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Continuing Education

What's a politician worth? What's a college degree worth? What's Gore worth? Plus lots more.

12.1.02

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THANKS A LOOT
Re: The Washington Prowler's Rumblings and Reconfigurings:

I am all for Dick Armey cashing in on his House years. That man sacrificed in a big way for his country. Good going, Dick. You and Mrs. Armey enjoy these golden years. You both have earned them.
-- Judy Beumler
A Republican in Kentucky

A HOOSIER THANK YOU
Re: Peter Hannaford's T.B.T.G. and Amen:

Mr. Hannaford's piece is a delight. How refreshing to think on things that are pure and lovely instead of the everyday swamp of info/opinion giving instruction on the immoral, the illicit and the idiotic via the major media. Here in Bloomington, Indiana, I'm giving thanks that the local "green" Democrats (some truly scary candidates) were defeated in the local elections.
-- Jenny Woodward
Bloomington, IN

TAKE NOTE
Re: Francis X. Rocca's Giving Thanks Graciously:

Dear Francis,

You're welcome.
-- Kitty Myers

GORE MORE FEARS
Re: George Neumayr's Gore Under Close Observation:

I'm so grateful that Al Gore, with a little help from Mr. Neumayr, was able to put his finger on what it is that makes me loathe him. It's the post-modernism, of course! Staring me right in the face. I could really kick myself. All this time I thought it was simply because Gore is a lame, phony wuss of a liberal.

Great column.
-- Mark Finkelstein
Ithaca, NY

Great piece. I have had so many laughs over this last tirade of Gore's. I can't believe that Democrats would let this guy loose, and if this is what they, the Democrats, believe and stand for, they are in a very deep hole. I am a reasonably educated person, but, I sure couldn't make out what Gore was saying. What a run of words that just did not connect!
-- Ann Inman
Mt. View, California

The media can do a much better job of policing themselves and of "outing" the fifth column presstitutes in their midst. A good, but seldom mentioned, example of a media evildoer is C-Span. This network regularly covers the press conferences of the Bush administration and, while doing so, emphasizes only the hostile, anti-Republican, ultra-left wing, extremist liberal members of the media. The folks who are shown asking questions almost always are being exhibitionists or are clearly opposed to what the Administration is doing/saying. By emphasizing these media leftists, C-Span unfairly creates a bias toward normal people and their thinking. I do hope, therefore, that Gore includes C-Span in his list of folks who are unfair to the lefties.
-- unsigned

THE GREAT TUITION RIP-OFF
Re: John R. Dunlap's Tuition Delusion:

John R. Dunlap's brilliant and timely observations on the great national college tuition rip-off should be read by all parents of grade school children so that they may have time to do something about the situation or at least to bend over and brace themselves properly for the onslaught. He neglected to mention one other reason for the unjustifiable increase in tuition costs: that institutions of higher learning are constantly engaging in one-upmanship as they must price themselves relative to their perceived position in the marketplace so as not to be considered inferior schools.
-- Gerald Brennan
Ann Arbor, MI

This is the same reason why vouchers in public school situations won't work. Where every student is eligible for an amount of financial aid, that amount becomes the base amount charged as tuition. Thus, Pell Grants and state student loans, available to all students, aren't used to defray the cost of higher education, they identify the minimum amounts to be charged as tuition.

Tenured faculty are paid very well to do things other than teach, things that enhance their own marketability. The colleges rationalize this by claiming that non-teaching research and academic conferences bring credit on the institution. At the same time, TA's, "teaching assistants," have to be employed to do the teaching that faculty is paid not to do. While this may work for a private school, public schools should serve the interests of the taxpayers, not academic adventurers.
-- unsigned

I read John Dunlap's piece with interest. I think he pays short shrift the role the federal student loan program pays in tuition increases. The degree I'm currently pursuing is the first I've ever financed (my parents paid my undergraduate tuition) and there's something truly unreal about the entire process. I filled out all the forms online, and even though I am borrowing enough money to buy a car this year alone, I never had to sign anything. The forms were simple and shorter than the lease for my apartment.

I think this ease of application for loans of up to $20,000 per year makes students take on debt with unrealistic ideas about how much they are really borrowing and how long it will take to pay it back (You can take up to 30 years, or even more if you get suspensions for additional time spent in school for other degree programs.) Because the money doesn't seem real, students don't closely examine how much their education is costing them. With no price discrimination among consumers, there is absolutely no downward pressure on prices.

I find it unbelievable that they let 18-year-olds take on that much debt without so much as a credit check or co-signer.
-- unsigned

My husband and I paid off his college loan early and after all of the penalties and interest were included, the total came to about 20% additional. The only thing we can figure out is the government gives what are suppose to be cheap loans to the banks who in turn charge whatever they feel like and let the federal government enforce it; therefore, putting the poor student in a bind whether they like it or not. Call it what you want; but I call it loan sharking.

