Phi Beta Cons

Sound Analysis of the New College Board Report

Writing at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity’s blog, Matthew Denhart and Jonathan Robe deliver an accurate assessment of the Education Pays 2010 report recently released by the College Board. Their key line: “The College Board’s study grossly overstates the ease with which higher education passes a cost-benefit test.” Just so. I’ve read this giddy piece of advertising pretending to be analysis and will have an article on it next week. It’s as if a drug company were marketing a new miracle drug that not only cures disease but makes you better in numerous ways, all the while knowing that it is often ineffective and has some serious side effects.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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Politics & Policy

The Omnibus Disgrace

The omnibus spending bill was crafted in secret and will be passed under pressure; raises discretionary spending as the national debt grows; and fails to deliver on any major GOP priorities except increased defense spending. What might turn out to be the signature achievement of unified Republican government this ... Read More

Thursday Links

It's William Shatner's birthday: Here he is in 1978 'singing' Rocket Man, plus a Star Trek/Monty Python mashup. Sold: Isaac Newton’s Notes on the Philosopher’s Stone. It was a long time before anyone admitted that he was interested in alchemy. High-tech forgery: Computer-generated 'Rembrandt' ... Read More

Korea: A Deadly Question

Olympic Games often have political significance, as in 1936 and as in the Olympics just past -- the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Those Games seemed as much political as athletic. I talk about this with Michael Breen on my latest Q&A. Breen is one of our best Korea-watchers, one of our soundest ... Read More
Film & TV

Superannuated ‘Idol’

In the pilot episode of Fox’s American Idol, Simon Cowell defined the show’s thesis: “We are going to tell people who cannot sing and have no talent that they have no talent. And that never makes you popular.” The show’s producers and its three judges -- Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson -- kept ... Read More