Sleepy John Estes with Hammie Nixon on blues harp:
Jan 18th, 2012 at 5:47 pm by Brendan
The “dreadful inevitability” of Mitt Romney’s candidacy has led James Wolcott to conclude that the wing-nut right, despite all its blustering, packs a feeble punch. More here.
Things we did not know about the clitoris!
Sidelined for now, but of course will try to sneak in under the radar later…
I recently shocked someone by saying it may not be worth it for him to send his kid to college. He got quite huffy, basically saying it was important as a parent to bankrupt yourself for your children’s future. I said it didn’t make sense to me, especially now. I said if I had young kids now, I’d encourage them to be plumbers or electricians:
That’s what The Daily, News Corp. and Apple’s daily news outlet for the iPad, calculated a college education could cost members of the class of 2034—children born this year, for the most part—if they attend one of the nation’s priciest schools. But even an average public university will cost $81,000 for four years if tuition hikes continue at current rates—which are increasing much faster than inflation. As tuition continues to go up, and even the president calls for solutions, some are looking at radical possibilities for keeping tuition down—or even eliminating it.
The Daily found that tuition has been increasing even faster at public schools than private—4.5 percent a year for public universities and only 3.5 percent for private. According to Jane Wellman of the Delta Project, which studies the cost of higher education, public schools have been relying on tuition rather than endowments to make up for state education budget cuts.
That last statement shouldn’t be surprising—with the Age of Austerity upon us, cuts have been coming fast and hard to state university budgets. Last year, the University of California system saw a $500 million reduction in the support it gets from Sacramento, a 16.4 percent drop.
With support for public universities dwindling in the ongoing economic slump, the cost of college is falling on the shoulders of families and on the students themselves, who are increasingly forced to mortgage their future on student loans that will follow them for the rest of their lives.
Family incomes certainly haven’t kept up with the rise in college costs—The Dailynotes that family incomes, adjusted for inflation have only grown by 1 percent since 1987, and the median family wage is down from 2009. Poverty is at an 18-year high. And while Rick Santorum might be attempting to burnish his working-class credentials telling audiences that President Obama is a “snob” for saying that he wants everyone to go to college, Catherine Rampell at the New York Times notes that college graduates’ incomes are actually going up in comparison to those of high school grads.
I read this essay Andrew Sullivan did for Newsweek about why Obama’s critics are so dumb, and my reaction was, “Spoken like someone with a job and health insurance.” Now the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf dissects it for us:
To Sullivan, this is the big picture story of the Obama Administration: “the president begins by extending a hand to his opponents; when they respond by raising a fist, he demonstrates that they are the source of the problem; then, finally, he moves to his preferred position of moderate liberalism and fights for it without being effectively tarred as an ideologue or a divider.” Like the whole of his essay, it takes as its lodestar the two-party system and defines Obama as a centrist within it, as if the most coherent way to judge him is by comparison with other establishment politicians.
But centrism inside a consensus that is steadily eroding civil liberties, doing away with checks and balances, and increasing executive power is nothing to support, never mind something to celebrate. “Yes, Obama has waged a war based on a reading of executive power that many civil libertarians, including myself, oppose. And he has signed into law the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial (even as he pledged never to invoke this tyrannical power himself),” Sullivan states. “But he has done the most important thing of all: excising the cancer of torture from military detention and military justice. If he is not re-elected, that cancer may well return.”
That sums it up, doesn’t it?
Obama has transgressed against what is arguably Congress’ most essential check on executive power — its status as the decider of when America goes to war — and he has codified indefinite detention into law, something that hasn’t been done since Japanese Americans were detained during World War II. But at least he doesn’t torture people! How low we’ve set the bar.
It isn’t that I object to Sullivan backing Obama’s reelection if his GOP opponent runs on bringing back torture. Is he the lesser of two evils? Maybe so. But lauding him as a president who has governed “with grace and calm” and “who as yet has not had a single significant scandal to his name”? If indefinite detention, secret kill lists, warrantless spying, a war on whistleblowers, violating the War Powers Resolution, and abuse of the state secrets privilege don’t fit one’s definition of “scandal,” what does? If they’re peripheral flaws rather than central, unacceptable transgressions, America is doomed to these radical, illiberal policies for the foreseeable future.
So why have relatively few formerly middle-class Americans become actively outraged by Wall Street frauds and job-destroying corporate raiders such as Mitt Romney? One answer is that many of us, despite lost jobs or lowered wages, have managed to maintain fairly good living standards, thanks to savings and other monetary cushions. But piggy banks across the country are close to tapped out. More here.