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Archive for April 21st, 2009


According to Fortune, Facebook contains 549 “bailout-related gripe groups.”

It should be 306,263,508.

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Get ready for pushback on Duke AA report

A group of Duke researchers have been looking into affirmative action “mismatch,” the notion that affirmative action often puts minorities in situations where they are less likely to succeed.

What is surprising is the cooperation the researchers got from admissions personnel. What they found was that there is a larger gap between the GPA blacks and Latinos expect to obtain and what they actually achieve, than what whites and Asians expect and actually achieve. This finding surely will be attacked by the professional quota advocates.

Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions, seem to be anticipating attacks. Here’s his very politically correct assessment of the findings:

“We believe that every student we admit has the preparation and attitude to be fully successful at Duke. We certainly don’t admit anyone about whom we have doubts.”

(Link via Instapundit)

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To my fellow NCSU alum Gibbs: Where we are from, sir, 0.003 percent is deplorably small

ABC’s Jennifer Loven and Jake Tapper had the following exchanges with Obama press secretary (and NC State alumnus) Robert Gibbs over the Obama administration’s “brave” talk of cutting $100 million from the budget:

LOVEN: The deficit’s giant. $100 million really is only a step.

GIBBS: But no joke.

LOVEN: You sound like you’re joking about it, but it’s not funny.

GIBBS: I’m not making jokes about it. I’m being completely sincere that only in Washington, D.C. is $100 million not a lot of money. It is where I’m from. It is where I grew up. And I think it is for hundreds of millions of Americans.

True, by itself $100 million dollars is a lot of money. But pooled from, in Gibbs’ words, “hundreds of millions of Americans,” it represents a few cents from each of them. Gibbs is relying on the significant sound of “$100 million” in presenting the cuts — in dealing with numbers this large, the actual size of such things as “billions” and “trillions” can be obfuscated with political verbiage, and on this point Tapper nails Gibbs:

LOVEN: The point is it’s not a very big portion of the deficit.

TAPPER: You were talking about an appropriations bill a few weeks ago about $8 billion being minuscule — $8 billion in earmarks. We were talking about that and you said that that…

GIBBS: Well, in terms of — in…(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: …$100 million is a lot but $8 billion is small?

So let’s cut to the chase. Ignore the “-illions”; look at the figure comparatively. Harvard economist Greg Mankiw points out that it represents just 0.003 percent (and he’s rounding up!) of the budget and puts it in these terms:

imagine that the head of a household with annual spending of $100,000 called everyone in the family together to deal with a $34,000 budget shortfall. How much would he or she announce that spending had to be cut? By $3 over the course of the year–approximately the cost of one latte at Starbucks. The other $33,997? We can put that on the family credit card and worry about it next year.

At the Locker Room, George Leef passed along George Mason economics chair Donald Boudreaux‘s example of a family making $50K deciding to cut $2.09 in spending (“one less gallon of gasoline or … one less cup of coffee”) while otherwise planning to spend $75K.

The Heritage Foundation makes the same point graphically:

Heritage graph on Obama spending

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Extremist reality

A week after the Obama administration declares veterans right-wing threats, and calls non-lefty protesters like Tea Party participants extremists, the FBI announces that its most-wanted domestic terrorist is a left-wing, animal-rights wacko:

An “animal rights extremist” from Berkeley, Calif., was added to the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list of terror suspects, federal agents said Tuesday.

Daniel Andreas San Diego, a 31-year-old computer specialist, has been on the run since 2003 and is wanted in two bombings that year of corporate offices in California, said Michael J. Heimbach, an assistant director of the FBI’s counterrorism division.

“He is a known animal rights extremist,” Heimbach told reporters Tuesday at a Washington, D.C., news conference.

He added that San Diego set an improvised explosive device in the bombings that caused “extensive property damage and economic hardship.”

So while the Department of Homeland Security under Obama is seeing bogeymen whenever low-tax, limited-government, individual freedom protesters gather peacefully, the left is the one setting off actual bombs. But, hey, they come about it honestly.

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Bill Bell and the Saudis

Durham Mayor Bill Bell is going to Saudi Arabia on the Saudi dime. According to the story in The News & Observer:

The mayors will learn about the Saudi economy, educational system, culture, people and government, the city said in its announcement. They will meet Saudi business people, government officials and students and also visit an oil field.

“This mission will make it possible to learn more about this important long-term ally of our country,” Bell said in a statement from the city.

While learning about the Saudi culture, will any of the mayors ask about human rights abuses, the amputations and floggings that are carried out under Sharia law, the persecution of gays, the discrimination against women, and the lack of religious and political freedoms? There’s about as much chance of that as President Obama criticizing the lack of freedom in Cuba and Venezuela.

But imagine if a group of mayors had visited South Africa in the 1980s. Would any so-called liberal city father have neglected to bring up apartheid? Not on your life.

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Will You Have to Pay to Help Candidates You Don’t Support?

Today could be the day the N.C. House again takes up HB 120, which would force all of us to help pay for the campaigns of people we don’t support. It’s a very bad idea, as several folks have argued.

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A Fat Tax on Flying?

Airlines are looking at forcing obese passengers to buy two seats, and this Business Week story says one airline is looking at a fat tax.

The cattle-car quality of air travel is getting even less comfortable for some plus-size passengers. United Airlines (UAUA) on Apr. 15 announced it will require passengers who do not fit within one seat to buy another when no alternative can be arranged. And Euro-discounter Ryanair (RYAAY) is advancing the idea of a fat tax, which suggests to many observers the company may price its tickets based on body mass.

I support the idea of people paying for things based on their own risk level. There is no reason that someone who stays fit and trim should be expected to cover costs for someone who doesn’t.

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