An earlier post on racism and the relative credentials of the competitors in the US election quickly started a discussion of elitism.  Assuming that we agree we think a president should be aware of ordinary life’s demands, I think there are remaining issues.  Bob Herbert makes a point that seems to me to speak for a well educated president.  And it’s funny, at least a bit.  I’m trying to raise a question about the value of an very well educated president, but I’d like to leave the answers to others.  See what you think:

For the nitwits who vote for the man or woman they’d most like to have over for dinner, or hang out at a barbecue with, I suggest you take a look at how well your 401(k) is doing, or how easy it will be to meet the mortgage this month, or whether the college fund you’ve been trying to build for your kids is as robust as you’d like it to be.

Note:  nothing said here should be construed as an endorsement by any posters on this blog of the diagnosis “nitwit”.

Nobel prize winner praises Britain

Paul Krugman, Princeton prof, New York Time columnist, and just-announced Nobel Prize winner in economics, has an article highly praising the British reactions to the dire financial crisis we are in.  If you are searching for some understanding of how the world has come to face such an economic melt-down, and whether giving tons of money away is going to solve much, it is at least worth a read.

And the British solution seems to be working!

Last call for Haikus

From email:

The deadline for entries is Wednesday, October 15 at midnight. So make sure you get your entries in now.

About the contest:
People For the American Way is looking for some great haikus about John McCain and Sarah Palin. Three winners will have their haikus published in The Nation magazine. Other prizes will be announced. Ten finalists will be chosen and then the three winners will be voted on by you and other People For the American Way supporters.
What is a Haiku?
A haiku is an unrhymed verse/poetry form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven and five syllables respectively. Intended to convey a vivid impression poetically in only seventeen syllables, haikus have traditionally focused on nature — but our goal is to spread a very important election year message.
Read more about the contest guidelines and submit your haikus here.
— Your Allies at People For the American Way

Link: Redefining the Gender Gap

bathroom signIn today’s Inside Higher Ed, a book review of The Gender Gap in College by Linda J. Sax. Among the author’s findings:

Of particular concern, Sax writes, is that women appear unwilling to believe or admit that “they are as competent as their performance would suggest,” and that this lack of confidence generally appears to grow during college.

She also notes that

…male students tend to perform better academically when they have campus peer groups that support “traditional gender roles.” And at campuses with a strong emphasis on the arts, male academic performance tends to suffer.

I’ll have to add the book to my (always-growing) reading list. The data, of course, are only part of the picture. However, ascertaining how traditional gender roles can be broken down without impacting academic performance appears crucial, if, that is, the connection withstands further scrutiny. I’m still formulating my own thoughts with regard to philosophy departments, but those of you with ready opinions, have at the comment thread!