Re: My broad brush. Let me paint you with it.

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that no one should be in a Ph.D. program that wasn't at least almost fully funded.

That advice saved me. I got it from every undergrad prof I talked to.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 9:50 PM
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Oh, and having just gone wee, I definitely ate asparagus tonight.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 9:51 PM
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2: Be sure to report back when the corn test results come out.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 9:55 PM
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I think both of your statements are definitively true, Stanley. And asparagus is tasty, but according to the eat local rules, one should not be eating it in October.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 9:57 PM
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I attend a very highly respected and drastically underfunded PhD program, but that's rare, I guess. It's good advice, which I got, too, but I'm glad I didn't follow it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:04 PM
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4: I stand by them as statements I believe to be generally true. But they were both made at moments when I didn't mean to stir up an argument, which was unfortunate.

As for asparagus, I bought squash offsets, so it's like totes okay.

5 [on preview]: See? I shouldn't just yammer. AWB ought to be fully funded.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:07 PM
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What does "fully funded" mean in this context?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:10 PM
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I never finished, so full-funding means I was never in debt and trying to figure out what to do next at the same time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:10 PM
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7: Tuition + fees + health insurance + stipend sufficient to live (mostly).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:11 PM
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7: There I go again. Not knowing exactly what I'm talking about.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:11 PM
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9: + books, I'd guess?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:12 PM
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Eh, just because something is true in the large scale doesn't mean there aren't exceptions that are totally right for a person to take (a la AWB). Sorry you stirred shit without meaning to, Stanley - that's always an uncomfortable feeling.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:14 PM
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OK, I must be dense, but 9 is still not clear to me. Does that mean all of the costs are covered by scholarships or grants? Or a salary paid by the university to the graduate student? Or a loan that will eventually have to be paid back?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:14 PM
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13: The first two options, though the first is obviously the best situation. The last would be definitely not fully funded.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:18 PM
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Ah, okay, thanks. I was puzzling over how a loan could possibly be considered "funding."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:20 PM
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I work a lot for my money, I pay my tuition and fees. For a few years, I got tuition remission, but that's over now. A couple years after I started, they began a new fellowship program that's pretty good, and I respect that and admire the incoming students, but nothing was done for those of us accepted for previous years.

OT: You do not even want to know what the comments look like after a high school acquaintance posted this to Facebook. Jesus Christ, Christians are excitable and dumb. 6000 years later? Really? And then: 9/11!!!!! The only thing that has ever happened!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:23 PM
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I'd say fully funded means that you're getting 15K/year in the clear beyond school costs plus health insurance. So basically I agree with 9. The crucial point is that it's only going to get harder at every stage past getting into graduate school, and if you're not good enough to get into somewhere that pays you in graduate school what makes you think anyone will hire you as an academic?

On the other hand, if you have a nonacademic job in mind that requires a Ph.D. then I could see things being different (though I'm having trouble thinking of what disciplines are relevant for real world jobs and don't have lots of grant money). This is why it's ok to pay for a masters degree.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:23 PM
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13: Usually it means you get a package covering four or five years of: full tuition remission (so not taxed), plus a stipend for x terms, plus (usually) a teaching requirement for x terms (usually starting after the first year), all laid out either on a year by year schedule or in slightly more flexible way. You probably won't be done in four or five years - at least in the humanities- so they make it clear that there are dissertation year sources of funding that you are likely - but not guaranteed - to get.

That's just for being funded by the school you're attending. There are other ways of getting fully-funded through outside grants.

How it's actually paid depends on the school and on what year you're in. A stipend could be just a bunch of checks at intervals - I guess some places might do lump sums - or it could be paid according to payroll with a W-2 and withholding (either way it's usually taxable). Teaching is usually through payroll. Outside funding has its own procedures.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:25 PM
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16: I have an atheist friend who is putting daily Richard Dawkins on Facebook. Can we traide?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:29 PM
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There seems to have been a trend in the elite private schools, at least, to shift to full-funding the Ph.D. beginning in the late 90s/early 2000s. Students admitted earlier often ended up competing with each other and people ended up with big debt loads from just one or two years before dropping out (which might mean being weeded out simply by not getting funding to continue). I was accepted at one place with no funding package whatsoever and they might as well have rejected me.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:31 PM
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18: Do you have to pay US income taxes for any of it? Come to think of it, do US grad students pay income taxes on their paltry incomes? I don't think they should, but the thought's just occurred to me now.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:33 PM
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after a high school acquaintance posted this to Facebook

Love it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:35 PM
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21: The tuition isn't taxable. The stipend or salary is taxable. You are probably not paying much in income tax because you won't earn enough, but you'll pay social security taxes on it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:36 PM
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I fling shit in your face, Stanley!

