URLs du Jour


  • We've previously blogged about Ms. Anya Kamenetz here and here. Her main claim to fame is the unusual amount of consternation her words can cause among people wedded to old-fashioned ideals of rationality, economic literacy, and moral responsibility.

    Anyway, she's back, and up to her old tricks. Background: a USA Today article about college graduates with large student loan debt. It was the usual sad stuff, and gathered a respons from Cato's Neal P. McCluskey in a USA Today letter here and (at more length) a Fox News op-ed here.

    This caused Ms. Anya to hit the roof at the HuffPo here.

    Throw a lot of federal money at a problem, then say it doesn't exist. That's the conservative party line when it comes to higher education.

    McCluskey responds here, demonstrating that Ms. Anya was probably a little too selective in her fact-quoting, and really didn't understand the problem. His bottom line:

    It's really fairly simple: As long as government is willing to increase student aid, colleges will inflate their prices to capture it. Moreover, as long as states continue to subsidize public postsecondary institutions with taxpayer dollars, we will see public colleges and universities waste massive amounts of money. Finally, as long as those subsidies continue, we will keep seeing tuition at public colleges and universities buffeted by the boom-and-bust cycle that governs most state budgets.
    Also responding was the less polite Radley Balko, who was more, um, direct:
    That someone with so lacking critical thinking skills is oft cited as the "voice" of the under-30 crowd is about as apt a critique of what government meddling has done to higher education and Kemenetz's generation as just about anything I could write. You want college kids to graduate with less debt? Cut federal grants and subsidized loans. Let private organizations and charities fund scholarships for qualified low-income kids. And let the colleges fight it out for the natural market of qualified, prepared, college-bound types. Tuition costs will drop, the quality of higher ed will improve, and a degree will be worth more than the paper it's printed on.
    All in all, another amusing thrashing of Ms. Anya. I probably enjoyed it more than I really should have.

  • Amidst all the hoopla, I've been wondering why I don't care about World Cup Soccer. Fortunately, Mr. Last has the answer:
    But there is one obstacle to soccer acceptance that seems insurmountable: the flop-'n'-bawl.

    Turn on a World Cup game, and within 15 minutes you'll see a grown man fall to the ground, clutch his leg and writhe in agony after being tapped on the shoulder by an opposing player. Soccer players do this routinely in an attempt to get the referees to call foul. If the ref doesn't immediately bite, the player gets up and moves along.

    A Mr. Curt Schilling makes an appearance later in the article, as an example of the kind of thing soccer players don't do.

  • Volokh and I aren't the only ones irate at Jacob Weisberg's "Bushisms" schtick. Mark Liberman at Language Log puts it this way:
    Jacob Weisberg is engaging in cynical manipulation of regional and class prejudice in order to enrich himself.
    He's actually been on the Weisberg case for quite awhile. If you're a little tired of the piles of Bushisms merchandise at your local Barnes and Noble, check it out. (Via Prof Althouse.)

    I gotta start reading Language Log if only for the headlines:


Last Modified 2007-04-18 4:11 PM EDT