Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Some Items . . .

. . . in USA Today that caught my eye this morning:

First, this editorial cartoon. What can I say? This is right on the money. I won't be voting for Obama in 2012. You can take that to the bank.

  • Speaking of banks, apparently over 3,700 federal contractors got $24 billion in stimulus money who owed at least $750 million in back taxes, and probably a lot more according to the GAO. What's the matter with this administration? This is intolerable.
  • Defaults on student loans are increasing. The average debt load for graduating seniors is $24,000. Holy cow! This is almost eight thousand dollars more than Susan and I paid for our first house. Trends are "disturbing." Half of the students at for-profit schools like University of Phoenix will default; one-third of the students at community colleges; and one-quarter of those in four-year schools. Observation: I've taught at all three of the these kinds of institutions, and this does not surprise me at all. Purist that I am, I discovered--although I admit to being a real slow learner about this--that the purpose of what used to be called higher education is not to educate anybody about anything; it's to keep the money flowing. Especially at for-profit schools like the University of Phoenix. After several years teaching for them both on-ground and online, I got fired from both jobs because I expected students to perform and to actually do the assignments. Hell, even at the University of Oklahoma, I had a graduate student tell me that he had "paid good money for this course" and he deserved an A.
  • A new sex survey by the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, described as "prestigious," by the way, finds that far from the common one in ten reckoning for the number of homosexuals in the population, the actual figure is between two and five percent. There are all kinds of other data--for some it is "preference" rather than "orientation"--but this one is the most striking to me. To tell the truth, I never thought that ten percent of the population was gay. It always struck me as a ridiculously high number. Now we've got some hard data.
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