Archive for December, 2010

December 29, 2010

DAVID RIVKIN AND ELIZABETH FOLEY: DEATH PANELS COME BACK TO LIFE. “If government can limit Americans’ choice of effective medical treatments, there’s no limit to its control over our bodies, and the right to bodily autonomy is an illusion. In the context of the new health law, the FDA’s Avastin decision is the tip of a looming iceberg of government rationing. It must be challenged.”

December 29, 2010

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Kenneth Anderson: 21st Century Jobs 1: Higher Ed ROI Planning?

The higher education bubble — both undergraduate and professional education — has raised issues of whether the academy has priced itself out of the earnings power, now and into the future, of its customer base. The basic phenomenon has been described at length, on both supply and demand. Federal subsidies accrue mostly to universities to raise prices rather than subsidize and lower effective prices to students; the shift to loans, however, meant in large part that the federal government became not a subsidy so much as an intermediary that subsidizes the higher ed cartel on the front end, but in the end largely intermediates the cost as future loan payments by consumers. One has to wonder whether the inability to discharge student loan in bankruptcy, if properly priced as a regulatory adjustment on the risks and interest rate of a loan, might swallow any remaining implicit federal subsidy to students, at least for important sectors.

Beyond the funding subsidy and federal intermediation, numerous articles and analyses have appeared seeking to quantify the earnings power of various degrees, career tracks, etc., set against the costs of such education. These studies are important in raising the social issue of the “four c’s” of financial bubbles: conflicts (of interest), complexity (of pricing information), complacency (of easy money) and, not least, cupidity. They raise the questions of social over-investment in higher education — over-investment for several possible and overlapping reasons .

Read the whole thing. Interesting discussion in the comments, too.

December 29, 2010

JULIAN ASSANGE goes the full Rothbard.

December 29, 2010

ALL ABOUT SLOW-COOKING.

December 29, 2010

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH REPORTS ON encounters with the TSA.

December 29, 2010

UP TO 50% OFF ON cell phones and accessories.

December 29, 2010

INSTAVISION: More on the Higher Education Bubble, with Dr. Richard Vedder, distinguished professor of Economics at Ohio University. Plus, was my PJTV set taken over by the designers from the original Tron movie?

UPDATE: Bill Whittle emails: “It’s not TRON, Glenn. It’s MAX HEADROOM. Kn-kn-kn-know what I me-me-me-mean?” Where’s my silver makeup? (Bumped).

December 29, 2010

ART HORN: The Utter Futility of Reducing Carbon Emissions. Actually, I think there are a lot of good reasons to reduce fossil-fuel burning. I just don’t think they have much to do with global warming.

December 29, 2010

THE JOY OF TEACHING IN IRAQ.

Now, what’s so special about these Iraqi students? Let me give you a list:

* Students here come to class wide awake and cheerful. Even those students in the 8 a.m. Mathematics II class show up on time and ready to work; the same applies to the students in the later sections.

* Students here show up for class without a bunch of electronics. Cell phones are plentiful here, but I’ve never seen one in class. Last spring, at my university in the United States, I spent countless weeks wrestling with my calculus students over texting in class.

* In both their dress and demeanor, students here display a positive attitude toward learning. There’s no “slacker” mentality. Students are nicely dressed, most at a business casual level. There are no pajamas, flip-flops, or t-shirts with profane or sexually explicit messages, nor do you see a lot of skin. These kids are dressed to learn.

Read the whole thing.

December 29, 2010

A CORRECTION REGARDING Merle Haggard.

December 29, 2010

VINDICTIVE? Woman Who Protested TSA Pat-Downs At OKC Airport Banned From Flying.

December 29, 2010

THE TEN MOST POPULAR space stories of 2010.

December 29, 2010

WAS THIS THE HEADLINE OF THE YEAR? ‘Obama assails Republican foes, urges bipartisan effort.’ It certainly captures something of the flavor of 2010′s politics.

December 29, 2010

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Do you need a paring knife?

December 29, 2010

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Highest-Paid University of California Execs Demand Millions In Benefits. Yeah, that’ll play well.

December 29, 2010

MICHELLE BACHMANN, tax geek? I didn’t know that she has an LL.M. in tax.

December 29, 2010

HMM: Gravity Emerges From Quantum Information?

Plus, the year in materials science.

December 29, 2010

NYC SANITATION WORKERS’ UNION denies claims that it staged a snow-cleanup slowdown.

