Thursday, March 30, 2006

This is a conservative?!

Quote from CNN, 'Let the prisoners pick the fruits':
King analyzed the issue in class terms.

"The elite class in America is becoming a ruling class and they've made enough money by hiring cheap illegal labor that they think they also have some kind of a right to cheap servants to manicure their nails and their lawn, for example.

"So this ruling class, this new ruling class of America, is expanding a servant class in America at the expense of the middle class of America, the blue collar of America that used to be able to punch a time clock, buy a modest house and raise their families.... Those young people are cut out of this process."
Had not really thought of this particular issue in those particular terms. This is a conservative?!

So the question is, when we say "these are jobs native-born Americans won't do", do we mean at all or just for pissant wages?

If the latter, then is the problem who's willing to do the work for peanuts or is the problem that we refuse to pay more than peanuts? Like, why shouldn't a manicure or a housecleaning or restaurant service be worth 4-5 times the wage they are now, and why shouldn't we wealthiest people on earth pay luxury prices for luxury services?

I've previously criticized Americans' fanatical desire for Wal-Mart prices on everything and how that strengthens the whole downward spiral: wage depression, outsourcing and offshoring, etc. Bottom line, we can either demand the lower prices or we can demonize the illegals (and offshorers) who make those prices possible but not both?

I've heard it said that any job is intrinsically "worth" whatever people are willing to accept for doing it. But that only works if the entire globe is a level playing field and wage workers have real choices. It isn't, and they don't. So wages are already unnatural, and the richest corporate executives stockpile the benefits of that. I wonder why we wouldn't want a democratic government to set unnatural wages to benefit the rest of us, instead. Seems to me that's the only way it'd make any sense to crack down on illegal immigration.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New linguistic peeve

The use of "so" to end a sentence, as if it were punctuation.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Another reason to give women's colleges a look?

NYT: To All the Girls I've Rejected

(Women find higher hurdles at college is identical; NYT doesn't always expire their op-eds, but just in case.)

To sum up: at many competitive co-ed colleges, female applicants outnumber male ones, but the colleges want to maintain gender parity in the classes they admit. The result is pretty simple math: well-qualified girls will be rejected to make room for less-qualified boys.

This is a challenge. I'm an alumna of a women's college and I have been working to encourage high school students in my area to consider not only my alma mater, but highly competitive colleges in general and women's colleges in particular. On the one hand, if female applicants are at a demographic disadvantage at co-ed colleges, that's a rock-solid argument for them to look at women's colleges instead. On the other hand, it's hard to brag about a college being easier to get into, at least among the caliber of students I'm trying to attract.

"Be surrounded by all the girls who were almost good enough to get into Kenyon"?

But, wait. That's only half the story. What about going to Kenyon and being surrounded by all those even less qualified boys?

Now which campus is looking more competitive?

It's interesting, because Smith takes a big hit in the U.S. News rankings for having too high an acceptance rate. (I don't think that's the only reason Smith has been slipping for the last many years, but that's the most glaring difference between itself and its peers.) Smith loses that one on two fronts, because its applicant pool is half the size of its co-ed counterparts', but its incoming class is twice the size of its single-sex competitors! I'd love to see us back in the top five again, but I think I'd rather brag about the wealth of opportunities we offer to a truly diverse pool of amazingly talented women and girls.

In any case, I shall be curious to see what effect the demographic shift has on Smith and women's and co-ed colleges alike, in the coming years. Maybe female-dominated campuses will be the wave of the future for all of us. ;)

Monday, March 20, 2006