Feces! IN YOUR FACE!

This is constructive.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:37 PM
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When I taught I paid income taxes and payroll taxes. When I was on various grants I paid income taxes (you write "SCH $18,000" on the right dotted line, they don't even give you a box) though I know people who didn't (at any rate there's no withholding), but I didn't pay (and don't think I was supposed to pay) payroll tax because I was not on anyone's payroll.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:38 PM
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22: Isn't it weird how at first it looks like everyone at church is dressed in shirt and tie, but after the rapture, the only people left are in casual clothing? That's how Jesus is, people. Double-windsor or damned.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:38 PM
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21: Yes, but stipends reported outside of the W-2 seem to go unmentioned with some frequency. I felt like a sucker writing in the value and then paying taxes on it, knowing that lots of other people didn't.

If you pay your tuition out of your stipend, then you get taxed on the stipend. If they remit your tuition - so you aren't charged - you are not taxed. This is why the advice is always to try to get tuition remission rather than a stipend that will cover tuition. (The principle is the same for partial funding.)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:39 PM
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My broad brush. Let me paint you with it.

It's probably still better than my dreaming about a fucking giant squirrel, dude.

max
['Oy.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:40 PM
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24 and 28 have me puzzled.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:42 PM
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29: And thereby you have attained Enlightenment.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:43 PM
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24 and 28 have me puzzled.

Not nearly as puzzled as I was when I first (mis-)read the placement of "a" into 28.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:48 PM
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18: Do you have to pay US income taxes for any of it? Come to think of it, do US grad students pay income taxes on their paltry incomes? I don't think they should, but the thought's just occurred to me now.

I pay federal tax, but not state or local tax.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:52 PM
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I really should hold my tongue when I don't know what I'm talking about.

Maybe but that wasn't the problem in the second case which seems instead to have been an inadvertent lack of tact.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:53 PM
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31: Not nearly as puzzled as I was when I first (mis-)read the placement of "a" into 28.

I'm not that perverted, thank you.

max
['Yeesh.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:54 PM
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in the second case which seems instead to have been an inadvertent lack of tact.

I'll cop to that.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 10:58 PM
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But I did not shoot the deputy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 11:00 PM
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Max is Eric W. Schwartz.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 11:10 PM
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18: Come to think of it, do US grad students pay income taxes on their paltry incomes?

Yes. Yes, we do. While scholarships and fellowships spent on certain narrowly-defined academic expenses (tuition, fees, some books) are not taxable, scholarships and fellowships spent on everything else (housing, food, everything else that real people need in order to actually live) are taxable income. You can thank the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (the second Reagan "tax cut") for that.

Unfortunately, the people who distribute scholarships and fellowships rarely take this fact into account.


Posted by: Starving physicist | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 11:20 PM
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37: Max is Eric W. Schwartz.

That's a squirrel? Looks like a fox. (And due to the famous Megan, you now cannot find a picture of the Linux fox I was going to link here.)

Anyways: no. Imagine a squirrel, roughly the same length and height as a polar bear ingnoring tail, but obviously not a hefty. Now imagine said squirrel is russet-colored and not gray like east coast squirrels. Now imagine said squirrel is wearing another animal's skull as a helmet, and has a strapped-on garbage can lid as a shield paired up with what looked like a Roman-style short sword. Now imagine said squirrel drops off the roof of a house about twenty feet in front on you, while toting the pumpkin (maybe) that it's going to snack on.

max
['That is, a fucking a giant heavily-armed squirrel.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 11:25 PM
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Forty comments and a mule!


Posted by: I really was kidding about that | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 11:29 PM
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You do not even want to know what the comments look like after a high school acquaintance posted this to Facebook.

I'm playing O Fortuna while I type this. It could be the most mysterious, significant, uncanny comment ever!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 11:32 PM
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a fucking a giant

a-fucking a giant?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 11:33 PM
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A fucks A.


Posted by: Ayn Rand | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 11:34 PM
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a-fucking a giant?

I will lie and say I put that extra a in there for Witt.

max
['Instead of, you know, fucking up.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 11:40 PM
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I'm only on Track 9 of 15, but thus far the new Yoko Ono album contains wholly unexpected levels of awesome. I can't believe she's almost 80 years old.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 2-09 11:53 PM
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I went to a talk today in which the speaker, who seemed to be a fully-credentialed academic, said some of the most implausibly naive and ridiculous things I have ever heard in my life. She recounted what someone "said" 150 years ago, though her only source is a magazine article written four years after the event by someone who may or may not have heard the story from an eyewitness who did not speak or understand the language spoken by the person being quoted, but who, the speaker assumed, must have consulted the translator who may or may not have been present. The only way I found out everything in the previous sentence is that I asked a first question about how many sources she had to be able to verify any of the information (dialogue, etc.) in her talk, and whether any of those sources were written in the language of the people she was writing about.