December 29, 2010

A CIVIL RIGHTS VICTORY IN OHIO: Ohio Supreme Court shoots down local gun control. “The Ohio Supreme Court today dealt a fatal blow to local efforts to regulate firearms, concluding that a more permissive state law should trump restrictions on guns in cities. In a 5-2 ruling, the state’s top court struck down Cleveland’s assault-weapons ban and registration requirement for handguns.” Though the decision appears to turn on issues of Ohio law, I believe that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Heller and McDonald, by normalizing firearms ownership, have made a difference in how state courts approach these questions.

December 29, 2010

PROTECTING YOUR JOINTS with garlic.

December 29, 2010

NISSAN RELEASES A Leaf Emergency Responder Guide.

December 29, 2010

JAPAN AND THE LIMITS OF KEYNESIANISM: “Japan’s budget is in a truly terrifying state.” Plus this: “Unsustainable’ is too weak to describe the situation; I don’t know how they’re doing it now.”

December 29, 2010

SOUTHERN LEE HIGH SCHOOL IN SANFORD NORTH CAROLINA should be closed. Its principal, and board of education, are too dumb to hold jobs. And its Superintendent, Jeffrey C. Moss, is no poster boy for Ed.D. degrees.

“Bottom line is we want to ensure every child feels safe on our campus.” Not safe from idiots like you, Mr. Moss. Because you’re unwilling to take responsibility for discipline, you formulate and enforce rules that make public schools — and now, particularly, yours — a national joke. From the comments: “Let’s have the students feel safe. How about letting them feel like their entire lives and livelihood aren’t at risk at your institution from an honest mistake. You are ruining this child’s life and future because some bonehead can’t recognize an honest mistake.”

It’s beginning to seem like placing your children in public schools is placing them at unacceptable risk.

UPDATE: Reader Gregg Hanke writes: “There is a cure: vouchers. Yes, they have been shot down in numerous elections, and I am disappointed the Tea Partiers have not pushed them yet. But perhaps the reason they were shot down is because they were promoted before the situation was ripe enough for the voters to accept them. And this situation over a paring knife is certainly ripe.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Tim Wohlford sends this, which he says is a reply from the school system:

The facts recited by the media are erroneous and without foundation.

On October 20, 2010, a faculty member at Southern Lee High School discovered a student on campus with marijuana. Based upon information obtained in the interview between school administration and the student in question, a search of several other students, including Miss Smithwick, was promptly conducted. During this search, a 3-inch paring knife was found on the person of Miss Smithwick in her purse. The knife was not found in Miss Smithwick’s lunchbox as reported by her family and the media.

Miss Smithwick has not been long-term suspended from Southern Lee High School. She is currently enrolled as a student at the school. Over two months after the event it is a mystery to us that the Smithwick’s concerns were not brought to our attention by the family through normal appeal procedures prior to going to the press.

Hmm. Well, if this is true, then the news story was wrong on some particulars. But it quotes the school superintendent. Stay tuned.

MORE: Reader John Torbett writes:

The school district’s response shows how clueless they are. Apparently, their primary defense is that the pairing knife was found in Smithwick’s purse. However, follow your link to the WRAL website and click on the second photograph and you can see that she had a lunch bag that looks like a purse. It isn’t a traditional metal lunchbox like a construction worker might carry, but it is still a lunchbox. As is usually the case, it seems that the school district is coming up with lame excuses. If your reader is correct and that is their defense, I hope someone calls them on it.

We’ll see, won’t we?

December 29, 2010

COMBAT PHOTO OF THE YEAR.

December 29, 2010

FROM F.I.R.E., legal scholarship on free speech at universities.

December 29, 2010

IN THE MAIL: From E. Thomas Finan, The Other Side.

December 29, 2010

THE RISE OF the gay bourgeoisie. This is no surprise to people who watch HGTV.

December 29, 2010

INSPECTOR GENERAL: IRS AUDITS CONDUCTED WITHOUT REQUIRED APPROVAL.

December 29, 2010

NOBODY’S PERFECT: Half-Cocked: Chris Christie Won’t Fight For Gun Rights. A disappointment, but really you can only expect so much from a New Jersey pol. This will probably limit his opportunities on the national stage, though.

December 29, 2010

CHART: K-12 Spending Per Student in the OECD.

