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Archive for May, 2017

David Leonhardt of the New York Times wrote an interesting column complaining about declining funding for college. He held that declining state funding for college was leading to declining economic diversity, especially at four-year colleges.

Meanwhile, Fareed Zakaria was on CNN lamenting the lack of ideological diversity on campus, citing in particular the Notre Dame students who walked out on Vice President Pence’s graduation speech and the Middlebury students who shut down Charles Murray’s speech. There have also been problems reported at Berkely and at Evergreen State. It also seems each year, while the vast majority of graduation speakers are liberal, only conservative speakers get protested.

I wonder if these things might be tied. I went to school with a lot of working class & middle class students. They weren’t trying to “discover themselves” or “save the world” – they were learning to better their lot in life and become productive citizens. Many, like me, were working part-time to put themselves through school.
When you’ve actually got to struggle to get that education, you’re a little too busy to look for new things to be angry about. I suspect part of the problem of the Yale kids who berated two professors who had the temerity to think the school didn’t need to police Halloween costumes is they didn’t actually have real struggles to worry about. These Evergreen State kids who abused the professor who didn’t want to participate in a “Day Without White People” or whatever they wanted to call it need to see some actual hardship.

Some professors will try to guide them properly, but they appear to be becoming an actual aggrieved minority. Just look at what happened to the Duke University professor who didn’t want to attend diversity training, and advised other faculty members not to attend. He’s no longer employed at Duke. He should have been more diplomatic, but I also think had he been undiplomatic in supporting a liberal position, he’d still have a job.

Duke had someone undiplomatically express a conservative opinion (held in secret by many other faculty) and he is no longer employed. Yale had a mob assault a faculty member, and Yale just gave two of the mob leaders an award. People see this – and makes them wonder what the students are actually learning. And whether they want the government to pay for that.

Mr. Leonhardt may well have a point about lack of funding for higher education aid to poorer students.  And I appreciate that he also cited the money wasted on student centers and expensive never-pay-for-themselves athletic programs and other lower utility budget items as culprits in this problems.  But he may want to take a look at the ideological diversity of the faculty as another culprit.  The waste and the ideological litmus test (which are another form of waste by ruling out better qualified right-of-center applicants) makes people on the right less interested in funding overall.  But I’m really curious why those on the left seem less interested in financial aid.  Could it be that letting in more working-class, pragmatic students might interfere with the entitled liberal ones who may start protests but also vote the ‘right way’?

– 1TF

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After last year’s presidential election, Forbes magazine printed a story on how Jared Kushner helped Donald Trump win. The key insight was that Kushner had somehow created a 100-person data mining operation outside of San Antonio, Texas. I remember thinking that all of this sounded awfully sophisticated for a political neophyte. There seemed to be something incomplete about the story. Who were those 100 people? Why did we never hear from anyone who had been there?

Now comes word on MSNBC and CNN that Kushner is “under FBI scrutiny” in the federal Russia probe. Reportedly, Kushner is merely a person of interest, not the target of the investigation. I hope that’s the case. But I also hope the feds ask a few questions about that operation in Texas. I’m not saying anything underhanded happened there.  I am saying that the explanation provided in the magazine was unsatisfying and left me curious as to who was working at that site.  Citizens have a right to know whether that truly was a gravity-defying political operation operated by first-timers or if they got a little clandestine help from some discreet old pros.

– 1TF

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It is striking how much more liberal the Washington Post has gotten recently. I don’t know if it’s the Jeff Bezos purchase, Donald Trump’s election or something else. But it’s palpable.

A Washington Post article today discussed how President Obama’s photographer trolled President Trump by printing pictures of the Obamas holding hands after Melania had apparently swatted Trump’s hand away during Trump’s overseas trip. It was bad form on the photographer’s part, but I suppose he can do what he wants. But why on earth is that news? For the Post to prominently post that story tells you something about their relaxed journalism standards. I’m not a Trump fan – I find him remarkably uninformed and self-centered – but the reaction of many in the media to Trump borders on the hysterical. There are many points of concern with this President. Fine. Take him on on legitimate issues; that’d be good for the country. But printing this ridiculously small and petty story about the photographer says more about the Post than it does about the President.  I get it – you hate him.  You hate yourself for being part of media machine that helped drive him to the Republican nomination, and now you’re trying to make up for it.  Fine – but that’s not news either.

One complaint I had with Hillary Clinton is that she brought out the worst in both Republicans and Democrats. President Trump appears that way. Many Republicans are troubled by him, but a sense of party loyalty causes them to pull their punches, even when punches are called for. Democrats meanwhile are at risk of becoming deranged. Their rage at him are causing them to do things they may not be proud of in the future. That includes Democratically inclined media outlets like the Post.

– 1TF

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