[snip] “I was forced to change my palette to accommodate insects,” writes Peggy Macnamara of her work illustrating the new book Illinois Insects and Spiders. “I needed to use more fluorescent and bright colors as well as earth tones made up of layered opposites and metallics. Later, when I took the revised palette outside, my landscapes improved. In a sense, by observing nature’s least obvious creature, I began to understand how to paint her showier productions such as skies and mountains.”

[snip] The Bush legacy. Estimated number of Iraqi insurgents, as tracked in the Brookings Institution’s “Iraq Index”: November 2003, 5,000. May 2005, 16,000.

[snip] College: burger or banquet? “One constant seems to survive the crises of every generation,” reflects Gerald Graff of the University of Illinois at Chicago: “A small percentage of college students ‘get’ the intellectual culture of academia and do well in college while the majority remain more or less oblivious to that culture and pass through it largely unchanged. Changing these conditions, creating a truly democratic higher education system that liberally educates more than a small minority, has always been and still is the main challenge of liberal education.” –HH

[snip] Was Jimmy Carter really a loser? Matthew Yglesias argues on the American Prospect “Tapped” blog that the former president got his bad reputation mainly because the “late 1970s were a very bad time in America to be a middle-class professional. Journalists, academics, economists, stock analysts, etc.–all suffered a lot from inflation. Lots of people–union members, poor people, retirees–did very well in the ’70s, but they don’t get to shape opinion and popular memory.”