Stop the presses!
Administrator at private university calls for public wage freeze.
In case you forgot...
He really does not mind compromising. — Anti-Cato
Maybe begins with "j"?
Matt Yglesias points out—almost gleefully, really—that organized labor has opposed the government’s antitrust action against AT&T and T-mobile. It’s a dilemma for the left! Our friends and our enemies are on the same side! So hard. But what if there were some other principle that really mattered to us? Something that couldn’t be reduced to the distinction between friend and...
has this bumper sticker on his desk: When I first read this, I was like — Steal what? The sign? But then I was like, oh, it’s a joke, because the government likes to steal. (Signs?) And then I was like, wait, if this is a joke, does that mean stealing is okay? — Anti-Cato
Matt Damon and Arne Duncan and Jonathan Chait
Chait is smart — he has a degree from the University of Michigan! — but he is also way into “ed reform”. So naturally he finds Matt Damon annoying. But here is today’s reason why. According to two people familiar with the efforts, the administration tried to arrange a meeting with Damon and government officials, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, before the July 30 ...
Obama says he inherited economic problems Sure, but look what’s he’s done with them! —Anti-Cato
How the Bush tax cuts play out
Jonathan Chait has been saying hopeful things. [T]he Bush tax cuts expire after 2012 barring action by Congress. What’s more, Republicans have signaled that they will not extend the tax cuts on income below $250,000 a year unless the tax cuts on income over that level are extended as well. As I’ve argued endlessly, this provides a huge opportunity to the Obama administration. It...
Chicago School: somehow not dead
No doubt Paul Ryan was inquiring about the “value neutral” research of the AQR Capital Management Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago when he met him for dinner this week. (Also, why oh why was Clifford Asness’s name not incorporated into Cochrane’s title?) — Felix Holt
Archon Fung writes, Political science may displace economics as the dismal science at just the time when we need new visions of political possibilities. AlI I can say is, I think he selected on the dependent variable. — Felix Holt
Wisconsin: More fucked up than Arizona?
Physical assault of supreme court justices by other supreme court justices may now be part of the state’s union-busting strategy. — Felix Holt
There may be a god. [Updated]
Ron Johnson is in some deep shit. — Felix Holt _____________________ Update: This may be harder to prosecute than TPM makes it out to be. (Consider this, for instance.) But one can hope.
More confusion from Republicans
Apparently, Republicans voted to end medicare. Wait, cancel that. — Felix Holt
At last, Kevin Drum says: Unfortunately for voucher fans, when kids all take the same test it’s way too obvious that voucher schools don’t really outperform traditional schools. Nor do they outperform schools in poor neighborhoods (that’s the blue line in the chart). At best, they perform about the same, and at worst they perform more poorly. Not only does this undermine...
"What if these voters are just a clueless horde?"
Michael Kazin has the answer. — Anti-Cato
The new pantheon
Aristotle • Gibbon • Mill • Dawkins. (Also: Cicero • Hume • Mann • Hazlitt • Camus). — Anti-Cato
Don't ever listen to the radio
Heard on Rush Limbaugh this morning: Is it even legal for a college student to be on food stamps? I know he’s an idiot; but, still—fuck you, Rush. —Felix Holt
There is power in a union, according to George...
Jonathan Chait suggests that Republicans are (inadvertantly, I assume) promoting teacher union power through the shibboleth of “local control of schools”. “Local control” almost invariably means letting a policy question be dominated by the strongest local economic interest, with no countervailing power. In education, the only real economic interest with skin in the...
Why are teachers so dumb? Because teaching isn't...
Today Yglesias is saying that the distinctive thing about Finland’s (apparently successful) education system is the prestige associated with the teaching profession there — apparently in contrast with the US. The key point as far as I can tell is simply that [teacher education] programs are very selective. Lots of people want to be teachers, so it’s hard to get into the programs, so...
In other news
Dilbert is having some problems. — Felix Holt
Boring and exhausting
Matt Yglesias, who is generally smart about a lot of things, generally says dumb stuff about education. Here is another example. He’s writing about Dana Goldstein, who had complained (among other things) that elementary school students in Colorado were spending 25 days per school year taking tests. I’m not sure how much sense it makes to complain that “high-stakes testing” is being...
