Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Slumdog and some other musings

I didn't get a chance to write about this when I first sat down this morning because I was little busy, but last night I saw Slumdog Millionaire.  Wow.  Very, very good movie.  I have embedded the preview, if you have not seen it yet - I suggest watching it, I think it will really make you want to see it.  It is about an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai who gets onto India's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, gets within one question of one million ... and is arrested on the accusation of cheating.  The movie is a story of how he got to where he is now, what he does, and of course an amazing love story all intertwined.  If you think it sounds cheesy and stupid, I promise it is not.

Just as interesting as the movie was, I think one of the most insightful parts for me was actually watching this kid grow up ... the life of a slumdog orphan.  Seeing what the slums of Mumbai are like, and traveling as Jamal made his way around the city and around the country.  Sometimes ending up dealing with the wrong people, always needing money, and working as hard as possible just to make it to the next day alive.  I really recommend going to see it, and let me know what you think.  In addition, the soundtrack is also amazing - I have embedded my favorite song right below the YouTube Trailer.

* We lead with an ad-parody from Portfolio.com's Best and Worst Overlooked Ads ...

* More on that 66-inch water main break this morning ... over 15 people had to be rescued and Montgomery County closed schools 2.5 hours early.  Apparently it is safe to drink water though, and everyone should have full water service.

* Per WaPo, Fenty and crew are accepting bids for 11 of the 23 schools that were closed down this year as a result of Rhee's Righteous Realignment.  Developers can submit proposals which include office space, affordable housing, high priced housing, and/or retail.  Of the schools, a good number are in prime real estate locations - including Steven's Elemtary School located between K and L in Foggy Bottom/West End/Golden Triangle.  WaPo article is here.

* Shocker found in the CityPaper this morning ... Circus Chairman Vincent Gray  (who is also Chairman of the Anti-Fenty Committee) is upset that Michelle Rhee was on the cover of TIME.  Not only is Gray a few weeks late in reading this issue of time, but this particular blogger thinks he is quite peeved that TIME was writing about Rhee and not him.  Gray is not a fan of Rhee, mainly because she is trying to get things done - and he prefers that things get done at a slower pace and with him getting credit for them.  Sadly for him (but luckily for DC residents), Rhee doesn't care what Gray and the other ringleaders think - and is fixing schools with or without their support.

Gray claims to be upset by a quote attributed to him by the author of the TIME article, Amanda Ripley, saying "dealing with Rhee [was] a 'nightmare.'"  Gray is all up in arms because he would never be stupid enough to say this to a TIME reporter, but was stupid enough to say it on the record at a Circus meeting over the summer.  Ms. Ripley found the quote from LL's CityPaper blog, and proceeded to basically copy and paste into the TIME article.  Now, normally I'd say that Ms. Ripley was perfectly in line ... Gray did say this and its a part of the public record, but according to Gray she never even contacted his office for a clarification or comment on the quote.  It seems to me that a reporter writing a cover story for a national news magazine might want to get some more information on quotes before she publishes them.  Gray wrote the editor of TIME a really nasty note about how he should have been given a chance to speak for himself.  Even though I think he is a slimeball and any modification to that quote would have been a complete lie, Ms. Ripley really should have at least shot off an e-mail.  You can read the whole thing over at the CityPaper.

* Continuing on the schools note DCTeacherChic brings up a great point - if the WTU 'spent half as much time protecting the jobs of terrible teachers and twice as much time negotiating higher standards and improved resources for teachers, DC children would be much better off.'.  She is beyond right in this assertion.  Even though I feel that Union's are the absolute spawn of evil, I would be willing to negotiate with them - if they were willing to acknowledge any real concessions.

* GGW has some more about LaHood and not understanding the links between transportation and climate change.  Read about it here.

* WaPo talks about how the Purple Line might actually see construction - after being discussed for over 30 years - thanks to the pro-infrastructure spending of the incoming administration.  While I tend to agree with the Post that the Purple Line probably won't eliminate that much congestion along the Beltway, I think it is very necessary ... it is currently impossible to get across the route it will serve.  And buses just aren't an option - there is too much of a stigma against them.  Light Rail is the way to go.

* Trinidad is getting 30 crime surveillance cameras thanks to a program called CitySafe (a joint venture of Target and Sprint-Nextel).  This should help in crime reduction!  Via WaPo - here.

* Last but not least - Obama SmarTrip cards and one-day passes are now available for sale on Metro's website.  I would link directly to it, but then I'd be losing advertising revenue - lol jk, Google Transit joke. - link here.  I've tried to buy one like four or five times today and have not been able to get the transaction to complete - let me know if you have more luck.

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