Friday, March 13, 2009

Call-in Show #2, 3/13 at 5:30 PM Pacific (00:30 GMT/UTC)

In honor of Friday the 13th, I'm holding another call-in show tonight at 5:30 PM Pacific (00:30 GMT/UTC).

To participate, call (218) 936-1100, code 94291.

To get the 5-minute warning Twitter, follow me here:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nixon : China as Obama : Education?

It was largely forgotten amongst the sturm and drang of the economy, but President Obama made an important speech about education policy this week.

While every president in recent memory loudly proclaims his desire to be "the education President," very little usually changes. The Democrats are the tools of the diabolical teachers' unions, and the Republicans are too busy trying to take away gay rights to actually push for real reforms.

Nonetheless, take a gander of some of the things that Obama had to say:
  • Merit pay for good teachers
  • Making it easier to get rid of bad teachers
  • No state limits on charter schools
  • Extending the school day and school year to better match Asian countries
All of these are sensible reforms that pretty much all the experts (who aren't union members) can agree on, but what's so shocking is that a Democrat is saying them. All he'd have to do is plump for school vouchers, and he'd be practically indistinguishable from his old buddies at the University of Chicago.

Even more shocking, the teacher's unions didn't immediately call for Obama's impeachment:

"We finally have an education president," said Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.4 million-member American Federation of Teachers. "We really embrace the fact that he's talked about both shared responsibility and making sure there is a voice for teachers, something that was totally lacking in the last eight years."

Which brings us to the title of this post. Nixon famously said that only he, with his long-standing anti-Communist credentials, could have re-opened relations with the People's Republic of China.

(Of course, Stephen Ambrose has quipped, "That's because anyone else who tried to do it would have been accused of being a Communist sympathizer by Dick Nixon.")

Perhaps the same is true of educational reform. Perhaps only a Democrat could push through merit pay and lengthening the school year, because any Republican who tried would be torn apart by attack ads.

My fervent hope is that Obama is actually serious about these reforms, and that the reaction of union leaders is the result of an actual desire for change, rather than because they've already received indications that Obama's words are a smokescreen, and that things will remain business as usual.

Mr. President, it's your move.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Experiment #2: The Chris Yeh Call-in Show

image courtesy of vidiot

If you're not a personal friend, and you've ever wondered what it's like to talk with me, now's your chance.

I'm going to experiment with my own call-in show. Basically, I'll dial into a free conference service while I'm driving, and chat with anyone who wants to call in.

Rather than picking any set dates, I'll use Twitter to let folks know when they should dial in. Since I still haven't figured out how to send timely tweets from my plain old dumb T-Mobile phone (the tweets seem to take about 5 hours to make it from SMS to Twitter), I'll probably send out a tweet like this:

"Chris Yeh office hours start at 5:30 (5 minutes from now), and run for 30 minutes until 6 PM. Dial in now: 218-936-1100, code 94291"

If you want to participate, you should follow me on Twitter to make sure you get the notice about the next call-in session. Unfortunately, this will also expose you to frequent updates about my life, but hey, no system is perfect.

If it goes well, I'd love to find a service that will combine free conference calling with automated recording and posting of the session as a podcast. Then I will have fulfilled my ambition of being the laziest broadcaster on record.

If it doesn't go well, I guess I'll just have to put my dreams of being a drivetime radio host on hold.

Blog Experiment: Play with Apture

I'm checking out Apture to see what it can add to this blog. Apture is a cool service to adding multimedia to sites...perhaps now when I write about country singers like Brad Paisley or athletes like Charles Barkley, it will be easier to provide examples of their work.