Populism is not popular
I’ve seen this in a few places now: “Why didn’t the Democrats include the debt ceiling in the tax deal?” I’m beginning to think that a lot of us on the left (and I include myself, in optimistic moods) misunderstand the nature of the Democratic Party. Democrats are not Republicans — so, that’s good. But Democrats aren’t particularly ideological. Their...
Mike Pence, psychopath
Apparently, Mike Pence didn’t want a government shutdown, if Slate has it right. As Pence put it in an April 7th speech on the floor of the House, No one wants a government shutdown… it seems like liberals in the government would rather shut the government down so they could continue to borrow money to fund the largest abortion provider in America. This seems to confirm...
Revenge of the focus group
This may explain why the store was given away. — Anti-Cato
The music of what happens
It’s hard not to feel angry with the president. If he won substantial concessions from House Republicans, it’s not clear what they were; if he was unhappy with a substantially different budget than the one he himself had proposed, he didn’t make it obvious. As David Bromwich put it several months ago, His job as he now defines it is to stand at the convergence of forces and...
I try to correct myself
The Wall Street Journal editorial page — that font of fulminating folderol — says today that Inviting a shutdown sooner or later has looked to be the White House strategy since Mr. Obama unveiled his own budget in February that increased spending and dodged any serious budget reform. Our guess is that Mr. Obama’s political advisers have concluded that the lesson from Bill...
Inequality and injustice
Jonathan Chait passes on an ugly chart, from Chuck Marr: Chait is — rightly — disturbed by this. But here is what he says: Conservatives tend to portray the middle-class income stagnation of the last few decades as unrelated to the massive explosion of gains at the top. Liberals tend to portray them as more interrelated phenomena. … Now, the flaw in the liberal story is the lack of...
Against an incentive-compatible mode of governance
Matt Yglesias writes: I’m not much of a populist, and it’s not that I think the masses have all the answers (if you look at polls it’s clear that public opinion is confused about a great many things) but I really do think that democratic accountability is very important. People who win elections should govern, and if the results of their governance are bad they should lose power. That’s an...
I am being sarcastic
when I say thank you — once again — to the president for bringing us Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. — Anti-Cato
Can someone tell me why this is the time when long-term shortfalls in Medicare revenue relative to expected outlays have to be dealt with starting in ten years? I mean, are there any, like near-term problems that might be worth addressing? Or are things, you know, like pretty good? — Anti-Cato
Irony: not dead?
The “devastating consequences of teen pregnancy” now include $262,500 from a teen pregancy prevention organization. — Anti-Cato
Shutting it down
Kevin Drum writes: A government shutdown now looks all but inevitable, and both parties are jockeying to make sure that the other one gets the blame. But I think this paragraph makes it pretty clear which party is really jonesing for a shutdown to happen: >House Republicans huddled late Monday and, >according to a GOP aide, gave the speaker an >ovation when he informed them that...
Don't call it courage.
Ezra Klein says: That Ryan’s shown political courage by proposing difficult and even dangerous policy ideas can’t be denied. He goes on to say that this kind of courage isn’t a virtue, since the ideas are bad. But since Klein isn’t the only one talking about Ryan’s “courage” (see here and here, for example) I think it’s worth saying something about it. ...
Can Michele Bachmann win?
Jonathan Chait thinks so. He is wrong, obviously. The question is why this sort of speculation seems interesting to political writers like him and Ed Kilgore. It’s not that they need to have no political views; Chait, for example, is free to express his moderately progressive militant Zionism on an hourly basis. Is it just lingering dislike of Mitt Romney? Well, it is that. (Not that...
"Bold efforts to reshape Medicare and Medicaid"
That is how The New York Times is describing — in, yes, a news story — Paul Ryan’s plan to make Medicare a voucher program and (basically) eliminate Medicaid. If that is how adults have conversations, please let’s go back to gaily ignoring our problems. — Anti-Cato
How Republicans win elections
Jonathan Chait makes an important observation: Most people have the default assumption that the two parties are essentially mirror images of each other. But there are a lot of asymmetries between the Democratic and Republican parties that result in non-parallel behavior. The Republicans have a fairly unified economic base consisting of business and high-income individuals, whereas Democrats...
