The Locker Room

September 28, 2006

Sipping a wave through a straw

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 7:51 PM

That was Ilario Pantano's metaphor for the public's attempt to deal with massive amounts of information about the War on Terror that flow into households every day.

Pantano was a John Locke Foundation Headliner speaker today in Wilmington. Among his comments were his concerns about the media's influence in the war's outcome. But he didn't focus on a perceived media bias. (Click here to watch a video clip of the quote transcribed below.)

I'm suggesting it was about the volume of media. I'm suggesting that it didn't matter if you think something is vanilla or strawberry. We're all sophisticated enough consumers of media to know where we go to get the source that tells us what we want to hear.

I'm saying it's the volume of media -- it's the volume that when you go to your AOL splash page and you see an image of a destroyed building in Lebanon and a man hanging from a ceiling fan and you're going to check your e-mail that morning, or your 15-year-old is -- that's unsettling.

I'm saying that when it's on your cell phone alert, when it's on your car, when it's 500 channels in a 24/7 cable universe, we are exposed to a volume of media. It's like a wave. We're trying to sip a wave through a straw. We don't have the bandwidth as human beings to handle that.

Now it's one thing when it's commercial advertising, and we're able to shut it out. But when we start shutting out war, and it's a necessity to preserve our society, we imperil ourselves.

Because of his concerns, Pantano said this speech marks his last public event promoting his recent book Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy. If you missed the speech, you'll have a chance to watch it on an upcoming edition of Book TV on C-SPAN2.

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Re: Ah... the glories of communism

Posted by Jon Sanders at 5:08 PM

"The roads are there. It's just that the cars aren't," the Washington Post article Drew refers to reports. "In the 4 1/2 decades since Fidel Castro's 1959 victory, small-town Cubans have watched the cars that once lined their avenues cough and gasp and eventually die, not to be replaced."

What I find interesting is that the article is entitled "In Rural Cuba, a Slow Road to Progress."

Of course, the headline refers to Cantico One of Dante's The Divine Comedy, "Inferno: A Slow Road to Paradise."

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Ah... the glories of communism

Posted by Andrew Cline at 3:46 PM

In Castro's Cuba, residents outside of Havana generally travel by horse and buggy. There just aren't enough pre-Castro era cars to go around.

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Security checklists

Posted by Jon Ham at 2:28 PM

Josh Manchester points out in his TCS Daily column today that our airport security screeners use checklists exactly opposite from men going through checklists before going into battle.  

Josh, a Durham resident who blogs at The Adventures of Chester, will be a panelist at the John Locke Foundation's blogger conference, Carolina FreedomNet 2006 in Greensboro on Oct. 7. Go here for registration information.  

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Parody on parade

Posted by Paul Chesser at 2:19 PM

You've seen The Onion. Now check out the latest project -- "Guns N' Butter -- from former Carolina Journal editor Drew Cline and friends.

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Secretary Spellings' Speech

Posted by George Leef at 1:57 PM

On Tuesday, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings gave a speech about the recent report of her Commission on the Future of Higher Education.

Just four paragraphs into her speech, Secretary Spellings fell for the "we've got to get more kids through college" hoax.

She said, "But at a time when 90 percent of the fastest-growing jobs will require postsecondary education, we cannot lapse into a dangerous complacency."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics data do indicate that most of "the fastest growing jobs" are ones that "require" postsecondary education, but it does not follow that the nation needs any expansion of the percentage of young people who enroll in college. Those "fastest growing" jobs are not the same as the jobs that will have the largest growth numerically. New job specialties that start from a small base naturally will have a high rate of growth. That does not mean that the anticipated growth can't be filled from the large numbers of Americans who now enroll in postsecondary education.

Nor does it mean that there is a general trend in the labor force that requires more seat time in classrooms if people are going to be able to learn to perform jobs.

