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May 15, 2021

Comments

I'm not surprised at the restrictions on yoga in Alabama. One of my friends is a dialect instructor in the theater department. Parts of what he does for the Physiological training and awareness required for vocalization are exercises adapted from yoga to teach body awareness. He's had students who requested accommodations based on religion whose intent was to skip the required labs entirely because yoga was against their religion.

No chanting of mantras, no Sanskrit, no anything except vocalization, breathing exercises, and light stretching and relaxation techniques. It's entirely practical and scientific. My friend is an atheist and wants no part of any spirituality exercises. He's just trying to give his students tools to be able to take on roles that require speaking in dialect (and to be able to project better and more safely).

Nope. Too dangerous. Demons.

So far, at least, he has had to make no accommodations. It's an elective class.

same for tai chi. all the subtle energy talk sounds too much like demon possession.

a lotta people walk around with a lotta weird stuff in their head. it makes life a lot more complicated than it needs to be.

Fear of a great many things is not uncommon in American evangelical circles.

It's really quite sad how little faith they have in their faith. Any exposure of their children to another faith will, apparently, immediately cause said children to abandon the faith of their fathers. For that matter, the fathers aren't very secure in their own ability to resist any and every other faith that might come along.

Sad, to see someone who considers their religion that unattractive.

Fear of a great many things is not uncommon in American evangelical circles.

And yet, as I understand it, they say that perfect love casteth out fear.

I wouldn't know, of course, neither claiming nor aspiring to any kind of perfection. But then, I am that most dangerous of animals (h/t Monty Python as recently explained) an atheist jew.

my MiL in Alabama thinks yoga is satanic. she thinks that about Harry Potter, too.

she's 80+ and knows nothing about either.

Cripes! And we thought the Melanesian cargo cult and the tribe that worshipped Prince Philip were exotic!

hsh - Is this a model that anyone else has seen elsewhere? Is it model anyone else would like to see elsewhere?

Sounds like a lot of things working together, hopefully with enough flexibility to not gum up the works in the notoriously kludgy budgeting processes and legacy software that shape the experience at the bursars office.

I'd like to see all college made more accessible and less expensive. I think that it is a huge driver of upward mobility. I'd say the same for vocational programs.

I think if these sorts of programs were embraced by the public as a general principle that we could get rid of the two problematic categories of tuition discounts (need and merit) and just subsidize education and training across the board for public non-profits (and offer some level of the same to qualifying private non-profits).

Of course I'd also prefer that we do away with grades at the same time and just go with a system of P/NP for classes, with an added Passed with Distinction as a possible award. Anyone who is actually doing the work and making sufficient progress should be allowed to continue with no stigma, and people who are not making progress should be given reasonable chances to redo.

Last thing, I'd want to keep this open to non-traditional students so that there was less pressure to go right away, and also make the process more flexible for leaving and returning to a course of study.

Think I may have written similar here before.

I'm a utopian. I'm also a pragmatist, but those thing can both coexist.

I'd like to see all college made more accessible and less expensive. I think that it is a huge driver of upward mobility. I'd say the same for vocational programs.

I'd like to see at least 2 years of JC** made free. And routine. Sort of like happened a century ago with high school. (Total aside: has 8th grade "graduation" finally died out? Or does it linger yet?)

Then we work on making college thru a bachelor's degree available dirt cheap. As in, something anyone can fund on 20 hours work a week. We, as a nation, need all the educated people we can get. And while I'm fine with importing any who want to come, I'd like to build here as well.

** Or vocational training. Whichever better fits the kid's needs and wants.

Great to see that the Moral Majority's behavior is as rock solid as ever.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/05/21/romeo-juliet-anthony-bouchard-wyoming/

(Do they recruit people like this deliberately? Because it seems statistically unlikely they could end up with so many just by chance....)

wj - The scum are all that remains. The less-scummy GQP pols are all retiring. The new crop are all Trump-types.

scum floats to the top.
It is known.

Total aside: has 8th grade "graduation" finally died out? Or does it linger yet?

I haven't been paying attention in recent years, but last I knew, not only had 8th grade graduation not disappeared (or some equivalent), but kindergarten "graduation" was a thing. In a species that accepts death as a reasonable trade-off for the sake of "gender reveals," you're not going to find anything like logic on this issue.

Vaguely elated pet peeve: people calling a high school diploma a "degree." Maybe they only do that around here.... Or maybe they're the same ones who say people "graduated college," though I know that one is definitely used in other places besides Maine.

Last thing, I'd want to keep this open to non-traditional students so that there was less pressure to go right away, and also make the process more flexible for leaving and returning to a course of study.

One of my talking points (more often, writing points) back when I was homeschooling was that school should be more "voluntary" and that lifelong learning should be supported and taken for granted. I don't know how it should work, but yes, definitely, "non-traditional" students should not have to be called that anymore.

I'm sure this was mentioned (by me, maybe among others) in this thread, which I know I have linked here before.

in my 8:43: elated->related

time for tea

College should be free - full stop. It is free or nearly free in many countries.

The detrimental effects and perverse nature of college exclusivity are very well depicted in the recent Netflix doc "Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal". (It also stars Matthew Modine, lol)

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/operation_varsity_blues_the_college_admissions_scandal

And that's just showing the tip of the iceberg.

Do they recruit people like this deliberately?

the GOP has completely given up on the idea of governance. now they just else those who can best recite the latest Carlson-approved anti-Democrat chants and phrases. it's all about signalling their "conservative" identity - project the identity, elect the identity, wallow in it for all to see.

‘It’s like the Romeo and Juliet story’

Yup, just like.

just else those

...elect those...

Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R) apparently thought it'd be a good idea to argue that if Socrates were alive today, "he would be canceled real quick" in contemporary society. I have a strong hunch the Republican legislator doesn't know how Socrates died.
[Source: Maddowblog referring to: https://www.thewrap.com/anthony-sabatini-socrates/)

My guess is that they, if they actually knew, would claim that it was the Democrats (not the oligarchs) that killed him off. And that Sabatini put an 'again' at the end of the sentence that got maliciously removed.

what's awesome is that Sabatini has a degree in philosophy and history (and a law degree). so he should know what happened to Socrates.

so he should know what happened to Socrates

He probably does, he just assumes the suckers he's trying to impress don't.

He probably does, he just assumes the suckers he's trying to impress don't.

While today's GOP national office holders include a depressing number of morons** (e.g. Greene, Boebert), there are an awful lot more who are bright enough to know that they are feeding nonsense to suckers. I'm still naive enough to think that a significant part of a Congressman's job should be educating his constituents. But that's not the world today, alas.

** I wouldn't be surprised if the Democrats have their share of idiot office holders as well. But they don't seem to be anywhere near as high profile.

It is my understanding that Socrates was killed not so much by the oligarchs but by the orthodox. They had to get him out of their polis because his teachings were a source of miasma that ran the risk of offending the gods.

One of my talking points (more often, writing points) back when I was homeschooling was that school should be more "voluntary" and that lifelong learning should be supported and taken for granted. I don't know how it should work, but yes, definitely, "non-traditional" students should not have to be called that anymore.

My first year of undergraduate enrollment was 1986. I earned my BA in 2004. Trying to gather all my transcripts for application to get back into university in 2002 was quite the logistical undertaking (which gave me a lot of sympathy for what people have to go through to get their approved voter IDs - so many byzantine requirements).

I noticed, while applying to one of the colleges in the interim years, that almost all scholarships were aimed explicitly at high school graduates and based on the signs of academic promise. There is very little help for the many who take on debt to try to better their prospects, struggle in their early years and have to drop out. I was exceedingly fortunate to not just complete my BA, but to do so with no debt and then go on to complete a Ph.D. also with no debt.

A big part of why I teach is to give students from disadvantaged backgrounds the benefit of my experience and a voice of support telling them that early struggles do not have to mark the end of their ambitions, and that returning to college later often transforms the experience and leads to greater satisfaction.

If you are fortunate enough to make it through.

The trial of Socrates (as far as we can tell from the highly biased sources) was at least two-pronged and it came from the at the time dominant democratic faction. One of the accusers was a leading politician. There are strong indications that Socrates (and many of his pupils) were sympathetic to the oligarchs. Xenophon made some remarks left out of Platon' version of events that Socrates used highly selective verses from Homer etc. to discredit the idea of democracy (in favor of a rule by the enlightened few).
On the religious part the sources are quite murky. It is likely that charges of asebeia and potential creation of miasma played a role but we can't know how much of that was pretense to avoid the impression of political partisanship. Quotes of Athenian politicians many years later justifying the trial and execution of Socrates hint at mainly political reasons.
Unfortunately we have no contemporary sources on Socrates' Daimonion except from his followers, and the major piece of discussion of this we have is from half a millenium later in a surviving speech by Apuleius ('de deo Socratis') which has its own agenda (distinctly different from Platon, although Apuleius considered himself to be a true Platonist)

Well, there is Aristophanes. In The Clouds the core of Socrates caricature is built on portraying him as a wild eyed Pythagorean. And the plays were part of a religious festival, and deeply concerned with issues of miasma. This has always put Socrates trial in affinity with The Bacchae for my readings.

I noticed, while applying to one of the colleges in the interim years, that almost all scholarships were aimed explicitly at high school graduates and based on the signs of academic promise.

Four-year universities are organized around the goal of producing faculty for four-year universities. Earning a Bachelors prepares one to be a graduate student. Graduate school prepares one to be a junior faculty member. Success as a junior faculty member during the five-year "publish or perish" initial stretch earns one tenure. Granted, that the university system has produced a glut of PhDs looking for faculty positions is changing that last part dramatically (ie, adjunct positions). Note that in a very real sense, Bachelors and Masters degrees are consolation prizes for the "losers". That those people are valued for jobs outside the academia is almost incidental, and certainly not a big factor in how the universities are organized.

With that as the goal, assistance goes to the young, who will finish -- if they finish -- while young enough to have a career. When I went back to graduate school at age 49 in a PhD track, one of the professors told me, "Keep in mind, Mike, that you can write the most brilliant dissertation seen in the last 50 years, but it will not get you more than courtesy interviews. No one is going to hire a shiny new PhD who's going to be looking to retire in ten years."

When I took linguistics classes in my mid-fifties, I considered going to grad school. The department head pointed out that it's a long slog to a PhD, and then another long slog to a tenure-track position... I was sitting there thinking: hey, I'm just having fun studying linguistics. Isn't that the point?

Naive me!

in a very real sense, Bachelors and Masters degrees are consolation prizes for the "losers". That those people are valued for jobs outside the academia is almost incidental, and certainly not a big factor in how the universities are organized.

In some fields, that may well be true. But my experience as an Engineering major was very much otherwise. Classes routinely talked about how the material could be used in industry. And there was a fairly extensive program (which I admit I skipped) for upper division students to spend a year working in industry -- to help them hone down what classes they wanted to focus on in their final year or two.

Perhaps it is a matter of what non-academic jobs make use of the specific expertise taught in a particular major.

Four-year universities are organized around the goal of producing faculty for four-year universities. Earning a Bachelors prepares one to be a graduate student. Graduate school prepares one to be a junior faculty member. Success as a junior faculty member during the five-year "publish or perish" initial stretch earns one tenure.

