In The News: April 13, 2014

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You’ve had a long week.  If you’re an adult you’ve had, you know, WORK.  If you’re a college kid you’ve had, you know, hours and hours of looking for work.  Now it’s Sunday.  Make a batch of chocolate chip pancakes, assault them with a pile of whipped cream as tall as your ceiling, brew a cup of joe in the time-consuming, old fashioned way. Find a cozy chair to lounge in, preferably by a window so you can appreciate some midwestern rainstorms today.  If your lucky maybe the lightning will make the sky look blue a few times today.  Take out that Sunday edition of the New York Times.  Write in the 5 answers you know in the crossword puzzle and then switch to a Washington Post, perhaps.  The WP doesn’t have crossword puzzles anyway, right?  Now let’s catch up with some news. It’s Sunday Morning Bliss.  

Every Sunday I pick out and comment on a handful of stories…This week I chose from the New York Times, Wisconsin State Journal and Psychology Monthly.

1. “Walker: Extend Tuition Freeze,” M. Spicuzza, WSJ

A $1.1 billion surplus.  Two years of tuition freeze.  Walker says this should help people afford college.  Everyone, from the left to the right, seems on board with freezing tuition for Wisconsin state universities.  One question I have about this though… is two years enough?  What about the long-term concern about peoples’ abilities to afford college?  It’s not really a secret that the cost of college is exceeding many students’ means.  Money made at a summer job doesn’t exactly cover a semester of college anymore.   This is a complicated issue, and I don’t have the space or time to cover it in this singular paragraph.  But, I will add,  is a two-year freeze going to have an effect in the long-term?


2. “Official ‘Confident Signals from Flight 370,'” WSJ

“Confident” seems like a misleading word, considering this plane and these 239 people have been missing since March 4.  Can you really say you are confident when this is such a confounding mystery?  However, let’s look at the context here.  Australian authorities say they’ve received “black box” signals from deep in the Indian Ocean. They’re confident the signals came from the Flight 370 black box.  This has narrowed down the search area significantly.  Now the signal is fading, so time is running out.  Officials also wanted to make sure that people don’t think we will find the wreckage just because they think they know the location of the black box.

I still think “confident” may be the wrong word choice.


3. “Buyers Find Tax Break on Art: Let It Hang a While in Oregon,” G. Bowley & P. Cohen, NYT

So much for starving artists art museums!  Here is a fun bit of tax trivia that many of us probably didn’t know about before.   I don’t know about the trivia nights you guys frequent, but my trivia nights usually include topics like “90’s Sitcoms,” “Early 1900’s Literature,” and “Conspiracy Theories.”  Taxes aren’t so sexy. “Death and Taxes” would sound way sexier if it went “Death and Colin Firth.” (But “death” isn’t so sexy either… maybe it should be “Long Naps and Colin Firth?”)

Enough of that.  This article focused on the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Oregon.  Have you heard of it?  Probably not.  It’s not one of the biggies, like El Prado or Ferris Bueller’s destination, the Art Institute of Chicago.  However, it does get its paint-smudged hands on some expensive works of art, because when wealthy art benefactors buy something costly from out-of-state, they can avoid taxes by donating the piece to a museum for at least 3 months.  This happens so often at Schnitzer that they have a wing called “Masterpieces on Loan.”  Before the buyer brings his (or her) latest acquisition into his private gallery, the Oregon public can enjoy it.



4. “What You Don’t Know About Financial Aid (But Should),” R.P. Rena, NYT

Let’s talk about the cost of college one more this this morning.  How can people decide what college they can afford when each school has such a different system for financial aid?  Also, if colleges each have a different definition of “need”, then isn’t “need-based admission” a tricky term?  How would most universities define a student with financial need?  Isn’t it a little wrong for the administration to accept a student yet not offer him enough money to even attend the school?  If college costs keep rising, then how are most people supposed to be able to afford this?

Some food for thought.


5. “Accusation in Montana of Treating Rape Lightly Stirs Unlikely Public Debate,” J. Healy, NYT

Let’s break this down.  The prosecutor’s office in a Montana town pursues only 14/85 rape cases int his given period of time.  It has an “incredibly low” prosecution rate for rape cases.  Some victims claim they were told “boys will be boys” or “you’re just looking for revenge,” but higher up officials in the prosecutor’s office claim their employees would ever say anything like that to a victim.  The federal government wants to investigate, but certain people in this town don’t want the Justice Department to intervene.

I realize the tensions between State and Federal may be a little murky in many situations, but this is one of those cases where higher authorities should get involved.


6. “The Beat (Up) Generation,” Psychology Today (March 4, 2014)

I would comment on this, but aren’t there already just a few too many articles psychoanalyzing LITERALLY EVERY PERSON BORN IN A 20 YEAR PERIOD?  Generalizations, people, are never the smartest way to go.  What other conversation topics exist besides Millennials?  Write about that.


Now, prepare yourself for the Mad Men premiere tonight.  Expose too many details about your dark past to relative strangers.  Ask one of your female friends to “get me a cup of coffee, sweetheart.”  Drink one or two or three old fashioneds.  So many options.




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