SL 740

Fun stuff Friday…

Is this the best commercial ever?

Who hates Jonathan Franzen?

Look at Ted Danson doing the Fortnight dance!

$90M for a David Hockney painting. Whew!

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is hitting the ground running. That’s awesome.

24 thoughts on “SL 740

  1. Who hates Jonathan Franzen?

    This person!

    My feelings are entirely personal. David Foster Wallace brought him to campus once, and he misbehaved terribly, and then he misbehaved terribly at Dave’s memorial service. Oh, and I don’t care for his writing either.


    1. My feelings are entirely personal. David Foster Wallace brought him to campus once, and he misbehaved terribly,

      What does it say about me, then, that I think that both Franzen and Wallace are (were) pretentious overrated blowhards. To me, they were essentially both sides of the same coin.

      One can’t predict in the present who will achieve lasting literary status, but my money is on both of them being all-but-forgotten niche figures a century from now. If anything, they will be remembered for how they postured more than what they wrote.


  2. I’m trying meatballs again. I asked my son to delicately de-chunk the meat and mix in the other stuff. He did that very well. I may have messed up by making the meatballs at the same time I was flouring them. I should have finished the first step, so my hands were flourless while shaping. I think some will fall apart now where there is a bit of flour in the middle.


    1. I really like this analysis and proposal:

      This Comment will show how granting private student loans the privileged status of being non-dischargeable in bankruptcy skews lenders’ incentives. Because private student lenders know that their debts cannot be discharged, they have no incentive to consider a student borrower’s ability to repay. As a result, most students are granted a nearly unlimited line of credit without lenders worrying about those students’ ability to repay. This Comment argues that this phenomenon has thus led to skyrocketing university tuition rates in the past decade, which in turn has created the need for students to borrow even more. This troubling cycle is creating a bubble in the higher education market, which will have disastrous effects if left unaddressed.

      This Comment will also propose a solution to this problem. By allowing students to discharge private student loans in bankruptcy, Congress could create a self-sustaining mechanism in the private student loan market by restoring lenders’ incentives to gauge students’ ability to repay. If Congress changes the Bankruptcy Code to allow private student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy, lenders will only grant loans proportionately to a student’s ability to pay. This Comment ultimately argues that this small change will have far-reaching and highly beneficial results for the nation’s economy.


    2. Another article profiles 3 people (of the 96 they mention, of the 30000 who applied) who received the forgiveness. I’d like to no more detail about the rejected applications (which, are being handled by the DeVos/Trump DoE — are they in favor of making the program work? I don’t know). Some of the rejections are not bait-and-switch, but misunderstandings (understandable misunderstandings, since student loans seem to be incredibly complicated — I don’t understand all of them myself). I’m guessing that the 120, on time payments catch some folks up (I myself probably didn’t pay all my debt on time).


      1. bj said,

        “I’m guessing that the 120, on time payments catch some folks up (I myself probably didn’t pay all my debt on time).”

        I don’t know how it works, but could a job loss derail eligibility?


      2. Yes, I think so. I think the “failure” is being oversold. There seem to be significant technical hurdles, but, it is only in 2017 that the very first people became eligible, and forgiveness would have depended on 120 on time payments, while employed in a qualifying job, and with the appropriate student loans. Those three things are part of the program (and not a bait and switch), and my guess is that a number of the applicants didn’t meet all those criteria (and, potentially, some didn’t fill out complicated paperwork correctly).

        More troublesome was the report I read on reporting hours for expanded medicaid eligibility in (Alabama?) in which hours must be reported monthly, and the web site (the only way to report) goes down every night between 9 pm & 7 am (for “maintenance”).


  3. “If Congress changes the Bankruptcy Code to allow private student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy, lenders will only grant loans proportionately to a student’s ability to pay. ”

    Probably true, and then, many current borrowers won’t be able to get loans. What next? one effect could be a more rapid (and potentially catastrophic) collapse of the higher education bubble.