After she talked about something entirely unrelated to my question for five minutes, I repeated it. At that point, she said there were many, many accounts written in that language, but she had not read them. Really, she emphasized, she was interested in this one magazine article and what it had to say. Although she explained that the entire article was xenophobic, racist, sexist, etc., etc., she repeated everything in it not as a story at all, but as "what happened." She also casually adopted all of the racist terms used by the article and used them in her own explanation of the situation. It wasn't n****r, but it was the equivalent.

My chin was on my chest, people. Who the fuck does this? If you're analyzing historical texts as narratives, you take into account genre, politics, material culture, conventions, something, anything, that might be analytical. If you're analyzing them as historical evidence, you take into account, I dunno, but I suppose SOME OF THOSE SAME FUCKING THINGS. Right? Right?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 12:08 AM
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46: Really, she emphasized, she was interested in this one magazine article and what it had to say. Although she explained that the entire article was xenophobic, racist, sexist, etc., etc., she repeated everything in it not as a story at all, but as "what happened." She also casually adopted all of the racist terms used by the article and used them in her own explanation of the situation.

Because basically, she was interested in this racist, xenophobic, sexist article because she, like, agreed with it?

Right? Right?

Right.

max
['What's her stance on the gold standard?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 12:37 AM
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47: I think if you asked her, she would explain how important it is to talk about historical racism or whatever, but (a) 150-year-old racist magazine articles hardly seem worth the trouble, and (b) anyone who is really overly fascinated with repeating historical racist (or otherwise troublesome) ideas for no apparent reason sort of squicks me. I once went to a talk about 300-year-old rape jokes that made us all feel very similar. Thanks, dude, for, like, letting us know all about how people 300 years ago seemed to think rape was actually pretty funny. There's this weird hysterical humorlessness that actually sort of backfires and makes me think, you're not saying anything I don't know, so what motive do you have for saying it?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 12:46 AM
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48:anyone who is really overly fascinated with repeating historical racist (or otherwise troublesome) ideas for no apparent reason sort of squicks me.

Was she trying to compare it to something current? I could see doing the 'Check it out, here's how the shit they're saying now sounds exactly the same as the shit they were saying a 150 years ago' thing.

There's this weird hysterical humorlessness that actually sort of backfires

Mustn't draw conclusions about people of the past because, uh, different. Yeah. (There's that whole 'let us dither away from any conclusions at all because we can't know anything' deal to which I always wish to respond, 'Then why are we fucking doing this? Let's blow this popstand and go out for some pizza instead of sitting around here.')

so what motive do you have for saying it?

Spent all weekend working, had to do the book report late on Sunday evening.

max
['In large font.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 2:23 AM
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I really should hold my tongue when I don't know what I'm talking about.

I see no evidence that you didn't know what you were talking about.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 4:38 AM
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Is Google being really slow for anyone else?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 4:40 AM
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38 scholarships and fellowships spent on everything else (housing, food, everything else that real people need in order to actually live) are taxable income. You can thank the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (the second Reagan "tax cut") for that.

Why shouldn't such fellowships be taxable income? Plenty of people make comparable wages and pay taxes; why shouldn't students?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 5:52 AM
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AWB--Doesn't your tuition go down once you've passed your qualifying exams and are just writing up the dissertation? Sometimes in elite schoools people get less funding then, so they do more teaching, and then hopefully they get a fellowship to finish.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 6:01 AM
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Plenty of people make comparable wages and pay taxes; why shouldn't students?

Indeed. Thanks, essear.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 6:20 AM
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I agree with Witt and essear, but I believe that in the UK students only pay national insurance contributions, so it can be a shock for funded students who come to the U.S. from abroad.

The more important question, is why do people making $15K have to pay non Social Security/ Medicare taxes?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 6:31 AM
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The more important question, is why do people making $15K have to pay non Social Security/ Medicare taxes?

Many of them are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

In terms of short-term low-income people with privilege paying taxes, it's really more the principle of the thing. But the archives are full of my perspective on taxes; I won't impose them on people again.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 8:23 AM
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Let me just add that I don't disagree with you at all Witt. I get pissed. Sometimes, you don't know how short-term the low-income period will be or whether the person will remain privileged, but that's a discussion for another day.

I was just noting that for people of other cultures it can come as a shock.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 8:29 AM
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||
I finally broke down and got an iPhone (I lost my old phone). Expect more excitingly ill-spelt comments.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 8:54 AM
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58: Spelling "iPhone" correctly puts you ahead early. "IPhone" and "IPod" irk me in irrational ways.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 8:58 AM
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58: One! Of! Us! One! Of! Us!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 8:58 AM
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Expect more excitingly ill-spelt comments.

