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« June 2014 | Main

July 2014

July 30, 2014

*This* is a bigger problem than inequality

"Employers say they can't fill jobs—and here's why".

A declining unemployment rate—now at 6.1 percent—would seem to mean that employers are packing their payrolls with workers. But many businesses say they are having a harder time filling open positions this year than last year, according to a new survey.

"The Worst Days To Do 19 Common Activities"

Worst days, supposedly, to eat out, to drive, and more.

"How A Former Denny's Waitress Amassed An Empire Of Over 75 Denny's Locations"

The American Dream lives for at least this one lady.

Two on Google

"Google Is About To Take Over Your Whole Life, And You Won't Even Notice".

"Google’s Master Plan--It’s easy: Turn everything into data."

July 29, 2014

"The Trouble with Campus Rape Tribunals"

Includes this information important, I think, for addessing the problem:

Every year, there are horrific crimes against female students, often perpetrated by a small number of men who prey upon first-year women who are under the influence of alcohol. United Educators, an insurance company owned by 1,160 member colleges and universities, reported that between 2005 and 2010, 63 percent of complainants filing claims of sexual assault are first-year students, and their assaults typically occur in September. In 92 percent of these claims, the complainant was under the influence of alcohol. More than 60 percent of these claims involved women who were so drunk that they had no memory of the assault. Eighty-one percent of these assaults occurred in student dormitoriesResearch by forensic consultant David Lisak indicates that three percent of college men account for over 90 percent of college rapes.

Link via Glenn Reynolds.

"Piketty’s Can Opener"

Jim Manzi:

In summary, Piketty has weak evidence to support his theory for why CEO pay has increased in America. What evidence he has covers only CEOs of public companies, and hence about 3 percent of the top 0.1 percent. His whole model, even if correct and extended beyond what is supported by the evidence could only apply to about one-fourth of the top 0.1 percent. And this very group that he claims is responsible for driving income inequality in America is collapsing as a share of the top 0.1 percent.

Piketty’s explanation for rising inequality in America plays to many people’s predispositions, but he has no real evidence that it’s true. Therefore accepting the predictions he makes for the effect of his policies would be incredibly dangerous.

Ouch.

"Closing Comments"

K. C. Johnson winds up the "Durham-In-Wonderland" blog.

He bravely accomplished, very well, what he set out to do, so now he's moving on.  (If only some government agencies--hello, TVA!--did the same.)

"The Latest Public-Sector Pension Scandal"

Ira Stoll, Reason:

The current system takes rich money managers, who ordinarily might be a voice for lower taxes and restrained government spending, and makes them beholden, for business, on public pension boards that sometimes include union officials. Instead of arguing for less generous pensions, or for personal accounts that employees would manage individually, the money managers now have incentives to argue for more generous pensions and to avoid upsetting the system that is enriching them. . . . 

What should be done? Shut these pension funds down and turn the money over to the individual employees and retirees. Let the government workers open retirement accounts at Charles Schwab, Vanguard, Fidelity, and so on, just like much of the rest of America does. Let the money managers compete for individual business by advertising on the basis of price, service, or performance, rather than by paying off government officials with shoeboxes or paper bags full of cash.

Link via Glenn Reynolds.

"The real Medicaid problem"

"The paradox is that a progressive program also has unprogressive consequences."

That's no "paradox". It happens all the time. See, for another example, "Banning Big-box Stores Can Hurt Local Retailers".

July 28, 2014

"The Common Core Commotion Haven’t we seen this movie before?"

Magnificent attack on education reform by Andrew Ferguson. Virtually no one escapes. He concludes as follows:

The delays and distancing suggest a cloudy future for the Common Core. Even its advocates say that the best possible outcome for now involves a great deal more unpleasantness: The tests will be given to many students beginning next spring, and the results will demonstrate the catastrophic state of learning in American schools. Of course, we knew that, but still. “Maybe this will be a reality check,” one booster told me the other day. “People will take a look at the results and say, ‘Aha! So this is what they’ve been talking about!’ It will send a very strong signal.”

It would indeed, but a signal to do what? Educationists don’t like unpleasantness; it’s not what they signed up for when they became reformers. We already know what happened when NCLB state tests exposed the reality of American public schools. It was time for a new reform. 

In that case, Common Core would survive, but only as NCLB survives—as a velleity, a whiff of a hint of a memory of a gesture toward an aspiration for excellence. And the educationists will grow restless. Someone somewhere will come up with a new reform program, a whole new approach—one with teeth, and high-stakes consequences for stakeholders. Bill Gates will get wind of it. He will be intrigued. His researchers will design experiments to make sure the program is scientifically sound. Data will be released at seminars, and union leadership will lend tentative support. The president will declare a crisis and make reform a national priority. She will want to be called an education president too.

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