Last night, I completed my first semester of for credit college classes in a couple decades. Over the next few days, I will be sharing a few of the things that I have learned. Let’s start with generalities:
This is the sort of college where “admissions requirements” are pretty much “has a valid credit card.” As a result, there is a great variety of students: the fresh out of high school; the “holy crap my parents were right years ago when they told me I needed more education” crowd; more than a few recently discharged Veterans of varying ages; people embarking on an Xth career; etc.. In some ways, the place is remarkably like a less-funny episode of Community.
Some have the drive to succeed, and some just don’t. Some have the desire, but not the skill set. Some have the desire, but life gets in the way.
An alarming number of my classmates have woefully inadequate reading skills. That is despite the fact that free reading (and math) placement exams are available, and there are plenty of opportunities to improve one’s skills. Without the ability to quickly read and understand things like textbooks, assignments, and tests, a student is doomed.
Not surprisingly, the parking lot was much emptier the last week of class than the first week.
The irregular attendance of some of my classmates baffles me. They all paid good money for this class; you would think they would at least try to maximize their chance of passing!
Not all counseling departments are created equal. Some are there to get you the help you need — this is partly a matter of self-preservation, since that makes the student more likely to continue to pay tuition. Others are there to point out hoops that need to be jumped, come back when you’re done.
Next, we talk about my classes.
In Closing:book; or, we could admit that something that needs wheels is by definition not a carry on; or, we could enforce existing law; yeah I remember those days; blood pressure; what?; is this going to be what reins in drones?; 97% of scientists agree; and truth… Truthdogg.
Congress is officially out for the year. It’s the earliest departure in over 50 years, and the least productive Congress since World War 2. But there’s no point in beating your head against a wall to do nothing. Besides, by adjourning early, Harry Reid gave Scott Brown no excuse to miss his debate with Elizabeth Warren!
However, I must point out that Congress left a number of things undone before leaving town. Sure, maybe they’ll have better luck in the new Congress come January but I doubt it. Here’s just a few things:
They refused to vote on a bipartisan compromise farm bill that would have reformed agricultural subsidies and “food stamps.” Now we revert back to a bill from 1949.
They didn’t do anything about the massive looming cuts in public health and science.
They may yet find a way to weasel off the “fiscal cliff” by delaying it. And of course it’s easy to delay it again. And again….
In Closing: radical Islamic cleric almostfoils FBI terrorist sting; way to report “news,” CNN; didn’t Jesus say something removing the plank from your own eye first?; hope she got the job; 30 years of emoticons; now he says it; ha, if they had a clue I would still be driving their cars; and desert blooms.
Fortune Magazine tells us that “For banks, it’s getting harder and harder to earn a buck.” That’s because interest rates are so low. Or at least that’s what “conventional wisdom” would tell us. Please cry for the banks and demand higher interest rates!
Not so fast. If banks are having such a hard time making an “honest” buck, then how come “U.S. bank earnings rose 21% in the April-June quarter and lending to consumers increased, adding to evidence that the industry is strengthening four years after the financial crisis.” Turns out there’s actually a good reason the banks are doing so well:
That’s because most of them have increased the historic spread between the interest they charge for mortgages and the interest they have to pay for their own borrowing and, of course, the now minuscule rates they pay to folks with savings accounts. As a result, according to a recent news story in the New York Times, bankers are enjoying ballooning profits from their mortgage business.
If the banks were using the formula that was in effect up until a couple of years ago, the 3.55 percent rate for a 30-year mortgage would be close to 3.05 percent. Or, they could increase the rates they pay savers by about a half percent.
So yeah, the gap between “what they pay you” and “what we pay them” got bigger despite mortgage rates near record lows.
I hope Fortune Magazine isn’t hoping for a subscription fee from me anytime soon.
In Closing: you might want to disable Java; trying to change the law without bothering to involve lawmakers; 14.8% of Americans are on food stamps; and Boehner admits that the easiest way to win is for poor people to stay home on election day.