Well, it does tend to auto-correct things. Sometimes in unexpected or ridiculous ways.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 9:01 AM
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If you're analyzing historical texts as narratives, you take into account genre, politics, material culture, conventions, something, anything, that might be analytical. If you're analyzing them as historical evidence, you take into account, I dunno, but I suppose SOME OF THOSE SAME FUCKING THINGS. Right? Right?

Right. That's just bad history.

AWB--Doesn't your tuition go down once you've passed your qualifying exams and are just writing up the dissertation?

Not AWB (obviously), but this isn't the case with the UC System. There are of course different statuses you can be on (filing fee, etc) that are reduced in cost but you also lose privileges with them.

Many of them are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

I've never been, which makes me suspect that most graduate students aren't. I don't object to paying my taxes at the same level as everyone else (with my income), but I do think that the complaint that often fellowships/scholarships fail to take into account paying taxes is a valid one.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 9:05 AM
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59, 61: The iPhone autocorrects for the camel-ish spelling of many Apple products.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 9:06 AM
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Back to the OP, I saw the Michael Moore movie last night. Really not his best -- all he's got is confused outrage, not any perspective that anyone who was watching the news last fall doesn't. I suppose confused outrage is better than no outrage at all, but I didn't feel as if I got anything much out of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 9:07 AM
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AWB--Doesn't your tuition go down once you've passed your qualifying exams and are just writing up the dissertation?

No, exactly the same.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 9:08 AM
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64:He's confused because the feelthy S word may not pass his lips. Mostly a nostalgia for, hey, literal Fordism.
Naomi Klein has the same problem.

More Louis Proyect on M Moore

Alain Badiou on "Communism"

Didn't understand much, but what I understood was great. And the old quotes from Sartre almost made me cry.

"If the Communist hypothesis is not right, if it is not applicable, this means that humanity is not in itself something very different from ants or ferrets." [Sartre]

What he is saying there is that if competition, free markets, the search for little jouissance and the walls that protect you from the desires of the weak are collectivified, the human being is not worth scum.[Badiou]

1) You'll have to read it to see what is meant by the "Communist hypothesis"
2) Reading Badiou's awkward English (and I think it is his) reminds of why the French dictionaries are still on my desktop, reproaching me


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 9:47 AM
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all he's got is confused outrage

Kinda sums up the current era, doesn't it?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 9:50 AM
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At the UCs I think foreign Ph.D. students pay resident fees during the first 3 years after they advance to candidacy (then they go way up again). Out of staters pay residency fees once they "establish residency" which should take one year if you don't screw anything up.

Also a reasonable teaching load at the school that you're a student counts as "funding" as long as it's guaranteed.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 9:51 AM
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Interesting, Parenthetical. I'm pretty sure that they did at Harvard, but I wouldn't bet money on it.

I knew somebody who graduated from Davis who had bought a house w/ family help. When he sold in 2001 or 2002 he had made enough to pay cash for the house he was buying in Washington State, though he still chose to get a bit of a mortgage.

In the Boston area grad students in the humanities and sciences could buy houses in the late 60's and into the 70's. Sigh.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 9:59 AM
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Speaking of obnoxious crap posted on facebook, one of my so-called 'friends' is a relative who's running for, um, high office as a Republican in, um a certain place. So I get almost-daily campaign updates, with comments, naturally—Republicans all up in my facebook. I know I just just use the 'hide' function, but I feel compelled to keep abreast of things, this being family and all. It's not as though I care about my fb page, really; I'd just like to be able to peek at it without peering into the abyss.


Posted by: Chester A. Arthur | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 10:12 AM
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I'd just like to be able to peek at it without peering into the abyss

I have a Facebook friend who's someone I knew in high school but haven't really talked to since. He usually posts the standard-fare personal updates ("heading to the beach!", that sort of thing) occasionally interspersed with super nutter pronunciations like "I stand today with the patriots who marched on Washington. This socialist administration must be stopped." Or more recently, "Ha! Obama gets stuffed by the Olympics Committee. Take that, CNN!".

I keep almost un-friending him and then deciding that, really, I can't look away. It's like distilled crazy droplets.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 10:21 AM
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"confused outrage" is one possible description of the last great transitional period, 1875-1925. Then came the umm, restructuring, followed by the post-WWII Long Boom.

Fordism

Bruce Wilder at Thoma's at one point said we are now at the 1925 point. The PTB are still in denial. The undeniable fail, collapse, destruction, and rebuild in a new form are all yet to come.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 10:24 AM
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"Ha! Obama gets stuffed by the Olympics Committee. Take that, CNN!".

