May 30, 2010
Related item here. Don Surber and Maureen Dowd on the same page? Cats and dogs, living together!
Related item here. Don Surber and Maureen Dowd on the same page? Cats and dogs, living together!
FATHER’S DAY MARKDOWNS on video games.
THE TRADITIONAL REMEDY FOR SUCH THINGS INVOLVES TAR AND FEATHERS: Michigan Considers Law to License Journalists.
A Michigan lawmaker wants to license reporters to ensure they’re credible and vet them for “good moral character.”
Senator Bruce Patterson is introducing legislation that will regulate reporters much like the state does with hairdressers, auto mechanics and plumbers. Patterson, who also practices constitutional law, says that the general public is being overwhelmed by an increasing number of media outlets–traditional, online and citizen generated–and an even greater amount misinformation.
“Legitimate media sources are critically important to our government,” he said.
He told FoxNews.com that some reporters covering state politics don’t know what they’re talking about and they’re working for publications he’s never heard of, so he wants to install a process that’ll help him and the general public figure out which reporters to trust.
How about requiring that all sitting legislators pass a test on the constitution? And maybe an IQ test, too . . . .
Okay, if you read the fine print, the bill doesn’t really do anything other than label. But it wouldn’t be irrational to fear the camel’s nose. And how do you deal with the camel’s nose? You cut it off.
NEW YORK TIMES: White House Struggles as Criticism on Leak Mounts.
MICHAEL BARONE: Oil spill tars Dems’ reputation for competence. “Obama’s press conference — his first in the White House in 309 days — did not make him look any more in command of things than the photos of Bush’s flyover visit to New Orleans. The candidate who told us his electoral victory would be seen as ‘the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal’ is now the president who seems helpless to prevent the oil slick from spreading. . . . Before the oil spill, the Obama Democrats, noting their policies’ unpopularity, might have asked voters to decide on ‘competence, not ideology,’ as Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis did in 1988. Now, suddenly, that doesn’t seem like a viable theme for 2010 or 2012.”
GOOD QUESTION: “Why write something he knew wasn’t true?”
FOR MEN WHO ARE ENGAGED, the “Mangagement” ring.
STOP YER WHINING, you non-contributing zero!
HOT NEW TREND: Divorce Rings?
DID EARLY HUNTERS cause climate change? “When hunters arrived in North America and drove mammoths and other large mammals to extinction, the methane balance of the atmosphere could have changed as a result, triggering the global cool spell that followed. The large grazing animals would have produced copious amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from their digestive systems. They vanished about 13,000 years ago.”
AT AMAZON, a big Memorial Day clothing sale.
DA TECH GUY ON GA-4: Looking for a cup of peach tea.
A HIGHER ED BUBBLE? This sounds familiar:
So in an eerie echo of the mortgage crisis, tens of thousands of people like Ms. Munna are facing a reckoning. They and their families made borrowing decisions based more on emotion than reason, much as subprime borrowers assumed the value of their houses would always go up.
Meanwhile, universities like N.Y.U. enrolled students without asking many questions about whether they could afford a $50,000 annual tuition bill. Then the colleges introduced the students to lenders who underwrote big loans without any idea of what the students might earn someday — just like the mortgage lenders who didn’t ask borrowers to verify their incomes.
Ms. Munna does not want to walk away from her loans in the same way many mortgage holders are. It would be difficult in any event because federal bankruptcy law makes it nearly impossible to discharge student loan debts. But unless she manages to improve her income quickly, she doesn’t have a lot of good options for digging out.
With only a few exceptions (like being admitted to Yale Law School or CalTech) I strongly recommend avoiding student loans. And I wonder — when you’ve got an industry whose prices have skyrocketed on a combination of consumer ignorance and cheap credit, what happens when consumers wise up, and credit gets harder to come by?