An idea that still holds sway among many tenure track professors, but one that is under a lot of pressure. I saw explicit criticism of this model coming from within the professoriat when I started to consider grad school in the early 2000s. The precarious financial situation of many not-for-profit institutions of higher education under the austerity rule of the MBA-minded administration has made for a particularly dire academic job market. Professors are retiring, but not being replaced with another tenured professor. Instead they are being replaced by adjuncts.

I don't think the old model can survive much longer. More importantly, tenure track faculty are starting to think this as well. The full professors are hanging on to the old ways, but the assistants and associates that made it through the market in the 21st C. see that it is unsustainable and are much more oriented towards their undergraduate teaching.

Which is good, because it's hard to convince the public to support higher education when the average student's experience of it is shaped by having professors who don't even notice them or care about their goals unless they seem like they could become a brag line on a CV.

As an adjunct, my teaching is entirely build around the idea that my research only matters to the degree that it becomes a part of what my undergraduate students take with them as tools to shape our shared future. That's the way to make higher education matter again.

As an adjunct, my teaching is entirely build around the idea that my research only matters to the degree that it becomes a part of what my undergraduate students take with them as tools to shape our shared future. That's the way to make higher education matter again.

A couple of questions:

1. What do you mean by "tools to shape our shared future"? A couple of concrete examples would be helpful.

2. When was the time (rough date range) when "higher education matter[ed]"?

I admit to being out of touch with current college and grad school level experiences are. Our youngest graduated in '04 and got her grad degree in '09. Both our our children have done well with what they learned in undergraduate as well as graduate school. My wife and I both have done well with what we learned as undergrads and, in my case, law school. These observations hold true for most of the people I know of my general age range (60-70) and their many, many children who finished college and in many cases got graduate degrees. So, I would be interested in finding out why my fairly extensive observed experience from 1972 to the 2015 or thereabouts is no longer apparently the outcome college and grad school offers today.

And, I may not be phrasing the background for my questions as clearly as I would like, and that could be that I'm not understanding your points and the underlying context. So, feel free-as if you wouldn't--to redirect my questions to conform to your intent. Thanks.

What wj said about engineering degrees.
Let me add: a Masters in engineering gives a career boost, a PhD should be left off of a Resume, unless it's for a university job, because it labels one as an "ivory tower" type, unfit for working in industry.

For other fields, yes, a masters is what students get if they wash out of the PhD program, and one MUST have a PhD to make a career in the field.

Your motivations are admirable, nous, but I have to add that, regarding 'non-Trad' students, "youth is wasted on the young", part the infinity.

get offa my lawn, whippersnappers also, too.

My sense is college (bachelor's) degrees fall into two groups.

First, those which mean you have learned information useful in a particular field. Engineering, physical and biological sciences, to some degree social sciences.

Second, those which basically say: This person has a demonstrated ability to learn new material.

There are degrees of applicability, and exceptions, of course. But if you want to talk about what college gets you, and about what college faculty are focused on, I think you need to look at those two groups separately.

1. What do you mean by "tools to shape our shared future"? A couple of concrete examples would be helpful.

What I mean here is that when I plan a topic and readings for one of my writing classes, I try to find some current issue that my students come in already caring about. I try to design my assignments in such a way that they develop the ability to write and speak about those topics to more than just a college audience, and that they think about what they need to change when they write for popular consumption or when they shift from print to online, etc. And I try hard to embed our assignments in a realistic context that shows them how media works, and how public discourse engages with policy and industry.

I could research writing studies, or do more research about PTSD and the writing of trauma, or about the rhetoric of video games and publish on those topics, but those subjects, while more respected by my institution. Would be accessible to only a handful of people. Instead, I try to show 40 to 60 people a quarter how to go out and find other viewpoints and test their own opinions of a subject and find venues where they can discuss these matters in a way that might actually lead to change, and I set them to practicing this.

As for when higher education mattered, I'd say 1940 to 1980 or so was the cresting period. WWII, the GI Bill, the Cold War, the Great Society, all coincided with widespread public support for educational funding. The belt tightening and anti-tax attitudes of the Reagan era started shrinking the share of state university budgets actually covered by the state at the same time that it marked (at the very least) the start of wage stagnation that put working class wages on a slower path than tuition costs.

But it was really the recession of 2007 or 2008 that slammed most institutions of higher learning in the US and forced the model into crisis mode. That's when tuitions really started to rise, with only loans to cover the increase. That's also the period when hiring for tenure track positions dried up and the universities began to embrace a gig faculty model. Somewhere between my grad school cohort and the cohort that came in four years later I began seeing brown bag lunches sponsored by academic departments designed to prepare graduate students for "alternative academic" (alt ac) career paths. 80% of my cohort landed in an alt ac position. This from a top 10 school in the discipline.

Had I not been lucky enough to have paid off all of my loans during the 90s tech boom when jobs were plentiful even without a degree, had I started my schooling in the late 90s or early 2000s with the sort of loans that were expected for a financial aid package, I'd have had to find an alt ac job as well just to service my debt. The only reason I made it to as much security as I have is because I got full support in grad school, and was in a DINK family, and could get a unionized lecturer's position after finishing that gave me benefits and a measure of security after ten years of teaching at the university.

Thanks, that was informative. I wish I had the time to dig deeper into this issue.

Fine and illuminating post, nous.

Perhaps some other readers are as unclear as I am about how student funding works in the USA.

My impression is that elite universities charge very high tuition fees, which may well deter non-wealthy students. Is that right?

In England, tuition fees are capped at about $13k, with government-backed soft loans readily available. My understanding is that in other European countries fees for home-country students are substantially lower.