December 29, 2010

SUCKERED: Harvard Missed Red Flags in Forged Application Materials, Newspaper Says. “Among other things, Mr. Wheeler forged a letter of recommendation from a counselor at Phillips Academy saying he had enrolled there as a junior, but submitted a fake transcript indicating he had attended Phillips for four years. He also submitted a grade report showing perfect scores on 16 Advanced Placement exams. Jeff Neal, a university spokesman, declined to comment on Mr. Wheeler’s application but said Harvard had taken steps to improve procedures.”

December 29, 2010

STEVEN HAYWARD: Here’s how serious people transcend ideological differences.

December 29, 2010

JAMES TARANTO: Fear Of A White Planet: They want us to paint our roofs but are alarmed by snow.

December 29, 2010

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: How Did All That Happen?

December 29, 2010

MICHAEL BARONE: A Truce In The Culture Wars As Voters Focus On The Economy.

December 29, 2010

YEAR-END MARKDOWNS on DVD and Blu-Ray.

December 29, 2010

W.C. FIELDS TELLS OFF MAYOR BLOOMBERG. Who wears that dress pretty well.

December 29, 2010

HARDFOUGHT: A local government stupidity contest.

December 29, 2010

RICHARD FERNANDEZ ON JULIAN ASSANGE: “Baby look at me, and tell me what you see.”

December 29, 2010

THE NEW YORK POST EDITORIALIZES ON Mike Bloomberg’s Mosque Myopia.

December 29, 2010

A VENN DIAGRAM EXPLAINING three different kinds of junk-touchers.

December 29, 2010

COVERUP: The Hill: “The White House is taking extra steps to prevent photos of a shirtless President Obama on vacation in Hawaii.”

December 29, 2010

IN LIGHT OF MY EARLIER POST, TaxProf Paul Caron writes:

This is the 14th year in a row the GAO has been unable to give a clean auditor’s opinion on the Government’s books!

One wonders why the 112th Congress does not try to extend Sarbanes-Oxley to Congress and treat members as “signing officers” for the U.S. Budget, subjecting them to liability for the GAO’s inability to opine on the Government’s financial statements.

Fat chance. But heh.

December 29, 2010

DENIS DUTTON has died.

December 29, 2010

50% OFF ON select HP printers.

UPDATE: Reader Jon Lane notes the weak reviews and emails: “HP printer quality has slid so far they’re practically giving them away.” I keep hearing that, but I have 3 HP printers in my house and they’re all working well. Of course, one is a LaserJet 4L from 1993, but two are of fairly recent vintage — within the last two or three years.

December 29, 2010

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Back-and-Forth on Faculty Salary Cuts in California.

December 29, 2010

BRR: Global Warming Skeptic Predicts Brutal Winter, Warns “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.” I hope he’s wrong. Unfortunately, his predictions so far have been quite accurate.

December 29, 2010

A.P. STANDS UP FOR JOURNALISM. Well, it’s about time . . . .

December 29, 2010

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER THINKS REPUBLICANS should be holding a lot of hearings on ObamaCare. After the repeal vote.

December 29, 2010

RON RADOSH: David Remnick Joins the Israeli Haters and the Leftist British Intellectuals.

December 29, 2010

PORK BELLIES are bacon.

December 28, 2010

POLLS: Voters really don’t like ObamaCare — still.

December 28, 2010

STACY MCCAIN WONDERS WHY I’M NOT DOING BETTER in Andrew Sullivan’s Malkin Award poll. Maybe it’s because both Stacy McCain and Andrew Sullivan are, for reasons of their own, misrepresenting my quote — which was about nuking North Korea in the event of a full-scale border-crossing invasion, thus placing me squarely in line with Bill Clinton’s position, which was that we should erase North Korea from the map of the world in such an event. One expects such chiseling dishonesty from Sullivan, and such impishness from McCain (and, of course, both are trolling for links), but apparently Sullivan’s readers are harder to fool than you might think.

Meanwhile, I note the irony that the “Yglesias Award’ — that’s supposed to be the good one — is named for a guy who advocated lying on Twitter, and who calls people with whom he disagrees Nazis and tells them “Fuck You.” What has Malkin done to compare? Oh, right, she’s a Republican.

December 28, 2010

MAYOR MICHAEL BILANDIC BLOOMBERG: Revolt: NY City Council members rip Bloomberg over snow removal, vow to hold hearings. This is probably good news for Obama, as a third-party Bloomberg bid would probably siphon off squishy “no labels” types from the Democrats.

