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Current Affairs

March 05, 2015

"New SAT, New Problems"

Great, just great:

Coleman and the College Board tout the SAT as a measure of what they define as "college readiness," but what this peek at some questions suggests is that the revised exam is being used as yet another assessment exam that shapes rather than reflects what kids learn in school. It’s a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.

March 04, 2015

"Two Cheers for Corruption"

By Deirdre McCloskey and it's a tour de force in a small space.

I don't agree--small corruption might be "O,K." but large-scale corruption is not. And cutting the federal government would go a long way to solving the problem. 

But it's an impressive piece: Jay Cost is wrong, Samuel Bryan is wrong, Madison is wrong, and Adam Smith is only half right. You don't read that sort of thing every day.

"Lone Star Resilience"

"Falling oil prices are no longer a threat to Texas."

We'll see, but the author makes a pretty convincing case.

March 03, 2015

"Walker's Wisconsin"

Ironman at Political Calculations presents some interesting data on Wisconsin's recent economic performance

And as a former academic, I found this bit especially interesting:

In Fall 2009, the University of Wisconsin-Madison employed 2,017 faculty and 16,507 administrative staff. In Fall 2010, funded in part by Governor Doyle's new taxes and benefiting from President Obama's economic "stimulus", the number of faculty members increased by 10 to 2,027, while the number of administrative staff increased by 836 to 17,343. Since Fall 2011, of the 19,527 faculty, grad students and staff reported as being employed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where 2,200 are faculty and another 2,000 or so are grad student/teaching assistants, we can infer that the size of the university's administrative staff has increased to around 17,527, which represents an approximate 1,020 increase in the number of administrative staff since Fall 2009.

Coincidentally, Professor Chinn reports that the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Chancellor Becky Blanks has said that the Governor's proposed reduction in funding for the institution could require it to shed some 1,083 staff positions.

Well, that would be about right, wouldn't it? Just thought we'd take a quick moment to connect the appropriate dots....

"Editorial: A second chance to get honest with the voters"

The Chicago Sun-Times asks for a little honesty from the mayoral candidates.

Needless to say I agree. The country would be a lot better if politicians just stopped lying so much.

"Why India Will Keep Growing Faster Than China"

Of the two India's the one I'd bet on.

March 02, 2015

"A revolutionary beehive with a built-in honey tap has taken the beekeeping world by storm"

"Two Australian inventors are changing the way honey is harvested and the world can’t get enough of it."

"Raleigh needs buses, not rail"

Oh, my. An outbreak of sense in my local paper's op-ed page.

When it comes to a light-rail system for Raleigh, label me a skeptic.

I am a believer in buses, and I think our bus system should be expanded and more bus shelters erected.

Before we sink huge bundles of money into a light-rail system, I think a stronger case needs to be made, given our limited resources.

"France's demographic bad luck"

Fine column by Glenn Reynolds, Worth reading for the quoting of Heinlein's magnificent wisecrack alone.

"The Smearing of Willie Soon"

John Hinderaker makes a point that can't be reiterated enough.

. . . the New York Times and other pro-government sources assume that government funding of research is lily-white, while corporate funding is inherently suspect. This is ridiculous. Put aside, for a moment, the fact that the American environmental movement is funded by Russia’s state-controlled oil company. Also the fact that Greenpeace gets money ($203 million) from the American Petroleum Foundation, with another $214 million coming from the Chamber of Commerce.

That isn’t the real scandal. The real scandal is that the overwhelming majority of money spent on climate research comes from governments. Governments, most notably ours, fund climate hysteria to the tune of billions of dollars per year. Why? Because the whole point of global warming alarmism is to persuade voters to cede more control over Western economies to government. (No one actually cares about CO2 emissions from India or China, which together vastly exceed ours.)

See also "Global Warming: Follow the Money".

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