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May 2013

"The Great California Land Rush"

Victor Davis Hanson:

So California is both more poorly managed than any time in its past, more divided between rich and poor, more fragmented by opportunistic ethnic identity politics, more impoverished by massive illegal immigration — and never more naturally wealthy. The other day I drove through the verdant Central Valley on Manning Avenue. Each acre I zoomed by is producing thousands of dollars in global profits. At I-5, I looked out at fracking country, before descending into the land of Facebook, Google, and Apple — all on mostly poor roads, with terrible drivers and third-world public rest stops, and now and then passing inferior schools.

California may be in awful financial, social, civic, and political shape — but it is far, far from broke.

Looking for another reason to worry about your stock portfolio?

"Black Swan Watch: Mexico's Super Volcano Could Be the Next Market Catalyst".

Earlier this week, Mexico's National Disaster Prevention Center raised the alert level for Popocatépetl to "Yellow Phase III," which is the fifth greatest of seven levels; the highest alert is, logically, "Red Phase II." Joking aside, rising seismic activity, plumes of smoke and steam, and the reported melting of the glacial peak due to rising ground temperatures suggest Popo is ready to go loco.

You're welcome.

"Subsidizing Failure: A forthcoming study focuses on public universities' 'cost of non-completion.'"

I hope this guy's life insurance is paid up:

The state of North Carolina appropriates $5,660 per student per semester, so that, in the fall of 2010, taxpayers were charged $5.5 million extra for students who took extra time to graduate, from just one cohort.

Much of that $5.5 million was waste from taking too long to complete school. Multiplied by several cohorts over many semesters, and at 16 schools, the cost becomes enormous.

Stille’s list of recommendations to improve the current situation is short, simple, and sensible: state universities should not enroll freshmen who have SATs below 910 (or ACTs below 19), who graduated in the bottom half of their high school class, or who require remedial education before they can handle college-level studies.