Archive for August, 2012

August 28, 2012

IT’S NOW HURRICANE ISAAC: Much more at Weather Nerd.

August 28, 2012

THREE CONTENDERS to replace the Humvee.

August 28, 2012

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Richard Feynman 1984 Talk On “Tiny Machines” On YouTube.

August 28, 2012

KATRINA REDUX: Gov. Jindal slams FEMA and Obama administration over slow response to Hurricane Isaac requests.

UPDATE: Charlie Martin emails:

So what we have is this comparison:

Katrina — Bush begs Democrat Governor for days to allow him to call
out the National Guard, Delay is Bush’s fault.

Isaac — Republican Governor Jindal begs Obama to call out National Guard.

I wonder who the media will report is at fault this time?

Duh. Bush!

August 28, 2012

TAMPA: Romney Camp Removing Rules Committee Members. Yeah, I know, inside baseball. But if they piss off the Tea Party, it’s going to really suppress turnout.

August 28, 2012

TRANSPARENCY: Judicial Watch Obtains Stack of ‘Overlooked’ CIA Records Detailing Meetings with bin Laden Filmmakers.

August 28, 2012

ROBOTS YOU CAN LIVE WITH.

August 28, 2012

WHY THE DNC CHANGED ITS MIND AND INVITED CARDINAL DOLAN AFTER ALL, in two images.

August 28, 2012

PROF. JACOBSON: Warren hides ties to “cab driver” who assaulted media.

August 28, 2012

DOUG LEVENE: Credit Default Swaps and Insider Trading.

August 28, 2012

IN THE MAIL: The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith.

August 28, 2012

ROGER KIMBALL: What Counts As Failure? “High up along one wall at the Forum is a huge digital display on which the federal debt ticks its way toward $16 trillion. That by itself ought to be enough to assure the defeat of Barack Obama, but in really it is merely one data point in a litany of failure. Last night at dinner, I expressed my surprise to a friend that the polls were as close as they were. By any factual measure, I said, Obama’s administration had been an extraordinary failure. Median household income had plummeted nearly 5 percent since 2009, the year Obama promised that, if only Congress would approve the stimulus package, he would have the unemployment rate down to 5.6 percent by now, the summer of 2012, by which time he would also have halved the annual deficit. Et very much cetera. The only promise I can think of that Obama has kept is to make energy prices ‘skyrocket.’ That he has well and truly accomplished. But otherwise, I asked as I made my way through the Caprese Salad, hasn’t his record been abysmal? And doesn’t this mean the polls should point to an overwhelming victory for Romney?”

UPDATE: Another fake Obama ad? “We suspect much like Joe Soptic that Olive Chase won’t be available for interviews.”

August 28, 2012

RICHARD EPSTEIN: Paul Ryan’s Intellectual Muse: The wisdom of Hayek is exactly what this country needs right now.

August 28, 2012

I’VE GOT A COLUMN IN TODAY’S NEW YORK POST: Dead Voters and Dying Democracy: Vote Fraud And Its Beneficiaries.

August 28, 2012

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Socialism Kills, Venezuela Edition. “It is clear that the Chávez regime has been squeezing every last penny out of the oil sector, but despite the ‘Bolivarian’ socialist rhetoric promising equal distribution of this wealth, the money hasn’t just been used for social programs, but also to fund Venezuela’s expensive foreign policy, as well as its efforts to cover up the results of poor policy, rampant cronyism, and the general mismanagement of the public sector. When things go wrong, Venezuelan citizens are the ones who pay the price for the state’s poor choices. Three things seem likely at this juncture: first, no one will be able to trust whatever ‘investigation’ the Chavez government undertakes. It will be an obvious whitewash. Second, conditions for oil workers are unlikely to improve. Third, the usual crew of Chavez defenders in the United States, desperate after all these decades of misery and failure to point to some place some where, where authoritarian socialism isn’t a dreary charnel house and economic failure zone, will struggle to convince themselves that things are just fine in Bolivarian Venezuela.”

Venezuela is doing fine.

UPDATE: Reader John Steakley writes: “Based on how things are going, I would estimate that Hugo Chavez is about halfway through reading Atlas Shrugged.”

August 28, 2012

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Consumer Confidence Tumbles to 9-Month Low. Unexpectedly!