University of Massachusetts tuition is about 13k, room and board another 14k.

Florida State University tuition is $5500 room and board is 15k or so.

Univ of Florida is $6300.

All those numbers are 5-6 times more if you go out of state. Go to the college you can commute to your not in bad shape

The problem is the culture of sending kids away for the "college exxperience"

My impression is that elite universities charge very high tuition fees, which may well deter non-wealthy students. Is that right?

Beyond the fact that elite universities charge very high tuition fees, that's not true, if by "elite" you mean the Ivies, MIT, Stanford, etc. There are other ways to define "elite," but in line the popular imagination, I think that's good enough to go on with.

E.g. Harvard:

The Griffin Financial Aid Office provides need-based aid that allows us to bring the best students to Harvard, regardless of their ability to pay. Thanks in large part to Ken Griffin’s transformative generosity, along with that of many other donors who support our groundbreaking financial aid program, twenty percent of students pay nothing to attend, and more than half receive need-based scholarships. So, yes—you can afford Harvard.

I went to MIT on scholarship (my year, 1968, was the last year some kids got no loans, only grants and the expectation of a part-time job, which the school would help you find, usually on campus) for all the money MIT and the Financial Aid Service thought I needed. My parents might not have agreed, i.e. helping me with the rest was a bit of a stretch for them, but I also had part-time jobs all through college. Also, all the colleges I applied to came in with roughly the same amount in financial aid offers, although some included some loan $ in the package and MIT did not, at that time.

That was 50+ years ago, and as nous said, things were different then. In some ways things have gotten harder for students -- there are now big loan components to most schools' aid -- but in some ways they've gotten easier -- see Harvard's program as a groundbreaker. There was nothing like that 50 years ago that I know of, unless, I suppose, you count the service academies.

Smaller elite schools can't be as generous, but even some of those make it possible for kids without family resources to attend, and not (like the scammy for-profit pseudo-schools) at the cost of a lifetime of debt slavery.

It's hard to get into the "elite" universities because everyone wants to go there, and too many places go to legacies and athletes. But even allowing for that, if you're a very good student with an impressive record academically and extra-curricularly, and your family has no money, money isn't the obstacle you'd think it should be if you just look at the tuition and housing numbers.

MIT had and still has a policy of no merit scholarships. Admissions and financial aid are separate processes. If you get in, they guarantee that they'll help you financially to whatever extent FAS said you needed help. (Again, families don't always feel that that's enough, but at MIT they try pretty hard. I worked in the admissions office at MIT for four years when I was finishing my dissertation elsewhere, so I have first-hand -- but admittedly long-ago -- experience with this. It isn't just a self-aggrandizing publicity fib. Additional note: if you get an outside-MIT scholarship, they lessen what they give you. They are trying to make an even playing field amongst admitted students....I.e. when calculating "need," outside scholarships are considered to be part of your resources.)

This is already too long, and nous might be able to fill in some of the more recent nuances, but the system is, unlike Pro Bono's impression ... complicated. In some ways I had no business being at MIT: first in my family to go to college, I had no clue about what I was getting into. (Some schools, like Bates College in Lewiston down the road from me, where one of my kids went, now have programs for kids who are first in their families to go to college. I could have used that, although when I was 18 I would have been sure I was above it all, and knew everything.)

In other ways I treasure my years there, and my later connection with the 'Tute (as we called it). I got to spend four years with a bunch of really smart, really dynamic people who were doing interesting things then and many of whom went on to do really cool things later. They were a motley crew, from all parts of the world and all social and economic classes and no one cared about any of that. As I've said here before: MIT is arrogant and elitist in a lot of ways, but if you build a bridge, goddamit, it's got to stand up. There's a groundedness to the place that I appreciated and still do.

Some MIT numbers now.

Once again, the disclaimer: I am trying to answer a vary narrow assertion from Pro Bono, and I am defining "elite" a certain way. It may be just as ridiculous for Harvard to have its billions in endowment as for Jeff Bezos to have his billions in money that should have gone to better wages for Amazon's workers. (I think it is.) But it's still not true that the reason some kids can't go there is money.

One of my nieces went to very expensive, very "elite" schools even before college. When I visited her school when she was 6 or 7, I actually had to work hard not to cry, right there in her classroom, at the thought that every kid should have what those kids had. So in keeping with my normal leftie cred, I'll say: it isn't that the wealth should be taken away from the Harvards and MITs, it's that all schools should have the resources they do to use in making sure every student who wants to, and can do the work, can be there. And also to pay people well to teach them. (Hi nous.)

ETA: I had a bad link, so I fixed it in Typepad, so sue me. Also some typos. There are probably more. I haven't had breakfast yet. Maybe I should leave the computer off until I've eaten. ;-)

I was asking a question, not making an assertion. Thank you for the detailed reply.

my undergraduate degree is from the State University of New York. Per the current tuition and fee schedule, tuition is a little more than 7x what I paid, if you add room and board the whole shebang is about 10x more than I paid.

Current value of a dollar when I went is about $3.40 now.

So, 3.4x vs 7x, or 10x if you live on campus.

russell -- I do a similar comparison using minimum wage. ...

From another angle, I believe John Quiggin of Crooked Timber has written about how the population has grown much faster than the # of places at US "elite" universities. That's related to what I wrote about thinking in terms of giving all schools more resources. Connect the dots of you feel like it.

Taking MIT: US population in 1968, per Google, was about 200 million. Now it's more than 330 million.

