We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Right Wing Prof says that this NYT piece on Bio-bigotry makes him want somebody to shoot him. The NYT should have made it a companion piece to their Rev. Wright article, who is a genuine bio-bigot. I hate rats and Starlings. Sue me.
Imus, who refers to Hillary Clinton as Satan, referred to Obama this morning as a pencil-neck wimp, or pansy, or something like that. Dean Barnett wonders the same thing.
As if to reinforce the post below, today AOL news creates a Depression-era scare story: People selling their belongings to survive. You would think things were terrible because of tag sales. Meanwhile, economic data say no recession yet, but if people are fearful enough, the media will provoke one in time for the election.
So what's the big issue, other than everybody's normal everyday challenge to build the life that suits their desires and their conscience?
Todd Zywicki has a nice post on the The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke by Professor Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi.
In his writings on the tactics for engineering the communist state, Karl Marx talked a lot about the need to "proletarianize the middle class." This has been a very popular tactic among leftish writers and politicians today, attempting to convince the middle class that they never had it so bad.
No doubt. Let's inculcate a sense of grievance in those two-income middle-class families, so they will turn to the State for rescue. The fact is, we have two-income families because people want more money, and desire a higher standard of living than the average single-income middle class family in 1970.
Ah, but they have less disposable income than in 1970 - and here's why (from the linked pieces):
Discretionary income has shrunk from 46% to 25% of total income - and taxes account for all of that reduction. The governmental solution, no doubt, will be to raise their taxes to provide more "free services."
That's the Gramscian tactic: tax 'em 'til they feel poor, then apply incremental Marxism until they own your soul and you become a grateful serf of The State at The People's Tractor Factory #23.
It comes as a blow to the solar plexus to confront the fact that in urban African American communities all across America a frank racist hate-filled rhetoric is not merely condoned but actually celebrated. We white conservatives have been taught for the last generation to button our lips and never to give utterance to a racist thought. We thought that we were parties to a bargain: that if we shut up and truckled to the liberal race bullies sooner or later we would emerge from the post civil-rights era and its hypocrisies of affirmative action and diversity and we would ascend to the sunny green uplands of post-racism.
Now we hear the ravings of Reverend Wright and realize that we have been had. While we were buttoning our lips and attending compulsory diversity seminars liberals were not holding up their end of the deal and neutralizing the Reverend Wrights of America and their vicious racist bile. On the contrary, liberals were pumping them up!
Today, amazingly, a majority of the students whom colleges admit are grossly underprepared. Only 23 percent of the 1.3 million high-school graduates of 2007 who took the ACT examination were ready for college-level work in the core subjects of English, math, reading, and science.
Perhaps more surprising, even those high-school students who are fully qualified to attend college are increasingly unlikely to derive enough benefit to justify the often six-figure cost and four to six years (or more) it takes to graduate. Research suggests that more than 40 percent of freshmen at four-year institutions do not graduate in six years. Colleges trumpet the statistic that, over their lifetimes, college graduates earn more than nongraduates, but that's terribly misleading. You could lock the collegebound in a closet for four years, and they'd still go on to earn more than the pool of non-collegebound — they're brighter, more motivated, and have better family connections.
Read the whole thing. It makes sense that the degree must be degraded as more people seek it, and as more colleges seek students to fill their buildings.
I am reading the new biography of Albert Einstein. Few college students today could pass the entry exams that he took, which included calculus, literature, French, physics and chemistry. He failed them the first time, in part because his French exam was judged to be weak. (No, he never flunked math.) He spent a year after high school studying to take them a second time.
My point is that "education" or a liberal arts degree was never intended to be a "consumer product." Now it is viewed that way, in the US. And that is a big part of the problem in how we think of education today, because it is not something that can be bought for any price: it is something that can only be taken by those who really want it.
Photo: Columbia College's Alma Mater - one college where a BA degree still means something. Same goes for the great University of Chicago.
Is recreational sex a good thing? Good for whom? And how do I define "good"? Does our pop culture contain any sexual morals anymore? Are women naturally as sexually predatory and opportunistic as some men can be? And what does "natural" have to do with it anyway, since we are humans, not monkeys?
Were I a smarter person, I'd have all the answers.
There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do do not want to lose their jobs.
Is college supposed to be more demanding than High School? Maybe not, in the new, democratized Higher Ed. From a post at Chronicle on reading books:
...when I listen to students today chat (not, I hasten to point out, the ones in my very own class who are all good looking, strong, and above average) about their classes, I too often hear criticism of the work load rather than excitement about the subject matter, a complaint about the hours taken from meeting with friends or playing sports rather than engaging in debate, deciphering philosophy, history or a good poem. “Keep it neat, simple and to the point,” my faculty colleagues tell me. If I assign too much work, they say, students will write negative comments and the following semester enrollment will plummet.
Japan started the war with six million tonnes of shipping and of course built more as the war went on. US submarines sank 1314 of their ships of more than 1000 tons each, plus 700,000 tons of naval ships including eight aircraft carriers, a battleship and 11 cruisers.
They did 416 patrols and fired 14,500 torpedoes. Out of a total of 52 subs lost, 48 were lost operating from the Fremantle base. American submariners made up only 1.6 per cent of the US naval manpower but they had the highest loss rate of US Armed Forces with 22 per cent killed.
Ah, I still remember when I filled up my first 10-CD case. I was on top of the world! When you've got an entire case filled with CDs of hot programs and pics and things, it's like you're some kind of computer god!
I now have over 950 discs. Admittedly, the luster wore off pretty fast.
And I keep them in seven of these:
Each carousel holds 150 discs. You operate a database program on the computer and when you want a certain disc, click on 'Eject' and out it comes. They're only $129, which seems fairly reasonable. I've owned my original three for almost four years and have never had a problem with either the units or the software. Home site is here.
Most of my discs are DVDs, and there's a great program out called MovieCollector that not only organizes your movies every which way, but automagically downloads the jewel box cover pics, names of actors, IMDb rating, etc. Here's the standard layout:
You can also browse through the movies using thumbnails of the jewel box pics, pretty cool. I have a much larger post on this subject on my own site here.