August 28, 2012

ALWAYS GLAD TO BE OF HELP: InstaPundit reader Jim Warren writes:

Your recent posts on the excessive build-up of iron in organs has answered a question that has been puzzling my doctors (multiple ones, but they don’t seem very much like Dr. House on TV) for quite a while now. I had pale skin on my legs upon which no hair grew, heart palpitations, thyroid problems, and just about every other symptom that is listed for excessive iron in my system. And what is the free (free!) treatment for excessive iron build-up? A simple trip to the Red Cross to donate my (apparently rare) A-Negative blood which is good for little babies for some reason.

Good for little babies and my hair grows back on my legs? Now that’s what I’d call a Win-Win!

Indeed.

August 28, 2012

SWITCHERS: A video featuring disappointed Obama voters. Those shouldn’t be hard to find.

August 28, 2012

AN “ANARCHIST MILITIA?”

August 28, 2012

AT AMAZON, Blu-Ray and DVD Deals.

Also, today only: “Grand Theft Auto IV” and “Max Payne 3″ PC Download Bundle for $24.99.

August 28, 2012

EVERYTHING OBAMA TOUCHES TURNS TO VOLT: Another Obama Success Story: GM Suspends Volt Output Due to Slow Sales. Again.

August 28, 2012

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Enough Chicago Ward Politics!

August 28, 2012

MICKEY KAUS: Likeability Ain’t What It Used To Be.

August 28, 2012

EVEN AT THE NEW YORK TIMES, A BREATH OF OBAMA-DISENCHANTMENT: There is only one star in the galaxy at this White House and his name is Barack Obama. Everyone in the Sun King’s court has drunk the Kool-Aid. “In the end the trust of a cool man who had sublimated abandonment into a singular willfulness was limited. The sense of a controlling leader, unable to provide connective tissue to fire the economy, lies behind the fact that many Obama voters will cast their ballot in November with more grudging respect than enthusiasm.”

Or, you know, just stay home. The Sun King didn’t have to bother energizing voters.

August 28, 2012

FEMINISM’S TRIUMPH: So, women have finally succeeded in becoming all they hate? “Don Draper hasn’t gone away. He’s just changed his name to Donna.”

Related: “These women are the men their mothers divorced.”

August 28, 2012

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE:

The cost of a college education has soared far in excess of the cost of health care. This is in spite of — or, more accurately, because of — massive government involvement in subsidizing and running schools. On the one hand, we have President Obama, who wants to double down and have Uncle Sam play a larger role in the classroom. On the other, we have reformers like presumptive GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan, who wants to limit the growth of Pell grants while ensuring the neediest students still have access. . . . College tuition grew at almost 7.5 percent annually between 1980 and 2010, when average inflation was 3.8 percent. At less than 6 percent annually, even health care costs grew at a slower rate than the university tab.

Young people aren’t getting much in exchange for this huge outlay. While enrollment has increased, completion rates remain dismal. Barely a third of students complete their degrees in four years, and less than 60 percent earn their degree in six years, according to Mr. McCluskey. That means at least two out of five enrollees don’t finish and fail to reap the benefits of a post-high-school education. Even those who complete their programs of study and are fortunate enough to find employment find that in one out of three cases, their degree isn’t required for their work.

Indeed.

August 28, 2012

FLASHBACK: Charlie Crist 2008: Sarah Palin more qualified to be president than Barack Obama. Hey, when he’s right, he’s right.

August 28, 2012

APPROPRIATELY ENOUGH: Will.I.Am’s next song to debut on Mars.

August 28, 2012

BRET STEPHENS: Barack Obama, Global Has-Been: The president would rather be loved than feared. He is neither. Domestically, it kind of seems like it’s the other way around. But still, same result.

August 28, 2012

LOWER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: “Education special interest groups, such as the teachers unions, are experiencing a decline in membership.” Plus this:

Students headed back to school this fall will have historically high levels of dollars spent on them in the public school system. Nationally, average per-pupil spending exceeds $11,400 this year, meaning a child entering kindergarten today can expect to have no less than $148,000 spent on his or her education by the time the child graduates high school. In all, more than $570 billion will be spent on public K-12 education this year.