UPDATE: A reader emails:
One rather interesting thing about that article comes right at the end. The woman they profile makes $2,300/month after taxes, pays $750/m in rent and would have $700/m in loan payments if she was paying in full (which she isn’t because she’s in night school). They then claim that paying both the rent and the loans would leave her little in the way of money to live off of. By my math, she’d have $850/m to live off of, which is plenty for a single person who’s at all sane with their spending.
I suspect the real issue here is that she’s never learned how to manage money. That would explain her debt, her degree (in Religious and Women’s Studies, which is a good choice if you want to work in Fast Food) and her current situation. Note she’s blaming Citibank for giving her the money (which they shouldn’t) but she signed the papers.
Unfortunately this is far too common a story today, but the issue is as much the fault of the students and their parents as it is of the Banks and Colleges.
Who’s an adult, back in school after over a decade in the workforce and living on much less than $2,300/m USD after taxes.
The Higher Ed establishment has been selling college as a matter of emotion, self-fulfillment, and entitlement rather than economics. Nothing new about that — sports cars are sold the same way — but one doesn’t depend on the sports car to generate the income needed to pay off the sports car loan . . . .
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Brian Abbott writes:
I really think your exceptions for when student loans are appropriate are a bit excessive. I put myself through engineering school at Virginia Tech. Between the relatively low tuition and the low cost of living there, I was only $12,000 in debt once I was done. Within 3 years of graduation, I had that all paid off.
Student loans aren’t a bad thing as long as you keep them in a reasonable range (i.e. less than the cost of a car) and you’re majoring in something that’s actually in demand and pays well (i.e., not law, education, or basically anything else that starts with “Bachelors of Arts”).
Well, maybe. But the point is that it needs to be a case where you can clearly make enough money to pay the loans off. And because student loan debt is non-bankruptable (and at lousy interest rates, these days), you need to be much more certain about your ability to pay it off than with other debt.
MORE: Reader Brock Cusick writes:
The cost of education should prepare to fall much further than housing post-crash. Prices in competitive markets fall when costs fall, and the cost of building a house hasn’t changed all that much. The same cannot be said of education.
StraighterLine – $99/mo. + $39/course for college credit.
KhanAcademy.org – Free. (I know someone getting their MBA at Columbia who does the Khan exercises rather than attend class, because they explain the subjects better).
The cost of storing and disseminating information (even educational information) has dropped to zero. The web makes it interactive. Colleges should prepare to be disintermediated just like the newspapers.
ANDREW ROBERTS: Nick Kristof’s Unhinged Attack on Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE MIKE STOPA compares the Deepwater Horizon oil spill with the 1979 Ixtoc 1 spill. “I cannot say with any confidence that the consequences of the current, Deepwater Horizon spill will be as slight as the fortunately slight effects of Ixtoc 1 of 1979. I present the facts just to keep my readers up to date in an issue which is of concern to many if not all of us.”
BP’S FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES: “Here’s something you probably don’t know about the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. One of the top media consultants for British Petroleum gave free rent to a politician who became White House Chief of Staff.”
STEWART BAKER: If you like the BP spill, you’ll love cyberwar.
DAVID ZARING: Would You Even Want To Be The Treasury Secretary?
IN THE MAIL: From Tom Bower, Oil: Money, Politics, and Power in the 21st Century.
AN ARMY OF ALTERNATIVE MEDIA: If you missed it on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, the latest PJM Political is now online. “From Rush Limbaugh biographer Zef Chafets and Ricochet.com majordomo Peter Robinson, to James Lileks and the gang at PJTV’s Trifecta, this week’s edition of the VodkaPundit-hosted PJM Political is all about the new, new media.”
TRYING TO INSPIRE A Tea Party movement in Ireland.
THE MEDIA WOLF PACK holds itself at bay.
SO WERE THOSE JOBS CREATED, OR SAVED? “The worker, Naomi Cohn, told The Post that she was hired and fired a number of times by Census. Each time she was hired back, it seems, Census was able to report the creation of a new job to the Labor Department.”
