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In this week’s edition of four-legs bad, two legs good:

While almost no one was looking, a law making it easier for congressional and top executive branch staffers to engage in corrupt trading was signed into law Monday.

The law is a modification of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. The modification was passed by unanimous consent by the House and the Senate last week with no debate or even discussion.

The STOCK Act, which became law just a year ago, was designed to discourage insider trading by members of Congress and top government officials. In addition to outlawing trading based on non-public information gleaned by government officials during the course of their public duties, the law required extensive disclosure of financial holdings by Congressional staffers and 28,000 senior executive branch employees.

If you want your blood to boil a little more, try reading this book.

Several readers have e-mailed me asking for my thoughts on the tragedy in Boston. At the risk of getting people angry, here are some assorted thoughts:

  1. It is nonetheless remarkable that such incidents do not happen more often. Just think of how easy it is to do harm if you wished to do so. And just think of how much animosity folks have for others. Why do we not see more of this?
  2. Barney Frank used this episode to remind us, “thank god for big government.” Why? Who knows. I guess because only big government can shut down cell towers and run an investigation. Nice to use a tragedy to make a political point. Were I to make a point right now I’d be castigated for it. Four legs bad …
  3. Everyone is going to have a narrative about why it happened. I don’t listen to any of it.
  4. Every single day tragedies like this, worse than this, happen all around the world. And every single day, we inflict policies on ourselves that have the same physical impact (of course not emotional), particularly if you understand the close link between lifespans, health and economic output.
  5. I am afraid that this event will precipitate, in a bipartisan way, increased support for video surveillance on all street corners, more searches and TSA-like screening at other venues. Yay. And the best part is that there will be a built-in constituency that, once in place, will refuse to let any of that go away, even if it is not saving lives and costing us millions.
  6. Insert snarky comment here about banning guns, or pressure cookers, or …

 

In other news, I am sure some of you are following the evaluation of the Bowdoin curriculum with interest. The situation is the same most everywhere, including at my fairest alma-mater:

One course that was ultimately cancelled because of lack of student interest was entitled “Queer Gardens,” a survey of the horticultural achievements of “gay and lesbian gardeners” and a rereading of literary works on gardens from a “queer” perspective. Aside from being a course that, in all likelihood, neither cultivates the principles of critical thinking, nor possesses a canonical set of texts to explain the human experience, it sounds altogether trivial. The authors show that Bowdoin’s faculty members in the “studies” programs are often appointed more for their skin color, gender, and highly specialized research interests than their ability to teach. The advising system is dysfunctional, and students are generally left to piece together their own educations out of the jumble of courses and ideological themes on offer. History majors at Bowdoin, for instance, are not required to take a single course in American history.

The academy today is apparently a Bizarro World version of America. The history majors are fortunate that they don’t have to take a course in American history. They’d only learn the Life of Julia version of America, a strange and detestable place where nothing much good happened prior to when they showed up. The tenured Boomers have wrecked the academy for two, maybe three generations. Thank goodness that the education bubble is now bursting.

At my fine institution of higher learning, we would never stoop to such levels of course. The Life of Julia is not taught in every department, it just appears that way.

2 Responses to “But They’ll Take Health Reform, Environmental Policy, Tax Policy, etc. Seriously”

  1. Harry says:

    I know more than one tenured boomer, and other boomers who should know better, had they bothered to, as they say, “Grow.” Their minds are fixed in the Sixties, and in the 1912’s, the 1930’s, and the 1840’s. Not in the 1500’s or in the 1700’s, or the 1980’s.

    They waste other people’s money to serve their urges. They are my generation, and I am embarrassed. Their children are Hipsters, self absorbed, worried about globalization, their BMW car payments, and the need for government financing of birth control pills.

    In a previous post WC asked who is responsible to care for children who suffer unfortunate circumstance, a great question. What contribution have Yuppies made to this problem by embracing and teaching moral relativism? Do your own thing, and smoke ’em if you got ’em, and love the one you’re with. Your feelings are important.

  2. Harry says:

    Regarding Congressional or Executive (federal) insider trading, of course it should be prohibited, but it should be required for all elected officials to put their retirement money where they have a stake in the success of their country, making their interests congruent with their countrymen/ country people, as opposed with their domestic and foreign cronies.

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