Sadly, continual increases in the money spent per child and in overall spending haven’t led to increases in academic achievement.

Which is why increasing numbers of parents, at all income levels, are fleeing the public schools.

August 28, 2012

CHANGE: Unilever sees ‘return to poverty’ in Europe. “Unilever will adopt marketing strategies used in developing countries in order to drive future growth in Europe, as the head of its European business warned that poverty will rise in the region as a result of the debt crisis . . . Unilever has already started to change the way it sells some of its products. In Spain, the company sells Surf detergent in packages for as few as five washes, while in Greece, it now offers mashed potatoes and mayonnaise in small packages, and has created a low-cost brand for basic goods such as tea and olive oil. ‘In Indonesia, we sell individual packs of shampoo 2 to 3 cents and still make decent money,’ said Mr Zijderveld. ‘We know how to do that, but in Europe we have forgotten in the years before the crisis.’”

August 27, 2012

PROFESSOR JACOBSON: The “you didn’t build it” meme has permeated deep.

August 27, 2012

THE ANCHORESS: “In the past few weeks I’ve heard some surprising people admit they’ve been arming themselves and purchasing ammunition — one such discussion happened all around me at the hairdresser’s while I sat and listened.”

August 27, 2012

AT AMAZON, up to 50% off on grills and grilling supplies.

Also, Blu-Ray Deal Of The Week: The Walking Dead.

August 27, 2012

TAMPA: The Rules Fight Food Fight.

August 27, 2012

CALLING OUT A BIGOT: Newt to Chris Matthews: Your thinking can be pretty racist, you know.

August 27, 2012

INTELLECTUAL DIVERSITY ON CAMPUS: It’s Not Just Left vs. Right.

August 27, 2012

NOW A TOPLESS SARAH PALIN WOULD BE BOTH ARTSY AND HILARIOUS! No, Michelle Obama Topless On A Magazine Cover Is Not “Artsy.”

August 27, 2012

OBVIOUSLY, SHE SHOULD HAVE WORN A BURQA: Christian Woman Fired from Burger King for Wearing Skirt Instead of Pants.

August 27, 2012

AT AMAZON, bestsellers in Mysteries, Thrillers & Suspense.

Also, 60% off Spaceballs, the 25th Anniversary edition.

August 27, 2012

FEAR OF E. COLI? Why men don’t eat vegetables.

UPDATE: “What I’m resisting is the ever-irritating bullshit science that presents whatever is true of women as what’s good.” Bullshit science caters to women, because women are the primary consumers of bullshit science.

August 27, 2012

DRUDGE DOES IT AGAIN:

August 27, 2012

HEALTH: Calcium Scan Best Heart Risk Diagnosis Tool: Study.

A new study of six methods of determining a patient’s risk for heart disease has shown a CT scan of calcium build-up in the arteries around the heart might be the most accurate test.

The new study from researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina reviewed the effectiveness of six different heart disease indicators, including coronary calcium buildup (CAC), blood pressure in the arms and legs, carotid artery thickness, blood vessel health and family history of heart disease.

According to lead researcher Joseph Yeboah, any of these indicators could help improve the current standard of heart disease prediction, known as the Framingham Risk Score (FRS).

“We know how to treat patients at low and high risk for heart disease, but for the estimated 28 million Americans who are at intermediate risk, we still are not certain about the best way to proceed,” he explained in a news release.

“If we want to concentrate our attention on the subset of intermediate-risk patients who are at the highest risk for cardiovascular disease, CAC is clearly the best tool we have in our arsenal to identify them.”

Hmm. Maybe I’ll get one of these.

August 27, 2012

AT AMAZON, 50% or more off on select Office & School Supplies.

Also, today only: Sennheiser MM 450 Flight Bluetooth Multimedia Headset with Noise Cancellation, $229.99 (49% off).

Also: List: Hurricane preparation supplies.

August 27, 2012

REMEMBRANCE: Armstrong spent last years fighting for human spaceflight.

Related: As commercial space race intensifies, SpaceX, Virgin find they have company.

August 27, 2012

TEN MACHO MOVIES EVERY MAN SHOULD SEE.

August 27, 2012

THE ROOTS OF OIKOPHOBIA: “They are not my people!”

