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College Rejections; Mad Bee Disease

As the parent of a high school sophomore, with a couple more critters beyond that lined up for takeoff, I'll be spending the next six years or so preparing my progeny to apply to, and be rejected by, institutions of higher learning.

They need to understand that April is the Rejection Season. The rejection letters show up right about the time we send off our taxes. I am not sure what you tell a kid who has been rejected, but I guess you say, "They're just not into you." I've told my firstborn many times that standards have changed dramatically since I slipped into a certain notable school in New Jersey in 1978. She shouldn't expect to get into an elite college like that. She needs to be ready to settle for something more along the lines of Dartmouth or Cornell.

Anyway, here's a story in the Wall Street Journal (via AOL) with the latest statistics on acceptance rates.

Harvard University 9%
Princeton University 10
Yale University 10
Stanford University 10
University of Pennsylvania 15
Dartmouth College 15
Pomona College 16
Williams College 17
Georgetown University 20
Cornell University 21
Kenyon College 29
Bucknell University 30
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill 33
University of Chicago 35
University of Michigan 42

Looking pretty hopeless. Because you know there's overlap on this list. It's the same kids who get accepted to all these schools. And there's only about a thousand students who get accepted anywhere.

Meanwhile many of these schools are going abroad to recruit students. Why should my kid have to compete with some genius from, like, China, who is a world-class cellist and published poet and has also invented a perpetual motion machine and an anti-gravity device and whatnot? Is that fair???


You heard about the bees. The bees are dying. If the bees disappear, we have, as a civilization, just a few years to "get our affairs in order." This is serious business. No one knows what is killing the bees.

Do they have some AIDS-like disease?

' Genetic testing at Columbia University has revealed the presence of multiple microorganisms in bees from hives or colonies that are in decline, suggesting that something is weakening their immune system. The researchers have found some fungi in the affected bees that are found in humans whose immune systems have been suppressed by the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or cancer.

' "That is extremely unusual," Dr. Cox-Foster said.'

...or is the cause chemical?

'One such group of compounds is called neonicotinoids, commonly used pesticides that are used to treat corn and other seeds against pests. One of the neonicotinoids, imidacloprid, is commonly used in Europe and the United States to treat seeds, to protect residential foundations against termites and to help keep golf courses and home lawns green.

' In the late 1990s, French beekeepers reported large losses of their bees and complained about the use of imidacloprid, sold under the brand name Gaucho. The chemical, while not killing the bees outright, was causing them to be disoriented and stay away from their hives, leading them to die of exposure to the cold, French researchers later found. The beekeepers labeled the syndrome "mad bee disease." '

My rule is, never go anywhere near chemicals, or any kind of molecules. That stuff will kill you.


The Democratic candidates are debating tonight. Cillizza sets the stage. I expect Dodd to shine -- he's good in these things.

The real question is whether the post-game will focus on substance or mere trivia -- such as, someone not shaking hands, or a hair disaster, or an untimely groan, or someone being a bit "sharp" with the rhetoric. Actually we sort of know the answer to that already.


Here's the Moyers transcript.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 26, 2007; 6:44 AM ET
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Next: Mike Gravel is Howard Beale


Good afternoon, Hi, Cassandra.

There's a DC judge suing a drying cleaning for 65M in WaPo. What a case.

Posted by: daiwanlan | April 26, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

A team of scientists at UCSF are hypothesizing that a fungus may be present in the hives of affected bees. Very preliminary results that make sense to be coming from the west coast as this is the major source of the nation's almonds.,0,896792.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Posted by: jack | April 26, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

The past couple of days I've been seeing bumble bees all over down town Bethesda.

Posted by: omni | April 26, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Huh. There I was, declaring my soul-sisterhood with dr, and you all left!

I heard the bees are being killed by cellphone frequencies.

Posted by: Yoki | April 26, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

>"She needs to be ready to settle for something more along the lines of Dartmouth or Cornell."

Very good. Didn't see it coming.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Updated bee count from a quick survey of the driveway-area windflowers: Two bumblebees, two honeybees, one "sweat bee" and a very surprised wild duck (not as surprised as I was, though).

daiwanlan, that lawyer is obviously unsuitable to be a judge. He's taking them to the cleaners! I hope it can be mended...

Posted by: sevenswans | April 26, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

SCC" driveway-area wildflowers (although "windflowers" would be cool, too)

Posted by: sevenswans | April 26, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

>preparing my progeny to apply to, and be rejected by, institutions of higher learning.

If they're really bright they should be plumbers or electricians. I happily pay my plmber $60/hr and he works when he wants.

Same with electricians, and they have cleaner jobs. You can work for someone else, work for yourself, or run your own biz. It can't be outsourced, doesn't require Linear Algebra, and can be used in all manner of business and home applications so if one segment of the economy takes a dive you can move into another one.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 26, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I hope your BP isn't up over the anxiety tied to college admissions. If so and you like dark chocolate, substances in the candy act in a manner similar to some common BP meds.

Posted by: jack | April 26, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Apparently the bees are not dying, they are migrating to Bethesda.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 26, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I would go with electrician. Butt Crack Syndrome is not something I would want exposure to. Of course I'm just clumsy enough to electrocute myself.

Posted by: omni | April 26, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Joel, there's always the Curmudgeon Institute for Tuscan Peasants. She won't make a lot of money, but she'll be happy. (Plus, I've got some pull with the Dean of Admissions. And don't forget our Junior Year Abroad Program.)

EF's right about plumbers and electricians.

Yoki, sorry to hear about your math dyslexia. But this woman doesn't have that. Trust me.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

In April we took the son up to Cambridge to look at some tech school that has been pestering him with postcards and brochures. They gave the cold hard stats: 80% of applicants are qualified to attend, 12% get accepted. You get better odds at the craps table.

The difference is pure intangibles. In the Q&A session, one helicopter parent was asking very detailed questions about what activities to be in and how much community service is expected as if there were some secret password to put on the application.

Joel is dead right. All these competitive and hyper-competitive schools have a freshman class of 1000. There are 17,000 high schools in the United States and they all have a valedictorian and a class president. To catch the attention of the admissions committee, you have to have an edge or a gimmick.

My son knows two kids that got accepted this year to MIT. One is a girl he had second grade math with that eventually skipped a grade. Girls are 45% of the MIT student body. I would like to see the accept/reject rate broken down by gender. The other is of middle-eastern extraction and represented himself as African-American (technically true since his father is from Algeria) on the application.

For a lighter look, I have some pictures of colleges that end in "of Technology" that I took this Spring:

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

USNA 13%
USMA 14%

Posted by: jw | April 26, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I would write to the web master about this, but I can't. Every time I click on a new page link on, I have to sign in again.

That is why I cannot complain to the right person, because I cannot get onto the web master's page.

I'm not very happy about it.

Posted by: Yoki | April 26, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

From the AOL/WSJ article:

"Now I'm afraid I won't get into McGill or Maryland, and I'll get stuck going to Towson," which he considers "one step above community college."

I know a student at Towson that is very happy there and I would not call it a community college. The key is finding a college that matches your ability and temperament. We are raising the highest self-esteem generation ever and when they hit a true meritocracy (or at least a selective facsimile) they are in for a rude awakening.

Even the state universities are getting very selective, particularly with out-of-state applicants. Places like Ann Arbor and Chapel Hill have less than 10% of their freshman from out of state, which puts those slots into the same 1,000 size bin as the Ivy Leagues and Ivy Wannabees.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

This is a really good column: I just wish they'd moved it out of that "On Faith" section and into the general opinion section.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I had that problem a few weeks ago. To get rid of it you have to empty your cache and start over. (Unless you changed some setting, it probably filled up.)When you sign in again, it'll stay signed in after that. (But yes, the fact that we have to sign in at all is irritating).

Here's how:

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, let me check on that.

FYI I added the Moyers transcript to this kit.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 26, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

As a child I used to play in the weed-filled and usually dry ditch in front of the cement block factory across the street from my house and catch bees in a jar.

As the number of bees increased it became exponentially harder to get the cap back on without losing more bees than you captured. Eventually you'd end up with a jar of about 30 nonplussed bees making a tremendous racket.

At that point, a 10-year-old boy has little option but look both ways for traffic, the throw the jar against some of the stacked bricks and run back home.

Allow me to use this forum to apologize to bees everywhere.

Posted by: byoolin | April 26, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

yello: Remember when Towson State, along with Cornell and a couple of others, ruled the lacrosse world?

Posted by: jack | April 26, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

We're one of the 24 states affected by bees dropping like flies.

Pollinators from everything from almonds and apples to zucchini...

"One out of every three bites of food on the table -- in fact, most things that taste good -- are pollinated by insects, principally by honeybees," he said.

