Great Expectations

  1. Great expectations
  2. Licensed to Prattle
  3. Impeach? Then what?
  4. A good street for my flesh and blood


J. Budziszewski puts it pretty starkly:

True story:  At a private liberal arts college, four out of 16 students are failing the freshman writing course.  The reasons:  Failure to turn in the assignments on time (sometimes not at all); failure to address instructor’s comments on essay drafts; failure to use a sufficient number of sources in the research papers (sometimes not using any sources at all); inability or unwillingness to correct grammatical errors pointed out by the instructor.

The instructor meets with director of writing program to discuss plans for upcoming year.  The same director had revealed, at a faculty meeting, that in her own writing classes she had given an A to every student.

Instructor asks whether it is likely that there will be courses for him to teach next year.

Director (sighs):  “What do you think?”

Instructor:  “I don’t know, what do you think?”

Director:  “Students pay a lot of money to come here, and they expect certain things.”

I’d like to believe that employers of that private liberal arts college’s graduates expect certain things, too, and that turning the college into a diploma mill is the educational equivalent of putting it on hospice.

How long  before the world catches on and starts hiring community college strivers over diploma-mill-credentialed humbugs?


The proposal would require a transgender student who “does not wish” to use a facility based on “biological sex” to use single-occupancy restrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities at their schools.

It would override policies at some of the state’s school districts that already allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

During Sunday night’s emotional debate, Republican lawmakers said the measure was not intended to discriminate against transgender students but rather to protect the privacy of other students.

Democrats called the bill “shameful” and compared it to Jim Crow-era laws that established separate but equal facilities.

“White. Colored. I was living through that era … bathrooms divided us then, and it divides us now,” said Democratic state Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Houston, a black woman who has served in the House since 1972. “America has long recognized that separate but equal is not equal at all.”

(Washington Post story on a Texas “bathroom bill.”) I guess if you’re black and old enough to have seen de jure segregation, you have a license to utter any portentous silliness you wish and have folks treat it as oracular.

Coming soon: “As my dear departed mother, who lived through Jim Crow, used to say ….”


Trump was legitimately elected by Americans who knew they were voting for an inexperienced, bombastic, intermittently truthful, thin-skinned, race-baiting businessman. If Trump turns out to be an inexperienced, bombastic, intermittently truthful, thin-skinned, race-baiting president, that should not come as a surprise. Nor is it grounds for impeachment.

Impeachment (by the House) and conviction (by a two-thirds vote in the Senate) would stoke, not calm, political anger. Even if some of his voters felt let down by his performance, many would see his removal from office as an undemocratic short-circuiting of the process ….

(Fred Hiatt, So, let’s say Trump gets impeached. Then what?)


34 years ago, Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion monologue swerved for an evening. He read a letter from “Jim Nurnberg,” an exile from Lake Woebegon, where Nurnberg tells about his midlife crisis, losing his job just after his 40th birthday, making an attractive new friend in his new job, and a “near miss” with a big mistake. It’s particularly nice that Keillor put these thoughts in the mouth of a classicist.

Start at about 5:20 if you can’t stand the whole monologue, but the set-up really makes the rest of it believable and human, and I’d recommend clicking the middle of this graphic instead.

For a lapsed Plymouth Bretheren, Keillor sounds briefly like one of us Orthodoxen.

* * * * *

Men are men before they are lawyers or physicians or manufacturers; and if you make them capable and sensible men they will make themselves capable and sensible lawyers and physicians. (John Stuart Mill, Inaugural Address at St. Andrew’s, 1867)

“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.