Morning Links

Friday, December 9th, 2011

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33 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  edmund dantes | 

    We really are not that far removed from Star Chambers. We already have them in many ways.

  2. #2 |  flatrocker | 

    Did we read the same Mark Judge article??
    Pretty thought provoking, really.

  3. #3 |  the innominate one | 

    Mark Judge is an idiot, based on that piece.

    Expect him or someone like him to be promulgating stories about Hitchens’ deathbed conversion after he passes, like they did to Charles Darwin.

    I’m not a fan of Hitchens, but that kind of thing is up there with the Mormon church claiming various people by posthumously symbolically baptizing them into the LDS church. It doesn’t mean anything, but it is offensive.

  4. #4 |  Sandhillpam | 

    I liked the “How Doctors Die” article. I’ve seen the miserable deaths of several relatives. Now someone needs to come up with a cool looking DNR tattoo!

  5. #5 |  PogueMahone | 

    Postrel cites Glen Reynolds as he goes on and on about the “higher ed bubble.” But Reynolds is an idiot on most things so why should I listen to him now?

    For example, he says we should have the colleges be on the hook for the loan if the student fails post-degree. That doesn’t make any sense. Why don’t we make the construction company on the hook for a loan to a home buyer? Why don’t we make an auto company be on the hook for a loan to a car buyer?

    Why not? Because that’s just stupid. Why should the colleges be made to suffer on the failings of a customer?

    Also, Reynolds says we should focus not on universities, but trade schools…

    For the past several decades, America’s enthusiasm for college has led to a lack of enthusiasm for vocational education.

    We need people who can make things, and it’s harder to outsource a plumbing or welding job to somebody in Bangalore.

    Heh, according to the DoE, the highest areas of student loan defaults comes from … wait for it … trade schools. (next are the for profit schools, which Reynolds doesn’t mention at all)

    Besides, the perfesser must believe that somehow, magically, if these kids would just give up on their liberal arts dreams to become something more useful like a plumber – then obviously more water pipes would burst. He forgets that plumbers and other skilled labor face market forces just like anything else. Even in my small rural community, I can open the phone book to find more than a dozen plumbers competing with each other. Just because one goes to school to become a plumber, doesn’t make my demand for a plumber any greater.

    As Judge Smails says, “the world needs ditch diggers.” True, but the world only needs so many ditches.

    Reynolds also ignores the fact that the unemployment rate for those with a college education is significantly far less than for those without.

    It’s simple – wanna get the student loan default rate down? … Get the economy moving again. No need to make colleges pay back loans for students who – for whatever reason – are unable or unwilling to pay back a loan that they took out.

    And don’t get rid of the federal student loan program. Half of my friends are products of student loans – and they are all well-paid, productive members of society who fall within a tax bracket that makes them pay taxes.


  6. #6 |  Bart | 

    Thank you for showing me the “How Doctors Die” article Radley. Very thought provoking.

    I would love to see a study comparing a person’s preferences for or their actual end of life treatment with how they rated their relationship with their primary physician in the last year of life.

    Basically, to see if a strong personal relationship with a doctor leads to treatment closer to what the doctor would want for themselves in that situation?

  7. #7 |  Wesley | 

    As far as I can tell, this is Mark Judge’s logic:

    1. Hitchens writes an article rejecting a commonly-used platitude from Nietzsche in his usual fashion.

    2. The Nietzsche article wasn’t about religion.

    3. Hitchens wrote an article where he didn’t say mean things about religion!

    4. Hitchens might be reevaluating everything.

    5. Hitchens might reassess Christianity.


  8. #8 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “This column’s title is extremely deceitful. There is nothing in the way of empirical evidence that suggests Christopher Hitchens is any closer to believing in god than he ever was, it’s purely unfounded speculation and christian masturbation.”

    This comment after the Hitchens article makes me wonder if it’s a sham.
    The same death-bed conversion was contrived about Sartre. As a teenager, believing Existentialism was pretty thoughtful, I always wondered “What the funk is Sartre renouncing? He thinks he’s gonna go to Hell for that?”

  9. #9 |  Irving Washington | 

    The how doctors die article desperately needs some evidentiary support.

  10. #10 |  John Thacker | 

    Why don’t we make the construction company on the hook for a loan to a home buyer? Why don’t we make an auto company be on the hook for a loan to a car buyer?

    We do. We allow those debts to be discharged in bankruptcy. Discharging the debt in bankruptcy allows the lender to be on the hook. Allowing the lender to be on the hook affects the fees that they charge the seller.

