Well, friends, it’s the Saturday in-between the end of classes and the beginning of finals week, so I’ll be out in the garden weedin’ and grillin’ up a storm instead of in front of this computer screen for most of the day. I’m turning this blog over to smarter writers and bloggers than I, for your degustation:
- Tony Grafton reviewsAndrew Delbanco’s College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be. Of all of the recent books on what’s wrong with higher education, this one seemed to me to be among the most worthy. I’ve had Delbanco’s scholarship on my shelves since undergraduate days, and as he is a Columbia University faculty member he’s doesn’t blame the faculty for all of our current woes. Grafton finds Delbanco’s contribution stronger on the Was and Is parts than the Should Bes–in other words, a better history of higher ed and diagnosis of its current ills and perhaps weaker on prescriptive solutions, but it seems like getting the Was and Is parts right is a good enough reason to read it.
- Echidne reflects on the end of the Cold War, and concludes that without the atheistic communist foe, capitalism “has gone wild:” “It is ironic that communism was what kept the American type capitalism decent. Without that public enemy the nazguls are free to rob and ravage.” That’s the thing about the ultra-rich and their lapdog politician-servants: they’re not just greedy, they’re sore winners.
- Finally, the Big Dog takes on the Dog-Eared: President Bill Clinton reviews Robert Caro’s latest volume on Lyndon Johnson, The Passage of Power: “Southern Democrats were masters at bottling up legislation they hated, particularly bills expanding civil rights for black Americans. Their skills at obstruction were so admired that the newly sworn-in Johnson was firmly counseled by an ally against using the political capital he’d inherited as a result of the assassination on such a hopeless cause. According to Caro, Johnson responded, ‘Well, what the hell’s the presidency for?’ This is the question every president must ask and answer. For Lyndon Johnson in the final weeks of 1963, the presidency was for two things: passing a civil rights bill with teeth, to replace the much weaker 1957 law he’d helped to pass as Senate majority leader, and launching the War on Poverty. That neither of these causes was in fact hopeless was clear possibly only to him, as few Americans in our history have matched Johnson’s knowledge of how to move legislation, and legislators.”
That’s all folks! Bon fin-de-semaine. I’ll ring the dinner bell when the steaks are ready. Come on over, and bring something to wet your whistle.