Chart of the day: the cost of college

Wonkblog is starting a series looking at the rapidly escalating cost of a college education.  The first post doesn’t provide a lot of answers, but lays out the basic parameters.  A couple of charts make a dramatic point (and yes, those are inflation-adjusted dollars):



Very depressing for a parent planning on sending three kids to college.

Human beings will adjust. To dying in the streets.

Virginia Republican Gubernatorial nominee (and current Attorney General) is really a piece of work.  Dahlia Lithwick has been chronicling his anti-sodomy (seriously) crusade for some time.  I just couldn’t let this bit of hard-right ideology pass by without note here (via Benen):

A Democratic source flagged this amazing clip in which Virginia’s right-wing attorney general was asked about the health care system, and he called for limiting something called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (or EMTALA). If this sounds unfamiliar, it’s the ’80s-era law, signed by President Reagan, that requires emergency rooms to provide care regardless of citizenship, legal status, or a patient’s ability to pay.

Under the system before the Affordable Care Act, the use of emergency rooms for care caused systemic problems — it’s been socialized medicine at its most inefficient extreme. The uninsured wait until an ailment is life-threatening, at which point they seek very expensive and medically dire care, which bankrupts the sick person while spreading the costs to everyone else.

Cuccinelli has his own vision for what to do about it. Help Americans have access to affordable care so they won’t have to wait for a crisis and show up at the E.R. for expensive treatment? No, of course not. In Cuccinelli’s vision, we’ll just scale EMTALA back so emergency rooms won’t have to treat the uninsured facing medical emergencies.

As he explains it in the video, “I would expect we would ratchet back EMTALA so that those are the people you’re left dealing with, not the people who come in with a cold who clog up the ER, the emergency rooms and use those facilities for maintenance…. There’s going to be a period of time where people are going to have to adjust…. Human beings will adjust.”

In context, “Human beings will adjust” appears to be a remarkable euphemism for “We’re going to let poor, sick Americans die on the streets.”

Just wow.   And this guy is not some crank state legislator, but the Republican nominee for Governor of VA.  Disgusting.

I’m a radical!

I cannot even remember where I came across the link to this “social attitudes test” but I spent a few minutes taking it and found the results interesting, if not entirely accurate:

Political Values
Radicalism 94
Socialism 25
Tenderness 65.625
These scores indicate that you are a tender-minded progressive; this is the political profile one might associate with an animal rights activist. It appears that you are moderate towards religion, and have a balanced attitude towards humanity in general.

Your attitudes towards economics appear capitalist, and combined with your social attitudes this creates the picture of someone who would generally be described as libertarian.

To round out the picture you appear to be, political preference aside, an idealist with few strong opinions.

This concludes our analysis; we hope you found your results accurate, useful, and interesting.

Unlike many other political tests found on the Internet which base themselves on untested (and usually ideologically motivated) ideas, this inventory is adapted from Hans Eysenck’s own political inventory which was developed after extensive empirical investigations in the 20th Century.

I love that– I’m a “tender-minded progressive.”  I mostly found it interesting how the questions on economics encompassed a broad range such that in this context I’m quite the fan of capitalism (I do, as often mentioned, think appropriately regulated, capitalism is a very good thing).  But these questions set is all up as capitalism versus true socialism (i.e., government ownership of industry) and when you put it that way, I’m definitely a capitalist.  Anyway, curious that I’m so radical.  But, hey, I’m nothing if not tender– right?

Photo of the day

For some reason, I find tennis photos the most compelling of all sports photos.  Thus, I loved this set of tennis photos that don’t actually involve the players playing tennis.  I used to be a big tennis fan, and when I was Bjorn Borg was definitely my favorite, so I had to go with this vintage Borg photo.

Borg US Open 1981

Bjorn Borg, 1981
Michael Cole

A killer on gun control

Loved this Atlantic piece on a convicted murderer’s take on gun control.  Short version: he thinks we make it way to easy for troubled young males to get guns.  I agree.  He makes the point that I personally think is way under-appreciated that almost all illegal guns/crime guns start out as legally purchased guns.  We absolutely have to stop this pipeline from legal purchases to criminal use.  You know what that’s called?  Gun control.  Some highlights:

With this in mind, I wish to add some perspective to the gun-control debate. My first gun was a chrome .25 caliber automatic with a pink, pearl handle. It was beautiful. But it was a killing machine, and at 14 years old I had the same hole in my heart that President Obama, in a Chicago speech, stated other child killers had. I had no business with that gun. Yet making guns accessible to troubled souls is business as usual in America.

Here’s how the game works. Criminals manipulate people with clean records — cash-strapped students, vulnerable women, drug addicts — to buy guns for them in states with minimal oversight, like Virginia. The criminal transports the guns to New York, then resells them or trades them for drugs that he’ll take back to Virginia to sell. This was the hustle when I was out in the ‘90s. I’m sure some form of it still continues…

Disconnected Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, says, “Criminals do not submit to background checks now. They will not submit to expanded background checks.” Grassley’s full-scale alternative gun measures, which focused on funding prosecutions for illegal gun possessions rather than background checks, helped derail the legislation in April. Aggressive prosecutions are punishment measures that, frankly, do not deter criminals from acquiring, possessing, or killing with guns. Conversely, intensifying background checks will change the game and spook those who buy guns for criminals. This will deter so-called straw purchases.

Government should also create a system that tracks gun-purchasing patterns. Credit-card companies already respond to irregular spending patterns—I used to shop with stolen credit cards, and when the employee at the register said, “I have to call the company,” I knew the jig was up. Similarly, it should raise red flags when a person who has never bought a gun suddenly buys five handguns. If the buyer is, for example, purchasing the guns for a drug dealer in the parking lot, he or she will be shaken if the sales clerk says something like, “We have to call and document this purchase with a new agency.” …

I’m where I belong. But without a gun I would not have killed. Like most misguided, impulsive youth in America, I was emotionally and socially retarded, with a killing machine on my waist. The gun sector and I do not share the same culpability. Hardly. It’s unethical, however, for stakeholders of Sturm, Ruger and Smith & Wesson to contest oversight that would prevent arming individuals like me. Hiding behind manipulative interpretations of the Second Amendment and arguments crafted by the gun lobby, which suggest that the panacea is to enrich our moral fiber, is no help. God knows I’d support moral reform — but fixing moral decay is a tall order. Meanwhile, our free-market gun culture is out of control. Let’s fix that. Now.

Great stuff.  A convicted killer with far more moral and (policy) sense than the leadership of the NRA and their unenlightened followers.

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