Archive for November, 2012

November 30, 2012

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED REPUBLICAN, SECRETIVE INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES WOULD BE CALLING ALL THE SHOTS. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! The NSA Tells Congress What to Think And Say About the NSA: Checks and Balances in Action.

November 30, 2012

QUIZ: Kitchen Utensil, or Sex Toy?

November 30, 2012

PATTERICO: The Untold Story of the Shenanigans in a Federal Prosecutor’s Office in Louisiana — and Why Eric Holder Should Be Asked About It.

November 30, 2012

PROTEST SONG of the year.

November 30, 2012

AT AMAZON, it’s the Kindle Fire HD, as low as $199.99.

Also, 100 Kindle books for $3.99 or less.

Just a reminder: InstaPundit is an Amazon affiliate. When you do your Christmas/Hanukkah shopping — or any other shopping — through the Amazon links on this page, including the “Shop Amazon” tab at the top or the searchbox in the right sidebar, you support the blog at no cost to yourself. Just click on the Amazon link, then shop as usual. It’s much appreciated! (Bumped).

November 30, 2012

MOVE TO CONTAIN HIGHER EDUCATION COSTS now a multi-state phenomenon.

November 30, 2012

NOW ON YOUTUBE: InstaVision: Read My Lips: Why The ‘No-Tax-Hike’ Pledge Is an IQ Test for Republicans. With a special guest appearance by George H.W. Bush. (Bumped).

November 30, 2012

CAL WATCHDOG: The union assault — covert and overt — on California’s direct democracy.

November 30, 2012

AT AMAZON, the Top Holiday Deals Countdown.

November 30, 2012

ANOTHER YEAR-END CHARITABLE DONATION CANDIDATE: Aside from the folks I mentioned last night, you may want to donate to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, to help defend the libel suit against CEI and Rand Simberg by Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann.

November 30, 2012

BRENDAN LOY, CALL YOUR OFFICE: Why weren’t hurricane warnings issued for Sandy? “What would normally be of interest only to weather geeks — the fact that Superstorm Sandy probably made landfall last month as a ‘post-tropical cyclone’ rather than as a hurricane — is feeding a controversy over why government agencies issued no hurricane warnings. The hullabaloo involves the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space and Technology and the highest levels of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).”

November 30, 2012

NO, AND WE SHOULDN’T MAKE BUDGET DEALS THAT WAY, EITHER: The U.N. Shouldn’t Make Decisions About an Open Internet Behind Closed Doors. I’m pretty sure that the dictators’ club isn’t that enthusiastic about an “open Internet” though.

Those are just concerns about the process. When you look at some of the proposals themselves, it’s downright frightening.

If these proposals are adopted, we could end up with an internet that suits the interests of governments and large telecoms over those of billions of global internet users.

Well, that’s clearly what they want. It’s not like they have your interests in mind.

November 30, 2012

PROGRESS: New Small Fission Reactor for Deep-Space Missions Demonstrated.

November 30, 2012

COINCIDENCE: U.S Government Releases Once-Secret Watergate Files.

Obama Announces Enemies List: “I’ve Been Keeping My Own Naughty And Nice List.”

November 30, 2012

POST-ELECTION: Report: Security Clearances Revoked, Criminal Charges Pending For ATF Fast and Furious Officials.

November 30, 2012

HOW AMAZON SUCCEEDS BY EMBRACING CHAOS. As I used to say about my desk before I got neater, it’s not really chaos if you know where everything is.

November 30, 2012

MERCURY AND SOLACE: Probe Finds Hints of Ice At Mercury’s Poles. “You might have thought there was a snowball’s chance in hell of finding ice on Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. Now measurements by NASA’s Messenger spacecraft suggest there is about 100 cubic kilometres of frozen water at the planet’s poles – roughly enough to fill the Dead Sea.”

November 30, 2012

NANNY OF THE MONTH: Texas Schools Track Students with RFID Chips!

Tar. Feathers.

November 30, 2012

TECHNOLOGY: Augmented Light Bulb Turns a Desk Into a Touch Screen. “A computer that can be screwed into a light socket can project interactive images onto any nearby surface.”

November 30, 2012

ELIE MYSTAL NOT SO IMPRESSED with law deans who deny the problem.

