Friday, January 15, 2010

The Maid: Good Help Is Hard to Find

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Advance word is really strong on the dark-humored comedy-drama The Maid, opening this weekend at The Belcourt. A Golden Globe nominee for Best Foreign Film, Chilean writer-director Sebastian Silva's first feature follows a long-suffering housemaid (Catalina Saavedra) who suspects her employers are trying to get rid of her. As they try out a succession of new maids, she wages psychological war on the newbies to protect her turf. We're not sure how the gorilla mask fits in, but hey, it seemed to work in Trading Places. The movie's in Spanish with subtitles and will be playing for one week only. Check in if you see it over the weekend and let us know what you think.

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Senate Passes 'Race to the Top' Legislation

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Update: The governor's bill, optimistically dubbed the "First to the Top Act," has passed the House by a vote of 83-10. House and Senate leaders say they fully expect to settle their differences over the makeup of the special committee set up by the legislation to decide how to evaluate teachers. The Senate is about to reconvene, and an agreement is possible late tonight. Update II: It took until nearly 10 o'clock, but the Senate and the House have struck a deal. The Senate has just voted to agree with the House on the makeup of the advisory committee: As many as five minority members and eight professional educators will sit on the 15-member committee.
The Republican-run Senate has just voted 29-3 for its version of Gov. Phil Bredesen's K-12 reform legislation, mandating the use of student test scores in teacher evaluations. The vote seems to guarantee a partisan fight with House Democrats over the number of blacks who will sit on the special committee that develops the evaluation scheme. House Democrats and Republicans are caucusing right now just before the scheduled start of their floor session. Once the bill passes the House, probably today, it looks like it'll take a House-Senate conference committee to work out differences.

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Getting a Foothold on Presidential History: Johnston & Murphy Designs Shoes for Obama

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 1:37 PM

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Here's some news to make you proud (or nauseated, depending on your political views) of your Music City roots. Johnston & Murphy shoe company, a division of Nashville-based Genesco Inc., has designed some shoes especially for President Obama. According to the company's press release, J&M has "designed a truly unique pair of shoes to complement the president's sharp and sophisticated fashion sense." As for the fashion-challenged staff of Pith, who are typically clad in New Balance sneakers, jeans and T-shirts, all we can say is, "They look pretty cool, as far as dress shoes go." In other words, if we had to go to a wedding or something, and thus were forced to dress up, we could live with this shoe option. It's sleek, tapered, elegant ... classy yet sassy.

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Lawmakers Finally Find Something to Fight About in Special Session

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 11:33 AM

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Finally, it's what we've been waiting for in this special session--a fight! And it looks like it could become a doozy complete with racial imputations and arguments about which political party cares the most about public schoolkids. Republicans and Democrats are drawing lines in the sand over how many blacks should serve on the 15-member advisory panel that will develop the scheme for evaluating teachers and principals in this state. Senate Republicans say one's enough. House Democrats want as many as five minority members, a number they say reflects the diversity of the Tennessee population. House Democratic caucus chairman Mike Turner just woke up reporters in the Legislative Plaza pressroom to give us a briefing. We were delighted to hear we finally have discovered something at least mildly entertaining to write about. "What they envision is 14 white men and one minority," Turner said of Senate Republicans. "That's not acceptable. That's not negotiable."

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Morning Roundup: Entire Audience Falls into Coma at Shocking First Gubernatorial Forum

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 7:41 AM

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The seven candidates for governor tout their education goals at a forum at Belmont and, by all accounts, it's a stick-to-the-script affair. From the Chattanooga Times Free Press, this handy rundown of the candidates' points of emphasis:

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