Old 1914 cartoon showing the protagonist trying to gather bees' knees to feed an alien from outerspace. Just more pollywoppus for the Boodle:

Posted by: Loomis | April 26, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Heard Moyers promo his program on NPR, but missed the broadcast. Thanks for the link to the transcript.

Posted by: Loomis | April 26, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

>Every time I click on a new page link on, I have to sign in again.

Clearing the cache as Mudge suggested may do the trick. Maybe the cookies expired.

If you want to check your cookie settings and in Firefox it's Tools->Options->Privacy->Cookies, in IE it's Tools->Internet Options->Privacy.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 26, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

A couple of years ago, I explained to a freshly-rejected out-of-state UNC-Chapel Hill applicant that in the scheme of things, his non-admission had very little meaning. By the time the university picked up the requisite athletes, arts specialists, a few alumni kids, and I guess a few Morehead Scholars, there were precious few slots left for the remaining crowd of applicants. Even if the incoming freshman class was about 20% out-of-state (I think that's the correct number).

I saw a story about Cornell redesigning its web page to look more traditional, more snotty, more Ivy-ish, after students complained that the place wasn't keeping up with those other Ivies. Yeesh.

Then there was the news story yesterday about the University of Florida wanting to charge much higher tuition and fees so they could be "like UNC." UNC in turn wants to be more like the University of Virginia (but with lower tuition and a democratic admissions system). And seemingly every state university wants to be like Michigan. Penn State's been doing that for 30 years.

Many years ago, when admission to places like Penn State (where I shouldn't have taken for granted admission to the College of Science on the main campus, starting fall quarter),I think I had SATs that would have been at least average for Princeton, but would never, ever have been admitted there--no lacrosse, no violin, parents weren't alumni, you name it. Penn State had me pegged as a C+ student, anyway.

The capricious undergrad admissions process at some of the elite colleges must persuade vast numbers of perfectly competent kids that they can forget about graduate or professional school.

And how is it that the Ivies all seem to admit exactly the same students, then fight over them as if there weren't thousands of equally good understudies on the waiting lists??? Matthews seems to be the master of this stuff.

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | April 26, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Brits are calling it Colony Collapse Disorder:

I learned from a customer when selling jewelry--bee pins, to be exact--that bees are the imperial symbol of France. Hi, superfrenchie! Our local T.J. Maxx is selling glassware from France with bee and fleur-de-lis raised glass motifs on them.

Posted by: Loomis | April 26, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

YJ writes: "We are raising the highest self-esteem generation ever and when they hit a true meritocracy (or at least a selective facsimile) they are in for a rude awakening."

I like my students, really. But oh my goodness: NO SELF ESTEEM PROBLEMS in this cohort. I say this sentence to some of the most stunned (who test out of ENGLISH 101, natch, and then must take advanced composition with me or my peers): "I think you are likely an A+ person, although I am not really sure that grading people is my business. But this document today, written and turned in by you, lapses in these ways...(detail that Mudge would appreciate but likely bore others...)"

I have one student now, who is sweet, hardworking, etc., but has had her mom call both me and my chair person to complain about the Bs she is earning. The opening salvo by parent and student is something like this: "I always earned As in writing at [locally prestigious high school} and my SAT verbal was [some respectable number].

I want to say, something like "that was then, this is now, baby. Let's flex our writing muscles and go back to the glorious business."

But, I also see that higher ed marketed itself to this family, complete with food court, laundry service, gyms to make buns of steel....etc. And, the buyer is not having a seamless customer service experience.....

Competitiveness in higher ed, surely, but also the commodification of learning, too.

This endeth this rant.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 26, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

CP, look on the bright side: if the "opening salvo" had arrived in the mail, it would very likely have started, "I alway's earned A's..."

Posted by: byoolin | April 26, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

lurking jw, admissions update?

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 26, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

If they don't solve that bee problem soon there won't be any fleurs to de-lis with.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if people write A's instead of As to placate the spellchecker.

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 26, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

It could be an over-fondness for Oakland's baseball club...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I dragged my son to Georgia Tech so that he could see what a state school looks like where the freshman class is bigger than the entire enrollment of a private school.

I think all the talk about how competitive these schools has him worried. He calls Georgia Tech his "safety" school. His one advantage as a legacy is that only needs to meet in-state requirements. Historically, that has been worth about 100 SAT points. GT has rolling admissions, so he will know if he has been accepted before the applications to other schools are even due.

All I can say is that if he is not accepted, I am calling the dean of admissions and warning him that the alumni association is going to be scrambling to replace my fifty bucks a year.

We will make him send in his application to Tech by October 30 so that he is eligible for the presidential (merit) scholarship competition which is also highly competitive. We had two finalists (both women) this year from the Baltimore area. One turned down a full scholarship to go to the Naval Academy instead.

The other rejected 10k a year to attend MIT instead. I have no idea what sort of financial aid package MIT offered so I can't evaluate what the net premium to her parents will be. Based on list price, GT with the scholarship would be half of MIT, but few students at MIT pay the full rate (another hidden trick of these schools).

If it were my son we would be having a long, long talk. I often mention my wife's friend's daughter that turned down a 75% scholarship at Vanderbilt to pay full out-of-state rate at Virginia Tech. I hate to be disrespectful at this time, but VT is not THAT good.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

That's generally a matter of which style book you are using, LTL. Most would agree that A's is correct, to avoid the problem of looking like the word "as" (or As). And if you stick the apostrophe in for lowercase, then you necessarily have to do it for uppercase, too.

Most books that require the apostrophe for letter plurals do NOT require it for numbers such as "the 1960s" because there is no word that has both a letter and a number in it. So 8s is OK. (We were playing 'Go Fish" and she said, 'Gimme all your 8s.'")

[AP Stylebook p. 329
Chicago rule 7.16 on p. 281
Garner, p. 653

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Bees on Oahu are being attacked by some kind of bee mite that sucks their blood. Seems hives all over the island are infested with this mite. Not good for our honey industry or our flower and fruit industry.

As for college rejections, I am experiencing similar anguish with my son's applications for 6th grade at local private schools. It's customary here for middle class families (and even those below) to flee the public school system once their kids reach middle school. This year, many elementary schools in our district are moving their 6th grades up to the middle schools (6th through 8th). Consequently, there are far more applicants to the private schools then ever before. I believe there are usually over 350 applicants for 50 slots (half to girls and half to boys) in most of these private schools. Alohaboy was waitlisted at two of the schools we applied him to and outright rejected by one. He was accepted at the only Catholic school we applied him to and so he will be going there. It all worked out as that school was his first choice.

My beef with this whole process is that it seems to make no sense who gets in and who doesn't. With this much competition it seems that being an alumni (which Alohaspouse is of one school we applied to) doesn't count for much anymore. There are boys who were accepted to the school Alohaboy was rejected from who had much lower test scores and grades then Alohaboy. There was one kid that even seems to have behavioral issues who was accepted. Not that Alohaboy is a stellar-all-around-perfect student, but he's a good kid with good study habits and the right attitude. I figure the schools must be looking for something else.

And, then in about 6 years we'll go through this anguish again when he applies to college.


Posted by: Aloha | April 26, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

So which is more correct, mudge?

"If you remember the 60's, you weren't there."


"'Sucking In The 70s' is an appropriately titled album on several levels."

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

GW, yes--Georgetown, no. Still waiting to hear from BU, BC, and *cough cough* Harvard.

It's looking like it's going to be GW and looking at their course catalogue I think it will be a good fit. Classes on homeland security law, antiterrorism law, they even have a course on law of the sea. BU and BC seem to both focus a lot more on business law. And I'm not even thinking about Harvard right now, my chances are so slim of getting accepted there.

Only thing I don't like about GW is they pretty much don't let you use a Mac, which seems a little weird to me. I can understand not actively supporting it, but actively preventing students from using them?

Posted by: jw | April 26, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

So there we have it. The middle school spelling bees are under attack by flees.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 26, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

You're 0 fer 2, yello.

If you remember the '60s, you weren't there."

"'Sucking in he '70s' is an appropriately titled album on several levels."

God, I am sooooo bored and sooooo overpaid for this crap. (Not that I'm not grateful for your tax dollars, of course.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse


While I was not around to witness the trainwreck, it is commonly accepted by my brother and I that sending my sister to public high school in Oahu was a turning point in her life for the worse.

I don't know whether my parents suffered from misguided egalitarianism or financial pressure from having two older kids in college simultaneously, but she was badly served.

I hope your son does well. I'm glad he got into his choice.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I love that SonofC.

Posted by: Aloha | April 26, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Bobby "Boris" Pickett of "The Monster Mash" fame is dead at 69. I hope he's a graveyard smash.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking about sending my oldest to across the pond to Oxford or Cambridge out of the chute.