August 27, 2012

SCIENCE: Cypress Hill Played Through a Squid: Insane in the Membrane, Indeed.

August 27, 2012

OVER 2700 DOWNLOADS for National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius: Five Takes, by yours truly and Brannon Denning. Thanks to everyone who downloaded!

I hope you find it interesting. Mark Barnes at Harvard emailed to say that he’d like to use it in his health care law class, so apparently some people do.

August 27, 2012

ANOTHER GARY TAUBES FAN. Reader Nathan Wilhoit emails:

Instapundit is a regular spot I check most days, and I noted your frequent references to Gary Taubes’ books and decided to put his advice to the test. I cut to drinking only tea, coffee, and (lots and lots of) water while eating very low carbs and sugar over the summer starting in early July. Less than two months later, I have lost over 25 pounds, my BMI has gone from high 27 down to 23ish. I just did my health screening at work, and while we were sitting and waiting for blood results to come back, the screener asked some questions and found out about the diet change. She told me my cholesterol would probably be elevated. I smiled and said, “I guess we’ll see.” It came back a healthy 154. Imagine that. You mean this stuff works?

The diet change and weight loss have actually aided me in waking up better and earlier, as well. I work 60-80+ hours a week as a music teacher, so this has had a huge impact. I’ve been able eat breakfast, study/memorize scripture, pray, organize, and get some much-needed composure before facing the horde of delightful (but sometimes trying) young musicians I interact with every day. I have more energy when I interact with my wife and three young children. Life is still hard: long work days, being patient with students, finding time with my family, etc. But what a help this lifestyle change has been.

So thank you for sharing the information. I had heard/read some of the info before, but it was often distorted, incomplete, and/or confusing. For some reason, catching it on your blog was the tipping point where I looked into it and gave it an honest go.

Glad it helped!

August 27, 2012

ALAS, PUTTING THE BOOK UNDER THE PILLOW DOESN’T WORK: How To Learn In Your Sleep.

August 27, 2012

ROGER KIMBALL: PERIMETER ACCESS.

The entire area surrounding the buildings is cordoned off with a maze of high fences and security check points and patrolling guards from, I’m told, 60 separate law-enforcement agencies. I’ve seen scores of secret service agents, FBI agents, state troopers, military soldiers, local policemen, and TSA agents. They’re on foot, on bicycles, on horse back, aboard golf carts, in SUVs, and God-knows what else. It took my party about forty minutes to get into the Forum for a media gathering last night, not because there were long lines — those will come later — but because we had to park about three quarters of a mile from the building and then walk through a warren of security checks. One friend told me he’d been through 5 separate checks before he was let in and handed a lukewarm Coors Lite. “Never seen anything like it,” said this veteran of several national political conventions. . . .

I have no idea who is ultimately responsible for the unpleasant and unnecessary security nightmare that has been assembled in Tampa. Knowing the Obama administration as I do, I would not put it past them to have had a hand in in it. But before the Republican love fest starts in earnest — and let me say I am intending to emit as much good cheer as anyone — it is worth pausing to acknowledge that the unseemly growth of government is as much a Republican problem as it is a Democratic problem. Of course, one needs to be careful. We live in a dangerous world. There are a lot of bad guys out there who mean us, and our leaders, ill. But the most effective security is usually the least obtrusive. Over the last couple of decades we have let our politicians arrogate more and more of the trappings of despotic power to themselves. It’s unattractive and, I’d say, downright un-American. I hope that when Mitt Romney becomes President, he will do something about it.

If he doesn’t, we should.

August 27, 2012

APPLEBEE’S TRANSFORMS INTO A HOT NIGHT SPOT.

August 27, 2012

NARCISSIST-IN-CHIEF: Obama pays tribute to Neil Armstrong, the only way he knows how. With a picture of . . . himself! “This is not a Photoshop. This was actually posted on Obama’s official Tumblr page.”

August 27, 2012

HAS THIS EVER WORKED? Togo Women Vow Sex Strike To Oust President. “Women in the civil rights group ‘Let’s Save Togo’ said they will have a week-long sex strike to demand the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe. The plan for women to withhold sex from their husbands for a week will start tomorrow, said Isabelle Ameganvi, leader of the group’s women’s wing. She said the strike will urge Togo’s men to take action against Gnassingbe. Ameganvi, a lawyer, said her group is following the example of Liberia’s women who used a sex strike in 2003 to campaign for peace.”