November 30, 2012

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Obama Fiscal-Cliff Posture Unserious And Dishonest. Ya think?

November 30, 2012

AT AMAZON, it’s the Kindle Daily Deal.

November 30, 2012

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: The Economist: American universities represent declining value for money to their students.

A degree has always been considered the key to a good job. But rising fees and increasing student debt, combined with shrinking financial and educational returns, are undermining at least the perception that university is a good investment.

Concern springs from a number of things: steep rises in fees, increases in the levels of debt of both students and universities, and the declining quality of graduates. Start with the fees. The cost of university per student has risen by almost five times the rate of inflation since 1983 (see chart 1), making it less affordable and increasing the amount of debt a student must take on. Between 2001 and 2010 the cost of a university education soared from 23% of median annual earnings to 38%; in consequence, debt per student has doubled in the past 15 years. Two-thirds of graduates now take out loans. Those who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2011 graduated with an average of $26,000 in debt, according to the Project on Student Debt, a non-profit group.

More debt means more risk, and graduation is far from certain; the chances of an American student completing a four-year degree within six years stand at only around 57%. This is poor by international standards: Australia and Britain, for instance, both do much better.

At the same time, universities have been spending beyond their means. Many have taken on too much debt and have seen a decline in the health of their balance-sheets. Moreover, the securitisation of student loans led to a rush of unwise private lending.

Do tell.

November 30, 2012

POLL: Ivy League Students Oppose Race Preferences.

November 30, 2012

VIRGINIA POSTREL: A Free-Market Fix For The Copyright Racket. I favor a significant rollback of current copyright law. At some point, you’ve made enough money.

November 30, 2012

JAY LENO: Hey, Obama might be in trouble if journalists start asking questions. “Maybe it didn’t get very many laughs because it’s not a joke. The joke has been the lack of curiosity among the media class about the circumstances that led to their broadcasting a false narrative on their Sunday talk shows and printed in the media for days after the administration knew perfectly well that the sacking of the consulate was no spontaneous event.”

Meanwhile, a filmmaker is in jail because jailing him was politically convenient for the White House.

November 30, 2012

WELL, MAYBE THAT’S BECAUSE THEY’RE PORN STARS. Porn Stars Have Higher Self-Esteem Than You.

November 30, 2012

JENNIFER RUBIN: DON’T JUMP OFF THE CLIFF YET:

For now, however, Senate and House Republicans are playing it right. They have even got the mainstream media to notice how unreasonable Obama’s non-offer, offer is. (“no concessions”). Some even recognized that the president’s “offer” in response to the Republicans’ move on revenue was identical to his post-election opening bid.

In their own ways, Sen. Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner have handled the past couple of days rather expertly. McConnell’s reaction to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s ludicrous proposal — laughter — was exactly right. It is a joke, and rather than railing at specific parts, a guffaw nicely communicates to voter how un-serious the president is at this point.

Likewise Boehner’s more-in-sadness-than-in-anger tone after his call with Obama keeps his party from becoming unhinged and keeps a respectful dialogue with the president. Even more so, his retort to Sen. Harry Reid’s threatened and ill-conceived filibuster threat (it is only meaningful if the other body is in Democratic hands, Harry) made the point that whatever the merits, it is a childish, destructive obsession that won’t get Dems anything when filibuster-insulated legislation is declared “dead on arrival” in the House. (“Any bill that reaches a Republican-led House based on Senate Democrats’ heavy-handed power play would be dead on arrival.”

The GOP’s message this week to the Dems can be summed up in two words: Grow up. Only after the president has definitively shown that the Democrats prefer the politics of adolescence should the GOP begin passing out parachutes for the group jump over the cliff.

Indeed.

November 30, 2012

IN THE MAIL: From Dalton Fury, Tier One Wild: A Delta Force Novel.

November 30, 2012

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: China Doubles Down. Your Move, Mr. President?

November 30, 2012

FOREIGN POLICY: Rwandan Ghosts: Benghazi isn’t the biggest blight on Susan Rice’s record. “Her role in shaping U.S. policy toward Central Africa should feature high on this list. Between 1993 and 2001, she helped form U.S. responses to the Rwandan genocide, events in post-genocide Rwanda, mass violence in Burundi, and two ruinous wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” The important thing is that the war and genocide didn’t politically damage her boss.

