Assorted Links 6/8/09


Trailer for Mr. Hulot’s Holiday

  • Capitol Hill Workshop, June 10-12, 2009
  • Tracking and Monitoring Legislation: How to Find and Use Congressional Documents, June 25, 2009 – with WiFi Classroom
  • How to Research and Compile Legislative Histories, June 26, 2009 – with WiFi Classroom
  • Drafting Effective Federal Legislation and Amendments, July 29, 2009
  • Preparing and Delivering Congressional Testimony, July 30, 2009
  • 40,000 Fewer Students: Good or Bad? – “Those not going to college now, on average, have lower cognitive skills, less motivation, less already accumulated human capital, than those who do. Pushing those currently not attending college into universities is setting up millions of Americans to fail –either out of school (probably with big debts), or successfully graduated with the prospects of taking relatively menial jobs.”
  • Why U.S. health care policy is especially egalitarian – “I am amazed (but not surprised) by how frequently people think of egalitarianism in terms of social markers of status rather than actual forward-looking endowments. It is common for more egalitarian policies to be less efficient.”
  • The problem of nationalization: Barney Frank pressures GM to keep warehouse open – “It’s common sense that putting the government in charge of a company opens that company up to all sorts of politics.”
  • Work Till You Drop? – “We are ignoring the pensions timebomb at our own peril. Unfortunately, for far too many people this means that they will have to work till they drop – if they still have a job.”
  • Militant Unions Raise Muni Risk – “This intersection of finance and politics has resulted in a steady increase in local debt and, more disturbing, an increase in offerings that circumvent state and local legislative debt limits. States and cities have created a bevy of public authorities and other bodies that they use to issue debt that’s officially off-the-books but still leaves taxpayers on the hook. Several years ago an audit in New York State found that public authorities there had issued some $43 billion in so-called ‘backdoor debt,’ that is, debt not approved by voters–one reason why the state will spend nearly $5 billion this year just to service its debt.”
  • Reports: Bleak state budgets through 2011 – “Even if the national recession ends this year as many predict, state budgets will likely be in the red for the next two years, with budget gaps topping $230 billion as tax collections of sales, personal and corporate income lag, two new reports show. … Some of the revenue drops are eye-popping.”
  • NY’s Pension Peril – It’s Worse Than They Say – “But the situation isn’t as bad as it sounds. It’s actually worse — when you realize that New York, like most other government employers across the country, systematically understates the true value of its long-term pension promises.”
  • Geithner faces sluggish market, rents out NY home. Treasury secretary grapples with sluggish market — for his own suburban NY home
  • A diploma isn’t enough – “Students who lack the motivation or academic skills to earn a college degree should be encouraged to aim for a vocational certificate at a community college. The effort will pay off.”
  • The Reckoning – “A sojourn at an elite university, you see, can sometimes become a very dangerous thing indeed.”
  • “Study, Study, Study” – A Bad Career Move – “I asked him why he considered it important to tinker with admissions instead of just letting the chips fall where they may. In an unguarded moment, he told me that unless the university took steps to ‘guide’ admissions decisions, UC would be dominated by Asians. When I asked, ‘What would be wrong with that?’ I got an answer that speaks volumes about the underlying philosophy at many universities with regard to Asian enrollment. The UC administrator told me that Asians are ‘too dull – they study, study, study.’ He then said, ‘If you ever say I said this, I will have to deny it.’ … There is one truth that is universally applicable in the era of ‘diversity,’ especially in American universities: an absolute unwillingness to accept the verdict of colorblind policies.”
  • What should university presidents and provosts know about economics that they don’t?
  • The Tyranny of Shelter – “[The Poorhouse] makes a compelling case that the modern homeless shelter is more draconian than the 19th century almshouses he studied.”
  • Presidential Signing Statements — The More Things Change – “I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until the ABA denounces as ‘contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers’ President Obama’s use of signing statements to voice constitutional concerns about legislation he signs into law.”
  • Chrysler to Emerge from C11 on Monday – “Provided, that is, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) turns down Indiana’s request to overrule the sale of assets from Old, Crap Chrysler to New, Italian-controlled Chrysler. This after the U.S. Appeals Court told the gearbox-factory-jilted state’s lawyers to piss off. Or, more specifically, ‘You can’t wait for a better deal to come in from Studebaker.'”
  • How Patents Are Harming Small Companies Too – “While there have been plenty of high profile fights between patent holders vs. big companies, that’s only a small part of the issue. And, in fact, it’s often smaller, more innovative companies that are the most harmed by patents.”
  • No PDFs! – “This week, Speaker Pelosi asked House administrators to post House members’ expenses on the Web, for the first time. … Congress needs to be urged to provide these reports in a format that is structured, searchable, downloadable and mashable. This will enable the reuse of information to improve public scrutiny. Assurances should be given to the public that these records will be permanently archived and the House should be encouraged to make these reports happen in as close to real-time disclosure as feasible.”
  • Sotomayor and the ADA/bar-exam case
  • Selflessly Giving…to Themselves – “A couple of days ago, I was driving through the streets of D.C. and ended up behind what appeared to be a new, black Jaguar. Now, trailing a Jag wasn’t all that extraordinary–D.C. is home to a lot of fancy cars. What was extraordinary was the wholly inconsistent declaration printed on the frame of the status symbol’s license plate: ‘Proud to be a social worker.’ … public-service-as-a-synonym-for-sacrifice is largely a political myth, a narrative repeated by public employees to win your sympathy while they grab for your wallet.”
  • Can’t Get Your Act Together? Embrace Your Inner Eccentric – “A tweak here, an adjustment there, and we will seem charming, zany, madcap, instead of just disorganized and haphazard. After all, what’s the difference between eccentric and flaky? A certain touch of whimsy, perhaps? A sense of purpose? A willingness to embrace the peculiar?”
  • The Learjet repo man – “Nick Popovich is a repo man, but not the kind that spirits away Hyundais from suburban driveways. Popovich is a super repo man, one of a handful of specialists who get the call when a bank wants back its Gulfstream II jet from, say, a small army of neo-Nazi freaks. For the past three decades, Popovich has been one of a secret tribe of big game hunters who specialize in stealing jets from the jungle hideouts of corrupt landowners in Colombia, Mexico and Brazil and swiping go-fast boats from Wall Street titans in Miami and East Hampton”
  • Book with Low-Fare Carriers to Maximize Leg Room “consider booking with a low-fare carrier to get the most leg room possible.”
  • More biking = safer biking

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Posted in: Caught Our Eye

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