As an American, she probably stands a pretty good chance of acceptance, and some interesting options for financial aid.

On the other hand, it's going to be difficult to see her much, and she's REALLY going to be on her own (which means she'll be extra cautious).

Hmm. Maybe the Univeristy of Maryland isn't so bad.


Posted by: bc | April 26, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Yello, my younger child, she who graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Math, had a classmate who won both the Park (full ride to NC State) and the Morehead (full ride to UNC-CH). According to my daughter, this young lady was not particularly bright, as she had trouble with the calculus my daughter thought was easy. However, she didn't appear to go to either institution, leading my daughter to theorize she used these awards for leverage at an Ivy League school. But she obviously charmed the scholarship boards at both universities.

It seems to me that to apply for and use such scholarships as leverage is awfully self-centered and arrogant. Just apply to where you want to go, for heavens sake! And let other deserving students who do want to go to those schools get in and have a good academic career!

Posted by: Slyness | April 26, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse


I am a full product of the public school system on Oahu and, yes, it has it's failings as do most public school systems. However, I think I managed to become a productive member of society as have many of my classmates. I don't love our public schools but if that's all you can afford, then there are ways to make it work for you. It's not easy, but it can be done.

Having said all of that, we chose to send Alohaboy to a private school because we can (well with a lot of sacrifice of course). We figured that if we can give him this opportunity, we should. It wasn't a great horrified fear that drove us to this decision, it was a thoroughly thought out choice.

What school did your sister go to on Oahu? There are some that are seriously tragic excuses for high schools in this system. Those I would viciously fight to keep my kids out of.

Posted by: Aloha | April 26, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame you didn't get into G'town so you could take a course from Douglas Feith (Harvard '75) who was been declared by General Tommie Franks to be "dumbest f**king guy on the planet."

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Looks like our bee mites have made the AP:

Posted by: Aloha | April 26, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

All I remember is that Bette Midler is a fellow alumna of her high school.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

...which according to Wikipedia was Radford HS. My dad was stationed at Hickam AFB at the time if that is any clue.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Ah, that would be Radford. The school has a lot of military families who don't stay long. Most of those students have been in multiple schools in their lifetimes. The faculty there has always had difficulties in meeting the needs of these students. The school has improved over the years but it still falls far short of where it should/could be. You and your brother are correct in your assessment of your sister's high school education. I hope she was able to find a better education after she left.

Posted by: Aloha | April 26, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Rejection really isn't all that bad; it makes the final decision that much easier. I got rejected from 1 college, wait-listed on another, and then into my other two. One college gave me great financial aid, the other didn't. End of discussion. The only real bummer about it was the in-state preferential treatment aspect. With the same credentials, if I had been living in state, I probably would've gotten in (it was both first choice too). Oh well. C'est la vie.

Posted by: Tangent | April 26, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Chemlawn keeps dropping flyers by my gate, which go straight to the recycle bin. If their truck o' chemicals ever tries to come up my driveway, I'm composting it. I have plenty of extra cat litter, and I know how to use it.

This calls for a poem!

Summing things up
- A Short BoodlePoem By Sevenswans

Be kind to the bees,
be nice to the trees.
Let the wildflowers grow high;
or we're all gonna die.

(Bethseda bees, coooome tooooo meeeeee....)

Posted by: sevenswans | April 26, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Yello, military families have long been lobbying the Hawaii State DOE to turn the public schools that serve the military bases into charter schools. They want the schools to follow the DOD's curriculum so that the kids will have a consistent education when they move in and out of the schools. Apparently, many public schools on bases on the mainland and in other countries are adopting the DOD curriculum. I think that would be a good idea for those in Hawaii too. But, the Hawaii State DOE is a ginormous bureaucracy that doesn't like change. I think it will be many years before they embrace this idea of chartering the military schools.

Posted by: Aloha | April 26, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I went to DoD schools in the late '70s (I think I finally got it, mudge) and was a full year ahead of the generally good public school I went to in Florida.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

The DOD has a curriculum for schools? God help us all.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Jeepers Joel, 78? I didn't graduate High School until 1980, and I'm almost exactly a year younger.

Suddenly, I feel so slow.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 26, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

My sister ended up getting kicked out of Florida Southern (a beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright designed campus) for a combination of academic and discipline related issues her sophomore year. She has since then gotten a few nursing degrees and makes enough money to support two girls and a disabled boyfriend (not the girls' father) with only some assistance from my parents.

Her life has not been easy and I suspect (but can't prove) some substance abuse issues she picked up in high school and never outgrew haven't helped.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Mudge, the DoD has a curriculum. Perhaps it's the one thing they manage to do pretty well. Imagine what would happen if the Dept. of Education actually caught on to what the DoD is doing. Maybe we'd have really well educated public school kids in this country. Well, we can dream, can't we.

Posted by: Aloha | April 26, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Drug problems, as in most metro cities, are present in our schools, both public and private. Some of the private schools have had some bad problems. One of the most expensive schools now has drug testing of its students and brings in drug sniffing dogs to check lockers and backpacks. It's everywhere.

Posted by: Aloha | April 26, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I'll give it (the DOD curriculum) the benefit of the doubt on your say-so, Aloha. I just had this sudden vision in my head of an already forded-up education system further forded up by the likes of Arbusto and Rumsfeld.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The Department of Defense runs school systems on military bases overseas for the dependents of military (and civilian) personnel stationed abroad. As a whole, it is the largest school system in the world and is generally considered to be of Lake Wobegon quality.

The teachers are all contract civilians and tend to dress and groom (at least back in the '70s) in a way to make them difficult to mistake them for military personnel. It's a good gig for educators that want to travel.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

RD, I know a brilliant tax lawyer that graduated high school at age 13. Of course, he still lives with his parents 30 years later...

While on scholarships, I would also like to point out that they guy that won the most prestigious scholarship to my law school dropped out, moved to California and started an internet entertainment business. Reportedly making money hand over fist, but that's probably an inappropriate metaphor.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 26, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

*faxing who who who who who who who who who who who who who who who who who who who who who who who who who who who to yello to replace all those "thats" he's been using, 'cuz I'm starting to get that tick over my eye that Herbert Lom had in The Pink Panther.*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... the life of an editor is pure he11, ain't it?

Posted by: TBG | April 26, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I have a thesis that the United States military (and the Panama Canal Zone when it existed) is the only successful implementation of true socialism.

All medical care is free and single provider. Housing is provided. Continuing education is free and encouraged. Salaries are public knowledge and relatively flat. Pay is adjusted based on the number of dependents. Groceries are resold at cost plus overhead.

Overseas bases are little self-contained communities with a full array of social services, entertainment, public transportation, and education systems all at a fraction of the cost stateside.

Cuba should have it so good.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

*faxing sedatives to Mudge*

Poor baby. You've had a long week of comma-manipulation, haven't you?

Posted by: Raysmom | April 26, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Ja and I are in the same cohort, high school-wise. Back in the day, I applied to one school and got in. Two people from my high school went away to college. I went to Santa Clara University. The other person went to Stanford, so we often took the same Greyhound Bus to/from school. Many classmates went to JC;others started life in earnest, including trade school and apprenticeships.

I am not sure what to say about the frenzy concerning college aps, but the marketing by schools to high schoolers is a far cry from what I remember. Two ethicists studied, among other admission practices) the marketing pitches (_Leveling the Playing Field: Justice, Politics, and College Admissions_ by Robert K. Fullinwider and Judith Lichtenberg).

I do see, in many young people, a fear that they might make a "mistake" in the college-career path and then, be doomed in some rigid way. How can we help them see life more broadly and full of many possibilities? I suspect that my whiney student sees each paper as a make or break proposition. "If I get an A on this paper, this will lead to an internship with Morgan Stanley, then I will partner by 32, develop an innovative investment vehicle that saves the Everglades AND makes boodles of money, AND I will work from home AND adopt orphans AND live in a New Urbanism House AND drive a hybrid X-over Wagon AND coach elite soccer..."

Posted by: College Parkian | April 26, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom -- I would (kill) for rhubarb, from the Kick^$$ Raspberry Pie wielding mom.

Kill chickweed, that is.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 26, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I try sooooo hard to be good and keep my mouth shut... the flesh is weak, the flesh is weak. (Or as they say in readership studies, the Fleish is weak.)