November 30, 2012

IS THE CARBON TAX a stalking-horse for a VAT?

November 30, 2012

HOW’S THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA?

It is symptomatic of the national condition of the United States that the worst humiliation ever suffered by it as a nation, and by a US president personally, passed almost without comment last week. I refer to the November 20 announcement at a summit meeting in Phnom Penh that 15 Asian nations, comprising half the world’s population, would form a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership excluding the United States.

President Barack Obama attended the summit to sell a US-based Trans-Pacific Partnership excluding China. He didn’t. The American led-partnership became a party to which no-one came.

Instead, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, will form a club and leave out the United States.

I’m not sure Barack minds this diminution in U.S. power and prestige.

November 30, 2012

AT AMAZON, big holiday markdowns on Blu-Ray.

Also, today only: Shop-Vac 6.5-Peak Horsepower 12-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum. As I learned during the unfortunate burst-pipe incident here at Stately InstaPundit Manor a few years ago, it’s really handy to have a shop-vac. Also, a tarp, for when the water is pouring out of the ceiling. . . .

November 30, 2012

HYPOCRISY: Obama’s Murky Relationship With BP: President has been largest beneficiary of BP money in last 20 years.

November 30, 2012

QUESTIONS ABOUT BANKRUPTCY: “While I disagree with some of Price’s points it seems to me that he is correct in his key observation, which is that although the presence of a collective-bargaining agreement often does matter in bankruptcy, it doesn’t seem like it explains what is going on with respect to the treatment provided to the Delphi salaried employees and smaller unions in Delphi versus the treatment given to the UAW and Steelworkers.”

Gosh, what could explain that?

November 30, 2012

IT’S LIKE HE DOESN’T REALLY CARE OR SOMETHING: Report: Obama’s “fiscal cliff” offer to Republicans calls for $1.6 trillion in new taxes and end of debt ceiling in exchange for … nothing, basically. “Even more unbelievable than the ‘offer’ itself is the fact that the our hack media will go on painting Republicans as the unreasonable ideologues in this equation.”

The GOP should demand open negotiations, on C-SPAN, or just walk away.

November 30, 2012

BUT DON’T WORRY, YOU’LL BE ABLE TO TRUST THEM WITH YOUR HEALTH RECORDS: Gov. Nikki Haley Blames IRS for Massive Data Breach Affecting 6.4 Million South Carolina Taxpayers.

November 30, 2012

RADLEY BALKO: Despite Evidence From Discredited Medical Examiner, Mississippi’s Jeffrey Havard Nears Execution.

November 30, 2012

MARK TAPSCOTT: Why Jeff Miller Could Be MVP in Congress.

Oversight is hard and tedious, but it is the most vital work of every senator and representative. It requires time and smart, experienced, bare-knuckles players on congressional staff. Too many members can’t be bothered.

Miller’s eruption was sparked by continued VA evasions about how much it spends on employee conferences like the two Orlando, Fla., events last year that featured an amateurish but tax-paid video parody of Gen. George S. Patton.

The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which the Florida Republican chairs, has now received three wildly divergent estimates from VA of its total spending on such events, ranging from $20 million to $100 million in 2011.

The third VA figure of $86 million was presented at Wednesday’s hearing. Miller’s exasperation was clearly evident when VA’s No. 2 official, W. Scott Gould, couldn’t explain the variation among the estimates.

Instead of merely venting his anger, Miller responded to the VA obstacles by declaring, “The truce is over. Expect much more oversight from this committee.”

Chairmen across the House should be saying the same thing.

November 30, 2012

RON WYDEN HOLDS THINGS UP:

Sen. Ron Wyden insists he doesn’t have a grudge against fellow Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California. What he does have, though, is a hold on her two legislative priorities of the lame-duck session — and he has, in fact, placed a hold on every major bill coming out of her Intelligence Committee in the past two years.

Wyden’s moves to block the two latest bills — a spy agency reauthorization measure (S 3454) aimed at cracking down on leaks and an extension of expiring surveillance provisions from a 2008 law — are the newest demonstrations of how the Oregon Democrat has become the Senate’s hardest line to cross on civil liberties issues in the national security arena.