POLITICO: Mixed messengers highlight Salazar problem. “The White House’s failure to designate a single spokesperson — with a corresponding schedule of media updates to show the administration in action — may have been intended to convey an all-hands-on-deck approach to the BP oil spill. Instead, it has created a public relations vacuum, being filled by critics of the president’s approach. And the one man who might have filled that role — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar — already has had a pair of high-profile stumbles, with not one, but two of his comments effectively retracted from the White House podium.”
WILL FREE MARKETS give way to state capitalism? “In Bremmer’s telling, the world’s autocratic states learned a valuable lesson from the implosion of the Soviet Union: command economies do not work and when they fail, they can bring down the over-arching political system with them. They also watched the post Soviet experiment in crash liberalization with horror. To protect their hides and preserve their privilege, autocratic rulers in China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere have created a ‘hybrid’ system that leverages many of the tools of capitalism to generate wealth while the heavy hand of the state ensures that wealth is put to the service of the elites and rulers of each country.”
MICKEY KAUS: “Is CDP vice-toady Eric Bauman correct in saying that my positions are ‘more in line with the California Republican Party than the California Democratic Party,’ or is that the sort of mindless if-you-aren’t-in-labor’s-pocket-you’re-not-a-Democrat thinking that will lead the party to defeat? You make the call!”
DEFAMATION by stupidity?
BYRON YORK: Covering Obama, press encounters Nation of Islam. “President Obama’s home is in the same Chicago neighborhood as Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. On Saturday night, the overlapping of Obama’s and Farrakhan’s worlds made for a strange, and sometimes testy, encounter between the Secret Service, the press corps covering the president, and the paramilitary security force, the Fruit of Islam, surrounding Farrakhan. . . . Some observers will make light of the whole thing — just a little misunderstanding with those weird Nation of Islam guys — but the fact that Farrakhan’s security force is close to the president’s home is likely a matter of continuing concern to the Secret Service. And on Saturday night, the two forces ran into each other.”
TOOLS FOR GREEN GARDENING.
REMEMBERING Dennis Hopper.
THREATENING TO jail parents for a year for truancy in California. “The bill is the brainchild of San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general.”
KING CANUTE is in over his head.
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: What Our Media Taught Me.
WALL STREET JOURNAL: May’s Big Selloff Could Be Just the Beginning.
PETER WEHNER: Obama, the Thin-Skinned President. “Obama is among the most thin-skinned presidents we have had, and we see evidence of it in every possible venue imaginable, from one-on-one interviews to press conferences, from extemporaneous remarks to set speeches. . . . With Obama there is also the compulsive need to admonish others, to point fingers, to say that the problems he faces are not of his doing. . . . The ingredients are in place for some serious problems down the road. Those who care for the president need to recognize the warning signs now, sooner rather later, before it becomes too late, for him and for the nation.”
THE DIFFERENCE a school can make.
USA TODAY: Poll finds anger over country’s leaders.
Americans are increasingly optimistic about the economy, but that brightening outlook hasn’t softened their outrage over the country’s direction and its political leadership, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.
Two-thirds of those surveyed this week describe themselves as “angry” about the way things are going in the USA, the highest percentage in the decade the question has been asked. By nearly 2-1, they would rather vote for a candidate who has never served in Congress over one with experience.
FROM WEBER, The Girls’ Guide to Grilling.
IS OBAMA THE NEW CHENEY? “Rather, in terms of Cheney’s inability to fake emotional involvement. Bill Clinton was a master of insincerity; when he felt our pain, we almost believed it. Cheney, on the other hand, once sheepishly admitted that he ‘doesn’t do funerals.’ Emotional symbolism wasn’t his forte, and he knew it. Obama strikes me as, in that respect, a similar personality.”
MICHAEL YON reports: “Brigadier General Daniel Menard was fired from command in Afghanistan.”
