Headlines @ U.Va.
Rx for health care: competition
The prescription for fixing American health care includes a healthy dose of competition,
according to an essay co-authored by Darden School professor Elizabeth Olmsted
Teisberg and renowned Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter.
Today’s system, they wrote, merely transfers costs from one element to
another, dividing value rather than creating it. Teisberg and Porter, writing
in the June edition of the Harvard Business Review, call for more information
about the efficacy of treatments, more transparency in billing and pricing, and
more choice for consumers.
— Boston Globe, June 8
imprint on judiciary
President Reagan’s mark is still being felt in the federal judiciary; of
his 358 appointments, 306 remain on the bench. Politics professor David M. O’Brien
said the Reagan administration was the “most ideologically coherent” administration
in appointing judges, refusing to accept nominees promoted by even moderate Republicans.
But as often happens, conservative nominees sometimes moderated once seated.
Case in point: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, joined
the majority in refusing to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
Kennedy was not Reagan’s first choice for his seat, O’Brien noted;
Robert Bork was, but his nomination was derailed by critics who feared him too
far to the right.
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 8
grad is first alumnus to die in Iraq
It may have been inevitable, and perhaps blessedly overdue, but the University
lost one of its graduates June 8 in Iraq. Army Capt. Humayn Saqib Khan, a
2000 U.Va. grad, was preparing to inspect a vehicle outside the gate of
a post in
Baqubah when a car exploded, killing Khan and two Iraqis. His parents, Prince
William County residents Khizr M. and Ghazala Khan, said their son questioned
the conduct of the war in his conversations with them, but relished being
an Army officer. “He was following the orders, being truthful to his word,” his
— Washington Post, June 10
Helena Cobban, senior research fellow at U.Va.’s Institute for Practical
Ethics, recently participated in an exchange with a Chinese univer-
sity. She found the country humming with change, particularly in the coastal
East, where Westerners would feel comfortable amidst cell phones and increasing
numbers of private vehicles. Rural areas remain less developed. “[China]
still lacks many freedoms Americans take for granted,” she wrote in the
Christian Science Monitor. However, “There is a much stronger social safety
net and a seemingly stronger sense of community and purpose than in many parts
of America. Public spaces are well cared for and much used, and there’s
strong identification with China’s rich history and cultural traditions.”
— Christian Science Monitor, June 10
Wilcox: ‘megachurches’ lack
Saddleback Community Church covers 120 acres of Lake Forest, Calif., and
draws up to 20,000 people on Sundays. It is the province of Rick Warren,
gained prominence in Christian circles for his 2002 book, “The Purpose-Driven
Life.” The church features many outreaches, reflecting “a savvy merger
of business growth strategies and biblical messages,” according to a New
York Times article. But some criticize such so-called “megachurches” as
being more about spiritual consumers than worshippers. Said sociology professor
W. Bradford Wilcox, “The churches resemble shopping malls, with services
for everyone. They draw on the methods of McDonald’s or Taco Bell, spreading
not just the message but the model.”
— New York Times, June 10
Second thoughts about multiple intelligences
The theory of multiple intelligences proposed by Howard Gardner, a professor
of cognition and education at Harvard University, has gotten a lot
of buzz in education circles during the past 20 years, but ultimately it
not all that helpful,” says Daniel T. Willingham, an associate professor
of psychology at the University of Virginia. Rather than viewing intelligence
as a single concept or a hierarchy of verbal and mathematical abilities, Mr.
Gardner describes eight separate intelligences: body-kinesthetic, interpersonal,
intrapersonal, linguistic, logico-mathematical, musical, naturalist, and spatial.
But those are all just talents by another name, Mr. Willingham says. “Educators
who embraced the theory,” he writes, “might well have been indifferent
to a theory outlining different talents — who didn’t know that some
kids are good musicians, some are good athletes, and they may not be the same
— Chronicle of Higher Education, June 15