Assorted Links 10/30/09

Ask The Best And Brightest: Are Bad Drivers Born That Way?

  • Writing to Persuade: Hone Your Persuasive Writing Skills, November 13, 2009
  • Capitol Hill Workshop, November 18-20, 2009
  • Understanding Congressional Budgeting and Appropriations, December 1, 2009
  • Advanced Legislative Strategies, December 9-11, 2009
  • The Black Conservative Tradition – “In the latest New Republic, historian Steven Hahn has a long and very interesting review of the recent Booker T. Washington biography Up from History. As Hahn discusses, Washington famously championed economic advancement and education over political activism as the key to black equality, an approach Washington perhaps best articulated in his ‘Atlanta Compromise’ speech of 1895.
    . . .
    Actually, the great Harlem Renaissance author and journalist George Schuyler–who was known as the ‘black H.L. Mencken’–published “general rightist sentiments” long before Clarence Thomas came on the scene, including Schuyler’s unambiguously titled 1966 autobiography Black and Conservative. And the celebrated novelist and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston both endorsed conservative Sen. Robert A Taft in the 1952 presidential election and repeatedly attacked FDR’s New Deal, including this 1951 assault from the pages of the Saturday Evening Post: ”
  • Student Loans are the New Indentured Servitude – “This former student’s debt is far from extraordinary. It is, in fact, tragically ordinary, as student loans have become the 21st century version of indentured servitude.
    . . .
    Now we are currently asking children, 17, 18 or 19 years old, to try and assess how much of a student loan debt burden they can handle vis-a-vis their future income over their entire lives. But, especially compared to their grandparents, uncertainty is so much greater now. The consumption smoothing line invokes a world where everyone with a college degree will get a stable, solid job with certainty (and your employer will, of course, pick up the health care tab).”
  • Why [College Admissions] Selectivity Is Important – “There is, of course, a linkage between selectivity and funding. Politicians, alumni, and donors are far more likely to want to fund institutions that can show they’re admitting and producing quality students. In this respect, the guidance that more poorly-funded institutions should take from Hoxby is doubly clear: do everything possible to increase selectivity and admit better students.”
  • Commercial-Real-Estate Crush: The Next Crisis Not to Be Wasted? – “The threat of multiple trillion-dollar commercial-real-estate write downs is just the kind of crisis that the folks in our government and at the Federal Reserve need to help them rob the American citizenry. Just think of it: irrational exuberance funded by the Fed and soon to be backed by the full faith and credit of the US government.

    If then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke could convince Congress to expose the taxpayers to several trillion dollars in the face of the residential-real-estate bubble and a handful of struggling (but too big to fail) companies, imagine the vast sums of currency Secretary Geithner may deem necessary to protect against this larger, looming crisis. Indeed, there is already evidence of the Federal Reserve team entering this game.”

  • Obama’s Alpha Delusion – “Obama hates being compared to socialists, so I’ll refrain and compare him to a communist. In the state published hagiography, Divine Stories About the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-Il is presented as someone excellent at golf, pistol shooting, technology, and battlefield courage. He’s basically better than everyone at everything. For a communist state that belief is necessary, otherwise their system is too centralized.

    Obama and his experts are presumably more efficient than the market at allocating more resources to productive technologies. The idea that since the market won’t provide funds, perhaps the informed expected return on battery investment is truly low, seems absurd: how could selfish oafs who run business know better than an articulate, caring, public servant? It’s The Secret writ large: think it true, and it becomes so. No wonder it’s a popular idea: would that it were true.
    . . .
    The Barak Obamas and Paul Krugmans, having excelled at Harvard or MIT, can more easily think they actually know more than everyone else, leading to the classic Fatal Conceit of planners everywhere.”

  • Testosterone Drops In Guys Whose Candidate Loses – “I’m setting aside 2 seconds while I write this sentence to feel sympathy for guys who become so invested in a political candidate that their testosterone drops if their candidate loses. Really, you should focus on achieving for yourself, not depend on political candidates to give you a feeling of power.”
  • Debating the future of Medicare and Medicaid – “The point was raised that this may be a case of younger generations being used as the country’s credit card, but Howard countered that argument by warning that we can’t afford to see the cost of health care continue to rise. Without reform, future graduates might be faced with the choice of saving for a mortgage or paying for health insurance.”


