The Locker Room

March 31, 2006

MySpace.com starts policing its content

Posted by Jon Sanders at 3:34 PM

Since I've talked about what I've dubbed the "MySpace Militia," I think it's fair for me to post this story about how MySpace is beginning to monitor its own content — a good and smart move, I think, not just for the company, but for its customers, present and prospective.

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On George Mason -- and GMU

Posted by George Leef at 1:28 PM

Radley Balko of Cato has written a good, instructive article discussing George Mason and the university named after him. Naturally, he has accolades for the famed GMU Economics Department, which is loaded with razor-sharp free market theoreticians.

GMU's Econ Department is not ranked as a "top" program, but that just goes to show how useless such rankings are.

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College accreditation

Posted by George Leef at 12:58 AM

College accreditation is another of those "the emperor is wearing no clothes" phenomena. A new study by the Department of Education's higher ed commission has touched off a brouhaha -- or as close to one as you'll get with tweedy education types.

Here is the link to the story on Inside Higher Ed, which contains links to the papers issued by the Commission on the Future of Higher Education.

The main issue paper, "The Need for Accreditation Reform" by Robert C.
Dickeson, sets forth most of the weaknesses in our current accreditation system. The glaring failure of accreditation is to stem the dumbing-down that has swamped many American colleges and universities. Dickeson cites the recent National Assessment of Adult Literacy survey which finds depressingly low rates of literacy among college graduates. (He points to the low percentage of college graduates who can be deemed "proficient" in their literacy skills, but might have further strengthened his case by pointing to the statistics that about one in six college graduates gets a degree despite having only "basic" or even "below basic" literacy.) If accreditation were doing its supposed job of ensuring good educational quality, how could that be?

The trouble is that the regional accreditation associations have never made any effort at assessing educational results. Colleges and universities could have abysmally weak academic standards and yet retain their accreditation because accreditation is based on having the right inputs and procedures, not on whether students are learning anything. Most people may think that accreditation is something like the Underwriters Laboratory stamp of quality assurance, but in truth, accreditation is neither necessary nor sufficient for educational quality. (I know a very successful lawyer who graduated from an unaccredited law school.)

Dickeson's paper misses one important drawback to the current accreditation system, though — its tendency to push institutions toward ever more "diversity." Back in the 90s, the Western Association threatened to revoke the accreditation of Thomas Aquinas College because it saw no need to bow to the diversity mania and change its educational approach to suit the diversiphiles (as Peter Wood terms them). Fortunately, Western had to back down in that instance, but I have heard that accrediting teams often make a point of "suggesting" that institutions should do more to diversify their faculty, curricula, admissions, and other things to become more "inclusive."

In short, accreditation is a failure.

Do we want to federalize it, though?

The proposal for a National Accreditation Foundation which would be a "private-public operating partnership." It would "create and maintain quality standards that are at once rigorous and transparent." (Among other things.)

Even if there were a constitutional role for the federal government to play in higher education, which there isn't, I wouldn't be eager to have such an entity. Dickeson and Commission Chairman Charles Miller are apparently able to see clearly the problems we have in higher education, but they won't be running the show. In all likelihood, the Foundation would eventually be captured by the higher education interests that like the status quo. My guess is that even if good quality standards could be written initially, they would either be watered down or ignored in time.

What we need is an educational analog of Underwriters Laboratories — a non-governmental entity that would assess colleges based on their success at adding to the skills and knowledge of the students. A lot of accredited schools would shudder at that.

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Re: Charlotte law school

Posted by Michael Lowrey at 12:47 AM

George, you left out the first reason given in the story for the establishment of The Charlotte School of Law: “We found that Charlotte was the largest city in the U.S. without a law school,” said Gene Clark, the dean of the school.

Lawyering is a field that can be an attractive mid-career move. The cost of doing so, however, is especially high in Charlotte, because there aren't any law schools nearby. This is simply a case of a private company stepping in to fill an educational niche that the state, for various reasons, isn't interested in covering.

