zone out. And Sydne Kersey starts to get frustrated.It seems fairly clear that these students are struggling with their remedial algebra. But these kids are not a few hopeless dead-enders; according to Hernandez, 46.1 percent of this countys students failed the state algebra test last year. Of all the kids who failed the test, Hernandez is describing some of the kids who are making the extra remedial effort. According to Hernandez, the 11 kids who were taking this class had all come close to passing.
"There's no easier way to do this?" Sydne, 15, asks.
"This is it, baby," Guinn says. "This is algebra."