Running for the bus early--taking my wife (formerly "the Ol' Ball 'n' Chain") out to dinner where my son is the new sous chef; he tells me the special tonight is Beef Burgundy.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

who/that/which is one of my (many) grammatical failings of which I am painfully aware. I apologize for any virtual fingernail-on-blackboard effect. Please continue to remember the source of my collegiate education and make allowances appropriately. I will try to use that generous supply of 'who's (that can't possibly be right) you faxed me and will photocopy a back-up supply.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I have a question for the legal-types: is there some mechanism to involuntarily remove a Presidential appointee? Is there some way to impeach an incompetent maybe-criminal like Gonzales, or does one have to impeach the Presdident first and obtain a new President who is less of a klepotcrat?

Posted by: Tim | April 26, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse


Oh, my.

Posted by: Tim | April 26, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

CP, let me ask her whether it will be ripe(?) then, before I get your hopes too high.

She used to make an apple/rhubarb sauce that, even to my childish tastes, wasn't too bad.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 26, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I read somewhere on the internet (so it must be true) that all public appointees are subject to impeachment. That said, there is no evidence that any of Torqueberto's malfeasance involves sexual acts commonly performed by middle-schoolers, so that might be a tough path to take.

Any chance of a Balticon BPH?

mudge (if you are still there),
I am also partial to comma splices and subjectless fragments. Just warning you, because I don't want to be responsible for any emergency medical services when your blood pressure boils over.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

On self-esteem--

I have had many students over the past seven years as an educator who have told me that they don't pass my science class because they will not need it in the real world. When asked what they are planning on doing, the kids invariably say that they will be pro footballers or basketballers. I usually try to get them to think about what might happen when the old knee goes out and they are left without a contract or career in pro sports. What I really want to say is, "Look, kid, it ain't gonna happen because you're a crappy player and you failed the 8th grade twice, so no college will want you on their team."

But I wouldn't want to be the teacher who shattered a kid's self-esteem, so I stick with the idea that education can provide a fall-back "just in case" the pro football thing doesn't work out. Makes me feel like a hypocrite.

Posted by: Gomer | April 26, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Article 2, Section 4. The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

It seems this applies to judges as well.

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 26, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Irregardless of Mudges' fixations, hopefully, he will understand that if somebody fails to utilize the proper grammerical verbiage in their writings, they are not trying to make him nauseous. People that do this simply have an alternate optic on the situation syntactic-wise.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 26, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Breaking news, just waitlisted by BC today.

Posted by: jw | April 26, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

So, utter incompetence cannot be cosntrued as cause for impeachment under any circumstances?

Not that I actually consider Torqueberto to be truly incompetent. I think he is duplicitous and utterly amoral. He is without qualm in his willingness to subvert the law and the fair and effective administration of the law if he can get away with it -- viz. his contention that a man who claims (as his defense!) that he cannot remember any critical decision made in his office and claims to be utterly at the mercy of his staff, also claims that he is an effective administrator who will remain in his job because he is good at it. I don't know whether the actions of the DOJ in firing those attorneys geuninely rises to the level of a criminal act, but it is clear that it would be humiliating to the White House and so this horrible adminstration concludes that it is preferable to shame, dishonor, humble, and betray the Department of Justice and the expectation of an egalitarian rule of law, rather than to admit that this Adminstration's functions are entirely in the service of partisan political chicanery.

Posted by: Tim | April 26, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Does incompetence qualify as high crimes and misdemeanors?

Posted by: Slyness | April 26, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

I should mention to all that darned weedwhacker-wielders are killing and maiming my baby dogwood trees. They have tender bark and the 'wackers remove the bark at the base and kill the baby tree. For all sick dogwood babies, look for wacker damage.

I'm gonna write a kit about this and what to do about it. (gauze & beeswax bandages for baby trees)

Posted by: Jumper | April 26, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, yello, I cannot make it to the Balticon this year. I am leaving for Hawaii (again) on the 12th (missing a storytelling gig offer). I leave Hawaii on the 24th, to fly to Tucson for observations from Kitt Peak. I will get back to Maryland on May 31 -- just in time for the Washington Folk Festival the following weekend! I recommend to all of you that you try to attend. Admission is free, although donations are encouraged. Storytelling from some of the area's best, and also me, plus blues, folk music, juggling (if the Niccolo-Whimsey show is there, this year), crafts, folk-dancing, and the Glen Echo carousel. Fun for everyone! Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3.

Posted by: The *Tims | April 26, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Impeachment conviction requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate - an unlikely scenario in the slim majority of that body instant.

Posted by: Shiloh | April 26, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the Senate would be unlikely to convict Bush in an impeachment, which I wouldn't want to undertake, anyway. However, all the Republicans on the judiciary committee were turning against him and several called for his resignation. Several of the others preferred to suggest that Bush should ask for his resignation. So, the tide is strongly opposed to Gonzales.

Posted by: Tim | April 26, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Today's Doonesbury seems to fit in with many of the conversations here...

Posted by: TBG | April 26, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Two words: community college. Then transfer. Assuming you're more interested in knowledge than frats, it's an excellent path. If there's any confusion whatsoever about direction it's a great place to sort that out.

I went there because I wasn't sure I would make it in a typical EE program at someplace like Rutger's and I was right, saving my parents many thousands of dollars that they didn't have. After two years I had a viable career as a tech at a cost of something like $3k, worked in the business for a couple of years and then I went on to the state college to learn software.

There are many paths.

So any of you folks getting your knickers in a bunch over rejection slips, I'd say lighten up. If they're bright and hard-working, they'll find a way to make it.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 26, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Amen to that Error... in Virginia, students who complete an Associates degree at a community college are guaranteed admission to one of the state schools if they maintain a certain GPA and take certain transferrable classes.

Each college has its own requirements...

Posted by: TBG | April 26, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I see now that I had antecedent trouble. By "him" I meant Gonzales.

Posted by: Tim | April 26, 2007 7:12 PM | Report abuse

The Dean of Admissions at MIT was forced to resign today effective immediately for forging her academic credentials. She had worked there for 30 years!


Posted by: Wheezy | April 26, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Well Tim, when you reach our age the antecedent is simply gonna act up now and again.

My son is a sophomore too. (And for the right price I shall make sure he and Joel's daughter never meet.) At this point he seems pretty apathetic about college. He wants to go, he just doesn't seem to care where, so long as he can be a chemistry major 'cause he hears they get to make things go boom.

Fortunately he has some time to decide on a school. Besides, studies show (doncha just love those studies?) that when it comes to career success, choice of college doesn't really matter all that much. What does seem to matter is finding a good match. To succeed in college a kid must have a certain passion for the school. And right now the only one who feels passionate about any of his potential choices is me.

I'm in love with in-state tuition.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 26, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Read "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" over the weekend. Pakistani student goes to Princeton, leaps on career ladder, gives it all up. Wonder if the controversial nature of the last years affects any of this. Wonder why elite schools didn't see more the problems. We do economic and financial stuff great. Cultural understanding, uh, not so good. Like the writing style, Hohsin Hamid. Entertaining. Like a third of a novel, though.

Sure your kids will be fine. Too much status at the top schools. If it's what they want, Ok, but if not, go upper middle or whatever.

Noticed Amazon gave 100 copies of the new Khaled Hosseini novel (The Kite Runner guy) to top reviewers. The net sucks the life out of Old Media, or something? Slightly goofy idea. Rather dull reviews. Last novel said a lot about the Shi'a vs. Sunni thing, Afghanistan in general. Think Hamid might be the greater talent.

Posted by: George Sears | April 26, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Yikes about that MIT resignation. I wonder if the fact that she just wrote a book brought her scrutiny she would have otherwise avoided. There was a rash of unverified credentials in the coaching ranks a few years ago. The disease seems to have spread to admissions offices.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 26, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Amen twice to Error. And I'm going to go out on an iconoclastic limb (hahaha, which will break, of course, just as I reach the spot I want to sit) and say that for many many people, community college with a sub-professional diploma is the right place. In my work-world, we could not function at all, much less well, without the paralegals and Administrative Professionals TM who are incredibly intelligent and motivated and do all the essential work other than giving legal advice.

I kind of regret the increasing professionalizing and degree-izing of society. So many people that I know personally who do essential stuff at a high level feel that they should have done better; nursing aides (college) think they should really be RNs (University); techies think they should really be Software Engineers (not because they don't love what they do, but because the pressure is increasingly there).

I dunno. I think being a certified aircraft maintenance tech is a great thing. I rely on them. But people doing honourable work feel they've failed if they don't have a professional association rather than a union representing them. It doesn't really leave a lot of room for the smart, but not universally University-inclined, wanna-get-out-and-earn-my-own-living young people among us. I think it a shame.

