Assorted Links 6/25/09

The No-Rights List

  • Preparing and Delivering Congressional Testimony, July 30, 2009
  • States Fight Medicaid Expansion – “Some governors are pushing to scale back or kill proposals to expand Medicaid to provide health-care coverage to the uninsured, raising a new challenge to President Barack Obama’s effort to overhaul the system. Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor, is funded through a combination of federal and state tax money. Proposals in the House and Senate would expand the program to cover at least a third of the nation’s 46 million uninsured, but states are worried they would get stuck with a big part of the tab.”
  • AmeriCorps feared bad press if IG investigation continued – “Walpin’s objections were the subject of a now-controversial May 20 meeting in which Walpin, to use his term, ‘lectured’ the board on what he believed was its mistake in approving the Johnson settlement. On the morning of the meeting, the Sacramento Bee reported that a man named Rick Maya, who worked with Kevin Johnson in the St. HOPE project, claimed that Johnson’s emails had been deleted during the time of Walpin’s investigation. The Maya news suggested that there might have been obstruction of justice in the St. HOPE affair, and Walpin used it to drive home his point that the board should have let his investigation stand. … Later in the meeting, members questioned Walpin about his intentions. It was at that point that they say Walpin became confused and disoriented. But whatever Walpin’s demeanor, it appears that board members, of both parties, were worried about the possibility of embarrassing new revelations involving a sensational case they thought had been closed. After the meeting, the board began an accelerated effort to remove Walpin, compiling an informal list of grievances against him — he could be difficult, he telecommuted, he was somehow disabled — that the White House would ultimately cite as cause for his firing. But there is no doubt that, whatever the other reasons, the board feared that a revival of a scandal they thought was in the past would be embarrassing to the newly-prominent AmeriCorps.”
  • BigLaw: How to Work With Very Difficult Clients
  • Housing Bust and Mobility
  • Deflating our way to Prosperity: Five Major Sectors of our Economy Pointing to Demand Destruction Price Deflation. Education, Wages, Housing, Stocks, and Automobiles. – “As we highlighted early in the article, only two areas are now seeing inflation. Those are medical care and education. Education I hate to say is also experiencing a bubble with easy financing. How many people do you know who went or sent their kids to a private non-elite college paying $40,000 a year in tuition to pursue a career that wouldn’t pay more than $30,000 a year? Clearly, many of these people would have never been able to afford the tuition cost if it wasn’t for easy access to student loans.”
  • How Difficult Is It To Post A Bill On The White House Website For Five Days?
  • Insightful books on politics, written by politicians
  • Daredevil: Riding motorbikes without a helmet, flying planes while half asleep–not to mention discussing books he’d never read and using words he didn’t understand–William F. Buckley courted adventure in all that he did. Here, the conservative godfather’s onetime protégé and longtime nemesis [Garry Wills] fondly recalls their friendship–and argues that Buckley was not the snob many thought him to be.
  • PBGC Assumes Pensions at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc
  • Beating the Heart Association diet is child’s play – “Elimination of wheat and sugars yields dramatic effects on basic lipids, especially reductions in triglycerides of up to several hundred milligrams, increased HDL, reduced LDL.”
  • How Much Dough Did Clear Burn Through? – “Clear was, as I said yesterday, a very expensive failure. With two or three people staffing its access lanes at 18 airports, and with one or two others staffing the enrollment kiosks in terminals, the weekly nut had to have been quite impressive.
    And that doesn’t count the money spent on the GE-produced electronic shoe-scanner kiosks that the TSA adamantly refused to approve for security use, or the equipment to produce biometric ID cards at each Clear location. Or the development of other technology, which was well underway.
    Clear was the brand name of the version of the ill-fated ‘registered traveler’ program that Steven Brill’s Verified Identity Pass Inc. tried mightily, and futilely, to install as a component of airport security. The TSA, as I said yesterday, wanted no part of private-enterprise incursion on its security turf, and successfully bled Clear to death.”

  • The U.N.’s 10-Year Plan to Eradicate Drugs: How’d That Go? – “In 1998 Pino Arlacchi, executive director of the U.N. Drug Control Program, declared: ‘Global coca leaf and opium poppy acreage totals an area less than half the size of Puerto Rico. There is no reason it cannot be eliminated in little more than a decade.’ How’s that going? Today Antonio Maria Costa, Arlacchi’s successor at what is now the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), issued a 314-page report that takes stock of what was accomplished during the U.N. Decade Against Drug Abuse. Among other things, estimated global production of opium more than doubled, from 4,346 metric tons in 1998 to 8,890 in 2007. During the same period estimated cocaine production rose from 825 to 994 metric tons. But don’t be discouraged, Costa says; a century after the dawn of international drug control efforts, we’re about to turn the corner.”
  • Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on glycemic control in outpatients with severe type 2 diabetes
  • Not Every Child Is Secretly a Genius – “Multiple intelligences put every child on an equal footing, granting the hope of identical value in an ostensible meritocracy. The theory fits well with a number of the assumptions that have dominated educational philosophy for years. The movements that took flower in the mid-20th century have argued for the essential sameness of all healthy human beings and for a policy of social justice that treats all people the same. Above all, many educators have adhered to the social construction of reality — the idea that redefining the way we treat children will redefine their abilities and future successes. (Perhaps that’s what leads some parents to put their faith in ‘Baby Einstein’ videos: the hope that a little nurturing television will send their kids to Harvard.) It would be difficult to overestimate the influence of Gardner’s work, both in repudiating that elitist, unfair concept of ‘g’ and in guiding thought in psychology as it applies to education.

    Finally, as Waterhouse noted in her exchange with Gardner, the theory of multiple intelligences has little value for clinical testing of intelligence or the prediction of future performance. ‘G’ alone is highly predictive of both academic and work success. The other intelligences, or whatever they are, add very little.
    Part of the confusion that has allowed the theory to survive long past the stage of empirical disrepute is the irascible debate regarding what intelligence is in the first place. Intelligence is among the most stable of psychological constructs. It is as possible to define it both operationally and conceptually as it is for almost any other psychological variable, although that might not be saying much. At worst, intelligence is like pornography: I may not be able to define it to the satisfaction of all, but I sure know it when I see it (or, in the case of intelligence, when I come across its absence). At the optimistic extreme, a reasonable definition of intelligence is not hard to come by. Intelligence: an innate cognitive ability that powers learning. Perfect? No. But that’s basically it.
    Aren’t there plenty of Ph.D.’s who can’t fix their cars? Sure, but the majority of them could learn if they were so inclined. An individual with low ‘g’ is going to struggle at both book learning and auto repair (although perhaps car mechanics would prove more manageable than literary theory or quantum physics). In other words, individuals high in “g” are going to be able to learn a wider range of activities with greater ease than individuals low in ‘g’.

    Many people like to think that any child, with the proper nurturance, can blossom into some kind of academic oak tree, tall and proud. It’s just not so.
    Multiple intelligences provides a kind of cover to preserve that fable.”

  • A&P Mechanic’s Cable Key Ring
  • Amazing footage of lunar probe’s final moments before it crashes into Moon
  • Bing and Google Agree: Slow Pages Lose Users
  • Richard Marx, One Of The Artists Jammie Thomas Supposedly Shared, Blasts Verdict, Apologizes
  • Amanda Palmer Connects With Fans, Gives ‘Em A Reason To Buy… And Makes $19k In 10 Hours

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