    Of course, a shorter way around this would be to allow education loans to be discharged in bankruptcy. The reason we don’t do that is because education can’t be repossessed the way that homes and cars and other real property can, so there are greater incentives for people to declare bankruptcy right out of school, then go on to have the education and income that they got the loan for. It is of course an open question about whether there really were that many strategic bankruptcies by new graduates, but Congress passed the law in response to various DOE reports.

    “Heh, according to the DoE, the highest areas of student loan defaults comes from … wait for it … trade schools. (next are the for profit schools, which Reynolds doesn’t mention at all)”

    Certainly true, because both take the worst students. Similarly, community colleges and HBCUs and low ranking not-for-profits rank as bad (and if you split out the low ranking ones from the overall score, they’re as bad or worse than the for profit schools.)

    All of that argues in favor of the bubble argument, that schooling doesn’t add that much to what the student brings with herself. Aside from a piece of paper that is used to get around the Griggs v. Duke Power requirements– a school is allowed to use generalized IQ tests in a way that a company would not. If all a company wants to do is hire smart people, then they’re legally required to outsource that to schools.

  11. #11 |  captainahags | 

    The article about hitchens was simply disgusting- nothing but bitter sniping and speculation about his illness bringing him to jesus or some crap like that. Also great to see the “He never attacked the REAL intelligent christian scholars” trope in there. Keep dragging that red herring, Judge.

  12. #12 |  John Thacker | 

    Interesting that “How Doctors Die” is taken as an “interesting read” based on anecdotal evidence of how one guy says a few doctors face death. Whereas articles about anecdotal evidence about how a few atheists may face death are, of course, “shameless” and unconvincing.

    Regarding the detainment of US citizens, I find it interesting that people keep (wishfully) misreading the Administration’s veto threat. The Administration clearly is threatening to veto only because it doesn’t want *Congress* deciding whom to imprison. Like all Presidents, it’s merely a call for maximal Executive authority.

  13. #13 |  Bob | 

    Interesting read: “How Doctors Die”

    Excellent article. People give too much credit to the medical sciences instead of doing everything they can to stay OUT of hospitals.

    Doctors are not gods capable of preventing death, they are just technicians who know a bit more about the plumbing inside there than the layman. The farther you are past your “Use by” date, the more futile intervention, much less heroic intervention, becomes.

    Do everything you can to stay OUT of hospitals. And yes, that means stop smoking, eat more spinach, and eat less processed food. ‘Cause some fancy technician with a white outfit can’t save you.

  14. #14 |  Radley Balko | 

    Interesting that “How Doctors Die” is taken as an “interesting read” based on anecdotal evidence of how one guy says a few doctors face death. Whereas articles about anecdotal evidence about how a few atheists may face death are, of course, “shameless” and unconvincing.

    You’re trying really, really hard here.

  15. #15 |  Brandon | 

    “You’re trying really, really hard here.”

    I don’t think he’s trying that hard.

    And #5, you really need to actually read some of Glenn Reynolds’ stuff, he has addressed every single one of your points in one form or another. And your knee-jerk disagreement with the things he says does not make him an idiot.

  16. #16 |  PogueMahone | 

    We do. We allow those debts to be discharged in bankruptcy. Discharging the debt in bankruptcy allows the lender to be on the hook. Allowing the lender to be on the hook affects the fees that they charge the seller.

    We don’t. If a home builder erects a 3 bedroom, 2 bath colonial – and I get a loan of $300,000 from the bank for the home – and I default on that loan – the home builder DOES NOT EAT THE $300 grand. If a car salesman sales me a car via a $30,000 loan from the bank – and I default on the loan – THE CAR SALESMAN DOES NOT EAT THE $30 grand. And why should they? It is the bank that takes the risk and earns the interest money – not the builder or the car salesman.

    Why should a university be held to take the risk of that of a lender, when it is not the university that earns the interest money?

    Reynolds is an ideological stooge.

    The only reason to be concerned about an “education bubble” is when the default rate increases. And right now, the default rate is high, but that is because the economy stinks, not because universities offer “useless liberal arts studies.”

    When the economy improves – and it will – the default rate will decrease.


  17. #17 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Perhaps Hitchens’s admission that Nietzsche might have been wrong, even about something small, will lead him to a healthy curiosity about Christianity”

    Not bloody likely, Mr. Judge. Please move on with your life and let the man be.

  18. #18 |  GT | 

    The Hitchens piece was tripe (actually *both* were: the “Is he converting” ABOUT Hitchens, and the Vanity Fair piece BY Hitchens).

    I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: fuck Hitchens.