My entering class was about 900 students. Average class size now is roughly 1100. Proportional to the population would be about 1500. I would guess you'd find similar numbers at most universities. The elite get eliter, under that model.....

i went to RIT in 1988. tuition + room & board was $14K per year. now, it's $50K+.

i got by with a lot of scholarships from various places (including the school itself), as much cash as the school said my parents could afford, as much as i could get in federal loans (between $2.5K and $4K per year) and a bunch of odd jobs to pay for food, rent and spending money.

i did think about applying to Yale, initially. my grandfather went there so i thought i might have a chance. but ultimately decided i wouldn't be able to afford it even if i did get in. i don't know if that would have been true or not (didn't apply so we never got to find out what Yale would actually do for us tuition-wise). but the perception that the Ivy league schools are too expensive does discourage people from even trying.

also, FYI, student loan maximums have not quite doubled since 1988.

which is not even close to keeping up with tuition increases.


the perception that the Ivy league schools are too expensive does discourage people from even trying

Perhaps, among other things, we need better-informed high school guidance counselors. Yes it was long ago, make what allowances you wish. But my own -- a sweet, round-faced little nun -- was useless for my purposes. Her standard would have been to send me to some tiny little nun-run college in Cleveland, or barring that (I didn't want to go to an all-girls school), Marquette (Catholic, it had to be Catholic!). I did all the research on my own, starting sophomore year of high school.

It’s funny to read this exchange. My understanding for has been for a while that going to an Ivy costs little more in the end than going to a less-expensive school because you get more aid. They have enormous endowments. The hard part is getting in. But “if Princeton wants you to go to Princeton, Princeton will make sure you can go to Princeton” is what I’ve been hearing since I don’t know when.

That is, if you’re the kind of person who needs aid. If you’re wealthy enough that you can afford Princeton, it’s going to cost more than a state school.

Perhaps, among other things, we need better-informed high school guidance counselors.

definitely.

the irony here is: my step-mother's father was in fact a guidance counselor at my high school. and i don't remember him saying anything to me about this stuff.

In Berlin students have currently to pay slightly above 300€ per half-year. Of that about 100€ are university fees and 200€ are for a public transport ticket covering Berlin and parts of Brandenburg. That same ticket alone would otherwise cost about thrice that. It's quite funny that this has led the universities to meticulously check that people applying for student status are actually interested in studying and not just in the public transport savings. Additionally student status allows to get into our numerous and renowned public museums at a much lower ticket prize (and the annual ticket for all of them (including special exhibitions) is just 50€ [100€ being the ordinary full price]).
So, the main financial burden on students is not tuition but paying for rent and living in a city that currently has a shortage in affordable housing.

Another perk is that as a student one has access through the library to huge amounts of literature (in electronic form) that would otherwise be unaffordable (I could not store all the stuff I have already downloaded, if it were in dead tree editions, let alone pay for it in my lifetime).
Yes, I am a parasite in paradise ;-)

According to this recent poll, around half of Republicans think it’s more important to change the rules around voting than to actually win more votes.
https://twitter.com/CBSNewsPoll/status/1393938110426275840

Nigel, the tweet doesn't really reflect accurately what the poll question asked.

If you read it, what the poll results show is that around half of Republicans think that changing the rules is more likely to lead to success than trying to attract more voters. Which could just be a realistic assessment of the unpopularity of their current positions. (Not least, the huge portion of the party embracing the Dear Leader.)

Still unfortunate, of course. But a rather different kind of unfortunate.

they think the votes are there, but aren't counted / are discouraged by our allegedly-fraud-ridden system / are overwhelmed by apparently-undetectable fraudulent votes.

what this means is that they will consider every election illegitimate, unless they win.

you want fascism? this is how you get fascism.

When I was going to a two-year college in '66-'69, they gave me a part-time job preparing and running payroll and other accounting and student reports. I was a bit embarrassed to see that they were paying me more than the senior admin secretaries.

Quick note to add to the discussion of tuition. It's perfectly understandable for people to talk about resident vs. non-resident tuition for Big State University and about private tuition and financial assistance. Those things reflect the costs to individual students and families.

Truth is, though, that none of these things are necessarily a good measure of what attending Big State, say, costs. My university has around 29k undergrads enrolled, 24k of which are CA residents. In-state tuition is around $13.5k and non-resident tuition is $43.5. Needs based financial aid from the university discounts part of that tuition for some students, as does athletic or academic scholarships, so not all students pay the full tuition. On average, once all of this is figured into it, the median tuition is around $15.5.

It should also be noted that, despite being Big State University at X City, the state actually contributes only about 6% of the operational budget, while exerting influence far beyond that 6% on the cost of tuition, so those out-of-state tuition costs face a lot more upwards pressure to make up for this. This is true of most other R1 state university systems.

And if Big State U admits more non-residents to help subsidize that lower resident tuition, the residents howl about how the university should be benefitting residents, not all those outsiders, and put pressure on to limit how many get admitted, driving up the out-of-state tuition even more.

So while I lived under the rules that Marty mentions above, graduating from Colorado as a resident, if everyone follows that rule, then the cost of tuition is going to rise for everyone because there are fewer students subsidizing the in-state discount. The non-residents are floating everyone else's asses.

And, having attended many schools of higher ed, I firmly believe that educational quality declines if the student body is from the local area. Diversity of viewpoint and experience is important when trying to facilitate critical thinking. A homogenous student body is not a curious student body, and curiosity is the single most important quality for learning in my experience.

Hartmut, one should add that students in Germany also get financial support that covers accommodation and basic necessities (if they need it).

The non-residents are floating everyone else's asses.

There may be a bit less float due to Trump's disastrous trade war. Which, apparently, has become prudent trade policy since there's been little or no change since he lost the election.

I worked for a year at a community college with a very large international student cohort, and the college administrators made no bones about the non-resident (and esp. international) student payments being vital to the budget.