    I think student loan debt is a growing problem, especially private student loan debt, which seems to share all the worst outcomes of a public/private partnership that imposes costs and produces benefits without thinking through who wins and loses. But, I don’t think that the problem will be solved smoothly by turning off the spigot. And, I think there are a lot of powerful vested interests (banks, universities, parents) who would fight changes (and no particular political alliance in favor of any particular solution).


    1. Current borrowers would be held to their current loans, wouldn’t they, unless they could file bankruptcy? Which is not a pleasant process.

      Adding the ability to discharge loans through bankruptcy (like Every Other Loan) would free some people from debt loads that they can never repay. It is a really bad idea to present lenders with a class of people who can never repay a loan, but are able to keep up with interest payments. Over time, those lenders will make more money off of such borrowers than they would from people who repay a loan on time.

      So, for example, a computer engineer and a music major take out the same loan (say, 50K at 7% interest.) The engineer repays the loan over five years. The music major pays more than 40 years (and will never be able to repay it.) The lenders aren’t necessarily losing money on the music major; they’re making more money on him.


    2. “.. a more rapid (and potentially catastrophic) collapse of the higher education bubble…” There’s an assumption here that collapse of the higher education bubble would in fact be catastrophic. So I am going to invoke Governor William J. LePetomaine: “We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Hurumph! Hurumph! Hurumph!”


  4. I effing hate The Good Place but my husband makes me watch it even though he hates it too. Let me clarify. I hate everything about The Good Place except 1. the scripts/dialogue, which can be fun, and 2. Janet. Janet is the best.

    The whole premise is really not that amazing, the characters are badly cast (except Janet, who is the best), and Chidi is the effing worst. Or maybe Jason. Or Eleanor. Or Michael. It pains me that my beloved Ted Danson is in this show.

    I say this being a HUGE fan of Mike Schur, and Parks & Rec is my second favorite show ever. But this show is really bad.



  5. This is an amazing thread. Click, you will not regret it!

    Related: While I love The Big Bang Theory, the depiction of academic life is frequently bizarre. Take, for example, a recent episode where Leonard is called into the president’s (!) office repeatedly during the course of a single episode.


  6. This is really good:

    “At the Forward, Ari Feldman reflects on whether or not recent attacks against Jews in Brooklyn are the result of anti-Semitism. The article is gaining a bit of attention because of its nonsensical premise and because of a few choice quotes. Feldman cites a local salesman as saying, “It’s less of an anti-Semitic thing than they needed a target to respond to this word: gentrification.” And he quotes someone named Mark Winston Griffith from the Black Movement Center, who says that the attacks may be the result of black people’s seeing Judaism as “a form of almost hyper-whiteness.”

    “To reject these explanations as preposterous and offensive is, of course, righteous. But to do that alone is to miss something critical. It’s also important to take these claims at face value. Not because they have merit, but because they show precisely how anti-Semitism works and what it is.”

    “The Jew is hated as whatever the anti-Semite holds responsible for his own misfortune. If you’re a capitalist, the Jew is a Communist; if you’re a Communist, the Jew is a capitalist. If you’re a pacifist, the Jew is a warmonger. If you’re a warrior, the Jew is a coward. Depending on your circumstance, the Jew can be grimy or snobbish, rootless or nationalist, invader or separatist. And if 100 years ago, American bigots saw Jews as Asiatic cross-breeds, today bigots see them as “hyper-white.””

    “The Forward article falls into the trap described above. Ari Feldman thinks the point is to explain that Jews are not hyper-white representatives of gentrification: “What some non-Jewish residents miss is that the issues the assailants may be responding to are things the Jewish community is struggling to deal with as well,” he writes. Later he paraphrases an interviewee: “It’s important to remember that gentrification also impacts poor Jews.”

    “No, that’s not what’s important. What’s important is to recognize that when Jews are targeted for being what they aren’t, that’s anti-Semitism. Period.”


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