Posted by: Yoki | April 26, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

No Such Thing
by John Mayer

'Welcome to the real world,' she said to me
'Take a seat, take your life
Plot it out in black and white'
Well I never lived the dreams of the prom kings
and the drama queens
I'd like to think the best of me
is still hiding up my sleeve

They love to tell you, 'stay inside the lines'
But something better's on the other side

I wanna run through the halls of my high school
I wanna scream at the top of my lungs
I just found out there's no such thing as the real world
Just a lie you've got to rise above

So the good boys and girls take
the so called right track
Faded white hats
Grabbing credits, maybe transfers
They read all the books but they can't find the answers
And all of our parents
They're getting older
I wonder if they've wished for anything better
While in their memories
Tiny tragendies

They love to tell you, 'stay inside the lines'
But something's better
on the other side

I wanna run through the halls of my high school
I wanna scream at the top of my lungs
I just found out there's no such thing as the real world
Just a lie you've got to rise above

I am invincible
I am invincible
I am invincible
as long as I'm alive

Posted by: Dreamer | April 26, 2007 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Yoki - you are very right. As I think I have mentioned before, down the hall from where I work is a place where they actually build stuff. With wires and everything. Anyway, they are struggling to find talented machinists. And they are willing to pay.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 26, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Yoki/RD NASA and UMCP need machinists, too. They make way more than me. But, the jobs are going unfilled.

The gift of growing up where I did, among fine people, was that all work looked, well, blessed to me. Insert another word, like

if blessed bothers.

As for the JC transfer programs to state U or C system school: many of those students are my faves. Typically, they expect to work hard and believe that the instructor has something to offer.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 26, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

When I was an IT admin in academia, I spent a lot of time in Admissions. The most-commonly-used software tracks *every* contact the student has ever made with the college/university--notes, phone calls, e-mail, how-are-ya's to visiting counselors.

One of my Admissions friends pointed out that a high-schooler who shows early (and repeated) interest can develop good friends and champions when it comes down to admittance. Don't depend on one--counselors move around.

Posted by: dbG | April 26, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

This is very very interesting. When I worked at the law school at Q***s as an editor (also known as a person-who-does-stuff) of the professorial publications and casebooks, I was invited to sit on the admissions committee, which was kinda weird because usually it comprised only the Registrar and three senior Faculty members. I eventually figured out (at the age of 24) that they needed someone to interpret the submissions they were receiving. I was close in age, or the same age, as most of the applicants. The other members had been academics for dogs-ages (not that there is anything wrong with that).

I recommended, and they accepted, several (I think over 4 years, about 15) people the academics would have rejected on marks. Mostly we agreed on the accepts/don't accepts. All but one of the students to whom my recommendation made a difference, turned out just fine. And of the 14, 6 were people who'd started out at either CC or had received their first degree some years before, had worked for some, and then applied to law school.

I feel pretty good about that.

Posted by: Yoki | April 26, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

The college degree v technician discussion reminds me of this snippet (don't worry, it's not *my* poetry!) :-)
But yield who will to their separation
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.

Only where love and need are one
And work is play for mortal stakes
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sake.

- from "Two Tramps in Mud Time" by Robert Frost

Posted by: sevenswans | April 26, 2007 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I remember Pat Goss saying not too long ago that an automotive tech who worked for him could earn $100K or more. That's real money in my world! And it should be just as respected as a lawyer or accountant. Heaven knows I have more need of auto techs than either lawyers or accountants, in my simple corner of the universe.

My first full-time job out of college was in the local community college and it was a good intro to the real world. I loved working in the Veterans Affairs office; the guys were generally great people. I remember one vet who was a high school dropout. He got his GED at the college and then went on to earn his associate and bachelor's degrees. Like RD said, a perfectly good path.

(Then I went into library technical services, a job that was several steps up in pay but bored me so much that I ran screaming back to grad school.)

Posted by: Slyness | April 26, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Sevenswans, I revere Frost. If there is such a thing as plain-speaking poetry, he plain-spoke poetry. I think (except on days when it is not) that The Death of the Hired Man is my most beloved poem of all, and to me it informs my understanding of Henry James' (James's) use of the descriptor "American" of a mode of expression.

As some of you know, I love pomes. One of my professors in England once said that poetry was "emotion or perception, compressed into the fewest possible words." I think I agree with that. I love novels because they are expansive. I love poetry because it is not.

Posted by: Yoki | April 26, 2007 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Yoki -- I think that pome defines what family is: they have to take you in.

I also like the Frost poem about birch limbs bent, as if boys had hung on them.

Posted by: College Parkian | April 26, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to be breaking your cojones, yello; I didn't mean to do that. It's just that I've been hearing the who/that error a lot in radio commercials, and its making me crazy (ier than usual).

The who/that rule is dead simple: "who" goes with people; "that" goes with inanimate objects. There, that wasn't so bad, was it?

(That/which is more difficult, but I'm not worried about that one.)

For what it's worth, I agree heartily with EF about community college and his 6:58 post. If your kid is Lake Woebegon quality, I can sorta kinda understand the prestige school thing. But if your kid doesn't quite know what he/she wants to do, why spend megabucks for English 101, math 101, and poli. sci. 101 when you can spend just hundreds on the same basic classes for a year or two. Then do the transfer when it counts.

BTW, dental technicians and hygienists are making, like $70,000 a year in this region. Nurses can write their own tickets anywhere. Physicians assistants can too. (Of course, the payment scheme for PAs is about as screwed up as medicine and insurance "experts" can possibly make it, but still.)

I won't be boodling much tomorrow; got two doctors appointments, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, so I'll be spending about 8 hours going 5 mph in traffic, and 6 hours reading back back back issues of People magazine in waiting rooms. Between the two appointments and an entire day spent, I expect to spend at least eight or nine minutes actually seeing and being seen by an actual doctor person. (At the morning appointment I'll likely not see a doctor at all; I'm a "lab rat" in a program at Georgetown's research lab, and basically all they do is draw lots of my blood, of which I seem to have an endless and fascinating supply. Once a quarter, they actually draw 38 tubes over four hours. I don't know if that's on the agenda tomorrow or not, or if it's just the short six or eight tubes over half an hour. I am to professional bleeding what Willie Mays was to over-the-shoulder catches. I have veins in the crooks of my elbows that have little teeny-tiny quick-connect fittings on them.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

One of the few books of poetry I own is Frost.

On college - I agree with everyone about community college. I've taken plenty of courses later in life at community college and I think the level of teaching is very high. What you miss as a young person at CC is the college life - being on your own, away from home - which is what I wanted most when I was 18. My son wasn't interested in that - he wanted to work so he could have a car, so he did that and took a few CC classes. It is a bit frightening to me the emphasis that some people put on getting into the "right" school.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 26, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Here's a great career that doesn't require an advanced degree: television writer. I imagine they will soon be hiring at CSI. What the heck was that all about? And what's the little girl from "Growing Pains" doing playing a "pleasure provider"?

That just ain't right.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 26, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

CP, the reason I love that pome is: you somehow haven't to deserve it.

Posted by: Yoki | April 26, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the apostrophe clarification earlier, Mudge. I do things like the '60s or cpu's completely wrong, I'm afraid (but my audience is usually a bunch of techno geeks who have no idea). And I'm not so careful about who/that/which - I'll try to be more conscious of that.

BTW, my sister found her missing address apostrophe in an ice cream place, where they had sundae's!

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 26, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

This story about Stephen Hawking put a smile on my face:

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 26, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

//that pome defines what family is: they have to take you in.//

God, I would shoot myself first!

Posted by: dbG | April 26, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

As a community college teacher, I agree that the level of teaching is very high (or, at least the teachers are high) :-)

Posted by: Dooley | April 26, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Decide for yourself, dear friend.

The Death of the Hired Man
by: Robert Frost

Mary sat musing on the lamp-flame at the table
Waiting for Warren. When she heard his step,
She ran on tip-toe down the darkened passage
To meet him in the doorway with the news
And put him on his guard. 'Silas is back.'
She pushed him outward with her through the door
And shut it after her. "Be kind," she said.
She took the market things from Warren's arms
And set them on the porch, then drew him down
To sit beside her on the wooden steps.

'When was I ever anything but kind to him?
But I'll not have the fellow back,' he said.
'I told him so last haying, didn't I?
"If he left then," I said, "that ended it."
What good is he? Who else will harbor him
At his age for the little he can do?
What help he is there's no depending on.
Off he goes always when I need him most.
'He thinks he ought to earn a little pay,
Enough at least to buy tobacco with,
won't have to beg and be beholden."
"All right," I say "I can't afford to pay
Any fixed wages, though I wish I could."
"Someone else can."
"Then someone else will have to.
I shouldn't mind his bettering himself
If that was what it was. You can be certain,
When he begins like that, there's someone at him
Trying to coax him off with pocket-money, --
In haying time, when any help is scarce.
In winter he comes back to us. I'm done.'

'Shh I not so loud: he'll hear you,' Mary said.

'I want him to: he'll have to soon or late.'

