URLs du Jour

2022-02-12

[Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

  • "What Did You Expect?", Part CCXVI. Kevin D. Williamson thinks Uncle Sam Is a Predatory Lender. And he makes a pretty good case.

    As Democrats prepare to run themselves into a cinder-block wall at 103 mph in the midterm elections, progressives are desperately trying to grab the wheel and swerve. Because our policy-making class consists mainly of people who lack the moral imagination to consider anything very far beyond their own immediate parochial interests, progressives are once again turning to that supposed national emergency: college loans.

    The case for college-loan forgiveness is not economic; the median borrower spends less than 4 percent of his income on payments. It is purely political. The relatively well-off urban and suburban professionals who are responsible for a disproportionate share of student debt have the Democrats’ ear, and people who are actually poor do not, in part because Democrats are confident that in poor communities votes can be secured through other means. And the people at the last stop on the college-loan money train — the university personnel whose jobs are funded by student debt — are a powerful constituency themselves.

    KDW goes on to mention an inconvenient truth: the Americans in the direst of dire straits are the young men with a mere high school diploma or less. The pols who weep the loudest for the "relatively well-off urban and suburban professionals" don't have much to say to them.

    Except, maybe, to dismiss them as "deplorables".

    But for another look at Uncle Stupid's "compassion", check out a recent WSJ article: Program to Cut Student Debt Sticks Some With Even More.

    Thousands of healthcare workers join the National Health Service Corps each year, pledging to work in places with too few medical providers in exchange for help repaying their student loans.

    Job disruptions caused by the pandemic have shaken that bargain. Layoffs have put a growing number of these workers in violation of their contracts and exposed them to heavy penalties, sometimes many times the aid they received.

    Ouch. To adapt what Otter said to Flounder in Animal House: "You screwed up. You trusted the government."


  • Words from the guy with the suitcase. Vodkapundit has a small transcript of President Wheezy's remarks: Tired of High Gas Prices? Biden Will 'Work Like the Devil' to Bring Them Down (SPOILER: He's Lying)

    I’m gonna work like the devil to bring gas prices down which I’m gonna work into make sure that we keep strengthening the supply chain to bring the cost of energy and everything else and the goods that come to America… down… by helping the ports 24/7 by changing a whole range of things that, you know, what’s happened with COVID, COVID has caused significant increases in prices in the supply chain.

    I watched longer excerpts. They are no more coherent.


  • USPS delenda est. More on "bipartisanship", from Eric Boehm: Congress Wants Taxpayers To Bail Out the Postal Service

    A first-class stamp costs more than ever, and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) recently received a $10 billion loan from the federal government as part of a major pandemic relief package passed in 2020.

    Now, Congress might force taxpayers to cover the cost of retired postal workers' health care—something for which the supposedly self-financing agency has always been responsible.

    With little fanfare and broad bipartisan support, the House of Representatives voted earlier this week to pass the Postal Relief Act of 2022. The bill sweeps retired postal workers into the already strained Medicare system, whether they want to join or not, and excuses the USPS of having to self-fund health benefits for its retirees.

    And let me add Eric's ending zinger:

    It wouldn't be accurate to describe Congress' plan to shift workers from the underfunded USPS health care plan into Medicare as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. No, it's more like moving deck chairs from the Titanic to the Lusitania.


  • Wow. Just wow. George F. Will lets loose on the Illini, Chicago branch: Even by today’s standard of campus cowardice and conformity, this repulsive episode is noteworthy.

    A sludge of ignorance and cowardice oozes so constantly through today’s campuses that institutions acquire immunity through recidivism: Progressivism’s totalitarian temptation is too commonplace to be newsworthy. Academia’s vindictive intolerance has become humdrum.

    The University of Illinois at Chicago, however, is so repulsive that attention must be paid to Jason Kilborn’s ordeal. He is enduring, as the price of continuing as a tenured law professor, progressivism’s version of an ancient torment: the pillory. He has been sentenced to multiple debasements devised by UIC, which is wielding progressivism’s array of tools for mind-scrubbing and conformity-enforcing.

    Kilborn’s troubles began in December 2020, when he used, in an exam concerning civil procedure, a hypothetical case about a Black female manager suing a former employer, charging that she had been fired because of her race and gender. She alleged that other managers had called her — this is how the slurs appeared in Kilborn’s hypothetical — a “n_____” and a “b_____.”

    And then it got much worse. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has more on the case.

Clark and Division

[Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

Another book plucked from the NYT list of The Best Mystery Novels of 2021. It's also the third fiction book I've read in 2022 that's Japan-related in some way; that's a coincidence, I think. Or maybe I'm ? No, I don't really think so.

The first-person narrator is Aki Ito, a young Nisei (US-born to Japanese immigrants) girl. The Ito family is living a decent life in Tropico, California (now part of Glendale). But that life is disrupted by World War II; they are uprooted and sent to the Manzanar internment camp. But there's a program to move camp inhabitants from Manzanar to "safer" locales, away from the West Coast. So the Itos sign up, and are destined for Chicago; older sister Rose goes ahead of the rest of the family to make arrangements.

But very bad things happen to Rose while she awaits the rest of her family. And on their arrival, they get the horrific news: Rose is dead, having been hit by a Chicago Transit Authority train at the (dum dum dum) Clark and Division Street subway station. Suicide or accident, say the authorities. But heartbroken Aki is dubious: could she have been pushed? She vows to find out more about what happened.

But other parts of her life go on, too. She finds work, she attempts to fit in with the Japanese community in Chicago, and she's also at the age where she thinks young men might not be yucky after all. So that's a part of the book, too. (She thinks she might want to be a nurse. Given her diligence and deductive powers, I'd think she'd make a pretty good detective.)

The author, Naomi Hirahara, did a vast amount of research (detailed in the back matter) to get the historical, geographical, political, and sociological details right. It's very impressive and moving.


Last Modified 2022-02-21 7:09 AM EDT