    The guy is – quite literally – third-rate: he got a 3rd at Balliol (in the UK system 90-95% of people who PASS get an upper second or First). And he doesn’t even write well: compare Hitchens to either of the two Johnsons (Boris or Paul), Matthew Parris or Taki… Hitch comes off as a dill. And I disagree with a lot of what all of those folks say (except Taki). Maybe Americans can’t tell good writing (they thought Kerouac was poetry, after all).

    Hitchens was as dedicated to Marxism as he later was to the neat idea of turning brown children into bloody red mist because of what their parents believed or because of what their government did. That the wellspring of the bulk of my utter contempt for him… as well as the fact that he spent his whole life shopping for causes – each one of which he believed in fervently, and each of which he betrayed eventually.

    He smoked for his whole life until a soi-disant ‘epiphany’ – how it takes an epiphany to see that smoking is retarded is beyond me, considering that his entire life was lived AFTER the link between smoking and cancer was established beyond doubt. And he’s dying of an illness strongly linked to that stupid noxious habit… Scientific Method, bitch.

    He drank like a fish as if that would turn enable him to pretend to be Hemingway. All it did was turn him into a surly cunt (not that there’s anything wrong with that: it does the same to me) who still couldn’t write to save himself.

    And in the last decade or so (a little longer) he’s attached himself to the atheism movement – the parasitic cunt has an inbuilt desire to belong to movements (Marxist, Oxbridge Bummers, NeoTrot [the neocons are NOT ‘conservative’], ‘new atheist’).

    For fuck’s sake. The guy is dying as a result of his own fucking idiotic decision to smoke, and to keep smoking for decades, despite smoking being the most deleterious thing one can do to oneself (apart from being born somewhere that the US government decides needs more bombs).

    He’s also whoring the fuck out of the experience – he’s welcome to do that, but at the end of the day he’s a fucking retard and should be remembered as such.

    For the record: I’m not a godtard, and I despise anybody who is idiotic enough to believe that an entity that can supposedly create 100 quadrillion stars gives a flying rat’s arse about who owns Jerusalem or whether or not some retarded tribal lunatic mutilates their kids’ genitals. Anybody who has not read the 141 pages of the Mosaic books and not come away horrified and repudiating every letter, has something wrong with them.

    So in the ordinary non-brown-child-killing course of events, I would be a natural ally for “Hitch” if he wasn’t such a cunt.

    I drink, but at no time in my life have I been stupid enough to smoke cigarettes – I did not have a deep-seated insecure desire to belong to the ‘cool group’ as a teen.

    En outre: the “How Doctors Die” piece, while almost purely anecdotal, was outstanding. Men should face their death like men – by which I mean rationally and sensibly. (Not me though: non-destructive mind-uploading will exist way before I am due to die).

  19. #19 |  Aresen | 

    New plan: Neutralize the terrorists with a bad case of ice cream headache.

    You know, it would probably be cheaper to drop ice cream machines into every village in Afghanistan and keep them supplied by regular airdrops.

    And in 10 years or so, they’d all be too fat to go hiking over the mountains to shoot at people.

  20. #20 |  Ted S. | 

    No offense to Virginia Postrel, but I recognized student aid was driving up the cost of tuition 20 years ago when I was in college.

    I had to fill out the financial aid forms, and the college would determine how much money the family could pay toward the cost of education. It immediately occurred to me that if there were more aid available, the school wouldn’t change how much it would say the family could afford, and that excess aid would just go toward paying a higher tuition.

  21. #21 |  Tim P | 

    I wish I had a dollar for every time the Phoenix New Times has reported on the end of Sheriff Joe. The guy has been investigated at every level and is still standing. Not only am I starting to wonder about the motives of his accusers, I’m starting to think the sheriff is as clean as a whistle. How many could withstand the onslaught he’s gone through?

  22. #22 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “How many could withstand the onslaught he’s gone through?”

    Well, tyranny is not necessarily a “crime.” Reminds me of a judge in Ocala
    who hands out 90 days or 6 months for 1st DUI (Probation Violation on the slightest technicality). He rules with an iron fist, ruins lives, but that does not constitute a crime.
    Sounds like the FEDS are taking a good look at him:

  23. #23 |  Jeff | 

    Regarding the rising cost of education, I understand the supply and demand argument, but I haven’t seen it in this case. I haven’t seen higher salaries or growing endowments or physical expansion or any other obvious signs of schools gaining more wealth. Quite the opposite. That said, I only have ties to a handful of small colleges and universities. Are there stats to indicate this is actually happening?

  24. #24 |  the innominate one | 

    GT – excellent rant. keep it up.

    Yizmo – just down the road, Citrus County had one of those they couldn’t shake in elections because the retirees loved his law and order routine, like sentencing a truck to death. The judicial review board finally had to step in and remove the megalomaniac.