  • Libertarianism and Culture – “And of course, the big one: Why do women have more autonomy now than they did 100 years ago? Cultural libertarians might suggest that it’s the result of specific actions to increase the ability of women to have access to markets, as well as a greater recognition of women to have the recognized capacity of self-governance. Our Becker-ites would say that it’s simply the result of technology (the pill) and structural labor market adjustments (a move from manufacturing, benefiting men, to service, benefiting women).”
  • Homebuyer Tax Credit – “Either way, the flood of sellers should temper sales prices.”
  • Thick, Sticky Rhetoric – “Everything about this debate has become so staged, such poorly painted stage construction, an illusion from both sides, that it is difficult not to be insulted at every turn. Are we supposed to just cave in here like comforted children?”
  • The Palm Pre costs $1,250 less than the iPhone or Droid over 2 years – “If you are looking at an unlimited voice and data plan, you will spend $1,250 less over two years. There are still substantial savings even with more limited plans. The phones, on paper, have fairly similar specifications and capabilities and in terms of Network quality, speed, coverage ranking I would say Verizon, Sprint, AT&T in that order.”
  • Grasping At Straws – Attacking Android – “For many of us, we can get any of the apps we want for the iPod Touch. The Apple interface is great, the thousands of apps are great, and the ones that need Internet access can be handled with WiFi, which seems to be everywhere nowadays. In fact, for those of us with a portable router, and a Verizon USB stick modem, or for those of us with a MiFi portable router, it is. So, the Droid isn’t an iPhone replacement. It is a replacement for whatever cell phone or smart phone we have been carrying.”
  • Ad Agency Claims It Owns The Right To Product Placement; Sues Competitors – “A few months back, we wrote about how ad agency Denizen wasn’t just claiming to have patented product placement (check it out: patent 6,859,936) but was suing another ad agency, WPP, for violating the patent. Perhaps Denizen’s next patents will be on claiming ownership of obvious ideas and suing your competitors, because it’s still at it. The latest is that it’s suing media agency Mindshare for incorporating the brand Vaseline into the TV show Maneater.”

Balls of Steal (Aka Proud to be human)

  • RIM and Apple top U.S. Smartphone market share – “The iPhone also ranked first in future purchases plans of those polled who did not currently own a smartphone, but plan to purchase one in the next 90 days. Also 36% indicated a preference towards the iPhone, 27% towards the BlackBerry, and 8% towards Palm.”
  • Hospitals are a hell of a place to get sick – “I laugh about this every time it happens: A patient gets hospitalized for whatever reason and the hospital staff see the supplement list with vitamin D, fish oil at high doses, iodine, etc. and they panic. They tell the patient about bleeding, cancer, and death, issue stern warnings about how unreliable and dangerous nutritional supplements can be.”
  • Fat acceptance in NJ Governor Race – “Asked if a governor needs to set a good example, Christie retorts, ‘I am setting an example…We have to spur our economy. Dunkin Donuts, International House of Pancakes, those people need to work too.'”
  • What If Mechanics And Nutritionists Switched Jobs? – “What kind of fuel are you using?”

    “Only the best. Whole grain cereals, potatoes, wheat bread, lots of fruit –”

    “Wo, wo, wo. So you’re stuffing the tank full of sugar?”

    “No, of course not! Whole grain cereals, potatoes-”

    “Same fuel, different name. It all turns to sugar in the tank, buddy. You got any idea what all that sugar does to the rest of the system? You’re working the blood sugar regulator to death. Half of what you’re eating is probably going straight into the ol’ storage tanks. No wonder you’re eating so much.”

    “But … uh … they always told me –”

    “Forget what they told you. They don’t know jack. You want clean combustion in the engine, stop putting sugar in the tank. Your engine needs oil, and I don’t mean the cheap synthetic stuff, either. I’m talking about real butter, olive oil, and lots of good quality saturated fat.”

  • Bring Your Contacts Together and Keep Them Safe – “Gmail. LinkedIn. Facebook. Your phone’s address book. Your contacts may live in many places online, yet there’s always the possibility one of these places will disappear or crash, taking your information with it for good. Or perhaps you simply decide to close your account with the network.

    You should consider importing the contacts from these networks into your main address book app. We use these services to connect with people, update our statuses and play with whatever features they contain, but we don’t always remember that these resources have contacts that belong in our primary address book.”

  • Bachmann Grayson Overdrive: Time Miffed As American People Get Moments of Comic Relief During Bush-Obama Tragedy – “Hey Time, your readers are almost definitely poorer and less contented this year than they were last year. They’re watching one of the biggest financial swindles in the history of the country unfold, and they’re helpless to do anything about it. They’ve seen the national political leadership pass directly from incompetence to incompetence, and there are several actual wars going on. You may think your readers should be more worried about a couple of populist madcaps. But do you have to suck out even the tiny bit of joy people might get from having slightly easier and cheaper access to old-timey political theater?”

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