David Brooks, serious commentator
Jim Sleeper sees something positive in David Brooks’s new book The Social Animal. The old Brooks had a maddening habit of oscillating between serious commentary and conservative hackery but now, it appears, Brooks is coming around: Brooks is quite right to declare — better late than never — that most of what we do in life is a consequence not of rational choices made by ...
Sale of the century
Kids are now 30 percent off in Maine. — Anti-Cato
Where credit is due
Some weeks ago, I said that you would see Republicans wanting credit for the coming government shutdown. And — as promised — today Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) told MSNBC: I think if liberals in the Senate are unwilling to embrace even this modest step toward fiscal discipline in Washington, D.C., then I say shut it down… Who says the revolution’s dead? — Anti-Cato
Is Bruce Tinsley even trying anymore?
Jack Shafer has been defending the FOIA requests for state university professors’ e-mails. Shafer’s a libertarian, not a party hack, so you might expect something unusual, or at least principled from him. But his argument isn’t unusual or principled at all. Here it is, in outline: Academics like FOIA requests in general. Therefore it’s disingenuous of them not to like...
Teachers: Further indignities
Matt Yglesias is defending high-stakes testing, after a USA Today story exposing significant cheating by teachers on those tests in DC schools. He offers this solution, from Ryan McNeely: even very simple oversight measures, such as making teachers aware that scores will be scrutinized for irregularities, can dramatically reduce cheating frequency. As the trend toward greater reliance on...
Two steps toward a higher-status occupation
From Jonathan Chait’s most recent TRB (subscription required): Transforming education from a low-risk civil service job into a high-reward, high-status occupation requires both doing away with tenure and creating the political will to pump money into a system that deserves to have money pumped into it. I could be wrong about this, but it seems to me that the constant possibility of...
Tim Pawlenty: no Goldwater
Ed Kilgore makes the case against Tim Pawlenty: He is, by most accounts, a personable guy who can connect well with all sorts of people, a quality that will serve him well in one-on-one retail campaigning. But the real issue is whether he is “big” enough for the role of the next Ronald Reagan—is he a redemptive figure who seems like he can lead this most exceptional country back onto the...
Kill me (hiccup) kill me (hiccup)
This is worth a listen, if only for the odd fantasy it evokes of another possible world: http://www.youtube.com/embed/JqaoFRnx3eM —Felix Holt (Thanks to Rupert Maccabee for the tip.)
Matt Yglesias irritates Anti-Cato
when he says shit like this: You’ve sort of got to admire the gritty determination of the Wisconsin GOP. No, you don’t. You don’t have to admire determination in the pursuit of vice. Indeed, it’s hard to think of anything less admirable. — Anti-Cato
Elizabeth Sperry asks whether Richard Rorty argued that neo-pragmatism better advanced feminism’s aims than did representationalist philosophical approaches… Next: are post-Everett interpretations of quantum mechanics bad for black people? — Anti-Cato
It's going to be Romney, okay? Sheesh. [Updated]
Chris Cillizza claims that there is no front runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, and points out how unusual this is. That doesn’t seem right. The only three candidates that are barely plausible at this stage are Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. Huckabee is hopeless: he’s too serious about social issues to convince the suits he’s a fanatical...
Obama: I'm willing to go more than halfway
From the President’s weekly radio address: We need to come together, Democrats and Republicans, around a long-term budget that sacrifices wasteful spending without sacrificing the job-creating investments in our future. My administration has already put forward specific cuts that meet congressional Republicans halfway. And I’m prepared to do more. — Anti-Cato
For some reason Bill Gates has a lot of influence...
A few days ago I recommended Joanne Barkan’s recent piece in Dissent, which points out that Bill Gates has disproportionate power over education policy. Now, via Ezra Klein, comes news that Gates isn’t a fan of the conventional wisdom that smaller class sizes mean better education. “This belief has driven school budget increases for more than 50 years. U.S. schools have...