The BLS data that are more pertinent are the job categories that are expected to show the great numerical increases. Most of those jobs are not ones that call for advanced education jobs like food service workers, cashiers, truck drivers and health care aides. I have yet to see anyone make a serious case that the US labor market is changing in a way that we just won't be able to find people to fill jobs because so much of the work will be beyond the ability of non-collegians.

Moreover, what does it mean to say that these jobs "require" postsecondary education? Many jobs now are open only to applicants with a BA degree, but that isn't because the work is so mentally demanding that smart high school graduates couldn't possibly learn it. The college degree "requirement" is mainly a screening device that employers use to legally discriminate against people with lower formal education credentials because they're presumably somewhat less motivated and trainable. To quote from Saving Higher Education in the Age of Money by James Engell and Anthony Dangerfield (University of Virginia Press, 2005), "the United States has become the most rigidly credentialized society in the world. A B.A. is required for jobs that by no stretch of imagination need two years of full-time training, let along four."

I cover those points in more detail in my recent paper "The Overselling of Higher Education."

Now, I completely agree with Secretary Spellings that we should strive to make higher education more affordable. That should be done by reducing needless costs, not by further subsidizing it. And the reason to do so is not so we can bring yet more students into college. Many of the students we currently lure into college graduate with little educational benefit and end up doing "high school jobs." The reason to make college more affordable is simply to stop squandering resources in a field with very low productivity.

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Pittenter goes on the offensive

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 1:25 PM

Sen. Robert Pittenger (R. Mecklenburg Co.) member of North Carolina's Leglslative Commission on Global Climate Change is taking the offensive. The commission chairs, Environmental Defense board member John Garrou and Representative Joe Hackney (Dem. Orange Co.), have recently denied his request to invite noted climate scientist and the world's leading authority on the the satellite temperature record, Dr. John Christy, to speak before the commission. Here is his response. 

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Re: At last

Posted by Andrew Cline at 11:43 AM

And here's a novelist who prefers Reagan to Clinton. And his name is not Mark Helprin.

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Required Reading for Interns

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 11:22 AM

Here is an excellent article by Arnold Kling about his movement "From Far Left to Libertarian."  It is one more story  about a guy who saw the light and was not afraid to change. 

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Re: Antifederalists were wrong?

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 10:26 AM


I never wrote the quote was demonstrative of the "Constitution itself for support of the country's principles."  I wrote that he "did what all good statesmen do--try to move the opinion of the Americans to a proper/better understanding of the document.  This is best seen in his letter to Jefferson (1825) which is sketched below:"

 In other words, Madison tried to ensure a proper understanding of the Constitution.  The fact that he kept referring to the Constitution and defended it, meant that he did not necessarily consider it "dead." He frowned on the alternative , actually--thinking that getting rid of the Constitution meant a return to the state of nature.  Rather, he wanted the Federalist taught in schools so citizens would have a better understanding of it.

Perhaps you can read into the quote I posted that the principles, according to Madison, do not come merely from the Constitution itself, but from something prior to it.


Prof. Kickler:  Regarding your post late yesterday--Agreed! 

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Separated at birth? The Locker Room photos-of-the-day edition

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:12 AM

Featuring photos from todays' morning posts:

To wit:

A few previous "Separated at Birth" entries: here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

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Haywood County, NC: Another Government Airport?

Posted by Michael Moore at 08:58 AM

In Haywood County there is talk about the county building an airport and running it, are counties in North Carolina in the airport business?  (Maybe they could use the HOOD Blimp!)  


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Tea Partay a hit

Posted by Jon Ham at 08:35 AM

According to Ad Age magazine:

For a traditional ad campaign, generating millions of dollars in retail sales of the product is the No. 1 goal. For a viral campaign, 1 million YouTube views is the "magic number," said Paul Kemp-Robertson, editorial director at Contagious. Smirnoff's "Tea Partay" spot, for example, garnered 1.3 million YouTube views in its first two months. The clip was a dead-on spoof of hip-hop videos, featuring an all-rapping, sweater-and-polo-clad cast of Martha's Vineyard WASPs. 

Locker Room readers helped make it a hit. See it here if you missed it before. 

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