[snip] “Most of my Christian friends have no clue what goes on in faculty clubs,” writes William Stuntz, a Harvard law professor and evangelical Protestant, in a November 29 posting at Tech Central Station on the Web. “And my colleagues in faculty offices cannot imagine what happens in those evangelical churches on Sunday morning. In both cases, the truth is surprisingly attractive. And surprisingly similar: Churches and universities are the two twenty-first century American enterprises that care most about ideas, about language, and about understanding the world we live in.” He does allow that churches could be more open to argument, and that universities could use more humility.

[snip] Facts I didn’t really want to know. A December 15 Tax Foundation study on lotteries and state fiscal policy notes, “The average American spent more on lotteries in 2002 than on reading materials or movies.”

[snip] What does the market say about market-based education? “Let’s look at actual evidence from the nation’s largest private school company, Edison Schools,” founded in 1992, writes Mary Solomon, retired professor at the University of Kentucky (educationnews.org). “After reaching a high of close to $40 per share in early 2001, Edison’s share value tumbled to a low of 14 cents. In November 2003, the company was taken private. Today, instead of the thousand schools it planned to open, Edison operates 157 district partnership and charter schools.”

[snip] Do the right thing, but don’t tell anyone. Nancy Behrendt, who works in human resources, tells Alden Loury of the Chicago Reporter that when she told colleagues at a conference that her Chicago-based, nationally known firm employs as many as 50 ex-offenders during busy seasons, “she heard a gasp . . . [and] some participants called her insane and warned her about liability issues.” She declined to give her company’s name for fear its customers might have the same response.

[snip] “Public” highways. According to the fall newsletter of the Elmhurst-based Citizen Advocacy Center, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority spent two years devising a ten-year, $5.3-billion capital budget plan, then “gave the public less than one month to comment. . . . Multiple hearings were on the same nights, making it impossible for a majority of the Board to attend, and some hearings were on religious holidays.” The agency didn’t even use its unique ability to give notice of the meetings–its tollbooths. “Cash payers had notice of the name of their toll collector, and when the next oasis was open for business, but not the date of the next public hearing.”

[snip] I’m an artist–I don’t believe in Darwin. “There are many artists like me who find Darwinian materialism so dispiriting that it affects our overall confidence in our art,” writes Hofstra University professor Laurie Fendrich in the Common Review (Winter), published by the Great Books Foundation. “To absorb Darwin’s teaching–that beauty is only one of the myriad material explanations for reproductive success–is heartbreaking. When I intuitively adjust something in my painting to make the color more beautiful, for example, I believe the adjustment matters absolutely. If it’s only for me and a few other deluded souls, it might as well be art therapy.”