UPDATE: To be fair, if by “worked,” you mean “gotten press,” I’m not sure it’s ever failed.

August 27, 2012

THE GUERRILLA CAMPAIGN: Reader Monika Nelsen sends this pic of a gas-pump sticky note from near Sycamore, IL.

August 27, 2012

SO NOW THAT ISAAC HAS MISSED THE GOP CONVENTION, somebody should ask Dana Milbank if this is proof that God loves the GOP.

August 27, 2012

THIS IS SELDOM WISE: Elizabeth Warren Aide Knocks Around Republican Cameraman.

UPDATE: Once again, following in Martha Coakley’s footsteps. You go, girl! No, really, go.

August 27, 2012

RAND SIMBERG: “It’s unfortunate that so many supposed conservatives are opposed to competitive markets in spaceflight, to the point that they embarrass themselves with ignorant rants against the Obama space policy, one of the very few things that the administration has gotten sort of right.”

August 27, 2012

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Morris Brown College Files For Bankruptcy.

August 27, 2012

IN THE MAIL: Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam.

August 27, 2012

CHINA’S NATIONALISM PARADOX: “America’s goal isn’t to impose an Asian order on China against the will of China’s people. America’s goal in Asia is to promote the emergence of an Asian security and trade system that allows all the peoples of the region, mainland China residents very much included, to build the kind of future they want. The secret weapon behind America’s Asia policy is simple: the Asia we want aligns very closely with the Asia that most Asians also want and so to some extent, America’s Asia policy involves pushing a snowball downhill. Freedom, prosperity, security. We want those things for Asians because their success and prosperity creates the best possible conditions for us to enjoy these blessings for ourselves.”

August 27, 2012

Knoxville, Tennessee. The sole surviving Kay’s Ice Cream stand, out on Chapman Highway.

August 27, 2012

STEPHEN GREEN ON HOW TO MAKE A MINT JULEP. My friend Ralph Davis lets the mint steep in the bourbon overnight, which is even better than Stephen’s recipe.

August 27, 2012

AND GETS GRUDGING CREDIT: Armed Citizen Stops Violent Attack On Cop.

August 27, 2012

NAOMI WOLF, CALL YOUR OFFICE: “Haley Barbour knows what women like.”

Related item here.

August 27, 2012

FROM MICKEY KAUS, A REMINDER: The mainstream media comes in to Tampa with one mission, Brian, and that’s to subtly give the impression that Romney is floundering. You know it already, but it’s worth repeating.

August 27, 2012

ISAAC MOVES WEST: Brendan Loy is following. “Always prepare for one category higher than forecast, knowing that intensity-forecasting skill is not high.”

August 27, 2012

#RETIREMENTFAIL: Low interest rates throw wrench into retirements.

John Folsom holds a solid job in medical device sales and has put two children through college. He has lived his life, as he sees it, “trying to play by the rules.”

He and his wife invested for retirement by socking money into safe mutual funds to build a nest egg that could support their dream of one day having a house on a lake. But at 53, Folsom looks at his retirement portfolio and sees that “the rules” aren’t working.

The market crash and housing collapse hammered his net worth. Now the Apple Valley man’s life savings are earning about half what he had expected, dragged down by record-low interest rates.

“All of our calculations have been thrown asunder, and everyone has to rethink the whole deal,” said Folsom said, who is planning to push back his retirement five years, possibly until he’s 67.

The Federal Reserve’s near zero interest-rate policy, aimed at stimulating the economy, has created bargains for borrowers refinancing a mortgage or buying a car. But the low rates are penalizing “savers” such as seniors and others on fixed incomes, forcing millions of middle-class Americans to reconsider how they will live when they retire, if they can retire at all.

“We’re not really seeing the positive benefit of low rates, but we’re seeing a huge negative hit,” said Tim Gillaspy, who recently retired as Minnesota’s demographer. “And that needs to be discussed as a national policy issue.”

The low-interest rates are the latest financial challenge for a wave of baby boomers on the cusp of retirement. Already, an estimated 44 percent of boomers between the ages of 48 and 64 will run short of money in retirement for their basic needs and uninsured health care costs, according to Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), a nonpartisan research group in Washington.

