How many centuries ago was it that my life revolved almost entirely around grades? I was not one of those students who was in it for the learning, I was in it for the grades. (If school had paid better, I might have been in it for the money.) This is a shameful thing to admit, and despicable, but it was a competitive high school (‘whadjaget?’ was our version of today’s ‘wassup?’) – and it leads nicely into today’s topic: Grades.


The 9/11 Commission, headed by former Republican New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, graded the government’s progress on the 41 recommendations in its initial report – including 5 F’s, 12 D’s, 9 C’s, and 2 incompletes.

‘I think we’ve too quickly forgotten the lesson of 9/11 and I think the odds are very good that we’re going to pay a terrible price for forgetting that lesson,’ said Republican ex-commissioner James Thompson, a former Illinois governor.

☞ This is a big deal, it seems to me. Imagine if our leadership had gotten 5 F’s, 12 D’s, 9 C’s and 2 incompletes among their 41 grades in the conduct of World War II.


Thursday was World AIDS Day, calling attention to a disease from which – on every day – 8,500 people die and with whose underlying virus 13,500 are be infected. By some lights, our approach to the pandemic seems to be undermining the world’s approach. (But we’re pouring a fortune into ‘abstinence before marriage.’ That should do the trick.)

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign issued its second annual World AIDS Day report card, grading the U.S. government’s performance across four criteria: Prevention, Care & Treatment, Research, and Global AIDS. Last year’s grades were F, D, C and C. This year, according to HRC, we slipped a bit: F, F, D, and C.


Enough with the gloom. Take a hike! Cook some soup! See a show! Learn to whistle! Or at least treat yourself to ‘Commander In Chief’ followed by ‘Boston Legal’ tonight on ABC.

Richard Stanford: ‘While you’re talking Broadway [I recommended three shows last month], I’ve been amazed at how many people don’t know about cancellation tickets and will pay outrageous amounts of money trying to get good seats. If you’re willing to risk rejection (hasn’t happened to me yet), you can just show up an hour or so before the show and pay face value for cancelled tickets. We’re probably averaging 8th row center for shows we’ve done that way (and a lot worse for shows we’ve bought normally or through our hotel). No service charges, either.’

☞ Or save $220 on the pair of tickets and get someone to tape My Name Is Earl, which – tragically – conflicts with Commander In Chief (NBC Tuesday’s at 9pm) and watch it after Boston Legal, Jon Stewart, and Nightline conclude. What a night! Indeed, spend that saved $220 on a second TiVo, so you can watch it all (and in 75% the time). You may never have to leave your house again.


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