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Current Affairs

October 31, 2014

The descent of college students continues apace

"Cosmo is sending a bus with models to North Carolina to shuttle college voters to the polls".

Link courtesy of Michael Greenspan.

October 30, 2014

"Yes, the Deficit Is Smaller. But That Wasn’t the Main Problem."

Absolutely. Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

What was needed then and is still needed now is a plan–not for short-term austerity but to address our medium- and long-term debt situation. Policies need to be phased in gradually and designed to support the country’s economic recovery. Unfortunately, we got the opposite: spending reductions that focused on the short term and cuts to discretionary spending instead of tax reforms and entitlement reforms to generate permanent and growing savings. 

See also Erskine Bowles:

I wish I could believe the recent decline in the deficit is sustainable. The temporary factors related to the recession — which caused the deficit to increase dramatically — are now receding, but the structural problems with our budget remain.

October 29, 2014

"Americans have no idea how the government spends money"

Americans, generally, apparently know the same amount about federal expenditures as my students did. Which is to say: not much.

See also Ilya Somin, "The persistence of public ignorance about federal spending".

". . . troubling, disturbing and shocking"

What NCAA President Mark Emmert said about the Wainstein report on the troubles at UNC-Chapel Hill.

And see "President of Macalester College Calls for University of North Carolina to Lose its Accreditation Over Academic Fraud Scandal".

I'm not convinced anything really bad will happen to UNC-CH. But it seems more likely than I first thought. 

And I agree with this: "Did Wainstein Report Whitewash High-Level Culprits In UNC Cheating Scandal?"

"21 Days: An expert in biological warfare warns against complacency in public measures against Ebola"

Interesting. Apparently, as has been the case in other instances recently--proper diet, climate change, among others--the science is not "settled"

For one objection, Hatfill wants it known that, while it must be emphasized that airborne droplet and particle transmission between humans has not been evident in this outbreak, aerosol droplet transmission of Ebola virus has been shown in animal studies. “It is therefore irresponsible for government health officials to emphatically state that aerosol transmission does not occur,” he writes. He also believes the argument against a national quarantine is “inexcusable in light of the size of the current West African epidemic.”

But the politics are the same as almost always: "Life-saving drugs and deadly delays".

Related: "Ten Ways The Public Sector Is Failing And The Private Sector Is Succeeding Against Ebola".

"A Theory for Tattoos"

Mark Bauerlein:

Beneath the variety, though, is the same call: “Look at me.” The bearer may think it’s cool or lovely or poignant, a certification of membership, a work of art, or a testimonial, but a selfish demand accompanies each message, not because of what they say but where they say it. Tattoos go on a person’s skin, and so they can’t be separated from the ego of that person. It’s always there as part of one’s being, and others must register it as much as they do one’s face and speech. A tattoo has form and color and meaning, but it also solicits a social recognition, a “This is me, check me out.”

October 28, 2014

"The Optimistic GOP Story Everyone Is Missing"

Larry Kudlow:

The idea that nothing much will change if the GOP captures the whole Congress is just plain wrong. The politics and policies in Washington are about to change in a major way.

Obama may still be president. But he is going to be immediately confronted with a flood of new bills that will change the debate on tax reform, energy, health care, education, international trade, and regulations.

Obama will no longer be able to hide behind Harry Reid, who has stopped all voting on these matters. And Mitch McConnell, as Senate majority leader, will be able to move forward the reform ideas of his caucus and House policy leaders like Paul Ryan, Jeb Hensarling, Kevin Brady, and many others.

I sure hope he's right. But I wouldn't bet the house.

"The Real Reason the Poor Go Without Bank Accounts"

Guess what? The "unbanked" are a heck of a lot more rational than Liberals assume.

"Her Wasserhood"

I like the label: Debbie Wasserman Schultz is promulgating a "domestic Brezhnev Doctrine". 

"Study: Non-citizens are voting in federal elections — and probably tipped at least one Senate race to Democrats"

Bad news. Really bad.

Obama winning a state illegally in a presidential election is bad but will be dismissed on grounds that it didn’t affect the overall result. Flip North Carolina to McCain’s column and it’s still a giant blowout. Franken winning a Minnesota seat illegally is a different ballgame. He was the 60th vote for ObamaCare. Replace him in the Senate with Norm Coleman and the law probably never passes. The authors are arguing overtly that health-care reform was made possible only by illegal votes. There are a bunch of races this year that could end up with whisper-thin margins of victory as well — Perdue versus Nunn in Georgia, Cassidy versus Landrieu in Louisiana, Tillis versus Hagan in North Carolina, even Gardner versus Udall in Colorado. If Democrats eke out victories in a few of those by a few thousand or even a few hundred votes, why would you believe after reading this study that those victories were fairly earned? And remember, as a Twitter pal points out, the numbers in the study are based on non-citizens who admitted to voting when asked. How many voted and were smart enough not to cop to it?

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