Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Why don't people believe it can happen here?

The New American reported on the new education law that effectively banned homeschooling in Sweden and made any kind of alternative to government schooling illegal.

OK, so the picture is German, but the principle is the same.

FTA: "The Kingdom of Sweden took a dramatic turn toward totalitarianism with the adoption of a sweeping new education “reform” package that essentially prohibits home schooling and forces all schools to teach the same government curriculum. The draconian 1,500-page law — deceptively referred to by the Swedish government as “The new Education Act - for knowledge, choice and security” — was approved by Parliament last week amidst strong criticism and opposition. When it goes into effect next year, the entire educational system will be transformed, and alternative education abolished."

Particularly in countries where the UNCRC has been adopted, this is definitely the wave of the future.

There seems to be a particular antipathy toward religious instruction, as explained by Education Ministry press secretary Anna Neuman. “[Religious schools] can’t make any children to pray or confess to the God, but they will still be allowed [to exist].”  So what she is saying is that there will be no more difference between "religious" school and a government school.

Swedish homeschoolers are considering leaving the county.

Friday, September 03, 2010

A "10" For All Time

I've been thinking about how much I am going to miss the summer lineup of shows that I have been enjoying over the last few seasons: Warehouse 13, White Collar, Royal Pains, Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, Cake Boss, Haven, and others.

So much so, that I am indifferent to the return of shows that I was crazy about when the season ended.

I wrote earlier this year about being sad about the demise of Law and Order, and yet I am completely indifferent to the return of L&O:Criminal Intent, and L&O: SVU, both previously real favorites.  House? Who cares? 

Wait, what?  House has been one of my favorite shows of all time. What's going on here?

I think USA is on to something that was picked up by the producers of Fringe, and the folks at SyFy:  people would rather see a mini-season of all-new episodes than a whole season of new shows interspersed with repeats.  I have been enjoying a batch of USA summer shows this year, and am looking forward to their winter seasons more than I am the fall crop of  "regular" shows.

Matthew Bomer, who plays ex-con Neil Caffrey in USA's White Collar, is one of the best reasons to watch television since George Clooney left ER.  He is certainly a "10" by anyone's standard.  Many of the other characters in the other USA shows are also attractive.

It is true that eye candy is not enough to keep you watching a show that stinks on every other level, but these shows are smart and funny, and their casts work well together. The "family" dynamic among Mark Feuerstein, Paulo Costanzo, and the incomparable Henry Winker of Royal Pains is priceless.  The episode of Burn Notice that reunited Cagney (Sharon Gless, a series regular) and Lacey (Tyne Daly) was delightful.

Networks, are you listening?  There is a reason your viewership is dropping off. If you continue in your present format, network television will be deader than the proverbial doornail in just a couple of years.

This all got me to thinking about TV, and so I revisited a place I have not been in quite a while: I was a regular there in 2006, and wrote a number of reviews of shows and episodes, and some blog posts about generically TV-related things.

One of those posts focused on the ratings that they ask you to give to your favorite shows. Entitled, "What is a 10, Anyway?" I talked about the difference between shows that may be your super fave right now, versus shows that were so outstanding for whatever reason that they deserve to be a "10" for all time.

Read the article here: "What is a 10, Anyway?"  What makes a show a "10" to you? Or are any of them good enough for that coveted designation?