Lessons of a very sexy pirate costume – “I was in love with my own incongruity – being a poetry-spouting college graduate in a pleather miniskirt. And I loved this notion of doing something at which I was entirely unsuited, and which seemed to go so much against my personality. I would never have said it at the time, but I very much believed I was above being a fun-loving pirate wench selling shots. I had read Meno and lived in cardigans and went to museums for fun. I was a terrific little snob who thought she knew everything, and subsequently, I was about to learn a great deal. … As ridiculous as it sounds, that was the first time I became aware that clever people are buried in every nook and cranny of life. It is astonishing that no one pointed this out to me sooner.“
The nexus of elite formation and higher education for American New Class – “The system of high school college placement and higher education itself induces fantastic risk aversion, and that is accelerating, in large part on account of grade inflation that leave students in high school (applying to college) and in the university compressed against a top grade – in which there is mostly room to fall and fail. When the median grade in the liberal arts is an A-, you mostly have only to go down and given the cost of the credential and its consequences – well in excess of any educational value in the liberal arts – you will act in the most risk averse, strategic way and take only classes in which you already know you will do at least that well. The analogue of risk aversion in higher education in real life is downward mobility.”
Think Tanks Are Nonpartisan? Think Again – “One of the strangest institutions in Washington – and perhaps the hardest to comprehend from the outside – is the think tank, that quasi-academic, sort-of-political organization that offers, as its primary output, ideas. Universally, think tanks claim to be nonpartisan, and as tax-exempt nonprofits, this is a basic requirement in the tax code. But most people in Washington know the ideological leanings of think tanks that may obscure this fact in their titles: There’s the Cato Institute (libertarian), the Heritage Foundation (conservative), the Brookings Institution (moderate liberal) and the Center for American Progress (progressive).”
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CBO: Longest Period of High Unemployment Since Great Depression – “After three years with unemployment topping 8 percent, the U.S. has seen the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression, the Congressional Budget Office noted in a report issued today. And, despite some recent good news on the economic front, the CBO is still predicting that unemployment will remain above 8 percent until 2014. The report also notes that, including those who haven’t sought work in the past four weeks and those who are working part-time but seeking full-time employment, the unemployment rate would be 15 percent.”
Over-regulated America – “The home of laissez-faire is being suffocated by excessive and badly written regulation. … Two forces make American laws too complex. One is hubris. Many lawmakers seem to believe that they can lay down rules to govern every eventuality. The other force that makes American laws complex is lobbying. The government’s drive to micromanage so many activities creates a huge incentive for interest groups to push for special favours.“
The Case For Dying Broke – “In your 60s live off taxable accounts and your corporate pension. Leave your Social Security and IRA untouched until you’re 70. Deferring Social Security benefits buys you, in effect, an incremental inflation-protected annuity. Deferring the IRA cash-out makes tax sense. When you turn 70 put a third to a half of your money into fixed annuities, using the IRA. Most of the outlay should be for immediate annuities. A sliver should be used to buy an annuity that kicks in only if and when you reach age 80. That’s to keep up with inflation. For every dollar invested at age 70, a male can get 7.4 cents of immediate annual income or 20 cents of annual income starting a decade later. With your basic needs covered you can take big risks with the rest of your money. Put it in stocks and junk bonds.”
Liberals, Don’t Homeschool Your Kids – “This overheated hostility toward public schools runs throughout the new literature on liberal homeschooling, and reveals what is so fundamentally illiberal about the trend: It is rooted in distrust of the public sphere, in class privilege, and in the dated presumption that children hail from two-parent families, in which at least one parent can afford (and wants) to take significant time away from paid work in order to manage a process—education—that most parents entrust to the community at-large. … Of course, no one wants to sacrifice his own child’s education in order to better serve someone else’s kid. … If progressives want to improve schools, we shouldn’t empty them out. We ought to flood them with our kids, and then debate vociferously what they ought to be doing.” Charles Murray, author of Coming Apart, agrees with the author, except he says that what school your kids attend doesn’t really matter. He sent his children to public schools.
Home-schooling demographics change, expand – “There was a time when Heather Kirchner thought mothers who home-schooled their children were only the types ‘who wore long skirts and praised Jesus and all that.’ … Secular organizations across the country report their numbers are growing. Though government records indicate religion is still the driving force in home schooling, members of these organizations say the face of home schooling is changing, not because of faith, but because of what parents see as shortcomings in public and private schools.”