Entitled Little Shits

Everyone is talking about William Deresiewicz’s article in the New Republic about the crap that is the Ivy League college degree.

 These enviable youngsters appear to be the winners in the race we have made of childhood. But the reality is very different, as I have witnessed in many of my own students and heard from the hundreds of young people whom I have spoken with on campuses or who have written to me over the last few years. Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.

Response by Dan Drezner..

Beach Update

I’m trying to blog on an old iPad in a beach house. Let’s see if this works…

Love this article about the twisted Russian media narratives about the Malaysian plane.

This David Carr article about the print media dinosaur is pretty excellent.

In other news, we made a rock-star paella on the grill last night. We all have little patches of sunburn on our shoulders and backs due to sloppy sunscreen application. And now I’m going to join some sandy, sticky children at the beach.

Apt. 11D Update

We’re leaving tomorrow morning for a week at the beach. To celebrate their 50th anniversary, my parents rented a couple of houses down the Jersey shore for all fourteen of us. We’re looking forward to a lot of laziness. I’ll probably keep blogging when I’m down there. Redheads can only deal with the sun for so long. So, Ian and I will retreat to the houses with our respective electronic devices.

Blogging will continue, but will be at strange times.

Learning to Speak

I’m fascinated with theories of language acquisition, because one of my kids was mute due to autism. He talks now. He actually talks quite well. No accents. No modulation problems. No studders. His pragmatic speech needs work. Pragmatic speech is the ability to say the appropriate things at the right time and to talk about a wide range of topics. It’s closely related to social skills.

Yesterday, we waited in the lobby of the JCC  for the shuttle bus that takes him to the daycamp location. An elderly woman slowly shuffled into the center. She leaned on her walker and made a couple of steps here and there. Ian shouted to her in cheerful voice, “Hey, Old Lady. Do you need some help?” Sweet, but not appropriate. On the plus side, he noticed things in the greater environment, he showed empathy, he attempted interaction, and he quickly accepted a correction from me that elderly people should not be addressed as “Old Lady.”

Ian has done much, much better than his peers who also had speech delays at that early age coupled with autism. In general, the prognosis for those kids are not good. Ian’s other issues are relatively mild and he has a high IQ, so that helped him out quite a bit. I also think that some things we did at home helped.

Slate has an article about an old PBS documentary about the evolution of speech. Here’s a clip of the movie.

How Much Does it Cost to Deport A Kid?

Really interesting numbers from the New Republic about the cost of deporting the kids who are flooding into America.

If you break out the real cost of deporting a child, it’s much lower than $60,000 a child. A 2010 Center for American Progress report found it cost$23,482 to apprehend, detain, and deport a person. But because today’s unaccompanied migrants are turning themselves in, the actual cost is much lower. By not factoring in apprehension costs, Phil Wolgin, an immigration policy expert at the Center for American Progress, told me that the estimated cost per deportation is closer to $5,200 to $8,500. However, this is contingent on another part of Obama’s plan: Immigration courts need to be able to process cases in under 60 days. Right now, wait times are closer to 600 days.

SL 614

I’m not weighing into the Israel-Palestinian thing, but I will point out interesting articles. Check out this one from my friend, Allison Kaplan Sommer.

Mollie Hemingway and Mark Hemingway take aim at the liberal media. Many of her criticism are valid, but I don’t think that sloppiness is a liberal vice. It’s part and parcel of the new media landscape.

A petition to get Department of Labor to investigate the use of contingent labor at universities.

How would you look photographed in a week’s worth of trash?

Charlie Sheen.