International student enrollment collapsed in 2019 - due entirely to Trump Administration immigration policy - and the college took a 30% hit to its overall budget. They had to end programs, collapse departments, and lay off a lot of employees. (I was one of them.)

There may be a bit less float due to Trump's disastrous trade war.

Speaking locally, it was less the trade war putting a dent in international enrollments and more the visa restrictions, both the anti-Islamic ones and the ones against China in the wake of the pandemic.

And they still float everyone else (since few residents care if non-resident tuition climbs) there's just other considerations at work. the university may, for example, relax its admissions standard a bit to admit more wealthy non-resident students to make up for the higher-scoring non-resident students who have been priced out.

But all of this has a knock-on effect for the smaller or less prestigious schools. They already get fewer applications and now they are getting applications mostly from students with greater financial need, so...

due entirely to Trump Administration immigration policy - and the college took a 30% hit to its overall budget. They had to end programs, collapse departments, and lay off a lot of employees.

The question is, was that shrinkage of higher education a significant policy goal? Or merely a fringe benefit of immigration policy? (After all, the immigration could have been structured to allow all those foreign students to still come here and help pay the bills.)

The question is, was that shrinkage of higher education a significant policy goal?

I'd add shrinkage of "not-for-profit" higher education, since the people who are getting appointed to oversee higher ed quite often have ties either to for-profit post-secondary institutions, or to tech industries that are busy trying to disrupt higher ed and shoehorn their product into the educational landscape.

Maybe in another post we can discuss the differential effect of economic background on student experience with tech-mediated learning.

novakant, true. but it's partially a loan* and will (at least in the bigger cities) not suffice by itself (although I believe that it's still more of a problem in Munich than Berlin).
Covid was/is a major problem because it wiped out a large amount of typical 'student' jobs.
It's nice to have but it would not fundamentally change the system, if it was absent. I know a lot of students that don't use it but work part-time and manage quite well.

*no interest and students have to repay only about half of it

wj - I think it was serendipitous, with the destruction of colleges a nice fringe benefit. I don't think anyone in the Trump Administration knew or cared a single bit about the impact on colleges.

I don't think anyone in the Trump Administration knew or cared a single bit about the impact on colleges.

I suspect you are correct. Best evidence: if they had been trying to do it deliberately, their characteristic level of (in)competence would have guaranteed it didn't happen.

Interesting stuff. I feel (though I am happy to be corrected) that one reason why we have the mix of people we do is that a lot of us bopped around in higher ed. I advisedly choose that verb because we certainly didn't go in with a purpose. And I say that with affection, though nothing against folks who had a more targeted goal.

I also imagine that this is why I ended up overseas. I can't think of anyone I've met who said 'well, I wanted to teach in Japan so I began doing X, then Y, followed by...' All the people I know here have some strange combination of interests and happenstance to get them here.

I also think that partly an issue with higher ed in the US. Generally, people who like school want to stay there, if not as students, then as teachers. They will do that even though the costs may not really logically make sense. So much for the invisible hand.

There is a different sense in Europe with its more widespread support (though the same desire to remain a student is there?), though the UK has been moving to a US model. Here in Japan, we have a US model as well, but the strain of thinking that made education special goods, combined with the post-war ethos that was imported from the US, combined with very indulgent parents, creates a similar situation. That, coupled with the position of English in society, has made this a nice sinecure. I have vague aspirations that I'm as altruistic as nous, but I'm certainly a bit further away from that. EFL has tons of acronyms and here in Japan, one of my favorites is TENOR (Teaching English for No Obvious Reason)

We don't have the issue of adjuncts, but the part time teachers are often those who have gotten qualifications and are acting as full time part time teachers. You can carve out a decent living like that, though a lot of trends are making that increasing untenable. It will be interesting to see what happens, in the way that the French Revolution or industrialization are 'interesting'.

a lot of us bopped around in higher ed. I advisedly choose that verb because we certainly didn't go in with a purpose.

Oh, I definitely had a purpose/goal in mind. My actual career never went anywhere near there. For multiple reasons, including a recession in that industry at the time I left school. But it wasn't for lack of a purpose while I was in school.

Generally, people who like school want to stay there, if not as students, then as teachers.

I really liked school. Not to the point of wanting a PhD, but just taking lots of classes. Happily, I discovered UC Extension** -- let me keep taking misc classes. (Plus, my 1st employer came up with a program to let anyone who wanted to get an MBA. Definitely not intended for computer staff . . . but they didn't write the program to exclude us.) If what I loved was the environment, I suppose I might have ended up a teacher. But what I loved was learning new (totally unrelated) stuff.

Hmmm. It occurs to me that I have somehow ended up this past year with a job title of "Teacher" at the Virtual School of Internet Governance. Not quite sure how that happened, since I never went looking for it....

** Now, of course, there are Internet-based classes without end.

Well, wj, (and again, said with affection) you do tend to be our main outlier here...

But that desire to find out about stuff seems to link a lot of us together.

Well, wj, (and again, said with affection) you do tend to be our main outlier here...

I confess that exactly that thought did occur to me as I was typing. ;-)

@wj,

In all Nordic countries, the corporal discipline of children has been prohibited for decades. It is an assault to slap your child, and this is enforced. If a child tells at the kindergarten about having been slapped, you are quite sure to end up in trouble with child protection service and the police.

It works fine. I have been able to raise my children without using corporal punishment. Even a small child is completely able to listen to verbal messaging, just like a puppy. A firm "No!" is very effective with babies and small toddlers. With larger, a longer tirade about the problems in the behaviour is equally effective. The kid is quite able to understand "You do this, you might get killed. That is why you make me angry. Never do that again." The key is to use a clearly understandable tone and end the situation so that the child understands being loved despite having acted wrong. I learned to do it so that my children started crying with a certain frown rising upon my brow. That was a good thing: I hate shouting at them.