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READER C.J. BURCH lost his mom last week. Please accept my condolences, C.J.
A HAPPY BIRTHDAY FlashMob.
IOWAHAWK: Hi, Neighbor!
ROGER SIMON remembers Dennis Hopper. “Unlike other Hollywood hot shots like Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, etc, who never once changed a single thought they ever had, whether on LSD or a glass of milk, Dennis Hopper was able to see that the very thing that allowed him to live the wild and crazy life he did was deeply obvious. Forget all the self-serving narcissistic left-wing baloney. It was good old fashioned American Freedom! Nowhere else could Dennis have been Dennis — and he knew it. He wanted that for everybody. . . . And to my Hollywood friends, let this be a reminder that traditionally an artist is not someone who goes with the crowd, especially when that crowd hasn’t revised an idea since the presidential campaign of George McGovern. Open your minds. What’s cool may not be so cool anymore. If Dennis can do it, so can you. He wasn’t afraid of losing his job.”
VOTE FOR THESE Free Enterprise Videos!
JAMES TARANTO: Barack Obama Explains His Job:
What exactly is the job of the president of the United States? Let’s ask the man who currently holds that position, Barack Obama:
My job right now is just to make sure that everybody in the Gulf understands this is what I wake up to in the morning and this is what I go to bed at night thinking about: the spill.
Obama’s job description is fascinating. He has been depicted as a proponent of “activist government,” but this may be a bum rap. Now he tells us he thinks that if he somehow gets people to think about him and how much he’s thinking about what he thinks they think he should be thinking about, his job is done.
Which raises only two questions: First, if the requirements of his job are so modest, why is he still having trouble meeting them? Second, couldn’t all this cogitation be done at a cost of less than $3.5 trillion a year?
Ouch. Does this sound like “Message: I care?”
L.A. TIMES: Mickey Kaus vs. The Box.
THE HOT NEW TREND: “Personal secession.”
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD on Pentecostalism and the War On Terror.
AMATEUR ASTRONOMER spies on spy satellites.
MARKDOWNS ON lawn, patio and garden gear.
DE-TINGLED: Rush is right, says … Chris Matthews?
VIDEO: Don’t Touch Me.
OBAMA’S WAR: Can War Crimes Charges Be Far Away? Well, the basic rule is that any effective tactic used by the United States must be some sort of war crime.
More sophisticated analysis from Kenneth Anderson. At any rate, the currently popular way of insulating oneself from war-crimes charges is to simply gain a reputation for beheading critics. I don’t see that from the Obama Administration in the near future, but maybe they could send a pitchforked SEIU mob to the Special Rapporteur’s house . . . .
SPACE: Another Customer For Commercial Crew Transportation. “Bigelow Aerospace is developing inflatable modules, but needs vehicles to get them to space.”
JOHN DICKERSON: Bystander-In-Chief. “When asked directly about the Katrina comparison, Obama deferred to the judgment of history, sounding like his predecessor did when he was asked those kinds of questions.”
SOME OUTDOOR PROJECTS for Memorial Day weekend.
KATIE GRANJU: Yes, I am still pregnant.
AT POWER LINE, a review of Gabriel Schoenfeld’s Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media and the Rule of Law. “Schoenfeld’s book does something that hasn’t been done before. It provides an unexpurgated account of the media’s disclosure of highly classified national security information, some of which — such as the James Risen/Eric Lichtblau New York Times story blowing the NSA al-Qaeda eavesdropping program, and the Risen/Lichtblau story blowing the SWIFT terrorist finance tracking program — has violated the espionage laws of the United States and done great damage to American national security. Unfortunately, such acts of espionage will land you a Pulitzer Prize rather than time in the clink.”
REP. ERIC CANTOR: The Unprecedented Intensity of the YouCut Movement.
HARRY REID: Comeback Kid?
HEADLINE OF THE WEEK: Italian priests’ secret mistresses ask pope to scrap celibacy rule.
