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September 16, 2014

"Every Type Of Email College Students Send Their Professors"

Bullseye. A+

“Hey Dr. X, I actually have three other assignments due the same day as your assignment, and your class is the least important to me, so can I just not do it, or do it late or something? Thanks in advance!!!”

“hey professor!!! noticed that im getting a D- in the class, any chance you could make that a B+, otherwise i wont be able to graduate this spring and my entire life will be literally ruined forever. ps i probably won’t be in class tomorrow my hands are kind of cramping up”

Read the whole thing.

Link courtesy of my younger daughter. 

"Sinkhole of bureaucracy"

I would say I didn't believe it, but these days I'd believe almost anything about the federal government.

This is one of the weirdest workplaces in the U.S. government — both for where it is and for what it does.

Here, inside the caverns of an old Pennsylvania limestone mine, there are 600 employees of the Office of Personnel Management. Their task is nothing top-secret. It is to process the retirement papers of the government’s own workers.

But that system has a spectacular flaw. It still must be done entirely by hand, and almost entirely on paper.

Link courtesy of Patrick S.

"5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die"

Some nice examples of a lesson I tried very hard to teach my students: it's a good idea to check original sources

Much of what we hear about the plight of American women is false. Some faux facts have been repeated so often they are almost beyond the reach of critical analysis. Though they are baseless, these canards have become the foundation of Congressional debates, the inspiration for new legislation and the focus of college programs. Here are five of the most popular myths that should be rejected by all who are genuinely committed to improving the circumstances of women . . . 

"Bond market conundrum redux"

A distiniguished economist, James Hamilton, tries to figure out what's going on with long-term interest rates and equities

One old "joke" about conservatives is now obsolete

There's a joke about conservatives that runs along the line of "A conservative is someone who's desperately afraid that someone, somewhere is having fun."

But now in the very, very liberal UK Guardian we have this: "Brunch is a waste of time, money and drunken pleasure that you don't have".

(Is it satire? No, I don't think so, but make up your own minds.)

September 15, 2014

"21 Actual Analogies Used By High School Students in English Essays."

No doubt riches and fame await some of these kids.

(Link courtesy of M. Mace.)

"Are Republicans smart enough to become the party of the millennials?"

I'd like to think so, but I have my doubts. (Irving Kristol memorably labeled Republicans "The Stupid Party".)

Chamorro-Premuzic notes that millennials are more likely to highly value freedom and independence, and to overestimate their own talents and to underestimate the difficulties inherent in entrepreneurial endeavors.

The key here is millennials hate to be told what to do. They want to do things their way and be creative about it. Getting rich isn't their first priority. . . . 

Regardless why millennials want to be independent, that desire could make them unusually receptive to a political message that emphasizes the importance of encouraging entrepreneurial freedom.

"The Simple Lesson We Should Learn from Global Economics"

Daniel J. Mitchell, senior fellow at Cato:

I very rarely feel sorry for statists. After all, these are the people who think that their feelings of envy and inadequacy justify bigger and more coercive government. . . .

But I nonetheless feel sorry for statists when I see them fumble, stumble, duck, and weave when asked why global evidence contradicts them.

"Illinois Racing Against California for Biggest Pension Disaster"

My money's on Illinois. But it'll be close.

More: Jeffrey Dorfman, "Public Pensions Are Still Marching To Their Death".

If Detroit makes other cities and states face reality and adjust their pension plans to economic reality rather than political agendas, at least Detroit’s poor employees and retired workers will have done something positive for millions of other public sector employees out there. In the meantime, public sector employees and their union leaders need to make a hard choice: settle for realistic, smaller pensions that they are sure to collect or gamble on larger pensions that can only be paid for with well-above average future investment returns or by huge tax increases. Bigger pensions only look attractive until you factor in the risk of collecting nothing.

Still more: "Pension 'spiking' to cost CalPERS nearly $800 million, controller says".

Taxpayers and local governments are on the hook to pay nearly $800 million stemming from "legal" pension spiking over the next two decades, the state controller said Tuesday.

But please remember, pension "spiking" is just "another name for the things we do together".

Sounds like good news

"Why More MBAs Are Becoming Entrepreneurs Straight Out Of Business School".

A decade ago, nearly all b-school grads flocked to traditional corporate jobs in finance and management.

Today, however, a growing number of newly minted MBAs decide to start their own businesses or go to work for Silicon Valley startups

"This Technology Could Have The Biggest Impact On American Jobs Since Offshoring".

But 3D printing, which last fall Credit Suisse forecast could grow up to 30%, has the potential to reshape how America makes stuff, creating new high tech jobs in the U.S. and bringing old ones back from abroad.

Sounds like bad news

"Get Ready for the New England Power Shortage".

In a hell-bent campaign to rid itself of any form of dirty, messy “non-renewable” energy, New England has been closing down coal and oil plants for the last decade. In 2000, 18 percent of New England’s electricity came from coal and 22 percent from oil. Today it’s 3 percent coal and 1 percent oil. Meanwhile, natural gas — the fuel that everybody loves until you have to drill for it — has risen from 15 percent to a starkly vulnerable 52 percent, just behind California.