Wyden said he considers Feinstein a friend and that he has more in common with her than not as a member of her committee. And his stances aren’t about liberal versus conservative, he insisted, pointing to a record of working with Republicans on a variety of topics from taxes to health care. Indeed, the update of the 2008 surveillance law (S 3276) is even an Obama administration priority.

Read the whole thing.

November 30, 2012

THERE’S A LOT OF EYE-AVERTING GOING ON: Media avert eyes from Democratic campaign finance hypocrisy.

November 30, 2012

OBAMACARE NOT GETTING ANY LESS UNPOPULAR:

A new Gallup poll shows that 54 percent of Americans think it isn’t the federal government’s responsibility to ensure all citizens have healthcare coverage. This is the first time Gallup trends have shown a majority of Americans holding this opinion since 2000, according to Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones.

Should the press start calling it “President Obama’s increasingly-unpopular health scheme?” They should, but they won’t.

November 30, 2012

NOBODY LOVES THE TSA: GOP fumes as TSA head skips aviation security hearing.

Republicans on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee sharply criticized the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for skipping a scheduled hearing on Thursday. TSA Administrator John Pistole was listed as an invited guest for the hearing, which was focused on the aviation security agency’s impact on commerce in the United States.

But when Aviation Subcommittee Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) called Thursday’s meeting to order, Pistole’s seat was empty.

The long-time Wisconsin lawmaker said Pistole’s absence was unacceptable.

“If we want more government stove piping, separation from one sector and another, the TSA’s attitude and actions regarding this hearing achieved that end,” Petri said as he noted the TSA administrator’s absence.

“But if we want better government and coordination between different government activities, Congress must be able to fill its oversight responsibilities,” he continued.

I say, cut their budget. Better still, abolish them — along with the entire Department of Homeland Security.

November 30, 2012

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Belmont Abbey College Helping Burst Private College Tuition Bubble With Tuition Reset To Under $20K For New Students.

Private Catholic College Belmont Abbey today announced it is doing its part to burst the college tuition bubble by reducing its annual tuition cost to $18,500 beginning in fall 2013. This represents an almost $10,000 per year reduction in the College’s published tuition price for incoming freshmen and transfer students.

“Over the past 25 years, average college tuition and fees in the United States has increased more than 440 percent,” said Belmont Abbey College President, Dr. William K. Thierfelder. “At more than four times the rate of inflation, that’s not sustainable for the average American family so it’s time to reverse the trend.”

All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

November 30, 2012

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: How sex work has replaced a bar job for some students who struggle to pay bills. “Undergraduates have traditionally pulled pints or waited tables to pay their way through university, but a growing body of research suggests that a significant number are now turning to sex work to make ends meet.” Complete with non-exploitative pole-dancing photo.

November 29, 2012

I MENTIONED the new Dresden Files book, Cold Days, earlier and reader Don Simpson emails: “Cold Days is by far the best of the series. I just finished it and WOW.” I downloaded it, but haven’t started it yet — I made myself wait until I shipped off my Popular Mechanics column tonight.

November 29, 2012

FIGHTING THE POWER: Tom Spaulding writes: “Gizmodo writer tries to pimp anti-Reagan rap song, gets schooled by the commenters.”

November 29, 2012

CHANGE: Sorry Kids… Obama Forgot to Tell College Students He Cut Pell Grants Before Election.

November 29, 2012

SYRIA’S INTERNET GOES DOWN.

November 29, 2012

AT AMAZON, Top Picks in Video Games.

Also, Gift Cards Galore!

November 29, 2012

SENATE PASSES anti-indefinite-detention bill.

November 29, 2012

NICK GILLESPIE: Is John Boehner Dumb Enough to Take $400 Billion in Cuts a Decade From Now in Exchange for $1.2 Trillion in Tax Hikes That Start ASAP?

November 29, 2012

I’M GLAD THE SOBER FOLKS AT BUZZFEED are above running this demeaning image. Oh, wait . . . .