THE WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY: Radley Balko has more on Maryland. “Graber is due in court next week. He faces up to five years in prison. State’s Attorney Joseph Cassilly has also charged Graber with ‘Possession of an Interception Device.’ That ‘device’ would be Graber’s otherwise-perfectly-legal video camera. . . . Perhaps that officer was merely misinformed. But Maryland police spokesmen and prosecutors are giving the impression that the state’s wiretapping law is ambiguous about recording on-duty police officers. It really isn’t. They’ve just chosen to interpret it that way, logic and common sense be damned. . . . A cynic might conclude that law enforcement officials in Maryland are reacting to the McKenna embarrassment by threatening and cracking down on anyone who videotapes on-duty cops, and they’ll interpret the law in whatever way allows them to do so. At least until a court tells them otherwise.”
This is a disgrace. State’s Attorney Joseph Cassilly should hear from Marylanders who care about freedom — and this seems to be me to be another argument for federal civil rights legislation guaranteeing the right to photograph police. With hefty damages, and a waiver of official immunity, for cases like Graber’s. . . .
IN THE MAIL: From Mahmood Mamdani, Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror.
This is the kind of thing I’m talking about when I say “Faster, please.”
PETER SUDERMAN ON Consumer-Driven Health Care.
WHY ARE WE AWARDING so few Medals of Honor?
GEORGE WILL: The Tea Party’s Wisconsin Hope.
A NOT-SO-POSITIVE TAKE on the whole “swarm power” thing.
HOW NOT TO DATE like Carrie Bradshaw.
WELL, THESE WERE JUST A MATTER OF TIME: the George W. Bush “Miss Me Yet?” T-Shirt.
IN D.C., Democratic hearts are breaking.
TAR BALLS IN THE TRUNKS: Today in “Imagine If Bush Said It.”
FEMALE LEGAL SECRETARIES SOUND OFF:
One discovery: Legal secretaries said they preferred to work for male associates and partners. In written responses, the secretaries said females were emotional and demanding, with “more to prove” and a penchant to “put on airs,” the story says.
This was the pattern at my old law firm, but that was 20 years ago. I would have expected more change since then.
DAILY CALLER: What Obama has been doing while the Gulf Coast dies.
OOPS: He Was Supposed to Be Competent: The spill is a disaster for the president and his political philosophy. “This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president’s political judgment and instincts.”
HEADLINE OF THE DAY: Palin’s Douchebag Stalker Suddenly Concerned About His Privacy.
CONGRESS TAKES TIME to remember Gary Coleman.
PRE-EMPTIVE DENIAL: Harry Reid: ‘I had nothing to do’ with Sestak deal.
GOOD GRIEF: Pathetic: BP Buses in Temps for Obama Photo Op. “Well, we all figured this would be a carefully choreographed photo op for the current occupant of the White House, but little did we know having their boot firmly on the neck of BP meant the folks at BP were obliged to send in some stooges for the visuals.”
WHEN GERM WARFARE HAPPENED. “These attacks, orchestrated by Japan’s infamous Unit 731 between 1932 and 1945, are the only documented mass use of germ weapons in modern times. Scholars say that we will never know exactly how many were killed. Sheldon H. Harris, the late American historian, estimated in a pioneering work that between 10,000 and 12,000 Chinese prisoners perished in the bloodcurdling experiments that Unit 731 performed in Japanese-occupied Manchuria. Another 300,000 to 500,000 civilians died, he wrote, as a result of Japan’s massive germ assaults on more than 70 Chinese cities and towns.”
HOW TIME FLIES: “So it’s not youth that slows our time perception, but the fact that grammar and middle school involve incredibly long stretches of boredom.”
MARKDOWNS ON Wusthof cutlery.
AS PART OF A SERIES ON THE CREATIVE PROCESS, Steven Pressfield interviews me on time-management and more.