UPDATE: Reader Dan Friedman emails: “The thing about Bloomberg, and the problem for NYers, is that as bad as he is, he is really the lesser of many evils, one of whom will be the next mayor. Waiting in the wings to succeed him are the usual crop of bureaucrats, club house pols, race hustlers, union lackeys and the like. Giuliani, and to a lesser extent Bloomberg, kept those hacks at bay. They’ll be back in force during the next election.” This is what happens when your political system is fundamentally broken and corrupt.

December 28, 2010

CHANGE: 111th Congress Created More National Debt Than First 100 Combined.

December 28, 2010

2010: THINGS THE CHATTERING CLASS GOT WRONG.

December 28, 2010

END-OF-YEAR MARKDOWNS on kitchen, home, and pet stuff.

December 28, 2010

UNLEARNING the lessons being taught.

December 28, 2010

IN COLORADO, CLASS WAR OVER NUCLEAR POWER, with the rich inhabitants of Telluride unconcerned about jobs for the less-wealthy:

Telluride, the rich ski town an hour away by car and a universe apart in terms of money and clout, has emerged as a main base of opposition to the proposed mill, called Piñon Ridge, which would be the first new uranium-processing facility in the United States in more than 25 years if it is approved by Colorado regulators next month.

To residents here like Michelle Mathews, the fact that many opponents of the mill hail from Telluride is a crucial strike against their arguments.

“People from Telluride don’t have any business around here,” said Ms. Mathews, 31, who works as a school janitor and ardently supports the idea of bringing back uranium jobs. “Not everyone wants to drive to Telluride to clean hotel rooms.”

Nobody ever says that cleaning hotel rooms for rich people is bad for the environment. Like private jets for celebrities, it’s inherently green . . . .

December 28, 2010

BUILD YOUR OWN backyard ice rink.

December 28, 2010

DRIVING FAST in the Ferrari 458 Italia. “What makes the 458 Italia so remarkable is that Ferrari has made piloting a $230,000 sports car feel like playing a video game.” Just remember, you don’t get extra lives.

December 28, 2010

REVIEWING THE REVIEWERS: A roundup of book reviews from all over.

December 28, 2010

REASON TV: “We need a libertarian Che Guevara.” Only more competent and less murderous, please.

December 28, 2010

THE MANY FACES OF socialism in Latin America.

December 28, 2010

WHAT ARE YOUR WORST SCHOLARLY ARTICLES? I think mine was a piece on U.S. telecommunication trade policy that I wrote for the Tennessee Law Review. It was okay, technically, but when I wrote it I found that I was a lot less interested in the topic than I thought when I agreed to write it, and I think it showed. . . .

December 28, 2010

THIRD TRIPLET defrosted, born 11 years after sisters.

December 28, 2010

POLL: Just 21% Want FCC to Regulate Internet, Most Fear Regulation Would Promote Political Agenda. “Most Mainstream voters see free market competition as the best way to protect Internet users, but most in the Political Class prefer more regulation. Seventy-eight percent (78%) in the Political Class believe the regulations would be handled in an unbiased manner, while 72% of Mainstream voters believe they would be used to promote a political agenda.” Ya think?

December 28, 2010

DAN MITCHELL: Why Can’t We Copy those Radical Free-Market Canadians and Privatize the Air Traffic Control System?

December 28, 2010

FROM THE FOUNDATION FOR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS IN EDUCATION: How To Challenge Your College’s Speech Code.

Related: College Censors, Get Ready To Open Your Wallets. “In a letter to 296 public college and university presidents and general counsel, FIRE warned that the law is increasingly clear that speech codes at public universities are unconstitutional and that they risk being held personally liable for violating the free speech rights of their students if they continue to maintain policies censoring speech. That goes for all of their administrative employees as well, from deans and provosts to lower-level student affairs officials.”

If you’re looking for an end-of-year charitable donation, you might want to consider F.I.R.E. I just donated to ‘em.

December 28, 2010

WE’RE LIVING IN BIZARRO WORLD: Chris Matthews: Why Doesn’t Obama Just Release The Birth Certificate?