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Bob Lee Swagger on Duke lacrosse: "this could indeed be 'Another Tawana Scam'"

Posted by Jon Sanders at 12:32 AM

Triangle humorist and social commentator (if you're the latter, best also to be the former) "Bob Lee Swagger" has posted, in his inimitable fashion, his thoughts on Duke's "perfect storm" of race, class and gender issues (to use the appropriate campus terminology for the alleged gang rape).


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Another glimpse at the lunacy we North Carolinians are supporting

Posted by Jon Sanders at 12:13 AM

Selections from this week's squawking madness featured on chapelhill.indymedia.org, proud home of the murderous, "kill the bushite" "citizen-journalists":


Now you are trapped in your own trap with you kids still under your tumb and under your nutty brainwash and R/F brain interfaces from your club UNL beatle center who you left your body to.CBS UNL willa carther rip of of her works and of howard hughes HHMI moneys kill on mason kill on.Now russia and india dance your death march for your PD-D murder flash crew again game.Yes your are the sony woman image forever but you are not a hughes or a harrold and your mobster kids failed to kill me yet again so time to pay up dreamworks for ripped off billion dollar works of bloody but not your`s art time to jail the masons you have failed to kill howard hughes III who is not wolf boy CSI brainwash is way dumbassed and failed again


... a dedicated campaign of electronic scalar tectonic warfare is ongoing worldwide that will bring America to the brink of destruction. Within months, and possibly weeks, the northwestern coast of the United States will experience a tectonic and volcanic cataclysm quiteunlike any other in recorded history. In the process, millions of people will die or be injured. The American economy will be shaken to its very foundations. In the process, a draconian form of martial law will be declared that will make our once cherished institute of constitutional democracy a thing of the past.
What would you think if you were told that America was being subjected to a series of irregular, electronically induced scalar tectonic attacks? ...


... Doctors will tell you that you are nuts in you say you have implants so you will have to work outside thier self built control system after all it`s what keeps them rich and us poor so don`t go to them for help they will set on you till you are dead and your life in be a joke to the world like they did to howard hughes and still unto this day.Use the implants to defend your self and to out smart them or if they are unlivible than find some ungrounder to help you x-ray them and see what is there and if they can be removed-most can`t be undone and even if they are than a turus broadcast will turn you into a marfe anyway so the implants are not a cure all and a broadcast brainwave will be harder to fight anyway...


Use micro magnets-tape them on rare earth type are best plus anti-radio harrassment radio wave negitive ionizer and sonic wave to keep your head.This is not a religion war but the masons trying to run the world and your head and lifes-they are the largest worldwide group of their kind a control freak group of losers who can`t make it on their own-so join up or fight for your life as I have done for about 50 years now ...

Drooling lunatics cowering under their grandmas' beds worldwide thank you, the citizens of North Carolina, for your continued, coerced support of this site.


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Why Conservatives Aren't Hired By Mainstream Media

Posted by Kory Swanson at 10:44 AM

Our good friend, U.S. News & World Report senior writer Michael Barone, has an interesting set of observations on Conservatives and the mainstream media in a recent entry on his blog.

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Charlotte will have a law school

Posted by George Leef at 08:12 AM

No, no lawyer jokes now.

According to this story, The Charlotte School of Law, a private institution, will open in August. I applaud private enterprise, even though I think this rationale is baloney: "If any city is going to be a truly great international city, you need a law school to be part of that infrastructure."

The school's founders decided to locate in Charlotte because North Carolina supposedly is third lowest in the number of lawyers per capita. Well, it's their money, but I don't think it follows that the state's having a low per capita lawyer population means that there will be enough demand for legal training (at a cost of $26K per year just for the tuition) to make the school a success. Maybe it will be, but have they considered the possibility that NC has a low number of lawyers per capita because people here are somewhat less litigious than in, say, New York?

Anyway, the really interesting thing here is that this is a PRIVATE venture. The CSL backers think they see a good opportunity in education. I would say that if there were a real need for more dental training here, a private institution would seize that opportunity.

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