Assorted Links 9/28/09

baby sign language

  • Speechwriting: Preparing Speeches and Oral Presentations, October 16, 2009
  • Understanding The Regulatory Process: Working with Federal Regulatory Agencies, October 20, 2009
  • Effective Executive Briefings, October 23, 2009
  • Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing, November 12, 2009
  • Writing to Persuade: Hone Your Persuasive Writing Skills, November 13, 2009
  • *Too Big to Save*, by Robert Pozen – “For the last two years I’ve been receiving requests — email and otherwise — for a readable, educating book on the financial crisis. And while various books on the crisis have had their merits, no one of them has fit that bill. Until now. Robert Pozen’s Too Big to Save: How to Fix the U.S. Financial System is the single best source for figuring out what happened.”
  • Barack Obama, College Administrator – “If you are confused by the first nine months of the Obama administration, take solace that there is at least a pattern. The president, you see, thinks America is a university and that he is our campus president. Keep that in mind, and almost everything else makes sense.
    . . .
    Academic culture also promotes this idea that highly educated professionals deigned to give up their best years for arduous academic work and chose to be above the messy rat race. Although supposedly far better educated, smarter (or rather the ‘smartest’), and more morally sound than lawyers, CEOs, and doctors, academics gripe that they, unfairly, are far worse paid. And they lack the status that should accrue to those who teach the nation’s youth, correct their papers, and labor over lesson plans. Obama reminded us ad nauseam of all the lucre he passed up on Wall Street in order to return to the noble pursuit of organizing and teaching in Chicago.

    In short, campus people have had the bar raised on themselves at every avenue. Suggest to an academic that university pay is not bad for ninth months’ work, often consisting of an actual six to nine hours a week in class, and you will be considered guilty of heresy if not defamation.”

  • Steward Brand, Slumlord – “Whole Earth Catalog founder and onetime Merry Prankster Stewart Brand is one of twelve thinkers asked this month by Wired magazine to contribute to a list of ‘twelve shocking ideas that could change the world.’ In this brief piece, Brand praises slums as good for the environment:”
  • Lobbying – “So I’ll ask a different question, as a form of a modest proposal to get the money out of politics. Why should it be legal to make a political contribution to a candidate who is not running for an office that represents you as a constituent? I do not think it should be. Imagine how different this senator’s incentives would be if he could only raise money from the residents of Montana as individuals and not from organized interests.”
  • The Condo Glut – “But this is a reminder that new high rise condos are not included in the new home inventory report from the Census Bureau, and are also not included in the existing home sales report from the NAR (unless they are listed). These uncounted units are concentrated in Miami, Las Vegas, San Diego and other large cities – but as these articles show, there are new condos almost everywhere.”
  • House Value = 15 x Ann. Rent – “So what is residential real estate worth today? The answer to that question is, ‘About 15 times the annual rent’.”
  • What would FDR do? – “In my Sunday Examiner column, I quoted from Barack Obama’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly last Wednesday, in a way that indicated a certain disapproval.”
  • Costco Fuel Settlement – “Costco, along with other fuel retailers, has been sued over the way it measures gallons of fuel in some states. The putative class plaintiffs have settled the case–for zero dollars for the class, and ten million dollars for the attorneys.”
  • You Have Two Cows… – “And lo and behold, there were 340,000 entries/versions under ‘you have two cow jokes,’ with entire web sites dedicated to them and entries dating back to early days of the internet. As a matter of fact, a web site tells us that ‘You have two cows’ jokes originated as a parody of typical ‘Economics 101’ examples, meant to show the limitations of economic systems and to point out flaws and absurdities in those systems.”
  • Congressman’s 72 Hour Rule Suggestion Is Inadequate – “In response to the growing support for a discharge petition to force a vote on the Read the Bill bill, Rep. Tim Walz is circulating a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to enforce the already existing 72 hour rule.”

Is Your Alarm Too Quiet? Hook Up A Pair Of 140-Decibel Horns!

  • Vanity Fair’s Disappearing Demographic – “One thing that interests me about the magazine is how often it features members of the Kennedy family. … Still, I have the oddball notion that the Kennedys are pretty passé from the newsmaking standpoint, especially since Teddy has gone on to whatever reward he merits.”
  • My Rich Uncle – “With consumers and businesses not only cutting back but actually reducing debt, A Rich Uncle Is Picking Up the Borrowing Slack.”
  • Where Does Lost Luggage Wind Up? Terminal Man Finds Out – “False teeth, a hearing aid, hundreds of cell phones and iPods, and even Uncle Bob: These are the kinds of things that regularly turn up lost in a typical airport. … Cell phones and iPods are frequent visitors to James’ office. ‘On an average month, we’ll get anywhere from eight hundred to twelve hundred items,’ he said. ‘A large portion of those are cell phones.'”
  • New Genetic Analysis Sheds Light on Origins of Indian Castes – “The research team analyzed the DNA of 132 individuals from India and neighboring regions, dividing them into 25 distinct groups based on geography, caste and language. They calculated how genetically ‘closed’ each of these groups were. In the caste system it is rare to marry someone from another class, making caste societies very closed, or ‘endogamous.’ If this endogamy continues over many generations, it will leave a behind a genetic signature for scientists to discover. Reich and his team found such a signature, indicating a long history of endogamy in several of the groups. In fact, the research team calculated that the DNA of six of the groups can be traced back to just a few individuals who lived anywhere from 30 to more than 100 generations ago. Assuming a generation time of 25 years, that establishes the existence of the caste system in the range of 750 to more than 2,500 years ago — long before the British colonial era.”
  • AT&T, Google Spat Over Google Voice Blocked Calls Is Important… But Totally Misses The Point – “However (and this is important), the actual issue here is not net neutrality. The real issue is ridiculous regulatory setups in certain rural areas, that force unnaturally high connection fees on telcos to rural telcos, creating a massive arbitrage opportunity that the Free Conference call offerings making good (and profitable) use of in offering their services. Basically, every inbound call to these telcos requires massive per minute fees from the connecting service provider to the rural telco. It’s so expensive that as long as the rural telco can offer a service (such as conference calls) at a cheaper rate, they make money on every inbound call — but it’s all due to outdated regulations that ‘protect’ those telcos.”

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