December 28, 2010

SO IS THIS THE HOPE, OR THE CHANGE? Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Long Term Unemployment” Extended to 5 Years. “Effective with data for January 2011, the Current Population Survey (CPS) will be modified to allow respondents to report longer durations of unemployment. Presently, the CPS accepts unemployment durations of up to 2 years; any response of unemployment duration greater than this is entered as 2 years. Starting with data for January 2011, respondents will be able to report unemployment durations of up to 5 years. This change will likely affect estimates of average (mean) duration of unemployment. . . . There has been an unprecedented rise in the number of persons with very long durations of unemployment during the recent labor market downturn. Nearly 10 percent of unemployed persons had been looking for work for about 2 years or more in the third quarter of 2010. Because of this increase, BLS and the Census Bureau are updating the CPS instrument to accept reported unemployment durations of up to 5 years. This upper bound was selected to allow reporting of considerably longer durations while limiting the effect of erroneous extreme values (outliers).”

December 28, 2010

PEW: Men, Women, And The New Economics of Marriage. “In the past, when relatively few wives worked, marriage enhanced the economic status of women more than that of men. In recent decades, however, the economic gains associated with marriage have been greater for men than for women. In 2007, median household incomes of three groups — married men, married women and unmarried women — were about 60% higher than those of their counterparts in 1970. But for a fourth group, unmarried men, the rise in real median household income was smaller — just 16%.” Part of this, though, is because low-income men are less likely to become married. Plus this: “The decline in marriage rates has been steepest for the least educated, especially men, and smallest for college graduates, especially women. College graduates, the highest earners, are more likely today to be married than are Americans with less education — 69% for adults with a college degree versus 56% for those who are not a college graduate.”

December 28, 2010

UNEXPECTEDLY! Consumer Confidence Shows Surprise Drop In December. “Consumers’ labor market assessment worsened. The ‘jobs hard to get’ index rose to 46.8 percent in December from 46.3 percent last month, while the ‘jobs plentiful’ index dropped to 3.9 percent from 4.3 percent.”

December 28, 2010

ALVIN GREENE is running for office again. I see him as a favorite-son candidate in 2012. . . .

December 28, 2010

IN THE MAIL: Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness.

December 28, 2010

MORE ENERGY CORNUCOPIANISM? Drilling for oil and gas in the Beaufort Sea.

December 28, 2010

SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS for nonviolent felons? The real problem, of course, is that there are too many felonies, for crimes that shouldn’t be felonies at all — or, in some cases, even crimes.

December 28, 2010

FINANCIAL TIMES: Non-US banks gain from Fed crisis fund: Half of emergency credit facility cash went to foreign institutions. Healthy ones in many cases — because the Fed didn’t want weak ones to be stigmatized.

December 28, 2010

HERITAGE: Top 10 Charts Of 2010.

December 28, 2010

JERRY POURNELLE: “The most important event of 2010 was the election, when the country, having turned the Republicans out and confirmed that in the election of Obama, turned the Democrats out as well, and sent a number of newcomers to Washington in the hopes that they would not be captured by the system. Washington meanwhile made ready for them, planning to absorb them into the Iron Law mechanisms that have always been so successful. The most important event of 2011 will be the response of the new Congress to the manipulations of the Creeps and the Nuts, who remain with considerable influence, and the argument that ‘this is the way things are done’ in Washington.

UPDATE: Reader Tim Scott emails:

I see that you have a quote from Dr. Pournelle’s CHAOS MANOR website that was posted yesterday. In my opinion you should have quoted this instead:

Whether the Republicans will stand up to this is questionable. They have the power: they only need to insert “No monies appropriated under this Act shall be applied to the enforcement, regulation, application, implementation, or in any other way of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act popularly known as Obamacare”. The Obama Patient Protection etc. act gets its own appropriation, which can be done with considerable care. This will require patience and discipline among Republicans in the face of united scorn from the establishment Country Club Republicans, the mainstream media, and all of the Creeps and the Nuts.

We’ll know soon enough how this will go.

Spread the word on THAT one and see what happens.

Okay.

December 28, 2010

FLEECED: The upper 1% earned 19.6% of total income before tax, and paid 41% of the individual federal income tax. “No other major country is so dependent on so few taxpayers.”

December 28, 2010

AT AMAZON, 25% or more off on men’s clothing and accessories.

December 28, 2010

JACQUES ATTALI: The West And The Tyranny Of Public Debt.