    According to a friend of a friend, that guy ate a lot of saliva from the local fast food joint.

  25. #25 |  cApitalist | 

    The dying docs article is spot on. The only other caveat I’d add is that erring on the side of over treating the dying is reversible (pull the plug and keep them comfortable), while erring on the side of under treating is not. Strong article.

  26. #26 |  Mojopin | 

    Glad you posted the Postrel article, Radley.

    I had heard this argument a few years ago and it made complete sense to me — and still believe it holds the answer to rising college costs.

    In fact, I had to laugh, as Joe Biden was here in Jacksonville the other day speaking to high school students telling them about all of the federal money and programs that are now available to them as they begin to enter college — and then he went on the damn the colleges for increasing tuition so many times over inflation in the recent years.

    Of course, no one in the local media made the connection and asked the question.

    However, this topic has also had me wondering about school vouchers in the k12 world.

    If government assistance necessarily drives up prices in the higher education system, would vouchers at the k12 level do the same to the cost of private education?

    I have always thought that a school choice/voucher system would help to improve k12 results, but this contradiction always bothered me. Is my premise just wrong?

  27. #27 |  Erik | 

    My dad taught me how to live and he also taught me how to die. He was not a doctor but he was a wise man. His last months were spent in home hospice in his own home with his three adult children working shifts so he was never unattended.

    We cooked savory meals for him (he actually gained some weight in those months), diligently doled out his pain meds, helped him take care of bodily functions, and spent untold hours discussing, for the most part, pretty normal stuff.

    Lest I paint a rosy picture here, it was far from bliss. There was often disagreement among us siblings over who could be there and when, as we all had jobs and families but it WAS bliss compared to the 18 months of pure hell we had all gone through with mom while she was processed through “the system” some years earlier.

    We had ignorantly fumbled and bumbled our way through a maze of hospitals, doctors, treatments, and technology that required study and homework for us to even understand, hoping against hope for some miracle I guess. For the last 4 months or so, mom rarely even knew where she was or who was with her while tubes and machines hissed and beeped in her ICU surroundings.

    Dad was healthy at that time and leading the charge. Though he never talked about it, I’m quite certain that, after she finally passed, he made a decision not to ever put his family or himself through that meat grinder.

    When dad finally passed at home in quiet surroundings while feeling no pain, there was no hysterical sobbing. It had seemed as natural and ordered as life itself. There were only some quiet tears of love for a gentle man who had taught us much about life and death. We broke out the bottle of aquavit that he had enjoyed up to the day of his death and drank a toast to him.

  28. #28 |  Radley Balko | 

    Thanks for sharing, Erik.

    One of the more beautiful comments I recall reading here.

  29. #29 |  Delta | 

    Study by Delta Cost Project — “The main reason tuition has been rising faster than college costs is that colleges had to make up for reductions in the per-student subsidy state taxpayers sent colleges. In 2006, the last year for which Wellman had data, state taxpayers sent $7,078 per student to the big public research universities. That’s $1,270 less (after accounting for inflation) than they sent in 2002.”

  30. #30 |  supercat | 

    #16 | PogueMahone | “the home builder DOES NOT EAT THE $300 grand.”

    If the bank were to discover that the home would never have been valued at over $100,000 by anyone who would actually have to pay for it, and that the home builder knew or should have known the only reason the buyer was willing to “pay” $300,000 is that he was planning to skate on the loan, the bank might seek to recover damages from the builder as being a party to a conspiracy to defraud the bank of $200,000.

    To be sure, it’s difficult to really show, retrospectively, how much people would have been willing to pay for something if they knew they’d actually have to pay for it (either because they would be buying with cash, or because default would not be a reasonable option for them). Nonetheless, to the extent that one can show that a seller of an item knew or should have known that the only reason the buyer wasn’t demanding a lower price is that the buyer wasn’t expecting to have to pay for it, the seller should be on the hook.

  31. #31 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    To be fair, after every mass shooting spree or earthquake I always write an article “Where is your God now? Disaster victims now atheists.”

    Wait, no I don’t. That would be insanely bad form.

  32. #32 |  JohnJ | 

    “debate over whether the government should be able to detain American citizens indefinitely without a trial or formal charges”

    This is actually inaccurate. There’s no debate over whether the government should be able to detain American indefinitely. The debate is whether they will be detained indefinitely automatically when arrested for terrorism or whether the President should have the choice of whether to detain them or not. None of the senators, except Rand Paul, actually object to indefinite detention.

  33. #33 |  JohnJ | 

    Mojopin, I think you’re forgetting the fact that the government is already subsidizing k12 education. School vouchers won’t change that.