November 29, 2012

GO TO LAW SCHOOL, GRADS, BECAUSE WHAT ELSE IS THERE? “A law dean — Lawrence E. Mitchell of Case Western — argues that ‘Law School Is Worth the Money’… because what else are you going to do with the money you don’t have your life?”

November 29, 2012

AT AMAZON, top deals in Computers & Accessories.

Also, new Christmas Lightning Deals every hour, so keep checking back.

November 29, 2012

LOOKING FOR YEAR-END CHARITABLE DONATIONS? Consider supporting The Foresight Institute, which addresses all sorts of interesting nanotechnology issues.

I also recommend the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and the Lifeboat Foundation. And don’t forget the Cato Institute, and the Institute for Justice.

November 29, 2012

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Ignore GDP and the Fiscal Cliff, U.S. Is Already in Recession: ECRI’s Achuthan.

There’s another reason to wonder if the GDP numbers tell us as much as we think: Ugly Q3 GDP Confirms Personal Consumption Collapsing; Headline “Growth” Driven By Government, Inventory Accumulation. Oh, well, so long as nobody noticed before the election.

November 29, 2012

EMILY LITELLA WEIGHS IN on the Rice nomination.

November 29, 2012

MEXICO: Beauty Queen Died With Gun in Hand.

November 29, 2012

RON PAUL’S Exit Interview.

November 29, 2012

ALL OF US SHOULD HOPE TO DO AS WELL: Female Store Clerk Gets in Gun Fight With 3 Armed Robbers and Wins.

November 29, 2012

TOM MAGUIRE: Walk, Don’t Run To The Gym. I was going to make a Ventures joke, but I couldn’t come up with anything.

November 29, 2012

SUSAN RICE HAS INVESTMENTS with companies doing business with Iran.

November 29, 2012

MERYL YOURISH has posted some free chapters of her new book, Darkness Rising.

November 29, 2012

WHITE HOUSE BAD FAITH: Boehner Angered by Leak of Phone Call. “Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and Republican leaders are fuming after a late night phone call with President Barack Obama was leaked to the press, despite an agreement that it would not be, according to several GOP aides. Republicans believe the administration leaked details of the 30-minute Wednesday night phone call to Politico, which is causing them to question whether they can trust the White House to keep details private, a sentiment that has caused progress in the negotiations over the ‘fiscal cliff’ to stall.”

White House aides deny leaking it. Maybe it was the CIA folks who are listening to Obama’s calls. . . .

November 29, 2012

NEWS YOU CAN USE: What Turns A Hookup Into A Girlfriend.

November 29, 2012

WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING? Two-Thirds of Millionaires Left Britain to Avoid 50% Tax Rate.

November 29, 2012

THE INCREASING UNIMPORTANCE of imported oil. It’ll be even less important if fracking and the Keystone pipeline move forward.

November 29, 2012

CAN WE STOP MODERN DAY MAD SCIENTISTS? Forget geoengineering. I’d look at an infectious-disease expert with Deep Ecology beliefs. . . .

November 29, 2012

JIM BUTCHER FANS: The latest Dresden Files book is out.

November 29, 2012

FASTER, PLEASE: First Gene Therapy Successful Against Aging-Associated Decline: Mouse Lifespan Extended Up to 24% With a Single Treatment. How did I miss this?

November 29, 2012

SCIENCE: Can A Jellyfish Unlock The Secret of Immortality?

November 29, 2012

OUR BRIGHT NATIONAL FUTURE: 200 Square Foot Homes. “Austin, 23, sees the tiny home he’s building as perfect for Generation Y — underemployed, credit-crisis kids who know they will probably never achieve the ‘Mad Men’-era American ideal of a one-income family with a large house in the suburbs, two kids and two cars.”

Takeaway quote: “These tiny houses feels like we are going backwards.” I believe you mean Forward!

November 29, 2012

IS THE PRESS turning on Susan Rice? “Well, when Right Turn and Mother Jones agree, is there any room for doubt? (Or maybe it’s the sign of the apocalypse?)”

Related: “Rice was always expendable. She was the capsule into which the Benghazi scandal was enclosed for burial.”

Say, speaking of that, what about all the people who were rescued from the Consulate? What are their names? Why haven’t we heard anything from them?