'He's worn out. He's asleep beside the stove.
When I came up from Rowe's I found him here,
Huddled against the barn-door fast asleep,
A miserable sight, and frightening, too-
You needn't smile -- I didn't recognize him-
I wasn't looking for him- and he's changed.
Wait till you see.'

'Where did you say he'd been?

'He didn't say. I dragged him to the house,
And gave him tea and tried to make him smoke.
I tried to make him talk about his travels.
Nothing would do: he just kept nodding off.'

'What did he say? Did he say anything?'

'But little.'

'Anything? Mary, confess
He said he'd come to ditch the meadow for me.'


'But did he? I just want to know.'

'Of course he did. What would you have him say?
Surely you wouldn't grudge the poor old man
Some humble way to save his self-respect.
He added, if you really care to know,
He meant to dear the upper pasture, too.
That sounds like something you have heard before?
Warren, I wish you could have heard the way
He jumbled everything. I stopped to look
Two or three times -- he made me feel so queer--
To see if he was talking in his sleep.
He ran on Harold Wilson -- you remember -
The boy you had in haying four years since.
He's finished school, and teaching in his college.
Silas declares you'll have to get him back.
He says they two will make a team for work:
Between them they will lay this farm as smooth!
The way he mixed that in with other things.
He thinks young Wilson a likely lad, though daft
On education -- you know how they fought
All through July under the blazing sun,
Silas up on the cart to build the load,
Harold along beside to pitch it on.'

'Yes, I took care to keep well out of earshot.'

'Well, those days trouble Silas like a dream.
You wouldn't think they would. How some things linger!
Harold's young college boy's assurance piqued him.
After so many years he still keeps finding
Good arguments he sees he might have used.
I sympathize. I know just how it feels
To think of the right thing to say too late.
Harold's associated in his mind with Latin.
He asked me what I thought of Harold's saying
He studied Latin like the violin
Because he liked it -- that an argument!
He said he couldn't make the boy believe
He could find water with a hazel prong--
Which showed how much good school had ever done
him. He wanted to go over that. 'But most of all
He thinks if he could have another chance
To teach him how to build a load of hay --'

'I know, that's Silas' one accomplishment.
He bundles every forkful in its place,
And tags and numbers it for future reference,
So he can find and easily dislodge it
In the unloading. Silas does that well.
He takes it out in bunches like big birds' nests.
You never see him standing on the hay
He's trying to lift, straining to lift himself.'

'He thinks if he could teach him that, he'd be
Some good perhaps to someone in the world.
He hates to see a boy the fool of books.
Poor Silas, so concerned for other folk,
And nothing to look backward to with pride,
And nothing to look forward to with hope,
So now and never any different.'

Part of a moon was filling down the west,
Dragging the whole sky with it to the hills.
Its light poured softly in her lap. She saw
And spread her apron to it. She put out her hand
Among the harp-like morning-glory strings,
Taut with the dew from garden bed to eaves,
As if she played unheard the tenderness
That wrought on him beside her in the night.
'Warren,' she said, 'he has come home to die:
You needn't be afraid he'll leave you this time.'

'Home,' he mocked gently.

'Yes, what else but home?
It all depends on what you mean by home.
Of course he's nothing to us, any more
then was the hound that came a stranger to us
Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.'

'Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.'

'I should have called it
Something you somehow haven't to deserve.'

Warren leaned out and took a step or two,
Picked up a little stick, and brought it back
And broke it in his hand and tossed it by.
'Silas has better claim on' us, you think,
Than on his brother? Thirteen little miles
As the road winds would bring him to his door.
Silas has walked that far no doubt to-day.
Why didn't he go there? His brother's rich,
A somebody- director in the bank.'

'He never told us that.'

'We know it though.'

'I think his brother ought to help, of course.
I'll see to that if there is need. He ought of right
To take him in, and might be willing to--
He may be better than appearances.
But have some pity on Silas. Do you think
If he'd had any pride in claiming kin
Or anything he looked for from his brother,
He'd keep so still about him all this time?'

'I wonder what's between them.'

'I can tell you.
Silas is what he is -- we wouldn't mind him--
But just the kind that kinsfolk can't abide.
He never did a thing so very bad.
He don't know why he isn't quite as good
As anyone. He won't be made ashamed
To please his brother, worthless though he is.'

'I can't think Si ever hurt anyone.'

'No, but he hurt my heart the way he lay
And rolled his old head on that sharp-edged chair-back.
He wouldn't let me put him on the lounge.
You must go in and see what you can do.
I made the bed up for him there to-night.
You'll be surprised at him -- how much he's broken.
His working days are done; I'm sure of it.'

'I'd not be in a hurry to say that.'

'I haven't been. Go, look, see for yourself.
But, Warren, please remember how it is:
He' come to help you ditch the meadow.
He has a plan, You mustn't laugh at him.
He may not speak of it, and then he may.
I'll sit and see if that small sailing cloud
Will hit or miss the moon.'

It hit the moon.

Then there were three there, making a dim row,
The moon, the little silver cloud, and she.
Warren returned-- too soon, it seemed to her,
Slipped to her side, caught up her hand and waited.

'Warren?' she questioned.

'Dead,' was all he answered.

Posted by: Yoki | April 26, 2007 10:27 PM | Report abuse

your beloved mystery poster...

Washington POST IS BLOCKING POSTING OF anti war , against this administration postings...

it is a fact , mostly on the comments sections...

not too cool , but I guess when your about to be extracted for starting a war on false pretenses , you call in some favors...

that is what is happening ,

have a nice evening...

Posted by: hello its me.. | April 26, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I just sent you an e-mail about the poem.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Pint-sized Jack Valenti is dead. I've been holding my pint-sized girlfriend's secrets about him for about 25 years now. He is hardly as pure as the driven snow. And he had three kids. How sad.

Posted by: Loomis | April 26, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

dbG, that stuff about the admissions office: that's exactly how my son was accepted to college.

He found the place he felt at home and then built relationships with as many people there as he could. Many people in the admissions office and even a professor he met while visiting there.

Now it's my turn to forge a relationship with the folks in the financial aid office.

Posted by: TBG | April 26, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

I cant't believe you guys are not commenting on the Demo debate. I don't agree with all the pundents that are saying Hillary did so great. I was kinda of a love fest in my estimation.

Posted by: bh | April 26, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Was I supposed to watch the Demo debate?

Posted by: LTL-CA | April 26, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

With "Grey's Anatomy" on? Get real.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 26, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

All my community college economics, stats, accounting, business math and law courses are recognized at the university level. The gereral business courses were developed with the University of Ottawa and the assessment and computer modelling courses were created and graded by the University of British Columbia Business School.
I benefited from small class sizes and an eagerness on the part of most teachers to drag us through.
Good thoughts for my math teacher, one of my economics profs can sit on a land mine.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 26, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Well I thought maybe some of you might be interested and comment. Maybe there was a basketball game on or something. Joel did bring it up in the kit.

Posted by: bh | April 26, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Mudge but out here in out here in our zone it came on at 4PM.

Posted by: bh | April 26, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

hello mystery poster! It's . . . you!

I'd been wondering where you were.

You are indeed beloved.

Posted by: Dreamer | April 26, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Welcome home 1 RCR.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 26, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Careful Dreamer, you'll spook him.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 26, 2007 11:36 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, I have replied.

Posted by: Yoki | April 26, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

,she intoned, ominously.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 26, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Grounds to impeach a lot of people, and not just Gonzales:

Weapons of Mass destruction
The National Reading Panel and Reading First.

This under the NCLB channeled money right into the pocket of certain Bush administration donors. The fix was in even before the bids were made.

Worse yet, in 2004, the IDEA was altered to contain the language referring to the National Reading Panel findings.

Malfeasance is a crime, that I know. Is it a high crime? Any constitutional lawyers willing to comment on this?

Because it's a hell lot of money that went astray. I'd call it grand larceny, which is a felony.

Not to mention the IDEA in 2004 was rewritten so it sounded like that ideally, even the lady who helps a disabled child get on and off the bus must be an trained and licensed special education teacher trained in "scientifically sound practices" (hello National Reading Panel).

This has put a large burden on special education teachers to "retrain" themselves according to the extra ongoing education requirements for general education teachers plus their specializations.

Now our teachers are supposed to be jack of all trades (hello, Jack), I guess. I know of quite a few special education teachers who are furious.

Worse, the NEA is basically not paying enough attention to the implications of the IDEA. All they suggest is "more money to fund this-- if you require it, you gotta pay for it."

I'm not too impressed with what I'm reading right now, and sadly enough I ahven't touched the surface.

