Here (for what it's worth) is my take on WoodwardGate. The White House can refuse to talk to anyone, for any reason. If the White House doesn't like what Bob Woodward writes, it can refuse to talk to him. If Woodward loses access, he can do some real journalism—from the outside. Journalism has gotten lazy. Journalists cozy up to sources on the inside of government. They become dependent on those sources and end up parroting the administration's line. Whatever happened to an independent, skeptical, cynical, self-respecting, adversarial press?
Reading your posting of the NY Times letters on Monday
regarding law schools, it occurred to me that I have not thought about this
problem too much, beyond the realization that I probably would have
considerable difficulty arranging my finances to afford it. I was
fortunate to attend law school just a few years before tuition and costs began
to skyrocket. I enrolled in law school in 1991, when the first year’s
tuition was $15,000. Tuition rose approximately $1,500 each of the next
two years, and was $18,000 by my third year, although I received a $2,000
“scholarship” for being an editor on one of the law journals. I lived
with my parents and worked part time for living expenses, including gasoline
for my car, lunch, and nights out.
Letter writers and Counselors Silberman and Denton make the
very good point that the third year of law school is pretty much
unnecessary. The only courses I can recall taking in my third year that I
ever reply upon professionally are Admiralty, Bankruptcy, Trial Advocacy and
Appellate Advocacy. The rest of my schedule that year was based on
avoiding nasty professors and classes on Fridays. There was enough time
spent in the second year on courses like commercial paper, complex criminal
law, etc., that I easily could have squeezed the really important work into two
years. In fact, thinking back to my undergraduate days, did I really need
to take “The Age of Nero” as an elective? My time probably would have
been better spent taking a course on legal method or the origins of the common
As Messrs. Silberman and Fenton recognize, however, the
established law schools would never agree to eliminate such a considerable
amount of revenue, or eliminate so many coveted teaching positions. Dean
Farmer conveniently overlooks law school debt as the reason why an internship
program analogous to medical residency would never work without eliminating a
year’s expenses. Honestly, I do not know how medical
residents afford to live with their own debt after four years of medical
school. Dean Farmer’s comparison of the medical and legal professions is
not really a fair comparison, because the technical advances in medicine, which
have no parallel in the legal profession, compel the continuing of a
physician’s training through internship and residency. There is quite a
bit more margin for error in the legal profession, where life and death is not
on the line.
Max Weber once wrote that the teacher "will beware of imposing from the platform any political positions upon the student, whether it is expressed or suggested. . . . [T]he prophet and the demagogue do not belong on the academic platform." While this caution may be honored more in the breach than in the practice, it expresses the standard by which most professors would be willing to be judged. What distinguishes the majority of radical academics from their colleagues is the view that scholarship and teaching are preeminently, and unavoidably, extensions of politics. For the most extreme, the distinction between teaching and indoctrination altogether evaporates.
(Stephen H. Balch and Herbert I. London, "The Tenured Left," Commentary 82 [October 1986]: 41-51, at 44-5 [ellipsis and brackets in original])
Note from KBJ: Whatever else they may be, progressives are progressives first and other things second. Progressive journalists are progressives first and journalists second. Progressive judges are progressives first and judges second. Progressive scientists are progressives first and scientists second. Progressive professors are progressives first and professors second. This is not the case with conservatives.
Katherine and I are watching the Academy Award-winning movies in chronological order, beginning with Midnight Cowboy in 1969. Yesterday evening, we watched Driving Miss Daisy (1989). I had never seen it. I enjoyed it, not least because it was short (99 minutes). The plot was simple, the characters interesting, and the dialogue humorous and affecting. (Several times, Morgan Freeman's character said, "You oughta go on away from here." Is that where we get "Get outta here!"?) I'm no fan of Dan Aykroyd, but he acquitted himself well in this movie. Jessica Tandy was outstanding. Did you know that she turned 80 in the year this movie was released? I'd like to be working creatively at 80! Morgan Freeman played his usual character of the black man who helps white people.
Myth number 7: A bout of sexual activity burns 100 to 300 kcal for each participant.
The energy expenditure of sexual intercourse can be estimated by taking the product of activity intensity in metabolic equivalents (METs), the body weight in kilograms, and time spent. For example, a man weighing 154 lb (70 kg) would, at 3 METs, expend approximately 3.5 kcal per minute (210 kcal per hour) during a stimulation and orgasm session. This level of expenditure is similar to that achieved by walking at a moderate pace (approximately 2.5 miles [4 km] per hour). Given that the average bout of sexual activity lasts about 6 minutes, a man in his early-to-mid-30s might expend approximately 21 kcal during sexual intercourse. Of course, he would have spent roughly one third that amount of energy just watching television, so the incremental benefit of one bout of sexual activity with respect to energy expended is plausibly on the order of 14 kcal.
(Krista Casazza et al., "Myths, Presumptions, and Facts About Obesity," The New England Journal of Medicine 368 [31 January 2013]: 446-54, at 449-50 [brackets in original; endnotes omitted])
I am having a hard time understanding how "biometric" federal identification cards are even being considered as a viable solution to our immigration problem ("Senators in Immigration Talks Mull Federal IDs for All Workers," page one, Feb. 21). Biometric IDs would be an intrusion on the privacy of law-abiding citizens, and businesses would need to divert valuable resources to comply with such a law. This is another bad, costly idea that will do little to deter people who are insistent on breaking our laws.
Do we really want to live in a country where everyone needs to be fingerprinted and tracked in a database by the federal government?
Our public paranoia over the protection of privacy has become monumentally dysfunctional. As a result, we do not let government do what private industry already does on its own. We actually disarm our public-safety systems, making it difficult or impossible for them to identify individuals or groups that manifest criminal behavior patterns
Information on individuals isn't and never was private. You think this isn't true? Check out the information that marketing organizations have on your consumer behavior. Check out the financial records credit organizations and banks have on your economic value. Check out what political operatives have on your voting behavior, registration and record of contributions.
Think of the information the government holds and retains in its files on you as an individual. It has your income and tax statements from the time you began working. It knows where you worked and where you lived. It has your criminal record if you have one. Under Medicaid and Medicare, it knows who your medical-care provider is, what treatments you've received and even all of the medicines you take.
You'd be surprised how public your life is. We need to authorize government to access and expand use of existing machine-readable data for the purpose, for example, of searching out terrorist and criminal elements. To facilitate such uses, an accurate national identification system also needs to be established. We need to overcome those who box us in like Chicken Little, preaching that "the sky is falling."
Jaime L. Manzano
Mr. Manzano is a retired deputy associate commissioner of the Social Security Administration.
A federally issued biometric identification card is redundant and financially wasteful. We already have such a card, which every U.S. citizen can purchase at his own expense rather than the taxpayers: It's called a passport.
I honestly don't know why anyone would major in philosophy. Don't get me wrong: Everyone should have a philosophy course, or two, or three. But majoring in philosophy, unless you plan to become a professor of philosophy like me, or unless you're in college for personal edification, is stupid. There are no jobs for philosophers.