Then there’s the food-price inflation. I’m glad to see someone addressing this, but I have to think that if we had a Republican in the White House, everyone would be talking about it. . . .

August 27, 2012

THE HILL: Poll: Obama, Romney tied in swing-state Ohio.

August 27, 2012

WHAT’S WRONG WITH AUSTIN, TEXAS? Man arrested for second time for filming police.

August 27, 2012

ARAB SPRING NOT LOOKING SO SPRINGLIKE: Egypt prosecutor probes anti-Brotherhood critic.

August 27, 2012

FARHAD MANJOO: Targeted Web ads are too dumb to be useful and just smart enough to make you queasy.

August 27, 2012

“MOSTLY PEACEFUL:” Anti-RNC protester arrested for carrying a machete.

August 27, 2012

A GENERATIONAL THOUGHT: No one born after 1935 has walked on the Moon.

August 27, 2012

A FISH, A BARREL, A SMOKING GUN: Mocking Naomi Wolf. She has a new book out. It’s about her vagina! I’m pretty sure this is a sign that vaginas have jumped the shark. Well, okay, maybe this is the sign.

UPDATE: Reader Larry Tomasson emails: “From the comments: Who’s afraid of Vagina Wolf?”

August 27, 2012

ROGER SIMON: Fear and Shame on the Campaign Trail #6 – Who’ll Stop the Rain? “At some angles from the convention perimeter, Tampa resembles a military encampment. . . . This intense security was not instituted by the RNC or by the Romney campaign, but by the federal government that has declared Tampa a national security area. In other words, Obama’s people are in charge of the stringent security here. They instigated it. What do they fear?”

August 27, 2012

ROMNEY HAS GOT MICHIGAN IN PLAY.

Well, just ten days ago, Obama was ahead in Michigan by 5 points. Now they’re tied, 47-47.

Guess that birth-certificate joke worked. I told you it would.

UPDATE: Nationally, this WaPo/ABC News poll has Romney 47, Obama 46 among registered voters. Among likely voters, Romney would likely have a statistically significant lead.

August 27, 2012

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Pennsylvania Universities Expect Declining Enrollment. “The projected loss of roughly 1,500 students is modest for a system with more than 118,000 students, and not every campus says it expects to see a decline. Still, it is a significant departure from a trend that over 14 years lifted State System enrollment by 28 percent, from 93,711 to 119,513 students. And it is adding uncertainty to campuses already dealing with rising costs and a state appropriation that is 20 percent smaller than two years ago. Student tuition and fees, along with state funds, are the two principal sources of State System revenue. If both take a hit simultaneously, there is only so much schools can do to offset the loss.”

Who could have seen this coming?

UPDATE: Sallie Mae Survey Highlights Changing Marketplace, Students.

College administrators are justifiably worried about whether they’re going to be able to balance their budgets in a changing economic landscape, and a survey released by Sallie Mae last month didn’t do much to put them at ease.

The report’s headline finding is that spending on colleges — a number that includes parent and student income and savings, federal and private loans, grants and scholarships, and money from friends and relatives — by traditional-aged students and their families dropped over the past two years, a 13 percent decrease between 2009-10 and 2011-12.

A 13 percent drop in spending across all institutions types would represent a dramatic shift in the market indicating that large numbers of students and families had chosen less-expensive institutions over costlier ones, opted to live at home instead of on campus, or made other choices that cut their own spending — and, in turn, colleges’ revenues. That is revenue that tuition-dependent institutions of all types would have a hard time replacing. . . .

Despite its headline-grabbing nature, the Sallie Mae survey doesn’t paint quite as dramatic picture as it seems on first read. That’s partly because the two-year drop begins after a large spike in spending in the 2009-10 school year that coincided with the recession. The study’s findings are also tempered by other trends such as increases in college-going rates and shifts in who pays for college. While the findings of the Sallie Mae study still portend financial difficulties for some colleges in the years ahead, they don’t signal quite the sea change that they seem to at first glance.

Hmm. Well, possibly.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Applications are up at Illinois, though.

August 27, 2012

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: You Call This A Recovery?

