The one-time WBT afternoon host who moved back to the Twin Cities a few years must be going nuts. I know I'm going nuts over this story and I'm a long plane ride away from ground zero.
News that almost $300K in taxpayer money is going to The Duluth News Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press for "Internet training" is disgusting. That some UMinn flunkie is defending the idea should not surprise, but it still does.
What is wrong with these people? Why do they think they can take other people's money and give it manifest morons and have no moral responsibility for the situation? Let's make that clear: The newspapers are telling the world that they hired and evidently still employ complete idiots who cannot figure out the most basic consumer technology without hand-holding and "training."
This is why the current generation of newspapers and newspapermen and women are doomed -- most of them are just not very smart.
Professor Steven Horwitz gets right to the heart of the matter in this article, in which he observes that the choice isn't between the Obamacrat plan of gigantic federal spending and doing nothing. That's because, left alone, most Americans will do something useful to help get us out of the recession. They will work, produce value, save, and invest. The president's plan gets in their way.
Murray makes some controversial but important observations about post-secondary education. His arguments about the academic value of a college education versus its value in the marketplace are pertinent. He also makes the (seemingly) outrageous statement that not every high school student in America should go on to college and get a bachelor’s degree. Not all kids have the smarts or desire to get through college, Murray says:
The problem begins with the message sent to young people that they should aspire to college no matter what. Some politicians are among the most visible offenders, treating every failure to go to college as an injustice that can be remedied by increasing government help. American educational administrators reinforce the message by instructing guidance counselors to steer as many students as possible towards a college-prep track (more than 90 percent of high-school students report their guidance counselors encouraged them to go to college). But politicians and educators are only following the lead of the larger culture. As long as it remains taboo to acknowledge that college is intellectually too demanding for most young people, we will continue to create crazily unrealistic expectations among the next generation. If “crazily unrealistic” sounds too strong, consider that more than 90 percent of high school seniors expect to go to college, and more than 70 percent of them expect to work in professional jobs.
Murray goes on to poke holes in the notion that college is an idealistic atmosphere where young people transition from adolescents to adulthood:
The light workload alone can make college a joke. Students have a wide choice of easy courses and easy majors, and many students don’t do the work that even these require. The most recent (2007) survey conducted by the National Survey of Student Engagement showed a self-reported average of only about fourteen hours per week spent studying, about half the hours that faculty say is necessary to do well in their classes.
Many of Murray’s observations tally with my recent experience in college. Employers typically use a BA as a screening device for professional jobs, but it doesn’t say much beyond the applicant’s ability to stick it out four years (or five or six in some cases). A degree, especially in non-technical fields, says very little about actual knowledge acquired anymore. That’s a damning indictment of the post-secondary system.
I also appreciate Murray’s argument that not everyone should go to college. In my view, college has been the default button for high school students far too long. A bachelor’s degree is not right for everyone. I have several friends who never attended college, instead interning in their chosen field, and today they are very successful entrepreneurs earning close to six figures while still their 20s. A college degree would have gotten them nothing and merely wasted years that could be spent better investing directly in their chosen field.
Republican House and Senate leaders used their weekly news conference at the Legislative Building to tout two new bills related to transparency and reform.
The first would transform Gov. Beverly Perdue's Executive Order No. 2 into a law. That order requires all state Transportation Board members to affirm in writing that they are not voting on any transportation projects in which they have any financial interest. The bill also follows the governor's lead in providing the state transportation secretary more authority for highway construction projects, plans, and contracts.
The second bill would ensure that letters public officials write in support of — or opposition to — hiring decisions for state positions would be treated as public records subject to public disclosure requirements.
Click play below to watch the entire 20:45 news conference.
Many governors have been critical of the $787 billion stimulus package. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have been among those who have said they may not take all the stimulus money. But Gov. Beverly Perdue has said she would gladly take the money that other governors don't want to use.
"I've actually said for states that don't want their money, North Carolina has a truck and will come to the capital and take their money and bring it to our state,” Perdue said on the second day of the meeting.
I'd bet that some of Obama's more zealous supporters would say so, but Professor Morgan Reynolds speaks his mind anyway. It is quackery. Having the government gobble up an increasing percentage of a county's resources is not the path to prosperity. Read Reynolds here.
Obama only thinks politically and thus has unshakable faith in government to make things better. He's like a manager of a baseball team who has utter faith in his starting pitcher. Never mind that he's given up six runs in the first inning and gotten nobody out -- he stays in!
Environment and Climate News reports that an EPA Inspector General study finds that the federal "Energy Star" program's benefits are overstated and inaccurate.
The Inspector General’s December 17 report, Improvements Needed to
Validate Reported Energy Star Benefits, confirmed the data do not
support the program’s claimed gains, stating, “We found the Energy Star
program’s ... reported annual savings unreliable. We identified several
deficiencies with the shipment data and the process used in calculating
The report also faulted the program for relying too heavily on “estimates, forecasting, and unverified third-party reporting.”