UPDATE: Reader Robert Frick emails:

Regarding your question about the people rescued during the Benghazi attack on Sept 11, 2012, I would guess the reason the public has not been told who they are is because most if not all are CIA. The work they were doing may be classified and/or they are under a general order not to talk to the press. This is fairly common for people who work for intelligence services. Classified status of course has never stopped press outlets like the NY Times from publishing details of secret projects when it serves a political purpose. Still, I don’t see why an outfit like FOX News or a foreign press couldn’t at the very least publish a general expose that doesn’t reveal names.

Who the people extracted from Benghazi that night are is just one of the questions I’ve been waiting for the press to ask ever since we learned of this horrific incident. The others are what exactly was Ambassador Stevens doing in Benghazi the day he was murdered, and if the president really gave an order to do everything possible to help the remaining men still under attack, who countermanded him with the Stand Down order? I don’t know what’s more shameful – a likely presidential cover-up or the refusal of the American press to inquire seriously about it.

If all the people in the Consulate — not the CIA Annex a mile away, but the actual Consulate — were CIA, then that would be quite unusual, and would suggest that there was a lot going on. It would also support the claim that the attack on the consulate was an effort to free jihadis who had been seized and held for interrogation, though by all accounts that was going on over at the Annex. But who knows? There’s certainly not much press interest in reporting on it.

November 29, 2012

FROM MODERN INK, some recommended culinary blogs.

November 29, 2012

ANDREW TUTT: When Is Software Speech for Purposes of the First Amendment?

November 29, 2012

ORIN KERR ON The Mosaic Theory of the Fourth Amendment.

November 29, 2012

IN THE MAIL: From David Bernstein, Rehabilitating Lochner: Defending Individual Rights against Progressive Reform, now in paperback.

November 29, 2012

ROGER SIMON: ‘Mind Your Own Beeswax!’: How Social Conservatives Can Win By Losing.

November 29, 2012

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: College Degrees With The Worst Return On Investment.

November 29, 2012

JOURNALISM: Do you get the feeling AP editors are worried about being tried in absentia and sentenced to death? They’ve demonstrated that violence and intimidation work where they’re concerned. May they have joy of the incentive system they’re creating.

November 29, 2012

CHRISTIAN ADAMS: Why The Republican Party Can’t Do Anything About Ballot Security. Because they’re forbidden by a decades-old consent decree. “To the RNC’s credit, they’v tried to get out of it. So it is up to private citizens to make sure our polls are free from criminal conduct.”

November 29, 2012

WELL, MOST OF THE U.N. MEMBERSHIP HAS MORE IN COMMON WITH ARAFAT THAN WITH CIVILIZATION: Today The UN Will Make Arafat Proud and Steal Jewish Heritage.

November 29, 2012

AT AMAZON, Top Holiday Deals in Camera, Photo & Video.

Also, today only: Up to 65% Off Men’s and Women’s Cashmere.

November 29, 2012

LOWER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: THE TEXAS EDUCATION MIRACLE:

The Department of Education has just released its first state-by-state comparison of education statistics, and the report has a few surprises. Texas performed extremely well, tying five other states for the third-best graduation rate in the country, at 86 percent.

And Texas isn’t the only high-performing red state: Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Tennessee all place within the top ten as well. Meanwhile, New York, Rhode Island, and California, all of which take a traditional, high-spending, blue model approach to education, are closer to the middle of the pack , with graduation rates in the mid-70s.

This is convincing evidence against the popular notion that we can fix the public education system if only we are willing to spend more money. Not only does Texas do a better job of graduating its students than its blue state competition; it does so at a fraction of the cost per student.

Expect this report to get comparatively little press. . . .

November 29, 2012

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Jesse Jackson, Jr., Mel Reynolds, and a sordid tale of Chicago politics that reveals how Obama got his start.

November 29, 2012

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Ugly Q3 GDP Confirms Personal Consumption Collapsing; Headline “Growth” Driven By Government, Inventory Accumulation. You know, I’m beginning to wonder if they tried to fake the numbers upward for the election or something. As usual, Freddy Hayek called it.

November 29, 2012

IT WOULD BE AWESOME, THAT’S WHAT. DUH. What If NASA Could Figure Out the Math of a Workable Warp Drive? “A new line of research hopes to drastically reduce the amount of energy required for warping space-time, and get us to Alpha Centauri in just two weeks time.”

