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Current Affairs

November 18, 2014

"A Beginner's Guide To Laundering Money"

Mind you I'd definitely not advocating or endorsing these activities. I just find them to be of intellectual interest.

November 17, 2014

"Marc Andreessen in Conversation"

This is just spectacular. If he's not willing to run for office as a conservative he should at least be willing to contribute a bunch of money. Just one great bit:

The critique of Silicon Valley is also that it isn’t very diverse. At Twitter, for instance, 90 percent of the tech employees are male and more than 50 percent of them are white.

I think these discussions are totally valid. Now, I disagree with many of the specific points.

What’s your take?

Shall we? Let’s launch right into it. I think the critique that Silicon Valley companies are deliberately, systematically discriminatory is incorrect, and there are two reasons to believe that that’s the case. No. 1, these companies are like the United Nations internally. All the diversity studies say that the engineering population is like 70 percent white and Asian. Let’s dig into that for a second. First, apparently Asian doesn’t count as diverse. And then “white”: When you actually go in these companies, what you find is it’s American people, but it’s also Russians, and Eastern Europeans, and French, and German, and British. And then there are the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Thais, Indonesians, and Vietnamese. All these different countries, all these different cultures. To believe in a systematic pattern of discrimination, you’d have to believe that we’re discriminatory toward certain people without being discriminatory at all toward an extremely broad range of ethnicities and religions. Because of Pakistanis, we’re seeing a higher-than-ever proportion of Muslim employees in a lot of our companies.

No. 2, our companies are desperate for talent. Desperate. Our companies are dying for talent. They’re like lying on the beach gasping because they can’t get enough talented people in for these jobs. The motivation to go find talent wherever it is is unbelievably high.

(On diversity in tech see also the excellent "Cellophane Diversity".)

And here is Mr. Andreessen citing Claudia Goldin. Good on you, sir.

"Washington's Mathematical Mess: America's Looming Entitlement Tsunami"

Yes, indeed. Unless there are some major changes it won't be too long before the federal government does little more than cut entitlement checks

Genius and . . . not genius

Genius. (Via Instapundit.) Ashe Schow, "A Modest Proposal for Closing the Gender Wage Gap":

And so I humbly present my own proposal for closing the gender wage gap, which I hope will not only solve the problem but also satisfy voices on all sides of the argument. As a society, we must begin telling women what subjects they can major in, what colleges they can attend, and what jobs they can take.

Not genius:

When asked about the accreditation review, UNC Provost Jim Dean told ABC11, "The entire university should not be punished for the academic fraud that went on for nearly 20 years."

"During that period of time that the report represents, we had about 97,000 students and about 3,000 of those students were engaged at the most in this activity," said Dean. "So as bad as it was, to say that it represents the whole university is pretty disingenuous."

I eagerly await the next time a Chapel Hill male student is accused of sexual assault for him to declare, "I've been alive for about 158,000 hours. To take what I did for less than one hour and characterize me as a bad person is disingenuous."

A follow-up of my endorsement of Prof. Gruber for president

There has been lots of additional commentary posted since last week. Six of the best pieces I saw:

James Bovard, "The Obamacare deception of ‘stupid’ Americans: How the liberal elites rely on lies to pass their paternalistic agenda". Makes the fine point that the operation of Social Security was, and continues to be, lied about.

Philip Klein, "Gruber's Obamacare comments expose what's wrong with liberalism". I'd substitute "illustrate" for "expose," but that's a nitpick.

Ian Tuttle, "Smarter than Thou: The “stupidity of the American voter” is an article of faith for the Left."

[Dr.] Marc Siegel, "Calling Me Stupid".

My patient with a thyroid problem couldn’t afford the necessary ultrasound and antibody tests to better understand her condition before Obamacare, and she can’t afford them now, either, because of her large deductible. This gap between coverage and actual care is not a surprise to people who have struggled with the limitations of insurance of all kinds their entire lives. Most Americans do not believe in a free lunch these days – and certainly not when the government is pitching it.

Americans have always understood the Obamacare gap between insurance and actual care. 

Ron Fournier[!], "Obamacare's Foundation of Lies".

Liberals should be the angriest. Not only were they personally deceived, but the administration's dishonest approach to health care reform has helped make Obamacare unpopular while undermining the public's faith in an activist government. A double blow to progressives.\

Well, as they say, "Every cloud has a silver lining."

Finally, Patterico, "Lefties Deceive as They Try to Distract from Gruber's Praise of . . . Deceit".

This is who they are and this is what they do. 

"Kochs’ next dastardly deed: Creating good public defenders for low-income accused"

News about Harry Reid's Public Enemies #1 and #1a.

November 14, 2014

"It’s Time to Shut Up About Brunch"

Strong pushback against the people whining about brunch. (See, for example, here.)

November 13, 2014

"432 Park Is Officially New York City's Tallest Apartment Building"

Here's a surprise: $95 million buys you some simply amazing views.

November 12, 2014

Two of the best post-election wrap-ups

Clive Crook, "Democrats and Those Stupid Voters".

Supporters of the Democratic Party have many theories to explain the drubbing they were handed on Election Day. The explanations seem to boil down to one basic proposition, however: Voters are too stupid to know what's good for them.

Let me say it clearly: The Democratic Party will continue to underperform until it learns to take election beatings a bit more personally.

Walter Russell Mead, "Blue Twilight and Red Dawn?"

What people want is isn’t the blue model in its current decadent state or the inchoate mix of policies that “red dawn” states like Kansas and North Carolina have unevenly introduced. What they—we—want is a set of policies and ideas that harness the wealth creating productivity enhancements of the information revolution in ways that reduce the cost and enhance the quality of essential services (health, education, governance) while providing economic opportunity, middle class living standards and rising living standards to the American middle class. This ought to be possible and one day it will be, but at the moment we are still stumbling around in the early stages of one of the most disruptive changes the human race has ever known.

November 11, 2014

"Ex-Tar Heels DL sounds off on UNC academic scandal"

From CBS Sports:

"If you ain't inside of there, you don't know what's going on. But Butch Davis came into a meeting one day and he said 'If y'all came here for an education, you should've went to Harvard,'" Powell told the show's hosts.

(Here's Sports Illustrated's story. Here's Deadspin's.)

Probably the most explosive allegation made by Mr. Powell is that an unspecified "they" told some football players to deliberately do poorly on a test so they could be classified as learning disabled. 

For that and lots more details, see the Pack Pride bulletin board, where the interview was discussed almost in real time. Transcript of Mr. Powell's remarks here (scroll down the page). Loooong thread here

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