@Hartmut,
The same goes for university education in Finland. There is no tuition for EU/EEA students. The student union collects about 49 euros in fees per year, and the National Pension Insurance Organisation collects 72 euros for students' health insurance. You get 252 euros' allowance per month + plus a grant of about 400 euros for housing expenses. (EU requires all EU/EEA students to get the same benefits as domestic ones.)

The one really nice thing is the adult student grant. You can get, once in your life, up to 15 months of unpaid leave from your employer to study a college or vocational degree, provided that you have already worked for six years full-time. During the leave, you get paid about 70 % of your previous income. You can do use this allocation once or in several parts, at least two months per time. That is something that allows you to change careers with relative ease. (The money comes with strings attached: they will require you to show a transcript with enough credit points afterwards. If you fail the classes, you'll need to pay the grant back.)

I don't know how you endure under such tyranny, Lurker.

I don't know how you endure under such tyranny, Lurker.

I sent an urgent email plea to Bill Gates begging him to do something about this.

I sent an urgent email plea to Bill Gates begging him to do something about this.

Clippy: "I see you're trying to write an email to Bill Gates, can I help you with that?"

LOL DIAF GOP U SUXX

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Monday meant to punish tech companies that are accused of policing conservative thought.

The legislation aims to stop social media companies from “deplatforming” political candidates. It’s an apparent nod to President Donald Trump, who was banned from Twitter and Facebook earlier this year.

“What we’ve been seeing across the U.S. is an effort to silence, intimidate, and wipe out dissenting voices by the leftist media and big corporations. Today, by signing SB 7072 into law, Florida is taking back the virtual public square as a place where information and ideas can flow freely,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez.

The bill gives the state’s election commission power to fine media companies up to $250,000 a day for “deplatforming” any candidate for statewide office, and $25,000 per day for de-platforming candidates for non-statewide offices.

in other words: lie all you want, GOP, we've got your back.

Politicians cost individuals, institutions, and taxpayers billions of dollars by passing laws they have to know are unconstitutional. But will take years to drag them through the courts to the Supreme Court to have them ruled so.

laws they have to know are unconstitutional

If you think you have a good handle on what the current Supreme Court will decide is unconstitutional, you have a much clearer crystal ball than I.

Happy 80th birthday, Bob Dylan.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/may/24/favourite-dylan-song-mick-jagger-marianne-faithfull-tom-jones-judy-collins-and-more

I don't often quote Mick Jagger, but when he says

His greatness lies in the body of work.

he's absolutely right.

I'm running for FL Gov. I can say anything I want and the Wimpy Moderators at ObWi can't stop me!

FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!FREEEEEEEEDOM!

I hear that Devin Nune's Cow is running for office also, too.

If you think you have a good handle on what the current Supreme Court will decide is unconstitutional, you have a much clearer crystal ball than I.

Part of the uncertainty in the law is due to the courts starting with the verdict they would like to have in a case and working their way backward to try and find justifications for it in existing law and the constitution. Instead of starting with the constitution and existing law and reasoning their way forward to the verdict a case should have.

the courts starting with the verdict they would like to have in a case and working their way backward to try and find justifications

Precisely. With laws like this, anyone who is minimally literate can see the conflict with the Constitution. No law school education necessary. But will the Court, this Court, rule that way? I sure wouldn't bet the ranch on it.

CharlesWT: ... courts starting with the verdict they would like to have ...

That may well be true of appellate judges in general and SCOTUS judges in particular. (It seems strange to ascribe desires to "courts" as if they were corporations or something.) And that would explain why it matters so much to both Republicans and Democrats who gets to be an appellate judge.

Only charlatans pretend that their judicial rulings are always totally independent of their personal preferences; only fools believe them. The Framers were not fools.

--TP

Happy 80th birthday, Bob Dylan.

Dylan has released 39 studio albums, 12 live albums, and god knows how many bootlegs, singles, and compilations. Everybody has covered a Dylan tune at some point. He survived being the voice of a generation, somehow, and just kept writing songs.

He’s had a 60-year career in an industry that generally chews people up and leaves them for dead by the side of the road. He’s been on tour more or less all his life, and basically continuously since 1988. The man is 80 and he’s still at it.

When he was young, he immersed himself in American traditional music. He was, famously, a sponge, learning everything he could learn from anyone who would sit still long enough to teach him, stealing records from his friends. He was obsessed.

He writes from a deep knowledge of that body of work, and from his own kind of intuitive bardic mind and sensibility. Leadbelly and Rimbaud, cowboy songs and Appalachian hollers, roadhouse R&B and ancient murder ballads. It’s all in there.

He doesn’t have the facile gift of somebody like, for instance, McCartney. He’s written some stuff that is timeless, and some that is kind of mediocre. I’d say his lifetime batting average is maybe around .300. But when he’s on, nobody can touch him. There isn’t anyone like him.

My own personal favorite of his is It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry, probably the best song title ever. It’s a tune that sounds like it could have been written on a front porch in Arkansas or Mississippi somewhere around 1924, but it also doesn’t sound dated. It’s wry and funny and sly. It’s written by a guy who is deeply and profoundly steeped in traditional American song.

Dylan didn’t emulate the people in that lineage, he became one of them. People will sing his stuff 100 or more years from now. That’s an astonishing accomplishment.

He’s a complicated and often difficult cat - there have probably been ten different Bob Dylan’s over the last 60 years, each with their own persona and distinct body of work - but his work stands and speaks for itself.

