Love this essay in defense of the university in response to the UVA mess.  In conclusion:

We hear every day from higher-education pundits who can’t seem to express themselves in anything other than jargon and buzzwords that American higher education is “unsustainable.” No. It’s just not adequately sustained. There is a big difference. We could choose to invest in people. We could choose to invest in culture. We could choose to invest in science and technology. We choose instead to imagine that there are quick technological fixes or commercial interventions that can “transform” universities into digital diploma mills. Pundits blame professors for fighting “change.” But they ignore the fact that universities are the chief site of innovation and experimentation in digital teaching and research and that professors might actually know what works and what does not…

Higher education is not one system. There are multiple layers and a wide variety of institutions. But they all have one thing in common: They have a mission to use knowledge to empower people to imagine a better life and transform society. If we like where we are, let’s just forget about it and roll back public support for higher education. But if we aspire to better things as a society, not just as individuals, then we should rediscover the vision of public higher education that inspired the University of Virginia in the first place.

 Unlike Harvard and Yale, UVA is not named for a person. Thomas Jefferson named The University of Virginia for a commonwealth instead of himself because it belongs to and serves the greater good of a commonwealth.

Even more Scalia

The Post properly takes Scalia to task in an editorial and more notably, EJ Dionne– no firebrand he– actually calls on the Justice to resign.  Go EJ!

What boggles the mind is that Scalia thought it proper to jump into this political argument. And when he went on to a broader denunciation of federal policies, he sounded just like an Arizona Senate candidate.

“Arizona bears the brunt of the country’s illegal immigration problem,” the politician-justice proclaimed. “Its citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants who invade their property, strain their social services, and even place their lives in jeopardy. Federal officials have been unable to remedy the problem, and indeed have recently shown that they are simply unwilling to do so.

“Arizona has moved to protect its sovereignty — not in contradiction of federal law, but in complete compliance with it.” Cue the tea party rally applause…

Unaccountable power can lead to arrogance. That’s why justices typically feel bound by rules and conventions that Scalia seems to take joy in ignoring…

It was a fine speech for a campaign gathering, the appropriate venue for a man so eager to brand the things he disagrees with as crazy or mind-boggling. Scalia should free himself to pursue his true vocation. We can then use his resignation as an occasion for a searching debate over just how political this Supreme Court has become.

Quick hits

Lots of good stuff each worthy of their own post, but I can’t blog all day long:

1) Love Michael Tomasky on how liberals should fight back if the SC strikes down the mandate.  I think he’s exactly right (including in his skepticism of Obama to take this approach).

2) While we’re at it, here’s Tomasky on how the mandate should have been defended (again, he strikes me as exactly right).

3) Great Fallows on the politicization of the Supreme Court.  You’ll really want to click through.

4) Great piece by former VA Congressman Tom Perriello  putting the healthcare debate in a historical-Constitutional context, i.e., there’s a reason we scrapped the Articles of Confederation for the Constitution and some Americans have never been able to accept this.

5) Now, when I criticize Scalia, it doesn’t really mean much, but when esteemed conservative Federal Judge Richard Posner does, that’s got some real teeth to it.  On a related note, David Savage rounds up law professors sticking it to Scalia as well.

6) Great piece by Deborah Blum (one of my favorite science writers– definitely going to have to bookmark her blog I did not know about) about how regulation, of course, is meant for public good.  In this case, the regulation of cough syrup.

7) Love the idea of looking at calories per acre from various food sources.  Too bad I don’t like sweet potatoes.

8) 20 best movies that were never made.

Photo of the day

From an Alan Taylor set of Olympic flame photos:

The Tyne Bridge, illuminated, as the city of Newcastle prepares for the Olympic Torch Relay by displaying the Olympic rings on the famous landmark on June 13, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Stu Forster/Getty Images)

How much do you want kids?

So, I’m working on my future politics and parenthood research and I’ve been going through the General Social Survey data to find cool variables I might have missed.  There’s some good ones, but I suspect that most are too old and thus would be of questionable relevance for understanding modern political debates.  That said, this isn’t political, but it is interesting.  In 1993 GSS asked how important it was for you to have kids.  The results by sex:

Interestingly, women are 6-7% more likely to end up in the “one of the most important” category and men 6-7% more likely to end up in “somewhat important,” but otherwise, the results are surprisingly similar.

Republicans love Obamacare

Via Ezra:

It’s not just that most of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions are popular. It’s that they’re popular with Republicans:

* Eighty percent of Republicans favor “creating an insurance pool where small businesses and uninsured have access to insurance exchanges to take advantage of large group pricing benefits.” That’s backed by 75 percent of independents.

* Fifty-seven percent of Republicans support “providing subsidies on a sliding scale to aid individuals and families who cannot afford health insurance.” That’s backed by 67 percent of independents.

* Fifty-four percent of Republicans favor “requiring companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance for their employers.” That’s backed by 75 percent of independents.

* Fifty two percent of Republicans favor “allowing children to stay on parents insurance until age 26.” That’s backed by 69 percent of independents.

* Seventy eight percent of Republicans support “banning insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions; 86 percent of Republicans favor “banning insurance companies from cancelling policies because a person becomes ill.” Those are backed by 82 percent of independents and 87 percent of independents.

* One provision that isn’t backed by a majority of Republicans: The one “expanding Medicaid to families with incomes less than $30,000 per year.”

Has there ever been another policy where public opinion in the abstract and public opinion in the particular were so at odds?

How journalism really works

Reporters covering a political campaign have to write something, even when there’s not really something to say (presumably there was something to say about immigration, but a more senior reporter at the Post got that story).  So we get stuff like this:

Seriously?!  Raise your hand if you think that a Black Republican woman running for Congress in Utah increases Romney’s chances of winning the election by .1%.

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