Star is a voluntary program affirming a product’s compliance with
certain environmental standards. In 1992 EPA began allowing the label
to be placed on computers. Since then, more than 40,000 products in 50
different categories have become eligible for Energy Star consideration.
program was later expanded to include ratings of the commercial and
industrial sectors of the economy as part of an effort toward lowering
the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Environmentalists want to make the program even stronger.
Tim Ballo, an attorney with the nonprofit environmental law firm
EarthJustice, said the cure for underperforming energy efficiency
programs is stricter Energy Star standards.
“It’s not a question
of making Energy Star mandatory,” Ballo said. “There are minimum
standards that cover a large number of appliances and that have to be
met for the label, ... but I’m all for making the minimum standards
What is definition of insanity? Something about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Unfortunately, freedom and prosperity are diminished with every cycle of central planning failure.
The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has published a helpful primer
on the Card Check bill. The report, written by Thomas Gies, an
attorney at Crowell & Moring LLP, addresses many of the key
issues. The following passage addresses the critical question of
whether voting is really an option under the Employee Free Choice Act
"The current political debate over card check has been marked by
significant exaggerations and misstatements about the current process.
One of the most serious is the notion, commonly advanced by card check
proponents, that the EFCA would not prohibit secret ballot elections
but would merely provide employees with another option: certification
by "majority sign-up" or card check. The argument is disingenuous.
Under the EFCA, employees would have no meaningful choice between a
secret ballot election and recognition by card check. That choice would
be left to union organizers who will never opt for a secret ballot
election if they can get authorization cards signed by a majority of
the affected employees. The only scenario in which a secret ballot
election would take place under EFCA would be the relatively rare
situation in which a union organizer has gotten authorization cards
signed by a minority of workers--that is, more than the 30 percent
required for an election but less than the majority needed for
automatic certification. Union organizers almost never file an election
petition in these circumstances because they know that some of the
employees who signed cards will not vote for the union after hearing
the other side of the story. There is no reason to believe the union
organizers would change their approach under a card check regime."
I'd describe it more directly: Under current law, there is a secret
ballot. If the EFCA passes, most if not all of the time,
employees won't have a secret ballot--regardless of whether they want a
secret ballot or not.
The argument that employees will have another option is not
disingenuous--it is a flat-out lie. The EFCA replaces a vote with
a card check process.
Under current law, when employees sign-up for union authorization they
know it is simply to support a secret ballot vote. Now imagine
this new law where employees are not asked to support a secret ballot
vote, but to prove their support for unionization (their signatures
will be used as an alternative to a vote). The pressure on
employees to sign will be far more intense.
The arguments about the pros and cons of unions to me are completely
pointless in this "debate." The question is whether employees
should be able to freely choose whether they want to be in a
union. Proponents of the EFCA don't want there to be free choice
(regardless of the bill's name) and opponents do want free
choice. Simple as that.
We should have guessed this would be the result after this.
The distressing news from the Washington Examiner:
CNBC reporter Rick Santelli, whose passionate rant about the Obama housing rescue plan, and call for a "Chicago Tea Party" became a viral internet video, was arrested today by armed officers from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) covert special forces division.
Held without bail at an undisclosed "brownfield site", Santelli faces several counts of reckless endangerment of wildlife habitat after he threatened to rally capitalists to dump "derivative securities" into Lake Michigan as a way of re-enacting the Boston Tea-Party protest of 1773.
"Mr. Santelli is certainly entitled to his wacky economic opinions," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, "But if he had gone to the EPA website, clicked the regulations link, downloaded the document, printed it out and read it...he would have realized that dumping toxic assets into a lake is expressly forbidden. Read the document, Mr. Santelli. Read it."
While the county faces multimillion-dollar revenue shortfalls for the current fiscal year, the depressed economy affords a good opportunity for building, according to financial consultant Doug Carter. Contractors are hungry for business, and costs are down, Carter told the commissioners in January. At the same time, costs of borrowing money are very low.
OK, let's apply this to personal finance. Say you're mired in $100,000 in consumer credit card debt ... but you keep receiving offers for more credit cards in the mail, and at low interest rates, what better time to add on more debt? You can't afford to pass them up!
Such is the tortured logic of our bailout nation. Unlike personal finance, however, counties can afford to play fast and loose with taxpayers dollar since, apparently, voters have no intention of holding elected officials accountable.
NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory mission was lost during launch earlier today. The rocket’s nose cone failed to jettison as planned and the spacecraft apparently did not reach orbit as a result. A press conference is scheduled for 8am with more details.
As the name suggests, OCO was designed to measure carbon dioxide emission and absorption. The data generated would have contributed greatly to the debate about Global Warming.