Wow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 10:25 AM
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In '99 or '00 the Republican House tried to start taxing the tuition remittance as income as well, with the result that some students with only small stipends on top of their tuition would have ended up paying more in taxes than they were paid. Various research organizations threw a nutty and the plan was scrapped (although I don't know if there was a causal relationship there.)
At all the places I know of all hard science PhDs are fully funded- if the prof doesn't have the grant money to support their students or the student doesn't have their own fellowship, the prof isn't allowed to hire them.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 10:26 AM
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AWB--Doesn't your tuition go down once you've passed your qualifying exams and are just writing up the dissertation?

No, exactly the same.

Depends where you are. Also, some places give you a stipend bump if you pass quals.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 11:20 AM
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My tuition went down after one year because I became a resident of NYS and passed my comprehensives. They went down again when I finished coursework and passed my qualifying exams. Now it's not a terrible burden to pay.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 11:31 AM
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Stipend? What is this word you are using?

I do get higher-paying jobs as I move along, but they're still jobs.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 11:33 AM
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"At all the places I know of all hard science PhDs are fully funded- if the prof doesn't have the grant money to support their students or the student doesn't have their own fellowship, the prof isn't allowed to hire them."

True. Where I am (and it's the same most everywhere), the department will cover students for their first year, which is largely taken up with coursework and qualifying exams. After that, they look for a thesis lab. If I want one of them in my lab, I need to pay them from my grant.

There are larger collective grants called training grants that provide a certain number of slots that are competitively given out to students in the department. Needless to say, faculty desperately want these students to work for them, since, from our point of view, they're basically free.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 11:36 AM
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Yes, AWB, it is widely appreciated that humanities phd programs are for the birds (or bears, I suppose). Happily, many science programs offer both support and edumacation.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 11:40 AM
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I was amused recently to get a letter about how the university I work for is dealing with the financial crisis. There are salary freezes for "all but the lowest-paid faculty and staff". I hadn't thought of myself as among the lowest-paid staff, but it turns out I am, fortunately. (It would be entertaining to see a histogram of salaries.)

I was also surprised to find out how much a friend of mine who just started a junior faculty job at a state university is getting paid. Academic salaries always seem to be quite a bit larger than I expect, but this probably just says something about the limited circle of people I know.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 11:55 AM
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(Academic salaries outside the sciences always seem to be criminally low, on the other hand.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 12:00 PM
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My first two years, most of my stipend came from NIH Training Grants (grants given to the graduate program explicitly for training students) at the allowed NIH level. The program used funds from an endowment that a biotech bigwig established here to bring that up to the program-wide level, which was pretty helpful as the NIH level would be just fine in Pittsburgh, but is harder to live on here.

You're encouraged to apply for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship when you get here (rarely, people come in with one), and the few people who get that are then supported by that for the next 3 years. NIH also awards student fellowships that some students get once their thesis projects are up and running. (Just like a standard NIH grant, you have a much better chance of getting an NIH fellowship if you've already done a lot of the experiments you are proposing to do.)

If you don't have an outside fellowship, your PI is expected to pay for you out of their R01 (the bread-and-butter NIH grant--how you buy supplies and pay your staff) after your two years of training grant support runs out. Like SP says, he or she isn't supposed to take you on otherwise. The program does have some emergency funds that can be used for student support if a PI is having funding troubles, or, as in one case I know of, if relations between student and PI decay to the point where the PI refuses to pay for the student anymore.

We are expected to establish state residency after the first year, so that the program, and later our PIs, can pay in-state tuition and fees for the bulk of our time here.

I have previously gone into one of the quirks of stipend taxation for us.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 12:04 PM
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"Sicko" was as good a documentary as you could ask for on healthcare. Period. Also: Exclamation point!


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 12:06 PM
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Ever since my training grant support ran out, I've been paid out of my PI's funds. (And these have actually funds from a private foundation--and additional funding stream that not many labs have.) One of the other students in the lab has had individual fellowships her whole time. This gave made me a bit paranoid for awhile: "Man, he must *really* be getting frustrated with me; not only am I less productive than her, but she's free and I keep costing him money!"


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 12:11 PM
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84: Then you showed your PI the quality and quantity of your Unfogged comments and there were no further questions of productivity.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 12:15 PM
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For a single person with no dependents, the EITC threshold is lower than 15k/year (if that's what we're counting as fully-funded). I qualified when I dropped out because I only got paid for the term I was in school and not for the whole year. People trying to support family members on a stipend and not much more might qualify.