November 29, 2012

YA THINK? WaPo: Fight over Susan Rice holds political risks for White House. “Even moderate Republican and onetime Rice supporter Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) declined to offer her backing after their 75-minute private session Wednesday.” You’ll notice that she’s not getting much help from Dem Senators, either. And given the failure of her high-profile meetings to win over critics, she hasn’t demonstrated much in the way of hands-on diplomatic skills. . . .

UPDATE: Neil Munro: Obama throws Rice at media, distracts reporters from White House silence on Egypt. “White House officials have reignited the post-Benghazi furor over a low-budget anti-Islam YouTube video just as President Barack Obama’s signature Muslim-outreach strategy is facing a disastrous and humiliating collapse on global TV.”

November 29, 2012

INSTAVISION: Why the No-Tax Pledge Is An IQ Test for Republicans. I talk with Cato’s Dan Mitchell about the fiscal cliff, and why the GOP keeps falling for the same trick. Plus, Dan and I brainstorm on tax increases the Republicans should get behind. I like his proposal for an excise tax on CEO salaries, since so many of them seem to think we’re undertaxed.

November 29, 2012

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Michael Barone: Affirmative action and a war on free speech have taken a toll on higher education. “The willingness to lie systematically seems to be a requirement for such jobs.”

November 29, 2012

WELL, THAT’S WHAT THE DEMOCRATS SEEM TO WANT: Conn Carroll: We’re Going Over The Cliff.

November 29, 2012

SEE, ONCE CALIFORNIA WOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE LEAD FOR SOMETHING LIKE THIS: Zurich to open Drive-In Sex Boxes to get prostitutes off the streets.

November 29, 2012

BRUCE THORNTON: The Rise of Faux Diversity.

November 29, 2012

DIVERSITY PROBLEM: 96% of Political Donations From Ivy League Faculty & Staff Went to Obama.

November 29, 2012

CREATING THE ARCHITECTURAL LANGUAGE OF 20TH CENTURY AMERICA: A review by Ed Driscoll of a new biography of Mies van der Rohe.

November 29, 2012

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: 5 Things To Know Before Taking Out A Student Loan. I’m tempted to say, “Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, and don’t.” But that’s a bit of an exaggeration. There are a few circumstances where student loans may be justified, but they should be viewed with extreme distrust.

November 29, 2012

BOB OWENS: Washington Post Goes Full Bigot:

I guess I should consider myself fortunate to have even appeared on their radar as an anthropological experiment, being a white, southern, public university graduate. It is not something of which the Post editorial board approves.

The Post editorial board, you see, is a thing of rare beauty and diversity.

Harvard-educated Fred Hiatt has been with the paper since 1981, as has Harvard-educated Lee Hockstader, Harvard-educated Stephen Stromberg, Harvard-educated Charles Lane, and Harvard-educated Opinions editor Marisa Bellack.

Yale-educated Jackson Diehl and Ruth Marcus are the Ivy League “outsiders.” Jo-Ann Armao, another white liberal, comes from the University of Buffalo, along with progressive cartoonist Tom Toles. Jonathan Capehart, the sole African-American on the board, shares the same diversity of thought as his colleagues. His difference from his peers is literally skin-deep, his individual editorials interchangeable with those of his peers in terms of view and substance.

There are no westerners, southerners, or Midwesterners on the Post editorial board, nor are there any libertarians, Republicans, or conservatives.

Most have been with the paper for decades. All are creatures of the Beltway, living inside the cocoon of Washington, D.C., itself or in its wealthy suburbs, which are the richest in the nation. Hiatt himself lives in Chevy Chase, where the median family income is more than $200,000 per year, and the average home price is $855,000.

The Post editorial board is insular, isolated, and lock-step liberal in belief.

And because of this, they still don’t appreciate how much they damaged their brand with a single editorial.

November 29, 2012

DR. HOUSING BUBBLE: Modified mortgages re-enter shadow inventory – By next month the housing crisis will have cost 5,000,000 Americans their homes via foreclosures. Distressed inventory still above 5,000,000. Funny, everything was sounding all hopey-changey just a few weeks ago.