Archive for April, 2011

Obama vs. the San Francisco Chronicle »

Did the administration threaten to exclude the San Francisco Chronicle from covering future presidential events? Reporter Carla Marinucci says yes, although the White House denies it. A little over a week ago, protesters paid $5,000 each to get into a DNC fundraiser where they could interrupt Obama’s speech and break into a song, expressing...
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Totalitarian Art »

Soviet kids say the darnedest things, art historian Igor Golomstock discovered when he led field trips through Moscow’s Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in the late 1950s. The schoolchildren indicated that they couldn’t distinguish between the propaganda paintings of Nazi Germany on display and the works of Socialist Realism that had flourished (if that...
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Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Rap Video Round Two »

“Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two” is the superb and very timely sequel to the phenomenally successful and insightful, rap video pitting the views of macroeconomist John Maynard Keynes against those of Austrian School economist Friedrich A. Hayek, “Fear the Boom and Bust.” The original has attracted to date more than...
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The Newest on the U.S. Dungeon at Guantanamo »

The newest round of WikiLeaks revelations unearths troubling facts about the U.S. prison facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Operating for more than nine years now, the prison camp was originally said to be holding “the worst of the worst”—terrorists of the same moral plane and dangerousness as those who committed the attacks of 9/11....
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Health Care Quote of the Day »

The Economist takes the prize: The most curious thing about Mr Krugman’s quasi-religious squeamishness about the “commercial transaction” is that it is normally the economist’s lot to explain to the superstitious public the humanitarian benefits of bringing human life ever more within the cash nexus. Yet Mr Krugman has chosen to reinforce rather than...
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The Obama Tsunami »

Big numbers can be hard to visualize. What’s the difference between a million and a trillion? They both sound like big numbers, but a trillion is 1,000,000 times bigger than a million. The terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan last month helps visualize some big numbers. Surely you’ve seen image after image of the...
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Easter Lessons, Revisited »

First posted last Easter, here again are my contemplations on the meaning of Easter: This week is the most holy for Christians, as we commemorate Jesus’ trials, scourging, crucifixion, and triumph three days later over the Roman Empire’s most fearsome weapon: death. Christians and non-Christians alike can take many worthy lessons from these events....
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Why Johnny Can’t Read: State Legislators’ Skewed Priorities »

In the 2009 “Nation’s Report Card” of students’ achievement, by state, produced by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, Californian students ranked 49th in reading—ahead only of Hawaii and the District of Columbia—and above only Mississippi in science. One would think that those kind of statistics would focus all attention on...
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Objectivity, Probability, and Scholarship »

I’m pausing from completing a faculty survey to offer a couple of quick thoughts on the following directive. I’m to register the degree to which I agree with the statement “Private funding sources often prevent researchers from being completely objective in the conduct of their work.” My options are “Agree Strongly, Agree Somewhat, Disagree...
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Bootlegger-and-Baptist Alert »

Virtually all long-haul trucking companies use GPS-based tracking systems to record the locations and activities of their drivers. Guess what? These firms support a proposed federal rule requiring independent owner-operators to install the expensive (up to $2,000) devices in their trucks. The rationale? Public safety, of course. Surprisingly, the NPR story gets it right:...
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