Real median household income has fallen 4.8% since the so-called recovery officially began in June 2009. That’s a steeper decline than occurred during the recession itself, when incomes dropped 2.6%, according to a new report from Sentier Research.

Almost every demographic group has seen incomes drop during the alleged Obama recovery, Sentier found. Even those who report being continuously employed watched their real incomes drop nearly 5% over the past three years.

A separate report last week from the Pew Research Center found that over the past decade, the middle class has “shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some … of its characteristic faith in the future.”

Meanwhile, there are 800,000 more long-term unemployed than when the “recovery” started, and the ranks of those who aren’t in the labor force at all have swelled by nearly 8 million.

How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?

August 27, 2012

HOPEY-CHANGEY: FCC eyes tax on Internet service. “The FCC issued a request for comments on the proposal in April. Dozens of companies and trade associations have weighed in, but the issue has largely flown under the public’s radar.”

I remember the good old days when taxes were passed by Congress.

August 27, 2012

A FOLLOWUP ON FOOD PRICES, from Insta-Reader Deb Call:

I just wanted to weigh in on the food inflation issue with a local data point. I live in Southern Iowa and have a small flock of sheep (12) that I use for weed control in my vineyard. I feed grass/alfalfa hay in the winter months (roughly early November through mid-March), and typically start planning in early summer, for how much hay I’m going to need to have on hand to get the sheep through the winter. I have a hay field that my neighbor cuts and bales for me, and we split the hay (he has the big equipment needed for this job) so I don’t have to go searching for hay, fortunately. Anyway, I was chatting with him the other day and we were discussing the impact of the drought and the small hay yield compared to last year. Last year, I had roughly 36 big round bales (about 1400 lbs each), and solely due to the lack of rain this year, the yield this summer was only 18 bales. That’s a pretty drastic drop and pretty standard for this area under the current conditions. People are scrambling everywhere to get hay lined up for this winter, and not just cattle operators. Craigslist is loaded with horses for sale at fire sale prices because people are having trouble lining up enough hay for this winter, at a price they can afford.

Many farmers in this area are chopping their almost-dead cornfields right now and baling it for winter cattle feed, instead of waiting to harvest it because the ears have not filled with kernels, but the stalks are still useful to feed their cattle. I asked my neighbor what he was doing about the hay issue, and he said he was downsizing his cow herd (sending some of his breeding cows to auction) and a lot of people he knows are doing the same because between the scarcity/cost of hay, and the cost of feeding grain through the winter, he wouldn’t break even. This is an ongoing issue in this area because more and more pasture ground is being planted in corn; even marginal cropland that previously would have been used for grazing cattle. The lower yield of this marginal cropland previously would not have produced enough bushels to justify the per-acre cost of the inputs (fertilizer, fuel, fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, etc), but with corn at $8+ a bushel and soybeans over $17, it’s tempting for farmers to put even marginal ground into production, leaving a lot less ground for grazing. That does not bode well for long-term beef prices, particularly if a lot of cattle are dumped on the market before the end of this year. In spite of the news coverage lately, I’m not sure most people have any idea how widespread the crop losses due to this drought are going to be out here, or the wide range of food items that will be impacted by it.

I’m not happy.

UPDATE: Reader Robin Tilling writes:

I just wanted to second Deb Call’s comments on food prices. I too have a small flock of sheep in upstate NY, which I use for the fleeces (I spin and knit) and meat for my family. I have a hay delivery coming this morning and my provider told me to be prepared for the huge increase in price this year. Upstate NY has also been saddled with a very dry summer, bringing production down significantly, and many farmers are shipping what they have out west as they can command a higher price.

It’s going to be a terrible year for anyone with livestock. I was lucky enough to sell off 60% of my flock at the beginning of the summer, so we’ll be okay, but I am getting emails from the woman I bought my flock from desperate to unload some sheep before winter.

I plan on stocking my freezer this fall in hopes that it will get us through much of next year, otherwise it’s beans for us!

Good luck! But I’d prepare for the worst.

August 27, 2012

PROF. JACOBSON NOTES THAT lefties are already accusing his new website, College Insurrection, of getting secret funding. He comments: “If only it were true.”

After observing all the astroturf — remember the Coffee Party? — and following up on how the lefty money works in more detail, I’ve come to believe that they hold such suspicions because “secret funding” for apparent grassroots organizations is the norm in their circles.

