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May 20, 2021

May always feels like it should be the entry into summer.  But it's the "entry" into summer in the same way that the sliding doors at the Wal-Mart open up at 2 AM on Black Friday and the hordes all try to pass through them at once.  If there's a group that's not having a "final assessment meeting" or wrapping up committee work, or god help us doing a "preliminary" meeting "in anticipation of" next Fall, I am manifestly not part of it.  We're all meetinged out.  And yet the meetings continue.


Here's something else to put on your "I'll read that in summer" list--new links!


"I don’t think English professors are particularly distinguished morally. They do know a lot about literature."  Good brief interview with Michael Clune, author of newly published A Defense of Judgment.


How about forgiving student debt?  A new report has some interesting details:

“our results suggest that an approach forgiving a proportion of loans should be considered as an option as well. Here, policies could take into account the actual amount of individuals’ debt and forgive a certain proportion of it. This strategy could be applied to either universal or targeted debt forgiveness, or a combination of both approaches. For example, all individuals could have a proportion of their student debt forgiven, and this proportion could increase for lower-income individuals. This approach would have the benefit of addressing the equity concerns of those advocating for a more targeted approach, while still providing real and substantial benefits to student debt holders across the income spectrum.”


The "Great Dying," what a cheerful topic.  But, maybe?, we can admit it's kind of fascinating?


This is really interesting—an argument that the politics of post-World War Two America was governed by something called the “carbon coalition,” a political coalition that “was in fact entirely dependent on a particular growth model: an extremely fossil fuel-intensive agro-industrial economy.”  Today, Americans

“live in two incompatible models of economic growth. Those who remain embedded in the carbon economy quite rationally want to defend and rejuvenate that model. In contrast, those who have found a spot in the post-carbon economy largely embrace the future. Indeed, the urgency of the climate crisis makes many of these people in the post-carbon growth model very hostile to the idea that we should save (much less expand) the carbon economy. As a direct consequence, both the carbon coalition and the underlying growth model that made it possible and that structured U.S. politics through most of the postwar era are dead.”


A glorious remembrance of O Brother, Where Art Thou? twenty years later.  A beautiful reminder of parts of America’s past that can still bring joy.  


China’s facing some serious demographic problems.  They’re worse than America’s, and more intractable.  This is sure to make the Chinese leaders more relaxed and less strident, said nobody ever.


Be well, everyone.  May you all be vaccinated.