The history of public debt is the very history of national power: how it has been won and how it has been lost. Dreams and impatience have always driven men in power to draw on the resources of others—be it slaves, the inhabitants of occupied lands, or their own children yet to be born—in order to carry out their schemes, to consolidate power, to grow their own fortunes. But never, outside periods of total war, has the debt of the world’s most powerful states grown so immense. Never has it so heavily threatened their political systems and standards of living. Public debt cannot keep growing without unleashing terrible catastrophes.

Anyone saying this today is accused of pessimism. The first signs of economic recovery, harbingers of a supposedly falling debt, are held up to contradict him. Yet we wouldn’t be the first to think ourselves uniquely able to escape the fate of other states felled by their debt, such as the Republic of Venice, Renaissance Genoa, or the Empire of Spain.

Politicians will, whenever allowed, play and gamble with and just plain piss away other people’s money because . . . that’s what they do.

December 28, 2010

NEW YORKERS OUTRAGED AT BLOOMBERG’S INEPT SNOW-MANAGEMENT:

“I’m furious at Mayor Bloomberg, he’s a rich man, so he doesn’t care about the little people,” said New Enrico’s Car Service livery driver Julio Carpio, speaking in Spanish. “I have to work, why aren’t people out there plowing? Why does the mayor always go on TV the night before to say, ‘We’re all set with a fleet of salt trucks,’? and then you never see a single truck. They always abandon Queens.”

Michael Bilandic was unavailable for comment.

UPDATE: Problems for Chris Christie, too?

December 28, 2010

PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: Pilot Who Angered TSA With YouTube Video Now Going Public. “‘I never even thought about being an activist,’ Liu told News 10 Monday night, ‘but it’s kind of turning into that direction.’” I think he’s got a pretty good civil rights lawsuit.

December 28, 2010

GREAT MOMENTS in legal correspondence.

December 28, 2010

CAN THIS SURVEY BE RIGHT? In The Worst Economy Ever, People Are Quitting Their Jobs With Nothing Else Lined Up. “While the unemployment number is growing, there is also a growing number of people who don’t see their joblessness as a bad thing.” It’s not unemployment, it’s funemployment!

UPDATE: Reader Grace McLoughlin writes:

Of course it’s right. Anyone with management experience would have bet money on this happening. These people are demoralized. It’s what Obama gets for punishing the most productive among us and rewarding the
crooked, the greedy, the uncaring, and the lazy. The average Joe is evening-up the playing field. It’s way beyond ‘going Galt’.

Ouch.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Dave Price emails:

I think it’s not just the more productive inceasingly going Galt, it’s also the less productive going looter. Food stamps, 99-week unemployment, and other government largesse have never been more generous, and it’s known that CPI probably overstates considerably the true inflation seen by the lower income quartiles (it ignores WalMart,
etc). You can actually live fairly well without working, and work is hard.

Some of both, I suspect. You can also work in the underground economy and do pretty well.

December 28, 2010

MICKEY KAUS: Obama And Income Inequality: No New Brazils! “The question is then what makes Brazil Brazil. Is it wild riches at the top, or extreme poverty at the bottom? It seems pretty obvious. . . . The solution is tight labor markets. Get employers bidding for scarce workers and you’ll see incomes rise across the board without the need for government aid programs or tax redistribution. A major enemy of tight labor markets at the bottom is also fairly clear: unchecked immigration by undocumented low-skilled workers. It’s hard for a day laborer to command $18 an hour in the market if there are illegals hanging out on the corner willing to work for $7. Even experts who claim illlegal immigration is good for Americans overall admit that it’s not good for Americans at the bottom. In other words, it’s not good for income equality. Odd, then that Obama, in his ‘war on inequality,’ hasn’t made a big effort to prevent illegal immigration–or at least to prevent illegal immigration from returning with renewed force should the economy recover.”

December 28, 2010

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK — WELL, WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY’RE DOING? GAO Sees Problems in Government’s Financial Management. “The U.S. Government Accountability Office said it could not render an opinion on the 2010 consolidated financial statements of the federal government, because of widespread material internal control weaknesses, significant uncertainties, and other limitations. . . . In addition, the GAO said last week it was unable to render an opinion on the 2010 Statement of Social Insurance because of significant uncertainties, primarily related to the achievement of projected reductions in Medicare cost growth. The consolidated financial statements discuss these uncertainties, which relate to reductions in physician payment rates and to productivity improvements, and provide an illustrative alternative projection to illustrate the uncertainties.”