August 27, 2012

GOING JEAN GALT? Patrick Carroll writes:

I decided to take six months off this year. I sold stock and did what I wanted for a blissful six months. I read books, drank good wine, watched my garden, got out my high-powered binocs and looked at the planets, hiked, cooked, ate well, just lived. I did so because I expect the crowd in power to destroy everything, so I thought I’d take a break before the deluge. Oh, and BTW, I balanced things so I can claim on losses when I do start actually earning again.

I see it as a sort of South-of-France John Galt Living-well approach to dealing with the current crowd. I’ve denied them current and future taxes, while enjoying an extended vacation.

Oh, I also bought guns (rifle, shotgun, pistol each for the wife and I), and have contracted with a local landscaping company to build a highly-defensible, nice-looking (fence/hedge combination) perimeter for my property.

Oh, and I bought water barrels. And a propane tank. And a generator.

All good stuff to have.

August 26, 2012

AT AMAZON, Digital Deals.

August 26, 2012

DIVORCE: Worse for children than the death of a parent?

August 26, 2012

MARY GRABAR: My interaction with with four individuals sent to Tampa by the Pennsylvania Working Families, a front group for ACORN.

August 26, 2012

OOPS, I NEARLY FORGOT: Happy Birthday to Todd Steed!

August 26, 2012

HMM: Box office shocker. 2016 Obama’s America at #3? “This film only cost $2.5M to make and it looks like it’s going to have taken in nearly four times that amount by the time the convention kicks off. It’s a fairly remarkable story.”

80% of life, and 100% of politics, is showing up. This is more evidence of who’s showing up this year.

UPDATE: Reader Michael Ubaldi writes: “I saw it with a friend this afternoon. The theater was easily three-quarters full. We were among a handful without gray hair, but for me, the D’Souza film matters in the same way the Chick-fil-A support day did: unanticipated conservative turnout.”

August 26, 2012

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Help! My Boyfriend Doesn’t Think It’s OK for Me To Be Kinky Just Because I’m a Mom. I don’t think the Ayn Rand reference fits here, though . . . .

August 26, 2012

AT AMAZON, warehouse deals on Kitchen Tools & Gadgets.

Also, today only: Cuisinart All-Foods 12,000-BTU Tabletop Propane Gas Grill, $119.

August 26, 2012

THE FIVE KEYS TO FACULTY JOB-SATISFACTION. I’ll add one more: Outside income. When I first got tenure, I talked to the older guys who seemed happy in their positions to try to figure out what worked, and all of them mentioned that. It doesn’t have to be a lot — a few thousand bucks a year is enough, really — the key is to feel sufficiently independent that you don’t become one of those people who obsess over whether this year’s raise is two percent or two-and-a-half. And yes, such people exist. They’re not among the happy faculty, though. . . .

August 26, 2012

AT AMAZON, most popular coupon deals.

August 26, 2012

WHERE SHOULD THE GOP GO? JOIN THE CONVERSATION.

August 26, 2012

FIGHTING WRINKLES with snake venom.

August 26, 2012

VIDEO: Roger Simon and Bryan Preston report from Tampa.

August 26, 2012

BRENDAN LOY KEEPS BLOGGING ON ISAAC: New Orleans under Hurricane Warning, but plans to “shelter in place.” “New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu did his best Ray Nagin impression Sunday, announcing a no-evacuation, ‘shelter in place’ plan that suggests a stunning level of confidence that a worst-case scenario won’t happen, at a time when it remains, meteorologically speaking, very much in play.”

August 26, 2012

WE KEEP RUNNING INTO THIS PROBLEM: NIH superbug outbreak highlights lack of new antibiotics. “Experts point to three reasons pharmaceutical companies have pulled back from antibiotics despite two decades of screaming alarms from the public health community: There is not much money in it; inventing new antibiotics is technically challenging; and, in light of drug safety concerns, the FDA has made it difficult for companies to get new antibiotics approved.”

But the story spins it as a failure of capitalism. Excuse me?

August 26, 2012

HOW TO START LUCID DREAMING.

August 26, 2012

FUTURE WARFARE: From Bug Drones to Disease Assassins, Super Weapons Rule U.S. War Game.