An amusing Ben Dreyfuss Twitter thread reminiscing about Dylan.

The ‘train people’ thing is also kinda funny

Instead of starting with the constitution and existing law and reasoning their way forward to the verdict a case should have.

I'll take Shelby County for eight hundred Buzzy.

For the Bob Dylan obsessives...

"In celebration of Bob’s upcoming birthday, I’ve decided to undertake an irresistible but dangerous proposition for a Dylan obsessive: I’m going to rank all of his studio albums. Originally, I thought about doing all of his albums, including live records and installments of his essential Bootleg Series. But I realized that this might very well kill me, or at the very least cause my wife to sneak off in the night with the kids. So! I’m sticking just with the studio albums."
Every Bob Dylan Studio Album, Ranked

I thought russell's comment @11.57 on Dylan was very fair.

Personally, I am far from a Bob Dylan "obsessive". I stopped listening to him altogether for years in the middle of his output, only started again with "Blood on the Tracks" (which, when it was first released, made me pull my car over to the side of the road in disbelief when I heard it on the radio), and am still completely ignorant of almost all his mid-period work and even most of his very late work.

But perhaps this makes it all the more significant that I consider him, based on the work I know, to be a true genius. When he won the Nobel prize I got into a (good-natured) fight with cleek right here about his worthiness. When I went online and checked a list of all his songs, I was astounded to see the number of great - not good - great songs there were. Hundreds. (And, russell is right, many mediocre ones.) And even some of his minor works are amazing; I consider his Black Diamond Bay to be superior to My Last Duchess, a hugely anthologised poem of Robert Browning's, where conveying the unspoken is concerned.

As for "He’s a complicated and often difficult cat", this is if anything an understatement. He was one of the artists I was thinking of when we recently talked about whether knowing reprehensible things about an artist's life affected one's opinion of their work. For me, where he is concerned, it has not.

When asked what a song means, he has famously said "Don't ask me, I only wrote it." He may be one of the best arguments (as Mozart was in his day) for being a conduit from the divine, or the collective unconscious, or whatever concept makes sense to you.

When he won the Nobel prize I got into a (good-natured) fight with cleek right here about his worthiness. When I went online and checked a list of all his songs, I was astounded to see the number of great - not good - great songs there were. Hundreds. (And, russell is right, many mediocre ones.)

The only people who have won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and who did not have a lot of mediocre published works alongside their great work, are those who had an extremely limited number of works published at all. Which, it is my impression, are often those who are getting the award based more on politics than on quality of work.

He was one of the artists I was thinking of when we recently talked about whether knowing reprehensible things about an artist's life affected one's opinion of their work.

From interviews Dylan had with long-time friend and Minnesota homebody Tony Glover, about his state of mind ca. Highway 61 Revisited:

“You didn’t sing songs like that and live a normal life,” Dylan said. “In order to be that strong on one level, you have to be very weak in other ways.”

Dylan's gone to some dark places and lived to tell the tale. The songs from the Highway 61 period, in particular, are some of the most bitter and jaundiced work in popular music, or any music. And also some of the most remarkable, it's just startingly good.

Blood On The Tracks is one of the most consistently great recordings in popular music. And it's full of angry, bitter resignation. It's a record of Dylan confronting his own failures as a person, and it's brilliant.

Perfection of the life, or of the work. Not many achieve both. Most of us are lucky to get one.

100 years from now, people will be singing Bob Dylan songs. That kind of achievement rarely comes for free.

'homebody' -> 'homeboy'

autocomplete delenda est

The only people who have won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and who did not have a lot of mediocre published works alongside their great work, are those who had an extremely limited number of works published at all.

Yes, publish the Steinbeck werewolf novel, dammit.

Rolling Stone did what it does best and published an "80 best Dylan covers" with plenty of controversial picks.

my peeve: they left off Robyn Hitchcock (who has an entire double album full of Dylan covers, and plenty besides that), but picked a song from his girlfriend's new album full of Dylan covers (which Robyn plays on).

I am A Bob Dylan obsessive to some extent, my son is named after him. The only other option was Kris. 40 years later it was a good choice. I loved your summary russell.

He has, in a way not equalled by many, shared his emotional life with us. From Baby Let me Follow You Down to Don't think twice to Tonight I'll be staying Here with You to, well, all of Blood on the Tracks all the way to I've Made Up my Mind to Give Myself to You he wrote amazing love songs intertwined with his philosophical works.

It was all Bob Dylan.

I would comment on how lucky we are to have been here for his music, but, like russell, I'm pretty sure my ancestors will get to experience the body of his work. It was nice to see him live a few times.

I'm pretty sure my ancestors will get to experience the body of his work. [emphasis added]

A prediction of time travel? ;-)

Odd word hmm I wonder if that was somehow hopeful. Descendants

I've just been reading something on Wikipedia about Dylan, and found this about Like a Rolling Stone, which supports what I was saying about the conduit thing:

In 2004, speaking to Robert Hilburn, Dylan still felt that the song had a special place in his work: "It's like a ghost is writing a song like that, it gives you the song and it goes away. You don't know what it means. Except that the ghost picked me to write the song."

One more thing, last week I got captivated by this video. The fact that these guys love doing this with him just comes through.

https://youtu.be/rGEIMCWob3U

:thumbs up:

That’s Steve Cropper and (I think) Duck Dunn in the back line.

Nice, Marty. Thank you!

I never got the grumpyness - what's that all about?

I always preferred Simon and Garfunkel

- ducks and runs for cover...

But happy birthday anyway!

Yeah it was Duck, the MGs were the house band that night,and GE Smith. The whole concert is worth streaming.

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