I wouldn't be surprised if BG is right about tuition dropping at some places after exams. At some of the private schools tuition is something like $20,000-$30,000 a year but you never really see it if you have tuition remission. After you're done with coursework and exams and all that's left is the dissertation, they drop the fees to something like $8,000/year (at least as of when that happened to me). You still don't really see it if you get tuition remission, but they make a big deal of reminding you to get your forms in to change that status, probably for internal bookkeeping reasons.

It's almost possible that way to finish without a support package, because your job or loans or combination of both now have to cover a lower tuition, but it's still tough and I don't think I knew anyone who did that.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 12:15 PM
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85: Indeed. I guess I can admit now that I've only been coming here for research purposes. You are all my subjects, and I will be circulating consent forms in a few months.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 12:22 PM
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74.2: This was certainly the case in my (hard science) grad program, and in all the programs I applied to. The NIH training grants were a big part of that support. I'm not sure how broadly true this is, but I know my program cared about GRE scores only insofar as the NIH training grant program has a cutoff below which a given student won't qualify, and they basically want every student to be on a training grant. Funding is very much not guaranteed for grad students at my postdoc institution, and the scramble to find funding every semester leads to a lot of decisions that privilege short-term concerns like eating over long-term concerns like finishing and moving on to a position that provides steady income. Understandable, of course, but rotten.

I gather that Chicago is now guaranteeing funding, with ~$18K stipends, to all humanities and social science grad students. Which is a hell of a lot better than it was doing for the grad students I knew back in the day.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 12:23 PM
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"they basically want" s/b "the school [which has a boatload of training grants to dole out] basically wants"


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 12:25 PM
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"Sicko" was as good a documentary as you could ask for on healthcare.

My conversation last night included Sicko. I thought it was basically a decent documentary on healthcare, but taking the patients to Cuba at the end came off as over-the-top schlock.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 12:32 PM
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I wouldn't be surprised if BG is right about tuition dropping at some places after exams. At some of the private schools tuition is something like $20,000-$30,000 a year but you never really see it if you have tuition remission.

Oh yeah, for me tuition dropped by about 90% once I stopped being allowed to take classes towards my degree, and became "full-time work on dissertation".

But in the sciences, we never see the tuition, it only affects our PI or department who are paying for it.

It's the stipend that didn't change at all.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 12:59 PM
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The prof-based funding is a good restraint- NSF fellowships run out after 3 years, HHMI (what I had) and DOD after 5, so whether or not you bring your own funding professors have an incentive to get you out the door once you start eating away at their grant money. Not that is always works...


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 3:30 PM
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At Schmoxford you pay tuition for 3 years of graduate study, but after that tuition is free. For most funded students they don't personally have to pay, but if for any reason you fail to get funding for part of it, that's a godsend.

Mid-way through my graduate study the main Scottish funding body [who funded my masters], and the main British funding body [who would fund my doctorate] merged, and I was rendered ineligible to claim for the funding that I was expecting to get as, technically, I'd already received funding. I ended up funding myself for a nearly two years, but could just about afford it because I had no fees. Then, at some point, the UK funding body must have realised that they'd cocked up, and I was funded again for my last year.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 3:57 PM
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and pediatric care, too, online and free.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 4:54 PM
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52, (and 56 and previous): Why shouldn't such fellowships be taxable income? Plenty of people make comparable wages and pay taxes; why shouldn't students?

I will mention something about this, bearing in mind all the while that this is a can of worms: graduate students are in a some very real sense not considered to be earning wages when they, for example, act as TAs in courses within their own departments. At least, they're not really viewed as employees; they can't unionize.

In many (humanities, at least) departments, grad students are *required* to TA, say, 4 courses after their first year. This is viewed as an apprenticeship, and it is, in an important sense. It's also labor, very very cheap labor. Just try, though, to have grad student TAs recognized as employees who might actually bargain. No: the argument against that is precisely that grad students occupy some murky middle ground, and their compensation is the equivalent of being provided room and board, if you will, while they apprentice. But then: Is the room and board (equivalent) a wage which should be taxed?

My own grad student income (stipend plus TA pay) was low enough that the EITC did kick in, thankfully.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 5:43 PM
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95: I don't really understand your argument. Grad students are employees and are earning wages, no matter how people "consider" or "view" them. And I don't know anything about legal intricacies, but grad student unions do exist in at least some places, so there's no blanket restriction on their ability to unionize.