Thanks for letting me express my opinion.
-- Carol Walton
Houston, TX

As a student who is solely responsible for myself, I can tell you that handling tuition and living expenses is almost impossible. I work, and use credit cards and get as many loans as I can. I will eventually have to work at least two jobs to pay this off, but I see this as an investment in my future and if I do not have a degree, I will be working 20 K a year jobs the rest of my life. So it's stressful but worth it at least until the rates go down.
-- Kristen Brown

CAN WE TALK?:
Re: Jed Babbin's Daschling Through the Show:

Loved Mr. Babbin's article about talk radio. Here are a few more reasons why I think conservative talk radio is so popular:

Issues that we really care about are discussed regularly. When was the last time any major politician or mainstream newspaper talked about illegal immigration?

Conservative hosts love this country and its values. Who wants to listen to some liberal whine about America for several hours a day. It doesn't sell and the Dem's can't admit it.

When was the last time you heard a liberal with a great sense of humor?

I love the no-holds-barred approach to the debate of ideas. I am not afraid to have the issues I believe in challenged. Honest debate drives talk radio. Liberals aren't used to having their goofy ideas put under the microscope.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season.
-- Mark M. Salopek

A GREAT ESCAPE
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Escape to New York:

Remarking on your urbanity and savoir-faire, I'll bet you were dressed up like a million dollar trooper, trying hard to look like Gary Cooper, super duper. So, come let's mix where Rockefellers walk with sticks and um-ber-ellas in their mitts, puttin' on the ritz! I hope the N.Y. Sun's recent success is owing to your frequent contributions. You have been writing on a wide sea of sunlight encompassing a larger place for those of us in search of the sense of the right thing. We should suggest to Mr. Daschle and his ilk that they remind themselves of Grover Cleveland's self-help, when he said, "The people are tired of me. They don't want to hear any more about me."
-- Edward Del Colle

What's a "mulligrub"? Seems appropriate to its context, I'll give you that. But it's not in my dictionary. Even so, I like it and would like to use it. Trouble is I'd like to know what it means first. Or does it mean whatever I want it to mean?
-- Alfred Stanbury

The Prowler replies:: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1996) defines "mulligrubs" (always plural) as "1. A griping of the intestines; colic.... Hence, sullenness; the sulks." For more, click here.

BIG CUT
Re: Francis X. Rocca's Look at What Remains:

Your headline writer swung and missed. The headline should have been "Cut up what remains" from the Kipling poem:

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains
and the women come out to cut up what remains
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
and go to your Gawd like a soldier.

-- Andy Spring

P.S. And another thing. Why does a person need a license to perform an autopsy? It's not like he risks losing the patient.

VOCABULARY BUILDER
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Born to Lose :

I enjoyed your excellent essay. My favorite line (among many good
ones): "The feminists are rancorous and rebarbative." Wow.
-- Glenn Trost
Altadena, CA

SPECIAL ZEVON
Re: Paul Beston's Life and Death on 'The Late Show':

Wow -- your article is right on the money. I was at the show. Waited for Warren, after the show. It was raining lightly, about 40 people waiting also, I got to shake is hand and tell him thanks. Took some photos also, VH1 was filming everything. As Warren was getting into his limo, everyone started to clap and as I looked around people were crying. It was special. As Zevon's # 1 fan it meant the world for me to be there.
-- Jim Linekin

JIM CLASS
Re: The Washington Prowler's Jeffords Sinks Lower:

How about this? We take Sen. Jeffords back and let him have some minor chairmanship on one condition. He would have to vote exactly as the Republican leadership tell him on every issue before the senate.

Obviously, this would have to be a back room deal. Given Jeffords' known craving for power for its own sake, he just might agree to the deal.
-- Mark S. Griffith
Parker, CO

LOOKING AHEAD:
Re: The Washington Prowler's Coming Jitters:
Indeed Peter Fitzgerald is a vulnerability, but probably the only genuine one. On the Democratic side, their problems include Hollings in SC, Dorgan in ND, and a rumored Daschle retirement in SD.
-- Peter Murphy
Troy, NY

OUT OF LEFT FIELD
From James Bowman's review of The Quiet American:

"... but how does it look now, after the Boat People and the Killing Fields and the re-education camps and the appalling stuff that has come out since the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1989?"

The boat people were from Cuba -- the killing fields were in Laos where we supported the Khmer Rouge who were the killers (I have no idea how to spell their name). They were never brought before the world court -- in fact I think the U.S. was still supporting their return to power in the 1980s.

The communists of Vietnam were a billion times more honorable than the U.S. I am not left or right, I am 57, my friends came home with no legs, paralyzed and in body bags. Our government betrayed us and slaughtered an innocent people, their babies and their country -burned children alive for oil and for corporate interests.

That's the truth and it was not the last or first time -- it happened in Nicaragua and Chile and El Salvador. I love this country passionately.

I support the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq but there is something sick about Republicans, the way they ruthlessly hurt people for private gain and do not stick around to rebuild, only to loot.
-- Virginia Rose

WHAT'S FAIR
Re: Francis X. Rocca's California Justice Strikes Out:

Three strikes is an affront to common law. Show me a conservative supporter of this repulsive creed and I'll show you someone who is at heart a statist. More like this please!!
-- Ian Cadell

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