I did find that a NCLB-favoring educational critic, Jay P. Greene, has cooked his statistics right and left. 30% dropout rate?
The U.S. Census indicates over 85% of Americans have a high school diploma, and the number is higher among people 18-24.

Sigh... Mudge, I think the R&D in newsreporting (from last boodle) is because news reporters are depending too much on "experts" who are talking out of their rectums.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 26, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

bh, I missed the debate - might watch it later when they rebroadcast it (they said it would be on at 8 - which I figure means 11 - but maybe I'm missing it while watching The Office). What did you think of it? I thought Biden's "Yes" answer was pretty funny.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 26, 2007 11:52 PM | Report abuse

*first three bars of Beethoven's eighth syphony*

Posted by: Yoki | April 26, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

SCC: symphony

Posted by: Anonymous | April 26, 2007 11:54 PM | Report abuse

The debate? I have no problem with a love fest. I'd hate to see the Dems give any ammo to the Republics to use in the General Election.

Posted by: TBG | April 26, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

No, boko, I don't think I'll spook him.
Me and the mystery poster (sometimes cruelly referred to as "kilometric dude") go back a ways.
I *love* the mystery poster.

Posted by: Dreamer | April 27, 2007 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I don't think anybody's ever gonna get impeached because of a poor reading program or phony dropout rates.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2007 12:19 AM | Report abuse

My accounting teacher was a riot. She's a nitpicking stickler with an easily outraged sense of justice. The college had ordered new textbooks that were virtually identical to the ones they were to replace. The first thing our accounting teacher did was escort those of us who had purchased the new book to the bookstore were we got a refund and got the old book at a tenth the cost of the new. She then marched us back to class were we cut the pages out of the books and stuck them in binders. 20 people hacking at textbooks with boxcutters is not a sight I expected in accounting class. Marketing maybe.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 27, 2007 12:24 AM | Report abuse

dbG, I always phrase it differently. "Just shoot me."

Posted by: Yoki | April 27, 2007 12:25 AM | Report abuse

I have been away and working way too much.

But tonight's drive home I encountered hundreds of frogs just jumping across the road.It was the coolest thing to see and thankfully I didn't hit any of them.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 27, 2007 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Early Reading First

This program, established in the No Child Left Behind Act,.... using scientifically based research (aka: money to campaign contributors) to support children's understanding of letters... In FY 2002, Early Reading First is funded at $75 million.

75 MILLION. That alone would buy body armor for all our troops in Iraq, I believe.

Further, Head Start's funding was eaten into help pay for "national reporting system"

Somehow I'm guessing another bush donor got a lot of money by providing materials.

How about the fact the GAO has given black marks to so many Bush administration bright ideas for efficiency and corruption.

And Halliburton. Besides, there's always Hurricane Katrina. "Good Job, Brownie!"

Yes, Mudge, corruption is reason to impeach a judge. It should be reason to impeach an entire administration. Full stop.

If we start thinking this way, instead of saying "but that's not the same as being caught with pants down with an intern..." the world would be a better place.

Those numbers are mindboggling huge, but it all amounts to corruption.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2007 1:14 AM | Report abuse

And Bush made little kids cry. That has to be worth SOMETHING.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2007 1:19 AM | Report abuse

What happened to the days when a president would wind up resigning to avoid impeachment because he authorized just a tiny little bit of a break-in to a hotel room, anyway?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2007 2:13 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Did not watch the debate. I don't know, time I hit the bed I am asleep, it just happens real quick. Perhaps it's the procedure from Monday, just really tired.

Error, I agree with you about the community college path. It's a great way to start your college experience.

Gomer, your comment concerning the self-esteem issue, could you expand on that a bit? I'm just interested, don't want to fight.

Mudge, good luck with the doctors. I don't envy you one bit, especially with the blood thing. Medical people really go for blood. My mother told me one time that when she went to the doctor they wanted so much blood. She decided they were hoarding her blood, and just taking it because they could. Before she died, it became impossible to get a small drop of blood from her, couldn't find a vein.

Have a great day, folks. And an even better weekend. The month is almost over, and I'm still debating if I should plant something. Last year, someone else ate my tomatoes, and the worm did my flowers in, so I'm not sure I want to go to the trouble of planting. I may get lulled into it by watching my neighbors. They take such a great interest in planting and having a great little space. I really could just look at mine, and admire the weeds. Weeds are sort of a thrown away bunch, no one loves them, and I certainly don't want to add to their troubles. I mean whose going to stand up for them? Don't they have rights too? They get pulled and ragged on all the time, I'm sure they could use a friend. And the benefit to me would be tremendous. All I would have to do is sit and watch. It just doesn't get any better than that.

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ. Peace.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 27, 2007 5:16 AM | Report abuse

I've just read the Moyer's transcript. I am stunned. And the assessment of the WashPost part in all of this is mind boggling, as all the media. Knight-Ridder seems to have been the only cool head to prevail.

My father from day one said it was all a lie, and I did not believe him. I thought there may have been something to the weapons story. My dad, never had any illusions about the LIE. And here we find out he was right. Why were we sold down the river like that?

Where do we go from here?

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 27, 2007 6:14 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle, 'morning Cassandra. Don't worry about me and the docs, Cassandra: it's only blood and I've got plenty. It's me versus the traffic that's problematic.

And I'm away now. Everybody have a good boodle today.

(Exeunt stage left.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2007 6:22 AM | Report abuse

I stayed far away from that debate. I'm not a registered Democrat, so I don't have a dog in that fight. It's my wife's job to pick the idiot on that side of the ballot. Being a teacher has clouded her political sensibilities. I caught her the other night donating money to the NEA for political activities. When confronted, she just said she was looking out for her salary. Sigh.

Of course, NCLB was a scam. It was pushed by Dubya and his cronies. SOMEBODY had to be profiteering.

Good luck with the lab work, 'mudge. I'm getting woozie just thinking about it. I'm pretty squeamish when it comes to my vital essences being withdrawn from me. Hopefully you are saving somebody's life.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 27, 2007 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Mudge? Mudge? Is there more than one of you? "Exeunt" is the plural form of "exit."

Posted by: Slyness | April 27, 2007 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, good morning, everybody. Hey, Cassandra.

I have a cold in my nose but will press forth in the day anyway. Have lots to do, starting with a writing project that I've been avoiding for a couple of weeks. Why do I DO these things to myself?

Posted by: Slyness | April 27, 2007 7:06 AM | Report abuse

I watched the debate. I'll kit about it in a little bit. Basically I thought Edwards did the best, mostly because he seemed the least nervous. No one made any huge mistakes, though I can imagine that the 24-7 blogger punditry will leap on perceived omissions (say, Obama not immediately mentioning Israel when asked who our three biggest allies are).

Cassandra, the Moyers thing has been on my mind a lot since I read that transcript. I want to see the actual show before weighing in. I think it was fair, in that it captured the psychology of the media. It might have been a bit hard on the Post, though, since it was the Times that really pushed the WMD angle -- Judy Miller. The Post editorial board endorsed the war strongly, however. The great sin of the newsroom at the Post -- admitted by the exec editor on the front page fully three years ago -- was putting too many stories inside the paper that challenged the administration's position. Instead on the front page. (That said, we DID have front page stories that said things didn't quite add up. For example, Pincus in the documentary mentions a piece by Joby Warrick. Moyers said but that ran on A18. True: Except there was a second piece by Warrick, 50 inches, ran on the front page weeks before the war. Directly challenged the administration view. Just fyi.)

Posted by: Achenbach | April 27, 2007 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! *tired waves*





goodgollygoshwillikers, what a day I had yesterday.

Most of it is not really Boodle fodder, but just let me say it can be difficult being one of the few people in the entire building with a solid grasp of English. Right 'Mudge? :-)

And mr lots of WHITESPACE and random USE of all caps is back? Alert the media. *finger twirlies*

At least it's still Friday!!!!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2007 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and I liked that Hawking article, too! Looked like he was having the time of his life, although I can't help thinking he was working out the ballistic equations of his trajectory as he floated. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2007 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Here's something way off-topic, but it's book-related. The Edgar Awards were announced recently, that's like Pulitzer Prizes for mystery writers (named for Edgar Allan Poe). Stephen King is getting the big prize of the year, but the part of the announcement that made me happy was that they are giving a "Raven Award" to Mitchell Kaplan, the owner of the Books & Books bookstore (how's that for redundancy) in Miami and the main force behind the Miami Book Fair. Mitchell is like a saint for booklovers in south Florida, he works so hard and his bookstore is a tremendous community asset. Think of the Meg Ryan character in "You've Got Mail" and then multiply times a thousand.

Here's a profile of Kaplan that Joel wrote for Tropic back in 1987:

Posted by: kbertocci | April 27, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

My memory is pretty fuzzy, but I think I do remember the A18 Joby Warrick article when it ran and thinking, "Great! Finally someone is calling bulls___ on these phony claims. Too bad the war was set in motion back in November."