At any rate, the question of whether one is an employee seems like a red herring. I was never an employee while in grad school (aside from picking up a tiny bit of supplemental income from grading during a few semesters), because I was paid by fellowships. But of course I paid taxes on the fellowship money, which was income, albeit not employment income.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 5:53 PM
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Also, my memories of undergrad financial issues are fuzzy, but I think scholarship money that went toward room and board (rather than tuition, fees, or books) was considered taxable income.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 5:56 PM
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97: I don't think it will be taxable income, but it would definitely count toward gift taxes. So far, it hasn't be above 10 or 11k (the annual threshold), but it will soon. You can pay as much tuition for someone as you want.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 6:14 PM
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I love 16.last. It reminds me of films I used to watch in Sunday School. Think the works of Jack Chick as produced by Ed Wood. Awesome stuff. There was one with a little portable guillotine on a flatbed truck that went around executing everyone who didn't accept the mark of the Beast, which my teacher assured us was a metaphor for credit cards. Not sure she was wrong, actually.

This is your go-to site for failed predictions of the Apocalypse. Should be required reading in grade school, IMO.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 6:21 PM
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98: This IRS webpage confirms that scholarship funds used for room and board are taxable income.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 6:33 PM
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98

I don't think it will be taxable income, but it would definitely count toward gift taxes. So far, it hasn't be above 10 or 11k (the annual threshold), but it will soon. You can pay as much tuition for someone as you want.

Gift taxes (like estate taxes) are obligations of the donor not the receipient. I believe there is charitable exemption.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 6:36 PM
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96: No, it's true, I'm being querulous to an extent. I went through an effort to unionize in grad school in the mid-90s, and it was utterly defeated in the face of the argument that grad students aren't employees.

In many humanities departments -- certainly in philosophy in my day -- not a lot of grad students were receiving outside fellowships. Whether those who did paid taxes on them I do not know.

I still feel the urge to argue about whether fellowships are income. I seem to want to say that they're grants, for god's sake: people pay taxes on grants? Do non-profit organizations receiving private grants pay taxes on them? I really don't know. My only experience of this is with non-profits receiving government (federal, state, local) grants. Students are like non-profits.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 6:42 PM
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Shearer, I know that gift taxes are taxes to the donor. Although, they are due (eventually) from the donee if the donor who owes them doesn't pay them. (You get a 1 mil credit though.)

Paying someone's room and board does not count as a charitable donation. And if it's your grandchild, it could be subject to the generation skipping tax.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 7:17 PM
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102

Teaching assistants are employees and fellowships are income. See here .


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 7:24 PM
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102 I still feel the urge to argue about whether fellowships are income. I seem to want to say that they're grants, for god's sake: people pay taxes on grants?

Why not? I'm just uncomfortable with the thought of any system that privileges students over other people with low incomes. It would probably be workable to say that no one pays taxes on amounts under, say, $20k/year, with a more progressive tax system than we have now. But I'm uncomfortable with thinking that the current system puts too high a tax burden on students without thinking that it also puts too high a tax burden on the many other people who are paid the same wages.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 7:29 PM
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I thought it was basically a decent documentary on healthcare, but taking the patients to Cuba at the end came off as over-the-top schlock.

This puzzles me. After wandering the Western World to see how other rich countries handle healthcare sensibly, Moore goes to Cuba, where they also handle it sensibly. What's the problem?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 7:45 PM
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No, what he does is take a boat of sick people and shout at the Guantanamo Bay military installation to let them in.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 7:48 PM
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105: Agreed, with your discomfort.

Perhaps my teeth-gritting has just had to do with how damn little (some) graduate students, presumably chiefly in the humanities, make. Taking in less than minimum wage isn't a privileged position to be in.

But yes to this: It would probably be workable to say that no one pays taxes on amounts under, say, $20k/year, with a more progressive tax system than we have now.

Numerous other remarks deleted, I'm afraid.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 7:48 PM
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108

Perhaps my teeth-gritting has just had to do with how damn little (some) graduate students, presumably chiefly in the humanities, make. Taking in less than minimum wage isn't a privileged position to be in.

But then you won't be paying significant income tax on it anyway. Unless it is on top of your trust fund (or other) income.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 7:53 PM
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107: He does that, too.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 8:19 PM
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I'm trolling Digby and Hartley on the Moore movie tonight, in some soi-dissant ToS mode. No one at all should be interested.

Should be reading my Japanese guy on the Real Marx, but you know how that goes.

Think I'll watch the Rise of the Lycans.

Peasant werewolves vs aristocratic vampires. Works for me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 3-09 8:57 PM
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I killed the whole freaking blog.

Lycans kinda sucked except for the whole Marxist allegory thing, with the pure werewolves being the lumpenproletariat or farmers and the Lycans being the urban proles who achieve socialist conciousnes by removing the White Fang goes Dingo dogcollars and Tony Blair as liberating Lycan and Bill Nighy a hoot etc.

After that was a mostly hetero sex movie called Y.P.F. which I can recommend for couples under 30. Funny, sweet, well-observed, not too sexist.

