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October 2009

"How to Write a Winning Ivy League Essay"

With  a rare exception or two, I think student essays are way overrated in college admissions. (Any weight above about 0.2% is too high.) Admissions people are prone to dopey reactions like this:

For Greg Roberts, the admissions dean at University of Virginia, one of the most memorable essays he read was about a single at-bat in a high-school baseball game. The applicant wasn’t the star of the team, Roberts remembers, and didn’t even like playing baseball much. “But he talked about being nervous and excited at the same time, about how the freshly cut grass reminded him of his grandfather,” Roberts says. “I just felt like I knew him.”

But here at the Door, we're all about public service. So if you or somebody you know wants to know the Seven Big Secrets to Writing a Good Essay, have at it.

Editorial on GAO report about TARP

From the Washington Examiner, 10/23:

"Measuring the effectiveness of TARP's programs has been an ongoing challenge," the GAO report said, adding that "any changes attributed to TARP could well be changes that would have occurred anyway" -- due to policy interventions, the actions of financial regulators or even natural market corrections. In other words, a year after Congress burdened present and future taxpayers with a debt of immense magnitude, government auditors still can't say for sure that TARP accomplished anything toward preventing a financial collapse.

At the height of the bailout hysteria, Paulson appeared on "Face the Nation," saying he hoped the federal government would be able to recoup most of the TARP funds. But today, both the GAO's auditors and TARP Inspector General Neil Barofsky say nobody should hold their breath waiting for that repayment.

In his 256-page report to Congress, Barofsky notes that the Treasury Department's failure to implement anti-fraud measures, or even to require TARP recipients to report how they used the billions Congress and the Treasury Department gave them, makes it highly unlikely that the $317 billion outstanding -- nearly half the TARP total -- will ever be returned to taxpayers. Barofsky also threatened to subpoena documents relating to the Treasury Department's "less-than-accurate statements ... concerning TARP's first investments in nine large financial institutions," as well as its subsequent refusal to report what hundreds of other TARP recipients did with the funds.

Boy, what a surprise.

A few people are having trouble upgrading to Win7

See here and here. ("Endless" reboots! Sounds fun.) But a lot of the problems stem from using a super-cheap upgrade offered to students.

One of my rules of computing is this: never mess with the OS. I did, once, upgrade from Win 3 to 3.1 with all my finges and toes crossed and it went O.K. But other than that, any time I've wanted a new OS, I've bought a new machine. Costs me a few bucks but it has made life simpler.

And I've yet to experience "endless" reboots.

Ayn Rand has been in the news a lot lately . . .

. . . but this is getting ridiculous. Just about one week's worth of miscellaneous browsing and I hit upon five different discussions:

"Why Ayn Rand is Hot Again: The unconservative Ayn Rand and her relationship to the American right".

"Howard Roark in New Delhi".

"Mrs. Logic: Ayn Rand never got into an argument she couldn’t win. Except, perhaps, with herself." (New York irony!)

"Wesley Mouch Award".

And, of course, the essential "Ayn Rand Power Dressing".