There’s only one problem. New England doesn’t have the pipelines to bring in the gas.

September 14, 2014

"Up to a Point: A Free Scotland Would Be a Hilarious Disaster"

P. J. O'Rourke, doing what he does.

Scotland’s economy will be the requisite Third World shambles. Scotland’s two dominant political parties are the leftist Scottish National Party and the leftist Scottish Labor Party. These can be counted on to vie in out-lefting each other. Cuba-with-chilblains, here we come!

"What I Learned About The NFL By Watching The Seahawks-Packers Game In 35 Minutes"

"1. On NFL broadcasts, nothing is happening most of the time."

Yep. Between NFL Redzone and the DVR I'm finding it difficult now to watch NFL games in real time.

"Famous pop singers who know economics"

The bros on the Economic Job Market Rumors board have some fun.

September 13, 2014

Nancy Pelosi: "Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy if Republicans win the Senate."

My reply via R.E.M.: "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)".

"This Girl Took On An Army Cadet In A Push-Up Challenge And Won"

Woman's got skillz.

"Obama losing the confidence of key parts of the coalition that elected him"

Glenn Reynolds quips about this: "Hi folks. You're kinda late to the party. Try not to be so easily fooled next time."


September 12, 2014

Marvin Gaye, "Trouble Man"

"There were soul singers and there were SOUL singers. But was any deeper or more enigmatic than Marvin Gaye?"

"A New Yorker Expertly Teaches The Unwritten Rules Of Living In NYC In These Illustrations"

Read before visiting NYC.

Link courtesy of Michael M.

"Thieves target Lego sets as value soars"

I had a huge, very cool collection of Legos as a kid. It probably would have been worth a small fortune now.

"American Status $ymbols Ranked"

Third from the bottom is "Barista spells name correctly."

September 11, 2014

"The Reality Behind the Latest Pro-Obamacare Spin"

I thought maybe the recent reports sounded suspiciously good.

Obamacare’s defenders are busy declaring victory again.  Ezra Klein is touting a new survey of Obamacare benchmark premiums in some regions of the country as evidence that the law is defying the predictions of critics and working to cut costs rather than increase them.

But, as Bob Laszewski notes, the truth about Obamacare implementation is far less rosy than the latest round of cheerleading would indicate.

"Stimulus bill enabled billions in waste, exploitation of employees"

One downside of that really, really wonderful stimulus

"I guess common sense isn’t on the curriculum this year."

You can say that again: "In D.C., a 13-year-old piano prodigy is treated as a truant instead of a star student". (Link via Instapundit.)

"Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science"

I'm down. One reason among several:

NASA found that naps made you smarter — even in the absence of a good night's sleep.

September 10, 2014

"Will Orange Be the New Black for IRS Chief Lois Lerner?"

I'd ask you to state what the country's attention would be focused on if this were occuring under a Republican administration. But that's so easy even a two-year-old could do it.

Perhaps there is some strange computer virus that selectively trashes records inconvenient to incumbents, like the “glitch” that erased part of Nixon’s tapes. How else to explain the fact that this is the fourth announcement of an ever-expanding computer calamity connected to Lois Lerner to emerge from the IRS?

"The new face of country music is young, female, and feminist"

I think I need to sell bro country short

Country music is supposed to tell a story. The stories that many of the genre's current leading men tell are filled with short denim shorts, bikini tops, and objectification. In these stories, women are submissive, passive, and exist to be pursued. But the rising women of country aren't any of those things. Their songs are still lyric-heavy, full of twang, and powerful, but instead of stories about loves won and lost, they're singing about misogyny and gender stereotyping. They aren't the first women in country to do so, but they're certainly leading a new, more direct feminist country charge.

"Syllabus Tyrannus"

"The decline and fall of the American university is written in 25-page course syllabi."

I absolutely concur with the observation. But I don't think she's got the causality right. It's a function of the huge growth of administrators, many of whom have it's-not-our-problem-we-warned-you (aka "cover your ass") as a primary objective.

Five on Los Angeles

"26 Things You Will Only See In Los Angeles".

"Los Angeles’s Great Flood: The city’s infrastructure crumbles as public-employee compensation balloons."

"15 Things You Learn in Your First 5 Years in L.A."

"A Blast from the Past: Los Angeles from 1898 Till the 1960's".

"The Urban Oil Fields of Los Angeles".

September 09, 2014

"Rand Paul’s Fatal Pacifism"

Richard Epstein masterfully explains why libertarianism does not imply isolationism.

The just state should, in my opinion, protect private property, promote voluntary exchange, preserve domestic order, and protect our nation against foreign aggression. Unfortunately, too many modern libertarian thinkers fail to grasp the enormity of that last obligation. In the face of international turmoil, they become cautious and turn inward, confusing limited government with small government. Unwisely, they demand that the United States keep out of foreign entanglements unless and until they pose direct threats to its vital interests—at which point it could be too late.

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