Do I have to keep this blog alive a a live-blogging of Takahisa Oishi's The Unknown Marx? All about the EPM up to the German Ideology


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 4-09 10:05 AM
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Hmmm...dead blog.

We were talking about Renoir not long ago.

Tonight TCM is showing La Bete Humaine with Gabin and Simone Simon. 1 AM which is too late, I need to pick up a DVR. I'm told it is much better if you have some background with other Zola novels. And the version may be badly cut, although TCM has even more class in that respect than Sundance.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 4-09 5:13 PM
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Renoir La Bete Humaine with Gabin and Simone Simon tonight 1 AM CST on TCM


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 4-09 5:15 PM
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Hmmm...dead blog.

Fine.

66: "If the Communist hypothesis is not right, if it is not applicable, this means that humanity is not in itself something very different from ants or ferrets." [Sartre]

Putting aside Badiou's careful triangulation around the definition of communism, in actual practice, Marxist-Leninism/classical economics is not right because human being are quite a lot like ferrets, but very very different from ants, and neither ants nor ferrets are anything like computer programs.

Also, on an entirely unrelated note, nobody should put Larry Summers in charge of anything, he just screws everything up.

The memo to Obama, however, detailed only two packages: a five-hundred-and-fifty-billion-dollar stimulus and an eight-hundred-and-ninety-billion-dollar stimulus. Summers did not include Romer's $1.2-trillion projection. The memo argued that the stimulus should not be used to fill the entire output gap; rather, it was "an insurance package against catastrophic failure." At the meeting, according to one participant, "there was no serious discussion to going above a trillion dollars."
[...]Summers... believed... that a package that was too large could potentially shift fears from the current crisis to the long-term budget deficit... have an unwelcome effect on the [long term] bond market.
Basically, the only difference between Summers and the Lucas/Prescott axis is that Summers isn't finance libertarian enough for Lucas and crew.

max
['Neat, huh?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 4-09 6:36 PM
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Hey max,

Where did that excerpt come from? I'd love to see DeLong's response to his friend's action.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 4-09 6:49 PM
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Sorry. It came from Delong's blog where he reacted to (one of) Ryan Lizza's adulatory profiles of Summers.

max
['Brad is, in fact, quoted in the story.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10- 4-09 7:31 PM
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45: the Yoko Ono track on the new Basement Jaxx is also awesome.

Still catching up, but also: I love the new, grumpy, semi-comprehensible DS!

No.

I aspire to be the new, grumpy, semi-comprehensible DS.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 4-09 7:53 PM
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The stipend or salary is taxable. You are probably not paying much in income tax because you won't earn enough, but you'll pay social security taxes on it.

I think the SS tax depends on how your university classifies you for tax purposes. As a grad student I never paid social security taxes, and when I asked about them I was told that I couldn't pay them, under whatever classification I was being paid. Now that I'm a post-graduate, doing the exact same job, I pay them.


(Academic salaries outside the sciences always seem to be criminally low, on the other hand.)

It also shocked me to find out that an assistant professor in the humanities starting out at my institution makes around the same amount as a friend of mine made starting out at Grinnell. There are lots more perks for professors at my university (book fund, larger travel fund), but the baseline salary is pretty much the same.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10- 4-09 8:09 PM
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La bete humaine is such a great novel.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 4-09 8:17 PM
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118: DS has changed? Grumpy's cool and always has been. I'm pretty sure that's correct and don't really want to hear about it if it isn't.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 4-09 8:20 PM
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119.2: While Grinnell isn't in the same class (or endowment-range) as your institution, that doesn't entirely surprise me. What would is if the salary was the same at an almost unknown liberal arts school, or at a small state school. I know that some professors at my undergrad institution were making far less than public school teachers (with the same relative number of years on the job, that is).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10- 4-09 8:30 PM
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Grinell's a really well-endowed school, so they probably pay decently, and they need to pay high relative to the cost of living there to attract people.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10- 4-09 8:42 PM
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The Exiled on Michael Moore's new movie

Michael Moore on Howard Stern talking about the constant threats he faces

I like Michael Moore.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10- 5-09 4:54 PM
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Very good piece at The Exiled. Thanks, PGD.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 5-09 5:39 PM
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96: Grad students are employees and are earning wages, no matter how people "consider" or "view" them

Well, for tax purposes, it matters how the IRS views them (as employees earning wages), and for unionization purposes, it matters how the NLRB views them (as not employees and, presumably, not earning wages). As far as I know, the only graduate student unions are at state universities, where state laws or rulings have recognized graduate students as public employees.


Posted by: voyou | Link to this comment | 10- 7-09 10:16 AM
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