That said, the press go led by the nose right up to the yellow journalism trough. I expected war-mongering from Krauthammer, Kristol, and their ilk. The biggest disappointment was Safire, who I had a lot of respect for, becoming a mouthpiece for Chalabi.

Ultimately, the war was declared by Cheney and Rove and the press would have been very powerless to stop even if they weren't asleep at the wheel.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 27, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse


Loved the article. Is Books and Books still around? I only ask because I have seen too many independent bookstores fall including

Liberties in Boca Raton
Oxford Books in Atlanta
Bibelot in Baltimore

Even The Tattered Cover in Denver recently moved to smaller digs.

Booklovers that are savvy businessmen are rare combinations.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 27, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, yes, Books & Books is still going strong. It's located in Coral Gables, which is a far trip for me but I have been there a couple of times for author events. Once I saw Mitchell but I was too shy to talk to him. (Needed to have TBG with me--"Hey, Mitchell!")

They have authors in the store nearly every single day. I get their newsletter and it's a constant source of frustration to me. I want to move to Miami so I can live closer to Books & Books. Unfortunately, real life must take precedence over my literary fantasies.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 27, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I think we should think long and hard about Pincus' remarks in the Moyers' transcipt about the press giving up truth-squading, an outgrowth of the fact that Reagan made so many mistakes in his speeches that the public perceived the press to be picking on Ronnie every time the press pointed out his gaffes.

Reminds me of Tony Cordesman picking apart Bush's SOTU by thoroughly analyzing it earlier in the year at the NYT.

There is one incident in 2004 that really sticks in my mind, however. The White House Press Corps' annual Correspondents' Dinner--that year being the one when Bush showed a film clip about how he was looking under the desk and various nooks and crannies in the Oval Office for the missing WMD.

I had a friend at that dinner who got his start in media out in Los Angeles and remember that when the film footage was shown, there were peals of laughter in the room, which disturbed me greatly. I e-mailed my friend. I said, in essence, "Friend, please tell me that you were not one of those who laughted."

Posted by: Loomis | April 27, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. Glad to see some of the SAO-15 posting more frequently. jw buddy, sounds like you have some pretty nice choices already.

I didn't see the debates last night, I'm curious to hear everyone's opinions on them. Even Joel's.

Is there anyone more critical of the media than the media? If there were, how would we hear about it?

I'm glad Hawking is getting his shot to experience some elements of space flight, and if he can get up for a short hop into space in one of the Virgin Galactic commerical flights, that would be great. Interesting article in the WaPo this AM on that:


Posted by: bc | April 27, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Richard Branson, bc, anyone else notice his cameo in "Superman Returns?"


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

>anyone else notice his cameo in "Superman Returns?"

Scotty, British Airways noticed it and cut him out of the version that plays on their flights.

I fear I was watching the 25th Anniversary Edition of Tron last night and missed the debate fun.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 27, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

bc, good morning. I'll dedicate my debate opinions to you:

I watched the debate online. My overall reaction, especially at first, was that this is a high-quality group of candidates, and I feel comforted to think that one of them is likely to be our next President.

I liked it when Gravel went off on his rants, "We spend more on defense than the rest of the world put together! Who are we afraid of??!" and "Why are we building up our nuclear arsenal? Who are we going to nuke?" But he was a little scary, not very Presidential.

I liked it when Kucinich whipped out his copy of the Constitution and waved it around. I think they should have had a "show of hands" question: How many of you either have the Constitution memorized OR carry a copy with you at all times? (You think Hillary has it memorized? I wouldn't put it past her.)

I didn't like it when Biden responded to a non-terrorist-related question by emphasizing his determination to employ a military response to future theoretical 9/11 type attacks.

Barack looked very young, and failed to impress me with his rhetoric. Edwards was smooth, but so was Hillary--and everybody was fairly comfortable. It was kind of funny how the moderator would lay down the rules--answer in one sentence, limit to 20 seconds, now we're going to talk about health insurance--and then all of the candidates would completely ignore him and talk as long as they wanted on whatever subject they pleased.

I especially liked the Love Fest aspect of the debate--that they referred back to what other candidates had said, and not in a negative way. They need to keep that up.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 27, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, I probably would have noticed Branson if I'd seen the movie. Or at least noticed Cousin It with a British accent, anyway...

Heck, I've wanted to see SR, but after Superman III I kinda burned out on the Superman movies. If Richard Pryor couldn't save it, nobody could.


Posted by: bc | April 27, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, all. We have been childless for the past two days because Grandma and Grandpa (MIL & FIL) took them to the beach. We made the collective decision, considering my MIL's health, that family was more important than school. The house is awfully big and quiet without them. I was jonesin' for someone to wake up this morning. We will be driving to the beach to join everyone this evening after school. Look like we're taking the rain with us. Ah, well...TGIF.

dbG: Thanks for the admissions office tip...Our big girl is starting HS in our building next year and has started her post secondary search. Although she's currently at the top of the heap in her class, a rural top of the heap is different from the same perch among the latest iteration of the top 100 HS. It'll be interesting to see how our soon to be rural applicant fares in the college stakes. I will encourage her to continue making connections via the admissions office at the institutins of her choice.

Posted by: jack | April 27, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

But bc, it has Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane. I don't know about anyone else, but that's reason enough for me to see any movie. Also Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor...

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

EF, I can't possibly imagine why British Airways would do such a thing... *L*

bc, go ahead and rent SR, it's worth it. Brandon Routh channels Christopher Reeve very well.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

jack - let us know how she does that. My son is a soph and we have planned along to get serious this summer about the college search. My husband and I, both college educated, feel that it is so very different now than it was in '78 and '80 that we feel almost clueless.
How on earth do you make contacts in the admissions office? Does that seem like a silly question?

Posted by: Kim | April 27, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Kate as a brunette with one hazel eye and one blue wearing librarian eyeglasses...

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

... new Kit ...

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 27, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Ah Tim beat me to it. See you all over at the debate kit...

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

'mornin' boodle!

Yoki, thanks for posting the Frost pome! That was an unexpected treat for me from catch-up boodle-scanning. Greenwithenvy, I'm so glad you didn't hit the frogs! Out here, ours decide to make a froggie exodus on wet days, too - also turtles - since we have small creeks on both sides of the road. Most vehicles think they're in a real-life Frogger game, unfortunately, and the carnage is appalling. The local gummint repaved the road last year, so we're not seeing very many. I suppose it will take a few years for the population to recover. S'ok, my frog pond will lead the way, it was safely tucked away from the destruction and dumped toxins (and roadside trash from the crews).

Given the obvious loss of the wild bees out here, and the news in general, I'm seriously considering becoming a bee hobbyist. I have the land space and it's zoned for it, and there's plenty of non-toxic flowers nearby, but I can't protect them from my neighbors' Chemlawns and pesticides. It'd break my heart if I raised a hive and then watched it die, but surely they'd be safer out here than in Bethesda? Any boodlers ever try this?

Posted by: sevenswans | April 27, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

What happened in the press is mirrored by what happened in the Intelligence Community. Because there were not enough hard facts, various subject matter experts interpreted ambiguous information in the way that "made sense." These interpretations were then repeated until they coalesced into Conventional Wisdom. This Conventional Wisdom was then eagerly accepted by policy makers because it "made sense" to them as well.
And of course, the Conventional Wisdom turned out to be "dead wrong."

This presents a true conundrum. Ideally, all conclusions should be based on absolute facts, but this is rarely the case. And in the absence of contradictory facts what better source do we have then the consensus views of the informed majority? Sure, a minority position might be the sole voice of truth, or it might just be wrong. Until we get that time-machine thingie working right, there is no way to tell.

The only way out that I see is to fold uncertainty into the decision making process. To focus less on getting the right answer and more on understanding the repercussions if the answer is wrong. And the essential first step is to create an environment in which the statement "I don't know" is not automatically met with derision and disdain.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 27, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting that the WSJ and others often neglect to include the military academies. Acceptance rate at Annapolis, West Point, and AF Academy are 13%, 14%, and 18%. Crazy kids. Don't they know there's a war on?

Posted by: Kane | April 27, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"Because there were not enough hard facts, various subject matter experts interpreted ambiguous information in the way that 'made sense'. These interpretations were then repeated until they coalesced into Conventional Wisdom."

RD, If you believe this was the process, I still have some shares in that bridge over the Hudson I could sell you--cheap. What there was was the White House rejecting analyses and applying pressure until the Right answer appeared from analysts who had mortgages and kids in college, and a growing fear of the White House.

Goering was right on the money:

"But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

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