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  • What may be the best television show ever aired gets a good going-over by Alex Kotlowitz and Steve James at Slate. (Hat tip to Whet Moser.)  Money quote: “I have repeatedly discovered as a documentary filmmaker what you, Alex, so brilliantly captured in There Are No Children Here: There’s no substitute for putting in the time it takes to really get past seeing people as mere symbols—be they symbols of good or bad, or the powerful or desperate. This is what David Simon and his team have done now for four years.”
  • If you thought all the trouble was just on your CTA rail line, learn the depressing truth (and the number of energetic activists laying it out) at Scott Gordon’s place in the Beachwood Reporter. Money quote: “We can’t quantify any of the aforementioned problems. The CTA has released some specific data about slow zones and how long it takes certain lines to go around the Loop, but so far has not released much in the way of empirical data that tells us how specific train lines and bus routes are performing. (The CTA just waits for the Campaign for Better Transit to release its own independent reports and then dispatches its flaks to dismiss them.)”

  • Mike Klonsky at Small Talk on a study in which Cornell researchers were shocked–shocked!–to find that students average only 16 minutes of activity per physical education class: “Well, duh! Didn’t these researchers ever go to high school? . . . But seriously, is gym any different from other traditional high school classes, which are usually about 45-50 minutes long and where, after taking roll and getting things ‘on task’ they’re lucky if there’s 16 minutes where students are really engaged?”