December 28, 2010

HOPE AND CHANGE: Out of Lehman’s Ashes Wall Street Gets Most of What It Wants. They told me if I voted for John McCain, Wall Street would be calling the shots. And they were right!

December 28, 2010

JOHN TIERNEY: Economic Optimism? Yes, I’ll Take That Bet.

I called Mr. Simmons to discuss a bet. To his credit — and unlike some other Malthusians — he was eager to back his predictions with cash. He expected the price of oil, then about $65 a barrel, to more than triple in the next five years, even after adjusting for inflation. He offered to bet $5,000 that the average price of oil over the course of 2010 would be at least $200 a barrel in 2005 dollars.

I took him up on it, not because I knew much about Saudi oil production or the other “peak oil” arguments that global production was headed downward. I was just following a rule learned from a mentor and a friend, the economist Julian L. Simon.

As the leader of the Cornucopians, the optimists who believed there would always be abundant supplies of energy and other resources, Julian figured that betting was the best way to make his argument. Optimism, he found, didn’t make for cover stories and front-page headlines.

Read the whole thing. Including this:

It’s true that the real price of oil is slightly higher now than it was in 2005, and it’s always possible that oil prices will spike again in the future. But the overall energy situation today looks a lot like a Cornucopian feast, as my colleagues Matt Wald and Cliff Krauss have recently reported. Giant new oil fields have been discovered off the coasts of Africa and Brazil. The new oil sands projects in Canada now supply more oil to the United States than Saudi Arabia does. Oil production in the United States increased last year, and the Department of Energy projects further increases over the next two decades.

We’re not anywhere near “peak bullshit,” however, so expect to hear more from the usual suspects.

December 28, 2010

LAYERS OF EDITORS AND FACT-CHECKERS: New York Times gets Jules Verne wrong:

Perhaps the most famous work in the genre is Jules Verne’s “From the Earth to the Moon,” which was published in Paris in 1865, and which accurately predicted not only that people from the United States would be the first to set foot on the Moon but also, among other details, that the craft carrying them would be launched from Florida, splash down in the Pacific and be rescued by the United States Navy. NASA’s Apollo program “helped make Verne popular again,” Mr. Brunner writes.

Actually, Verne’s explorers merely flew around the moon; they didn’t land.

December 28, 2010

MOE LANE: The True John Conyers Scandal.

The true scandal is that we’re only hearing about this now. Rep. Conyers – who is, by the way, still the JUDICIARY CHAIR – has a history of abusing official resources. His wife is in jail for bribery. There is thus zero excuse for the media not to jump on this with both feet… and if the man had an R after his name, they would have. Then again, if Rep. Conyers had had an R after his name the media would have destroyed him years ago.

Well, yeah.

December 28, 2010

RADLEY BALKO: More on Chris Beam’s New York Treatise on Libertarianism. “If this had been a straight Jacob Weisberg-style trashing of libertarianism, we could evaluate it on those terms. But this is more subtle and, I think, in some ways more pernicious.”

December 28, 2010

CHANGE: Cash-Strapped Cities Hit Tax-Exempt Nonprofits With Plethora of ‘Fees.’

December 27, 2010

OH, GOODY: A Ton Of Bailed-Out Banks Are On The Brink Of Collapse. “98 American banks that received $4.2 billion in bailout money are teetering on the edge of collapse, according to the Wall Street Journal. In Q2 the number of unsound banks numbered 86; the increase to almost 100 institutions – most of which are smallish banks with about $439 million in assets – comes as a result of decreasing capital and more bad loans.”

December 27, 2010

WIKILEAKS FOUNDER: “Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of feminism. . . I fell into a hornets’ nest of revolutionary feminism.”

As a tool himself, I’m not sure why Assange is so surprised to see other tools deployed against him.

December 27, 2010

THE HILL: White House Tries To Smother New “Death Panel” Talk. Get that pillow off of my face!

December 27, 2010

REDSTATE: “SoCons” and “Ficons”: It Is Time To Come Together.

December 27, 2010

ROBERT SAMUELSON COMMITS RATIONALITY IN PUBLIC: “Yes, he said it. When you have a spending problem, fix it. When the spending problem comes from entitlements, fix entitlements. When the entitlements are driven by the baby-boom generation, admit it. As a matter of mental health, it’s probably good Congress and the president were not in town for this outburst of plainspoken logic as the basic rationality is so radical that it would likely leave them dazed and confused. And when they return, don’t expect immediate embrace of the facts.”